TDDH: Dec II 41 Allies
The IJN has come in once again and completely devastated the Allied air forces on Luzon. Could the setup of the air force have been done any better?
There are two major airfields on Luzon; Clark Field, which has a capacity of 9, and another at Manila (not sure if the airstrip or the airbase is Nielson Field).
Clark Field has 2 points of AA. Maybe it could have taken out a squadron or two, but it probably would not have slowed down the IJN. The idea was to keep pressure off Clark by spreading fighters out . However, since the Allied air forces are docile until the exploitation phase of the Japanese turn, there isn’t anything they can do except be targets.
When an airstrip is hit, not only does the strip take damage, one aircraft counter is aborted as well. It is a waste of air replacement points to repair an aborted aircraft at an airstrip that has been damaged. They cannot become operational at a damaged airstrip. Unfortunately, that leaves them sitting ducks for any invading forces that come their way.
The P-40s should have been stationed further south than they were. The P-40B & P-40E should have been at Clark/ Nielson, or anywhere in between. If any aircraft needed to be that far north, it should have been expendable aircraft, like the P-26s.
Reinforcements arrive: Baguio, Malolos, Tacloban, Cebu City, Cagayan, Iloilo, Bacolod, Batangas, Lucena and Talin (?). The first set of the brigades which can be assembled starting next turn.
So what do the Allies need to accomplish this turn?
The 2-3-6 Filipino infantry regiment at Cagayan needs to be plucked from there and taken to Luzon. It will be the final piece of the 1st infantry division puzzle. After the infantry gun battalions appear at Bacolod and Tacloban, all need to be brought to Luzon as quickly as possible.
Cagayan also needs to be abandoned and the troops there taken to Zamboanga, where teh airbase is being completed. Other than that, the troops need to sit and wait for the Japanese.
The waters around Corregidor have been mined. The Bird-1 minesweeper has to get out and clear the mines and hope it doesn’t take it on the chin. All available ships have to go with it. It isn’t just the danger from the mines, it is the fact that the sweeper will be a major target for the IJN.
It appears that some of the American subs are capable of sweeping mines.
No air repair points have been spent, due to the inability to activate air units at airstrips that are damaged. Construction units do not arrive until the next turn, and the two that are on the map are currently busy building airbases. Reinforcements arrive. Ten 1-2-5 infantry battalions are mobilized across the islands, at the ten reinforcement areas listed in this post. All battalions come into play. The airbases at Zamboanga and Jolo Town, at the southern portion of the map are only halfway completed due to battalions working on the construction instead of regiments. The airbases will be completes on the Dec III 41 turn. Two aircraft, 1 x fighter and 1 x transport are received at the Manila airbase.
1st naval movement sub-phase
Naval Group TF-5 leaves Manila (the subs, the carriers/tenders, the destroyers) in order to escape the bay and to sweep the mines. Merchant-1 is selected for random mine damage, but receives none. As minesweeper Bird-1 begins its task, 3 x G4M1 and the H6K4 flying boat arrives on a naval patrol mission. They air group is intercepted by a P-40E based at Corregidor, and a P-26B based at Batangas.
The P-40E and a G4M1 return each other, and the P-26B and the H6K4 both miss. The naval patrol finds the naval groupo, and the fleet opens fire, returning 1 x G4M1 and the H6K4 to Formosa. Only one G4M remains to deliver torpedoes. The Bird-1 is the target, and the first torpedo run misses, but the second torpedo run hits, sinking the Bird-1. It is at this point that I realize that some of the subs can carry on with minesweeping (being code M). The subs finish the job while the rest of the naval group exits the sea box so it will not be caught in the sea box at the beginning of the next sub-phase and subject to damage.
The cruiser USS Marblehead and the destroyer flotilla Clems-2 (Clemson class) leave NE Borneo and steam into the Sulu Sea, just north of Jolo.
The Clemson class destroyer flotilla, Clems-1, leaves eastern borneo and steams towards the NE Borneo off-map holding box, ending movement just one MP short of the box.
- The light cruiser USS Boise and the TS Merchant-4 steam to Cagayan, on northern Mindanao. The 2nd infantry regiment is loaded, being taken to Luzon.
