For this AAR i will be using HOI3 vanilla (1.4), but I have modified the amphibious penalty so that the AI can't be gimped so easily on straights and naval landings. As i'm playing the British, this also makes any form of Sealion very dangerous, and holding any Island Chain in the Pacific, say, quite tricky. I'll hopefully be using a story telling narrative, but I will endeavour to use the characters the game provides me with in all situations, where possible.
State of play at outset of this AAR: The year is 1939 (I've been playing since '36).
Europe- Poland has fallen (1 week) and Germany has DOW on Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. Sweden, outraged, has joined the Alliance, along with the equally outraged Greeks. Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Nat Spain and Yugoslavia have thrown their hats in with the Axis powers along with any puppets, though neither of them have declared war yet. Ireland is in a political tug-of-war between both Britain and Germany. Although they are no big fans of the Facist, they also remember their long history with the British. Britain has looked to modernize it's armies and has 'traded in' the old foot infantry for the new look motorized infantry. However, she still lacks in anything like the armour the Germans can Field. More focus has been put on the Navy and Airforce, which the British hope to excel in all fields except, submersible U boats, Heavy/Battle Cruisers and close air support planes.
Far East and South Pacific- Japan has puppeted Com China and Nat China but has annexed Guanzhi and Xibei San Mei. Yunnan has Joined the Axis of it's own accord. Sinkiang looks likely to join too, after very nearly joining the Soviet states. Australia and New Zealand have joined with the other common-wealth countries in the Alliance.
America's- Nothing of immediate alarm at the moment. Canada, like Aus and NZ have joined their strength to the common-wealth. However, nastily, Japan is using it's influence on USA, Brazil and Argentina, with the latter two looking likely to join the Axis very shortly. Great Britain is using it's influence on the USA too, but alas, internal politics seem to be moving the US in favour of the Axis. All Great Britain can do is hope something drastic happens to change their mind or to keep holding off the influence of the Axis powers until a more favourable time (there is no 'pearl harbour' in vanilla *gulp*).
Africa- South Africa, having seen the war in Ethiopia has aligned itself with the Allies. Italy and Portugal have forces nearby, so if events turn for the worse, things could get messy, with France having pulled all it's forces home to the Maginot Line. Little Liberia, however, has started to position itself with the Allies.
Generalleutnant Iwan Heunert
19:00 GMT, July 15th, 3 miles south east of Aarhus, Denmark.
Generalleutnant Iwan Heunert used the heel of his highly polished boots to extinguish the cigarette. He pulled the collar of his leather over-coat up, to shield himself from the bitter sea breeze that was blowing over this part of the peninsula. The weather was overcast, and the sun was dimming on the horizon, summer in Denmark was not the summer he was used to he thought, as a chill went down his spine.
Before him stood an old man. Not as old as some of the Generals Heunert knew personally, but the last few days had not been kind on this man, so he looked a lot older than he was in reality. Heunert nodded at the guards and made his way to the farmhouse he and his staff had taken up residence in. The guards followed with the bedraggled man between them, trying to keep him upright.
Heunert sat at the dinner table in the farmhouses large kitchen and motioned to his guards to bring the prisoner before him. He wondered if he should let the man sit, but that would not be proper procedure, even if the man was nearly dead on his feet.
"General Prior, do I need ask, or will you follow the formalities as a General whom has been defeated should?"
Wilhelm Wain Prior, stood, head down, looking at his boots, not even registering the question that had been asked of him.
"GENERAL PRIOR!" Heunert spat "your side-arm if you please?.."
Prior reached down and took the gun from it's holster, a brief madness flashed in his mind before he turned the gun over to Heunert. Heunert, not wanting the man to be humiliated even more, nodded to his guards, who promptly removed Prior back to the holding pen with the rest of his staff. Heunert closed the door after them.
The victorious General turned over his captives side-arm in his hands, noticing how clean it was. Clearly it had not been used for a long time, if ever. He removed the clip, and threw the gun into the stove fire. He then poured himself a cup of coffee and sat back at the table. As he sat, he allowed himself to close his eyes. As he relaxed, the images of the last week flashed before his eyes. Herr Hitler had commanded and he and his men had obeyed. The Jutland peninsula was in German hands. Blitzkrieg had worked once again, Eibl's panzers had smashed the Danes even before the first day of fighting had been completed. The rest of the week was spent mopping up the remnants of Prior's forces. Four whole Danish divisions had been routed and captured (about seventy five percent of the Danish Army) without much blood shed from the German perspective. It all seemed so easy...too easy?
He quickly put the thought out of his mind, when he heard the Oberst's approaching down the stairs. He heard muffled voices, before his Adjutant knocked and opened the kitchen door. "Send them in." The Colonels entered the room and saluted their superior, swelled with all the pride and splendour that the victorious men of the wehrmacht had earnt. Heunert motioned them to sit, which they did.
"I congratulate you men, on the brilliant work you have performed on behalf of the Fuhrer and the Volk of German Reich. I have written to Berlin to make sure each of you is commendated at the end of Opertaion Weserubung." He paused briefly before carrying on.
