Cabinet Meeting September 1944
0000 September 1st 1944
Reichstag building, Berlin, Germany
"Gentlemen, I heard somewhere August had been a great month for the Wehrmacht. Now, I also remember we had a mid-monthly meeting on August 16th and things were rather bleak at that time. Julius, can you delight us with more information?" Bormann opened the meeting with a rhetorical question. Not that he didn't know what was happening in the Eastern front, but he was just too eager to listen to the news a second time, in a more formal way.
"Sure I can, Martin. First of all, let me inform that Heinz is not present because of his business with Heeresgruppe Mitte. I hear they're getting all quite excited there - and now we'll know why. Gentlemen, take a look at this map."
"This is how the Eastern front looks as of Sept. 1st, that is, today.
"In the North, Heeresgruppe alone is dealing with massive Soviet superiority. They're being kept at bay, however, by continuous delaying tactics performed by von Rundstedt. Heeresgruppe Nord is in perfect condition, and this allows von Rundstedt to launch several attacks, with Kriegsmarine's support if possible, in order to destabilize the level of organization of certain Soviet divisions, thus preventing any successful breakthrough from the Soviets. This is how we prevent an otherwise certain breakthrough."
"Here lies the interesting news, gentlemen. Now, many of you know Rommel as a riskful gambler, one that isn't patient towards his subordinates, one that likes to glorify himself, a bit bombastic perhaps. Some of you appraise him for his military skills, some of you despise him for his behaviour, and some inadequacies of his tactics. But at least, let's face it, he is about to save our Fatherland from disgrace. Not only did the daring attack on Lvov, and later Stanislawow and Beltsy show that, behind those massive build-ups of Soviet divisions there's just rubble and oxygen; it did also show how the Wehrmacht is still capable of encircling one hundred divisions. Stryj is being attacked from nearly every direction - please ignore the fact that some divisions are of different colour - our allies seem to like flip-flopping - and Model, now commanding the attack, estimates that it will take him just two more days to finish the defenders off."
"Julius, we're all excited by the news, but I must ask you... is there an even remote chance of the Soviets breaking the encirclement?"
"Not even remote, Martin. Even if the Soviets attack Lvov or Stanislawow, our divisions will defend long enough for the trap in Stryj to close and the defenders to be evicted. As I already said, beyond Lvov there's little to none enemy presence: we estimate a total of nineteen divisions that could menace our encirclement, and we have nine divisions for each province in Lvov, Stanislawow and twelve in Beltsy, some of which are occopying Chisinev to encircle a further twenty divisions."
"That's just brilliant. If we really can capture one hundred and twenty divisions, I... ah, I'd really like to see what would be the reaction of Hitler!"
"He would never admit that he was terribly wrong when coming to military matters."
"Oh, that's for sure."
"Now, there's some slightly worrying news. That's Italy."
"The Allies have tried to attack our line, still to no avail. They did succeed however in weakening our troops, and I fear their next attacks will force us to withdraw. Fortunately, three divisions are about to reinforce our defense, but that will not be enough in the long run. I suggest we re-redeploy a substantial force in Italy to deal with the Allies, so that we can have even more troops ready for next Summer."
"Do you suggest that we need to redeploy some of the divisions that are currently under redeployment in Poland?"
"That is, Martin. We're about to capture more than one hundred divisions, and I cannot see how can Rommel fail now, and we managed to do this brilliant operation with the current number of divisions, that is minus those under redeployment. Not even the Soviet Union can produce one hundred divisions in less than one year, and if they try to do so, they would probably exhaust their manpower. I say we redeploy twenty of those divisions to Italy. The other twenty will stay in Poland just to be sure that this Winter will be a merry Winter for everyone. We'll all benefit from a successfull campaign in Italy, as it will free even more divisions for Russia for next year."
"All in all, you're right. We'll consider that when Rommel brings me one million Soviet prisoners - as soon as possible, I hope. Joachim, the current state of our Ally...?"
"Japan is faring quite well."
"The British had made virtually no progress in Burma and Siam; China does worry me a bit however, as in the long run the Japanese will probably get crushed by a pincer movement: the British from the West, the Chinese from the East. They could score better, but it could've been much worse afterall."
"They still do not realize invading isles here and there is a dangerous affair in 1944. I don't know what the heck is that Japanese division still doing in Australia, but at least the Americans seem to be pretty relaxed too. The IJN has not suffered any loss whatsoever."
"Does that mean they have no ships left, Joachim?"
"No they do fortunately, not in good shape but they still have a decent fleet. It's just that, strangely enough, there had been little activity in the Pacific."
"That's good to hear. As the British would say, 'no news, good news'."
"You said that twice in the last two months, Martin."
"Oh, did I? Well that's always true. Albert, production please."
"Here we are."
"With more than eighty divisions fighting in Stryj, and Heeresgruppe Nord in full supply, our estimates about reinforcements are totally wrong. It shows an unusual low quantity, but that is just sufficient for the Luftwaffe and for those troops who are not in combat. Once Rommel is finished with counting how many Soviets he's about to capture, Heeresgruppe Mitte and Sud will stop fighting and will need a lot of reinforcements and manpower. In the meantime, while we cannot reinforce such troops, we're allocating such production to combat dissent and to raise our Supplies stockpiles. Not only we want to combat dissent: we also want to accumulate a decently-sized amount of funds for Ernst to increase his agents among the ranks of our enemies, and for Joachim to arrange many more deals in the future. Talking about deals, our stockpiles are fairly high, and a surplus is evident for Energy and Metal. We have a slight deficit for Rare Materials, but nothing to worry about. Oil is what we need at present and I'm sure Joachim will soon buy up to the last oil barrel. Manpower is fairly good and still not critical."
"Our lack of funding means that we cannot report accurate estimates about our enemies' ranking. I'll show what I have."
"To understand how much our agents' network is in shambles, just think that our spies believe that the Soviet Union wants to focus on a stronger navy. Just like penguins at the Caribbeans. Anyways, such spies report two hundred sixty-four infantry divisions. We know that the number is much higher but let's assume it's right. The destruction of more than one hundred divisions would mean cutting almost in half their military strenght.
Their airforce is in reality much larger than eighteen fighter squadrons. Twice as bigger, to say the least."
"Again, the estimates are a roughly indication of our enemies' strenght. Seventy-nine infantry divisions we guess they are almost all busy against the Japanese."
"Same story for the Americans. Their industry is rather big, so is their navy, but with them out of the beaches of France, we really have little to worry about them at present. I'm finished""It's the first time I am eager to conclude a meeting. I want to hear news from Stryj as soon as possible. Keep me informed, gentlemen" Bormann ended the meeting.