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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Chapter Forty: WAR - 1.7.1937 To 7.7.1937
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    Utsunimiya's War
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    Chapter Forty: WAR - 1.7.1937 To 7.7.1937



    Lugou Bridge Incident​

    On the 1st of July the Imperial Japanese Army launched a simple plot to start a war with the Republic of China.

    The plan was simple - the Japanese crossed the border to 'conduct' military exercises. When they withdraw back into Japanese territory it seems a Japanese soldier had 'wandered' was missing. It was believed he has disappeared near the vicinity of Beijing. Official he went "Away-With-Out-Leave'. In real life the soldier in question did NOT exist.

    When the local Japanese authorities demanded his return the Chinese local government, in this case the Mayor of Wanping (a town southwest of Beiping), could not fulfill their request as the Mayor, and his police force, could not FIND the soldier. At this point the Japanese Army demanded the right to search the WHOLE region. House to house if need be.

    The Mayor even agreed to this and, almost, messed up the plan. But the local Chinese officers of the National Revolutionary Army were not happy with this idea and when the Japanese soldiers started to cross the Lugou bridge they were fired on. The Imperial Japanese Army, of course, sent in reinforcements and so did the Nationalists. Soon it went from becoming just another 'Incident' to an all out battle.

    And so the invasion of the Republic of China, known to the Army Generals as Operation 'Journey To The West', was a go. The Second Sino-Japanese War had begun. The nation of Shanxi joined its ally by declaring war on Japan. Which would turn out to be a problem....



    Naval Hide-And-Seek​

    While the Army started a war the Naval Bombers based on the Island of Naha was took to start their search and destroy missions for Chinese warships.

    Even while the bombers started to take off the Fleets were leaving their ports to start their patrols to find and destroy the Chinese Navy.


    The Tactical Bombers under the Imperial General Headquarters were told to carry out a Port Strike on Shanghai. Even if they failed to do any damage they could bring back information on what ships were stationed there.

    The Army's aircraft, on the other hand, had problems. Their bombers could reach enemy targets but their fighters didn't have the range to do ANYTHING to help in the air war. Chinese airbases would need to be captured if the Army's Fighter Wings were to be brought in.

    Of course, the war gave a boast to the economy as the subjects were willing to do more with less. Factories that had been producing toasters and radios could now produce ammo and new equipment.

    Also, amazingly enough, Germany picked this very moment to ask Japan to join the 'Axis'. Being that the nation had just started their own war and how the advisers had NOT been impressed by the idea of joining up with Germany the answer was 'no'.

    Of course the Diet passed the Service by Requirement by 3 PM of the 1st of July after only a small debate. This would increase officer recruitment and increase available manpower. Everybody in the military was pleased.

    But that wasn't the only Law the Diet passed. Under the control of the spirit of war the Diet was also guided into passing a new a Economic Law. Called the 'Total Economic Mobilization' Bill it increased the amount of factories that could be handed over to military production.

    General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya and his staff, of course, were off to join his command in the Port of Sasebo. This time they were given some trucks and cars on 'loan' from some local Tokyo business. The trucks were soon overloaded with files and staff members.

    The journey through the provinces on the way to the southern tip of Honshu didn't take as long as he would have thought. As military they had right-a-way much of the time and they had unlimited access to fuel for their vehicles.

    It was also amazingly easy to get a boat for crossing the Kanmom Straits to arrive at the Port of Sasebo on the island of Kyushu.

    Once there he had access to the radios and telegraphs that allowed him to follow what was happening with the conflict.



    The Land War​

    The Japanese soldiers poured against the border very early in the morning. The war started with three battles starting at the same time.

    Beiping was attacked by three infantry divisions, a cavalry division, and a mountain division. This ancient city, with its airbase, was guarded by two Chinese divisions, one made up of infantry and one made up of only militia. This started the Battle of Beiping.


    The second battle was for Fengchen as the two Japanese infantry divisions attacked a Shanxi infantry division. Seems the Army had not totally forgotten the Shanxi.

    The three battle was for Tianjin and its coastal port. Two of the brand new mountain divisions were sent in to assault a single Chinese infantry division.

    By 3 PM, around the time the Diet was passing the new Conscription Law, the Battle of Fangchen was coming to an end. It was a victory for the Army who had lost only 23 soldiers while the Shanxi had lost 99 of their own men.

    The next day, early on the morning of the 2nd of July, the Battle of Tianjin came to a close. It was another victory with the Imperial Army only losing 40 soldiers while the Chinese lost 115 men.

    Only an hour later Beiping fell to the Army. The cost had been 105 Japanese soldiers. The Chinese lost 410 men before fleeing.

    With the Port of Tianjin now in Japanese hands a convoy was sent up to start delivering supplies STRAIGHT to the front line.


    But while the Imperial Japanese Army moved forces forward they had failed to notice the forces of Shanxi. As Utsunimiya had foreseen the Shanxi units had moved into the empty border. On the afternoon of the 4th of July it was reported they had taken the Province of Shangdu.

    Within a few hours the Shanxi infantry division was ATTACKING the HQ of 'China' Operations. Even while this embarrassing event was happening another Province, Wuchuan, fell to the advancing Shanxi soldiers.


    The Battle of Tomortei, the embarrassing event, was the first Japanese defeat of the war. Nobody was hurt on either side as the HQ fled before it could be pinned down and the Army historians insist that it wasn't 'really' a battle. But this did not keep Naval historians from writing whole books on the battle after the war.

    The Mongol Army was told, at this point, to help. In other words they were told to go on the offense. It was hoped they would move their cavalry down to block and, maybe, push back the Shanxi.

    Around the same time the Imperial Japanese Army had moved its two Tactical Bomber Groups from Dalia to the airbases in Beiping. The only problem with this was the Chinese airbases could only hold so many aircraft. So there was no room for the Fighters!

    On the 5th of July, after resting, a infantry division from Tianjin attacked the Province of Jinghai, just down the coast, which was protected by one infantry division and a enemy HQ.

    By this point it was clear that the 'China' Operations was a mess. Many of the units facing the Chinese units were being redeployed towards the west or the rear, in reaction to the advances made by Shanxi.


    On the morning of 6th of July another Chinese division joined in the Battle of Jinghai. Reports from Army observers suggested that the Chinese units were suffering from a lack of organization. It could be from the bombing runs by Japanese Tactical Bombers carried out earlier in the week. (See Air War)

    By the end of the week the Imperial Japanese Army claimed three victories at the cost of only 168 soldiers from land combat while the Chinese had lost 525 soldiers and the Shanxi had lost 99 soldiers from land combat. They refused to even acknowledge the defeat within their own territory against the Theater HQ - the VERY HQ in charge of the war! They had also captured two MAJOR objectives - Beiping and Tianjin.



    The Air War​

    The first blow from the Air Wings was from the Tactical Bombers attacking Shanghai on the 1st of July. The bombing was not very effective, as the crews were inexperienced, but they did bring back information. Outside of a infantry division and a Garrison units protecting the city the Port also held six Light Cruisers and one Transport Fleet. Which suggested the Chinese ships had scattered. Which would make it easier to invade the city AND easier for the Imperial Japanese Navy to hunt down and destroy the Chinese Navy.

    1. Hikoutai, from the 1st of July to the 4th of July, would launch seven more bombing runs on Shanghai. It is said between the eight attacks they would end up killing 820 Chinese defenders.

    At the same time the first bombing run on Shanghai was being carry out one group of Army Tactical Bombers launched a bombing run in Tianjin. They blasted the defending Chinese who were already showing signs of heavy losses. From the air the Chinese brigades looked like confused mobs of ants running here and there. Before they could return back to base the Chinese fighters pounced on them. Luckily for the Bombers there was only a Wing of Chinese aircraft and they were badly trained and led to boot.

    The Army’s second Tactical Bomber group hit the Chinese in Beiping. There they also noticed that many of the Chinese brigades were already falling apart.

    Between the 1st of July to the 4th of July the city of Beiping was bombed two more times and the city of Tianjin was bombed three more times. It was reported that at least a total of 526 Chinese defenders were killed.

    Every time Tianjin was attack the Chinese Fighter Wing would pounce on the Japanese aircraft but totally fail to stop the bombers.

    On the 4th of July the 1. Hikoutai were told to stop their attack on Shanghai so they could be ready when they needed to be rebased in the province after Operation ‘Underbelly‘ was carried out.

    Also on the 4th of July the Army Tactical Air Groups, the 1. Nihon Koukuujieitai and 3. Nihon Koukuujieitai, were moved to the airbases in Beiping. But the airbases could not ALSO handle the Japanese Fighters so those Wings were NOT moved to Beiping. Yet, it seemed the Japanese Tactical Bombers were fully able to handle the Chinese Aircraft who were already showing signs of wear and tear.

    The Army pilots and aircraft were ALSO starting to show signs of wear and tear. They were forced to sit out of the conflict for the rest of the week as they worked on their planes and tried to recover.



    The Navy War​

    Out at sea events started to happen the second the Fleets headed out of their ports. A Chinese Fleet was noticed in the region known as Haizhou Wan. Just off the coast of China. The 2nd Navy approached the unknown target and gave chase.

    But it would be the 2nd Task Group who would have the honor of engaging the enemy at sea first. The Carriers launched their two Wings of aircraft into the conflict even when the Cruisers opened fire on the two Flotillas of enemy Destroyers and two Light Cruisers.

    The CAGS would be launched against the enemy ships a total of two times during the Battle of North Taiwan Strait. Even as the Chinese ships fled the CAGs were launched a third time to give them a warm ‘good bye’.

    At midnight of the 2nd of July, while the first battle was ending a second one was starting. The 2nd Navy had had finally found the unknown ship. Which turned out to be the Chao Ho, a Light Cruiser, which had NO chance against the four Battleships who started to engage it from long distance.

    Even as the Light Cruiser was being blasted to pieces a third battle started. The 3rd Task Group had run into the Chinese ships as they were fleeing the 2nd Task Group. Even as their warships moved forward to fire on the, already heavily damaged screening ships, the Carriers sent the CAGs to attack them.

    The battle was another victory as the CAGS finished off the two of the Light Cruisers and one of the Destroyer Flotillas.

    At the same time the 2nd Navy killed the Chao Ho. The kill was claimed by the Fuso, one of the aging Aki-class Battleships.

    By 2 AM on the morning of the 2nd of July, on the second day of the war, the Chinese had lost three Light Cruisers and a Flotilla of Destroyers.


    The surviving Destroyers in the Taiwan Strait were shadowed by the buzzing Wings of CAGs from the Carriers. And was soon attacked again. This time by the 2nd Task Group who had caught up with the enemy ships. The Heavy Cruisers were ordered forward to finish the Destroyers off even as the Group’s Carrier launched another attack on them with the aircraft.

    The Battle of Hangzhou Bay was one sided and short lived. The Destroyers were soon broken and sunk to the bottom of the sea. This time the Maya, a Heavy (Armoured) Cruiser, claimed the credit.

    But it seems the Chinese Navy wasn’t smart enough to stay in port even after all these defeats. As at midnight, on the 3rd of July, two Light Cruisers ran right into the 2nd Navy which was returning back to their original patrol area. And so the Battle of Haizhou Wan had begun.

    By noon one Chinese Light Cruiser was sinking while the other was fleeing to the nearest port. Once again the Fuso claimed the kill.


    Refusing to let the enemy escape the 2nd Navy parked itself RIGHT outside the port.

    The Imperial Japanese Navy also reported that, during the week, the submarines had attacked eight Chinese convoys. This, of course, was on TOP of five victories against the Chinese Navy.



    Misc. Events​

    On the 5th of July the Head of Intelligence ordered all agents within Shanxi to stop generating false information to make the nation look like a threat and to switch to disrupting their national unity.

    The Ministry of Armaments announced on the 7th that a breakthrough had been made in Operational Level Organization which would help units to recover faster and allow them to reduce the time between battles.

    The Research Team, after a short break, went on to work on designing better Mountain Warfare Equipment for ALL the Army Divisions. No doubt this would prove useful in other conflict in Asia AND the future war with the USSR.

    By the end of the week the Head of Intelligence had announced that Communist China had captured three spies, Nationalist China had captured one spy, and Shanxi had captured one spy.

    It was also noticed, by the Foreign Ministry, that the American public now looked at JAPAN as the real threat in Asia. This was, surprisingly, not much of a surprise among the military or government officials when it was announced.
     
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    Chapter Forty-One: The Shanxi Problem - 8.7.1937 To 14.7.1937
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    Chapter Forty-One: The Shanxi Problem - 8.7.1937 To 14.7.1937



    The Land War​

    As the battle over the Province of Jinghai raged on the coast another battle started in the Province of Tongxian just to the west. A Japanese infantry division was attacking a Chinese militia unit. Witnesses reported that the Chinese were NOT at full strength and seemed disorganized.


    A few hours later the Japanese won the Battle of Jinghai. The Japanese Army lost 200 soldiers while the Chinese lost only 127 men.

    As the troops were sent in to take Jinghai the Japanese launched another attack, starting the Battle of Yongqing. Two cavalry divisions joined a mountain division in the attack on two Chinese infantry units. Due to their numbers the Japanese launched an all-out assault.


    During the afternoon of the 8th the Japanese launched yet another attack. Their target was the Province of Zhoulu where a single infantry division was sent to defeat two Chinese divisions. As one of the enemy divisions was only about half strength it was hoped that the Japanese division, being fresh, could win.

    The next day, as the three battles on the Republic's border continued, the Province of Tomortei fell even as the HQ 'China' Operations was still fleeing it.


    At this point the Mongol Army was told, in no uncertain terms, to go on the offense. And that one of its objectives was now the Province of Wuchuan. Once the orders were given the Mongol's units started to move south. As much of the units were cavalry they started moving relatively quickly once they began to move.


    Sadly, at this point the Imperial Army had to announce ANOTHER defeat. And this time they had no excuse. The Chinese won the Battle of Zhoulu. In the end having greater numbers allowed them to win - even if those numbers were poorly trained and poorly equipped. The Republic lost only 69 soldiers while the Japanese lost 353 soldiers.

    On the 11th, on the other side of the battle line, a Japanese infantry division and a cavalry division launched an assault on the Province of Datong. Only one Shanxi unit was defending this part of the border.


    The next day the Shanxi, having lost 87 men, started to flee. The Japanese had only lost 20 men and declared the Battle of Datong a victory.

    A few hours later the Japanese won the Battle of Yongqing at the cost of 424 soldiers. The Chinese lost 793 soldiers. Another victory was declared by the Imperial Army.

    But even while the Army bragged about victories the Shanxi marched into and took the Province of Siziwang Qi. Without a fight.


    Or, at least, they had been able to take all those provinces without any REAL fights. But at this point the Mongol Army launched their first attack. Two 'Mongolian' cavalry divisions and two infantry divisions assaulted the Province right when night was falling. Likely taking the outnumbered Shanxi soldiers by surprise.




    The next morning, on the 13th, the 7. 'Mongolian' division hit the Shanxi from the south in the Battle of Tomortei. If the Shanxi was not careful the invading units might end up CUT off from the rest of their forces. By lunch time the enemy forces had been defeated. The Japanese cavalry lost 28 men while the Shanxi infantry lost 79 men.


    Back to the south a Shanxi unit wandered into the Province of Datong even while the Japanese were trying to occupy it. And started the Second Battle of Datong. The Shanxi were just militia and it was likely they would not be able to put up much of a fight. In fact by the morning of the 14th the Japanese had won the battle having lost only 18 soldiers while the defenders had lost 64 men.


    The last battle the Imperial Japanese Army started on the second week was the Battle for Hejian. An infantry division tried to carry out a breakthrough against three Chinese units. Two of which were HQ units. The Chinese infantry division was only half strength and was unlikely to be able to fight for very long.

    And so the two armies, the Mongol Army and the Army of 'China' Operations, had at least stopped the Shanxi while working together. The Imperial Japanese Army claimed five victories, announced (silently) one defeat, and had lost 1,043 soldiers in the second week of the conflict. During the second week the Chinese Republic lost 989 soldiers and the Shanxi lost 230 soldiers.



    The Air War​

    Ironically, while the Land War was slowly being turned back into Japan's favor the Air War was becoming LESS one-sided. Shortly after lunch, on the 8th of July, a Chinese Wing of Tactical Bombers, made up of Soviet designed Tupolev SB-2s, started a bombing run on the Japanese soldiers stationed in the Province of Huailai.


    With the Japanese Fighter Wings still in Dalian there was VERY little the Japanese Army could do about the enemy's aircraft. And therefore they were not able to stop the Chinese bombers from carrying out four more bombing runs on the troops in Huailai. In total the five attacks killed a total of 116 Japanese soldiers.

    Of course the Chinese bombers were NOT the only bombers in the sky. On the 12th the Japanese Tactical Bombers had recovered enough to allow one Air Group to bomb Yongqing. Of course the Chinese Fighter Wing tried to stop the attack. And once again failed. The bombing run resulted in another 102 Chinese soldiers being killed.



    The Navy War​

    While the Japanese Army found itself dealing with the Chinese Air Force the Navy had a slightly slower week. By the second week the Chinese Navy was either at the bottom of the sea or hiding in their ports.

    It was decided, on the 10th of July, that this was the prefect moment to start Operation 'Underbelly'. The 1st Task Group was ordered to the Port of Sasebo to refuel, re-supply, and load up the Special Corps. And it did so.

    By the 12th the Task Group was back at sea, with the Transport Flotillas full of fuel, food, ammo, and soldiers. General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya was even given his own cabin in 'officer country' in one of the transports.

    By the evening of the 13th the Task Group was off the coast of China. The transports started to unload the troops and equipment into tenders and other landing craft. The Invasion of Shanghai had begun!


    The landings would be in TWO spots. The 2. Hohei Shidan, the Imperial Guard, and the HQ unit would land west of Shangai, in Changshu, while the 4. and 5. Hohei Shidan would land east of Shangai, in Songjiang. The defenders of the City of Shangai would be trapped between two attacking forces.

    At the end of the second week the Navy reported that their submarines had attacked three enemy convoys.

    Misc. Events​

    During the second week the government of Japan accepted trade deals with the US, Siam, Italy, the Netherlands, and the USSR.

    By the end of the second week the Head of Intelligence reported that Nationalist China had captured one Japanese agent, Communist China had captured one Japanese agent, and the US had captured one Japanese agent.
     
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    Chapter Forty-Two: Operation Underbelly - 15.7.1937 To 21.7.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Two: Operation Underbelly - 15.7.1937 To 21.7.1937



    The Land War​

    As of the morning of the 15th of July the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting two battles that had started in the second week. The Battle of Hejian on the Chinese border - west of Jinghai. The other was the Battle of Siziwang Qi which was against the Shanxi invaders.

    Things didn't really happen till the morning of the 16th when a Shanxi cavalry unit attacked a Japanese cavalry in the Province of Tormortei. The Battle of Tomortei was very short. The Japanese cavalry lost NOTHING and the Shanxi cavalry fled after losing 11 men and horses.


    Even while this was happening the Japanese Army declared the Battle of Siziwang Qi a victory. The Army lost 129 soldiers while the enemy lost 226 men. The Shanxi's advance had not just been stopped. It was now being forced back.

    While the Army claimed much of the credit for these victories in the north General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya was honest enough with himself to know these victories were mostly due to the actions of the cavalry divisions.

    Later that day the Army won the Battle of Heijian. They lost 163 soldiers while the Chinese lost only 110. Still, by taking the Province this meant the Nationalist would have a harder time trying to retake the Province, and the important Port, of Tianjin.


    To protect Beiping and its airbases the Japanese Army next attacked the Province of Baoding. The Battle of Baoding started when two Japanese cavalry divisions slammed into the Chinese defenders. As the defenders were made up of three infantry units, one of which was in total chaos, and two HQ units it was hoped that the Nationalist Chinese would just collapse.

    To expand on this protection the Army launched another attack. A reckless assault was carried out a few hours before midnight against the Province of Zhoulu by two mountain divisions and a infantry division against two Chinese infantry divisions - one of which was already worn down from earlier clashes.


    In the early hours of the 17th a Chinese HQ unit tried to take back the Province of Hejian. About a 1,000 Chinese against over 11,000 Japanese. It failed. Neither side lost a man.

    Almost 24 hours later, on the morning of the 18th, the Japanese Army won the Battle of Baoding. They lost 134 soldiers while it was reported that the Chinese lost 538 soldiers. Once again, while the Army claimed a "Great" victory they downplayed the fact that the Japanese forces involved were all cavalry.

    Once again, almost 24 hours later, a cavalry division launched an attack on two Shanxi units in Wuchuan. The defenders were made up of one infantry unit and one cavalry unit. And so the Battle of Wuchuan begun.

    As the battle raged to the north to the south, in the afternoon of the 19th, the Japanese Army won the Battle of Zhoulu. They lost 424 soldiers while the enemy lost 719 men.


    Back to the north the 17. Hohei Shidan had marched from the south to join the cavalry in the attack on the Shanxi defenders in the Battle of Wuchuan. But even with such help the victory did not come till the morning of the 20th. The Shanxi finally broke and fled. They left 718 dead comrades on the battlefield. The Japanese cavalry and infantry lost a total of 107 soldiers. Plus the horses killed in action.

    The last action the 'China' Operations took for the third week of the conflict was take Tianjin off the list of official Objectives. Being it was now deep in captured territory it was believed that the Republican forces could no longer 'free' it. Two of the captured Objectives, Beiping and Baoding, were still too close to the frontline to be thought of as 'safe' and still needed to be protected.


    By the end of the third week the Japanese Army claimed seven victories at the cost of 962 soldiers. The Republic lost 1,367 soldiers during the Land Combat of third week and the Shanxi lost a total of 955 soldiers for the third week. This does not include the losses to the south against the Naval Invasion of Shanghai. (See Navy War)



    The Air War​

    The Army Air Groups were back in action of the morning of the 15th of July. One Air Group started dropping bombs onto the Chinese defenders in Hejian. And, of course, the Chinese Fighter Wing came out to play. The Japanese reported that the enemy pilots were barely flying in formation AND it was finally reported that they were flying Curtiss Hawks!


    Even as the bombers tried to return to their airbases in Beiping they were attacked AGAIN by the Chinese Fighters. This time it was reported that the enemy pilots just seemed to buzz about like angry wasps - without any logic or method.

    The bombers only hit Hejian twice and killed 129 Chinese defenders. The Chinese Fighters only tried to fight them off those two times and ignored the second bombing run.

    By the 17th the second Air Group launched a bombing run on the Province of Baoding. It reported, on returning, that many of the Chinese units were completely out-of-control. It looked like they had NO organization at all. The Province was bombed a total of four times and it was reported that about 445 Chinese soldiers were killed.

    On the 18th of July the Chinese Soviet bombers were back and started dropping bombs on the Japanese troops in Datong. The Chinese bombers attacked the Province five times and killed 123 Japanese soldiers.

    By the 19th the first Army Air Group was now targeting the Province of Zhoulu. Hejian had fallen to the ground troops. Zhoulu was bombed three times and the reported damage was 251 dead Chinese soldiers.

    On the 20th of July the Second Air Group had switched to bombing the Shanxi troops in Wuchuan. The Province of Baoding had fallen to the Japanese ground troops. The Air Group bombed Wuchuan a total of four times and it was reported they had killed 410 Shanxi soldiers.

    It was pretty clear by the end of the third week that the Chinese units were starting to fall apart. The reports from the pilots were describing, in good detail, units that were losing their structure under the stress of battle. AND losing their numbers as they started to melt under the flames of war.



    The Navy War​

    The first clash in Operation 'Underbelly' was when the 2. Hohei Shidan and the Konoe Shidan tried to land on the beaches of Changshu. It seems the Chinese Infantry unit and the Chinese Garrison had moved out of the city, to the west, to try to stop the landings. And failed. Giving the Special Corps their first victory. The Japanese lost four soldier. The Chinese lost six.

    The enemy troops retreated back into Shanghai. Interesting enough the enemy Garrison was made up of two 'Marine' Brigades who were only Marines in name. They were equipped and trained for garrison duty. This kind of naming confusion would haunt Utsunimiya's attempt to create a 'big' picture of what was happening in, and around, the Province of Shanghai.

    Not wishing to allow the enemy enough time to organize the 1st Task Group launched their three CAGs against the city to blast the defenders.

    The landing at Songjiang had been carried out without a shot being fired and this meant the two units, the 5. Hohei Shidan and 4. Hohei Shidan, were fresh enough to go on the offense. A few hours before midnight the two units attacked the city from the east. Once the Imperial Guards were ready they were sent east to support the attack.


    By midnight the CAGs had returned to the Akagi to refuel and rearm. They reported that they had killed 26 defenders and had done who knows how much damage to the city itself. The CAGs would launch another three bombing runs on the city but only kill another 35 Chinese defenders.

    The Chinese units were NOT frontline units. By the morning of the 16th the Battle of Shanghai had been won. The Japanese units has lost 31 men while the Chinese had lost 97. The rest of the Chinese troops tried to flee to the southwest to the Province of Suzhou. This was noticed and the 2. Hohei Shidan was ordered south to take Suzhou and cut the enemy off.


    By the 17th one, or more, Chinese units was trying to move into Songjiang. No doubt to try to liberate it. So the CAGs were told to attack Hangzhou. The hope was that bombs dropping on the Chinese troops would slow their advance. The first attack happened around dinner time and, no doubt, caused the Chinese troops to make for cover while cussing.

    The CAGs carried out 17 bombing runs during the week and killed 514 Chinese soldiers and staff officers. It seemed to slow down the enemy units until they could be properly engaged. (See Below)

    While the first air attack on the Province of Hangzhou was being carried out the 1. Hikoutai (the IGH's Tactical Bomber Wings) stationed at Gaoxiong was ordered to the airbases in Shanghai. Being fresh and well rested it quickly carried out the orders and arrived in Shanghai only a few hours before midnight.

    The second they could refuel, and the crews got some tea into them, they were told to start round the clock Logistical Bombing of Nanjing. And therefore, a couple hours before midnight, they started dropping bombs on the Capital of the Republic. The planes were aiming for major roads, supply stockpiles, and fuel storage.

    The Tactical Bombers, during the week, would launch 15 bombing runs on the Capital of the enemy. And not one enemy fighter would show up to stop them.

    By the 18th it was clear that the Chinese Navy, what was left of it, was refusing to leave their ports. The only active branch of the Chinese military, besides their ground troops, was their air forces to the north.

    At this point the 1st Task Group had left and returned to the Port of Sasebo. There it refueled and loaded up on supplies. It's CAGs continued to launch attacks on the Province of Hangzhou as long as they were in range.

    In the morning of the 18th the 1st Task Group was back on Sea Patrol NEAR Shanghai so the planes could keep up the pounding of the Chinese units in Hangzhou.

    By the evening of the 18th the Province of Suzhou had been taken by the 2. Hohei Shidan. Now cut off from escape the remaining enemy infantry and garrison troops surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Navy. 11,886 prisoners-of-war were marched back to the city where they would help clear the wreckage of burnt buildings, repair roads, maintain the airbases, work in the port, and tend the bars at the officers' clubs.


    Of course the 2. launched an attack on the Province of Hangzhou right away. The defending Chinese units turned out to be one Infantry division with a HQ unit.

    As this was happening 1. Tokushu Gundan, Utsunimiya's HQ, having landed on the beaches of Changshu, started to move it's staff and equipment to Shanghai.

    Realizing that the Province of Songjiang might be under threat the two Infantry Divisions in Shanghai were ordered to occupy it again.

    On the early morning of the 20th the Chinese launched an attack on the Province of Changshu. No doubt trying to break in to free the City of Shanghai. In doing so they interrupted the HQ's redeployment to the port. And that's about all they did as the attack was carried out by a lone militia unit. Who was defeated. The Japanese defenders lost one man while the Chinese lost four.


    By the end of the third week the Special Corps could claim three victories at the cost of only 36 men to Land Combat. The Chinese had lost 107 men in the Land Combat and another 11,886 men of theirs had become POWs.

    The Imperial Japanese Navy reported by the end of the third week they had sunk another thirteen Chinese convoys.

    Misc. Events
    On the 17th of July the Diet announced, with the approval of the Imperial Cabinet and the Emperor, that the nation of Shanxi would be absorbed into the Japanese Empire once defeated. In other words the goal of the war with Shanxi was to totally conquer it.

    By the end of the third week of the war the Head of Intelligence reported that Nationalist China had captured two spies, Shanxi had captured three spies, Communist China had captured one spy, and the US had captured one spy.
     
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    Hey folks,

    Just to let you see how the character I made looks IN game here he is -

     
    Chapter Forty-Three: The Air War Heats Up - 22.7.1937 To 28.7.1937
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    Utsunimiya's War
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    Chapter Forty-Three: The Air War Heats Up - 22.7.1937 To 28.7.1937


    The Land War​

    The fourth week of the war started out relatively peaceful in the north. The only battle raging was that in Hangzhou between the Special Corps and the Chinese infantry. The enemy down south was TRYING to advance while, at the same time, defending themselves against the Japanese infantry AND dodging the bombs being dropped on them by the Navy's CAGs. (See Navy War)

    It was VERY early in the morning, on the 22nd of July, before things started to stir in the north. A Japanese mountain division attacked the Province of Renqiu which was protected by a Chinese HQ unit. In fact, even before lunch time, the Chinese retreated. No losses were reported by either side - it seems the Chinese Generals and staff just withdrew instead of putting up a fight.


    It was almost midnight before the northern front explode into violence again. First one of the aggressive Cavalry Divisions, the 8. 'Moukogo', attacked the Province of Shijiazhuang, which was defended by a Chinese infantry unit. As the Japanese outnumbered the Chinese defenders they were going for a 'Shock' tactic to try to overwhelm them.


    General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya, glancing at a map, was a tad worried about that battle. If the cavalry won they would end up in the middle of nowhere and could easily get cut off.

    At the same time the Battle of Laiyuan started when one of the Mountain Divisions, the 9. 'Kanazawa', attacked the Province which was protected by three Chinese infantry divisions, a militia unit, and a HQ unit. Talk about aggressive!

    At least the Battle of Hengshui, which also happened at the same time, was only a mountain division against an enemy HQ unit. The Chinese military seemed to have a amazing amount of militia and headquarters. This battle ended first, at 1:00 AM on the 23rd, with neither side losing a man. The Chinese HQ unit just fled and let the Japanese soldiers march right in.

    At the same time the Mongol Army, having helped push the Shanxi back into their own country, was told to switch back to the Defensive. The Imperial Japanese Army still had worried about the Comintern and didn't want the border TOO thinly defended.

    Eight hours later the Battle of Shijiazhuang came to an end with a victory. The cavalry had lost 18 men and horses while the Chinese had lost 67 soldiers.


    Early on the morning of the 24th the 6. 'Kumamoto' Mountain Division launched a attack on the Province of Yangyuan which was held by a Chinese militia unit. Amazingly the Province was mountainous and, therefore, gave the attackers a slight advantage. If they won a victory they could help support the Battle of Laiyuan to the south.


    On the border with Shanxi another battle started in the Province of Qahar. It looked like the Shanxi were not just pushed back but were now fighting to protect their own territory.


    On the morning of the 25th the Chinese launched a massive counter-attack in the Second Battle of Shijiazhuang. The Japanese cavalry found themselves being attacked by three infantry divisions, a militia unit, and a Chinese HQ unit.


    The problem with this, for the Chinese, was these units were now both defending themselves from one direction and attacking in another. In other words the Battle of Laiyuan ended in a Chinese defeat. The Japanese lost 425 soldiers while the Chinese lost 424 soldiers. Which meant the Chinese units had to retreat WHILE continuing to fight the Battle of Shijiazhuang.

    And even before they could completely retreat the Second Battle of Laiyuan started as two Japanese mountain divisions tried to march into the not-yet-empty Province.

    This caused the Chinese lines to collapse in Shijiazhuang and gave the Japanese a victory there. The Imperial Japanese Army lost 14 men while the Chinese lost 30 soldiers.

    This, of course, caused the Second Battle in Laiyuan to end in a Japanese victory also. The Japanese only lost 3 soldiers while the Chinese lost another 30 soldiers.


    As the Chinese units tried to retreat to safety to the west the Battle of Cangzhou started on the coast where a Japanese infantry division attacked a Chinese cavalry unit.

    By the afternoon of the 26th the Battle of Qahar, in Shanxi, came to an end with a Japanese victory as the Army lost only 41 soldiers while the Shanxi lost 162 soldiers.

    Only a few hours later the Japanese Army announced a victory in Yangyuan where they lost 97 men and the Chinese lost 314 men.

    The next day, on the 27th, the Chinese tried to take Shijiazhuang in a THIRD Battle as they sent in a infantry division and a militia unit to push out the 8. 'Moukogo' Cavalry.

    About ten hours later the Republic also launched an attack in Laiyuan with a militia unit to take the Province away from the 6. 'Moukogo' Cavalry. Even as this battle began the Third Battle of Shijiazhuang ended in Nationalist defeat. The Japanese cavalry lost 35 men, and their horses, while the Chinese lost 163 soldiers.

    The Battle for Laiyuan ended less than an hour later with a Japanese victory. The defending cavalry lost one man while the Chinese militia lost 7 men.

    Seems that the Chinese in Yangyuan were not retreating fast enough as a militia unit was attacked, a few hours before midnight, by an advancing an Japanese mountain division. And hour before midnight the battle ended in another Japanese victory. Neither side lost a man as the militia were fast runners.

    Funny enough the next morning it seems a retreating enemy infantry division was moving through the Province of Yangyuan and was attacked by the same Japanese mountain division.


    By 4 AM of the morning of the 28th of July the HQ of 'China' Operations decided that Beiping was no longer a objective to be worried about and they removed it from their list. Which would help free up units for moving deeper into the Republic.

    Around noon the Battle of Nangong started when the Japanese tried to overwhelm a enemy infantry division and a HQ unit with a mountain division and a infantry division. The Province of Nangong was just southwest of the Province of Cangzhou. Victories in both of those provinces would push the Chinese back and MIGHT break their thinning lines.


    At the same time there was ANOTHER Battle in Yanguan. As a cavalry unit from Shanxi tired to retreat through the Province. It was almost as if the enemy units needed to use the region as an escape route.

    As nightfall approached the Japanese won the Battle of Cangzhou. The Army lost 180 soldiers while the Chinese defenders lost 277 men.


    At the same time the Imperial Japanese Army sent an mountain division into Hunyuan. The idea seemed to be that if it could push out the defending militia this would slam the door on the escape route for the enemy units.

    By the end of the fourth week of the war the Imperial Japanese Army had pushed the Chinese out of their most valued cities, was pushing into Shanxi, and could claim another eleven victories. The Imperial Japanese Army had lost 814 soldiers in the Land Combat during that time period. The Nationalist Chinese had lost 1,312 men while the Shanxi had only lost 162 men during the fourth week.



    The Air War​

    The fourth week of the Air War with China opened with the Chinese launching a bombing run on the Japanese soldiers in Yongqing. The enemy bombers only did a total of two bombing runs and killed a total of 41 Japanese soldiers.

    At the same time one of the Army Air Groups was dropping bombs on a lone Chinese HQ unit in Renqiu. Before they could end the run they were pounced on by the Chinese Fighter Wing which had been dogging the Japanese bombers for days. But the Chinese pilots were showing signs of strain. They barely kept formation and wingmen rarely kept up with their partners. The Japanese bombers were able to break through the fighters and killed 106 Chinese generals and their staff.

    On the morning of the 23rd the other Air Group started blasting the Chinese troops defending Laiyuan. There were so many of them it was hard to miss, to be honest. The Air Group launched a total of six attacks and killed 539 Chinese troops.

    An hour after the first attack on Laiyuan the Japanese troops in the Province of Zhoulu announced they were under attack from a SINGLE Wing of Chinese Bombers. The Chinese bombers attacked a total of six times but only killed 147 Japanese soldiers.

    At the same time the first Air Group launched an attack on the Province of Qahar to blast the defending Shanxi militia. Militia who had no training on how to deal with being attacked by enemy aircraft. The single Air Group attacked Qahar five times. On the sixth attack it was joined by the second Air Group. The militia lost a total of 525 to the attacks.

    On the 26th, during high noon, a Wing of Chinese bombers attacked the Japanese infantry in Jinghai. But before their bombing run was over they were pounced on by the two Wings of Japanese Fighters from Dalian. Jinghai happened to be within range of the Fighters. The Chinese bombers killed 23 Japanese soldiers before fleeing


    The Bomber Wing returned with an escort of Chinese Fighters and were pounced upon again. Both enemy wings were said to be showing signs of wear and tear. The Chinese bombers were forced to withdraw before they could drop any of their bombs on their target.

    Then, on the morning of the 27th, the Chinese Air Force sent their Fighter Wing to attack Dalian directly. The fools were outnumbered 2-to-1 and it is said many of the enemy aircraft were showing signs of damage AND were low on ammo. The defeat gave the Japanese fighter pilots their first 'Victory'. Many claimed to be 'Aces' after the air battle.

    That same morning the Japanese Air Groups moved on from Qahar. One started to drop bombs on the Chinese cavalry in Cangzhou. After six attacks they claimed they had killed 479 enemy cavalry and horses.

    The other started blasting the Chinese militia in Yushe. The Air Group attacked them three times and was said to have killed 232 militia.

    On the 28th one of the Air Groups started bombing runs on Yangyuan. They only completed one attack during the day and killed 24 Chinese soldiers.

    Overall the Japanese Army Air Forces had proven to be the better of their Chinese counter-parts during the week. Though many of the bombing crews said they were doing much of the work. They even said the Japan's first Air 'Victory' was due to them 'softening' up the enemy pilots for the Army Air Force fighter pilots. A lot of bar fights had to be broken up by the military police as a result of this 'disagreement'



    The Navy War​

    As the Imperial Japanese Army, and their Air Wings, fought to the north the Navy's invasion, Operation 'Underbelly', continued in the south.

    On the 22nd of July, during midnight, the Tactical Bombers stationed in Shanghai continued their bombing runs on the Capital of the Chinese Republic. During the fourth week of the war they had 24 bombing runs on Nanjing.

    It was noticed that the stockpiles of fuel and supplies seemed to either go untouched OR, more likely, the Chinese local industry was replacing things as fast as the bombers could destroy them. On the OTHER, by the end of the fourth week, almost all of the roads and rail stations had been damaged. In other words it was doubtful that any of the supplies and fuel was getting to the units at front to the north. It was doubtful, in fact, anything was being delivered at all!

    Of course while that was happening the CAGs were hitting the Chinese troops in Hangzhou. They launched seven attacks on the Chinese soldiers and HQ staff before being recalled to the Akagi and duty with the 1st Task Group. Before they were recalled they kill 206 soldiers of the enemy during this time period.

