Panzer Grenadier Battles on February 25th:
Desert Rats #8 - Cavalleria
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Saipan 1944 #39
(Attacker) Japan vs United States (Defender)
Formations Involved
United States 105th Infantry Regiment

Overall balance chart for Saip039
Side 1 1
Draw 0
Side 2 1
Overall Rating, 2 votes
Scenario Rank: --- of 609
Parent Game Saipan 1944
Historicity Historical
Date 1944-07-07
Start Time 04:00
Turn Count 40
Visibility Day
Counters 122
Net Morale 0
Net Initiative 1
Maps 4: 80, 81, 82, 83
Layout Dimensions 86 x 56 cm
34 x 22 in
Play Bounty 176
AAR Bounty 163
Total Plays 2
Total AARs 1
Battle Types
Kill Them All
Off-board Artillery
Scenario Requirements & Playability
Saipan 1944 maps + counters

By now, General Saito despaired of being able to drive off the Americans. Daily raking by American artillery and naval gunfire, augmented by aircraft attacks, had whittled his force down considerably. His superior, Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (of Midway fame) had shot himself the night before. As his last decision, Saito directed a last grand banzai charge to be carried out before the dawn of July 7th. Too sick to lead the attack himself, the General committed hara-kiri before the actual attack. About 0400 the main attack started with between 3,000 and 4,000 men (including many civilian men and women wielding bamboo spears) divided into three main prongs.


The night was filled with confusion and death. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th Infantry were overrun, as well as some of the Marine artillery battalions. House-to-house fighting encompassed the village of Tanapag. Major MacCarthy, one of the few officers to survive the attack, said "These Japs just kept coming and coming, it didn't make a difference if you shot one, five more would take his place." But in the end, the Japanese spent the last of their manpower on this attack, and 4,311 of their corpses were found in the aftermath. The 105th Infantry lost 406 men killed and 512 wounded. The 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment lost 45 Devil Dogs killed and 82 more wounded. The battle for Saipan was nearly over.

Display Relevant AFV Rules

AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle
  • Vulnerable to results on the Assault Combat Chart (7.25, 7.63, ACC), and may be attacked by Anti-Tank fire (11.2, DFT). Anti-Tank fire only affects the individual unit fired upon (7.62, 11.0).
  • AFV's are activated by tank leaders (3.2, 3.3, 5.42, 6.8). They may also be activated as part of an initial activating stack, but if activated in this way would need a tank leader in order to carry out combat movement.
  • AFV's do not block Direct Fire (10.1).
  • Full-strength AFV's with "armor efficiency" may make two anti-tank (AT) fire attacks per turn (either in their action segment or during opportunity fire) if they have AT fire values of 0 or more (11.2).
  • Each unit with an AT fire value of 2 or more may fire at targets at a distance of between 100% and 150% of its printed AT range. It does so at half its AT fire value. (11.3)
  • Efficient and non-efficient AFV's may conduct two opportunity fires per turn if using direct fire (7.44, 7.64). Units with both Direct and AT Fire values may use either type of fire in the same turn as their opportunity fire, but not both (7.22, 13.0). Units which can take opportunity fire twice per turn do not have to target the same unit both times (13.0).
  • Demoralized AFV's are not required to flee from units that do not have AT fire values (14.3).
  • Place a Wreck marker when an AFV is eliminated in a bridge or town hex (16.3).
  • AFV's do not benefit from Entrenchments (16.42).
  • AFV's may Dig In (16.2).
  • Open-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables, but DO take step losses from X and #X results (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT). If a "2X" or "3X" result is rolled, at least one of the step losses must be taken by an open-top AFV if present.
  • Closed-top AFV's: Immune to M, M1 and M2 results on Direct and Bombardment Fire Tables. Do not take step losses from Direct or Bombardment Fire. If X or #X result on Fire Table, make M morale check instead (7.25, 7.41, 7.61, BT, DFT).
  • Closed-top AFV's: Provide the +1 modifier on the Assault Table when combined with infantry. (Modifier only applies to Germans in all scenarios; Soviet Guards in scenarios taking place after 1942; Polish, US and Commonwealth in scenarios taking place after 1943.) (ACC)
  • Tank: all are closed-top and provide the +1 Assault bonus, when applicable
  • APC – Armored Personnel Carrier: These are Combat Units, but stack like Transports. They can transport personnel units or towed units. They are not counted as combat units for the +1 stacking modifier on the Direct Fire and Bombardment Tables (4.4). They may be activated by regular leaders and tank leaders (1.2, 3.34, 4.3, 5.43). They do not provide the +1 Assault bonus (ACC).

