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zSCHIZOz

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It was a cold, wintry morning with a snow white canvas blanketing the surface of the earth. Shin Kenji looked up to the sky and witnessed a cascade of white crystalline flakes which come dancing down from the heavens. It was a soft, wet snow that Shin remembered from his childhood while making snowmen with the rest of his family. Much had changed since then. Shin now had his own family and was now on the frontlines in the Japanese war against China. Back at home his wife was continuing work at their local bakery while her mother watched their daughter at the Kenji’s residence.

Shin had been involved with the war since the beginning as he had been drafted months before the war was being decided on. So far he had served his country well. He stood proud to wear his uniform for not only himself but for his comrades and his country. After months of fighting Shin found solace in the winter break from the war as the Imperial Army quickly scrambled to reorganize before the next push deeper south into China. Shin took this time to write his wife weekly and to spend quality time with his brothers in arms.

During the fighting Shin had lost many friends but found himself fortunate not to suffer from more than the weather and poor food. During meals Shin would joke with his comrades about how horrible the Imperial Army rations were. And of course being a baker gave him some expertise in the matter. Meal time was one of the most important times for the men in Shin Kenji’s platoon. It was an escape from the war and an entrance into happier times, even if the food was next to eating garbage. Of course, they kept their opinions within the platoon’s lower enlisted as the NCO’s would quickly correct them, for a lack of a better word.

Once meal time was finished most of the men in Kenji’s platoon would dig snow out of the trenches and care to the simplest of tasks that anyone in the infantry would come to expect. That included cleaning the latrines and tending to the fallen. It was dirty work but for many it was a much needed escape from the chaos of battle, despite the awful smell. Shin had no disillusion that the war would once again commence but he was hoping for more time. More time with his trusted comrades. More time to write and read letters from his wife. More time to stay alive.
 
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stnylan

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Time ... one never has enough time.
 

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Caught up again. So, war with China it is and it seems to be going according to plan on land anyway. Curious about one decision taken earlier, though:

Meanwhile the Imperial Japanese Navy was fielding destroyers on timely intervals. Four 1936 class destroyers would be constructed by the turn of 1938 to 1939. They would undergo exercises in Japanese waters as there was not enough vessels yet to allow for an amphibious invasion for 3. Infantry Army. This was unfortunate. Even with the aid of the IJN Nagato, naval supremacy was still not enough to allow safe passage for 3. Infantry Army.
All along I have been a little doubtful over that mass scrapping of the old fleet. Can you remind me of the main benefits in doing so (noting I’m very inexperienced in HOI4, especially the naval side of things)? Also, are you regretting a little that you didn’t do the reduction in phases, perhaps keeping a core of the least antiquated ships (especially cruisers, light and heavy) on hand for the war with China, scrapping them afterwards if that was the intention?

Really enjoying the AAR - keep up the good work! :)
 

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All along I have been a little doubtful over that mass scrapping of the old fleet. Can you remind me of the main benefits in doing so (noting I’m very inexperienced in HOI4, especially the naval side of things)? Also, are you regretting a little that you didn’t do the reduction in phases, perhaps keeping a core of the least antiquated ships (especially cruisers, light and heavy) on hand for the war with China, scrapping them afterwards if that was the intention?

Really enjoying the AAR - keep up the good work! :)
Well to be frank, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I see old, junk ships I scrap them. ;) A benefit to scrapping the IJN was that I was able to raise XP for naval research with just one ship, which is quite handy. I didn't scrap the Pride of the Fleet since it costs 100 Political Power to do so. Plus I needed a ship to raise XP. Now that I have more vessels I would have to Exercise them all to gain XP fast enough to make it worth the while.

