Monday, November 11, 2013

Battling Bastards of Bataan: Let's run down the history

See, I promised I'd be back with stuff here, and here I am! So, the big non WWPD project I'm working on now is a fan briefing for the Philippines Campaign of '41 and '42. As I've been working through it I've learned a ton of things about the history of the fight and some awesome anecdotes.

I think, when building your own briefing, fluency with the history is necessary. It'll allow you to build accurate, historical lists that you can then balance for play-ability. In other words, research is key. Thanks to a number of folks (including a certain Marine Corps historian) and a ton of online resources I've been able to start hashing out the nitty gritty of the campaign.

So, here I'm going to post a timeline of the fight with some annotated game design notes (in italics) that have helped me shaped my thoughts on how to put the briefing together:


OK, the first big question here is: IS this a mid-war or early-war breifing or does the Pacific really exist in it's own Meta? The Marines on Corregador used a 1930's force organization, the PS and PA units didn't have "modern" equipment and the Japanese aren't much changed from what you'd see in 39 to 40. The major difference would be better air support and some of the better (such as it is) tanks are more available than they would have been in Nomonhan. 

I'm still debating but I'm starting to lean heavily towards early war. What do you think?

Diversionary/Stage Setting Invasions:
7 Dec ’41: Pearl Harbor
8 Dec ’41: Air Strikes begin on Philippines, in 48 Hours half of all US Air Power on the islands is destroyed

This gives me two options. Sporadic Allied air support or no air support. Interestingly, B-17's were used as part of the air support package for allies during the fight. IF I were to add in sporadic B-17, how would that work? It would certainly need its own special rule. 


8 Dec ’41: Japanese Land on Batan (not Bataan) small island build air base
8 Dec ’41: US Asiatic Fleet withdraws from the Philippines due to bombardments
10 Dec ’41: Diversionary landings on Camiguin Island and at Vigan, Aparri, and Gonzaga in northern Luzon, more airbases underway
10 Dec ’41: Guam Surrenders
12 Dec ’41: the Japanese landed 2,500 men of the 16th Division at Legaspi on southern Luzon, 150 miles from the nearest American and Philippine forces. General Parker sent only token forces from the 41st and the 51st Divisions (PA) to meet the invaders.
19 Dec ’41: attack on Mindanao: Japanese troops staged a night landing that met little resistance as the badly outnumbered 2d Battalion, 101st Infantry (PA), withdrew

Main Invasion:
22 Dec ’41: 43,110 men of General Homma's 14th Army entered Luzon's Lingayen Gulf. The 48th Division and elements of the 16th Division, with support from artillery and 80 to 100 tanks, landed at three points along the east coast of the gulf. General Wainwright's poorly trained and poorly equipped 11th and 71st Divisions (PA) could neither repel the landings nor pin the enemy on the beaches as outlined in USAFFE's defense plan. The remaining Japanese units of the 48th and 16th Divisions landed farther south along the gulf, linking up with the other Japanese forces for the march south. The 26th Cavalry (PS), advancing to meet them, put up a strong fight at Rosario but, after taking heavy casualties and with no hope of sufficient reinforcements, was forced to withdraw.

Likely to be the first lists in the briefing. FV Japanese with SNLF support versus 8 million Bayonets-esque Philippine Army force. 

26th Cav PS is awesome. They average trooper had 13 years of experience on the island. I've rated them Confident Vet and have already blocked out their basic force org. They'll have Stuarts from the Provisional Tank Battaltion, PA/PS infantry support, a special character, half track 75mm guns and some arty support. In a later incarnation they'll lose the special character but will have Bren Carriers and White Scout Cars going from horse mounted mech to fully mechanized. 

