The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: July 2001

JUNE II 1938

JUNE II 1938

The Gobi, Chahar, Jehol, northern Shansi and Hopei, and Manchukuo were
granted a respite from monsoon rains. Not so the rest of China. The gale-force
winds have subsided but the seas are still rough.

Japanese Player Turn

5 Mountain and Formosa had to play fire brigade again. They took on and mercilessly disposed of the guerrillero concentration south of the Chahar capital Changkaikow. Lin Piao’s last stand? The guerrilleros turned regulars in the Wutais close to Peiping were surrounded by security forces and Manchukuo troops. For added protection of Changkaikow and Shanhwa a cordon of Chahar and Jehol troops was set up forward of the main defenses of the cities. One new Japanese light division arrived in Hopei from Manchukuo and was used to replace the 5/13 mountain and 2/3 infantry brigades that had to be withdrawn. Here in the north the danger appears to have been averted for the time being.

The city garrisons in central and southern Shansi, not directly threatened by the guerrilla offensive, kept to their posts. So did 8 Division forward of Linfen.

At the Sha river in north-central Honan, 16 Division struck again at factional troops that were trying to outflank its positions around Hsuchang [DH].

Reinforcements were sent to Tungshan and Pengpu. Gunboats that made their way up from the Yangtze are standing by to support Pengpu’s defenders.

Attempted search and destroy missions against the guerrilla bases in southern Honan and the Big Bend remained fruitless.

Although numerically superior and better equipped, Central China Army troops forward of Hwaining on the Yangtze were unable to take action against the guerrilleros and regulars that are sneaking closer through the flooded rice paddies [reasonable odds unattainable in the paddies].

In the mountains of eastern Anhwei, the road to Hweichow was cleared of guerrilleros. One brigade of 6 Division pushed through to join the defenders of the city. Although a strong KMT guerrilla force still lurks nearby, the city is now safe. Here, too, the danger has been averted. However, a sweep of the Tienmu Mountains in search of the KMT guerrilla base, hampered by the weather, had only a very modest effect [1 pt killed].

On the Hangchow-Nanchang road, 13 Division reinforced by extra artillery took up positions in the rice paddies forward of Chuchow [it was Chuchow, not Kinhwa, from where 9 Division could have drawn supply last turn]. Badly battered 9 Division retreated through the new defense lines to Chuchow for well-deserved R&R.

Overall, Red Dragon has been blunted everywhere except west of Tungshan and Pengpu and in the Big Yangtze Bend where major concentrations of guerrilleros and regulars still roam freely. However, even there the cities appear reasonably safe thanks to the reinforcements their garrisons have received. Additional troops and engineers will be needed for clean-up the mess. They will become available now that the guerrilleros in northern Shansi and eastern Anhwei have been taken care of. It seems the Chinese have shot their bolt.

Chinese Player Turn

In the Wutai Mountains near Peiping the last surviving CCP guerrilleros turned regulars managed to sneak out of encirclement to fade into the mountains and start preparing a new base [they could not have reached any target to attack if using regular movement, are forbidden to attack if using
infiltration movement, and had nothing else of value within reach]. Likewise, the KMT guerrilleros in the Anhwei hills near Hweichow scurried into hiding since any attack on that city had become hopeless and pointless [automatic AE if attempted]. Here, too, an additional base is being set up by guerrilleros turned regulars.

The advance in southern Shansi and northwestern Honan continued, if at a snail’s pace because of the weather conditions. Engineers are raising the Tunghwan ferry at the Shansi border. The CCP regulars from the Liuliang Mountains finally risked the dash across the central valley into the hills
northwest of Luan.

Factional troops that had surged into the gap between the northern and southern Japanese forces blew up the imporatant lateral Taifeng-Tungshan railway at several places and continued their unopposed advance in northwesterly direction. Farther south, guerrilleros and regulars sneaked into the rice paddies close to Pengpu, but found the city’s defenses impregnable. Two new CCP guerrilla bases were established.

