Banzai! – Road to the Art of War Part Four – Tournament AAR and Photo Dump

Hello All

As you have probably seen I have been collecting a Japanese army for the Art of War Early War Tournament (click on the links to see parts onetwo and three). The event was just over a week ago and I thought to round off the series I would post up an AAR of the event.

After a stop over at Alex’s place in Northampton (and a few too many beers) we rocked up nice and early at the Sanctuary Gaming Centre. The day started with a bit of a shock as the Scottish team for the ETC (including Adam and Alex from Breakthrough Assault) turned up in full Scottish dress (not what I wanted to see at 8am!).

After picking myself off the floor from laughter I got my briefing book (Steve and Tim always provide every player with a book of all the army lists at the event), got my army together and went to meet my first opponent.

My army for the event.

Game One – Counter Attack

Tony Hellard – British Rifle Company (Hellfire and Back)

So I pop over to meet Tony someone I had never played before, playing counter attack vs another infantry company I decided to auto attack at night. Tony’s list had Two Matilda’s, four 18pdrs and four 2pdrs all guarding his objective with two platoons of infantry, he placed a platoon of carriers in mobile reserve. He made a massive mistake in deployment by deploying the Matildas too far from the objective I placed, so I doubled timed over to the far objective.

The carriers arrived and the Matildas chased my tanks down killing two, but with only 3 carriers between me and the objective I quickly over ran them and won the game 6-1. A good start to the event. I spent a bit of time after the game chatting with Tony about what he could have done differently and as it turned out he’s very new to the game. I think he learnt a bit from our chat.

The Matildas too far from the action to have an impact on the game

Game Two – Fighting Withdrawal

Owen Barnes – Legkiy Tankovy Batalon (Barbarossa)

On to game two and I was facing Owen who I had faced at lasts years event. Last time it was my T-34’s vs his Tigers, this time he was running the Soviet armour and I was worried to say the least. You see while I have never faced Soviet armour with my Japanese I have used the T-26 horde vs enough Japanese players to know it’s kryptonite to the Japanese. I did have one advantage to count on, I was defending and even with all those tanks he would struggle to push me off the objectives in 8 turns.

I deployed the infantry so one platoon covered an objective to my left and the center, while the second platoon did likewise with the right hand objective and the center. I then put my artillery to support the right hand infantry (they would be able to defensive fire is the Soviets tried to charge them), put a platoon of tanks in ambush and then placed one platoon in the middle and the third one on the left flank. Owen mainly deployed in the middle and to my right.

I decided to try and take out Owens 10 strong flame tank platoon and after 2 rounds of shooting they were gone. After that it turned into a bit of a blood bath, I kept moving my tanks so I would have four of my tanks against two or three of his so he would have to move the platoon to get more shots or be slowed down to to not suffer Hen and Chicks. This worked to a point but I did lose one platoon of tanks.

After a few assaults the game came down to one of my infantry platoons being reduced to the command team. If Owen could kill it my game would break and then I would have to charge him (because of the Japanese special rules) and probably get wiped out losing the game. Owen charged into a wood to try and kill him but he escaped to a building. The next turn he tried to charge into the building got three tanks in hit once which I took on my 1IC and then the platoon commander escaped and passed a sole survivor test to give me a 4-3 victory. Great game and a little revenge for last year.

Stopping the Flame Tanks before they could get going.
That’ll teach them to mess with Nikuhaku teams.
The T-26’s prepare to assault my platoon commander

Game Three:- Free For All

Graham Klaka – Schutzenkompanie (Barbarossa)

Another revenge match, this time I was facing Graham Klaka who I had faced at Corrivalry 2013. That day I had beaten Graham’s Grenadiers, this time I was facing German MG armed infantry. We rolled off to see who the attacker would be and I won so made it a night fight. Graham’s army was massive with 9 platoons.

I tried to be aggressive by running an infantry platoon up both flanks with tank support but in the end I ran out of momentum and all my tanks were destroyed. I made a last ditch charge which got through and blew up 2 Panhards to give me a 2-5 loss.

I made a big mistake by splitting my force. I should have left one infantry platoon on one objective and then run the 12 tanks and an infantry platoon with the one Regimental banner down the other, but lesson learnt. Not taking anything away from Graham, he played the mission well.

