The Battle of Gurun 14-15th December 1941 AAR

The Battle of Gurun took place about thirty miles south of the village of Jitra, where the British defenders had suffered their previous defeat on the 12th/13th of December.  The position north of Gurun was the next defensible place open to the British but it took the survivors of Jitra almost 48 hours to reach the area and start digging in. The 2nd East Surrey Regiment reached the position first at 05:00 on the 14th and immediately began improving the defence line. However, it took another five hours before they were joined by the remnants of the 1/8th Punjab who were in the act of digging in when the Japanese also arrived on the battlefield. This was the situation for our latest game in the Malaya campaign.

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Dean was joined by Ninjasarus Rex as the Japanese facing my British defenders, Their forces consisted of two full battalions of the Saeki Detachment, supported by two 70mm fields guns, 4 x type 95 (Ha Go), 4 x Type 97 (Te Ke) and 4 x Type 97 (Chi Ha) tanks.

It was another one sided affair as the British forces consisted of a battalion of 2nd East Surreys, one company from the 1/8th Punjabs along with the 6th and 15th Brigades HQ (seven figures each, including a mortar and Boys AT Rifle), 3rd Cavalry regiment in a lorry and two 2lbers AT guns. Off board support came from 1D6 worth of 25lber fire (I rolled a four). The British held the town of Gurun to the south of the board and the plantation in the centre.

The jungle in the centre of the board and the Kedah Peak on the western flank being impassible gave me a bit of a bottleneck for the Japanese to hopefully pass into, so I set up according to this theory. The Japanese had to force their way through the British lines and leave the road open within eight turns for victory, anything else would be counted as a British victory.

(Button Counter Alert: There is supposed to be a railway that runs north to south parallel to the main road in this game, but as I don't have any rail tracks, we had to leave it out.)

The Japanese starting positions; The entire force was split between the two commanders, with both taking a battalion and a handful of tanks apiece.

My first line of defence was spread across the front of the dense plantation. The East Surreys were placed in prepared positions as they had more time to dig in, the Punjabs on my left flank were in shell scrapes. I figured this was the best position as I would get the jump on the Japanese for firing and maybe cause some damage early on.

This was proved correct as accurate anti-tank fire immediately took out a Type 95.

The Japanese infantry also took several hits as my fire caused more casualties.

I knew my luck wouldn't last very long though and the Japanese armour closed in with the Punjabs, supported by their infantry.

Heavy fire from the Japanese mortars cleared out the Surrey defenders. I was getting hit hard!

My front line was in danger of crumbling immediately as the casualties mounted. However, I was able to reply with a barrage of 25lbers, which caused a few casualties amongst the Japanese infantry.

The Japanese tanks advanced on the eastern flank and brought one of the Brigade HQs under fire in their positions in the jungle.

I had positioned my two 2lbers in the village of Gurun and this proved to be fortunate as they clobbered a Type 97 (Te Ke) crossing the road to the north.

The Japanese were making advances but were paying a heavy price for it!

With most of the British defenders destroyed the Japanese began moving towards the road to rush the village. Meanwhile, my Punjabs stood against a close assault.

Fire from the 70mm guns and tanks saw my Brigade HQ decimated in the jungle.

A single Type 97 (Te Ke) made an attack on the other Brigade HQ on my left flank, but to no avail.

The Punjabs were holding on against mounting odds, they passed their morale test and the remaining man stood his ground.

Meanwhile, the main body of tanks swept around the right flank that was now undefended.

I brought up the Cavalry in their lorry and debussed them into better positions in the jungle by the road.

This proved fortunate, because as the Japanese crossed the road the Cavalry rifle fire nearly destroyed one of their battalion headquarters.

The Brigade HQ called in the 25lbers again and smashed up the Japanese attackers. I had very few men left but what I did have was proving to be a stiff defence.

Another Type 97 (Te Ke) burst into flame with shots from the Brigade HQ's AT rifle.

The Japanese tanks were threatening the British rear and their fire destroyed one of the two 2lbers positioned in Gurun.

Time was ticking down for the Japanese assault, but they were nibbling away at my defence and it was starting to get desperate from my point of view.

I still had some artillery left, however, and it was called down on the infantry in the Jungle causing heavy casualties.

The Japanese infantry were massing for the final assaults behind the jungle.

But the ones on the road were getting cut to pieces by the Cavalry and the Brigade HQ. Another Type 97 was hit, causing heavy damage, but destroying the morale of the unit and they fled.

The remaining 2lber was winkled out of its position in Gurun by tank fire, but not before it took out a Type 97 (Chi Ha).

The infantry tried to force their way down the road.

Japanese infantry in the jungle shot the Cavalry to pieces, meanwhile the Brigade HQ was taking heavy fire.

Then came the inevitable Japanese close assault and the Brigade HQ was cleared out of their positions with no survivors.

This left the Cavalry to be surrounded by infantry and tanks.

Despite a desperate defence the result was inevitable. The British defence would not hold against such overwhelming odds.

The Cavalry were destroyed and the game was over. It was a complete Japanese victory.

The game finished on the very last turn, it was a very close run thing from the Japanese point of view and on reflection I should have pulled back into the jungle immediately and used the natural cover it gave. This may have dragged the Japanese attack over the pre-determined eight turns, but, I felt it would be better to try and cause casualties on the Japanese as they were in the open at the start. I managed to whack more Japanese tanks than in previous battles, but this was probably more to do with the amount of AT rifles, as the 2lbers only brewed up two tanks in the entire game.

It was another exciting game and the campaign is still far from over with the next action being the three day battle at Kampar on the 30th of December. I may have lost again, but I have to remember that this all ends on the deck of USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay...


  1. Very cool games and pictures

  2. great games. what rules are you using?

    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the report. The rules are Rapid Fire! but with 15mm figures.


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