Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: The Japanese Invasion Plan & Dec II 41


While I was playing the first couple of turns as I was learning the ropes of this game, I had made the observation that the Japanese plan had to be detailed down to the last movement point, almost, otherwise things get forgotten or ignored. Not everyone may have to do it, but I do. There were so many things I did wrong, from forgetting how to use special forces to dumping troops in the wrong places, to not bringing supplies along.

A look at the Japanese forces built up off map (click to enlarge)

A look at the Japanese forces built up off map (click to enlarge)

So, I sat down and looked over my forces, and came up with this plan: Japan has a light infantry division (2nd), a construction regiment, and a static brigade. Total transport capacity required: 6 REs. There is enough shipping on Formosa to retrieve these units and bring them back to Formosa, ready to invade. The 16th light infantry division is spread out in three different locations: Okinawa, Formosa and Palau. The last game, these units ended up separated, 2 units to northern Luzon, and one to the south. In order to use them effectively, they must be joined together. Ultimately, they will be on the southern Luzon front. There is a regiment of the 56th light mountain division on Palau, as well as an SNLF marine regiment.

The basic Japanese plan for invading Luzon, Dec II 41 (click image to enlarge)

The basic Japanese plan for invading Luzon, Dec II 41 (click image to enlarge)

There is an SNLF marine battalion on Okinawa, and it must be sent to Formosa to be joined with the other battalion that makes up the regiment. The Allied air forces are grounded the first turn up to the exploitation phase. All air missions must be completed before that point. Landing at Batangas the last game was a bad idea. It brought the IJN too close to the American fleet. While the IJN has nothing to fear from this fleet, Batangas is simply too far away from Formosa, and troops cannot be carried as quickly to the Philippines to support the invasion. Drop all mine points in the Corregidor sea box. The American mine sweeper has to be targeted as soon as possible to prevent it from cleaning up. Get a beachhead established on Luzon. Get a Baseforce unit (glorified port engineers) landed as quickly as possible to establish a naval base and increase port capacity. There are parachute units on both Hainan and Formosa. Unfortunately, there are only two transport squadrons (Hainan and Formosa), The transport from Hainan must stage to Formosa, pick up the paratroopers and fly to Aparri for an airdrop. Kure SNLF regiment is to land at Legaspi, on the southern end of Luzon, DEC II 41. SAS SNLF marine regiment is to land at San Fernando, on the west side of Luzon, Dec III 41. That’s the basic plan. Now let’s see if i can put it into effect efficiently.

Dec II 41

Initial Phase 

The seaplane carrier Chitose (VS) is immediately dispatched to Wake island, taking her E13A1 Jake attack bombers with her (actually reconnaissance floatplanes). A squadron of G4M1 Betty bombers is also dispatched to the west (South Army West Wing). There are no reinforcements.

Movement Phase

And they’re off…….

Air Missions

The G3M2-L (Nell) stationed at Hainan stages to Formosa, where it loads the 3Yok parachute battalion (in conjunction with the Ki-57 (Topsy) transport squadron, then flies over Aparri, where the transports airdrop their cargo. The G3M2, still within range of Hainan, returns to base there instead of Formosa, and the 3Yok parachute battalion lands undisrupted and captures Aparri. The airstrip at Aparri is usable immediately, as are the beaches for landing cargo, but the port itself is not usable until the next turn. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) launch airstrikes at Luzon. The American fighters are spread out on various airstrips in the area, but the bombers are at Clark. The IJA bombers are flying at extended range, as are the A6M2 Zeroes from the IJN. Three IJA squadrons of Ki-30 Ann, Ki-48-1 Lily, and Ki-21-1c Sally bombers strike the airstrip at Bayombong fail to hit their targets.

