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Thread: LIFE in the Trenches: 1936 Xibei San Ma

  1. #141
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    There goes the neighbourhood. A great update as always, well worth the time spent! The Ma continue to solidify their grip upon China, and it seems that if the Japanese can be caught with their pants down they'll have no more rivals in your attempts to unify China.

    I wonder how the Soviet Union feels about the seizure of Sinkiang's land.
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  2. #142
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    so the main course has kicked off, always felt it was wierd playing a Chinese faction in HOI2 just how long you would be at war before anything occurs in Europe. Nice land grab in Sinkiang, gives you a bit of depth if a war with Japan goes badly

    and as ever, great use of supporting information
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  3. #143
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    Hi eqqman,

    I haven't commented in here before, but I've been reading. I love your concept and, even more, its execution. Well done. Also: I've named you Best Character Writer of the Week, so pop over and say a few words to your adoring public when you get the chance.

    Keep up the great work!

    AP

  4. #144
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    Well, that relegates Xibei San Ma from one of the main events in the world to a mere sideshow (at least for the time being). The Germans do their thing, the Soviets follow suit, the French do their own thing by not doing anything... History is starting to look more familiar, but at least Xibei San Ma is far better prepared for the eventual onslaught.

    I full well realize it's intentional, but knowing what we know now, Jacques' musings on Lou Gehrig's retirement have a melancholic quality to them, even if Jacques himself (and his world at large) has yet to grasp just how tragic things will be.
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  5. #145
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis View Post
    The Ma continue to solidify their grip upon China, and it seems that if the Japanese can be caught with their pants down they'll have no more rivals in your attempts to unify China.

    I wonder how the Soviet Union feels about the seizure of Sinkiang's land.
    It will be difficult finding such an opportunity, since the Japanese have no trouble massing troops along the border, even if they don't declare war.

    I can't imagine Stalin is too thrilled at the loss of a potential puppet, but at least he has the Finns to worry about now.

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    so the main course has kicked off, always felt it was weird playing a Chinese faction in HOI2 just how long you would be at war before anything occurs in Europe. Nice land grab in Sinkiang, gives you a bit of depth if a war with Japan goes badly
    Hmmm, I hadn't quite thought of that. I had assumes that since this is FtM, I would only have to worry about defending my original two VP provinces, but since the other territory I have taken is annexed and not occupied, that might count towards surrender. In that case, I could now be in trouble if a war starts with Japan since I could have a hard time defending a lot of the RoC's old VPs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Packer View Post
    Hi eqqman,

    I haven't commented in here before, but I've been reading. I love your concept and, even more, its execution. Well done. Also: I've named you Best Character Writer of the Week, so pop over and say a few words to your adoring public when you get the chance.

    Keep up the great work!

    AP
    Thank you! I've noticed that we have quite a duel going in the latest round of voting for the AARland Choice AwAARds, but I don't expect to win. Cats that look like Hitler are nearly impossible to beat! I tip my hat to you, sir, and welcome to the AAR!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Well, that relegates Xibei San Ma from one of the main events in the world to a mere sideshow (at least for the time being). The Germans do their thing, the Soviets follow suit, the French do their own thing by not doing anything... History is starting to look more familiar, but at least Xibei San Ma is far better prepared for the eventual onslaught.

    I full well realize it's intentional, but knowing what we know now, Jacques' musings on Lou Gehrig's retirement have a melancholic quality to them, even if Jacques himself (and his world at large) has yet to grasp just how tragic things will be.
    Sideshow!?! Well, that depends on who writes the history books, hehehe... but the action in the east is going to largely die out for the foreseeable future, as I will be waiting around for a very key event before I make my next major move.

    The Pride of the Yankees is certainly missed.

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqqman View Post
    Thank you! I've noticed that we have quite a duel going in the latest round of voting for the AARland Choice AwAARds, but I don't expect to win. Cats that look like Hitler are nearly impossible to beat! I tip my hat to you, sir, and welcome to the AAR!
    To be fair, if anyone can beat a Cat that looks like Hitler, it would be a Dalek handing out Customer Service Experience Surveys at gunpoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Packer View Post
    To be fair, if anyone can beat a Cat that looks like Hitler, it would be a Dalek handing out Customer Service Experience Surveys at gunpoint.
    Hehehe. It could be a tough call, but we'll see.

