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Thread: Der Aufstieg des GroBdeutschen Reich

  1. #21
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    aye take your time ... its a nice set up to the game
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  2. #22
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    Nicely done. Dont worry about how long it takes. Some of my games take forever....I love the buildup to actual war.....to see how things can be 'changed' or altered to give the game more flavor.

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  4. #24
    Heading to the DANGER ZONE... Wraith11B's Avatar
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    3. Forging the Spear
    Strategic Planning for the Wehrmacht

    1936


    With the stated foreign policy objectives of the Fuhrer, the Wehrmacht now had to build the force structure that would allow the Reich to meet or exceed those goals in true Clausewitzian fashion.

    I. The Heer


    The Heer was in pristine (though severely undermanned) shape, even with the draconian limitations of Versailles. Article 160 had mandated a limit of seven infantry and three cavalry divisions; a strength which granted a great deal of technical experience in mobility operations. Upon the announcement of rearmament, those three cavalry divisions formed the core of the German armored formations. This, combined with the relentless training regimen imposed by Generalfeldmarschall von Seeckt and carried on by his successors gave Germany one of the best-trained armies in the world.


    German machine gunner on Heer maneuvers, 1936. von Seeckt, who's maneuvers made the Heer
    the best in the world, passed away in late 1936, much to Hitler's lament.


    By the beginning of 1936, Germany had already recovered enough to field thirty-six infantry and three armored divisions. These formations were largely paper constructs, and the nacent armored units were essentially only good to teach the infantine Panzerwaffe about its duties in open warfare, without having to ship men into the Soviet Union for clandestine instruction. The focus on combined-arms warfare would later be given the misnomer of “Blitzkrieg” by the (largely ignorant) British press.


    German armor during the maneuvers, 1936. These early tanks were largely ineffective in tank-to-tank actions,
    but their successful employment by the motorized infantry led to the development of mechanized infantry.


    The planning for the expansion of the Heer was in the hands of the Reich’s ministers. Generaloberst von Blomberg, Defense Minister from 1933-1936, laid out the operational concept of how the Heer would likely be deployed. The old system of basing troops out of the Wehrkreis was abandoned; those troops would be far away from any future conflict which could possibly be decided by the speed of mobilization. Though the Wehrkreis were kept for recruiting, minor training and sponsorship duties, their troops were now “forward deployed” to operational areas. Five commands were created: Oberkommando-West, -Ost, -Suden, and -Nord were unified combatant commands with direct control over operational forces for a fixed region. Oberkommando-Heer was tasked with internal defense and administrative control over forces that would be better off training together, or where it made economic sense. All of the unified commands had permanently assigned infantry forces (though actual strength varied depending on the limitations of the countries that particular command faced), and would be assigned special forces or armored forces as needed from OKH. A numbering system was also enacted which would allow instant recognition of what unit was involved and their general location.


    General staff going over troop deployments with Hitler, 1936.


    Oberkommando-Ost was projected to be the largest of all of the unified commands. Having operational responsibility for Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Baltics, and eventually the Soviet Union, this command received the bulk of the forces planned for the Heer. All OKO forces were given odd numbers—1. Armee oversaw I and III Armeekorps; 3. Armee held V and VII Armeekorps; 5. Armee held IX and XI Armeekorps. Each corps was tasked with five divisions each, also numbered in such a manner as to allow instant recognition of its’ respective chain of command; thus, in I Armeekorps, the divisions assigned were 1., 11., 21., 31., and 41. Infantrie-Division. OKO’s force strength was projected to be nearly 50 infantry divisions alone, organized into 10 corps, two corps to an army. With five divisions per corps, it was expected that four divisions would be able to hold the frontage of anywhere from 40 to 60 kilometers across, with the fifth division in reserve to either exploit or provide additional support, situationally-dependent.

    Oberkommando-West was the second-largest command. Responsible for France, the Low Countries and Switzerland, OKW was primarily concerned with holding the Western Wall against France. All OKW forces were given even number ordinals, and had a recommended force strength of 35 infantry divisions. 2 Armee would hold fifteen of the divisions; 4 and 6 Armees would each have ten.