IJN

Three squadrons of A6M2 Zeroes, (17 hex range) flying at extended range, strike the airstrip at Del Carmen (hex 1819), but their bombs fall short of the runway. Three more squadrons of A6M2 Zeroes (23 hex range), also flying at extended range, strike the airstrip at Cabanatuan, damaging the runway and aborting a P-40E fighter. Three G4M1-11 Betty squadrons raid Clark Field. Antiaircraft misses. The results are spectacular, as they put two hits on the airfield and damage a B-17C and a B-18A. A strike was planned on Manila, but after some recon work, it was determined that the only thing in Manila was a PBY-5 Catalina, and a bunch of ships. The decision was made to finish Clark Field. Two G3M2 Nell bombers and a squadron of H6K4 Mavis flying boats strike at Clark Field in an attempt to finish it off. Antiaircraft fire is ineffective. Three more hits are put on Clark (bringing the damage to 5 hits out of 9 capacity). In addition, a P-35A fighter and a B-10B bomber squadron were put out of action. All aircraft stationed at Clark have been damaged. (Side note: Somehow I missed the H6K4 in the OB in the last game)

Naval group breakdown and misc. notes

This is where I often lose track of what I am doing, but I tried to take more detailed notes so I could transpose it to this blog correctly and efficiently. There are five goals to be accomplished by the navy. These are:

  • retrieve units from Japan and transfer them to Formosa
  • retrieve units from Okinawa and transfer them to Formosa.
  • Launch carrier based strikes on Allied airfields and airstrips
  • Lay mines around Corregidor
  • Provide support for the landings at Legaspi

Before I start, I am going to break all naval units down into their naval groups. To refresh, here are the 6 types of transports in this game.

  1. TA: Assault Transport (or Attack Transport); can carry landing craft (or tow landing barges), and can launch amphibious assaults (against enemy held beaches). If not launching an amphibious landing, it can offload at friendly ports or beaches.
  2. TR: Regular Transport; cannot carry landing craft, but may be able to tow landing barges. Can offload at friendly owned ports and beaches, but may not be used during an amphibious assault.
  3. TS: Supply Transport; Can only offload at friendly ports. Supplies and resource points take up the normal cargo capacity, but troops cost double to transport.
  4. LS: Landing Ship; can land troops directly onto enemy owned beaches, not requiring landing craft.
  5. LC: Landing Craft; used to get troops from the ships to the beaches, Used by type TA during amphibious assaults, and TR when offloading to a friendly beach. Cannot enter any full sea hex by itself. It must be carried by type TA.
  6. LB: Landing Barge; larger than an LC, but still cannot enter an all-sea hex on its own. The rules are fuzzy as to whether these types of ships are self-powered or have to be towed. If self-powered, there are all sorts of places on the map these things could go, and not break the rules.
Japanese Naval Group breakdown (click image to enlarge)

Japanese Naval Group breakdown (click image to enlarge)

The photo was taken mid-move, after I realized I should take a shot of how each NG is organized. 3SAF Naval Group (Okinawa)

  • Maru-12 (Type TR; IJN)
  • Kage-1 DD (Kagero Class)
  • Sendai DC (Sendai class light cruiser;)

3FLT Naval Group (Formosa)

  • Maru-1 (Type TA; IJA)
  • Maru-2 (Type TA; IJA)
  • Maru-13 (Type TR; IJN)

DCF Naval Group (Formosa)

  • CA Maya
  • CA Ashigara
  • DC Natori (Nagara class light cruiser)
  • DC Naka (Sendai class light cruiser)
  • DC Kuma (Kuma class light cruiser)
  • DD Muts-1 (Mutsuki class)
  • DD Asas-1 (Asashio class)
  • DD Kami-1 (Kamikaze class)
  • DD Shirat-1 (Shiratsuru class)
  • DM W7-1
  • DM W13-1
  • DP Waka-1 (Wakatake class)
  • DT Tomo-1 (Tomozuro class Torpedo Boat)
  • VS S.Maru (SanukiMaru)
    • F F1M2 Pete

SF Naval Group (Palau)

  • CA Myoku
  • CA Nachi
  • CA Haguro
  • VL Ryujo (Prancing Dragon) (per Wikipedia. TDDH OB has it listed as Dragon Castle. Wikipedia has been known to be wrong a time or two.)
    • LB B5N2 Kate
    • F A5M4 Claude
  • VSMizuho
    • A E13A1 Jake
  • DD Kage-2 (Kagero class)
  • DG Maru-1
  • DM ISY-1 (1 mine point)
  • DC Jintsu (2 mine points) (Sendai class light cruiser)

2SAF Naval Group (Palau)

  • Maru-10 (Type TA;IJN)
    • Dai-10 (Type LC)
  • Maru-11 (Type TA;IJN)
    • Dai-11 (Type LC; IJN)
  • Maru-16 (Type TR; IJN)

1st Naval Movement Subphase

End 1st naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 1st naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

3SAF

  • embarks the 20/16 light infantry regiment, 1SAS SNLF marine battalion and the 15 mountain mortar battalion (2 MP to embark)
  • leaves port and moves towards Formosa (2 MP)  [Okinawa is 5 sea boxes from Formosa]

3FLT

  • Leaves Formosa and turns for Japan [Japan is 9 sea boxes from Formosa, and this naval group will not arrive until the third naval subphase]

DCF

  • Leave Formosa, reach north edge of the map (2 MP)
  • Move into weather zone 12 (rough seas)

SF

  • Leaves Palau and steams towards the Philippines [Palau is 6 naval boxes from the edge of the map near Mindanao. This group will not reach the map edge until the middle of the 2nd naval subphase]

2SAF

  • Embark LC Dai 10 & 11, Kure SNLF marine regiment onto Maru-10, 33/16 light infantry regiment onto Maru-11, and the 32 Baseforce brigade onto Maru-16 (2 MP)
  • Leave Palau and head for the Philippines [Naval group will reach the edge of the map at the end of the 2nd naval subphase]

 2nd Naval Movement Subphase: Carrier Strike!

DCF carrier airstrike (click image to enlarge)

DCF carrier airstrike (click image to enlarge)

3SAF

  • Arrives at Formosa (3 MP)
  • begins to disembark cargo (1 MP)

3FLT

  • Continues to move towards Japan [1 MP left until arrival in Japan]

DCF

  • Appears off the coast of Luzon, just off Dingalan Bay, and launches a squadron of F1M2 Pete fighters, that successfully strike the airstrip at Bayombong, aborting an American P-40E in the process.
  • Group continues to move towards Legaspi.
Naval groups from Palau arrive on map (click image to enlarge)

Naval groups from Palau arrive on map (click image to enlarge)

SF

  • Enters the map east of Mindanao, and continues its journey to Corregidor. (4 MP)

2SAF

  • Reaches the edge of the map, east of Mindanao. (4 MP)

3rd Naval Movement Subphase

3SAF

  • Completes the offloading of cargo at Formosa (1 MP)
  • Heads back to Okinawa for another load (3 MP) [2 MPs left to reach Okinawa]

3FLT

  • Arrives in Japan (1 MP)
  • Loads 2nd light infantry division, 43HC static brigade, and the ‘B’ construction regiment (2 MP) [6 capacity used]
  • Leaves port and steams back to Formosa (1 MP) [8 MP left to reach Formosa]
End 3rd naval phase (click image to enlarge)

End 3rd naval phase (click image to enlarge)

DCF

  • Arrives at Legaspi (1 MP)
  • This naval group is not here to support the landings per se. There are no units guarding this port. However, it is here to provide antiaircraft support just in case there are any Allied aircraft still operational.
  • Prepares to fire NGS (just in case) (3 MP)

SF

  • Continues journey to Corregidor by forcing the San Juanito Strait (between Leyte and Samar). Japanese sailors wave and bare their bottoms at Filipino troops as they pass by the port of Tacloban.
  • Those responsible have been sacked.
  • Filipino troops are dismayed that Corregidor is hoarding all of the coastal defense guns and they can’t have themselves a turkey shoot.

2SAF

  • Closes in on the city of Legaspi and Albay Gulf.

4th Naval Movement Subphase: Carrier Strike!

3SAF

  • Arrives at Okinawa (2 MP)
  • 16HC static brigade embarks (2 MP)

3FLT

  • Moves towards Formosa (4 MP)
4th naval phase, naval operations (click image to enlarge)

4th naval phase, naval operations (click image to enlarge)

DCF

  • Prepares for NGS (4 MP)

SF

  • Approaches the Verde Island Passage south of Batangas (1 MP)
    • USN fails to react (even on dedicated reaction)
  • Moves into Corregidorsea box (1 MP)
    • The USN fails to react AGAIN!
  • Ryujo &Mizuho launch all their aircraft at the last airstrips that have not been hit.
    • B5N2 Kate
      • Airstrip at Del Carmen (hex 1819)
        • Airstrip hit, P-40B aborted
    • A5M4 Claude
      • Airstrip at Corregidor
        • AA miss, bombs miss
    • E13A1 Jake
      • Airstrip at Batangas
        • Miss
  • ISY-1 and Jintsu lay 3 mine points in a nuisance minefield around Corregidor (2 MP)

2SAF

  • Arrives at Legaspi (2 MP)
    • From my reading of the rules, a unit is amphibious capable if it is on a landing craft. Marine units, such as the Kure SNLF regiment are intrinsically amphibious capable, meaning, to me, that they have their own landing craft and do not require LCs. Thus, they do not have to spend the extra 2 MPs to transfer to another naval unit.
  • Kure SNLF marine regiment begins amphibious assault on Legaspi (2 MP)
  • 32nd Baseforce brigade begins transfer to landing craft (2 MP)

5th Naval Movement Subphase: 

3SAF

  • Leaves Okinawa, bound for Formosa (4 MP) [will not arrive until the exploitation phase]

3FLT

  • Arrives at Formosa Formosa (4 MP) [group will unload during the exploitation phase]
End 5th naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 5th naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

DCF

  • Prepared to fire (1 MP)

SF

  • Leave the Corregidor area and moves to the sea box off the coast of Cebu City, hemming in the American ships in that port (CL Boise and a group of transports). (4 MP)
  • Believe it or not, the US Navy in Manila is asleep. Airstrips, airfields and air units are being bombed all around them, but they seem to feel there is no need to go to an alert status. They failed reaction yet again. (They rolled a 2, a 2, and a 1 every time they checked)

2SAF

  • Kure SNLF marine regiment completes amphibious assault on Legaspi without disruption (4 MP)
  • 32nd Baseforce brigade stays put in landing craft. It cannot make an amphibious assault from the regular transport, and cannot land on the beach this phase, as the Kure regiment did not have control of the beach. It will be able to land during the exploitation phase.
  • 33/16 light infantry regiment awaits aboard the transport Maru-10 until it can offload during the exploitation phase.

Movement

There are no units moving during this phase. The 3Yok parachute battalion could move, but it must keep the beach secured, and I don’t want it moving south and running afoul of the American tanks to the south of its position. The Kure SNLF regiment can’t move because it expended all of its allotted movement making that amphibious landing.

1SAS and 2SAS SNLF battalions assemble into the SAS SNLF marine regiment.

Combat Phase

There is no combat this phase.

Exploitation Phase

End of 2nd First naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 1st naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

1st Naval Movement Subphase

3SAF

  • Arrives at Formosa (1 MP)
  • offload cargo (2 MP)
  • head back to Okinawa (1 MP)

3FLT

  • Offload cargo (2 MP)
  • Load cargo (2 MP)
    • 9/16, 20/16 light infantry regiments are loaded onto Maru-1
    • 31st Baseforce brigade loads onto Maru-13
    • 47/48 & 2For/48 light infantry regiments load onto Maru-2

DCF

  • Idle

SF

  • idle off the coast of Cebu City

2SAF

  • 32nd Baseforce begins landing on the beach via landing craft (4 MP)
  • 33/16 light infantry regiment is deposited straight onto the beach (4 MP)
    • After conferring with the rulebook and errata, I have come to the conclusion that type TA and type TR transports can land troops directly on a friendly beach without landing craft. I guess I could have saved a couple of MPs by not waiting for the Baseforce to transfer to LCs.

