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

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I: 6. Shield or Sword: Wehrmacht versus Abwehr

Wraith11B

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Through much of the popular understanding of the period encompassing the 1930s and 40s, one would be forgiven for the assumption that there existed a collegial working relationship between the Wehrmacht and the Abwehr for the benefit of the Reich. In reality, the various intelligence and armed forces were in direct conflict with one another for the limited resources.


186ld7P.png

Newspaper clipping of the day after the Night of the Long Knives.
A triumph of the Abwehr and the Wehrmacht over the rise of the NSDAP.

As related previously, during the Night of the Long Knives, the Abwehr--under the direction of Kapitan zur See Conrad Patzig--played their relationship and that of Wilhelm Canaris towards Hitler to tune of eliminating the largest and most concerning fish in the NSDAP pond: Rohm, Himmer and Heydrich. The Heer had gone along with the Abwehr’s ploy, and both had gained; in the Heer’s case, they subsumed the SA and SS while the Abwehr and Geheimdienst absorbed the SD. For awhile, this contented both groups, as they took the required time to digest their acquisitions into strengths for them.


W4DCSRo.png

A dinner party just before Heydrich’s liquidation, 1934. Wilhelm Canaris is at his left.

The release of Kapitan Patzig back to the Kriegsmarine to command the Graf Spee led to the appointment of Wilhelm Frick from his former position of Interior minister, now held by Joseph Goebbels. Frick upset the delicate power sharing balance that Patzig had constructed, seeking an all-pervasive portfolio. Here, Goering’s maintenance as head of the Gestapo irked Frick no end. The thought of going against someone as senior in the NSDAP as Goering, however, was tantamount to a suicide delivered by two bullets. In his new position, however, Frick had access to the tradecraft of the overseas espionage department and it’s “hands-on” Operations section. Luck would provide the rest of the leverage that Frick would require.

gx9NJVR.png

The cloak-and-dagger fights to come between Wilhelm Frick and Hermann Goering are not to be seen in this picture of them with the Fuhrer.

What specifically that leverage was has been lost to history; some inferences could be made. As time close to Hitler wore on, Goering’s gluttonous and vain tendencies caused ever more disgust from the Fuhrer; these actions usually to the detriment of his position at the RLM. Frick must have leveraged at least some of it creatively to require the Fuhrer strip the Gestapo from Goering and give it to the Intelligence minister. Frick’s cold demeanor made him the logical choice, which combined into one agency both overseas and domestic espionage as well as counterintelligence and some law enforcement actions. The loss of Hitler’s support stung Goering, making him demand ever more from the Luftwaffe and the industry in order to regain that influence. On Hitler’s side, the thought of losing more from persons with whom he had acquired control of the nation likely led to the mental strain and paranoia for which he was famous.


9IZtbk6.png

Hitler, Josef Grohe and Frick discussing something, 1936.

Frick continued his conflicts within the Wehrmacht itself. Intelligence gathering--long a requirement for those in the armed forces--was seen as a way to gain influence within those branches, and thus (likely) more influence overall. Frick actively chose to not actively pursue the Luftwaffe for those operations terribly much; though weakened in influence, Goering still could call on resources to shut down Frick. The influence games in the Heer was complicated due to the sheer size of the force, and it was not getting smaller. The Kriegsmarine was easier for two different reasons: Patzig and Canaris both had come from the Navy and thus a more collegial arrangement could be made. Fewer commands meant fewer officers involved, but it also meant that those officers were likely to be either out of touch with their superiors in Berlin or with their commands at sea.


ZFG4VFN.png

Hitler inspecting the Kriegsmarine sometime in 1936. Frick’s ability to recruit members of the Kriegsmarine to serve his designs was never stellar, as they would be out of contact for too long or not out with the commands.

Aside from its size, the Heer was also complicated because of the more recent attempts of the SA and SS to subsume their independence to outside forces. While it didn’t quite rise to the level of Hitler’s paranoia, it was a deep-seated suspicion of any outsider. They wanted intelligence to develop plans, but they also sought desperately to control the access to those levers of power. The stage was set for the conflict to retain that access to the ultimate arbiter in the Reich at the time: Hitler.

