History - Part 3 (1943-1947):
16. War of Attriton (1943-1944)
The allied meanwhile, had gone forward with their plan of reversing the balance in the Pacific. On June 15th 1943, under Operation Chronicle, 2.600 American, Australian and Recherchean troops landed on Woodlark island, off the coast of New Guinea. Five days later 2.250 men landed on the nearby Kiriwina Island. Karasawa immediately ordered the fleet carrier Inuwashi and the light carriers Ahodori and Fukuro to be detached and sent to deal with the Allies. Koga made Zuiho and Junyo available after being pressured for nearly a whole day. The involvement of Japanese ships made possible to decipher the Kokoan/Japanese plan, so the carriers USS Enterprise and Saratoga and the HMRS Eyre, Bremer Bay and Peppermit Bay were sent to intercept them. In a twist of fortune, the Kokoans were the first to spot the enemy formation that was supposed to ambush them. On June 26th, the Battle of The Solomon sea resulted in a stalemate: with the battle fought exclusively by planes neither side managed to inflict more than light damage to any of the enemy surface units before both fleets broke off from the engagement. The Kokoan and Japanese could claim a tactical victory as they shot down more enemy planes, but the Allies could claim a strategic success as well, as Woodlark and Kiriwina had been spared from a potentially devastating airstrike. Eventually, the Americans built a fully operational airfields with little to no impunity by mid July.
Nearly at the same time, American presence and movements around the Aleutians and along the Hawaiian island chain increased. Kokoan airfields on Adak and Atka were bombed on July 17th, and a large American surface squadron was repeatedly sighted by submarines around the French Frigate Shoals during the first week of August. Karasawa reacted by sending north all his fast battleships and three aircraft carriers (two fleet, one light) to bolster the fleet based at Midway, currently strong of just two old slow battleships and a few escorts. The two fleets met in battle on august 21st 1943 in the Battle off the Frigate Shoals (also known as Battle off Gardner). The americans surprised the Kokoan fleet with the brand new and freshly deployed carriers USS Essex and Yorktown, sinking the old Battleship Inaba, but the Kokoan fleet fiercely reacted, managing to dash the fast battleships into range of the slow American squadron, damaging the USS New York. The next day another strike from the Kokoan carriers managed to finish off the damaged Battleship before concentrating on the two American Carriers. Despite suffering heavy pounding, the two Essex-class proved to be quite resistant to damage and the American squadron managed to slip off without further damage, leaving a tactical Victory to the Kokoan fleet. The Americans however, had effectively succeeded in their task: luring part of the kokoan fleet away from the Solomons to allow them to start their planned counterattack. On September 1st allied troops landed on New Georgia, followed a few days later by a much larger landing on San Cristobal. Despite Kokoan units won a successful night engagement against US and Recerchean cruisers off Makira the beachhead held, three brand new Independence-class Light carriers giving extra air-cover from Japanese and Kokoan raids. While incessant air-raids in the Aleutians kept the bulk of Koko no Kaigun on watch, new allied amphibious landings on Malaita Island were executed in November, effectively surrounding Guadalcanal and it's airfields between three different battlefields. Attempt to relief the situation at Malaita resulted in the sinking of the IJN Kinugasa in the battle of Cape Zeele on November 28th. While the southern front was slowly turning in a waring and bloody melee, the Americans started a second phase of their offensive operation in the Aleutians, in order to keep the Kokoan and Japanese forces split between two different fronts. With the Essex and Yorktown back in service after repairs, backed by the Light carriers Cowpens and Monterey, the US Navy delivered a handy defeat to the Kokoan Aleutian squadrons in the Battle of Unalaska on December 19th, sinking two light cruisers while suffering essentially negligible damage in return.
