A Noob vs Japan

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TheFilthyCasual
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A Noob vs Japan

Post by TheFilthyCasual » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:21 am

Short backstory:

I used to prefer real-time strategy, but I never liked the feeling of being rushed; my mind simply doesn't work fast enough. So last year I thought I'd try my hand at turn-based, and since I'm a WW2 buff, that is the first thing I went looking for, and since OOB is the newest WW2 hex-based wargame there is, I figured what the heck. So unlike many of the people playing here, I've never touched good 'ol Panzer Corps or Panzer Generals, so I had no idea what what I was doing. I managed to scrape myself through to Guadalcanal on my first attempt, failed it 3 times in a row before eventually winning but with half my units dead, then failed New Georgia three times in a row and left the game aside for along while. I hate letting myself get defeated though, so I decided a change in mindset was needed and I came back and tried it again recently, and eventually succeeded. What you'll be looking at here is an AAR of my first successful campaign in OOB; it's not perfect. But if you'd prefer something a little more scrappy and organic than a 100% completionist walkthrough, look no further.

Also, as I said, big WW2 nut, so I got into the habit of naming all my units after actual units that either actually were, or plausibly could have been, involved. I actually did the Boot Camp missions this time (I foolishly skipped it when I first got the game), and I went into the main campaign with the following core:

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Plus there's the ones the game gave me in the first scenario:

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Hopefully that scratches your details itch; or maybe it's just me. Though, I'll be doing this turn by turn, so there will be plenty of details.


Pearl Harbor

Everybody was antsy about Japan after they look over Indochina. It was pretty obvious they were setting themselves in a position to dominate the South Pacific, and drag us into a fight with them. But we also knew how powerful the US Navy was, and how powerful our country was in general; the Japanese would have to be crazy to try to take us on directly.

So imagine the surprise of an auxiliary medical officer in Pearl Harbor, up early in the morning to report to the naval hospital, when 30 planes swoop over his head barely a hundred feet off the ground as he drives next to the Harbor on his way to work. It's no wonder no one caught them coming in - where in the hell would they have come from?! It took everyone a minute to process what was happening; they were Japanese planes - the big red sun on the wings are like flashing signs - attacking America's main naval base in the Pacific! But it's too late - they're on top of Battleship row, torpedoes in the water and bombs flying. The Oklahoma, Arizona and West Virginia are trapped in the confines of the harbor, hemmed in by an 'escorting' cruiser at anchor with a skeleton screw.

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But that doc in the jeep - knew just what he had to do. Knew it more than anyone else; unfortunately I cannot congratulate him, for I do not know his name, as this was the one and only time he ever participated in the same battle as our task force.
Rather than run for cover, he floored the pedal and sped towards Hickam field. The AA guns and fighters around the Harbor didn't seem to be reacting despite the explosions; granted, it was an exceptional circumstance, but fast action was needed!

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Speeding towards the airfield, men of the 200th AA Battalion sleeplily waltzed out of their barracks to see what all the commotion was about. Some were even sipping coffee as they sauntered out. Not slowing down, the doc drove through the throng, screaming at the top of his lungs "THE JAPS ARE ATTACKING, MAN THE GUNS, MAN THE GUNS DAMMIT!" as he continued on his way. Reaching Hickam field and not knowing where the commandant was, he repeated himself, driving around the hangars and mess hall screaming that the Japs were attacking.

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10 P-40s of the 6th Pursuit Group scrambled into the air in the next few minutes as the harbor roared, and rushed to defend the hapless battlewagons.

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Our pilots' first encounter was when they attempted to drive torpedo bombers away from the Arizona. They downed two B5Ns, but concentrated tailgun fire from the rest of the formation took down one of ours as well. Our destroyer the Livermore had relatively weak AA abilities, but the crew fired what they had, hoping to hit something.

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Breaking off, our pilots engaged a group of D3As diving down on the Oklahoma. They were too late to stop the dive bombing, but as the Japs pulled out, we came in behind them and took down 4. Tailgun fire downed two P40s. The crazy doc, meanwhile, madly hopped into a PT boat and sped for Ford Island to rouse the pilots there off the ground. What inspired him to think it was a good idea to be on a boat at that point one can only speculate.

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The Commander of our Task Force's naval elements, Admiral Philip Clark, was away from the base inspecting a radar installation. He at first thought the Japanese attack force were a group of B17s due to arrive that morning, but when they called in to announce their approach, he realized something was amiss.

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The 200th finally got its act together and began firing at Japanese torpedo bombers in conjunction with the fighters.

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When the radars picked up another group moving in, that was when Clark realized something was seriously wrong. He called various bases to scramble a response, but only Hickam Field picked up.

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Luckily for everyone, the mad doctor had miraculously made it to Ford Island and made a sprint for the hangars to scream and shot and kick until the pilots got out of their hidey holes and into the air. They had good reason to not want to try to take off though - after losing two more bombers, an escort of Zeros showed up and shot down 3 P40s. Though they managed to down two Zeros, the remaining 4 planes were low on ammo and had been outmaneuvered. They risked it to land back at Hickam Field to rearm.

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Pilots from Ford Island did reluctantly get in the air, but they were too late to stop the attack that zoomed over the runway and blew up the Oklahoma in a ball of fire.

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The Ford Island pilots quickly dispensed with their fear. The Zeros had not seen them take off, and the P40s jumped them. One strangling Zero downed a P40, but our men downed 5 Zeros. The Japanese had felt so safe in assuming surprise, now they were the ones being surprised.

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And then, as if God himself were smiling on us that day, 10 Wildcats from the Enterprise arrived over Hickam Field, having flown ahead of their carrier which had been delayed by weather. The control tower told them to wave off and take out the Japanese.

