[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 8: Cleaning House

Author: bigwoods
Published: 2017-03-18, edited: 1970-01-01

Part of the campaign:

[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

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

Images: 81, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-03-18, edited: 1970-01-01

Hey all, welcome to Episode 8 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

Episode 6 - And One Foot Back:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5v4r4r
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/pwyGE

Episode 7 - Summer Miracle:
Reddit | https://redd.it/5wgn2a
Imgur | http://imgur.com/a/4Aejw
In the previous episode, the Japanese Army and Navy conducted a series of large and coordinated landings, where nearly 500,000 troops occupied large chunks of Shandong and Jiangsu province. Their failure to capture vital supply hubs and ports, however, resulted in the destruction of almost 150,000 troops (KIA, MIA, or captured), and the encirclement of the rest.

Many of our troops had been encircled themselves for periods of up to 3 months. The port city of Qingdao was starved for 5 months in a siege before a relief force was able to break through the Japanese lines. Now the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) will take their revenge.
An armored division in the Binhai pocket (in the north, in this picture) attempts a last ditch breakout attempt in order to link up with the Nanjing pocket, but the Japanese tanks are quickly running out of fuel, motor oil, and spare parts. Some Japanese tank crewmen have resorted to abandoning their vehicles and fighting on foot.

Japanese troops in the Nanjing pocket are crumbling fast, and their lines break as soon as our infantry applies the slightest amount of pressure and bombardment.
As our troops liberate the suburbs and surrounding countryside of Nanjing, they find the horror and destruction resulting from the brutal Japanese occupation. Starving IJA troops raided farms and burned down entire villages in search of food, and countless civilians were found gunned down for being "partisans".

As more and more Japanese POWs are captured and march through the interior, the civilian populace point out particularly sadistic members of the occupying IJA. The NRA officers and Kuomintang political officers are happy to execute them immediately. If they show no respect for our people, then they will get none themselves.
As the IJA retreats into smaller and smaller pockets of resistance, the NRA is able to capture large stockpiles of supplies and equipment left behind by the invaders. Captured Japanese equipment, and especially heavy equipment such as infantry guns, large bore mortars, and other field guns are pressed into service immediately.
The influx of new guns into the NRA relieves some of the pressure on the extremely strained arms industry of China. The Taiyuan Arsenal, under constant bombing threat from Japanese bases in Manchuria, moves some of its production underground so it can continue to produce at full efficiency.

With over 5,000 pieces of machinery and over 20,000 skilled laborers and workmen/women, the arsenal is able to output, per month, 50 million 7.92 mm Mauser cartridges, 10,000 Type 24 Zhongzheng Rifles, 5,000 ZB vz. 26 light machine guns, 500 field guns, and nearly 50,000 hand grenades.
As Generalissimo Chiang eases his military micromanagement, he spends more time touring the home front. The farmers, workers, and civilians in the interior have in some respects faced more challenges and hardship than our soldiers. The relentless drive for modernization has left some of the peasants behind, and Chiang calls for an easing of rationing, as well as programs to train craftsmen and build more village workshops.
The first of the three main Japanese pockets surrenders to the 4. Lujun Corps. An entire invasion army-sized force of 140,000 men lay down their arms and walk into captivity. Some Japanese soldiers do not go without a fight, however. Our troops advancing on the pocket have grown accustomed to starving Japanese troops charging their positions with little more than katanas, knives, and bayonets in hand. Needless to say, these attempts to break out only end badly for them.
And days later in the second pocket, on the Shandong Peninsula in Longkou, 70,000 men lay down their arms as well. These same men of the IJA who had besieged the port of Qingdao for nearly half a year have now been starved and besieged themselves.

