Friday, July 7, 2017

SYW - Combat at Reichenberg - Historicon Playtest

G'Day wargamers!

It is one week away from when I'm going to run my Combat at Reichenberg 15mm SWY game at Historicon (Friday, July 14th @1pm). I sculpted the terrain from pink insulation board 1.5" thick and really looks great in person. It is hard to see the ridge lines with the camera. I will have different color flocking at Historicon to make it more pronounced. I did a playtest run with several players that haven't played Piquet ever or for a very long time.

This allowed me to figure out how long it would take to setup, teach the rules, and the play the game.

We did come to a satisfying conclusion, but each army still had morale chips.

You can look here for the summary of the real battle, but ours involved a lot more fighting!

I only want to show a couple of the photos from the game to give you an idea of what to expect at Historicon.

The battle summary was written by the Austrian commander Wes:

*Crap that is a lot of Prussians!!*

My Grenzers hiding in the woods popped off a few shots to unform the grenadiers marching towards them...after which they promptly ran back in the woods while the Grenadiers reformed and held fast.  
Austrian cavalry charge was ordered on the left only to be outflanked by Puttkamer Hussars coming over the hill and routing the Pálffy Cuirassiers!  After that, back and forth melee between remaining cavalry units but no one could hit a damn thing.  Theory was they were too hung over from the prior night's festivities at the local brothel.    Was so bad one of my routed cavalry units waved at the C-in-C FZM Count Königsegg as they passed him by as they were leaving the field of battle.
Prussians across from the Austrian center and right moved into valley (of death) to ready a charge up the hill at the entrenchments.  Austrians promptly responded with medium artillery in the center which was very effective . But the damn Prussians kept reforming and would not route! Austrian cannon on the left had good line of fire, but whiffed only took off a few hats.  They would pay for this failure later.  
Eventually the Prussian infantry lines made it through the valley and up the hill for point blank shots.   This is where Austrian First Fire and Opportunity Fire showed its value.   Elite Grenadiers on my Austrian held strong while the center turned into a meat grinder. 
Suddenly, Prussians gained a ton of impetus and did not waste any of it.   That whiffed artillery unit was ran over, and cold steel routed two Austrian units....the Austrian left line crumbled as a result.   Furthermore, Reserves were caught with their pants down because their inept rookie commander never bothered to reform their lines before moving across the river.   Hence, it was a field day for the Prussians who had charged bayonets with fully loaded muskets.
Austrians were in serious troubler at that point.   Elite Grenadiers on the Austrian right were exhausted but congratulating each other on their fine defense.   Only to look down the left line and see the disaster occurring.  It was obvious these Prussians would be meeting up with Frederick in Prague after all.  

*Crap that is a lot of Prussians!*

The visual ... the Prussians mass ...

Prussian Grenadiers chasing Liccaner Grenzers.

I'm not sure this is a good idea... Prussians move into the valley (of death). They would lose 15 stands of infantry to artillery and point blank musket fire, but only one unit would rout and not until the battle was nearly over!

4th Hussars (Puttkamer) aggressively manoeuver early in the battle in order to get a flank attack into the charging Austrian cavalry. They rout the Pálffy Cuirassier and then scamper off after them in pursuit. Later they would rally, reform and take another Austrian Dragoon unit in the flank!

The cavalry sing into battle.

Prussian Grenadiers lose 3 stands of damage after that Austrian Grenadier unit delivers a point blank volley via Opportunity fire.

Smile for your close up!

All along the line muskets belch flame, smoke, and lead!

Austrian have enough Opp Fire chips (yellow poker chips) to fire on the Prussians as they come in.

Valley of Death! Black casualty markers everywhere, disorder, stand loses, etc. This was a hard day for this Prussian Brigade!

Meanwhile the Prussian Center was able to overrun the Austrian gun battery then slam into the Austrian reserves still in Column of Route. This effectively ended the battle.

See you at Historicon!

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.