[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 6: And One Foot Back

Author: bigwoods
Published: 2017-03-18

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[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 5: One Foot Forward

Images: 98, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-03-18

Hey friends welcome to Episode 6 of my Republic of China AAR in the BlackICE 8.6 mod for Hearts of Iron 3. If you missed the previous episodes, they are linked below:

Episode 1 - Prelude:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5p14j8
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/hdPRd

Episode 2 - Southern Expedition:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5pe5b9
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/NfIPE

Episode 3 - Buildup, Betrayal, and the Drums of War:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5px153
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/6Gg7m

Episode 4 - The Onslaught:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5t02ux
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/P97vc

Episode 5 - One Foot Forward:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5ttevv
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/K5J6r
With the extension of the Republic's territory and control, a much wider pool of talent has declared their allegiance to the Kuomintang and Generalissimo Chiang. The old cabinet, Chiang decides, is due for a shakeup and reform.
The Ministry of Security is divided into two more parts, with Chen Lifu leading the now separate intelligence agency, the NBIS. Dai Li is assigned as the Minister of Security and the Interior, who will work to prosecute the communists and warlord sympathizers who are still plaguing the Republic.

Chen Shaokuan, who had been widely believed to hold communist sympathies, has been ousted as the Chief of Staff and Chief of the Navy. Bai Chongxi, a longtime confidant of Chiang, and a member of the Muslim, ethnic Hui, has broken his ties with the Ma Clique and will now serve as the Chief of Staff. Ouyang Ge is now slated to draw up plans of the Republic's Navy.
With the new additions of foreign trained divisions and the influx of foreign equipment, the ranks of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) has swelled to about 1.5 million men. Although the Japanese still outnumber the NRA as a whole, we still hold local numerical superiority in the Northern Front.
Fighting to the north of Beiping and around the city of Hohhot has strained the supply lines of the NRA and the Kwantung Army of the Japanese.
As soon as the surrender of Yan Xishan's forces was tendered, the Kwantung Army launches a punitive attack on the city of Jining. The men of the 18th Route Army are eager to taste blood yet again.
The Great Wall of China once again contributes to the defense of China's interior. Machine gun and artillery emplacements are placed all along and within the wall, and the Kwantung invaders are surprised to be set back by this ancient fortification.
More reinforcements from the front south of Beiping are pulled in to fill the gaps along the puppet state of Mengjiang.
The NRA is still suffering badly from Japanese air superiority. Emplaced and mobile anti-aircraft guns are rare on the front, but are being produced en masse in the interior. For now, our troops will just have to weather the storm.
Battles erupt all along the Northern front. The Japanese are eager to relieve their comrades suffering in the meat grinders to the south of Beiping, but little do they know, they are marching into another battle of attrition. The forests of Fengchen shall be the graves of thousands of Japanese!
More Japanese marines land at Penglai for the third time. These dogs have not yet learned their lesson!
They make landfall but without a port they will soon run out supply and surrender to the Shandong Coastal Guard.
In the west, the men of the 6th Route Army push into the stronghold of the Ma Clique, the city of Golmud.
The modernization of China's industry and domestic policies, which Chiang considers an effort just as important as the resistance against the Japanese invasion, continues with great leaps and strides.
The pressure on the invaders at Kenli continues. The Japanese marines are nearing their breaking point.
In the forests of Fengchen, the initial Japanese assault meets disaster...
while they are also defeated at Hohhot and Jining. The Japanese marines at Kenli surrender soon after. Nearly 12,000 men lie dead on the beaches, while the other 12,000 marines march into captivity to our POW camps in the interior.
Some of our more brave troops, dubbed the "honor guard" in certain divisions, have opted to carry the traditional Dao sword and use it very effectively in close-quarters combat. Similar to the Arditi in the Italian Army in WWI, These soldiers are instrumental in attacking enemy trenches, as well as defending our own against Japanese assaults.
Attacking communist CPC troops shatter on our defenses to the north of Yan'an at Shenmu, and an offensive towards Yan'an moves forward.
A communist mountain division is pushed back across the Yellow River at Shilou.
Our initial attack on the suburb of Suide is pushed back, and our troops regroup for another assault.
