Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: Dec III 41: The Japanese

The last turn I had a brain fart of major proportions. I mistook type M vessels, which can sweep mines for code M vessels (read submarines) which can only lay mines. Submarines cannot clear minefields. I did think it was a bit strange while I was misreading and misunderstanding the rule. Fortunately, thanks to the Europa Association, particularly Brian who first brought it up, and Lee, the Glory rules judge who was well within his rights to call me an idiot, but didn’t (so I’ll do it for him), it has been straightened out. Fortunately, there are no ramifications. The minefields have been restored to the Corregidor sea box. That’s all that needs to be done. Naval units passed through the mines and out of the sea box with no damage. No ship or group of ships returned to the sea box.

This turn I had to pull down shortly after publication, because it was pointed out to me that I had completely screwed up the submarine combat. What you are about to read has been edited from the original.

The reason it got screwed up is because I missed a modifier (I swear i will be totally blind in the next 5 years) that effectively neuters the American submarine fleet, due to defective torpedoes. Thanks, Brian for pointing this out. I would much rather look foolish and run an accurate game than obliviously run an inaccurate one.

The port of Legaspi is blockaded by American submarines. They must be destroyed to get the Japanese naval groups out of the port and on with their missions. There are two naval groups at Legaspi, one from Formosa and one from Palau. The NG from Formosa is more destroyer heavy, while the Palau NG is heavy on carriers. The two groups could be combined into one, but it would end up being overkill, with the highest column on the ASW table is +7. Combining the two groups would end up with a differential of greater than +20, much of it wasted.

Initial phase

Weather: The weather remains unchanged from the previous turn.

  • Zone 11: Clear weather/Calm seas
  • Zone 12: Mud weather/Rough seas
  • Zone 13: Rain weather/Calm seas

The Japanese receive seven TA transports and seven landing craft counters for the invasion. They also receive an LST, two regular transports and two supply transports.

The baseforce units at Aparri and Legaspi, to increase the capacity of both ports by 3 REs and turn each port into a naval base.

All ships at Legaspi replenish their fuel.

Formosa receives 1 resource point from production.

Movement phase

First naval subphase

  • At Legaspi, the transports (Maru-1), NG DCF and NG SF replenish their fuel (2MP)
  • 3SAF moves 2 sea zones closer to Palau
  • Naval Group DCF leaves Legaspi, triggering combat with the American subs.

Sub combat

First ever submarine combat (click image to enlarge)

First ever submarine combat (click image to enlarge)

All submarines attempt to penetrate the ASW screen. The S-1 and the PSP-1 cannot hit any targets, but the Sargo, Salmon and Seadragon can hit the VS S. Maru.

There is a +4 modifier for defective torpedoes, +1 modifier for rough seas, and a -1 modifier for the slow speed of the carrier, resulting in a total modifier of +4. Only the subs with a torpedo strength of 6 can hit, and they require a roll of 6.

Listed below are the destroyer and destroyer types and each sub assigned to them. In addition, there is one aircraft aloft aiding the sub hunt.

Round 1

  • Muts-1/W-13 v. Salmon: turn back
  • Kage-1/W7 v. Sargo: turn back
  • Kami-1/Tomo-1 v. PSP: no effect
    • PSP v. S. Maru: miss
  • Shirat v. S-1: no effect
    • S-1 cannot hit any targets
  • Asas-1/Waka-1 v. Seadragon: turn back

Round 2

USN attempts to disengage, while the IJN pursues. IJN wins the die roll.

PSP reloads while all the others attempt to penetrate the screen.

  • Muts-1/W-13 v. Salmon: turn back
  • Kage-1/W7 v. Sargo: no effect
    • Sargo v. VS S. Maru: miss
  • Kami-1/Tomo-1 v. PSP: sunk (loss of 1/2 flotilla)
  • Shirat v. S-1: no effect
    • S-1 cannot hit any targets
  • Asas-1/Waka-1 v. Seadragon: sunk (loss of 1/2 flotilla)

Round 3

Once again the USN attempts to disengage while the IJN pursues. This time, the USN successfully disengages and escapes on sea zone to the east.

The subs are running on low fuel, having not ended their turn in port. Because of this, they can only move 1 sea box instead of 2. Naval Group DCF continues north.