    On the 22nd of July, during high noon, the Chinese infantry in Hangzhou tried to lunch an invasion of the Province of Songjiang even while trying to defend themselves. And failed when they found two Japanese infantry divisions already waiting for them. Eight of the Chinese vanguard died while not one soldier among the Japanese forces were lost.


    Of course the 5. and 4. divisions joined in on the battle for Hangzhou by the end of the day.


    On the morning of the 25th a new Wing of Nakajima A4Ns were deployed to Hiroshima. It formed up with the other Wing to form the 9th CAG. Now they just needed a NEW Carrier to be assigned to.

    Near midnight of the 25th the Chinese infantry in Hangzhou broke. They had lost 302, to the Land Combat, while the Japanese divisions had lost 363 soldiers. With the victory the 5. and 4. were told to redeploy. The provinces, plus the airbase and the two ports, needed to be held.


    Just 24 hours later, near midnight of the 26th, the 2nd Navy finally profited from being so patient. Four Chinese Light Cruisers and a Transport Flotilla ran into it. It looked like, from examining all evidence, that they were trying to enter the Port of Qingdao and didn't see the warships in the darkness, And so the Battle of Haizhou Wan began,


    Of course it ended up a victory, as at 4:00 AM the next day the 2nd Navy reported the sinking of the Hai Chou. The Aki-Class Battleship Hyuga, the sister ship to the Fuso, claimed the kill. The rest of the enemy ships fled to the port.

    By this time supplies were flowing into both captured ports from the home islands. Operation 'Underbelly' would not be having issues with food, ammo, or fuel. Now with the seas under total control of the Imperial Japanese Navy. In fact some resources were being shipped back to the factories in Japan!


    For the fourth week of the war the Navy reported the submarines, and Naval Bombers, had attacked another twelve enemy convoys. They also claimed another victory at sea AND that the Operation 'Underbelly', planned by the Imperial General Headquarters and handled by the Imperial Japanese Navy, was a complete success.

    Misc. Events​

    By the 22nd of July a memo was passed among the government branches, and some of the military leaders, that explained that a majority of the Soviet populace now saw Japan as a greater threat to the USSR than Germany. Once again, not really surprising, but it was not good news. Becoming the center of attention of both the Americans and the Soviets made the Diet, and the Imperial Cabinet, a tad nervous.

    On the 25th rumors spread about Sweden leaning towards becoming a part of the Axis. It seemed unlikely but all facts suggested that Germany was, at that point, begging for somebody, anybody, to join them.

    For the fourth week of the war the Head of Intelligence reported that Nationalist China had captured one agent, that Communists China had captured one agent, and the US had captured one agent.
     
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    Chapter Forty-Four: The Mengkukuo Decision - 28.7.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Four: The Mengkukuo Decision - 28.7.1937



    The Region Of Chahar​

    The 28th of July was a Wednesday. And it felt weird to Hajime Sugiyama be visiting the private resident of the Foreign Minister. Part of him wanted to be back at his own office reading reports from the front line freshly delivered from the radio room. But this meeting was about the future policy of the Empire and was important in its own right. And the Second Sino-Japanese War could go on without him for the next hour or so.

    Kōki Hirota had a VERY large house and many servants. The Korean Butler has escorted the Chief of Staff to the study where the Foreign Minister had been waiting for him. On a side table was a tray. On it was a pot of freshly brewed English tea and a small platter of, what looked like, Russian biscuits covered in white sugar.

    Hajime bowed and took a chair placing his hat onto his lap. He was not really a fan of foreign teas but took a cup just the same with a smile.

    "Greetings Hajime Sugiyama," said Kōki with a small bow from behind his desk. "I have asked you here today because I have a decision that must be made by the advisers. But first let me explain WHY I need a decision."

    Kōki Hirota pulled out a large map. This map was of China but not those normally seen in the newspapers or in the history books. It was a regional map. The Foreign Minister tapped on the area between Mongol, Shanxi, and Manchukuo. "This area is known as Chahar. There has been a debate about allowing it independence. That we would set up a 'independent' military government which would be allied to Japan. It holds nothing of real value and by giving it up we would benefit from not having to worry about any partisans. But before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented this idea to the Cabinet and the Diet I felt I should place the idea before the advisers."

    Hajime sipped his tea and looked over the map. "Yes. Well, our Mongol Army is stationed there. And many of the units from 'Chain' Operations are fighting in that region. But it shouldn't cause them much in the way of trouble. It doesn't matter who owns the roads. They should still get their supplies and fuel. To be honest it looks like a zero-sum gain. There isn't a lot of resources or factories in the territory. So giving it up isn't going to upset the Minster of Armaments. Too much."

    "Just a question, then, of when to set it up," remarked the Foreign Minister. "Do we do it now or after the war is ended?"

    "Or if we should do it at all," added the Chief of Staff. "If we gain nothing from it why bother? Could be seen as a waste of time."

    "Yes," replied the Minister. "Which is why I need you to ask the advisers for their advice."

    Hajime sipped the horrible mixture again, wondering for a second why the English seemed to prefer mixing such strange blends, and said, "I'll send them a request for a decision right away."

    ---


    Within an hour small leather packages were being hand delivered to homes, business, and secret drops by armed guards. Of course the public never saw the weapons the men carried and the men never looked like guards. They looked like businessmen, doctors, police officers, and milkmen. Inside was a hand-fill of pages on the region in question and a small letter:

    From: Hajime Sugiyama (Chief of Staff)
    To: ______ _______
    Date: 28.7.1937

    Dear Sir,

    As a important member of the Imperial Japanese Government or Military we need you input on a new decision. Please review the papers within this package and then select the best choice you believe is needed for the future of the Empire.

    Please remember to send your reply as soon as possible.

    1. Should The 'Independent' State Of Mengkukuo Be Created -

    A. As Soon As Possible
    B. After The War Ends
    C. Never

    Once again, please reply to this letter as soon as possible. And please remember this is valuable information and should not be passed on to the public or those who do not have proper clearance. Not even spouses, children, grandchildren, or family servants.

    Signed,

    Hajime Sugiyama
     
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    Chapter Forty-Five: The Fifth Week - 29.7.1937 To 4.8.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Five: The Fifth Week - 29.7.1937 To 4.8.1937



    The Land War​

    At the start of the fifth week the Army was engaged in three battles. The Battle of Nangong, the Battle of Yangquan, and the Battle of Hunyuan. All of which they were winning.

    The first, the Battle of Nangong, ended shortly after midnight on the 29th of July. It was a Army victory. The Japanese had lost 19 soldiers while the Chinese had lost 112 soldiers.


    By the time the sun was peeking over the horizon the Battle of Yangquan also came to an end. Another victory in which the Army lost 20 soldiers while the Shanxi lost 75 men.


    At this point it was clear that the Nationalist 'Revolutionary' Army was having problems. Unless they received reinforcements, and soon, their battle line was going to fall apart.


    Around this time the Battle of Siziwang Qi, on the Shanxi border, had started when a Japanese cavalry unit attacked two Shanxi infantry divisions.


    Back near the coast a Chinese unit tried to slow down the Japanese marching into Cangzhou. And totally failed as the Japanese swept them out of the way. The Army lost not a man while the Chinese lost 3 men from their vanguard.

    In Nangong the withdrawing Chinese infantry, failing to move fast enough, were overcome by the advancing Japanese. And therefore another Battle of Nangong began.

    At midnight on the 30th the Battle of Hunyyuan came to an end. The Army lost 28 men while the Shanxi lost 190. While the Shanxi WERE being pushed back they seemed to be better at keeping their lines in one piece.


    On the morning of the 31st the 19. Hohei Shidan in northern Korea was, once again, complaining about a lack of supplies. And, once again, the locals complained about the Japanese soldiers were taking their stuff and leaving behind useless IOUs.

    It seems that the Shanxi were still hopeful about their odds at keeping the Japanese Army contained and launched an attack on the Japanese troops in the Province of Yangquan. And were defeated. The Shanxi lost 11 men while the Japanese lost no one.

    A few hours before noon the Japanese stated the Battle of Xinzhou hitting Shanxi militia with a Mountain Division. It ended shortly before midnight as a victory for the Army. 5 Japanese soldiers died during the engagement while the Shanxi lost 80 soldiers.

    By the afternoon of the 31st the Chinese front line looked like a wet paper bag. Unfortunately many of the Army's front line units were showing signs of supply issues. Would the Army start to run out of steam before they could start pushing through the holes?


    By the 1st of August the Army announced another victory as the Battle of Nangong came to an end. The Army lost 137 soldiers while the Chinese lost 321 soldiers.

    It was also decided that the Province of Qingdao, with its major port, was added to the list of objectives that the HQ of 'China' Operations was to try to take. Or at least TRY to take. This objective was suggested by General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya and the Imperial Japanese Navy. (See Navy War)

    It was also noticed that all of the Mountain Divisions and most of the Infantry Divisions under 'China' Operations had finished their upgrading.

    Soon the Battle of Hunyuan started as another Militia unit from Shanxi attacked the Province. And failed with the lose of 9 men from their vanguard. The defending Japanese mountain unit lost no one.


    By nightfall the Japanese sent a Infantry Division into the Province of Huairen to take if from the two Shanxi units defending it. One unit was an infantry division and the other was a militia division. It was hoped they would easily be overwhelmed by the better armed and better led Army unit.

    It was late afternoon on the 2nd of August before the next battle started. The Japanese launched an attack on the Province of Handan. A Mountain Division against a Chinese Infantry Division.

    While this new battle raged the Battle of Siziwang Qi, to the northwest, came to an end. The Army announced it a victory having lost 217. The Shanxi had lost 273 men.

    By the morning of the 3rd the mountain unit in Handan finally won the battle. The Army had lost 24 soldiers while the Nationalist had lost 41 soldiers.


    By the evening of the 3rd the Battle of Xinzhou started. Again. As a Shanxi unit tried to invade it and take it away from the defending Japanese mountain unit. And, again, failed. The enemy lost four men while the Army lost two.

    Another Battle of Siziwang Qi started as a retreating Shanxi militia unit turned to defend itself against an advancing Japanese cavalry unit. And was soundly beaten as it lost 14 soldiers. The Army lost nobody and, of course, claimed a small victory.

    Near midnight on the 4th the Battle of Horinger began as a Army Infantry Division attacked two enemy militia units plus an enemy HQ.

    At the same time another Japanese Infantry Division was attacking the Province of Turns Zuoqi. It was defended by one Shanxi militia unit.

    An hour later a Japanese Mountain Division attacked a Chinese unit in the Province of Handan. Many believe the battle started because the Chinese were too slow to properly withdraw from the province.

    It was assumed the Army would win all the battles in the end.

    By the end of the fifth week the Republican units were so thin it was collapsing around them. As for the Shanxi, while putting up a more solid front, they were in danger of losing their nation's Capital to the advancing Japanese.


    For the week the Imperial Japanese Army claimed twelve victories and lost, to Land Combat, 452 soldiers. The Nationalists, during the same period of time, lost 477 soldiers to Land Combat and the Shanxi lost 656 soldiers to Land Combat.



    The Air War​

    The Army Air Groups, the 1. Nihon Koukuujieitai and the 3. Nihon Koukuujieitai, continued to launch Ground Attacks on the enemy. They did so without rest. They did so with little to no help from their comrades in the Japanese Fighter Groups.

    They started the fifth week with attacks on Yangquan and Hunyuan. The Province of Yangquan was only bombed that once. It was said 64 Shanxi soldiers were killed.

    The Province of Hunyuan was bombed a total of four times and a total of 225 Shanxi soldiers were killed.

    The Army Air Group that finished their attacks on Yangquan moved to bombing Nangong. The Chinese stationed there were attacked seven times and lost a total of 686 men.

    The Bombers from Hunyuan moved to attack the Shanxi in Siziwang Qi. The Shanxi there were attacked eleven times and lost a total of 1,035 men.

    By the 2nd of August one of the Air Groups had moved on to bombing the Shanxi in the Province of Huairen. The mixture of enemy infantry and militia had no defense against the bombs dropping on them.

    They were attacked by the bombers a total of nine times and lost 719 soldiers.

    At this point one of the Air Groups went to bomb the Chinese defenders in Handan. Handan was only attacked once and the Chinese lost a total of 113 men.

    At this point many within the government were starting to joke that the Army Air Forces were doing more to win the battles than the ground troops were.



    The Navy War​

    The bombing of Nanjing continued, of course, without any interference from Chinese aircraft or anti-aircraft guns. The 1. Hikoutai only lost a plane here or there to technical problems. Of course, these planes were easily repaired or replaced.

    During the fifth week the Tactical Bombers launched twenty-four attacks on the city. Bomber crews witnessed hits on the supply and fuel stockpiles. But the Nationalist just kept replacing the loses.

    They also reported that the infrastructure was nothing but twisted rails, cratered roads, and ruined bridges. So the supplies and fuel was going nowhere fast.

    The flames of the city helped guide the pilots during the night and the pillars of smoke helped guide the pilots during the day. Utsunimiya was starting to feel sorry for the people of Nanjing.

    By the 31st of July operation 'Underbelly' had secured all it's objectives and was sending the home islands Chinese metals and coal.

    On the 1st of August the Navy decided that next target for invasion would be the Port of Qingdao. It was both a major port and a major urban center. And what was left of the Chinese Navy seemed to be hiding there. This was why it suggested that province as the next objective of the Army. If the Province was threatened by the land side the Nationalist would likely pull out any defenders it had to deal with the threat from the Japanese Army and make it easier to grab. Of course the Navy would ask the Advisers of the Empire to decide if such an operation should be allowed. (See Land War)


    Then the 1st Task Group, on the 2nd of August, found a Chinese Light Cruiser in the Maro Hae Sound. Of course the planes were launched and the warships moved forward to engage. And so the Battle of Maro Mae Sound had begun.


    And ended with the Ping-Hai being sunk. It was attacked twice by the carrier planes but in the end the Kongo-Class Battle Cruiser, the Kirishima, took credit for the kill.

    By the end of the fifth week the Navy reported that five enemy convoys had been attacked. At this point many within the government, and among the public, were wondering just how many convoys the Republic had left?

    The Imperial Japanese Navy also claimed another Naval Victory AND pointed out that no Japanese convoy had, so far, been threatened by the Chinese military.

    Misc. Events​

    The Emperor's Cabinet, with the help of the Imperial Advisers, had decided to wait till after the war before creating the military government of Mengkukuo. It was rumored that the advisers had very interesting views on the subject but none of these views were released to the rest of the government or to those in the military.


    On the 2nd of August it was announced that Amelia Earhart had disappeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with her navigator Fred Noonan. Few people were surprised as she was not known for being a very GOOD aviator. Funny enough the rumor was that the Japanese had done away with her as she was thought of to be spying for the Americans. But in fact she had been a spy for the Imperial Japanese Navy! And it was likely that the Americans had done something to silence her.

    Also on the 2nd of August, which seemed to be a very busy day, the government of Germany once again invited the Empire of Japan to join in the 'Axis' Faction. And once again the Japanese government turned the offer down.


    It was also announced, in the news, that Saudi Arabia was having problems with illegal printing presses funded by European sources. But they decided to ignore the issue as they had bigger problems to deal with.

    During the week two trade deals were broken with the Soviet Union, one deal was canceled with the UK, and one offer from Finland was turned down. On the other hand Trade Agreements were made with the USA, Belgium, and Chile. The Imperial government did its best to keep the raw resources pouring into the factories.

    By the end of the fifth week the Head of Intelligence reported that the Communist Chinese had captured two agents, the Nationalist Chinese had captured one agent, and the US had captured one agent.
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter Forty-Six: The Qingdao Decision - 4.8.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Six: The Qingdao Decision - 4.8.1937



    Operation 'One Punch'​

    Baron Mineo Ōsumi, the Chief of the Navy, looked up from the folder that held the NEWEST plan. "General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya has made a simple and flexible plan. But I am not too sure I like the idea of only using ONE division."

    Field Marshal Kanji Ishiwara nodded from behind his desk. His office in the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff Office had been completely changed to fit his tastes. Only a few wall maps and the massive globe remained to show that the room had once been occupied by a naval officer.

    "It is a simple plan," Kanji said. "The island of Taiwan has two infantry divisions stationed there. The plan suggests we load up the 48. Hohei Shidan, with its two infantry regiments and its motorized regiment, into a Task Group at the port of Gaoxiong. The Task Group goes to join the 2nd Navy off the coast of Qingdao."

    He leaned forward and said, "Then, instead of just launching an invasion blindly, the carrier planes carry out a Port Strike. This has two goals. Attack and damage what is left of the Chinese Navy. Of course. And to scout out if there are any defending troops. If the port is clear of enemy soldiers the invasion starts."

    "And if there are Chinese troops," stated the Baron with a glance at the open folder, "our men stay on their Transport ships while the aircraft blast the enemy ships till they either flee into the hands of the Task Group and the 2nd Navy. OR they are destroyed in the docks."

    "It is believed that the Chinese will likely pull out any troops to try to fill the gaps in their battle line with the Imperial Japanese Army," added the Field Marshal. "In fact the Army should start pushing east towards Qingdao anytime now."

    "In fact it could be the ports have already been emptied to try to take back Shanghai," stated the Field Marshal with a small smile. "Our reports suggest a LOT of movement on the Chinese mainland. Lots of units heading towards the Special Corps."

    "So, in the end the Advisers have THREE choices in the end," murmured the Baron. "First choice is to carry out the operation at once."

    "Second choice is to carry it out a week from now," continued the Baron. "Give the Chinese time to pull out any units they may have in the Province of Qingdao."

    "And of course the third choice is to not carry out the operation at all," added the Field Marshal. "To be honest I think we should attack now. The first choice. 'One-Punch' would open another front and really cause the Nationalists some headaches. Take the port and we could easily wipe out what was left of the Chinese Navy when it flees right into the arms of our waiting Navy. And when we DO take it we grab a major port to help the Army....when they show up."

    The Baron nodded. "So this plan is going to be sent over to the Chief of Staff to be sent to the Advisers?"

    "Yes," replied the Field Marshal. "I don't see any of them having an issue with it. Simple plan. Flexible. Hurts the Republic is many ways. And all the glory should go to the Navy."

    ---


    Within a few hours a dozen small leather packages were being delivered by men who didn't look like they worked for the postal service. They delivered the packages to homes and businesses and tree stumps and empty looking buildings. They were seen by the public but not really noticed. Nobody remembered them. Nobody realized they were armed or government employees. But for a few unseen watchers with tattoos and missing fingers.

    From: Hajime Sugiyama (Chief of Staff)
    To: ______ _______
    Date: 4.8.1937

    Dear Sir,

    Once again, gentlemen, I write to you with an important decision to be made. Included within this package, along with this letter, is a short summary of a meeting held inside the Imperial General Headquarters.

    1. Operation 'One-Punch' Should Be Launched -

    A. At Once
    B. In A Week
    C. Never

    I doubt I have to remind you but, once again, please reply as soon as possible. And make sure the information does not fall into the wrong hands.

    Signed,

    Hajime Sugiyama
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter Forty-Seven: The One-Punch - 5.8.1937 To 11.8.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Seven: The One-Punch - 5.8.1937 To 11.8.1937



    The Land War​

    At the start of the sixth week of the conflict the Army was engaged in four battles. In the provinces of Horinger, Tums Zuoqi, Huairen, and Handan.


