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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Faeelin

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Winner said:
Yes, let them taste progress ;)

And as a new dawn rises over Berlin of August of 1945, the Allies shall remind Germany that they, too, know progress.
 

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Is IJN Yamato still alive?
 

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Faeelin said:
And as a new dawn rises over Berlin of August of 1945, the Allies shall remind Germany that they, too, know progress.

Their bombers wont make it so far ;)
 

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Deus - Thanks. I did not post any map as the land borders are pretty much unchanged.

Winner - That is already in progress :)

henryjai, Winner, Faeelin - Nah, they will perish the good old way :) And probably Allied bombers will make it so far, provided that they keep them in their safe hangars that is.

Enewald - Perhaps... :)

Lord Finnish - Yes, the IJN Yamato is still alive, but given the fact Japan has lost so many capital ships, I doubt whether she can see the light of a new year.

Sorry for the delay. To compensate, this update will be a little longer than usual and will cover about half a month (as there were ten days when nothing happened :) )
 

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Quiet before the storm

0100 October 1st 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Florence, Italy

Ringel had requested and was granted support of the whole Luftwaffe now stationing in Debrecen to Italy for the incoming operation against the British.​

038-1-LuftwaffeFlorence.jpg

The squadrons would be given around twenty days of rest and reorganization before trying to control the skies of Italy.​

1100 October 1st 1944
15. Armee, Königsberg, Germany

Finland was in dire need of fresh troops; the Soviets had been accelerating their march lately, and Germany now had sufficient troops to spare from the Eastern front.​

038-2-ReliefFinland.jpg

General Blaskowitz would try and relieve some pressure from the Finnish allies, and he would not be alone.​

038-3-Relief2.jpg

In face of an unexpected Soviet surge in Finland, the Wehrmacht decided it was a valuable task to defend Finland at all costs, and a new Heeresgruppe would be formed, led by Hausser.​

038-4-FinlandStrategy.jpg

The first snow was starting to fall in Finland, but it still was not enough as the forces present in the area were too disorganized and weak to face the overwhelming Soviets in this theatre. Hausser would try and fix that by putting up a feasible line of defense.​

0800 October 10th 1944
18. Armee Headquarters, Königsberg, Germany

Von Rundstedt still had plans for the Soviets even if Winter was fast approaching.​

038-5-Attack.jpg

It was 1944 Germany's last bet before the onset of Winter and thus the end of every feasible operation. It was to be a small attempt at encircling nine Soviet divisions. The attack started quite well as the climate still allowed such operations.​

038-6-Attack.jpg

After one day of combat, one Soviet division was suffering heavy casualties and the others were slowly putting less resistance too. By the early hours of October 12th, however, the arrival of three more divisions made von Rundstedt lose the key factor of speed that had to be determinant to the operation's success.​

038-7-Defeat.jpg

The attack was abandoned shortly thereafter. Even if the Soviets could claim victory, it was still a small German tactical victory as one Soviet division had lost about half of his men.​

0000 October 13th 1944
Milan, Italy

The first troops that were in redeployment phase arrived in Italy.​

038-8-Italy.jpg

Six divisions were still not enough, but there were still many more divisions being redeployed in Milan.​

0100 October 14th 1944
18. Armee Headquarters, Königsberg, Germany

Von Rundstedt was still determined to try and achieve another small success in the Eastern front.​

038-9-Baltics.jpg

The Baltische Flotte was given the task to explore the coasts of Jelgava and surrounding places. It did show that the Soviets still had some reserve divisions behind their frontlines, but it did also show that Jelgava was lightly defended. Also, many divisions defending Siauliau now moved to another direction.​

038-10-Siaulau.jpg

Fate wanted that the Soviets had the guts to defend Siauliau with that division that has been previously badly mauled by von Rundstedt himself. Von Rundstedt finished that work in just three hours and that division probably ceased to exist.​
 

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Quiet before the storm
continued

