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Old 12-22-2017, 11:57 AM
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Default The Twilight War in Asia & the Pacific

The war between the Soviet union and China is fairly well documented in the v1.0 timeline/history, but there's little else to go on, AFAIK.

What of Japan? Does it take a neutral stance? Does that last? Do the Soviets attack Japan? If so, what does that look like?

What of Taiwan? Is there a rapprochement between the island nation and its mainland cousin?

IIRC, Vietnam is mentioned briefly in v1.0 canon, but I'm having a hard time finding those references.

Are the references that I've seen here to Australia and Indonesia going to war from v1.0 canon?

I'm working on a sourcebook for Korea and I would like to include a bit on the naval war aspect of the campaign. That means that I've got to figure out what the Soviet Pacific Fleet was up to from the outbreak of the war with China to the U.S.A.'s entrance into the war in December 1996 and the North Korean invasion of the ROK later that month.

The Chinese navy of the v1.0 timeline was relatively small and weak. I can't imagine that it could put up much of a fight against the Soviet Pacific Fleet. Where would the Pacific Fleet be when the U.S.A. gets involved in the war? I'm a big Soviet military apologist but I can't imagine that the Soviet Pacific Fleet would last long in open battle with the USN Pacific Fleet.

I know that we have other threads dedicated to specific regions in the Pacific but I would like a clearinghouse for macro-level discussions of strategic and operational actions in Asia & the Pacific.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:50 PM
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Source is "Guide to the Soviet Navy, 4th Edition" by Norman Pillar.

The Red Banner Pacific Fleet (RBPF) is the largest of the four Soviet fleets and has the largest operating area. The RBPF is responsible for all operations throughout the Pacific as well as most of the Indian Ocean. The RBPF has the principal mission of defending the Siberian coast, it has an advantage in that the Soviet Pacific coast has more direct access to the open oceans than the Russian European coasts. The major port complex of Vladivostok opens into the Sea of Japan with four major straits giving access to the Pacific. The Soviets control one(Kuril Strait), another separates Japan and the Soviet-controlled island of Sakhalin (La Perouse), while the two remaining exits are controlled by Japan and Japan/South Korea (Tsugaru and the Korean straits). Blockade by the U.S. is difficult, except in extreme circumstances due to the dependence of Japan and South Korea o. Maritime trade.

The second major naval base is Petropavlosk on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Most of the RBPF sub force is based here, with direct access to the Pacific.

The RBPF has under its command, one third of the Soviet submarine force, including at least 25 of the SSBN force, 29% of its major surface warships and 30% of the total Soviet Naval Aviation force (500 combat aircraft).
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:10 PM
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The Red Banner Pacific Fleet bases and shipyards include;

Vladivostok, the major port complex of the Soviet Far East and Headquarters, Pacific Fleet. Includes numerous logistics and training facilities, as well as a major fishing base and fish-processing facility with shipyards and repair facilities. The primary disadvantage is that the port is only 16km from the Chinese border.

Nakhodka lies 96km east of Vladivostok and is the primary commercial port of Siberia. Site of a major container-handling facility, capable of handling 1,000 containers a day.

The limitations of Nakhodka in handling increased volume, led to the construction 14km away of the port of Vostochnyy, developed as a major port. The new Siberian railway, the Baykal-Amir Mainline connects this port with the Lena River. This port can handle over 2 million tons of cargo per year, averaging some 200,000 containers a year. Expansion plans are underway to increase capacity to 40 million tons of cargo per year, making it the largest port in the Soviet Union.

Further up the coast is Sovetskaya Gavan and the port of Nikolayevsk at the mouth of the Amir River. Sovetskaya Cavan is the third largest naval base, while Nikolayevsk is a fishing center.

Further north Anadyr is a coal port and supports Arctic shipping. Light naval forces are based here.

Magadan and Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka have no rail access and all supplies are dependent on sea and air transport.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:56 PM
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Thanks for the intel, dragoon500ly.

Might the Soviets collude with North Korea, so that they could use the Hermit Kingdom's ports for repairs and replenishment for vessels operating against Chinese targets on the Yellow Sea and East China Sea Coasts?

Perhaps that's why the DPRK sided with the USSR instead of China? Perhaps the Soviets offered the DPRK advanced aircraft or armor in exchange for the use of its ports?

This would suggest cooperation between the two. Perhaps the Soviets convinced the DPRK to attack the ROK, in order to tie down American units on the peninsula- this would prevent them from being sent to Europe or Alaska...

According to the v1.0 timeline, U.S. forces engage the Soviets in Germany on December 5th. North Korea invades the ROK on December 19th. That gives the Soviet and U.S. Pacific fleets two weeks to tango. Does anything significant go down during that time?

