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January 1944

stnylan

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January 1944

Operations in Greece continued until the 14th. From the 1st to then we had lost eight bombers, caused 4.3 FEU of damage, and destroyed 13 enemy fighters. We then had a lengthier pause of operations, and on the 27th began a new attack in the Eastern Balkan OA. By the end of the month we had lost three more bombers, caused 2.3 FEU, and killed 3 fighters. In total therefore we had lost 11 bombers, inflicted 6.6 FEU, and shot down sixteen enemy fighters.

It is noted that the gunners in our bombers appear to have had a good month.

However operations will now immediately be switched to the Alpine OA. The Committe of War has - perhaps a little tardily - informed us that the Canadian Army is going to try secure a portion of southern Italy, and they wish us to try and impede reinforcements. We will endeavour to do what we can.

The Committee notes that out of 800 operational aircraft as of writing 20 were the new Lincoln '44 model.
 
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stnylan

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Yes, I think that was the name. :) Short crime case set in Nazi Germany in the 70s or something. Read half of it and mislaid it in a move later, so I never got around to finish it. :p
Aye, that's the one
 

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Tally-ho to Italy!
 

stnylan

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February 1944

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February 1944

As agreed with the Committee of War we switched our campaign to the Alpine OA on the first day of the month, and we have continued the campaign the entire month. It has been the most successful month we have achieved - for the loss of 22 bombers we inflicted 38 FEU and killed 19 enemy fighters.

Unfortunately the Army had to tear up their initial invasion plans for Italy and reform them, meaning the proposed invasion has been put back into March. We will continue, if possible, to bomb railways and the like to make the Axis job of transferring troops into the theatre after the landing as hard as possible, even if we bloody our knuckles in the process.

The Committee also notes the report of Mr Laurence and we look forward to further such reports in future.
 
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Specialist290

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Glad to see you back in action, @stnylan :) I'm enjoying the format -- very tightly written, and the narrow focus helps to give depth without overwhelming the reader with information.

Glad to see the Bomber Command is doing well overall, though it seems as though the Allies have been a bit tardy in opening their second front... Hopefully they aren't going to end up giving victory to the Axis by default!

It will be interesting to see how the Lincoln's performance measures up to the Lancaster's record once you have them available in sufficient numbers.
 

stnylan

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Glad to see you back in action, @stnylan :) I'm enjoying the format -- very tightly written, and the narrow focus helps to give depth without overwhelming the reader with information.

Glad to see the Bomber Command is doing well overall, though it seems as though the Allies have been a bit tardy in opening their second front... Hopefully they aren't going to end up giving victory to the Axis by default!

It will be interesting to see how the Lincoln's performance measures up to the Lancaster's record once you have them available in sufficient numbers.
I too have high hopes for the Lincoln.

It has been a good couple of patches since I last saw a successful D-Day. Now, whilst currently HoI4 and Stellaris are the PDS games I most frequently play, compared to some I do not play all that much so perhaps it is partly bad luck, but I get the impression it is a moderately common scenario. The real problem, so far as I can tell, is that Strategic Redeployment (or railway movement, as it sometimes called) is too effective. A landing can just get totally swamped. Now, this might not be disasterous - except the Allies have another AI problem that the Axis powers mostly don't.

For the Axis mostly one power dominates - either Germany or Japan depending if one is in Europe or the Pacific. To be sure there are the minor powers, but even Italy is relatively minor and mostly concerned with the Med (or so it seems). On the other hand the allies in all theatres have to combine a number of major players - and the AI basically doesn't co-ordinate. Early on France and the UK, and later the UK and USA. Also on the allied side you can easily end up in a whole swarm of minor allies.

I have an example of that lack of co-ordination coming up.
 
March 1944

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March 1944

Editor's Note - When we were given access to these records, the summary of the month of March 1944 was missing. The military achivists were apologetic, but they had no record that might suggest the location of this. They did produce documentation from the early 1970s showing the section had been missing at that time too.

We have chosen not to insert our own coverage of this month, to keep the impression of the sources, but we did want to explain the lacuna in material.
 
