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dublish said:
Just call it Operation Kick-the-door-in. Everyone knows what's coming. :)

Hordes of T-34s coming out of every hole?
trekaddict said:
Hordes of T-34s coming out of every hole?
If you want to get all HISTORICAL, yeah.
Well, it all depends on how many troops lost in Cracow can the Soviets replace. I think their manpower must be very low now, since the Soviets are building mainly infantry divisions, which usually take heavy casualties against German panzers and the Luftwaffe.

With few more successful encirclements, the Soviet Union will collapse like a house of cards (déja vu enyone? :D ).
Winner said:
Well, it all depends on how many troops lost in Cracow can the Soviets replace. I think their manpower must be very low now, since the Soviets are building mainly infantry divisions, which usually take heavy casualties against German panzers and the Luftwaffe.

With few more successful encirclements, the Soviet Union will collapse like a house of cards (déja vu enyone? :D ).
Excepting minor pockets (1-5 divisions in a single province), I expect only a single successful encirclement will be necessary. Soviet losses in Cracow were huge- possibly ~25% of all ground forces, and that doesn't include the significant losses in Bessarabia, nor does it account for the troops the Soviet AI will deploy on the Manchurian border or in the interior of the country. All DvD needs to do is concentrate his armor for a massive breakthrough in the Ukraine, and Stalin is finished.
i agree with dublish on his last TWO posts :D
SeleucidRex - Thanks :)

Enewald, TheHyphenated1 - Thanks; As others have already pointed out, it is unlikely that the Soviets won't expect any German visit next year, so whichever name really is a scenic effect :)

Von Perkele - Uncle Joe I guess is still busy shooting his officers one by one since the defeat of the Cracow pocket.

dublish - Indeed that's my point, and I'll make sure my divisions will prove it :)

trekaddict, germanpeon, Winner - Cracow will not be enough to finish them off. They have got two whole seasons before digging up again with new troops. Not as many as they lost in Cracow I think, but still enough to let me have some chance in trying a Barbarossa II - much harder here than in Vanilla. Plus they have a +20% IC (IIRC) bonus, while I have a -20% IC penalty. Sure, that does not take manpower into account, but still has a certain effect

If the Soviet Union will collapse like a house of cards to paraphrase Hitler, well, he said that and that proved to be not true :)

Deus - Believe me that it was up to the last minute. You never know you seem to be pushing hordes of divisions back to the sea, and suddenly a super stack of one hundred transport flotillas show up :) So, at least for me, it was a suspenseful period till the last drop of Allied division on central Italy's soil. Africa is in very distant plans. Even if I wished, I lack a proper Kriegsmarine to transport my troops in.

Last update of the year.
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Operation Boot shiner - Winter Solstice

0500 December 16th 1944
Southern Italy

Ringel was very satisfied with the recent outcome of the battles in Anzio and Rome. Despite the moderately high losses sustained in Perugia, the German forces eventually seized control over central Italy and, most importantly, captured twenty-five Allied divisions. He let his divisions rest for ten days before commencing the last blow to Allied forces present in mainland Italy.​


The Allies tried to reinforce the now weakened theater of Southern Italy, but this time Ringel and his forces outnumbered the British exactly 5:1. Ringel would now attack Reggio di Calabria in an effort to seal mainland Italy from the Allied-controlled Sicily, so to pocket the Allied divisions in the last hilly regions of southern Italy.​


Initially, Ringel deployed his whole attacking force, consisting of fifty divisions, against the four British divisions in Reggio di Calabria, so to scare the British which, alarmed, started moving their last reserves from Potenza; Ringel did not want to let them escape, so he shifted many of his divisions to atttack Potenza instead.​


That way, thirty-three out of fifty divisions would attack Reggio di Calabria, while the other seventeen would be commanded by General Fromm in order to keep the British in Potenza busy.​


On the following day, Ringel was making progress against four plus one division that retreated from Potenza. The British were avoiding the trap.​

1000 December 17th 1944
The skies above Naples

Ringel may or may not fail his attempt at encircling the last Allied divisions in mainland Italy. Just in case of safety, the Luftwaffe was tasked to do as much damage as possible. Thirteen South African air squadrons tried to prevent this.​


The skirmish ended with very few casualties on both parts, letting the Luftwaffe resume his daily bombing routine.​

0700 December 18th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Naples, Italy

Fromm's thrust in Potenza was going better than expected, a thing that Ringel wished to avoid as this prevented him from capturing those divisions.​


The Luftwaffe was, however, delivering a lot of damage to the Allied troops in Reggio di Calabria; soon after, Fromm won the battle of Potenza.​


The British troops were foolish enough to retreat in the wrong direction, and so he would try and overrun them in Taranto, where an unknown number of Allied squadrons also was based.​


This time there would not be any Allied fleet to help them.​


Fromm lost the race against the three British divisions, but those would not be given any relief. The battle was won shortly after with the British divisions in full retreat once again.​

2000 December 18th 1944
Taranto, Italy

"Lieutenant, hand me over your binoculars. Are those British retreating North-West?

