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Definition of Chair 3
In a tag team, Allied Chair 3 has the “Left Side” of the map (plus Canada and Alaska Commands) representing a surprisingly unified UK and British Commonwealth political area, along with China, which is logistically tied to support from India. It is also a surprisingly active combat command area, generally involving combat in Malaya, Burma and China, even if India and Ceylon at not attacked. As well, a Japanese threat may develop to North America. If it does, it will generally involve invasion of Alaska and Western Canada first, even if it extends onward into the US West Coast Command eventually. Finally, Chair 3 has vital locations (Aden and Capetown off map, Karachi, Columbo and several Indian cities on map) where numbers of Allied units appear. One of the tasks of Chair 3 is to decide which units should be sent onward to Chair 2 and which should stay in the Chair 3 area, as well as when and how to send them?
China Policy and Strategy
China is a surprisingly important and difficult command area. In an important sense, it is the subject of the Pacific War involving the USA, UK and NEI to begin with. It was Allied demands over China which led to the embargo of iron ore, rubber and oil which forced Japan to either leave China or attempt to create an autarky. There were few illusions that, after four years of continuous warfare and a decade of limited military operations in China, Japan would walk away from its conquests. Both sides understood that if Japan backed down, it would continue to have its war policy and foreign policy dictated by Washington and London. Not many people expected Japan to agree to that.
While the Chinese seagoing Navy and the Chinese Air Forces, as well as many of the modern land combat units which had been trained and equipped by the Germans, Russians and Americans had been substantially wiped out or weakened by offensives from 1938 to 1941, and much of Northern and coastal China are occupied by the Japanese when the game starts, China retains control of significant areas in Central, Southern and Western China, and substantial ground forces and air forces in addition to a riverine Navy which never lost control of the Upper Yangtze. In RHS, as in real life, the Yangtze is the vital primary line of communications of China. Ocean ships can sail all the way to Wuhan, a unique triple city, all of them walled (i.e. fortified), separated by rivers in the very heart of China. While this area was lost to Japan before the game starts, its land lines of communications are all occupied by the Chinese, and it is supplied only by river. If facing an Axis team or player that regards China as a strictly secondary and non-naval theater, it is possible to threaten or even recapture these three cities, and from them launch offensives in some circumstances.
In a game in which the Axis goes on the offensive in China, the above may seem to be pretty academic. Although RHS has extensively developed China in terms of adding locations, developing the economy in detail in each area, adding land, air and naval units and even entire capabilities, it remains that much of China will fall in the face of a Japanese offensive. If the Japanese do not transfer out of China units assigned to other command areas, and instead send more naval, air and land units to China, they may be able to conquer China entirely. That would tend to reduce forces available for other command areas of Japan, but it also means that Japan can secure many of the resources and even some of the oil it needs from China, and not face the use of Chinese bases by Allied bombers later in the war. Because Japan has interior lines of communications and an army 80% of which is not assigned to face the US, UK and NEI, the Axis gets to decide if and to what extent China is a priority. The Chair 3 player at the start of the game is more or less forced to react to the Axis strategy adopted in that particular game. IF China is held for years, its forces will eventually be well augmented by modern aircraft and Chinese land units which appear in India outfitted and organized to US standards. Also, when Chinese land units are wiped out, they reappear 30 days later at Chunking (or if it falls, at Chengtu, several hexes North of it). As long as these cities are held, the Chinese Army tends not to disappear. Instead, it grows over time as reinforcements appear in addition to the recycled units.
Each area of China has significantly different operational situations, related to the geography of the area and the relative presence or absence of Axis forces and, sometimes, relative to lines of communications with other Allied areas. China’s road system is fairly well developed, but its railroads are incomplete, partially ripped up, and only well connected to non-Chinese areas in the Japanese held part of Northeast China. There is limited RR construction during the war, although the main line NW from Sian does continue construction during the war (at a faster pace in Japan enhanced scenarios). The main North South line – of strategic interest to Japan – was not quite completed to Nanning where it joins the French line from Indochina. This gets completed early in the war (and historically was seized by Japan during Operation Ichi Go later). If the war extends past its historical ending, the Allies get to decide if they will build the Burma-Yunnan line between the Burma RR and the lines in Western China. This also happens in Japan enhanced scenarios, which also extend these minor rail lines to connect to the main line at its SW terminus. As well, in some circumstances the torn up section of the French line to Yunnan is repaired (just as was done post war). Nevertheless, at start the Chinese RR net is both limited and broken by enemy occupation of significant portions of its length. The functioning of economies along the rail lines as well as support of large military operations is affected by which side, if any, can establish long sections of controlled track. The only significant strategic movement using RR in China from outside of Chinese controlled areas is possible from Indochina to the extreme SW or to Manchukuo in the far Northeast.
