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London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
A mythical beast - a female wargamer! I got back into wargaming in the summer of 2011 after a very, very long break. My current interests are Ancients, ACW, 30YW and SciFi gaming.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Imjin War Battle: Part 2 - The Battle of Haengju

Yesterday's post was a write-up of the background and the email campaign leading up to Sunday's game. If you haven't read it yet follow the link, make yourself a tea or coffee (or pour yourself a beer) and settle in for a bit of a read.

So, on Sunday morning Chris and I got to Gordon's early to help with setting up - we were both providing some figures (Chinese and Koreans) for the game. It turned out that there would actually be two games in separate rooms. Upstairs, a small battle between the Korean field army under Eon Go-baek (Clive) and the Japanese 6th division under Kobayakawa Takakage (Mark).

A view of the side-battle
For some reason all the Korean infantry units have banners declaring "Eon Go-baek is a useless cowardly traitor, We want Hyujeong as our General and Leader".

Korean regular foot
Korean Righteous Army volunteers
Korean regular foot
These were meant to be Righteous Army volunteers but I didn't have enough figures so put out regular troops
Korean light foot archers
Korean light foot javelinmen  
Korean cavalry

The Japanese

The main battle was downstairs where most of the Chinese field army (with the Haengju garrison and some monks from the Army of the Sangha) would be facing off against the bulk of the forces from the other three Japanese divisions.

The Chinese/Korean Battle Lines:

Haengju is in the top left corner, with the garrison on foot in front - these were the only Koreans on the table at the start. The rest shown here are Chinese, mostly cavalry. The blue on the table edge is the Han river.

The Japanese Battle Lines:

The terrain piece midway up on the left and in the top right corner represent. siege fortifications built by the Japanese during the campaign. there were several of these.

A (not very good) shot of the whole table:

The long grey line snaking across the length of the table is a river
The battlefield represents about 4-5km of ground East of Haengju heading North from the Han river.

Gordon told me to set out 4 bases of monks and a monk general base. They may or may not appear at some point. If Hyujeong (aka SongUn) was present, these had to be my "brigade A"

There were two bases of monks deployed on the table, representing about half of "brigade B" which had joined up with the Haengju garrison:

Over the following hour, the rest of the players arrived and we kicked off the games at about 10am after some chit-chat. Clive and Mark went upstairs for their side-battle, with Gordon going up to brief them on various matters. I was downstairs, so I wasn't able to take pictures as the game progressed.

Meanwhile, downstairs the main battle was ready to go. Chris and I split the Chinese/Korean forces between us - I took the right wing, Chris the left. Superintendent Song YingChang (Martin) wasn't able to join us unfortunately. After distributing our generals we waited for Gordon to come back down to confirm and explain any special rules and terrain. He'd previously emailed out some proposed special rules. One was that all Korean troops should face an additional minus on cohesion tests (= morale) where they are the result of arquebus fire. I successfully argued (using historical evidence* and events from the campaign**) that this should only apply to the Korean field army, not to the Sangha monks.

*At the retaking of P'yongyang the monks under Hyujeon led the assault on Mount Moranbang in the face of intense arquebus fire without faltering.
**"Kyoha-ri - glorious victory for the Righteous Army of Sangha!"

The Chinese/Koreans had initiative and so, Chris and I carried out our first moves. I was hampered by a number of things - lots of cavalry in a small area, lots of rough terrain to slow them down, a river (also rough terrain) to cross, not enough generals to double-move all the troops. Oh, and four of the cavalry were in "column of march" and would need to take a turn to deploy. This inevitably created some traffic jams, especially with some of my idiotic moves.

Kuroda Nagamasa (Adam) moved some archers into the fortification across from Haengju

The Chinese left advances

And so does the Chinese centre

"Strewth, that was close!" - I'd rolled a 1 for my variable move distance, knocking off 2 inches and the river knocked another 2 inches off their move. I was lucky that the Samurai didn't roll high for their variable move as I was just far enough away not to get caught by their standard 5 inch move. Of course, their buddies on land had rolled long for their variable move.
At this point (after the Japanese had done their charges) Gordon announced that some Japanese troops routed onto the table at the North end, running into the back of some of Chris' Chinese troops and dying.

I did say something about my stupid moves - I could have sent the light horse off to harass the infantry and brought my armoured shooty cavalry across the river to obliterate the Samurai. Mind you, the Samurai have been shot down to fragmented and have lost a base.

Adam discovered that the guns at Haengju weren't just a terrain piece :)

We then broke for a short while as the side-battle had concluded upstairs and Mark had to head off early. It transpired that Clive had won that battle, which was about 15km North-East of ours.

