|Axis and Allies Campaign|
|PTO 6 Results|
|by David Devere & Tom Maertz|
Pacific Theater of Operations: End of Spring Summer 1944
Japanese loses in China, the Caroline Islands and the Korean Convoy fleet making the only Japanese victory, the battle for the Sumatran Convoy, irrelevant.
The Allies are closing in on Japan and now control most of the Pacific with the exception of the Philippines, Sumatra and the island of Japan itself. On the continent the Chinese are massing for an attack and the British are sending waves of armored divisions into Southeast Asia. Not only Hong Kong but all of the Japanese possessions on the mainland are in danger of attack next turn.
First let’s take a look at what happened in last week’s tickets:
Battle No. 56 was in Anhew. I remember reading a lively discussion on the Forum (yes we do read the Forum) about how the Japanese couldn’t possibly lose this battle. It was proposed that with the right combination of armor the Chinese couldn’t possibly win. I also remember talk about how crummy the Chinese army units were when they first came out in the second set and that they would never win any engagement. The Japanese have now faced the Chinese in three engagements, two of which carried a 100% Chinese only troop restriction. In all three battles, including this one, the Chinese have been victorious. Much to the dismay of Japanese High Command it seems the Chinese have figured out how to win despite assumptions made about their inferior troop quality and the supposed invulnerability of certain Japanese tanks.
Battle No. 57 was a complete blow out. Never in this campaign have we had one side perform such a crushing victory. The Japanese field commanders courageously fought an extremely one sided battle with the hopes of reducing some of the American offensive capabilities. In the end, the Americans lost one infantry division and the Japanese, even though retreat was impossible, lost all three of the defending divisions. Even if retreat were possible the Americans so completely annihilated their enemy that there was not one remaining. This report sums up the encounter:
After Action Report from HQ 5th Marine Regiment to Maj.Gen. William H. Rupertus GOC 1st Marine Division.
Orange Beach, Pelileu, June 1944 – The 5th Marine Regiment supported by the 1st Marine Tank Battalion and USMC and USAAF aircraft landed on Orange Beach. As the first platoons moved inland they came under intense fire from machine guns, snipers and anti-tank guns in a line of bunkers and buildings 400 meters back from the beach. The two Japanese guns were silenced almost immediately by fire from a Marine Sherman 105 and a bombing run by a VMF-22 Corsair, although the fighter was also hit and destroyed by intense ground fire. A USAAF P-38 strafed the enemy positions keeping their heads down as the first Marines climbed up a steep bank to get at the Japanese. Despite a steady stream of casualties the Marines continued to advance, with the Sherman 105 knocking out pillbox after pillbox. An AMTRAK also made it off the beach and poured .50cal fire onto the Japanese troops sheltering in the buildings. The Japanese continued to resist strongly but with their guns gone and most of their machine gun nests destroyed they had no defense against our tank and air support. The battle for the beach was decided when our flamethrowers got into action, burning out the enemy from their positions. The last few Japanese launched a banzai charge which died in the face of the marine’s defensive fire. Only one Japanese defender of Orange Beach was captured, the remainder being killed in action. The aggressive assault platoons of the 5th Marines suffered 40% casualties in this hard-fought action. The way is now open to advance on Peleliu airfield, and the 5th Marines stand ready to continue the fight.
Battle No. 58 was a fleet action in the Mariana Islands that pitted a Japanese submarine against American transports. In an outcome that has become all too predicable, the Americans won the battle and sent the Japanese sub to the bottom. The Americans did lose a transport in the engagement and aficionados of the board game would probably agree that if you rolled out the battle using the standard board game rules the result would most likely have been the same.
Battle No. 59 was the old boxing match for the Sumatran Convoy and this round goes to the Japanese. This was Japans’ only victory in PTO 6 and strategically it isn’t important. The days when Japan could threaten India with an amphibious invasion are long over and now the only benefit to the win is that the Japanese navy is blocking the allies from landing on and taking Sumatra.
Battle No. 60 was a different battle. The Allies were trying to sweep the sea zones around Japan in anticipation of a landing and also trying to reduce the Japanese ability to reinforce its remaining island and mainland possessions. They were successful on both counts. The Americans won the battle, losing a fighter in the process, and were able to force the two remaining Japanese transports from the sea zone.
In other action around the PTO:
The Japanese took control of Siam and were able to sink the American transport fleet off the coast of Dutch New Guinea. The British have moved armored divisions into the Shan State and are threatening Hong Kong, Siam and French Indo-China. The Americans have only to overcome the Japanese battleship stationed in the Philippines to become masters of the Pacific. American transports loaded with troops abound on the map – where they land will be a constant worry of Japanese High Command.
Next week we will look at the results from Europe and issue new tickets for PTO 7.
Previously in the Axis & Allies Campaign: