Chapter 21 – November 1945
Old Boardgame Grognard
- Aug 31, 2008
Chapter 21 – November 1945
AuthAAR’s Notes: So, as mentioned before my new HOI3 mod project is quite time-consuming, as I’m learning to mod the game from scratch and doing a major country and scenario rewrite, with dozens of new or modified countries, map changes, new/adapted events etc.
With this and my three other AARs still going, it means this one is going to get even quicker and dirtier (I’m gradually honing it down to my original ideal of short and sharp ). Quicker to write and read, I hope, making use of some spreadsheet stuff that is now pre-formatted and automatically collated to cut down on words and screenshots. Plus just omitting more details from combat descriptions, minor diplomatic events etc and making the summaries even more general. Especially as this war with Japan is taking longer than I’d anticipated to finish off.
I hope all this meets with your approval, Dear Readers. I think the sweep and gist of things still comes across OK, but please let me know if you think it doesn’t.
1. The Far East Front
[Note: The first format change is to provide an up-front summary of the whole Front, then just add few commentary details and stats for each sector.]
November saw supply problems across the front have a noticeable effect on Soviet combat operations. The Central Sector was particularly hard hit by shortages, with the air base of Irkutsk basically out of commission for the month, and those to the east of it on limited operations only. Poor supply also badly affected a number of ground battles. The two combined meant the Japanese were able to be far more aggressive in the Central Sector in particular, though the Soviets still made some gains.
Operational Summary, Far East – November 1945.
1.1 Eastern Sector
For example, lack of supplies in Urusha, where one Soviet rifle division was defending an attack by four enemy division saw it in big trouble on the morning of 5 November. A day later, supply had been restored but the damage had been done. The battle was lost later on 6 November, with disproportionately high Soviet casualties (1137 v 385).
On the morning of 7 November, the 1st Marine Division arrived by train in Ulya, where it linked up with the Red Banner Pacific Fleet and began to work up to full combat organisation.
On 8 November, the new 2 DBAD (STRAT – Pe-8s) bomber wing was deployed to Tyndinskiy to begin working up. 1 DBAD (equipped with older versions of the Pe-8) was also transferred there from the west. The VVS was interested in conducting some test runs with their new toys. The range of 1 DBAD was less than the new 2 DBAD due to older fuel tanks (both wings were being upgraded to even newer components which had been developed while they were being built) and they had an older airframe model.
1 DBAD was sent to do logistical bombing in the Obluchye region – the wing commander would select his own target province. With few Japanese aircraft active in the Theatre, the wing (at around 50% org after recent rebasing) was sent by itself. Which proved to be an unwise risk.
Their bombing run on Bureya started at 1500hr on 9 November, but they were met by a wing of Japanese INT. Soviet fighters of 7th Air Wing (which it turned out had been just in range after all) were scrambled to assist and briefly engaged the Japanese as the raid was ending. But 1 DBAD had been badly cut up by the time they returned later that evening; their mission was hastily called off.
Later that night, the Soviets (left on an air superiority mission in the area) had their revenge, intercepting 4 Zerosen at 2200hr over Bureya, taking a little damage but devastating the Japanese interceptors, with an air victory declared.
As Soviet progress was made towards Nikolayevsk na Amure, a new southern objective of the air base of Tumnin was added to 6th Army’s list.
By 29 November, 4 Zerosen had been repaired enough for the Japanese to send them out again – and they were once more jumped by 7th Air Wing this time over Zavitaya, for another devastating VVS air victory.
As the month ended, the sector had seen some heavy fighting, including probably the largest single battle yet in the Far East, a Soviet victory attacking Obluchye, with combined casualties of over 5,000 men in the six-day battle. The next three largest battles were all won by the Japanese, in that part of the line nearer to the Central Sector (and thus with more supply problems).
But the terrain won by month’s end was all in the Soviet column, with Skovordino lost on the 2nd but won back again by the 28th.
Battles listed in size by total casualties, with unfinished at the bottom, shaded grey.
Battles listed in size by total casualties, with unfinished at the bottom, shaded grey.
1.2 Central Sector
On 1 November, 52nd Corps was transferred from 7th to 1st Army after the latter’s recent more aggressive spirit and progress in the Central Sector, bring the 1st up to 100,000 men in strength, in three corps.
By 3 November, supply problems were widespread. Virtually no air support was available in the sector and attacks that should have been reasonably viable were often aborted after a short skirmish, while defence often became very difficult.
This persisted during the month: the defence of Shilka (three otherwise strong Soviet divisions defending an attack by one Japanese infantry division) was badly compromised on 17 November by a lack of supplies. That shorter battle was won, but an eight-day battle from 20-28 November was eventually lost, despite a casualty count well in the Soviets’ favour (658 v 1,319), from a lack of organisation following a continuation of poor supply.
The Japanese were firmly on the offensive in this sector throughout the month, winning all the larger battles and gaining some ground in Ust’Karsk early and then Mogocha later in the month. This was offset by a range of smaller Soviet victories and gains further west, especially the objective province of Mildigun, captured on 5 November and held for the rest of the month.
1.3 Southern Sector
The Southern Sector only saw limited combat by Soviet forces, though the Mongolians (for whom there are no battle reports) were quite active, advancing in the south (which I think triggered one of those auto occupation of low infra provinces gains) and holding elsewhere. Not a single air mission was flown in the sector during the month, highlighting the supply problems for the VVS in Irkutsk.
