Pick up game in Burma – A Crossfire Battle Report

Jamie couldn’t make it to our regular meet up, so Adam brought along his fresh off the painting blocks figures for the Burma Campaign and I set up a pick up game that I thought would be interesting. Japanese Imperial Army and British 14th Army. Adam doesn’t yet have enough figures for Mac’s Missions in Burma, so this is a fairly small game in Crossfire terms.


The Scenario

Being a small game I set up a 4′ x 4′ (1.2 m x 1.2 m) table. Aside from the village this was using my normal Crossfire kit plus jungle features from my Portuguese Colonial War set up. I used my palm trees (more to come) and the Grass Tufts or Wargaming with Fairy Door Grass Mats that Brett Simpson kindly sent me.

Burma 48 Table - top view

Burma 48 Table – top view

We had to have a village as it is my only uniquely Burmese terrain. The Japanese had to capture three buildings in the village with the Pagodas counting as two each.

Burma 50 Table - from Japanese right

Burma 50 Table – from Japanese right

The village was in one corner of the table. The 14th Army were deployed in and around the village, an area comprising 3’x 3′ (0.9 m x 0.9 m) of the table. The Japanese would deploy in the remaining L shaped sector of the table. This sector was 1′ (0.3 m) from table edge to the 14th Army deployment zone, along two table edges.

Burma 51 Table - from Japanese centre

Burma 51 Table – from Japanese centre

The rice paddies are straight from the box Flames of War; unflocked, unmodified.

Burma 52 Table - from Japanese centre left

Burma 52 Table – from Japanese centre left


The Village

I wanted to feature my Home made Burmese Pagodas so the table had to have a village. The houses are unpainted MDF models from Sarissa Precision.

Burma 53 Table - village - from jungle

Burma 53 Table – village – from jungle

Burma 54 Table - village - along road

Burma 54 Table – village – along road

Burma 55 Table - village - top view

Burma 55 Table – village – top view

Burma 56 Table - village

Burma 56 Table – village


The Figures

Adam provided the figures. I think he used Flames of War and Command Decision figures. He has Peter Pig figures but the Japanese are tiny by comparison to other manufacturers so didn’t make it onto the painting blocks.

I knew roughly what figures Adam had. Basically a company a side with the Japanese having machine guns and 14th army having none. I figured that was fair with the British defending and holding the objectives.

Burma Close Up 74 Japanese LMG

Burma Close Up 74 Japanese LMG

Burma Close Up 76 Japanese officer

Burma Close Up 76 Japanese officer

Now it should be pretty obvious that Adam has abandoned the conventional Base Sizes and Number of Figures in Crossfire or even the common basing variations. He’s gone for Flames of War bases without labels. The rationale is that he wants to be able to play I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, which is one man = one figure. Insane of course, but aren’t we all. 😉

Burma Close Up 78 Japanese Rifle Platoon

Burma Close Up 78 Japanese Rifle Platoon

No Japanese army is complete without an anti-tank stick. There were no British tanks on table and presumably they were too afraid of the potent threat offered by the Nikuhaku Teams.

Burma Close Up 83 anti-tank stick

Burma Close Up 83 anti-tank stick

Last but not least, the Japanese standard bearer to go on the company commander stand. The photo is from just after Adam painted it. A master piece.

Burma Close Up 90 Japanese Standard Bearer

Burma Close Up 90 Japanese Standard Bearer


Deployment

Two notable things about the deployment.

Burma 59 Deployment

Burma 59 Deployment

Chris deployed his 14 Army troops aggressively despite being the defender. The fortifications were right up against the Japanese deployment zone. Presumably to channel the attack. He had his reserve platoon inside the village but every body else was outside the village. Some, those facing the Japanese left flank, in exposed positions on crest lines. He wanted, with this deployment, to halt the Japanese attack in the concentration areas. A high risk strategy and you’ll see whether it worked.

Burma 60 14th Army on right

Burma 60 14th Army on right

Adam deployed troops right around his L shaped deployment zone. A modest sized pinning force on his right and in the centre. The main thrust would come from the jungle on the left.

Burma 57 Japanese right

Burma 57 Japanese right

Burma 58 Japanese left

Burma 58 Japanese left


The Game

Adam attacked on the left. He had a lot of troops massed in the jungle in front of the 14th Army fortifications. He laid down some smoke and advanced.

Burma 61 Japanese advance behind smoke

Burma 61 Japanese advance behind smoke

Burma 62 Japanese advance behind smoke

Burma 62 Japanese advance behind smoke

Chris had left some holes in his fortifications. I guess this was to channel the Japanese.

Burma 63 Japense find hole in fortifications

Burma 63 Japanese find hole in fortifications

With the Japanese advancing, Chris started to withdraw his outlying troops.

Burma 64 14th army withdraw on left

Burma 64 14th army withdraw on left

it didn’t take long before the Japanese charged.

Burma 65 Reckless Japanese close on 14th Army officer

Burma 65 Reckless Japanese close on 14th Army officer

The 14th Army didn’t have any heavy weapons but still managed to suppressed a Japanese HMG (‘Woodpecker’) in the firefight.

Burma 66 14th Army fire suppresses woodpecker

Burma 66 14th Army fire suppresses woodpecker

The Japanese charged again. This time the target was a British officer with a swagger stick. His stiff upper lip attitude didn’t help in close combat.

