Turn 14 – Dave

It looks like I reinforced my M3 GMC in the nick of time, as the Japanese tanks continue their encircling maneouvres, taking the airfield in the town centre. I take heavy damage, but so do the attacking Japanese tanks, losing 4 strength points.

More Japanese reinforcements have arrived, this time the western and eastern flanks. This threatens to undo the progress we have made in the west. Still… the east needs reinforcements, so we will have to give ground somewhere.
I pull back my stuarts into a position where I can catch some isolated Japanese infantry in a pincer movement between my Stuarts and newly arrived infantry. It’s an effective attack and the enemy infantry are blow to smitherines by the combined attacks.

Although the presence of fresh Japanese troops in the west is a threat, the pressure is reaching breaking point in the east, so I send my heavy infantry unit (veterans of most of the heavy fighting so far) to attack the Japanese infantry across the pontoon bridge.

I bombard the enemy tanks across the river with my howitzer, hopefully it will help tip the balance when Lukas’ turn comes around.
The arrival of enemy reinforcements also means extra requisitions points for me, so it’s time to call in some fresh troops of my own. Given the presence of Japanese medium tanks, I opt to purchase a 37mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun, and some US infantry to support. These are deployed in the south, to be brought forward asap.
Turn 14 – Lukas

Yet another Japanese wave of reinforcements has arrived, and the previous one finally starts attacking the city defenses. My dug-in 90mm AA unit deals massive damage to the enemy tanks as they try to dislodge the defenders. My jeep makes a heroic stand, facing an artillery barrage, followed by a tank and infantry assault pushing it back into the river. And still it survives!

As Dave cleans up the last infantry unit on the west – just in time to prepare for the next wave – I deal some damage to the enemies around the city, but resist the urge to redeploy the AA gun and use it offensively. It is likely the Japanese will pick off any unit not covered by its support fire!

My reliable B17 bomber has eventually ran out of fuel, and is forced to return to the nearest airfield. Finally, I deploy a new unit of M3 Stuart tanks and some basic infantry in the rear to prevent any Japanese from pushing deeper into our territory. And if they focus on the city defense instead, perhaps these reinforcements can atttack the enemy in their flanks and rear.

We have 6 more turns to hold out, and a massive amount of enemies to go up against. The main question is whether we should use everything we have to hold what remains of the northern city, or sacrifise its defenders to allow the other forces to fall back to a new position?
Turn 15 – Dave

The Japanese have been keeping the pressure up in the west, despite the much reduced size of the forces there. Enemy medium tanks punish my Stuarts, causing them to retreat. Meanwhile in the east the enemy continues to launch tentative attacks, testing the defences, but they are taking their time about it, which is just as well…
At the same time, Japanese forces are penetrating deep around the eastern flank, encountering Lukas’ bunkers far behind the frontline.
I bring forward my new troops as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence, so I march my AT guns along the dirt road through the forests, at the cost of some efficiency

The situation is fairly delicate. Lukas and I were hoping to push back the offensive in the west, then bring the western forces to the rescue of the beseiged defenders in the east, but the arrival of fresh Japanese forces in the east is threatening to delay that tactic. The priority has to be sending relief to the east, but at the same time we can’t leave the west undefended.
My Stuarts have survived one attack from the advancing Japanese armour, but it’s definitely time to pull back. There’s quite a queue of our units trying to cross the pontoon to the eastern bank, so I decide to send the Stuarts west to try to counter the arriving Japanese reinforcements.

Combined with my infantry, I manage to cause some serious damage to an enemy infantry unit. With Japanese armoured units to my left and right, I can’t say I’m looking forward to the Japanese counter-attack.
The rest of my turn is spent reinforcing those units I can, and hunkering down.
Turn 15 – Lukas

The Japanese seem to have given up on attacking the city defense and instead are bringing forward their new reinforcements elsewere. My defending infantry launches counter attacks against the weakened enemies, destroying one infantry unit. My 90mm AA almost finishes off a Chi-Ha tank blocking our pontoon bridge, forcing it to retreat. Luckily I still have an artillery unit as well, and it delivers the killing blow.

