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Beyond Normandy




Great Pacific War Replay
1939 Campaign Scenario
Part 17:
Summer 1945
By Doug McNair
March 2008

My Great Pacific War replay rises from its own ashes in today’s episode. Last time (before Japanese secret agent Hello Kitty trashed the game board), the U.S. spent over 200 BRPs to more than triple the strength of her navy come winter. But while American shipyards are working 24/7, Japan continues to exploit the U.S. Navy’s weakness after the horrific losses in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. She sent a force of 4 CV and 8 SURF down to her base at Kusiae to challenge Allied control of the Marianas Islands sea zone, and if she can get sole control there she’ll cut the supply lines to the U.S. bases at Guam and Saipan.

That would force the American LSAC units that have been bombing Japan to relocate to Mindanao, which would put an end to the U.S. bombing of Japan since it’s beyond LSAC range. The consequent easing of pressure on Japan’s economy would give her the BRPs necessary to strike at Midway or Wake, and taking one of those islands would satisfy one of the conditions for a Japanese Major Victory while disrupting America’s ability to stage new units westward from the U.S. West Coast Box.

But while Japan has been able to hang onto Bangkok despite repeated British assaults, time and a boost to her BRP base at the start of 1945 has allowed Britain to amass enough ground, air and naval forces to mount a serious challenge to Japan’s control of the seas around Borneo this turn. If Britain can defeat Japan there and conquer Bangkok, Japan will be hard-put to prevent British and U.S. forces from linking up in the Philippines and starting a concerted drive northeast toward the Japanese home islands.

The war continues. . . .

Turn 23: Summer 1945

Production Segment: The Chinas hold onto their BRPs for now, while the Netherlands spends 2 BRPs to construct a 1-3 INF at Batavia. The Soviet Union has no ground or air units in her force pool and leaves the naval units there unbuilt, but Britain builds an LC at Calcutta for 3 BRPs. Japan rebuilds the Siamese 1-0 GAR at Bangkok, builds and airfield on Bonin Island (on the sea zone border with the American base at Marcus Island), and builds 3-3 INF, 3 x 2-3 INF, 3 x 1-3 INF and an LC in Japan for 29 BRPs.

Finally the U.S. builds 4 CV and 9 SURF (available Spring, 1946), has to rebuild the airfield at Wake Island just one turn after dismantling it (because that’s the only place the 5-8 SAC on Marcus Island can go to make room for the TAC which the Americans have to bring in due to the Japanese construction of an airfield on Bonin Island), builds LC at the Mindanao beachhead and 2 x 3-4 INF plus 5 SUB and a 5-4 TAC in the U.S. West Coast box for 93 BRPs.

The Atomic Age begins in New Mexico, and two MANHATTAN PROJECT chits go in the political cup. The chit drawn is NO EFFECT, so for the moment invading Japan is the only way for the Allies to end the war. The Chinas and the Soviet Union buy one impulse chit each, Britain buys two, Japan buys three and the U.S. buys two.

Sea Zone Box Placement Segment: The Soviet Union spends 5 BRPs to put 3 SURF and 2 SUB in the Sea of Okhotsk control box plus a 3-4 TAC in the Sea of Japan control box.

Britain spends 5 BRPs to put units in the Gulf of Siam, Java Sea, Bismarck Sea, Coral Sea and Marianas Islands control boxes, and the U.S. spends 5 BRPs to put many units in the Marianas Islands sea control box to fight for the supply line to Guam and Saipan. She also puts TAC in the Bering Sea, Hawaiian Island and Solomon Islands sea control boxes (the latter to maintain a supply line to Truk even if the Allies lose control of the Marianas Islands sea zone).

Finally Japan spends 5 BRPs to put units in all the usual sea zones except the Sea of Okhotsk (which she lets the Soviets have since no Allied landing force is within range of any useful target there), and sends a large force into the Marianas Islands sea control box to battle the Allies there.

Sea Control and Raiding Segment: The RAF destroys the Japanese Air Force in the Gulf of Siam and gains sole control of that sea zone, but the Japanese Air force destroys the British carriers in the Java Sea and gains control of that zone. In the Sea of Japan a Soviet and Japanese 3-4 TAC go up against each other, and the Red Air Force scores two hits to one leaving the zone contested. Then in the Marianas Islands sea zone, a combined Allied force of 2 TAC, 5 CV, 3 SURF and 7 SUB takes on a Japanese force of 4 CV, 8 SURF and 5 SUB:

Round One: Each side scores one hit in air battle, with the Americans destroying one Japanese BRP and the Japanese downing an American 1-4 TAC. But the Imperial Japanese Navy does terribly in naval combat, while the American carriers score two hits to sink a Japanese 2 CV and the American SUBS score another two hits to sink the remaining Japanese 2 CV.

