The Falcon Cannot Hear: The Second American Civil War 1937-1944

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Ephraim Ben Raphael, Nov 17, 2014.

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  1. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    My TL which I began in January of this year is now being resumed with CalBear's permission. I intend to continue it until the conclusion of the war and its immediate aftermath. For those of you who would like to read or re-read the first part of the TL, you can find it here: https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=302840 . Please note before reading it, that several of the pre-POD portions and a few other parts that mirror OTL events are taken from William Manchester's The Glory and the Dream- the rest is all my own work.

    Sorry about the delay in bringing this back, I was building up an update buffer and then my laptop died and I lost a whole bunch of work.

    Here's a chapter library;

    00 - Prologue - 1929
    01 - Things Get Bad - 1930-31
    02 - President Hoover - 1929-1932
    03 - Washington Under Siege - 1932
    04 - Things Get Worse - 1932
    05 - Farmers and Bankers- 1932-1933
    06 - The Garner Administration and the Second Bonus Army - 1933
    07 - The ERA and “Civil War” in the Democratic Party - 1933-1934
    08 - Things Fall Apart - 1934
    09 - The Worst are Filled With a Passionate Intensity - 1934-35
    10 - The End of the Crooked Deal - 1935
    11 - The Center Cannot Hold - 1935-1936
    12 - The Shot Heard Round The World - 1936-1937
    13 - The Government Overthrown - 1937
    14 - Divided We Fall - 1937
    15 - For Brutus is an Honorable Man - 1937-1938
    15.5 - Hail Caesar - A 1938 Prose Interlude
    16 - The World Wonders - 1938
    16.5 - Comic Interlude
    17 - Eyes Skyward - 1938
    18 - The Tempest - 1938-39
    19 - The Disintegration of the Pre-War Military - 1938-39
    20 - The World At War - 1938-39
    21 - The War in the East - 1932-1939
    22 - Operation East - 1939
    22.5 - The Grapes of Wrath - A 1940 Prose Interlude
    23 - The Japanese Invasion and the Hunting Season - 1940
    24 - The True North Strong and Free - 1940
    25 - The Fall of France - 1940
    26 - Tube Alloys - 1938-41
    27 - The Chrysanthemum and the Bear-1940-41
    27.5 - Unalienable Rights - A 1942 Prose Interlude
    28 - Race and Racism - 1941-42
    29 - Dominoes - 1941
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
    Odinson, Betty Ford, weaverj and 2 others like this.
  2. tallguy Member

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    Sep 21, 2013
    This is fantastic! Very glad to hear you didn't give up! I eagerly await the conclusion to this great TL.

    -Jim
     
  3. Lateknight I LIVE! I DIE! I LIVE AGAIN! Banned

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    I liked this timeline when it was not stealing the work of other authors, I am glad it's back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  4. King of the Uzbeks Charles Curtis is my Baby Daddy

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    This. Glad to see it back.

    A word of advice, try doing more prose, your very good at it.
     
  5. Turquoise Blue Blossoming Tibby!

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    Apparently the falcon can hear... how much people wanted his work to continue! :D
     
  6. fernerdave on the boat now

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    My name is Yon Yonsin, I now live in Visconsin
    Woo Hoo!! I say, Woohooa!
     
  7. Malta Kirked

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    Yaaaaaaaaaay
     
  8. Kung Fucious Groucho Marxist

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    [​IMG]

    It's baaaaaaaaaaaaack! Now I am as happy as a little girl.

    So this is a direct continuation, rather than a reboot? Can we expect a "Previously, on "The Falcon Cannot Hear"..."?
     
  9. idonotlikeusernames Well-Known Member

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    Yay.....it's back.
     
  10. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Somewhere in the Khazar Empire
    I'm just sorry I left you waiting for so long.:)

    Okay.

    Thank you. I'll see what I can do about a bit more prose.:)

    Thanks guys.:)

    It is indeed a continuation instead of a reboot, this is the "thrilling conclusion!":D

    Indeed!:p
     
  11. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

    Joined:
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    Somewhere in the Khazar Empire
    The Chrysanthemum and the Bear- 1940-1941

