The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: April 2001

NOVEMBER II 1937

NOVEMBER II 1937

Weather remained pleasant, even on Formosa, but a cold front with
sub-zero temperatures moved into the Gobi Desert.

Japanese Player Turn

The scene of the most dramatic events was at Canton, which, as expected,
was the objective of the Japanese 5th Fleet executing Operation Divine Wind, led
by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. This time the fleet had no patrolling enemy aircraft
to contend with as the just-arrived little Soviet-Chinese airforce bided their
time. The Chinese small naval craft in the Hsi estuary were quickly dealt with
[both LCTF and RF sunk on first roll]. The plan had called for a main landing
near Hsaiolung in the delta south of the city [G4:4505] and subsequent attack
directly on Canton’s port. However, surprise had been lost [one turn in South
China Sea needed in order to arrive with enough MPs for amphibious landing] and
troops had been moved to the approaches as a reception committee. Nevertheless,
the landings went ahead. Seeing where the main blow was falling, the Soviet and
Chinese pilots took to the air. A furious battle ensued with the fighters from
the Japanese carriers Akagi and Kaga. Many planes went down in flames. None of
the SB-2 bombers got through, but the carrier fighters are severly battered,
and so are the Soviet volunteers [Jap 2A, Soviets 2A]. With minimal support by
the ships’ guns and with long-range aircraft from Formosa chiming in the main
landings south of the city were a cake walk [no attack supply expended], as
were those near Tungkwan on the opposite shore [G4:4404], but the attack on
Canton harbor had to be postponed. With heavy artillery, headquarters, and
supplies landed after the beaches were secured [in exploitation after transfer
to LCs] the invaders are ashore in strength, but have not secured a port and so
have to keep relying on their landing craft [next turn out of general supply
and isolated unless they convert their attack supply to GSPs].

[The landings had been planned for Nov II as the time with best chance
of good weather and calm seas after the end of the rice-growing season. No
opposition or an overrun at G4:4505 was hoped for, but overrun would have
succeeded only against a single unsupported 1-4 or 0-1-4 not in general supply.
In fact, surprise was impossible, G4:4505 had been manned by two 1-4s, and the
net and one ASP at Canton converted to GSP provided general supply for all
defenders. G4:4404 on the opposite shore was included to keep the approach to
Canton harbor open for ships and allow for shore-to-shore shifting of troops
across the narrow straits. Its 0-1-4 stood no chance. With no attack on Canton
itself, no ASP was needed and only one RF and the weaker TF were used for NGS.]

Meanwhile in the north, 5 Mountain Division in accustomed efficiency
cleared the Jehol mountains of Chinese bands [by overrun] and started back to
civilization.

At Yanku, 2 Army’s 14 and 108 Divisions ran smack into the CCP 120,
battering it but not without suffering serious losses to themselves [EX, CCP
120 and 108 cadred]. The Japanese now have the city in sight.
In southern Honan, the main body of 2 Army closed to the Yellow River
opposite Kaifeng and Chengchow after rolling over the left-behind Shansi
cavalry rearguard. At one point east of Kaifeng the river was crossed and the
Siking-Tungshan rail line was cut. To the east, 1 Army closely pursued the
retreating KMT formations, mauling a straggling force of one KMT and several
factional divisions north of Tungshan. However, no other large attacks could be
staged because of delays in bringing supplies forward across the Yellow River.
Farther south, 101 Division [nicknamed the Dalmatians] crossed Lake Weishan
while troops from the Shantung peninsula closed to the Grand Canal southeast of
the lake. The only combat action here occurred when a Chinese rearguard tried
to block a river crossing, but was brushed aside [DR].

