Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: Dec III 41: The Japanese

As I was writing this up, I caught a transcription error from my notes for the blog for the Dec II 41 Japanese turn.

On the island of Mindanao, the 146/56 landed at Cobabato with the Kure III, not at the airfield as the blog states. The 24DR and 2DR engineer battalions landed at the airfield (thus the note that they were tasked with augmenting the airfield). This can be confirmed in the photo. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Initial Phase

Weather Roll

The weather is worsening.

  • Zone 11: clear/rough seas
  • Zone 12: mud/stormy seas
  • Zone 13: mud/rough seas

The Japanese have two aborted bombers in need of repair. Two air repair points are spent to get them operational again (Ki-48 on Mindoro (IJA), and a G4M on Formosa (IJN)). Because the airstrip that the Ki-48 is located on is out of commission, it can’t become operational this turn.

The Japanese receive seven (TA) transport counters this turn, seven LC counters, a Landing Ship for the Imperial Japanese Army, two TR transport counters and two TS transport counters for the IJN. There are a few units in Japan proper, including a light division that must be retrieved, but it will probably take the entire first naval phase to go and get them, as Japan is nine sea boxes away.

A resource point arrives in Formosa, as production

The Japanese receive no conditional reinforcements this turn.

There is an airbase under Japanese control on Mindanao that I overlooked when the naval patrol mission went off last turn. I will have to remember to get bombers there this turn.

The Situation

Reviewing available forces, there is a light infantry division in Japan. I should have been on top of this and instead of making preliminary landings on Luzon, I should have sent my available transports to Japan to retrieve this division so it would be ready for landings this turn.

Most of the Philippine islands have been abandoned by the Americans. There are still some troops here and there that need mopping up, but they will have to wait. More troops do not need to be landed on these islands at the moment. Troops that are already there should be sufficient to conquer those islands. The SNLF troops need to be picked up, however, for future operations. They cannot be used this turn, so I will have to make operational plans for them this turn.

The majority of these troops have been taken to the Bataan peninsula to prepare a defense, while the US Navy has transferred to Corregidor.

The 1For and 2For light mountain regiments of the 48th division sit just south of Cavite and Manila, with the 20th regiment of the 16th Light Division protecting Batangas. The port has been bombed, and has been reduced to 1 RE capacity, but it can still be used for supply purposes.

The rest of the 48th division is in Formosa, and the 16th division is split between Formosa and Palau.

A lot of troops can be put on Luzon this turn with the arrival of all the transports. The northwestern coastline is completely devoid of troops from San Fernando on up. There are two regiments, and a lot of smaller units (3 x armored battalions, antiaircraft, artillery, and engineers). Formosa, with the exception of aircraft, is being emptied out.

In the meantime, resource points, engineers and baseforce units (port engineers) also need to arrive. I also need a construction unit to start building airfields for the air forces. Airstrips are nice, but there is not enough capacity for all of the required aircraft.

From Formosa

Japanese operation plan, Dec II 1941 (click image to enlarge)

Japanese operation plan, Dec II 1941 (click image to enlarge)


  • 47/48 light mountain III (6-8-8) to be landed at port
  • 31 Baseforce X (IJN) to be landed on the beach
  • 2 x resource points to be landed on the beach

The rest are landing on the northern end of Luzon.


  • 45Y & 48Y AA II
  • 7r armor [II]


  • 4r amphibious light armor [II] (1-8)
  • “A” light armor [II] (1-8)
  • 1YJ artillery III
  • 8YJr art. [II]
  • 47Y AA II
  • 9YJ art II
  • 3DR engineer [II]


  • 9/16 light infantry III
  • “A” construction [III]
  • 48HC static X

From Palau


  • 56HC static X
  • 33/16 light infantry III
  • 1 resource point

Movement phase

Naval movement sub-phase

A6M (range 23) from Batan flies CAP over Aparri

Supply transports Maru-17 & 18 head off to Japan, along with Maru-14 (TR). They can make it to Japan, load the 2nd division and “B” construction [III], and back to Formosa by the end of the first naval sub-phase.

