TDDH: Dec III 41: The Allies
The Death of the American Fleet
Up to this point, I had wondered how the Americans were going to stand up to the Japanese. I felt that the Japanese were going to have a bit of a cakewalk, until I started getting the American reinforcements this turn.
It turns out that all of these Filipino 1-2-5 battalions running around can assemble into brigades, a Filipino division can be assembled, and even an American light armored cadre. Now, all of a sudden, I feel the Americans can mount a defense, and now wonder how the Japanese ever took the Philippines to begin with.
The Allies now have 10 Filipino brigades, one Filipino division and an American light armored cadre that can be assembled.
This makes a pretty formidable fighting force, but the Allies are experiencing a shortage of air power and sea power. In four turns, the US fleet is going to be withdrawn. Not that the hodge-podge of destroyers, seaplane tenders and transports could stand up to the 4 remaining Japanese cruisers.
The Japanese have dominance in the air and on the seas.
After a lot of study, the Allies only have a single supply source on Luzon, in Manila. They can always trace naval supply to Australia, but as stated earlier, that route is easily cut off by the IJN. So, while Bataan has the more defensible terrain, it is also easily isolated.
Manila also has a short frontage, and while the terrain is not as good as it is in Bataan, it has room for more troops, more aircraft, and is a naval base.
The defense of Luzon has to revolve around Manila (even if the Allies choose to not defend Manila itself).
The last turn that I spent running around the map gathering up troops from the various islands to bring them to Luzon was predicated on the idea that they would not be strong enough to resist the Japanese. As these assembly components have now appeared, it may turn out that this was a complete waste of time and effort. Cities, such as the naval base at Cebu City (the only other Allied naval bases on the map) that gain the Japanese victory points were just given to them.
However, it is possible that reinforcing Luzon may prevent the Japanese from gaining all sorts of VPs that are available for capturing certain ports (Manila, Cavite, Mariveles and Corregidor). If the Japanese capture all 4, they get an additional 30 VPs. They also get an additional 10 VPs each for capturing Manila and Cebu City.
We’ll find out. In the meantime, the Americans have got to go and gather up the rest of the troops and bring them to Luzon.
I already figured out that I need to make the Allied setup differently than I did, but now I have an idea how I want to set them up.
One thing that I need to address for those who did not read the comments made on the last post. Why didn’t I try to sink some of the Japanese transports as they were going by Iba?
I had sent a squadron of PBY-5 Catalinas to do just that, but they were aborted by AA fire.
During the ensuing naval battle, I had read a rule that said that the transports, carriers and certain other ships could not be targeted as long as there were cruisers or battleships in the hex. Thus, I attempted to take out the Japanese cruisers, but only got one at the cost of three American cruisers.
A later review of the rules showed me that I had left out part of the rule, that they cannot be targeted at battleship or cruiser range. When the two sides had closed to torpedo range, the entire American fleet should have targeted the transports. I doubt I will forget that part of the rule again.
As of the beginning of this turn, the Allies only have two B-17C heavy bombers, and two P-40E fighters, and a transport in operation. There are not enough identical aborted aircraft to be culled. (Note: I found a pair to be culled after I had already proceeded well into the movement phase)
I got started with the initial phase, and discovered one more mistake, this one for the Japanese. The landing at Laoag was in a non-clear hex, so there were additional DRMs that were not taken into account for disruption. This is the current status of all units at Laoag:
- 4r amphibious light armor [II] (1-8) badly disrupted
- “A” light armor [II] (1-8) eliminated
- 1YJ artillery III badly disrupted
- 8YJr art. [II] badly disrupted
- 47Y AA II badly disrupted
- 9YJ art II eliminated
- 3Dr engineer [II] badly disrupted
This disruption doesn’t mean a lot, as it all goes away at the start of the next Japanese turn.
I don’t like to ignore mistakes that I’ve made. I would rather adjust the game. For those who think I don’t know what I’m doing, you’re right. I don’t. I am learning this game. However, I also don’t want to leave this blog empty for weeks or months as I learn the game. I would rather throw this up as a reference for what to do and not do.
There is no production or replacements this turn. (Note: I discovered that there are two aborted P-35s that can be used to get one of them operational, but it will have to wait until next turn.)
