18 Mar

A Nationalist China AAR – HOI3 (Part 3)

Filed under: PC Games 2 Responses

A few days before the end of 1936, thanks to our ongoing propaganda campaign, we convince the masses of the need to go to war. This allows us to impose a three-year draft on all able-bodied young men in China. This will automatically reinforce all of our reserve units to 75% strength, reducing the time that it will take to mobilize our forces to full strength when war breaks out.

We also redirect our elite to build up our officer corps, something that we have been neglecting. A better ratio of officers to enlisted men should hopefully improve our organization and allow us to be more of a match for the technologically superior Japanese. Research projects are substantially trimmed to make this possible. At the same time, we decide to lower our training standards, so that new troops will be ready to take the field more quickly. We’re going to need lots of men to fill out our lines.

On the 1st of July, 1937, the hammer that we have been fearing finally drops. In the latest of a long series of carefully orchestrated incidents, the Japanese aggressively maneuvered their forces in the night near the Marco-Polo Bridge outside the town of Wanping. Chinese forces naturally responded to the perceived attack. Using this as a casus belli, the Japanese launches a full scale invasion of Shaanxi. Both our government and the Communists immediately declare war on the Japanese. We also issue a call to arms to Xibei San Ma. Our observers report that units controlled by the Communists, Xibei San Ma and Shaanxi are moving towards the border with Manchukuo.

As our units mobilize to full combat effectiveness and we implement mandatory military conscription for the duration of the war, we debate our own strategy. The Japanese have initiated hostilities earlier than we anticipated before we could deal with the Communists. Naturally, we must defend our country but how heavily should we commit ourselves and where do we draw the line? After a great deal of argument, we decide that the Japanese incursion cannot be tolerated. All of our forces are sent to the north, holding back only two corps to strike at the Communists should the opportunity arise.

Only two days later, we experience our first losses of the war. As expected, the Japanese Navy blockades our ports. They destroy two transports in a convoy traveling between Shanghai and Vancouver. Rather than sacrifice our defenseless transports, we decide to cancel all trading deals and wait until our first escorts are ready in August. Our most critical resource is coal and at the present rate of consumption, our stockpile will last for less than 100 days. A few days after that, we hear the news that Japan has joined the Axis.

Ten days into the war, we fight our first battle. We decide to form a front line to defend Beiping (renamed some years ago from Beijing because it was intolerable to have two cities bear the title of capital) along the banks of the Hai River. A total of eight corps, totaling 32 divisions, are redeployed to form the line. The corps assigned to Beiping itself rolls off the train just as a division of Japanese infantry tries a probing attack. While our troops are disorganized by the redeployment, they assist the single division of militia that Shaanxi itself had to easily fend off the attack.

But the Japanese immediately launch a second, more serious attack. Though we outnumber them greatly and they are burdened by the need to attack across the river, our troops have yet to fully reform due to their redeployment. Some days later, they break off the attack after sustaining substantial casualties. By then the rest of our line has formed up along the banks of the Hai River. Shaanxi and Communist forces are interspersed with our own, frequently venturing out to face the Japanese and retreating behind our lines when they get beaten up.

Throughout August, the Japanese continue to launch bigger and bigger assaults but are unable to break through our lines. Most of the attacks are directed towards Beiping, but they also test our defenses elsewhere. Their largest attack involved a combined five divisions of Japanese and Manchukuo infantry and cavalry, totaling forty thousand men. We lost about 500 soldiers in that battle while they lost 2,400 soldiers.

Even though our defense is successful, it is no thanks to our Xibei San Ma, Shaanxi and Communist allies. While they are useful in delaying the Japanese advance, they are unable to resist any serious concentration of force and quickly retreat behind our lines. Worse, they impede coordination between our own forces and interfere with our supply lines. For this reason, we are not disposed towards involving the Guangxi Clique and Yunnan in the war for now. If we could only marshal their resources and manpower under our leadership, we could show the Japanese a real fight would be like!

