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The Conquest of China

 
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The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 2:57:46 PM   
spence

 

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It is a sublime irony that this game system appears to postulate that the solution, for the Japanese, to the stalemated war in China was to attack the rest of the world and that then, Japanese forces in China would finally be able to attack the Chinese successfully. There also are those who regard this postulate with some skepticism.

I count myself among the skeptics. I am blessed with more time than I know what to do with right now as I recover from some surgery so I have a few observations from examining the values assigned to units in the game, both Japanese and Chinese (I did not examine every unit).

Chinese Units:

10 random infantry corps selected from around the board:
avg/highest experience: 36/40 (2 units)
avg/highest morale: 38/65 (only 1 unit over 35)
avg/lowest fatigue: 20/0 (most variance here: 6 units with 30 fatigue, 1 with 0, 3 with <10)
avg/highest/lowest % disrupted: 38/50/20 (5 units, all numerically very strong with 50% disruption)

3 cavalry Corps were examined: all had 40 experience, 50 morale, <10 fatigue. 1 had 0% disruption, 2 were 30% disrupted

The Chinese supply situation is poor. The only real stockpile is in Chungking. There are another couple of minor stockpiles. Garrisons are adequate.


Japanese Units:

Japanese units generally had experience and morale over 50 (13th Div was 45 experience). One striking fact is that the fatigue of every Japanese unit looked at was less than 10, in most cases 5 +/-1. Disruption ranged between 15-25%

I also looked at a bunch of Chinese Allies of the Japanese. They appear somewhat uninspired which is not too surprising. Their leaders appear to be just what Allied propaganda would characterize them as BUT it should be noted that if one wants to spend the PPs these CHINESE leaders can be replaced by JAPANESE officers who are almost uniformly more adept at everything than their Chinese brethren. The fatigue levels of the Chinese auxiliaries checked ranged from 4-17.

Along the front lines it appears that the Japanese have been busier than the Chinese entrenching since almost every Japanese base has an entrenchment level of 3-4 whereas other than Changsha Chinese bases are at 1 or 2 with 1 the most common value.

Japanese bases uniformly contain garrisons far more than adequate. Those bases are also stocked with 2-5 times the supplies required by the units. All individual Japanese units have supplies equaling their requirements.

I have not studied the history of the Chinese Theater of Operations. In such works pertaining to the Pacific War that I have studied that theater has not played a major role. But it seems clear that the stalemate in the China War was a burden on Japanese politics, the Japanese economy and the morale of the Japanese populace.

I would like to hear from the experts.

I am aware that in 1944 the Japanese Army launched a major offensive in China which pushed deep into China capturing all or all but one of the B-29 bases. The IJA also apparently took over some of China (not sure how much or for how long) following the Doolittle Raid. The 1944 Offensive stands out as the far more significant operation in any case.

How many other offensives did the IJA carry out in China between 1942-1944?

The 1944 Offensive included a component in Burma which was supposed to capture any supplies it needed from the Allies (and when that didn't happen doomed the 15th Army to near destruction by disease and malnutrition). Did the Chinese part of the offensive start from the same logistical base? Was its success because of better supply and if so what sort of logistical preparation for the offensive was done?

It seems that the universal low fatigue, lowish disruption and generous stockpiles of supply with which the IJA begins the game in China, an offensive is not only possible but practically demanded. Is there hard data to support this as historically realistic?

Hopefully this thread will provoke some discussion that will be informative to both myself and the game's community.
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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 3:37:37 PM   
Gaspote


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

How many other offensives did the IJA carry out in China between 1942-1944?


Not a single. The chinese attacked and got some victory though.

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 5:46:24 PM   
General Patton


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from what I have read, the chinese were in deep s**t supply wise. When the allies joined the war the powers that be wanted to setup western equiped and trained chinese units, but getting the equipment from India to china was a big problem. The morale, disruption stuff is good I thing because of the political situation in china. Not sure about the supply thing with Japan though. My two cents. GP

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 6:43:31 PM   
mind_messing

 

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My thoughts:

- Disruption and fatigue for units on both sides near the frontline should be in the high 40's or low 50's. After all, they've been on the frontline for quite some time. This will prevent day 1 offensives from Japan, as the units at the front need time to rest.

- Experiance for Chinese units on the frontline should be around the mid 60 mark, seeing as these units have likely seen combat.

- The RGC units should start out as absolutely useless, and require four months of sitting in rest mode before being suitable as anything other than garrison troops.

- Chungking should start out with a reasonable supply stockpile to represent the material that the KMT were holding against the Communists.