    And soon they started a fifth battle. At 1:00 AM on the 5th of August a cavalry division attacked the Province of Hohhot. They were attacking a Shanxi infantry division, a militia unit, and a HQ unit. The Province of Hohhot was on the list of objectives as it was a region that was important to the country of Shanxi.

    At the same time a Japanese cavalry unit was attacking the Province of Yushe which was defended by a Chinese militia unit.

    Around this time the HQs of 'China' Operations, 'Manchukuo' Operations, and the 'Mongol' Army were all complaining about a lack of troops. In fact the staff of 'China' Operations were demanding nineteen tank brigades. This demand was dismissed by the Imperial Japanese Army. The invasion of the Republic of China and the region of Shanxi would proceed as planned.


    It was noon on the 5th when the Army announced a victory. They had won the Battle of Yushe having lost only 19 men and horses while the Chinese militia lost 71 troops.

    It was clear at this point that the Chinese battle line was more of a dotted line.

    About four hours later the Army also won the Battle of Handan losing 34 soldiers while the Chinese lost 124 soldiers.

    During the morning of the 7th, basically more than a day later, the Army announced another victory. They had won the Battle of Huairen. The Imperial Japanese Army lost 257 soldiers while the Nationalist lost 533 men.

    At the same time the Army was also winning the Battle of Hohhot where they had lost 100 soldiers and the Shanxi had lost 402 soldiers. And,in doing so, had gained an objective!


    A few hours later, southeast of the Shanxi's capital, a Japanese cavalry unit was attacking the Province of Taigu. The defending enemy unit was also cavalry. Many officers within the Army placed bets on who would win as the province was forested and gave little advantage to either side. In the afternoon the Army announced the victory at Taigu. The Japanese cavalry lost 12 men, and horses, while the Shanxi lost 91 men and horses. And, within the Army's ranks, some money exchanged hands are winners took from the losers.

    A few hours after that they announced another victory. The Battle of Horinger came to an end with the Japanese losing 91 soldiers while the Shanxi lost 286 men.

    Shortly before midnight the Army send a infantry division into the Province of Wu'an. They found a lone militia unit of Chinese soldiers waiting for them.

    After midnight, on the 8th of August, the Army won the Battle of Tums Zuoqi. The Army lost 49 men while the Shanxi lost 331 men.


    About nine hours later the Army announced another victory. The Battle of Wu'an had come to a swift end. The Army had lost 20 men while the Chinese had lost 60 men. And the gap between the Nationalist lines and the Shanxi lines were widened.

    The second Battle of Hohhot started early morning of the 9th. It seemed there was still a Shanxi unit in the province and the two Japanese cavalry, who were entering to occupy the land, attacked it. The battle ended in a 'victory' but without any casualties reported on either side. Seems the Shanxi just ran for it.


    The same event happened in Tums Zuoqi where some Shanxi militia unit was still present when a infantry division entered the province. And so another Battle for Tums Zuoqi came to life.


    During the evening of the 9th the Battle of Huimin started when a Japanese infantry division attacked the Chinese infantry division protecting the province. The province HAD been empty earlier - it looks like the Chinese were trying to fill in the gaps in their lines. By the early morning of the 10th the Chinese broke and gave the Army another victory. The attackers lost 30 men while the Chinese lost 72 men.

    Then, on morning of the 11th, the Army announced victory in Tums Zuoqi. The Army had lost 40 and the Shanxi militia had lost 253 men.

    The Imperial Japanese Army was starting to feel pretty aggressive. As shortly before noon they launched an attack on the Province of Shouxian. They sent in one infantry division and one mountain division against three Shanxi militia units and one Shanxi infantry division. About twenty thousand attackers against twenty-one thousand defenders. Shouxian was also just NORTH of the Shanxi capital. The Imperial Japanese Army was trying to put the enemy capital in a steel vise.

    Even as night fell the Japanese Army send a cavalry unit into the Province of Tumd Youqi against two Shanxi infantry divisions. The Battle of Tumd Youqi had begun!

    By the end of the sixth week the Imperial Japanese Army claimed eleven victories at the cost of 652 soldiers during the Land Combat. The Chinese had lost 860 men while the Shanxi had lost 1,363 men.



    The Air War​

    For the Army Air Groups they started off the sixth week with a early morning bombing run on Handan on the 5th of August. The Chinese troops, locked in combat with the Imperial Japanese Army, were not doing too well. Observers from the aircraft noticed some confusion and disorganization among the enemy's ranks.

    The Chinese Fighters pounced on the Air Group while it was returning from Handan. But failed to do any damage or stop the operations of the Japanese bombers in any form. The bombers attacked the province a total of three times and killed 213. The Chinese Fighters only attack them that one time.

    About an hour later the other Air Group was dropping bombs on the Shanxi militia and infantry in Huairen. Reports from the pilots suggested mix results. Many of the militia were totally disorganized - not much better than a mob. The enemy infantry, on the other hand, seemed to still have SOME discipline. (1)

    The bombers attacked the province seven times and killed 698 Shanxi troops. It was noticed that, on the 6th of August, the infantry abandoned the militia to their fate.

    The Air Group from Handan moved on to the Province of Horinger where the bombers started dropping their payload on the Shanxi militia along with an enemy HQ unit. The Air Group attacked the defending Shanxi a total of three times and killed 251 of the enemy.

    The Air Group from Huairen had moved on to bomb the Province of Wu'an. The Chinese militia stationed there did not welcome this attention. Wu'an was only attacked twice and the Chinese lost 233 militia to the dropping bombs.

    On the 9th of August the Air Group from Horinger moved on to the bombing of Hohhot to help with the capture of such an important objective. Reports suggested that the Shanxi infantry were completely in a state of chaos. There was only one bombing which killed 112 Shanxi soldiers.

    The Air Group from Wu'an moved on to Hulmin to drop their bombs on Chinese infantry. And got pounced on by the Chinese Fighters. Who totally failed to stop them. There was only one bombing run on the province and only 95 Chinese infantry died.

    As this was happening the Air Group from Hohhot had moved on to bombing the Shanxi militia in Tums Zuoqi. The bombers had launched four attacks on the province by the end of the sixth week and it was reported that 484 militia had been killed.

    At this point it was very clear that the Republic's Air Force, both their Fighter Wings and their single Bomber Wing, were pretty useless. (See Navy War)



    The Navy War​

    Of course the Navy continued the bombing of Nanjing. The enemy's capital was attacked by the Tactical Bombers twenty-four times.

    While this was happening Operation 'One-Punch', after its approval by the Advisers, was launched. The 16. Hohei Shidan and the HQ of the 14. Hendan, which were stationed on the northern tip of Taiwan, were ordered south to cover the Port of Gaoxiong.

    The 2nd Task Group was also ordered to the Port. Admiral Ozawa, a high skilled Naval Officer, known for being both a runners of blockades and a superior tactician, was in command of this Group. He ships arrived there on the afternoon of the 5th and quickly loaded up the 48.


    Once all the men and equipment were onboard the Group sailed for the waters off the coast of Qingdao where they would join up with the 2nd Navy.

    The two fleets met up on the afternoon of the 6th. The Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carrier, the Kaga, launched a Port Strike on the enemy port. They spotted, and attacked, three Light Cruisers and a Transport Flotilla. But reported NO ground defenders.


    The three regiments were loaded into transports and sent off to capture the port before the Nationalists could send in troops to defend it. While this was happening the CAGs launched a total of two Port Strikes doing damage to both the Naval Base and the enemy ships. They would have launched a third but they were interrupted.

    During the morning of the 7th the Chinese bombers, at least the one Wing known to the military, had shown up to attack the two fleets. It was a total surprise but Admiral Ozawa was swift to respond to the danger by recalling his planes.

    So as the Chinese bombers started their return journey back to the mainland they were pounced on by the two Wings. It was a victory for the Japanese Naval Pilots. The enemy pilots were totally disorganized and failed to form formations or support each other. But many within the Navy demanded to know where the Army's OWN Fighters had been. Why were they not patrolling the region? Surely they had been within range?

    The Port of Qingdao was officially occupied by the forces of Japan by the dinner time on the 8th of August. Many Army officers were enjoying their tea and rations in empty restaurants as they enjoyed the view of the harbor.


    Of course supplies were assigned to be sent to the newly captured port. The idea was there would be a stockpile of fuel, food, and ammo for the Army divisions when the front line finally reached the province.

    The Chinese ships tried to escape the port shortly before midnight. Which was bad luck for them - Japanese sailors were trained for night fighting.

    Even as the big guns opened up the CAG was launched to attack the enemy. The Battle of Haizhou Wan didn't last very long as the CAGs were only give two chances to attack the enemy ships. It took only three hours for all the spotted Chinese ships to be destroyed.

    The Kaga claimed the sinking of the Light Cruiser the Ning Hai. This was the THIRD Chinese Light Cruiser claimed by the carrier. The Heavy Cruiser, the Myoko, destroyed the Transports, while the Heavy Cruiser, the Maya, sunk the Light Cruiser the Hai Yung. The Heavy Cruiser of the 2nd Navy, the Asama, claimed the sinking of the Light Cruiser the Hai Chi.

    While declared a total victory there seemed to be some confusion. Many witnesses said another ship, or ships, were in the area and had seemed to enter the Port of Lianyungang. While many felt this was a 'false' report the end result was the 2nd Navy being told to stay in the area while all other Groups were told to switch to convoy raiding.

    Overall it was felt that the Chinese Navy, even if it still existed, would no longer be playing a part in the conflict.


    By the end of the sixth week it was noticed that both Naval footholds were being encircled by enemy troops. But most of this troops were of sub-standard quality. In other words nobody within the Navy believed the Chinese would be able to retake any of the ports so far captured. Also this just meant more enemy units doing nothing but standing around and NOT helping in the fight against the Imperial Japanese Army.

    So by the end of the sixth week the Navy claimed a Naval Victory, an Aerial Victory, and the capture of another major Chinese Province with a very important port.

    The Navy also reported the sinking of one convoy during the sixth week. It was suggested by the officials within the Imperial Japanese Navy that this was a sign of the collapse of the Republic's industry. Due, mostly of course, to the effective convoy raiding carried out by the Navy’s Submarines and Naval Bombers.

    Misc. Events​

    On the 7th of August the Diet announced that the official war goal of the war with Nationalist China. The Republic of China would be absorbed, completely, into the Japanese Empire.

    It was also noticed by General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya that the people of Japan were starting to see the Communist of the People's Republic of China as a great threat and it would be easy, very easy, to push for a declaration of war with them. It would be just a matter of timing.

    On the 8th it was announced that there had been a breakthrough in the science of Integrated Support. After the Researchers were rewarded with a small party they went onto the next project selected for them.


    Which was the development of Arctic Warfare Equipment. This would prove to be very useful when fighting the Russians.

    On the 9th of August the Ministry of Armaments than announced there had been another breakthrough. Marine Infantry Divisions could now be trained and deployed!


    Once the Researchers were finished celebrating they moved onto the next project assigned to them. Working on Combat Medicine. It was hoped that advancements in techniques and equipment would allow many more injured soldiers to return to the front lines.

    On the 10th of August it was noticed that Turkey, once again, was leaning towards a more direct relationship with the Comintern.

    By the end of the sixth week the Head of Intelligence reported that Nationalist China had captured a Japanese agent, Communist China had captured two Japanese agents, and Shanxi had, also, captured a Japanese agent.

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

    1. "Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all." George Washington
     
    Last edited:
    Chapter Forty-Eight: Communist China - 11.8.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Eight: Communist China - 11.8.1937



    The People's Republic Of China​

    Hajime Sugiyama was rarely impressed by signs of wealth or power. The wealthy families of Japan were always trying to impress members of the government or the military with big houses, large cars, and many servants.

    But he had to be honest with himself as he walked into the Prime Minister's office. He was very much impressed by the room. It was large, clean, and in good taste.

    The head of the Japanese government, one of the most powerful politicians in Japan, and a Naval veteran of both the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War was the Prime Minister of Japan. Keisuke Okada had been a Captain, a Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, and Full Admiral. He had won many honors and had also spent some time behind the desk. He had once served in the Naval Shipbuilding Command. He was, to put it simply, somewhat famous.

    But he was also somewhat...infamous. He didn't WANT war with the US. Also he was one of the few Naval officers who also felt that the London Naval Treaty of 1930 had been a GOOD idea.


    And there he was, sitting behind his massive desk, calmly waiting for the Chief of Staff to take a seat. A moderate and democratic voice in a nation of militarists. It was amazing nobody had killed him yet.

    "Sir," stated Hajime as he bowed, sat down, and placed his hat on his left knee. "I am happy you agreed to meet me so we could discuss the future conflict People's Republic of China."

    The Prime Minister nodded. "From what I understand the nation is in a perfect state of war fever. And it seemed to be directed towards the Communist Chinese. Even the Diet seems to be willing to declare war on them at a moment's notice. The Head of Intelligence must be proud." The last sentence seemed to suggest just a hint of disgust.

    Hajime nodded and replied, "I am sure he is. And what I would like to talk about is WHEN the declaration of war should be passed."

    "No doubt," remarked the Prime Minister. "I will point out that the Foreign Minister is NOT as eager to start another war as the rest of you are. He fears the reaction of the Soviets and the Americans. They are already focusing too much attention on Asia. Expanding on the war, he fears, will hurt our relationship with those nations AND also hurt our trade."

    "The second Germany does something in Europe the Russians will forget us," pointed out the Chief of Staff with a smile. "As for the Americans....well, they may not like our policy in China but right NOW they can't do anything to stop us."

    "I see," said the Prime Minister. "Well, why don't you tell me when YOU think we should invade the People's Republic if China?" Once again there was a slight hint of disgust or disapproval.

    "We believe the best time to declare war is when Shanxi falls to us," stated Hajime. He pulled out a small map. "Once Shanxi is taken much of our forces will be bordering the Communists. In fact the Capital Province of Yan'an has already been added to the list of objectives. The HQ of the 'China' Operations knows it will be their next target once Shanxi surrenders." He placed the map on the desk.


    The Prime Minister hummed, as he looked at the map, and said, "That region is mostly mountains. Those cavalry will prove useless in the mountains and in the streets of the capital."

    "There are mountain divisions," responded Hajime, "to deal with the mountains. And enough regular infantry to deal with the urban combat."

    "How soon will Shanxi fall?" asked the Prime Minister as he leaned back in his chair.

    "Soon," answered Hajime. "They have filled their capital with defenders. But they are mostly badly equipped militia or worn out infantry. Survivors of defeats at our Army's hands. Once the capital is captured there is nowhere else for them to run."

    "The Shanxi government may escape by going to their allies in the Republic," pointed out the Prime Minister.

    "Which means they would exist for another month or two," said Hajime with a grin.

    "You truly think the war will last only three months?"

    "Yes," said the Chief of Staff with a nod of his head. "I've said it before and I will say it again. The Republic of China will fall within three months of when the war started. Period."

    The Prime Minister nodded. "So once Shanxi falls I will push for the declaration of war on the People's Republic of China."

    Hajime, feeling he had been dismissed, started to stand up but stopped when the Prime Minister rested a hand.

    "I would like to ask," stated the Prime Minister, "is it true that General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya has sent an order to the Minister of Armaments for the training and assembly of two Corps of Marines?"

    Hajime nodded again. "Yes. Eight Divisions total, each in full strength, are to be created in two waves. They should be ready, roughly, around early to mid 1938."

    "If the Navy has its way those Marines will be used against American occupied islands," mumbled the Prime Minister. "And likely the islands of the South Pacific."

    Hajime chuckled and added, "If the Army gets its way those Marines will be used to capture Russian coastal oil fields and important ports in the Soviet Far East."

    The Prime Minister sighed. "Yes. Well, I think I have all I need to know. I will make sure to brief his Majesty the Emperor on the details. Thank you."

    The Chief of Staff, this time sure he HAD been dismissed, stood up, bowed, and left the office. He could not help be feel the current Prime Minister was NOT happy with the way events were going. Could it be the man was against expanding the might of the Empire?

    The Chief of Staff frowned as he left the building. He wondered if it would be best to find a way to...replace the man. Surely he wasn't the only person in the military, OR in the government, who worried about the loyalty of the current Prime Minister. These thoughts dogged him as he entered his waiting car. He directed his driver to take him back to his own office. There was always work to be done. It would take some time as the streets were somewhat crowded.

    Being a Sunday the streets were, indeed, crowded. Movie theaters were fill, news stands were making a profit, and parks were the favorite spot for happy families. War had generated a lot of energy within the populace and whenever they had free time they eagerly used it to get out and enjoy themselves. And try to forget, for a few hours, the violence happening across the sea.

    But not everybody spent their free time watching news shorts or flying kites. Some men volunteered in workshops where they spent hours producing more ammo and bombs for the war. Students sometimes went back to their schools on the weekend to help make care packages for the soldiers at the front. Many women, some very young, used up their free time making socks or scarves for the brave sailors and the handsome pilots.

    And of course mothers and wives wept over the letters they received from the Imperial Japanese Army or the Imperial Japanese Navy. Sadly, the graveyards were sometimes just as busy as the businesses and parks were.
     
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    Chapter Forty-Nine: Shanxi Falls - 12.8.1937 To 18.8.1937
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    Chapter Forty-Nine: Shanxi Falls - 12.8.1937 To 18.8.1937



    The Land War​

    The Army started the seventh week of the war engaged in the Battle of Shuoxian. The rest of the Japanese Army, not already involved in the battle, was advancing forward to occupy the provinces that the enemy soldiers were abandoning.

    In fact, shortly after breakfast on the 12th of August a Japanese Infantry Division marched into Huimin and attacked the defending Chinese Infantry Division. Both were well rested but the Japanese had superior leadership, superior numbers, and better equipment.

    An hour later the Battle of Shuoxian came to an end in a victory. The Japanese lost 18 men while the Shanxi lost 309 men. This Province, just northwest of the enemy capital, would allow the Army to encircle Taiyuan.


    But the Imperial Japanese Army couldn't wait for a proper encirclement. Around 4 PM on the same day the 6. Mountain Division launched a attack on the Shanxi Capital. Trying for 'Shock' tactics the soldiers poured into the streets. The defenders, a Shanxi militia unit and a cavalry unit, found themselves facing superior leadership and EQUAL numbers.


    Around this time the 19. Hohei Shidan, in northern Korea, once again complained about a lack of supplies. What alarmed General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya, as he read the report, was that 12. Hohei Shidan was also complaining about a lack of supplies. This was alarming because the 12. was a front line unit marching into the Province of Shuoxian to occupy it. This was the first REAL sign that logistics might become a problem the deeper the Army got into China.


    Shortly before lunch on the 13th of August the 37. Infantry Division charged into the Province of Anyang. The defending militia units outnumbered the Japanese but the attackers had superior leadership and were trying to use the tactic of 'Assault' on the hopes of overwhelming the Nationalist Chinese.

    Later, in the afternoon, a lone Japanese infantry division slammed into the Province of Togtoh. The defenders were three Shanxi HQ units and a lone militia unit which was already on its last legs.

    A few hours before midnight the defenders of Anyang fled. The Japanese lost 19 men while the Chinese lost 24 men.

    An hour after midnight the Battle of Togtoh was won by the Japanese. They lost only 3 men while the defenders lost 22 men.

    The Second Battle of Togtoh started a few hours later. Seems the Shanxi were not retreating fast enough. Before noon the Second Battle was a Japanese victory with the Japanese losing 5 men whole the Shanxi lost another 28 men.