Sinkiang in RHS, plus a narrow province between it and Mongolia, start under the Soviet Far East Command. [Just a tiny part of Sinkiang, West of Tannu Tuwa, is shown as Soviet controlled in the stock map system and other mods, but this was not the historical case in 1941.] That entire area is almost devoid of land units: there is one NKVD regiment at a significant city producing oil and resources, one para-military base force of the nationalized Eurasia Airline, which serves as a secondary hub for iits air transport service to the USSR, and a few Sinkiang Province units which are assigned to the Soviet command because they are loyal to the provincial warlord, who is a Russian ally. This entire area was retaken by the ROC in 1944. It can be converted to ROC control any time the Allies are willing to spend the political points required, and need not ever do so. Since both Russia and China are Allied powers, the economy functions regardless. Additional Soviet units should not move into this area unless both Chair 2 and Chair 3 agree it is necessary to counter a Japanese threat. This area has very limited economic development and many locations are connected only by secondary roads. In effect these locations, which are often oasis areas, have limited local supply generation, and otherwise are more like islands which no ships can visit in economic terms. Very limited amounts of resources will occasionally be automatically exported down the secondary roads. Somewhat more consistent exports may occur down the primary road, but that will be limited if the road is supporting major troop formations.
The Upper Yellow River area is relatively isolated and self-sufficient. Since the lower Yellow River has been turned into a vast marsh by ROC sabotage of the dykes, only the Upper Yellow River functions as a waterway. This is limited in even-numbered (simplified) RHS scenarios because no ships appear on it, but landing craft cn be created by either side. In standard RHS scenarios, the Upper Yellow River is dominated by the ROC and even has limited RED Chinese shipping. This permits the river to assume its actual role as an economic and military LOC for the region. Very late in the war, the RR from Sian to Lanchow may complete, significantly improving the movement of oil, resources, fuel and supplies between the opposite ends of the Yellow River Loop running between Lanchow and Sian by a much longer route. The portion of this area NE from Sian is a fairly well developed part of ancient China,
The cradle if its oldest kingdoms and home to significant local industries. Yenan is a unique location in this area, fairly isolated from LOC, with a small (but old) oil industry feeding the first refinery in China, which in turn feeds a small amount of HI. This is the area in which RED Chinese forces are based, although ROC units have also entered the area as Japanese forces drove them Westward. In the area generally NE from Sian, many fairly accurate stock deployments of troops now benefit from locations added in RHS so they can be fed, and so roads and a long minor RR have economic justification, and can be used to feed Sian resources. Sian does have major a major road as well as a primary RR to the SE, but the forested terrain helps make the area somewhat defensible.
Still farther East and NE, China is substantially occupied by Japanese forces, but ROC units continue to chop up the LOC, and to defend significant local locations. In the North, ROC and RED forces contest fairly rough terrain all the way to the enemy held capital Peking. In the South, the Yellow River Plain usually sees a major effort by the Japanese to clear it of Chinese forces, or at least to clear the RR lines so they can permit strategic movement to a useful extend. This is not an ideal location for Chinese forces early in the game. Many units are under strength, and additional Japanese units are available inside the sector, simply by moving them to contact. In general, Chinese objectives should be limited – to contest and delay clearing the NE RR LOC to the Wuhan area, and to contest and delay the clearing of the RR and road LOC to Sian. Defense should focus on good terrain, walled cities (modeled by the presence of Level 2 fortifications at start), and on using guerilla units to cut enemy LOC at inconvenient points. Chinese guerilla units are semi-independent of LOC and can move long distances across enemy rear areas to jump on a road or RR LOC. Japanese air power is limited unless reinforced, but deadly to ground units, and probably not worth contesting early in the war (but see ROCAF below).
SE China is very rough country and has the main East West RR LOC. Much of this is controlled by ROC units at star. Japanese forces usually try to clear it, but are hampered by mountains and forest terrain. There also are guerilla units in the area and one significant coastal city, Wenchow, which can hold out for a long time if reinforced. It can be used as a naval base and even an air base in some circumstances. This area also often is subject to Japanese offensive clearing operations, but these can be very expensive because of the difficulty of obtaining odds in defensive terrain. ROC forces should contest this area with the object of delaying operations against vital Central China, unless the enemy is inactive, when offensive operations may be possible vs isolated enemy units. A great deal depends on how the enemy elects to use the lower Yangtze river – and how many ships to commit to logistic and economic exploitation – or even to amphibious operations and bombardment along it? If the enemy is passive, his units are vulnerable to isolation and attrition by combat as well as supply depravation. If the enemy is active, units other than guerilla or falling back on Wenchow should move toward Central China and the potentially critical campaign there.
The area West of SE China is central China. It contains the strongest of ROC armies. They have just won the Second Battle of Changsha and go on to win the Third early in 1942 (historically). Much of China’s “heavy” (really medium) artillery is in this area. It is one of the few places supported by a significant air force (see CAF section below). It has enough naval units to exploit the extensive rivers in some circumstances, or to contest enemy use – particularly by minelaying (see the ROCN section below). The key location is Changsha, although the “triple city” of Wuhan NE from there is even more important, and may in some situations be possible to recapture. [Always be watching for sings this is the case] In most campaigns with active Japanese offensives early in the game in China, a major battle for Changsha will develop about the same time as the historical Third Battle of Changsha. The city itself is classified as Urban Heavy in RHS, and it also is walled, and the location of significant NRA (ROC) units planned for its defense. The city is most vulnerable if the enemy first isolates it, which is possible from the East AFTER they capture the LOC (which are well contested by Chinese units). Unless major supplies more up the Yangtze, the enemy also probably needs to clear the RR NE from Wuhan to be able to conduct a major offensive SW from it toward Changsha. In some conditions, Japanese forces might drive SW from from Ichang upriver from Wuhan, threatening Changsha in rear. A comprehensive defense of Changsha and its approaches denies the enemy the ability to unify the main North-South and East-West RR lines, and the strategic and economic benefits of doing that. Also, the battle for Central China generally is a preliminary requirement before a drive on Chunking can be considered so fighting even to a stalemate in this area is a strategic defensive victory for China.
