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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

DensleyBlair

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Perhaps my ultimate goal is to turn the Isles into some sort of French mutation, complete with Parisian values and America culture.

If you were going to do that, you would probably actually have made an effort to protect London. :p
 

99KingHigh

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DensleyBlair

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Who said I was playing the Republic? :D

Who said anything about playing? It's your story. You can choose what happens to London regardless. ;)
 

Santander

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This update proves that even long waits are totally worth it. Keep up the magnificent work!
 

99KingHigh

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Long live the King, death to the Syndies!

As to you, dear comrade! :p

You monster.

Piece by piece, sealy, I shall make all that you love an empty shell.

Amazing update, although I'm a bit sad to see the syndies get beaten, if only for a short time.

Never lose hope, except when hope is lost.

Who said anything about playing? It's your story. You can choose what happens to London regardless. ;)

Indeed, I do intend to make the UK an Indian colony and work from there.

This update proves that even long waits are totally worth it. Keep up the magnificent work!

I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

will the king be restored?

We can only hope.

You'll have to wait and see.

--

The next update will be another "mega-update" (sort of what we saw when I did the Second Weltkrieg post, albeit a tad bit shorter.) This will be the final 'regular' update of the AAR. There will be two epilogue chapters that wrap it all up, but the next one will be the final conventional chapter. I really hoped that yall have enjoyed it over the last year and a half (jeez, time goes) but it is time to move onto pastures new.

If all goes well, the AAR will be done within the next week and a half (my university of preference has decision day for applications this Friday, so if all goes well, I'll be able to wrap it up.) If not, it's likely because I'm devising a far more horrible and dark ending to satisfy my anguish for getting rejected.

And, if you are interested, I am planning a VIctoria II NWO UK IAAR to hopefully be approved and commenced next month.
 
Last edited:

Santander

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The next update will be another "mega-update" (sort of what we saw when I did the Second Weltkrieg post, albeit a tad bit shorter.) This will be the final 'regular' update of the AAR. There will be two epilogue chapters that wrap it all up, but the next one will be the final conventional chapter. I really hoped that yall have enjoyed it over the last year and a half (jeez, time goes) but it is time to move onto pastures new.

What?! Nooooooo! :(

Sad to see this end, as I've had great great fun reading it.

If all goes well, the AAR will be done within the next week and a half (my university of preference has decision day for applications this Friday, so if all goes well, I'll be able to wrap it up.) If not, it's likely because I'm devising a far more horrible and dark ending to satisfy my anguish for getting rejected.

Best of luck. Though I'm sure nobody here would object to you posting both versions. At least, I know I wouldn't.

And, if you are interested, I am planning a VIctoria II NWO UK IAAR to hopefully be approved and commenced next month.

Ooh, how would that work exactly?
 

99KingHigh

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Well gents, as I'm now an Ivy League man, you can indeed expect a very posh update this weekend.
 
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Nikolai

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Well done! :)
 

99KingHigh

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Milites

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A great many congratulations!
 

99KingHigh

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what happen to update?
Patience, my friend. All in good time!

On a serious note, it shouldn't be more than a few days away. It is currently being written with all the vigor I can afford.
 

99KingHigh

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Disclaimer: I had some technical issues with the pictures, so don't mind them being off...

And now, the final chapter...

--

JbO268k.png

When London fell on the 9th of May, much to the consternation of the Republicans, distressed Syndicalist leaders in Europe began to consider the Royalist force as a warranted threat. Their haphazard response was beginning to come under pressure from British diplomats and an unerved public. Dunois, the chief architect of the Syndicalist triumph in Europe, was facing sharp censure from the jingoistic Jacobins and the reinvigorated Angelo Tasca -- the man who had previously tempted Europe to preliminary warfare. The rapid rise of the Entente in Europe’s septic isle was gradually turning into the political scandal of the century. No concentrated force had opposed the Canadian intervention and no proposal of serious consideration had been made to utilize Internationale troops for a full scale retaliation. Royalists, however, were all too keen to keep the Europeans at a safe distance; a desire that the Canadians were reluctant in their obligement. King Edward and the Canadian cabinet were devising their own plans for an attack on the Communalists, collaborating with the French in Northern Africa. President Petain and Prime Minister Darlan had disposed of their previous caution and were preparing to make good of their mainland ambitions. Nonetheless, Boris Souverain, the Chairman of the Comite de Salut Public, refused to acknowledge the impending Entente threat. Parisian attention was too concentrated on the Spanish Civil War and the creation of socialist Baltic republics to bother with African dangers.


