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Thread: The Torch of the Mediterranean: A Socialist Republic of Italy Kaiserreich AAR

  1. #121
    Major Lafayette53's Avatar
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    Its really a shame that the French went from winning every single time in HOI2 to not having a chance in hell in DH.. I think the changed unit build times may have imbalanced things a little.. (Its supposedly moddable though..)

  2. #122
    First Lieutenant MercZ's Avatar
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    @Viden and others about France: Yes, that is very annoying. It doesn't help much with jokes regarding France. I've taken matters into my own hand to make sure the AI doesn't do stupid things and overstretch itself, as OvG pointed out.

    @Baron: I'm planning on doing just that once Germany weakens a bit. Unfortunately as I'll mention towards the end their navy is troublesome. And yes, there is hostile territory in Morocco- as you may recall the CNT-FAI in Spain instigated a rebellion there. Unfortunately the German AI just bombed it out of existence, but it neglected to actually take back any captured territories. So it appears an odd blob. I honestly forgot about it until you brought it up.

    @Leviathan: Saint Lenin? Makhno won't be happy about that!

    @LaFayette: Yeah, it's a shame. Again, doesn't help with the jokes.

    @Hab: We'll see what comes later regarding territorial adjustments. All that matters to me is ONE BIG UNION as the saying goes.

    Opening Moves


    Quote Originally Posted by Sébastien Faure , La Ravacole
    Ah, goddamit, it’s time to put an end to this,
    We've moaned and suffered long enough,
    No half-way war,
    No more cowardly pity,
    Death to the bourgeoisie!
    The war opened up in earnest as both sides of the German and French border were pounded by artillery and aerial bombardments, tearing up the land which had only then begun to heal from the scars of the first Great War.

    Within that first week in June, it was obvious this war would be different from the first Great War. The most obvious difference was the advancements in technology which allowed for much more devastating attacks.

    The German Imperial Army had a sizable amount of older generals within their ranks, veterans of the Great War who were quite skilled. However, they had not adapted to the advances in armored or aerial warfare, though there were plenty of younger commanders who eagerly embraced the new face of warfare.

    This was not a problem that the French Communal Army faced, as only a handful of high-ranking officers sided with the revolution in the chaotic aftermath of the Great War. For the most part, many of the generals were from a younger generation. The Communal Army even had issues with finding enough trained officers, and members of the revolutionary government with experience in war such as Nestor Makhno took it upon themselves to take up positions in the military.

    What the Commune of France also differed from Germany was the philosophy behind the makeup of the military. The anarchist-led government believed in a more ‘popular’ formation for the military, focusing more on manpower and irregular infantry as opposed to the more orthodox strategies of the imperial high staff.

    The war expanded early on with Hungary, Bohemia, and Galicia-Lodomoren honoring their agreements with the Austrians and joining in their war against the Syndintern. The Ottoman Empire was yet to show any sign of honoring its agreements with the German Empire, though it managed to secure a truce with Hashemite Arabia as hostilities broke out in Europe, but was unable to do the same with the Kingdom of Egypt.

    The Union of Britain escalated its involvement in the war by formally joining the war on May 25th, honoring its arrangements with the Commune of France. This was without controversy as the debates described earlier showed, and it was only a rare act of cooperation between some Federationists and Maximists that allowed the Union of Britain to re-emerge on the international scene once more.



    French strategy had not changed much from its conceptual stages in the preceding Congresses, though was adjusted accordingly with the addition of the Combined Syndicates as a reliable trading partner to help in the war effort.

    The crux of the strategy relied on a rush through the lowlands of Belgium, one that would hopefully allow for the Syndintern to create a pocket around the large amount of German forces in Alsace-Lorraine.

    After that, the Empire should be on the run.

    “Should”. That is what needs to be emphasized; as history has shown us before, wars rarely go according to plan. The first major kink in the Syndintern’s plans was the entrance of the Entente with the declaration of war on the Union of Britain by Canada on June 1st.



    The Monarchists in Canada hoped to exploit the war between Mitteleuropa and the Syndintern to their own benefit. The Union of Britain would be at a point of vulnerability and the possibility of reconquering the realms of their former kingdom would be within their grasp. The French government-in-exile, based out of Algiers, also joined with Britain with the same aim towards the Commune of France.

    From the coast of North Africa the forces of the Entente launched aerial attacks on Spain and France, and on the high seas the Canadian navy clashed against the Republican Navy of Union of Britain.

    In the Combined Syndicates, the Continental Chamber of Syndicates was engaged in a debate over the direction of the war against the Pacific States and their position in the international syndicalist movement. While the Pacific States were unable to attack the Combined Syndicates much, the Syndicates in turn were at best making very slow progress into the territories of the Pacific States. To make matters worse, much of the territory they were moving across was mountainous and mostly barren- the industrial heartland and powerhouse of the Pacific States was along the West Coast, in particular California.

    It was known that President Reed desired to enter the Syndintern, but conditioning in the former United States would make the proposition a troublesome one. An isolationist mindset had set in for many years, well before the first Great War, that made much of the populace balk at the idea of agreeing to membership in an international entity.

    However, Reed used the desire to unify the former United States as a means to advance the Syndicalist cause within the Americas. The focus of this was the state of New England, with which relations had soured immensely. New England painted itself as the inheritor of the United States’ will, a beacon of ‘liberty’ in the chaos that had engulfed the former United States.

    On June 10th, President Reed sent an ultimatum to the state of New England- surrender and join the Combined Syndicates.



    It could be argued that Reed knew it was unlikely New England would surrender, but rather appeal to the Canadian government for help in asserting its independence. In fact, this was more than likely the case as Reed was probably hoping for two cases. The first would be New England receiving aid from Canada and provoking a war between the Combined Syndicates, ending the tug-of-war over who would be the powerhouse of the Americas. More importantly, this would allow Reed to help the Syndintern in some form without officially joining it.

    The second possibility, far less unlikely, would be Canada abandoning New England due to its attempts to destroy the Union of Britain. This would allow the Combined Syndicates to acquire New England without much trouble, but since Canada recognized this region as a weakness, it would be unlikely they would allow the Combined Syndicates to annex it.

    A half hour after Reed sent his ultimatum a response from New England arrived declaring their intention to be independent, backed with the King’s blessings. Then, citing the need to protect the Combined Syndicates’ territorial integrity, war was declared on New England, bringing Canada into the war.


    The North American War


    Though not in the Syndintern, Reed was now carrying out what his role would have been had the Combined Syndicates been a full member of the Syndintern. The war would be a tough one, with hostiles on every border except for Mexico, which chose to be neutral in the continent-spanning conflict.

    The Union of Britain, seemingly free of having to deal with Canada on its own, implemented some of its own plans for the war. The first was an attempt to open up a second front against Germany through an invasion of Denmark. This of course meant that the Kingdom of Denmark found itself at war with the Syndintern.



    Despite their naval superiority, the Union of Britain found it difficult to establish a beachhead in Denmark with the constant harassment from the German naval base at Kiel just over the border.

    In Italy, the first few weeks of conflict mainly saw exchanges of artillery and aerial combat, with very little movement on either end of the border. The only notable combat began on June 5th as the People’s Army began an assault on the city of Trento in Austria. The assault proceeded very slowly, despite being supported by large amounts of air and artillery strikes. The Italian military then faced its first major defeat, not in its assault on Trento from the ground but rather the air.



    The assault on Trento turned out to be a long one, and attempts to break the Austrian emplacements across the Po River from Republic-held Ferrara proved to be fruitless.

    This was in sharp contrast to the fighting between the Commune of France and the German Empire in Flanders-Wallonia as a lightning French strike blasted their way through the client state. The French swept through most of the country with little resistance, as the national military melted away in face of the advancing French forces, too late to be helped by the German military.

    On June 25th, a battle took place in Antwerp, threatening the capital of Flanders-Wallonia nearby. Despite an initially effective defense by the Imperial Army, the Communal Army overran the defenders in Antwerp. By the end of the battle, only a handful of divisions remained to face the considerable French storm.



    On July 1st, French forces triumphantly entered Brussels as the Imperial Army retreated ahead of them into Germany. The Commune of France proceeded to occupy Flanders-Wallonia, establishing a new Belgian government in the event of a successful war.



    A few days later on July 5th, the French tried to follow up on their success by crossing into the first piece of German territory, centered on the city of Liege [1]. Despite promising gains at first, the French forces were pushed back from Liege across the Meuse River into the occupied city of Namur.

    For the next week a protracted battle took place around the city of Namur as French forces attempted to forcibly cross back over the Meuse River into France. At first, the battle appeared to be evenly matched, and French commanders were confident of their prospects.



    A week later, despite their best efforts, French forces found themselves falling back and retreating in the face of a reinvigorated Imperial Army as armored elements moved in to reinforce the attack. Not only did the French lose their chance at Liege, but the city of Namur in the process.



