[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 16: Hangman

Author: bigwoods
Published: 2017-05-08

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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 15: Operation Ballroom

Images: 58, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-05-01

Hey all, and thanks for reading Episode 16 of my Republic of China AAR in BlackICE 8.6. If you missed the previous episodes, they are linked below.
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Episode 1 - Prelude: https://redd.it/5p14j8 | http://imgur.com/a/hdPRd
Episode 2 - Southern Expedition: https://redd.it/5pe5b9 | http://imgur.com/a/NfIPE
Episode 3 - Buildup, Betrayal, and the Drums of War: https://redd.it/5px153 | http://imgur.com/a/6Gg7m
Episode 4 - The Onslaught: https://redd.it/5t02ux | http://imgur.com/a/P97vc
Episode 5 - One Foot Forward: https://redd.it/5ttevv | http://imgur.com/a/K5J6r
Episode 6 - And One Foot Back: https://redd.it/5v4r4r | http://imgur.com/a/pwyGE
Episode 7 - Summer Miracle: https://redd.it/5wgn2a | http://imgur.com/a/4Aejw
Episode 8 - Cleaning House: https://redd.it/5xudky | http://imgur.com/a/wdxmT
Episode 9 - Operation Ox: https://redd.it/5z4rti | http://imgur.com/a/7XEhz
Episode 10 - Kesselschlacht: https://redd.it/60g5nl | http://imgur.com/a/iBfAc
Episode 11 - Lotus and Blossom: https://redd.it/61s7zx | http://imgur.com/a/ty355
Episode 12 - Free At Last: https://redd.it/638j71 | http://imgur.com/a/ZZwuJ
Episode 13 - Back in the Saddle: https://redd.it/64kqm8 | http://imgur.com/a/1sGfB
Episode 14 - China United: https://redd.it/679rfw | http://imgur.com/a/1tfgo
Episode 15 - Operation Ballroom: https://redd.it/68mjef | http://imgur.com/a/UdmGO
After many tortuous months of brutal urban warfare and hand-to-hand fighting, Pusan is finally recaptured from the Japanese. The combined Chinese-Korean operation incurred extremely heavy losses, and the final drive to capture the port of Pusan where the last Japanese defenders were evacuated was the most intense of the entire campaign.

To make sure that Pusan will never be taken again by Japanese landing forces, two corps - one Chinese, and one Korean (totaling 100,000 men) are stationed in the city, along with a significant force of CAS and CAG aircraft to defend against the Japanese fleet.
Japanese Imperialism has failed and they have now awoken the sleeping dragon. China has defended itself against overwhelming odds, and now we look to the east...
Chiang again restaffs his cabinet, this time opting for technical specialists and scientists, who will help drive China's technology forwards in this period of relative peace.
Our spies in the NBIS begin to hear whispers from Tibet - that the Dalai Lama may be making a deal with encroaching Axis forces for a bid for independence, from both us and the British.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is only 10 years old, but his advisors know the reason for the increased presence of KMT and UK diplomats in Lhasa...

Now that the War in Indochina has concluded, and the frontlines moved solidly to Malaysia and the Pacific Ocean, Tibet finds itself trapped between an ever expanding British Empire, and KMT influence moving through the mountain roads and in the skies above the Himalayas.

The Kuomintang once apologized to Tibet for the behavior of Qing soldiers during their occupation of the mountain lands, but now that an alliance with the Europeans is on the table, we must act now and act decisively. We did not bleed for our alone just for the Westerners to come and surround our country.
Some diplomatic maneuvering and altering of history will be required in order to justify this, but it must be done. The 1. Mountain Corps takes the border crossings in East Tibet without a fight, and begins moving in on the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.
This is the last straw for the British Consulate in Shanghai, which withdraws all military advisors and coordinators as soon as they receive the declaration of war between the KMT and Tibet. Chiang, however, does not mourn the loss of a once valuable ally. Japan is on its last legs and we do not need the men or supplies of the Commonwealth to sustain our war efforts. If we must finish this fight on our own then we will.
In another blow for the Allies, US President FDR dies suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage, and vice president Harry Truman is quickly pushed into office. He vows to first bring the war to an end in Europe, and then to focus on the Pacific against the bruised Japanese.
In just under a month Tibetan forces give up fighting and lay down their weapons. Reserves from the North rush to reoccupy the city and mount a counterattack, but our troops plan on getting there first.
Tibet is placed under NRA military administration, and all Tibetan military equipment is transferred over to the NRA as well. Reserves from Army Group Indochina are then ordered to prepare defensive positions in Tibet and Xinjiang, towards the West.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Operation Overlord is called off after German panzergrenadiers trap and then destroy American Marines at Caen and on the Brittanian peninsula. This evacuation, however, is much worse than Dunkirk. Thousands more are trapped and captured by the Wehrmacht, and the Americans will need months to rebuild their armies and equipment stores before launching another attack.
Allied forces instead focus on Italy, where they have taken Sicily and moved up all the way to Rome, before German forces once again stemmed the tide. A large contingent of Commonwealth and ANZAC forces are trapped on the tip of the Salento peninsula (the "heel"), while the rest of Allied forces retreat across the "boot" towards Sicily.
The first of our new paratrooper divisions is deployed to Tianjin, but they currently lack any form of transport, as the production of cargo planes and gliders is taking longer than expected.
Our naval technologies continue to develop as well, as we currently focus on escort and cruiser designs. Our naval doctrines are also being heavily researched, and we have been using the Royal Navy as a model to build our own.
The Xi'zang Army is formed from Tibetan conscripts, KMT loyalists in the West, as well as regulars from the NRA, and stands at 130,000 men strong. The Xi'zang is transferred to Xinjiang where defenses and infrastructure is being built along the Soviet and Mongolian borders...
Our heavy industry and manufacturing capability continues to grow - and threatens to outstrip our ability to provide it resources. More and more men are pulled off the fields and rural villages to work in factories and mines.
After a year of technological, support, and armament buildup, the plan to continue the war against Japan is revealed. Operation Hangman aims to retake the Philippines from the Japanese, before the United States can pivot its operations back to the Pacific.