    Oberkommando-Nord and –Suden were, as one Heer historian quipped, “the bastard children” of the force structure. With objectives only against Denmark, OKN was only allotted five infantry divisions; OKS would have ten divisions, but they had the unenviable task of having to support the Italians, should the objective of bringing them to the Reich’s side be met.

    Under OKH, the foundation was laid for the expansion of the heavy and special divisions of the Reich. A minimum of two Panzerarmees was called for, with three Panzerkorps each. Each of these corps would oversee two Panzer-divisions and two motorized infantry divisions, thus allowing the formation of two kampfgruppen should the situation so dictate. Furthermore, given the experience with the Motor Reconnaissance Detachment (MRD) in several war-games, a light Panzer-division was planned to be added to Panzerkorps. In practice, these units would be employed to scout and seize key terrain deep behind enemy lines, with the objective of maintaining operational momentum and tempo. Also, if necessary, these units could fix enemy formations, holding them in combat until follow-on heavier forces could arrive to engage the enemy in a decisive battle (in Heer parlance, entscheidungsschlacht), thus allowing the light division to continue the primary mission of reconnaissance.

    Also under OKH oversight was the creation of Heereskommando Spetzialkraft, or Army Special Forces Command, an army-level command staff which would oversee the training, equipping, and deployment of specially trained forces. Primary among these would be a planned eight Gebirgsjager-divisions. Some of the other officers were also looking into the concept of air-lifting troops into the battle, thus rapidly placing a division into the combat area without wearing out the troops by marching. The effectiveness of such troops remained to be seen, however.


    Training of the very first German parachutists, 1936. Though not yet seen to be effective for much
    other than reconnaissance or covert operations, there was enough interest to fund the project.


    II. The Kriegsmarine


    For the Kriegsmarine, organization was easy. Under one headquarters, the surface fleet: up to 1937, a collection of 2 old pre-dreadnaught battleships (Schleswig-Holstein and Schesien), 3 Hipper-class heavy cruisers, 2 Leipzig-class light cruisers, 3 Konigsburg-class light cruisers, 6 Z1-class and 9 G7-class destroyers. As much of the German warship capability had been stripped by Versailles, there was a derth of experience in constructing such vessels; much of the surface fleet had issues with seaworthiness and other concerns.


    A Type VII, U-19, comes back to the pier just after commissioning, 1936.


    If the surface navy was in bad shape, the u-boat fleet was horrendous. By 1936, only twelve small Type IIs coastal submarines had been completed: six Type IIAs which were assigned to Unterseeboot Ausbuildung Geschwader, or the Uboat Training Squadron and six Type IIBs assigned to 1. and 2. Ubootflottille, with three more completed by 2 March 1936 and assigned to 3. Ubootflottille. Designs, however, were on the drawing board for the Type VII, a far more capable craft. Twelve were ordered early in 1936; of these, half would be completed and commissioned into 4. and 5. Ubootflottille on 18 October 1936, with the other half of the order slated for completion in 1937. It would be the experience from all of these boats that would give the Kriegsmarine’s U-boat-waffe the future: a u-boat of high speed, endurance, long range, and with a torpedo that would guarantee a kill.

    III. The Luftwaffe


    Initially, the Luftwaffe was organized in a haphazard manner, with several groups of different sizes and group compositions. In 1936, after significant testing with various group sizes and compositions, Luftwaffe officers determined that—given the planned operational role of the Luftwaffe as flying, rapidly mobile ground support—the Luftwaffe would have to have permanent groupings of aircraft. Each squadron of one hundred planes each would be paired with another squadron. These groups, or as they were named, “Luftwaffedivision”, were centered on one particular type of airframe. These LWD were then formed into Luftflotte, or air fleet, by organizing two wings of interceptors, a wing of close-air support aircraft and a wing of tactical bombers. Doctrinally, the Luftwaffe’s high command sought to build four complete Luftflotten, with one assigned per ground army. This was believed would give ground forces dedicated on-call air support; thus furthering the Heer’s chosen doctrine of combined arms. Though there were far more than four ground armies, permanent relationships were already made: those luftflotten would rotate officers into the command staff of the ground armies. These officers would then train others at the corps and division levels in calling for air support.


