Friday, March 10, 2017

RJW - Battle of Fushun


Last night my crew and I fought a Russo-Japanese battle pitting the Japanese 2nd Division from the 1st Army, against the 3rd East Siberian Rifle Division of the Russians.

The 2nd Division had assistance from one brigade of the Japanese Imperial Guard! That two more regiments with 6 more battalions of elite infantry to attack the entrenched Russians. I took over 100 photos of the game, but I'm only going to put about 25 to 30 in this post as we will be refighting this battle again next week.

Figures: 15mm from Eric's collection
Rules: playtesting battalion scale of Barrage (Piquet supplement)
Terrain: Mal made the Chinese buildings and they look awesome!

The commanders ...

Japanese 2nd Division (3rd and 15th Brigades) - Eric C.
Japanese Imperial Guard Brigade - Paul
Russian 1st Brigade - Phil
Russian 2nd Brigade - Jan

I was the umpire as I'm breaking in some new rules.

Click below to see the orders of battle for each side along with the morale chip totals.

Here are a couple of photos of the battlefield (Russians defending a series of ridge lines) before the game began. This is the view from the Russian side of the battlefield. Most Russian battalions are entrenched, while the Japanese are in extended formation, getting ready for the advance across the valley. I labeled the photo to show where each command is located.

Lieutenant General Zasulich - 3rd East Siberian Rifle Division survey's the ground. Will his Siberians hold against the much larger Japanese army? The cherry blossoms are in bloom!

We are ready pa-pa!

Here you can see the 9th East Siberian Rifle Regiment entrenched overlooking Fushun and the Kialiang fields. These fields are 8 to 10 foot high and provide concealment (DOWN1) for units moving through them.

Period photo of Kialiang fields

The Japanese commanders met and decided to lead the attack with artillery barrages from the 9 supporting batteries and let the 2nd Division's two brigades launch their attacks first, with the Imperial Guard slightly delayed.

The prime artillery target for the 2nd division was in from of the Japanese 16th regiment on the Russian far left. Thirty six guns (or six batteries) opened up on the Russian trench line to the left of Fushun. Eventually that artillery would destroy the battalion manning the trenches there.

Found these two extra photos showing the effects of the bombardment and the Japanese assault on the empty trench line:

All across the front shrapnel rained down from Japanese batteries, and the Japanese infantry started their advance. Here is the 16th Regiment moving towards the pounded Russian lines.

As the Japanese 16th and 30th regimented advanced on Fushun, the Russian's opened fire with a battalion from the 10th ESRR that was hidden in Fushun. (Due to Phil's terrible rolling as the Russian commander on the left wing, little damage was done) The Chinese market in Fushun will never be the same!!

Paul sends his Imperial Guard brigade into battle. Here they are wading through a shallow but broad steam in front of the 21st and 34th ESRRs.

In the center Eric has advanced his Japanese 4th infantry regiment (in their new khaki uniforms!) into the Kialiang fields, while the Russians have taken 2 stands of damage on the far left battalion, the commander will have to check for survival (heart), and all the Russian units have fired (shell casing).

The Japanese 30th infantry regiment reaches Fushun and attack the Russians with bayonets!

Japanese 16th regiment rushes forward. See the empty trench (just Russian dead bodies there), and the other Russian unit has two stands lost already!

Overrun! Japanese move through the Russian trenches and Russian commander, Colonel Schwerin, dies on the field.

The Imperial guard reaches the river, but now the Russian guns start to find their range.

In Fushun, the Japanese are routed out of the town, but the next Japanese battalion pushes out the Russians.

Getting up-close and personal in the center as the 4th and 29th Japanese regiments come to grips with the Russia 9th ESRR.

Russian reserves heading to the trenches at the Japanese 4th pushes one battalion of Russians out of their trenches.

Russians launch a counter attack against Fushun, and push back the Japanese. Too little too late.

Japanese 16th regiment sweeps into the flank of the Russian 10th ESSR battalion and charge towards the Putilov Fields guns.

More fighting near Fushun.

The guns are overrun by the Japanese!

On the other flank, three Imperial Guard battalions are routed by Russian artillery fire! The shame!

Reforming in the center to hit the 34th ESRR.

Cut down! Russians are massacred by the Japanese crashing into their unprotected flank.

Little hope for the Russians now.

There may be a new Japanese Imperial Guard commander next week. :-)

At this point the battle was over. The Russian left flank was completely rolled up, their center was about to break, and the right was just about to get attacked by the Imperial Guard. The following photos show the situation at the end of the evening. All from the Japanese point of view.

The Japanese 16th and 30th regiments overwhelm the remaining units from the 10th ESRR.

Japanese 4th and 29th push in the center.

Not much left on this sector of the battlefield for the Japanese.

Japanese Guard is ready to finish off the 21st ESRR

Final shot of the center and my homemade Japanese flags for this period.

