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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Raaritsgozilla

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Torchwood = Nuclear programme btw. As can be read in the Dicitonary. (I should turn that into required reading. ;))
Shit. I did know that lol I meant Operation Jubilee :eek:o
 

trekaddict

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Preface: Another bits and pieces update.


Chapter 207


7th March 1942

Somewhere Aberdeen

Two low level Civil Servants were sitting in the room while they waited for the various lords and masters to return to the room.

“Five quid says the Frogs will demand half of Berlin again.” said one of them.

“You're on.”

For some minutes only the sounds of tea drinking (even though it was horrible war-time tea) and the smoking of the last pre-war cigars could be heard before one of the men spoke again.

“So what about your son, Sir Micheal?”

“He wants to follow his father it seems.”

At that point the ministers and Ambassadors came back inside.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary led, followed by the Ambassadors of the Commonwealth Dominions, the Polish, Belgian and Dutch Heads of State. The French were nowhere to be seen, and that was part of the problem. No one said it out aloud, but the French still had great power pretensions which had in reality disappeared the moment the Germans had hoisted the Swastika on the Eiffel Tower, and it was now hurting their position. The other non-Commonwealth Allies had adapted to the political realities and knew that the British were the only remaining big player in Allied Europe, as damaged and weakened as they were at the moment. The New Empire was a massive Superstate and no one among them could hope to match the British in any form, so it was best to accept and carry on, because Allied victory meant liberation of the homeland, and having the British call the shots was a small price to pay.

The French being French were less than pleased about that. They had relented and placed a French Expeditionary Army under the command of the Allied High Command in Italy at the price of having a special liaison Officer at Field Marshal Alexander's Staff, and grudgingly accepted the 'Germany first' strategy, also working together on Naval patrols.

Due to this the French expected to be entitled to special privileges and had expected to be awarded with an occupation zone almost as large as that of the British that would include several key industries that would most certainly find their way to France eventually. The French had ideas about fully de-industrializing Germany, whilst the British and along with them most of the Allies wanted a Germany that would be able to carry it's own in the Future. The ten year plan that the British promoted had actually originated from a Belgian military study group that had started work at the behest of the Belgian King who had decided that rekindling old Anglo-Belgian ties was in the best interest of the Kingdom and had submitted the plan more out of courtesy and as food for thought for the British Government. Much to his surprise he had been asked to grant an audience to Field Marshal Gort whilst wearing his hat as the Commander in Chief of the Belgian Armed Forces and had been asked to convey to the Belgian Government in Exile that the His Majesties Government had studied the Belgian plan and had decided to adopt it as the official British position barring unforeseen circumstances. As such it was also presented to the rest of the Allies when the negotiations had begun. No matter what the final occupation zones would be it called for a thorough de-nazification even at the expense of the German apparatus of Government that would be rebuilt from the ground up anyway using carefully vetted persons, even though other ways might be faster. The British PM however was sometimes still haunted by the Versailles treaty that with the exception of the Emporer had left the German systems alone and that had borne the seed for the war the Allied Powers were fighting right now and was desperate to solve the German Question once and for all. The French had the same intentions, but their ideas were that stripping Germany of every conceivable piece of Industry and splitting it up into at least seven different statelets would do the job better. Admittedly there were some things speaking for that in the short term, but the Prime Minister was realist enough to know that total defeat of the Soviet Union was unlikely given the distances and the fate of past invasions, and therefore a strong western Europe was needed and that could not be done without a reasonably strong Germany that was a firm democratic power and member of the Allied camp.

Around that the negotiations revolved, and when the French had begun to realize that, unlike they had expected, the British were not willing to make concessions to please their allies on political grounds, and that was again something that acted as a painful reminder that the partnership with the British was no longer one of equals but rather that of a big brother with the rest of his siblings. When that had been rammed home to them by a blunt but informal remark passed on from a senior aide to the head of the French delegation who had simply asked how the weather in Paris was today, they had taken to re-starting the arguments about Berlin and southern Germany.