"Today Jutland is in German Hands, tomorrow we embark on the capture of the Fyn peninsula."
A look of confusion spread on the faces of the men in front of him. He knew as well as they, that they should have been setting sail for Norway, but the damn Swede's had ended that plan when they entered the war. It was vital that Germany First dealt with the Danes, then the Swede's, to secure the Iron ore processing plants and mines of Sweden, before the British could sabotage their supplies. Then they were to move onto Norway. At least they wouldn't have to deal with the Royal Navy too much this way.
Still, the only way into Fyn Peninsula was by a small bridge south of their position or the troop transports over the belt, that he knew his men were destined for. Eibl's Panzers would have the bridge, and Kaupisch's divisions would serve as the reserve (including 6 artillery brigades all totting the fearsome eighty-eight covering their advance).
"My Adjutant has a copy of the new plans, sent by General Kaupisch. You will pick your orders up, on the way out. Make sure you have your men up early and briefed and ready to go at fourteen hundred hours. Dismissed."
20:30 GMT, July 13th, Officers Mess, HMS Royal Oak, North Sea, On Route Denmark.
The food was good, just right to impress the Generals embarking on their mission, Somerville thought. He left the mess to return to the bridge where the Captain was waiting for him. He wanted to stay and trade war stories with the Generals, but duty called, and the 1st Navy had to be ready.
Anderson only smiled as the mess burst with laughter. 'Pug' was entertaining the other guests with his 'Mad Mulla' impression. The joke was somewhat lost on the General, but he smiled anyway, despite himself. He'd been given the nickname of 'sunshine' as a kind of irony for his stoic imposition, but Kenneth Anderson didn't mind, he didn't want to be thought of as jovial. War ate jovial men for breakfast.
Although he knew Ismay from their schooling days at Charterhouse and their time together at Sandhurst RMC, Anderson wondered how the two men could be so different. Still, in times of war, circumstances brought many different kinds of men together, sometimes for the good and sometimes not.
The other men at the table beside himself and Ismay were: Ashton Mosely-Mayne CiC for the Scandinavian Defence Force (S.D.F), British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F). Henry Loyd CO of the Highland Mountain Division and Coldstream Guards. John Clark CO of 23rd Northumbrian Mountaineer Division. Anderson was himself in charge of the 12th Eastern Mountain division and Hastings 'Pug' Ismay was in charge of things at Army level, making sure that the Swedes and remaining Danish forces would be working in conjunction with their British counterparts, once they reached their objectives.
The men had been hand picked by the King and the war cabinet for their specialities in defensive warfare. Sir Mosely-Mayne was 'Aide De Campe' to the king and Ismay was a 'dear friend' of a certain Mr Churchill, so they had been given command of the operation, as it was seen as important that the Kings own right hand and the military advisor of the probable future Prime Minister were involved in the opening salvo with Herr Hitler.
It was only luck that the three specialist Mountaineer Divisions were still in Britain when the DOW on Denmark had happened. They were due to go to India and reinforce the Gurkhas in North East India and Burma (should hostilities between Britain and Japan commence), but the war cabinet had changed their orders at the last, and assigned the Divisions to the hastily put together S.D.F. Mayne and Ismay had both conferred their advice on the war cabinet, that these men were ideal for the job, despite Denamrk being relatively flat. Should (unthinkably) Denmark fall, these men would be up to the task of hurting Jerry in the mountainous regions of Sweden and Norway. The Scotsmen, Geordies and other assorted 'Northerners' that filled the ranks of the divisions were happy to be going to Denmark by and large. The inhospitable regions of Indian and Burma were far more unforgiving than Northern Europe. Something, Anderson hoped they were right about.
Despite Anderson's often heated debates and arguments with Mayne and Ismay, he could think of no one better to lead this operation. He just needed to avoid confrontation with them, not something he would usually concern himself with, but it was important to keep his mind on the matters at hand. In just over twenty four hours, they would be in Denmark, and they all needed to be ready. Jerry was 'at the gates'. It didn't help that the Danes had been so reckless with their men, throwing it's near entirety of it's army at the Germans, only to be overwhelmed within a few hours. If the Danes had fought a fighting retreat, there was a good chance that Jutland wouldn't have been lost, and the B.E.F would only be a couple of hours from it's destination. What was done, was done, however, and there was no turning back the clock, lets just hope Prior can get his men across the belt straight before the Germans can close the pock...
Anderson's thoughts were cut short, an alarm rang out, and a light on the mess wall shone red. A voice came over the speaker, that was situated almost out of sight, in the corner between the galley and the mess.
"...BATTLE STATIONS. ALL MEN TO BATTLE STATIONS...I REPEAT...ALL MEN TO BATTLE STATI.."
The last word was cut short by a "WHUUUM" that could only be an explosion of some magnitude. The men serving dinner had dropped their kitchen ware and bolted through the door. The five remaining men looked at each other as the muffled sounds of screams reached their ears. Their personal war had started a little earlier than they had expected.