Malaya Day was my first gaming experience with or against Japanese and it produced, for me, the closest and most tense open day game of all I’ve had the pleasure of participating in. Being the one that made the decisions for more than just my own troops and table brought a stress that was much different from previous events. I had no bad die-rolling to blame this time.

I was pretty comfortable with the British set-up as agreed with the table commanders, Baz / Andy (Table 1) and Gerard (Table 2), with El Jel and Neil lined up for a virtual table 3 and primed for a reserve role. Both Tables 1 and 2 had their weak spots but with the prospect of “fire-brigading” the Table 3 guys I was not unduly concerned with a two-table attack.  

Of course, life is rarely that simple and the problems started from the moment that the virtual Table 3 turned into real one, full of outflanking Japs: and Richard has threatened to do a whole article on the expression on my face when, even after a double recount, I could still see three tables in front of me rather than the expected two when I walked into the room. The effect of this extra real estate was to stretch the British resources so that troops originally tasked with just delaying the Japs now had the revised job of actually stopping them. Oh joy.

The first problem was the Table 2 eastern flank when the Japs infiltrated quickly and started to roll up the Gurkhas' lines. Given that this was the table that both housed the least number of troops and was earmarked for the first reinforcements, I took the decision to strip table 3 of some of its force in order to avert a disaster. In the event, this proved to not be the wisest decision as attacks developed elsewhere that would ultimately cause more concern.

I won’t go into the “local” details as others will cover this with more accuracy. We lost but though no fault of the five table commanders who fought valiantly in the face of seemingly endless Japanese assaults: at one point I thought Kelvin on Table 3 was printing their bloody blinds off. I certainly did not help by putting the anti-tank mines on a table where no tanks appeared: I came second in that particular game of I know that he knows that I know… 

I suppose the most telling error was reacting to the potential disaster on Table 2 immediately rather than waiting to see how it developed. Perhaps the extra platoon would have stemmed the yellow tide washing over the Brits left on Table 3, but it might have been more properly deployed on Table 1, and for that I have no one else to blame. Oh, and Leeds lost 3-0 to Watford which really made my day. They played in yellow as well.

Must say thanks to Nick, Rich and Nod for running each table in an exemplary fashion and to Rob for putting together what turned out to be a close run affair. Special mention must go to the guys that cobbled together the terrain – it looked spiffing – even if there was more of the stuff than the British had planned for!

Mike "Aristillus"