‘Fuller’s Stand’: ‘C’ Company, 152 (Indian) Para at Point 7378, 19th March 1944 (The Game)

Last time I posted a scenario based on the defence of a hilltop on the Indian-Burmese border by Indian Paras during the initial stages of the Japanese advance on Imphal and Kohima.  We played the scenario at the Carmarthen Old Guard a couple of weeks ago, so here’s the after-action report.

Above:  Major Fuller (Dan) deploys his dug-in company on the peak of Point 7378, placing the bulk of his troops covering the road to Burma and the junction in the tracks, but also deploying troops to keep a watchful eye on the flanks and rear.

The company has a headquarters section, 9x infantry sections and a 2-inch mortar group (representing the combined platoon-level mortars), as well as an attached section of battalion-level 3-inch mortars and an attached section of brigade-level MMGs.  Each section is represented by a troop stand.  To simulate fog-of-war, each troop stand is replaced at the start of the game by a card marker (with the stand type written underneath) and five dummy markers are also added.  Troop stands are revealed when they fire or when enemy reconnaissance reveals their position.

Note that I don’t have any fancy trench models and even if I did, they wouldn’t sit right on this model hill, so I’ve used some lengths of breastworks (by Timecast Models) to show the position of trenches and foxholes.

Above:  The areas of trees represent dense jungle, while the areas of lichen and bamboo represent more open scrubland.  The clear areas on the southern slopes of the hill are very steep and slow to traverse.

Above:  Dan is permitted to pre-register three targets for his 3-inch mortar section and starts with the junction of the road and the mule-track.  I took photos of these on my phone for reference and the templates were then removed from the table.

Above:  The second registered target is slightly further along the road.

Above:  The third registered target is the point at which the mule-track splits into two.

Above:  Lastly, the MMG section establishes a beaten zone for its guns, covering the junction of the mule-tracks and the most likely avenue of approach.  Again, this photo was taken for reference and the template was then removed from the table.

Above:  The Indian Paras have not been in position very long when a patrol reports the appearance of a Japanese column on the road from Burma!

Above:  The Japanese troops belong to the 3rd Battalion of the 58th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Major Shimano (Phil).  The Paras’ exposed position on the bare hilltop has not gone unnoticed by Major Shimano, who orders his column to mount a hasty attack on the enemy position.

Above:  Captain Nishida Susumu’s 9th Company is in the lead.  Sending half of his company up the mule-track on the right, he leads the rest of his company along the road, luckily suffering only light casualties as the pre-registered 3-inch mortars rain bombs onto the road-junction.

Above:  Captain Nishida Susumu had commanded a long-range reconnaissance patrol as far as Kohima during the previous year, managing to return to Burma with valuable intelligence, while completely escaping detection by the Allies and their native auxiliaries.  However, this time he has no time for such subtlety as he orders his men to make the best speed possible along the tracks instead of using the cover of the bush.

Above:  As 9th Company shakes out into assault formation, the unmistakable rattle of Vickers MMGs is heard across the hillside.  The righthand column is soon pinned down by fire.  The Paras’ 2-inch mortars also add their weight to the cacophony.

Above:  With 9th Company starting to engage the enemy, Shimano’s 10th Company arrives.

Above:  Captain Susumu makes best use of the sparse undergrowth to mask his approach, but casualties are starting to mount.  Nevertheless, Susumu’s three 50mm ‘Knee-Mortar’ sections and the attached MMG section succeed in suppressing the Indian MMGs and 2-inch mortars.

Above:  Susumu’s righthand column suffers heavy losses as they attempt to push through the wall of MG fire.  The 3-inch mortars also now shift their fire to the track-junction.  Susumu’s knee-mortars and MMGs do their best, but can’t hope to suppress the weight of fire being directed at the attackers.  Sadly, the battalion’s 70mm gun detachment is still out of range and the regiment’s 75mm guns are a full day’s march behind the column.

Above:  “May the Emperor live for a thousand years!  BANZAI!”  Susumu finally manages to work close enough to the enemy position with sufficient men to mount an assault.  However, previously-hidden Paras now open up with smallarms and the Japanese infantry are cut down in droves!

Above:  Nevertheless, one of Susumu’s rifle sections manages to gain a foothold in the Indian trenches!

Above:  The ejected section of Indian Paras withdraws to the Company Headquarters on the crest of the hill, where it rallies.  Major Fuller orders them to mount an immediate counter-attack to re-take their trenches!

