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The War Journal of Baron Tekisasu Belasar, Prime Minister of Imperial Japan

Discussion in 'Fiction' started by belasar, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....One last matter for the day. It was agreed to use the Ki-46, Type 100 (Allied Code Name "Dinah") as a joint service reconnaissance aircraft. this would replace a J1N1 variant for the Navy. We get added value as the Council was informed that the German Luftwaffe had shown interest but were rebuffed by an earlier Council decision. This stance has been reversed so as to give Ambassador Kourie another arrow for his quiver in negotiations with our European allies.

    Much has been decided in one day on the Council and I feel confident that no other has ever worked as hard as we. On balance I feel we have also made the best choices possible in most cases, even those I have not entirely agreed with. Without question some of what we decided must be amended as we go forward, but that is the nature of such things.

    A good night's rest, and then another day of herding Koi......

    4 October, 1941​
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    5 October, 1941​


    As I enter the Ministry this morning I am handed a disturbing report from a Kempeitai officer. There has been a well executed attack upon General Nishio's HQ in China. Officially, for now, we are calling it a Chinese Bandit raid of little consequence, but indications are they got too deeply into the security ring and most troubling of all, the raiders were Japanese soldiers.

    The suspicion that not all the hard liners showed their hand in the recent Coup seems confirmed. Fortunately, as he was not present, Nishio was unharmed by the attack. His loss would set us back greatly and force us to advance General Homma as his replacement. Well suited as Nishio's second, he would be problematic as head of the Army due to his long list of known enemies because of his moderate stance.

    As I sit down and prepare to call our meeting to order, the general mood seems to indicate that this news has not reached all the Council members yet. The set of Nishio's mouth makes it clear he, however, is not one of the uninformed. I look at him directly until he meets my gaze and I touch the report deliberately and offer a brief nod. He seems to understand and remains silent.

    I must open our meeting with the Kempeitai report and its meaning. This of course is a bombshell and requires some minutes to regain control of the meeting. I ask Colonel Bobimoto for his recommendation and he states we must enhance the close security for all Council members and their families. As the attacked party, this does not set entirely well with General Nishio. A forward thinking man, there is still much of the old Samurai about him and no doubt he would rather face his enemies with pistol and saber personally. Unfortunately the peril to the Empire does not allow us such grand heroic gestures.......
     
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  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ......Most naval construction matters were dealt with yesterday but a few lingered on to be settled this morning. The first was the fate of the Oyodo, a specialized light cruiser design with a most peculiar arrangement. Forward of the funnel she had a pair of triple 6.1 inch gun turrets as any conventional cruiser might, aft of the funnel she was to outfitted as a seaplane tender, able to launch and support fairly large scout seaplanes. As bizarre as this might have been, its intended mission was more so. She, and her sister Niyodo, were to act a Cruiser Submarine squadron leaders. Somehow I can not shake from my mind the image of a Duck leading a line of duckling's in her wake.

    How this was to work effectively is a mystery to me. A submarine's main attribute is stealth, so constant communication would seem difficult and hazardous to attempt. The Cruiser itself would lack submarine protection of her own while operating well forward, and become a tempting target for enemy submarines. I can only hope the brilliant minds responsible for this idea were swept up with the coup plotters to spare us any new brainstorms!

    Niyodo has not been laid down yet, awaiting completion of Oyodo so we have lost nothing there and she will not be built in favor of Admiral Karronada's "War-Cruiser" design mentioned before, but this still leaves Oyodo.

    The general opinion is that she is too far along to halt and scrap and not suitable to conversion to a Light Carrier, which would be quite useful. Two options rise for debate, Admiral Karronada believes it would be best to complete her as she was designed and use her as a fleet scout for the Kido Butai. This has the merit of being the least expensive and fastest way to get her into active service. Colonel Bobimoto is confident, however, that a third Triple 6.1 inch turret can be added aft, making her a fairly conventional Light Cruiser and a addition to the battle line. This would cost more and take longer, but exactly how much is unclear.

    The Council is split and Karronada predicts that adding a third turret so late in construction will only give us a deeply flawed and potentially unstable ship. The Admiral and the Colonel spend considerable time arguing the merits of their respective opinions, but do not budge any other council members from their positions, leaving us deadlocked.

