Author Topic: 1927/1930 - The Zhanjian incident and Second italo-ottoman war (5)  (Read 1633 times)

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Offline TheDOC (OP)

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March 1927:

Japan - The Japanese Empire unveils to the world the first armed spaceship, the Ki-6 (Type 87) Kitsutsuki Fighter.
Other powers know little about the design, besides the fact it is armed with a 100mm Laser cannon. The test flight runs smoothly and no issues are encountered.

Nakajima Ki-6 / T87 "Kitsutsuki" class Fighter      473 tons       16 Crew       25.6 BP       TCS 9    TH 18    EM 0
1851 km/s      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 2      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 3
Maint Life 14.26 Years     MSP 31    AFR 9%    IFR 0.1%    1YR 0    5YR 4    Max Repair 8.75 MSP
Kaigun-Chōsa    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 days    Morale Check Required   

Honda Kitsutsuki NJNTE 18G-STD (1)    Power 17.5    Fuel Use 169.03%    Signature 17.5    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 10,000 Litres    Range 2.3 billion km (14 days at full power)

Ochida & Shishikura  Type 87-100 IL1S "Yata no kagami" (1)    Range 5,000km     TS: 1,851 km/s     Power 3-1     RM 10,000 km    ROF 15       
Mitsubishi Sensor Systems  Fire Director A-A Type 87 (1)     Max Range: 5,000 km   TS: 2,500 km/s     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tokuda & Soga T-S Type 88 PWR-PP (1)     Total Power Output 1    Exp 5%

Mitsubishi Sensor Systems  T87 Rangefinder AJ-270 Ki (1)     GPS 10     Range 2.7m km    Resolution 10
Mitsubishi Sensor Systems RPDSS Type 87 (1)     Sensitivity 0.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  5.6m km

This design is classed as a Fighter for production, combat and planetary interaction
This design is classed as a e for auto-assignment purposes

May 1927:

USA - After a couple months of shore leave, the Brahe leaves to survey the remaining planets in the solar system.

Japan/Ottomans - Two maintenance facilities are purchased and shipped from Izmir to Sapporo, to support the fledgling space command.
In exchange, industrial machinery makes its way to Istanbul.

July 1927:

Germany - Launch of the RMS Gauss, the German counterpart to the Brahe class. Bigger and with more available range than the american craft, the Raumarine hopes its significantly bigger sensors will allow to catch up with the american effort.

Austria - Plebiscites in the Littoral and Carniola. The voting system is quite complex, with five different districts picking different outcomes. The atmosphere is tense but, with the results in, the exchange of lands occurs relatively smoothly.
Most of the littoral coast opts to join Italy, whereas the interior and carniola are split between Austria and the PRCSB.

November 1927:

Italy - The Aermacchi assembly line for the survey craft Galileo begins production.

January 1928:

UK - British diplomats meet with their counterparts in Lisbon and Atlanta, renewing the existing alliances with Portugal and the CSA.

Germany - Diplomatic efforts focus in expanding the economic agreements with Scandinavia. A new trade deal is signed with Denmark, integrating it further in the German economic sphere.
Moreover, talks begin in Helsinki on a defensive alliance aimed against the USSR.

April 1928:

UK - RSS Intrepid, the first british survey craft, is under construction and scheduled for early 1929.

USSR - Observing the Japanese deployment of attack fighters, the Red Army developed the ZPU-27-1 "Shilka", a mobile AA platform for deployment in various Siberian cities.
The Shilka's cannon is also remarkably powerful against light armored vehicles when equipped with AP rounds, a fact which is not lost on the command.
Furthermore, the Amur line and sections of the western border are fortified and equipped with 135mm Rail Cannon emplacements.

Latin America - A Nationalist coup in Nicaragua succeeds, backed by Confederate agents. The Junta espouses an ultranationalist ideology, openly calling for military aggression towards its neighbors. In response, the USA strongly condemn the new government and rekindle the alliance with Costa Rica and Panama.