You're better off decommissioning vessels in stages most likely. I never thought of that. But once I have my capitals out of the dockyards I should prove a worthy adversary to those annoying capitalist pigs on the other side of the Pacific! :mad:

Oh and thank you for following a letting me know you're enjoying the ride. Much appreciated! :D
 
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As the New Year rang in so didn’t Field Marshal Yamashita’s desire and expectations. The Imperial Army was ordered to begin the second offensive against China and push to the next largest river system. This would be a considerable gain of territory for Japan and the Chinese were willing to throw everything they have to stop Japan’s assault. At noon on the First of January, Yamashita gave the order to advance and what would be dubbed as “The Second Offensive” would begin.


Following the order Japan had an overall advantage on the offensive across the board, bar one province. The Imperial Army quickly broke through the lines in the East and South but the more mountainous terrain in the West was a problem. China was able to hold the West for a lengthy period of time before Japan could somehow breakthrough. The breakthrough of the West would not be completed until a majority of the Imperial Army was already at the next river system and even then losses for both sides were steep. Eventually Japan was able to cut off a section of of the West and starve the remainder of Chinese forces of ammunition and supplies, allowing Japan to finally decimate the mountainous area to the West.


It would take four months for the Imperial Army to advance to the next major river system. By April Chinese losses were over a quarter million while Japan was still well under one hundred thousand. The Second Offensive was an overall success. Despite greater Chinese numbers and Chinese air support the forty-eight divisions of the Imperial Army’s Regulars were able to seize control and advance far into China. By now the Chinese were most likely wondering if they could ever stop the Imperial Army from marching through the South into the Capital. Unfortunately for the Imperial Army supplies were short, infrastructure in China was low and the major river system was impeding the Imperial Army to advance further.


In order to advance the Imperial Army would need better equipment or specialized divisions. Marines were under consideration along with the expansion of support battalions such as more advanced combat engineers and reconnaissance troops. These needs however were secondary as the Central Government wanted to continue research in industry to fuel the imperial war machine. For now the Imperial Army would have to hold the line at the river and wait for 3. Infantry Army to make landfall. This of course would not happen for some time. A more realistic expectation would be for either advancing support battalions or marines. Either way, the Imperial Army was forced to stop their advance and now China would have the advantage of greater numbers while Japan clung to the river system before they could be reinforced.


While the Imperial Army was forced to halt at the river, the Imperial Navy had finished researching advanced hull armor for all of its capital warships. Heavy cruisers would be finished and cued into production first followed by a few more weeks and the introduction of battleships. Construction would take considerable time however, especially for the battleships. Two of each warship was under construction, handicapping the construction of destroyers. However due to the rapid construction rate of a single destroyer this was not seen as a serious handicap.


Naval construction for destroyers was being held and the Nagasaki Naval Yard while heavy cruisers were under construction at Hiroshima’s naval yard. Battleships were being forged in Osaka with plans of carrier vessels near Tokyo when the time comes. Submarines would be developed and constructed in the future further north of the Home Islands. Submarines however were seen as luxury and would not be considered for development until capital warships were sufficient in numbers.


The design of the Imperial Navy’s heavy cruisers and battleships were favored to win, blow to blow, over American and British warships of similar caliber. The Japanese Navy took considerable time in the advancement, design and development of their warships in order to be state of the art for the foreseeable future. Heavy emphasis was on large caliber guns and anti-aircraft mounts for defense against enemy carrier aircraft. The only problem with the design of these vessels is that they would take considerable time to build which was its only negative side-effect. Once fielded however the Imperial Japanese Navy would have the most advanced and lethal warships on the face of the planet and Japan would rule the Pacific as the Emperor has envisioned.
 
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Hopefully the war in China can be concluded before any confrontation with the Western powers
 

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I am unconvinced by the wisdom of the Chinese pause. Surely the warriors of Japan are willing to push past any number of rivers for the glory of their god emperor no matter the casualties? Banzai!
 

