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Rasmus v. Oriskany - Vietnam Guerrilla Warfare

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Red Dragon 2028: Chinese Invade Taiwan (Damon v. Oriskany Panzer Leader - Conclusion)

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Please join us as we continue our explorations of a hypothetical Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the near future.  This will be a continuation of the Panzer Leader Modern Era game begun between myself and community member Damon on August 8.  In this game, we saw elements of a US Army Stryker Battalion, reinforced by a tank-heavy armor team and joined by elements of a Japanese Rapid Deployment Brigade, rush to the rescue of overwhelmed Taiwanese units crumbling before an onslaught of Chinese People’s Liberation Army armor and Marine mechanized infantry.

The game is currently halfway through its planned ten turns.  The set up, deployment, background, and opening “posturing and disposition moves” are all complete, the two forces are well and truly locked up in fiery combat.  Now it’s gut-check time, so see who wins, and by what degree!

Sunday, August 22 – 2PM East US Time, 7PM UK Time

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So just to set the stage for today’s stream, here is a brief, partial battle report outlining the highlights of the engagement so far.  Again, only half the battle has been played out, today’s stream will finish out the game and decide the winner.

For those just joining us, here is an expanded and more detailed situation sketch of the invasion so far.  The Chinese have thrown two “Group Armies” across the Taiwan Strait (about 120,000 men total), attacking Taiwan in two basic waves.  The first was an airborne wave (largely a sacrificial feint), the second was a seaborne wave, spearheaded by high-speed Marine assault hovercraft.  After forty-eight hours, only the amphibious assault in the north has managed any kind of toehold, as well as (against all odds) one of the “sacrificial” airborne landings in the south.  These positions have been rapidly expanded into semi-viable bridgeheads on X-Day+2, but they remain widely separated, vulnerable to counterattack IF Western Pacific allies can must enough of a counterattack in time.  Now, on X+3, the Americans are launching their first sizable counterattack in the north, assisted by elements of a JSDF Rapid Deployment Brigade.  Their mission: to head off Chinese armor threatening to break out of the Hsinchu Bridgehead before they smash northeast along the Lung Tan Highway and threaten Taipei from the southwest.   For those just joining us, here is an expanded and more detailed situation sketch of the invasion so far. The Chinese have thrown two “Group Armies” across the Taiwan Strait (about 120,000 men total), attacking Taiwan in two basic waves. The first was an airborne wave (largely a sacrificial feint), the second was a seaborne wave, spearheaded by high-speed Marine assault hovercraft. After forty-eight hours, only the amphibious assault in the north has managed any kind of toehold, as well as (against all odds) one of the “sacrificial” airborne landings in the south. These positions have been rapidly expanded into semi-viable bridgeheads on X-Day+2, but they remain widely separated, vulnerable to counterattack IF Western Pacific allies can must enough of a counterattack in time. Now, on X+3, the Americans are launching their first sizable counterattack in the north, assisted by elements of a JSDF Rapid Deployment Brigade. Their mission: to head off Chinese armor threatening to break out of the Hsinchu Bridgehead before they smash northeast along the Lung Tan Highway and threaten Taipei from the southwest.
The shattered remains of the Taiwanese 234th Brigade sets up on the table, clearly showing the Lung Tan highway interchange.  Outnumbered between eight- and twelve-to one, their higher command and communications infrastructure has now been taken out by cruise missiles launched from Chinese submarines.  They hold the objective hexes marked in yellow.  The Americans and Japanese will be entering from the east.  The Chinese will be entering from the west.  Whoever controls at least three objective hexes at the end of the game is the winner.  The shattered remains of the Taiwanese 234th Brigade sets up on the table, clearly showing the Lung Tan highway interchange. Outnumbered between eight- and twelve-to one, their higher command and communications infrastructure has now been taken out by cruise missiles launched from Chinese submarines. They hold the objective hexes marked in yellow. The Americans and Japanese will be entering from the east. The Chinese will be entering from the west. Whoever controls at least three objective hexes at the end of the game is the winner.