    This was followed with sudden offenses launched by the Imperial Army, as armored divisions spearheaded attacks into French fortifications. Gains made in Belgium were threatened as German forces used the safe crossing provided by Namur to move forces back into Belgium. Attacks on Brussels and Antwerp were repulsed by Syndicalist forces, but they were unable to dislodge the German forces now occupying Namur.
    The potential of gains in Belgium quickly being lost resulted in a reshuffling of French forces across the battle lines with Germany, attempting to address weakness against armor where they were present and digging in as the German air force rained hell across the French emplacements.

    With France occupied with Belgium and the invasion of Denmark stalled, the Union of Britain started up the RED [2], and deployed T.E. Lawrence and his squad into western Germany across the battle lines. There, T.E. Lawrence linked up with Syndicalist-aligned trade unionists and agitators in the Saarland and the Rhine to cause problems with production and supplies for the German forces relying on them.

    The German Empire found out about the act too late, responding to the acts of sabotage by the RED after the fact and arriving to burned out factories and ruptured rail lines.



    All this activity had the effect of focusing the attention of Mitteleuropa away from Italy to its front with France. This turned the long, drawn out Battle of Trento in Italy’s favor, with a sizable assault from the Italian forces within striking distance of Trento. This took the few defenders present in the city by surprise as the Italians overran the city.



    On July 25th, the city of Trento was occupied by the Italian army, a great embarrassment to the Mitteleuropan operations there.

    Mitteleuropa did not consider the city to be a great loss in the end however, feeling the Italians could be easily repulsed with a coordinated attack. Mitteleuropan High Command was more worried about the fall of Bulgaria the previous day on July 24th, ending the long Balkan Wars in favor of the Serbians, Romanians, and Greeks.


    The Balkans after the Treaty of Sofia


    The main problem this presented was that the governments present in Serbia, Romania, and Greece were for the most part hostile towards Mitteleuropa- in particular over territories currently controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This also meant that there no longer was a stable corridor for Ottoman forces to join the front in Europe that Bulgaria once provided, leaving Ottoman forces to attempt naval transit of its forces to Ukraine across the Black Sea. This was not a capability the Ottomans had well developed, and it would be troublesome to create a stable flow of supplies from the Middle-East to Europe as a result.

    As the French assaulted Namur in an attempt to restore the front across the Meuse River, the Italians once again took advantage of the movement of forces to fight the French to open up an assault on Mitteleuropan forces across the Po River. On July 30th, Director-General of Defense Berneri ordered Italian forces across the Po River into Austrian-held territory.

    Defenders melted away as Italian forces advanced across the Po River and successfully captured a number of small towns. The fighting began to converge on the city of Padova, the last line of defense until Venice itself.

    Here the Italians hit a snag and had received reconnaissance that there were troop movements towards Venice to reinforce the garrison there and push back the Italians across the Po. They could not lose this opportunity- Padova had to be taken as quickly as possible in order to take control of Venice and establish pressure on the Mitteleuropans from the south.

    Time was of the essence. Italo Balbo in Trento reported a massive counter-attack on their forces there, and this confirmed that Mitteleuropa was attempting to reestablish control over the front before it went out of control.

    It was in this time that the elderly general Emilio De Bono, held in jail following the breakup of the “Society for Democratic Rebirth” conspiracy, requested he be given a chance to ‘redeem’ himself in fighting to recapture Venice, a city he had witnessed fall to the Austrians in the First Great War.

    The suggestion was sudden and for the most part, unpopular. De Bono was viewed both as a traitor and liability, and the commander of the People’s Army Maugeri advised against it. However, on account of De Bono’s old age and lack of real threat to the war effort, he was allowed to proceed to the front line under the supervision of a commissar from the USDR [3].

    As soon as he was given command, De Bono showed he was willing to fight and put aside his reservations against the government. This was, more or less, an act of redemption for his failure in the first Great War and fear that he would die with a tarnished reputation on account of his involvement with the Society for Democratic Rebirth.



    Somehow, despite better equipped and favorable terrain to the defenders that should have made numbers irrelevant, De Bono’s forces found themselves able to dislodge the forces in Padova. The forces of the Italian People’s Army, encouraged by their victory, pressed onwards towards Venice, and on August 8th the Battle for Venice took place.

    At the same time though, Balbo’s forces came under extreme pressure and bombardment, and was forced to withdraw from Trento as the first wave of Austrian forces began returning from the north to reinforce their positions.

    As the battle was raging in the ancient city of Venice, the Italians suffered a defeat and retreated back to Italian held positions.



    This kept the Mitteleuropan forces occupied, particular after an attempt to make a dive towards Milan, as the People’s Army fought a difficult battle in Venice as the garrison there was reinforced by fresh troops redeployed from Germany. The fighting was a difficult one, made worse with constant bombardments from the air and from artillery emplacements on both sides of the battle line. Major Gallo recounts his experience in fighting on the outskirts of Venice:

    Quote Originally Posted by Niccolò Gallo, The Second World War
    We advanced on the town of Mestre [4], an outlying community of Venice and the entrance to the only bridges connecting Venice to the mainland. The whole route up to Venice from Padova was a total mess- much of the landscape was scarred by the constant bombardments by artillery and bombers. Whatever people lived there had since moved on, some coming in our direction, others going towards the Austrian emplacements.

    Most of my division was veterans of the American Civil War, and as such we were accustomed to fighting in urban settings, a factor that definitely helped us against the Austrians who had yet to fight such battles beyond putting down riots by restive minorities in the preceding years.

    I would still say that what we fought in New York was far more dangerous and trying than what happened in Venice. This isn’t saying that it wasn’t a tough battle- it was- but it was better than we thought it would be thanks to our experience, strategy, and a good stream of supplies from People’s Army.

    The industrial districts and the main routes to the bridge still had a couple of Austrian divisions defending the route to the bridge. High Command did not wish to use the bridge as a means to assault Venice, as it would only be a deadly bottleneck, but rather cut off the supply route to the city. We were confident that by capturing much of the surrounding coast line, we could also fend off attempts to resupply and reinforce the city by sea.

    Fighting was mostly mobile. We moved from building to building, street to street, stopping for no more than 20 minutes at most due to the random nature of bombardments on the area. We had a close call at one point when a small store we barricaded ourselves in received a hit from an artillery strike- whether it was Italian or Austrian we do not know.

    We managed to push back the defenders towards the bridge, and as we were doing so many of us had begun to wonder how exactly Venice itself would be captured. High Command was hell-bent on capturing the city, feeling that besieging the Austrians would be unfeasible. It should be said that Venice had a significant propaganda value to us, liberation of a city that had been under foreign domination since the first Great War.

    As my division joined other forces, we took our positions on the road to the bridge. With the bridge behind us, we fended off a number of attempts by Austrian forces to push us out of our positions in order to restore their supply routes.

    This went on for a good four days, with fighting still raging in Mestre’s northern ramparts and along the bay to the northeast. In a way we were lucky to have been near the bridge- Austrian strikes were careful not to strike around that area for fear of damaging the bridge nearby.

    Soldiers talking among themselves wondered how long we’d end up being here for Venice to surrender. There were speculations that the People’s Army might attempt a naval landing, or even dropping men from planes, “paratroopers” as I was told about them. I had never been aware of it before, but it had been developed in collaboration with France during much of the past decade.

    We were saved from having to deal with this though. The Austrians did not feel it was worth holding the area if they were just reduced to the island on which Venice itself was situated, and withdrew their forces through naval means back along the coast before Italian divisions completely occupied the nearby coast. Those on the mainland withdrew northwards to Belluno or east towards Udine.

    Our division was among the first to go into Venice on August 20th. Unlike Mestre before it, it had been largely untouched by war, much of its valuable history intact. The museums unfortunately seemed to have been emptied as the Austrians left…
    Over a week later on August 20th, Italian forces captured the city of Venice to much fanfare as Italians turned out to greet their countrymen. The “Committee to Free Italy” or the Pope were nowhere to be found, presumably having pulled out of the city with retreating Mitteleuropan forces.



    Encouraged by the victory in Venice, a counterattack took place to recapture Trento. Italo Balbo, the ‘Hero of Rome’ was also concerned about being upstaged by an old general like De Bono with the surprising capture of Rome and hoped to at least not be embarrassed by having been unable to keep Trento.

    The Second Battle of Trento was, simply put, a meat grinder. It was only the fervor of Venice’s capture that kept Italian forces going despite the devastating defense that Austria was putting up against the offensive.

    After a brutal battle in the city proper, Trento was once again captured by Italian forces. An attempt to follow up on this an attempt was made to capture Belluno in order to secure the front along the Piave River, but this attack was repulsed by Mitteleuropan garrisons.



    The Italian forces moved to prepare themselves for counterattacks from the Mitteleuropan forces, halting offenses for the time being and attempting to bolster its air presence which was being torn up by their German and Austrian counterparts.

    Meanwhile, the French forces managed to push German forces out of Namur and reestablished a front along the Meuse River but were unable to advance into Liege, once again prevented from doing so by the German garrisons there. T.E. Lawrence, finished with his sabotage operations in west Germany, moved northwards to Bremen and Hanover to wreak havoc there. Already feeling the effects of the RED’s sabotage in the Battle of Namur, German security forces converged on the northern cities in Germany, but found that the RED was able to blend in with the populace and more than likely received help, much to the irritation of the government.