After a quiet January on both fronts, things heathed up around the Solomons in early February. On the 2nd, a Kokoan-Japanese fleet centered around the light carriers Chiyoda, Ahodori and Fukuro descended upon Malaita with the aim of hitting allied land positions. Once again the involevement of Japanese units allowed the allies to intercept and decode communications, so that the axis fleet was intercepted by another two brand-new Essex class carriers, the USS Lexington and Bunker hill, further backed by the CVLs Cowpens and Monterey. After a furious aerial clash both sides disengaged. It was another indecisive battle on the tactical side, but strategically, the Americans had thwarted another enemy raid against their positions. Just a week later, on February 9th, it was again a Japanese-Kokoan fleet the one to go on the offensive. A powerful surface group centered around the battleships IJN Nagato, Tosa, Mutsu and KnK Nakamori tried to slip into Manning Strait under the cover of darkness with the aim of bombarding allied positions in New Georgia. For the second time the Americans knew and were waiting with the battleships Massachussets, Alabama, New Jersey and the battlecruisers Constitution and United States. In the subsequent battle, the US ships turned Nakamori into a burning wreck, inflicting subtantial damage to Mutsu as well. Nagato and Tosa managed to inflict heavy and moderate damage on the United States and Alabama before going into full retreat, leaving the Allies with both a tactical and strategic victory. Things still got bleach for Kokoan and Japanese forces during the next month. On March 4th, a Japanese convoy made by eight troop transports and eight destroyers was wiped out by US, Austialian and Recerchean aviation in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, two days later another two Japanese destroyers were lost near Kolombangara in the Battle of the Blackett Strait.
Later the same month, the Americans restarted operations against the Aleutians. Knowing that a japanese and Kokoan troop convoy was bound for Attu, an American surface fleet centered on the battleship Nevada boldly circumnavigated the Kokoan-occupied Aleutians to attack and sink the enemy transports. The Americans however were spotted by a Kokoan recon plane and the Kokoan/Japanese escorting fleet intercepted the US squadron northwest of Attu in the battle of the Komandorski islands. The Japanese cruiser force inflicted heavy damage to the American cruisers, but Japanese VADM Hosogaya went into full retreat when Nevada opened fire. The Kokoan battleship Yagumo then charged in, engaging Nevada in a long and devastating cannonade. Ultimately, the superior fire-control of the Nevada prevailed, dooming Yagumo. At that point however, Nevada had suffered substantial damage, and land-based Kokoan squadrons had departed Attu looking for the American fleet. Neveda and her escorts reversed course and sailed into safety. Tactically it was an American success, but strategically the victory went to the Kokoans as their transports were safe and available to reinforce Aletian positions.
With the arrival of the Japanese carriers, Taiho, Chitose and Chiyoda in Solomon waters, Karasawa recalled the three carriers still stationed at Truk, finally reuniting the entire Kokoan carrier arm at Toumachi, now strong of four fleet carriers after the new Haitaka had been commissioned in late February. Intel reports suggested a possible American naval offensive along the western Hawaiian island chain, something corroborated by multiple sightings made by recon planes based at Midway, so Karasawa ordered the entire fleet to be deployed in early May. The Ameircans were indeed attempting a raid against Midway, thus on May 15th the Kokoan fleet, strong of the fleet carriers Umineko, Tanchozoru, Inuwashi, Haitaka and the light carriers Ahodori, Fukuro, Tobuio met the US fleet, composed by the carriers Essex, Yorktown, Intrepid, Wasp, Langley, Cabot and Bataan in the Battle of Laysan. Evenly matched, with four fleet and three light carriers each the fleets also spotted each other almost simultaneously. In all, the Americans launched four differend waves of planes, while the Kokoans launched five. When the battle ended, with both fleets retreating, the Kokoan fleet had suffered damage to most of the carriers and a few escort ships but the US Navy had suprisingly suffered more: the light carrier Bataan had been sunk, along the Battleship Pennsylvania, hit by two torpedoes during the first wave and finally overwhelmed by enemy planes during the fifth strike as she attempted to leave the battle zone. However, it was also true that the Kokoan carriers had suffered heavy casualties within their airwings, with the Haitaka losing as much as half of its pilots. Ultimately, if Laysan had been a Kokoan tactical success, it was also an American strategic victory. Despite a possible US offensive towards Midway had been delayed, it was also true that Koko temporarily lacked the strength to mount an immediate counterattack.
