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

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TheButterflyComposer

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The race to bratislava, would Slovakia be annexed before Ecuador, would Slovakia build anything before being annexed, would T&T survive to stand trial.

No
 
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At least the IJN didn't get away entirely unscathed. It's not over yet, of course, as neither side lost a Carrier. However, as the UK is out of CAG's it'll take a while before the RN will be able to do anything substantial in the Far East, or anywhere really. What was once the largest navy in the world has been reduced to a fraction of it's former strength. I guess this sequence of events really convinced you to fire up another couple of computers and play as the Allies too.

Anyhow, the narration was on point, even without images, it was quite an enjoyable read. I already can't wait to read how the Axis invades the British Isles.
 
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El Pip

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However, as the UK is out of CAG's it'll take a while before the RN will be able to do anything substantial in the Far East, or anywhere really.
I'm fairly certain the AI doesn't build CAGs. Or at least they end up buried behind the desire to build a million convoys and garrison the Bahamas with Super Heavy Armour so never actually get put in the build queue.

I already can't wait to read how the Axis invades the British Isles.
The Germans will walk ashore unopposed and the campaign will be determined by how long it takes them to drive to the VPs. You don't think our esteemed author would risk facing an enemy that could actually fight back? ;)
 
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Wraith11B

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Have a quick look at the contents list on Page 1. I think we are still quite some way from the planned end, the Axis are frankly bafflingly slow at exploiting their relentless supremacy.
Quite far. The one particular bit about this game was to hope to have a war that actually lasted, which (of course), I failed at.

I assumed that was just everyone in Britain becoming a Nazi for absolutely no reason at all. I mean compared to all the other events that have happened so far it would in no-way be out of place, indeed it is probably the only logical conclusion of the amount of lead tea that they have been drinking so far in this AAR.

As my colleague @nuclearslurpee has said, this is not a tale that is read for surprise or challenge. Of course it is going to end in a grey / yellow world and of course each update will feature yet another tormenting of the AI as the human Axis ruthlessly stamps on it. But it is done with flair, style and some wonderful graphics so it is all worthwhile reading.
I'm glad that everyone here seems to think so. I was getting a bit ruthless, for sure.

I know! They must somehow bugger up the invasion of the soviet Union, despite having all the resources and time in the world now, and having somehow surrounded the largest country on earth on all sides except direct North (so far as I know, but in this aar...). That's the only thing that can slow them down now. I doubt the US is going to invade the whole world to save the communists. And everyone else is already a nazis or Japanese, which to them is even worse.
The US... well, that's it's own issue.

Did the British manage that sortie all by themselves? It worked for a while, anyway.
They did, actually, and it surprised the shit out of me. I see an RN task force and I'm suddenly in a firefight with the literal Zerg rush (and this is also why I can't stand that the Destroyer and Submarine groups are multiple ships)...

But of course it must be something you enjoy writing. I would also say there is absolutely no compulsion on you to follow the game or its chronology with any fidelity. If you wish to just jump ahead to the point where the enemy can put up a challenge, then that would be fine, as would continuing to document quite how bad the HOI3 AI is through the medium of detailed seal clubbings. All I would ask is that if you do decide to abandon this and restart in a work of greater challenge, then at least grant us an epilogue.
It would be nice, from my own perspective, to see how things end up, even if it’s via some sort of ‘broader sweep’ series of more strategic level summaries. But in the end, it’s not so much about us, but you. If you’re getting a bit bored or finding it difficult to keep going, then some exit plan is in order. We’ll either happily keep reading, or follow you in a new project or whatever, don’t worry about that. ;)
This might be how I pivot. Less of the granularity, battle details and the like (aside from the end of campaign stats, of course!) and more of the broad strokes which would help me be less worried about catching every little detail and more into what everyone really cares about:

Maps, Graphics, and Naval Porn, in no particular order.