But the Internationale’s bubble of security would not last long. The fall of London had proved to the entire global community that Syndicalism was not an indestructible force. In the days following the triumph, the Entente gathered in Algiers, where they were accompanied by Vogel and Vorbeck. Bennett, Petain, and Vorbeck reached an accord that established a democratic bloc to contest the Syndicalist advance in Europe. The Algiers Accord, signed on the 11th of May, established the famed Mid-Atlantic Treaty Organization (MATO), which promised to combat radical leftism across the world. In Dar es Salaam, the conference of the Social Democratic Party approved the controversial Algiers Accord with limited opposition; a preliminary motion that saw the relocated Reichstag and the Kaiser approve the act. Indeed, the formation of MATO was never viewed as an insignificant agreement by the Syndicalists -- for example, the withdrawal of German subsidies to the Princely Federation helped tilt the balance to the Canadian-backed government in Delhi. A massive geopolitical change was afoot. Needless to say, the Algiers Accord shocked the Internationale into action. With the vast majority of Africa now an anti-Syndicalist fortress, Faure called his own allies to a meeting in Berlin. The Berlin Conference featured the first appearance of the new generation of German leaders, led by General Secretary Ernst Thalmann and Chairman Eugen Levine. The German Unionists were hawkish in their spite for the Entente; famed syndicalist and Secretary of Foreign Issues, Karl Liebknecht, demanded that the Internationale galvanize the African populace to oppose the imperialist possession of Africa. In addition, the German triumvirate pushed for military intervention in Spain and Britain, asking for a combined Internationale force to land in Scotland and Catalonia to support the revolutionaries.

Dunois was in a difficult position. Anti-German sentiment was still high in France, and thus Dunois could not permit Thalmann’s jingoistic passions to set French policy. For reasons of politics, and not reasons of strategy, Dunois publicly refused the German request and began to develop his own tactical approach. The Berlin Conference, obviously, bowed to Dunois’ demands, which included the imposition of a general blockade on Royalist England and the provision of arms to native groups in Africa. No mention of heightened warfare was to be considered if it was not proposed by the French government. This approach would prove to be mixed, with considerable advances in Britain, but considerable failings in Africa. For example, Yusuf Dadoo’s anti-imperialist government in South Africa fractured on whether or not to support the Berlin Conference’s conclusion. In the end, South Africa remained neutral, and actually, began to receive Canadian economic assistance. The path to Africa was shut out. The Internationale would have to hope that Dunois’ approach would bear fruit in Great Britain and save the revolution.

Halford Mackinder, Lord Beaverbrook, Lionel Robbins, Viscount Samuel, and (of course) Lawrence all privately opposed the creation of the MATO alliance. The Syndicalist reaction to the signature was, as expected, pointed at preventing the completion of the Civil War; an ‘undesirable’ (to say the least) objective for the Royalists. While General Kirke made his massive breakout assault on surrounded Norfolk, the French and German navies were maneuvering their way around the Isle -- forcing Admiral Chatfield to make an urgent withdrawal. The maneuver was believed to be a potential French invasion -- which tricked Prince Henry into allowing Kirke to escape to the north while Royalist troops garrisoned the coastline. Provided with inaccurate information from Hugh Trevor-Roper, the Royalist chance to destroy the largest Syndicalist army slipped through the government’s fingers. Lawrence was outraged, and (without hesitation) sacked Trevor-Roper as the Director of the Secret Services. He was quickly replaced by J.C.C Davidson, who had worked closely as an NGO with the government's experienced propagandist, Home Secretary John Reith. Davidson, who had served as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster before the revolution, was an experienced intelligence man, having spent time in Syndicalist Europe before and during the Second Weltkrieg. It took Davidson little time to discover that Wintringham had moved in all his chips: galvanizing the Federationist Scots to war with an unprecedented mobilization. The new Director exclaimed to the cabinet on March 15th, “All the Blue Bonnets are over the border.” Indeed, since the fall of London, tens of thousands of fresh Scottish soldiers had joined the last Republican stronghold south of Northern England, in Kingston upon Hull.


JUFcb3b.jpg

Recently mobilized Scots enjoy a brief moment on the bagpipes.

