The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: June 2001

APRIL I 1938

APRIL I 1938

The storm fronts have passed. The sun shines and the ground has dried
wherever it matters. The seas have calmed. Can you wish for more?

Japanese Player Turn

A regional North China government under Japan’s auspices has taken its seat in Tsingtao. Now that any threat from Shansi has faded, long idle Jehol cavalry from Kweihwating bestirred themselves to take out the small garrison of Paotao, end of the rail line in Mongolia. 11 Army in Shansi speeded up its advance on Linfen. After supplies were rushed forward [rail and SMPs], two divisions attacked the city and seized it, but some of the defenders escaped [DH]. Meanwhile, the mountain divisions pounced on a brigade of CCP regulars from the Shensi guerrilla base who tried to sneak into the Taiheng Mountains. That encounter was bloody, but none of the infiltrators got through [HX]. A half-hearted guerrilla sweep by the garrisons of the Hopei towns remained unsuccessful.

All quiet in the Yellow River valley. Covering forces protect Shanhsien (close to the Shensi border), Loyang, Chengchow, and Kaifeng. Two divisions and assorted small fry are marching south toward Hankow. Engineers and construction units are arriving to start repairing the countless destroyed bridges in the water wonderland between China’s the two mighty rivers. In the Big Bend country of the Yangtze between Nanking and Hankow the mop-up continues. The last KMT remnants at Lake Chao were bagged and a few forlorn stragglers were caught before they could escape across the Great River.

The city of Hwaining was seized without a fight. With help of one of the divisions from the southern wing and 108 Division diverted from 2 Army in Honan, isolated Nanking was stormed at a surprisingly low cost in casualties [DR at 4:1]. Dead tired from the turmoil of the past weeks the city remained quiet [no rampage]. Engineers are working overtime to rebuild dismantled track and are preparing to raise the rail ferry.
[Can’t find rules for destruction and repair of rail ferries, so we are using the same rules as for bridges over major rivers.]

Farther south, the advance on Wuhu, weakened by the release of one of its best divisions, gained a few miles against KMT VII Corps [DR at 6:1 -1]. In northern Kiangsu the catch-me-if-you-can continues. Two KMT brigades that had not managed to go underground in time were liquidated. The chase is on for two others on the move north toward Shantung, the one province that so far has escaped guerrilla disruption.

The stalemate on the Hangchow-Nanchang road continues. No troops and supplies can be spared to jump-start this drive again as long as the battle of the Yangtze is still in full swing. A static brigade from Japan and siege artillery held in reserve on Formosa disembarked at Putien and, with the Kure Marines in the van, attacked toward Foochow while a security regiment from Shantung took over the protection of the port. They made short shrift of a factional brigade blocking the way, but are still 30 miles short of their objective and too weak anyway to tackle it alone.

Anxious to strike before the start of the monsoon season, the Shanghai and Sasebo Marines took on Amoy. With all-out support by 5th Fleet and aircraft from the Pescadores, Formosa, and the carriers the island fortress was stormed. A few defenders scurried to the mainland hoping for sanctuary in the rice paddies [DH]. Coastal steamers that tried to escape were sunk. One more big port seized! The Fleet lost no time departing to assume a blockade of Foochow, last unconquered port on the Fukien coast.

Chinese Player Turn

As had to be expected, the reverses of the last few weeks have further eroded public confidence. Despite all his best efforts, Chiang Kai-Shek sees his hold onto power slip. The future looks dimmer than ever. [Stability level dropped to 1. Maximum geographical objective points, two operative regional governments, and more than six guerrilla bases in existence gave Japan a solid lead despite points for air and ground unit losses. Only random rolls higher by 3 for China would have saved the day.] To add insult to injury, the factions in Fukien have had their fill and refuse any further cooperation. There had been deep dissatisfaction with the utter lack of assistance from the central government except for the arrival of a few beat-up fighter aircraft and with the fact that foreign aid unloaded at Fukien ports was diverted to other provinces. The fall of Amoy was the last straw. The Soviet fighter aircraft at Foochow hurriedly rebased to other fields while the KMT Marines in the city found themselves unceremoniously evicted .
[With Chekiang gone and Fukien on the brink, the MSF were no longer considered worth a bribe and, with 2D6 of “3,” promptly became uncooperative. In game terms this is of little consequence, though, as the Japanese still have to fight the renegades.]

