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Thread: Rank and File: A clerk's war Germany 1936 (Semper Fi)

  1. #861
    Quote Originally Posted by Uriah View Post
    Rank and File
    A Clerk’s War
    I have to admit that I have a strange fascination in this newest of all methods of fighting. To leap out of an airplane from thousands of metres, parachute to the ground and, taking an enemy by surprise, seize key positions. It seems quite magical to an old foot soldier like me. But like most things in the army, I suspect that the soldiers would tell you a much different story. The reality is more that, if your ageing rust-bucket of a transport plane survives being shot down by enemy fighters, you are then hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target, you are helpless as you drift down completely exposed and when you land, you are outgunned and outnumbered by the enemy.[/I][/CENTER]
    Not only did they face the above handicaps, but they jumped WITHOUT carrying weapons; they arrived in seperate canisters! (At least through the campaign in Norway.)

  2. #862
    And Crete. After Crete Hitler believed his "Crack" Fallshricmjager's to be a second rate force and employed them as ground infantry.

  3. #863
    Lt. General Uriah's Avatar
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    Rank and File
    A Clerk’s War



    15th October 1939

    Damn that General Himmler! May he rot in hell! What damage has his ambition done to the Reich? How can we recover the lost time and opportunities that he has cost us? Thank heavens his plotting and conniving came to naught: the Fuhrer still lives!

    But I forget that you may not know all the details of the past fortnight. I should explain what has occurred, why I have spent more than 10 days lying in a hospital bed and why our military operations have been effectively halted.

    You will recall from my last diary entry that the Fuhrer planned to give a speech from Paris and that I too, would be flying to the captured French capital on secondment to the Fuhrer’s Office. Very early on the 4th I boarded a Ju 52 of the Fliegerstaffel des Fuhrers and had a fairly comfortable flight. (The aircraft was the “Immelman I”, which was used for the Fuhrer before he saw a prototype Fw 200C and decided that he needed a more modern and far more luxurious personal plane).

    The Fuhrer’s speech was planned for the evening of the 4th at the Place de la Concorde, and it was made clear to me that I (and every other German army officer and official in Paris) would be expected to attend. After spending the afternoon in discussion with several officers from the Records section of Headquarters of the Army of the Ardennes, which had been given responsibility for the location and security of documentation throughout Paris, I made my way to the square, the largest in Paris. There was no way I was going to be late, so I actually arrived nearly an hour before the event was scheduled to start. On arrival, I was spotted by one of Minister Frick’s personal aides who knew me quite well. With a smile, he checked my seating pass and told me he could do a lot better. So I ended up sitting in nearly the front row! With all the time in the world, I was able to examine my surroundings and take a few photographs.



    General Kesselring interrupts his discussion to salute as an artillery unit crosses the Place de la Concorde on its way to the assembly area in the side streets.


    As is normal for these sorts of public speeches, there would be a military review followed by the speech. So a dais had been set up where the Fuhrer and other dignitaries would sit while the various units marched or drove past, then the Fuhrer would move to the podium at the centre of the dais to give his speech which would be broadcast live. I was seated nearly centrally, in the second or third row, with a gap of perhaps 10 metres to the podium. As it was still very early, there was only a smattering of seats taken, though I did notice General Kesselring, commander of the Westwall Army, talking to some of the technicians setting up microphones, speakers and all the other paraphernalia necessary for a modern political speech. I remember someone working on the cabling to the podium suddenly leaping up yelling and then an overwhelming wave of superhot air and that was it.



    The aftermath of the explosion: pure chaos in the Place de la Concorde


    I woke days later in a military hospital just outside Paris, my head bandaged and eyes covered. Luckily the bandages over my eyes were precautionary, and my head wounds have healed well. A slight concussion is all I suffered. But I had no knowledge of what had happened. For someone with my high level of curiosity and contacts the explosion alone would have been a challenge, but my direct involvement made it a crusade. As soon as I was allowed to move I made my way to the telephone room for the use of hospital patients and made a few calls. Within hours I had a few visitors from the Interior Ministry, men whom I had known for years and could be trusted (and who could trust me). After a few days I was transferred by rail to Berlin, and found it much easier to access information.



    The Feldlazerett where I was taken after the assassination attempt: many of the wounded ended up on the surgery tables here


    Most of what I will record below is classified and is a summary of what I found out over the past 10 days. Some is supposition, but I believe it tells the true story of what occurred in Paris on that pleasant autumn evening. I gleaned most from my contacts in the Interior Ministry, but they obtained some from their sources in the Ministry of Security. The Gestapo rounded up a lot of suspects and some of them actually knew something.

