Quick and Dirty 2: A Soviet Resurgence (HOI3 - March 1944 start)

  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Chapter 20 – October 1945
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 20 – October 1945

    AuthAAR’s Notes: Given we’re now past the end date of WW2 in OTL and this still has some way to go, I’m going to keep trimming and streamlining the presentation to keep things moving along more quickly. In game terms, I’m giving myself until no later than the day of Stalin’s OTL death to either get my win (12 objectives), or it stops then and we see how we have done. Which gives plenty of time yet, of course. I hope I don’t need it all!

    Basically, the combat descriptions will be trimmed down further, as I now think the summary maps give most of the information needed to get the sweep, sequence and size of engagements by sector and across the front. I’ll just briefly note the biggest battles each month by sector. The focus of the rest remains on the ‘sinews of war’ and strategic aspects that I control as the player.


    ******

    1. Introduction and Command Arrangements

    As September ended, the only continuing battle was a Soviet attack on Telemba (Central Sector in this update) [69% progress].

    In overall terms, at midnight on 1 November the orders to all four of the Eastern armies were to adopt an attacking ground stance and go on the air offensive, countermanding the mistakenly defensive orders that had prevailed the previous month.

    ******

    2. Northern Sector

    This was the busiest sector for the month, with a major Soviet advance along the Pacific Coast and its hinterland. After the battle for Bomnaksk was fought and won on 1 October, the advance continued with determination, pushing through to Fevral’sk, Gulian and Tugur by the end of the month. Air support had been active but generally not heavy during this time. Skovorodino was taken late in the month after one failed attempt earlier in the month, but the Japanese were still counter-attacking as the month ended.

    Interestingly, in this sector Japan won three of the four largest battles, but the Soviets managed to win most of the rest, sometimes taking a few attempts to prevail. The first Soviet attack on Skovorodino (8-13 October) cost 1,454 Soviet attackers and 1,452 Japanese defenders. The first battle for Torom (11-15 October) saw 1,461 Soviet and 1,114 Japanese soldiers killed, but a later attack was successful against the weakened defenders.

    The Soviets won at the first attempt in Fevral’sk (22-26 October), losing only 763 men to 1,692 of the enemy, even if it took a subsequent attack to dislodge a fresh Japanese lodgement from 26-27 October. Finally, the biggest battle of the month was for Zeya, between 24-28 October, where 1,809 Soviet soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice, taking 1,569 of the enemy with them. But a renewed attack was in progress as the month ended.

    By 23 October, the forward air base at Tyndinskiy housed 11 Soviet air wings (4 x CAS, 4 x INT, 1 x MR, 2 x TAC), even though (after an upgrade during the month) it only had the facilities to repair 2.43 wings at a time, but at least it meant the men in this sector were getting regular air support again.

    Up in the Far North, as the month was drawing to a close there was only one Japanese division left in the pocket. Noticing that no-one was attacking it, 6th Army had its objectives updated, deleting the now liberated Okhotsk and substituting Magadan.

    0dD7zr.jpg

    General Shestapalov responded quickly to his orders: an attack began just two hours later, with the enemy driven off later that day after a short skirmish.

    pj0lXs.jpg

    Operational summary, Far East – Northern Sector (not including the Magadan Pocket), October 1945.

    ******

    3. Central Sector

    This sector saw less fighting than in the North, but some large actions were fought and an initial salient into the Japanese lines had been significantly expanded as October drew to a close.

    First, the orders of 1st Army were amended, as Bukacaca had finally been secured in September. It was replaced with a depth objective well beyond the now intermediate objective of Mildigun. If 1st Army continued to show initiative, it may get a corps reassigned from 7th or 15th Army (which it shared the sector with) in November to give it the strength to achieve larger gains.

    30XZXG.jpg

    And indeed, by 28 October, 1st Army units had advanced to the border of Mildigun, brushed away its defenders and were advancing on it as the month ended. In this sector, the only battles lost were a couple of skirmishes. The main focus of fighting had been over Telemba, which took two successful attacks to secure, followed by a defence against a sustained Japanese counter-attack. That ended up being the heaviest battle of the month in the Centre, lasting from 13-17 October, with only 187 Soviet defenders lost against 1,096 Japanese attackers, while the VVS struck the attackers in Olovyarmaya with four days of raids killing 2,021 enemy troops.

    As the month ended, the Japanese won a battle to retake Ust’ Karsk, but had not yet reoccupied it.

    2lQttl.jpg

    Operational summary, Far East – Central Sector, October 1945.

    ******

    4. Southern Sector

    Results in the South were more mixed than the month before, but still positive on balance. Although sometimes limited by supply issues in Irkutsk, the VVS wings based there delivered some heavy air support at times, even it failed to prevent two major Japanese victories in Selenga Burin and Serguleng.

    The two most significant battles in the sector during the month were both defensive defeats for the Soviets. In Selenga Burin (1-5 October), the Soviets lost 920 men to ground combat, while the Japanese lost 829, though air strikes took a heavy toll on attacking enemy troops in both Altan Bulak (2,883) and Petrovsk Zabaykal'skiy (2,341). But the Soviet defenders were outnumbered throughout and were out of supply until 2 October, which had hampered their defence (see more on supply in Section 7 below).

    After the battle for Selenga Burin was lost on 5 October, it was added to 7th Army’s objective list but no Soviet counter-attack materialised after it was occupied by the enemy on 14 October.

    dzofAG.jpg

    Serguleng had been taken from the Japanese on 16 October after a victory there in September. A first Japanese counter-attack from Selenga Burin and Ulaanbataar was beaten off from 16-18 October. But a second attack (21-25 October), despite even heavier defensive air support, forced the Soviets out. There were ground combat losses of 1,066 Soviet and 1,157 Japanese troops, plus another enemy 2,780 killed in air raids on troops attacking from Selenga Burin and 745 in Ulaanbataar.

    Serguleng remained in Japanese hands by the end of the month though the Japanese forces reoccupying it were defeated as they arrived on 29 October, so the province may change hands yet again in early November. Gains were made by Soviet and Comintern forces to the south, in Muren and Santu.

    zcFAuz.jpg

    Operational summary, Far East – Southern Sector, October 1945.

    ******

    5. Finland

    On 21 October, another widespread revolt broke out in Finland, affected eight provinces initially and spreading rapidly in the next few days, until responding Soviet units started to roll back these early gains.

    Y4TiM9.jpg

    Based on previous expert advice, a theatre boundary change made since the last revolt meant only Archangelsk Theatre troops would be affected, rather than the unnecessary mass depopulation of the German-Polish sector that had occurred the last time.

    YXX0Hc.jpg

    By 1000hr on 21 October, the Theatre Commander Marshal Karmanov had been ordered to adopt an attacking stance (perhaps imitating the action of a tiger? ;) ) to crush the rebellion. After two days of the rebels rapidly fanning out into the central Finnish countryside, the entire northern garrison along the Swedish and Norwegian borders was in trucks heading south as fast as they could make it, while two nearby divisions in the south marched to action.

    9vzjli.jpg

    The cancer of counter-revolution had spread widely by 26 October, when Soviet forces first engaged the Finns in the south at Juva, then on 28 October in Lahti and by 31 October at Kuopio, with the first of the northern forces arriving and attacking. All these ‘battles’ were little more than skirmishes against guerrilla brigades, typically costing a dozen of fewer Soviet casualties for around 130 Finns.

    6irqla.jpg

    Operational summary, Finland, 21-31 October 1945.

    ******

    6. Espionage

    The spy war hotted up considerably in October. In Spain, the Republic’s counter-espionage forces remained strong and active, but the Soviets decided to ‘test the waters’ on 4 October by devoting a quarter of their effort to supporting the local Communist Party.

    0S2cKU.jpg

    But with one of the Soviet teams being neutralised on 6 October and Spanish domestic spy strength still at seven teams, this brief experiment was discontinued for the time being.

    In Turkey though, local counter-espionage was minimal (one team) and on 12 October all Soviet efforts were directed into supporting the local Communists, who started from a low base of only 7% popularity. But with heavier losses elsewhere, especially in Japan, and reserve teams down to just two to cover four active missions, spy training was increased from 1.2 to 1.5 leadership, with a small amount shaved from diplomacy and the rest from officer training (officers currently at reasonably healthy 117%).

    But the losses mounted: by 16 October the reserve was down to one team and the spy effort was doubled to 3.0 LS, with 1 LS coming from the deferral of one research project (now only 21 out of 22 supported), the rest taken from officer training.

    On 17 October, a team was lost in Turkey, so the effort there was dialled back to 50% each on counter-espionage and Communist Party support. Another research project was put on hold on 18 October as losses mounted and the reserve hovered on just one team, boosting spy training to 4.0 LS.

    Then on 22 October the Manchurians captured a Soviet team, so the effort there was also adjusted from 100% on disrupting national unity to a 50/50 mix with counter-espionage. But despite these losses, the new training focus had taken effect, with the reserve up to three teams.

    The reserve was up to five and another Japanese team had been captured by 29 October (leaving them with two after a brutal month of tit-for-tat killings), so a 50/50 split between counter-espionage and national unity disruption was resumed.

    The Japanese Kempeitai started the month with three teams and finished with two, adding three but losing four to Soviet action, but the Soviets lost three teams of their own achieving this. Japanese national unity remained steady at 64.5%, as Soviet disruption only resumed as the month was ending.

    Manchukuo started the month with no teams at home and finished with two, adding two and losing none, while eliminating two Soviet teams. Manchurian national unity had however decreased by 0.8% from 65.8% to 65.0%.

    Turkey started and finished with one team, adding and losing one during the month, while neutralising two Soviet agents. But the Communist Party in Turkey had been boosted from 7% to 10% popularity by the end of the month.

    In Spain, the locals started with seven teams, losing two and adding one to finish with six, eliminating three Soviet teams along the way. Local Communist Party popularity had not yet budged, remaining at 12%.

    At home and abroad, 33 enemy agents were neutralised in October, compared to 35 in September. As mentioned above the Japanese had lost four (though these were all presumed to have been in Japan), with the British and Germans losing three each, Spain two (in Spain), the rest one each.

    The Soviets had lost ten agents and but produced thirteen five new teams in September, leaving them with a reserve of seven by 31 October. With a more comfortable buffer re-established, one of the deferred research projects would likely be restarted, in part of full.

    ******

    7. Production and Supply

    The air base in Jakutsk received its final upgrade on 4 October: the front was moving further forward, so the saved IC was rolled into ‘consolidated revenue’ for now.

    As noted earlier, supply was still problematic on parts of the front, with the defence of Selenga Burin still being affected by 4 October, though marginal supply had been restored. Part of the problem there was caused by low infrastructure. Also, the routing of supplies was a bit confusing: logisticians declared their supply route back to Moscow was 135 nodes away, while Ulan Ude (directly north of it, albeit on the Trans-Siberian Railway, so with much better infrastructure) was supposedly only 126 distant. Supply in the Vershino Darasunsky salient was still also difficult, though fuel was plentiful. This would improve during the month. [NB: I'm not sure what the difference, if any, is between a 'node' and a 'province' in this context.]

    4I5HZy.jpg

    On 10 October, US Lend-Lease was reduced to 93 IC (down almost 30 from its earlier peak), a rate that would continue for the rest of the month, keeping the introduction of new production projects suppressed.

    The air base at Tyndinsky – the new front-line centre for the VVS in the Northern Sector – got its level three expansion on 15 October, with improvements continued at the crowded facility.

    2zL7TU.jpg

    All the massive new infrastructure projects for the TSR and the Far East Front were completed on 20-21 October. It would take a while for them to reach full efficiency. With high supply demand (around 135 IC average), Lend-Lease reduced and the upgrade bill climbing (back up to 37.47 IC), only two new infrastructure projects were started, to start improving the TSR beyond Irkutsk as land was securely liberated.

    ryWQtt.jpg

    Some of the freed IC was put into raising a second full marine division.

    yWqQnU.jpg

    And a few days later, another wing of strategic bombers was ordered.

    1JljkH.jpg

    Though more research gains meant the upgrade bill climbed even higher by 27 October (to 50.66 IC), though supply production had been reduced to around 110 IC, meaning the bomber production would not always been at 100% capacity as variable demands fluctuated.

    ******

    8. Research and Leadership

    With another improvement being implanted for the artillery brigades, focus was put into bringing heavy tank engine technology closer to world standards – the French in particular were known to have focussed on their heavy armour, while of course the Germans were famous for it.

    PPzHtB.jpg

    On 14 October, the strategic bomber arm got improved bombs, with the effort there switching to introducing the first large air search radar for the VVS.

    kcVBR4.jpg

    The next day, land doctrine for the special forces was improved and research in that priority ‘niche’ area was continued.

    pp6G7s.jpg

    Medium tank reliability was researched on 18 October and while it was planned to continue, as noted above spy losses abroad were impacting heavily at that point, so it and special forces research were put on temporary hold, with large air search radar elevated above them in priority.

    xR5Uqn.jpg

    The next breakthrough was on 26 October, with small navigation radar researched and also elevated to continue above the two suspended projects.

    vNGQkU.jpg


    ******

    9. Theatre Summaries

    The Far Eastern Theatre saw major Soviet gains on the Pacific side of the front, fair gains in the centre and modest net gains in the south.

    2I2e0J.jpg

    The Soviet army remained close to encroaching on northern Manchuria, but had not crossed into it yet. The Japanese still maintained a continuous front line, even if the coastal sector was back-pedalling significantly. A small encirclement might be possible east of Lake Baikal.

    T9y9p8.jpg

    Total confirmed Soviet losses in land combat were very similar (down just slightly) compared to September at 10,686, with none lost to Japanese aircraft.

    The Japanese and their puppets lost 17,921 men (a couple of hundred more fewer than in September) in ground combat. But losses from Soviet air strikes were up significantly to 18,747 (8,187 more than in September). Total Axis casualties (including a few hundred in Finland again) were therefore 36,668, or 10,757 more than in September (though with no repeat of the massive POW haul in Ayan last month).

    ******

    The Finnish revolt had seized a large swathe of the hinterland, but the containment operation had now begun a week or so after the initial rising. Next would come its destruction. And maybe a few MP units might be needed to keep a lid on things in the future.

    oIXPd8.jpg


    ******

    In South East Asia, the Allied conquest of the Philippines had been completed, but Singapore had been lost again. Nothing much had changed elsewhere.

    hz03cG.jpg

    The Allies were currently relying on the Thais in Malaya, but their criminally negligent failure to garrison Singapore had led to its loss.

    QSMjUr.jpg

    The considerable French-commanded forces now in the southern Philippines were in the process of relocating, but time would tell how many were left as a garrison and where the others would end up. Perhaps some back to Malaya, others to new adventures.

    Svo2P3.jpg


    ******

    The Japanese defences had collapsed in Australia by mid-month. Some remnants were now pocketed, the rest heading towards Adelaide [which, in-game, inexplicably does not include a port – though that is good for the Allies now]. Canberra had been retaken in the first half of the month and re-established as the capital.

    ptBRPp.jpg

    Midway Island now seemed at last to be properly defended, with three garrison divisions, fighters and bombers.

    kbRxVr.jpg
     
    Last edited:
    • 3Like
    Reactions:
    Chapter 21 – November 1945
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    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.

    SeKzOv.jpg

    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.

    B5FB8m.jpg

    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.

    norOz9.jpg

    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.

    l22k6m.jpg

    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).

