Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tomogashima excursion

Near where I live there is a WWII-era island strongpoint that was designed to cover the southern approaches to Osaka Bay. It's a short ferry ride to get there from Kada Port, so we decided to take the kids over for the day and have a look around.

Kada. A sleepy little Japanese town.
Approaching the port from the north.

Looking west.

The town buildings nestle into the scrub-covered coastline.

Looking north.

One of the two ferries that services the island.

The ferry trip over is short and uneventful. For me it is spent mainly trying to entertain our youngest with a variety of dad techniques, one of which was to give him a bit of a chance to use the camera. He didn't do too badly!

We approach Tomogashima.

The jetty is on the Awajishima side of the main island, so we slip around and come in from the north.

Pan left...

...straight...

...and right.
It's picturesque, but not too hard to imagine that it would have had a different atmosphere 75 years ago.


Handy info for Englishy tourists!

A pleasant picnic area just beyond the jetty.

Lovely and restful as you look out to sea and away to Awajishima. It's hard to pick up in this shot, but there are hundreds of fishing and pleasure craft out on the water.
Just 600 metres to battery 3.

A snake (Japanese Rat Snake, I think) interrupted our progress while trying to swallow a squirrel whole. It succeeded.

The path is steep but well maintained.

Buildings are tucked into folds in the ground or up against the hill.

Third battery originally contained 8 guns in four pairs, all connected by tunnels, and each gun having a 360 degree range of fire. They must have been formidable.





On the west side of the ridge living quarters and magazines were built. All underground or built into the hill, and all connected by tunnels.






An above ground building. Original insides but, as you can see, in some state of disrepair!

Not sure what this building was for, but as it's fairly open by comparison, probably not for storing ammo!


We're at quite a height up here. Probably 80m up, at a guess.
After wandering about Battery three for a while we return the beach for lunch, then head west to look at Battery two.


A shrine entrance.
Battery two was designed to look west towards Awajishima,  and had, I think two guns. It was party demolished after the war by the Americans, so you are not allowed to walk over it.

Battery two from a distance.





A map showing all of the batteries on the island.




Looking from the seaward side.



Looking back up the hill to the east.

The area these guns would've covered: that's Awajishima in the distance.
There was plenty more to see, but the kids were getting pretty tired by this stage so we decided to head back to the ferry and go back home.

A mysterious ruin behind Battery two. Some kind of observation post, perhaps.

We came back the way we'd come to avoid tramping over the inland hill crest again, but you can easily see what an obstacle this would have been to any shipping attempting to come near the area.

Looking inland: a filthy swamp, with a camp ground away behind it for those keen to stay the night.

An 8 inch shell which thankfully never saw use.

So a good little day out.

It's sobering to think how different the world was back when this place was doing its assigned job, but equally as sobering for me was seeing just how much plastic rubbish gets washed in from the sea. The southern coast was just an absolute mess of plastic, polystyrene and other things. The swampy area of the island itself had also been used as a dump by locals, so there were old fridges, wrecked vending machines, old hunks of rusty metal as well as plastic brought in by wind and tide.

The place was very popular with visitors, but for me it was a bit depressing to see what we're doing to our environment, and how little seems to be being done to clean it up.

Friday, April 6, 2018

An X-Wing Affair

Local mate Ben P came over the other night for a couple of games of X-Wing, which he has fallen for quite hard. Ben was running a youtube channel for a while on things related to learning English in Japan, and once our kids got wind of it (they are big 'youtuber' fans) he became something of a celebrity in our household; thus, when they heard he was coming over, they got a bit excited and found all sorts of excuses to pop into the room to say hello.

Ben is also an extremely nice guy. Our boy therefore found the combination of youtuber Ben and Star Wars miniatures too much to resist, and joined in.

He had to disappear for a bath, but it was the quickest bath he's ever had in his life, and he was back in no time to continue on. It was quite lovely to see. Eventually he had to push off to bed, but not before he'd got to move models around the table and roll a few dice (and score quite a few hits!).

Ben very kindly put up with it all and treated the boy throughout as a young adult, patiently explaining how to do the movement, how to read the stat cards and so on. Next day the boy said to me "Daddy, wargame please!" so Ben was clearly doing it right!

Anyway, here are a few shots from the games.

Game 1. I only snapped a couple of shots of this game, but it involved two small, high quality forces - my and the boy's three Imperial ships up against four Rebel vessels.

The boy rolls four hits to take out one of the Rebel ships just like that!

...and Ben returns the courtesy and takes out one of mine!

Thanks to the boy's imperious dice rolling before he took off to bed we managed to get enough of an advantage to secure an Imperial win.

Second game was a swarm of TIE fighters taking on Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon and a pair of Rebel support vessels. 

And we're off!

The Imperials landed a lot of hits on the Millennium Falcon early, but none of them were critical, and once the TIEs started getting in one another's way, the Falcon's 360 degree firing along with the annoying support acts began to wear the swarm down.

All of Chewie's roars were needed to fight off the enemy here!
The TIE fighters can't combine their fire effectively and are picked off one by one.

The superiority of the Rebel pilots tells, and eventually the TIE fighters are forced to run for home.

The games were fun, were filled with action, and had more twists and turns than the report or photos show. It's a little bit like Commands & Colors: Ancients in that there is a nice mixture of skill and luck involved, and so you never quite feel comfortable when you are in the better position, nor totally out of it when you are not.

I'm tempted to use the boy's enthusiasm as an excuse to get a couple of sets for ourselves, and our girls might even like it too. Something to consider, anyway. 

So many thanks to Ben for coming over with his models, for putting on a couple of games for us, and for lighting a bit of a fuse under the boy.

What the boy got up to the next day (I knew those WHFB figures would come in handy!).





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