Friday, July 29, 2022

RJW Dismounted Cavalry.

As the campaign games start to pick up pace, it gives you that extra nudge to finish off extra's hiding in the cupboard of shame and the last of the spare Russian metal.

The Russian dismounted Cavalry will give me a further foot unit to field I will pick up their mounted equivalent ling term but given that cavalry charges were few and far between during the war these will be very useful.

With blue breaches and a canvas cap cover, they look far better based and on the table than when I started painting them without the army painter soft tone wash.

I was slow close to call this project complete, but with news of Atlantic Games potential offering and a hankering for Russians in White Tunics - perhaps not - Good Job there is no release date yet as there is plenty more to clear out yet.

Until next time.....

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Rising Sun, Tumbling Bear #2 - The Second Battle for Usan

Back on Japanese soil and a draw of the second round of cards, gives the Japanese an extra fleet, perhaps the direct approach was not the best idea.

The fleets swung left the first under Admiral Urga making an unopposed landing at Pusan, whilst Admiral Nashiba sailed up the Western coast of the peninsula.

Another successful landing at Cinampo, things are looking up for the Japanese.

Having established a bridgehead at Pusan the Japanese tried again to seize Usan this time across the landward side but were once again confronted by a delaying force of Russians, Korea was meant to contain only a token Russian presence.

Wyvern club night and a roll of the dice using Platoon forward and the Japanese are ordered to take to the table and seize the Russian stores to win the encounter and capture the town of Usan on the map.

Russian Points 110 vs Japanese Points 120* 
*With the addition of Two Machine Guns drawn from the Japanese reinforcement pool.

The Japanese would be attacking left to right with the Russians deployed across the centre of the table, the Russian stores were held in the white walled compound,  but the Russian player was unaware of the importance of this location and only had orders to hold the line.

The Russian commander had thrown up earth works in the centre of the table a string of barb wire to slow the Japanese advance, many of the troops were conscripts but they only had to hold the line.

On the right flank and anchoring the position was a unit of militia taking up positions in the garden of a merchants house.

Whilst the field defences were a surprise to the Japanese commander, equally unnerving was the Japanese opening bombardment with off table artillery falling amongst the defenders.

The Japanese advance using combined tactics of firing and moving, constantly keeping the Russians on the back foot

With few good quality commanders to marshal their line the Russian formations began to fracture and fall back and whilst they were slowing the Japanese advance the conscripts were being driven from their defence positions. Meanwhile Japanese elements had bypassed the wire and were making there way through the crop fields on the left.

The Russian force morale was steadily falling as troops and officers were forced back, breaking point came when the isolated militia were set upon by Korean irregulars who in a bloody encounter drove the inexperienced Russians from the garden.

No Russian Offensive Actions this turn the Japanese command is made up of the following point values.

General Oku 180 Points @ Usan
General Kuroki 240 Points @ Cinampo
Admrial Uryu 22 Fleet Points 
Admiral Nabu 24 Fleet Points

On to Turn 3......

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.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Russo - Japanese War - Back down the rabbit hole.

See this is what happens when you embark on a project to clear up the lead pile, you end up adding more. 

Having had my eye on the armour clad officers from Empress Miniatures for the Silver Bayonet Japanese faction and finding several spare Japanese Infantry in the draw I figured I would take the opportunity to revisit the RJW Project and clear up the last of the bare metal.

Over the past weeks I have been looking at adapting Sharp Practice for encounters nearer the turn of the century and how to reflect the different Japanese and Russian doctrine of the period, the recent Sudan and Pony War tweaks could carry across to a far more modern war.

The biggest stumbling block seems to be the rate of fire, within Sharp Practice repeating rifles allow units to fire twice in a turn without the need to reload, with both sides armed with 5 shot magazine rifles that feels rather bloody, so I am going to stick with one firing round with the reload representing a dropping off of the fire as troops replace magazines, this adding in some ammo rules should strike the right place and allow the Machine Guns to be more potent firing 12 dice a round.

Reflecting on my painting rhythm over the past few years, I seemed to have been able to increase my figure count, previously I used to paint in batches of 6-8 but more recently this now tends to be 10-20 which allows me to complete a couple of sections over a few weeks and get far better results to put down on the table.... could this be a sign of age or simply the drive to finish aging projects once and for all?

The new reformatted Japanese Infantry 9 squads already to take the fight to the Russian Empire. 

Chatting on one of the RJW Facebook groups about campaign mechanisms it was suggested that Rising Sun, Tumbling Bear was worth a look. As a print and play game and coming in at $15 it looks like a great investment. A combination of map movement and paper table top battles and designed for solo play with the ability to convert encounters to table top battles.

Time to roll some dice.....

Friday, July 08, 2022

Silver Bayonet - Japanese Faction

A dip into the lead pile and next up a couple of extra's from Northstar and Empress to create a Japanese faction for the Silver Bayonet. The Russo-Japanese forces proper have not been out of the box for a while so this will be a tentative step back into Manchuria.

Not the best photo but left to right - Infantryman, Officer, Occultist, 2 Swordsmen and 3 more Infantrymen.

Two Swordsmen/Officers from Empress Miniatures these are1904 officers wearing tradition Samurai armour perfect for adventuring in Manchuria and confronting evil.

I spotted these on the Northstar site and these looked just the part for the Japanese faction as a Soothsayer and his apprentice.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Attack on the Camp - Kings of Bronze #6

The final outing in the linked campaign see's Overseer Huharmati's encamped on the way back to the Hittite homeland, when they are attacked by an Egyptian force.

In this encounter an actual human in charge of the Hittite defenders, with the Egyptian forces entering on two random table edges and the content of each blind unknown. 

The Hittite command have to escort the camel train from the centre of the table, but can only set off once they have amassed 20 task points (1d6 per turn on the commanders activation.)

The Hittite deployment, Overseer Huharmati had no idea where the raiders would come from so covered all 4 sides of the camp selecting forces similar to those from previous encounters. The Egyptian blinds matched the force make up with a +1 for each force type. 

The Egyptians rolled and they appeared on the centre and top left flank of the camp. Surprisingly the Hittite's pushed out on all sides to meet the threat. The only control I had was what flavour to pick when a blind came out, I opted for light troops at the outset saving the heavier forces for the far flank once I knew which direction the Hittites might take.

A good run of blinds and some high rolls revealed a number of blocks of spear units, it looked like the southern door would be shut firm.

Meanwhile at the northern end, I had less luck. The heavier blinds were failing to turn up which meant the fast moving chariot forces was fewer and lighter than I had hoped. Coupled with that the Hittite Spear Block was advancing on the recently deployed archer unit.

The archers let off a round but they were unable to stop the advancing spears who forced them back and off the table.

Another blind and this time an archer formation, which firers a cloud of arrows into the defenders of the camp, the Egyptian medium chariot had broken through the defenders line, but the camp was cluttered and the mass archer formations would be tough to beat especially as they had closed ranks. The Egyptian command chariot ploughed into the spear formation, but was unable to break the line and was bounced back.

The camels were free and packed and were heading north.

As the Egyptian chariots reorganised Overseer Huharmati ordered his own archers to target the chariots on the far side of the camp, with excessive shock they would be of limited threat to the camel train.

The main Egyptian spear blocks were finally entering the fight, but the camp was empty and the Hittites were safely heading North.

Victory to the Hittites....

That was fun set of linked games, despite the overwhelming victory for the Hittites every game had a number of key moments that could have swung the games.

Playing through over a number of weeks have me the appropriate nudge to get some of the old lead cleared and on the table even in this game the new chariot failed to make the table.

Now for a new campaign and some more extra's from the lead pile....