The Last Waltz
So, herewith is some tie-up and closure for the time capsule. It won't make a lot of sense if you haven't read the AAR. Mostly doing it for me plus the long-time readers if any remain. I'll post until I get bored, then I'm Casper. If anyone wants info I don't post let me know and I can do a custom post.
The last post above was in late December 1942. The last turn completed was March 28, 1943. I sent one more back, but my opponent never processed it, or, if he did, did not return the replay.
The game ended with some acrimony on Mike's part, in part reflected in his post in the "depot division activation" thread in the main forum, and in part due to my use of SSTs for deep recon and base capture. I won't comment further on how or why things ended, except to say it's disappointing to go two real-time years to get to the point the Allies can begin to really operate and have the game end unexpectedly. It happens a lot around here though. I had hoped to avoid it due to being abundantly, crystal clear up-front what type of game I was seeking.
So, what happened, from 30,000 feet, between December and March?
1. Operation BANDIT, the approach and attempt on Chiang Mai, stalled out. The Chindits did air-drop on Uttradit and took the base, but they were forced out and north in an Operation Market Garden fashion when Chiang Mai was not defeated. CM had over 55,000 Japanese defenders in 20+ LCUs at the end, but the besiegers were in good supply. Over time I think Allied air power would have tipped the balance.
2. Rangoon/Pegu/Moulmein was an epic struggle in all three dimensions. Exploratory bombardments showed Pegu as the best candidate for focus and these were conducted for several weeks before a deliberate attack dropped forts from 6 to 5 with significant Allied casualties, but mostly disablements. KIAs were mostly Chinese, and supply at Pegu was always in the white. Over time Pegu would have fallen, especially as Indian squad and armor upgrades were coming on-line. This would have left Rangoon completely pocketed with over 150,000 defenders, cut off from supply except by sea. For months that supply line had operated tenuously for Japan, with losses to air from Pt. Blair, subs, occasional surface incursions on the northern leg up the coast, and a few Rangoon harbor penetrations. Magwe was always Allied, so the refineries at Rangoon, source of most internal supply, depended on oil from Medan. I established bases on the Sumatra west coast and had good visibility of Medan. Just no spare air to take it down. That was coming shortly.
Aussie ID plus support was 100% ready to take Tavoy and hold it this time. With real amphbs in the inventory now I think this would have worked. Once Rangoon and Tavoy fell Moulmein was arty heavy but not as well-defended as Rangoon. And all of the LCUs pinned at Rangoon with 1941 devices would have upgraded before heading south to roll up the coast to the Malaysia "neck" west of Bangkok.
3. It's impossible to overstate how important the Chinese army was in Burma. Rather than die for nothing in China they were excellent garrison troops. In almost every attack in Burma with high casualties they took the brunt of KIAs. The numbers were scary, but they recover with 350 squads a month a lot faster than the UK and Indian LCUs. Their brothers in India were building to full 800 AV strength in multiple bases. I had 1943 Chinese squads on stockpile, and was near the point I could upgrade a corps-a-day.
4. On Sumatra, the single biggest strategic mistake my opponent made was in never taking Palembang. It was never even in danger. He bombed it almost daily for a year, losing thousands (?) of planes, and never dented it. Forts built in every pause. I have erased old Tracker files, but I think I can confidently say that supply there never went below 70,000, and most of the time was over 100,000.
He did take Oosthaven late, and threw me out of Benkoelen, but as I said above I was building air bases offshore to support the main invasions. Enganno was nearly Level 2 and already had SDBs and Albacores in residence. He made frequent runs to Benkoelen in the last months, but these would have stopped. Cocos I. was a major fleet base almost from the beginning of the game. It had fuel, supply, and could stage most aircraft models onto Sumatra. CVEs were used a few times to shuttle up near and fly off. And Christmas I. (IO) was also Allied and growing, in order to threaten Java.
