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TheBromgrev

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Kantai Kessen
(Decisive Battle)

Naval_Ensign_of_Japan.svg

Warning: this is a picture-intensive AAR!
Most of the pictures are click-able, so if you can't read the text then click on the picture to see a larger version.

Nation: Empire of Japan
Difficulty: Normal
Game Version: FtM 3.06b2
Mod: HPP 2.6.71a
Style: History Book

House Rules:
1) Manually control navy and special forces. Invasions will be handled manually until the entire command structure has been landed. Everything else will be under AI control at the army group level.
2) Any ships that are built must use components that match the historical models. Japanese ships were fast, powerful, but lacked armor. I'll replicate this for RP purposes unless the components are a little "off" in terms of year required to research them.
3) Don't escalate the Battles of Khalkhin Gol and instead leave it as a border skirmish if I win. If I lose them I'm at the mercy of the Soviet AI.

The outcome of the voting thread means my next AAR will be as Japan. Japan is a challenging nation to play, as it has to deal with sustaining large-scale overseas engagements and has to maintain naval superiority against the world's largest and 2nd largest navies. Since the AAR will be presented in the history book style, I'll first briefly go over the background material to set things up then dive into the game itself. Since the HPP mod includes events to model the inter-faction rivalry between the IJA and IJN, I'll be forced to roleplay a bit. As I did for my PRC AAR, I will link to online articles when discussing certain people, places, vehicles, or events for further reading if the reader is interested in learning more than what I present in this AAR.

NOTE!!! This AAR has moved to a new location. For chapters past #19 please go here: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?p=12220400#post12220400

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Introduction to Japanese History - 1894 to 1905
Chapter 2: Introduction to Japanese History - 1905 to 1936
Chapter 3: The State of the Empire of Japan - January 1, 1936

Prelude to War
Chapter 4: The 2-2-6 Incident - January 2, 1936 to June 7, 1936
Chapter 5: Preparing for War - June 8, 1936 to June 2, 1937
Chapter 6: Status Summary - July 2, 1937

The 2nd Sino-Japanese War Part 1
Chapter 7: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident - July 2, 1937 to August 2, 1937
Chapter 8: The Capture of Nanjing - August 3, 1937 to September 2, 1937
Chapter 9: The Fall of Shanxi - September 3, 1937 to November 2, 1937
Chapter 10: The 1937 Winter Offensive - November 3, 1937 to March 2, 1938
Chapter 11: The Invasion of Hainan - March 3, 1938 to April 2, 1938
Chapter 12: The Capture of Guangzhou - April 3, 1938 to May 2, 1938
Chapter 13: The Battles of Xi'an and Changsha - May 3, 1938 to July 8, 1938
Chapter 14: The Battle of Changde - July 9 to August 17, 1938
Chapter 15: Analysis of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War from July 2, 1937 to August 17, 1938

The 2nd Sino-Japanese War Part 2
Chapter 16: The Changkufeng Lake Incident / The War Escalates - August 27 to December 2, 1938
Chapter 17: The Battles of Yan'an - December 3, 1938 to June 2, 1939
Chapter 18: The Xinjiang Campaign - June 3, 1939 to August 1, 1939
Chapter 19: The Battles of Khalkhin Gol - August 2 to September 15, 1939
Chapter 20: Fighting on The Roof of the World
Chapter 21: Analysis of the Wars in China and the Soviet Far East

Interbellum
Chapter 22: Interbellum
Chapter 23: Overview of the Empire of Japan
Chapter 24: The Co-Prosperity Sphere

The Phoney War
Chapter 25: Tensions in Europe

World War 2 - East Indies Campaign
 
Last edited:

Barvinok

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Will there be screenshots? Not sure what does 'History Book' writing style look like.
 

Thanik

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Yeah, better one challenging Japans AARs, than milions of Germany,USA,SOV "oh no i conquer all the world with my 100 tank divisions".

#TheBromgrev
1. Do you choose to build nuke bomb vs allies or comintern?
 

TheBromgrev

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Japan AARs are growing on trees now! It's good to have another one, especially considering the fact that there are not many history books around.

Based on the outcome of the voting thread linked above, it seems that AARland wants even more Japan AARs, and I'm happy to oblige.