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The doc hopped back into his PT boat and sped across the bay to alert more airfields. Meanwhile, the combined effort of the AA guns and 19 friendly fighters took its toll. Each Japanese wave, at least by my tally, was a group of 70 planes - 10 Zeros, 30 dive bombers and 30 torpedo bombers. Now under sustained air attack, it wasn't long before more than half of the first wave had been shot down.

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However, the sheer numbers disparity meant enough bombs got through to doom the Arizona as well.

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Nevertheless, the Japanese had clearly been sloppy. Determined as they were to quickly obliterate the battleships and scram with a bomber-heavy force, they were at the mercy of out numerically superior fighter forces, despite there being far more Japanese planes than American.

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The Japanese, in their stubbornness, did not withdraw the first-wave planes that attacked the ships and instead, they pressed their attack onwards despite the odds against them, knowing the 2nd wave was right behind them. Luckily, our fighters, with some more pilots scrounged up from around the base, were back in the air and waiting.

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Admiral Clark had radioed ahead the Japanese attack vector from the radar tracking. While our 6th Squadron boys and the AA guns sought to finish off the last of the first wave, the Ford Island and Enterprise pilots intercepted the Japanese planes on their approach.

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Another group of friendlies flew into the Harbor the same time the Japanese did; Doc's work yet again.

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The Japanese didn't really have a chance now. With 31 of our fighters in the air and no fighter cover of their own, they were sitting ducks.

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As our pilots obliterated the 2nd wave, our destroyers sought to exit the harbor to make way for the bigger ships to leave. On their way out, they picked up a sonar contact - the Japanese had tried to get a sub into the harbour! The depth charged response was ineffectual, but it scared the sub off and cleared the way out.

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All that was left to do was to chase down anyone we could.

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Why the Zero escorts fro the 2nd wave were up at the north end of Oahu, no one knows. The squadron that went after them got a nasty shock when they lost 4 P40s in the span of a couple minutes. Luckily, they had the luxury of calling other fighters in to dogpile the Zeros, and the result was rather one-sided.

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Japan's final act of spite was to destroy one of our radar stations on their way out. One can't help but wonder if those planes may have been better used at the harbor.

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The Doc finally caught up with the Admiral to tell him what was going on, though Clark already new full well via message from the airfields Doc had visited. I dunno if he ever got a Medal of Honor, but if anyone deserved one, it would be him. If he hadn't kicked those pilots into their planes, every ship in the harbor would probably have been a wreck.

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All in all, it was a rude shock. No one had ever even dreamed the Japanese would park their aircraft carrier off Hawaii and bomb our fleet in its own port; luckily, thanks to the heroic efforts of our pilots, gunners, and Doc, complete disaster was avoided. Two battleships had been destroyed, yes, but other than a couple depots and a radar station nothing else had been damaged; indeed, the failure of the Japanese to eliminate our planes int he first wave by attacking the airfields is a conspicuous oversight. And as a result, the enemy had lost around 100 planes to our 23. The pilots felt pretty proud of themselves that night.

GabeKnight
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Re: A Noob vs Japan

Post by GabeKnight » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:08 am

Nicely done!
TheFilthyCasual wrote: Short backstory:
I used to prefer real-time strategy, but I never liked the feeling of being rushed; my mind simply doesn't work fast enough.
Yeah, same here. Started with the first Warcraft, then Command and Conquer and further clones, but at some point it was all just about building everything fast enough and rush it to the enemy with as many units as possible to hopefully overrun them...
TheFilthyCasual wrote: Also, as I said, big WW2 nut, so I got into the habit of naming all my units after actual units that either actually were, or plausibly could have been, involved. I actually did the Boot Camp missions this time (I foolishly skipped it when I first got the game), and I went into the main campaign with the following core:
Then you definetely should try some of Erik's custom campaigns. He does the same thing in his scenarios. The missions are really great, and his clinging to historicity sometimes drives me mad :wink: :mrgreen:

TheFilthyCasual
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Re: A Noob vs Japan

Post by TheFilthyCasual » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:50 pm

War Plan Orange-3

As the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they simultaneously (though it was December 8th there) invaded the Philippines. MacArthur's airforce was destroyed on the ground, leaving only our 3rd Pursuit Squadron able to oppose the Japanese bombers. Our corps had been forward-deployed to the Philippines after their training exercises in November, centered around the 31st Infantry Regiment and supporting units, commanded by our old Boot Camp commander, now-Colonel Harold McNeil, commanding his force from a command tank of the 192nd Tank Battalion. In addition, the 200th AA Battalion and 6th Pursuit Squadron that had so well defended Pearl Harbor were rushed to the Philippines to bolster our air defence after the disaster at Clark Field.

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We also had the new 193rd Tank Battalion on hand; unlike the 192nd, it had not been to Tank School nor had it trained with us in November, so its crews were raw.

Our forces were held in reserve near Manila, but the Filipino troops to our north collapsed more quickly than anyone expected, and our men had to be thrown into the line to allow MacArthur to withdraw his forces form Manila to the more defensible Bataan Peninsula.

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Our planes barely had time to get off the ground before Japanese fighters showed up and jumped the 3rd Squadron. The Japanese air group in the Philippines had made its home at an airfield just to our north, 6 squadrons strong: 2 of Zeros, 2 of Hayabusas, and 2 of G4Ms.

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The 1/31st reached Angeles just as the Japanese were crossing the river, and had to try to hold off a force twice its size to allow the 65th Engineers to blow the bridge over the Pasig-Potrero; our men had not yet reached the west bank.

