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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

loki100

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pah, cliffhangers ... ok, my vote is for German transport planes dropping lumps of wood on the UK ships which then catches fire? But the emergence of the new Portuguese empire does now seem to be well on the way, you must be close to finishing off the French.

If that is an invasion of the UK, are you placed to join in with a bit of opportunism?
 

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Looking fairly good for Portugal so far, taking the bases from the UK will make them less effective in projecting their naval power all over the world, what do they have left now?

And how close are the US to joining in the war?
 
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Top hats daily

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You are making my AAR look like Child's play one post at a time.
And I'm loving every second of it! Keep up the great work!
 

poloport

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I was wondering when you were gonna take hong kong... THough considering its isolation from any other british bases in the area it will likely not make a diference anytime soon, maybe if you took it at the beginning of the war...
 

Rensslaer

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Just read this now, and it looks like your doing good progress with clearing those pockets you had left. Also nice push into africa! :D

Thanks! I was having alot of fun. :)

I suppose those factors were problems for me too but maybe you were on a higher difficulty. I blitzed the Balkans and put a lot of effort on having the best navy so I didn't really have any trouble till I got to Malaysia (the Empire had conquered many other territories but that's besides the point). On the way I decided to take over Persia which gave me a straight land route from Rome to Guangzhou. Oddly enough the supply AI thought it would be funny if the supplies had to travel overland all the way from Rome to India so when the British reinvaded (for the 3rd Time) my force were essentially crippled so I can only hope that the Allies take over Persia again so I can have my supplies back. It truly is a game of Iron Hearts ;)

That sucks about the supplies! :D My difficulty is typically "normal" -- I figure that's what the thing is tested on, primarily, so that's what's most optimized. I don't like allowing the computer to cheat to make things harder on myself.

All caught up! Another classic Rensslaer AAR -- excited to pick up HOI 3 again, now that I got Semper Fi quite cheaply ($6). I am closely following!

Thanks, Avindian! Welcome! That's a great price for SF -- very good addition to a great title, I think. What are you playing?

All allied bases belong to Portugal ;)

Indeed! Close enough! :)

Now how about Iceland and Greeland? I hear they are cheap and easy ;)...

You know... It might very well be easy, but I've been wary of crossing that invisible line across the ocean between the UK and USA, afraid that I'd start running into some of those Royal Navy units which I don't see in the places I frequent. They have to be SOMEWHERE, right? :D I figure there's a line of bases there and they may maintain communication, so I'll be closer to their lines of travel. Don't want to go there. I may do that later.

Well done!!!!

I love catching up on your AAR!!!!

Thanks, Lunchmeat! Welcome!

Regardless of the German advance, Portugal should be very proud of herself! It seems that you've hit a tipping point against the British colonies and they are yours for the taking. Well done! India may be on the radar screen sooner than I anticipated...

India... Wow. I'm still a little intimidated by the prospect. They have actual troops there, and I've only faced whole corps in South Africa so far, and there was a very difficult victory.

Ah! Thou spiteful harpy! Ending on a cliffhanger! I want to know...

Heh. :D Sorry! Another update coming soon, but it's probably not going to help you.

Conquering Hong Kong from Macao?
Gee, that is so wrong! :p

You'd prefer I conquer China first? :) I actually did try once getting MilAccess from Guangxi, but that didn't work for the same reasons it didn't work against Gibraltar.

I'm not going to dignify your blatant cliffhanging with a response :)p), but I will say that your African and Carribean campaigns are stunning successes. How close is Free France to extinction now?

:D During Fire Warms I was once accused of "wanton cliffhangery"! Thanks! Free France has Syria, still, I think. That may be it. Chief Ragusa may be correct that there are islands such as New Caledonia that I've not gotten to.

Good progress in the Caribbean. Those last British garrisons could look forward to aerial bombardment, now they've proved their worth in helpingto take Hong Kong. Can just see the Portuguese PM demanding more bombers.

The German bombimg offensive over GB appears to be in full swing. Quite an impressive sight!

You conquest of Hong Kong gives you free reign over the far East and no backstabbing during a campaign to take Australia and New Zealand, once you've finished off the Dutch East Indies and absorbed them into Portugal. They may even be a few Free French Pacific islands for the taking, too. You've the option of carrying on the Malayan campaign all the up through Burma and into India.

