roverS3

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I'm looking forward to the next multi-computer hoi3 experiment. In this game most players become the puppet-master of one nation, you become that of the entire world...;) The result could be something truly unique as your control of both sides allows to you to create outcomes that would be unlikely while playing against the AI. Both from a storytelling standpoint, and from a technical one, this is bound to be an interesting experiment.
 
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El Pip

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This is undoubtedly not what was intended, but I make the suggestion anyway. If you are indeed going to run a great many nations how about mixing up the alliances? As has been mentioned the Allied/Soviet industrial and technological advantage is overwhelming, so the AAR would become "Can the Axis win fast enough before that can be mobilised." But different configurations offer a more even match and perhaps a more interesting story.

Something like the Anglo-Soviet-Franco-Japanese alliance vs the Italo-German-American Pact. The IJN and RN vs the USN would be a clash for the ages, particularly if the Anglo-Japanese alliance never ended and the two navies continued to cross-pollinate doctrine and ideas. German subs trying to cut the UK-Japan trade route while the RN ends up on the 'hunter' side of the Battle of the Atlantic trying to stop US aid reaching the continent. On land the Germans have a much better chance of actually beating the Soviets if Stalin is not getting those mountains of US lend lease. The Italians and French can have their war across the Alps they spent so long preparing for and having a scrap over Sardinnia and Corsica, that sort of thing.

You couldn't really do such a thing in a normal game, the AI would make a terrible hash of it, but if all the major power powers are under human control then it becomes far more feasible.
 
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Wraith11B

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I've seriously considered it, not that exact scenario, but certainly mixing things up. One of the things I hadn't thought through until it came about was the French leaving the Entente: a disgruntled France, fully peeved with the lack of support from London turns it's back on and seeks the accomodation from Berlin, making a deal with the devil, as it were. Not to mention, it was almost what happened with TTL, what with the US swinging to the America First side of things. It's something that I might see about planning for in the next game. Certainly, it's going to require some modding for the decisions of the minor players, but I think I can work that out.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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This is undoubtedly not what was intended, but I make the suggestion anyway. If you are indeed going to run a great many nations how about mixing up the alliances? As has been mentioned the Allied/Soviet industrial and technological advantage is overwhelming, so the AAR would become "Can the Axis win fast enough before that can be mobilised." But different configurations offer a more even match and perhaps a more interesting story.

Something like the Anglo-Soviet-Franco-Japanese alliance vs the Italo-German-American Pact. The IJN and RN vs the USN would be a clash for the ages, particularly if the Anglo-Japanese alliance never ended and the two navies continued to cross-pollinate doctrine and ideas. German subs trying to cut the UK-Japan trade route while the RN ends up on the 'hunter' side of the Battle of the Atlantic trying to stop US aid reaching the continent. On land the Germans have a much better chance of actually beating the Soviets if Stalin is not getting those mountains of US lend lease. The Italians and French can have their war across the Alps they spent so long preparing for and having a scrap over Sardinnia and Corsica, that sort of thing.

You couldn't really do such a thing in a normal game, the AI would make a terrible hash of it, but if all the major power powers are under human control then it becomes far more feasible.

I've seriously considered it, not that exact scenario, but certainly mixing things up. One of the things I hadn't thought through until it came about was the French leaving the Entente: a disgruntled France, fully peeved with the lack of support from London turns it's back on and seeks the accomodation from Berlin, making a deal with the devil, as it were. Not to mention, it was almost what happened with TTL, what with the US swinging to the America First side of things. It's something that I might see about planning for in the next game. Certainly, it's going to require some modding for the decisions of the minor players, but I think I can work that out.

I would have suggested something similar, honestly.

Depending what combination of historical plausibility and pre-1936 revisionism you want to pursue, a lot of interesting wrinkles are possible.

