The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: January 1999 (page 1 of 2)

Dec 38

Dec 38

Political Events

Faced by the loss of the northern province, the various Warlord leaders of the MSF recognise their mistake of breaking with the KMT and announce their desire for a united front in the face of ongoing Japanese aggression. The announcement is warmly received in Hankow, with the curt message “We told you so” being sent to the MSF leaders huddling in the damp mountains in western Chekiang.

Japanese Player Turn

Cursed and thrice damned Rain continues throughout the month, showing the gods surely favour the Chinese, obviously must be something about Yang and Feng Shu! The weather frustrates the offensive south of the Yangtze, but the Rough hex behind Hangpu and bordering the Yangtze is seized, breaking the defence line once and for all. Finally the last city in Chekiang falls (Chuchow), allowing the setting up of a puppet regime, with Anhwei hopefully due to fall in the next month or so, this should see a puppet natioanl government being established by the beginning of 1940.

Chinese Player Turn

North of the Yangtze CA forces pull back to Anking and a major construction program begins of building forts behind every tributary river running from the north to the Yangtze. A mass of CCP Guerillas go active around the Tapieh Shan, inflicting annoying mosquito bite attacks on rear echelon units, unfortunately IJA units refuse to respond. At the Wuhu line CA forces fall back towards Chinchow and rough ground north of Hweichow. The 6th War Front becomes active at Shangjao with armoured units and spted XX’s sent into the line here to bolster the defence and the approach to Anhwei and Kiangsi from this area

Commentary

The action in the north died down early in the year once Shangtung and Hopei had fallen, but the rapid changeover of Shansi forces to the Japanese kept action going in this region longer than was expected and caught the Chinese on the hop (and the IJA who were busy winding down troop numbers to commit further south). The Shansi switch was potentially disasterous for the Chinese, with the loss of a lot of units and territory. Luckily a line was reestablished fairly quickly using MNF troops and some arty IIIs. The inevitable diversion of the Hwang Ho river also significantly contributed to a slow down in activity in the region, protecting the MNF province of Honan for the immediate future (and the fact the IJA saw no value in advancing in this direction while the CA heartland along the Yangtze remained intact).

Along the Yangtze, the battle for Shanghai and the advance to Nanking was bloody for both sides. The IJA enters 1939 on a shoestring budget of RPs and every EX and HX result hurts the cause. Although it is easy to gather the big XX’s together to over run or ensure high odds results, the subsequent weakening of other positions meant the CA could attack the flanks and isolated garrisons. Although Chekiang and Kiangsu eventually fell, it wasn’t as rapidly as planned, hampered by the rice growing season and unexpected rain at the end of the year, which broke the offensive at critical times. Added to this was the withdrawal of several light divisions at crucial periods in time that required shuffling of remaining forces to maintain the offensive. For the Chinese in this area, the battles could be judged a Phyrric victory, although the CA stood toe to toe for over a year only grudgingly giving up terrain, it is now a shadow of its former self. A handful of Spted XX’s remain, and a breakout by IJA forces into favourable terrain will mean the CA will be gobbled up. Able only to replace six divisions a year to supported status means a long careful defensive campaign in this region, hoping the IJA will wear itself out like it did around Shanghai and on the road to Nanking. Alas the terrain ahead does not look promising, and the Southern region will soon be opening up, putting greater pressure on the stretched Chinese resources.

Coming up in 1939:

  • Guerillas in the Mist, or “Where the hell did you come from?”
  • The White Russians March!
  • The Great 6th War Front Offensive, or “The Charge of the Light Tank Brigade(s)”
  • The Empire Strikes Back!
  • A horse riders guide to the coastal ports of Fukien.
  • A Bargain Hunters Paradise – the top places to visit in Kwangtung Province in a Landing Craft
  • Shanghai Mk II – Canton Cantonment

[Editors Note: As nearly three years have passed, we have to assume the game was unfortunately broken off at this point, which is especially sad as I personally find few game reports so readable and interesting as Bobs.]

DEC II 1937

DECEMBER II INSURGENT

No change in weather: Aragon and Cataluna kept enjoying a mild winter while the south remains engulfed in rain.

Their efforts toward Quinto (23A:3033) rebuffed, the Nationalists tried their mettle on the other, northern Ebro bank, again with strong artillery and air support and combat engineers in an attempt to crack the entrenchments. Heavy fighting ensued at Pina de Ebro (23A:3032). This time they managed to break into the fortified line, but the Loyalists retreated in good order to fall-back positions. However, Quinto (33:3033), so valiantly defended previously, has now become a threatened salient.

