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Diplomacy by Other Means


Evangeline Anovilis
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Highly confidential

 

For some time now, the Japanese Navy had prepared for the eventuality of conflict with the American Commonwealth. The Commonwealth's occupation of Alaska had caused much consternation and ended the idea that Tianxia would continue as a reliable barrier and mediator in the struggle between the Commonwealth and the Empire. While Minister of Foreign Affairs Nakamichi had went to Washington, in order to discuss matters and find a compromise, the Naval Staff had already early on assumed that no solution could be found and would eventually be proven right. Nakamichi returned with empty hands. The Commonwealth had been trying to strongarm Japan and conduct diplomacy only after arranging the facts on the ground to give them a position of strength. Further diplomacy was futile, as long as Japan had not reasserted itself and corrected the situation in its favour. So Minister of the Navy Date. And the hawks had won. It had become less a debate on whether to strike, than on when to strike, for more time meant more preparations. But at the same time, the Commonwealth would be able to conduct preparations too, militarily, as well as diplomatically. Such was not deemed acceptable.

 

[hr]

 

Operation Yukihime

 

The National Diet had given Akiyama a carte blanche to deal with the Commonwealth issue and Akiyama gave Date pretty much a free hand in conducting operations against the Commonwealth. Not too confident in her military decision-making, Akiyama rather entrusted the matter to the Navy. The result was the enactment of a plan that had been prepared over the last few months, as a modification of earlier plans for dealing with a conflict with the Commonwealth. Given Date Seiranko accredited the Commonwealth with extreme belligerence and a tendency to underestimate the Japanese, operations would need to assume that the Commonwealth commit fully, that a limited scenario was unlikely and a diplomatic solution was pretty much not going to happen. Resulting from such a train of thought was that the Naval Staff committed the entire Combined Fleet to Operation Yukihime. This however did not mean the Rengō Kantai was going to gather in one location.

 

Without prior announcement, the first offensive operations started at 4 am AKST in the morning on what would otherwise be a calm day in January. About 300 kilometres off the Alaskan coast, submarine Ha-2 surfaced, having reached the position after a long silent trip. Immediatly after surfacing, the submarine opened its VLS cells and one after another, 160 low-observable long-range land-attack cruise missiles would streak into the still dark sky, targetting road and railway bridges along the highway and railway connecting Alaska to the Canadian protectorate (~40), as well as air base logistics at bases such as Elmendorf to reduce most of all the storage facilities of aviation fuel and weaponry. Once Ha-2 had expended its missiles, the submarine again slowly submerged and vanished under the waves to head for Yokosuka Naval Base, in order to be rearmed. The remaining force of nuclear submarines however continued to lurk in the Northeastern Pacific.

 

Meanwhile, under the command of Admiral Nishi Tatsuo, the surface fleet commenced its own operations further to the west. From a safe distance, about a hundred kilometres southeast of Atka, the eleven carriers of the three Japanese air fleets started to launch dozens of F-4 and F-5 carrier fighters. Flying in dispersed groups at different altitudes and taking slightly different approaches to prevent appearing as a large mass of aircraft, the overall 90 F-5 multirole fighters and 68 F-4 air superiority fighters aimed for Unalaska. The island, as the one island in the Aleuts that was not part of Tianxia, but of the Alaskan territory, would be engaged by parts of the Second Fleet, I. Destroyer Squadron, VII. Destroyer Squadron and IX. Destroyer Squadron, as well as amphibious warfare ships Rebun and Okushiri. While most destroyers mostly were tasked with guarding the ships during their approach, heavy destroyers Suzuya and Kumano launched a total of 8 Fuji Neptune II reconnaissance UAVs to scout the island discreetly and to locate any approaching threats to the fleet in advance, before the two heavy destroyers closed in on the island to give cover and gunfire support to the landing operation conducted by the two amphibious warfare ships. While it was not expected that the Commonwealth would commit heavily to the defense of the island or conduct counter-attacks at this stage, both due to the timing of the operation and the relative remoteness of the island, precautions still would be great. A total of eight landing craft mechanised (LCM) would be dispatched, carrying about 1,200 Kaiheitai and their equipment to the shore, to occupy the island. To secure the success of the landing, Suzuya and Kumano would use their long-range 155 mm/62 caliber 2nd Year Type naval rifles, to first shell communications infrastructure, before taking shots at any military installations, always standing ready to fire at any artillery or missile emplacements located by the UAVs or overflying aircraft with their high-resolution IR sensors. With four guns per ship, it was most likely enough to subdue any such defenses of the island through rapid and precise gunfire. The covering aircraft were responsible both for reconnaissance, as well as warding off any enemy air and missile attacks, while the F-5's would utilise their internally carried 125 kg precision bombs to take out the airfield of Dutch Harbour, as well as any anti-air installations.

