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  1. #121
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    I'm baaaack.

    TKFS: Well, not too worried, but I'm glad you understand.

    H.Appleby: Clearly I have to find more attractive Australian men in uniform! I do hope to go on the offensive in Asia, I'd like to be the one to put the pressure on Japan, but I may also have to let them get close and lure them into the range of my naval bombers yet. I haven't decided the exact strategy for fighting Japan but I know I will have to pick one soon as it won't be that much longer before they go after Britain.


    Chapter 2.3 - The Blitzkrieg


    The remainder of March had been a quiet month, as the war remained comfortably silent across the Franco-German front. German radio traffic was, however, steadily increasing and British Intelligence was convinced that a western offensive was coming - and soon. Despite the formal declaration of war against Norway, the Germans had been unable to properly coordinate an assault through Sweden and British troops had begun to reinforce the Nordic country, making an offensive on it an unwelcome distraction from Hitler's Spring plans. On April 1st, the news came, but it wasn't entirely what Allied Command had expected.



    The Germans had launched an invasion of the neighbouring Dutch, a move which blindsided the majority of Allied Commanders. Both French and British had expected the hammerfall to take place in Belgium, where a concerted German thrust would bypass the strongest Maginot fortifications at Lorraine. British Expeditionary forces were unprepared for this action and slow to react. With the Australian Army redeployed into Southern France, there was little she could do to salvage France's tenuous position.


    A major push was being conducted into the Southern Netherlands, but most of Germany's vast armies were still held in reserve.


    The declaration of war on the Netherlands was completely unprovoked, Germany's third of its kind. The Reich had shown its willingness to do anything to achieve victory, and the Wehrmacht was a force to be reckoned with. British forces would try to save the Netherlands, but with little more than peacetime reserves and some Dutch equipment dating as far back as the late 1800s, there was not much to be done. Within days, the Dutch government would flee the country and operational command of all remaining Dutch forces would be transferred to the British.



    The unprovoked attack was the last straw for many countries, and protests in neutral countries across the world were held as people spoke out against the dictator's conquering spree. Few countries would listen. One country that did take steps, however, was the United States of America. The Industrial Giant was slowly awakening from her decades-long stupor and shaking off the rust of the Great Depression. Although much of her equipment was outdated, she still maintained the world's second largest navy and one of her most modern air forces. With her vast industrial potential, it was hoped by most nations that the United States would join the war as she had before, bringing her great manpower and unmatched ability to produce war material against the Reich.



    Although joining in this Second Great War had been proposed, most of the Congress had agreed that it was a European affair and they were not prepared to get involved. It was believed by most politicians that France and Britain could handle the upstart German dictator on their own as they had more men, tanks and guns as well as a superior defensive position. Germany would be fighting an uphill battle to get anywhere and America would not need to intervene. However, after a great deal of debate, it was finally agreed that America would institute a small-scale draft to replenish the US Army and begin recruiting officers and NCOs in preparation for a larger buildup. There was a growing fear not of Germany but of Japanese Imperialism, especially since the young Empire had crushed the Chinese Republic and made repeated threats towards the Allies. It was agreed that if the Empire of Japan turned her aggression onto the Europeans, the United States might have to intervene in the name of preserving her trade links and Western Democracy.



    Much of the Dutch Army had been overrun and surrendered against the superior speed and firepower of the Germans. Britain's zone of control extended over most of the western country, but the time and costs of redeploying troops to the country had restricted her options. It seemed likely that the German Panzers would reach the coastline before any significant number of British boots had been put on the ground. The Battle of the Netherlands was declared lost and the Dutch were abandoned to Hitler's growing Reich. Although France pleaded with Belgium to cast aside her neutrality and join the Allied War effort, giving them one last chance to save the Netherlands before it was completely gone, the neutral Republic was terrified of the Reich and unwilling to violate its neutrality in some kind of vain hope that Hitler could be convinced that peace was better than war. The failure of the British to save the Dutch was an embarrassment, and at last, ashamed, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned from his post and withdrew from the public face.



    The British Government was in chaos, and they needed a figurehead for the country and quickly. After much argument and debate, it was finally agreed to bring in an old hawk in the form of the Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. He was a veteran politician. It was hoped that Churchill had what it took to meet the Germans and bring the British people the decisive victory they were looking for.