Vladivostok is on the nuclear target list (for v2.2, at least). When is it hit? After the Soviets begin using nukes in Korea (10/21 is the only firm date for this, although it is implied that it began in early-to-mid September)? Or after the TDM? Was the SPF there at the time, had it already been sent to the bottom, or was it somewhere else?
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Old 12-23-2017, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Thanks for the intel, dragoon500ly.

Might the Soviets collude with North Korea, so that they could use the Hermit Kingdom's ports for repairs and replenishment for vessels operating against Chinese targets on the Yellow Sea and East China Sea Coasts?

Perhaps that's why the DPRK sided with the USSR instead of China? Perhaps the Soviets offered the DPRK advanced aircraft or armor in exchange for the use of its ports?

This would suggest cooperation between the two. Perhaps the Soviets convinced the DPRK to attack the ROK, in order to tie down American units on the peninsula- this would prevent them from being sent to Europe or Alaska...
Primary problem with North Korea is that their brand of communism is very different from China/Soviets version. The DPRK stress the Kim family as the benevolent dictators protecting the "pure" DPRK from the evil intentions of Russia, China, Japan and the United States. Over the years, they have become very adapt at playing off one against the other, pulling food and basic goods from China, advanced military aid from Russia and fast talking Japan and South Korea into investing into DPRK industry, then chasing out the investors once the factories are up and running.

So the brief answer is yes the Soviets might get access to NK ports, at the expense of providing military aid, would the DPRK allow the Soviets large scale access? Unlikely.

Could the Soviets convince NK to launch its "Final Liberation of the South"? If the DPRK was convinced that they had a good chance of defeating the ROK, in a heartbeat! But could the Soviets convince them to conduct operations in conjunction with the Soviet military? My own thoughts are that the DPRK would promise, plan, take as much military aid as they could get their hands on...and then find a reason(s) to delay the operation, be it the need to better train their troops on the new equipment, weather conditions, the need to improve rail and road conditions, etc, etc, etc.

While I was a Pentagon Commando, I never had the access or clearance to read the intelligence reports, but "talking shop" with co-workers, the opinion they shared was that the DPRK would look out for number one first! They might provide intelligence, allow overnights, even allow the temporary basin of reconnaissance aircraft, submarines and even surface ships, but would they jump in and invade ROK?
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Old 12-23-2017, 07:19 AM
dragoon500ly dragoon500ly is offline
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Quote:
According to the v1.0 timeline, U.S. forces engage the Soviets in Germany on December 5th. North Korea invades the ROK on December 19th. That gives the Soviet and U.S. Pacific fleets two weeks to tango. Does anything significant go down during that time?

Vladivostok is on the nuclear target list (for v2.2, at least). When is it hit? After the Soviets begin using nukes in Korea (10/21 is the only firm date for this, although it is implied that it began in early-to-mid September)? Or after the TDM? Was the SPF there at the time, had it already been sent to the bottom, or was it somewhere else?
I don't have access to my copies of v.1 or v.2 at this time, but...

The Soviet submarine bases on the Pacific are all hardened against nuclear attack, so the submarine threat will almost certainly be unharmed by a US strike. The lighter naval units (destroyer sized and below) have access to a variety of civilian ports, anchorages and even the Amur River to disperse to. So the question is, what about the major fleet units, the Kirov-class and the two Kiev-class and their supporting cruisers?

The major US targets in the area would be the carrier task force based in Japan and the naval/marine bases on Okinawa.

I would expect a surge of units going to sea to conduct attacks on Chinese ports and naval units, with the Kirov-class trying to get into missile range of the US carrier for a snap shot, trying for major damage, if not sinking the CV.

Soviet Naval Aviation might support this attack OR launch a standoffmissile attack to disrupt operations on Okinawa.

You could also expect cruise missile attacks at the USAF base on Guam. If these attacks go off well, this could buy time for more extensive RBPF operations,like sub warfare on the tanker routes in the region or cutting the shipping lanes through the North Pacific.

As for Vladivostok, with the outbreak of a Soviet-US war, you can see at the very least B-1 conventional attacks on key locations, perhaps several B-52 sorties with CAPTOR mines on the main channels, even a strike or two with sub-launched cruise missiles, especially if one or more of the major naval units returns for replenishment.

