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  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

trekaddict

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My money is on the Gurkhas for some reason....

Wait, I joined in 07 like trek, and yet he has 6000 more posts than me!
Several AARs, a lot of commenting and far too much spare time. :D
 

misterbean

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Don't forget that the Empire is trek's equivalent of a Mary Sue. It will ALWAYS win, except for those token defeats that let him say "No! The Empire can be beaten! See?!?! Why don't you believe me?!" :D
 

trekaddict

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Don't forget that the Empire is trek's equivalent of a Mary Sue. It will ALWAYS win, except for those token defeats that let him say "No! The Empire can be beaten! See?!?! Why don't you believe me?!" :D
You know, if I were to play this game TODAY, I'd give the Ayis some serious boosts, and while it seems easiy at the moment, it gets diofficult, very, very soon.
 

trekaddict

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Don't forget that the Empire is trek's equivalent of a Mary Sue. It will ALWAYS win, except for those token defeats that let him say "No! The Empire can be beaten! See?!?! Why don't you believe me?!" :D
Came across this little Gem on another Forum:



"Hello, you've reached the British Empire. We're a little busy with our Commonwealth at the moment, but if you leave you Nations name, number, and a message we'll win your war for you as soon as we can. Have a pleasent day."
 

PrawnStar

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There's a saying on AlternateHistory.com

'OTL is a Brit Wank'
 

trekaddict

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trekaddict

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I've been bitten by the bug again...







But fear not, the next update is almost done and after that I have a couple very good ideas that will be written.
 

misterbean

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just finished book two. wow, brave call, killing a major character like Felix. worthy of praise.
 

trekaddict

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misterbean

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It was a very hard thing to do. :(
I'm sure it was. But you did it anyway, because you felt it would improve the story. I remember a Flemish TV series, Niet Voor Publicatie (Not For Publication, in English), where the lead character was a reporter for a gossip newspaper who kept getting in all kinds of trouble with both the cops and lower criminals. until one of them killed him and left his body in the trunk of his car. the show went on for another two seasons. My point: it made for a great heart-stopping, bullet-sweating, life-altering moment. just like the late mister Leitner.
 

trekaddict

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I'm sure it was. But you did it anyway, because you felt it would improve the story. I remember a Flemish TV series, Niet Voor Publicatie (Not For Publication, in English), where the lead character was a reporter for a gossip newspaper who kept getting in all kinds of trouble with both the cops and lower criminals. until one of them killed him and left his body in the trunk of his car. the show went on for another two seasons. My point: it made for a great heart-stopping, bullet-sweating, life-altering moment. just like the late mister Leitner.
Mind you, I am still trying to get myself to a smiliar turning point but I've grown too fond of all the Characters. :(
 

trekaddict

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Strong Language in this one.



Chapter 248

Artillery opened the Battle like it had done since the invention of gunpowder and for the first time the Allied gunners not only had superior fire control but also outnumbered their foes. Both the Germans and the Soviets lacked heavy Artillery in the area, the German 10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40 wasn't yet available in high numbers and the 7.5 cm Gebirgsgeschütz 36 of the Wehrmacht and the 76 mm mountain gun M1938 of the Red Army simply couldn't put up the same volume of fire as the combined guns of no less than eight British Artillery Brigades and five slightly smaller but also considerable Divisional Artillery groups of the French, Dutch and Polish Armies. The forward most positions were pulverized as expected and the Gurkhas, forming the vanguard of the Allied Advance with no less than two full Divisions, (a third being in India) advanced without meeting resistance at first, followed by the UK 18th Mountain Infantry Division and the 22nd Mountain Infantry Division (Polish) and they swept through the outer edges of the Battle area within a day, mopping up resistance and crushing nests of stubborn defenders as they went along, even the town of Quevo, heavily damaged in World War One fell to the Polish 14th Mountain Infantry Regiment after a short but sharp fight against a mixed force of Soviet Mountaineers and Cavalry that had attempted to stop them at the two peaks that guarded the valley of the Piave. The ferocity of the supporting Artillery and the vigour with which the Poles had been fighting and the direct frontal attack up the slopes of the hills had taken the Soviets by surprise.