    August drew to a close without much more developments along the fronts, with the war entering into September and fall beginning. Hopes from France to break into Germany quickly were crushed, but they were able to prevent a potential disaster in the numerous battles along the Meuse River and stabilized the front.

    In Italy, there was much celebration with the liberation of Venice, though everyone knew the war was far from over. In fact, for the most part it was going to get worse before it got any better. Italian attempts to seize Crete and Malta were total failures, with the German Navy easily tearing apart the naval escorts.

    Almost fittingly, the battle lines between Austria and Italy seemed to realign themselves along the Piave River, the site of Italy’s defeat in the first Great War. Once again, that small river would represent a vital turning point in Italy’s history.


    The war in the beginning of September


    __________________________________________________ __

    [1] Liege was once in the Kingdom of Belgium, but following the First World War it was directly annexed into the German Empire.

    [2] The Revolutionary Exportation Directory.

    [3]The Ufficio Stato e Difesa della Rivoluzione, or Office of the State and Defense of the Revolution. Established during the reforms that saw the birth of the Italian People’s Republic following the annexation of the Italian Federation, formed from the old security apparatus in the Republic.

    [4] Mestre during the period of Austrian occupation was officially known as Maxhafen, named after Maximillian, the last Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia and later the short-lived Emperor of Mexico. This was part of the attempt to make the region more ‘German’. The automobile bridge built by Austria during the 1930s was named after Emperor Franz Joseph.


    AAAND a bonus. My airforce sucks this bad.



    With that I hit the 20 image limit
    Last edited by MercZ; 31-08-2011 at 09:21. Reason: Removed emots
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12
    A SHADOWY CABAL OF EVIL.

    This is where I put some quotes

  3. #123
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    Well if the German front turns into a war of attrition you already lost.

  4. #124
    Judeomasón Barón Rojo's Avatar
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  5. #125
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  6. #126
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    Just a quick word to congratulate you on your high quality AAR! Bonne chance! How much reserve do you have to break the austrian front? Maybe a landing behing enemy lines?
    Nationalité: Québécois
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    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...ar-double-AAR: my first AAR. a french and indian war game vs Narwal

  7. #127
    General Winner's Avatar

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    Just finished reading this AAR, and I must congratulate the author, it's truly a masterpiece (even though I consider myself anti-syndicalist ).
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  8. #128
    Not a Sahib Milites's Avatar
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    Maybe if your Schlieffen Plan had actually failed and France remained undefeated by German arms, the glorious proletarian revolution would not have succeeded, Winner

  9. #129
    General Winner's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    Maybe if your Schlieffen Plan had actually failed and France remained undefeated by German arms, the glorious proletarian revolution would not have succeeded, Winner
    But in my AAR the world socialist revolution had started in Switzerland, remember?
    HoI2, mod 1914 -- Could Schlieffen Plan have led to a German victory in the Great War? Find out in this AAR! -- Completed

    "Superior training and superior weaponry have, when taken together, a geometric effect on overall military strength. Well-trained, well-equipped troops can stand up to many more times their lesser brethren than linear arithmetic would seem to indicate." - Spartan Battle Manual

  10. #130
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    @Soulstrider: Yes, that is the case.

    @Kryten: The game does not let me take military control of France, even with acceptall. I would find another means to do so, but I think applying pressure at other parts of the Mitteleuropan block might get them to move. If not, well, that leads into Baron's comment.

    @Baron: That might have to happen

    @Hoth: When I started this next chapter, I had to commit resources to defending the front. However recent events have begun to make the front much more managable, giving me more flexibility with my troops to attempt landings. Unfortunately I didn't appear to have ever trained paratroopers :/

    @Winner: Much thanks.


    A Red Winter

    Quote Originally Posted by A French soldier stationed near Namur
    The fierce speed by which we defeated the forces of Flanders-Wallonia gave us encouragement, and with that we quickly crossed the Meuse River, hoping to deliver a quick defeat to the imperial forces.

    We were mistaken that the war would have been a short one. Most of us had joined thinking that the war would definitely be in our favor before the year was up, and yet here I am in September, greeted with the sight of a wrecked city nearby, of what used to be Namur.

    Somewhere along the river is Liege, where the command of the German army for the region is currently.

    Comrade Tanguy, the head of the Communal Army, came to camp today to visit us. He seems like a friendly man and much closer to our age than other commanders, having just turned 32 back in the summer. When he came to our corner of the camp, our questions began to turn him towards other areas of the war once we ran out of areas on our front. Mainly what we were interested in is whether France was carrying the burden of the war on the continent.

    Tanguy acknowledged that we indeed are the backbone of the Syndintern army on the continent, but reminded us that it was the powerful navy of the Union of Britain that prevented both the German Imperial Navy and the Canadian Royal Navy from dominating the seas and cutting off the valuable trade from the Combined Syndicates, and the efforts of the Italians in the south to prevent a Mitteleuropan assault from the Mediterranean where we were very vulnerable.

    Tanguy pointed out that in fact, despite even the most optimistic projections which showed the Italians would not have be able to proceed too deeply into Austrian-held territories without French aid, they had indeed been able to recapture Venice and had begun to move into the Tyrols mostly on their own. Austria’s capabilities had been greatly overestimated, and we had given too little credit to the Italians- the same people who had been the butt of much of our jokes in the past 20 years.
    As the lines stagnated along the Namur River, Syndintern High Command began to encourage maneuvers on other fronts to try and draw away forces from the French front. The first imitative was to ensure the German navy would be unable to harass convoys in the Mediterranean and be severed from its operations in eastern Asia. To this end a major assault was opened up on Gibraltar to control the strategic strait and sever an important naval route used to connect German industry to its raw resources in south China.

    The assault was personally overseen by Makhno, though not commanded, as he wished to ensure the commanders assigned would take the task seriously. Though it was a tiny parcel of land, its control would mean Germany’s naval routes would be disrupted and potentially interfere with the industries of the empire.

    More importantly for Makhno, it meant that access to the Mediterranean would be difficult for both the Mitteleuropan and Entente navies, and by extension landings across the region would be much easier for the Syndintern. Only the small National French navy would remain, one that would not be too difficult to handle by the Syndintern.

    The assault on Gibraltar was spearheaded by Iberian troops, supported by French air assaults and bombardments by the British Republican Navy, with the forces of the Syndintern vastly outnumbering those of the Gibraltar defenders. However, Gibraltar was a strong fortress, giving the defenders a way to make up for the sheer amount of manpower being thrown against them.

    The operation was made much easier in part due to forces being able to attack from the Iberian Peninsula, as opposed to attempting what would have been a very difficult naval landing. However, this would not mean the battle would be an easy one, but rather one that allowed more options to the commanders involved.

    As nights fell on Gibraltar, searchlights flooded the sky trying to spot fighters for German anti-air emplacements, lighting up the Rock of Gibraltar eerily against the night sky. The resilience of the fortress only drove home the base’s reputation of being impenetrable to the Syndintern, but few felt it would be able to defeat the forces coming in from the mainland.

    It would be by September 15th when Gibraltar fell, two weeks after the operation began. Mankho reportedly was not pleased with the length of time it took despite the advantages they held over the defenders. After ensuring nothing of importance was left in the fortress by the garrison, Mankho and several divisions returned back to the French front, leaving a handful of men to defend the hard won prize.


    The Strait of Gibraltar was now controlled by the Syndintern


    As Iberian forces pounded away on the Rock, British forces began to put into action the invasion of the Kingdom of Denmark in order to open up another front on the northern reaches of the German empire and increase pressure on the imperial forces concentrated along the border with France. The Republican Navy entered into the North Sea bordering the western coast of Denmark, engaging with elements of the Imperial Navy as it neared Wilhelmshaven.

    The Republican Navy showed its prowess as soon as the conflict began, forcing the retreat of its opponents back into the nearby docks. With nothing preventing its landing now, the British began their landings on Denmark, easily defeating the overwhelmed Danish soldiers.



    The landings focused on one region initially in order to secure a beachhead, from which it then expanded to the rest of Denmark up to the border with the German Empire. British forces encountered a small German border division off guard, resulting in a rather one-sided battle that ended in favor of the British.

    The invasion of Denmark resulted in a reshuffling of German forces towards the Danish border to prevent a surge of Syndintern troops into the vulnerable north, removing German soldiers from both the French and Italian fronts to meet the British head on.

    As troop concentrations began to increase in northern Germany, the RED under the command of T.E. Lawrence pulled off a significant act of sabotage in Hamburg, severing important rail lines that led up to the German naval base in Kiel and the front with Denmark. Lawrence had once again been able to pull off the deed with resistance groups that had been opposed to the Kaiser, but had been forced to leave the region even quicker than when he initiated operations in the Rhineland.

    With German security now acting against underground cells of radical trade unionists such as the FAUD [1], Lawrence found help harder and harder to come by. With areas of refuge growing smaller by the day as more cells were either shut down or went even deeper into hiding and refusing to aid the RED any further, Lawrence found himself on the move again. Gathering followers, he left the north of Germany and departed for the East, deep into the heartland of Prussia itself, to target rail lines and more factories.