Will there be screenshots? Not sure what does 'History Book' writing style look like.

Yes, there will be screenshots. My Teutonic Dreams and Jiefang Zhanzheng AARs found in my signature are history book style AARs, so you could look at those two get an idea of how this AAR will be structured.

I'm looking forward to this. I enjoy your AARs and I've learned a lot from them. (And your naval resources pages, which I've studied closely).

Good luck.

Thanks.

Yeah, better one challenging Japans AARs, than milions of Germany,USA,SOV "oh no i conquer all the world with my 100 tank divisions".

#TheBromgrev
1. Do you choose to build nuke bomb vs allies or comintern?

Funny you mention that, because I'll be talking about this guy here at some point: Yoshio Nishina
 
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Rensslaer

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If you read my strategy guides (the later ones especially -- the supplement and the v1.3 update), you might pick up that I was concerned about the ability of the system to accurately reflect air raids on ports and ships.

For this reason, among many others, I'm really looking forward to seeing how HPP deals with these issues. Especially if HPP has events for the IJA IJN rivalry -- this should be fun!

Rensslaer
 

TheBromgrev

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Japanese History - 1894 to 1905

(Author's note: all of this is real history. I will be referring to certain events prior to the game start, so decided to write up a very brief history summary)

The conflict now known as WW2 was not spontaneous in origin, but was the result of decades of wars, revolutions, mistrust, and deception. For some nations that participated in the war, they fought to regain their former glory, while others sought to keep their prestige intact. Still other nations sought to gain the power and status they believed was denied to them by the nations who had already achieved great power. The Empire of Japan falls into this last category.

Having rapidly industrialized after US Commodore Perry's Black Ships threatened to level the town of Uraga, opposite of the capital of Edo (now called Tokyo), by 1894 Japan had developed into a powerful modern nation, and set its sights on preventing the Great Powers from directly threatening Japan's safety. The first step toward this goal was to either annex Korea or guarantee its independence from the imperialist European nations. In 1876, Japan forced a trade treaty upon Korea and forcing Korea to abandon its status as a Chinese tributary state, which was essentially a reversal of what Perry forced upon Japan 22 years prior. Starting in 1882, anti-Japanese sentiments amongst the Korean people, as well as Japanese and Chinese covert operations, resulted in several violent incidents against Japan's diplomatic delegation as well as coups and counter-coups by pro- and anti-Japanese Koreans. Korea's chaotic internal situation finally brought Japan and China to war, as both sides sought to maintain their influence over the country and expel the other side's diplomatic delegation.

The First Sino-Japanese War was mainly fought in Korea and Manchuria
First_Chinese_Japanese_war_map_of_battles.jpg


During February 1894, a large-scale peasant revolt took place in southern Korea, which was unable to be suppressed by the Korean emperor's army. In response, the Emperor asked for Chinese assistance in putting down the rebellion. China agreed and sent 2,800 soldiers to Korea, failing to inform Japan. This was a violation of the earlier Convention of Tientsin (now spelled Tianjin), which stipulated that neither nation would station troops in Korea without notifying the other. Japan quickly learned of the violation and secured southern Korea, reaching Seoul on July 23 and replaced the existing government with pro-Japanese Korean politicians. This act terminated all Sino-Korean treaties and permitted Japan to expel China's expeditionary army by force, starting the war.

Japanese woodblock painting of the Battle of Yalu River
Battle_of_the_Yellow_Sea_by_Korechika.jpg


While the IJA began offensive operations against China in Korea, the IJN sought to destroy the Beiyang Fleet, the most powerful fleet in China's possession. On paper, the Beiyang Fleet was the most powerful fleet stationed in Asia, containing two pre-dreadnought steel battleships and 7 protected cruisers as its core, while the IJN consisted of 9 protected cruisers. However, the Beiyang Fleet was poorly trained and extremely poorly equipped. Due to corruption, most of the shells fired by the Beiyang Fleet were filled with concrete or porcelain, or the shells were not the right caliber and couldn't be fired. The few shells that were viable were 13 years old and unreliable. As a result, during the Battle of the Yalu River the Chinese flagship's opening volley damaged its own bridge, killing or wounding most of the officers present, leaving command of the fleet to German adviser Major Constantin von Hannecken.