Polish troops belonging to the 14th Mountain Infantry Regiment

On the second day things began to slow down considerably. Farther west from where the Poles were cautiously advancing the 1st Gurkha Division was heavily engaged with the 6th SS Mountain Divison (North) a new formation formed out of fanatical German and other Volunteers from the Low Countries, and both sides lived up to their reputation. On the first day sheer surprised had forced the SS troops to retire towards Avio, only a few miles behind the front where they had stopped the Gurkhas cold. Aside from an SS Battalion in Avio Castle the settlement was devoid of troops of either side as both the SS troopers and the Gurkhas dug in on either side of the valley. The Germans were sure that they would hold their position against the asiatic hordes. The Gurkhas sharpened their Khukuris and calmly waited for the Artillery to open up. Most of the guns of the Division were of the new Ordnance QF 25-pounder Short variant that the Australians had invented for some of their Units in Burma and that the British and Indian Armies had adopted for their Mountain troops, since although meant for Jungle warfare it had proven to be very suitable in mountainous terrain since it could be disassembled into 13 pieces and was thus almost man portable. Since production of the standard 25 pounder was being slowed in favour of the 5.5inch Field Gun, so some of the tooling had been used to set up a low-rate production line for the Short 25er, while some more was on the way to Rhodesia where someone was going to try and set up a local manufacture of weapons.

2nd Gurkha Artillery Brigade was setting up and duly provided Artillery support while behind them rear area units gathered up the remnants of the day.

Having placed four of the Division's six Regiments into reserve, the Commander sent the remaining two down into the valley to cross the river and clear out the city first. However the Germans had a clear view of everything that was going on and since it was a crack SS formation also access to the finest material Germany could produce, so most of their Artillery consisted of medium and heavy pieces, most notably two batteries of the soon to be (in-)famous 10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40, almost the total number produced so far.



Gun belonging to 10th SS Mountain Artillery Regiment preparing to open fire​


The Gurkhas thus ran into massive enemy Artillery fire when they worked their way down the slopes and into town where they were met by fanatical resistance of two German Regiments. Almost immediately the fight degenerated to close quarter combat, sometimes so savage that both sides used bayonets and knives. By 11:00 AM, two hours after the Initial attack they had reached the river at three places but at the cost of more than twelve percent of their strength in dead and wounded. The Germans had by this time blown every bridge within miles so an assault crossing needed to be made. While the British troops were waiting for assault boats to be brought forward over the atrocious roads, they battled with the Germans over and cleared out holdouts on their side of the river, most importanly in several buildings along National Road No.12, running roughly along the river. For almost three hours the Gurkhas and the Germans traded shots across the river as Brens and .50s tried to compete with MG 42s. By the time the assault boats had been brought forward, the Gurkhas had taken to blasting strongpoints on the other side to which the Germans had no replies except for some old 37mm Infantry guns poached from the Wehrmacht Alpenkorps units when they had retreated to form the core of Army Group Southern France and the normal Rifle Grenades that every Army carried. Due to this the British had greater firepower and they would need it for the bloody house to house fighting that would follow.

The assault crossing was started and the Companies assigned to make the first leaps across took frightful losses of up to thirty percent, but they crossed the river and engaged the enemy even as the bodies of their comrades floated away. The German positions at the riverbank put up a fierce defence but were eventually forced back when more and more of their number were outright killed. The Commander of the British Division then decided to start sending some of his reserves across the river, because while the two assault forces were across and slowly working their way towards the slope on the other side, but the close conditions and the scale of the fighting made for frightful losses on both sides. Two more Regiments were thrown into the fray and by mid-afternoon they had pushed the Germans back to the edge of the town at the cost of almost 30% establishment strength, more than the Division had suffered in the two years of active fighting it had seen. Even so, the Germans suffered at least as much and were slowly giving way, except for one Battalion that had defended the Castle and where British Supporting Artillery could not distinguish friend from foe.




