The Let's Play Archive

Pacific General

by Kangra

Part 38: Marianas Islands: June 15, 1944

Thanks to the success of our offensives, we're getting the chance to lead a more important operation. American power is steadily growing in the Pacific.

We're going to go after the Marianas. If we get a base here, we can get our bombers within range of Japan itself.

Mariana Islands : June 15, 1944

Guam - Agat [100], Airfield {Sumay} [100], Airfield {Agana} [100]
Tinian - Ushi Pt. Airfield [100], Airfield #2 [100], Airfield #4 [100]
Saipan - Marpi Pt. [100], Garapan [50 x 2], Dirt Airfield {42, 19} [100], Aslito Airfield [100]

Victory Points Start: 0 - 1696

Unit Name                      Unit Type [Transport]        Exp 
Land Units    

1.12th USMC Marines 1941       USMC Marines 1941 [M2]        ***
2.Stay Frosty                  USMC Marines 1941 [M2]         **
3.15th USMC Marines 1941       USMC Marines 1941 [M2]          *
4.16th USMC Marines 1941       USMC Marines 1941 [M2]         **
5.17th USMC Paramarines 1941   USMC Paramarines 1941          **
6.31st USMC Marines 1943       USMC Marines 1943               -
7.26th M8 Greyhound            M8 Greyhound                    -
8.21st M3 Stuart               M3 Stuart                      **
9.29th M5 Stuart               M5 Stuart                       -
10.Boondoggle                  M3A1 Lee                      *** 
11.14th M4A1 Sherman           M4A1 Sherman                    *
12.30th M10 Wolverine          M10 Wolverine                   -
13.18th M15A1                  M15A1                           -
14.19th 75mm Pack Howitzer     75mm Pack Howitzer [M2]         *
15.20th 75mm Pack Howitzer     75mm Pack Howitzer              -
16.11th 105mm Howitzer         105mm Howitzer [GMC]            -
17.25th M7                     M7                              -

Aux (by qty)           
8                              Marines 1943 [M2]               *
1                              Marines 1943 [M2]              **
1                              Paratroopers 1944               -
2                              USMC Raiders & Dogs             *
2                              M4A1 Sherman                    *
1                              M4A1 Sherman                   **
1                              M5A1 with E7-7                  -
1                              M5A1 with E7-7                  *
1                              USMC Sherman POA                *
1                              USMC Sherman POA               **
2                              LVT(A)-1                        -
2                              75mm Pack Howitzer [M2]        **
1                              105mm Howitzer [M2]             -
1                              105mm Howitzer [M2]             *
1                              M8 HMC                          *

Air Units              

18.7th F4F Wildcat             F4F Wildcat                     *
19.8th F4U Corsair             F4U Corsair                    **
20.9th F4F Wildcat             F4F Wildcat                     *
21.Pretty Pixel Pilots         P-38 Lightning                  -
22.10th SBD Dauntless          SBD Dauntless                  **
23.32nd TBM Avenger            TBM Avenger                     -
Aux (by qty)                                       
2                             USMC F6F Hellcat                 *
4                             USMC F6F Hellcat                **
2                             SB2C Helldiver                   *
2                             SB2C Helldiver                  **
Naval units

24.New Orleans                CA New Orleans                 ***
25.Northampton                CA Northampton                 ***
26.Yorktown                   CV Yorktown                      -
27.Atlanta                    CL Atlanta                       *
28.Gato                       SS Gato                          *
29.23rd Somers                DD Somers                        -
30.24th Cleveland 43          CL Cleveland 43                  *
31.Independence               CV Independence                  -


DESRON 3,6,7,8                DD Somers                        -
DESRON 2,4                    DD Somers                        *
DESRON 5                      DD Somers                       **
DESRON 1                      DD Somers                      ***
Birmingham, Cleveland         CL Cleveland                     *
Montpelier                    CL Cleveland                    **
Brookyln, St. Louis           CL Brooklyn 44                   -
Louisville                    CA Northampton                   -
Wichita                       CA Wichita                       -
Minneapolis, San Francisco,
New Orleans                   CA New Orleans                   -
Idaho                         BB Nevada                        *
New Mexico                    BB Nevada                        -
Colorado                      BB Maryland                      -
California, Tennessee         BB California                    -
Bennington, Essex             CV Essex                         -
Core land-air:naval/aux slots: 2:5/0
Starting Prestige: 459 after purchases

We keep the core infantry element strong with another unit of Marines, and also add a more powerful 105 mm howitzer. The M10 is a great anti-tank unit; we're adding it to the core not to deal with enemy armor, but because it's a solid unit for dealing with infantry and fortifications.