The transfer of forces from the Valencia area to central Aragon continued. The fronts in the Pyrenees and at Teruel and Valencia remained quiet.

Despite poor visibility, Savoia-Marchetti bombers of the CTV continued to pay their attention to Barcelona’s industrial installations. Accurate anti-aircraft fire prevented daytime raids from reaching their targets, but the night-bombers got through and caused some damage.

Skies over the Mediterranean cleared, leaving the Nationalist Fleet vulnerable to air raids. Messerschmidts and Fiats provided cover off Tarragona and discouraged air attacks. The Fleet then set course at night for Maddalena rather than risking to run the gauntlet upon a return to Ceuta or Cadiz.

DEC II LOYALIST

To avoid losses and straighten their front, the Loyalists relinquished the Quinto salient in the Ebro valley. No activities in other sectors.

The Republican airforce continued avoiding combat in order to build back up to strength. It has again become a force to be reckoned with, but is still outnumbered by the Insurgents.

The French border remained open.

COMMENTARY

The Nationalist attack along the Ebro’s north shore marks the fourth time in a row that the big one despite good odds failed to inflict any losses (a probability below 4 percent). As a result, the stalemate continues despite the minor Nationalist gains in the Ebro valley.

 

Nov 38

Nov 38

Political Events

Nothing significant happens and political reporters are hard pressed to justify their expenses to editorial staff for this month.

Japanese Player Turn

Kinwha falls in Chekiang to Lt XX’s advancing as part of the CCA Army while in Anhwei Ningkwo is taken. Disaster comes to the IJA in the form of Rain tumbling from the heavens, bringing a screeching halt to plans for a rapid series of attacks and advances south of the Yangtze, the die roll modifier makes it risky for low odds attacks, and the IJA is starting to become stretched in this region as it trys to cover CCP guerillas in their rear and the multitude of CA XX’s on their flanks.

Chinese Player Turn

Again troops are sent to back up the defence lines and RPs are lent from Szechuan to provide more troops for the CA. The rains of late November are welcome to give the CA breathing space froom the enemy.

FEB 37

Feb I 1937

(D=Winter C=Clear)

Although the weather remains favorable the commitment of new Loyalist forces to the Tejo sector makes an attack still suicidal. We continue to build up strengh and shift more tropps from the north around Gijon to the Vitoria area. the Italian Volunteer Corps parades through Sevilla and them heads for the front, carrying its own supplies with it. We reinforce Cordoba, a sector which so far was absurdly weak and is now defended by a division.

The Loyalists rail their two strike corps south and prepare another offensive, whis time thrusting northward east of Madrid. Our troops are cleared of the mountains and forced to withdraw into the plain with heavy losses.

JAN 1937

Jan I 1937

(C=Winter D=Mud)

The desperate need for some military sucesses leaads to a small but effective plot: the huge amount of artillery shuipped in as Italian aid this turn lets us form the first Artillery brigade, and this, together with elements of the arriving Italian Volunteer Corps, assaults and captures Gion within a few days, as the Loyalist fleet is unable to lend ist full support to the defenders tue to the bad weather (storm). The fall fo the city [5:1 -1 HX] reel waves of terror through the Northern rebel provinces as the Asturian gobernito government flees the country. Along the hills north of thre Tejo valley, we secretly start assembling our armored forces and the elite regiments of the Legion Entrangere. From here, we plan to push north-eastwrd once the mud ceases, to once and for all end the Loyalist threat to cut our territory in two.

Unaware of the dangers looming in the rugged hills south of them, more Loyalist troops push down the valley as the victors of Zaragoza rejoin the front. At Vitoria, the Loyalists mass their tanks for the first time in this conflict and eliminate some delaying forces north of the city. They are now threatening the communications to the city, as well as advancing along the north-southern rail line. Over the vicinity the air forces contest their strenghs for the first time, and despite heroic efforts of the Nationalist fighters our air force recieves a crushing defeat [1x bmbr killed, 1x bmbr abort, no Insrgent losses].

Losses: Ins: 4 Inf, 2

Air Loy: 2 Inf

Jan II 1937

(D=Winter C=Clear)

Although we`ve been hoping for clear wether all time we have no yet finished our offensive preperations, as the ad roadnet as well as our grim situation prevented us from assembling any strategic reserves. So we hurry up reinforcements to the front and build up strengh on the southern part of the Tejo river.