*****
Author's Note: Whoa, two updates in a day! Slow down! Whew! I'll be spending much of the rest of my free time this week (that I'm not trying to get a permanent job or doing other stuff) inputing data from my most recent game session. Just an idea of what I'm going through: with three computers, I basically am just screen shot'ing everything, and then writing down what it means later. In five (ish?) hours of gameplay, I progressed about a week of time. I didn't even get to the end of May. Hopefully it continues to make sense!

With this update, our time in 1936 comes to a close, aside from the Appendices. I'll update within the week for those, and feel free to discuss and debate what's going on behind the scenes! It might make me write more... Because as of right now, I have written a total of 83 pages, or 33578 words, only 44 of which have been posted! Years have been getting larger as I go through and reevaluate how I describe certain actions, so this is seriously going to be an intense AAR!
 
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stnylan

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Hermany ckntinues to be a hotbed of intrigue nust below the surface.
 

racebear75

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Great updates and great logical conclusions for your alternative night of the long knives and the following developments regarding SA, SS and Gestapo.
 

Finshades

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And so one of the larger failures of pre-war Germany, the patchwork intelligence system, has been rectified. Frick has a very potent organization in his hands now, but will its efficiency be limited by the lack of decent working relationships with the Luftwaffe and parts of the Heer?
 

El Pip

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Very surprised to see the Fat Man losing out in an internal power struggle, quite aside from his close relationship with Hitler he's pretty much running the German economy at this point through the Office of the Four Year Plan.

Then again, if you are looking to fix the obvious German mistakes then sidelining Goering has got to be up there as a priority. I expect Adolf to accidentally brutally cut his head off while combing his hair in the next update. ( ;) )
 

Bullfilter

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A very interesting alt-Germany here. At some point you may need to publish a consolidated cast of players and threadmark it so we can refer to it and keep track of who’s who in the zoo (and with them it really is a zoo).
 

AtlanticFriend

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Does that mean Goering still controls the Forschungsamt ? That might be the single one most powerful intelligence weapon within the Reich, and since it's attached to the Luftwaffe, it is still Goering's to use against his many enemies.
 

Wraith11B

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Hermany ckntinues to be a hotbed of intrigue nust below the surface.

Oh yes. Since people seem to like it, I'll try and bring it in every so often.

Great updates and great logical conclusions for your alternative night of the long knives and the following developments regarding SA, SS and Gestapo.

Thank you!

And so one of the larger failures of pre-war Germany, the patchwork intelligence system, has been rectified. Frick has a very potent organization in his hands now, but will its efficiency be limited by the lack of decent working relationships with the Luftwaffe and parts of the Heer?

Probably... maybe? He'll have the spy agencies running around (after awhile I stopped counting or caring about who got rid of what spy as there were hundreds in a year) and we'll try and work in something about there not yet being a National Reconnaissance Office style thing.

Very surprised to see the Fat Man losing out in an internal power struggle, quite aside from his close relationship with Hitler he's pretty much running the German economy at this point through the Office of the Four Year Plan.

Then again, if you are looking to fix the obvious German mistakes then sidelining Goering has got to be up there as a priority. I expect Adolf to accidentally brutally cut his head off while combing his hair in the next update. ( ;) )

Mistakes were made, is all I can say about not recalling that he was in charge of the Four Year Plan. Though that might be a limitation on time and research on my part, otherwise I might have played it differently. I do have a feeling that Frick (at least in TTL), having secured the espionage and accumulated his desired powers, might prove to be Bismarckian and magnanimously keep Herr Hermann in his pocket, rather than the Fuhrers.

A very interesting alt-Germany here. At some point you may need to publish a consolidated cast of players and threadmark it so we can refer to it and keep track of who’s who in the zoo (and with them it really is a zoo).

I can do that, I think. I've made few enough changes, and to be fair, while I was going through the OOB trying to get commanders and such I found so little on some that I wondered if they were fake... something that @El Pip can attest to from Immortal Slovakia! ;)

Does that mean Goering still controls the Forschungsamt ? That might be the single one most powerful intelligence weapon within the Reich, and since it's attached to the Luftwaffe, it is still Goering's to use against his many enemies.

