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.

DEC I 1937

DEC I INSURGENT

While dreary weather lingered in the south, a cold front passed through Aragon and Cataluna bringing a bit of sunshine, a drop in temperatures that let the mud dry up a little, and snow flurries in higher elevations (winter weather).

In the south, the pocket has ceased to exist. The last die-hard defenders, the 66th Division clinging to the town of Elche, were easily overwhelmed. The total count of the pocket amounts to five infantry divisions, twelve independent infantry brigades (ten of them Anachist), four regiments of artillery or mortars, and one regiment each of engineers, cavalry, and anti-aircraft guns, for a total of over 60,000 prisoners taken.

At his headquarters in Zaragoza, Generalissimo Franco presented Nationalist Spains highest decoration, the Cross of Merit with Diamonds, to Major von Scheele, commander of the Flak Regiment of the Legion Condor that had isolated the pocket in the first place and then almost single-handedly frustrated all relief efforts. (The Condors have just arrived in Zaragoza, but are unlikely to repeat their performance in Aragon.)

Although the transfer of troops from the Valencia front is far from complete, the better ground conditions in Aragon prompted the jump-off date of the new offensive to be moved forward. As expected, the attack was launched in the Ebro valley, with main thrust on the river’s south bank along the Zaragoza-Tarragona rail line from forward of Fuentes del Ebro toward Quinto (23A:3033). However, despite the efforts of sappers, ample artillery support from the opposite shore, and sorties of the entire Nationalist airforce, the offensive made no headway (another AS at 4:1 -1).

Savoia-Marchettis continued their raids against industrial targets in Barcelona, but this time failed to add to the damage.

Nationalist naval forces and Italian submarines ventured forward in an attempt to interfere with shipping of materiel and supplies to the Catalan ports. They are operating at the outer fringes of fighter range, relying primarily on low clouds and rain squalls for protection (no Republican aircraft has a TBF greater than 1, which is ineffective when halved for rough seas). However, without fighter cover they did not venture too close to Valencia, where a resurgent Republican airforce now is concentrated.

DEC I LOYALIST

The Loyalists scrambled to strengthen their defenses in the Ebro valley even more, turning Quinto (23A:3033) into a formidable stronghold (now 22CF in that hex) in anticipation of further Nationalist attacks.

Work on fortifications continued on the Valencia and Teruel front. Guerrilleros blew up rails at Palencia on the Santander-Valladolid line, one of the few not heavily patrolled by the Guardia Civil. The airforce continued its rehabilitation program, sheltered by poor weather that discouraged Nationalist raid on its bases.

COMMENTARY

With the surrender of the last defenders of the pocket and the halt called to the advance on Valencia, the Nationalist southern campaign has come to an end. Since its start in early June it has cost the Loyalists their last footholds in Castilla Vieja, all of Murcia province, and a good portion of Valencia province, all told more than a third of the territory they still controlled at the outset. The bounty has included the cities of Albacete, Murcia, Cartagena, and Alicante and over 70,000 prisoners. The blow has been severe, but has not in any way diminished the Loyalists’ ability to defend what they still hold.

With more luck in their large attacks north of Valencia, the Nationalists might have succeeded in reaching Sagunto (23A:3703) to cut Valencia itself off from the rest of Loyalist Spain. Valencia being the only surviving Anarchist sopply source, this would have seriously weakened the Loyalist cause. Now the Nationalists face the likelihood of mud for some time to come and 18CF stacks in a line of forts in good defensive terrain (-4 modifiers). In Aragon, in contrast, winter weather can be expected to last for a while and the terrain is clear (modifiers only -2 against entrenched line, -1 once that line is broken or combat engineers are used). Moreover, whereas further headway past Valencia would have shortened the Loyalist front, an advance in the Ebro valley toward the coast will stretch it, so that Loyalist losses should eventually translate into a weaker line. In this light, the switch of Schwerpunkt to Aragon makes sense. Much will now depend on the luck of the die in the large attacks in Aragon that are sure to come. There will be no advance if the Nationalists keep getting the worst possible results on their main-line attacks as they now have three times in a row.

The astute reader will have noticed that “Condor” is now spelled with “C” in these reports. A review of German sources on the Civil War has shown “Legion Condor” to have been the official name and spelling. TEM is now also using “Condor” but still after instead of before “Legion.”

 

Oct 38

Oct 38

Political Events

After exhausting negotiations between Kwangtung authorities and KMT officials, the renegade warlord of the region agrees it is in the nations best interests to return to a cooperative relationship, allowing overseas supplies to once again flood up the railway to Central China and the remaining Chinese naval units to seek refuge in Canton.