  8. #148
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    Just a quick note that I am still working on the next update. I have enough material that Jacques' wedding alone could constitute an update in and of itself, but I've decided not to split it off. So the next posting will basically be a double update with twice the material, I'll keep my fingers crossed it isn't too much to read.

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    1939, Fall - The End of the Warlord Era



    Only innocent merchant seamen have seen action so far


    2 October: News over the wireless that the Soviet Union has signed a peace treaty with the Finns, following some surprisingly hard-fought victories. The Finns are going to have to allow a Russian presence on some of their Baltic lands so that the Soviet Union can provide greater security for Leningrad. Compared to what *might* have happened in the aftermath of a war with Russia, I would say that Finland should count itself lucky. If they donít, perhaps they might want to speak with the Poles or Czechs.


    Soviet troops with a captured Finnish flag.
    The Red Army struggled more than they expected, but the outcome was likely inevitable all the same


    3 October: More news. German troops have occupied Denmark, although no formal declaration of war was issued. The German Chancellor is claiming that their troops are there to safeguard the country against an invasion from Britain, which ostensibly could happen if the British sought to interdict Germanyís Baltic trade. Historically speaking this supposition is perhaps not utterly implausible, as the British had in fact done something similar in 1807 when they were concerned that Napoleon might use the Danish & Norwegian fleets against them. Thanks to the improbable treaty of friendship between Germany and the USSR, this closes off both ends of the Baltic to Britain. It still remains to be seen what aggressive moves, if any, the Allies will take at this point. So far aside from attacks against merchantmen at sea there is little of anything happening. The German press has been touting the exploits of their commerce raiding, but they canít be doing much damage at this stage since they are limiting their targets to avoid antagonizing any other major powers. Now that Germany has completed all its irredentist dreams, a steady stream of peace offers have been flowing out from Berlin, but the British Commonwealth and France appear determined to fight on, if fighting is the right word to use given the circumstances. Henry says that the lack of activity has the Western papers relabeling the Polish Border War as the `Phoney War`.


    Denmark saved from wanton acts of British aggression


    10 October: Witnessed a meeting today the like of which I doubt I will see again: a conflux of three ambassadors. The United Kingdom used to have its consulate set up in Chungking, and Ambassador Archibald Kerr was famous for being willing to swim in the Yangtze River. When the Mas took the city, the British kept him on there, but have since relocated their consulate to Golmud; the `grand opening` so to speak happened last week. Shigeru Kawagoe from Japan hasnít left since his earlier arrival some time ago. This morning I was summoned to the airport to take some snapshots of an important VIP who was arriving for more talks, and this turned out to be no-one less than Vyacheslav Molotov himself from the Soviet Union. He must have been rushed here from Moscow, as I would have assumed heíd have been involved in the treaty with the Finns. After my arrival I found out that all of the major power blocks, Axis, Allies, and Comintern, are making pitches this week to try and influence Ma Hongkui into allying with one or the other of them formally. When our party arrived at the government building, I saw that Japanese Ambassador Kawagoe was there already along with Ambassador Kerr, although Kawagoe has sent Chiang back to Taiwan this time.


    Vyacheslav Molotov with the rest of the Soviet delegation before the meeting with Ma Hongkui.
    This would be his first and only visit to Golmud


    Ma Hongkui had all these diplomats and their respective associates gathered in the buildingís largest meeting hall; there must have been several dozen men crammed into it. He kept everybody waiting for almost half an hour before entering. Everyone there was buzzing with anticipation, and nobody could explain why he wasnít having one-on-one talks with each respective faction. His entrance was quite dramatic- the meeting room had double doors and he flung them both open at once before confidently striding to the head of the meeting table. It turned out his agenda was quite brief.

    `Gentlemen and honored guests, I have only one thing to say to which we must all be in agreement before any further negotiations can take place. I *am* the President of the Republic of China. ` He then waited for an answer but the men assembled just gave each other awkward glances. After a few moments of this Ambassador Kerr started to speak up.

    `Sir, it is the considered opinion of His Majestyís Government that... `, but he trailed off and went silent under Hongkuiís withering stare. Hongkui then promptly turned on his heel and walked out of the room. Naturally, hubbub ensued. Iím definitely going to need to toss back a few at the public house after this one.