 

While the small destroyer task force dealt with this landing, most of the battle fleet that comprised First Fleet, with its battleships and battlecruisers stayed near the Aleutian islands, approaching only slowly, though ready to join into the action in case it was needed. Their time would come later, once Unalaska was taken. The remainder of Second Fleet and eight Chidori-class fast attack craft had been stationed about 100 km southwest of Umnak island, together with the logistics ships. Third Fleet meanwhile was stationed in Paramushiru, to join in for later operations. Submarines Ro-8 to Ro-23, operating from Paramushiru were also tasked with assisting the operations of the fleet from underneath the surface.

 

As the first stage of Operation Yukihime was left to the Kaiheitai, due to the easier coordination between marine infantry and naval forces, a further 30,000 Naval Land Forces (Kaigun Rikusentai) had been stationed in Chishima and the First General Army with 15 divisions was to be ready in Hokkaido for reinforcements as necessary. Armed forces throughout the Japanese Empire and its protectorates would see a raise in readiness, as enemy attacks against Japan were deemed a possibility. Especially the Japanese Air Force was to increase the number of patrol flights, in order to prevent enemy attacks against the Home Islands. Additionally, a dozen Kawasaki B-1B and B-1E strategic stealth bomber aircraft took off from Hokkaido, to be ready in later stages.

 

Given, it was expected that the American Commonwealth would try reinforce the Pacific Fleet with naval assets from other theatres, agents of the Naval Intelligence Bureau had already taken position at Panama, the Magellan Strait and Cape Horn. Under the guise of being business agents, they would mostly keep an eye on the traffic around these waterways and report any fleet transitions to Tokyo. Additionally, about four nuclear attack submarines had been dispatched to both the Panama canal and the Cape to trail and possibly ambush transitioning assets.

 

[hr]

 

Around 10 am EST, when it was deemed that the Operation was in full force, Ambassador Tanaka Shiro submitted to the Commonwealth's government the following communique.

 

Given that the American Commonwealth was utterly unwilling to come to a compromise and take into account the legitimate national security interests of our nation, the Japanese Empire has taken it upon itself to secure its future safety and establish a more firm presence in Alaska to counter Commonwealth operations in the theatre. Any withdrawal of our side from Alaska will occur only in return for actual compromise from your side. Until then, the Japanese Empire will continue to shift the facts on the ground as we continue our diplomacy by other means, in the absence of any other option which have been obstructed by your side.

 

Signed,

Akiyama Kagami, Prime Minister of Japan

Edit: Added clarifications on time.

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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Events in the Pacific were disturbing to say the least and in any other time Athens probably would have maintained a stronger position on the matter however as things were there was enough trouble at home. Athenian forces on the Pacific were taken to a higher alert level while they would fortify their positions. It was made clear to both Japan and the American Commonwealth that the Athenian Federation would remain neutral.

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OOC: Auto-advance approved here.

 

IC:

 

Confidential

 

Full surprise seemed to have been achieved, as the island of Unalaska fell to the Japanese troops without much issue. The few local Commonwealth security forces were rounded up and taken prisoner. Only about half a dozen Commonwealth soldiers on the island lost their lives during the defence, as they were overwhelmed. Lt. Gen. Hasebe Kozo, commander of the Kaiheitai, immediatly ordered engineers of the Naval Land Forces to be sent in the second wave, to fix the island's infrastructure and the captured airfield, as well as to prepare the island for its function as bridgehead for further operations. Hasebe himself had as a young soldier taken part in the offensive in South America and had even been involved in the Alberta crisis. The events back in the day had left him filled with resentment for the American empires, which were stagnant and arrogant towards Japan and while he was now older and more experienced, he still had often stood out in his contempt for diplomacy with the Commonwealth. His assignment to this mission was no coincidence.

 

As the first wave of carrier aircraft had fulfilled its mission, it gradually withdrew, to be replaced by fresh wings of F-4 fighters, while the F-5s were rearmed and kept in reserve for potential scrambling in the future. The lighter auxiliary carriers withdrew their aircraft from the scene completely and made themselves ready to join forces with the battle fleet. While it was not expected that the Commonwealth would mount much of a counter-attack, Nishi preferred to have some aviation forces seperate from the main carrier fleet and as the battle line would be employed soon, some added aviation would be helpful.