    As I have done in the past, I offer a compromise to have Oyodo outfitted aft of the funnel as a Anti-aircraft Cruiser (CLAA), much like we are doing with our older light cruisers. As happens often my compromise meets no one's approval. I point out that we are spending excessive time on one rather minor element of the fleet and Karronada agrees, offering to withdraw his objection to a third 6.1 inch turret. The Council accepts Bobimoto's proposal to add the third turret to Oyodo, but I must wonder if some part of the good Admiral hopes he will be proved right......
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Well, I certainly would not wish ill fortune on any of His Imperial Majesty's warships. Oyodo Banzai!!
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Just the cynical civilian outlook, can't entirely trust those fellows with those shiney medals! :) On a more serious note A civilian member of a uniform heavy decision body would, I suspect, look for subterfuge in any nook or crany and such thoughts would be in context with the normal application of boardroom politics.

    In the long run completed in either manner she would likely have no impact on the conflict, unless of course hers might have been a search plane in a critical arc......

    (in which case my post war memoirs will blame a certain Colonel)
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ......Our largest naval construction issue, in tonnage at least, remained unresolved. The last two Yamato class battleships (hull 110 and 111) had been slowed in construction to allow speedy completion of other projects in anticipation of the crisis to come. They are estimated to be between 30 and 45 % complete, with hull 110 being further along.

    The Council considered three options, completion as battleships, conversion to large CV's, scrapping as to free room for new construction or a combination of two of the proposed courses of action. I had favored from the start conversion of hull 110 to a CV and the scrapping of hull 111. Yesterday the council was leaning more to scrapping both hulls, though I had some mild support for conversion. Today the mood drifted more to the idea of completion as battleships, though again I had mild backing for a CV conversion.

    I really did not want to see us complete a third super-dreadnought and was surprised that much of the mild support for such an outcome came from Army members of the council. I did my best to sway the council, but to no avail. I have lost positions before, but this was particularly galling in its nature. More members of the Council favored completion as a battleship over that as a CV, but they were not a majority of the Council whole. A number equal to them expressed no opinion and it was they I tried so hard to sway. Regrettably they remained silent as stone.

    As Prime Minister I have the power to break deadlock's within the Council and was briefly tempted to decide to proceed with conversion to a CV, but such a course would sit uneasy within the Council. It was with a heavy heart that I decided that hull 110 would indeed be completed as a super-dreadnought. To be known as Shinano, she should join her sisters sometime in late 1943, I further declared hull 111 to be broken up to offset the steel needed to complete Shinano.

    This was not the outcome I had hoped, but perhaps fortune will guide us and Shinano.........
     
  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....How we are to use these super-dreadnoughts was again raised in the Council. From the beginning I have supported the notion that we must employ these ships to the fullest extent possible. In my view their great size made them excellent platforms for command and control and their massive anti-aircraft armament made them quite valuable in the defense of the Kido Butai. Their main guns should allow ample time for the thin skinned CV's to retire in the unlikely event a enemy surface fleet should happen upon them.

    I have sensed however that within the Navy command a great reluctance to have these ships sail with the Kido Butai except in certain conditions. It is argued that they are too slow, yet they are rated only a knot slower than the Kaga, a main component of the Kido Butai. It is said they use too much fuel, but we are going to great lengths to secure more fuel for the fleet.

    Colonel Bobimoto offered an interesting proposal to use these ships as they enter the fleet in a sustained deception program designed to confuse our enemies as to the number of such ships in our inventory. Yamato will launch first in her designed configuration (4 secondary Triple 6.1 inch turrets) and as she does we announce her introduction to the fleet. A short time later we move her to another location and announce a second vessel of this type with a propaganda photo and new radio call sign, while the original radio call sign is continued to be sent from another (smaller) ship at the original location. When Musashi is launched, a repeat of the process is undertaken.

    Since Yamato is scheduled to return to the dockyard to have two amidship turrets removed in favor of enhanced Anti-aircraft ordinance at this time, in theory we could repeat again after the refit, giving the impression that we have built a "fleet of super-dreadnoughts". The value in sowing confusion among our enemies seem obvious to me, yet there are objections.

    Some feel that these are secret weapons that we must husband until the proper moment and when that time came the surprise would come as a thunderclap in a clear sky to the enemy. I could agree that if the enemy never suspected these ships existed, then such a reaction might be possible, but I have grave doubts this is the case.