Churchill and Eden of course understood that the French were not doing this out of spite, but the foolheadedness of the French was something that would in later years be compared to a head-vs-wall situation. However in 1942 it was simply called in words too explicit to use here. The British were very much aware that they could not totally overrule the French and especially not in public where any apparent cracks in the united Allied front had to be prevented from being seen. The negotiations dragged on and on and it seemed to most of those involved on both sides that there was little chance of coming to an agreement anytime soon. Concessions had to be made to bring this charade to an end and soon the Foreign Secretary had the unenviable task of explaining to the poles why they would not be allowed to help with the occupation of Pomeria, as there the rights of the French occupation authorities would be extended to full control. The French were still smarting over not getting the rest of the Allied panel to accept their proposal for a French client state in the Saar Area.

When it came to rebuilding the German state and society the French in the end were forced to agree with the Belgian plan, so it was decided that no more and no less than ten years after them dropping out of the war the Germans would have their country back. Adaptations to the warplan were still made, chiefly that the planned dissolution of the British Expeditionary Force Headquarters was scrubbed and two Indian Divisions allocated to it to aid the French in driving into southern France which would always be a secondary theatre, whilst the biggest single British field formation in Europe in the person of the 8th Army would drive into southern Germany. Privately Churchill felt that two Divisions were a small price to pay if it took the French off his back and placed the French Expeditionary Army somewhere where it could do some good and fought with all possible motivation. Navally the Mediterranean Sea was made the main responsibility of the Marine Nationale since the Mediterranean Fleet was stripped down to HMS Barham, HMS Anson and HMS Renown along with some heavy Cruisers, while a reinforcement Squadron, consisting of HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse and HMS Hood (labeled Force Z) was dispatched to the Indian Ocean to relieve the Carriers there from the tedious duty of conducting defensive patrols and relieved at least the Lusties and some of the new Implacables of the British Pacific Fleet for raids and patrols in the Dutch East Indies where a Japanese attack was expected any day and to keep open the Sea lines to Australia and New Zealand where the Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Navies, together with the Royal Netherlands Navy would have trouble facing the might of the Imperial Japanese Navy alone, given that the heaviest ships were HMA Ships Australia and Canberra were as Heavy Cruisers the heaviest ships even though the ANZACs together with the Dutch had a sizeable Cruiser force overall.

Luckily Operation Jubilee didn't require any Naval involvement and went ahead. The French were uninvolved, the main burden would be carried by several Regiments of the Paras, the 7th British and 1st Polish Armoured Divisions and an assortment of Belgian, British and Polish Infantry, the latter only a part of the 1st Polish. Also involved was the independent Polish Airborne Brigade, even though only indirectly. For the purposes of this Operation the units that made the first attack would be organized in XXX Corps and train, train and train.


Meanwhile the Germans and the Soviets were conducting 'negotiations' of their own. With the British apparently contained and Italy going nowhere, especially now that the Soviet Forces had been strengthened to almost double what had initially been deemed sufficient to defend it was time in the mind of Josef Stalin to set eyes elsewhere. The Germans seemed to have the situation in the west well in hand and when he had another meeting with Hitler, this time in Moscow, he revealed that the Soviet Union would conduct a new operation come spring and the snow melting in the far east and announced that he was going to attack Japan and China. Technically he did not have to actually tell the German Führer beyond informing him since there would be no troop withdrawals, but since this would eventually allow the Red Army to attack India from the north some very frightened STAVKA Officers had dared to suggest that it might be advisable to ask the Germans of their opinion since this might, no would most certainly force the British to withdraw a large number of their forces from Europe as the NKVD, the GRU and STAVKA estimated that the British had very little in the way of a strategic reserve left that was not already in the field.

Rommel was less convinced and worked his men hard laying literally millions of mines on the Axis side of the no mans land between the lines. When Officers complained that the men were tired out and could not be trained for anything while laying mines Rommel stated repeatedly that the selection was between being tired and dead, and so the minelaying continued and would influence the course of the battle in the near future, even though this was primarily a German concern.

The Soviets on the other hand concentrated a large part of their attention on the Far East. The warlord State in Western China was a Japanese Dependency just as much as the Republic of China itself was and had only been kept there in order to ease the administration of one of the largest countries in the world. Their Army was feeble and the commander of the Central Asian front was convinced that he could smash them before the National-Chinese and the Japanese could move in troops, and then only the feeble British troops in northern India would stand against them, the four Divisions of the North-West Frontier Force under Lt. General Montgomery.[1] Of course tanks, the biggest advantage the Soviets had over the Japanese and the British in Asia would not work there, but Mountain troops that had been scraped together from everywhere in the Soviet Union would do most of the Fighting and they would brush aside the weak and decadent British, never mind the Japanese.

