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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Dewirix

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Self-strengthening: 1770 to 1777

Emperor Higashiyama, May 1770 -

When Emperor Sadayuki died he left to his son a Japan that had been shamed by western powers. Sadayuki had known that without reforming the military he would never be able to oppose the predatory Europeans, but try as he might he could not convince his squabbling court to make the necessary sacrifices.

It was in this unauspicious atmosphere that Higashiyama ascended the throne. His coronation ceremonial was a mix of Japanese, Chinese and western influences and the inaugural speech he delivered from the Chrysanthemum throne left no-one in any doubt as to his priorities.

higashiyama.jpg


Higashiyama said:
Japan today is a respected member of the brotherhood of nations, but too many see us as the younger sibling, fated to stand in quiet obedience while our elders do as they please.

This conception is both wrong and insulting. My ancestors were ruling Japan while Britain was a dark land of forests and barbarians, while Austria was wilderness inhabited by primitives.

If Japan is to gain the respect she deserves, she must strengthen her armed forces and seize by valour what we should have already earned but for the scorn of these foreigners.

My first act as Emperor is to order that the army become a thing of utter perfection. No more shall we employ mercenaries or feudal levies; instead free citizens shall serve in our ranks and our officers shall be chosen by talent, not birth.

My ancestors set Japan free. Now I must defend that freedom, and the freedom of the oppressed everywhere. That is the Yamato destiny.

If the Emperor's words were controversial, the reality of his plans were moreso. As Japanese settlers had fanned out across the South Seas they grew more aware of their cultural differences and less tolerant of others. As Japanese settlements were planted in the Indian Ocean, at home the government reversed centuries of tolerance and began to force Japanese culture on the unwilling Koreans.

kulturkampf.jpg


This was to have unwanted side-effects almost immediately, adding another flashpoint to an increasingly tense situation. While intolerance was but a side-effect of Higashiyama's designs, the westernisation of the military was a prime goal. The changes represented a huge attack on vested interests. Few in the military wanted to abandon the old ways that had won Japan so mighty an empire.

gunsgunsguns.jpg


It was not until 1773 that a dedicated cadre of young officers, bureaucrats and the Emperor himself were able to force through the reforms. Almost at once the Empire was plunged into turmoil - public debates about the wisdom of the policy quickly degenerated into mass brawls. Soldiers unhappily struggled with unfamiliar drills and in some cases were thrown into unemployment and banditry.

In this atmosphere, revolts were inevitable and widespread.

revoltingd.jpg


The new model armies were initially overwhelmed by the size of the outbreaks and spent the first months of their existence desperately trying to establish control of their own regions.

However, as they gradually grew accustomed to the new practices they were able to halt, then roll back the tide of resistance. Thousands of soldiers perished on both sides of this unofficial civil war, and many more peasants lost their homes and crops in the course of the fighting.

Even as disorder reigned all around, Higashiyama was laying plans for the future. Japanese naval architects had learned much from the Empire's Gelren allies and were confident they could now produce ships to match any in Europe.

The Emperor commanded that the fleet be drastically expanded, with 20 new ships of the line and the same number of modern transports added to the existing complement. Such a fleet was greater than Japan could possibly need for internal policing.

seafever.jpg


Higashiyama had his mind set on making Japan a great naval power. His actions would leave their mark in the years to come.

However, it was not until 1777 that the fuore provoked by the military reforms started to subside. Ironically the rebellions provided the proof of the effectiveness of the new model armies: both sides fielded similar weapons - muskets, cannons and cavalry - but the tactics of the imperial forces gave them a devastating advantage on the field. As rebel commanders were forced to recognise, Higashiyama's reforms had worked.

readyforanything.jpg


By the end of the year Japan once again enjoyed internal tranquility. Its economy - though dislocated by the recent fighting - quickly recovered and Japanese scholars grew increasingly self-confident as they found they were able to match and even exceed the achievements of their European colleagues.

Japan was by its own reckoning the greatest nation in the world, and indisputably the great Asian power. Many turned their minds to Higashiyama's pledge to champion the oppressed everywhere, they observed the frantic bustle in the Empire's naval yards, they admired the columns of disciplined soldiers marching down to the coast, and they wondered what would happen next.
 

unmerged(205558)

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I say that's it is time to kick some european ass
 

Ashantai

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That's fantastic! Well done, man, well done indeed! :)
 

Enewald

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As you were westernised when the rebels hit, did they use old unit types or the newer ones that the state was adapting from the west? :p
 

Darth Moose

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I suppose it is too early to do a reverse Commodore Perry - has the USA even appeared in game?
 

damienreave

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Can you reach Hawaii yet? I say its time to turn the Pacific into a Japanese lake ^_^
 

Dewirix

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I say that's it is time to kick some european ass

I say that you're right!

