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Old September 20th, 2019, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: SaS TrooP non-series or limited series scenarios WW2 Edition

OK, here comes the next one. I would appreciate additional testing since my timing in this scenario might be broken, as I will precisely know what will happen.

Quote:
Yang Dang Khoum and Khum Phreav*
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Date: 16th of January, 1941*
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Location: Yang Dang Khoum and Khum Phreav, Battambang Province, French Cambodia*
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Type: Thai defence and counterattack vs. Vichy French assault*
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Since the crawling beginning of Thai dictatorship in 1932, Thailand (till 1939 called Siam) began to look for powerful allies, with whom the country would be able to regain some of the lost territories in the early XX century. Since Thailand lost those territories mostly to France, Britain and British Raj, choosing Japan as strategic ally seemed somewhat rational sollution. Both nations closening ties did not go unnoticed, yet Thailand aimed for staying neutral for as long as possible.
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In May 1940, France lost to Germany in Europe and as result Vichy France was created. The now weakened French retained control of majority of colonies, including French Indochina, modern day Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Shortly after, in September 1940, Japanese troops forced Vichy government to provide access to Indochina bases and logistical lines (so needed for Japanese to sustain southern front in war against China), then expanded via short invation to de facto military control of Indochina. Japanese would eventually - after bloody fighting - disarm French forces there in 1945, when French Indochina army would declare its support for the Allied cause.
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Nevertheless, territories lost to France in 1907 indeed interested the Thais. Using the political shielding of now close Japan, Thai dictator Plaek Phibunsongkhram claimed that Vichy France should cede majority of Cambodia into Thailand. At the same time, starting from October 1941, numerous border clashes erupted to add some arguments for the claims. French, however, remained steady and did not budge. Also, army of Indochina begun dislocating troops for Laos and Cambodia.
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In early January 1941 Thai military command finally received green light for serious military operations, that includes carrying out offensives into French Indochina. At the onset of the war, French had 2 infantry divisions made of various regiments, mostly mixed colonial ones, as well as dreadful 5th Foreign Legion Regiment. French Air Force had some obsolete aircraft, approximately 100, of which about 60 could be considered front line. These included thirty Potez 25 TOE reconnaissance/fighters-bombers, four Farman 221 heavy bombers, six Potez 542 bombers, nine Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighters, and eight Loire 130 reconnaissance/bombers flying boats. There were only 20 Renault FT-17 tanks in Indochina, but these - on the contraty to popular belief - did not take part in fighting.
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The slightly larger Thai Army was a relatively well-equipped force. Consisting of 60,000 men, it was made up of four armies. The largest were the Burapha Army with five divisions and the Isan Army with three divisions. Independent formations under direct control of the army high command included two motorised cavalry battalions, one artillery battalion, one signals battalion, one engineer battalion, and one armoured regiment. The artillery was a mixture of Krupp guns and modern Bofors guns and Howitzers, while 60 Carden Loyd tankettes and 30 Vickers 6-ton tanks made up the bulk of the army's tank force. As of air force, first-line strength were 24 Mitsubishi Ki-30 light bombers, nine Mitsubishi Ki-21 medium bombers, 25 Curtiss Hawk 75N pursuit fighter planes, six Martin B-10 medium bombers, and 70 Vought O2U Corsair observation/attacker aircraft.
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On 5th January 1941, Thai swept into Laos and Cambodia, pushing aside worse equipped and smaller French force. Then Thai troops focused on securing administration of newly captured territories - generally that war was going kinda slow and bloodless, at least during early stages.
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After two weeks of engagements and some stabilization, French admiral and Governor-General of French Indochina Jean Decoux ordered the French army to launch a larg scale counter attack and push Thai troops from Cambodia. The main axis of attack was marked against newest Thai gains - villages of Koum Phreav and Yang Dang Khoum in Cambodian Battambang province.
