The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: December 1998 (page 1 of 3)

March 38

March 38

Political Events

Despite the defection of bandits to the Japanese invaders, the country retains confidence in the existing adminstrations handling of affairs to date and the country remains at level 4. In Shansi, the newly appointed Peace Preservation Administration of Shansi survives the crisis of loosing two cities in its south and the reports of widespread execution of Loyal Shansi Military Officers and Government officials which threatens recruitment of troops to the newly planned Shansi Peace Preservation Army.

Japanese Player Turn

In Kiangsu, the last hex of Shanghai falls as the Japanese steam roller also seizes Soochow, Chaihsing and Sieng Chiang. Divisional units of the 2nd Army are sent to take Tungshan and drive south towards Pengpu. During the month a lot of Chinese units are destroyed.

Chinese Player Turn

In Shansi Luifen is taken from the treacherous dog soldiers of the bandit warlord, elsewhere reinforcements are fed into the frontline. Units are manouvered to prepare for the destruction of the Hwang Ho dams (Kwo River line and hexes just back from expected path of the new river are filled with troops. Around Nanking lots of CA units (unfortunately many no better than rifle armed rabble) are entrenched in forts, awaiting the coming Japanese. The plan is to hold out until the rice growing season begins.

Feb II 38

Feb II 38

Japanese Player Turn

Shansi and Hopei Puppet govts established, which with Shantung allows North China Govt to be established in Peking. (Inner Mongolian Govt is already established) In Kiangsu, the 9/5 Mtn and KS Cav XX are stuck in the rice paddies around Kaoyou and west of Tasung Hu. This situation will last for several weeks as a lot of AS and AR results are rolled due to the favourable CA terrain. Around Anyang, the 1st and 2nd XXXX’s crush a lot of Chinese units but more remain behind them, and local Japanese forces are becoming demoralised with the lack of progress compared to the advances of late 1937. Around Shanghai, the last CA held urban hex is nearly surrounded, Japanese calls for the defenders to surrender peacefully are ignored as the German trained units recognise that holding the SEF for as long as possible will delay the inevitable march to Nanking and beyond.

Chinese Player Turn

Puchow and Luan are taken from Bandit forces, local MNF commanders behead and shoot many captured bandits in the two cities as a warning to all of the consequences of treachery against Sun Yat Sen’s three principles and the nation that enshrined it. Elsewhere little happens as reinforcements are marched into existing defence lines

Feb I 38

Feb I 38

Political Events

The nation is rocked by news of the Shansi warlord declaring openly for the Japanese with a coup by warlord forces overpowering local KMT officials in the captial. Rumors indicate that Japanese agents have long been busy in the province, sowing the seeds of sedition amongst local militia and bandit groups which led to 75% of warlord soldiers turning their coats and joining the Japanese invaders. Again substantial inducements delivered to the warlord fail to impress the avaricious warlord, who has obviously been promised a high position in Japan’s post-war future vision for China. CKC is heard swearing about the impossibility of fighting a campaign in such conditions. Mao Tse Tung cites the event as an example of the ongoing decadence of capatilist philosophy and proves the inevibility of the marxist doctrine in the march of history. CA secret agents in Shansi dig up the warlord’s ancestral tomb and scatter the bones in the sewers of the provincial capital’s poor quarter in revenge. In North China Area Army High Command, many bottles of saki are drunk and toasts made to the everlasting emperor in celebration of this magnificant imperial victory. The night ends with C-in-C 10th Army doing a karaoke number of Al Jolson’s ‘Mammie’ before being escorted home by Kempai police.

Japanese Player Turn

In Shansi local patriotic forces aided by Japanese and Jehol units surround and destroy isolated CA and MNF units, except for two stacks of MNF XX’s spted by CA Arty III’s, located north of Luan. All cities in Shansi are now Japanese/puppet occupied. In Kiangsu, Yenchang and Hwaiyin fall to the 9/5 Mtn X (Mot) and KS Cav XX while the western hex of Shanghai fall, leaving the CA an enclave across the Whangpoo in the citys southern outskirts. Other CA forces are forced back from the north shore of Yangcheng lake. In Shantung the 2nd Army crosses the Weishun Hu canal, however the majority of units are weak static brigades and Manchukuo puppet formations with limited arty spt. The 1st Army pins the CA/MNF forces around Anyang to prevent reinforcements being sent to Shansi.