Pestered no end by the local Shensi command and intent of scoring a success for a change, Chiang Kai-Shek overruled the moderates in his cabinet and reverted to his old strategy of hitting the CCP, come what may and to hell with public opinion. He gave free rein to the Shensi garrison to do all they
can to wipe out the guerrilla base in the loess country. The military brass in the province are jubilant, the soldiers to do the job less so. A first sweep promptly was a dismal failure [1D6 “1” -1 for NE even with 15 attack factors (DRM -1 in fair weather, my saying -2 in March II was a typo)].

Meanwhile the troops at the Shansi border extended their positions both north and south in preparation for a broad-front advance, but did not cross the border. New recruits were raised in northern Kiangsu to keep the Japanese security forces on their toes. Two brigades made further headway toward Shantung, but a lack of almost everything makes the going painfully slow [isolation, no supply].

At the lower Yangtze the retreat continued. Wuhu was evacuated except for engineers to destroy the freight yard. VII Corps is retreating parallel to the river in order to block any Japanese attempts to cut the troops off. At Yukiang on the Hangchow-Nanchang road, additional reinforcements arrived. The troops fanned out both north and south and are threatening to encircle the Japanese 9 Division. The garrison of Foochow is bracing for the inevitable. A small airlift from Hankow with desperately needed ammunition was received with jubilation but did not change the governor’s resolve to go his own way.

Finally, at long last a success! At Canton a KMT division had laboriously worked its way around the city toward the south and joined up with an artillery-supported factional outfit that had come down the Hsi and another ferried in along the coast. The little army attacked and overpowered the Japanese regiment that had been garrisoning the port of Sunwul. Peanuts, but a victory nevertheless: a fried egg on your hand is better than a broiled chicken on the roof. News spread, and a popular uproar in Canton forced the despised puppet government to resign, throwing into disarray all efforts to raise Japanese-controlled military and police units.

To shift KMT recruiting into high gear, ex logistics czar Chern Jia-Ming was appointed Minister for Manpower. On his orders, KMT recruiters are ruthlessly combing the countryside of the western provinces. Any and all healthy males they can find are herded to Yangtze ports to be crowded onto barges bound for Hankow, where new KMT divisions are being raised.

Comments

The expedition to Paotao, last Suiyan city, puts a stop to Chinese recruiting in that province. It cost the attack supply at Kweihwating that had been hoarded for defense, but seemed no longer needed.

The fall of Nanking and the forthcoming formation of a provincial Kiangsu puppet government give Japan quite a boost by unifying and greatly increasing the capacity of the supply net (Shanghai alone contributes 9 pts) and linking the main and Shanghai-Hangchow rail nets. Yet, the war has ceased
to be a purely military affair, if it ever was. The greatest problem for Japan now is how to police effectively a vast and hostile chunk of land in the face of pervasive infiltration and proliferating guerrilla bases.

The planning of the Amoy venture was a gamble. It would have had to be canceled if monsoon rain with rough seas had arrived. As it turned out, not even the available attack supply was needed.

The April stability roll done with, the Chinese decision to attack the CCP guerrilla base in Shensi was based on the expectation to wipe it out with one or two sweeps in the good-weather season so that the garrison troops can attack into Honan and Shansi. A gamble for sure, but only desperate gambles can now save the day. Another alternative to just sitting still would have been to defy the garrison requirement and attack into Honan now. That, however, would have resulted in a stability penalty every turn for the remainder of the game. Better an end with horror than horror without end! Quite apart from the fact that the complete lack of attack supply and any means of securing it would have made an offensive difficult to sustain despite numerical superiority.

