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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

nuclearslurpee

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I feel like the Germans have tried that with their Abwehr, and the results were... desultory, at best.
Given the men in charge in Germany right about now, I'd say "desultory" is a major accomplishment for their ilk! :p
 
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serutan

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This constant accusing of ideological opponents of treason and being international infiltrators does not befit a proper Navy man, but it is typical of the incompetent and brainless Kempeitai officers behind the recent rash of "tourism incidents". Which explains why our "colleague" here was so focused on drawing connections to imagined American intrigues that he missed the blatant display of pro-Communist propaganda in his immediate surroundings!

Considering that attention has been drawn to Communist espionage/agitation on multiple occasions one is forced to conclude that the Navy is in its typical "only sees what it wants to see" mode which of course makes it blind to foreign infiltrations (sadly, they know there is no point in infiltrating the Army).

I agree with your assessment of the competence of the Kempetai. A thorough housecleaning is needed there.
 
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Surt

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If you want to save fuel sail the unneeded part of the Navy to Tokyo where they would be last in the line to get supplies.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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If you want to save fuel sail the unneeded part of the Navy to Tokyo where they would be last in the line to get supplies.
Fuel is only consumed when units actually move, or at least so the game mechanics are supposed to be. As long as those ships sit in port and don't move, fuel is not used.
 
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Chapter Fifty-Eight: Fourteenth Week - 30.9.1937 To 6.10.1937

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Utsunimiya's War
(HoI3 TFH - Interactive Japan AAR)
Chapter Fifty-Eight: Fourteenth Week - 30.9.1937 To 6.10.1937

jXIkni5.jpg


The Land War​

At the start of the fourteenth week of the conflict the Imperial Japanese Army wasn't engaged in any battles on the two fronts. Mostly it was redeploying units, many worn down, behind the lines trying to cover gaps which had formed.

Y0xobvo.png

In the early morning of the 30th of September the news came over the wires that the Communist Chinese had taken the Province of Shilou.

HeqRtqq.png

By the 1st of October there was more bad news for the Army. The 36. Hohei Shidan in Jinan was not getting the supplies it needed. Neither were the aircraft stationed on the airbases (See Air War).

5mMOKGn.png

On the 2nd of October the Army launched an attack on the Communist controlled Province of Yulin. One infantry division against four Chinese units. One enemy infantry division, one mountain division, and two militia units. Over eight thousand Japanese soldiers against over thirty-six thousand enemy soldiers. Major General Kawabe was a skilled officer but even Utsunimiya felt the man had taken on more than he could handle.

Before lunch another infantry division joined in to help in the attack on Yulin. This did nothing to even the odds as the enemy still outnumbered the Japanese.

yOjAwHh.png

During the afternoon the Japanese Army launched an attack on Puyang with a lone infantry division against the enemy's cavalry. It wanted to plug the gap in the line. Over eleven thousand Japanese soldiers attacked just under six thousand enemy cavalry.

TzrrT0L.png

By the morning of the 3rd of October another infantry division had joined in the Battle of Puyang.

It was also noticed that a large part of the Nationalist forces was redeploying southwards. It looked like the Naval forces might be getting visitors in a few weeks.

On the 4th the Army announced the victory of the Battle of Puyang. They had lost 120 soldiers while the Nationalists had lost 219 soldiers.

Sadly, on the 5th of October, it was announced the Battle of Yulin was a defeat. 793 Japanese soldiers were killed while only 252 Communist Chinese were killed in the battle.

pvYQjsC.png

And once again it looked like the forces facing the Red Chinese were withdrawing.

At least on the morning of the 6th the Army were able to occupy the Province of Puyang. And the gap was closed.

HbPEEuc.png

By the end of the week the Army was able to report one victory, one defeat, and the closing of the gap in the front with the Republic.

But it had lost 913 soldiers to the Land Combat while the Nationalists had only lost 219 men to Land Combat and the Communist Chinese had only lost 252 men to the Land Combat. And the maps of the fronts, in the newspapers, did not look at different to the public. In fact there was a HUGE gap on the front with the Reds!