Round Two: Honor demands revenge so the Japanese stay for a second round. They get some measure of it with their SURF units scoring a hit to sink an American SURF and their SUBs scoring two hits to sink an American 2 CV. This time it’s the Allies’ turn to do terribly, with the entire Allied force scoring just one hit to sink a Japanese SURF factor. The remaining American 3 CV withdraws to Truk, because with no Japanese CV left in the battle there’s no way the Japanese can down the British 1-4 TAC and get 4-1 odds on the Allies for sole control of the sea zone (the TAC counts double and SUBs don’t count at all for sea control, so the best the Japanese can get at the end is 7 – 2).

Round Three: The Allies just can’t replicate their early victories, and the Japanese score two hits to destroy the remaining American 2 SURF while the Allies score no hits at all. The zone ends up controlled by both sides and the supply line to the LSAC bases on Saipan and Guam remains intact. Just as important, with the losses suffered in the Marianas Islands and Java Sea, total Japanese carrier strength is now down to 9 CV while Allied carrier strength is down to just 3 CV.

Strategic Redeployment Segment: Nationalist China SRs a 1-2 INF down from Chunking to the front, but Mao leaves his units in place. The Netherlands SRs her 2 SUB from the Middle East box to Batavia, and the Soviet Union brings a 4-5 ARM onto the board from Europe. Britain SRs 2 x 2-3 Indian INF overland from Madras down to Nagor Rajasima in Siam, uses an LC to SRs an ANZAC 2-3 INF in Malaya through Singapore, up to Rangoon and down to Siam, and finally uses her 9 SURF at Madras to send the Soviet Union 20 BRPs.

Japan uses her LC at Kagoshima to SR a 3-3 and a 1-3 INF to the Philippines, uses her 9 SURF at Darien to SR a 2-3 INF through Nagasaki on Kyushu up to Darien (the 9 SURF moves down to Nagasaki in the process), and finally uses her LC at Osaka to send 2 x 2-3 and a 1-3 INF to positions behind the front lines in Korea.

Then the American 1-3 PARA at the Mindanao beachhead SRs up to Leyte (it won’t be out of supply there because PARA units are always in supply on the turn when they drop). The 2 LC at the Mindanao Beachhead then SRs a 3-4 INF, a 5-6 ARM and an HQ from Marcus Island to Mindanao. The 5-8 SAC on Marcus Island SRs to the new airfield on Wake, and then the 9 SURF at Marcus Island SRs a 3-4 INF and a 5-4 TAC in from the U.S. West Coast box.

Operations Segment: The first chit drawn is . . .

BRITISH NAVAL: The Japanese victory in the Java Sea nixes British plans for an amphibious invasion of Borneo (they can’t get through the Singapore Strait without being hit by Japanese TAC). So the British LCs from Calcutta and Rangoon move down to Broome in Australia along with an Indian 3-4 INF. That gives them the option of hitting either Borneo or the Philippines next turn as conditions warrant.

The next chit drawn is . . .

COMMUNIST CHINA ATTRITION: Mao’s men plunge into the gap in the north end of the Japanese line but don’t attack because they have to stay alive in order to reach the provincial capital of Changcyuan next turn.

The next chit drawn is . . .

U.S. AIR EFFORT: The American 5-4 TAC at the Mindanao beachhead moves to Davao, and then the LSAC units out of Guam and Saipan perform strategic bombing against Osaka and Tokyo. They score an outstanding four hits on each city to destroy 8 Japanese BRPs, and the Allied victory in the Marianas Islands means they’ll be able to keep bombing Japan for the rest of the year.

The next chit drawn is . . .

SOVIET 1/FEF HQ OFFENSIVE: The Red Army envelops the entire Japanese line and also drives down the Darien peninsula toward the objective port.

The attack on Darien scores no hits for either side, and the eight-die-to-three attack (with blitzkrieg bonuses) on the line southeast of Darien scores just two hits to kill 2 Japanese BRPs while the Japanese score one hit in return to kill a Soviet BRP.

The 10-die-to-3 attack on the objective capital city of Kirin scores just one hit to kill a Japanese INF division, but the attack on the weak line south of Kirin eliminates a Japanese INF division and lets a Soviet 2-3 INF gain a fifth hex adjacent to the capital.

