[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 2: Southern Expedition

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 1: Prelude

Images: 16, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-03-18

Hey all and welcome to the second episode of my Republic of China AAR in BlackICE 8.6. If you missed the previous episode you can catch it here: http://imgur.com/a/hdPRd

Pictured here is Generalissimo Kai-shek addressing his people and troops ahead of the southern expedition into the warlord states of Yunnan and Guangxi. The disloyal warlords who oppress their people and siphon resources must be put to justice, and for the communists... the time for their punishment will come. Internal unity before external danger!

(Quick Note: I just thought I would mention the language I will be using. It's a mix of pure english (eg, 2nd Army), Pinyin aka romanized chinese (eg, Jiangjieshi), and older styles of romanized chinese (eg, Chiang Kai-shek). My grasp of the language is pretty basic so I will stick to what I know, what is convenient, or whatever sounds cool)
Our infrastructure situation is... less than ideal. Only a few main train lines run between the cities of Beiping, Shanghai, and Wuhan. Much of our infrastructure borders the Japanese puppet states of Mengjiang and Manchukuo, and although that will aid with our defense it will also play into the hands of the Japanese if we are overrun in the north.

The poor infrastructure on the southeastern coast and mountains, however, plays into our favor, for any Japanese naval invasion will most likely fail to gain a significant foothold without quickly outrunning its supply train.
Kai-shek authorizes the formation of fascist militia brigades to pacify the nation behind the frontlines. With communist sympathizers and agitators running rampant throughout China's cities and countrysides, the generalissimo will take any help he can get.
The government secretary proposes many new initiatives to advance the country but Kai-shek is cautious of any reforms that will further divide the country. The secretary is told to attend to more important matters instead of meddling with the bureaucracy.

(I always get screwed by these events, so I just decided to stop it here)
Many of the conscripts levied months ago are sent back to training camp in order to transform them into more useful units. Garrison units are prioritized for the defense of the front lines and the ports across the nation's eastern coast.
Garrison units, like the one pictured above, are poorly equipped and are only expected to hold the line. They are, however, a great improvement to conscripts given no training whatsoever.
The National Revolutionary Army currently employs over 300,000 men, with a further 360,000 in reserve. About 100,000 additional men are undergoing retraining as garrison or regular infantry troops. General Von Falkenhausen, a German advisor to the generalissimo, personally heads the 6th Army, which is currently preparing for its unification campaign in the south.

The 4. Lujun, 6. Lujun, and 11. Juntuan Corps, totalling around 60,000 men of the 6th Army gather at the borders of Yunnan for a routine "military exercise", as the diplomatic corps has presented it. These men were formerly a part of the 19th Route Army, and were veterans of the Shanghai Incident and the suppression of the communist rebellion in Fujian.
Governor Long Yun of the Yunnan Clique is issued an ultimatum by Generalissimo Kai-shek: Cede the lands of Yunnan to the Kuomintang or face an invasion by the 6th Army. The governor tries to bargain with the generalissimo, but Yun's past actions against the Kuomintang leave Kai-shek no choice. The autonomy of the warlord nations must be revoked and all must fly under the flag of the blue sky and white sun!
Operation Eight Mountains starts out without a hitch, and the seizure of the city of Dali is completed without a fight. Yunnan's troops stand no chance against our well-equipped and well-trained light infantry. Some conscript and militia divisions have not even been properly mobilized. Lacking the large arsenals available to the NRA, these warlord armies are equipped with an odd array of weapons and even locally manufactured ammunition.

The 3. Lujun light corps moves past the borders and towards the capital of Yunnan, Kunming. The trek through the mountains is tedious and slow, but the troops of the 6th Army meet little resistance as they advance.

(sorry for the abrupt transition, a lot of my screenshots got deleted here for some reason)
Pictured are Chinese troops of the 6th Army with British Brodie helmets marching into the south. Resources are scarce at this time, and equipment such as rifles or helmets are commonly imported from other nations.

