Flaming Dragons-A Warlord China Alternate History

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by tukk323, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. LeX Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    I hope the collorationist generals get their asses handed to them eventually.
  2. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Jan 4, 2004
    Okay, I wuv Li Zongren, and definitely think he was one of the more capable leaders during this period (and indeed it's probably no coincidence that the Guangxi Clique were among the more capable warlords in China).

    I also agree, though, that you sort of paper over Zhang zoulin. His son in OTL proved himself a capable fighter, no?
  3. Malta Kirked

    Jul 2, 2007
    Hail to the Young Marshall!
  4. tukk323 Tuk

    Oct 17, 2008
    The Chinese have learned some valuable lessons in fighitng the Japanese in Manchuria. But they have also been trying to finish off the communists in Tibet (they are less concerned about the ones further north, which will become obvious soon)

    As per OTL the civilian government of Japan is fairly weak during this time, more so in fact for a number of reasons. Osachi's assassination has caused unrest and the Japanese military has more influence and power than OTL. This is because the lack of a Central Plains War and the KMT beating the communists more decisively, means that China appears to be far stronger than OTL and this is causing concern in Japan. It is also the reason Mukden occurred a year earlier. And Sadao Araki has managed to become prime minister giving another boost to the Japanese militarists.

    Holy crap! That is so cool!! I remember reading Zhang had his own car (which were rarer in China than Western nations) , but didn't realise it was battle capable! Ok, now I have to retcon my post to include this!

    It might be a while but revenge is dish best served cold :D

    Indeed, in fact removing Chiang gives Li an excellent opportunity to excel, his memoirs apparently were highly critical of Chiang and his policies

    Did I paper over him? Well he unluckily died in battle, so I'm not sure how much more detail could be added. At the time of his death in TTL the butterflies weren't so big and evythign he had done till then was pretty much the same as OTL, so I didn't feel the need to go into detail.
    His son was a capable fighter, but in OTL he followed orders and didn't oppose the Japanese in Manchuria and was ridiculed by the Chinese press for this (despite the fact that the order had actually come form the KMT higher ups)
  5. Wendell Wendell

    Jun 8, 2005
    Lost in what might have been
    I like your use of Wang Jingwei in this timeline.
  6. tukk323 Tuk

    Oct 17, 2008
    Map of February 1931, after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the various warlords are now much more integrated with the government so I have removed their individual colours

  7. tukk323 Tuk

    Oct 17, 2008
    11. White Sun Politicians.

    15 July 1931
    Republic of China

    Four of the most important and powerful men in China were gathered together in a lavish room. Wang Jingwei, President of the Republic was seated in a chair at one end of the room next to a large fireplace.
    “How can we continue to oppose them? Zhang fought as best as he could but even outnumbering them didn’t help. We have to face it, the Japanese military is far more advanced than any of our forces, in both tactics and technology” he stated.
    General Li Zongren, Commander-in-Chief of the National Revolutionary Army, bristled at the implication of the quality of his forces but he knew he the president wasn’t wrong. Standing next to him was the Premier Sun Fo, the son of Sun Yat-Sen, Wang had asked him to attend the meeting anyway since he wanted his input. The title of premier meant that Sun was head of the Executive Yuan, which in theory made him the head of government, but in reality Wang had taken over much of the affairs of that branch in his capacity as president and this meant the government was now leaning more towards a presidential republican system, with the president acting as head of state and head of government in the one role [1].

    Sun tried to counter Wang’s argument.
    “But the people are demanding we take action. The newspapers are still lauding Zhang as a hero and some of the northern towns [2] are half empty from volunteers joining the resistance army. How can we do nothing?”
    “I know, but aside from keeping the resistance as well supplied as we can there’s not much else I can think of until we hear back from Koo. Unless you have any suggestions general?” said Wang turning to Li.