This is true. Only the most fearless, talented and generally magnificent of authors date to write an AAR about a nation that loses.
DYAEiOu.gif
Narrative tension, I said. Slovakia in '44 is the absence of tension if anything, though I won't quibble with its unique magnificence.
Oh yes, the title spoils it.
The race to bratislava, would Slovakia be annexed before Ecuador, would Slovakia build anything before being annexed, would T&T survive to stand trial.

Plenty of narrative tension, just not the boring conventional kind about the final result.
I quite enjoyed the tension...

At least the IJN didn't get away entirely unscathed. It's not over yet, of course, as neither side lost a Carrier. However, as the UK is out of CAG's it'll take a while before the RN will be able to do anything substantial in the Far East, or anywhere really. What was once the largest navy in the world has been reduced to a fraction of it's former strength. I guess this sequence of events really convinced you to fire up another couple of computers and play as the Allies too.

Anyhow, the narration was on point, even without images, it was quite an enjoyable read. I already can't wait to read how the Axis invades the British Isles.
I think, to this point, only carriers have been lost to naval gunfire, as I recall correctly.... we'll see if that changes when actual fleet engagements start to occur.

I'm fairly certain the AI doesn't build CAGs. Or at least they end up buried behind the desire to build a million convoys and garrison the Bahamas with Super Heavy Armour so never actually get put in the build queue.
No super heavy armour that I've seen so far, nor even an over abundance of random garrisons parked in distant locales... Notice I say... distant.

The Germans will walk ashore unopposed and the campaign will be determined by how long it takes them to drive to the VPs. You don't think our esteemed author would risk facing an enemy that could actually fight back? ;)
Certainly tapped my inner Sir Robin when it comes to real oppositions.

Whew! Responding to so many has been a bit of a breather, and I'm terribly sorry that it's taken me this long to get to.

That said, we are all aware, but I shall of course put a plug in here of course, that we have the Yearly AARLand Year-end AwAARds upon us!

Give in and grant your favorite authAARs, AARtists and everyone a dopamine response to see their names being nominated!
 
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Eurasia

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I forgot if you mentioned it earlier but are you using AIs for anything? Because I can't see trying to directly control the military of three nations. Unless you are insane.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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I forgot if you mentioned it earlier but are you using AIs for anything? Because I can't see trying to directly control the military of three nations. Unless you are insane.
Yes. Yes, he is.​

As to the original question: No, I'm not using the AI for anything... to include that I've reworked all of the militaries of the various minors and given them entirely as expeditionary forces to their overlords. This is done with restrictions, of course. Certain nations' militaries are not allowed to leave their borders, others have strength restrictions of truly "expeditionary" forces. So, for instance, Germany has "control" over Hungary and Bulgaria's militaries (both of which are not puppets) and Slovakia's military has been deleted. Italy has control over a few of their puppet's national militaries, but with certain restrictions (as I didn't have the wargoals right when I started some of them and editing that would be much, much more work than I wanted to do). The Soviets have control over Sinkiang's military, the Japanese over Thailand's military. The British have control over Canada, et al, minors such as Bhutan and Nepal have had their ten infantry divisions (each!!!) deleted.

Oh, also, I'm leading six nations. Six.
 
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El Pip

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So, the answer is: yes, a very specific kind of insanity! :p
 
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Wraith11B

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XI: 4. Operation Straya Kiwi: The Elimination of the ANZAC

Wraith11B

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6oDxIQN.png

The Sun Also Rises
4. Operation Straya Kiwi: The Elimination of the ANZAC
July 1942 - January 1943

The declaration of war from Japan against the Allies had caught Australia and New Zealand short. Having only originally been a part of the war against Germany, it was a war far abroad, unlikely to come home to roost except in casualty reports. Japan’s entry into the war was a rude awakening that the Australians and New Zealanders would be directly threatened by the Imperial Japanese. The sudden declaration was even rapidly backed up by action: Guadalcanal in the Solomons was the first landing from the Japanese, days later. Engaging the 6th Infantry Division there, the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces rapidly overcame the opposition, marching nearly the entire division into captivity when they surrendered after a mere week.