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April 1944

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April 1944

After the disappointments of the previous month operations began anew again the Eastern Balkans. It was decided to try to maintain the pace of operations for at least a month and perhaps more, accepting potentially higher losses into the bargain.

Over the course of the month we did indeed suffer 23 losses, for 10.8 FEU and twenty-five enemy fighters. Somewhat creditable work. By the end of the month also 130/800 active bombers were Lincolns

The Committee has decided to continue the campaign on the Eastern Balkans for a further month, and then to re-assess. The Commitee notes the deteriorating position on the Eastern Front, but respects the views of General Hoffmeister on - and we quote - "throwing our troops onto Italian beaches unsupported by the bloody idiots in Horse Guards and the [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] Pentagon". We defer to the General's experience.
 
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May 1944

stnylan

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May 1944

As planned we continued the bomber campaign against the Eastern Balkan OA throughout the month. During some portions of the month enemy fighter activity become very intense, twice almost bringing the campaign to an early conclusion, but in each case enemy fighters were redeployed.

In total we lost a further 22 bomber, caused 8.9 FEU of damage (the lower value to last month a result of those times of exceptional enemy opposition) and killed twenty-five enemy fighters.

In the cold light of day operations in the Eastern Balkans have never been entirely satisfactory, and what interruptions we have managed of the Romanian oil supplies has always been limited. We have already given orders for the squadrons to rest for a number of days before commencing their next set of sorties in the Greek OA.

As of the end of the month there were 173 Lincolns operational in the bomber fleet.

As a final note we have received a dispatch from General Hoffmeister regarding the American attacks in and around the Anzio area that briefly even captured Rome. The dispatch simply reads "To the honourable members of the Bombing Committee. I am aware that some questions have been raised regarding army operations in the Italian theatre. In light of recent events I rest my case, and presume no further argument is necessary."

We commend the General's use of language and, with regret, agree.
 
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I too have high hopes for the Lincoln.

It has been a good couple of patches since I last saw a successful D-Day. Now, whilst currently HoI4 and Stellaris are the PDS games I most frequently play, compared to some I do not play all that much so perhaps it is partly bad luck, but I get the impression it is a moderately common scenario. The real problem, so far as I can tell, is that Strategic Redeployment (or railway movement, as it sometimes called) is too effective. A landing can just get totally swamped. Now, this might not be disasterous - except the Allies have another AI problem that the Axis powers mostly don't.

For the Axis mostly one power dominates - either Germany or Japan depending if one is in Europe or the Pacific. To be sure there are the minor powers, but even Italy is relatively minor and mostly concerned with the Med (or so it seems). On the other hand the allies in all theatres have to combine a number of major players - and the AI basically doesn't co-ordinate. Early on France and the UK, and later the UK and USA. Also on the allied side you can easily end up in a whole swarm of minor allies.

I have an example of that lack of co-ordination coming up.
My own experience of HOI4 is extremely limited (currently playing a test/learning game as the Netherlands with a 1939 start where the main country was conquered by the end of the year). But in the above context I note that when the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, Vichy France sent some divisions and ended up taking over the whole of the country! A bit strange I thought: anyway, not quite D-Day, but an example of a successful allied AI amphibious landing!? :D

ps: that’s also an interesting observation re SR being a key factor in defeating D-Days. It brings to mind the three key countermeasures the Allies took in OTL to offset that:
1. Timing. They kept deferring (for a range of reasons, ok, but still ...) despite furious pressure from Stalin and (in some quarters) US enthusiasm bordering on rashness. But the main strategic benefit was that although by June 1944 the Eastern Front was closer, of course the troops couldn’t be easily spared to switch back west, irrespective of other factors.
2. Interdiction. The Allies deliberately targeted rail, bridge and other transport infrastructure in a massive way in the lead-up to the landings to paralyse German SR capacity. If the AI doesn’t think to (or can’t manage to) do that in-game, that’s another missed trick.
3. Deception. Done on a massive, industrial scale for D-Day. Strategic indecision mitigating the switching of reinforcements, in addition to having fewer of them available and a severely degraded transport capacity.