Manchuria was another spot where the Red Army would attack with three pincers that would smash the Kwantung Army and allow the Soviets to sweep down towards Korea and eventually threaten the Home Islands themselves, all part of a master plan to turn the Soviet Union into the top power of Asia. At this point in the war Stalin was realist enough to know that the Soviets would never be able to actually take the Home Islands but bombing them into dust was an at least somewhat realistic objective. Due to the distances involved the German contribution would only be a single composite Luftflotte operating out of airfields around Vladivostok, using aircraft shipped and supplied via the Trans-Siberian Railway and modified to take Soviet bombs. Hitler had insisted on contributing and had overruled the Luftwaffe leadership that had sidelined the increasingly irrelevant Göring who was spending all his time at Karinhall doing things that respectable Officers did not talk about and had not been seen in Berlin and the RLM for almost four months, essentially leaving the Leadership of the Luftwaffe to his deputies. Göring was despised in the service since he had done nothing but looting the museums of Europe clean, even Hitler had become disillusioned enough with the man that he was no longer trying to get the former fighter ace to perform his duties.

Stalin had been impressed that even the one Luftflotte had been operational that fast, considering that the Red Air Force was finding it uncharacteristically difficult to become operational even though this was being worked on. It wouldn't be long now, not long at all.



[Notes: The next regular update will be better once I have the time to sit down and think about what I want to do instead of performing this sort of improvisation.]

[1] It's the most arse end position I could post him in.
 

Griffin.Gen

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Aren't you being mean to Monty? :rofl:
Poor him, no glory for him, I guess.
 

Raaritsgozilla

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And the fat buffoon is out of the way too. Good riddance.

So who, oh who, will be the hero of this war? Alex? Gort? Freyburg? ;)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Stalin has gone nuts, clearly.

He's going to make a heroe out of Monty, you'll see...
 

El Pip

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Stalin has gone nuts, clearly.

He's going to make a heroe out of Monty, you'll see...
Doubt it, tk has a frankly irrational and unfair dislike of the man. It's a tragic character flaw that I hope, with help, he can one day deal with.

I can but hope Churchill saves post-war Germany from proportional representation,though I remain disappointed the plan of many German statelets was not enacted. Damn it I want to see a 1950s Duchy of Brunswick under a brand new Duke of Cumberland. Not to mention Hanover reborn (complete with King's German Legion) and at least one electorate, preferably with a hyphenated name full of umlauts. The dream though is of course the People's Democratic Republic of Greater Saxony. Sadly it will have to remain a dream. :(
 

trekaddict

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Griffin.Gen Probably. More detailed explanation below in response to El Pips post.

Raaritsgozilla He is not quite gone yet. The great Allied Heroes will be Alexander and Sikorski, along with Generals Browning and Crerar. At least in Europe. *nudge*hint*

Kurt_Steiner Yup.

El Pip My dislike for Monty is somewhat irrational and can partially be explained by that I am not a fan of the real-life Market Garden (that doesn't mean that I think Patton was right though) and his general way to conduct war. His way to wage war has it's merits, but I wanted my Generals to be of a more offensive mindset, kind of a mixture of British sensibleness, German elan and Soviet preference for Artillery. He simply didn't fit in there, not with a British Army that has been geared and trained for offensive operations that move swifter than Monty ever did, and I think now that the North-Western Frontier would suit him more. Lately I've come to realize that if I really hated him I would have given him a fate similar to Percival.

In post-war a united Germany is unavoidable I'm afraid, not only because I am a German myself but also because there is no logical and political reason to split Germany on purpose as proposed by the Morgenthau plan and similar idiotic schemes, and having two different states develop because of ideology as in real life will also not happen because in spite of all their faults the French aren't communist.