That's fantastic! Well done, man, well done indeed! :)

Thanks, the whole westernising process was much more stressful than I had thought. Keeps things interesting into the late game though.

Nice read :)

Thanks!

very good. Nothing like the smell of military modernization in the morning. Time to build the East Asian Co Prosperity Sphere. I specially enjoyed Higashiyama's speech.

Glad you liked it. East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere sounds a bit limited in ambition though.

As you were westernised when the rebels hit, did they use old unit types or the newer ones that the state was adapting from the west? :p

I think they stuck to the old type, although there may have been some modern troops mixed in. It was an interesting few years.

Congrats :) Glad to see you've taken your final leap to dominance. Interested to see where all those pretty Japanese threedeckers will sail off to!

Here there and everywhere! Interestingly the Grand Fleet is still an odd mix of carracks, galleys, wargalleons and cogs.

I suppose it is too early to do a reverse Commodore Perry - has the USA even appeared in game?

The US can appear, but haven't. Not sure what I want to do about that yet.

Can you reach Hawaii yet? I say its time to turn the Pacific into a Japanese lake ^_^

I can reach a sight further than Hawaii, and agree with your geopolitical aims!
 

Dewirix

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Tides of War: 1777 to 1782

Emperor Higashiyama, May 1770 -

The war started for any number of reasons: Japan was still smarting for the defeat inflicted upon her in 1752; two global powers with such vastly different cultures and religions were bound to clash again; Japan was running out of promising land to colonise in Asia; the Emperor truly believed in that it was his duty to rescue the oppressed everywhere. The war started for any number of reasons.

That the war was deliberate there could be no doubt. The Japanese ambassadors dispatched to Massachusets were given strict instructions to offer no explanation for the Empire's actions. They delivered their message to a stunned foreign minister, then turned around and headed back to the residency to await whatever may come.

warwithgb.jpg
]

The war was the world's first truly global conflict. Before its outbreak in 1779 Japan had established a small outpost in the Great Eastlands - the northwestern seaboard of the continent that the Europeans referred to as the Americas. The new navy was sent there along with 20,000 Japanese troops, who sailed with orders to begin the fight as soon as they had established themselves.

The word would take so long to get back to the British on the other side of the continent that it scarcely mattered if the attack began before war was offically declared. The small British garrison in Kalapuya had no way of knowing either way and were overrun in a brief skirmish soon after the invasion began.


The Western Campaign

At the same time, the Japanese Grand Fleet was sailing westwards, carrying another 20,000 soldiers to Sumatra, where once again the small British forces were quickly dispersed and the enemy fortresses soon reduced.

Wasting little time, the army re-embarked for what was to be an epic journey. After wintering in the new Japanese colony of Mauritius the fleet sailed around Cape Horn into the Atlantic. The journey was a long one, and many soldiers were too unwell to fight when the fleet arrived at Dingle Bay. Despite the time that had elapsed the British here were still unprepared for the agressive actions of the Japanese army, which descended upon an almost undefended Connaught. Following another one-sided battle the imperial troops pursued the retreating British soldiers into the fortress of Galway and after a brief struggle were able to capture it. Japan now had a foothold in Europe!

westerncampaign.jpg


After detaching troops to besiege Britain's other possessions in Ireland and to repair the Grand Fleet, the main body of the army set off for the old heartland of Britain itself. This time not everything would go Japan's way. A daring cross-country march took Japanese forces to the gates of Lincoln, whose harbour protected fully a quarter of the Royal Navy's ships of the line. However, the Assault Force's movements were being tracked by a British army that outnumbered their own. Having forced a breach in Lincoln's defences, Japanese generals now had to decide whether to risk taking the town or pacifying the island.

Even as the Western campaign hung in the balance, Emperor Higashiyama and his advisers were setting their minds on building a still greater naval force. The Empire had a very low opinion of the enemies it faced at sea, but Britain was proving exasperatingly adept at transporting small forces to ill-defended Japanese outposts.

tidesofwar.jpg


Determined to stamp out this threat, Higashiyama ordered the construction of another 20 ships of the line of the most modern type. This force would patrol the Great Eastlands, freeing up the transport fleet to bring reinforcements where they were needed.


