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Table Of Contents

Ilaruum

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Hello, everyone.

This is my first AAR.

I will try to survive as Lithuania playing as closely to the reality as possible, using also the mechanics for underground resistance of TFH. Thus, there will be no declarations of war on Latvia, Denmark or Ireland, no building of forts, no joining Axis or Comintern early, etc. I have also no skills in modding, so I will try to adapt the story/gameplay to each other as I go.

1936
Difficulty/AI: Normal/Normal
HOI3: TFH (slightly modded - Baltic States Ultimatum event - GiE)

I will probably speed-play the first two years first, but your support/advice for the future years would be really appreciated, as I do not yet know all the thingies of TFH that might be helpful.
Thank you!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

Chapter I. January, 1936.
Chapter II. Christmas, 1936.
Chapter III. Christmas, 1937.

PART I

Chapter I. Calm Before the Storm Early Spring, 1938
Chapter II. The Stand-off. March, 1938
Chapter III. Thunderclouds. March, 1939
Chapter IV. The Storm. Christmas, 1939
Chapter V. Europe in Flames. April, 1940
Chapter VI. To WAR!!! May, 1940
Chapter VII. First Blood. End of May, 1940
Chapter VIII. The Ring Is Tightening. Last days of Spring, 1940
Chapter IX. First Victories. June, 1940
Chapter X. Live to Fight Another Day. End of June, 1940

PART II

Chapter I. Away From Home. Early July, 1940.
Chapter II. Foreign Shores. Early October, 1940
Chapter III. White and Red Sands of Libya. End of 1940
Chapter IV. Desert Rats of Tobruk. January - March, 1941
Chapter V. Long Way to Tripoli. March - July, 1941
Chapter VI. The World on Fire. July – September, 1941
Chapter VII. From Desert To Snow. October - November, 1941
Chapter VIII. A Fjord Too Far. December, 1941 – January, 1942
Chapter IX. North We Go. January - April, 1942
Chapter X. Live Long and Free, Country of Mountain Trolls! April - June, 1942
Chapter XI. Dust in the Wind. June - August, 1942

PART III

Chapter I. Walking on Waves. August - September, 1942
Chapter II. Blood-drenched Ashes. September, 1942
Chapter III. Hanging By A Thread. September - October, 1942
Chapter IV. Cliffs and Mules. October, 1942
Chapter V. The Price of Blood, Pride and Wine. November, 1942
Chapter VI. Egyptian Vacation. December, 1942
Chapter VII. Christmas Are Coming. Late December, 1942
Chapter VIII. La Dolce Vita. December, 1942 - January, 1943
Chapter IX. Roman Tragedy. January - February, 1943
Chapter X. The Yanks Are Coming! The Yanks Are Coming! February - March, 1943

PART IV

Chapter I. The World Is Young. March, 1943
Chapter II. Soft Underbelly Of Europe. March - April, 1943
Chapter III. Mountain Paths To Nowhere. April - June, 1943
Chapter IV. Silent Slopes Of Mount Olympus. June - July, 1943
Chapter V. It's Not Always Easy. July - August, 1943
Chapter VI. If It's Not Okay, It's Not Yet The End. August - September, 1943
Chapter VII. The Power of Words. September - October, 1943
Chapter VIII. The Battle Was Lost. October, 1943
Chapter IX. Clear Skies, Still Sea. End of October, 1943
Chapter X. They Came Here To Stay. October - November, 1943
Chapter XI. We May Never Return Home. November - December, 1943
Chapter XII. The Spirit of Victory. December, 1943 - January, 1944
Chapter XIII. Having a Dream. January - February, 1944

Part V

Chapter I. Operation Market-Garden. February, 1944
Chapter II. Winter Storm. February, 1944
Chapter III. Vrijheid. The Things We Cherish. February - March, 1944
Chapter IV. Argonaut Conference. March 15-22, 1944
Chapter V. No Race To Berlin. March 23 – April 5, 1944
Chapter VI. Apart. April – May, 1944
Chapter VII. Blind Shot. May – June, 1944
 
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The Beginning

Ilaruum

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My name is Antanas M., born on May 11, 1907, in a village of Marijampole county. I spent all my childhood on our farm in a family of wealthy farmers, with my 6 brothers and two sisters. However, I was actually barely seeing my eldest brother, as he left home even before I was born - he has been pursuing clerical education in a seminary in Seinai, near Suwalki.

