[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 4: The Onslaught

Author: bigwoods
Published: 2017-03-18, edited: 2017-03-18

Part of the campaign:

[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR

Previous part:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 3: Buildup, Betrayal, and the Drums of War.

Images: 69, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-03-18

Hey friends welcome to episode 4 of my Republic of China AAR in the BlackICE 8.6 mod for HoI3. If you missed the previous episodes you can catch them here:

Episode 1 - Prelude: https://redd.it/5p14j8 (Imgur: http://imgur.com/a/hdPRd)
Episode 2 - Southern Expedition: https://redd.it/5pe5b9 (Imgur: http://imgur.com/a/NfIPE)
Episode 3 - Buildup, Betrayal, and the Drums of War: https://redd.it/5px153 (Imgur: http://imgur.com/a/6Gg7m)

Pictured above is the local NRA garrison of Tianjin defending the city against increasingly ferocious Japanese assaults.
As a quick aside, the "Desperate Defense" modifier fires as soon as the RoC is at war with Japan. It's really, really crippling (-30% leadership and -50%!!!!!! land organization). I suspect this is for balance when Japan or China is AI controlled, so that Japan can make quick advances into China as what happened historically. There's a similar modifier for the Soviet Union that fires at the start of Barbarossa so it's not that surprising I guess - it just sucks.