South China is a good deal like SE China – an area with good defensive terrain with some RR development and a strategic river system. Enemy forces are limited, and many are supposed to leave for SRA operations. Their initial focus is always to capture Hong King. They dominate the coast and the Pearl River system, to the point there is no reason to contest them for control early in the war. Here the object generally is to save what can be saved from enemy operations, and to contest mainly the RR LOC – of which there are two – to hamper the unification of the rail system by the enemy. Enemy control of this area is a strategic objective (historically achieved in Operation Ichi Go late in the war). As with Central China, delay of enemy control of this area is generally a strategic victory for China. An attack on Chunking depending on land LOC is best launched from this area, down a primary road axis, but only after it is cleared and can “feed” supplies to such an offensive down that road. As well, the enemy can export significant resources and supplies from this area if it is completely controlled and functional. Delay of that is always a Chinese objective even if it cannot be prevented.
One of two vital “rear areas” of China is the Sechwan Basin around Chunking. This is where many Chinese reinforcements and all replacement units appear (either at Chunking itself, or at Chengtu, a few hexes North of it. This area has its own local oil and fuel sources, and so it can feed even heavy industry and fuel river shipping. It is shielded by coast defense units which, combined with extensive minefields and active support by a river navy, never were breeched by the Japanese. It is also the location of significant local industry. There is no RR into the area and few primary roads or secondary roads, all of them supported by defensive terrain. Nevertheless, the area might be captured if the enemy can secure North, Central and or South China, and elects to drive along the roads or, even worse, is able to come down the Yangtze – which permits very fast movement and unlimited supply support. See the ROCN section for how the ROC Navy can contest such a threat.
The other vital “rear area” of China is SW China, around Kunming. This area gets 500 supply points a day if the Burma Road is open. It is in air range of India and historically important airlift of supplies occurs. Early in the war this is done by DC-3s of the government controlled China Air Lines. Later by large numbers of heavy Allied air transports. It is an area that can get significant reinforcements, including Chinese units which form in India, and Chinese units which start in Northern Burma. Chair 3 has considerable tension about where to commit the AVG – which was paid for by China in 1941 – and which is nominally committed to fighting in this area in particular. Historically it was forced to go to Burma and then to India, against the will of most of its pilots. These are the best Allied fighters, and the most numerous, in the Chair 3 area when the game begins, so where to commit them is a difficult strategic choice that falls on the Chair 3 player – who is responsible for both British and Chinese interests. Extensive mountain terrain makes the area a difficult one for the enemy to enter and capture. Also it is the only part of China which historically got some logistical support and reinforcements from outside China. It will usually be the last part of China to fall, if China is conquered.
The ROCAF is of medium size. In spite of major foreign aid and purchases, by the end of 1941 it is not in good shape. Many units operate obsolescent types, with the notable exception of the IL-4 bomber and the P-40A3s of the AVG. This force does not grow during the war. Instead it loses some squadrons - the AVG in particular. However, unlike many minor air forces, it is supported by some local production and by some foreign aid. By the late war period it should be possible to re-equip entirely with modern aircraft, including B-24s, B-25s, P-51s and F-5Es. The ROCAF ground support situation in RHS is wholly revised compared to stock, other mods or earlier editions of RHS (which were based on stock). Using official historical information, the basing situation has been substantially recreated. It should be possible for the AVG to take two large squadrons to an existing base which already operates aircraft and not overload it, in many instances (a typical historical movement). ROCAF can conduct significant air operations throughout the war if care is used in decided which, where and when? It has a dedicated recon squadron as well as bombers which can fly recon missions at great distances (initially the SB-2 and IL-4). It has several government controlled air transport formations with considerable airlift potential (the DC-3s of CNAC famously doing so early in the war). One of these units operating the Lockheed Model 18 out at Hong Kong will be lost unless it is evacuated before the enemy has a chance to eliminate it. [Most or all Chinese air transports can be upgraded to DC-3s, if the player has a use for air transport operations]
In areas where Japan does not contest the air, Chinese bombers should be used to inflict attrition on key enemy ground units, or to degrade bases and ports of interest. And in areas where Japan is conducting air operations, they should be carefully examined. Japan usually have few air units in China, and does not have the ability to do different things at the same time as a rule. If enemy fighters are committed to ground attack missions or to escorting bombers, they probably are not defending hexes from ROCAF bomber attacks. It is often possible to conduct one time only, hit and withdraw attacks of various kinds and achieve favorable exchange rates. These will build the experience ratings of ROCAF units to make them more valuable when they get modern aircraft. Constantly monitor aircraft pools to insure you are using the latest types available. And try not to lose all of China's pilots in a short period of intensive operations - it will be a long war.
