Saturday, 29 April 2017

Nanshan 1904 using Bloody Big Battles

The battle of Nanshan is the second of Pat's scenarios for the Russo-Japanese War (RJW) using Bloody Big Battles (BBB). Most gamers have their favourite battles - Nanshan is in my top 3 along side Magenta 1859 and ... well it will be appearing on this blog sooner or later.
Port Arthur is probably the best known location of the RJW. It lies at the southern end of the Liáodōng Peninsula. Some 50 miles to the north is the isthmus of the Peninsula - a 3km wide strip of land dominated by a 116-meter high hill - Nanshan
From Sketches of Manchurian Battle Fields by Major Glasfurd

The hill was an obvious defensive position covering the approaches to Port Arthur and was was heavily fortified with trenches, barbed wire and minefields built by Chinese labourers who counted among their numbers several disguised Japanese Army Intelligence Officers.

I could go on but if you want more information then the Wiki entry isn't bad and there is an very good write-up on the Russo-Japanese War Research Society website

Initial deployment for the Russians

The Japanese force comprises 3 Divisions, the  1st, 3rd & the "Unlucky" 4th played by Dave M, Steve and Dave N

Each Division has 4 Infantry Regiments each of 3 bases of Skirmishing Trained Repeating Rifles and 2 batteries of Breech Loading Artillery

There is also an Artillery Reserve of another 2 batteries of Breech Loading Artillery. Furthermore the Japanese have a gunboat squadron counting at 0.5 BLA

That totals 36 Infantry bases and 8.5 Artillery bases
The Japanese enter the battlefield

To face them the Russians have the 5th and 13th East Siberian Rifle Regiments (ESR) plus supporting artillery, mgs and a gunboat. Shaun had the unenviable task of commanding the Russians.

The 5th ESR has 6 half bases and the 13th ESR has 2 half bases with another 7 half bases in reserve. There are 4.5 Breech Loading Artillery batteries that can be broken down into bases worth 0.25 of a battery plus 0.5 HMG and the Russian Gunboat Bobr worth 0.25 BLA.

Essentially it is 36,000 Japanese Infantry and 100+ pieces of artillery attacking 3,500 Russian Infantry and 100+ pieces of artillery in a fort.
3rd Division IJA take a hammering from the Russian artillery and the gunboat Bobr
4th Division IJA capture the walled town of Chinchou held by a single company of the 13th ESR
The Russian gunboat Bobr forced to withdraw in the game due to Japanese artillery fure
The first of many failed assaults on Nanshan
A concerted Japanese attack sees the 4th Division supported by Japanese gunboats in Chinchou Bay take the western flank of the fortifications.
The Japanese view of the same. Chinchou Bay is tidal so from Turn 5 a base width of mudflats allow the Japanese to outflank the defenses
The Russian commander, General Fock sits  idly by in Maoyitui with 4000 men of the 13th ESR. The general was court-martialed after the war for incompetence at both Nanshan and Port  Arthur
The Japanese begin to make headway on the hill helped by their artillery suppressing the Russian guns
With the supporting artillery gone Colonel Treyakov and his 5th ESR face the full weight of 3 infantry divisions
Following the death of Colonel Treyakov the 5th ESR collapses
The last stand of the 5th ESR, excuse the pun, pushed back from the fortifications leaving the Japanese in control of the hill

As with the Yalu scenario Pat was done an excellent job of tweaking BBB rules to give the desired effect including not allowing combined shooting from several units and going permanently low on ammo. In the actual battle the Japanese artillery fired over 30,000 shells  and both sides ran out of small arms ammunition.

I look forward to the next scenario

I'd seen a friend, Nathan, using BBB maps printed on pvc banner material so I persuaded him to sort out the Nanshan scenario map for me. Excellent value at a tenner and I can spill as much beer on it as I like.

The figures are all from Pendraken's 10mm RJW range

The sketch of Nanshan is taken from From Sketches of Manchurian Battle Fields by Major Glasfurd and was available from Caliver Books. If you are into the RJW this worth getting for the views of the various battlefields

Thursday, 6 April 2017

AWI Bloody Big Battles Test Game

Rodge has put together a variant of BBB for the AWI which we tried out using his 15mm forces.
The variant has a few changes including a couple of new traits

  • All Infantry units are armed with Muskets unless indicated but use the ML stats
  • Rifles will use the LB stats but with 1 Fire Point a base at all ranges
  • Proximity firing will be played unless artillery who may fire through skirmishers.
  • Arc of fire is 45 degrees
  • Artillery has 6 FP at canister range, not 9 FP.
  • Cavalry have no firearms and may not dismount.
  • Cavalry may support infantry if Cavalry is deployed in line.
  • Resting Muskets on Fence gives a 1 Shift Right
  • Militia Formation change takes a Full move 
  • Militia move outside FCP -6” 
  • Militia are treated as outflanked in melee
  • Fences: Linear Terrain, -0” Light Infantry, -3” Infantry, -6” Cav and Arty. 
  • Units may not charge over a fence but may charge enemy at a fence.
  • A Unit at a fence is assumed to be Resting Muskets
  • Fences give no cover or melee bonus.
Light Infantry Trait
  • Drop the shift right if ‘Firer has skirmishers’
  • Light Infantry cannot charge
  • Light Infantry are treated as outflanked in melee
  • Light Infantry can evade as per Cavalry and Limbered Artillery
Skedaddle Trait
  • Unit removed from table after the loss of 2 bases
The Armies

