Well, here we are at the final posting about my long playthrough of “The Korean War”. It took exactly two weeks for me to play due to time constraints and my own scatterbrained method of playing on again and off again but I finally made it to the end. If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ll probably notice that I usually play a lot of shorter games that can be completed in a single day or an evening so the fact that I stuck to this to the bitter end says a lot about how much I enjoyed it.
Last we left off, it was turn 10 and the Chinese had been pushing down south every turn and the UN was making a desperate bid to slow them down long enough to bring in reinforcements and secure what was left of the UN-held cities. The UN landed a division of Marines in Incheon and they retook Seoul from the Chinese. It was a temporary setback for the enemy. With an advantage in numbers, the Chinese flanked the UN defenders on the south side of the Han River and savaged the UN supply lines. It took less than two weeks for the UN defense to completely collapse. That Marines in Seoul were whittled away by a combination of North Korean and Chinese attacks while the American units to the east were forced to withdraw south while one or two US Army regiments were sacrificed to make time for them to pull back. The Chinese were completely unleashed at this point. They ran south in droves.
|End Turn 10 / Start Turn 11|
Determined to try and hold the southern-most provinces, the UN hurried to set up a defense line running the width of the peninsula. The supply depot in Pusan patiently stockpiled supplies while Taegu was used as a main supply point for the Americans. Unfortunately, the defenders were already in tatters from their losses at the Han River. Supplies were in abundance. But there were simply not enough men at the front. 12 full Chinese divisions approached the remnants of the American army and three of them slipped through the UN defenses and cut the supplies running from Taegu over to the west near Taejon. The UN supply lines were so extended that the defenders held out against a North Korean onslaught only through luck. In the next turn, the cities would fall and the North Koreans would resume their advance, capturing the UN cities in the western provinces as they went.
|Turn 11: End of Action Phase 1 – Disaster for the UN!|
By the end of turn 11, the Americans were forced once again to construct a Pusan Perimeter. The only difference was that this time, it was to keep the port out of the hands of the Chinese rather than the North Koreans. The Chinese approached in force and two full ROK divisions rushed north of Taegu to stop them while smaller American regiments worked alongside them. This time they massed along the road running perpendicular to the north south road running from Pusan up past Taegu. This act barely saved the UN defenders as it kept the supplies from Taegu running smoothly.
|End of Turn 12 – Pusan is secure|
One or two Chinese divisions made a dash through UN lines before the defenders could completely close all the gaps. By turn 12, the US Marines and the Army had cleaned up the problem and the supply lines to the front were once again secure. By the end of the game, the Chinese were stymied on their right flank due to supply problems but had managed to eliminate several small American units on their left flank (only to face more US defenders waiting directly in front of them). The Pusan perimeter held but it looked like the UN would have to concede the peninsula to the communists.
Final Result: 118 VPs – NK Substantial Victory
Global Tension Level: 3
UN Rules of Engagement: 2
US Mobilization: 3
UN Commitment Level: 5
What a ride! I really enjoyed this game although I felt like I only really started to learn how to play it well near the end. It’s really a matter of finding ways to cut off or extend your opponent’s supply lines to his main force and then eliminate them with your attacks. At first, I basically threw units at each other and hoped for a good die roll but as I gradually learned the more subtle route to victory, I gained a better appreciation of the game. I’ve also learned that depot placement is so totally important and that placing it even one hex distant or closer to your forces can make a huge difference in terms of ensuring successful attack outcomes. This is why smaller units are actually more preferable than larger ones in many ways. You can send a couple of small units around your opponents’ flank, cut off their main body of resistance and then slice it to pieces with your own forces. The UN ability to break down their divisions into smaller regiments is a big advantage in this regard.
Calling in the Nationalist Chinese was a big mistake. This only helped the North Koreans to secure Communist Chinese intervention in return for almost no gains. I had barely crossed the 38th parallel with my UN forces when full Chinese intervention was declared and the UN had little room to maneuver into a good defensive position and no time to call up reinforcements to help out in time. It was the first major misstep that led to a disastrous result at the end of the game.