When the war goes nuclear, I would expect a major lowering of the RBPF surface ship sorties. True, they Soviets have two or h Dr major bases, but Vladivostok is the major logistical site. And with the dearth of decent rail and road communications, the RBPF will be living off pre-War stockpiles.
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
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I would expect a surge of units going to sea to conduct attacks on Chinese ports and naval units...
I would expect this to happen shortly after the USSR and PRC go to war. I think your outline of the Pacific naval war between the SPF and USN is solid. I'm trying to figure out what happens between the two periods.

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Primary problem with North Korea is that their brand of communism is very different from China/Soviets version. The DPRK stress the Kim family as the benevolent dictators protecting the "pure" DPRK from the evil intentions of Russia, China, Japan and the United States. Over the years, they have become very adapt at playing off one against the other, pulling food and basic goods from China, advanced military aid from Russia and fast talking Japan and South Korea into investing into DPRK industry, then chasing out the investors once the factories are up and running.

So the brief answer is yes the Soviets might get access to NK ports, at the expense of providing military aid, would the DPRK allow the Soviets large scale access? Unlikely.
Agreed. I'm just thinking that the Soviets want a place between Cam Rahn Bay and Vladivostok for ships to put in for maintenance, minor repairs, and maybe refueling. If they offer to pay with a few more MiG-29s, T-72s, and/or advanced SAMs, it'd be a hard for the Kims to turn down.

And I reckon the DPRK would back whoever is winning in China; by late 1996, that would be the Soviets.

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Originally Posted by dragoon500ly View Post
Could the Soviets convince NK to launch its "Final Liberation of the South"? If the DPRK was convinced that they had a good chance of defeating the ROK, in a heartbeat! But could the Soviets convince them to conduct operations in conjunction with the Soviet military?
I'm not suggesting active cooperation, just gentle persuasion- something along the lines of, "The U.S. is very busy with this expanding war in Europe. Now's the time to make your move. They're totally distracted. They won't be able to reinforce 8th Army (just 2ID at the outset). Their navy will have to deal with ours. We might even be able to send you a few more tanks, fighters, SAMs, etc."

That sort of thing. It's all about opportunism. If the DPRK believes the risks are minimal and the rewards potentially great, the thinking might be "it's now or never". This all aligns well with v1.0 canon too.
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:08 PM
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Had a quick look at the first edition Soviet Vehicle Guide it has listed as part of the 1st Indochinese Front three Motorised Rifle Divisions and an Air Assault Brigade defending the naval facilities at Haiphong and the border with China.

It also mentions that in Korea (Yalu Front) we have three motorised rifle divisions, an air assault brigade and a naval infantry regiment.
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:22 PM
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One thing to think about is the size of the borders. The DPRK/PRC border is 880km. The DPRK/USSR border is 17 km (with a single rail bridge).

The USSR would really need to secure the area around Vladivostok early as it is not only almost within tube artillery range from Chinese territory (sub 45k IIRC) but a Chinese push of only 20km in that area could sever the DPRK/USSR border completely.
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Old 12-23-2017, 01:50 PM
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One thing to think about is the size of the borders. The DPRK/PRC border is 880km. The DPRK/USSR border is 17 km (with a single rail bridge).

The USSR would really need to secure the area around Vladivostok early as it is not only almost within tube artillery range from Chinese territory (sub 45k IIRC) but a Chinese push of only 20km in that area could sever the DPRK/USSR border completely.
Agreed. I see such an operation taking place in the first week of the Second Sino-Russian War.
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Old 12-23-2017, 07:58 PM
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I'm working from memory here in regards to both the Twilight War and the situation in the real world for the relevant time period so feel free to correct any errors!

The Soviets signed a 25 year lease with Vietnam for the use of Cam Ranh Bay in 1979 and expanded the base to about four times it's size when the US controlled it. The Russian government made a further leasing agreement in 1993 for use by the Russian navy.

In regards to the T2k situation, the Soviets don't have any direct land access to Vietnam so North Korea may be the most significant "friendly" port for the resupply etc. etc. of the Soviet naval forces based in Cam Ranh Bay. I'm inclined to think that this would make any decision regarding Soviet co-operation with North Korea very important for the Soviet war effort.
Which probably increases the need for the Soviets to mitigate (or even negate) any possible Japanese and/or Taiwanese & Philippines interferance with the shipping of Soviet resources to the Soviet fleet at Cam Ranh Bay (let alone trying to remove any threat by the Chinese to such operations).

