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
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.
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.]