Perhaps the simplest would be to pull a bit of a 'Butterfly Effect' and have FDR conveniently disposed of in some fashion, either prior to 1936 or by a custom event in-game (I mean, let's be honest here, polio is a deadly disease and human biology can be so... unpredictable. Anyways, this would remove a big part of the Allies' commanding edge by removing the huge influx of MP, IC, and lend lease events usually available to the Allies if a strongly neutral or even Fascist-sympathizing President were to take office. Or at least the Great Depression might be even more crippling than in OTL and the USA will be in such bad shape that they do not do even the limited interventionism Roosevelt pushed, and Japan may not feel threatened enough to do a Pearl Harbor. Probably the simplest way to restore balance to the force albeit a bit ham-handed perhaps.

France can be the source of a lot of interesting things, on one hand you have the potential for Franco-Soviet cooperation if Stalin can stomach such a thing, on the other hand there are various smaller alliances built to contain Germany which could be revived or strengthened in an ATL. There is also the unstable political situation of interwar France which can offer several points for divergence.

With Britain there is some potential at the risk of driving El Pip into a conniption. If the saga with Edward VIII played out differently, or Churchill did not come into power, or by some underhanded means the BUF actually gains some significance in matters of foreign policy... many possibilities exist for a closer relationship with Germany. There is also the potential, which some mods such as HPP provide for, that after the fall of France Britain seeks peace with Hitler. Not sure how the ramifications of that would work out to induce a balanced WW2b but it is a possibility.

Germany can play the leadup to war very differently, for example in one HPP game I manually DOWed Poland before taking Czechoslovakia and thus precluded the Allied guarantee of Poland. Granted this is a bit cheesy but it does illustrate that other routes to WW2 exist. Perhaps the dream scenario would be some combination of departures so that Britain is forced to support Germany against the hated Communists. For example, in the case of a Franco-Soviet alliance with Britain on the outside looking in a balancing of power may be required.

Italy I think lacks the staying power to be a driving force in Europe but certainly can throw a wrench into the proceedings. On one hand there is the option to resist the Anschluss which HPP for example provides as an option. I'm not sure this would really work very well for generating an interesting WW2 as it is really a continental affair only, but it is there. Perhaps more interesting would be an uptick of Italian involvement in Spain (a whole can of worms I've not even opened here, but which an ATL-seeking authAAR could at his own peril!) which could induce other replies and cause rapid spiraling out of control, notably if increased Soviet activity caused the OTL Allies to feel antsy and side with the OTL Axis powers to some extent.

Japan, and by extension China, is another that could go another way. Germany was after all involved with both countries until 1938 when Hitler saw Japan as the stronger ally against the Soviets. China was a signatory of the Anti-Communist Pact and would be a natural ally for Germany, especially if Japan had some reason not to pursue close relations with Germany. Alternatively, reaching back in time one could tweak the events surrounding the Naval Treaties to preserve the Anglo-Japanese alliance. There are other possibilities, as Japan in the 1930s was a patchwork of competing ideologies (albeit not so much along the fascist/liberal/socialist axis of HoI3), but I am sitting on some AAR ideas which use these as a basis so I will not be doing your homework for you on this one. ;)

Finally, there is always the Danger 5 option - kill Hitler. Frankly, I am skeptical that in OTL this would have changed nearly as much as popular culture leads us to believe, particularly after 1936, but for the purposes of an ambitious authAAR it can be the catalyst for any number of dramatic happenings, and certainly no one will complain because you have killed Hitler and thus clearly must be doing something right.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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I would be very interested in a game where every great power is extremely out for themselves and trying to lead their own alliance.

Germany is trying the otl axis.
France is trying the little Entente.
The UK is trying to balance out Europe without committing anything.
The US is trying to stay out of the whole affair but worried about Japan.
The Italians are desperate and willing to try anything to get their new roman empire off the ground (including resiting Austrian annexation, mucking around in Spain and the balkans etc).
Japan is (correctly) focused on China but aware that won't be enough and trying to figure out where they can go next (and which of the above alliances would be best for that).

Have it be where every great power is behaving very self centered, never going all in on any alliance made with another gp, guarding their minor nations jealously, with no deal too dirty and no friend unstabbable.

We've bascially got a muliplayer game here, only one person controls everything so we can also garuntee some rules will be followed (at least an attempt at historical plausibility, various cheese rules, maybe alliances do stick, maybe they don't etc etc).
 
