I've modified and expanded the last part of Kuromegami's background. As I've previously said I had written that last part a bit hastily and I wasn't much satisfied with it.
Other than that, I've made a few modifications on three History chapters, namely the 1872-1919, 1919-1921 and 1941-1942 ones, in order to fill a few gaps I had left open and to put the basis for some possible future developements of Kokoan history. They concern the small involvement of Koko in WWI (now not enough small to not warrant a place in the nation's history), the subsequent involvement of Koko in the Allied intervention during the Russian Civil War and finally a mention about Recerche during the Indian Ocean raids, which otherwise would had left no explanation whatsoever on why Recerche was seemingly left ingnored during those operations.
Here are the three chapters, reposted here for more simplicity:
5. Industrialization (1872-1919)
Exploiting the Iron and Copper deposits discovered by the Dutch nearly three centuries earlier the Kokoan industrial revolution went up with a bang. In ten years silk production quadrupled and coal went up six-fold, over 400miles of railways were built by the mid 1880s and another 970miles during the next 10 years. Shipyards were built to support a large merchant fleet expansion. Iron and copper production surpassed that of Japan. In early 1876 Koko no Kaigun was established to operate around Koko's home waters. Initially formed by the merger of the small flotillas owned by the various former Lords the fleet was later augmented with new units designed with German assistance and built abroad. A second phase of shipyard expansion started in 1883, lasting over two decades, with the goal of allowing Koko to start building it's warships domestically by the turn of the century.
By the end of the Sino-Japanese war diplomatic relations between Japan and Koko had reconciled. This was finalized in the Toumachi Treaty, signed on January 13th 1897, through which Japan officially recognized Koko's indipendence. The treaty also cemented an high degree of collaboration between Japanese and Kokoan armed forces, with Great Britain and Japan itself replacing Germany as the main advisors and influence on Koko's naval developement. Koko ultimately joined the Anglo-Japanese alliance in 1905, shorlty after the Russo-Japanese War had ended.
During World War I Kokoan armed forces took part in the siege of Tsingtao, with Koko no Kaigun beign also involved in further patrols through the Pacific Ocean in order to look after the now declining and scattered German naval forces. In 1916, after a request from the United Kingdom, a few Kokoan ships also sailed for the Atlantic to support naval actions against Thiaria, taking part in the Battle of Tristan a Cunha. The battle marked the first open-sea naval engagement of Koko no Kaigun, and despite actually considered succesful -most of Thiarian Battleships were either sunk or put out of action for several months- it also marked the first major naval loss for the Kokoans, when the Battlecruiser Kuromegami succumbed to her wounds, sinking during the return leg.
However, the Great War events had only marginally involved Koko. Strong of it's exports of raw materials, it reached the end of the 1910s with a population of almost 30million, 50% of the industrial output of the nearby Japanese Empire and the third Navy in the Pacific ocean after the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy.
6. Shifting Alliances (1919-1921)
Right after the end of WWI, while involved, like Japan, in the Allied intervention during the Russian Civil War, Koko found itself entangled in the Nikolayevsk Incident. Partisan troops allied with the Red Army seized the city were garrisons from both the IJN and KnR were stationed, ultimately massacring all the soildiers and civilians, foreigners or not, that were in the city. The immediate aftermath and percieved lacking Soviet response in compensating for the loss suffered -over 1.200 Kokoan soldiers died in the incident, nearly three times the total casualities suffered during WWI by the Army and Navy combined- caused a massive backlash within Kokoan population, governemnt and armed forces. Things degenerated so much that the Kokoan government effectively cut all diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union until 1941.
In addition of this, one of the main foreign treaties from which Koko and the Japanese Empire had benefited during the early 20th century was the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. But during the year 1919, the Paris Peace conference and the rejected Racial Equality Proposal (proposed by both Koko and Japan during the conference and vetoed by the United Kingdom itself) started to cast shadows on such alliance. The situation further exacerbated during the next year, ultimately reaching a breaking point by August 1921, when the British Imperial Conference, under pressures from Canada and the United States chose to let the alliance expire.
