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Thread: Pride of the Middle Kingdom - Grand Campaign

  1. #1

    Pride of the Middle Kingdom - Grand Campaign

    Played starting with PON Patch 1.01m using SwitchFaction.

    China - a “sleeping giant” - huge, populous, but weak and somnolent under the rigid social stratifiation of Manchu rule. It has great potential, someday, if modernized and developed beyond its disabilities. The Qing dynasty was loathe to risk the disruptive effects of massive change on their authoirty, but players may be more ambitious. The question is how they can do.

    NATIONAL ATTRIBUTES: China is technically Backward with an Education system limited to screening and educating the ruling class of a Rigid Elitist social structure in the refinements of ancient Chinese culture, and a political system proficient in rampant corruption, only facilitated by the opportunities offered by a State-Controlled economy. As the center of its world, it is introspective beyond keeping its ring of tributary vassal states in line. The dangers of foreign influences are contained by a policy of highly restricted trade, which provides the government the benefit of being able to assert high taxes and tariffs, though they may be unable to collect them all.

    A religion and ideology that has lasted millennia mandates obedience and compliance to the requirements of the Empire, and Ruthless enforcement is used against opposition. Large armies of levies, both tribesmen and native Han Chinese, provide the means to maintain the regime against unrest, although the army is relatively feudal in character an badly equipped by modern standards.

    RULER: The Xianfeng Emperor is all skill 5, avoiding some of the restrictions on diplomatic and colonial actions that that plague other countries.

    DIPLOMACY: Diplomats are remarkably few considering the sophistication of Chinese administration and relations with its neighbors - 2 per semi-annual class, with a maximum pool of 5. It will be hard to maintain approriate relations with its neighbors neighbors since this is only enough to keep 2 Local Supports active on a rolling permanent basis. Defensive Treaty costs almost a year of Diplomats but lasts so must be the goal.

    GEOPOLITICAL SITUATION AND GOALS: China’s name means “Middle Kingdom,” which defines its strategic viewpoint. Changes of dynasties did little to change the view of its surrounding neighbors as either vassals or enemies – never as equals. Maintaining stability within the country and its colonial regions and dominance over the vassal ring is the priority – vassals were given the valuable privilege of sending trade embassies to the Emperor which is sort of represented in game by Merchants.

    China has extensive claims on non-national regions in most directions. Some of the claimed areas are directly controlled, while others are not. In the game, China can assert its claims either by conquest or by turning these areas into vassals. Indeed, China’s Colonial options are very limited and are tailored for this purpose: Merchants, Pacification, Retaliation and Create Vassal. Merchants can raise Colonial Penetration up to 35 (China is not able to do the normal Trading Post follow-up since traders came to China, not the other way around. Pacification can slowly raise CP (among other effects) between 10 and 50. A Vassal relationship can be created at 50 CP in the capital and an average of 35 CP elsewhere (more stringent than a Western Protectorate’s CP requirements. Since Pacification requires the region be China’s or allied, a peaceful approach to Vassalage requires an alliance to raise CP sufficiently. Retaliation is a tool for brutally crushing revolts that is useless for vassalization. Colonial and military efforts are interesting to play, but must beware of excessive diversion of resources to these.

    China starts in alliance with Korea, its historical “little brother” vassal state, with troops in its territory and potential access to its resources.

    Japan is a quiet onetime vassal (but a troublesome one), closed off to the world at present but to watch for the future. The British have seized Hong Kong. They must be watched. They cannot be trusted. But they can be cultivated economically.

    The French in Cochin China have an interest in the entire Theater, and are a threat to the historical friendly states of Annam and Tonkin. China as a matter of Imperial honor should protect these states, even if it is necessary to occupy them.

    Russia, however, is the largest threat – actively colonizing through Siberia to the coast and even settling in Chinese-controlled regions around the Amur. China holds the capital region but can’t establish Vassal status in the Amur area since the CP average is not high enough due to the number of Russian controlled regions with little of no Chinese CP. It may come to crisis, or even war, but should the Celestial Emperor fear the barbarians whose boasting loud in their own ears in the remote darkness is but a meaningless murmur in the Middle Kingdom.

    COLONIAL ACTIONS: China has extensive claims outside its national territory. Much of the claimed territory is already controlled, but some lies in neighboring countries. China’s Colonial Actions however are limited to: Merchants, Pacify, Retaliate (lowers CP), and Declare Vassal. Vassal is like Protectorate but with 50 CP min in the capital and 35 rather than 25 average, longer duration, and twice as expensive in money though the card only says 75 money. It has same CP change as Protectorate, but no cap, and smaller revolt risk reduction but no minimum.

    Merchants start the CP process and work up to 35. Pacify works from 10-50 CP at 2 per and, like Retaliate, requires China or ally own the region. Retalitate additionally requires active revolt. How to get to Vassal level? Obtain a Defensive Alliance for a costly 4 diplomats and then Pacify repeatedly? War to obtain control that allows raising CP, or just take it over?

    I think a slight change in Diplomat totals and Colonial Actions is in order.

    ECONOMY: China has a large population that includes many cities acting as collection points and some useful navigable rivers as well as the coast. Riverine units can be built that facilitate riverine and coastal movement. Its provinces generally have Roads or Tracks, and many are flat – allowing cheaper construction. The starting economy consists of
    - 2 manufactories for a total of 4 Mfg Goods (in Peking and Canton),
    - 1 Iron production (which should be expanded) to support the Mfg Goods production,
    - a little Craftsmen Steel, Minerals, and Nitrates, which may be sold
    - Coal produced for domestic or foreign sale
    - Silk for export (since there is zero domestic luxury consumption demand)
    - Tea for domestic or foreign sale as a common good,
    - Rice for food and possibly export – a monotonous diet that should be supplemented.
    Other resources that can be developed include:
    - Food: Cattle, Fish, and Cereals – and more Rice.
    - Common: Cotton/Wool and Wood.

    Silk brings a good price and should be the priority at first, but as the plantations require a lot of Private Capital an Iron Mine is the most prudent initial construction, and others like Cereals production help add food diversity. Unless planning tech spending or a war early on, State Funds are ample and taxes may be cut to leave more Private Capital to grow. Manufactured Goods are required to build almost everything, so should be hoarded for the day of need or when industrial factories are allowed.

    China does not have a merchant fleet, and I’m not sure which tech leads to that so don’t know how long it might be before it gets one. Meanwhile it trades with those who are attracted by the products on offer.

    MILITARY: Although China’s power rating is in the middle of the F10 Great Powers ranking, its forces are weak, lack much firepower, and the transportation and logistics infrastructure for effective campaigning cross-country. One advantage of massed levies is the low cost of replacements and the Command Point cost of its Units (e.g., a corps-equivalent “banner” is 2 CmdP). Little can be done to improve things without economic and technological development, which will be slow.

