Chapter Three - "There's somethin' happening here... What it is ain't exactly clear..."
All is well in the Empire, income is good, corruption seems low, and my new furniture industry is going so well, I can finance the building of an artillery factory. Quite apart from needing the arty anyway, they sell for a small fortune. It's not long since my message about the Chinese that this appears:
Great news! Or at least it would be, if I actually knew where Beaufort was (These boxes really need a "go to" button). Probably in Canada somewhere. In any case, I don't have time to go looking for diamonds, because back in Asia, things are hotting up. There's been a murder at Guangzhou, and the Brits are being typically bullheaded about the matter... We are now at war with China! On July 14th, 1839, British troops move out.
As per the plan, the army marches across the border, and then divides up to capture as much ground as possible before the mighty chinese army mobilises. Gough takes the main force northwards through the larger provinces, allowing him to more quickly try and reach Beijing, and drawing Chinese attention away from the rest of the army.
Progress is steadily made. A few piecemeal chinese armies make their way towards Gough's troops, and he dispatches them with relative ease. In the meantime, The second part of the army, under Robertson, proceeds south towards the coast, towards Hong-Kong, and the third, and smallest part of the army lead by Gibson, moves East through central china, mopping up the unguarded provinces there. Finally, the main chinese vanguard shows up, a respectable 50,000 or so men strong, and engages in battle with Gough's forces in Chengdu Province. Back at home, Queen Victoria is married, making for a fine morale booster for the troops abroad, as well as more lovely prestige for me.
Unfortunately this is where it starts to go distinctly pear shaped. Gough's army is forced back by the Chinese, and yet more chinese troops appear seemingly from nowhere at the centre, like thousands of yellow clothed ninjas.
It seems the Chinese mobilised faster than I thought. I make a decision to redirect incoming reinforcements by ship, to swing past Indochina, and take key provinces on the Eastern coast of China, my main targets being Quiongzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and eventually Beijing.
The idea is that it should draw enemy forces away from the frontline, and eventually capturing the capital should hopefully give me a huge boost at the bargaining table.
Gough is pushed back again, losing more ground, and this, combined with partisan action leaves a small force sourrounded by the chinese. I have Gough regroup and meet them in a fighting withdrawal to link our territory back up. I recall Robertson from the south to give my forces a much needed boost. Unfortunately however, the chinese start to claw back land Robertson had spent no insignificant time capturing.
To the East, Hong Kong and Shanghai fall in quick succession, and the small force, now under the command of General Bell, moves in for the kill near Beijing. However, to my own amazement and exasperation, a huge Chinese army is waiting for me at the capital, as well as large forces in neighbouring provinces. Somewhat bemused as to all the activity here, I decide to hold my ground, and wait for a better opportunity to strike at Beijing.
Back in the West, when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they do! A huge army 140,000 strong appears to the east, ready to attack my positions already fighting for their lives.
Luckily for me, it temporarily disappears, for no apparent reason. Reinforcements from India arrive to bolster my defences, and in a few key battles, the Chinese lose enough casualties for me to swoop in and make a huge land grab before a fresh wave hits my lines.
It's only once this happens though, that the reason for the huge amount of Chinese military activity reveals itself. The Russians, currently in their own war with China it seems, swoop in from the North-West and inadvertantly secure my Northern flank. This sudden relief allows me a chance to regroup, grab a few more provinces, and dig in.
All seems to be going well for the first time in a good few months when The Russians pull out. They evidently signed a treaty of some description, and I gape as Russian troops march off into the sunset. After this, a comically huge amount of Chinese troops begins making its way south towards my positions.
I realise it's probably time to start negotiating. Any British bullheadedness has left me now, and I accept a pitiful treaty, gaining only Hong Kong for all my efforts. On December the 11th 1843, the Peace is signed, and British troops begin a weary march back to Bengal to reorganise.
The war lasted only 4 years, but I can assure you it felt like alot longer. The sheer amount of troops being flung around really made my head spin on occasion. In the end I never captured Beijing. I made an attempt, but the Chinese beat me back, and I had to retreat to the ships. Some provinces must have changed hands more times than I can count, and the amount of money I spent on armaments, reinforcements, and new divisions isn't even worth trying to estimate. What I ended up with was a 19th century equivalent of Vietnam.
No joke, I had a splitting headache by the time I'd finished, and these screenshots just don't begin to explain how mentally taxing the whole campaign was.
-Never go to war with China
-If you do, get a good alliance with Russia
-If you've got so many troops you think it'll be overkill - You'll probably need twice as many...