EDIT: Since no one believes that the Soviets will be defeated Bitter peace style, never mind that the IGS and the Allied Commanders believe it to be impossible to begin with Churchill probably feels that a strong, democratic Germany that is closely tied to the Allied cause can only help keeping the Reds in check. It will take years upon years of denazification and rebuilding the workings of the state almost from the ground up, but if the ten year plan were to be adopoted in, say, 1945 then by 1953 we would have a German state and by 1955 full sovereignty. After all, the 1954 World Cup beckons and needs to be won. :D On a more serious note, it's not just plain nationalism when I say that Germany always was an integral part of Continental Economy, Science and Culture, and having that wither away because of at best partially justified fears can be in no ones interest.
 
Last edited:

ColossusCrusher

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So is Rommel turning the Italian Front into a Kursk-type defensive area? All he needs is to have men outnumbered by their artillery. :D
 

El Pip

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two different states develop because of ideology as in real life will also not happen because in spite of all their faults the French aren't communist.
No two different states would develop because of French arrogance, pride and incompetence. My thinking would be they'd vindictively repress the population thus radicalising the population and inspiring revolts. They'd then refuse any support or to change their ways and so finally lose control of the area as the locals declare independence and defeat the French garrison. A not unheard of chain of events in French history. ;)

And while I remember, hi to Stevep nice to see you've crossed over from the other place.
 

trekaddict

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No two different states would develop because of French arrogance, pride and incompetence. My thinking would be they'd vindictively repress the population thus radicalising the population and inspiring revolts. They'd then refuse any support or to change their ways and so finally lose control of the area as the locals declare independence and defeat the French garrison. A not unheard of chain of events in French history. ;)

And while I remember, hi to Stevep nice to see you've crossed over from the other place.
They tried that with the Saar Area and Baden (The bit roughly between the black forest and the Rhine) and utterly failed. Now here, even with France not being known as a nation of surrender monkeys they are faced with a foreign leader who is utterly uncompromising on German territorial integrity. Methinks Winston would be willing to seriously cut back on military aid to get his way.
 

stevep

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Stalin has gone nuts, clearly.

He's going to make a heroe out of Monty, you'll see...
Kurt, Trekaddict

Definitely agree about Stalin. Been thinking about why the Soviets seem to be fighting solely in western Europe when they could put at least some pressure on the Caucasus and Afghan borders, even with the terrain and logistics. Now he's attacking the Japanese/Chinese empire, which will take a lot of pressure off Britain. Also who the hell would try to attack India via Sinkiang, especially since that also takes you through Tibet.:eek::eek:

I was thinking that even with the oddities of many computer games it would be difficult for a British empire against such a combination but good old AS come to our aid.:D

I think for all his problems on fast movement, a defence of the NW frontier might well suit Monty's character.;)

Steve

Edit

I see we're got the old problem of alliance warfare with one particular nation forgetting the key thing is to win the war 1st. Anyway, good to see an update.
 

unmerged(83789)

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Hello there Trek. I long ago gave up reading your AAR, lacking the time to invest in such good, but looong writing. Just wondering if you had a link to your previous AARs? Thought I might reread them.
 

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Hello there Trek. I long ago gave up reading your AAR, lacking the time to invest in such good, but looong writing. Just wondering if you had a link to your previous AARs? Thought I might reread them.
Just re read this one. Its actually harder than you think. Or get the pdf, print it off and read it like a book :D
 

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Midge Too bad, but links can be found in my Inkwell.

Raaritsgozilla :D
 

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Lads, official normal AAO-service has been resumed as of right now. I know I promised a "Where are they now" Update first, but my muse is telling me to write something else. Oh well.

Anyhow, expect Guns, Arty, Explosions and heavy fighting in this spot, and soon!
 

trekaddict

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Diagree. Sinkiang/Srinagar/India! Traditional route would be to swing via afghanistan for Khyber
Skipped over this, sorry.


The problem here is that Stalin always wanted to settle accounts with the Japanese, the entire Alliance was ways to the end that his European flank was secured. Two birds with one stone and all that.
 

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Hooray! I managed to lay my hands on 16mm recordings of the first-ever Doctor Who story!


