|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|Pacific Theater of Operations: Part 4|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
ETO End Fall - Winter 1942 – In the east, Germany wins in Karelia and Russia, besieges Leningrad and enters Stalingrad. In the west, American and UK forces close in on Paris as the British garrison in Denmark continues to resist Wehrmacht assaults.
PTO Spring – Summer 1943 – The Americans gain the initiative in the Gilbert Islands and attack the remaining Japanese fleet before they could move west. The Australians move to subdue the Coral Sea and New Guinea, while units from India attack French Indo-China and the Japanese fleet stationed off Sumatra. The Japanese try to finally subdue Hong Kong and also make attacks into Siam and Kwangsi.
Results of ETO 4
Let the sieges begin! The German victories in both Leningrad and Stalingrad gave the Germans a strong foothold in Russia but the Wehrmacht was severely mauled in France and this will draw much need reserves west instead of east.
France was Germany’s first major defeat of the war. Paris is a victory point city which must not be lost to the Allies. German High Command is very aware of the strategic importance of the city and the province. Leningrad and Stalingrad are both victory point cities too and the Russians aren’t going to give up these cities easily. The problem for the Germans is that now they are truly fighting a two front war and their builds must be divided between their desire to keep France within the Reich and the need to add Leningrad and Stalingrad to the empire. To win the game the Germans must take and hold all of continental Europe and hope the Japanese can hold up their end of the bargain. To add to the problem, Germany was unable to root out the British from Denmark. Now to secure their holdings they need to retake Denmark and France, reinforce Leningrad and Stalingrad and send fresh armored units into Belorussia. Luckily their conquests have gained them 51 IPCs to spend on new forces.
In other action around the ETO Fall-Winter 1942, the Americans and British tried to take out the last two U-boats and both failed miserably. Both destroyers went to the bottom while the U-boats stayed proudly on station. In the Middle East, British forces from India have arrived to reinforce Iraq and the Italian Navy has moved into the Strait of Gibraltar on its way to the Atlantic. The Americans have added two destroyers to the fleet but they had better invest more money into offensive surface ships if they plan on winning the battle of the Atlantic.
Battle No. 36 just might be the most important land battle yet in the PTO. The British committed the bulk of their army in a bid to knock out the bulk of the Japanese army. If successful, they could almost guarantee the suppression of all the Japanese forces in Southeast Asia. The Japanese have a slight numerical advantage in this battle but so far they have been unable to win any land battle against the British. This time it will be incumbent on the Japanese field commanders to make good use of terrain choices and to use the ability of Japanese troopers to get in close and finish the job using their superior hand-to-hand tactics. Last week’s article asked, “Can the Japanese Army win a land engagement?” and many good suggestions were posted on a forum thread but most of them had the solution of using units or maps that don’t currently exist in the game. Part of the challenge of the Campaign game is to try and use the units and maps that do exist within the situation dictated by the Battle Ticket or Fleet Action. Using the defender options the Japanese should be able to dictate a fighting field that suits their strengths best. Japanese High Command suggests using the bocage maps to simulate heavy woods or jungle.
Battle No. 37 should come as no surprise to anyone – it’s Hong Kong again. The Japanese have successfully isolated Hong Kong from ground reinforcement and are now hoping to finally reduce the British defenders and take control of the city. The only way the UK could have reinforced Hong Kong was via air and the only available air unit went elsewhere. Even if the British lose they have accomplished the goal of tying up a large portion of Japanese troops for two years. Can they hold out for another six months?
Battle No. 38 is off the coast of Sumatra. The Japanese High Command can’t believe that the British still have a battleship in the Indian Ocean, but out of the morning haze here it comes, steaming down the coast of Sumatra, making a strong attack on the Japanese fleet. The UK air unit that could have reinforced Hong Kong is committed here instead. The British have a slight numerical advantage. The Royal Navy needs to win this battle to retake the convoy zone to the south. If the Japanese win they could turn their attention to protecting their own shipping lanes from the ever encroaching Americans.
Battle No. 39 battle is an example of what happens to the Japanese when they don’t win initiative. Just as in the Miniatures game, initiative is very important in the Strategic game. For the first roll of this turn the Japanese rolled low die. Therefore the British and the Americans got to go before the Japanese could move and the last two battles are the result of that roll. In this battle, the Royal Navy is trying to permanently remove any resistance from the Coral Sea and New Guinea. The Japanese would probably love to oblige them by moving the remnants of their fleet closer to home and combining it with other units into a larger cohesive fighting force. But the Allies would rather take the Japanese fleet apart in smaller bites and winning initiative allows this to happen. A loss here will push the Japanese closer to home but with fewer ships. The best the Japanese can hope for is to inflict maximum damage while minimizing their losses.
Battle No. 40 is the Americans taking advantage of initiative too. Their fleet, which lost a large number of aircraft last turn, was much more easily replaced than the Japanese fleet which is comprised of the survivors of last turn’s battle. This time the Americans have the advantage. IJN fleet commanders are encouraged by Japanese High Command to orchestrate a fighting withdrawal - do as much damage to the Americans as possible and by no means win the battle unless they have annihilated the entire American fleet. The fleet commanders are instructed to ignore the objectives and simply try and reduce/destroy American surface ships. Proper execution of this order will hopefully allow the bulk of the Japanese eastern fleet to escape.
In other action around the PTO, the Chinese are moving closer to the coast and Shanghi which has the effect of drawing Japanese troops into the Shantung province in anticipation of an attack. The British have sent more troops to Iraq to try and stymie the German advances in the Middle East. The UK is also making attacks into New Britain, New Guinea and Borneo. The Americans are attacking an undefended Dutch New Guinea and have landed a large force in the Marshall Islands. As 1943 dawns the Japanese are starting to fear the outcome of this conflict. Unless they are victorious in this turn’s crucial battles the war may be impossible for them to win. Remember to report your PTO 4 results to AAR@wizards.com. The deadline for all PTO 4 battles is Monday, July 30, 2007 at 10:00am Pacific Standard Time.
Next week we will be turning our attention back to the ETO. All hands on deck! Man your battle stations!
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign: