Saturday, 21 May 2016

13th August 1904 - Raid on the Shi-Shihung Gap

Afternoon all!  This is the battle report for our first tabletop engagement, the Guards Brigade's raid on the Shi-Shihung Gap.  You should shortly have a full email update for Week 2 with additional details and the week's slides.  Enjoy!

The level of work required for the updates is a bit overwhelming, so I've streamlined some things as you'll see.  I hope this is okay!

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.  It should look vaguely familiar based on the map!  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.

Our first engagement!  Questions, comments and quotes for the write up below, please!


  1. A bold sally by the Russian Guardsmen with savage casualties suffered by both sides. Clearly, these machine gun contraptions have the potential to be quite nasty!

    Great job on the Battle report and diagrams Ed, and the improvised terrain - it did the job admirably! Very easy to follow the battle and see what happened.

    1. Bold indeed - too bold, perhaps? We'll have to see...

      Thanks Paul, hopefully this way you still feel part of the battle, or as much as you can do from half the world over! Your pre-battle direction was brilliant, it meant that I could tune the moves so that I knew they'd be in line with what you'd want.

  2. It was definitely an interesting appearance, you're a fine opponent Paul - and thanks again for the superb admin work as ever Ed, running a solo game with 3 other people playing it!