Given that this is the first that I'm ever hearing of it, but after reading the wiki article, it strikes me as important. Since they were focused on SIGINT rather than HUMINT, it might have escaped notice by Frick, and I'll work it in that way.
 

AtlanticFriend

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Given that this is the first that I'm ever hearing of it, but after reading the wiki article, it strikes me as important. Since they were focused on SIGINT rather than HUMINT, it might have escaped notice by Frick, and I'll work it in that way.

Expect to be regularly pestered by questions about osbscure WW2 aspects from craggy old history buffs such as meself ! ;)

But yes, the Forschungsamt is one weapon of mass detection that I am sure Fat Willie will make sure remains firmly in his pudgy Luftwaffe hands...
 

sebas379

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Its still asurprise to me the Germans got as far as they did with all the infighting, overlapping responsibilities and duplicate organisations running around. Trimming down a few of them seems like a good idea, unless this is now festering an even worse backstabbing culture in the intelligence department
 
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guillec87

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glad this is going on!
 

Wraith11B

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Expect to be regularly pestered by questions about osbscure WW2 aspects from craggy old history buffs such as meself ! ;)

But yes, the Forschungsamt is one weapon of mass detection that I am sure Fat Willie will make sure remains firmly in his pudgy Luftwaffe hands...

It is now part of my memory banks and therefore will figure prominently into future updates... I did do some "poking around" to see what the AI was moving and where (though I didn't use it as part of the game unless I could "see" it myself), and so this is a great explanation for how that would work!

Just dropping you a line to let you know I'll be following this :) Haven't quite caught up to the latest updates, but I'll be slowly rectifying that.

Welcome welcome! I hope that the mass of text doesn't get you down! I'm working on getting my Appendices ready for GER and ITA 1936, so... be prepared!

Its still asurprise to me the Germans got as far as they did with all the infighting, overlapping responsibilities and duplicate organisations running around. Trimming down a few of them seems like a good idea, unless this is now festering an even worse backstabbing culture in the intelligence department

It could be! Hard to model exactly how bloody pompous the Germans were about themselves, and so it sometimes means that I have to dumb myself down a bit (especially about the attacks... rarely using knowledge of game mechanics etc).

glad this is going on!

Glad to see you're entertained! Stay tuned!
 
Appendix A: The Links that Bind: German Order of Battle, 1936

Wraith11B

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ugJmCOZ.png

Appendix A:
The Links that Bind:
German Command System and Order of Battle



ZMilWdx.jpg

Overview of the Wehrmacht, January 1936

The German Heer had obviously undergone a massive expansion through the first few years of rearmament. Originally built into 36 infantry divisions, 3 armored (or Panzer-) divisions, a cavalry division and heavy mountain brigade organized into twelve army corps, a late change in response to a junior officer’s suggestion regarding the forces organization swept away the old system. This Heer was that of a new forward-thinking one: an effort made to fight the next war, rather than the last. The Wehrkreis system, developed in order to relieve division commanders of as much administrative duties as possible, was modified for a new recruitment system. With the Heer moving to the “Ready Forward” system, the divisions would have new kazernes closer to the areas they were actually expected to operate within. At least for the immediate future, the infantry bulwarks of the Heer would be intimately familiar with the land in their area of responsibility. This had the follow-on effect that it swept away yet another remnant of the old German principalities--something that the NSDAP wanted to accomplish as much as possible.


fFZv5Fv.jpg

Location of the divisional Kazernes, contingent upon the old Wehrkreis system in late 1935. These locations shifted as the troops moved to their forward positions.


yYV4hMK.jpg

Actual locations of the Heer, January 1936.

Under this new scheme was the reorganization of the Wehrmacht’s command and ministerial structure. The Wehrmacht held much of the old research and development, manpower, and planning offices as before, but had a new watchword: “unified.” All three branch departments were now subservient to the overall Defense minister, Fritz Bayerlein. The staff consisted of the three chiefs of the services: Oberkommando des Heeres, under Field Marshal von Blomberg; Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine, under Admiral Erich Raeder; and Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, under command of Lieutenant General Walther Wever, until his death in mid-1936.


iBNrQg8.jpg

Oberkommando Wehrmacht’s chain over the subordinate branches. It was not always collegial, however, leading to problems.

