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Thread: Weltkriegschaft

  1. #1881
    Quote Originally Posted by Jekolmy View Post
    Hi I was re-reading your awesome AAR when I noticed something a little off in Chapter III: Part XXVII. Are the paratroopers really able to see destroyers 30,000 meters (30 kilometers) away at night even with the star flares and end up receiving accurate fire from 8 kilometers out? I can see 8 kilometers firing range actually... but being able to see them 30 kilometers away is a touch long maybe.
    Hi Jekolmy. Thanks for your comment!

    Based on the elevation of the Western Heights (the rooftop observers being up about 120 meters), I think they would definitely be able to discern the mere presence of a ship at that distance under the right conditions. They are certainly not able to visually identify them as destroyers -- enemy or otherwise -- at that distance, but rather infer their identity because no friendly ships are reported to be near that area. The relevant passage describes what Bräuer sees, even through his binoculars, as a "tiny black cinder on the horizon." The more difficult part, of course, would be estimating the range. Without rangefinding equipment, the best the assault pioneers could do was make very rough guesses based on horizon distance, apparent size, and speed.

    Ultimately, though, you are correct that this would be toward the uppermost bounds of visibility. I therefore present you with the Scharfschützenabzeichen: (&) for wear in your signature, if you wish. Keep it up!

    Next update 80% complete!
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
    Weekly AAR Showcase: 12/10/08, WritAAR of the Week: 05/08/08,
    Canonized on 08-06-08

  2. #1882


    Just a quick announcement, for those of you that haven't heard. Paradox's latest game, Sengoku, comes out September 13! I wrote the manual (one of the things which has, regrettably, slowed the pace of this AAR). Think of it as a Crusader Kings-style game set in feudal Japan. Samurai, ninjas, and much skulduggery awaits!

    Be sure to check it out here if you haven't already.

    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
    Weekly AAR Showcase: 12/10/08, WritAAR of the Week: 05/08/08,
    Canonized on 08-06-08

  3. #1883
    Wow, nicely done. Hopefully that manual will take you places with Paradox.
    They say your life flashes before you die. It's true.

    It's called 'living.'

  4. #1884
    Hate to double post, but what's going on with this?
    They say your life flashes before you die. It's true.

    It's called 'living.'

  5. #1885

    Chapter III: Part XLVII

    Chapter III: The Lion’s Den

    Part XLVII


    December 6, 1936

    By noon on the sixth, the Führer’s vaunted stamina had cracked, and he was prostrate in the Berghof’s master bedroom, taking neither food nor drink. Cristoph Scholl and Fräulein Wolf were stationed outside the door, fielding communiqués from his lieutenants, and trying to cull the most important of these for his immediate attention upon waking. The past day had been a flurry of alternating good and bad news from the invasion area, and it was probably the rollicking emotional highs and lows that had done Hitler in more than any physical exhaustion.

    First, the previous morning, had come word that the British forces surrounding the Dover beachhead had launched an all-out attack against the city. HKK had diverted all available aircraft to supporting the defense, but each new report into the afternoon only brought word of more ground lost.

    Including forces that had been brought up from the west since the first of December, Abwehr estimates now placed over two full divisions in Kent, arrayed in an iron ring around the battered Channel port. The whole of the concentrated armor mass in the country was also nearby at Canterbury, poised to counter any breakout from the beaches.

    As the ring closed around the Germans who had made it ashore, they found themselves backed up into the city itself as enemy infantry doggedly advanced under the cover of artillery. Streets wracked by fighting during Sturmabteilung Bräuer’s glider assault again ran with blood, but the British learned once more the efficacy of their own landward defenses. As long as the invaders occupied Dover Castle and the two fortresses on the Western Heights, they controlled the approaches to the docks and shielded the southern part of the city from attack.

    With this realization, the last vestiges of sentimentality were wiped away, and the British turned their massed artillery ruthlessly on the Castle. By midmorning, the Key to England was unrecognizable, its Norman silhouette thrown down into an uneven tumble of smoldering rubble. Only the eastern corner of the keep still stood undamaged; the rest of the high rectilinear towers were holed and partially collapsed, billowing smoke from near the foundations, where a store of mortar rounds had cooked off, fatally weakening the ancient structure.

    The curtain walls still stood, though, and even as more high explosive rounds rained down into the baileys, the enemy infantry marshaled for a direct assault on the castle. Simultaneously, the bulk of the armored reserve arrived from Canterbury, having traveled overland since the dark hours of the morning. Just before noon, the British threw their full weight against the eastern side of Dover.

    It was several hours before von Rundstedt’s headquarters had a coherent report to forward to Hitler at the Berghof. In the meanwhile, the Führer had so badgered his staff for updates that -- in the absence of any real information -- they were left to feeding his fevered mind scraps of hearsay from the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine radio frequencies. When Operation Löwengrube’s commander finally telephoned late in the afternoon, the Führer was distracted and snappish. As soon as the call was finished, von Rundstedt called back, and recited the principal facts to Scholl, for reading to the Warlord when he was in a mood to appreciate them.