With the Royal Australian Navy and what few surface and subsurface combatants sunk within the first month of hostilities, the Japanese had time to occupy the outer territories at their leisure. San Cristobal fell on 22 July, with the garrison brigades there captured after a short engagement. Buin fell in five days on 25 July, with the loss of Australia’s 9th Infantry Division. Malaita fell the same day with the loss of another of the garrison brigades. Rabaul was Japan’s next target. The capture of such a large port would give the IJN the base they would need to further attack the Dominions. The Japanese plan began with the initial assault on the area early on 2 August, supported by the Nagato battlegroup, which likely cut into their ability to fend off the oncoming Royal Navy task force. With four separate divisions leading the charge ashore, the garrison brigade stood little chance of being able to resist the onslaught, but the Japanese caught their comeuppance when they had detached a division to secure the anchorage around on the far end of the island and the Royal Navy sank those vessels. Indeed, the chastisement from the loss of an entire division of elite Special Naval Landing Forces troops was a major blow to the Imperial Japanese Navy, which when combined with the losses at sea, set back the plan to conquer the island until early September.

By early September, however, the threat of the Pacific Fleet had largely become a paper tiger: unlikely to inflict any real losses against the Imperial Japanese Navy, and thus they turned their forces loose again against the hapless Australians and New Zealanders. As the remains of XI Corps (SNLF) moved against Angoram and Wewak, XVIII Corps (SNLF) targeted Kasanombe and Port Mosby. By November, the Japanese assaulted Fiji, which was protected by the 19th Indian Infantry Division. The Indians, however, suffered massive casualties and was thoroughly demoralized, leading to them almost immediately surrendering their forces. Attention then turned to the main objectives: Australia and New Zealand.

The plans for these operations were a massive debate between the IJA and IJN. The Navy sought to remove the threat posed by the “island-in-being” that the two Dominions posed, and believed their forces were sufficient to face the threat. The Army believed that a force of over 200 thousand troops would be needed, and that regardless, it would turn into yet another quagmire as their occupation of China had been. The issue was that so much had gone right that simply recognizing that they had hit the limit of expansion was almost out of the question. “The fruit hung so low, and was so perfectly ripe, that not to reach out and taste the final victory was absurd,” one Japanese general wrote in his memoirs. Once decided, the thoughts turned to how to hold the islands; but really the lack of said planning sowed the seeds for the popular uprisings in June and July of the following year. Japanese diplomats and other sleeper agents had developed contacts with the ultra-conservative parties in both nations, which indicated to the Japanese government that more popular support existed for their cause than they had any right to expect.

As it was, the IJN landed four divisions from XI Corps (SNLF) in Morrisville on 7 November, which began the nearly two-month long walkabout from the North to the South Islands. Major actions around Otorohanga, Hamilton, and Dunedin throughout November and December caused significant damage to the infrastructure, such as it was. The final engagement in Dunedin saw the surrender of the Central Military District command, which oversaw two infantry brigades, and was the final official act of resistance for the time being. With their task seemingly complete there, the IJN sealifted their forces to Darwin, before leapfrogging down the coast with their forces: first to Sydney, then Newcastle, Crookwell and finally Wagga Wagga, where the troops of the 2nd Motor Brigade, a motorized infantry brigade, surrendered on 25 January 1943 to the 10th Special Naval Landing Force Division having been chased from the shores of Sydney and Melbourne into the interior, ending organized resistance in Australia.