    Li rubbed his chin and said “The Japanese have control of the major cities everywhere east of a rough line from Jinzhou to Daqing. Zhang pulled his army back to Shanhaiguan [3] and ordered General Wan Fulin to hold as long as he can if the Japanese advance any further while he is here. For now it seems as if the Japanese are not intending on pushing to take any more of Manchuria. Personally I think they’re on the brink of overstretching themselves with what they have and they’re trying to solidify their hold on it. But that isn’t to say they can’t bring in more reinforcements from Korea and their home islands, if we decided to retake our territory. I’ve had a few reports that General Chao has managed to beat back several Japanese attacks near Songyuan, but he wasn’t able to hold the city. Further north General Ma is waging a guerrilla war and gathering as many of the volunteers as he can. Zhang is planning on sending in more troops and supplies to support him. Mr President I believe the best action we can take is to drain the Japanese armies in a slow fight, exactly what is beginning to happen now. If we move any conventional forces north they may declare a complete war and attack us with everything they have.”
    “And you think we couldn’t beat them?” asked Kong Xiangxi, or H H Kung as he was known to his Western friends, the Minister of Industry [4], Kong was high in the Kuomintang government, but his world view was based on money matters, not military and so it was only natural for him to simply look at the numbers and assume China had the advantage.
    “At the moment we’re still dealing with communist forces in the countryside, not to mention the two regions under their control. To fight them and the Japanese at the same time would stretch the our forces to the breaking point” replied Li. “The best thing I can think of is to send some of the more experienced intelligence troops to join up with Ma and Chao in order to help train their forces and coordinate supplies to move north.”
    Wang said “I agree general. Despite the advances we’ve made on the last few years, our army is not ready to take on a foreign power, some of the more independent minded governors would probably keep their forces in their own region, under the guise of protecting it from any Japanese incursions.”
    Damned warlords thought Li Zongren. Despite most of the issues between the Kuomintang and the former warlords being settled, they were still very independent minded and ruled over their assigned provinces with complete authority. While this meant that there was rarely trouble in those regions, the government could not always count on them to provide the soldiers that might be needed for operations.
    Still thought Li better to keep them happy than order them around until they decided to fight back.

    Things had almost reached that point a few years ago, but a series of meetings and agreements between Wang and the warlords had prevented an actual war from breaking out. Once that had been settled Li focused on fighting the communists, but they were hard to eliminate. The bulk of them were holed up in mountainous strongholds and even a large enough army would have trouble dislodging them, while the rest were scattered across the entire country in guerrilla bands that were difficult to catch. The German trained military intelligence had been very useful in tracking many of them down, but they always somehow managed to find new recruits amongst the peasant and farmers. Li was concerned that the communists in the north would get even more recruits because of the Japanese which is why he wanted to send Colonel Lin Jiazhou there. He was his best intelligence officer and would ensure the insurgency against the Japanese would be a Kuomintang driven one rather than communist driven.

    Wang continued “I am still concerned about the communists, which is why I don’t want to order a full campaign to retake Manchuria. So until we hear back from-“
    There was a knock at the door and Wang said “Come in.”
    Wang’s assistant opened the door and held it aside for Gu Weijun [5] to enter. Gu had adopted the Western name of Wellington, since he spent much of his time in other nations and had been involved in the formation of the League of Nations, whose decision Gu had been waiting to hear about before he attended the current meeting.
    He placed his hat on the rack next to the door and slowly walked towards the other four men. Wang could tell the outcome by the look on Gu’s face.

    Gu shook his head and said “It’s no good Jingwei. Aside from military action against Japan, which is not going to happen, there is little they can or will do. By rights they should have put sanctions on them, but even if they did it would matter little to Japan, since they have now withdrawn from the League themselves.”
    Wang shook his head “We have to face it. They don’t care about problems.
    “Oh they all care! They care so much, they’ll debate it for hours and hours, but never actually do anything!” shouted Sun.
    Wang let him calm down for a few seconds before continuing “Li we’ll implement your plan for placing intelligence soldiers in Manchuria. Make sure you get Bauer’s input on the operation, after all his men trained those soldiers. In the mean time I am ordering the current north-eastern forces to maintain position, if we can’t push the Japanese back, we can make damned sure they don’t progress any further.”
    There was another knock at the door, this time it sounded far more urgent. Wang told whoever it was to enter. It was his assistant again.
    “Sorry to interrupt sir, but there is urgent news. The Japanese have landed troops near Shanghai and sent the city’s mayor an ultimatum”
    Wang frowned, Shanghai had become a hotbed since the invasion of Manchuria, with numerous incidents reported against Japanese citizens. He turned to General Li.
    “General I want you to head to Shanghai personally, if this gets out of hand I need you there.”
    “Yes sir” replied Li “I’ll take the 3rd Army with me.” The others knew what that meant Li had formed the 3rd Army himself from a solid core of German-trained troops and Guangxi Clique veterans, if any force could stop an invasion of Shanghai it would be that one.

    Key figures in the Kuomintang government-1931, from left to right; Premier Sun Fo, Minister of Industry H. H. Kung and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wellington Koo.

    Part of President Wang Jingwei’s famous Nanjing Address of 20 July 1931.

    “At this great turning point in history, the National Government should make clear to the people of China and of the whole world the main objectives in its policy of realizing national independence and completing the National Revolution. We shall then be able to co-operate more wholeheartedly and fulfill our mission more effectively. We fervently hope that security in China and peace in the world may be permanently established. With this thought in mind I today make the following statement.