Wintringham’s rapid mobilization of the Scottish people had been the crowning achievement of his career. Through use of his ebullient popularity north of Hadrian’s wall, Wintringham had de facto usurped Bevan’s power and had ascended as the sole executive of the Republic. Republican forces still boasted a mighty half a million soldiers, approximately an equitable force to the Royalists -- but Wintringham’s war was now his own. He did not have to obey Bevan or fight a so-called “selective war.” Rather, Wintringham intended to inspire all leftist elements in a new offensive to fracture the Royalists, all the while England endured the pain of blockade. The old General also counted on Royalist complacency -- which he hoped would dull the verve of the “near victorious” Royalist armies. Therefore, his first action was to remind the Royalists that the Republic still had the brawn to tear the United Kingdom apart. In a brilliant three-pronged offensive from Hull, Carlisle, and Sunderland, Wintringham and Cunningham caught General Brooke-Popham and 130,000 undersupplied Royalists completely by surprise. When Cunningham arrived at the fallen front lines of Popham’s army in Leeds on May 17th, the General discovered empty supply storages and piles of jammed weapons. The blockade had been enforced for just four days, but the Republicans had underestimated the Royalist dependence on the Canadians. Perhaps, Cunningham believed, the Royalists could be starved out -- and slowly pushed back with a grinding offensive. The idea intrigued Wintringham -- but he was not convinced yet of the Royalist dilemma. On May 25th, Cunningham smashed through the Royalist defenses at Sheffield, where Brooke-Popham’s entire army was routed. The Scottish soldiers again found empty storage banks and malnourished civilians -- including unusually large supplies of food from the local farms. When Wintringham visited the city, he found Cunningham’s reports to be accurate. Wintringham not only subscribed to the starvation operative, but also invited Ian Fleming’s advice to find other uses of this discovery. Fleming believed that the most basic human necessity could prove to be the most basic propaganda: food in the republic, starvation outside. Soon enough, great banners across Republican occupied territory flaunted the famous slogan “Freedom and Food,” conveniently located in front of the Syndicalist flag.

The desperation of the besieged Northern armies had not reached the same level of distress in Southern England. Nonetheless, the cabinet was all too aware that all of England was under siege -- with roads bombed and the vast collective farms unable to transport food to besieged portions of England. When Lawrence tried to mobilize the civilian population into a “food force,” encouraging thousands to the fields, Dunois hurled French bombers at the English fields. For the following weeks, French bombers scorched the English countryside and blackened the ancient plains. It looked as though, in but a moment, the sceptic isle was falling apart. However, in a terrific moment of irony, Irish President Michael Collins declared that Irish blockade runners would provide food to the Royalists in return for a renunciation of the Ulster Claims and Canadian-American investment. The Canadians eagerly agreed, and moved their navy to the Irish Sea, where Irish supply ships made the brief journey from Waterford to Cardiff. However, Internationale control of the Celtic Sea prevented any further breach of the blockade from Entente allies -- the provision of supplies to England would have to be restricted to whatever the Irish could spare to give to the Royalist forces. Furthermore, the puncture in the blockade failed to provide enough timely supplies for General Popham’s besieged army in Manchester. Knowing that the Royalists remained enfeebled, Lt. General William Slim led a small Scottish Republican army on an assault against Popham’s Manchester. Again, the morale of the Scottish forces and the paucity of Royalist military-grade supplies handicapped Brooke-Popham’s forces. When Royalist forces tried to counter-attack from Manchester to Oldham after a spirited defense, armoured divisions rolled over the Royalist infantry who could not deploy proper anti-tank weaponry. The battle was short lived -- for a fifth time, Manchester and Liverpool swapped hands.


mGrcLZI.jpg

An Irish blockade runner is struck by a German torpedo.


Republican elites were suddenly invigorated by the sudden and decisive victories in Northern England. Their former suspicion for the Federationist commander was swiftly substituted with a nationalistic self-esteem. Even the New Republic ceased its endless oppositional stance to fully endorse Wintringham’s actions. Those liberated citizens, depicted by Fleming has rejoicing crowds, were certainly content to have the security of bread restored. In the chaos of the Civil War, the formerly communal divisions were evolving into a general sense of exhaustion and apathy. What had been, just moments before, a sure Royalist triumph, was now a Republican onslaught. The sense of hopeless resignation was now endemic -- but absent in the conductors of the war. From Edinburgh, the clamour for further offense gripped the Republican cabinet, which plotted to push their advance to Lincoln. With help from a massive squadron of French and Attleite bombers, General Auchinleck’s massive army in East England was softened for the impending attack. General Dorman-Smith, on Kirke’s orders, attacked from Hull, with support from Vereker in Sheffield -- an army of just 170,000 blitzed Auchinleck’s I, II, X, and XXV corps. The Royalist Army, with over a quarter of a million soldiers, were cut through like butter: Republicans seized Grimsby for closer port access to France and brutally drove back the malnourished Royalists from the plains outside Lincoln. Close air assistance from Unionist and French bombers made Auchinleck’s defense of Lincolnshire an unavailing endeavor; Royalist forces were pulled out of Lincolnshire to extend defensive lines from Northern Wales to Norwich.