Before Mark could go, Gordon wanted to announce the prize winner of the role-play part of the campaign. For each player he read out his notes of the things that had earned and lost them points. These reports were hugely entertaining and some of the things people had done were a riot (but probably in-character). There were assassination plots, secret treaties with the enemy, acquisition of supplies by dubious means, unauthorised usage of fleets  ("No, no, no. Not me - I'm an honest monk. Honest guv!"), famous victories, invitations to the families of fellow commanders to enjoy hospitality on your estates, the burning down of Seoul (Boo! Hiss!) an many other things.

 It turned out that I had won, squeaking it from Mark by one point. This was my rather splendid prize:

There are some more pics at the end without the "scroll"

Clive joined Chris and myself and took control of the Chinese centre for the rest of the game. We then played out the rest of the Japanese turn and started the next Chinese turn while Gordon cooked lunch (Japanese food washed down with Japanese beers - lovely!).

After lunch we resumed the battle.

Hyujeong and a brigade of Sangha monks arrive on the table

It seems that SongUn's brigade had encountered, fought and defeated a Japanese brigade that had been guarding a supply dump about 1km North of the battle. Gordon decided that on the basis of the two battles they had won, they should be uprated from Superior to Elite. Not that it would make much difference with them being on foot and stuck behind Chinese units.

The fragmented Samurai wisely decided to dismount as light foot, then got broken by concentrated shooting and routed toward their table edge.

Phil moves some Ashigaru onto the hill to protect his left flank which is exposed to rather a lot of Chinese cavalry

Adam's spearmen charge some Chinese cavalry
Two broken Chinese cavalry units...
 The routing cavalry on the left had charged his spearmen at the rear edge of the table along with a second unit (which you can see in front of the two units at the top left). This was rather silly of me as they didn't have to charge and could have shot them up first to drop their cohesion so their spear wouldn't count at impact or in melee. The unit that broke had massively lost at impact and succeeded in rolling a double-one for the cohesion test, dropping them to fragmented. They also lost the melee and rolled a one and three for the cohesion test, breaking them.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

The other broken unit was equally unlucky. They charged into the melee next to the fort, lost at impact and lost in melee. I can't remember which one caused the double-drop.

I'm sure there was a Chinese general here a minute ago...
With all the traffic jam issues and fights going on at my end of the table, I neglected to keep an eye on (and take pics of) what was going on in the centre. As it turns out, the Chinese left had been very successful and Chris was breaking through Andy's Japanese division. In the centre it was mixed but looked increasingly to be in favour of the Chinese, as Chris and I would soon be feeding troops in on the flanks (by this point I had already got some cavalry up onto the hill where the Japanese centre's left flank was half exposed). Within a few turns the rest of the Chinese field army would be arriving and maybe the Koreans.

We declared it a win for the Chinese and Koreans.It was a very enjoyable game.

Is there anything I would have done differently? Oh, yes...

I would have:

  • Sent some of the cavalry around between the fort and the Han river
  • Assaulted the fort with the Haengju troops when shooting wasn't having any effect (Adam's cohesion test rolls were so lucky; my shooting dice were crap a lot of the time)
  • Sent my light horse further in to harass the infantry at the back rather than harassing the Samurai - that would have reduced the traffic jam at the river, allowing me to get the heavy cavalry over sooner
  • Got cavalry up onto the hill and into Phil's left flank sooner

I'll leave you with some pics of my prize:

If Gordon writes up his notes of how the role-play points were awarded I'll post them for your amusement.


  1. Sounds like a fun set of games. Nicely done on the prize too :D

  2. Congratulations and a fun read! Is that the end of the campaign?

  3. Nice one.
    [sorry. I don't know what else to say :) ]

  4. Great write ups on both the Imjin War posts. The games certainly look to have rewarded the effort everyone involved has put in.

    Cheers, Ross

  5. Well done on the prize and the squeaky win


  6. Fun looking/sounding game, Tamsin. A battle (siege) which was pivotal during the war.

  7. Very enjoyable write up. Looked a lot of fun to play regardless of the win and the prize!

  8. The final battle looked and sounded like a lot of fun for all concerned, but the debrief afterwards must have been equally so too.
    Congratulations of the award and thanls for the very entertaining write-up

  9. @ Paul - they were fun! :)

    @ David - sadly, yes. It was always going to be just the one battle, and what a battle it was :)

    @ Roy - cheers! :)

    @ Ross - thanks! The email campaign was fun, but the big game was the tops :)

    @ Ian - cheers! :)

    @ Dean - it was good fun. We seem to have changed history somewhat though :)

    @ Chris - thanks! It was fun to play, but the prize and the win made it even better :)

    @ Joe - thanks! There wasn't much of a debrief at the end, just a quick assessment of how things would go if we'd continued for a while :)