The Loylists rush the forces that guarded the cut-off division to the front. However, due to a lack of attack supply they do not commence any offensive actions. Fornt line strength is now between two in some mountain areas and 6 or 7 throughout the rest of the country, with 10 north of Vitoria.

Losses: Ins: 0 Loy: 0

DEC 1936

Dec I 1936

(D=Mud C=Mud)

We have decided now to cancel all attack operations until spring. Only Cordoba is taken by the colums sweeping eastwards to the Loyalist-occupied country [8:1 -3]. Again we shift forces to close the front gaps in the north, while the few mobile units we have are regegated to back-line duty and to transport supply.

The Loyalists raise more than 8 new divisions and assemble them around Zaragoza. However, no ttack is yet to be made, instead, the offensive down the Tejo valley is resumed, pushing back our colums to the exit of the alley [7:1 -3 DR]

No losses

Dec II 1936

(D=Mud, C=Winter)

Despite our defensive efforts, Zaragoza falls [5:1 -2, DR], ist garrison marches into imprisonment fater moths of curageous resistance. All our determination could not prevent the loss of the city, and we will have again to shorten our front to prevent more divisions from getting cut off. The Loyalists now securly hold a rail connection to the Northern Provinces and immediately start to send military aid north.

Losses: Ins: 1 art 8

Inf, Loy: 3 Inf

NOV 1936

Nov I 1936

(D=Mud)

Fighting ceases on most fronts except in the verx north-east, where the Loyalists try to reach a secure north-south rail line. As most insurgent reinforcements are stuck in the mud our lines get pushed back, while south of that an operation to retake Calatyud failes with two of our best divisions cut off and surrounded. Of our three attacks, two succeed, but despiteheavy losses we cannot improve our situation [1 x 5:1 -3 AS, 2 x 6:1 -3 DR + EX]

Elsewhere, Malaga and Cordoba eat gras.

Losses: Ins: 4 Inf

Loyalists: 2 Inf

Nov II 1936

(D=Mud, C=Mud)

The assault on the anarchist strongholds in Andalusia opens with the attack on Malaga. Meeting fierce resistance, we are nevertheless able to secure the city and take alrge amounts of prisoners. Immediately the security organs start their work [5:1 -2 DR]. Some conterattacks are made to stall the Loyalist offensives and to improve the situation of the Zaragoza garrison, but the wether prevents any major operations. We manage to relieve one of the two cut off divisions, but the other cannot even be ressupplied. The gap in our front at Vitoria cannot be closed as reinforcements hurry to the front.

As news from the fall of Malaga spread the country, more anarhists surrender. Refugees pour out of Cordoba and bring news that the stocks run out in the city. In the North, the Loyalist exploit the achieved breaktrough and take Logrono [8:1 -3 DR], the cut of division surrenders to a concentric assault [6:1 -3]. After securing the railway junction to Zaragoza, the Loyalists now mass in front of the city, obviosly planning an assault onto the city itself.

Losses: Ins: 2,5 Inf

Loy: 1 Art 3 Inf 1 Arm

OCT 1936

Oct I 1936

With the new supply arriving at the ports we find ourselves critically short of rail capacity, the ammunition rots in the harbours while our fronts are short of supply. To put pressure on the Loyalists we have to make use of our assets wherever they are, and as dearly we would like to transfer the Legion Entragere to the North we simply don’t have the means to do so. The transfer of colonial troops to Cadiz continues, the presence of Italian subs prevents any incursions by the Loyalist fleet. In the North we barely screen the gobernitos, while everything available is now shifted to the east to occupy the rail line to Zaragoza and secure ist supply line. To do so, we have to retreat more columns over the Ebro, so that there are now only 2 border regiments left east of the river.

Another attempt to stop the Loyalist onlaught at Zaragoza failes east of Merida [5:1 -1 AS] despite the fact that virtually all reinforcements go to there, while the newly arrived Italian tank batallion scores its first victory in supporting a small conterattack up the Teja valley [6:1 +2 DE]. In the mountains north of Madrid an isolated Loyalist column is cut of and smashed [5:1 -2 EX] as the battle for the mountain crest continues. We now occupy mountain hexes everywhere except the rail line to Bajadoz [2412], which doesn’t matter as Bajadoz finally falls into our hands [4:1 -1 DR], despite some fierce resistance by the Elite Art Regiment stationed there. In the South several colums screen Cordoba and Malaga, while the main colums head for the slowly emerging frontline in the east to prevent relieve attempts. Solid contact is now established everywhere, and we start to construct the first fortifications in the open. [frontline from Motril in the South to 2414, then along the mountains to the rail line to Zaragoza, from there no contact is established so far becouase of our retreats]

The Loyalists concentrate on Zaragoza and rail more troops into the area. The remaining National Forces east of the Ebro are wiped out and solid contact is made with the Basque forces coming from the North. The river line marks the front, which means that Zaragoza will be cut off as soon as bad weather occures.