None of the ships need updating, so they stay as they are. One of the fighters gets to upgrade to the F4U Corsair, a fearsome new carrier plane that can fly capably against any of the enemy interceptors, while also delivering a pretty punishing attack to ground units. The lost Devastators are replaced with the far more capable TBM Avenger torpedo bombers.

Since this is a wide-scale invasion of three islands, the size of the auxiliary force is considerable. Luckily it appears we're being supported by decently experienced troops this time.

This map, like the Marshalls, puts all the islands on the same screen. In reality, they are arranged more in a line, with Guam much further south.

A key component of the plan is to concentrate forces so that we can take at least one of the islands very quickly. The chosen focus is Saipan, where we will land with overwhelming force supported by air and naval assets. Once victory is ensured there, it may be possible to shift some units to the other islands to help out. Tinian is likely to be a slow but steady march across the mostly open terrain; there is a chance we can capture Guam easily if we move fast enough and enemy resistance is light; the distances there are shorter and naval support will be strong.

Saipan will be the most valuable target and our initial focus area; therefore it gets the greatest allocation of strength. It turns out to already have a good number of auxiliary troops ready to land, but we're putting more of our ships and planes in range of it to support. The planes on the Yorktown can also easily reach Tinian as it becomes necessary.

Tinian is where the largest core contingent is placed. There's a lot of open ground on the island, which means we'll need to keep the flanks guarded, and that means more units are needed than what the auxiliary brought. That also means our vehicles will be more useful there. Additionally, its objectives are the least amenable to naval support, and so our quality troops will be running the fight the whole way. Air support will improve as we capture each airfield objective.

On Guam, we cannot support a large force, but the terrain of the island should allow us to build a solid line without requiring too many units. Landings are being made both to the north and to the south of the objectives. This will force the enemy to turn one way or the other, and the forces coming from the opposite side should be able to secure at least one objective without heavy resistance.

Allied Turn 1 (USA): June 15, 1944
Fair, Dry

On Guam, the day begins with armored forces already on the island moving south toward the Agana airfield. They push back the anti-air guns and may capture it quickly.

On the northern end of Saipan, our armor begins to engage the few Japanese tanks that are present. We have them clearly outnumbered.

Almost all of the remaining units get ashore on the southern end.

Guam's southern force spots many troops hiding up in the hills, but they do not seem to be putting up a fight.

Our first wave gets to the beaches on Tinian. Naval bombardment suppresses the opposing force.

Axis Turn 1 (Japan): June 15, 1944
Fair, Dry

The M7's armor stands up to anything the Japanese infantry has.

Japanese forces attack from the hills, and manage to surround and destroy the 16th Marines.

Light tanks rush northward and hit our recently-landed troops.

There is also a force of light tanks coming at us from the southern end of Saipan.

Allied Turn 2 (USA): June 18, 1944
Fair, Dry

The M10 actually gets a chance to blast a few tanks.

We clear a path on Saipan by taking out a pillbox.

Air attacks and naval shelling clear the way, and we grab control of the airfield.

The Sherman tanks knock back the opposing tanks in the south; we keep our landing area secure so that the guns can get off the beach.

Over on Guam, we knock out some of those light tanks from the air while the northern force gets ready to take the airfield.

The southern force on Guam makes a charge at the enemy artillery.

On Tinian, things are going well. Enemy resistance near the landing zone appears light.

Axis Turn 2 (Japan): June 18, 1944
Fair, Dry

The guns on Guam find the range on our own artillery, and score some big hits.

The LVT has been cut off from the southern force, and it is lost.

Our own Stuart tanks get isolated too, and are in danger of being overwhelmed.

Scouts on Tinian begin to take fire.

Less action occurs on Saipan, but one weakened unit of Marines is lost.

Allied Turn 3 (USA): June 21, 1944
Fair (Dry)

The southern group on Guam is potentially in trouble. We reduce the enemy forces wherever we can.

At the other end, we knock out the enemy in Agana and start to work on the line of bunkers.

On Tinian, we're making our way away from the beaches.

Reconnaissance reveals open ground northward.

Over on Saipan, the main group is ashore and clearing forces as they push out.

Charan Kanoa is easily broken down, again thanks to offshore support from the ships.

Garapan may take a bit longer, but the tanks on the outskirts are easy to deal with.

