|Appropriately dressed for any occasion!|
We're fighting this campaign out in near real time over a number of months. Expect further updates as the siege progresses! The story so far - the Japanese have surrounded the town and are pounding it with artillery fire. The Russians are taking unsustainable losses, and so decide to exploit a small gap in the Japanese circumvellations to launch a raid.
On a technical note, this is the first 'distance wargame' I've played. It's essentially a solo NPC game, I just stay in regular turn-by-turn contact with the players, who give me broad orders via Whatsapp. I'd love to hear if anyone has ever tried anything like this before.
The Russians try to break through to the Japanese rear - skirting round the fortified town of Shi-Shihung. They are stopped by timely Japanese reenforcements pouring in from the surrounding areas, but manage to inflict heavy casualties. Of note was the courage of Colonel von Hartmann, who personally led the assault on a machine-gun bunker!
Artillery and machine gun fire was actually not very effective. The battle took place at night, and so most of the casualties came from close combat. The Russians were very good at assaulting defended positions, helped by the dispersed Japanese defenders. The Japanese struggled to bring their strength to bear at first but within five turns had enough men on the field to force a hasty retreat.
Above - an overview of the battlefield. Due to unforeseen circumstances I didn't have my terrain with me, so you can see I managed to improvise hills and a battlefield!
And with the troops set out. Each marker refers to one battalion of the respective brigade. The one marked 'infantry' is just a generic Russian unit.
Initial moves. Voronov sweeps his Guards in to lay down a covering fire while von Hartmann moves up to assault the gap.
From the Japanese perspective as the Guards' assault smashes home. The Japanese are spread along the trenches, making them easy prey - but a surprise machine gun takes out 60-70 Russians before it can be silenced. Fresh troops pour on from the bottom of the picture...
As the combat continues, General Oshima detaches troops from 18 Brigade to attack the Russians in their exposed flank.
The regular Russian infantry, seeing troops stripped from the town, try their luck at assaulting Shi-Shihung but are beaten back with horrific losses.
Meanwhile, back in the trenches the Russians form up to receive the attacks! Two successive battalion assaults are launched but both are beaten back - thanks largely to the 'spur' in the trench which allows some of the Russians to dig in.
However, just as things look dire for the Japanese, a fresh battalion from 1st Brigade further to the west arrives in their rear. The Russians withdraw back up the hill - quickly and cleanly, but perhaps a touch ignominiously.