    25 October: Had some interesting news from Ma Hongbin when I was at the government building today. He mentioned in passing that he had worked an agreement with Ambassador Kerr to allow for the licensing of four light cruisers, and he wanted to pass along to me Ma Hongkuiís hope that we can get the new naval facilities in Beihai up to the task of producing these ships. I mentioned that we would, but that will largely fall on Peterís shoulders as he and Max deal with most of the SAFE groupís day-to-day business.

    2 November: Had some odd news from my father via a wire today. He says that last night President Roosevelt made his official proclamation calling for a Day of Thanksgiving, but set the date at November 23rd, not the 30th! This means that our idea to hold the wedding on this date has come to naught. My father said that the morning papers have been full of discussion on this topic. Traditionally, back since President Lincoln started this holiday in 1863, it has been held on the last Thursday of November. It seems now that store owners are wanting to get their Christmas decorations up a bit earlier to try and drum up more business and are now feeling that this date is coming too late since November has five Thursdays instead of the more usual four (itís considered quite gauche to have your Christmas displays out before Thanksgiving is over
    [1]). So as a scheme to support the business community and a hope that a larger Christmas season will be another Depression-fighting tool, the President has decided to move the holiday up to the fourth Thursday in the month instead of the last one. According to my father some of the papers are now deriding it as `Franksgiving`.


    Word leaked out about the switch before the scheduled October proclamation.
    Not everyone was as equally supportive as the retailers


    (Full text of the letter is here: )

    Shinnston, W.VA. August 15, 1939

    The President
    White House
    Washington, D.C.

    Mr. President:

    I see by the paper this morning where you want to change Thanksgiving Day to November 23 of which I heartily approve. Thanks.

    Now, there are some things that I would like done and would appreciate your approval:

    1. Have Sunday changed to Wednesday;
    2. Have Mondayís [sic] to be Christmas;
    3. Have it strictly against the Will of God to work on Tuesday;
    4. Have Thursday to be Pay Day with time and one-half for overtime;
    5. Require everyone to take Friday and Saturday off for a fishing trip down the Potomac.

    With these in view and hoping you will give me some consideration at your next Congress, I remain

    Yours very truly
    Shelby O. Bennett

    SOB:jas


    6 November: Good and surprising news from Ma Hongbin. Our scheme to dupe the AT & T Company into selling telephone exchange equipment to the front company in Hong Kong has reached its fruition. The equipment has arrived and Claire is now making arrangements to have it flown up to Golmud, as air travel is now our most efficient means of getting around due to the state of the roads out here. That was the good news- the *surprising* news is that he also managed to liberate (that is, kidnap) some technicians from the now Japanese-run exchange in Shanghai. Iím sure most of them made no complaints about being able to leave the occupied area of China, but Iím curious as to how Hongbinís espionage networks managed to pull off such a feat. Iíve tried to press him on the details but he isnít talking and the technicians themselves havenít been able to provide any useful information on the topic. I suppose in the long run itís best if I donít know.

    29 November: Having a hard time trying to write... so much al- al- booze.

    Must try to write something down, for sure I wonít remember this evening later. So drunk I even went past the point of wanting to sing... ha!

    Big stag-do at The Americaine, everyone there, Paddy, Crosetti, Peter, Max, Konrad, Claire, Konrad, Poo-bah. Head hurts, some of the lads lifted me up on a chair but lifted too high and smacked my head on the ceiling.

    Glad the lads had the sense not to have ladies present, Jieís family wouldnít approve, no, not one bit. Caught Konrad staring at that picture of his again though, must remember to ask about it soon. But need to get some rest, time to marry Buttercup tomorrow!

    30 November: Have to try and quickly jot some notes down about the wedding while Jie is having a bath- wouldnít do to have the new wife feeling that I have any thoughts right now for anything but her! The house for us and the house for her family still arenít finished, so we had to have the ceremony in the dining area of my hotel. The hotel management was quite accommodating about trying to have some space cleared to hold the ceremony, as well as to provide some food for the guests for a reception afterward.