For the six month whirlwind campaigns, the Japanese seemed nigh-invincible, with only minor setbacks. The Commonwealth nations suffered grievously, with 12,816 killed in action, and a further ninety thousand captured. Japan did not escape lightly: the campaign was terribly costly: a whole division lost, and more killed in action--13,532--than those suffered by the enemy. While the actual government-in-exile of New Zealand and Australia retreated to South Africa, the Japanese nominated Thomas C. A. Hislop to the newly created Chancellor role, while in Australia, a relatively obscure man by the name of Paul Roseville was similarly appointed. With this victory complete, the Japanese departed, removing the entirety of their combat forces, which left the shaky unpopular governments without almost any support. It would only be a matter of time until the popular Glorious Revolutions swept the islands.

*****

Author’s Notes: Thus begins my plan to move away from the game-side. I have most of 1944 played through, and so that will continue to drive the narrative, and I might play out some of the various items, but I want to move the gaming onto other projects, similar in scope and hopefully with less… *waves hands at this* Wehraboo and Tojoboo wet dreams. Suffice it to say that I don’t want this to die, but it gets really quite dark before things turn around… or at least enough for me to want to keep exploring the story in a strictly narrative capacity. Thus, I’m going to forego too many more pictures, and focus on really getting the story out there for your eyeballs to read!
 
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I'm loving this darker tone. This was a rather chilling update, especially when one thinks of the darker implications of a Japan that runs roughshod over Oceania in the first 6 months after it's DOW. Your plan to continue this as a narrative, and finish it by going beyond the game intriguing. I'm sure it'll be a great read, and I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Hava a great holiday!
 
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I knew this would be coming. It’s bad enough when it’s just the AI running it. :(
the Japanese caught their comeuppance when they had detached a division to secure the anchorage around on the far end of the island and the Royal Navy sank those vessels.
Good - a small consolation amidst the doom and gloom.
the IJN sealifted their forces to Darwin, before leapfrogging down the coast
of course.
the Japanese nominated Thomas C. A. Hislop to the newly created Chancellor role, while in Australia, a relatively obscure man by the name of Paul Roseville was similarly appointed.
May they both end up hung and drawn, Mussolini style. :mad:
It would only be a matter of time until the popular Glorious Revolutions swept the islands.
That at least sounds promising.
keep exploring the story in a strictly narrative capacity.
And this sounds interesting. It should let you move things forward without the obligation and time-consumption of the intense graphic support. Beautiful though they are.
Thus, I’m going to forego too many more pictures, and focus on really getting the story out there for your eyeballs to read!
Though the odd map, game based or otherwise, would still be handy. Not a problem for me in the last chapter of course, as they were familiar locations (most of which I’ve been to on the Australian side).

Best of the season to you.
 
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oh wow things are heating up that's for sure! It's been very quick, it seems the Japs will not let go of dominance in Western Pacific for quite some time
 
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And once again Australia becomes Japanese....
 
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I'm loving this darker tone. This was a rather chilling update, especially when one thinks of the darker implications of a Japan that runs roughshod over Oceania in the first 6 months after it's DOW. Your plan to continue this as a narrative, and finish it by going beyond the game intriguing. I'm sure it'll be a great read, and I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Hava a great holiday!
Thank you for the well wishes for my holiday! I think I enjoyed it. Hoping that things get better as the writing becomes less dependent on the game.

I knew this would be coming. It’s bad enough when it’s just the AI running it. :(Good - a small consolation amidst the doom and gloom.
of course.
Indeed, the inability of the game to adequately reflect just how fucked up the Japanese merchant marine was during the war, and how overextended they were is showing. There was never a plan to actually invade Australia, and certainly not New Zealand, because of how far their supplies and forces would have to travel. I literally had to make this up on the fly.

May they both end up hung and drawn, Mussolini style. :mad:

They will! One last huzzah of the capital punishment in the Realm.

That at least sounds promising.
Certainly, given that when I assumed the mantle of Japan, I was not expecting just how crazy things would be getting.

And this sounds interesting. It should let you move things forward without the obligation and time-consumption of the intense graphic support. Beautiful though they are.

Though the odd map, game based or otherwise, would still be handy. Not a problem for me in the last chapter of course, as they were familiar locations (most of which I’ve been to on the Australian side).

