Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Campaign Feedback

Hello again all - so now this campaign is over, you should all have your copies of Doomed but Defiant (or they are in the post).  Paul emailed me the other day, and thought it might be nice to have a short discussion on the twists and turns of the campaign:

Actually, I would love a email with the Russian players' candid thoughts on the Japanese actions in the campaign.  

Was I predictable?  What took them by surprise?  What did thy see as the turning point(s)? What were their frustrations as the besieged?  What plans did they have that didn't come off or couldn't be executed.

I know some of that is in the book, but there is always more behind it.



  1. Speaking as an umpire with a foot in the Russian camp, I think the biggest departure from our expectations was how well-prepared the attacks were, and how much 'quiet time' there was. After the Shu-Shihung gap battle, I expected a furious Japanese response and I think the guys were hoping to provoke some more frontal assaults - but these never came. They knew the sapping and mining was going on, it was just that Paul held off in the face of the Russian provocations and only attacked when he was ready.

    Grant's famous story of Belmont, where he spent two days shadow-boxing an enemy division only to find it had withdrawn (and realising that "they were as scared of me as I was of them") applies here. I suspect Paul you thought those defences were very formidable - as indeed they proved to be, when the Chu-Kuan attack came - but they certainly felt very vulnerable to the trapped Russian commanders! Particularly in the west I was surprised there wasn't a concerted effort to break through in that direction since it was our weakest side, but I suppose the hills work both ways.

  2. (Apologies for the delay in replying!) My plan for the siege was to be as aggressive as possible on land and try to disrupt any siege activity as much as possible to by us as much time as possible. I'd written off ideas for a breakout. Shi-Shihung gap was going to be my modus operandi for the siege: short aggressive attacks with limited objectives. Shi-Shihung gap, while being a tactical victory, did little for us strategically. I was hoping at best to provoke a frontal assault (as Ed said) or at very least force an open battle. The Japanese response was expertly executed in containing our push without it developing into a major battle. The siege seems to continue slowly but inexorably tightening its grip on Port Arthur with our raids having little effect. A failure on my part was not appreciating how decisive the naval aspect would be. I thought the fleet could stay bottled up and provide fire support for the land battle- proving to be a fatal error. All in all it was a fantastic and enjoyable campaign that was expertly fought by Paul. Thanks to all for their hard work :)