    The aim of our National Revolution is two-fold. In our relations with other nations we seek national independence and freedom. Within the nation we seek equality for all racial groups. For forty years we have faced the ever-growing menace of Japanese aggression. Therefore the main emphasis of our national revolutionary movement is upon consolidating the strength of all our racial groups. We knew that we must unite in resisting foreign aggression if we are to attain national independence and freedom.

    We have three most important goals and the attainment of these constitute our most urgent tasks.
    First, we must continue the National Revolution as the legacy handed down to us by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
    Second, we have to regain our sovereign rights in the Northeastern Provinces and re-establish territorial and administrative integrity there.
    And third, we must continue to resist aggression against our nation in all of its forms. While a specific example is the aggression of the Empire of Japan in our province of Manchuria and intimidations near Shanghai, this includes any other form of aggression against our rightful government. The communist bandits that seek to destabilise the nation we have been building and their Soviet backers [6], as well as the Western nations that think we must still accept their demands in our cities, when our people are under attack [7].

    Wang shortly after the 20 July Nanjing Address, he dressed in uniform to inspire the crowd.

    Taken from “Sun Yat-Sen’s Heirs”, by Liao Yanshi, © 1988, Lotus Flower Publishing, Guangzhou, Republic of China

    The Japanese invasion of Manchuria and new puppet nation of Manchukuo had divided the Kuomintang government. Whilst a majority of them wanted to bring the army north in order to push the Japanese out of rightful Chinese territory, many realised that it was easier said than done. The Japanese were looking for any excuse to launch more attacks at China and the Shanghai Incident is a reflection of this. President Wang spoke several times to crowds after the invasion of Manchuria, the general population had a n angry attitude towards Japan and he wanted to prevent anything happening in Shanghai, but his words were not enough to calm things down.
    Wang sent reinforcements to the 6th and 88th Army stationed near the city under the command of Li Zongren himself, after hearing of Japan’s landing of forces. Despite wanting to avoid any further expansion of conflict, Wang had some hopes that the Japanese would launch an attack, since it would mean they would be seen in an even worse light than they already were by the rest of the world. Things eventually came to a head on the 27 July 1931.

    Imperial Japan’s Folly: Invading China, by Marco Bravelli, English translation by Antonio Grimani © 1978, Gravello Publishing House, Kingdom of Italy, Nice

    The Battle of Shanghai (1931), also known as the Shanghai Incident began on the 27 July. Japanese troops attacked various targets just before dawn as well as bombing parts of Shanghai with naval planes. In response Li Zongren ordered the 3rd Army and the 19th Route Army to counter-attack the Japanese, while he kept the 5th Army in defensive positions inside the centre of the city. The fierce fighting soon spread to most of the eastern parts of Shanghai and the stubborn resistance prompted the Japanese to bring in reinforcements. Two weeks later the Japanese had landed two more divisions, bringing their troop numbers up to 100,000 and nearly 100 ships as well as a substantial air force. Li requested for China’s meagre air force to be brought in to support the infantry, which Wang quickly authorised.

    The Japanese infantry forces managed to penetrate into the city as a far as and stopped when they were attacked by the entrenched Special Brigade commanded by General Hu. Intense fighting in the district lasted for six days before the Japanese withdrew, when they were in danger of running out of ammunition. After another week of fighting around the city General Shirakawa finally called back all forces under direct orders from Prime Minister Araki. Though neither side had really won, the Chinese had pushed the Japanese from Shanghai, albeit at a great cost, the 3rd had borne the brunt of the fighting and some of it’s units had taken more than sixty percent casualties. Li Zongren’s precious hardened core of the NRA was decimated.

    The Incident is noteworthy because it marked one of the few occasions during the Second Sino-Japanese War that Chinese numbers were lower than the Japanese and they were able to achieve victory [8].

    Fig. 9. Order of Battle during the Shanghai Incident 1931.

    Shanghai Expeditionary Army - Gen. Yoshinori Shirakawa
    Lieutenant- Gen. Kanichiro Tashiro - Chief of Staff

    Army Troops:
    Mixed Regiment Medium Artillery -
    3 Batteries 150mm Howitzers, 12 guns, horse drawn.
    2 Batteries 100mm guns, 8 guns, horse drawn.