The ROC Navy substantially lost all its seagoing ships to enemy action or by scuttling to block ports before the game war begins. However, it retains a significant river navy on the Upper Yangtze, and other river naval vessels on the Lower Yangtze, the Yellow River (except in simplified RHS scenarios 102, 104 and 104), and on the Pearl River. There also is a two brigade ROC Marine Corps trained for amphibious operations, supported by landing craft, bombardment support craft, gunboats and small transport ships. There are also four regiments of CD guns on the Upper Yangtze, numbers of minelayers and thousands of small mines suitable for river use. In addition, Chinese River Steamers and Chinese Junks may convert to different useful types of vessels in small shipyards. River Steamers may convert to larger River Gunboats or Minelayers (for large or small mines). Junks may convert to landing craft, support landing craft, or to small minesweepers. Finally, the ROC Navy has a simulated River Boom. Each "section" represents 8 dismasted junks, 7 of which have no engines, linked together by heavy cables. Each section has a 77 mm field gun, two 81 mm mortars, a 37 mm AT gun, 4 heavy MG and an artillery spotter team. They move just enough to slowly relocate. The intent is that several of these sections (ideally about 8) will be in a single Task Force set to remain on station in a hex. It is extremely likely that any vessel attempting to pass the boom will be detected and engaged. Most river craft will be vulnerable to the weapons embarked. Finally there are many ROC vessels in coastal ports.
At the start of the game, it may be wise for coastal craft and those on the Pearl River to attempt to leave China altogether, and run for Allied ports in other territories. In some cases, it may be realistic to try to run up the Yangtze River as well. Vessels on the Lower Yangtze should either hide in extreme upriver ports of various rivers, or attempt to go up river en masse to join the ROC vessels on the Upper Yangtze. Those on the Yellow River in Japan enhanced scenarios should simply exploit their local superiority for logistical or amphibious support of Chinese units in the area. On the Upper Yangtze, initial focus should be on establishing an effective barrier to Japanese use of the river at some key point. Such a point would probably have a CD unit, massed Chinese gunboats, and the ROC River Boom. All available minelayers should then lay mines in the barrier hex - and perhaps other hexes as well. If the situation on the Yangtze does not include use of Japanese river cruisers, nor anti-shipping air strikes, it may be possible to conduct amphibious operations with Marine battalions - mainly with a view to cutting enemy land LOC. It may also be possible to insert or recover guerilla units from the enemy rear.
India Policy and Strategy
India is the largest of all territories in the British Commonwealth, both in area and in population. It is also has one of the largest economies in Asia. It a territory in political crisis, when WWII began the Congress Party (then unified, including virtually every Hindu and Moslem politician) demanded Indian independence as the price of supporting the war. The British Governor-General interpreted that as treason, so (except those not in country) every member was put in prison. The most prominent one NOT in country, Chandra Bose, former mayor of Calcutta, was sent by submarine from Germany to Japan. Eventually he became head of state of a revolutionary Indian regime, supported by the Indian National Army and a small INA Air Force, both raised by the Nakano School (IJA Special Operations). This force participated in the Imphal campaign, an operation hampered by impossible logistics and horrible LOC along the Burma-India frontier. RHS partially models this situation, and INA units do appear as Axis reinforcements. RHS also models many of the Indian States Forces (ISF) units which belong to the many Indian quasi-sovereign principalities. As well, India gets many of the naval vessels “teken up from trade” or built locally. The former ROC aircraft factory from Canton appears at Hyderabad where it began building Hawk 75s from 100 kits sold to China, and moved on to become a major aircraft rebuilding center (modeled in RHS). Karachi is not only a major reinforcement center, it is also an aircraft final assembly point for several US types, as well as another significant repair center. India has many large and medium sized shipyards and many large and small resource centers, oil production centers, and both major and minor industrial centers. There are many more locations in India than in any other mod, and all those with major population centers have garrison requirements. [In stock many locations in India which are major cities have no political point value at all, and no requirement for garrisons.] Finally, India has the finest railroad infrastructure of any territory in the game, and a well developed road system. However, the RR system in NE India (Bengal and Assam) starts with severe limitations: (a) it is rated as a secondary RR; (b) it does not cross the Bhramaputra River at all (although far up the Ghanges River there is a crossing); and (c) a section of the line along the border with Nepal washes out during Monsoon (until the US Army takes over management of the line). All these things change AFTER the US Army is allowed to take over – something long forbidden by the Governor-General of India. [The main trunk line, but not spurs, upgrades in the Spring 1943 Season, and includes the first RR bridge across the Bhramaputra River.]