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Against that target, the so called "Groupement J" was created under command of colonel Jacomy. A formidable force, it consisted of 4 infantry battalions, including one French Forreign Legion, two artillery battalions, including one Foreign Legion, as well as mixed motorized column from 11th Colonial Infantry Regiment. French did not know the size of Thai forces defending Yang Dang Khoum, since no intel was gathered, so French attacked blind, launching flanking attack from the north with two fixing frontal attacks.
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Thai, on the other hand, belonging to 4th Infantry Division, were prepared and more than aware of French actions. Thais secured control of the air (also Thai pilots proved they might have been one of the best in the world by that time). Thai aerial reconneissance provided data to the ground troops that dug in heavily and deployed forward scouts. Finally, a armoured counterattack column was prepared for the right moment.
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French forces were engaged on 16th of January 1941 in their staging areas, quickly discovered by Thai recon. Nevertheless, French moved in to attack, but its directions were already known. Thai put up still and stubborn defence in well prepared positions, relaying on heavy machinegun fire and canons deployed in direct fire roles.
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Finally, after few hours, when French attack reached the grinding halt, Thai tanks appeared and caused panic in French lines. The entire force crumbled and routed towards city of Seam Reap, chased by the Thai armour. The day was saved by Foreign Legion battalion that arrived late as well as Legion artillery that remained in its initial position and decided on fighting via direct fire. Legion also brought 25mm AT guns, a rare item in French Indochina's armory. Thais did try to break Legion positions using all they got, including heavy airstrikes, yet the Legion withstood and Thais returned to Yang Dang Khoum, while rest of French forces were effectively saved from destruction.
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At the end of the day, Thais claimed the battlefield and French attempt failed painfully, yet Thais failed to destroy the enemy force, making this battle somewhat indecisive. Historically, about 100 Thais and between 200-300 French troops were killed and scores more on both sides wounded, making battle of Yang Dang Khoum the bloodies of war entire.
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A day later French Indochina Navy scored a major win against the Thai Navy nead the island of Ko Chang. VIctory was serious, yet not decisive. Nevertheless, Japanese mediated ceasefire worrying that their ally might loose the war in the end. Bangkok government was moderately interested, controling little new terrain after 2 weeks of serious fighting. Yet it finally gave way under the Japanese pressure. Finally, in middle of 1941, French ceeded a couple of Laos and Cambodia provinces to Thailand, mostly border ones (including Battambang with Yang Dang Khoum in it). The gains were however much less than expected (about 1/4 of territories originally lost in 1907) and infuriated Thai public opinion that blamed Japanese for early interference. In result, Thailand begun to slowly drift away from Japanese ties and looked for other possible allies. On 7th December 1941, when Pacific War begun, Thailand declared neutrality, yet for this reason a day later it was invaded both by Japanese and British, finally siding with Japan for the remainder of the war.
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But that is quite a different tale.
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NOTES: Scenario uses historical data on forces involved and their equipment. For this reason it is playable from both sides, but Player should have a few things in mind while picking side. Scenario has very long turn playtime. This is for a reason to allow both French attack take place and Thai counterattack. When playing as Thailand, generally play as you wish. First destroy the French attack and when you feel strong enough, launch a counterattack and attempt to destroy Foreign Legion artillery battalion.*
When playing as French, it is recommended to do as following: your use of Foreign Legion is free. You might either keep it in reserve or use it to bolster the attack on the Thai held villages. However, if your attack fails to gain a real foothold after about turn 35, turn back and consider it lost. Thai AI will move out to counterattack at about turn 35 - from now on your task will be to defend your artillery. In such situation, you should NOT attempt to capture Thai villages again should you break Thai counterattack. This will essentially give the most historical outcome. If you managed to capture the villages, simply hold against Thai reinforcements.
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Design: Marcin "SaS TrooP" Kaluza*
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Sources: Various sources, a lot of digging and questions asking, but best credit goes to "Le Franc-Tireur" paper, released Autumn 1996, detailing the battle and French force composition.
Attached Files
File Type: zip 827 Yang Dang Khoum.zip (218.8 KB, 41 views)
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