Battle for a Doomed City: Gaming Nanjing 1937 (Part 2)

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This article, the second in a series of three, is an after-action report on a wargame based on the battle of Nanjing in 1937. The report is written by G. Jökull Gíslason, an Iceland-based wargamer and historian with a special interest in the Second Sino-Japanese War. It shows how wargames and simulations can add an extra dimension to the study of past events.

TURN 1 – Imperial Japanese Army (IJA)

The Japanese went directly ahead with their plan and advanced their infantry towards the barbed wire. Then they sent one tank platoon and their artillery against the HMG nest but it proved to resilient to their fire.

TURN 1 –National Revolutionary Army (China – NRA)

The Chinese sprung their ambush right away into their strong point to deal with those tanks. They also received their reserves on turn 1 and went directly for the objective. Sadly it proved very difficult to make out any targets in the dark so the Japanese infantry escaped unscathed. But the Chinese could make out the teams that had fired at them but again it was hard to make out the veteran enemy in the concealing night and all they had to show for their efforts was a bailed tank.

The Chinese spring their ambush to deal with the Japanese armour.

The Chinese spring their ambush to deal with the Japanese armour.

TURN 2 – IJA

The Japanese now moved all the way to the barbed wire and readied themselves to cut it down. They then divided their fire between the 3.7 PaK and the nest but to no effect.

The Japanese move toward the barbed wire.

The Japanese move toward the barbed wire.

TURN 2 – NRA

Again the night saved the Japanese infantry but instead the Chinese fire managed destroy a tank and to destroy two teams form the Hohei Battalion Gun Platoon forcing the last gun team to fail platoon morale so that the last gun team was converted to a rifle team as it drew on its Seishin.

TURN 3 – IJA

The Japanese now cut through the barbed wire and took out one PaK and their commander. The Seishin team ran forward and to everyone’s surprise the Chinese defensive fire failed to destroy or pinn it down so they managed to charge and destroy a HMG team before the Chinese infantry saw to their demise.

A Japanese gun team draws on their Seishin and manages to get into the Chinese line and destroys a HMG team before being destroyed itself (as it is by itself it should have been a Platoon Command team but we didn’t have one available).

A Japanese gun team draws on their Seishin and manages to get into the Chinese line and destroys a HMG team before being destroyed itself (as it is by itself it should have been a Platoon Command team but we didn’t have one available).

TURN 3 – NRA

Night ended at the first possible moment leaving the Japanese ill exposed. The Chinese wasted no time to take advantage of this and hammered the closer IJA infantry platoon with everything they had and the effect was devastating. To add insult to injury the PaK managed to blow the last active tank and the platoon failed morale.

The heavy artillery finds the IJA infantry close together in the open as day breaks.

The heavy artillery finds the IJA infantry close together in the open as day breaks.

TURN 4 – IJA

With two platoons lost and one infantry platoon almost destroyed and in full daylight things do not look good for the Japanese. But the remaining infantry and tank platoon manage to get into the woods for cover. What little Japanese fire there is this turn is ineffective.

TURN 4 – NRA

With the Japanese infantry gone the Chinese attempt a bold move. They charge from their trenches towards the gun teams. Supported by mortar and artillery fire the infantry manage to take out the Hohei Rapid fire guns while the command team escapes.

The Chinese infantry charges against the unprotected gun teams.

The Chinese infantry charges against the unprotected gun teams.

TURN 5 – IJA

Fortune favours the bold and the Japanese need to reverse their fortunes fast. They send their tanks in advance of their infantry forces and manage to machine-gun the Chinese company that has just arrived on the objective and cause some damage.

The second Chinese company advances on to the second objective but are machine-gunned before they manage to dig in.

The second Chinese company advances on to the second objective but are machine-gunned before they manage to dig in.

TURN 5 – NRA

The Chinese continue their rampage against the gun teams and manage to take out the remaining command team and the command team of the Regimental guns and the observer.

(To be continued.)

Categories: Media, War

3 Comments

  • Harland says:

    Aw come on man, wargame replays aren’t Chinese history. Put this on CSW where it belongs.

  • Hi,

    I am rather responsible for this so I should reply. Now I have been an avid student of military history for over 40 years and I have also taught WW2 history including the war in China. For me wargaming is an interesting study tool and adds to my understanding of battles. Often the games are very well researched and you get a far deeper understanding of uniforms and weapons of the time. In fact, the more interested you are in history the more you get out of the games and by playing games you get to know history better. A win win situation IMHO and I strongly recommend those that have any interest to try.

    There is however the wargamers dilemma.

    It is sobering to remember that the games we play are taken from history where some of mankind’s most heinous crimes were committed. So it is fair to ask if it is morally right to play a game based on such times. I have long come to the conclusion that it is. A miniature wargame is intended to bring friends together and a few hours of enjoyment. This is never a bad thing. More importantly by this we are keeping history alive and that is very important too. It deepens understanding and in the end helps us to remember all of it.

  • Nick says:

    Thanks for the very interesting game write up.

    Wargaming can provide an invaluable insight into military history form the perspective of the protagonists. It is also good fun!

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