Battle of Nagashino Part 2

Here we were the second night of the battle of Nagashino with Del and I still holding the cross roads behind light cover against Brian and Rick. Brian and Rick’s forces were inching forward in the center with matchlocks and bringing cavalry and infantry to both flanks. Brian and Rick were not moving fast but their troops with missile type weapons were wearing some of my troops down.

 

While I waited for Brian’s large cavalry unit to make a move my own cavalry unit was taking casualty after casualty from Brian’s foot archers. The +1 against mounted troops started to really tell and I was forced to make a morale roll. After making one on the next card when I lost another figure now being down to two stands failed the morale roll. They were forced to retreat and would need to move full movement and make morale rolls for the next two turns. (They were off the table before I made a morale roll and therefore fled without doing any injury to the enemy).

(Click to enlarge the images)

My samurai move up to try and save the flank

My samurai move up to try to save the flank vs Brian’s combined troops

 

Del moves up troops on the other flank to defend against Rick

Del moves up troops on the other flank to defend against Rick

Cavalry and archers kill a leader but don't force Rick back

Cavalry and archers kill a leader but don’t force Rick back

I would not say I can count cards and had no real attempt at keeping track to the movement cards but was fairly certain some movement cards for my infantry were coming up. A cavalry card for Brian was also in the future. Which came up first could be important as he had a large cavalry force and I had only foot troops. His mounted samurai would get the advantage in numbers because of their lances in a combat.

My infantry get a chance and make the charge but the melee brings mixed results

My infantry get a chance and make the charge but the melee brings mixed results

 

While Del inflicted casualties on Rick’s matchlock and archer troops with his own archers on the other flank the infantry cards that came up allowed me to hit one of Brian’s infantry units with two of mine. Brian had maneuvered his foot samurai in front of two units of archers wisely to protect them. I had hoped for the infantry cards to come up before and they did. It turned into a real bloodbath of melee and I forced a morale check but just barely came out ahead. The enemy unit was forced to retreat several turns but was not out of action totally.

Meanwhile Brian’s cavalry card came up and my foot samurai met his large mounted samurai in combat. Several things now occur to me. If I had used my commander of that unit to issue a challenge as he was in range I might have forced a retreat. If Brian’s leader does not take the challenge to personal combat a morale check is forced. Hind sight is twenty-twenty as they say.

Facing Brian's mounted Samurai my troops will pay the piper now unless I get luck which I was not

Facing Brian’s mounted Samurai my troops will pay the piper now unless I get luck which I was not

We squared off and the melee was largely one-sided as I took three casualties inflicted one. We rolled for leaders and I rolled a two on two D6 a leader kill. Again the death of the leader would have forced a morale roll with some negative modifiers could have really turned out well for me. Brian had two bodyguards for his leader of the unit and rolled the leader taking the blow and the leader was saved. I was forced back two inches.

Brian moves more troops into the fight wearing down the my troops in melee

Brian moves more troops into the fight wearing down the my troops in melee

A new turn was started and the end started to come near. Casualties to one of my center matchlock units cased them to retreat and I was unable to get them back under control before they left the table. Brian maneuvered a large infantry unit with lances into my infantry that had forced back one of his units. I took more and more casualties not always losing the melee’s but being forced to make morale rolls.

Meanwhile Brian’s large cavalry ground down another of my units until it routed from the game with only two figures left I was lucky it lasted so long. Rick lost a leader due to Del catching him exposed on the other flank and winning a melee. Still my flank was slowly ground down with my last two units destroyed. I was left with a fragile matchlock unit with 50% casualties int the center and a fresh unit of pikemen in the center but they were ashigura and not really high quality troops. Between all the 5 or 6 units Brian alone could bring to bear they would not have stood a chance.

Like true samurai they fight to death as Brian grinds them down.

Like true samurai they fight to death as Brian grinds them down the last few figures stand on the flank.

