The Let's Play Archive

Pacific General

by Kangra

Part 4: Southeast China: May 1, 1939

We weakened China considerably in our last campaign, but in the last year things reached a stalemate. It's time for us to deliver a knockout blow.

This time, we have the Navy to back us up. The Chinese naval forces are weak, and we'll be making our landings to skirt around the front lines and cut out their feet from under them.

South East China
Monday, May 1, 1939
Objectives: (Pescadores x2 [10]), Canton [100], Kweilin [100], Hengyang [300], Liechiewhsien [100], Kweiyeng [100], Kwangnan [100], {Hanoi [300]}, {Hong Kong [500]}

There's something new in the game that comes into play in this scenario: Neutral/Multiple sides that can act on their own. Rather than simply restricting units to the borders of neutral sides as in the previous games, they are included as potential combatants. Neutrals will not initially fight with any side, but will immediately fight back against whichever side attacks them. On this map, Hong Kong(UK), Macao(Portugal), and Vietnam/Indochina (France) are the third side. We can seize their objectives for extra VP, but we'll need to fight them for it if we do.

Note about this update (and the others for this battle): I forgot to turn off the game interface overlay most of the time, so all the pictures will display the UI buttons on either side. I guess this is a chance to show them off (interestingly, the art is distinct for the Japanese and American sides).

Unit Name                    Unit Type [Transport]         Exp 
Land Units                   
1.1st Hohei 1936             Hohei 1936[Isuzu]                -            
2.2nd Hohei 1936             Hohei 1936                       -
3.3rd Hohei 1936             Hohei 1936[Isuzu]                -
4.4th Hohei HW 1936          Hohei HW 1936[Isuzu]             -
5.5th Engineers 1936         Engineers 1936[Isuzu]            -
6.The Japonies               Kihei                            -
7.My Tanks are so kawaii     Type 95 Ha-Go                    -
8.22nd Type 92               Type 92                          -
9.Steel Death                Ho-Ni 3                          -
10.Cherry Blossoms Float     Meiji 38 Imp.75                  -
11.24th 94 Mtn Gun 75mm      94 Mtn Gun 75mm                  -
12.23rd Sa-To                Sa-To                            -
Aux (by qty)         
1                            Type 94 Light                    -
1                            Hohei 1936                       -
1                            Teishin Dan 1936                 -
1                            Engineers 1936                   -

Air Units
13.Hirohito's Hieneys        Nakajima Ki-27 Nate              -                        
14.Sabai's Flying Circus     Kawasaki Ki-10 Perry             -
15.13th Nakajima Ki-27 Nate  Nakajima Ki-27 Nate              -
16.Nathan is my Father       Nakajima Ki-27 Nate              -
17.21st A5M Claude           A5M Claude                       -
18.11th G3M Nell             G3M Nell                         -

Aux (by qty)
1                            Nakajima ki-27 Nate              *
1                            G3M Nell                        **
1                            Ki-21 Sally                      *
1                            Mavis                            *

Naval Units

19.16th Asashio              Asashio                          -
20.18th Takao                Takao                            -
21.20th Takao                Takao                            -
22.19th Fuso                 Fuso                             -
23.15th Kaga                 Kaga                             -
24.17th Katori               Katori                           -

Aux (by qty)
1                            Nagato                           *

Core ground:naval/aux slots: (3):0/0
Starting Prestige: 867

We don't yet have enough prestige to upgrade the core exactly how we'd like, but we do get to fill new slots. We want at least one recon unit, and the Type 92 is also able to function as a light tank, making it the most versatile of that type. More artillery is always better, so we add one of the mobile mountain guns to the core. Finally, it's a good idea to have a spare bit of anti-air on the ground; the Sa-To is a good choice because it can also fight ground units reasonably well, and comes on an armored chassis.

Also new in the game: Core units are split between ground/air and naval, with separate slots for each. That means we won't be able to load up on boats unless those slots open up for us. I'm going to indicates this with a : to show ground:naval. Aux units are not split, though it's rare that you'd want naval aux units anyway. In addition, because core units can be purchased in between the scenarios, I'll indicate pre-battle purchases by putting the slot number in parentheses (e.g. this time there were 3 core slots, and we filled them all before the battle).