- Yennan should have a moderate supply stockpile to represent the military stockpiles of the CCP.

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 7:37:36 PM   
spence

 

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Of course, the Chinese were in deep logistic trouble. And neither the Nationalists nor the Communists nor any of the various warlords were totally "Gung-ho" to wasting their strength trying to kill Japanese once the Western Allies were so engaged (in killing Japanese.

To me the game has no problem with presenting the Allied Player with insurmountable problems as far as launching a strategic offensive in China.

But it does seem to me that, IRL, the Japanese did not have the option to launch a strategic offensive either and I have seen nothing to contradict that in my research to date. The limited offensive actions of the Japanese Army after Pearl Harbor resulted in no significant gain of territory by the Japanese even if the Chinese, principally civilians, suffered serious losses.

That is true up until the ICHI-GO Offensive in April 1944. At that point the Japanese did launch a strategic offensive. From what I've read about it though the ICHI-GO Offensive required extensive logistic preparation and support: it involved the transfer of substantial forces from Manchuria, North China, and the Home Islands and consumed more supply than was provided to the Japanese forces battling the Americans in the Pacific.

Admittedly limited to what I can find on the internet my readings about the Strategic Plans of the Japanese in WW2 lead to something along the following as a hypothesis:

1) Japanese Army says "We can take China. Then all the needs of the Empire will be taken care of and we needn't worry much about the rest of the world".
2) 1941 - Japanese Navy says "A fine mess you've gotten us into, Army. Tell you what. Right now all the world is focused on Europe. The Brits and the Dutch have what we need and can't defend it. Only problem is the US but we can take them too, for a year or so. If we take the Brits and Dutch then all the needs of the Empire will be taken of, and you've got a year to arrange some kind of peace thing with the Americans so that we needn't worry much about the rest of the world".
3) 1944 - Japanese Army says, "Well, we tried it your way. It didn't work. You've pretty much lost control of the situation and the Americans are only getting stronger while you and we get weaker. Maybe if you guys (the Navy) can just sort of hold off the Americans, we, the Army, can knock the Chinese out of the war and then we can all make some kind of peace with the Americans.
4) 1945 - Chinese say "Close, but no cigar". Americans say "Burn baby burn". Soviets say "Su-prise su-prise, su-prise". Hirohito says "Uncle"



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Post #: 5
RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 8:40:12 PM   
spence

 

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quote:

My thoughts:

- Disruption and fatigue for units on both sides near the frontline should be in the high 40's or low 50's. After all, they've been on the frontline for quite some time. This will prevent day 1 offensives from Japan, as the units at the front need time to rest.

- Experiance for Chinese units on the frontline should be around the mid 60 mark, seeing as these units have likely seen combat.

- The RGC units should start out as absolutely useless, and require four months of sitting in rest mode before being suitable as anything other than garrison troops.

- Chungking should start out with a reasonable supply stockpile to represent the material that the KMT were holding against the Communists.

- Yennan should have a moderate supply stockpile to represent the military stockpiles of the CCP.


My thoughts are generally in concurrence though I pretty much think that the Japanese had previously destroyed the better part of the KMT Army. A bit more "granularity" (as some termed it in another thread) might be in order for the KMT/CCP Chinese but in general I think the solution to the problem of a Japanese Strategic Offensive in China concurrent with all the other offensives that begin the game lies with modifying the Japanese units disruption and fatigue and supply availability.

Although possessing some of the trappings of a truly modern army the Japanese Army was essentially little advanced towards the modern era. In particular its supply train was, in the main, horse-drawn. In that way it precluded the IJA from significant offensive action very far from the RRs or navigable rivers. The amount of supply the supply train consumed was a much higher percentage of the load that the supply train could move than a motorized supply train could move (more foot-lbs of work per lb of gasoline than foot-lbs of work per lb of hay/oats/fodder).

Since the game engine provides no advantage to motorized supply over horse-drawn supply, I would propose that the fatigue and infantry disruption of many Japanese units be increased to simulate the diversion of combat soldiers to protecting supply lines and supply trains. Since I am not sure exactly how these attributes contribute to combat resolution I won't claim to be able to balance the numbers so that the affected IJA units don't become sitting ducks for the Chinese. But as artillery does the killing and infantry does the occupying it sorta seems that if the IJA's artillery is intact then the IJA units will be hard to attack but also of limited use attacking.

Thoughts?


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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 9:27:57 PM   
Smeulders

 

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The problem with increasing starting fatigue and disruption is that it only gives a short-term penalty to the Japanese. They can easily be sent to well-supplied cities, recover for a couple of weeks and then start their offensive. This gives the Chinese some time to improve their positions, but that will probably not be enough to stave off an eventual total defeat.