We had a fantastic time and will be fighting this again next week. This is really a typical RJW battle as the Russians were on the defense in trenches while the Japanese attacked. Later in the war the Japanese would switch to night attacks as these became too costly.

Monday, January 30, 2017

RJW - Finding the Japanese Arisaka 75mm Field Gun

Who would have thought finding Japanese field guns for the Russo-Japanese war in 15mm would be so difficult!!?

First, this gun looks very different than most artillery as the barrel is slung very low in comparison to other contemporary artillery. See photos below:

Since I purchased my initial collection from Mal Wright, and he had some artillery labeled as Arisaka 7cm in the collection, I thought that was the field gun until I found the photos above. The one is the collection looks like mountain gun and that is what I'm going to use it for.

Mal actually sculpted guns for the REALLY USEFUL GUN range (RUG) that Irregular Miniatures currently supplies, however the code that I would have thought match the Arisaka Field gun didn't!!

So, Ian Kay (owner of Irreguler), Mal and I worked out which gun from the range really was the correct gun for the Japanese! We finally found it and here is a photo listed as RUG 42 in the catalog which isn't correct:

Many, many thanks to Ian for being soooo helpful. Now, to field a standard artillery regiment for a Division I need 12 models. Since I needed guns for 2 divisions, I ordered 24 guns, with 2 crew each. I'm currently assembling the guns in 1/2 regiment increments (3 batteries), to be painted and based.

From the HISTORICAL DICTIONARY OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR, page 40, this is the information about the gun:

The actual name is ARISAKA TYPE 31 GUN, 75mm caliber, designed by Colonel Arisaka Nariakira and came into service in 1902. The mountain gun version is nearly identical with just a shorter barrel, same caliber and ammunition.

So the only company that makes the correct version of the Japanese Arisaka 75mm gun for the Russo-Japanese war is Irregular miniatures. Old Glory 15s has a model that is close, but I'm pretty anal retentive so I went with the RUGs!

Next up, will be getting these bad boys painted (a whole other problem as I'm not quite sure the color schemes used) and how to adjust their capabilities versus Russian artillery capabilities of the war. For example, Russian only had shrapnel and no high explosives (great against entrenchments and walled villages), however the Japanese did have HE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RJW - Japanese First Army

For my RJW project I'm basing my Japanese collection around the Japanese 1st Army commanded by General Baron Kuroki.
The reason I'm picking this army is most Japanese armies during the war had 2 or more divisions. However, the 1st Army also has the Japanese Imperial Guard or Guard division attached to it, plus the two standard divisions of a normal army. Also, the Japanese from the collection I bought were based on that army, so it makes sense to continue the progress made by Mal when he made this collection.
The 1st Army had 3 divisions, and I plan on fully collecting the Imperial Guard Division and 2nd Division, then add units to the 12th Division as I can. So, even if I fight another battle that had a different Japanese army, I can use the Imperial Guard as a proxy for the second division of the other army and 2nd as a standard division. The uniforms are different between the 2nd Division and Imperial Guard, but nobody will really complain if I use Imperial Guard as regulars.
Imperial Guard Division: commanded by Lieutenant General Hasegawa
2nd Division: commanded by Lieutenant General Nishi
12th Division: commanded by Lieutenant General Inouye
To put some faces to the names, here is a great photo of these three generals. (click for larger image)
Here is the complete OOB of the 1st Army and I will discuss each Division in separate posts, as I work on them.

Japanese 1st Army
Commanding General: General Baron Kuroki

Imperial Guard Division: Lieutenant General Hasegawa
1st Brigade: Major General Asada
     1st Guard Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
     2nd Guard Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
2nd Brigade: Major General Watanabe
     3rd Guard Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
     4th Guard Infantry Regiment (3 bns)

Attached to Guard Division:
     Guard Artillery Regiment (36 guns)
     Guard Cavalry Regiment (3 sqns)
     Guard Engineer\Pioneer Battalion

2nd Division: Lieutenant General Nishi
3rd Brigade: Major General Matsunaga
     4th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
     29th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
15th Brigade: Major General Okazaki
     16th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
     30th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)

Attached to 2nd Division:
     2nd Artillery Regiment(36 guns)
     2nd Cavalry Regiment (3 sqns)
     2nd Engineer\Pioneer Battalion

12th Division: Lieutenant General Inouye
12th Brigade: Major General Sasaki
     14th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
     47th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
23rd Brigade: Major General Kigoshi
     24th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)
     46th Infantry Regiment (3 bns)

Attached to 12th Division:
     12th Artillery Regiment (36 mountain guns)
     12th Cavalry Regiment (3 sqns)
     12th Engineer\Pioneer Battalion

Corps Artillery:
5 Howitzer Batteries (20-4.72" Krupp howitzers)
Total Theoretical Strength, all ranks: 40,866

British General Staff, The Russo-Japanese War, His Majesty's Stationary Office, London, 1906-1908.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Winter Wonderland Wargaming!

