Part 39: Marianas Islands: June 30, 1944
The battle in the Marianas has held some surprises for us, but it is for the most part going well.
Allied Turn 6 (USA): June 30, 1944
The southern end of Saipan is cleared of all resistance.
Garapan will fall too, we just have to fight for it a small section at a time.
The remaining pillboxes scattered across the island are being knocked out too.
At the north end, our M10 is operating largely on its own, but it does not appear to be in any danger.
On Tinian, we're getting some amount of support from the smaller ships, which is enough to let us make slow gains.
On the more open eastern side, a smattering of enemy troops are spotted.
The northern Japanese force on Guam seems to be under control.
But more units are spotted farther up the road.
The southern units gain a reprieve -- it seems as though the enemy is shifting its attention northward.
We're able to start putting some pressure on Sumay.
Axis Turn 6 (Japan): June 30, 1944
The Japanese seem unable to fight back on Tinian.
The northern group on Guam isn't doing much to trouble us either.
An attempted counterattack near Sumay ends quickly when the artillery barrage fails to disrupt our infantry.
Allied Turn 7 (USA): July 3, 1944
We continue to grind through Garapan from the south.
Our tanks take care of most of the troops that had spread out into the rice fields.
The defenders on Tinian are quickly being destroyed.
At this point, the southern units on Guam are most effective at harassing the enemy's defenses.
They're also doing a good job providing spotting for the bigger naval vessels.
Sumay is nearly captured, but the Marines are low on ammo and don't want to risk being attacked.
Axis Turn 7 (Japan): July 3, 1944
We're forcing the enemy to bring those troops back to engage us south of Agat.
On the other islands, it is quiet.
Allied Turn 8 (USA): July 6, 1944
Garapan is nearly secured.
Another airfield is captured on Tinian. Our victory does not seem to be in doubt.
With most of the northern units eliminated, we get back to work on clearing the bunker line on Guam.
The Marine Raiders split off from the southern force to scout the remainder of the island.
We have to hold the line on Sumay as we await the arrival of more troops and supplies.
Axis Turn 8 (Japan): July 6, 1944
The Marines at Sumay get into a defensive posture to withstand the shelling of the guns there.
Some skirmishing hits our units scouting the open land on Tinian.
Allied Turn 9 (USA): July 9, 1944
We're successfully wearing down one end of Agat.
We need to relieve the attackers near Sumay; we work mainly on clearing the roads.
The flame tanks can deal with the bunkers.
With most of Saipan under control, more units arrive to assist the M10.
Gradually we take more of Tinian.
Axis Turn 9 (Japan): July 9, 1944
More shelling at Sumay, but no losses.
The Japanese units on Tinian aren't doing much to hurt us either.
Allied Turn 10 (USA): July 12, 1944
Reinforcements just show up just in time at Sumay, as an AT gun in the hills had nearly come up behind our position.
The ships find its range and eliminate it.
We continue to clear out AT guns and infantry with the core.
We scout the north end of Tinian; the rest of the troops do not look terribly strong, but there are plenty of them.
Axis Turn 10 (Japan): July 12, 1944
Our guns have drawn close enough to Agat to be fired on by the enemy's artillery.
The last few Japanese troops on Saipan try their best, but the M10 is unaffected.
Allied Turn 11 (USA): July 15, 1944
The last airfield on Saipan is taken, securing a strategic base for our heavy bombers.
We're preparing for an assault on Sumay. Our guns open up.
The southern part of Guam is made safe from attack, as the Marine Raiders take Inarajan.
Just about all of the weak units on Tinian are down. All that remains is the last two airfields.
Axis Turn 11 (Japan): July 15, 1944
A big surprise comes at Inarajan, as the men are hit by artillery they are unable to spot.
A lot of our forces are in range of the many guns on Tinian.
The M8 scout car is repelled from the airfield.
POA-CWS-H1 (Flame Tank) (pdf, shows picture of H1 in action)
PG Name: USMC Sherman POA Type: Tank
Effective Date: 1/43
Value:24 Cost:288 Spot:2 Move:6 MM:Track Trans:Naval Fuel: 45
Init:4 SA:15 HA:3 AA: NA:1 GD:12 AD:2 CD:3 TT:Hard Ammo:3
Special: Bunker Killer, Guard, Fearless
After attempts to use the M5 as a flamethrower platform demonstrated that they were still too light for that role, another approach was taken by using an M4A1 tank. The flame gun mounted in the turret was also an improvement over the one used in the M5. Only a small number of tanks were outfitted with these, but they proved to be a crucial part of the process when clearing Iwo Jima and Okinawa of Japanese resistance.
In-game analysis: In theory, this seems better than the M5 Flame Tank, but all the benefits of being in a medium tank don't help much here. The extra armor does help, but the low ammo still makes it only usable when called on for action. The faster speed of the M5 thus makes that one a better option for rapid redeployment, and the features this model beats it on provide little benefit. Between the two flame tanks, I'd pick the cheaper one.
Wichita-class Cruiser (1 built)
PG Name: Wichita Type:Heavy Cruiser
Effective Date: 3/36
Value:10 Cost:180 Spot:2 Move:6 MM:Deep Naval Fuel: 78
Init:4 Range:3 SA:5 HA:8 AA: NA:18 DA:0 GD:19 AD:9 TD:10 TT:N/A Ammo:40
Under treaty restrictions, only one additional cruiser was allowed to be built by the US in 1935, and thus the Wichita ended up being the only ship of its class. The design was based on the Brooklyn light cruiser, just with the 8" guns of a heavy cruiser. The Wichita used an improved turret design that made for less scatter when firing salvos. It also used the newer 5" dual-purpose guns that provided a little extra firepower against surface ships. The ship began the war in the Atlantic (even participating in Operation Torch), but was eventually transferred to the Pacific where it served for the remainder of the war, typically as fire support for ground troops.
In-game Analysis: This is only a tiny bit better than the New Orleans, and in this case I don't find the expense to be worth it. It also loses a bit of the AA capability, so I don't think it's worth it even if you don't care about the cost. The lack of radar seems an odd omission for this ship; if it had it, it might have been a worthwhile purchase.
Grumman F6F-3 or -5 Hellcat
PG Name: F6F Hellcat / USMC F6F Hellcat Type:Fighter
Effective Date: 7/43
Value:37 Cost:444 Spot:3 Move:10 MM:Air TT:Naval/[No??] Fuel: 114
Init:6 SA:5 HA:4 AA:16 NA:2/0 GD:11 AD:16 Ammo:6
The F6F was Grumman's update to the Wildcat, and at least in part designed to counter the Zero. A more powerful engine was seen as the main requirement, but improving the engine required redesigning much of the rest of the plane as well. Although it still didn't match the Japanese fighters in maneuverability, and did not have a stellar high speed, its climb rate was fantastic and it was just as sturdy as most American fighters, making it hard to shoot down. The armament was similar to the Wildcat; the F6F-5 added the ability to carry bombs for improved ground attack value.
In-game Analysis: This is almost the best multipurpose attack aircraft in the game. It's nicely balanced between attack and defense, has good power against ground forces, and isn't lacking in any other category. The carrier version can even be used against ships if need be.