    54lh1d.jpg

    Battles listed in size by total casualties, with unfinished at the bottom, shaded grey.
    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.

    ******

    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.

    DNVfhJ.jpg


    ******

    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.

    ZsUmeA.jpg


    ******

    2. Finland

    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.

    qvjqAo.jpg

    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.

    wni3LR.jpg

    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.

    THbKtC.jpg

    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.

    m7DmY1.jpg

    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.

    YIQXsh.jpg

    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.

    8nnVoj.jpg

    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.

    6Y4u3b.jpg

    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).

    baa9Ra.jpg

    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.

    ******

    4. Technology

    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.

    0tvaAh.png


    ******

    5. Espionage

    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.
    By 10 November Japanese spy strength had risen to 3; c-esp was taken to 100% of the mission effort. After some bloody exchanges, Japanese spy strength was down to 1 by 21 November, with the mission adjusted to 33.3% c-esp; 66.6% disrupt NU, in response to the more favourable conditions.

    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.

    sDYGDg.jpg

    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.

    gF0SIb.jpg


    ******

    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.

    cnA3Oj.jpg

    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.

    R3G9Sl.jpg

    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.

    FpLcqD.jpg


    ******

    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.

    mZ7gdk.jpg

    There was no change to the situation in the wider Pacific area.
     
    Last edited:
    • 2Like
    Reactions:
    Chapter 22 – December 1945
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 22 – December 1945

    AuthAAR’s Note: I’ve may slowed down the ‘refresh rate’ on new episodes a bit while I work on my HOI3 mod, but have not abandoned the story! The next instalment follows: again, I’ve tweaked the presentation a little, trying to strike what I feel the right balance to be for detail and summary, table and graphical presentation.

    In part, I’ve re-inserted a little more detail on the map summaries, in part for presentation purposes, aided by the fact that with weather (December in the Far East) and supply factors, the pace of operations slowed down a fair bit. I’ll deal with the weather effects briefly in the chapter. But there are some significant research advances that move the story closer to some other ‘exciting’ (!!
    :eek:) possibilities too.


    ******

    1. The Far East Front - General

    As we get back into events, the Soviets are (slowly) closing in on the last enemy remnants trapped in the northern pocket.

    iyi0Mx.jpg

    Weather will prove a major factor during the month, with relatively few battles and attacking made that much more difficult. Temperatures in the southern half of the theatre typically range from -6 to -10C. In the northern pocket, it is in the mid -20s.

    An example from a battle later in the month illustrates the rough effect of this on attacking power (with the ‘interesting’ prospect of an Indonesian general commanding a marine division in Manchurian colours! It also drastically reduces movement speeds as well, contributing to the slow progress.

    nm0563.jpg

    Otherwise, one battle has carried over: a Japanese attack on Mordaga, in the Eastern Sector.

    ******

    2. Eastern Sector

    vO0Mrb.jpg

    The situation in the Eastern Sector in early December 1945, with the Soviets cautiously on the advance in increasingly difficult conditions.

    Most of the fighting occurred either in the first week or last couple of weeks of the month, with a lull in the middle as units advanced – or just hunkered down in the frigid conditions. The fight for Mordaga was lost by 2 December, and proved to be the first of three Soviet defeats in that province as the new Soviet defending units slipped in as the Japanese slowly advanced on the province (the weather of course also slowing most movement down to a crawl).

    Easily the largest battle in any sector for the month was fought for Ushuman from 2-7 December, with almost 3,000 men killed on both sides as the Soviet attackers won a hard-fought victory. The province had still not been occupied by the end of the month, after a new Japanese unit slipped in on 30 December. That battle was still in progress as the year ended.

    Japanese CAS made a rare appearance on 8 December, the day after the Imeni Poliny Osipenko was occupied by the Soviets. They were intercepted, but not until after they managed to kill a few Soviet defenders. They did not return for the rest of the month and no counter-attack on the province eventuated.

    y9lWNY.jpg

    Elsewhere, apart from the successive failed attempts to defend Mordaga, the Soviets won a battle in Obluchye from 17-21 December, but then lost to a Japanese counter-attack (24-26 December) shortly after they occupied it. But Soviet advances in the east of the sector without opposition resulted in three other provinces being occupied, including the port of Nikolayevsk na Amure. With casualties from air raids added in, the Soviets inflicted significantly more damage than they sustained, even though the Japanese did most of the attacking and won more battles than they lost.

    Z1RoWf.jpg

    Eastern Sector Operations – December 1945.

    StBDf4.jpg

    A summary of battles (above) and advances.

    ******

    2. Western Sector

    There were only four battles along the rest of the front stretching to Mongolia during the month, one of those a small skirmish for Selanga Burin. The rest were all victorious Soviet attacks, increasing in scale as the month progressed. But as 1945 ended, none of these had yet turned into a liberation of the provinces concerned, even those won comparatively early in the month.

    The largest – the attack on Mogocha – lasted five days, resulting in heavy enemy ground casualties and even more from the air, with 2,004 enemy killed there in five days of raids from 24-28 December.

    jooU4r.jpg

    Western Sector Operations – December 1945.

    qOtr6K.jpg

    Battle summary.

    ******

    3. Finland Sector

    The month saw the latest Finnish insurgency successfully wrapped as 1945 drew to a close. Early in the month, Stalin was about to sign a death warrant for the commander of 46 SD when he received a shocking report stating that his full-strength division had been attacked in Lahti by a brigade of leaderless Finnish partisans and had run away with barely a fight!

    faDayl.jpg

    But this order was rescinded shortly afterwards, when it became clear MAJGEN Lazarev was simply moving on west to secure Lammi while more Soviet troops moved in behind him into Lahti. 64 SD took almost a day to defeat the Finns’ reckless assault, but Soviet honour was retrieved – and Lazarev’s life spared.

    VMGIdq.jpg

    No other serious ground actions were fought for the rest of the campaign, which consisted of Finnish partisan brigades and HQs running without a fight as the Soviets progressively regained all occupied territory towards the end of the month, with occasional Soviet air support chiming in.

    qwvRWe.jpg

    Finnish Operations – December 1945.

    EvTyTp.jpg

    A summary of battles (above) and advances.

    ******

    4. Production and Logistics

    The ‘mixed’ 24 Tank Div was deployed in the West on 2 December, with a new NAV wing based in Riga.

    gyLwqb.jpg

    Another ‘mixed’ tank division was deployed in the West on 3 December. A new ‘heavy guards’ division began training the same day.

    C3ErYm.jpg

    On 8 December the forward air base at Tyndinskiy (supporting the Eastern Sector) had Level 4 facilities installed and the Level 5 expansion begun.

    The supply drain increased as the month went on, so that projects at the bottom of the queue had to be put on hold as the supply stockpile began to drain quickly. It had been stabilised by the end of the month.

    ZGZplS.jpg


    ******

    5. Research

    A long-awaited milestone was reached on 15 December, with strategic rocket research completed and attention now directed at turning theory into practice. It was expected work on the first operational flying bombs could begin in May 1946.

    dmj9AS.jpg

    Five breakthroughs came over a few days later in December, over just a three-day period. Significant among these was civil nuclear research progressing to the point that an actual nuclear bomb could be developed: the necessary research was commenced without delay. RADAR-guided missiles would improve Soviet hard and soft attack capability; submarine development continued to improve, as did training for the new STRAT bomber arm.

    W6ldXC.jpg


    ******

    6. Espionage

    The loss of a spy in Turkey on 10 December caused a change from 100% Communist Party support to a 50/50 split between that and counter-espionage. Another spy was lost there on 13 December and three would fall during the month.

    Similarly, on 19 December a spy was lost in Japan, so that mission was changed form 1/3 counter-espionage and 2/3 NU disruption to a 50/50 split.

    By the end of the month, a whopping 40 enemy spies ha been neutralised in the USSR or in the four foreign missions. Five Soviet agents had been lost but nine trained, so overall strength rose to 67 agents in the field or in reserve.

    In terms of political results, NU in Japan and Manchuria had been eroded again, but there was no change in Communist Party support in either Spain or Turkey.

    GHNOk6.jpg

    The Foreign Ministry believed the attitude of the two respective heads of state may be making headway even harder than it would normally have been: both were described (somewhat pejoratively) as ‘pig-headed isolationists’. They may have described themselves more as ‘independently-minded nationalists’, but these judgements are always subjective.

    rZXsno.jpg


    ******

    7. Theatre Summaries

    As noted above, fighting was subdued and advances limited in the Far East during the fierce winter, though the Northern Pocket had almost been eliminated. Total casualty rates, especially from Soviet air attacks, were down even further from the month before, though heavily in the Soviet’s favour.

    lMaPUb.jpg


    ******

    In Australia, the Allies were close to wrapping up the Japanese invasion there, where the enemy had just been ejected from Adelaide.

    HMotAw.jpg

    South East Asia appeared to show no changes in occupation at all. Malaya was quiet – the Allies seemingly still asleep at the wheel there, with Singapore and Kuala Lumpur still controlled by Japan.

    jHQ3IW.jpg

    However, it looked like the French had sent in a British Marine Division to take Guangzhou from the Japanese in Southern China. They were now advancing on Hong Kong – and had 12 Allied air wings in support from Guangzhou’s air field.

    WBcz2e.jpg

    The Americans had lost Johnston Island in the Pacific, but otherwise nothing of significance had changed there either.

    Given the amount of interest in Japanese naval strength after all these years of war [and given the overwhelming Soviet spy presence in Japan and presumed Allied reporting, I thought it fair enough for a brief tag to get general info], a Special Intelligence Estimate indicated Japan still had a good number of capital ships – especially aircraft carriers – operating under the Imperial Navy’s ensign.

    aUS2iq.jpg
     
    • 1Like
    Reactions:
    Chapter 23 – January 1946
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 23 – January 1946

    AuthAAR’s Note: Welcome back to the front, dear readAARs! We continue the grim War in the Far East, with the snows of winter. And my current 'quick and dirty' presentation format to keep things going along, even if the update rate is slowed a little (noting this is one of four AARs I’ve got going on rotation).

    ******

    1. Eastern Sector

    As the new year of 1946 opens, winter continues to exert a firm grip. The latest Soviet attack on Ushumun, which began on 30 December, goes on, while a major new Soviet attack began on Chegdomyn on 1 January: it would prove to be one of the biggest battles of the campaign so far, with the air forces of both sides weighing in. For example, the poor weather in Chegdomyn lowers the effectiveness of the Soviet attack by an estimated -21.9%.

    Japanese air attacks - by at least six different TAC wings, some with escorts - on Soviet troops attacking Chegdomyn from Imeni Poliny Osipenko, Solnechny and Sofiysk on 2 and 3 January caused a total of 2,886 Soviet casualties, while strikes by the VVS on Chegdomyn itself killed 556 defenders from 1-3 January.

    juGQQZ.jpg

    With no effective Soviet fighter cover nearby, a brand new air base (one was being held ready) was built in Nikolayevsk na Amure. A base upgrade to level 2 facilities was started the next day, as hardly any repairs were yet possible in the bare-bones base.

    4NbAQo.jpg

    Five INT wings in two groups from Mutina were transferred, to start providing interception cover. Despite still being low on organisation after re-basing, they were soon in action to good effect, first over Imeni Poliny Osipenko.

    vYVejf.jpg

    The battle for Chegdomyn ended in Soviet victory on 3 January and (whether from the interceptions or the battle ending) the enemy bombing raids also ceased.

    On the morning of 5 January, the last of the northern pocket was eliminated in Susuman.

    PsooDN.jpg

    After skirmishes that saw Mordaga lost on 5 January but then regained the next day, the next major battle was a renewed Soviet attack on Ushumun from 8-12 January against newly arrived Japanese reinforcements, won again by the Soviets. Weather continued to hamper the attack (-20.3%) and slow down movement. This dose was repeated from 15-17 January, after which the Soviets finally occupied Ushumun on 28 January: then having to defend it against a Japanese counter-attack from 28-30 January.

    Early on 8 January, all the transports in Ulya were merged into the Red Banner Pacific Fleets, the 1st Marine Division was loaded up, and they all sailed south for the first Soviet amphibious operation of the war. Their destination was Okha in northern Sakhalin, opposite Nikolayevsk na Amure, which was now crucially able to offer air cover for the invasion fleet.

    Wec8Ay.jpg

    They were offshore by 1800hr the same evening, discovering no Japanese garrison in place. The 1st Marines would continue to operate under the direct (ie human) control of HQ Far Eastern Theatre.

    WWbcBV.jpg

    Okha was liberated early on 10 January, with the marines ordered to advance the length of the island, if possible – but the weather meant it would be slow progress. Interestingly, there had been no Japanese opposition on the ground, in the air or at sea. Having done its job, the fleet re-based to nearby Nikolayevsk na Amure.

    MTmqHi.jpg

    From 11 January onwards, the Japanese heavily bombed Soviet forces in the east and caused very heavy casualties, clearly using new bases that were now in range, while Soviet air support continued, but was more stretched.

    F5yRdP.jpg

    At first, VVS interception from the new forward air base would contest these raids and largely suppressed them until mid-month. But by 14 January, with little ability to rest and repair, the VVS’s ability to stop the raids had begun to falter. This would eventually lead to very high casualties, and enemy air support for some significant Japanese counter-attacks by the end of the month.

    Kw7Tp0.jpg

    A major action was fought to take De Kastri, on the Pacific coast from 18-24 January, ending in another Soviet victory, despite atrocious weather (-34.7% attack) and difficult terrain (-35% attack). Japanese air raids on Bogordskoye also attempted to disrupt the attack but were contested by nearby INT from Nikolayevsk na Amure, though many were still able to get through.

    Lz9s5d.jpg

    The Japanese launched a major attack on Solnechny, with heavy air support, on 21 January. The Soviets were forced to retreat on 26 January, after losing 3,587 men to air attacks, in addition to over 800 from ground combat. The VVS was unable to stop them, though Tyndinsky-based aircraft were still able to conduct ground support missions against the Japanese throughout this period.

    A concurrent large Japanese attack on Sofiysk was also going on around this time, lasting from 25 to 30 January, but this one was ultimately repulsed. However, another 2,664 men were lost there to Japanese air attacks. This time, the weather (-25.9% attack) was working against the enemy.

    The Japanese occupied Obluchye (after a previous victory there) on 25 January.

    ss9a2p.jpg

    But despite local supply problems, the Soviets counter-attacked soon after. The battle was fought and won between 26-29 January, with active VVS support (644 enemy killed in air raids).

    4beyB3.jpg

    Eastern Sector Operations – January 1946.

    The lion’s share of fighting on the ground, and all the combat in the air, had been fought in the Eastern Sector this month. A clear Soviet superiority in ground fighting had been balanced almost exactly by the new-found preponderance of Japanese air power, with total casualties on both sides almost exactly even. Despite this, the Soviets had still managed to push forward on balance, with Obluchye likely to be reclaimed in February, though the earlier gain of Chegdomyn was now under threat after a loss there late in the month.

    GxyOfy.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances.

    ******

    2. Central Sector

    Very little of note occurred in the Central Sector during January, with neither side willing or able to attack much. Mogucha was reoccupied on 1 January, after a successful Soviet attack there the month before. On the boundary with the Eastern Sector, a Japanese attack on Aksenovo Zilovskoye was beaten back from 1-3 January. It would be the only battle fought in the sector for the rest of the month.

    The main reason for this inaction, on the Soviet side at least, was clearly recurrent supply problems.