SJJlWL7.png


The Air War​

The 3. Nihon Koukuujieitai, one of the Army Bomber Groups, found itself in the airbases in Jinan. By noon on the 30th of September it was still trying to organize the two Air Wings into something that could be operational. Being on the very end of the supply lines meant it was having some 'issues' getting the supplies and fuel it needed. And the pilots were blaming the infantry for hogging most of the shipments.

mXf84Yo.png

To be honest it was more likely the conditions of the Chinese roads and rail in the Province. The infantry, after all, didn't need fuel.

rJQw1RX.png

The other Army Bomber Group and the two Army Fighter Groups were still based at Beiping. At least THEY were getting all the supplies, ammo, and fuel they needed. They were just a long way off from the front lines.

By the 1st of October the 3. Nihon Koukuujieitai was low on everything. It seems the Air Group was BEYOND the very end of the supply lines. The infantry divisions would handle this. The fuel hungry aircraft of the Army Air Force could not.

While one Army Bomber Group complained the other one, stationed in Beiping, started launching long distance bombing runs on the Communists in Yulin. By the end of the fourteenth week Yulin had been hit four times and their bombs had killed 288 Communist soldiers.

By the 3rd the first Air Bomber Group finally started operations against the Nationalist Cavalry in the Puyang to help retake the Province. They were only able to carry out four bombing runs and kill 338 Nationalist soldiers, plus their horses, by the end of the period.

NsqllfN.jpg


The Navy War​

The Navy continued to do their best to blast the Chinese soldiers assembling around their footholds from Operation 'Pitch-Fork'.

The Province of Minhou was attacked twenty-eight times and 1,048 Nationalist militia were killed.

The Province of Zhangzhou was attacked only four times and about 35 Nationalist Chinese were killed on the 30th. Shortly before midnight the 9th CAG was told to rebase at the airbase in the Province of Gaoxiong on Taiwan. The reason for this was that the Chinese troops had withdrawn from the province.

But the unit was soon given a new target as a Nationalist Militia unit entered the Province of Yong'an. So the 9th CAG started bombing runs on the newcomers. There were twenty-five bombing runs on Yong'an in which the Japanese aircraft killed 651 enemy militia.

While the neighboring Province of Zhangping was attacked twenty-eight times and 740 Nationalist soldiers were killed.

Up north the Province of Shenxian was attacked thirty times and 547 Nationalist soldiers were killed.

While the Carriers did their best to protect the occupied ports the Navy's Bomber Groups did their best to win the war.

u9Jro6f.jpg


Operation : Stone Age​

As the bombing of the enemy Capital continued it was slowly becoming clear that Nanjing was running out of factories to bomb. 1. Hikoutai launched seven bombing runs on the factories, metal and coal stockpiles, between the 30th of September and the 3rd of October. At that point the 5. Nihon Koukuujieitai (the Naval Bombers) were ordered to also attack the Capital and started their own bombing runs. From the 3rd of October to the 4th of October there were seven more bombing runs.

Shortly before midnight on the 3rd the Naval Bombers were recalled from the Operation. Information from agents within Nanjing reported there was no factories left to hit. The Navy renamed the Strategic Bombing Operation 'Stone Age' after deciding to EXPAND the bombers' targets. The Naval Bombers were ordered to start bombing the factories and the stockpiles of metal, coal, and rare materials, in the Province of Hefei. This new target was just a little bit to the west of the enemy capital and within easy range of Shanghai.

But it was also within range of where the Chinese Fighter Wing had withdrawn to. They pounced on the Naval Bombers. And while both sides were worn out the bomber crews beat the fighters off and still completed their bombing run. They launched six bombing runs by the 6th of October.

By the late morning of the 4th of October the 1. Hikoutai was also recalled. Nanjing was in ruins. All the roads and rails were gone, the factories were empty shells, and there was only a few pieces of coal left to feed the local industrial.