    Winston Churchill shortly after his appointment as Prime Minister on April 3rd, 1940.


    Although Winston Churchill had long been criticized by the government and he was received coldly by the House of Parliament and the War Cabinet, he had a strong affinity for the military and his post had done a great deal for Allied morale. He had served in the military from 1894 to 1899, as well as some involvement in the First World War. He had been a key member of the development of the first armoured fighting vehicle, the Matilda tank. His appointment also did a great deal to calm fears overseas. Churchill proposed a strong, decisive action against Hitler and spoke with ample conviction and willingness to shed blood that his predecessor had lacked. Australian Command was delighted to see his appointment, and his excellent relations with United States President Roosevelt was seen as yet another positive.


    The American People were unhappy with the draft and they were making it clear en masse.


    The United States, however, was suffering from troubles of its own. The decision to mobilize the military and declare a draft without any provoked war had been an unpopular one in a country that was still largely isolationist. Mobs of striking workers, draft dodgers and angry citizens rioted in a number of cities across the Continental United States, forcing state governors to call in the National Guard to restore order. Roosevelt in an address to the Union called for order, but no one was listening. His popularity with the voters was slipping, and few people believed that he had a realistic chance of re-election despite his great success in restoring the US Economy to health.



    Four days after the appointment of Winston Churchill, the German Blitz began in earnest with a declaration of war on Belgium. The Belgians immediately bleated to the Allies for help. Although some French commanders callously suggested abandoning the Belgians and simply maintaining the planned defensive line along the border, it was agreed that Belgium had the superior defensive positions for holding off the Blitz.


    Although the Belgian Army had been mobilized and was already itching for a fight, it was outnumbered and outgunned. They needed to hold out for reinforcements.


    The entire North Allied Army Group began to move, seeking to secure the valuable defensive positions along Belgium's river networks and the forests and hills of the Ardennes. The Germans were already rapidly advancing into Belgian territory and although the Belgians were more prepared for war than the Dutch, it was immediately clear that they would be little match for the Wehrmacht alone. The Luftwaffe ran constant bombing over Belgian positions as Hitler's army applied a merciless amount of pressure across the entire front line.


    French troops pass through a Belgian town on their march to the River Scheldt, where Allied Command had planned a long, sturdy line of defensive formations.


    Although the French were frustrated at the Belgians for not joining sooner, they could not allow Hitler to advance. Divisions were assigned to take up defensive positions along the River Scheldt and to hold the all-important Ardennes at any cost, even diverting extra war material from the Maginot Line in order to ensure that Bastogne would be secure. It would not be long before Hitler's army met with fierce resistance from the French Army.


    Luxembourg offered little resistance to the advancing German armour.


    It seemed to Allied Command Australian warnings about the mobility of German tanks and the skills of their crew were to be heeded after all. German armoured units effortlessly crushed Luxembourgische defenses and began to thrust into the Ardennes, defying all pre-war expectations that they would not face a great deal of armour in the heavily forested region. French commanders were insistent that their own Chars would be useless in the rough terrain and British tanks were designed more for infantry support than anti-tank work. Without a clear, easy answer to the Ardennes, they simply tried to pack the area with more infantry and bog down the enemy armour with ambushes.



    Luxembourg did not last long, the Grand Duchy was absorbed into the Greater German Reich and declared part of Hitler's new Germanic union. To many, it seemed that the tiny state might never be seen again, and a valuable source of raw iron and steel manufacturing had returned to the Germans' waiting arms. This would go a long way to alleviating her concerns of supplying the war industry.



    It was clear that the German Army was no opponent to be underestimated, and with the Italians and Japanese on the verge of joining the war, Australia's current production rates were insufficient. The people of Australia were rallied under the inspired speeches of Prime Minister Curtin and Governor-General Alexander Lord Gowrie. They needed to be ready to prosecute this new Great War until the very end.



    Inspired by the Great War actions of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the United States, Australia instituted a system of War Bonds on April 10th, calling for the Australian people to help pay for the war in exchange for future favours and repayments. It was hoped that this fundraising would enable the Australian Military to engage on two fronts simultaneously, and help her to build up an increasingly powerful base of military and industry.


    The loss of Antwerpen was a painful blow to Allied war plans and a hole in the planned defensive line along the Rive Scheldt.


    The Belgian Front was struggling under the weight of German thrusts. The fall of Antwerpen in spite of British landings had proven a painful blow to Allied war efforts, and threatened the safety of the entire line. General John Vereker, overall commander of the British Expeditionary Force, suggested pulling the Australian reserves from Southern France to assault the city. It was believed that with the aid of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the 7th Armoured Brigade, they could breach the German defensive lines and retake the city, pushing Jerry back over the river. The French disapproved of this plan, as a growing Italian buildup on the border had made them nervous of retaliatory strikes. In the end, it was decided by Field Marshall Edmund Ironside, his superior, that the Australians should be saved for Italy. Regular British divisions were thrown into the attack on Antwerpen; inexperienced conscripts who had not been adequately trained, the scenes at Antwerpen were a disaster for the British. 3,284 men were lost and a further 7,909 wounded attempting to take the city over the course of the first three days, but almost no ground had been gained. On the 16th of April, General Vereker called off the attack and began to search for alternate ways to take the city. The Germans had held the line.


    A German boat carries a squad across during an offensive near Fort Eben-Emael.


    The Germans were finding great success. Buoyed by their momentum and eager to achieve victory, they thrust into Belgium, using spearheads of medium armour and motorized infantry to quickly gain ground where an offensive was successful. On the 19th of April, twelve days after the German declaration of war on Belgium, the strongpoint of Fort Eben-Emael had been completely encircled by German forces. Despite multiple attempts by French and Belgian infantry to pierce the encirclement, they lacked the heavy weapons to effectively shift the German Panzers. The Fort held out for another five days against multiple assaults, but at last on the 25th of April, the few surviving stragglers surrendered. Belgium's strongest fortification had failed to save her from the German onslaught.


    The vaunted fort at Eben-Emael had fallen, although it had bought the Allies valuable time. German progress in the Ardennes was worrying.


    Although the line had stabilized by the end of April, fighting was still intense and brutal. The mobility and speed of German tanks had given them a distinct edge in the heavily forested Ardennes region, and the British and French lacked a suitable tank to counter it. Their light armour was too weak to put up a fair fight against the Pz.Kpfw IV and their heavy armour was too immobile and unreliable to be of any real use in the Ardennes - the Char had attempted to engage German armour but regularly broke down or became outflanked by their lighter opponents. They needed a solution and fast, as the Germans were gaining ground in the forests despite allocation of extra anti-tank weaponry and artillery to the region. Only time would tell if it would come in time.

    Then the news broke - on April 28th, the Kingdom of Italy declared war on the French Republic and United Kingdom of Great Britain.

    Mar 1940-Apr 1940
    No Australian Engagements
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  2. #122
    Major TKFS's Avatar
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    And it just keeps getting better! Now let's see how the Italians fare...
    Faugh a ballagh!

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  3. #123
    General SSmith's Avatar
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    A very nice account of the war in the west! The German AI seems to moving along very smoothly. Now let's see what Australia is going to do about it!

  4. #124
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    Advance Australia Fair! Back into France, at this rate. It's still advancing, just in the other direction.

    Poor plucky Belgium.
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  5. #125
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    I'd say go for the jugular in Italy and see if Germany is forced to reduce pressure in the Low Countries to save il Dulce de Leche.
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  6. #126
    Ahhh, this could be very good or very bad. As Apple said, if you can hit Italy where it hurts, you might be able to help free the Low Countries. If all else fails, try to hold the line; it looks like SU or USA might be moving in soon

  7. #127
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKFS View Post
    And it just keeps getting better! Now let's see how the Italians fare...
    Well, Italians are no Germans. In my experience, their formations are weaker (they like binary divisions which don't tend to hold up against triangular, or so I've found) and have few support divisions compared to the Germans/British/French. They also tend to be weaker doctrinally. My infantry compared very positively when put up against Germans, I suspect my infantry are slightly worse than German infantry on open terrain, but superior in rough terrain. So quality isn't a question here, but quantity...the Italians *do* have a lot of boots on the ground compared to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    A very nice account of the war in the west! The German AI seems to moving along very smoothly. Now let's see what Australia is going to do about it!
    The German AI's doing quite well, better than I'd hoped, but also not as successfully as I had feared. Their offensive has stalled in Belgium and it's turning into a bloodbath which is the last thing Germany wants.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Advance Australia Fair! Back into France, at this rate. It's still advancing, just in the other direction.

