6 Apr

A Nationalist China AAR – HOI3 (Part 6)

Filed under: PC Games 2 Responses

Following our victory over the Guangxi Clique, we leave behind a sizable garrison both to guard the three new ports that we now control and the southern border with French-controlled Indochina. The remaining forces are sent to the north. The time has come for us to take the offensive against the Japanese. Confident of our superiority, we begin our offensive in November 1939.

As expected, due to the extensive defensive emplacements on both sides, taking the offensive is extremely difficult. We begin at the westernmost part of the line, throwing troops at the Japanese defenders until they are exhausted and then rotating in fresh units. The death toll for both sides is appalling, but we are pleased to note that due to our edge in equipment and our artillery support, the kill ratio is slightly in our favor. Plus of course, we have an almost endless supply of eager young men willing to give their lives to defend their country. The same cannot be said for the Japanese. Slowly but surely, we are bleeding them to death.

Even so, progress is so slow that it is only at the end of January 1940 that we are able to establish a solid foothold on the other side of the Yellow River. With this beachhead secure, we use it to launch a more generalized assault on the Japanese lines. As the fighting moves eastwards, more and more Japanese bombers turn up to bombard our troops. Our bombers are far too antiquated to be of use but unfortunately we now have many modern artillery support units and this more than makes up for the lack of air support.

In February 1940, we are caught by surprise by an unexpected development. The British are unwilling to invite us into their faction as they do not care to be involved in a war against Japan and so we have been neglecting to pay attention to the situation in Europe. Paris falls to the Germans and the Nazi regime quickly creates the Vichy collaborationist government. Unfortunately for us, the new Vichy regime almost immediately cedes Indochina to Japan, who instantly move in fresh units to hold it. Naturally, this means our new borders to the south is now threatened.

Some reconnaissance reveals to us that the garrisons we left behind in the south outnumber the Japanese for the moment, so we seize the initiative and march southwards. Though our mountaineers do adequately in the jungle, our regular infantry fares less well as their artillery support is almost useless amidst the dense foliage. Marines would be most suitable for operating in these tropical climes but first marine units are yet to be completed.

By the end of February 1940, while fighting continues with not much in the way of results in the north, our overwhelming force in the south allows us to capture Hanoi with ease. This is an important industrial area and the natural resources here are significant as well. However, after some debate, we decide not to risk overextending ourselves by marching further southwards, which could well provoke the Siamese into aiding the Japanese against us. Instead, we instruct our generals to dig in and hold the line. We will focus our attention mainly on the north.

By May 1940, we successfully push the Japanese out of Shaanxi completely and begin advancing into Manchukuo. At this point, our Xibei San Ma allies stop their advance  and seem content to guard their borders. The forces of the Shaanxi warlords however swarm all around us. Though they avoid fighting in our pitched battles against the Japanese, to our consternation, they are quick to swoop in the claim newly conquered territory as their own.

Still, without armor columns to push through the enemy ranks and without air support to quickly break down the opposition, progress remains painfully slow. While it is obvious that our superiority grows by the day as we put more and more Japanese troops to rout, the slow grind is that of the trench warfare of the last Great War. At the same time, we see the Japanese building up troops as well on the southern front but they do not yet have sufficient numbers to assault our defensive lines.

It is only in January 1941 that our forces punch deep enough into Manchukuo to seize its capital of Mukden. By now, our advance has allowed Shaanxi to claim control of a vast swath of land. In the same month, after a great deal of expense and effort, we also deploy our first division of armor units. But as we must deploy it within our own lines, it seems that as encouraging as it is to see our first tank units, they have come far too late to make any difference in the war. Some weeks later, we hear the news that Germany has declared war on the Soviet Union.

Despite the loss of Mukden, Manchukuo is still not ready to surrender and the fighting continues. The Japanese forces at this point have been mostly spent as a fighting force so our main obstacle is only the sheer size of Manchukuo. It is only in March 1941 that our forces take the city of Harbin and Manchukuo falls. Shaanxi promptly annexes it, trapping what remains of the Japanese land forces. With this, the war against Japan is effectively won as the Japanese Empire is now bereft of any land army of note. The only problem that remains is convincing the Shaanxi warlords to give up their conquered territory to us.

(And this brings this AAR to an end as I have no wish to continue the game after this. I didn’t know that attacking Manchukuo before defeating Shaanxi would result in Shaanxi gaining all of Manchukuo’s territory. I couldn’t even declare war on Shaanxi because my units were technically situated in Shaanxi. I would have needed to retreat all of my units southwards back within Nationalist China, allowing the Japanese to regain all of their lost provinces, before I could declare war on Shaanxi. That would just be too time consuming so I decided to just defeat Manchukuo and call an end to this game.)

Written on April 6 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 6)”

Hiew Chok Sien

I have been following this series faithfully and have been enjoying it a lot. I have played HOI 1st generation before. That was quite some time ago, but I vaguely remember it had a bit too much detail than my liking. Europa Universalis 2 was simpler, but still rich enough.

Have you played any of the games in the Total War series? Shogun 2 Total War just came out, and I am a bit tempted to get it. But I read on forums that the battlefield AI is still weak. What a pity.


I found the detail in HOI3 to be okay. Ironically, it seems the more realistic the game is, the more frustrated you become when things aren’t realistic enough. The next time I play HOI3 again will be with the historical plausibility mod which adds a ton of events and makes the beginning of the scenario conform much more to history.

I’ve played every Total War game except for the first Shogun, which was the very first one, and Napoleon, which was the release just before Shogun 2. In general, I like the series a lot, but the high point was Rome. After that, it sort of lost its way beginning with Empire. From all I’ve read, Shogun 2 marks a return to form and is the best Total War game for many years. I’ll get it eventually but I’m in no hurry as I still have many unplayed games bought during the Christmas sales.

I haven’t heard anything about the battlefield AI. QT3, my favorite videogaming forum, seems to be happy with the AI. There was a major concern earlier when some players became suspicious of the AI cheating by spawning stacks of troops from out of nowhere but a dev from Creative Assembly denied it and said that it was because ninja scouts give imperfect information and may not always show you all of the enemy units in the area.

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