22 Dec ’41: Wake surrenders
24 Dec ’41: 7,000 men of the 16th Division hit the beaches at three locations along the shore of Lamon Bay in southern Luzon where they found General Parker's forces dispersed and unable to offer serious resistance. They immediately consolidated their positions and began the drive north toward Manila where they would link up with the forces advancing south toward the capital for the final victory.
26 Dec ’41: MacArthur orders Warplan Orange, the defense of the Bataan Peninsula into effect.
Retreat to Bataan:
23 Dec ’41: MacArthur withdraws from Manila and relocates to Bataan
26 Dec ’41: Manila declared open city
Through 30 Dec ’41: . The tenacity of the 3d Battalion of the 21st Division (PA), in particular, allowed the Americans and Filipinos to hold this defensive line until 30 December before withdrawing to their final defensive position prior to entering the Bataan Peninsula.
2 Jan ’42: Japanese Take Manila
2 Jan ’41: Most Philippine forces enter Bataan
6 Jan ’41: Rearguard American forces enter Bataan
Jan ’42: Entrenchment in Correigador

Battle for Bataan:
Jan to April ’42: Fight for Bataan
Early Jan ’42: Experienced Japanese 48th division pulled off the line and sent to Dutch East Indies and replaced by the recalled reserve unit  of the 65th Brigade
2 to 9 Jan: First defensive line established. Wainwright's I Philippine Corps held the eastern sector. His command included the 1st, 31st, and 91st Infantry Divisions (PA); the 26th Cavalry (PS); and a battery of field artillery and self-propelled 75-mm. guns. General Parker commanded the western sector. His II Philippine Corps, including the 11th, 21st, 41st, and 51st Divisions (PA) and the 57th Infantry (PS), numbered some 25,000 men. MacArthur designated the Philippine Division as the reserve force.

Here's where I'll detail the Philippine Division, the only regular army division on the island and the Provisional Tank Regiment (stuarts), 26th Cav fully Meched, A CT Japanese regiment (the 65th), a japanese tank regiment and the Philippine Scout infantry company (CT) with some special morale rules. 

9 Jan: Assaults begin on eastern & western portion of defensive line
17 Jan ’42: Philippine Division commited to western portion of defensive line under General Parker.
17 Jan ’41: Japanese forces establish solid salient in Western portion of defensive line at Abucay Hacienda.
22 Jan ’42: Japanese break through first defensive line by crossing over Mt. Natib, a feat believed unthinkable by Army planners
22 Jan ’42: Japanese units attempt to outflank the now falling back Americans with an amphibious attack in the southern portion of the Bataan pennensula. Enemy infantry landed in the service command area held only by an assortment of headquarters and service units, the 1st Constabulary Regiment, and the grounded airmen of five pursuit squadrons. Between 22 January and 2 February, in what became known as the Battle of the Points, the Americans turned back successive Japanese attempts to gain a beachhead. The Japanese suffered heavy casualties in these actions, a total of about 900 men, or two full battalions, of the 20th Infantry. The defenders suffered approximately 750 casualties, about a third of these killed. Two Scout units were particularly weakened: the 3d Battalion, 45th Infantry, lost 60 percent of its effectives; Company B of the 57th Scouts, 40 percent.

Here I'll be featuring the SNLF and a really neat mixed American company of all sorts of pilots, sailors and cooks led by 4th Marine Sergeants. 

26 Jan ’42: Evacuation of first line completed establishment of Orion-Bagac line
26 Jan to 7 Feb ’42: Japanese assaults on the Orion-Bagac line. The enemy renewed the offensive against the 4,500-yard Orion-Bagac line on 26-27 January, attacking the II Corps' Sector C along Trail 2. Brig. Gen. Clifford Bluemel had organized his defense of the area on the assumption that he would have most of his 31st Division (PA) and what was left of the 51st Division (PA) to put into the line. In the midst of the fighting Bluemel discovered that two of his regiments had been moved to defend Sector A, leaving no defenders east of Trail 2. The Japanese, also severely debilitated by the continuous fighting, failed to take advantage of the situation, and when the attack finally occurred, Bluemel's hastily reorganized force was able to drive the enemy back. The Japanese were more successful in the I Corps area, but they were again unable to exploit the opening.
8 Feb ’42: Homma orders a general withdrawl of the 14th Army to lick wounds and rebuild
9 Feb to 2 Apr ’42: Defenders rations cut to starvation levels and they continue to dig in while Japanese receive reinforcements for 16th and 65th and reinforced by newly arrived 4th Division from China (in March). Artillery bombardments and infiltration raids are the order of the day during this period. 
12 March ’42: MacArthur leaves Philippines, Wainright put in charge.
3 April ’42: Homma resumes the attack. after a sustained aerial and artillery bombardment. The strongest enemy push, spearheaded by the 4th Division and the 65th Brigade, was directed against Sector D on the II Corps' left flank. The exhausted, malnourished, and dispirited defenders soon gave ground, and the entire line began to crumble. In thirty-six hours the Japanese succeeded in breaching the American line. Command and control in II Corps quickly broke down as troops retreated under heavy air attack.
6 April: II Corps destroyed, I Corps flank turned
9 April ’42: Remaining  I Corps troops under General King surrender the Bataan Peninsula.