    O7THO5.jpg

    By the end of the month, there had been a wholesale pull-back from the front line, including the abandonment of Mildigun, despite it being an assigned objective of both 1st and 7th Armies.

    8nxUbY.jpg


    fUcb6K.jpg

    Central Sector Operations – January 1946.

    WQVcN0.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances.

    ******

    3. Western Sector

    The Western Sector at least had reasonable supply, though no VVS air missions were flown there for the month, probably due to issues of range and poor supply in Irkutsk. A limited series of offensive and defensive battles were prosecuted.

    An evenly contested battle for Ulaanbaatar was fought between 4-11 January and ended in a Soviet victory. It was liberated soon after Japanese resistance ended. The old Mongolian capital had been liberated – only a few months after their surrender had appeared imminent!

    qYI3If.jpg

    A few small battles were enough to see Sharangad secured by 14 January, after which a couple of more determined Japanese attempts to retake it were defeated (14-20 and 29-31 January).

    Of interest, the (AI-controlled) Archangelsk and Lwow Theatre HQs each transferred a group (four wings total) of CAS into the liberated air base in Ulaanbaatar early on 27 January. Though not sought by HQ Far East, they were accepted and allocated to 7th Army.

    wH0Vpz.jpg

    Western Sector Operations – January 1946.

    MFC8Ke.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances.

    ******

    4. Production and Logistics

    Level 3 radar station upgrades were completed in Kaunas, Lwow and Brzesc Litewski on 15 and 16 January, part of the growing radar network on the Western Front. Improvement of each to the next level was started immediately and given the highest production priority.

    As January drew to a close, the supply position across the Far Eastern Front remained poor, especially in the centre, but also now in places further east. [Question: apart from infrastructure, does anyone know if poor weather also affects supply distribution/throughput, noting it affects ordinary ground movement?]

    AA46BW.jpg

    By the end of the month, over 45% (180 IC) of industrial capacity was being devoted to supply production, just to keep the stockpile around its minimum preferred 30,000 benchmark.

    ******

    5. Research

    The first week of the new year saw advances in fighter ground crew training and navigation radars for medium sized aircraft. The VVS modernisation program continued with the new projects started on better TAC ground crew training and also NAV pilot training – the latter being the first such program in the Soviet Union.

    1GyLyT.jpg

    With a now massive pool of trained agents in reserve, on 13 January the KGB and GRU spy schools were mothballed, with the freed leadership effort split between starting a new research project (to improve small air search radars) and increased officer training.

    mHaTDa.jpg

    The next two projects completed boosted the submarine program: both engine and torpedo research was continued.

    wkZQSA.jpg

    And as January 1946 ended, Stalin was apprised of progress in three core and highly classified areas of strategic research. In mid-February – just a few weeks away – Soviet scientists were confident they would be able to start building the first nuclear device. Theoretical jet engine design was also due to advance at around the same time. And in another area of strategic warfare, the first flying bomb design should allow construction of this first level of unguided devices from early May 1946, paving the way for more advanced rocket engine research.

    ofHkHw.jpg


    ******

    6. Espionage

    With little undue attention on Soviet agents overseas and a large reserve of agents, on 24 January the effort in Spain (down to only one domestic agent after losing two to that point in January) was reset to 50% counter-espionage and 50% political influence, as the local Communist party had been losing ground. Other missions were left unchanged.

    By the end of the month, a 29 enemy spies had been neutralised in the USSR or in the four foreign missions (11 fewer than in December 1945). Only one Soviet agent had been lost (in Japan) but four trained up to 13 January, so overall strength rose to 70 Soviet agents in the field or in reserve.

    In terms of political results, NU in Japan and Manchuria had been eroded a little more. Communist Party support in Spain was down, but up a little in Turkey (where the political influence mission had been in operation all month).

    kwUTMJ.jpg


    ******

    7. Theatre Summaries

    As noted above, fighting was intense in the Eastern Sector of the Far East as the fierce winter was endured and the Northern Pocket had been eliminated. Total casualty rates were higher again, but especially from a massive increase in Japanese air attacks.

    7vopIa.jpg


    ******

    South East Asia was again largely static, though the US had secured Guam from Japanese occupation.

    caOWQg.jpg

    And the Allies had now completely occupied Hong Kong and the surrounding Japanese enclave in southern China.

    x1yUal.jpg

    Malaya had been treated with its usual neglect: a single US Marine division under British command seemed to be the only assigned force, doing ‘picket duty’ on Kuala Lumpur.

    1b6KNu.jpg

    The campaign in Australia had been successfully wrapped up, however [giving your humble authAAR a warm inner glow, at least ;)].

    sZajxs.jpg

    And in New Britain (an island province of New Guinea) a heavy build-up of HQs (!) and aircraft was spotted, though it seemed only a single airborne division was present and seemed to only have a Japanese theatre HQ in opposition.

    2bcBza.jpg
     
    • 3Like
    • 1
    Reactions:
    Chapter 24 – February 1946
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 24 – February 1946

    AuthAAR’s Note: In this month, the fighting for the Soviets remains grim, but the big developments come in the strategic space and in other theatres. Those external Allied operations are reported in the primary sector report for continuity and to give them context in timing compared to the Soviet campaign.

    ******

    1. Eastern Sector and Other Theatres

    The Japanese launched a major attack on Ushumun on 1 February with heavy air support (2,200 air raid casualties from 1-5 February), which were ended after a second interception by the VVS (the two wings operating as a group out of the forward ‘bare bones’ - Level 1 - new air base at Nikolayevsk na Amure) beat them back early on 6 February.

    U4kJWO.jpg

    The Japanese eventually won the battle for Ushumun on 10 February, after nine days of heavy fighting (1,001 Soviet and 2,191 Japanese ground casualties). But Ushumun was ultimately held after Soviet reinforcements appeared on 11 February and threw back the advancing Japanese after a brief skirmish.

    On Sakhalin, the advance of the 1st Marine Division was interrupted when they struck Japanese counterparts at Shisuka on 1 February. That battle would last five days, ending in an expensive defeat which, with 2,439 additional Soviet casualties from Japanese air strikes, left the Soviet marines exhausted. They ran as soon as the Japanese attacked them in Alexandrov Sakhalinsky the same day. Early on 7 February, it was decided they would need reinforcement, so 57. Motor Rifle Div was detached to Theatre command and sent to secure the port of Okha.

    TPPgEB.jpg

    Soviet forces advanced into De Kastri (after winning the battle for it the month before) on the Pacific coast on 4 February and would later use it as a springboard for other attacks.

    A few days afterwards, a significant Japanese attack on Solechny began on 6 February that was finally defeated on 10 February, again after another very heavy enemy air bombardment (3,133 air raid casualties over four days). This time, Soviet fighters tried to intervene again but, with repair facilities at their base severely limited (only one wing could be repaired at a time at that point), were unable to make much impact.

    tf5g9t.jpg

    It was observed that the winter weather no longer seemed to be hampering most attacks, for example in the Soviet attack on Alihe which began on 8 February and was won after a short fight. This time, Soviet air support was telling, with raids by the VVS (based in Tyndinskiy) from 2 to 8 February causing 2,137 enemy casualties.

    Another heavy Japanese attack with air support struck Chegdomyn on 9 February and lasted until the Japanese were victorious on 12 February, when they occupied the province. However, the Soviets counter-attacked immediately with their own air support (causing 928 enemy casualties), winning the fight on 14 February and ultimately retaking Chegdomyn on 27 February.

    The aggressive Japanese posture in the first part of the month continued with a counter-attack on Obluchye (10-13 February) as soon as the Soviets had occupied it after a previous victory. Soviet reinforcements would arrive twice more during the month, but those battles were also lost (20-22 and 24-25 February) with heavy Soviet ground casualties and continuing harassment from Japanese bombers. The enemy won and they retook the province on 27 February.

    The Soviets had attacking plans of their own, however. Exploiting their breakthrough into De Kastri, Komsomolsk na Amure was attacked on 10 February, with the enemy breaking on contact. There would be another brief skirmish on 20 February, but the Japanese ran after a short fight and the province was liberated the same day. This was followed by two Japanese counter-attacks and the heaviest enemy air attacks of the war so far (5,033 Soviet casualties from 21-25 February from the air raids alone). The first Japanese counter-attack was defeated on 23 February but another began the next day and was still raging by the end of the month.

    Further west, a Soviet attack on Kuibyshevka (15-16 February) ended in victory, despite interfering enemy air attacks. Enemy reinforcements arrived before the province was occupied, with a longer and harder fight ensuing from 21-24 February, again won by the Soviets. Once more, air casualties were higher than those on the ground, with both air forces involved: Soviet air raids caused 1,356 casualties, while the Japanese bombers killed 1,730 of the attacking Soviets. They were still advancing on the province as the month ended.

    It was on 17 February that major news was received from the Allies: it appeared they had made an amphibious landing in the Japanese home islands a few days before. They had taken the port of Susaki on the island of Shikoku and a mixed force of mainly British plus French and German divisions under French command was beginning to fan out, without encountering any Japanese resistance on the ground. However, the state of the French ships sheltering in Susaki showed they had come under fierce attack during the landing. The Allies now had 28 wings of various nationalities operating out of Susaki’s sizeable air base.

    7ZjRmg.jpg

    This dramatic intervention was met with mixed feeling in Moscow: if it diverted Japanese effort from the hard-fought Soviet front, all well and good. But if it meant France would now overrun Japan while the Soviets were forced to slug it out on the mainland, it could upset longer-term Soviet ambitions. By 21 February, the Allies had occupied almost all of Shikoku.

    Meanwhile, on 22 February the Soviet marines had limped back into Okha, while 57 MR Div was crossing over from Nikolayevsk na Amure: they would arrive on the morning of 24 February, a little more than a day before the Japanese moved up into Alexandrov Sakhalinsky.

    But far bigger events were again unfolding away from the Soviet battle front. At 5pm on 22 February, Nationalist China joined the Allies and declared war on Japan. And it seemed the Japanese had left the border virtually unguarded! Once more, others would benefit while the Soviets did the dirty work.

    UzCYpc.jpg

    By that time, the French reported they had fully secured Shikoku, already had a bridgehead on the southern island of Kyushu and were attempting a crossing of the straits over to the main island of Honshu! It was both exhilarating and frustrating all at once, as the the Soviets bled while the Allies waltzed seemingly unhindered through the Home Islands.

    kvUw2t.jpg

    The month ended with a new Soviet attack on Verkhnetambovskoye in an attempt to keep pushing along the coast. Fighting started on 27 February and continued as the 28th ended – once more with heavy Japanese bombing raids on the attackers, but no further interceptor cover.

    8hd58L.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances.

    eoj0wG.jpg

    Eastern Sector statistics: it had been a brutal month for the Soviets, especially in terms of casualties from Japanese bombers, which the limited reach of VVS fighters had found difficult to repel, though reasonable bombing support had been available to the ground troops.

    ******

    2. Central Sector

    As the month began, a major Soviet attack continued against Tahe, which was heavily held be the Japanese. Despite persistent Soviet air support, this would prove to be the first of five unsuccessful attacks on the province. The Soviet commanders could not be faulted for their persistence, while demonstrating zero imagination. To be expected of Stalin’s iron grip, really. Battles were fought and lost there on 29 Jan-1 February, then from the 4-6, 17-20, 22-24 and 26-28 February, all resulting in Soviet defeat despite a total of 5,090 enemy troops being killed in supporting air raids during the month. The Japanese bombers were nowhere to be seen – they clearly did not range this far west from their bases towards the Pacific coast.

    Elsewhere in the sector, local supply had improved just enough by 19 February to allow the Soviets to attack Olovyarmaya, where the battle was comfortably won by 25 February (63 Soviet v 348 Japanese killed). Unfortunately, supplies ran out again before the province could be occupied. A simultaneous Soviet advance on the undefended Goryachinsk also failed when their supplies ran out.

    The Japanese later took advantage of poor Soviet supply in Chita, winning an attack there (22-24 February) and causing heavy Soviet casualties (591 Soviet v 320 Japanese killed). Chita would be occupied by the enemy on 28 February, as would Shilka to an unopposed enemy advance (the Soviet defenders having earlier withdrawn, presumably because of a lack of supplies).

    tRxiRw.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances.

    aZF6ob.jpg

    Central Sector statistics: the repeated Soviet assaults on Tahe proved costly, though this was evened up by Soviet air power. The only battle won by the Soviets in the sector could not be followed up due to supply shortages, which also led to the Japanese making the only territorial gains for the month.

    ******

    3. Western Sector

    There was no action involving Soviet forces in the sector for the month. However, the Mongolians were able to push forward in the south. Not a single air mission was flown out of the major air base at Irkutsk during February.

    Wca01e.jpg

    A summary of battles (above) and advances.

    ******

    4. Production and Logistics

    Early in the month, the first of a series of infrastructure improvements leading to the front (ordered some months before) was completed – this led to the previously front line air base of Jakutsk and towards the Pacific coast.

    HByK3u.jpg

    Around this time, the supply situation varied across the front. Only the Pacific coast and Mongolia seemed to have good local supply – the rest varied from poor to dire.

    SKbtMX.jpg

    The same morning, a new wing of Tu-4 STRAT bombers was produced, but were for now kept back in Moscow to help alleviate supply throughput problems in the Far East.

    tnQtRj.jpg

    A day later, an improvement of the Trans-Siberian Railway between Irkutsk and Ulan Ude was completed.

    ZED7R5.jpg

    By the evening of 7 February, the supply situation in the Eastern Sector had begun to improve, but remained generally poor further to the west and in and around Irkutsk.

    Ru55io.jpg

    On 9 February, five new provincial infrastructure improvements were begun in provinces closer to the new front line and leading to the still busy airfield at Tyndinskiy.

    The next major project to be completed was an improvement to the main nuclear reactor at Mytishchi to Level 3: the next level was started but, due to the expense, Stalin asked his scientists [ie you, dear readAARs] what - if any - material benefit further improvements to the nuclear reactors would bring to nuclear bomb production once it began later in the month.

    lAN903.jpg
    The wikis and manual seem a bit fuzzy on this, other than saying they ‘add to your research benefit’ and ‘also your speed of production, the same way research knowledge always does’. My main question is whether its worth to keep improving this main reactor, as its still quite expensive – but if there is some tangible benefit to actual production speed, I’m happy to fork out (and have begun the next level on the assumption it is). The way things are going, I’ll need nukes if I ever want to challenge the Allies, who now have Nationalist China on their side and are running amok in Japan, who I’d hoped to conquer and puppet to bring them into the Comintern. As at 28 February, nuke theory is at 8.8 and practical 21.3, if that is at all relevant.
    The first new submarine flotilla (the 8th Flotilla) was completed on 17 February and deployed in the Pacific fleet base at Ulya. It is still only a Series II boat, although its engine and hull are one level above the original boats (eg 11th Flotilla). The other ‘variable’ characteristics will have to be upgraded in place, as these weren’t available when it was laid down as a device to get practical building expertise going.

    axcl6z.jpg

    At the same time, another powerful new tank division was deployed on the Polish border. It is of passing interest to note that an SS division is one of a number of German units currently serving under Polish command there and making up the bulk of their forces. Most ironic.

    BsJ8Ig.jpg

    The important air base at Tyndinskiy also continued to be expanded.

    xIjPsa.jpg

    As was that at Nikolayevsk na Amure, whose bare facilities were the main reason so little interceptor cover was available at the eastern end of the line. This should help a little once the latest upgrade was fully on line.