Meanwhile, Japanese marines are forced off the beach at Penglai yet again. Nearly 20,000 Japanese marines have perished in the numerous attempts to capture this beachhead.
Soviet-trained troops, having finished their refitting and reorganization, are sent to the Northern Front.
A major offensive is launched in the North to capture the city of Zhangjiakou from the puppet state of Mengjiang.
Demchugdongrub, also known as De Wang to many in the Republic, is a Mongolian Prince who has traitorously sided with the Japanese in an attempt to grow his own power. If we could capture him in his palace at Zhangjiakou, Chiang could force the Pan-Mongolian movement under Wang to come under the wing of the Kuomintang, against the Japanese.
Only a small garrison contingent and Manchurian cavalry guard the entryway into the city limits. Our veterans will make short work of them!
Another 100,000 men of the 18th Route Army, including the tanks of the elite 200th Division, make a concerted push into Qahar. By holding down the rest of the Japanese Army in the North we can buy time for the attackers in Zhangjiakou.
Although tank on tank battles are relatively rare on the Northern front, armored warfare erupts in the plains of Qahar, as the T-26 tanks of the 200th Division duke it out with Japanese light tanks and armored cars.
A counterattack is made by some elite troops of the Kwantung Army, in order to stall our offensive.
Our troops just need a little more time to capture Zhangjiakou... Japanese reinforcements will soon arrive and the holding action at Jining and Qahar cannot hold forever.
The costly holding action on Qahar is called off and our forces are repositioned in order to deal with the Japanese counterattack that is gaining more and more momentum. Our troops attacking Zhangjiakou are on their own now.
A breakthrough is achieved and our troops pour into the city of Zhangjiakou, and our men search fiercely for De Wang and his cohort of traitors.
A group of militia is found in the city center fiercely guarding the palace, where De Wang and the Provisional Mengjiang government is believed to be. They are buying time for reinforcements to retake the city, and they must be stopped!
Japanese regulars arrive and force our weary troops back out of the city limits. The offensive has failed.
...and days later the attack is called off, and the troops return to their trenches, exhausted and dejected. The general staff, although frustrated that they came so close to launching the first successful offensive against the Japanese, focus instead on the upcoming counteroffensive by the Kwantung Army.
The massive counterattack on Jining meets success, and NRA troops are slaughtered as they begin their retreat from the trenches. Our troops make sure to destroy supply caches and other infrastructure on their way out.
And the hammer soon falls on the defenders of Fengchen. The Generalissimo orders the 18th Route Army to hold their positions at all costs. The Northern Line must not be abandoned, after all we have fought for.
Meanwhile, the advance through the mountains to the north of Yan'an is slow but fruitful. The communists are slow to react against our well trained and disciplined troops.
A path to the capital of the CPC is now open, but the general staff advises against a direct attack. There are simply too many troops, and too many defensive structures to mount an effective attack on the city. Our troops need more equipment and more training before they can even dream of taking the communist stronghold of Yan'an.
More and more effort is being dedicated to the NRA's officer corps, which has been neglected for a long time. In addition to the prestigious Whampoa Academy in Guangzhou, new military academies are opened in Wuhan and Chongqing.
The Japanese counteroffensive stalls first at Hohhot, where nearly 30,000 Manchurian troops lay dead in and around the city.
Our modernized artillery corps is pounding the attacking Japanese to dust. Japanese troops now avoid open ground when possible, due to mounting casualties and the sheer volume of shells raining down on them.
Jingbian is taken from the communists and the Luo River front is secured.
The 1st of October brings an early first snow, and our troops dig in for another winter. They are not taken off alert, however, as last year's winter also came with a massive Japanese offensive across the Hai River.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Hitler successfully annexes Czechoslovakia, and a government-in-exile is formed in London. Chamberlain struggles to appease his own people now, as the British and French brand the politician as a traitor and appeaser, who is failing to stand up against fascism.
Chamberlain returns by guaranteeing the independence of Poland. Germany, however, seems undeterred. The weak leadership and pacifist policies of these pathetic countries will surely be exploited by Hitler and Mussolini.
Chiang continues the relentless drive towards resource independence and industrialization. China is dependent on imports and foreign aid for now, but the Republic will soon provide all for itself!