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Following the Second Offensive the Imperial Army was not able to safely pass the river system to further advance through China. Instead of blindfully leading the charge through contested provinces Field Marshal Yamashita ordered the construction of level two forts along the riverbed. This would prevent the superior numbers of Chinese from crossing the river and repelling the Japanese advance. The Imperial Army was in a defensive situation as supplies were having a hard time traveling through the low infrastructure of Northern China. Some divisions fared better than others but overall the Imperial Army had too many divisions on the frontline. Unfortunately not much could be done about this as the numbers needed would hinder supply consumption.

To counter the large river crossing Field Marshal Yamashita held a conference with top admirals of the Imperial Navy. The topic of discussion was recruiting and fielding marines to help aid the Imperial Army with the conquest of China. The Imperial Navy saw no conflict with the proposition and ordered the expansion of the Special Naval Landing Force to accommodate more divisions of marines. It would take seventy days for the order to pass through the Central Government who would later authorize the order of marine expansion.


Shortly after the order to expand the SNLF came the decision to expedite naval production. This would take over as the Central Government’s national focus and allow dockyard output to advance twenty percent. This would shave off much need time to field the Imperial Navy’s capital ships. Once fielded the cruisers and battleships would set sail for the coast of China and aid in the invasion for 3. Infantry Army to finally make landfall. With the invasion from 3. Infantry Army the rest of the Imperial Army would make short work of the Chinese forces on the riverbed as it was expected that the Chinese would shift their focus towards the coast after Japanese forces made landfall.


On another note research was going rather well. Industry was once again maxed out and focus on the Army and Navy were once again a priority. Fleet In Being was selected over Base Strike for Naval Doctrine and naval experience was used to half the research time. Following the doctrine switch for the Navy came advancements for support battalions, marines and infantry equipment. Combat engineers would see an advancement along with reconnaissance troops and marines would also see advancement as well to level two.

As Japan laid down the groundwork for offensive and defensive maneuvers so did Germany and its allies. During the time it took for Japan to organize advancements in research and technology Italy had joined what is now known as the Axis and Germany had declared war on Poland. The war with Poland would quickly come to an end and Germany would set its sights on Western Europe. The Soviet Union also expanded its borders with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact making Europe that much more unstable. It would seem that most of the world was now at war as the Allies declared war on Germany shortly after the invasion of Poland. This left most of the regions of the world now embroiled in battle and what would be known as World War Two would now officially begin.
 
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Hopefully the war in China can be concluded before any confrontation with the Western powers
Rest assured @stnylan the Imperial Army still has a few tricks up its sleeve. ;)

I am unconvinced by the wisdom of the Chinese pause. Surely the warriors of Japan are willing to push past any number of rivers for the glory of their god emperor no matter the casualties? Banzai!
Well... aren't we bloodthirsty. Fortunately for Japan I have the soldier's best interest at hand. :p
 

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Another interesting update, why the choice of fleet in being over the historical base strike? It would be interesting to see a short character update on how the Japanese navy came to the decision.

Of course those are just my idle musings, I expect sticking to your own style and using updates for advancing the game would be the best thing. ;)

I like your style, it delivers a lot of information while still being concise and readable.
 
Chapter Four: 1940 - World War Two Begins

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Crashing waves of midnight blue slammed upon the hull. Above was a starlit night with the Moon illuminating what little could be seen in the vast East China Sea in the dead of night. The roar of the transport ships’ vessels could be heard on the deck of the ship where Imperial Army Soldiers waited to land. Loud deck gun fire could be heard coming from the distance as Heavy Cruiser Tone fired upon the shores of Northeastern China. The shells whistled by the invasion vessels that stretched parallel to the coast as they made their way quickly to shore. The men onboard the transports were nervous and scared as this was their first taste of actual combat since the beginning of the war. The thought of enraged Chinese soldiers waiting on the beach and the deafening sounds of the mighty Tone blasting through the night was enough to put a man humbly in his place.