The loss of Sunwul and the resulting fall of the Kwangtung puppet government are little more than an annoyance for Japan. Since Canton and Swatow are still in their hands, a new puppet government will be installed right away. The port of Sunwul is not needed and was in fact a drag on manpower. Better to lose it now than later with a lot of puppet brigades raised in the meantime.

It will be difficult to keep the stability level from dropping to zero in July. The only silver lining is that recruitment has begun to outpace losses. This makes it possible to assemble a massive army around Hankow, though of admittedly inferior troops, and has given the Chinese one last trump card: At any time the can unleash a human-wave offensive from Hankow into Honan, coordinated with another Tet-style guerrilla operation in Hopei, Kiangsu, and possibly Shantung, and, after the CCP base in Shensi has been liquidated, an offensive from Shensi into Honan and Shansi. Although the troops have little combat value and almost all will operate without supply, their sheer numbers might swamp the Japanese. If some cities can be recaptured, provincial puppet governments will fall and drag regional ones down with them. This and luck with the random rolls can avert disaster one more time. Hope springs eternally!

MARCH II 1938

Too good to be true? Sure was, and is fickle as ever: A wave of furious cold fronts has hit. Temperatures in the north have plummeted and torrential rains have pelted central and southern China. Seas are rough all along the coast.

Japanese Player Turn

A Japanese-sponsored provincial government of Honan has been installed at Kaifeng. The governors of Hopei, Shantung, and Honan now plan to discuss the formation of a regional governement of North China [see comment at end].

Don’t count your chicks before …, oh no, that was that eggs, wasn’t it? 11 Army, all posed to storm south from Yanku to take Linfen [last unconquered Honan dot city] and thereby “liberate” Shansi, had to hold their horses and buggies so as not to get stuck in mud. Didn’t get very far. Well, at least it now matters little that one entire division is still tied up restoring order in Yanku. Wait for another day! Not wait did 5 and Formosa Mountain Divisions, who defied the weather and conducted another successful guerrilla sweep in the Taiheng Mountains [3 pts eliminated].

After conferring with the supreme command, 2 Army in northern Honan opted against a Shensi offensive. Only one division pushed forward to the Shensi border to interdict the rail line to Linfen, the others were redirected toward the Yangtze [West China now no longer has a supply base as Lanchow and Linfen have ceased to be “connected.”]. One elite division was released and railed to Tunghan, where it is embarking.

In northern Kiangsu a merry chase is being enacted. A few Japanese reserve units now reinforced with more artillery are hunting down Chinese stragglers, only to find new gangs being recruited from the villages. Although the Japanese command had hoped to avoid this, it may become necessary to “pacify” the entire province to put a stop to such annoyance. [Kiangsu has a relatively high replacement rate that can be used to raise new KMT units in reference cities not yet conquered, of which there are quite a number. To conquer them is easy, but they must then be protected against recapture by guerrilleros or CCP regulars lest the new provincial government topples.]

Mop-up in the great Yangtze bend west of Nanking continued at its pace. A small KMT contingent is still holding out at the south shore of Lake Chao, its retreat route cut. Only a few stragglers now are left north of the river between Nanking and Hankow. Weather made it impossible to catch up with and
bag the greatest remaining prize: 5 Army HQ with two tank battalions and an artillery regiment that are racing for Hankow. River barges have been moved to a point upstream of Nanking so they can be used as ferries.

Severely hampered by mud, the Japanese troops facing Nanking found themselves not strong enough for a direct attack on the city. Instead, they bypassed it and reached the river on its upstream side, riding roughshod over a motley collection of KMT brigades, engineers, and factional rabble. Nanking is now completely isolated. Farther upstream, the way to Wuhu from the southeast is still blocked at Lake Ta Nan by a Corps of Chiang’s finest divisions.