    Bf-109Ds just after delivery to JG 4, 1936. Messerschmitt fighters would form the backbone of the
    Luftwaffe for much of the war.


    Future technologies were not ignored, however. The Luftwaffe contracted with several universities and research firms in order to study the feasibility of both rockets and jet engines. If there was one thing that the Wehrmacht recognized, it was that Germany, though large, lacked a massive manpower pool that the Russians, British (through the Commonwealth) and the Americans could call upon. Fighting against any one of these countries would be difficult; two could prove nearly impossible. Anything that would give the Reich the edge was needed. Also, the Wehrmacht review of what the British and Americans were doing doctrinally with strategic airpower made defending the Fatherland most important. Jet engines for aircraft would make the enemy easy pickings, or render bombers virtually invincible against enemy fighters. Rockets would make any strategic bombing formation extremely expensive in both lives and machines.


    Werner von Braun and several of the Wehrmacht Rocketry Research Development Team, 1936.


    In sum, though it was not quite yet the Wehrmacht War Machine that became legendary, the foundation had been laid. Time would tell how well it worked.

    * * * * *


    Author's note: pictures are coming, but I'm about to have to leave the coffee shop...
    Last edited by Wraith11B; 13-10-2011 at 06:42.

  5. #25
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith11B View Post
    Author's note: pictures are coming, but I'm about to have to leave the coffee shop...
    Ah... coffee. Every historian's staunch ally.

  6. #26
    Good details; I'm finally stepping into the pool and trying Germany, myself, so OOB creation is always handy for me. I'll be reading carefully!

  7. #27
    Lt. General anweRU's Avatar
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    Very good story telling so far. The auxillary Berlin looks a little out of place though .

  8. #28
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Nice update. I always have trouble deciding what to produce first and in what order, so this was interesting.

  9. #29
    Nice start so far, keep up the good work, I will be reading. You have a good writing style and it is nice to see an opening to this AAR.
    "Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live."

    "Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times."

  10. #30
    First Lieutenant Matnjord's Avatar
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    Let's hope that this one will last more than its ill fated predecessor Good luck!

    I like your idea of creating those Luftflotte (will definitly use it), do you actually create HQs for them or it's just fluff?

  11. #31
    Heading to the DANGER ZONE... Wraith11B's Avatar
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    4. First Successes, First Setbacks
    Österreich, Spain and the Second Sino-Japanese War

    1937


    At the start of January 1937, the Soviet Union announced that the NKVD had received information (developed in part thanks to Abwehr assistance) of several counterrevolutionary plots against the Rodina. In response, Stalin ordered the NKVD to purge the RKKA of all traitors, a mission that they took to with a vengeance. Though Hitler and his political advisors were overjoyed to see the Soviets turning on each other, one Heer general officer warned that “Flowers, in a bed that has been weeded, often grow stronger.”

    The first major foreign policy objective for the Reich—that of violating the Treaty of Saint Germain and bringing Österreich and the Deutsches Reich together—was successfully accomplished on 24 January 1936. After the June 1934 putsch, the Geheimdienst had operated with near-impunity in Austria, mostly due to public distrust in the Austrofascist government of Kurt Schuschnigg, who had risen to the Chancellorship after the assassination of Dr. Dollfuss. His rule was so unpopular, however, that Hitler demanded that Schuschnigg resign in favor of Arthur Seyss-Inquart, that all imprisoned Austrian NSDAP party members be released from prison and that several prominent cabinet positions be given to NSDAP persons. By the end of 1936, a political crisis was brewing, and a plebiscite was scheduled, but never carried out. On orders of Frick, members of the Abwehr began ascertaining who amongst the Austrian army was most loyal to the Reich; the Geheimdienst performed several targeted operations to destabilize the Austrian regime. After such actions, the Austrian people demanded the union of Germany and Austria to bring peace and stability to the nation. In early January, Germany received notice that the Austrian government had collapsed. Hitler, expecting this, immediately sent troops into Austria. The German troops, though small in number, were rapidly joined by the Austrian army and Geheimdienst operatives were withdrawn. Peace—or at least the appearance of such—had been restored in Austria. In response, Hitler declared a week-long holiday and celebration of the Anschluss.