I do not have any particular recollections about the first world war, as it came forth and went back outside my little world. I had to grow-up pretty early, however, since my another two elder brothers (I was the fourth) have signed-up as volunteers for the newly formed Lithuanian army in 1918, along with more than 10 thousands other Lithuanians, Byelorussians and Jews. They were taking part in Lithuania's struggle for its independence against bolsheviks, bands of Colonel Bermont-Avalov, and, later, with Polish aggressors.
Among more than 2000 lost in battle was my brother Jurgis, killed in one of the last battles with Polish troops, just before stopping the bloodshed by the commission of the League of Nations. This was a severe blow to all of us, but especially to my father, since Jurgis was helping the most on the farm and was raised knowing that he is going to inherit it after the death of my parents.



Lithuanian troops fighting Zheligovski's Legion near Vilnius, 1920

My life has significantly changed in 1921, when I moved away from home for 4 years in Marijampole, studying at Marijampole's Gymnasium until 1925. While it was not that far away, I was rarely visited by my mother, sisters and younger brothers, and never by my father, whom I saw only during holidays, when coming home for Christmas. I have always felt that he was not expecting much of me, never to be able to fill-in the shoes of my brothers, especially the eldest one - he has been studying in St.Petersberg, Switzerland and Germany, and returned to Lithuania in 1923 as a renowned poet, priest and professor.
However, my eldest brother Vincas has made the biggest impact on my life. We have been continuously corresponding also during my study years, when I chose to become a teacher of Lithuanian, at Marijampole's Teachers seminary, while he was teaching Lithuanian Literature at Lithuanian University in Kaunas.



Teachers' seminarium in Marijampole, 1923

While I was always patriotic, politics have never been a very a widely debated subject in our family. However, after the resurrection of 1923 and subsequent incorporation of Klaipeda (Memel) region into our country and, especially, after the military coup of 1926, when the always-squabbling clergy and Christian-Democrats dominated Parliament was released in order to consolidate the nation against the impeding threat of communism (communists have been allegedly planning the coup at the same time as well), absolute majority of the patriotically inclined students, military and intelligentsia rallied behind the new leader of the nation - President Antanas Smetona, and his right wing party of nationalists.


Antanas Smetona. The first and the last President of interwar Lithuania​
 
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January, 1936

Ilaruum

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January, 1936

Next 10 years saw the strengthening of our young state - economically, militarily and as a nation, however, the international situation was becoming increasingly shaky and dangerous.

There were no diplomatic relations and close to none economic ties with Poland, which we had the longest border with. The occupation of Vilnius region by Poland has even been one of the strongest drivers behind our national unity, as the cry "We will not rest without Vilnius" was on everyone's lips and the topic of the hunt for Polish spies was in the newspapers almost every day.

In the north we were bordering Latvia, a country with simillar fate, but diplomatically was quite distant, despite their moves for a closer union, or even a military alliance, together with Estonia. They were being strongly influenced by Poland, thus, were thought not to be entirely to be trusted.

Soviet Union, while not immediate on the border, was nevertheless a significant neighbor and a trade partner. While the communist party was banned in Lithuania, there were always something in the newspapers about located and destroyed underground cells of communists. After the peace treaty of 1926, their potential threat to our sovereignty was being consistently downplayed by the politicians.

Finally, in the southwest we had almost 300 km long border with Germany. While, initially, our closest trade partner, after coming of the NSDP into power, the relations have started going into a steep decline. While suppression of local German majority has been cited as the cause, this was of course just a pretext for meddling into the internal matters of our state. Thus, in 1935, after an economic blockade has been established by Germany, both our trade and diplomatic efforts have been re-directed towards Great Britain.