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With Japanese tanks already pounding some Filipinos dug inside bunkers south of Magalang, McNeil sent the 192nd and the Philippine troops he could scrounge up to confront them.

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Despite losing 6 planes in the initial ambush, our pilots turned things around on the Japanese fighters. Supplemented by AA fire, 6 Zeros were downed and the rest retreated, the 4 remaining planes of the 3rd Squadron in pursuit. The Hayabusas banged up the 6th Squadron too, but with only two planes of their own left, the writing was on the wall for them.

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The shooting had not yet started to the west; the Japanese maneuvered their troops so as to bring two battalions to bear against the 1/31. The engineers had done their job; Philippine troops moved up to defend the village next to where the bridge had been, AT guns lagging behind them, while the 193rd held the left flank. A Japanese recon unit was spotted crossing the river to our north.

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The Japanese battalion advancing down the road from Magalang ran into Philippine troops hiding in a patch of jungle and flanking fire from our tanks. Having lost 70 men, they pulled back to regroup, and the Japanese tank unit was brought forward to confront ours. The bunker complex next to the river was overrun, and more Filipinos raced down the road to plug the gap.

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All 20 Japanese fighters had been downed, but the enemy airfield was defended by AA guns; thus, we could not safely bomb them as they lay on the ground - we had few replacement planes available as it was. In any case, we were in no position to try anyway, for we had lost 13 planes ourselves. The AA guns had tipped the balance this time.

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The 193nd sent the helpless Japanese armored cars fleeing back across the river, but to the east of the Pasig-Potrero, the Japanese had mauled the 1/31 with little loss to themselves and Angeles was in their hands. Our engineers slogged south to prepare the next bridge on that river for demolition. The Filipinos that tried to plug the river flank north of San Fernando were cut to ribbons; it looked like a fall-back to San Fernando was now needed.

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The Japanese took a pause to replace any losses before resuming their attack. Japanese infantry continued to hound the 1/31 as it fell back to San Fernando. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions had used the time gained to their north to prepare defences along the river, but now the 1st Battalion's rout was threatening the whole defence scheme.

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The Japanese seemed to be massing an entire regiment to the north, preparing to storm our left flank; our men there continued to dig in. McNeil pulled the 192nd back to San Fernando to help 1st Battalion, but the Japanese simply rushed past him toward the main intersection. Combined with the Japanese tanks appearing next to the river, they seemed to be planning a blitz of some sort; McNeil had no choice but to order his entire regiment to withdraw from the river crossings into San Fernando to destroy the Japanese vanguard on his left, followed by a withdrawal to the south, as abandoning the river would make holding the city untenable.

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We had bought just enough time for the rear-echelon units, supplies and depots in the city to be evacuated to Bataan, however. It was a loss, but not as bad as it could have been.

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The Japanese vanguard company was surrounded and wiped out, but things were then turned on us as expected - Japanese tanks appeared at the main intersection, blocking our escape path. They meant to bag the entire regiment! (Sans the 1st Battalion, which had withdrawn across the river to the east to regroup and reinforce, having lost 90 men and accomplished nearly nothing) McNeil's Filipino rear guard had nearly been annihilated, only a few men in bunkers still holding out.

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The Japanese advance against our left flank finally began; infantry crossed the river to the north while tanks and trucks full of infantry were seen streaming into Angeles, no doubt preparing to cross the river despite the lack of a bridge.

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With their infantry support held up by 3rd Battalion, 2nd Battalion and the tanks knocked out all but one of the Japanese tanks at the crossroads, clearing the way for a withdrawal.

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AT guns drove off the enemy armored cars again, but an entire regiment bore down on the bunkers near the river. Japanese engineers burned the Filipinos out of their bunkers with flamethrowers; the 193rd and more Filipinos prepared to hold the village, but with Japanese tanks right behind the infantry, the odds of doing so seemed in doubt.

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Pre-occupied with mopping up the Philippine troops, and with most of their force lagging behind the vanguard, the 31st Regiment withdrew south of San Fernando without incident and again prepared to defend the river crossings. This time, the engineers planned to have the bridges destroyed before the Japanese reached them.

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The dug-in Filipinos weathered the initial Japanese assault rather well, but their flanks were being turned. The AT guns were overrun, and the green 193rd made a poor first showing. After hitting us with artillery fire, the Japanese crossed the river with tanks of their own and traded 2 of their tanks for 4 of ours. The entire position was untenable, and McNeil ordered a retreat. Zeros showed up to strafe the hapless AT crews; the 6th Squadron was called on to intercept - the 3rd had been busy trying to destroy a squadron of G4Ms flying towards San Fernando.

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2nd Battalion was left to defend Guagua, the bridge dropped into the water; 3rd Battalion moved out to defend Minalin. But the engineers would never reach 1st Battalion's position in time to destroy the bridge, so the decision was given to pull one more river back; since that bridge had bunkers in front of it, there should be enough time to destroy it.

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With almost all the reserves being sent to Bataan, McNeil begged MacArthur for more men to hold the left flank. MacArthur eventually agreed, but sent little - a company of Americans, some Filipinos, and a battalion of small pack howitzers. However, since all the trucks had been commandeered to help evacuate to Bataan, the howitzers had no transport and had to be manhandled forward, significantly delaying their joining the fight.

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The left flank, as expected, rapidly collapsed. The Filipinos and green Americans had neither the numbers nor the skill to hold the Japanese back. Reinforcements were rushed forward to try to keep the Philippine battalion from completely dissolving in panic, but every engagement with the Japanese caused them to lose half a company at a time; they had only half their men left. The tanks simply tried to stay ahead of the Japanese ones.