    To begin the story we need to go back 6 months or so. In my notes on Fall Weiss, the Polish campaign, you may remember several comments about the outstanding performance of General Himmler, commanding 2.Infanterie Division. Many people were surprised that a Party official of such standing and obvious desire to achieve power would take a field command, and even more were surprised that he proved so capable, making quite a name for himself in several desperate battles and winning some important victories. Several of the officers in General Himmler’s headquarters have claimed that he indicated that he saw this as a stepping stone to greater things. He believed that to lead the Reich a person must show that he has the ability to lead men in war, and his decision to abandon his cushy Party position and serve in Poland was part of his plan to eventually take his place at the head of our nation. As far as we can determine, his original plan was that after a glorious military career, he would stage some kind of Putsch and seize control of a Reich that extended from the Atlantic to the Soviet border.

    After his success in Poland, however, General Himmler found himself delegated to performing border guard duties. It seems as though someone at the highest level decided that Herr Himmler was getting a little too popular and that some time performing the less glorious tasks of the Heer would be a good thing. (A few of my sources said this came from the Fuhrer himself, but I have my doubts. It is well known that many in the Heer including the Minister himself, General von Blomberg, had a visceral dislike for Himmler and all the other Party “apparatchiks” to use the Communist term that is becoming popular.) I believe that it is most likely that a few people in OKH decided that the Party upstart could do with some time on the border of the Soviet Union, far from the newspaper reporters and the newsreel photographers.

    Whatever the reason, General Himmler found that his plan to become a popular hero had hit a brick wall, and with his lack of support in the Wehrmacht, he would be unlikely to force his way back into the public eye. It seems that about this time he became involved with a group of discontents in the Foreign Ministry, who had been working on some devious plot of their own. Nobody knows a lot about this group, as most took their own lives before they could be questioned, and searches for written evidence could only find empty files and fireplaces filled with ashes. This group had apparently for some time been preparing fictitious reports from overseas and had in fact infiltrated some of its members into high ranking diplomatic positions in various embassies, particularly in Japan and to a lesser degree, Italy. While we don’t definitely know the objectives of what has become known as the “Patch 1.3” group (because of their habit of concealing secret papers under clothing patches and the number of the office in the Foreign Ministry in which they regularly met) it seems that they wanted to portray our allies as incompetent. This was not to reduce our efforts in the war: quite the opposite. One of the few members of Patch 1.3 who was captured alive insisted that the intention was to encourage greater investment in the military by showing that we effectively fought alone. We will probably never know the full reasons, but the results are apparent. For the past few years, some of our embassies have been sending false information to the Foreign Ministry. The worst example involves Japan. We had been told that our allies had been crushed by the Nationalist Chinese and Shanxi. The reality is that Japan easily conquered the whole of mainland China and, although there have been (and still are) serious uprisings, they continue to rule the entire country. Luckily no important foreign policy decisions have been made on the basis of this false information, but some of the other misinformation has had an effect. As I explain below, I will detail these later.



    General Himmler at an informal meeting: the Gestapo believe that several of the people in the photograph were involved in the plot, and that this may in fact have been a planning meeting.


    General Himmler somehow convinced this group that he was in support of their objectives, and they decided to assist him if he could work out an achievable plan. And then fate took a hand. Had Himmler spent the next months in eastern Poland or in Memel, far from political and military influence, events would have been very different. Due to the difficulties being experienced in the West, however, II Armeekorps (which included Himmler’s 2.Infanterie Division) was never sent to the Russian border, and on 5th July it was ordered to join the Benelux Army. 2.Infanterie was among the first to get rail transport, and was soon in based in Emden, guarding the Nordsee coast against a possible British invasion. The General was now back where the action was taking place, and able to develop another, far more brutal, method of seizing power. (His division’s guard duty allowed him plenty of time to move around the western occupied areas, and his army rank and Party contacts together gave him complete freedom of movement and access). With his new co-conspirators, he came to the conclusion that with the road to military glory closed to him, the only way to guarantee success would be to eliminate the Fuhrer, most of the Cabinet and the cream of the Wehrmacht. It did not take him long to hear of the Fuhrer’s proposed Place de la Concorde speech and to start his own preparations.



    Himmler meets officials from the Foreign Ministry: all members of Patch 1.3


    His plan was simple, and if it were not for good fortune, it would have been very effective. A large quantity of explosives (a dedicated clerk from my own section identified the acquisition papers, signed by Himmler himself, that were used by the plotters to take the explosive charges from the 2.Infanterie stores) were secreted in the pipes and tubing used to construct the temporary podium. An electrical circuit, linked to the microphone to be used by the Fuhrer, would detonate the bomb. Crude but effective, our demolition experts calculate that nobody on the podium and few in the first rows of seats would have survived the subsequent explosion. With the Reich in shock, Himmler (who had already driven with a handpicked escort to Berlin) was going to seize several Ministries and with the aid of his Patch 1.3 sympathisers, claim to be the effective leader of the country. Several potential leaders were targeted for assassination should they show any indication of resistance. I hate to say it, but it is likely that with the nation at war, most ranking officials would be glad that someone was in control, and would go along with it, at least for a time. And Himmler would only need days to set his rule in concrete.