“Not much further now boys!” yelled a Navy crewman who was aiding the ship in direction to the shoreline. For him, the battle was almost over for he had little to do with the fighting other than ferrying troops to shore. As the transports quickly closed in on the beach the night became relatively quiet as Heavy Cruiser Tone stopped firing salvos to shore. The sudden realization of landing ashore now ran through some of the Soldiers’ minds. Fear broke in to anticipation as some of the troops grasped their rifles tighter as others felt sick to their stomach as the adrenaline rushed through their bodies.

“Prepare to land!” hollered the Navy crewman. Seconds flowed almost instantly in anticipation and suddenly the vessel lowered its front hatch and it slammed on the sandy beachhead while a whistle blow would signal the soldiers to evacuate the ship and storm the beach. The sound of boots slamming against the ship’s deck before making landfall on the soft sandy shores echoed through the compartment where the troops were held and the soldiers of 3. Infantry Army began to scatter and form along the shoreline and into the landscape.


Not a shot was fired. Not a sound other than the whistle blowing and the Navy transports coming and going form the shore. The beach was left unguarded and the soldiers of the first wave were somewhat confused but grateful at the same time. There would be no fighting tonight as the men rallied in sections just off the shoreline and began pushing forward to establish a frontline.

The landing beach was next to a naval yard on the peninsula just adjacent to Korea. Qingdao was the name of the port and 3. Infantry Army quickly organized and expanded their lines, taking as much territory as possible before Chinese divisions began descending upon them. On the other side of the front where the rest of the Imperial Army was stationed the men began attacking through the river to halt the Chinese advance towards Qingdao, giving 3. Infantry Army more time to expand. The plan worked and the remainder of 3. Infantry Army was brought in from the Home Islands at Nagasaki to further reinforce the new front.


Unfortunately the front could only be extended so far before overwhelming Chinese divisions descended upon the peninsula. Level two forts would be constructed along the frontline to withhold any Chinese assault from deep within China. It would seem that the Imperial Army was once again stalled but this time a breakthrough would surely be made as armored divisions were now being formed back in Japan. For now the Imperial Army would have to wait once again but this time with tanks at their disposal victory was almost certain. The final stretch was at hand. All that Japan could do now is wait for armored reinforcements and await the coming breakthrough into the heartland of China.
 
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zSCHIZOz

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Another interesting update, why the choice of fleet in being over the historical base strike? It would be interesting to see a short character update on how the Japanese navy came to the decision.

I like your style, it delivers a lot of information while still being concise and readable.
I selected Fleet In Being because I will have more heavy cruisers and battleships over carriers. I'm currently still exercising all of my navies so XP is very quickly acquired.

And thank you very much for your kind words! I'll make sure to write more novelist entries in the future. :)
 
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stnylan

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Perhaps a nice encirclement possibility.
 

zSCHIZOz

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Descending from the clouds on final approach for an airfield in the heart of Japan was a Soviet transport plane carrying an ambassador for talks about the conflict in China. Waiting just adjacent to the airstrip was a Japanese Central Government limousine who would take the Soviet ambassador to a private location for a top secret and scheduled meeting with high ranking officials of the Japanese Empire.

The Soviet transport was now about to land. With its landing gear down it would meet the strip and the wheels briefly bounced on impact, absorbing the shock of the heavy airframe before the nose came down and the plane began to brake. With the plane safely grounded it made its way off the runway and to a hanger where it would be carefully inspected and taken care of by Japanese mechanics. The ambassador exited the plane through the side door and walked down small step ladder onto the earth.

“Ambassador, welcome to Japan.” A Japanese airman waved his arm to the right where the limousine was located and continued “This way. We have a limousine waiting for you.” The ambassador nodded in agreement and followed the Japanese airman to the limo before parting ways. The driver started up the limo and drove off through the airfield gate and headed towards the Central Government Headquarters which was not far away, roughly five miles. Once arrived the limo came to a stop outside the impressively large and historically castle like headquarters and the limo door would open and the ambassador was greeted by a minister who graciously acknowledged the Soviet with a bow before chaperoning him inside and to the meeting office.