They were reassigned to attack the Province of Nanchang. Which had factories to bomb AND more stockpiles of metal, coal, and rare materials. It also held the airbases where the Chinese Air Forces, both their fighters and bombers, were stationed. The perfect target. Of course the Chinese Finger Wing took to the air to attack the Japanese Bombers. And once again, while both were worn down from months of combat, the Japanese crews beat back the enemy pilots. The Naval Bombers carried out six bombing runs.

By the end of the week, while there were reports that Nanjing had repaired some of their factories, both provinces of Nanchang and Hefei had no functioning industry to speak off.

Many supporters of the Navy pointed out that the bombing was not just hurting the Chinese war industry BUT it was also hurting the civilians' spirits. Sooner or later the Nationalist government would HAVE to beg for peace.

SszY9y0.jpg


Misc. Events​

A few events outside the war caught General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya's attention.

On the 2nd of October the government of Yunnan announced they had nationalized the private sector. And Tibet was taking steps, again, to join the Comintern.

On the 3rd El Salvador was trying to track down illegal printing presses within their country.

On the 4th the Republic of China signed a Trade Agreement with the government of Afghanistan.

Then it was announced by the Ministry of Armaments, on the 5th of October, that there had been advancements made in the field of Infantry Warfare that helped improve on Organization.

J2QnMsn.jpg

Once the Research Team was given their pat on the back they disappeared. It seems they were taken to a secret location and it was said they were working on something so important that not even the military knew what they were up to. Even many within the government were being kept in the dark.

On the 5th of October the Japanese Empire made a deal with Nicaragua for the export of Supplies. On the 6th the same deal with made with Venezuela.

Om the 6th General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya approved the training of two Marine Corps. To be assembled one Corps at a time.

By the end of the week the Head of Intelligence reported that Nationalist China had captured two Japanese agents while the Guangxi Clique had captured only one Japanese agent.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author's Notes:

OOC Peek Behind The Scenes : If you look close you can see WHY we are having supply issues. :p

AwzHq7n.png
M0g3Wpc.png
 
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stnylan

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I see the army continues to cover itself in glory.
 
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Bullfilter

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NsqllfN.jpg


The Navy War
Excellent picture! :D
OOC Peek Behind The Scenes : If you look close you can see WHY we are having supply issues. :p
OK, so that’s a problem. Hope some of the convoys are at the top of the production queue: is it worth cancelling any of the trade deals currently using merchant shipping, or diverting them to the supply runs (If that is the problem)?
 
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roverS3

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With all of these Chinese forces moving South to face the Navy's beachheads, one would expect the Army to be able to break the stalemate and take some key cities and resource-rich areas in the process, possibly forcing the Chinese to concede to a conditional surrender wherein they hand us their coast line and most of their major industrial centres. As much as I wish for this outcome, I remain sceptical of the army's capability to obtain it. At the very least, I want to see the Shandong Peninsula taken within a month, or at least cut off from the rest of China. If they can't pile on the pressure, I'm afraid the Navy's forces may well be faced with overwhelming enemy numbers, and no choice but a strategic withdrawal. I suggest a focus on beating the Nationalists while they're distracted, and dealing with the Communists later.

An added positive is the Navy's successful efforts to transform any and all Chinese industry into rubble. If that continues, the Nationalists are going to have trouble supplying their existing forces, let alone deploying new ones. I'm not sure what the effect will be on the Chinese population. I'd like to think it's demoralising them to have their cities bombed with little or no answer from the Chinese Air Forces. However, that may well be wishful thinking, it could just as well embolden them to fight to the very last man no matter what. Without an industry to provide weapons and munitions, I would expect that last man to be fighting with sticks and stones, so we would probably still win. That the Navy's strategic bombing is bound to become a major contributing factor in our victory is a moot point.