    What had been overlooked was the professionalism of Goebbel’s Propaganda Office (or maybe their fear of the consequences if anything should go wrong). The plotters expected the microphone equipment to be checked, but they assumed that by only connecting the electronic circuit at the last moment (after all the normal checks) that the next person to activate the microphone would be the Fuhrer. Unfortunately for them, an over-anxious assistant insisted that the technicians check the set-up “just one more time”. The yelling I heard was apparently someone realising (too late) that a new set of wiring had appeared since the last check.

    Everyone on the podium died instantly, as did most of the people in the surrounding area. General Kesselring, who was chatting with a few officers on the path in front of the dais, was killed outright, together with a large number of junior officers. What saved me was that a light tank, one of the vehicles practicing for the military review, was passing as the explosion went off. Most of the impact was absorbed by the tank, and I would have been fine had I not been struck a glancing blow on the head by a piece of debris. (On a brighter note, I have been told that this will qualify as a war wound, as Paris is still classified as a war zone. I will probably get a medal!).



    A tank unit passes the dais on its way to the assembly area. Men working on the preparations pause to examine the panzers that have torn across northern Europe. It seems (my memory is not clear on the moments before the explosion) that it was one of these tanks that saved my life.


    There was some confusion, but with most of the Reich’s key personnel safe it did not take long for order to be regained. The speech was cancelled and a furious Fuhrer ordered Minister Goebbels to deliver his first report by the following morning. General Himmler and the rest of the conspiracy must have been waiting to hear an announcement of the success of their plan: it never came as Goebbels placed a complete lockdown on all telephone, telegraph and radio communications from Paris, other than those under his personal control. As time went by with no news of an assassination, it must have been clear that the attempt had failed, and across Berlin, service revolvers were taken from desk drawers and single shots were heard by startled secretaries.

    A wave of arrests followed, but it seems that the conspiracy was small in number. It was decided, however, that large number of army officers were of questionable loyalty and they were discharged. This has had the effect of reducing our available officer pool from about 130% of requirement to about 115%. Still, we can live with this, it is more important that every officer is true and loyal.

    I have now been given the all clear and will return to work tomorrow. I will then be able to review all the material that I have found and correct some of the misinformation that General Himmler and the Patch 1.3 plotters have inserted into the record. (Not all of the misinformation came from the conspirators – I found that our own government has been covering some bad news stories). There have also been some diplomatic events over the past few days, some definitely triggered by the removal of Patch 1.3 agents in our Embassies.

    While I will be keen to get back to my office (although I dread the sight of my desk – it will be covered in piles of paper and files all marked “Urgent”) I must say that my past week in the hospital here in Berlin has been a pleasant break in routine. Conditions for soldiers have definitely improved in the past few years, and modern science has helped, and not always in ways you would expect. While recuperating, our soldiers have the opportunity to experience the wonders of technology, brought to them courtesy of the Heer . In the hospital in Berlin I found a special lounge room with an Einheitsempfanger machine, and was told that several of the hospitals in major cities have them. This amazing machine is like a radio with pictures. While resting I watched some excerpts from the last Olympic Games and a few recent movies, one starring Ilse Werner, a new favourite of mine. The broadcast of “Frau Sixta” saw the “Telefunken” room packed, and everyone agreed that Otti Sixta was the girl of our dreams.



    The Einheitsempfanger E1 Telefunken receiver showing the Olympic Games – what an amazing piece of technology.



    The lovely Ilse Werner as the daughter “Otti” in the 1938 movie “Frau Sixta”. That is her on the right. This is the way to get our soldiers back on their feet.


    Hopefully I can sort this mess quickly and return to the progress of the war. My job will be a little bit easier because with the shock of the assassination attempt and the subsequent concentration on security, nearly all military operations have been halted. The front-lines have hardly moved in the past two weeks and, apart from the replacements of General Kesselring (with General Andrae) and General Himmler (with General Jacob), there has been no change in the leadership of the Wehrmacht. Let us hope that with the Fuhrer and his Ministers back in control and the emergency conditions removed we can get back to successfully concluding the Battle of France.
    Last edited by Uriah; 11-03-2010 at 02:43.

  4. #864
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
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    Oh great update, never saw that one coming.
    Too bad for Kesselring.
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  5. #865
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    impressive change of direction ...
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  6. #866
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    Wow, thats a unexpected plot move! Luckily our clerk survived to tell the story. That Himmler, who would have thought that 'Treue Heinrich' would do such a thing eh? Atleast you will get a medal for it.

