The Last Yankee on the Yangtzee

A China Station Scenario for Banana Wars

A documentary book about the "Last Yank's" final adventure,
escaping from Singapore when it was overrun by the Japanese a few years after the Yangtzee incident,
in the company of almost an entire brothel's worth of the local sex workers and the wife of an English barrister.
(All true - it even says so, right on the cover!)


The U.S.S. Monadnock, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, has ended her days on the Yangtzee River Patrol. Scheduled for decommissioning some years earlier - an act which the navy's administrators never got around to - she has finally given up the ghost, sinking gently to the bottom of the Yangtzee. On board is a US ambassador, accompanied by his secretary and his wife. They are forced to put to shore at the nearby Standard Petroleum facility, accompanied by a detachment of sailors from the now-defunct gunboat.

China is a troubled country: warlords battle each other for control, and the Japanese are invading, testing the limits of international law in their supposed efforts to "protect Japanese commercial interests." Such efforts often take the form of probing attacks on the local colonial powers. Most recently, a British gunboat has been sunk by Japanese planes after being "mistaken for a sampan full of bandits." (The fact that the 400-foot HMS Gilmore was several times longer than any sampan known to travel the river seems to have been conveniently ignored.)

Meanwhile. the local peasants - victims of the various warlord factions and the Japanese - have formed "red spear" societies, intent on protecting themselves with their prowess in martial arts, lacking any modern weaponry. To top it off, the local area is famed for being full of deadly wildlife, including huge venemous snakes and predatory cats. It is a dangerous, unpredictable area.

A detachment of US marines has been despatched to rescue the ambassador and his party, and a British expedition has been organized to clear the area of any illegal Japanese presence, and of those warlords suspected of acting as their proxies. The two groups are made aware of each other by their respective commands, and are ordered to work together. (The "Last Yankee" of the title is not the US ambassador, but rather a US Marine private who earns the moniker somewhat later, after he has gone AWOL and is hiding out in the red-light district in Singapore. He is an unremarkable member of the US Marine detachment in the current scenario.)

The Tabletop

The map below shows the tabletop. Any area which is not river, rice paddy, road, or a built-up area of some kind is considered to be jungle (this is true of the island and the mount of the Yen Chin Buddhas, too). Villages and the warehouse/dock area provide soft cover. The temple complex and the Standard Petroleum compound provide hard cover. The small river is fordable, but counts as rough - the Yangtzee is not(!). Motor launches move at the speed of cavalry, sampans and junks at the speed of infantry. They may turn freely, but may not leave the Yangtzee.

The British landing party and the US Marines will enter the table in their steam launches from the southern board edge, on the Yangtzee. The US ambassador and his party will start the game in the Standard Petroleum Compound. Troops may land at any point along the river.

All built-up areas are considered to be villages for game purposes, including the temple complex and the Yen Chin Buddhas (there is a monastery there). The Standard Petroleum Compound is considered friendly player territory at the start of the game, but nothing else - the usual inhabitants of the warehouse/dock facility have been evacuated to safer locations down-river as a result of recent unrest and the Japanese attack.

Order of Battle

The US Ambassador

The US Ambassador and his wife and secretary. All are pistol-armed, and although technically civilians they are all fairly well-trained when it comes to firearms: they will count as additional members of their detachment (all count as US Regulars). This will additionally consist of:

    4 Sailors with rifles

    1 Sailor wirh BAR

    1 2-man MG crew (Lewis gun team)

US Marines

The Marine detachment consists of two 10-man sections, of which one figure (total, not per section) carries a BAR. All others are equipped with rifles, excepting the two section leaders, who are pistol-armed officers. The entire detachment will arrive in a single steam launch.

British Soldiers

This detachment consists of two 8-figure sections, each lead by a pistol-armed officer (inclusive). Each section has a 2-man MG team (Lewis gun). They are classes as US Regulars for game purposes, and will arrive together in a single steam launch (which smells a bit of stale tea and biscuits).

Types of Non-Player Forces

There are several different non-player factions, which can be assumed to be mutually antagonistic. Of these, the typical Chinese bandits will be classed as Banditos, and the peasant "Red Spear" societies will be Tribesmen (they will not be missile-capable). Warlord forces will be classed as Insurrectos. Japanese will appear when Insurrectos are called for, a third of the time (dice for it), but will be classed as "US Constabulary" for combat purposes (when firing, meleeing, charging, or as targets). All types may appear in the river in sampans, junks, etc. Predators will be huge snakes (dismounted) or predatory cats (tigers, various types of leopards) which are classed as mounted but move full speed through the jungle.

Victory Conditions

Allied forces (British and US) must rescue the Ambassador (and, hopefully, his wife and secretary) and exit them off the board on a steam launch. Further, each village and settlement must be cleared of enemy forces and searched. When this has been achieved, the game is over. If the US ambassador is killed or not rescued, the game is at least a partial loss. If in addition to rescuing the ambassador, the majority of villages and settlements are cleared, even if not all, then the game is a victory. Otherwise, not so much.

Note that the capture of incriminating papers and (especially) wanted warlord leaders may be counted as a substitute for cleared villages for the British.