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THE ISLAND OF MALABASCAR

Friday, May 10, 2019

Tank Squadron Tanaka


Date: May 4, 1937/2019
Location: Fictional Desperatu Island, Philippines
Situation: Plan Orange Land Action
Scenario: Japanese Invasion and USA Defense

Plan Orange
The USA and The Empire of Japan had a contingency war plan versus each other in the 1930s. Our what-if adapts this to our tabletop in The West Central Pacific.

Orange #1
October 1936/2018: Opening naval battle northwest of The Philippines. IJN resounding victory.

Orange #2
After the IJN naval win, occupation of The Philippines came next. The previous story Defeated Not Humiliated told part of that story; USA fighting retreat around Port Morgan.

And now, we continue with Captain Tanaka's pursuit of the Americans.


DAY 7
Click on images to enlarge them.

"Keitaro! Captain Tanaka asks if you see anything yet."

"Nothing Ryoichi. Just logs blocking the fords along Palopom Creek."

"What's that? --- Nothing. --- Where are the Americans? --- Gone?"

"Alright that's enough. Time to move out. Get the tanks underway." 

Tank engine exhaust soon arose within Santa Margarita from
Tanaka's four HA GO light and three CHI HA medium tanks.

Lieutenant Oshiro led the way.

Crossing the creek was not without incident.
The track of one HA GO was disabled by American 37mm AP rounds.
Unable to advance, the crew bailed out in a disagreeable mood.

The Americans though had been flushed from cover and...
Tanaka's squadron pushed on.

Two American Stuart tanks could not survive versus the volume of enemy fire.
Off image to the left: USA 37mm anti-tank gun ruined from rapid fire.

A third Stuart backed away hoping its frontal plate
and cover within Lagolago Village would help.

Meanwhile the rest of the American force withdrew.
Their destination? The capital of Desperatu Island. 

CLOSING REMARKS

(1) Japanese infantry (no photos) led the way to Palopom Creek suffering casualties from hidden Stuart tank machine gun fire. Tanaka's armor relieved them, crossed the creek and drove into Lagolago Village as shown in our true story.

(2) American 37mm anti-tank guns normally throws 4x D6s. However, the choice was made to rapid fire doubling D6s to eight. Five ones resulted. Three were needed to overheat and ruin the barrel on its first fire of the game. Bad luck.

(3) We have had success with three Stuarts, one 37mm anti-tank gun plus a half track mounted with 75mm fending off  our seven Japanese tanks. Usually the IJA tanks suffer cruel losses. However, this is now a campaign. The half track with 75mm gun was destroyed at Port Morgan. And now the 37mm gun and two Stuarts are gone.

(4) American infantry and Filipino militia though present (hidden) did not factor in this engagement.

(5) The whole concept is imagineered. We used what we have in our collections and what is available. Old School thinking. If it helps, change the date to 1941.

(6) Thank you for looking in.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

DEFEATED - NOT HUMILIATED


Date: March 1937/2019
Location: Fictional Desperatu Island, Philippines
Situation: Plan Orange Land Action
Scenario: Japanese Invasion and USA Defense

Plan Orange
The USA and The Empire of Japan had a contingency plan to go to war versus each other in the 1930s. Our what-if finds a build up of naval, amphibious and land forces in The West Central Pacific.

Orange #1
Last October we fought the opening naval battle as Orange #1 solely using warships northwest of The Philippines. Naval air power was not part of the plan. Understanding it's potency was still in the future. The IJN won a resounding victory.

Orange #2
Given the IJN naval win, the next part of their strategic plan was the occupation of The Philippines. The following tells part of that story.

DAY 5
Port Morgan, Desperatu Island, The Philippines

Japanese Right Flank

After repositioning and being reinforced at night....
The IJA rushed the center building but was repulsed with heavy loss.
The 37mm anti-tank gun was cut down before it fired in support.
This area then stalemated.

Nearby reserves fired in support of the IJA left flank.

Japanese Left Flank

Fresh reserves arriving before sunrise deployed to rush
the enclosure ahead of them.

The Americans held the wall thinly.
Photo courtesy of Dave G.

More men were stationed inside the building.
Photo courtesy of Dave G.

The IJA trotted swiftly forward according to doctrine.

And soon were along the north wall.
American defenders had fallen back from indirect shell fire.

While IJA reserves waited for their moment.

The Americans retired having lost more than 50%.
Forward! --- Into the enclosure! --- Faster!

American reserves appeared trying to stop the IJA advance.
The 37mm anti-tank gun rapid fired into the IJA scout car destroying it.
Fortunately the barrel did not melt.

But another rush forced them to limber....

And retreat down the street

Only to be fired upon by IJA right flank units.
The 37mm gun crew was taken out of action
as were some men in the Universal Carrier.

