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

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Wraith11B

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Very detailed historical rendition of the game events. Interested to see how the game-development piece goes.

Thank you! Significant amounts of information came from an undergrad class I took last spring: "Europe in the Age of Total War, 1914 - 1945." A great class, and I wish I had still been in school for his "Nazi Germany" class last fall, unfortunately I graduated and wasn't about to sit for a class I wouldn't get credit for. Can I ask what you mean by "game-development"? Because there were a few events in there that came from the game... or do you just mean the other stuff that I'm doing (the R&D, military build-up, etc)?

A fine effort balancing some in depth background and weaving in game events.

I'll admit that out of all the changes the one I am struggling with most is the idea of a single, competent, German intelligence agency. It's weird enough there being only one of them (surely there should be at least 3, with deliberately over lapping responsibilities?) but them being competent is frankly shocking!

You're quite right: if anything there should be a redundant number of intelligence services, as there are seemingly in every nation (I believe at last count there are about fifteen in the US). I think I'm going to have Frick be amassing his own little empire, but Canaris wasn't ineffective by any stretch until he started becoming disillusioned with Herr Hitler. Just wait until you see how competent the Italians are!

Dropped-in out of lurker-mode - looks to be very high-quality. Bravo...man.:)

Until a few years ago, I knew very little about the Spanish Civil War and then watched an old Granada? documentary; what a drama. Interested to read how you tell...yeah.;)

Glad I can tempt people out of lurking! Since I was playing as Germany and Italy (in a LAN session) this time, I only have screen caps and save games that I can load up as to tell the story, which honestly should be enough. It is a sideshow, albeit an important one.
 

AtlanticFriend

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A fine effort balancing some in depth background and weaving in game events.

I'll admit that out of all the changes the one I am struggling with most is the idea of a single, competent, German intelligence agency. It's weird enough there being only one of them (surely there should be at least 3, with deliberately over lapping responsibilities?) but them being competent is frankly shocking!

Indeed. But with no Himmler nor Heydrich around (which I read as the SS being just as discredited as the SA as a whole after the Night of the Long Knives), intelligence has probably become a purely military affair. Perhaps the OKH will build its own outfit to compete with the OKW-aligned Abwehr? And the Luftwaffe might go for the same, as Goering (who BTW should still head the Gestapo as Himmler isn't there to grab it from him) could dream of a 1930s version of the National Reconnaissance Office? :D
 

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Indeed. But with no Himmler nor Heydrich around (which I read as the SS being just as discredited as the SA as a whole after the Night of the Long Knives), intelligence has probably become a purely military affair. Perhaps the OKH will build its own outfit to compete with the OKW-aligned Abwehr? And the Luftwaffe might go for the same, as Goering (who BTW should still head the Gestapo as Himmler isn't there to grab it from him) could dream of a 1930s version of the National Reconnaissance Office? :D
You forgot the Kriegsmarine Intelligence Department and it's mortal rival, the U-Boat Overseas Intelligence Directorate.

The U-Boat OID will spend the entire war sending agents into key foreign ports to get convoy information, it will emerge it was penetrated on day 1 and spent the entire war being fed false information by British Intelligence, sending the wolf packs chasing fictional convoys or blundering into traps.
 

AtlanticFriend

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You forgot the Kriegsmarine Intelligence Department and it's mortal rival, the U-Boat Overseas Intelligence Directorate.

The U-Boat OID will spend the entire war sending agents into key foreign ports to get convoy information, it will emerge it was penetrated on day 1 and spent the entire war being fed false information by British Intelligence, sending the wolf packs chasing fictional convoys or blundering into traps.

I see the UBOID facing administrative problems: their agents will be transferred to the KID every time the U-boats surface, and get transferred back after every dive. British codebreakers, at first baffled at the massive volume of Enigma intercepts, soon get bored to death when they discover 99% of Enigma messages are memos related to subtle yet meaningful differences between UBOID and KID retirement plans.
 

Wraith11B

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@El Pip and @AtlanticFriend:

You'll be pleased to note that I've not worked exactly how many intelligence bureaus there are, however, I think I'll pop in a post about the alterations to how the Heer has been deployed and commanded (as it isn't currently in my repertoire as of yet. Keep those sharp eyes out, you'll see more about our good friend, Goering. And Frick. And Canaris.

Just because I want some more feedback, and since I'm trying to at least get the SCW stuff to a reasonable length: was the size of that post too much? Should I try breaking it up to keep it manageable? Your input here would be invaluable, El Pip. That post above was six pages in GoogleDocs, and as of right now, the SCW post I have is working hard at hitting four (only through to October). What's a good page length would you say?
 