4 Generals and 20 lieutenant generals have been detained by the KMT and the National Security Bureau (NBIS) for crimes against the Chinese people, and are hastily transported to the capital of Chongqing where they will face a military tribunal.
In Changzhou, 50 km to the East of the former capital Nanjing, the final bastion of Japanese resistance crumbles. The 90,000 men of the Japanese 8th Army are marched through the streets of Nanjing by our forces in a triumph-like parade.
Our troops are unstoppable! The Japanese dogs have thrown their best at us, and now all of them are dead or in chains!
The Ministry of the Interior works hard to improve our infrastructure, as our current railway system can barely supply our growing army in the North anymore. In the meantime, horse and ox drawn carts are used, as they are well-suited for the mountainous terrain in the communist front, as well as the steppes of the northern front.
American and Soviet military advisors, replacing their German counterparts who have steadily left China, provide vital training and tactics lessons to our troops. In addition to the mission-style tactics advocated by the general staff (Auftragstaktik), our NCOs and commissioned officers are becoming true masters of warfare.
Our Interior minister and economic advisors prepare for larger infrastructure projects. Great effort will be needed if China's industry and military are to be catapulted into the modern era.
The first big project advocated by the Interior Ministry and Kuomintang ministers is the modernization of the countryside. More and more Chinese become factory craftsmen, soldiers, and clerks, and they will need to be fed. The ancient methods of the Chinese peasantry will need to be abandoned and modernized.
... and an emboldened and thankful peasantry joins us on the battlefield. Our dwindling reserves are padded with men for the time being. Some parts of the desolate countryside, marred from wars between warlords, communist insurgents, and the Japanese, are requisitioned by the Kuomintang, and large industrial-style farms are planned.
The general staff loosens the age and physical restrictions for the NRA. Men as young as 17 are allowed to enlist for non-combat roles, and men as old as 35 or 40 are allowed to join the troops on the frontline. Recruitment officers are aware that many boys lie about their age in order to enlist early, but they turn a blind eye to the matter.
Women are increasingly being relied upon for both clerical duties and working the farms and machines back home. Some women who apply for ranks in the NRA are even allowed to take marksmanship and physical tests, and top performers are allowed to join the soldiers on the Northern Front and Coastal Garrisons. There are traditional holdouts in our ranks who balk at the idea of a woman fighting in the trenches, but they are ignored. The Republic needs all the help it can get.
- Author's Note:

I don't know if you have noticed, but I've been having a lot of trouble with manpower this run, and that's because I was playing under the assumption that China would get around 20k MP after defeating some of the warlord tribes. Apparently this was a bug, and in this patch it has been fixed. (More info/patch notes can be found on the official Paradox forums) I've only had 2k MP at most, and I've been working with a lot less since then.

I thought about cheating for MP at first, because historically, China fielded much more men and had a population of 400 million - manpower shouldn't really be a problem for China, right?. I ended up not doing so because 1) this presents a nice challenge where I have to avoid overly attritious battles and manage my MP pool well and 2) because the game gives other substantial buffs to China that didn't exist historically.

For example, Chiang and the Kuomintang had very little control over many parts of China and even their own army. If HoI3 had a system of managing autonomy (like the EU4), much of the interior would still be mainly controlled by warlords, and under KMT rule in name only. Some armies were more loyal to their commanders/warlords than to Chiang, and as such avoided large battles with the Japanese. Since the game doesn't address these issues with centralization and control over the country, I see the MP pool as representing more of an MP pool that is loyal to or controlled by Chiang, and this makes it much more realistic.

There's another mod for HoI3 (forget the name, sorry), which makes all the warlord states start out as vassals of the RoC, and this is I think much more realistic of the decentralized nature of China at the time. Also, there is no way to really simulate the scale of the communist insurgency all across China, and the troops needed to contain them. So, more reasons that China's "centralization" should be debuffed.

/end rant. Let me know what you think in the reddit thread. Even with all that was said above I still think China deserves more MP (my suggestion would be to start out with 4-5k, instead of 0.8k), but I'm not going to cheat for it for now.
Organizational materials and training doctrines for mountain infantry divisions are finalized by the general staff, and two divisions are ordered for use against the communists in the Qinghai mountains. They are modeled after the elite Gebirgsjäger of the German Wehrmacht, and the best of the best troops from all across the NRA are hand-picked for these two new divisions.
The general staff approves schematics for new pack artillery pieces, and 50 batteries are ordered for deployment with the new mountain troops. Pack Artillery, which can be broken down quickly into parts transportable by men or mule, is crucial in order to mount offensives in the difficult mountain terrain of Central China.
Meanwhile, Germany has had massive success with Fall Gelb (AKA the Invasion of France). A pocket has been created in the northern sector of the Maginot Line, and the French capital of Paris is nearly surrounded by the Wehrmacht. Germany has also launched Operation Weserubüng, the invasion of Denmark and Norway. Copenhagen has already been taken by German marines, and key ports in Norway have been taken by German troops after naval clashes in the North Sea.
Emboldened by German successes in France and Scandinavia, Italy launches its own offensives against the French and British in Africa, as well as Greece and Yugoslavia in the Balkans.
The US gears up for war, but much of the populace still bears the scars from the previous "war to end all wars." President Roosevelt lobbies for a blank check from Congress.
3 Months after German troops step foot in French soil, the French capitulate and the government flees in exile to London and to colonial bases in Africa. Philippe Petain is appointed as the chief of the Vichy France puppet state.