An urgent telegram is sent to the 4th Army headquarters, and relayed to Generalissimo Chiang. The head of the communist party, Mao Zedong, is spotted across the Luo River, and is only defended by his personal contingent of bodyguards. Our troops are ordered to make the perilous crossing at once, and capture Mao.
Reinforcements arrive before our troops can cross the river in force, and the attack is called off. Nearly 3,000 troops are sacrificed at a chance to end the communist resistance. Mao may have slipped through our fingers now, but he will soon face justice, like all the other warlords have, and imperialists will.
Our troops and officers are now true veterans of warfare. They have inflicted massive casualties on the first waves of the invasion, and have truly done wonders with the little equipment and training they started with.
Some of our veterans are given special longcoats, which denote their elevated experience and fighting ability. Armed with the latest equipment, and the sharpest Dao swords, Japanese troops have learned to fear these veterans when they encounter them on the battlefield.
The light troops of the 6th Route Army continue their slow trek towards Golmud. Many Ma troops defect to the NRA, as they see our mission to be more just.
Japanese assaults on the forest of Fengchen have stalled, and the initial attackers have been all but wiped out. In some cases, entire Japanese battalions have been wiped out, and it is not uncommon for replacements to arrive in whole companies and battalions, instead of individually.
Another counterattack is launched at Jining, in an attempt to capture the plains before the snowfall increases and movements become more difficult.
But in the face of mounting casualties the 2nd Battle of Jining is called off. It seems the Northern Front has once again reached an operational stalemate.
The General Staff continues its reform, by implementing the concept of Auftragstaktik, an idea first borrowed from the German Wehrmacht. This concept gives local commanders the authority to decide movements and operations on their own, as long as the intent given by their superiors is preserved. This will allow our smaller units to behave more independently, and act without explicit approval from higher commands.
While a few years ago our troops had rifles and nothing else, our commanders now have machine guns, anti-tank guns, mortars, artillery, and sometimes even armored cars and light tanks at their disposal. The art of combined arms is new to these officers but they will need to learn if the NRA is to emerge victorious over the Japanese.
Ma Bufang's troops are ousted from the Mountains of Da Qaidam, and our troops are now at the outskirts of his stronghold in Golmud. The offensive in the West is soon coming to an end.
Our units in the North are also being equipped with something many troops and officers have rarely seen in their lives: radios. These radios and signal units will increase cooperation between our troops and make it vastly easier to coordinate artillery strikes as well.
Mussolini exerts his influence across the Adriatic Sea, by annexing the small state of Albania. Greek troops are now moving to the border, as they see themselves as the next victim in Italian expansion.
As the year 1939 dawns, Generalissimo Chiang sends out a order to mobilize more troops from the countryside. Our troops have bled badly in the North, and more reserves are needed in order to continue building the NRA.
Along the Hai River, suicidal attacks by the Japanese and their puppets continue. Tongxian is now the graveyard of over 150,000 troops from both sides.
Our factories chew through steel and metal faster than our refineries can produce it. The Kuomintang organizes a scrap metal drive, where citizens can donate pots, pans, furnaces, and other household items in order to continue the war effort.
The snow cover across the North has started to melt, and our troops prepare for another round of Japanese attacks.
The 6th Route Army, which now surrounds Golmud to the North, now begins its assault of the city. Ma Bufang is still as stubborn as ever and refuses to surrender, even in the face of his imminent defeat.
In just 8 days, the stronghold falls to the troops of the 6th Route Army. These men have put down 2 warlords before, and they have now claimed their 3rd!
Ma Bufang, and his traitorous band of warlords has escaped to the state of Xinjiang to the west, and the majority of Ma's troops have declared their allegiance to the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-Shek.
Ma's cavalry, who make their home in the steppe and rough terrain of the west, can now fight for a truer cause.
Operation West Sword's second stage is now drafted, with plans to subdue the rogue state of Xinjiang tho the West. The main goals of this offensive is the provincial capital of Urumuqi, and the industrial city of Altay to the North. The newly formed 5th Route Army, formed from elements of the 6th Route Army, and the newly acquired Ma troops, will lead this offensive.
The bulk of the 6th Route Army will focus its efforts on the western salient of the CPC, with the primary objective to take the city of Lanzhou and the western arm of the Yellow River. An opportunity for the encirclement of some divisions to the southwest of Lanzhou is also considered.