Burma 67 Japanese defeat swagger stick guy on first crest

Burma 67 Japanese defeat swagger stick guy on first crest

In the centre the Japanese only wanted to pin the 14th Army in their lines. This succeeded. It was probably a good thing the Japanese didn’t choose this as their axis of advance as the Brits had a bunker.

Burma 69 14th Army bunker holds Japanese in centre

Burma 69 14th Army bunker holds Japanese in centre

The Japanese stubbornly pushed forward but fire from the 14th Army lines took its toll..

Burma 70 14th Army fire from village slows Japanese advance on left

Burma 70 14th Army fire from village slows Japanese advance on left

Despite losses the Adam had more of his Japanese concentrated in the Jungle.

Burma 71 More Japanese concentrate in jungle beyond the 14th Army wire

Burma 71 More Japanese concentrate in jungle beyond the 14th Army wire

Burma 72 Japense smoke off village to allow advance

Burma 72 Japanese smoke off village to allow advance

Chris had brought his reserve platoon in behind the troops facing the Japanese advance. This bolstered his firepower and slowed the Japanese.

Burma 77 Japanese push forward slowly

Burma 77 Japanese push forward slowly

The Japanese edged forward, making it to a rice paddy.

Burma 79 Japanese make it to the rice paddy on left

Burma 79 Japanese make it to the rice paddy on left

Then they took another crest line, weakly held by an outflanked 14th Army squad.

Burma 80 Japanese take another crest line

Burma 80 Japanese take another crest line

Burma 81 Same combat - different angle

Burma 81 Same combat – different angle

In Crossfire the Japanese, like the Russians, are reckless. So a change to contact can and does bring casualties.

Burma 82 Reckless Japanese charges bring casualties

Burma 82 Reckless Japanese charges bring casualties

Adam edged forward and took another crest.

Burma 84 Japanese take third crest

Burma 84 Japanese take third crest

But the Japanese attack had run out of steam with the assault on the first house. All the attackers died. Adam conceded giving victory to the Chris’s 14th Army.

Burma 85 14th Army fend off Japanese assault on first house

Burma 85 14th Army fend off Japanese assault on first house


Conclusions and observations

Thanks to Adam for bringing his figures along. Chris and I are interested in the war in the far east so it was great to get some Japanese on table.

The game was quite good. Chris tried the interesting tactic of deploying forward i.e. close to the Japanese lines. Although at times this left some of his troops exposed, the tactic worked as the battle was fought outside the village and hence away from the objectives.

It was interesting having so many Knee Mortars in the Japanese Orbat. It gave them a lot of small pockets of fire power / smoke and changed the game a bit.

I would normally have a time limit for the attacker e.g. the Moving Clock or Chess Clock. But in this game the defender was visible so there was no need for a time constraint.

I included a village so I could feature my Home made Burmese Pagodas and the houses from Sarissa Precision. The Sarissa Precision kits are amazing engineering and look good even when unpainted. I admit I have some ambitions to tart them up a bit (thatch roofs), but only when the muse inspires me. Overall I’m pleased by the look of the village.

As I mentioned the rice paddies are Flames of War straight from the Battlefield in a Box. Unflocked, unmodified. I could certainly embellish these, but I’m not sure I will. I’m already hatching a plot to replace them with home made rice paddies that match the standard sizes of my Field Features for Crossfire so that I can put them on my Crossfire Maps.

Generally I think my jungle terrain looked a little too bare. Brett Simpson’s Pacific War tables are inspirational and, by comparison, mine are a bit, well, thin. I’ll have to improve next time.

Adam’s figures are amazing. I really like his choice of figures – I purchased a bunch myself – and how he painted them.

I’ll end with a bit of 100% Crossfire dogmatism … I disagree with Adam’s decision to go with Flames of War bases, with few figures, and without labels. But as a Crossfire nutter, I would. Hopefully he’ll stop hedging his bets and abandon his ambitions to play I Ain’t Been Shot Mum, and rebase with the conventional Base Sizes and Number of Figures in Crossfire and clear unit IDs.

5 comments to Pick up game in Burma – A Crossfire Battle Report

  • Brooks Flugaur-Leavitt

    Very interesting tactics and report! A forward defence is quite the gamble with a rules set that so rewards breakthroughs and reserves, but using fortifications to channel, rather than resist, the attack seemed to be crucial.

    Beautiful miniatures too! I like the look of the FoW bases and they clearly indicate facings when you view the table from a distance. The miniatures are a little sparse for representing whole squads in Crossfire (but then again I play in 6mm at 1:1) and they look *very* suitable for more skirmish-oriented games!

    • Steven Thomas

      Yup, Chris took a big gamble but it paid off.

      Adam’s painting is lovely. He is working on some Indian Wars figures and they are stunning.

      I’m not anti FoW bases per se. I use FoW bases for my 1-1 scale Crossfire variant for the Portuguese Colonial War. I put 4 or 5 men on a base to represent a fire team (half squad). Looks right for period and style of game.

      Adam’s bases are more sparse and I think they could do with more figures. Plus proper labels to replace the ripped up pieces of paper. Both would enhance the overall look and complement his painting. And neither change would undermine his desire to play IABSM.

  • Brett Simpson

    Great stuff, Steven. I agree, Adam’s miniatures look amazing! You’ve inspired me to play some more Pacific War…

    • Steven Thomas

      Cool Brett. Be great to host some more of your battle reports as well. And I agree about Adam’s painting. Fab.

  • Anders Christian Böss

    Another enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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