Castles in Korea

Last night I managed a couple of games which found my Japanese (Post Mongol Samurai IV/59b) engaged against Ben’s Koreans (Yi Dynasty Koreans IV/78). It is an interesting historical engagement, with some challenges for both commanders.

The Korean commander, has been looking for some alternate tactics for his Koreans, which have an interesting and arguably challenging mix of troops. As part of this he was keen to place his recently completed fortress, modelled on the Japanese castle of Ulsan built in Korea. The scratch built, and themed for the period, castle provided an excellent terrain piece for our games.

Above, a period drawing of Ulsan under attack while below a slightly simplified but very similar castle garrisoned by Korean peasant spearmen (7Hd). Note the different levels in both castles.

In the first game the Koreans were defending and the fortress was placed on the Korean right where it provided flank protection for massed Korean artillery and archers of the centre. The army stretched to the left where, on a generally featureless plain, the Korean mounted were massed.

Korean artillery was effective at least until the Japanese foot cut them down, as well as the many of the archers. Below, the Japanese, reduced in numbers by Korean artillery and archery, and Koreans just prior to the desperate Japanese charge of samurai and ashigaru.

Alas, the Japanese were now themselves overwhelmed by the sally by the garrison which was combined with attacks by a hastily assembled cavalry reserve. The Korean victory was complete!

The second battle found the Japanese defending. To ensure the castle was used the Japanese player also placed it. In due course it was determined to be on the Japanese  left. Unlike the Koreans the Japanese intended to attack on the opposite flank using a series of rocky hills to counter the Korean mounted superiority. In this game the threat of artillery fire was deemed too great and the fortress was quickly abandoned. Though for some time Japanese archers threatened to reoccupy it and thus threaten the advancing Korean cavalry.

Above, the more general situation with the Japanese on the left. Below, the situation on the Japanese right flank showing a portion of the sohei warrior monks on a key rocky hill.

Eventually the monks, supported by mounted samurai, overwhelmed the Korean left wing. However, under massed pressure by the Korean pike of the centre, the Japanese army broke just prior to the collapse of the Koreans.

A couple of eventful games between historical opponents set against a superb period themed terrain feature. I must say I’m so impressed with Ben’s castle I’m tempted to try scratch building one myself…

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