Because H&H is a hex based system it was easy for me to quickly and precisely move, alter face and position all Alex’s units within specific hexes as directed. The camera position worked well although I think we will be able to improve this still further for the next game.
In line with my current research into the Imjin War – the Samurai invasion of Korea – I thought that it would pitch the Samurai against the Koreans. Both armies had 15 units each and 3 generals the compositions of which are listed below:
Late Samurai Army
6 x Mounted Samurai
3 x Foot Samurai
3 x Ashigaru handgunners
1 x Ashigaru bowmen
2 x Asigaru with Yari ( pike)
3 x Generals
3 x Heavy cavalry
4 x Light cavalry
4 x Hangunners
4 x Spearmen
3 x Commanders
All the ‘B’ class Korean cavalry, light and heavy have bows.
All the foot and mounted Samurai units are without bows, have A2 armour protection and are ‘B’ class.
All the Korean infantry and Samurai Ashigaru infantry are ‘C’ class.
Deployment and first moves.
Alex deployed first with his Ashigaru handgunners and bows to the front and the 9 units of foot and mounted Samurai in a second line behind. I echoed this deployment with my Korean hangunners lined-up with the light and heavy cavalry units positioned centrally behind. In the opening tactical moves, both armies advanced advanced slowly towards each other. I then halted my Koreans having established what I believed to be a strong position with my left wing adjacent to a 4 hex area of woodland.
Alex also halted his line and then sent 5 units of mounted Samurai towards the ‘North end’ or my left wing to circumnavigate around the aforementioned 4 hex wood. This was a clear attempt to get behind my left and rear and in response I had to switch my 3 units of heavy cavalry and a unit of spearmen to plug the gap between the wood and my table edge.
The handgunners of both sides opened fire and quickly started to inflict losses creating gaps in the opposing lines. This forced me to commit my light cavalry in the centre to deter the foot Samurai from advancing into contact. These units could evade but I had no intension of doing so – my line must hold position until the threat from the flanking Samurai was dealt with! This game would be all about timing and I committed 2 generals to units preparing to receive the charge of the mounted Samurai sweeping around my left wing. If the frontal and flanking Samurai attacks went in simultaneously this would in all probability defeat my Koreans. However, by sacrificing my light cavalry and handgunners in the centre I would buy time to defeat the flanking Samurai first, then hopefully switch the Korean heavy cavalry and their 2 generals back to the centre.
Alex had moved 2 units of ashigaru handgunners supported by a unit of mounted Samurai against the Korean spearmen of my right wing. These ‘C’ class infantry were soon recoiling back disrupted but to defeat them would take time, and with the unit of mounted Samurai busy demolishing my light cavalry, the decisive heavy cavalry engagement on the left wing was about to happen.
The Samurai flanking cavalry force only had 1 general against my 2 and when they charged home against the Korean heavy cavalry the only hand-to-hand combat that really mattered was the one involving the Samurai general. Sally had been rolling the dice pretty well for Alex so far and this, the key high pressure roll with 2D6 was not her best! The Samurai general lost the combat by 4 points. He and his unit recoiled disrupted losing a stand and was followed up by a unit of Korean heavy cavalry and a general. This single combat outcome switched control across to the Koreans.
With the Samurai flanking force out of command and control and effectively eliminated from the game, the 3 Korean heavy cavalry and 2 generals were free to come across and support their now struggling centre and right wing. They did take one game turn out to demolish some ashigaru infantry on route, but their arrival heralded the end of the game. When combined with the remaining Korean light cavalry units they would soon surround the Samurai infantry using their superior mobility and additional general.
The flanking Samurai cavalry was the deciding factor in this game. The main Samurai force was beginning to gain the upper hand against the Koreans in the centre and on the right when the swift defeat of the Samurai general, effectively removing 4 cavalry units from the game, permanently shifted the balance of power to the Koreans