LargeSlowTarget -> Six years of war (10/26/2012 4:26:42 PM)
I am proud to announce that my first and only "classic WITP" PBEM game has finally ended after six and a half real-life years of doing 3 - 5 turns a week during lunch break at work (well, sometimes during work [;)]).
The game did start in spring 2006 with the GC on CHS 2.03 in one-day turns. Emperor LST was forced on February 10, 1945 to accept defeat when the game engine decided that a 2:1 ratio in victory points is enough - otherwise the Emperor would have been prepared to die at the head of his remaining troops defending the Imperial Palace at Tokyo!
Congratulations to my cherished opponent Tom (from a German WITP forum) who did not gave up during the hard times for the Allies and has proven himself to be a reliable and honorable PBEM partner.
Tom and I have agreed to write after-action summaries for our records and for anyone who cares – Tom for “his” German forum, and I for “my” Matrix Games Forum. I am going from memory and without notes, so please excuse if dates and events are sometimes vague.
Here we go:
Expansion and early setback
Being a "historic" player, I planned for a rather conservative strategy of capturing just the SRA without attempting crazy things like invading India or Hawaii, then to settle back with my fleet and a sizeable ground force reserve at Truk, ready to smash the first Allied counterattack. This is almost what happened.
My expansive phase suffered from a couple of beginners errors, e.g. landing at non-base hexes to avoid enemy forts and troop concentrations, wasting supplies or not bringing enough etc., or bad moves like accidentally moving the Tokyo base force to Gumma where it became static for the rest of the war due to device upgrades... Apart from that, I captured the Philippines, the NEI, PNG (except Port Moresby), the Solomons, Wake and the Gilbert Islands more or less “on time” and with moderate losses against determined but futile resistance.
The first really serious setback was the successful Allied defense of Rangoon by Commonwealth and Chinese troops with air and naval support. All through 1942 and into 1943 a prolonged battle raged between Rangoon and Moulmein on land, air and sea which lead to the loss of four RN carriers, a BB and lots of cruisers (I lost Hiei and Kirishima in this area). My attacks on Rangoon failed nonetheless due to my inability to supply a force large enough to capture the base. How Tom has managed to keep Rangoon supplied is beyond me, but he has lost scores of AKs around Rangoon in trying. After several bloody noses trying to cross the Sittang, I went on the defensive at Moulmein, digging-in and preparing fall-back positions.
Counter-attack and counter-counter-attack
What prevented me from an all-out effort at Rangoon was the early counter-offensive the Allies launched in the South Pacific. Forces needed at Rangoon had to be re-routed to the South Pacific. The short-lived Allied “liberations” of Tarawa in mid 1942 and Guadalcanal in late 42 both ended in costly defeats for the Allies – resulting in half-a-dozen Allied divisions destroyed or surrendered, the loss of Lexington, Saratoga, Enterprise and Hornet in one memorable “Reverse Midway” carrier clash near Irau (I surprised his CVs cruising in a coastal base hex), the loss of Yorktown in a separate battle in the Phoenix Islands, plus 2 USN BBs and several cruisers lost (against light losses and a few damaged IJN ships). But these operations not only saved Rangoon but also delayed my timetable long enough to find Port Moresby too tough to crack. Btw, my opponent deserves high praise that he did not give up after the unlucky carrier battle.
Port Moresby had been heavily reinforced by the time I had finished restoring my defensive perimeter in the Gilberts and Solomons (late 1942). Port Moresby, Milne Bay, Lae and other bases in the area saw fierce air battles which hang in a balance for a long time, but ultimately swung into the Allies’ favor with the arrival of Corsairs and Lightnings. I lost Kongo and Haruna on bombardment runs trying to suppress Allied airfields. Without local air superiority I had to abandon the idea to capture Port Moresby in early 1943 and decided to go on the defensive, rebuilding my carrier air groups and hoping to smash the next Allied counter-invasion.
But events in China and Manchukuo prevented me from shifting more units to the South resp. the CBI to defend against the expectable Allied counter-offensives. The failure to capture Rangoon allowed supplies to reach China, and the Chinese units not only defended themselves well, they also went on the offensive. Tom managed to pin-down the bulk of my forces in see-saw actions around Hankow, Ichang, Nanchang, Changsha and Sian. I was able to hold North and Central China, but in mid 1943 Tom started operations in South China aiming at liberating Wuchow. His advance was slow but inexorable, he captured Wuchow in late 1943 by sheer mass. He continued operations in direction of Nanning and then Hanoi while at the same time starting a siege of Canton.