At the Shanghai front, 9 Reserve Division attacked eastward from
Hangchow to initiate an advance along the coast toward Ningpo [parent 9
Division still on a rampage in the city]. A stronger force advanced westward
across the Grand Canal between Hangchow and Lake Tai. At the north shore of the
peninsula, KMT troops were forced back along the main rail line to Nanking. One
KMT division was wiped out. The shore of Lake Tai was reached and Wuhsien,
evacuated by the Chinese, was occupied. [Chinese travel brochures aimed at
hard-currency western tourists like to call this city, also known as Soochow,
the “Venice of China” for its being criss-crossed by little canals. Any denizen
of the real thing would scoff at the comparison and probably call the canals
oversized ditches with muddy banks.]

Chinese Player Turn

Canton is being strengthened by whatever troops can be scraped together.
Yangtze shipping and trains from Changsha are kept busy around the clock. An
airlift from Changsha has been initiated. Gen. Wu Xing-Yang assigned the best
contingent of reinforcements, from Kiangsi, to the harbor district, obviously
the enemy’s key objective. He now wishes his Kwangtung Army had been
concentrated in and around Canton instead of being spread out to protect at
least some of the many ports along the long coastline. He who defends
everything defends nothing. Hindsight! But then, no enemy foray so far south
was expected so soon, and the coastal ports would have been difficult to
reinforce.

In Shansi, factional troops moved quietly along mountain roads to close
the Ladies’ Pass and cut the communications of the Japanese forces near Yanku.
This should put a damper on their ambitions to seize the provincial capital.
Also, seeing that the threat of an advance on Yanku from the north had
disappeared, Lin Piao dissolved his CCP 129 Division and sent its soldiers into
the mountains to set up yet another guerrilla base from where to raid the Hopei
plain in the Japanese rear.

Farther south in Honan, 4 Army with KMT III Corps fell back from the
Yellow River, an excellent defense position but now completely outflanked.
Kaifeng and Chengchow were abandoned without a fight. One division was split
off and sent west to block the road and rail line to Loyang [with Kaifeng and
Chengchow one of the only three Honan dot cities, so a Japanese provicial
puppet government would be installed if it were to fall also; After Shantung
and Hopei, Honan would then become the third North China province with Japanese
puppet government, and thereby trigger the set-up of a regional puppet
government].

To the east, KMT 1 Army struggled in its retreat, fighting against being
increasingly squeezed on both flanks by strong Japanese forces. For probably a
last time, defenses were beefed up by supplies railed forward from Nanking
through Tungshan, already almost within Japanese reach.

The Shanghai front remained relatively quiet. North of the lakes KMT VII
Corps held its positions while engineers prepared to dismantle the main rail
line. In the hill country south of the lakes, only picket lines face one
another. A KMT guerrilla base was established in the Tienmu Mountains.
At Yunkia [Chekiangs last remaining dot city], troops moved out to block
the gorge where the Han river and the road along it emerge from the mountains
[G3:1909; the road follows the river rather than running across the mountains,
as it may seem from the game map].

Comments:

The Canton operation might make or break this game. Once the harbor is
taken, the Chinese have no chance of holding the rest of the city. They would
in fact fold now if the TFs were allowed to enter a river hex, from which their
NGS against the city would be doubled. With Canton gone, the loss of supply and
rail capacities, production, and possibly factories would be devastating not
even to mention the destabilization points for loss of a multi-hex city. As to
factories, the dilemma is whether to keep up production or dismantle to attempt
transfer; and if transfer is still possible, whether to use scant rolling stock
for it rather then for reinforcements. The Japanese, on the other hand, are
scraping the bottom of the barrel with res pts. For them, the Canton adventure
proves to be very expensive because the LCs needed two turns to reach the
target, and at least some must now be retained until a port has been secured.

For Japan, the conflicting demands on res pts—attack supply, landing
craft, extra shipping, rail capacity, bridge repair at major rivers, and
possibly restoration of dismantled rail lines—cause headaches no end.
Napoleon was want to say that, in warfare, morale is to numbers as three to
one. Had he played War of Resistance, he might have said logistics instead of
morale.

