Der Adler, der Wolf, und die Sonne: Die Geschichte des Stahlpakts

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Wraith11B

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Have the Americans showed any interest in picking a side if they DO join the future war?

Unfortunately, so far TTL the Americans swung pretty hard into the Axis corner. Now I did more than a few "switcharoos" in order to keep things interesting... and I'll be doing something similar with the United States.
 

El Pip

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Interesting to see the airforces. No STRAT etc for the USAAF is kind of odd, but maybe they're still building?
The USAAF not building much is the least odd thing to be honest, I understand US production was pretty anaemic until war broke out. Wikipedia claims only 150 odd B-17s built in the 5 years before Pearl Harbor.

France and the UK building nothing, that's the odd bit.

I restate my guess - this is just a bluff, there will be no war just Germany collapsing under it's own economic and financial ignorance and hubris. ;)
 

Wraith11B

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The USAAF not building much is the least odd thing to be honest, I understand US production was pretty anaemic until war broke out. Wikipedia claims only 150 odd B-17s built in the 5 years before Pearl Harbor.

France and the UK building nothing, that's the odd bit.

I restate my guess - this is just a bluff, there will be no war just Germany collapsing under it's own economic and financial ignorance and hubris. ;)

Well, the main thing I think is that I accidentally might have gamed the threat system. With so much production focused on Naval and Aviation and the Army expansion done through both reserves or brigades and then assembled into divisions, the normal expansion didn't generate the level of threat that I should have. My house rule would be to require active forces for construction in the future... oh man.
 

Bullfilter

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Hmm, with the Pact of Steel under human direction, a pro-Axis isolationist US government and France falling out (how far though?) with the UK, it’s set up for a real German blitz. But will it actually work out that way? I look forward to finding out - quite soon, by the looks of it!
 
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Wraith11B

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Hmm, with the Pact of Steel under human direction, a pro-Axis isolationist US government and France falling out (how far though?) with the UK, it’s set up for areal German blitz. But will it actually work out that way? I look forward to finding out - quite soon, by the looks of it!

It gets pretty dicey for those in the Islands (all of them... Australia and New Zealand included), and the war almost goes straight past "Blitzkrieg" and straight on to "Hyperwar," which, to my dismay doesn't really have a good "German" translation to anything... not even "Hyperkrieg"!
 

guillec87

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why would Germany colapse? if the Allies don´t have an army... then the war will be a walkover
 

Wraith11B

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why would Germany colapse? if the Allies don´t have an army... then the war will be a walkover

According to @El Pip , they would collapse because of the massive spending on the military; with no money really cycling through the economy, especially in the time period, it can't be just funded infinitely as the US Department of Defense has been for the last seventy plus years. Basically, there isn't an economy to back up what the Nazis are building unless they start taking stuff from other nations. He could probably post a big thing about the ins and outs of the economics behind it better than I (I got a C in Macroeconomics), but I think I've nailed the gist of it.
 

guillec87

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According to @El Pip , they would collapse because of the massive spending on the military; with no money really cycling through the economy, especially in the time period, it can't be just funded infinitely as the US Department of Defense has been for the last seventy plus years. Basically, there isn't an economy to back up what the Nazis are building unless they start taking stuff from other nations. He could probably post a big thing about the ins and outs of the economics behind it better than I (I got a C in Macroeconomics), but I think I've nailed the gist of it.

if the Allies did not build up their armies, then Germany just needs to kick the door before it is too late for her economy
 

Wraith11B

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El Pip

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According to @El Pip , they would collapse because of the massive spending on the military; with no money really cycling through the economy, especially in the time period, it can't be just funded infinitely as the US Department of Defense has been for the last seventy plus years. Basically, there isn't an economy to back up what the Nazis are building unless they start taking stuff from other nations. He could probably post a big thing about the ins and outs of the economics behind it better than I (I got a C in Macroeconomics), but I think I've nailed the gist of it.
I didn't do any marcoeconomics, but I did some Mining Economics which has very similar letters. ;) This is something of a simplification;

Germany was spending money it didn't have on re-armament, that was the purpose of the MEFO bills. Not technically government debt (they were issued by the MEFO company) so they could dodge the limits on government debt and hide the spending. Crucially MEFO bills were backed by the Reichsbank so they were trusted, but also couldn't be defaulted on without causing a crisis. OTL the bills started coming due in 1938 and Germany squeaked through the first round by forcing the banks to buy extra government bunds and with some subtle use of the printing press. But that could only work once, Germany's banks just didn't the money to do that year after year.