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/19/2014 9:44:58 PM   
spence

 

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quote:

The problem with increasing starting fatigue and disruption is that it only gives a short-term penalty to the Japanese. They can easily be sent to well-supplied cities, recover for a couple of weeks and then start their offensive. This gives the Chinese some time to improve their positions, but that will probably not be enough to stave off an eventual total defeat.



Perhaps then the allotment of supplies to such cities is too generous. Having determined 6 months prior to the start of the game to orient its strategic logistical capability elsewhere what evidence is there that the Japanese continued to retain a strategic level of offensive logistical support in China.

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/21/2014 5:07:29 PM   
vettim89


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The problem with China is that the realities of the political situation are not able to be represented in the game. Both the KMT and CCP were more capable than the game represents. However, neither side was interested in fighting the IJA as they were more concerned with gearing up for the civil war they both knew was coming after WII concluded. This became even more true post 1943 as both sides could see it was merely a matter of time at that point. Point being that in reality neither side was going to undertake a full scale offensive in the late war period even as the IJA started pulling units from the theater. The KMT was not a paper tiger as they did bloody the IJA during the battle for Nanking even though the eventually had to withdraw. So the problem becomes how do you increase the strength of the Chinese without creating a massive army capable of steamrolling the IJA in 1944 or 1945?

Secondly, the IJA did not have anywhere near the freedom of movement that the game allows. The Chinese (especially the CCP) were excellent at gorilla tactics and strained the IJA supply lines throughout the war. A large number of their troops were tied down in garrison duties - far more than the game requires

Treespider's mod addresses a lot of these issues by increasing the number of bases in central China with concomitant increases in garrison requirements. He also points out that CKC ordered the dams open on the upper Yangtze thus flooding a large portion of central China. This broke the LOC for units between north central CHina and south central China.

In addition the Big B mod from WITP added an interesting twist in increasing the strength of the KMT but making the static (not permanent static). This created a situation of deterrent for the Japan player as attacking those bases freed the KMT units up to move around. I personally really liked that solution

Just my two cents worth

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/21/2014 10:30:21 PM   
spence

 

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I honestly don't think that the solution lies with making the Chinese stronger but rather with making the Japanese less capable of offensive action. Much of their infantry was tied up moving and/or protecting supply lines.

Increasing the fatigue of IJA units and the disruption level of their infantry squads seems like it might make the IJA less capable of offensive action: especially if the supply level in most IJA bases was reduced from the 7-10 times what the units in the base actually need (There is so much supply floating about in the Chinese Theater it practically demands offensive action and I suspect the amount is not based on hard data).


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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/23/2014 11:29:58 PM   
vettim89


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

I honestly don't think that the solution lies with making the Chinese stronger but rather with making the Japanese less capable of offensive action. Much of their infantry was tied up moving and/or protecting supply lines.

Increasing the fatigue of IJA units and the disruption level of their infantry squads seems like it might make the IJA less capable of offensive action: especially if the supply level in most IJA bases was reduced from the 7-10 times what the units in the base actually need (There is so much supply floating about in the Chinese Theater it practically demands offensive action and I suspect the amount is not based on hard data).




JMHO I must disagree here. Prior to 7 December 1941 the IJA had one active theater: China. In four years they were only able to conquer a small part of that country. Yet time and again I have read AARs where the IJA conquers most if not all of China. To me it flows naturally that the problem has to be more than just supply as the IJA had four years of unhindered effort to accomplish their goal and failed.

Perhaps Treespider has it right in putting forth the premise that the game needs to force the Japan player to tie down enormous numbers of troops in garrison duties. The IJA freed up 17 divisions in 1944 including some from Manchuko and the home islands to launch Ichi-Go in 1944. Even then they were only able to extend their lines modestly no where near the kind of offensive push we often see in AE. Point being that it took additional troops to conquer half of what a reasonably good Japan player can accomplish with the troops already in China at game's start

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RE: The Conquest of China - 6/24/2014 2:23:25 AM   
Rossj

 

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We all know that there was comparatively minimal activity on that front, but WITP is a what if game. What if the Japanese had won at Changsa? If they had, they would have pushed on. What if additional forces had been sent from Manchuria and the home islands in mid 42 instead of 44? More gains.
When I have conquered large portions of China, it was because I sent large number of troops there and could mount an offensive. I am concerned that if a string of restrictions are put in place that the end result will be a self fulfilling prophecy in which nothing happens in China, because the design of the game was modified making it impossible to do anything in China.



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