    Anyway, just a short hickup in the overall conquest of France. The Wehrmacht will be victorious!

  7. #867
    Lt. General Uriah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karaiskandar View Post
    Oh great update, never saw that one coming.
    Too bad for Kesselring.
    Thanks - as for Kesselring, couldn't find him in 1.4 Beta, so he was for the chop. You can't make an omelette ....

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    impressive change of direction ...
    Thanks loki100 - it was the only way I could think of to change from 1.3 to 1.4: Japan was a significant change and there are a few others that should make things interesting: I need to wait however for the final 1.4 before going further. So I apologise now for any delay.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoemsiBoemsie View Post
    Wow, thats a unexpected plot move! Luckily our clerk survived to tell the story. That Himmler, who would have thought that 'Treue Heinrich' would do such a thing eh? Atleast you will get a medal for it.

    Anyway, just a short hickup in the overall conquest of France. The Wehrmacht will be victorious!
    Ah yes, it is always the ones you least expect. He sort of self-selected: I don't know if it is intentional, but there is no Himmler in the list of available leaders in 1.4 RC 3 (at least in mine). But as I organised my chain of command it was clear he was missing, and so I got the germ of an idea of a mechanism to change versions in this AAR.

    As soon as ver 1.4 is released, the panzers are on the move again. I will prepare the transition update beforehand, so if no significant problems, I can post that immediately and start palying again. (AOD is OK, but I miss so much from HOI3 that it detracts from the pleasure).

  8. #868
    Valkyria Black Lotus's Avatar
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    Excellent job with the transition, I nearly laughed out loud when I read that the conspiracy group was called "Patch 1.3".
    "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous... Though in war, you can only get killed once. In politics it can happen over and over."

  9. #869
    General Forster's Avatar
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    Quite a surprise, there! Who would have suspected?
    I assume thoses leaders are missing just at this point in your campaign do to some unknown random cause. They aren't missing from Germany's list of leaders entirely?

  10. #870
    Lt. General Uriah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Lotus View Post
    Excellent job with the transition, I nearly laughed out loud when I read that the conspiracy group was called "Patch 1.3".
    Thanks - I had to call them something and that seemed a good idea. It was Patch 1.3 that put all the incorrect information in my AAR!

    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    Quite a surprise, there! Who would have suspected?
    I assume thoses leaders are missing just at this point in your campaign do to some unknown random cause. They aren't missing from Germany's list of leaders entirely?
    Both the leaders have been altered. I think there was a chance in earlier versions that they could appear from 1939, but as can be seen from below, Himmler can only appear in 1944. Kesselring can only appear now in 1941 (from memory). Himmler has picked up sopme traits - originally he was vanilla.

    }
    505 = {
    name = "Himmler"
    country = GER
    type = land
    skill = 1
    max_skill = 2
    loyalty = 1.00
    picture = L505
    add_trait = logistics_wizard
    add_trait = old_guard
    history = {
    1944.07.20 = { rank = 1 }
    1944.07.20 = { rank = 2 }
    1944.07.20 = { rank = 3 }
    1944.07.20 = {

  11. #871
    I wonder if the Patch1.3ers are a splinter group from the smaller and lesser well known patch1.2ers from early 1936...

  12. #872
    Lt. General Uriah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneakey pete View Post
    I wonder if the Patch1.3ers are a splinter group from the smaller and lesser well known patch1.2ers from early 1936...
    That may well be (the Patch 1.2 group was just as devious) but I believe they arose in opposition to the infamous 1923 Munich Beer Hall Patsch



    Defendants in the Beer Hall Patsch Trial


    (As you can see, I have spare time on my hands waiting for Ver 1.4 to resume my conquest of the world - AOD just doesn't seem to cut it).

  13. #873
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    Congratulations Uriah! Splendid transition while keeping in character. Very enjoyable! You are very skilled at keeping character to explain the game. Great writing!

    I put HOI3 away for a while but now that 1.4 Beta is out I'm addicted again. Since AOD isn't cutting it for you, Honestly I suggest playing a quick game with the Beta. It seems pretty stable to me, I'm using the RC3 Beta. I am still in 1938 right now though. So what is it about AOD that doesn't cut it for you?

  14. #874
    Very nice transition to 1.4

    Did your plotters fail to tell that about half of the world have joined the Allies as well?

    In my 1.4 game all of Skandinavia is in the Allies already together with nearly everybody else left in Europe (except Nat. Spain, Portugal and Switzerland) by mid '39 which is a bit annoying and mainly a waste of leadership IMO.

    CharonJr

  15. #875
    Lt. General Uriah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad1 View Post
    Congratulations Uriah! Splendid transition while keeping in character. Very enjoyable! You are very skilled at keeping character to explain the game. Great writing!

