• 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

AtlanticFriend

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Jan 2, 2018
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Just managed to finish my read-through. An interesting take on the Realpolitik of the Pact in this ATL. And the two Ottos are certaining walking a very long and thin tightrope here, between high towers on a windy day and with no safety net. :eek: One fears for their ultimate fate in this dystopian menagerie of Nazi monsters. :(
Yep, life was cruel indeed for Rahn - an ewe joining the company of wolves. I can't make up my mind whether his death was a suicide or not.

I very much like the afternotes explaining either the in-game events or OTL backgrounds. It’s a clever way of giving the context without disrupting the narrative. Bravo.
The writer's notes were initially my way of pre-emptively justifying my narrative options, but sometimes I worry they also satisfy some need to say "hey, look how cleverly I tied it all up!". My only oh-hum excuse is that they also are a nice way of sharing my wonderment at little historical facts or might-have-beens.

Meanwhile, we approach the turning point where everything starts racing in earnest to the great bloodbath. Or will things be a little different in this ATL? I guess we will see in due course!
Indeed, that is the end of years of foreplay! I had a lot of fun with the pre-war intrigues, which were very much suited for a narrative AAR. I think the style of the updates will evolve somewhat to take into consideration that offensives, counter-offensives and naval battles will now take precedence over political moves, and individual drama will seem trivial as war engulfs continents. I wouldn't want you readers to have to go through dozens of almost-similar battle scenes (and I would probably not have much fun writing nearly-similar updates). I do have some ideas about how to mix both aspects in some chapters, though - ideas that came to me years ago when I started this AAR.
 

El Pip

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You do squeeze a lot into your chapters, that was quite the epic. A most interesting meeting in Moscow, I would have liked to see what the German delegation thought of their Soviet opposite numbers, but given the.. unique.. calibre of the German team I'm not sure that would have been particularly informative.

A very enjoyable interlude in the Research Office, some nice characters and I liked the last line. The Dominican Republic scene, much as I enjoy a bit of Trujillo and his ego, that was an odd one. U-boats in the Caribbean so early jars on me somehow, quite aside from the range issues it does seem an easy way to get U-boats sunk (lots of nasty shallows) and/or get the US dragged into the war early. Still U-39 lasted less than 2 weeks in OTL, so anything she does has to be better than her historic war record (or lack of it).
 

AtlanticFriend

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Jan 2, 2018
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You do squeeze a lot into your chapters, that was quite the epic. A most interesting meeting in Moscow, I would have liked to see what the German delegation thought of their Soviet opposite numbers, but given the.. unique.. calibre of the German team I'm not sure that would have been particularly informative.
I am glad you liked this part, it's been the one that has been the hardest to write. I didn't want it to be "Germans dumb, hurr hurr", but Luther certainly deserved little mercy. I'm still conflicted about von Brickendrop. Clever buffoon or plain stupid?


A very enjoyable interlude in the Research Office, some nice characters and I liked the last line
That scene owes a lot to my avowed fascination for Le Carré's novel. Out from dull paperwork, comes blood-curling terror for our "intelligence clerks". I like that kind of espionage stuff, galaxies away from James Bond action.

The Dominican Republic scene, much as I enjoy a bit of Trujillo and his ego, that was an odd one. U-boats in the Caribbean so early jars on me somehow, quite aside from the range issues it does seem an easy way to get U-boats sunk (lots of nasty shallows) and/or get the US dragged into the war early. Still U-39 lasted less than 2 weeks in OTL, so anything she does has to be better than her historic war record (or lack of it).
This part I confess I wrote on a whim, without much fact-checking. I think the Type IX U-boote could be pre-positioned close to the US shores (didn't some of Doenitz' boys stated they attacked US tankers in full sight of the East Coast harbors during operation Paukenschlag?), but apart from that I went full "Raiders of the Lost Ark". I guess I needed something more upbeat after the two Ottos' melancholy and the Forschugsamt clerical intrigue. I'll have to browse my John Costello's The Battle of the Atlantic for some more insight into the coming subs vs convoys episodes.