Del had also been ground down on the other flank in a series of melee with cavalry and infantry. I enjoyed the game and the figures though. Something I am going to have to work out is how I want to approach the games. I can’t sit back and wait for a chance too much damage can happen at long-range. I need to balance weapon types and unit size along with a chance for the cards to give a slight advantage. Such as two infantry cards being drawn in a row allowing a player to get a numerical advantage for a short time. I needed more archers that was for sure. (I had none in the game.) The correct tactical use of challenges could also come in handy. You could always lose the combat but at times the benefit out weights the risk I think. It is just something time and practice with the rules set and period will allow at least me to get better.

Del moves into combat on the other flank trying to save the day

Del moves into combat on the other flank trying to save the day

 

Del's troops did better in melee but still we could not escape the numbers against us.

Del’s troops did better in melee but still we could not escape the numbers against us.

We had no challenges in the second night and only one in the first night. You can read this post to see what happened with that challenge. I like these figures and time period and look forward to future games. After discussion on basing of the figures we decided that next week the club will play a dark ages game with Del’s figures.

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Battle of Nagashino Wednesday Night Gamers of Alexandria Part 1

After two weeks of trying out Rick’s feudal Japanese figures and playing around with a rules set with no historical battle Rick prepared a historical battle for the club to try. Using Kantana II rules now as we started with the first edition of the rules set now a few charts and rules were different. The rules being written for 15mm figures and the club is using 25mm figures has forced a slight modification on distances for movement and fire.

(CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE)

Rick and I wait at the Cross Roads as the enemy advance

Rick advances towards the Cross Roads

 

Del and I made up the black force which had the goal of protecting the cross roads leading to Nagashino Castle. Brian and Rick were attacking with the advance guard of the red force. Each side had a mix of infantry of different qualities and cavalry. The defending force had light cover behind a fence line. The Red force attaching had defensive mantlets they could move and fire through.

Will the defenders be able to hold the flank

Will the defenders be able to hold the flank

Defensive position at the cross roads only light cover

Defensive position at the cross roads only light cover

The beginning of the game just saw the long-range missile fire from both sides and Brian and Rick moved their forces slowly up towards the objective of the crossroads. Missile fire being composed of archers and matchlock muskets. In the center of the battlefield it was very hard to score much damage on the missile troops of Brian and Rick’s as they were protected by the mantlets. I will say that is what they were for and they were doing the job. If the rolls had been better for the Red side I think the black forces would have been forced to make more morale rolls but luckily that was not the case.

Why are my brave samarui facing away from the enemy did Del set these troops up?

Why are my brave samurai facing away from the enemy did Del set these troops up?

 

On the defenders left flank I used several move cards to reposition the cavalry and support them with an infantry unit of samurai. This put the mounted samurai in range of some of Brian’s bowmen and I took several casualties. Deciding to try to do something about this force of bowmen that I saw as threat my cavalry commander issued a challenge on the next cavalry card to the leader of the archers.

Flank defenses need to move the cavalry

Flank defenses need to move the cavalry

Del's defenses look tough but take hits from long range fire

Del’s defenses look tough but take hits from long-range fire

 

I had no idea of the rating for the leader but knew my leader was a +1 so felt the odds were at least even for me. Brian’s leader turned out to be rated as 0 so I was left with a slight advantage in rating and that my leader was mounted and Brian’s was not. Mounted leaders can take 6 wounds and non-mounted 5 wounds. Decided to try my luck with the dice as I held a slight edge I felt because of the number of wounds I could take.

Brian and Rick contemplate the attack

Brian and Rick contemplate the attack

First round of single combat resulted in two wounds on Brian’s leader and none on mine. Next round I inflicted 2 more wounds rolling a 9 again but Brian rolled a Retreat so my leader was forced to retreat and go down a level from +1 to 0. Meanwhile Brian’s leader went up a level from 0 to +1. I had hoped to force the archers to move back either because of loss of leader or the leader breaking off and a failure of morale. Even though I got within one of killing him my leader lacked the resolve to see it through or the dice were with Brian. It was a chance and I took it as I did not want to face all that long distance fire.

 

Del moved up his foot archers in the center and horse archers on the opposite flank from me to try to inflict more damage as the enemy closed with us. The missile fire from matchlocks and archers definitely was starting to hurt some of my units as I had several 1 casualty from taking morale rolls. Del was able to shoot over the mantlets with his foot archers so that was better for the defenders. As I just waited for the enemy on the defender left flank waiting for the enemy cavalry which now had halted after advancing for several cards.