On the southern front, along the Solomon Islands, things were even more twisted. Between July 4th and July 13th the Japanese won three separate night engagements at Rice, Kula gulf and Kolombangara, sinking or heavily damaging six Allied ships and succesfully landing over 4.000 reiforcement troops at Vila. Fightings on land had been ongoing by nearly a year with casualties mounting on both sides. With no apparent end on sight, the Pacific War dragged on...
17. Turning tides (1944-1945)
Overall, however, things were starting to look dire for the Axis powers. In Europe Germans were on the defensive on the eastern fron against the Russians, Italy had been invaded and a second front had been opened one June 6th 1944 when the Allies had landed in Normandy. Thiaria had also suffered serious defeats in recent operations and forced to withdraw from Brazil. Recherche was gaining the upper hand against Maddelena as well.
Changes in the Pacific theatre began to move in a subtle way, when on august 6th the US navy annihilated a Japanese reinforcement fleet bound for Vila in the Battle of Vella gulf. A mere week later amphibious landings were made on the island of Vella Lavella and, another three days later on August 18th another Japanese reinforcement mission was twarthed in the Battle off Horaniu. New Georgia, was finally occupied on august 25 after nearly a year of bloody fights. To the north instead, the events took a disastrous path for Koko when the US fleet attempted another raid against Midway island on September 10th . Contrary to the previous confrontations that had ended in stalemates or even Kokoan tactical success, what will be known as the Second battle of Midway concluded with Koko no Kaigun suffering its worst defeat up to that point, losing two light carriers, a fleet carrier and a cruiser to basically no losses for the Americans. Koko had lost one third of its carrier force in a single battle, foprcing the fleet to temporarily relay on its surface units. The controversial sinking of the Battleshp Yashima, torpedoed by the US submarine Archerfish later the same month, created further shock and forced Admiral Karasawa to rethink Koko no Kaigun ASW methods and regroup its fleet to concentrate operations to northern waters alone while the carrier-arm got rebuilt, effectively leaving the IJN alone to deal with the joint US and Recerchean forces in the Solomon theatre.
The Allies took full chance of the situation, so that after a phyrric Japanese naval victory at Vella Lavella on October 6th the US war machine stomped all oppositions without issues; Vella fell on October 9th, Bouganville was invaded on november 1st and the IJN counterattacks twarthed through the battle of Empress Augusta Bay and the carrier raid on Rabaul. The night between november 25th and 26th also marked the end of the Tokyo Express reinforcements when a Japanese reinforcement formation was soundly defeated, effectively dooming all Japanese and Kokoan tropps still fighting in the Solomons to certain defeat.
The overall course of the war was looking even bleacher, Italy, on the verge of defeat, had signed an Armistice with the Allies on September 8th 1944, and Thiaria had descended into civil war in early October after internal tentions exacerbated to the breaking point, resulting in its ultimate surrender in late November of the same year. Maddelena, now without its main allies, and alone against Recherche in the Indian Ocean, had wisely followed suit, asking for a ceasefire the same month.
As 1945 dawned, both the USA and Recerche had no major wartime commitment in the south Atlantic or Indian Ocean, allowing them to shift much needed assets to fight Kokoan and Japanese forces in the Pacific Ocean. With Recerche and Australia taking command of land operations in New Guinea the US navy moved for its first major operation in three months by attacking Truk atoll, the largest Japanese and Kokoan naval base left in the Pacific that posed an actual treath to the Solomon Islands. Both the Kokoan and Japanese had seen such attack coming, retreating most all major surface units before the attack came on Febrary 17th and 18th, but the base functionality was wrecked anyway.
