Far East Theater in WWIII 1946
Temporary Joint Allied Naval Base,
The abandoned Imperial German Reichsmarine Base,
Outside Tsingtao, Shantung Province, The Republic of China
– 1 --
Looking out on the derelict Japanese wrecks, scuttled in the harbor in the final days of the last war (only now being removed by the See-Bees, aided by a wealth of eager local manpower), Major Jack Devereaux, USMCR, was concentrating at the task at hand: the training and graduation of the first class of officers and non-commissioned officers of the new Republic of China Marine Corps. The ROCMC was not a new branch of service, as it has been in existence since December of 1914, but new in the fact that it was now being trained in the methods of modern amphibious warfare, by the finest fighting force of its kind throughout the world. Major Devereaux's advanced team had selected this site because of its proximity to Japan and Korea, should the need to be reinforced becomes necessary. The retraining and modernization of Chinese Marines had begun as a secondary project, at the behest of the new Chinese government, and deemed necessary, as he needed to multiply the small forces he had at hand for security in the province. But the mission soon grew into a passion to expand the greatest American ideals of Liberty and Justice into Asia, through the men he was training. No doubt, on the other side of the sprawling base, his Navy counterpart was doing the same thing, training the new recruits to man and command the surplus U.S. ships and other naval equipment that was being turned over as a part of their mutual-defense pact.
At first, there were a few seemingly insurmountable challenges, such as the local population taking over parts of the old colonial German base after the Japanese withdrawal, pilfering whatever wasn't nailed or bolted down, squatters occupying the abandoned barracks, people getting injured inside the old abandoned fortifications. Eventually, with the help of the local gendarmerie, the area was cleared out, and people who had made the abandoned base their home were relocated to a temporary camp that the See-Bees had built, while more permanent housing was being constructed by local work gangs, overseen by See-Bee NCO's and construction specialists, in their spare time, as they reconstruct the base and dredge the harbor to accommodate larger sea-faring transport ships, freighters and battle wagons.
Another issue that had to be dealt with was the disparity in education between the officers and enlisted ranks, which Devereaux was ill-prepared to deal with. While considering the issue, he had an inspiration: Why not encourage the officers to educate, at least in part, the enlisted men? Offering cash and other material incentives for every new subject that the officers taught, and to those Marines who excelled in those subjects, sounded like a traditionally local way of disposing with an important serious issue, having the added benefit of encouraging a literate, semi-educated, armed force. Such a force would be capable of conducting complex combat operations, without assistance from, and independently of, other units.
– 2 --
Major Devereaux's star apprentice, Major Wu Tse-hui, was already a very capable officer, in his own right, having worked his way up from enlistment, to his current field-grade rank, in the Nationalist Chinese New Revolutionary Army. He was noticed by General Sun Li-jen, who placed him in command of a regiment in the 38th Division, where he excelled beyond all expectations. He was later recommended as General Sun's representative to Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, the commanding general of U.S. forces in the China Theater of Operations. It was during his time as the Chinese liaison to General Wedemeyer that Major Wu observed the United States Marine Corps in action, and impressed upon General Sun that the Republic of China restructure its own naval infantry force, based on the U.S. Marines, and their own long-forgotten sea-faring traditions, going back to Admiral Chang Ha and his Treasure Fleet. Noting Major Wu's enthusiasm, and perhaps also that he was correct in his historical perspective, General Sun placed him in charge of the project, and charged him with “requisitioning” the former Imperial German naval base at Tsingtao, as a training base and a base of operations.
In order to become more effective at his new vocation, Major Wu placed himself at the disposal of the executive officer of the U.S. 4th Marine Regiment, Major Jackson Beauregard Devereaux, who was tasked with conducting an ad-hoc training course for Chinese Army and Navy personnel (including current Marine Corps personnel who were not cashiered for incompetence or corruption) who wished to be a part of this endeavor. Old ROCMC units were dissolved and as each new unit was stood up, an agreement was reached that they would be rotated through the U.S. III Amphibious Corps, to gain experience. After a few rotations, according to the plan, the entire training operation would be turned over to the Chinese themselves. The Americans had shown themselves to be honorable, perhaps not in the same way that they might consider honor, but in a way that was not less worthy of the word. The U.S. Marine would honor his word to his Chinese counterpart, for their concept of honor was in a class all their own.