Chinese Player Turn

Weak MNF forces attempt to take Puchow in Shansi, but the river crossing fails in the face of opposition by a single bandit brigade. The local MNF chief curses the CA forces in Shensi who refuse to help retake Shansi due to important “training requirements” that demand the spted CA XX’s remain in close contact and observation of CCP units to the north. A mixed force of MNF/CA units march towards Luan to try and link up with the remaining Chinese units in Shansi, but cannot make the distance. As the MNF no longer need to garrison Honan, large amounts of forces are sent to strengthen the Kwo River and and the broiling mass of units around Anyang/north of the Hwang HoYellow River. Around Shanghai, a two valuable 4-6 XX’s are withdrawn from the battle to reserve at Ihsing to react North or South as needed. Most CA stacks around Shanghai are based on a single 3-5 XX and a couple of CA 1-4 XX with the odd brigade thrown in.

Jul I 15

The French build in preparation for their attack. The British decide to delay their offensive until the new divisions are formed next turn. They are just spread too thin to really manage any type of concentration. The Italians manage to form a defensive line and pull back from hex GW2:4606 to shorten their line and be in better defensive territory.

The French offensive begins with a lengthy artillery bombardment which succeeds in disrupting two of the three defending divisions, but the Germans manage to reinforce with three reserve divisions. The attack goes home on a 2.8:1 DRM -1 (Foch’s doing – great French leadership!) and achieves a BX result. The Germans lose 30 German and 12 Saxon Manpower Points and the French lose 54 French Metropolitan and 8 French African Manpower Points. In addition, the Germans lost 6 morale points while the French lost 9.

The Austrians react and follow the Italians as they retreat near Triest. The German GAE/B Army HQs reacts and the Alps Corps attacks part of the Italian defensive line and eliminates it, opening a hole in the line. The Italians lose 6 Italian Manpower and 2 Equipment Points.

Tom: I figured that I might be crazy to attack the Central Powers but it turned out as well as I could expect. The French will not be able to maintain these losses – particularly in morale – so the French offensive may be over now. Hopefully, the attack will make Carl hesitate a bit more before stripping too much from the Western Front. The continued offensive in Italy has me worried. I think the Italians will have to withdraw from their attempts to cut off supply from Trent. It was not going anywhere too fast anyway.

The French are almost able to replace all of their lost strength from their offensive. The Zepplins strike and actually manage to bomb London successfully! It has been a long time since their last success. The Central Powers keeps all of their equipment points in reserve but use their new manpower points to rebuild cadred divisions. Some resource points are expended on rebuilding captured coal fields.

The Alps Corps moves a division through the gap in the Italian lines and captures the Italian 3 Army HQs, destroying two resource points. The Corps then attacks and forces back an Italian Corps. The Alps Corps has now reached the Italian plains with two divisions holding the edge of the Alps. There were no losses in the attack to either side.

Neither the French nor the Italians are able to react.

Carl: The French offensive was instructive. A low odds attack with a negative DRM, yet it was still successful. I know he was hoping I would have to react stronger to his attack, but the Italian front beckoned – especially with his unguarded Army HQs with two resource points. The Italians are now in a fix. They will probably have to retreat from the Trent area and this will open up a rail supply line for my Germans and Bavarians. I am not sure, but he may have to withdraw from Triest also because I am threatening to cut off their supplies. I have two more divisions ready to head south (I received them from the Eastern Front this turn as cadres) and that should aid in a drive to the coast near Mestre. The Entente may have to ship troops to Italy from France to help the Italians.

NOV II 1937

NOV II INSURGENT

Not unexpectedly, the Atlantic low reached southern Spain, causing torrential rains in Murcia and Valencia provinces while Aragon and Cataluna remained mired in mud.

Now faced with abominable weather on top of rough terrain and the formidable defenses of the “no pasaran” line, the Caudillo called off his offensive toward Valencia, just 25 miles short of that city, Spain’s largest after Madrid and Barcelona. Elite formation were pulled out of line and transferred to the vicinity of Zaragoza, straining the overburdened rail net. An offensive in the Ebro valley appears to be in the offing.

Although accorded low priority, Nationalist forces still in place attacked the remains of the coastal pocket, if on a shoestring budget (no ASPs). The Torrevieja bridgehead at the Segura estuary (23A:4309), site of last week’s daring beach evacuation, was liquidated and the town of Orihuela fell to concentric attack. A large number of prisoners were taken. Losses were light. Interestingly, the bag included a group of neutral British observers (on their way home by now) who had closely watched the beach evacuation in anticipation of some future day on which the BEF might have to be rescued in similar fashion from a French or Belgian beach (220/20 foresight!).