The American subs are not out of the woods yet, though. Naval Group SF leaves Legaspi, and heads straight for the American subs. While they only have two destroyer groups, they do have 3 aircraft available from their two carriers, which are more valuable in the hunt for subs than destroyers are.

Round 1

The USN immediately attempts to disengage, but cannot shake NG SF. SO Sargo begins to reload.

This naval group has three air squadrons to assist in the hunt.

  • Aircraft/Kage-2 v. Sargo: sunk (loss of 1/2 flotilla)
  • Aircraft v. PSP: no effect
    • PSP cannot hit target
  • Aircraft v. S-1: no effect
    • S-1 cannot hit target
  • Aircraft/ISY-1 v. Salmon: sunk (loss of 1/2 flotilla)
  • Aircraft v. Seadragon : sunk (loss of entire flotilla, Seadragon is eliminated)

Round 2

The subs attempt escape while the IJN pursues them. The IJN wins the die roll again.


  • Aircraft/Kage-2 v. Sargo: sunk (loss of 1/2 flotilla; entire flotilla sunk. Sargo is eliminated)
  • Aircraft v. PSP: turn back
  • Aircraft v. S-1: turn back
  • Aircraft/ISY-1 v. Salmon: turn back

At this point, none of the subs can hit any targets.

Round 3

USN attempts escape and succeeds in eluding the aircraft of NG SF.

The SF naval group thinks about pushing the pursuit, but quickly realizes they have no aircraft available for the hunt. They turn and follow NG DCF north because the subs are blocking the route around southern Luzon.

Cargo loading at Formosa:

  • Group 1: Destination: Classified
    • Maru-5: LC Dai-5 and the 4/2 light infantry regiment (supported)
    • Maru-6: LC Dai-6, 16/2 light infantry regiment (supported)
    • LS Sh. Maru: ‘A’ light arm battalion and the 7r armor battalion
    • Maru-9: 3Dr engineer battalion (flipped to its amphibious side), 4th amphibious armor battalion, 15 mountain mortar battalion and the 8YJr artillery battalion
    • Maru-15 (IJN TR): 1 resource point and the 1YJr artillery battalion
  • Group 2: Destination: Classified
    • Maru-7: LC Dai-3, 1For/48 light mountain infantry regiment (supported)
    • Maru-4: LC Dai-9 and the 19/2 light infantry regiment (supported)
    • Maru-14: 1 resource point and the ‘A’ construction regiment
    • Maru-8: 45Y heavy antiaircraft battalion, ‘A’ anti-tank battalion, 9YJ artillery battalion, and the 21Dr engineer battalion (flipped to its amphibious side)
  • Group 3: Destination: Classified
    • Maru-3: SAS SNLF (marine) regiment and one resource point
  • Group 4: Destination: Classified
    • Maru-2: 48HC static brigade
    • Maru-12 (IJN TR): 16HC static brigade
    • Maru-13 (IJN TR): 43HC static brigade
  • Group 5: Destination: Classified
    • Maru-17 & 18 (IJN TS): 4 resource points loaded

Maru-17 & 18 leave Formosa, and arrive at the north edge of the map.

End 2nd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

End 2nd naval subphase (click image to enlarge)

2nd naval subphase

  • NG 2SAF  is now 2 sea zones from Palau.
  • Maru-17 & 18 move onto the map, and 2 sea zones to the port of Aparri. They are intercepted by the PBY-5 squadron out of Manila. The PBYs fail to make contact and return to Manila. The transports pull into port and offload the resource points at Aparri.
  • The B-17C at Mindanao flies to Legaspi to try to put the remnants of the Maru-1 transport group to the bottom. They also fail to make contact, and return to Mindanao.
  • Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4 and NG 3SAF leave Formosa and join up with NG DCF off the coast of Laoag. 3SAF merges into NG DCF.
  • NG SF reaches the Aparri sea zone.

3rd naval subphase

  • NG 2SAF arrives safely at Palau. It cannot replenish fuel this turn because it still does not have enough movement points to spend.
  • NG DCF and group 2 moves south to the Lingayen Gulf sea zone.
  • NG SF, group 1 and group 3 move to the Iba/Olongapo sea zone.
  • Group 4 stays put off the coast of Laoag.
The Japanese amphibious landings (click image to enlarge)

The Japanese amphibious landings (click image to enlarge)

4th naval subphase

  • NG 2SAF replenishes fuel at Palau. It also unloads the damaged LC.
  • NG DCF slides into Lingayen Gulf off Dagupan and prepares to provide ground support.