    The situation, the Senior General had said, was thus: the British had launched a powerful sweep into the city from the east, simultaneous with a diversionary attack on the Western Heights. Massed infantry had successfully stormed the Castle, from which they covered the armored advance with mortars and machine gun fire onto the docks. The doughty Vickerses and Mark IIs had rumbled all the way along the wrecked waterfront, driving the defenders back toward the Drop Redoubt. Even the best efforts of the Calais batteries failed to drive them back.

    By 1400, though, the diverted Luftwaffe units had had time to refuel, rearm -- and in a few cases, rebase -- and now began to appear over Dover in force. With the last of ADGB’s useful strength expended, the Heinkels and Arados and Dorniers were free to concentrate their energies against ground units in and around the city. Gradually, the weight of the German sorties began to tell. Although the bombs only accounted for a handful of enemy tanks, the sustained air attack at least succeeded in blunting the British advance.

    Displaying an improvisational streak ill-suited to his temperament, von Rundstedt had scraped together an immediate counterattack. As the brigade’s worth of surviving Germans charged down from the Heights into the Britishers’ flanks, a flotilla of torpedo boats discharged an auxiliary battalion of infantry outside Deal, which the morning’s reconnaissance pilots said had been denuded of defenders to supply the thrust toward Dover.

    Within an hour, mangled German units were retiring back to the Drop Redoubt, and the battalion landed at Deal had been surprised by British armor and forced to surrender. von Rundstedt told the story without apology but without shrinking or excuse, either. To the old Prussian, recriminations were an intolerable luxury at a time like this. The port was effectively lost, but the beachhead was not destroyed: “Tell the Führer this.” And that was that.

    After a late supper, Hitler was feeling more reasonable, and Scholl went over the call from von Rundstedt in detail. As they were finishing, one of the HKK staffers at Ostend called to report that the nightly battle in the Channel was commencing. Like the previous night, Destroyer Command announced the presence of three County-class cruisers within the invasion cordon. On the fourth, that estimate had been one too high. Tonight, it was one too low. The Devonshire and London were now joined by Dorsetshire and Cornwall, and ranged as far as Dungeness with a covey of destroyers, slipping through several submarine ambushes, and turning toward Boulogne around 0430. After bombarding the port for almost an hour, they broke off to the east. Unconfirmed reports suggested that one or more British ships hit mines on the way out of the cordon, but the first seaplanes to take off in the morning found no sign of a sinking. At Boulogne, meanwhile, and at headquarters in Calais, the habormasters were counting the cost. Ten invasion ships had been sunk during the night, as well as eight picket boats and auxiliaries. The grim news in at last, the Führer retired to his bedchamber, not to be disturbed under any circumstances.

    And so, Scholl sat posted outside, juggling the duties of adjutant, secretary and gatekeeper. Oberst Lundberg from HKK stood opposite Scholl’s desk, stubbornly insisting that Bayerlein had instructed him to personally deliver a sheaf of papers -- which he hefted in both hands as if seeing the thickness might convince Scholl to throw open the doors and bid him shake Hitler awake.

    “Herr Oberst, I really must insist that --”

    One of the telephones on the desk rang, and Fräulein Wolf leaned over to read the label. “OKM Wilhelmshaven.”

    “Thank you -- Fräulein Scholl, find Standartenführer Junge if you please and see if he can help the Colonel.”

    “Yes, surely.”

    Another ring. “Führer direct, Scholl speaking.”

    “This is Kapitän Bühler,” bawled a panicky voice. “Heavy enemy units are bombarding the port.”

    “Which port?”

    “Yes.”

    “I’m sorry -- which port is being bombarded?”

    “They’re here.”

    “Where?”

    “Offshore.”

    “One moment, Kapitän. Are you in Wilhelmshaven?”

    “Yes.”

    “Enemy naval units are bombarding Wilhelmshaven.”

    “Yes.”

    “The naval base.”

    “Yes, the naval base.”

    Scholl covered the receiver, and snapped his fingers with the other hand. “Fräulein Wolf! Get Bayerlein on the phone.” She came racing over. “Are you there, Kapitän?”

    “Yes.”

    “I’m going to see what we can do. Have you reported the situation to HKK Berlin? ... I repeat: Have you reported the situation to Berlin? Kapitän?” But the line was dead.

    The Bavarian afternoon wore on. As it so often had for the past week, information reached the Berghof in dribs and drabs, and still the Führer slept.

    The British heavy units, it appeared, had finally appeared out of the North Sea murk intent on putting their tremendous firepower to use. From Berlin, the OKM Staff-HKK opined that the enemy may have erroneously believed that Admiral Marschall’s pocket battleships had returned to Wilhelmshaven rather than Kiel. At any rate, the naval facilities there were seriously damaged already, and it might be six or eight hours before enough aircraft could be scraped together to drive them off.