Siege of Corregidor:
April - May ’42: Siege of Corregidor
1 May ’42: Initial preparatory bombardment for invasion of Corregidor begins and lasts 5 days.
5 May ’42: Invasion of Corregidor. On the night of 5-6 May, two battalions of the 61st Infantry landed on the northeast end of the island. Despite a strong resistance, they established a beachhead that was soon reinforced by tanks and artillery. Artillerymen and other miscellaneous Army and Navy personnel fighting as infantry joined the 4th Marine Regiment to meet the invasion. The defenders were quickly pushed back toward the island's Malinta Hill stronghold where their position became untenable. President Roosevelt had personally authorized General Wainwright to decide if or when surrender was proper. Late on 6 May, Wainwright broadcast a message to General Homma asking for terms.

The 4th Marines are the other list I've got mostly fleshed out at this point (along with the 2 26th Cav Reg't lists) though I'm still waffling between FT and FV. Thoughts? They'll also have a special rule regarding their use of machine guns and the list will incorporate ad-hoc units that made it off Bataan and, likely, coastal artillery. The Japanese will have access to captured stuarts, off board artillery and another trick or two. 

6 May ’42: Corregidor Falls

9 May ’42: Mindanao falls


References: 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Big Update, and a Big Reveal

Well hey there. You might have noticed that the blog has gone dark for a little while. While I do apologize for a startling lack of content here on ThrockOfWar, it's for a very very good reason.

As many of you know I'm now contributing over at that cornerstone of the Flames of War community, WWPD. And now, on top of that, I've taken on some of the editorial duties for the blog as well. This is a huge deal for my nerdly soul. WWPD is an amazing and special online community and one I'm proud to be taking an active part in.

I had to make a hard choice though. Did I want to split my time between my own blog here doing reviews and bat rep's and all that and then doing much the same thing over at WWPD, PLUS editing everyone else's content?

That, my friends, would be both time consuming and silly as I'd essentially be splitting my "regular" content between two venues.

So, and here's the big reveal, I will no longer be doing AAR's, reviews or other standard Flames content on Throck of War. I've loved writing here over the past year and a half and it's because of the folks who have read and took notice of this blog that I now have the incredible opportunity to work with Jon, Luke, Eric, SonBae and the rest of the WWPD Crew.

The lawyers out there may have noticed that I said "standard Flames content." Likely, I'll be posting up reps for other games, and more generic painting stuff randomly.

However, I have one special project for Flames I've been working on for a few months and I'm getting very close to the actual writing stages.

Over the next few months I will be writing: The Battling Bastards of Bataan, a fan supplement for Flames of War Mid-war play covering the Japanese conquest of the Philippines from 8 January, 1941 through 9 April, 1942.

The supplement will include, at the least:
Allies
~US Philippine Division
~26th Cavalry Regiment (PS)
~21st Division (PA)
~57th Infantry Division (PS)
~Provisional Tank Group
~4th Marine Regiment
~Provisional Infantry Unit (pilots, sailors etc...)

Japanese
~Engineer Company
~48th Infantry Division
~16th Infantry Division
~65th Infantry Regiment
~7th Tank Regiment
~SNLF, Combined Naval Landing Force

The Briefing will be set up into a couple of phases:
~Initial Landings and the Taking of Manila: Which will include the last charge of a US Cavalry Unit on horse, will feature the SNLF and heroic holding actions by the 3rd Battalion, 21st Division (PA)

~Bataan: Including the Mt Natib and Orion-Bagac line actions, featuring the Philippine Division, the now mechanized 26th Cav, the Provisional Tank Group and the vaunted IJA 48th Infantry Division. This will also feature an interesting little action called the Battle of the Points where untrained pilots, sailors and cooks led by Marine Sargents held off an abortive flanking attempt by Japanese units until help could arrive.