The destruction of the Beiyang Fleet allowed Japan full access to Chinese territorial waters, which greatly helped conclude the fighting. However, at this point Japan's stunning victory was checked by the European Powers. As per the Treaty of Shimonoseki, China had originally agreed to cede Taiwan and the city of Dalian to Japan and recognize Korea's independence. However, the Europeans also had interests in China and refused to recognize Japan's acquisition of Dalian. Not willing to go to war with Europe, Japan agreed to forgo Dalian in return for greater financial compensation. Within months Russia had begun construction of a railroad to Harbin and Dalian, and had forced China to lease Dalian to the Russian Empire. Likewise, France gained its concession of Zhanjiang, Germany gained Qingdao, and the UK gained Weihei. The Europeans had fully taken advantage of Japan's victory over China to strengthen themselves while preventing Japan from doing the same.

The Japanese Bombardment of Dalian started the Russo-Japanese War
Fire_of_the_Oil_Depot_Caused_by_Our_Gunfire.jpg


Tensions between Russia and Japan quickly rose as Russia violated agreements to leave Manchuria and war was declared on February 8, 1904 when the IJN attacked Port Arthur (another name for Dalian). Later the IJA bombarded Dalian, which was originally to be a war prize for Japan 10 years earlier. The siege began on July 30, 1904 and ended on January 2, 1905 and resulted in the complete destruction of Russia's Far East Fleet, which had retreated into the port after the Battle of the Yellow Sea, the first naval engagement between steel battle fleets.

The Russian Army retreats after the Battle of Mukden
Retreat_of_the_Russian_Army_after_the_Battle_of_Mukden.jpg


Russian fortunes were no better on land, as Japan was routinely able to defeat Russian forces, with the final major battle on land being the Battle of Mukden. At sea, the Russian Baltic Fleet was being redeployed to Dalian and had reached Madagascar when news arrived of Dalian's fall and the complete destruction of the Far East Fleet and its 5 battleships. The Baltic Fleet's only option was to reach Vladivostock to resupply and prepare to face the IJN. However, the Baltic Fleet was caught in the Tsushima straights and almost entirely annihilated during a night battle. By the time the war ended, Japan had sunk 13 of Russia's battleships while losing 2 of its own. UK observers of the battle returned to Britain and their observations of Japanese naval tactics were directly responsible for the construction of the battleship HMS Dreadnought, which revolutionized naval warfare and began the naval arms race of the early 1900s.

With the loss of nearly the entire Russian navy and the Russian army soundly defeated, diplomats from both sides were brought to the negotiating table. US President Theodore Roosevelt hosted the negotiations in Kittery, Maine. The result was the Treaty of Portsmouth, which stipulated that Russia would leave Manchuria, Manchuria would be returned to Chinese control, Japan would gain control of Dalian as well as the Russian railways in Manchuria, and that Russia would cede the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Ignorant of the conditions on the ground, the Japanese public was outraged at the terms, as they were led to believe that Japan would receive all of Sakhalin and financial compensation. While Japan was indeed the victor, it was unable to sustain a protracted war with Russia and needed to end the war quickly, resulting in the abandoning of the claim to all of Sakhalin. Once again European and American influence denied Japan what the Japanese public felt they deserved.
 
Last edited:

RogueLeprechaun

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Nice summary. As someone who is about to start playing HOI3 after years of playing HOI2/AoD I will be following this AAR with interest.

I'm sure you have a few bold ideas up your sleeve. :D

Don't skimp on the strategic thinking/overviews and overviews of your unit builds and force composition please! :)
 

TheBromgrev

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A nice review of history up to this point. The people of Nippon are cheated repeatedly by the dastardly Western powers.

In the case of the aftermath of Japan's war with China that's exactly what happened. France, Germany, and Russia threatened to go to war with Japan if it didn't hand Dalian back to China, and Japan had no chance of victory against them. Shortly afterward those three plus the UK took Dalian and other concessions, figuratively throwing salt into Japan's wounded pride.

Excellent! Well-written and very informative.

You have a minor typo at the beginning of paragraph 3. "During February 1984 . . ."

Thanks. I knew I'd make a mistake like that and caught 2 myself before submitting the post.

Good read. Will continue to follow this one.