Generalstab Updates, 25.4.2001

Hello folks! Well, a new essay is up in the Kriegsarsenal, Glen Davis has contributed his history of the “Nisei” – US-born Japanese Soldiers in the US Army”. A topic I especially enjoyed as I rarely have the opportunity to read much about the war in the Pacific, and even more fascinating was the opportunity for me look at it from such an (from the german perspective) foreign point of view.

NOVEMBER I 1937

NOVEMBER I 1937

Weather remained pleasant. For a change, even plagued Formosa is seeing
beautiful sunshine.

Japanese Player Turn

The powerful 5 Mountain Division has been dispatched to the
mountains of Jehol to hunt down the roaming survivors of the Chinese 218 Division before
they can cause serious mischief.

Two divisions of 2 Army with a few tanks in support overwhelmed weak resistance in the Ladies’ Pass and continued their advance toward Yanku, now facing CCP 120 Division.
The main body of 2 Army brushed aside factional rearguards and closed to
the Wei, the last river before the Great Yellow, the “Mother of China.” Although engineers are working overtime and newly enlisted Hopei’s are put to good use, rail traffic problems persist [the now accruing puppet replacements are being taken as construction units].

1 Army pushed forward from Tsinan hard on the heels of the retreating Chinese. Troops from the Shantung peninsula also advanced, approaching Lake Weishan and the Grand Canal. The seaboard city of Tunghai was secured and patrols are heading for the large port of Lienyunkang, where Chinese Commander Leu’s torpedoboats are still holed up.

Around Shanghai the general offensive was continued with two major thrusts. In the north the Chinese position on the neck of land between Yangtze and Lake Tai was penetrated. Forward elements reached the strategic rail line to Nanking, cutting off the best retreat route of the KMT troops still in and around Wuhsien. Meanwhile, 9 Division in the south attacked across the Grand Canal and smashed into Hangchow before hurriedly summoned reinforcements had time to arrive. Among the prisoners: the Marines of Leu Force. Their capture is a set-back for any Chinese amphibious ambitions [fragile, one of only two amphibious units].

Apparently, word of what is happening in Shanghai spread to Hangchow, and events took a similarly ugly turn. It will take time before 9 Division is again in control and can resume its advance [another rampage roll of “1”]. Hangchow with its splendid historic pagodas and palaces, its Xi Hu [West Lake] strewn with little island housing tea pavilions from sumptuous olden times, its green hills on whose slopes they say China’s best tea is grown, is called the
“City of Heaven” and is one of not many Chinese (and American, for that matter) cities with real charm. May its treasures survive this rampage. [Incidentally, the hex southeast of the city should be rough at least: It is hills, wood-covered except for the tea plantations. And war damage was actually less than that wrought by Chairman Mao’s Great Cultural Revolution some decades later. Today, most has been repaired.]

Almost unnoticed over these dramatic developments, the mighty Japanese 5th Fleet has sallied forth into the South China Sea. It includes at least two aircraft carriers, two battleships, a number of troop-laden Maru’s, and a whole fleet of landing craft. Canton bound? Anyone’s guess.

Chinese Player Turn

Despite the grim situation, all provinces and warlords are still toeing the line, though not without some enticements to do so (1 res pt to each of the four most critical provinces). [There have been comments that “3” on 2D6 for downward shift of cooperation level is still too high. In this game it seems to work fine. If the Chinese spend 1 res pt for each province that really matters, the Japanese would need a “2” for a downward shift, a chance of only 2.78%. Any Japanese res pt bids can be offset with 1 pt for every 2 Japanese pts. Lastly, with another
3 res pts buy-off the Chinese have a 50% chance of reversal and an unfavorable result. At a very modest res pt expenditure, the total chance of an important province becoming uncooperative is only 1 in 72, or 1.39%.]

