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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

dag231

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Guderian

Generaloberst Heinz Wilhelm Guderian



guderian.jpg


Its not often that one gets to “redo” a piece of work.

This AAR is, essentially, a partial do over of The Rise and Fall of Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, a reasonably well received bit of writing that fell by the wayside two years ago when I took a break from gaming. In the interim, thanks to a move, a box full of goodies vanished, and along with it all traces of the previous game – discs, notes, everything. The images for the previous Guderian AAR were also deleted, which is irritating as well.

So this is a chance to finish off Guderian’s story and bring it to its logical conclusion.

What I will do is play the game over to the point where we left off. Because the previous AAR was DD 1.2, the game play will change a bit given that I will be using Armageddon and Mod34 (a most excellent mod), but the end result should be the same – a monstrous challenge of trying to free the world from the tyranny of the German war machine.

The chapters of this piece will be re-written as well. While most of the dialogue may survive, I will consider it to be of a “first draft” quality, and try to improve upon it where I can.

The settings that I will be using are:

Mod 34 (with all the extras)
Armageddon 1.2 patch
Difficulty – Hard
AI Aggressiveness – Furious
Democracy Can Start Wars – Yes (though I dont expect that this will be a concern until after the switch)
End Date – 1964
Full IC Take Over – Yes (never made any sense to only get a partial IC, other than to make it more difficult on Germany)
Tech Team Take Over – Yes​

Because of the forum ban on Nazi symbols, will switch the German flag to the one done by Lord Sander (picked up from the Victoria flag registry).

There are a few “slight” changes to the mod:
(1) Partisan levels are reduced to a point between Mod34 and Vanilla – specifically a nationalism starting value of 20 (Mod34 is 20, vanilla is 15) and a monthly nationalism reduction of 0.05 (Mod34 is 0.002 and vanilla is 0.05). This is more for the benefit of the AI than anything else, as I will build garrison troops for coastal defenses regardless.

(2) When releasing a puppet, there will be no dissent penalty. It makes absolutely no sense to suffer dissent when creating a loyal puppet thousands of miles away.

(3) For the sake of realism, when releasing a puppet there will be strategic decisions to be made, and if necessary, the game file will be altered. As an example, if Germany were to conquer the Iberian peninsula, and then create Iberia, there is almost a 1000% chance that it would not willingly give over Gibraltor, and would insist on keeping the 3 mountain provinces as a safeguard against invasion into German held France.

(4) Full blown democracies will be hit with only a 7% dissent hit when declaring war (as opposed to 10%).


Hopefully, when it is all over, there is a rich and rewarding tale told to the enjoyment of many.

As always, criticisms and critiques are welcomed and encouraged.



Chapter List


Prelude

The Genesis of Domination

Feet of Clay

The Munich Group

The Svengali

The Fragile Nature of Fickle Allies
 
Last edited:

ColossusCrusher

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I can't wait!

EDIT: First Reply!
 

Metroid17

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Glad to see an excellent AAR returning.
 

unmerged(53911)

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I have only two (other) words: "Woo" and "Hoo"! :cool:
 

unmerged(46967)

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If you need any help with images, just ask.
 

dag231

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Prelude


It’s so damn cold.

As David Escher walked down the corridor towards the interrogation room, the cold was all he could think about. The cold, mixed in with the dampness. The kind of cold that went right to your bones and stayed there. Escher could see the moisture on the stone walls - is that why they kept the prisoners here? Some kind of psychological torture designed to break them down? Not that any of them deserved pity or sympathy – they had caused too much suffering and devastation to be allowed either.

Escher remembered the first time he walked down the spiral stone staircase into the lower cellars and was shocked at the temperature change. For every 10 feet they dropped below ground, the temperature plunged in step. An old and ancient castle, carved from solid stone and braced against the water’s edge, it was the perfect place to hold people and make sure that nobody else knew they were alive. That way, you could dispose of them when their usefulness ended. No muss, no fuss, just the damn cold.

The Sergeant who was Escher’s escort was as cold as the stones that lined the corridor. Efficient in his stride, unblinking, unwavering in his gaze. Escher tried to strike up a conversation with him on his first day and was greeted with a grunt, or whatever passed for one in Russian. Because this was an Allied operation, the Russians had insisted on their own people present for the interrogations – “trust but verify” was Stalin’s favorite slogan, after all.

“We go down now,” the Sergeant grunted towards Escher and motioned him down. Even though he had been here hundreds of times before, it was always the same – the Sergeant was nothing if not predictable.