With the Eastern Front going badly in this game and absent the other two factors, perhaps it’s realistic that the Second Front invasions fail. What is unrealistic (if I understand the argument being made but without the game experience to support it yet) is the AI not having some kind of routine to strategically support an invasion properly, when a human isn’t in control.

If not controlling the main allies in-game, is it possible to seek to support any attempts they make with the RCAF to interdict transport infrastructure behind the German front line? Or even launch a diversionary invasion to confuse their response, then pull back out if too badly counter-attacked?
 
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I can sympathize about the problems of incompetent and uncoordinating AI. I've never played this specific iteration of HoI myself, but there's a reason I've always played with major or "upper-tier minor" powers (and sometimes taken direct control of allied AIs as well), as I've found that under its own direction the AI sometimes makes boneheaded moves that utterly break my immersion. At to say that sometimes this can't be quite realistic (Stalingrad comes to mind), but usually there's even less justification, either material or symbolic, to make them remotely plausible.
 

stnylan

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My own experience of HOI4 is extremely limited (currently playing a test/learning game as the Netherlands with a 1939 start where the main country was conquered by the end of the year). But in the above context I note that when the Germans invaded Norway in 1940, Vichy France sent some divisions and ended up taking over the whole of the country! A bit strange I thought: anyway, not quite D-Day, but an example of a successful allied AI amphibious landing!? :D

ps: that’s also an interesting observation re SR being a key factor in defeating D-Days. It brings to mind the three key countermeasures the Allies took in OTL to offset that:
1. Timing. They kept deferring (for a range of reasons, ok, but still ...) despite furious pressure from Stalin and (in some quarters) US enthusiasm bordering on rashness. But the main strategic benefit was that although by June 1944 the Eastern Front was closer, of course the troops couldn’t be easily spared to switch back west, irrespective of other factors.
2. Interdiction. The Allies deliberately targeted rail, bridge and other transport infrastructure in a massive way in the lead-up to the landings to paralyse German SR capacity. If the AI doesn’t think to (or can’t manage to) do that in-game, that’s another missed trick.
3. Deception. Done on a massive, industrial scale for D-Day. Strategic indecision mitigating the switching of reinforcements, in addition to having fewer of them available and a severely degraded transport capacity.

With the Eastern Front going badly in this game and absent the other two factors, perhaps it’s realistic that the Second Front invasions fail. What is unrealistic (if I understand the argument being made but without the game experience to support it yet) is the AI not having some kind of routine to strategically support an invasion properly, when a human isn’t in control.

If not controlling the main allies in-game, is it possible to seek to support any attempts they make with the RCAF to interdict transport infrastructure behind the German front line? Or even launch a diversionary invasion to confuse their response, then pull back out if too badly counter-attacked?
I would argue @Bullfilter there was a fourth element to that - covert operation. I suppose the "poster child" for that is the 2nd Panzer Division, but there was also plenty of others. Plus it operated in conjuction with all the above.

Interdiction was what I was trying with my Alpine bombing - and whilst in my test run it did appear to delay the onrush of German units, delay only.

The AI can be quite successful with non-continental amphibious landings. So, for example, I have seen very successful Pacific Wars (from both Japanese and Allied perspectives). This is why I suspect the main issue is the strategic deployment.

I can sympathize about the problems of incompetent and uncoordinating AI. I've never played this specific iteration of HoI myself, but there's a reason I've always played with major or "upper-tier minor" powers (and sometimes taken direct control of allied AIs as well), as I've found that under its own direction the AI sometimes makes boneheaded moves that utterly break my immersion. At to say that sometimes this can't be quite realistic (Stalingrad comes to mind), but usually there's even less justification, either material or symbolic, to make them remotely plausible.
I like to remind myself that the degree of co-ordination on the Western Allies was pretty much unheralded, and even then there were divisions which still colour how much of the warfrom 42 onwards are often viewed today. Also I console myself that at least my allied AIs are trying to fight. I always like to think back to Mr Lincoln in 1862 where almost any general he appointed proved incapable to the task he was given. AI idiocy is something to behond, but humans still win in stupidity stakes :D
 
June 1944

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June 1944

A new operation in the Greek Operational Area began on the 6th of the month. This continued until the end of the month, by which time we have suffered 17 losses whilst inflicting 10.2 FEU and shooting down 23 enemy fighters. By this time 217 of our bomber fleet were Lincoln '44s.