"Affirmative, sir."​


Either the German thrust against Allied forces was so disruptive that the Allies were left so disoriented to pick whichever direction their enemies dictated, or they really needed a not-so-laughable map and a compass. They were directly throwing themselves into the lion's mouth: they were retreating to Foggia.​
Operation Boot shiner - Winter Solstice

At the time German troops arrived in Taranto, British troops were still retreating.​


General Harpe arrived soon after and could witness the genius of the Allied commanders that genuinously offered to be encircled.​

0800 December 19th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Naples, Italy

The British Ringel was facing were a bit more determined and had a compass and a map, but still not enough to prevent him from ambushing their forces.​


Seven divisions now stood between him and Sicily.​

1100 December 19th 1944
Taranto, Italy

The two divisions that were in Foggia had been attacked as soon as Harpe entered Taranto.​


At first, the two divisions immediately surrendered, then total victory was achieved when the other three divisions had voluntarily offered themselves to their new captors at 1400 on that same day. Five divisions had been encircled and captured in total.​

0000 December 20th 1944
Naples, Italy

The irony of history saw a Germany turning the tide in her most difficult hours; winning desperate battles, losing others fiercely, retreating in face of overwhelming odds, advancing in spite of enemy superiority. All of this seemed so futile to many German commanders, when spending countless hours of planning and counter-reactions, attacks and retreats, when, in battles like that of Reggio di Calabria, certain things happen.​


Neither the battle of Stryj, one of the bloodiest battles in the whole war, saw a single German commander perish. Now, in the battle of Reggio di Calabria, that compared to that of Stryj it was something less than a skirmish, a leader of several divisions and several battles had uncautiously exposed himself to enemy fire, and died in a battle where casualties were minimal, and only hours away from its conclusion.

Von Kirchensittenbach was the man in question, and he would be granted a state funeral.​

1000 December 20th 1944
LXXVI. Panzerkorps, Naples, Italy

The battle was indeed very close to its conclusion, with the seven British divisions facing more and more casualties from continuous bombings, against an unstoppable Ringel. Fifty divisions were about to smash the last resistance of the Allied presence in Italy, which would be soon reduced in ten or so divisions in Sicily.​


Ringel would soon taste that very same savour that Hausser enjoyed after expelling the last Allied soldier from the beaches of France. It was the taste of revenge in part, but it was also the taste of victory.​


And victory he achieved two hours later. In spite of crushing Axis superiority, however, the Allies would try a last attempt at retaking the lost province. It was so laughable that he could afford to sit and watch the hilarious show the British were graciously setting up at Reggio di Calabria.​


Two British divisions attacked for several hours in the night a province with a strait in betwen, full of hills, and full of angry Jerries armed to the teeth. Not a really wise choice. The battle would be officially over in the early hours of the following day, December 21st.​

0000 December 21th 1944

With the last British troops ending their laughable try at repelling the Germans from Reggio di Calabria, Ringel could officially claim Operation Boot Shiner successfully over.​


Started on October 27th, the campaign ended on the solstice of Winter after one and a half month of intense fighting. November saw the highest level of tension and the highest level of casualties on both sides; tension that did not lower at any moment, with the US Navy always threatening to make the whole operation fail, till the late capture of Rome, when it was clear that those Allied divisions were to face imminent capture. Fifty-four divisions encircled almost thirty Allied divisions and inflicted enormous casualties along with the Luftwaffe, which in return also suffered a certain degree of damage. The Kriegsmarine had played a vital role in the success of this operation, as it prevented the US Navy from stopping Ringel at Anzio and therefore prevented letting the whole Allied ground forces escape the trap.

