Tuesday, November 23, 2004

War in the Pacific Mini-AAR: Dark Christmas

I continued playing War in the Pacific and I reached December 27th 1941.

The course of the events wasn't very different from the history. Japanese AI is obviously taking its cue from Yamamoto and uses Allied weakness to crush all opposition. Allied forces are fighting very hard and sometimes manage to score minor tactical victory, but they simply can't stop the Japanese onslaught.

By this point, almost entire Northern Malaya is in Japanese hands – Georgetown, Alor Star, Victoria Point and Moulmain in Burma are captured while Japanese 55th Division is at the gates of Rangoon. I'm trying to set up some kind of evacuation from besieged Kuala Lumpur but all I can expect to see is massacre of Allied ships and troop carries at the hands of Japanese air force. Japanese are feeling so comfortable that they sent the troop convoy west of Singapore – RAF and Empire air forces have mauled them, but so far failed to stop them.

Japanese have also captured Kuching on Borneo and are currently fighting Dutch garrison at Menado, Celebes.

In Philippines Japanese have cleared most of Mindanao, parts of Central and Northern Luzon. Japanese artillery has began bombardment of Manila. Half a dozen of cargo ships were sunk by Japanese air force in Manila harbour, making the evacuation of US and Philippino forces very hard. Some US air units have managed to score occasional hit against Japanese ships and some pilots can brag about downing "Zeros", but the general outlook in Philippines is grim. Another small, but insignificant comfort to Allies came in the form of one Dutch naval squadron which have managed to sink couple of Japanese patrol gunboats.

Japanese have also captured all of Gilbert Islands and are stuck in a very hard fight with determined Australian garrison at Rabaul.

US submarines are concentrated mostly in South China Sea and they are hitting Japanese troop carriers and cargo ships very hard. However, for some strange reason those Japanese ships – whether they are hit by Allied shells, bombs or torpedoes – refuse to sink. They seem to be somewhat too resilient – one of them sank almost 20 days after being hit by US coast artillery at Wake Island. I think that the 1.22 patch might address this issue.

During the entire campaign so far, Allies have lost 425 aircraft to Japanese 208. Allies lost 26 ships to Japanese 14.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dragan --

This is a computer game? I've never heard of it.

It seems to be running at a completely insane level of detail. Cool. How is the gameplay?

As to the war: remember what Yamamoto said! "I can run wild for six months. Then, disaster." Allies can afford to lose ships and planes at 2:1 or even worse. They can replace them; the Japanese can't. If the game is remotely historically accurate, you're going to see the poor Japanese overwhelmed by a tsunami of Allied output beginning in late 1943.

Of course, that's two years away. Still, the game sounds pretty close to life. New Year's Eve, 1941 was not a happy time for the Allies in the Pacific.


Doug M.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Dragan said...

To Doug:

Yes, it is the PC game - turn-based strategy simulation published by Matrix Games and loosely based on Pacific War, early to mid 1990s classic which could be played in MS-DOS operating system. The actual engine is taken and expanded from Uncommon Valor: Struggle for Southwestern Pacific 1942-43.

The level of detail is indeed incredible. Ground units are battalion-size, air units are squadron-size and naval units are all listed independently. Each of those units have a commander that could be replaced, depending on so-called "political points". Each air squadron has its own roster of pilots ranked by the experience, fatigue, number of kills etc. Needless to say, each unit itself has its own experience, morale, supply, fuel levels etc.

While the ground combat is more or less abstract, air and naval combat is presented with great deal of detail - for example, outcome of individual dogfights and AA naval gun shots are separately calculated. Naval and air engagements happen relatively rarely, but when they happen the details are spectacular.

Logistics is so complex that the setting up convoys and supplying bases takes more time than actual planning of combat operations.


3:35 PM  

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