    Supper came and went without the Führer’s rising, and around nine thirty, HKK called to report that bad weather and darkness had put off the promised sorties until morning. Scholl knew that U-boats were converging on the embattled port at flank speed, but in the black North Sea gloom, their odds of accounting for anything were slim. By now, the British units had already disengaged and were moving up the Frisian coast.

    Korvettenkapitän Schuyler, one of Hitler’s naval adjutants arrived by train shortly after midnight with the latest reports on the repairs of the Karlsruhe, which had been knocked out of action a week before when the aptly-named destroyer Firedrake had savaged her in a close-range action off Dover. Scholl sent Schuyler to the kitchens to be served hot coffee while he waited.

    As he sat in the hall drowsily reading Schuyler’s papers, the door behind him groaned open. Scholl froze. He could feel the presence behind him, watching silently.

    “I am refreshed,” Hitler said hoarsely.

    Scholl got up and raced to his side. There were dark bags under his eyes, and he was wrapped in a shabby sort of robe, but his black eyes sparkled again.

    “Mein Führer, perhaps you’d like to sit down. I will apprise you of recent events -- and Kapitän Schuyler has arrived by train from Amsterdam.”

    They walked to the study, where the Warlord settled into one of the chintzes. Standartenführer Junge led in Schuyler and one of Bayerlein’s staffers who had come on the same train.

    Scholl braced for the reaction. “The British battleships heavily shelled Wilhelmshaven today. They have broken off, but are still at large. The Luftwaffe will try to make contact again in the morning. I understand that this is a difficult turn of events.”

    But Hitler was already shaking his head. “What of the Channel Battle? What has happened?”

    “Losses again, apparently, but they believe lighter than last night so far.”

    “What is the latest from HKK?”

    “von Küchler cabled not half an hour ago. He proposes considering withdrawing some forces from the Harwich beachhead to support a coordinated attempt at a breakout from Dover. The forces still waiting and embarked, he says, may not be enough to --”

    “I’m not doing that.” The Führer gestured for a pencil and paper and began to sketch. “This is the invasion area, yes? von Küchler sees defeat, but I see opportunity. The British have clearly devoted the great mass of their forces to sealing off the Dover beachhead. Rather than trying to defeat them measure-for-measure, we should devote everything possible to situation in the north.”

    Kapitän Schuyler had let out a little grunt of objection, scarcely intending that the Warlord hear him. He flushed.

    “Yes?”

    “Well, Mein Führer, as we have discussed, the English guard Dover more jealously with good reason. It is much easier for us to keep open the sea corridor at the Pas-de-Calais. The run from the Belgian and Dutch ports to Harwich is much more vulnerable, and could collapse altogether in a matter of days.”

    “Then it will be all the less expected if that is the course we take.” Hitler jabbed at the sketched map again with his finger. “Dover is to get nothing further. Only enough to prevent total collapse, but -- well -- if they press it, we must even contemplate an evacuation of the entire beachhead. I want all the follow-on invasion waves slated for Dover re-routed to reinforce Harwich. The defenders in East Anglia are spread much more thinly, and on unfavorable ground. If they try to bring troops up from around Dover, the Luftwaffe can bomb them on the roads.”

    The grandfather clock ticked against the wall. Scholl’s pen scratched against the transcription pad.

    “Well? Get Rundstedt on the phone.”
    Last edited by TheHyphenated1; 09-12-2012 at 07:31.
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
    Weekly AAR Showcase: 12/10/08, WritAAR of the Week: 05/08/08,
    Canonized on 08-06-08

  6. #1886
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Clearly Hitler is not going to cut losses. Interesting.
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
    Palo Dixit: posible Anticristo, vacalentacialanonanista, Culé y Salido que provoca manifas por donde pasa.
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    AARs en curso o acabados -Ongoing and finished HoI2 AARs-
    WritAAR of the Week:16-03-07/5-04-09/13-09-09/19-09-10/28-10-11 - Fan of the week 25-03-07/29-10-07/06-04-08/29-12-08/13-09-09 - Canonized 02-12-07 - Best Character WritAAR of the Week:03-04-09- Showcased 01-05-2010/10-12-2010 - Mi blog: Confesiones clandestinas: Ebola [Actualizado 16/10/2014]

  7. #1887
    Hello All (I hope the plural is even still applicable after my long dormancy!),

    Just a quick status update on the AAR. As has been all too apparent, my ability to write this has been quite shaky these past months. Real life demands, including a string of other unavoidable writing tasks, have taken up almost all of the time I might have devoting to continuing the story of Weltkriegschaft.