Because of the recent fortunes Admiral Karasawa found himself in a nasty impasse, facing growing losses by both submarine and air attacks every time a Kokoan ship ventured south in the vain attempt to evacuate Kokoan garrisons from the Solomon Islands or Rabaul. All despite by that point its fleet had managed to master anti-submarine warfare much better than the Japanese counterpart, yielding safe shipping lanes towards Midway, the Aleutians and Japan. It was clear that the disparity of power between Koko, Japan and the United states was growing so much that holding the grounds (or the seas in this case) was becoming harder each passing day despite every possible effort was being made. A confirmation of Karasawa's worries came in early May 1945, when the US restarted its aleutian offensive. On May 11th, during Naval the battle of Adak, and in the following weeks through multiple air raids Kokoan naval forces in the area were nearly decimated while the US navy suffered small to no losses, leading to an essentially unopposed landing of American troops on the island of Adak.
However, one thing became clear to both Karasawa and Toyoda (IJN new CiC after Koga was killed in a plane crash), The Aleutians and midway were not the main goal of the US offensive. American major pushes, coupled with simultaneous offensives made by Recerchean forces from the south, had both commanders convene that the Caroline Islands were to be the next offensive. They would open a path to the Philippines, effectively treathening the oil supply lines coming from the captured Dutch Indies, if those were to fell, Koko oil production alone wouldn't be enough to sustain the war machine. A convinction that was strengthened when Recerchean forces landed in Timor in early June.
However, when the US Navy started air raids against the Marianas both Toyoda and Karasawa were surprised, as they aexpected the attack to come further south against Palau or the Caroline island. The two admirals immediately deployed all ships available, with a planned rendevoux in the Philippines for June 16th for refuel. The americans proved to be one step ahead when the first troops landed at Saipan on June 15th, however, the Kokoan/Japanese counterattack was already in motion and the Combined Fleet under the command of Vice Admiral jisaburo Ozawa joined Koko no Kaigun units under Vice Admiral Jun Minasoko and headed for Saipan. Waiting for them was the US 5th fleet under Admiral Raymond Spruance and Vice Admiral Mark Mitscher Task Force 58 carrier force, plus an attached division of Recerchean units.
The two opposing fleets were the largest ever assembled at sea by that point, The Kokoan and Japanese fielded 10 fleet carriers, 6 light carriers, 20 battleships, 32 cruisers, 45 destroyers and 36 submarines. The 1.066 carrier-based planes were to be supported by about 1.200 land-based ones coming from all available airfields of the Marianas. The US and Recerche has assembled 15 fleet carriers, 7 light carriers, 13 battleships and battlecruisers, 24 cruisers, 68 destroyers and 28 submarines. At their disposal were 1.688 carrier-based planes. Both Japanese and Kokoans relied on the longer-range of their aircraft and on the newly introduced A7M Reppu fighters and B7A Ryusei dive/torpedo bombers, and for most of the first day June 19th 1945, their convinction and hopes seemed to be well reposted. Despite the incredibly efficent anti-aircraft fire and combat air patrol executed by the Americans, Ozawa maintained the upper hand by constantly hitting US carriers, which in return were not able to locate the Kokoan/Japanese fleet and retaliate. When night fell, 5 American carriers were burining and sinking, with another two damaged. It would have been the perfect outcome Ozawa and Minasoko had hoped for if US submarines had not ruined the party. Despite Kokoan Destroyers had depth-charged into oblivion an american submarine early in the day, another had managed to sneak-in, torpedoeing Unryu, Shokaku and Taiho, sinking the former two and slightly damaging the latter. June 20th started once again with repeated Kokoan and Japanese sorties, which claimed another two American carriers sunk and three damaged, but in the afternoon Spruance insistence in trying to find the enemy fleet prevailed when Ozawa and Minasoko force was finally spotted. In the fierce US counterattack Hiyo and the already damaged Taiho were sunk and another five carriers damaged to some extent. At that point both sides disengaged.