    An hour before noon, on the 15th of August, the Japanese won the Battle of Taiyuan. The victory cost the Japanese 140 men. It cost the Shanxi 525 men.

    A few hours later the 6. Cavalry Division attacked the Province of Fenyang. The defenders were two Shanxi HQ units. Victory here would put Japanese troops south of Taiyuan. A few hours later the Japanese received that victory at the cost of zero men. The Shanxi, being fast runners, also lost no one.

    On the early morning of the 16th it was clear that the Shanxi in Togtoh were not getting the message as a lone HQ unit was still in the province. This triggered another battle, the third one, when three Japanese infantry divisions tried to march through it.

    Even while the Shanxi battle line started to fold in on itself the enemy government had fled to the province of Pingyao. They wanted to continue to function, to continue to fight, to continue to give their people hope. But even they could see the writing on the wall.

    Maybe it was the news of another Japanese victory in Togtoh that crushed the last of their hopes. True, neither side lost a man, but a defeat for the Shanxi is still a defeat.

    Or maybe it was the knowledge that nothing could stop the Imperial Japanese Army from taking the new capital? The new capital didn't have any defenders.


    Whatever the reason the Shanxi government's last act was to surrender to the Empire of Japan on the 17th of August. Now there would be a race between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Republic military to try to rebuild the battle lines.

    But that was not all that happened. The second the news of Shanxi's fall reached Japan the Diet declared war on the People's Republic of China.

    By the end of the seventh week the Imperial Japanese Army was racing to move units into position along side the People's Republic border and the Republic's far left flank.


    It had also claimed seven victories, and the final defeat of the nation of Shanxi, at the loss of 185 soldiers in Land Combat for the week. The Shanxi had lost 884 men in Land Combat while the Chinese Republic had lost 24 men to Land Combat.



    The Air War​

    It was 3 AM in the morning of the 12th when both Army Air (Bomber) Groups hit the Province of Shuoxian. The two Shanxi militia units were not happy about this. Already totally disorganized many of the defenders failed to even make it to their shelters when the bombs started to explode around them. That was the only bombing run on the defenders and it caused 136 deaths.

    Also, on the 12th, one of the Army's Fighter Groups announced they had upgraded both their Wings. Somehow they had turned biplanes into Nakajima Ki-27s. General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya didn't question it. He just assumed the Army Air Force had received help from the Navy's engineers. They must be wizards he thought to himself. (1)

    On the 13th the Army Air Groups went their separate ways. Shortly after midnight one bombed the Chinese soldiers in the Province of Huimin. The Chinese soldiers were hit eight times and lost 627 men.

    The other went to blast the defending Shanxi in their Capital of Taiyuan. The Capital was bombed nine times before it was captured by ground troops. The bombs killed 606 Shanxi defenders.

    The Air Group from Huimin moved onto the Province of Togtoh. There the Shanxi militia were already on the ropes. The bombs dropping on them didn’t help approve their sad state. There was only one bombing run, which killed 78 Shanxi militia, because the defenders lost their battle shortly afterwards.

    Shortly after this the nation of Shanxi disappeared from history and the Army Air Groups were able to receive some free time to work on their planes and get some rest.



    The Navy War​

    Of course the bombing of Nanjing continued. The Tactical Wings hit the city twenty-three times. And the pilots reported, as the pilots had reported before, the same thing. The stockpiles were being filled as fast as they were being hit. And the roads, rails, and bridges were gone.

    There was very little left for the Navy to do. The two operations had been successive and the Chinese Navy was broken. The Submarines, the Naval Bombers, and the Task Groups were hunting for convoys while the 2nd Navy patrolled outside a port for enemy ships that might, or might not, exist.

    General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya was spending much of his time in dealing with the citizens of Shanghai. Business owners needed supplies to keep the populace happy. Roads needed repair and workshops needed power. Doctors and hospitals needed medicine and equipment. Law and Order had to be maintained.


    The people of the province were wary about seeming too friendly. On one hand if the Japanese Empire won they would be the new masters of China and the families needed to eat, send their kids to school, and run their businesses. People wanted things to go back to normal. And to be honest the Nationalists were not as well loved as they had liked to pretend they were. So a few citizens were starting to work with the Japanese officers to help rebuild the city and the surrounding provinces.

    On the other hand if the Japanese lost the war anybody who had dealt with them would be labeled a traitor. People would use it to get back for old wrongs. A lot of knives would be drawn and a lot of people would likely be murdered in the name of 'justice' against 'enemies of the state'. Many citizens refused to make eye contact with the Japanese soldiers and many would cross the street at the approach of Japanese officers.

    By the end of the seventh week the Navy reported a lack of Chinese convoys to attack. Maybe the enemy convoy system had collapsed. Or the Nationalist needed every resource, every item, to keep their economy from falling apart and had nothing extra to trade away over seas?



    Misc. Events​

    Reports from the Head of Intelligence were somewhat interesting and, sometimes, outright amusing.

    For example, it was reported that the Republic of China was allowed to go into debt with the UK, the USA, and France. But without a convoy system how would it import all that war material?

    With the fall of Shanxi, and the opening of hostilities with the People’s Republic of China, the Head of Intelligence sent out new orders for his spy networks.

    Those spies already stationed in Communist China were told to switch from trying to make the Communists look bad to starting to disrupt their national unity.

    Those agents that had been in Shanxi were moved to Guangxi Clique were they would fabricate false stories for the Japanese media to spread. The warlords of this region needed to be hated and look more threatening in the eyes of the world. Sooner, or later, the Empire would be coming for them!

    Funny enough, while the Communists saw Japan as their greatest threat the Nationalists still thought the Communists next door were more of a threat. They were either very paranoid or they still believed all the false rumors the Japanese newspapers and radios had spread!

    The Head of Intelligence also announced that by the end of the seventh week the US had captured two Japanese agents and the Communist Chinese had captured three Japanese agents.

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

    1. Known as "Kates" to the Americans.

    2. A OOC look at the ‘behind’ the scenes:

     
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    Chapter Fifty: Blame Canada - 18.8.1937
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    Chapter Fifty: Blame Canada - 18.8.1937


    The restaurant was a popular one in downtown Tokyo. It was always busy during lunch time. Full of businessmen from the nearby offices buildings. Mostly aging middle management, young salesmen, tired floor managers, and even a few hungry store owners.

    So nobody noticed the two older men at one of the tables. Nothing seemed strange about them. They didn't whisper to each other nor try to hide their faces. They had picked a table right in the middle of the dining room and talked in normal voices. They smiled, carried briefcases, and it was likely the waiting staff would have a hard time describing them within a week they were so bland and uninteresting. They had even ordered the house special. Tokyo Noodles. Which was just ramen in soy-flavored chicken broth with a touch of dashi. Piled high with chopped scallion, sliced pork, egg and so on.

    Of course the two men were Yasuji Okamura, Head of Intelligence, and Keisuke Fujie, Minister of Security. They had enjoyed having these ‘secret’ meetings for the past few weeks. Mostly to pass information back and forth between the two branches of the government outside of ‘official’ channels.

    “So, anything new?” asked Yasuji after tasting the broth from his bowl.

    “Something interesting,” stated Keisuke with a nod. “I received an inquiry from the Chief of Staff’s office. Nothing in writing you understand. Just a verbal request for information on anything we may have on the...current Prime Minister.”

    Yasuji frowned and shook his head. “Not sure I like that. The Army already has people in too many positions. They are pushing for expanding the Empire’s borders a little too much. I think of the Prime Minister as a brake.”

    “You support the Navy?” asked Keisuke as he picked up a piece of pork with his chopsticks.

    “No,” replied the Head of Intelligence. “I don’t have any dogs in this race. My loyalty is with the Empire. Not any one piece of it. I will support what the Emperor and the Diet want for the nation. But it sounds like certain members of the military are thinking about not just absorbing China but the Imperial government also.”

    “They have always shaped our policy,” remarked Keisuke as he refilled his tea cup. “Maybe they feel they should have more DIRECT control over it?”

    “Maybe take some time looking up any files you have on the Prime Minister?” suggested the Head of Intelligence. “Maybe they have been....misplaced?”

    “Maybe,” remarked the Minister of Security. “So, anything new with you?”

    Yasuji nodded, open his briefcase, and handed Keisuke a single page of paper. “This is a report on the political support each American party would likely receive if the election for the Presidency was held today.”

    Keisuke moved his bowl to one side to explain the page. “Oh my. The Republicans would get 26 percent of the vote while the Democratic Party would get 25 percent of the vote. If it keeps going like that...the Republicans will get the White House in 1940.”

    “And check out the third party on the list,” said Yasuji with a smile.

    Keisuke returned his attention to the tiny report and his eyebrows shot up. “The American First Committee would get 21 percent of the vote? Interesting. Is this the result of your spies in the US?”


    “Yes,” replied the Head of Intelligence. “Well, some of it. Some of it is because of how FDR has been mishandling his office. But I fear it may not be enough. Even if the Republicans take the White House there is....well...how can I keep them out of the Allies? Even without FDR, even if they get a President who prefers the Germans, the Americans will likely STILL join the Brits and the French at the first sign of trouble.”

    “Make Canada a threat,” replied the Minister of Security as he grabbed an egg from his bowl with his sticks.

    Yasuji opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again and then said, “Would that work?”


    “Think about it,” replied Keisuke with a smile, “Canada borders the US. They are much closer to them than we are. And will likely join the Allies sooner or later. If the US ends up thinking that Canada is a threat it would more likely join up with Germany than it would the Allies.”

    Yasuji blinked. “Even if such an operation has only a slight chance of working...it would still be worth trying. And I have till 1940 to get it to work.”

    “Good,” remarked Keisuke. “Now let’s focus on our food before it becomes too cold. And the waiter notices us talking when we should be eating.”
     
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    Chapter Fifty-One: The Eighth Week - 19.8.1937 To 25.8.1937
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    Chapter Fifty-One: The Eighth Week - 19.8.1937 To 25.8.1937



    The Land War​

    At the start of the eighth week of the war with the Republic, and the first week of war with the Communists, the Army was engaged in the Battle of Xinxiang which started an hour after midnight on the 19th of August. A Japanese Mountain Division and a Japanese Infantry Division attacked two Nationalist Militia units.


    On the Republic's far left Japanese victories will fold up their line and expose the nation's interior. In fact the Nationalist, understanding this problem, became most aggressive. One of their militia units tried to take the Province of Jincheng away from the 8. Cavalry Division stationed there. And, being outnumbered by the Japanese defenders, failed. The Nationalist Chinese lost 30 while the cavalry lost only 4 men and some horses.
    By noon the Army announced victory in Xinxiang. They lost 31 men while the Nationalist militia lost 201 men.


    It was early in the morning of the 20th when the first clash with the Communists was reported. It seems a enemy militia unit had attacked a Japanese infantry division in Fangshan. The Communists were outnumbered, had poor equipment, and their officers were poorly trained. Within two hours the attacking militia were retreating back across the border. They lost 25 men while the Japanese division lost - nobody.

    But as the Japanese newspapers made fun of this embarrassing defeat the Communists were able to march into the Province of Shilou and take it without a shot being fired. Luckily it was totally worthless.


    Shortly before lunch the Army launched an attack on the Province of Shenmu. Two infantry divisions rushed in in a 'Reckless Assault' on four Communist militia units.

    Back on the coast a lone Japanese infantry division also rushed into battle in the Province of Kenli against two Nationalist infantry divisions. One of the enemy divisions was being held back in reserve due to it being completely disorganized. In other words it was a mob.


    At this point two divisions sent in reports complaining about no supplies. Once again one of these was the 19. in northern Korea. The other was 13. Hohei Shidan in Nangong - right in the middle of the lines with the Nationalist Chinese. Once again an alarming piece of information. But there was little the Army could do about it at the moment.

    During the afternoon of the 22nd the Communist Chinese took another province. The Province of Xinjiang. Which was just south of Shilou. And just as worthless.

    But it seemed the Army was willing to fight over this worthless piece of land. At 1 AM on the 23rd a mountain division was sent in to retake it. The defenders, Communist militia, were dug in and ready to meet them head on.

    A few hours later the Communist sent a militia unit into the Province of Dougsheng and started a battle with the 5. 'Mongol' Cavalry. 9 Communists died to only 2 Japanese men. A small Japanese victory but a victory.

    Back to the east the 8. 'Mongol' Cavalry attacked a Nationalist militia unit in Jiaozuo. A few hours after that the 6. 'Mongol' Cavalry attacked the Nationalist infantry protecting the Province of Songxian.


    In the afternoon of the 23rd the Japanese won the Battle of Jiaozuo. The cost for the Imperial Japanese Army was 8 men, plus horses, while the Nationalists lost 115 militia.

    Shortly after nightfall the Nationalists launched a 'Assault' on the Province of Yuncheng - the very tip of the Republic's left flank. A infantry division and a militia unit, over eleven thousand soldiers, attacked a lone Japanese infantry division. Sadly for the attackers the division was an over-strengthened one. In other words it also numbered over eleven thousand soldiers. The defenders also had better weapons and better leadership.

    A few hour later the Battle of Yuncheng came to an end. The Japanese lost 2 men while the Nationalists 8 men. It is likely after the first exchange of bullets the Chinese just gave up and fled.

    During the late morning hours of the 24th the Army also announced victory ay Xinjiang. The Army lost 48 men while the Communists had lost 231 men. Over what was a worthless piece of land. BUT was bordering the Communist's capital! Maybe not so worthless after all. At least not to the Imperial Japanese Army.

    By late afternoon of the 24th, back at the front with the Nationalists, a mountain division and a infantry division attacked the Nationalist Chinese defenders inside the Province of Puyang. Two enemy infantry divisions and two militia units were stationed there. Half of the enemy units were in no condition to fight and the odds were in the Army's favor.

    It was reported that the 16. Hohei Shidan, on the island of Taiwan, had finally stationed itself in the port by the morning of the 25th. Along with the 14. Hendan HQ unit.

    An hour after this report the Army announced victory in Puyang, They had lost 47 soldiers while the enemy Nationalists had lost 118 men.


    Shortly before noon a report came in that the Communists had taken the Province of Dengkou. Another worthless piece of land in the middle of nowhere.

    A few hours before midnight on the 25th a Japanese mountain division launched an 'Assault' on the Province of Xinjang. Which was, funny enough, mountainous. The Communist militia unit defending it was outnumbered and it was likely fated to be defeated.


    By the end of the eighth week of the conflict the Army claimed eight victories at the cost of 142 men killed in Land Combat. The Nationalist lost 472 men due to their eighth week of Land Combat. The Communists lost 265 men to the Land Combat in their first week in the conflict. And there was only two objectives not yet under their control. Three if you counted Qingdao.

    By the end of the week General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya had reached two conclusions. One, the Republic's Revolutionary Army had gained a 'second wind' and was trying to keep its line together. Two, the People's Republic of China had a horrible military.



    The Air War​

    Early on the morning of the 19th one of the Army Air Groups bombed the Nationalist militia units in Xinxiang. Pilots reported that one of the enemy divisions was already showing signs of chaos from the ground combat. The Chinese Fighters showed up to try to fight off the Japanese Bombers. And once again failed as the gunners beat them back.

    After this both Air Groups united in the second bombing of the Province of Xinxiang. The two attacks were all that were needed to bring about the Nationalist troops' defeat. In total the Nationalists lost 125 soldiers.

    Then one of the Air Groups split off and hit the Province of Shenmu. The Communist militia, fifteen brigades, were helpless before the fury of the Japanese bombs that rained on them. By the second attack the other Air Group had joined in. Ironically many of the militia had fled. Only six brigades were present to received the second bombing run. By the third attack one of the Air Groups had peeled off for another target (Kenli). There was a total of eleven attacks and the defending Communists had lost 1,066 men.

    On the morning of the 21st one Air Group split off and hit the Province of Kenli. As the bombers carried out their bombing run on the Nationalist infantry there was no sign of Chinese Fighters. Not at first. But on the seventh bombing run the Chinese Fighters, what was left of them, finally reappeared and attacked the Japanese Bombers. And were so beaten up that the Japanese Air Group declared it a 'Victory'. The Japanese bombers launched fifteen bombing runs in total and killed 1,449 Nationalist soldiers.

    By the afternoon of the 21st Utsunimiya had become so impressed with the aircraft of both the Army and the Navy that he sent the Ministry of Armaments a large order for Naval Bombers, Close Air Support Aircraft, and the first batch of Transport Planes.

    On the early morning of the 24th the Communist militia in Xinjiang found themselves being bombed by the Air Group which had finished its attack on the Province of Shenmu. There was a total of two attacks which killed 199 Communists soldiers.

    Shortly after midnight, while the night was still covering the sky, the other Japanese Air Group started a attack on the Nationalist troops in Puyang. They were only able to carry out one attack during before the end of the eighth week and only killed 91 Nationalist troops.

    With another 'victory' under their belt the Army Air Force was praised in the newspapers and movie shorts. The numbers reported of enemy dead also suggested that the bomber crews had become VERY experienced over the eight weeks. The bombers were easily holding up their end of the conflict. And the Nationalists' bombers had not been seen for the whole week.



    The Navy War​

    During the eighth week there was no action at sea. Not even a convoy was found by the Groups or the Submarines.

    Of course, the bombing of Nanjing continued without interference. The two Tactical Wings hit the enemy capital twenty-four times. The Nationalist seemed to have no defense against the bombers.

    And Shanghai had been so quiet that many of the soldiers were starting to get bored. Their officers kept them busy with marching and drilling of course. Films and newspapers were shipping in from the home islands also. Nobody wanted our boys in uniform hanging around the Chinese bookshops, watching Chinese films, or going out with those Shanghai girls!


    But outside the footholds there was movement. It looked like the Nationalists were sending some of their divisions north. But they had a problem. Send away too many units and the Japanese might try to break out. Send too few and the battle to the north might be lost.

    On the 19th it was announced that the 2nd Navy had finally finished their upgrades. While a good thing this just reminded General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya that his Guard Division was still in the process of being upgraded.

    But the Nationalists still had a surprise for the Navy. On the 20th, shortly after Utsunimiya had finished his lunch and was starting to go over his afternoon paperwork, he received a report from Qingdao. The Nationalists were attacking with a lone militia unit.

    Of course the Japanese defenders were dug in and outnumbered the attackers. Also Major General Sakabara called in fire support from the warships offshore. So the militia were soon under shore bombardment from the Japanese Navy while, at the same time, their were being 'Ambushed' by the defenders of the port.

    Within an hour the attack fell apart. The Nationalist's vanguard lost 6 men while the Japanese lost nobody.

    So by the end of the eighth week the Navy was able to claim a victory against the Nationalists in the Battle of Qingdao with the Nationalists losing 6 militia. It seems the Republic was losing on all fronts.



    Misc. Events​

    There were rumors on the 19th that Japanese agents had been sent to Canada. Nobody knew WHY the Head of Intelligence would do such a thing and many just assumed it was one of his crazy ideas.

    During the week the Ministry of Armaments made a Trade Deal with the USSR, Canada, France, and Greece, and two Trade Deals with the US.

    Some of these deals were to keep the stockpiles full. But some of them were to improve relationships with the US and USSR. The Minister of Foreign Affairs had become somewhat alarmed by the low relationship that Japan had with the Soviets and had demanded the Minister of Armaments do something about it.

    The Minister of Armaments also made the treasury some quick cash when two nations, Ecuador and Latvia, each requested permission to produce a Wing of Ki-30s. He, of course, agreed to this.