    Poor plucky Belgium.
    Poor Belgium is right. I am astonished at how many troops they put out before 1940, they were ready for this for sure. Pity they didn't have enough anti-tank or they might have held the border.

    Quote Originally Posted by H.Appleby View Post
    I'd say go for the jugular in Italy and see if Germany is forced to reduce pressure in the Low Countries to save il Dulce de Leche.
    It's a good plan - we'll see if Il Douche can hold out or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae View Post
    Ahhh, this could be very good or very bad. As Apple said, if you can hit Italy where it hurts, you might be able to help free the Low Countries. If all else fails, try to hold the line; it looks like SU or USA might be moving in soon
    I can hurt Italy badly if the Low Countries hold. Most of their army is deployed on the Alpine Line or in Africa, leaving their southern holdings vastly underdefended. ANZAC isn't big, but it's big enough to threaten Rome and force a German/Italian response. Valuable troops off the French line. If that fails, as you say, the US doesn't seem content to sit around and USSR rarely avoids belligerence after awhile.
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  8. #128
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    Chapter 2.4 - Operation Corkscrew


    Italy had joined the war. In Rome, Mussolini declared that the violent aggressions of the Allies, who refused to permit a country it's legal territory, was a worriesome threat to all Italians. He warned that if Germany fell, they would be next, and that Italy must fight now to preserve her future. The crowds in Rome cheered his charismatic oratory, oblivious of the consequences of his actions.


    Australian troops redeploying on the Alpine Line border, in preparation for a potential offensive.


    530 kilometres north-northwest, in Turin, the mood was not so bright. Although Mussolini boldly declared that they had joined the war, and although Italians outnumbered Frenchmen 2:1 on the Alpine Line, no orders had been made to advance. French Fortifications along the front were impressive, nearly as strong as the Maginot in places - even with superior numbers, attempting to take these locations in the rough mountainous terrain was likely to end in disaster for any attacking forces. The Italians were not overeager to rush to their deaths.


    Air Raids over the Alpine Line


    Although Italian forces were reluctant to advance on land, the Regia Aeronautica was out in full force. With most of the Royal Air Force and Arme de l'Air occupied in battles with the mighty Luftwaffe, they felt that they would have an easy, free reign over the Mediterranean. They had underestimated the readiness of the Royal Australian Air Force, which had been recuperating for the past month in the lush paradise of Southern France. With their planes in good repair and full number, they were more than ready to meet the Italians in the air. A group of Italian light bombers made an attempt to attack the fortifications of the Alpine Line with precision bombing strikes. Many were lost and no significant damage was done, forcing them to retreat across the line. They had learned a painful lesson about Australian air presence.


    The Belgian Front as of May 1st, Little has changed and the line has mostly devolved into stalemates and German pressure on the line has petered out.


    Allied Command was in a buoyant mood despite the Italian declaration of war. The Alpine Line and Maginot Lines were viewed as impenetrable and the Belgian rivers were holding. The German offensive in the Ardennes had weakened under the weight of increasing numbers of French troops and tanks. As the French tank crews gained in experience they were beginning to adapt to the difficult driving conditions. When they could manage a head-on fight, the German armour was almost no match and the Germans were being worn down. Fewer and fewer German tanks were seen on the front line and soon the offensive ground to a complete halt. There was no thrust on the German front, the Hun's spearhead had been blunted.


    More Italian bombers made an attempt on the harbour of Marseille. Again they were unescorted.


    Reconnaissance aircraft caught a lucky break near Marseille when a large force of naval patrol bombers were spotted heading towards the harbour. The bulk of the Australian fleet was currently deployed at this location and the RAAF had to immediately scramble for intercept. Just 50km from the harbour, an intense battle erupted over the sea. Again, RAAF Hurricanes dealt a painful blow to the Italian bombers, forcing them to retreat to Italian airspace for safety. The way was clear.


    Divided into two seperate taskforces, the ships leave harbour immediately, heading south-southeast.


    With the airspace cleared for a change, the Australian Fleet left under the safety of friendly fighter cover and the escort of the HMAS Vanguard. The fleet was large, including numerous troop transports, supply convoys, escorts and ships. Simultaneously, the British Royal Navy began to conduct active operations throughout the Mediterranean with the support of a number of French ships. The aim was to pin and distract the Italian fleet while the Australians did the hard work; the British had been long prepared for the entrance of Italy into the war, and it was their aim to go on the offensive early and hard.