 2nd Naval Movement Subphase

End of exploitation 2nd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End of 2nd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

3SAF

  • Arrives at Okinawa (4 MP)

3FLT

  • Leave port destined for Luzon, reaches the edge of the map. (2 MP)
  • Arrives at Aparri (2 MP)
  • The Maru-1 splits from the naval group at the edge of the map and heads east.

Maru-1

  • Ends in Didicas sea box, just east of Appari (2 MP)
  • Joined by DCF naval group, which has moved north from Legaspi

DCF

  • Moves north toDidicassea box east of Aparri to escortMaru-1 into Legaspi.
    • About half of the naval group is left behind to provide AA for the Legaspi operation already under way.

SF

  • idle

2SAF

  • Landings at the beach at Legaspi are completed. (2 MP)
  • Loading of the LCs and Kure Marine regiment under way (2 MP)

3rd Naval Movement Subphase

End exploitation 3rd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 3rd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

3SAF

  • Load 2 resource points (2 MP)
  • Leave port, bound for Formosa (again) (2 MP)

3FLT

  • Offload troops on the beach (4 MP)

DCF

  • Escort theMaru-1 south to Legaspi (2 MP; hex 3118)
    • PBY-5 Catalina from Manila and a B-17C squadron from Mindanao fly to the 3118 sea box and begin searching.
    • PBY makes contact, while theB-17s do not.
      • AA fire from the naval group does no damage to the Catalinas.
      • The Catalinas get three, 1 point bombing runs. They target the Maru-1, hitting on a 5 or 6.
      • Two misses, one hit, sending the transports carrying the 9/16th light infantry regiment to the bottom.
  • Finishes escort duty to Legaspi (2 MP)

SF

  • Idle

2SAF

  • Completes the loading of the LCs and the marine regiment (2 MP)
  • Leaves Legaspi and heads back to Palau. (2 MP)

4th Naval Movement Subphase

End 4th naval subphase [1] (click image to enlarge)

End 4th naval subphase [1] (click image to enlarge)

3SAF

  • Arrive at Formosa (3 MP)
  • Begin offload of resource points (1 MP)

3FLT

  • Complete the offload at Aparri (2 MP)
  • Return to the northern map edge (2 MP)

DCF

  • Idle

End 4th naval subphase [2] (click image to enlarge)

End 4th naval subphase [2] (click image to enlarge)

SF

  • Idle

2SAF

  • Reaches the eastern map edge. Six more sea boxes to Palau. (4 MP)

5th Naval Movement Subphase: 

End 5th naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 5th naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

3SAF

  • Finish offloading resource points. (1 MP)
  • Replenish fuel (2 MP)

3FLT

  • Arrive at Formosa (2 MP)
  • Replenish fuel (2 MP)

DCF

  • Idle
  • Not replenished

SF

  • Move to Legaspi sea box (4 MP)
  • Not replenished

2SAF

  • Steams towards Palau (4 MP) [2 sea boxes left to arrive at Palau]

Off-map (click image to enlarge)

Off-map (click image to enlarge)

Post turn thoughts

Well, that took a long time. As in days to play, gather, photo and write. Hopefully later turns won’t take me so long to do, but I have a feeling the next Japanese turn is going to be a killer. =)

To the right is the off-map holding boxes. I am temporarily using the center space as an airbase since the Formosa holding box is too crowded.

Readers may have a few questions about the turn.

