From: La Salle, Colorado
Just got this email from kfsgo:
Ok, rushed and simple...I can do rushed and simple, I guess. You get some backstory to make it complicated, though.
Garrison requirements are an interesting one; it's a bit of a balancing act between overweighting (which obviously reduces army flexibility) and underweighting needs; you get an essay since it's a quick one to write and is interesting as well as relevant:
The Japanese army was more or less capable, after late 1942 or so, of going wherever it wanted in China; its great problem was supporting itself once it got there. The Chinese were basically in a situation where they had far more manpower than they could arm - the population of Szechwan alone (think the basin from Chungking to Chengdu) was something like 80 million even then - annual Chinese intake of conscripts was usually not far off the total number of rifles the Chinese had available for the whole war! - but unfortunately it never clicked, on an institutional scale, that some proportion of the draftees the military apparatus was rounding up could be used for wider-scale logistical efforts. So, you also see these enormous numbers of people drafted from the civil population to do stuff like build airfields for B-29s etc - and while that's going on the army is more or less left to starve, because it's not capable of meeting its own supply needs beyond a subsistence level (through extraction from the local population) and the labour force which it could be using to acheive that is being diverted to do other things. In other words - for all the griping those of us who have to command the Chinese do about the inability of the NRA to supply itself, the game works pretty well in that respect. So, garrison requirements for the Chinese are effectively a political problem - it's a question of, where is the Kuomintang up against a local...government is the wrong word, but government - that has priorities other than prosecuting the war? There are three key poles to this:
- Yunnan; this is the main pathway for American supply flow into China and a significant amount of political 'pull' had to be expended in keeping Long Yun (who was the warlord/governor/administrator/whatever at the time) cooperative in not being a disruption to that pathway. Yunnan was also a significant poppy-growing (and so opium-producing) region for most of the war and a lot of time and effort was put into suppressing that - a lot of the Chinese Air Force earned their wings shooting at poppy farmers rather than the Japanese, though the problem was solved eventually - the price of rice got so high towards the late-war period that they switched to growing that!
- Szechwan; after the Japanese advances in the first four years of the war this is the Chinese 'heartland'. The trouble is that the KMT is more or less a foreign government - Chiang Kai-Shek et al's direct control never extended too far beyond Chungking proper and you've got a situation where the local warlords have far more military power than the "government" - so you have retention of KMT troops (ie the competent, motivated ones) to keep a lid on them.
- Shaanxi; speficially, the area that's controlled by the CPC, so in game terms the 'Yanan' base. Obviously the Communists were a major preoccupation for CKS; unfortunately, in the stock scenario the base produces no supplies and is therefore incapable, given the way supply flow to bases works, of supporting a garrison. That can't be helped, but can be used - give the place a significant garrison requirement and it becomes, politically, an unsolvable problem - which is pretty accurate, really - you can either garrison it and starve the garrison to death, or not and take a PP hit.
Now, the Japanese are a little more unhinged. There is a lot of guff put out about movement of a million tons of oil a week from Singapore through to Port Arthur etc - unfortunately, the logistical situation we see in WITPAE games is more or less nonsensical in a lot of ways, and is particularly so in China; the Chinese transportation system can move an effectively unlimited quantity of material extremely quickly if it's actually available - and given the Japanese capacity for production of supplies it generally will be - and that is more or less the polar opposite of reality - support for the later Japanese offensives involved a huge overstretch of their logistical system, with enormous diversions of motor transport, riverboat and barge shipping and railway rolling stock away from civil and 'back-end' military needs, the effects of which you see towards mid-1945 - they were effectively running for the coast by the end of the war, because even that movement had ground to a halt courtesy of the USAAF and they weren't even getting food, never mind ammunition etc. Unfortunately the game is very binary as regards infrastructure - you either control a road/railway or you don't; the vehicles or trains needed to make use of them aren't considered. This is where the Japanese had huge, huge problems - f.e the Burma-Siam railway used stock and materials looted from the Malayan railways (the line from Malacca to Kota Bharu was ripped up to build it - even the rails themselves!), the Pakanbaroe railway stuff looted from Java - basically the Japanese were never able to make really effective use of the infrastructure they had without wrecking their capability somewhere else.
Now, that isn't something that can be effectively replicated in-game - there's not really such a thing as dedicated supply interdiction (by which think attacking motor transport, sub-Yangtze level shipping, supply columns etc) - so the expansion of garrison requirements isn't really meant to represent the need to garrison areas per se. Broadly speaking, there was a low-level insurgency going on that was more or less independent of and unaffected by Japanese troop concentrations, and there was also a surprising continuity of actual Chinese government control, or at worst influence, in areas occupied by the Japanese, but these never really translated into an organised military challenge - if it were going on in 2003 rather than 1943 it'd be "terrorism" and "insurgency"; as it was it was "banditry", I suppose. Rather, garrison requirements are meant to be a logistical lock - a "you can support an army this far forwards, but if you go any further you're going to have problems" sort of thing. So, take a look at this:
The red line is the Japanese logistical 'wall'; beyond that they're basically beyond their logistical ability. Note it basically follows navigable rivers. So - on the red-circled bases Japanese garrison requirements should increase substantially and Chinese requirements modestly. The effect is - if the Japanese want to take these places, they can, but they will have to either garrison them heavily (with consequent 'static' troops - much easier to keep them fed if they ain't moving!); or, if they want to use the troops for further offensives, skip that, which will come at a political cost - ie deterioration of the civil infrastructural system. Remember that until the US 10th AF started to be a problem everyone involved here beyond the actual front-line troops was basically in it for the money - the last thing your officers want is anything that'll stop them feathering their nests. On the blue-circled bases Chinese garrison requirements should increase substantially and Japanese requirements modestly. Realistically there is not a particular impact on the Japanese beyond that already inflicted by regular garrison requirements and their 'stop line' in these areas; meanwhile, they're a big political problem for the Kuomintang, because the locals have their own agendas and aren't likely to be cooperative without several thousand NRA rifles aimed at their backs.
So, that's a concept. I can't give you concrete numbers for the Japanese without spending half a day looking at numbers because these things are all basically arbitrary, dependent on the forces theoretically available, and you will know more about what those are than I do. Pick some numbers that would make you wonder whether taking the places would be a good idea, I guess, then set the Japanese to require slightly less than that number and the Chinese something halfway between the new number and the old one. For the Chinese side of the line you might be looking at something like:
Also, conceptually any bases with no garrison requirements at all should have a minimal number - maybe 10 or 20 - representing the actual dispersed low-level resistance. The problem in that is finding units small enough to fill the gaps...but then that's fair enough.
Ok, enough for tonight - it's nearly 1am here. Have a think about that and I will get back to you tomorrow if necessary.