To the Empire Eternal Part Nine - 1943 Part One The Way of the Warrior January - May

Author: Electricfox
Published: 2018-11-17, edited: 1970-01-01

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To the Empire Eternal Part 8 - 1942 Part Two May - December

Images: 19, author: Electricfox, published: 2018-11-17

Soviet T-34 tanks drive through Red Square in Moscow during the 1943 Victory parade
With the war in Europe now seemingly over, and Soviet dominance over Germany secured, the worlds focus switched to two places, North Africa and the Far East. In North Africa the Axis forces of Hejaz and the recently reformed Peoples Republic of Belgium continued the fight against the world but in a limited and very constricted fashion. However in the Far East the war was much harder to predict, although the Allied forces held the upper hand, it was uncertain how much it would take Japan to surrender with many generals estimating that the Allied Forces would have to fight to the steps of the Emperors palace before the island nation capitaluated.
However, first, the worlds cartographers would once again be busy with their ink as new nations formed from conquered foes.
The shock of the war was enough to drive some governments into an almost confused state of affairs, with Belgium switching to a Stalinist revolutionary government but still continuing to fight alongside Fascist Hejaz against the Stalinist Soviet Union.
The Royal Navy Second Fleet under Grand Admiral A.B. Cunningham patrolling off the Japanese home islands.
For the Royal Navy though, 1943 brought very little change with it, while the Grand Fleet sorteed back to the UK to pick up ground reinforcements the Second Fleet and the High Seas Fleet were ordered to patrol the waters around Japan and sink anything they found there.

Meanwhile in Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies British ground forces continued to retake previously captured ground from the Japanese.
HMS Superb, the first and only ship of the new Superb class Battleships attempts to leave Portsmouth via the Still and West pub...
In Feburary 1943, the Grand Fleet returned to Portsmouth to a heroes welcome, Grand Admiral Jellicoe was knighted and awarded many offers before his retirement from service the next day. Grand Admiral Tovey took over as commander of the fleet and gained a new vessel, HMS Superb, fresh from the Glasgow dockyards, and if her exit from Portsmouth was anything to go by, keen for a quick pint in the local pub.
Once she was pulled back off the shoals by the tug boats, she safely joined Tovey and the fleet, who loaded up with reinforcements and set sail back to Japanese waters.
Back in Japan, the Japanese air force proved to be a much deadlier opponent than what little remained of the Japanese navy. Of all of the losses of the Pacific campaign, well over 70% were to land based bombers. It was clear that after a faltering start in the last war, the era of the aircraft was very much here.
Back in Europe, the Soviet Union began to look to the future of what was once Germany, turning the former European nation into a controlled zone and bringing it into the war against Hejaz, Belgium and....Italy?

Yes, inexplicably, Italy had thrown its lot in with Hejaz and Belgium, declaring war on France, America and the Soviet Union but not on Britain...not yet...although recon aircraft could not help but notice the ominous gathering of forces on the other side of the border in North Africa.

But there was little they could do about it, what scant resources Britain had were needed against Japan and the grand battle that was planned to retake Formosa.
In the beginning of April, the attack began with British aircraft diving on Japanese shore based defences as the battleships of the Grand fleet lay offshore their cannons thundering in the morning light.
Thundering, that is, until the attacking aircraft radioed a hasty message...
The defences were empty!
It didn't take long to move ashore and start retaking the island, while news from Birmingham spoke of continued strange lights in the night sky rising into the dim star light eve.
These reports were dismissed as a combination of atmospheric conditions and local RAF activity by Ministry sources.
In early May, Formosa was fully captured by British forces, in a bloodless (aside from blood lost to mosquitoes) march across the island. Plans were swiftly drawn up by the Ministry to take advantage of the sudden weakness in the Japanese ground forces and strike another target to encircle the Japanese home islands and place them within easy range of air force bombardment.
Meanwhile in France, the Italian forces pushed hard into the south, capitalising on the surprise of their sudden offensive. The French government, now formed around the hard line Charles De Gaulle, rushed forces swiftly from the Soviet German border into the south to push the Italians back.
In May 1943, British military high command decided to attack Japanese forces in Korea, many argue that this was because of intelligence that indicated that the Soviet Union was moving many of its forces eastward and would soon declare war on Japan. Either way, a quiet stretch of land was found on the coast not far from the town of Pyongyang, and British forces made an unopposed landing.

Again there was much surprise at how easily British forces were able to get a foothold on Korea, with only a small garrison force defending the beach further south at Inchon and little else on the peninsula. The British force gathered itself and then prepared to march south and take the Korean peninsula province by province.

They didn't get very far...
Italian forces prepare to cross the border and attack British fortifications in North Africa.
Two days after General Rawlinson led his men ashore in Korea, the British forces on the border with Italy in North Africa suddenly came under heavy attack. It was an expected but nevertheless still unexpected shock for the British who were by now stretched pretty thin across the globe. There was little option for the British forces than to cede ground for time and hope that the reports coming out of Tokyo were accurate.
They were.
On the 28th May 1943, the Empire of Japan officially surrendered to the United States of America, seeking peace with the other nations of the Allies soon after that. The Emperor of Japan stepped down from his role, but it was decided by the Americans not to prosecute the Emperor for war crimes for although he was no longer technically in control of Japan, he was still held in great reverence by many of the Japanese people and the last thing America needed was an insurgency in Japan.

The Soviet Union was secretly seething at the sudden surrender of the Japanese, it had banked on Japan fighting into the end, and when it had declared war the day before the surrender, it looked forward to taking vast parts of China, Korea and the Japanese mainland for the communist cause.
However, there was still another war to be fought in the Far East, as the Chinese found themselves with no external enemy to unite against and turned against each other.

For the Allies however, and for the British in particular, it was now Italys turn...

Next chapter:

Game: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

To the Empire Eternal Part Ten - 1943 Part Two Shifting Sands May - December

Images: 20, author: Electricfox, published: 2018-11-17, edited: 1970-01-01

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