Our plan here is to send the bulk of our force inland, to capture Hengyang first and then go on a continuous march westward. We'll be moving along whatever roads there are to be found in this part of China. Canton is a key port to capture, but with our naval units to cover the assault, it is expected that a small ground force will suffice. Once Canton has been secured, the units there can either turn north to hit the Chinese flank (if this happens sooner), or spread out to clear out the interior away from the main thrust.

The landing area is going to be along a large, mostly empty coastal area around Amoy. The primary force will need to secure this port in order to begin the push inland. The Canton group will be driving west immediately, in hopes of taking the enemy by surprise.

We have significant air and naval support, and should enjoy regional superiority in both of those spheres. There is the problem that as we advance, the quality of the airbases declines by quite a bit, so we can only expect the best support in the early stage of the fight.

There are two types of airfield now in Pacific General. Paved airfields work the same as in the previous games -- any air unit in that hex or adjacent hexes is automatically resupplied at the end of the turn. The dirt airfields show on the map as smaller and brown, and with those, only the unit directly on the airfield gets resupplied. The only paved airfields on this map are at Amoy, Canton, and our starting island of Pescadores. All the rest are dirt.

Axis Turn 1: May 1. 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

Air raids cover our landings by keeping the enemy from leaving their fortifications. We'll be able to form up unmolested and then assault the city.

The Canton force gets ashore in a quiet part of the coast. Only the Sa-To spots any enemy troops, and that is to the north of this group.

Allied (China) Turn 1: May 8, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

The enemy fighters come to meet us, but their planes are weak, and severely outnumbered.

An attempt is made to disrupt the engineers, but thanks to the rapid response from the artillery of Cherry Blossoms Float, their attack has no effect.

Axis Turn 2: May 8, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

We spot Chinese warships sailing in the vicinity of Hong Kong. If this is all they have, we can deal with them easily.

For now, though, we want to use our big ships to support the invasion.

Resistance is all but cleared out at Amoy. The city should be safe to accept supply shipments within a week.

With no real air threats to worry about, the Sa-To proves its worth on the ground by rushing in and smashing the Chinese guns at Shantow.

Allied Turn 2: May 8, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

The Chinese cruisers harass our forces, but cause no serious harm.

A much more serious threat arrives in the air however - Americans in P-40's supporting the Chinese come screaming out of the skies and down nearly half a squadron of our fighter planes.

A lesser but still worrisome threat shows up on the ground, in the form of well-armored Soviet-model tanks. The enemy forces here seem much better equipped now than they what we saw at Shanghai last year.

Axis Turn 3: May 15, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

Combined attacks from the air and the ground prove to be the best way to deal with the T-26 tanks.

Fortunately for us, the so-called 'Flying Tigers' put themselves in range of the Sa-To, and it gets the chance to fire into the air as well.

That's a good thing, because our pilots apparently lack the skill to deal with these planes.

Our fleet is cautiously approaching the Chinese ships. We need to be sure of no surprises here.

Allied Turn 3: May 15, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

The only resistance we're seeing is at Shantow, but Steel Death resists the attacks from the Chinese AT guns.

Axis Turn 4: May 22, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)
The weather has been favoring us so far, but the forecast calls for rain now.

Before we lose sight of them, we go after the enemy ships. Fuso cripples the Ning Hai, and then one of our Takao cruisers finishes it off.

With control of the skies, we're able to push forward at Shantow.

The main force is now advancing up the road from Amoy. Our tanks rush over the roadless territory to make a shock assault that drives the enemy troops off the airfield.

Allied Turn 4: May 22, 1939
Day, Fair (Dry)

The air battle continues, with the I-16 taking on the Ki-10 in a battle of outdated aircraft.

Recovery from the initial attacks out of Amoy is remarkably swift. The Chinese identify our main line of assault and destroy our advance infantry unit. But they do abandon the airfield, allowing our flanking armored units easy access.

Axis Turn 5: May 29, 1939
Night, Cloudy (Dry)

If you've been wondering why each turn has been indicating 'Day' as well as weather, here's why -- our first Night turn. In Night turns, air combat is disallowed (with a few exceptions), combat seems generally less effective, and there are restrictions on movement and spotting. I like it as an idea to give a forced break in the fight, but it does feel a bit weird given the scale of the game.