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Bullfilter

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Wherever you end up going to, my general approach in such a situation would be visualise the kind of game situation you’d like to play, then match up the powers and trajectories to get you there. Maybe also consider a 1939 rather than 1936 start, which then puts them all in the required situation with war beckoning, rather than extending that phase of ‘I know what happens in broad terms, so will use my prophetic super powers to design the perfect military’.

Many good ideas from the others above, depends whether you want to revisit otl WW2 using the game (as improved/modded) or go off on a completely different tangent, with scrambled factions etc.

Whatever you decide, the only real rule is of course to do something you will have fun with and really want to write up. If you build it, we will come. ;)
 
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nuclearslurpee

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Maybe also consider a 1939 rather than 1936 start, which then puts them all in the required situation with war beckoning, rather than extending that phase of ‘I know what happens in broad terms, so will use my prophetic super powers to design the perfect military’.
Or come at it the other way around - everyone, in their prophetic super-powered states of omniscience, tries to design the perfect military and makes hilarious mistakes that fail to address the roots of the problems (economics, logistics, being Italian, etc.).
  • Britain doubles down on building fighters and destroyers, wisely does not waste any resources on training, equipping, and mechanising ground troops, and leaves France on their own knowing that it is a doomed effort, thus they are supremely confident that they have learnt the real lessons of 1940 which is to hide on their island and let everybody else do the dying.
  • France invests in radios for her tanks this time, but due to lack of industrial capacity neglects to build tanks.
  • Germany builds Mausen in 1940, triples the size of the SS Panzerdivisionen, and runs out of steel in 1941.
  • Italy, now knowing that binary divisions are far too fragile for modern warfare, modernizes their infantry doctrine and deploys square divisions.
  • Japan stubbornly refuses to change, citing tradition.
  • The United States invades Mexico, knowing that this is the only way to make their AI work correctly but not realizing that they are no longer under AI control.
Okay, I have gone a little far into the comedy zone here, but the idea is I think a sound one, really with each power choosing a different-from-OTL military buildup plan the plans will remain deeply flawed as will be revealed once each power goes up against their enemies' similarly revamped plans.
 
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Eurasia

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What you need to do next time you have a AAR is have six players join you. And then try to write the AAR from your POV while they do their own thing and the game goes cray-cray.
 
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Bullfilter

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Or come at it the other way around - everyone, in their prophetic super-powered states of omniscience, tries to design the perfect military and makes hilarious mistakes that fail to address the roots of the problems (economics, logistics, being Italian, etc.).
  • Britain doubles down on building fighters and destroyers, wisely does not waste any resources on training, equipping, and mechanising ground troops, and leaves France on their own knowing that it is a doomed effort, thus they are supremely confident that they have learnt the real lessons of 1940 which is to hide on their island and let everybody else do the dying.
  • France invests in radios for her tanks this time, but due to lack of industrial capacity neglects to build tanks.
  • Germany builds Mausen in 1940, triples the size of the SS Panzerdivisionen, and runs out of steel in 1941.
  • Italy, now knowing that binary divisions are far too fragile for modern warfare, modernizes their infantry doctrine and deploys square divisions.
  • Japan stubbornly refuses to change, citing tradition.
  • The United States invades Mexico, knowing that this is the only way to make their AI work correctly but not realizing that they are no longer under AI control.
Okay, I have gone a little far into the comedy zone here, but the idea is I think a sound one, really with each power choosing a different-from-OTL military buildup plan the plans will remain deeply flawed as will be revealed once each power goes up against their enemies' similarly revamped plans.
Yep, and/or work out a system of D&D dice decisions (saves having to do complicated event modding) for various courses of action, research, production etc. Acting like the dungeon master. And so being able to surprise yourself. It could even be done tactically: contemplating a d-day invasion, for example, you could have 40% Pas de Calais, 30% Normandy, then a few other lesser prob options.