Japanese Player Turn

Newly arrived light divisions (welcome additional strength points at last!) are sent to Chekiang to snap up Ningpo and Shaohsing. The Formosa Mtn XX is sent to Yungkia and breaks out of the long established perimeter to drive the defending MSF units out of the mountains surrounding the city and begin a drive to link up with northern units, led by the KS Cav XX. In Anhwei, a major drive is launched on the No Name river line, and a bridgehead across is achieved, but again at terrible cost (EX).

Chinese Player Turn

Reinforcements (again trashy unsptd 1-4 XX’s) are rushed to the No Name River, but the added difficulty of supplying these forces hampers a defence in this region. In Chekiang, MSF units try to flee the Lt XX’s and the onrusing Form Mtn XX, but are caught short of reasonable defensive positions.

August and September 1938

August and September 1938

Political Events

China is rocked as the fabric of its society continues to unravel as the barbarous Japanese advance continues. With the govt moved from Nanking, people continue to lose faith in the KMT rule and the Level drops to 2. In September this is compounded by the MSF succumbing to internal agitation and becoming uncooperative, obviously due to the remoteness of the KMT govt in far off Hankow.

Japanese Player Turn

Nanking falls early in August, a triumphant march through the city by the conquering forces is tempered by the fact many lives have been lost wading through the rice paddies in atrocious weather. Hofei and Hangchow fall soon after and there is a pause in operations as units are brought up to strength, unfortunately there are not enough RPs available and the recruitment pool in Japan is exhausted. Any losses from this period on will not be easily replaced. A Puppet administration is set up in Nanking. In Chekiang, the unhorsed 9/5 Mtn X and KS Cav XX are brought in to help a small force of brigades and regiments take the remaining MSF cities in the province.

Chinese Player Turn

CA forces are railed in to Kinhwa in Chekiang and retreating MSF forces tear up rail lines around Shaohsing and Ningpo before taking up positions around and behind defensive terrain, again emphasis is on the defence. At the Hangpu River and the No Name River line, forts are dug and units placed behind in reserves, protecting the last line before the easy terrain to the south of the Yangtze is available for operations by the Japanese.

Aug I 15

The war enters its second year. The Italians do a massive mobilization of their artillery and there will be a large amount of Entente equipment points available next turn. The British continue to consolidate their new defensive line while the French continue to move their new reserves south. The Italians manage to entrench their two corps holding the Germans back from the plains. It will now be trench warfare in the south too.

The Central Powers fail to react with anyone.

Tom: I hope to build up my artillery forces for both the French and Italians with the large store of equipment points. I will also be disbanding the French field artillery and the 1-3-5 infantry brigades to get more equipment and manpower points for the French. That is something I have noticed in the game, the Entente actually has more equipment points available because of mobilizing all of the garrison artillery than the Central Powers do. Carl seems to spend all of his equipment points on reorganizations rather than rebuilding lost units. An interesting development.

The Central Powers shift an artillery division to the Italian front along with two more divisions. The French front sees the maneuvering of engineering brigades and resource points into position to build some forts at strategic places along the line. The Austrians and Germans prepare to attack the Italians at the weaker spots of the defensive line.

The attack by the German Alps Corps against the Italian 3rd Corps entrenched in the Italian plain demonstrates the benefits of entrenchments to the Italians. The Austrians, however, force the Italian 1st Hv Cavalry Corps to retreat from the source of the Isonzo river and threatens to surround the Italian 11th Corps near Villach.

The Entente is unable to react.

The losses are 25 German Manpower Points versus 11 Italian Manpower Points.

Carl: The Austrian success will force the Italians to retreat further, perhaps even to pull back behind the Isonzo River. The German attack was unfortunate, but it still bloodies the Italians. I am not sure if the Artillery Division will be very helpful, although the opportunity to bombard the Italians with a +1 DRM could prove to be very interesting. I will begin to build forts along the French front in some of the more vital hexes (such as Nancy, near Reims, and in the British sector). This may dissuade Tom from further attacks, although he really does have to gain some sort of offensive punch to keep me occupied there. I can understand why the Central Powers spent most of 1915 involved in the Eastern Front – unfortunately I do not have the benefits of being able to do things there to keep the game interesting. Trench warfare with a stalemate makes for a boring game. It is sometimes difficult to put plans together for an offensive. I shall have to work on putting one on, probably against a French fortress – probably an early Verdun. The resource points needed for such an offensive are very hard to come by. Equipment points are even more scarce for the Central Powers.

June and July 1938

June and July 1938

Political Events

China remains at level 3 for these months. The MNF forces are briefly flirt with Japanese agent provocateurs and threaten to forbid local militias and units operating in the same areas as CA forces but a personal appeal by CKC and a supply of agricultural and pharmaceutical supplies proves to appealing to the warlords and they remain committed to the War of Resistance. (Uncoop rolled, bribes succeed).