An infantry attack on the next Japanese unit farther south scores no hits, but finally the Soviets get a break on the extreme Japanese southern flank, with a 7-die-to-3 armored assault scoring three hits to reduce a Japanese 3-3 INF and force it to retreat southwest while a Soviet 4-5 ARM advances.

Soviet ARM, CAV and TAC press the attack in exploitation combat. They score just one hit on the north flank to kill a Japanese BRP while losing 2 Soviet BRPs to a determined defense, but in the south they destroy 2 x 1-3 INF and nearly complete the encirclement of the forces southwest of Kirin while losing 1 Soviet BRP to defenders.

The next chit drawn is . . .

NATIONALIST CHINA ATTRITION: The Japanese are getting blindsided by everyone, and the Kuomintang get the jump and march into Hanoi before the Japanese can rush forces in to protect it. French Indo China falls under Nationalist Chinese control (which will give Chiang Kai Shek a big BRP boost in the spring), and Kuomintang armies attack the Japanese extreme western flank in China. They destroy the Japanese 1-5 ARM division there while losing a 1-2 INF unit.

The next chit drawn is . . .

BRITISH 14TH HQ OFFENSIVE: The Commonwealth attacks Bangkok again at the same strength as last turn’s. This time it works, scoring seven hits on 21 dice to eliminate the Japanese 3-3 INF and Siamese 1-0 GAR to take the capital and conquer Siam. The Japanese go down fighting, scoring two hits on five dice to eliminate an Indian 2-3 INF. Units advance into the capital and beyond (since there are no enemy units remaining adjacent to them), the British and Dutch TAC land there, and then in exploitation movement the British 4-5 ARM heads across the central Siamese plain toward the key Japanese base at Camranh Bay.

The next chit drawn is . . .

JAPANESE ATTRITION: Finally Japan gets a clue that her empire is falling apart and sends word to her troops southwest of Kirin to get the hell out of there. The retreat is slowed by ZOC from the Soviet 4-5 ARM that came up from the south after smashing the Japanese flank, but the Japanese score a major victory by scoring two hits on six dice to destroy the Soviet 1/FEF HQ and the 2-3 INF guarding it! That will slow the Red Army’s progress considerably until a new HQ can be brought to the front.

The next chit drawn is . . .

JAPANESE ATTRITION: The Japanese pull back their west flank so that it links up with the beachhead on the south China coast, where they’ll be able to SR a unit from Japan next turn.

The next chit drawn is . . .

JAPANESE CEA HQ OFFENSIVE: The Japanese 3-3 INF on Borneo moves northeast and captures the objective city of Taralam.

The last chit drawn is . . .

U.S. NAVAL: The Americans bought this chit hoping to use the 2 x 2-4 MAR on Truk for an amphibious landing on either Borneo or the Philippines. But the weak performance of the U.S. Navy in the neighboring Marianas Islands sea zone plus exclusive Japanese sea control in the zones east of Borneo and the Philippines makes this unadvisable. The Marines stay at Truk, but the 1 LC unit at Midway transports one of the two 1-0 GAR units there to Wake.

Supply Segment: All units are in supply (even the Japanese 1-0 GAR at Kirin since there are no empty Soviet ZOC hexes between it and the Japanese armies to the southwest). Japan spends 2 BRPs to repair her reduced 3-3 INF on the Korean coast, and the U.S. voluntarily removes her two LC factors from Guam and Wake so they can be built elsewhere next turn.

End Segment: Siam surrenders to Britain and her 1 SURF is removed from play. Units then return to base from sea zone boxes (with a Japanese 2-4 TAC landing at the new airbase on Bonin Island and an American 3-4 TAC landing at Truk), and the turn ends.

So with just four turns left in the game, Japan has stymied Stalin’s advance in Korea by destroying the Soviet HQ there, and her navy and air force are doing a good job of keeping the Americans off balance. But Siam and French Indochina have fallen to the Allies, and British and American air units will be in a position next turn to fight for control of all the sea zones surrounding Borneo. If they take sole control of those zones they’ll cut the supply lines to the Japanese armies on Borneo, and that followed by likely Allied invasions of Borneo and the Philippines could spell the end of Japan’s empire in the west.

But the improved situation in Korea will allow Japan to use her LC and SURF units to SR new units to Borneo and the Philippines and possibly hold off the Allies — if, that is, Japan’s BRP stockpile can hold out against continued American bombing. And then there’s the matter of the Atom Bomb. . . .

Can Japan keep her empire together until the spring? Tune in next time and find out!

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