|Clearing the Path|
At 0615 on May 14, 1943, elements of the American 7th Infantry Division moved east toward Holtz Bay on the island of Attu. The came under fire from Japanese units of the Adak-Attu Occupation Force at 0630 hours as they advanced east up the north ridge flanked by a line of battleship support fire in the valley on their right. When the Japanese saw the advance on the ridge, they began to shift some forces from the other ridges to assist but had to muck through the muskeg to get there. By 0800, one Japanese infantry platoon had arrived to support the HMG units on the north ridge. The US had destroyed one HMG nest by 0845, and the other Japanese units on the north ridge retreated east. By 1030, the last Japanese infantry and HMG units on the ridge had been cleared, and a safe corridor north of the ridge established. At 1115, three more Japanese infantry platoons arrived from the south on the east end of the ridge, but they were forced back into the muskeg within a half hour by the advancing US contingent. At 1300, the US eliminated a Japanese infantry platoon that threatened the corridor, and the corridor was secured again for good at 1315 hours
The objective of this scenario involves the US being able to trace a 5-hex corridor that is free of Japanese fire across the East-West axis of the playable map. This involves a bit of a guessing game since the Americans note four hexes that will receive a 70 OBA blast every other turn prior to the Japanese setting up their hidden units. It was decided that since the Americans would advance on the north ridge to just lay the fire down in the adjacent valley to the south and protect the corridor north of the ridge itself. Japanese hidden units were managed by the solo method described in the 4th edition rules with the mortar unit centrally placed to cover a large portion of the terrain. This scenario seemed particularly difficult for the Japanese despite their morale advantage because of the need to maintain cover on all potential east-west routes, while the Americans can concentrate their forces to establish a single corridor. Using the board edge as one side of the corridor makes it relatively easy to isolate those spaces given the overwhelming firepower of the US versus the need for the Japanese to spread their limited units. Even though the Japanese had remarkably little trouble moving through the muskeg to send in reinforcements from the south, they simply didn’t have enough firepower to hold back the American onslaught. With the corridor established, the US had the victory after 29 turns, and had a step loss advantage of only five steps lost to ten for the Japanese.