With mainland Italy secured, the Italian isles and Africa, and sealing the Mediterranean through Suez and Gibraltar, would wait till Germany could find suitable resources to build a new Kriegsmarine from scratch; a thing that was still years away from reality. In the meantime, however, there were fifty-four divisions ready to be dispatched elsewhere. Thus was the end of Operation Boot Shiner on Solstice's day; Italy was free once again and would enjoy a peaceful dominion under the soft and benevolent hand of the Third Reich.​
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Make sure you guard the beaches!
You probably should have sent a U-boot flotilla to block the Straits of Messina, cutting off retreat from mainland Italy to Sicily. 7 divisions isn't really an insignificant loss to the British.
And italy is cleaned just before christmas so that the german officers can again get south-italian wine for christmas. :D

This year no soviet winter attack coming? :rofl:
Very good AAR, the 44 scenario is a true challenge as one of the Axis. The veterans of the recent Italian campaign will surely come in handy in the East in spring. You must keep a sizable garrison for the beaches, Italy is too thin to be able to respond against a big landing.
germanpeon - They will receive adequate assistance for sure.

dublish - D'oh, I should have thought of that. And now I know that you can't block troops that are already retreating.

Enewald - The only thing that the Soviets can attack this Winter is their alleged belief in victory.

Von Perkele - Thanks, to be blunt I don't know who he was or what he did :)

HKslan - Time will tell :)

Panchito - 44 is a challenge and this mod makes things even harder. The Soviets, however, will soon start to tremble in fear again I think. Italy is under adequate control I hope.

Sorry for the sluggish update, had to care for festivities and such etcetera and things won't be any better in the future. Several happenings made me terribly tired these weeks and my English is not as fluid as a consequence.
Grey Christmas

0800 December 21st 1944
Genoa, Italy

Operation Boot Shiner saw its end on December 21st, but actions were still being taken to consolidate the Axis position in Italy.​


Bachmann was sent to try and blockade the Allied troops retreating to Sicily.​


The Luftwaffe was also busy trying to bomb whichever being that moved and did not carry an Axis flag. One Canadian motorized division had been almost destroyed after two days of non-stop bombing; it would however reach the safety of Sicily, not before withstanding over 80% casualties among men and equipment.​

1500 December 22nd 1944
Gulf of Salerno

Ringel now had his U-boote where he wanted to. Little did he know that they could do little to block Allied troops retreating to Sicily.​


Allied divisions that retreated to safety in Sicily were now three, thus raising the number of divisions in Palermo to six.​


A very modern British infantry division was the target of thirteen Luftwaffe bomber squadrons. Two days of hell from above were enough for the British division to completely cease to exist.​

1200 December 24th 1944
Gulf of Salerno

Not everything was favourable to the Axis cause in Italy.​


The valiant struggle and efforts of the Kriegsmarine to try and dominate the Mediterranean, and with that block Allied troop movement in the Strait of Messina, had been thwarted by a slightly more massive Allied fleet operating in the same zone. Bachmann could do nothing for a few hours and could only spectate the disaster of losing an understrenght Unterseebootsflottille, and with that, 50% of the Kriegsmarine power projection in the Mediterranean.​


While Bachmann and the once-proud remnants of the Kriegsmarine operating in the Mediterranean were retreating to safer ports, the Allied had been completely driven out of mainland Italy. One division had been completely destroyed, one badly damaged, the others also damaged in combat; in total, the Allies now mustered an approximate force of ten division in Sicily when four months ago they possessed three quarters of Italy and almost forty divisions. Ringel could be satisfied with his work.​

0000 December 25th 1944
Reichstag, Berlin

"So Julius, I hear you have made an excellent work in Italy."

"Well, so they say, Martin. As things stand at present, we have driven them off mainland Italy and have captured or destroyed an approximate thirty or thirty-three divisions."

"I know; I also know you left ten divisions to guard the beaches."

"Indeed. Three are stationed in Reggio di Calabria, as we never know the Allies may want to try and dare invade Italy again."​


"You might want to know where are we transferring your other forty divisions, Julius, don't you?"

"Why... aren't they being sent to the Eastern front?"

"Not quite so."​


As Ringel paid a Christmas visit to the Reichstag and Martin Bormann, thirty-one air squadrons reached the airports of Berlin.

"See Julius, our generals in the Eastern front have little to do, as the Soviets are busy licking their wounds and executing their officers who served in the battle of Cracow. So, Heinz and others came up with a new plan to further expand the word of the Third Reich, and you would once again command those very same divisions in a very different theatre. The Luftwaffe is now undergoing repairs in Berlin and you might need it."

"So I am basically going to invade another Country, from what I understand."