– 3 --
On the other side of the base, The Navy of the Republic of China was reconstituting their “New” Northern Sea Fleet, replacing the old Nationalist “Beiyang” Fleet and its decrepit antiquated warships. Having just recently captured the deep-water port of Chefu (on the other side of the Shantung Peninsula) away from the Communists, President Sun's government was planning to have naval and civilian shipyards built there. To this end, his government was negotiating a deal with the Allied Control Council (minus the Soviet Union, for obvious reasons) for interim equipment to build up the navy, but he was also negotiating for special dispensation to do business with Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to help in building the new shipyards in Chefu, through the Allied Occupation Command, in Tokyo. It was the very least that the Japanese company, along with its co-conspirators at Nippon National Railways, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone and the Nippon Electric Company, could do in the way of reparations for war damage. President Sun had a very ambitious plan to rapidly industrialize China and greatly expand the domestic armaments and defense industry. Over many years, Sun Li-jen had made contacts back in the United States (through his education at Purdue University and the Virginia Military Institute), and among American and other European expatriate educators and technical professionals he met while in India (most, by way of Generals Joe Stillwell and Bill Slim), that could help build an educational base so great, that China could become economically independent within his lifetime. He knew that he had an up-hill battle in undermining the seduction of the communists' message of central planning and the nationalization of agriculture and industry, but he was convinced that once his reforms started bearing the sweet fruit of prosperity, their message would be exposed for the corrupt lie that it was.
President Sun Li-jen sent the trained engineers that he had at his disposal to Japan, then onto the United States, first to learn the manufacturing processes of their enemies, then to learn how best to improve upon them. His initial education having been in civil engineering, President Sun was very well aware of the high value of a technical education. Once the last of the Turkestani agitators has been driven back across the Soviet border into the Kazakh S.S.R., construction will commence on a massive industrial city that would help alleviate some of the widespread deficiencies in manufacturing. This city would only do that until widespread industrialization could be achieved throughout the country. After that, the city would be devoted to the development of the indigenous defense industry. Oh yes, President Sun had a long-term plan for China's ascension to a premier world power. But small steps first. After all, as the Europeans were so fond of saying, Rome was not built in a day...
– 4 --
The end of the Russian Civil War saw hundreds of thousands, up to nearly a million, of displaced anti-Bolshevik Russians wind up in China, either settling in Inner Mongolia and Manchuria, or in the bigger cities, such as Tsingtao, Shanghai, Hangchow, Canton, Nanking, Chungking, Kunming, Wuhan, Sian, Yennan or Peking. Until very recently, they had been a disparate, disorganized, lot, each group sticking to its own neighborhood, minding its own business, and carrying on with their own affairs. With the new war, this all changed. The older military-trained generation that had escaped are abandoning their insular nature and was now training their children in the mastery of the art of war, in hopes that they would be worthy and strong enough to reclaim their homeland from the Soviet monster, created from the Czarist depravity that denied them the most basic of all human rights: freedom.
First, a former Soviet airman had built an insurgent air force, in a dauntingly short amount of time, that was the rival of any in the region. Even with all the diverse, obsolete and antiquated aircraft in its inventories, its skilled and superb pilots were the scourge of the skies that they controlled. Next, in a daring escape, the leaders of the Russian Liberation Movement were broken out of prison and made their way to China, in order to reconstitute their forces and carry the fight deep into the heart of their hated Soviet enemy. Before their arrival, the new Chinese government had established two divisions of Free Russian troops, formed from Russian expatriates and an increasing number of Soviet deserters. Since the arrival of the ROA and Cossack leadership, the size and number of these units have tripled, to corps-strength, forming the basis of an independent military force. However, equipping them all had it's own set of challenges that needed to be immediately addressed.
Freedom was what they wanted, for themselves, and for their oppressed brothers and sisters. The only other alternative now was death, for this was an all-or-nothing play, with the stakes being so high that the future of humanity hung in the balance. To this end, all Russian and former Russian Empire expatriates worldwide were organizing as one voice to denounce the legitimacy of government of the Soviet Union in the next meeting of the successor organization to the League of Nations, the United Nations. Failing that, they would attack the legitimacy of the United Nations as a Soviet puppet organization, which it had, in fact, become. It has become apparent, that without the interference of bad influences and the leadership of a few principled men, coupled with material support from a few good friends, they may well be able to achieve their long-denied goal after all.
There was a marvelous terrible storm brewing in the Far East, a storm that would upset the fortunes of war, a storm that would either see justice restored to a world torn asunder, or the supremacy of evil for the long foreseeable future.