Glad you liked it. There will be one more mini history lesson before I start with gameplay updates. The two wars in the first chapter set up the fact that Japan felt it was repeatedly denied what is was due, which is a sentiment that becomes more widespread and intense after WW1, leading to the situation in 1936. Like Italy, Japan's main reason to enter WW2 was to take what it felt it was denied earlier by the Western empires.

Nice summary. As someone who is about to start playing HOI3 after years of playing HOI2/AoD I will be following this AAR with interest.

I'm sure you have a few bold ideas up your sleeve. :D

Don't skimp on the strategic thinking/overviews and overviews of your unit builds and force composition please! :)

I'll start the gameplay part of the AAR with an overview of the military as it starts, because Japan's army and navy are very different from the unmodded game. I'll do the same with techs and the production queue, as they're also very different. As I did with my previous 2 AARs I'll have summary chapters after each major campaign or sub-campaign that go over my research and military stats.

As for ideas, well, aside from the hint I gave earlier I'll mention that historically there is circumstantial evidence pointing to Japan being the 2nd nation in the world to test a nuclear bomb. When Japan surrendered, the leadership destroyed pretty much every document it had, which is why we still don't know the true specs of the IJN Yamato or Shinano. Because of that, the only sources about the test blast at Hungnam, Korea come from Japanese scientists who claim they were present, Red Army documents stating that large amounts of Thorium were siezed at the site and converted to Uranium back in the USSR, as well as local Korean accounts. However, since all official documentation was destroyed, there's no way to really know if such documents ever existed or the test blast was real or made up by attention-seekers.

In-game the nuke route is extremely expensive in terms of IC. Test sites cost 65 IC with no practicals, and the HPP mod forces you to have more than 1 site in order to get the Bomb, and since Japan only has about 100 IC the cost is prohibitive.
 

Cybvep

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This story about the Japanese nukes has never been confirmed. There are also some mysteries surrounding the German nuclear project, Amerika Bomber, chemical weapons and trading of strategic materials that happened between Germany and Japan in 1944-1945. The problem is that it's hard to separate fact from fiction and real threats from desperation. There wasn't much that the Axis could have done to win the war in 1944, because it was already lost, but political and military leaders like to delude themselves in times of crisis.

TBH I doubt that Japan had the capabilities to develop a nuclear bomb in 1945. Just because they tried to do it doesn't mean that it was feasible, given the situation Japan was in and rather restricted access to resources. Also, even if Japan developed a nuclear bomb, I don't really know whether they would have the means to use it, given total Allied air supremacy.
 
Last edited:

TheBromgrev

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You're right, it never was confirmed, and I mentioned that. However, Japan did have a government-funded nuclear research program in 1936 and in the mod it has the first level nuclear tech to represent that. And since this is a game, I might be able to turn that rumored weapon test into a real one :) However doing so carries substantial risk, as I would be giving up 65 IC for at least half a year and would need to build 3 or 4 such sites. That's a lot of units I won't be able to build, and Japan needs to build up a massive fleet and army if it wants to defeat its enemies.

Maybe I will build a test site, but maybe I won't. You guys will find out later :)
 

Baltasar

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Japan will be outgunned quickly either way. The way I see it, rapid expansion into China might alleviate the problem, but requires a massive effort regarding raising new units itself.
 

Darth Moose

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I'm still waiting for the final FTM 3.06 and HPP release before I return to HPP, but I will be following this AAR.

My strategy in recent FTM games was to DoW Holland in Nov - Dec'39 with the Acquire Territory war goal to get their Asian colonies. I did this historically, i.e. by having lots of small groups of transports right next to their VPs. As most of Holland's VPs are in Asia, I was able to acquire those territories within a few days.

I haven't tried Japan with FTM 3.06 yet. but the Chinese war will be very different. Add to that HPP's modifications, and this AAR will be very interesting.
 

Barvinok

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Does nuclear technology gives capability to build nuclear vessels? If not, then I believe they are a waste of time.
 

SSmith

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Again, a lot of fascinating historical background. Thanks!

Going the nuclear route would certainly be a risk for Japan with its limited means and would necessitate big sacrifices in others areas. A successful nuclear programme could obviously be a war-winner, but you'd probably need to hit the continental U.S. for effect - and that might be difficult to do in practice.
 
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