There are events that take place that do not require the expenditure of movement points.

The heavy cruiser Nachi slips into Subic Bay off the coast of Olongapo. Olongapo has camouflaged coastal defense guns, but they aren’t very powerful, despite their fire zone that covers the entire bay. Slipping into the bay triggers combat between the cruiser and the CD, however, the CD only has a gunnery range of Destroyer.

Combat automatically starts at battleship range, a range that neither can fire at. The CD cannot close or withdraw. Since they are fixed targets, they have to maintain at all times. The Japanese cruiser determines when combat is over.

As the Japanese player, I chose to send only the one cruiser in because once it closes to cruiser range, it can pelt the CD all day and all night, and the CD can’t reach the target. The other reason is that because of DRMs, if multiple Japanese ships fire on the CD, the target becomes unhittable. (There is a +1 modifier to the hit number if multiple ships are firing on the same target)

The cruiser closes to cruiser range, and opens fire.

  • The Nachi takes 10 rounds to deliver 4 hits to suppress the CD. It takes 4 hits instead of 2 because it is camouflaged. It never fired a shot.
  • Nachi withdraws, and cannot prvide gunfire support.
  • The rest of NG SF moves into Subic Bay, off the coast of Olongapo and prepares to provide ground support.
  • Group 3 begins offloading the SAS marines on the beach at Iba
  • Group 1 begins to transfer troops to the landing craft
  • The Sh. Maru (Group 1) landing ship lands two armor battalions on the beaches at Olongapo. Meanwhile, the amphibious engineers and amphibious tanks also land at the beach.
  • Group 2 lands amphibious engineers at Dagupan, while other transports transfer troops to the landing craft.
  • After the transfer, all LCs hit the beaches (Olongapo and Dagupan)
  • Maru-17 & 18 leave Aparri after completing the offload of supplies and return to Formosa.

5th naval subphase

  • 2SAF loads cargo, but stays in port.
    • Maru-16 (TR) loads two resource points
    • Maru-10: 146/56 light mountain regiment (supported)
    • maru-11: 2Dr, 24Dr engineer battalions (flipped to amphibious side), and the 44Y heavy AA battalion
  • G3M2 transport carries 1Yok parachute battalion from Hainan to Formosa
  • NG DCF and SF prepared to fire gunnery support
  • Landing craft deposit the last of the invading troops on the beaches and return to the transports.
    • All landing craft at Olongapo, including the landing ship, are undamaged
    • LC Dai-3 at Dagupan is damaged.
  • Disruption rolls:
    • Olongapo
      • ‘A’ light armor battalion: badly disrupted (no attack)
      • 7r armor battalion: badly disrupted (no attack)
      • 4r amphibious light armor battalion: disrupted (attack halved)
      • 16/2 light infantry regiment: disrupted (attack halved)
    • Iba
      • SAS marine regiment disrupted (attack halved)
    • Dagupan
      • 21Dr engineer battalion disrupted (attack halved)

At least none were eliminated, although they came close. Reaction checks for the Americans fail at all three beachheads.

The Japanese are ashore in western Luzon, and movement from the north and south (click image to enlarge)

The Japanese are ashore in western Luzon, and movement from the north and south (click image to enlarge)


2nd For and 47 light mountain regiments landed at Aparri last turn move south along the road, deeper into Luzon. At the fork in the road, the 2For reaches the banks of the Cagayan River, opposite the American tank battalions.

The 47, on the other hand, moves southwest along the road through the rice fields in the mountains, ending at the base of Mt. Pulag.

IJN bombers from Formosa fly into Manila, escorted by A6M Zeroes to destroy the airbases in the city.  They are intercepted by a P-40E, a P-35A, and a Filipino P-26B. The interceptors choose to attempt a bypass of the screen to get at the bombers (3 x G4M1, 2 x G3M2 and 1 x H6K4 flying boat).

The P-35A is KIA, while the P-40 and P-26 scream through the escorts. All bombers have a defense factor of 2, which should make them easy prey for the P-40s.

The H6K4 is returned, and the interceptors suffer no further casualties. They pull off as antiaircraft fire begins to fill the skies.

