Friday, 16 November 2018

Ko-lin-zo 1905 RJW using Blood Big Battles

This is an AAR of the Boer War Colenso scenario for Bloody Big Battles. I don't have any Boers or British so I used my 10mm Russo-Japanese War forces and disguised the scenario.
Russian Dragoons and artillery dug in on Hlangwane overlooking Colenso

The Japanese were the British and the Russians were the Boers. I changed the background from the British attempting to relieve Ladysmith to a Russian raiding cavalry force being caught by the Japanese. Otherwise the scenario was left unaltered.

 The battlefield looking west. Colenso is the village on the road
 The battlefield looking east
Japanese 2nd Brigade advances on Colenso
Russian forces hold Hlangwane Mountain
Dismounted Russian cavalry entrenched around Colenso
Japanese cavalry advancing on Robinson’s Drift defended by Russian Cossacks
The Japanese 2nd Brigade starts taking fire from Colenso
Japanese 5th Brigade advances on Punt Drift
The right wing of Japanese 2nd Brigade gets a hammering and becomes spent
Japanese "Naval" guns drawn by oxen plod up the road to Colenso
Russian Cossacks defend  Punt Drift
At Robinson’s Drift the Cossacks gun down the Japanese cavalry
Left wing of Japanese 2nd Brigade charges the Russian line at Colenso
The remainder of 2nd Brigade and loads of artillery make life difficult for the Russian defenders
Japanese 7th Brigade takes up a firing line west of Colenso
Japanese 6th Brigade, and the remains of 5th Brigade, advance on  Bridle Drift.
The firefight continues at Colenso
The west flank of Colenso collapses 
Russian artillery pins down 7th Brigade
More Japanese troops are thrown against Robinson's Drift.
The Russian troops lose the firefight at Bridle Drift.
The Russian line breaks as the Japanese capture Mt.Wylie and the remaining objectives

Games never quite play out how you imagine them to. I was expecting a rerun of the historical battle where the Boers hammered the British. Instead after only 4 of the 8 game turns the British were across the river and capturing objectives.

Having not told the players that we were fighting Colenso but having explained the scenario rules there were groans from both sides.

The Japanese players (Mike & Shaun) were griping about the difficulty of seeing and shooting the Russians. Troops in rifle and gun pits are only seen at 6" and the Russians get Shooting left shifts for being skirmishers, in rifle pits and camouflage i.e. 3 Left shifts

The Russian players (Rodge & Steve) gripped about the hordes of Japanese troops facing them, 3:1 in favour of the Japanese, the vast area they had to cover, 8 feet with 15 bases, and the troops stuck on Hlangwane

I found it all quite amusing.

But why did the Russians do so badly in this game?

It was all down to their deployment. They deployed too far forward especially at Colenso. As the river is impassable except at bridges and fords the best deployment areas are within 6" of the crossing point exits as the Japanese only have 6" visibility. Therefore in order to engage the Russians they have to cross the river one unit at a time in line. However this would give the Russians one shooting shift right and probably force them back across the river..

Still we all make mistakes

Thanks to Anton van Dellen for a very well thought out scenario. Gripes aside the players all want to play it again. Anton has done a few more Boer war scenarios that I'm eyeing up.

The figures are all from Pendraken's 10mm Russo-Japanese War range with the exception of the Japanese cavalry who are proxies from the South American Wars range


  1. Very nice indeed

    Take care


  2. That looks cracking, Alan, great proxies - it read/looked very like your other Russo-Japanese battles so translated very nicely. But by crikey that's a lot of Japanese :D

    1. Thanks - I think the ratio at Nanshan is worse for the Russians but they can take it (almost). I do need to get a few more Russians for my army some that they can attack for a change

    2. Sounds like your RUssian players know what they did "wrong" - and as it's tabletop they can try and correct that next time! So maybe not much if any tweaking needed here.

      But good luck attacking with that force disparity. I'm really not much up on the RJW - were there any major offensive actions (or even plausible "what if's") by the Russians are worth/are able to be gamed?

    3. There were a couple of half-hearted attempts to relieve Port Arthur but in general the Russians just kept on retreating. In battles they did a fair bit of counter-attacking. So not really

    4. So only local/by unit counterattacks within the scope of a "normal" BBB game then... any counterfactual's that *could* have happened with more aggressive Russian leadership? Sounds like not, but there's always reskinning someone else's fight, I can't think where I got that idea from :D

  3. A stroke of genius, Alan!


    Bloody Big BATTLES!

  4. Thanks - I've had the stroke so I'm just waiting for the genius bit. Just thinking whether I can convert Langensalza to the RJW.