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The Filipinos regrouped and put a full company in the line next to the tanks, but it was no good. Japanese infantry and tanks completely overran their position and sent them fleeing into the jungle, now with only 60 men remaining in the whole battalion. The 6th Squadron downed 7 Zeros and the rest fled.

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As the two remaining planes of the 3rd Squadron, having shot down all 10 Japanese bombers, flew over San Fernando, they reported seeing dozens of Japanese tanks moving south. No one had ever thought the Japanese Army was this mobile! The 31st hoped the combination of the river, a lack of bridges, and heavy fortifications might finally be enough to stem the tide. The left flank continued to collapse, meanwhile; as they retreated, the 193rd was shot up by Japanese armor and lost 2 more tanks. The other unit of Japanese bombers now appeared over the 193rd and successfully bombed another of our tanks.

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Luckily for everyone, our job was nearly complete. MacArthur had withdrawn the last forces from Manila and they were now racing down the coast road to Bataan; we just had to hold out long enough to let them escape, then we could too.

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McNeil finally managed to bring up the 1/27th to reinforce the left flank - it would be needed. The forces MacArthur had lent would simply not be enough to halt the Japanese appreciably. As the 6th Squadron tried to down some G4Ms (they downed only 1, and lost two P40s in the process), they spotted masses of Japanese vehicles heading for the open plains between Lubao and Floridablanca (the G4Ms obliterated the remaining AT guns). McNeil decided all his armor would be needed there to prevent his left from being broken off and destroyed, especially with the 193rd barely holding itself together. The 31st now faced a combined arms offensive along its entire front with only infantry.

The unlucky duo from the 3rd Pursuit Squadron were jumped on their way back to Floridablanca by a squadron of Hayabusas and both were lost. With half their planes gone, the remainder of the 3rd Squadron was dissolved at the airfield and reassigned to bring the 6th Squadron up to full strength; though, with Japanese artillery approaching, their chances of being able to assist those planes already in the air was looking lower.

The corps was sad to see their original fighter unit be destroyed in its first battle; the only bright side was their destruction of the Japanese bombers that had flown out to San Fernando. This saved the 31st Regiment from enduring any air attack, something the forces on the left flank were not as lucky to avoid.

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With Japanese artillery in range of the airfield, it was not safe to land our planes there any longer. With the arrival of fighter escorts for their bombers, there was no chance of our stopping the Japanese air attack; the 6th Pursuit Squadron was withdrawn from the battle, leaving only the 200th AA Battalion with any ability to fight off the enemy planes. The arrival of the 192nd blunted the Japanese infantry assault at first, and the Japanese stalled for just a short time; enough time to get more tanks to the 193rd. Meanwhile, 2nd Battalion had been routed from Guagua and the decision had been taken to route it back south to guard the left flank of the 3rd. The engineers destroyed the bridge in front of 1st battalion as Japanese tanks tried to dismantle the bunker complex across the river.

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As quickly as he'd put out one fire, another started. 2nd Battalion was mauled, and it looked like the Japanese may well overrun the whole regiment from the left, though 3rd battalion had managed to destroy a Japanese tank company trying to cross the river. Thus, McNeil rushed the 192nd back across the Pasig-Potrero, along with reinforcements for his beleaguered battalions, and threw back the Japanese engineers who had been trying to burn the defenders of Minalin out of the buildings. This action also kept the road open, allowing the 31st to withdraw.

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And withdraw they did, for they had held out longer than anyone could have hoped for. MacArthur had been able to withdraw everything to Bataan, and he now prepared to turn it into a fortress - with our corps up front, of course.

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Re: A Noob vs Japan

Post by TheFilthyCasual » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:51 am

Battle of Bataan

No one was under any illusions. When everything was withdrawn to Bataan, it was not because we would be able to hold out there. The Japanese were simply too powerful - they had overwhelming air, armor and artillery support. The amount of firepower they could bring to bear, and the number of soldiers they could bring to bear, was nothing the forces we could muster at Bataan could defeat. Indeed, our air forces were withdrawn - with only our 6th Squadron and its couple dozen planes left in the whole of Luzon, it was suicide for it to continue to fight on alone, so it was pulled back to Hawaii. As such, Colonel McNeil made the decision to use some of his already limited forces to put together the 201st Anti-Aircraft Battalion armed with 90mm guns that, unlike the 37mm guns, could actually shoot high enough to hit G4M bombers, which we had no doubt the Japanese would send at us. It would, at least until the guns were destroyed (and there were no replacements - there were only 10 guns available), provide some kind of relief against the otherwise unimpeded Jap bombers.

Aside from a few PT boats, of which only two were allocated to combat duty (PT-33 and 34), waiting to make any kind of last-ditch escape, there was no means of getting off Bataan. Even with the PT boats, there was no way they could carry a significant number of men - if they swept anyone away to Mindanao, the last safe (but indefensible) island, it would be the scattered survivors of a final battle at the far south end. There was no way everyone could make if off, there were barely enough to get MacArthur's staff out let alone any of the troops. There was little point in hoping to get out of the coming battle alive - no reinforcements, no backup, virtually no escape. The 31st regiment and its support and auxiliary troops prepared to face complete destruction, and only hoped to take some Japanese with them.

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With a mountain range running down Bataan's middle in the north and south, with only the southern tip and the center having roads passing between east and west, our forces were going to be divided and, indeed, our Engineers intended to keep it that way. The sole bridge linking the east and west halves of Bataan was to be destroyed to prevent enemy forces from flanking; a straightforward slugging match down the coast roads would allow us to hold out for longer. On the west were deployed the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 31st Regiment, plus the 193rd Tank Battalion and the 201st AA; being closer to Japanese airfield, it was deemed more likely those guns would be needed there. The Japanese initially probed the defences there, but did not attack. They seemed to be preparing.