  2. #2

    1850–A Year of Inconsequence:

    The tranquility of the Empire is disturbed only by the murmur of diplomats slowly accumulating and the turning of new fields to agriculture, including the Silk prized by foreign barbarians more than bags of silver. Beyond the border merchants reinforced Chinese presence in Annam and in the north against Russian encroachment that crept across Siberia like a blight of coarse manners and crude cuisine. By secret decree of the Grand Council it was ordered that Chinese presence in the Amur area be reinforced sufficiently to proclaim its Vassal status in the Chinese-held capital of Haishinwai.

    In much of the Celestial Empire things must be as they are and always were – there are no factories to be created, no roads to be laid, no tracks to be tracked. There is knowledge allowing improvement of ports, forts and depots, but these measures are costly and not be undertaken in speculation or haste – it being said “depot in haste, repent at leisure.”

    It was noted later with little interest, since China is Closed to such effects, that a “panic” in Austria at the end of 1850 precipitated a spreading global economic crisis – its nature and significance as explained by western expatriates remained largely unintelligible in China, but when made clear that this alarming “contagion” leaping from nation to nation involved no actual disease nor physiological effects and “destruction of capital” had no effect on the gold and silver received from the West, the audience quickly lost interest in the subject. The end of the Austrian Panic in June 1851 passed without note in China.

    January to June 1851:

    Time in China flowed slowly forward as before, insensible to the change of year, with only a few ripples of excitement: units sent to the northeast that unsuccessfully attempt Pacification around a Russian trading post in our territory (too costly to repeat), a landing in Sakhalin to escort a merchant mission, a second wave of merchants sent out to penetrate Siberian markets, two small regiments raised for frontier duties, and a Manchurian troop movement arising from a failed merge about which the less said the better (be it noted the official responsible for logistics has been reassigned to Mongolia to count sand). It was also noted in Grand Council that expansion of port facilities on the Siberian coast should be considered – in times of greater wealth.

    There was also building interest in economic changes – the Emperor was informed that China now was able to build factories for Textiles or Shipbuilding! And so it came to be done. China began to accumulate more than the trickle of craftsman steel that is needed to build a textile mill, but Manufactures were needed for the time being to strengthen agriculture. The time would not be ripe to add to industry for several months, at which time ground was broken for this expensive construction at the capital (not the cheapest location to build, but it benefits from roads and the security of the Imperial capital garrison). At

    There was a formal discussion among the secretariats regarding how to deal with what was tactfully denominated the “Russian Barbarian Nuisance of Little Concern.” The nuisance consisted of a plague of Russian trading posts and other colonial penetration both across the border and within Chinese-controlled regions in the Amur area. This included the insufferable presumption to build a Russian trading post at the Amur capital region of Haishenwai itself, although, from an examination of the legalities involved, it was not technically in violation of Imperial law.

    The port town iian farther up the coast boded future Russian naval ambitions, and the growing town of Irkutsk across the Mongolian border from Ulan Bator appeared destined to be a key Russian base for aggression across a broad, desolate, undefended, and currently indefensible north central imperial frontier.

    Opinion was divided between the “Military” school that saw that Russia would grow increasingly aggressive and strong unless China took the offensive, captured Irkutsk, and severed Russian eastern Siberia from the Russian Empire and possible reinforcements, and the contrary “Imperial” school that found preparation and execution of any offensive prohibitive, that the lands on the border other than Amur were essentially worthless, and that the Russians could roam through the harsh desolation to their desire and their great cost in men and treasure so long as title to the regions remained within the Imperial dignity.

    These summaries of course do not do justice to the wide variety and nuances of specific considerations, proposals, solicitations and memorials exchanged among the Secretariats and other offiicals. Although these communications and conferences actively continued, the Grand Council did not formally consider the matter and practical observers thus concluded that the issue had simply been deferred indefinitely until necessity or the Emperor brought it to the fore in the future.
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 09-09-2011 at 10:22.

  3. #3

    Fanatical Uprising in Southern China Threatens Social Order; Governors Lose Control

    The Taiping Rebellion: June 1851 - November 1851:

    In July 1851 there came report of curious and then alarming events. A madman claiming to be the brother of the God of what was thought to be a harmless foreign religion known as Christianity had rallied discontented peasants to his cause and raised a revolt in Guilin. Local authorities were unable to maintain order, the most prudent governors escaped before being overtaken, the regional capital fell, and word soon came that an army of tens of thousands of fanatics (=369 CE) had taken the field.

    The Supreme Secretaries of War acted with all deliberate speed to help mobilize the Imperial might to crush this small rebellion under the authority of Shuai Her Chyun, currently the Commander of the Southern Army located in Nanpang to the west of the rebel activity. [Note: The game assigns the titles of Chiang-Chun to Marshals and Fu-Chiang to Generals, which are ancient titles but I use the shorter and more recognizable more contemporary titles of Shuai for a Marshal and Yuan Shuai a Grand Marshal, with Jiang referring to a General.

    Shuai Her Chyun’s Forces included those arriving from elsewhere in the south, and these converged in an attack from multiple directions on Guilin province. While a garrison remained in the rebel capital of Yung An, the rebel field army failed to make good a clean escape. It was caught and suffered substantial loss in retreat and in an attrition battle before fleeing into remote Yongzhou to the east. Imperial losses are disconcertingly heavier than those of the rebels, but must be accepted and not worthy of note in the Imperial reports to Peking. While Shuai Her Chyun remained himself at Yung An to conduct a siege, he sent in pursuit 46,000 men under Jiang Guanwen, favored by a faction in Peking and a promising officer of considerable offensive inclinations and abilities (assisted by the patient Zhang Guoliang).

    Although not obliged to do so, the Hupeh Garrison Grand Banner [meaning here a large Banner of about 12,000 men including some horse and cannon as well as musket-armed foot] under the ambitious Shuai He Guiqing marched at his discretion to join the operations against the rebels. Arriving on the field during a hard fought series of engagements that significantly reduced rebel strength, He assumed command of the battle and credited himself with a victory – then retired the entirety of the forces from Yongzhou to Hengzhou in the east, a safe position farther from the besieged Taiping stronghold at Yung An. The Censorate later found his decision justified by the need to recover the losses suffered by the Imperial forces in the Battles of Yongzhou, which exceeded those of the Taiping.

    The battered Taiping remnants in Yongzhou remained not much over 10,000 strong but were more than enough to capture the local city and celebrate their own victory. Guanwen did not pass unrecognized, being elevated to Shuai for his efforts. Though Guanwen remained junior to He Guiqing, the latter regarded this appointment as an affront and found the need to recover further cohesion and losses a just and prudent cause to retire his Grand Banner away north to the well supplied major city of Changsha on the Yuan Jiang River, which was within He’s military district. This was a legally and administratively impeccable decision.