The scars on his face, Escher wondered – the battle for Moscow? He knew that he served under Kurasov in that sector, but that was about all he knew about Mr. Happy. Even his fellow jailers had been unable to pry much out of him, except that his hatred towards their guests was almost palatable. That’s probably why he always had a vicious grin on his face when the final interview was done, knowing what waiting each one on the following morning. To Escher, what happened after he was done with them was none of his concern. He followed the chain of command and his responsibility ended when the analysts had wrung out each bit of information available. What happened after was not Escher’s concern, much like what happened after the bomb bay doors opened and the payload dropped was not the concern of the pilot. His job was to deliver the cargo, nothing more. Just like Escher’s job was to deliver the goods for the analysts.

When Escher was honest with himself, he could admit that there was a part of him that was glad to see some of them go. Some were pure evil, a blackness that shook Escher afterwards and stuck to him. No amount of hot water in the shower could wash that stench off him, he thought. Some of them showed not a drop of remorse, just hard wired from birth to be evil. To never know that there is a line in the sand and reasonable people, people with a sense of conscience and morality, just don’t cross it. Hell, they don’t even think about crossing it. But for some of these down here, they dint just place a toe over the line and dangle it there, they leapt across it with a sick grin on their face.

A few of them showed actual remorse, and would plead the “just following orders” routine. That they had to commit their atrocities or else they would be killed, or their family sent to the camps or shot or worse. That washing their hands of such responsibility somehow cleansed themselves of their act. Escher never bought that though – every man has a choice in life, whether to be good or evil. Whether to cross that line or not. If self-preservation conflicted with one’s own sense of morality, then they should have done the honorable thing and swallowed a bullet. Better than inflict the horrors that they caused.

On a rare occasion, Escher got to interview someone who wasn’t really evil. They were soldiers, doing the job that they were born to do – marshal an army, plan a battle, win a war. Prisoner number 452 was that type of man – brilliant, innovative, inspiring. The type of leader you did not want to be staring at across a no man’s land. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Russian Sergeant took an almost preserve satisfaction in knowing that Number 452’s time was almost over, Escher observed. Happy that a superior soldier was going to the pyre. That sort of little pettiness inside of most people that cries out for attention every so often. To see someone like Number 452 going to the wall for his bullet was proof that those who climb the farthest have only the farthest to fall.

Escher had developed a sort of grudging admiration towards Number 452, even since at the tribunal he admitted to all the charges and was prepared to face the judgment of history. He didn’t shirk like the others, merely stated his case like a soldier. He didn’t make excuses or blame everyone but himself or try and deflect the spotlight by naming more names. He stood there and took the blows like a prizefighter and refused to go down for the count. Escher had marveled at how he parried the prosecuting judge at every step and seemed almost to relish the encounter. Since there was no doubt about the outcome, Number 452 preferred to go out on his own terms and meet his maker with his head held high.

Escher had heard whispers that it would be a crime to execute such a man, but that was almost laughable – what if he was free and returned to the Fatherland? He was a national hero, the common people’s champion, and even the villains who put themselves in charge could not change that fact, regardless of how many lies they tried to spread. He had the love of the people, coupled with a military mind few could match. He was their Caesar, their Napoleon, and he would be hailed as such. And everyone knew that could not happen.

“Do not pass the prisoner anything. If you do, it will be reported,” the Russian Sergeant grunted at Escher. What was that smell on him, Escher wondered – vodka? Cologne? A mixture of both? Why in hell would he wear cologne in a job like this? Some extra form of torture, just to get in his licks before they had their date with destiny?

“When you are finished, press the red button and I will come and open the door to release you,” the Sergeant continued. Escher always got a chuckle out of hearing the same thing for the hundredth time. “Remember, he is a convicted war criminal and should be treated as such”. Every time the Sergeant droned on about the rules, Escher had to swallow the urge to remind the humorless bastard that this was not his first barbecue, but the look in the Russian’s eye screamed out that anything remotely resembling humor would fly over his head.

The Sergeant opened the door and Escher walked into the sterile room. Bare stone walls with only a single overhead light. A metal table and two metal chairs. About as cold and impersonal as one could get. But Escher knew that his job wasnt a comfortable one, that being the Chronicler wasn’t about comfort, it was about getting the truth. About understanding what happened yesterday so the same mistakes aren’t made tomorrow. Escher was chosen because he had been a teacher before he passed the bar back in Indiana and knew how to ask questions. He also knew how to choke back emotions, of how to maintain the mask that was so needed when interviewing those who deserved their spot in hell.