I think with all that plus what we now know of Chinese long term plans to increase their presence in the Pacific, that part of the world would be very busy indeed.
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Old 12-25-2017, 04:01 AM
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Some items from my modified Timeline-----

1st major Japanese involvement....
On January 8th, NATO naval units initiate Operation Steel Bandit aimed at knocking out Vietnam’s Cam Rahm Bay, which is being used by Soviet naval and air units and sheltering belligerent shipping from NATO attack. The attacks smash port facilities and sink numerous ships. NATO loses are relatively light except for naval fighter units off participating U.S. carriers (USS Ranger, USS America, and USS Lincoln battle groups), which suffer heavy losses (45%) to swarms of defending SAMs and fighters, including very advanced Soviet MiG29S2 and Su35 fighters as well as obsolescent MiG21s, and a lot of AAA. The NATO force lands American, Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese Naval Infantry troops, who thoroughly wreck port facilities. A battalion of the 11th Airborne and a battalion of Japanese paratroopers make a joint combat drop supporting the raid as well; the first of many joint American-Japanese airborne operations in the war. Chinese forces also invade in the north, but this is only a limited incursion designed to eliminate any chance of a surprise Vietnam invasion of China. Numerous Tomahawk cruise missiles take out critical parts of the electric grid. Vietnam is left badly bloodied with all its major ports mined and most of its electrical grid destroyed, and its leaders wisely decide to reign in the Soviet survivors and passively sit out the remainder of the war.

Filipino, Taiwanese, and Japanese forces enter combat; North Korea bites too....
In late-January, the new American President Tanner makes several futile attempts to arrange for a cease-fire. President Tanner soon discovers the Soviets have no interest in halting the war, as the Soviets rebuff his attempts with a blunt vulgarity. About a week later, Soviet naval forces launch an amphibious and airborne assault against northern Japanese islands, seizing Sapporo and several smaller cities. Japanese forces are sorely pressed, and American and Filipino marine and army units arrive to reinforce the defenses. Bitter fighting ensues as the dug in Soviets refuse to yield.
On 27 January 1997, North Korea, under pressure from the Soviets, sends military units across the Chinese border to join the fight on the side of the Pact. The morning starts with three Soviet armored corps and two North Korean Corps (one mechanized and one infantry) crossing the northern border into China. A massive artillery bombardment of Seoul that evening precedes an invasion of South Korea with three armored, five mechanized, and sixteen infantry divisions of North Korea as well as recently upgraded Soviet Category A tank and motor rifle units (a bit more than a corps worth of units). China is shocked at this long time ally’s betrayal, as the large multi-corps Korean-Soviet force slices into the exposed southern flank of its forces, but Taiwan and Japan finally enter ground combat alongside China’s forces, with Japanese and Taiwanese mechanized units arriving in China before the end of the month.
After a chemical No Dong missile hits a U.S. base in Japan causing large numbers of U.S. dependent family casualties, there is a marked reluctance to take prisoners on the allied side including Americans. The origination base of the missile was obliterated by a massed B52 attack that night using 2000-lb bombs and 750-lb cluster bombs as well as the chemical weapons depot that was hit by B2As using laser-guided “smart” 2000-lb bombs. The ROK army, and Chinese for that matter, had not been taking prisoners for days by this time. In fact, only Japanese and British troops were much inclined to take North Korean troops prisoners after February, and that tendency grew rarer as the fighting grew ever more bitter. For the next month, the North Koreans make steady, but slow progress, even as more Soviet formations join the fighting on the Korean peninsula against the allied forces. The North Korean and Soviet army penetrates as far as 155 miles south of the DMZ, but the U.S. led alliance halts and begins forcing the North Koreans and Soviets back by April 1st. At the same time, the Soviet-Korean effort in China was floundering, as Chinese and allied units began pushing back against the invaders.