The Japanese bombers suffer no damage, but inflict 4 hits on the airbases at Manila, damaging the transports at the base. The airfields at manila are completely shut down.

Four A6M2 Zeroes flying at extended range (2 x 17 range, 2 x 23 range), along with a squadron of Ki-21 and Ki-48 bombers raid Clark Field, inflicting one mor ehit to the base, bringing that total to 6 hits (out of 10).

The 3Yok airborne battalion, moving west from Aparri, capture Laoag, and the airstrip there.

The remains of the 16th light infantry division drives north from Legaspi, capturing the ports of Naga and Tabaco and an airstrip as they march through the mud and rain.

(The picture shows the units in the wrong location. I had forgotten to apply mud movement, which is 2 MP per hex along a road, when this photo was taken. The arrows are correct, and the correct image will be included at the end of this post)

Mt. Pulag (click image to enlarge)

Mt. Pulag (click image to enlarge)


Finally! Combat!

Dagupan: Amphibious assault into intensive irrigation (rice fields). There is a single Filipino battalion defending the hex. I had hoped that the terrain would help protect the battalion.

With NGS, the attack goes off at 8.65: 1 odds. There is a -1 DRM for terrain, Even with that, the defenders are doomed. The roll is a 3, modified to a 2: Defender Half Eliminated. The battalion is destroyed and Dagupan falls.

Iba: Fortunately, for the marines there, there are no defenders, and thus no attack. the airstrip at Iba falls. An A6M2 Zero lands at Iba after the Marines had taken control of the airfield (Clark Raid).

Olongapo: Even though the CD has been suppressed, I am going to give it a defense factor of 1. Landing in rough terrain gives a -1 DRM to the combat roll. Fortunately, most of the disruptions happened with units that have smaller attack factors than the regiments. With the assistance of gunnery support, the attack odds come to 9.4:1, even with one of the landing regiments being disrupted. The attack rolls is a 4 (modified to 3): Defender Eliminated.

With that, the Japanese are on the west coast of Luzon, with troops moving from the north, and others moving from Legaspi north to seal off the Manila area.


1st naval subphase

  • NG 2SAF stays in port at Palau
  • Maru-2 begins to offload its cargo (static brigade) on the beach at Laoag
  • Maru-12 and 13 are also carrying static brigades, but can’t offload at the beaches because I forgot to send landing craft with them. Instead, they sail over to Aparri and take shelter in the port
  • Maru-14 (Dagupan) transfers the ‘A’ construction regiment to an LC and begins the landing on the beach
  • maru-8, an assault transport, begins landing its remaining troops at the beach at Dagupan
  • Maru-3 at Iba begins landing a resource point on the beach
  • Maru-15 transfers artillery to landing craft and starts landing it on the beaches at Olongapo.
  • Maru-9 begins landing an artillery battalion on the beach at Olongapo.
  • Maru-1 leaves Legaspi to return to Formosa

2nd naval subphase

  • Maru-2 (Laoag) finishes its offload and begins the journey back to Formosa
  • Transports at Dagupan complete their offload and return to ‘at sea’ status
  • Offload at Iba completed. Transports return to ‘at sea’ status
  • Beach offload is completed at Olongapo, LC Dai-6 is damaged during the landing. All naval units return to ‘at sea’ status
  • Maru-1 arrives at Formosa

3rd naval subphase

  • Mary-2 arrives at Formosa
  • NG DCF and all transports from the Lingayen Gulf sea zone end the phase just 1 sea zone from Formosa
  • NG SF and transports from Olongapo reach the northernmost sea zone box near the north edge of the map. They are 2 MPs from reaching Formosa

4th naval subphase

  • All ships arrive at Formosa, and all ships replenish

5th naval subphase

  • All LCs are unloaded.
  • Ships are loaded again to save time during the next turn
    • Maru-17 & 18 (TS) load 4 resource points
    • Maru-7 loads the 60Y and 48Y heavy AA battalions and the ‘B’ construction regiment
    • Maru-4 loads the 40Y motorized heavy antiaircraft battalion and the 8th railroad engineer battalion
    • Maru-8 loads the ‘C’ transport counter
    • Maru-3 loads the 47Y heavy AA battalion
    • Maru-6 loads LC Dai-9
    • Maru-2 loads LC Dai-5
  • Maru 2 & 6 leave Formosa, and move to the edge of the map, but stay off map. Their final destination is either Palau, or the naval base at Legaspi. Final orders have not come through yet.
Japanese exploitation, Dec III 41 (click image to enlarge)