Each base represents 40-50 men

The American Force
Commander-in-ChiefMG Benedict Arnold
Poor’s Brigade
2nd New York 5 Vet ML Continentals
4th New York 5 Trnd ML Continentals
Dearborn's Light Infantry 5 Trnd ML Light Infantry
1st Connecticut Militia 6 Raw ML Militia, Passive, Fragile, Ragged Volley, Tactically Inept, Skedaddle
2nd Connecticut Militia 6 Raw ML Militia, Passive, Fragile, Ragged Volley, Tactically Inept, Skedaddle
Morgan’s Brigade
1st New Hampshire 5 Vet ML Continentals
2nd New Hampshire 5 Trnd ML Continentals
3rd Connecticut Militia 6 Raw ML Militia, Passive, Fragile, Ragged Volley, Tactically Inept, Skedaddle
4th Connecticut Militia 6 Raw ML Militia, Passive, Fragile, Ragged Volley, Tactically Inept, Skedaddle
Morgan’s Riflemen 5 Raw LB Light Infantry
Washington’s Dragoons 2 Raw
Artillery 1 SA Light Field Gun
The British Force
Commander-in-ChiefMG John Burgoyne
Fraser’s Brigade
Grenadiers 5 Vet ML Aggressive, Devastating Volley
Light Infantry 5 Vet ML Light Infantry
24th Foot 5 Trnd ML Aggressive, Devastating Volley
9th Foot 5 Trnd ML Aggressive, Devastating Volley
Loyalists 5 Raw ML Tactically Inept
16th Light Dragoons 2 Trnd Cavalry
Artillery 1 SA Light Field Gun
Hamilton's Brigade
9th Foot 5 Trnd ML Devastating Volley
20th Foot 5 Trnd ML Devastating Volley
21st Fusiliers 5 Trnd ML Devastating Volley
62nd Foot 5 Trnd ML Devastating Volley
Jaegers 5 Trnd LB Light Infantry


The British objectives were to take the Pence House Hill with at lest 1 Supported, unspent unit and have more unspent units on the Mill Creek Ridge than the Rebels at the end of Turn 12.

The Battle

As the British I deployed Fraser's Brigade to take Pence House Hill from Poor's Brigade and Hamilton's Brigade plus the Dragoons to roll up Morgan's Brigade on the Ridge from my right flank
The fight for Pence House Hill
An American view of Pence House Hill - Continentals and LI face off the Grendadiers
Washington’s Dragoons advance across the bridge to support their infantry
The Grenadiers begin their assault around the back of the hill
The Continentals on the hill fall back to face the Grenadiers' attack
The Grenadiers take the hill - only a Militia unit has a foothold but Skedaddles after losing a second base.
Mean at Mill Creek the British plan changes to a frontal assault
The 16th Dragoons ride up to exploit the gap in the Americans ' flank
The British advance continues leaving the artillery behind
The British Dragoons outflank Morgan's Rifles which is a mistake as the riflemen turn and shoot them down.
The British advance to Mill Creek ready for the assault on the ridge
With Pence House  Hill in British hands and the American forces on Mill Creek Ridge about to be flanked and rolled up the game ends

An excellent game that moved at a good pace and wasn't too one-sided. Rodge has come up with a great variant of BBB. 

Rodge made the American Militia as bad as one could possibly get - Passive, Fragile, Ragged Volley, Tactically Inept and Skedaddle but they still fought well. The Skedaddle Trait means that if they get a couple of bad results they disappear for good rather than hanging around until they get destroyed.

The flexible movement mechanisms in BBB work well for the AWI. I think the only change we are going to make is to split the 6 base Militia units into 2 4 base units to recreate poor command and control

I look forward to trying some historical battles from this period using BBB

Sunday, 2 April 2017

15mm Shanty Town

On Saturday I picked up some 15mm shanty buildings. The masters were made by Rodge and then cast in resin and painted by Shaun.
There are 3 buildings - two large and one small
I've set them alongside so of my Peter Pig AK47 forces
These are the two large ones
The small one is on the left

I was outside taking the photos when it started to rain...

... the sun came out
There are some lovely bits of detail on these shacks
Just the right size for 15mm
Although my bases are a little bit too thick

The shacks will also go well with my 15mm Sci-Fi kit - District 9 anyone?

They are on sale as a pack of 3 unpainted buildings for the outrageous sum of £10 plus £3.50 p&p tn the UK. Shaun doesn't have a website so if you want any then email him at dreamholme (at) aol (dot) com

Apparently there are going to be some more variations based on the masters.

CWC LANDJUT 2017 - Scenery

LANDJUT 2017 is a campaign set in 1989 covering the Soviet invasion of Denmark. The games are fought out in 6mm using Cold War Commander from Pendraken. The initial games of the campaign were played out at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire in March 2017

The two games fought were a Polish amphibious assault on Denmark's Baltic coast held by a British battle group and a Soviet crossing of the Kiel Canal at Rendsburg defended by Canadians and Belgians

Part of the appeal of the games is the beautiful scenery, most made by Richard P, which this post concentrates on.

Firstly the Baltic coast table - I didn't get many photos of this one as I was playing ton the canal table

And the Kiel Canal table

Although the tables look to  have plenty of open space when it came down here were very few clear angles of long range fire.