In other news, update later today.
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 208

9th March 1942

Northern Italy, outskirts of Bologna


Bologna was the largest Italian City in allied hands north of Rome and a supply hub for the Allied forces besieging the central part of the Gustav line. The Italian civilians in the city had adapted to the immense number of soldiers from all the countries and of every imaginable colour, in fact there were so many of them that they almost drowned out the natives in spite of the irregular artillery fire from the Axis side of the line. Many of the Italians had fled in one direction or another. A great many abandoned houses and flats were now billets for the Officers that served either in the rear area services in the city itself or sometimes in the units that were stationed around it. The Officer now driving down the road towards the Italian Headquarters of the Polish Forces in exile would have been entitled to a modest flat himself for he wore the rank insignia of a British Colonel, but one look at the stripes on his chest and the tankers beret on his head in spite of the weather quickly convinced any onlooker that this Officer share accommodations with his men in the field. The Armoured Forces had it better than the Infantry in this respect, especially in this sort of rest area, because they were usually stationed where there was infrastructure and for him and his men this had resulted in a barracks that had one belonged to the Ariete Division and was now home to the British 7th Armoured and the 1st Polish Armoured Divisons. The Colonel in question was of course Colonel Niemczyk and he was not on a visit but rather a meeting with the rest of the Division's regimental commanders and that of the 1st Polish. It was a strange thing, because both Divisions were quartered together and holding the meeting there would have made more sense, but the General had insisted that it was to be held at the headquarters of the Polish Forces. The meeting was not to take place for another two hours, but the cook at the Polish Headquarters made curry that was to die for, and he wanted to eat to his heart's content. He would ask about what happened and...

The strand of thought was cut off as Artillery shells began to fall everywhere. Shelling was normal, the Germans had at least three railway guns up north but this, this was lighter Field Artillery! Jan instantly decided to forego the meeting and turned the Landy around even as the street around him erupted in shell impacts. He raced back out of the city towards the barracks were someone apparently had already raised the alarm, since the smell of diesel fumes and the roar of Meteor Engines was evident. Most of the two Divisions was dispersed around the area, but this here was where two Regiments of them and the staffs were located, so when Jan stepped inside the main building after blatantly ignoring the pickets that asked for his papers he could see the two Generals already studying maps.

“What's this circus all about, Sir?” Jan asked.

General Maczek answered.

“It seems that the enemy is attacking us with the intent of capturing this lovely town and driving us back towards Rome at the very least.”

Jan was startled but his face did not show it. He took a few seconds to collect himself and then asked another question.

“Any news on where, and enemy strength?”

“It's a bloody mess up there, all we know is that a large Armoured Force is involved. Before they broke the 1st Belgian Infantry reported a huge number of Panzer IVs and T-34 coming at them, and since we are Corps and sector reserve at the moment we have been tasked with stopping them.”

The Polish General held out a map towards Jan.

“Here is everything we know so far.” Even as the British Colonel turned and left without asking to be dismissed he heard some more. “More as it comes in over the wireless.”


Outside the 2nd Royal Hussars and the 24th Polish Lancers were preparing to move out in what looked and was organized Chaos. There had been no leave for several days so the men of the two Regiments were all present, for they were probably the most experienced and disciplined armoured Regiments in Italy (he refused to use 'elite') and he did not have to check to know that all of the men were there. He raced his landy trough the beehive of activity that was the camp towards the Regimental CP in an empty warehouse where the Italians had once stored spare parts for the contraptions they had called tanks and saw to his satisfaction that all of his Officers were already eagerly waiting for him. He went over to the table and dispensed with the pleasantries.

“Gentlemen,” he said and laid out the map on the old box that had one contained a tank engine. “As far as our new boss, General Campbell, could tell me the enemy is breaking through our lines almost dead north of here, it seems that they are intent on depriving us if this piece of real estate. We can't have that of course, and because of that us and the Lancers have been ordered to go forward immediately to about here,” he indicated the spot on the map, “and stop or at the very least delay the enemy as much as possible until the rest of the Corps can me moved in.”


Major General John Charles Campbell, newly minted Commander of the 7th Armoured Division


Jan paused and looked at his Officers in turn. “I hope you realize that we could come up against an untold number of enemy forces, there is simply no telling yet what they are throwing against us.” He paused again. “Any more questions?” Silence. “Good. Then let's get moving. Dismissed.” He stepped outside and his men followed.