    Aerial Reconnaissance over Liguria - Italian positions seem well entrenched.


    The RAAF was also active in helping with destruction. Using the distraction of a strike against the Italian port facilities at La Spazia and Genoa, they conducted reconnaissance missions deep into the Italian coastline. Although there had been hopes of launching a naval invasion there, there seemed to be large amounts of troop activity. No ships were sighted and plans to strike behind Italian lines were momentarily shelved. The mission, however, would go on.


    Early on the morning of May 3rd, the Australians began their invasion of Sardinia.


    Australian forces began to move onto Sardinia early in the morning. Shelling from the flotilla's escorts pounded the city and its defenders for almost an hour as transports approached the coastline. Australian fighters swept through the skies, searching for enemy aircraft. The Australians swarmed onto the beaches mostly unopposed, except at Cagliari where fierce fighting immediately ensued as the local garrison was slowly pushed back into the streets.


    A fuel depot at the Cagliari docks is hit by shelling from HMAS Sydney.


    Enemy Aircraft attempt to depart from Milano, hoping to disrupt or damage the landing fleet from the air. The Australians were waiting for them.


    By mid-afternoon, news reached the Australians of a huge swarm of aircraft heading south from the Ligurian coast. The Australians, on patrol near Corsica, were quick to intervene. Although outnumbered, the pilots bravely risked their lives to stop the Italian air strike. The Italians were so numerous that they were completely disorganized when the Australian strike hit. The fighters had orders not to abandon their bombers, the bombers had orders to stay on course no matter what. The Australian fighters were able to weave in and out, shooting down numerous bombers and fighters and causing horrendous casualties amongst the tightly packed and confused Italians. Reluctant to defy orders, the Regia Aeronautica was delivered its most painful and embarrassing defeat at the hands of the RAAF. They had brought too many planes to the battle with poor leadership and poor instructions. Australian wolfpack tactics picked them apart for over an hour before orders were given to fall back before the entire force was lost. Once again, Australia had won the day and shielded her valuable Navy from the Italian bombers.


    Not far off 30,000 men had landed on the island so far.


    Although the initial resistance had been stiff, the bombardments from the Australian fleet combined with the sheer number of Commonwealth soldiers was overwhelming. It was rapidly becoming clear that the Italian defensive positions were untenable due to the numbers game. Although the Australians were expecting response from further inland, it soon became clear that the Italians had not predicted this assault and were in no position to respond effectively. A large fleet had attempted to sortie near Taranto but had been blocked by a large Royal Navy force. The British were currently in complete control of the Mediterranean.


    Contact is made in the Gulf of Tunis.


    This did not, however, stop a few ships from getting through. Along the Tunisian coast, a group of Italian cruisers sailed to try and intercept and damage the attacking Australian fleet, slipping by a French patrol and barreling on its way down the coast. Although the HMAS Vanguard's scout planes were working hard, they didn't notice the Italians until it was nearly too late. A close-range battle erupted between the Vanguard's patrol group and the Italians.



    Although both sides were caught by surprise, just a few miles off of each other, the Australian group immediately attempted to disengage, steaming away from the Italians at high speed. The Vanguard immediately launched its fighters; consisting mostly of biplanes and not true modern aircraft, the addition of aircraft to the battle was still of the utmost importance. As the cruisers traded fire, rapidly gaining distance from the slower Italian heavy cruisers, the first dive bombers fell upon the taskforce, unleashing their torpedoes and bombs against the enemy. The cruisers were forced to take evasive actions and their pursuit broken up. The Gorizia suffered a direct hit from a torpedo and was forced to take emergency actions in order to try and save the ship.


    A platoon from the 7th division advances through the ruined streets of Cagliari.


    The streets of Cagliari were dangerous and pocked with craters, shattered masonry and bullet holes. The Australians advanced mercilessly through, clearing the city street by street, building by building. Many Italian strongpoints simply surrendered outright once they realized there was no relief coming to save them. To many, it did not help that they were being rapidly encircled by enemy infantry, who were making excellent time across the rough ground.


    French commanders gaze across the border from the safety of the Maginot Line.