June 1928:

USSR - Dagestan is conquered by the advancing Red Army, which manages to reach the border with Azerbaijan. After years of devastation, the region is sparsely populated and home to very few industrial facilities.
(+1m pop, +1 CI)

Germany - The RMS Leibniz, sister ship to the RMS Gauss, is launched from the Imperial shipyard.

Japan - As the number of japanese fighters rapidly grows, plans are drafted for an invasion of Hainan under the pretext of support for the Viet Minh by the local warlord.

September 1928:

CoF - Senegal is largely brought under control by the Légion Internationelle. Order is restored for the population, along with some machinery used by the warlords to produce weaponry.
(+1.5m pop, +1 IC)

December 1928:

Japan - Hainan is invaded in the first combined operation from land, sea, air and space. The Space Command operated largely in a support role to test its capabilities. Regardless, the effect on troop morale was significant on both sides.
Haikou and Sanya, the two major ports on the island, are captured without great resistance. Engineers begin constructing infrastructure to support the airforce and space command, preparing for the next operation.

January 1929:

USSR - The Red Army command is shocked by the Japanese deployment of its fighter squadrons, using them at altitudes way beyond the protective capabilities of the Shilka battery.
Research is redirected from improvements in the Railgun cannons to prototyping a small, portable orbital battery capable of shooting beyond the atmosphere.
Fortunately, the current moves from the empire point towards focus on its Sanshin-Ron doctrine of expansion in South-East Asia, instead of the Nanshin-Ron doctrine that would put the Soviets in the line of fire, giving the USSR some time to prepare for an eventual attack.
However, these considerations might not mean much if the attack is directed towards a fellow communist country or group.

Italy - Receiving reports that the Ottoman Empire has begun modernizing its troops, the army requests permission to deploy two new infantry divisions, the 40th Infantry "Cacciatori d'Africa" and the 65th Infantry "Granatieri di Savoia" to Egypt
The divisions, not yet at full strength, consist of 3 infantry brigades, a tank brigade, support artillery and reconnaissance vehicles, all equipped with state of the art weaponry, and are ordered to garrison the Nile river delta. This brings Italy to the maximum amount of troops deployable in Egypt by the codominium protocols with the Ottomans. Any further deployment would breach the treaty, but politicians in Ankara fear an imminent attack regardless.
Back in Rome, the generals argue for a strike as soon as possible, given the current state of the two powers' armies. With tensions as high as they are at the moment, a spark could set the region ablaze.

USA - Production of the 4th Brahe-Class Geosurvey Craft begins in Seattle. Given the state of its reconstruction effort, Austria decided to purchase a dedicated craft rather than wait for its industry to be able to produce it. Deeming the current generation of ships to have exhausted its potential, the USA government authorized the production of vessels for commercial purposes.

April 1929:

USA/Germany - In reaction to the rapid buildup by Japan, the two foremost powers plan designs for a FAC and Frigate respectively, in order to outgun the Japanese.
Most powers begin planning for STO emplacements to defend their territory.

Japan - The situation in Viet Nam has been stationary for a long time, with both sides of the civil war receiving a steady flow of supplies.
However, the imperial high command plans to change the situation, targeting the main hub for the viet cong smuggling operations, the French-controlled port of Kwangchou.
Knowing this would be considered a direct act of war by the Internationale, the Empire plans to leverage its orbital support fighters, as they stand unchallenged for now. International reactions are expected to be relatively mild, considering the threat the fighters pose to other countries' survey ships and to the German shipyard.
Preparations are made on the newly conquered island of Hainan, with the first fighter squadron growing in size by the day.

UK - Launch of the Intrepid, the british geosurvey craft.

May 1929:

Ottoman Empire - In order to fight the italian tanks, the turkish army trains regiments of infantry equipped with Anti-Vehicle Gauss rifles, as a stopgap measure. A new vehicle is planned to enter development in the year.