Then, as Germany, you have to decide: do you bet more on one than the others? Try to cover them all? Etc. The US & UK would be player-committed to do as the dice decide, simulating not being sure despite Intel of German plans, plus allowance for German misinformation.

You wouldn’t need to map all of these decisions out in advance, just do them as you go, as you come to relevant decision points, like a DM would.
 
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XVI: War in the East: Phase 1.5: Operation Northern Lights and the Bloody End of the Soviet Navy, Jan - April 1943

Wraith11B

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MJTz991.jpg

War in the East
Phase 1.5: Operation Northern Lights and the Bloody End of the Red Navy
January - April 1943

One branch of the Wehrmacht which actually was prepared when the Soviet Union declared war on the Pact of Steel--if only because of their continued operations--was the Kriegsmarine. Despite numerous fleet units keeping the bulk of the British Army bottled up in Northern Ireland, a few fleet units were available to answer the sorties of the Soviet Navy, which was unwisely sortied on failed intelligence. The Intelligence Department of the People's Commissariat of the Navy had reported to the Naval Staff that the bulk of the Kriegsmarine was either patrolling off of the coast of Great Britain or laid up in port as repairs and refits occurred. The staff, headed by Admiral Ivan Isakov, had been looking for a way to strike at the Germans from the outbreak of war in a hope that they would not approach the coast. With a suitable plan, the sortie of the Red Banner Fleet had begun.

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Admiral Ivan Isakov, after he had been rehabilitated in the 1960s. His
decisions to sortie the Red Banner fleets were suicidal, but Stalin demanded
action.

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The
Marat, one of the three ancient battleships soldiering on with the
Red Banner Northern Fleet at the outbreak of hostilities. While managing
to get hits on some of the Kriegsmarine, in the end, the experienced
Germans outdid their opponents.

The issues, as ever, were that the fleet was not concentrated. Two surface action groups were formed, and neither supported the other. The first to be engaged was the Parizhskaya Kommuna and Krazni Kavkaz, escorted by the three light cruisers Profintern, Pamiat Merkuriya, and Chervonaya Ukrania as well as a group of four destroyers. The Kriegsmarine had dispatched all of their Marinefliegergeschwaders (MFG) to the Baltic, having long since become irrelevant in the Atlantic, these forces sighted and caused most of the damage to the Soviet fleet as it cruised in the Gulf of Riga. The surface group dispatched included three battlecruisers, Blucher, Tirpitz, and Pommern, escorted by three light cruisers Stuttgart, Nautilus, and Lubeck. The battle was over in mere hours, with the old battlewagon Parizhskaya Kommuna and the light cruiser Pamiat Merkuriya sunk by the air assets. The other battlegroup, formed of the battleships Marat and Oktyabrskaya Revoluciya and escorted by a few destroyers of the 4th Squadron, met their end in a more traditional engagement in the northeastern Baltic. Given the lack of supporting arms, a distinct lack of technology to match the same German fleet which had forced the previous group into the “kill box” for the aviation assets and without any air cover of their own, they did well to only sacrifice the destroyers. A supporting group of several destroyers escorting fleet oilers and supply ships was engaged by the geriatric battlegroup of Schlesein, Schleswig-Holstein, Emden, and all available Kriegsmarine destroyers, but only resulted in the loss of four Soviet destroyers; the same force managed to corner and sink the Kirov the next day while it was cruising independently in the southern Baltic.

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The
Kirov in happier days. While detached, she did manage to sink or damage a few
German freighters moving supplies up to Konigsburg, but the restrictive waters of the
Baltic left her nowhere to hide from the eyes of the Kriegsmarine.