    The Head of Intelligence reported that, by the end of the eighth week of the conflict, the Communist Chinese had captured one Japanese agent and the Nationalist Chinese had captured three Japanese agents.
     
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    Chapter Fifty-Two: Holding The Tiger By The Tail - 26.8.1937 To 1.9.1937
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    Chapter Fifty-Two: Holding The Tiger By The Tail - 26.8.1937 To 1.9.1937



    The Land War​

    The Army started the ninth week engaged in four battles. The Battle of Kenli, the Battle of Shenmu, the Battle of Songxian, and the Battle of Xinijang.

    And, of course, the 19. Infantry Division in northern Korea was still complaining about a lack of supplies. But this time it was the only unit complaining about this. Which was good - it meant the front line units were getting what they needed. For now.

    By 4 AM, on the 26th of August, the Battle of Kenli came to an end. A Japanese victory, if it could be called that, as the Army lost 429 men while the Nationalists only lost 270 men.

    Still, every victory helped. The Nationalist Chinese might not notice it but they were being pushed farther and farther from the Communists and closer to the coast. If the People's Republic of China could be defeated soon half the Imperial Japanese Army would have a clear path right into the Republic's left, mostly unprotected, flank.


    Even if the Army just locked the Nationalists in place that could be enough to clear the way into the heart of the Republic once the Communists were defeated. All that the Army had to do was hold onto the tiger's tail and keep it in place.

    Then at 10 AM, that same day, the Imperial Army announced a REAL victory. The Battle of Shenmu had come to an end. A major victory against the Communists. The Army lost 292 men while the enemy lost 573 men.


    At noon the Army launched an attack on the Province of Puyang with a infantry division against a Nationalist 1st Army HQ unit. The Leader of the Nationalist unit was Alexander von Falkenhausen - a German volunteer - and a Superior Leader at that. THIS might examine the Nationalists' 'second wind'. They had put a European in charge of some of their units!(1)


    Shortly after noon the Army launched a attack on the Communists in Shilou. Infantry division on infantry division. While both units had equal numbers, and the enemy was dug in, the Japanese Leader was better trained and had more experience.

    While this battle in the west was raging the Battle of Puyang, to the east, came to a close. A Japanese Victory with no loses on either side. It seems von Falkeenhausen had decided a thousand interns, clerks, and staff generals were useless against nine thousand Japanese soldiers and had ordered a retreat.

    The next day, during the early hours of the 27th, another battle was won. The Battle of Xinjiang came to a close with the Army losing 51 men while the Communists lost 255 men.


    On the 28th, shortly before noon, the Japanese troops in Puyang were surprised by a counterattack by a Nationalist infantry division. In fact the enemy soldiers charged in an all out 'Assault'. Four brigades against three defending brigades. The problem for the Chinese was they were attacking across a river AND the defending Japanese STILL outnumbered them.

    Shortly before midnight, on the same day, the Japanese Army won the Battle of Songxian. Once again, if Utsunimiya was honest with himself, it didn't sound like much of a victory. While the Nationalists lost 345 men the Imperial Army lost 303. In other words a 'minor' victory at best. Still, by taking the Province of Songxian this would push the lines of the two Chinese nations farther apart.

    To the east the Battle of Puyang was starting to look grime. Two Nationalist divisions had placed themselves in reserve for the battle. If they joined they could easily bring the Chinese a major victory.

    Major General Inanba, the Commander of the 37. Hohei Shidan, was a skilled man who was becoming known as a Urban Assault Specialist and a Hill Fighter. And he promised the high command victory in Puyang

    On the early morning hours of the 29th the Army did announce victory. But not in Puyang. They had won the Battle of Shilou against the Communists. Once again it was a victory only in name as the Army lost 290 men and the Communists lost 175 men. Still, the province bordered the enemy capital and, therefore, was of great importance.

    And it seems like the Communists felt the same way as one of their infantry divisions was either too slow to leave the province or refused to leave. For a couple hours later the Second Battle of Shilou started when two Japanese divisions (one infantry and one mountain) marched into the province and ran into them.


    Back to the east the Army started the Battle of Liaocheng when one of their Mountain Divisions (the 7.) attacked a Customs Police unit which was one of the reserves in the Battle of Puyang. It was assumed the unit would have to drop out of the first battle to protect itself.

    On the morning of the 30th the Battle of Puyang came to an end. 60 Japanese soldiers had died defending the province while 106 Nationalists had died trying to take it. The center of the Imperial Army's left flank had held. Utsunimiya was greatly relieved by this news.

    About six hours later, after the sun was high in the sky, the Battle of Liaocheng came to an end. Another victory in which the Police lost 99 men while the Japanese lost 18 men.

    The next piece of news didn't appear on his desk till 3 PM, on the 31st, when the Second Battle of Xinjiang started when a Communist militia unit was too slow in leaving the province. It was attacked by the 6. Mountain Division.


    The next day another piece of news was announced by the Army. They had won the Second Battle of Shilou. The Army had lost 257 men while the Communists had lost 784 men. The enemy was putting up a tough defense around their capital. But between the Land Combat and Bombing Runs it was doubtful they could keep it up for much longer.


    Just before midnight, on the 1st of September, the northern front on the map it looked like the Imperial Japanese Army had stalled. It was likely due to many units finding themselves worn down. But once the People's Republic of China fell that would change everything. Even the HQ of 'China' Operations felt victory was close. Not only had its demands for reinforcements decreased in their number but it was moving CLOSER to the battle lines.

    By the end of the ninth week of conflict with the Republic the Imperial Japanese Army claimed nine victories at the cost of 1,700 soldier lost in Land Combat. The Nationalists had lost 820 men due to Land Combat while the Communists had lost 1,787 men to Land Combat.



    The Air War​

    The Air Groups started the ninth week with one of them bombing the Nationalists in the Province of Kenli. The pilots reported that the Chinese infantry below them were totally disorganized. One pilot described it as if an "anthill had been kicked open". There was only one attack that killed 60 Nationalist soldiers.

    The other Air Group was blasting the Communist militia in the Province of Xinjiang. The militia were much better organized. But it was likely because they were still fresh. There was a total of three attacks which killed 199 Communist militia.

    The bombers from Kenli moved onto the Province of Shilou. The Communist infantry were still partly organized. But it didn't help them. And when the second Air Group joined in from Xinjiang in the second bombing run the Communist no doubt were very upset. By the fifth bombing run one of the Air Groups had split off to attack Songxian (See Below).

    There was a total of ten attacks on the Province of Shilou. The numbers of Communists killed is believed to be more than 749 soldiers killed as at least one report was lost.

    Then the Nationalist Wing of Russian Bombers carried out a bombing run on the Province of Yuanqu attacking Japanese cavalry stationed there. Reports suggested the enemy had spent all that time off reorganizing themselves and increasing their numbers before the attack. The enemy bombers killed 15 men and some horses.


    At this point Utsunimiya noticed that the Army had brought the Fighter Groups forward by placing them in the airbases in Beiping. The problem was a question of logistics. Those airfields would only repair and maintain 5 Wings and now there was a total of 8 Wings using the same facilities.

    The instant advantage became clear when a Group of Fighters, made up of two Wings of Nakajima Ki-27s, attacked the Chinese Bombers when they were returning from their bombing run.

    By the morning of the 28th one of the Air Groups moved from Shilou and started bombing the Province of Songxian much to the dismay of the Nationalist Infantry Division that received the dropping bombs. The Japanese bombers attacked a total of three times and killed 225 Nationalist soldiers.


    Shortly before midnight on the 28th of August General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya sent a request to the Ministry of Armaments to built a series of airbases in the Province of Xilinhot. A province near the border of Mongolia. The reason for this was just how impressed Utsunimiya had become with the Army Air Force. He knew if there was a war with the USSR, and its allies, the Army Air Force would play a big part. And to play a part it needed AIRBASES.

    On the early morning of the 19th the Air Group from Songxian had moved to the Province of Kaifeng where it had started to blast the Nationalist’s two infantry brigades, an armoured car brigade, and a anti-tank brigade waiting there. There were three attacks and 202 Nationalist troops were killed.

    At this time both Air Groups moved onto new targets. One launched a bombing run on the Nationalist Customs Police unit in Liaocheng. There was only a total of two attacks which killed 146 Nationalist soldiers.

    The other launched a bombing run on the Nationalist infantry in Zhengzhou. The bombers attacked the province three times and killed 274 enemy soldiers.

    On the 1st of September both Army Air Groups returned to Beiping to rest and reorganize. And therefore the bombing of enemy positions, at least by the Army’s pilots, ended for the week.



    The Navy War​

    The Navy's own Air Groups of Tactical Bombers continue to blast the City of Nanjing fifteen times between the 26th and the 29th of August.

    By the 29th of August it was becoming clear that Logistic Bombing had gone as far as it could go. The roads, rails, and bridges were not going to be repaired any time soon.

    General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya and Major General Shimoyama, the Commander of the 1. Hikoutai, got together and decided that the time was perfect for Ground Attacks. The Nationalist militia units forming outside the Shanghai foothold needed to know they had been noticed.

    On the 30th of August, a few hours after noon, the four enemy militia brigades in the Province of Wuxi found Japanese bombs dropping on them. They were the largest concentration of militia facing the Japanese soldiers and, therefore, were picked by the Major General. By the end of the ninth week, near midnight on the 1st of September, the province had been bombed ten times and had killed 874 Nationalist soldiers.


    The numbers could have been higher but for the Chinese fortifications in the province.

    The Imperial Japanese Navy reported that no enemy convoys had been detected that week by any of their Submarines, Task Groups, or even the Naval Bombers. While many took this to mean that the Republic's economy had failed many pointed out that the Republic was still trading with the People's Republic and other nations on the mainland.



    Misc. Events​

    While the mainland raged with war the home front tickled along as usual. During the war the subjects of the Empire were getting all their basic needs met and the industry was trying its best to pump out supplies, fuel, and equipment for the military.

    Trade deals were made with the USSR and the UK to keep some of the stockpiles topped off with imports of metal and raw materials.

    Germany, once again, approached Japan and asked it to join the ‘Axis’. Of course it was turned down. Nobody within the government wanted to link their ‘fate’ with that European nation until they had proven themselves worthy. Up to now the Germans had done nothing but take some land away from the French and made a lot of noise. Nobody was impressed.

    By the end of the ninth week of the conflict the Head of Intelligence reported that Nationalist China had captured two agents, Communist China had captured three agents, and the US had captured one agent. Seems Canada had not noticed any of the agents within its borders. Not surprising as the nation did have a large Asian population on its western seaboard. It was likely Canadian Intelligence couldn't see the trees for the forest.

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

    1. Funny enough reports from the front misspelled his name as Falkenhauser.

    OOC Behind The Scenes Image:

     
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    Chapter Fifty-Three: Operation "Peek-A-Boo" - 2.9.1937 To 8.9.1937
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    Chapter Fifty-Three: Operation "Peek-A-Boo" - 2.9.1937 To 8.9.1937



    The Land War​

    As the Imperial Japanese Army entered the tenth week of the conflict with the Republic it was engaged in the Battle of Xinjiang. And both the HQs for 'Manchukuo' Operations and the Mongol Army were complaining about a lack of troops. Of course the 19. Hohei Shidan complained about a lack of supplies.

    But 'China' Operations seemed to be doing well. It neither complained about a lack of troops or supplies. At least not in public.


    At midnight of the 2nd of September the HQ of 'China' Operation was given another objective to take. The Province of Zhengzhou was a major urban center RIGHT in the path of the advance. Taking it would be a relatively large blow to the Republic's morale. If the Army could take it, and the Province of Jinan with its airbases, this would be a giant step towards final victory.


    By midnight on the 3rd the Army won the Battle of Xinjiang against the Communists. The Army lost 66 men while the enemy lost 393 men.

    The next battle started more than 24 hours later on the morning of the 4th of September. A Communist militia unit launched an attack on the Japanese Cavalry in Shilou. No doubt they wished to take it back before their Capital was threatened. And failed. The Communists lost 16 men in their vanguard while the Imperial Army lost nobody.


    The next battle was when the Japanese attacked the Province of Huantai of the afternoon of the 6th. It was a Japanese Infantry Division against a Nationalist Infantry Division. The Japanese had superior numbers AND Leadership while the defenders were dug in. Amazingly the Chinese were also well organized. The Nationalist unit, the 22. Bubing Shi, looked like they could be fresh and untested.

    By the 8th the 26. Hohei Shidan had joined in the Battle of Huantai as a reserve unit. But there were signs that the Nationalist defenders were becoming disorganized. Mostly from attacked from Japanese Bombers (See Air War).

    By the end of the tenth week the Imperial Army was threatening the Communist Capital but that was about it. They claimed only two victories at the cost of 66 men in the Land Combat. The Communists lost 409 men in the Land Combat.


    No major changes or improvements had happened to the rest of the front. But this 'slow-down' had been foreseen and the Imperial General Headquarters had plans on how to deal with it (See Navy War).



    The Air War​

    The Air War seemed to be slowing down also. The Army's Air Bombing Groups didn't return to the sky till just after midnight on the 7th. One of them started bombing the Nationalist defenders in Huantai. Of course the Chinese Fighters pounced on the Air Group. But failed to stop the attack on their comrades. In fact they were beaten off so badly that, once again, the Air Group claimed a 'victory'.

    By the second bombing run both Air Bombing Groups had joined together in the bombing run on Huantai. In the end there was a total of eight bombing runs on the province which killed 596 Nationalist soldiers.

    Late on the 7th the Chinese "Russian" Bombers took to the skies. But it is unknown where they were heading and what their target was as one of the Japanese Fighter Groups engaged them and they were forced to retreat from Japanese airspace. And so another 'victory' was claimed.

    So the Army Air Force claimed two victories and kept the Nationalist Air Force out of the skies for the week.



    The Navy War​

    The Imperial Japanese Navy on the other hand didn't know the meaning of 'slow-down'.

    The Tactical Bombers were continuing to bomb the Province of Wuxi. They hit it a total of fourteen times and killed 1,243 Nationalist militia. On their fifteen attack they were recalled to the airfields as they had received new orders directly from IGH.

    Major General Shimoyama was somewhat surprised at being called back in the middle of a mission. What a waste of fuel! But once his knew his target, and the reason for the change in target, he was pacified.

    Shortly before lunch, on the 6th of September, the Nationalist militia in the Province of Ningbo had their peaceful morning broken with the roar of bomber engines and the whistle of dropping bombs. They had become the new target of the Navy's Tactical Bombers. They did not have any protection against the bombs but some trenches and their horribly cheap helmets. The bombers attacked the province a total of six times and killed 295 Nationalist militia. And why were they here?

    The Naval Operation "Peek-A-Boo" was meant to be a information gathering mission in force. Major General Kawabe, stationed in Hiroshima with the 9th CAG, when he received his orders. He first moved his Wings to rebase in Gaoxiong, Taiwan.


    Once there he, after some time to rest, launched a Port Strike on the Province of Xiamen on the morning of the 3rd. The Port was empty of ships or defenders.

    Then, on the morning of the 4th, his Wings hit the Province of Fuzhou with a Port Strike. There were no ships nor were there any defenders.

    On the morning of the 5th his Wings launched a Port Strike on the Province of Ningbo. The port was empty of ships but the pilots reported two brigades of enemy militia. The Navy’s Tactical Bombers were called in to deal with them.

    This was all that was needed and shortly afterwards he, and his planes, were ordered back to rebase in Hiroshima. They arrived at their old base on the 5th just in time to have lunch.

    Now, with this information, the Navy would offer the Advisers another plan to vote on. A plan that could help end the war and bring the Imperial Japanese Navy glory. Well, more glory.



    Misc. Events​

    The tenth week started out with some news from the Japanese holdings among the Pacific islands. The Japanese garrisons on the islands of Iwo Jima, Marcus, Satawan, and Ponape reported the completion of air-aircraft gun positions.


    Anti-aircraft gun positions were also finished on the Island of Saishu.

    As this was happening the Minister of Armaments signed a agreement with Siam to import metal. It was a tiny deal but it was more designed to improve relationships with the tiny nation than anything else.

    The nations of the world were wheeling and dealing on their own. Nationalist China was trying to find anybody who would trade with it while Germany was trying to improve their relationship with both the Russians AND the people of Turkey.

    The Head of Intelligence announced at the end of the tenth week that the US had captured three of our agents, Communist China had captured one of our agents, Nationalist China had captured two of our agents, and Canada had captured one of our agents. It looks like Canadian intelligence had finally noticed the Japanese spies within their Asian communities.

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

    OOC: Well, you guys were complaining this was too easy. It looks like the Japanese are having problems in China and YOU will be picking the next plan to pull us out of the mess. Be careful for what you wish for....
     
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    Chapter Fifty-Four: Operation "Pitch-fork" - 8.9.1937
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    Chapter Fifty-Four: Operation "Pitch-fork" - 8.9.1937


    Baron Mineo Ōsumi, Chief of the Navy, looked up from the plan and said, "Not very good."

    Field Marshal Kanji Ishiwara blinked in surprise. He had invited the Chief of the Navy to his office to get his opinion on the new plan Operation 'Pitch-Fork'.

    He had prepared for a short, simple meeting, more of a social affair. Tea with rice cakes had been delivered and he had even placed some of the maps back on the wall to make the Chief of the Navy feel at home. And now this?

    "Maybe the paperwork does not make it clear," he remarked, "Those THREE Ports are important. Xiamen, Fuzhou, and Ningbo are all major urban centers. Fuzhou even has resources. Taking them could hit the Nationalist morale with a deadly blow. They would have to send troops to contain them and weaken their strength in all other fronts."

    "But we strip the home islands of all the infantry divisions we have left AND tie up all three Task Groups," replied the Chief of the Navy. "And those divisions would be trapped there. May I suggest another plan? One the Advisers are more likely to vote on because one of them came up with it?"

    "I guess there is no reason I can't look at it," commented the Field Marshal.

    The Baron took out a map and pushed it across the Field Marshal's desk. It was not as well made as the map the Field Marshal had presented but it go its point across.

    "Operation 'Common Sense' has us reinforce the Province of Qingdao with one division while attacking the Port of Weihai with two divisions. And we only use TWO Task Groups. The ground troops would outnumber the enemy units in the region. They could go on the offense and threaten the Nationalist's right flank."


    "The enemy would have to call a general retreat," the Chief of the Navy continued, "OR withdraw some of their units to try to contain the new front. Either way they would likely fail to contain either the new front or the main front and we could gain ground. The Carrier planes could even give support."

    The Field Marshal frowned. The new plan, which sounded like a version of the old Naval Plan One, did make somewhat more sense and there was less risk of divisions getting trapped. BUT it depended on the Nationalist military responding to the operation by retreating or weakening themselves. The first plan didn't depend on the reactions of the enemy and gave the Japanese instant results.

    "I will ask the Chief of Staff to put both plans forward as a choice," he replied with a nod, collecting the new plan and adding it to the copy of his own plan. "We will let the Advisers decide."

    "The Chief of Staff is worried, isn't he?" said the Baron. "Worried his promise of us winning the war in three months will backfire on him?"

    "Of course not," replied Kanji with a shake of his head. "We're just worried about the cost of an long conflict."

    "Of course," stated the Baron with nod of his head. "Well, we have two weeks left. Maybe he will be lucky."

    ---


    Before the day was over the two plans had been handed over to the Chief of Staff, copied, and placed in map tubes. Which were delivered to homes, business, and secret drops by normal, even boring, looking men. Men who carried hidden weapons and moved with a certain ease that suggested hours of training in hand-to-hand.

