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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
Paris, January 1936
A new French government was sworn in today in the wake of considerable unrest. France, once considered a true world power, is known to be struggling to meet its financial obligations. The new cabinet, although slightly leftist in outlook, has come to power on the back of a promised "austerity program", designed to get the struggling nation back on its feet.


France's new cabinet - several minister changes designed to boost IC and manpower growth

The new government quickly proved its commitment to cutting costs: a dozen proud, but aging (WWI model) ships were decommissioned from the French Navy, and the order for the "Dunkerque" was canceled.


Essen, March 1936
These difficult but necessary decisions emboldened the Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler. He ordered the re-militarization of the Rhineland, in a direct challenge to the Versailles treaty.

Committed to a policy of financial restraint, and receiving no encouragement from the British government, the French cabinet could do nothing about the move. The French press, however, were outraged by this "betrayal of a generation's sacrifices".

Not even news of war in China could stem the tide of criticism.


War in China - like that matters!


Paris, July 1936
The continuing dissatisfaction with the Rhineland situation forced a general election. The ruling cabinet - a coalition of centrist parties - shocked the pollsters by winning the day. Their new platform: to restore French dignity, and ensure the security of Europe, whatever the cost. Promises of increased military expenditure in the wake of 'the Rhineland Aggression' carried the team to victory.

It would not be long before the government's promises were put to the test:


War in Spain - hey! That's our backyard!

The French government anxiously debated as a whirlwind of headlines were made: Italian and German equipment and 'volunteers' poured into the Nationalist war effort. The British refused any participation. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, gave aid to the Republican forces. Where would France stand?

On July 30th 1936, the question was answered: France would stand in the trenches. Severing their ties with Britain, France offered articles of alliance to the the Spanish Republic.

War had come to France ...


Game Notes
Hard/Aggressive. That 20% IC penalty hurts - I started this game with an effective IC of 40!
I'm using SMEP5.0beta (not publicly released) plus a few tweaks of my own (which I'll mention when they happen - there haven't been any yet). The option to directly intervene in the Spanish Civil War was new to SMEP5.0beta ... I'm not sure if it is in the DD version or not. Italy and Germany also get the option, though the AI has a very low chance of taking it (for Italy) or none (for Germany).


Previous AARs
Wow, these are from a while ago ...
Trattato di Roma: Clash of the Dictators - Italy, 1936, SMEP 4.5
The Lion's Teeth - UK, 1936, SMEP 4.5
Ride of the Red Horse - USSR, Cavalry Spam!, 1936, SMEP 4.5
 
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Milites

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Looks very promising.
I'm a sucker for French AARs especially when you'll be combatting fascist and nazi foes. Don't let the Francoists and reactionaries win!

Oh and with a 40 IC base... good luck!


/btw, how did yuo make Albert Sarraut head of government?
 

Battle bunny

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Looks very promising.
I'm a sucker for French AARs especially when you'll be combatting fascist and nazi foes. Don't let the Francoists and reactionaries win!

Oh and with a 40 IC base... good luck!


/btw, how did yuo make Albert Sarraut head of government?
He is the head of government when the game starts out. (If he still is HoG in July, the player chose Keep Current Govt. at Election Times.)
 

Milites

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That just goes to show how long ago it has been since I've played a non-kaiserreich game as France.
 

El Pip

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Should be interesting, a very assertive France strutting it's funky stuff on the European stage.

Definitely one I'll be watching.
 

Faeelin

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Forty?? Good luck man.
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
Paris, August 1936
The alliance with Republican Spain was not popular in all parts of France. Major strikes wracked French industry, with nearly ten percent of the work force resisting any employment that would help support the 'anarchist rabble' to the south.

International reaction was also adverse. Relations with Britain, previously warm, became very strained, while both Italy and Germany lodged formal protests. In public, the French Premier rejected all such petitions. In private, he and the cabinet made plans in case the conflict in Spain expanded into a general war. Instructions were issued for additional divisions to be recruited into the army, and a large reserve force was established behind the Maginot line. Only fifteen divisions, representing the cream of the French Armed Forces, would be sent to Spain.


Madrid, September 1936
Over the next few weeks, some observers wondered if the French units would even be required to fight. Republican divisions quickly pacified all Nationalist forces in the north-east, driving Franco's supporters into enclaves around Burgos and Seville. French forces advanced into Saragossa and Bilbao without needing to fire a shot.

Then Nationalist partisans rose up behind the lines, seizing Barcelona in Franco's name. With his supply lines to France in danger, General Giraud turned his most mobile units – fast tanks and cavalry – back to the northern city. The partisans were swiftly crushed, but the detour had cost a week's time from the advance.

