|BETA Invasion of Japan|
The Defense of Honshu
|Timeframe||Late June, 1998 – July 1999|
|Location(s) involved||Kyushu, Shikoku and southern Honshu, Japan|
|Outcome||Successful BETA invasion of the Japanese archipelago|
|Empire of Japan
|Ikaruga Takatsugu (IJ-IRG)
Takatsukasa Kyoko (IJ-IRG)
|- - -|
|Extremely high Imperial Japanese losses from attempting to repel the BETA assault.||Heavy BETA losses due to the duration of the campaign.|
Prior to the invasion, the Empire had faced enemy forces at Kitakyushu and Hokkaido, facing the Korean peninsula and Soviet Sakhalin, respectively, and was also, along with the UN Far East forces, exhausted from battle operations in Gwangju, South Korea. In the wake of the operation, a reorganization of the defense structure of the region was necessary; it was also during this reorganization that the BETA first began their invasion.
The BETA first moved to invade Japan via crossing the seabed from the Korean Peninsula to the Japanese mainland, landing at Kitakyushu, South Kyushu, in the midst of a hurricane. The advance quickly progressed eastwards, and the Imperial Army, even with the assistance of United States and United Nations Far East forces, routed on all fronts despite their best efforts.
The first combat Imperial Japan would experience against the BETA on sovereign soil would be at the island of Tsushima, located in-between the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula and Kitakyushu, Kyushu. By late June, the Imperial Navy's 6th Fleet, led by IJN Izumo, opened fire on any BETA still on the peninsula. However, poor weather conditions and a growing hurricane prevented naval reinforcements from adding their firepower to the fray. As a consequence, damage done to the BETA was minimal at best.
The BETA, making their advance through the hurricane, made landfall on the mainland in Kitakyushu on July 7th, 1998, despite the heavy deployment of Imperial Army battle tanks, rocket units, and artillery forces, as well as TSFs. They quickly split into two advancing groups, forcing the defenders to divide their attention; one advanced towards Shikoku, while the other penetrated further inland into Kyushu before moving north-east. The defense and evacuation of Kyushu was hampered by a tropical storm in the vicinity, which prevented warships from effectively utilizing their firepower and evacuation ships from docking, resulting in a weakened response to the threat and preventing reinforcements from arriving. Outclassed and outmatched, the Imperial Army suffered a major loss in the Kyushu region, and were pushed into Chugoku.
With the loss of Kyushu on the 9th of July, the BETA continued up north-east, crossing into Chugoku and pushing the defenders back further. Evacuation orders were given for all major population centers up to Kobe and Kyoto. US high command suggested pulling back their forces and leveling the cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Yamaguchi with strategic weapons to slow down the BETA advance, but these suggestions were denied by the Imperial Army.
The main BETA force moved into Himeji on the 12th of July, and together in a pincer assault with the BETA that had split into the Shikoku region, attacked the forces stationed at Kobe on the 13th of July. At this point 36 million people were dead after a week of non-stop fighting, even as the defenders held on at the abandoned city of Osaka with the aid of orbital bombardment. A second retreat proposal by US high command to evacuate to the man-made canal at Lake Biwa was rejected by the Imperial Army. Despite the fierce resistance of the Imperial Army and its allies in the days that followed, they were pushed further back towards Kyoto, the capital of Imperial Japan. The combined defence line formed again on the outskirts of the abandoned capital, awaiting the final blow to hit.
The Imperial CapitalEdit
On the 31st of July, 1998, the BETA entered the Kyoto battlezone in a massive wave that dwarfed the defending line. Advancing from the west of Maidzuru, the BETA overwhelmed all attempts at resistance, using Laser-class BETA to strip the defenders of any strategic or tactical aerial advantages they had. Breaking through the defenders at Takagamine, a force of BETA headed for the Arashiyama Supply Base, a resupply location for the allied forces defended by Imperial Royal Guard forces, most of them newly-commissioned pilots without experience.
Despite the best efforts of the Royal Guard and the Imperial Army to hold the location, the base was overrun by BETA reinforcements, and the loss of the Arashiyama Base opened a hole in the north-west of the defence line. At roughly the same time, Imperial Army forces at the Yawata Defence Line were routed by advancing BETA, opening Kyoto to invasion from the south, and forcing all defenders to fall back or risk getting surrounded.
A brief respite came in the form of artillery; the advance of the BETA brought them into the range of the battleships of the Imperial Navy's 2nd Fleet, led by the IJN Owari and stationed at Lake Biwa alongside the US Navy's 7th Fleet, led by the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. The battleships provided support fire to all forces, going as far as to shell the metropolitan areas of Kyoto, alongside US naval air support in the form of F-14D Tomcats providing bombardment support, but the combined efforts of the naval forces proved insufficient against the advancing BETA.
With the defence line collapsing in multiple places, the BETA quickly swarmed through the outskirts of Kyoto and into its urban environments, trapping TSFs fighting in the restricted quarters with numbers, the element of surprise, and the threat of laser fire for those that attempted to fly out. The city turned into a deathtrap for the defenders, forcing them to retreat only towards Lake Biwa, and the prospect of evacuation in the form of the naval fleet stationed there. Royal Guard forces were also involved in search-and-rescue of their downed pilots, marking the first deployments of the Empire's then-prototype Type-98X Takemikazuchi for morale purposes.
Colors Of DutyEdit
For the next few days the battle for Kyoto raged, with a formidable defence put up by the appointed in-charge of the Defence of Kyoto, Royal Guard commander Ikaruga Takatsugu, who was also the commander of the Royal Guard's 16th Guard Battalion. Both the Imperial Army and the Royal Guard fought fiercely for every inch of the Imperial Capital, but by the 10th of August what was left of the Japanese forces had been pushed out of Kyoto, and the area deemed lost to the BETA.
On the 14th of August, the Royal Guard's 16th Guard Battalion deployed itself at the Yasaka Shrine east of the capital, briefly supported by VF-103 Jolly Rogers of the US Navy's 7th Fleet. With the final defence at Port Maidzuru broken the night before, their mission was to intercept and destroy Laser-class BETA, so as to allow allied forces trapped behind the lines to escape.Despite having taken serious casualties in prior battles and facing impossible odds behind enemy lines, the 16th Guard Battalion managed to complete their objective, advancing through the lines to intercept Laser-class at Kamikyo, before retreating south to Yamashina, and finally arriving at the lakeside city of Otsu, where the last vestiges of Imperial forces were evacuated towards Sendai, north-eastern Japan.
This battle marked the end of the Defense of Kyoto, and the city was destroyed, along with massive numbers of BETA, by a combination of rigged ammunition in the city's stores and heavy naval bombardment from IJN forces at Lake Biwa, completing the total retreat of Imperial forces from the Chubu region.
Shortly after the loss of Kyoto, the BETA continued their north-eastern advance, taking over and constructing Hive 21 on Sado Island, the Sado Island Hive. The Imperial forces regrouped in the regions in Touhoku, forming another defense line to resist the BETA invasion. It was at this time that the US forces stationed in Japan, citing command chain issues, defied the terms of the US-Japan Mutual Assistance Treaty and rapidly withdrew their forces from the Japanese mainland.
With only the Imperial Japanese forces left to carry out defensive actions, the defenders were unable to cope, and West Kanto fell in October 1998. However, BETA actions saw the enemy shift direction to construct a Hive at Yokohama instead, forming Objective 22, the Yokohama Hive, stopping just short of Tokyo. With the scant time gained from this inexplicable action, Imperial forces redrew their defensive lines at the Tama River to continue defensive actions against the BETA, even in the face of the abnormally fast-growing Yokohama Hive.
The invasion of Japan by the BETA served as a rude awakening to the people of Japan, bringing their homeland to the forefront of the war for the first time in 25 years. Prior to that, their combat experience had been few and far between, first on the Chinese mainland where a token force was sent to assist the People's Republic of China in repelling the BETA, and later providing naval support to allied forces during the Bhopal Hive infiltration.
The hardware and soldiers of the Imperial Army, while adequate, were ill-prepared to take on a BETA force of the size it faced, with battle lines falling quickly to the relentless advance due to the lack of a solidified defence strategy and average equipment. Poor weather conditions also hampered the defenders during the opening days of the war; had the Imperial Navy not been blocked by the hurricane, they would have accomplished much more during the early days of the invasion, and might have delayed or even prevented the invasion of the mainland.
In addition, US high command, likely learning from lessons on the European continent in the 1970s and 1980s, were reluctant to fight the BETA head-on in a land war, instead favoring strategic denial actions. The most destructive actions taken by them was to abandon the Sado Island garrison despite orders from the Imperial Army, resulting in the takeover of the island by the BETA, and the reneging of the Mutual Defense Treaty. These actions severely soured relationships between the USA and Japan, and caused the general populace to distrust US forces for years to come.
The continuing defence of Honshu against the BETA would later lead to Operation Lucifer, an assault on the Yokohama Hive to prevent the BETA from gaining a proper foothold on the Japanese mainlands.