The Komneniad: December 1943 – April 1944

Situation in late April 1944:

April 1944

Obviously, the most important development is that some complete idiot gave an industrial province to Norway, and now the Ynglings are unleashed and will slaughter us all. Apart from that, there is an American invasion of Africa from its base in Reunion. The invasion began in February – nearing the end of summer in Mozambique, with good dry weather:

African Invasion I

By mid-March the armoured columns were all over southern Africa:

African Invasion II

Possibly a bit too ambitiously, as April seems to have seen a counterattack cutting off the columns:

African Invasion III

But there are good ports in the Ethiopian domains, built as that empire is on half a millennium of controlling the seaborne trade of the Indian Ocean; I don’t think being cut in two parts caused the invasion any great difficulty of supply.

For those who can’t be bothered to zoom in on the world map, the industrial strengths are (taken from in-session screenshots, so they are correct):
Germany: 706/472
Catalunya: 652/429
California: 384/263
Kongo: 382/283
Ethiopia: 333/214
Japan: 261/192
Roman Khanate: 204/145
Punjab: 166/123
Russia: 73/46
Norway: 7/5

The Tibetan and Burmese campaigns heated up considerably this session, going back and forth in attack and counter. Here is the situation in December, with my planned attacks marked:

Campaign Plan for 1944

If successful, these attacks would create two giant pockets, one centered on Frunze and the other encompassing all of Burma, allowing me to destroy most of the Punjabi army. However, bad terrain and weather, stubborn Punjabi counterattacks, Japanese ‘volunteers’, and Ethiopian air support amounting to about half again the combined air forces of the Khanate and Punjab together, led to each of these attacks being blunted and turned back. Notice the casualty counts, however; the totals are slightly less than 10000 Khanate losses, somewhat over 28000 for the Punjabi.

Thus in February we had this situation, showing the counterattacks:

February 1944

Notice the plight of my three cut-off divisions up in the north; out of supply, out of fuel, and out of hope. I have taken Kashgar, but I won’t be able to make it stick; I’ve also taken Shigatse, but it is being strongly attacked by Punjabi forces surrounding this breach. However, if I can hold off those counterattacks I’ve got it made: The Punjabi forces are all on my flanks, in front of me there is sweet, sweet nothing all the way to the sea.

Both sides were making fairly liberal use of VoV orders at this point; here is me hanging on to Gertse (just north of Shigatse) by the skin of my teeth:

Defense of Gertse

The casualty ratio here is not so favourable; but the XIV Adrianople accomplished its mission and [i]held until relieved[/i].

At around this point MightyG, playing Japan, gives up completely on the polite fiction of neutrality; not only do the ‘volunteers’ in Burma become quite numerous and start launching powerful attacks into the jungle, he also breaks the ceasefire in Korea. The Korean attacks go nowhere, because I’m not that stupid; the line of division is still strongly held. In Burma, however, one motorised column gets as far as Pu’er before being turned back:

Attack on Puer

Well, Burma is one thing, but Korea is another. At this point I no longer consider Japan to be observing even the thinnest fig leaf of a ceasefire, and will hold myself free to attack its forces wherever I find them.

Gertse and Shigatse did in fact hold, and I was able to launch an attack down south into Bengal, trapping the reaction forces that Mark (playing Punjab) had scraped together, and at one point reaching Calcutta:

Attack on Calcutta

Cue the cries of “Thalassa! Thalassa!” However, this was being done by a single motorised division; the infantry were still slogging through mountains with infrastructure around 20.

Notice the really immensely lopsided casualty ratio in the lower right-hand corner; that’s from my very long-running counterattack on Baoshan, defended by something like 3 regular Punjabi divisions, 9 militia, and 6 Japanese motorised and light-armour divisions. As everything was on VoV, naturally the militia got hammered into uselessness long before the armour gave up, and then just sat about taking casualties for a month or so.

Unfortunately, I still could not push infantry through the mountains fast enough – partly due to the aforementioned infrastructure, partly because of continued desperate attacks on the flanks – to reinforce my motorised spearhead; so the Japanese were able to either land additional forces, or pull some out of the line in Burma, and push my attack back to Shigatse – in the process wiping out II Motor Rifle, whose commander insisted on withdrawing into the teeth of a Japanese attack rather than the way I told him to go. Twice. Worse, the Gantok pocket was rescued by my loss of Kathmandu.
Hence the situation in late April:

Indian Situation April 1944

My incursion in the north didn’t actually start out as a rescue attempt – I had in fact written off those three divisions some time before the trap closed. But I kept making these small counterattacks where I saw a chance, and pushing the Punjabi back; and since I had these armoured divisions sitting about just looking at the strongly-held front north of Lake Balkhash, I thought I might as well attack weakness rather than strength. And, lo and behold, once I was past the thin infantry screen there was basically nothing in my way. Even with African help the Punjabi can’t be strong everywhere.

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