I had Mike Solli visiting here, and Greyjoy occasionally posts, if now Gräfin Zeppelin subscribes, I might end up a very proud and arrogant JFB.
But welcome Gräfin, ten thousand years, and hope you enjoy the sad story (it will end sadly, I’m sure) of this clueless JFB.
May 22nd 1942
This is the big headline for today. We captured the base on first try.
Ground combat at Bataan (78,77)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 59769 troops, 719 guns, 352 vehicles, Assault Value = 1835
Defending force 33068 troops, 358 guns, 430 vehicles, Assault Value = 552
Japanese assault odds: 8 to 1 (fort level 0)
Japanese forces CAPTURE Bataan !!!
Allied aircraft losses
O-47A: 1 destroyed
Japanese ground losses:
2102 casualties reported
Squads: 17 destroyed, 195 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 38 disabled
Engineers: 1 destroyed, 30 disabled
Guns lost 47 (1 destroyed, 46 disabled)
Allied ground losses:
29145 casualties reported
Squads: 1239 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 3205 destroyed, 0 disabled
Engineers: 57 destroyed, 0 disabled
Guns lost 187 (187 destroyed, 0 disabled)
Vehicles lost 327 (327 destroyed, 0 disabled)
Units destroyed 34
That’s 5000 enemy squads and device gone for good, almost a thousand VP, and victory ratio now well past 3:1, and on our side, four divisions, tanks, artillery and assorted engineers freed for operations nearer to the front. I know I should be happy about this. But this sort of victory means decisions, I hate decisions, it looks like work.
So, what should we do with those four divisions and assorted warlike stuff?
With China about to fall, there is no point reinforcing Singapore or Burma. I will send my Kwantung boys spank the Indian and fend off the Brit in a couple of months, once the Qing imperial rule over the Middle Kingdom is restored. I don’t intend to send those divisions to the Marianas either, units bought from Japan are on their way. This leaves two fronts, waterfronts actually, the Indian Front, from Sumatra to Timor, and the Pacific Front, from Manus to Tulagi to the Marshalls. With strong enemy presence around Port Moresby, and in New Caledonia, the Pacific seems more in want of troops. On the other hand, I already have a division in Rabaul, and don’t intend to fight in the Solomons.
Also, my troops can be used in three roles. As front line units, fighting in the jungles of new Guinea, or in Northern Australia, or as tactical reserves, in Rabaul or Koepang, or just as strategic assets, in Truk or Surabaya. Since I don’t want to commit too many units to the front before I am done with China, and I don’t think I really need a strategic reserve to counter invade right now, I think those divisions will go to depots close to the front.
I might have a division in Kwajalein, two around Rabaul (or in Manus) and one in Ambon. Let us sweep the mines, mend the disruption and decide in a few days.
Fortunes at sea
The transport task force on its way to Darwin turned to be a cruiser squadron, three cruisers (Houston, Canberra and Perth), and five destroyers. I had two task forces ready to intercept: the cruisers returning from the Gulf of Carpentaria, and a larger one, around battleships Ise and Hyuga, sailing south from Koepang.
Unfortunately, the former, and smaller, and low on ammo, TF got to intercept. It was not the empire’s finest hour, but we did hold our own.
Night Time Surface Combat, near Truscott at 71,123, Range 5,000 Yards
CA Maya, Shell hits 18, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
CL Natori, Shell hits 3, on fire
TB Kari, Shell hits 1
CA Houston, Shell hits 3, on fire
CA Canberra, Shell hits 5, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
CL Perth, Shell hits 3, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
DD Vendetta, Shell hits 1
DD Tjerk Hiddes
DD Jupiter, Shell hits 1
Our cruisers will now return to Koepang to resupply, and our battleships are chasing the enemy. If we can catch them before they rearm, we have a good chance to finish them.
Meanwhile, over Darwin, five Kittyhawks were traded for one Oscar. I suspect those are the fighters that used to patrol over Port Moresby and Buna.
Historicity, China falling and Palembang denied
There was yet another discussion about historicity on the forum today (QBall’s thread on Palembang fortress). As often, it revolved around the gameyness of China, and Palembang, and ended up with a discussion of what constitutes “historical play”. This sent me wondering about how “history minded” I am.
I suppose the fact I am going for China (how dare I!), and am restraining my ship building, puts me into the “fantasy JFB” category. And while I am here, I must probably confess that whereas I am interested in history and have been wargaming for over 30 years, I am not a big fan of military history, and never much read about the Pacific war. I can only hope that my opponent, who obviously knows a lot about this era, still has a good time playing this game (and I promise to do my JFB duty, and have my cities bombed to chalk in 1944 and 1945).
On the other hand, I can’t help finding this game has a very realistic feeling. I believe I know China, and the war there has a very good “geography” feeling (well, except the Turkestan highway from Paotow to Hami and the fast roads from Lanchow to Kiuchuan). Another thing I really like is the way the game forces me to think : sometimes needing to see the big picture (for instance when I need to choose where those divisions in Bataan must go), sometimes getting drowned in a sea of silly details (like planning squadron rotations). I believe this is quite real, and historical.
We like to imagine wartime armies, or similar hierarchical organizations as efficient machines, where the leaders care about the “big picture”, and have staffs efficiently taking care of the implementation, and local commanders handling the details, just as efficiently. I believe this is wrong. Most of the time, leadership is about switching from one scale to another, handling details without losing sight of the strategy.
So perhaps, the real success of this game, lies less in the fact that the technical specs of planes are correct, the OOB is real, and home rules and gentleman agreement force us to play as the books we read told us we should play, but in the chaotic complexity of the system, which forces one to get involved in everything, take care of many details, overlook others, and some time lose the strategic focus, just like the real commanders sometime did (but wouldn’t tell you in the books they wrote after the war, which always smell of good discipline and boot polish).
I used to believe in the virtues of Tracker, excel sheets and other planning tools. I am somehow turning away from them now: by handling all the numbers in our place, they somehow make the game less real.
Maybe historical play is more about the way we play and plan, than the actual moves we make.