    4v0E2F.jpg


    ******

    5. Research

    From 6-14 February, three research projects matured, including pilot rescue, which would improve fighter crew resilience. Supply transportation was the first new research priority, given recent logistic problems. Trade interdiction doctrine was to be improved further for the future modernised submarine arm, while enough theory had been researched to allow actual jet engines to be pursued.

    5d31CL.jpg

    In the second half of the month, two more major advances were researched: nuclear bombs could now begin to be fabricated and that line of study would continue. Medical evacuation (using helicopters) would significantly improve the morale of all infantry-type units (though, as observed before, not for tank troops). Mass assault doctrine would further improve regular infantry morale.

    dXi5WD.jpg


    ******

    6. Espionage

    The number of enemy agents being apprehended rose sharply (to previous levels) in February, with a whopping five (all from different countries) being caught on 7 February alone. With a large surplus of spare agents and no new espionage missions proposed, spy training remained zeroed out for the month.

    By the end of the month, 36 enemy spies had been neutralised in the USSR or in the four foreign missions (seven more than in January). Six Soviet agents had been lost (three in Manchuria, one each in Japan, Turkey and Spain), so overall strength fell from 70 Soviet to 64 agents in the field or in reserve.

    In terms of political results, NU in Japan and Manchuria had again been eroded a little more. Communist Party support in Spain was down again [this mission looks to be a bit futile at the moment], but once more up a little in Turkey.

    bUsXiE.jpg


    ******

    7. Theatre Summaries

    As noted above, fighting was most intense in the Eastern Sector of the Far East but Japanese air power and continuing supply problems made it a difficult month, with little net gain of territory and heavy casualties suffered.

    C8IhuP.jpg


    ******

    In the new theatre of China, the Nationalists had already begun to make inroads against minimal resistance across a wide front in the first week of their all-out offensive.

    fx5rbr.jpg

    And the Allied invasion of the Japanese Home Islands was also encountering no resistance on the ground as yet.

    XJ7Mr5.jpg

    South East Asia and the Pacific were static, with no change in Malaya or Singapore.

    ******

    Endnote: These huge events in Japan and China may require a hasty reworking of Soviet operational plans, to try to prevent them making all the gains while we bleed out and crawl forward to the north. Serious thought will be given to detaching some more conventional units in the east, putting them on boats and launching our own speculative invasion of Honshu before the whole island is overrun by the French. It’s also looking more likely that the nukes, rockets and strategic bombers may be used against the Allies later than Japan soon, if the latter collapse rapidly from here (especially given I’ve been niggling away at their NU for a long time now).
     
    • 3Like
    • 1
    Reactions:
    Chapter 25 – March 1946
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 25 – March 1946

    Foreword

    After a grinding month of winter warfare and supply problems in February 1946, the Soviets find themselves still slugging it out with Japan and its puppet regimes. Meanwhile, Nationalist China had joined the Allies and swept away light Japanese resistance, while a French-led invasion force raced through the undefended southern Japanese Home Islands.

    Time seemed to be running against Stalin, who raced to complete nuclear weapons, build strategic rockets and long range bombers, finish research on jet engine technology to make the Air Force competitve against its Allied counterparts and debvelop modern submarines for the outmoded Soviet Navy.

    A strike on Europe before these new weapons were operational and while still heavily engaged in the East seemed premature, even though the options there may be narrowing.

    ******

    1. General Operations: 1-17 March

    [
    Note: a map summarising the major battles and advances in the Far Eastern Theatre is included at the end of Section 3 below.]

    As March began, the Soviets decided they would respond to the Allied invasion of Japan by trying a smaller one of their own: hastily arranged and somewhat desperate, given it would have to be staged without any air cover. A mixture of reasonably battle-worthy divisions of about corps strength in the vicinity of Nikolayevsk na Amure began to assemble there for eventual embarkation. The diversion would detract from the offensive capacity in the eastern-most sector, but the risk would be taken. The remainder of the invasion plan – Operation Narwhal – is summarised in Section 2.

    Soviet supply remained problematic over large parts of the front. Where it was good, in the east and in southern Mongolia, there was significant action. There was virtually none in the centre, where it was generally mediocre. But south of Irkutsk and east of Lake Baikal it remained very bad. This would be reflected in the ebb and flow and land combat operations as the month unfolded.

    jCHnEJ.jpg

    A Soviet attack on Verkhnetambovskoye that had begun on 27 February finally failed on 4 March: casualties were likely heavy on both sides, but no battle report was received. Elsewhere, the Soviets began three new attacks on 1 March. A probe on Obluchye was soon abandoned (though 822 Japanese were killed in supporting air strikes that day), while yet another Soviet attack on Tahe was soon abandoned after disproportionate ground casualties (507 Soviet v 47 Japanese ground and 718 air strike casualties).

    The Japanese had taken Mildigun unopposed and then Komsomolsk na Amure on 1 Mar after a successful attack there the month before. The Soviets quickly counter-attacked the latter, winning by 3 March (Soviet 810 v 557 Japanese ground and 801 air strike casualties) despite Japanese air strikes on the attackers in Di Kastri (1,138 Soviets killed over two days) and Solechny (601 more on 3 March), retaking it by the 12th.

    The Soviets next attacked and won in Alihe from 3-5 March (577 Soviet, 443 Japanese ground and 1,139 air casualties).

    A review of war goals against Japan that evening showed both France [from my previous stewardship] and the Soviet Union sought to puppet Japan and install their own form of government there. Just as a hedge, the Soviets added a territorial claim on Sakhalin to their list of goals.

    In Mongolia, a combined Soviet-Mongolian attack was launched and won on Sain Tsagan on 4 March (121 Soviet, 89 Japanese casualties) and the province was liberated on 11 March.

    Chegdomyn saw the start of one of many battles for it during March, when the Japanese attacked from 4 March until defeated on the 7th. The Soviets lost 1,210 ground casualties and another 2,605 to supporting Japanese air strikes. The Japanese also paid a heavy price, losing 1,632 to ground combat and 2,555 more to Soviet air strikes on troops attacking from Tyrma and Suluk.

    In one of the occasional air battles of the month, two Soviet INT wings hit two unescorted Japanese TAC wings over Mordaga on their way to a bombing mission on the morning of 4 March, managing to inflict more damage than they received. And early reports from China indicated they were now advancing more rapidly than the French were in Japan.

    As the bitter defensive fight in Chegdomyn continued, the Soviets made their own major assault on Obluchye from 5-8 March, eventually winning – though it would take until 27 March to occupy it. Soviet ground casualties were 743, while the Japanese lost 859 on the ground and another 1,132 from Soviet air strikes. The VVS was definitely back in force in March, with many missions flown from Tyndinskiy and the smaller forward eastern air base at Nikolayevsk na Amure. Japanese air power was still present and devastating at times, but more sporadic than the Soviet effort.

    The chronic supply problems around Irkutsk led to Ulan Ude being abandoned without a fight to the Japanese on 7 March. Over in Finland, there were no new rebellions, but reports were being received of underground resistance brewing again.

    341lfx.jpg

    The Soviets launched yet another attack on Tahe on 8 March, but it ended in defeat two days later. Four Soviet divisions had taken on a similar number of well entrenched Japanese and allied troops (a bit over 30,000 on each side) and once more they were unable to break into Manchurian territory for the first time. Soviet casualties were 1,336, the Japanese losing 789, plus 1,534 to the VVS.

    The Soviet supply situation had if anything worsened by the evening of 9 March. Production and the stockpile were not the problems: it was all about distribution, and recent and continuing infrastructure and technology improvements seemed to be doing little to alleviate it.

    uPwLWD.jpg

    The Japanese renewed their attack on Chegdomyn on 9 March, finally being repulsed again on 11 March. The Soviets lost 826 men on the ground and a massive 3,650 from Japanese air attacks. The Japanese had 1,174 killed on the ground and 1,245 from VVS action in Tyrma. The province was becoming a mass grave for both sides.

    After being quiet for some time, on Sakhalin the Japanese tried to retake Okha, their attack taking from 9-14 March to finally be defeated – for once there was no air support on either side. The Soviets lost 471 to 1,210 Japanese marines killed. Soviet fighters tried to stop the enemy bombers twice during 11 March, but this time came off second best to the enemy bombers and escorts (2 x Soviet INT v 2 x Japanese M/R and 4 x TAC).

    The supply shortages were now having a direct impact now on some operations in the eastern sector – for example in Ushumun [ie. -50% on combat for lack of supplies], where what should have been an easy defence was being made difficult. The Japanese attacked on 10 March and pulled back on 12 March, the Soviets losing 587 men in the defence. The Japanese took 672 casualties in the assault, with the VVS probably saving the day by inflicting another 1,106 casualties on the enemy attacking from Kuibyshevka. But the Japanese would be back.

    A quick Soviet attack on weakened Japanese defences in Elban on 13 March succeeded the next day. Soviet casualties were 291, the Japanese having 297 killed on the ground and 263 more from the air. The Soviets would push on to take the Elban salient by 19 March, after having to execute two more quick attacks on the way over 16-18 March. But their hold on it would be tested after arrival.

    By early on 14 March, the supply situation had worsened further, with only the two ends of the front – southern Mongolia and the Pacific coast – with decent supply. In most other places it was dire.

    zIbiu6.jpg

    That evening, the objectives for all four armies in the 1st and 2nd Soviet Far Eastern Fronts were reviewed, with old or unneeded objectives discarded and some new ones added.

    Ratnikov’s 15th Army, the largest with 195,000 men, was given the tough inland route to Khabarovsk and Harbin.

    yQgMlz.jpg

    The smaller 6th Army, under Shestopalov, was assigned the coastal route, all the way down to Vladivostok.

    zcoBsC.jpg

    The main command in the 2nd FE Front was Rybak’s 7th Army (175,000 men), which – due to the problems caused by lack of supplies south of Irkutsk – was ordered to hold its approaches and ensure Ulaanbaatar was held.

    yWSXe8.jpg

    Finally, Cherniakhovskij’s smaller 1st Army (102,000 troops), had the ‘aspirational’ objectives of retaking Mildigun and exploiting beyond it into Manchuria. Either a Japanese collapse or radically improved Soviet logistics would be needed before either of these would be realistic.

    O6SDgb.jpg

    Allied progress in Japan had slowed down, with only modest gains so far in the first two weeks of March.

    hKq2OI.jpg

    The Japanese were attacking Ushumun again by 15 March and this time, with the defenders still out of supply, the Soviets would be forced to retreat by the 17th, despite very heavy air support from the VVS. As well as launching air raids on the attackers, the VVS had acted decisively to halt Japanese air attacks on Ushumun in the afternoon and evening of 15 March.

    Sz2jbK.jpg

    But this was not enough to outweigh the weariness and supply shortages on the ground this time. The Soviets lost 757 men to ground fighting and 240 from air attacks, while the Japanese lost 301 in the ground fighting and a whopping 2,370 to air strikes on Kuibyshevka.

    ******

    2. Operation Narwhal

    The divisions summoned to Nikolayevsk na Amure on 28 February were still assembling, the Red Banner Pacific Fleet (RBPF - 24 vessels including transports) made the short hop over to Okha to pick up the largely recovered 1st Marine Division at 1400hr on 1 March (quicker than the strait-crossing). They were back without incident by by 0400hr the next morning.

    It took until 18 March for the new scratch corps to be assembled: HQ 14th Mech Corps would command 101. SD, 1 ‘Moskovskaya Proletar.’ Div, 35 ‘Sibirskaya’ SD and 1st Marine Div [37,983 troops with a carry weight of 210 against a 360 transport capacity]. They were loaded aboard at 1900hr while possible targets for the hastily contrived Operation Narwhal were considered. It was hoped a port could be seized directly for rapid post-invasion supply and exploitation.

    TB2Vov.jpg

    Sapporo was the ‘safest’ option. The drawbacks included being furthest away from Japan’s key centres and the lack of an airfield for forward VVS basing.

    On the northern part of the main island of Honshu, Akita was another possibility. If defended, its mountainous terrain might prove a difficult obstacle and the territory between it and the key centres in the south was either hills or mountains. It did at least have an airfield.

    The most dangerous option – but the one that might provide the quickest rewards – was Kanazawa. It too had an air base and was much closer to the key centres in the south, including Tokyo.

    A final decision was not made yet: if the fleet had not been interdicted – by sea or air – when it reached the Tsugaru Strait, the call would be made then. The RBPF set sail to an unknown fate. LTGEN Parkhomenko’s HQ 14 Mech Corps was assigned to direct [human] control of the Far East Theatre HQ.

    bm0VpR.jpg

    Admiral Kuznetsov had pushed on to Okushiri Strait without enemy interference by the morning of 20 March, 1946. When he signalled for instructions, the codeword response was “Enter the Lion’s Den”: it meant the fleet would strike for Kanazawa in the hope of delivering a coup de main to the Japanese.

    37fqx3.jpg

    The Soviets hoped desperately that a long naval war and recent Allied operations had crippled the Imperial Japanese Fleet sufficiently for the rusty old RBPF to hold long enough to get the troops ashore. Land-based enemy bombers were of equal concern.

    The RBPF arrived at 0200 on the morning of 21 March and began unloading all four divisions in stormy weather. But they were soon discovered and came under attack from a couple of dive-bomber (CAS) wings at 0400hr. If that was all the Japanese could muster, perhaps the fleets AA defences would be enough after all ...

    ... but a seaplane scouting mission soon revealed a fleet of six enemy ships at port in Kanazawa. Though again, such a small fleet wasn’t necessarily a huge problem – depending on its composition. An hour later, that composition could be more accurately appraised.

    LrtLLn.jpg

    It must have included three fleet carriers, as six CAGs joined the naval strike on RBPF by 0500hr! This changed the whole complexion of the operation immediately: they had walked straight into a trap.

    By 0700hr the Japanese naval strike was over. While not yet critical, the damage would soon begin to mount if Kuznetzov tried to ‘tough it out’, his old ships sitting ducks in Toyama Bay for the Japanese aviators. He immediately recalled the troops and ordered the fleet to escape north at top speed.

    NzZ9Si.jpg

    The fleet was struck again by the eight enemy wings at 1000hr and this time, the cumulative damage (mainly organisational, but some structural) was serious, especially among the transports. They kept fleeing north – for their lives. Had they stayed, most of the fleet might have been sunk and the landing force lost.

    They had arrived at the rally point – back at Okushiri Strait – by 1900hr on the evening of the 21st. But instead of heading back to port, the order was received to “Kick in the door”. They would instead head west to Uchiura Bay and see if they could land the marines (at least) straight into the port of Sapporo, hoping they might be out of enemy air range and be able to sneak in before they were intercepted.

    Kuznetsov was in place by 0500hr on the morning of the 22nd, and this time just MAJGEN M.P. Vorobiev’s marines would attempt the hazardous landing. He needed 35 hours to get his division fully ashore – and hope there was no Japanese garrison in place. The key question was: could the RBPF hold off any potential opposition for that long?

    mCWm2R.jpg

    It took longer this time, but by midday the fleet had been discovered and struck by an unknown number and type of enemy wings [didn’t get a report until it was over]. More damage was done, but Kuznetzov held his position. Another strike hit them between 1700 and 1900hr that evening: and this time the same six CAG wings as seen in Toyama Bay were identified, with yet more damage being done but no ships sunk. This must mean the carriers were approaching: but still Kuznetsov held on while the brave marines struggled ashore.