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On the right flank was deployed a more heterogeneous force consisting of half Filipinos and half Americans. The American troops consisted of 192nd Tank, its command tank serving as McNeil's mobile HQ, the 1/31, the 1/27 and the 200th AA. The engineers were busy behind the lines rigging bridges to be blown and preparing another line of defence around Pilar, which included a large and well-fortified siege gun manned by a Marine Defence Company under Captain Pete Simpson at Mount Samat. The initial Japanese attack threw tanks at dug-in Filipinos from three sides at a forward bend in the river; that looked to be the first place they would puncture our line.

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Indeed, the right flank's line was too long for our forces to hold. We doubted the Filipinos would survive the fight at the river, and with them gone we would have only 4 battalions to hold the line, and 1 of those really needed to be spotted behind the lines to blow the bridges, not fight AT them. The Samat-Pilar line would be shorter, enough for our men to actually man it.

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Happy for us (as happy as we could be, at least) then that we had stalled the Japanese so well outside Manila. We had all the ammo and supplies from the main supply dumps in Manila; we were in no danger of running out of ammo or food. We could comfortably shoot at the Japanese all day and all night; what we did not have was more manpower. Without the ability to ship more men in, every man lost was a permanent decrease in strength. Our force would only get smaller and smaller as the fight dragged on.

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The Japanese battalion that probed the left flank was shot up as it tried to cross the river. After losing 60 men, it pulled back to regroup, and armor was brought forward to subdue our defences instead.

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Japanese tanks crossed the river but were checked by McNeil's, with 3 being knocked out. 3 more Japanese tanks were taken out by Filipino troops, though the combined infantry-tank assault battered them. The Stuarts again played fireman and threw the Japanese infantry back over the river, but this meant abandoning the left end of the line as infantry were shuffled along the front; the east was already unraveling.

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With the river being largely abandoned, Philippine troops up in the central mountains were ordered back south to guard the right flank of the western defence line against any Japanese who tried to come in behind. Jap planes also made an appearance, strafing the Filipinos on the left as their tanks overran them on the right.

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The Philippine troops on the left flank collapsed; those who were not trapped in their isolated bunkers were dead on the field. Two entire regiments of Japanese soldiers with tank support now faced our three battalions at Abucay. The 192nd did make a determined counterthrust, however, destroying more Japanese tanks and sending one enemy tank battalion fleeing back over the river. Enemy attempts to dislodge McNeil did not succeed; so far, we had lost two tanks.

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The 200th downed a couple zeros that attempted to strafe our tanks as they moved east to block the enemy armor from flanking Abucay, but any hope of maintaining a defence was crumbling as the 1/27th, which only now engaged the first firefight of its entire existence (the enemy had not attacked them in the previous battle nor until now in this one), lost 60 men and threatened to let the Japanese waltz into Abucay and roll up the entire force.

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Nevertheless, MacArthur commended McNeil for his defence so far, given the odds. About 200 Japanese had been killed and 10 tanks and 2 planes destroyed. I'm not sure the 400 Filipinos that lay dead by and behind the river bank felt so great about it though. Nevertheless, MacArthur released more auxiliary troops to McNeil to bolster the defence; no doubt he intended for them to replace the lost Filipino troops in the east, but McNeil instead sent them north along the west coast - he needed someone to guard the right flank there now that the eastern defences were falling.

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Some troops nearby, along with the AA guns (given the enemy air presence to the east), were already in position to do that. Oddly, rather than try to tackle the 192nd, the Japanese armor moved west and left Abucay to the following infantry, who were too slow to stop a withdrawal to the Pilar-Samat line. Japanese attacks against the 1/31 at Abucay failed to kill a single American, giving the 1/27 time to pull back.

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Now that the east had cracked, the Japanese went for the west. Our PT boats had been performing hit and runs against Japanese troops they could see along the shore when a convoy of transport ships moved into the area - what appeared to be two troopships and a supply freighter! They evidently meant to land men behind us to disrupt our defences.

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Those defences were only now being attacked. The Japanese brought up artillery and many more troops and focused their attacks on two points in the line, one against the Filipinos and one against the 2/31st, hoping to crack the right flank. The initial assault didn't succeed, but both units were battered, and with any units to the rear needing to be diverted to guard against enemy landings, the western defences were now but a crust for the Japanese to crack.

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The Japanese attempt to flank the western defences was thwarted by Philippine troops, and the 1/31 again shot up the Japanese battalion that had been hounding them on the road from Abucay, which they had rapidly withdrawn from. Our eastern forces were now comfortably positioned along the Talisay under the cover of the Marine artillery on Mount Samat, ready for the next Japanese attack.

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With Japanese forces now hitting the right flank, the Filipinos collapsing and Japanese Marines headed for their rear, McNeil ordered the western defenders to pull back to a narrower section of jungle that could be held with only two battalions. That way, he could use the other units to wipe out the Japanese landing force, whose supply transport PT-34 had already torpedoed, and PT-33 was quickly speeding to assist.

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The Japanese armor was again repulsed by the Filipinos; they had raced far ahead of their infantry support and had now twice had their lead tank blown up by explosive traps. Meanwhile at Pilar, an entire Japanese company was wiped out trying to cross the river against both of McNeil's dug-in battalions while under fire from Mt. Samat. Why they hadn't simply waited for more men to come forward in support, who can say - they may have thought our retreat signaled that our forces were weak and would be easily overrun. The 1/27 felt catharsis from this after their initial disastrous encounter with the Japanese.

