While the extreme northwest is still suffering from bitter cold, unseasonably mild weather has returned to north and central china. The winds have subsided.
Japanese Player Turn
In Shahar and Mongolia the puppet troops are huddling in their cities. Meanwhile, 5 Mountain Division made good use of the break in the weather to stage a sweep in the Wutai Mountains that found and wiped out the guerrilla base weakened by Tet. The KMT base in the plain survived another sweep, but is now seriously depleted. To add to Japanese strength in Hopei, reinforcements were brought in by rail from 1 Army at Tungshan.
2. Army at Shengchow and Taifeng stayed in place awaiting repair of the Yellow River bridges, merely contributing a few units to the guerrilla sweeps. 1. Army west of Tungshan, favored by the improved weather, completed the mop-up of survivors of once-proud Chinese 1 Army, truly a “Destruction of Army Center,” but at a cost [high-factor EX and HX]. Two divisions were detached to Lienyunkang and embarked (in exploitation), another was rebuilt from its cadre at Tunghai with replacements that had been flown and shipped in from the home country. The mop-up and the destruction of all bridges in the area prevented more than vanguards from advancing toward Nanking. Pengpu, defended only by factional rearguards, was taken.
In northern Kiangsi between Lake Hung Tze and the sea the a semblance of front begins to take shape along the old course of the Yellow River.
At the Shanghai front, seriously weakened by the withdrawal of 1 Division, the troops north of Lake Tai were taken back behind the Grand Canal in expectation of a Chinese counteroffensive— or is that a transparent ploy to lure KMT VII Corp into a trap from which retreat will be hard when Nanking is captured from the north? South of the lakes, the two reserve divisions in line also gave ground to occupy better defense positions in the line Wuhsing-Hangchow.
At the Chekiang coast, units of 9 Division and its reserve mopped up on the Yungkia road. The bulk of the division headed back inland to catch up with the contingent advancing into Kiangsi toward Nanchang. These troops, now out on a limb, were reinforced by an artillery regiment and pushed on, knocked out in
a bloody fight (EX) a KMT division sent to stop them, and are now approaching Shangjao.
The Formosa Mountain Division at Taihoku [today’s Taipei] was readied for shipment to Hopei.
With improved weather the air raids on shipping in Amoy and Minchow were resumed. Planes from Formosa and the carriers sank shipping and some destroyer escorts. Little is now left of the Chinese fleet.
Chinese Player Turn
Making use of the excellent weather, Shansi and Muslim troops sallied forth northwestward beyond Talung at the Shahar border. In the Wutai Mountains of northern Shansi the CCP 120 cadre also moved northwest, aiming to establish a guerrilla base within range of Peiping. Loyal factional troops set up one more roadblock west of the Ladies’ Pass on the approach to Yanku, which is now strongly garrisoned.
Desperate to achieve at least one military success he can point to, Chiang Kai-Shek ordered his troops around Nanking to attack. One thrust aimed northward in the direction of Pengpu was repulsed (AS), the other and stronger one toward Shanghai took the Japanese by surprise in that it was launched south rather than north of Lake Tai. It rolled over the weak screen of reserve brigades (DH against one of them) and the Grand Canal. The way to Shanghai, just 25 miles away, is open! Meanwhile, dismantling of rail tracks around Nanking continued.
In Kiangsi, Shangjao on the road to Nanchang was hurriedly reinforced in an effort to stop the dangerous incursion, already uncomfortably close to the province’s heartland around Lake Pu Yang.
In the Yunwu Mountains north of Canton a strong defense position is being established. Preparations for a fall-back position 60 miles farther north at Shuichow have been initiated. The ports along the Formosa Strait and South China Sea are bracing for the next amphibious assault, only the Gods know
Good set-up of guerrilla bases is an art by itself. The base must by within range (10 hexes, with mountains etc. counting double) of the most important objectives, and should be in the best defensive terrain: the mountains if there are any. A die roll modifier of -2 and the fact that attackers except scarce mountain units are halved are the best defense against sweeps! This is very important because once a base far from the current front is eliminated, another one to take its place is not easily established. The best way appears to be to form some regular CCP units from guerrilleros of a nearby base and have these move to the right place, but movement through open terrain makes them vulnerable and is slow in mountains. Also, care must be taken not to activate base before it is strong enough to
withstand a sweep or two.