Siberian Winter - The Ground War
Here are the advanced but not quite final plans for the land components of Operation Siberian Winter. I don’t think this is really necessary, but just in case, I would like to ask for your discretion. The Soviets can’t move until the Japanese strike and Andy is already fully aware I intend to invade the USSR, but masking my objectics and intent is still crucial to the operation’s success.
I have allocated 37 infantry and two tank divisions for the operation. This of course does not include engineer, artillery, and smaller than division sized units. It also does not include local Manchukuo forces. This is more than half a dozen less divisions than I originally envisaged for the operation but unfortunately the 25% PP rule we established prevents me from sending more forces. This does give me a strategic reserve to work with over time as I gradually free up units with PP.
The long-term (and decidedly grandiose) objective is the neutralization of the Soviet Army in the Far East and the occupation of the majority of the Russian bases from Irkutsk to Vladivostok (including Sakhalin). My timeline to achieve this objective is from September 1942 to February 1944, anticipating that the latter stages of the operation will involve many months of grinding and costly siege warfare. Neutralizing and seizing this ground will allow me to establish excellent defensive positions to slow down the latter Soviet offensives and free even more forces to face the Western Allied advance.
Especially given the absence of strategic surprise, I fully expect practically all the Soviet bases to have high fortification levels. Instead of battering myself senseless against prepared and entrenched positions, I aim to force Andy to come out and fight me on ground of my own choosing by going after critical objectives that he must hold.
Therefore, rather than focus on the early seizure of the Vladivostok area, the focal point of the operation will be to push hard towards Lake Baikal, neutralize the Lake Baikal Front, and most importantly, seize the Kyakhta-Irkutsk zone. This will cut off the lines of communication of practically the entire Soviet Far East Command from the rest of Russia and facilitate the gradual roll up of Soviet positions from Irkutsk all the way to Vladivostok along the trans-Siberian railway.
The two main thrusts of this operation will be the Tachi and Katana forces. Tachi force will consist of a core of eight infantry divisions and will strike north from Mangan towards Ulan Bator and from there to Kyakhta. Katana force, consisting of a core of two tank divisions and five infantry divisions, will push towards Borzya with the intent of drawing out the motorized and mechanized Trans-Baikal forces around Ondorhaan and Chita into a fight in the open. Katana force will remain flexible and pursue Soviet forces as necessary, especially if they head towards Ulan Bator instead of coming out to face it.
Further East, Odachi force, consisting of a core of eight infantry divisions, will cross the river with the aim of neutralizing the Soviet forces around Kuibyshevka. The trans-Siberian railway will be simultaneously cut north and south of this area by small detachments to give Odachi the time needed to get into position and delay the arrival of enemy reinforcements. Odachi force itself will block the supply lines along the Trans-Siberian towards the Vladivostok pocket, creating a network of strong and weak blocks for the Soviets to overcome.
A core of eleven infantry divisions of the Tsurugi force will man a fortified line from Lopei to Rashin with the defensive mission of preventing any early Soviet penetrations into the critical Mukden/Changchun/Harbin zone and foil any attempts to cut off the supply lines feeding the Tachi and Katana forces. This force will also act as a reserve to send troops to hard pressed areas. Manchukuo forces will not be used on the frontlines and will act as garrison forces and as an emergency reserve.
Tanto force with a core of four infantry divisions will be allocated the task of striking north from Shikuka and gradually clearing out Sakhalin. In the very far east, paratroopers will pave the way with a series of hops from Anadyr to Seymchan to allow for the air transport of two infantry regiments to take Magadan. Petropavlovsk seems extremely tough to take and there are no plans to make the attempt for now.
Finally, in China, an infantry division + will be allocated the task of blocking the overland connection with the USSR from Alma-Ata to Wasu.
I am sure I forgot a bunch of details, but there it is, the almost final plan for the land component of Siberian Winter. If there are any glaring omissions or oversights, please let me know. Not much time left for me to correct matters before go time!