    Guanwen had privately fumed at the withdrawal from Yongzhou, and regarding He’s retirement said only “I will not sit to burnish my armor in a burning house.” Hastily integrating some replacements into his forces, Guanwen promptly advanced to the attack again and won some successful small engagements. Then Minister Her Chyun, reinforced by the main army under Guanwen, launched an assault on Yung An in an attempt to swiftly end the rebellion. This incurred substantial losses and a counterstroke by the re-consolidating rebels that involved high losses of troops and entire combat elements on both sides.

    The failure to crush the rebellion promptly had consequences. There was an unexpected irredentist Taiping rebellion in Beihai and Zhenjiang on the coast to the south, and somehow Taiping regiments captured Luzhou to the southwest of Yung An and Foshan to the southeast, the latter coming close enough to Canton to make the merchants nervous despite the fortified defenses and debarkation of a native Banner of division size sent by boat from the central coast. National Morale fell to 96, a bad sign and ill-regarded in Peking.

    It was now early September of 1851. The Taiping capital was besieged. Victories had been won but at great cost, requiring expenditure on numerous replacements that was not contemplated by the Secretariat of Finance. Minister Her Chyun, now having risen to the top seniority and rank of Yuan Shuai (Grand Marshal) in command of the group of armies in South China, sought to encourage his commanders by holding a council of war.

    The rebels in Yung An were besieged and would fall in good time – an assault would be costly. However the siege required at least 15,000 men, taking strength away from the need to deal with rebel detachments to the south. The Southern Army Group’s title was more impressive than its reality. The local armies and the small Banner in Canton were the only mobile forces south of the Yangtze other than Shuai He’s 12000 man Grand Banner of regulars drilling and training sitting at Changsha to the north and a force on Hainan comprising a small Garrison Native Banner (without firearms) and a mixed brigade (of the kind commonly used in colonial areas with low supply limits) that was guarding a supply train held there in case of a campaign in Indochina.

    There was an unspoken recognition by all at the council of war that the recent honors extended to the southern commanders for their successes made it necessary for them to rely on the forces at hand rather than ask for more, as that would humble and disgrace them while insulting the judgment of the Imperial Government in granting them their new honors. The exception to this was Shuai He Guiqing, whose more northern station afforded him the right but no obligation to intervene. Her Chyun took it upon himself to send an ambiguously phrased message to He that pointed out that the armies had been vigorously engaged and would take time to rebuild their strength fully, so the collaboration of He’s now fresh and resupplied troops would be of great help in expediting the inevitable suppression of the revolt. The phrasing of this message on equal terms of address was enough for He, on his own initiative and to his own credit, to march south.

    The Council of War also found it in order to recall the southern navy to prevent a rebel crossing into Hainan, and to have the Hainan garrison forces ship to Canton to press the rebels from that direction and bring their important Supply Wagon Unit into the campaign. It is important to note that the Taiping capital was a Level 3 City but a supply wasteland for the besiegers, as only one of the six adjoining regions (Kuangsi, toward Canton) was above Level 1 and they were mostly pillaged or enemy dominated and with little or no transportation network.

    The nearest major supply zone was that from Canton north, a belt of regions with substantial cities and ample supplies that would support the Imperial armies and must be denied to the Taiping – that was decided upon as the logistic base. Where wealthy Western nations might build a depot, Chinese thrift demanded making the best of circumstances and conserving the resources for a depot in order to build the defenses in the north if the policy struggle was resolved in favor of such a course.

    The fanatical Taiping having proved more than a match for equal Imperial numbers, there were not sufficient troops nor discrete Units to distribute them in a police role through the affected areas and still crush the revolt. Instead, the plan of “grasp with the fingers, strike with the fist” was adopted, a strategy of using multiple columns to chase down small forces of rebels and give them no rest. Driving the rebels together into clusters would allow them to be attacked in great force for decisive battles. Lack of much cavalry would continue to hinder anti-guerrilla operations. Yuan Shuai Her Chyun kept one healthy Banner and the most battered native Banners and remnants, plus a field gun battery, and maintained the siege of Yung An.

    Shuai Guanwen with two other commanders with a Grand Banner plus two Native Banners (over 30,000 men) was tasked to clear Luizhou and then across the river to Kiangsi, both held by regimental size rebel forces. Meanwhile, the native Banner in Canton was to proceed west along the coast while the Hainan force arrived in Canton ready for further action. Shaozhou, north of Canton, would be protected by Shuai He Guiqing’s fresh Grand Banner when it arrived, which would proceed through that region and then turn west and clear the rebel battalion in Fushan. If driven back from all directions into central Kuangsi, the fingers could combine into a “fist” and strike.

    Before the ordered marches were well underway, the Taiping foolishly launched a sustained breakout attempt. This allowed Shuai Guanwen’s army to bring much of its strength to bear against the rebels, who lost heavily and were forced back into the defenses. Luizhou was liberated by Guanwen (who received further honor for this accomplishment), but the Taiping destroyed the town- leaving only the cotton field and tracks. In Zhanjiang on the coast, the enemy was unable to retreat and routed with loss. These were promising developments, and reported accordingly to Peking.

    Late September 1851: On the administrative level, orders were given to raise another river flotilla to assist water transport, two small levy regiments for garrison duty, and some firearms troops as a garrison Banner for the Taiping-infested areas. A Cavalry Warband was also raised near Nanking to be used in the south as a roving mobile force to chase down any stubborn holdouts.

    The economy remained forced to autarky for the most part during the rebellion as before, sine anything desired by consumers was in short supply globally. “Easy to sell, hard to buy” was the motto. This did not, however, keep foreign influences out. In Late September, for example, China sold 21merchandise for £166 abroad, 23 for £118 in the domestic market, and succeeded in buying nothing. Corporate tax was £6, the government Ruthlessly relying heavily on Census Tax and Income Tax. Colonial Prestige gain for Late September was 4.

    Other than in the besieged Taiping capital, they rebels still had forces in two other regions and a presence in others, due largely to the slow movement of He Guiqing toward action and that of the Canton force against Foshan and then Kuangsi. Shuai He now accelerated his pace left he be deprived of the glory – he peaceably occupied Fushan and seized supplies and then continued south to Kuangsi.

    While Shuai Guanwen sent Shuai Zeng Guofang’s troops back to the ongoing siege to relieve the tired besiegers, he continued towards Nanning with 25,000 men in the expectation of capturing the area while Shuai He dawdled. In a 3-day series of battles that can best be described as a fierce draw, the 5,300 Taiping lost over 2000 of their number but succeeded in draining the attackers of a greater number of casualties and all their energy.

    Thanks to Guanwen’s troops marching to the sound of the guns in Kuangsi, losses were about equal in the first assault, which whittled the defenders down to 2300 men but prompted He to retire with some loss even as more Taiping showed up to provide more even odds. The Taiping decision to counter-attack two days later achieved another tactical draw but proved a mistake, as they were mowed down by Chinese musketry in the approach and then met in an even fight in the assault. The 5649 Taiping led by Feng Yunshan took 3049 casualties to the Imperial Army’s 1614 (out of over 12,000 foot and horse and 24 guns), and 8 of the 14 Taiping elements were wiped out. Following this success, Guanwen heard the sound of a further desultory fight near Nanning and marched to the guns again, intervening with a powerful effect that almost wiped out the Taiping there. Much to Guanwen’s chagrin, both he and He Guiqing were commended and confirmed to the top seniority of Yuan Shuai.

