TDDH: Mar II 42
The Sinking of the Pensacola
Before I begin, I would like to point out that I am currently adding a new section above called Library and Other Resources. I am creating a list of books that I own in my own personal library, ones that I have read and ones that are on my reading list. For those that I have found online, I am providing links to the material.
As with anything, no single source should be taken as authoritative, but I thought some of these might be of interest to those who want to do more research.
I also intend to, at some point, translate historical events into an Europa turn schedule for reference.
Last item. Last Japanese turn, I said I was not going to attack Olongapo because of the effects of the southern spur of the Zambales would result in a -3 DRM. Because it was a hexside and not the actual hex, the -2 DRM does not apply. At the time I couldn’t make up my mind about which was correct, so I decided to err on the side of caution and not attack.
- Zone 11: clear skies/calm seas
- Zone 12: clear skies/rough seas
- Zone 13: mud weather/rough seas
More Japanese aircraft and air replacements are released in the Singapore holding box. There are enough air replacement points to get the two aborted IJA fighters on Luzon operational again, but they are not needed, as the Americans have no air force left.
All of the aircraft make it easily to Luzon transferring through Japanese owned territory. The IJN longer range bombers land at Clark Field, while the IJA bombers land at Nicholl’s Field in Manila. A squadron of Zeros makes it all the way to the Legaspi airstrip (via the Mindoro airstrips) to defend against the B-17 marauders that keep targeting the marshalling yards there. The Japanese have now completed an air defense net across the island.
The Japanese also receive a resource point and 8 replacement points at Formosa. Six of these are immediately used to replace a 4-6-6 light infantry regiment, and the other two are transported to Luzon to be combined with the 4.5 replacement points there. Next turn, a division will be replaced (16th).
On the March III 42, 8 more replacement points become available at Formosa (along with a resource point), and a light infantry regiment at Brunei on Borneo. Another regiment becomes available at Singapore on March IV 42, and that is the last of the Japanese reinforcements. The rest of the month is going to be a busy shipping period for the IJN.
Transports leave Batangas and go to Formosa and load the replacements, the light regiment and resource point and return to Batangas where they unload. It takes the entire naval phase to complete this.
As the transports leave, a pair of destroyers leave Batangas and take up residence in the Corregidor sea box. This is the beginning of the naval supply blockade of Corregidor and Bataan. Bataan is now sealed off from the south.
The mountain troops in Manila move to San Fernando, accompanied by two mountain artillery units, as the 53rd light division moves south and joins the 16th corps. The stage is set for the attack on Olongapo. Armor and artillery take garrison duties in Manila.
Surprisingly, with the movement of the the 53rd, coupled with the arrival of the light mountain regiment and the mountain artillery (two mountain artillery regiments and a mountain artillery battalion have arrived), the combat odds jump up to 5:1. Even with the -1 DRM, the chances are looking good for the Japanese.
The 2-1-8 mountain mortar battalion is chosen to assist in the attack and the others sit out the attack. The mortar battalion is the strongest of the three. I could have all three attack, but the two extra points don’t make any difference.
The attack goes off without a hitch, and the Americans are defeated.
But they take some of the Japanese with them.
Wow. What do the Japanese have to do to roll a 6?
The Americans lose 21 defense factors worth of troops. The Japanese have to lose 10.5 combat factors.
The 4th infantry division attacking out of the Zambales is sacrificed to make up the losses. The Japanese cadre the division, but gain 2 replacement points from the battle. The Filipino and American forces lose 11 factors per contingent, so each gains 2.5 replacements each.
Olongapo falls, with the 4th infantry cadre and the mountain troops from San Fernando entering the town. The Bataan peninsula is now sealed off from the north.
Not taking time to rest, the forces that just entered Olongapo push south into the jungle. The artillery battalion is a mountain unit, and is eligible to enter the jungle. The three units push south and form the 19th corps. More mountain artillery pushes across the southern Zambales mountains into Olongapo, while engineers bring up the rear, moving into San Fernando.
The astute will notice that a pair of air squadrons have transferred from Clark to airstrips on Mindoro. Mindoro is completely undefended and a tempting target for Allied land forces. It is the hope of the IJA that the Allies attempt some sort of move like that. The IJA, both at Corregidor and at Batangas, are assigned (and declaring) that they are on dedicated reaction.
Three type TA transports are dispatched to Formosa to pick up new cargo that will be arriving next turn.
The Allies don’t have a lot to do. Most of it is replacements, actually.
However, the Allies at Marivelles and Corregidor begin U-1, as the naval supply line out of Corregidor has been cut by the IJN. Defense remains full, but they are now in danger.
The Filipino 2nd Infantry cadre is rebuilt into a full division by the expenditure of 7 replacement points. As soon as it is rebuilt, it heads back to the line at Marivelles, accompanied by an artillery battalion. In order to make room, a Filipino light AA battalion withdraws into Corregidor. (3.5 Filipino replacements, 2.5 US replacements left)
At Iloilo, the Filipinos spend another 2 replacement points to replace another infantry battalion, which rails to Capiz, where it assembles into a 3-4-4 infantry regiment.
The longer that Allied forces can hold out on Luzon, the more time the Filipino army has to rebuild on islands to the south.
The Japanese commander knows that an attempted landing on Mindoro is a huge risk, however, to put a dent into that plan, three long range bombers leave Clark Field and head for Cebu City, where the remnants of the USN are located.
There are three bombers (all carrying torpedoes) flying the mission. The targets are the Pensacola, Merchant-1 (Regular Transport, 2 RE), and Merchant-2 (Regular Transport, 1 RE).
The Pensacola only has 1 point of AA left, and it misses. The bombers promptly make her pay by sinking her.
With no AA defenses left, the other two bombers have free reign of the skies.
And miss. Both miss stationary targets with no flak.
And the low rolling goes on.
The loss of the Pensacola makes the USN fleet 100% vulnerable. Maybe they would have been better kept at Corregidor, where they would have at least had some AA protection.
The remaining transports at Cebu cannot stay there. They have to flee, so they fuel up, leave port and head to Zamboanga where they take refuge. They stay well away from IJN warship patrols.
I hadn’t used the ability to bomb naval units in port because I really don’t view the USN as enough of a threat. The transports are a threat in their own right, but the Japanese did not have enough airpower at the time to try to get them while they were in Manila. It is a job best left to the IJN bombers, as they are better suited to the task.
The increase in IJN fighter protection has effectively neutralized the heavy bombers at Zamboanga.
That’s all the Allies can do. Their backs are to the wall. They have a defense of 29.5 points in Marivelles. Once supply starts dwindling, that 29.5 become 14.75, and most of the attacking Japanese units are light/mountain, which suffer no adverse effects from the jungles of Marivelles.
The end is drawing near for the Allies. The question is, how long they can they hold out.