The Soviets withdrew from the Baltic for two weeks, as Isakov was purged for the loss and Kuznetzov was promoted to Chief of the Naval Staff. Another sortie of the Baltic Fleet on 2 February, this time consisting of the Oktyabrskaya Revoluciya and escorted by the Chervonaya Ukrania was met on the Pommeranian coast quite by accident during a training cruise of the Moltke and Hindenburg, escorted by the light cruisers Dresden and Koln. In what can only be a disastrous level of overconfidence, the trainee radar operators and gunners aboard Moltke were not quite ready for the engagement, and it showed: by the third salvo from the ancient dreadnought, Moltke was severely damaged, suffering the loss of her two after turrets and set afire. The MOF Baltische was rapidly called upon to cover the retreat of the modern battlecruisers, but the Soviets retired from the area before action could be rejoined. Unfortunately for the Soviets, their light cruiser stumbled across a u-boat from u-Boot Geschwader 18, and was sunk with the loss of all hands; a few hours later, the Kriegsmarine’s air arm caught the old battleship out in the waters of Olandssund, where the lack of any appreciable anti-air artillery left it open to the attacks. The ship sank in shallow water, but the Swedish Coast Guard managed to rescue dozens of Soviet sailors before they succumbed to the cold waters of the Baltic. A few weeks later on 28 February, the Marat was sunk by the Marinefliegergeschwaders, and the last major fleet unit, Krazni Kavkaz, was similarly sent to the bottom on 4 March, ending the threat of any major Red Fleet units.

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Soviet infantrymen holding a building on the outskirts of Murmansk. The untried
infantry could not hold off the experienced troops so recently out of the Highlands
of Scotland.

As the War in the East began, Germany faced a conundrum: the bulk of--indeed the entirety--their high-quality motorized divisions were in Scotland, instead of in Poland to support the Panzers. Also in the Highlands were the two elite specialized force arms of the Wehrmacht: the Fallschirmjäger- and Gebirgsjäger-divisionen. Much of the strategic sealift capability would be tied up for weeks if the former were shipped to Danzig or Konigsburg, and more time burned in getting those units to where the Panzerkorps were. Agents in the United States were detecting a shift in the population there, as more began to view the Reich’s expansion with unease, and a call to relax the Neutrality Act began to circulate from former President Roosevelt’s supporters. While dismissive of the support that could come from the United States, Hitler’s foreign office underlings took every chance to remind Joachim von Ribbentrop of what had happened in the Great War: every American ship sunk would lead to a more pliable population should their political fortunes change.

A daring plan was concocted: the lighter Gebirgsjäger-divisionen would be loaded aboard the available sealift capacity to conduct an amphibious landing in Murmansk to deny the Soviets their main port, and then, supported by the Fallschirmjager-divisionen, follow-on operations could be conducted. Dubbed “Operation Northern Lights,” it took advantage of the limited Soviet naval forces in the area and the accompanying lack of reconnaissance to detect the movements. With their own intelligence reflecting Murmansk as being held by mere headquarters units, the Kriegsmarine approved of the plan and dedicated a task group to support it. By mid-to-late January, the first of the Gebirgsjägers were ashore, and the forces began spreading out. An airlift of the follow-on Fallschirmjager-divisionen began, bringing the total force to two corps of troops, and the first contact between Soviet and German troops began on 26 January 1943, in Polyarny. For the month, the German units fought their way to a defensible location in Karelia losing 1,020 dead, but leading to the destruction or capture of three Soviet divisions (27., 89., and 228. Rifle Divisions), and a pair of corps and army headquarters. Soviet losses in manpower totaled 1,729 killed in action and over 29 thousand men captured as prisoners of war.

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A map of the furthest extent of German control in
Karelia, just after the operations which established
the “Northern Line,” a deeply fortified area to prevent
Soviet attacks. The Gebirgsjägers would hold this line
for years, with very little action seen.

The planned follow-on operation was delayed until April 1943, when a break in the bleak weather of Karelia allowed a long-range airborne operation to launch. The three Fallschirmjager-divisionen were allocated, with 1 FsJD launching the initial airdrop on 3 April 1943, followed by 2 and 3 FsJD. For the next three weeks, these three divisions fought their way through Arkhangelsk, suffering 953 killed in action during the airdrop and subsequent urban fighting, while 1,789 Soviet soldiers lost their lives. Over 12 thousand troops of the 145. and 162. Rifle Divisions were marched off into captivity, having fought desperately and honorably. In the end, though, Oberkommando Ost believed that holding the port city was a “city too far” removed from the support of the base at Murmansk, and withdrew the paratroopers on 27 June 1943, leaving the Soviets to reoccupy the city on 8 July 1943.