To the west, the human wave from Hankow has reached the Sha river. Chuning was occupied and bridges and tracks in the rear repaired. Still farther west, troops from Hankow that had advanced through Nanyang are continuing on unopposed in direction of Loyang.

In the Big Bend, factional and KMT regular inched closer to Hwaining, but were unable to attack the strong Japanese positions.

On the road to Hangchow, elements of KMT 1 Army crossed the border into Chekiang and occupied the little town of Kiangshan (only a point city). Others fanned out north and south to attempt to outflank the Japanese defenses in the valley.

Comments

Having failed to topple any regional governments by recapture of cities, Chiang Kai-Shek’s chances now are slim. All potential targets were too heavily garrisoned by the time they could have been attacked. This is to a good part because the timing of the last-gasp effort had become rather obvious. Should Red Dragon have been launched a month earlier? The Japanese garrisons would have been weaker and the attacks on them would not have been subject to the -2 DRM for mud. On the other hand, without their June I recruits the guerrilleros would also have been weaker and, perhaps more importantly, in fair weather the Japanese would have been even better able to reinforce the targets and to round up and destroy guerrilleros before they could attack. Who can say?

JUNE I 1938

JUNE I 1938

Monsoon season in full swing: Except way up north in Mongolia,
torrential rains have turned the ground into a quagmire. Through much of the
time gale force winds along all of China’s coast. Couldn’t get much worse!

Japanese Player Turn

Easy come, easy go. Gone is the puppet government of Honan, come has one of Fukien at Foochow. The Japanese military had the power to impose a new Honan government, but decided to hold off in view of the unsettled conditions in the province [no point in forming a government when it can be toppled again at the Chinese’s pleasure by occupation of Chuning].

Anticipating a new Tet-like uprising, the Japanese command strengthened garrisons wherever that was possible. Artillery was transferred by ship and rail from Foochow to Chahar and northern Shansi. The city garrisons in northerwestern Hopei were reinforced. Marines were sent to Tunghai and Lienyunkang in northern Kiangsu, where they remain on stand-by. The divisions of the Central China Army southwest of Nanking are on full alert.

In southern Shansi, 8 Division held its position in the rice paddies forward of Linfen, keeping a regiment in reserve in that city. In the Yellow River valley, 27 Division continued its slow retreat eastward. South of Chengchow, 16 Division struck again at forward factional elements that were threatening its supply line [DH].

The only significant combat actions occurred on the Hangchow-Nanchang road and rail line. 13 Division was shipped to Hangchow from Foochow and hurriedly railed forward to relieve the besieged garrison of Kinhwa [OR, but no MPs left for farther advance]. Reservists of 9 Division supported by artillery took care of the other KMT contingent on the road between Kinhwa and Shangjao. Although its line of communications had been cleared, 9 Division retreated to just forward of the Chekiang border into better defensive terrain [rough].

Chinese Player Turn

This is it! The central command has unleashed Red Dragon, the long-awaited guerrilla offensive, to be coordinated with all-out attacks even at poor odds wherever an enemy can be found. Their’s not to make reply, Their’s not to reason why, Their’s but to do and die, And our’s now to say “oh, my!” if Some one had blunder’d.

The CCP guerrilleros in the northern Wutai Mountains had the choice of driving toward Chahar or into Hopei. They chose Chahar, where the garrisons are weaker and less easily reinforced. They are now huddled still in the protection of mountains and hills, preparing to strike. The relatively new KMT bases in Shansi’s Taiheng Mountains, northern Kiangsu’s rice paddies, and the Fukien coastal range were not yet combat-ready and remained inactive. The KMT base west of Tungshan sent its fighters eastward. The greatest guerrillero concentration was achieved in the Big Bend country between Nanking and Hankow, where two previously inactive CCP bases sent out their guerrilleros northeastward to disrupt traffic to Nanking and attack targets of opportunity. KMT guerrilleros from the base in the Tienmu range northwest of Hangchow moved west to cut the road to Ningkwo and the mountain town of Hweichow. The south was spared, the only activity there being the appearance of a CCP guerrillero cadre north of Canton. [They are to convert to regulars, which are then are to move east and form a new base closer to Swatow and Amoy.]