    I have a book manuscript due on February 1, so not much will happen until then. If I'm lucky, I might be able to release an update between now and then, based on material already written, but that's nothing to count on. After that, I have several lengthy school-related papers that take me to mid-May. Hopefully I can release 2-3 updates during that time. From mid-May onward, I'll be relatively free for the summer. That's the time to look forward to.

    Sorry not to have anything better to report - but I remain grateful for the patience and interest y'all have shown so far.

    ~TH1
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
    Weekly AAR Showcase: 12/10/08, WritAAR of the Week: 05/08/08,
    Canonized on 08-06-08

  8. #1888
    That's not really the kind of update I would have liked to read after working my way through all of this during the last few weeks. Nevertheless, I must say I've immensely enjoyed reading Weltkriegschaft, it's definitely one of the most engaging AARs I've read on these forums, and I hope to see more at some point.

    Also, it makes me sad to see that Hitler wants to give up everything Sturmabteilung Bräuer fought so hard to capture and hold. I don't really think the bridgehead in Dover can hold on for long if it doesn't get its due stream of reinforcements. On the other hand, this just might be the best choice for the invasion as a whole. (Provided, of course, that Adolf is right about strategical considerations – something he isn't usually given much credit for )
    The hunter who chases two rabbits misses them both. If you must fail, fail splendidly. Hunt two tigers.
    -Laibach

  9. #1889
    Just quickly checking in on this, Weltkriegschaft's fourth birthday, that I'm at work on the next update but still mired in other commitments. Thanks to all for your patience and readership over these past years!
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
    Weekly AAR Showcase: 12/10/08, WritAAR of the Week: 05/08/08,
    Canonized on 08-06-08

  10. #1890

    Chapter III: Part XLVIII

    Chapter III: The Lion’s Den

    Part XLVIII


    December 8, 1936

    A pure white blanket of snow had fallen over most of southern England on the night of the seventh, and the countryside of Hertfordshire was dazzlingly bright. Oberst Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin swept the powder from the top of a low fieldstone wall, and rested his elbows. Flexing leather-gloved hands for warmth, he raised his Zeiss glasses to his eyes and surveyed the open country beyond. His body heat had fogged the lenses, so he wiped them with a handkerchief and peered out onto the landscape once more.

    “Rolf,” he said. “I daresay our opponents are just as aware as we of the strategic significance of that little strip of macadam.”

    Major Lippert came up from behind. “MacAdam?” his protégé said, unfamiliar with the English term. “Who --”

    “Poured asphalt. The A10 is the femoral artery that runs all the way up to York in the far north. This was the Romans’ Ermine Street. Then, this was the aorta of the whole island. This. This, Rolf.” von Senger trailed off. It was both too cold and too early for history lessons.

    “What do you anticipate?”

    The Oberst raised his field glasses again. “A fight. Very probably a fight.”

    After taking Colchester on the evening of December fifth, von Senger had allowed his men to rest only as long as it took to refuel, rearm, and repair his panzers. As soon as more infantry could be brought across the Colne to secure the city, the tankers were to set out again. But their destination had yet to be fixed.

    Just 6 kilometers to the west of Colchester lay Marks Tey, a vital junction between two of the most important highways in the East. If the panzers bore left, they would follow the A12 southwest to Chelmsford, the last important city before London. If they bore right, they would take the A120 -- the old Roman Stane Street -- due west, and into the open country north of the capital.

    From Berlin, HKK was urging an immediate thrust toward Chelmsford. The German grip on the Channel was slipping every night, and the high command wanted to put pressure on London immediately. Yet von Senger had serious reservations. Luftwaffe pilots could see civilians streaming out of Chelmsford en masse. That probably meant that the British intended to make a fight of the city. It was the most logical choice, after all. The field fortifications that had been hastily constructed over the past months were strong at Chelmsford, and there was not an equally defensible position until the dome of St. Paul’s was in sight.

    There was good reason to believe the city was well-defended, too. Chelmsford housed a full brigade, and the garrison had swollen with field reserves, auxiliaries, and forces that had retreated in the face of the initial landings. As a result of German air superiority, the strategic reserves in the ring around London seemed to have been largely paralyzed. The railroad system in that part of England was nonfunctional, and the roads, where they were still passable, could only be safely used at night. For this reason it seemed to be in British commanders’ best interest to use their forces more or less in place, rather than shunt them around in search of the invaders.

    This appeared to von Senger an excellent opportunity. Since the overall goal was to pressure London, he could drive westward and cut the A10, nearly sixty kilometers distant, without having to commit to a set-piece battle on the enemy’s terms. The fortified stop lines became lighter and shallower as they turned northward, and if von Senger could punch through, he might be able to recreate Hausser’s legendary dash into Paris at the start of the war.

    Yet his superiors could not be convinced of this. Chelmsford was a closer objective, lying just over thirty kilometers down the A12, and the men in Berlin -- few of whom had spent time on this ground before the war -- saw it as no more than a little red circle on a map, that could be easily overcome. It wasn’t that von Senger doubted that he could take Chelmsford. But it would be a nasty fight, and even if his men managed by their striving and bleeding and dying to lay the capital bare, tantalizingly close, they would no longer have the force to take it.