Next I use my freshly purchased M3 Stuart tanks to engage the enemy infantry advancing deeper into our territory. It’s a bit of a risk moving a long way through the fog of war, but the tanks don’t run into any ambush. The consecutive attack does significant damage to the Japanese infantry, and cuts it from supply. My new infantry unit also advances through the middle of the map to reinforce the city defense.

Finally I help out Dave’s forces in the west, positioning my heavy infantry and 37mm 11 gun – in direct fire AT mode – along the path of advance of one enemy Chi-Ha tank, while using my Stuart tanks to destroy the infantry Dave has been attacking. The advance move lets me position my tanks in front of his, protection them from any counter attack.

Turn 16 – Dave

Lukas’ turn saw a surge in successful attacks against the Japanese, and at the start of the AI turn I was feeling confident again.
The Japanese slightly dampen my spirits with a succession of attacks against my units which sees my strength 8 infantry unit first retreat then get obliterated and three strength points taken from my M3 GMC.

My 37mm Anti Tank gun moves along the road to arrive south of the enemy armour. The odds aren’t great, but I score a couple of lucky hits and my howitzer and AT gun take 3 strength points of hits on the enemy armour.

With my infantry reinforcements also arriving from the south, I feel safe enough to send my Heavy Infantry unit across the pontoon to assist in the east, and bring my GMC the other way, falling back to a safe place to rest and recover efficiency. I reinforce my weakened unit of Stuarts.

Turn 16 – Lukas

The turn starts with desaster, as enemy air strikes destroy my brave Willys jeeps 🙁 They also engage my 37mm AA gun, aware that it cannot return fire while in direct fire AT mode. One of Dave’s forward infantry units – the ones I was hoping to protect – also got destroyed by enemy tank attacks. It is time for some major revenge…
In the west my units counter attack the enemy Chi-Ha, reducing it to a fraction of its strength. Dave will have the pleasure to finish it off.

Now the enemy besieging my city defense for so long will pay the price. I finally redeploy my valiant 90mm guns and open fire on an enemy light tank, instantly routing it. Consecutive attacks catch the enemy artillery on a river hex and damage it badly, destroy two infantry units and badly damage another Chi-Ha medium tank. It looks like the tide has turned into our favor at last!

Turn 17 – Dave

My forces join the counter-attack. I hit the enemy Type 97 Chi-Ha unit with my AT gun, then send my Stuarts around to encircle them, hitting them from three sides. The enemy unit survives, just, but the damage is done.

My heavy infantry closes in for the kill on the exposed enemy heavy artillery in the east.

And finally my howitzers finish off the enemy armour that Lukas’ attacks had left crippled.

A good turn, the initiative is with us, and we only have to hold out for 3 more turns. I can smell victory!
Turn 17 – Lukas

As the enemy launches it’s expected counter attacks, more infantry appear behind the Northern river which my counter attacks are now pushing up against. My infantry takes substantial damage but Dave’s heavy infantry reinforces the position and destroy the enemy artillery sitting on the river banks.
On the western flank, we crush all the remaining enemy units: 2 Chi-Ha medium tanks and an infantry unit. If no further Japanese troops appear we can finally use these forces to mount a significant counter attack toward the east.

And this may come just in time, because my eastern attack reveals significantly more Japanese reinforcements than I had expected. Being totally out of position, my optimistic rage in the previous turn may get these forces in serious trouble. I decide to make a gamble by cutting off the Japanese troops in the city center. While the draw supply from the city’s supply source, it does not produce enough for the 3 units in the pocket. This will hopefully weaken them a bit in the next turn.