    I put HOI3 away for a while but now that 1.4 Beta is out I'm addicted again. Since AOD isn't cutting it for you, Honestly I suggest playing a quick game with the Beta. It seems pretty stable to me, I'm using the RC3 Beta. I am still in 1938 right now though. So what is it about AOD that doesn't cut it for you?

    Thanks Brad1 - I am resisting the temptation to race ahead in 1.4 RC 3 - there are still some serious issues that I hope will be cleared before the final. All I want is to be able to move my save file over!

    I don't have a propblem with what AOD is, more what is isn't. I miss too much of HOI3, I keep thinking "well this research is taknig awhile but at least I am gaining theoretical knowledge"", or wanting to set up a proper OOB.

    To be honest, I bought AOD because I know it will be easy to mod, and those very gifted modding teams will have some great adaptations soon. It is those I really want to play. Vanilla AOD is really just an upgraded HOI Arme to me. The look, the feel - it is all HOI2.

    But to be very honest, I have only played a few hours. It hasn't "grabbed" me, but I haven't really given it a chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonJr View Post
    Very nice transition to 1.4

    Did your plotters fail to tell that about half of the world have joined the Allies as well?

    In my 1.4 game all of Skandinavia is in the Allies already together with nearly everybody else left in Europe (except Nat. Spain, Portugal and Switzerland) by mid '39 which is a bit annoying and mainly a waste of leadership IMO.

    CharonJr
    Thanks CharonJr. As you will see in my next update (perhaps an hour os, maybe tomorrow AM - it's 8.30PM Sunday night here), Scandinavia is Allied, but nearly everyone else firmly neutral. And the only country I directly influenced was the USA.

  16. #876
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    Rank and File
    A Clerk’s War



    15th October 1939


    As I promised, before continuing with my description of the conduct of the war, I will need to clear up all the confusion that was caused by the misinformation spread by General Himmler and his Patch 1.3 conspiracy, as well as bringing you up-to-date with the events of the past two weeks. I will start with conditions in the Reich itself, and then describe the current world situation and our relations with other countries.

    For some unknown reason, the plotters hid the extent of infrastructure improvement across the country. Maybe they did not want Minister Bayerlein to get any credit for his work in building up road and rail links across the occupied territories. The high standard of transport and communication links across the Greater Reich can be best seen in the map below.



    Infrastructure across the Greater Reich. The whole of pre-Anschluss Germany has now got a modern road and rail system, and most of the previous Austria and Czechoslavakia have been improved. Work is underway in Poland to set up highways and rail links between the major cities and the German and Russian border. Notice the damage still showing in some of the Belgian and Dutch provinces – fighting was very intense and extensive bombing and shelling destroyed many bridges and other essential infrastructure.


    There is some disturbing news from the Office of Skilled Personnel. Systematic fraud has been perpetrated in the “Heavy Tank” research program and millions of Reichmarks have been stolen. Not one of the research projects has been completed! The papers submitted have been completely fictitious! The Gestapo are all over the records of the projects, tracking the missing funds. Of course a common fraud would normally be below the dignity of the Gestapo, but preliminary results indicate that this was the source of the funds for General Himmler’s plot. With the assistance of Patch 1.3 he has siphoned vast amounts of money, ultimately to be used bribe officials, pay spies and keep his whole nefarious organisation running. The tendrils of this affair run deep into the heart of the Reich and I can see it will be some time before things return to normal.

    The Kriegsmarine has taken the opportunity to change the names of one of its ships: the “Van der Tann” is now the “Gneisenau”. (Did General Himmler make some complimentary remarks about van der Tann? Or was this just some internal politics?) What has surprised everyone is that II Unterseebootsflotte was not demobilised and the submarines were not scrapped. In fact they have been fully repaired and have recently been in constant action. They have performed very well in the Ostsee and are now back near the Mouth of the Thames. Why someone in the Kriegsmarine thought it would be a good idea to hide their existence is beyond me. If it is connected with the strange activities of Patch 1.3 we may never know.

    Some bad news has been covered up by the Kriegsmarine, however. 9 Unterseebootsflottille was completely wiped out during a clash with a British fleet of the coast of Portugal. The battleship “Revenge” and carrier escort “Argus”, with 8th and 9th Destroyer Squadrons, were more than a match for Donitz and his Type IX submarines. 7.Unterseebootsflottille did escape and limped back to Wilhelmshaven where it is still under repair. Our analysts believe that the presence of Allied planes from the carrier was a critical factor in the loss of our vessels.