    So as panzerworts bathed themselves in sweat getting his armor back in fighting condition, von Senger had boarded a Fieseler Stoch observation plane and taken off from a field outside Colchester. After crossing a strangely dark and quiescent Channel, he had landed outside Calais to plead his case to von Rundstedt personally. The Senior General had congratulated von Senger on his efforts at Colchester, and listened carefully to what he had to say. He raised concerns that a thrust as deep as the one von Senger was proposing might risk counterattack and encirclement. But the Oberst had expressed confidence that the British units in Essex were no longer mobile enough to react in time. von Rundstedt seemed largely satisfied. They had telephoned HKK together, and settled on a new course of action: elements of Generalmajor Raschick’s 12. Infanterie would feint down the A12 toward Chelmsford, and von Senger would be free to drive westward. The former Rhodes Scholar had landed back at Colchester, without delay, and set his panzers going again in the still-dark morning.

    They had found Marks Tey lightly defended, and soon, the long German column was barreling westward along the A120. Intelligence had warned of partisan activity along that road, but von Senger had placed greater faith in his men’s firepower than in their ability to cross broken country in the dark. That was a good way to get his panzers scattered like sheep, he knew, and the ground was soft and soggy.

    Where the highway ran through the town of Braintree, they found a battalion of Royal Norfolks dug in with field artillery. Several Panzer Is and IIs were destroyed, and the armor had pulled up to let the infantry assault the town. The battle had dragged on all day and into the night. Finally, surrounded and battered by the full weight of 6. Panzer-Regiment, the remaining defenders had surrendered just before midnight. The delay was costly, but could not be helped.

    The panzers weren’t able to continue to their westward push until after first light on the seventh, but they made up lost time. The A120 was clear, and the villages they rumbled through offered no resistance. By nightfall, they had rolled into Bishop’s Stortford -- within smelling distance of the A10 -- only to find the River Stort swollen in its brick-lined channel, and all the bridges blown. As the engineers worked through the night to enable a crossing, the first flurries of snow began to fall.

    “Yes, Rolf. This will surely be a fight.” Now, they had crossed the Stort, and overlooked the objective from a captured farm. To the left rose the frosted eaves and chimneys of Braughing village, almost a gingerbread idyll. Yet about a hundred enemy soldiers waited within, and perhaps twice that number in the village of Standon a couple kilometers to the south -- at this very minute watching through binoculars as the distant panzers coughed brown exhaust into the morning air.


    German Panzer I, Hertfordshire. December 7, 1936


    “Rolf, look ahead.” He pointed. A pair of dark shapes overlooked the A10 from a wooded knoll on the far side of the roadway. “First, those are most surely not piles of cordwood. They are machine gun nests.”

    “Ah.”

    “And secondly, do you see the way those trees are missing half their snow? Broken branches low to the ground?”

    “Yes.”

    “That is where they took their armor off the road, or I am no panzerman. It is almost certain to be gathered on the other side of the woods. If I were them, in nothing less than company strength. More, obviously, if they have it available.”

    “Naturally.”

    “And according to the map the rail line crosses under the highway right here. They’ll surely have infantry waiting down the embankment. And -- aha! -- right in front. I scarcely even saw it. A stand of old trees has been felled right between the roadway and us, to give them a better field of fire.”

    “So what do you propose?”

    “We cannot flank them readily, because of the men in those two villages to the south. And there’s another village to the north that seems to be defended as well. If we attack the villages on their own, the armor can come up in support, where our guns shan’t be of any use.” He lowered the binoculars and stood straight. “So we must draw the armor out from its den, and knock it out with our own guns. The engineers are cutting a way for our prime movers to get the 10.5s into proper position, and they shall be unlimbered by 1000 or 1100. As you know, I don’t trust even our Panzer IIs against their tanks head-on, so we shall hold our own maneuver force in reserve, and when their armor is subdued, I want to bring ours down to secure the roadway in both directions. By nightfall, I wish to have driven on to Hitchin, where we shall sever the A1, and a major rail line leading north out of London. We can set up defensive lines there until tomorrow.”

    And so, as Major Rolf Lippert returned to his battalion, von Senger gathered his staffers and returned to the nearby farmhouse for breakfast. Hobb, the farmer, was hostile, but the German Oberst knew he could expect little else. von Senger ordered him unbound, and the poor man sat in sullen silence as foreign officers heaped foreign jam and foreign sausage on his table and gobbled it off his humble china.

    At 1050, a junior officer entered and saluted. “Herr Oberst, Hauptmann Schrell reports the 10.5 cm artillery in place and ready to commence bombardment.”

    von Senger stood. “Thank you, Leutnant. Gentlemen?.” In English: “Mister Hobb, by your leave.”