After two hours of mid-week evening gaming, we needed to call a halt.
The USA held only the southeast portion of Port Morgan.

In the harbor the SS Theodore Roosevelt
and a motor launch had by then departed.

Where to?

Someplace else to fight again!

Back ashore....
Captain Shimoda and Lieutenant Kondo conferred along the seawall.

"The Americans and Filipinos fought well."
"Hai, [yes] Kondo. We can hope they will fully abandon Port Morgan now."
But, they will dishonour themselves not fighting to the last man!

"I think not. It's more important we open the port for our needs."

Meanwhile, to the south....
"New orders sir. A Japanese tank platoon will be here in the morning.
Estimated seven tracks coming in fast.
We are to pull out immediately heading south."

"Give my response, wilco.
Saddle up!"

The column formed to the south on the road out of Port Morgan.

Nearly ready to move out.

The rear guard.

"See 'em Charlie?"
"Nah Sarge. They ain't com'n."

"Alright Tom, get 'er started. Time to go."
"Hey Major!"
"What is it Red?"
"We was defeated sure, but not humiliated, eh!"
"Right you are."

DAY 6
Next Morning --- Port Morgan

Intel. was spot on.

Seven tracks.

Four HA GO Light and
three CHI HA Medium tanks. 

 Trundled into Port Morgan.

 Stopping at the intersection.

 "Where are the Americans?"

 "They retreated to the south down this road."

"See you soon Yanks."

++++++++++          ++++++++++         ++++++++++

CLOSING REMARKS

(1) Day 5 was fought after work on March 20, 1937/2019 by Dave G (IJA), Bill K.  (USA) and yours truly Bill P. (USA).

(2) Home Rules.

(3) See the previous story for Days 1-4 on Desperatu Island.

(4) We would love to read your remarks. See that yellow band immediately below here? Click on "Comments" and let us know your thoughts and questions.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

1937: Desperatu Island


Captain Kotaro Shimoda 
"My battalion will land on Desperatu Island, march easterly overland and capture Port Morgan."

"I must not dishonour my family." 

Date: March 1937/2019
Location: Fictional Desperatu Island, Philippines
Situation: Plan Orange Land Action
Scenario: Japanese Invasion and USA Defense

Plan Orange
The USA and The Empire of Japan had a contingency plan to go to war versus each other in the 1930s. Our what-if finds a build up of naval, amphibious and land forces in The West Central Pacific.

Orange #1
Last October we fought the opening naval battle as Orange #1 solely using warships northwest of The Philippines. Naval air power was not part of the plan. Understanding it's potency was still in the future. The IJN won a resounding victory.

Orange #2
Given the IJN naval win, the next part of their strategic plan was the occupation of The Philippines. The following tells part of that story.

DAY 1

Japanese Aerial Recon Photo #1
Kopani Village apparently deserted. Bridge intact.
IJA Mission: Move east and secure the river line.

IJA infantry advance to the left of the village.

As others closely approach the bridge.

And enter the village.

More Japanese pass along the right side of the village and....

Take cover behind a hedge.

Japanese far right flank. The river is just ahead for these men who....

Next advance to the river's edge. The enemy is absent or
waiting for the right moment to open fire.

As IJA soldiers began fording the river, hidden Filipino villagers opened fire. Two enemy soldiers were felled. Moments before shots were fired a crocodile surged out of cover to attack the first men wading into the water. Japanese fired at the villagers and the croc. It was amazing fun to see numerous shots missing the reptile until the very last one finally struck.

Realizing the enemy was too powerful, the Filipinos retreated back into cover.
The foe crossed without further incidents all along the river and took the bridge.

Day #1 ended. Time for lunch and resetting for....

DAY 2

During the early morning, players reorganized, repositioned in controlled areas and received  reinforcements. Casualties received medical care at 1xD6/man. A 5-6 returned a wounded man to his unit. The rest were KIA. Plus, we took a break for a thirty minute lunch. 


Seated left to right: Morgan E., Dan E. and Jim H. Standing left to right: Jim P. and yours truly Bill P. (Adventures of General Pettygree Chronicler).  IJA: Morgan, Dan and Jim P. USA: Jim H. and Bill P. 

Players acted historically on Day #1 moving cautiously. Outnumbered natives were understandably reluctant to uncover and engage the Japanese without a significant reason. It was better to snipe at them and wait for American soldiers already en-route to help.

The IJA was always visible advancing and spotting or spotting and advancing. Kudos to all IJA players patiently experiencing very little fire except at their left flank ford. They had the experience of advancing into the unknown and did so quite properly I thought.

Japanese Aerial Recon Photo #2
Bridge intact at next river line.
IJA Mission: Secure the next river line.
Keep moving east.

Aerial recon reported defenders still unseen.
Time for the IJA to advance.