The Nationalist Fleet made a belated appearance under ample fighter cover, shelling the Segura bridgehead and keping a tight lid on the Valencia coast to prevent any further evacuations.

The main front from Valencia to the Pyrenees remained quiet.

Despite adverse weather and poor visibility, Savoia-Marchetti and Heinkel bombers resumed their raids on industrial targets in Barcelona, causing moderate damage (2 hits). Anti-aircraft fire remained ineffective.

Cartagena airbase received its first squadrons, attack bombers ready to support mop-up of the pocket and conduct naval patrol.

The French border is now closed again, but this hardly affects operations at this stage of affairs.

NOV II LOYALIST

Faced with the Nationalist Fleet and Italian submarines under ample fighter cover, the Loyalists refrained from any further evacuation attempts from the beaches of the pocket. Morale in the pocket plummeted, and several Anarchist infantry regiments deserted. Worse, the elite 2nd heavy artillery regiment also called it quits. The remaining troops, two infantry divisions and an Anarchist regiment, all without artillery and desperately short of ammunition and supplies, hunkered down around Elche for a last stand. The end is certainly in sight.

The Loyalists used the lull in the main-front fighting to beef up their defenses, both in the “no pasaran” line shielding the approaches to Valencia and in Aragon between the Ebro and Cinca rivers, where the next Nationalist offensive is expected.

The Republican Airforce was on naval patrol, but the strong fighter cover over the Nationalist Fleet (including the new Me-109s) discouraged any attacks.

COMMENTARY

The pocket has no hope to survive the next week. With its elimination, the slugging match is apt to resume. Loyalist front-line strength is now 16 to 19 CF/hex except in mountains, and is fortified or entrenched. This and the additional weather modifier will force the Insurgents either to hold off and stockpile supplies until spring brings fair weather, or make attacks that risk AR or possibly even AH results. They can well afford the losses (empty pool and ca. 120 InfRpl and 7 ArtRpl); at most places they can even afford a retreat because the Loyalists cannot dare to advance out of their fortified line into an exposed position. The problem is attack supply, which is so short that an expenditure of 4 or 5 ASP in an attack that neither causes losses nor gains ground cannot often be contemplated as the per-turn average of incoming ASPs is no higher than that.

By points according to the rules, the Nationalists are by now pretty much assued of a “decisive victory.” The current point score is 194:65 in their favor, 67 short of the needed 4:1 ratio. If the front no longer changes, the city counts in JAN I and JUL I deliver points at 42:11 (just 2 short of 4:1); and at game’s end at 217:41 (more than 50 over 4:1). Lastly, while the Insurgent pool is empty and apt to stay so in view of the abundance of Nationalist Rpls, the Loyalist pool now contains about 100 RE, for 100 points at game’s end, and with new Rpls now at a dribble that number is bound to increase. Thus, even if they make no further headway, the Insurgents should almost gain a 5:1 ratio, certainly one well in excess of 4:1.

Be that as it may, we are not playing to “win” and don’t care much about point scores. Rather, we’d like to see whether or not the Insurgents in our game can force a Loyalist surrender before game’s end. I think chances for that are rather slim, even though Elias isn’t sure whether he can survive 1938. We hope we both shall live long enough to find out.

 

Jan II 38

Jan II 38

Japanese Player Turn

On going attacks in Shanghai continue, but front wide withdrawal of units to Japan and Manchukuo weaken the overall strength of the IJA. Units are split up to try and maintain control over the territory held. Taming in Kiangsu and Hantan in Hopei fall, but in Hopei supply line length is making the going hard for Japanese units.

Chinese Player Turn

Kiangsu/Chekiang – defence lines begun behind the Grand Canal and Soochow. Unspted XX’s are rushed to N Kiangsu and the open plains south of the Yellow River. Shansi units are rebuilt and are ready to defend the province. In N Honan, Hunan and Szechuan reinforcements arrive to bolster defence and MNF units are placed behind the Kwo River. Fortifications are built around the key hexes for blowing the Yellow River dams to hold these hexes for as long as possible.

Jan I 38

Jan I 38

Political Events

The stability level remains at 4, with the KMT Goverment hosting western embassy dignitaries at a new years ball at Nanking, assuring the diplomats that 1939 celebrations will also be held in the city next year. Confident that the 3rd War Front has the situation in hand at Shanghai, main concern is directed towards the situation in Shantung and Northern Kiangsu. New years celebrations with the western diplomatic corp are abrubtly halted when news arrives from Shansi that the local warlord has cited irreconcilable differences with the central government, namely the allowance given to communist forces to cross the sacred land of Shansi. Despite heavy commitiment of resources and treasury notes to the warlord, with a personal plea from CKC hinself, the warlord requests immediate removal of CA forces from Shansi. (Shansi goes uncoop and a number of Shansi/CA units go in the junk pile depending on stacking level)

Japanese Player Turn

In Shansi the unexpected change in political fortunes catches local commanders off guard, and few troops are available for immediate action. A couple of weakly held forts and units are destroyed by rampaging Jehol Cavalry units but lack of troops prevents any serious actions being taken. Troops from the 1st Army are commited to take Ladies Pass, and the vaunted Gibralter of the north, in a much weakened state, falls to superior Japanese might with a DE result. In Shantung, Lini is surrounded and captured. An armoured/motorised force based on the 9/5 Mtn X heads towards Tunghai and the KS Cav XX heads towards Taming. Weak X’s and Manchukuo X’s spted by Arty units advance to the canal of Weishan Hu. In Shanghai, the International Cantonment is taken following bitter hand to hand fighting (EX) and cadred CA units flee to the western hex of Shanghai.

Chinese Player Turn

With the shattering of Shantung, CA units are rushed to form some defences around Tungshan and the numerous rivers of North Kiangsu. A couple of 3-5 spted XX’s are sent to defend the Grand Ho canal and Old Hwang Ho. In Shanghai, units are fed into the maelstrom and fortifications continue to be dug.

NOV I 1937

NOV I INSURGENT

While rain in the north continued as predicted, southern Spain still enjoyed dry days of Indian summer. However, a storm over the Atlantic may portend the arrival of poor weather even here.

Cartagena, attacked from all sides with extremely heavy artillery support, has fallen. As in Alicante, damage was minimal: port, naval yards, airbase and some stocks of supply were seized intact. Instrumental in this quick victory were heavy Italian siege guns and brand-new Nationalist heavy-artillery regiments rushed in from Madrid. Nevertheless, losses were serious (EX).

Concentrating on Cartagena, Franco’s troops merely screened the Orihuela-Elche pocket.

Engineers worked around the clock in Murcia to repair rails and the airbase. They could do little, however, to help rebuild destroyed industrial facilities. Production is not expected to begin until late February or early March (first delivery APR I 38).

Having run into very strong defenses across the Madrid-Valencia highway east of Bunol, the Nationalist shifted their weight slightly to the north. Even here, however, they ran into the newly constructed “no pasaran” line. Despite massive and uncontested air support they were, for once, stopped in their tracks (a “1” at 5:1 -2).

As before, the front from Teruel to the Pico de Aneto in the Pyrenees remained quiet.

Security elements are now spread out all along the rail lines connecting Sevilla, Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastian with one another and the fronts at Cartagena, Alcira, Teruel, and Zaragoza and stand by in anticipation of guerilla attacks.

Long awaited but at the moment hardly needed, the first Me-109s from Germany made their debut, finally giving the Legion Kondor a fighter aircraft that even the best Ratas cannot match.

NOV I LOYALIST

A flurry of activity on the beaches of the pocket: In a confused action, Loyalist transports and barges braved the hostile seas and managed to evacuate some of the troops under the eyes of the Nationalist fleet and airforce. Needless to say, the commanders asleep at ythe switch were fired immediately.

(There was a misunderstanding on whether or not shipping to and from beaches was permitted under the rules as agreed upon. The insurgent player was under the impression only port-to-port shipping was permitted after his original suggestion to be given LCs to match the Loyalist ones was discarded (the Insurgents have LCs in the late-war scenario, but through an apparent oversight don’t get them in the campaign game). Accordingly he had not blockaded the pocket’s beaches as he well could have. The Loyalist player understood only the amphibious rules had been scrapped and the transport rules left unchanged. A friendly compromise was reached to leave the transport rules as is but treat LCs as NTs. This allowed the Loyalists to evacuate some troops, but not to land general supply points as he had planned.)

Although they have lost command of the seas, the Loyalists are still receiving ample shipments of materiel from the Soviet Union, especially artillery and tanks. This and local levees enabled them to beef up their “no pasaran” line even farther. The units rescued from the pocket (one crack infantry division, one tank and one armored car brigade, and one artillery regiment) will provide an additional cushion.

No other operations were initiated.