    From: Hajime Sugiyama (Chief of Staff)
    To: ______ _______
    Date: 8.9.1937

    Dear Sir,

    Once again gentlemen I come to you with a important choice to be made. The Baron Mineo Ōsumi and Field Marshal Kanji Ishiwara have come up with TWO Naval Invasions plans. Each have their own pros and cons. Both will use the last of our Infantry Divisions stationed on the home islands. We can not fail.

    The war on the mainland is starting to slow down and it is felt that something it needed to put the Nationalists on the run. We need to break them. Within this map tube is two plans which you are to examine and decide on which one you think is the best for the Navy to carry out.

    1. We Should -

    A. Carry Out Operation 'Common Sense'
    B. Carry Out Operation 'Pitch-Fork'
    C. Carry Out Neither

    I don't have to remind you but please reply as soon as possible and do not leak this information to family, friends, or to the public.

    Signed,

    Hajime Sugiyama
     
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    Chapter Fifty-Five: The Eleventh Week - 9.9.1937 To 15.9.1937
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    Chapter Fifty-Five: The Eleventh Week - 9.9.1937 To 15.9.1937



    The Land War​

    The Imperial Japanese Army started out the eleventh week, on the 9th of September, engaged in one battle in the Province of Huantai. Unfortunately all Theater HQs on mainland Asia were now complaining about a lack of troops. Including 'China' Operations.


    But as the industry was tied up building Naval units there was not going to be any reinforcements for the ground troops. Not when the infantry reserves was now tied up in Operation 'Pitch-Fork' (See Navy War).

    Shortly after the noon meal the Battle of Huantai came to a halt. There was no official announcement. No lists of the dead and wounded. It just ended when the Nationalists, having reached the end of their capability to keep their divisions together, melted away. The Japanese Bombers had overwhelmed them in the end. The fighting spirit had left them and the men had ran away. The Japanese soldiers found only unburied dead and abandoned equipment (See Air War).

    While the Army were able to take Huantai by the 12th of September they couldn't report it as a victory.

    On the 13th, after some rest and reorganization, the Imperial Army was back on the move. It launched a attack on the Nationalist infantry in Yucheng with a infantry division.


    At the same time it attacked the two Nationalist units in Pingyin with the 7. Mountain Division.

    It was as if the Imperial Army was trying to push eastwards as fast as they could to link up with Qingdao. It was noticed by Utsunimiya that the Province of Linqing was empty of enemy defenders. But the Army was smart enough not to try to take it - it would left a hole in their own lines.


    The Nationalists reacted with a attack on Puyang. Twenty-five thousand infantry and cavalry against eight thousand Japanese defenders. The Japanese officers had superior training AND the enemy WAS trying to attack over a river. But the odds were in the Nationalist's favor. And the Japanese unit was ALREADY in battle.

    Ironically, the mountain division was the one who faltered, and the Battle of Pingyin was a defeat! 27 men and horses were lost while the Nationalists only lost 8 men.

    On the morning of the 14th violence exploded along the front. In the west a cavalry division and a infantry division were sent into the Province of Dengkou to clear out the Communist militia stationed there.

    A cavalry division and a mountain division was sent into Suide to attack the Communists stationed there. Three enemy militia and two HQ units.

    In the east the Army sent in two cavalry divisions and a infantry division into Lunru to take out the Nationalist infantry division defending the province.

    Was this a burst of renewed energy on the part of the Army? Or a sign of desperation?

    Late on the 15th the Army sent in a mountain division into the Province of Pingyin to try to take the province, again, from the Nationalist Police unit protecting it.


    By the end of the eleventh week the map didn't look much different. In the end it all still seemed to hinge on the defeat of the People's Republic of China. The Army announced a defeat at the cost of 27 soldiers while the Nationalist lost 8 men. But the Army promised that once the Communists fell than the Nationalists would fall. But the people of Japan were starting to feel doubts.



    The Air War​

    On the morning of the 9th one of the Army's Air Groups started another bombing run on Huantai. The Nationalist Infantry Brigades were, from what the pilots said, on their last legs. They were on the verge of breaking.

    The next bombing run had both Air Groups combined. Causing even more damage and confusion to the enemy below.

    A total of three bombing runs were carried out. Another 486 Nationalists were killed. And then the enemy unit fled and the Army Air Groups withdraw to refuel, reorganize, and await new orders.

    It wasn't until around noon on the 13th that the Air Groups once again saw some action. One was ordered to bomb the Nationalist infantry in the Province of Yucheng. It attacked the enemy positions for a total of eight times and killed 601 Nationalist soldiers.

    The other started to blast the Province of Pingyin to dislodge the Nationalist Police unit. The Police unit was only bombed once and only lost 41 soldiers.

    The Air Group that had bombed Pingyin moved on to the Province of Zhengzhou to blast the Nationalist infantry unit there. No doubt trying to soften it. The Province was bombed six times and the result was the deaths of 637 Nationalist soldiers.

    General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya wished that the Imperial Japanese Army had more bombers. The Air Forces of both branches needed to be expanded.



    The Navy War​

    Operation 'Pitch-Fork' was launched the second the Advisers approved of it. The Task Groups were told to stop their patrols and pick up the three infantry divisions still available.

    The 3rd Task Group was sent to the Port of Nagasaki to pick up the 52. Hohei Shidan. The 2nd Task Group was sent to the Port of Nagoya to pick up the 53. Hohei Shidan. The 1st Task Group was sent to Port of Gaoxiong (Taiwan) to pick up the 16. Hohei Shidan.

    The 2nd Navy was told to start patrolling the waves again. Still, this left a gap in the patrols of convoy raiders.


    The 3rd Task Group was the first to make it to port to pick up its assigned infantry division. On the morning of the 9th it was ordered to move to the North Taiwan Strait. It would be landing its payload in Fuzhou.

    Shortly before midnight on the 9th the 1st Task Group made it to Taiwan and loaded up its infantry unit. It was ordered to enter the South Taiwan Strait. It's target would be Xiamen.

    Even while this happening the 3rd Task Group, under cover of night, was unloading the 52. into landing craft. Fuzhou was totally undefended and open to invasion.


    By midnight the 1st Task Group was in place and started to unload its soldiers into landing craft. Once again Xiamen was undefended and open to invasion.


    It was the afternoon of the 10th by the time the 2nd Task Group entered the Port of Nagoya and started to load up the infantry, with all their equipment and supplies. Once ready it was ordered to Hangzhou Bay. Its target would be the Port of Ningbo.

    This entire time the Nationalist militia in the Province of Ningbo had been attacked by the Navy’s 1. Hikoutai Tactical Bomber Group. The bombers had carried out only four attacks and killed 291 militia before they stopped.

    They stopped because the Nationalist militia started heading south on the 10th. Maybe the Republic’s military had finally noticed something was happening on their southern coast? Whatever the reason it now left the third, and finally, objective of Operation ‘Pitch-Fork’ undefended.

    Everything seemed to be looking good. The Navy felt nothing could go wrong at this point. Until the Nationalists launched an all out attack on the Port of Qingdao.


    The Province of Qingdao had always had a somewhat rocky history. In 1891 the Qing Empire decided to turn Qingdoa into a coastal defense base against naval attack. The Germans noticed and invaded the port in 1897. The Qing Empire was forced to give the area to Germany in 1898. The Germans outfitted the area with a sewer system and safe drinking water supply and electric power. Schools were funded and even German brewing methods brought in.

    During the Great War the Japanese, allied to the British, occupied the region for a short time before it was released back to China. And now they were back.

    Of course, now they were being attacked by two Nationalist infantry divisions and two militia divisions. The Japanese had superior leadership, were dug in, and well supplied. As the Chinese attacked the port the Japanese soldiers ambushed them in the streets. They could easily use the urban environment to their advantage as the enemy funneled through certain key intersections of the city.

    And by 11 AM on the 11th of September the Navy’s Tactical Bombers had been redirected to bombing the Province of Longkou. In other words dropping bombs on the two enemy Infantry Divisions to the northwest of Qingdao. Ten attacks where carried out by the Tactical Bombers and, it was reported, 912 Nationalist soldiers were killed.

    As this was happening the 52. took the Port of Fuzhou without firing a shot.

    Then at midnight, on the 12th, the 16. took the Port of Xiamen without a fist lifted in anger.


    By 3 AM both the 3rd Task Group and the 1st Task Group were ordered to Haizhou Wan where their carrier based planes could launch bombing runs on the enemy attackers.


    Around 4 AM the 2nd Task Group started to unload its load of troops in landing craft just offshore from the Port of Ningbo. Which was now totally unguarded.

    At this point General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya reminded the IGH to give the troops in Qingdao a priority for upgrades and reinforcements. It would need every edge it could get in the fight.

    A few hours before midnight, on the 12th, the 3rd Task Group weighed anchor in Haizhou Wan and sent its planes to attack the Province of Jiaozhou with its Nationalist militia. They started dropping bombs on the enemy a couple hours before midnight. The CAGs launched ground attacks thirteen times and killed 266 Nationalist militia.

    It didn’t help the Nationalists when the warships of the Task Group also started supporting the ground troops with their ‘Big Guns’.


    The 1st Task Group joined in the action by the morning of the 13th. It’s planes were directed to focus their attacks on the Province of Laiyang and the other enemy militia. The militia in the province were attacked twelve times and 319 of the enemy were killed.

    On the early hours of the 14th the Port of Ningbo was taken by the 53. and the 2nd Task Group was sent north to join the others in bombing the enemy.

    While all THAT was happening the Navy decided to send their Naval Bombers, in the 5. Nihon Koukuujieitai, to the newly captured airbase in Fuzhou.

    By the time the sun was rising the Naval bombers were landing in Fuzhou and found themselves very disappointed. The airbase had a dirt airfield and the hangers could only shelter HALF the aircraft. And there wasn’t enough fuel or supplies for both Wings. They would need to based someplace else. They were ordered to the Shanghai airbases.

    Around noon on the 14th the provinces surrounding Qingdao looked like Hell as the Japanese aircraft dropped bombs around the clock on the Nationalists.


    By the late afternoon the 2rd Task Group finally arrived and launched its aircraft at Longkou to help the Navy’s Tactical Bombers. They launched six attacks total before the end of the time period and killed 304 Nationalist infantry.

    By the end of the week it was ironic to realize that the Navy had carried out more bombing runs than the Army Air Force had during the same time period. And would likely gain a LOT of experience for having done so.


    The Navy announced the success of Operation ‘Pitch-Fork’ and the ‘Heroic’ defense of the Port of Qingdao. Sadly for them the public wasn’t really buying it. Part of this was due to the Army’s own news releases were starting to make them somewhat cynical. But mainly it had to do with the Chief of the Navy angrily denouncing the Operation as worthless and saying that the Navy’s plan, ’Common Sense’, would have been much better. He also stated that the Advisers were all ’Pro-Army Communist Spies’.



    Misc. Events​

    As the war slowly ground to a halt there were other events during the eleventh week. The Germans, once again, asked the Japanese to join them in a alliance. And once again the Japanese said no.

    The capital's newspapers were starting to make fun of the European nation. There were political cartoons showing it as a 'stalker' or a single man with crushed flowers and cheap chocolate asking passing nations in the street for a date.

    And when it, somehow, became known that Germany's people felt that Communist China was the greatest threat to their region the jokes became insults. The Germans were seen as Europe's clowns and soon even street performers were making fun of the German's leader and his cronies.

    Almost undetected in the newspapers was a report on a Trade Deal made with Siam for the export of supplies to their nation. No doubt a strategy to bring the two nations closer together. Why? Nobody knew.

    By the end of the eleventh week the Head of Intelligence announced that the Nationalist Chinese had captured two agents, the Communist Chinese had captured one agent, the US had captured one agent, and Canada had captured one agent.

    The Head of Intelligence also tried to defend the Navy's Operation 'Pitch-Fork' against public critics by releasing some information to the press. The information, while somewhat vague, supported the fact that the Nationalist Chinese were much closer to surrendering as over 42 percent of their major ports, industrial centers, and important cities were now occupied by Japanese troops.

    It failed to impress the public who were staring at the maps in the newspapers that showed them a front that was barely moving. Recruitment posters, for both the Army and the Navy, were being vandalized. Military men in uniform were no longer being cheered by crowds or given free drinks at bars and restaurants. It seemed the populace was starting to give the military the cold shoulder.

    There was not enough good news coming in from the front. Only more bodies of loved ones.

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

    OOC: Behind the scenes images:

     
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    Chapter Fifty-Six: Stalled - 16.9.1937 To 22.9.1937
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    Chapter Fifty-Six: Stalled - 16.9.1937 To 22.9.1937



    The Land War​

    The twelfth week of the conflict with the Republic started out with the Imperial Japanese Army in six battles. The Battle of Yucheng, the Battle of Puyang, the Battle of Suide, the Battle of Dengkou, the Battle of Linru, and the Battle of Pingyin.

    Shortly after midnight on the 16th of September one of the battles came to an end. The Battle of Linru was a victory. The Army lost 70 men and horses while the Nationalists lost 488 soldiers. Sadly, the cavalry unit seemed to be too disorganized to march into Linru to take it.


    Before midnight of the 17th, 24 hours later the Army announced another victory. The Army won the Battle of Dengkou at the cost of 84 men. The Communists lost 568 soldiers. Once again it wasn't, really, a very valuable province. But it was a victory.


    On the early hours of the 17th, when the sun was finally above the horizon, the Battle of Yucheng just ended. The Nationalist soldiers just melted away. Seems the Army Bombing Group had blasted them to the point where they could not stand it anymore. (See Air War).


    Of course the 19. decided to complain, again, about the lack of supplies available in northern Korea. And, once again, General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya ignored their complaint. Because, at the moment, there was nothing anybody could do about it.


    Sadly, there was a REAL problem in the Province of Puyang. There the 37. Hohei Shidan, under attack from four Nationalist divisions, was starting to be worn down. Even with the superior leadership of Major General Inanba, and with a river helping them, the Japanese soldiers were being pushed to the limits.

    The Imperial Army, during the late afternoon of the 18th, launched two attacks. First they sent in a infantry division into Jinan to try to push out the Nationalist infantry division defending it. The Army was finally trying to get the airbases.


    The second attack was on Zibo by another infantry division against the Nationalist infantry division there.

    Then there was bad news. The Battle of Jinan was a defeat. The Army lost 7 men while the Nationalists only lost 2 men. It was embarrassing but it also was a warning sign. The Imperial Japanese Army had reached the end of the road. Those units facing the Nationalists had pushed too hard, had been TOO aggressive, and now were feeling it.

    Then late in the evening of the 18th the Battle of Pingyin just halted. Once again there were no lists or reports. The Nationalists just ran away after being driven to madness by the Japanese Bombers (See Air War).

    At midnight, on the 19th, another Battle of Pingyin started as the Nationalists attacked the Japanese mountain division who was moving into the province. And they failed. The Japanese took victory, and the Province, at the cost of zero men while the enemy lost 3 soldiers.


    Around 9 AM in the morning the Japanese who were marching into the Province of Yucheng found to their annoyance that the province that had meant to be empty was not so empty. There was a Nationalist infantry division waiting for them.


    An hour later the Army sent in a cavalry unit into the Province of Zhengzhou. A valuable and very important urban center of the Republic. It was guarded by a lone Nationalist unit. Over eleven thousand horsemen against just over five thousand infantry in the streets and roads of a modern city. Who decided this attacks?

    By the afternoon the Army reported a victory in Yucheng. They had lost 8 soldiers while the Nationalists had lost 15 soldiers. A victory. But a small one.


    At the same time they won the Battle of Zhengzhou. This was a Major Victory! Now the Army did lose 16 soldiers and horse while the Nationalists only lost 5 soldiers. But this was likely due to the cavalry not being suited for street warfare. Either way this was a blow to the Republic's unity.

    Back in the Battle of Puyang the Nationalists, maybe sensing victory OR sensing that victory might be slipping away, switched to using 'Shock' tactics. One of the Chinese units had dropped out of the battle. But the Japanese were easily able to counter the enemy by using 'Ambush' tactics.

    The problem was the Japanese troops were also being worn down and it was likely they would break soon.

    To the west, on the front with Red China, the Communists sent in a militia unit to try to retake Dengkou. And were defeated by the Japanese infantry division they ran into. The Japanese division lost no one while the Communists lost 8 men in their vanguard.

    Then Japanese Army sent in a cavalry division into Yulin to take on a Communist mountain division and a militia unit. To be frank the odds were in favor of the Communists and, to Utsunimiya, this looked more like the roll of the die then good planning.

    On the morning of the 21st, at 3 AM, news of disaster shock the Army as the Battle of Puyang was lost. The Japanese division fled after losing a total of 757 soldiers. The Nationalists had only lost 489 to the Land Combat.


    At the same time the Army announced they had won the Battle of Zibo with only losing 131 men. The Nationalists had lost 194. But this news, while good, didn't really make up for the Army's major defeat. Nor the Navy's major defeat (See Navy War).

    The Nationalists, sensing blood, attacked the Province of Pingyin with two divisions against the Japanese mountain division now occupying the province.

    The Army countered by launching a attack on Jinan, again, with the infantry trying to rush the enemy using a 'Breakthrough' tactic against the defending Nationalist infantry.

    During the evening of the 21st the Province of Zhengzhou was officially occupied by the Empire of Japan. This helped the Army's morale a tad but not much.

    Before midnight, on the same day, the Army sent a infantry division and cavalry division into the Province of Baofeng to push out the Nationalist infantry. This province was pretty worthless but would thin out the enemy's line even more.

    The next day, on the 22nd, a infantry division was sent into Guangrao to kick out the Nationalist division protecting the province. This was the Army still trying to head east to take Qingdao.

    A few hours later the Army announced a victory in Baofeng. 27 Japanese soldiers died while the Nationalists lost 114 soldiers.


    By the end of the week the Army had gained ONE objective but still had three to go. Eight-four days after the start of the war and Nationalist China was still standing.

    Of course the Army claimed eight victories. They also tried to downplay the two defeats and the two unknown results. The loses to Land Combat during this week had been high - 1,100 soldiers were lost. In comparison the Nationalists lost 1,310 soldiers that week to Land Combat and the Communists lost 576 men to Land Combat.



    The Air War​

    The Army Air Force had it's hands full this week trying to support all the Land Battles going on. In cases it did so well that the enemy fell apart and fled. In other cases even the awesome might of the Japanese Bombing Groups were not enough to turn the tide in favor of the Imperial Army.

    One Air Group continued to bomb the Province of Yucheng. There were five more bombing runs and another 391 Nationalists were killed. On the 17th of September the Chinese infantry lines collapsed and there was nothing left to bomb.

    The other Air Group was still bombing the Province of Pingyin. On the 18th both Army Air Groups joined together to bomb the Police unit in Pingyin. There was nine bombing runs which killed 937 men from the Nationalist Police unit before the Air Groups stopped. They stopped due to the enemy just melting away. Leaving behind dead bodies and broken equipment.

    Now the two Air Groups were free to attack other enemy occupied provinces. One started dropping bombs on the Nationalist infantry in the Province of Zibo. There was a total of seven bombing runs which killed 672 Nationalist soldiers. At this point the Air Group moved onto Jinan on the morning of the 22nd.

    The other Air Group hit the Province of Zhengzhou to soften the Nationalist Infantry Division guarding the province. There was only a total of two bombing runs which killed 294 enemy infantry.