As he began to walk over to where Battleaxe II was parked under a camouflage net the air was filled with more than meteor engines and diesel fumes, there was a roar coming from above. Jan looked upwards and was terrified when he saw that a immense swarm of German Ju-87s was diving down at them one after another. Forgetting all sense of dignity he began to ran past one of the Divisional Anti-Air troops AA Crusaders began to spit out 20mm shells towards the diving Stukas. When he reached Battleaxe the drone of their sirens was deafening and the first bombs began to fall. As he climbed the hull he realized that the tank was already moving towards the road that led out of the compound and by the time he closed the hatch, Battleaxe was already swirving onto the road and racing towards the exit. All around them chaos reigned surpreme thanks to the intervention of the Luftwaffe, but by the time the sixteen german planes had dropped their bombs the general direction was outwards to where the unit commanders could sort out their troops.

Still, the Stukas had achieved their goal, the mobilization of the two Regiments was seriously disrupted. While Jan and his counterpart sorted out their units with strength, orders and profanities the three German Divisions that led the counterstroke that was to gain the Germans Bologna and later perhaps even Rome drove southwards as hard as they could against scattered but extremely determined resistance by the Belgian Infantry that had recovered from the shock by then and fought back savagely. By mid-day, 12:11 to be exact, the Germans had covered the distance between the forward Axis positions and the outskirts of Bologna. By that time however something else had happened: The 2nd Royal Hussars and the 24th Polish Lancers were deployed in the outskirts of the town. Most of the three Infantry Divisions was tied down, but the four Panzer Regiments were amply supported by Infantry, whereas the two allied Tank Regiments went to battle virtually alone, only a company from the South Wessex Light Infantry had been found in time. Both Colonels had spaced their tanks in the outskirts of Bologna facing north. Jan was in overall command since he had seniority and a VC under his belt, and that carried a lot of weight even with non-Commonwealth units. Ambush was the name of the game. Let the Germans think they had won and close in and then smash their IV's to bits with superior firepower. Overhead at least five or six Squadrons of Allied Fighters were converging, so no more surprise Stuka attacks. Battleaxe II was placed behind what had been a car workshop that was situated behind a bend in the road, the barrel just so peeping out between the workshop and the next house allowing the tank to conceal itself quickly by putting in the reverse gear. Jan was standing in the hatch and looked at the Germans as they advanced. Behind him light and irregular artillery fire was turning more of the city into rubble but he ignored it. His eyes were firmly on the Germans, and now, only a few more moments...he grabbed the wireless microphone that connected him to the rest of his impromptu command. He painted a mental map. The two Tank Regiments were strung out along a line along the outskirts of the city and beyond. To get into Bologna the Germans would have to cross the river that lay between them and their destination, and he knew that the five or six spots where tanks could cross easily were all zeroed in by Artillery. However if this morning was any indication then he chose not to rely on it being available.

The Germans were a good bit in range now and he was just about to give the order to fire when somewhere along the line first one then several guns discharged early. “Oh goddamn..ALL UNITS, OPEN FIRE!”

He closed the hatch behind himself as he sat down and watched the battle through his optics. The Germans had been caught in the open just as they attempted to cross the river. The Panzers soon pulled back and Jan could see at least half a dozen of them burning merrily away. He called for Artillery on the retreating Infantry, but Badger Six (as Divisional Artillery was known this month) did not answer, and the RAF liaison Officer was nowhere to be found, so there was nothing he could do but watch as the Germans pulled back briefly. When they realized that no retaliatory death from above was incoming, the Infantry soon made another try at forcing a crossing.


Here the German superiority in Infantry came into play. They knew that they had to force a crossing and get into the city before the Allies could put reinforcements on the Battlefield, and the disregard for the danger and the casualties they took from the South Wessex Company and the tanks that fired the few HE shells that they had. The British Infantry was hastily dug in around two houses that covered the easiest for that had probably been in use for decades and the burning Panzer in front of their position told a tale, but less than fifty men were pitted against almost two Battalions of hardened veterans that had crossed the Rhine, the Meuse and countless smaller rivers and creeks over the years of war. They had taken less than half an hour to pull themselves and now they were conducting an improvised river crossing. Jan watched it with fascination and he had to admit that these Germans knew what they were doing, he had to admit that. They were crack troops, that much was sure. By the time they had begun engaging the South Wessex position again the Panzers reappeared and began to engage the Allied tanks hidden away, and by now they had a good idea as to where they were. The Allies began to take serious losses but fought back. Down near the ford the British Infantry still fought back, but the Company had been seriously understrength to begin with and now they were taking losses they could ill afford, only around fifty were still in a condition to fight. The Germans circled around the houses in an effort to catch their enemy from behind and Jan once again wished that he could make contact with the Artillery or the Air Force. He realized that he had become too dependent on the other services and he vowed not to let that happen again. Right now he just watched the catastrophe unfold, unable to do anything because the Tanks had a lot do do fighting off their German counterparts. Both sides began to take losses that would take a while to replace – not that it would be the last today.