A large wooden table about twenty feet in length was in the center of the conference room along with ministers of the Central Government and generals and admirals of the Japanese Armed Forces. Head Minister offered the ambassador a cigar which he agreed to and they began smoking and proceeding to the matter at hand.

“The Soviet Union has taken notice to your prolonged campaign against Nationalist China, Minister. We believe we could be of some help. After all, the Nazis have now taken France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It is time we settled this conflict in the East to focus on the West.” The Ambassador paused for a moment, inhaling the cigar and exhaling before continuing “We believe we can solve the matter in a year’s time. That is of course if you are willing to cooperate.”

The Minister smiled, lightly chuckled before responding “The Soviet Union has a favor to ask us? What makes you think we are not handling the situation in the best possible way?”

The Ambassador scoffed before replying “Frankly, Minister, you need more manpower for a task as bold as China. We have an agreement already with the Communist faction in China. They are willing and able to do what is necessary for not only for the East but for our mutual interests. The Soviet Union asks for your cooperation in the matter. You will of course be working independently in the matter but we will aid you should you require it. Either way Minister, the Soviet Union will act against the Nationalists and Communist China will follow. We ask for your understanding and acceptance into our faction. Let us work on this endevour together, as one. Join the Comintern and together we can bring a quick resolution to this nasty matter of Chinese Nationals.”

A long pause took over the meeting room while the Ambassador enjoyed his cigar, waiting for a response. The Head Minister of the conference shifted his eyes both left and right, reading the expressions of his staff, generals and admirals. The Minister continued pausing before eventually responding “To join the Comintern? This is not a decision I can make on my own, Ambassador. I respect your directness in the matter but the Emperor must be informed of this as well as the remaining ministers of the Central Government. Do understand, however, that I do respect you coming all the way to Japan to hold this meeting. It is an honor to have you peacefully at our table. Tell your superiors we will get back with you in two weeks time. By then you will have our decision.”

Enjoying his cigar the Ambassador continued to smoke. “Very well, Minister. I’ll agree to hold our meeting and your decision for another time. Its a shame we can not do this now, you see. We have already instructed the Communists in China to begin their assault on the Nationalists. Their entrance into the Comintern is already decided. But I will part ways for now, at your request. Give the Emperor my respects. Good day, gentleman.”

The Ambassador was shuttled to from the Central Government Headquarters to the airfield and boarded the Soviet transport. The transport took off with no issues and set flight to Moscow to brief his superiors on the Japanese-Chinese situation.
 
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Cromwell

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Imperial Japan? Dishonour the emperor by joining the ComIntern gang of regicides? The cheek of the man, coming to Japan to make such a suggestion!
 

stnylan

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One almost has to admire the effrontery
 

zSCHIZOz

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Following the meeting with the Soviet ambassador Japan found itself in a rather unexpected position. On one hand joining the Comintern would allow for a speedy end to the war against China but at a cost of won territory. While on the other hand Japan would go to war with all of the Communists. Japan could always abstain from joining and or fighting against the Soviets but that would void all its gains in China, leaving those that perished to have died for nothing. In the end the decision was rather clear. Japan would join the Comintern. This of course left a rather sour taste in the mouth of the Empire but Japan would have to align itself as it could not fight against the Soviets, Communist China and the Nationalists all at the same time.


As far as the Imperial Army was concerned the only change was that there would now be friendly forces along the frontlines and a more aggressive push deeper into China would now be easier to achieve. The Soviets would take some time before reaching the front as they were north of Manchuria while Communists from China would arrive rather quickly. Unfortunately for Japan the Communists had staked a claim before declaring war on the Nationalists leaving any territory gained to fall within their borders. Initially this was seen as a major deterrent for Japan but after considering the amount of war participation Imperial Japan would be able to carve a rather large portion of the territory gained once the war would be concluded.