DCF Naval Group: (Maru-2, 12, 13, 15)

  • Load cargo at Formosa (2 MP)
  • Leave port (1 MP)
  • 2SAF breaks off from main group (Maru-3, 4) (send destroyers as AA protection)
  • Enter north edge of map (1 MP) [end 1st naval phase]
  • Moves due south to the Lingayen Gulf sea box via Laoag sea box and sea box due west of Vigan.  (4 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Move 1 sea box south (off the coast of Iba), and is detected by US NG AF. US naval units move to intercept. (1 MP)
  • The US Navy sends  a PBY-5A escorted by a P-40E to fly the naval patrol mission, spotting the Japanese fleet. The VS S. Maru launches a F1M2 “Pete” to  intercept. The P-40E aborts the F1M2, while suffering no damage to itself.
  • The PBY targets the Maru-1 transports & but the destroyers roll snake eyes, and aborts the PBY before it can do any damage.
  • Meanwhile, the Japanese launch their own naval patrol mission before the battle begins.
  • Three G4M1 “Betty” squadrons arrive and spot the American fleet.
  • AA fire returns one squadron.
  • The Bettys target the CA Houston and CL Boise, scoring one hit on each before flying off to Mindanao.
  • The Battle of the South China Sea, before Naval Patrol bombers detect the fleets (click image to enlarge)

    The Battle of the South China Sea, before Naval Patrol bombers detect the fleets (click image to enlarge)

    Round 1: Destroyer range, seas are rough (torpedo attacks occur after the resolution of all gunnery fire)

    • Due to the rough seas, the USS Houston cannot hit either of the IJN cruisers, so it must seek weaker targets.
    • CA Houston v. Muts-1 : miss
    • CL Marblehead v. Kami-1: miss
    • CL Boise v. CA Ashigara: miss
    • IP-1 v. Waka-1: miss
    • Bird-1 v. Tomo-1: miss
    • Clems-1, 2, 3 and PT-1 are making torpedo attacks, so must wait for all gunfire to be completed.
    • Ashigara v. Houston: miss
    • Maya v. Boise: miss
    • Kage-1: torpedo attack
    • Asas-1 : torpedo attack
    • Shirat-1: torpedo attack
    • Muts-1 v. Marblehead: miss
    • Kami-1 v. PT-1: hit (sunk)
    • Waka-1 v. Bird-1: miss
    • Tomo-1 v. IP-1: hit (sunk)
  • Round 1 torpedo attacks:
    • Clems-1 v. Maya: 2 hits
    • Clems-2 v. Ashigara: miss
    • Clems-3 v. Maya: 1 hit (sunk)
    • PT-1: sunk before attack
    • Asas-1 v. CA Houston: 2 hits (sunk)
    • Kage-1 v. Boise: 2 hits (sunk)
    • Shirat-1 v. Marblehead: 2 hits (sunk)
  • USN: withdraw, IJN: maintain
  • Round 2: New range: Cruiser
    • CA Ashigara v. DD Clems-1:  hit
  • USN: withdraw, IJN: close
  • Round 3: new range: Battleship
    • Fleets out of gunnery range of each other.
  • USN: withdraw, IJN: withdraw. End of battle.

And just like that, the three US cruisers are gone, at the cost of a single Japanese cruiser. Both sides are spent and have to be replenished.

