March 28th, 1942
Changsha pocket, friends from Burma and other Chinese stories
In Central China, Shaoyang was captured today, and Hengyang reinforced.
Ground combat at Shaoyang (80,52)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 12318 troops, 104 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 917
Defending force 3244 troops, 10 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 135
Japanese engineers reduce fortifications to 1
Japanese assault odds: 20 to 1 (fort level 1)
Japanese forces CAPTURE Shaoyang !!!
Japanese ground losses:
85 casualties reported
Squads: 1 destroyed, 4 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 3 disabled
Allied ground losses:
1287 casualties reported
Squads: 18 destroyed, 34 disabled
Non Combat: 26 destroyed, 15 disabled
Engineers: 7 destroyed, 1 disabled
Guns lost 4 (1 destroyed, 3 disabled)
Units retreated 1
The road from Shaoyang to Chihkiang is patrolled, and will be cleared soon. This secures the Changteh-Chihkiang axis, where my troops are moving towards Kweiyang.
Units from Wuchang and Nanchang are converging on Changsha, together with the large artillery stack that moved in from Ankang. The story of this “death star” is interesting, and typical of this game. It was used to good effect in Nanyang in December, but the rapid capture of Sian made her useless, as the lack of enemy defense in Tienshui and Ankang. They have now marched back to Sinyang. I am planning to send them to Wuchang, and then Changsha, to pound the city. The objective is always the same: reduce Chinese numbers.
The Changsha pocket now holds about 2000 AV and 200 000 troops. My accounts of destroyed Chinese squads put their remaining forces around 12 000 combat squads, Changsha probably represents a third of those forces.
In the south west, our armored spearheads reached Paoshan. The city was defended by a Chinese division, a corps headquarter and two RAF base forces. That was too much for my tanks, but will be no match for the 110th division, arriving in a few days. Holding Paoshan is important, for it makes KMT evacuations into India a much more difficult task.
The situation in China is pretty clear now.
- In the far west, I am marching on Urumchi, the goal is to take and lightly garrison all bases, and let whichever Chinese units are left around starve (no bases, no supply).
- In the northwest, I am leaving light garrisons, and mustering troops from Sining, Lanchow and Ankang to form a column that will march on Kienko, over the secondary road. The objective is to threaten Chengtu, and force the KMT to garrison this area.
- In the southwest, the 110th will march on Tsuyung, and try to take the place.
- In Central China, we will lay siege on Changsha, the goal being to destroy enemy forces, and reinforce the hex between Tuyun and Kweiyang. Yet, it is quite possible that we will move around this roadblock (armored units have been sent north and secured the road from Patung).
- In the South, we will pretend, and try to keep enemy garrisons in place.
I am relatively confident that I can take China by the end of Summer 1942. I am now delaying the move on Chungking so as to leave fewer units behind, and make the cleanup job easier.
With Sumatra captured and Java invaded, the initial phase is pretty much over. We have been playing turns at a fast rate, and many details have been overlooked.
As we speak, front line bases are dangerously low on supplies, we lack a good hub network for fuel and supplies, no defensive preparations have been made, save a few random engineer units being dispatched on random bases. Naval and air assets are scattered, most naval HQ are in their starting positions, air HQ have been left where they once were deployed, naval search is not organized, and pilot training is a joke.
We are not in immediate danger, mind you. The economy is running smoothly, the enemy is not counterattacking, and I very much doubt he can before several months, we still have an edge at sea and in the air. But we need to correct this tendency, and, most importantly, we need a plan, or, rather, some general doctrine that serves as a guide for our logistics.
I will take advantage of the following turns to mull about Japanese logistics, and plans for 1942. So, without further ado…
Spring cleaning I: the empire in March 1942, and a book of grievances
As March 1942 is ending, Japan holds most of the East Indies, and all the Philippines save Bataan. Singapore and Palembang are open for business. Java is under siege and will fall soon. Only Timor is still in Allied hands. With naval bases on Java under attack, enemy surface forces and submarines have retreated, some might be based in Darwin, but Perth, Colombo and South Australia are more likely. In other words, the South China Sea, the Java sea and the Celebes sea are Japanese lakes. In the Indian ocean, the Allies control the Andamans, and sea lanes between Singapore and Rangoon are closed.
In the South Pacific, the northern coast of New Guinea, the Admiralty islands and Rabaul have been secured. We control the Solomons but with very small garrisons. Port Moresby, and the area between Lae and Milne Bay, are still under Allied controls, and will probably be fought over in the upcoming months. In the Pacific, we hold the Marshall, and the northern Gilberts. On the Continent, most of Burma is held, as the northern half of China and the coast.
On the petrol front, the situation is good. We hold over 3000 oil centres, with only 215 (7%) are damaged (mostly in Miri 120, Magwe 55 and Samarinda 20). Refineries suffered a bit more (360 damaged over 3500), but since we have more undamaged refineries than oilfields, we do not repair them. At present, our refining capacity exceeds our oil production by 3 370 tons per day. At this rate, our oil stocks would last for 1300 days, ie until the end of 1945. This suggests refining capacity could be expanded a little. I suspect the right amount is between 4 000 and 5 000 tons per day over oil production.
The question, then, would be where to repair… The most damaged refineries are Miri (159) and Rangoon (102). Both strike me as bad choices : Miri, because the port is too small and extra fuel will spoil, Rangoon because it will most certainly be bombed soon. I might repair Balikpapan (62 damaged refineries) instead.
But this is a rich man’s problem. We are now refining 28 200 tons of fuel per day. Our industry uses half of it, and our navy about a quarter.
We have about a thousand resource centres in excess, thanks to the recent captures in northern and central China. We stock about 55% of the HI we produce, and will be over 700 000 HI points after the April pilot draw. Supply levels are up, despite a war being fought and construction being done. I am neither repairing resources and light industry, and will probably let far away resources be lost.
So, the general outlook is good. It gets a bit more troublesome when one looks at the repartition of resources and supplies.
75% of supply production takes place in Japan, China Manchukuo and Korea account for 15%, and Sumatra for 4%. As for the stock, 62% of supplies are in Japan, and 17% in China, Manchukuo and Korea. Apart from Truk (where 220 000 tons of supplies are stocked), Pescadores (80 000) and Palembang (50 000), the front, and even second lines, are badly unsupplied. Convoys do bring stuff from the Home Island to Korea, but with enemy troops roaming free in Fujian, supplies do not flow from Fusan to Singapore.
The situation with respect to fuel and oil is much better. 72% of anon bunker fuel is in Japan and Manchukuo (Port Arthur), which is more than enough for the industry and local duty ships. The rest is relatively close to the front: we have 400 000 tons in Singapore, 220 000 in Palembang, 150 000 in Balikpapan, 150 000 in Truk and 120 000 in Pescadores. Our only problem, right now, is the lack of fuel in forward bases, and the very low levels in the Central Pacific (Marshalls and Marianas).
On a more general level, we need to establish a hub system, and a network of second line bases, to bring supplies to the front, to base local transports, rest and refit units, and replace lost planes. This is our first grievance.
A second problem is the organization of defenses. Right now, few of my bases are garrisoned. Some engineer units have moved in, to build defenses, but in a very uncoordinated way. A side question is minefields. In Surabaya, the Allies have shown how effective those can be. So far, all my minelayers and tenders are in Japan.
Finally, I need to organize air defense: search and patrols, air HQ and torpedo units, and task forces to punish whatever is detected.
I will try to discuss this in later installments.