Del moved up some archers and they helped in the long range battle

Del moved up some archers and they helped in the long-range battle

My cavalry took a pounding from archers and fled the field

My cavalry took a pounding from archers and fled the field

Del meanwhile fired his mounted archers at a unit of foot that had advanced towards the flank out of long-range. Scoring several hits one was rolled for and killed the commander forcing a morale roll by Rick. Rick made the morale roll very convincingly with a 12. More casualties followed with the first morale roll also a 12 but the second time a morale roll was forced the penalty of not having a leader and over 20% loss took its toll. The unit was forced to retreat one full move.

Brian moves up his smart looking cavalry now that mine have fled

Brian moves up his smart-looking cavalry now that mine have fled

Rick has a lot of troops bearing down on one flank

Rick has a lot of troops bearing down on one flank

At that point we stopped for the night. I am not sure it is historically accurate for the defending force to just wait for the opposition behind a light fence and shoot away but it seems as though making the attackers come to you would be better than running out and attacking a superior force. We both have been taking the casualties from various types of missile fire with the attackers mantlets really help protect the matchlock troops in the center. Perhaps I will need to get more aggressive to save myself from being slowly shot away from distance. As a defender it seems counter intuitive and I feel like I am being drawn out but I must remember this is a different period not ACW or Napoleonic. Next week we will continue the battle and I will need evaluate what I can do in the meantime.

Heavy cover for the mantlets in the center were a real problem for us

Heavy cover for the mantlets in the center were a real problem for us

Rick again deserves credit for the nicely painted figures and setting up the battle. It was an enjoyable evening and perhaps I can get the handle of what my forces are really capable of soon.

Next week we will see if Del and I can hold the cross roads

Next week we will see if Del and I can hold the cross roads

Gallipoli: The Dardanelles Disaster in Solders’ Words and Photographs

This is a book that I asked my wife to get from a library she has accesses too and it was very different and well worth the read.  It as opposed to other books on the subject is less about the politics, the mistakes and battles but the everyday life form the soldiers point of view.

The book uses largely unpublished diaries and letters from many individual from the common soldier to high command.  Navy, army and even Turkish soldiers.  The book will mention the conditions of a battle then have the exact battle described by the participants in their own words.

This was a new experience for me as I had never read so many descriptive entries from so many individuals on the subject before.  It was interesting getting the Turkish viewpoint on the same event with the diaries of Turkish Soldiers.

If you are looking for an analysis of all the politics and military decisions you can look at this previous post for a good book to read. If you want to read the everyday events in the words of the men this a great description of life at Gallipoli.

For the wargamer the book may not hold a whole lot but it is full of very good photographs many unpublished before.  This gives an idea of the battlefield as does the soldiers individual descriptions.  Warfare for the period is also described in detail.  The uniforms are seen in all kinds of weather in the photographs as well so a wargamer might get some help from it their.

The author who does not go deep into blame like other books does offer an interesting new take on it to me.  The sending of old, unqualified both in health for the conditions and age in years removed from active service is seen as a culprit by the author.  The best and most able officers were wounded and or killed early and so the expedition was doomed with older officers not ready for the rigors of the environment or new realities of warfare.  Lord Kitchener’s new army sent to the western front in Europe got the best officers so he was in a large part to blame for the disaster. An interesting point of view I had not heard expressed before.

Group outing for the Wednesday Night Gamers of Alexandria to Gettysburg Battlefield

This event was in May and as I am often behind with the blog it is now being posted. One of the members of our club was good enough to suggest a group outing to an American Civil War battlefield. This turned out to be a popular idea as members wives also went along some going to the battlefield others choosing to do other local things. The trip included a licensed battlefield guide who was excellent.

The group decided on going to Gettysburg and learning more about the 1st days battle with a licensed battlefield guide named Phil Musket. I know it was hard to believe that is his real name and he was very good. Of the eight of us who went to Gettysburg six of us went on the trip with the guide around the battlefield covering the first day of fighting on July 1st 1863.