    Unlike every major navy, including the French and Italians, new surface capitol ships have been introduced in the last decade, but not us. The West can at time do foolish things, but they are not fools themselves. They know to a point our capacity and must know that there is a serious hole in what we say we have and what we could have. The long period without a new dreadnought almost screams the possibility that we are working on something exceptional and rumors of their own super-dreadnought to counter ours only reinforce the prospect.

    Yamato's launch is still a few weeks away and I hope we can sway enough Council members to embrace this deception to wring every possible Yen out of the construction of these behemoth's......
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    If I may intrude into someone else's thoughts again, the British, Americans, and others are aware that we are building large battleships; they're thinking on the order of 46,000 tons with 16" guns. What they don't know is the true size and power of the ships, how many we are building, or how soon each one will enter service. I'm not sure how much the suggested deception will gain for us, but we won't lose anything by it.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  10. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    lwd, great link on information I did not know.

    Carronade, as always, no interruption at all. In many ways these comments come like a post war notes addition that could accompany any published memoir's. In retrospect our dear Prime Minister would have known little if anything about the Yamato's until he joined the Council. His ignorance would mirror that of the British and the American's until he was given a briefing on them, much like Truman got with the Manhattan Project after FDR's passing.

    Undoubtedly our Prime Minister would be both astounded and dismayed at the scope and cost of the Yamato class ships. I feel the urge to make any use of these ships (in a propaganda operation) would appeal to his nature as a means to recoup some of the cost in their construction.

    In practical terms what affect this illusion might have upon the games AI is open to question, but it would be interesting to see if the game decides to create the Montana class (12x16inch guns) or the full builds on the Iowa and Alaska classes which I believe were cut back in scope. Doing so would seem to be at the cost of Carrier construction.
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Well since we won't be playing the AI exclusively, but a team of Allied humans and they will be receiving intell generated by the game. I have told them that we have reworked the Japanese pre-war shipbuilding program, I have not stated how far back. That along with information we can let slip during diplomatic role playing, should allow us to have a chance to pull this off.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ......Col. Bobimoto brought the matter of engineering equipment, or rather our lack of such. Outside of the Home Islands much of or military engineering is done by manual labor, either our line troops working under dedicated engineer troops or conscript labor from China or Korea. By all accounts this is back breaking work and in the case of conscripted labor something of a delayed death sentence. There was talk of using the western soldiers we are likely to capture as labor troops but I fear that their treatment would be worse than that we give our Asian comrades.

    The Colonel suggests we invest in greater numbers of mechanized and motorized construction equipment, even at the cost short term in AFV production. The possibility of complete suspension of AFV production is raised, but fortunately not given serious consideration. I am willing to see perhaps 20 to 25% of our capacity rerouted to this goal, but no more.

    Admiral Noka points out that much of our engineering equipment is coal powered steam driven and rather incompatible with the internal combustion driven AFV production. He further points out that this is a excellent place where our desire to expand production in China and Korea to take advantage of workforce and raw materials merges with our military needs. I must say this appeals to me greatly, but no hard decision has been made yet, even though all agree that we do need such machines.....
     
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  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ......I have said before how much I have been impressed by the organizational skills and level headedness shown by the Council's secretary, Colonel Bobimoto. My elevation to Prime Minister is greatly owed to his actions during and after the coup attempt, though to be honest the plotters themselves played the greatest role in my changed status. It is doubtful however that they would have found my thanks of much comfort since most of them have been shot, imprisoned or cashiered under my tenure as Prime Minister.

    Despite my respect for our energetic Colonel, at time's he still seems afflicted by the same malady bedeviling so many of our middle rank Army officers, a certain grandiosity of vision.

    He submitted that the Council authorize Ambassador Kourie to open negotiations though our German allies to pressure the Vichy government to "allow" the Japanese Empire to send military aid and assistance to the French Colonial outpost on the island of Madagascar. This island, sitting off the East African coast, sits astride a major English trade route and is a likely target for them to be shown as a victory for the Commonwealth forces. Unable to win true victories against a worthy foe, this is the only way to prove to America they are not an old man, halfway to the grave.

