Hey, I just thought I'd take a shot at writing up a guide to how to win (or at least, accomplish all reasonable objectives) as the Republic of China in the Darkest Hour 1914 campaign. And it turned out to be longer than I thought. So I've split it into three parts, starting with some made-up victory conditions and their consequences to add some structure. The Republic of China is a surprisingly fun campaign and I wanted to advocate it.
I don't think it is possible to take over Japan as China in the 1914 campaign. The reason for this is that China starts off with barely any navy and no technology with which to build one. And without decent aircraft carriers there's no quick way to access decent naval power. Add to the fact that you only have SIX YEARS to accomplish your goals (and the timer will be your biggest foe) and that may be cut short if Germany manages to toast France within that timescale, and China has no time with which to build a navy. You can, however, lay the bedrock of a Chinese navy during the course of the campaign.
It IS possible to take India; I failed to accomplish it in my game but I was THREE MONTHS away from Karachi and I believe that if I'd just planned things a bit better from the start I would have made it. Calcutta, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lashio, Rangoon and Bombay were all in Chinese hands, although newly deployed Raj forces were harassing my sprinting units supply lines (I locked the British army up in Burma leaving the rest of my army to run on.) Taking India is, however, extremely ambitious.
You won't get anything from the Russian empire or the Soviet Union in talks. However, the UFA directory is not as resolute, and you may manage to demand the territories you have a claim on from them; this will net you Vladivostok and fulfill the Chinese objectives in the east. It is not necessary to take Vladivostok in order to achieve this; you just have to knock the Russians out of the war and then demand your territories from the UFA while they're tussling with the Soviets in the west (You may not be able to do this immediately; I discovered this in December 1920 as the campaign was just about to end that there is about a 37% chance they will cave and give you want you want.) The Japanese and Raj will not talk to you; you have to annex them or free regions to keep what you want.
So, what do you want?
To put it quite simply, you want to take Korea, and the area around Vladivostok, as well as as much of British Asia as possible, attempting to take Burma and, if possible, Bangladesh (and why not India as well if you can?) restoring China's historical domination over the east and placing India for the first time under a Chinese government. (Or you can choose to liberate them if you're going for a less oppressive China.) This is extremely difficult to manage, but it is considerably less difficult to achieve a lesser shade of victory that would still have been an astounding change of fortunes for the time. So for my first post (of three) here are some informal "victory conditions" from worst to best in terms of achievement by the end of 1920.
Strategic Chinese Defeat.
The worst has happened; allied armies have broken in to China itself and the very survival of the country is in severe doubt. Japanese armies sweep across northern China and Chinese cities across the coast are falling to British and Japanese armies, supported with Portuguese, French and perhaps American help. In the north and west, the Russians have accomplished the impossible in crossing the deserts and vast steppes to invade Manchuria and seize Xinjiang. China's heartlands are in danger of falling, if they haven't already, and the south of China now crumbles in the face of the armies of the British Raj. The Chinese governments attempts to modernise the country are completely discredited, the central government's mandate laughable, and already, warlords begin to exploit the situation. Even if China can somehow rally and drive back the hordes of Russian soldiers pouring in from the north and defeat the disciplined, modern armies of the Britain and Japan, with a minimum of territorial losses (and losses are now certain) the country is certain to disappear into anarchy as the empire, once united, must divide. One can only hope that this new strengthened, emboldened and briefly scared Japan will somehow allow this divided country to unite once more...
Conditions: China cannot afford its northern or western cordons to be broken by the Russians. If the allies take Wulanhaote, Tongliyao Hot or Panjin in the east, or Ge'ermu or Yumen in the west, and cannot be driven from them, then it is likely that the Russians or Raj are in a position to pour into China's vast interior. Equally, China's vast coastline must be held; the Axis must control Hong Kong, Naoming, Guanzhou, Macao, Fuzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Huaiyin, Quingdao, Yantai, Tianjin, Anshan and Port Arthur to keep the allies out. Finally, while it is unlikely that the armies of the British Raj, distracted as they are by problems in Europe, will manage to launch an invasion through China's southern regions, the Chinese must remain in control of Kunming. If any of these regions are in Allied hands by 1921, China has suffered a crippling defeat and, based on historical facts of the time, would likely not remain stable for very long. The implications for the Second World War are alarming if things have also gone ill in the west for China's allies; with Japan emboldened and China weakened by war in addition to its internal divisions, the Chinese may simply fold. America may be less sympathetic towards the Chinese given their opposition during the 1st world war. If Japan can take and secure China in an easier and more profitable fashion, they may not need to provoke America. Without Pearl Harbour, the Americans may not enter the war.