Best of the season to you.
I appreciate that support. Certainly, I'm not going to be in the running for Graphics Artist of the year (not terribly many graphics were turned out at all), but certainly I'll be trying to at least give some illustration. I might start pulling from the screenshots to save some time.

Well, not exactly everyone!

oh wow things are heating up that's for sure! It's been very quick, it seems the Japs will not let go of dominance in Western Pacific for quite some time
Well, certainly not until the Americans show up.

And once again Australia becomes Japanese....
Indeed, but not for long.
 
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XII: Heart of Darkness: The War In Africa and the Middle East, AUG 1942 - JAN 1943

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2HMqXdn.png

Heart of Darkness
The War in Africa and the Middle East
August 1942 - January 1943

Italy’s entry into the war in August 1942 was the culmination of months--if not years--of planning. Between the very real existential threats from the Germans and Japanese to the crumbling British Empire, Italy’s objectives seemed almost pedestrian and more akin to that of an opportunist than a real threat. Previous planning between the command staffs of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and the Comando Supremo cutting the British off from their Empire based their outlines on a speech given by Mussolini in 1939, identifying the “prison” which kept Italy locked in: Gibraltar and Suez, supported by Malta and Corsica. Of course, in 1940, the Italians had dealt with the Greeks, and by 1942, the French had been neutralized as far as a threat to Italy had been concerned. All that remained to constrain the Italians had been the British.

The Italian Regio Esercito recognized that, at least from the outset, Gibraltar would not be assailable: it was too far beyond Italy’s ability to support forces there, and the bigger prize would be the Suez. With the Suez, Italy would be able to support their limited overseas empire in East Africa and beyond; Gibraltar would not provide such an advantage. Malta was a thorn in the side of the Italians, providing a valuable base from which to launch attacks against the Italian homeland. The Italian army had spent countless amounts of funding and treasure in developing two weapons with which to beat their presupposed bars: the Paracadutisti and the V Corps: five light armored divisions. In answer to this, the British had virtually no available anti-tank, anti-aircraft forces, or aviation units, nor had any of the defenses of Malta been updated: victims all of the pre-war budgetary process.

VKgWipZ.png

An overall map of the operations launched by the Regio Esercito.

I. Red Sea Sharks

Italian operations in the area of the Red Sea were focused initially at countering British Forces in Egypt, British Somalialand and in Sudan. This constituted the bulk of Italian expeditionary forces deployed for operations at the outset of their war in the Horn of Africa. The Italians recognized that driving the British from East Africa would cut off the Suez from any possible flanking, not to mention that given the grievous losses that the Royal Navy had sustained thus far in the war, it was unlikely that the British would be in any position to bring in sufficient forces to excise the Italians. The main effort in the overall plan, dubbed “Red Sea Sharks,” was the Italian V Corps, at the van of the five “Cavalry” divisions which were formed of the Pz.Kpfw.II-IT-L and Pz.Kpfw.II-IT-H in the armored brigade, two motorized infantry brigades and supported by a self-propelled artillery brigade. In Italian Eritrea, two infantry corps had been deployed, one dedicated to the capture of Sudan, and the other for operations into British Somaliland, Yemen, and Kenya.

XjS796j.png

A column of Pz.Kpfw.II-IT-Ls as they drive across the
Egyptian desert. These tanks would prove less than
effective upon reaching Alexandria, a lesson revisited
in Baghdad.

V Corps’ assault across the deserts into Egypt was uneventful, with the first engagement coming when 1, 2, and 3 CAV engaged a headquarters unit out near Abu Haggag resulting in no casualties on 21 August. The second and most serious engagement came on 24 August, when leading elements of 1 CAV engaged the 7th Infantry Division on the outskirts of Alexandria. The battle lasted until 2 September and eventually involved the entirety of V Corps when the Royal Navy managed to land a pair of Royal Marine Divisions in the city to bolster the defenses. In the end, however, the defenders were overcome and surrendered, with nearly 18 thousand troops surrendered to the Italians. With this area cleared, the V Corps would continue to advance through on to the Sinai and further afield.

hAVhJcq.jpg

A Pz.Kpfw.II-IT-H in the desert. While providing a
necessary boost in firepower, their small cannon did
little to improve their ability to counter largely leg
infantry divisions in urban terrain.

