Blimey, what a nail biting classic thanks to Mr Avery. I must admit to being utterly drained at the end of the day, I went home, had my dinner and was in bed by 8pm!
Three tables (much to the surprise of the Brits who were expecting two) each 5' by 9', so a large playing area. The battle being refought was Kampar which historically was fought over three or four days at the end of December and start of January 1941.
The two tables the British were expecting were to the east and west of a significant limestone peak of the Gunung Bujang range. On Table One we had the main north-south trunk road passing through a valley between two hills occupied by an Indian Company. They were backed up by a British Company, the main artillery position and some anti- tank guns.
On Table Two the Gurkhas were blocking a secondary trail south through the jungle where an attack could outflank the main position of Table One.
The third table was set off to the south west of the main position and had the beach where the Japanese landed to outflank the British position top the west. There, historically, they had to fight their way through some very tough British troops who were being trained for commando duties and the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders with some armoured car support.
Robert took overall control and Noddy, Nick and I each umpired one of the tables. The British and Japanese commanders were able to transfer troops between the tables, as long as they controlled the route to allow that, and the artillery and air support could be switched around are required.
My view point was Table One, and suffice to say here that it was a battle where the initiative swung one way and t'other. The Japs had deployed their armour to support a hefty attack on the British positions, and then slogged their way down the table, by-passing some British positions, and clearing others are required.
On Table Two the smallest Japanese force did remarkably well: clearing the Gurkhas from the first ridge but faltering against the second line of defence despite some heroic attempts to break through.
On Table Three the Japs landed and fought a desperate action against the Independent Company, overwhelming it through sheer weight of numbers, before running into the brick wall that was the Highlanders. For some time the brave Scots held the line, but eventually weight of numbers forced them to conduct a fighting withdrawal against an overwhelmingly numerically superior enemy. This they did with some panache, I am told, infliciting hideous casualties on the hordes of Nippon. But all was up. With the odd isolated platoon holding out the Japs by-passed them and streamed up the road towards Table One.
By now the Japs on table one were pushing hard against the British artillery positions, with the 25 pounders now firing over open sights. The Japs surged forward but were twice thrown back by anti-tank gunners fighting hand-to-hand inspired by a British Colonel. One brave Japanese tanker rammed his light tank into the lead 25 pounder, but still the British line held.
But now refugees from Table Three were arriving on their flanks, one vehicle actually on fire as it careered through the streets of Lardak amongst the guns. The Japs were on the flank and only minutes behind them! This was sufficient for the precious guns to be limbered up and moved south, the Japanese pausing to lick their wounds while the valiant defenders, what was left of them anyway, pulled off.
It was a day that went to the wire, but all credit must go to the Japs who did not hesitate but maintained the pressure and kept pushing on.
Full credit must go to Robert Avery for designing such a tremendous set of linked scenarios that really felt like the single entity that they, in fact, were.
For my part, Robert's efforts meant that I could just get on with running my table rather than take overall control, and that was a real treat. It is very interesting how Chinese Whispers (Japanese Whispers) mean that you get snippets of information from other tables, but you actually have no idea what is really going on anywhere else. In fact, when you actually find out, it is interesting how distorted your impression was from the odd sentence you overheard.
Thanks must go to the lads who bought the terrain with them, I think it was one of the prettiest Games Days we've had. Hopefully some pictures will follow. Another fab day at Lard Island, and I'm already thinking about the next one.