The Bombing Committee is aware there have been very significant discussions of a strategic nature in the Committee of War, and thus this Committee is being careful not to make any plans or presumptions until those discussions are resolved.
 
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July 1944

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July 1944

On the 26th July the Committee for War issued the Directive No. 12 on the conduct of the war. For our concerns this confirmed matters that were already in progress, and is being referred to in general discussions as the Pacific Pivot.

The Greek OA campaign wound up on the 11th July, for a further 13 losses whilst causing 3 FEU and nine enemy fighters.

The Pacific Pivot was not a surprise - the Committee for War had already asked for briefings on the logistics of transferring Bomber Command to the Pacific Theatre. Indeed early stages of this began mid-month, and by the time the Directive were issued all 8 squadrons of Bomber Command were starting to transfer to bases in the Philippine Islands.

We note that orders are being issued for all Canadian Military units to follow the Pacfic Pivot, apart from the newly formed Canadian 2nd Army under General Anderson, which will be remain to help defend Sicily. This will consist of three reserve divisions already on the island, and three more in training. The bulk of the Canadian 1st Army is transferring to the East under General Hoffmeister.
 
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August 1944

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August 1944

Our first bombing campaign against the Japanese Home Islands began on the 5th August. It should be noted that the Philippine bases are not ideal. There remains significant fighting on Luzon and the surrounding islands, and a procedure has been implemented for rapid evacuation. Also the Lancaster Bs do not have sufficient range for all targets in Honshu, and Hokkaido is at hte edge of the Lincoln's range. This naturally degrades the effectiveness of our operations. We also choose to widen our operational targets to include Military

That said by the end of the month we had suffered 12 losses, inflicted 6.2 FEU of damage and killed 16 enemy fighters. Japanese fighter opposition maxed out at an estimated fifteen hundred - less than half of what we sometimes faced in the European theatre. By the end of the month we had 317 operational Lincoln '44s.

It has been decided that the 1st Army should try to contain some of the Japanese landings in Burma and Indochina, with a possibility of liberating some of the Dutch East Indies. The exception to this will be looking at the Marine divisions to hopefully secure for us an airfield closer to the site of our opposition.
 
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September 1944

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September 1944

Operations against the Home Islands continued until 22nd September, when we had to do an emergency evacuation of the Phillipines. In that time we took 13 losses, inflicted 6.8 FEU and killed 11 fighters. Given the constraints under which we are operating in theatre we regard this as satisfactory.

By the month the Phillipine airbases had been resecued, and the newly formed No.6 and No.13 fighter squadrons to provide support for Phillipine and American forces. Our own forces have helped stabilise the front in Indochina and prevent the Cambodian landings from linking up with the Bangkok landings.

Our bombing squadrons will return to the Phillipines as soon as is practicable.
 
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October 1944

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October 1944

The new Home Island bombing campaign commenced on the 10th October, and this continued until the very end of the month when we again had to evacuate the airfields. During the three-week campaign though we suffered 9 losses, caused 6.7 FEU of damage and killed 18 fighters.

The Committee also marks that the Statute of Toronto, whereby Canada isformally declared a Kingdom in its own right not just a Dominion. We hope to make to prove ourselves a truly equal partner to the Mother Country.
 
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November 1944

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November 1944

From the point of view of Bomber Command this has proven to be an exceptionally quiet month. The bomber squadrons were all based in Australia, and no sorties were undertaken. Towards the end of the month the eight squadrons again rebased towards the Phillipines, but the resumption of bombing operations was not due until the start of December.

In other news the Marine Corps of the 1st Army is due to make an attempt to seize Marcus Island, where we know there is a small Japanese airstrip. There are plans in place to expand this airbase substantially if we manage to seize it, and it should provide us a better and (hopefully) more secure base of operations.
 
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