International relations of Lithuania, 1936​

The winter of 1936 found me still living in Marijampole, working as a teacher, trying to nurture the love to our Homeland in the hearts and minds of my pupils. My eldest brother has in the meantime renounced his priesthood and become a publicist and journalist. It is him, working in Kaunas, at the heart our nation, who was keeping me up to date regarding the most important international and internal events.
Therefore, it came as no surprise to me, when on one of the cold Saturdays, at noon, when the announcement was made by our President from the balcony of the President Palace in Kaunas and transmitted all over the country by radio:

"My fellow Lithuanians! We have endured many hardships on the way to our independence, and will not spare the last drop of blood in order to keep it safe from anyone, who may attempt to take it away. We must be ready to defend it at all cost. Therefore, I ask for every man of able body to become a defender of his home, village, town, of his countrymen and women, and join the newly formed Lithuanian Territorial Defence Force!"



President A.Smetona addresses the nation
Territorial Defence Force (TDF) was to be created on a basis of the Lithuanian Rifflement Union (LRU) and Border Patrol and attached to the Lithuanian Army, under direct command of the Lithuanian Army Headquarters. LRU was created just after the establishment of our state in 1919, participated in the fighting, and was designed for patriotic volunteers, both men and women, that were pursuing various occupations in their life, but were determined to help defending the country in time of need. The trainings with weapons were being conducted several times a month, on weekends, with the part of the weapons brought by the members, others - old unused guns, supplied from the warehouses of the army. The same way I was bringing my trusty Mossin-Nagant 1907 Carbine, brought home by my brother.


Even though many more people were supporting this movement, there were only about 10000 members in total. Our leaders were certain, that surviving as a nation could only be achieved if the whole population is trained to use guns properly.


LRO members of Birzai town, 1920
Being a member of the LRU for several years already, I was overjoyed to become a part of our glorious Lithuanian Army. This meant that both the equipment and training would become much better, perhaps even drawing more people under this worthy cause.


LRO members march through Kaunas, 1936​
 
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Belgiumruler

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Good intro, I think you gonna fight if the USSR want to annex you?? Good Luck and make sure for every Lithuanian Soldier 20 russians died ( just let them show the fighting spirit of you Army)
 

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I've wanted a good partisan AAR since the mechanic was introduced in FTM, but every good AAR seems to get cursed. :(

Subscribed!
 

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Looks like this could be some fun. Although I don't own HOI3, I like reading the AARs lol. Anyway, subbed!
 

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Looks like this could be some fun. Although I don't own HOI3, I like reading the AARs lol. Anyway, subbed!
You´re a strange guy! ^^

I think I´ll follow this one too. My prediction is that he´ll join Allies, if he wants to make use of UR cells...
 

Ilaruum

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Correction

Hey, guys, thanks for stopping by.

Just to let you know, after several short tries, I have decided to start with the TFH instead of FTM.

Also, as stated by Ikarases, I will have to join one of the factions in order to survive the occupation. We will see how it goes, however, politics of 1938-1939 was a really messed-up stuff there..

Actually, the preparation for this AAR has already made me read a lot on the history of my country in that time, so that's a good thing :rolleyes:
 
Christmas, 1936

Ilaruum

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Christmas, 1936

The following year has brought many changes into the lives of my countrymen. Hearing the cries of despair from the peasants, which have been revolting just several years ago, a land reform was implemented, giving the land to those without any or owning only a small parcel of land, and an extensive mechanization of the agriculture was started.


Agricultural machinery has become much more widespread in 1936

Industrial development was also not neglected - after the change of economic policies, biggest post-war investments were directed towards the change from the traditional craftsman shops towards heavier industry plants, resulting in the significant increase in production of military supplies.


One of the major factories established in Panevezys, 1936

While probably not completely unexpected, the refusal by Germany to invite Lithuanian sportsmen to the Olympics in August came as a surprise to many. The newspapers have tried to downplay the importance of this, but to everyone seeing a bigger picture, and, especially, living closer to the border with Germany, it was becoming clear that our big neighbor is becoming restless, but as some said - perhaps only honestly concerned about the situation of the German minority in Klaipeda region.