And the endgame begins for the Soviets in Korea and the Far East----
On July 5th, with advance elements of the German First Army on Soviet soil, the Soviets begin using tactical nuclear weapons. In the West, they are used sparingly at first, and for the first week are used only against troop concentrations no further than 50 kilometers from the Soviet border on former Belarus’ soil. In the Far East, the Chinese had launched a second major offensive for the summer, with Pact forces beginning major withdrawals all along the front as the offensive advances. The mobile elements of the Chinese Army begin a victorious pursuit, but the Soviets have decided to resort to nuclear weapons on a massive scale in China. Chinese mechanized columns are vaporized, caught in the open on the roads in imagined pursuit. Strike aircraft deliver warheads on the northern Chinese population and industrial centers still in Chinese hands. The Chinese response is immediate, but Soviet forward troop units are dispersed and well prepared. Ballistic missile attacks on Soviet population centers are frustrated by a small but active and, somewhat effective, ABM system, and the Soviet Air Defense Command (mostly) massacres the handful of Chinese bombers that attempt low-level penetration raids. Despite the losses, numbers of bombers make it through to bomb their targets. Chinese SLBMs, on the other hand, prove successful but limited in numbers, with the naval bases at Vladivostok, Mys Shmidta, and Fokino very heavily damaged. Other bases and logistic hubs in Siberia and the Arctic are hit by Chinese weapons as well. However, within a week, the Chinese riposte is spent, while Soviet attacks continue. The Chinese communication and transportation system, already stretched to the breaking point, disintegrates. The roads are choked with refugees fleeing from the remaining cities, all of them potential targets. Finally, China begins the rapid slide into anarchy and civil disorder.
Also on July 5th, with the Soviet’s just starting the use of nuclear weapons on Chinese units, China, desperate for the U.S. to establish contact with Chinese forces advancing toward the Korean border and Manchuria, and still furious with its former ally’s betrayal, expends 15 nuclear warheads on North Korean targets, destroying Pyongyang and Wonsan with 3.25 Mt bombs, as well as North Korea’s main government and military command bunkers, wiping out both the civilian government and military high command. The U.S. adds to the carnage with attacks by two Trident I SLBMs from a patrolling Franklin class SLBM in the Central Pacific on 28 priority Soviet and North Korean targets in and around the Korean and Chinese front as well as several strikes by F16C and F111E aircraft on other targets with B61 or B43 nuclear bombs. U.S. F19 strikes with SRAM IIs are also launched. Within 24 hours, the North Korean front collapses with the accompanying loss of its military high command and important remaining logistics stockpiles and supplies. Within four days, a combined American and South Korean force link up with surviving Chinese forces defending near the Korean border. Soviet combat forces and surviving North Korean units proximate to the Chinese border have taken a heavy beating and retreat into Soviet territory. The combined Allied force advances to pursue heading toward the remains of Vladivostok. Surprisingly, this U.S., Korean, and Chinese force advancing toward Vladivostok remains unmolested by nuclear weapons. A planned U.S. and Japanese amphibious landing on the Kurile Islands proceeds as planned on the early morning of July 12th, also without the use of nuclear weapons by either side.
The UK 8th Infantry Division and 181st Combat Brigade Team were attached to Chinese forces driving towards north-east China. In mid-July, both units were transferred to the 31st Army and finally linked up with the Americans on the Yalu River soon after. At this time, the Sino-Soviet nuclear exchange began, and the division and brigade both took losses from tactical nuclear strikes. The survivors were withdrawn, in surprisingly good order, into North Korea. The massive Soviet superiority in nuclear weapons shows and in addition to hitting military targets industrial and population centers are hit heavily in an attempt to knock China out of the war or at least get a breathing space to deal with NATO. Harbin and Biaystok are destroyed in nuclear strikes, but so are Soviet Omsk, Chita, and Chelyabinsk.
The Hong Kong Government orders the forming of the 3rd Royal Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers) for internal security (planning further units) and orders the 2nd to come under British command as part of 8th Infantry Division. As law and order break down in China, many troops in North Korea turn into marauders. With the countryside in such poor shape after the famines and nuclear exchanges, the North descends quickly into anarchy. Refugees try to flee south, but ROK troops in particular are harsh in stopping them. Other U.S. units operating further north alongside Chinese units run into trouble as Chinese lines collapse. The U.S. 7th Infantry Division (Light) is cut off by the collapse of the Chinese lines and only a few scattered remnants make it back to U.S. lines. The U.S. 45th Infantry Division is also cut off. Here the unit abandons much of its heavy equipment, siphoning fuel from many vehicles to get others enough to maneuver, and breaks out to rejoin II U.S. Corps. The U.S. 29th Infantry Division (Light) is less fortunate, as their breakout fails and the survivors are herded north into Soviet captivity.
On 12th July, Japan and the U.S. surprise the world by landing troops on the Kurile Islands. By the 15th, the Soviet garrison have engaged units of the Japanese Self Defense Force and U.S. troops from Okinawa move to support the Japanese. U.S. and Japanese aircraft hammer the SAM umbrella before B52s of the 60th and 441st Bomb Squadrons badly maul the 101st Guards Motor Rifle Division which withdraws to Sakhalin Island (which like the Kurile Islands was part of Japan occupied by the Soviets at the end of World War II and since disputed). As Japanese troops prepare to move on to Sakhalin in November, Soviet nuclear weapons hammer the Japanese mainland (taking care to avoid hitting the areas containing U.S. bases). Most Japanese troops are withdrawn to act as emergency relief, leaving only a small garrison, but one division remains to invade Sakhalin, bolstered by an ANZA brigade and a regiment of U.S. Marines. The evacuated Japanese troops are heavily involved in attempts to keep order as the country teeters on civil collapse.
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