The inability to provide rapidly maneuverable units to the East Africa commands led to seriously onerous battles to secure Sudan and Somaliland. Engagements there began at the outset of hostilities, and would continue throughout the end of campaigning in early January as the five Italian infantry divisions could not overcome the resistance from three Indian infantry divisions (4th, 10th, 11th) and a pair of independent brigades (Tanganyikan Brigades). Similar complaints were made in the invasions of Yemen, though those engagements would merely take a month as three infantry divisions could not decisively defeat an Indian infantry division (7th Indian ID) and the division of Yemeni cavalry. Forces in the British Somaliland totaling a single infantry division (8th Indian) and the Ugandan Militia brigade managed to lead the Italians on a merry chase for approximately two weeks, and even inflicted disproportionate casualties to their size, given that the Italians had two full infantry divisions pursuing them.

In the end, however, the lack of supply and logistical support for all of the disparate angles at which the Italians were lashing out gained the Italians their empire. The Regio Esercito suffered 6,394 killed in action, while the British and their Dominion forces suffered 9,320 killed and 46,967 captured.


II. Crescent Crusader

The follow-on to Italian success--given the relative lack of any certain organized defense in Egypt--was to send V Corps across much of Palestine and the Transjordan before crossing into Iraq. While the forces were on their way, Oman was targeted in order to cut off the Persian Gulf from access by any possible British supply forces which might have been able to navigate their way to the area. There were several goals for this plan: first, it would reduce the ability of the British possessions in what would later become Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute to the British war effort, instead diverting the oil in the area for Italy’s own use. Second, it would be a powerful lesson in modern warfare to Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of whom were close to joining the Anti-COMINTERN Pact, and yet, remained aloof.

w1GfCec.png

Italian Bersaglieri admire several captured Thompson
submachine guns in Iraq. The losses sustained in the
assault on Baghdad showed just how far the Italians
still needed to go to become a truly effective force.

First engagements on this plan came from the landings of the 10th Infantry Division in Sur, and the 9th and 11th Infantry Divisions in Muskat on 15 October. Deeply unprepared for the war to come to their doorstep, and woefully under-equipped to face even the Italian military, the Omanis were swept away, though they did inflict substantial casualties in their opposition in Muskat. By 22 October, all resistance had ceased, and mopping up operations began for the troops of the Italian IX Corps as they collected the British territory.

Operations in Iraq took a significantly different path. Invading across the deserts over the Al-Anbar province, the Italians did not meet significant opposition until their forces attempted to break through Iraqi lines into Baghdad. Indeed, in almost a week of fighting, the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions (Iraqi) drove off determined attacks from 1 and 2 Cavalry Divisions, inflicting nearly quadruple the Iraqi casualties. Indeed, this action caused the 1 and 2 Cavalry Divisions to be gutted, and their commanders relieved and shot. Other engagements cut off the remaining Iraqi divisions from the capital, and only through the use of nearly the entire V Corps attacking from multiple directions and for nearly two bloody weeks did the Italians overcome the resistance of the Iraqi forces--a massive battle of nearly 70 thousand combatants engaged. Over the course of the month of November, Italy suffered 4,216 killed in action, while Iraq suffered merely 2,132. No Iraqi divisions surrendered to the Italians.