    Japan entered the year 1940 with growing confidence and grim optimism. They had faced defeats in northern Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, but they had begun retaking territory in the most recent offensive. “Once the intervention in America bears fruit,” Prime Minister Sugiyama informed his cabinet “there will be nothing stopping us from liberating Munchukuo and Mengukuo and pressing on as far as Omsk.” On the home front propaganda trumpeted Japan’s victories and also urged on the total commitment necessary for victory. “100 Million Hearts Beat as One” the slogans said, and reported on examples of particularly self-sacrificing individuals who were committed to the war effort. The child who donated his lead toys to melted down into bullets was popular, so was the family who went without heating so that more fuel could go to military purposes. One propaganda film told the story of a group of workers in a factory who heroically drove themselves to meet and surpass their production quotas, overcoming personal and emotional struggles along the way. To make the film (it was called Bundled Reeds) appeal more widely the product the workers were making was never specified- the though was that it would allow the message to apply more universally. The entirety of Dai Nippon was on a seven-day work week, even school children watched their academics cut further and further away so they could assist in agricultural work and help fill the labor shortage. 1.4 million women entered the workforce, relatively few as the government discouraged “the disruption of family life”. Large numbers of Korean and Chinese laborers were imported, many were forced to work in miserable conditions for no pay.

    Industrial production increased, but not enough.


    [​IMG]
    A 1940 Japanese propaganda poster showing a Japanese soldier driving bestial Soviet soldiers before him. The writing reads; "We grow stronger and stronger, our enemies grow weaker and weaker."



    Aware that Soviet troops couldn’t yet match their Japanese counterparts in terms of quality, General Zhukov had turned to a strategy of quantity with the assent of Stalin. Using the lull that accompanied winter as a respite, the Red Army moved forty divisions east with about 800,000 men and 10,318 tanks between November 1939 and March 1940. When the USSR invaded Manchukuo the Red Air Force had been a joke, more focused on performing stunts and setting aviation records rather than preparing for actual combat. As such it had fared poorly against the air arms of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy whose planes were vastly superior and whose pilots much more experienced. But the Soviet Union had the highest industrial output of any country on earth and the number of planes in the Red Air Force doubled in the time from August 1939 to August 1940. Aircrews became increasingly skilled as they gained more experience, and the high attrition rate in pilots was overcome simply by training more faster than they could be killed. The Yakovlev Yak-1 couldn’t quite go toe-to-toe with the Mitsubishi Type O, but it came close, and by using massed air attacks similar to those employed by the Luftwaffe in Europe the Soviets were able to seriously challenge Japanese control of the air going into the spring offensives of 1940.



    [​IMG]
    The Yakovlev Yak-1 suffered from material problems which saw a high rate of mechanical failures and made the craft extremely difficult to maintain. Built largely from wood, it had a tendency to warp and rot when exposed from the the elements, earning the nickname "Perishable goods" by the pilots who flew it. However when operational the Yak-1 was extremely maneuverable, fast, and well armed.


    Perhaps the most important of Zhukov’s projects was the extension and further development of logistical connections between Siberia and the rest of the USSR. With only a single supply line- the Trans-Siberian Railroad- to rely on the Soviet Army faced a tremendous logistical bottleneck with regards to bringing men and materials east. New tracks were laid, increasingly the railroad’s capacity and providing alternate routes so that a single break in the line couldn’t halt the flow of supplies. Armies of Zeks- political prisoners doing forced labor- carved new roads and highways out of the Siberian tundra at a staggering cost in lives. But the development was invaluable for prosecuting the war, and it’s doubtful that Stalin lost any sleep over the 40,000 workers who died in the process.

    With the coming of the spring thaw the war intensified. General Umezu Yoshijirō- the “Stoneman”- was determined to retake Harbin and go back onto the offensive. The Kwantung Army had been bolstered by a wave of Korean conscripts that Umezu intended to use as cannon fodder (a departure from previous policies of keeping Koreans out of combat) and by a force of about fifty Lt-35 tanks that had been first purchased by Admiral King, later captured by Filipino forces when the Philippines declared its independence, and finally transferred to the IJA. The front line was vaguely triangular, the IJA holding two diagonal fronts that shielded most of Manchukuo’s major cities and industrial centers. The Manchukuoan capital of Xinjing was at the tip within artillery range of the Red Army with the lines sloping down to the east and west where Communist advances had forced the Japanese back. By recapturing Harbin they would be in a position to cut off the eastern Soviet salient which was aimed at the border with Japanese Korea. Unfortunately for Umeza he launched his offensive on April 3, and two days later General Zhukov launched his offensive.



    [​IMG]
    The front line in Manchukuo in April, 1940.


