TDDH: Reset Time & the Allied Defense Strategy
I think this blog is beginning to feel neglected.
Anyone who has read this blog since its inception knows that I tend to play a few turns and then reset the game, usually because I’ve made so many errors that the game is really screwed up. .
While I have made some errors in this game, that’s not the reason I am resetting.
I have a lot on my plate right now. I spend my days looking for work (again; this economy really sucks), and trying to upgrade my skill set by learning to program HTML and building from there. Couple that with a small micro-business that my wife and I run, and I don’t have a lot of luxury time, and sometimes it takes me a couple of days to write this, gathering up all the info and getting photos, and making everything nice and purty.
It has been awhile since I’ve even thought about this game. When I sat down the other day, while I knew what I was trying to achieve, I felt the Japanese invasion plan was crap, and that the whole thing was busted. Why you ask? At least one division was split up. Supplies were not exactly flowing to the islands, something I am horrible about. I like to get everybody ashore, then supply them. Completely back-asswards.
So I decided to reset it. This time, however, I have a better idea of what I want to do, and a better feel for the rules.
Instead of having the Allies “run for the hills”, as one reader put it, over to Bataan only to run back to Manila, I am going to give more thought as to how to handle them.
Running for the hills is a defense I tend to operate from the beginning of an invasion until such time as those forces can be reorganized and start pushing back. I did it with Narvik, and I did it to a lesser degree in Marita-Merkur.
One of the really bad habits that I have is that I don’t make notes prior to the game. I don’t look ahead in the Order of Battle to see what’s coming down the road. I aim to change that.
The Allies will also have the submarine counters available for use, and the defensive plans for Luzon will still center around Manila, because that is the only source of supply on the island, despite the Filipinos desire to not have it destroyed. It does appear to me, however, that Manila can be declared open, but the hex can still be defended, and used as a source of supply. If the rules say different, someone please point me in the right direction.
How will the Allied defense be addressed?
The primary defensive line will be behind the Pamapanga River, to the extent possible, and the right flank can always be pulled back as needed. To the south, the city of manila and the woods along the coast block entrance into the Manila box, and can be lightly defended.
Back during the invasion, the Filipino government had no desire to see Manila destroyed, and more or less begged McArthur to not defend the city. To this end, they withheld men and supplies until McArthur agreed.
While these same men and supplies are withheld until the Allied player declares manila an open city, the Allied player does not have to worry about Manila being destroyed. Advantage: Allies. Of course, the city could be declared open, and the hex is still hard to take, as the Pasig River to the south still forms a barrier.
At the beginning of the game, the Allies look pretty weak, everybody broken down into battalions. The question is, how does one set them up effectively?
Looking at the Order of Battle, one sees some clues that my help. Every Filipino reinforcement (which run out at the end of the year) appears in one of eleven cities (with a few exceptions):
- Cebu City
On the second Allied turn (December III 41), ten infantry brigade counters become available for assembly. The Allies can then take the 1-2-5 infantry battalions joined with 1-4 infantry gun battalions (that also arrive Dec III) and assemble them into the more powerful 5-7-5 infantry regiments. Each of the cities/towns listed above receives infantry and infantry gun battalions.
For those who don’t know what an infantry gun is, it’s bigger than a breadbox, but smaller than a freight train.
Does that make it clear?
Actually, an infantry gun is an artillery piece that is small and light enough to be transported by infantry, but bigger than a mortar.
Of the ten 5-7-5 infantry brigades that can now be assembled, five of them are on Luzon. Three others can be assembled, at Cebu City, Iliolo, and Cagayan. The reason is that while there are infantry gun battalions at Tacloban and Bacolod, both cities are one infantry battalion short of creating the final two brigades. The two missing battalions are on Luzon, one on the northern end of the island, and the other outside the Manila area. In order to complete these brigades, either the units in Tacloban and Bacolod must be evacuated and shipped to Luzon, or the two battalions on Luzon have to be shipped to Tacloban/Bacolod.
If that can’t be accomplished, there are still enough formations at those two cities to form 3-4-4 regiments (there are four available for assembly).
The 1st Filipino infantry Division becomes available for assembly on the December III 41 turn as well. It is an unsupported division, having no organic artillery, but there is artillery available to support it.
The correct units are not all on Luzon to form the 1st Infantry Division. The division is a regiment short, and there are two regiments available: one at Cebu City, and one at Cagayan. In order to assemble the division, one of these regiments must be retrieved and returned to Luzon.
What I did the last game was that I spent a lot of time running from island to island retrieving as many units as I could for the fight on Luzon. In the process, I gave up all the other islands for free. The reinforcements that arrived later would not have been able to stop the Japanese. It is a very time consuming project, but is it worth it, in the end? Is it better to marshal forces to Cebu, because it is a naval base? Manila is restricted, and the American fleet can easily be hemmed into Manila Bay.
Looking at the Victory Point schedule, at the end of the game, VPs are awarded per ports (points vary by size of the port) , airstrips owned, and permanent airfields owned. In addition, the Japanese receive 30 VP for the capture of Manila, Corregidor, Mariveles, and Cavite (all four must be captured). There are also awards for how many enemy units in the replacement pool, hits on naval units, and aircraft aborted and eliminated. The Allies would have been hurting there in the last game, as nearly the entire fleet was sunk.
Looking at the schedule, it shows the primary battle is on Luzon. While the other islands have troops, the only two islands of any import are Cebu and Mindanao. Why? Cebu City is a major port and a naval base (worth 10 VPs). Mindanao has three permanent airfields on it (two functioning, and one under construction). The three combine for 15 VPs. The only incentive for capturing other islands is for conditional reinforcements for the Japanese.
The main battle is on Luzon. Although the American fleet needs to avoid confrontation with the Imperial Japanese Navy, and get as many of these units moved to Luzon, or at least Cebu City before the fleet is withdrawn in January. I’m not convinced that was the wrong move, no matter how many victory points are given up.
But the fleet is extremely vulnerable where it is at. Fortunately, there is a second naval bases from which it can operate, but it is caught in the jaws of two separate fleets.
To start the game, the USN is on Dedicated Reaction. (Update: the USN can’t start dedicated reaction until their turn, so they aren’t on dedicated reaction. I found this after I posted it, and a reader was kind enough to point it out to me. Thanks, Paul!)
Allied forces are positioned in such a way as to minimize the amount of movement required to assemble. This means that very few ports are occupied. The fact is, the Japanese are going to get onshore, there is nothing the Allies can do to stop that, so why waste time trying to cover ports when the Japanese have so many to choose from?
I also spread out the air forces, just like I did the last game. Although the Japanese raids were impressive, I somehow doubt they would have that much success again. But we’ll see. I don’t want to leave all of my aircraft parked at Clark or Manila where the Japanese can concentrate their raids. I want to force them to divide their efforts.
Up next: the Japanese invasion plan.