Thursday, 18 August 2016

Battle Report: Fall of Port Arthur

No matter how much you rub your chin, we won't win this...
Sad news from the front!  The Siege of Port Arthur, Supercampaign V, is finally at an end!  Last night, Ollie, Kieran, Mike and I got together to enact Paul's final campaign order.  1st Division was ordered to storm the defences of the Russians and force an end to the siege.  An explainatory note - Hill 203 fell in September 1904, and since then pressure has steadily been applied.  The Russians were on the brink of starvation, but still inexplicably refused to surrender, forcing Paul's hand to a final assault.

We fought a 2mm game to determine how long the Russians could hold on for - not long, as it turned out.  After three turns the defences collapsed and most of the defenders fell back towards the town.  However, with a cunning but risky flank march, the Japanese managed to sieze the town with a bloodless coup de main.  We then fought a quick 28mm Trench Raiders game to decide what happened to the dramatis personae when the Russian HQ was overrun!



The deployment, facing north.  The Russians elected to try and hold the trenches and remaining two machine gun nests, with nothing garissoning the town.  The Japanese send one regiment off on a risky flank march, but it pays off and they manage to set up just a few hundred yards from the objective.  This battle is a mere formality - the Russians are completely starving and barely capable of fighting by this stage.
Despite this, the Japanese take a fair number of casualties on the first turn, mainly from the machine guns.  But not enough to check the advance.  A detached battalion makes a half-hearted attempt to retake the town, but...
The position soon collapses.  Limited to a morale level of Shaken at the highest, the Russians fall back in disorder and prove impossible to rally.  We stopped the game at this point, but then switched to a 28mm Trench Board to see what happened when the three Russian players' HQ at An Tzu-Shan was overrun!

The Guards Brigade's commanders.  In this mini-game, we must hold off the Japs for as long as possible then escape after a certain number of turns.  Anyone left on the board when the game ends is captured!  (Those who escape will still have to surrender shortly afterwards, of course, but just for bragging rights...)
The Russians (bottom right side) and Japanese (top left) as the latter approaches the last bastion of Russian resistance.
Colonel Hartman personally directing Maxim fire, which was devastatingly effective.


In the end, only General Maximov managed to escape.  Colonel Voronov fought off a Japanese soldier with his revolver then cut another down with his trusty sabre before being beaten to the floor and captured.  In a mad display of insane courage, Hartman leapt from the trench, shot down two assailaints with his automatic pistol, before braining another with its butt and finally surrendering.  Not only did he fail to make it off the board, but he actually finished inside the Japanese deployment area!
There we have it!  An inevitible, inexorable end which was foreseen from the beginning - but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless!  My thanks to all the participants, in particular Paul for his engagement and enthusiasm, and Mike for his dutiful field command of the Japanese forces.

Ollie and KB were magnificent colonels, really engaged in the whole campaign despite very busy lives for all of us.

This campaign didn't quite pan out how it was originally intended, mainly on the admin side, but I think it worked out well in the end.  Three months of very enjoyable manoeuvre, countermanoeuvre and battle.  We still of course have the final chapter to wargame as an epilogue, which is the fate of the few Russian ships that managed to escape the harbour.

Looks like I have to surrender again...

8 comments:

  1. General Nogi is pleased to accept your honourable surrender and greet you as an admiral foe worthy of great respect.

    Brigader Mike is hereby awarded the Order of the Golden Kite, 6th Class, for his Victory in Battle. Our glorious Emperor will be pleased with the conclusion of the siege and the ability to redeploy the 3rd Army to a new theatre in the ongoing war against the decadent Tsar.
    ----

    Thanks indeed for a wonderful campaign Ed - I really enjoyed it and will miss our weekly emails.
    Looking forward to reading the Russian side of the War Diary too :-)

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    1. It's just a pause between two Supercampaigns... I think there will be a few twists and turns in the story for you to look forward to!

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  2. Superb stuff- the trench raid was a nice way for the Russian to claw back some honour when faced with a very difficult main game.

    I'm looking forward to the naval epilogue.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, yes, it was a bit of an odd game because the Japanese victory was a foregone conclusion. Still, I think the Russians got into the spirit of it and we had a smashing evening of defiant last stands!

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  3. Brilliant!

    That trench raiding shindig still looks grand!

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    1. Thanks Drax! Sorry for the late reply. It certainly was enjoyable, a last minute addition but a successful one, I think.

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  4. What a sad end for those brave Russians...

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