The idea of pitting these two armies against each other in a multi-player game had been buzzing around in my head for a while – one of those ‘what ifs’ of history which we can played out on a wargames table. I aimed to pick two armies with a point value of approximately 250 each and settled for 263, which gave both sides four generals and a good balance of different troop types:
4 x Mounted Samurai @16 points 64
4 x Foot Samurai @ 15 points 60
5 x Ashigaru with Yari @ 8 points 40
3 x Ashigaru bowmen @ 8 points 24
5 x Ashigaru handgunners @ 7 points 35
4 x Generals @ 10 points 40
Total Army Points = 263 (21 units + 4 generals)
4 x Akinji light horse @ 11 points 44
4 x Spahis Cavalry @ 12 points 48
1 x Quapakulu Cavalry @ 17 points 17
7 x Spearmen @ 8 points 56
6 x Azab archers @ 7 points 42
1 x large field guns @ 10 points 10
1 x Small bombard @ 6 points 6
4 x Generals @ 10 points 40
Total Army = 263 points (24 units + 4 generals)
The terrain layout was, by now established tradition, chosen and positioned by a member of the club not involved with the game. There was a very useful road stretching across one side of the table and Tony, Steve and myself (the Ottomans), having won the di roll, chose this side and set our army up first. Dave and Jack then deployed the samurai centrally on their side of the table with the samurai units concentrated on their left.
The opening move saw Tony launch 8 cavalry units towards Dave’s mounted samurai to engage in a shooting match while Steve and I advanced our infantry forwards towards two wooded areas which we wanted to control. Tony managed to recoil one mounted samurai unit forcing it back and therefore disrupting another. Dave retaliated by charging with the other three in his next game turn.
The cavalry battle on the left was fast and furious while the shooting battle in the centre was a pretty even affair with both sides slowly whittling down each other in a battle of attrition. On our far right, however, Steve had advanced into the large area of woodland and forced Jack backwards only for this to be reversed in the following game turn. I advanced my large field guns along the road at the edge of the contested woodland to try and support my struggling line of shooters only to see them destroyed by Jack’s well - timed counter- attack.
Three mounted samurai units including a general were finally defeated by Tony’s weight of numbers and tactical astuteness, but at a cost of 4 Ottoman cavalry. The casualty count on both sides was increasing steadily and I could make no progress in the centre where two units of foot samurai took possession of the wooded area, their A2 armour making it very difficult to dislodge them by shooting from such terrain.
Eventually, after a titanic struggle, Steve managed to defeat the ashigaru and another general defending the large wood on our right which gave us a chance of out-flanking their left wing. However, Dave had sent his only remaining mounted samurai unit across in support which succeeded in stopping our advance. At this stage I don’t think either side was too keen on doing a casualty count! A quick scan of the field clearly indicated that both sides where down to half strength, but everyone was too involved to draw attention to the fact!
Dave and jack had managed to re-establish a very stubborn defensive line bolstered by their three remaining foot samurai units. The Ottomans would need time to re-organise ready to launch a final attack, they still had all 4 of their generals whilst the samurai were down to 2, but with their line still looking strong. The time was pushing towards 10 pm and so we agreed a truce! A points count would probably reveal a marginal Ottoman victory, but who’s counting! Both armies had fought each other to the death in a very even contest indeed.