The unexpected collapse of the Royalist lines seemed to be irremediable. With the Irish intervention as the sole Royalist salvation preventing total collapse, MATO leaders began to reconsider their approach. King Edward now understood that his rush to an impetuous containment policy had backfired against his own elephantine ambition. The formation of the alliance was disproportionately impacting the Royalist war effort, with the blockade proving to be a debilitating strategy. He would now have to compensate for his blunder with elevated expenditures to circumvent the blockade. On June 15th, Canadian fighters, refueled and resupplied in Belfast, guarded cargo planes to Wales, where aerial supplies would begin their trek to the frontlines. Edward was willing to spend exuberant amounts to lift much needed supplies and drop them in Royalist territory -- a process which doubled the cost of the Canadian air force and drew considerable ire from certain factional Liberals in the Canadian Parliament. But the King’s vague and amplified political power allowed him to steamroll any opposition: Parliament approved plans to conduct an evasion of the blockade through means of aerial dominance. The Canadian airdrop began on the 20th of June, and resupplied the defeated Lincoln armies in East England. General Auchinleck received the resources in scattered quantities, due to the lingering presence of Dunois’ air-force, but deemed that the reinvigoration of the I Corps and the suitable quality of the corresponding army in Birmingham warranted a counter-attack against Lincoln.

Auchinleck’s attack was nothing short of a total surprise to Kirke, who had more or less resigned himself to mopping up the evidently starved Royalist units. Republican divisions across Lincolnshire were suddenly faced with a concentrated and unexpected offensive; Boston, Spalding, and Grantham were the first to fall to the renewed offensive. With Stonehaven providing support from Leicester, Kirke’s army was quickly divided into two. Two stranded divisions accidently fled further into the Royalist pocket, and ended up occupying a surrounded Oxfordshire. The rest of Kirke’s force withdrew to Sheffield and Doncaster, where the bulk of the Republican front-line remained in position. Wintringham, however, believed that the stranded Oxfordshire forces could be useful for a renewed offensive. A combined offensive on Auchinleck’s army from the north and from Oxfordshire would pin the Royalists alongside the coastline. But Wintringham’s faith in the surrounded divisions was dependent on their ability to get supplied and reinforced; a task which the old General delegated to Marcel Bucard and the French Air-Chief, Antoine de Saint-Exupery. French fighters cleared the way for transporters on June 21st, whereafter French parachute divisions with supplies and soldiers reinforced the Republican divisions. But Auchinleck was all too keen of the general plan, and resolved to destroy the surrounded divisions, even if he was to concede the gains of his recent offensive.


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Oxford (circa. 1940)


Lord Stonehaven began his assault on Oxfordshire on the 25th of July, slowly advancing against entrenched Republican units. The gradualistic approach allowed the Republicans in the north to plot their own offensive against the motionless I Corps in Lincolnshire. While Stonehaven pressed against the Republicans from the north, Auchinleck dug his forces in and tried to preserve the encirclement of the Republican divisions from Kirke’s advances. Knowing that the Republican attack could not be a concentrated endeavor (as Auchinleck’s army, although worryingly undersupplied, was numerically larger), Auchinleck and General Massey dug themselves in with a vast network of traps and fortifications stretching across Lincolnshire. When Kirke enacted Wintringham’s plan of grandiose maneuvers, he found himself quickly facing a resolute force. Meanwhile, Stonehaven was making mincemeat of the Oxfordshire divisions, attributable to the considerable difficulty of French transports to make their drops over contested airspace. On June 26th, Auchinleck’s reserve forces joined Stonehaven’s assault and began a quick occupation of much of northern Oxfordshire. Disquieted by the unusual summer heat, the encircled Republican army lasted four more days, before it surrendered itself to the encroaching portions of Stonehaven and Auchinleck’s army. The defeat in Oxford, however, only intensified Kirke’s desire to take back Auchinleck’s Lincolnshire gains -- the brutal battle for the key territory lasted for nearly a month, when Auchinleck’s fatigued force was at last broken by Kirke’s cavaliering attitude. But Lawrence’s battle strategy was one of relentless assault -- an effort now revived by the Irish and Canadian importations. Just three days after the battle, Henry and Lawrence ordered Stonehaven to respond to Kirke’s attack with his own -- utilizing the V Royal Corps and the resupplied elements of Auchinleck’s defeated army to return the offensive. Stonehaven’s attack on Lincolnshire from the east was complemented by Brooke-Popham’s attack on Merseyside. The simultaneous attacks prevented a concentrated distribution of reserves to either front, wearing Kirke’s exhausted army thin and allowing Brooke-Popham’s superior firepower to trample over Merseyside and storm into Manchester in a matter of days. On August 10th, the front, at last, stabilized.