Inside the castle the defenders were crouched behind their loopholes and their guns, shooting at the onrushing enemy soldiers as they had done for the entire morning. Up top in the highest tower SS-Schütze Nagel was behind his MG-42 and was trying to steady his hands enough to conduct the fourth Barrel change of the day. He had used up so much ammunition that his remaining three spare barrels were partially buried in empty cartridges and it took him longer to do so than normal to begin with since his team mate had been wounded. Below him subhuman waves came on and on, and he was beginning to understand why the Wehrmacht had such a healthy respect for them, yes probably even feared them. He slammed the barrel into place and inserted a new belt, noticing that it was his last. He roughly aimed the weapon down the steep slope and fired short bursts into the village and at any British soldier he could see. The MG42 was however consuming ammunition like nothing else and soon the 250 round belt was empty again. He knew that it was his last, so Nagel turned to his Squad Leader two loopholes down, yelled, failed to make himself heard over the roar of combat and then simply threw an empty cartridge at him before making the hand signals for more ammunition. He left his gun behind and crawled back to the ladder and climbed down. In the innards of the castle the wounded the dead and the fighting were mixed up with each other and Nagel cautiously worked his way past them to the room where ammunition was stored. That was something else that the day's fighting had done. Those assigned as ammunition carriers had long since been fed into the defence and so Nagel struggled up the ladder again with six additional belts of which two he had designated for his Squad Leader who was using the second machine gun.

“Just in ti...” the Rottenführer was interrupted when a bullet zinged inches past his gun and his face only to hit the wall. “Damn...they may be Untermenschen but they are good shots, I have to leave them that.”

He looked back out and what he saw made his blood freeze.

“They are attacking again!”

Nagel threw himself behind his gun again and he began to shoot at the soldiers that began to climb up the mountainside for the fifth time this day and even as they climbed over the bodies of their dead, even more were killed. What Nagel couldn't see was that this time two PIAT teams had found their way forward from the town where slowly but surely the German resistance was ruthlessly crushed. The warheads slammed into the walls of the castle but failed to penetrated and instead they merely killed and wounded several of the Germans when one of them impacted near a loophole and produced a massive amount of splinters. The human wave again slowly rose up the mountain and more than once they stumbled over the dead and wounded from the last attack, and again they clashed against the walls of the castle and again they were thrown back at a horrific cost in blood.

This last attack had been carried out by the Division's last fresh reserves and it was the last of the day. There would still be light enough to try again for several more hours, but the 1st Gurkha Division was spent as a force. They had managed to clear out the last defenders in the town itself by the time the last attack was started, but unless the men were rested and replacements were brought forward the Division wouldn't do much attacking in the near future. The fury of the British at this defeat was evident when they pulled back into the town and the mountainside and the castle were relentlessly shelled by the Artillery when it wasn't duelling itself with it's German counterparts for the remainder of the day. Word went up the Chain and soon the Commander of the interim XXIX Corps that was tasked with taking the area was forced to bring forward the French 42nd Moroccan Division from the second wave to pin the Germans in place and to relieve the 1st Gurkha which would most probably be moved southwards rest and rebuild itself back up to strength. Meanwhile elsewhere the advance wasn't going as planned either. The 18th Mountain Infantry was slogging through an area defended by Soviet Cavalry whose Officers were to a large part people who had survived the last stages of the Civil War and Stalin's purges, so a lot of institutional knowledge was present, resulting in roads blocked by boulders, booby-trapped trees and undergrowth on and beside the road and ambushes by small parties that melted away before they could be grasped. The British Mountaineers on the other hand were well-trained for conventional warfare, but this sort of semi-guerillia conflict hadn't really been encountered on any significant scale since the Boer War forty years before, and there was nothing in the Army training manuals, unlike the Soviets where the memory of the Civil war was still relatively fresh. Going was therefore very slow.