The allies have won this first war, even with Chinese resistance. But, in their catastrophic defeat of China... what will this victory mean for the allies of the future? Has Viviani unknowingly sealed his nations fate?
Tactical Chinese Defeat
China has survived its foolish foray into the quagmire that is the first world war. But their efforts have been fruitless, as limitless Chinese manpower grinds itself down impotently against the armies of Japan, Russia and Britain. Chinese armies gaze out across the Yalu river at the lands of Korea, frustratingly close but behind a wall of Japanese and British soldiers who are not going anywhere soon. The Russians have not, contrary to expectations, been split in two and forced into an early capitulation, but instead hover menacingly around Chinese borders, tying up China's vast manpower in a back and forth game of raid and counter-raid across the equally vast border regions. Even if the Russians have fallen into anarchy, the British Raj has stood strong and united where the Russian army has not; the dense jungles and high mountains of Burma have proven utterly impenetrable to Chinese armies, however numerous those may be. China's attempts to modernise its industry and army have proven to be noble endevours, and have allowed China to stand strong (provided they stand united) against vast sections of the globe, but they have been unable to project that power out of China itself. And the Chinese people, tired of the vast casualties inflicted upon them in this futile war and still subject to the depredations of corrupt officials and the presence of a distracted and either uncaring or unable government, have begun to look to other sources of leadership. Warlords are beginning to stir, discontent is beginning to rise, and the central government is struggling to maintain control. When this war finally ends, will China be able to recover from this ominous setback and learn the same lessons Germany is even now examining on how to properly take a fight to the enemy? Or will it collapse into civil war, its leadership returning to its indolent ways as the warlords take hold of the periphery? Either way, Japan is watching from over the seas. It has beaten the Chinese twice now, though the second time was a harder affair. Perhaps, one day soon, when circumstances permit or needs demand it, they will once more engage the giant nation... and this time China's heartlands will feel the tread of Japanese armies...
Conditions: China went into this war to recover Hong Kong and Macao, and to re-establish dominance over Korea and south-east Asia. Therefore, if the Japanese still control Pyeongyang and Seoul, OR the British Raj is still in possession of Lashio, on the Burmese border, then while China itself is likely safe from invasion, at least for now and probably for the next decade, its efforts to expand and re-establish itself as a local power have clearly failed, something which will no doubt shake confidence in the central government, and disturb the republic's fragile unity. They can at least hope they cost Japan enough blood and treasure to also put their hated enemy into rebuilding; the war has not been a total disaster. The greatest danger from this defeat is the effect it will have on China's stability; China's chances of avoiding the rise of the various factions and warlords are unlikely to have been aided in this military failure!
China has got somewhere. The Russians, who once menaced the republic from both sides, are now an unpleasant memory as the nation falls into anarchy reminiscent all too much of China's recent history. The Japanese have been driven back across the river Yalu as the British and Portuguese abandon the cities they have stolen, cities that are now guarded ferociously by fearless, veteran Chinese soldiers who, while few in number, have become quite accustomed to throwing as many as six divisions at a time back into the sea they so foolishly came from. Those few landings that have been managed have simply wound up evacuating clumsily, assuming they haven't been surrounded and forced to surrender themselves. Chinese armies, far from being an undisciplined, infighting rabble, have proven themselves worthy of, if not quite standing next to the armies of othre nations, then at least worthy of respect in the eyes of those nations. The eyes of the world have been opened to China's military potential, and the Japanese in particular are taking very close notes regarding this revival in an old enemy that has tried very hard to push them out of Asia and back into their island homelands.
However, for all this, China has, if not quite failed to achieve anything of note, then at least fallen short of its goals. Burma may have been penetrated, but the Raj's eastern reaches remain solidly in British hands, with only a few border gains to show for Chinese efforts. The Japanese have suffered serious losses; the valuable, steel-rich north of the nation and the industries of Seoul are lost to them, at least for now, but they still hold the vital port of Busan and they have maintained a foothold upon the Korean peninsula; even as treaties are signed recognising the divided state of Korea Japanese strategists and politicians are plotting greedily on how to retake it. It is an outcome truly representative of the nature of warfare in this era; China has entered this war with high hopes of quick conquests, international glory, and an impressed populace back home. It has exited it with untold casualties, the wary respect of the world (and, most importantly, the fear of the Japanese) and a mourning population who may yet take up arms against their current leadership. Nobody in their right mind would say that China has truly lost the war, but it would take a very bold person to declare that it has won a victory.
