el cid again
"You Can't Get There From Here"
WR has three times as many hexes as AE, but fewer roads. This limits the available axis of advance, especially in three important areas:
The Shield Wall
1. In WR, the coast from the Vietnam border to Wenchow, is very much like the wilds of the India-Burma border in AE. Ranging from Chuhsien to almost Kahnsien, there is an imposing series of mountain ridges, the Wu Yi Shan, mostly between 1000 and 1500 meters high, running parallel to the coast unpenetrated by any roads.
The terrain and lack of roads force the Japanese to attack either end of the rail line (through Nanning to Liuchow, or from the Yangtze towards Changsa) or to follow a single route from Canton to Kuking.
There may be merit to these restrictions. My trusty, well-thumbed, Lonely Planet travel guide says of this region, “For centuries it was isolated from the rest of China by its mountainous topography,” and, “while the coastal cities have been engaging in trade for hundreds of years, its mountainous interior remained inaccessible until as late as the 1960s, when the communists built roads through the dense jungle.”
To add insult to injury, in WR the monsoon/growing season in this part of China runs from February through November. For 10 months each year the irrigated areas along the coast are an impassable gumbo.
2. The Road to Nowhere
Another difference in WR is that Nanyang is a cul-de-sac. There is only a road from Hankow, through the swamps/ rice paddies to Nanyang. There is no road from Sinying, and most importantly no roads from Nanyang towards Ankang or Sian. Although Loyang itself is in clear terrain, all the other hexes between Loyang and Nanyang are 'rough' -- steep ravines in WR.
3. The Bridge to Nowhere
The first bridge over the Yangtze was not built until 1957. That is reflected in WR, there are "rail ferries" at Nanking and Hankow that slow RR movement slightly, but no roads cross the river.
No doubt you refer to the Great Bridge at Nanking - built in 1956 - and somewhat to the surprise of Russian consultant engineers, who didn't think the Chicoms were up to it. From then until the great projects of the last few years - there were no bridges across down river - although the PLA has bridged in exercises using military modular bridges in very brief times. The river was always navigable to ocean ships all the way to Wuhan - which had a seagoing ship type construction yard since the 19th century. It remains a navigable river upstream to beyond Chunking - but just after Wuhan the great gorge region begins - and the river is more than an ordinary military obsticle. I simulate this by blocked hex sides more or less parallel to the river on the North or East side of the watercourse. But the big thing that the river is the most important line of communications in China - although one does not use ocean ships above Wuhan - which is three cities separated by rivers all in the same neighborhood - a massive urban complex - and in older times - three walled cities. The Yellow River is often almost as important - in particular due to its length and the absense of roads and rail lines where it goes - it is the main way to get resources and other things moving - or military units. But during the war the real significance of the lower flooded area is that this area is no longer navigable, and the river is isolated from the sea. Both rivers are often connected - and are again today - by the Grand Canal - and a bit of it is on the map too. But this also was sabotaged during the war - and you could not use the lower end (to the bay below Shanghai) nor the upper end (To Peking). Time was (and again today) one could travel on the river/canal system over vast distances. Or move economically significant things. Even so, the Yellow River ought to be a major LOC in the inerior - and the Yangtze remains as it always was - the biggest single transportation asset in China. There are different ways to represent that - but none are present in stock.