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In the west, the Filipinos on the line were overrun and killed to a man, though the defenders in the bunkers killed at least 100 Japanese before they were blasted out themselves, which was the best showing the Philippine forces had given yet. Except, that is, for those engaging the Japanese tanks on the right flank; a raid on the village where the enemy tanks were bivouacked netted 2 more tanks destroyed before the other 2 drove them off. 2 more tanks were destroyed by the 3/31 as they tried to cross a river while pursuing the fleeing battalion.

PT-33 put another torpedo in the Japanese supply ship while PT-34 circled it, raking the deck with machine gun fire. Fires raged on board and the crew were powerless to resist; the ship was surely doomed, and with it, the landing force.

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Far sooner than expected, the Japanese managed to advance into Pilar. Two battalions hit the 1/31st at once and drove it back towards the 200th AA's positions, taking the city and unhinging the defence, though their advance was hampered by fire from the Marines on Samat.

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In the west, the Filipinos staged another raid on the village and destroyed the remaining Japanese tanks; any elation this may have brought was halted when it was learned a fresh infantry-armor force was heading their way. Other Japanese tanks hounded the retreating American battalions; one company was left as a rear-guard, facing down hundreds of Japanese soldiers. The 193rd raced south to where it seemed the Japanese marines meant to land.

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Desperate to maintain a defence at the river, McNeil had Simpson bombard the Japanese troops in Pilar; then, his tanks, backed up by the 1/27th, surged back into Pilar, again annihilating the Japanese company occupying it. Another Japanese unit trying to cross the river was halted and half destroyed, but they did manage to knock out two of the 192nd's precious tanks.

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Things were now beginning to unravel. In the east, Japanese infantry knocked out another M3, though they lost 40 men in doing so; then, with only 4 tanks left, 6 Japanese tanks rushed McNeil's position and knocked out 3 more, leaving only his command tank still functional. His had his tank keep driving south to Limay to regroup with his 5 other remaining tanks and prepare a defence there; the infantry were on their own. Indeed, worse than that, the 1/27th was one it's own, the 1/31st having already withdrawn south to Orion. Pete Simpson's heavy guns, however, hampered the Japanese advance and broke up some of their formations, preventing them from breaking the remaining defenders. Japanese tanks tried to attack the 200th AA Battalion only to find one of their tanks burning from concentrated fire, though the battalion did lose two guns in the process.

The Filipinos were driven from their newly-regained village by more tanks and then strafed by Zeros; AA fire brought down two.

In the east, Japanese tanks had reached the next defence line, but their infantry was still being held up by the heroic rear guard. Meanwhile the battered supply ship was unable to move in behind the Japanese Marines due to the PT boats, so the Japanese were hemmed in at the beach with no supplies, facing the 193rd and a company of infantry.

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A formation of Hayabusa's tried to give some strafing support but ran afoul of both AA units, losing 5 planes. Filipino troops were called up to assist; yet the fanatical Japanese Marines refused to call it quits or even try to escape, but advanced around the 193rd to block the road, cutting the northern defences from MacArthur in the south. Without backup, this would never hold, but it was annoying regardless, especially since these noticeably more skilled enemy troops had managed to destroy 3 tanks so far.

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To the north of this, the defences had contracted to the point McNeil had ordered; now they had to hold position until a way south could be cleared. The rear-guard had continued to harass and kill the Japanese infantry following them; despite having only 30 men left, they were not overrun but managed to join the defence line. They had given as good as they'd gotten and delayed the enemy considerably. The Japanese tanks made no headway against the main line, and the 3/31st managed to destroy every one; at least, until another unit was brought up.

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In the east, the Pilar defences had finally cracked. The 200th AA lost 5 guns when Japanese tanks attacked and drove them towards Mt. Samat. Rather than finish them off, the Japanese would turn their tanks on the bunkers, leaving the 3 remaining guns and their crews to limp slowly south; they would play no further part in the fight. The Marine guns knocked out the lead enemy tank; as such, the Japanese decided to mop up the softer targets before tackling Mt. Samat. In a formidable stand, the 1/27th destroyed 5 Japanese tanks when they enemy attempted to drive them into the river.

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With the 192nd down to only 6 tanks, McNeil was desperate for anything to hold back the Japanese armor bearing down on him. There were enough knocked out Japanese tanks in his perimeter, as it turned out, to allow his mechanics to make repairs such that they were sufficiently operable and could be turned against their original owners. The crews were not impressed by the old fashioned, under-gunned and un-ergonomic designs of the Japanese tanks, but 13 tanks is better then 6 so no one complained too much.

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The defenders still at Pilar knocked out 4 more Japanese tanks; the town was becoming a virtual tank graveyard. But the 1/27th had been battered, and while the Japanese infantry support had been bombarded and delayed by Simpson's artillery, their position north of the river was untenable, and McNeil ordered a retreat. Simpson must have known the Japanese would now come for him.

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At Bagac, AA fire knocked out two more Japanese planes and their tanks continued to press the Filipinos back. The shot-up 2/31st retreated south, leaving auxiliary troops to defend the north end of the position; the 3/31st repelled a Japanese infantry-tank attack.

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The Japanese SNLF continued to be surprisingly effective despite their complete lack of supplies. 90 of the 200 that had landed were dead, but the 193rd actually had to retreat north out of town when the Japanese ambushed and destroyed two tanks and sent the other two fleeing for their lives when the zeros again appeared to strafe the Americans. Forces south of the river moved up to get rid of these pesky marines.