The Phoney War

After two miserable attacks on Republican Yorkshire and Royalist Oxfordshire in early August, the two sides hobbled back to their frontiers and entrenched themselves from further assaults. Although a sporadic aerial battle continued, French airplanes and Canadian fighters resigned themselves to their respective sides for a much needed breather. Both sides were becoming aware that the instability of the front was a mutual burden -- preventing a decisive blow from being landed. Many Republicans, led by Bevan, were eager to nullify the unofficial ceasefire before the effects of the blockade were totally voided in its efficiency. Bevan, unsurprisingly, was opposed by Attlee, who believed that a brief moment of tranquility would allow the Union to reorganize its industrial structure into a northern warmachine. The disproportionate investment in Northern England, and the (possibly) deliberate withholding of state funds for comparable Scottish investment made Attlee an unpopular figure. Nonetheless, Wintringham believed that the contemporary situation could allow for a great boom in Scottish manufacturing; given the desperation of Attlee’s economic plans and the loss of much of England. In mid-August, French monetary transfers to the Unionists provided the fuel of a renewed Scottish industrial society, which was consumed (in of itself) as a provision for war. Attlee intended to win the war by out-producing the Royalists and driving them to the sea under the weight of mechanized units.


Needless to proclaim, the Royalists were all too happy to respect the preservation of the ceasefire. The respite allowed the Royalists time to draw comprehensive plans for puncturing the blockade. Although King Edward’s British subjects lacked anything with resemblance to a naval force, Lord Mountbatten organized a vast fleet of ‘privateers’ to operate as blockade runners, including outdated and deactivated submarine vessels. Additionally, Chancellor Robbins delegated a great deal of budgetary funds to the production of anti-aircraft guns in the recently conquered territory. The efforts were moderately successful, with resources gradually restored to their pre-blockade quantities and AA guns in larger abundance. However, the Royalists still could not find a subsistence of food commodities; the Cabinet was all too aware that when the next offensive came, their storages would be quickly emptied. Robbins, Lawrence, and Mackinder began to plot their own means of survival, intending to loot and ravage Republican occupied territory for needed sustenance. This little ploy they kept secret from Lord Beaverbrook and Viscount Samuel, undoubtedly aware that the revelation of such an operation would not only play bad at home, but in the competition for foreign financial assistance. Lord Devonshire, however, believed that the best means to secure victory were the only means to be deployed. Henceforth, Royalist troops would skirmish for Republican communes and drink them dry of all needed services.

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French units in Sunderland enjoy the September warmth.


By the beginning of October, the Republican establishment was becoming listless with jingoistic sentiments. Bevan’s shrieks of militarism had made their mark -- Attlee had been afforded all the time he could utilize. Even Wintringham threw caution to the wind, himself fearful that the craters in the blockade would ripple across the Internationale’s commitment and force a naval withdrawal. But the real objective for the Republican General Staff was to find a Royalist target that could be peeled backwards under the pressure of Attlee’s armoured divisions. Loyalist RED regiments were absolute in their response. A victory in Lincolnshire would open up an undefended route to London, which (if the Republicans played right), could be returned to Unionist control in a matter of days. This report gave Bevan an insatiable appetite for an offensive; the desire to return to the cushy metropolis of party bureaucrats was all too tempting to resist. Kirke, however, was less certain than his partisan masters. Lord Stonehaven and Auchinleck’s army now outnumbered his own by four divisions, while a further sixteen divisions were patiently waiting to reinforce Lord Stonehaven. The Field Marshall made his concerns known, and was resolved to hold the defensive, until Fleming informed the Republican grandees that Lord Stonehaven’s army was still a crumbling mess -- complete with variable supply routes and demoralized soldiers. For Bevan and Kirke, this was enough to end the two month peace.

The October Offensive

On October 6th, Kirke’s 14 divisions attacked Royalist positions across Lincolnshire, from Scunthorpe to Grimsby. Stonehaven’s and Auchinleck’s constructed defenses across the northern frontier proved to be anything but merited fortifications; Royalist troops were often stuck in the unfinished work, while tanks spliced through entire segments of the system. Republican soldiers shattered the Royalist palisades and drove onto Scunthorpe and Grismby, where Royalist troops attempted to delay the surprise advance. Although outnumbered, the Republicans boasted superior supply chains, even though the Royalists outgunned the Republicans with 1939 Canadian rifles and machine guns. Their equipment, evidently, meant very little; Stonehaven and Auchinleck struggled to control a maneuverable defensive army as French bombers wrecked communication lines and partitioned the Royalist army into fragments. Yet again, Attlee was vindicated. But the rapid victory came at a hefty cost; Kirke had moved his entire army to successfully achieve his shock stick, leaving Leeds and Sheffield open to Popham’s 16 divisions in Manchester. While routed lines of Royalist soldiers poured out of Lincolnshire, abandoning Lincoln itself in 72 hours, Popham took his own force and occupied the unguarded sister cities in the north. The October Offensive had been a double-edged sword, and now, the Republicans were cornered to the East.