  • Continue to move to Batangas (1 MP)
  • Maru-13 offloads 1 resource point at the port (2 MP); still has 1 resource point on board
  • Maru-2, 12, 15 offload at the beach (2 MP; 4 MP remaining) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • Maru-13 offloads 1 resource point on the beach (4 MP)
  • Maru-2, 12 & 15 finish offloading on the beach (4 MP) [end of 4th naval phase]
  • Maru-13 finishes offloading resource point (2 MP)
  • NG puts to sea (1 MP)
  • Move to sea box off west coast of Iba, where naval battle took place (1 MP)
  • Combat triggered
    • Round 1 Range: Battleship (both sides need replenishment)
      • Both sides withdraw [end 5th naval phase]

2SAF Naval Group (Maru-3)

  • Reaches north edge of map (1 MP) [end 1st naval phase]
  • Move to Babuyan Channel/Aparri (1 MP)
  • Unload LCs/transfer cargo to LCs (0 MP)
  • Unload cargo at beach (3 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Finish offloading cargoatAppari. (3 MP)
    • LC Dai-4 damaged
  • Leave port (1 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • Move to Batan (1 MP)
  • Load 3Yok para II (3 MP) [end 4th naval phase]
  • Put to sea (1 MP)
  • Move to Formosa (2 MP) [end 5th naval phase]

3FLT Naval Group (Palau):

  • Load cargo (2 MP)
  • Leave port (1 MP)
  • Move one more sea box (1 MP) [end 1st naval phase]
  • Move to the map edge (4 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Move to Davao (2 MP)
  • Begin offloading cargo (amphibious attack)  (2 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • Finish offload at Davao (4 MP) [end 4th naval phase]
    • No LC damage
  • Non-transport naval units spending 4th and 5th naval phases preparing for naval ground support (8 MP) [end 5th naval phase]

3SAF Naval Group: (Maru-4, 5, 7; Sh. Maru LS)

  • Splits from NG DCF (0 MP)
  • Move to Laoag (2 MP)
  • Begin offload (2 MP)
  • 2 x B-17C from Clark Field fly naval patrol over Laoag. They fail to make contact and return to base. [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Finish offloading cargo at Laoag (4 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
    • LC Dai-7 and LS Sh. Maru damaged during landings
  • Leave port (1 MP)
  • Return to Formosa (3 MP) [end 4th naval phase]
  • Replenish (2 MP)  [end 5th naval phase]

SF Naval Group: (Maru-1, 6, 8, 9)

  • Moves with DCF NG for 2 sea boxes, then splits from the NG to head for the Lingayen Gulf (Dagapan) (2 MP)
  • Lands at Dagupan (2 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Begin offloading cargo on the beaches of Dagupan (4 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • Finish offloading (2 MP)
    • LC Dai-6 and Dai-8 damaged
  • put to sea (1 MP) USN naval group AF fails to react
  • Move 1 sea box to the north, to the west of Vigan. [end 4th naval phase]
  • Return to Formosa (4 MP) [end 5th naval phase]


Prior to rolling for disruption, the Japanese air forces take to the skies to transfer to Luzon:

  • A62M (23 range) flies to Laoag.
  • A62M (23 range) flying CAP over Aparri fliesto Nasugbu, near Batangas. It is patrol attacked several times en route to its destination.
    • Patrol attackbyP-40B from Clark Field
      • Attacker aborted
    • Patrol attacked by two P-35A’s, from the Manila area
      • Both attackers aborted
      • For those keeping score at home, that was three 1’s in a row.
    • Patrol attackedby a P-40E
      • No effect
  • A62M (23 range) flies to San Pablo
  • A62M (17 range) flies to Batan
  • A62M (17 range) flies to Aparri

2SAS SNLF II moves rapidly to capture the airstrip at Roxas, and returns to Calapan. An IJA G3M2 Nell flies into the airstrip at extended range.

The 21DR engineer [II] spends 6 MP to repair the airstrip at Calapan. They have to spend 2 more MP next turn to finish the repairs. Note to self: Battalion sized construction units have to pay twice the costs to build or repair airfields, so make sure there is a pair of them available in any location to get jobs done quickly.


20/16 moves to capture Cavite.

1For/48 & 2For/48 take a position south of the FE corps in the woods on Lamon Bay.