    Then all hell broke loose at 0200 the next morning, 23 March. The RBPF was simultaneously hit by the CAGs and the Japanese carrier task force, with the three fleet carriers Ryujo, Soryu and Kaga sitting back and the battleship Yamashiro closing to within firing range.

    RVCrfI.jpg

    The CAG strike ended at 0500hr, but the surface action continued. Much of the RBPF, including the flagship Parizhskaya Kommuna, were damaged and badly disorganised by then – but the Soviet light and heavy cruisers had closed with the Yamashiro and by 0700hr had very nearly sent it to the bottom, the Krasni Kavkaz yet unscathed and leading the sortie.

    unvl5J.jpg

    But at 0800hr the enemy CAGs returned and Soviet morale cracked, the RBPF fleeing west with heavy damage and one destroyer flotilla sunk. But until they actually left the bay, the marines were [I discovered, to my surprise] still trying to land and were coming tantalisingly close to getting ashore.

    lHEVpT.jpg

    The latest CAG strike ended at 1100hr, with more damage done but no more ships sunk. The marines were very nearly ashore: could they do it before the fleet left the bay?

    The answer was no – by just three hours! The marines were forced to abandon the attempt as the RBPF left Uchiura Bay. So close – but no cigar!

    p015P2.jpg

    Now fearing further pursuit of his heavily damaged fleet, Kuznetsov set a course around to the east of Sakhalin for the long return voyage.

    gZXJPv.jpg

    As it happened, they made it back on the morning of 25 March with no further encounters. Back in port, the full damage to the fleet was assessed: it was a minor miracle more ships had not been lost.

    hEkBo0.jpg

    It had been a painful but still valuable and not a catastrophic failure. As the Soviets absorbed the lessons learned, it was very clear any further landing without are cover would be a highly hazardous affair.

    ******

    3. General Operations: 18-31 March

    A combined attack by Soviet and Mongolian forces on Khara Arak was won on 18 March (84 Soviet, 139 Japanese killed) and the province would be occupied by the Mongolians before the end of the month. However, the main action continued to be in eastern sector.

    A major Soviet attack was launched on Tyrma on 19 March, which was won after a four day battle. Soviet casualties were 767, while the Japanese lost 631 on the ground, but another 2,158 from concerted VVS air support. The Japanese bombers were in a battlefield lull, not striking any targets between 16-25 March.

    On 19 March, the Soviets had launched another large assault on Tahe, which they had been trying to take for weeks now. This battle would go for six gruelling days, but at last the Soviets had their victory on 25 March, losing 1,901 men to 1,866 Japanese defenders, plus another 2,127 to Soviet air strikes, which ran from 19-21 and on 23 March.

    Also, late on the 19th, the Japanese attacked Ushumun once again, but were soon defeated (20 Soviet, 113 Japanese casualties, plus 1,143 to spoiling Soviet air strikes on Huma). A more determined attack went in from 21-22 March, but was again beaten off (96 Soviet and 371 Japanese casualties, plus 901 from VVS strikes on the attackers in Alihe). Air support was proving crucial in defeating the Japanese in the attack or defence and generally caused heavier casualties than the ground actions.

    While these battles were in progress, the French sent word they had captured the key [5 VP] city of Nagasaki on the evening or 20 March. The Soviets occupied Tumnin on the Pacific coast the same day, but the Japanese retook Chegdomyn on the 21st.

    Even as the battle for Tahe had not yet finished, the resilient Japanese made their biggest attack yet on Ushumun on 23 March. Even though the VVS struck the attackers hard once more in Alihe (1,932 enemy killed from 23-26 March) and Huma (1,331 on 26 March alone), this time the Japanese were too strong for the weary defenders, winning the battle on 26 March (887 Soviet, 987 Japanese killed). The enemy would eventually retake Ushumun on 31 March.

    Showing the ebb and flow of operations in the east, on 23 March the Soviets initiated a counter-attack on the recently lost Chegdomyn, eventually winning the two day fight by 25 March against an enemy that had not yet been able to consolidate their positions. Ground casualties were 328 for the Soviets and 453 for the Japanese, but once more the VVS killed the most enemy – 1,637 in just two days of air strikes. The Soviets took Chegdomyn back the next day.

    Early on 25 March, the Soviet supply situation was good in the east and in southern Mongolia, poor in the centre and around Itkutsk and terrible east of Lake Baikal, which remained inactive despite a noticeable thinning of the Japanese line there, which was becoming patchier in most places across the whole front.

    p5ChA3.jpg

    The Soviet Pacific submarine fleet, now repaired, was relocated back from Ulya to Petropavlovsk Kamcackij from 0500hr on 25 March, reaching their new base at midnight on 28 March. They would not be sent on active operations yet, but were now ready again to do so if needed.

    Yet again, the Japanese showed far more fight in this sector than they appeared to be in China or on their own Home Islands. Between 25-27 March, they made a major attack on the Elban salient that the Soviets had taken earlier in the month. The Japanese prevailed, with 672 ground casualties for the Soviets, plus 2,906 from the Japanese bombers, who reappeared with devastating effect over the three days of the battle. The Japanese lost 555 on the ground and 407 to strikes on Verkhnetambovskoye on 26 March, but it was not enough to save the Soviet defenders. The Soviets retreated, but the Japanese had not yet reoccupied the province as the month ended.

    The Japanese took advantage of poor Soviet supply in the western sector by attacking Slyudyanka on 26 March, winning the next day [Soviet out of supply penalty] in a battle the Soviets should have won (71 Soviet, 202 Japanese killed). Once more, there was no Soviet air support available, as the wings were all a zero organisation due to prolonged supply shortages.

    The Soviets occupied Tyrma on 27 March after their victory earlier in the month. The French took Kagoshima [5 VP] on the 28th. And on the 29th, the Soviet 14th Mech Corps, freed for now of their temporary amphibious role, was assigned as an independent [AI] force under Theatre control, to reinforce the offensive along the Pacific coast.

    F59HYD.jpg

    The final battle of March 1946 followed the Soviet occupation of Tahe, further west in northern Manchuria, on the 30th. In the end one tired Soviet advance division in hasty defensive positions was attacked from Huma and Mangui by six enemy divisions. Soviet air strikes did kill 1,033 attackers in Mangui and 1,335 in Huma, but could not prevent the enemy victory. No report on ground casualties was received.

    The Japanese occupied Slyudyanka on 30 March – directly threatening the key regional city of Irkutsk. At that point, it was only occupied by three Soviet HQs, with the defeated division from Slyudyanka due in shortly. 1st and 7th Armies were both assigned Irkutsk as an ‘emergency’ defensive objective at 2300hr that night. Most other nearby divisions were out of supply and/or heading away from Irkutsk.

    M3c9mB.jpg

    The 6th Heavy Armoured Division arrived from Slyudyanka at 0200hr, low on organisation and supplies, though with plenty of fuel. It was hoped they would hold in Irkutsk and perhaps be able to resupply, though this was in doubt.

    BtvSD9.jpg

    And so another hard month for the Soviets on the battlefront ended with some gains (though some of the gains would likely to be rolled back soon in Tahe and Elban) and some lost ground too. The Japanese were still fighting hard.

    tfcZve.jpg

    Ground casualties had been roughly even for the month, but the VVS was back in force in the eastern part of the front at least, taking an enormous toll and Japanese ground forces.

    ******

    4. Production and Infrastructure

    On 4 March, new infrastructure upgrades were completed in ten provinces across the Far Eastern AO. As the month wore on, any improvement in supply distribution seemed to be marginal, if hard to determine. No new projects were commissioned immediately, as the production queue had a significant deficit at that time.

    On 8 March, a new DD flotilla entered service. Because it had to work up, it was (luckily for the crews) not yet ready when the RBPF deployed on the fraught Operation Narwhal. This flotilla was still Kiev Class, but somewhat improved on the existing Kiev class ships in 3. Flotiliya, for example.

    VL9P0Z.jpg

    By mid-March, supply production requirements could be decreased, with the stockpile now regularly maxed out. Upgrade costs regularly took 80-100+ IC of the around 394 usually available. Supply production would usually need between 95-110 IC, with the production queue running around 175 IC. The rest went to reinforcements and consumer goods.

    Earlier in the month, when attention turned to amphibious operations, 2.36 IC had been spent on a new deployable air base, which was placed at the top of the queue and would be ready by 22 April. Not for the current operations, but maybe in the future if lodging into a beachhead without its own airfield.

    On 25 March, two new infrastructure developments were ordered in the area east of Lake Baikal – the current supply ‘dead zone’. But care had to be taken they were not built in areas the enemy might reoccupy.

    ******

    5. Research

    It was a good month for technology advances, with six completed. Two were made in each of the three arms – radars for the VVS, submarine improvements for the Navy and for the Red Army, upgrades for the specialist arms and medium tanks. The replacement projects were Air Force heavy, with one each for the submariners and the slower general upgrade of the medium tanks.

    i1T8Cu.jpg


    ******

    6. Espionage

    The Soviets had run down its reserve of spy teams for the month as the freed leadership effort went into officer training. Three Soviet spies each were lost in Manchuria and Turkey, 30 foreign spies apprehended (one by the Soviet mission in Spain). Japanese and Manchurian NU had both been whittled down a little further, but the political missions in Turkey and Spain had proven very disappointing – both had gone backwards, in Spain by a very large margin. Local agent numbers had built up again in Japan and Turkey – mission adjustments would have to be considered again.

    WdKaSU.jpg

    The poor results in Turkey and Spain caused the NKVD to make a deeper dive into what was going on there. In Turkey, the PCP’s popularity was at about the same level as its political organisation – and the Soviet effort had not been effective in raising either. [Also, for TT readers, their Cabinet is currently pretty similar to mine in that AAR.]

    rNePNS.jpg

    In Republican Spain, the problem was that other powers (possibly also Spain itself) were making a massive clandestine investment in boosting the organisation of the ruling CDA, far out-gunning the Soviet efforts in favour of the PCE. Both Turkey and Spain looked like forlorn causes at this stage, though a play might be made to go all out in Spain to see if had any effect at all – more out of academic interest.

    ******

    7. Other Theatres

    In Japan, the Allies had now wrapped up the two southern Home Islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. Japan still didn’t seem to be offering any real opposition. Cross-straits landings in the south of Honshu should be the next logical move for the French-less Allied invaders.

    AWK4rC.jpg

    Nationalist China was well on the way to liberating its Japanese-occupied territories. There was some apparent sporadic Japanese resistance, but it seemed to be doing little to slow them down. There was not yet any evidence of reinforcements having been shifted south from the Soviet front, as had been hoped by STAVKA.

    7q2Qun.jpg

    The Japanese occupation around Rabaul in New Guinea had been cleared of the enemy, who now just controlled an enclave around Lae.

    Cvxhje.jpg

    And as usual, the Allies had continued their hopeless management in Malaya, with Kuala Lumpur and Singapore still in Japanese hands.

    qFGYOA.jpg


    ******

    With slow progress (if any) on the Far Eastern Front, the first Soviet nuclear weapon just 10% finished and things not yet ready in STAVKA’s view for a European foray, there was also the quandary about what to do (if anything could be) about the Allied progress in Japan itself and by their new Chinese ally.
     
    • 3Like
    • 1
    Reactions:
    Chapter 26 – April 1946 New
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 26 – April 1946

    Foreword

    The Far East has become a race between the Allied (Nationalist China and the French-led invasion of the Home Islands) and Soviet advances to gain as much territory as possible, before what now looks like an inevitable defeat (to re-coin a phrase) for Imperial Japan. And so far, the Japanese defence-in-place against the Soviets seems to be far heavier and more resilient than the token forces that are as yet facing the Allies.

    Meanwhile, the ‘secret race’ for Stalin’s super weapons continues, though it is a long and slow process. And the General Secretary remains obsessed with forcing a landing somewhere in Japan, despite the desperate and almost catastrophic failure of the last attempts on both Honshu and then Sapporo in March.

    Note: the chapter is a bit longer than usual for this AAR for reasons that will become obvious when you read on! ;)

    ******

    1. Eastern Sector

    [Note: Naval operations for April are covered in a separate section.]

    The Soviets had won a major battle for Verkhnetambovskoye, started on 31 March, by 2 April (544 Soviet, 746 Japanese killed in the ground battle, with 2,249 Soviets and 590 Japanese troops killed in related air strikes). The Soviets would occupy it on 10 April.

    A Japanese attack on Tyrma succeeded between 6-8 April, with a lack of supplies plaguing the defenders, but no ground battle report was available (1,042 Soviet air raid casualties). The Japanese would occupy Tyrma by 15 April, but then be struck by a quick Soviet attack on 15-16 April, which was brushed off despite heavy VVS air support. A larger Soviet attack from 25-28 April would succeed (592 Soviet, 570 Japanese ground casualties, 1,597 Japanese killed in air raids). The Japanese retreated but the province had not yet been reoccupied as the month ended.

    The fighting in Tyrma was matched overhead, with two air battles occurring in daylight on 6 April above Tyrma itself and in Urgal, with one side and then the other intercepting raids. Both battles left the Soviets with heavier damage than their Japanese counterparts.

    y3nCHb.jpg

    That night, three more Japanese raids were intercepted from 1700hr on the 6th to 0600hr on the 7th, but the enemy bombers got through on each occasion, taking some damage but leaving the Soviet fighters disorganised.

    giKsUr.jpg

    On 9 April, the 1st Marine Div was cut away from 14 Mech Div (which had conducted the amphibious landing attempts in March then been sent back to the front line) and was sent back north by rail to Nikolayevsk na Amure: a new and more specialised Marine Corps was to be raised and readied for future maritime operations. Another marine formation (1. Diviziya Morskoi Pekhoty) was by then also approaching the port in its long journey from Irkutsk.

    Chinese progress still seemed unchecked by 12 April, giving increased urgency to Stalin’s demands for a new amphibious attempt. By then, the [AI] 6th Army had relocated two air wings to the small forward air base taken at Tumnin, on the Pacific coast. A TPT wing was added by Theatre [human] HQ on 14 April and the Parachute Division (3 x PARA brigades) was sent south from Nikolayevsk na Amure to join up with them.

    Another Soviet success came in Elban, which the Japanese had retaken on 12 April after winning a battle for it in late March. The Soviet counter-attack came between 13-15 April, with a Soviet victory without VVS air support (625 Soviet ground casualties plus 2,338 from air strikes on Verkhnetambovskoye; 1,039 Japanese ground casualties). Elban was regained by the Soviets on 27 April.

    Japanese-held Suluk was another contested province during April, with unsuccessful Soviet attacks launched on 16 April (a probe) and 19-20 April (337 Soviet, 398 Japanese casualties) until a clear victory was won at the end of the month (27-29 April), with 131 Soviet and 642 Japanese casualties. The Soviets were still advancing on Suluk as the month ended.

    The other province to change hands in the east was Vysokogorny, on the Pacific coast, occupied by the Soviets without opposition on 20 April. The Japanese launched a serious but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retake it from 22-26 April, with fierce air support (503 Soviet ground and 3,223 air raid casualties, 892 Japanese ground casualties).

    Between 25-30 April, the Japanese attacked Okha once more in the largest ground battle in the Eastern Sector for the month. This attack [-59% enemy progress as it started] led to HQ 6th Army being given Okha as a defensive objective, with Vladivostok removed for the time being.