    Battle of the Coast of Porto


    More embarrassing for Admiral Raeder is the revelation that the Dutch fleet was not sunk while attempting to escape the Fall of Holland, and that the Polish fleet also evaded detection. While the “Sumatra” and 1 and 2 Torpedobootjager Smaldeel were sunk, the rest of the Dutch Navy escaped.

    The Luftwaffe seems to have been fairly accurate in its reports (maybe because Marschall Goring treats it as his personal empire), but the Heer has obviously been subject to some political influence (I would hazard a guess that some of Minister Goebbel’s more persuasive employees have been busy).

    I have discovered that the situation on the Westwall in June/July was much worse than the public was told. The French broke through in strength in the south and at one stage reached as far west as Oberstdorf and Eheling. Munchen itself was under threat. 9.Infanterie was cut off in Hinterzarten and General von Hadeln was forced to surrender nearly 9,000 men (although I notice he managed to escape himself – his personal Feisler-Storch presumably taking advantage of our air superiority). There was very bitter fighting to regain our territory and the Luftwaffe had to heavily bomb our own towns to drive back the French. In the end, however, we did regain the Westwall and the order was given to halt. From what I heard, our troops were in no position to advance further anyway – it took months of front-on attacks on prepared positions to get back to our own starting positions, and losses were very heavy. They were in no condition to assault the Maginot line.



    Westwall at end of 15th October 1939


    Our officer pool has been sharply reduced by the events of the past few weeks. Anyone whose loyalty was not absolutely beyond question has been removed from the officer corps. As a result, we now have only 115% of basic officer requirements. The need to send many diplomats to the USA to keep it neutral makes it difficult to raise the number of officers available, but every effort is being made.

    Luckily for us, our allies have been staunch during the turbulent times following the assassination attempt (except for Yugoslavia, which took advantage of the turmoil to back out of its alliance. I am sure the Fuhrer will remember this). Italy in particular has made a huge effort in the south of France. Although Corsica has been lost, on the mainland the French and their British allies have been pushed well back from the border. Marseilles has fallen and the new French capital city, Lyon, is within striking range.



    The Italians have smashed their way forward, but have not achieved a breakthrough.


    The French have pulled back from Libya, abandoning their temporary, unopposed gains. In Egypt, unfortunately, the Italians have been hit very hard by the British, and have lost their forward port of Tobruk. In addition, it seems some units have been trapped by a daring British spearhead that raced across the desert to cut them off.



    North Africa



    Egypt


    The story in East Africa is much better than was reported: it is clear that the 1.3 plotters had doctored the reports from this area. Rather than being cut off and out of supply, the Italians have broken out of Ethiopia and Somaliland and have both the British and the French on the run. It is noticeable that the Ethiopian government has been quietly deposed, and Ethiopia is now an integral part of Italy.



    East Africa (northern areas)



    East Africa (southern areas)


    The war between Greece and Italy is over, and in fact Greece is no longer part of the Allies. It has become strongly independent – perhaps there has been a change of government? There is a rumour in the Foreign Ministry that somehow Athens became aware of secret British plans to abandon Greece and concentrate on North Africa. No longer required to keep a large presence in Albania, Italy has been able to reinforce other, more important areas.

    Hungary has withdrawn its Expeditionary Force, but in exchange it has sent a sizeable number of divisions to the west. While this has meant that we have had to send some garrison divisions to Poland, our commanders have been full of praise for the efforts of the Hungarians over the past few weeks. In many cases it was only the fact that we were able to throw a fresh division into a battle that allowed us to hold our positions under the French onslaught.

    Last but not least, it seems that Slovakia has introduced a heavy conscription regime. Although they still have only militia units, they have many more of them. They too fought well in the past few weeks and their contribution has been valuable.

    The mention of the Hungarian Expeditionary Force reminds me of one of the great mysteries of the plot to assassinate the Fuhrer: the “Manchukuoan” militia. Everyone is Berlin is still talking about the disappearance of the thousands of Asian troops who have been a de facto garrison of Berlin for the past year. The day of the failed assassination, they just disappeared! Neither the Gestapo nor the SD can find any trace of the missing regiments. Obviously suspicion has fallen on the Patch 1.3 conspirators, and it is generally accepted that these militia were to assist in the seizure of the capital, but there must have been a fallback plan to evacuate them in the event of failure.

    At the highest levels, there is a suspicion that the false information regarding a Japanese failure in China may have been a ploy to explain why these units appeared in Berlin. One of my sources says that the Foreign Ministry chiefs think that Patch 1.3 had planned for years to seize key installations in Berlin and had realised that they would never have sufficient support in the Wehrmacht. They had come up with the stratagem of convincing everyone that the presence of armed troops in the city was the result of Japanese failure and the defeat of Manchukuo. It sounds surreal, yet it so nearly worked. Had the bombing in Paris been successful, Himmler and the Patch 1.3ers would have had a loyal and totally committed force available to crush any dissent. And because of the trust we had placed in the “Manchukuoans”, there were no German troops billeted anywhere near the capital.