In theory they could just print all the money they needed, but that tends to lead to a lot of inflation, particular in this case when so much of the economy was already working at the limits. The state control of the economy could do a lot to hide inflation, but it was never perfect and big enough shocks would show up in costs and get people complaining. Even today inflation is a very touchy issue in Germany, less than 10 years after "The Death of Money" overseeing a large spike in inflation would be political suicide.

Hence looting and pillaging of any nearby neighbours for hard cash and resources, a portion of which was directed to paying off MEFO to keep the show on the road. Eventually the outbreak of war was a handy excuse to suspend MEFO and switch to even more direct measures all under the cover of wartime powers.
 

Wraith11B

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I guess one might argue--and I will as I have already played the game for as long as I have--that the Foreign Military Sales and continued trade with the Soviet Union has "paid" for the continued build up of the Wehrmacht in my TL. That said, I'll have to look into how big the Wehrmacht actually was in 1939/40, and do a rough comparison to my numbers; one might assume that since these forces generally don't come with the rear-echelon troops, I'm going to either be "sort of over" because I can get more troops than OTL for the cost or I'm going to be a bit under, because those other troops aren't modeled. I know for a fact that my Kriegsmarine is waaay larger than the actual one, as is my Luftwaffe.
 

Finshades

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We're going to have an expansion, and make the Soviets pay for it! And the Japanese, and the Italians, and...
 

AtlanticFriend

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Hence looting and pillaging of any nearby neighbours for hard cash and resources, a portion of which was directed to paying off MEFO to keep the show on the road. Eventually the outbreak of war was a handy excuse to suspend MEFO and switch to even more direct measures all under the cover of wartime powers.

A hundred percent spot on. At some point for Nazi germany war is the ONLY option. It is kinda scary, because, well, even if one took Hitler out of the picture in, say, 1938 (as some old-fashioned OKH guys wanted to), the MEFO time-bomb would still be ticking, and quite quickly it's either world war or nation-wide riots. I wish people like Hjalmar Schacht had kept a diary like Goebbels. I read von Hassel's diaries, but his analysis of the Nazi regime never touched the economy.
 
VI: 2. The Rocket's Red Glare: German R&D

Wraith11B

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sbbwXZ1.png


HEER.

mq9yiAF.png

A Rocket Artillery unit during work ups to develop the
Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) for the
brigade.

One of the Heer’s priorities through 1941 was to leverage the latest technology in the realm of war. The first new brigade type that the Heer finished research and development was a new type of field artillery: rocket artillery. This brigade was set up for rapid movement and deployment, and a greater “pulse” of fire on the offensive, but this pulse was not sustainable over the course of an offensive. These benefits came at the cost of slightly higher use of supplies as well as a loss in defensive fires. The doctrinal document recommended that they be maintained at the Corps or a designated division for use in the schwerpunkt, or point of main effort. Funding turned towards the development of appropriate ammunition, carriage and sighting systems; these would be delivered in September.

giphy.gif

The combination of light armored vehicles to transport
and support infantry in a mechanized team with armor
is on display in the above and below images.

nmbwS3X.png

The other new brigade type that the Heer developed was to mount infantrymen in armored vehicles. Instead of simply mounting them in trucks, the concept was to provide more protection (through what became known as ‘armored personnel carriers’ [APC] or ‘infantry fighting vehicles’ [IFV]) to the infantry as well as keeping the infantry with the armor, providing a more uniform balance of “combined arms” which had been the Heer’s basic doctrinal objective for almost two decades. The Heereswaffenamt initiated funding in mid-March and finalized the doctrinal TO&E for mechanized infantry brigades. One of the key things that the research determined a need existed for the heavier duty engines for the APCs, and funding was approved in October to develop those engines but it wouldn’t be completed until 1942.

giphy.gif

A training jump conducted by the Fallschirmjagers.
Though notionally part of the Heer--using army kit
and soldiers--they were part of the Luftwaffe. The
Reichsluftminister, Goering, “loaned” them back to
the Heer.