In Shansi, a KMT cavalry division and assorted smaller units have holed up in Yanku in expectation of the Japanese. CCP 120 Division has taken up a blocking position on the approaches to the city. Good cooperation by the Communists, as a rare exception. Seeing that the threat of an advance on Yanku from the north has disappeared, Lin Piao dissolved the CCP 129 and sent its soldiers into the mountains to train for guerrilla warfare in Hopei
[punctiliously speaking, guerrilla already is warfare, and what we call a guerrilla or partisan is a guerrillero).

In Honan, III KMT Corps has completed its retreat behind the Yellow River. The last bridge has been blown. Only a rearguard of Shansi cavalry has been left behind to blow the railway bridge over the Wei. 4 Army has assumed command over this front sector. Guerrilla activity increased dramatically with blowing up of trains and tracks near Peiping, Tientsin, and Shihkiachuang.

South of Tsinan, 1 Army with II Corps is in full retreat to the Grand Canal and Lake Weishan. One KMT division and a collection of factional troops, hemmed in on both flanks, were unable to keep up and face annihilation. The screening forces in southern Shantung are also falling back toward the Grand Canal. The problem developing here is that the Army’s left wing, southwest of
Tsinan, no longer has a rail line straight back to rely on.On the Shanghai front, the northern wing has been taken back to a blocking position on the isthmus between Yangtze and Lake Yangcheng forward of Chenchiang, just 40 miles short of Nanking. A fortress brigade has been left behind as garrison of the fortress of Chiangyin that guards a possible Yangtze crossing site. What is left of the southern wing of the front retreatedwestward into the hills and mountains toward Wuhu. Screening forces still are positioned on the road to Shaohsing and Kinhwa.

Canton is being hurriedly reinforced by whatever can be summoned from near and far. Also, the relatively safe northern districts of the city are being stripped of combat troops to strengthen the ocean-front defenses. Along the Hsi estuary, troops have been posted to stop or at least delay any invaders short of the city proper. The few torpedo- and gunboats stationed at Canton have sortied to patrol the approaches. A timely succor arrived at the city’s airport, courtesy Uncle Joe: I-152 fighters and SB-2 bombers, some complete with “volunteer” Soviet pilots, some to be flown by Chinese. As the Japanese 5th Fleet departed for the South China Sea, Commander Leu’s torpedoboats used the opportunity to sneak out of Lienyunkang (in Shantung) and make for ports in Fukien, just in time before Japanese troops arrived.

Where is, repeat where is, Fifth Fleet? The world wonders (even though not on the anniversary of Balaclava and Leyte Gulf).

Generalstab Updates, 22.4.2001

Well, for all the mailing I did for the Generalstab, I failed to write something into the News Section until today. The most important News is that the Generalstab is no longer a one-man-show. Fron now on, Kurt Schletter will take over the game reports (the running games are to move into the HQ), Glen Davis will provide some more Essays and game reports, and Moon will keep you informed about progress on the Europasee-project.

Even more stuff comming up, and I hope we’ll be able to put some life into the rather dead parts of the Generalstab like the Welcome page, the Kriegsschule and the HQ. Stay tuned.

OCTOBER II 1937

OCTOBER II 1937

Weather remained pleasant, except for first frost in the Gobi Desert
(who cares?)and mud and rough seas for battered southern Formosa in the
aftermath of Typhoon Dominic.

Japanese Player Turn

All quiet in Shahar and Mongolia. Security forces in Jehol keep
watch on that 218 Division hiding out high up in the mountains. Mop-up in the Wutai
Mountains is complete. 1 Infantry Division was shipped to Shanghai to
relieve 3 Division, exhausted from a month of constant street fighting (have to watch
where to put Big Number One, it gets withdrawn Jan I). 2 Army’s siege guns
were moved to Tientsin for transfer to ports still unknown. Something brewing?

