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Sunday 28 August 2022

A Hideyoshian affair!

 This Saturday, the forces of Toyotomi Hideyoshi embarked upon the Chongyu invasion of the Korean peninsula at Tyneside wargames club.

We set up a 5x12ft table, viewed here from north-east, looking southwest toward Busan.

This was the road the samurai invaders would have to take to Jeonju...

For this scenario, Paul, Reese and myself would each command a Japanese column, marching up the two roads towards the river crossings at a ford on the left of the table and the bridge on the right. The Japanese victory objective was to make it off the near end of the table, whilst the Koreans had to deny that outcome.

Ian and Daryl's Korean defenders would deploy to block our path, while Roderick's warrior monks and armed peasantry were free to spring from our flanks at the drop of a lacquered Heungnip hat.

On the Korean right, Daryl deployed taking full advantage of the riverbank.

The river was a significant obstacle which would take a whole round to cross at any point other than the ford or the bridge.
He lead with his formidable archer and artillery units, keeping his halberdiers in reserve.
In the Korean centre and left, Ian kept the armoured core of the Korean forces back as a fire brigade.
Facing Daryl's archers, I deployed my leading brigade.  
It would do no good to screen with my matchlock-men. Outnumbered and outclassed  they would inevitably get the worse of any exchange of fire. 
I reasoned my best chance was to grasp the nettle and push melee units across the river without hesitation, minimising the time spent under the arrow storm.  With some very good command rules (we were using Pike & Shotte) my advance was rapid.
With further to go before any prospect of contact with the enemy, Paul's Samurai  advanced in column.
My line's coherency started to falter as the command dice deserted me.  
But my units had closed with the enemy and could now take a single advance or retreat move on their own initiative. These initiative moves would be enough to bring my naginata-wielding samurai into melee with those squishy, unarmoured twangy bois. 
The melee didn't go entirely as envisaged - the final round of archery as the forces closed was devastating, stopping one unit of samurai dead in their tracks. The ashigaru matchlock-men were keen to come to grips and locked in inconclusive melee with their counterparts. A second unit of samurai pushed across and cut down the artillery crew opposite.
...But were so badly beaten up in the process that they failed their subsequent break test and fled!
My column had now advanced far enough to allow Reese to follow down the road. He echeloned to his right to shake out the in centre of the table.
And as he did so... the Korean monks launched their flank attack!
Back at the ford, Daryl tried to shore up the Korean defence by committing his halberdiers, only to have them break and run at the first tickle from the Japanese light gun.
Reese had managed to redeploy almost all of his units to face the Korean ambush. I pulled my samurai cavalry back into light woods to allow him room to form a line. One unit of ashigaru matchlock-men failed to heed the threat, and were caught unawares by peasantry who had pushed through the underbrush. Roderick had cannily accepted the risk of becoming disordered by terrain for the payoff of catching the invaders napping!
Seeing the writing on the wall for the brave defenders of the ford, Ian marched the fearsome armoured core of the Korean force to reinforce them. 
If they formed a line before my second brigade could cross, there was no way the mauled remnants of my first brigade could handle them unsupported.
As Roderick's fanatical monks and their sturdy peasantry began to force some samurai units back, Paul diverted his column to come to Reese's aid.
Back at the ford, a unit of my matchlock-men broke and retreated.  At this point, I wanted to withdraw the badly cut-up lead brigade, but a good round of Korean shooting had handed out disorder results to all the remaining samurai & ashigaru. Nobody was under effective command!
Meanwhile, a fortuitous gap in the line offered the perfect opportunity for my waiting cavalry to sweep away the lowly Korean peasants. 
However, with an awful command roll, the samurai elite decided the order to attack was phrased inelegantly and declined to act.
Even without the support of the underwhelming cavalry, Reese began to turn the tide against one end of the peasant's line.
My second brigade had now abandoned all intention of reinforcing defeat at the ford, and were pulling back.  The remnants of my lead brigade followed... apart from one unit hopelessly pinned in place!  When this unit broke, as it inevitably must, it would take the brigade over 50% casualties and the surviving units would flee.
At the second time of asking, my samurai cavalry at last deigned to join the party!
Meanwhile, back at the ford, the long-threatened brigade collapse occurred.  And is it any wonder? Look at the opposition!
Bravely but vainly, Reese attempted to use the survivors of the flank ambush to press on with our original strategic objective.  Eeerm.... good luck with that, lads.
While behind that forlorn hope, the rest of Reese's column had disintegrated under the concentrated fire of the monk's Circular Firing Squad.
Having ridden down one unit of peasants, my lead unit of cavalry crashed into a second. The luckless serfs found themselves unable to flee due to my retreating ashigaru, and were destroyed.  Behind them, my supporting cavalry  unit slammed into the monks. 
Who collapsed and fled after a devastating round of melee.
With the threat of the ambush broken, the road back to Busan was clear, and with some relief the Samurai commanders gladly took advantage of the opportunity to withdraw.  