Then, one and a half hour after the second crossing attempt the fighting at the two houses died down and in spite of the harassing fire from the few tanks that were not too busy with other things and a few lonely mortars that had found their way forward. Jan, still in command, realized that he was going to be overwhelmed and forced to withdraw sooner rather than later when the Germans began to bring more Infantry across and the first Panzers began to move towards the crossing.

“Time to get out of here.” He switched his throat microphone from the internal system to what normally was the Battalion curcuit and said:

“All Badger Units, fall back towards Halt Line Red Five, I repeat...”

He repeated the order five more times before giving his driver a simple order. The Gunner fired a last round that even killed a Panzer IV as it was about to cross one of the other fords and then Battleaxe II moved backwards, using the rubble of the buildings for cover.

“How are we doing, Gents?” Jan asked.

“We're down to nineteen HEAT. None of the other types have yet been used. If we can resupply tonight we should be fine for now, Colonel.”

“Good.”

The Allied forces withdrew deeper into the city and conducted a fighting retreat through the streets, turning even more of the city into rubble. Near the city centre and the main church the surviving tanks of the two Regiments made another stand. Here their smaller numbers did not matter as much because there were only so many directions the Germans could come from, and the hedgehog positition with which the Allies defended the Square proved to be unbreakable. The Germans could neither bring in Artillery because they would more often than not hit their own troops and the Stukas were grounded because by now every Fighter Squadron in Northern Italy had sent it's airworthy planes to the Battle area and sheer force of numbers had given the Allies Air Surpremacy simply because the local Luftwaffe Commanders had not believed that the Allies would surge their fighters forward like that and risk them to exposure. By the time they had realized their mistake (about the time when the ground forces pulled back from the edge of the city) the enemy already had so many fighters all over the Battle area that any more sorties would most certainly be smashed.


The dogged defence began to pay dividends because Major General Bauer, in charge of the attack, began to get nervous because he knew that if he did not manage to take Bologna quick, his most forward formations would be caught fighting in the city from which they would be hard to extract if or rather when the Allies attacked his dangerously exposed rear areas that were only defended by the three reserve Infantry Brigades that he had decided to leave behind. Pockets of Belgian Infantry that refused to surrender, stragglers and diehards made that spot as dangerous as it was already and now in front of him the British and Polish Tanks that held the town centre refused to budge.

Three more attacks were launched that afternoon but when the sun began to set, the Germans pulled back. The tankers that had fought for their lives throughout the day did not know why and were understandably puzzled when suddenly fighting died down everywhere, but soon they would find out that the Dutch 1st Infantry Division and accompanied by the also Dutch 2nd Tank Brigade launched an not ordered counterattack against the rear areas of the Germans with the intent of cutting off their advance units in Bologna. Eventually that attack failed, but it coerced Bauer into pulling back.



The battles of this day would later be significant in two respects. Not only was it the last combat action of the venerable Ju-87 Stuka Divebomber, but it also turned out to be the last serious Axis attempt at throwing the Allies back. From that moment onwards Rommel, later joined by Field Marshal Kesselring would be too busy to defend against various Allied attacks to do much advancing themselves. Aside from localized counterattacks the Axis forces would never gain make a serious attempt to regain the initiative.



[Notes: Can you tell that I had the time to do this properly?]
 

ColossusCrusher

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Yes. Also, I highly doubt that a smallish battle like this could have crushed the German initiative like you said it did. IRL it took Stalingrad/Kursk to do that, and this time there is no Eastern Front. Logically all of those German troops that aren't in the West should be smashing through your defences, awesome Polish tankers or not. :D

It's not that I'm rooting for the Germans, but that I'm against logical inconsistencies.