On the road to Nanchang (in Kiangsi) the advance has run out of steam. Beefed up and well-supplied, the defenders are just too strong to be taken on by a single reinforced division at the end of a long, long supply line. How does one say no pasaran in Chinese? The Kure Marines stormed ashore again at the Fukien coast, seizing the little town of Putien with its magnificent harbor, easily evicting an overmatched garrison. The port will provide an excellent basis for an advance on Foochow. A serious mistake not to have had that port destroyed!

Chinese Player Turn

The respite provided by the weather made it possible to beef up the defenses of Linfen a bit more. On the other hand, the rains interfered with guerrilla sabotage in Hopei, making it ineffective.

The massed troops at the Shensi border spent most of their time glaring into empty space from their bunkers, waiting for attacks that didn’t come. Much like the Maytag man?

In northern Kiangsu, some of the hunted KMT troops went underground to form a new guerrilla base in the rice paddies near the big lakes. Now hide-and-seek has been added to the merry chase. When capture seems imminent, the hunted can just disappear from the face of the earth. It won’t win the
war, but it sure is sure fun to tweak noses of the mighty.

In the Great Yangtze bend, all but a few remnants at Lake Chao have reached the safety of the river. The debris that flooded back is being integrated into a strong defense front that follows the river from the vicinity of Nanchang to Hankow, which is being turned into a heavily fortified
bridgehead.

Farther downstream the retreat to Wuhu along the river continues, its eastern flank shielded KMT VII Corps, the victors of Lake Ta Nan, now absorbed by the reconstituted 1 Army. Another batch of supplies [GSPs] was brought in by barge from Hankow.

The garrison of Nanking stoically awaits its fate. A night air lift from Hankow brought in some badly needed supplies [3 GSPs].

At Yukiang in Kiangsi on the Hangchow-Nanchang road, a stalemate has developed. The Japanese thrust has been stopped cold, but a counterattack would require further reinforcements.

At Foochow, one brigade advanced toward the new Japanese Putien beachhead to delay any advance on the city from that direction. The best fighters of the resurrected Chinese-Soviet airforce have been stationed to cover Foochow and Amoy. They are still missing the favored I-16s, however, whose repair requires more spare parts from the Soviet Union [they were elim, need 2 ARPs for repair]. All quiet at the Canton front.

Comments

The North China regional government probably should have been installed long ago, last November. I had overlooked the geography rule 3.E.3 that makes East Hopei part of North China, letting its provincial government qualify as one of the three needed for formation of the regional government. I had gone by the Japanese Replacement Chart, on which E.Hopei is not listed in the North China puppet block. In game terms, no harm done. The Japanese would just have had one more destabilization point in January when the level dropped anyway, and would now have two or three more puppet brigades on the board. I still
feel the game works better not counting E.Hopei for the regional government, so as not to give the Japanese too much of an advantage with the stability level rolls early on. Perhaps Mark Royer will comment.

If this has short-changed the Japanese, I made a more serious mistake with my Chinese by not systematically destroying the sea port facilities in Chekiang, Fukien, and Kwangtung. In particular, the port of Putien should long have been demolished to remove a danger to Foochow. Even the ports of Swatow, Amoy, and Foochow should have been destroyed except for a 1 or 2 RE capacity to make it harder for the Japanese to evacuate their strong landing forces after a successful amphibious assault. In game terms, The Japanese can now capture Foochow with troops in supply through Putien. However, they could also easily take Foochow by direct amphibious assault, though at the expense of ResPts for landing craft.

I also see I overlooked a rule that gives the Japanese an advantage here and there, especially in guerrilla sweeps in the mountains: a +1 DRM for light divisions in attacks in some terrain including mountains. Still on a learning curve with this complex game.