    On September 21st, T.E. Lawrence’s squad damaged an arms factory outside of Berlin, and quickly moved southwards before the security forces could respond. Travelling southwards, the RED made its way for the industrial city of Dresden, where many important war-related industries were located.

    Unknown to Lawrence and his comrades, the details of his next raid had been discovered by German security, leaked by an informant who had infiltrated one of the safe houses that sheltered the RED after their attack on the arms factory. German security had already been tracking Lawrence and the RED after their activities in north Germany, especially due to the Kaiser’s great displeasure that such attacks were happening. More importantly, this did not inspire confidence among the populace in the war effort, so the head of security felt the pressure to end the RED as quick as possible to prevent an embarrassment for his agency.

    On September 26th, while in hiding outside of Berlin in Potsdam, one of the workers at the safehouse suggested to Lawrence a particular target in Dresden, which he described as being a relatively important arms factory. More over, the worker claimed that the factory was located near an arms depot, making the conditions perfect for a spectacular explosion.

    On October 2nd, the RED arrived at a factory in Dresden that was to be sabotaged. However, it was found to have been abandoned some months before due to machinery problems. As Lawrence realized exactly what the ‘worker’ at the previous safe house had done, powerful lights turned on and were pointed at them, followed by a crude announcement to ‘surrender’ in both English and French.

    They were surrounded by armored vehicles and a detachment of soldiers placed under the command of the security forces. The RED naturally did not give up, nor did the security forces expect them too. Considering the size of the force sent against them, they had come expecting a fight.

    The confrontation was a brutal one, and while the RED were skilled and experienced fighters, there was little they could do against the superior force. The RED attempted to breakout from the trap, but each attempt found themselves being penned in even more. It was only when four RED fighters- two French, a British, and Italian, took a suicidal last stand that managed to destroy one of the armored vehicles, did the RED sneak away in the ensuing confusion.

    T.E. Lawrence had suffered a wound to his leg, received from a rifleman who was firing at him as they were disappearing into the alleys of Dresden. With much of the squad injured or dead, Lawrence knew that the RED would not be able to do much more until the security forces finally caught up with them.

    As they travelled northwards, the RED linked up with the German revolutionaries who had housed them earlier, who told them they had been pursuing them to warn them of the trap, but had travelled too slowly.

    Asking about the worker who had seemingly betrayed them, the revolutionaries informed Lawrence they had taken care of him in the fashion most appropriate for ‘lumpen’ [2]. Lawrence later remarked that he had thought there was something suspicious about the worker when some of his men had asked him regarding the current activities of Rosa Luxemburg, which the imposter had been unable to answer.

    The Germans informed the RED that the government was beginning to institute checkpoints in major cities as well as curfews around industrial districts, and there were already fears that the security agency had begun to send informants and moles into the underground unions like the one they had dealt with. Emergency provisions were enacted by the Reichstag which suspended a number of civil liberties and political organizations, arguably focused on leftist and republican groups suspected of collaborating with the Commune of France. The members of the SPD were made to sign “loyalty” statements stating their cooperation… with the Kaiser and agreed to have the unions suspend any sort of industrial action during the course of the war. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the members of the radical “Spartacist” wing of the SPD as well as Ernst Thälmann from the Bolshevik wing were apprehended and arrested, along with other members of their platform [3].

    Moving northwards towards the port of Stettin, Lawrence made arrangements for himself and the RED to be extracted out of Germany and brought back to the Union of Britain. Asking his German compatriots if they wanted to leave with them, they kindly refused, stating they were willing to see their revolution to the very end.

    On October 10th, the feats of the RED came to an end once Lawrence and his remaining followers boarded a French submarine off the coast of Stettin, and made their way back to the Union of Britain.



    With the busy activity in Germany as it was, coupled with the successful capture of Gibraltar, the Italian military made plans to capture the nearby German naval base at Malta, which appeared to be only lightly defended and having problems with supplies due to the seizure of Gibraltar.

    With much of Italy’s ground forces tied up with Austria, command was only able to divert one unit to the landing. Thankfully, this was all they needed. On September 30th, the Italian navy surrounded the port of Malta and began a bombardment, along with a small landing force. It was soon discovered that Germany had left the port undefended for the most part.



    The garrison could have probably dealt with the miniscule landing force on its own. But it was because of poor weather conditions that made the raid more difficult than it should have, particular with rains and wind that caused landing operations to be chaotic. However, supported by bombardments from both the naval ships and aerial forces, the defenders began to melt away in time, but like Gibraltar the campaign took a great deal of time.



    It was only October 30th did the garrison finally lay down its arms and Italian forces occupy the island, Compared to the Gibraltar operation it was a far less costly battle, but had taken a considerable amount of time to do so. This only left the Island of Crete as the remaining German possession in the Mediterranean, as well as the major base in the Suez Canal.

    With Malta secured, operations began again in the Austrian frontier, first starting at Belluno, north of Venice and at the northern edge of the Piave river, the last major point before the Alps and the interior of the Austrian empire.

    The Piave river held a special position in Italian collective experience, due to it being seen as the “last battle” before the collapse of the Kingdom of Italy and its subsequent domination by Austria. People like De Bono in the military and Mussolini in the government had recognized this and the outcome of the battle would be a valuable for propaganda.

    On November 11th, a mass attack took place as forces were diverted to fend off the British invasion of Denmark. The battle would take a long time as divisions moved across the landscape below the mountains, supported by artillery on either end.

    Italo Balbo commanded both the land and air divisions, making use of them in his favor. Arguably much of the battle had proceeded in his favor due to the sheer size of the Italian forces and the surprise it took the Austrian emplacements by.



    Like previous battles however, Balbo found that victory took quite some time to achieve. Even as German and Austrian divisions were defeated, they would be reinforced by those from neighboring provinces. Accordingly, small assaults were opened up to draw away attention from Belluno. By the end of the month, the Mitteleuropan forces were defeated and Belluno under the control of Italy.



    As Belluno was occupied, assaults opened up on the city of Bozen deep in the Tyrols on November 18th, where the Austrian realm truly began. At the beginning of December as the weather turned much colder and snow began to appear, Italian forces appeared in the Tyrol region and engaged with their Austrian counterparts.



    The battle would have gone poorly had it not been for one important development further up north. The British, after fighting the last of the Danish military on Odense, finally completed their conquest of the country and stabilized a northern front against the German military, prompting some German divisions to leave Austria and move back northwards. This left even less infantry stationed at the south, allowing for the battle to turn in Italy’s favor once air dominance was established.


    Denmark occupied by the Union of Britain


    The last of the major Italian battles was for the city of Udine, just west of the port city of Trieste on December 5th. This assault was led by De Bono, who had benefitted from the victory at Belluno and the ongoing battle at Bozen, as well as damages to the landscape that severely hampered communication and organization. Within a few days, the Italian force was victorious, with only one division remaining to face them at the end.



    The Battle of Bozen would continue for some time after the victory of Udine, only seeming to turn in Italy’s favor on Italy 28th and carrying over into the next year. On January 5th, Bozen fell to Italian forces, and the campaign halted as the military reorganized itself and took bearings on the newly established front.

    For the most part, Italy had pushed up to roughly close to where borders of the Kingdom of Italy once were, with the exception of the progress it had made into the Tyrols. Of course the war would not stop there- the industrial heartland of the Austrian Empire remained.

    However, it was good progress, and one that the country chose to capitalize on. Having seemingly ‘redeemed’ themselves for the disaster at the Piave in the Great War, confidence in the war shot up. To capitalize on this, the Council of the Republic and members of the House of Commons took a visit to the Italian headquarters established at Venice.

    The official delegation included both President Togliatti and Chairman Gramsci, who took the opportunity to tour the old city of Venice and congratulate the military on what it had achieved so far, and hoped for a quick resolution to the war in order to start reconstruction and reconciliation.

    Others had different intentions though, in particular Director-General of Transportation Benito Mussolini. Recalling his military experience, Mussolini made the rounds in military camps talking about the “rebirth” of Italy and gradually made his way to the tent of De Bono, who was still under the supervision of the USDR commissar.

    By some means Mussolini convinced the commissar to step aside and let him visit De Bono, and almost on cue had invited in a crew from Radio Rome into the tent for an “exclusive” interview. Mussolini held up De Bono as an example of a “model” Italian, one who had successfully redeemed himself in the eyes of the workers and shed off his reactionary past.

    Mussolini then asked De Bono on his thoughts on the politics of the Italian People’s Republic, to which he responded that he was not used to- and probably never would be- the system of workers’ councils and the House of Commons. De Bono did comment however, in what was more than likely discussed between Mussolini and himself before the broadcast, that he had sympathized with the aims of the National-Syndicalists and saw them as close to his own.

    This association with the “redeemed” and rising star of De Bono would in effect bring back Mussolini’s relevance in the war, but would create a rift between him and Italo Balbo, who had until that point been the National-Syndicalists’ main representative in the military.