    On the coast, the tiny Wenzhou Army stayed in place to establish full military control over Zhanjiang, then in early October moved to quell unrest in neighboring Beihai. The Taiping remained besieged in Yung An (where Her Chyun’s army was resolved to sit in place until the remaining Taiping surrendered, too many men having been lost in earlier attacks to assault again). At Kuangsi the Taiping did little better at a breakout, and were so worn down and fatigued that Shuai He decided to assault the defenses At Nanning some of the Taiping may have slipped away, but the remnants were assaulted by Guanwen’s weary troops in Late October. Both places fell, and in Early November small garrisons were left behind and the field commanders headed for the final battle at the Taiping capital. Her Chyun and He Guiqing and Guanwen were all Yuan Shuai of the first rank, exact precedence having shifted battle by battle, so although the former was unwilling to undertake an assault and risk the troops the other Shuai competed to take the city. They defeated the 6000 defenders (of which 2300 were taken prisoner) at a cost of 6534 men.

    The cost was “regrettable but necessary;” the victory was complete. Although Her Chyun was the CinC, the other Yuan Shuai acted on their initiative and reaped most of the rewards. Guanwen was more aggressive and his Banner took heavier losses early in the fight, while He Guiqing’s played a more impressive role toward the end.

    After the battle, after the censorial examination of the battle and campaign, and after the military review of select deteachments in Peking, both Guanwen and He both eclipsed Her Chyun. Guanwen, inclined to action, remained in the south as Viceroy. Steadfast Jiang Zhang Guoliang had gained accolades as well, and was eligible for promotion to Shuai, yet declined it for the moment so he could assume field command of the forces maintained to oversee the Taiping-infested regions. He Guiqing, object of an organized campaign of accolades for achieving good results at low cost in the "complete suppression of the Taiping rebels" earned him the prestigious Viceroyalty of Zhili, embracing the areas around Peking. Noted scholar and Military Examiner Zeng Guofan, of rank equal to Shuai and serving in command of the Kiangsi Banner under Her Chyun, was commended for the literary and informational value of his account of the campaign and returned to Peking.

    Total Imperial losses since the beginning of 1850 were in total 55,515, almost all against the Taiping. At this time National Morale was 91, Prestige 340 and increasing at a good pace.
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 09-09-2011 at 13:29.

  4. #4
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    this should be fascinating ... I've been wondering how PoN plays with the less advantaged powers (especially in comparison to V2)
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  5. #5
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    Excellent... I haven't tried PON yet, but this makes me wish I had installed it already! How does this 'switchfaction' work? Is it a console command, or a mod?

    I'm looking forward to seeing how you achieve your goals (or not), given your slender diplomatic resources, the (incessant?) rebels and the threat of Russia. One way or another, these should be 'interesting times', to stay in character with the country and era.

    Oh, and speaking of character, I enjoy the way you turn your phrases to make them fit with the Chinese way.
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  6. #6
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    I like it, and taking China might be VERY interesting (how many events are there). You might want to add more screenshoots, though
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  7. #7
    I downloaded Fastone Capture free trial and edited a screenshot of the new strategic situation, but to display it requires a URL. Please PM me with suggestions for free image hosting that outputs the simple hyperlink asked for embedding images in this forum editor. The photo site I used in the past was too troublesome to try again.

    EDIT: Photobucket was the troublesome site. With sizing issues and too many multiple URL formats to cut and paste to try to find how to format to make it appear and fit in forum (not this one) by trial and error - it was all too much of a pain and much quicker to use a description and text diagram. It's been a couple of years - anything WYSIWYG out there with a simple URL I just drop in the "insert image" toolbar option here?
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 10-09-2011 at 06:27. Reason: Response

  8. #8
    Colonel Nazaroth's Avatar
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    photobucket is usually a solid site.

    I'm looking forward to more China.
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  9. #9

    Manchu Rally to Emperor's Service; Tranquility Restored

    Late November 1851 - Early February 1852
    For a few months the country was quiet, troops were raised, trained, and redeployed, and economic development resumed.

    With the Taiping forces in the field defeated, the Banners from various regions of the country were generally sent home, and the raising of fresh troops was commenced to leave no doubt among the peoples of Imperial power.

    Jiang Zuo Zongfang, a deliberate but skilled commander and logistician from Peking, was sent south to serve under Guanwen in calming the coastal regions. Guanwen stationed his headquarters at Kuangsi, which was adjacent to all the Taiping-infested regions as well as Canton, making supply and quick response easy. With him were the Hupeh Grand Banner that He Guiqing had once commanded, his own Fukien Banner, a Warband of firearms cavalry, an artillery regiment, and supply train - almost 28,000 men in all. Jiang Zhang’s force included the Kwangtung Grand Banner, the smaller Chekiang native banner, ample supply wagons and the promise of field artillery batteries - for a final total that was slightly less. Detachments were stationed in the other Taiping-infested regions, and directed to hold firm in defense and await relief from the central Army in case of an outbreak.

    The choice of fresh forces to be raised by the Empire was a compromise between contending proposals from both Imperial and regional interests as well as court factions. In order to overawe the various other peoples of the Empire and provide an elite assault force in the event of a war or the admittedly remote chance of a major revolt, there was raised in Peking a Grand Banner of Manchu fanatics. Detachments of rather less fanatical Cavalry and Field Guns were also raised to support them.

    Canton raised the promised Artillery Regiment for Zhang. There were also raised in various places one mixed and one infantry brigade each for colonial and frontier service, and two Regiments of Levy garrison troops, each of 2 battalions, for police duty in Guangxi. It is important to note that at this time the formations of the Imperial army were comprised principally either of regulars or of less determined levies. The levies lacked firearms, as did many of the regular troops, both horse and foot. The firearms troops obviously enjoyed firepower at range and an advantage in initiative, while the others, armed with melee weapons and short-ranged bows, had some advantage in the close combat of an assault and did not worry themselves overmuch regarding ammunition.

    In terms of cost, there was nothing to choose between them, and the limits in quantities of Units that the Empire might raise had not yet been reached except for select troops, such as the Manchu fanatic Grand Banner and border raiding scouts. The raising of artillery, whether as part of a Banner or independent regiment, required quantities of Manufactured Goods otherwise desperately needed for the economy or for the military structures proposed by the various Viceroys and regional interests, so the Grand Council considered carefully any increase of artillery or other military use of Manufactures (such as Supply Wagon trains, now concentrated in use by the Southern Army Group).