Japanese Player Turn

During these months, the Shansi and Honan fronts are stripped down of powerful units and go onto the defensive. The freed up units are sent down to Kiangsu where the rice growing season makes the advance slow, luckily most enemy units now are unsupported trash with the CA husbanding its last handful of CA 4-6 and 3-5 XX’s back from the front to prevent a rapid breakthrough. At Kiangfu a breakthrough is made and the mot 9/5 Mtn X unhinges the defence of Pengpu which falls in July. The Rail ferry across the river from Nanking is taken. On the opposite bank, the advance continues towards Nanking, and in the last attack of July, a one hex attack with lots of air and naval gun support just fails to take the capital. Around Hangchow, the Japanese army swarms around MSF units supported by an arty unit from Foochow. In the last attack of July, IJA units launch a one hex attack on Nanking, but fail to break into the city and are repulsed (AS).

Chinese Player Turn

Throughout his period, ground is grudgingly given up in Kiangsu. RPs are transfered to Anhwei and Hupei and the KMT Govt is transferred down the river to Hankow. Only 9 supported divisions remain in Central China, scattered about the warfronts with a few lonely looking arty regts placed in key hexes. The only consolation to the sorry state of the CA is the number of cadred and remnant IJA units. Defence works are constructed behind the Hangpu river and the river near Wuhu (The No Name river line!) Basically Wuhu, Tangfua and Hofei are given up by the Chinese, any defence of these is doomed to cost units needed for the defence line. A KMT Guerilla base is set up in the Tienmu Shan. Elsewhere in China a few half hearted guerilla attacks occur in the north on rail lines, but generally the chinese are on the defensive – any movement out of their current positions would result in certain destruction.

May 38

May 38

Political Events

The KMT continues to convince the population that their management of the conflict to date has been succesful and the political index remains the same.

Japanese Player Turn

The 2nd Army lurches over the Kwo river line and seizes Kaiteng. The mechanised force attacks across the river at Pengpu, but dug in Chinese soldiers foil the advance. At Kaingtu the same happens as the 9/5 Mtn X and KS Cavalry are prevented from breaking the Chinese defences. The subsequent blowing of the Hwang Ho dams diverts the river and prevents further serious Japanese movements around Pengpu. Late in the month, the 2nd Army troops scuttle across the Kwo river and destroy numerous Chinese units caught in the open trying to flee to the sanctuary of the swamp bordering the new river line. In Kiangsu and North Chekiang, a series of bloody battles occur, again lots of EX and HX results cost the Japanese a lot of lives.

Chinese Player Turn

The Hwang Ho dams are blown and troops on the Kwo River flee towards the new line, most are lost when the Japanese catch them in the open. North of the Hwang Ho CA sptd XX’s and MNF XX’s and X’s occupy forts in rough/irrigation hexes to prevent a Japanese advance along the north bank. In Shansi the advance halts as it comes against numerous traitor and puppet units and their Japanese masters. In Kiangsu more unsptd CA XX’s are flung into the battle line to provide a speed bump for the Japs.

Jul II 15

he British transfer four more divisions to the French Front. The British 3rd Army is created and the British have extended their defensive front from the Channel to La Fere. The French transfer the relieved troops back to the Arras area for now. The Italians are forced to pull back from their attempt to cut the supply line to Trent and have dug fieldworks on the plains of Italy to aid in their defense against the German Alps Corps.

The Central Powers are not able to react in any meaningful way.

Tom: I have decided to hold off with a British offensive for the moment. They just do not have the necessary manpower reserves to truly do well. The French have exhausted their reserves and could use the four full corps that defended between the British and the channel. This will make a more cohesive front for the British and the French. Hopefully, the new Italian position will be able to hold the German offensive back until the entrenchments are done – although if Carl really wants to throw everyone down to Italy, the Italians may not last long. At least the French are getting a breather from the constant attacks. This is a nice thing and a major worry off of my mind.

The Zepplins attack London successfully once more! This is the third morale hit for the Zepplin fleet and the British would have to transfer a fighter to the English Garrison – if they had any! The main front in France is stable but the Central Powers advance in Italy continues with the Austrians taking the ground vacated by the Italian pullback near Trent. Now it comes down to whether the Germans will be able to continue their advance into the plains of Italy.

There are no attacks and the Entente does some minor troops shifting during the reaction phase.

Carl: A very interesting turn although no combat took place. The British have extended their lines so I do not expect an offensive from them very soon. They have no reserve divisions and very few manpower points. The new French reserve from the northern corps will be able to bolster the French forces in quite a few areas. This may put hold on any of my plans for attacking the French and wearing them down. The true focus is now developing into the Italian campaign. I have another two divisions in place (for a total of five) with some good mountain support troops that the Italians will be hard pressed to defeat. I can afford to lose a hex or two with these troops without endangering the Austrians. If I can drive down to the Adriatic, the Italians will have to withdraw from across the Isonzo River or lose the major portion of their army.

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