I have yet to write down a single word of the coming Franco-Germano-Polish update, due to some real-life duties and some mulling about how to start WW2 in a realistic enough way.
 

El Pip

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This part I confess I wrote on a whim, without much fact-checking. I think the Type IX U-boote could be pre-positioned close to the US shores (didn't some of Doenitz' boys stated they attacked US tankers in full sight of the East Coast harbors during operation Paukenschlag?), but apart from that I went full "Raiders of the Lost Ark". I guess I needed something more upbeat after the two Ottos' melancholy and the Forschugsamt clerical intrigue. I'll have to browse my John Costello's The Battle of the Atlantic for some more insight into the coming subs vs convoys episodes.
Certainly it was a good change in tone and some fine US Business villainy, so any objection is just petty nitpicking. And as it turns out factually incorrect nitpicking.

For Paukenschlag / Drumbeat Donitz used the newer Type IXBs which have a longer range than the original Type IXAs and they operating from Lorient, so don't need to go all the way around the UK (saves a good 700nautical miles each way). I'd thought you'd struggle to get an original IXA all the way from a North German port to the US coast and have any fuel left over, and I was correct that on paper it doesn't really work.

But! Because the USN was so useless in it's ASW work the Germans wanted every possible boat on the US East Coast, so they worked out a way to get even fairly short legged Type VII boats out there (run very slowly on 1 engine and fill some of the clean water tanks with more diesel). So it is doable, provided you don't need to move fast when you get there. And if you are up against Admiral King trying to do anti-submarine work then you won't need to move fast.
 

AtlanticFriend

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Good grief @El Pip you ARE a living, breatging encyclopedia! :eek:

BTW, here's something I wondered about when I wrote this : in peacetime, could U-boote go through the Channel to reach their operational zone? Would they imperatively need what Raeder called a "balcony on the Atlantic" ?
 

TheExecuter

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Exactly my thoughts.

I'm sure a u-boat could be resupplied in Spain or Portuguese waters as well to reach the Caribbean in peacetime...
 

El Pip

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Good grief @El Pip you ARE a living, breatging encyclopedia! :eek:

BTW, here's something I wondered about when I wrote this : in peacetime, could U-boote go through the Channel to reach their operational zone? Would they imperatively need what Raeder called a "balcony on the Atlantic" ?
I try my best. :)

Physically a submerged U-boat fits through the Channel so no reason why not. There is a bit of a risk the British might notice, depends how 'peaceful' the peacetime is and if they are running any patrols in the Channel or not. Even if they did spot the U-boat there's not a lot they can do, it is peace after all, I suppose they could try and follow the U-boat across the Atlantic but with 1930s ASDIC that would take a lot of luck. It warns Britain that Germany is getting ready for war, but they may have already guessed that. ;)

I suppose the British might report the information to the US as a warning, but the USN ignored every warning and bit of intelligence in OTL so that wouldn't make any difference.

I think this early Drumbeat may end up being positive for the Allied war effort, eventually. 25% of all ships sunk by U-boats during the entire war were lost during Drumbeat and the following few months, this early in the war Germany just doesn't have the number of boats (or experienced crews) to achieve anything like that. So while it will be painful, it is the kick up the arse the USN needs to get competent at Anti-Submarine work early and working with the RN rather than ignoring them, overall losses will be much lower. Even better if Admiral King actually gets the courts martial he richly deserved, but that may be hoping too much.
 

Hightemplar

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Nice part, always enjoy catching up with the bad guys diplomatic staff. So the balloon goes up soon, will you be doing a state of the armed forces part for each country? (I take it in the war France will be most improved and the UK will be the nation with the worst performance (in relation to OTL)), how the Italians go will be interesting

The rugby results were good as well (40 point win), don't worry northerners at least Wales won
 

H.Appleby

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Ahhh, so many of our favorite monsters are back... masterly performance as always.
 