The cruiser USS Houston and TR Merchant-2 steam to Bacolod (from Iloilo), and load the 72r and 73r infantry battalions, to be transported to Luzon.
2nd naval movement sub-phase
The subs that finished the minesweeping job at Corregidor (SO PSP-1, S-Drag-1 and Salmon-1 move on to Cebu City.
TF-5 moves on to Tacloban, but takes the southern route around Leyte to get there, to keep the IJN from making reaction checks.
The Houston and merchant-2 move from Bacolod to Batangas with their cargo.
The Boise and Merchant-4 move from Cagayan to the Sibuyan Sea.
Destroyer flotilla Clems-1 comes on-map, reaching the NE corner of Borneo.
3rd naval movement sub-phase
The Merchant-2 offloads cargo at Batangas. The transport has spent a total of 10 movement points, leaving the 72r and 73r with 2 MPs.
The Boise and Merchant-4 arrive at Lucena, and offload the 2nd infantry regiment. The regiment is left with 2 MPs.
TF-5 loads the 92r and 93r at Tacloban, then again moves south around Leyte to avoid detection.
The Marblehead and Clems-2 destroyers arrive at Cebu City. They replenish fuel, along with the SO flotillas that arrived last subphase.
The Clems-1 continues to move towards Cebu City, but ends the phase just south of the island of Negros.
4th naval movement sub-phase
The convergence of the fleet at Cebu continues. The Boise and the Merchant-4 arrive at port, along with the Clems-1. The Clems-1 replenishes fuel.
The Houston and Merchant-2 move towards the base, but end in the Visayen Sea.
TF-5 arrives at Lucena.
5th naval movement sub-phase
The Houston and Merchant-2 arrive in Cebu City, and all ships at base are replenished.
TF-5 offloads the 92r and 93r infantry battalions, then heads back to the Sibuyan Sea. The battalions have 2 MP remaining.
The three marine battalions (Olangapo, Corregidor and Malolos) converge on the port of Mariveles, where it forms the 4th Marine Regiment.
The newly arrived 72r and 73r entrain at Batangas and rail to Taytay, just east of Manila.
The 92r and 93r battalions at Lucena entrain and rails to an area just outside of San Fernando, at the north end of Manila Bay.
Three 2-3-6 infantry regiments move to Padre Burgos, just outside of Lucena in preparation to form the 1st Philippines Division.
The US Philippines Division moves north from Manila to San Jose, at the base of the Cordillera Central.
The PBY-5 Catalina bombers make a run on the IJN currently based at Legaspi. The B-17s based at Del Monte in Mindanao also make a bombing run. All bombing runs fail to hit any targets.
In response, the Japanese fly an A6M2 (23 range) Zero to the airstrip at Legaspi.
The light tanks stationed at Bayombong moves NE to the fork in the river, giving it a decent defensive position to block any Japanese advance down the road from Aparri.
In the final naval movement sub-phase, TF-5 reaches Cebu and replenishes.
However, all submarines move to the Legaspi sea box and hem in the IJN. The IJN cannot leave port without triggering combat. The subs, however, all have low fuel. What better way to learn the sub warfare/ASW rules than to force combat?
One of the more difficult aspects of this game is the use of the navies. I’m not talking about the breakdown of 10 individual movement phases and keeping track of all the ships. The difficult part lies in sustaining an extended naval campaign, because fuel has to be replenished each turn. It makes it difficult to keep ships or submarines at sea. If they stay out without replenishing fuel, the next player turn, they have their movement allowance halved until the replenish. If they remain at sea without replenishing, they must be scuttled if at sea, but are safe from scuttling if in a friendly port.
The American subs off the coast of Legaspi have not been replenished. One group of them did, at Cebu, but then left port again and expended fuel.
The Allied forces do not have enough troops to cover every possibility of Japanese invasion. The Japanese refrained from making opposed landings during this campaign. That does not mean that the Japanese are excluded from making opposed landings. Corregidor is a target, because the marines were pulled off the island into Mariveles in order to assemble into a stronger regiment. The port of Olangapo was left with just artillery defending for this same reason. Iba, just up the coast has no defenses at all. Both of these points are vulnerable, but then again, so is most of the island.