Although scarcely equipped to European standards, these troops represent the finest of the NRA. As light infantry they are fast moving and can operate with little supply. These light infantry divisions are also equipped with field guns, which are currently a rare sight in the NRA.
As the war rages in the west, the state of Guangxi and the warlords within rebuff the Generalissimo's proposal for greater integration into the Republic of China. Chiang is angered by the betrayal by his longtime allies, and vows to make them pay, one way or another.
The city of Kunming is taken after a brief month of fighting, and the army of Long Yun pledges their allegiance to the Kuomintang and the generalissimo. Although this army is mostly comprised of poorly trained militia and conscripts, one regular infantry division joins them as well. As an added bonus, nearly 150,000 thousand men of Yunnan are conscripted into our army reserves and home divisions.

Long Yun himself is placed under house arrest and will be tried by a military court. The punishment for rogue warlords must be severe if the rest are to fall in line! Chiang then sets his eyes on the warlord nation to the east, the Guangxi Clique.
As the diplomatic corps presses Chen Jitang of the Guangxi Clique to unite with the Kuomintang, a contingency plan is drawn up if military force is needed. Operation Red River involves the 6th Route Army (formed from the 6th Army, and now including militia from Yunnan and central China.

In the mountainous west of Guangxi, the 3. and 7. Lujun light corps are expected to surround and capture the cities of Baise and Guilin. Their secondary objective is to advance on the city of Nanning before the warlords are able to mount a sufficient defense.

In the east, the 4. Lujun light corps will march down China's coast and flank the capital city of Guangzhou from the east. The 11. Juntuan corps, as well as many supporting militia elements, will march straight south from their staging area, and are expected to face the most resistance.

If necessary, elements of the 3. Lujun corps are then to advance on the city of Haikou on the island of Hainan. The general staff, however, anticipates a surrender once all primary and secondary objectives are achieved.
Pictured above is Chen Jitang, the current chairman of the province of Guangxi. In the earlier campaigns against the Jiangxi Soviet, Jitang was given command of over 300,000 troops of the NRA by Generalissimo Chiang to expel the communists from his region. The communists, however, "slipped" through the grasp of Jitang's army and was allowed to escape into their stronghold of Yan'an, during the Long March.

Jitang is known to deeply distrust the leadership of Chiang, and has repeatedly rejected proposals for a greater integration of his lands into the rest of Republican China. Whether Jitang is secretly allied with the communists, or is only concerned with his own well-being, is of no matter to Chiang. He must be dealt with, and China must be unified if it is to stop the Japanese beast.
The capital city of Guangzhou is the focal point for Operation Red River, and as a city surrounded by mountainous terrain and flanked by two rivers, it sits in a very defensible position. As such, lower quality units, along with regular infantry, are ordered to move slowly towards the Shaoguan Airbase and tie up defense units, as light infantry moves to flank the city. The Shaoguan Airbase can then be used by our small bomber corps to aid with the eventual assault on Guangzhou.

