Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: Jan I 42: The Allies


Japanese Jan I 42 Errata

It wasn’t until I started doing the movement phase of this turn that I discovered that the Ki-21-1c was shown inoperable in the wrong hex. It should have been at Tarlac, where the construction unit is. It is shown in the wrong place in a couple pf photos here, but has been corrected as of the movement phase.

The Story Thus Far……..

I’ve been taking my time with this turn, considering the options for the Allies. While the Japanese have taken control of the northern and southern ends of the island of Luzon, the Allies are still firmly in control of the central plain around Manila, and unless something drastic happens, they will remain in control of the central plain.

The Japanese, starting next turn, begin a series of withdrawals. By the end of January, three of the five divisions will be withdrawn, but because one regiment of the 16th division was sunk in transit, only one division will be intact, and the Japanese will suddenly find themselves in a precarious position.

The Pensacola Convoy (PLUM Convoy)

This turn marks the arrival of the ‘Pensacola Convoy’. This was a convoy escorted by the heavy cruiser USS Pensacola and the USN gunboat USS Niagara. The convoy consisted of 2 naval transports (USS Republic & Chaumont), 2 army transports (USS William A. Holbrook & Meigs), 2 US merchant ships (SS Admiral Halstead & Coast Farmer) and a Dutch freighter (Bloemfontein). The ships carried supplies, crated aircraft (P-40Es and A-24, better known in the Navy as the Douglas SBD Dauntless), and about 2000 men of the National Guard (Texas, South Dakota and Idaho).

The convoy had left a little over a week prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, and were diverted at one point were initially recalled after the attack, but FDR wanted the material delivered to the southwest Pacific. The convoy arrived at Brisbane, Australia on December 22 (Dec III or Dec IV 41, depending on your reckoning), escorted by the Royal Australian Navy warships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Perth.

The Bloemfontein and the Holbrook were reloaded, and sent north to Manila, but were unable to get through, and diverted to Darwin, Australia, better known in this game as the North Australia holding box.

Initial Phase

Reinforcements & Replacements

The Pensacola Convoy arrives in Darwin, Australia (click image to enlarge)

The Pensacola Convoy arrives in Darwin, Australia (click image to enlarge)

American forces have arrived in Darwin. The Filipinos have 3.5 replacement points in Manila, and 1.75 replacement points at Argao, on Cebu Island, just south of Cebu City proper. The Americans have 2 replacement points in Manila.

The aircraft that has arrived in Darwin are all aborted. The Americans do not receive any air replacement points until April, so in order to get some of these units operational, we have to cull/regroup them. Here’s another area where things get a little gamey. According to the rules, in order to be regrouped, the identical air units do not have to be at the same airbase. The rules do not say that they even have to be on the same island, or on the same continent!

At the Cabanatuan airstrip, there is a squadron of aborted P-40Es; there are three such squadrons in Australia. For the regroup, one has to be picked at random to be sent to the replacement pool.  What I am going to do is assign the Australia squadron to odd numbers, and the Luzon squadron to even numbers and roll a die. Winner gets sent to the replacement pool.

And the winner is (drum roll)……..

The Luzon Squadron! The P-40Es at Cabanatuan are scrapped.

Using the same technique, one A-24 is scrapped to get another operational, leaving a single squadron of A-24s aborted. One P-40E is scrapped to get a second P-40E operational, giving Australia two P-40 squadrons.

Two B-17C heavy bomber squadrons are at Manila, aborted. They are regrouped, making one operational and sending the other to the replacement pool.

Confused? Let me quickly recap:

Australia has 2 operational P40E squadrons, 1 operational A-24 squadron, and an aborted A-24 squadron. Luzon has one operational P-40E squadron, one operational P-26B squadron, one operational B-17C bomber squadron and one operational B-18A bomber squadron.

The Americans also replace the 26PSr cavalry battalion because it is supposed to receive an upgrade on the Jan IV turn if I can get the armor replacement point to Manila. The Filipinos replace the 83r infantry battalion. Both are in Manila.

Production: 1 resource point arrives at Manila.