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In the west, the Japanese traded 40 men and a tank to kill 50 men of the 3/31st and drive them back; the 2/31st had regrouped right behind them and was ready to fight again. The PT boats had finally gotten the Japanese supply ship to sink; not that it would have mattered now anyway, as the SNLF landing force was down to 70 men and completely surrounded.

In the east, our captured Japanese tanks stopped the still-Japanese tanks from crossing the river while the Japanese infantry were hung up trying to destroy the Philippine troops trapped in bunkers outside Pilar. Though surrounded by hundreds of Japanese, the river and the artillery fire from Mr. Samat made the eradication of the bunkers difficult, though inevitable.

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The Japanese marines were finally destroyed; only 10 Filipinos ended up being killed int he process. This entire distraction had shifted the defences southward - only a couple hundred rear-guard troops stood in the way of the battered 3/31st and 193rd at Bagac. It was clear the the defences would have to be shifted south again; meanwhile, 8 Zeros, flying over water away from AA fire, had now taken up the task of trying to sink PT-34.

Japanese forces now began to attack Mt. Samat, though the Marines drove off one battalion. Our captured tanks continued to trade losses for Japanese ones; Japanese infantry tried and failed to take Orion from the riverside, but it was clear the Japanese intended to flank from the left anyway, and the town would need to be abandoned regardless. At Limay, McNeil gathered the 192nd's last 6 tanks to defend the river to the last man; the distance between the sea and the mountains at Limay was short enough that even with the 1/27th down to 20 men and the 1/31st down to 60, McNeil could actually concentrate his force there and defend the riverbank, at least for a short time.

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Japanese tanks heading for Bagac were halted by a force of 80 men supported by the PT boats, which fired in drive-bys at the Japanese tanks even as the Zeros continued to strafe them. The 193rd organized its last 6 tanks together; with the Filipinos at Bagac pushed back into their bunkers, someone needed to guard the north route. Attempts by a Japanese weapons company with mortars to breach the defences west of Mt. Samat and flank Bagac did not work, and eventually the entire company was wiped out by the river.

The 1/31st was forced out of Orion and was down to just 30 men. Only the 65th Engineers, who as yet had not engaged the Japanese even once, could now reliably hold the line. Only 4 of our captured tanks remained as a rear-guard in the east, but it was better than nothing.

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The disaster of the last landing force did not seem to deter the Japanese; indeed, they were at it again. Three troop ships and a supply ship sailed south towards Agloloma, no doubt once again intending to cut off our west coast defenders from behind; despite PT-34 being badly shot up by Zeros, only 4 were now left as the gunners on the boats had managed to down 4 Zeros, and they felt confident in being able to sink another supply ship.

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The Marines on Samat again blasted a Japanese attempt to attack their position. Indeed, Simpson had done so much to disrupt the Japanese infantry support on the west sector that MacArthur promoted him to Major and ordered him to withdraw from the position to receive a commendation; at MacArthur's headquarters, he was promoted, medalled, and informed he was now part of our corps. We lost the last of the captured Japanese tanks, and the Japanese had lost another tank company - yet, regular as a bowel movement, another came up right behind it. No matter how many we destroyed, the Japanese flung more at us, and now there was no mistaking that we were nearly finished.

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Though it seemed odd for a Marine to be put in charge of Army troops, MacArthur thought Simpson would serve better as commander of the forces in the west than going down in the Mt. Samat Alamo. Simpson resented being ordered to abandon his men, but equally accepted his new command with the casual gusto he was known for.

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Mt. Samat was now doomed; but that had always been part of the plan. The place was so well fortified that it would take considerable effort for the Japanese to root its defenders out of the bunkers, and they had already lost many men just attempting to reach it, let alone storm it.

The east was down to scraps: a Japanese infantry attack against Limay was shot up by the 192nd and the bunker complex west of town. But even 60 dead Japanese was not really compensation for the loss of one of our tanks, for there were 10 enemy tanks across the river which 5 Stuarts would be in no position to stop.

In the west, Simpson, like McNeil, used the command tank of the 193rd as his mobile HQ. He ordered 70 men of the rear guard to dig in at Bagac. A weapons company with heavy MGs and mortars was to dig in south of the river and hold the bridge; Filipino troops, some in bunkers and some not, would hold the rest of the riverbank. The 20 men of the 3/31st, 90 men of the 2/31st and 6 tanks of the 193rd would set up near Agloloma to destroy the new Japanese landing force. It was unlikely that they would destroy it before the rear-guard broke, but they might destroy it in time to set up outside MacArthur's HQ in Mariveles and make a final stand without having to watch their backs.

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That landing force was extremely close to Agloloma now. A torpedo had been put into the supply ship but it still sailed on towards the coast; PT-34 was having trouble engaging the ship with 2 Zeros still shooting up the boat.

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The harassing Zeros were finally downed; the two PT boats had managed the effort of a fighter squadron and downed 8 Zeros over the course of the fight. The supply ship was now well and truly doomed, as soon as they got their torpedoes reloaded.

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The eastern defences took the toll expected - 60 Japanese soldiers and 3 tanks were destroyed in attacking Limay; one of the bunkers and two more M3s were knocked out. McNeil was putting up a heroic defence; it was hard to ask for any more. But with only 3 tanks left, the 192nd would not be able to withstand the next Japanese attack; and with their being the most formidable position standing Japan's path to victory on the east coast, that would doom the entire sector. The 1/27th and 1/31st mustered only 50 men between them; they would never stop the Japanese from reaching Mariveles.

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G4Ms escorted by Hayabusas appeared over the rearguard to soften them up for the ground attack that was following on their heels, for Bagac had just fallen; 30 men straggled back into our lines. The Japanese Marines finally made landfall in the jungle between Agloloma and the airfield - 210 men and 6 tanks marched to destroy them.