    Army Air Service:
    3 Bomber Squadrons
    1 Pursuit Squadron (Nieuports)
    1 Reconnaissance Squadron

    24th Mixed Brigade -
    2nd Battalion / 14th Infantry Regiment
    1st Battalion / 24th Infantry Regiment
    1st Battalion / 46th Infantry Regiment
    1st Battalion / 48th Infantry Regiment
    2nd Battalion / 3rd Independent Mountain Gun Regiment
    2nd Company / 18th Engineer Battalion

    9th Division - General Uyeda
    2nd Independent Tank Company - Captain Shigemi
    5 Type 89 Medium Tanks, 10 Renault NC27 Tanks
    Cavalry Detachment
    Battalion 150mm Howitzers
    Heavy Siege Gun Unit, (6 150mm Mortars)
    6th Infantry Brigade
    7th Infantry Regiment
    35th Infantry Regiment
    18th Infantry Brigade
    19th Infantry Regiment
    36th Infantry Regiment
    9th Mountain Artillery Regiment
    9th Cavalry Regiment

    11th Division - General Koto
    10th Infantry Brigade
    12th Infantry Regiment
    22nd Infantry Regiment
    22nd Infantry Brigade
    43rd Infantry Regiment
    44th Infantry Regiment
    11th Mountain Artillery Regiment
    11th Cavalry Regiment
    11th Engineer Regiment
    11th Army Service Detachment

    14th Division - General Matsuki
    27th Infantry Brigade
    2nd Infantry Regiment
    59th Infantry Regiment
    28th Infantry Brigade
    15th Infantry Regiment
    50th Infantry Regiment
    20th Field Artillery Regiment
    18th Cavalry Regiment
    14th Engineer Regiment
    14th Battalion of Army Service Corps

    3rd Fleet - Vice Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura
    34 warships including:
    Kirishima, Kongō class battlecruiser
    Yura, Nagara class cruiser
    Tenryū, Tenryū class cruiser
    Mutsuki, Mutsuki class destroyer
    1st Koku-sentai (Carrier Division)
    Carrier Kaga (flagship)
    Nakajima A1N fighters
    Mitsubishi B1M bombers
    Carrier Hōshō
    9 Nakajima A1N2 fighters
    3 Mitsubishi B2M bombers
    3 Mitsubishi C1M Type 10 reconnaissance aircraft
    Shanghai SNLF (Captain Samejima) *[2000men]
    1st Battalion (Including Sasebo 1st SNLF)
    2nd Battalion (Former Kure 1st SNLF)
    3rd Battalion (Former Sasebo 2nd SNLF)
    4th Battalion (Former Sasebo 3rd SNLF)
    5th Battalion (Former Yokosuka 1st SNLF)
    7th Battalion (Former Yokosuka 2nd SNLF)
    Armed reservists and Ronin, agents 3000 men
    Total Naval forces in Shanghai 5000 men


    Shanghai Front - Commander in Chief, Gen. Li Zongren

    3rd Army - Gen. He Yingqin
    38th Division -
    75th Brigade
    Special Brigade – Gen. Hu Wei-an
    50th Division - Gen. Li Bao
    109th Brigade
    110th Brigade
    55th Division - Gen. Ma Changbo
    114th Brigade
    115th Brigade

    19th Route Army - Gen. Chiang Kuang-Nai
    60th Division - Gen. Shen Kwan-han
    119th Brigade
    120th Brigade
    61st Division - Gen. Mao Weh-hsu
    121st Brigade
    122nd Brigade
    78th Division - Gen. Shu Zu-nien
    155th Brigade
    156th Brigade
    3 Chinese armored trains (500men)
    Woosung Forts Garrison (2,000 men)

    5th Army - Gen. Chang Chih-chung
    87th Division - Gen. Lau Ching-yueh
    174th Brigade
    175th Brigade
    88th Division - Gen. Yu Tsi-shih
    176th Brigade
    177th Brigade
    Independent Brigade - Gen. Wang Ken

    Chinese soldiers during the Shanghai Incident.

    [1] Kuomintang government positions and who had authority are somewhat of a headache. In OTL Chiang changed positions numerous times, due to disagreements and being force to reisgn and then being brought back. he alternated between premier and president along with other figures though power tended to be in his hands regardless of his actual position. Here Tan Yankai remained as premier and Wang became president during the Northern Expedition. Since Tan was a fairly weak figure, Wang became more powerful and authority has slowly moved into the presidential position. By the time Tan died in 1930, premier was a role only indicating the head of the Executive Yuan that was answerable to the president and Wang appointed Sun to replace Tan.

    [2] When Sun says ‘northern towns’ here, he means the towns north of the Yellow River and Beijing, not Manchurian towns.

    [3] Also known as Shanhai Pass, it has been used numerous times in Chinese history to defend against attacks form Manchuria.

    [4] This Minister position presides over a combination of what is usually the Ministry of Economic Affairs and some of the areas of Ministry of the Interior.