    Started off in the morning getting dressed in the traditional Chinese-style formal clothes with some assistance from Ma Bufang and his family, who offered to stand in for my own parents. The outfit was very, well, Mandarin in appearance and while viewing myself in the mirror I could pretend I was one of the Emperors from times past. During this same time Jie is getting her hair styled and her own makeup done. The transformation on her was so complete that I would not have known this was my little Jie if everyone had not said so.

    At the proper time my party drove down to the Shengsí current home to collect Jie for the wedding procession. When I arrived at the door, her friends played what they call the `door game`, which consists of denying me entry to the home under the pretense that the friends and family are reluctant to see the bride given away in marriage. They asked me many questions about Jie to try and test my knowledge of her to see how devoted I really was (I had one slip-up, I couldnít name all her uncles). The game then finished when I essentially bribed these doorkeepers to go away with little gifts of money in red envelopes (red is a very traditional good-luck color, it comes up a lot during New Year as well).


    Our wedding procession passes through the shantytown housing most of the miners


    After this I was able to see Jie for the first time in many months, and as I mentioned with the makeup and all she was nearly unrecognizable. We then made a procession with her family and walked down to the venue at the Good Restings. Luckily this was not too far, obviously, Jie needed to live close to work at The Americaine as she needed to walk there as well. After arriving at the venue we made some sets of formal bows: first to Heaven & Earth, then to her parents and mine (indirectly, we faced East), and lastly to each other. Jie then presented tea to Ma Bufang and the other stand-ins there for my family, and received some gifts in return from them which usually involved more money in red envelopes. Then a Buddhist priest and an Episcopalian priest (at the request of my parents) said a few words, and we were married! Then we were able to start in on the wedding feast, which featured a lot of chicken and lobster dishes, chicken representing the Phoenix and the lobster the Dragon, which in turn symbolize the Yin & Yang. There was also plenty of fish as in Mandarin `fish` is a homophone with `abundance`, so it is a symbol of having a wealthy family.


    Members of the Sheng family at the reception


    Now in the evening, we have a special candle lit that is supposed to drive away evil spirits. After her bath, I will feed Jie some half-cooked dumplings sent up by the hotel staff, as `raw` is a homophone for `giving birth`, so this is another symbol of having a strong family. After the meal we shall proceed to some experiences that I shall not care to write down, as they are all too readily imagined!

    1 December: Some terrible news came in this morning while we were getting ready to leave to pack for our honeymoon. Since our houses still arenít completely finished I had rented out Poloís Place so we could have a private breakfast for the entire extended Sheng family. Most of us had finished eating and some people were starting to depart when a messenger came in direct from the telegraph office, who had been dispatched by Ma Hongbin. Now, Jieís father Sheng Qiang is the fifth child in a family of twelve brothers and sisters. The third child is his brother Sheng Cai (ironically meaning `fortune`). Cai was the oldest son and the only one in the family that had received any formal education, so as a consequence he had left to seek his fortune in the big city. He had made his way to Shanghai where he had a position as a low-level bank clerk and had been working there when the Japanese occupied the city. When we arranged the wedding he had of course been invited but there was no expectation he would be able to attend. It appears he did try to leave a week or so ago to reach Golmud but was stopped at the border crossing along with many other people seeking egress from the Japanese area of occupation. The Japanese soldiers at the border had orders to prevent anybody from leaving, and some sort of scuffle broke out resulting in shots being fired by the soldiers. Cai and several other civilians were killed.

    This news would be horrible enough as it is, but under Chinese traditions, it is a bad omen for people who have recently lost a family member to attend a wedding. Due to Sheng Caiís prominent place in the family, that largely means that the vast majority of our guests unknowingly broke a powerful taboo. Sheng Qiang explained that had this news come earlier, the wedding would have been called off. All of the men were quite solemn and the women were- well, wailing. I had no idea before that a fellow never really understands the full import of that term until you see people actually *doing* it. It was a terrible sight to behold, and I hope to never see it again. I asked Qiang if we should cancel the honeymoon and if there was anything he needed us to do, but he said it might be best for us to leave as fast as possible, to help escape whatever taint this omen might cause. While weíre away the family can try to consult the astrologers and see if anything can be done. Jie did not want to leave, of course, but her father practically forced her into the taxicab. Chinese also appears to be an excellent language for when you wish to be curt with someone.