038-11-Surge.jpg

Busch would stay in Königsberg, while von Rundstedt and the others would advance in Siauliau.​

1100 October 14th 1944
Milan, Italy

Meanwhile in Italy the last phase of redeployment had been completed. Eigtheen divisions, that grouped with the other six makes twenty-four, were now ready to reorganize, awaiting for the incoming offensive against the British.​

038-12-Italy2.jpg

The British would have no Russian Winter to help them.​

1400 October 15th 1944
Diplomatic Offices, Berlin, Germany

It was the usual deal with the Romanians.​

038-13-Oil.jpg

Von Ribbentrop would never know why they would ever accept the blueprints for something that they would not need for decades to come, and still pay valuable Oil for that. Not that he was going to question, anyway.​

1100 October 16th 1944
18. Armee Siauliau, Baltic States

Reports from the Baltische Flotte were right: Jelgava was scarcely defended.​

038-14-Jelgava.jpg

As soon as von Rundstedt and the others arrived in Siauliau the lone Soviet divisions had been immediately attacked. Unfortunately for von Rundstedt, the climate was much more harsh there and it did slow progress considerably. Soviet troops had been reported to be coming to the rescue from Riga and it was a race against time.​

038-15-Jelgava.jpg

The lone Soviet division fought for two days against twenty-seven German divisions with very little loss of organization. It was quite clear that, at this rate, a quick advance was not possible to achieve.​

038-16-More.jpg

As another Soviet division arrived in Jelgava, and in face of many more pointing to that direction, Von Rundstedt agreed that he lost his bet and withdrew his troops.​

038-17-Defeat1.jpg]

All in all, however, it proved that Soviet lines had become extremely weak and that only the climate had saved them from yet another encirclement. Even if von Rundstedt did not achieve his encirclement, he was still satisfied with having caused enough casualties and trouble to the alarmed Soviets.​

038-18-HausserFM.jpg

As all things were now in place, Hausser had been finally promoted to Field Marshal for his outstanding performance in France and could now lead an Heeresgruppe - a whole theatre, albeit more limited than that of other fronts. He did afterall lead an Heeresgruppe in France even if he wasn't nominally a Field Marshal, but with his successes he was granted full control over the strategical decisions in Finland, He could count on seventeen divisions under his command. some of them being Finnish - as the Finnish government refused to grant full military control - and would now dispose of blocking the Soviets on their path, and possibly alter the outcome. This was the name, simple yet effective as his previous French plan: Heeresgruppe Finland.​
 

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Winter sucks, for both sides. I hope that elimination of Italy will be quick, because the next summer your troops in the East must be ready to unleash full scale offensive against the Soviets.
 

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One question - is Hitler still the Head of State in your game? I know you removed him in your story, but did you remove him in the game as well, via event or something like that? If so, who's in charge?
 

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Winner - Italy's climate is excellent and provides me plenty of time before a new Summer arises. About Hitler, he's nominally still Head of State and he's alive too, just not in charge of anything. I will try to not edit anything unless I am forced to.

Deus, Enewald - Now it's Italy 'erste' :)

HKslan - Nope, I have just tried my last attempt, now the climate makes any fast action impossible. Nothing to worry about anyways; if they want to keep Memel I don't mind... they will regret it next year.

Update.
 

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Operation Boot shiner

0400 October 19th 1944
Diplomatic Offices, Helsinki, Finland

Finland was not only hard pressed from the Soviets; its factories were shutting down.​

039-1-FinlandLack.jpg

To address the problem quickly, von Ribbentrop sent them a gift they would much appreciate.​

039-2-FinlandEnergy.jpg

He would not even ask for anything in return.​

0000 October 20th 1944
Eastern Front

Heavy rains and snow were now starting to cover much of East Europe, and it was slowly pushing to the West.​

039-3-FirstSnow.jpg

The Soviets thought they would push West as quick as the onset of Winter; after the defeat at Stryj, they could not be more wrong.​

0000 October 22nd 1944
Intelligence Department, Berlin, Germany

Kaltenbrunner was handed a nice report.​

039-4-Tech.jpg

Germany's manpower would have one less thing to worry about, as new techniques on food production had been finally researched.​

039-5-NewTech.jpg

He would instruct I.G. Farben to pursue their work further into even more advanced techniques.​

0400 October 27th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps Headquarters, Florence, Italy

General Ringel had fifty-four divisions available in Italy, and he was now speaking to the officers of around twenty of them.