You've been tearing up Africa. Taking Egypt may need a diversion to take Aden and French Somalia, if Free French and the Italians haven't. A plan to pull the British out of Alexandria is needed, once troops land in Egypt. It's the key to supplying the whole Middle East front.

Yeah, I was pretty impressed by the bombers over Britain. I swear I'd looked up that way before, and hadn't seen such a campaign underway. That's what made me suspect something was up, which made me take a closer look. The Dutch East Indies aren't any kind of threat to me. I'm reasonably sure all their ports and military units have been taken or defeated at this point -- any remainders are just empty territory. I may be wrong about New Guinea, though... In fact I bet I haven't quite gotten to taking all that yet, though I've taken part.

pah, cliffhangers ... ok, my vote is for German transport planes dropping lumps of wood on the UK ships which then catches fire? But the emergence of the new Portuguese empire does now seem to be well on the way, you must be close to finishing off the French.

If that is an invasion of the UK, are you placed to join in with a bit of opportunism?

Kind of a backward firebombing attempt? Interesting idea! :) I don't know if I'm comfortable joining into an invasion of a major like that. I'm almost of the mind that my "assymetric warfare" army would get into trouble on a conventional battle field. They'd almost be wasted, because my small, weak divisions would not contribute much, but would be facing much worse threats. Plus, what would I hope to gain? Cornwall? That's a totally different AAR! :D

Looking fairly good for Portugal so far, taking the bases from the UK will make them less effective in projecting their naval power all over the world, what do they have left now?

And how close are the US to joining in the war?

Thanks! They still have Australia and New Zealand, and India. Besides that, they're limited to the Middle East, home and Canada. The US doesn't seem terribly close to joining, but I haven't looked at those figures closely.

You are making my AAR look like Child's play one post at a time.
And I'm loving every second of it! Keep up the great work!

Don't discount yourself, Top Hats! Welcome! I could name about a half-dozen advantages I have on you, ranging from my length of time here to the fact I started this AAR as a companion to the Strategy Guides back when the game first came out, so many of the people reading here have been following for a while. I've been looking at your Australian AAR, and will comment when I get through (this may seem silly, but I'm waiting for a moment when I can listen to your Waltzing Matilda video without people looking at me funny! :D). There are a number of ways to get more readers -- posting regularly, interesting updates, giving good feedback, and posting in other peoples' AARs. None of that will be helpful without patience, though -- you're not going to get a following overnight. As a matter of fact, my first AAR started off pretty slow too. Do your job, and you'll get people -- especially if you have a sense of humor.

I was wondering when you were gonna take hong kong... THough considering its isolation from any other british bases in the area it will likely not make a diference anytime soon, maybe if you took it at the beginning of the war...

Yeah, it took a while! And I don't know if you remember, but I tried and failed once before -- called it off because I wasn't going to be able to pull it off. I just didn't have enough strength at the time, and my bombers couldn't concentrate there because they were busy elsewhere. One advantage I hope I've gained is that they don't have a base now that will "drag them" through my territory -- they can travel from UK to Australia, still, but not to a destination that will take them through the middle of the East Indies.

I have an update -- a fiction scene with Chita -- partially written, and I'll post it soon! Thanks for your readership and comments! Also thanks to those of you who have voted for my AARs in the AARLand Choice AwAARds! I don't normally promote my AARs, but participation has fallen short in recent rounds (held quarterly) and I want to keep this happy tradition going. Please vote if you haven't already -- there are a number of very high quality AARs contending this quarter, even just in HOI 3.

Rensslaer
 

Avindian

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Rensslaer -- I gave the US a shot ('36 scenario). I got into the war in 1940; I successfully made an amphibious landing at Denmark, and now am waiting on the rest of my army to cross the Atlantic so I can expand from there. Still working out the kinks, but I initially hated HOI 3; great AARs (like yours) and the SF expansion convinced me to try it again. I think EU 3 players are not meant to go straight to HOI 3 :D -- it was a lot easier once I figured out Vicky 2.
 