  10. #10
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    It sounds like you have the forces to deal with internal trouble, but what about the Western powers? In particularly Russia, since they are nearby and have historical ambitions in China (not sure if the game models that?). Could you deal with the Russians in Siberia?
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    It sounds like you have the forces to deal with internal trouble, but what about the Western powers? In particularly Russia, since they are nearby and have historical ambitions in China (not sure if the game models that?). Could you deal with the Russians in Siberia?
    What might be done, what should be done, and how it can be managed are the questions in debate in Peking. There are certainly steps being pursued to build CP to Vassalize Amur and drive the Russians out, by Crisis if necessary, and establish a military base at Ulan Bator to counter Irkutsk, but without transport across trackless wasteland any major offensive would be precarious. Certainly there is some urgency, since the Russians have many colonial options and the Empire just a few.

    This is not an interactive AAR, but as I don't play far ahead the suggestions of wise Mandarins are always given due consideration by the Grand Council.

    In any case, things are not as quiet as the Mandarins might want.
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 10-09-2011 at 15:06.

  12. #12

    Irredentist Outrages in Yunnan: Kunming Besieged, Dali Isolated, Tibet in Disorder

    Late Feb 1852 – March 1852:

    Imperial tranquility was disturbed by news of disorders in the West. The Tibetan government was expelled from Lhasa by rebels, and nearer to home in Yunnan rebels besieged Kunming, overrunning the countryside, and revolted in Yibin. Dali, further west, had no garrison and there was unrest signaling danger in the countryside. Fortunately, the Tibet and Yunan Banners had earlier reached Kunming, and in the fierce winter weather they held the city and sent an urgent message for relief. The rebels did not appear numerous, but the strength of the force in Yibin appeared larger and they feared it might descend on Kunming at any moment.

    This was the opportunity Jiang Zhang Guoliang had awaited. News of revolt had reached him in Nanning and he immediately rode himself with the dispatch rider in tow to Southern Army Group Headquarters in Kuangsi and laid the facts before Yuan Shuai Guanwen. Though Guanwen would like nothing more than to take part in the extirpation of rebels, he was a judicious man for whom completion of the pacification of the Taiping in Guangxi must take precedence over a small outbreak in Yunnan. The winter weather was harsh in the mountains, yet Imperial authority demanded an immediate and forceful response.

    Thus he graciously acceded to Zhang’s request that his army in Nanning, which was already closer to the troubles, contain the outbreak. It was designated the Yunnan Army and shortly on the march. See an artist’s rendering of the strategic situation below:
    News of a fresh revolt of course reflected adversely on the War Secretariat in Peking, and provided the opportunity for certain of its officials to suggest to the Grand Secretaries that there once again be raised with the Finance Secretariat on a sub-ministerial level a concern that high levels of taxation might be contributing to thoughts of disloyalty and indirectly contributing to the likelihood of revolt. With rates of Wealth Tax at 3%, 5% Commerce Tax, 16% Excise Tax, 16% Tariff, 7% Additional Wealth Tax, and 10% Maritime Tax, the Finance Secretariat argued once again that taxes were low, especially in view of the fact that Excise Tax and Maritime Tax were never collected and imports were obtained so rarely that the absurdly low rate of Tariff scarcely mattered. Moreover, maintaining a reserve of funds was prudent to deal with misfortunes such as this revolt.

    On post-economic crisis world markets, supply varied widely. Steel and industrial inputs were generally in high supply and low demand, anything consumed by domestic populations was greatly oversubscribed, and no Gems, Luxuries, Chemicals, Rum, Iron or Mechanical Parts were offered on international markets at all. China, of course, held a monopoly on Silk and was a large supplier of Rice, but also sold Textiles, Coal, Dyes, Fish and Tea.

    In world news of interest, Russia in early March provoked a crisis over the Holy Land but the Ottoman Empire reduced tensions by accommodation to the Russians. This example of Russian aggressiveness stimulated concern, as did construction of a border fort south of Irkutsk, facing the garrison and recently-built depot at Ulan Bator.

    Jiang Zhang’s forces were greatly fatigued by terrain and weather, and Zhang himself was indisposed through March, his forces fixed in Nanpang for reasons later debated, while to the west the feared revolt in Dali materialized and took that city. The Hunan Banner of native infantry, not under Zhang’s direct command, continued forward in Late March to Kunming, the forces in the city sortied, and the rebels retired before it into the mountainous hinterlands.
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 10-09-2011 at 15:08.

  13. #13

    Unrest and Sedition - Hengzhou Betrayed! - Xiao’s “Devils” Converge at City

    Devils in the Night

    The suppression of the Taiping rebels in Guangxi had proceeded well in had for months, but their sedition continued in the shadows. At the beginning of April, as if part of a broad and deep-laid plot, Taiping rose without warning “like Devils” from the earth to murder, rob, and sow disorder and sedition in estates, villages and towns in a band of regions south of the Yangtze stretching from the western mountains to the eastern sea – the provinces of Hunan, Guangdong and Jiangxi were afflicted. Although the Imperial authorities maintained military control at the outset, there was obvious risk of serious revolt where there were no Imperial troops or loyal peasant militia to deter or contain outbreaks.

    In what was immediately denounced as obvious treason, the town of Wujiang in Hunan and the city of Hengzhou in northern Guangdong were betrayed and seized, reputedly overnight by “rushes of Devils in the night.” A formidable fanatical army had secretly assembled at Hengzhou – outside the zone of Imperial suspicion – under Xiao Chaogui, purported interlocutor between the fallen false prophet Hong and his God. Xiao was called for this reason “voice of God” by believers and mocked derisively as “the mouth” by detractors.

    See the artist’s depiction of the situation confronting the Yuan Shuai Guanwen and the Imperial authorities at this time and the composition of forces. [
    The location of the fresh unrest dislocated all military preparations that had been made, and the commanders of the affected Army Groups acted quickly and independently without consultation due to the risk of a massive revolt if all the restive regions escaped the constraining hands of the local governors.

    Her Chyun’s Strategy (Yangtze Army Group)

    News north traveled fastest by river to the Yangtze, and then downstream to the coast, where disorders were also already apparent in Jiangxi. Yuan Shuai Her Chyun, commander of the modestly sized Yangtze (Central) Army Group, concluded quickly that the contagion must be widespread and vast expanses of territory were in peril. He sent couriers by water and land to the capital advising them of the tidings, his prudently guarded but defensibly ominous assessment of the possible situation and the consequences of neglect, and a request for strong reinforcements from the north to garrison the Yangtze line and its major cities and key industries, including among them the important iron, silk, and tea resources around Changde, Changsha and Wuchang, at the moment guarded only by a single hastily formed peasant militia regiment (which is not to dismiss the deterrent effect of even a small body of determined men in reducing revolt risk from over 2% to below 1%.).