    Germany’s fortunes seemed to take a turn for the worse in the Far East, as its supply routes began to be hampered by the seizure of the port of Gibraltar. Despite its strong aid to the Qing Empire, the Chinese lost much of its interior territory while somehow managing to reclaim the capital of Beijing.


    China at the beginning of January


    Developments in the Combined Syndicates appeared to be favorable, and hopes were high that the Combined Syndicates would be able to resolve the conflict within the year and enter into the war on behalf of the Syndintern. The Combined Syndicates had been able to make progress over the Rockies, defeating the Pacific States soldiers where they were stationed. Against the monarchists in Canada, it began a drive from the Great Plains region and also occupied Windsor after a two-month long confrontation. Against New England it had reclaimed much of upstate New York and was threatening the capital at Boston.


    The American War at the beginning of January


    The developments in Europe did not escape the neutral nations, which adjusted their alignments accordingly, particularly towards the resurgent Russian Empire. One of these was Greece, which after the death of Ioannis Metaxas on January 10th saw the King assume greater powers and model itself after the Russian Empire, and align itself towards it.



    The King’s approach to Russia seemed to be out of fear of attack from either Mitteleuropa or the Syndintern in the event the war turned in either’s favor. The islands of Crete and Kelafonia were also the object of Greek nationalism, though he found that Crete was snatched from him. A few days later on January 15th, the Italians did their last major move of the month, occupying the Island of Crete, left virtually empty of any defenders.



    Entering into February the war appeared to be turning back towards the stagnated lines of France, where calls from the general staff became even louder for an invasion of the Netherlands in order to expand the front with Germany and increase the danger of the British occupying Denmark.

    German command had also been concerned of a potential invasion through the Netherlands, turning the entirety of the lowlands into a warzone. Its commitment to Austria became more economic and resource oriented as it redeployed troops to fight along the north if any major push was done by the Syndintern. This would leave the Italian front partially exposed, though the Mitteleuropan command hoped that the Austrian divisions and their substantial defensive pieces would be able to keep back an attack from Italy.


    The Austrian Front at the beginning of February 1941


    __________________________________________________ _____
    [1] It may be recalled that the German Empire banned the FAUD and forcibly disbanded the organization after its numerous wildcat strikes and suspicions of its sympathies with the Syndicalist International. Some cells continued to operate underground, continuing strike action where it could.

    [2] Lumpenproletariat. A term used to refer to elements of the lower classes that would cooperate with the government in exchange for money, and fail to achieve any meaningful sense of class or bonds with their fellow workers.

    [3] After the Great War, the SPD continued to operate though had moved considerably to the right in response to the reaction against the socialist revolutions breaking out in France and Italy. The faction led by Friedrich Ebert became the ruling one, supporting the Reich in the Great War and its intervention in the Russian Civil War.

    After Ebert’s death in 1925, the old party theoretician Karl Kautsky attempted to bring the party back to a more appropriate centrist position, away from its ‘patriotic’ support for the kingdom to try and win back voters.

    The party had two radical wings, the Spartacists led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, and a Bolshevik one led by Ernst Thälmann. The former appeared to support the positions of the Travailleurs platform in the Commune of France, while the latter, originally adhering to positions of the Bolsheviks, began to adopt positions of Totalism.
    Last edited by MercZ; 08-09-2011 at 04:49.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12
    A SHADOWY CABAL OF EVIL.

    This is where I put some quotes

  11. #131
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    Things look good for the Syndicalists. Hopefully, the Commune will start losing soon and things will get even more interesting
    HoI2, mod 1914 -- Could Schlieffen Plan have led to a German victory in the Great War? Find out in this AAR! -- Completed

    "Superior training and superior weaponry have, when taken together, a geometric effect on overall military strength. Well-trained, well-equipped troops can stand up to many more times their lesser brethren than linear arithmetic would seem to indicate." - Spartan Battle Manual

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    Avanti, popolo! Viva la Repubblica! Viva il Nazione!

    And with that, my Italian vocabulary runs out. Great AAR, this. Subscribed.

  13. #133
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    Thanks for the comments you two. I meant to post this yesterday but I forgot to before I went to sleep. Anyways,

    The Fifth Congress of the Greater Italian Union


    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio Gramsci
    There have been criticisms of the direction of the republic from some publications and within the House of Commons. We have been accused of forming a state where there should have been none, to have capitulated to nationalism when we should have encouraged internationalism, for not being aggressive enough against our enemies, and as we, the current Council of the Republic have been accused of many times, of not being socialist any longer.

    I reject these claims and say that we are in fact still as ‘socialist’ as we were in the beginning, during our great revolution when we struck the first blow against the nobility and papacy. However, we cannot do this in a day, or in a decade. This is a constant process that we must improve upon, one that we must consider realistic applications of our plans, considering the terrain we work with. We must be open to all possibilities, be it Anarchist, Syndicalist, or Marxist, in the construction of Socialism.

    The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned. This is the guideline I have lived under for my whole life.
    The Fifth Congress of the Greater Italian Union was scheduled to be held in 1941, determined after the Fourth Congress in 1936. With the war ongoing though, there were calls to postpone the Congress until after the war had ended, so that the country could be focused on their war with Austria as opposed to any potential political changes.

    However the government was well aware that the newly formed councils in what was once the Italian Federation had no say in the upper echelons of the government, which was still operating on the basis of the older Socialist Republic of Italy confined to the south. And the Fifth Congress had, after all, been planned without the considerations that unification might have occurred by then- as such the scope of this congress would be even greater than those that came before, possibly more important than the first Congress which established the Socialist Republic of Italy.

    There was an odd turn of events regarding the positions of the opposition platforms towards the prospect of the Fifth Congress being held on schedule. Initially, the leaders of the platforms- Matteotti and Mussolini- claimed the Anarcho-Syndicalists would attempt to delay the Congress for their own benefit, using the war as a pretext to delay the war and thus solidify their grasp on power.

    However, the Anarcho-Syndicalists were now more confident about the Congress and the progress of the war, and announced in early May that that the Congress would be held on schedule. The two platforms then switched their initial positions, arguing that the war needed to take precedent for the current government, and accused those in the Anarcho-Syndicalist platform for attempting to use the war as a means to secure an easy victory for the next five years. As such, they began to demand that the Congress be delayed until after the war had been finished.

    As much of the journalists noted in Italy and elsewhere in the Syndintern, the war in Italy had proceeded smoothly enough for the government to become more concerned about itself rather than the danger of a Mitteleuropan breakthrough. Italian forces had, for the most part, held a firm defense and moved forward where they could. Their advantage only increased once German divisions helping the Austrians were removed to supplement those holding back the French at the Meuse and the British landings in Denmark.

    The Anarcho-Syndicalists definitely had an advantage in the Congress, and it was believed that they would have a much easier time with the councils regarding the positions of the republic than they did in the Fourth Congress. The fears of a split between the Anarchist and Marxist platforms was still present, though it had not materialized due to the war committing much of the attention of those involved, many of them commanding divisions of their own in the north.

    The Union of Britain and the Commune of France would also watch what would transpire in the Italian People’s Republic, for there were movements within their nations to also hold a fresh batch of elections from the councils. The Union of Britain in particular, following the death of Chairman Tom Mann on March 14th, just short of his 85th birthday in April. A funeral was held for Mann, regarded as an important figure of trade unionism at the turn of the century, and in a way, the passing of an era.



    General Secretary Arthur Horner filled the vacancy left by Mann, and appointed Harry Pollitt, a trade unionist and Federationist, to the position of General-Secretary. The move prompted the Congress of the Trade Unions to request that the councils send new delegates to the CTU in order to account for the changes in the past years, as well as the controversial move to break the Union of Britian’s long isolation by participating in the war in Europe. This was more pointed due to the fact that Mann was chosen as the Chairman of the CTU solely for his neutrality, and now with Federationists controlling both the positions of Chairman and General-Secretary, the platforms within the CTU now said that neutrality and compromise from the last meeting were rendered irrelevant.

    The desire for elections, particularly among the dominant platforms, would be determined by how it turned out with the Fifth Congress in Italy. News of the event reached the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which attempted to begin a counter-attack on the positions of the Italians, hoping to catch the military off guard. On March 5th, the battlelines in Italy flared up once more.

    The brunt of the attack focused on Udine and Belluno, with the Austrian forces hoping to push Italians back across the Piave and surrounding Italian forces occupying Südtirol. The attack was a fierce one, bringing to bear the German airforce to bombard Italian positions and take advantage of the poor anti-air capabilities of the Italian Red Army.

    With the fears of a repeat of the First Great War weighing heavily on all those involved, the soldiers put up a strong resistance and attempted to hold back the tide of the Mitteleuropan Counterattack. Requests were sent to both Britain and France to open up combat on their fronts to draw away German elements from the Italian front and potentially weaken the thrust of the Austro-Hungarian advance.

    The British and French did so and allowed for the Italians to prevent the Austrians from coming back over the Piave River. In the confusion many Austrian forces began to pull back to their original positions, and hoping to make the most of the successful defense, the Italians opened up a counter-attack of their own, focusing on the port of Trieste.

