Sunday 2 November 2014

Russo-Japanese War Game

Today we played a Russo-Japanese War game.

The scenario saw a single Japanese infantry regiment and two machine guns from Second Army holding a walled village on a large island in the middle of a river. A second regiment, with three field batteries, is posted on the south bank. The river is crossed by one bridge on the southern side of the island and two on the north. The river can be crossed at any point, but crossing at unbridged places will take two full turns and the unit that had crossed will be ruled disrupted for the whole of the turn after it crosses to the opposite bank.

At dawn the Russians made a surprise attack, with a barrage from six batteries falling on the southern bridge, destroying the crossing. Two Russian infantry divisions then moved to attack the isolated Japanese contingent. Immediately Japanese called up the remainder of Second Army, two and a half infantry divisions, 15 batteries and ten machine guns. The Japanese orders to secure the island then move across to the northern bank and establishing themselves on the heights there.

The game started with the first Russian division stepping off and quickly securing the edge if the river, while their artillery hammered the Japanese in the village. When the first Russians formed up into a march column to cross one of the bridges they were caught by Japanese machine gun fire and suffered badly. They stumbled back into line only to be driven further back by Japanese gun fire.

A Russian regiment crosses at the bridge and is then pinned down

At the other bridge a second Russian regiment formed march column and rushed across, but was quickly pinned down on the far bank by Japanese gun fire. For the next three turns this regiment was pinned down there. These two efforts ended the Russian attempts to cross the the bridges. The two remaining Russian regiments of the lead division, with the machine guns in support, forded the river, while the second Russian (Siberian) Division  moved up and dug in along the river bank.

Thr Siberians secure the river bank

In the centre of the table the single Japanese regiment crossed the river in support of regiment in the town. But no sooner had it deployed than it was caught by Russian machine guns and massed artillery and was destroyed. The regiment in the town soon met a similar fate.

The first Japanese reinforcements cross the river

The Guards division surges across the river followed by 2nd Division (below)

The reinforcing Japanese divisions had arrived and struggled across the river to the island. They soon had the two Russian regiments that had succeeded in crossing the river in trouble, driving one back and dispersing the other. Soon the only Russians across the river was the regiment that was pinned down near the bridge and two machine guns. This entire force took shelter in a wood.

The Japanese advance

The Japanese were now advancing in force. The Guards and 2nd Divisions pushed their way forward in a great mass under cover of their guns. The Russians were looking less and less likely to hold their line under the unrelenting pressure and conceded the fight.

The armies were 28mm. All of the infantry figures were Tsuba Miniatures, the machine guns and artillery were Redoubt.


  1. Great looking game - that is some collection.. way behind you at the moment.
    Always good to see the RJW hitting the table top.

  2. Thanks Stu. I have always been a little guilty of megalomania when it comes to wargames armies, but the collection is pretty much completed now. I just have one Russian infantry regiment to finish off, a few more guns and then some cavalry. I am still undecided about what to do about Russian cavalry.

  3. Excellent - I'll have to try that scenario with my armies in 10mm using Battles For Empire. We played your river crossing one - Japanese got slaughtered trying to cross the river

  4. Alan

    It was a good game. If I changed anything it would be to play across the table as opposed to along. The greater width would have given more manoeuvre space that would have been better suited to the size of the forces we used. The Japanese need lots of guns – we had 18 Japanese batteries against ten Russian

  5. Great looking game, your armies are outstanding and you are doing justice to a rarely 'gamed' conflict. Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi Mark,

    Please could you send me the download for the flags.

    Thank you in advance.



  7. Excellent looking game. A period I have often considered trying........

  8. >The greater width would have given more manoeuvre space

    We have found that with our games. Playing down the table is fine for Port Arthur or Nanshan style assaults but the IJA did like their flank attacks

    Any chance of a copy of the rules please? alan at wwis dot co dot uk

    1. Alan will send them in a day or in the real world is very busy this week and I need to regenerate the PDf after making a few minor changes following the last game.

  9. Great lookng game, these armies are fantastic...and unusual!