Part 58: Iwojima: February 21, 1945
The invasion of Iwojima isn't hitting any snags so far. It's about as tough as expected. We have control of one airfield, and we're making progress on Mount Suribachi.
Allied Turn 6 (USA): February 21, 1945
Shelling of the mountain paves the way for a further assault.
It allows us to quickly reduce the forts.
The western forces have the bunkers close by them nearly cleared out.
Our core coming from the other side has cleared a path to the interior.
Axis Turn 6 (Japan): February 21, 1945
The poor weather puts an end to most serious combat on Suribachi.
Our towed artillery gets the worse of it when the enemy mobile guns discover them within range.
Allied Turn 7 (USA): February 22, 1945
As the storm passes, continued bombardments allow us to clear our way to the top of Suribachi.
Most of our forces have access to the central part of the island now.
We chase down the Kamikazes and scout the way to the next airfield. It appears to be free of bunkers.
Axis Turn 7 (Japan): February 22, 1945
Some heavy guns shell the shoreline near Nishi, but our tanks manage to avoid the fire.
Elsewhere, our own heavy guns take losses.
Even with the top of Suribachi in our hands, the remnant of Japanese soldiers proves to still have some fight in them.
Allied Turn 8 (USA): February 22, 1945
Cloudy, Mud NIGHT
As the night comes, we all but clear off Suribachi.
We make a big push during the night to gain as much ground as we can.
A probe near Nishi tests the strength of the enemy units there.
Axis Turn 8 (Japan): February 22, 1945
Cloudy, Mud NIGHT
The fortifications knock out a handful of our tanks.
Suribachi is going down fighting.
Allied Turn 9 (USA): February 23, 1945
The American flag is flying unopposed on Suribachi now.
Offshore bombardments suppress the Japanese defenses.
The muddy ground makes it hard for us to push forward rapidly.
Constant bombardment has left this bunker nearly empty, but the soldiers don't surrender easily.
Axis Turn 9 (Japan): February 23, 1945
Boondoggle is operating mostly off on its own, so it's a good thing the Japanese attacks haven't had any effect so far.
Allied Turn 10 (USA): February 24, 1945
Pounding away at actual horse cavalry with long-range modern howitzers almost feels unsporting.
As the core advances on the airfields, the auxiliary troops wear down the defenses along the western ridge.
We approach Nishi, but don't directly attack it yet.
Paramarines make a drop near the far airfield. They aren't expected to capture it so much as disrupt the defenses and distract the enemy away from the frontal attack.
Axis Turn 10 (Japan): February 24, 1945
The heavy guns at Nishi force the initial attack to abort.
None of the Japanese armored units are very effective against us; even the Marines on foot withstand an attack from them.
Allied Turn 11 (USA): February 29, 1945
There are lots of flak guns around the airfields, so we concentrate our aircraft on the outer defenses.
We push to make space for our attack on the next objective.
The paratroopers surprise the Japanese and knock out half the defenders before they can respond.
Axis Turn 11 (Japan): February 29, 1945
Nishi counterattacks against our tanks.
We are engaged in the center in a battle for Airfield #2. Losses so far are light.
M7B1 HMC 'Priest'
PG Name: M7 Type: Artillery
Effective Date: 1/44
Value:21 Cost:252 Spot:1 Move:5 MM:Track Trans:Naval Fuel: 52
Init:4 Range:3 SA:15 HA:8 AA: NA:0 GD:7 AD:6 CD:2 TT:Hard Ammo:7
With the advent of mechanized combat, producing artillery that could move along with the troops became a necessity. The M7 was the result of putting the M2A1 (105mm gun) in a fully armored and tracked vehicle. Initially the M3 Lee as used as the base, but the later M7B1 was built on the much-reused M4A3 chassis. The USMC actually used the vehicle as a primitive APC in the Pacific islands by removing the gun, and Canada converted a number of old models to this role as well.
In-game analysis: The M7 is a mobile artillery piece with the full power of the 105mm howitzer, on an armored chassis that can even fend off aircraft to some extent. It's a pretty versatile unit, and I like it (though I'm always a bit sad it's not the British Priest model from AG, which was a fair sight better).
Cleveland-class Cruiser (over 25 built)
PG Name: Cleveland/Cleveland 1943 Type:Light Cruiser
Effective Date: 6/42 / 1/43
Value:20/24 Cost:240/288 Spot:2 Move:6 MM:Deep Naval Fuel: 86
Init:4 Range:2 SA:4 HA:7 AA: NA:18 DA:0 GD:18 AD:6 TD:11 TT:N/A Ammo:40
Special: [1943 only] Radar, Night Optics
The Cleveland class was able to discard the treaty restrictions, and thus it was a much-improved iteration on the Brooklyn design. These ended up being one of the most numerous class of cruisers ever made, and the basic design was maintained until the 1960s. The '1943' version could also be called the Fargo subclass, although only two of them were ever completed. All of them survived the war, despite several taking heavy damage.
In-game Analysis: While this is a pretty good little cruiser, it's also kind of expensive. The Brooklyn can be just as effective for one-third the price, and it's hard to beat that sort of value.
North American P-51 Mustang
PG Name: P51B/P51D/P-51H Mustang Type:Fighter
Effective Date: 7/43 / 7/44 / 12/44
Value:34/35/39 Cost:408/420/468 Spot:3 Move:10 MM:Air Fuel: 84/96/78
Init:6 SA:2 HA:1/2/2 AA:18/19/22 NA:0 GD:8 AD:14/14/15 TT:No Ammo:9/11/11
The P-51 was originally produced for the British, and was rushed into production, with the first ones entering service for them in 1942. The early model was underpowered, but the fantastic performance of the advanced airframe design showed great promise. Eventually a more powerful engine was incorporated, and the result was probably the best American interceptor of the war produced in quantity. Its considerable range and excellent dogfighting performance meant that it was frequently used as an escort, which was the most common role for it in the Pacific. The P-51H decreased weight (and notably range) to boost the top speed, but it never ended up being tested in combat.
In-game Analysis: The Mustang represents an unbeatable value in offensive power. Each refinement only improves it (although I do wish the last option didn't lose so much fuel). It can't do all things well, but it excels at shooting down planes. In the hands of a good pilot it is unstoppable until the jets show up. The Japanese have nothing that can match it for at least a year, so if you have it when it first shows up you don't even really need good pilots.