    Her executed his plan by ordering his junior Shuai Xu Youren, an officer with good defensive skill (4-1-2), upriver by fast boat to Nanchang to take command of the 12,250 men of the Kiangsu Native Banner already there and to supervise recruitment of a new Regular Grand Banner (already within the financial authority of the Army Group) at that location. Xu was also charged to recruit fresh detachments of troops to be distributed in small numbers to police the Yangtze provinces – Her assumed the responsibility for this unauthorized expenditure. Xu was directed to maintain control and act defensively, but not hazard his army and the Yangtze barrier in an attack against the main enemy army.

    Her also knew very well that all of Fukien was undefended and determined upon an ambitious strategy. Relying on northern forces to secure Jiangxi, Her embarked the Changzhou garrison, consisting of the 13,000 men and 20 guns of the Kiangsu Grand Banner, to sail downriver and thence down the coast to Chaozhou, from which he could march northwest to Ganzhou. This was a defensible and important city where Her coulid block the Devils from advancing east into Fukien and threaten their base at Hengzhou and their flank and rear should they march north toward Nanchang or south to Canton. If Guanwen reacted intelligently, Xiao would be caught between the Imperial forces and contained until adequate forces gathered to complete his destruction. The rebels had fought like Devils the previous year – it was wise to assume they would fight as fiercely now.

    Guawen’s Response (Southern Army Group)

    As usual, Yuan Shuai Guanwen’s response to military surprises was quick and decisive. Although the power of Xiao’s Force was twice as great as his own, he immediately organized to march on Shaozhou, a Level 3 City that would provide supplies, cover Canton, and allow him to dog the Devils’ heels – for he did not expect the rebels to stand idle. He would collect troops from Foshan en route, the Fukien banner in Nanning would follow to bring the main army to 40,000 men and 30 guns. Jiang Zuo Zongtang on the coast would be responsible along with the levies for maintaining order behind the main army. The regulars at Yung An would advance on Wujiang unless they received word that Jiang Zhang had turned east to take that city, in which case they would focus on local control.

    Guanwen assumed that Zhang would turn east to assist against the obvious main threat if he received word early enough, leaving forces in Kunming sufficient to hold the region even if not enough to pry the rebels out of Dali and the mountains. Or, if he decided it was necessary to proceed against the Yunnan rebels, he would detach such forces as he could to reinforce Guanwen. Guanwen sent a message accordingly. As to the Yangtze Army Group, he assumed Her would concentrate at Nanchang and march south.

    As things turned out, Zhang had turned east on word of the reappearance of the Taiping, and two banners of the Kunming army continued with its planned attack on Dali while the third garrisoned Kunming.
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 10-09-2011 at 15:11.

  14. #14

    Reports from China: Panic in Peking, Desperate Mobilization to Face Rebel Hordes

    Marshals and Mandarins

    Below the Secretariat of War, the military high command in Peking was held by He Guiqing, who also served as the commander of the Imperial Guard Army, a force of 35,000 men and 60 guns that was, it was said in whispers, fixed in place by the weight of Imperial paperwork. So indeed it seemed in Early April, with a burden so great that there was no time to accomplish anything else.

    The Imperial Guard was separate from the Northern Army Group, which He also commanded. This excluded the independent banner of Lanzhou in the far west, and consisted, beyond the fixed artillery at Palikao and a few detached brigades, of the Mongolian Garrison Army (a reinforced Grand Banner of 18,000 men and 24 guns) north of Peking, the 12,250-strong Shansi Banner in Taiyuan west of Peking, the newly raised Manchu Fanatic Army (renamed the Manchu Gold Banner) of 14,000 men and 36 guns within the capital city, and, further south and in order from the coast inland along the Yellow River, the banners of Shantung, Honan, and Shensi. In total strength, counting the Imperial Guard as well, this was about 120,000 men and 144 guns. In mobile forces, this compared with Yangtze Army Group’s 45,000 men and 20 guns (not counting 19,00 fixed peasant rebel militia in 3 brigades in Nanking and Hunan), and the 121,000 men and 66 guns of Southern Army Group (including 4,000 Levy garrison troops and 30,000 men tied down in snowy Kunming). With total forces within the scope of the Army Groups of Yangtze and the South approaching 200,000 men, a number which might be thought easily sufficient for the small number of rebels in the field, how was it that the full weight of the Northern Army Group came to be committed immediately to this campaign?

    Expansion plans already in hand to prepare for conflict with Russia or in Indochina were forcibly modified as a result of commitment already undertaken by Her, although many of the Units were of the same kind. In addition to the Grand Banner whose immediate recruitment at Nanchang was ordered by Yuan Shuai Her, in accordance with his plan the raising up of a regular Warband and an artillery regiment were also initiated by Xu at neighboring Wuchang – this would add 20,000 men and 12 guns to the Yangtze Army Group. A Levy Warband from Huizhou to the east would add another 6000. Raising of full banner of 8000 Manchu cavalry around Peking continued. Regiments were also levied in Ningguo, Shanghai, Ganzhou, Changsha and Huangzhu which would provide another 10,000 for police purposes.

    He Guiqing was displeased with Her Chyun’s dispatches for reasons beyond the shock of a Taiping resurgence, some of which reasons could be discussed in Grand Council, some which could not.

    He’s forces had operated from Hengzhou during the prior campaign and considered it a secure base. Was there some evidence of sedition he had missed? Could he be censured for such a failure, or failing to recommend placement of a garrison in the city? As former commander along the Yangtze, what failures to prepare might the censorate find after review of the facts on the ground and the mountains of memorials and memoranda in the Imperial files? It was the safe core of the country, one reason for the flowering of industry and agriculture there. Her Chyun was in charge and had months to detect mischief and take action, so any censure for neglect would fall on Her before He. Not to mention Guanwen, whose oversight of the rebel problem had failed in having too narrow a scope.

    There was also the matter of Her overstepping procedures in his directives to raise troops and leaving the critical cities of the Yangtze delta practically uncovered against potential rebels from the countryside in order to sail south looking for a fight. Yet not to follow the path down which Her had rushed and reinforce the Yangtze valley would add fresh risks. Her might win battles, and Guanwan might win battles, but in the Empire success could mitigate but not excuse imprudence or rashness.

    There was also a potential darkness behind these affairs. Treachery was reported in the shocking rebel success – but how far did it extend? Was Guanwen really unaware of the rise of Taiping sentiments outside his specific area of control – were those limits, excluding Hengzhou and instead using Canton as a major supply base, chosen for hidden reasons? There was also Zhang’s idleness at Nanpang – what was really behind that? The Yunnan revolt might have been well on the way to being crushed, but he held position and reorganized. This would make it all the longer until Yunnan was recovered and his troops could join the central fight – something that would delay Guanwen’s ability to assemble superior forces and control the provinces. Clearly all to the advantage of the Taiping. Could Guanwen, with large armies at his command, have ambitions beyond military glory? A secret plot with the Taiping was remotely possible. Or a plot to follow defeat of the rebels – one relying on northern troops to bear the brunt of combat and expose themselves to treacherous attack. Consider also Her, once Guanwen’s patron, rushing so quickly with troops to the south and leaving Xu alone on the middle river at Nanchang – an easy target for that Devil Xiao, and a scapegoat for defeat. The loss of the Yangtze valley would be catastrophic. On a different view, Her’s actions were rash but of strategic merit. He might well be fully loyal even if Guanwen was not, but if their armies joined together then might also their minds. Either union was to be deflected.