The IJAAF will have to wait for those brainless pencil-pushers in the Kwantung Army Logistics department to reorganise the distribution of supplies & fuel on the Asian Mainland before they'll see any fuel. Needless to say, it could take a couple of months before they can start flying missions, if they're lucky. I, for one, am very happy about the fact that the Navy's bombers can rely on the Navy's excellent logistical network in the Shanghai area.

Things are looking grim, and the war is far from over. Let's hope the IJA can capitalise on the opportunities it is presented with.

Captain RobaS3,
Proudly hanging a large picture of a bombed out Chinese Armaments factory in the living room of the main house of his country estate despite objections from his wife.
 
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El Pip

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Things are looking grim, and the war is far from over. Let's hope the IJA can capitalise on the opportunities it is presented with.
The IJA couldn't capitalise on an opportunity to get drunk in a Saki brewery! Just as the IJN has had to take over the air war, so the marines (that the incompetent Utsunimiya has so belatedly started to train) will have to win the ground war.

The only silver lining is that this will prove that the IJA is a complete waste of resources and is best abolished. The best troops and leaders (if any can be found) should be incorporated into a vastly expanded IJN Marine Corps.

I also echo the call of my honourable colleague Bullfilter-san, end the traitor Utsunimiya's obsession with foreign trade, cancel the deals and use the convoys freed up to support operations in China. What is the point of stockpiles and reserves if not to use them when the situation demands it?
 
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Chapter Fifty-Nine: It's The Navy's Show - 7.10.1937 To 13.10.1937

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Utsunimiya's War
(HoI3 TFH - Interactive Japan AAR)
Chapter Fifty-Nine: It's The Navy's Show - 7.10.1937 To 13.10.1937

4TssSnc.jpg


The Land War​

On the 7th the supply issue within the Imperial Japanese Army was causing some complaints. The 19. in Korea, for example, were still complaining about a lack of supplies.

FXFT5pL.png

The units were just not getting the ammo, food, and fuel they needed to continue to fight. So they didn't. They just redeployed to try to cover the fronts as best as they could.

yIvShHb.png

The Communists on the other hand were active enough to take the Province of Fangshan.

iwoVi7q.png

By the 11th of October there were more complaints about a lack of supplies. Including a complaint from the 1. Yama Gundan HQ. In other words the Mountain Corps had all the fuel they needed but lacked food and ammo.

A5lEaT5.png

And the 36. Hohei Shidan, in Jinan, was low on everything. This was bad because if they were pushed back the airbases would fall back into the hands of the enemy.

n9TgB0a.png

By the 13th of October not ONE engagement had been started by the Army.

SbOCKzZ.png

They could claim no victories and even had a province taken away from them without a shot being fired. The media was pretty harsh from the lack of action and the people were chilly towards members of the Army in public.

qxC4iFY.jpg


The Air War​

While the Army's Fighter Groups patrolled the skies the Army's Bomber Groups did...nothing. There was no Land Combat so there were no Army units calling in for Ground Attacks. Of course it didn't help that 3. Nihon Koukuujieitai was trapped in Jinan with little in the way of fuel or supplies.

VEWOMl0.png

For some reason the bombers weren't even used to attack enemy units that were on the move or endangering Japanese occupied provinces.

So the bomber pilots got bored while the fighter pilots wasted fuel protecting territory the Chinese Air Force could not attack because they were too far away and too busy defending themselves against the Navy's Air Bomber Groups.

4sBmIpw.png


The Navy War​

The first piece of news from the Imperial General Headquarters was that the first unit of new Garrison Divisions had finally been assembled in the Province of Sasebo. These future divisions, made up of two Brigades each, WERE to be assigned to Chinese ports once the war was over. It may be that these units would be put into use BEFORE the war ended.

While that was happening the Navy's Carrier planes were VERY active as they continued to carry out their operations against the enemy ground forces over the next seven days.

The Province of Shenxian was still being attacked. The Carrier Fighters launched twenty-eight bombing runs and killed 791 Nationalist soldiers.

As was the Province of Minhou which was attacked twenty-eight times which resulted in the death of
1,065 Nationalist Militia.