My wife and I had gone up to Gettysburg early on the day before the tour with the guide and went to the new museum at the National Battlefield Visitor Center. It is an improvement over the old Cyclorama. We spent hours at the museum and enjoyed it. The tour with the licensed guide was the next morning and was around three to four hours.

(click photographs for larger images)

Dreary May morning for the 1st day of Gettysburg

Dreary May morning for the 1st day of Gettysburg

I really have to recommend the idea of having a licensed battlefield guide give you a tour. He really knew his stuff I learned all kinds of things I did not know. He was very interesting to listen to and had visual aids such as maps and photographs of what areas looked like during the period of the battle. He answered questions as we really got our walking in as we parked several times and walked to places on the battlefield.

Phil Musket our licensed battlefield guide.

Phil Musket our licensed battlefield guide.

First gun line supporting Union Cavalry first day

First gun line supporting Union Cavalry first day

Looking towards where the Confederate Infantry came from on the first day

Looking across the fields like the first day.

The guide did so much more than point out regimental statues. He explained how much distance units had to cover and if they were in double ranks or single rank line. The guide really got into the effects of the terrain on the battle and as you walked around pointed out what you could and could not see. From a wargaming standpoint, this led to some interesting discussions among the group.

Reconstructed barn scene of the first day fighting with Union Cavalry and are guide

Reconstructed barn scene of the first day fighting with Union Cavalry and are guide

Had the exact length of lines for units described by our guide

Had the exact length of lines for units described by our guide

 

Walked to many points on the battlefield

Walked to many points on the battlefield

The guide also was able to answer questions on weapons present, ranges and rate of fire during the battle. Also of interest to the wargamers and led to more discussions among members of the group. The guide was knowledgable and took time to answer any question asked by anyone in the group.

Everyone got a lot of information on the different units that fought on the first day

Everyone got a lot of information on the different units that fought on the first day

General Reynolds Marker

General Reynolds Marker

 

Looking across the railroad cut at the eternal light. Learned a lot I did not know about the railroad cut

Looking across the railroad cut at the eternal light. Learned a lot I did not know about the railroad cut

Looking from these confederate positions you can't even see the railroad cut

Looking from these confederate positions you can’t even see the railroad cut

This turned out to be an enjoyable little trip for everyone as we enjoyed ourselves inside the town as well as the battlefield. Everyone had been to Gettysburg more than once before but really felt they had learned new things and gotten a lot out of the experience. The weather might not have been the greatest but other than that it had a lot going for it.

I did not know the eternal light gave Jackie Kennedy the idea for the eternal flame until that day

I did not know the eternal light gave Jackie Kennedy the idea for the eternal flame until that day

Ended the first day tour on the defensive lines of Cemetery Hill

Ended the first day tour on the defensive lines of Cemetery Hill

I really have to give credit to Rick as he arranged for a Hotel and the licensed battlefield guide. Rick did an excellent job and it was a great idea he came up with in the first place. Now members of the group are looking at next year going to Gettysburg and having a licensed guide tour us around the second day of the battle.

New Feudal Japanese Figures

The Wednesday Night Gamers of Alexandria has a member with a collection of figures that he has been putting together that had never been used before in a game. So after a two night American Civil War battle based on the first day of Gettysburg we went ahead and decided to try something new. Rick brought his Feudal Japanese Samurai to the club for a tryout. This took place in May and I am late in posting it. Rick brought his really nice Old Glory 25mm figures painted by Fernando Enterprises in Sri Lanka. These figures Rick worked hard on having the painters do really specific work on these figures and in my humble opinion it really paid off. These figures have a nice paint job.

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First look at Rick's figures

First look at Rick’s figures

 

Nicely painted foot and cavalry

Nicely painted foot and cavalry

Banners look good

Banners look good

Rick used nice brass rods for spears but they were sharp

Rick used nice brass rods for spears but they were sharp

As two of us in the club had copies of Killer Katana rules we had decided to use these rules and I prepared for this by creating the cards to be used for movement. This game was for the club members to get a feel for this period so we did not set up a historical battle or any historical formations. We wanted to keep it fairly simple for a first time out for most everyone. Some forces were put together with the black side having a little more cavalry and troops and the red perhaps a little more in the way of higher quality of troops.

