Sunday, October 25, 2009

Forward! To the...East!(???)

So it appears!

I managed to twist the (rubber!) arm of Giovanni, my regular opponent- and mainspring of The West Tokyo Wargamers-  into giving Blitzkrieg Commander a try, probably in January.

But instead of fighting  Germans, we are going to have a bash at a Russian vs. Japanese game set in August 1945 when the once-mighty Japanese Kwangtung army was smashed into oblivion in one of the greatest campaigns of manoeuvre in modern history- what has come to be known as the "August Storm", the Blitzkrieg into Manchuria. 

This was an extremely well-planned and executed campaign waged by a finely-honed and battle experienced Red Army, flushed with victory over the once invincible Wehrmacht.  Confident in its leadership, equipment and skill, it demolished an army which, while well on the road of decline, was nonetheless one to be reckoned with and which was not known for any tendency to go down without a fierce fight. 

It was a campaign stretching over an area as large as Western Europe,  and from what I have read, the amazing success of the Soviets may had as much of, if not more of an impact on the decision of the Japanese leadership to surrender than did  the dropping by the Americans of the atomic bombs, as devastating and traumatic as they indeed were.

So, it all sounds like a lot of fun for the Japanese player, doesn't it? 

Well,  as a campaign clearly not, and certainly in many respects it is like Barbarossa 1941 in reverse.  Still, there is scope for some good scenarios; the Soviets had to keep to rigid timetables, establish bridgeheads as well as communication and supply lines, and there were lots of opportunities for Japanese forces to hinder the Red Army's advance, seeing that they would be pretty tough to winkle out in defence. 

The scenario would have to be designed so that the Japanese have a reasonable chance of meeting whatever victory conditions are set, and we'll probably beef up the Japanese side somewhat with more modern tanks compared to what were historically available, although nothing to match a T-34 much less an IS-2 or,  God forbid, an ISU-152.

But it means that we can get a game in, as Giovanni (rather foolishly!) has sent his 20mm Germans back to his brother in Italy, and I am nowhere near critical mass for my own Germans.  Giovanni, on the other hand, has a zip-lock bag full of Japanese infantry and I have some Fujimi Type 97 Shinhoto tanks as well as some tank destroyers, so it looks like it is the barren Manchurian plateau for us, at least initially!

More thoughts on forces, scenarios and points for the game in future posts.

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