In the night, we manage to surround the enemy forces and weaken them around the airfield at Longyan.

Attempting to make a night landing on a carrier leads to many accidents, and a number of Claudes lost in the drink.

This does not lose the entire craft, thankfully, but I did learn it the hard way. Simply not landing at night is the safe option.

Allied Turn 5: May 29, 1939
Night, Cloudy (Dry)

There is some skirmishing around Longyan. On the northern flank the Japonies are discovered by an group of tanks scouting our lines.

Axis Turn 6: June 5, 1939
Day, Cloudy (Dry)

We've almost cleared out another airfield. This should let us keep our fighters forward to maintain control of the air.

The push toward Canton has been much slower than desired. Casualties have been relatively heavy, and we'll need to stay clear of the British territory as well.

The air battle goes on; Sabai's Flying Circus fails to get a hit in on the I-16's.

The seas are calm; we've cleared out the Chinese ships and can use the Kaga to launch the Claudes wherever they're needed. Some of these ships will now be able to support the attack on Canton.

Allied Turn 6: June 5, 1939
Day, Cloudy (Dry)

With the majority of our planes repairing at Amoy or covering the attacks to the north, at Shantow enemy bombers show up, protected by those pesky P-40's.

Our mountain guns are fairly mobile, but they do have to be careful about being exposed to enemy fire. The tanks that had been seen in the south rush along the line and hit them for some heavy casualties.

60 - 937 (Defeat)

Note that night turns have an altered contrast in the overview map, which oddly enough makes them appear lighter than the others.

We have definitely set up ourselves up for success in the first stage of our invasion. The troops are all ashore, the enemy navy has been taken care of, and we have the key ports and roads secured. On the other hand, the Chinese are proving to be slightly tougher opponents than expected, so we'll have to work harder to defeat them.

Unit Spotlight

Type 94 Light Armored Car/Tankette (aka TK)
PG Name: Type 94 Light Type: Tank
Effective Date: 7/36
Value:5 Cost:60 Spot:3 Move:5 MM:Track Trans:Naval Fuel: 40
Init:2 SA:3 HA:4 AA:0 NA:1 GD:7 AD:2 CD:2 TT:Hard Ammo:5

In the 1920s and 30s, the trend in tank development went from the behemoths of the Great War to smaller and lighter armored vehicles that could provide rapid scouting ability and put heavy guns (as in machine guns) quickly into position to counter enemy infantry. This Japanese model was designed for an infantry-support role; in fact it was originally intended to be be an armored ammo carrier. Its light weight made it rather useful in roadless areas, and it was much cheaper to produce than a full-size tank. It was deployed in high numbers in China. By the 1940s, when it became clear that tanks might need to fight other armored vehicles themselves, these little guys were obsolete.

Note: The 'TK' stands for Tokushu Keninsha ('special tractor').

In-Game Analysis: For armored units, these are pretty poor performers. They move okay and have decent defense for the period, but with such low initiative and attack values, they just aren't that good for assaults. At the early stage, they're mostly usable for providing a hard point on the line, but later in the war, these would die too quickly to be combat effective.

Takao-class Cruiser (4 built)
PG Name: Takao/Takao 1944 Type:Heavy Cruiser
Effective Date: 7/37 / 1/44
Value:11/14 Cost:198/252 Spot:2 Move:7 MM:Deep Naval Fuel: 62
Init:4 Range:4 SA:5 HA:8 AA:[5]/[8] NA:18 DA:0 GD:19 AD:10/8 TD:10 Ammo:40
Special: Night Optics, [1944]Radar

Built in 1932, the Takao-class cruisers were formidable ships. They had good armament, boasting more guns than their contemporaries, and torpedo tubes on top of that. Additionally they were fast and decently armored. Two were modernized at the end of the 1930s, and another one in 1944. All four served around the Pacific, and only Takao survived the war (and only then because it was captured by the British).

In-game analysis: This is almost without question the best early cruiser in the game. Its defense values are tops, and the speed and range are unbeaten. It's a decent price, too. The late war upgrade unfortunately reduces its Air Defense, which is a bummer.