The Heereswaffenamt approved the final designs for new airborne kit in late June. One of the key observations was how the original kit only attached to the parachute at a single point: this made things extremely unbalanced for the jumper, and kept them from carrying anything more than a pistol when jumping. The introduction of the Machinepistolen 38--Machine Pistol 38--had changed some of that, but with the new two-point harness, the jumpers could maintain more of their own load, keeping their ability to maintain their combat power through the jump and into the fight.

TgzKHG9.png

Pioniers--Engineer troops in the Heer--conducting a river
crossing exercise in 1941. These troops were attached at
the Panzer-division level to be part of the combined arms
team, getting the tanks across any obstacles they might
encounter. Below, flamethrower-armed Engineers.

GU1tOiV.png

Other funding objectives for gear was for the Engineer brigades. Assault weapons, flamethrowers, explosives and other weapon systems that could deal with forts and forests needed improvement as did the bridging equipment for river and water crossing. This funding lasted through the end of the year. The office also worked on developing improving the Feldgendarmie with better tactics, techniques and procedures which also carried through the year.


giphy.gif

An exercise with one of the PzKpfw.IV ausf A, above, and
a crew working with an improved version, below. These all
include the long-barrel 7.5 cm KwK 40, which was basically
a PaK 38B scaled to fit into the turret on the Panzer IV.


Over the course of a few months, the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen was approached by the developer of the PzKpfw.IV ausf A about improvements to the tank. Rheinmetall believed that they could improve the PzKpfw.IV, with a bigger engine, thicker armor and more accurate gun mount. The company also looked at trying to improve the reliability after they had some information filtering back regarding some of the tracks and transmissions of the ausf A.

UdYcIu7.png

A well-camouflaged PaK 38B during defensive drills.
Despite the overall push for “counteroffensive” operations,
much of the more career-minded recognized that there
would be times when units would need to go over to the
defensive, and thus such training needed to be carried out.

Turning now to the doctrinal work, the work towards wrapping up improving offensive movement through a more efficient command structure at the operational level finished at the end of January; funding was then directed towards improving training for units to counter-attack on the defensive portion of operations; that work would be finalized and disseminated in July.


dPgtNz3.png


2. Panzer-Division conducting operations in the
Spring 1941. These tactics honed the edge of the
Panzerwaffe, which would come into play the following
year.

In early February, the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen issued new guidance about the employment of focusing the combat power of the Panzer-brigade, be it light, medium or heavy. This coincided mostly with the training regarding breakthrough tactics, finished at the end of February. The funding then turned to a training cycle in Grafenwoehr for several Panzer-divisionen which ran through September and had the effect of increasing the morale of those armored troops. Funding was also provided to improving artillery organization of all types of the brigades, from anti-air to the self-propelled field artillery.

4mSxYuy.png

A designated marksman conducting a training range.

Infantry units had been conducting significant numbers of command post exercises through the winter. These war games--raising the comfort level of their commanders through how best to organize their forces--focused specifically on an “eastern enemy” or “White Force,” which most of the commanders took to mean Poland. Several of these war games had attached ground unit exercises which had increased the morale as more and more soldiers were informed of their future missions. Both the command post and infantry war games had finished in mid-March. For the specialized infantry divisions, their war games ended in early April; while command post exercises continued through September.


l0YqEoc.png


StuG IIIs passing the corps command post of XIV.

Armeekorps, one of the two motorized infantry corps.

From March to September, the armored branch of the Heer had conducted independent war games of their own. Much like those of the Infantry, the war games were directed in an easterly direction, and the enemy was described as “White Force.” These training evolutions focused on rapid movement, avoiding more direct contact and instead getting deep behind the enemy formations, which were infantry heavy. These games coincided with the final release of the Wehrmacht’s new doctrinal guideline of “Combined Arms Warfare” or Kombinierter Waffenkrieg, increasing a focus on bringing armored punch to the fights. These war games had also increased the morale of all motorized infantry units throughout the Heer--a benefit of the tactical-level command structure refinements which finished in November. These war games’ after action reports showed a weakness in the organization afforded those mechanized formations, which the Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen would look to improve and thus work was funded from May through the end of the year.