Unfortunately, one of the more promising of these guerrilla operation, in eastern Anhwei, ran afoul of the watchfulness of the Japanese Central China headquarters [successful reaction roll]. Hurriedly dispatched troops from around Wuhu cleared the road to Ningkwo. However, others that had rushed into
the mountains to relieve Hweichow fell short of their objective [DR against the other guerrilleros, who still block the road].

Everywhere, a few of the guerrillero cadres were armed to fight as regular units.

While the guerrilleros came out of the woodwork, the KMT front line troops mostly found the opposition too strong for their taste [attacks at 2:1 or worse in mud and possibly other than clear terrain are cannot inflict losses]. The sole exception was the Nanchang-Hangchow road, where an all-out effort that included rail and river transport of reinforcements and ammunition was made. It succeeded in mauling the Japanese 9 Division, though at a high cost [EX at 3:1; the Japanese had inexplicably failed to break the division down to take advantage of the fact that three of its four regiments could have been in supply from Kinhwa’s river port]. Among the decimated attacking units were two of the few remaining KMT elite divisions.

Though unable to attack, troops in Honan continued their advance. The Shensi Army inched forward heading east in the Yellow River valley. After past reverses the approach toward Linfen was more cautious and now attempts to rely on outflanking. The most spectacular success was that of factional formations in central Honan who pushed forward unopposed from around Chowkiakow to reach the strategic Taifeng-Tungshan rail line. In their wake, recruiters were busy raising new troops from the liberated villages. In the Big Bend, factional forces moved forward to join the guerrilleros for attacks yet to come.

Finally, the anti-aircraft batteries of 1 Army reached Hankow by barge from Lake Po Yang, a long-awaited boost to the defense of the capital.

An airlift from Kweichow to Kiangsi was organized to ferry draftees to river ports on Yangtze tributaries.

Comments

Make or break for the Chinese! Whether they can avoid preventing the drop of the stability level to zero in July I and so avert their total defeat now depends on the success of the regular and guerrilla attacks next turn (and luck in the random roll!). They have inflicted enough losses to for 2 stability points (the maximum in this category), but for a more than minimal chance they have to topple two regional governments so that the Japanese will be reduced to one. They can do so by capturing at least one city each in two of the four provinces Chahar, Hopei, Shansi, or Anhwei. If the Chinese survive the July I stability check, their chances are not bad. The capital in Hankow is safe for the time being, so they are assured continuing stability points on that score. The Japanese no longer have easy territorial targets, but will get progressively fewer destabilization points for the cities they now hold. And if they do capture additional cities, they will be stretched even more thinly to protect them. Also, if the war drags on into 1939, the guerrilla recruitment rate goes up again and the supply rate of Japanese ResPts goes down. It seems we have reached the turning point of the game or its end.

Although this slightly weakened overall strength, some guerrilleros were converted to regulars, for two reasons: Japanese attacking a guerrillero stack that includes regulars are halved unless they use attack supply; and surviving regulars can establish new guerrilla bases that will be inactive and so not exposed to Japanese retaliation, using infiltration movement to escape if necessary.

MAY II 1938

MAY II 1938

Beautiful spring weather continues except in the south, which is drowning in monsoon rain. Seas are calm except again on the South China Sea and in the Formosa Strait.

Japanese Player Turn

The puppet governors of Kingsu, Chekiang, and Anhwei have decided to form a Central China Regional roof organization in Shanghai.

In northern Shansi, Formosa Mountain Division hunted down the volunteers from Ningwu before they could fade into the mountains. For a rare change and for lack of anything better to do, 5 Mountain Division took a rest near Yanku. Near Linfen, three regiments of 8 Division advanced south along the rail line to Tungkwan and struck hard at the leading elements of a factional corps from Shensi [DE], then pulled back into the rice paddies forward of Linfen. That city remains garrisoned by the fourth regiment of the division.

