- Jan 3, 2011
Advance North: The 'Allies' and Imperial Japan
Japan In Manchuria
Japan In Manchuria
May '36 - Aug '36 Reigning In the Millitary
Aug '36 - Jan '37 The Army Strikes Back
Most Japanese AAs follow the historical path of Japan during the years 1935-1945 with invasions of China and the general ‘Advance South’ policy which was designed to give the IJN more influence in military matters and try and prevent a northern expedition against the Soviets.
In this AAR I will be attempting to show a different route in more ways than one; firstly this AAR will focus on a Japan that has its eye on Manchuria and increasing belligerency with the Soviets. Secondly it is going to follow a more conservative Japan, one in which during the 2-2-6 incident and afterwards the government in Tokyo is able to help reign in the military factions, and thus exercise more sensible policy and tactics in the conflagaration that is world war two. Thirdly unlike in many other Japanese games I will be following the historical military equipment path for Imperial Japan, somewhat neglecting to modernise the army and pouring most efforts into air and naval design.
Part of this is that I will not chose my own alignment (yet) to any of the three factions and instead it will be left to natural drift to see where I end up. Thus my long term opportunities and strategies will be limited by a randomness factor. In addition to this I will give you, the readers, an opportunity to influence my game by at the end of every update giving you an ‘event decision’ for how you wish Japan or her neighbours to act. This means that you will be able to influence other nations to befriend or antagonise me in my game and not give myself full control.
Finally I have reduced the game victory conditions to mostly very basic ones with each faction group having at least 1 more difficult condition. The goal being that in this game I have to try and prevent or beat one of the major ideology groups from gaining their conditions.
House Rules & Modifications:
-HPP SF Plus;
--Three more international status levels and a production efficiency/leadership ratio balanced for an S curve between Hyperpower and Undeveloped Nation
--Intelligence, Weather, Politics given more randomness and strength.
--Improved .Lua scripts that give more emphasis on naval and air builds for majors and less for minors and mid minors leaving armies more competitive on size.
--I have opened up several other nations like the Ukraine and Algeria to spice up the game and introduce a more interesting war in Europe to follow (although they don't appear to all stay 'in game' reverting back to their major as if annexed).
-I shall be using AI command for divisional movements.
-No very gamey tactics like Para dropping a capital etc.
-V.Hard difficulty in the sense of +75% IC for AIs and supply bonuses for them, malus for me etc.
I have not played these settings before other than the modded aspects to check balance (several times) and so should be entering a game setup that I would not otherwise be familiar with.
What was Imperial Japan’s aims in Asia throughout the Meiji era?
The first thing we must recognise when talking about Imperial Japan is that its history is based right back in the 1860s well before the turn of the last century. Furthermore we must know that Imperial Japan never really was on a par with the rest of the western world, agriculturally, politically, industrially and finally militarily. The point being that one cannot analyse Imperial Japan just in the context of 1935-1945 because it fails to recognise the entire history of the country that governs its actions within the second world war.
Japan had heard of the 'gunboat diplomacy' that the west had pursued in China, and how the western powers had carved up the coastal regions of China and imposed their colonial will on it. This meant that in the late 1860s when the west tried to 'open up Japan' like China, the Japanese coincided to western co-operation rather than suffer auspice. This helped both end the old regimes and forge the new ones with unrest caused from 'capitulating' to another power and not standing up for Japan’s own honour, thus forming Japan’s central government.
Since the central government now controlled the tax revenue from the old daimyo domains, it, in effect overnight became a lot stronger than feudal Japan had been.
This allowed the very first central army to be formed based on conscription, rather than samurai privilege. This army would be trained by both Europeans and later American officers so literally from the grass roots, Imperial Japan had been brought from medieval warfare to early industrial level. As part of this, the early Meiji central army was totally designed on the basis of defence from foreign invasion and internal security given the unrest from the old samurai class. Thus the early basis for central authority.
After the 1870s the old samurai lost in a new Japan stripped of their privileges often found their only recourse was to join the central military, and hence find an outlet for their 'talents'.
This meant that by this period you have a totally new, up-to-date military populated with an officer class brought up from almost birth with the wish to fight and die with honour, but with no internal warlords to fight any more this officer class began to look abroad. Most notably at Korea. However the regime at the time of the Korean Expedition did not yet have support in the populace, nor did it have the money to sustain any operations.
Thus in time over the 1870s the military budget increased to sometime like 1/3rd of Imperial Japan’s budget, and in the 1880s this led to even further modernisation of the Imperial Armed forces, putting the idea of Korea back into prominence. Given the way China had auspice over Korea these Japanese ambitions would create tension between China and Japan.
While Peking was determined to fight the Japanese over Korea, Japan had prepared for this war for almost 20 years and so in the 1890s the Japanese overran Korea in just a couple of months, surprising at the time, but not surprising given the historical understanding of where Imperial Japan had come to at this point.
