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Axis and Allies Campaign
PTO: Part 4 Results
by David Devere & Tom Maertz

Pacific Theater of Operations: End of Spring – Summer 1943

Hong Kong falls to Japan! Hong Kong has finally been subdued by Japanese forces but the British have taken French-Indo China and Japanese losses at sea have reduced the Imperial Navy’s fighting capacity.

Usually there isn’t much good news for the Japanese but this time there is some that add up to 1. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isorku Yamamoto is quoted as saying, “In the first twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory.” Larry Harris, the designer of all the Axis & Allies board games, designed the Pacific game to reflect the surprise and superiority of the Japanese tactics in the initial stages of the war. He also realized that the Japanese will be fighting hard to keep hold of their quickly gained empire. In the board game the Japanese win if they capture any allied capital or score 22 victory points. Japan scores one victory point for each 10 IPCs they collect. When we designed the Campaign Game we decided to use victory cities to determine which side won. The Axis has to take 10 cities and the Allies need 11 cities to win. We’ve also incorporated part of Larry’s design for the PTO – we’ve decided that if the Japanese can earn 10 victory points they can earn a virtual city for the Axis. This way the Japanese can reduce the Axis total to 9 or even 8. So what’s the good news? The Japanese have now earned enough victory points to gain 1 virtual city for the Axis.

So here’s how the count sits – the Axis have Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghi, Manila, Rome, Berlin and one virtual city for a total of 7. The Allies have Calcutta, Sydney, San Diego, Washington, London and Moscow for a total of 6. There are 3 cities that are contested, Paris, Leningrad and Stalingrad

Let’s see how the tickets played out.

Battle No. 36 in French Indo-China was an opportunity for the Japanese to push back the British invasion of SE Asia. They were on the defensive and they had more points. Despite these advantages it seems the British army is unstoppable. The margin of victory wasn’t enormous but it was enough to give the British a win. To make matter worse for the Japanese, the defending units had no friendly country to retreat to; therefore all the ground forces that would have retreated were destroyed. Only the fighter group was able to escape to Formosa.

Battle No. 37 was the fourth part of a long ongoing struggle to capture Hong Kong. The British won this battle too but they didn’t have enough troops survive the encounter to reconstitute an infantry piece back onto the strategic map. One advantage the attacker has in the campaign game is that his infantry only cost 1 point to reconstitute whereas the defender has to have 2 points. In this way they Japanese were able to win Hong Kong by not winning the battle.

Battle No. 38 in the Sumatran Convoy was a win for the Japanese. In this battle the Japanese won more individual battles but the total retreated amount for the British was higher. So the British Navy was kicked back toward the Shan State and the Japanese got to stay on station but the Brits come out a little ahead in the end.

Battle No. 39 in the Coral Sea was going to be a tough win for the Japanese. In the end, the British were victorious, but only by 1. High Command was surprised that it was that close. Japanese Naval commanders should be commended for fighting so tenaciously. By winning the battle the British were able to land on the Island of New Britain. In the ensuing invasion the Commonwealth troops took the island but suffered the loss of an infantry division in the contest.

Battle No. 40 off the Gilbert Islands was supposed to be a fighting retreat for the Japanese. Japanese fleet commanders were supposed to do as much damage to the Americans as possible while limiting their own losses. Japanese High command received field reports like this:

“Remaining Allies Points: 170; Remaining Axis Points: 49. Japanese Fleet to High Command: We have suffered heavy losses. The Americans are punishing us with non stop air raids and our subs were not able to locate the main American carrier from which these attacks originated. We received a distress call from the crew of the Tone, they were surprised in a night raid and are sinking fast (2 Dauntless Bomber squadrons attacked, one slipped through and landed a critical blow to the ship). We have severe regrets to say that we also lost our main carrier group while trying to evade our attackers. We must focus our efforts elsewhere.”

Another reported:

“Victor: US Admiral Keith Severin; Defeated: Japan Admiral Kano Keiki; Remaining Victor Troop Points: 145; Remaining Defeated Troop Points: 24. A complete disaster for the IJN, and possibly the death knell for their ambitions in the Pacific. The engagement started out very favorably with 4 squadrons of US aircraft shot down and two ships damaged before the Japanese suffered their first loss. The turning point was when the Japanese commander, flush with the opportunity for a resounding victory, ignored the strategic direction to ignore victory markers. Several critical IJN vessels drifted into range of the “Big Stick,” the USS Iowa, and were obliterated. The Zuikaku took a vital strike from the Iowa’s main gunnery, and the Yamato capsized after repeated torpedo hits.”

In other actions, the Japanese were able to destroy the British garrison in Siam but didn’t have enough ground units to take the province. They were also able to defeat Chinese troops in Kwangsi and Suiyuan province. The Americans have massed two large assault groups in Dutch New Guinea and the Marshall islands. The only thing preventing the Americans from attacking the Philippines next turn is a Japanese battleship stationed off the coast.

The Japanese are in a very precarious position. The Americans are closing in on their island and are threatening to take victory point cities. The British have done very well in SE Asia but the Germans have drawn off some of their strength. The UK will have a hard time progressing much further than they are now in the coming turn.

Next week we will give you the results of ETO 5 and issue new orders for the PTO. Every battle counts; remember to report your results.

Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign:

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