March 9, 1942
Another Round, Barkeep!
Singapore, that fair city. Bane of Japan's existence, hero of the Allies' war efforts to date. Many of the moves and counter-moves in this game have centered here. I thought it might be nice for the historical purists to diary an account of the Aussie experience in the RL battle for the Jewel of the Empire:
"Fall of Singapore
By 31 January 1942, all British Empire forces had withdrawn from the Malay peninsula onto Singapore Island. On 8 February, the Japanese landed in the north-west of the island and within six days they were on the outskirts of Singapore city, which was also now under constant air attack.
Many of the troops had been shocked at the apparent lack of defences on the island. The men were battle-weary and the Australians had lost nearly 700 men fighting in Malaya since 14 January, with hundreds of others sick or wounded. Only one trained reinforcement unit, the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, arrived from Australia. Other last-minute reinforcements sent were untrained and ill-equipped for battle.
The Japanese had prepared for the invasion of Singapore with a heavy bombardment. They began their amphibious landings on the north-west of the island, where the Strait of Johore is narrowest. This area was held by the Australian 22nd Infantry Brigade but late on the night of 8 February the Japanese made their way through undefended sections. Twenty-four hours later a second Japanese landing force struck between the Causeway and the mouth of the Kranji River, an area held by the Australian 27th Infantry Brigade. By the morning of 10 February there were Japanese troops on most of north-west Singapore.
The Australian, British and Indian troops tried to hold the Japanese at various defensive lines but after two days many of their dreadfully depleted battalions had to be reorganised into composite units. A counter-attack on 10-11 February failed and on 12 February General H Gordon Bennett, the Australian commander, began moving his near-exhausted 8th Division AIF units into a perimeter just a few kilometres out of the city. By the next day the Japanese were within five kilometres of the Singapore waterfront. The entire city was now within range of Japanese artillery.
Official evacuations from Singapore had begun in late January and continued until almost the last moment. RAAF squadrons had been evacuated before the Japanese invaded the island and the remaining RAN warships were ordered to leave. Some merchant ships also got away carrying evacuees from the path of the Japanese. The warships' main operational tasks were escort duties, and the fleet based in Singapore included the destroyer HMAS Vampire and the sloop HMAS Yarra, which arrived late in January, along with several corvettes. The corvettes in the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla swept the sea lanes and conducted anti-submarine patrols. HMA Ships Toowoomba, Wollongong and Ballarat reinforced the original four corvettes, HMA Ships Bendigo, Burnie, Goulburn and Maryborough. The last 65 Australian Army nurses stationed in Singapore were ordered to board the Vyner Brooke, which sailed on 12 February. Their colleagues, who had sailed in the Empire Star the previous day, reached Australia, but only 24 of the nurses who sailed in the Vyner Brooke survived to return to Australia in 1945 after the war had ended.
By 14 February the Japanese had captured Singapore's reservoirs and pumping stations. The bombing, fighting and heavy shelling continued; many of the troops, separated from their units, wandered around aimlessly and the hospitals were crowded and overflowing. Some troops were deserting and others had become separated from their units. Hard fighting continued but on 15 February Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, the British commander in Singapore, called for a ceasefire and made the difficult decision to surrender. He signed the surrender document that evening at the Ford Factory on Bukit Timah Road. After days of desperate fighting, all British Empire troops were to lay down their arms at 8.30 that night. More than 100,000 troops became prisoners of war together with hundreds of European civilians who were interned.
Despite his instruction to Australian troops to stay at their posts, General Bennett and two of his staff officers escaped, controversially, from Singapore on the night of the surrender and eventually reached Australia."
The above is from an excellent Web site maintianed by the Australian government. See the link for photos and a more complete story of the efforts of Australian forces in WWII.
So. What happened in game world?
1) Another epic struggle at Singers, keying on two stiff Aussie infantry units as well as superior leadership bought over months with precious PPs. I am even more convinced that this arena has been, outside of Japan's own moves of course, driven by the twin factors of the Allies' being permitted to build to Forts 4 initially, and replacement of key COs with high Admin-rated leaders who have expertly drawn in replacements during the lulls in the fighting and restored disabled squads. The 150 spent to sack Perceval was money well spent.
