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?