But PBang was about oil and fuel. He never got it, and even in Scenario 2 that's Game Over.
5. In the Pacific it was a wait-a-thon for Essex and Hellcats after I lost three CVs early. Eniwetok was Level 6 Forts and a fortress, early Corsairs and all. Wake was never lost, and a major fleet base. I took Marcus I. briefly, but screwed the pooch by laying own mines one day before the invasion and then driving over them. The landings were disrupted and never recovered. I had a large number of amphibs at Wake and would have re-taken Marcus by the autumn. I did do several surface raids and sank a fair number of ASW small-fry there.
The Marshalls were also a wait-for. I had massive USMC forces 100% prepped for Kwaj and Roi-Namur for most of a year. By the time the game ended there was no real good reason to take them, but I would have, for experience and to finally push the subs back. I would have bombed and para-assaulted the forward tier of bases like Wotje, again for VPs and practice.
Japan spent a lot of time and effort building Tabi and the bases to the south. I sniped at them, establishing a shoestring base at Makin that had grown to support Corsairs and B-24s by the end, but there was no good reason to take them. The war was going to move west and leave them in the rear-view. I did have a division prepped 100% to take Tarawa, to back-up Makin and isolate that island group from re-supply.
6. Up north the Aleutians were secured early, and except for one naval engagement where Japan was utterly clocked, there was no fighting up there. At the end I was building out dot bases with full AFs using Seabees, taking VPs. I would have moved on the Kuriles in 1944, with only a strat bombing objective.
7. The rest of the map was odd, as readers know. Japan never took Rabaul; I walked back in without a shot after it sat for six months. I built it and neutralized Truk from there. I got NG without any fighting really. Hollandia was a major base and would have played a major role in 1943. I got the Solomons for free. There was never any struggle over Suva, Noumea, Pago Pago, etc. Having read his AAR it looks like the failed effort to take Hawaii delayed Japan and they never really got on track.
8. Other Japanese errors were not well-understood by me. He never "finished off" his inner perimeter, leaving me bases all over the place. I never lost Cebu for example. I had three Cats there and a small amount of LI. For a year I pulled in PI infantry units from all over the mid-PI. I ran a few SST loads of supply in to supplement, then finally used SST-landed Kanga Force to take a vacant Yap. I drove multiple xAKL loads of supply right over Yap and into Cebu, where they unloaded and gave the base over 5000 supply. Replacements were turned on, arty and AA flowed into the starving units, and Cebu went pretty close to Level 4 forts I think.
Other places, like key Dutch bases in the northern DEI, he never took. They sat empty, but I was going to land base forces on them soon with true amphibs. I had taken all of Timor and the bases nearby. An Aussie ID was en route to take Ambon (about a base force defending.) Kendari would have been next and the DEI basically gutted. Screen shots will better show the situation here in other posts.
The issue of SST employment basically ended the game. Again, not going into details. He can if he wants. Suffice to say I used SSTs as deep recon. I had a full map of enemy dispositions in the southern PI and the nearby islands. I had taken and held some key islands and bases I would have shortly reinforced. (Also in NE Borneo.) This recon told me the southern PI was basically undefended. I had changed my strategic plan based on this SST intel. After Kwaj/Roi Namur, and already having Eniwetok, the logical next jump would be the Marianas. I had a lot of non-ID LCUs already prepped for those targets. But it was early 1943. I wouldn't have the 4E assets to make the Marianas "work" for over a year. But the recon on the PI showed that Mindanao would have been a pushover. I would have then moved due west and taken or destroyed Balikpapan. He only got Soerbaja in late 1942, and looked to be using a lot of its output for fleet uses. He never got PBang, any of the Burma oil, Lanchow. I bombed Boela out of business. If I took Balikpapan he would be relying on northern Borneo pretty much. (Medan was feeding Rangoon as above.) And that doesn't work in 1943.
That's where we were, in overview. Now the details.
< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 9/19/2014 7:13:26 PM >