Seven days after the Republican attack on Scunthrorpe, Auchinleck’s relocated army, resupplied from the Welsh coastline, counter-attacked Kirke’s force, still dazed by their victory. They arrived to find that only two of Kirke’s divisions remained in Lincolnshire, while the rest had curiously maneuvered to Hull. Unsurprisingly, Brooke-Popham had taken advantage of the northern Republican absence in Sheffield and stormed eastward, laying siege to Hull with his 16 divisions, compelling Kirke’s army to abandon their gains in Lincoln to prevent encirclement from the north. The Royalist force exerted its total energy to staple Kirke’s Republicans alongside the coastline, deploying dozens of artillery units to strafe the defenses to pieces. Kirke responded with a brazen assault of armoured units out of the city, unsupported by the French artillery, which itself was deterred by the concentrated presence of AA guns. The march of brutal Republican steel was not long lasting; the tanks and their accompanying infantry support encountered overpowering fire and manpower. Thousands of Republican soldiers perished in the desperate attack -- Royalists, therefore, made the assuaged battle a brief one. With the coastal city of Bridlington under threat of occupation, Kirke deserted Hull and redirected his force on Bridlington: the definitive path to Northern safety. At Bridlington, the Republican army warded off dozens of assaults -- secured by a new stream of mechanical steel from the Scottish industries.


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Republicans tanks at the coastal docks during the Siege of Hull.


Brooke-Popham pulled dozens of units to enmesh the Republicans in a coastal pocket, but his adventure failed and the Republicans defeated the advancing armies with a primordial brutality. York was not so lucky as to spurn the Royalist wave; Popham’s troops broke the garrison on October the 23rd and proceeded to impose the government’s new policy of ‘acquisition.’ The city was ravaged by the new occupation, which took all steps to abuse the population and ‘nationalize’ the food reserves for the starving soldiery. The result was unsettled occupation of a region already intensely skeptical of the Royalist cause. Worse yet, the assumption of supplies was not as productive an endeavor as the Plymouth government had believed, and within the week, the Royalists were again confronted by shortages of ammunition and food. Meanwhile, Syndicalist propagandists began to produce sensationalist depictions of the York occupation, including the critically acclaimed When The King Comes Home.

The Winter War

In early November, the Royalist position in the north was becoming unsustainable. Canadian fighters were unable to secure aerial supremacy and a new fleet of German ships had cut the Irish trade by nearly a third. Control of York, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, and Hull was thinning the Royalist lines as more frequent acts of civilian sedition further worsened the already unfortunate situation. The Duke of Gloucester and Lawrence believed that if all three northern armies were defeated simultaneously (as they very well could of), the war would be immediately lost. When fresh Scottish divisions quickly broke through Lord Stonehaven’s lines in Sheffield, High Command made the voluntary decision to evacuate the North. Thirty divisions were pulled out of the northern cities and relocated to Lincolnshire, where supply lines were healthier and Canadian fighters were more accessible. The evacuation took the Republicans by surprise, who were more than happy to send in their refreshed armies to occupy the front lines. But the Republican offensive did not continue. Perhaps fearful of another entrapment plan, Wintringham squashed his most promising offensive yet, permitting the Royalists to resupply without the threat of a further attack. Auchinleck and Popham-Brooke, however, were not to keen to have static idleness as their strategic policy, just in case the Republicans came to their senses and attacked again.

Instead, Auchinleck and Popham-Brooke took 20 of the most supplied Royalist divisions and launched an audacious new offensive. Auchinleck’s priority objective was the contested town of Stoke-on-Trent, an industrial pottery town. The two sides had skirmishes in the city, but neither side had managed to land a decisive blow. But the Royalists saw the town as a key pathway to Liverpool, and dedicated the mass of the army to the town’s occupation. Brooke’s troops overwhelmed the Republican defenders in the city, but were suddenly threatened by the arrival of a dozen divisions under Kirke. Auchinleck resolved to drive Kirke’s forces away from Brooke with an open battle near the city. The plan, however, was not one of cautious maneuver; Kirke’s army still boasted overwhelming armored power, despite the Royalist supremacy in infantry combat. On November 6th, Auchinleck attacked Kirke’s left flank with all the conjured firepower he could deploy. French fighters were suddenly called to assist Kirke’s army, but the proximity of the battlefield to Birmingham allowed Canadian AA guns to quickly move into position. Dewoitine D.520’s were blown out of the sky at remarkable speeds, and the French air force was suddenly compelled, for the first time, to withdraw out of fear of ground power. Meanwhile, Brooke reversed his army out of the city and spearheaded it along the coastline, bruising Kirke’s right flank.

