Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

TDDH: Allied Feb IV 1942


The Allies are no longer just reeling, they are almost broken. The Bataan peninsula is now inaccessible from Manila Bay via naval transports without entering the heavily mined waters around Corregidor. Landing on the beaches NW of Malolos (where the rice fields are) is possible, but it would place every single unit out of supply, with no hope of finding access to more.

Ultimately, my thoughts and plans for the Allies have failed. Not spectacularly, but I think Luzon will fall before the April II 1942 turn, as it did historically.

The Allies ended up in this predicament because I spent too much time dithering and dickering over whether to abandon Manila or not. The end result is that the Japanese split the Allies in two. Instead of crossing Manila Bay to strengthen the Bataan region, I stayed in the city. Not defending it, mind you, but occupying it. I could have probably extracted all Allied forces and built a strong position at San Fernando, but I didn’t. I was greedy and hoping to get one more resource point and 3 more replacements.

The Allied plan at this point is to hold Manila as long as possible. I’m still holding out for the extra replacements and production on the March I 1942 turn. The Allies currently have 29 defensive factors in Manila, facing 22 attack factors from the Japanese (one of the Japanese divisions is halved due to the river). They also potentially have an additional 2 attack factors from air support. Some units can be shipped out, but I have to maintain a minimum of 16 defensive factors in Manila in order to keep combat odds at 3:2 against the Japanese units tied down at the city.

However, the 16th corps (or portions thereof) can easily move quickly to Malolos to support any attack the Japanese decide to throw at the city.

Holding on in Manila is the kind of thinking that got the Allies into this position in the first place. Shipping to Marivelles/Corregidor is going to cause some troops to be lost. It can no longer be helped. The evacuation of Manila must begin now.

Luzon

All units, Allied and Japanese are in supply. As I was going through the stacks of Manila and Corregidor, I noticed I have a pair of P-40E squadrons that have been aborted. Culling them, the Allies can reactivate one squadron, while eliminating the other. Randomly chosen, the P-40Es at Manila are repaired.

The Allies also spend 20 victory points in order to speed up production and get 10 additional replacement points. Ten is the number that can be carried out of Manila, if all transports stay afloat.

The airfield on Corregidor will be fully operational next turn.

In order to facilitate the evacuation of Manila, the Manila barges are called up for operations.

For the first set of troops being evacuated from Manila, the two Filipino infantry brigades (51d and 31d) are broken down. The reason for this is because the brigades are 2 REs in size, while broken down, they are only 1 RE in size. I don’t understand how four x 1/4 RE battalions combined = 2 REs, but maybe it’s just me.

They are loaded as follows (so that any transport that gets sunk has the correct units lost with it):

  • Manila-1: 71, 11, 33 & 51r battalions
  • Manila-2: US Philippines cadre
  • Manila-3: 31, 23, 32 & 12r battalions
  • Merchant-1 (2 RE capacity): US 147th artillery regiment & US 515CA AA regiment
  • Merchant-2 (1 RE capacity): 2nd Filipino infantry cadre
  • Merchant-3 (2 RE capacity, supply transport): empty
  • Merchant-4 (2 RE capacity, supply transport): empty

All transports are escorted by the crippled cruiser USS Pensacola. Two IJN warships stationed at Batangas fail to react to the movement.

Allied movement (click image to enlarge)

Allied movement (click image to enlarge)

At random, the Merchant-3 is selected for a mine attack, and suffers 1 hit. Then the IJA air forces strike. The Ki-51 dive bombers, escorted by a pair of Zeros, seek out the fleet. The Americans decline to intercept, and the dive bombers locate their target (Manila-3, chosen at random) and miss. 50-50 chance, and they come up and the short side.

The force pulls into Marivelles and unloads. During the return trip, they enter the mined waters again, and Merchant-4 is selected at random. It hits a mine, and suffers 2 hits and sinks.

Again, the IJN fails to react.

The Allies have been very lucky so far.

Back at Manila, the transports are loaded again:

  • Manila-1: US 88PS artillery battalion, 1 replacement point
  • Manila-2: Filipino 301r light AA battalion, 1 replacement point
  • Manila-3: 2 replacement points
  • Merchant-1 (2 RE capacity): 4 replacement points
  • Merchant-2 (1 RE capacity): 2 replacement points
  • Merchant-3 (1 RE capacity): empty

Across the bay once again, and once again into the dangerous waters.

Manila-3 is drawn at random to see if it hits a mine, and it does. Manila-3 must have been carrying more than replacements, because it suffers 3 hits and sinks, taking 2 replacement points with it.

Third time’s a charm for the IJN to react, but yet they show they are asleep at the wheel and fail to react.

The rest of the group begins to unload on the Marivelles beach, but will have to complete the task during the exploitation phase.

The B-17s at Zamboanga once again fly against the rail marshalling yards at Legaspi. Once again, one hits and one misses. The A-24s at Manila fly against the rail marshalling yards of San Pablo, escorted by the P-40Es. The Ki-27bs at Batangas intercept, and both sides abort each other. The A-24s miss the target.

Since the airfield raids ended early in the game, bombing has not exactly been a high point of either air force.

Marivelles and the approaches to Corregidor are now blocked from the Japanese. Filipino forces descend from the Zambales mountains into Olongapo. After a long debate with myself, the US mechanized forces retreat into Olongapo as well, the idea being strength in numbers.

While these units are still in supply, the combat/motorized forces cannot enter the jungles to the south. The Allied forces are still split.

Upon completing the offloading of the last of the troops on the Marivelles beaches, the last remaining ships of the American fleet decide to make a run for it. Leaving the barges behind, they enter into the minefield. Merchant-1 is selected for attack, and successfully navigates the mines without taking damage.

The two IJN warships in port at Batangas fails to detect the small fleet sneaking out of Manila Bay. They move slowly until the reach the naval base at Cebu City.

Amazing. Four chances to react, and four failures. Transports not carrying anything, or not carrying troops all strike mines. That was an incredible streak of luck for the Allies.

The Visayan Islands & Mindanao

Allied movement in the south (click image to enlarge)

Allied movement in the south (click image to enlarge)

The 91r infantry battalion recently replaced in Iloilo is placed on a train and sent to Capiz, where it is detrained and marched to Kalibo, and it is used to form a 3-4-4 infantry regiment. At Zamboanga, 2 replacement points are spent to replace a 1-2-5 infantry battalion, which is used to build another 3-4-4 infantry regiment.

The islands south of Luzon are pretty much set up. They now simply wait for the Japanese to land and attempt to stop the invasion at the beaches. There is nothing more that can be done, as the Japanese are now preparing to bring this campaign to a close over the next few weeks.

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