"Herr General, I'm sure we all agree that Italy is not best suited for blitzkrieg tactics, but let me argue that your plan - so called "Operation Boot Shiner" will cost us a lot of lives and it is unlikely that we will be able to break the defenses of the British! They lost almost thrice their men at Monte Cassino, and we're in no better position to afford such a risk like they did to capture that pile of rubble. Hills are everywhere, and we have a mix of tanks, infantry and very few equipped for this kind of terrain."

"General Wünnenberg. Let me rephrase it all:

A frontal assault is impossible, and even if we achieve it, the British would counterattack fiercely, even if we have numerical superiority. We must exploit this bonus this way:

Phase one, We and our divisions from Rimini will attack Perugia, not with the aim to capture it, but to put the fifteen divisions there under heavy pressure. I will lead the attack.

Phase two, our divisions from Rimini will withdraw from the attack and I, along with my divisions, will get to Rimini myself while you, general Wünnenberg, will keep the attack on Perugia, albeit with less divisions.

Phase three, I, along with an estimate of twenty-twenty five divisions, attack the weak spot of Pescara. Most importantly!, With their flank being attacked by Wünnenberg, they will not be able to provide any assistance to the eight or so divisions.

Phase four, it starts when the weak spot of Pescara falls to my assault. We will then proceed to Monte Cassino and then retake Anzio. From there, depending upon the situation, we'll decide whether to link with you by attacking Perugia or attacking Rome. The Luftwaffe is providing excellent air cover and is going to bomb our enemy divisions day after day.

Now, Wünnenberg, you said that: Italy is not suited for blitzkrieg, and you're right. But have you got any other brilliant plan to overcome these hilly and hostile lands without ending up in a stalemate and in a bloodshed? This is the quickest way to waste as less lives as possible and encircle the - almost - whole British Army in Italy. Now, it is late and I accept no further questioning. Let the attack commence!"

The others were silent; this "Operation Boot Shiner" sounded quite humorous and inspiring to the German officiers, but they doubted whether it could 'shine' the Boot and throw the British away like they were dust on a shoe. Hills were to be a serious threat to the attacking German forces, now forced to the offensive.​

039-6-PerugiaAttack.jpg

At 0400 Phase One of the operation was launched, and Ringel spearheaded the attack on Perugia with forty-seven divisions. German officiers rightly foresaw that hills and German tanks were proving to be an obstacle, as the odds were favourable enough for the British to launch a counterattack two hours after the start of the battle. And, according to Ringel plans, the odds had to be even worse as soon some of those divisions would head for Rimini, and those in Rimini would withdraw their attack completely.​

039-8-Support.jpg

Seven divisions in Florence started moving in the direction of Rimini.​

0800 October 28th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Florence, Italy

Ringel's two-days command into the attack of Perugia was achieving little success he was soon to be going to Rimini too, so to execute Phase Two. Some of the best equipped Luftwaffe bombers, in the meanwhile, were busy trying to soften up the defending divisions, but dug-in British soldiers in the hills, even if attacked, were a tough nut to crack​

039-9-Perugia.jpg

Ringel would be glad that Model had decided not to use the Aircraft in the Eastern front entirely; now many of these squadrons had received sufficient repairs, and some of them were in excellent status too.​

039-10-PerugiaAgain.jpg

October 29th: General Wünnenberg finally took command, and Ringel was busy preparing Phase Two. The British committed two more divisions into Perugia's defense, and this further lowered chances of the Germans not having a hard fight.​