Movement Phase

1st Naval Movement (click image to enlarge)

1st Naval Movement (click image to enlarge)

Naval Movement Sub-Phase

A little bit of reorganization occurs between the two American naval groups to get a type TR transport into each group to pick units up off the beaches. TF-5 lands at Carcar, just south of Cebu City while AF lands at Argao, just south of that. The replacement points and surviving units from the Cebu City attack load onto the transports.

The transports leave with their cargo, bound for Cagayan on northern Mindanao.

The Japanese decide to strike right after the transports leave the beaches, just off the coast of Cebu & Bohol. The squadron of H6K4 Mavis flying boats takes off from Mindanao to go on patrol, while two G4M1 Bettys and a squadron of G3M2 Nells take off from Clark Field. The Nells barely have the range to reach the mission zone. Escorts do not have the range to escort them all the way to the mission zone, so they have to travel solo. Of course, Allied patrols catch them over Manila Bay, in between Manila and Corregidor. The P-40E squadron attacks one squadron of Bettys (+4) while the Filipino B-26B squadron attacks the other squadron of Bettys(+0).

Naval convoy continues towards Australia (click image to enlarge)

Naval convoy continues towards Australia (click image to enlarge)

The P-40s return one squadron, while the P-26s are aborted.

Over the target zone, there are two different naval patrol missions occurring: The Mavis from Mindanao and the Clark Field mission.

The Mavis search for, and find the American naval groups (+6 DRM, automatic).US AA turns the H6K4s back before they can finish their mission.

The Clark expedition, however, fails to find the fleet (they fail only on a 1), and return to base empty-handed.

The naval groups deliver their cargo to Cagayan, and then head south, bound for Australia.

Movement Sub-Phase

Before it is forgotten, the P-40Es and A-24s in Australia fly 4 legs to reach the airbase outside of Cagayan, Mindanao.

Luzon

Luzon movement, Jan I 42 (click image to enlarge)

Luzon movement, Jan I 42 (click image to enlarge)

The armor anchoring the NE section of the Pampanga River line is in a precarious position and was extremely lucky last turn. This forces a shift of troops along the line.

The Philippines division relieves the tanks and takes up position in the hills near the headwaters of the Pampanga River.

The 1st Filipino infantry division (unsupported) and the 301st artillery regiment move into Cabanatuan, taking the position vacated by the Philippines division.

The 1PGp light armored cadre moves to the position vacated by the 1st infantry. In this position, they can only be attacked from a single hex.

The 91r and 72r infantry battalions (F) and the 88PSr artillery battalion (US) joins the armor behind the river, bolstering the defense.

The Filipino 11d infantry brigade joins the US Philippines division to bolster the defense there. It is unsupported (3.5 defense factors).

The 301r (F) engineer battalion stays at Cabanatuan with the 1st infantry division.

The newly replaced units in Manila move to join the light armor cadre as well.

The engineers in Manila once again repair the Manila airbases.

Overall, I think this strengthens the line, though we’ll find out when the Japanese attack next turn.

Mindanao

Movement on Mindanao, and the arrival of American aircraft from Australia (click image to enlarge)

Movement on Mindanao, and the arrival of American aircraft from Australia (click image to enlarge)

The 203rd Filipino construction regiment, just arrived from Cebu, moves to the airbase at Del Monte, just in case the Japanese try to bomb it out.

Combat Phase

There is no combat this turn.

Exploitation Phase

Naval Movement Sub-Phase

Naval Groups AF and TF-5 exit the southern edge of the map and head for Australia. They end the turn 3 movement points short of Darwin.

Notes

Some of the photos show a 1-2-6 infantry regiment on the island of Negros. Bacolad is right at the edge of the map, and this counter got flipped over to the wrong side. The last photo shows it corrected.

We’ll see if this line can hold next turn. I’m already looking to see where the best point of attack will be. Next turn, the Japanese withdrawals begin.

The Allied plan is to hold on for a few more turns, while American reinforcements begin to arrive, at least in Australia. Getting them to Manila is a whole different story. As stated before, the next several turns will withdraw the bulk of the IJN (though there is a “Distant Covering Force” in reserve, including not just ships, but aircraft and SNLF units as well. As soon as there is nothing more than a single Japanese division to the north, The Allies can start to push out and attempt to recapture the northern end of the island, but only if there is a strong enough force left.

The Japanese have to make hay, especially next turn, while they can…….

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