For those who are unfamiliar what these modifiers do, this effectively cuts our research and officer training by 30%, and makes our divisions last half as long in battles.
As Japanese troops were already stationed around the city of Tianjin before the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, fighting erupts immediately as local commanders struggle to pinpoint the exact location of enemy forces.
Japanese forces also begin to enter Beiping. Only 20,000 garrison troops are present, but more reinforcements are promised to be sent in soon.
The fledgling Chinese Navy is sent South to the port of Haikou, in order to evade the Japanese fleet and air force. Keeping the fleet in the North would expose it to constant port strikes and torpedo bomber attacks.
Japanese forces are stunned by the ferocity and tenaciousness of the NRA garrison. Indoctrinated by the Empire about the racial inferiority of the Chinese, and the innate martial prowess of the Japanese. Kwantung soldiers are taken aback when they take significant casualties moving as they move through the streets of Beiping.
Roughly 250,000 men of the 1st army, and 200,000 men of the 2nd army stand in defense of the greater Hebei and Shandong provinces. An additional 80,000 men are currently in training and being equipped for the upcoming battles.
Japanese ground attack aircraft strafe defensive positions in the city, and the NRA lacks the proper equipment to fight back. Anti-aircraft guns are rare and are still being issued to garrison units, while the small air force that the NRA does possess is kept in reserve.
Pictured is the Japanese Mitsubishi G3M Medium Bomber. Although it is a relatively slow moving target, Japanese interceptors prevent our air force from engaging them.
Elite Kwantung Army units suffer heavy casualties as they attempt to breach the outer defenses of Beiping. The troops that were present before the Marco Polo Incident have already been pushed back, and a stable front-line has been established.
Resource production in the inner regions of China are undergoing expansion, in order to promote the resource independence of the country. Much of our resources are brought in via. convoys to the eastern coast, and as many of our ships are being targeted by the Japanese, we cannot rely on foreign imports forever.
As the Japanese assault on Beiping-Tianjin continues, elements of the Japanese army attack our defensive line at Yongqing.
The initial assault on Beiping has been completely shattered, and the Japanese army is pushed to the outskirts of the city. Japanese morale and their belief of exceptionalism has been shattered.
Major General Guan Linzheng has taken over the defense of the city of Beiping, and the local garrison is sent behind the front lines to regroup and resupply.
A major victory! More than 1 in 5 of the assaulting Japanese troops have been killed or captured in the initial fighting. For the heroic defense of the city, General Guan is promised a promotion in the future by Chiang.
Captured Japanese equipment from the first battle of Beiping is quickly pressed into service by the NRA
Meanwhile, in Tianjin, the first wave of Japanese assaults have been badly mauled, but they now hold the northern bank of the Hai River. More troops, including an armored division, have arrived to turn the tide.
The CPC launches an offensive to retake Linxia and again threaten the city of Tianshui. These dogs have shown their true face, and they are truly worse than the Japanese! The traitors will soon taste their own blood.
The communist advance fails spectacularly, and NRA forces chase the attackers back through the mountains. The CPC can only suffer so many embarrassing losses before their people turn against them as well!
The Japanese attack on Beiping resumes in full force, and the dug-in NRA forces prepare for the worst.
Anti-aircraft flak regiments are moved into the city to protect the troops from continued bombing runs from Imperial Japanese aircraft.
Pictured is an Italian-made Breda Model 35 20mm light anti-aircraft gun. This gun is also effective against ground targets, and is able to penetrate the armor of armored cars and light tanks.
The defense of Tianjin gets harder by the day. Much of the city around the contentious Hai River lies in complete ruins, as both banks are endlessly shelled by artillery.
Additional troops from the 2nd Army, guarding the Shaodong peninsula, are moved up to the northern front. Almost 100,000 troops have been moved so far.
The flanking attack on Yongqing has make significant gains and Japanese troops threaten the rear flank of the defenders in Beiping. Reinforcing troops from the 2nd Army are instructed to aid in the defense immediately.
Generalissimo Chiang greenlights a general equipment upgrade for all NRA troops. Although there is only enough stock to equip just a few divisions, the general staff expects new arms to be sent to the front within two months.
Seeing a mutual enemy in the expansionist Japanese, Chiang signs a non-aggression pact with Stalin and the Soviet Union. Hidden in the pact is a secret agreement for the arming and training of NRA divisions. The first contingent of Soviet advisors arrives in Taiyuan through Mongolia.
Finally in Tianjin our troops buckle and retreat back behind the pillboxes and bunkers of the first defensive line. Although the city has been taken by the Japanese, the myth of the superiority of the Japanese soldier has been shattered. Nearly 20,000 Kwantung soldiers have died trying to take the city. The imperialists do not truly know what they have started!
The Japanese begin their attacks all across the Banner line. But the brave men of the National Revolutionary Army are there to meet them!
70,000 Newly trained regulars formed from former warlord militia is sent to the front from their training grounds in Guangxi.
The communist front will be thinned as well. Their piecemeal and fruitless attacks do not seriously threaten this front.
German equipment, which is equal if not better than that fielded by the Japanese, will prove to be instrumental in repelling the Japanese motorized and armored divisions.
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Japanese forces, in a lightning-quick assault, have pushed across the river on the Banner Line! If this position is lost, then our forces will have to retreat to the secondary line and abandon the Hebei province. Reserve divisions are quickly sent in to take the territory to the south of the river back.
NRA troops rush to take back the Yongqing bank from the Kwantung invaders. The troops have been briefed and understand their consequences. If they fail here, then all of Hebei will fall to the imperialists!
The first attempt to retake the river bank ends in failure, but more troops are sent in nonetheless. The defense of Beiping is also faltering, as the troops there are dangerously close to becoming encircled.
Just as Chinese troops fight for Yongqing, Japanese destroyers and troop ships are spotted of the coast of Kenli. The Japanese, instead of targeting a port on the Shandong peninsula, intend to circumvent our first defensive line and attack us from behind!
Troops from Shandong are rushed to the landing area
The first Japanese units land in Kenli unopposed. Japanese garrison units quickly secure the beaches and dig in in anticipation of a counterattack.
The soldiers of the headquarters unit of the 17. Lujun Corps launch a heroic attack in order to keep the Japanese pinned down, while the rest of our troops move into position. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
The situation gets more dire as a freak typhoon strikes the southern coast of China. The people there beg for assistance from the Kuomintang, but all resources have already been sent to repel the Japanese marauders.
Beiping, which is still being heavily fought over, laying largely in ruins. The airport, which the Japanese have already captured and have been using for operations against our troops, is being shelled relentlessly by NRA artillery. The Forbidden Palace, the center of operations for the defense of the city, is barely recognizable from the splendor it held before the war.