Black side ready to move out.

Black side ready to move out.

Another nice look at the black side figures ready for combat

Another nice look at the black side figures ready for combat

Movement is card based with 4 infantry and 4 cavalry cards per side per turn. The sides set up freely with Rick on the red side setting up a slight arrow-head formation and Del the black side with an alternating formation of infantry types with cavalry on the flanks. Movement being slow allowed for some maneuvering on both sides. First blood was on Del who poked himself on a brass spear of his own troops. He had been warned beforehand to be careful. Then the red side matchlock fire caused a casualty.

Del moves his forces towards Rick's troops

Del moves his forces towards Rick’s troops

After both sides moved up ranged fire troops firing archers and matchlocks which was largely ineffective. During the battle we found that even though archers did not have to reload they were not that effective at long-range vs an armored enemy. On the right flank after several turns we had our first challenge and personal combat of the game. The rules for this period allow for leaders to be challenged to personal combat. The leaders may decline combat but may be forced to face a morale roll for doing so depending on who challenged them. The red cavalry commander at +1 challenged a black side cavalry commander who was a -1. Leaders quality level had been diced for and was not known by the other side.

Rick contemplates a challenge of one on one combat

Rick contemplates a challenge of one on one combat

So to forego having a morale roll the challenge was accepted and the two mounted samurai leaders met in single combat rolling two dice. After several rolls the red leader with a +1 was inflicting more wounds. At 5 wounds one from death the black leader broke off and returned to his troops. The red leader going up one level and the black cavalry unit having to take a morale roll for seeing their leader break off the single combat. The unit easily made the morale as they are obvious very loyal and no what to expect from their leader.

 

This was followed by several red cards drawn that allowed for the follow-up charge of the red cavalry unit on the right side of the table against another cavalry unit of samurai. This led to a series of melee victories by Rick’s red cavalry unit. They kept winning causing more casualties and pushing back the other cavalry unit. Rick followed up fighting the melee until the enemy unit was destroyed as they never failed morale. Their leader the one who had lost the personal challenge did escape alive. Perhaps a further example of his current -2 level, but his troops were loyal to him to the end.

Rick's cavalry was victorious but got a little overextended

Rick’s cavalry was victorious but got a little overextended

At the end of this combat we discussed the results and felt this matched up with our reading of the period and fighting to the death would be accurate. Meanwhile this had caused the victorious cavalry to become a little overextended out in front of supporting friendly troops. Meanwhile a card turn allowed the black side under Del to take advantage of this and turn an infantry unit of long lance troops into the cavalry flank. This turned into a pivotal move. Charging into the flank after several rounds of melee the red cavalry unit after taking more than 50% casualties routed and were forced off the table.

Rick's cavalry caught by the enemy in flank and destroyed

Rick’s cavalry caught by the enemy in flank and destroyed

At this time each side had lost a mounted unit of samurai and continued to maneuver for long-range fire. The fire though still ineffective with archers was starting to cause casualties among the infantry with the matchlocks. Each side had a single infantry unit fall back due to morale rolls but were not totally out of the fight.

Both side advance on one another doing about equal damage

Both side advance on one another doing about equal damage

So after one night we got to experience the way the cards system worked. We had a personal challenge accepted. We had melee and long-range missile fire. Morale rolls were made and failed. A little bit of everything and the battle is far from over at this time. Next week it will continue and we will who the ultimate will be.

 

All with these new figures being used for the first time had a real good time. I know for myself it is always nice when you get to try out some figures you have been just working on investing the time and money on and Rick was pleased to try his figures out. The figures have a real wow factor for me as the paint job is first-rate and his brass long lances and spears add to the figures even more.

Nice paint job on the matchlock troops

Nice paint job on the matchlock troops

Great night to get these nice looking new troops on the table a try

Great night to get these nice looking new troops on the table a try

I was unable to make it to the next week’s get together to see the ultimate finish of this game so I was unable to document the outcome of this battle. As it was largely an introduction to the period and a rule system the outcome was not of great importance.