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.
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.