The Province of Yong'an was also attack twenty-eight times which resulted in the death of 601 Nationalist Militia.

The Province of Zhangping was attacked twenty-eight times and 638 Nationalists died in the bombing runs.

But while these numbers seemed impressive they were nothing compared to the damage the Navy's Air Groups were doing to the Republic's War Industry.

uL9PNmQ.jpg


Operation : Stone Age​

While the Carriers killed enemy troops by the thousands the Navy's two Bomber Group continued to carry out Operation 'Stone Age'. The Strategic destruction of the Republic's capacity to have war.

Hefei's factories and stockpiles, by the 7th of October were nonexistent. The Naval Bombers had done their job. After a short rest they were given a new target. The factories and stockpiles in the Capital of Nanjing where the Nationalists were trying to repair their industry.

By the 11th of October, and six bombing runs later, the Province of Nanjing was a burning wreck again. The Naval Bombers were told to stop again. The Wings rested in Shanghai for a spell where there was plenty of fuel and supplies for the planes. And the pilots could recover deep in friendly territory.

On the 11th the Naval Bombers were directed to attack the Province of Nanchang. But this time the factories and stockpiles were not the target. They were ordered to bomb the airbases - to crater the runways.

By the time the Wings had carried out the sixth bombing run on the airbases the pilots reported that half of the runways were useless.

As for the Tactical Bombers under the Navy they bombed Nanchang's factories and stockpiles two more times till they was ordered to halt. Nanchang was a burning hole in the earth by the 8th of October. At that time the Tactical Bombers were directed to the Province of Wuhan. It had some factories and stockpiles of metal, coal, and rare materials. The only reason it was thought of as a target was because closer more important targets had already been smashed.

Of course the Chinese Fighters tried to protect the airspace around Wuhan. And failed. After this the Chinese Air Force was too busy trying to survive the attacks on their airbases to bother with anything else.

Wuhan was attacked eight times. By the end of the fifteenth week the factories were empty shells and all the stockpiles, but for those containing coal, were totally destroyed.

By this time the newspapers, politicians, and members of the public seemed to think the Navy was carrying the whole war on its shoulders. Even General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya had to admit that there was truth in this viewpoint.

jYO9bnO.png


Misc. Events​

On the 7th the Swiss had a scandal in which one of their Ministers was found to be on the "take". He had been BRIBED by one of the businesses to support pro-business policies. Those in power had decided to give him a new position. In other words a lesser, unimportant, position within their government.

Intelligence passed some information to both the Army and the Navy. Seems the Nationalists had some dissent within their ranks. Not a lot. But ever bit counted. And the Nationalists' unity was on the ropes. Not enough for victory. Not yet. So the Republic's military was still standing strong but the Republic's people were starting to feel the strain.

Funny enough the Communists had higher dissents within their ranks but they had a higher unity. So their military wasn't happy but the populace's morale was still high. Likely due to the Imperial Japanese Army's failure to even cross their borders!

On the 8th Venezuela cancelled a Trade Agreement with the government. While this upset many it also freed cargo ships and escorts for the convoy system which had become overextended.

On the 9th Intelligence ordered more spies into Red China. The idea was they could, once they had enough spies ready, launch Covert Operations against the Communists. Utsunimiya was not impressed. They had launched Covert Operations in the Republic and nothing had come from it.

Also on the 9th the Republic broke two Trade Agreements. Was this a sign of the strain on their economy caused by the bombings?

At the same time Turkey seemed to switch sides again. It went from being Pro-Soviet to being Pro-Allies again. They were so flip-floppy.

The Foreign Minister tried a little trick. He asked Siam for Transit Rights on the hopes of improving relationships between the two nations. But Siam refused and made the relationship worse.

So, on the suggestion of the IGH, he did the same with the Xibei Sam Ma. Who also refused and damaged their relationship with Japan. But since the Army had plans for Xibei Sam Ma, Yunnan, and Guangxi Clique this was seen as a good thing.