In most games, India is a vast “rear area” which generates supplies and reinforcements, and bases from which ships and long range aircraft can affect operations in Burma and China. The historical invasion of Assam from Burma may also happen. However, in many games, Burma falls much earlier than history, and invasions of NE India happen using the coastal secondary road as well as shipping, not just an attempt to invade overland using mainly jungle trails. The NE Frontier area of India and Burma have very rugged terrain, and even the trails disappear in the Monsoon season. For this reason it is a natural defensive barrier and one possibility is that Japan will stop in Burma and simply defend its autarky in SE Asia from there. Precisely what Axis forces attempt is decided by the other side. But the most significant invasion threats generally occur in the NE area (Bengal and Assam), and are most serious if done early in 1942, when India has few air, land and naval assets. At this time much of the future Indian Air Force is flying spotter planes useful only for limited air searches and reconnaissance. There are only a handful of escort and patrol vessels. Most Indian ground units are of “regimental” (i.e. battalion) size, and most of the rest are brigades. While these are not “pre-defeated” with terrible rates of morale, exhaustion, disruption and planning, as in stock and most mods, nevertheless they are generally not able to stand up to IJA and IJN land units in combat early in the war. In addition. India can be invaded at many places along its long coastline, if the Axis commits large numbers of ships to Indian Ocean operations. Sending everything to NE India creates an opportunity for invasion in the South or even the NW.
India also has important offshore, island territories. Ceylon is by far the most important. Columbo is the strategic logistical center of the entire Eastern map area. It has a large shipyard, port and airfield infrastructures. Ceylon should be held at all costs, and for that reason, no matter the operational situation, it should never be stripped of units necessary for its defense. Locations on Ceylon are also places where many Allied reinforcements appear. It is the best location for Chair 3 strategic reserves to be used in the event of an emergency. These forces also double as defense forces should the island be attacked.
Another offshore territory of note is the Andaman Islands. Historically UK built a “secret base” there, from which Axis operations could be monitored. Also, after capture, it was the only part of India formally turned over to the INA government of Chandra Bose. The only significant location is Port Blair, and fighting normally either uses it as a base, or is focused on its capture or defense. It is very close to the mainland of SE Asia, and useful in particular as a recon base for either side.
India has been extensively developed in RHS. In particular the “Northern map edge” (actually NW India) has many new locations, many industries, bases and units, and several map edge supply sources. One major and one minor oilfield are located in this area (although the largest oilfield is in the Ledo hex). In the most extreme invasion situations, the Allies should fall back Northward on these map edge supply source areas. The most important location of all is Karachi. In no circumstances should it be surrendered to the enemy. It is valuable in its own right, as an industrial center and base complex. But it is of critical strategic value as a location where many Allied reinforcements appear, as well as many Allied aircraft are repaired or assembled. Surrender every other part of India and even all the rest of the Northern map edge area before you surrender Karachi. Second only to Karachi, the major city and base complex at Bombay is of strategic value, and should be defended even if most of the rest of India is lost. Third after Karachi and Bombay, Dheli is of strategic value, and not to be surrendered without a fight. There are many other vital locations in India, North, Central and South. All warrant defenses if forces are available. But Karachi, Bombay and Dehli form a strategic triangle which outweighs all the rest and form the foundation from which an Allied counteroffensive should become possible later in the war. The loss of too much of India also facilitates an Axis auto victory. India is too important to surrender and must be fought for – regardless of cost – if invaded.
Burma Policy and Strategy
Burma was gradually being organized as a territory in its own right with considerable development of its own military and paramilitary (BMP or Burma Military Police) forces. In spite of this, the Burma campaign was commanded from the cantonment at Comilla (an RHS added location SE of Dacca, one that starts the game with several Indian Army units). Burma is yet another territory with its own local opposition to Allied rule. The early defection of at least 12,000 Burmese to what became the Burma Independence Army is not, at this time, modeled in RHS – but eventually the BIA fielded 7 battalions with 18,000 men allied to Japan. Unhappy with IJA policy and treatment, INA eventually defected to the Allies and helped clear Burma of IJA units in 1945. This complex situation is difficult to model so it has been ignored. It remains that Burma was politically divided when it was invaded, with significant anti-colonial sympathy aiding the Axis cause.
In RHS the ‘Road to Mandalay’ (the Irrawaddy) river is an important LOC. On it the Allies have most of the important vessels of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the largest ferry fleet in the world. It operates small tankers, coastal transports and other craft, not just ferries. The upper Irrawaddy above Mandalay is seasonally closes, counter-intuitively, during the Monsoon season (May – August – dates set by code). There is too much water flow through narrow canyons, so the river is closed to marine traffic. But the rest of the year, the Irrawaddy offers the potential for fast movement of troops, supplies, resources and oil (which Burma produces). Roughly parallel to this river route runs the Burma RR. Together they form the vital LOC corridor which dominates economic and military operations in the territory. Most campaigns in Burma focus on control of this corridor.
The frontier between Burma and India is entirely jungle and crossed by just two trails (except during Monsoon, when the trails disappear entirely) when the game starts. However, by Monsoon 1944, the Ledo Road is built, upgrading the more Northern of the trails from Ledo to Myitkynia to a secondary road which is not seasonal. By Winter, 1944, this secondary road is extended to Lashio, meeting the Burma Road to China. In strictly historical scenarios, in Winter 1945 the Allies may elect to build the Burma-Yunnan RR, a project abandoned in 1941. In Japan Enhanced Scenarios, the Ledo road upgrades to primary road to Myitkynia by Winter 1944, and to Lashio by Spring, 1945.