    Hitler and Seyss-Inquart during the "festivities" of the Anschluss, 1937.


    International response was muted. In the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin said that nothing could have prevented the union between Germany and Austria. He did go on to say that a defense review would be initiated, but failed to respond in any other manner. The United States’ State Department issued a statement to the effect of stating that they were glad that the unrest in Europe had been minimized, but expressed concern over the lack of self-determination from the change. Baldwin’s apparent failure as a national leader led to his resignation in mid-February 1937.


    German Border Guards assist in dismantling an Austrian border crossing, 1937.
    The rapid success of the Anschluss was much appreciated in the Reichstag.


    Buoyed by this success, the Foreign Ministry sought out additional sources of crucial materials that were required to feed the German industrial complex. Two separate negotiating teams, one in Greece and one in Norway, both sought to purchase needed metals from their respective governments. The day after the announcement of the Anschluss, the Foreign ministry reported that they had reached an agreement with both Greece and Norway to supply Germany a total of 74 tons of iron ore a month in exchange for a mere ℛℳ24000 (US$5700). However, Norway’s Parliament failed to ratify the trade agreement, causing their portion to fall through a few days later. The failure of the Norwegian Parliament to agree to a mutually beneficial treaty left Germany importing 56 tons of ore a month from Greece alone, in exchange for a mere ℛℳ17640 (US$4200).


    Nationalist Spain Propaganda Poster, 1937. Franco's utter military failures were
    universally reviled by the Wehrmacht.


    On 20 April 1937, political and government tensions came to a head in Spain. With the recent memory of rigged local elections only four months prior, as well as disgruntled army officers who wanted a stronger nation, Spain began to rip herself apart. On one hand was the Army and the Church, the other was the socialists and communists; a civil war was inevitable. Almost immediately after hearing of the outbreak of war on the continent, most governments around Europe either pledged their support or desires for non-intervention in the situation. Hitler, seeing a way to get at least some experience for his troops in a real shooting war before the main event, ordered Foreign Minister von Neurath to publicly commit to a policy of non-intervention patrols with the Kriegsmarine. Privately, those vessels brought nearly nine thousand Germans from the Geheimdienst (GD), Kommando Spetzialkrafte (KSK), and the Deutsch Fremdenlegion (DFL) into Spain to assist in the training and leadership of Nationalist Spain’s troops. Other nations, particularly Italy (also supporting the Nationalists) and the Soviet Union (supporting the Republicans) contributed some troops and equipment. France almost immediately offered the Republican Spanish government permission for it’s forces to cross the French border, an agreement which had been in negotiations since it had become apparent that there might be an outbreak of war on the peninsula. When the Abwehr heard of this agreement—it had been kept very close to the chest by both parties—they immediately leaked it to French media outlets. In reaction, the French public immediately went on strike and conducted a massive peace demonstration. The Republicans also received military access from the United Kingdom, allowing them to base their submarines well away from military installations that could be targeted by the Luftwaffe-backed Nationalist air force.


    DFL trooper supervises Nationalist forces, late 1937. The lack of success was grating
    on the German troops assigned to assist Franco's forces.


    Throughout the rest of 1937, the war would largely turn against the Nationalists. On 21 May 1937, Republican Spain received a massive donation of desperately needed rare materials for their war effort, though a week later it turned out the minister in charge of their industrial sectors had secretly been sabotaging orders and production because he was a Nationalist sympathizer. There were not only bad things happening to the Republicans: Geheimdienst observers discovered a leak within the Nationalist government on 3 June, leading to increased efforts to track the source. These efforts proved futile, though they were more than offset by the defection of several groups of Republican troops to the Nationalist cause.


    Graphic showing weekly progression of the front line, April - September 1937


    By September, however, the tide had irrevocably turned against the Nationalists. Despite all manners of German assistance from special operations and clandestine activity (to include Nationalists’ twice refusing Portuguese offers of permission to pass military forces through Portuguese territory before finally accepting at the end of September), the back of Nationalist resistance was broken.