    Although the troops in the south had not heard of it yet, disaster had struck. The Maginot Line, in light of the Belgian push, had been left lightly defended by the French who felt that their fortifications were more than adequate to repulse German invasion. As the German offensive had slowed and ground to a halt in Belgium, no one had thought to question why the pressure had abated. The answer came in the form of a massive concerted attack on the northern line. The French held their lines valiantly in the face of massive numbers of Germans, dealing many times their own losses in casualties, but the deathknell came when word spread through the front that the Germans had pierced the line, as scouts had seen armour approaching from the rear. Panicked, an entire section of the line thought that they had been outflanked and retreated to avoid encirclement. The tanks were not German, they were French, coming to counterattack against the German armoured push. The abandoned section of line was occupied by the Germans with a minimum of effort.


    The French evacuation had left Metz completely open and the Maginot Line was broken. The city and the extensive iron mines around it now lay in German hands.


    Allied Commanders were furious that the troops had abandoned their stations, and the officers responsible for making the call were immediately stripped of their commands and relegated to desk jobs. A massive number of reinforcements would need to be shifted to try and push the Germans back across the line, but now there was a hole in their grand defensive system and the Germans were pouring reinforcements through them. With most of the Army busy in Belgium, things looked bleak for the French defensive lines as they were forced to defend open terrain against numerically superior Germans.



    Meanwhile in the Mediterranean, a second fleet arrived to contest the invasion of Sardinia. They tried once again to breach the air cover of the Vanguard, but were again repulsed by dive bombers who broke up formations and fighters that strafed any enemies in sight. Occasionally the Italians got close enough to fire off a few shots, but nothing substantial hit and the Australians seemed invincible so long as Vanguard was in the waters. Submarines tried to stalk her and sink her from a surprise attack, but they had difficulty locating the highly mobile aviation platform. The few times they got close enough to fire even a distance shot, their torpedoes were easily avoided and the response came in the form of patrol bombers flying out of Tunis, dropping depth charges onto them from the skies. It soon became clear that the Regia Marina was not equipped to fight aircraft carriers in any way, shape or form.



    On the morning of May 5th, the news finally went out that Cagliari had fallen. It was Australia's first victory on land, and an extremely decisive one. The casualty ratio was heavily in the Empire's favour due to the number and quality of the Australian troops. In spite of landing in an urban environment under heavy gunfire, the 7th Infantry had performed with admirable skill and tenacity. It was clear from the start that the Australian infantryman was in most ways a better soldier than the Italian, but the question remained whether Australian quality could overcome Italian quantity.


    Australians move to encircle the retreating Italian infantry.


    The Italians had little stomach for the fight and after it was clear they could not win, they began to fall back towards Tortoli. They did not and probably could not have known that Australia's finest, the 1st Cavalry Division, were on their way to Tortoli already. They would find little friendship waiting for them as the fast-moving Australian troops made their way across the Sardinian countryside. If the Italians did not send reinforcements soon, Sardinia was certainly lost to them. Australian morale was boosted by this victory, but there was still a dark cloud in the minds of the commanders. The Maginot Line was broken - could France survive this setback?

    May 1st 1940 - May 5th 1940 Casualties
    ANZAC Expeditionary Army:
    81 soldiers killed
    Royal Australian Air Force:
    54 Hawker Hurricane fighters
    8 Supermarine Spitfire fighters
    15 Sunderland Shot bombers
    Regio Esercito:
    427 soldiers killed
    114 soldiers captured
    Regia Aeronautica:
    267 Fiat G-50 fighters
    85 Macchi MC.200 Saetta fighters
    69 Reggiane Re.2000 Falco fighters
    72 Cant Z.501 Gabbiano patrol bombers
    55 Cant Z.506B Airone patrol bombers
    43 Breda Ba.88 RC.40 light bombers

    ----- -=-=- ----- -=-=- -----


    AARthor's Notes:
    To be clear, I'm absolutely furious with the AI. So far as I can tell, they simply marched out of Metz and left it empty and my objective markers did little to persuade them to not leave the bloody province. It's made all the more frustrating by the fact that Germany had stopped making gains in Belgium and it seemed like they could hold out if they just focused on holding the rivers. All that said, the Italians took hilarious air casualties, first they threw unescorted bombers around, and then a huge doomstack of fighters that achieved nothing more than getting shot up before having to retreat. I've slightly fibbed about the lengths of the air battles, but a two day air battle doesn't make much sense given the range of these planes. Still, it ruined my hopes of spearheading an assault across the Alpine Line, as ANZAC may have to evacuate France before long.