I finally took a long vacation of about 2+ weeks, and filled most of the first week with wargaming with all my good friends.

Monday - Maria (War of the Austrian Succession)

I haven't played Maria, but have played Frederick by the same company. Maria is a 3 player game with our games only including the basic rules and the Bohemian map.

Steven H was the French\Bavarian alliance.
Steven M was the Austrias (fair Maria)
I was Frederick the Great

Maria in her younger days

We played two games with me taking the first one by victory locations (Maria and her generals were off killing French, while I snuck in behind her and gathered 12 fortresses.

The second game we all had a better handle on the game and I was able to attack two Austrian armies who were in diamonds, while my 4 armies were in 3 different suites and included the Saxon army (which was destroyed in the process of burning through Maria's diamonds). Here is a photo of me before delivering the killing blow to Maria and her white clad army.

See the resemblance?

Tuesday - Command & Colors Ancients

I've been looking forward to a game day of C&C Ancients for years so Phil and I picked our top 5 battles from the Rome vs Barbarian expansion and began playing them on Tuesday morning around 10am. We played until about 3:30pm and we were able to finish five games in that timeframe (+ lunch).

Here is a chart of the games we played, along with the victory banner count and winner. "R-EB8" means Romans played by Eric with 8 victory banners.

C&C Ancients – Expansion #2 – Rome vs Barbarians
225 BC
Aquae Sextiae
102 BC
German Tribes
River Sabis
57 BC
Belgic Tribes
56 BC
Invasion Britain
55 BC
River Stour
54 BC
Excellent – Chariots!

Some photos of the games. I really had fun when I got to play with all those Barbarian Light Chariots!

Nearly killed Caesar in the last battle!

Wednesday Day - Sekigahara

Steven M. and I played this game Wednesday morning and afternoon. I've never played this game before and was so busy with the game I forgot to take photos. This is a cool game! I love the period flavor with the blocks, clan symbols, and combat mechanism. Fairly unique with tons of replayability.

Wednesday Night - ACW Sharp Practice (miniatures)

Robert kindly ran an ACW skirmish game set in 1863 with the Yanks attacking the rear guard of the Confederate army. None of us had played this rules (except Robert) so there was a little bit of a learning curve, however we all enjoyed the game. Robert's figures are nicely painted and the sabot bases are great for moving the individually mounted figures.

That is Paul explaining to Phil how his Yankees were going to sweep in an destroy the Confederate lines. In the end, the Confederates successfully delayed the Yankees enough to keep the Army of
Northern Virginia safe and intact.

Thursday Day - Russo-Japanese War

Phil and I play tested a RJW game called "Bear Burned by the Sun" by Brian Asklev. This is a block game in the Fog of War series by Academy Games. Only Strike of the Eagle has been published in this series, but I have play tested several more games in addition to this Russo-Japanese land campaign.

First, I love the Fog of War game mechanics: card driven, with unit orders, and no dice. I love the card play interaction with the combat mechanics. The order system really allows you to bluff and apply strategic thinking to your game.

Here is a review of Strike of the Eagle by Marco if you want to understand how it all works.

Some photos from our two games, which turned out to be very close. These are all playtest graphics, and I made the block labels. I also have 15mm Japanese army for the period and have them on the table holding the playtest map down. Below is the Japan holding box, with Japanese infantry divisions and brigades awaiting transport to the Chinese mainland.

The first game was the introductory scenario that lasts 2 operations + the Replacement phase, which allowed Phil, who has never played a Fog of War game, to get a better grasp of the rules. This was a minor Japanese victory, and played in about 1.5 hours.

Monday December 26th - Game of Thrones

I had the pleasure of meeting some new gamers down at the Carolina Table Top hobby store in Pineville, NC (about 15 minutes away) and we played Game of Thrones. I had never played the game before, but certainly love the HBO series.

I was stuck with the Greyjoys, which appears to be one of the weaker factions, but the game is serious fun and there can be only one victor!

Mike, Ben, Peter, Wes, Steve (The Hammer), and I played this beautiful game.

We had a joke as Eddard Stark kept getting "assassinated" (card removed) by the Barathians nearly every turn after the Starks reshuffled their deck. Not sure Ben (Eddard) was too happy about it.

Victory face or constipation? You be the judge!

We managed to play 10 turns (entire game), without someone triggering sudden victory. In the end, my Greyjoys prevailed! Unbelievable. It came down to several tie breakers: total castles, total strongholds, total supply, and finally Power tokens. I had more power tokens than Mike!

So, that was my week of gaming adventure! Completely awesome time with great friends and I can't wait to get back to our weekly gaming sessions.