LUFTWAFFE.


LLATHK9.png


The prototype Junkers Ju 290. These massive aircraft
were chosen to lift significant amounts of troops for
airborne operations.

The Luftwaffe’s research funding for 1941 focused on developments to their aircraft that had just been delivered. After large quantities of the Arado Ar 232 had been delivered, some in the Luftwaffe’s airlift squadrons doubted that they would actually be able to support a full division of Fallschirmjager without having to get more aircraft involved. This was especially true when the Heer informed the Luftwaffe that they intended on carrying through with their plans to “square” the divisions. Funding was thus devoted towards increasing cargo capacity. This concluded in May, and coincided with development work for a more suitable large airframe aircraft. This resulted in the Junkers Ju 290, a long-range transport. While not as original in design as the Arado example, this aircraft could carry nearly 11,000 kilograms of cargo, enough for most of a Fallschirmjager infantry company, in one hop, which could range over 6,000 kilometers. One of the most important developments to make it into the Ju 290 was the Trapoklappe hydraulic ramp which permitted easier loading. These developments were also handed off to Heinkel for inclusion on an improvement to their He 177 Greif strategic bomber.


AxMOj5Z.png


Above, a picture showing the
Trapoklappe of the Ju 290.
Below, a picture of the DB 603 engine.

xEtrxaf.png


While the inestimable DB 601 having been introduced into service only two years prior, Daimler-Benz believed they had enough feedback to improve their offering. With the Luftwaffe agreeing to fund the program, it ran from April until September, providing the DB 603. This proved to be nothing more than a DB 601 but with efficiency benefits including fuel injection and a turbocharger which would activate at a lower altitude for greater boosts to speed and climb factors. The intent on fuel injection meant, however, that there was room for improvements to all of the aircraft in the inventory: targets were self-sealing fuel tanks, stronger construction for the airframes themselves and improvements to offensive armament for interceptors and multi-role fighters. These three projects would be finalized in September. Similar projects were issued in June for the twin-engine aircraft, though only focus on the fuel tanks and airframe strengthening (the defensive armaments project wouldn’t be issued until August after being overlooked briefly); all improvements were approved for development in October. Testing had also shown some shortcomings with the light and medium bombs and so starting in July the project to develop a better casing and fusing mechanism finished in October.


dewMjod.png


A Luftwaffe Bf110G equipped with a prototype ‘Lichtenstein’
equipped in the nose. A pair of Staffels of these aircraft
equipped each of the Geschwaders of interceptors.

With the development of ground-based radar, the Luftwaffe sought to “cut out the middleman” in getting the information necessary to their interceptors. Testing had shown that the time it took the ground-based radar to identify the enemy formations, ascertain the needed information and relay it through channels to fighter command before vectoring the interceptors necessary was wasted: bombers could be almost on top of their targets by then. Instead, by pushing the radars into the sky, ground based radar would not need to provide exact descriptions, but instead just a vector; those in the sky could then better guide the fighters to their targets. Funding for this project was directed to Telefunken in November and codenamed ‘Lichtenstein.’


vwuPUBy.png


A tower as part of the VLaN, then equipped with FlaK
8.8cm cannons, but newer guns were planned.

As part of the Vaterland Luftabwehr-Netzwerk, or VLaN, wide swaths of air defense guns had been constructed at great expense throughout the western portion of Germany. Largely composed of collections of FlaK 8.8cm cannon and others, Goering decided to demand better and more capable guns for the VLaN. Funding began in September, and would not finish before the year was out. While some questioned the funding of such proclivities, especially given the sheer number of interceptor squadrons either in service or under construction--their concerns likely more valid than not given that interceptors would prove much more efficient than the guns--Goering had touted how well the network would work and much of his remaining credibility in the eyes of the Fuhrer was bound up in the pet project.