From the halls of Montezuma

The Great Eastlands campaign had begun promisingly, with Japanese troops slowly marching down the coast seizing British colonies as they went.

Resistance had stiffened when the army reached Mexico, but the Empire was able to first rout and then shatter its numerically inferior opponents in a series of brutal battles which demonstrated that the Japanese soldier had nothing more to learn from his British counterpart.

montezuma.jpg


However, the lack of strategic leadership hampered Japan's campaign as a substantial British army was able to march around the concentrated imperial forces and begin to retake the provinces to the north. At the same time, British forces were landed much further up the coast and preceded to liberate the colonies that Japan had not long ago conquered herself.

Eventually the situation was stablised, although not until the Siege Force was withdrawn from Mexico and sent to the northern front.

mexicocampaign.jpg


Japanese commanders were now wary of giving the British another opportunity to steal a march on them. Once renewed, the Mexico campaign turned into a series of marches and counter marches, with each side not wanting to commit if advantage could not be ensured.

New troops were on the way to break the deadlock, but until then the imperial forces would look for a decisive victory that would open Mexico to them.

On the home front, Higashiyama and the court began to develop a new philosophy to articulate the war in which they were now engaged. While previously Japan had tolerated other religions, the spirit of the age demanded that more was done to truly allow imperial citizens to enjoy freedom of conscience.

liberation.jpg


Although Higashiyama was unwilling to go as far as some wanted and declare Japan a secular state, he did consent to remove all barriers to non-conformists serving in the imperial bureaucracy, the universities and the armed forces. Although this created a ripple of opposition throughout the Empire, the shock quickly dissapated in the face of a common enemy.

In February 1782 the British put out the first feelers towards peace. The war had been underway for almost five years, and aside from the recent British invasion of Mauritius it had been a catalogue of disaster for the enemy.

peacetime.jpg


Higashiyama and his ministers replied that they would need time to study the proposal more carefully.
 

Ashantai

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That's a good start, but they still have massive armies somewhere. I'm worried about that fleet of 48 enemy ships too - do you know where they are?

The only thing the AI has over a human is their ability to send fleets to attack outlying colonies in a really annoying way!

Thanks for the economy data too!

Excellent progress! Is Britain the strongest European power?
 

unmerged(213294)

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Now that's a sneak attack - Japan to Ireland! LOL

Obviously you will be playing cat and mouse with the British for a while it seems - they still have plenty of troops around somewhere. How many troops are in the British Isles proper to face your Irish-Japanese army? Can they hold on to Ireland? Great update as usual.
 

Malurous

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Really well done and an entertaining read. And it's cool to see such a climax in the end. :cool:

Nice of you to slow the pace in the end so I could catch up before you're done. :D I've been reading in small parts for the past month or so, but I struggled to keep up. :(
 

PrawnStar

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Good looking war! Any chance of upping the score by getting the minor enemies out of the war?
 

Eber

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Wow, great job in the war with Britain so far! It would be cool to see a Japanese Ireland. ;) "Son, you're Japanese Irish!" (I wonder if any get that reference from a commercial :D)
 

Dewirix

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I say take some of their over-seas provinces!
I've already seized the three coastal provinces north of Pomo and I'm keeping those. I started doing the same in British Mexico, but had second thoughts and after the British took them back I'm leaving them as conquered.

That's a good start, but they still have massive armies somewhere. I'm worried about that fleet of 48 enemy ships too - do you know where they are?

The only thing the AI has over a human is their ability to send fleets to attack outlying colonies in a really annoying way!

Thanks for the economy data too!

Excellent progress! Is Britain the strongest European power?

I know where 11 of their ships are and the Grand Fleet have them bottled up. I'm guessing that the rest of the British navy is similarly dispersed.

Britain is not the strongest European power. That would be giant France (which also owns Greece, the Balkans, Constaniople and a large chunk of Anatolia) or BWB Austria.

Now that's a sneak attack - Japan to Ireland! LOL

Obviously you will be playing cat and mouse with the British for a while it seems - they still have plenty of troops around somewhere. How many troops are in the British Isles proper to face your Irish-Japanese army? Can they hold on to Ireland? Great update as usual.