AtlanticFriend

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Nice part, always enjoy catching up with the bad guys diplomatic staff. So the balloon goes up soon, will you be doing a state of the armed forces part for each country? (I take it in the war France will be most improved and the UK will be the nation with the worst performance (in relation to OTL)), how the Italians go will be interesting

The rugby results were good as well (40 point win), don't worry northerners at least Wales won
I of course intend to present the forces in presence, with the little caveat that, France and England having ended up in two separates alliances (and since I haven't sent spy after spy across the Channel), the UK Order of Battle will be guesstimates more than a precise roll-call. Last time I checked (late 1938-early 1939) Chamberlain's National government had worked diligently to field around 20 land divisions. France is fielding a little over 60, and Germany alone is over a hundred.

In terms of performance, I certainly do expect my units to perform gallantly - whether they'll be victorious and at what cost, though, remains to be seen. I intend to be an opportunistic attacker and an elastic defender, but by no means will it be a pushover! I have given Germany additional powers at sea, and a grand alliance of its own to make things difficults for me, my allies and my other partners on several fronts (and continents).

As for how nations such as the UK and Italy will perform, their bigger limitation will be the AI's choices. I kinda expect them to try carpet-bombing German factories while letting the Wehrmacht run amok in Austria and across the Alps, but my idea is no military control for my allies unless the AI does something incredibly unrealistic (say, Italy deciding to defend Lybia instead of the peninsula). And even then, mil con will be relinquished as soon as the situation is back on an acceptable track.

I haven't started writing the next chapter yet, as RL is pretty busy right now. I have been asked to help and accompany a friend of mine who's terminally ill, and take some difficult decisions in his name when he's not able to do it himself anymore, so his kids don't have to shoulder that burden. I'll gladly immerse myself into that humble tale the first chance I get.
 

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You concentrate on looking after your friend, we can wait (we will amuse ourselves by predicting how the war will go, to get the ball rolling I predict Germany's 'mighty' fleet will be either confined to port or confined to the bottom of the Ocean within six months of the outbreak of war)
 

H.Appleby

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I haven't started writing the next chapter yet, as RL is pretty busy right now. I have been asked to help and accompany a friend of mine who's terminally ill, and take some difficult decisions in his name when he's not able to do it himself anymore, so his kids don't have to shoulder that burden. I'll gladly immerse myself into that humble tale the first chance I get.
You're a mensch for doing that. Take your time, we'll still be here (deo volente).
 

El Pip

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You're a mensch for doing that. Take your time, we'll still be here (deo volente).
We waited 6.5 years between Chapter 116 and 117 so I think we can easily manage another gap, particularly one with such a worthy and honourable reason behind it.
 

J66185

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Jun 26, 2018
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Why you didn't even bother to put indexes on your chapters?! Aghhhhhhhhh..........
 

AtlanticFriend

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Why you didn't even bother to put indexes on your chapters?! Aghhhhhhhhh..........
Three reasons :

1) Sadism.
2) I couldn't merge with my old account, the one I used to start the thread.
3) I think the exchanges with the readers add to the build-up of the story.

;)
 

AtlanticFriend

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So, my friend got his last rites and we closed the circle around his three kids so they could focus on their grief instead of the administrative and financial burden of planning a funeral. I welcome the relief that comes with being able to immerse in fiction again, and I've started the next installment of Crossfires. It's halfway done, and will deal with the opening shots of the war. I should be able to post it this week.
 

J66185

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Indeed. What is needed is a Europe wide system for funding of high quality AARs, it's the only way to fend of the challenge of cheap sagas imported from the Far East.
We shall fight these heathens on the beaches, we shall fight them in the libraries, we shall fight them on our computers(even though I am a heathen myself:p), and we'll never surrender!:mad::cool:
 

AtlanticFriend

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