Chapter 148: Book 6 Chapter 3-1 The Great East Asia War!: The International Situation
December 15, 2020, 07:20, in the sea 120 km southeast of Jeju Island
The winter sea at the southern end of Jeju Island, where even the starlight at dawn was covered by dark clouds, gradually brightened with the sun rising from the east. As light appeared, the horrible scene of the war above the sea hidden in the dark was uncovered.
On several Chinese destroyers, which were tilted to one side and leaking pitch-black oil, were dark-red flames that didn’t get extinguished. They burned through while dancing lavishly on the damaged vessels. Near another half-sunken Chinese destroyer, bodies that looked like Chinese sailors and flotsam floated around. Excluding the already sunken ships, the number of damaged ships floating on the sea’s surface reached dozens.
Among them, the Chinese sailors who jumped into the sea near the Huhbei aircraft carrier, which was tilted 120 degrees and showed only part of the nose above the sea, all died due to the cold waters that chilled their bones. Hundreds of bodies, relying on the buoyancy of their life jackets, were floating around in a droopy state.
Meanwhile, beyond the horizon in the direction of China, the Hocula destroyer (DDG-1005) of the Maritime Task Flotilla 7 72nd Task Group was slowly sailing toward Jeju Island, producing dark-red smoke.
Forty minutes ago, the Great King Sukjong destroyer (DDG-1005), which maneuvered toward the Chinese anti-ship force at high speed and launched its last attack with 20 Red Shark A torpedo missiles, ended up sinking four Chinese landing ships. The Great King Sukjong destroyer (DDG-1005) had poured out all their means of attack.
Although they only had a 22-mm laser Vulcan beam, the last shot of the CIWS (close-in weapons system), the Great King Sukjong destroyer (DDG-1005) intercepted the counterattack of the Chinese anti-ship missiles, but missed one of the 12, and was hit. Fortunately, because the part that was hit was the starboard of the nose, only five people were injured without any casualty, and they were able to safely escape from the China sea.
* * *
December 15, 2020, 07:40, in the sea 45 km southeast of Jeju Island
When the Chinese anti-ship force turned its nose toward the Ningbo Naval Base to begin sailing back, the Naval Operations Command urgently deployed tens of naval rescue helicopters, anti-submarine helicopters, and 119 rescue helicopters to rescue the 3rd and 1st Fleets.
First, they began rescuing the sailors who had fallen into the sea and stood on the crossroad of life and death. Fortunately, because of the protective suits provided to all the sailors, the sailors were able to maintain their body temperature even in the cold seawater in winter; no sailor died from the extreme cold temperature.
Furthermore, not only naval rescue ships but also civilian ships sailed out from Jeju Island to do their best to rescue hundreds of naval sailors.
Dudududududu . . .
Several rescue helicopters hovered over the sea, and UDT personnel plunged into the sea. This was not only to rescue but also to find and collect the bodies of the dead soldiers. Because it would be difficult to collect the dead bodies in the wide and open sea over time due to the strong currents and waves, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued strong orders to collect the dead bodies immediately.
“Hey! Move quickly.”
On the battleship that was on fire and escaped sinking, which was a stroke of good luck amid misfortune after being hit by several anti-ship missiles, several naval rescuers climbed onto the deck of the battleship (FF-825) and one of the lieutenant-class officers, who seemed to be their senior, shouted.
“Group 1, move toward the bridge! Group 2, go toward the Battle Command Room, and Groups 3 and 4 to the Engine Room.”
The lieutenant-class officer instructed each of the group’s seniors where to be deployed. The rescuers, who received their instructions, each went inside to the assigned part of the ship while dousing the still-burning flames.
* * *
December 15, 2020, 08:30, B2 Bunker (Armed Forces Joint Command Control situation room) in Yongsan-ku, Seoul
More than 100 noncommissioned officers, commissioned officers, and generals that commanded it all, watched the maritime battle at the southern end of Jeju Island, which began early that morning. They were now moving more busily to understand the present status of rescue operations and damages.
“Mr. Chairman, sir, how about briefly getting some shut-eye?”
The Director of Operation Center approached the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kang Yi-sik, as he spoke in a concerned tone.
“What have I done to rest?”
“If you keep on doing this, you might faint, sir.”
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for three days since the Beijing advancement on December 12, has had only an hour or two of sleep on the sofa each day.
“The Korean soldiers who are fighting for their lives all over the battlefield would be sad to hear that. Please don’t say something like that, and would you ask the lieutenant to bring me a cup of dark black coffee?”
“Mr. Chairman, sir—”
The Chairman’s face was full of exhaustion as he sat on the chair and watched the video of the rescue operation. Chairman Kang Yi-sik, now promoted to General of the Army at the start of the Korea–China war and entrusted with full authority over military supremacy from the President with two months left of his two-year term, had the responsibility and authority on his shoulders that was very heavy and tough considering his current age of 63.
Especially whenever the sacrifice of the Korean soldiers seemed to increase, the burden of responsibility doubled and crushed the Chairman’s shoulders.
“Here it is, sir.”
The Director of Operation Center Lieutenant General Kim Yong-hyun brought the steaming cup of coffee himself and handed it to the Chairman.
“Oh no, you’re bringing it yourself, Lieutenant General Kim? I feel bad.”
“What are you saying, for something like this, Mr. Chairman?”
“Anyways, I’ll drink this well.”
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took the coffee cup with a benevolent expression and took a sip. When the bitter coffee entered his mouth and passed through his throat, he made a slight frown because of the bitter taste, but he felt his hazy mind clear up a little bit.
“It tastes good.”
“I’m glad, Mr. Chairman.”
“Anyhow, I am very worried that the 3rd Fleet is at the level of destruction.”
“Yes, Mr. Chairman. However, China has also lost its naval power to advance to the Korean Peninsula for the time being.”
“That is true. When is the exact damage situation coming out?”
“Yes, sir, it is still being collated. I will report it as soon as the damage situation in China is organized.”
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took another sip of coffee, placed it down on the table, and stood up from his chair.
“I’m not like I used to be because I haven’t exercised these days! I’m going to take a cold shower to wake myself up. I’ll see you later at the restaurant. Monitor the rescue plan situation in the meantime for me.”
“Understood, Mr. Chairman, sir.”
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff patted the shoulders of Lieutenant General Kim Yong-hyun once and moved to the entrance of the situation room. The expression on Lieutenant General Kim’s face while looking at the back of the Chairman contained tens of thousands of emotions. The Korea–China war was initially planned by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the scenario began to shift due to Japan and Russia’s sudden involvement in the war. Although they were still leading and victorious in all battles, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Command Group was fighting against the invisible pressure of the ever-increasing sacrifices of Korean soldiers and a war situation that they were not certain how it would end.
This pressure first came from the Beijing advancement operation, the final stage of the “Rise of Goguryeo” plan. Using three routes to capture Beijing, the VII Maneuver Corps and the 3rd Armored Division, the subunit of the 5th Corps, had struggled and engaged in intense battles for three days due to China’s army groups that had a thorough defense plan that was stronger than expected. It was most disappointing that Korea’s army forces were dispersed to prevent the Russian troops from advancing from all fronts of the Chinese–Russian border, and therefore did not have enough power to be deployed to the Beijing advancement.
Secondly, the pressure emanated from the small and large local wars with the Russian Army on the Chinese–Russian border front. After the Russian Army’s 57th Motorized Rifle Division was largely defeated at Shuangyashan District on December 12, the Russian Army switched to a passive setup and started a small local war. However, though it was a local war, Korea could not be unconcerned. It was because they did not know when they would switch to a major offensive and push in at once, and most importantly, they were anxious about the use of tactical nuclear bombs and nuclear strategy of the world’s number 1 nuclear weapons nation.
Thirdly, it was from the naval battle with Japan. Starting with the naval battle of Dokdo on December 12 up until the large-scale naval battle of the South Sea early this morning, the clash with the JMSDF was now inevitably transforming to a national shootout beyond a simple naval battle.
* * *
December 15, 2020, 09:30, Emergency Security situation room in Tokyo, Japan
All Japanese broadcasts focused only on the fact that the Korean Army had bombarded Tsushima earlier that morning.