Generalstab Updates, 20.6.2001

So I got at least a bit done today, although its mainly corrections, additions and some more turns of David Stokes “FWTBT”-Report which is taking definitly an interesting turn. Moons CV (europa-CV of course) is online now as well, so you can take a look at all the Generalstab-Members in the Zentralabteilung.

Generalstab Updates, 18.6.2001

Sorry, but today there’s not more to report as more updates from different game reports, the most notable peeing the end of Fred Helferichs “War of Resistcane”. I returned from vacation just yesterday and have to catch up a bit.

MARCH I 1938

Glorious spring weather and calm seas in all of China! Too good to be
true?

Japanese Player Turn

A Kwangtung provincial puppet government has been installed in Canton’s City Hall. In the backwoods, however, Kwangtung troops under Gen. Qin Yong keep the faith and refuse to lay down their arms. The puppet government’s control is not likely ever to extend beyond Canton and its immediate vicinity and the port and city of Swatow.

The Shanghai Marines landed at Tsinkiang on Fukien’s coast. Supported by gunfire from small craft (1 RF) they easily overwhelmed the lone brigade that defended city and port. However, in the air over the city a Chinese squadron of obsolescent Hawk fighters scored a glorious victory: Evading the screen of escorts they descended like the hawks the are named for on the lumbering bombers from Formosa and shot down most of them at no cost to their own (one K). Revenge for the humiliating defeat in the air over Canton a while back!

Up north the attack on Yanku shifted into high gear. Railed forward, 11 Army HQ and the Formosa Mountain Division joined the fray. The city was surrounded and stormed, the renowned 5 Mountain Division once again in the lead. Many prisoners were taken. Perhaps no wonder after the tumultuous weeks gone by, a free-for-all of diverse factions ensued and Japanese soldiers merrily joined in [another rampage roll]. It will take time for order to be restored.

With the might of 11 Army concentrated on the attack on Yanku, only garrison troops were available for guerrilla sweeps in the mountains. Despite favorable weather they remained futile.

In northern Honan the offensive along the Yellow River continued. Loyang’s brave defenders, two elite KMT divisions and factional troops, were short of ammunition and could not hold the city [the scant supplies had been allotted to Yanku as more important]. Preparations for the formation of a provincial puppet government are under way in Kaifeng [all Honan dot cities now Japanese-held].

In northeastern Kiangsu an ad hoc taskforce of 1 Army veered eastward from its advance to the Yangtze to outflank the small contingent of Chinese that is retreating from the Old Yellow River. Isolated, out of supply, and about to be trapped, their fate seems to be sealed.

At Chao Lake in central Anhwei, two elite divisions of 1 Army caught up with a retreating KMT Corps and eliminated it as a fighting force. The way to the Yangtze is now open here, too.

At the Shanghai front the two-pronged offensive continues. In the north on the Yangtze south bank, fortified Chenchiang was stormed and Nanking, still strongly held, is in sight. Railway engineers and resources have been moved forward by river barges to cope with dismantled tracks. In the south the offensive fared less well. At Ta Nan Lake the advance on Wuhu was stopped dead by the heroic resistance of a KMT division with factional support [AS]. This small Chinese victory may gain enough time for the retreat of the strong forces still in and around Nanking.

Short of Yukiang on the Hangchow-Nanchang road, reassembled 9 Division smashed into rearguards that had blown bridges and forced them to retreat with losses (DH). However, the tempo of the advance has drastically slowed, with still 60 miles to go to Nanchang.

At Swatow on the Formosa Strait coast, 11 Division was shipped home on higher orders and was replaced by a reserve brigade, much to the furor of the local commander. However, the reservists arrived full of spunk and, with naval gunfire support, destroyed a hapless Kwangtung brigade west of the city.

Dive bombers from 5th Fleet carriers attacked the port of Amoy and sank the left-overs of the once proud Chinese Navy. Only a few coastal and river barges remain, almost all of them bottled up on the Yangtze and Hsi.