~Taking the Rock: The invasion of Corregidor, featuring the 4th Marine Division (with a little help from their provisional and coastal artillery friends), 65th IJA Infantry Regiment, Engineer Company and the 7th Tank regiment.

Well that was a lot. I hope I've whetted your appetite for things to come.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Desert Rats in Normandy

Over the weekend I got to head to my second NOVA open. And, much like the first, it was a total blast.

More awesome? I won best painted with my RV Desert Rats Cromwell Army. I got a full new set of Windsor Newton brushes and a nice plaque among other cool prizes.

So, I thought I'd show the army off here.


HQ:


More after the break!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

UPDATE: Bastogne Church Pics

Battlefront is really doing the PR on this right. When they sent out the email saying the church would be late they actually sent pics along with it. (which is why I feel comfortable publishing them) And they look really awful. Thanks to a reader for sending these over.




Monday, August 5, 2013

Breaking: Bastogne Church Delayed!

(Ed: in my haste, I spelled Bastogne wrong. Fixed now)

Yllanes, one of the forum denizens over at WWPD.net, just received an email saying that the paint quality on the first building in the new round of Battlefront's building subscription system for Flames of War, the Bastogne Church, was painted so poorly they're actually sending them all back to get repainted. It'll take 2 months to get them done and out the door.

Three things here: 

1) Kudos to Battlefront for owning up to it and communicating with its customer base. 

2) I can't even fathom how this got by the factory. Do they not have in house quality control?

3) BF is going to do a small run for us subscribers so we, who foisted up a ton of money up front, will only have to wait a month or so for the church. 

Here's the full text of the email that Yllanes posted up on the forum:

Dear Valued Customer,

I wish I was communicating to you today to share with you good news but unfortunately I have to be the bearer of bad tidings. After working so hard with our manufacturing partners in China this past year to improve the quantity and maintain quality at the same time on our Battlefield in a Box range I was angry and disappointed to discover today that the delivery of our first premium house, the Bastogne Church, that has literally just arrived around the world in all our offices is well below the expected quality level. 

The castings of the model are fine but the paint jobs are so bad I cannot fathom how this has happened. After thinking it might be just a few we checked the deliveries in each office and have unfortunately found nothing to suggest this terrible lapse in quality is across the board. I have a few images below to show you just what we are talking about and given you are probably an owner of some our range already you will quickly see just how bad these are. They are not even close to the master sample we approved and even the dry brushing shade is the wrong colour so something has seriously gone wrong with our run.

Working in China certainly has its issues but we have had relationships with two companies these past five years that

we use for the larger scale items that we cannot make ourselves and everything from Gothic buildings to woods have come out as expected. Given the long timelines and payment up front you must make to do anything in China there is always a risk that what you paid for is not what you get but having spoken to the owner of the plant who did this job even he was stunned looking at the images at what has happened. We have already agreed that the run is to be returned for re-painting which will delay the release of this model now for almost two months. We also agreed that I will now be sending one of my senior managers from our own factory in Malaysia to inspect the future shipments before they leave. This will not impact future planned releases in this range as they will be now be checked thoroughly before they leave so I see no reason why number two onwards will not arrive as scheduled. 

You have made a serious commitment to us for a subscription and we are not happy with the idea that you wait for another eight weeks so we will instead be making a new small run of buildings immediately and having them air-freighted out to us for shipment to you. This is the fastest way I have at my disposal to get you the model you have paid for in good faith assuming we would deliver to you as agreed.

Based on the information I have right now this will take another three to four weeks to get made, painted and shipped so right now to be safe I will say that we will get you your Bastogne Church in the first week of September at the latest and if it looks like it will be sooner we will let you know straight away. 

We will be making this public tomorrow as we communicate with our stores and the world at large but I felt it only right for you to find out directly from me before the news breaks.

I know this is frustrating and I can only end by saying on behalf of myself and the company we are very sorry and regret that this failure diminishes your trust in us and our reputation that we have worked so hard to earn.

Regards,

John-Paul Brisigotti

Managing Director

The whole thing just makes me feel like this: 



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Interview With Steve McLauchlan soon to be formerly of WWPD

Stole this from the interwebs. I didn't even
Get WWPD's permission to use it. Cause
I'm HAXXOR.
For those of you who pay no attention to the online Flames community you’ve probably never heard of Steve McLauchlan, this also means you likely don’t exist. Steve is one of the founders of WWPD.net and its News From the Front Podcast. Now, he’s moving on to greener hobbit filled pastures, taking a position with Battlefront Miniatures, makers of our beloved Flames of War. Recently, I had a chance to digitally sit down with Steve and grill him on WWPD, his future with Battlefront and all sorts of other good things.