The day began as they all have with saturation bombing. Fifty-seven bombers damaged, six destroyed. Targetting largely shifted to Ground, with the Singapore Fortress the most commonly chosen target, and the Indian divisions and one Aussie infantry unit being the other most common. Light bombers again went after the port and resident ships with no hits. One xAP was in unloading supplies. The other, with 58 system damage and moderate engine and float damage, was flushed to take its chances on the path to Palembang. The MLs again did their jobs, attracting bombs and shooting back at the low-flying attackers.
The ground assault replay was viewed in its entirety. The prelim bombardment phase was very long, demonstrating that Japan is well-equipped in that area with nearly 1000 guns. The infantry/armor phase went fairly quickly, with the Imperial Guards taking less damage than in the first attacks, but the independent regiments being severely diminished. On the defenders' side, almost all infantlry LCUs were zeroes except the Aussies, who were the rocks of the defense.
Forts were knocked down to 2. The city held once again, for the third time.
Ground combat at Singapore (50,84)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 71433 troops, 831 guns, 384 vehicles, Assault Value = 2550
Defending force 44486 troops, 578 guns, 382 vehicles, Assault Value = 1234
Japanese engineers reduce fortifications to 2
Japanese adjusted assault: 2724
Allied adjusted defense: 2449
Japanese assault odds: 1 to 1 (fort level 2)
Japanese Assault reduces fortifications to 2
Defender: terrain(+), leaders(+), experience(-)
Japanese ground losses:
7330 casualties reported
Squads: 183 destroyed, 295 disabled
Non Combat: 2 destroyed, 50 disabled
Engineers: 1 destroyed, 107 disabled
Guns lost 94 (13 destroyed, 81 disabled)
Vehicles lost 31 (2 destroyed, 29 disabled)
Allied ground losses:
2245 casualties reported
Squads: 51 destroyed, 113 disabled
Non Combat: 44 destroyed, 142 disabled
Engineers: 5 destroyed, 47 disabled
Guns lost 41 (11 destroyed, 30 disabled)
Vehicles lost 26 (9 destroyed, 17 disabled)
56th Infantry Regiment
148th Infantry Regiment
16th Infantry Regiment
2nd Tank Regiment
15th Ind. Engineer Regiment
24th Infantry Regiment
56th Recon Regiment
56th Engineer Regiment
114th Infantry Regiment
23rd Ind. Engineer Regiment
12th Engineer Regiment
113th Infantry Regiment
Imperial Guards Division
55th Infantry Regiment
4th Ind. Engineer Regiment
Karafuto Mixed Brigade
1st RF Gun Battalion
20th AA Regiment
56th Field Artillery Regiment
18th Medium Field Artillery Regiment
20th Ind. Mtn Gun Battalion
5th Mortar Battalion
3rd Medium Field Artillery Regiment
10th Ind. Mountain Gun Regiment
3rd Mortar Battalion
3rd Ind. Mountain Gun Regiment
14th Ind.Art.Mortar Battalion
18th Mountain Gun Regiment
34th Field AA Battalion
5/14th Punjab Battalion
1st Mysore Battalion
2/17 Dogra Battalion
11th Indian Division
3rd Cavalry Regiment
1st Hyderabad Battalion
3rd SSVF Battalion
22nd Australian Brigade
27th Australian Brigade
2nd Malay Battalion
2nd Loyal Battalion
1st Manchester Battalion
9th Indian Division
2nd ISF Base Force
3rd ISF Base Force
1st ISF Base Force
Singapore Base Force
III Indian Corps
Malayan Air Wing
109th RAF Base Force
24th NZ Pioneer Coy
111th RAF Base Force
3rd Heavy AA Regiment
1st HK&S Heavy AA Regiment
110th RAF Base Force
3rd HK&S Light AA Regiment
2nd HK&S Heavy AA Regiment
22nd Indian Mountain Gun Regiment
1st Indian Heavy AA Regiment
112th RAF Base Force
109th RN Base Force
As I write this I do not have the next turn in hand. I do not know how badly the defenders were hurt on a unit basis.
Did Japan err? On the positive side the air prep was long and heavy. It did keep Forts from rebuilding to 4, although under 20% progress was made in the pauses where air efforts shifted to Palembang. Some effort was made to keep supplies out of the city using subs and light bombers. A major HQ was present in the hex, and I believe a command-level HQ is in residence at JB. Large amounts of arty were used.
Also, it should be noted that in the midst of this siege the beta patch re-allowed LI supplies to be produced in the base. This amounts to about 180/day I believe.