Game 4 – Surrounded

Vinny Kirkland – Strelkovy Batalon (Red Army) (Barbarossa)

Game four rounded out my revenge games for the weekend. Vinny and myself had faced off in the same mission at Campaign 2013, that day I had to attack and ran out of momentum as I reached assault range of the objectives. Vinny’s army was Confident Conscripts, great I thought I have had good success attacking army Dave’s and Robin’s armies, but this army had 2 KV-1s and two AT gun platoons, less good… so I decided to try and defend and I lost the dice off so Vinny had to attack.

I deployed as you would expect with one infantry platoon on each objective, a tank platoon hidden by each objective and one tank platoon in the middle, my artillery went in reserve so it would be facing the right way. Vinny deployed everything vs one objective with one infantry platoon on each side and the rest of his army on my right.

Vinny was aggressive like I though he would be and came out swinging, rushing everything forward. I thought this was a mistake and after moving my out of position tanks towards the action I was able to wipe out an AT gun platoon that Vinny had moved into the open with my artillery. Vinny kept on coming and again I was able to range in on the artillery platoon killing two guns. After this I focused in on the infantry that were supporting the KV’s. Vinny wasn’t being ideal and was trying to weaken my tank platoons, he got them all down to two tanks. Then the crunch turn started, Vinny had launched two assaults against my infantry holding the objective, he had pushed them back but he had gotten a little too close to a wood, I was able to pin the infantry and then charge the KV’s from the wood so no defensive fire (insert evil grin). My Nikuhaku teams charged the KV’s while my infantry charged his infantry. The Nikuhaku team only scored four hits on the KV’s but Vinny rolled a one and a two killing one and bailing the other, my infantry finished off the infantry nearby and with that the KV’s were dead and the infantry ran off.

The infantry platoon did come back thanks to wave attack and managed to kill the last few infantry teams in the platoon on the objective, but that was it, the attack had stalled and I won the game 5-2.

Game 5 – Dust Up

Ian Brook – Compagnia Bersaglieri (Hellfire and Back)

So the final game for the weekend and I was facing Ian, I know Ian as he helps run the Reading Warfare events, but I had never had the pleasure of playing him. He was running Italian infantry and had 11 platoons…. I was a little worried about this and I was trying to work out how best to play against his horde. I wanted to deploy second so I would know what was in reserve, I did “lose” the dice off and as Ian decided to put all his tanks in reserve I put all my tanks in reserve to attack is gun line (that might sound counter intuitive but the Japanese re-roll fail to hit on the move and the lack of infantry AT guns meant I thought I had a good chance to get through the guns quickly).

The first few turns didn’t see much action, my tanks started to turn up. I hid the first platoon but once the second turned up I moved and started to make short work of the artillery. In two turns I had wiped out a platoon of coastal guns and all the guns from one artillery platoon. I then assaulted the infantry and pushed them back. Here is where I could have won the game 6-1, Ian moved all the infantry back off the forward objective (the one placed near my reserves). I let him finish his move and if I had said nothing then I would have started my turn with the objective. But instead I pointed this out to him and let him move an infantry base back. While this was going on this tanks were moving as fast as they could towards his deployment area. In my next turn I assaulted the infantry again and took the objective. Ian then had a turn to wipe me off the objective and killed two platoons of tanks, but one held and I won 4-3.

Good game and if I had thought about it once his tanks had moved off I should have attacked his reserves with my infantry.


I ended up 7th out of 48, I had 4 wins and one loss which I was happy with. If I hadn’t said anything to Ian in the last game I would have been joint 2nd but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have been happy with myself doing that. Overall I love this army, it’s so much fun and plays like nothing else I have played before. I’m really looking forward to getting them out again for Campaign in a few weekends.

A big thanks to Steve and Tim for running a great event, if you haven’t been before I would highly recommend The Art of War as one of the best run tournaments of the year.

I will leave you with a photo dump from the weekend, thanks for reading and until next time


Fez’s winnings for best painted “beginner” level,

Best Painted Nominations

These guys might looks familiar

4 thoughts on “Banzai! – Road to the Art of War Part Four – Tournament AAR and Photo Dump

  1. Hi Ben
    cracking pictures and thanks for the advice session, see you at Campaign where I am your first opponent again! more Matildas no infantry and proper 18pdrs lets see if I have learnt anything?

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