    By the morning of the 19th it was reported that both of the Imperial Army's Fighter Wings had completely upgraded their planes to Nakajima Ki-27 Kyunnanas. This meant the Army's Fighters were all now top-of-the-line monoplanes.

    The Air Group from Zhengzhou moved onto the Province of Juye on the 20th of September to drop bombs on the Nationalist Infantry Division stationed there. It was if the Army was trying to hit as many enemy units as they could. There was only a total of six missions and the Japanese bombers killed 521 Nationalist soldiers before moving on to Jining.


    On the 22nd the other Air Group started to blast the Nationalist infantry in Jinan. The Province had become the center of a series of battles - the Imperial Army REALLY wanted those airbases! There was a total of three attacks and the enemy lost 303 soldiers.

    The second Air Group that had finished blasting Juye had moved on to bomb the Police unit in the Province of Jining. Before the twelfth ended there was a total of three attacks and the bombers killed 369 soldiers of the Nationalist Police units.

    On the morning of the 22nd, at the same time the bombings of Jinan and Jining had started the Chinese "Russian" Bombers showed up and bombed the Japanese infantry in Linru. They bombed Linru a total of three times. They only killed 25 Japanese soldiers but that was still 25 soldiers too many. Where were the Japanese Fighter Pilots?

    While the Army Air Force tried its best in supporting the ground operations in the end too much was going wrong for it to put all the issues to right. Either the Army would need to be increased in size for future conflicts or the Army Air Force would need to be increased in size.



    The Navy War​

    The Imperial Japanese Navy wasn't doing much better than the Army. All their Air Forces outside of Japan were trying to do their best to protect the Port of Qingdao.

    The attack on the Provinces of Laiyang and Longkou had continued. The Naval Bombers joined in on the attacks on Laiyang by 4 AM on the morning of the 16th (See Below).

    Laiyang was bombed eighteen times and it was reported that 872 Nationalists died.

    Longkou was bombed eighteen times and it was reported that 985 Nationalists died.

    The attack on the Province of Jiaozhou had also continued. A bombing run had just been finished on the morning of the 16th when the Chinese Fighters pounced on the CAGs in the dark. And even in the dark the enemy pilots, tired and confused, were defeated in what the Navy called another 'victory'.

    In the end Jiaozhou was bombed eighteen time and it was reported that 315 Nationalists died.

    This meant, from the 16th till the 20th, 2,172 Nationalist soldiers were killed due to Japanese Ground Attacks carried out by the Navy.

    The newly assembled 10th CAG was also deployed to Hiroshima. The brand new Wing of Nakajima A4Ns would need time to prepare themselves. They, of course, would have to wait for their second Wing to be finished before either would be assigned to a NEW Carrier or be sent into combat.

    Also on the morning of the 16th the Naval Bombers, having FINALLY reached Shanghai, were ordered to launch Ground Attacks on the Province of Laiyang. The hope was that the weight of bombs alone would, hopefully, bring the attack by the Nationalist forces to a halt. The Bombers joined the CAGs in the Laiyang bombing runs (See Above).


    By the morning of the 17th it was clear that the bombing runs were hurting the Nationalists. BUT the Battle for Qingdao continued and there was no sign of it stopping any time soon.

    On the morning of the 20th there was some good news. One of the Nationalist Infantry Divisions had dropped out of the Battle of Qingdao. Sadly this good news was balanced out by the bad news - the Japanese defenders were on the verge of total collapse. Even with the air support and the 'Big Guns' defeat was just around the corner.

    At 8 AM, on the 20th, shortly after the last news it was announced that the Battle of Qingdao had come to an end. It was a defeat. 674 Japanese soldiers had been killed. In return the Nationalist Divisions had lost 845 soldiers due to the Land Combat.

    The only silver lining in this dark cloud was the fact that the Japanese Division, the 48. Hohei Shidan, was escaping the port using military and civilian craft. It would be withdrawing to the nearby Task Groups.

    Of course at this point all Carrier planes were recalled to their Carriers and the bombers were sent back to Shanghai.


    The Tactical Bombers of the 1. Hikoutai were sent out, from Shanghai, to bomb the Nationalist Cavalry and HQ stationed in Neze. It was hoped that this would help the Imperial Army's push southwards. Funny enough by the 21st the Cavalry had abandoned the Province leaving the HQ behind to deal with the bombs.

    By the closing of the 22nd of September there had been a total of four bombing runs and 285 Nationalists, mostly horsemen, had been killed.

    It was also noticed just HOW many Nationalist units were hanging around the defenses of Shanghai. And it looked like a few of them were heading south to attack Operation 'Pitch-Fork'. The Naval Bombers were called in to try to soften this units before they got out of range.

    The Naval Bombers starting hitting the Province of Jiande. There were 12 enemy brigades moving through the province at the time. Thirty-One THOUSAND soldiers of the enemy. The units who were mostly made up of infantry, but with militia and artillery units mixed in, suddenly found bombs dropping on them.

    Jiande, and the enemy units within it, was hit ten times. It was reported that 447 Nationalists, mostly militia and artillery, were killed.

    At the end of the seven day period the Navy wasn't really making any public statements. Even their 'victory' against Chinese Fighters seems somewhat unimportant. This silence just made the public, and many within the media, all the more vocal in their displeasure at the loss of Qingdao.



    Misc. Events​

    During the twelfth week there was very little news that wasn't related to the war. The only NON-related news was the fact that Japanese had accepted a Trade Agreement with the USSR. And the US had BROKEN a Trade Deal they had with the Empire.

    This LAST action meant that the Treasury, as of the 18th, was in the RED. On the other hand all the stockpiles were in the Green. So nobody was really THAT alarmed.

    On the other hand it seems both Sweden and Switzerland were aligning themselves towards the Comintern. That was SOMEWHAT alarming. A Europe going totally Communism seemed to be bad for future trade with that region and would make the USSR a tad too powerful.

    On the 18th the Head of Intelligence told the Spies in Nationalist China to switch priority from Covert Operations back to Disrupting the Nationalists' National Unity.

    On the 20th the Spies within the Republic infiltrated the local military HQs around Jinan. Soon the information that had stolen would be in the hands of the Imperial Army. Giving them unit strengths and weaknesses.

    It was also reported that the capture of the Province of Zhengzhou, by the Imperial Army, had pushed Nationalist China very close to final defeat.

    Even the capture of Qingdao by the Republic didn't help them as much as many critics among the Japanese media thought it did. They had lost more in Zhengzhou than they regained in Qingdao.

    Though it was noticed that the UK, the US, and France were all allowing the Republic to trade on credit. In other words the Republic would pay its debts AFTER the war. This was NOT announced to the public. Of course the Republic had no convoys to import any material they purchased.

    By the end of twelfth week the Head of Intelligence reported that the Canadians had captured one agent, the Nationalist Chinese had captured two agents, and the Communist Chinese had captured two agents.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
    Author's Notes:

    More Behind The Scenes:

     
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    Chapter Fifty-Seven: Thirteenth Week - 23.9.1937 To 29.9.1937
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    Utsunimiya's War
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    Chapter Fifty-Seven: Thirteenth Week - 23.9.1937 To 29.9.1937



    The Land War​

    The Imperial Japanese Army was engaged in five battles by the start of the thirteenth week. The Battle of Jinan, the Battle of Suide, the Battle of Yulin, the Battle of Guangrao, and the Battle of Pingyin.

    At this point it was easy to see the gaps in both the Japanese and the Chinese lines. Each side could take advantage of those holes IF they have the units available to do so. And with the fall of Qingdao the Nationalist Chinese now had a few units in their reserve.

    It was the Communist Chinese who started a NEW battle by hitting the Province of Shilou with a Mountain Division attacking a Japanese Mountain Division. The Japanese troops had the protection of a river AND outnumbered the enemy. But were badly organized after months of fighting.


    By the time the sun started to glance over the mountain peaks the Japanese mountaineers had won. They had lost 3 men while the Communists had lost 38.


    A few hours later the Army also announced a victory at Pingyin. The Japanese had lost 106 soldiers while the Nationalists had lost 242 soldiers.

    Major General Imamura, the Leader in charge of the Assault on the Province of Jinan, announced that he would be taking the region, with its airbases, any day now. General Shō-ichi Utsunimiya pondered if such statements should be released to the press. What if the man FAILED again in taking Jinan?


    During the morning hours of the 25th the Japanese Army announced victory in Guangrao. The Army lost 181 men while Nationalists lost 162 men. The difference wasn't very much but taking the Province would threaten the Nationalist units still returning from the attack on Qingdao.


    While this was going on the Imperial Army was trying to find a way to plug the hole in the middle of the front. It didn't really have much in the way of reserves and it was like trying to stop a flood with a napkin.


    Around the time breakfast was being served to Utsunimiya and his staff the Army reported the victory at Jinan. The Japanese Army had lost 114 soldiers while the Nationalists had only lost 100 soldiers. But in the end what mattered was if the Army could TAKE the Province.

    Then, by the end of the day, around midnight, bad news was announced by the Imperial Army. The Battle of Suide was a defeat. The Army had lost 1,654 soldiers while the Communists had only lost 1,278 soldiers.

    On top of that the units fighting the Communists were starting to show the strain. Some of the units, in fact, seemed to be withdrawing.


    Funny enough it was at this moment that the Imperial Army's Air Force decided to START bombing Suide (See Air War).


    As the sun started to peak over the horizon on the 26th the Army reported, with great fanfare, the Province of Jinan officially being occupied.

    Many within the Imperial Army let out a silent sigh of relief. This Province was hugely valuable to the enemy and Intelligence calculated that the Republic could only lose another one or two provinces before 'tossing in the towel'. It also forced the Republic to station their aircraft farther to the west.

    Shortly after lunch on the 28th the staff brought the General some bad news. The Battle of Yulin was a defeat. The Army had lost 874 men while the Communists had only lost 788 men.

    The fighting in the mountains and hills of the People's Republic of China was proving to be a great advantage to the defending enemy. Who would have guessed?

    At this point it was rumored that the HQ staff of 'China' Operations were asking for 27 Tank Brigades and 21 Infantry Brigades. Utsunimiya wanted to laugh. The Japanese tanks were still on the drawing board and there were no infantry divisions to hand over for the fighting in southern China but for those facing the Russians in the snowy north.

    And NOBODY would agree to that. Field Marshal Minami would have to work with what he had.

    By the end of the 29th of September the front had gone silent. As if all three armies were too exhausted to continue fighting. The Imperial Army claimed four victories, and celebrated the capture of Jinan, and tried to downplay the massive defeats. The losses of the Army during the week, to the Land Combat, did not help much. 2,932 Japanese soldiers had been killed and more than 80 percent of those dead soldiers were just from the two defeats.


    The Nationalist Chinese had lost only 504 to Land Combat while the Communist Chinese had only lost 2,104 to the Land Combat. Many critics within the press suggested this was the “turning point” of the war and that the Imperial Japanese Army had “gone too far” and was “doomed to failure”.



    The Air War​

    The Army's Air Groups started the thirteenth week with one of them continuing to bomb the Province of Jinan. Major General Nakajima, the officer in charge of the attack, had become very experienced at attacking armoured vehicles and was becoming a superior air tactician. There was a total of eight bombing runs and 848 Nationalist soldiers were killed. Then the Air Group went on to bomb Suide.

    The other Army Air Group was launching an attack on the Province of Guangrao. Lt. General Obata, in charge of this second Group, was also very good at busting up ground vehicles but not much else. There was eight attacks and the Nationalists lost more than 579 soldiers. At least one report was scrambled or lost. Then the second Air Group moved onto Yulin.

    The problem with the first Air Group starting to bomb the Province of Suide on the early morning hours of the 26th was the fact that the battle was already over. And the Imperial Army had lost. If the bombers had been available earlier they might have tilted the battle towards victory. Now, the bombing attacks felt more like revenge against the Communists than a logical choice. There were only three attacks which killed 230 Communist soldiers.

    By noon of the 26th the second Air Group had moved into the region to bomb the Province of Yulin. At lease THIS battle against the Communists was still in progress and maybe the aircraft could help the Army grab a victory? There were five bombing runs which killed 526 Communist soldiers.


    Due to the distance between the Communist targets and the available airbases the Japanese Bombers were barely getting back with any fuel left! And with the Imperial Japanese Army not doing so well on the front their Air Force was being ignored. In fact some critics even blamed them for the failure of the Army to crush the Communist Chinese! Their success early on in the conflict was backfiring on them now that they didn't seem as effective as before.



    The Navy War​

    The Navy's week started out with good news. On the 23rd of September the Imperial Japanese Navy announced that the 48. Hohei Shidan Division had completed their withdraw. The unit was now safe and sound on the transport ships of the 2nd Task Group. And the commander of the division, Sakabara, was seen as a Hero for keeping his men under control and disciplined during the naval operation.


    The 2nd Task Group was ordered to rebase at Gaoxiong where it could return the unit to it's home port.


    The 3rd Task Group was ordered to go to Hangzhou Bay and the 1st Task Group was ordered to the North Taiwan Strait. There they could support the footholds of Operation 'Pitch-Fork'.

    The Naval Bombers were continuing to bomb the Province of Jiande to try to damage and slow down the enemy units moving south. On the 24th the Chinese Fighter Wing pounced on the Naval Bombers trying to chase them away. They failed of course. Again, on the 26th, the Chinese Fighter Wing returned to jump the bombers. And failed. There were fifteen bombing runs during this time period before the unit was recalled back to Shanghai for new orders (See Operation : Burning Nanjing). It was reported the bombers killed 707 Nationalists during the week.

    By the morning of the 23rd Chinese militia were spotted outside the Port of Fuzhou.

    At this point it was decided to call the 9th CAG back to China. The IGH had decided that they needed all combat ready air units in the battle for survival. The 9th CAG was sent back to the airbases in Taiwan. Major General Kawabe M. was looking forward to more combat.

    For some reason that name bothered Utsunimiya. And after going through some of his files he found out why. The man had TWO Commands! Not only did the man have two commands but he had the balls to use the same name for both Commanders. Even the photos in the files matched!


    "The bastard is trying to get double pay!" exclaimed the General as he glanced back and forth between the two open files. "This may explain the performance of the Cavalry unit. He is with the air units and is likely controlling the cavalry via letters."

    "Maybe they are twins," stated one of the staff members who had helped with the search,

    Utsunimiya fought the impress to punch the man and said, "We'll have to deal with this AFTER the conflict. Otherwise we screw up the Chain-Of-Command and open both branches of the military to a scandal."

    The 9th CAG was ordered to start bombing the militia outside of Fuzhou in the Province of Minhou. On their third bombing run they were joined by the aircraft from the 1st Task Group. In the middle of the 27th the pilots reported NO militia available to bomb. The enemy had fled the Province after eighteen bombing runs and they had lost 489 of their Nationalist comrades. The 9th and the other CAGs were recalled late on the 27th. There was nobody left in the Province of Minhou to attack.

    By noon on the 23rd the 3rd Task Group was stationed off the coast of Ningbo. Ready, just in case, to give air support or help the Japanese division withdraw from the port.

    By late afternoon the 1st Task Group was stationed off the coast of Fuzhou. Yamamoto ordered his CAGs to support the 9th CAG in attacking the Nationalist militia.

    By the morning of the 24th the 2nd Task Group had dropped the 14. division at Taiwan and was ordered to South Taiwan Strait. There it could give the troops in the Port of Xiamen air support if needed.

    On the 25th, shortly before midnight, it was noticed that the Navy's Tactical Bombers were having problems hitting the Province of Neze. The distance to the target used up much of their fuel and it seemed they were having issues regularly hitting the enemy. It was decided that the bombers should be rebased in Dalian. Which was closer to Neze and would allow them to hit....just about anything they wanted. This would prove to be a horrible mistake.


    Once they were ready, refueled and rearmed, they were told to start bombing runs on the Province of Tai'an.

    But it was noticed that by the 26th the Tactical Bombers were not getting any fuel. The Port was getting fuel delivered to it daily but none of it was getting to the airbases. It was ALMOST as if all of the fuel was being snatched up by the Army before it could get to the Navy's aircraft. They were receiving zero fuel from the cargo ships. On the 27th the 1. Hikoutai was ordered to Shanghai with the last of their fuel.

    Once back in Shanghai the bombers found plenty of fuel for their tanks and more than enough supplies to rearm their aircraft and fill their bellies. They were asked to join in Operation 'Burning Nanjing' on the 28th.

    Back up north, next to the Port of Ningbo a Nationalist militia unit had stationed itself and started to dig in. The CAGs from the 3rd Task Group were ordered in to blast them to pieces. Soon the Province of Shenxian was being bombed. Nine bombing runs were carried out and 254 Nationalists were killed.

    On the 27th it was noticed that Nationalist militia had entered the Province of Minhou again. And once again the 1st Task Group sent in its CAGs to hit the enemy before they could become too comfortable. The Nationalists were attacked eight times and 223 of them were killed.

    In the early morning of the 28th enemy units were seen in the Province of Zhangping right next to the Port of Fuzhou. They attacked the militia eight times and killed 242 Nationalists.

    On the 28th the 9th CAG, having spent the time recovering in Taiwan, was ordered to attack Nationalist militia that had appeared in Zhangzhou near Fuzhou. They launched five bombing runs and killed 97 Nationalists.

    Operation : Burning Nanjing​

    Operation 'Burning Nanjing' was a simple idea the Navy came up with. It they couldn't kill enough soldiers to bring the war to a stop they would bomb the enemy's Capital back to the Stone Age. The Navy's Naval Bombers, the G3Ms, would start strategic bombing on Nanjing starting on the 26th of September. The factories would not be the only target. The Capital also had stockpiles of metal and coal that could be blasted to nothingness. The Tactical Bombers joined in on the 28th and started carrying out their own bombing runs. The Naval Bombers were told to take a break on the morning of the 28th and would spend the rest of the time catching up on their sleep while the bombers were given a once over.

    Of course the Navy's Tactical Bombers continued to hit the Capital.

    By the end of the thirteenth week the Capital's factories were destroyed, the metal stockpile was empty, and the coal stockpiles had less than one percent left of what they had started out with before the bombing runs had started. Between the two Navy's Air Bombing Groups they had bombed the Capital fifteen times.


    In the end the Imperial Japanese Navy announced how they had saved the Heroes of Qingdao, reported beating back the Chinese Air Force TWICE, and pointed out to the press just how many thousands of Nationalist soldiers had been killed by their air forces. Few critics could debate these facts and much of the public felt a TAD warmer towards the Navy.



    Misc. Events​

    Most events outside of China had to deal with Intelligence. For example, it was known to much of the government and military that the populace of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the USSR all thought that Japan was a threat to their nation. Only the people of Germany felt that the People's Republic of China was a threat to their nation.

    The Head of Intelligence announced, by the end of the thirteenth week of the conflict with China, that the Canadians had captured one agent, the Communist Chinese had captured three agents, and the Americans had captured one agent.

    This was all well known facts.

    A secret paper, from the Head of Intelligence, was passed among the government Heads and Chiefs. It was also sent to many of the higher ranking Generals and Marshals of the military. It showed that the Japanese populace was starting to learn towards the Comintern even while publicly seeing the Communists in China as a threat to Japan. This was NOT well known to the public and many within both the government and military were upset about this information.

    Others were not so surprised. It wasn't like Germany was a attractive ally and the "Allies" owned much of the territory Japan WANTED. Maybe the USSR would be the best ally?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​
    Author's Notes:

    OOC: Behind The Scenes -

     
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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



    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.


    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.


    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).


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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!



    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.


    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.


    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.


    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

     
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