Overall, I think I did a pretty good job sticking to the rules, getting them down. I think this plan is much more sound than the previous one. In the end, the Japanese got four regiments (5 if you count the marines) and two brigades ashore. They lost no aircraft, and one transport was sunk..

Yeah, about that transport.

It had always been my intention to launch a strike at it as it made its way to Legaspi. I went through the motions of the US aircraft searching for it, and finding it in the case of the Catalinas. They had three shots and a one in three chance to hit, and got their one. The regiment that was sunk was drawn at random.

The Maru-1 continued on to its destination at Legaspi, and I took photos, and moved on to the 4th naval phase.

About halfway through that phase, I realized the DCF naval group was just sitting there doing nothing.

So I fudged a little bit. I’m playing solitaire. I can do that.

I magically sent half of the DCF naval group north to meet up with the Maru-1 and escort it (her?) to Legaspi.

The attack took place at the same place. I let everything stand as it was, but DCF got to add AA fire.

And they missed.

So in the end, it was merely a semantic gesture to at least make an effort to provide some sort of protection. And that is why the photo shows the Maru-1 by itself.

There may be those who are wondering why I put such a priority on getting the baseforce units into play as quickly as possible.

For those not familiar with the game, baseforce units can become non-mobile, and turn an ordinary port, including an anchorage, into a higher functioning port and a naval base where naval units can replenish. Next turn, two naval bases will be established, which means that the IJN will not have to move off map to replenish and re-arm.

Why did I send the SF naval group to sit off the coast of Cebu City and do nothing?

It had been my original thought to bombard the ships in port if the USS Boise failed to react. I scoured the rules and have been unable to find any rules covering the naval bombardment of ships in port. Making them come out and fight, so to speak.

It appears ports are a safe haven from other ships (but not aircraft).

So, by sitting them off the coast of Cebu City, the USS Boise and the transport also at the port would not be able to slip out of port. Also, I think the group was close enough that if the USS Houston and/or the transport at Iloilo decided to move, naval group SF may have been able to react.

There would be no coming out and fighting, as if only one of the cruisers reacted, they would be facing three IJN cruisers in battle. I decided to not roll reaction at all and leave them safely in port.

I thought about leaving them off the coast of Cebu City through the American turn. They had plenty of ammunition, just no fuel (according to the rules). By the end of the next Japanese turn, they would have made it safely to Legaspi, which is only 4 sea boxes away, but in the end, I decided to put them in port so they could replenish easily and venture forth on new missions their next turn.

As I write this, I already have placed the Allied reinforcements on map. I need to do the air replacements, then decide what to do as the Allies. Hopefully I can get new stuff posted sooner than I have been.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “TDDH: The Japanese Invasion Plan & Dec II 41

  1. 29delta on said:

    Huh. Does it feel to you as though the IJN and IJA troops are hardly well staged for this invasion? Seems like they have to jump through many hoops to just get staged to move, to me anyway.

    Like

    • I haven’t thought of it in that way. What impresses me is their flexibility. Is there any good reading you are thinking of? If it’s just in the way the game is played, that improves as you learn what you want to do and become familiar with commanding the forces. When you learn the potential of Naval Transport and coordinating the rules, you will see the Japanese capabilities greatly increase. They will be capable of multiple plans from where they are located.

      The Japanese flexibility against the American defense is like water that takes advantage of any weakness to break through. There has to be good reading about that Japanese mindset.

      Like

    • Well, the Japanese didn’t do much on their first game turn, presumably because they had not finished staging troops to Formosa. Per my source 2194 Days of War, on Dec 8, the Japanese launched air raids on Luzon, and on the port of Davao. operations were delayed on Dec 9, due to a storm. On the 10th, they land troops at Aparri, and the hex just east of it (Gonzaga), as well as the island of Camiguin, just off the coast a bit to the north of Luzon. They also launch air raids on Cavite. On the 11th, reinforcements land at Aparri, and a new landing is staged at Legaspi. That’s it. Pain in the backside, but pretty accurate of the first turn.

      Like

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