Another interesting...
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Another interesting scenario...

Hirate Sakimori
Eminent Member

Don't want to bore you all with another historical essay, I have an awful habit of ranting on sometimes...

However for Asian's especially World War 2 is often not given the scope it should get, a in particular case in mind is the events that occurred two years before the Western nations declared their "World War". In Asia the war kicked off much earlier since 1905 to be precise, Imperial Japan had established huge garrisons in China after the Boxer rebellion. Japan had also successfully thrashed the Russians to become the dominant power in the South China Sea and was a cut above other regional powers of the time. By the early 30's Japan would have total control over the Korean Peninsular and Manchuria which it seized from the Chinese and established the Manchukuo puppet state.

What really made the conflict global was Japans reactions in 1937 when in isolated incidents in Northern China Japanese military personnel clashed with the local Chinese forces. After a number of such "incidents" such as Marco Polo bridge and the shooting of an Imperial Japanese Naval officer in Shanghai. The Japanese pretty much launched a full scale invasion of Northern China to swallow up the fledgling Nationalist state which they viewed as weak and citizens of China were often treated as Sub humans by the Japanese. Both sides committed atrocities though history notes the Japanese were particularly cruel in their reprisals against the Chinese nation.

China at the time had little support from the rest of the world, but during the mid to late 20's and throughout the early 1930's China had help from a most unlikely source, Germany. At the time not only was the new nationalist Chinese army trained by German advisors and military men, it also received a lot of military equipment from Germany and the income would help both sides a lot. The "Axis" powers of Germany and Japan had not yet joined hands formally and would only do so by the end of the year 1937 but the summer of 1937 saw a particularly unusual battle which makes an interesting scenario for an Airsoft game.

Generalissimo Chang Kai-Shek supreme commander of Chinese forces and political head of the Kuomintang (Chinese nationalists) hoped to open a new front to divert the Japanese forces from marching straight to the capital of Nanjing/Nanking. He prepared his best troops those who were trained and equipped in the German fashion to seize Shanghai and drive out the Japanese garrison. Forcing the Japanese army to march towards Shanghai instead. He hoped to grind down the Japanese and force a decisive battle in built up Shanghai while buying time for the rest of his forces mostly in Southern China to join the fight. The Chinese had almost no presence in Northern China because the Japanese had seen to the fact their own influence was dominant in the North.

The Chinese divisions prepared to engage at Shanghai included the vaunted 88th Division. These soldiers were among the best troops the Chinese had, they were also the best equipped with good small arms and disciplined officers many of whom were trained in Europe. They had the same equipment as German infantrymen of the time and were familiar with similar tactics. The Chinese lacked artillery, tanks and air support but they were excellent and numerous in terms of infantry.

Unfortunately the Chinese troops were not the most experienced, their equipment was excellent and their training was good too, however the Japanese had heavy artillery, aircraft and tanks. Also the Chinese army that was to hold Shanghai would not get reinforced as quickly because despite 88th Division fighting on "home ground" the Chinese reinforcements would have to march from Southern China. The Chinese lacked heavy transport network and most of their armies marched on foot with slow baggage trains sometimes formed of civilian load carriers or pack animals. The Japanese on the other hand had excellent rail networks stretching back through Manchuria and Korea, as well as total control of the China sea and more troops shipped in from the Home Islands. Japanese reinforcements actually reached the battlefield sooner.

What happened when the Japanese got to Shanghai was that they found the City heavily defended by excellently trained and equipped Chinese divisions. The Chinese had prepared for a hard defence, the following battle would be epic in proportion lasting several Months from Summer to Winter. Much like Stalingrad later in 1941/1942 the Chinese had taken strong defensive positions in the city itself. Intense bombardments from the Japanese failed to dislodge them, which led to some brutal house to house close combat between both sides. Eventually the Japanese would win but not before the 88th Division and other Chinese forces had fought to the bitter end causing huge casualties to the invading Japanese. The Japanese would eventually take Nanjing but they would never again see the Chinese as a pathetic force like they had thought before at Tianjin and other battles.

I was discussing this scenario with friends from University as well as on other forums like Panzergrenadier.

What makes this scenario particular fascinating and useful from an Airsoft standpoint is the unique fighting in a built up area and also elements of two sides which would not clash again.

The Chinese divisions which fought in this battle were the best in Asian mainland and they were eventually wiped out. The 88th Division was however distinctive in that unlike later "Chinese" nationalist armies... they were equipped in the German fashion as well. Essentially it is perfectly possible to play this scenario with early period Wehrmacht players or re-enactors.

Other interesting points about the battle of Shanghai in an airsoft scenario are.

*Unique weapons and tactics of both sides. The 88th Division was equipped with Kar98's, MG 34's and Bergman MP 18's. While the Japanese had their own Arisaka Bolt Action rifles and Italian made model Beretta 1928 SMG's. The battle of Shanghai saw extensive use of house to house fighting and the earliest mass use of SMG's and hand grenades to effectively "clear buildings".

* Similar to Stalingrad with some streets and sectors even individual buildings being fought over and changing hands as much as 22 times in a period from August to November.

*Allows players from two usually very different game scenarios to engage in one game and perhaps boost interest in this time period as well as generate interest in different teams and nations.

*Those of you thinking this just means an "Axis fest" and feeling that other nations might feel left out there were other nations involved most of the major powers at the time stood aloof in the war but there were plenty of bands of foreign fighters and mercenaries as in any war and even war-lords who brought their own motley crew to battles.

*Ideal conditions for Squads and Small unit actions with the possibility of very small teams to engage in cqb. However also has potential for larger size battles depending on how many players would be interested.

These are just some points to consider. I hope I have given some of you something new and interesting to ponder over. Many thanks for your patience and please feel free to offer any input and advice.

Topic starter Posted : 12/02/2015 3:45 pm
Famed Member

One issue might be where to find an airsoft site that's suitable for this type of cqb style game .the other thing is it might be hard to find enough people to make a Japanese side but to then find more people to have a Chinese side as well might be a daydream .

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Posted : 12/02/2015 6:00 pm
Noble Member

Chinese is a pipe dream; it's far to niche in an already niche branch of the hobby.

Your best bet is to look at a scenario where the maximum number of people possible can get involved. That's difficult for the Pacific theatre as it's one predominant national force or another, not like in NWE where a game can have different squads of different nationalities to bolster numbers.

If it were me, I'd consider a fictional scenario for Operation Downfall.

Maximum possibility for Brits, U.S, Australians, you name it. Kit standards for Japanese could also be absolute bare bones. At least that way you test the water; plus the plans are all readily available online so it's not a case of taking absolute liberties with history.

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Posted : 12/02/2015 6:22 pm
Honorable Member

I think Kokoda would be the easiest scenario to start doing PTO games. Australian gear is pretty simple once you have British gear and it would be very easy to plan for a very small number and scale up if it turned out to be more popular. If you get the numbers for that game, then Malaya and Singapore would be the next option.

Posted : 12/02/2015 9:10 pm