III. Airborne Operations in Mare Nostrum

Italy’s audacious use of their lone airborne division, 1 Airborne Division (1AB) “Folgore”, turned the much-maligned Italian military performance into the exception that proved the rule. Over the course of three separate jumps, “Folgore” secured both Malta, Gibraltar, and Lefkosia, securing the surrender of nearly 50 thousand British and Commonwealth troops, all while only suffering relatively minor casualties of under 700 troops killed in action.

IldrKa3.png

1 AB “Folgore” troops ready for the jump into Malta.

The first combat jump for the “Folgore” was into Malta on 18 August. With no support from the sea, landings on the interior of the island quickly made their way to Valletta and through the extensive use of German aviation imagery to locate artillery positions, which denied the defenders sufficient fires to overcome the drops, which due to high winds had been scattered fairly liberally. Through what would become known in American paratrooper parlance as Little Groups of Paratroopers or LGOPs, the Italian paracadutisti gathered themselves into small well-armed roving gangs of troops and caused such havoc as to render the opposition catatonic. Within days, the “Folgore” had the island well in hand, and was preparing to load up to their next adventure.

With the accession of France into the Axis, the access which the Italians had not had to the British outpost of Gibraltar fell right into their laps. Under the guise of a training exercise--as France was not an active belligerent in the war to this point--the 1AB “Folgore” staged from bases in Algeria and Morocco. Because of the rocky nature of the combat in the area, a cadre of the Alpini had joined to train the “Folgore” for their mission, which included significant close-quarters engagements. The Landings began early on 4 October, after several of the older battlewagons were able to get into position and begin shelling the Rock. Under the cover of their fire, the paras were landed at low-level along the airfield, as well as in the sport field of the University of Gibraltar at the southern tip. Though not confirmed, there are some writings that insinuate that German electronic warfare operations managed to hamper the ability of the British forces there to employ their radio and radar sets, which prevented advanced warning of the assault until it was upon them. In the end, for a cost of a “mere” 260 paracadutisti, they inflicted 290 killed upon the British defenders and they forced the surrender of almost three thousand others.

The final deployment of the 1 AB “Folgore” came at the end of the African campaigns in the Levant on 27 December. British forces in the area had retreated to Cyprus, but were trapped there with no means of getting out, and no means of support. Having retreated from such places as Africa, the British had four divisions on the island, the 43rd Infantry (UK), 1st and 8th Infantry (Indian) and the 4th Royal Marines Division. These forces had been largely contained but Mussolini demanded that another airborne operation take place in order to prove Italians could fight on an equal footing with the Germans. The commander of those forces had long since been signaling the Italians to come to terms: his forces were at the breaking point between the conflict between the Indian forces who were turning more and more to prefering to not give their lives for their colonial masters and his own British forces who were listening to the reports from the Home Islands as Orkney Bulldog wore on. The obstinacy of Mussolini rejected them out of hand. Cooler heads on the ground prevailed, thus when the “Folgore” took off from Rhodes on their jump, they encountered no resistance on the island and graciously accepted the surrender of all four divisions.


IV. Mare Nostrum: the Regia Marina versus the Royal Navy

While the Royal Navy was in a much reduced capacity, they were not entirely toothless: several engagements between the Regia Marina and the Royal Navy occurred during the first portion of the Italian involvement in the war. The primary issue that the Italians faced was a lack of early warning from shore-based radar, which when joined with a lack of ability to gain useful intelligence from assets abroad meant that the Regia Marina was surprised when aviation assets reported British battleships in the Gulf of Tunis on 25 August.

The high command sortied their most advanced battle group, centered on the the Leonardo da Vinci and the Francesco Caracciolo, supported by 30 and 31 Destroyer Groups of four Capitani Romani-class destroyers. A follow-on sortie of the Squadra Mediterranea, with the four Littorios supported by another four destroyer groups joined the action later that day. Several submarine groups were in the area, but took no significant part in the action. The British squadron was composed of two carriers: Glorious and Argus, the battlecruiser Renown, and light cruisers Achilies, Despatch, Arethusa, Curacao, and Delhi, with four destroyers of Destroyer Group 40. An auxiliary group was supporting this deployment. Like the previous engagements with the Germans, the carriers with the cruisers were sailing independently of the surface action group of Renown and the destroyers. A casualty in the British radar aboard Renown meant that the Italian battleships were able to get the drop on them as they sailed into the rising sun. While the long-range gunnery took significantly longer due to inefficient firing, the hits eventually began to tell and Renown was sunk by the Caracciolo.

