First game of the year and a chance to try something new.
many wargamers I have a bookshelf full of rules each time a new edition
comes it ends up being brought and added to the shelf. To the point
where at times you forget which rules sits within each version, this
year I resolved to try and cull the rules used and concentrate on a
small number which over the years have provided the best experience.
Sharp Practice 2 is one such set but could they be tweaked to include
the war of 1904 -1905?
I have used mud and blood from the TFL which gave a great game but was
very much large skirmish where SP2 feels that little but larger, so I
amend the formations slightly and dropped the number of bigmen, I picked
a scenario from Chris Stoesen excellent Suppliment Empire to Revolution
for WW1 Russia and matched the number of figures per side to hopefully
give the right balance.
The scenario saw a small Japanese force attempting to rush a lightly defended bridge in the opening days of the war.
Russians were allowed half their force on the eastern side of the river
and a makeshift barricade to help defend the bridge from the Japanese
Japanese with the aid of some Chinese irregulars managed to push
forwards using a secondary jump off point and seize the farmstead very
Japanese came on enmasse, the first challange that we faced was use of
bolt action rifles, with no reload action the rate of fire could be
massive and the ranges make open ground pretty difficult to cross. By
this period smokeless rounds meant battlefield visability was better so
no hiding in the smoke for our 28mm warriors. We talked about
introducing a tactical action where troops go to ground to provide an
additional level of cover when being fired at.
Russians learn't early on what a couple of rounds of sustained fire
could do from a formation even to a skirmish unit at distance, so took
to keeping behind the slope and log barricade. The good use of a
crashing volley by the nearest Russian section gave the Japanese
formation a bloody nose. We decided that the crashing volley when played
only impacted the first action of firing.
the Russian defenders being slowly weakened by shock and casualties
even behind heavy cover the Japanese advanced, flanking the Russians
exactly the greatest surprise but the bulk of the Russian mainforce are
revealed pouring fire into the Japanese as they crest the rise.
Japanese are ravaged by the mass ranks of Russians and are soon falling
back with their force morale droping as the formation broken and
Russian mainforce sets off over the Bridge thinking the game was in the
bag, however out of shot the Japanese release a volley, firing into a
marching column added enough shock to reduced the column to a crawl. A
valiant draw was agreed.
pleased with the first run out, I need to amend a number of the units
and add some extra figures here and there but all in all really pleased
how SP2 translated to the later period.
Post game thoughts
the initial shock of the rate of fire even a single section can
generate in a turn. The game soon calmed down with commanders thinking
that little bit harder when to commit units to action, we agreed that
the two rates of fire should remain to correctly reflect the effect on
agreed to add in the additional actions of troops taking one action to
go to ground which in the open increased their cover level by one and in
certain types of cover makes them impossible to hit e.g. solid walls.
However after much discussion we also agreed that it takes a further
action to stand up to balance the benefit of cover vs fire power.
MG on the Japanese side had some effect we increased the range beyond
that of the rifle to allow them to be used as a support weapon and only
at effective range gave it the equivalent of cannister where it doubled
the shock on any unit, however to weaken it's effect it only fired on
one action and a second action is required to reload.
will probably bring across the more 1's than 6's rule to represent the
jamming effect, perhaps using a flag to roll for unjamming?
an attempt to represent the effect of sustained fire one idea is to use
the ruling within Chain of Command but perhaps being triggered by the
use of two command cards during a turn?
Thinking about the troops of the period and referencing the remarks of Lieut.-General Sir Ian Hamilton on the subject of
operations along the Yalu River.
Another marked contrast between the two armies was in
their musketry. The Russians mainly used volleys, even in the confused
struggle at Ha-ma-tang ; the Japanese, individual fire. l have satisfied myself that,
whereas the artillery practice of the Russians was good as long as it
lasted, the musketry was inaccurate to an extent not entirely explicable
by the fact that they were attempting to fire volleys in face of
combined shrapnel and individual rifle fire.
this in mind I have looked to class the bulk of the Russian forces as
poor quality this would increase them numerically to 10 figure sections,
but by making them poor shots balance the rate of fire, given the
commentary above perhaps making the cost of crashing volley as little as
Given that only a few Russian units carried the M1891 Mosin-Nagant Rifle, with a number still armed with the
Berdan II rifle which, is a single-shot bolt-action, this would require
an action to reload which further reduces the Russian capabilities on
not all bad news for the Russians I awarded them the characteristic of
Stubbon and perhaps even aggressive in hand to hand, whilst the Japanese
of recieve the Thin Red Line to encourage them to be more assertive in
would welcome anyone elses thoughts on what additional tweaks should be
made to reflect the advances in firepower or to better reflect the
1900's using Sharp Practice.
Off now to work out what extra figures are needed.... shame :-)