    My contacts in the Foreign Ministry have told me of the relief that has been felt about the much better situation in the Far East. A vast Japanese Empire stretches from Yunnan to the Russian border. The Japanese Army is as strong as ever – the losses never took place. The elation felt is tempered, however, by the realisation of the cost that we paid because of our inability to detect the slow build up of the Patch 1.3 scheme. All those reports we received from the east were false, sent by member of the conspiracy. The unavoidable conclusion is that all the military advisers, liaison officers, naval and air observers, special envoys and military attaches were murdered in order to keep the cover story going. It makes my blood boil to think of the hundreds of loyal men who were sent to unwittingly to their deaths. The only thing that cheers me up is the thought that the dreaded Kempitai have sworn to identify every Patch 1.3 agent or supporter and to ensure they are returned to the Reich for punishment.

    Of course the Japanese success has meant that they too have gained allies of a sort. A confederation of Mongolians has set up the state of Mengukuo which, together with Manchukuo, provides Japan with a small number of troops.



    China



    Manchukuo and Mengukuo


    The area where we have been most shocked, however, is Scandinavia. The Foreign Ministry had been lulled by more misinformation, and believed that Norway, Sweden and Finland were, if not friendly, at least strongly neutral. I can only imagine the horror among the diplomats when, within days of the failed coup attempt, Finland joined the Allies, to be joined swiftly by Sweden and Norway. The Communists must have had some wind of this, because they immediately returned the provinces taken as part of the settlement of the Summer War.

    Sweden and Norway invaded Denmark, capturing Copenhagen and adjacent provinces. Our marines were rushed back and have managed to seal the invasion, but the Allies still hold the capital. Because of the invasion, the Danes rose up in rebellion, and now, rather than being incorporated into the Reich, they are under military occupation. Given the stress that the administration was under during those two weeks, I think we did well to contain this threat from the north.

    The loss of Copenhagen had one unfortunate effect. The Allied navies, boosted by the Swedish and Norwegian forces, forced a series of naval engagements off the Pommeranian Coast.

    The first battle was between the Nordsee Fleet and a combined Swedish and Danish fleet. Although on paper the Allied fleet consisted of four heavy cruisers, all the ships were ancient and we would have been more likely to call them “Kustenpanzerschiffe”. The battle was little more than a training exercise for the gunners on our capital ships. "Deutschland" quickly got the range of the 34 year old “Pansarkepps" "Oscar II", and the Swedish ship ended its days in a short explosion as its magazine took a direct hit. The other Pansarkepps, “Manligheten” did not last much longer. The “Scharnhorst”
    simply tore it to pieces with salvo after salvo of 11 inch shells. The Danish ships “Niels Iuel” and “Peder Skram” were damaged by the Schlachtschiffe, but were left to be finished off by the smaller ships. The light cruiser “Stuttgart” moved close to the sinking “Peder Skram” and pumped in a few 5.9 inch shells, but the Danish captain signalled that he would surrender. The “Stuttgart” tried to escort the "Peder Skram" back to Rostock, but while she made it to port, unfortunately she had taken too much damage and she sank shortly after arrival, though her crew were saved. The “Niels Ieul” was not so lucky: a well placed torpedo by one of the ships of 6th Zerstoreregeschwader Flottille let the icy waters of the Ostsee into the engine room and she virtually split in two as a result of the subsequent explosion. We suffered no losses.



    First Battle of the Pommeranian Coast



    The Pansarkepps “Oscar II” heads out on her final voyage



    The Pansarkepps “Manligheten” pouring on speed in a vain attempt to close with the Nordseeflotte



    The “Peder Skram” sinks in Rostock harbour: it is not worth trying to salvage her.


    The next battle was far more serious. A French fleet was led by a real battleship, the “Provence” and she was accompanied by two heavy cruisers (“Colbert”, “Dupleix”) a light cruiser, the “Emile Bertin” as well as the 11eme Destroyer Flotilla. The French were trapped against the coast and could not escape the punishment hurled at them by every gun of the Nordseeflotte. After only a few hours every enemy ship was either sunk or sinking, and the only job left for our ships was to help the pitifully few survivors. The French were desperate in their attempts to break out into open sea and we lost two of our screening light cruisers during the battle, and many of our ships took severe damage. One of the lost ships was the “Stuttgart”, which had performed so well only a few days before, the other was the “Emden”. Admiral Raeder took the rest of the fleet to port and immediately advised Oberkommando der Wehrmacht that the Nordseeflotte would not be available for active duty for some time, although some individual ships were able to take to sea for specific missions.