    VMU0X1.jpg

    After a brief intervention by Japanese CAGs (more on that in the Maritime Operations section), the attack was heavily repulsed (552 Soviet, 1,559 Japanese ground casualties, 78 Soviets lost to Japanese CAG ground strikes). The Soviets began a counter-attack on Alexandrov Sakhalinsky immediately afterwards with fresh troops, which would continue into May.

    A large Soviet attack began on Orlovka on 27 April and it also carried over into May 1946. By the end of the month, Japanese defensive air strikes on Soviet divisions attacking from Elban and Verkhnetambovskoye had already killed around 4,150 troops.

    LyPFNt.jpg

    A summary of battles and advance in the Eastern Sector, April 1946. Japanese air raids were significantly more destructive in the sector, nearer to their air bases, with occasional dogfights occurring as well, while the Japanese took far heavier casualties in ground fighting – at least where the results were known.

    ******

    2. Central Sector

    Ground fighting in the Central Sector was less intense than in the East, but the VVS was very active in supporting the ground troops in this sector, the Japanese air wings less so, with no dogfights recorded during the month. Also, some significant gaps in the Japanese line began to form in places, leading to some provinces being occupied by the Soviets without a fight. But on the other hand, supply problems for the Soviets hampered their ability to exploit and in some cases led to provinces being abandoned to Japanese occupation after little or nor resistance.

    One of the four larger battles in the Centre during April was an early victory for the Soviets in Shilka over 1-2 April, leading to its occupation by mid-month (358 Soviet and 958 Japanese ground casualties).

    Mangui was attacked by the Soviets for the first time on 2 April, but that attempt was soon defeated. A more serious attack succeeded between 10-13 April (no ground report, but 2,739 Japanese defenders were killed in air strikes). But the Japanese kept managing to put reinforcements in to prevent Soviet occupation. One such group was beaten on 16-17 April (14 Soviet, 227 Japanese ground and 402 air casualties), but in the fourth battle there for the month, there was no VVS support provided and the fight was won by the Japanese defenders (1,686 Soviet v 1,284 Japanese killed) in the largest ground battle for the month across the entire Soviet Far East theatre.

    Tahe had been reoccupied by the Japanese on 5 April after a victory there in March. Three Soviet probes, each with heavy air support, were easily brushed off the Japanese. Ground casualties were minimal on both sides, but the VVS inflicted around 4,250 killed on the Japanese in supporting strikes from 5-11 April.

    Urusha was lost after the Soviet defenders offered no resistance to a Japanese attack on 7 April, due to being out of supply. Although the Japanese took it on 15 April, they had retreated back south by the end of the month, leaving it unoccupied but still in Japanese hands.

    A Japanese attack on Skovorodino from 8-11 April ended in a Soviet defeat (630 Soviet, 652 Japanese killed), leading to it being occupied on 15 April. But a Soviet division was already moving to retake it, dislodging the Japanese after a short skirmish and taking it back the very same day.

    The first short Soviet attack on Alihe from 13-14 April failed, though over 900 Japanese were killed by VVS air strikes. The next attempt succeeded, though there was no ground battle report for the three day fight between 16-19 April. While VVS support was crucial, with 1,853 enemy killed in air strikes, the Japanese killed over 1,000 of the attackers in Mordaga over the same period. Alihe was finally taken by Soviet troops on 28 April.

    The Soviets managed to secure an unoccupied Ushumun on 20 April, but were counter-attacked by the Japanese three days later, losing the gruelling five day battle on 28 April despite heavy VVS defensive air strikes (1,127 Soviet and 895 Japanese ground casualties, with another 3,524 Japanese attackers killed by air strikes on Tahe). Ust’ Karsk was retaken by the Soviets without a fight around the same time.

    fzdq8R.jpg

    A summary of battles and advance in the Central Sector, April 1946. The balance of air strikes was reversed in this sector, where Soviet air power was stronger. But despite this, while the Soviets did most of the attacking, the Japanese won two thirds of the battles (large and small), in part due to Soviet supply shortfalls.

    ******

    3. Western Sector

    The Western Sector was quite active in April, with one large battle but many others recording few or even no casualties, where Soviet defenders were already completely disorganised when attacked due to long term lack of supply in the northern portion of the sector. Conversely, in quite a few cases the Japanese had vacated provinces in advance of Soviet or Mongolian attacks, perhaps having been called back east to counter the rampant Chinese offensive approaching southern Manchuria.

    East of Lake Baikal, a battle for Telemba went from 2-9 April, but no combat report was available. The Soviets eventually retreated after their supplies ran out. In Barguzin (5-6 April) and Burjatija (9 and 17 April) Soviet defenders withdrew on first contact due to lack of supply, with no casualties on either side. All three had been occupied by the Japanese by the end of the month.

    In response to the terrible supply situation and Japanese advances east of Lake Baikal, 1st Army was put on a defensive stance from 17 April. With Bukacaca now under threat, the next day Tamsong Bulak was withdrawn as a depth offensive objective and Irkutsk (now less threatened) removed as a defensive objective, replaced with orders for the defence of Bukacaca.

    yvqeoH.jpg

    South of Irkutsk, the Soviets were beginning to recover momentum, with Slyudyanka abandoned by the Japanese and the Soviets advancing on it by 6 April, retaking it on 25 April without a fight.

    Even though the Japanese won the largest battle in the sector for the month in an attack on Khantai (9-14 April, 1,243 Soviet and 939 Japanese troops killed), they did not follow it up and in fact had vacated Selenga Burin, Ulan Ude and Altan Bulak by the end of the month, either without fights or against Mongolian attacks for which there were no reports.

    As the month drew to a close, a Comintern attack on Khentel on 29 April (84 Soviet and 278 Japanese casualties) had succeeded, with the advance continuing as April ended.

    Neither side launched any air strikes in this sector during the month, mainly based in Irkutsk – the large Soviet air presence was grounded due to lack of supplies. This led to a major reorganisation of Soviet air assets there on 14 April. There were 15 wings based in Irkutsk alone at that time and more in Mutina and Jakutsk – almost all of them unsupplied and lacking any organisation. A total of 18 wings (2 x STRAT, 5 x TAC, 4 x CAS, 2 x MR, 5 x INT) were reallocated to the various Western Theatre HQs in Russia proper in the hope of improving the general supply situation, leaving just seven in Irkutsk.

    By 23 April the wings left in Irkutsk were back in supply and starting to regain organisation. 7th Army [AI] had also deployed a couple of wings forward to Ulaanbataar. It was hoped the VVS might be able to resume combat support missions in May.

    Em1kKu.jpg

    A summary of battles and advance in the Western Sector, April 1946. Neither side flew any air missions and quite a few provinces had been taken without a fight by both sides, mainly depending on Soviet supply status, which remained chronic east of Lake Baikal, but generally good in Mongolia.

    ******

    4. Maritime Operations

    Once again, the most exciting, complicated and entertaining action occurred in the maritime sphere. The month started with the Red Banner Pacific Fleet split between the ports of Nikolayevsk na Amure and Okha, undergoing much-needed repairs.

    drBcCx.jpg

    On 8 April, one of the ‘new’ submarine flotillas was deployed. It was one of the units begun by the Soviets to start improving their construction experience and was a slightly improved version of the old Series II class, with Model 1918 engines and hull and a 1,700km range (the old Series II boats only having an 800km operational range). After earlier losses to Japanese CAGs, only one of the more modern Series XIV flotillas was left. The oldest boats were grouped together in the 5th Sub Sqn, while the Series XIV and improved Series II boats were kept separate to utilise their longer range. But none were sent on any missions yet.

    rI9v9Y.jpg

    2 DMP was deployed straight into Nikolayevsk na Amure on 12 April and the 1st Marine Corps formed, with two nearby ordinary rifle divisions. The other two marine divisions were still on their way to join them.

    l5uy0p.jpg

    By then, Allied progress in Japan had seen Hiroshima fall on the south-western tip of Honshu, while the Allies were across the strait and two provinces south of Nagoya on the approaches to Tokyo in the south-east of the island. Stalin’s demands for another amphibious expedition grew in their urgency and insistence.

    As 20 April came, both these Allied beachheads had expanded, with Allied troops on the outskirts of Nagoya and Hiroshima now safely behind Allied lines. Japanese surrender progress was assessed as up to 25.8% (NU of 61.9%). That evening the long-range sub fleet was ordered to Uchiura Bay for another recon of Sapporo, as the RBPF was repaired and the new Marine Corps assembled. Not long after they arrived late on 22 April, they were struck hard by enemy naval bombers, most likely based to the south-west at Akita. By 0600hr the next morning, one flotilla had been sunk and another damaged.

    vcEFfU.jpg

    The subs fled as soon as they could, managing to limp back into their bas two days later without losing any more boats. Interestingly, only the older boats had suffered: the Series XIV flotilla was undamaged.

    43k2Qw.jpg

    By then, 1st Marine Corps was assembled under LTGEN N.P. Ivanov in Nikolayevsk na Amure, with three marine and two rifle divisions. However, 2 DMP was not yet battle-ready after its recent initial deployment. Most of the ships in Okha were either fully or largely repaired and were sent back to join the main fleet in Nikolayevsk na Amure, while the least seaworthy remained.

    Two INT wings were rebased from Moscow to Tumnin to provide air cover for any planned amphibious operations, where they could reach out to the southern end of Sakhalin, but not as far as Sapporo. Work began on the air base at Tumnin to upgrade it to level 2.

    As preparations were finalised on the evening of 26 April for an amphibious attack on Toyohara, at the southern end of Sakhalin, a mixed group of one MR and one TAC wing was allocated to Theatre [human] control and ordered to conduct an interdiction mission on Toyohara, to see if any troops or ships were lurking there. But (frustratingly) the group didn't actually launch a mission at that point.

    The naval invasion force set off at 0100hr on 27 April, with the whole of the 1st Marine Corps on board except for 2 DMP, which was still not properly worked up. The RBPF was not completely repaired, but enough for Stalin to make the attempt.

    SoCqhe.jpg

    An hour later, with no result from the interdiction mission so far, a logistical raid was ordered instead. It did a little damage to infrastructure and stockpiles, was not opposed in the air and no ground or naval units were reported by the time they returned at 0600hr. The mission was then cancelled, allowing the air group to rest until the invasion began. The INT group would be ordered to start patrolling when the fleet arrived offshore Toyohara

    JY8E2U.jpg

    … which they did at midnight on 28 April: when all hell broke loose! As soon as they reached the Gulf of Terpeniya, the RBPF found itself engaging a three-carrier task group on the water while being hit simultaneously from the air by their six CAG wings. Heavy damage began to be taken straight away, especially by the old light cruisers.

    LB0rkZ.jpg

    Caught napping, the fighters in Tumnin were immediately ordered to intercept, while the MR-escorted TAC wing was sent to conduct a naval strike on the carrier group, hoping to do some damage and divert the attention of the CAGs that were doing so much damage to the invasion fleet. A group of two NAV bomber wings was ordered to rebase to Tumnin from up in Ulya, where they were currently out of range. And the 5th Sub Sqn (the older Series II boats) was ordered to sortie to the Gulf of Terpeniya to see what they could do.

    An hour later, the VVS was engaging the Japanese CAGs as the damage was mounting on the fleet from the enemy’s naval strike, which sank a transport flotilla by 0300hr. Then the CAGs were back at 0500hr, having re-equipped to challenge the Soviet naval strike. By 0600hr all the Soviet wings were getting badly disorganised, while the Japanese suffered little damage themselves.

    L3SHqA.jpg

    Kuznetsov was starting to get a little desperate and the NAV group was ordered to put in a naval strike after it arrived at Tumnin at 0300hr, but this order somehow became garbled and was not carried out. When the strike by the TAC wing finished at 0700hr, they reported having ‘damaged enemy ships’, but not much was apparent on the water, where the weather was poor. And the RBPF was taking more and more damage itself.

    6SHPZZ.jpg

    The naval battle continued into the middle of 28 April as the Soviet INT and TAC wings originally based in Tumnin ran out of organisation. The NAV wings were again ordered to strike the enemy fleet once the previous orders ‘SNAFU’ was discovered. But they were unescorted (the VVS fighters apparently unable to fly by then) and badly beaten off by the enemy CAGs flying combat air patrol. Though perhaps they had been briefly diverted from hitting the invasion fleet. By this stage, with all the activity over Toyohara, it was discovered that two Japanese marine divisions were present in Toyohara anyway, so any planned landings were abandoned.

    kb6FPo.jpg

    Now Kuznetsov just wanted to escape before he lost more ships and especially the transports carrying the 1st Marine Corps. But because the naval battle continued, he could not disengage. Once again, despite extra precautions, with sub and air recons and modest air cover, the Soviets had been comprehensively surprised and badly ambushed.

    The Japanese carrier-based dive and torpedo bombers had appeared again at 0800hr. By the time they were finished at 1000hr, another transport flotilla and the old CL Profintern had been sunk – though none of the ground troops had been lost as yet. The RBPF was now able to break away, at least, with the naval battle formally lost.

    geXy4B.jpg

    The fleet had reached the Eastern Coast of Shisuka by 1600hr that afternoon and made its best (though not very quick) speed back to sanctuary in Okha.

    gmEP6c.jpg

    By that evening, the Allies had taken Osaka and were threatening Kyoto, but had been held up in front of Nagoya. Then at 2100hr (still 28 April), the RBPF was struck again by enemy CAGs: though this time, there were only two of them (and one seemed to have be effectively destroyed in an earlier dogfight after all, as it was at 0% strength and org). And they had different squadron numbers to those they had fought further south. An hour later, the fleet had slipped north into the Gulf of Nabil’skiy, but it was clear one of the enemy carriers (or another one) must have been detached to pursue them.

    The RBPF was struck once more at 0500hr on 29 April in the Northern Taratar Strait, just north of the safety of Okha. In reaction to the renewed CAG strikes, at 0500hr the INT wings in Tumnin had been ordered to intercept but were heavily damaged and disorganised. The two INT wings based in Nikolayevsk na Amure had not responded, so were detached from 6th Army command (where they had been supporting land ops under AI control) and ordered directly by Theatre HQ to intercept in the Northern Taratar Strait. But they had not made contact with the enemy before the fleet reached port. The old CA Voroshilov, bore the brunt of the attack, but all the ships managed to reach port three hours later without any more being sunk. It was a minor miracle.

    cBy75D.jpg

    The four divisions of 1st Marine Corps soon deployed to help the garrison defeat the existing attack on Okha described in Section 1 above.

