Glorious spring weather and calm seas in all of China! Too good to be
Japanese Player Turn
A Kwangtung provincial puppet government has been installed in Canton’s City Hall. In the backwoods, however, Kwangtung troops under Gen. Qin Yong keep the faith and refuse to lay down their arms. The puppet government’s control is not likely ever to extend beyond Canton and its immediate vicinity and the port and city of Swatow.
The Shanghai Marines landed at Tsinkiang on Fukien’s coast. Supported by gunfire from small craft (1 RF) they easily overwhelmed the lone brigade that defended city and port. However, in the air over the city a Chinese squadron of obsolescent Hawk fighters scored a glorious victory: Evading the screen of escorts they descended like the hawks the are named for on the lumbering bombers from Formosa and shot down most of them at no cost to their own (one K). Revenge for the humiliating defeat in the air over Canton a while back!
Up north the attack on Yanku shifted into high gear. Railed forward, 11 Army HQ and the Formosa Mountain Division joined the fray. The city was surrounded and stormed, the renowned 5 Mountain Division once again in the lead. Many prisoners were taken. Perhaps no wonder after the tumultuous weeks gone by, a free-for-all of diverse factions ensued and Japanese soldiers merrily joined in [another rampage roll]. It will take time for order to be restored.
With the might of 11 Army concentrated on the attack on Yanku, only garrison troops were available for guerrilla sweeps in the mountains. Despite favorable weather they remained futile.
In northern Honan the offensive along the Yellow River continued. Loyang’s brave defenders, two elite KMT divisions and factional troops, were short of ammunition and could not hold the city [the scant supplies had been allotted to Yanku as more important]. Preparations for the formation of a provincial puppet government are under way in Kaifeng [all Honan dot cities now Japanese-held].
In northeastern Kiangsu an ad hoc taskforce of 1 Army veered eastward from its advance to the Yangtze to outflank the small contingent of Chinese that is retreating from the Old Yellow River. Isolated, out of supply, and about to be trapped, their fate seems to be sealed.
At Chao Lake in central Anhwei, two elite divisions of 1 Army caught up with a retreating KMT Corps and eliminated it as a fighting force. The way to the Yangtze is now open here, too.
At the Shanghai front the two-pronged offensive continues. In the north on the Yangtze south bank, fortified Chenchiang was stormed and Nanking, still strongly held, is in sight. Railway engineers and resources have been moved forward by river barges to cope with dismantled tracks. In the south the offensive fared less well. At Ta Nan Lake the advance on Wuhu was stopped dead by the heroic resistance of a KMT division with factional support [AS]. This small Chinese victory may gain enough time for the retreat of the strong forces still in and around Nanking.
Short of Yukiang on the Hangchow-Nanchang road, reassembled 9 Division smashed into rearguards that had blown bridges and forced them to retreat with losses (DH). However, the tempo of the advance has drastically slowed, with still 60 miles to go to Nanchang.
At Swatow on the Formosa Strait coast, 11 Division was shipped home on higher orders and was replaced by a reserve brigade, much to the furor of the local commander. However, the reservists arrived full of spunk and, with naval gunfire support, destroyed a hapless Kwangtung brigade west of the city.
Dive bombers from 5th Fleet carriers attacked the port of Amoy and sank the left-overs of the once proud Chinese Navy. Only a few coastal and river barges remain, almost all of them bottled up on the Yangtze and Hsi.
Chinese Player Turn
Having learned from bitter experience, Chiang Kai-Shek showered most of his provincial governors with gifts generous enough to guarantee their loyalty.
[2 Res Pts each except where defection would no longer matter. Since the Japanese are too short of Res Pts to counter-bribe, this ensures success].
Far up north in Shahar, the Shansi forces kept up their waiting game in the mountains in anticipation of the time when the guerrilla bases have again built up enough strength for another Tet-style offensive. However, their Muslim comrades, who had broken all rules by advancing beyond their territory, were ordered home to Ningsia and Lanchow. [I had overlooked their home territory
restriction, but no harm was done.]
In Shansi, whatever could be scraped together was rushed to Linfen [last unconquered Shansi dot city] for a last stand. South of the mountains, the covering forces west of Loyang were pulled back to the Shensi border, where the KMT and factional garrison of that province is setting up a very strong
defense to block the way to Siking.
North of the Yangtze, the few scattered remnants scrambled for the safety of the Great River. Most of them reached the vicinity of Hankow, where the remainder of the KMT elite forces has now been concentrated. Rearguards destroy all bridges.
In Nanking a strong rearguard has been left behind. All else is attempting to escape the noose by hurrying as best can along the Yangtze toward Wuhu, already threatened from the southeast. Whoever cannot make it will be trapped with his back against the river. The rail ferry at Wuhu has been destroyed in anticipation of attempts by Japanese to seize it and cross over from the north bank to link up with their brethren advancing from Shanghai.
In Kiangsi, one KMT division and artillery have been unloaded from barges at Nanchang and are on their way to stop the Japanese advance along the Hangchow-Nanchang road. Finding the Hsi river blocked by Japanese gunboats, a contingent including artillery and destined for the Canton area was disembarked at
Linchow for a long overland march to where they can be of use.
The Tsinkiang landing had been planned for February I but had to be postponed because of gales in the South China Sea. The loss of the Formosa bombers in that operation has fairly far-reaching consequences: In the initial phase the ample ARPs were reduced for carry-over, so there is no chance to
rebuild an eliminated air unit until the next batch is received in May. Moreover, the air unit in the elim box in April I will earn the Chinese 1/2 stabilization point!
After the capture of Loyang the Japanese command faces a dilemma. Should or shouldn’t they continue their offensive into Shensi in an attempt to take Siking? The trouble is that an advance into Shensi will have to cope with the very strong garrison that includes six first-line KMT divisions. A massive
army would be needed and would have to operate far from its supply base (using up precious attack supply). The troops would be sorely missed elsewhere. Moreover, they would be fighting an enemy that is tied down on orders to watch the CCP guerrilla base farther north and could be left to wither on the vine. Is Siking worth the cost?
The Chinese command has been facing its own dilemma all along. Should or shouldn’t they liquidate that obnoxious guerrilla base in order to free the substantial KMT garrison for use elsewhere? Enough troops are available, but several sweeps would be required in the difficult terrain (loess hills, -2 DRM even in fair weather), and this would seriously antagonize public opinion (one destabilization point incurred for each sweep); also, the base serves a good purpose as a safe breeding ground for CCP regulars that can then drift into Shansi and Hopei to cause grief for the Japanese or spawn new guerrilla bases where the old ones have succumbed to Japanese sweeps.