Much worse, due to the Allied activities in China I had to call reinforcements from Manchukuo and Korea and did not pay enough attention to the AV numbers – triggering the Russian activation in spring 1943. My opponent Tom tried to take advantage of this situation, but chivalrously honored my request to ban non-Russian forces (esp. Air Forces) from Russian soil, since this would have been politically impossible IRL. Otherwise he could have launched a bombing campaign with B-17s and B-24s from Russia in the Home Islands – no fun…
With the benefit of interior lines of communication and with a massive bombing campaign against Russian air fields and resource centers and industries I managed to check each Russian offensive - and there were several: from Vladivostok in direction of Mutankiang, then a secondary stab from Vladivostok against Changkufeng, followed by the capture and liberation of Mishan, the battle of Heiho, the battle of Hailar, battles for Oboto and Tamsag switched hands several times, and finally the attempt to break through the Hailar-Arshaan line, which was still raging when Japan surrendered.
But the successful defense of Manchukuo tied-down forces desperately needed elsewhere - everywhere. I had to face Allied offensives in Burma, in China, in the Central Pacific, the South Pacific and even the Kuriles. Tom made up the losses of US divisions in 1942 by using numerous Australian and New Zealand formations (which would have been “permanent restricted” in RL- and AE) for offensive missions, while Japan simply had not enough ground units to stem the more or less simultaneous advances. Concentration on one front would have resulted in even easier Allied successes at the other fronts - and trying to stem the tide everywhere only lead to slow but inevitable destruction of my forces under a hail of bombs. My air defenses were spread thin and had to limit themselves to protect the major ports and resource/oil centers.
The “strategy” forced upon me was to hold Manchukuo at all costs and to stall everywhere else to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Some key bases were to be defended in strength (if evacuation of troops seemed possible), other bases where the garrison would have to be sacrificed (remnants were evacuated by any means possible – usually subs or by air – after the base fell) were held with just enough strength to force a formal invasion with air and surface preparation and support instead of “grabbing them on the run” – all this designed to delay and buy time while preserving a maximum of forces.
Retreats and evacuations in the SRA
In Burma, Tom had started building up land and air pressure and during 1943 forced me to yield ground, pushing my 15th Army out of Moulmein and further south. In mid 1943 my forces were digging-in at Bangkok, which I defended successfully for several months, helped by the difficult overland supply situation of the Allies. When an Allied breakthrough appeared imminent, I faced the choice of abandoning either Malaya or Indochina (trying to defend both areas was hopeless). Not wanting to have the bulk of my Southern Armies being isolated and destroyed in far-away Malaya (with its numerous air bases to accommodate the Allied Air Forces), I opted for Indochina – also being closer to the PI which would allow evacuation. The small 25th Army in Malaya - most of its units having been transferred to 15th Army already - was only a weak “speed bumper” to delay the recapture of Singapore. The 15th Army retreated to Saigon.
Meanwhile in late 43, Tom’s Chinese Armies had captured Hanoi and continued the siege of Canton. Soon Chinese forces from Hanoi and Commonwealth forces from Bangkok were marching towards Saigon, threatening to destroy my weakened and undersupplied 15th Army in a pincer movement. In order to save the troops to fight another day (and because the PI were by this time wide open to US attacks), I decided to fight a delaying action while preparing to evacuate Indochina as well – feeling I had no other choice (with 15th Army lost, the Allies could have marched straight up to the Home Islands).
In a massive evacuation effort involving hundreds of ships (sort of “Reverse Dunkirk”) and transport planes, I managed to save the remnants of dozens of shattered divisions and brigades plus Base Forces and Engineering assets from Saigon and Cam Ranh Bay, right from under the noses of the steamrolling Allied ground forces. Due to fighter cover losses to Allied air attacks remained acceptable. But unfortunately, during bombardment missions to suppress Allied airfields, BB Yamato was bombed and then torpedoed by submarine and sank off Cam Ranh Bay. The evacuation and redeployment to Formosa and the Philippines was terminated in early 1944 and the troops got a breathing period to regain some strength.