Rm6QWbB.png


A modern picture of the Marschflugkörper, better
known by the designation of Fieseler Fi 103, or
“Maikäfer.” These were the world’s first cruise
missiles.

Much of the doctrinal research began in the latter third of the year, aside from some theoretical research in Aeronautical Engineering which had finished its project in early March. Half of the projects funded in September focused on advanced technology developments: theoretical jet engines, advanced aircraft design and more solid work on the Marschflugkörper. Several of these research paths fed one another in building efficiencies. The other projects funded revolved around improving the tactical employment of the fallschirmjagers; another revolved around the start of the biennial Red Flag events for the interceptors and multi-role fighters. In October, the close-air support and tactical bomber wings began their own involvement in the Red Flag events, which focused heavily on ground attack instead of any tactical missions.

KRIEGSMARINE.


VVuIxmc.png


The cruiser Emden, illustrated here in 1942, as the
test bed for the smaller radar which would come to
equip all of the small surface combatants of the
Kriegsmarine.

The Kriegsmarine’s research focused on building a more advanced light cruisers. A new armor scheme was finished up in February, but the Kriegsmarine decided to revamp that scheme again which was finished in May. During that time, a more advanced set of turbines for greater fuel efficiency and range was delivered. The OKKM also requested the latest developments from the Heer’s efforts in anti-aircraft gunnery starting in April, and by August the guns had arrived. The project had also included improvements to the RADAR system in use aboard the smaller surface combatants and using the system to not only detect hostile vessels and aircraft, but also to lay the secondary and anti-aircraft armament. This coincided with the project for the RADAR for the battle and heavy cruisers, which was delivered in March.


csL5o0V.png


The
Moltke, the final hull of the Blücher-class,
seen here in a painting.

The last hull of the Blücher-class--left on the stocks during the original order for three of the type--had been looking to get a new armor scheme itself when some tests had shown some weakness in the original scheme for the most advanced battlecruisers in the world. When Blohm & Voss delivered their plans for the newest arrangements of armor, the Kriegsmarine directed them to complete the hull.


xfQS2fk.png


A Junkers Ju-87D modified to carry a torpedo
for testing purposes. These latest efforts were
encouraging for the Kriegsmarine, and their
capability was only just being realized.

One project that the Kriegsmarine prioritized in April was to improve the air-dropped torpedo for their aircraft. Tests with the original had demonstrated significant problems: either the aircraft had to fly very low and slow in order for the torpedo to not break apart upon entering the water, or not drop the weapon. A stronger body for the torpedo and a retarding parachute was developed and testing articles were delivered in June.


S2Oo0pr.png


An artist’s take on the Kriegsmarine’s base
in Wilhelmshaven. The efficiency of these
bases were to prove important to the success
of the Kriegsmarine in the war.

Training which the Kriegsmarine funded included continuing improving the efficiencies in the loading and unloading of supplies and munitions in the naval bases of the Reich. That project finished in May. Other continued projects from the year before was the training of RADAR operators for the vessels in the Kriegsmarine, this training continued and was renewed through September. Training focused on the three major types of the Kriegsmarine: battle and light cruisers, the u-boats, and aviation assets. For their aircraft, training continued until April, but was renewed through December to focus on improving their capability in striking ports and at sea. Preparation for the u-boat service to begin their war cruises started in April with command exercises for the geschwader headquarters which ran through October and crew training started in July but wouldn’t end until after the end of the year. For the battle cruisers, many of the senior officers began rotating through the command schools in September throughout the rest of the year.

CIVIL/SECRET.


7GXC8l1.png


A
materiallager of the Heer. Speer’s drive to
improve the efficiencies in procurement, transport
and delivery to the front line units helped the
Wehrmacht success early in the war.

Albert Speer’s project to improve upon his project of organizing the logistics system of the Wehrmacht bore fruit in January. After gaining the approval of Schacht--who was largely a rubber stamp by 1941--he also started a project for logistic production improvements in July which continued through October. He also started projects in September for the refining of rare materials, production of steel, better recovery of coal, improvements to the oil refineries and synthetic oil developments. While none of those projects would be finished in 1941, Speer recognized that these projects were desperately needed for the Reich.


eqeOzLV.jpg


A mockup of the original research reactors
designed for Germany to pursue the ultimate
weapons. These projects would continue, over
Some generals not wishing to divert the efforts.

