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Tactics in
Fading Legions




Great Pacific War Replay
1939 Campaign Scenario
Part VIII: Summer 1942

By Doug McNair
February 2008

Japan tries to keep the strike south rolling while America struggles to regain the initiative in today’s episode of my Great Pacific War replay. Last time, a Japanese amphibious assault on Manila finally conquered the Philippine capital, leaving the American armies on Luzon outnumbered and outgunned but still clinging to the southern peninsula and a supply line through the port of Legaspi. Japanese carrier strikes had decimated the U.S. Navy’s carrier force, except in the Marianas Islands, where a major sea battle severely weakened the Japanese naval force stationed at Truk. British land forces are gathering in Burma, and the resurgent Kuomintang have put the Japanese on the defensive with an assault across the Yangtse River.

The war continues.

TURN 12: SUMMER 1942

Production Segment: Each China buys a 1-2 INF for 2 BRPs, and Britain builds a TAC factor at Brisbane for 3 BRPs. The Netherlands has no shipyards with which to rebuild her destroyed naval units, but the USA buys a 2-4 MAR division, a 1-3 PARA division a 2-4 TAC and finally a 2 LC at Pago Pago for 20 BRPs. Then Japan adds one factor each to the reduced SURF units at the Kure and Yokohama shipyards, and buys 4 SUB, a 2-3 INF, a 1-3 INF and two 1-3 INF divisions for a total of 25 BRPs.

No new chits go in the political cup, and the chit drawn is NO EFFECT.

The two Chinas, Britain and Japan buy one impulse chit each, and the U.S. buys two.

Sea Zone Box Placement Segment: The Netherlands spends 3 BRPs to put SURF and TAC factors in the Java Sea and Sulu Sea zones, and Britain spends 2 BRPs to put a 2-4 TAC unit in the Straits of Malacca. Then the U.S. and Japan spend 5 BRPs each to put units in numerous sea zone boxes, and the big battles look to be coming in the Sulu Sea and Marianas Islands zones. The U.S. then sends 5 SUB from Guam to the Sea of Japan raiding box.

Declaration of War Segment: Nobody declares.

Sea Control and Raiding Segment: In the Sulu Sea, a Dutch 1-4 TAC and an American 2 CV, 3 SURF and 2 SUB go up against Japanese 2-4 TAC, 9 SURF and 4 SUB.

The Japanese TAC shoots down the Dutch TAC with no damage in return, and then Japanese TAC rolls boxcars and obliterates the American CVs. The Japanese SURF rolls three sixes on 9 dice and kills both American subs plus a SURF, and the Japanese SUBs score one more hit to kill all but the last American SURF. The Americans score no hits on 9 dice, and the surviving 1 SURF withdraws to Legaspi, leaving the Japanese in sole control of the Sulu Sea.

Then the American 4 CV and 9 SURF from Guam engage Japanese 7 SURF from Truk and the newly built 4 SUB from Japan.

The Marianas Islands remain thoroughly cursed for the Japanese, who lose all their SUBs and all but 3 SURF, which retreats to Truk since the Americans have a 4-1 factor advantage over them now. The Americans lose just 1 CV and 1 SURF and have sole control of the Marianias Islands zone. Truk keeps its supply line only because of the Japanese 1 CV and 1 SURF in the bordering South Pacific 2 zone.

The Japanese 2 CV patrolling the Sea of Japan scores no hits, and the American 5 SUB once again go on a rampage and kill 3 Japanese BRPs.

Strategic Redeployment Segment: The Chinese leave their units in place, but Britain SRs a 2-3 Indian INF from Madras to the Dutch Bornean capital of Balikpapan and a 2 SUB from the Britain box to the Middle East box. The Netherlands leaves her units in place, and the Soviet Union sends Mao 4 BRPs (two get through). The US can’t afford to send BRPs to anybody and instead SRs Filipino 1-3 INF just one hex out of Legaspi so an American 3-4 INF from Guam can SR into Legaspi and protect the vital American supply port there. She then uses 2 SRs to have the 2 LC unit at Guam and the 1-0 GAR unit at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians trade places. She then uses her last three SRs to send a 3-4 INF, a 2-4 MAR division and a 2-4 TAC unit plus the 9 SURF that sent them from the U.S. West Coast Box up to Dutch Harbor to join the 2 LC. Japan reacts to this by SR-ing a 1-4 TAC unit up to Otamari on the Sea of Okhotsk. She then SRs a 2-3 INF from Japan to the Vigan beachhead on Luzon and a 1-3 INF from Japan to the south China coast beachhead and then overland to the Yunnan provincial capital at Tengchang. She would like to send more units down to reinforce Truk, but the repeated American victories in the Marianas Islands zone have reduced the Truk naval force below what’s necessary to do this. All other units stay in place.

Operations Segment: The first chit drawn is …

NATIONALIST CHINA ATTRITION: Once again the Kuomintang get initiative and envelop the Japanese left flank while advancing to defensive positions in the mountains bordering Yunnan Province. But the 7 die to 1 attack scores no hits while taking a hit and losing a Kuomintang 1-2 INF unit.

The next chit drawn is …

U.S. PACIFIC NAVAL: The American 4 CV at Pearl Harbor sails to the east coast of Luzon and sends her planes two hexes across the island to hit the Japanese invasion force at Manila. Japanese 4 CV and 3 TAC at Manila rise to meet the carrier planes, and each side scores one hit to kill an enemy BRP. Then the remaining three American CV aircraft factors dive into Manila Bay and sink one of the two LC units there, leaving the Japanese with just one LC for amphibious landings this turn.