    Graphic showing weekly progression of front lines, September - December 1937


    The civil war in Spain was not the only conflict that erupted in 1937. On 1 July, after several close calls and an agreement between Japanese army units and Kuomingtang (KMT) forces in the vicinity of Beijing over night live-fire maneuvers being conducted by the Japanese. A KMT force, believing itself under attack, responded to the sound of the Japanese exercise with a fusillade of their own. After nearly a day and a half of heavy infantry combat—including hand-to-hand engagements on the bridge itself, and subversion of the diplomatic cables between the Japanese and Nationalist Chinese—the Japanese forces carried the day, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. KMT forces in the area, loyal to the Shanxi warlords, withdrew to more defensible positions further south. Japan declared war against the Chinese officially, and the KMT received support from the Shanxi, Xibei San Ma clique and Communist Chinese forces. In response to Germany’s support of Japan, Nationalist China embargoed German goods arriving in China on 24 August 1937.


    Hitler and the Japanese ambassador listen intently to Ribbentrop's assessment of
    the situation in the Far East, 1937.


    FM von Neurath’s roving ambassador, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had been in Tokyo conducting negotiations encouraging the Japanese into signing the Anti-Comintern Pact; they accepted the invitation on 2 July, though it took a few weeks before the treaty was officially signed by both parties. Divisions within the German government regarding the invitation of the Japanese, however, came to a head and became public on 21 July 1937, causing a slight disruption to the officer education programs as the various offices quarreled amongst themselves. By 10 August, cooler heads had prevailed and the interruptions were rectified. By the end of November, Japan had negotiated for the purchase of nearly 87 tons of coal a month in exchange for ℛℳ13,860 (US$3,300). Not only did the Japanese help the Germans by purchasing their excess resources, but they also assisted in influencing nations in which both countries had a strategic interest: Iran.


    KMT troops dug in on the Marco Polo Bridge. Exacting a large toll of Japanese troops,
    the KMT forces were still quickly routed.


    Progress in China for the Japanese was swift: the Shanxi warlords surrendered to Japan on 20 September. By October, Japan was in the process of setting up the puppet state of Mengkukuo. Though Communist China was granted a small donation of metal from the Soviet Union, they could not adequately turn the resources into battlefield necessities and Mao Zedong surrendered himself to Japanese forces 16 December 1937; much of the land was relatively worthless and so was transferred to Mengkukuo officially on 20 December.


    Weekly progression of the front line in China, 1937


    1937 continued to be politically unstable in many nations. Most of Europe experienced at least one large national strike and protest movement. Furthermore, there were five major assassination attempts on various ministers across Europe. Germany seemed to be largely immune, mostly due to the economic prosperity that had returned after so many years away. Due in large part to the rearmament programs and the completion of Phase I of the Autobahn Volks-Projeckt—which covered expanding the autobahns into north- and southeastern Germany and Prussia—most Germans were more than happy to continue on the path set by Hitler and the NSDAP. In fact, the economic benefits not only affected Germany, but even Europe as a whole: France, bitter rival to Germany, experienced a brief economic boost due to German productivity on 11 September 1937.


    Political instability led directly to the support in the United States of the German-American
    Bund.


    The German rearmament program was well underway, and rapidly becoming legendary. From the humble beginnings of seven infantry, three cavalry divisions, no aircraft and few enough fleet units, Germany had, by the end of 1937, over 173 brigades in the Heer, accounting for 39 infantry, 1 garrison and 4 armored divisions. The Kriegsmarine had gone from an obsolete coastal force to a nearly-blue water navy with 26 surface combatants, 18 u-boats and 30 auxiliaries. The Luftwaffe was the most pronounced expansion: when 1937 drew to a close, the Luftwaffe could call on 1200 fighters, 400 dedicated close-support aircraft, and 800 tactical bombers, all of advanced types.


    Ju-87 'Stukas' recently delivered to SKG 3. The Luftwaffe's expansion, nearly
    doubling in size two years in a row was nothing short of an industrial miracle.