    At 1400hr that day, the sole remaining enemy CAG wing conducted a ground attack mission on Okha, killing 78 defenders. It meant they were still in the area and the enemy task force had just been discovered off the east coast of Sakhalin - where the submarine flotilla despatched a few days before was closing in! It looked like one fleet carrier and two cruisers. The intercept mission was expanded to cover all the way from Okha to where the enemy had been sighted.

    o9mViS.jpg

    As it happened, the surviving enemy CAG tried to perform another ground attack on Okha that afternoon, but was jumped by the VVS and badly mauled.

    y02VHT.jpg

    But this did not end the frenetic naval action for the month: at 2000hr, the old Soviet subs found the enemy CTF in the Gulf of Terpeniya and engaged! Even while the enemy CAG was still off bombing Okha. Huzzah!

    qbsdoR.jpg

    The two escorting enemy heavy cruisers came forward to protect the Kaga, but there were no screens with the small task force. Perhaps the old subs could actually do some damage. Meanwhile, the VVS declared an air victory over the CAG at Okha at 2100hr. But unfortunately, as the subs were making their runs against the Ashigara and Tone, the Kaga’s 19th CAG had refuelled and re-equipped. And despite all its damage and disorganisation was still able to strike the subs, causing heavy damage in just an hour or two. The swine! No impression seemed to have been made on the enemy ships at this point.

    cxevHJ.jpg

    Belatedly, at 2200hr the still badly damaged fighters in Tumnin were specifically ordered to provide air cover to the subs but (unlike the Japanese CAG flyers) did not respond accordingly. By the start of 30 April, the Soviet subs were taking more damage from the 19th CAG, but this time the fighters based out of Nikolayevsk na Amure were able to intercept them at 0100hr, immediately defeating the CAGs.

    aH1SU3.jpg

    An hour later, the enemy CTF had broken off and fled south-east. It was declared a Soviet naval ‘victory’, but many of the subs were badly damaged while no discernible damage had been done to the enemy ships. Nonetheless, the sub fleet would return to port claiming a great naval triumph which could be trumpeted in the papers, anyway.

    At this point, with naval hostilities apparently over for the time being, the badly degraded NAV and INT wings in Tumnin were swapped out back to the west for repairs in Mother Russia, replaced by fresh wings from Leningrad and Moscow (a 3 x NAV and a 3 x INT group). The RBPF was joined by the ships that had stayed back in Okha for repairs and had therefore not taken part in the second ill-fated amphibious attempt, then split in two again for more repairs there and in Nikolayevsk na Amure.

    YCOQrN.jpg

    A quick experiment showed that 1st Marine Corps [under AI control] could not be entrusted to carry out the desired overland attack along Sakhalin down to Toyohara called for after they had helped beat off the enemy ground attack on Okha on 30 April [the AI responded by trying to strategically redeploy them across the strait and down to Tumnin instead]. So they were put back under Theatre command, with 1. DMP and 1st Marine Div in Okha attacking the two enemy divisions in Alexandrovsk Skahalinsky at 1400hr on 30 April [58% progress]. That afternoon, the various INT and TAC wings in the sector were returned to 6th Army [AI] control for ground support ops. The NAV bombers would be held back for now.

    Shortly afterwards, the new INT group engaged an enemy air strike on Soviet troops in Verkhnetambovskoye, who were attacking Orlovka. This was desperately needed, as almost 4,000 Soviet troops had been killed by Japanese strikes there since 28 April, while the focus had been on the dramatic sea battles off Sakhalin. They seemed to have now discouraged the enemy air effort, but this would only be known for sure when it all started over again on 1 May.

    bPlUYK.jpg


    ******

    5. Production, Logistics and Research

    As noted above, supply across the front remained a major problem in certain areas throughout the month. Apart from the air unit ‘thinning’ with many wings sent back west mentioned earlier, some land units still drawing supplies up north around Ulya and beyond were withdrawn and sent down south on 14 April. By the end of the month, there had been a definite improvement south of Irkutsk and a little in the Central Sector, but elsewhere it varied from patchy to dire.

    rZTVzy.jpg


    ******

    It may come too late to matter against Japan, but a new landing craft flotilla began construction on 9 April. On 15 April, a fourth para brigade was ordered to supplement the currently three-brigade parachute division.

    On 16 April, the expansion of the busy air base in Tyndinskiy to level six was completed (nine VVS wings currently based there), but no new work was begun as it was hoped it would soon become redundant as the front advanced further. Then on 20 April, the Nikolayevsk na Amure air base reached level three (six wings based there at present) and work to expand it further was started. There was still one new air base available for deployment, but it was still being kept back in case one of the naval landings or the advance down Sakhalin ever succeeded.

    A new rocket test site had been started on 1 April in the hope it would speed up research and/or building of the new strategic rocket arm down the track [do let me know if that is misplaced optimism, as I’m not familiar with the mechanic and the tool tips and wikis seemed a bit ambiguous about it]. This was accompanied by another big round of infrastructure building to keep improving supply throughput into what now looked like it would be a long-term front, whether against Japan now or the Allies – including China – later.

    EGGolN.jpg

    And after recent progress in sub research, a new flotilla was laid down on 22 April – with the Soviets now able to construct the more modern Series XIV boats themselves.

    ******

    On 5 April, with their first nuclear device now 20% completed, nuclear technology advanced to double that production rate, with the next level of research rolled straight into. The first strategic rocket device – the flying bomb – should be ready to commence production in early May. Just in case it might still be relevant when researched, more advanced invasion tactics were pursued when the first level of landing craft support was achieved on 9 April.

    TAC ground crew training was improved and continued on 18 April, while the next much-anticipated progress in supply organisation was welcomed and continued on 21 April. At that time, with other demands on Soviet leadership increased (more below), one project was suspended (the recently started TAC training), in order to keep pursuing improved supply throughput (despite the ‘ahead of time’ penalty). By 29 April, more leadership effort had to be directed elsewhere, so the project list was reduced further to 21, heavy bomber crew training not being replaced in the queue.

    mXGctv.jpg


    ******

    6. Espionage and Diplomacy

    Given the rapid progress of China and of the Allied invasion of Japan, a decision was taken to start courting the other currently pro-Axis Chinese warlord states in the hope of creating some opportunities later. With three diplomatic teams required to launch each such mission and two LS points permanently assigned to maintain each one, the LS assigned to diplomacy steadily increased through the month. At first, this was taken from espionage and (principally) officer training, where the officer pool currently stood at 120%.

    The first mission to influence the Guangxi Clique started straight away (ie 2300hr on 31 March). With the extant Spanish and Turkish missions, this required 6 LS points to maintain plus more to rebuild the expended diplomatic teams. This rose to 8 LS on 2 April when Xibei San Ma was added, then to 10 on 20 April when Yunnan made the fifth Soviet influence mission on the books.

    UfhzAs.jpg

    It would take some time to bring the three Chinese states to the Comintern, but at present neither the Axis nor Allies were attempting to influence them. The first few had already begun to drift a little to the left.

    And on 14 April, a claim for Guandong was added to Soviet war goals for Japan, in the hope of maximising Soviet gains if they surrendered mainly due to Allied encroachments. [A question here: if Japan hits the surrender threshold and both France and the Soviets have competing puppet and government change goals (as they do here), who gets the territory still unoccupied by either side at that point? Any idea how it is usually broken up between the contenders?]

    ******

    By 20 April, the Soviet spy surplus was also beginning to be run down (see summary below) as teams on overseas missions were caught. The reserve was down to 4, with 0.2 LS put back into training spies (it had been reduced to zero in March).

    By 22 April, with Manchurian spy strength back up to 3 and Japan to 4, counter-espionage in both was increased from an even balance with disrupting NU. Manchuria went to a 75-25% balance, while in Japan, with the Allies now running rampant, all NU influencing was suspended, with everything going into counter-espionage. When a series of team losses followed and the reserve was down to 1, spy training was trebled on 25 April to 0.6 LS.

    Turkish spy strength was now up to 4 and the resurgence in local Communist Party popularity had to be abandoned temporarily, with the effort going back to 100% counter-espionage after a team was lost there that day. When another was captured in Turkey on the 26th, spy training was ramped up to 1 LS, research down to 21 active projects and officer training (where the pool had dropped a little to 119%) was put back to 1.55 LS, with 10.2 currently invested in diplomacy, mainly spent on influencing campaigns with 0.2 on diplomat training.

    The increase in counter-espionage efforts saw a number of enemy agents neutralised in their own countries from 22 April onwards, but Soviet losses had been heavy, with nine teams lost (most in Japan and Turkey) and only one produced in April, to just keep each mission at a strength of 10 with no reserve. The Communist party had rebounded in popularity in Turkey but dropped back a little (from 12 to 11%) when the support effort had to be suspended. The Party continued to lose ground to a miniscule 2% in Spain, calling that whole mission into question. Germany, followed by the UK and US, had the most agents caught in the Soviet Union in April.

    zJRStJ.jpg


    ******

    7. Theatre Summaries

    The Far East in general had seen both gains and losses for the Soviets, with only barely better than a stalemate overall. Air power on both sides had caused heavy casualties, ground combat less so (Soviet supply issues having again decreased op tempo). The Soviets had attacked more but the Japanese had won more battles, in fair part due to supply-related ‘no contests’.

    q8HKDT.jpg

    By contrast, Nationalist China had liberated nearly all of its former territory, had occupied Communist China (from the Japanese) and was now beginning to push into the south of Japan’s puppet states of Mengukuo and Manchukuo.

    In Japan, the Allied invasion had progressed steadily during the month. They now had a solid front across the south of Honshu, but the Japanese had at least been able to halt them for now at Nagoya with an infantry division in place. However, the British 1st Armd Div was now directly south of Kanazawa, where the Soviets had failed to land in March. With more Allied units on the way, the Japanese still seemed doomed at home, while they fought on doggedly against the Soviets in Manchuria.

    4Y9BbC.jpg

    There had been no changes at all during the month in South East Asia, New Guinea or the Pacific.

    ******

    Time seemed to be running out for the Soviets to make significant gains in the Far East, while the Allies gobbled up territory. And rather than having a puppeted Japan and neutral China to perhaps allow a ‘victory dividend’ of units sent back west for a possible war in Europe, it appeared a large Soviet presence would have to remain in the east for the foreseeable future, to fight a new two-front war against China and a strong Allied expeditionary presence. The call for strategic weapons to help tip this strategic balance more towards the Soviet’s favour became even more strident.
     
    • 2Like
    • 1
    Reactions:
    Chapter 27 – May 1946 New
  • Bullfilter

    Old Boardgame Grognard
    29 Badges
    Aug 31, 2008
    6.818
    2.689
    • Crusader Kings II
    • Europa Universalis: Rome
    • Hearts of Iron III
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
    • Rome: Vae Victis
    • 500k Club
    • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
    • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
    • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
    • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
    • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
    • Rome Gold
    • Semper Fi
    • Hearts of Iron III Collection
    • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
    • For the Motherland
    • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
    • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
    • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
    • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
    • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
    • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
    • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
    • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
    Chapter 27 – May 1946

    Foreword

    With recent naval adventures ending in setback albeit disasters narrowly averted, the focus in May returns to land warfare. That and the imminent introduction of the new ‘wonder weapons’ that Stalin hopes will allow the Soviet Union to reverse its perilous strategic position against the victorious Allied World Order.

    ******

    1. Eastern Sector

    [Note: includes periodic updates on the Allied invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. Summary map at the end of the section.]

    In the mini-campaign on Sakhalin, there was better news with one of the two ‘carry-over’ battles from April, with a victory in the attack on Alexandrov Sakhalinsky later on 1 May (406 Soviet, 508 Japanese killed). It was liberated on 7 May. The next Soviet attack came on Shisuka, the largest ground battle in the entire sector for the month, from 10-15 May. In winning it, the Soviets lost 1,517 men and the Japanese 2,405. Neither side had air support in this area throughout the month. Another Japanese division was inserted there before it could be occupied, with another large battle from 17-19 May again won by the Soviets, losing 554 to 606 Japanese killed.

    Shisuka was finally occupied on 23 May, and from there the Soviets attacked south once more, ousting token Japanese resistance in Maoka on 29 May, which they were still advancing on as the month ended. The Soviet aim was to take the whole island, especially the port of Toyohara that they had failed to land by amphibious invasion in April.

    ******

    In the eastern half of the sector, May began inauspiciously for the Soviets with the heavy defeat of the attack they had begun on Orlovka on 27 April (1,043 Soviet, 610 Japanese killed). After this initial ‘carry-over’ Soviet loss, Orlovka saw multiple combats through the month. The second battle went from 2-4 May, when the Soviets attacked from Vysokogorny and won (518 Soviet ground casualties plus 1,095 from Japanese defensive air raids on Vysokogorny, Japan 374 ground and 352 air raid casualties). The Japanese succeeded in getting another division in on the morning of 10 May and it was defeated in a skirmish, but in the afternoon another arrived and had air support (429 Soviet casualties in one raid on Vysokogorny), which was intercepted by VVS fighters just as the raid was ending.

    Tg47vx.jpg

    Of interest here is the far higher ‘mission efficiency’ for the Japanese compared to the Soviets: I’m not quite sure what that represents. The Japanese commander also had significantly more skill, combining to give the Japanese escorts an edge in the dogfight.

    This time the Soviets were repulsed. But they won a last skirmish on 23 May: by the end of the month, the Japanese had retreated but the Soviets had not yet occupied Orlovka.

    Urgal
    saw six actions fought over it during May and it changed hands twice. The first Soviet attack on 7-8 May succeeded (72 Soviet, 368 Japanese killed on the ground). An air action was fought above Urgal during this battle, where Japanese fighters disrupted a raid by unescorted VVS CAS wings.

    DW7qEe.jpg

    The Soviets then quickly defeated a new Japanese division that arrived on 10 May and another on 12 May in short skirmishes. The largest battle there for the month was the fourth, fought over five days from 21-26 May when the Japanese attacked after the Soviets occupied the province on 21 May. It ended in a hard-won Soviet victory (669 Soviet ground and 598 air raid casualties, Japan 865 killed).

    Interestingly, the Japanese air raids on Urgal in this latest battle were carried out by a single CAG wing – it was not known whether they were carrier or land based. Alas, the Soviet defenders were still almost completely disorganised when the Japanese attacked again the next day (the 27th), retreating virtually without a fight, the enemy retaking it on 31 July and then beating off another small Soviet attack on arrival.

    The Soviets had taken Suluk on 6 May and won a major defensive victory there from 10-12 May, with heavy air support assisting the defence. Soviet ground casualties were 754, with the Japanese losing 1,980 men in the attack and another 2,018 from defensive VVS air strikes on Tyrma. The damaged Japanese attackers in Tyrma were then themselves attacked from the north on 11 May while still engaged in Suluk, the Soviets winning on 12 May also (209 Soviet, 227 Japanese troops killed). The Japanese slipped another division into Tyrma on 20 May, but they were soundly beaten the same day (five Soviet divisions v one Japanese), with only 48 Soviet against 576 more Japanese ground and 407 air raid casualties. The Soviets occupied it the next day.

    The Japanese tried attacking Elban twice during May (on the 10th and then again on 29th) but both probes were quickly beaten back. To its east, Uska Orochskaya was occupied on the Pacific coast unopposed on 15 May and Kur was taken by the Soviets on 17 May again without a fight, later using it as a springboard to attack Dzhuen on 26 May. They won in Dzhuen after a short battle (despite Japanese defensive air strikes killing 758 of the attackers in Kur) and occupied it on 31 May. A quick Soviet probe on Malmyzh (to the west of Dzhuen) was quickly called off the same day.

    ******

    In Japan, Allied advances were closely watched and were compared to Soviet progress (such as it was) in the nearby Eastern Sector. By 5 May, the port of Kanazawa (the first Soviet amphibious target back in March) had been taken, while Nagoya still held out for the Japanese. On the 14th, the French-led invasion had taken Nagoya and had pushed to the outskirts of Tokyo itself, on its southern fringes at Chigasaki. Six days later, the Japanese had retaken Chigasaki (evidence they must now have at least some troops in the area) but had lost ground to the west of Tokyo.

