TDDH: Feb III 42
Before I begin, I have to correct one thing. Last turn, I erroneously reported that all Allied divisions had been reduced to their cadre strengths. This is not right. The 2nd Filipino infantry division is still at full strength in Manila (9-11-5 unsupported). Manila has a total of 29 defensive factors.
For this post, I have combined both turns into a single post.
I am also going to try to limit the commentary for this turn. Manila is going to be holding out for awhile, so the Japanese are going to launch mop up operations until their strength can be built back up.
The weather changes slightly this turn. A storm hits Mindanao, resulting in mud weather and stormy seas. Zone 11 and 12 seas feel the effect of this storm, and the seas are rough in both zones. Otherwise, the weather remains unchanged; clear weather in Zone 11 and rainy weather in Zone 12.
All Japanese units are back in full general supply.
A new resource point is produced in Formosa, and the Ki-36 squadron is upgraded to Ki-51 dive bombers. There is not a huge amount of difference between the two, ratings wise, but the new Ki-51s have better attack and defense ratings, in addition to a +1 DRM for bombing runs. I also decide to sacrifice another 12 victory points to call up a pair of A6M Zero squadrons.
Next turn, Feb IV, two regiments become available in the Tonkin holding box. Tonkin is in French Indochina (Vietnam), approximately 800 miles away. In anticipation of this, a small group of transports and escorts sail to Tonkin in anticipation of picking up the troops and moving them to Luzon. On the March I turn after that, more troops become available in Singapore, and the transports will have to be there by the end of the next turn to bring them back.
The Japanese begin the mop up operation; target: Clark Field. The bombers stationed there have become more than a nuisance at this point. Unfortunately, the B-17Es have already escaped.
The 16th corps (actually 16th Army, but why quibble?) disengages from Manila and moves north towards Cabanatuan, crossing the the Pampanga River just north of the swamps. The construction regiment leaves the 16th and continues to Cabanatuan. Its mission is to repair airstrips in the north that were ignored during the initial invasion.
The 52nd light mountain cadre also disengages from Manila, following behind and ultimately joining the 16th corps outside of Clark Field. The 54th light infantry division leaves Taytay to take the position vacated by the 52nd mountain. This holds the Allied forces in Manila at bay and the supply lines open.
Finally, the combat engineers move north towards Manila, but they are slowed by the continuing poor weather in Zone 12. They end their movement on the east side of Laguna de Bay, just out of the reach of the Allies in Manila.
The attack at Clark Field is at 5:1 odds. The Filipinos have one 5-7-5 unsupported brigade, and three 0-1-4 unsupported construction battalions, for a total of 5 defensive factors. The 16th corps has 12 points in artillery support, and 14 points of ground units, giving them 26 attack factors.
After some quick calculations, the Ki-51 dive bombers stage through Vigan to fly ground support for the attack, to offset the potential defensive air support from the bombers at Clark. The newly arrived Zeros stage through Appari and Laoag to escort the dive bombers, and the Ki-27bs fly escort from the south.
The P-40s elect to not intercept, but attempt to patrol attack the dive bombers, with no effect.
The Allies predictably fly defensive air support over Clark, and the Japanese have no AA defenses. The odds now become 28 to 9, or 3:1.
The battle is hotly contested, but the Allies escape into the Zambales Mountains (stacking is not violated in the mountains. The brigade makes up the base 2 REs, and the three construction battalions making up 3/4 of an RE). The B-18s land at Manila, while the B-17Cs fly to Zamboanga on Mindanao. All Japanese aircraft except the Ki-27bs land at Clark Field, now firmly in Japanese hands.
There is one added benefit to reclaiming Clark Field. The Filipino 1st infantry cadre is now in a ZOC, and cannot use the replacement points to rebuild next turn.
On the north end of the island, the transport counters pull back the remaining supplies, while the 4th infantry division continues to push south, threatening Baguio and putting pressure on the American mechanized forces.
The A-24 shown having flown a mission was flipped over by mistake. It did not fly a mission.
The Japanese have stepped up pressure on the Allied units. Clark has fallen again, probably for the final time. There are no reinforcements, and the 1st Filipino can not be rebuilt.
But, there are 7 Filipino replacement points that are sitting just south of San Fernando (south). I can’t just leave them there, because of the threat that they will be over run. So they are spent to replace three 1-2-5 infantry battalions and a 1-4 infantry gun, rebuilding a new infantry brigade. The brigade appears at Olongapo. The Americans, meanwhile, spend their 2 replacement points and rebuild the pilots/aircrew regiment (PAAC regiment) at Iba.All Allied units are in supply. The big question becomes do I want to risk the Allied armored forces going after the Japanese construction regiment? How about racing to Aparii and overrunning the transport counters and small amounts of supplies? Would it be worth putting those armored forces out of position?