By the end of the fifteenth week the Head of Intelligence reported that the US had captured one Japanese agent, the Guangxi Clique had captured two Japanese agents, and the Communist Chinese had captured one Japanese agent.

General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya was still worried about the logistic issues. The shipbuilding industry had put a few more cargo ships into the convoy system which meant all trade routes were now completely covered.

And of course none of the convoys had EVER been attacked due to the Imperial Japanese Navy totally controlling the seas. No, not just controlling. Dominating the seas.

BUT the infrastructure of China was just so horrible that many units on the edge of the supply networks were still not getting what they needed.

The Nationalists might end up winning the war because their OWN roads sucked so badly that they was starving out the more advanced "modern" war machine of the Japanese Empire!

Still, he had an idea he had passed up to his superiors. And he had heard the Army also had a suggestion on how to improve on the situation. He wondered which one would be debated and voted on by the Advisers?
 
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By the 13th of October not ONE engagement had been started by the Army.
This is bad.
The media was pretty harsh from the lack of action and the people were chilly towards members of the Army in public.
A little harsh, perhaps. Logistics is the killer here, not the fighting spirit of the troops per se.
By this time the newspapers, politicians, and members of the public seemed to think the Navy was carrying the whole war on its shoulders.
Yes, and the carriers are helping, albeit not in the role they’re really designed for. But ships can’t take and hold ground.
Likely due to the Imperial Japanese Army's failure to even cross their borders!
How embarrassing.
BUT the infrastructure of China was just so horrible that many units on the edge of the supply networks were still not getting what they needed.
He wondered which one would be debated and voted on by the Advisers?
The one where some troops are withdrawn to allow the rest to function in key areas? And money is invested in infrastructure and research in supply distribution is prioritised (if it isn’t already)?
 
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nuclearslurpee

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Chapter Fifty-Nine : It's The Navy's Show
About damn time someone said so. Well, besides everyone else in the thread.

On the 7th the supply issue within the Imperial Japanese Army was causing some complaints. The 19. in Korea, for example, were still complaining about a lack of supplies.
Leave it to the Army to do nothing more than complain while the Navy actually solves problems.

The units were just not getting the ammo, food, and fuel they needed to continue to fight. So they didn't.
Amateurs. A proper Navy man would fight even more aggressively under such conditions, knowing that killing the enemy would be one way to secure some of those things for themselves.

The Communists on the other hand were active enough to take the Province of Fangshan.
Whichever two-bit "minister" decided we should start another war before finishing the one we already started should be drawn and quartered - or worse, enlisted in the Army.

By this time the newspapers, politicians, and members of the public seemed to think the Navy was carrying the whole war on its shoulders. Even General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya had to admit that there was truth in this viewpoint.
You know it's true when even the Army brat admits it.

Still, he had an idea he had passed up to his superiors. And he had heard the Army also had a suggestion on how to improve on the situation. He wondered which one would be debated and voted on by the Advisers?
"Debated"? Any suggestion coming up from Army men will be roundly ignored in favor of transferring more funding into IJN coffers, as God The Emperor intended!
 
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Perhaps the first fortnight of October is a military holiday in the IJA?
 
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serutan

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Perhaps a few examples need to be made amongst those in charge of logistics in order to underscore the importance of keeping our forces supplied.
 
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Eurasia

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Perhaps a few examples need to be made amongst those in charge of logistics in order to underscore the importance of keeping our forces supplied.

You mean like withdrawing their cookies if the workers in the Quartermaster Corps don't work harder?
 

serutan

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You mean like withdrawing their cookies if the workers in the Quartermaster Corps don't work harder?

Well, if you fed them cookies just before they committed seppuku then I suppose they could be withdrawn afterwards.
 
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I'm wondering whether mud has anything to do with the recent reduction in the amount of supplies getting to the front. If it is mud, it is likely also affecting the Nationalists just as much. The Communists, on the other hand, have their supply depots close to the action so they probably will still be able to supply their troops.