    * * * * *[/center]

    Author's notes:
    @anweRU: Yes, it's a bit advanced... the issue is trying to find actual Kriegsmarine transport vessel images. So, I appropriated some... at least I'm using the right nation's ships, though...
    @Matnjord: Yes, I've actually built an LW/KM chain of command... at least down to an "army group" level. We'll see how well that works, but if my experience so far is any indication, I've been keeping my IC-supply demand down to a constant 22IC, unlike last time, where by the start of the war I think I was having to devote ~40IC to it.

    Also, I'm really sorry about the gifs. They didn't come out as nicely as I had hoped, and I put the dates in bad spots on the images. Were I able, I would have replaced them with my own maps, but that was seemingly a whole lot of work.

  12. #32
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith11B View Post
    Also, I'm really sorry about the gifs. They didn't come out as nicely as I had hoped, and I put the dates in bad spots on the images. Were I able, I would have replaced them with my own maps, but that was seemingly a whole lot of work.
    No worries, it's a pretty innovative idea.

  13. #33
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    fascinating stuff ... you're doing a great job working well known events into the game in an engaging way.

    I think you're right about building command chains at least for the navy that should reduce the supply load and you can always use it for marines at a later stage. Less sure about airpower, I find you can often slot that in quite appropriately at the army level, but then I tend to play nations (ie not the UK/US) for whom airpower is closely tied to land operations rather than a separate force in its own right

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith11B View Post
    Also, I'm really sorry about the gifs. They didn't come out as nicely as I had hoped, and I put the dates in bad spots on the images. Were I able, I would have replaced them with my own maps, but that was seemingly a whole lot of work.
    edit - on this, you might want to dig out an old AAR by General War, it was in 1.2/1.3 and started with Yugoslavia and then switched to the Soviets - reason for saying this is he used the same style and it worked really well (you can track it down from the library) - might give you some ideas. Having said that, I think they're fine as they are.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  14. #34
    First Lieutenant Matnjord's Avatar
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    Personally I like the .gif, at least they allow to safe on the images count, so that we can have more pretty pictures but yeah, it would be good to change the location of the dates.

    I must say I'm surprised to see the republicans win, in my games they never do. But at least you won't have to invade a friendly regime to get to Gibraltar now!

  15. #35
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Sucks that the Nationalists did so bad. It's always 50-50 for me when I play on whether or not they actually win. We are getting so much closer to the good stuff, can't wait

  16. #36
    Heading to the DANGER ZONE... Wraith11B's Avatar
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    5. The “Cold” War
    Munich, Vienna, and the Influence Wars

    1938


    The preceding year had been mostly good to the Deutsches Reich. Her desire to reunite all of the German-speaking peoples under one banner was proceeding, her rearmament program was beginning to bear fruit, and the Depression—still effecting much of the rest of the world—had been forcibly ejected from Germany through decisive government intervention. Thus, when Hitler and von Neurath had begun to agitate for the return of the Sudetenland in December 1937, Britain and France were in no position to truly argue with the German demands. Though Czechoslovakia demanded war, British and French Prime Minister Chamberlain and Sarraut were more circumspect. They recognized their inherent weakness, and given their lack of military construction in the preceding years were in no position to militarily challenge the Reich. France, Great Britain, Italy and Germany all met in Munich to decide the fate of the only-recently-created state, without bothering to get representatives from Czechoslovakia herself.


    Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and von Ribbentrop at the Munich Conference,
    December 1937. The Treaty of Munich was finally signed on 1 January.


    Faced with the option of either a war that neither of the Allied nations were prepared for or delaying the war until they were, Chamberlain brow-beat his French colleague into allowing Germany the Sudetenland. France’s ”Cordon Sanitaire” agreements with Czechoslovakia were ignored, and thus the Czechs immediately condemned France. Poland and Yugoslavia both experienced massive popular shifts in the public perception of France; though Britain had joined France in private, the Allies were seen as particularly weak. Józef Piłsudski’s words after the Locarno treaties had been signed (“No, no, believe me, you will back down, really, you will.”) seemed particularly prescient.


