Having played Hearts of Iron III only for a week now, I still consider myself a novice player. However, I got most of the basics of the game and having some experience surviving as The Netherlands in HOI2 and AOD I figured I could give this a try.
English is not my native language, but I aim to keep this readable. Therefore Grammar Nazis are more than welcome to spew their advice.
I already played till July 1940(Already at war with Germany) but as soon as my AAR updates get on par with the game I might ask some specific gameplay-wise advice from (potential ) readers.
Difficulty will be normal and I will control all forces myself until my armies get too big to handle(although I doubt that is possible). The purpose of this AAR is to show a successful(or failing) defence against Germany, so I will not try to join the axis. I hope to make a decisive effect on the war by halting the Germans at fortress Holland, and possibly force a counter-attack once the situation allows it.
Chapter 1: The Angry General
Chapter 2: The Angry German
Chapter 3: Bastion of Democracy
Chapter 4: No surrender, my fellow Dutchmen!
Chapter 5: Pugno Pro Patria
Chapter 6: The First Glimpse of Victory?
Chapter 1: The angry general
Amsterdam, 1936. Dutch Army Headquarters.
General Winkelman cursed. He cursed at the naive and pacifistic market liberals who were leading the country. He cursed at Adolf Hitler, the little man with the scary moustache and even more frightening belligerent speeches.
General Winkelman behind his desk
General Winkelman had been asking the market-liberal government to allocate some funds to the army for several years now. He wrote letters to politicians, annoyed the prime minister for hours with observations of the terrible state of the nation's armed forces... It all did not seem to help.
So, by 1936 he gave up on talking and switched his strategy of getting more funds: From now on the Dutch Army Intelligence Service would use all its spies and means to lower the Dutch neutrality. Politicians were to be eavesdropped and influenced, and propaganda showing the belligerent dialogue of Hitler was to be fabricated and spread.
1936 - 1939
The only positive thing was that he got permission to build some defensive works near Amersfoort: The only path to Amsterdam not protected by water. Winkelman knew anything east of Amersfoort and south of Gouda would be impossible to defend: He simply would not be able to muster enough men to hold the line effectively.
He also got permission to build 15 artillery brigades to support the triangular infantry divisions. This would greatly help in the defence of the country. Some of these were already added to the most eastern divisions when General Winkelman ordered the defensive works to be manned as part of an exercise in 1937.
The exercise of 1937 showing the strategy of Winkelman, counting on a static defence. Note that the three KNIL divisions from the Dutch East Indies also took part in this exercise as part of the 2e legerkorps. They would remain in The Netherlands for a planned 5-year period.
Winkelman ordered the theorists of the army to focus on finding new infantry weapons and artillery for the army. This led to the introduction of several new weapons to the arsenal of the Dutch Army. During 1938 and 1939 Winkelman's military theorists also completed their theories on the Grand Battle Plan doctrine which greatly improved the efficiency of the infantry and artillery operations.
A Dutch soldier with the new support weapon of the Dutch army, the Schwarzlose m.08. It was as effective as the German mg34.
The relatively modern '10-veld' artillery piece.
As the German acts of aggression over the years increased with the anschluss of Austria and Czechoslovakia, the Dutch became more prepared to defend their homeland and war seemed like a more realistic possibility. After several mobilisation laws were passed Winkelman was out of manpower reserves, so production on forts increased. The invasion of Poland and the start of the second great war proved a particularly unnerving experience for the Market Liberals in power. They too got afraid peace could not be sustained. As a result in the elections of 1940, general Winkelman got elected as head of state: The Dutch needed a strong leader to guide them through the hard times to come!
The elections of 1940 saw queen Wilhelmina handing her status as head of state over to general Winkelman. As a fierce nationalist, she too saw the need for a military strongman to lead the country.
In march 1940 mobilisation began. Fortress Holland was still being improved, but deemed sufficient to hold for at least a few weeks: Hopefully enough time to get help from the French and British before the Germans could overrun the major Dutch ports. Although the army was now fully mobilized, most reserve divisions were still missing about 140 men each. However, with the new mobilisation laws the Dutch manpower would reach positive numbers again in 1941 at the latest. The Dutch industry was almost fully mobilised and allowed a fast production of fortifications. As a back up, fortifications in Amsterdam were also planned.
Fortress Holland in march 1940
The next update will mainly cover the Dutch defence of the mainland. Will I survive the first few months? Or am I doomed to fail against the German aggressor?