Published today, and available to buy from the TooFatLardies shop, Blitzkrieg in the Far East 1: Japan is the sixth in the series of early war handbooks for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum. The handbook is 116 pages long and covers the Japanese army during the first phase of the War in the Pacific, December 1941 to June 1942, when its battle-hardened armies inflicted defeat after defeat on the Allies.
Unlike the other titles so far in the series, the nature of Japan’s campaign of expansion means that the booklet is not divided into sections defined by the different types of division that fought, but into sections defined by the different geographical mini-campaigns: Malaya and Singapore, Burma, the Philippines, The Dutch East Indies and the South Seas. In effect, it is several theatre booklets rolled into one.
There are a total of forty-eight different lists split as follows:
Malaya & Singapore: 7 lists from 25th Army
Thailand & Burma: 5 lists from 15th Army
The Philippines: 16 lists from 14th Army
Hong Kong: 1 list from 38th Division
Borneo: 2 lists from 35th Brigade
The Dutch East Indies: 15 lists from 16th Army
The South Seas: 2 lists from the South Seas Detachment
Finally, we have the usual ratings and armoury sections, and a note on air support.
Although designed for IABSM, Blitzkrieg in the Far East: Japan contains a vast amount of information useful to gamers of other systems, and is really a must-buy for anyone interested in the early war period.
The first game that I played at this year’s Operation Market Larden was a game of Chain of Command set in Malaya 1941 put on in 28mm by Mark Backhouse.
The British, played by Matt Slade and I, were represented by a platoon of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. We were defending: our mission was to prevent any Japanese troops exiting the table on our side: Mark, in the picture above, is standing behind the British baseline. A sub-plot also involved us getting a senior officer to the knocked out ambulance to rescue certain vital supplies.
As mentioned, we had a full platoon of Scottish infantry at our disposal: three sections, a light mortar team and a Boys anti-tank rifle team led by lots of officers. In support, we chose a Lanchester armoured car (mainly because this theatre is about the only place you can use one) and a roadblock, which we used to prevent the Japanese bringing any tanks on from the side road on our right flank.
The Japs, played by Jeff Davis and Ian Gilbraith, had the opposite idea. Their aim was to capture two thirds of the table (horizontally) allowing them to exit troops off the British baseline. They also had a secondary mission: explore the two huts in search of rice supplies.
The Japanese also had a full platoon to field, but their sections were enormous: fourteen strong IIRC. In addition to their three regular rifle sections, they also had a grenade launcher squad with three Mk89 teams. In support, they had a Chi Ha tank: something we were not looking forward to facing.
The Patrol Phase happened quickly, with the Japanese ending up with their Jump Off Points largely on their left side of the table. We had two of our JOPs on that side of the table too, but as we’d had to protect out entire front instead of being able to schwerepunkt along one road, we had another behind the hut on our left hand side of the table.
The Main Game Begins
The dice really fell for the Japanese in the early stages of the game. I’m not quite sure of the mechanic, but something about them rolling lots of 6’s on their Command Dice twice in a row meant that they shot up the battlefield until there was a section in the jungle to our right, the grenade launchers behind the hut just in front of our positions, and another section right in front of us in front of the hut.
The Japanese opened fire, promising huge amounts of devastation on our lead section. Fortunately (me rolling lots and lots of very low dice) the potential for large numbers of deaths was never realised. In fact, our only casualty was a junior officer knocked down…who promptly got back up again. This did, however, cost us two Force Morale points: the officer was obviously deeply unpopular!
Now the dice swung our way, and we had the chance to pour fire into the Japanese squad out in the open: which we did, knocking their strength down by half. At the same time, our Lanchester appeared, and promptly shot up the Japanese squad to the right.
It was all going so well…then this happened:
The Chi Ha took a shot at the Lanchester, hit it, and almost knocked it right back off the table. One more of them and we’d have no Lanchester left, and a dwindling number of Force Morale points.
Our light mortar popped some smoke down on the road between the Chi Ha and our armoured car, which gave us a little time to breathe…but what to do? There were still lots of Japs on the table, albeit half of them were pretty bashed up, but we needed to do something quickly and decisively if we weren’t going to spend the next four years building railways!
