Martin's Introduction: We played scenario number 1 in the excellent Lion Gate campaign yesterday. I have uploaded the photos.
What a monster scenario. We played it on a 10' by 6' board modelled to scale from the map. We used 1 figure to depict 2 men as I'm a few figures short of the amount required. To be honest - even if I'd had the figures - I don't think there would have been the space in 20mm. It was bloody crowded as it was. You will also note that I had to use hooches instead of pillboxes - fresh out of pillboxes! I also used hedges instead of barbed wire. I don't think the overall effect looked too bad.
We only had time for the first three waves. There were enough left over for a fourth wave but we all agreed the result was a British victory. The Japanese simply didn't have the materiel left to do the job.
Subedar Nawin Chandra grimly took up his binoculars and surveyed the scene before him. He had just got off the telephone from the comedian in headquarters who phoned to tell him that there might be an attack on. He allowed himself a small wry grin at the irony of the call before grimacing as another shell burst somewhere far too close. A flotilla of Japanese ships lined the bay and from that flotilla came an ever growing mass of smaller craft teeming with Japanese soldiers. "This is it" he said to himself, it's death or glory time.
The Japanese could not have asked for better conditions, with a clear night, a calm sea and bright moonlight reflecting off the sea in front of the Dogras' positions. Chandra's biggest problem, however, was manpower or rather the lack of it. A force of double their size would have trouble defending this stretch of beach. However, they had made the best fist of it they could, sowing minefields and laying barbed wire to hopefully turn the beaches into a rather hot place for an invasion force to be.
The first wave was nearly upon them, and despite coming under murderous small arms fire and shots from mortars and the saluting gun that was "appropriated" from the Sultan of Kelan Tan, the first wave hit Badang beach relatively intact. Dozens and dozens of Japanese soldiers interspersed by engineers poured forth onto the narrow stretch of land. The sound of gunfire was absolutely deafening as a huge number of rounds cut into the invaders. This sound was punctuated by the muffled explosions of newly discovered landmines together with the clarion calls of artillery shots from the mountains behind them.
Several Japanese squads made it up to the barbed wire surrounding the two pillboxes and it appeared that some of the engineers had cleared and marked a path through the minefields perilously close to Havildar Ik's gun position. Suddenly the invaders broke through the barbed wire and were fighting at close quarters with the Dogras manning the 2nd Pillbox. The fighting was brutal, and Chandra had to finish one of the Japs off with his service revolver before the concussion of a grenade stunned them all. Suddenly the pillbox reverberated as an artillery salvo came down far too close. When the smoke had cleared, the Japs appeared to have melted away. A ragged cheer went up, and Chandra pointed out that there were plenty more where they came from.
He looked around at the scene inside the pillbox. They had been hit hard and although the Japanese invading force seemed to be dwindling – it was clear to him that they could not take on another wave. He risked another look through his binoculars past the carnage outside his position and confirmed his worst fears – there was another wave heading for the same beach. He quickly gave the order to get the reserve up to reinforce the decimated position. He grimly hoped they would make it before the next wave arrived.
Just as the first attack wave faltered, the next wave approached the beach. Subedar Chandra knew it was all down to whether this wave could capitalise on what the engineers had cleared in the wave before. What was left of the first wave was no longer a worry, however, he dreaded to think what would have happened if they had brought the second wave in a little quicker.
This time, good fortune smiled on the Dogras as the waves picked up a little and a couple of the landing craft foundered, spilling their men out into water that was too deep to wade through. In addition, a lucky shot from Havildar Ik blew one of the landing craft out of the water, sending the hapless occupants to a watery grave. Any jubilation was short lived however, as an errant shot from the flotilla of Japanese ships landed close to Havildar Ik's gun position, bringing a tree down on the 18-pounder gun, rendering it useless.
Although the Japanese had suffered large losses, this wave seemed somehow more determined than the first and punched through the barbed wire yet again. This time they completely overwhelmed Jemadar Singh's pillbox and put all to the sword, and the pillbox fell into imperial hands.
The fighting degenerated into a much more staccato affair with ragged volleys of shots between the two pillboxes. One of the soldiers in the pillbox still in British hands risked a look out to sea. It was with some relief he noted that the third wave appeared to be heading for the island beach to the East of their position.
Lance Havildar Do had made the same observation and realised that they were heading for the spit of land on which his pillbox was rather precariously perched. He started to scream down the field telephone to the forward observers, demanding that they shift the focus of the mountain batteries to his beach. Lieutenant Tombs calmly explained that it was a bit risky – some could fall on British positions. "I don't bloody care!" shouted Lance Havildar Do. "There won't be any damn British positions if you don't do something, Sahib!"
Despite the small arms and mortar fire welcoming them, the third wave arrived with only superficial casualties and launched themselves up the spit of land surrounding the pillbox. The fighting was intense and casualties heavy on all sides, but it was clear that the position was not going to last very long. The artillery was once more dead on target and the entire 3rd wave were caught in the devastation. When the smoke cleared all that could be seen were the dead and wounded that littered the beach and the pillbox was no more than a smoking ruin.
As dawn approached, Subedar Chandra surveyed the battlefield. He was as pleased as punch with the pinpoint accuracy of the artillery barrages that Singh and Tombs had brought down on the invaders. Although he could see the signs of a fourth wave forming up, he very much doubted they would risk another in broad daylight. The Dogras had performed well, and he had no doubt that this boded well for the campaign in the far East against the Japanese!
Kevin's Postscript: I have to admit (playing the British) to having some very jammy rolls, for once my artillery was spot on with almost every salvo (only one deviated by 3"), and secondly I rolled more than my fair share of "no damage" for my troops when hit. It was a long game, and we didn't quite finish the 3rd wave (50+% dead), let alone get to the 4th wave, but the outcome was in no doubt by then. Thanks to "Spoons" for setting up and umpiring the game (not to mention writing the initial battle report).
Martin Grimes & Kevin Tait