Since the Chinese had been caught with their pants down by the time the Japanese were encroaching on the Liaotung peninsular and would soon threaten Peking the Chinese had no recourse themselves except suing for peace.
This capitulation of the Chinese is what might be seen as the very first step in how Japan became to be involved in WWII, had the Chinese not surrendered when they did, the Japanese would have eventually had to settle for a more equal armistice. Thus had they not got other nations to call them the 'most favoured nation in asia' it might not have led to the Japanese getting as arrogant as they did. However this is only speculation.
The World Looks To Asia:
Of course Europe was surprised by the Japanese annexation of Korea. It was never expected that Japan would do as well as they did. Furthermore many powers had their own claims in China and a strong Japan might threaten the status quo.
Thus the Liaotung peninsular became a point of contention.
The European powers pressed for its return to China so that Japan would not directly threaten China. Of course to Imperial Japan this was an utter humiliation. Japan was in no position to make their own demands as they were still reliant on foreign trade in resources and expertise, and didn't want to risk a war with any of the European powers.
This decision on 'upping the anti' can be seen as the second step on Japan’s road to participation in WWII. In Tokyo they had been humiliated. This meant that the armed forces had to be strengthened yet again, literally doubling the strength of the armed forces. There was also decision to align Imperial Japan with the European powers such that if they could play the European powers against one another and gain political clout in Europe. Hence in future they would have one of the European powers backing them.
In 1902 this led to British-Japanese relations improving greatly with an Alliance to counter balance Russian interests in Manchuria. From the British point of view having an ally in Asia, particularly a naval alley would mean that Britain would have a second naval force and friendly bases in Asia should any war arise.
In the context of the times all the European powers were in a naval arms race due to improvements in industrial practice. Britain would soon set her aims to have a fleet twice as large as all other competing nations. This goal was extreme, and because of this they needed friends in the naval community.
From Japan’s point of view this was a great victory as it got Britain to recognise Japan’s interests in China and Korea, and would put Japan in great stead against the Russians.
This quickly led to Japan flexing her muscle against Russia in Manchuria and following Russian reprisal attacks, an declaration of war on Russia in Manchuria. Here we see the famous battle for Port Arthur and invasion of southern Manchuria, again stunning observers and quickly leading to peace as Russia had troubles of social unrest and Japan found yet again its armed forces were not quite sufficient, although they had been underestimated yet again.
Of course the commanders of the time didn't believe they had been underestimated, rather they believed that their troops were better and thus were arrogant. This myth would be continued through much of the early 20thC.
The peace was signed under American auspice and while in home Japan was looked upon that the Japanese had got a raw deal, the military could take pride in its successful foreign policy and overall victory.
With victory came consolidation, Korea would be annexed by 1912, and Manchuria would become an economic outpost for Japan.
The Great War:
Since Imperial Japan’s main issue with further expansion was what the Europeans would do in response, the Great War was a very welcome surprise to the Japanese. It meant that Japan could declare war on Germany and along with the British quickly annex German colonial holdings.
Thus by 1915 the Japanese held a strong position on the Chinese mainland on the Shantung Penisular, Tsingtao, Kiaochow and elsewhere.
What hurt Japan here was their decision to ask for the 21 demands, while they were able to get China to concede to most of the demands, the warning bells had been started to be rung. Thus after the war the Chinese and Americans pressed the issue to return to the status quo at the Paris Peace conference, angering the Japanese, but overall the Japanese stayed in de facto control in China.
By 1923 all these gains were effectively formalised in the Nine Power Treaty, and within Japanese politics their was a mood to internationalism and consolidation. This stance lasted throughout the 1920s and could have been the way of things to come.
In 1930 the political zietguiest changed, Imperial Japan had been reliant like many other nations at the time on American trades and as the world economic crisis would deepen as part of the Great Depression this would come to effect home Japanese well being and create a disenfranchisement of the people towards its government; Why talk of friendship in China when the Chinese would not buy Japanese goods?
Mukden & the 1930s:
Whether or not their had been a militaristic strategy before Mukden to dominate China, the point was that in 1931 the Government had been looking to support the Geneva Disarmament conference and reduce the military's power.
Of course with the military and people seeing a future in China, and with the Soviets rearming and the Military holding the power in Manchuria it was only inevitable that the army would ignore the government in Tokyo and take matters into their own hands.
Thus throughout the period of 1931-1935 with the aid of supporters in Japan and assassination of political leaders unsympathetic to the military, the Japanese 'Control Clique' took command of the government by assassination.
1936 and the 2-2-6 Incident:
Where the game begins, and history differs...
Early 1936 was marked by the naval faction within the armed forces gaining support, several naval vessels were soon to be completed and additional destroyer squadrons had been order corresponding with more technical teams being brought into government plans.
Despite this the Imperial Army still have heavy influence with the armed forces and much of the material needed for these ships was being diverted to military matters.
On February the 26th there was a deplorable incident in the capital at Tokyo one and a half thousand troops moved against the government to assassinate leaders seen to be holding back Japan and create a new Showa era. As several government ministers were assassinated lead officers gained an audience with the Emperor to read out his manifesto.