The British have already lost Ireland - only my little siege stacks remain to occupy the final two provinces. The British army you can see in the screenshot under General Leicester seems to be everything they've got, although my concern arises from the fact that they're building more.

Really well done and an entertaining read. And it's cool to see such a climax in the end. :cool:

Nice of you to slow the pace in the end so I could catch up before you're done. :D I've been reading in small parts for the past month or so, but I struggled to keep up. :(

Glad to have you reading! I'm really enjoying your Cuzco AAR.

The game from 1399 to 1773 was based on a series of saved games from the original playthrough so I didn't really have to think about my next move as I'd already done it. Having basically let the game drift for 50 years after westernising my military I thought I'd play out the last part again, so what you're seeing now is 'live' gameplay. That's slowed me down continually.

In addition, I thought I'd be able to do the whole think in about 10 updates, so tried to blast through those as quickly as possible. That didn't really work out too well. :rolleyes:

Finally, I bought Vicky 2, which is eating up way too much time.

Epicness to the max
Thanks, although mercifully we've yet to encounter many of the huge number of troops the UK have around somewhere. I think they're probably all concentrated in North America as that's where their capital is.

Good looking war! Any chance of upping the score by getting the minor enemies out of the war?
I get there eventually, but in the post above I was still getting the usual 'Japan will pay 1300 ducats' peace offers from them which seems to ignore the facts that:
  • I'm winning
  • I outnumber and in the case of minors like Karem Bornu vastly out-tech them
  • They haven't done anything remotely threatening

Wow, great job in the war with Britain so far! It would be cool to see a Japanese Ireland. ;) "Son, you're Japanese Irish!" (I wonder if any get that reference from a commercial :D)

More likely to be a free Ireland than a Japanese one. Higashiyama's not really in it for territory, but to avenge the earlier defeats at the hands of the British.

That commercial sounds a bit like the Fosters (?) everyone's a little bit Australian ads that ran here, but I think I could be way off track there.
 

Dewirix

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Annus Mirablis, 1782 to 1783

Higashiyama, May 1770 -

The debate within the court that the British peace offer produced centred less on the approach itself - it was swiftly rejected - but with what Japan wanted to achieve from the war.

The traditionalists thought only in terms of Japan's near abroad. The British would take little persuasion to abandon their holdings on Sumatra and would not seek the return of the colonies Japan had seized in the Great Eastlands. The war could be ended quickly and with honour and Japanese forces could return home, their job done.

In the minds of the liberals - and the Emperor was foremost amongst them - this did not nearly go far enough. At his coronation Higashiyama had declared himself the defender of the oppressed everywhere. He was determined to confine Britain to a single continent, liberating all of her overseas possesions to become allies of Japan. This desire was not universal amongst the advocates of a long war, but all among them wanted to see an unambiguous Japanese victory to erase the shame of the 1750s.

With the Emperor's backing, the liberals prevailed and their ascendancy brought a new sense of purpose and direction to the war effort. Sadakiyo Kitabatake and Sadakiyo Miura were appointed Rikugun Taisho for the English and Mexican campaigns respectively and set about their tasks with enthusiasm.


English campaign

In England, General Kitabatake lost no time in ordering an assualt on Lincoln. He planned to swiftly subdue the town's defenders, thus securing a fall-back position and supply base from which he strike at the British army which opposed him.

Japanese sappers had already breached the outdated fortifications and the assault carried the town with few losses. Among the loot was a copy of the Magna Carta from the cathedral which General Kitabatake sent back to a delighted Emperor.

After order had been restored to the army, Kitabatake immediately marched against Winston Leciester's Army of England, which had remained on station in Shropshire and had passed up the opportunity to attack during the assault.

Even as Kitabatake marched to battle, the Grand Fleet were engaging the British ships forced from Boston when Japanese troops had overrun the area. The Battle of the Wash took the form of a running engagement as the British tried to make for the safety of London. Although many of the outdated ships of the Grand Fleet were badly damaged, they knocked the entire enemy fleet out of action for the loss of a single galley.


englishcampaign.jpg


Leicester, like many British commanders was more used to colonial warfare than pitched battles against a modern army. When the Japanese arrived on the left bank of the Roden opposite the British forces they discovered that Leicester was staying with a family friend in Shrewsbury. Seizing the opportunity, Kitabatake ordered his troops to ford the river. A brief and bloody struggle ensued in which the British artillery on the opposite bank inflicted heavy casualties on the imperial vanguard. Once across, the Japanese turned the tables and put the British to flight. The day ended with the British retiring on Bristol in disarray.