The Americans do not declare Manila an open city.
The battalion of newly arrived combat engineers spends 1 resource point and begins augmenting the Manila airfield. At this rate, the augmentation will be complete on the Jan I 42 turn.
It is at this point that I also discover that I am under the mistaken impression that Cavite is a naval base. It isn’t, but Manila is, and as I discover, so is Cebu City. These are the only two naval bases the Americans have. I debate as to whether I should have the remnants of the fleet flee to Cebu City.
First naval movement sub-phase
Merchant-2 unloads the 101r Filipino (II) at Corregidor, temporarily overstacking the hex (the 101r will move elsewhere later)
The remains of naval group AF limp back towards Corregidor, which the Japanese had mined last turn. The Bird-1 is tasked with sweeping the mines. As the NG enters the hex, the DD Clems-1 (already beaten up during the last naval battle), hits a mine and is sunk. DM Bird-1 then sweeps one mine point, and begins sweeping up a second.
Second naval movement sub-phase
As Bird-1 is sweeping the second mine point, DD Clems-3 strikes another group of mines, taking 3 hits in damage, sinking the entire counter.
After completing the second sweep, the Japanese fly out on naval patrol, three separate missions: 1 raid from Cotabato (2 x G4M1 Betty) airbase in Mindanao, one raid from Formosa (1 squadron of G4M1 Bettys and 1 squadron of G3M2 Nells), and one squadron of G3M2 Nell from Roxas airstrip on Mindoro.
The gallant P-40E squadron based at Corregidor flies to intercept. They take out one squadron of G3M2 from Roxas (because they suffer the fewest negative DRMs for naval patrol) [KIA], but are themselves aborted in the process.
The raid from Formosa makes no contact, but the raiders from Cotabato do. AA fire fails to drive the raiders away.
At the end of the mission, the Bird-1 and Clems-3 destroyers have been sunk, leaving 1 Japanese mine point in the sea box.
The American fleet has vanished, and now the Japanese air forces no longer have to worry too much about naval patrol missions.
TR Merchant-1 begins to load a resource point off the beach at Mariveles.
Third naval movement sub-phase
TR Merchant-1 finishes loading the RP off the beach.
LB Manila-1 is called up and is sent from Manila to Mariveles, but is sunk by mines on the way there.
LB Manila-2 is called up at Manila, and it makes it to Mariveles. It begins loading a resource point off the beach.
The remnants of the fleet (the transports and carriers in Corregidor) make a break for Mariveles. and make it past the mines (VS Langley was the random target).
TS Merchant-4 loads 1 RP from the port of Mariveles (1 RE capacity used)
TR merchant-2 loads 1 RP from the Mariveles beach
Fourth naval movement sub-phase
LB Manila-2 finishes loading the resource point. It then transfers this cargo to Merchant-2
Fifth naval movement sub-phase
All transports leave Mariveles and form up with the carriers. LB Manila-2 is the target for mine attack, but makes it through. All ships move back to Manila and unload their cargo.
There may be those who are wondering why I went through the effort of moving these resource points to Mariveles last turn, only to load them back up and return them to Manila this turn.
I had originally decided that I was going to make my stand in Bataan. After all, that’s where McArthur made his stand, wasn’t it?
We know how that turned out.
As time went on and I started grasping more rules, I realized that a defense of the Bataan peninsula was suicide. There is no supply, except for a naval supply route to Australia, a line that is cut as soon as the IJN parks itself in the Corregidor sea box. It all goes downhill from there.
Manila is the only supply source the Allies have. At any time they can declare Manila an open city, but I don’t see any rule that dictates that the city ceases being a supply point, or even that the Allies have to abandon the hex.
So, while it seems like I am just moving stuff around at random, it has been decided that the stand will occur in and around Manila.
Now there is a flurry of activity all over the island of Luzon. I am not going to detail every unit, but I will highlight a few important ones.
Two new construction battalions show up in Manila. Each battalion spends 4 movement points to repair a hit on the airbase, since a construction battalion has to spend twice as long doing construction than a larger unit. Both hits come off the airfield, making it possible to get more air units operational at the beginning of the turn.