    The fate of Czechoslovakia. By the end of 1938, "Czech" would no longer exist.


    British and French public opinion was wildly optimistic—a crisis that could have led to war was handled in a diplomatic manner. In London, British PM Chamberlain had pronounced “Peace in Our Time”. Privately, however, the parties involved from the Allied side were much more disillusioned with their so-called “success”. Daladier, a French politician at the time, looked upon the cheering crowds when Sarraut and Blum returned from Munich and was reported to have said, “Ah, les cons!” (The fools!). With his input, the French government began secret talks with the Americans to acquire aircraft that the French aeronautical industry was not capable of producing. Their requests, though entertained, did not bear serious contemplation, especially as they would have violated the neutrality laws as well as the American Johnson Act of 1934, which prohibited loans to nations that had defaulted on the loans incurred during the Great War. As such, no real forward movement was made to entertain the French desire for high-performance aircraft, thus leaving France on her own.


    British PM Chamberlain waving the piece of paper Hitler had signed, claiming it
    was, "Peace in Our Time."


    In mid-February, a political faux-pas had led to a political scandal. Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII, with his wife, met with Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Photos of the event were widely distributed—especially by Abwehr agents in Great Britain. Politically, the National government nearly collapsed after the photos were published, so many Liberals and Labour MPs were angered over the apparent disregard the former King had for his nation’s foreign policy. The public reaction was one of confusion: most believed that Germany was not yet a hostile nation, especially given their own government’s assurances that Germany was just attempting to recover from the punitive Versailles Treaty.


    The Duke and Duchess of Windsor meeting with Hitler, February 1938. The picture
    made breaking British morale far easier for the next few weeks.


    On the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish Civil War was entering into it’s terminal stage. Most of the Nationalist Army had been destroyed (despite the material support from Germany and Italy) and so those remaining KSK, DFL and Geheimdienst operators were withdrawn back to Germany. Though a bitter defeat, many important lessons were learned from the war, and those lessons would be absorbed by the Wehrmacht in short order. Nationalist Spain surrendered to the Republicans officially on 4 March 1938, though Franco commit suicide rather than face the ignominy of standing trial.


    Francisco Franco's Nationalists had failed in their war, and therefore in Germany's
    long-term Continental plans. Franco's name became a curse in the Wehrmacht.


    On 19 February 1938, Japanese forces began to engage Soviet forces which had crossed over the disputed border into Manchukuo near Changkufeng Lake. Though relatively bloodless, the Japanese army was loath to test the Soviet forces again, especially since they were heavily engaged with the Chinese forces down south.


    Imperial Army troops in action against Soviet forces in the vicinity of Changkufeng
    Lake. Though Japan did not take heavy losses, they recognized that trying to face
    down the Soviet Bear would not be easy.


    The Japanese war against the Kuomingtang was proceeding well. By 9 June 1938, the KMT and General Chiang Kai-Shek recognized the folly of continuing to resist the Japanese forces and so surrendered. In response, Japan cancelled their embargo against the Guangxi Clique’s warlords. The remaining KMT forces under control of the Xibei San Ma Clique continued to resist. Because of the nature of the terrain, there was only one effective way into the Ma territory, and so Japan began to apply diplomatic pressure against Yunnan to allow them to move troops through their territory and against the Ma clique from the south. These requests were finally accepted and signed 20 July 1938. A month later, Sinkiang, wishing to remain separate from Japanese aggression, joined the Soviet Union as a client state, thus removing themselves from the territorial desires of the Japanese. The Ma clique surrendered itself on 9 September 1938, bringing the Second Sino-Japanese War to a successful conclusion.


    Chiang Kai Shek, much later in life. He survived the Japanese prisons and lived out
    most of his life under comfortable house arrest near Beijing.


