Part 55: Leyte Gulf: November 29, 1944
The battle for Leyte island hasn't gone as smoothly as we'd hoped. We are still gaining ground, however, and a victory is not out of reach yet.
Allied Turn 11 (USA): November 29, 1944
The field works north of Burauen are finally are taken out.
To the north, we make our first attempt at crossing the Mainit. We don't quite make it into Cavite, though.
Air strikes cover our southern force.
Axis Turn 11 (Japan): November 29, 1944
We take a few hits in the south, but no units are lost.
Allied Turn 12 (USA): December 3, 1944
Fair, Dry - NIGHT
We finish clearing out the village of Dagami, so we can get the rest of this force to the Mainit River.
A feint is made in the south; we push northward along the hills to keep the enemy engaged.
Meanwhile, the push to Ormoc begins in the early dawn hours.
Axis Turn 12 (Japan): December 3, 1944
Fair, Dry - NIGHT
The Japanese strike back hard in the south, which at least is an indication that our plan is working.
The battle for the pass is underway.
Allied Turn 13 (USA): December 7, 1944
The northeastern tip of the island has been scouted, with no enemy units encountered. No ships are sighted at sea, either.
An artillery barrage lets us get a clearer route across the Mainit.
The route out of the hills is almost in sight.
Axis Turn 13 (Japan): December 7, 1944
The Japanese are intent on containing us in the hills.
Allied Turn 14 (USA): December 11, 1944
Our attempt to hit back quickly in the south leads to a big loss of tanks.
A small amount of progress is made in the middle; we can now see the coastal road to Ormoc, and what's defending it.
The battle at the Mainit is proceeding well.
Recon flights show a large concentration of forces in the north, but they don't look to be very high quality.
Axis Turn 14 (Japan): December 11, 1944
The Japanese retreat from Jaro.
Simultaneously, we see the arrival of some of those units from the north.
Allied Turn 15 (USA): December 15, 1944
We actually have some success in the south. The enemy's will to fight seems to be weakening there.
A rest is taken at the Mainit River to allow our forces to resupply.
A few enemy stragglers managed to retake control of Dagami.
We're finally through the pass. The key objective here is now in sight.
Axis Turn 15 (Japan): December 15, 1944
As predicted, there isn't much up in the north that can threaten our tanks.
Burauen could be in peril if we don't take care of these units at Dagami.
37mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun
PG Name: 37mm ATG Scout Type: Anti-Tank
Effective Date: 6/42
Value:4 Cost:48 Spot:2 Move:1 MM:Gun Trans:Air Fuel: 0
Init:6 SA:1 HA:9 AA:0 NA:0 GD:8 AD:6 CD:1 TT:Soft Ammo:10
Originally developed in the late 1930s, the 37mm anti-tank gun was the first to see action for the Americans when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. Given the date, this model appears to represent the M3A1, which was almost unchanged from the early model (only adding a muzzle brake that was normally removed in combat). While its low power made it rather ineffective in the European theater, it was quite serviceable in the Pacific, especially since its small size and low weight made it easy to tow. It was also found that the 'shot' rounds could be used to clear dense jungle vegatation when necessary.
In-game analysis: This is certainly powerful enough to deal with a fair proportion of the Japanese armored units, and it's actually a bit better than contemporary 37mm models, not that that's saying much. It is the only AT option for the first half of the war, but not something that's really necessary. It is an affordable roadblock if you need one, and can be paired with artillery to establish a rock-solid defense on the cheap.
Iowa-class Battleship (4 of 6 built)
PG Name: Iowa Type:Battleship
Effective Date: 3/43
Value:35 Cost:630 Spot:3 Move:6 MM:Deep Naval Fuel: 124
Init:5 Range:7 SA:7 HA:10 AA: NA:24 DA:0 GD:24 AD:13 TD:10 TT:N/A Ammo:40
Special: Radar, Night Optics
At 45000 tons displacement, these were the largest American battleships ever built. Instead of going for more guns or armor than the previous South Dakota design, these instead went for more power and space. The result was a ship just as powerful as the South Dakota, but with the speed of a battlecruiser. The design proved to be the only battleships the US Navy required for the remainder of the 20th Century, and they were the last battleships in the world to see active service, before being finally decommissioned in the 1990s. All are preserved today as museum pieces.
In-game Analysis: This is the model you really want to upgrade to or purchase as soon as it shows up. It's nearly as good as the Yamato in combat, finally adds night-fighting capabilities, and any air attacks are going to run into real trouble if they try to take it down. This is one ship that can operate pretty much on its own and will excel equally at providing support for the ground troops or destroying surface vessels (though maybe a destroyer escort would be advisable if any subs are on the prowl).
Douglas B-18 Bolo
PG Name: B-18A Bolo Type: Tac Bomber
Effective Date: 6/42
Value:28 Cost:336 Spot:3 Move:8 MM:Air Fuel: 76
Init:1 SA:10 HA:7 AA: NA:9 GD:7 AD:10 TT:No Ammo:5
Douglas is probably best known from this era for its commercial aircraft. This bomber was actually one of their civilian planes (the DC-2) modified for military use, and was produced for the US Army in the 1930s. As a bomber, it was decent, but by the time of the war, Boeing's B-17 outclassed it in many ways. Most of the B-18 bombers ended up being used for training duty, or in anti-submarine roles in the Atlantic.
In-game Analysis: This may be a little better than the Dauntless if land-based bombers are what you're getting, but it's still not as good as the B-26. For the price, it's not bad, but since it's somewhat weak defensively, I'd opt for the B-26 instead. I don't quite get the late introduction date, since these should be available from the start of the war.