Display Order of Battle

Japan Order of Battle
Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Navy
  • Foot
  • Mechanized
United States Order of Battle
  • Mechanized
  • Misc
Marine Corps
  • Motorized

Display Errata (1)

1 Errata Item
Overall balance chart for 1265

LVT 4 is a one step open-topped APC. Any scenarios where units and leaders start loaded on LVT 4's and enter the board via ocean hexes do not activate in the regular manner.

While at sea, all LVT 4's activate like AFV's with leaders, and move toward beach hexes. While moving toward the beach hexes they don't need to use all MPs or move in a straight line. Once they are on the beach, they must follow standard activation rules for both land and water hexes. LVT 4's that are destroyed at sea do not trigger leader decapitation.

(Shad on 2013 May 06)

Display AARs (1)

Saipan, scenario thirty nine: Desperation
Author JayTownsend
Method Solo
Victor Japan
Play Date 2012-12-15
Language English
Scenario Saip039

Obviously by the conclusion you can tell I had to scale back on this scenario due to counter limitations but I did it proportionately so you could still get an excellent feel for the real battle.

This was a fantastic scenario to play, with so many variables to think about. First I set my U.S. Marines & U.S. Army units back around the far south hill area of map 81 thinking the Japanese would use up most of the darkness turns trying to make contact with the American lines. I guess I could have used the optional Strategic Movement rule 17.3 but I didn’t. The Japanese SNLF and Army entered in two locations to help feed the volume of units, the trail north on map 82 and the coastal road north on map 80.

It took a lot of movement for the Japanese to finally hit the American lines and they were no longer covered by darkness so some exposed units were getting blasted by heavy artillery both off and on board but many units were taking advantage of the terrain pushing through jungle or fields or towns but one group of jungle disoriented Japanese units were forced to come out on one of their own minefield counters losing a step, kind of an odd situation but very interesting as well, as my minefield finally did its job.

On turn 13, the Japanese finally lost their one step of Type 95 tanks by AT fire from one the big Marines Artillery units, just like in real life where the same thing happened, leading a column of Infantry, but before that it pulled up next to a dug-in Army unit and forced them to lose their first step and later assaulted with some infantry, so the Japanese got their mileage from that unit. I thought I had setup a good defensive battle plan for the Americans, with the Marine Artillery units on the hill surrounded by dug-in Army Infantry units but maybe too spread out and there was some exposed areas in the terrain that the Japanese exploited. With the 8/8 morale that never lowers, the American can blast, demoralized, reduced steps but unless you totally destroyed the Japanese units they would be back in the fight again.

Originally the American reinforcements were to arrive automatically on turn 22 but that was changed to a dice roll of 6 so mine didn’t show up until turn 27 and that would have been fine but by then I already lost 15 American unit steps plus 3 leaders giving the Japanese their victory of 18 steps as leaders counted. One of those units was a Marine 105mm Artillery unit that failed it’s recovery roll and abandoned their guns counting as two steps. The Japanese had lost more than half their steps but still had enough to keep fighting, if the armored reinforcement had arrived a little earlier or I had setup my defenses on the open areas of map 83 south, I believe the outcome could have been better. So the Japanese barely win the scenario but like in real life, they spent the last of their manpower.

The best strategy for the Japanese is to keep assaulting and feeding units into the assault hexes, advantage or not, it will open up holes, and your losses don’t count anyway, so don’t worry about them, just don’t waste them, as they can disappear fast, especially if in the open.

A very fun scenario to play, it should be a 6! I played it over 3 or 4 days off and on.

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