Above:  Charging over open ground, the Indian section is subjected to heavy fire, though makes it to the now enemy-occupied trench.  The flanking sections also join the counter-attack, though are badly disordered by fire from Susumu’s remaining troops, only a few yards away through the bush.

Above:  Nevertheless, the counter-attack is wholly successful.  The Japanese interlopers are eliminated and the Indian Paras re-occupy their positions.

Above:  Captain Susumu, with the rallied remnants of 9th Company, launches another charge in concert with Captain Ishida’s 10th Company on the right.  However, the attack is a disaster, with both captains becoming casualties and 9th Company being virtually wiped out.

Above:  However, Japanese strength continues to grow with the arrival of the 11th Company.

Above:  The combined fire of the 9th, 10th and 11th Company knee-mortar and MG sections are starting to make their presence felt, causing disruption among the forward edge of the Paras’ perimeter.  A few riflemen of 9th Company are also clinging on, only a few yards from the Indian trenches, though thoroughly pinned down by Indian smallarms fire.

Above:  Seeing their best chance yet, the remnants of the 9th and 10th Companies launch yet another assault on the Indian trenches!

Above:  At last some success for the Japanese!  At the forward corner of the position, two sections of Indian Paras are eliminated (albeit at considerable cost to the attackers) and a Japanese rifle section again manages to break into the trenches!  But can the Japanese manage to hold onto their gains this time?

Above:  Still unengaged, the Japanese 11th Company rushes forward to exploit the small success, followed by the Battalion Headquarters Company and MG Company.  The 70mm Battalion Gun Platoon deploys, ready to offer fire support.

Above:  Sorry to disappoint, but with the battle entering its most critical phase, we simply ran out of club-night time!!!  However, the general consensus was that the Indian Paras had won the day.  They had lost only two out of thirteen sections and still possessed their very effective heavy weapons.

It was felt that newly-arrived 11th Company, the understrength MG Company and the Battalion Gun Platoon were unlikely to tip the balance in favour of the Japanese.  As in the historical action, the Japanese would break off the attack and await the arrival overnight of the 12th Company, 75mm Regimental Gun Company and perhaps a company or two from the 2nd Battalion and with fire support, renew the assault at dawn from multiple directions.  This renewed assault would probably overwhelm the defenders before other companies from 152 Para and 4/5th Mahrattas have time to intervene…  The 2nd day of the battle will probably be one to revisit…

My thanks to Dan and Phil for a very interesting game and a good playtest of the scenario.

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: WW2, Games, World War 2, World War 2 - Burma Campaign. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to ‘Fuller’s Stand’: ‘C’ Company, 152 (Indian) Para at Point 7378, 19th March 1944 (The Game)

  1. steven says:

    Great to see this little known action on the table.

  2. Steve Johnson says:

    Great looking terrain and a nice scenario too. I always fancy the Japanese purely so I can field some of their quirky tanks. This sort of action is much more preferable to the battles for the islands.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Thanks Steve! Yes, the Burma Campaign has a colossal variety of scenarios to choose from and a wide range of troop-quality on both sides. The only think it’s lacking is massed tank battles, but there were quite a few small ones.

      I’ve got Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tanks and Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha Medium Tanks for my Japanese, as that’s pretty much all I need for Burma, though I could use a few more Ha-Go for the early battles. If you want ‘proper quirky’, there was a company of Type 01 Ho-Ni I 75mm SP Guns in Burma, but I’ve never found any record of them doing any fighting, which is baffling. The 14th Tank Regiment left them behind at Fort White during the advance to Imphal, but nothing more is heard of them after that.

  3. Wargame Despatches Dave says:

    Cracking write up, scenario and terrain. The Burma Campaign is gaining more interest now!

  4. Dr. Christopher Brown says:

    Wonderful! I was not aware (or I had forgotten) that you had done all this Burma stuff, so I shall be cribbing it shamelessly. The commander of 50th(I) Parachute Brigade was the commandant of my school, Brigadier Hope Thomson.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      I remember you telling me that! 🙂 It’s about time I did something specific on Sangshak itself. The full orbat has been sitting on my hard-drive for about 20 years (previously posted on the BF: WWII site), so I’ll post that up asap! 🙂

      And that 255th Tank Brigade article is now about three years overdue…



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