The loss of Malaya and Indochina meant the days of collecting oil and resources in the SRA where numbered. Allied bombers forced my shipping routes to hug the coasts of Borneo, as far away as possible from the air bases in Indochina and Malaya under new management and under what protection my fighters could give on LRCAP from Borneo bases. This situation soon solved itself when the Commonwealth forces - after liberating Singapore - continued to recapture most of the NEI bases on by one during 1944. Soon they were joined by Australian and American forces attacking the NEI from the South and the East. In the end, only Ambon, Kendari and Balikpapan stayed under Japanese control and Allied air prevented anything but single-ship ventures and barge operations – both with little success and high casualties. Allied PTs finally put an end to these desperate measures as well.
Notes on production and logistics
The loss of the SRA was of course hurting my production – but not the way it should have. I had no oil or fuel shortage and stockpiles remained high in the Home Islands until invaded. But even before the loss of the SRA I faced a serious shortage of resource points which limited HI and supply production. The problem was not transportation – my ASW efforts are the brighter side of the story, with many float plane and bomber groups assigned to ASW patrol and many Allied submarines sunk for acceptable losses in my Navy. I quite probably have over-expanded my HI and fighter factories. But even then, I should have run out of oil before running out of resources - and supplies.
My supply situation was difficult from late 1942 onwards – even before the loss of the SRA - and many bases had to live from hand to mouth with only enough supplies to last a month or two of “normal existence”, but not enough stockpiles for offensive operations or prolonged defense. Time and again the stockpiles at front base were reduced to “orange” or even “red” levels from supply hits due to pre-invasion bombing and bombardments, making defense a hopeless task. When the Allied closed resp. captured the SRA in 1944, the oil / fuel situation remained good due to Home Islands stockpiles, but the resource situation became critical and I was struggling to provide even key bases like Shanghai, Harbin and Home Island bases with the 20.000 supplies needed to pull reinforcements planes – making the task of maintaining fighter defenses a constant juggling of units. For example, on June 15th 1944 Shanghai held more than 254.265 oil points, but only 2550 resource points and 19.815 supplies, Takao had 255.124 oil points and only 349 resource points and 10.093 supplies.
When I realized the resource and supply bottleneck, I stopped any remaining factory expansions, reduced and even stopped production of vehicles, merchant and naval shipbuilding, “non-essential” planes like bombers, limited the construction of base facilities (except forts) and cut reinforcements for expandable or redundant units (like base forces not needed for shrinking air forces) in order to save HI points and supplies. This helped a bit, but of course had other drawbacks. Lack of supplies was the factor which hampered my war effort more than anything else.
Retreats and evacuations in the POA
While the Chinese, Russians and Commonwealth forces occupied the bulk of my Army forces on continental Asia, the Americans advanced in the Pacific.
In the North Pacific, Tom opened a new front in 1943 and in the course of the year slowly captured the string of Kuriles islands from Paramushiro to Kunashiri – except defended Etorofu – and turned some of them into moderate air bases, launching infrequent B-24 attacks against industry and resource targets in Northern Japan. A few Tojo groups on Hokkaido took care of this threat. I sent carriers and surface raids to interfere with his build-up and they sank BB Indiana, CLs Leander and Denver plus CVE Chenago up there. But eventually I decided that this Northern thrust was only a strategic diversion and sent my naval forces to the South again. I was to be proven wrong later…
In the South Pacific, after the battle for Port Moresby ended in spring 43, Tom started to advance cautiously base by base, keeping under land-based air cover, up the New Guinea coast. With the Solomons in danger of being outflanked, I had to reduce my garrisons in this island chain in order to reinforce Rabaul and New Guinea, which allowed Tom to recapture the Solomons with relative ease despite delaying actions by the remaining garrison forces and the occasional surface raid or air attack. The Allies enjoyed local superiority in air and ground forces and growing naval strength (while I was lacking supplies and troops) with predictable results.
I was able to delay his advance by building-up forts at the “front base” and withdrawing the Eng units by Tokyo Express, barges and air transport just in time before the Allied invasion, building-up the next base in the rear while the Allies were batting-down the forts and defenders in the front base. When the front base fell, the remnants marched and/or “barged” to the next base, which had been fortified in the meantime, reinforcing the local defenses – and becoming the target of the next Allied move again. I was able to repeat this process several times from Lae to Sarmi. The Allied advance was not without costs – air attacks, carrier strikes and surface actions were fought and the Allies lost BBs Nevada, California, Idaho and Washington plus several cruisers, while the IJN lost a CL and a few DDs.