As Escher sat at the metal table and waited for Number 452 to enter, he knew that this would be his most interesting case, that one day his kids would be learning about what happened and all about the main players, and he could tell them that he knew this one, albeit at the end of his days. A modern day Caesar who bestrode the world, Escher was the one chosen to be the last voice he heard. As he studied the dossier on the prisoner, he had to marvel at the sheer audacity of it all. This was a man who had no brakes, a man to whom the phrase “it cant be done” simply does not apply.



GuderiansBaby.jpg

Prisoner Number 452 (2nd from right) inspecting a newly built Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H


As Number 452 entered the room, Escher couldn’t help but notice how he had changed in the months that he had been down here. His face was gaunter than it had been, but the diet of a prisoner is not a rich one. But his back was erect and his posture was that of an aristocrat, of a man who knew his place in history and would not let others succeed in dragging him down. The sort of man who could not be broken, Escher noted.

“You are the Chronicler,” the prisoner amiably inquired, his face a complete mask.

“I am,” Escher replied in kind. “I am hoping we could talk for a while and discuss your role in all this. Why you did what you did.” Escher knew that the prisoners were not obligated to talk, and some refused to do so, preferring to go quietly into death. Most though could not resist the opportunity to talk about themselves – it was a shared characteristic of all great men, that need to make others aware of their actions and to defend themselves in the best possible light.

“And why would I want to do that, Chronicler? Surely all of this has come out at the tribunal.”

“Yes and no,” Escher replied. “The tribunal was concerned only with the facts – the who, what and where of it all. I am more concerned with the why.”

“Does the why really matter, Chronicler? History will record me as a war criminal, as a military leader whose greed outstripped the bounds of humanity.”

“Is that how you see yourself, as war criminal?”

The Pause – the moment when the prisoner gives his frame of reference for all that follows. Where they reveal whether they will be honest about their actions, about whether they will face their end with a clear conscience. To Escher, it was all about this moment.

“I did my duty to my country, Chronicler, to the best of my abilities. If that makes me a war criminal, then so be it. However, since you are here and - what is the expression you Americans like to use - my dance card is free, I will indulge your questions and then history decide for herself.”
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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As Burgoyne said once.

“History, sir, will tell lies, as usual.”
 

ColossusCrusher

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Didn't you play as Germany and then switch?

You could also "fix" everything with save editing...
 

dag231

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The Genesis of Domination


Escher spread the thick dossier open on the table and flipped through the initial few pages. Where to begin, he thought – at the beginning of it all or start right into the tribunal’s findings against him? While the most grievous charges of direct knowledge and participation of genocide had been waived, the prisoner was still convicted of waging an aggressive war and being culpable in crimes committed against humanity. For the SS types that he had talked with in the past, they preferred to start in the middle and considered everything prior to joining the party as irrelevant. To them, the time before they were efficient little genocidal bastards was a moot point, since they didn’t find themselves until they were given the resources and power to destroy and kill.

But this one – Heinz Wilhelm Guderian: Inspector-General of the Armored Troops, Chief of Staff of the Army High Command, Reichsmarschall of the Armed Forces, though he considered the latter to be honorary and preferred his Generaloberst title - wasn’t like that, Escher noted. There was no indication that he ever joined the party wholeheartedly and with complete conviction, rather he joined in order to avoid getting a black mark against his name. That was the kiss of death, either in terms of a career or literally, as Heydrich was not shy in purging those who failed to show due deference to the party.

Escher’s eyes glanced up from the picture of a young ensign-cadet in the Hanoverian Jäger Bataillon No. 10 and noticed that he was being scrutinized. Not like the others who avoided eye contact, this one was regarding him like a cat regards a mouse.

“Your father was the battalion commander when you first applied as a cadet, correct?” Escher asked, aware of the information but wanting to work his way up the ladder.

“Correct,” Guderian blandly replied. “It was natural in those days to join in such a way. My father’s wealth and position assured me a place, but I never treated my peers with disrespect and my father made sure that no preferential treatment was given to me. That would have been impolite.”

Escher nodded and returned to the reading. At the age of 20, Guderian went to the military academy at Metz and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. In 1911, he joined the 3rd Telegraphen-Bataillon, Prussian Army Signal Corps, and two years later he married Margarete Goerne, eventually having two sons who served with him up until Monrovia.

“Before we begin, Chronicler, let me make it very clear that I will brook no questions regarding racial doctrines or their applications or what happened in terms of those doctrines. Is that understood?”

“Of course," Escher formally replied, "but while you were cleared of directly aiding and abetting genocide, you were still culpable for allowing it to happen.”

