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arrived in Hopei from Manchukuo and was used to replace the 5/13 mountain and 2/3 infantry brigades that had to be withdrawn.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.
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?