Aug 24th 1939 Sept 1 1939
As I feared, the assault on Shaoyang failed. I should have waited until my units had recuperated after the last battle before I launched another attack. But waiting one and a half to two months after each battle to sufficiently reorganize is always frustrating. On the plus side, I was fairly confident that Japan didn't need to fear a surprise attack from the Allies in the near future.
Europe and Africa
When Germany made the deal with the Allies I concluded that I was the most logical target for France and Britain. Saving China and squashing Japan would have gone a long way to furthering the Allied cause. But I think the Allies were taken aback by the success of Barbarossa. Fear of German success probably motivated the Allied attack.
Comintern diplomacy no doubt played a part. Pedal was rather... irate with the Allies after they had vetoed China's surrender and then abandoned Poland to give Lobo an avenue to attack Russia. Consequently he tasked me with contacting the Allies. After Germany mauled the Soviet Union I sent a PM to the Allies detailing the carnage on the Eastern front and how hopeless the situation was for Russia. In fact, I over exaggerated the difficulties Russia was facing in the hopes that the would motivate the Allies to act against Germany.
And act they did:
France locked up the Rhur and advanced deeper into Germany. They were only two provinces away from bordering Berlin.
Spain, a member of the Axis, was bypassed and there appeared to be no fighting in or around Iberia.
Italy was likewise weakened up the Allied attack but not to the extent of Germany. The Italian Empire, however, fared less well. The British rapidly advanced into Libya and Ethiopia.
The Eastern Front was still fluid but Soviet resistance was stiffening considerably. Unfortunately once Leningrad fell the Red Navy had no port in the Baltic. It had been forced to sea and the ships and sailors were slowly dying.
Bulgaria had also seized Istanbul from Communist Turkey.
The only real good news for the Soviets was that patriotic citizens under the brutal Nazi regime refused to stay subjugated. Germany lost numerous provinces on the eastern front when the partisans rose up.
Iceland, which Germany also occupied after annexing Denmark was also completely lost. Rebels had seized back their lands and driven the Germans into the sea.
September 1st to September 24th 1939
Europe and Africa
All was quiet on the Far Eastern front while the Imperial Japanese Army attempted to regain organization while occupying the pathetically low infrastructure Chinese provinces.
Europe and Africa however were characterized by rapid change. While Italy itself still stood, the Italian African Empire was no more. Both Ethiopia and Libya had fallen making the British the true masters of the Dark Continent.
In a surprise move, the French willingly withdrew from most of the occupied Germany provinces and retreated back to more defensible positions of the Maginot line. Germany was now free to retake most of their lost land, although they no longer had the opportunity to cut off and encircle the French army, which was undoubtedly the intention of the Allies. The French and British left only ashes in their wake. Lobo would have to spend many long months rebuilding the resources and ICs in the Rhur.
The Soviet economy was even more dire:
The Italians launched a surprise landing in Batum where there was no beach garrison. The Comintern assumed that Italy would try to drive for Baku to wreck the oil production even if they didn't plan to stay there permanently. The Soviets, though they had few troops in the region were determined to try to cut off the Italian Expeditionary force and destroy it.
Soviet forces, at long last, were now in place across almost the entire front. No longer would Germany find easy victories by simply walking into empty territory. September was a historic month. Instead of merely defending the Soviets were now also attacking. Pedal successfully made inroads into the center of the Germany force. The march back to Moscow had begun.
As you can see below, fighting the Soviets and the Allies at the same time is having an impact on the Axis. Added together, the losses Germany and Italy have taken are greater even than the losses China has suffered:
Japan and Russia were gratified we were no longer facing an Axis and Allied coalition. The initial disaster and our diplomatic maneuvering had driven a wedge between Germany and the West. But the Comintern was also concerned- we had a very long way to march until we could reach Berlin. Although the Allies had seemingly retreated they had shown a willingness to initiate daring offensives. What if the Allies launched a second wave of attacks and got to Berlin before Russia? Germany would collapse, along with their Axis partners. Europe would belong to the Allies and we would once again find ourselves facing the Allies plus a now democratic Germany and Italy. We held no illusions about what the Allies would do to us if they could call upon the industrial resources of Central and Southern Europe.