Japanese exploitation, Dec III 41 (click image to enlarge)

Exploitation movement

  • The Japanese begin their convergence on Manila with amazing speed. The majority of Allied troops do not have zones of control, and the Japanese army is able to move freely.
  • The 47/48 light mountain regiment climbs Mt. Pulag, and at the summit, they are overlooking the airstrip at Bayombong.
  • 4/2 moves around the mountains overlooking Olongapo and captures the town of San Fernando. The Bataan peninsula is now cut off from the rest of Luzon.
  • The 1For/48 light mountain regiment moves from Dagupan to capture the town of Tayag, just north of Del Carmen (airstrip) and adjacent to the American Philippines division.
  • 19/2 light infantry regiment moves north to capture the port of San Fernando (this is not a typo, there are two towns named San Fernando)
  • Ki-51 flies from Formosa to the airstrip at the port of Del Carmen
  • 20th and 33rd regiments of the 16th division move one more hex along the road, and capture the town of Pasacao.
  • This photo shows the correct positions of the 16th division to the south.

The Post Turn

The invasion is now in full swing, and I actually like the Japanese position on Luzon. They are swinging in from six different directions, and threatening to cut off a few Allied units if something isn’t done. The American tanks are too far forward, even if they are in a good defensive position.

Fortunately for the Filipinos, they aren’t completely cut off and can still get out and form a defensive line after assembling.  At least most of them aren’t. The troops in Baguio (the northwestern most town with Filipino troops in it, outside of San Fernando) could be in big trouble.

After two go rounds between the IJN and the USN, the USN really needs calm waters. If the seas are not calm, they have to avoid the IJN at all costs. They simply cannot hit the enemy in rough weather. That does not mean that the USN is a threat. There is a reason the fleet left and moved south early on. It simply is not capable of posing a major threat to the Japanese at this time.

Next turn, I need to reorganize the two primary naval groups before sending one back to Palau to act as a covering force for the transports that will coming onto the map during the next Japanese turn.

We’ll see if the Japanese can hold off the counterattack……..




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

  1. 29delta on said:

    Could someone please explain the difference between the USN’s Fleet subs and the other kind (name escapes me) in the real world? Thanks in advance.


  2. 29delta on said:

    Yes, but I Wiked the question, no need to respond.


    • That’s good, because I have no idea. =D


    • 29delta on said:

      Well, here’s what I’ve come up with in the Fleet vs S class subs issue.

      The S-Class boats were really either antiquated or just not Fleet capable. They seem to have been entirely pulled from service by 1944 and used for training missions only.It might be useful to think of them as Post WWI boats as opposed to Pre-WWII boats. For example, they had riveted hulls and do not seem to have had air conditioning. Some did run WW II was patrols though. But, it must have been a special kind of hell to be submerged in them.

      The USN dream between the wars was to have submarines which could be attached to a battle fleet to do scouting and offer support in fleet to fleet battles. Hence, Fleet Submarines. But it took a good long while to get all the capabilities needed to do that in the boats. This run up set of boats might be considered Pre-WWII efforts.

      So starting with the Salmon Class the USN began developing the technology to actually get a true Fleet Sub in action. This class built from from ’36 to ’38 (6 boats). But, there where three different builders and they used very different techniques and designs. For example some had welded hulls, some still had riveted. They served heavily in WWII.

      The next class was the Sargo (10 boats), ’37-39. This class, too, saw heavy service in WWII. But, the USN just wasn’t really satisfied with the design. The last big issue to get solved was surface speed, apparently. And that brings us to the Tambors.

      The first class that put it all together to the satisfaction of the USN was the Tambor class. So, in a sense it could be argued they were the 1st “true Fleet boats”. They were all laid down (6 boats) in 1939. After this came two really big classes. The Gato (77 boats) and the Balao (128 boats), all definitely Fleet Subs.

      As far as the game is concerned it strikes me the designer made a straightforward decision, there are S-Subs (as historical) and everything else is a Fleet Sub. Why not? Given the limited scale of time, it makes perfect sense to me.

      A couple of sources below:


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