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.