While the US Army fought in the South Pacific under land-based air cover, the growing carrier strength of the USN with replacement carriers for the pre-war CVs lost in the Solomons, new construction and many more new combat and assault ships allowed Tom to launch a Central Pacific drive through the Gilberts and Marshalls in late 1943. After quickly capturing most atolls (except Wake, Wotje, Maloelap and Mili) despite spirited but futile resistance of the SNLF garrison forces, repeated carrier strikes on Rabaul, Truk, Palau and the Marianas announced the beginning of the Allied attack on the inner defensive lines.
Tom attacked Saipan, Tinian and Guam one after another in early 1944. Each time the supply-starved defenders were outnumbered and outgunned and died bravely to buy a few more weeks of time – nine divisions were sacrificed that way. I did not dare to risk my fleet without land-based cover (impossible in the Marianas due to lack of supplies to operate the aircraft) to come to the rescue. I elected to preserve my fleet until I could launch an all-out attack coordinated with land-based air forces under more favorable circumstances. This anticipated clash came soon. Tom took lightly defended Ulithi and Yap, bombed Truk and Palau into impotence (but did not dare to invade them) - and then his carriers moved to give his advance along the PNG coast a hand.
Sansapor Turkey Shoot
In PNG, Tom had started skipping bases after the capture of Sarmi and left many of my men stranded on Biak and Manokwari. When Allied Forces threatened Sansapor and Sorong in early 1944, I judged the time has come to interfere with my carrier forces and land-based air from the relatively well-stocked bases at Ambon and Mindanao. But plane and pilot quality were grossly mismatched by this stage of the war. The clash with USN carriers near Sansapor covering the invasion ended with the loss of Kaga, Zuikaku, Soryu, Junyo, Ryujo and Soho and damage to most other surviving carriers. My land-based air was decimated as well, the remnants being sent to Luzon for rebuilding as future Kamikaze units. Losses to the Allies were limited to a few ships damaged.
By mid 1944, of all bases in the PNG / Solomons area I only kept Rabaul, Biak, Manokari and Babo (but over time I managed to evacuate the balance of the garrison forces to Truk and Palau by air and further on to the Philippine Islands. I LOVE Mavis and Emily for their range and air transport capabilities – apparently Tom did not realize that I had evacuated those bases and that weak Allied forces could have taken them).
Invasion of the Philippine Islands
With the Marianas and PNG secured, Tom was approaching the Philippine Islands. He captured the Moluccas against slight resistance and built them up quickly. I was expecting the next move to be directed against Mindanao to roll-up the Philippines from below. I positioned my forces accordingly in order to deny the Allies the use of Mindanao airfields as long as possible. Instead, Tom surprised me by risking his carriers in the restricted waters of the Celebes Sea and Sulu Sea to launch multiple invasions in short order at comparatively minor bases – one after another Menado, Tarakan , Sandakan and Jesselton in the NEI fell to the enemy, as well as the bases Tawi Tawi, Puerto Princessa and Taytay in the Philippine Islands. Although most of these bases had low potential air base sizes and had not been improved by me, within days Allied aircraft were operating from these bases - courtesy of the abundant Allied ENG forces. Allied aircraft were now preventing any further attempts to ship resources and oil from the few SRA bases remaining in Japanese hands or to shift defensive forces and supplies around the Philippine islands.
I hoped to counter further Allied invasions in the Philippine Islands with massed Kamikaze and conventional air attacks from bases in the PI and Formosa and also tried surface raids under land-based air cover. I did keep air groups with more than 60 exp for conventional attacks, CAP and escort and converted the less experienced groups (actually the majority of my Air Forces) to Kamikazes.
The first day of suicide attacks – about 400 planes - must have surprised Tom, since his CAP was relatively weak (later it was almost impossible for Kamikazes to break through his CAP). My Kamikazes damaged a couple of fleet carrier and sank a dozen CVEs, but could not prevent landings on Luzon proper – at secondary landing at Legaspi and the main landing at Aparri. By June 1944, my troops had been pushed back to Clark Field. A final stand at Manila - stubbornly defended by the survivors of the former 15th Army – stalled the Allies for several months. The brave troops were finally crushed by a torrential rain of bombs, shells and bullets. The central and southern PI were ignored by my opponent – turning this maze of islands into the wars largest POW camp where dozens of Divisions and Brigades were waiting in vain for the invasions that never came. Eventually, faithful Mavis and Emily evacuated a sizeable part of the infantry and light weapons to Okinawa and Japan, while shorter-range Army transport planes evacuated troops to Formosa.
