Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: Japanese Feb IV 1942

As I am looking over the map, I realize that the Allies have managed to bring the Japanese offensive to a screeching halt. Two divisions are tied down at Manila, while a third infantry division is moving towards Bataan.

The Bataan defenses (click image to enlarge)

The Bataan defenses (click image to enlarge)

But there is a flaw in the Allied defense, unfortunately one that is going to take some time for the Japanese to exploit. While the front line is relatively strong, there are no troops in the rear. Olongapo and Marivelles are undefended, leaving them wide open to an amphibious landing.

As can be seen, there are 6 hexes that are completely undefended. Prime territory for an amphibious landing by the Japanese to get behind the Allied lines.

It benefits the Allies that there is going to be a delay in implementing it. The naval units coming from Tonkin will have to spend 18 movement points to reach the coast off Olongapo, 2 to refuel, 2 to load, and 14 to reach the destination. From there, they would have to spend 2 more MPs to transfer their cargo to LCs, and another 6 to land on the beach. A total of 26 MPs, extending into the exploitation phase, when amphibious landings are not allowed.

All units are in supply, and the naval group at Tonkin loads and refuels for the journey back.

The weather improves somewhat this turn. The storm in Zone 13 has passed, and the weather in Zone 12 has cleared up.

  • Zone 11: clear/calm seas
  • Zone 12: clear/rough seas
  • Zone 13: rain/calm seas

The Japanese take all available aircraft and raid Nicholl’s airfield. Antiaircraft is thick and heavy, aborting one Ki-27b and returning the other, and returning one of the Zero squadrons. The remaining Zeros and Ki-51 dive bombers raid the field, but only the dive bombers achieve a hit, aborting the US B-18 bomber squadron (chosen at random) and damaging the airfield. The US A-24 dive bombers are the only operational US aircraft left on Luzon.

The naval group brings reinforcements from Tonkin all the way to Batangas. As the group passes through the Corregidor sea box, the A-24s spring into action, searching for the transports, which they easily find. They survive AA fire from the escorting ships, but fail to hit their targets. Reaching Batangas, unloading will continue into the exploitation phase.

The transport group that ended the last turn leaves Vigan and moves to Formosa to pick up supply, returning it to Batangas and unloads it. Once this is completed, these transports hook up with transports (carrying landing craft) and escort ships from Lucena and head off to Singapore (which fell to the Japanese last turn) to pick up more troops and resource points that become available next turn.

Japanese movement and combat (click image to enlarge)

Japanese movement and combat (click image to enlarge)

Now it is time to bring an end to the remnants of the Allied army.

The 4th infantry division continues to move south, but the 53rd and 54th divisions remain tied down at Manila. The 16th corps strikes from Clark Field into San Fernando (south). This is the strongest point of the Allied line, but it is in clear terrain. The Allies have two brigades and three construction battalions here, for a total unsupported strength of 8.5 defense factors. The Japanese attack with 26 attack factors, 1/2 point more than they need to achieve 3:1 combat odds.

Heavy artillery fire engulfs San Fernando, and the Japanese Army easily dispatches the Filipino forces: half exchange. Actually, although the Japanese suffer casualties from this attack, it is actually the preferred outcome. Casualties are minimal, but the entire Filipino stack is eliminated. The other result would be Defender Half Eliminated. This would have only eliminated half the Filipino strength at no cost to the Japanese, but would have required a second attack.

The Filipinos lose a total of 17 defense factors, giving them 4 replacement points, and the Japanese lose the 52nd divisional cadre (a loss of 9 points to fulfill the required loss of 8.5 points). The Japanese gain 2 replacement points from the attack.

Japanese exploitation (click image to enlarge)

Japanese exploitation (click image to enlarge)

The 65R infantry cadre and two mountain artillery battalion s advance into San Fernando, breaking through the Allied defensive line. The rest of the 16th corps stays at Clark Field. There is now nothing between the Japanese and Marivelles.

The last of the naval groups finish unloading their cargo at Batangas during the exploitation phase. The 65R infantry cadre (and accompanying artillery) overruns the transport counter that had been moving resource points south, capturing 1 out of 5 resource points. The 16th corps moves into San Fernando to maintain contact with the 65R, and the 4th infantry moves into Clark Field. All these units shift south one hex.

The Allied in the west are pretty much finished.

I had started this post talking about the under utilized Japanese amphibious capability and the undefended rear of the Allied line.

As I was studying the maps, I came to the conclusion that this needed to be addressed, not as the Japanese commander, but the Allied commander. I did not want to leave that area vulnerable.

Turns out the entire thing was moot at this moment. As the Japanese commander, I did not want to just sit and give the Allies the opportunity to reinforce. I looked at the San Fernando defenses against available attacking forces, and determined I had a 3:1 advantage, and attacked. Now the Allied line is folding, and the decision for them is whether to defend Olongapo, or Iba.

Then there is Manila.





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