The battle jumps off on Turn One with neither side wasting any time.  People’s Liberation Army tanks (ZTZ-99As of 10th Armored Brigade) swiftly overrun the first Taiwanese objective at the highway interchange (“Cloud Leopard” APCs and infantry).  One tank platoon is disordered in the attack, but they will swiftly recover.  To the south, Chinese Marines of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) swing around the left flank of the Taiwanese 234th Mech Brigade, setting up for one hell of an infantry assault into the town of Lung Tan itself.  American and Japanese forces arrive minutes later, and when Damon’s communications officer ask the beleaguered Taiwanese who is in command, the frantic reply comes back: “You are!”  American Predator drones and tanks of Team Whiskey (1/35th Armor, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Mechanized), swing north around the PLA 10th Armored threatening the northern objective hex, AH-64D Apaches using their chain guns to chew up some Type 89A APCs with their infantry still aboard.  The Predator drones sling out their Hellfire missiles, but a combination of Chinese cover, laminate armor, and bad luck saves the Chinese for now.     The battle jumps off on Turn One with neither side wasting any time. People’s Liberation Army tanks (ZTZ-99As of 10th Armored Brigade) swiftly overrun the first Taiwanese objective at the highway interchange (“Cloud Leopard” APCs and infantry). One tank platoon is disordered in the attack, but they will swiftly recover. To the south, Chinese Marines of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) swing around the left flank of the Taiwanese 234th Mech Brigade, setting up for one hell of an infantry assault into the town of Lung Tan itself. American and Japanese forces arrive minutes later, and when Damon’s communications officer ask the beleaguered Taiwanese who is in command, the frantic reply comes back: “You are!” American Predator drones and tanks of Team Whiskey (1/35th Armor, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division Mechanized), swing north around the PLA 10th Armored threatening the northern objective hex, AH-64D Apaches using their chain guns to chew up some Type 89A APCs with their infantry still aboard. The Predator drones sling out their Hellfire missiles, but a combination of Chinese cover, laminate armor, and bad luck saves the Chinese for now.
Pressing their advantage in the north, Team Whiskey comes down off the high ground overlooking this road junction and objective hex, with two platoons of M1A2C battle tanks (formerly M1A2 SEP v3), along with Type 10 Japanese MBTs and MCV combat vehicles.  The first platoon of PLA ZTZ-99A battle tanks goes up in a series of fiery explosions (goon Abrams gunnery there) while the Japanese, despite being outnumbered in tank 3:1, use the MCV and heavy weapons infantry platoon to the southeast to pin down PLA 10th Armored Brigade’s right wing (note units set at an angle, this indicates they are “disordered”). Pressing their advantage in the north, Team Whiskey comes down off the high ground overlooking this road junction and objective hex, with two platoons of M1A2C battle tanks (formerly M1A2 SEP v3), along with Type 10 Japanese MBTs and MCV combat vehicles. The first platoon of PLA ZTZ-99A battle tanks goes up in a series of fiery explosions (goon Abrams gunnery there) while the Japanese, despite being outnumbered in tank 3:1, use the MCV and heavy weapons infantry platoon to the southeast to pin down PLA 10th Armored Brigade’s right wing (note units set at an angle, this indicates they are “disordered”).
In the south, the Chinese commit to their assault into Lung Tan.  Their ASN-205 drones spot Taiwanese and newly-arrived American units of “Task Force Rapier” (1/17th Infantry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division).  The Chinese 3rd Marine Brigade then move their Type 05 amphibious APCs into the streets of the town, perhaps getting too close to American and Taiwanese guns, but the alternative is to leave their two heavy urban hexes open for t he American to occupy.  Rather than pay for such costly hexes twice, the Chinese get aggressive.  The risk largely pays off, they only suffer two APC platoons disordered, and now some 350 Chinese PLAN Marines are within assault range of the defenders of Lung Tan. In the south, the Chinese commit to their assault into Lung Tan. Their ASN-205 drones spot Taiwanese and newly-arrived American units of “Task Force Rapier” (1/17th Infantry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division). The Chinese 3rd Marine Brigade then move their Type 05 amphibious APCs into the streets of the town, perhaps getting too close to American and Taiwanese guns, but the alternative is to leave their two heavy urban hexes open for t he American to occupy. Rather than pay for such costly hexes twice, the Chinese get aggressive. The risk largely pays off, they only suffer two APC platoons disordered, and now some 350 Chinese PLAN Marines are within assault range of the defenders of Lung Tan.