Bullfilter

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unfortunately I graduated
Nothing unfortunate about that ;)
and wasn't about to sit for a class I wouldn't get credit for.
Sound logic :D
Can I ask what you mean by "game-development"? Because there were a few events in there that came from the game... or do you just mean the other stuff that I'm doing (the R&D, military build-up, etc)?
Yes, that’s what I meant :)

Keep up the good work, and (speaking from experience here) don’t feel ‘trapped’ if the detail becomes too much once the in-game main combat events are happening. It’s your project and no one will mind if you vary the content to suit the circumstances and time you have available. Better to do that than find it becomes too much with RL etc. But stick with whatever you want for yourself. :)
 

AtlanticFriend

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@El Pip and @AtlanticFriend: You'll be pleased to note that I've not worked exactly how many intelligence bureaus there are, however, I think I'll pop in a post about the alterations to how the Heer has been deployed and commanded (as it isn't currently in my repertoire as of yet. Keep those sharp eyes out, you'll see more about our good friend, Goering. And Frick. And Canaris.

The world would feel empty (and a lot less crowded) without Fat Hermann. I'm currently reading Goebbels' journal, and I wonder what kind of Interior Minister he will make.

Actually, I like the idea of him building a German NRO-like outfit. Between the Hindenburg, Lufthansa planes and high-altitude reconnaissance planes, it could work.

Just because I want some more feedback, and since I'm trying to at least get the SCW stuff to a reasonable length: was the size of that post too much? Should I try breaking it up to keep it manageable? Your input here would be invaluable, El Pip. That post above was six pages in GoogleDocs, and as of right now, the SCW post I have is working hard at hitting four (only through to October). What's a good page length would you say?

Six to nine pages, that's usually what I end up with, but that's for a narrative AAR. Your history book approach allows you much shorter chapters, alhogh you have three countries to rite about. I think whatever the length you settle for, you'll find us nagging you for more details !
 

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But what about battleships, the most important piece of military equipment!
 

El Pip

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Just because I want some more feedback, and since I'm trying to at least get the SCW stuff to a reasonable length: was the size of that post too much? Should I try breaking it up to keep it manageable? Your input here would be invaluable, El Pip. That post above was six pages in GoogleDocs, and as of right now, the SCW post I have is working hard at hitting four (only through to October). What's a good page length would you say?
I'll be honest I don't really aim for a length. Certainly I do try to avoid massive walls of text, but given your generous (and welcome) use of pictures you don't have to worry about that.

I would say a good page length is however long you need to get across the idea/point/facts/whatever you intend to convey in the post. For me I normally end up somewhere around 1,500-2,000 words (not counting footnotes), if I get much above that due to scope creep then I split the update. Theoretically if I was much shorter I'd revise the 'scope' of the post, but that's never been a problem so far.

One other consideration could be the style you are aiming for; a sort of text book approach of relatively similar sized chapters each focusing on a subject or variable length chunks that are as long as they need to be. In your case, if you really wanted to be ambitious, I could see potential in varying the style of the post with the country you are describing, but that just might spiral madly out of control.
 

Finshades

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Just wait until you see how competent the Italians are!

Competent Italians? Sounds heretical. What next, the Chinese invading Japan? Benelux countries allying and marching into Berlin? Madness, I tell you, madness!

Seriously speaking, great update. Love the attention to detail. Though it does seem awfully well organized... I'm pretty sure that's not the way it was in the textbooks in my time. :p
 

Wraith11B

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Nothing unfortunate about that ;)
Sound logic :D
Yes, that’s what I meant :)

Yes, quite true. It was either spend another two solid years in undergrad or get my degree in a semester and a half. I took the quick way out! ;)

Keep up the good work, and (speaking from experience here) don’t feel ‘trapped’ if the detail becomes too much once the in-game main combat events are happening. It’s your project and no one will mind if you vary the content to suit the circumstances and time you have available. Better to do that than find it becomes too much with RL etc. But stick with whatever you want for yourself. :)

Thank you for the advice. The inner narcissist in me wants this to become something a la Loki100's "The Great Patriotic War," which if you haven't read is a real treat, and is quite epic. The realist in me recognizes that though I've played to 1943, it took me about six hours this weekend just to advance the timeline 11 in-game days. Sooo.... perhaps detail in the beginning is good? Keeps me from burning out too terribly quickly.

