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War on the Equator
Scenario Preview

October 2013

The six scenarios in War on the Equator cover the main battles of the seven-week Ecuadorian-Peruvian War of 1941, and bring the Panzer Grenadier system to the New World for the first time. It comes in both printed and downloadable editions, and includes a countersheet with units from the Peruvian Army, Navy and Air Force plus the Ecuadoran Army - laser-cut and mounted in the printed edition. The scenarios are a classic World War II study of a traditional, infantry-based army desperately trying to hold off a Blitzkrieg launched by a modern, mechanized enemy. Below are summaries of all of them, with commentary. We hope you enjoy them!

Scenario One
Ecuador Attacks
5 July 1941

Some Peruvian sources claim fighting broke out when an Ecuadorian battalion crossed the border to attack the Peruvian garrison at Aguas Verdes. In the Ecuadorian version, two officers went to Aguas Verdes simply to inform the Peruvians that farmers had crossed the border and were illegally clearing Ecuadorian land. And since the Peruvians had already proven themselves untrustworthy, naturally the officers brought a few hundred bodyguards with them.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Eastern Front and Road to Berlin.

Conclusion

The Peruvians claim they drove the Ecuadorians back over the border and secured Aguas Verdes; the Ecuadorians claim there was no battle here at all. That's not unusual in military history, particularly in less-examined areas where facts are malleable as clay. Something probably happened, however, as the Aguas Verdes incident would be Peru's excuse for war.

Commentary

A very quick scenario in which a lone Peruvian platoon has to somehow hold a village against two Ecuadorian infantry companies until Peruvian reinforcements arrive. As in most War on the Equator scenarios the Peruvians have higher morale, so the Ecuadorians need to take the village fast in order to have any chance of holding it against the Peruvian counterattack.

Scenario Two
Peruvian Blitzkrieg
22 July 1941

When the Peruvians struck, they did so with the full force of their modern arsenal. Gen. Eloy Ureta sent Col. Luis Vinetea's 1st Light Division (a brigade-sized force) across the Zarumilla River backed by planes, tanks and artillery. Thanks to a relatively dry winter, the river was much shallower than normal and fordable along most of its length.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Eastern Front and Road to Berlin.

Conclusion

The Peruvians struck with 20th century force against a 19th century foe. The Ecuadorians knew their enemies would attack soon, but the force of the assault with tanks, modern artillery and aircraft, not to mention much-better-trained infantry stunned them nonetheless and they fell back in some disorder. Lightning war had come to the New World.

Commentary

Given the huge Peruvian advantages in numbers, firepower etc and the low morale of the Ecuadorians, the Peruvians face a really high bar for victory. They win if they clear the Ecuadorians off the bridge and off the road, and out of all the towns on the board. Any other result is an Ecuadorian victory.

Scenario Three
Land, Sea and Air
31 July 1941

Pressing the Ecuadorians on land and sea, Peru next launched the first vertical envelopment ever attempted in the Western Hemisphere. With the continent's only airborne unit, plus air-landed troops and an amphibious landing, the Peruvians would push forward at a speed their enemies could not imagine. But all of this would have to be coordinated by a very inexperienced staff.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Eastern Front and Road to Berlin.

Conclusion

The Peruvian paradrop scattered badly, and only three troopers walked into Puerto Bolivar. But they were enough, as the startled Ecuadorian garrison scattered and the Marine Battalion was able to land at the port. Meanwhile, the rest of the parachute company landed on dry lake beds in Caproni 111 transports and took the town of Machala, opening the way for truck-borne infantry. Within hours almost all of El Oro Province was in Peruvian hands and Ecuadorian resolve had been badly shaken.

Commentary

This is a large scenario in which battalion- and company-sized Peruvian Army, Airborne and Marine units simultaneously assault a coastal area held by a regiment-sized Ecuadorian Army force. The key to victory for the Peruvians is clearing the Ecuadorians out of the coastal villages so that the Peruvian Marines can land there (they have no dedicated landing craft, so they need to have a beachhead cleared for them before they can land). The Ecuadorians have a two-to-one numerical advantage before the Marines land, but their low morale will make it tough for them to hold out against Peruvian naval gunfire and air strikes.

Scenario Four
Ecuador's Defenders
31 July 1941

The town of Arenillas provided the Ecuadorians with their major source of supplies, as the railroad from the capital of Quito ended there. The Peruvians mounted a motorized assault backed by their tank battalion, but the Ecuadorians knew they had to hold if they were to avoid complete collapse.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Eastern Front and Road to Berlin.

Conclusion

Using their mobility, the Peruvians drove the Ecuadorians out of Areneillas after a very sharp fight. But this time the Ecuadorians did not scatter, and when the Peruvians tried to drive on they ran into a set of deadly ambushes. Without their railhead the Ecuadorians would have to withdraw, but they made Peru pay a price for their victory.

Commentary

Here a combined-arms Peruvian force runs up against Ecuadorian local police who know the terrain and can use hidden movement in the woods. This will make it tough for the Peruvians to clear the road, since the Ecuadorians can set up ambushes along the wooded portions of it and do lots of damage to Peruvian units that outrun their armor support.

Scenario Five
River of Death
11 August 1941

While Peru made its main effort in El Oro Province on the Pacific coast, the heart of the dispute was Ecuador's occupation of vast tracts of land in the Amazon region known as the Selva, or dry plains. Here the Peruvian war machine also had a substantial advantage, a fleet of river gunboats that could control the region's only transportation lines.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Eastern Front and Road to Berlin.

Conclusion

Using their river gunboat, the Peruvians quickly moved down the river to seize the important river port of Rocafuerte after a tough fight. The Ecuadorians had no answer to Peruvian waterborne mobility, as garrison after garrison found itself cut off from reinforcements and forced to capitulate.

Commentary

Here a small combined Peruvian Army and Marine force advances up a river with the help of a gunboat. The gunboat can transport ground units up the river and can also provide powerful long-range fire support. As usual the Ecuadorian forces have low morale, but they outnumber the Peruvians and have plenty of town and woods cover to work with. So, the Peruvians will need to move cautiously and wear down the Ecuadorians to avoid getting bogged down in costly town assaults they will have trouble winning.

Scenario Six
The Road to Guayaquil
15 August 1941

Ecuador's president, Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Rio, had held most of his small army back from the front to secure the big cities of Quito and Guayaquil. To spark Ecuadorian patriotism, Arroyo called for a rally in Quito's soccer stadium. Twenty thousand showed up . . . and promptly began to riot against the Arroyo government. Only when El Oro Province had fallen and the Peruvians were marching on the port of Guayaquil did Arroyo release his reserves to fight them.

Note: This scenario uses boards from Eastern Front and Road to Berlin.

Conclusion

Arroyo's authority was already dropping fast, and when pressed to defend the nation his army pulled back rather than face the Peruvians, who in any event were at the end of their logistical tether. Negotiations for a cease-fire began in September, and in early October both sides agreed to end the war. Peru occupied all of the disputed territories, reducing Ecuador's claimed land area by about half.

Commentary

War on the Equator finishes with a big battle that includes just about all the units on the counter sheet. Each side gets forces equal to a full infantry regiment plus several cavalry squadrons, and as always it is armor, airpower and higher morale that gives the Peruvians the edge. Still, the Peruvians have to fight their way up a road that crosses four boards, and must try to clear the Ecuadorians off the road to win. So, the Ecuadorian cavalry will have an excellent chance of checking the Peruvian advance by harassing its flanks and cutting the road behind the Peruvian forces.

War on the Equator is available right now just Print and Play!