Disruption rolls:


  • 45Y & 48Y AA II both disrupted
  • 7r armor [II] landed okay


  • 4r amphibious light armor [II] (1-8) landed okay
  • “A” light armor [II] (1-8) disrupted
  • 1YJ artillery III disrupted
  • 8YJr art. [II] disrupted
  • 47Y AA II disrupted
  • 9YJ art II disrupted
  • 3Dr engineer [II] landed okay


  • 9/16 light infantry III badly disrupted
  • “A” construction [III] badly disrupted
  • 48HC static X disrupted

A bit of horrible luck with the dice rolls, but it should not have a long term impact on the Japanese. Of course, the landing at Dagupan went horribly wrong, and the Japanese were lucky no units were eliminated due to sea conditions and landing terrain.


G3M2-L transport from Hainan flies 70 hexes from Hainan and lands at the captured airfield in Mindanao with 1Yok parachute II.

The engineers that race north from the captured airbase towards the airbase outside of Cagayan. Due to muddy conditions, on the southern side of the island, they stop one hex south of Cagayan, about 16 miles away from the airfield.

The 146/56 moves north from Cobabato, slowed by the muddy roads, but make it 16 miles north of the captured airfield to the weather zone line.

Disruption rolls:

Davao: Resource point eliminated (meaning no attack supply), but the landing troops are not disrupted.

Assault on Davao & Mindanao (click image to enlarge)

Assault on Davao & Mindanao (click image to enlarge)

Amphibious Assault at Davao:

4.5 NGS factors (all halved for rough seas); the light infantry regiment (4-6-6) carrying out the assault has 1 point of combat strength (halved for no attack supply, halved again for amphibious assault because it is amphibiously trained).

The end result is an attack at 5.5:1, or 5:1.

The Japanese easily eliminate the Davao defenders and take control of the port of Davao. (rolled a 5; Defender Eliminated).


Naval movement sub-phase

Maru-3, 5, 7

  • Maru-3 offload 3Yok para II (2 MP)
  • Leave port and move towards Okinawa (2 MP) [end 1st naval phase]
  • Arrive in Okinawa (3 MP)
  • Load Cargo (1 MP)
    • 1 resource point (1 RE) – Maru-3
    • 15th mt. mortar II (1/2 RE) – Maru-3
    • 60Y heavy AA II (1/2 RE) – Maru-3
    • 1Yok SNLF II (1/2 RE) – Maru-7
    • 16HC static X (2 RE) – Maru-5  [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Finish loading cargo (1 MP)
  • Leave port and head back to Formosa (3 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • Arrive at Formosa (2 MP)
  • Replenish (2 MP) [end naval phase]


  • Leave port; destination: Japan (4 MP) [end 1st naval phase]
  • Move towards Japan (4MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Move to Kyushu ports in Japan (1 MP)
  • Load 43HC static X (2 MP)
  • Leave port (1 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • Move back towards Formosa (4 MP) [end 4th naval phase]
  • Return to Formosa [end 5th naval phase]
Exploitation movement at and around Mindanao (click image to enlarge)

Exploitation movement at and around Mindanao (click image to enlarge)


  • Leave Davao (1MP) [Maru 11 & 16 stay]
  • Move west to the Moro Gulf (3 MP)
  • Swing around Zamboanga and north into the Sulu Sea (4 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Move to Corregidor sea box (USN reaction fails) (4 MP) [end 3rd naval phase]
  • IJN lays a 3 point nuisance minefield in Corregidor sea box (1 MP) (mostly to see how the mechanics work)
  • Move to sea box off west coast of Iba, where NG AF is located. (1 MP)
  • Combat triggered
    • Round 1 Range: Battleship
      • Both decide to disengage (because both need replenishment)
  • Continue north (2 MP) [end 4th naval phase]
  • Return to Formosa (4 MP) [end 5th naval phase]


  • Splits from 3FLT
  • Stops at port Cotabato (1 MP)
  • Load Kure SNLF regiment (2 MP)
  • Stays in port [end 2nd naval phase]