    So many suspicions and contingencies swirled in the air before He, yet could not be openly voiced nor reach the ears of the Emperor unless He wished to stake his fate upon their truth. Yet others would see and discuss the possibilities, and cautious grounded speculation and even subtleties of manner might serve to turn minds and events to these points in a way that secured the Empire and incidentally his own fortunes no matter the actual intentions or actions of his fellow grand marshals.

    There was little time before he must report on events to both Grand Secretaries of War. He could take time to provide a proposed course of action, but in this matter he had to plan before speaking his first word to the Secretariat. One would take private hints well and always saw wisdom in precautions to avoid offering temptations to generals, or enemies. To the other, nothing could safely be disclosed that could not be presented formally. A series of discussions would have to suffice.

    In all events and against all enemies, the Yangtze must be secure. But first, the Emperor and the capital must be secure against any deeply-hidden treachery, even by the most trusted commanders. The Imperial Guard must remain in the capital, and the other Forces must go south. They must secure the line of the Yangtze. The forces there must as a precaution be removed from Her’s command, and Her must be kept separate from Guanwen but fully occupied against the rebels. So let Guanwen’s Army Group become Southwest rather than Southern, extending to Tibet and the west. Her would command a new Southeast Army Group with responsibility for Fukien, Guangdong and –why not? – Taiwan.

    He Guiqing himself would assume command of the Yangtze Army Group on temporary basis, and the vain, arrogant but popular Xiang Rong would be acting titular commander of what little would be left in the north and would preside at the Palikao coastal fort, while the Imperial Guard would be left in effect under the direct command of the Emperor. Scholar and Shuai Zeng Guofan was considered reliable and would along with two Jiang of note would march south – the navy was ordered to provide transport, though those arrangements involved some delay.

    What orders to send to Guanwen and Her? The prudent course was to preserve the new Yangtze Army Group and engage the main clusters of Devils with Guanwen and Her. While a concentration of force against such a historically fierce opponent was necessary, allowing Guanwen too many troops presented a risk. Separating Zhang from Guanwen was a reasonable precaution and easily justified. It made sense, then, to order Southwest Army Group to have Jiang Zhang crush the Yunnan rebels and then secure the countryside in Guangxi, while Guanwen sought engagement with Devil Xiao. Her would receive a dispatch approving, with appropriate procedural reservations, his planned operation to Ganzhou (his other conduct would be reviewed later), and would be charged with maintaining a position to cover Fukien against rebel incursions, though he might support Guanwen where possible if not at the risk of allowing the Devils to expand to the east. This would prevent a union of the Southwest and Southeast forces. The reinforced Yangtze Army Group would secure the Yangtze valley, contain the rebels if they attempted to move north, and then advance south to help entrap the Devil’s Forces.

    So He conceived the plan of operations, and so the Secretariat proposed, the Grand Council approved, and the Emperor concurred.

    The internal logic of this massive commitment of forces was known in different degrees to different persons, but for the foreign embassies, merchants, and other visitors in Peking it appeared only in the context of rumor at first and then massive and apparently urgent troop movements to the south. The Taiping rebellion of 1851 had been so brief that the chief item of international note was its heretical Christian pretext, but it was swiftly crushed and soon forgotten as just another in a long history of regional rebellions. This second and greater wave two seasons later attracted immediate attention among foreigners, only heightened by the immediate and dramatic military response, which impressed the European not with the Empire’s strength but as a show of weakness in the face of rebellion. Europeans in the Far East and ambassadorial and commercial reports rarely missed an opportunity to raise the recurrent question of China’s political stability and fitness to maintain order and protect private property and foreign nationals within its territory.

    Chinese officials were long accustomed to the presumptuous and tiresome entreaties, expectations and demands of Westerners and their governments, endured only by reason of necessity. Peking was distant from the field of battle, and its citizens stood in full expectation that the rebellion would be crushed and its leaders permanently eliminated. The foreigners contemplated other possibilities, and opportunities, and their representations to the administration revisited familiar avenues but with more pressing language. The responsible state undersecretaries, particularly cautious and sensitive to Imperial anger and the displeasure and embarrassment of their superiors, caused the insulting implications to be interpreted, shaped, and shaded to divest these statements of their force and imbue them with the expected forms of polite respect suitable for Imperial consumption and review. The Emperor was pleased by the supplicatory felicitations of the foreigners and their impressions of Imperial military strength and an appreciative response was returned. It was in this way that the great potential effect of the course of the rebellion and the Imperial plans to suppress it upon foreign interests, expectations and intentions was grossly misperceived by the Emperor and senior officials, who conveyed to the military an unwarranted sense of assurance regarding China’s safety against foreign opportunism while it was domestically engaged with the rebels. The foreigners took this all as implicit acknowledgement of the serious danger presented by the rebellion and uncertainty regarding its suppression (and therefore regarding the protection of foreign subjects and property).

  15. #15
    First Lieutenant gimpli's Avatar
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    I have always just stuck the screenshot into a free dropbox account... You then use the URL that you can use for sharing docs, to upload to the forum. Works just fine.

  16. #16

    Wujiang Relieved - Changsha Overrun - Governor Flees Downriver - Call for Levies

    April 1852: Stemming the Tide

    The first battle was on April 5, when the 4500 regulars from Yung An arrived at Wujiang and forced 12,800 Taiping peasant militia to retreat. Losses were 205 to 1230 in the assault, and further loss inflicted in the retreat. 6,400 Taiping tried fate on the 16th and were stopped by losses. On April 8 the “Taiping Reinforcements” of 13,050 men, 528 horse, and 24 cannon (CE over 160), lacking only a recognized leader, arrived from Hengzhou at Changsha and dispersed the Levy forming there without loss to themselves. 6,400 Loyalist peasants then engaged the Taiping on the 9th and were wiped out.

    Shuai Xu at Nanchang was responsible for protecting the troops in training in both Wuchang and Nanchang while awaiting the hoped-for arrival by ship of reinforcements requested by Yuan Shuai Her Chyun from the north. He had only his Kiangsi banner ready for action. Judging that any farther advance by the rebels would be toward the easier target of Wuchang, where there was also a clear risk of revolt, he moved his Banner thence.

    Further west, the Kweichow banner came into Anshun from Guizhou to prevent roving peasant Devils from seizing control of the poor agricultural region, spending the month chasing and cutting them down. Jiang Zhang had marched on Guiyang City, around which a band of peasants waited apprehensively on defense, only to suffer more of his mysterious and unreported difficulties that caused his command to be fixed in place mid-month. Consequently in late April fresh rebels arose and captured Guiyang and the town of Zhenyuan to the east of it, but the next day Guiyang was retaken by the fire brigade of Imperial regulars from the Yung An garrison that had provided such good service. They beat back a further incursion by Taiping regulars as well–the musket advantage was key. Zhang, at last ready to move, set off to drive off the peasants menacing Wuijiang and then turn to Yung An.