The OKH oversaw two unified combatant commands: Oberkommando West (OKW) and Oberkommando Ost (OKO). Field Marshal Fleck commanded OKW, and the command oversaw planning and operations for the following fronts: Denmark, the North Sea and attendant coastline, the Low Countries, France and Switzerland. France was of course the priority; though Germany held several border disagreements with her other neighbors, only France held the military attention of much of the forces of the Heer. A rather simple chain of command extended through Heeresgruppe B and 2. Armee, led by Field Marshal Wilhelm Ulex and General von Kaupitsch respectively. As a way of simplifying reports and immediate recognition of locations, divisions had been grouped numerically, such that II. Armeekorps held the 2., 12., 22., and 32. Infantrie-Divisions, while IV. Armeekorps held the 4., 14., 24., and 34. Infantrie-Divisions and so on.


zKduIwo.png

Broad view of the Heer’s order of battle.

OKO’s commander was Field Marshal Bohm-Ermolli, and his area of responsibility included the fronts for Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria. While not sharing a direct land border with it, OKO’s primary concern was of course the Soviet Union. Much like that of OKW, OKO’s command passed through Heeresgruppe A, commanded by von Epp, down to 1. and 3. Armee, commanded by General Gerd von Rundstedt and General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, respectively. 1. Armee was based in East Prussia around Konigsberg, and oversaw I., III., and V. Armeekorps. 3. Armee was based in Silesia, and for the time being held VII. and IX. Armeekorps. Divisions were apportioned between the corps in a similar manner to that of 2. Armee. While all of the divisions under 2. Armee were holding positions along the border with France, the entirety of Heeresgruppe A was held away from the prying eyes of any border.

Under OKH directly was an army group-level command: the old Truppenamt. Under the command of Field Marshal von Pogrell, this command held those forces not yet deployed in sufficient strength to justify attachment to the unified combatant commands, or those requiring centralized training. These forces were organized under 4. Armee, commanded by General von Fritsch, specifically the I. and II. Panzerkorps. Also in the command was the 1. Gebirgsjager-Division. I. Panzerkorps was led ably by Lieutenant General Paul Hausser--who had largely avoided the axe swung by the Night of the Long Knives by encouraging the adaptation of the “grunts” of the SS as elite motorized infantry formations, and his previous Heer service--and II. Panzerkorps’ commander was Lieutenant General Johannes Blaskowitz. Major General Ernst-August Kostring commanded the small Gebirgsjager-Division.


fHiuqHR.png

The Command organization of Oberkommando der Luftwaffe. This type organization was only administrative, and served strictly to ensure proper training, promotion and tactical development.

The Unified Combatant Commands were designed to hold all command over all forces--from the army, navy or air force--assigned to their fronts, so as to better coordinate their operations. This is not to say that there was not conflicts and failures to be sure; but the effort was made to ensure that all operations were appropriately supported. Oberkommando Luftwaffe (OKLW) and Oberkommando Kriegsmarine were not combatant commands, but handled administrative and logistical arrangements for their forces. Under OKLW were the six Fliegerkorps, each of two geschwaders: four of tactical bombers and two for interceptors. With only three geschwaders of interceptors, it would take until about halfway through the year before the fourth geschwader would be activated to round out that particular fliegerkorps. The plan was that just before any particular war or operation, a command staff attachment to the Heeresgruppe in charge of the particular operation would form a Luftflotte to oversee all aviation support requests.


jzRuNhU.png

Organizational chart for Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine. Similarly to OKLW, there were administrative divisions over the surface and subsurface warfare branches.