The world would feel empty (and a lot less crowded) without Fat Hermann. I'm currently reading Goebbels' journal, and I wonder what kind of Interior Minister he will make.

Actually, I like the idea of him building a German NRO-like outfit. Between the Hindenburg, Lufthansa planes and high-altitude reconnaissance planes, it could work.

Six to nine pages, that's usually what I end up with, but that's for a narrative AAR. Your history book approach allows you much shorter chapters, alhogh you have three countries to write about. I think whatever the length you settle for, you'll find us nagging you for more details !

I'll see what I can do about the NRO-style thing. I did do quite a bit of snooping around to see what was going on--I tried to avoid using that information, but--well, you'll see.

But what about battleships, the most important piece of military equipment!

You know, you're right! They are super important! I've recently been reading several books about battleships and battlecruisers (just to see what was out there for the reality) and I'm pretty certain that I've found how best to frame them.

I'll be honest I don't really aim for a length. Certainly I do try to avoid massive walls of text, but given your generous (and welcome) use of pictures you don't have to worry about that.

I would say a good page length is however long you need to get across the idea/point/facts/whatever you intend to convey in the post. For me I normally end up somewhere around 1,500-2,000 words (not counting footnotes), if I get much above that due to scope creep then I split the update. Theoretically if I was much shorter I'd revise the 'scope' of the post, but that's never been a problem so far.

One other consideration could be the style you are aiming for; a sort of text book approach of relatively similar sized chapters each focusing on a subject or variable length chunks that are as long as they need to be. In your case, if you really wanted to be ambitious, I could see potential in varying the style of the post with the country you are describing, but that just might spiral madly out of control.

If it's not obvious, my primary nation of focus is Germany, with Italy--and later Japan--really only as supporting 'characters' if you will. I'll try to throw in some stuff that might make things clear, and of course I count upon you all, my loyal readers, to ask questions that might result in me making more posts to dilate the time until I start buttressing up against actual combat... if that's possible.

Competent Italians? Sounds heretical. What next, the Chinese invading Japan? Benelux countries allying and marching into Berlin? Madness, I tell you, madness!

Seriously speaking, great update. Love the attention to detail. Though it does seem awfully well organized... I'm pretty sure that's not the way it was in the textbooks in my time. :p

Nor mine necessarily, but I'm hoping to entertain as well as, ahem, "educate." Hopefully you all enjoy them!
 

guillec87

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subbed!
 

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A most interesting setup, i wonder how close you will make the axis cooporate here ( mainly thinking of Barbarossa and the USA). I really like the descriptive posts, theyr a decent size whilst moving the story along properly.
 

Wraith11B

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Subbed, a greatly detailed story indeed ^^

Thank you for following, gents! Stay tuned: an update approaches! A week! Whoo, what was I smokin'?!

A most interesting setup, i wonder how close you will make the axis cooporate here ( mainly thinking of Barbarossa and the USA). I really like the descriptive posts, theyr a decent size whilst moving the story along properly.

Well, I've been content to frame it largely as "high-level": strategic and operational objectives, but rarely actual joint operations, and then I've required myself to use expeditionary forces (for instance, in the future, the Japanese chop eight transport groups to Italy to help them conduct a sealift of forces... wonder where that was to? then you'll have to read on!).
 
I: 2. Death in the Afternoon: The Spanish Civil War, 1936

Wraith11B

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sucib7K.png



1dQfa6V.png

The
Cortes, or Spanish Parliament. This body had been only in existence as an actual governing body for a few years--far too few for the institutions necessary for the survival of a democratic state to put down roots.

Spain had been a republic barely five years when war broke out in 1936. King Alfonso XIII abdicated after local elections made it clear that most of Spain was unsatisfied with his rule. Initially dominated by liberal and leftist parties, the parliament could not satisfy the Catholic hierarchy through their drives for such modern contrivances as civil marriage, divorce and the enfranchisement of women. The Army allied themselves to the Church, who had contributed to the end of the monarchy when the King had failed to maintain the army’s loyalty through declining prestige and influence, opposed the liberal democratic institutions. Further reductions to the authority of the army through the disbanding of the Supreme Military Council and to its strength with a reduction in commissions for officers led to the army finding an ally in the Church. Land reform schemes and agrarian strikes threatened the large landholders and in response those landholders made up another portion of the reactionary faction.


y99r2Cb.png

Socialist recruitment poster. Never a very unified front, their inability to work with one another meant that Republicans were unable to fully exploit their victories.