Maru-11 & 16

  • Offload 56HC static brigade (4 MP) [end of 1st naval phase]
  • Finish offload (2 MP)
  • Leave port (1 MP)
  • Turn back for Palau (1 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]
  • Return to Palau (6 MP)
  • Replenish (2 MP) [end 4th naval phase]


  • Move to first box off map (or top edge of the map) (4 MP) [end 1st naval phase]
  • Return to Formosa (2 MP)
  • Replenish (2 MP) [end 2nd naval phase]


  • Load cargo (2 MP) (Transport counter ‘C’ (1 RE))
Luzon, at the end of the exploitation phase - Dec II 41 (click image to enlarge)

Luzon, at the end of the exploitation phase – Dec II 41 (click image to enlarge)

Very few ground units can move during this phase. The amphibious tanks trundle down the road from Laoag towards Vigan. The 7r armor II takes off down the road into the jungle south of Aparri.

On Mindanao, the 146/56 moves a couple of hexes north along the road (with the help of clear weather) towards Cagayan and the airfield just outside the city.

By next turn, Mindanao should pretty much be subdued, with all of the important points taken.

The following units are already aboard their respective transports:

Maru-3 (Formosa):

  • 1 resource point (1 RE)
  • 15th mt. mortar II (1/2 RE)
  • 60Y heavy AA II (1/2 RE)

Maru-4 (Formosa):

  • 43HC static X

Maru-5 (Formosa):

  • 16HC static X (2 RE)

Maru-7 (Formosa):

  • 1Yok SNLF II (1/2 RE)

Maru-10 (Mindanao):

  • Kure SNLF III


  • Transport counter ‘C’ (1 RE)


Dec IV invasion plans.

The Kure SNLF regiment picked up from Cotabato is going to amphibiously land at Zamboanga to take the airfield there.


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3 thoughts on “TDDH: Dec III 41: The Japanese

  1. OOO, the Japanese transports are passed by, again. That will cost the Americans. To not go for the transports, and now the second time, is a game changer. Good thing your game is just a dry run to try the capabilities, but you ought to at least indicate that the destroyers and cruisers could have taken their shots at the transports. There are readers wanting to learn the game. Well, we’ll get to see the Japanese plans work.


    • The transports were not ignored. If you re-read the post, two B-17s were dispatched to Laoag to try to sink transports/landing craft, but they failed to make contact and returned to base. As the main fleet passed Iba and the USN reacted, the Catalinas and escort were dispatched as well, with transports as their target. AA fire aborted the Catalinas, so they were unable to drop on their targets. That’s three attempts and three failures. Failure to complete the mission, yes. Ignored, no.

      As to why they weren’t targeted during the naval battle, that was just a simple misreading of the rules. Rule 29A says that transports can’t be targeted at battleship or cruiser range as long as battleships or cruisers are present. I forgot the range stipulation, and I thank you for making go back and re-read the rule.

      That’s why I was targeting the Japanese cruisers instead of the transports, because I thought I needed to get rid of them before I could attack the transports.

      As I work on the American half of the turn, I am learning more about the dispositions of the Americans and how it relates to the initial setup. I honestly doubt, at this point in time, that the Japanese are going to win, but we’ll see. The USN is in tatters, the air forces are getting smaller. The only thing the Allies have going for them at this point is their ground forces. The question is, will it be enough.


      • paul on said:

        I wondered if it wasn’t just a case of missing the rule. A shot at the transports is a gift not to refuse. Something had to be said. The navy is the single best weapon for that, and what Japanese commander would allow it to happen? Their plans depend on the transports. Sink the transports and the Japanese plans are wrecked. The air force can send the missions but has too much difficulty doing the job, as your game demonstrates. If the Japanese are ashore, then it is up to the American ground forces.

        I think the Americans have the equipment for the fight. What they need is a solid game plan that starts from the beginning setup.


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