Despite achieving an almost overwhelming tactical victory -Japanese/Kokoan planes sunk twice the carriers the Americans did- the battle ultimately also resulted in an American strategic victory. Ozawa's Fleet lost 299 of its 1.066 aircrafts (plus 500 out of 1.200 land-based ones that also took part in the attacks). The American suffered 449 aircraft shot down and another 123 lost during nighttime landings on June 20th, out of 1.688. But what the Americans could do that the Japanese and Kokoans could not was quickly replace the pilots lost during the battle. What was also clear was that despite the new planes were on par with the American ones the new pilots were not. Finally, the Americans were also able to fill their losses much quicker than what both the Japanese and Kokoans could. The US navy was able to replace in service all three fleet carriers lost during the battle in just two months, and despite all opposition made, Saipan ultimately fell in early June. Worth of mention, a part of the US 5th fleet not engaged in the carrier battle was Task force 52, or Saipan invasion fleet. Attached to it it had a co-belligerent Thiarian squadron of 2 battleships, 6 cruisers and 16 destroyers that would later pay a bigger role in the war. In a certain sense, the Japanese and Kokoan victory in the Battle of the Philippine sea was leading to their defeat.
The failure to defend Saipan despite technically winning the battle, and the slow but steady advance of the American forces in the Aleutians that appeared unstoppable (Kiska was invaded in August), started to sap the already shaky resolve that the war could still be won, bot within the civilian population and Koko no Kaigun higher-ups. The opinions within the Army (Koko no rikugun) were more confused, while Kusako Morimoto, Koko's Prime Minister appeared even more fanatic than many Japanese.
September went by relatively calm, allowing both Japanese and Kokoan governments to discuss what course of action would be better to take against a war that was clarly going awry for the axis -the only real success that reap some real benefit since summer 1944 was that of the Germans winning the battle of the Bulge in December 1944, pushing the allies back in france- only to reach no compromise whatsoever. Then in early October The US navy started a series of violent air attacks against Formosa, the Ryukyu Islands and Midway, clearly showing that something important was to be expected in the short term. For Karasawa and Toyoda, the most likely objective were the Philippines, so defenses were strengthened and once again both Japanese and Kokoan fleets departed in preparation of Operation Sho-Go, the decisive battle of the war. Just as the two Admirals expected US troops landed in the island of Leyte, in the Philippine archipelago, on October 20th 1945. The Combined Fleet immediately departed Burnei after refueling under the orders of admirals Takeo Kurita and Jun Minasoko. That was to form the Center force of the attack that was to cross the Sibuyan Sea and the San bernandino strait to descend on Leyte from the north. Another squadron under Shoji Nishimura and Kiyohide Shima was to cross the Surigao Strait and attack from the south. A third group composed by Japanese and Kokoan carriers under the command of Jisaburo Ozawa had the task of dealing with the US carrier force.
Overall, split between the various formations Kokoan and Japanese fielded 10 fleet carriers, 5 light carriers, 3 seaplane tenders , 21 battleships, 39 cruisers, and 52 destroyers. Against them there were the combined forces of the USN, RAN, RRN and co-belligerent Thiaria strong of 13 fleet carriers, 4 light carriers, 16 escort carriers, 21 battleships, 33 cruisers and 74 destroyers and destroyer escorts. An overall force even larger than that was assembled four months earlier at Saipan.