0700 October 29th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Rimini, Italy

At 0700 on October 29th Phase Two of Operation Boot Shiner, masterminded by Ringel, started. As foreseen by Ringel, with the attack on Perugia the British would leave only barely sufficient defenses in their flanking provinces, and Ringel was going to exploit this knowledge at its fullest.​

039-11-Pescara.jpg

Only four British divisions were defending Pescara, and few could help them. The divisions from Rimini attacking Perugia now switched direction towards Pescara; now, exactly twenty-seven divisions were attacking Perugia and twenty-seven Pescara: in total, those were the fifty-four divisions under Ringel's control.​
 

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Operation Boot shiner
continued

039-12-Perugia.jpg

The following day, with the troop shift made by Ringel, General Wünnenberg was struggling to keep his troops on the offensive; nevertheless, the battle was fairly even and, since his goal was not to win the battle, he was satisfied that he could keep the British occupied while not losing much on its own. On the other hand, Ringel was slowly taking care of those four divisions in Pescara.​

039-13-November.jpg

On this day, everyone would be in the Reichstag attending at the usual monthly Cabinet. But this November 1st was different, as a major operation was in progress, there was little need to report the overall situation; less words, more facts.

On November 1st, the odds were slowly being more favourable for the British in Perugia.​

039-14-Pescara.jpg

The same could not be said about Ringel, as he was slowly but steadily breaking British resistance.​

039-15-Perugia.jpg

The following day saw Wünnenberg's decision to have some of his divisions rest; this helped having a more manageable front, as he feeled too uncomfortable with having so many divisions under his command, and in result his troops could better concentrate on the enemy; the battle was still difficult, but things looker slightly better and, on top of that, some divisions were resting, and they could've been used in future.​

039-16-Pescara.jpg

As the evening of November 2nd was approaching, the loss of faith in their defense and organization in British troops in Pescara was growing at an alarming rate. Ringel's troops were almost untouched and those, few, of his enemy, were near to collapse. Beyond Pescara, Luftwaffe squadrons reported that the British had few reserve divisions if not at all. That meant that, if Pescara was to fall to German hands, Monte Cassino and Anzio would probably follow to submit to Ringel's advance - and subsequently encircled the besieged British in Perugia.​

0000 November 4th 1944
Intelligence Department, Berlin, Germany

"Bastards! I should have all my spies executed for this blatant infiltration...!"

Kaltenbrunner had been given a not-so-happy report. The damage inflicted was not that heavy - but not even light - but it was rather the fact that enemy spies could so easily disrupt the only thing that Germany was producing at that time, and that his counter-intelligence network had not been able to protect that only thing, that made Kaltenbrunner angry. He was an expert of Army intelligence afterall, and wouldn't care much if some of Germany's production was delayed. He could do little, however, as funds were scarce as usual.​

039-17-Disruption.jpg

He would anyways forward the news to Speer that he had just lost nineteen precious days of production.​
 

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coolguy684 - Thank Fernando Torres :)

Enewald - May I stress that it will shine under strict German control :)

I seem to be unable to keep up with one-day update pace, due to RL technicalities. I will try to stick at a rate of one update every two days, but the updates will be hopefully slightly bigger than usual.

Like this one.
 

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Operation Boot shiner

0400 November 4th 1944
Central Italy

The battle of Perugia was a standstill, while that of Pescara was clearly an Axis victory​

040-1-Perugia.jpg

Ringel would have to wait a few more days before completely evicting the stubborn British forces. One of their divisions's organization has been severely disrupted so to make it unable to fight anymore; in return, it was more exposed to a higher rate of casualties inflicted by the Germans.​

0000 November 5th 1944
Intelligence Department, Berlin, Germany

Germany was slowly shortening the gap with her enemies.​

040-2-ADD.jpg

Konrad Zuse and his staff had completed their work on Advanced Decryption Devices.​