Conditions: China has stalemated on both fronts; they hold Lashio, Pyeongyang and Seoul, but Japan controls Busan in the south of the country and can freely move troops into the nation and the allies are still in control of Calcutta and Rangoon; Burma, or at least Bangladesh, is still firmly in British hands. The Chinese will have to negotiate and convince their enemies to let them keep these gains, the war may continue for many years, and the Chinese people are rapidly losing their patience; once unified by the governments care for their well-being in the run up to war, reflected in the unrest you got rid of at the start of the game, many now question whether or not they have simply been bribed into tolerance of a group of fools who care more for foreign conquests than the welfare of the people they already rule. But nobody can deny that China has not proven to be the paper tiger it was in the past.
Tactical Chinese Victory
The Chinese have done it! Either Burma or Korea has fallen to the armies of the Republic and inroads have been made into the survivor; China has been restored to prominence. The world stands back wide-eyed; the Chinese have combined a (rather rough) mastery of modern weaponry and tactics with seemingly endless manpower and sufficient industrial backing in order to triumph over veteran Japanese armies in Korea, drive the allies off the Chinese mainland and even humble the might of the Raj! The logistical nightmare of China's remote northern and western regions have made a mockery of the already dubiously qualified Russian army, rushed as it was east even as the western branches barely held off the advancing German and Austro-Hungarian armies, the Russians collapsing into utter chaos after only two years of war, to capitulate in the third year, while the tenuously stable China has remained solid. China has achieved a major triumph, and the central government will be able to capitalise on the return of Korea into China's sphere, or their new dominant position in South-East Asia, for decades to come as the leadership, while not necessarily popular, enjoys a formidable military reputation and the loyalty of China's army, regardless of whether that leadership is democratic or autocratic in nature. The gamble has worked.
If Korea has fallen, then the Japanese are currently standing back in shock. Once in a position to expand into China's interior, the Chinese army easily driven back in inadequately equipped and trained droves, now the only thing standing between Japan and conquest by the Chinese is a thin expanse of water and the complete absence of a Chinese navy. Confidence in the government has collapsed, as the outcry from the Japanese public begins and investigations into the performance of Japans once internationally respected army start up. Backlash against the moderates begins as right wing elements in Japan rapidly begin to dominate the debate, pushing the country virulently and unstoppably towards a hardline, militaristic regime. China has pushed the Japanese from the mainland of Asia, but the Japanese will not forget this humiliation easily. The advantage has swung in the direction of the revived lion. But will this last? Or will complacency set in and China's fragile unity begin to collapse once more? Whether Korea stands independent or labours under Chinese dominion, the Chinese will have to guard their latest conquest closely.
If Burma and Bangladesh have fallen, it is doubtful that the British will stand for China dominating the area directly, and China will have little appetite for pressing the issue after four years of war (assuming that China entered the war in 1916). A buffer state which may or may not include parts of what is now Bangladesh, dominated by China but influenced by British efforts, will likely be the result. But it is a humiliation for the British empire, which is looking more and more vulnerable. The south-east Asian regions increasingly look to China for protection; Thailand will likely also fall under Chinese sway in the hopes of recovering what the British have taken from them, and the governors of French Indochina look on nervously as their position becomes increasingly untenable. The Japanese, stuffed halfway down the Korean peninsula as they are, are unlikely to provide much relief should the Chinese decide on further expansion; they will have their own problems protecting Busan and suppressing Korean nationalists.
Conditions: The Chinese must control Lashio, Pyeongyang and Seoul. In addition, either the Chinese control Calcutta and Rangoon, BUT the Japanese still control Busan, or the Chinese control Busan, but Calcutta or Rangoon are still in Raj hands. This is the expected result of an experienced player of Darkest Hour playing the Chinese for the first time, assuming they guard their coastline well and don't leave any conquered beaches ungarrisoned! Remember landings can be made not only on the Chinese mainland, but in Pyeongyang, Seoul, Rangoon and Calcutta as well! And the Allies WILL exploit this! And remember, the Germans may not be able to defend Qingzhou! Be prepared to do it for them; it's yours by rights anyway!