Klaipeda guarded by Lithuanian Border Patrol, 1936

According to my brother, officials in Kaunas were becoming concerned not only about the deterioration of economic ties, but also about the absence of allies and lack of counterweights to German influence in the international arena. Our closest ties have been with Czechoslovakia and, quite surprisingly - Latin America countries, such as Ecuador and Nicaragua. It has even been announced in October about the large order by the Ecuadorian government to purchase two wings of Lithuanian made fighter planes - the pride of our aviation industry - ANBO 41, one of the last creations by the chief constructor and commander of the Lithuanian Air Force - A.Gustaitis.

In that time, aviation was on everyone's minds - the release of new planes was constantly followed, aviation shows came close to national festivities, and the aviators were considered as the highest elite - creme de la creme, following the bold, but tragic attempt to cross the Atlantic by a monoplane Lituanica just 4 years earlier.
 
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Ikarases

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Relations are (still) broken... I think there was some guy to ensure you have 85 relations with 5 countries, everything else goes to 75 or 0; eventually these values may be changed when you´re playing a Major, but that´s all.
 

Ilaruum

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Relations are (still) broken... I think there was some guy to ensure you have 85 relations with 5 countries, everything else goes to 75 or 0; eventually these values may be changed when you´re playing a Major, but that´s all.
Hey, Ikarases, thanks for comment:)
Well, actually, I have a lot of countries with relations higher than 75 (90 (with USA), 100+, even 130), it's just influencing the relations is hard. As current relation numbers are way ahistorical - I just give myself some leeway and go on with the story. What seems like a bug though - asking for the same license by a number of minors (5 within 1 year). It ties well enough with the story, but just seems odd, never encountered that before. And money is never paid, btw :D
 

Ikarases

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Hey, Ikarases, thanks for comment:)
Well, actually, I have a lot of countries with relations higher than 75 (90 (with USA), 100+, even 130), it's just influencing the relations is hard. As current relation numbers are way ahistorical - I just give myself some leeway and go on with the story. What seems like a bug though - asking for the same license by a number of minors (5 within 1 year). It ties well enough with the story, but just seems odd, never encountered that before. And money is never paid, btw :D
You have +100 because you gave them licenses ;)
 
Christmas, 1937

Ilaruum

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Christmas, 1937

This year ended on a high note, as our young state was growing in strength in every area - the agriculture was further modernized, increasing also the use of phosphate fertilizers, imported from Soviet Union by our improved rail system. Sitting at Christmas table, mother could not stop talking still about how good the harvest was this year, for all the neighbors as well.


Narrow rail system was expanded in 1937

there were only some news from far away - Japan has declared war on China, and, subsequently, concluded an alliance with Germany. There was no immediate concern, as news reports on the last pages about the war going somewhere anytime (be it Ethiopia, China or Spain) were an everyday occurrence.

Our belief in the Leader and the unity of the nation was unwavering in 1937, and becoming even stronger. The government announced another 3 licensing agreements with El Salvador, Nicaragua and our neighbors Latvia for ANBO 51, a reconnaissance plane.

Probably the best news of the year was the win by Lithuanian basketball team in European Championship in Latvia, defeating a team from Italy in the final match.


The joy of the win in Riga. 1937
 
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Ilaruum

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You have +100 because you gave them licenses ;)
I just re-checked the relationships - I have 90 with 5 countries, including USA, 100 with Portugal (currently - some trading, no licenses), and 105 with Poland (I got some bonus for a neighbor in peace for some time, also some trading). All the countries with license echange have 85 with me.
 

Funnyman320

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Looks interesting. I'll keep an eye on this!
 
Calm Before the Storm. Early Spring, 1938.

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Early Spring, 1938. Calm Before the Storm.

The year started well enough. Even though the freezing colds held up until early March, the signs of upcoming spring seemed like the most important thing in life at that time.



Kaunas in early Spring, 1938



Lithuania in colour. 1938

The most noteworthy development for me personally was the finalization of formation of our Territorial Defence Force regiment, based in Marijampole, as well as another 11 similar regiments all across the Lithuania. While permanent Border Patrol battalions formed the core of the regiment, the members the Lithuanian Riflemen Union, which I was the member of, filled the ranks by approx 75 percent. The training for most of the LRU members was being conducted once or twice a month for two years already; I knew the members not only of my company, but the whole regiment pretty good, in our civilian lives as well. By that time, almost 85% of government officials and schoolteachers were the members of the LRU, numbering in total about 60000 of men and women, ready to defend our homeland, should the need arise.



