After four hard months of bitter winter fighting in the barren hills and frozen rivers of Korea, so much had happened yet so little had changed. Much to the UN commanders’ chagrin, a limited Chinese intervention in November of 1950 led shortly afterwards to a full intervention in December. At first, the UN units just north of the 38th parallel had barely managed to stem the flow of eight Chinese divisions hellbent on a drive towards Seoul. With the arrival of 16 more divisions in the following month, all bets were off and the Americans were forced to pull back towards the south in a doomed bid to preserve Seoul from the onslaught of angry Chinese who were funneling down the west coast of the peninsula straight towards them. It was all just fingers in the dike as the Chinese flicked aside regiments on the road running from Pyongyang towards the Han River.
UN commanders escalated their intervention level in January and the first trickle of UN reinforcements arrived in the form of small contingents from the Philippines, Thailand, and Great Britain. What the Americans really needed right now were lots of small divisions to prevent the country from being completely overrun and maybe a few heavy divisions to start with counterattacks against the main body of Chinese pressing further and further south with each passing day. By February of 1951, Seoul fell to the Chinese as predicted but the area south of the Han River was barely being held by small groups of American troops. The Chinese had become brazen from their earlier successes and were now throwing troops across the river to attack at the Americans but they had limited success thus far. Three Chinese divisions had managed to skirt around the American defenses in an attempt to cut off the supplies coming up from Taejon to the Han River defenders – but an ROK division and a Marine regiment had been able to eliminate the intruders.
As the ice thawed and winter slowly gave way to spring, nearly three divisions of UN troops (two American and one Commonwealth) had deployed to Pusan in a final bid to halt the Chinese, who were poised to push hard past the meager Han River defenses and overrun the entire peninsula. Only a miracle would save the Koreans now.
As an aside, I’ll freely admit to messing up the Chinese intervention rules. The Chinese don’t need to place depots for a limited time after they intervene and I totally missed this in the rulebook until turn 9, when it was already too late. I think it slowed down the Chinese a bit but it still doesn’t fundamentally change the fact that the UN got completely stomped.
On the other hand, I am beginning to learn that a lot of this game is thinking of creative ways to put your opponent off balance enough that you can try and jump in and extend (or even better, cut off) their supply lines. I would have to say that the way I played this game strategy-wise in turn 4 or 5 is completely different than the way I have been playing in turn 8 and 9.
Currently at Turn 10
UN Escalation Level 5
UN Victory Points 118
Global Tension Level 1
US Mobilization 3
|Game Turn 7 – Chinese push towards Seoul as UN defenders try to desperately hold on|
|Game Turn 10 – Start: Seoul is overrun and the Americans hold out at the south bank of the Han River|