I haven't actually played WAB for a couple of years now although I still own a Republician Roman and Saracen army.When I first started playing WAB I thought oh what a great set of rules, they were fun and fast and a vast improvement on the old test tables of WRG.The original WAB army lists AoA were ok, but then GW who at the end of the day are WAB rubbing their hands thought Oh we'll bring out supplement army lists with a book for each part of history.Some of these army lists as with others that GW produce are flights of fantasy, fun, but not to be taken seriously or historically.
I don't mean to offend anyone who research and write these Supplement Books, but come on....please keep it real.
As David Knight knows I once owned a Samurai Army taken from the AoA lists these were Dixon figures and I've read quite alot on Japanese history.I have been thinking of replacing it using Perry's miniatures, but I thought I'd wait until the "Divine Wind" supplement book comes out.
These are just my general thoughts on samurai warfare though the ages.....firstly early period.....most samurai were mounted horse archers, who were expert horse riders and being able to fire their longbows while mounted.Samurai armour of this period was made of lacquered bamboo sections tied with cords so I don't think these should be classed as HC, but if you like a Light HC being able to move faster than HC and also having the ability to move, fire and then evade from enemy all in the same turn.The other samurai weapon was the katana which again would need both hands to weild while on horseback.I don't think this deadly weapon even though it was the mark of the samurai could be weilded with the same effect as if on foot, so to represent this I'd give it a -1 to the samurai strengh while mounted.Other weapons used while mounted was a naginata and another polearm with a hook on the end used to pull a enemy off his mount.The naginata was simular to the medieval glave in that it was light, being able to use overhead and weilded with ease and used mainly as a slashing weapon as it had roughly a 10" curved blade on the end of the pole.Again these would be a two handed weapon, but not used with the same effect as if dismounted.
Samurai on foot, again I'd class these as LHI at least in the early period armed with either longbow and katana, yari and katana or naginata.The Japanese Longbow shouldn't be in the same class as the Medieval English Longbow and should thus have a slightly shorter range, but keeping the same BS of 4.For the Katana and Naginata on foot I'd leave it as it is and that is each figure gets two Dice in combat and only Naginata's get a double saving throw to reflect the chance to parry blow's.Obviously the naginata will cost a extra point more than the katana.
Ashigaru of this period were little better than armed peasants, counting as LMI and armed with the Yari (thrusting spear).They weren't a regular fighting force and were mainly land workers, who at time of war would be called up to fight for their lords much like the feudal system in the middle ages.
Warrior Monks, both Early and Late period's were fanatic's, armed and armoured the same as samurai.Ninja were hired assassins and to my knowledge never fought as a battlefield unit, so this is GW'S fantasy unit
Ronin, these were lordless samurai who sold there services to the highest bidder, again armed and armoured the same as samurai, but with a throw of a 1 on a D6 must dice again, with a score of 1 they move towards or if in charge reach, charge the nearest friendly unit, on a 2 they move towards the nearest table edge and if this takes them off table are lost never to return.On a score of 3 they remain halted and refuse to move, on a 4 or 5 they move as normal and on a 6 move towards or charge the nearest enemy unit.
If a champion is brought these must declare themselves at the start of the game and offer personel combat to a enemy champion, sub-general or C-in-C.
During the Mongol Invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281 the Mongol Commanders were bemused with young samurai riding out, announcing themselves and their family's before calling out and offering hand to hand combat to all takers.Unfortunatly the mongol's were not used to this sort of chivalry and the single riders were usually met with a hail of arrows.
Late period - Mounted samurai armour moves to chain mail and small armoured plates so HC armed the same, but in fewer numbers.Dismounted samurai armour HI, but still fight and move in loose order like LHI, same weapons, but with fewer if any longbows.
Ashigaru were more organised, better armoured with most still being armed with the Yari, but some trained to use the Matchlock Arquebus and yes I would allow these to be commanded by a samurai captain or the likes.At the battle of Nagashino in 1575, Oda Nobunaga had 3,000 such Ashigaru under the command of Honda Tadakatsu with a number of other captains from Oda's horo-shu (elite bodyguard) and these were also supported by Yari armed Samurai behind the protection of a bamboo stockade.
Warrior Monks of the later period should have their own army list, fanatic's as before....
As for cannon's well as with the Ninja's I've never heard or read of these being used in battle so again this could be another of those GW Fantasy thing's.
Hope I haven't bored you all too much....cheers and as I said just my thoughts.......Ray.