An invasion which Hitler himself predicted would cost 1 million German lives was over in a few months and just over an estimated 50,000 casualties. What took the previous generation 4 years and millions of soldiers to do was done in months with tanks, airplanes, and a shockingly efficient battle doctrine
And with the fall of the last great resistance on the Western European continent, the Battle for Britain begins. Hitler demands air and naval supremacy in the English Channel, and the London Blitz begins in full force, as German air fleets (Luftflotten) bombard industrial and population centers in the UK.
Although German advisors and companies had been steadily pulling out of China for two years now, the Sino-German Cooperation is formally cancelled after mounting pressure from Japanese diplomats in Germany. The Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan is finalized, and the axis looks hungrily to the Soviet Union...

Generalissimo Chiang is dismayed by the German abandonment of their mission in China, but he understands that it is the doing of the Japanese and not entirely the fault of the German people. The Germans still maintain a "cultural exchange center", which is just an embassy under a different name. Maybe after the Soviet Union is dealt with, we can re-establish relations...
Washington D.C., seeing the rising threat of the Japanese in the Pacific, and a natural ally in China, approve a plan to send advisors and military material to the NRA. The American equipment is mostly reserve equipment from the interwar period, as most American Aid is being sent to the British as a part of the Cash and Carry Program. However, Chiang and the general staff appreciate the aid, and deploy it almost immediately.
Five divisions are formed from men from the reserve and the newly received American equipment. Although advisors from both China and the US had not expected for enough supply to reach China (the new divisions required 4,500 tons of American supply per month in order to be formed), the holding of crucial ports along the coast allowed British and American ships to deliver supplies by sea, instead of by air and through perilous land routes over the Himalayas and through the Burma Road.
First it was German Advisors, then Soviet, and now American. The Chinese officer corps has been trained in a wide variety of tactics and doctrines, and is now developing its own style of warfare. The "short attack", as it was dubbed by western observers, consisted of small fireteams prodding the enemy frontline until an opening was created. Reserve elements would then rush through the gap in order to exploit the operational space behind the enemies lines. This mix of infiltration tactics and shock troops has already yielded great returns in the trench lines of Inner Mongolia on the Northern Front.
The Fall of France has led to the Japanese seizing French Indochina, and coaxing the Siam government into a military alliance. A corps from Army Group South is diverted to the Indochinese border. Although it is undermanned, the rough terrain and jungles of Indochina are not expected to be able to support many men, and it seems the Japanese are more interested in cutting off the supply line through Burma instead. British colonial troops are also moved to the Burmese border and placed on full readiness.
The French concession of Zhanjiang is handed over to the Japanese, but before they can land a garrison there, our troops move to take the port.
In Europe, Operation Weserubüng is concluded with a resounding victory by the Germans and the Wehrmacht. Oslo is taken after a short week of fighting, and a British / French combined expeditionary force is destroyed around the northern port of Narvik. The Germans now have a warm water port and additional supply lines to transport the Swedish iron ore that they desperately need for their war machine.
Chiang's upper cabinet is once again reorganized in the spring of 1940, with Chen Lifu departing to become the Minster of Education and Anti-Communist Teachings. He Yaozu, a former diplomat and intelligence specialist, succeeds him as the head of the National Security Bureau (NBIS). Zhou Zhirou, the previous Chief of the Army, has now been solely delegated to building China's fledgling air force (the ROCAF), while Gu Zhutong is selected to head the NRA.
Marshal Gu (pictured above), like all NRA commanders, is a staunch anti-communist, and a veteran commander from the Northern Expedition in 1926, the Central Plains war in 1930, and anti-communist campaigns throughout the mid-1930s. Gu promises Chiang the eviction of all communist forces from Qinghai, and the blockade of Yan'an by the end of 1941.
Marshal Gu's first action is the assault on Lanzhou, a military city taken early on by the communists in its campaign against the Ma warlords. A pocket of troops has now formed south of the city, while battered CPC troops retreat across the Yellow River.