A new mountain brigade from Manchukuo was railed into Hopei and made good use of the excellent weather to seek out and destroy the Shansi troops that had been lurking in the Wutai range near Peiping.

In the Yellow River valley, 27 Division retreated from Shanhsien on orders from up high even before the Chinese masses could make contact. The minds of the mighty are inscrutable.

16 Division and its assigned armor retreated all the way back from the Hwai to the Sha river, giving up the city of Chuning. The division overpowered the adventurous Chinese that had come to threaten its supply line and is now deployed in and around Hsuchang on the rail line to Chengchow.

In the Big Bend, 26 Division retreated from its blocking position at the north end of Lake Po Yang to set up defenses upstream of Hwaining. Two other divisions are forming a screen to protect that important city against attacks from the west. On the river’s other side the divisions of the Central China Army made short shrift of the Chinese rearguards, but advanced no farther: In the just beginning monsoon and rice growing season, the rice paddies to the south are no place for Japan’s elite to get mired in, especially since ominous rumors about an impending new Tet have begun to circulate. A further advance into the flank of the Chinese masses pursuing 9 Division on the Nanchang-Hangchow road was a tempting alternative, but was deemed unwise at this time.

9 Division retreated farther along the Hangchow road. Giving up Shangjao without a fight, they dispensed of a KMT brigade from the mountains in their rear, then took up new positions blocking the narrowing valley of the Kwangsin river forward of the pass that leads into Chekiang.

Security was strengthened in Anhwei and southern Kiangsu. The towns of Ningkwo and Hweichow were belatedly garrisoned. Little can be done at this time for northern Kiangsu (north of the Yangtze) and Chekiang.

The major port city of Foochow in Fukien capitulated. Last food and ammunition had been used up and no relief was in sight. [This really was an automatic DE on 9+:1 -2 surrounded, guaranteed even without attack supply; there is no U4 and no death by starvation in this game!] Dead tired, starved, and fed up with the war and the KMT, the citizens even welcomed the Japanese, who wisely distributed some meager rations of rice [no rampage].

In Upstate Fukien, the Kure Marines and mountain artillery stocked up again on ammunition ferried to Nanping’s river port, then tracked down and disposed of the last factional troops [DH; the river port allow them to trace a supply line to Japan].

The night terror raids against the KMT capital Hankow continued with good success. This time the AA gunners brought down a few bombers [1 A], but all returning aircraft landed safely.

Chinese Player Turn

The guerrilleros in the northern mountain ranges still hold their peace, though chafing at their bits.

The Shensi troops continue their two-pronged advance into Honan and Shansi. Abandoned Shanhsien was occupied and contact with the enemy was reestablished. Some troops were shifted to strengthen the drive into Shansi toward Linfen. News of the recapture of Shanhsien has forced the Honan puppet government in Taifeng to resign.

In central Honan the advance of the masses continues. Troops pressing forward from the Hwai river have reached the vicinity of deserted Chuning. Farther east and ahead of the main human wave, several forward detachments are force-marching through the thinly populated countryside in a northwesterly direction without encountering resistance. Forward elements have passed through Chowkiakow, only 60 miles from the strategic Taifeng-Tungshan rail line. The drive appears to be headed into the wide gap that has developed between the Japanese security forces in northern Honan and southern Hopei and Japanese 1 Army in the Nanking-Shanghai area.

In the Big Bend, factional forces are cautiously following up on the surprising Japanese retreat. No combat actions here.

A new defense line in the rice paddies and anchored on the east shore of Lake Po Yang is being formed to shield the flank of the advance along the Nanchang-Hangchow road. On this road, abandoned Shangjao was occupied and contact with Japanese 9 Division reestablished. In Chekiang, KMT brigades from the mountains have now reached the road and rail line at two places in the rear of that division, cutting it off from its supply.