    6 December: Jie and I are undertaking the second major leg of our trip to the States. Claire had handled all of our arrangements for leaving China; air passage from Golmud to Chungking, then Chungking to Guilin and finally to Hong Kong. Now weíre on a Pan American Boeing B-314 flying clipper going from Manila to Guam. While we were waiting in Hong Kong the ticketing agent was a wealth of information on Pan Am, which I was happy to listen to as Jie is still understandably in a funk after the news about her uncle.

    Pan Amís President Juan Trippe built the company in its early years based on mail delivery throughout the Caribbean, and then looked to expand to passenger service across the Atlantic. In preparation for this he started buying up flying boats like the Sikorsky S-42 and Martin M-130, but couldnít get permission to fly the required routes across the Atlantic. So in one of those odd twists of fate he had to get himself established first in the much longer and more difficult Pacific routes serving SE China and the Philippines. I suppose this was only possible because the Unites States controlled all the territory in the intermediate stops: Honolulu, Midway, and Guam. However, the Midway-Guam leg would still have been too much if an unremembered patch of land called Wake Island hadnít been there. This island had been claimed by the States back at the time of the Spanish-American war but had no commercial value and remained completely undeveloped until Pan Am needed an airstrip there to finish their trans-Pacific route. Now the island has been built up quite heavily with airfields and the various support structures needed to run them- living quarters, fuel depots, etc.


    America finally gets some use from Wake Island


    All of Pan Amís aircraft on these routes are named, and weíre on the Honolulu Clipper. The designers of the Clipper seem to take the `flying boat` appellation quite seriously, there are staterooms and a dining room just like you would find on a regular passenger liner down below on the ocean. I paid the little extra for the so-called `Honeymoon Suite` at the tail end of the plane that is reserved for just Jie and me. The tickets were $1,000 each
    [2] thanks to the extra fee for the suite, a princely sum, but well worth it as the entire trip from Manila to San Francisco will run about 48 hours, not counting the time spent waiting for fueling and maintenance at each leg. Pan Am also only runs one flight a week, so there isnít too much selection there about your travel time. I feel somewhat safer making a `quick` flight by air rather than a slower trip by ocean; if problems erupt with the Japanese we could either find ourselves in danger at sea or trapped in the States. Of course, if you listen to any of the rumormongers discussing Earhartís disappearance, perhaps weíre no safer in the air! I havenít told Jie, but aside from the imaginary dangers of being shot down by a Japanese air patrol for being Spies, there are some risks with these long-range flights. The Samoan Clipper exploded due to sparked gasoline at the beginning of last year while on the Honolulu-Auckland route, and the Hawaiian Clipper disappeared on the Honolulu-Manila route. Based on last yearís statistics, that gives us something like a 1-in-25 chance to have an accident before reaching the States safely. This doesnít seem to be bothering our fellow passengers, though, who are treating the flight fairly nonchalantly. Most of them are embassy staff from Manila trying to get home to spend time with their families this Christmas. I was able to surreptitiously get a photo under the pretense of checking my camera equipment.


    The days when `first class` was the only class


    10 December: Too tired to write much; Jie and I are finally at the Dakota Apartments in Manhattan with my parents. Lots of hugs and kisses all around. This is the first time Iíve seen my parents in person since... 1926? í27? Seems like an age. We lost a day coming here with the time change, and Iím pretty exhausted.

    11 December: A messenger boy came to the Dakota with a wire for me holding the same news I was just hearing over the wireless. The news reports are about the Masí latest push into Kwangtung province, and it seems they have a good chance to take Canton in this go-round. The wire was from Ma Bufang, asking me to pass along to Henry the word that the directive from Ma Hongkui to the Army is to push on until Li Zongren is dead or in chains. Our departure now seems opportune as air travel from Hong Kong right now might become dangerous. Hmm, thinking about politics reminds me that I should take a short trip down to Washington, D.C. tomorrow or the next day, it would be good to see Henry again and I can imagine that Jie will be thrilled to see the city.