On the negative side, Japan may have cost itself a win here in several ways. First, a Shock attack might have succeeded. The Allies were holding on by fingernails in the last stages of the infantry fighting. Second, the engineers sitting at Clark AFB probably would have been enough to take forts down to 1, or even all the way. In that case the city would likely have fallen with this same amount of force. Third, one more prepped infantry division would almost certianly have taken odds to 2:1 and probably resulted in a victory. Fourth, if bombing had focused on Ground and not on the AF and supply denial, it's possible some of the defenders would have been combat-ineffective. In summary, Singers needed more. Pretty much more of everything thrown at it. But not much more. It was close.
What now? There are about 8 LCUs at JB, and I do not know what they are. If any are fresh infantry, or tanks, a quick follow-on attack will probably work. Depending on the exact distribution of Japanese losses it's possible a quick shock attack in the next two days would work as well, especialy if bombing shifted to 100% ground targetting and kept disruption high. I plan to open the taps on supply burn, give nearly everyone a chance to rebuild and heal what they can, bring in Support squads if needed (those I do have in the pools), and leave fort-building on. Levels between 2 and 3 build faster than 3 to 4, and if bombing goes to Ground there might be a lull where Forts 3 could be reachieved. Doubtful that much time, but possible.
Will Japan pause now and bring in troops from the PI or elsewhere? Don't know. I wouldn't, but Japan in this game has been cautious with LCU strengths.
I've been considering all morning if I should throw in the towel on Singers and try to get the Aussie units out to Palembang, which at this point has more long-term strategic value. And I think I won't. I only have one decent-sized xAP in the sub-theater, although there are a few at Cocos. But without the Aussies Singers is an empty bag. Also, evac ships would surely be attacked by air and sub, and there are no assets to defend them. It would be a gauntlet run which might end up with Singers losing them and Palembang not gaining. So I think I will see what Singers can do to bandage itself and put forth at least one more credible defensive effort before the walls crash in.
Elsewhere . . .
2) The heavily-damaged APDs retreating from Palembang to Batavia are set upon by an I-boat. It misses, and the high-ASW ratings of the crippled destroyers do three hits, at least one of which is penetrating. I think, however, this TF might have retreated from the threat back toward Palembang and not forward to safety.
A different I-boat is attacked on the surface by S-39 near Billiton. The Americans miss, but intel is recorded that at least two big, ungainly subs are operating in shallow water near Singers.
3) Allied efforts to expand the air threat to Japan in the Burma theater continue. Strikes at Toungoo by the Chinese with AVG escort, and by new B-26s at Port Blair on Victoria Point (nightime) push the idea that CAP needs to be dispersed. Minor damage to both sides in these strikes.
4) Multiple ASW actions in the Sea of Japan tie down the attacking subs. This is going to be a fact of life for at least the next several months. The USN will probably evolve patrol areas as radar comes in and as Midway becomes the standard fuel budget.
5) A little bit of comedy as 66 IJA fighters sweep Palembang in two waves. One (1) P-38 is on high-CAP at 25,000 feet and meets the sweeps. No damage to either side.
6) On land, the bombing at Bataan continues, but still no movement dots at Clark. In Burma, the cavalry unit advancing on Akyab must have seen the forces gatheirng to meet it; it now has a SE movement dot. Japan bombards Urumchi for the second day without result. The defenders are pure infanty; no guns. The base is at 85% of Forts 2, building about 5% a day. China will allow this situation to continue as long as Japan likes.
7) Finally, UNDERDOG. TF destinations tweaked, and the carriers, which had fallen behind seven hexes due to my speed fiddling errors, are made independent to catch up and take station. A second replenishment group is being organized at SF to come to help eventualy, most likely on the withdrawl. The sub curtain to Christmas I's NW is still gathering into position. The RAAF patrol planes fly from Canton and see nothing.
Johnson I., which had only two subs showing for about a week after NEUMAN, for the first time shows surface ships. Three TFs, whcih read as single-ship each. (Unlikely.) The AF still reads as 40ish fighters alone, with no search or bombers. Are the TFs the KB or part of it, gone in to grab stranded fuel and wait to see what the sub sighting off San Diego was? Are they evac lift for the garrison on Johnson? ASW back to defend so supplies for the AF can come in? Just don't know. UNDERDOG is undetected as far as I know. It plows on at Cruise speed, hoping the Cats see something if something is there.
< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 2/17/2013 6:45:35 PM >