: The Siege of Port Arthur (Japanese: 旅順攻囲戦, Ryojun Kōisen), 1 August 1904 – 2 January 1905, the deep-water port and 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."
A Russian woman soldier at Port Arthur.
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
I just got in the post a WW1 Infantry Brigade in 1/600 scale from Tumbling Dice
, and I would like to share some photos and a description.
First of all, the service was excellent (I got the miniatures in a few days from UK to Continental Europe) and I received a list of all their 1/600 range of aircraft and land subjects, too.
The pack is made of 16 strips of infantry in close order, 16 strips of infantry in open order (each with 8 men), plus...
... 2 supply carts and 2 wagons with horses, 8 strips of supply weapons, 6 guns (you should specify if British, German or Russian when ordering... these are British 18pdr guns), 3 limbers with horses and mounted crews, 8 strips of cavalry.
Infantry are all standing, wear a peaked cap and have a backpack, making them suitable for early WW1 British, or Russian, or other later XIX - early XX century troops. Bases are 20mm wide for close order and 30mm wide for open order infantry. The little guys are 4mm tall from feet to eye (so to say), and this makes me think that they are bigger than 1/600 scale... if 1/300 is 6mm.
Guns, limbers and horses are nice, only the men sitting on the limbers are much smaller than their colleagues.
The wagons have again smaller men. Support weapons strips provide a variety of MGs, with shield and wheels or not, mortars and groups of men carrying something... I think they are ammo boxes.
Cavalry is proportionated to infantry and well sculpted, considered the microscopical scale. Riders wear a shako.
I plan to use these miniatures for 1904-05 Russian and Japanese, and/or the Russian Civil War, using the Pz8 WW1 Divisional Rules... how they will look when painted and based? I will let you know...
This evening I played (solo again) another scenario for the Pz8 WW1 Divisional rules: Le Matz 1918.
This time the Preliminary Bombardment was lucky for the attackers (German) that cleared 3 squares from the French field defences... even if 2 squares became "cratered" in the process. The Germans did not deployed trenches or barbed wire in their first row, making space to assemble more battalions in attack.
This tactic worked, together with efficient artillery support, and the Germans quickly occupied four enemy squares in the first row, while two other along the river resisted valiantly. German reinforcement came into the table from turn 2, and slowly moved to the first line. German attacks met more resolute resistance in the 2nd row and the two surviving French squares in the first row held the ground.
On turn 3, French tanks entered the battle. Two armoured units took position around the French bunker, then mounted a counterattack, supported by strafing planes (a special rule for this scenario), against a single German Stormtrooper unit... that resisted for one turn, than was wiped out. But when the tanks advanced, one unit was stuck in the muddy terrain.
On turn 6 the German were eventually able to occupy all the squares in the first row, but a roll of "5" ended the day. It was a German "Indecisive victory"... I am slowly learning to play my own rules...
After months I was able to play a short solo game: it's one of the scenarios designed by Pierre Laporte for the Pz8 WW1 Divisional rules... I played it with my 2mm WW1 armies (with British acting as US Marines...) and with the nice print-and-play WW1 fortifications provided by Pierre, that you can download in the Rules page. the gaming board is made from cork, with the squares marked with a black marker pen... the motive is inspired by the WW1 zig-zag trenches.
The US preliminary bombardment was particularly uneffective (only 1 german trench destroyed) and this conditioned the game. First US Marines assault were repulsed by the Germans, using gas, with heavy losses. The Americans were able to occupy only two squares in the German first row, but then expended their Artillery points in bloody, but unuseful attacks. Their offensive stalled with the US bridgeheads trying to cut the German barbed wire entanglements, again without success. After their last Artillery salvo, the Marines were still occupying only two enemy squares, without hope of further advance and with 9 of their Battalions wiped out... it was clearly a German victory.
Looks like I created a game that I can not win! Well, I will try the other scenarios by Pierre, including some open battles. Pz8 WW1 are very fast playing (30'-60') and 2mm miniatures are very flexible (for example, you can use British as Italians and German as Austrians... at least solo or between consenting adults ;-)
Pierre Laporte was so kind to send me a .bmp file with a whole set of top-down scenery for the Pz8 WW1 rules.
There are 6 trench and 4 barbed wire sections, 2 cratered squares, 1 village, 1 wood and 2 bunkers in the set, sized for a 75x75mm squared board. Just print 6 copies on picture paper, cut them and you are ready for the Great War.
Pierre and his friends use 20mm plastic figures, including the glorious WW1 Airfix range... but this scenery will fit be in scale with my 2mm WW1 armies, too.
You can download the file from the Rules
page, just scroll down.
I added to the Rules
page a .doc file with many inspiring scenarios for the Pz8 WW1 Divisional two-pages rules, written by Pierre Laporte and his group of "grognards".