    The final attack on Li Zongren and the Guangxi Clique


    13 December: I decided to stay at the Hay-Adams hotel here in the American capital since it is right across from the famous White House; I thought Jie would get a treat from that. Today I invited Henry down to have lunch with us in the Lafayette room so I could introduce him to my new wife and we could have a quick discussion of China-related business. I had decided to place our order before his arrival since I knew he might be pressed for time, as he mentioned he had another meeting later in the afternoon with some Congressmen.

    I wasnít quite expecting his first announcement, however. He came into the dining room seeming quite flustered and was waving a telegram around in his hand. `Jacques, heís, dead, heís dead! Dead by God! ` Iíve seldom seen Henry so excitable. I took the time however to make sure Jie was properly introduced before I asked the obvious follow-up question on who exactly was the latest decedent.

    `Chiang Kai-shek! Killed last evening in what the Japanese papers this morning are calling a terrible accident. Accident, phsaw! `

    `Why, what happened? `

    `Well, you know the Japanese had him working out of the Fort Provintia complex, that old place the Dutch built back when they were in charge. He was apparently just leaving for the evening and was standing by the road waiting for his motorcar to be pulled up, when another one came tearing down the street and drove up onto the curb to run him down. Died immediately, as I understand it, and they havenít found the other vehicle yet, nor the driver. `

    At this news I had to give a whistle. `Has anybody made a statement? `

    `No-one, and so far the Japanese appear to be trying to keep things as quiet as possible. Almost a bit odd that not even your new friend Ma Hongkui has anything to say, given their past relationship, but I know you mentioned that they werenít exactly on speaking terms, there at the end. `

    At this point, we were interrupted by the arrival of the start of our meal: a nice Maine lobster tail that I hoped might be a real treat for Jie, followed by a Waldorf salad and roast duck breast, which I knew she liked. Henry had a few other interesting details to share with me as we ate. The most significant of which was that Ma Hongbin had tried to persuade the American Navy department to sell licensing for some light cruisers, ostensibly to serve as Coast Guards in the South China Sea, but was rebuffed due to the Neutrality Acts still in force here. Last month the Congress passed an amendment to the acts that would allow some limited arms sales on a so-called `cash and carry` basis, but this legislation apparently came too late for Hongbin to take advantage of, as he instead obtained the desired licenses from the Australians. I can imagine that now they are at war, the Aussies wonít be too particular about how they raise money to carry on their war effort.

    Most of our lunch conversation took place in Mandarin for Jieís benefit, but she was very polite and didnít ask any questions about the political topics that came up. As I expected Henry had to leave before even ordering dessert but promised to find time to meet up again for dinner and Pinochle. I would have been thrilled to catch a nice horse race with him but regrettably it is far too late in the season for that. Iíve been spending the rest of the evening feeling pensive about the future of China; thankfully Jie hasnít tried to press me into conversation.

    18 December: Back in New York yesterday, tonight we had a wonderful evening with my parents catching a viewing of the motion picture version of Gone With the Wind. I had not read the novel but my mother did and has been talking about this film for a long time. I had expected to be bored but there was plenty to keep a gentleman interested, and the scenes of the burning of Atlanta are perhaps the most stunning Iíve seen so far captured on film
    [3]. Jie had a hard time following most of the dialogue but fortunately for her, the love aspects of the story require little translation. My mother was all set to watch it when it premiered on the 15th with or without us, but was persuaded to wait.




    How many men are wishing they were Rhett Butler?


    19 December: Word over the wireless that the siege of Canton, which has been running for about a week and a half, is now over. Ma Hongkui is now the undisputed master of Kwangtung province and the other warlords should be surrendering soon.


    The Army is ordered to go all the way


    Simultaneously they also announced the official deployment of the KMT Navy after their first transport vessel has been christened. This ship is the first of what I assume will be many that are large enough to be used for either trade or the shipment of combat forces into a hostile theater. I would assume that the SAFE groupís navy yards will be working around the clock to get these UK- and Australian- licensed warships produced to start protecting the nascent fleet.