    With much of the Austrian forces disorganized from repeated airstrikes by the Commune of France as well as their failure to take Udine, there was very little left to hold back the tide of Italian forces advancing from Venice. Trieste’s defenders were only reduced to a small number of forces once the rest retreated away from poor organization.



    As the attack was led by De Bono, Balbo was determined not to be upstaged by the ‘old upstart’ and opened up an attack on the Austrian city of Klagenfurt from his position in Belluno. Despite the mountains providing a clear obstacle to this, Balbo was confident that with the sudden advance into Trieste, the reserves present in Klagenfurt would be unable to put up an effective resistance against regular troops.

    Like the advance on Trieste, there was a significant advantage in both numbers and the relative weakness of the Austrian defenders. With the ongoing attack on Trieste and attempts to hold back a breakthrough there, there was simply no preparation for a similar sized attack on a weak point in Austria’s defensive positions. Combined with Balbo’s command of air divisions, the attack on Klagenfurt was quick and swift.



    With the counter-attack seemingly repulsed, the attention of the country returned to the oncoming Congress that would start in the beginning of April. Councils across Italy- in the universities, factories, military, farms, railroads, mines, and much more, proceeded to the task of sending their delegate to the Congress that would open on April 1st. On that day, the delegates gathered in Rome, with an opening ceremony beginning at the newly constructed statue of Giordano Bruno [1] to commemorate the Fifth Congress and its important position in the history of a new Italy.

    Once the festivities and meetings between the delegates was over, the Congress began in earnest on April 3rd, with the first two days committed to the position of the country’s next Five-Year Plan, with different ideas set out and planned by the three main platforms in the previous year.

    The positions of the platforms were once again distinct from one another, focusing on particular aspects of the current state of Italy. With regards to the economy, the Anarcho-Syndicalists asserted that the councils were working fine as they were and no further adjustment was needed. The focus should rather be on resource optimization, more importantly in the area of power generation, to ensure the country would be able to power what industries it already had. The Social-Reformists again raised their infrastructure project from the last congress, stating that it was even more necessary on account of the differences in infrastructure between southern and northern cities which was hampering economic integration. The National-Syndicalists once again raised the call for even more industrialization to elevate the country’s capacities to the rest of the Syndintern.

    The National-Syndicalist suggestion was rejected as it was in the Fourth Congress due to the fears from the councils of what kind of cost it would incur on their end, as well as the possibility of moving away power from the councils to the country’s planning department. Industrialization was proceeding at a reasonable rate for those involved, and there was no desire to pick up the pace. However, the National-Syndicalist Guido Jung, the Director-General for Planning, retained his position due to the improvements to the overall economic productivity of the economic structure.

    The Social-Reformists’ infrastructure plan was rejected for the same reason as the last Congress- infrastructure projects were already proceeding in the south, and while their suggestions would have definitely sped it up, there was not enough benefit in the end to justify reorienting the economic position of the nation towards infrastructure concerns.



    Thus the Anarcho-Syndicalist position of resource optimization found favor among the delegations from the councils, being able to do something that was not possible to do within the day-to-day operations of the republic. Particularly in regards to power generation which still eluded the planners, the ideas suggested by Anarcho-Syndicalists to overhaul all aspects of production of natural resources was warmly received and integrated into the republic’s next five-year plan as it was formulated during the Congress.

    With the economic concerns behind them, the country turned towards internal policy, which despite the defeat of the mafia had still occupied a large role in the country’s affairs due to the ongoing integration of the north, and countering the religious influence left over from the Church.

    It was during this period that the most controversial aspect of internal policy was debated- the policy towards the Papacy. The Socialist Republic of Italy, in its long feud with the Federation and the Vatican, had taken a strongly anti-clerical stance, and it was tested once much of the property of the Vatican was captured with the fall of the Federation. The Republic had long taken the position that the aspects of religion and other personal inclinations were best kept to “individual spheres” as opposed to the large, organized structures that the Vatican represented. Spurred by the Vatican’s refusal to recognize the changes in Italy, the Italian People’s Republic began to dismantle the Vatican as it existed in Italy before. The central target of this was the Papacy headed by the pope and its corresponding structure in other Catholic nations.

    President Togliatti presented a plan which, in his words, would “drive the final nail into the coffin” of the Papacy. This, in short, was more of a symbolic gesture as much of the plans had already been implemented with the destruction of the old Church administration. Justifying his position to the Congress, Togliatti called upon the legacy of Garibaldi, and stated that they needed to finish the job he set out to do, as he had stated so long ago “The papacy, being the most harmful of all secret societies, ought to be abolished” [2]. Reminding the delegates of the Papacy’s interference in the war against the Mob and its connections to the once powerful landlords of the South, he emphasized the importance of “bringing our revolution full circle”.

    The vote was nearly unanimous, with the exception of some delegates from the north, and the Papacy as an institution ceased to exist. With the war occupying much of the world’s attention at the time focused on the war, this particular event did not gain much attention. However, foreign ministries of Mexico, Centroamerica, Brazil, and Bolivia all sent congratulations to Italy for its part in the “War against the Clergy”.

    The next part of internal policy dealt with the issue of pro-Papal or pro-Monarchist sentiment remaining in the country. With the issue of the mafia mostly resolved, the issues concerning the Republican Guard and local militias were passed over in favor of this. The Social-Reformists took a non-committal role, arguing that dissent was healthy for the society and that they had nothing to fear from those who had differed from the main positions of the Greater Italian Union.

    The National-Syndicalists took a more hardline role, arguing that such signs of dissent should not be tolerated in the new country. They used De Bono as an example that anyone could change, but that they could not be given the chance to cause damage while they could.

    Given the two extreme positions on the matter, Deputy Bordiga’s proposals on behalf of the Anarcho-Syndicalists regarding a restructuring and recruitment of the party to instill a strong, ideological position seemed to be the more levelheaded and reasonable of the suggestions provided for the platforms. This was the favored position in the end, beating out both the National-Syndicalist and Social-Reformist positions by a long shot. On April 8th, the final vote was called and Bordiga’s concept was committed to official policy.



    Bordiga’s policy being accepted by the House of Commons did not go unnoticed by Makhno, which angered him deeply and once again made calls to anarchists within Italy to break with the remnants of the Marxists in the Anarcho-Syndicalist platform.

    As policy drifted into other areas, news came in that assaults on both Klagenfurt and Trieste were successful, with both cities being successfully occupied by Italian forces and held against counter-attacks by the Austrians. Reports from both De Bono and Balbo suggested they could continue the assault deeper into Austria, but it was decided by Berneri to hold off on further advances in order to give an opportunity for the forces to rest and re-establish new battle lines.



    And to top off the good news to the delegates, it appeared that Germany suffered a major loss in its Asian operations with the collapse of the Qing Empire and the flight of Pu-Yi and the Imperial Court into the German colonial city at Qingdao. Japan now controlled all of northern China while Germany continued to hold on to its business interests in the south of the country. With Gibraltar’s seizure affecting German supply routes, German troops began to take a more defensive position against the Japanese. Even in Vietnam, the attacks against the rebels in the north came to a standstill as supplies lessened.


    The fall of the Qing Empire


    In North America, the Combined Syndicates’s position was unchanged in the west, though progress against New England and Canada was being made. In particular, the Combined Syndicates had managed to cross from both Buffalo and Detroit into Windsor despite a significant defense from the Canadians, and were able to capture Toronto shortly afterwards. The capital at Ottawa was now threatened by Syndicate forces.


    The Northeastern Front


    It was almost fitting that the next area of discussion was foreign policy. The Social-Reformists attempted to argue for a more isolationist approach to the world after the war, arguing that too much had been devoted to the International Revolution as opposed to the necessary reforms and changes at home. The National-Syndicalists argued for a more independent path for Italy from France, stating that the progresses that Italy had made on its war with Austria should be used as a means to demand Corsica, Nice, and Savoy from the Commune of France in order to complete “Greater Italy”.

    There was little interest in the delegates in pursuing either option, and it was decided that maintaining Italy’s present state within the Syndintern and the war effort should be kept the same. Once more, the Anarcho-Syndicalist position won over the delegates, as the vote on April 12th confirmed the government’s current policy.



    The Congress had largely affirmed the long-running Anarcho-Syndicalist policies, and while the Social-Reformists maintained their positions in education and the National-Syndicalists in industry and military, the essential components of governance remained with the Anarcho-Syndicalists and thus the government continued its present policies.

    As May came around and the one year anniversary of the war’s start neared, some of Russia’s machinations in Eastern Europe began to make itself known through the proclamations of the Kingdom of Serbia and the Kingdom of Greece, both having gone through political changes aligning their structure with that of the Russian Empire, in their stance towards the region. The King of Serbia indicated his desire to ‘continue’ the war in the Balkans to reunify Serbs in the region under one crown and accordingly laid claim to much of Austria-Hungary’s holdings. The King of Greece turned his attention eastwards to the long-time rival Ottoman Empire, desiring to “reclaim” Greek parts of Anatolia and Cyprus from the empire.