Comments

The withdrawal from Shanhsien has brought the Honan puppet government down, but not the North China Regional one since Shantung, Hopei, and Shansi are still in the fold. As with Sunwul in Kwangtung, better to give up such an outpost sooner than later. Against the human wave, its defense would have called for reinforcements not readily available at this time. The Honan government can be reformed at any time since Loyang, Chenchow, and Taifeng are still held (and will certainly be strongly defended).

That the Japanese gave up the Honan reference cities Shanhsien, Chuning and Chowkiakow without a fight might seem surprising, but was prompted by a slick tactical consideration: It gave the Chinese two poor options: to occupy now and topple the Honan government, but see it reinstated before the July I stability check; or to bypass, only to see further advance obstructed and the road or rail supply line blocked. The Chinese made the best of it, occupying Shanhsien and Chowkiakow, but not Chuning, whose capture can now be used to bring down the Honan government in the critical June II turn. Again, a probably unintended artifact of the victory conditions.

MAY I 1938

MAY I 1938

Clear skies and dry spring weather everywhere except in the south, where the monsoon season is now in full swing. Seas are rough in the Formosa Strait, otherwise calm. Rice growing season everywhere.

Japanese Player Turn

A puppet government of Anhwei was constituted at Wuhu. Having cleared the Taiheng range of guerrilleros, 5 Mountain with accustomed verve took on an easier task: to squash a band of volunteers from Luan that had sneaked into the mountains nearby. Luan itself was occupied by a cavalry brigade to prevent recurrence. Near Linfen in southern Shansi, 8 Division pursued the survivors of the city’s garrison into the foothills, but was unable to catch them. At Shanhsien in the Yellow River valley the troops are digging in for defense so as not to be exposed to envelopment.

16 Division engaged factional troops at the Hwai river near the Honan-Hupei border and caused some losses [DH at 7:1]. However, any advance into Hupei would invite becoming trapped. The other strong Division in the Big Bend, the 20th, retreated eastward to avoid becoming entangled with advancing Chinese hordes. So did the reservists at Hwangkang near the Tri Cities, who were being outflanked from the north.

The countryside of northern Kiangsu is now reasonably effectively being policed by security forces. The guerrilleros have kept a low profile in their hide-outs in the rice-paddy country. Their recruiters will now have a harder time [all reference cities now garrisoned].

The main combat actions occurred on the Yangtze south bank southwest of Wuhu. With four elite divisions abreast, Central China Army rolled over poorly armed rearguards of draftees from Yunnan and Szechwan and advanced beyond fortified Matang, but the KMT core of Chinese 1 Army once again managed to slip away [DR].

Brave but lone 9 Division on the Hangchow-Nanchang road continued its slow retreat toward Shangjao and the Chekiang border to avoid becoming encircled by ever growing hordes of Chinese.

In Fukien the siege of Foochow continues [why attack full-strength defenders when next turn they will be quartered for isolation and no supply as their GSPs have been used up?]. Meanwhile, a mountain artillery regiment on foot and the Kure Marines on barges escorted by gunboats advanced up the Min river toward Nanping to weed out the last fertile Chinese recruiting ground in the province [last unconquered replacement city other than Foochow]. The fleet-footed mountain gunners cleared the way and were joined by the Marines who disembarked just downstream of the city. [Ironically, the mountain artillery, thanks to its high movement rate in rough terrain, was able to gain ownership of one riverbank and so allowed the RT and RF to move upstream in their wake.] With support by aircraft from Putien and fire from the gunboats the city was taken, but the defenders got away [DR].

Bombers from Shanghai, Nanking, Wuhu, and Hwaining conducted a successful night terror raid on Hankow in an effort to demoralize the KMT (and disturb Chiang Kai-Shek’s sleep). Anti-aircraft fire remained ineffective, but a small number of aircraft were damaged when landing at night upon their return [1 A].

All guerrilleros kept a suspiciously low profile [no base active at this time]. The calm before the storm?