For the first two days, October 23rd and 24th everything went fairly well for the Japanese and Kokoan forces, they successfully escaped a Submarine ambush in the Palawan passages and endured an entire day of air attacks in the Sibuyan Sea losing only the Battleship Kirishima in the process. More so, as Kurita feinted a retreat, Admiral Halsey, commander of the US formation, made a grave judgement error by leaving unguarded the San Bernardino Strait, sending its fleet northwards against the incoming formation led by Ozawa. During the night the Japanese southern force led by Nishimura ad Shima clashed with the southern US division under Admiral Oldendorf. While the Japanese side suffered greater damage and casualties that forced its retreat, Oldendorf fleet had been effectively put out of action as well, making it impossible for his ships to intervene when the next morning, October 25th Ozawa and Minasoko center force appeared off Samar wrecking havoc through the lighlty armed Escort carriers and Destroyers defending the landing beaches. The Kokoan/Japanese formation would have probably succeded in its task if not for the gallant, fierce, brave and near suicidal run that the Thiarian squadron did, despite being outnumbered and outgunned in all respects (the disparity in battleships was as high as 6 to 1). Yet against all odds they succeded, as despite earlier intel reports stated otherwise Kurita convinced himself that he was engaging the entire US force and ordered to retreat despite Minasoko prolonged protests. North, near Cape Engano, Ozawa had much worse fortunes, despite his initial attacks managed to cripple three american aircraft carriers his fleet was ultimately overwhelmed and destroyed by the American counterattack, losing half of his carriers and basically all aircrafts before being able to withdraw. The last act of the battle happened at night, already on October 26th, when a naval formation detatched by Halsey, led by Admiral Lee, ambushed a retreating, battered and low on morale Kokoan/Japanese fleet at the mouth of San Bernardino Strait. Almost caught by suprise the Kokoan/Japanese fleet scattered fighting messily, with only a few ships effectively returning fire. After an hour of battle the Japanese/Kokoan fleet managed to escape having lost three battleships and two heavy cruisers. Worse, many of the surviving ships were either sunk by air raids the next days or were so damaged that they were of little to no use. After four days of fighting the decisive battle for both the Japanese and Kokoans had ended into a crushing defeat despite a promising start and all the careful planning. Every fighting chance their surface units still had against the allied fleets was made useless by the sheer superiority in numbers the US navy could exploit in naval aviation. When finally, in early November 1945 Kokoan ships started returning to home ports it was a sad sight to behold. What reached port back in Koko was only a fraction of the naval power that had left only weeks before. Its mighty battleships and cruisers battered and in need for repairs. Its once proud carrier-arm effectively destroyed and now inoffensive.
At that point almost everyone realized, or confirmed himself what he already knew. The war was all but lost. But not over yet.
18. Uprising (1945-1946)
As soon as the first news of the Leyte disaster had reached the Navy Headquarters back in Toumachi Admiral Karasawa reunited the Naval Staff to discuss the situation. Nearly all convened that the war strategy had been compromised and, depending on the state of the fleet upon re-entry it could have been impossible to mount another effective naval operation against enemy forces. Meanwhile, despite Morimoto ordered to censor all news about the failure of Operation Sho-Go rumors managed to spread anyway as days passed, inducing fear among the population as the anti-war sentiment -almost non existant in 1941 thanks to Morimoto's propaganda- had now become predominant. The Cabinet gathered on november 1st to discuss the same matters adressed by the Army and the Navy just days before. Consensus was that if the Philippines were to fell, something that most believed would happen, Koko would have been the next objective for an American attack, as cutting oil supplies to Japan would have crippled its war machine. However, the cabinet was divided over the course of actions: Some fringes advocated the possibility of pulling the Country out of the war, others insisted on fighting aside Japan until the last man if needed. As Morimoto backed the interventist faction the gathering achieved nothing and Kokoan commitment to the war remained in place.
Wen Minasoko finally returned home on November 4th with what was left of the Navy, Karasawa traveled to Hoshiguma together with other members of the Naval Staff to asses the situation: Koko no Kaigun was in shambles, naval aviation ranks had been depleted, part of the fleet had been left behind in the Philippines and Borneo and was now blocked there. Of the five battleships that had came back one was effectively crippled and three of the other four needed some kind of repairs, sending them out alone without the possibility of providing air cover would have been all but suicidal. For Karasawa this was the last confirmation he needed to understand that Koko had no means whatsoever to oppose an American attack on its mainland. He then believed that the only wise solution would have been to sought an armistice with the United States before it was too late. The Admiral immediately called for a new Cabinet assembly to revise wartime strategies together with the armed forces higher-ups. Possibly sensing Karasawa's goals Morimoto called off the meeting amidst protests from part of the Cabinet and alerted his loyal KnR and IJA commanders. Knowing that the political situation was deteriorating Karasawa met privately Koko's Foreign minister Hikaru Arai. After this meeting Arai comunicated to the US Ambassador in Koko that the country was willing to open a negotiation table for an armistice.
