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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Nikolai

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I love how the butterfly effects of Trotsky's takeover makes such a believeable, yet different world.:) The sultan back in Istanbul, wonderfully interesting!:)
 

c0d5579

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Having the Ottomans back in Istanbul is actually a staple feature of mod33.
And because I'm using the same tweaking of Mod33 I used for Siegerkranz, which includes an expanded Ottoman chain, it's actually more likely. The trick is always explaining it, because the chances of the Sultan being the replacement for Ataturk are somewhere between "when pigs fly" and "never." Among other things, Ataturk was a combination of charismatic fascist dictator and genuine reformer, sort of what Mussolini wanted to be, minus the war, so there's no nostalgia for the old order.
 

c0d5579

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V. Consolidation of Western China

The broad campaign plan for the Sino-Soviet War had been determined in 1933, and by the end of 1934, was showing significant gains. With the Ma Clique and Turkestan firmly consolidated under Chinese Communist rule, Comrade Mao's forces had sufficient territory to begin conducting operations in greater depth than local raids, and a much stronger recruiting and supply base than the rough triangle in the Chinese highlands which they had occupied before.

The goal for the closure of 1934 was the quick reduction of the backward religious monarchy of Tibet, then the conduct of a jungle campaign in the Yunnan region before it was complicated by a spring thaw. Twelve regular infantry divisions were assigned to this, operating in four corps under the overall direction of Komkor Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko. Comrade Timoshenko was widely seen as a Stalinist officer, and Comrade Trotsky was blunt about this assignment: he was too useful to dispose of, and too politically suspect to be given involvement in the growing Motor Army formations despite his role as a cavalry commander during the Civil War. Instead, he would be given a very difficult task to accomplish over very difficult terrain, and anything less than complete success would be viewed as treason. That was, after all, what his colleague Stalin had practiced on his political opponents, was it not?


Timoshenko took the message to heart. By the time of the German election, his first corps had reached Lhasa, and the Dalai Lama fled Tibet to be received by the British viceroy on December 25 in New Delhi. In the meantime, the majority of Comrade Timoshenko's forces transferred their efforts southeast into the Yunnan jungles. This proved to be the most difficult single operation of the war, including the ambitious early attempts to fight in the rugged terrain of western China in winter. The problem in the south was not freezing conditions, though difficult supply remained a constant issue, but rather extremely restricted visibility. What was planned as a corps-level push would quickly devolve to division-level command, and beyond, until individual rifle companies would find themselves operating more or less independently. In this atmosphere, ambush and counter-ambush became the norm, and contact, when it happened, was confused and sporadic. In any event, on February 1, Komkor Timoshenko reported that the Yunnan operation was complete and operations into the Guangxi region were now practical.

This extension of the Nationalist-Communist border meant that Chiang's forces were forced to spread thinner and thinner; however, the vast majority of Nationalist forces remained concentrated in the north near the onetime Chinese imperial capital of Xi'an. Comrade Trotsky visited this section of front to hold a conference with the senior leadership of the Red Army and Chinese Red Armies to determine what had to be done. Unsurprisingly, the Red Army leadership believed that increased manpower here, at the decisive front, was needed, while the southern front under Comrade Timoshenko could be left more or less to its own devices. Comrade Trotsky disagreed, pointing out how porous the southern front was at the moment, and ordered the majority of Red Army units new to the theater into the newly-designated Chongqing Front, thereby splitting overall command of the Red Army in the engaged theater into three parts: Xi'an, Chongqing, and Guangxi. He answered the pleas for more soldiers with the only tool he had available - manpower reserves were getting sparse and there were tremendous difficulties getting these men to the front. Therefore, he withdrew much of the modernized Red Army to re-equip in Mongolia and left the newly promoted Komfront Zhukov, Komfront Vasilievski, and Komfront Timoshenko with mostly regular infantry formations to rest for a short time while weaknesses in the Nationalist line were found. At the same time, the Mobile Army under Komfront Rybalko would re-equip and re-arm in Mongolia, planning a great breakout operation when the time was right.


The breakout opportunity, when it came, came too suddenly for the Mobile Army; instead, it was the single motorized corps assigned to Komfront Vasilievski that did the job, capturing Chongqing in a rapid campaign just on the cusp of spring. Thus, at the beginning of April, 1935, the Chinese front had been pushed back considerably, and the difficult hill country was beginning to open in favor of the central Chinese plains.

A series of skirmishes on the Vladivostok frontier with Manchu and Japanese forces at this same time threatened to escalate into full-scale war; indeed, Japanese forces were rumored to be advancing on the city itself in April. This disrupted the planned deployment of Komandarm Rybalko's Mobile Army, which instead found itself deploying in a show of force on the western Manchu frontier. Later evidence shows that the Japanese military government in Korea had considered grabbing as much of Siberia as they could during the momentary distraction of the Red Army. Comrade Rybalko's maneuvers showed them that this was not practical, and instead they began planning operations for the summer of 1935, with the goal of occupying the Beijing-Qingdao region. It was only through the good offices of the newly appointed German ambassador in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that a full-scale war with Japan over the Manchu Frontier was avoided.


The ongoing Turkish crisis had diverted Comrade Trotsky's attention from the theater for much of this period; he spent quite a bit of time in correspondence with various factions within Turkey itself, and part of the reason for the paucity of manpower on the Chinese front was that Comrade Trotsky was redefining the Red Army, positioning some of its newest and greenest units in the Caucasus for mountain training. Their role in the coming months would change the alignment of powers in the region, and begin the long-heralded wave of the World Revolution.
 

c0d5579

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Apologies for short update; because of electric bills here, the computer's getting turned off overnight. Rather than risk losing an update because I forgot to save, I'm erring on the short side. Aside from which, I apparently forgot to take ANY screenshots for the Sino-Soviet War.
 

Viden

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Maps! People wants maps!

PS: Ok, we will wait for the next time.
 

Alfredian

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Great update as ever. Looking forward to hearing more aboutTurkey and a potential backdoor into the balkans.
 

Deus Eversor

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Hura! its not dead :)

it would be cute plot twist if allies would start supporting chinese and turkey, and then japan would invade china, make few mistakes and end up fighting with allies :D