From: Lone Star Nation
The Imperial Palace Gardens
Nishio Akira tended to a cherry tree on a blustery winter day in the serene grounds of the Palace. The snows still lingered despite a reasonable amount of sun, but he liked to nurture the trees before spring's arrival, believing it improved the blossoms yet to come.
Akira noticed a solitary figure approaching, and groaned inwardly, but with a good-natured feeling of inevitability. No plant could try his patience, but on occasion his master could. The gray-haired laborer had a unique relationship with the Showa Emperor. His Majesty had advisors and servants galore, but all had an agenda, and the wrong word from the Divine One could set into motion a thousand schemes. Because the only man or woman who wanted for nothing in the palace was a sixty-one year old gardener, he was the only soul in whom the Emperor could truly confide.
"Still tending to bare sticks of trees in Winter, Akira?" said the Emperor.
"Aye, your Majesty," Nishio replied.
"Remind us again, why do you do this?"
"Does not a pregnant woman speak to her babe and watch what she eats and drinks, even though the child has not yet been born?"
"Ahhh, now we remember," said the Emperor. He wandered the garden for a few minutes, stopping by his favorite places. It was all prelude, and both men knew it. Finally, the Sovereign came to the point.
"Another meeting of the Supreme Council, today. We reviewed the course of the war, and there was much crowing by the Navy on the effect of our recent victories. While it was enjoyable to us to watch Tojo fidget and squirm, we were still troubled."
"Why?" said Akira.
"We also reviewed Intelligence reports concerning American shipbuilding efforts. We were told all was as expected, and that our forces would control the Pacific for months to come."
The gardener scratched his grizzled chin. "Wonderful news, I would think."
"For months to come, we are sure it is. Then what? We quietly took steps after the meeting for trusted retainers to review the source documents. They tell a more disturbing tale. We have sunk five heavy and two light carriers, leaving the enemy with but one. They are currently expected to replace these losses four or five times over in the next three years, with an equally impressive output of surface warships and planes. And that doesn't even count the forces to be arrayed against the Germans and Italians. In the long run, how can we prevail?"
Akira's next statement would have resulted in the arrest of any other person in Japan. "If this was known, why did you authorize the commencement of hostilities?"
The Emperor cast his eyes down in shame for just a moment. Both men knew that the true ruler of Japan, and the real instigator of the war, was Tojo Hideki and the Army he represented. Neither the war's existence, nor some of the actions by Japanese forces in its prosecution, were entirely the responsibility of Hirohito. Akira briefly wondered whether that made the Emperor a prisoner, a martyr or a hypocrite. But not even he dared give voice to that thought.
The Emperor chose to ignore the question. "We have won most every battle, but do not know how to finish the war. The Allies will not come to the negotiating table, and we cannot invade the United States. What should we do? Our main desire is to preserve the Empire."
"I am only a gardener, Majesty, so I will answer in terms I understand. America is a mighty tree whose foundations are too deep to uproot. But she is not the only weed in your garden. She needs Britain to fight Hitler. In Roosevelt's eyes, if Europe falls, Asia will not matter. You must defeat the English to survive. And the key to that is India. If the British win the war but lose the Raj, they lose their Empire. This is the weak link. Churchill will force the Americans to seek a separate peace."
The Emperor considered for some time, then spoke. "Tojo would say that all our troops are engaged. What shall we invade India with, old men and young boys?"
"I know not, but no war is won by defending forever. Strike now or be overwhelmed in two years' time."
"Akira, we always enjoy our chats. Please show us how the roses in the greenhouse are faring."
"Of course, right this way," said the world's most influential gardener. Akira briefly wondered if the Emperor knew he was once a Samurai with a bit more experience at war than the average horticulturalist. He sincerely hoped not.
So, what do you think, readers? It occurs to me that CF may have enough to stop me at Chittagong. He has put a horde of Commonwealth troops into Burma, then scraped together 50,000 more to try to hold Chittagong, and thus Assam, against 17th Army.
Alfred weighed in that the IJN could be used to stop reinforcements to, and draw off aircraft from, the Assam front. This would involve seizure of bases in the Indian Ocean to allow for Nettys to operate and to support our ships. I think this plan is sound, especially as it will prevent CF from committing his last reserve, the US Army and Marines, to India.
It then occurred to me - what is left to defend British India? Isn't the answer nothing more than sufficient force to meet garrison requirements? If I had five or six divisions to land at Viz or even at some point between Cochin and Bombay, wouldn't India collapse like a house of cards? And, if so, wouldn't Japan capture enough bases to win the war outright via auto victory? I don't really have the troops, but if this would win the war, I could perhaps scrape them up somewhere.
The working title for this concept is, of course, Operation Scoodra. What do you think? Too much? Am I General Lee at Gettysburg thinking "one more push, and the war is won" but without the force to make that push? I can see longer roads to victory, as Alfred has pointed out, but what can CF really do to stop the IJN for the next several months? Could the invasion of a defenseless India be the Decisive Battle?
< Message edited by Cribtop -- 2/1/2013 11:01:02 PM >