Giraud now extended his line by sending his mobile forces to Madrid. Improvising his plans as he travelled, the General launched an assault into Vallodadid. Further north, his subordinates launched a flanking assault to prevent any Nationalist advance into Siguenza.


French Expeditionary Forces fight Nationalists regulars for the first time

Both actions were a success: Giraud drove the Nationalists back toward Burgos, eliminating any direct threat to Madrid, while the northern lines remained stable. With Madrid secure, the fiery General sent his 'flying column' to the south, as he was eager to drive these Nationalist enclaves into the sea.


Nanjing, September 1936
The distant and seemingly unimportant scuffle in China became a much more serious matter in September.

Flush with the success of his forces against warlord troops, and with a newly-minted treaty in place to keep the Communist forces neutral, Chiang Kai-Shek spurned a peace deputation sent to him by the Guangxi Clique.

Desperately, the warlord leaders looked for an ally: and they found one.


Chiang bites off more than he can chew

Within days, almost the whole of China would be drawn into the conflict.


The war in China continues to escalate


Madrid, December 1936
General Giraud's forces easily crushed the outnumbered Nationalist armies of the south. Franco's supporters now held only a few worthless desert provinces in Africa, and a triangle of territory in the north-west of Spain.

Unfortunately, it was November by the time Giraud's forces were back in position to attack this Nationalist redoubt. The weather had already turned sour, and fresh material and 'volunteers' had arrived from Germany in support of the Nationalist cause. Now Franco's men were fielding tanks of their own!

Representatives of the Republican and French governments met with Giraud in Madrid during early December. The decision was made: in order to minimize casualties, they would wait for Spring to arrive before making the final push to end the war.


Chongqing, December 1936
In Asia, however, there were no such compunctions about casualties. China had immense manpower to draw on, while Japanese soldiers considered it an honour to die in battle. Both sides slugged back and forth with everything they had, though by the end of the year, it was clear which alliance had the upper hand.


Chiang's dreams of glory are in tatters


Game Notes
Allying with Republican Spain causes 8% dissent. On the other hand, it cancels the 'peace time' industry penalty, so my effective IC while at war with Nationalist Spain is about double what it was before … and of course I also need much less in the way of consumer goods. My previously modest military expansion (a short serial run of destroyers, and a longer one of infantry) was expanded significantly, with six parallel runs of six infantry divisions apiece.

From a purely gameplay perspective, then, it is in my best interest to draw out the war as long as possible. I don't want to do something too 'gamey' though: in reality, France would want to finish the war as quickly as they could. So my plan is to resolve things reasonably briskly once the weather gets better in 1937.

The Guangxi-Nationalist China war is a SMEP event. Once the Nationalists clearly have the upper hand, a peace event fires: Chiang can either take peace (and half of the Guangxi Clique's territory) or press for total conquest. The odds are on the former, but in this game, the latter course was chosen. The bad news for Chiang, is that Japan takes a very dim view of Nationalist ambitions when this occurs. It's rare to see China get wiped out in a non-DAIM game (I don't have DAIM installed at the moment), but I think this might be one time it happens. I'm pre-emptively editing the China Surrender events, since they make no allowance for Japan having warlord allies, and would lead to said allies being annexed along with Nationalist China itself!
 
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unmerged(136038)

Sergeant
Feb 27, 2009
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The Guangxi-Nationalist China war is a SMEP event. Once the Nationalists clearly have the upper hand, a peace event fires: Chiang can either take peace (and half of the Guangxi Clique's territory) or press for total conquest.
Odd i thought it was in the original game too.
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
I could be wrong about what's in the un-modded game and what isn't. It's been a long time since I played without SMEP (actually, it's been a long time since I've played HOI2 at all - this is my first game in at least six months). :)
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
London, January 1937
The upper echelons of British society had been horrified by the French intervention in the Spanish civil war. It was all so very vulgar. Prime Minister Stanely Baldwin shared his people's distaste for the Republican cause. However, the policy of Collective Security - a principle to which the British government was committed - lived and died with the French Army. Baldwin could not allow the rupture with France to widen. Nor could he risk a further expansion of the Spanish War. Hitler's Germany had already supplied bombers and tanks to the Nationalist forces, as well as implausibly numerous 'volunteers'.

Speaking live on radio, in an address heard by millions, Baldwin committed His Majesty's Government to oppose any 'opportunistic attack upon the French people'.


How's that for justifying this bit of AI weirdness?

This controversial decision would see Baldwin ousted within the year, but would forever cement his reputation within France.


Chongqing, January 1937
While Europe held its breath for the end of winter, the war in China raged on. Japanese forces were now in the southern parts of the country, where the climate allowed continued operations at this time of the year. Provided the Japanese government had the will to continue the war in the face of international opinion, Chiang's regime was doomed.