Secret projects continued in the development of a completely new class of weapon. As they reached ever deeper into the mysteries of the atom, they completed the theoretical work begun the year before in February. Immediately afterwards, the project turned towards a deeper understanding of the nuclear system through November, when a breakthrough led to a project focused on Isotope Separation which continued through the end of the year. Tangential projects which needed to focus and assist in this project was a funding pulse delivered from April through October to the colleges and universities in the Reich, as well as a project to fund the development of an electronic computing machine from May through October.

*****
Author's Note: It's a big update, but it's been about a month since I had a chance to really get this done. I've moved successfully, but with the academy, I've not had a real chance to play any and so updates will be slowly trickling out. I still need to organize my new mancave a bit, which is one of the projects I have for this weekend.

We're going to have an expansion, and make the Soviets pay for it! And the Japanese, and the Italians, and...

Darn tootin'! Though I think the Poles pay first...

A hundred percent spot on. At some point for Nazi germany war is the ONLY option. It is kinda scary, because, well, even if one took Hitler out of the picture in, say, 1938 (as some old-fashioned OKH guys wanted to), the MEFO time-bomb would still be ticking, and quite quickly it's either world war or nation-wide riots. I wish people like Hjalmar Schacht had kept a diary like Goebbels. I read von Hassel's diaries, but his analysis of the Nazi regime never touched the economy.

I'm going to work that into my next political update, as it would make the decision to actually kick things off make far more sense to me and hopefully to you, my readers, in the grand scheme of TTL... I love feedback!
 
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roverS3

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Yay, an update!
Interesting developments, nebelwerfers are really something. Improving Battlecruiser Armour... new tanks, new airplanes, the German Armed forces are really spreading the research money around!

Secret projects continued in the development of a completely new class of weapon. As they reached ever deeper into the mysteries of the atom, they completed the theoretical work begun the year before in February. Immediately afterwards, the project turned towards a deeper understanding of the nuclear system through November, when a breakthrough led to a project focused on Isotope Separation which continued through the end of the year.
Does this mean that you're ahead of time on Nuclear Research? What's the plan there?

PS: I quite like the GIFs, but I pity those with rubbish internet... The watercolour of Wilhelmshaven is also quite something. nice pics over all.
 

Eurasia

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All that research and development. This suggests a VERY interesting, somewhat, one-sided war. How much of that technology is the Germans sharing with its allies?
 

Wraith11B

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Yay, an update!
Interesting developments, nebelwerfers are really something. Improving Battlecruiser Armour... new tanks, new airplanes, the German Armed forces are really spreading the research money around!

Does this mean that you're ahead of time on Nuclear Research? What's the plan there?

PS: I quite like the GIFs, but I pity those with rubbish internet... The watercolour of Wilhelmshaven is also quite something. nice pics over all.

There's a lot of money going to R&D, as the diplomatic efforts wind down. I don't think I'm super ahead of time, I might have started the process early because I was out of other stuff to research. I did update the major nation tech comparison through 1942, so that should have everything in comparison to what the other nations are doing.

IIRC, the nuclear stuff was centered on the Theory research, which I wanted to pop before hitting isotope separation.

All that research and development. This suggests a VERY interesting, somewhat, one-sided war. How much of that technology is the Germans sharing with its allies?

It is for a bit, but then it goes awry, as wars often do. I chose not to share any technology with the rest of the alliance, as that's ridiculously expensive to do. Some of Germany's allies do wind up buying their tech (think back to Italy's procurement of a significant number of armored fighting vehicles) and Germany buys from some other nations (they license three brigade sets of Marines from Japan and had tried to buy some destroyers as well but it failed to work for some reason of the game).
 

stnylan

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Looks like the German military is trying to gets its hands on as many toys as possible :D
 

Bullfilter

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Handsome update! Very detailed, great pics as always and I like the gifs - are they ones you did yourself?