There was nothing for it: we would have to go forward and take the fight to the Japanese!
Bursting from the undergrowth, one of our sections rushed across the road to the right shouting strange Scottish epithets as they closed with the enemy. There were more Japanese there than we expected (the figures were hiding in the scenery!) and we lost the first round of close combat. This boded ill, but then Mark reminded us that as we were Scottish, we could ignore a loss by a mere one man, and carry on fighting until we were properly wiped out!
Back in went the Argylls, and in another two rounds of fighting (the Japs weren’t giving up the ghost easily either) we killed every enemy solider except one senior leader, who fled the field not to be seen again until 1966, when he finally emerged from the jungle not knowing the war had ended in ‘45!
The loss of so many of their men was too much for the already battered Japanese to survive. With a Force Morale of zero, they melted away back the way they’d come. Another successful Argyll ambush: time to fall back and do it all again tomorrow!
A cracking game of CoC, and one after which I am actually starting to remember the rules. I don’t think I’m switching from gaming companies in 15mm (IABSM, CDS, Q13) but I shall definitely play CoC again when I can.
Thanks to mark, Matt, Jeff and Ian for making it such a great game. Here are a few more piccies:
About a month ago, I saw an ad. or a post or something from miniwarfare.com talking about their new range of 15mm mdf buildings for the Vietnam War.
Now I already have five or six large 15mm far east-type buildings from Sarissa Precision, but one can never have too much of a good thing, so e-mailed ‘Frank’ in China and placed an order, paying by PayPal. This may seem like a somewhat foolish thing to do, but the prices were very good, and I like to encourage new traders even if there’s the possibility that I was going to be conned!
Frank was very easy to deal with, very prompt in his replies, and, about a month after payment, in through the letterbox came my huts…and very nice they are too.
Stilted Bamboo House $9.50
They are also incredibly easy to build: each wall and its stilts come in one piece and slot through the base giving the hut an automatic stability lacking from separate-stilt versions. The detailing is lovely, and although the roofs are perhaps a bit artificial looking, I can always cover them with my patent green fur technique that makes my Sarissa huts stand out from…well, everywhere really!
Large bamboo house $7.50
I particularly like the way that the large and small bamboo houses have windows that you can prop open on a stick. I thought that these would be a nightmare to glue into place, but one end of the stick comes with a little wedge-y bit that hooks it onto the window sill beautifully enough to make a dab of superglue take hold without any problems at all. The shutter then glues to the side of the house and the top of the stick. Much to my surprise, I had no problems whatsoever with doing this.
Small bamboo house $5.00
The matting inside the doors and open windows are just a bit of hemp cut and glued onto the inside of the huts, again something very easy to do.
So miniwarfare.com gets a highly recommended from me, and I wish Frank every success in the future. I wonder if he’s planning to do a 15mm Russian church yet…
PS Do feel free to mention Vis Lardica if you do buy anything from them. Oh, in case you are wondering, I have no connection to Frank at all: this is just a genuine glowing review!
Scenario #10, Slim River, is one of my favourite battles from the Fall of the Liongate scenario pack for I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum.
Taking place on 7th January 1942 (i.e. a month after Pearl Harbour), the Japanese have been hammering down the centre of Malaya, smashing most British Indian troops aside, and slowed only by the efforts of some Gurkha regiments and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. To continue their advance, they launch a sudden thrust down the single road that leads to the village of Trolak, their objective being the bridge there over the otherwise impassable Slim River.
Click on the pic below to see if the Japanese manage to take the bridge:
I umpired a tremendous game of I Ain't Been Shot, Mum! on Saturday!
Using the fourth scenario from the Fall of the Lion Gate scenario pack for Malaya and Singapore, the game focussed on the British defence against the main Japanese advance down the Malayan pennisular on 11th December 1941.
Previously the Japanese of the Saeki Detachment have chewed through the British Indian troops at Ban Sadao and The Ledge (cf) but now come up against somewhat stiffer opposition in the shape of 2/1 Gurkha Rifles...
I played the third scenario from the Fall of the Lionsgate scenario pack this week with the boys from Benson. Two great games featuring plenty of action. Click on the picture below to see the full reports:
I am never going to make any (far too much like hard, and messy, work) and in the past it's always seemed like a waste of money that could be spent on more soldiers.