2nd Army around Shihkiachuang split off two divisions (14 and 108) to
press on westward to the famous Ladies’ Pass on the road to Yanku, Shansi’s
capital. The main body of 2 Army advanced south along the Chengchow rail line
across the Fuyang river and through deserted Hantan. They encountered no
resistance and are now approaching the Tangyin river [another successful
reaction roll had speeded things up a bit] and are beginning to feel the
strain of supply shortages [beyond range of unlimited supply from Tientsin’s big port
and high-volume RR, forward units must now draw on scant capacity of net].
Engineers are busy repairing bridges and railway tracks.

1st Army crossed the Yellow River in strength, stormed Tsinan defended
only by rearguards, and is hard on the heels of the retreating Chinese, now
consisting almost exclusively of KMT regulars. Contact with forward elements
from the Shantung peninsula was established. Troops and civilians in Tsinan
have remained orderly [rampage roll negative].

The battle for Shanghai continues. Reserve divisions for those in
combat were landed at Woosung. The strongest thrust, with three divisions, ample
artillery, and naval gunfire support was launched along the Yangtze shore
against a well-entrenched enemy at Lotien. The fortified position was taken,
but the defenders managed to fall back in good order [DR]. In the city itself,
the southeastern portion was cleared of rearguards in actions supported by
siege artillery and ships. Prisoners were taken. The farthest advance was made
by 9 Infantry Division south of the city. Here, Chiahsing on the main rail
line to Hangchow was reached by forward elements. Also, engineers were landed at
Woosung to begin repairs in the city and eventually get the rail net going
again.

The fall of Shihkiachuang has prompted the formation of a rival
government of Hopei in Tientsin under Japanese auspices. However, Hopei
strongman Gen. Shang Chen laughed at this subversion and is keeping his few
remaining troops firmly in Loyalist China’s camp.

Chinese Player Turn

In the far north the flight of the last remaining factional rabble
toward Yanku continues, shielded by CCP 129 Division. Shansi troops backed by
CCP 120 Division set up a defense at the Ladies’ Pass to delay the Japanese
advance on Yanku from that direction.

Having destroyed rail lines and bridges, KMT III Corps abandoned the
Tangyin river position and pulled back to the next and last river short of the
mighty Yellow, the Wei at Hwahsien (same name, different river, this one in
Honan rather than Shantung).

KMT II Corps, in full retreat from Tsinan, is struggling to extricate
itself from threatening flanking moves and to establish a reasonably coherent
front with the weak forces that had been screening the Shantung peninsula. 1
Army has assumed overall command. A Japanese breakthrough here would endanger
the retreat of the troops farther west.

The KMT elite troops withdrew from Shanghai city, leaving only
factional rearguards with artillery support behind in the southwestern and western
precincts. A retreat was ordered to a position running along the Grand
Canal in the south and across the neck of land between Lake Yangcheng (huge but only a
few feet deep) and the Yangtze in the north. This time, however, the situation
has become uncomfortable as the Japanese followed up immediately and
penetrated the defenses in the north while at the same time completing the mop-up in the
city itself (another successful reaction roll, here with good troops in ZoI
and attack supply stacked with the HQ). After weeks of bitter street fighting, tempers both of civilians and of Japanese troops in Shanghai flared. Soldiers of the reserve divisions went
on a rampage and civilians were quick to defend themselves with whatever weapons
the departed troops had left behind. The situation is temporarily out of control
(riot roll “1” = F*).

The defenses of Canton were beefed up with troops hurriedly brought in
from all directions. A new guerrilla base was set up by CCP 115 Division in the Taiheng
Mountains of Honan. One of the two regiments of the division was kept equipped
for regular warfare. The two strategic rail lines leading south from Peiping
and Tientsin were again sabotaged. The Japanese are beginning to feel the
pinch.

Upon arrival in Chungking, Chiang Kai-Shek was displeased with
inadequate communication facilities and had a contre-temps with the imperious
governor of the province. He promptly redirected his just arriving government
to set up shop in Hankow instead. [The move to Chungking, if perhaps not premature, was a terrible
mistake. While undoubtedly the safest location, that city is out of KMT “home
territory,” so that 3 stabilization points less would accrue upon each
subsequent stability-level check. Hankow is safe for the time being, and the
1-pt penalty for another move at a later time is a small price to pay for
avoiding a 3 pts loss upon each check until then.]