In hindsight, victory conditions for the Japanese  were never really achievable. The march was too long, the front too narrow, the river crossings too few and the defenders too numerous.
Despite this, the game proved enjoyable to play, with plenty of to-&-fro in the individual engagements. 
Unit of the day has to be the Korean peasantry who formed up in good order and stood their ground to receive the Samurai cavalry when we all expected them to scatter.  Good effort!

(Editor's note: I was stuck with a family outing so couldn't join in this game, so many thanks to Phil for doing my job of taking pics and all that text!)

Saturday 13 August 2022

Russian assault

 Today, after a week off for the Edinburgh show, we decided to do another & Years war game as its easier on one of our regulars who is having a minor op this week (good luck- get better quickly!)

We used my Prussians against my Russians, which Phil has borrowed to save me having to carry 2 armies down to the club!

Naturally, I lost the initiative rolls (just!) which meant we had to deploy in the centre sectors only, I got choice of side, but the Russians got first move.

My deployment, my left wing horse were hampered by a wood.

The Russian deployment! - Lawrence on their right had his cavalry in the front line with infantry behind and to the side!
The terrain, 2 low hills, a marshy area and the small wood.
Phil on the Russian left rode his horse round the marsh on to the flank.
He turned a regiment of his second line to extend his line.
Lawrence had less luck getting his orders out, he got the Serbski hussars and a regiment of Cuirassiers moving. 
The Russian centre was advancing, but the mass of Russian horse stayed immobile.
I did better on my right as I got my Hussars and 2 regiments of Kuirassiers moving.
On my left, I had to move my horse slowly while the infantry line advanced.
My artillery played on the Russian Hussars, but only disordered them.
My right wing infantry mounted the hill.
I launched IR6 from gun protection duties to intercept the Russian Cuirassiers.
My fire was devastating!
As the Russian Hussars galloped past, their supporting heavies recoiled.
They finally rallied behind a heavy gun battery.
The Russian Hussars turned to try to get my Kuirassiers in difficulty...
..A short controlled charge by KR8 dispersed them!
Lawrence's infantry was a bit disarrayed one group of Grenadiers and Musketeers was ahead of the main line.
My right wing Hussars tried to ride round the extended Russian line, which fired ineffectually on them.
My infantry was attacked by the advanced Russian brigade, their initial fire was quite effective, but my men held! (No '1' on the die roll this week!!!)
On the other wing the Russian Heavy battery fired on IR6.
My return fire on the Russian Grenadiers was less effective.
I had got my Heavy gun playing on the Russian extended wing, and damaged a Battalion.
After their initial failure, my infantry began hitting the Russian Grenadiers.
On my right, I had to help my cavalry so threw a brigade against the Corps of Observation, which had massive gun support.
I advanced my Grenadiers over the hill, through shot and Cannister.
My left wing regiment was having a harder time fighting the Musketeers in the advanced group than expected.
I threw IR6 forward to try to open the flank for my Cavalry, but they were blasted by the Russian artillery.
The Corps of Observation was punishing my advanced regiment.
The Russian Grenadiers were falling like nine-pins!
A final volley wiped the two Russian Grenadier battalions out!
The remaining Musketeers routed!
My right wing infantry bravely tried to break through the Corps of Observation.
The Russian fire was relentless.
My Grenadiers, urged on by their Brigadier, surged forward.
Ly left wing regiment was attacked by larger numbers of fresh Russian infantry.
The Corps of Observation and Russian Musketeers with their supporting artillery broke up my desperate attack.
My Hussars were caught by a Russian Cuirassier regiment, and were beaten badly.
They fled the field pursued by the Russians.
Lawrence now launched an all or nothing attack on my disordered IR6, whose fire was ragged, allowing the Russians to close.
Amazingly the dice rolled a draw, and both regiments broke off and withdrew.
At this point, I decided to cede the game, as my poor Prussian infantry was shattered.
The failure of my second line infantry on the right to support the attack, and the solidity of the Russian infantry meant my horse were unable to attack effectively.
On the left I had done better, but Russians still outnumbered me,
Ah well, never mind! The Prussians would have been able to disengage easily and plot their vengeance!