That, however, was before I got my wargaming room back after its sabbatical as a kids playroom, and before I moved this website to Squarespace. I'm having more games now, and the photos are easier to process and upload, and my existing terrain...well, it just isn't up to scratch any more.
Wooden huts for the Eastern Front from 4ground
I have had very good experiences with 4Ground's range of wooden huts for the Eastern Front, so I thought I'd see if I could get some more of that sort of thing, but this time for the Far East.
A quick search of the web, and I found Sarissa Precision Ltd: a UK company that do a nice little range of laser-cut wood buildings just like 4Ground's.
They have six different village huts in their Far East range, so I bought one of each, and have spent the last few days putting them together: I love the smell of laser-cut wood in the mornings!
Once built, however, I felt they were slightly lacking something. Not in the models themselves, I hasten to add, they were lovely, just that the setting demanded something more.
So I have been very brave, and I have pimped them up!
First I've added a toupee of wool roving (whatever that is!) bought from the local Hobbeycraft to their roofs. This was quite difficult: it involved smearing white glue over the roofs, then carefully snipping off and sticking down layers of wool cording so they look a bit like some kind of vegetation. Don't ask me what sort of vegetation: just enjoy the look!
It didn't turn out just how I wanted it too.
Building One: Planked Style Village House - Low
Apparently you're supposed to be able to comb this stuff, and I had envisioned a sort of green thatch effect...whereas what I have achieved is more Boris Johnson! But I like it, and I think it will look good on the tabletop amongst the plastic palm trees and lichen.
Next, I thought that the empty holes for every door and window (on some of the huts: others have a wooden lattice effect) looked a bit odd.
Building Two: Small Village House
So back to Hobbeycraft and the purchase of a roll of hemp trimming. From this I have made crude blinds/curtains which actually round things off nicely. Flocked bases and the odd shutter finish things off: at least until I can buy some little pots and other household detritus with which to decorate the bases.
So a little bit of work to make them look super, but highly, highly recommended. Oh, and they cost £52.50 for the six, with only £2.50 p&p.
Here are the other four:
Building Three: Woven Palm Style Village House - Low
The Christmas holidays mean I have more time to finish re-loading all the content onto the new VL website.
I'm still working my way through the IABSM AARs, and great fun it is too. I have done all the scenario pack AARs, and the one-off game AARs, and am now working my way through the TFL Games Day AARs.
I have just finished uploading all the reports from the 2006 Malaya Games Day: a colossal battle involving over a battalion of infantry on either side at 1:1 scale, with the Japanese trying to force their way through the Lardak position, held by British Indian troops.
The next scenario pack updated for IABSM3 is "Fall of the Lion Gate". From the original press pack:
Make sure you can Banzai! with the best of them this Christmas with Robert Avery's latest pdf scenario booklet for "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum!".
An extensive history of the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Singapore accompanied by twenty-one unique scenarios for "I Ain't Been Shot, Mum!" including attacks, counter-attacks, encounter battles, an opposed landing, ambushes, fighting retreats, and even a last stand!
"Fall of the Lion Gate" contains the following scenarios: Kota Bahru; Ban Sadao; The Ledge; Jitra; Gurun; Grik Road; Kota Tampan; Kampar; Kuantan; Slim River; Muar; Bakri; Batu Pahat; Mersing; Layang Layang; Airstrip Road; Kranji Peninsular; Bukit Timah; Jurong Road; Nee Soon; and Pasir Panjang.
Each scenario contains a background history, maps, a full game briefing, and a full briefing for each player. Simply print out the pages you need, unpack your figures, set up the table, and away you go!
Scenario One from the Fall of the Lionsgate supplement: the Japanese enter WW2 at Kota Bahru, Singapore (not Pearl Harbour: due to international time zones, the attack on Kota Bahru was actually before Pearl Harbour).
I have added a microsite for the recent TFL Malaya Day 2006: where almost a score of the country's finest Lardies gathered to re-fight the battle of Lardak, a thinly disguised version of the battle of Kampar.
The microsite contains all the briefing documents, photographs and after action reports for the day. If anyone there has anything else to add (the missing AAR's or some more photographs) please click here to e-mail them to me.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.