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Game Club Photos:
The Pennsylvania Wargamers Militia (PaWM)
plays the Battle of Yalu
Scranton PA, 5 June 2004

Years ago PaWM met every other Saturday evening at Adventure Games in Dickson City PA (just northeast of Scranton). We played mostly historical miniatures wargames but also did some fantasy and science fiction miniatures.

These photos were taken in June 2004 when we replayed the Battle of Yalu, which took place during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894. The ship models are all from Houston's Ships and are around 1:937 scale. We're using a computer-assisted ruleset called Shipbase III, published by ArmourSoft Inc. in 1993. The laptop is a 486. We're using a surface scale of 1:7200, turn length is two minutes, and the To-Hit Level is set to "Easy" due to the period.

Historically, this battle was a big win for the Japanese. The Chinese ships, while good on paper, were not all well maintained, their crews were not as good as the Japanese crews, and some of the Chinese ammunition was apparently faulty. In order to balance this situation out to make a fair and interesting scenario, I gave both sides "average" quality crews and assumed all ammunition and equipment is normal. This minor tweak, while not quite accurate historically, turns this into a fair and challenging fight! The Chinese have a slight advantage in long-range gunnery with more large calibre guns, the Japanese have an advantage at short-range gunnery with more small calibre quick-firing guns. Can the Japanese ships close fast enough to take advantage of their toe-to-toe fighting edge?

At least in this refight, no, they couldn't. The Chinese won, but only by a slight margin, and both sides took terrific losses. Lots of things blew up. In other words, it was a great game.




Jon Paul and Darrell take the Chinese right flank and center.


The Chinese are using the classic "flank march" formation.


The Japanese commander have chosen to go with the classic "line them up and go that way" tactic. Roger, Jim, and John command.


Cripes, ships are burning already. A couple of the Chinese big guns got lucky shots in the first turn. Notice I've turned completely invisible in this photo. That's me in the center sitting behind the laptop, waving. That's Roger, Jim, and John on my right, and James, Mark, Darrell, and Jon Paul on my left.


Jim, John, Mark, John, Darrell, and Jon Paul discuss political reforms in The Netherlands in the 15th Century.


Mark, James, and Roger supervise while Jim measures. "Got range?"


By this point things were starting to get messy. Several ships were dead in the water, some close enough to fall victim to torpedoes.


The first Chinese torpedo boat, the Tso I, was blasted into matchsticks. The Fu Lung, coming up behind, made it through a hail of fire and launched all her fish, sinking one of the big Japanese cruisers. The Fu Lung was in fact the only vessel to make it through the scenario without a scratch, although after she'd launched her torpedoes she wasn't all that useful. Her two light deck guns were out of range of the surviving Japanese ships by that point.


The mighty gunboat Akagi takes a shot! John, Mark, James, John, John, and Jim.


By the end, the Japanese had only one ship left capable of movement. John, John, John, John, John, Jim, John, John, John, and John, with John in the back looking on.


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Last updated: June 11, 2016