    Zhukov’s plan was uncomplicated. He intended a massive encirclement of the IJA, a flanking maneuver in the east where there were no major cities and defenses were relatively light. The Soviet Army would drive west, eventually taking Fushun and Fengtian while a second prong would stab south to join up with the first. Had the Stoneman ignored Harbin and focused solely on isolating the eastern branch of the communist forces, he might have seriously hindered the General’s plan. Instead the Kwantung Army sent the better part of its forces north while a tidal wave came crashing down onto its flank. Most of the Japanese armor and artillery had been amassed for the drive towards Harbin, ensuring that the Soviets faced primarily infantry units without substantial support. This was considered sufficient according to Japanese military theory which held that the key to victory was not heavy weapons but rather the fighting spirit of the troops. Spirit in this case saw defenders crushed by massed armor, torn apart by concentrated airpower, and gunned down when they abandoned their defenses in poorly planned attacks. The IJA actually did manage to enter Harbin in the first week of June, before Umeza turned his forces around in a desperate attempt to keep from being entirely surrounded.

    He failed.



    [​IMG]
    Soviet conscripts in Manchukuo.


    The better part of the Kwantung Army and the Japanese forces in Manchukuo were cut off and completely encircled when the two prongs of the Soviet Army met near Fengtian on June 15. Umeza committed seppuku and his second-in-command, Major General Kuribayashi Tadamichi, went down fighting. Kuribayashi was an inventive tactician who abandoned the strategy of using banzai charges and unsupported infantry to fight the enemy. Instead he transformed the major cities of Manchukuo into fortresses that used the urban terrain to negate Soviet advantages in terms of numbers and war machines. Imperial troops removed their uniforms and integrated themselves into the civilian population, taking advantage of the fact that the Soviets had difficulty telling Japanese and Chinese apart. Large numbers of Manchukuoan citizens were conscripted to throw up bunkers and hasty defensive works to slow the enemy. The IJA fought from sewers and basements, they fought house to house and block by block. Suffering a shortage of anti-tank weapons they used improvised petrol bombs and when ammunition began to run out they fought with bayonets and swords. It took Zhukov four months to destroy the Xinjing pocket, by the time he did Xinjing, Sipingjie, and Fushun were in ruins. Over half-a-million Communist soldiers died in the campaign, so did twice their number of Japanese and some 200,000 civilians. Kuribayashi’s body was never found, but his tactics proved highly influential to Japanese operations later in the war.

    By early November the Empire of Japan had been almost completely forced out of Manchuria. They held the Liaodong peninsula and the ports of Dairen and Ryojun, and a small area north of Korea that was under heavy assault. Marshall Zhukov made a symbolic visit to the port town of Qinhuangdao, celebrating the fact that the peasants and workers of the Soviet Union now controlled a stretch of territory from the Baltic to the Yellow Sea. The Soviets had split the land connection between China and Japan and were now in position to bear down on Beijing and Korea. It is impossible to understate the significance of the disaster that had been dealt to the IJA, which had lost the better part of its forces, many of its most experienced units, and virtually all of its remaining armor. The entrance of Canada into the war and the subsequent defeats of the Eastern Expeditionary Force only compounded the catastrophe. Meanwhile the Philippines were seething with unrest and the Filipino government was demanding that Japan withdraw its forces from the islands early. The behavior of the Japanese troops there had largely alienated the Filipinos, turning what had begun as a friendly alliance into general hostility.



    [​IMG]
    Russian sailors raise their Naval Ensign over the Qinhuangdao port.

    “We will not be a colony.” President Quezon said in a speech on December 17th. “Not of America, and not of Japan.” Afraid that the Philippines were slipping away, Prime Minister Sugihara authorized the overthrow of the Filipino government three days later by Japanese forces stationed near Manila. José Paciano Laurel y García, an Associate Justice on the Filipino Supreme Court, was installed as a puppet President. This only intensified resistance against the Japanese presence, and also inspired Emilio Rizal’s Philippine Corps in Alaska to end its previous alliance with the Empire of Japan. Elsewhere the situation was little better, Hawaii had never been fully pacified and the MacArthurite defenders of Alaska kept up a dogged resistance. For a while it seemed as though Britain and Australia would join Canada in declaring war on Japan, particularly after the pro-Bordeaux French governor of Indochina invited Japan to occupy French Indochina. However the dire situation in Europe, and concerns that they couldn’t handle another theatre in the war, prevented London and Canberra from becoming involved. Chamberlain made no bones however, about informing Tokyo that any Japanese involvement in the Dutch East Indies would definitely result in a declaration of war from what remained of the Western Allies. Meanwhile Indochina became another demand on already strained Imperial resources and manpower.


    [​IMG]
    Japanese forces on parade in Manila.


    Of course the Japanese weren’t the only ones struggling to deal with setbacks.