Upon hearing this, Morimoto accused Arai and Karasawa of treason and ordered to his loyal troops to occupy the embassy and immediately arrest all Cabinet members, Navy and Army personnel that sympathised with the "traitors". He mobilized all IJA and KNR garrisons he had at his disposal to start fierce roundups. Morimoto's purge started on November 6th evening with loyal troops storming the diet building. Immediately, Karasawa called for all Navy personnel to rebel against Morimoto, defend the cabinet and secure all valuable insallations. Jouji Yoshinori, General of the Kokoan Army, ordered the same. It was estimated that 90% of the Naval staff and 75% of the enlisted personnel followed Karasawa's call. In the Army the defection rate was 70 and 50% respectively (this was obviously different for all Kokoan forces stranded around the Pacific Teathre which, with few exceptions, had little to no chance that side with the Japanese). That very same night, the battleship Amagi, anchored in Hoshiguma harbor under Admiral Minasoko's command opened fire and shelled the local IJA detachment buildings. Within a few days civilians had took the streets as well, mostly joining the "rebels" against Morimoto. Koko uprisings had started. For the first month-and-a-half, the situation was chaotic, rebel ships shelled loyalist military positions, while the troops confronted on ground and sabotages of all kind were common on both sides. KnR units still loyal to Morimoto and IJA troops resorted to their aviation forces to bomb the rebels as a measure to balance out the rebels naval superiority. As a matter of fact, despite Japan was extremely concerned of Koko uprisings, as it posed a threat to the oil supply lines, its forces were fully committed to resist the US invasion of the Philippines and Recerche landings on the Indonesian islands of Sumba, Lombok and Flores. More so, the IJN appeared to be somewhat unwilling to engage Koko no Kaigun in battle, as despite what the situation was there was still a great mutual respect between the two naval counterparts. The only engagement between the IJN and KNK during the entire Kokoan rebellion was the Naval battle off Kaminato when a bunch of IJN escort carriers flanking an IJA convoy engaged a Kokoan formation, fending them off.
As 1945 grew to a close the loyalists firmly held the norther islands of Shinjma, Fujiwara, Daigo and Tenji while the rebels had liberated Jummu, Chichibu, Ojin, Kimmei and the western half of Koko island. The rest of the archipelago was still a war zone. Especially, times were hard for unsided civilians, which often fell victims of hard crackdowns in lolalist-held territories as Morimoto's troops attempted to eradicate all guerilla and resistance pockets. Worse, loyalists started to roundup western personnel and civilians indiscriminately. There were still roughly 11.000 of them living in Kokoan islands when the war started in 1941, with most not employed in diplomatic duties being already interned for security reasons, so it was even easier for the loyalists to get them. Around 3.000 were summarily executed by the time the uprisings ended, by far the worst war crime committed by Kokoan military -even if the IJA was involved as well- through the entire war. Amidst this chaos, the rebels still managed to extract part of the US Embassy personnel from Toumachi and trasfer them to Hoshiguma. Here, under the supervision of FM Arai, a channel was opened to the US government, asking to open a table to discuss armistice conditions for Koko. The rebels declared Morimoto's government to be illegittimate. US troops occupied both Attu and Midway Islands with little to no reistance by mid-January 1946, exploiting them immediately to launch bombardment raids against Kokoan harbors. Those targeted to the north, like Mizushimo and Shirominato were in the hands of the loyalists, but some of those targeted to the south, like Mitsuminato, were under rebel control by that point, causing a short-lived cooldown in the newborn diplomatic relationships between the US and the rebel forces led by Arai and Karasawa. Slowly, the fierce resistance -and accompaining brutalities- put up by the loyalists started to wane. When Toumachi was liberated on February 24th, with Morimoto fleeing north to Fuyuki with most of his personal guard, it became clear that the rebels were gaining the upper hand.
