TDDH: Jan II 42: The Japanese
It is well past time to pick up the pace on this campaign.
This isn’t a rules mistake, but a minor issue concerning naval bases. Darwin, Australia isn’t a naval base like I thought it was. The USN ended the last turn 3 MP from Darwin, low on fuel. They cannot refuel at Darwin.
I am diverting them to East Borneo (still off map) which is an oil depot where they can refuel. That leaves the naval group 23 movement points from Darwin. It complicates getting American reinforcements to the Philippines, as it will take the entire movement phase, and into the exploitation phase to get to Darwin, load troops, and head back to East Borneo. They will end up about 9 movement points (estimated) short of the oil base at the end of the next turn.
(This is a solitaire game. I can fudge at times, If I had a real opponent, I would not do something like that except with my opponents permission (which I just received), and only before they started their turn.)
The weather remains unchanged yet again:
- Zone 11: Clear/Calm Seas
- Zone 12: Mud/Stormy Seas
- Zone 13: Rain/Calm Seas
No reinforcements arrive this turn, but about half the fleet is withdrawn, including 2 heavy cruisers and a carrier with 2 squadrons.
One air replacement point is spent to fix the aborted squadron of G4M1 Betty bombers at Formosa.
The 32nd Baseforce at Legaspi, pulls up stakes and prepares to leave Legaspi.
Two squadrons of Zeros are assigned Combat Air Patrol (CAP) just a bit northeast of Clark Field to guide incoming bombers to their targets and discourage marauding patrollers from attacking them.
Naval Movement Sub-Phase
The 32nd Baseforce loads onto transports, preparing to move to Cebu City.
NG 2SAF, consisting of only transports makes its way around southern Luzon towards Lucena, a recently captured port. Consideration is given by the Allies to fly naval patrol as the transports are approaching Lucena, but as there is only two available bomber squadrons at different airbases (thus they cannot fly the same mission at the same time), and a single escort squadron flying into the teeth of three squadrons of Zeros, it is decided to just let them land. The Allies have enough damaged aircraft right now.
The 32nd Baseforce brigade, along with a resource point, two static brigades (56HC & 61HC) and a heavy AA battalion land at Lucena. The 2SAF transport group, still having movement available heads to Calapan on Mindoro to pick up another static brigade.
The 3SAF combat group and 3FLT transport group sail to Cebu, intent on picking up the troops on that island after the island is captured.
63HC static brigade races to capture the airstrip at Roxas (Mindoro) and returns to Calapan for pickup later in the turn.
The 2nd division continues to push north to the eastern edge of Laguna de Bay, across from Manila. The Japanese have no worries about a possible Allied breakout through Manila/Cavite.
‘A’ construction regiment moves to Clark Field and repairs tow hits at the airfield.
‘B’ construction regiment races south to Bayombong to repair that airstrip, but only has enough movement to get the project started. Must have been Friday at 1600 when they arrived.
47Y heavy AA battalion moves to Mariveles to attempt to block the Marines on the island from breaking out.
On the Pampanga River line, the 48th and the 2nd division disengage and move southwest. The 48th arrives at Clark Field, and the 2nd moves just outside of Clark Field, across the river from the swamps. Six squadrons of bombers are dispatched to provide ground support, while three squadrons of escorts arrive to keep the P-40s at bay. The H6K4 flying in from Mindanao takes a circuitous route to keep from being patrol attacked. (The Mavis has a lot of range)
Ground support consists of a single Ki-21 squadron, two Betty and 2 Nell squadrons and the Mavis squadron.
Tired of constantly being harassed by the P-40Es, a strike mission is sent to Corregidor to wipe out the airstrip there. A Zero squadron escorts a Betty and Ki-48 (Lily) bomber squadron to the target. The American pilots are frustrated and tired of not facing the Japanese pilots, and choose to engage the escorts.
The P-40Es score a kill against the Japanese! The Zeros, in exchange, abort the P-40E squadron.
Five points of antiaircraft scores a return on the Betty squadron (return to Clark Field), but the Lilys, and their whopping single point of bombing strength, raids the airfield and misses.
The Japanese send their amphibious tanks across the river into the swamp. Not that it does anything special, but one would think that it might.
Anyway, the Allies have no AA, and the ground support mission is unchallenged. 6.5 points of GS.
The Japanese are attacking across a river and into a swamp. Attacking across the river halves all combat factors, except artillery. The swamp halves all motorized, artillery and ground support, and has a -1 DRM.
The surrounding hexes total up 38.5 attack factors, bringing the total attack factors to 45. The Allies have 9 defense factors. Good odds at 5:1, -1 DRM.
And again the Japanese roll crap. A 1, modified to a 0 results in an exchange (EX).
The Allies lose 9 points, but so do the Japanese.
The Japanese decide to cadre the 2nd division (because it will be leaving soon), and lose a combat engineer battalion. All units of the 16th Corps advances into the swamps, except for the 48th division..
Naval Movement Sub-Phase
Transport group 3FLT, escorted by combat group 3SAF, loads its cargo from Cebu City and transports it to Batangas, where it unloads on the beach before returning to Lucena. Transport Group 2SAF loads the static brigade at Calapan (Mindoro) and transports it to Lucena. The B-17C squadron and the B-18 bomber squadron finds the transport group, but fails to lay a single hit on it. (These bombers are useless for naval patrol)
Directly in front of the 16th corps is an American transport counter with a resource point. Normally the TC would be good overrun material, and the Allied units to the north would be cut off from Manila. However, it costs 2 MP to execute the overrun, and during the exploit phase, the units do not have enough movement to pay the “full” cost of the overrun, which would be 6 MP.
The 48th division moves from Clark Field to join the 19th corps, with the wounded 2nd division to protect it from Allied counter attacks.
The Pampanga River line has been breached. The obvious counter-attack is for the northern Allied units to wheel around and cut the Japanese units off from the northern end of the island (and attack supply). This will not cut their general supply off, but it will put them in a bad position. Of course, this could leave the Allies exposed to a massive push on Manila, and leave the Allies well out of position to defend it.
The fight to the death begins in earnest.