The mechanized forces could move to hex 1821, behind Clark Field and cut the 16th off from their supply lines. This could still facilitate an attack on the construction regiment across the river, but one has to assume that there will be defensive air support there, bringing the defensive up to 3 DF. This against 3.75 attack factors (taking the river into account), up to 5.75 attack factors if ground support bombers get through. I’m certain that as the Japanese, Zeros will be intercepting. In almost every case, the Allies would be attacking at fewer than 1:1 odds, which is suicide.
It is frustrating not being able to attack. The Allies simply no longer possess that strength, especially with a lack of artillery. Ultimately, that’s what will cause the Allies to lose this campaign. The lack of artillery.
Maybe, just maybe, it is finally time to start falling back to the Bataan peninsula to consolidate what little strength the Allies have remaining instead of leaving it spread out everywhere.
Stacking in this game always messes me up, so I had to think carefully about this, considering the mountains.
The construction battalion at Corregidor begins construction on a new airbase on that island. I’m honestly not certain if an airbase can be constructed on this island considering I have no idea what exactly the terrain is, but I have not found a specific prohibition against it. I have to kind of assume it is either clear or rough terrain, meaning it will be done on the March I turn.
Supplies cannot be landed at Marivelles. It is in the sea zone that is occupied by Japanese mines, so they have to be landed north of Marivelles and moved. This will be a long process considering that the resource point has to be stacked with the transport counter prior to any movement phase.
The three barges (Manila 1, 2 & 3) are called up at Manila and load 3 respurce points on them, leaving to sail across Manila bay, escorted by the crippled Pensacola. The Japanese strike with the Ki-51s, escorted two Japanese squadrons of Zeros. The P-40s at Manila intercept, attempting to bypass the escorts.
The last American fighter squadron is aborted during the attempt.
The dive bombers easily find the fleet, and AA from the Pensacola is ineffective. The dive bombers miss the targets, however, and the resource points are delivered safely to the beaches.
The other 3 resource points are delivered shortly thereafter.
The withdrawal to Bataan begins. Forces are being consolidated in the Zambales Mountains and behind them. As much as I hate this, I see few alternatives at this point.
The transport counter carries the resource points to Corregidor, and returns to its starting hex.
The mechanized forces withdraw from their advanced positions, back to Iba to defend the northern flank.
Other forces cross the mountains and begin to consolidate their positions, preparing to withdraw to the peninsula.
In the Visayan Islands, two replacement points are spent to replace a 1-2-5 infantry battalion, to help reinforce the ports. One of the Iloilo barges moves to Tacloban and picks up the 1/2 replacement point there and returns to Iloilo.
On Mindanao, over the course of the entire turn, Cagayan is abandoned. The remaining contingent of 2 replacement points, two infantry, a construction and an artillery battalions are moved to Zamboanga.
The B-17s from Zamboanga raid the rail marshalling yards at Legaspi. The B-17Es hit their targets while the B-17Cs miss theirs. Japanese rail capacity is again reduced to 1 RE on the next turn.
As the withdrawal towards Bataan has become inevitable, at least in my mind, I am attempting to keep the withdrawal orderly. The plan is to try to keep Olongapo open as a supply point as long as possible, and the Japanese away from Corregidor. Of course, the Japanese will do their best to prevent this.
In conjunction with this, the question of Manila continues to linger.
Should the Allies finally abandon it, and flee across the bay to Bataan to strengthen the defenses there? Or do I let Bataan hold out as long as possible on their own, while holding Manila as long as possible?
At this point, I don’t think keeping the Allied forces split like this is wise. It was never part of my original idea, which I deviated from. The complete idea was to withdraw around Manila, not get split apart.
I could spend a few victory points to increase replacement production and bring some strength to the Bataan forces. Why do I not spend victory points to increase replacement point production at Manila? The Japanese only lead 115 to 109 at this point (territorial VPs not counted until the end of the game).
Even if I did increase production, they would appear at Manila and require shipping across the bay, which is becoming a dangerous undertaking. It doesn’t replace critical artillery units, though. Allied forces are severely weakened by the lack of artillery.
Something needs to be done to fend the Japanese off, before the second wave arrives.