    Oh, and to clarify, I have probably 4 more updates of screenshots to post before I reach the point where I am in the save. So, I can't actually accept any advice/thoughts yet as I'm already too far along. Sorry guys. :P
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  9. #129
    Karl Popper Fanboy H.Appleby's Avatar
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    Well color me excited and proud for the Kangaroos!
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  10. #130
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    Great update!

    Sardinia is not exactly a great prize but certainly a boost for flagging Allied morale! The Australian infantry seems considerably superior to its Italian counterpart as demonstrated by the impressive victory in Cagliari. It looks like HMAS Vanguard is indeed delivering the goods - the ability to at least cause significant damage to the Italian naval forces and protect Australian operations. Even so, those cruisers of yours know they've been in a fight!

    It is really sad to see the French AI abandon the Maginot Line once the war is established. I have often seen the French panic the moment hostilities commence and try to reorganise troops between the Maginot and the Belgian border - with disastrous consequences. At least this breach is localised and might be contained. I noticed you put British AI objectives on the Maginot (and of course the British have limited forces on the continent anyway) but did you also put French AI objectives there?

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by H.Appleby View Post
    Well color me excited and proud for the Kangaroos!


    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    Great update!

    Sardinia is not exactly a great prize but certainly a boost for flagging Allied morale! The Australian infantry seems considerably superior to its Italian counterpart as demonstrated by the impressive victory in Cagliari. It looks like HMAS Vanguard is indeed delivering the goods - the ability to at least cause significant damage to the Italian naval forces and protect Australian operations. Even so, those cruisers of yours know they've been in a fight!

    It is really sad to see the French AI abandon the Maginot Line once the war is established. I have often seen the French panic the moment hostilities commence and try to reorganise troops between the Maginot and the Belgian border - with disastrous consequences. At least this breach is localised and might be contained. I noticed you put British AI objectives on the Maginot (and of course the British have limited forces on the continent anyway) but did you also put French AI objectives there?
    Thanks!

    The cruisers took some heavy shelling but thankfully they came out alright. The Vanguard is unfortunately a little on the slow side and her groups have trouble keeping out of range, something I'll have to remember once I have newer, later carriers. Taking Sardinia was extremely easy though and I was super pleased to see how weak Italian infantry divisions were compared to mine. I brushed aside their entrenched Mountain troops with regular infantry units and no sweat, but I did outnumber them 5:1 in that battle. The real test will come when Italy can fight me in force.

    I was and still am so frustrated at the French AI leaving the Maginot. Originally I only had French objectives on the Maginot and British/Belgian on the Belgian front, but that honestly didn't seem to make a damn lick of difference to the AI who did whatever the hell it pleased. I added the British objectives on the Maginot in the hopes that maybe Britain would head over and help, but frankly the AI seems to be completely ignoring the markers so I probably shouldn't have bothered. :/ But yes, I was careful with my objective marking.
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  12. #132
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    Sardinia is a nice place to secure some rare materials :P, it has 12 base rare.

  13. #133
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    Nice nickel-and-diming of the Regia Marina...and the RA too.
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  14. #134
    Good update, just the pictures were very heavy to load, did photobucket "help" you to a better quality?

  15. #135
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    Another wonderful update. Sorry to hear about your allies failing you though, haha. I do have a question though, what exactly is going on in the Pacific nowadays?
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  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Advance Australia Fair! Back into France, at this rate. It's still advancing, just in the other direction.
    'Advancing in retrograde', as Peter Ebbesen used to put it.

    Great two updates (I slipped behind a little)! Great job bloodying the Italians, but ouch, that Maginot Hole must've hurt. Especially since the French simply walked out. Hopefully the Hun can be contained, otherwise things are looking grim for the Allied forces in France and especially in Belgium. I don't think I've ever seen the AI pull off a Dunkerque...
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  17. #137
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    Disappointing to see the French pull off the line but not unexpected; just one of the reasons I seldom (alright, never) try to save France when I'm playing the Allies.

    Something that might be a good experiment some other time is try try and place the objectives on the German side of the line, in that case, maybe the AI with aggregate some forces in the area to stage an attack, which will incidentally help keep the line covered by their presence.