The Oberkommando Kriegsmarine (OKKM) devolved its authority into several squadrons. Two held the major surface combatants, while there was also two for u-boats. The premier squadron, pompously named Nordseeflotte and under the command of Vice Admiral Werner Tillessen, consisted of the three ships of the Deutschland-class heavy cruisers, the three K-class and two L-class light cruisers that had been completed to date. A secondary “training” squadron, named Baltischeflotte was centered on the two elderly Deutschland-class pre-dreadnought battleships, Schliesen and Schleswig-Holstein, and this group was commanded by Rear Admiral Hermann Boehm. These vessels were supported by the light cruiser Emden, and Zerstroergeschwaders 4 and 5. The other Zestroergeschwaders (1 through 3) were in reserve as convoy escorts. The six Type IIAs formed the Kommando u-Boot Ausbildung (KuBA), or U-boat Training Command, and the eighteen Type IIBs were assigned to I. U-boot Flotille, under Kommodore von Nordeck, in two (later three) geschwaders.

*****

Author's Note: I have anglicized (for my own sanity, and for game-relative levels) the ranks of the Wehrmacht, as well as altered some abbreviations and names for the various commands. I hope that it doesn't bother people too terribly much--I also found out that it is really hard to figure out which generals existed (or whether their names are spelled correctly) or if they had retired/died/never actually served in the OTL. So, there are likely going to be errors in who "should" have those commands, as well as whether they "should" have those ranks. I'm going to endeavor to prevent this from affecting my gameplay/story too much (as I basically set them and forget them), and so regardless of who the commander is, I might be way off. Also, translations might be... well... wonky.

Addendum: I noticed that I hadn't shrunk the pictures enough, so I reedited them, though they don't seem to be exactly "right". Please Stand By... Okay, they should be a bit more reasonable! Enjoy!
 
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stnylan

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Very informative OOB of the situation now
 

El Pip

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I do like a nice OOB and org chart.
 

roverS3

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Nice and detailed OOB. Did you actually set up Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine AG-Level HQs in game or are these just to make the story more realistic?
Nice graphics at the beginning. I did have a little trouble with the one where you showed the brigades in the heer per type. The numbers make it harder to read visually as they entirely obscure several coloured 'helmets', of a different colour no less... it would have been clearer with the numbers in the legend or on the side somewhere. (As an Architecture student, I might be overly sensitive to these kinds of things though). I really do appreciate the effort as a whole... now I feel like I need to step up my AARs graphics game...;)
 

Wraith11B

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Very informative OOB of the situation now

I do like a nice OOB and org chart.

Thank you, guys. I was hoping for a bit more "Oomph" to it, but because I refuse to pay for LucidChart just for an AAR (I'm dedicated, but not that dedicated) I couldn't fit the entire thing on there. Then there was who was in charge of what (which I hadn't even bothered really recording or even setting up), so it was all sorts of guesswork. Guaranteed that there might be different people in charge of various things next year though.

Nice and detailed OOB. Did you actually set up Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine AG-Level HQs in game or are these just to make the story more realistic?
Nice graphics at the beginning. I did have a little trouble with the one where you showed the brigades in the heer per type. The numbers make it harder to read visually as they entirely obscure several coloured 'helmets', of a different colour no less... it would have been clearer with the numbers in the legend or on the side somewhere. (As an Architecture student, I might be overly sensitive to these kinds of things though). I really do appreciate the effort as a whole... now I feel like I need to step up my AARs graphics game...;)

So, I wanted to have three Theater-level commands (OKWest, OKOst, OKWehrmacht), but it wound up not happening (because of reasons that will become clearer later on). I do have the two combatant commands I've specified and AG-level commands for the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine, mostly for show and not really for go. As for that chart, I was using Piktochart, and so their tools are fairly extensive, but I was still learning. Stay tuned for a better effort next year!
 

Surt

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Von Blomberg makes an impressive figure, but is he fighting the last war?
 

Bullfilter

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Yes, agree a very well presented and informative OOB. I think you shouldn't worry at all about OTL comparisons or game errors: El Pip has the market cornered on that for HOI3, so the rest of us can play with a clear conscience! :D

I think you can excuse it all by just rationalising that this is an alternate time line. Beginning with 1 Jan 36, previously unknown or unused officers, units titles, chains of command etc are just part of the new des Stahlpakts Paradox Alternate Universe! ;)