Chinese Player Turn

Commanding over a plentiful treasure chest and facing crisis times, Chiang Kai-Shek wisely shunned no expenses to keep his warlords happy and loyal. [2 ResPts for every faction ensures continuing cooperation and was given to all that still exist, except only the MSF. Ironically, the MSF rolled a
“10” and would have reverted to cooperative if it had been bribed.] In Ningwu in northern Shansi, a town still untouched by the Japanese, a formation of volunteers was organized and equipped with whatever arms could be found. They are heading for still distant mountains. The CCP guerrilla base in the Taiheng range continued its recruiting, but still kept its people out of harm’s way.

In southern Shansi the last survivors of the Linfen garrison, a KMT brigade, reached the local mountains and went underground to start forming a guerrilla base. With their pursuers hard on their heels, their original plan to reach the Taiheng range farther east had proved suicidal. The CCP regulars in the Liuliang Mountains west of the central valley are still biding their time, waiting for the moment when a dash east across the open central valley will have become safe.

Now that the CCP guerrilla base in the loess country is out of the way, the massed troops in the Yellow River valley crossed the border into Honan, eager to confront the outnumbered Japanese that face them at Shanhsien. A smaller group is advancing into Shansi along the rail line to Linfen and Yanku.

In central Honan a collection of factional units force-marched northeastward to outflank the Japanese forces at the Hwai river. Forward elements reached the Sha river near Hiangcheng, just 70 miles south of the Yellow River and almost a hundred miles north of the Hwai. They are threatening to cut the vital supply line from Chengchow.

Closer to Hankow the human wave inched forward to the north and the east. In the north the forward elements are closing to the Hwai river, in the east vanguard have reached the foothills of the Tapieh Mountains in the center of the Big Yangtze Bend. Japanese troops were encountered only in a few places
and then found too strong to be attacked. Engineers from Hankow are fortifying the right bank of the Yangtze between Hankow and Lake Po Yang as well as the west shore of that lake where it can be crossed.

VII Corps on the Yangtze left bank retreated through Hokou and then along the east shore of Lake Po Yang into the rice paddies. Rearguards composed of cavalry and factional draftees were left behind to slow the Japanese advance. In Ningkwo and Hweichow, two backwoods towns in eastern Anhwei, ad hoc KMT brigades were raised from locals. They destroyed the airfields and then scurried into the mountains to join the guerrilleros [a Japanese miscalculation not to have gained ownership of these towns; it was feared they would too easily be recaptured by guerrilleros, causing trouble for the new Anhwei government]. Also, three KMT brigades that had been hiding in the Nen Mountains emerged and are making for the Hangchow-Nanchang rail line on which 9 Division relies for its supplies.

The pursuit of 9 Division on the Hangchow-Nanchang road and rail line continued. The Japanese are too strong for a frontal attack along the road and retreat just fast enough to evade any flanking moves. Despair reigns in besieged Foochow. Food and ammunition are used up, and no relief is in sight. The Marines evicted from the city found refuge in the nearby mountains and are setting up a guerrilla base. The troops evicted from Nanping are also heading for the mountains. The defenders of Foochow would
love to do likewise, but cannot because the city is surrounded.

Comments

What the Japanese must now beware of is casualties from Chinese or guerrilla attacks and loss of regional governments. These are what can give the Chinese stability points. A loss of ground and reference cities is of lesser importance. Even if a provincial government is brought down through loss of a reference city, it reappears the very next turn, and the effect is minor unless it causes the fall of a regional government at a time when it cannot be reinstated before the next stability check. [Three provincial governments of the region must be operative at start of the turn for the regional government to be formed, that is, before a provincial government can be reinstated. This causes a delay by one game turn if one of the three provincial governments has been toppled through loss of a reference city and has dragged the regional one down with it.] On the other hand, the loss of a dot city such as Linfen or Loyang would bring the provincial government down until the city is recaptured, which might take longer. As to casualties, the danger is low-odds attacks by the Chinese hordes. The Chinese can afford massive losses in their attacks, the Japanese cannot when defending. This is what makes the now rising “human waves” dangerous and explains the seemingly cowardly Japanese tactics in Honan,
Hupei, and Kiangsi where they face them. Although at an advantage, the Japanese haven’t won yet. As Yogi Berra was wont to say, it ain’t over before it’s over.