Axis Turn 3 (Japan): June 21, 1944
Fair (Dry)

Attempts to attack us from the north end of Saipan fail completely.

A stronger counterattack comes out from Garapan.

The Stuarts manage to retreat safely back to our lines.

Allied Turn 4 (USA): June 24, 1944
Fair, Dry

Our aircraft can take out the weak 20mm AA guns of the Japanese on their own.

We continuing wearing down the forces on the south end of Saipan.

Garapan is shaping up to be a big fight.

The paramarines scout northward on Guam and find an unpleasant surprise : a sizable Japanese force moving on us from the north.

We're forced to divert our tanks rearward to hold them off.

That leaves the units to the south on their own. They do their best to fight back any Japanese attacks.

We've taken the first airfield on Tinian. The bulk of their resistance seems to be on the next location, and they will likely be digging in to the north too.

Axis Turn 4 (Japan): June 24, 1944
Fair, Dry

Some tanks on Tinian exploit the disorganization on our front line and hit the artillery.

The Guam force holds for now.

More troops stream out of Garapan, but their attacks don't have any punch to them.

Allied Turn 5 (USA): June 27, 1944
Fair, Dry

The ships offshore soften up Garapan.

Some of our troops have taken very heavy losses, but there aren't really any strong Japanese units left on this part of Saipan.

We use offshore support to get rid of the guns so that we can dislodge those tanks.

We knock them back, and our lines form up to advance on the next airfield on Tinian.

Axis Turn 5 (Japan): June 27, 1944
Fair, Dry

The Japanese tanks swing into our rear and knock out the guns.

On Tinian, the enemy tanks only are able to weaken our scouts.

Unit Spotlight

LVT(A)-4 Amtrac
PG Name: LVT(A)-4 Mariana Type: Tank
Effective Date: 6/44
Value:18 Cost:216 Spot:2 Move:4 MM:Amphib Trans:N/A Fuel: 40
Init:5 SA:11 HA:10 AA:[1] NA:1 GD:8 AD:2 CD:3 TT:Hard Ammo:6

The LVT (which incidentally stands for 'Landing Vehicle, Tracked') went through successive improvements as the Marines participated in more and more amphibious invasions throughout the war. The fourth model was largely based on the LVT-2, but brought the engine forward so that the entire rear area could accommodate more cargo. The armed version here used a 75mm gun (same as on the M8 HMC), making it much more capable in combat than the LVT(A)-1.

In-game analysis: I don't think this model is worth it relative to the LVT(A)-1. I'm not even sure that any amphibious tanks are worth it, but the LVT(A)-1 is both cheaper and arguably better.

Colorado-class Battleship (3 of 4 built)
PG Name: Maryland Type:Battleship
Effective Date: 1/36
Value:15 Cost:270 Spot:3 Move:4 MM:Deep Naval Fuel: 76
Init:5 Range:7 SA:7 HA:10 AA:[3] NA:23 DA:0 GD:20 AD:9 TD:8 TT:N/A Ammo:40

The Colorado class was the last American battleship to be produced prior to the Washington Naval Treaty, and the last member of the class was never completed because of the treaty. The only notable change from the Tennessee class was the switch to 16" guns (in double turrets). Although they did not receive very many upgrades prior to the war breaking out, they were modernized over the course of the war, and all three survived intact.

In-game Analysis: This is the best American battleship at the start of the war. It outranges and outguns anything else on the seas, although the Japanese capital ships are indeed faster. It is an excellent value as well. It must avoid night engagements, but it otherwise should be able to defeat any of the ships it can expect to meet for the first few years of the war.

Martin B-26 Marauder
PG Name: B-26C Marauder Type: Tac Bomber
Effective Date: 6/42
Value:35 Cost:420 Spot:3 Move:8 MM:Air Fuel: 102
Init:4 SA:13 HA:9 AA:[12] NA:10 GD:10 AD:12 TT:No Ammo:5

Martin's chief aim in designing the B-26 was to produce as fast a bomber as they could. The result was quite speedy for a bomber of the time, with a top speed a bit under 300 mph. The original model handled poorly, however, and the USAAC required a re-design to make it safer at low speeds. Not many were deployed to the Pacific, as that theater found the longer-ranged B-25 to be more desirable.

In-game Analysis: An excellent land-based bomber for this early in the war. The B-26 can absolutely wreck ground units, hit naval units decently well, and even has the ability to fight off a few fighters all on its own. While expensive, it is worth every point you pay for it.