    The Chinese Communists had long drawn their strength from the fact that the better part of the Chinese people saw them as independent of foreign influence. The Nationalists relied on support from Germany and other European powers and tolerated the penetration of the Chinese economy by the west, but the Communists condemned all of that in the strongest terms- and nothing more so than the growing co-belligerence between Nanjing and Tokyo. The Soviet invasion had badly damaged public perception of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Soviet Republic which was now being characterized as just another proxy for foreign interests. The CSR and the allied Revolutionary Government in Fujian had been falling back before the invasion in the face of repeated encirclement campaigns, and Mao’s short-lived offensive when the war began was very much a last gasp. Now they survived largely by virtue of the fact that Chiang Kai-shek couldn’t spare the forces to defeat them. Despite Stalin’s avowed alliance with the CSR, and the fact that the USSR recruited local Chinese communists to administer the territories it occupied, many historians believe that the Soviet dictator wanted the destruction of the pseudo-state. Relations between Ruijin (the Red Chinese capital) and Moscow had been strained since Mao successfully usurped the authority of pro-Moscowite leader Wang Ming in 1933. The defeat of the Maoists would play right into Soviet plans for a pliant Chinese government. Stalin even had a separate Moscowite government established in the troglodyte city of Yan’an- nominally as a regional government of the CSR, but it could have become a national government if Ruijin fell.

    Unfortunately for him, Mao stubbornly held on.

    Meanwhile the rest of China was proving to be quite a challenge. In the field Zhukov’s commanders had no trouble beating Chiang’s National Revolutionary Army or the forces of his allied warlords. Western and northern China had fallen quickly, where the population was relatively thin and the terrain favored Soviet armor. But the deeper they pressed into China, the more the Soviets were forced to confront a single, undeniable fact;

    China is very, very big.



    [​IMG]
    Soldiers of the Nationalist Chinese National Revolutionary Army.


    Defeating Chinese forces in the field was one thing, actually controlling the country was another. The more territory the USSR occupied, the more of its forces were needed for police and garrison duties. After decades of conflict and civil war China was awash with arms and men who had fighting experience, many of whom turned that experience to use resisting the invaders. Disorganized guerrillas, some loyal to the Nationalist, most completely independent, launched hit and run attacks that harassed and generally made life difficult for the Soviet Army. The invasion force was large and had no qualms about responding with utter ruthlessness to any sign of resistance. However as they penetrated into the most populated parts of China these tactics became increasingly less effective and only inspired more resentment against the Soviet Union.

    And it was only going to get worse.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  12. Dan1988 Vamos abrir a porta da esperança!

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    Finally! :cool:

    So far, so good, once again, Ephraim.
     
  13. Kung Fucious Groucho Marxist

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    My guess is that the seeming-Sovietwank will result in them hideously overextending themselves (seriously, trying to conquer all of Manchuria, Korea, and China?) and collapsing internally.

    I haven't had time to reread all the posts from the previous thread, what's the situation in Europe? If I remember, Republican Spain is in the Allied camp, France finally fell after a long slog, and a botched Franco-British Union has pushed France from the Allies into Axis-Neutral, all while Britain is scrambling to finish a nuke. I forget anything?
     
  14. Seleucus Queer lesbian trans scientist

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    The only real faceoff between the Soviet and Japanese Air Force (pre-1945) came at Khalkhin Gol, where the Soviets took 208 combat losses compared to 162 Japanese. This doesn't exactly indicate the air superiority you attribute to the Japanese in 1939, especially when the Soviets were outproducing Japanese 2-1 in aircraft in the pre-1941 era.


    This strikes me as an incredibly stupid thing for the Japanese to do. Blending into the civilian population only works when the civilian population doesn't utterly hate your guts. Given the vicissitudes of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, no amount of 'enemy of my enemy' would keep significant numbers of the local civilizations from happily handing their Japanese tormentors over to the Soviets.

    Not to mention the propaganda coup the Soviets will have gotten from overrunning Unit 731.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  15. jeckl Well-Known Member

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    Mar 23, 2011
    Very interesting.

    A bit disappointed Aus and UK aren't in the war, officially, but I get it. Are they supplying Canada, maybe some 'volunteers'?

    I also wonder how Hilter is viewing this.
     
  16. djPROUDGEEK Transgender Metalhead

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    What a welcome distraction from my term paper on Mao Zedong :cool:.

    Seriously though, good to have you back Ephraim :).
     
  17. idonotlikeusernames Well-Known Member

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    I just reread some of the earlier parts of the TL and I have to ask, are you planning on doing any more polandball comics of this TL?
     
  18. Vince Optimistic Pessimist

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    Awesome. Good to see this TL back!
     
  19. SinghKing Banned

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    Aug 23, 2014
    Subscribed! Would it be possible to have links to the previous chapters?
     
  20. perdedor99 Member

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    Good to have you back.
     
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