040-3-AEC.jpg

He was now instructed to work on a way to speed up German research by improving their machinery.​

0900 November 5th 1944
Central Italy

Albeit slowly, British forces were halting Wünnenberg. He could still vaunt numerical and organizational superiority, but German forces were sustaining casualties and loss of organization perhaps more than the British.​

040-4-Perugia.jpg

On the other side, Ringel was making short work of the British in Pescara, which were about to capitulate.​

040-5-Perugia.jpg

The following day saw a slight ameliorament on Wünnenberg's position, while Pescara was about to change ownership very soon.​

040-6-PescaraWin.jpg

The battle of Pescara, that started on October 29th, lasted exactly one week and two hours. In the morning of November 6th, the four British divisions defending Pescara were forced to retreat to Cassino after bitter fighting and casualties, thus laying the road to Rome open for Ringel. Only two divisions were left in Rimini as the focal British point of Perugia was being kept busy by Wünnenberg. The whole plan of Ringel could be detailed, in a nutshell, by saying that the whole point was to keep fifty percent of the British busy defending while encircling them from another direction.​

Right while German troops were marching again on Pescara's soil after one year of Allied occupation, the Luftwaffe was getting rid of those who occupied the skies of Pescara aswell.​

040-7-PescaraAir.jpg

Had the South Africans had any metal shortage, they would try to acquire some of it by salvaging their planes' debris.​

040-8-Attack.jpg

Only one division would stay in Pescara. Everyone else would start their march to reclaim Cassino, pivotal point of fierce German resistance of the Gustav Line against waves of Allied attacks against that abbey of Monte Cassino reduced to a pile of rubble by Allied bombers. Half a year after the end of such battle, the Germans were about to enter it again with uncontested air superiority.​

040-9-Perugia.jpg

Some troops fighting in Perugia were put to rest and some others joined the battle, leading to a renewed sprint in German thrust. Being able to muster a bigger number than your enemy's, and using it wisely, was a rare occasion for the German Reich; too rare to not exploit it when you had it.​

040-10-Cassino.jpg

On November 7th, the British would start to fight a reversed Battle of Monte Cassino. Kesselring would be delighted to know that such an historical place would soon be avenged.​
 

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Operation Boot shiner
continued

0000 November 8th 1944
Germany

Despite the Allied disaster in France with tens of thousands dead or prisoners, the inability of setting up a cooperated effort with the Soviet Union in getting the Reich involved in two major fronts, and the renewed German operations in Italy, US citizens decided that Franklin Delano Roosevelt could still be the man that could eradicate the filth of Fascism from the soil of Europe. The news had been quickly passed to the Reichstag.​

040-11-FDRElections.jpg

"Whether it is Roosevelt or some other guy holding that chair at that White House, it is total war that we decided to achieve since the disaster of Stalingrad; total war be against Soviets and Allies alike." Bormann was quite indifferent to the Americans' reaction to their war against Germany; he was not going to want peace with any of Germany's enemies ever, and Roosevelt re-election quite reinforced the point.​

1100 November 8th 1944
OKH Reserve, Florence, Italy

The battle of Perugia was progressing as usual. The British were slightly more efficient in their defense than the Germans in their attack, but Wünnenberg had the luxury of bringing more divisions to the front line when they were needed.​

040-12-Perugia.jpg

Ringel did not want Wünnenberg to win yet, afterall. Not that he could, but Ringel liked it that way: a standstill he would get the honour to end by encircling and destroying them.​

1500 November 8th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Pescara, Italy

The British had no time recovering their forces' organization.​

040-13-Cassino.jpg

They would fall to the thrust of twenty-four divisions. Too many for Ringel to command, but he had virtually no opposition to overcome.​

040-14-CassinoWin.jpg

After just two days of fighting, the tired British troops had to retreat again in face of smashing German superiority. Ringel would end his march on Cassino in November 19th.​