 

Operation Yukihime II

 

Following the capture of Unalaska, further operations would be conducted, aiming for continental Alaska. While a number of soldiers remained on Unalaska to prepare the island to serve as an operational basis, two further landings were planned and prepared. One was a simple operation by around 100 soldiers, to land on Unimak, to capture the large, but mostly uninhabited and unused island. For this, a task force consisting of amphibious warfare ship Rebun, heavy destroyers Suzuya and Kumano, as well as guided missile destroyers Kakehashi, Mitsuishi and Tokoro was created. as before with Unalaska, once again, the heavy destroyers prepared the field, by launching their reconnaissance UAVs to scout the situation, preparing their guns for suppressive fire, while Rebun dispatched one landing craft carrying the company of Kaiheitai. Not much resistance was expected to be put up here.

 

Potentially stiffer resistance was expected from the other landing, which thus got more fleet units assigned. A considerably larger task force, with battleships Mutsu and Dewa and battlecruisers Myōkō, Chōkai, Ibuki and Asahi as main surface force, accompanying the amphibious warfare ships Teuri and Matsumae and escorted by the six guided missile destroyers of V. and V. Destroyer Squadrons were ordered to take Bethel. For this, the four auxiliary carriers Mihō, Shuhō, Kōhō and Yuhō were to give air cover. As the fleet approached the continent, the carriers sent their wings of F-4 multirole fighters in the air, as well as half a dozen Neptune III carrier-borne reconaissance UAVs. Flying in a dispersed formation, these aircraft would mostly be tasked with scouting the situation, as well as report the position of any anti-ship assets. Should any such or any anti-air missile batteries be found, their position was reported back to the fleet, where the battleships awaited orders to engage with long-range low observable land-attack cruise missiles from stand-off ranges. Only once it seemed clear, the fleet would approach to within around 20 km range off the coast, to conduct the landing. While the aircraft and UAVs were on watch against enemy aircraft, the battleships and battlecruisers dispatched their own Neptune II UAVs, in order to notify the fleet of any approaching enemy missiles that may have been overlooked. Naturally, the approach to within 20 km would potentially expose the fleet to land-based artillery fire, but it was deemed unlikely for any field artillery piece to do significant damage to the armoured warships, while their main batteries were more than adequate to engage sudden targets. The landing itself was set up to occur in several waves. The first landing force would consist again, out of slightly over 1,200 Kaiheitai to secure a beachhead, before a second wave of about the same number followed. Once these had been successfully landed, an additional force of around 3,500 Kaigun Rikusentai (Naval Land Forces) would be send as reinforcements, these last troops being transported onboard the six capital surface combattants.

 

While the Naval infantry conducted its landings, Admiral Nishi prepared already the next move. The three Air Fleets of the Japanese Navy, escorted by the four Kongō-class battlecruisers left their position near the Tianxia Aleuts to approach a position about 300 km Southeast of Kodiak.

 

Meanwhile, at Paramushiru, the remaining Naval Land Forces, together with their heavier equipment was loaded onto transport ships, to be transferred to Unalaska. Additionally, while it was deemed too early to risk it, the First General Army was ordered to be prepared for embarkment and transports were organised to transfer them to the Americas. While both these movements were expected to take several days, several batteries of SAM-5 and SAM-7 of the Navy were airlifted by Kawasaki C-2s from Asahikawa to Dutch Harbour. Due to the extreme distance, it was expected to take about 30 flights per battery to be transferred. While this was already planned for and some aviation fuel had been brought with the fleet logistics, an added four tankers with fuel for ships and aircraftwere scheduled to be dispatched from Ōminato Naval Base to Unalaska.

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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  • 2 weeks later...

OOC: Auto approved here.

 

IC:

 

Confidential

 

The Japanese advances seemed to be hardly opposed. In Unimak, local police surrendered the False Pass and the island without any fight, allowing the Japanese troops to freely occupy the island, fortifying their position. Similarly, the town of Bethel fell after some fighting between local Commonwealth troops and Japanese Kaiheitai. A Commonwealth unit of around 15,000 tried to oppose the landing, was however forced to retire under the heavy bombardement by the battleships and battlecruisers. On their retreat, the troops were utterly routed as the around 6,000 Japanese units pursued them with air support and long-range naval artillery fire from Mutsu and Dewa, capable of unearthing most units from any fortified position. Still, around 550 Japanese units were reported missed, dead or wounded, while the defenders either died or surrendered to overwhelming firepower. With Bethel and surrounding lands secured, a Japanese unit of multiple hundred Kaigun Rikusentai specialising in alpine warfare would start their advance towards the interior along the Kuskokwim River. Usin mostly skies, carrying their equipment either on their backs or in sleds, and clothed in white winter camouflage, these units would use their light mobility and low profile to avoid getting into greater fights, though they could call on air support from Dutch Harbour if necessary. However, much relied on the denial of enemy air superiority.