Loyalist guerrillas made their first appearance, unsuccessfully attempting to blow up a railway tunnel in the Guadarramas near Avila.

COMMENTARY

The successful evacuation of about a quarter of the troops in the pocket, among them all the mechanized units, makes the now unavoidable and imminent loss of the others less bitter for the Loyalists. A repetition does not appear possible as the Insurgents are now well aware of what can happen if the beaches are not blockaded.

With the end of the pocket, warfare will inevitably revert to a slugging match. The Insurgents must bleed the Loyalists white, but can hardly ever afford more than one attack per turn, and in winter weather its chances of inflicting a loss even at 6:1 odds, the best they can possibly get against the Loyalist line with 16+CF per hex, are only 50%. On the other hand, a few successive DE, EX, or HX results might weaken the Loyalist line sufficiently to cause real trouble.

 

Dec II 37

Dec II 37

Japanese Player Turn

Ongoing street fighting by the SEF and 3rd War Front continues for no advantage to either side. The IJA is surprised when the VVF makes its appearance over the city for its first significant air battle (things have been quiet above Shanghai while the northern offensive occupied much of the air resources). Several IJA air units are returned to base, and in response T-95 tanks of the Kwantung Army aggressively patrol disputed territory on the Soviet-Manchurian border to show their displeasure. Soviet tank commanders snort in derision at the tiny tankettes antics as they watch from the Vladivostok side of the border. In Shantung, the arrival by sea of the KS Cavalry XX helps to seize Jinchao, Tsining and Mengyin. A tidy pile of yellow cardboard gathers next to the map. In Hopei a bitter attack takes Shihkiachuang, forcing open the defence line. In Shansi there is no significant movement

Chinese Player Turn

In Shantung, a KMT Guerilla base is set up in the mountains while a newly arrived 7-6 CCP XX breaks down into sub units and a Guerilla base formed in the mountains NW of Lini. Other units flee to behind rivers to try and stem the Jap tide. In Hopei, after ensuring that Ladies Pass is well defended (3 x Shansi XX’s, 3 x MNF X’s and a CA Art III) in a fort for a -3 Die modifier with numerous units in the mountains either side and behind, other units flee towards the Hantan defence line. In Shansi, CCP XX’s arrive in the Wutai Shan and Taiheng Shan. The highly competent and ruthless regulars of the people’s movement look down at the struggling masses in the lowlands below and begin to plan their strategy.

Dec I 37

Dec I 37

(Clear zone 12)

Political Events

No change in the stability of the country, and intense negotiations in Kwangtung Province to lure local support to the Central Administration fails (resources expended to try and modify die roll)

Japanese Player Turn

Shanghai – The SEF pushes CA units out of Lohtien, advancing along the coast. At Yungkia, the 18th Res [XX] lands in the port city to relieve the SNLF units who scoot back to Japan to practice amphibious landings. In Shantung, Frost weather allows the miscellaneous units in the peninsular to destroy via overrun or high odds attacks the handful of scattered Shantung, Central Army and Manchurian forces. The two 4-6 CA XX’s in the area hold onto Chucheng and Jinchao, but are the only units left before the border of Kiangsu and the japanese forces.

Along the Hwang Ho line, the 2nd Army crushes the Hunan and Szechuan divisions, Tsinan falls to a wave of bloodshed and the Japanese advance into the hills to the south. In Hopei the 1st Army continues to push the Chinese from their defence lines in a series of bloody exchanges and a couple of bridgeheads are thrown across the Fuyang River, threatening the Chinese control of Shihkiachuang. In Shansi the 10th Army advances slowly towards the forts protecting Yangku, the withdrawal of the Senda XX and expected loss of the 1 DK Lt X means only a few powerful units are assigned to this area so operations are expected to be limited here for the immediate future.

Chinese Player Turn

In Chekiang, forts are constructed by CA Eng and Const units to the west of Shanghai, anticpating the eventual fall of that city. In Shantung the local warlord calls for a significant effort in defence of the region, and CA units are rushed to the area, but too many gaps remain in the lines. The valuable CA 4-6 XX’s are withdrawn from battle for another day. At this stage only Tsining and Lini remain under the administration of the Warlord. In Hopei, more forts are built at Hantan to prepare a fall back line while more CA and MNF unspt XX’s are sent to help defend Shihkiachuang. In Shansi, the local Warlord continues to build up his forces, and crows loudly about his invulnerable positions. Reinforcements from the CA’s depots arrive in the form of more valuable Art III’s, truly a bastion for China is being built in this northern stronghold.

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