Nearly 500,000 troops of the NRA are assigned to the Western Theatre against the communists, and although their presence is badly needed on the Japanese fronts, Chiang refuses to let up the pressure on the communists.
The Japanese launch a major offensive in the spring of 1941, on the anniversary of Japanese marines and invasion armies nearly crippling China and taking Nanjing. The general staff estimates that 450,000-500,000 Japanese troops have attacked our trench lines across a 300 km wide front in Inner Mongolia, and that our advance trenches have been annihilated or thrown back in disarray. Reserves from the interior are sent up to reinforce the defenders immediately.
After just 3 days, the first Japanese attack at Horinger is repelled at a terrible cost to the Kwantung Army. Almost 30,000 Japanese troops lay dead in the forests south of Hohhot, and another 5,000 are left behind to surrender.
Another attempt to break out across the Hai River ends in disaster. In the valleys and mountains of Zhoulu, 100,000 Japanese troops are killed, wounded, or captured, while 7,000 of the NRA are left dead from the fighting as well. Japanese artillery and air strikes are estimated to have claimed the lives almost 20,000 more during the battle as well.
The Imperial Japanese Army have only drilled to fight on open ground, and with their convoys of trucks and motor vehicles, are frequently confined to the roads and thin mountain passes of Northern China. This gives our troops great opportunities to surround and ambush columns of troops, just like the Finnish "mottis" in the Winter War.
With over 1.5 million troops in the NRA's Army Group North and Northern Sector, our supply lines are beginning to stretch thin. One major supply line created by the NRA's logistic division, running from Jinan to Taiyuan to Hohhot, has been amicably named the "Mongol Road" by our troops.

The vital supply artery is given its due attention by the Japanese, however. Their planes strafe the road day and night, and our truck and wagon drivers have adopted strict noise and light discipline in order to avoid attacks.
The recent German conquests in Europe has set Stalin on edge, and he begins preparations to mobilize and raise additional divisions.
In Britain, elite Kommandos (Brandenburgers) in concert with the Kriegsmarine executes a series of coordinated raids on British naval bases, destroying a significant amount of ships and severely damaging some naval facilities.
Italy's troops in Albania are surrounded and destroyed by Greek and Yugoslavian forces, after a botched Italian attempt to invade Greece from the North. Their advance into Yugoslavia has also stalled, and the German Wehrmacht is called in to save the Italians from this disaster.
Our recent victories and agrarian reforms are pulling in men from all across the country. Our military academies reach their max capacity, as more and more students apply to become commissioned officers in the Army or Air Force.
The NRA still has a shortage of over 25,000 commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and it is not common to have an entire NRA infantry platoon led by only one NCO. This new recruitment drive should help close the gap a bit.
Our scientists and engineers continue to modernize and industrialize the farms of the interior. Kuomintang officials start efforts similar to the "war communism" policies of the early Soviet Union, where peasants are mobilized and moved from village to village to participate in massive infrastructure and irrigation projects. Little by little China enters the modern age.
The Fifth Battle of Fengchen, and with it the Japanese Spring and Summer offensive, grinds to a halt as another 700,000 men from both sides perish or are wounded on the fields of battle. The brutality and scale of the Northern Front is beginning to rival that of the Western Front in WW1. The general staff estimates that nearly 2,500,000 Japanese and puppet troops have been KIA, MIA, or WIA, while the NRA has suffered almost 1.2 million unrecoverable losses as well.
The new battles of the Northern Front are now characterized by short, concentrated infantry and armor attacks on defensive positions. While both sides have now progressed from the trench warfare of years past, they still suffer horrendous casualties for every kilometer taken. It is also not uncommon for positions on the battlefield to change hands between the NRA and the Kwantung Army several times in the same week.
Soldiers returning from the front have a particular look in their eyes... one the populace and medical detachments have dubbed "the horror". Those lucky enough to return from the front alive are given a few weeks leave, hot showers, and hot meals, in thanks for their service on the most brutal battlefield in the world.
Stalin and the Red Army "liberate" Lithuania and Latvia from capitalism, but find real resistance in the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. Finnish, Swedish, and German volunteers help defend the city against the Soviets.
The Kriegsmarine, worn and exhausted after the naval raids across Britain, need emergency repairs, and a detachment of marines already embarked on the fleet is sent to seize the port and dockyards of Belfast.
Our industry continues to modernize at a breakneck pace. A significant amount of machinery is being produced in China now, but pieces of heavy machinery are still needed to be imported, and brought to China via. British India and the Burma Road. With the Japanese incursion into Indochina, however, this supply line will soon be threatened.
Tallinn, and Estonia with it, eventually fall after nearly a month of bitter fighting. Soviet control over the Baltic states is now solidified, and Eastern Europe is firmly in the grip of the two powers, Germany and the Soviets.
The NRA, which just four years ago was a conscript force of 400,000, is now a professional military of over 2.5 million troops. The general staff has divided our forces into three army groups (West, North, and South), 11 armies, and over 200 divisions. Plans to expand the army further are moving forward, as Chiang demands a grand offensive into Manchuria within the next few years.
Japanese divisions on the Northern Front are frequently at 60% or less of their initial strength, and men and supplies cannot be replaced fast enough. Rumors spread through our lines that the general staff has pushed the Grand Offensive forward, and is looking to launch attacks within the next few months. Staging areas have already been drawn onto maps, and supply caches have been established at key crossroads.
With the assistance of the Wehrmacht, Italy finally breaks the combined Greco-British resistance in the Peloponnesian peninsula. Italy takes most of Yugoslavia, Albania and Achaea, while Germany occupies Eastern Greece for the time being, as a naval and air base against allied forces in the Levant and Mediterranean.
German marines have seized Belfast and with it the rest of Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland, although intent on staying neutral for the duration of the war, allows German troops to pass across the border, and also signs a series of favorable trade deals with the Reich.