Fighting goes from house to house, and NRA troops make creative use of structures in order to ambush Japanese columns and patrols.
As the roads leading into Beiping are routinely sprayed down by Japanese bombers and are peppered by enemy artillery, much of the supplies needed by the defense are moved by hand into the city.
Additional Japanese troops make landfall in Kenli. The nearest Chinese regulars are still over 100 km away, however. They are told to march double time, and the officer corps of the 17. Lujun continues to pin down the invaders, with heavy losses.
The officer corps faces what the general staff estimates is 70,000 invaders...
And they shatter as the Japanese breakout from the beachhead. The survivors are captured and brought into captivity.
Again the brave soldiers of the 2nd Army stall the invaders while the beachhead is surrounded.
Finally, on 7 September, 1937, after nearly 2 months of bitter street-to-street, and hand-to-hand fighting, NRA forces pull out of Beiping and across the Hai River to their defensive positions. Behind them are tens of thousands of civilians, who have already witnessed the brutality of the Japanese first-hand, and do not wish to become the next victims.
It pains the NRA troops to leave Beiping, but their position in the city has simply become unrealistic to hold. Chiang vows that one day the Republic will once again reclaim the ancestral seat of the Yellow Emperor.
Army hospitals and Red Cross clinics are hard-pressed to keep up with the amount of wounded soldiers returning from the front. This war features brutality on a level that no one has experienced yet. European observers worry about the future of their continent.
The CPC organizes a piecemeal uprising. Even though the Generalissimo has promised higher wages, these dogs will stop at nothing until the red flag flies over all of China. Luckily a garrisoned military unit is present and will put down this rebellion.
In light of the advancing Japanese troops, Chiang orders factories and prominent businessmen to move their operations inwards and away from the coast. To refuse this order would mean being labeled as a collaborator, and the capitalists begrudgingly accept the offer.
In an attempt to expand the beachhead at Kenli, the IJA and IJN launch another amphibious assault on neighboring Huimin. Luckily reinforcements will soon arrive on the beach and oppose the landings.
With no time to spare, the men of the 20. Jun set up defensive lines on the beach and start to push the invaders back into the sea.
The Type 24 Heavy Machinegun, a locally-made copy of the German MG-08, tears through the initial wave of invaders like a knife through butter.
Meanwhile, on the northern front, the Japanese attackers have nearly annihilated themselves by throwing their men at our well-prepared defenses. The "invincibility" of the "elite" Kwantung Army is truly laughable! Our men will make up for their lack of training and lack of equipment with steel and blood!
The troops of the 2nd Army's Coastal Defense Corps have nearly exhausted themselves holding back the Japanese invaders. Our troops are almost in position to hold the line...
And the attack is finally called off. For a brief moment, both sides rest and regroup, and the invaders attempt to strike out once again.
More troops are moved to contain the invasion
The Haikou Naval Base is being constantly bombarded by Japanese carrier-borne aircraft and torpedo bombers. Luckily the base is heavily protected by anti-aircraft guns, and every Japanese sortie is damaged heavily.
The general staff approves the local production of heavy artillery units for our garrison troops. These guns will replace those antiquated and small-caliber guns that are currently in use in the bunkers of the northern Banner Line.
The landing at Huimin has stopped and the Japanese relief force has crawled back into the sea. The invasion force at Kenli attempts a breakout across the river, but this is met with little success.
A cursory counter-attack on Kenli leaves many of the Coastal Defense Corps dead. They are allowed to rest for a week or two in order to regroup.
The NRA again holds back the marauding Japanese at the Banner line with a resounding victory! Key to their success was the pillboxes and bunkers built by the Kuomintang before the invasion. The approach to the line and the Hai River is pockmarked with shell craters and dead Japanese.
A few soldiers, specially selected for their bravery in the defense, are awarded medals of the highest prestige. To defend the motherland is the greatest honor one can receive!
The defenders are given little time to celebrate, however. Another Japanese assault, largely made using collaborationist troops from Manchukuo and Mengjiang as screens, commences.
At Tongxian, the forested sector of the Banner Line, nearly 20,000 men of the Kwantung Army meet their fate at the Hai River. Our defense is unbreakable!
Elite light infantry is sent to the front to turn the tide of the battle of Yongqing. This pivotal battle will determine whether or not the northern line will hold.
Reinforcements from the South arrive at Kenli, and they are fanned out to encircle the enemy. The defenders at Huimin are starting to buckle, and Chiang orders a counterattack to take place as soon as possible.
Snow begins to fall, and freeze the muddy battlefields of the north. The Japanese begin to slow their assaults.
The IJA experiences yet another crippling defeat.
Another 40,000 men are sent into Yongqing, now dubbed by the troops as the "Yongqing Meat Grinder". The relatively sparse amount of defenses in this area, as well as the open plains allow for the most brutal fighting of the front. Trench lines routinely change hands, and the men are hard-pressed to find any sort of cover from Japanese aircraft or artillery.
An NRA officer here, carrying a traditional, broad-edged Dao sword, prepares for a counterattack on the Japanese trench line at Yongqing.
Finally, the assault on the Kenli beachhead commences. Over 80,000 men rush to push the Japanese back into the sea!
The IJA invaders, encircled and enveloped, struggle to set up adequate defensive lines.
Central Command now estimates over 1.2 million men under arms, with a further 100,000 in training. Our men will soon push back the Japanese wave.
The general staff continues its relentless drive for modernization. Old artillery is slated to be installed in bunkers, and new guns flow out of the arsenals in the interior.
The bitter trench warfare at Yongqing has lead our officer corps to study the bloody battlefields of the Western and Eastern fronts of WWI. The hard lessons learned there will certainly be applicable to this defense.
Finally, the Kwantung assault on Yongqing falters and the invaders pull back across the river. Nearly 50,000 men from both sides lay dead on the battlefield. Our defenders are quickly told to dig in and prepare for the next wave.
Chinese generals, who have learned to do more with less men and equipment, have learned more in the field than these Japanese commanders have ever learned in their classrooms and academies!
Yet another disaster for the Japanese. For a brief moment all is quiet on the northern front, but our troops know that this is just the calm before the storm.
A final banzai attack by the exhausted invaders ends in the death of hundreds. Their ferocity will not make up for their poor tactical position.
Improvements to industry are made yet again, with the help of Soviet and German advisors. Although the Germans are currently being persuaded by the Japanese to end their involvement in China, many of the advisors now feel a personal connection to the men and country they are training, and decide to stay.
The commanders of the 2nd Army and Generalissimo Chiang call off the attack on Kenli, and draw up new plans in order to repel the invaders. The Japanese have paid dearly for their little amphibious expedition, however. 1 out of every 4 men that have landed in our soil have now been buried in it. The fate of the rest will come soon...
Thanks for reading! More episodes soon to come.

Next chapter:

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

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