The fact that the JMSDF struck first in response to China’s requests to double up during the naval battles between the Korean Navy and the Chinese Navy was left out in the media reports. The public had begun to assume a victim costume play through distorted broadcasts of Korea unilaterally attacking Japan, like in the previous Dokdo naval battle.
Due to the broadcasts that were aired throughout the morning, several protests centered on right-wing groups took place throughout Japan’s cities. The general public had begun to participate in these protests. Moreover, right-wing politicians also flooded claims to immediately punish uncivilized Korea through various media outlets.
There was a man watching these news reports with an unfathomable expression. It was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Since the Dokdo naval battle that occurred on December 12, and since militarism had expanded nationwide, Prime Minister Abe’s approval rating soared. It was an opportunity that Prime Minister Abe had longed for to expand the status of the Japanese Empire. However, Prime Minister Abe couldn’t be too happy because the JMSDF that he praised for ranking third in the world’s naval powers was defeated and pushed to the brink of annihilation twice in the recent naval battles against the Korean Navy.
Frankly, Japan had no landing fleets or marine forces to land army forces on the Korean Peninsula. It was simply a strategy to win by pressuring Korea through the naval battle and shaking the Korean economy with a sea blockade. However, Prime Minister Abe was baffled by the fact that this maritime strategy had been greatly defeated twice.
“We need to make the most out of this opportunity. Are there any good ways of doing this?”
Prime Minister Abe, after turning his gaze away from the TV, posed this question, looking at the officials sitting there. However, no official would open his mouth first. Perhaps frustrated about this, Prime Minister Abe shouted.
“Do you people even think before coming to the official residence?”
At Prime Minister Abe’s pressing words, a man began speaking carefully.
“Excuse me, Prime Minister, sir.”
“Speak, Minister Shibasaki.”
“Yes, sir, Korea has also lost more than one fleet in this naval battle. The Korean Navy’s troops capable of dealing with the JMSDF will probably assign a part of the destroyed 3rd Fleet to the 1st Fleet for military reinforcement. However, even if the power is reinforced in this current situation, it will not reach the power of the 1st Fleet as before. To this, how about the JMSDF combine the 1st Carrier Strike Group and Escort Flotilla 2, and destroy Korea’s 1st Fleet in one blow with the Escort Flotilla 1 and Escort Flotilla 4, then launch a great offensive against Busan?”
“What are you going to do with the Chungmugong Yi Sunshin destroyer that wiped out the Escort Flotilla 3 during the Dokdo naval battle?”
Prime Minister Abe asked while mentioning the ship he didn’t even want to think about.
“Prime Minister, sir! The Busan sea is very close to our mainland. Even if it’s the Chungmugong Yi Sunshin destroyer, a battle near the ground and not in the wide-open sea comes with many restrictions.”
“That seems plausible.”
Defense Minister Shibasaki was formerly a JMSDF Admiral. Accordingly, he was somewhat proficient in naval strategy.
“There is one more thing, sir.”
“What is it?”
“Yes, sir! How about importing the equipment straight from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army currently stationed in Japan through this opportunity?”
“Is that possible? Aren’t we currently in the process of importing various weapons from the United States?”
“Time is a problem now. We don’t know when the current public opinion will die down. We must receive American weapons and continue a major offensive against Korea as soon as possible.”
“Hmm, that’s a good idea. Then what American military equipment are currently stationed in Japan?”
“Yes, sir. First is the F-22.”
“Don’t we have that in Japan too?”
“Currently, the performance of Korean stealth fighters cannot be measured. When looking at the results of its combat against our Japanese F-35B during the last Dokdo naval battle, it seems to be superior. Accordingly, we need to have as many F-22 fighters as possible in Japan.”
“I understand. Please continue.”
“Yes, sir. The second is the B-1B Lancer. There are currently eight U.S. strategic bomber lancers stationed in Japan. If only about four of these are held by our Japanese Air Force, we can break through the Korean anti-air network at any time and bomb Seoul.”
“Hahaha, just listening to that makes me feel better.”
“Next is the . . .”