At this point the uprisings saw the sudden and unexpected involvement of the Soviet Union, which broke its non-aggression pact with Koko. The northern islands were the only territories still firmly in loyalist hands despite all US bombardments made, and they were those that encompassed most of the country oil deposits. Moscow hoped to get its hands on them under the excuse that they were helping in liberating the country. On February 28th the Russian Pacific fleet (which had nothing more than the cruiser Kalinin and 13 destroyers in its inventory anyway), started shelling Shirominato while a small fleet of transports departed Petropavlovsk carrying troops for the invasion. The Soviet move was seen as an outragious betrayal by almost everyone, as the Kokoans had always strongly distrusted the Russians ever since the Nikolayevsk incident. Karasawa himself was reportedly to be completely furious at the Soviet move, as he immediately deployed Amagi, escorted by two light cruisers and eight destroyers, treathening to sink the Soviet ships one by one if necessary. The crisis nearly escalated into actual conflict until the Soviets suddenly withdrew the fleet on March 5th, partly because of pressures from the other Allies and partly because they feared that Kalinin wouldn't have stood a chance against Amagi.
As soon as the crisis with the Soviets was resolved, Amagi descended south as the rebels launched their final offensive against Morimoto's forces, which were still barricaded in the city of Fuyuki. After an entire week of fightings resistance was broken, and Morimoto committed suicide to avoid capture. Battered and without their leader, all loyalist troops and surviving IJA garrisons ceased hostilities on March 16th. The armistice between Koko and the Allies was officially signed on March 22nd 1946.
19. End of the war and full independence (1946-1947)
While Koko uprisings raged, the Allies had managed to broke both Japanese and German resistance back in europe. In the Old Continent both Soviets and American troops were on their way to Berlin, while in the Pacific Japan had been completely cut off from its occupation forces in Indonesia and Indochina. Whith almost no successful reincorcements reaching Japan in the last month. Iwo Jima had fallen as well, and now that oil supplies from Koko were cut off as well Japan was suddenly starving and unable to fuel most of its forces.
Koko itself was occupied by nearly 560.000 American troops while a temporary government was inaugurated in Hoshiguma with Hikaru Arai as Prime Minister, which immediately declared war on Japan under the conditions of the armistice. All armed forces were temporarily demilitarized, planes grounded and warships interned either in Kokoan ports or at Midway. The only exceptions were three field Armies (for a total of 240.000 troops) Tasked to public orders duties and drive out any possible pocket of loyalist and IJA fanatics that might have still refused to surrender. Koko no Kaigun was allowed to retain an operational force of one Battelship (Amagi), one light cruiser and eight destroyers that had to respond to direct US orders. This particular naval formation joined the Thiarian co-belligerent squadron as part of the US 5th fleet during the invasion of Okinawa. While the Battle of Okinawa was being fought the war in Europe ended after Hitler's suicide and Germany's surrender. Only Japan was still fighting, but this all ended after the drop of the Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On September 2nd 1946 the war was finally over, tolling on Koko nearly 3 million casualties, over 400.000 of them civilians, the latter basically all during the uprisings.
The official peace treaty was signed on May 3rd 1947. Under the terms Koko had to surrender, disarm or decommission, its entire fleet with the exception of a few units: One battleship (mostly for flagship and training duties), two cruisers, ten destroyers and four submarines. In addition to them one aircraft carrier could be kept to support repatriation duties and then decommissioned at the end of its tasks. Another 50 small units, subchasers, minelayers and minesweepers, could also be retained to clear all wartime laid mines in the Kokoan archipelago, Midway Atoll and the Aleutians. Koko no Kaigun itself was also reorganized and renamed Koko Kaijou. The Army kept its name altough its ranks were reduced. Finally, both civil and military aviation were banned, the ban to last until 1949 for the first and indefinitely for the second. Admiral Kensuke Kaneda, Commander in Chief of Koko no Kaigun during the 30's and the first year of the war was prosecuted for starting a war of aggression and ultimately sentenced to life inprisonment (he died in prison in 1958, aged 84). Genzaburo Karasawa, Kaneda's successor, emerged instead as the highest-ranking Axis officer to not being prosecuted for his wartime commitments, and became himself the Commander in Chief of Koko Kaijou until his retirement in 1966. Admiral Jun Minasoko retired from the Navy in 1947. Foreign Minister Hikaru Arai won, in 1948, the first free-elections held in sixteen years, and led the country for two consecutive terms.
Last edited by BB1987 on September 1st, 2017, 7:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.