Mexican Campaign

The Siege Force was already marching to attack the enemy in Tepehuan when General Miura was appointed to overall command. Having been informed by his scouts of the approaching imperial troops, the British commander, Richard Cromwell, abandoned his advance and instead concentrated on fortifying Zatatecas.

In a reversal of the situation in England, the Japanese enjoyed a decided numerical advantage which General Miura put to good use. Although both sides fielded an equal number of infantry, the Japanese artillery far outweighed that of the British. Japanese gunners punched a hole in the centre of Cromwell's line through which Miura sent his cavalry and guards. The results of the battle spoke for themselves, with the British army losing nearly two-thirds of their total force and sacrificing all their cavalry to protect the withdrawal of their guns.


mexicancampaign.jpg


Miura pushed onward to Tarasco, where the arrival of British reinforcements proved too little to hold the Japanese onslaught.


The home front

Lang Xan had entered the war with Japan as the Empire's only ally, but had proved unable to contribute to the fighting and indeed had struggled even without taking a direct part in the conflict. It was little surprise and no great concern when her ambassadors annouced they had reached a settlement with the British.

However, this move was interpreted as a sign of weakness by Japan's old foe, Qin, who thought that the campaigns in Europe and America would prevent the Empire from coming to Lang Xan's aid.


littlewar.jpg


In this they were sadly mistaken. Higashiyama was hardly about to let a long-standing Japanese ally fall prey to agression, especially not from an enemy which bordered the Empire itself. The Qin court had badly miscalculated and as soon as Japan's attitude became clear all of East Asia declared itself ready to join the imperial coalition.

Japanese field armies quickly stormed Shaanxi, but the most symbolic action of the war was the relief of Luang Prabang by an under-strength Japanese brigade. Two thousand imperial troops faced down a Qin detachment more than twice their size and inflicted devastating losses. Shattered, the Qin fled and before long their chastened leaders were brought to the negotiating table.

The war with Qin had repercussions that belied the ease with which it had been won. The existence - albeit brief - of a threat on the borders of the Empire combined with the ongoing war with Britain led Higashiyama and the court to adopt a new and more militaristic attitude. The continued successes of Japanese troops saw focus shift from the Emperor's role as a patron of the arts to that of commander in chief of the imperial forces.


armorialage.jpg


While many would protest at the new and more militant attitude in Kyoto the armed forces were galvanised by this demonstration of imperial support and fought ever more determinedly on the battlefield.

Although Higashiyama's military reforms had swept away many of the old aristocracy from the ranks they had quickly been replaced by new men who had risen in society as a result. These new soldier-aristocrats had a great influence on the court's preoccupation with warfare, and in turn showed their support for their Emperor by organising a patriotic fund to pay for the war effort.


aristos.jpg


Although the monies raised would hardly keep Japanese forces in the field for a month, Higashiyama was moved to create the Order of the Chrysanthemum for all who had donated.

However, not all were happy with the direction the Empire was taking. Keiji Moon, a Korean-born professor at Kyoto University wrote an essay criticising the inconsistencies in imperial policy.

philosophes.jpg


Moon pointed out that while Higashiyama proclaimed liberty abroad, within the Empire Korean subjects were treated as second-class citizens and faced persecution and prejudice. To the surprise of many, Moon was allowed to remain at liberty, although he was swiftly removed from his job by the embarassed university authorities.

His writings had struck a chord with Koreans throughout the Empire and Korean nationalists look to this rather bookish figure as the father of the modern nation.


Details of the war

Even as the turmoil persisted at home, Japanese forces continued to win victories abroad. In England, despite the appearance of 6,000 troops from the Americas the Japanese forces dominated the country. Although an assualt on Belfast had failed to carry, Japan still remained in control of the Irish countryside.

Thanks to Japanese explorers who had mapped a more efficient route to the Great Eastlands the new warships the Emperor had ordered were able to quickly exchange places with the Transport Fleet. The latter force not only crossed the Pacific, but without waiting to refit sailed on to the successful relief of Mauritius.

The situation in Mexico was better still, in early 1783 the strategically important fortress of Tlapanec fell to Miura's Siege Force.


advancen.jpg


The way to the Mexican interior was now clear and few British troops could be brought to oppose the Japanese advance.