- Belleau Wood 1918 (US vs German)
- “Massacre of the Innocents”, First Ypres, 1914 (German vs British)
- “A Noi !”, Isonzo, 1917 (Italian vs Austrian)
- Tanga, 1914 (British vs German)
- “Baltikum”, Outskirts of Riga, 1919 (German Freikorps/White Russian vs Latvian)
- Upper Silesia, 1919 (POW Militia vs German Freikorps)
- “Ils ne passeront pas !”, Verdun, 1916 (4 players) (German vs French)
- “Like lambs at the slaughter”, Suvla Bay 1915 (ANZAC vs Ottoman)
- Le Matz, 1918 (German vs French)
- “The Batko is fighting with his saber!”, Peregonovka, 1919 (White Russian vs Mahknovist )
Really well thought and complete with maps, they are an invaluable addition to my simple rules and I think, an interesting reading for all those interested in early 20th century wargaming... merci Pierre!
Coming home from my holidays, I found a nice surprise in my e-mail inbox: a French translation of the Pz 8 WW1 Divisional rules by Pierre Laporte, a veteran wargamer. Pierre says that these are "the best WW1 rules in the world" (his words, not mine) and added to the translation a cool scenario of the battle of Belleau Wood (1918) complete with a map. I will surely try this one with my tiny 2mm WW1 armies, and publish a battle report on this blog... in the meantime, you can download the French version here
: merci Pierre!
After the battle of Lissa (1866) there were not other major engagements between the Italian and the Austro-Hungarian fleets.
This is a fictional naval battle in 1916 (50 years after the famous Italian defeat).
1/3000 models are by Davco and include two hypotethical super-dreadnoughts: Francesco Caracciolo, that was only partially completed after WW1 and scrapped in 1921; and the "Schiff VIII" of the Ersatz Monarch Class, that existed only on paper. I used the Pz8 1939-41 Naval Rules
without modifications and played solo, picking the Italians with the "random activation" of the Austro-Hungarian.
LISSA 1916 Order of Battle:
Def Att Range
Erzherog Karl 1 1 3
Radetzky 1 2 3
Zrinyi 1 2 3
Viribus Unitis 2 3 3
Schiff VIII 3 4 4
Def Att Range
Dante Alighieri 2 3 3
Caio Duilio 2 3 3
Conte di Cavour 2 3 3
F. Caracciolo 3 4 4
In the first game the Austro-Hungarian fleet withdrew under smoke screens, after some indecisive fire from the super-dreadnoughts at long range... quite realistical, but I decided to try a second encounter.
This was more exciting with both fleets manouvering and counter-manouvering, until the Italians managed to deploy broadside and straddle the Austrian-Hungarians... Zrinyi was Crippled, but the K.u.K. Admiral ordered to advance again towards the blazing guns, singing the Imperial Anthem
... a rather suicide decision!
Viribus Unitis and Erzerhog Karl are sunk and the guns of the mighty Schiff VIII are silenced... the Imperial fleet retires past the burning Zrinyi and exits the table. A great imaginary victory for the Regia Marina
... and a fun game for me.
Here is a report of a WW1 game with the simple Divisional rules that you can download here
... German vs French 1918.
The picture shows the initial deployment, after the German preparatory bombarment. German artillery managed to clear the French barbed wire from 2 squares (= "cratered"). French deployed their MGs in defence of this area and the other Battalions in the first line, behind the other barbed wire section.
The Germans concentrated their tanks on one square and their Stormtroopers in front of the cratered area, then assaulted the French defences, supported by clouds of Poison Gas!
First German assaults managed to conquer almost all the first French line of defences, but one of their tank units was destroyed. The French quickly fired almost all their artillery support points and the Germans expended one turn clearing other barbed wire sections, making room for the incoming second wave...
Stormtroopers and Infantry battalions attacked through
cratered terrain and Poison gas clouds, but their assault failed on one square, halted by deadly MGs and by the last shells from French artillery.
At turn 6, a roll of "5" meant that the day was over... the Germans occupied all the squares in the 1st row after their half of the table, but two squares in the 2nd row were still defended by the valiant French... this meant "Indecisive Victory"
Casualties: 1 tank unit, 1 Stormtrooper Btg and 6 Infantry Btgs for the Germans; 6 Infantry Btgs for the French. In my games so far, I was never able to gain more than an Indecisive Victory... can you be a better WW1 Division Commander than me? (I bet yes...)
This is my third WW1 army in 2mm: the French. For these I experimented a different basing tecnique. When spreading the PVA glue on the bases, I left some blank spots here and there, then textured with fine sand. As for the previous armies, I painted the sand with brown, then painted the blank spots with gloss clear arcylic, to represent water pools.
The figures are primed black, then drybrushed with medium blue, with a final drybrush of light, greyish blue. I cut some single 2mm figures (!) from some skirmisher strips from the Irregular Miniatures 2mm Ancient range, and added them to some bases, as wounded / dead... glued with a small dot of PVA and handled with a pair of tweezers, than painted. I had also some strips of skirmishers from the 2mm Horse & Musket range, they are kneeled (not prone as the 20th century infantry) and some have recognizable rifles. I used them for making a couple of infantry bases, and cut them in sections of 2-3 men for the HMG bases (at this scale, no one will notice...).
In the picture, the base on the right has two strips of Horse & Musket skirmishers. Finally I added some barbed wire (see British army on a previous post). The blue uniform of the French make them rather recognizable on the battlefield... even at this incredibly tiny scale.