As Spring rounds the corner, Japanese marines launch another landing behind our frontlines, at the beaches of Cangzhou. The reserves south of Beiping have been peeled off to fight in Inner Mongolia and Fengchen, and there are little troops available to contain the invasion.
The troops land unopposed as our troops are not fast enough to reach the beachhead.
They are surrounded and an attempt to recapture the beach begins.
Another landing is spotted off the coast of Kenli. Troops from the Shandong Peninsula will have to be pulled to deal with this second landing.
Another 70,000 Japanese regulars arrive in Cangzhou from troopships in the Bohai Sea.
While a diversionary attack on Yongqing fails, a third landing is spotted off of Penglai. The Shandong Coastal Guard is currently occupied with the second landing, and only garrison troops are there to repel this landing.
Meanwhile, a massive Japanese army tries to seize the forts along the river at Tongxian, and are making surprisingly good progress. The Northern Line is quickly collapsing, and there are little reserves to stop the bleeding.
Another landing commences at a weakpoint between our troops in Hebei and Shandong.
With no more reserves available to prevent the movement of Japanese forces, they are allowed to move freely about the foot of the Shandong peninsula. Our garrison at the end of the peninsula is now in grave danger of being cut off.
The holding action at Cangzhou is called off as more and more troops are needed to contain the successive landings on the Shandong peninsula.
NRA Coastal Guard divisions march day and night, in order to protect the men of the 2nd Army from the encirclement effort in Yexian.
The Shandong peninsula is cut-off from Japanese cavalry marauding around the countryside. A relief effort is quickly launched, with the new recruits of the 3rd. Light Division beginning the assault.
The relief effort begins in disaster as a vanguard company of the 3rd. Light Division is wiped out in a well-timed counterattack.
Another landing commences on the southern foot of Shandong, at Junan. Our troops, stretched thin already, move to counter this landing as well.
Our troops at Guangrao, are forced to retreat, which now allows the landing forces at Cangzhou and Yexian to link up.
An entire Japanese Field Army, including an armored corps, lands at Junan unopposed, and begins to surround the divisions attempting to relieve the encirclement of the Shandong peninsula.
The attempt to capture the steppe city of Hohhot ends in the bloodiest battle for both sides so far in the war. Over 100,000 troops of the Kwantung Army, are killed or captured in the fighting, and most of the city is reduced to rubble.
This war is unlike any other that the Republic or the people of China has faced. Unwielding brutality is the norm on both sides, and civilians unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire are killed mercilessly by the Japanese invaders. High casualty rates on both sides have eliminated honor and the rules of war that were abided by in years past.
The coast of Huimin is abandoned as our troops reel from assaults from both sides of the province.
With no troops to oppose them, the armored corps at Junan captures territory to the west of the port of Lianyungang.
The 2nd and 3rd Light Infantry divisions rush to Zibo, to avoid being encircled by the Japanese landings...
But they are too late and the jaws close around them. These divisions, as well as the defenders on the tip of the Shandong peninsula, are on their own now.
Chiang and the Kuomintang move all essential operations to the Western city of Chongqing, and away from the coast. Key industry equipment and factory workers are moved as well, to deprive the Japanese of captured supplies.
Sheng Shicai, the warlord of Xinjiang and member of the Kuomintang, seeing the disaster unfolding on the Shandong Peninsula, decides to throw in with the Soviet Union and the CPC. This betrayal enrages Chiang, who immediately declares hostilities against the warlord and his forces.
Troops that are badly needed on the Eastern Coast are now embroiled in another factional war with the disgusting and traitorous warlords. The warlords of the past have been allowed to live in peace after their defeat, but now they will be given no quarter! Sheng Shicai has now earned himself a sizeable bounty on his head. Whoever delivers his body will be given a mansion in Xi'an and enough ration cards to feed an extended family.
Japanese armor has moved into Jiangsu province and now has free reign across the countryside. The Shanghai Coastal Guard now positions itself from an attack from the North.
Reserves from the Northern Front are rushing down the coast towards Jiangsu and Henan, but they are already too late. Japanese armor is rushing across the Grand Canal and do not seem to want to stop anytime soon...
Thanks for reading this episode, and sorry for the abrupt end of this one! (It was getting a little too long)

Check back next Monday to see how we'll get out of this mess.

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 7: Summer Miracle

Images: 81, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-03-18

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