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The Japanese now attacked Limay with the largest concentration of armor yet seen on Bataan - 27 tanks total - after the infantry had so spectacularly failed, 130 men dead. 19 attacked the bunkers while 8 attacked the 192nd - the Japanese lost 3 more tanks to McNeil, but he lost one too and he, with one other tank, fled the town. With the bunkers being systematically reduced, Limay was lost - and while McNeil's remaining infantry had dug in at two chokepoints south of Lamao, with barely any men they would never be able to stop all these tanks. McNeil ordered a retreat yet again.

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The new enemy aircraft spelled the end for PT-34, which was sunk by a final massive strafing attack. PT-33 was now a target - but her skipper was determined to sink the big freighter before he went down.

The Japanese had learned, it seemed, and brought along 10 AT guns to defend their beachhead. With only 10 men remaining in the 3/31st there simply weren't enough troops to hold the airfield; the 30 men who escaped Begac were pulled from the frontline to defend the airfield, but they probably would not get there in time.

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McNeil's last stand had come. With two tanks and 20 men at Cabcaben he tried to stop 3 Japanese tanks at the bridge; the tanks killed those few remaining members of the 1/31 with ease, and knocked out one of the M3s. Alone, McNeil knocked out two of the Japanese tanks before losing the fight to the third - severely burned, McNeil fled his burning tank and did not stop running until he reached Mariveles. Nothing now stood in the way of the Japanese.

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MacArthur hastily scrounged up a few more Filipinos to hastily man the east road into Mariveles.

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However, this could not be immediately done, as every man available was needed to destroy the Japanese marines that had seized the airfield - the Japanese had killed the remaining men of the 3/31st. MacArthur himself could see the Japanese taking up positions around the perimeter from the roof of his own headquarters; however, Simpson's troops could not immediately intervene, as they had a battery of AT guns they needed to finish clearing out and another company of SNLF were coming ashore, so the Philippine troops and the survivors of Bagac were ordered to clear the airfield.

The rear-guard at the bridge on the west road had held up the Japanese spectacularly, wiping out the first Japanese assault company and was now decimating a second.

The 65th Engineer battalion actually did not too badly in its first firefight, halting a Japanese infantry attack over a mountain; but their position had been completely flanked, and they were at risk of being surrounded.

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The Japanese bombers continued to pound the rearguard even as the Japanese assault forces continued to be cut down every time they tried to cross the river.

The Japanese at the airfield were assailed from all sides; 30 men holed up in a hangar, but it was clear the airfield would soon be clear again. Simpson's tanks cleared the AT guns from the jungle to the west, who had ironically not managed to knock out a single tank; 80 Japanese Marines who had made it ashore were his next target.

The 20 survivors of the 1/27th did what little they could and began setting up a roadblock at the east end of Mariveles; the engineers, meanwhile, had continued to hold off their pursuers well but were now essentially surrounded by flanking Japanese forces.

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PT-33 delivered a coup-de-grace with a final torpedo into the Japanese supply ship. It's job done, the Japanese marines were certainly doomed, and MacArthur ordered it back to Mariveles to help evacuate the few men that would fit; the boat had been shot up a bit by Japanese fighters.

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Flanked, the engineers had been cut to ribbons by Japanese infantry. 20 men fled into the mountains to avoid pursuit, and eventually made it back in time to get out; this was considered enough to say that the unit "still existed". The east roadblock was simply run over by Japanese tanks and the 1/27th ceased to be. A Filipino bunker complex and 10 AA guns were all that remained to defend the east side of Mariveles.

The rear guard was nearly destroyed; but the 30 survivors did not retreat, stoically choosing to stand and die at their posts. They had killed nearly 200 Japanese soldiers who had tried to cross the river; not a man of the unit survived.

Filipino troops had recaptured the airfield and the road was open again. MacArthur saw that the game was up - he had planned to stay to the end with his men, as they all had, but Roosevelt had ordered him to leave and organize the defence of Australia. MacArthur was reluctant to do this, but ultimately obeyed his commander in chief and he, along with his staff, boarded PT boats in Mariveles and sailed for Mindanao. There were not enough PT boats to evacuate everyone - thus, it was decided that auxiliary and Filipino troops would be left on Bataan. After mopping up the last 60 Japanese marines hiding in the coastal groves, Simpson led the 60 men of the 2/31st, the 6 tanks of the 193rd and the 201st AA into Mariveles, where McNeil waited with the engineers and the remaining gun crews of the 200th AA. When McNeil saw what remained of his regiment in totality, he had an emotional breakdown; usually known for being a hardass, non-nonsense type, he nevertheless loved the men he commanded, and seeing that almost all of them were dead was too much to accept in that moment. The tanks and AA guns could not come along as no large ships were available, so 6 tanks, 10 90mm guns and 3 37mm guns were left behind on the beach while the men crammed themselves into every boat that could be found, and they followed MacArthur to Mindanao, and from there to Australia.

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In the end, other than killing enemy soldiers and blowing up lots of their tanks and planes, this is all the Battle of Bataan accomplished - killing most of the defenders such that few would be left behind when the few survivors escaped at the end. And in the end, 400 Filipinos and 220 Americans were still left behind as MacArthur and our corps fled. Most of the force that had been raised during last autumn now lay dead in the Philippines - the force would have to be rebuilt from scratch; the 31st Infantry regiment had only one 'battalion' left, and this was the size of a couple platoons.

It was by far the darkest hour our forces ever experienced in the entire war - and most who experienced it did not survive to tell the tale.

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