    The war against Austria, so far, had gone much better than anyone in Italy had expected. Vienna was now within striking distance and Dalmatia within Italy’s grasp, cutting off the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s sea access. However, with such a possibility leading ultimately to a strike on Germany’s vulnerable southern regions, Mitteleuropan command might very well take the Italians more seriously and reinforce the Austrians to prevent such a scenario from becoming a reality.


    Northern Italy entering into May 1941


    Italy’s progress had admittedly been possible with Mitteleuropa treating British and French advances as a larger threat. French command desired to put pressure on Germany once Vienna itself was threatened, and the possibilities of an invasion through the Netherlands was now being taken seriously by the Communal army.

    ____________________________________________

    [1] Giordano Bruno was a Catholic priest who was condemned to death and burned on February 16th, 1600 due to his transgressions against the Catholic Church. Most of the charges stemmed from his dabbling in pantheism and hermeticism popular among intellectuals during the Renaissance, though he had also found some interest in the sciences.

    Bruno’s death came to epitomize the struggle between the Church and ‘modernity’, and while Bruno’s views themselves were not all that spectacular, he represented a ‘freethinker’ repressed by the Church. Bruno consequently became a popular figure among liberal republicans and Intellectuals such as Victor Hugo in the 1800s. With the capture of Rome in 1871 during the Risorgimento, calls for a statue to be built for Bruno became realized, built by a Freemason lodge in Italy.

    However, with the creation of the Italian Federation and the Pope at its helm, such a statue was viewed in poor taste and subsequently destroyed. With the fall of the Federation it was put back up, mostly as a way to insult the Vatican by the syndicalist government.

    [2] In 1867 a so-called “Congress of Peace” was held in Geneva, Switzerland, with Garibaldi in attendance. Among the demands issued by the delegates was embodied by this quote from Garibaldi, that demanded the Catholic Church as a political institution be abolished.

    Garibalidi’s poor relations with the Vatican stemmed from his disillusionment, as was the case with other Italian nationalists like Mazzini, in the election of Pope Pius IX. Pius IX was believed to have been sympathetic to the aims of Italian unification and to be overall more ‘liberal’, and Garibaldi eagerly offered his services to Pius IX.

    However the revolutions of 1848 and the Vatican’s position against it seemed a betrayal to Garibaldi and others, who in time came to view the Vatican as the enemy of liberalism and nationalism, essentially the spirit of 1848, in Italy and elsewhere on the continent.
    Last edited by MercZ; 23-09-2011 at 07:20.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12
    A SHADOWY CABAL OF EVIL.

    This is where I put some quotes

  14. #134
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    It's a pity the Italian state doesn't use the papacy to their gain, instead of ruining a perfectly good organization.:nono:
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  15. #135
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    Seems that Socialist Italy is walking a middle line between social democracy and hardline syndicalism. Also, the Church has to go, there is no place for it in the new regime (although it seems the repression isn't blatantly brutal).
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  16. #136
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    Seems like the point is the mobility here. Let's see if the Balcan alliance could be of some help in ending with Austria soon.
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    I must say... I love this AAR. I have been lurking but never saying anything. It ends now. I must speak of this GRAND AAR!

  18. #138
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    Just caught up, this is a great AAR!
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  19. #139
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    Avanti popolo! The world revolution continues apace! Hopefully, you'll be able to swing north soon enough to help envelop the German troops in Alsace-Lorraine and cripple the Kaiserreich by removing the Ruhr industry from Emperor Billy's pockets.

  20. #140
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    Man, I'm getting bad with having these updates come out in a timely manner. At any rate, I would like to thank all the readers and posters that helped pushed this AAR past 20,000 views. That's quite an achievement, to me at least. Thank you to all, lurking or posting.

    The Clock Ticks


    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene V. Debs, 1904
    The working class must be emancipated by the working class.
    Woman must be given her true place in society by the working class.
    Child labor must be abolished by the working class.
    Society must be reconstructed by the working class.
    The working class must be employed by the working class.
    The fruits of labor must be enjoyed by the working class.
    War, bloody war, must be ended by the working class.
    May Day celebrations were unsurprisingly subdued in tone once it came around. With much of the country focused on the war, the event was only marked by the usual day off. The avenues of Turin, Rome, Genoa, Naples, Palermo, and other major cities in the Republic were silent. Not only was it felt it would be unfeasible with Italy’s resources stretched as they were to supply the military, but the fear of air strikes. Even the proceedings of the Fifth Congress, which were shown by state press to have been held without incident the regular chambers of the House of Commons, had many times been rushed to underground bunkers when air raids began on Rome.

    Even if the government had chosen to hold the event, it was doubtful that many people felt safe enough to emerge from their residences. The one place Italy was performing as expected was in the air- that is, rather poorly. Despite its proclamation to France in the Rome Congress in 1938 that Italy’s air force could handle itself fine, bombers from the German Empire still managed to wreak havoc on the industry and infrastructure of the nation. The air force had only managed to partially deter these strikes, with the rest of the defense being carried out by hastily constructed anti-air emplacements in the major cities of Italy.

    The main way to ending these airstrikes, for Italy at least, was to be found through capturing the Austrian airfields where the German bombers launched their attacks from. Director-General of Defense Berneri convened a meeting with the Chief of the People’s Army Umberto Marzocchi and the Chief of staff of the Airforce Mario Ajmone Cat to advance on the airbases.

    While the streets of Italy were empty, it was a different story in the German Empire. On June 6th, state media reported that Kaiser Wilhelm II passed away the previous night at the age of 82. Nationalist groups such as the GDVP and monarchists within the DKP [1] organized large processions in every major city of the empire to commemorate his legacy, stating he would ‘join the ranks of the greatest Germans who ever lived”.



    Nestor Maknho, commenting to a reporter from L'Humanité, expressed remorse at the passing of the Kaiser- “I had hoped he would live to see the Ancien Régime he worked so hard to preserve in Europe fall apart in front of his eyes, to see from its ruins the workers rise up and assume their rightful place. Instead, he dies with a smug feeling of accomplishment”.

    The heir, Wilhelm III, was promptly crowned in a lavish ceremony in the New Palace at Potsdam, with much of the Mitteleuropan leadership in attendance. In his coronation speech the 59 year old monarch stated his intention to continue the course his late father had started, giving praise to the General Staff of the Imperial Military for their efforts against the forces of the Syndintern.

    While the Imperial Military had certainly kept a disaster from occurring following the French assault through Flanders-Wallonia, the war had stretched their resources to the limit and made it difficult for it to maintain its valuable overseas possessions. Shortly after the coronation of Wilhelm III the German garrision in Qingdao faced an overwhelming assault from Japanese forces, leading to the fall of the city and the evacuation of the remainder of the garrison through Yantai back to Germany.


    The Japanese advance on Qingdao


    German attempts at regrouping in the far-east continued to be met with difficulty as supply lines were stretched due to the obstacles brought about by the seizure of the Gibraltar strait by the FAI. The German marine detachment in Vietnam also found itself facing difficulties, not only from persistent Vietnamese attacks but by the Japanese themselves.

    In mid-June Japanese forces staged an assault on Saigon after the withdrawal of German forces from Qingdao. The landing resulted in severing German forces from their main supply route through Saigon, and left them pinned in between Vietnamese rebels concentrated in the north and Japanese forces in the south.


    The capture of Saigon


    All these developments were welcomed by the Syndintern as it signaled lost resources on Germany’s behalf, even though it meant that more soldiers would be returning to Germany soon, and that imperialist domination a still continued in the region in the form of Japan. However, Syndintern leaders were concerned their counterparts in Vietnam who, while suffering casualties at the hands of the German marines, had managed to hold back the Germans only to now deal with the possibility of an occupation by Japanese forces. Undoubtedly a struggle against a regional Japanese power would be even more difficult than the Germans, which had been attempting to do so from half-way across the world.

    The notable Italian battles in the summer took place in the vulnerable Balkans, while keeping the Austrian forces at bay. Tito and other revolutionaries had been dispatched to the region when hostilities broke out, ordered to do what they could to harass and weaken Austrian garrisons, particularly along the Dalmatian Coast. With the announcement of the King of Serbia’s intentions in the Balkans, the pressure turned up on Tito and the other agitators to secure popular support in their efforts to cast off Austro-Hungarian occupation.

    The first battle opened up at Capodistria in early June, the main obstacle into Istria and the Dalmatian coast for Italian forces. This was orchestrated by forces led by De Bono, backed up by airstrikes from the Commune of France and disruption of supply lines travelling into the region. The defenders were unable to hold back the drive from Trieste, and had to fall back further into Istria.



    This battle left the entire Istria peninsula at the hands of Italian forces. The southern part of the peninsula, including the city of Fiume, was captured by the Syndintern in the days following the victory at Caopdistria.

    The campaign along Dalmatia focused on essentially shutting off the Austro-Hungarian Empire from its sole access to the sea, preventing the empire from trading with neutral nations and making it even more reliant on the Germans to function. The appeal of “Yugoslavia” among the people in the region took root as both Tito’s forces and agents from the King of Serbia attempted to harness the powerful sentiment in their favor. For Italy though, Tito’s acts of sabotage helped to make it difficult for Vienna to reinforce its garrisons in the area.