The left wing in Spanish politics was not majority socialists and communists as it was in other European nations; it was made up largely of anarchists with little use for parliamentary government and who wanted to devolve authority away from the central government entirely. Anarchist activities also brought them the hatred of the upper and middle classes through strikes, direct action and church burnings. The future leader of Nationalist Spain, Francisco Franco Bahamonde had been dispatched with his colonial troops to quell an anarchist insurrection in Asturias in 1934 which led to an orgy of killing. Socialists, in an attempt to appeal to the anarchists, gave up their desire to reform a democratic government in favor of a leftist dictatorship. Communists had little patience with either of the other two left-wing groups and all three continually challenged the government’s ability to maintain order within its borders.


0yzr0KE.png

Nationalist propaganda. They exploited the fears of the aristocrats and religious citizens, reinforced by the actions of the anarchists on the left.

With opposition from both flanks, the government of Spain sought to maintain order by giving into the Catalonian and Basque demands for some autonomy. These efforts were not enough for the separatists in both regions and angered the conservative Spaniards who desired the maintenance of a “Greater Spain”. After a scandal in February 1936, a “Popular Front” of communists, socialists and anarchists emerged with a narrow victory over the right. The Azaña government, to appeal to his radical leftist base, ordered the release of political prisoners from the Asturias insurrection and other strikes while reviving a land-reform program.


i1Vg0m4.png

Manuel Azaña, during his inauguration as President, 1936. His inability to placate those on the right while subduing those on the left led to the inevitable flashpoint.

The anarchists took this as justification to resume their direct action against landowners and factories. In response, the right also resumed their own policy of attempting to kill anyone on the left. Indeed, the killing of two men--one each from the left and the right--led the military leadership to begin their rebellion; government inaction on the part of the Spanish Prime Minister at the time only assisted the junta’s takeover of about a third of the nation. Almost immediately, nations in Europe began issuing statements concerning the deplorable situation that emerged. Italy was one of the first pledges of support for the Nationalist forces; on the obverse, the Soviet Union declared for the Republicans.


B7xpDLj.png

General Francisco Franco. After the death of General Sanjuro, Franco grabbed for the reins of power, fully assuring the Italians and Germans that he would be “their man,” thus guaranteeing the flow of arms and additional manpower to overcome his adversaries.

Because of the declared support from the Soviet Union, nations that would have otherwise openly supported the Republican forces were deterred from doing so. Especially in the United Kingdom and France, the populace might have condoned some form of support for the duly elected government; even the United States could have begrudgingly been encouraged to at least proceed with a “cash and carry” scheme that didn’t leave banks or manufacturing holding the bag if the war went south for the official government. With the Soviet Union’s intervention, anti-communist forces provided a vocal mouthpiece which tied the hands of those liberal governments.


QDbqylx.png

Hollywood, mobilized to support the Republicans. Given the fashion which attached itself to Communism and other left-leaning tendencies in the West, support was always unofficial as no nation could bear to hold hands with the actual Soviets in Spain.

Germany threaded a careful line. On the one hand, Germany publicly pledged non-intervention, wishing to avoid some global outcry and to not give their neighbors and trading partners any sense of animosity. Indeed, the Kriegsmarine did contribute a small squadron to provide for the naval non-intervention patrols around the Iberian peninsula, even coming under fire from shore batteries and responding in kind. Privately, Frick directed Canaris to send several members of the GD into Spain by way of Portugal, and both the Heer and the Luftwaffe sent advisors to work with the Nationalist army and air forces.


hbK3Rnf.png

Italian aircraft sent in support of the Nationalists. Germany and Italy long saw the conflict as a way to dispose of old and outdated equipment as well as a live-fire proving ground for their newest designs. Indeed, after some engagements both sides would comb the battlefields in an unspoken “gentleman’s agreement” to see the results of their equipment.

The initial dispositions of the Nationalists did not convey the strengths of their position. Much of Spain’s overseas territories went with the junta. Seville, Granada and Cadiz in the south had been rapidly taken over by the Nationalists, but they controlled little territory beyond the outskirts of the cities. Rapid deployment of their ground forces and the airlift of Franco’s forces from Morocco allowed the Nationalists to secure Bilbao and the important naval base at La Coruna. These areas were not entirely secure, however, as the Republicans held some territory on Portugal’s border and the key city of Salamanca.


qs5BR85.jpg

For the first several weeks, operations focused on either linking up with friendly forces or clearing the areas around those already held. Direct confrontations were few and far between as the troops of both sides formed up to fight the war. The majority of these engagements lent credence to a statement from one of the volunteers in the war: “Civil wars are rarely civil or wars.”