The so far successful Japanese tactic against the human wave is to concentrate in one central stack that blocks the road and is too strong to be taken on frontally, and then to retreat just as far as necessary to avoid being attacked from more than one hex. This must be paid for with some loss of conquered territory, but at the present time territory is less important than to avoid losses.

The Fukien expedition was designed to liquidate the MSF once and for all (For non-WoRers, MSF stands for miscellaneous southern factions). Its provinces are Chekiang and Fukien, and all of Chekiang is held by Japan. No MSF units were left on the map except at Foochow and Nanping. If all replacement cities of a faction have been captured, all replacements points are lost and no further ones accumulate (40.B.3). Replacements start to accrue again only if a replacement city is recaptured by the original owner (the faction), and the lone MSF 1-4 that might or might not get away into the mountains will
hardly be able to do that. If I misinterpreted the rules here, maybe Mark Royer will again set me straight again.

Night terror bombing was started as an insurance policy. There is not enough AA to have much effect at night, terror hits can help to offset stabilization points the Chinese might still gain with guerrilla and suicidal human wave attacks or toppling of regional governments in a new Tet offensive, and ARPs to repair air units aborted in crash landings are in ample supply. The only other productive employment for the airforce at this point would have been a systematic bombing campaign against the South China seaports to choke off imports and western foreign aid, but that would have taken time to make itself felt.

The Chinese faced a difficult problem in deciding when to spring their guerrilleros again. The ideal obviously is a simultaneous new Tet in all the provinces, coordinated with human wave attacks by the regular front troops in Hupei, Anhwei, and Kiangsu. To wait for the arrival of the new recruits in June
I would allow a build-up to maximum guerrilla strength. However, by that time the Japanese might have strengthened their rear area security again, as they are apt to do now that their current offensives have mostly run their course. What tipped the scales and made the command decide to hold until June I is that a chief aim is to have the regional governments of North and Central China toppled and not reinstated before the July I stability check. Since there is no realistic chance of recapturing a major or dot city, the regional governments will reappear like Phoenix from the ashes with only one turn delay after reference cities have been lost. This calls for activation of the bases and maximum guerrillero deployment at the end of the June I exploitation phase and all-out attack on reference cities in Hopei, Honan, Shansi, Kiangsu, and Anhwei in June II. An earlier start might or might not have more success in killing some Japanese garrisons, but would expose the guerrilleros and their bases to massive retaliation before the critical June II turn. Only the future can show whether the decision on timing was correct. That a technicality in the victory conditions should seriously affect such timing decisions is probably not intended. Maybe the Chinese could be given stability points for recapture of cities and toppling of puppet governments during the entire time span since the last stability check?

Generalstab Updates, 6.7.2001

Looks like everyone went into the summer break, a strange behaviour as the best time of the year to conduct any campaign comes closer. So few news this time, basically a few errors fixed and the game reports updated. Off to the Beach!

APRIL II 1938

APRIL II 1938

Rain and mud in the far north, nice spring weather in central China, frequent rain squalls heralding the monsoon season in the south. Seas rough at the central coast, stormy in the South China Sea.

Japanese Player Turn

Three new puppet governments installed! Shansi’s has taken its seat at Yanku, one for Kiangsu has been formed at Shanghai, and a new one for Kwangtung has been imposed over unruly Canton.

At Linfen the evicted defenders trying to escape into the mountains are being pursued and battered [another DH]. The mountain divisions in Shansi went about their accustomed job of partisan hunting in the Taiheng Mountains with a vengeance. They found the main guerrilla base and wiped it out. Lin Piao escaped on the skin of his teeth. His whereabouts are unknown.

At the Honan-Shensi border the troops kept to their positions. The Honan cities on and north of the rail line along the Yellow River remain strongly garrisoned.

