SEPTEMBER I 1937
The monsoon season has finally run its course: Sunshine has dried the
ground in all of China and the seas have calmed.
Japanese Player Turn
With improved weather conditions, fighting has accelerated. The 5 Mountain
Division, victors of Tsingtao, was ferried to Tientsin and hurriedly railed
north to take a leading part in the fight in the Wutai mountains that is to
open up and protect the rail connection into Chahar. Also moved north was
the Senda Mechanized Division Group, which pressed forward through the
Yungting gorge along the rail line itself. Its leading elements made first
contact with those of the 1 Infantry Division from Chahar not far Badaling
at the Great Wall where in ancient times a handful of Chinese are said to
have stood fast for weeks against a whole army from the north. Now, the
factional Chinese are being battered from north and south and squeezed into
the northermost part of the Wutai mountains. Many prisoners were taken. One
Chinese division, the 218, has been cut off east of the gorge and driven
into the mountains of Jehol.
Substantial reinforcements were landed at Tientsin and other nearby ports
and railed south and west to strengthen the thrusts along the
Tientsin-Tsinan and Peiping-Shihkachuang rail lines. Along the former, the
Chinese front for the first time has been brought into serious disarray;
along the latter, resistance has just about dissolved. The small city of
Tsingyuan has been overrun and the way to Shihkiachuang is open. Blown
bridges and rail lines now are more of a hindrance than is the enemy.
Over objections from the naval command, parts of the so-called Shanghai
Expeditionary Force were diverted to Tsingtao and Kaiohsien to fan out from
the beachhead. Tanks of a spearhead reached the sea on the north shore of
the peninsula, cutting off most of the Shantung forces to the east.
All quiet at Shanghai, where the small garrison of the International
Concession holds out under the protection of the ships’ guns. A major air raid against the main railway station of Tsinan remained unsuccessful.
Chinese Player Turn
In a dramatic frenzy of political maneuvering, Shantung’s wavering warlord
Han Fu-Chu has broken with the central government and allied himself to
Japan! (violations by KMT, first entry of Japanese troops from Tsingtao, 3
res pts bid by China, 5 by Japan, 2D6 of “3” gives downward shift of
cooperation level, 1D6 of “5” results in puppet status, Chinese buy-off
attempt with 3 res pts fails on 1D6 of “5”). Most Shantung troops just melt
away, a few join the Japanese. All other provinces remain faithful.
In Chahar the surviving factional forces that had fought in the Yungting
gorge retreated westward into the mountains. Still farther west, whatever
can still move is attempting to flee in a general direction of Yanku. The
CCP 129 Division is set to block a Japanese advance here. The cut-off
Chinese 218 Division has sought sanctuary in the mountains of Jehol.
The defection of Shantung and the rapid expansion of the Japanese Tsingtao
beachhead has compromised the Yellow River position, and a retreat from
Hopei all the way to the Yangtze river has been ordered. On the
Peiping-Chengchow rail line the major city of Shihkiachuang is being
prepared for a delaying defense to gain time. This strongpoint shielded by
the Hoto river with escape routes to both the south and west is expected to
hold for one to two weeks (one player turn), but will be evacuated as soon
as the Japanese have concentrated for an attack. To the east, the position
of the remainning factional units defending astride the Tientsin-Tsinan
rail line has deteriorated beyond hope. They will be sacrificed to shield
the withdrawal of the main force to the Yellow River and beyond.
On the Shantung peninsula, a hasty and temporary defense has been
organized to shield the flank of the forces flooding back from Hopei to the
Yellow River, but cannot be expected to hold in the face of any determined
Additional troops were moved into Shanghai, and dismantling of the
factories for transfer has begun. In another air raid on the Japanese
vessels in port, several bombers were lost to Japanese carrier-borne
fighters, and again no hits were scored. Fearing Japanese retaliation in
the form of a sea-borne landing, the small Chinese Navy bravely sallied
forth from their ports in the Yangtze estuary to patrol the harbor entrances.
With Chahar gone for good and Inner Mongolia for the time being, Shantung
defected, the Hopei front in disarray and outflanked from Tsingtao, the
threat of an enemy landing at Shanghai at any time, and still oodles of
fair campaign wheather to come, the overall picture looks grim. Kung Fu,
Charley Chan, the Flying Buffaloes, where are you when we need you?