From Wikipedia: "
The simple Pz8 WW1 Divisional rules were designed for 1915-18 trench warfare, but I was encouraged by some scenarios designed by the French wargamer Pierre Laporte, to try them for open battles. I made a scenario for the Battle of the Yalu River and I played it solo, with my brand new 1904-05 Russian and Japanese armies, in the unusual 4mm scale. You can download the file, with order or battle, map and special "banzai" rule, in the Rules page.
The Russian rolled for Field Defences and they were really lucky: with 6 Trenches and 5 wires, they could hold the Yalu River banks very strongly. On the other side, the Japanese did not try to make a preliminary bombardment, preferring to hold their precious artillery round to support their assaults.
First Japanese attacks were victorious but bloody, and the Russians managed to hold the centre, thanks to efficient artillery support and lethal machine guns. The Japanese crossed the Yalu River on the right and left wings, inflicting many casualties to the Russians too.
Japanese Guards were ordered a Banzai charge, supported by concentrated artillery fire, but they were repulsed! Even if some Japanese battalions managed to take some sectors in the second line of the Russian defences, the centre and the hills were still in enemy's hands. Japanese last artillery rounds were spent but the situation did not change and the Russian even tried a counter attack, that failed.
At the end of the fourth turn, the Japanese could not advance further and did not occupy at least all the first line of enemy defences, giving the victory to the Russians. Probably the battle would have been different, if the Russian could not count on all those Field Defences... I will play it again and see.
I spent some evenings painting the tiny 4mm miniatures from Tumbling Dice (see my previous article). I took some photos with my cell phone, in the dull light of winter afternoon, but I hope that at least you can have an idea of how they look when painted.
Those on the left are the Japanese, in dark blue uniforms, while those on the right are the Russians in a yellowish khaki. I used 25mm wide bases that accomodate one strip in close order, each with 8 figures; I cut the loose order infantry in strips of 6 figures, and used the remnants to make some skirmisher bases.
Cavalry bases have 8 figures each, with some loose mounted figures representing HQ. Artillery and machine guns are one on each base, with some figures from the support weapons strips to represent crew. Gun models (British 18 pdr guns) are not really appropriate for the period but... I am not a perfectionist. I simply painted them in grey or green to represent the nationality, and they will be "artillery" in my games...
To paint the figures, I followed the usual technique for painting 6mm miniatures: black undercoat and drybrush of basic uniform colour, then details. I managed to paint the gaiters, the blanket roll over the backpack, and even the red trousers of the bold Japanese cavalry. An exaggerated blob of flesh for faces, was the final touch.
With one "WW1 Infantry Brigade" pack I was able to make two small armies, that I am planning to use with different rules: Pz8 WW1 Divisional, Belle Epoque (both downloadable from the Rules page) and Simplicity In Practice, two pages horse & musket rules by Neil Thomas, modified for early 20th century.
Indeed these small figures could be used for other obscure conflicts, like the 1911 Italo-Turkish War in Lybia, or the 1912-13 Balkan Wars. I wish that Tumbling Dice would one day expand the range to include some useful troops type, like infantry in fez, in colonial helmet, and early quick-firing artillery. Or maybe, given the really small scale, it is only a matter of using a different paint scheme, or even modifying the headgear in some simple way?
From Wikipedia: The Port Arthur (Japanese: 旅順攻囲戦, Russian naval base at the tip of the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria, was the longest and most violent land battle of the Russo-Japanese War.Port Arthur was widely regarded as one of the most strongly fortified positions in the world at the time. However, during the First Sino-Japanese War, General Nogi Maresuke had taken the city from the forces of Qing China in only a few days. The ease of his victory during that previous conflict, and overconfidence by the Japanese General Staff in Japan's ability to overcome improved fortifications made by the Russians, led to a much longer campaign, with much heavier losses than expected.
The Siege of Port Arthur saw the introduction of much technology used in subsequent wars of the 20th century (particularly in World War I) including massive 11 in (280 mm) mortars capable of hurling 500 kilogram shells over 8 kilometres, as well as rapid-firing light howitzers, Maxim machine guns, bolt-action magazine rifles, barbed wire entanglements, electric fences, arc lamp searchlights, tactical radio signalling (and, in response, the first military use of radio jamming), hand grenades, trench warfare, and the use of modified naval mines as land weapons."
I designed a very simplified Port Arthur scenario for my Pz8 WW1 Divisional rules and while in the process of painting two Russian and Japanese armies (in the very tiny 1/600 scale), I sent it to Pierre Laporte, game designer and author of a number of other Pz8 WW1 scenarios... just to give a try.
Pierre and his friends use unpainted 1/72 plastic figures for their quick and fun games... each one representing a whole Battalion. Maybe some purists will be horrified, but I applaud (even if i prefer painted miniatures on my table).
Here is what he wrote to me: "I had fun playing the RJW scenario, thanks again, although the Japanese player (me) lost the game, the central hill remaining in the hands of the Russians despite desperate banzaï attacks. I felt that the "banzaï" rule worked well, however, I was tempted to attack piecemal in order to avoid too much appalling losses, in vain! The attached picture show the Redbox figures and the simplified terrain on which the game was fought."
If you want to give a look to the Port Arthur scenario, with map, army lists and the special "banzai" rules for the Japanese, go to the Rules page.