At the doorsteps of the Home Islands
After conclusion of operations in Indochina and Malaya by early 1944, part of the Commonwealth forces liberated the lightly-held NEI, while other Commonwealth forces helped the Chinese to capture Canton and Hong-Kong in autumn 1944 and to advance up the China coast overland and/or by amphibious hops to capture Swatow, Amoy, Foochow, Wenchow and finally reaching Shanghai by the end of the year 1944. Other Chinese units kept the pressure up in Central China, threatening Hankow and capturing Nanchang. At the end of the war, the frontline followed the Yangtze, with Hankow, Anking and Nanking still in Japanese hands.
The Japanese Empire had effectively shrunk to the Home Islands, Korea, Manchukuo, North and Central China, linked by convoy hops across Korea Strait. Formosa and the few remaining outposts in the SRA and the Pacific were cut-off. When doing my turns, I spend more and more times clicking through Allied air attacks and bombardments and less and less time giving orders to my dwindling forces. But I was determined to fight until the end.
By mid 44, US Forces had landed on Iwo Jima but for several weeks were not able to capture the base. It seems Tom has underestimated the strength of the garrison and had no immediate reserves available – since his troops were already fighting on Luzon and he also had started operations in the Ryukus.
There, Tom again invaded an undeveloped island (Miyako) first, built-up the airbase and port to provide CAP and LRCAP and a repair base for damaged ships – and only then attacked Okinawa. Here, a large part of the ex-15th Army troops of Moulmein-Bangkok-Saigon fame had recuperated (limited supply permitting) and had been reinforced by newly raised formations. I evacuated unnecessary “eaters” and ineffective units like base forces and depleted combat units to the Home Islands while reinforcing the defenders with fresh units evacuated from the Central and Southern Philippines which Tom had elected to leave alone – all this by air (as I said, I LOVE Mavis and Emily - Tom apparently has underestimated the importance of LRCAP over my airfields to prevent air transport missions). I was surprised myself that the resulting “Light Infantry Army” (since the heavier weapons are not airmobile and were left behind in the PI) proved to be quite resilient. My troops managed to defend the southern part of Okinawa (Naha) for several weeks. After the capture of Naha they successfully defended the northern part for several weeks more, yielding the base in January 1945 but continuing to fight and tying-down a sizeable part of the Allied Armies.
For the records I must add that Formosa was invaded in late 1944 as well - the collection of evacuated remnants and sub-units defending it was eliminated within a few weeks and Allied Air Forces soon used the Formosa airbases to pound Okinawa and Kyushu.
Japan’s 11th hour attacks
The drawn-out sieges of Iwo Jima and Okinawa provided me with the opportunity for some IJN offensive actions under LRCAP protection, namely bombardment runs and surface raids out of Tokyo Bay against Iwo and from Kagoshima against Okinawa, as well hit-and-run raids of my remaining carriers into the “hinterland” i.e. the convoy routes between Pearl Harbor / CONUS and the battlefields. I tried to coordinate these attacks with the movements of the USN carriers which were busy protecting convoys to Luzon, Okinawa or Iwo, replenishing in the Marianas or chasing my own carriers. I also tried to coordinate IJN attacks with my Kamikaze Corps (which due to lack of supplies needed a lot of juggling between front bases and supply bases in order to be filled with replacement aircraft and thus operated on a “one day on, six days off” basis).
Sidenote 1: I was badly surprised to find that Kamikazes do operate only within “round-trip range” and not within “maximum since I’m not coming back range” – I was counting on my stockpiles of Jacks with their high service ceiling, only to find that they cannot reach Okinawa from Kyushu bases.
Sidenote 2: I was also shocked to find out the hard way that Kamikazes are diving on enemy BASES if no task force could be found in range. I have lost hundreds of planes crashing into Allied base hexes (not causing any damage) and had to limit Kamikaze attacks to “clear” days when there was little chance that clouds would hide the enemy task forces.
Such annoyances aside, I am quite proud that this late in the war I managed to sink a number of combat ships by air and surface attacks, including CV Victorious, CVL Unicorn, seven CVE, CL Marblehead and a number of DDs. My carriers were stalking supply and tanker convoys in the Pacific, helped by air search from Marcus Is. and Wake to spot targets and to avoid being caught by US carriers, and sank a number of merchant ships.
Of course these losses did not seriously hurt the Allies, but they were good for morale at home and in the IJN and for me as well. My colleagues at work were irritated more than once by my evil sniggering when my forces managed to get in a good punch and the bleak strategic situation was easier to endure with images of my opponent screaming and cursing in my head. This “I’m on the floor but still kicking around me” phase of the war was the most challenging and “fun” part of the game.