The 4 CV then returns to Guam. Then the Marines from Pago Pago hit the beach at Truk. The small force in the South Pacific zone attacks the invasion force before it goes in, and the planes of the Japanese 1 CV survive air battle with the American 4 CV and then roll a 6 to sink an American LC and the 2-4 MAR division it was carrying! But the American CV and SURF escorts finish off the Japanese 1 CV and 1 SURF, and the invasion goes in without interference from the 3 SURF at Truk because they already activated during the disastrous battle in the Marianas Islands sea control box. The 4-4 Marine unit scores 3 hits all by itself (no need for support fire, thank you very much) and wipes out the 2-3 INF unit on Truk permanently because it lost its supply line when the 1 SURF and 1 CV in the South Pacific 2 zone were eliminated. The Japanese 3 SURF at Truk must retreat to the closest Japanese naval base 3 hexes away at Ponape, but they get attacked by the Americans in the Marianas Islands sea control box, and the 12 die to 3 attack blows them out of the water. But the Japanese sailors die bravely, scoring 2 hits on 3 dice to sink 2 American SURF factors. The U.S. Marines plant the Flag on Truk, and the Marianas Islands sea zone is free of Japanese units.

The next chit drawn is…

U.S. ATTRITION: American and Filipino INF units make a 9 die to 5 attack on Manila with air support from Legaspi. But the attack scores no hits, while the Japanese defenders kill a Filipino 1-3 INF unit and an American BRP.

The next chit drawn is …

BRITISH ATTRITION: Indian infantry moves south from Rangoon to attack the Japanese 3-3 INF on the Siamese border. Each side scores one hit to kill an enemy BRP.

The next chit drawn is …

COMMUNIST CHINA ATTRITION: Mao’s armies attack the Japanese line just a couple hexes east of the Kuomintang-enveloped flank, but they score just one hit to kill a Japanese BRP.

The last chit drawn is …

JAPANESE GENERAL OFFENSIVE: The Japanese have to pull back their left flank from the Yangtse while sending reinforcements north from Hanoi and the south China coast beachhead. Meanwhile, the 1-3 INF unit in Canton moves south and conquers undefended Hong Kong, a 1-5 ARM division moves north from Bangkok to block the Indian troops moving south into Siam, and several Japanese 3-3 INF units redeploy around the bulge northwest of Hankow in preparation for a line attack.

A 2-3 INF moves out of the Vigan beachhead to occupy the town of Maolos just north of Manila.

2 x 4 CV from Kagoshima and Osaka move northeast and attack the American naval force that just SR-ed (along with INF and MAR units) to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands.

They score two hits on 8 dice to destroy the American 2 LC unit there, thus preventing the Americans from launching an invasion of Paramushiro, Otamari or even the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido next turn. One 4 CV returns to Otamari to guard the Sea of Okhotsk and the other returns to Yokohama.

The Japanese 5-8 SAC at Kweilin then performs a strategic bombing attack on Chunking and destroys two Nationalist Chinese BRPs, driving the Kuomingang stockpile down below zero.

The remaining Japanese 1 LC unit transports a Japanese 2-3 INF from Manila to the western coast of Borneo and captures the colonial capital of Kuching, thus conquering the British colony of Sarawak.

The Japanese on the Philippines then attack the Americans northeast of Manila. The 13 die to 3 attack scores 3 hits and reduces the American 3-4 INF unit, which scores no hits in return and retreats south along the peninsula. The 3-5 ARM unit uses exploitation movement to advance to Manila.

The Japanese units north of Bangkok then attack the 2-3 Indian INF unit that crossed into Siam and do brilliantly, scoring 3 hits on 4 dice to wipe out the INF. But the Indians die as true Kshatriya, scoring 2 hits on 2 dice to wipe out the Japanese 1-5 ARM unit and a Japanese BRP.

The Japanese far left flank attacks the Kuomintang but scores no hits, and the elite infantry massed around the bulge northwest of Hankao makes an 18 die to 5 line attack AND SCORES NO HITS EITHER! Mao’s men hit back hard and kill two Japanese BRPs, and all Chinese lines hold!

Supply Segment: All units are in supply, and the Japanese spend 2 BRPs to repair their 3-3 INF unit at Davao while the Americans spend 1 BRP to repair the reduced INF unit that retreated south on Luzon.

End Segment: Units in sea zone boxes return to base and the turn ends.

So at the midpoint of 1942, the Americans are slowly being driven south on Luzon and have lost all hope of taking Manila by land assault, and the Japanese have moved on to capturing Hong Kong and Sarawak. But the fall of Truk means the entire southern third of the board is now open to unimpeded American naval movement, and the Japanese still have no port on the Philippine Sea. So nothing except America’s very low BRP stockpile would prevent the Marines from making a landing on Luzon behind Japanese lines. The Japanese would like establish a beachhead on the eastern Luzon coast and bring units there to contest the Philippines Sea this winter, but Japan’s stockpile is also low so that may not be possible either. The Kuomintang’s charge across the Yangtse will stall unless the U.S. purchases an Attrition chit for them since Nationalist China has no BRPs left, but Mao’s men are holding strong with many BRPs remaining. This will leave the Soviet Union free to build more units form her stockpile, opening the possibility of Soviet entry into the war next year. Finally Britain has done a good job bringing units in to defend her and Holland’s colonial capitals, but her BRP stockpile is lowest of all the major powers and the loss of her 2-3 Indian INF on the Siamese border means she likely won’t be able to do much for the rest of the year.

Can the Allies strike back before Japan reaps the BRP benefits of her conquests of Manila, Hong Kong and Sarawak in spring 1943? Tune in next time and find out!

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