Part XIX: December 1936 – January 1937
Yet again we convert an initial delay battle into a serious offensive on account of our failed encirclement. Franco is still fighting in Ciudad Real, so we will lend him a hand with our newly arrived forces in Toledo and Tarancon. The four Republican divisions in Ciudad Real can't withstand an assault from multiple directions with nineteen Nationalist divisions, although our divisions in Toledo incur a penalty from crossing a river. Nevetheless, the Republicans are quickly defeated and the province is captured by all divisions from Tarancon and Toledo -- Toledo itself will soon receive new guard divisions, as eleven divisions from Madrid are already moving into the province, so it is not necessary to leave a division in Toledo behind. The SAF will remain in Albacte so that the province remains guarded and and opens later a possibility to launch an offensive in the south east.
Finally the year 1937 begins, so it's time to focus a little bit more on Germany. In 1937 an important new minister appears, Walter Buch. He is a Man of the People, granting a ten percent boost to our manpower growth and the use of manpower in non-national provinces, and can be appointed as Minister of Security. Concerning manpower growth there is not much to say: We are not the Soviet Union and therefore every bit of manpower we can harness from our provinces is important. I decide to appoint him immediatly on the 1st of January as a replacement for Franz Gürtner, because the manpower growth bonus is not retroactive; so every day we don't have him as minister, we lose potential ten percent additional manpower growth. We receive one additional percent of dissent for this change. I will also at some point replace my current Foreign Minister, Constantin von Neurath, with Joachim von Ribbentrop, as he grants us a more useful money discount on influencing nations and demanding territory, which will serve us better than the current discounts for various alliance interactions and guarantees of indepedence that are provided by von Neurath. I will explain more about this step after we take a look at the next screenshot.
At the same date the decision for the Anschluss of Austria appears, but we can't take it, as we first have to wait for an event-triggered Nazi coup in Austria. The coup can happen already in 1937, although the odds are not very high. The chances for the coup will signifcantly increase in 1938, so it is more likely that the Anschluss is triggered in 1938. But we hope that we will have, at least once, some luck and that the coup will happen in 1937, as we will gain nineteen additional IC earlier than usual -- and this additional IC is desperately needed, as we are still not able to produce all our units in the production queue. We will also inherit the Austrian army, and -- I think -- their resource stockpile, including any money they have.
Also notice the hefty ten percent dissent reduction the Anschluss will grant us. This is the reason why I will postpone the appointment of von Ribbentrop: I want to use this reduction shamelessly in order to burn all our dissent in a single day. The foreign minister change is not critical, as we are, due to the lack of money, either way forced into diplomatic inactivity, so no reason to strain our IC efficiency with an additional point of dissent right now when our whole dissent will vanish some months later. But the possibilites do not end here: As the dissent reduction is ten percent, we can also use this as an opportunity to enact Three Year Conscription or even Partial Mobilization, which would normally cause our dissent to skyrocket. If we enact these decisions just before the Anschluss, we can circumvent this nasty dissent penalties.
The question what we do in the meantime to get some money still exists. I'm still contemplating if it is favourable to stop my production for some days and to over-produce consumer goods in order to get some money for our intelligence and diplomacy. The other benefit of over-producing consumer goods, dissent reduction, is, with the perspective of a dissent reducing Anschluss, not really an advantage anymore and speaks against such a step. I'm also really reluctant to halt my production without serious reasons, as I will have to halt it in Spring 1939 anyway to upgrade all my units, losing precious production time, and besides, I already did not produce anything but a ship in January and Februar 1936, so I've already lost two months. On the other hand, France just succeeded in stealing a blueprint (Distraction Maneuvers from 1914, so it's not really a win for the French) from me, and I don't want any smear campaigns to succeed, even if the Anschluss could absorb one of it. Perhaps I will try to trade some resources for money (which will be difficult, as I already have to pay 39 bucks for opening negotiations) to raise my intelligence level at least once.
During the first few days of the new year my first infantry divisions are finished, unfortunately only eleven of twelve; I already reported before that the British managed to delay the production of one PR of infantry by two months. I think that I will indeed try to trade for some money to raise my intelligence level, another disruptions in production would be very annoying, too. I need 604 funds for it, and I have right now only 107, so it will be a tricky undertaking. Anyway, I place my eleven infantry divisions in Meseritz and Deutsch Krone at the Polish border for the time being, as I would like to see a full border guard against Poland when the End of Czechoslovakia triggers at the latest, in case that Czechoslovakia resists and a war breaks out preliminary. I appoint another two high-skill commanders to the new corps, although one doesn't have the necessary rank to command such a big corps. But as commanders will receive promotions automatically after some time, this is a problem that is likely to silently disappear in the next years.
Back to Spain. I've waited a week or so after the succesful capture of Ciudad Real to restore the organisation of my units, and here is the plan for the next major offensive against the Republicans: We will strike at three provinces, Caceres, Cordoba and Jaen. The three Nationlist divisions in Plasencia will attack Caceres, unfortunately over a river, but supported by eleven other divisions from Toledo. As the Republicans have only one division in Caceres, I don't expect any problems, even if they move some reinforcements from heavily guarded Badajoz to the province. Our fourteen divisions in Ciudad Real will start an offense against the temporary Republican capital of Cordoba, expecting a battle with six Republican divisions, which will probably also result in a victory, and Franco's SAF will, together with the NAF of Field Marshal Mola Vidal in Murcia, conquer Jaen after a battle with two Republican divisions.