The American Philippines Division (1q2th) moves west to the town of Taytay, where it boards a train bound for an area just north of Tarlac. Once they have detrained, they continue to move north to the outskirts of the Dagupan intensive irrigation hex (rice fields).
In the north, the 11r, 12r and 71r infantry battalions converge on the town of Baguio in the mountains and assemble the 11r infantry brigade (5-7-5).
The newly arrived 2PGP (motorized artillery) and 3PGP (motorized anti-tank) in Manila move east to the town of Taytay, where they meet up with the 192 and 194 light armored battalions. They assemble into the 1PGp light armored cadre (core of the division), then return to the American FE Corps to hold the hills and block the progress of the Japanese 16th division. I went through this exercise, because I couldn’t remember and could not find rules as to whether or not assemblies and breakdowns could occur in zones of control. So I moved out of the ZOC to a hex where I knew I would be able to assemble the cadre.
The 1st and 3rd Filipino infantry regiments move from Bataan overland to just south of Cabanatuan. There they meet up with the 2nd Filipino infantry regiment moving from Mariveles (across from Corregidor), and the 1r infantry gun battalion moving from Manila. Together, they form the 1st Filipino infantry division. However, this division is unsupported, having no artillery of its own, so the 301st Filipino artillery regiment moves north to support this division.
The 21r, 32r, and 33r infantry battalions move north into the town of Tarlac, where they assemble with the 21r infantry gun battalion to form the 21r infantry regiment (5-7-5). From Tarlac, they move north to join the Philippines division and the US 86PSr artillery battalion outside of the town of Dagupan.
Note, due to the terrain, there is not enough strength to launch an attack against this hex, even with the Japanese being as disrupted as they are. I simply could not do all of the things that I wanted to do this turn, and protect all of the areas that I wanted to protect.
For example, There are 8.5 defensive points in Olangapo, a port just to the SW of the US Philippines division., across the Zambalas mountains. I wanted to be sure there would not be an amphibious invasion there to allow the Japanese behind them.
The same goes for Mariveles. While an amphibious landing there is unlikely due to the coastal defenses of Corregidor, I wanted to make sure no landing would occur there, but this port may be abandoned next turn, leaving Corregidor on its own.
The US 803 construction battalion arrives in Manila to help speed the expansion of the airfield.
In the silly Japanese move for their turn, the 51r infantry gun battalion in Lucena moves to seize the closest airstrip, and catch the Japanese napping, destroying the Zeros on the ground.
This was a silly move because there is an airstrip in Batangas that I forgot about. They should have been there. Oh well, it can be replaced.
The two B-17C heavy bomber squadrons abandon Clark Field and fly to Manila. A P-40E stationed at Manila flies escort. A single Japanese Zero squadron flies intercept, and tries to bypass the escort to attack the bombers. The Zeros are returned to their base.
Finally, the Filipino troops down on Mindanao at the port of Cagayan abandon the port and any hope of rescue, and withdraw into the jungle.
There is no combat.
The US Navy sits tight in Manila. It isn’t that I fear they will hit mines, but that they have no air protection anymore. No ships providing AA, for all the good it did them. Instead of trying to gather up the rest of the troops from the various islands, they elect to stay put in Manila.
Even though the Americans are unable to attack at Dagupan, their positioning makes it difficult for the Japanese to break out easily, because of the ZOC of the Ph division.
There is no exploitation.
The Americans are about as organized as they can get. Now the task is to see if they can drive the Japanese off the north end of Luzon while holding the line south of Manila.
A quick note. While it appears that the American FE corps is very weak (6 points of defense), it is in a wooded rough hex, giving them a -4 DRM, -2 for the terrain, and -2 for armor effects of defense (AECD). The Japanese may defeat them, but there may be a high toll extracted.
It has been said that I took all of the tension out of the game by fleeing for Bataan. While my initial thoughts were to make a stand there, I later decided that this would be a great place to reorganize and sally forth, especially after I discovered the brigades that could be assembled. Certainly, not all of them have been, or will be assembled, but the ones that have will be a boon to offensive operations.
The north end of the island is where the Japanese are definitely the weakest. I hope that the southern front will be able to hold out while the Allied defenders drive the Japanese off the island.
Business is definitely about to pick up.