“What happened after a region was pacified was not my concern. I was not a Reich Protector of any region nor was I part of any administration or privy to what that administration was planning to do, as I stated unequivocally during the tribunal. My job was to reduce the enemy in a region and then turn over the region to the authorities. What happened after was not my station.”

“But you were aware of what was happening,” Escher argued.

“I was not a woman at the market looking for gossip, Chronicler, and my staff knew better than to titillate themselves in front of me with dark rumors of what was happening in provinces that I had since moved on from.”

“The cleansing of Zurich?”

“I was not there,” Guderian continued, “as I was already on my way to Vienna to plan the fall campaign. Once a region had been reduced to a level where I could turn it over to those charged with the administration of that region, I did look back. I preferred to look forward to the next battle, rather than dwell on things that may or may not have been happening that did not concern me.”

“Fair enough,” Escher replied, and returned to the dossier. In November of 1914, Guderian was promoted to First Lieutenant and then a year later to Captain, earning the Iron Cross second and first class for action and eventually being the youngest staff officer in on the General staff of the Army High Command. His superiors recognized his genius in looking at a problem from outside the box, though a few warned that such a maverick streak could be troublesome in the future.

Only for the rest of humanity, Escher noted.

After the war, Guderian became Inspector of Motorized Troops, and wrote various articles in regards to motorization, eventually leading to commands of various motorized units. Guderian’s theories on armored and aviation applications in regards to modern warfare were almost universally dismissed by the old guard of the Army High Command, with some calling in lunacy to equip trucks with turrets. In 1927, he was promoted to Major and two years later he traveled to Sweden to visit a tank battalion equipped with STRY m/21 and m/21-29 armaments - were they the Swedish version of the German LKII? - Escher asked himself. He also visited the Russian secret tank testing facility at Kazan.


EarlyPzDivTOE.jpg

Guderian's structural reforms


“When you went to Kazan, was that were you first met Tukhachevsky?” asked Escher.

“No, I didn’t personally met him until the conference in 1933 in Vienna. I was aware of his work, of course, and that of the others such as Fuller and Hart who were invited to participate. To be honest, my early theories were shaped more by de Gaulle or von Seecht or even the British theorists than Tukhachevsky.”

“But you advocated that the Reichswehr and the Red Army collaborate in war games, specifically testing the boundaries of armored warfare applications as early as 1927. Surely you would have had a chance to meet Tukhachevsky at Kazan?”

“No, it just did not happen. What are you getting at, Chronicler?”

“I am just curious as to at what point you made it aware to the High Command that Tukhachevsky could be a problem in any future conflict with the Soviet Union, and as such should be eliminated at the earliest possible convenience.”

Escher studied Guderian’s face for any change in it, but the mask never lifted.

“I was not involved with the conspiracy to kill Tukhachevsky, nor would I have been. The whole point of having talented enemies, Chronicler, is to meet on a battlefield and best them decisively. What would it gain me for an enemy to die in his sleep or to be taken out and shot on trumped up charges before I had the opportunity to prove that I was a better general?”

“But it was your recommendation that Himmler used as justification to frame Tukhachevsky, which led to Stalin taking him out behind the barn and shooting him.”

“Ah, an American colloquialism – how I love hearing them,” Guderian dryly replied. “Yes, I suppose that is a correct interpretation that it was my recommendation that Himmler used, but I can not be held accountable for the actions of others. One of my regrets in life is that I never had a chance to face such a worthy foe.”

Was it Caesar who deplored the death of his enemies, and wept when he had none left to conquer? Did Guderian weep after his tanks crushed every enemy sent to oppose him, knowing that there was no army that could face him? Would he have wept, like Alexander, when there were no more worlds to conquer? Escher was not sure.
 
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Wow, a fantastic rebegining to an already great AAR!
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Indeed, an outstanding narration.
 

stnylan

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It is wonderful to see this particular tale be given a second incarnation.
 

unmerged(53911)

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Very compelling. Great dialogue!
 

Lyon_Man

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Yay! Guderian's back! :D

Loved reading through the first run, Dag, and I look forward to seeing how it turns out this time around.
 

dag231

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Feet of Clay


“In this year of 1929 I became convinced that tanks working on their own or in conjunction with infantry could never achieve decisive importance, My historical studies; the exercises carried out in England and our own experience with mock-ups had persuaded me that the tanks would never be able to produce their full effect until weapons on whose support they must inevitably rely were brought up to their standard of speed and of cross country performance. In such formation of all arms, the tanks must play primary role, the other weapons beings subordinated to the requirements of the armor. It would be wrong to include tanks in infantry divisions: what was needed were armored divisions which would include all the supporting arms needed to fight with full effect.”