    April began in a manner not suited towards the Reich. Abwehr agents, operating in Iran and Great Britain, pieced together intelligence reports that indicated the British were attempting to influence Iran to join the Allies. Iran was in a strategic position, and extremely important for the Reich and the Empire; the Reich wanted Iranian oil and possibly an extra front against the Soviets, the Japanese wanted another threat against India and any British convoys to the area. On the reverse, the British did not wish to see their cooperation with Iran to cease, nor the threat develop against their other holdings in the Middle East. Intelligence indicated that the British haltingly attempting to convince Iranian diplomats to join the Allied sphere of influence in April, May, July, September, October, and November, though it seemed that the British failed to convince the Iranians of much of anything at all. On the other hand, the Japanese (under advice of Ribbentrop) continuously held lavish parties in their embassy in Tehran, and were decisive about what they expected from the Iranians. By the end of the year, Iran was firmly in the Anti-Comintern orbit, though not officially a member of the pact. These “influence wars” were also waged in Thailand (as Siam had been known as of 1932 forwards), though they were handled even worse than the Iranian negotiations.


    Mohammed Mossaddeq, later PM in Iran, was a young MP calling for the expelling
    of the British and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. His cooperation would prove vital.


    By September, Hungary and what remained of Czechoslovakia debated the appropriate separation of the territories that had been so butchered by the Western Powers at the end of the Great War. Seeking further corrections, Hungary and Czechoslovakia both appeared before a joint German-Italian committee formed in Vienna. With both sides using suspect census numbers (the Hungarian census numbers were over twenty years old, but the Czech numbers disregarded most categories of some of the multi-ethnic citizens in the area. In the end, Germany found in favor of the Hungarians, and on 1 October 1938, the announcement of the Vienna Award was made public. Germany would absorb much of Bohemia and Moravia, Hungary was given the Carpathian Rus, and what remained was reformed into the Slovakian Republic. At the same time, Italy, Slovakia and Ethiopia all signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. Not wishing to terribly upset the Soviets nor the citizens of Italy (when “Pact of Blood” was offered), the public name for it was the “Pact of Steel.”


    Hitler and Mussolini shake hands after announcing the "Pact of Steel", 1938.


    In response to the above actions, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Luxembourg all mobilized their armed forces throughout October. The United Kingdom officially guaranteed the borders of Poland. The specter of another war descended on the continent. Germany would be ready: by the end of 1938, Germany had nearly 50 divisions of ground forces, 80 naval vessels of all types, and over 5200 combat aircraft. The focus for 1939 would be building the Heer up to full capability.

    * * * * *


    Author's Note:
    Thank you all for the nice comments... sorry that this isn't as detailed as my last one... I think by 1938 I had at least 12 posts, heh. Granted, this go-round I've decided to keep my technological developments for their own post, industrial stuff for it's own post, etc. Less clutter, better concentration of force. Hope you enjoy!

    Oh, and I'm going to also have to do a military post. Obviously. If only for the numbers for you, Loki!

  17. #37
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    yeah ... can never have too many numbers ... I've now seen spreadsheets in the CK forum so its catching on

    nicely put together, an almost seamless stictching of actual events and the game variations. Re Spain, I don't think its true in HOI3 but there was a feeling in HOI2 (rightly or wrongly) that the Civil War was rigged against the player (so if you were Germany the Republicans won etc). Makes for a more interesting game in the Med region later on. Iran is a really useful potential ally, even if you don't call them in - it will force a Soviet concentration in the Caucasus & a well timed entry can collapse the British in the Middle East
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  18. #38
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Anopther great update. Things are getting tense, though I doubt the ability of Iran to perform well against any of the Reich's future enemies.

  19. #39
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King50000 View Post
    Anopther great update. Things are getting tense, though I doubt the ability of Iran to perform well against any of the Reich's future enemies.
    Well, as implied earlier, they don't really need to do well, just serve as a magnet for enemy troops that would be better employed elsewhere.

  20. #40
    Colonel KLorberau's Avatar
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    Great AAR that just keeps getting better. Too bad about Franco tho.....the "Generalissimo for Life"....but a life too short...lol..

    Looking forward for the final buildup of the great German Armed Forces for the ultimate start of the war. How many Infantry divisions do you plan to have? How many Panzer and Motorized Div's?? You already have lots of aircraft for the Luftwaffe (can you tell us the fupdated full breakdown between fighters, bombers and Stukas??).

    Keep up the great story.

    KLorberau
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