The British High Command prepare for the worst. Almost 1.5 million civilian volunteers, ranging from teenagers to retirees, enlist in the "Home Guard", where they are relegated to duties such as firefighting, manning anti-aircraft guns, or constructing defensive structures throughout the British interior. The Home Guard quickly becomes amicably known as "Dad's Army", for the large number of old men serving in its ranks.
The 6th Battle of Fengchen ends as one might expect... Japanese forces are wearing themselves dangerously thin and our commanders hurriedly make offensive preparations.

Available to our commanders is roughly 600,000 men in 50 divisions (15 suitable for all operations and 35 suited for limited offensive operations) from both the defensive 1st Army and the 18th Route Army. The 18th Route Army also has around 500 light and medium tanks at its disposal, and another 750 tankettes and armored cars. The commanders also have 1,500 pieces of towed artillery, as well as 250 heavy howitzers and 1,750 infantry and field guns.

We expect to be able to locally outnumber the Kwantung Army at least 2:1 in manpower and firepower, but we do not expect to have air superiority, and will have to contend with continuous Japanese air strikes on our troops.
Our coast is now almost completely covered, with small gaps still present on the southern coast of China, as well as the island of Hainan. Army Group South, already at a formidable strength of 450,000 requires an additional 75,000 troops to fully secure the coast and the Indochinese border.
Our scientists draw up plans for both synthetic and natural oil refineries. Construction on facilities using the Fischer Tropsch conversion method begin, where coal will be able to be pressed into fuel for our airplanes and tanks.
These refineries begin construction a few days later, in the city of Chengdu.
The 5th and 6th Route Armies cross the Yellow River and into the communist heartland. A path is now open to our troops to liberate another vast swath of communist territory.
Our light troops ford the river at shallow points, as most of the bridges have been destroyed by the retreating CPC. Motor vehicles and other heavy equipment will have to wait behind the river until our engineers are able to construct a suitable pontoon bridge.
The Northern Front is quiet once again, but our commanders waste no time, and steadily move men and material to the front and to staging areas. Our spies in Manchuria and the Kwantung Army develop a deception (Operation Komodo) that tricks Japanese commanders into thinking that our main counterattack will be aimed at the cities of Beiping and Tianjin.
The final pocket of communist troops south of Lanzhou is taken prisoner. The former communist troops and militia are sent west for "rehabilitation" in state farms and labor camps.
Operation West Sword is revised, and plans to surround and blockade the communist stronghold of Yan'an are drawn up. Once resistance across the Yellow River to the West is crushed, our troops will rush in from the North and the West. A smaller front will also free up an estimated 3 Army Corps for the upcoming Grand Offensive.
Thanks for reading! Not a lot of action now but there's gonna be more later... Check back on Mondays for new episodes.

Next chapter:

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[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 9: Operation Ox

Images: 73, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-03-18, edited: 1970-01-01

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