The Battle of Taiyuan
(All text here is in Japanese, but translated to english for convenience.)
November 7th, 1937
Although the high ranking generals had said that the invasion of Nanking would start soon, it had been a handful of months and no attack.
Hirotaka had understood the idea, for the most part. And thus was patient for his role in the attack.
He had heard of a large battle going down south, but had kept his forces where they were. For all he knew the battle was going perfectly well, going towards it when its already about to be won would be rather useless, and would allow the Chinese to possibly attack his positions as he went.
Eventually, however. Orders from the Grand Marshall came once again.
"The Battle of Taiyuan has gone in our favor for the most part, but the Chinese are beginning to surround Shijiazhuang, send your army over and break the surrounding forces, before assisting in the capture of Taiyuan. "
With this, Hirotaka quickly began mobilizing his forces, hoping to prove his worth further to his fellow generals.
His forces were blocked by troops from the other originally Chinese cities, all of them probably given the same order or already having been part of the battle.
Eventually, his troops made first contact with the surrounding forces, a division of 94's and infantry attacking a group of mobilized infantry.
A division of 95's was blocked by more T-34's, Hirotaka was worried by the increasing number of gifts from the Soviet Union to China. If the Soviets joined on China's side, it's doubtable that the Japanese could hold out against both.
A large blockade of Chinese troops was holding the open plains towards Shijiazhuang, in case reinforcements for them came. The Chinese seemed to have become wiser after their constant losses.
The blockade was being pushed through slowly but surely, the blockade "curling" towards Shijiazhuang in an attempt to further surround it.
Despite the attempt to cause further casualties for Shijiazhuang, the blockade got heavy casualties themselves due to the previous deaths from the forces of the main Japanese armies, as the Shijiazhuang garrisons, forced the blockade back towards the huge army.
The blockade was eventually wiped out, as Hirotaka planned to sneak behind the forces surrounding Shijiazhuang, and promptly take Taiyuan.
Hirotakas forces had quickly pushed into Taiyuan, the Chinese not expecting for this large of a force to come, and thus expected them to entirely help Shijiazhuang, instead of being so large just part of it could break off to attack Taiyuan itself.
Taiyuan was taken quickly, most of the forces having gone to attempt to take Shijiazhuang, as the entirety of the left Chinese army was either lying in their own blood or running away in utter shame.
With the few survivors of the attack on Taiyuan retreating, they had quickly spread the news around, causing many of the generals to order their troops to dig out trenches and lay up barricades, attacking with this low of morale would be suicidal.
The Japanese decided to do the same, not wishing to risk the casualties the defenses might cause, as the next day came around.
November 8th, 1937
The Chinese had attempted a large offensive, hoping to retake Taiyuan, or at least part of it. However, the huge army under Hirotaka's command was able to hold out well, having had heavy artillery and 89s.
Hirotaka had ordered his army to attempt a counter-attack, to reclaim the parts of Shijiazhuang that were taken.
The counter-attack had gone well, for the most part. Hirotaka had ordered a handful of his troops to attack the bases south of Shijiazhuang, if they couldn't beat the surrounding forces, they could at least cut off their supply.
The surrounding forces were beaten back, forced to retreat to the military bases, the plan to attack and capture them was still viable, however. As a means to push even deeper into China.
The first base was heavily damaged in just one push, the Chinese retreating in panic at both bases.
Although the Japanese had made much fewer gains than during the first push, they had decided to not capture the eastern base yet, instead working on eliminating Chinese stragglers, either trying to hold out on a mountain-pass or make a worthless attack on Shijiazhuang.
November 9th, 1937.
Most of the stragglers were killed or captured, as Hirotaka once again ordered his troops to attempt a final offensive for the battle, hoping to take a large base to the east.
The Chinese defenses for the base were rather light, simple infantry with almost no anti-tank weapons.
The base was almost taken in just the first push, as well. The Chinese constantly routing.
The area was taken, the Chinese troops either dead or gone to better defended positions.
And thus, another letter from the Grand Marshall was due.
"Congratulations on your further success. You have more than proven your worth for any operation during this war, let alone Nanking. I will notify you when the attack finally begins properly. Glory to the Japanese Empire."
Thus, the Japanese had gutted the lands of the Chinese heavily, while the Chinese could only pray that they could survive against the massive armies of the Japanese.