 

Operation Yukihime III

 

Operation Yukihimi-San followed the exploits of Yukihime-Ichi and Yukihime-Ni, trying to capitalise on gains made and would be the first operation that used the bases in America for its operations. With the airfield in Dutch Harbour somewhat restored and troops being ferried in, the town soon resembled one large military base, with hundreds of Kaigun Rikusentai patrolling the streets, guarding military installations or awaiting further deployment to Umnak, where the main ground unit base was established for now. The base at Dutch Harbour served more as logistical hub for naval and air force assets.

 

Yukihime III was commenced by the launching of a wave of 36 F-5 carrier aircraft from the three combined Air Fleets of the Japanese Navy, which were armed with a mixed internal air-to-ground loadout. This wave, flying in a slightly dispersed pattern towards the target to avoid giving off a large radar return was set up to coincide with the arrival of another aerial unit, two wings of Kawasaki B-1 bomber aircraft, launched from the Home Islands. These aircraft would launch a combined assault, as a few B-1E electronic warfare versions started looking for enemy radar signals, in order to deploy stand-off ammunitions against enemy radar. However, due to the great radar stealth of the more advanced versions of the B-1 and the F-5, the Japanese attack preferred to not take any active measures to deceive enemy radar, as to avoid warning the enemy of impending attack. Additionally, first wave missile attacks were reported to have caused considerable damage to enemy airfield structures.

 

The two wings of strategic bombers would fly high above their target, Anchorage, as the B-1B, mainstay variant of the bomber wings, opened their bomb bays and unloaded a carpet of hundreds of bombs on military installations in and around the town. Utilising a mix of 250 kg general purpose bombs and 500 kg bunker busters, they were sent to wreck any and all military structures present, devastate troops stationed there and take out the Commonwealth's last great stronghold in the region. While the B-1s caused terror from the sky, the F-5s watched out for any aircraft that may take off from the devastated air base, to down it immediatly with their internally carried AAM-8s. Additionally though, these units would drop their own 500 kg precision-guided bombs at naval targets in the bay and at units in the open, as well as radars and missile emplacements.

 

Once the aircraft were done with wiping out the remainders of the Commonwealth military presence in Alaska, they would return to their fleet carriers and home bases, while the fleet itself closed in. With Anchorage bombed out, the Japanese fleet was to land several hundred Kaiheitai that were transported on the battlecruisers to capture the town.

 

Kaigun Rikusentai brigades in Unalaska meanwhile were transferred to False Pass, in order to land on the Alaska peninsula and make their way overland, to capture the territory inbetween.

 

At this point, the Japanese leadership felt rather confident in the success of Operation Yukihime, as the last stages were pretty much a guaranteed success (given the demolished defensive capabilities from the first missile waves which were not yet restored), Japanese troops were landing in the thousands in Dutch Harbour safely, together with supplies, and the American Commonwealth seemed to rapidly lose ground in the area, having been cut off by logistical strikes in an area and during a season where overland transport to regain Alaska would be more than difficult, while Japanese ships ruled the waves of the Northern Pacific. It all seemed to go according to Keikaku*, and admiral Nishi already made preparations for the Fleet to conduct the next operation.

 

OOC: *Keikaku means plan.

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OOC: Opponent is inactive.

 

IC:

 

As Operation Yukihime III simply wrecked the last Commonwealth basis in Alaska, devastating the amassed troops and naval assets in the harbour, before overrunning what was left during the landing operation, suddenly, the inner stability of the Commonwealth broke down in the face of the immense defeats suffered and the passivity of the central government towards the fact that North America had been invaded, as well as local independence movements, given many states did no longer want to be part of the Commonwealth. Within a week, while the Japanese forces were still preparing for their next operation against Yukon and British Columbia, all hell broke lose within the Commonwealth and the writing was on the wall, the Commonwealth was about to end. Trying to prevent uncontrolled fracturing and avoid an all-out war with the Japanese Empire that held Alaska by now and was rapidly shipping in troops for an invasion of the American Commonwealth proper, President Marston, after only about a month after hostilities started, sent a note of unconditional surrender to the Japanese ambassador. The Commonwealth was no more...

 

Marston's decision had many critics, given that after Alaska, this was even more humiliating than a military defeat. But the President had little choice, when major parts of the military started joining the independence movements and refused orders from Washington. A civil war in addition to Japanese invasion seemed far too high a risk.

 

The troops landed in Alaska would be rapidly shipped to the Prince Rupert, Seattle, San Francisco and Acapulco, to start the occupation of the American Commonwealth, until such a point of time that organised states could be formed again. The Carribbean islands, assets in the atlantic and Greenland would also be formally seized, as troops were sent on their way to take over administration there too.

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