Army Group Philippines (AG "P", for short) is formed out of the light troops of Army Group Indochina, and 150,000 newly trained marines in 3 Marine Corps that have since been redeployed to Taiwan.
The 1st Stage of Operation Hangman is the capture of Palawan, which high command estimates is only lightly defended, and mainly used as a base of operations for the Japanese army at Manila and Luzon. The port of Puerto Princesa is to be captured immediately in order to secure a supply line for the invading forces, who are then to move to Mindoro and then onto the main northern island of Luzon.
The bulk of the marine landing forces is to capture the critical junction of Lopez and the port of Legaspi. The main force is then to rendezvous with the marines from Palawan and Mindoro, in order to push North through Manila and Quezon City. A smaller force will be used to ferry south through Samar and then onto Mindanao.
Aerial recon has spotted the main Japanese defense on the North point of Luzon... perhaps they will be transported from the island soon. In either case, now is the perfect time to strike.
The 1. and 2. Marine divisions seize Puerto Princesa after a brief fight, and ROCN convoys and troopships soon begin unloading in the intact port.
Bad news from Mayraira Point - as the 1st Fleet is mauled by a ad-hoc force of Japanese battleships and heavy cruisers. These outdated ships were no match for the Japanese fleet. While our Navy is still modernising, we will have to rely on air power alone to challenge the Japanese at sea.
The main landings around Lopez begin, and our troops begin to assault the encircled defenders from the north and across the straits from Mindoro.
In a slight deviation from the original plans, more marines are landed east of Manila, in order to cut off Japanese reinforcements from the North and to potentially capture the large air base of Clark Field.
It is discovered that, in their haste to contain our forces at Lopez, the Japanese garrison has moved out of Manila and left it vulnerable for capture by sea. Our troopships are quickly dispatched to land more marines into the city before the Japanese can react.
Operation Hangman has now succeeded in encircling 4 garrison divisions and 2 regular infantry divisions - all while maintaining a solid supply line.
Three wings of CAS aircraft are flown into the recently captured facilities at Clark Field - a massive airbase left behind by the enterprising Americans before their defeat on the island. These dive bombers and strafers quickly begin wreaking havoc on the reserve lines of the Japanese.
Lopez is finally captured after a month of brutal fighting in the jungles, and now our three landing zones are linked and can share supplies and men.
We capture the city of Iloilo on the island of Panay without a fight, and construction on an airbase and naval facility begin immediately. Our marines are allowed to rest for a brief moment, before continuing their attack on the island of Negros, towards the port of Cebu.
Another port is captured on Luzon, and our marines work to cut off the defenders north of Clark Field from Japanese reinforcements.
Cebu is captured and the drive towards Mindanao continues.
Legaspi is captured, and now Army Group P has more supply that it ever intended it would have - especially after Japanese defenders opted to Banzai charge instead of destroying this vital infrastructure. It seems the path to and across Samar will be free of resistance.
Japanese defenders south of Manila are annihilated after a costly battle. The southern half of Luzon, and the islands between, are now firmly in our hands.
The 2. Marine Division secures a beachhead at Mindanao and marches unopposed to the southern port and city of Davao. The Japanese defense in these islands is weak... almost too weak...
Troops previously earmarked for attritious jungle battles in the Philippines will now be allocated for a different purpose. Aerial reconnaissance has suggested a complete lack of Japanese troops on the northern half of Borneo. Our light troops are to now execute Operation Ember - where we will take Borneo from the North, before the British can react.
The ports of Kuala Belait and Tarakan are taken without a fight. British officials in Shanghai are once again livid beyond belief - that their former colonial territory is being seized and not given back to them.