    The first beginnings of a Navy


    22 December: Received a wire from Ma Bufang that the last of the warlords in Kwangtung province have capitulated, and Canton is occupied. As nearly every generalissimo in China (aside from Wang Jingwei) from the 1930s is either now dead or firmly behind Ma Hongkui, I suppose this means future historians will label this the end of the so-called `Warlord Era. `


    China enters a new era


    25 December: Had a wonderful Christmas here with my family, which I havenít been able to enjoy in a long time. My parents presented Jie with a wooden cradle that had been made by a member of the Theriaux family who was one of the original settlers of Quebec back in the late 1600s. It came into my fatherís hands as he was the last branch of that family to still reside in Canada (as far as we know). Most of the others immigrated to Louisiana when the British took over. Aside from being thrilled at the encouragement to have a baby, Jie was full of reverence for the cradle as a symbol of the ancestors of the Theriaux family. I was also forced to admit that I had spent time in it being rocked myself when I was a wee one. Iím looking forward to New Yearís! And at least Jie seems much happier these days than she did at the start of our honeymoon, so I hope we can escape the pall cast over us with the bad omen of her uncleís death.


    More comfortable than it looks- at least, no baby has ever complained
    (photo courtesy Theriaux family)



    ---
    Editorís Notes:
    1. 75 years later, some businesses no longer even wait for Halloween, with the added value to the retail sales still being questionable
    2. Well over $15,000 in 2010 dollars
    3. Producer David O. Selznick stated that he didnít want `Producer of Gone With the Wind` appearing in his obituary, as that would have meant his career had peaked and he never did anything better. He didnít get his wish



  11. #151
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    intriguing stuff and well written as ever ... and it seems as if the Mas are now on the brink of unifying non-Japanese held China - quite a feat in itself
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    Glorious victory I see you still have big leaders problem. Could you mode the game to include Guangxi leaders into your army now? Maybe even Nat Chinese?

  13. #153
    Major Vrael_1492's Avatar
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    As usual an awesome update! I am as always wanting for MOAR!! (Dont mean to be pushing you, but it is awesome)
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  14. #154
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnplastic View Post
    Glorious victory I see you still have big leaders problem. Could you mod the game to include Guangxi leaders into your army now? Maybe even Nat Chinese?
    It's a very reasonable idea but as I mentioned earlier I don't want to do anything that involves editing the files, so that anybody reading this could try to follow the same idea. Strictly speaking I am playing under a mod, but it is all cosmetic changes. The only thing that affects gameplay is the fact that I duplicated all my ministers so I don't get stuck with a bunch of `???`. In one of my tests games I had four, in this game, it's happened twice already but now I have replacements.

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    intriguing stuff and well written as ever ... and it seems as if the Mas are now on the brink of unifying non-Japanese held China - quite a feat in itself
    Quote Originally Posted by Vrael_1492 View Post
    As usual an awesome update! I am as always wanting for MOAR!! (Dont mean to be pushing you, but it is awesome)
    Thanks!

  15. #155
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    Great update, both in quality and quantity - took me a while to digest.

    On the international relations front, things are steadily getting worse, but at least Jacques and Jie are having some wedded bliss. For now. The Japanese threat always looms in the distance, especially now that there are no more buffer states between Xibei San Ma and Japanese-controlled China.

    I enjoyed the description of the flying boats. Oh, to travel the world in luxury (though the modern-day equivalent of the pricetag is a pointed reminder why I do not travel in such luxury)...
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  16. #156
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Great update, both in quality and quantity - took me a while to digest.

    I enjoyed the description of the flying boats. Oh, to travel the world in luxury (though the modern-day equivalent of the pricetag is a pointed reminder why I do not travel in such luxury)...
    Thanks for the kind words!

    The thing that gets me most about the comparison between yesterday and today's air travel is the decline in overall quality for everyone, even first class passengers. They may get a nice comfy chair and some booze, but that isn't in the same league as being on a plane with actual *rooms*.

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    Somehow I forgot to post a comment to this.

    Another great update to this great AAR. I particularly love the detailing and development of how Ma China is turning into a sort of tourist destination for wealthy Americans. This can only be good for China's economy but will the long-term instability of the state and Japanese holdings permit it to continue, I wonder. The Midway-Wake-Guam line will become unsafe if Japan ends up at war with either side of it. At least the death of Chiang Kai-Shek can only be a good thing, reducing the number of power-hungry warlords still lurking in the rafters hoping to influence events.

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  18. #158
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis View Post
    Another great update to this great AAR...

    Congratulations to our editor, may he have a happy marriage!
    Thanks! Keep in mind that Jacques was born in 1898, so the odds of him still being around to see his diaries published are slim. But I shall neither confirm nor deny an exact year of death at this time...