The frontier between Burma and Thailand is similarly to the one in the NW. It is crossed by a single secondary road in the center, and by one trail over Three Pagoda’s Pass in the South. There is also a point in the North where secondary roads from Burma and Thailand almost meet. In RHS the Burma-Siam RR is built along the Southern trail connection, first upgrading it to a secondary road, then adding a minor RR. In Japan enhanced scenarios this is upgraded to primary road in Spring, 1945. This rough country is a significant logistical and military obstacle which often significantly delays a Japanese invasion.
Burma was invaded initially mainly to cut the Burma Road to China in order to hamper Allied military aid to the Chinese. Eventually Japan decided to occupy Burma as a whole, and to use it as a base of operations for invasions of China and India. [One IJA Division, whose communications code name and popular nickname was Dragon Division, was entirely wiped out in a Chinese town whose name in Chinese means Dragon Mausoleum.] In games, most Axis players invade Burma even sooner than history. This is facilitated if airborne troops are committed to the operation (which was not done historically). Airborne can seize undefended or poorly defended airheads, and then other units and supplies can be airlifted into them. Because most IJA units have some squads that do not airlift, these units will be below strength until the rest can slowly “walk in” or can come by sea – after the fall of Singapore as a rule. These weak forces are generally enough to route any force they meet, particularly if the defenders are not supported by the AVG (which did support them for a while, but was withdrawn).
Because of air support in particular, Burma can be a trap for Allied (CW and Chinese) forces. Even if historically planned reinforcements are sent, and even if they can be sent earlier than in history, unless the Allies can concentrate fighters in numbers in Burma, the IJA should prevail early in 1942. For this reason it may be unwise policy to send any reinforcements to Burma at all – except possibly Chinese reinforcements – which can withdraw the way they came – down a secondary road from China. Most of the many small ships on the Irrawaddy were historically trapped and scuttled at Mandalay. It may be better policy to evacuate it to the Indus-Bhrmaputra river system of India before the complex lower delta region is entirely captured by the Japanese.
Malaya Policy and Strategy
Malaya is the place where the War in the Pacific Began. Landings at Kota Bahru, although dated 8 December, began a few minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor did. Similarly, regardless of what Axis strategy is used, it is certain that Malaya will the subject to active invasion from the very start of every game. While Malaya has much more development in RHS than in stock, in particular adding locations and the changing of land unit data so most units do not begin “pre-defeated” with terrible rates of exhaustion, disruption and planning, it is facing Japan’s best offensive force led by the best iJA commander. [Yamashita is probably the only IJA great captain in WWII.] He has a true combined arms force, with unusually good naval relations, and the best division in the entire Pacific (if not the world) when the war begins. [IJA 5th Division was the only Class A Semi-motorized division. Originally conceived to engage the Russians, it was the only division in WWII on either side to allocate two primarly weapons to every line infantryman – both an LMG and a rifle. At the start of every engagement, each squad would decide how many teams to form, and what mix of LMG and rifles were optimum for that particular tactical situation!] Also part of the force were two more strong divisions, and Yamashita turned down two others as both not needed and not able to be properly supported logistically – showing his logistic orientation. In Japan enhanced scenarios (105 and 99) we get to see Japan’s small armor formations reorganized as he proposed in 1941 (and eventually formed by him when he went to Kwangtung Army). Initial IJA forces include three “tank divisions” – perhaps more properly glorified tank brigades – one of them committed to Kwangtung Army, one to China, and one to the SRA. That one is at Cam Rahn Bay and assigned to 25th Army for operations in Malaya. [Each replaces about four tank regiments, two infantry regiments which have been motorized, a motorized artillery regiment and a motorized engineer regiment, plus minor attachments. Woefully small by the scale of other tank divisions in history, they are demi-gods in the PTO in late 1941 and early 1942. By the time one fights the US on Luzon late in the war, it looks pathetic. But when designed, in 1941, it was nearly ideal for Japanese requirements. And Yamashita is the officer who proposed it, after witnessing the Eastern Front.]
Compounding the problem of defending Malaya in real life, the Japanese had unusually detailed and accurate intelligence about it written by a former governor, captured by a German raider WITHOUT the knowledge of the Alllies (see HMS Amdromedon.] They also had daily reports about RAF operations from an Irish traitor serving in the RAF in Malaya. He broadcast the plans daily until detected and shot. [See Bloody Shambles, Vol. 1] A compounding issue, which is present in the game by default, is lack of command competence. However, a player IS permitted to change the theater commander, and should if better combat performance is desired.
The problem in Malaya is that Yamashita used combined arms warfare against units generally not equipped to deal with modern “tanks” (or perhaps “tracked armored cars” in the case of IJA). Regardless of details, a tank totally changes a tactical situation when there are no opposing tanks or AT weapons, and that results in a psychological advantage for the attacker. In Malaya, British and CW units sometimes ran at the mere sound of Japanese soldiers riding bikes - their tires were not up to the job so they road on rims only on paved roads. Defenders, hearing the noise, would abandon their positions! The operations officer of 25th Army, Col Tsuji, observing at the front, ordered troops NOT to use standard IJA doctrine and take the time to flank a roadblock. Instead, a simple frontal attack was sufficient to take the position in less time. For these reasons, the TO&Es of many Allied units in Malaya are justified, as is their relatively low skill level. Facing the very best units of the IJA, the results are predictable.