*****
 
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RustyHunter

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I suppose this is the Soviets best chance at beating the Axis, but it seems like a race against time. Can the Soviets gain enough ground before Germans return from Britain?

The naval battle was fun, and it was not as decisive as could be hoped. The Red Navy will remain a nuisance, but the Kriegsmarine can obviously handle them.

I know you mentioned this somewhere, but have you taken control of the Allies at this point, or was that sometime later in 1943?
 
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Bullfilter

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Alas, the Soviets thought their pre-WW1 tech fleet could mix it with the navy that sank most of the RN? Sad. Daring op to grab Murmansk.
 
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Wraith11B

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I suppose this is the Soviets best chance at beating the Axis, but it seems like a race against time. Can the Soviets gain enough ground before Germans return from Britain?
That is the question, indeed.

Unfortunately, it's still the AI at this point... so no.
The naval battle was fun, and it was not as decisive as could be hoped. The Red Navy will remain a nuisance, but the Kriegsmarine can obviously handle them.
Certainly, though more of a nuisance for the Italians rather than the Germans.
I know you mentioned this somewhere, but have you taken control of the Allies at this point, or was that sometime later in 1943?
That came later, though I do wish I had taken control of the Soviets earlier.
Alas, the Soviets thought their pre-WW1 tech fleet could mix it with the navy that sank most of the RN? Sad. Daring op to grab Murmansk.
The Germans are full of them: first Scapa Flow, then Murmansk and finally Arkhangelsk. They have more than a few surprises.
 
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RustyHunter

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The Germans are full of them: first Scapa Flow, then Murmansk and finally Arkhangelsk. They have more than a few surprises.
That sounds exciting and a really good strategy! The Soviets are incredibly frustrating after Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad fall because Archangelsk is so far away and the other VPs are spread out everywhere. It seems like infrastructure and supplies also get even worse at that point. Since you have a navy, that seems like a really good way to ease the advance a bit. Now if only Italy can carry their weight in the Black Sea.
 
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Alas, the Soviets thought their pre-WW1 tech fleet could mix it with the navy that sank most of the RN? Sad. Daring op to grab Murmansk.
At this point I wouldn't put the modern USN up against this German Navy.
DYAEiOu.gif


A fine re-imagining of Operation Northern Lights, though perhaps not as ambitious as it could have been and perhaps not the most decisive use of the Fallschirmjäger. As the caption suggest it is something of a backwater theatre, I wonder if the Germans will come to regret having so many elite Gebirgsjägers tied up on basically garrison duty when they could be doing something more useful, perhaps down in the Caucus Mountains? Particularly if they ever face an enemy capable of fighting back.
 
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Wraith11B

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At this point I wouldn't put the modern USN up against this German Navy.
DYAEiOu.gif
The plot armor is strong with them, indeed. Though, to be frank, the Germans had to sink the Bismarck themselves, because the RN seemed to just keep wanting to poke holes in the topside.
DYAEiOu.gif


A fine re-imagining of Operation Northern Lights, though perhaps not as ambitious as it could have been and perhaps not the most decisive use of the Fallschirmjäger. As the caption suggest it is something of a backwater theatre, I wonder if the Germans will come to regret having so many elite Gebirgsjägers tied up on basically garrison duty when they could be doing something more useful, perhaps down in the Caucus Mountains? Particularly if they ever face an enemy capable of fighting back.
I learn something new every day... didn't know there was an original Nordlicht, but yes, a fair reimagining, and far more successful than the original (either of them!).
 
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Wraith11B

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It lives!

What is Finland doing? I can't remember if Winter War happened in this timeline.
That which is dead can never die!

Finland is still intact in this timeline, as not kicking off Danzig until 1942 had taken away the Soviet decision to initiate the Winter War. This timeline, they are currently sitting in their neutrality, with growing unease about the Reich. The Germans have a spit of territory here in the north, and all that keeps them from Finland is the fiction of a few kilometers of Soviet territory...
 
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