Strategic Chinese Victory
The Chinese have left the world in shock. Not only have Chinese armies proven more than a match for their Russian, Japanese and British counterparts, but they have surpassed them in many aspects, Chinese manpower doing the rest as the vast Chinese army drives the Japanese off the peninsula and the British clear of not only Burma, but Bangladesh also, the British and Japanese only saved from total disaster by the presence of their superior navies and the bravery of Indian soldiers in holding back the Chinese onslaught. Burma is now firmly under the sway of China, Thailand will surely follow in coming years and French Indochina looks on warily as the Japanese people rail against their leaders as hardline elements demand answers for the catastrophic progress of the campaign. Celebrations may be breaking out in Seoul, Pyeongyang and Busan in an independent Korea, or the people of that troubled country may be preparing for the coming of yet another era of oppression. The Chinese government has never looked stronger, and China's stability has been restored; the price has been heavy but China's vast manpower has left the majority of the country's population undisturbed by the war and there is no doubt, really, where the loyalty of the country, and particularly the military, really lies. The British and Japanese are left to search for answers, as China celebrates its greatest victory in hundreds of years.
Conditions: China has taken Calcutta, Rangoon and Lashio off the British in the west and taken Seoul, Busan and Pyeongyang in Korea. Any remaining enclaves of British soldiers, it is to be assumed, will be cleared away or forced to surrender in due course. Britain has at least managed to prevent the Chinese from spilling into India, but without the Japanese to support them, they will suffer at the negotiating table and Burma may be taken into the Chinese fold outright. The British will probably have also lost Bhutan, though Nepal will likely still be in British hands, if not at the end of the campaign then at the negotiating table.
Total Allied Defeat
In London, politicians panic as protests gather outside to demand answers for a terrible loss. The crown jewel of the empire, India, has been stolen! British armies, undersupported, ill-equipped and hopelessly outnumbered, have been driven back by a modern, determined and relentless Chinese war machine that has driven the Japanese effortlessly from the Korean peninsula, eaten its way through Burma and Bangladesh and then simply run on to Delhi. In the south, panicked evacuations of British and Indian soldiers are taking place as the vast landmass trembles under the march of millions of Chinese soldiers as they march boldly into the heartlands of India, lands the Chinese have never struck into before. The UFA directory, intimidated by the new superpower, has surrendered most of its territory without a fight, Chinese soldiers marching into Vladivostok unopposed.
China, however, is not stable enough at home to possibly keep hold of its most prominent new conquest. The new conquests will undoubtably be independent in some form. However, the fact of the matter is that these new states will not be in any way connected to Britain, even if their dependence on China may quickly become token in nature. The Soviet Union will not take the loss of its eastern territories, in particular the loss of the city of Vladivostok, lying down, least of all to a right-wing autocracy or upstart fledgling democracy. Having crushed the whites once and for all, it will soon come looking, and China will have to depend on its newfound ally, the hopefully victorious Germany, in order to protect its newly recovered territory. A battle for influence will likely ensue over Mongolia. Russia will continue to battle for influence over Xinjiang, and may even find means to meddle in Chinese dominance over the Indian subcontinent. Hopefully political differences will put aside any hopes of a pact with Japan, but Stalin is nothing if not an opportunist. China may, ironically, have succeeded too well. With the powerful British gone, and the Soviets antagonised, China will find few friends in the international community, especially if the Americans have got involved with the allies towards the end of the war.
China is now a superpower, with domination over eastern Asia. And its opponents are beginning to look decidedly second-rate. But they are numerous, powerful, and under skilled leaders. No nation can afford to become complacent, least of all one with China's history of internal problems, and all empires end eventually. China's decisions over the next decade may decide if that empire lasts for 700 years... or 700 weeks.
Conditions: The conditions for a total Allied reversal are simple; drive the British from India! By taking all of the Raj's victory points, annexation should be possible, and with that, Burma, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan will all come under Chinese rule. Furthermore, you must have driven the Japanese from Korea, and concluded the pact with the UFA directory, forcing them to yield you Vladivostok.
Later on, I'll be putting up a guide as to what to research, and what you'll require for the different fronts. And after that I'll put up a step-by-step guide to achieving the Total Allied Defeat condition.
Of course, you could always spice things up by getting China to the point where it is ready for war... and then going either Japan or the British Raj and seeing if you're up to holding off your own war machine!