Sunday, January 28, 2024

Stop Them! A Gen. Pettygree Battlestory


The Japanese Have Landed On Luzon

Date: January 27, 2024/1941
Circumstances: 28mm Tabletop Battlegame, Four Players, Home Rules
Adaptations: Imagineered and We Use What We Have
Location: Western Luzon, The Philippines South of Lingayen Gulf

"Reconnaissance reports say Japanese forces which came ashore at Lingayen Gulf on December 22nd are now moving south, General Pettygree."

"I presume they are marching on Route 3 heading toward Central Luzon."

"Yes, that is my thinking. We'll know more after Lt. Briggs arrives with photos."

"That must be him taxiing toward us, General Mac Arthur." 

"Well, Lt. Briggs. What do you have to say?"

"They're com'n in force General MacArthur. My photos will explain everything."


Flying north along Route 3, I took advantage of scattered cloud cover.

"Not far from the southern bottom of the Gulf, the enemy Advance Guard appeared. Cavalry led followed by infantry and four tanks at Rosario Village."

"Cavalry, Briggs?"

"General, if I may," offered Pettygree. "The Japanese 16th and 48th Divisions which we believe are here each contain organic cavalry." (1)

"Their infantry pounded through Rosario at a fast pace." (2)

"More infantry and some artillery were not far behind."

"At Lingayen Gulf three more tanks got underway. They looked heavier Sir."

"Some infantry not on Route 3 crossed a river flanking the road column."

"Rearmost, two artillery pieces were being set up."


US Army Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) were scattered on Luzon and other islands. Here on Luzon, General MacArthur had already ordered forces commanded by General "Skinny" Wainwright to converge to attack an anticipated enemy advance south from Lingayen Gulf. He told Wainwright, "Stop Them!" This is their story.

Allied Right Flank

Artillery arrived first on the Allied Right Flank. (3) Two M3 half-tracks armed with old French 75mm cannons and a  towed 75mm field piece opened fire on the enemy Advance Guard on Route 3.

Striking Japanese Cavalry as infantry and tanks push forward from behind. The Allied battery is off image 5' to the left.

Moments later a P40 E dived firing 50 caliber rounds into the thinly armored Ha Go tank on the bridge. 6D6s (6 heavy machine guns) fired. Three hit. At this point the pilot threw 3xD6s for damage location. Ones would apply to the deck. Other numbers would apply to other parts of the tank unblocked by the bridge walls. Two hits at the same spot would brew up the tank. Two ones were thrown. The tank caught fire blocking the bridge. Lucky!

The 75s also destroyed the rear Ha Go tank. Lucky again!

As a result of these shocks, the cavalry cantered into a nearby stone enclosure, dismounted and took cover. There would be no further offensive Japanese movement on this flank. Later they remounted, galloped back to the road adjacent to the stream you can see....

And headed off the table to secure this bridge.
The smoking volcano was just for fun.

This prompted the appearance of the 26th Philippine Scouts Cavalry and

Forward movement by the M3 Gun Motor Carriages to engage the Battlefield Center across the stream. (4)


Action began with an Ambush by Philippine infantry versus white shirted Japanese. Ambushers are allowed to suddenly appear and fire first. However, Japanese firepower decimated the khaki soldiers. The remnant of the Japanese then Banzai Charged the house.

The Filipinos fled giving up the house to their enemy.

Japanese infantry earlier debouched from trucks at Rosario heading toward the sound of gunfire. The heavier Chi Ha tanks Lt. Briggs saw earlier now provide valuable support.
As do artillery observers in the tower of the tallest building in Rosario. They called in artillery fire from two guns about 7' away to the upper right. Then....

Saburo Sakai's Zero arrived firing two Light Machine Guns and two Low Velocity Cannons at a recently arrived American Stuart Tank.

Scratch one American tank.
Philippine Scout infantry in the distance are holding their own.

Supported by another Stuart Tank and guerillas (near the big rock).

As Chi Ha tanks, a 20mm AA gun plus a 37mm AT Gun come menacingly closer.

However, the Allied Left Rear has problems coming toward them along a hedge and also from off image to the left.


Earlier this date, Japanese forces began crossing streams.... 

And broader rivers heading to the sound of gunfire in The Center.

Hurrying forward....

To help their comrades in arms.

The battle for The Center is in front of them. Allied infantry has fallen back after a firefight in the face of overwhelming numbers and will eventually have to abandon Rosario. MacArthur's order to Stop The Japanese failed but the latter had their plans slowed in this Hit and Run Attack played by....

Seated: Bob B and Chuck S. --- Standing: Dave G. and yours truly Bill P.

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Inspiration came from the above Osprey campaign book #243, published in 2012.

(1) Page 21 details the organization of each division. Naturally as my gamer pards know, cavalry must be on the table as much as possible.

(2) Japanese Infantry throw 5xD6s to move. Two more are added if remaining on a road the entire turn. The total of 7xD6 thrown is the maximum movement in inches.

Other infantry throw 4xD6s. Deductions usually the highest die thrown occur for terrain obstacles. Example: Ascending a hill: Remove the highest D6 thrown.

(3) Allied arrival explanation.
The 18 home-made counters above are placed in a bag. Six are drawn per turn.
6xD10s are thrown per turn for arrival locations. 

10 arrival areas (red spots) are placed along the Allied table edge.
Locations this turn: 1, 2, 4, 7, 7 and 10.

(a) The Allies secretly place drawn units at the six arrival points. They have freedom to deploy units in any way wanted within 12" of arrival spots; one unit per spot. However, the two 7s above allow two units to appear.

(b) Japanese counters are given to the Japanese player when drawn.

(c) Ambush and Detonation counters are given to the Allied commander to secretly deploy and activate in any logical way without pre-game planning as a surprise anywhere on the table. The Ambush Counter comes with a platoon of infantry.

(d) Sometimes there are not enough units to deploy at every thrown location. That's okay and as it should be.

(e) The above randomness keeps the scenario different for both sides. For awhile the Japanese will operate in the dark until Allied units are spotted or fire.

(4) The 26th Cavalry were adapted from Perry Miniatures WWII British cavalry serving in the Middle East. This was a very good unit and was called upon many times. The M3s are Corgi diecasts. 
Corgi Diecast M3 half-track with 75mm cannon. It does not come with crewmen.

Your eagle eyes will notice a British Universal Carrier. Joe C. kindly elaborated about them on TMP saying, "As an FYI, the freighter SS Don Jose was en route to Hong Kong with 57 Bren gun carriers when they diverted to the [Philippines]. The carriers were liberated and sent to the U.S. Provisional Tank Battalions and the 26th Cav."

(5) Japanese Orders:

(6) Who Won this Hit and Run Game? Well, this is a developing scenario and we only played three hours. A greater amount of time was needed for the following victory formula:

We could not play more than five turns. In the first five turns Japanese always moved first with the Allies moving second so the latter remained in control of maneuver. The Japanese needed to boot all Allies off the table by 4pm. There was not enough time for this opportunity to develop.

 Behavior rules at the top were originally placed there for grandchildren who still come by to play on grandfather's table. 

Lowest Score Wins

USAFFE: 41 losses -4 for still holding onto the table at 4 pm = 37 points.

Japanese: 57 losses + 6 for not booting the Allies off the table and -6 because they held Route 3 and all bridges including the one adjacent to the volcano. We added the latter in our after game conversation.

Adjusted score removing the 4pm requirement: Allies 41. Japanese 51.

Also on the scoreboard.

(6) Thank you for looking in. Your remarks are welcome at the place marked COMMENTS below, if you please. 

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