It will, however, take at least a month before troops of the 6th Route Army are resupplied and positioned for the operation. It the meantime, peaceful and political efforts to unify the country will continue.
In the north, two of our newly trained infantry units are deployed and quickly moved south to the front along Guangxi.
And near Xi'an, on the front against the communists, conscript divisions are slowly being retrained into more competent garrison divisions. Once the troops on this front are of higher quality, then in the future, this front can be thinned out in favor of other fronts.
The general staff works tirelessly on advancing the doctrine of the NRA, and now advocates our troops to practice mass assault. No longer should our commanders order piecemeal advances, or abandon opportunity to caution. Our troops may not be the best trained or the best equipped, but they are brave and will overwhelm the enemy!
The monsoon season erupts in full force in southern china, and our generals raise concerns to Chiang as much of the terrain expected to be encountered is thick jungle. The generalissimo ignores these concerns. China is racing against the clock to build up its strength, and it does not have one hour to spare!
Finally, with advances to the bureaucracy of the NRA and the Kuomintang, the ranks of our regiments has the greenlight to increase. At the moment each of our divisions stands at less than half the strength of a regular Japanese division. This will soon change, as men will rush to the ranks and to defend their country.
A miracle! Our spies have stolen the blueprints to light armor designs developed by Czechoslovakia.
The LT vz. 34, a light tank featuring a small 37.2 mm main gun and 2 mounted ZB vz. 35 machine guns, is a simple but effective design. Chinese engineers are immediately tasked with retooling factories so that they are capable of producing this designs, or others like it.
With new research having been invested in the development of defensive structures, pillboxes are ordered to be placed along the banner line bordering the puppet state of Mengjiang. Some elements of the great wall near Beiping are also repurposed into defensive structures ahead of the anticipated Japanese invasion.
Pictured are NRA garrison troops training on the fortifications along the Banner line. The troops pictured here are operating an imported Czech ZB vz. 53 machine gun. Light machine guns are still a rare sight in many of the NRA's units, and often times only one is issued to an entire platoon.
In other news, one of the last independent countries in Africa, Abyssinia, surrenders to the Italian invaders. Generalissimo Chiang abhors this aggressive colonialism and China's past struggles with greedy European powers, but mutters to himself that the time will come when the colonizers might just be colonized themselves...
German advisors, busy at work training and equipping its regiments in China, have agreed to hand over the control of their units to Chiang! In return, Chiang agrees to a series of favorable trade deal towards Germany regarding ores and rare metals.
6 German-trained light infantry divisions are deployed near the border of Guangxi...
... and more yet are deployed near Nanchang and Shanghai. Over 50,000 well trained and well equipped troops enter the command of the NRA, including three mobile divisions of 6,000 men each!
German trained troops are equipped with the iconic M35 "Stahlhelm", and with the latest Zhongzheng rifles. These men are well versed in military maneuvers and tactics, and will prove invaluable in the wars to come.
The german-trained mobile divisions recently handed over to Chiang are equipped with Panzer I and II tanks. Pictured above are Panzer I tanks performing exercises near Nanjing. Although the Panzer I is not equipped with a main gun and is ill-fitted to deal with enemy armor or fortifications, with the right tactics, it can still be used to great effect.
These german-trained divisions still lack logistical support, however, and a line of light trucks is ordered onto the production lines.
The time for negotiation has passed, and the time for action is now! Chen Jitang of the Guangxi Clique has evicted the diplomatic corps of the Kuomintang from his palace in Guangzhou, and an enraged Chiang promptly declares war.
The 4. Lujun light corps strikes immediately south, and as they cross the border no enemy troops are in sight. Have the warlords troops put down their arms already, without a fight?

The new german-trained divisions can not yet take part in this operation, as they still require significant refitting and reorganization. The generalissimo orders an expedited process for them, as they may be needed soon in the south.
Bastards! Communist activists have taken up arms against the Kuomintang, and this is at the hands of the CCP in Yan'an no doubt. A light infantry and fascist militia division is sent to quell this rebellion.
The previous presence of the Hitler youth and other fascist delegations has sparked a fervor in many Chinese, who have flocked to form these fascist militias. Although they are poorly suited for frontline combat, they will be valuable for pacifying the interior.
The mere sight of Chinese troops in stahlhelms sends the communists running for the hills. The fascist militia brigade will soon arrive and ensure that the communist sympathizers will not be a problem in the future.
China is approached by a group of western mercenaries who see an opportunity in fighting for Chiang and the Kuomintang. All are welcome, especially in the face of warlords, imperialists and communists!
As the monsoon season comes into full swing, our light infantry corps reach the outskirts of Guangzhou, and the troops of the 11. Juntuan corps meet resistance at the Shaoguan Airbase. Chiang orders an advance past the enemy positions, and the warlord troops are baffled when they witness NRA troops simply running past their defensive positions. As they are tied down, we will rush towards the objectives!
Even in their mountainous fortresses, the warlord's troops don't even stand a chance against the light infantry of the 7. Lujun corps. As militia bogs down the enemy, the lights will surround and destroy.
German-trained light infantry are refitted behind the frontlines with logistical and support equipment, and are then sent to support the 11. Juntuan on their advance towards Guangzhou.
The lack of motorization in the NRA may affect the speed of our troops, but it does not affect their spirit! The men of the 6th Route Army will not stop until China is unified in the face of its many foes.
As the guns of the 3. Lujun corps are dialed in and fire away at the Baise garrison, more troops rush south past the defenders.
Some of the supporting militia elements of this operation lay badly beaten as their attack approach is strewn with rocky terrain, flooded valleys and non-existent roads. The light infantry, however, pushes on. Although these militia units get chewed up attacking a well defended garrison at Guilin, they are only there to pin down the enemy, while the emphasis lies in the light infantry and their ability to surround these cities.
Troops of the 11. Juntuan and german-trained 5. Lujun slog their way to Guangzhou. After a few victories in the north an avenue to the capital opens up for the 51. Duli Lu division.
Our industry is catching up slowly, but it is catching up nonetheless.
Jitang's efforts to stop our troops at mountain passes are bypassed, as our light infantry climbs the mountains around the enemy. No cohesive battle line exists in this
One area of resistance is still around the Shaoguan Airbase, which has still not yet been taken, even though other elements of the NRA are already at the outskirts of Guangzhou. The defending units, however, are operating at a mere 1/5th of their ideal strength, and will be pushed back soon.
Troops of the 22. division find the city of Nanning to be completely unoccupied! Jitang has sent all of his forces to the front, where they are currently pinned down in defensive battles against our militia. It seems the city garrison, not looking for a long and costly battle, has thrown down their weapons and opened the gates to our forces.
Meanwhile, in the north, it seems that the Muslim allies of Chiang, the Ma Clique, have completely abandoned their defensive lines and are in a retreat across their lands. Their leader, Ma Bufang, begs Chiang for men and material support, but somehow his telegrams never reach the headquarters in Nanjing...