    Second Battle of the Pommeranian Coast


    With the Nordseeflotte out of action, if only temporarily, the Baltic Flotte was ordered to patrol the Pommeranian Coast and give the alert if an Allied invasion fleet was detected. While carrying out this duty the ageing dreadnoughts were surprised by the Royal Navy, which had entered the Ostsee in force. Admiral Bohm immediately ordered the fleet to run for port: he did not need to know the full size of the opposing force to realise he was completely outgunned. His swift action saved the two capital ships “Schleswig-Holstein” and “Schlesien” which, covered by the destroyer squadrons, raced for safety in Rostock. The skill of the destroyer kapitans in blocking and distracting the Royal Navy was not without cost. As the battered Zerstorers entered port, it was clear that 3 Zerstorergeschwaderflottille had been completely destroyed. Reconnaissance planes soon revealed how close to annihilation the fleet had come: the British fleet would have blown them out of the water. The battleship “Royal Sovereign” and battlecruiser “Hood” provided the big guns, but they were backed up by three heavy cruisers (“Norfolk”, “Cornwall” and “Berwick”), five light cruisers (“Dunedin”, “Emerald”, “Enterprise”, “Calcutta” and “Cardiff”) as well as two destroyer squadrons.



    Third Battle of the Pommeranian Coast


    The Nordseeflotte is now apparently back in operation, but with Copenhagen still held by the Scandinavians, and the Royal Navy willing to project its power into the Ostsee, our investment in ships can be seen to be well worthwhile.

    The other disappointing report from the Kriegsmarine is that it has ordered the cessation of all overseas trade, particularly with the USA. In the past few weeks we have lost 11 cargo ships and oil tankers, and we cannot afford to provide heavier escorts. Public opinion has been badly hit by the combination of shipping losses and bombing raids, and while the Luftwaffe has managed to quiet the British strategic bombers, we are unable to halt the activities of the Allied submarines and surface raiders. (We did manage to sink a couple of Swedish “Ubatsflottijen”, but this had little strategic impact.) Minister Goebbels informed the Fuhrer that he cannot guarantee the full support of the people if we continued to suffer unanswered shipping losses, and Admiral Raeder reluctantly acknowledged that he could not protect our merchant marine. As the Royal Navy had just shown he could not protect the Ostsee, he had little choice.

    On the bright side, Admiral Donitz and his U-boats are doing well (other than the disappointing outcome of the clash off the coast of Portugal). No less than 58 enemy merchantmen have been sunk since the beginning of the war. Admittedly many of them were coastal steamers sailing along the Scandinavian coast, but considering the small number of U-boats at sea during the period, it bodes well for the future when we have more than a dozen flotillas operating at once.

    The most important situation though, is the situation in France. I have been told that when I get to work tomorrow that I will be provided with a complete update on our Order of Battle: there have been some changes (apart from the replacement of Generals Kesselring and Himmler). In addition, there is a rumour that if not tomorrow, then within days, the Battle of France will recommence. We have a lot of time to make up. As can be seen from the position map, however, the Allies have not managed to recapture any significant territory, and despite the lack of central control, our local commanders have continued to push south. The only province we have lost is Nemours, while we have captured another 12 provinces.



    The situation in France at the end of 15th October: since the assassination attempt we have captured Gamaches, Rouen, Dieppe, Vermont, Dreux, Etampes, Treyes, St Dizier, Verdun, St Mihiel, Fresnes and Longuyon, while only losing Nemours.


    There is not much more to report. Canada has joined the Allies, but everyone knew that was just a matter of time. What has surprised many here in Berlin is that we have had a discrete contact from Australia: would we countenance their joining our alliance? As far as I know, that decision has not been made. We may have to consult out Japanese allies, particularly as we now know they are a force to be reckoned with.

    The current political situation sees the opposing alliances as:

    Axis:

    Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Manchukuo, Mengukuo

    Allies:

    United Kingdom, France, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Bhutan, Nepal, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Belgium, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark

    Comintern:

    Soviet Union, Tannu Tuva, Mongolia

    Well, I am feeling very tired. The doctors did warn me that the concussion could have this effect, and advised me I would need lots of rest. With a busy schedule tomorrow, it is time to call it a day.
    Last edited by Uriah; 11-03-2010 at 02:45.

  17. #877
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    Some heavy naval action, cool. Royal Navy out in Force. I didnt see that happen often in my games. So the Manchukuans have left. They were always a bit out of place in Berlin, but you grew fond of them after a while .

    Good update!

  18. #878
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
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    Great update, very informative once again.
    It's a good thing that Japan and Italy did a good job, it will help you.
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  19. #879
    Brilliant !

    What are your feelings regarding 1.4 ?

  20. #880
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    Brillitant updates, exceptionally great transition to a very different patch!

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