The Komneniad: September-December, 1943

Posted just after the session, to explain what was happening in the game.

December 1943

To answer the peanut question: The two African powers, allied with Punjab and their vassal Russia, are at war with Germany, the American powers, and the Khanate. Japan is behaving somewhat strangely: It is in the African alliance, but after some rough handling has stopped its attacks in Korea and unilaterally pulled back to the prewar border. (The similarities to Khalkin Gol in OTL are interesting.) However, there are Japanese “volunteers” in Thailand, “aiding the Punjabi experiment in independence”. The Khanate is in a sense glad to see these troops: In 1936 I expected I’d be facing a lot of mechanised troops, so I built quite a few AT brigades, which haven’t really had good targets fighting the infantry armies of Punjab. The Japanese tanks, if you call them that – my troops call them “one-shot fireboxes” – offer the AT guns a chance to shine. However, my gladness goes only so far.

The main front, as usual, is in Europe: Notice on the map that the African troops have chopped German Russia into several pieces. Since there are no actual troops there this helps them only so much, but it sure looks impressive. Further west there seems to be the usual meatgrinder. California is concentrating on the Pacific; note the occupation of Indonesia. Catalunya has won a major naval battle and is shipping troops to Europe, again. The Khanate, while obviously not relaxing its vigilance on the Korean front – we haven’t even got a peace treaty with Japan this time! – has nonetheless got its main striking force back to the west and is pushing back the Punjabi incursions. Fighting in the Tibetan mountains is sloooow. The mountains and snow are bad enough, and the Punjabi demolitions teams have by now got a lot of practice; anywhere there’s been fighting, the infra is in the single digits. We’re talking three months to move infantry a single province. Blitzkrieg it’s not. The I Komnenoi is doing its usual excellent job of advancing towards Frunze; perhaps they can take it before the Great Powers insist on another ceasefire, this time. Further north, on the steppe front, supply difficulties have given Punjab the advantage, but then again there is very little worth having in that area, anyway, and the troop deployments reflect the fact. You haven’t seen skirmishing until you’ve seen a cavalry division drive off two militia divisions while both sides take more casualties from attrition than battle. Nonetheless Punjab is in fact pushing me back on this front, and at the current rate will reach the Pacific sometime in 1953.

Some screenies of the fighting with Punjab. The aforementioned steppe front:

Pervouralsk October 1943

As you can see, nobody considers this a high priority. Further south it’s another matter. In the initial stages of the war, with most of my army in the east containing the Anshan landing and the attempted breakout from Korea, Punjab launched an attack with its elite troops which reached the important industrial city of Urumqi and devastated it. Then my army came back from its victory in Korea, and the character of the fighting changed, from hard-fought retreat to bloody stand:

Hotan October 1943

Baoshan October 1943

Notice the militia in that attack on the southern front. That was, of course, well enough for driving back my border guard, which was there to keep order and ensure that southern China wasn’t taken by two cavalry divisions and a biplane. Trying to shift the 5th Red Banner Army under general Mao was something else again.

Then the panzers and the mountain troops arrived, and I shifted from defense to counterattack:

Gertse December 1943

Here Mark is desperately trying to hold the strategically important province of Gertse until reinforcements can arrive – even to the point of chewing up his best troops by demanding that not an inch of ground be given. Notice the fantastically lopsided casualty ratio in the left result popup. That’s what happens when even well-equipped mountain troops try to hold a province against three times their number, with no air support and fanatic mullahs making sure nobody even suggests retreat. Likewise, in Kashgar the I Komnenoi just brushed aside Punjab’s outgunned infantry.

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