Self-described as “a strategic level simulation of possible future conflicts in the Korean peninsula.” REDLINE: KOREA is a simple but not a simplistic Corps/Army-level wargame that was included in the sixth issue of the GAMEFIX magazine published in April of 1995.Designed by the venerable Joe Miranda, I hadn’t played it in years but though it deserved a review on BGG. Digging out of the depths of my game-case, I spread it out over my wife’s fine dining room table and proceeded to array my forces thusly:
NK: All Mechanized units are lined up on either side of P’yongGang, while the remainder of the DMZ is covered by the 3-4 infantry. Two SOF units are able to infiltrate into the south and take up positions behind the UN front-line. As only a single Scenario is included, I chose a couple options for the North Korean Surprise Attack and Pre-War Infiltration.
UN: The basic game pretty much proscribes the US & South Korean unit array, but I did add a few options for the UN-side as well. DEFCON Alert & Far East Projection ensured that a robust American presence was available to the game’s beginning. 1st CAV arrives at its old stomping ground at Pusan, while the 101 arrives in Seoul. The 82nd and SOC take up chow-hall space in Wonju, while the US Marines land at Mukho. Oh, and I grabbed the UK 1st Armored Division as a late-game reinforcement.
NK begins by launching a series of attacks across the DMZ in order to roll-up the UN defenders and force them into retreating into already-occupied-hexes, thus eliminating them. Northwest of Ch’unchon, the NK push back the SK 7th Corps, while on the far eastern side of the DMZ, the defending SK units are pushed back out of the border hex. The NK Mechanized thrust from P’yongGang shatters the UN defenses, allowing the NK to capture Munsan and Ch’orwon with no reductions. A Breakthrough’ result on the Mobile Chart allows the NK 1st and 5th Corps to follow up with additional attacks on the retreating US 2nd ID, pushing them to the east of Seoul.
All is not lost, with the rapid arrival this turn of US reinforcements, the UN quickly launches spoiling attacks. The big play for the UN this turn is the massive amphibious assault on the NK city of Wonsan by four Marine Divisions (2xUS, 2xSK). The defending NK 2-4 infantry are quickly weaken by naval bombardment and overrun by the invading marines.
Success for the NK’s after Seoul falls to a concentrated attack, but badly diminishes the mechanized units of the People’s Revolutionary Proletarian Mechanized Corps (or whatever they call it). The UN uses the 101st to make spoiling attacks and cut off the NK spearheads from their LOC. Efforts by Kim’s army to breakthrough in the center of the country are repulsed by the refurbished 2nd ID and SK army. The Marines continue to enjoy the pleasures of the port of Wonsan.
The North continues to push into Inchon but fails to move any further with the South’s growing ability to establish a stable front-line. A break is finally achieved in the center by a single Mechanized corps, but is quickly surrounded by Airmobilized units of the Capitalist Pigs of the US. Air-dropped supplies keep the US forces supplied while the Marines are finally able to expand their beachhead out of Wonsan. The combined forces of the 1st CAV and 2nd ID are able to break the NK’s eastern forces and retake the DMZ. The UN’s superior airpower is starting to have its effects felt, NK Air Defense is down to 2, and their Barrage Points are eliminated by this point.
The North decided to hold onto Seoul, regardless of what happens to the rest of the army. The UN’s air superiority is finally established. The American Army’s light infantry divisions helo across the DMZ to wreak havoc with the north’s supply-lines, while the heavy units of the 1st CAV and 24th ID run up along the eastern coast to link up with the Marines.
The end game finally arrives with the liberation of Seoul (with help from British Tanks) and the occupation of Pyongyang by the American’s. Final score is NK-50, UN-40: a Draw.
My memory had not been tarnished by this not-quite forgotten gem of a wargame. A well-developed Order of Battle gives a large mix of units, running the gambit from Armored to Airborne to Special Operations Forces. A comprehensive air-campaign can be conducted ranging from Air Superiority, Air Interdiction, to Ground Attack. Logistics are as simple as making sure units can trace a line of hexes back to either a friendly city or a HQ unit, while each unit’s Zone of Control can effectively strangle the enemy’s supply lines. Only the Naval war is overlooked saved for a single marker, but with the all-but assured US naval superiority its effects are still effectively portrayed.
A nicely designed game that I am glad I’ve kept all these years. Now if I can find the time to adapt it to the NATO-theater of the mid-1980’s, my summer will be complete!
You've really made me want to get this out and play it again . . . as soon as I figure out where I've put the dang thing . . . .