Kirke decided to divide his armored divisions, located on his center, into two groups. Each group fanned out to meet Brooke on the right and Auchinleck on the left. But the tanks arrived to find infantry support lacking; Royalist units controlled key terrain and widened the field of battle to exploit a usage of maneuverability. This tactic exposed the vulnerabilities in the armored advance -- the capabilities of a tank offensive were proven to depend on a reliable infantry support. But the superior firepower of the Royalist infantry made the Republican infantry support another tactical deficiency. When the guns fell silent on the 13th of November, it quickly became apparent that the Republic had suffered its greatest defeat. Kirke’s army was intact, but so badly wounded by the encounter that he was forced to concede not only Liverpool, but also Manchester. The Royalists, meanwhile, with counsel from previous errors, halted their offensive and contented themselves to occupy the North East and Lincolnshire as an abbreviated defensive line.


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Republican tanks during the Battle of Stoke-on-Trent


The consequences of the Battle of Stoke-on-Trent had yet to be realized as the month of November passed. The Republicans and Royalists again stood as unmoved foes across the quiet frontline, but neither side could understand why their opposites were not on the move. High Command in Plymouth was puzzled by the failure of the Republicans to respond to Auchinleck’s offensive; Lawrence and Gloucester posited that the Syndicalists were observing a wintertime repose, while Mackinder and Viscount Samuel believed that Bevan awaited a French invasion with direction from General Montgomery and Maxton. But the suppositions of the Royalist command were unfounded -- Montgomery was still in the continent, unsuccessfully advocating for ground intervention, while Maxton pandered to smaller Internationale states for diplomatic aid. The Republicans, meanwhile, were puzzled themselves as to why the Royalists had not stolen the forward advantage after their triumph over Kirke’s army. Indeed, Wintringham and Bevan’s concerns were now realized; Republican manpower had been seriously depleted by the battle and their capabilities to launch large offensives were austerely restricted. Both sides operated communi ignorantia ductos with regards to each other.

As December passed and the bloody year of 1939 came to its tranquil conclusion, Royalist officials were suddenly convinced that the conflict’s end was in sight. They believed that a lighting attack to the east, followed by a subsequent offensive to the north, would secure the entirety of England and open up the Scottish front. But again, worried battlefield administrators were unsure of the maneuverability of the scanty Royalist supplies -- the lessons of the previous year had proven that the war could not be won for so long as the blockade was enforced. The “blockaded doctrine” had become an ineradicable component of the Royalist psyche -- a component more founded on myth than on empirical definition. Auchinleck, however, was the exception; the General believed that the war against the Internationale could only progress if the Franco-German alliance could be proven as fragile. And, at that present moment, the love of that British Republic was the most solid principle in that unique relation. Auchinleck’s belief was conveniently shared by Chancellor Robbins, who believed that the blockade could only be defeated if its very purpose was to be invalidated. Nevertheless, the plan for further offensive remained extremely unpopular in cabinet, even to Lawrence, who was concerned by RED reports that credited Attlee’s Scottish program as the primary driver behind a revitalized armored army. In early January, Robbins and Beaverbrook co-founded a fabricated report which undermined the RED’s report: published with the intention to deceive Lawrence into approving Auchinleck’s offensive. The deception would prove to be Lawrence’s salvation.

On the Anglican feast of Mary Slessor, that frigid January 13th, Royalist troops made their most critical move of the war. To the beating drums and flutes of the British Grenadiers, the Royalist army launched a two-pronged attack from Manchester and Lincolnshire. Auchinleck drove out to meet the Republicans outside of York, while Lord Stonehaven crept towards Hull. Kirke and Cunningham pulled forth the brunt of their armies and tried to endure the shock of the Royalist offensive. As A.J. P Taylor described the battle, the “Unionists had too many holes in too many places. The violent repugnance in the aftermath of Stoke-on-Trent had been like a fateful stroke to the Republic; it could no longer plug the holes and stop the boat from sinking.” This famous description could not be closer to the truth. Outside of Sheffield, the Republican lines became too ductile and adaptive to remain a coherent defensive position. Auchinleck drove a wedge between Kirke’s army and snapped it into two; the result was a full rout to Hull, itself under siege from Stonehaven’s army. When the remnants of Kirke’s army arrived, it appeared as though the Republicans had won a great blow. The city had been relieved and Stonehaven was forced to withdraw several miles as to prevent outflanking. However, the triumph was but a momentary facade -- Auchinleck’s army left Sheffield and York unguarded (a stark reversal from the previous policy of occupation) and pinned the newly arrived Republicans in a narrow corridor along the coastline. Concurrently, Stonehaven counter-attacked after his startling retreat, and easily occupied Hull. The two largest Republican armies, shaken by another stunning defeat, fled the corridor of escape to Sunderland. For the first time, the Royalists would not rest.


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A Royalist soldier takes the surrender of a Republican tank during the Winter Offensive.