Comments:

If you are a masochist, play War of Resistance. As the Japanese you have
all these beautiful troops, almost as strong as Panzer Divisions, but are
hamstrung by supply problems and a sneaky enemy that pops up here and there to
cause you grief in your rear (truly a pain in the …). As the Chinese you get
knocked over the head wherever you don’t run fast enough, and just have to
outlast the punishment you are taking.

The Chinese tactics of putting up a strong defense in a good position
and then run before it can be attacked in strength has finally proved
counterproductive. Several successful Japanese reaction rolls in succession
have led to a dangerous situation that might well result in severe losses.
Only well-conducted scorched-earth tactics and guerrilla sabotage, causing delays
for the Japanese in getting their HQs and attack supply forward, have
prevented a tragedy. A key to success of the tactic is to have a rail line straight
back, for ease of retreat when time comes as well as for railing GSPs forward to the
HQ for defense at full strength. Unfortunately, 1 Army no longer enjoys this
luxury as the forward portion of its rail line (Kaifeng-Tungshan-Nanking) now
runs parallel and precariously close to the current front. Quite possibly I
became overconfident after the initial successes of the tactic and have after
all overestimated the Chinese ability to delay the Japanese advance forward of
Shanghai and Nanking.

OCTOBER I 1937

OCTOBER I 1937

Weather remained pleasant and dry, except that Typhoon Dominic still lingers off southern Formosa and locally causes mud and stormy seas.

Japanese Player Turn

In northern Hopei, mop-up in the Wutai mountains continues apace. The rail line to Changkaikow has been repaired. The crack 1 Infantry Division, no longer needed here, has been pulled back to Tientsin. The Senda mechanized division group remains in Changkaikow to discourage any attacks by the CCP 129 Division. With so little Japanese strength left and the Hopei troops confined to their province, the advance toward Yanku from the north has been halted.

On the main Hopei front, weakly held Shihkiachuang has fallen to a concentric attack, but its defense and extensive rail and bridge destructions to the rear have prevented more than vanguards to be pushed forward in pursuit of the main KMT force. The city has remained quiet (no garrison required). Not needed at Shihkiachuang, the Army’s siege artillery was pulled back toward Tientsin.

A few more factional Chinese units were bagged in the canal country around Tehsien by 1 Army, whose patrols now are within less than 50 miles from the Yellow River and should soon establish first contact with forward elements from the Shantung peninsula.

The relatively weak forces in that peninsula advanced only cautiously, mindful that too great an expansion of their front lines might invite enemy infiltration and a threat to Tsingtao and Kaiohsien, the ports on which they rely for supply.

The troops of Operation Tradewind in Woosung reorganized and were reinforced by several reserve divisions and regiments of heavy artillery. Belatedly, the planned attack up the Whangpoo river to link up with the defenders of the International Concession was launched with massive support from the guns of the fleet and was a full success. Also, factional rearguards supported by a few pieces of KMT artillery were cleared out of the eastern precincts. About half the city is now in Japanese hands.
Much like their opposite numbers, the Japanese chief engineers decided to discontinue the now useless upgrading of the rail line leading south from Tientsin. The specialized railway engineers were moved to Tientsin’s port for transfer elsewhere.

Chinese Player Turn

Public confidence in Chiang Kai-Shek’s leadership and the future has taken a beating (as had become inevitable, stability level dropped to “3”). However, the provinces still held the line. Only Governor Lung Yun of remote Yunan became restless, but was mollified by generous gifts (shift to uncooperative level on 2D6 of “3,” but successful buy-off with 3 res pts). Hopei, of course, had been written off.