Troops occpuying Nagata-cho area, Tokyo.
The Emperor ordered the incident to be squashed immediately and called up units from Kofu and Sakura to guard himself, the government and to restore order. Later that evening having met with the ex-prime minister Kivoura Keigo it was decided at the Emperors order to enact Martial Law and to deal with the coup leaders and soldiers.
In a historical context the Emperor was not happy had having to ‘deal with’ the ‘troops involved’ as they were ‘but his servants’ and acting under good will for Japan. However his mind was swayed across the course of the 27th under advice that the ‘rebels’ be ‘dealt with’.
Across the 28th and 29th the order came direct from the Emperor that the coup was illegal and that military action would follow; the coup being a threat to stability in Japan. The Emperor going so far as to call for those involved to commit suicide, although their actions were in contravention of bushido.
In the aftermath troops loyal to the Emperor restored order within the capital and moved into government buildings to protect ministers and the government. The Emperor making clear that the differences between the armed forces and government would need to be resolved.
On the 3rd of March a new constitution would be formed between the government and military by the people following a round of elections to replace the civilian government. Thus the civil government would be elected by the people in the spirit of the coup, but the military's increasing influence in government matters would be nipped in the bud.
The State of Government immidately following the incident
Hirohito would remain the head of state as part of a constitutional monarchy and head of the armed forces. Matters of a civil nature would fall to the SC Seisukai party apart from foreign policy which as an extension of the armed forces was seen to need a military figurehead but who would be responsible to Hirohito. Elsewhere positions in the military would remain with military officials in a two party system. These chiefs of the armed forces would report to the Emperor directly and not be part of the government such that the government and military would not be able to argue over eachs sphere of influence.
In such a regard the Emperor reasserted civilian control over the military by denouncing the rebels in front of their peers, yet at the same time acknowledging the military's demands to a new civilian government preventing a full military incident. By reasserting himself with governmental responsibility and control their was the possibility to reign in the military.
With this new constitution some matters would no longer be the concern of the military. Research and develop, particularly in scientific manners were now the responsibility of the civil government, and no longer under military or the Emperors auspice, as such nuclear scientists even before all the guns had been put back in their lockers lobbied government for funds to construct a new set of cyclotron labs in Tokyo.
Japanese Production Roster early 1936
The period after the 2-2-6 incident was also marked by several trade initives with the State of Manchukuo. Being a puppet state of Japan, Manchukuo was created following the Japanese invaison of Manchuria in 1932 and hence all its surplus resources were sent back to mainland Japan to help fuel her industry.
It was ruled by the last Qing Emperor Pu Yi as regent, but real power lay in the Kwangtung armed forces. Manchuria lacked oil and supplies needed for its economy and millitary and traded for these with Japan during this period.
Mogami Class Crusier
EDIT: Unfortunatly the moderators of the board have decided in their wisdom, that letting you vote on various options is "too interactive", and therefore you may not vote on what will happen. What will follow in the next update will be determined by a random dice roll. Sorry.
Event Arc 1.
Hirohito in Command, following the 2-2-6 incident and the Emperor taking a route to place himself as a buffer between the armed forces and the state it was imperative that he reinforce the milltaries backing of him, but also to so the civilian government and the people that his new consituiton could balence civilian and millitary matters. Thus it was advised he meet with the various branches of the armed forces;
The Emperor meets with the army commanders of the Kwangtung theater. The commanders in Manchuria feel strongly that they need to futher their strength in Asia believe that Japan such support a Mongolian Insurgency into northern China, and form the state of Mengjiang. Doing so will most likely threaten the Chinese and their is a fair attempt that creating an incident of this nature may spark a conflict between Japan and China, but if it is succesful then Japan would have another buffer state in the region.
The Emperor meets with the navy admirals. The Admirals are concerned with the army and its lack of control and wishes to lobby to divert funds and industry towards the navy so that the army will not be inclined to begin any new operations without forces needed. In particular the navy impresses upon the Emperor to up-gun the Mogami class cruisers, and reconstruct the IJN Hiei to make the navy a more effective fighting force.
The Emperor tours Manchuria to meet local commanders and reinforce his will upon the army. In doing so they impress upon him the need to futher industrialise Manchuria so that it can provide even greater profits to Japan. This would mean getting the Emperor to impress upon Pu Yi to switch over his current investment plans to only building industry for the next year and a half [I tag switch to Manchukuo and change its production roster manually].
Conditions in Manchuria
I will be happy to answer questions on matters of history of the period, or on the game posting additional information (if I have a screenie of it) as and when you might request it, as well as take advice if given.
Principally I will be planning a war in Siberia and against the Soviet Union and what will be needed for that, you will not get to influence this, however I will be letting you choose the timing of that war and I will also be opening up various events that may drag me into other wars that I don't want to fight, like in China these if they come to pass may see me having to fight elsewhere thus requiring me to keep reserve forces and not be complacent in my game.
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