OCTOBER II 1937
Weather remained pleasant, except for first frost in the Gobi Desert
(who cares?)and mud and rough seas for battered southern Formosa in the
aftermath of Typhoon Dominic.
Japanese Player Turn
All quiet in Shahar and Mongolia. Security forces in Jehol keep
watch on that 218 Division hiding out high up in the mountains. Mop-up in the Wutai
Mountains is complete. 1 Infantry Division was shipped to Shanghai to
relieve 3 Division, exhausted from a month of constant street fighting (have to watch
where to put Big Number One, it gets withdrawn Jan I). 2 Army’s siege guns
were moved to Tientsin for transfer to ports still unknown. Something brewing?
2nd Army around Shihkiachuang split off two divisions (14 and 108) to
press on westward to the famous Ladies’ Pass on the road to Yanku, Shansi’s
capital. The main body of 2 Army advanced south along the Chengchow rail line
across the Fuyang river and through deserted Hantan. They encountered no
resistance and are now approaching the Tangyin river [another successful
reaction roll had speeded things up a bit] and are beginning to feel the
strain of supply shortages [beyond range of unlimited supply from Tientsin’s big port
and high-volume RR, forward units must now draw on scant capacity of net].
Engineers are busy repairing bridges and railway tracks.
1st Army crossed the Yellow River in strength, stormed Tsinan defended
only by rearguards, and is hard on the heels of the retreating Chinese, now
consisting almost exclusively of KMT regulars. Contact with forward elements
from the Shantung peninsula was established. Troops and civilians in Tsinan
have remained orderly [rampage roll negative].
The battle for Shanghai continues. Reserve divisions for those in
combat were landed at Woosung. The strongest thrust, with three divisions, ample
artillery, and naval gunfire support was launched along the Yangtze shore
against a well-entrenched enemy at Lotien. The fortified position was taken,
but the defenders managed to fall back in good order [DR]. In the city itself,
the southeastern portion was cleared of rearguards in actions supported by
siege artillery and ships. Prisoners were taken. The farthest advance was made
by 9 Infantry Division south of the city. Here, Chiahsing on the main rail
line to Hangchow was reached by forward elements. Also, engineers were landed at
Woosung to begin repairs in the city and eventually get the rail net going
The fall of Shihkiachuang has prompted the formation of a rival
government of Hopei in Tientsin under Japanese auspices. However, Hopei
strongman Gen. Shang Chen laughed at this subversion and is keeping his few
remaining troops firmly in Loyalist China’s camp.
Chinese Player Turn
In the far north the flight of the last remaining factional rabble
toward Yanku continues, shielded by CCP 129 Division. Shansi troops backed by
CCP 120 Division set up a defense at the Ladies’ Pass to delay the Japanese
advance on Yanku from that direction.
Having destroyed rail lines and bridges, KMT III Corps abandoned the
Tangyin river position and pulled back to the next and last river short of the
mighty Yellow, the Wei at Hwahsien (same name, different river, this one in
Honan rather than Shantung).
KMT II Corps, in full retreat from Tsinan, is struggling to extricate
itself from threatening flanking moves and to establish a reasonably coherent
front with the weak forces that had been screening the Shantung peninsula. 1
Army has assumed overall command. A Japanese breakthrough here would endanger
the retreat of the troops farther west.
The KMT elite troops withdrew from Shanghai city, leaving only
factional rearguards with artillery support behind in the southwestern and western
precincts. A retreat was ordered to a position running along the Grand
Canal in the south and across the neck of land between Lake Yangcheng (huge but only a
few feet deep) and the Yangtze in the north. This time, however, the situation
has become uncomfortable as the Japanese followed up immediately and
penetrated the defenses in the north while at the same time completing the mop-up in the
city itself (another successful reaction roll, here with good troops in ZoI
and attack supply stacked with the HQ). After weeks of bitter street fighting, tempers both of civilians and of Japanese troops in Shanghai flared. Soldiers of the reserve divisions went
on a rampage and civilians were quick to defend themselves with whatever weapons
the departed troops had left behind. The situation is temporarily out of control
(riot roll “1” = F*).
The defenses of Canton were beefed up with troops hurriedly brought in
from all directions. A new guerrilla base was set up by CCP 115 Division in the Taiheng
Mountains of Honan. One of the two regiments of the division was kept equipped
for regular warfare. The two strategic rail lines leading south from Peiping
and Tientsin were again sabotaged. The Japanese are beginning to feel the
Upon arrival in Chungking, Chiang Kai-Shek was displeased with
inadequate communication facilities and had a contre-temps with the imperious
governor of the province. He promptly redirected his just arriving government
to set up shop in Hankow instead. [The move to Chungking, if perhaps not premature, was a terrible
mistake. While undoubtedly the safest location, that city is out of KMT “home
territory,” so that 3 stabilization points less would accrue upon each
subsequent stability-level check. Hankow is safe for the time being, and the
1-pt penalty for another move at a later time is a small price to pay for
avoiding a 3 pts loss upon each check until then.]
If you are a masochist, play War of Resistance. As the Japanese you have
all these beautiful troops, almost as strong as Panzer Divisions, but are
hamstrung by supply problems and a sneaky enemy that pops up here and there to
cause you grief in your rear (truly a pain in the …). As the Chinese you get
knocked over the head wherever you don’t run fast enough, and just have to
outlast the punishment you are taking.
The Chinese tactics of putting up a strong defense in a good position
and then run before it can be attacked in strength has finally proved
counterproductive. Several successful Japanese reaction rolls in succession
have led to a dangerous situation that might well result in severe losses.
Only well-conducted scorched-earth tactics and guerrilla sabotage, causing delays
for the Japanese in getting their HQs and attack supply forward, have
prevented a tragedy. A key to success of the tactic is to have a rail line straight
back, for ease of retreat when time comes as well as for railing GSPs forward to the
HQ for defense at full strength. Unfortunately, 1 Army no longer enjoys this
luxury as the forward portion of its rail line (Kaifeng-Tungshan-Nanking) now
runs parallel and precariously close to the current front. Quite possibly I
became overconfident after the initial successes of the tactic and have after
all overestimated the Chinese ability to delay the Japanese advance forward of
Shanghai and Nanking.