    According to Bobimoto, the aid would make the island more costly to the English to capture, that it might also allow us to dispatch the Kido Butai to intercept, and destroy at sea, a significant portion of the Royal Navy that is deployed in the Indian Ocean and Admiral Noka stated that it might offer value as a advanced submarine resupply point for the IJN.

    All three arguments are in line with my hopes and certainly were fashioned to find my favor, but I suspect my strong objections came as something of a surprise to the Colonel. Though considering my ambivalence to the New Caledonia operation (approved by the Council) , it should have been expected I think. At times I feel that too little thought is given to how all the pieces of our plans fit together. Virtually every proposal on its own seem worthy and manageable, but we are moving in several directions at once and there is a finite limit to our resources.

    I argued that these materials would be better used by our own people rather than an "ally" of uncertain loyalty. That our political capital with Germany was too precious to be spent on this project of limited value to the Empire. That any chance to destroy the Royal Navy before the inevitable American entry was critical, but considering the distance and the need for us to first capture Singapore, restore it to operational status, and have the Kido Butai anchored there (ready to sail) was so unlikely that it was hardly worth the investment.

    I further argued that a auxiliary Submarine tender, flying a false flag, would serve as well as a dedicated base, and less likely to trigger an English attack. Lastly the creation of any Imperial base, so far from the protection of the Kido Butai, would act like chum in the water for the English who would lose no time trumpeting the destruction of one of our outposts. The last thing I wish to give them is some easy propaganda victory they can wave in front of America's nose.

    The Colonel counter's that the aid would be "negligible" and I believe, he believes this to be the case, but in the past the military has committed the Empire to some seemingly minor adventure that was supposed to end quickly and bring great value to His Majesties realm, yet has led to a festering ulcer due to the inability of these same officers to admit a mistake and withdraw from anyplace the Imperial Flag has been raised.

    Fortunately only Admiral Noka's mild interest in a advanced Submarine base supports the Colonel's proposal and so this idea seems to be destined to be set aside by the Council, wisely I think.......
     
  14. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....We began yesterday's Council meeting looking at our China dilemma and came, somewhat stormily, to some conclusions. While the move south is predominately a Navy matter, China is a Army problem, while the drive along the South Asia coast into the Burmese and Indian regions must be a Joint Army/Navy operation. Put simply, our current force levels within the Army are not enough to meet all our new objectives and must be expanded.

    Complicating this problem is that there is little uniformity in our force structure and what uniformity that exists is ill thought out. Units have support elements that are poorly suited for the terrain they operate in or the mission they are tasked with. We must also struggle with the need to provide both a steady improvement of equipment for troops that must face the Western armies and provide a credible armored reserve force for the Kwantung Army to act as a deterrent to any Soviet adventurism.

    And of course, we must do all this while conducting combat operations designed to bring the China dilemma to an acceptable conclusion......
     
  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....Our Army is divided into three main types of independent formations, Division, Independent Mixed Brigades and Independent Battalions (usually Artillery, Engineer, Armor or support based). Regrettably in each category there is little uniformity due to our ongoing operations in China and elsewhere. This is both a complication for purposes of supply and has led to situations where units are a sink hole for troops and equipment they do not need on a regular basis.

    We will re-organize our Divisional formations to a more European style Triangular configuration. Three Infantry Regiments of three Infantry Battalions each. An Artillery Regiment consisting of three Artillery Battalions and the necessary Engineer, Signals and Quartermaster detachments that traditionally accompany the Triangular style Division format. This should allow us to engage the Western land forces in a near equal organizational basis.

    This will allow the Division, when necessary, to sub-divide into three balanced combat formations of Regimental strength. It will also permit us to create a standard "unit of Supply" for each of our divisions that will allow a better organized and less complicated supply train to our deployed Army formations. As much of them must be supplied via sea transport this could greatly ease our convoy routing and ASW deployments.

    As some of our Divisions may be of a strength below or above this new Table of Organization (TOE) it is my hope that they are able to 'balance' them out without the creation of new Battalions by simply placing any excess where they are needed. Optimally we may have enough left over Battalions to begin the creation of new formations we desperately must have......
     
  16. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....The Independent Mixed Brigade was an expedient first employed in China to provide a smaller garrison force to hold our rear area's after our main units have moved forward. Initially only two were formed but over time several more have been created and these units now comprise a significant portion of our force structure.

