TDDH: Jan III 42: The Japanese
Things are actually looking bleak for the Japanese. The IJN has withdrawn, leaving only a few small destroyers and some transports. They have lost much of their strength this turn.
The seas in Zone 12 finally calm down, but other than that, the weather remains the same.
Zone 11: clear/calm seas
Zone 12: mud/calm seas
Zone 13: rain/calm seas
Reinforcements, replacements and withdrawals
The 2nd light division is withdrawn as a cadre. Because of this, the IJA now runs an infantry replacement point deficit of -6.75, and cannot replace any losses on Luzon until this deficit is paid.
One of the A6M Zeros that is withdrawn has to be pulled out of the replacement pool. This costs 2 air replacement points. This reduces the number of available air RPs to 5, and the IJN withdraws 8, creating a deficit of -3 air RPs that must be paid.
The Japanese are in a bad position. This is the beginning of the end for this invasion.
The 31st baseforce at Aparri is flipped over to its mobile side in preparation to move south, while the 32nd baseforce at Lucena is flipped to its non-mobile side to provide naval base services.
1 resource point is produced in Formosa.
The supply situation
The Japanese have temporarily been cut off from their attack supply to the north. Transports must move to Aparri, pick some up and move it to Olongapo or Iba.. General supply, in the meantime, can be traced through those same two ports.
First Naval Movement Sub-Phase
Because of their slow movement rate, the static brigades (2-4-4) had generally been left to garrison certain ports, especially in the north. This was kind of dumb considering the Allies have no amphibious capability.
It is quickly determined that these units and supplies have to be sent south as quickly as possible.
The newly minted resource point is loaded, and transports leave Formosa bound for Aparri, Laoag and San Fernando. The transports and warships left behind by the IJN are refueled at Lucena, and leave port bound for Aparri.
The baseforce at Aparri, a static brigade and a resource point are delivered and unloaded at Olangapo.
Two static brigades and three resource points are unloaded at Lucena. A heavy anti-aircraft battalion remains on the transports, unable to unload at this time. All transports dock at Lucena.
There were two attempts by the Allies to look for transports off the coast. The B-18s were patrol attacked by IJA Ki-27b ‘Nate’ fighters as soon as it left the airfield, but nothing happened. It was patrol attacked again by Ki-27s off the coast of Vigan, but again nothing happened. It survived AA fire after it found the convoy, but the bombs missed.
The B-17s took off from Manila, and were intercepted off the coast of Laoag, and were returned after being attacked. The Ki-27b fighters were aborted and sent back to Laoag.
The Allies have retaken Tarlac, and are threatening to recapture Clark Field from the north.
Fortunately for the Japanese, all aircraft at Clark (1 x A6M Zero, 3 x G4M Betty, and 2 x G3M Nell squadrons) have been withdrawn, leaving the airfield empty. The only unit left there is the construction regiment that was effecting repairs on the airbase.
What does this mean for the Japanese?
It means the momentum may have swung back as quickly as it turned in favor of the Allies. The Japanese no longer have to be concerned about whether or not they need to swing north to save the airfield.
They can keep their eyes on the prize: Manila.
The 19th Corps merges with the 16th Corps, while the construction regiment at Clark also moves across the river to join with the 19th corps, along with a siege artillery regiment. 19th corps is now made up of two divisions, two tank battalions, a construction regiment, and four artillery units.
The static unit that landed at Olongapo pushed inland to hold supply lines open to Olongapo.
In the south, three static brigades rush to join the two regiments of the 16th division, and are joined by a combat engineer battalion. There are no artillery units on the south end of the island, so these units are unsupported. Another combat engineer battalion moves into Cavite, to block retreat lines out of Manila.
There is not much left in the way of air support, so this could get interesting.
Two attacks this turn, as the Japanese attempt to push into the Manila area.
The southern attack is going to be made in mud weather, into woods. There will be a -1 DRM to the attack. Current combat odds are 2:1, but ground support will bring this up to 3:1.
The Japanese roll a Half Exchange result. The Filipino force in the woods disintegrates, at the cost of two static brigades and an engineer battalion. The southern road to Manila has been thrown open.
To the north, the 19th corps continues to push south, attacking a combined American-Filipino force at 4:1 odds, without any air support. This time the Japanese roll a Defender Half Eliminated, effectively eliminating the Filipino force. Five combat factors are lost, and the Americans retreat to Malolos, on the outskirts of Manila. The Japanese 48th light mountain division moves into the breach, leaving the rest of the 19th corps behind.
The decision to eliminate the Filipino force rather than the Americans stemmed from the ability to replace units. There are more Filipino replacement points, and the special replacements only adds to this total. A few units should get replaced next turn.
Between both combats, the Filipinos garner 3.75 replacement points, bringing their total to 6 and the Japanese get 2.5 replacement points to help pay the deficit (now at -4.25).
Second Naval Movement Sub-Phase
The heavy AA battalion still on a transport is unloaded at the beach at Lucena. Once this is completed, the transports leave Olongapo and head to Lucena. All ships replenish upon arrival.
The two regiments of the 16th division move to the edges of Manila. The Allied supply line is now completely cut.
Just when I thought the campaign may be finished for the Japanese, they have an excellent turn, pushing closer to Manila and cutting off supply to the units to the north. The northern units not only have no general supply, they have no access to attack supply either. I left the 19th Corps behind to keep the supply line open while pushing the 48th division forward to drive a wedge in between Manila and the now cut off units.
It is now time for the Allies to make a decision about Manila, whether to defend it or not. Regardless, this turn may have been the death-blow to the Allied forces.