    [5] This is the pinyin version of Wellington Koo’s name.

    [6] Not actually true, but a belief amongst many in China at the time.

    [7] Rioting in Shanghai has become routine particularly between Chinese and Japanese citizens and the other nations in the international sections of the city are pressuring the Chinese to stop it.

    [8] This statement does not include guerrilla actions, only large scale battles.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  8. Hendryk Banned

    Aug 24, 2004
    The way things are playing out is quite interesting. Incidentally, in this kind of circumstance, I think the men involved would address each other by their respective courtesy names: Lixin for Wang, Zhesheng for Sun, Delin for Li, Yongzhi for Kong and Shaochuan for Gu.

    I'd recommand not to use this picture which is obviously from a later period: the Chinese soldiers are wearing GI-style helmets which in OTL were only issued in 1942, and the Jeep is another anachronism.
  9. tukk323 Tuk

    Oct 17, 2008
    Ok thanks for the pic notification.
    Are those names the Chinese words for their positions? If so then I can just stick to president, minister, general, etc. or are they names they perosnally had? (My knowledge on this stuff is a bit lacking)
  10. zeppelin247 Well-Known Member

    May 1, 2010
    Northern Ireland
    this is getting really interesting I hope the Chinese can push the Japanese out of China before our time and the Chinese civilians will not have to suffer as heavily
  11. rcduggan 大元帅

    Jul 7, 2007
    New England Democratic Republic
    So the professional core of the NRA is gone - and the Second Sino-Japanese War seems to be heating up much earlier than in OTL. Does this mean that the GMD will have to rely on the warlord armies to a larger extent if and when the Japanese begin their offensive, or will Li Zongren try to make peace with the Japanese to buy time to rebuild the NRA? If he chooses to do so this would entail cutting loose the rebels in Manchuria, evacuating Rehe, and possibly giving up all of Manchuria.
  12. Hendryk Banned

    Aug 24, 2004
    The courtesy name, or zi, is a practice that fell out of use later in the 20th century but which was still seen among men of Jiang's generation. It is based on the fact that it was traditionally considered disrespectful for adult men of the same generation to address each other by their given names. So instead of that they would use a pseudonym, either attributed by a mentor figure or chosen by themselves. It was usually dissyllabic.
  13. Wendell Wendell

    Jun 8, 2005
    Lost in what might have been
    THis was a good update, and I like the hints being dropped about the world beyond East Asia in this timeline.
  14. Some Bloke Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2008
    A small village in Arkhamshire.
    The Chinese have Binary Divisions?
  15. Tony Donor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Sandy Island, New Caledonia (before its ISOT)
    Just wonder how China with initial positive development would get destroyed in the 1990s:eek: The population of Hong Kong in TTL would probably be 10,000,000+:eek: (HK can accept far many people... only if you destory those countryparks, occupying around 47% of land in Hong Kong:mad:)
  16. tukk323 Tuk

    Oct 17, 2008
    The effects of no Central Plains War are not quite apparent yet, but once war between China and Japan breaks out properly, it will soon show. The Chinese are certainly going to be better off-more soldiers, more warlord coperation and slightly less trouble form the communists, all this added together will be bad for Japan.

    Ok, thanks for the info, I will have to do more research on this.

    Thanks, only dropping small hints so far, I want to keep the focus on China as much as I can though there will be some posts elsewhere as things progress towards a world war

    Shows you that the NRA wasn't as large or well organised as it may have looked. never fear Li Zongren and Max Bauer are working to improve it.

    You did read the prologue right?
    but don't worry HK isn't going to take any direct hits , but even 10,000,000 isn't enough to absorb a devastated mainland which will still have at least several hundred million people
  17. Tony Donor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Sandy Island, New Caledonia (before its ISOT)
    Yes. And I recognise the possibility that a stronger China, or perhaps a one-time-superpower may really cast a spell on the future of China instead. Anyway, love to see how things are to gradually turn crazy in TTL:D

    I suppose some mainland cities with a 5,000,000+ population could escape being nuked too?
  18. tukk323 Tuk

    Oct 17, 2008
    For those wondering, this isn't dead, simply on hold while I finish up my Not By A Mine TL. It has two posts left and one of them is almost finished. Then there will be epilogues, bu they will be slower and during them I will return to this (and yes this is vaguely a plug for my other TL :D, while you're waiting for this one).

    I have most of plenty of notes and some written for the next few updates for this, so once I get back on to it, it will be quick
  19. kahing Banned

    Jul 16, 2011
    Fuck western propoganda
    Ddmkm122 likes this.
  20. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

    Mar 10, 2004
    I hope the Guominjun stage a comeback!