2HALeuC

The first two weeks of fighting in Spain. As noted, much of the operations centered
around centralizing forces rather than any grandiose plan to win the war.

Forces throughout Spain on both sides--given their decentralized dispersion--conducted their operations in a manner which was, at best, disjointed. At worst, the lack of centralized planning and clear operational goals caused near-disasters for both sides. Nationalist forces exploded out of Seville, working desperately to secure the south of the country, while forces in the north concentrated on bringing the Basque regions to heel. The Nationalists also worked to cut off the important ports of Malaga and Almeria to prevent shipments of Soviet materiel from reaching the Republican forces.

2HCJCRf

Fighting in the August heat, 1936.

2FjM8Lb

Alterations to the overall situation, September 1936.

September was a month described as dos pasos adelante, tres pasos atras, or “two steps forward, three steps back.” Gains made in one area caused other areas to be lost, especially those in the direction of the Catalan region, and a Republican counter-offensive in the south to cut off Cadiz and thus hopefully prevent significant support from reaching the Nationalists in the south. In the north, Madrid was largely free from any Nationalist threat by the end of September when the Republicans drove a large salient into Nationalist lines. Burgos--the city in which the Nationalist command authority resided--was prepared for their evacuation.

2HFBzDc

The situation through October, 1936.
By October, however, Republican attentions swung south, as their supplies dwindled for the offensive. Malaga and Barcelona were significant ports, but infighting between factions meant that more ports were needed. The “Southern Snake,” which described the shape that Nationalist lines held, was chopped into several pieces to be reduced by the end of the month and the Republicans were knocking on the door to Seville.

2GCXtFw

The overall situation through November, 1936.
As the Nationalist holdings in the south were reduced, the Nationalists in the north went on the offensive. Foregoing any idea of flank security or of listening to their German and Italian advisors, a hard drive on Madrid, long seen as the lynchpin for the conflict, once again brought the sounds of war to the city. By mid-November, the city was encircled, but the Nationalists had lost control of Seville in the south and much of their border with Portugal, through which significant supplies were flowing. Madrid proper would fall within the week, however.

2EOkXeo

The situation through the end of December, 1936. Despite losing control of
Seville for a few weeks, the Nationalists were staging for a massive assault
towards Madrid for the coming year.

As the year came to a close, much of the territory which had been under the control of the Nationalists was lost; the diversion of troops to the south to shore up support around Seville and Cadiz had opened significant exploitable holes in the lines of the Nationalists in the north and once again found Burgos under threat. As a Christmas present to their side, the Republicans reclaimed the capital, which had largely been stripped of anything useful by the departing Nationalists. Not all was positive: the Nationalists had fairly exploded off of the southern coast and were striking into the center of the Peninsula.

*****
Author's Note: My gifs aren't working... Please Stand By... Fixed. Whew. That was an ordeal. I don't know why Imgur wasn't cooperating with me, but I've gone with Giphy for these. Lemme know if they start dying.
 
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stnylan

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Sounds like a very fluid SCW
 

Bullfilter

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There I was, hoping for Republican victory, when I remembered you were playing the Axis in this one! :confused: It looks like your surrogates are now on the path to ascendancy - but how grateful will Franco be when the crunch comes?
 

Surt

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A Republican victory would quickly have followed up by a second civil war between the Communists(Stalinists) and the Anachists as these are as much opposed as the Facists were.
 

AtlanticFriend

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Another update! Excellent!

Wow, it looks like both sides can still lose the war in a matter of weeks. The whole affair might be over even before the other European powers devise a clear policy of intervention/non-intervention!

Once again, Wraith11B, kudos for the amazing pictures, BTW (the gifs are nifty as well). I wish I had found these Iberic ones a few years ago, to use them in my Spanish chapters. Glad to see the Basques managed to repulse Franco's cohorts, I hope they'll manage to hold their ground (and, who knows, maybe gain their indepedence in the process).I concur with Surt, a Republican victory would probably open another can of worms and usher in a new Civil War between competing "Republican" factions. Still, I'll root for the Republic, as it would send a powerful signal to France and Britain that the abominable Fascist ideology can and must be beaten!

Out of sheer curiosity, do you know what happened to the Spanish navies? Whenever I read the SCW part of an AAR, I always wonder about the fate of the Dedalo seaplane tender (which, alas, is not depicted in HoI IIRC) and the Jaime I / Espana battlewagons.