German Empire - The Steinbach shipyard undergoes retooling for the new Blucher Destroyers. The Blucher represents the german response to the nimble Kitsutsune fighters, and outclasses them in every way. Its fire controls and speed are based on the observed maximum speed of the Japanese craft.
Redundancy is clearly visible in the design, with multiple fire controls in order to keep the ship operative even if one of them were to be knocked out.

Blucher class Destroyer      1,929 tons       55 Crew       159 BP       TCS 39    TH 70    EM 0
1814 km/s      Armour 2-13       Shields 0-0       HTK 13      Sensors 0/2/0/0      DCR 2      PPV 6
Maint Life 12.44 Years     MSP 203    AFR 15%    IFR 0.2%    1YR 2    5YR 36    Max Repair 35.00 MSP
Fregattankapitan    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Litt & Zelig Engines Limited GW M700 RTTN-PWR Motor (1)    Power 70.0    Fuel Use 84.52%    Signature 70.00    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 110,000 Litres    Range 12.1 billion km (77 days at full power)

Martens Weapon Systems 10cm Eisenkanone V10/C1 (2x4)    Range 10,000km     TS: 1,814 km/s     Power 3-1     RM 10,000 km    ROF 15       
Heller-Herk Eisenkanone brandschutzeinrichtungl R10-TS1875 (2)     Max Range: 10,000 km   TS: 1,875 km/s     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Westheimer Raumarine Techniek PWR R1 (3)     Total Power Output 3    Exp 5%

Degenhardt Electrik Aktiev SS R8-RJ (1)     GPS 100     Range 8.6m km    Resolution 10
Degenhardt Electrik EM Sensor Vermessungsfahrzeug (1)     Sensitivity 2.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  11.2m km

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
This design is classed as a c for auto-assignment purposes

June 1929:

Japan - Preparations for operation Shogun are set. Within the week, diplomats from Japan request access to Kwangchou from the Commune in order to stop the smuggling directed towards Hanoi.
Upon the initial French refusal, the Empire presents an ultimatum: abandon the port or face the might of the rising sun. Internationale forces mobilize in the USSR, where the Amur line receives a constant stream of supplies and reinforcements.

Italy - As the high command grows impatient, the Kwangchou crisis' flare up provides a perfect opportunity to strike. With the world's eyes on China, the Italian force in Egypt prepares to strike.

The Second Italo-Turkish War

On June 5th, 1929 the italian 65th infantry division leaves its post in Alexandria, speeding in the night towards the bridges over the Nile delta. At 2:00am local time, radio signals spike throughout Egypt. The jig is up, and soon enough, shells from the artillery brigade assigned to the turkish 16th infantry division hit Kafr-el Mansouk after spotting an EM signature. Italian and Turkish forces in Cairo receive orders to hold station and try to provoke the other to fire first, but to no avail.
Egyptian militias offer little in terms of military support, but the war would be for naught if the city were to be destroyed. Turkish sappers carry out multiple night operation and blow up the city's bridges. Both powers pin the blame on the opponent, but by now diplomacy was on the backseat.
Fighting erupted in the morning, with rear guard actions by the turkish skirmishers slowing down the italians in their approach to Mansura. Both the 16th and 19th Division managed to entrench defendable positions on the Nile and in Cairo respectively, blunting the surprise attack.
With prebuilt emplacements and natural barriers, the war quickly devolved into trench warfare, casualty rates being absolutely horrific in the first day, bringing back unpleasant memories of the Great War.
Both sides order the deployment of additional forces, with two extra divisions on the way for Italy and one for the Ottomans. Further deployment would stretch the armies beyond what would be considered safe on other borders.