More loyalist colums mobilized in the vicinity on Madrid manage to re-take a mountain hex north of the city, while a second attack falteres.

Losses: Insurgents: 5

Inf 1 Arm, Loyalists: 7 Inf 1 Art

Oct II 1936

1936

(D = Mud)

More divisions reach the front line north-west of Zaragoza as a fierce battle errupts for the supply lines of the city. We cannot prevent that the city finylly gets cut of in the last days of the month.

The only important attack on anarchist colums in Anadlusia failes [5:1 -2 AS], while finally the last isolated loyalist stronholds in aour hinterland are cleared.

Losses: Insurgents: 5

Inf 1 Art, Loyalists: 3 Inf

SEP 1936

Sep I 1936

Two more divisions are assembled, one at Zaragoza to stem the massive flow of Loyalist troops from Catalania up the Ebro river, and one more to help the attack at Valladolid. The most important parts of the Legion Entragere and the Colonial Regiments now have been shipped to Southern Spain to join the assault against the Anarchist republic of Andalucia. As the Loyalist fleet remains surprisingly quiet there is nothing much to do for the first arriving submarine sqadroons of the Italin Navies, who guard the first transports of supply and artillery reaching our ports. In the South we intensify our grip on the anarchist cities and cut them off, while in the North Valladolid falls to a combined assault of all arms.

The first Catalanian colums establish contact with our lines in front of Zaragoza. From the southern hills of the Pyrennes long columns of Loyalist troops heading for the city can be spotted, a threat we are unable to counter effectively because our inabillity to shift troops. Their first attempt to break our ranks fails [3:0 -1], while the important rail junction of Calatyud falls into Loyalist hands after a blody battle [3:1 (-1) HX] More Loyalist units pouring out of Madrid score another vitory against a lonly requete column at Soria, smashing it and occupying the city [4:1 (0) DH].

Losses: Insurgents: 4 Inf, Loyalists: 2 Inf 1 Art

Sep II 1936

The Legion Entrangere finally reaches the outscirts of Malaga and occupies the approaches to the city, while our corps at Cordoba receives reinforcements against the new anarchist colums aggresivly defending the city. The victors of Valladolid rush to the east to rescue Zaragoza and retake Calatyud, but don’t reach the front in strengh. A swift attack without preperations or supply overwhelms a cut-off loyalist column in the eastern Cordilleras [hex 2507].

Nearly a Dozend Loyalist columns reach the outskirts of Zaragoza and isolate the city, while more bypass our strongpoints east of the city to press on northward. Huesca falls [4:1 -1 DR].

In the South, the anarchist rulers of Malaga and Cordoba issue rationing of the stocked supplies, as there is no imminent chance of relieving the city. From the mass of Loyalist colums in the Tejo valley a regiment of Guardia del Civil breakes through and reaches the still besieged Bajadoz, adding to the defenders there.

Losses: Insurgents: 0, Loyalists: 1 Inf

AUG 36

Aug I 1936

While still to many units are busy pacifying the cities General Franco orders the first two divisions that are combat ready to the offensive and mounts an attack on Cordoba, which bloddlily failes [at 3:1 (-1)]. In the very north another attempt to quickly overwhelm the Commies fails as well [at 2:0 (0)] as an attack against Gijon is beaten back with considerable losses of men and territory. After this debacle, we decide to first consolodate our position before undertaking any further attempts. However, we have managed to isolate and surround Cordoba and Valladolid, while the first regiments of our elite Legion Entrangere head for Malaga.

The Loyalists concentrate on a solid buildup and start forming militia brigades all over Catalania, while the newly proclamated Anarchist republic of Anadalusia issues enrolment orders all over the countryside.

Aug II 1936

As the first cities are pacified more units rush to the front that starts to take shape. Our troops have to evacuate Toledo in order to maintain contact with our main concentrations as the first Loyalist infantry columns are pushing down the Tejo valley. Along the central Cordillieras contact is made with loyalist troops and both sides start to dig in.

Meanwhile, the first attempt of Loyalist columns to march down along the Tejo river valley failes as well as their attempt to break our lines encirceling Cordoba. The uncoordinated attacks still show the lack of guidance from the officer corps which has joined our cause.

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