    Despite this though, it took the better part of the summer for Italian forces to fight their way through Dalmatia and work their way down the coast to the border of the Kingdom of Serbia to cut access to the Adriatic Sea.

    The next confrontations were marked by small skirmishes until the Battle of Karlovac, a Hungarian-controlled city, on August 20th. Once again this involved De Bono’s forces, who had essentially taken command of the major operations in the Balkans. Karlovac also hosted an airfield from which many Mitteleuropan sorties launched from, and its capture would relieve much of the eastern coastline of Italy from persistent air raids.



    The Battle of Karlovac had definitely been on Italy’s terms. Much of the preceding weeks during the summer consisted of small skirmishes which steadily drained the organization, supplies, and manpower of divisions attempting to hold back the assault. Fresh divisions were reportedly being raised in the heart of the Kingdom of Hungary to supplement the existing Imperial forces, but they would arrive too late to aid the defenders of the city. The battle would continue well into September, with the city only capitulating on September 23rd once the defenders were exhausted and withdrew into the heartland of the empire.

    In Asia, as Japan consolidated its control over north China, it was faced with a troubling event. The Prime Minister of their client state of the Fengtien Republic [2], Yan Xishan, was assassinated by an unknown lone gunman. The event sparked a political crisis in the Japanese puppet, but it was also an opportunity for Japan to cement its control over the area. To replace Yan, the Japanese backed Zhang Xueliang, the son of General Zhang Zuolin, the leader of the Fengtian Republic.



    However, the importance of the assassination would reveal itself in another way- the growing discontent among the population of China, with its fractures and exploitation by both Germany and Japan. The success of radicals in Taiwan encouraged sentiments in both German and Japanese spheres in China, and rumors soon emerged that Yan may have met his end by a Republican sympathizer. It would be doubtful though that a full-scale resistance would emerge in the Fengtian Republic, but rather further south in the troubled German East Asian Company as the Board of Executives began to express doubts over their ability to maintain control over the increasingly discontent populace.

    The Combined Syndicates of America was making good progress against both the Canadians and the Pacific States, with Canada now effectively cut in half with Syndicate seizures of the plan regions surrounding the southern rim of the Hudson Bay. With their assault on the Canadian capital at Ottawa thwarted, Syndicate commanders focused on removing the Pacific States out of the war. Despite the numerical advantage of the Combined Syndicates, the terrain proved to be a significant obstacle in their progress westward into the heartland of the Pacific States along the coast of California. A breakthrough in August led to the capture of San Diego at the end of September, providing a foothold for the Syndicates in their attempt to annex the state.


    San Diego captured by Syndicalist forces


    The entire Syndintern hoped the long war in North America would soon draw to a close, which had essentially become an extension of the devastating Second American Civil War, so that the Combined Syndicates could be in a position to support the war effort in Europe through trade and resource. A direct intervention was also hoped, though Syndicalist leaders acknowledged that Reed would have to overcome decades of Isolationist sentiment in order to do so, much less the exhaustion of war by much of the populace in the former United States.

    October for Italy saw a continuation of the Dalmatian Campaign, with the port city of Split being surrounded and besieged by the forces of De Bono and as much of the interior Balkans laid empty for advances by the People’s Army.

    Germany, looking for more direct sources of manpower and industry, made the decision to formally annex the United Baltic Duchy into the German Empire. Justifying the move by the large population of German settlers now residing in the state, the Duchy was elevated to a full member of the German Empire.



    From a practical standpoint, this gave Germany direct control of the resources and manpower, as well as a message to its member states that it was still managing affairs in Mitteleuropa despite the pressures of the war on Germany. Russia’s reaction to the annexation, a region it still maintained rightfully belonged to it following the restoration of the Tsar, was surprisingly muted. Russia’s stance towards the war in Europe was officially an isolationist one, preferring to not get it involved in the war. However, the Syndintern knew from its activities in Romania, Serbia, and Greece that it had other intentions for Europe that it would only make known once the conditions favored them.

    With pressure increasing from France on Italy to cause more damage on Austria, De Bono’s forces moved from besieging Split to a full-scale assault on November 2nd. With the previous weeks taking a toll on the defenders, the battle was favored towards the Italians. As the days went on, the defenders melted away and the numerical advantages of the Italians became even more pronounced.



    By November 20th, Split fell to De Bono’s forces, removing another major Adriatic Port from the Austrians. This left only the Austrian port near Cetinje as Austria-Hungary’s last access to the sea. The Balkan interior now remained to Italy, to seize and cut off from Vienna and Budapest what resources they had been extracting from the region. Tito’s rebels had quickly established the groundwork for a Yugoslav government, forming councils in ‘liberated’ regions as they moved ahead of Italian forces into Bosnia.

    In November, another push by the British in Denmark on German cities took place. This was, like previous attempts, unsuccessful as German forces quickly reinforced the areas around Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. The shift in Mitteleuropan attention however benefitted Italy’s attempts to break into the interior of Austria with forces assaulting the city of Graz. General Balbo, still trying to further his rivalry with De Bono, led a pitched battle at the cost of many lives in order to water down the continuously reinforcing Austrian emplacements. It was only by December 2nd that Graz’s defenders fell back, leaving the city to be captured by Italy.



    While this was a welcome development, the cost of the battle did not go unnoticed by Berneri, who after consulting with the Chief of the People’s Army Umberto Mazzochi released a warning to Balbo over his use of the divisions in costly assaults. According to the report, which cited ‘certain accounts from concerned soldiers regarding a particular rivalry with De Bono’, the soldiers had begun to question the motives of Balbo’s often rash attacks, that while coming as victories often cost the lives of many of the Italian soldiers.

    Balbo’s response to the letter was curt, merely sending back to Berneri and Mazzochi a response telling them to let the ‘generals do their commanding’ and to not dictate the war from their ‘desks’. This elicited a stern response from both men, who were on the front lines along with everyone else, and again they warned Balbo to back off on further costly assaults. The two men also commented to Radio Rome their concern with what they felt was a ‘particular, virulent nationalism’ that ran contrary to the proletarian focus of the republic in Balbo.

    On December 20th, Balbo attempted to follow up his success at Graz with another assault on the other end of the theatre at Innsbruck. The capture of this city would mean the vulnerable southern regions of Germany would be exposed and potentially set the ground for an encirclement of German forces in Alscace-Lorraine.

    Balbo’s hopes for a breakthrough in the broader European war were dashed though when forces at Innsbruck put up a strong defense against Italian forces, and much to Balbo’s dismay his use of the air force was limited by poor weather conditions. The battle did not show the same collapse that Austrian defenders at Graz showed, but rather an increasing resilience.

    With the fears of a strong rebuke, and more than likely removal, by Berneri or Mazzochi, Balbo reluctantly called off the assault and withdrew back to Italian lines. Had the assault continued any longer the whole matter would have been an embarrassment for the Italians and the loss of lives would have set up the state for a demotion of Balbo.

    Balbo however had his sympathizers in the military and even among his own soldiers. Indeed there had become a growing sympathy for National-Syndicalist thought that Balbo proudly espoused among some of the staff and officers, though it was questionable how much of this was due to a genuine approval of those beliefs or their disapproval of the long-running anarchist control of the People’s Army.

    It would indeed be a ‘hot’ winter among Italian forces that month as they began to dig into their positions and adjust to the winter from the Alps. The Dalmatian campaign was nearing completion, with much of the resistance dissipating and the region left up for grabs for Tito’s forces, and the costly victory at Graz meant that the capital of Vienna was now within striking distance for the Italians.


    Northern Italy, Austria, and the Balkans at the beginning of 1942


    The French Communal Army, frustrated with the long stagnation along the Meuse River and the persistent skirmishes, artillery strikes, and air assaults began to enact their plan to invade the Netherlands to expand the front with Germany and increase pressure on their forces as they attempted to spread their forces to fight along the ever expanding front.

    On January 10th, 1942, the Commune of France invaded the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with little explanation beyond pretext of ‘actively aiding’ the German Empire. The Italian government meanwhile hoped the sudden burst of activity from France would move Germany’s commitments away from Austria and back towards itself, and leave Austria’s forces at its true, weak state. Indeed, the greatest advantage Italy would have against Austria was not from itself but rather the French occupying the attention of Mitteleuropa.

    Berneri, speaking to the Council of the Republic, stated that “Germany will only notice what happened once Emperor Otto tugs at Wilhelm’s scabbard, pointing to a Vienna adorned with red flags.”

    __________________________________________________ __________
    [1] The Greater German People’s Party and the German Conservative Party.

    [2] The republic occupied what was commonly known as “Manchuria”. The Fengtien Republic originated from the chaotic political situation in China following the collapse of the Qing Empire in 1912, replaced by the Republic of China. The Republic was plagued with infighting and warlords took the opportunity to break off, including what would become the Fengtien Republic. The Qing Empire was restored in 1927 following a German intervention into the Chinese Civil War, and the Fengtien Republic was one of the major, remaining warlord-led states.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12
    A SHADOWY CABAL OF EVIL.

    This is where I put some quotes

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