R83B8j9.png

Glorious as pictured from the deck of Argus. The destroyer
Diana is between the two vessels, a member of 40 Group.

An issue began to tell, however, that the British vessels, having recently been overhauled and able to make close to their full speed, were able to slip away from the Italian battleships, which had largely been kept in port for the preceding years. Instead, the Regia Marina dispatched the Squadra Libia, centered on Bolzano and the four Zara-class heavy cruisers supported by the four of the most advanced Condottieri-class light cruisers: Duca D’Aosta and Eugenio Di Savoia (Flight IV) and Raimondo Montecuccoli and Muzio Attendolo (Flight III); the escort was rounded out by six Flight 2 Comandanti-class destroyers. The light cruiser HMS Despatch, cruising ahead of the British formation, was surprised when Pola engaged her in a lopsided gunnery duel, which sunk the light cruiser just off the Coast of Egypt later that day.

The British commander, a replacement given the loss of Renown, soon was at a loss. With orders to try and get to Egypt superseded by the loss of Alexandria and the battleships and cruisers of the Regia Marina breathing down his neck, the admiral dispersed his forces, hoping that the dispersal would allow them to slip past any of the various task forces pursuing his fleet. This disastrous decision led to the complete annihilation of all of the naval assets over the course of 1 to 3 September, with the carriers and Delhi being sunk off the coast of Egypt, Arethusa being sunk in the South Ionian Sea when caught in a deployment of the Antica Squadriglia da Battaglia (The Ancient Battle Squadron), of the four oldest battleships and cruisers which saw the Libia being given the credit for sinking her. Montecuccolio received credit for sinking Curacao and the last of the destroyers were sunk in the Nile Delta on 12 September by the Squadra Mediterrenea.

With the threat of the largest vessels gone, the Regia Marina dispersed into smaller surface action groups for convoy raiding missions. This led to a few escorts being sunk, the British Destroyer Group 9 on 15 October in the Western Alboran Sea and the light cruiser Achilles on 16 October in the Western Aegean Sea. These were the last engagements between the Royal Navy and the Regia Marina until after the Glorious Revolution.


Their intervention in the war allowed Italy a decisive expansion of her overseas empire, especially into areas largely thought to be nearly beyond reach. Iraq might have fought hard against the Italians, but once they had understood that Italy sought to merely transfer their suzerainty to that of the King of Italy, Iraq made that fateful decision, having long since been joined by Yemen and Oman. These deals were worked out with Italy transferring much of South Yemen to Yemen proper; British Somaliland was transferred to the rest of Somalia, while Sudan was being worked on towards “liberation” as a colonial possession. Jordan began the process to be released as a puppet government, while Egypt, Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus all transferred their allegiance to Italy with Great Britain’s surrender in mid-January. The rise of Mussolini’s New Roman Empire was well on its way to ascendancy.

*****
Author’s Note: Here lies the Italian effort, which should have a gigantic asterix next to it, given that the British put up almost no fight, and the RN was at the bottom of the North Sea aside from a few clunkers. Stupid, stupid AI. Anyways, I decided to merge all of the updates planned for this chapter into one, so better to get into the stuff that I’d imagine that the readership is actually interested in: the fall of the British Isles and the start of the war with the Russians!
 
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Eurasia

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Fall of Britain? That has happened in a lot of games of mine and two of my AARS. So I can't say I am surprised. Even the Germany under AI control seems to be able to do that. Once, as Germany, I dropped atomics on them for crying outloud.
 
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