Still, he had an idea he had passed up to his superiors. And he had heard the Army also had a suggestion on how to improve on the situation. He wondered which one would be debated and voted on by the Advisers?
In the long term, the sensible solution is to put more resources into the Navy as it looks like the Army isn't even able to supply what it's currently fielding, as @nuclearslurpee put it so eloquently. In the short term, I see two options.
Both start with taking a corps of army Divisions away from their main front, to be used in IJN operations.
The first potential operation would be a full take-over of the Shandong Peninsula. With a second phase to link Qingdao and Weihai to the main front. This would allow our Merchant navy to deliver supplies closer to the action, and the link-up could lead to the encirclement and capture of several Chinese units along the coast.
The second possibility would be not to support the main front, but to go for the heart of China, by redeploying a Corps to the Shanghai area and using them for a push to take the Chinese capital. This, of course, depends on whether the Chinese government would give in to our demands if we take the Nanjing.

I'm glad to see that the navy is finally starting to get more of the recognition it deserves back home, and even some begrudging respect from Army personnel. There is public support, and IJA failure on a whole new scale. This definitely feels like the perfect time to start designing those new Fast Battleships.

The Navy's strategic bombing continues to warm my heart. These crews, trained to torpedo ships and bomb naval bases, are quickly becoming great levellers of industrial areas deep inland. Such is the versatility of the IJN's Aircrews, and their planes.

Captain RobaS3,
Overjoyed that the facts on the ground are now so clearly proving the Navy's case that the home island population is cheering for it. (and likely booing the IJA) Surely, the politicians can't continue to ignore the evidence, let alone the public?
 
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Chapter Sixty: Two Suggestions Offered - 13.10.1937

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Utsunimiya's War
(HoI3 TFH - Interactive Japan AAR)
Chapter Sixty: Two Suggestions Offered - 13.10.1937

sWd5wd4.jpg


Japanese Soldiers In Winter Gear​

Hajime Sugiyama, Chief of Staff, tried not to sigh too loudly when the two men entered his office. He made sure to try to smile and nodded to them both as they both took a seat in front of his desk.

Field Marshal Hideki Tojo looked even more sour than normal. His face looked thinner and his uniform looked worn. There were rumors that he was losing sleep and that his written exchanges with Jirō Minami were becoming heated. He was trying to push "China Operations" to be even more aggressive. But there was only so much the front line soldiers could do while living on half rations and supplied with only a hand full of bullets per day.

On top of that the Army, and therefore the Kwantung Army, was being put in a bad light by the press for the failure of continuing the advance.

Field Marshal Kanji Ishiwara was looking almost cheerful in comparison. His face was calm and his uniform crisp. Outside of the failure in Qiugdao the Imperial General Headquarters, being in charge of the Navy, was being praised for its control of the sea and the capture of much of China's most import coastal ports.

Both of the men had asked for a meeting to present their own plans for final victory. Hajime had seen too many plans since the start of the conflict to feel any hope that these "plans" would bring "final victory".

He, himself, was starting to feel pressure. Not from the press or the people. He didn't give a damn about them. But from those above him. It was rumored that, victory or not, he would be demoted. Not fired just deployed to a...less important...position.

"Welcome gentlemen," he said with a nod of his head which both men responded to with their own nod. "It is somewhat chilly outside. Would you like some tea?"

They both agreed about the weather and welcomed some tea. After the tea was served and all three men enjoyed a cup the Chief of Staff decided it was time to move onto the business at hand.

"Now, Field Marshal Tojo," stated Hajime as he gently placed his cup down on his desk. "I believe you have a plan to suggest?"

"Not complex enough to be a plan," replied the man as he adjusted his glasses. "I wish to withdraw the 1, the 10, the 25, and the 28 Hohei Shidan from Manchukio Operations and have them redeployed to China. Each division has three Regiments. The Major Generals in charge of these divisions are all highly skilled officers and has developed some talents that should help greatly on that front."

Even Kanji looked a little surprised.