Although not yet under attack, KMT III Corps pulled back from the Fuyang position at Hantan to the next river line, the Tangyin at Anyang. Its neighbor to the east, KMT II Corps, pulled its rearguards back behind the Yellow River. Its eastern flank retreated from that river to maintain a coherent front with the forces that had been screening the Shantung peninsula. In Tsinan, now exposed, only a factional rearguard was left behind to destoy everything the of possible use to the enemy. The pull-back proved to be just in time as Japanese troops crossed the Yellow River upstrem and downstream of Tsinan earlier than expected (finally a successful Reaction Roll, but with too few units in HQ’s ZOI to move and none to stage attacks).

While the city of Shanghai offers by far the best defensive positions, the dilemma here is that it can be outflanked north and south. With troops diverted to protect the flanks, the defenders in the city itself may not withstand the Japanese onslaught for long. Yet, the decision was made at least to delay the capture of the remainder of the city while still trying to presere the best troops.

Two of Shanghai’s factories are being reassembled in Wushang and Changcha, the third is still in transit. Nanking’s factory was prepared for transfer. The central government was moved to Chungking by river and will resume its functions again later this month.

Guerrilla activity was slack. Only one attempt at blowing railway tracks succeeded and is causing temporary disruption near Tingyuan.

While the Emperor in Tokyo smiles, a despondent Chiang Kai-Shek went on vacation to his mountain palace near Siking, known to latter-day tourists as Xian. He went better protected than last year, when he got himself arrested by a dissident favoring a harder line against Japan and a reconciliation with the Communists. Is he thinking of summoning the buried and as yet undiscovered gargantuan terra-cotta army of ancient warriors to his teetering cause?

SEPTEMBER II 1937

SEPTEMBER II 1937

Sunshine and dry weather have returned to all of mainland China, but another typhoon is passing close to southern Formosa. Seas are calm except off the Manchurian coast and around Shanghai and Hanchow (Zones 7 and 9), not counting Typhoon Dominic near Formosa.

Japanese Player Turn

The hardliners in Tokyo have finally won out. Hideki Tojo has been named Prime Minister, and his cabinet has lifted all restrictions on operations in China (2D6 mandate roll “12”)!
Mop-up continues apace in the northern Wutai mountains, where the formidable 5 Mountain Division unmercifully hunts down factional remnants and stragglers. Farther west, the garrisons of Changkaikow and Kweihwating have hunkered down for defense against a possible attack by the CCP 129 Division. Chahar cavalry is moving southward east of the Wutai range in the direction of Yanku.

The 2 Army operating from Peiping toward Shihkiachuang is severely hindered by extensive destructions of bridges and railway tracks. Its vanguards have reached the Hoto river opposite Shihkiachuang, but were not strong enough to attack the strongly held city. Mop-up in the swamps west of the Tientsin-Tsinan rail line has been completed and many prisoners were taken (for the first time, a majority of units isolated when eliminated). The main forces of the 1 Army operating along the Tientsin-Tsinan rail line, also severely hampered by bridge and railway destructions, reached the area just north of Tehsien, about two thirds of the way to Tsinan, their first major objective.

The Shantung beachhead received reinforcements and was extended beyond the Wei river and along the south coast. Shantung forces now allied to the Japanese ‘liberated” the north-coast city of Chefoo, from where renegate warlord Han Fu-Chu hopes to rule the province while Tsinan, the capital, is still full of KMT troops.

The most dramatic events played out around Shanghai. An amphibious landing at the major port of Woosun in the Yangtze estuary just north of Shanghai had been planned, based on speculations that, before the end of the month, Tokyo would lift the restriction of operations to North China (either Chinese “aggressive posture” or a mandate die roll roll of at least “10,” both indeed then having occurred).