In the north, the PLA 10th Armored quickly finds itself in real trouble.  As their powerful ZTZ-99A tanks keep getting pinned down, they can never really release a coordinated, close-range gunnery salvo against the Americans and Japanese bearing down on their front and right wing.  Apaches start slinging out Hellfire missiles, picking them off, once they are spotted by Predator drones (even after the Predator Drones have fired their missiles, they remain valuable as spotting and targeting tools).  It’s an uneven cycle of fire superiority, with the Chinese tanks always just 30 seconds behind their opponents, taking losses that leave them pinned down, unable to return effective fire, and unable to even withdraw safely under this crossfire of American and Japanese shells and missiles (TOWs, Hellfires, infantry AT weapons, and 120mm sabot rounds).     In the north, the PLA 10th Armored quickly finds itself in real trouble. As their powerful ZTZ-99A tanks keep getting pinned down, they can never really release a coordinated, close-range gunnery salvo against the Americans and Japanese bearing down on their front and right wing. Apaches start slinging out Hellfire missiles, picking them off, once they are spotted by Predator drones (even after the Predator Drones have fired their missiles, they remain valuable as spotting and targeting tools). It’s an uneven cycle of fire superiority, with the Chinese tanks always just 30 seconds behind their opponents, taking losses that leave them pinned down, unable to return effective fire, and unable to even withdraw safely under this crossfire of American and Japanese shells and missiles (TOWs, Hellfires, infantry AT weapons, and 120mm sabot rounds).
In the south, however, Chinese Marines split the allied position wide open.  A pair of J-16 Flanker strike aircraft scream in, and despite one being damaged by a near miss from an American Stinger team, American and Taiwanese forces are pinned down as a massive PLAN infantry close assault comes in.  The issue is never in doubt.  Platoons of Taiwanese Cloud Leopard APCs and American MGS Strykers are lost, along with most of the 234th Brigade’s infantry.  The Chinese have firmly taken Lung Tan, and a second objective hex.  Taiwanese survivors withdraw to the northeast, Americans fall back straight down that eastern highway.In the south, however, Chinese Marines split the allied position wide open. A pair of J-16 Flanker strike aircraft scream in, and despite one being damaged by a near miss from an American Stinger team, American and Taiwanese forces are pinned down as a massive PLAN infantry close assault comes in. The issue is never in doubt. Platoons of Taiwanese Cloud Leopard APCs and American MGS Strykers are lost, along with most of the 234th Brigade’s infantry. The Chinese have firmly taken Lung Tan, and a second objective hex. Taiwanese survivors withdraw to the northeast, Americans fall back straight down that eastern highway.
To the north, meanwhile, the Chinese advance largely collapses.  Pointblank American and Japanese tank fire (120mm and 105mm from that Japanese MCV platoon) shatter most of what’s left of 10th PLA Armored’s tanks.  Furthermore, these allied forces are soon gearing up for a counter-advance to the southwest to retake that highway overpass objective in the lower left corner.  While this didn’t work out well for the Chinese at all, it showcases how the Panzer Leader system can really capture the essence of fire superiority.  To be honest, as the Chinese player, I should have run two turns ago, and at least mouthed a decent defense from those tree lines to the southwest.  There are only two full platoons of Abrams tanks on the table, I came DAMNED close to taking one of them out.  But with most of my tank force now wrecked, I stand virtually no chance of slowing them down.  To the north, meanwhile, the Chinese advance largely collapses. Pointblank American and Japanese tank fire (120mm and 105mm from that Japanese MCV platoon) shatter most of what’s left of 10th PLA Armored’s tanks. Furthermore, these allied forces are soon gearing up for a counter-advance to the southwest to retake that highway overpass objective in the lower left corner. While this didn’t work out well for the Chinese at all, it showcases how the Panzer Leader system can really capture the essence of fire superiority. To be honest, as the Chinese player, I should have run two turns ago, and at least mouthed a decent defense from those tree lines to the southwest. There are only two full platoons of Abrams tanks on the table, I came DAMNED close to taking one of them out. But with most of my tank force now wrecked, I stand virtually no chance of slowing them down.
So here is the situation at the end of Turn 5, the halfway point of the game.  Long story short, the Allies are winning in the north, losing to the south.  Given the overall balance of what is left, I’m pretty sure the Allies will win this one, taking the highway overpass objective.  I will probably hold Lung Tan to the south and maybe take that smaller road junction and ton to the southeast, leaving me with two objective hexes, and Damon with three.  We’ll see what happens in today’s stream as we finish out this battle.   So here is the situation at the end of Turn 5, the halfway point of the game. Long story short, the Allies are winning in the north, losing to the south. Given the overall balance of what is left, I’m pretty sure the Allies will win this one, taking the highway overpass objective. I will probably hold Lung Tan to the south and maybe take that smaller road junction and ton to the southeast, leaving me with two objective hexes, and Damon with three. We’ll see what happens in today’s stream as we finish out this battle.

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