Chiang sees this defeat as an opportunity. With the communist forces stretched out across the Gobi desert and into the relatively useless lands of western China, perhaps a concentrated force could smash through the Wei river line and take Yan'an by surprise. Perhaps we can also use the "liberation" of the Ma lands to finally end their autonomy as well... For now, contingency plans of a communist advance into RoC lands are drawn up.
The Baise garrison, out of supplies and quickly running out of men, retreat from their positions and into the mountains. A ceasefire is called between the garrison and the 3. Lujun corps, and the troops are allowed to keep their flags and arms for the time being.
A plan to overthrow the generalissimo was turned against Jitang, and now his reign over Guangdong province is as tenuous as ever. Clerks and bureaucrats of Guangzhou quickly declare their allegiance to the Kuomintang, and several divisions of militia in the east soon follow. In the west and south, however, troops still fight on behalf of their autonomy from the KMT.
Frontlines dissolve as the warlord's troops defect left and right. Pockets of resistance have formed, but NRA divisions have fully surrounded all of them. It is now a matter of cleaning up. Although de jure the city of Guangzhou is now in the full control of the KMT, the city is still largely controlled by the warlords forces, and an assault by all nearby divisions is ordered.
Elements of the 4., 5., Lujun and 11. Juntuan engage in combat in the streets and suburbs in Guangzhou. Large pockets of resistance are still present along the Xi Jiang river south of the city, but flanking forces are moving quickly to cut off supply to the city.
Improvements on artillery are ordered, and new field guns are sent off the lines of the Chengdu Arsenal. Some of these are pressed into service immediately with our new german-trained divisions, while others are entrenched into the defenses being built in the north.
The diplomatic corps organizes a ceasefire and the local commanders of Chen Jitang agree to stop fighting and cede control of their forces to the NRA. Jitang himself is nowhere to be found, but rumor has it the underground communist network has taken him in and is transporting him to their stronghold in Yan'an...

Chiang boils with anger. To everyone that has jeopardized the future of China, whether it be for their silly communist cause, or just for their own enrichment, they will pay.
The surrender of Jitang's forces have swelled up our recruitment offices, and our reserves lie at over 2,000,000 men. A number of these recruits are told to go back to school and university, to bolster the Republics technology.
Europe seems normal, apart from the bitter fighting erupting between Nationalist and Republican Spain. Chiang and his diplomats have been currying favors from all sides in an attempt to gain a greater advantage over the Japanese, but still have not committed to any factions yet.
Revised plans of the impending Japanese invasion are drawn up, with defensive lines, anticipated invasions, and reserve areas where we can gather our strength before and during the battles. If time permits, more defenses will be built around the Shanghai area, and across the Shandong peninsula. The 1st and 2nd army will be responsible for the defense of the north, while the 9th Army will be responsible for the defense of the eastern coast.
The 9th Army's strength will be concentrated at the industrial zones of Shanghai and Guangzhou, and smaller garrisons will guard the port cities between them. We will also build up a mobile reserve in inner China, that will be expected to rush to the site of a potential invasion.
Thanks for reading. Next time we will build up our industry, claim more land to the west and maybe even take out those pesky communists!

Next chapter:

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

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