Chinese Player Turn

Having learned from bitter experience, Chiang Kai-Shek showered most of his provincial governors with gifts generous enough to guarantee their loyalty.
[2 Res Pts each except where defection would no longer matter. Since the Japanese are too short of Res Pts to counter-bribe, this ensures success].

Far up north in Shahar, the Shansi forces kept up their waiting game in the mountains in anticipation of the time when the guerrilla bases have again built up enough strength for another Tet-style offensive. However, their Muslim comrades, who had broken all rules by advancing beyond their territory, were ordered home to Ningsia and Lanchow. [I had overlooked their home territory
restriction, but no harm was done.]

In Shansi, whatever could be scraped together was rushed to Linfen [last unconquered Shansi dot city] for a last stand. South of the mountains, the covering forces west of Loyang were pulled back to the Shensi border, where the KMT and factional garrison of that province is setting up a very strong
defense to block the way to Siking.

North of the Yangtze, the few scattered remnants scrambled for the safety of the Great River. Most of them reached the vicinity of Hankow, where the remainder of the KMT elite forces has now been concentrated. Rearguards destroy all bridges.

In Nanking a strong rearguard has been left behind. All else is attempting to escape the noose by hurrying as best can along the Yangtze toward Wuhu, already threatened from the southeast. Whoever cannot make it will be trapped with his back against the river. The rail ferry at Wuhu has been destroyed in anticipation of attempts by Japanese to seize it and cross over from the north bank to link up with their brethren advancing from Shanghai.

In Kiangsi, one KMT division and artillery have been unloaded from barges at Nanchang and are on their way to stop the Japanese advance along the Hangchow-Nanchang road. Finding the Hsi river blocked by Japanese gunboats, a contingent including artillery and destined for the Canton area was disembarked at
Linchow for a long overland march to where they can be of use.

Comments

The Tsinkiang landing had been planned for February I but had to be postponed because of gales in the South China Sea. The loss of the Formosa bombers in that operation has fairly far-reaching consequences: In the initial phase the ample ARPs were reduced for carry-over, so there is no chance to
rebuild an eliminated air unit until the next batch is received in May. Moreover, the air unit in the elim box in April I will earn the Chinese 1/2 stabilization point!

After the capture of Loyang the Japanese command faces a dilemma. Should or shouldn’t they continue their offensive into Shensi in an attempt to take Siking? The trouble is that an advance into Shensi will have to cope with the very strong garrison that includes six first-line KMT divisions. A massive
army would be needed and would have to operate far from its supply base (using up precious attack supply). The troops would be sorely missed elsewhere. Moreover, they would be fighting an enemy that is tied down on orders to watch the CCP guerrilla base farther north and could be left to wither on the vine. Is Siking worth the cost?

The Chinese command has been facing its own dilemma all along. Should or shouldn’t they liquidate that obnoxious guerrilla base in order to free the substantial KMT garrison for use elsewhere? Enough troops are available, but several sweeps would be required in the difficult terrain (loess hills, -2 DRM even in fair weather), and this would seriously antagonize public opinion (one destabilization point incurred for each sweep); also, the base serves a good purpose as a safe breeding ground for CCP regulars that can then drift into Shansi and Hopei to cause grief for the Japanese or spawn new guerrilla bases where the old ones have succumbed to Japanese sweeps.

FEBRUARY II 1938

FEBRUARY II 1938

The weather proved fickle as ever: Storms and gales have passed and sunshine has melted snow and dried mud. Only the Gobi still has freezing temperatures. An early spring this year?

Japanese Player Turn

The landing craft were at it again, this time at Swatow. Sasebo and Kure Marines and 3 and 11 Divisions stormed ashore right at the city, supported by 5th Fleet’s guns, and overwhelmed the defenders. The Soviet-Chinese Kwangtung airforce was prepared and tried to take on the transports, but took a terrible beating from the IJN carrier fighters and the ships flak (2K 2A versus only 1A, an incredible streak of lucky rolls for the Japanese). 3 Division immediately reembarked [in exploitation] and was ferried back to Formosa.
[To attack Swatow directly was a calculated risk. Even if all accruing new Kwangtung units were placed at the city, good odds seemed attainable in good weather at the time the landing was planned. Rough seas and mud would have necessitated cancellation. Swatow being the only dot or major Kwangtung city besides Canton, a puppet government will be installed next turn.]