Turn 18 – Dave

With Lukas’ forces now encircling the Japanese in the eastern town, the roles are reversed, but the AI is determined to keep hold of its gains. It launches attacks against his AA/AT guns, armoured units and infantry, scoring hits all around. It also secures a supply point in the south to resupply the cut-off units in the town.
My Stuarts, infantry and howitzers in the west continue to counter attack, taking five strength points from the remaining enemy infantry.

I rest and reinforce my GMC for one more turn. Next turn, it will be ready for action.
My Heavy Infantry in the east attack the enemy infantry, in an attempt to secure the flanks of Lukas’ AA/AT gun, and although I cause some damage, the situation hangs in the balance.

Turn 18 – Lukas

The gamble has failed. The Japanese reinforcements throw my counter-attack into disarray, bringing several units to near destruction. Similar to Dave’s mistake earlier in the game I got too eager and advanced too aggressive against an enemy of unknown strength. And paid the price. The city defense, which held so valiantly for over three quarters of the time limit has fallen.

I evacuate all the heavy equipment using their truck transportation. This his left them highly vulnerable to the Japanese air force, with only my 37mm AA gun covering the area. One infantry and tank unit is unable to retreat west, so I move them south instead. Here they have to face an enemy tank unit, which I weaken as much as I can with the fresh infantry unit, while giving repairs to the battered Stuart tanks. I know the next Japanese turn is gonna hurt…

Turn 19 – Dave

After taking some fairly heavy damage last turn, and in the face of an outnumbering force, Lukas has consolidated his position, moving his troops west by truck to form a better defensive line. I have to follow suit or my isolated Heavy Infantry will be toast, so I fall back west. With only a couple of turns left to go, the eastern town is definitively lost.

The situation in the west is much more positive, and my troops go about the business of mopping up the remaining enemy forces.

My GMC is now ready to re-join the fray. I raise the gun elevation and send a long range volley towards the enemy infantry pursuing Lukas’ forces. My howitzers follow suit.

The enemy have almost complete control of the east, but with the battle for the west won, and only one turn to go, it seems we have at least held on to half of our objectives.
Turn 19 – Lukas

As expected, a Japanese bomber destroys my 90mm AA gun while it was being trucked over the pontoon bridge. Other than that my evacuation does not take any casualties. We now have a strong artillery position on the western flank, smashing anything that dares approaching the pontoon bridge. I bring one of my Stuart tanks forward to reinforce the infantry guarding the eastern end of the pontoon bridge. With just 1 turn remaining, it is already clear the Japanese will fail to break our defenses by the time limit but abandonning the north-eastern city has been a painful experience none the less.

Turn 20 – Dave

Well… it’s my last turn. With the west secure, it’s time for one last push towards the western objectives. It wil be more symbolic than anything. The Japanese have some vulnerable units, but they have consolidated their control of the key hexes.

Note that infantry units in towns are not visible from a distance, but if my memory serves me correctly, there are two or three Japanese infantry units lurking in those streets. My GMC could race down the road and into town, but it would almost certainly lead to an ambush. I opt instead to pick off some of the weaker Japanese units in the open terrain. Let’s close this game with a bang!
With the gun elevation lowered for direct fire, my GMC unit takes out the weakened unit of Type 97 Chi-Ha.

My heavy infantry bring down the enemy infantry to just one strength point. Almost, but not quite… which mirrors my feelings at the end of this game. A couple more turns to consolidate our forces and organise ourselves and we could have retaken the eastern objectives, but time is out and we will have to settle for a less than complete victory.

Turn 20 – Lukas

The final turn includes a Japanese attempt to break my southern evacuees with tank and air attacks. My tank is badly damaged but managed to retreat to safety across the bridge. The cut-off enemy tank also survives my own ground and air attacks. The remainder of the turn is spent wrapping up weakened enemy units and advancing back toward the city.

If there had been a few more turns we probably would have retaken it, but high command has instructed us to fall back to Bataan and avoid being cut off from the remaining Allied forces on the Philippines.