Sunday, July 17, 2022

Rising Sun, Tumbling Bear #1 - The Battle for Usan.

Hot off the heels of the last post... synopsis of the Russo-Japanese War Campaign.

As the Commander of the Japanese Naval and Land Forces, you must gather your land and naval forces to capture a number of Key Russian Controlled Settlements before the Russian Baltic Fleet reaches Port Arthur or President Theodore Roosevelt signs the Portsmouth Peace Accord. 

The Game begins shortly after the Japanese surprise naval attack on the Russian warships docked in Port Arthur. The Russians are now building up their forces and gathering their fleets to kick the Japanese out of Manchuria and Korea. 

My plan is to convert the map encounters to Sharp Practice with each troop point being x10 points in Sharp Practice.

Turn one and rolling low I only ended up with two event cards none of which were more fleet capacity which I think I will need. So with 8 movement points I opted for a quick land hop over the Tsushima Strait landing at Ulsan.

Unfortunately my troop capacity was reduced by 2 units due to Admiral Urya's squadron encountering mines entering the harbour. General Oku  landed with 220 points at Usan, however the landing was not unopposed and a delaying action needed to be fought with the Russian Garrison where I could only field half my number. I cashed in my reinforcement card to give me an extra unit.

This opening battle would be tough 120 Russian Points vs 110 Japanese. But it was a risk worth taking. Win and seize the town of Usan – lose and be pushed back on to the transports and have no foothold in the Korean peninsula.

I rolled for random terrain which had a low rise dominating the Russian half of the table, the Japanese would need to move fast, rushing on in a light column on the left flank. Having decided on making the Japanese similar in class to Light Infantry giving them more movement and field craft, but countered by being in 6 figure units vs the Russian 10 it would be a class of doctrine.

The Russians with a delaying force opted for a number of mobile units, with Cossacks and Frontier Cavalry, supported by Artillery and a Machine Gun.

The cavalry moved fast pushing up the Japanese right flank, forcing the Japanese column to wheel to react to the aggressive move that was unexpected.

Massed ranks of Russian Infantry advance from the road and head for the rise as the Japanese are focused on the cavalry.

Russian shells land amongst the Japanese ranks and in a single turn knock unconscious both leaders.... What were the chances of that....

The Cossacks seize their chance and charge towards the Japanese line, falling desperately short they are beaten back with an excessive amounts of shock.

Meanwhile the Russian line cross the ridge, pouring fire into the Japanese troops below, a number of them in the flank which doubled their shock.

In a vein attempt to break the Russian morale the Japanese launched a bayonet attack up the rise forcing back a section of the attackers, but as a force the Japanese were spent and were forced to retire from the table.

So the opening encounter and the Japanese are sent packing and forced back onto the transports.

That was a learning curve for the Japanese, having opted for smaller more nibble units and not taking advantage of their cover bonus they were unable to bring their quality advantage to bear against the larger Russian units at close range. Coupled with the in ability to bring up their Machine Gun and Artillery they were under pressure from the Russians from round one.

End of Turn one Japanese Forces.

General Oku 200 Points 
General Kuroki 240 Points 
Admrial Uryu 22 Fleet Points

Time for a rethink..... in strategy and tactics.


  1. Nice looking game Stu, with excellent terrain and figures. A good result for the Russians, might make the Japanese think twice.....!

    1. So very true, the balance feels right but the application was all wrong :-)

  2. Very interesting campaign and a well explained batrep. Top stuff.

    1. Thanks Broom Man. More to follow.

  3. Love reading about campaigns, will be following this with interest.