The suppression of the Finnish revolt was in full swing during November. The Soviet Archangelsk Theatre had mounted its main response from the north and east. A few Finnish units were running around in the less well-guarded margins to the west and south, but there was no doubt they would be rounded up in due course.
Casualties rates were running at 20-1 in the Soviets’ favour. Some air units (CAS) had been transferred to the Theatre Commander, but he seemed not to have used them yet. A steady sequence of provinces was liberated throughout November.
Question: could this theatre be diverting supply effort from the Far East, hence causing some of the problems over there in recent weeks? If so – damn pesky rebels, but well done game.
3. Production and Logistics
The new and powerful 11. Tank Division finished basic training and was deployed in the Lwow Theatre on 1 November. Its place in the queue was taken up by a lighter and smaller but faster armoured formation.
At this stage, US Lend Lease was again at a high (around 100 IC), giving a total Soviet capacity of 432 IC, of which 237 IC was being spent on the production queue, which was running at 100%.
A new nuclear reactor (the third such facility) was completed in Noginsk on 5 November. No new reactors were planned, but the released effort went into expanding the Mytishchi facility to a third level. All were near Moscow, where Stalin could keep a close eye on them.
Some spare IC was invested in beginning a high-cost heavy mechanised division, though subsequent cutbacks to US Lend Lease would slow its production significantly in coming weeks. Still, it was an investment for a possible future war for Europe.
Indeed, by 12 November Lend Lease had reduced to 67 IC, with the total Soviet economy down to 390 IC. Production of the new heavy mechanised division was slowed to around 12% of its massive 40.5 IC cost.
As described in the Far East reports, supply across the front was poor by 12 November, especially around Irkutsk, except in the eastern part of the front, the advance in the middle of the Central Sector and in southern Mongolia. It was probably no coincidence that this was where the Soviets were having the most success on the battlefield.
Another new INT wing was deployed in the west on 15 November. And by the 18th, the supply shortages in the Central Sector had worsened and were causing real problems the Japanese were taking advantage of.
This prompted another series of infrastructure upgrades in the Far East and a couple of ‘weak links’ in the Trans-Siberian Railway back west near Magnitogorsk. All were put to the top of the queue (11 in all, at 0.29 IC each).
A check on the VVS units in Irkutsk on 24 November confirmed they were still grounded for lack of supplies – though fuel was plentiful everywhere.
With the improving intelligence situation (see more below) with eight spies in reserve and growing, one LS of effort was transferred from spy training (down to 3) to research (up to 21/22) on 5 November, with medium tank reliability (L6) being resumed. This was repeated on 7 November, with special forces (L5) back on the drawing boards and 22/22 projects again under research.
Just the two research projects were completed during the month, with supply organisation given another boost on 30 November due to current logistic problems in the east.
A review of international mission priorities on 1 November saw the following decided:
- Turkey – spy strength 1, 50% c-esp; 50% party support. Changed to 100% party support.
- Spain – spy strength 6, 100% c-esp. No change.
- Manchukuo – spy strength 2; 50% c-esp; 50% disrupt NU. Changed to 66.6% c-esp; 33.3% disrupt NU.
- Japan – spy strength 2; 66.6% c-esp; 33.3% disrupt NU. No change.
The same day, with 11 Soviet spy teams now in reserve, the Manchurian mission was tweaked again to take it back to 50% c-esp; 50% disrupt NU.
The following table details the number and identity of spies caught by the USSR within its borders or on their overseas missions (a total of 29, down four from October) and the progress of the four Soviet foreign missions.
Of note, despite the whole effort in Turkey being directed to supporting the PCP there, all the ground made in October was lost (-3% support recorded), if the reports were to be believed, with no change detected in Spain. National unity in both Japan and Manchukuo was again reduced a little – an important part of the strategy to get them to the point of surrender as early as possible. Strategic weapons attacks were another key part to that strategy – especially the planned nuclear devices.
6. Theatre Summaries
As seen before, progress in the Far East was slower than had been hoped, principally due to the related factors of supply difficulties, little air support and ground combat. This in turn made the Japanese more aggressive in the Central Sector, where they attacked more often than the Soviets. Total casualty rates, especially from Soviet air attacks, were down significantly from the month before. The continued progress of the 6th Army on the Pacific Coast remained the one really substantial bright spot. for the Soviets.
South East Asia had seen only minor changes this month. Malaya continued to be neglected by the Allies, while at first there was some surprise that the Japanese may have re-invaded the Philippines, where the Allied liberation army was still largely in place. There was no additional information available on the apparent Japanese advances in southern Sulawesi.
Allied neglect in Malaya was plumbing new depths, with Kuala Lumpur lost again. A sole US Marine EF under British command was the only unit contesting the Japanese forces there. The Thais seemed to have departed and no other Allied units had been brought in to assist, with Singapore still enemy-occupied.
The situation in the Philippines was explained, with (incongruously) pro-Japanese rebels appearing in northern Luzon. They should soon be dealt with by a nearby British division.
In Australia, things had not quite been mopped up yet, with a Japanese mountain division loose in New South Wales and Japanese marines holed up in Adelaide.
There was no change to the situation in the wider Pacific area.