Italian starting OOB:

4,200x Fanteria PN Carcano M1925 (Inf)
300x Squadra Mitragliatrice FIAT 1925 (MG)
240x Container Rifornimenti PN (Resupply)
120x Mortaio SEM 1925 (Mortars)
96x Artiglieria da Campo SEM 1925 (Light Art)
30x Carro Armato P74/25 (Medium Tank)
10x FIAT CIR 1925 (Light Tank)

+ HQs, Observers, Divisional Supply Trucks

Turkish starting OOB:

2,800x Light Infantry (Pre-TN Infantry)
2,800x Turkish Regulars (Inf)
270x Supply Carts
80x Machine Gun Team (Pre-TN MG)
200x Sten RG-MG Mk E  (TN MG)
80x Rail-Mortar Ex-6
48x Field Artillery (Pre-TN Arty)

+ HQs, Observers, Divisional Supply Trucks

As the hours turned into days, it became apparent this would not be a quick operation. Losses rapidly mounted on both sides, albeit more on the turkish side. Italian tanks and firepower began to take their toll, especially among the turkish auxiliaries.
However similar the war appeared to the Great War from the outside, the difference was clear on the front. Lessons had been learned and tactics adapted by both sides, with the reinforced defensive emplacements deployed by the turkish army in particular being extremely effective at giving their non mechanized troops a chance.
Italian generals employed a strategic plan dubbed "Forze di marea" (Italian for tide forces). This plan consisted in surgical bombardments by railcannons and mortars, made all the more effective by the enhanced precision enabled by TN technology, followed by heavy tanks.
Rather than exploiting a breakthrough, the aim of the initial attack was to hold a bridgehead over the enemy defensive works, to be occupied by the italian infantry and held with fire support. As the enemy tried to counterattack, a similar attack would occur somewhere else on the front, resulting in a constant erosion of the enemy position, much like the endless battering of waves on a cliff.
Given the lack of any weaponry able to penetrate the heavy tanks' armor, holding the line was nigh on impossible for the turkish army, as they began to lose various bridgeheads over the Nile.

The arrival of support divisions further tilted the balance of power in favor of Italy. The 8th colonial infantry division, only partially armed with TN weaponry, entered Sudan from Eritrea but encountered little resistance in the march to Khartoum.
Conversely, the 27th infantry division "Otranto" attempted a landing in port Said, but was halted in its advance by the 6th expeditionary force reserve as soon as it tried to advance along the canal. The maneuver threatened the envelopment of turkish forces along the Nile, therefore the only remaining option for the turks was to retreat behind the canal.

At dawn of the 8th day of battle, with the Kwangchou incident at its end, both powers sit at the negotiation table. Fears of an intervention by Britain or Austria were real for Italy, as the fall of the Ottomans would undoubtedly upset the balance of power.
Alternatively, were the other powers to stand by and watch, the result would be clear. In eight days, Italy dislodged all turkish resistance from Egypt, which did not bode well for the safety of Jerusalem, Damascus and beyond. Losing Egypt would be a blow to the prestige of the empire, but its sovereign territory would remain intact.
Despite most of the italian demands being accepted, the Sinai peninsula remained a contentious point. American mediation allowed to reach an agreement to satisfy the demands of both powers for the security of Palestine and the Suez canal respectively.

Thus was finalized the treaty of Thessaloniki:

End of the Egyptian codominium
Assertion of Italian control over the Kingdom of Egypt
Estabilishment of the Sinai peninsula as a demilitarized zone between the two powers
Resolution of various minor border disputes in the Aegean between Bulgaria, Greece and the Ottomans

The treaty granted full access to the Egyptian population and resources for Italy, including the british-founded Egyptian University (+9 CI, +13m pop, +1 Lab).

The Zhanjian Incident

In Tokyo, the imperial high command received news of the outbreak of hostilities in Egypt around noon. Despite the lack of intended coordination between the powers, this unexpected development was great news for the Empire.
Earlier that day, the ultimatum imposed on the Internationale went unanswered, as the clock ticked to midnight in Paris. Therefore, operation Shogun was given the go-ahead for the evening.