LRU members march through the streets of Marijampole. I am in the 1st line, 7th row.

Territorial Defence Force regiments covered all the southern border provinces, 5 regiments for Germany, and 7 for Poland (average 75 km of border per regiment).

It was not believed by many, including the command of the TDF, however, that TDF regiments alone, without the support of, access to and training in the use of heavier weapons or artillery, could stop or even significantly delay the invading enemy, be it the Polish, or Germans. Our main training was focused on controlling the movement of people across the border, impeding the advance of enemy forces and, if unsuccessful, going into underground to disrupt communications and supply lines behind the front line, not even a direct order from the supreme command was necessary. The main blow, however, should be taken by our armed forces, by manoeuvring and tactically retreating to give time for the government to leave the country and, if necessary, withdrawing to a friendly country for internment.

The structure and location of Lithuanian Armed Forces in peace time:

9 Infantry regiments, with 2 artillery and 1 anti-air regiments and their location:

1st Infantry Division
- 1st Infantry Regiment of Grand Duke Gediminas (Ukmerge)
- 2st Infantry Regiment of Grand Duke Algirdas (Kaunas)
- 9th Infantry Regiment of Duke Vytenis (Marijampole)
- Air Defence Regiment

2nd Infantry Division
- 4th Infantry Regiment of King Mindaugas (Panevezys)
- 5th Infantry Regiment of Grand Duke Kestutis (Kaunas)
- 8th Infantry Regiment of Duke of Kaunas Vaidotas (Siauliai)
- 1st Artillery Regiment (Kaunas)

3rd Infantry Division
- 3rd Infantry Regiment of Grand Duke Vytautas (Telsiai)
- 6th Infantry Regiment of Duke of Pilenai Margis (Klaipeda)
- 7th Infantry Regiment of Duke of Samogitia Butigeidis (Taurage)
- 2nd Artillery Regiment (Taurage)

3 Cavalry regiments with a light armor regiment:
- 1st Hussar regiment of Grand Hetman Jonusas Radvila (Kaunas)
- 2nd Uhlan regiment of Duchess Birute (Alytus)
- 3rd Dragoon regiment of Iron Wolf (Taurage)
- Light armor regiment

Airforces:
1 Interceptor wing

Naval Forces:
1 flotilla of transport ships, escorted by a converted/armed merchant ship "Antanas Smetona" and several patrol ships

While our armed forces numbered only a little more than 20000 men in peace time, according to my brother, at that time an official at the Foreign Ministry under Stasys Lozoraitis, Lt-Col C.S. Vale (British military attaché in Kaunas) actually cautioned that any country would be making a grave mistake by thinking about Lithuanian Forces as only three weak and poorly armed infantry divisions.


Lithuanian troops with 20 mm Oerlikon anti-tank gun
 
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Ikarases

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I can say pretty much nothing to this last update :D
 

Ilaruum

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I can say pretty much nothing to this last update :D
:D Yeah, I know, sorry about that, it's just that I am reading something about the events of March, 1938, and just wanted to give some background to my builds/the structure of the armed forces by that time, especially my decision to build 24 Militia brigades/regiments to reflect the existance of TDF :) I hope to post my next update this weekend still, if lucky enough. Hopefully, something will get more clear after that.
 

Ikarases

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:D Yeah, I know, sorry about that, it's just that I am reading something about the events of March, 1938, and just wanted to give some background to my builds/the structure of the armed forces by that time, especially my decision to build 24 Militia brigades/regiments to reflect the existance of TDF :) I hope to post my next update this weekend still, if lucky enough. Hopefully, something will get more clear after that.
No problem, keep them coming, I´ve shitton of time anyway :) I´m just waiting for the real thing: fighting! :p
 
The stand-off. March, 1938.

Ilaruum

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March, 1938. The stand-off.

On the 16th day of March every newspaper came out with a headline on the first page about the Anschluss of Austria. While it was somewhat distant, almost everyone became a little more worried whether the same approach could also be applied to Klaipeda region as well.

