The Greater Japanese Empire - A Japan 1936 AAR
The 2-2-6 Coup
On January 1st 1936 the Japanese Cabinet met to consider the issue of the completion of the conquest of China, and it was decided that over the course of the next two years that an expansionist mainland Chinese policy would be implemented. Emperor Hirohito personally ratified this policy and Imperial General Headquarters were asked to draw up war plans for continued expansion into China. Further, it was decided that any new military operation should begin before the end of the year at the latest and that “military preparations should commence forthwith to that effect”.
In the upper echelons of government the decision was taken to focus research efforts on industrial technologies so that Japan may make more efficient use of her moderately sized industrial base. To that end, Mitsui (which specialised in chemical manufacture and industrial engineering) was contracted to research and develop improvements in machine tools. Additionally, in light of the scarcity of domestic oil supplies and the reliance on foreign imports, Sumimoto was tasked with improving the synthetic oil refinery process.
Alongside industrial research and development, the decision was taken to direct research towards infantry and land war based tactical and strategic doctrines and developments. Tomoyoki Yamashita was asked to personally oversee developments of early field hospital systems and the Tokyo Arsenal was tasked with the producing equipment for mountain infantry personnel. Finally, Hideki Tojo was asked to develop his concept of deep logistics organisation.
Armaments Minister Machida Chuji was directed to implement the policy of greater state involvement in industry. It was thought that with greater central planning in the economy, industry could be made more efficient and made to work much more for the needs of the military.
Chuji was a busy man in January. At the start of 1936 the Japanese military was equipped with obsolete weapons systems and equipment. The decision was therefore taken to increase funding of upgrade efforts, and Armaments Minister Machida Chuji was to implement this policy. Right across the Japanese military decades old weapons and equipment were scrapped and replaced with newer models.
With the decision taken to implement an expansionist mainland Chinese policy over the course of the next two years, it was obvious to those in power that the Imperial Japanese Army would have to be expanded as quickly as possible. Additional infantry and militia divisions were to be recruited, with the overall aim of increasing the number of foot infantry divisions (which at the start of the year stood at 25) and bulking out newly formed corps with hastily recruited militia.
In January a report crossed the desk of intelligence chiefs detailing the potential risk of revolts, in both the annexed Chinese province of Dalian and the island of Taipei. Local partisan forces and bandits had been reported operating in these areas, and so four garrison divisions that had been stationed in the north of the Japanese archipelago, were swiftly relocated to these trouble spots and assigned anti-partisan duties.
In early February 1936 Japanese Secret Services intercepted a message from the United States of America to a Japanese American citizen living in Tokyo. Once decrypted it was clear that this individual was a spy who was being instructed to begin disseminating various falsehoods about the Japanese political elite. Immediately efforts were made to apprehend this individual. Furthermore, funding was made available in order to allow a counter-intelligence operation to begin. Shortly afterwards the spy was arrested and found to be in possession of literature questioning Emperor Hirohito’s mental health and which also made several claims of the cabinet. The spy was later executed. The ensuing diplomatic incident seriously undermined relations between the two parties. At a cabinet meeting in late February the issue of the United States of America and her new belligerent foreign policy was raised and it was decided that the Japanese Secret Services were to begin forthwith planning and preparations for Japanese covert operations against the United States in response. They were to present to the cabinet on the 1st March 1936 various plans from which to choose.
Coup troops occupy the Nagata-cho area in Tokyo during the February 26th coup.
On February 26th a group of young officers who sympathised with the political ideals recorded in An Outline Plan for the Reorganisation of Japan and whose slogan was “the Showa restoration” and “Revere the Emperor, Expel the Evils” launched a coup attempt. With approximately 1,483 soldiers they targeted six political leaders, including Prime Minister Okada Keisuke and Finance Minister Takahashi Korekiyo. The building of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department was occupied by coup troops, along with the official residence of Home Minister Goto Fumio and several other buildings in Tokyo.
When told of the coup, and fearing bloodshed on the streets of Tokyo, the Emperor ordered that their demands should be “listened to”. With the coup a success the liberal Taisho democracy was abolished, political parties outlawed and so-called “dissidents” arrested. Power now lay in the hands of Emperor Hirohito and the military leadership. Ushio Shigenosuke replaced Goto Fumio as Home Minister, Fujita Hisanori replaced Osumi Mineo as Chief of the Navy, Kawasaki Takukichi replaced Machida Chuji as Armaments Minister, Takasu Shiro became Head of Intelligence, while Oikawa Koshiro replaced Yamamoto Isoroku as Chief of the Air Force. Finally, Senjuro Hayashi replaced Okada Keisuke as Prime Minister in this new authoritarian and extreme nationalist government.
Notes: I am playing vanilla Doomsday with the last patch installed, on medium difficulty and medium aggressiveness, as Japan in the ‘36 scenario.
I decided to play as Japan since I can’t seem to recall ever really getting my teeth into a good game as Japan back in the day, and I thought it would be an interesting challenge. I haven’t played Hearts of Iron 2 for about four years, so I thought I’d write an AAR -- I always find that in games where a lot of planning is involved, writing an AAR along the way helps me to organise my thoughts and I usually play a bit better.
As I say I haven’t played this game for years and I am going to be very rusty. I am sure I will make mistakes and lose battles, but I will not be reloading or cheating in any way; what happens happens and I will write about it in the AAR.
Also, since I am writing this more as an aid to my gameplay than anything else, I may make historical mistakes in my writing, and I will be giving more of an overview of events as opposed to really detailed descriptions.
I plan to update once or twice every week, with each update covering months of gameplay. Unless something drastic happens (like my computer dies or something) I intend to carry on until the end of the game.