A barrage from land, sea and air descended on Zhanjian, the french port obtained during the second opium war. The tiny garrison in the city could do little against the onslaught, with many fleeing inland and hoping to make the long trek to Hanoi.
Guns over the Amur river began roaring, in a preemptive bombardment aimed at throwing the soviet forces in disarray. From space, the first fighter squadron watched on, buzzing around the planet and taking on recon duties with their sensors.

Within a few hours, the town was completely in ruins. Japanese infantry walked on a cratered and barren soil, among many dead civilians. The port, object and cause of the war, was nowhere to be seen, its charred remains left swallowed by the sea and submerged.
The international reaction to two acts of war in two successive days was shock and awe at the power of modern armies, as well as great disarray among diplomatic offices. Two crises flaring up at the same time rendered coordinated action complex, but highlighted the inadequacy of old diplomatic methods.
Citizens across Europe woke up to news from China of the effective leveling of an entire city by Japan in one night, utterly shocked by the show of power. The war in Egypt was deadly, but at least both contestants wanted to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.

The next day, soviet forces regrouped on the Amur, using their superior artillery to force japanese soldiers out of the defensive fortifications, but before further escalation had the chance to occur, surprisingly the empire calls for peace. Not a surrender, but the immediate termination of hostilities under the ultimatum conditions.
Forcing the issue, the fighter squadron firef various warning shots at the french orbital shipyard still under construction. With its assets threatened and no way to fight back, the internationale accepted the conditions and began withdrawing from Vietnam.

In little over two days, the Empire imposed its will with force and decision, highlighting the importance of armed vessels in space and defensive batteries on the ground.
The Zhanjian incident would go down in history as the spiritual successor of the battle of Tsushima: another demonstration by Japan to the west that its might is not to be trifled with.
Unfortunately for the Commune, being on the receiving end of such an humiliation caused a great amount of distress. It is clear that the delay in adopting new technologies and now this show of complete weakness cast more than a few doubts on the communist party's leadership.
(CoF: Stability -1, Japan: Stability +1)

Zhanjian incident results:

Cession of the port city of Zhanjian (or, more accurately, its remains) to Japan
Withdrawal of Internationale forces from Vietnam
Eventual victory for the Empire of Vietnam in the vietnamese civil war

For the second time in 15 years, illusions of peace were shattered by a brutal landscape of war, a war faster and more deadly than ever. Despite the success of the egyptian campaign, the casualty rates for Italy were staggering compared to initial predictions.
About 20% of the italian soldiers deployed to Egypt are either dead or MIA, despite the duranium body armor and IFVs employed in the operation. A "walk in the park", as the operation was sold to the people, became a relentless bloodbath.
The turkish army did not fare better, with many soldiers still armed with modified Lee rifles. Despite heroic resistance, over 40% of the infantrymen lie dead on the banks of the Nile. A complete disaster for the empire, which lost a significant part of its modern forces.
(Ott: Stability -1)

With only around 100.000 soldiers engaged, over 30 thousand lost their lives in a little over a week. War was expected to be costly, but this rate was absolutely unheard of.
Comparisons with the relative ease with which Japan imposed its will made one thing clear. Earth's orbit was now the most prized real estate to be claimed, with ground support troops providing the means to sweep the enemy, but not before the battle in space has been won.

The rest of 1929 unfolded as the ripple effects of the "twin wars" echoed through the planet. Most powers estabilished an STO arms program, aimed at protecting their orbital assets and troops.
More and more of the nations' budget was channeled in warships and military technology, with isolationist countries like the USA forced onto the global stage.
Finally, by the end of the year, Germany announced its intent to land colonists on the Moon as soon as 1932. The race for the solar system had begun.

World Map: 1 January 1930 is available in Menu - Map Bureau

A new era of colonization beckons, one which will require careful treading by all actors involved. With weapons ever more destructive and the decisive advantage of a first strike, operating without a framework could be deadly and unimaginably costly.
We'll see in the next chapter how the great powers navigated these dangerous currents, and if all of them got their (literal) place in the sun.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 05:05:46 PM by TheDOC »
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