  18. #138
    I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the French AI has sabotaged the war effort. On the other hand, since you took Sardinia, you'll have a stable base of operations even after Vichy. Would I be wrong in assuming an Australian version of Operation Husky is in the works?

    Also, how did you manage to calculate your air losses? I've always tried to guess it from post-battle casualties, but haven't managed to get an accurate count.
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  19. #139
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    Too bad we can't touch the military AI, otherwise this situation would've been the first thing the mod fixed. Now, in FtM there's a way to influence AI defensive behavior in the file region.txt (add the text ai_prio to a region definition), and the next HPP version will have some tweaks to that file to hopefully prevent France from abandoning its fortresses.
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  20. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallienator View Post
    Sardinia is a nice place to secure some rare materials :P, it has 12 base rare.
    It's nice but I'm not sure if I'm actually benefiting from it as a Democracy due to Liberation Occupation Policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Nice nickel-and-diming of the Regia Marina...and the RA too.
    The Vanguard hasn't been as impressive on her own as I'd hoped, but she's been a solid shield for the invasion force as they're unable to really hurt her. She's a little bit slow, though, unsurprisingly. The only reason I built one that fast with no tech on it was that I wanted to get carrier practicals so the next carrier, the one that will actually be fairly modern, will come out in a reasonable timeframe. The RA was hilaribad though, so many casualties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Surt View Post
    Good update, just the pictures were very heavy to load, did photobucket "help" you to a better quality?
    I don't like using Photobucket but Imageshack is changing its policy to 500 images max and I need to figure out an alternative to both (due to Photobucket's bandwidth policies).

    Quote Originally Posted by TKFS View Post
    Another wonderful update. Sorry to hear about your allies failing you though, haha. I do have a question though, what exactly is going on in the Pacific nowadays?
    So far very very quiet. Japan's just sitting on China and I can't really see what's going on clearly. Nothing's changed but I'll be sure to let you know the moment something does change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    'Advancing in retrograde', as Peter Ebbesen used to put it.

    Great two updates (I slipped behind a little)! Great job bloodying the Italians, but ouch, that Maginot Hole must've hurt. Especially since the French simply walked out. Hopefully the Hun can be contained, otherwise things are looking grim for the Allied forces in France and especially in Belgium. I don't think I've ever seen the AI pull off a Dunkerque...
    Generally speaking I find that as soon as the German AI reaches open plains, it's all over. The only way I could have stopped them was to invest most of my IC into the Army in order to forcibly hold those forts and rivers/forests myself. I didn't think it'd be fun to have a long AAR of myself just sitting on a single defensive line until the great counterattack begins, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by eqqman View Post
    Disappointing to see the French pull off the line but not unexpected; just one of the reasons I seldom (alright, never) try to save France when I'm playing the Allies.

    Something that might be a good experiment some other time is try try and place the objectives on the German side of the line, in that case, maybe the AI with aggregate some forces in the area to stage an attack, which will incidentally help keep the line covered by their presence.
    That could be worth a try but I'm still iffy. I'm holding out for FTM HPP in the meantime.

    Quote Originally Posted by TankOfMidgets View Post
    I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the French AI has sabotaged the war effort. On the other hand, since you took Sardinia, you'll have a stable base of operations even after Vichy. Would I be wrong in assuming an Australian version of Operation Husky is in the works?

    Also, how did you manage to calculate your air losses? I've always tried to guess it from post-battle casualties, but haven't managed to get an accurate count.
    You might be right. As for air losses, I didn't have a great deal to go on as the air wings are very vague constructs. I found numbers suggesting around 3,000 planes in the RA so I went with that as a starting number and approximated strength loss across the RA as I played through. I did a pretty significant amount of damage, percentage-wise. I took some shots of my own though.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBromgrev View Post
    Too bad we can't touch the military AI, otherwise this situation would've been the first thing the mod fixed. Now, in FtM there's a way to influence AI defensive behavior in the file region.txt (add the text ai_prio to a region definition), and the next HPP version will have some tweaks to that file to hopefully prevent France from abandoning its fortresses.
    It is a pity, I'm looking forward to the HPP version though. I'm hoping it can fix a lot of the small problems that SF's code just doesn't permit.

    -----

    Thanks all for the support! I've done some image editing today and I'll try and see about an update sometime tonight.
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