The Poles and the other Gurkha Division weren't going anywhere either, they were facing the pick of those Alpenkorps forces that were not under Rommel and Dietl in the west against an increasing number of French troops and here the terrain favoured the defenders even more as the Poles and the British were advancing down two very narrow and bad-quality roads where they were forced to fight through an endless string of strongpoints and ambushes, and when the sun set on the first day it was clear that the timetable was out of the window. Arrogance after too many relatively easy victories in the south had led to this disaster and to remedy it would be hard, costly and would need a larger force most of all. The allies had been rudely disabused of any ideas about the Axis either being demoralized or at least no longer willing to fight for the scraps of Italy they still controlled, the German and Soviet forces were fighting far too hard for that. It awakened the Allies to reality and reality was bleak. Four of the most elite Infantry Divisions stopped cold with horrible losses, almost thirty percent in the 2nd Gurkha alone and not much to show for it. Pre-empting the inevitable inquiries from Aldershot as to the lack of progress and his plans to remedy the situation Alexander ordered a general halt to the offensive until the faults could be corrected, even though the Field Marshal was reputed to have spoken in words not used in polite society. He was well aware that a lot of the faults rested on his own head, and his anger was directed as much at himself as at anyone else, he had written and signed the operational orders to the units after all. It wasn't easy to turn the ongoing battle around. Air support was difficult to deliver in the mountains so it was all just like the last time a war had been fought in these parts.

The SS vacated the town and the castle after three more days of intermittent fighting with the Gurkhas who had remained in place as it had turned out to be nigh on impossible to move the units from their current position without interference and the British Division had been too weak and exhausted to do more than harass the withdrawal with machine guns and Artillery. Strategically the abortive battle and campaign had clearly gone the way of the Axis.



[Notes: This was the first time I was roundly defeated. Seriously, the battle took longer than usual to begin with and then I failed.... Hardraade, I hope you don't mind that I turned him into a true believer.]
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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Nagel... I knew I have seen him somewhere else... :D


What a carnage...
 

ColossusCrusher

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Who exactly was Nagel?

Also, nice to see the Axis put up a good fight for once. :D
 

stevep

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God's that was a mauling for all concerned.:mad: I felt that trying to fight you're way through the Alps was going to be bloody difficult, as well as very bloody.

Had to smile at the line about the Gurkhas opposition. "6th SS Mountain Divison (North) a new formation formed out of fanatical German and other Volunteers from the Low Countries". The idea of recruiting a mountain division from the Low countries.;)

Steve
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner Well, I needed an SS Grunt as a Character.

ColossusCrusher And it's not over yet!



Nagel comes from 'Return to Glory', a few dozen pages in.

stevep The Germans are in the better position, closer to their Homeland and all.

The Division was actually meant for the Invasion of Norway and initially raised as a normal Infantry Battalion (The Panzergrenadier Concept is some ways off yet) and from purely Germans. However that got scrapped when the Royal Navy unsportingly wiped out the Axis surface fleets and the Allies Invaded Italy, so it was redirected there and to keep up the pretext of a common European War against the Plutocratic Anglo-Asian hordes Himmler probably decided that the unit should be raised to a full Division and include recruits from the low Countries. That proved more difficult thanks to an increased presence of these countries in Europe and since the anti-communism motivator of OTL doesn't exist for obvious reasons. By the time the Division was close to actual size, the need for Mountain troops became clear and they were retrained and only became operational around the time the Allies broke through the Gustav-Line thus creating the anomaly of Dutch Mountaineers. War has done stranger things in history.


*note to self: Work the gist of that into the narrative at some point*
 

El Pip

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You would have thought Ghurkas of all people would have some knowledge of the fighting on the North West Frontier, it was low level guerilla warfare a go-go round those parts. Get someone to dig out a manual from the British Indian Army and send a copy round with compliments.

That said while a defeat is interesting variety, it is a shame it had to occur in that particular battle. Still the plus side is it may encourage the SS to carry on being barking mad, I'm thinking the Bavarian Desert Corps or perhaps the Austrian Marine Division, something like that.