In mid-August, construction of our first fleet of escorts is completed and we immediately negotiate large deliveries of coal from the United States and the Soviets. Yet this respite lasts little more than a month until our transports and escorts are destroyed on a daily basis and we cancel the trade routes again. It seems that there is little we can do except try to build more transports and escorts on a continuous basis. Our next batch of escorts would be ready only in November and by then our coal stockpiles will have dwindled down to nothing.

By September 1937, the Japanese have realized that assaulting our lines is futile. Instead, they stretch their line westwards, seeking to flank us. Our allies impede their progress but they are unable to form a solid line like we can. We are therefore forced to redeploy the two corps originally assigned to guard the Communists to Taiyuan, the second largest city controlled by the Shaanxi warlords, so as to extend our lines as well. However, sporadic fighting continues between the other Chinese forces and the Japanese.

At the end of October 1937, we launch our long planned attack against the Communists. Our spy networks report that the public would not object to the attack. Furthermore, our military planners believe that the Communist forces, battered by constant fighting against the Japanese, have little combat effectiveness left and are therefore useless to us. Finally, we note that there is no garrison at the Communist stronghold of Yan’an. Only Mao Zedong and his officer cadres are left there.

As our original forces assigned to the area have been redeployed elsewhere, we use a single newly-constituted corps for the attack. The four divisions are not yet fully ready and despite the Communists’ lack of effective combat troops, Yan’an remains a formidable fortress. Even with the assistance of the wing of tactical bombers we had on hand, the battle takes more than a week, though we sustain insignificant casualties. At the same time, as the remaining Communist forces are dispersed throughout our territory, small fights break out all across our line. But the broken and exhausted militia are no match for our disciplined troops and are quickly put down.

On October 31st 1937, our forces take Yan’an and Communist China surrenders. We promptly annex their territory and send our corps northwards to extend our line further. The entire episode is so minimally disruptive that the Japanese don’t even try to take advantage of the internecine conflict to launch an attack of their own. Chiang Kai-shek at long last realizes his ambition of wiping out the Communists once and for all and we did it without ceding any ground to the Japanese. By forcing them to extend their lines so far westwards over difficult terrain, it may be hoped that their army is also facing supply problems.

Yet not all is good news. We now have no extra forces with which to subdue Yunnan as we originally planned. Worst of all, our coal stockpiles are down to a week’s supply. The additional coal sources secured from the territories controlled by the Communists help somewhat, but their output is too low to make any difference in the long run. The Japanese blockade against us has succeeded and our production of war material will soon be halved or more. As humiliating as it would be to beg for favors from the Western Powers, we may be forced to ask for aid from the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom.

Written on March 18 2011 and is filed under PC Games. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “A Nationalist China AAR – HOI3 (Part 3)”


Nice. On the Japanese armour, I wasn’t sure. I’m not familiar with the Japanese China war other than the bridge incident(which if I recall correctly was diplomatically solved with the Russians help). Based on the Japanese invasion of Malaya, they did use tanks. Maybe the war with China was before they had proper tanks.

Surprised the Japanese have not been that aggressive. Keep the AAR coming. Very interesting.


The Japanese have indeed deployed some Light Armor, which you can actually see on some of the pictures. But there are too few of them to worry about. I don’t even need to build Anti-Tank brigades for my divisions to deal with them. I don’t think the Japanese can be any more aggressive than they have been. They just don’t have enough land forces.

I think I’ve basically stalemated them already which is amusing because whenever I’ve watched the war from the perspective of another country, the Japanese always rolls up all of the Chinese nations in less than a year. I don’t really fear their overland invasion any more. My main problem now is just their naval blockade.

Also, regarding the Marco Polo bridge thing, I’m no historian but playing HOI3 inspired me to read a lot of Wikipedia pages and the event did indeed spark off the Sino-Japanese War. There was no Russian involvement at all.

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