Regarding the Imperial Navy, carrier technology had now been researched to 1940 specifications and carriers were now cued for construction. The design of the carriers would allow for sixty aircraft to be stored and an adequate amount of additional armor applied to its hull. For now only one carrier would be cued for construction at a time as battleships and cruisers were of prime concern. Construction of 1936 destroyers were still on going at a steady pace along with the first set heavy cruisers to finish production. The cruisers were sent to the Coast of Japan for exercising to gain experience before being assigned to an official fleet.


While the other two branches of Japan’s military was quite modern and going strong development of an air force was in the works. Firstly fighters were under research and development with 1940 fighters already taken care of. The Imperial Navy scheduled the research for carrier based 1940 fighters and naval bombers while the Imperial Air Force cued up research for 1940 tactical bombers. The research for all of the 1940 projects was scheduled to be finished before the year’s end.


For now Japan would have to play ball with the Comintern. The inclusion into the Comintern had significant advantages at the moment and the Emperor himself thought it the best course of action considering that the entire Imperial Army was already embroiled in battle in China with no forces guarding the border of Manchuria. These would be interesting times for Japan. Would Japan stay true with its new found allies or is a plot to take advantage of the situation more plausible? The world would have to wait and see.
 
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stnylan

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Very strange bedfellows indeed.
 

guillec87

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oh my oh my... to ally itself with those godless commies!
 

zSCHIZOz

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As the forces of the Comintern continued their aggression throughout the heartland of Nationalist China developments in Europe were becoming alarming. Nazi Germany had taken over much of Europe. France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark had all fallen and now Nazi Germany shifted its focus and declared war on the Soviet Union. Shocked by the betrayal of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the Soviet Union looked to its allies for help. Japan stated that it would not get involved in a Western conflict while the Communist Chinese had already committed all its forces in the invasion of China. This left the Soviets to face the Axis alone.


While the Axis stormed through the borders of the Soviets, Imperial Japan was continuing to push down the coastline to gather all of China’s ports and resources on the outerlands of China. The Communists were making minimalist gains in Central China while the Soviets were dedicating its forces along mostly the coast, working in tandem with Japanese forces.

The Imperial Japanese Army was taking much of the coastline at a rapid rate. The Nationalists were overwhelmed with the Comintern invasion that they could not successfully hold back the aggressive push of Japanese forces. Within a year the coast was taken by Imperial Japan and the Imperial Army began to push to Central China to take the fight into the heartland. Most of the populated cities of the Chinese were located along the coast making China’s surrender progress rather advanced. Only a few more major cities needed to be taken before Nationalist China would collapse and surrender to the Comintern.


Once again Japan would lead the way as the Communists were not aiding much in the war effort and now the Soviets had to worry about a war in Europe against the Axis. Although the Soviets were contributing more to the war with China than the Communists, Japan had most of the participation. However with the coastline taken the Nationalists were concentrating most of their men against the Japanese push in the center of China, making an advance harder than the months of fighting beforehand. This would be of little concern as Imperial Army armored divisions were now fully trained and prepared to breakthrough the stubborn frontline that the Chinese had created with their immense numbers. Within a matter of weeks the armored divisions were able to land on the coast, travel to the front and blitz through the exhausted enemy infantry divisions that the Nationalists had prepared along the front. The city of Wuhan was taken followed by neighboring cities and once the urban areas were taken Nationalist China finally submitted to Japan and the rest of the Comintern.


The war was won. Japan had succeeded in its war goals and laid claim to the coastline and the immediate surrounding area. Communist China would take all of central and western China while the Soviets took nothing. Overall the war had inflicted approximately 316,000 Japanese casualties while China had lost 1.4 million men. As far as Japan was concerned the war was a complete success, even if help was required to bring it to a swifter end. The Imperial Army was ordered to the coast to reorganize and await further orders. The Emperor still had plans and ambitions that needed attention with the Central Government of Japan before being implemented. For now though, it was a time of celebration. An old rival had finally been defeated and with it territory gained along with the riches of conquest.
 
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