North of Hankow a screen of light units is advancing cautiously, protecting engineers engaged in bridge repair. The only engagement was a bitter encounter of leading 16 Division with factional rearguards at the Hwai river near Hsingyang [HX].

The Big Bend of the Yangtze is now cleared. 26 division advanced to a position opposite Kiukiang at the north end of Lake Po Yang to block any further river barge traffic to points downstream and to Nanchang. Screening units reached the Yangtze at Hwangkang, just 40 miles downstream of the Tri Cities (Hankow-Hanyang-Wuchang). On the Yangtze’s south bank, undefended Wuhu was seized. The might of the Central China Army was concentrated on KMT VII Corps that had been shielding the retreat along the Yangtze. One of its elite divisions was decimated, the others are in danger of being cut off. An alert KMT headquarters averted disaster one more time [successful reaction roll!].

Security troops [two broken-down static divisions] were brought in from Japan to Shanghai and northern Kiangsu in a determined effort to pacify this populous and unruly province and put an end to Chinese recruiting. Two newly raised KMT units were tracked down and liquidated. South of the Shantung border, MG battalions formed a screen to prevent any KMT remnants from spreading guerrilla warfare to that so far peaceful region.

9 Division on the Hangchow-Nanchang road, faced with a superior enemy, is retreating slowly toward Shangjao to avoid being encircled.

13 Division was ferried from Nanking to Putien and advanced farther toward Foochow, liquidating a feeble factional battalion. They now have the city in their sights, but rain and flooding play havoc with the supply line to their base [unfortunately, Putien is in the midst of flooded rice paddies]. The Marines meanwhile advanced along the coast to the town of Changlo, opening up another small harbor that can be used for supplies.

On the mainland near Amoy the last remnants of the fortress garrison, mainly gun crews, were hunted down in the rice paddies by security troops.
[Ironically, the DH in the amphibious assault had eliminated the 1-2-2* fortress brigade and let the 0-1-4* artillery, of all things, escape to the mainland and into the paddies. Defending alone at zero strength they stood no chance even in excellent defensive terrain.]

No longer needed at Amoy, the Shanghai and Sasebo Marines transferred to the Putien beachhead, handing protection of the area over to security forces, and the Japanese airforce took on the airfields at Foochow and Nanping and plowed them over thoroughly. Outnumbered Soviet I-152 fighters took to their heels rather than face the music [they scrambled rather than attempting to intercept]. The port of Foochow remains blockaded.

Chinese Player Turn

Far up north in the Wutai Mountains a factional units continues its waiting game while another inches it way from the west to join them. Farther south in Shansi the last survivors of Linfen escaped into the Taiheng Mountains and went underground [would have liked to cross the mountains before establishing a guerrilla base, but that would have been caught in the attempt]. A regiment of CCP regulars is awaiting its chance to cross the central valley and also sneak into the Taiheng range.

Meanwhile in Shensi, KMT commanders gave their troops quite a talking-to, laced with hints of “or else.” This worked: The CCP base in the loess country was found and liquidated. Mao Tse-Dong escaped and is fuming, vowing revenge. However, he is shrewd enough to figure that Japan is his enemy number one and that the KMT can be dealt with farther down the line.

North of Hankow the massed troops of the KMT and from provinces far and wide arose from their positions and started advancing northward. The start of the human wave?

In Kiangsu the remaining KMT detachments found they had nowhere to go and decided to go underground. One did not make it in time and faces certain annihilation.

The troops on the Yangtze’s left bank retreat at best deliberate speed. A corps of Yunnan divisions is blocking the road at Chinchow to slow the Japanese advance.

In Kiangsi a human wavelet is in motion, giving Japanese 9 Division no respite on its retreat.

Foochow commander Qin Yong gave out last reserves of ammunition to his beleaguered troops [a foreign aid ASP had been hoarded for such an occasion]. The monsoon rains have given him a breather, but will not avert the inevitable end. At Nanping in Upstate Fukien new troops were raised in defiance of both the Japanese and the KMT.