    In truth it is something of a mistake to call them Brigades when in fact they are like small Divisions. Consisting of usually five Infantry Battalions, one or two Artillery Battalions and in some cases Cavalry or Armor detachments as well as the required service troops, they approach nearly 8 to 9,000 men in each Brigade. While the mission they preform is valid, we must reduce the troop numbers to a more acceptable number that will allow the expansion we must have in Divisional sized units.

    We will replace this force with a leaner Regimental Combat Force or Team equal in size and structure to the component of the larger Division. Reduced to three Infantry Battalions and one Artillery Battalion, plus service detachments, they can then operate as independent Regiment or be joined by two other such units to form a balanced and uniform sized Division.

    Excess Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, Armor and service troops will be returned to a 'central pool' to allow formation of newly constituted Regiments and Divisions......
     
  17. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I hate to bring this up Honorable Prime Minister, but that is what a Brigade normally is, larger than a regiment, smaller than a division. Most times it has smaller versions of the divisions service and support units. Brigade is the correct description. Our new TOE's also have a Brigade TOE, we would use it for a unit we might need and would consist of two regiments plus a proportional sized artillery, service and support units.
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....The area where I feel we will see the greatest change and improvement will be in our mobile forces such as Armor, Motorized Infantry and Cavalry. Currently much of these are deployed in token detachments in our Divisional and Brigade units, once stripped of these and collected into a central pool they can be merged into combat effective Battalions and Regiments.

    Used as such in support of General Nishio's operations to clear South-Central China of warlord armies they can be used en mass where the terrain and objective call for such speed and mobility. Hopefully during the winter lull of 1942-1943 they can be further organized into Divisional sized formations to complete the offensive element of our China operation.

    If Nishio can push back Chaing, and General Terauchi can sever the India supply line, then Chaing will lose the ability to cause us much trouble. This would then allow these Divisional size formations of Armor and Mechanized/Motorized troops to redeploy into North China and Manchukuo to be reformed into Corps sized units to support our Infantry already deployed there.

    I am holding out hope that we can form something equivalent to a German PanzerGruppe or Tank Army consisting of two Corps with one Tank and two Motorized Infantry Divisions each. In a perfect world this might deter any Soviet adventurism, but if not then this could allow us to strike at either side of any enemy penetration of our lines and therefore nipping it off at the bud, should it occur.

    We also need to provide motor transport for the Artillery assigned to our Infantry Divisions that will still make up the bulk of the Kwantung Army, but it is unclear if we can do both while fighting the West at the same time.......
     
  19. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    When larger military organizations were formalized in the Napoleonic era, divisions would have two or more brigades, each with two or more regiments, each with two or more battalions. However modern organizations usually have one echelon between division and battalion. In some armies like the British this is designated brigade, but most including ours use regiment. In this sense the terms brigade and regiment denote units of comparable size and role.

    An alternative use of brigade - in armies like ours that don't use it for the regiment-equivalent - is what Bobimoto-san refers to. Small division is not a bad description of it either. It may not be much larger than a regiment, but it has more integral support elements and is better suited for operating independently.
     
  20. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....The restructuring of the Imperial forces is but one element that we must accomplish to extricate ourselves from our China Dilemma.

    We must also address the political aspect of this problem, for while there is much to do militarily, we can not escape enacting political solutions as well, as this will have to be the glue that holds our military gains after we begin to redeploy Imperial Forces elsewhere to new threatened areas of operation .

    There are five political blocks within China today, The Nationalist's led by Chaing Kai Shek, the Communist's under Mao, who oppose us. Puyi the Kangde Emperor who we installed in Manchukuo as our puppet, and Wang Jingwei who support us in Central China proper. Finally of course there is us acting in the name of His Imperial Majesty.

    It must be conceded that two interested parties have an impact that cannot be ignored. America, leading the West, want to "save" China though that most unworthy vessel, Chaing and his Nationalist's. While the Soviet Union wish to "liberate" the workers and peasants though Mao and his Communist's. Fortunately they are both on the sidelines and can offer only limited influence on the situation, less so now that Germany has attacked Russia and our movements South will distract America.

    It must also be conceded that no power block has a strong hold on the Chinese people, but this is both a challenge and a opportunity for us.......
     

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