But it came as a total shock when only two days later the Polish ultimatum was published , demanding our government to establish diplomatic relations, that were non-existent for almost 20 years. As a pretext was cited a
small skirmish on the border, when one of the Polish soldier was killed.

After a conversation with my brother, it seemed that after an extraordinary meeting during the night, everyone in government circles thought that the refusal could only lead to a war, and the acceptance - to a total loss of prestige, especially if the claim on Vilnius as the capital of Lithuania is surrendered.



Polish foreign minister Józef Beck, 1938

As confided by several foreign diplomats from Czechoslovakia and Estonia, the main fear was the same - that a war could start in the very middle of Europe, that would ignite the whole powder keg, involving also the Soviet Union, Germany, possibly also the Great Britain and France.

The Army generals and the Minister Cabinet were considering the possibility to rely on Soviet Union for assistance, as it has played a significant role as a strategic ally of Lithuania in the past. However, as hastily informed by our closest allies within the Baltic Antante - Latvia and Estonia, we could not count on direct military help against Poland whatsoever, and were urged to accept the ultimatum as soon as possible.

It was commonly understood that any war against Poland could only be a defensive coalition war, as we could only delay the enemy only for several days, few weeks at best. And at that, considering that Germany would not intervene and try to occupy the Klaipeda region, if not more. No guarantees, unfortunately, could be obtained also by our ambassador in Berlin, Jurgis Šaulys.

In response to the ultimatum, the very next day our TDF regiment has been called for further instructions, should any hostilities start. There we also found out that all the army officers were called to their respective headquarters, while no further mobilization was expected, unless the hostilities escalated.

While I have earned the rank of a sergeant after 7 years of service in the TDF, we were only aware of the defensive plans for immediate surroundings - in particular - the defence of the sector of the southern border in the vicinity of Kalvarija. However, have personally known the commanders of the 1st division, which HQ was based in Marijampole, and have had an understanding of a defence plan "L" (lith. Lenkija - Poland), just for the case like the one that was quickly developing these days.


Plan 'L', 1938

While all 7 TDF regiments along the Polish border were prepared to meet the enemy , it was understood that they would not hold against regular Polish divisions, supported by armour and aviation. The 1st division was to meet the enemy advancing from the south, from Suwalki, in the hills near Marijampole, covering the approach to Kaunas. In case the enemy forces are overwhelming, the division was to tactically retreat behind Nemunas river, destroying the only bridge at Jurbarkas.

The 2nd division was to take defensive positions around Kaunas, using also the river defences and the remnants of the Kaunas fortifications, largely destroyed in WW 1 by Germans, but still providing significant cover and strategic positions for artillery and anti-air batteries. It was expected that the main forces should advance towards these positions, as the 3rd Polish Army Corps was located there, possibly strengthened by additional divisions in advance.


Even if obsolete, it was thought such forts could help stop advancing Polish

The Northern flank was to be protected by our most mobile forces - Cavalry division with the regiment of light tanks and armoured cars. Should the enemy try to split our forces in half, this division was to withdraw further west - behind Nevezis river.

Finally, the strategically important port and surroundings of Klaipeda were protected by the 3rd division, fearing a possible invasion by sea and trying to ensure a possibility for the government and soldiers to retreat by sea.
While we didn't yet know then, a few weeks later New York Times wrote an article estimating that around 80 000 Polish troops were ready to advance, against mere 20 000 of Lithuanians, and Polish ships have been prepared to leave Gdansk towards Klaipeda.

However, only two days after the ultimatum, after finding out from the Soviet and British diplomats that no support would be granted in case of conflict, the Lithuanian Government has accepted the ultimatum (albeit a bit softened by the Polish concerning Vilnius) and issued the command to withdraw the forces from the border.

The result of the stand-off were the widespread anti-Polish protests, with cries about betrayal of Lithuanians in Vilnius region. On the bigger scale, many Foreign offices all over the Europe were relieved and supportive of such move by Lithuania. It opened some new doors with British diplomats and, at the same time, the relationships with the SU, as well as with Latvia and Estonia grew colder.
 
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