Up north, a strong force of three divisions broke the road block barring the advance on Yanku. A sweep headed by 5 Mountain Division routed some guerrilleros in the Taifeng mountains, but their base remained intact, if weakened. 11 Army HQ and the Formosa Mountain Division were transferred to
Tientsin.

In Honan, 2 Army began to concentrate for a new offensive to take Loyang [last unconquered Honan dot city]. Meanwhile, 1 Army continued its advance through southern Honan and northern Kiangsi toward the Yangtze river. Some factional rearguards were overwhelmed. Spearheads reached the river opposite Nanking. Engineers contend with the extensive bridge and rail destructions.

Now under command of the Central China HQ the troops of the Shanghai front surged forward across the Grand Canal both north and south of Lake Tai, inflicting losses and taking prisoners. Railway engineers and resources were shipped to Shanghai in preparation for rebuilding of the dismantled Chengchiang-Nanking rail line.

To guard against incursions from the mountains, all Chekiang cities were garrisoned. One impudent KMT brigade that had ventured too close to the Hangchow-Nanchang rail line was wiped out. The troops in Kwangtung have settled to all-around defenses of Canton, Sunwul, and Swatow. A second river flotilla was sent to the Hsi to block it effectively all the way from the estuary to Tsangwei.

Much to the displeasure of the China command, troops including artillery again had to be withdrawn. Strong protests were launched in Tokyo, but so far to little avail.

Chinese Player Turn

In the north, Muslim and Shansi factional troops, finding no cheap targets, holed up in the Wutai mountains within striking distance of Peiping. Yanku was reinforced and is bracing for the inevitable Japanese attack. The Peiping-Chengchow rail line was sabotaged north of the Wei river.

The CCP Shensi guerrilla base sent out a major force that is preparing to form regular CCP units.

In northern Honan the position blocking the road to Loyang and the city itself were reinforced. However, the Japanese 2 Army executed a flanking attack earlier than expected [reaction phase] and is now threatening the city.

Farther south, a general retreat at best possible speed toward the Yangtze is in progress. All important bridges are being blown up. Factional units act as rearguards. Only the fact that the enemy is fully occupied elsewhere has made it possible to avoid serious losses.

A general retreat has also been ordered for the Shanghai front. The best divisions have been pulled out of line while sacrificial rearguards block the roads. A stronger detachment has been left in fortified Chengchiang to delay the Japanese advance on Nanking along the Yangtze south bank.

River and rail transport was used to beef up the blocking position forward of Yukiang on the Hangchow-Nanchang rail line. Unless strongly reinforced, the Japanese will now find at very hard to make any further progress here.

All quiet in Kwangtung.

Comments

An interesting situation is developing in Kwangtung. Japan has installed a provincial puppet government, but the Chinese-controlled Kwangtung faction is still very much alive and will keep recruiting as long as at least one reference city in the province is still unconquered—in all likelihood indefinitely because the Japanese can hardly afford to capture the entire vast province and hold all its cities against incursions from elsewhere and by guerrilleros, for very little return. We might see provincial Kwangtung puppet units fighting factional Kwangtungese. Farther down the line It could conceivably happen, however, that the faction turns puppet as the Chinese will probably not spend scarce Res pts to keep it in line. If so, there will be units of the provincial puppet government and of the Japanese-controlled puppet factions side by side, possibly even fighting jointly, as now in Shantung. [The rules clearly say or imply hat formation of a provincial puppet government does not affect the provincial faction, and Mark Royer has confirmed that this is indeed intended.]