Defense In Malaya is sometimes practical. As with other theaters, at the start of the game the initiative lies with the Japanese. Their choices determine the specific locations of landings and speed with which supplies and units can land, and also if there are good roads which permit rapid movement after landing, or not? An astute Allied player will observe where the enemy lands, and with what, before deciding where to make his primary defensive positions? In addition to what is faced where, there is also the matter of air power. Allied air forces in Malaya are sometimes wiped out in two or three days, but sometimes remain effective for longer periods. The primary problem is the lack of replacements and the dire need for reinforcements early in the game. All modern military operations depend on air power, and a choice not to have it in Malaya is tantamount to a decision to abandon the ground army to its fate. Yet the opposite choice, to commit and fight in the air, usually leads to the loss of the air force by combat attrition, even if it is successful – followed by a similar disaster for the ground army after that occurs. It may be wise to decide not to fight for control of the air, and not to send air or ground units to Malaya as was historically done and historically planned and promised on a still larger scale. In that case, the question becomes one of lesser bad options: how much can fighting for a location delay the enemy? Can It buy even one day? How much more utility might a base force be in another territory than it is in Malaya? If more, can it be moved or not? RHS generally does not prevent movement of units between territories, although failure to assign them to the proper command lessens efficiency – and often prevents loading on ships or aircraft. Also, enemy policy varies greatly: some Axis teams elect to try to kill the Malaya Army writ large – others are content to let it escape in exchange for rapid control of undamaged bases. That is, the options an Allied player has depend critically on the attitude and policy of the specific Allied player he faces. It is neither always possible nor impossible to move out much of the Malay Army in all games – some are very much one way, others the reverse. The skilled Allied player must evaluate what the options are in this specific campaign in the context of the specific situation and the kind of tactics the present enemy player is using?
Malaya has a primary RR LOC corridor on its Westward side. The Eastern RR LOC is not as well developed, nor as often followed by proper roads (which land units need to move rapidly when they do not “control” the next RR station on the line). In the far North, even the Westward RR does not have a good road network. The historical and most common landing sites tend to cause the IJA to need considerable time to reach the Western corridor because they are using secondary roads to get there. As well, the Eastern RR corridor does not deliver as many supplies to the front line if it is used as an axis of advance. For these reasons, skilled Axis players may not land in historical places, and may also attempt to outflank defensive positions by landing farther South, hoping the enemy will withdraw rather than try to defeat in a coup de main. Regardless of details, generally the final major battle is that for Singapore itself, at the very end of the RR LOC. The longer this battle can be delayed, provided fortifications are being built, the longer it will last. Also, there are pre existing fortifications at Lahore Bahru just North of Singapore. A good defense will turn both locations into fortified battles. The fight for Johore Bahru can delay the battle of Singapore. Enemy landings at Kuantan, connected to the Eastern RR corridor by Secondary road, and even worse, at Mersing, connected to the Western RR corridor after it has combined with the Eastern one just NE of Jahore Bahru, create a risk that Allied forces might be cut off from their retreat toward Singapore, preventing a combined defense. These can be made more expensive by planting mines and locating submarines at these ports.
An unusual feature in Malaya in RHS is the addition of the historically correct and important RR spur to Port Swettinham. This permits Allied units to move rapidly to or from the port when reinforcing or evacuating if for any reason Singapore is not the ideal port to use.
Although the British considered invading Thailand to delay enemy forces advancing into Malaya from the Singora area, and although Thai history says this actually happened (see Operation Matador) but was defeated by Thai Provincial police (!!), it is probably unwise to attempt a major defense North of Taiping. The Eastern RR/Trail corridor South from Kota Bahru will take the Japanese a long time merely because of the need to "walk" down a trail. But the Western corridor, once they reach and take Taiping, permits rapid movement Southward. The only reason to contest farther North is to delay enemy use of Georgetown and Alor Star as air bases and/or to damage those base infrastructures (if you can do so effectively with engineers in the defensive team). Large enemy air bases on the peninsula permits more concentrated air support for enemy ground troops, and this is to be delayed as long as possible. The next major defensive position to the South should probably be at Kuala Lumpar, a fair air base and important road/RR junction. Units stationed there should build fortifications - but not the airfield (which will too soon be used by the enemy). Malacca, where the Eastern and Western RR join, can also be defended if it will delay the enemy, but the final strong point North of Singapore should be Jahore Bahru. Because fortifications were built here in preparation for the campaign, RHS starts with them in place. The player should build them up still more.
NW North America Policy and Strategy
Northwest North America refers to Alaska Command plus Canada Command. This theater is perhaps the least well known one of the Pacific War. For those unfamiliar with it, it may seem strange to combine Canada and mainland Alaska, but to exclude the North Pacific Command. This was done for both logistical and political/historical reasons. This theater was kept so secret during the war that when men returned home and said they had been fighting in Alaska, people thought they were making it up!