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Rensslaer

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Império Novo

Focke-Wulf200Final420.jpg

Chita was coursing through still, quiet air as part of a three-plane flight of Condors, returning to Africa from Hong Kong and the East Indies.

It had been a restful journey. Their flight path over the Indian Ocean had been mostly without clouds or incident. They needed this. Their experience providing bombing support for the invasion of Hong Kong had been harrowing – far worse than anything they had experienced in Africa or Borneo. Anti-aircraft fire had been intense, and there had been occasional British fighter defenders, preying upon the Portuguese bombers. Chita had been lucky, and had not been subject to their attacks, but a third of the whole airwing had been lost in the combat there, and temporary losses to damage had brought them down to about 50% operational strength – the worst they had experienced so far during the war.

Word was, they would soon be employed in convoy raiding again, either from Portugal, or even from the newly captured Portuguese base at Nairobi, from which they could reach Allied shipping traveling through the constricted Red Sea – seemingly an even better prospect than catching them as they exited the Straits of Gibraltar!

As they approached the African coast, a line of pillowy white clouds demarked the shoreline from north to south. The formation began a shallow dive, aiming to fly underneath the clouds. The overcast was too high, in places, to fly over, and one did not wish to get lost within a maze of gauzy canyons. Darkness would be near by the time they reached Nairobi. There might be storms beneath the clouds, but facing them was better than getting stuck within the clouds themselves, with the tempests that might lurk within to destroy an unsuspecting or overly arrogant pilot.

1May1941MaydayChita.jpg


The tension increased… If only because those billowing thunderheads looked like they might cause a wild ride ahead.

“Action, two-o-clock!” shouted Aaran, from his navigator’s observation bulb atop the aircraft. Everything else set aside, Ari’s and Paolo’s eyes darted to their right with anxious concern. Three defined dots – obviously aircraft – had just emerged from a languid, wispy puff of cloud to their starboard side. Chita was on the far side of all this, but already the shapes seemed large, and menacingly dark. They had achieved complete surprise – perhaps having tracked the three large birds from distance, they had hidden in the cloud and emerged in perfect deflection firing position.

Already, their wingtips were winking with little flashes of light, and streaks of smoke and trails of fire were lancing out toward the Portuguese bombers. Ari watched one stream of bullets and tracers collide with their flight commander’s plane. A spray of debris leapt from his wings and fuselage, falling away. Now the damage was marked by a thin trail of whitish-gray smoke…. No, vapor. Glycol coolant. Very bad.

Immediately, the large, bulky planes began to bank and turn into the Condors, maneuvering to not fall too far behind them, and to pass behind, and end up on their five-o-clock flank once they’d turned around. That meant Chita would be the center of attention! In one smooth, decisive move, Ari threw Chita’s four throttles full forward. Both of their compatriots had done the same, hoping speed would save them from sure destruction.

Fairey_Fulmar.jpg


“They’re Fulmars!” Esteves said, from his gun position in back. His guns were already chattering. “Carrier-based.” They had not even seen a lot of enemy aircraft, but these types were known to be operating in this area, and they knew there might be a British aircraft carrier nearby, since it had been flushed from its base at Mombassa not long before. They were obviously sticking around, trying to cause problems for the Portuguese advance.

The Fulmar was a stretched, two-seater fighter – much longer than the Portuguese Messerschmitts from back home. It was armed with eight .303 caliber machine guns, mounted in the wings – very like the armament of the Hurricanes and Spitfires which had fought creditably from bases in Hong Kong during the recent campaign which had devastated their airwing. Thankfully, the Fulmars were not so nimble, nor as fast.

Ari and Chita had faced anti-aircraft fire, before. Some of it very intense, and from close range. But the only fighters they had faced were at long range over Gibraltar. The British just hadn’t had a lot of aircraft in the theatres where Chita had operated.

This was different. This was personal. They were being chased! Hunted. By a powerfully armed foe, regardless of whether it was a top-of-the-line craft or not.

Their engines were carrying the Condors at a speed, now, not much less than that of the pursuing planes. Those drifted, mothlike, in the range just beyond close and way closer than far. They would be able to approach the bombers, slowly, but couldn’t run circles around them, by any means. The Condors were not loaded with bombs, and unburdened by most of their fuel supply at the end of a long trip. They were light, clean, and fast. Not quite as fast as these two-seater fighters…

With plenty of time to line up, the Fulmars’ pilots took careful aim until one of Pascoal’s tracer streams connected with one, and the target shuddered. He faltered, briefly, then fell back and climbed, trying to stay out of Pascoal’s limited field of fire. If the plane remained immediately behind Chita, it had a better chance of not being shot. He fired, again, his bullets spraying wide.

Pascoal added, from his rear-facing underside position, “He’s learned his lesson. Not getting too low, not too high.” As he spoke, Pascoal targeted another of the two planes still below the formation, and frightened another into evasive maneuvers. The third poured a fusillade of fire at Chita – wasting ammunition like a rookie, a voice in the back of Ari’s mind told him, and yet… All those lethal projectiles! His skin crawled, his stomach clenched.

Another rat-a-tat of machine gun fire reached Ari’s ears from behind them. Esteves, maybe? Then silence, then again. And then the subtle vibration of Chita’s airframe suggested they were being fired at, too – and hit. A handful of miniature jets of smoke sped past the cockpit – missed shots, but too near for comfort. What had the hits done? Not too serious? He hoped. The plane continued to fly, uncrippled.

We’ve got to shake them! Ari thought to himself urgently, just as Paolo hissed, “We’ve got to shake them!” The fear was clearly evident in his voice.

Standard procedure, Ari vaguely remembered from his untested air-to-air training, was to remain in formation during combat. This offered the best mutual protection from the neighboring bombers. Each could support the others with their own defensive fire, and Ari noted his commander’s plane was shooting at something behind them.

As if to confirm this best behavior, Pascoal shouted, “Nicolau got one!” Referring to one of the rear gunners on the seemingly hamstrung lead plane, he added, “The Brit just exploded! Now he’s in a spin and in flames!” That left two…. Better odds….

A flash, coincident with another light shudder, drew Ari’s attention to their left wing. It had been as if he felt this wound in his own arm, as an extension of his craft. His baby. The outboard engine was aflame. The rush of air past the cowling kept the fire from completely engulfing the engine mount, but Ari knew if they didn’t get the fire out quickly, it wouldn’t keep. He furiously jabbed at the fire extinguisher button for that engine. His copilot intuited what was going on, and responded with activity. Spoken questions would just get in the way in a situation as tense as this.

Stretching to peer out his window, again, Ari could see that the engine was just smoking now. Not afire, except perhaps in a smouldering fashion. How long would it remain controlled, he wondered. Had the flame only retreated, to regroup, then later to rush forth and take them?

Leaving no time for contemplation, bullets could be heard and felt ripping through other surfaces of the plane, now. He gathered that at least one, maybe two, of their pursuers were concentrating on Chita. One, he inferred, as suddenly the lead plane, commanded by his friend Floriano, shattered in a bright but momentary explosion. His field of view prevented his seeing what happened next. His horror was damped, but he could tell by watching Paolo’s astounded expression that his friend’s end was certain, and quick. Agony and loss warred with fear; his attention divided, momentarily, between grief and a survival instinct.

Chita would NOT be next!

In a moment of decision, Ari turned the wheel, and banked his plane hard to the left. The Condor didn’t lumber, but it responded slowly, steadily. Pascoal’s guns bit out, but there was no report of contact. Peering out his window, Ari strained to see his enemy, but could not. “Afonso!” Ari called back to their dorsal gunner, Esteves. “Watch for a target. I’m going to turn back.”

“Aye, skipper!” he replied.

Ari reversed the bank. The Condor was not a light plane, and the maneuver took longer than he had hoped – and, like a kite, the bulk of his plane’s flight surfaces caught the air. For good measure, he cut the engines back part way, and their scream subsided, rapidly, to a dull roar. The ever-present rustle of airflow past the canopy waned. Staccato reports from the back indicated that Esteves did, in fact, see his target.

“Got him…” came his tentative voice, barely audible over his .30 caliber’s chattering. “Got him! YEAH!!!” From the top bubble, Aaran echoed the loud cheer, having witnessed the victory.

Ari, unable to see anything but his partner’s plane to the right, breathed a sigh of relief, knowing their chances of survival just increased exponentially. Then, suddenly checking his euphoria, he glanced out to the left, to see how the fire was going. Engine number one was still smoking, and rotating slowly… After an instant of puzzlement, Ari realized Paolo had feathered the engine without his having to order it – thus saving them from the drag caused by an inoperable propeller catching the wind with its broad blades. In any case, the situation seemed controlled.

“Captain,” Pascoal reported. “The last fighter is breaking off, and heading home.” Then, his voice cracking with emotion, he added, “We’re saved!” Instantly, the intercom was filled with incoherent cheering and shouting. Paolo beat his hand against Ari’s shoulder, and Ari pounded his fist into his copilot’s leg.

“The luck of the cheetah!” Manny declared, from his compartment below the flight deck. Manoel had been badly wounded from their encounter with a British cruiser nearly a year before. He had been on medical leave for five long months, having to leave many weeks of prime convoy hunting season to a substitute. But he had come back, and had already demonstrated he had not lost his touch as one of the airwing’s crack bombardiers.

Giddy laughter and elation reigned for another long moment before Ari’s maturity manifested itself. He instructed, “All right, boys… Enough! We’re not out of danger, yet.” He ran a quick scan of the instruments, then asked, “Did anyone see ‘chutes from Pégaso?” referring to their flight leader’s plane. The others answered in the negative. It was just as well, Ari supposed. They were still over the sea, and these waters were reputed to be populated with sharks.

As Paolo led a soundoff, to make sure no one had been injured, Ari considered their situation. Their fellow traveler, off their starboard wing, seemed to be undamaged. But they were slowing down to match Chita’s sluggish pace. On only three engines, she could make Nairobi just fine, he figured. But one of the wing-mounted fuel tanks had been punctured, and the self-seal wasn’t working quite as designed. They were losing fuel even as the other gasoline-hungry engines were having to work harder to make up for the loss of one of their team. Would they have to redirect to Mombassa, he wondered?

“Mayday, Mayday,” Ari called over the broadcast radio, then used the code words for Chita and Nairobi. “Seta Seis, inbound for Facão Oito – enemy fighters caught us. Major Meosa’s plane was lost. We have engine damage. Send help, please!”

“Mayday, Mayday,” he repeated.
 

Rensslaer

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Points to anyone who recognizes the irony. :D

Index updated to include today's update, btw...
 
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Pj Fallon

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Was that just a flavour piece?
 

Rensslaer

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Was that just a flavour piece?

Yeah -- nothing particularly significant in there, except we're overdue for an update about the FW 200 crew, plus it's meant to emphasize that my bombers took significant damage over Hong Kong, as well as to convey knowledge that the British still have a carrier group in the Indian Ocean near Kenya.

Renss
 

Stuyvesant

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Damn, I dont remember the name of that movie...

Memphis Belle? Never seen it, but it's about a B-17 over Germany, which seems to fit the general 'Bomber vs. Fighter' theme.

Liked the scene. Chita will survive, but she has been wounded. And their wing leader is dead. Death is creeping ever closer to Ari and his crew...
 

poloport

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Great update, just got one thing to add, when you have the characters refer to the british (or english) instead of calling them brits, call them "Bifes" (literally "steaks"), since that's what we call them XD:eek:o
:p
Hey, it's fair since the calls us PIIGS :eek:o
 

unmerged(53911)

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The 'luck of the cheetah' indeed! Well told and very enjoyable!
 

Tallfellow

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Looking forward to seeing what you'll do next :) You have plenty of options!!!
 

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Portuguese troops began landing, in May 1941, in the other Caribbean islands which hadn't yet fallen. Antigua was next, and this invasion was quickly opposed by a British division on neighboring Anguila.

13May1941Antigua.jpg


Over the next few weeks, this, like the other Caribbean battles, took a great price out of the 21st Infantry, which failed to hold against the British, but the landing of Portuguese cavalry on another neighboring island to put pressure on the British 2nd, plus the replacement of the 21st by a Garrison division from Jamaica, resulted in the same stalemate as had occurred in previous battles.

Running out of room to expand along the east coast of Africa, Portuguese transports were able to leapfrog beyond Italian-controlled Ethiopia and Somaliland and take territory in June in both Aden (8th June) and British Somaliland (12th June).

12Jun1941Aden.jpg


There were British divisions in Somalia, which had been holding off the Italians, apparently effectively, since the beginning of the war. The Portuguese were the new addition to the equation, and the British could not hold both, the Italian front and defend against Portugal. Their perimeter began to collapse.

Remember Borneo? Things had stabilized there long, long before (November 1939, as far as I can tell -- nearly 1 1/2 years ago). The two British divisions had been isolated, and allowed to stew in their own juices in the Bornean jungle, but had never been dealt with.

13Jun1941Borneo.jpg


These British divisions, of course, were greatly reduced in strength by now, because of being out of supply for so long, and so the Portuguese garrison which had been stationed there to guard them began moving aggressively against them.

The first battle (against 2 divisions in 2 provinces) was won within a week of its initiation, in June 1941. The British fell back, and the garrison advanced.

21Jun1941NewLightCruiser.jpg


After long months of construction, Portugal finally produced its first wartime cruiser design -- the NRP Matosinhos, a light cruiser. Its immediate uses would be twofold...

Portugal had been losing shipping along its convoy routes for a long time. The sinkings came in dribs and drabs, and never really challenged Portuguese trade, but proved an annoyance and a constant minor drain on IC because of the convoy transports needed to replace losses. Matosinhos began searching for the raiders during the early weeks of July. At one point she found one, and scattered them away from the shipping lanes, though no actual combat ensued. The other role was scouting, as you shall soon see.

5July1941Cruiser.jpg


In May, you had seen the beginning of a pocket forming around the British divisions in Kenya. The Portuguese, moving forward on three fronts, were attempting to enclose the British, though with three enemy units trying to get out, there were some sharp combats which complicated this venture.

On the 5th of July, victory at the Battle of Kisumu closed the ring tighter.

5July1941Kenya.jpg


The British militia which had been attempting to stop the westernmost British advance was stuck, unable to move north to escape. Meanwhile, as other Portuguese forces kept a British HQ brigade busy from the coast, the 6th Cavalry advanced to Lake Victoria, trapping the British militia with the lake as her only exit.

8July1941Kenya.jpg


Then, the 6th Cavalry hit the flank of the British, forcing her to give up the battle in the west, and essentially sealing the pocket permanently. No one on the inside had the power to break out, and there was no one really on the outside.

The other major news of mid-July was that Australia finally joined the war on the side of the Allies. It is thought that Australia was trepidated by the initial shock of Portuguese victories in the Dutch East Indies, but now that Britain was losing on all fronts, and the East Indies were mostly Portuguese controlled now, Australia knew she had better defend herself now, or forever hold her peace, so to speak.

19July1941Darwin.jpg


And so, while Portuguese forces landed on Ascension Island, in the south Atlantic, where NRP Matosinhos had previously scouted, the spry new cruiser then began scouting the Australian west coast, first at Perth, then at Darwin.

Portugal's progress in the East Indies has been slow but steady. You'll notice that Timor has been partially secured, whereas the entire island of Java is in Portuguese control, all of British Borneo except for the small pocket, all of Malaya, and the ports along the rest of the Bornean coast. The island of Sumatra is more than 75% occupied.

20July1941NewGuinea.jpg


On the island of New Guinea, there are no remaining Dutch or British forces, and so the expansion there was heretofore limited to the two ports, at Jayapura and Merauke (north and south, respectively). But now, with the other half of the island under Australian control, this would need to change.

NRP Matosinhos, after having scouted the entire western coast of Australia, retreated to the shelter of Jayapura to refuel and set up basing for further explorations along the north and east coasts.

28July1941Britain.jpg


And, sorry to have to let the suspense from the last gameplay update go... If those were, in fact, German paratroopers over London, they were not successful in holding any pockets, and obviously were not adequately supported by further landings by sea or air. I suspect that was an aberration, and the real German campaign here was a sustained strategic bombing campaign, which is still fully underway.

How long will the British hold in their own islands, I wonder...