Across the wide open field shown in Aerial Recon Photo #2. 

As mechanized reinforcements arrive.

Japanese spread out into the open plain and....

Approach the next bridge.
Fire has erupted along the river line.

USA reinforcements not shown: 
37mm anti-tank gun, half track mounted with a French 75mm cannon

And one of two units of their emboldened and diminished allies.

Day #2 ended when it was certain the IJA would capture the river line.

DAY 3

During the early morning, players reorganized, repositioned in controlled areas and received  reinforcements. Plus, all casualties received medical care at 1xD6/man. A 5-6 returned a wounded man to his unit. The rest were KIA.

Japanese Aerial Recon Photo #3
IJA Mission: Cross the small river below the bottom of this photo.
Keep moving east and capture Port Morgan.

 IJA Right Flank: Time to cross the stream just captured.

Here they come.
USA infantry have finally arrived to stop the foe.

Supported by the half track and 75mm which arrived yesterday.
However, heavy IJA fire and maneuver ruined the USA Left Flank.
All USA and allied natives retreated back into the harbor area.
The way was open into Port Morgan.

IJA Center and Left Flank: Spread out and keep going was the order.

These chaps fell to....

 37mm AT and machine gun fire.
Nearby more USA infantry and native allies stopped the IJA advance.
Port Morgan is in the background. Not much room or time left to stop the IJA.

It was also near our 4:00 pm quitting time. Play was therefore suspended.

DAY 4
Played 12 March, 1937/2019
Two hours of gaming: Bob B. as the IJA and Bill P. as the USA.

During the early morning, players reorganized, repositioned in controlled areas and received  reinforcements. Plus, all casualties received medical care at 1xD6/man. A 5-6 returned a wounded man to his unit. The rest were KIA.

USA Right Flank

Two weakened Filipino units converged to form one large unit. 
Port Morgan is in the background.

Behind them are USA infantrymen.

The IJA advances in open order led by a British armoured car acquired in the mid-1930s.
An artillery observer is well-positioned to spot the foe ahead. 

 The IJA fires upon the Filipinos.

 And Banzai charges. The Filipinos fire 1/2 and evade the charge.
The IJA now occupy the tree line on Port Morgan's northwest outskirts.

Meanwhile, USA infantry pull back out of harm's way. Previously they were locked onto by IJA artillery fire. They had to retire or be decimated. Some occupied the upper building floor to fire at the enemy. This stalled the IJA advance at the tree line mentioned in the last image.

The SS Theodore Roosevelt was moored behind the USA infantry just seen.
The Japanese reinforcement for Day #4 was air support by a die throw. 

Two crewmen were hit in the first pass.
A second pass did not injure anyone. The pilot then returned to base.

USA Left Flank

Port Morgan is off image below the photo. IJA infantry occupied and
hunkered down in woods and buildings on the edge of town.

Their advance was stalled by USA infantry
and a half track with a 75mm cannon.

The IJA attack stalled along the front. Survivors on both sides pulled back to regroup.

Later on Day #4
Captain Shimoda asked, "Is the tank platoon coming or not?"

"No Sir but more infantry arrives tonight.
The Colonel says they will have to do.
You must take Port Morgan tomorrow." 


CLOSING REMARKS

(1) All soldiers are 28mm. The Japanese are from just about every manufacturer there is. Khaki-clad USA infantry are (shhh!) Perry Miniatures 8th Army in battledress uniforms. The two half tracks are Solido die cast.

(2) Bill! Why is there a British universal carrier on Desperatu Island? Simply because there were two in Manila en-route to Hong Kong in 1941. General Mac Arthur commandeered them in December and so....here they are!

(3) Eighteen turns were played from 10:00 am to 3:40 pm on 9 March 1937/2019. Bob and I played five turns on 12 March.

(4) Bill! There's a Japanese mono-plane in the story. I know they did not exist in 1937 but here on Desperatu Island, they do. Afterwards I remembered my British Gloster Gladiator biplanes. A judicious photo angle might have hidden British markings. And there we are....

(5) Captain Shimoda will be featured in General Pettygree's first book due later in 2019.

(6) Both sides had six reinforcements numbered 1-6. During reorganization, 1D6 was thrown to select  a reinforcement. If a number came up previously, the D6 was rethrown until a new reinforcement happened. There was always something arriving at night for both sides. I've found that it is best to keep new units entering games. Reason: Nothing arriving can hurt a scenario. Depends though.

IJA players groaned when the only reinforcement for Day #4 was a fighter plane. They like Shimoda wanted the tank platoon which probably would have won Port Morgan by the end of Day #4. But, the USA has tanks too. Funny how D6 throws ignored them.

(7) Day #5 is scheduled for 20 March 1937/2019.

(8) Comments welcome. Click on the word "Comments" in the yellow bar below here.
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