    Back at the fieldstone wall where he’d stood earlier, von Senger telephoned his orders. Hearty booms sounded from behind him, echoing thunderously around the silent, rolling countryside. Trees cracked in the woods beyond the highway. Flashes of fire. Puffs of black smoke.

    In time, though, von Senger no longer even flinched at the sound. It was high morning, and the guns were getting too hot, but still no sign of the enemy tanks. He could see the skeptical looks on his staffers’ faces. But the tanks were there. The enemy commander was simply cleverer or more disciplined than he had bargained for.

    “Send the Schützen into Standon,” he ordered. Through the early afternoon, the German infantry assaulted the village, until the companies defending it pulled back across the A10 highway just after 1330. The British armor had not counterattacked.

    von Senger was not a man given to cursing, but his officers were doing it for him.

    He sent men on horseback over the highway in search of the enemy. They did not return.

    Soon, the short daylight would be spent. von Senger radioed Generalleutnant von Weichs radioed at III Armeekorps headquarters in Harwich, requesting reconnaissance by air, but none was available.

    It was an abominable way of thinking, but his infantry were more expendable than the panzers right now. He ordered the Schützen to press their assault across the A10 in force, and then sweep up north in search of the British armor.

    It had warmed above freezing, and trickles of water were beginning to run over the fieldstones. At last, the crackle of small arms drifted out over the woods. A small flock of birds fluttered into the pale blue sky. For ten minutes, the fighting carried on out of sight.

    “Oberst, look!”

    von Senger trained his binoculars where the adjutant was pointing. The unmistakable silhouette of a British Mark II tank was rounding the edge of the woods, and coming down onto the A10. Then another. And more behind.

    An officer was shouting ranging into a telephone. The 10.5 cm artillery boomed, followed by the lighter cracks of the 3.7 cm PaKs. Dark spouts of earth tore up from the snow-covered ground.

    The underside of the first enemy tank appeared as it climbed off the roadway and toward the German positions. As it leveled, the QF 2-pounder in its turret spat fire and a ring of smoke that curled into the air. The round whined over Hobb’s farmhouse and exploded somewhere in the rear. Even at 1,000 meters, von Senger could make out the kettle-shaped helmets poking up over the embankment and joining the tanks. The Schützen dug in ahead of him opened up with their MG34s.

    The tanks were all shooting now, and some of the ordnance was landing close to von Senger and his wall, sending fine sheets of snow down around them. “Herr Oberst, please, you should retire behind better better cover.”

    “No, Oberleutnant. Here is fine, thank you.”

    The battle was progressing agreeably. One of the tanks had been hit broadside, and black smoke boiled from within. A platoon of Schützen was advancing behind the felled trees, trying to engage the British infantry from the flank.

    But three of the Vickerses kept chugging over the snowy ground straight towards the farmhouse. The heavy guns couldn’t hit them, and the PaK rounds were hitting too obliquely. The tanks’ machine guns flickered, kicking up snow around the German MG34 teams. von Senger saw several of his men fall.

    Stone splinters burst to his right as a 2-pounder gouged into the top of the fieldstone wall. von Senger felt his feet leave the ground as staffers grabbed him under the arms and manhandled him into his command car.

    As they drove away from the fighting, he raised Major Lippert on the radio, and ordered his panzers into the fray.

    Fifteen minutes, the driver kept him parked outside a little ivy-fringed inn a few hundred meters back from the farmhouse. At last, word came over the radio that the tanks had been stopped. Lippert met him at the inn, and got into his car to tour the results.

    Along the wide snow-covered fields between the farmhouse and the A10, von Senger counted five stricken tanks. One of them was one of his Panzer IIs. There were casualties on the ground here and there, but the enemy’s numbers had not been as great as it had first appeared. When they reached the highway itself, he saw two more disabled Mark IIs. von Senger got out of the car, and Lippert followed him, staff in tow.

    “They’re safe now, Herr Oberst. All the ammunition has cooked off already.”

    von Senger crossed the tracks and walked onto the roadway. The nearest Mark II was a mangled hulk, its turret torn wide open and billowing gasoline-fed flames. Droplets of burning fuel and molten rubber spattered out of the cracks where the hull plates had separated. Even the asphalt had melted in several places, pooling into irregular shapes around the tracks. The heat was painful, even from a distance.

    A twisted piece of metal was lying on the ground in front of him, smoking faintly. von Senger bent down and nudged it with his riding crop. “Excellent shooting, Major Lippert. Your people surely did the trick on these poor fellows.”

    “Thank you. We got three more of their tanks on the other side of the forest, in return for three of our own -- but two of ours are reparable. The Schützen lost over thirty men at last count, but they fought bravely.”

    von Senger said a silent prayer, then called von Weichs at Harwich to relay the news: “Herr General, 6. Panzer has successfully cut the A10 at Standon village. We intend to secure our grip on the road, and to take due measures to render it impassible to the enemy. We shall proceed in force westward with the A1 as our next objective.”