What a sea change Guderian was proposing, Escher noted as he read the highlighted passages of Guderian’s seminal book, Achtung! Panzer.

“Tell me about the opposition to your theories,” Escher asked.

“When I was at the Vienna conference, I was struck by what your George Patton said to me, that every army is perfectly prepared to re-fight the last war it had fought, which was his take on the old military axiom, and I knew that this attitude was universal. I expected resistance from the proponents of trench warfare – and there were quite a few in and around the old Reich War Ministry, notably, of course, the Chief of the General Staff Ludwig Beck. But, as I asked Beck and the others at the time, unless they could offer a better method of achieving decisive victories than through self-massacre, armored divisions when properly deployed were the future of warfare.”

“It was under Beck’s tenure that the first panzer divisions were established, correct?”

“Yes,” Guderian answered. “The Fuhrer had read my papers on armored warfare and was a strong proponent of it, particularly after he read my book and observed the field exercises at Kummersdorf in 1933. If I recall correctly, he turned to Beck, who had been adamant all along that armored warfare could not win battles, and told him that what he was seeing, armored divisions achieving rates of penetration and movement that static artillery and mindless trench warfare could not, is what he wanted to have happen.”

“Do you believe that his dismissal at this point directly led to his instigation of The Munich Group?”

“Perhaps the genesis took place there, but Beck’s dismissal in 1938 was more due to the fact that he was a very conservative military leader. His views on warfare were to place thirty-five divisions of infantry opposite thirty divisions and then settle in for a bloody campaign of attrition. When the Fuhrer advocated the same position that I took, that Poland and Czechoslovakia could be obliterated quickly and effortlessly using armor, he waged a vicious backroom battle against the notion, up to the point of urging all senior staff to threaten mass resignations if the Fuhrer pressed on. He, Canaris, Weizsäcker and the others of the anti-war group were determined to avoid a war in 1938 that they felt Germany would lose.”

“But you didn’t think that,” Escher casually asked.

“No,” Guderian answered with a slight smile. “While we would have been hard pressed to win in the West in 1938, we would have been able to stalemate the French until we had finished off Czechoslovakia and Poland in turn, even at that early date. But, as it turned out, Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement turned all of Beck’s arguments moot.”

“As the allies refused to go to war over the Sudetenland.”

“Correct,” Guderian continued, “which of course merely fuelled the Fuhrer’s belief that the west would appease us right up until the day we were marching down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.”

“So, while Beck at this point was not actively gathering like minded individuals towards a putsch, at what point were you aware of his dissatisfaction?”

assasination2.jpg

The wreckage of the newly christened Chancellery of the Reich Commonwealth in Hamburg
following the assassination of Adolf Hitler by Ludwig Beck and members of The Munich Group


“When I was made Chief of Armored Troops, I heard stories about Beck’s criticisms,” Guderian carefully replied as he leaned back in his chair and defensively folded his arms, “but dismissed them as coming from an overly conservative individual, a man whose nature is to be one with feet of clay. After Hungary fell, Hans Oster, who was then the deputy director of the Abwehr, came to me with Beck’s proposal that I should join up with their group to persuade the Fuhrer to negotiate a peace with Britain and France, in the hope that Germany would be able to keep most of the lands gained in return for a peace that would save millions of lives. I told Oster that Beck was living in a fantasy world, as the British and the French were nothing. I was confidant that we would prevail, and told him so.”

At the time the British and French out-numbered the Germans three to one, Escher recalled. Was Guderian that confidant even then? When Caesar was informed that the Gauls had them at a five to one disadvantage, it was said that he replied “is that all” and seemed disappointed that the numbers didn’t more heavily favor his opponent. Is that what went though Guderian’s mind about the French? Escher wondered.

“Why do you think Beck waited so long before he acted?”

“Victories claim many fathers, Chronicler,” Guderian answered. “His initial concerns that we would suffer defeat turned out to be sheer nonsense, so while he and the others were adamantly opposed to the SS and the concept of global war, while we were winning handily he would find few buyers of his beliefs. It was only when we pushed into the sub-continent and southern Africa that more and more openly questioned why the Fuhrer continued the war, given that all the stated objectives had been more than met.”

“Did you ever question why pushing the British out of southeast Asia was so important, or why there was a pressing need to invade New Zealand?” Escher asked. “Did you ever think to yourself that enough was enough, that it was time to call it a day?”

Guderian paused before answering, a slight smile on his lips. “No.”
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
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Guderian as an Alexander, there is no enoguh world to conquer...