Throck: For those folks who are new to the site it seems like WWPD has always had a special relationship with Battlefront. Jointly hosting the Overlord campaign, free stuff for product reviews and regularly cross posting your podcast are just a few of the examples of that relationship. But, it wasn’t always so. How did WWPD’s relationship with Battlefront begin? How did it grow?

Steve: A fair question!  Honestly, it grew as WWPD grew.  Our industry is small.  It’s a total niche community, and the Battlefront employees work at Battlefront because they’re keenly interested in the product.  So our community grew with them along for the ride, because at the end of the day they want to go home and play with their toys too.  It soon became evident that it made sense for them to expand the relationship with WWPD!  
It really started when me, Sean, and Joe posted our first podcast.  It was novel, and the guys liked it.  Over time, the relationship really grew as a result of Joe Krone.  Smart guy, Joe.  He knew that it’d cost Battlefront peanuts to send us some models for review, but that our enthusiasm was about as good of advertising as one could get.  Smart investment.  We were happy with the arrangement because it generated content for our site that was worth looking at!
He looks nothing like that any more.
Way less hipster now.

T. Were there any bumps along the road?
S. Definitely!  But most of them resulted in Battlefront not really having a point of contact for us.  It was (and to a point still is- this will be part of my new job!) difficult to just establish a steady stream of review material- especially with enough lead time to not totally miss the boat.  None of their guys’ really had a dedicated mandate to do this, so it was whoever we could catch free at the moment.  In recent months, a much better system was worked out.  Kudos to the US warehouse guys who bore the brunt of the work there, and probably dreading getting emails from us!

More after the break!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Historicon Top Pics

H-Con is done and I'm still hungover.

But, I put my carcass into drive and cut 1200 pics from the weekend down to the top 30 or so. We've got Steve's last News From the Front podcast, army pics galore and all sorts of other bits.

Come on in and enjoy the pics.

We start with the Tale of the Suicide Chaffee's:

Round 2 of the double tournament, Ben and I face off against KV-88's, IS-2's and a horde of tiny little Russian tanks. Knowing there was know way we could take out the big boys from the front and only sporting 3 Priests for arty support I decided to go insane. Noticing that one of our opponents had to double time the IS-2 platoon command to get up to the rest of the platoon I zoom a platoon of Chaffee's around the flank, assuming that I'd loose the platoon, but knowing his was way more valuable I decided the trade was worth it.  


I kill 1 and bail 2.

Next turn he kills 2 of those plucky little light tanks then I take out another of his IS-2's. 

I take out a 3rd and he does the same. He's down to 1 tank and I'm down to just one and a bailed. His fearless dudes fail their morale check and run off the board. VICTORY! 

More after the break

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Last round!

Ok I lost 5-2 in free for all against Romanians.  I didn't really feel like sitting back and drawing the tie like you can easily do.  And me and my partner were both middle of the board so wet agreed on just having some fun. 

I just happened to be on the short end of the fun. :)

I had a great time at the tournament. And blogging for the 5 of you that read this.  I'll be posting a bit more tomorrow and then it's vacation time.

Bruce and the Battlefront crew run a great tourney and kudos to them for hosting an excellent shindig.

Round 5, loss 6-1

Blerg! Me vs.  Aufklarung PDF. We rolled off to see who attacked,  of course it was me.

A large line of trees shot straight across the middle of the table blocking all line of sight between us.

Just got shot all to hell.

I have to say though my opponent was a ton of fun and that's a cool list. With marders, panzer luchs etc...

Round 4, win 6-1

Not only did I get to play a great game against a great player, dude is one of my best friends as well.

Mission : counter attack

My Lehr on his Scots artillery park. He gutted two of my combat Platoons on the way in but their remnants plus a full gren platoon were able to hold on by just a thread against heavy arty,  infantry and Churchill assaults.

And let's all be honest, I passed way too many Platoon morale tests than one had a right to.

In the standings I'm now 4-1 with 22 victory points.

Two fights to go.