    “Outstanding, Oberst. Your men have my congratulations.” Something about his tone, even over the frail band of the radiotelephone, told von Senger it was the best news he’d had all day.
    Last edited by TheHyphenated1; 07-08-2013 at 01:08.
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
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    Canonized on 08-06-08

  11. #1891
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Exxcellent storytelling as usual, but, a tthis pace, this AAR is going to last as much as the real war. Even El Pip is faster... or not.
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
    Palo Dixit: posible Anticristo, vacalentacialanonanista, Culé y Salido que provoca manifas por donde pasa.
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  12. #1892
    Thanks for sticking around, Kurt_Steiner! At this pace, it will actually -- you know what? Let's just not go there! The pace will pick up eventually!
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

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    Canonized on 08-06-08

  13. #1893
    And an interesting book on the real history that y'all might find worth checking out:

    http://www.amazon.com/Operation-Sea-...9107469&sr=8-1

    Next update should be late this month, or early next.
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
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    Canonized on 08-06-08

  14. #1894

    Chapter III: Part XLIX

    Chapter III: The Lion’s Den

    Part XLIX


    December 9, 1936

    Cold Baltic rain came down in sheets over the tarmac as Walter Friedmann crammed into the back of the Mercedes-Benz 380 sent by the German embassy in Stockholm. Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath closed his sopping umbrella, and came in the other side. In the passenger seat, the new ambassador turned, all mustache and horn-rim glasses under a dark fedora. “Baron. Herr Friedmann.”

    von Neurath set a dripping briefcase down at his ankles. “Herr von Renthe-Fink. It is well that you are on time. I have a chill, and would not wish to be out long in this weather.”

    “Your flight was in order, though?”

    “Yes, no trouble.”

    The ambassador turned to the staffer behind the wheel and snapped his fingers. “What are you waiting for? Bonde Palace. And get the wipers started ... My apologies.”

    The Foreign Minister only grunted. The car started off down the runway, and made a wide turn leading out of the aerodrome.

    “What is the situation, then, Herr Minister?”

    “His Royal Highness will mediate something very close to a formal peace offer. Direct from the Führer. Probably Hoare who’ll be there.”

    Friedmann recalled with satisfaction that moment -- was it only April? -- when he had been on his own in Bonde Palace. It had been the first strokes of the war, and things had been going very much in favor of the French. Samuel Hoare had been there -- that jackal who had won £300 from him at an airshow bet in 1926. In the time since, Hoare had been Foreign Secretary, and then fallen from power. But seeing his face that day had brought back the memory almost instantly. Friedmann had been less than a minute into abasing himself before the proper little man, before word came that General Hausser and his army had stolen into Paris against all odds. Friedmann wondered whether Hausser would somehow find his way into London tonight.

    The car wound into the old heart of Stockholm, and toward the stately, gothic island of Riddarholmen. In minutes, they were across the bridge, and pulled up under the formidable shadow of the palace. Guards opened the wrought-iron gates, and the Mercedes hopped up onto the cobblestone driveway. A small party of trenchcoated, umbrellaed figures was waiting for them between the twin staircases that led to the front doors.

    The brakes whined, and the men opened all four doors at once. Friedmann stepped out, and under a waiting umbrella. He recognized Prince Wilhelm’s amanuensis. “Good to see you, Georg. How does Sir Samuel look tonight?”

    But the Swedish prince’s loyal servant-secretary only said: “Good to see you, Herr Friedmann.”

    As soon as the three Germans had been extricated from the car, the Swedes herded them together, and marched them by the arms -- not up Bonde Palace’s elegant stairs, but around the side of the building. Rain hammered down the gutters, and Friedmann couldn’t even make himself heard to protest. After a walk that seemed endless, they came around a dark alley where a black, unmarked car was waiting.

    Two more Swedes were there in the front seats. The amanuensis bundled the Foreign Minister and his Special Deputy into the back, then tapped the driver’s door with his palm. The car grumbled down the alley, and out a side entrance. Stiffening rain drummed the unlined roof, and the windshield was a spattered blur. The lights of the city -- not blacked out, as they were on the Continent -- glowed yellow around them.

    von Neurath asked the driver where they were going. “The meeting not in the city center. There is a residence there, Herr Minister.”

    Fifteen minutes later, they pulled up at a suburban mansion circled by a high wall lined with ivy. Lamps within burned brightly, and the windows splashed shimmering reflections onto the cobblestone drive. Footmen with umbrellas appeared, and led them up to the large double doors. They creaked open, and it was Prince Wilhelm himself within.