    Levy troops captured the town of Baoqing between Changsha and Wuijiang, establishing a wider belt of Taiping influence, but the peasants in Wujiang, previously chastened by the Imperials, dared not storm the town.

    The rebels became active in Guangxi late in the month, a battalion of evasive regulars appearing in Foshan as Yuan Shuai Guanwen marched through towards Hengzhou and the garrison Regulars marched to besiege Yung An, the capital which stealthy Devil levies had reclaimed. Making things worse, a mixed force of horse and foot appeared in Luizhou to the west of Yung An and cut up the Levy garrison. On the coast, Zuo Zongfang was disappointingly inactive, having a hard time rousing his men from their cantonments to maintain order in Beihai and Nanning.

    The most disturbing news was an uprising in southern Jiangxi, where rebel horse took unprotected Hengzhou on the coast and levies took Jinhua inland on Lake Poyang. This raised great concern in Nanking and Shanghai. The Northern troops were late in embarking at the ports to the north and the fleet was slow, but would soon be in action. He Guiqing and Zeng Guofan had been kept in Peking by press of business and had to follow by packet ship, and the lack of leadership from the front meant the naval captains proceeded with caution.

    The rebels also pushed into Fukien now, a large force of levies besieging the small recruiting cadre in Ganzhou. Fortunately Yuan Shuai Her Chyun was already en route with a superior force.

    In Yunan, the Yunan Banner at Kunming was unable to bring the rebels to battle early in the month as they vanished like ghosts, but military control was fully restored. The Dali column struggled to its destination through the Spring snow, but the rebels evaded battle on the 14th and again disappeared. Dali was occupied, and the Yunan rebels soon announced that they would make peace (i.e., their relationship went up to 1) and the active uprising faded away. Yet Yibin remained lawless, so the Hunan Banner was directed there on its way home while the Tibet Banner and a Supply Wagon occupied Dali (the Wagons drew supplies from Kunming). Plans to relieve Tibet were not necessary as the rebels there reached an accommodation with the Lamas.

    A regular regiment began a pacification operation in the Amur capital region of Haishenwai to rouse the natives to destroy the Russian trading post there. Other forces were moving to their destinations.

    In international news, a perception of Chinese weakness may have prompted British adventurism – Great Britain acquired a short-term casus belli against Burma. Lacking diplomats for several months, and being obliged to focus on Tonkin and Annam, China could only sit idly even if it wished to act. Nor did it currently have the forces or logistical arrangements to fulfill any promises of support.

  17. #17

    Reinforcements: Xu Advances - Devil Xiao Attacks - Hengzhou Invested - Ghost Soldiers

    May 1852: Imperial Offensive to Contain Taiping

    May saw numerous skirmishes and territories changing hands with ruinous frequency, but the key development was the delayed landing of the Northern forces on the Central Yangtze and the newly raised Forces coming to readiness.

    The back and forth war of detachments in early May was too extensive to describe in detail. Of great importance was the landing of fresh troops on the Yangtze, following which He Guiqing sank into medical inactivity but Shuai Xu led a large army against Changsha that was followed by a wave of battles across the theater of war as major forces came to blows. At Changsha 38,000 Imperials and 48 cannon faced 46,000 Devils with 30 cannon. Xu’s losses were heavy, 9800 to the Taiping 4800. Her Chyun lost a battle in neighboring Dijan against superior Taiping forces that concentrated under the Devil Xiao, including the elites, but casualties were only 20% more men than the enemy and that must be accounted a positive step as the manpower resources of the rebellion other than peasants seemed limited. In positive news, Jiang Zhang arrived at the rebel capital of Yung An and used his superior artillery to destroy the 3500 regular defenders. Zhenyuan in Hunan was liberated in a sharp battle, but the savage Devils burned the town as they fled. These were only the chief engagements of May.

    At the end of the month the Imperial commanders could view the situation with some satisfaction. The rebels had control only in a cluster of regions south of the Yangtze. They had full control only of Changsha and Dijan against which strong and growing Imperial forces were opposed in Wuchang and Nanchang. Farther south Guanwen had occupied the countryside and laid the city of Hengzhou under siege. The Taiping maintained tenuous control over the towns of Baoqing a little to the west and Jinhua isolated off to the northeast, but lacked control of their hinterlands. Yet Taiping loyalties remained across the breadth of the country and required firm suppression. From Yuan Shuai Her Chyun’s perspective, the suspicions of April were fading.

    Odd Events in the Southwest

    In other news, Prussia forged a casus belli against Wurtemburg.

    In international news with domestic effects, Hue revolted against the cruelty of Annam (or so it was said – to Imperial knowledge, Annam was always a most agreeable country with a benign leadership ready to learn from the wisdom of the Empire). This revolt appeared to take the form of a spontaneous rising of 30,000 troops in total throughout Hue and Tonkin (though not the rest of Annam) all proclaiming their loyalty under the Imperial flag – two Warbands, two Cavalry Brigades in Thanh Hoa, and 6 Infantry Brigades. Uncertain of what to do, the Imperial ambassador directed these troops to assemble at the Tonkin capital.

    In a similar incident at Longing in Yunnan, on the Burmese border, there appeared a force under the Chinese flag 59,000 men strong - Levy, Native Regular infantry, Cavalry - including a mix of Native Regulars, opposing some Levy rebels. In Yibin, just pacified by the Hunan Banner, 14,250 men in organized Units appeared. These mountains being no place for such a large body of volunteers to remain, most of them were ordered down to well-supplied Kunming to explain themselves, though detachments were directed farther to help secure the countryside. The appearance of more than 100,000 troops on the southwest frontiers was incredible, and their provenance was decidedly irregular. What to do with these mysterious warriors? Might they be safely disbanded? WAD is going on?

  18. #18
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Good to see you're still working on the Russian nuisance in Amur - I would've thought that all the rebellions would fully occupy your time.

    And what is going on with all these 'volunteers' that have appeared in the south? Can you at least use them to quickly crush your rebel problem?
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  19. #19
    Volunteers appear at times, but such substantial stacks in unlikely places either mean Yunnan rebels making peace with the Empire, Annamese rebels pledging loyalty to the Empire (maybe rebels of Chinese origin?), a boost for the AI (as China is only intended to be played by the AI), or some kind of bug. Therefore I disbanded all the 100,000 extras - keeping just a couple of units that seemed like plausible local volunteers.
    Last edited by Sir Garnet; 11-09-2011 at 11:44.

  20. #20
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    how do you find the play experience with the non-scripted countries ... apart from a few things probably designed to make life harder for one of the player led states this sounds quite in-depth with a lot of challenges
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