    At this point I'll give a brief review of what I've been doing so far and why.

    XSM suffers from the usual problems of minor powers: no Leadership and no ICs. The terrible infrastructure of western China also presents a third major obstacle. Even if I had a full army or army group worth of divisions, it would be nearly impossible to keep them supplied if I had them operating out of the same area. The first two issues I could theoretically solve by conquering nations that don't suffer from these same problems. I could also try to build up my IC and infrastructure with internal development, which takes time. However I can't do this same process with Leadership. I've mentioned elsewhere that Leadership in HOI3 is a bit of a paradox (heh heh) compared to how most Paradox games work. Typically a player who starts with a small nation and builds it up to a big nation then has the same benefits as you would from starting the game as a big nation. But in HOI3, increases in Leadership do not keep pace with gains in nearly every other area. Mainly you end up feeling this impact in your Officer Ratio as it can take months or even a year to try and maintain yourself at 140% if you either built up a big army or had one handed to you from your allies.

    To get any real gains in Leadership I have to either take over every minor nation on earth or manage to knock out a Major power. I'm at the wrong end of the Soviet Union VP-wise to make them a decent target, so my main options are either Britain or Japan. With Britain, I could likely take India from them once they start losing divisions fighting off the Germans, and from there start leapfrogging to take further British territory that will get me in range of England itself. I'm already well aware that if I can get a modest force in range of London I could probably take them out. Japan is a decent second choice but perhaps more difficult- and not because of the challenge of winning battles in the Home Islands, but from the fact that with all of the men they have placed in China I could have difficulty guarding my supply lines. In one of my test games I had started my attack on Japan and began with a successful seizure of Taiwan. Just as I was ready to load up the troops to head for Nagasaki, the Japanese AI countered by taking my port. My assault force quickly ran out of supply leaving me unable to get them off the island, and the troops I had left behind were insufficient to retake my port. So I've learned that I need to be more careful in my preparations before I start going after any of the big boys. My preparations have a timer, though, as the entry of the United States into the war will alter the situation drastically no matter who I am after.

    In the short-term, the main focus was on figuring out how to get as much of the RoC as possible. I had run dozens of test games previously but I had done so under the mistaken impression that the attacker with the most VPs gets the most territory in the surrender. Ironically in this current game I did finally get the majority of the RoC's VPs for the first time, but Japan still received the remainder of the RoC's territories due to the fact that they had the majority of *provinces*. I had gone into this thinking that I would get Shanghai right at the surrender and thus not have to worry about a port, but it didn't work out. In the future I think the correct strategy would have been to produce a few more Cavalry brigades and split my starting 2 divisions into brigades. Then, when the RoC has all its men dumped into Shanxi and I betray them, I can have the Cavalry race right to the empty VPs, and also use some to try and cut across the Shanxi border to help block the RoC's attempts to try and use strategic movement to guard their VPs. With that it might be possible to force their surrender before Japan even finishes off Shanxi.

    During this time I have been milking the never-ending war with Tibet in order to keep the best laws running for my industrial development. I am trying to balance my ICs between building up more industry and making new troops. Along with producing ICs I am also making Air Bases and Naval Bases to build practical. Before I had access to the sea, I was making Forts since they give the same practical as a Naval Base. Now that I have a port running I need to re-balance my production between ships, brigades, and more IC. On the technology front I am going after Infantry techs plus trying to race to Advanced Construction Engineering so I can work on my infrastructure problem. Since I don't expect to have much in the way of an Air Force my divisions are going to be a mix of having ART or AA for support. I also have the corps of infantry with ENG attached to them for help with things like river or urban assaults. I have two last easy targets I can get before I am obligated to attack a Major, but I need to wait for a key event to happen before I can go after them. I'll leave you to speculate on what that might be!

  19. #159
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Just a note that my firstborn son was born 3 months prematurely on Memorial Day, so any further updates will be extremely sporadic until I get a regular schedule down.

  20. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqqman View Post
    Just a note that my firstborn son was born 3 months prematurely on Memorial Day, so any further updates will be extremely sporadic until I get a regular schedule down.
    Congratulations! I hope everything is going well!
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