Inspired by their own non-depleted supply storages, Auchinleck and Stonehaven continued their rapid offensive, contesting Northumberland for the first time in the war. With reinforcements from Vereker, Kirke believed that he could hold off the Royalist onslaught before Sunderland and Carlisle were occupied. But the reinforcements arrived too late, and Kirke was forced to pull himself to Cumbria, where the Republicans established a mobile HQ in Cumbria. In Cumbria, the Royalist fortunes were not so bountiful; Scottish divisions and elite regiments hurried in defense of the last settlement before Royalists could push into the much coveted Caledonia. In early February, however, Lord Stonehaven ordered a sizeable detachment of troops from Newclastle to cross the North Pennines and support Auchinleck’s attack from Kendel. Desperate for results, Kirke and Wintringham ordered 26,000 parachuters to launch an aerial offensive from behind Royalist lines and reverse the tempo of the war. The landing itself was extraordinarily successful, with Manchester briefly falling into Republican hands, but the action itself was futile; Kirke had been separated from Carlisle on the same day as the aerial operation and the entire action was rendered useless. All surviving 20,000 parachuters would surrender to the Royalist Army on the 8th of February.

Into Alba

The Royalist offensive achieved full occupation of England on the 10th of February, much to the patriotic rumpus of the Royalist elite. With every new occupation, another port was opened for possible Irish exchange, and the embargo continued to weaken. Lawrence knew that General Wintringham was on his last legs; his political and personal condition was ever enervated by each defeat. The Republic was dying.


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Royalist troops celebrate the victory in England with the raising of the Union Jack.

A series of communications between Paris and Edinburgh demonstrated the artificiality of the Franco-British alliance that had (just two years prior) struck down the German lion. Dunois believed, with increasing conviction, that the concession of the British isles was an inevitable devolopment. The British people were too self-consumed to ever concede their statehood for the syndicalist supernation; their ancient liberties, prejudices, and discriminations too strong for domestic containment. It was now all too apparent that the same patriotism that Mr. Mosley had aroused in his own victory was the same sentiment preventing the British populace from widespread agitation against their Royalist ‘occupiers.’ In the apogee of his speech before the Departments, Dunois exclaimed, “Ils sont tout simplement, un peuple conservateur!” No longer could the consensus of a pre-internationalist statist condition function -- Britain itself was a contradiction to that ideal. If Syndicalism was to be secured in that sceptic isle, it would have to be secured by gentlemen with képis. But Dunois still needed allies: ‘‘cooperators,’ if you please. He sent an urgent telegram to Bevan on the 15th of February -- demanding a certain variety of action. That same day, secret spec op soldiers under the command of Fleming carried out the coordinated assassination of General Wintringham as he departed from his office. Bevan assumed direct command of the Republic, only to the flee the Isles with his deputies the following morning.


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Attlee and Bevan board a plane during 'The Great Edinburgh Exile.'

After receiving news of Wintringham’s assassination and the sudden Edinburgh coup, Auchinleck crossed the Scottish border and attacked Dumfries and Galloway, while Stonehaven commenced his offensive against Kirke’s Edinburgh defensive network. In Dumfries, the contest lasted just a few hours, with Auchinleck’s army turning to support Stonehaven’s attack in the east. But around Edinburgh the Republican army deployed its full strength; entangling the attackers in a bloody webb of barricades, traps, and armoured skirmishes. As thousands perished outside the city, disparate Royalist divisions surreptitiously made their way around the battlefield, and towards Aberdeen’s unguarded metropolis. After nearly a week of combat with French “garrisons” in Aberdeen, Auchinleck’s troops turned south and attacked the vulnerable wing of Edinburgh’s defenses. The capital was surrounded; remaining Syndicalist ministers fled the city (with the notable exception of Sydney Silverman), while Kirke hopelessly battled off the overwhelming numbers of the Royalist incursion. With the battle progressing with an unmerciful prosecution, Royalist and Republican regiments began to surrender, closing the quantity of engaged combatants. Nonetheless, for nearly a week, each passing day shattered the previous day’s record for bloodiest day in British history. When, at last, the futile nature of the battle was exposed, and the Republican position proved to be unsustainable, Kirke surrendered. The Civil War was over.
--
Well, I hope you all have enjoyed this AAR. It surely has been a pleasure to write.

And of course, you all get two epilogue chapters in the future to close everything out.
 

Warlord Skorr

Perfect one that commits massacres among rebels
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Huzzah! The Exiles have won back territories devastated by war that will greatly over-extend the Entante's military, within bombing range of a hostile Franco-German alliance, and with more than a generation requiring re-education after intense anti-monarchical propaganda!

Poisoned chalice or not, kudos to Lawrence and Edward for making the Return a reality. Mad dreamers changed the world once again.
 
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