    On 24 May, a detailed liaison report was provided by the French defence attaché in Moscow: the Japanese had established a light defence in the vicinity of Tokyo – including some Ethiopian troops! – but the Allies had advanced further up the Western coast of Honshu.

    aLslfv.jpg

    The key question was whether the Japanese would still hold Tokyo by the end of the month – and indeed whether they would still be fighting by then.

    ******

    In the western half of this sector, the action began on 2 May, with a heavy Japanese attack on Alihe. The Soviet defenders were defeated the next day despite heavy defensive air strikes on Kuibyshevka (1,804 Japanese killed) and Zavitaya (1,180), with 723 Soviet and only 180 Japanese troops killed in ground combat. But the Soviets were able to get another division in for a quick defence before the province could be occupied, with the next battle between 6-9 May being a hard-fought win by the Soviets, who lost 867 men to ground combat. The Japanese lost 822 in Alihe itself, with almost 5,000 more to defensive air strikes in Kuibyshevka (3,452) and Zavitaya (1,353).

    The contest over Alihe proved persistent and bloody through May, when the Japanese attacked again from 14-16 May, this time winning against a still weakened Soviet division that now had supply problems. There were 554 Soviet and 606 Japanese ground combat casualties, plus more in defensive air strikes on Kuibyshevka (2,562) and Zavitaya (1,166). The Japanese also made an effort to provide air support to their attack, killing 390 defenders in one raid, but the second seemed to have been aborted after a couple of VVS interceptions.

    5aoC2a.jpg

    But the VVS air support was not enough this time. The Japanese reoccupied Alihe on 23 May. The Soviets ended up having the last word when a quick skirmish on 27 May soon defeated the Japanese defence. The month ended with the Soviets advancing on Alihe, hoping to reoccupy it in early June.

    Urusha was retaken by the Soviets without a fight on 16 May. The same day, the Japanese had occupied Ushumun, but the Soviets won a quick attack on 21 May. The Japanese had fully retreated from Ushumun by the end of the month but, as in Alihe next door, the Soviets had not yet reoccupied it.

    In this part of the line, the main action towards the end of the month was in the much fought-over Tahe, in northern Manchuria. The Soviets had won and lost it the month before, but were determined to take it back again. The battle began on 22 May and lasted until the 27th. By the time it was over the Soviets had triumphed, losing 1,027 to 1,475 Japanese ground casualties. The VVS added a whopping 4,108 enemy killed in Tahe from air strikes over the same period. Tahe was taken by the Soviets on 29 May and a short Japanese probe easily defeated.

    Finally, Soviet-held Obluchye, directly north-east of Alihe, came under heavy Japanese attack from Zavitaya on 30 May, a battle which continued as the month ended. By that time, VVS strikes had already killed 1,578 of the attackers. The battle was going well enough [-27% enemy attack progress], the Soviet’s lack of supplies being balanced by their three-divisions-to-one numerical advantage and the air support.

    T2L5zJ.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances in the Eastern Sector, May 1946. The VVS was now significantly out-bombing the Japanese in the sector. Territorial progress was steady, if not stellar.

    ******

    2. Western Sector

    [Note: includes periodic updates on the war in China and some other developments in Central Asia. Summary map at the end of the section.]

    East of Lake Baikal, the unoccupied Romanovka was taken by the Japanese on 2 May. The first major action began the same day with a Japanese attack on the out-of-supply defenders of Bukacaca.

    In response – hoping it might make 1st Army more focused – Irkutsk (no longer under threat) was removed from their objectives list and they were put on a ‘prepare’ (from 'defensive') stance.

    WuQ2Lm.jpg

    What should have otherwise been a comfortable defence, with ample air support from nearby Irkutsk, became a drawn-out affair dragging on from 2-8 May, with no VVS support. On the morning of the 8th, the remaining Soviet defenders (there had originally been three divisions) finally got some supply, but by then it was way too late.

    E2PwrO.jpg

    The Soviet defeat came that evening, despite having the better of the fighting (401 Soviet v 1,142 Japanese killed). The province eventually fell to the enemy on 22 May.

    ******

    In Mongolia, supply was better and it was the Comintern on the front foot. 7th Army’s objectives were also changed on 2 May, with Irkutsk removed and Bologon added as a depth offensive objective.

    IuM3Dt.jpg

    Bulag was taken by 1600hr on 2 May and Undur Khan on the 7th, with advancing Japanese troops attacking them on arrival but quickly backing off by early the next morning. These successes brought another adjustment to 7th Army’s objectives, with Ulan Ude removed and the focus shifted to the next Trans-Siberian Railway province of Petrovsk Zabaykal'skiy.

    eZBDSH.jpg

    This was augmented on 15 May by giving new offensive objectives to Mongolia and Sinkiang, in the remote hope they might assist with operations.

    HIKe4F.jpg

    A few weeks later, the hoped-for Soviet attack on Petrovsk Zabaykal'skiy began and by 24 May Comintern forces were well on the move east.

    ZedFqF.jpg

    Petrovsk Zabaykal'skiy would develop into the largest battle in the sector for the month, ending in a convincing Soviet victory. From 23-27 May, 1,017 Soviet and 2,042 Japanese troops were killed. It had not yet been occupied by the end of May, but Khentel had on 30 May, without any Japanese opposition. A Soviet probe on Khongor on 31 May was all it took to send the Japanese retreating from there as well.

    ******

    The eastern zone of the sector was close enough to the still-operating Soviet air bases to attract some VVS air support when fighting erupted. A heavy enemy attack on Ust’ Karsk began on 21 May and lasted for a whole week until the 28th. Once more, Soviet supply problems undermined the defence, despite strong air support, resulting in their defeat. The Soviets lost 950 men, inflicting 1,017 ground losses on the Japanese attackers and another 936 from VVS raids on Mangui when air support was briefly available on 23 May (most of the local effort going to support the concurrent Soviet attack on Tahe, to the east).

    Mangui was itself attacked from the north on 30 May and the Japanese fled after a short battle (Soviets 29 killed, Japan 195 plus 286 from a single VVS raid). As the month ended many Japanese units in the sector were falling back rather than following up earlier successes east of Lake Baikal – where many units on both sides seemed to be running away from each other.

    C1gPr0.jpg

    A summary of battles and advances in the Western Sector, May 1946. The reduced VVS presence in Irkutsk was now regaining supply and organisation, but was still unable to fly any support mission in May.

    ******

    The China Theatre was of both general interest and would also begin to have a direct impact on the Soviets in the Western Sector. By 14 May, the earlier runaway Chinese advances had been slowed down along the southern borders of Manchukuo and Mengukuo, but the latter’s capital (and only VP city) of Hohhot remained under direct Chinese threat.

    But the big news came on 23 May, when France – as the pre-eminent Allied power - enforced a capitulation on Mengukuo.

    nd9VBu.jpg

    This had a few territorial effects immediately afterwards, with some provinces east of Lake Baikal temporarily reverted to ‘titular’ Soviet control, but they were all soon formally reoccupied by the Japanese forces remaining there. Also, a Mengukuo HQ allowed the interior Mongolian province of Garbun Dzagal to return to its original owners – at least until the Japanese could regain control.

    ******

    On 29 May, the surprising news came that Afghanistan had thrown its lot in with the clearly failing Axis cause – but only against the Comintern, remaining neutral towards the Allies. Madness. It was an opportunity for another Soviet land grab, but also a distraction.

    KVBBv3.jpg

    The problem was left entirely with the Caucasus Theatre to manage autonomously. Most of their units were in Persia or on the Turkish and Iraqi borders, but were already on the move to the front even before new objectives were set, including one for Persia as well. To prevent any confusion, all other Persian objectives for the Pakistan border and the Ahvaz oilfields were removed.

    lEpksp.jpg

    The political decision was taken to install a friendly government in Kabul rather than conquest and the next war goal would call for a Communist government to be installed as well.

    ******

    3. Naval Report

    On the night of 1 May, the old subs of the 5th Squadron were back in port after their ‘victory’ against the Kaga off Sakhalin in late April – lucky not to have lost any flotillas.

    NQunMM.jpg

    The rest of the Red Banner Pacific Fleet spent all month repairing its ships (which were all fixed by the end of the month) and the organisation of the crews (which was not yet complete) in its two main ports.

    u7KlHz.jpg

    There was no purging of the commanding Admiral ;), nor any more requests for suicidal amphibious landings – though the steady advance of the Allies in Japan had Stalin alternately furious and fearful. In part, no more ventures would be risked until better air support could be guaranteed, as intelligence revealed that none of the known Japanese fleet carriers had been lost in the interim (in fact, they have not lost a single carrier during the entire war).

    ******

    4. Production and Logistics

    Throughout this period, Soviet industrial output has hovered at around just under 400 IC. About 120 IC was required to achieve an equilibrium in the supply stockpile and about 24 IC was going on consumer goods. Of the rest, around 190 IC was being spent on production, the remainder on upgrades and reinforcements, all of which would vary. As at 1 May, the nuclear program had built 40% of the first nuclear device, with the addition of 20% per month.

    From 1-18 May, new equipment production orders focused the Air Force. This included the new ‘Flying Bombs’ after the technology was finalised on 9 May, a trial run of five being commenced – they would be ready to deploy on 1 June. While they should cause great strategic damage when they struck, the range of only 300km would make then a short-range weapon, probably more useful in Europe, where they could, for example, hit Warsaw but not Berlin from current Soviet bases.

    L9L3cJ.jpg

    Supply remained a problem in many areas of the front as the month began. The effects have been observed in the combat reporting. Many infrastructure improvements begun previously remain under construction, in an attempt to improve bypasses for the Trans-Siberian Railway which remains under enemy occupation past Lake Baikal.

    aRLOrb.jpg

    On 4 and 5 May radar stations on the Western Front at Kaunas, Lwów and Brzesc Litewski were completed to level 4 and new work on level 5 improvements were begun.

    On 23 May, one of the new fast tank divisions was deployed to the Lwów theatre.

    Dpp9E2.jpg

    And a new ‘medium-fast’ armoured division replaced it in the queue.

    lE7kQp.jpg

    The completion of level 4 for the main reactor in Mytishchi on 25 May represented the end of current reactor building efforts. Further extensions may be contemplated later, but for now the expenditure would be diverted elsewhere.

    qUzldt.jpg

    The latest priorities included another flotilla of the latest submarine designs (some of which had recently been improved again, see below); a flotilla of destroyers (backward, but the only other Soviet shipbuilding technology with any post-WW1 development); and a new wing of the Yak-15 interceptors, for the Western Front.

    4GG4NP.jpg

    A day later, infrastructure improvements were completed in another five Far East provinces. With those freed resources and some recent decreases in upgrade costs, a new five-brigade ‘standard infantry’ division commenced training.

    VIH1jw.jpg

    NB: over this time the rocket test site was always kept at the bottom of the queue, so it absorbed any fluctuations that decreased IC available for production.

    Late in the month, supply did seem a little better in the Eastern Sector and was strong south of Irkutsk, patchy to poor elsewhere, including the ‘black hole’ east of Lake Baikal across to Tahe.

    u8zt7L.jpg

    As at midnight on 1 June, a recent improvement in nuclear bomb production research had seen the monthly accrual rate increase to 30%, so now the first device was 70% finished and should be complete on 1 July.

    AdEtJ8.jpg

    And the first batch of Flying Bombs was finished and ready for delivery.

    ******

    5. Research

    On 3 May, spy losses overseas saw espionage training doubled from one to two LS at the expense of one research project (invasion tactics) put on hold, as project funding was reduced from 21 to 20 LS.

    Despite this, it was a good month for technological advances.

    d3Se7t.jpg

    As noted above, flying bomb technology was introduced and attention turned straight to rocket development. Submarine AA was improved on 13 May, but no new project was added to allow invasion tactics to resume development, in line with the reduction in project funding mentioned above. The VVS got new (if still backward by benchmark standards) small search radars on 22 May, with the strategic bomber arm finally getting some research on larger bombs. And also as mentioned under production, the crucial improvement of nuclear bomb making came on 23 May and research kept right on, the next advance there expected in late November.

    Then four more advances came in the last week of the month.

    jqD79o.jpg

    Most were for the VVS, plus a major advance in submarine engine design. And most of the follow-on effort remained in Navy and Air Force disciplines, but an improvement in the crucial area of infantry warfare doctrine was also begun.

    ******

    6. Espionage and Diplomacy

    With Spanish spy strength down to just one team, on 7 May a final effort was made to see if the popularity of the local Communist Party – now down to just 2% - could be improved, with all efforts being put into supporting them.

    Successes in Manchukuo by 16 May allowed NU disruption to be increased from 33 to 50%, with a corresponding reduction in counter-espionage to 50%.

    With the Allied push in Japan, their surrender was now becoming a more likely prospect. On 20 May, another war goal could be added, so Molotov lodged a claim on Japan’s ‘Pacific Bases’ (the last territorial claim available), just in case it may do any good in the event of an Allied-dominated peace settlement. (I have little idea how any of that is likely to work in practice.)

    dcfByz.jpg

    With spy reserves back up to three teams by 30 May, espionage training was reduced back to one LS, but this was invested in officer training (back up to 2.56 LS), which had suffered somewhat due to the demands of the expanded diplomatic influence program launched in April.

    A bumper crop of enemy spies had been caught in May (the equal highest of any month tracked so far). There had been heavy Soviet losses overseas, especially in Turkey, which had become a graveyard for Soviet agents.

    OTDwAp.jpg

    The Soviet counter-espionage mission in Turkey had hit back somewhat by the end of the month, but the need to focus on counter-espionage had meant Communist Party popularity in Turkey had fallen back to 9%. The attempt to save the political situation in Spain had been an abject failure, with the Communists there now virtually non-existent. This was almost certainly due to them being swamped by Allied agents building up the bourgeois parties. (Any suggestions for other pursuits, perhaps some tech espionage in case they have some naval designs or some such, are welcome).

    The diplomatic situation saw the influence program still in stasis for Turkey and Spain, who it seemed could not easily be lured any closer. But the three Chinese satellite states were being steadily weaned away from their Axis alignment and the Allies had not (yet) interfered with that.

    xzpYju.jpg


    ******

    7. Theatre Summaries

    May had seen a major turn-around in the Soviet-Japanese casualty ratio on the main front, with the VVS dominating again despite the lack of activity out of Irkutsk. The situations in China and Japan will be shown in more detail below, with the switch of Mengukuo to the Allies being the noteworthy event on the mainland.

    kYvYHA.jpg

    Not much had happened regarding Afghanistan in the few days since they had declared war on the Comintern, with no clashes reported or advances spotted yet. This front may take weeks to develop significantly.

    V4NZvB.jpg

    In Japan, Tokyo still held, though the Allied forces present should in time be able to wipe out all visible Japanese resistance on their main Home Island – once they got to the front.

    7e3Jg0.jpg

    In China, the Japanese had actually managed to push back a little since the beginning of the month on the main front, which was now much narrower. But the defection of Mengukuo had opened up their western flank and it remained to be seen whether they could switch enough forces into position to stem the tide there and prevent a Chinese flanking move, which had now linked up with the Comintern front in Mongolia.

    UoIdEQ.jpg

    Most of the Chinese Army (infantry and militia divisions) did not seem to be particularly strong. If the Soviets came up against them in the future, it was hoped the hardened units of the Far Eastern Fronts would be able to give them the smashing the Japanese had not been able to do in this second Sino-Japanese War.

    There had been no other changes at all in South East Asia, New Guinea or the Pacific.
     
    Last edited:
    • 2Like
    • 1
    Reactions: