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  Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press Decision Games    Writing a review about a S&T issue seems a l...

Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games

Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games

Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905 by Strategy & Tactics Press and Decision Games





 Strategy & Tactics #326 Mukden 1905


by


Strategy & Tactics Press

Decision Games





 

 Writing a review about a S&T issue seems a little like blasphemy to me. The magazine has been around in one way or another since I was a teenager. I had already been grabbed by the wargaming bug in my younger years by the simple games from Milton Bradley etc. Then in 1970 I saw Panzerblitz in a toy store. However, it wasn't until a few years later that I went to a hobby store and found both my grail, and the bane of my future wife. There were rows and rows of games including this magazine that not only had articles on the history of war and battles, but also contained a game about one of them. I was literally a teenager who found my first Playboy magazine. The amazing thing about S&T to me has always been its breadth of coverage. One article could be about the Battle of Kadesh, and the next could be about carriers in the 21st century. S & T allowed battles that no one would ever make a boxed version of land on your doorstep or in your nearest hobby store. The magazine itself has gone through a few hands over the years, but it has always been lovingly cared for by the different people in charge of it. Yes, if you look at the first issues made in the 1970's they look dated (although, do not say that to a collector or grognard). The magazine is now very much up to 21st century standards; one might even call it cutting edge. So, let us look what comes in this edition.


 First, we will take a look at the numerous articles, and departments in this issue:

Articles:

The Battle of Mukden, 1905

The Battle of Mycale

Wavell at Bay: February - June 1941

Poland, 1830-31: The November Insurrection


Departments:

On Design - By Joseph Miranda

Work in Progress: Vicksburg: The Assault on Stockade Redan

German Saboteurs in America - By David Schroeder

Did you Know? - By Joseph Miranda

For Your Information:
 
 Wavell's Officers - By Jonathan Lupton

 The Death of Bishop Polk - By Brett Michael Mills

 Nagashino Reimagined - By Joshua R. Gilbert

 Hitler's Haltebefehl - By John Burtt

The Long Tradition


 The list shows that this issue moves in time from 479 B.C. to the 20th century. Just a bit of a time curve. Hidden in this group of excellent writing is a small, but nonetheless mind blowing article about the Battle of Nagashino. It turns out that the stockade fence that Oda Nobunaga's arquebusers were positioned behind may not have actually existed. The author has looked at all of the different historical writings about the battle and found a whopper of an anomaly. It seems that none of the early writings mention the stockade fence at all, and it does not show up until about 100 years after the battle. This would clear up this strange part of the battle we have all read about. Takeda Katsuyori was certainly not on a par with his father Takeda Shingen as a general, however most of the generals that had fought under Shingen were still alive and at the Battle of Nagashino. Contrary to popular belief, a samurai was not supposed to just give up his life for no reason. It always seemed strange to me that the Takeda cavalry would just keep piling up their dead in front of the stockade fence. One could make an argument about the French cavalry doing the same thing at Waterloo. In reality, because of Wellington's positioning of his troops, the French cavalry would not know what was there, or still there, until they climbed the crest. At the Battle of Nagashino we have read that after the first charge, and possibly all along, the stockade fence was visible to the Takeda cavalry. This is but a small example of what can be found on almost every page of every issue of S & T. It is like the Old Man on the Mountain of Wargaming magazines. The maps and OOB's that come with each article are incredibly well done and researched. 

 The Battle of Mycale article is also deceiving. Like most, if not all of S & T articles, it not only shows the history of the Greco-Persian conflict from the beginning, but also adds in some history after the battle. 

 The same goes for the Battle of Mukden article. It takes us back in time to show the reasons for the Russo-Japanese War. Then it continues to inform us about the entire conflict before even touching the Battle of Mukden itself. 





 The game inside was designed by Ty Bomba. If you call yourself a grognard and his name is not familiar, please hang your head in shame. I would even consider making it mandatory to put it on your name tag at the next convention you go to, but I digress. 

 Mukden 1905 simulates just the battle for Mukden, and not any of the earlier battles in the Russo-Japanese War. It is a two-player game, but can be easily transformed into a solitaire experience. The game map has hexes and not areas. Each hex represents three miles. The Units in the game are regiments, brigades, divisions, and one Cavalry Corps. Each game turn represents two days. The map is 22" x 34", and there is one sheet of 228 1/2" counters. The front of the counters are the normal NATO designations. The back of the counters (disrupted side) show the Rising Sun for the Japanese, and the Double Eagle for the Russian. The Zone of Control rules are pretty much the norm. Each Unit exhibits a ZOC into the next surrounding hex, and enemy Units must stop upon entering a ZOC. The rules are only fifteen pages long. Sudden Death Victory is determined by either the Russians capturing Liaoyang (hex 1922), or the Japanese capturing Mukden itself (hex 2310), or any of the railroad hexes from 2210 to 2900 before the end of Turn three. These would be above Mukden itself. 

 The Sequence of Play is:

I: Russian Cavalry Corps Replacement Phase ( skip on Turn 1)
II: Japanese Phase Sequence Declaration Phase
III: Russian Paralysis Determination Phase
IV: Alternating Actions Movement (or Combat) Phase
V: Recovery Phase
VI: Russian Paralysis Determination Phase
VII: Alternating Actions Combat (or Movement) Phase
VIII: Recovery Phase

 As you can see, the Russian Player is possibly as hamstrung as they were in real life. Historically the Japanese Army played the tune, and the Russian Army had to dance to it. In actuality, the Japanese had pretty much scraped the bottom of the barrel as far as manpower, while the Russians had been limited by the Trans-Siberian Railway, and its limited hauling power. The Russian Steamroller was massive, but in this case it could not make its weight felt so far from Europe. 





 The game is a very good one, and gives both players the advantages and disadvantages that each side had. The Japanese Player has to attack to win. He has to either gain a Sudden Death Victory, or take Mukden and inflict twenty percent more losses on the Russian Player than he loses. The Russian Player can fight a defensive battle, which they did historically, or become very lucky and get a Sudden Death Victory. This game is another winner in a long line of S & T games that are good to excellent. I still play some S & T games that are thirty years old and more. Thank you Decision Games for letting me review this great issue. Please take a look at Decision Games' four different magazines and all of their boxed games, and books. 

Robert

Strategy & Tactics #326:

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