    They exchanged courtesies as the footmen helped them out of their coats, and the Prince bade them follow up a grand staircase. At the top was a hallway of dark wood, rich amber carpets, and gilt-framed mirrors that surely dated at least to the reign of Frederick I. They entered a small library, where a tall, graceful figure sat framed in shadow against a roaring fire. He rose.

    von Neurath marched forward. “Sir --” but the Samuel caught in his throat as Anthony Eden stepped into the light.

    Friedmann’s heart shuddered. There he was: immaculate, imposing. God only knew how he’d gotten out of England. How much the world had changed since Friedmann had had the Foreign Secretary rousted out of bed for a late-night meeting at Leasden House in London not eleven months before. Friedmann’s mission that night had only been to delay -- to extend false hopes of peace to Eden in the midst of the Belgian Crisis, even as Bruno Bräuer’s assault pioneers piled into their gliders for the lightning raid on Eben-Emael.

    Now it was the German diplomats who were off balance, and Eden smiled his crisp, cold smile. “Herr Minister. Herr Friedmann.” His trimmed mustache barely moved as he spoke. It was perfect, like an actor’s glued-on fake.

    The Swedish prince seated them. “I have communicated to the Foreign Minister your government’s intent to seek an immediate end to hostilities. This remains, I trust, the sentiment in Berlin?”

    “Precisely so,” von Neurath said. “The truth of the matter is that the invasion has had a most drastic cost for the civilians of both sides. In Britain, naturally, the population suffers food shortages, and coal shortages, also. With the onset of winter, many innocent people will freeze to death. This is to say nothing of the people of the Southeast with the fighting itself going on around them.”

    Thunder rumbled in the distance.

    von Neurath shifted heavily in his chair. “In Germany, as you must know, many of the same shortages are in effect, although to a lesser degree.” Eden was eyeing him impassively. “The soldiers and sailors suffer as well,” the Baron continued. “Pressing the war further at this moment only brings ruin. And so, it is in this humanitarian interest, that the Führer proposes as follows. With regard to the British Isles, all Pact forces will withdraw immediately. In return, the German government requires assurance of non-interference in Europe. Peace with France is to be made separately. With regard to the Colonies, the Führer proposes an immediate ceasefire, with a full peace conference to be held within no more than ninety days, to resolve the question permanently. In principle, he has no intent of interfering with British control of Egypt and the Canal.”

    Eden leaned forward. “The ‘truth of the matter,’ gentlemen, is that such an offer is altogether favorable to Germany. Why, when the Royal Navy is winning back control of the Channel, should it allow the cream of German manpower and machines to return safely home? No, no. Winter will hit your invasion forces harder than it will hit the British people. After the snows hit, and after your pocket battleships lie under fourteen fathoms of water, your position will not be nearly so favorable.”

    “I must assure you that the Führer’s interest here -- his only interest, as I must emphasize -- is the humanitarian one.” von Neurath turned to his Special Deputy, and Friedmann launched into a lengthy recitation of the miseries that would befall the Small People if the war continued.

    But Eden’s eyes revealed nothing, and nothing the Germans said could wipe that mask of a smile from his lips. “I will, of course, convey the substance of your offer to my government at once. But it would be disingenuous of me to suggest that I shall recommend it to the Prime Minister. The moment your soldiers set foot in Dover, this became an altogether different kind of war, Herr Minister. I expect we shall prosecute it to its conclusion.” He stood, towering over them. “I trust your offer shall remain confidential?”

    “Yes, naturally so.” The others stood.

    They shook hands farewell altogether sooner than the Germans intended, but Eden was already to the door. He retrieved his black Homburg, setting it upon his head rakishly like a film star. He turned. “Gentlemen, your desperation simply won’t do.”
    Last edited by TheHyphenated1; 06-12-2012 at 06:36.
    Weltkriegschaft
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  15. #1895
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    A waste of time, I would think. The Brits are not to be persuaded until the Panzers get to Scotland.
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
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  16. #1896
    Stay tuned, Kurt_Steiner!
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

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    Canonized on 08-06-08

  17. #1897
    Hello All (assuming that's still not just a polite way of addressing Kurt_Steiner) - Just ducking in to say that real life remains busy, but III:L should be finished by the end of the month. Sooner if possible, but I know better than to make promises! ~TH1
    Weltkriegschaft
    The Alternate History of the Third Reich

    HoI1/2/3 Favorite Narrative AAR: Q1 2008 & Q3 2008 & Q2 2009, Best Character Writer of the Week: 18/5/08 & 10/11/08
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  18. #1898
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Good news, indeed.
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
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  19. #1899
    Relax, he's not the only one still on board. Glad to see work progresses.
    HoI2 AARs: Eine Geschichte des Grossdeutsches Reich - Siegerkranz - Germany's Place in the Sun - The Prophet Unleashed
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  20. #1900
    Alas, real life work ambushed me again. My apologies. The good news is, the next update is about 80% done and should be done within the next 6-8 weeks. Nah, just kidding. It's going up now.
    Weltkriegschaft
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