This Operation Tradewind was to be staged by a landing of the Kure and Sasebo Marines of Kaiohsien fame and two new first-line divisions (9 and 13), backed by a strong naval force including the carriers Akagi and Kaga and the battleships Mutsu and Nagato. The bold plan envisaged an overrun of the weak Woosun garrison (expected to be unsupported and not in general supply), followed by an attack up the Whangpoo river on northeastern Shanghai proper to link up with the forces in the International Concession. Three factors threatened to compromise this plan: the unexpected sortie of the Chinese mini-cruisers Ning Hai and Ping Hai with a few torpedo boats (DCTF, strength 2) to patrol the entrace to Woosun harbor, Chinese naval air patrol, and the worsening sea conditions (rough). Ning Hai and Ping Hai, pride of the Chinese Navy, put up a brave fight to the last against formidable odds, but were sunk (two naval combat hits needed to clear the hex; the two GCs and one TF were lucky to score them in their three rolls, each with 50% chance of success after modifiers for rough seas and protected waters). A Chinese air strike found the little armada, the carrier-born fighters intercepted and shot down a few bombers (an A result), flak remained ineffective, but no ships were hit. The landings also went well, except for some damage to landing craft from heavy swells, and the troops overwhelmed the defenders. However, the confusion of landing in rough seas had disrupted the troops so badly that they were unable to stage the planned follow-up attack up the Whangpoo (because of halving of strength owing to rough sea, odds upon landing too low for overrun). Still, even if the original objective was not attained, the troops are ashore in strength at a major port right next to Shanghai and will hardly be dislodged. (Whew, what an operation! I just hope I got all the rules right. Do tell me if anything seems fishy.)

In anticipation of the fall of Tsinan, plans were made for installation of a Japanese-leaning puppet government of Shantung. For this purpose an infantry brigade from Darien was shipped to Chefoo, to be the new “capital.”

Chinese Player Turn

In the north the retreat of the few battered survivors from Chahar toward Yanku continued. With the formidable Japanese 1 Infantry Division still in the area, the CCP 129th did not intervene.

In Hopei, KMT III Corps retreated in good order from Shihkiachuang to the next holding position about 80 miles farther south at Hantan behind the Fuyang river. Only a factional cavalry rearguard was left in Shihkiachuang to delay the Japanese advance and blow the railway and road bridges. Communist guerrillas scored their first success by blowing up the rail line from Peiping north of Shihkiachuang. KMT II Corps nearer the coast also retreated about 80 miles to a last blocking position foward of the Yellow River and Tsinan. The latter are prepared for a delaying action to slow the inevitable Japanese advance on Nanking. All but one of the Yellow River bridges downstream of Kaifeng have been blown up
In Shantung a lose chain of strongholds has been set up to delay any enemy forays from the Tsingtao beachhead.

The misguided upgrading of the Nanking-Tientsin rail line was discontinued. The effort would have been better spent elsewhere, perhaps even in obliterating that rail line.
Shanghai’s dismantled factories were evacuated by rail and river transport using all available rolling stock and barge shipping. They are destined for locations in the deep interior. The KMT troops in the city, among them some of Chiang’s best, concentrated in the western districts, leaving only factional rearguards in the east.

The rapid deterioration of the military situation has prompted Chiang Kai-Shek to order his government to prepare a move from Nanking to a safer location, possibly Chungking (with Chengte, Peiping, Tientsin, Tsingtao, Kweihwating, Tsingyuan, and by Oct I inevitably also Shihkiachuang in Japanese hands and no stabilization points to show for Japanese losses, a stability level drop in Oct I is certain, so the move is better initiated before the Oct I check, even though Nanking is not yet in danger).

As if the Chinese command did not have enough to worry about, seeing the hardliners at the helm in Tokyo forces them now to start thinking about how to protect Canton against amphibious landings (Mandate Roll “12” = Level 0 now allows operations even in South China). At present, the city is garrisoned only by the regiments of two KMT divisions, a KMT construction brigade, and a few factional units, no match for a determined assault.

Chiang Kai-Shek is now looking for British advisors to teach him how to win a war while losing the battles. No takers so far: it’s to be kept a well-guarded secret.