Somewhat foreshadowing what was about to happen, many members of the Japanese cabinet started making pressure on Prime Minister Hara Takashi to open a table in order to start a negotiation to cement Japan alliance with Koko. The aim was to grant Japan the assurance of an ally on the pacific theater in case the Anglo-Japanese alliance would have expired, and since Japan and Koko had bee deply involved both on the political and economic side after the Toumachi Treaty, there were very little doubts that Koko would have acted as Japan closest ally to date.
During the conference, a few right-wing memebers went as far as proposing to discuss a possible reunification process between tthe two countries, but Hara avoided the topic as the Kokoan delegation clearly opposed such thing. Talks sped up after the British Imperial Conference ended on August 5th 1921. The collaboration between Japanese and Kokoan armed forces was maintained, with the sole exception of the IJN ending the small patrol duties around the Emperor island Chain on behalf of Koko no Kaigun that had been carried since the Toumachi treaty in 1897. Commercial deals were strenghtened and a coomon foreign policy chosen. Ultimately, on September 17th 1921 the Kokoan-Japanese Bilateral Agreements were ratified in Tokyo, marking the creation of the Kokoan-Japanese Alliance. Ironically, this also left dissatisfaction within the extremist fringes of the Japanese imperialists, so that a disgruntled Right-wing railroad worker, Nakaoka Konichi, stabbed to death Prime Minister Hara at Tokyo Station on November 4th 1921, blaming him of damaging the Empire with his policies.
12. Storm over the pacific (1941-1942)
On the morning of December the 7th 1941 bombs had been falling on Pearl Harbor for a little more than 30 minutes when Koko no Kaigun attacked Midway Island and Attu. The American garrison on Attu put up a fierce resistance but was eventually overwhelmed by the disparity of forces between them and the Rikugun troops. The last fighting dying by December 9th evening. Clashes around midway were the busiest, with the Kokoan carrier fleet engaging USS Lexington's planes in the first carrier-battle of the war. Despite suffering losses, the still green air-crews managed to damage the American carrier and sink a destroyer, forcing TF-12 to retreat. Midway eventually fell the next day after fierce bombardments when Rikugun tropps landed on the island. On December 11th another landing was made on the Island of Kiska, in the Aleutians. With the royal Navy losing two capital ships by the hands of Japanese planes near Singapore, the US navy quickly built up a task-force around the USS Saratoga to strengthen the Aleutian fleet and prevent more offensive movements from Koko. Luckily for Koko, Saratoga had just left Pearl Harbor one day before when Koko no Kaigun and TF-8 met off Sequamis Island on December 16th. Aided only marginally by their respective land-based air forces the two fleet faced each other in the Battle off Turf Point, during which the light cruiser Trenton was sunk, again for negligible losses for Koko no Kaigun. The invasion of Adak started the same day.
Kokoan engineers quickly worked to built an operating airfield on Adak, providing air cover against US planes based on Dutch Harbor while troops from bot KnR and IJA occupied most of the other islands between Attu and Adak. KnK Koku Sentai (carrier division) started patrolling the waters around Midway, with most of the surface fleet split between them and the Aleutian waters. Submarines were deployed to hit merchants and any American warship that would have been spotted. As fiery as it had been during the first two weeks, the Aleutian theatre soon saw action dying down, reduced to sporadic bombing runs by Kokoans against Dutch Harbor and Americans against Adak, which in turn waned into dogfights between fighters and a handful of inconclusive skirmishes between light units, the most serious ones usually requiring a few days of repairs on either side Destroyers.
With the eastern front Against the United States temporarily motionless, Koko's attention shifted towards Supporting the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and Indonesia. KnK sent the Battleshp Amagi, Sentai 5 (a cruiser division) and a few Suirai Sentai (destroyer squadrons) to join the IJN ranks. During the night of January 25th 1942, part of this task force engaged the British Battlecruiser Irresistible and her escort in the Naval battle of Balikpapan. Despite the only ship sunk was the Australian Destroyer HMAS Vendetta, both side inflicted heavy damage to it's opponent, with Irresistible ultimately forced to withdraw after being hit by two torpedoes fired by the heavy cruiser Fujiwara. After the battle, Amagi returned to Koko for repairs, but was back within two months, backed by the Battleships Kii and Owari. The rest of Koko no Kaigun group was supplemented by auxiliary units and marginally involved in the subsequent battles, which saw the ABDACOM fleet being defeated in the battles of Makassar, Badung, Sunda and Java. In early April the three Kokoan battleships, accompanied by two destroyer squadrons joined the Kido Butai as escorts during the Indian Ocean Raids. Here, an accursed report from a British recon plane which inexplicably mistook the three ships for the Japanese Cruiser Kumano, Suzuya and the destroyer Shirakumo, led to the loss of the Battleship Marlborough sunk by Amagi herself and two Recerchean destroyers. Warspite, the other British battleship engaged, managed to retreat with minor damage after a gunnery duel with Kii.
The three Kokoan battleships then escorted the carriers Hiryuu, Soryuu and Akagi for a further dash to the south: on April 13th aerial attacks were made against the Recerchean port of Hopetoun. The raids resulted in damage to infrastructure, harbor facilities and a few RRN ships berthed inside the bay. Five merchant ships were also sunk, and another seven damaged. The attack aimed at luring out a part of the Recerhean fleet in order to engage it in battle, splitting Recerchean war efforts on two fronts, indirectly relieving some pressure against the Maddelenians. The Recerchean units did depart, but worsening weather conditions caused by an incoming Cyclone caused the fleets to miss each other. Further operations against Recherche were initially planned, but subsequent events led them to be indefintely postponed and replaced by simple -although dense- air patrols from Japanese-held Indonesia.
Overal, by mid April 1942, Koko and Japan had managed to hold half of the Aleutians, Midway, Wake, the Philippines, Indonesia and much of Indochina while keeping its advance towards India and New Guinea. All with a string of naval victories in which they had never lost anything larger than a destroyer. Japanese and Kokoan submarines patrolled the Pacific Ocean targeting warships and merchants, with the USS Saratoga torpedoed by I-6 on January 11th 1942 and the battlecruiser Constitution hit and almost sunk by Ki-32 on April 5th of the same year. With the Axis on the loose in Europe too, and Thiaria seemingly one step from defeating Brazil, victory appeared on sight, as Morimoto's government propaganda never failed to echo. Still, the Americans had not threw in the towel yet. On April 2nd a USN carrier task force had left Alameda, and was now slipping undetected south of Koko on her way to Japan.....
In addition to them I do also come with two new chapters. I had initially planned to post at once all chapters up to the end of the war in 1946, but it is such a complex and tedious work that I've chosen to add at least those two.
15. Exchange (1943-1944)
Since his appointment as the Commander-In-Chief of Koko no Kaigun in April 1942, Admiral Karasawa had always supported the start of a technology cooperation and exchange with other Axis powers, along the lines on the Japanese cooperation with Germany, in order to allow Koko to keep up more easily with Allied wartime developements. Despite the Naval Staff appeared interested, nothing actually moved until April 1943, when the aftermath of Operation Vengeance threw in jeopardy most of the certainties that Morimoto's Government had about the war. Now funded with high priority a technology-exchange program was immediately ordered to be started between Koko and Italy or between Koko and Thiaria. After some troubled and unsatisfactory meetings with the Italian (and Maddelenian) Embassies, the choiche befell on Thiaria, whose emissaries in Koko also appeared praticulary interested in starting such program.
Multiple submarine routes were considered for the trips between Hoshiguma and Noyalo. One, the southeastern route, called for the circumnavigation of South America, averaging 9.253 nautical miles for about of 24 days of navigation at an average speed of 16 knots. Another route, the southwestern one, crossed the Sunda strait and went south of Cape Good hope totaling as much as 11.360 nautical miles, or 29 days of navigation at 16 knots. Ultimately, the choice befell on the western route despite beign the longest of the two. The southeastern route would have crossed the tightly escorted American supply convoy routes towards the Fiji and Australia, the southeastern one instead offered as much as 4.640 nautical miles inside Kokoan and Japanese controlled waters, other than another 700 miles of safety around Maddelenian coastal waters.
Thus, by July 1943 the Koko-Thiarian technology exchange program became a reality. On August 17th 1943, the submarine Ki-33 left Hoshiguma carrying a load of 610mm 'Long Lance' oxygen torpedoes, technical drawings, blueprints and a team of twelve technicians that were to be working with Thiarian engineers. After 30 days of navigation the Kokoan submarine docked at Noyalo on September 16th, then embarking blueptrints and multiple sets of five different Thiarian search and fire-control radars. Four Thiarian engineers also joined the Submarine crew for the return trip. Once lading and refueling operations had been completed, Ki-33 departed Bauaine on September 23rd, finally returning to Hoshiguma by October 22nd.
The second exchange trip departed from Thiaria on October 4th. The submarine LT Airp carried examples of the catapults equipping Thiarian Carriers, TBS (talk-between-ship) and IFF (idenfication-frend/foe) sets, plus ciphers for Thiarian Naval codes. After a refueling stop in Jakarta, Airp finally reached Hoshiguma on November 12th 1943. Once unloaded her cargo she embarked Type95 and Type97 torpedoes (submarine variants of the Long Lances) and Kokoan ciphers for Naval codes, finally departing on November 17th and returning home by the 26th of December.
For the third trip the Kokoan submarine Ki-31 left Hoshiguma on December 1st 1943, carrying a wide assortment of optic sets for rangefinders and fire-control installations. Arriving in Thiaria December 31st Ki-31 loaded another batch of Thiarian Radars, Departing on January 6th and utimately reaching home waters by February 5th 1944.
The fourth planned trip started on February 2nd. Submarine LT Deirbhirseach left Noyalo loaded with seven more sets of Thiarian radars, The Thiarian unit was expected to reach Jakarta for refueling not later than March 3rd, ultimately reaching hoshiguma by the 16th of the same month. Still, the submarine never reached Jakarta. The Recerchean Destroyer HMRS Edwards reported sinking a submerged enemy submarine with all hands some 975 miles nortwest of Observatory Island on on February 28th.
As soon as it became clear that Deirbhirseach had been lost, the Kokoans hasted the departure of the next planned trip. The submarine Ki-33 -which had already made the first trip of the exchange program- reached Hoshiguma on March 14th, loading the aircraft blueprints that were planned to be carried by Deirbhirseach on her return trip, then left port on the 19th of the same month, crossing the Indian Ocean in 29 days, docking at Noyalo on April 17th. Ki-33 then embarked five of the seven radar types that had been lost with Deirbhirseach and set to the seas four days later, expected to reach Hoshiguma around the 21st or 22nd of May. Once again, no submarine ever reached Indonesian waters (let alone Koko). Ki-33 had been depth charged by HMRS Corbett on May 8th 1944. There were no survivors.
The Thiarians attempted one last trip with the LT Taibhse on May 21st, but the submarine was sighted while surfaced by Recerchean recon planes two weeks into the voyage. Taibhse was attacked and strafed by Recerchean planes and heavily damaged. Forced to an hasty retreat the Thiarian submarine barely made into Maddelenian waters, where she was offhandedly patched up to reach the safety of Thiarian waters.
The Kokoans seriously considerated attempting another trip by mid-June, leaving the submarine Ki-45 in standbay in case the possibility materialized. However, the renewed presence of Recerchean ships in the Indian Ocean, deteriorating situation of Maddelena fist, and Thiaria itself later, meant that no other attempt was made by any of the two sides.
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...
I'd normally say that all of them would be collected on the first page of this thread too, but it appears that I've hit the maximum number of characters (60.000) for a single post and the history cannot fit anymore in a single message. I'd probably re-post the history chapters in different posts and then link them to the first page.. we'll see.