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Sittang River Bridge

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Sittang River Bridge

Postby Kopfdorfer » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:48 pm

This the next developmental campaign I have decided to build.

It is based on the Japanese advance from Moulmein to Rangoon in February 1942.
I think I will start with the engagements around Bilin (Feb 18-19 1942) , and allow the Japanese side to develop its' own concept of operational strategy.
Historically the battles were fought out at Bilin , the southernmost crossing of the Bilin River , and following a withdrawal/pursuit type action to the NW , another engagement for the rail bridge and ferry crossings at Sittang across the river of the same name. Once the Sittang was crossed (Feb 20-21 1942) , there was little to stop the Japanese from reaching Rangoon.

Map Used : Czech Texan's Lower Burma Map
Campaign Length : 5 Calendar Days , Feb 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 and 22 , 1942 (The campaign may well be over by the 21st)
Calendar Day : 4 Missions of 3 hours (90 or 120 minutes flying - subject to playtest)
There will be no night missions.

Objectives :

For the Allies , the problem was twofold. They needed to slow the Japanese and defend Rangoon as long as possible ( hoping that reinforcements would be allocated AND have time to arrive in theatre - it never happened) and to withdraw as many units as possible , first across the Bilin River , and then across the Sittang in a phased withdrawal , allowing the most protracted defense of Rangoon possible .
Most of the ground forces available to the Allies were deployed between Moulmein and the Sittang. Only a few reinforcing units were destined to arrive to aid in the defence of Rangoon , and these were arriving by ship at Rangoon , but not until about halfway through the projected campaign time.
In terms of air defence , the Allies had one Sqdn (P40s of the 1st Pursuit "Adam and Eves") of the AVG based at Toungoo. They had a wing of RAF Hurricanes , supplemented with a Sqdn of Buffalos. For Recon and light tactical uses they had 2 Squadrons (one RAF , one IAF) of Lysanders. They also had 2 RAF Squadrons of Blenheim bombers. All these units were based around Rangoon.
In addition , the Burma Volunteer Air Force had a few flights of various aircraft types in the area , including Blenheim Is , Hudsons , Audax , DC2s , Wapitis.
On the sea , Allied naval presence was limited.
Rangoon harbour had a Sentry Ship. There were a total of 8 or 9 HDMLs (Harbour Defence Motor Launches) between the RN and the Burma Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. There were a few minor coastal transport vessels as well. Incoming support included the old Cruiser HMS Enterprise (bearing Commando Force Viper - at little more than Company Str) , and a Transport bearing the 7the Armoured Brigade and an Infantry Regt.
The transport vessel SS Tulsa was inbound to Rangoon with a full shipment of supplies.

Allied Ground Forces were anchored by the 17th Indian Infantry Division , nicknamed the "Black Cat" Division. This Division was composed of 3 Indian Infantry Brigades , a Regiment of Mountain Artillery , and some ancillary units.
The 1st Burma Infantry Division was deeply trapped between Moulmein and the Bilin River. It was composed of 3 Infantry Brigades and a few ancillary units.
The Rangoon area had a potpourri of second rate local defence units , including the 12th Burma Rifles , the Rangoon Field Brigade , Rangoon Defense Force , 1st Burmese (Heavy) Anti-aircraft Regt , the 1st (Heavy) Coastal Defense Battery RA .
There was a working radar unit around Mingaladon , as well as some coastal sentry vessels.

The Japanese were attacking with the bulk of 3 Infantry Divisions . In the North , threatening Toungoo (and already having forced the withdrawal of part of the AVG prior to our campaign) were elements of the 31st Division.
In the south , moving north out of Moulmein , were the 33rd and 55th Divisions.

Air support for the assault on Rangoon was an interesting mix of aircraft.
Fighter support consisted of the 50th and 77th Sentais , equipped with Ki27 Nates.
Operational Bomber Support was available in the form of 14th and 62nd Sentais of Ki21 Sallys , the 8th Sentai equipped with Ki48 Lilys and Ki30 Anns , the 31st Sentai also equipped with Ki30 Anns , and Operational Recon was provided by the Ki46 Dinahs and Ki15 Babs of the 70th Independent Chutai.
In addition , during the period of our campaign , possible reinforcements of new Ki21 II Sallys and Ki44 Tojos may be available.

Like the Allies , the IJN support available for the assault on Rangoon was limited , with major naval actions occurring around the area depicted by our campaign , but mostly peripheral to it. The Japanese may have some minor coastal vessels available , one ship for command purposes and some pickett vessels. They will rely on the ubiquitous Daihatsu Landing Craft for coastal supply delivery.
In addition , several submarines were known to be patrolling the Gulf of Martaban area at this time.

Technical Considerations - What I hope to gain experience with in building this campaign :
1) Importing and testing Mod Aircraft.
Yes I know this is generally frowned upon , and I intend to explore the good the bad and the ugly of using (or at least trying to use) Mod Aircraft.
2) Both the Indian Division and the Japanese Type B Infantry Division ( all three IJA Divisions which participated here were classed as Type B) had a heavy
dependency on horse drawn transport , therefore I will have to create horsedrawn transport columns that will function in an SEOW environment.
3) There is no HDML in the HSFX shiplist , therefore I will use an existing ship type and modify its technics to reflect the characteristics of the HDML Class
4) I intend to portray the differences between Foot Travel , Horsedrawn Travel , Bicycle Travel , Tracked Travel and Wheeled travel in a comprehensive and
integrated way that reflects the historical situation ; this will require some alteration to my technics file in the pertinent areas.

I am looking forward to the thoughts of more experienced campaign builders , as well as anyone who has some historical information to add or correct regarding this period and theatre. All thoughts are welcome , though I reserve the right to select those I will and thode I will not adopt.


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Re: Sittang River Bridge

Postby IV/JG7_4Shades » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:36 am

Interesting. In IL-2 terms that map has limited road transport routes (probably realistic). I will be curious to see how the naval transport interacts with the ground OOB.
I am really looking forward to flying in this scenario.

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