0500 April 2nd 1947.
North China Army Headquarters. Lanzhou, China.
Field Marshall Higashikuni was in a pensive mood as he digested the information he had received from further north. North China Army had requested reinforcements from the Kwantung Army and the defences of Xinlinhot had been weakened as a result. They had discussed this probability at the meeting the previous month and had made plans for just such an eventuality. Nevertheless Higashikuni was not pleased as the Imperial Japanese Army had very rarely been forced to retreat without order as had happened here.
He decided to attack Datong to try and lift his mood. The Red Army was still intent on breaking through his lines and he would try and stop that from happening. The attack was short lived and would only last an hour as it was clear from the outset that the Soviet troops were too numerous to be defeated. The Dive bombers would continue to harass the advancing enemy for the time being.
His attack on Datong had proved to be a few hours early. Rokossovsky's forces advanced into Baoding at 0000 hours on April 3rd and were greeted by Nakajima and his Dive bombers from Dalian which were in range of the province. The bombing of Datong continued as the second Dive bomber group targetted the divisions remaining in the province. The initial twenty Soviet divisions had been reduced to twelve spread over two provinces. They were doomed of course.
The attacks towards Ceylon had stopped as the Imperial Japanese Navy continued to patrol the islands coast. BB Division 1 encountered a large British Submarine fleet trying to enter the waters to the north west of the island and disrupt convoys in the area. None of the enemy Submarines would be sunk but they had been forced to seek other hunting grounds after Japanese convoys had ceased to sail back and forth to the Middle East after a land connection had been established. Trying to raid convoys close to Ceylon was a much more perilous undertaking for the enemy vessels.
Numata landed in Nikolayevsk at 0500 hours on April 4th to expand Japanese controlled territory in Siberia. The Soviets had not reacted as had been hoped and did not appear to be moving anything but token forces into this area in response to Operation Tedious.
Soviet forces in Datong had dug in making it increasingly difficult to attack them from the air so the Dive bombers operating from Beiping searched for easier targets. They had plenty to choose from. The single division in Yinchuan would not last long but Higashikuni was more concerned with the large Soviet force to the north in Bayan Nur.
Things were going much better in the Middle East as Kondo finished off the last remaining division in Persia. The decision on whether to try and annex the Country could be decided on intelligence gathered from across the border as Soviet troops were definately guarding this area. Higashikuni had some influence on what was decided but ultimately he knew that he would be ordered to do what the Emperor commanded.
Japanese troops had recovered from their first attempt on Datong and the defences were considerably weaker when the second attack started. This time there would be no reversals as the overwhelming number of Japanese troops forced the Soviets to retreat. Rokossovsky was in a race against time as General Dohihara headed back towards Datong from Taiyuan. Japanese armour had arrived in Beiping to prevent any attack on the airbase giving Rokossovsky no chance of advancing further without risking a flank attack.
1000 April 5th 1947.
Kwantung Army Headquarters. Mukden, Manchukuo.
The Red Army was clearly intent on inflicting as much damage as fast as possible on Japanese forces in Asia and Terauchi would again be forced to react to their new found aggression.
The Japanese High Command knew that Manchuria was critical to Japanese interests in Asia and had to be held in order to stop the Red Army. Terauchi had been given the pick of Commanders in the Imperial Japanese Army. General Tanaka Shizuichi was one of his first choices. The highly skilled General was commanding the defences of Andong which needed to be held to prevent a split in the defences in Manchuria.
Twenty Soviet divisions would try and force him to abandon the mountains of the province. Terauchi was not about to allow a second loss to be inflicted on the Kwantung Army.
Field Marshall Timoshenko was leading the ten divisions attacking Andong from Xinjing and he would be on the receiving end of a massive counter attack against his western flank. Terauchi himself led twenty four Japanese divisions to support the defence of Andong. There would be no swift victory for the Red Army as night decended and Timoshenko tried in vain to accomplish what Minami had failed to in Xilinhot.
When the sun rose both battles would end in victory for Terauchi as he routed Timoshenko and forced the Soviets to abandon their attack on Andong. Unlike the previous year the Red Army no longer had overwhelming numerical superiority in this area and any attack was likely to be very costly as a result. The Kwantung Army had proven time and time again that they were not going to allow the Red Army to roll over them and Terauchi was beginning to contemplate what was almost unthinkable twelve months ago. His plans began to switch from a purely defensive position to one of possible attack.