Chiang and his diplomats assuage their fears, and claim that the KMT will only temporarily occupy these holdings, for purely military purposes. It seems the British are currently too occupied on their drive to Singapore, and do not have resources to contest any of our movements in Indonesia.
Chinese physicists and engineers finish the first working nuclear reactor in Asia, when a working prototype at Lanzhou comes online. More and more resources are poured into the isolated mountain city - for what most clerks and scientists know as "Project 50".
Our marines continue to drive north towards the ports of Cagayan, in order to cut off and destroy the remaining Japanese defenders on Luzon.
Just as our troops reach Cagayan, we are able to able to catch the Japanese flagship Yamato off-guard, apparently receiving quick repairs and helping to evacuate Japanese officers from the island. The 4th Fleet is sent out immediately to intercept the battleship, before it can escape.
The Yamato escapes, and nearly obliterates the 4th Fleet in the process. We are forced to retreat, but CAGs and naval bombers based on Taiwan are tasked to find the injured ship and send it to the bottom of the sea.
The reason for this distraction soon becomes clear... with most of the Chinese Navy and Air Force hunting the limping Yamato, a massive fleet has assembled off of Lingayen and is threatening to cut our forces in Luzon in two.
The 5th Fleet - which is only armed with 1st generation light carriers and escorts, sails out to meet the Japanese fleet but it sustains heavy damage against two Japanese battleships.
The 5th Fleet retreats after the loss of one carrier, and only succeeded in delaying the landing by a few hours. Our troops on the ground begin to dig in and brace for attacks.
The headquarters and combined arms unit of the 300. Marine Corps is trapped to the west of Lingayen, with no chance of breaking out. They are told to fight to the last man.
Meanwhile, the 3. Naval Infantry Division, completely exhausted from earlier offensive actions, is taksed with holding back Japanese armor while another division retreats behind it...
... But unfortunately they are pushed past their breaking point and are overrun by Japanese armor. The remnants of the division are reformed in Chongqing.
This new development has shelved our earlier plans, and now we must go on the defensive. Any troops north of Quezon City are to retreat all the way back to Cagayan, where they will set up a defensive line first along the island and then directly at the port for evacuation. Troops south of Quezon are positioned for a defensive line first around Clark Field, and then around Manila.
The 2. Naval Infantry Division holds off Clark Field against Japanese armor, as our CAS bombers continue to weaken the Japanese as they advance. Keeping this air base operational will be key to a successful defense.
More light troops are landed at Manila to help bolster the lines against an estimated 150,000 Japanese troops.
Meanwhile, more infrastructure projects are given the go-ahead back home. The ROC, now without an oil supply with the Brits through Iran and Pakistan, needs to increase its domestic production if we are to keep up with this amount of naval and air operation.
The Japanese lay their full force on Clark Field, as more and more of our jäegers move in to help defend the airfield. Marine Corps. engineers work day and night to repair artillery holes and mortar craters in the airfield, to help keep our CAS wings running 24/7.
Meanwhile, our CAGs score their first naval kill off the shore of Lingayen. Japanese ships have been badly damaged from harassment and the battles with our fleets.
Operation Ember is moving forwards as expected. Only light resistance is expected along the coast, and our troops are taking their time securing the jungle roads through the treacherous terrain of central Borneo.
The 2nd Fleet runs into 4 Fleet carriers and 1 light carrier of the IJN, and begins to attack its formation. ROCAF land-based interceptors secure the skies as our cruisers move in for the kill...
But the Japanese are able to escape once again, and take more of our cruisers with them. The ROCN Fleet is shrinking day by day, and our forces have been reduced from 6 full battlefleets to just 3 operational ones.
The Japanese counter-invasion of Luzon has stalled, and the Japanese commander throws his best men into our trenches at Clark Field. Our interceptors have complete control over the island and the South China Sea, and our bombers chip away the Japanese divisions one by one. It is only a matter of time before they must go on the defensive again.
In the South, our forces have completely secured Mindanao and the islands in between, and are currently marching their way through the vast jungles of Borneo.
The British once again have a disaster on their hands on the Malay Peninsula, as it seems that an corps-sized contingent of Commonwealth forces have been trapped at the port of Kota Bharu. While we will stay out of the Malay Peninsula for the time being, it seems that eventually it will come down to us to free Singapore and the rest of Malaysia from Japan.
And while our navy has taken a significant beating in the South China Sea, our new doctrines and technologies should allow us to build a modern fleet. New cruisers, battlecruisers, and carriers are on their way and expected to be operation mid-1947. Until then we will have to rely on air power alone to control the seas.
Thanks for reading! As always feedback on gameplay, history, alt-history, is appreciated in the discussion thread. Check back on Mondays for more episodes.

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[BlackICE 8.6] Republic of China AAR - Episode 17: Pacific Go

Images: 64, author: bigwoods, published: 2017-05-15

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