Home Islands under attack
Of course there came the days the hit-and-run raids backfired when my naval search failed to spot USN CAG or SAG task forces or the timing was off. In drips and drabs most of my remaining combat ships were sunk or limped heavily damaged into port. What was still in fighting shape awaited the next occasion to sortie - in fewer and fewer numbers. Ship repairs were hampered by air attacks on Japan, Allied heavy bombers having started night bombing attacks from China and the Marianas in mid 44. Fortunately Tom seemed to have no real strategy for his bombing campaign, at least he did not concentrate on one type of targets but frequently switched between targeting Resource Centers, Heavy Industries, Aircraft Factories, City Attacks, Airfield and Port attacks. My night-fighters did shoot down only a handful of planes, but seemed to have disrupted the bombardiers’ aim. Still, many ships were damaged or sunk in port.
After the fall of Iwo Jima and Naha, Tom started daylight bombing raids which were escorted and/or preceded by fighter sweeps by a limited number of long-range fighters (Lightnings and Mustangs). I concentrated my fighter defenses at the largest air bases - since with relatively low overall experience only overwhelming numbers had any chance of success - and tried to outguess Tom on his target selection. From time to time I got lucky and managed to have my concentrated CAP and LRCAP at the right spot at the right moment. In one memorable air battle my 500+ fighters eliminated a 80+ Lightning fighter sweep and then 400 survivors pounced on the 4Es, shooting down 150+ B-29s in one afternoon. After that, B-29 raids ceased for three weeks... Losses on my side were heavy as well. I managed to keep the core fighter air groups at full strength by disbanding and withdrawing less experienced formations, but of course overall experience was dropping further. Only a handful of crack pilots survived and replacements died in droves.
This is the End
The death blow fell with the invasion of Hokkaido in October 1944– from the Kuriles which I had considered to be a strategic diversion and jugging from constant recon observation appeared to be quiet. By necessity the defenses of Hokkaido were relatively light – too many of my grounds units fighting in Manchukuo, China and Okinawa and protecting the southern Home Islands, China and Korea coast against invasion attempts from the Allied Army freed by the fall of Manila. With air bases on Hokkaido secured, my remaining Air Forces were easy meat for coordinated land-based and carrier air strikes and within days the Allies had total air superiority over Japan. I attempted to bolster Home Island defenses by transferring troops from China, Korea and Manchukuo (stripping their coast defenses like robbing Peter to pay Paul) from Fusan across Korea Strait with my still sizeable merchant fleet. The first convoys made it, but when Tom realized what was going on, Allied air attacks on convoys and ports sent most remaining merchant ships to the bottom.
Next target on Tom’s invasion schedule turned out to be a multi-division invasion at Sendai end of November 1944 which fell quickly to the Allies - but Home Defense Forces rushing to battle managed to contain the Allied Forces and prevented a breakthrough. The last dirty and damaged dozen surface ships still able to move (anything that could make 15 knots or more), including mighty Musashi, veterans Ise and Kako and new Noshiro, were sent on a Death Ride of the IJN from Tokyo to Sendai – and dying they did in battle with enemy covering forces, taking the new CA Houston with them. The ships too damaged to go down fighting were sunk by air attacks in port. In the end, three damaged submarines, one MSW and a handful PCs which had been left behind at Truk were the only survivors of the once-mighty IJN (plus a handful of merchant and auxiliary ships left).
Being contained at Sendai, Tom launched a second multi-division invasion at Kanazawa in early December 1944. Same result – the city fell to the Allies, but my Home Defense Forces managed to contain them. Promptly followed a third invasion at Tsu in mid December. Here the Allies were contained as well. But now the Home Defense units were spread thin and a fourth invasion at Sasebo in January 1945 could not be contained. One Allied Army cornered the defenders of Kyushu at Kagoshima while other forces steamrollered east, pushing the few exhausted understrength veteran units as well as inexperienced newly-raised “emergency mobilization” formations rushed to the front from one base to another. By February 1945 the southern half of Honshu including Osaka and Kobe was in the hand of the enemy and he was preparing to attack Nagoya. During all this time the Allied Air Forces kept bombing, bombing, bombing - and the air attacks finally provided the few hundred victory points Tom still needed to win.
On February 10, 1945 after six-and-a-half real life years of PBEMing, the war was finally over!
It feels strange not to fire-up WitP at lunch time anymore… Time to start an AE-PBEM, Tom!