"While many of the troops would no doubt enjoy the change in scenery I very much doubt Field Marshal Toshizō Nishio is happy about having a whole Corps removed from his command," remarked Hajime.

"He understands the need," was all Tojo was willing to say on the subject.

"That could take forever," pointed out Hajime. "Our Researchers are still working on Advanced Construction Techniques. They can't promise anything till April of NEXT year. The Corps could take weeks moving south."

The Chief of Staff sighed and decided to leave it at that before turning to Field Marshal Ishiwara. "I hear General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya has a plan?"

Ishiwara smiled and said, "In some ways it is, as Field Marshal Tojo said, more of a suggestion. The Navy is to be assigned all the Army's Bomber Groups."

"What?!?" exclaimed Tojo. He was so shaken by this statement that he almost dropped the cap he had in his right hand.

"Really?" remarked the Chief of Staff. "Does he have a reason?"

"He believes the Army's air power is being misused," was the reply from the head of the IGH. "In fact the last seven days or more they have not been used at all."

Tojo looked like he was about to say something but the Chief of Staff held up a hand and said, "Does he have a better use for the bombers?"

"We believe both Air Groups can hit the Province of Yan'an," said Ishiwara. "True, three out of the four Wings are Ki-21s and only one is made up of Ki-48s. But we believe they have the range to hit the Red Chinese Capital."

He leaned back and added, "The Capital, like the rest of the People's Republic, is in a mountainous region. And the Communists had filled their most important urban center and industrial center with thousands of troops." (1)

"It is the most important province in their country," he remarked, "because it is the only one they can't afford to lose." He stopped for a few seconds before adding, "It will be a hard target to take by land. But they have no air force."

The man looked the Chief of Staff in the eyes and stated with a smile, "One Army Air Group could attack the factories and stockpiles. The other could attack their roads and rails. No matter how dug in on the border they are the militias' guns won't work without bullets, their cooks can't do anything without rice, and their horses can't live without fodder."

The Chief of Staff said aloud with a nod, "And their populace won't be too happy about it either." He became silent in thought as he went over both ideas in his mind.

Both men were silent as they waited. Tojo looking like he wanted to explode but decades of military, and cultural, discipline kept him from opening his mouth. Ishiwara, on the other hand, was looking like the cat who had eaten the canary.

Hajime finally nodded and said, “I will send both suggestions to the Advisers. Both have their merits. If the second idea can knock out the Communists than it would not be such a bad idea to have a fresh Infantry Corps to deal with the Nationalists when they become the main focus.”

---

hqvKct2.jpg

Soon the letters were typed out, folded into small leather pouches, and handed over to a dozen members of the military who were trained NOT to look like members of the military. They looked like plain businessmen, bored milkmen, and lower class factory workers. And they delivered the pouches to homes, businesses, and hidden drop boxes. They went unnoticed most of the time.

The letters, once unfolded, held the following :

From: Hajime Sugiyama (Chief of Staff)
To:_____ _____
Date: 13.10.1937

Dear Sir,

As a important member of the Imperial government we need your input in this troubled times. Both the Army and the Navy have put forth a suggestion to help advance our conflict on the mainland closer to victory. Please ponder the following issues and pick the best you feel will help our fighting men on the Chinese Front. Or select both.

With this letter comes all the information and data needed to make a informed decision. Once I have received your reply I will make sure it is carried out with all speed.

The Two Decisions are as followed -

1. Taking a Infantry Corps from the Manchukio Front and sending it to the Chinese Front -

A. Yes
B. No

2. Give the Imperial Japanese Navy the Army’s Bomber Groups -

A. Yes
B. No

As always, please reply to this letter as soon as possible. And please remember this information is top secret and should not be passed on to the public, the press, or even family.

Signed,

Hajime Sugiyama

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
Author's Notes:

1. The Province of Yan'an holds all the Communist's factories and stockpiles. The capital is like a basket in which all their eggs are held.
 
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If my fellow readers don't leap at switching all bombers to IJN something very strange will have happened.

As for the troops, every soldier helps
 
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