The North Pacific Command is NOT part of either Alaska command or of Canada Command. [In RHS, at game start, what becomes North Pacific Command in 1942 is called Naval Forces Alaska, and it has a small fraction of the squads it eventually will control]. This command controls all the offshore islands of Alaska, and the bases on them. [Even B-17 detachments on Kodiak Island are formally assigned to the US Navy]. That command, unless relinquished, is held by Chair One. Alaska Command is the part of Alaska on the North American Continent itself. In contrast, Canada Command is ALL Canadian territory, on the Continent as well as offshore islands. Key locations in this area are serviced by land lines of communications, including primary and secondary roads as well as railroads. In RHS, this infrastructure is augmented by the construction of the ALCAN highway. In strictly historical scenarios, the CANOL road (and pipeline) are also built. If the war extends past its historical end, the Allies may elect to use the ENH series of pwhexe.dat files: if they do, the ALCAN is upgraded to primary road. In Japan Enhanced Scenarios, a different pwhexe file series is used. The greater Japanese threat gives greater priority to the ALCAN highway, cancels the CANOL Road and pipeline, and connects a series of RR all the way from Alberta to Fairbanks. In addition, the ALCAN is extended to Nome, the originally planned destination.
In addition to the usual land LOC infrastructures, this area also has seasonal river LOC in the form of the Yukon River and the MacKenzie River. These are frozen in Winter, although there are ice trails in some places. Both are open to water navigation in Monsoon and Fall. The Yukon opens to the Bering Sea in Monsoon and Fall. The MacKenzie opens to the Arctic Ocean only in Fall. Neither river navigation nor ice trails exist in Spring (which is called “breakup” in this part of the world). The MacKenzie River also has an Eastern Map Edge supply source at Fort Smith (Northwest Territories). Besides land and naval LOC, this area also has a series of airfields, called The Northwest Staging Route. Build before WWII by Canadian and Alaska Territory governments, these are supported by the mobilization of virtually all Canadian and US airliners (which appear in 1942, after regular airline service is ended).
The reason Japan invaded the Aleutians historically was to prevent the US from building bomber bases in range of the Home Islands. Indeed, when the war ended, surrender instructions were broadcast from Adak, because it was the closest land base to Japan. A different idea, utterly rejected by Stalin, was to build US bases In the Komandorskie Islands and on Kamchatka. However, that idea might be feasible if war breaks out between the USSR and Japan – for example if Japan starts such a war. Yet another reason for war in Alaska would be if Japan invaded to use it, and the offshore islands, as a base area to support an invasion of Canada and the US Pacific Northwest. For example, the biggest building in the world is the Boeing aircraft plant at the South end of Lake Washington, at Renton – in the Tacoma hex – where B-29s are eventually built in numbers. These factories can be bombed from Alaska, or they can be seized (and used to build Japanese planes). In game terms, an invasion of North America may well result in enough victory points to achieve an auto victory. Such an invasion might be facilitated by amphibious operations deep into North America, as far as Whitehorse Yukon Territory along the Yukon River, and as far as the Great Lakes of NW Canada along the MacKenzie River (but only in the seasons in which they are navigable). Because of the latter threat, the US Army built a radar station at Point Barrow, Alaska – hoping to give early warning of such an invasion. In RHS, such an invasion is feasible, so the Allies should develop contingency plans to deal with it.
Both Alaska and Canada have several undeveloped locations which can be turned into places of productive significance, at a price in supply points and the deployment of engineers. In theory, that could be done by either side. There are many places with medium and large size port and airfield potential. Again, in theory, these could be developed by either side. There are also potential pitfalls – ships may be trapped by ice when the rapid onset of Winter occurs. [This mirrors the harsh reality of climate in the North country, which is as savage as any jungle]. RHS neither requires nor prevents the NW North America operational area from becoming a minor or major combat theater. Note that fuel is produced on the MacKenzie river at Normal Wells – which has an oilfield as well as a small refinery. Players also may develop a small oil industry with a small refinery at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory or at Kenai, Alaska Territory (but should not do both for reasons of funding).
When the game starts, there are few fully developed base locations and few units in the area. Numbers of reinforcements appear throughout the game – many in the USA and Southern Canada requiring transportation to forward bases. But Alaska also features the creation of the Alaska Territorial Guard, which in fact included an astonishing portion of the population (because, in part, native women turned out for muster: they often were better at field craft and better shots than the men, so everyone pretended they didn’t notice). RHS features the three line battalions plus a few of the more important detachments, intended to relieve front line troops so they could move to areas of more active fighting later in the war. While there are eventually many land and air units available, just as in other theaters, early in the war there are very few indeed. This creates a situation in which there is potential to reward an Axis invasion, followed by a situation in which that is feasible but likely not cost justifiable, followed by a period in which it is wholly impractical to consider. The best policy is to build a network of key air bases and to defend them with significant ground forces and fortifications. More than most places, the NW North American operational area is an air theater. The large number of civil air transports (which should not leave North America) and the many airfields create some potential for a considerable Allied defense even in remote areas. These operations can be supplemented by naval forces near coastlines and navigable rivers unless the enemy has dominance of the Northeast Pacific area itself. Even in that case, units on land, if they can be supplied and supported with air power, may be able to function adequately for immediate operational purposes. Also, consider deploying medium range S Boats from Kodiak against Northern Japan early in the war (because their torpedoes are effective and they have enough range.