Can China survive?


Saragossa, March-July 1937
In Europe, Spring finally arrived. As soon as the cold weather broke, General Giraud ordered an exploratory attack on Nationalist positions in Burgos. The probe took place before the roads were even dry, and made little progress. The Nationalist positions were well fortified and entrenched: to take them by storm would cost many lives. With significant opposition to the war still being felt in France, the French Government had ordered Giraud to minimise casualties. He called off the attack after six hours, and considered his options. Public opinion - and the need to defend the German and Italian borders - would not tolerate an expansion of his forces.

The General's best option was clear: as he could not go through the enemy lines at Burgos, he would instead go around them. Orders were issued for a probing attack at Oviedo, on the northern end of the front. This attack, too, was rebuffed, but forward troop elements were able to confirm that the Nationalist forces were weaker in this region.

Taking advantage of the speed of his mechanised and mounted divisions, Giraud wheeled his command to the north, and launched a reinforced attack on Oviedo. Nationalist forces held for just over 24 hours, then retreated when French armor achieved a breakthrough.

Winning the battle, however, was only half the task. The land still had to be taken and held. French troops advanced very slowly, their progress delayed by the mountainous terrain, poor roads, and frequent attacks by snipers. As more than one soldier lamented "it's like they don't want to be liberated". It would take seven long weeks before the French position in Oviedo was secure.

Meanwhile, General Giraud moved his command back to Siguenza, just in time to drive off a Nationalist attack. The General was eager to follow up the success with a counter-attack into Burgos, but his troops had become too disorganised from their rapid march to the battle, and he had to call off the attack.

At last, on June 3rd, the final assault on Burgos began. Despite being flanked by French positions in Oviedo, the defenders fought grimly for nearly 36 hours, before retreating under cover of darkness on the night of June 4th.

The Battle of Burgos was the end for the Nationalist cause. They would continue to resist fiercely for another seven weeks, both in the field of battle and with irregular tactics, but that fortified line had been the linchpin of their defense. The end now was only a matter of time.


Franco bows to the inevitable


Paris, July 1937
Despite the military successes, the Spanish War was in many ways a political defeat for the French government. Going to the aid of a democratically-elected government, they had seen their ally grow more and more authoritarian and extreme was the war went on. The alliance with Spain, begun with such high hopes, was terminated as soon as the last Nationalist forces laid down their weapons.

Feeling chastened by Spanish ingratitude, the French government turned back to their old friends.


Got it on the first try.


Ya'nan, November 1937
Of course, at least the French had friends. For the Nationalist Chinese, there was no such consolation. And their enemies just kept on multiplying ...


So much for the United Front in this world!


Game Notes
It took seven weeks to march troops from Bilbao to Oviedo. Oof! Getting to La Coruna is a long haul, too. I really was trying to win the war as fast as possible, but it was slow going.

This game has one of the most unusual Chinese wars I've seen: at least for an AI-only situation.
 
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unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
Paris, January 1938
Some six months after the end of the hostilities in Spain, the French High Command issued a formal paper discussing the lessons learned from the conflict. The chief authors of this document were General Giraud, who had held overall command of the French forces in Spain, and Lieutenant General Lattre de Tassigny, who had commanded the vital advance from Bilbao to Oviedo. Their report would generate a storm of controversy across the entire French military.

"Fortifications" wrote Giraud, in a passage that would re-shape French strategy, "present as formidable barrier. But any barrier is only as strong as its weakest point, and any fortified position that can be outflanked is no barrier at all."

Giraud was writing of the fortifications in Burgos, which had been turned and overrun when Nationalist forces lost control of Oviedo to the French. But to even the most blinkered strategist, it was clear that his words applied just as much to the vaunted Maginot Line.

Reactions in the French General Staff came in two flavours: denial and distress. Fortunately for France; fortunately for the world; distress won out. For every Maurice Gamelin, who discounted Giraud's contention with the words "to compare Burgos to Maginot is to compare tap water to Champagne", there was a de Gaulle or a Georges, who reviewed the reports, studied the battles, and came to one inevitable conclusion: wars could not be won on the defensive, but they could be lost. These men were felt anger and fear at this realisation. But they made use of that anger and fear to seek out new strategies tactics for France.

This revolution in French military theory did not occur overnight, of course, but it did happen, bit by bit. First to go was the focus on 'Fortress Units'. If Burgos showed nothing else, it showed that there must be a mobile reserve, able to respond to enemy movements. Franco's forces had lacked this, and they had paid the price. The second change was an increased emphasis on mechanisation. The 'tank armies' for which Charles de Gaulle was arguing would not become a reality any time soon, but anti-tank guns and artillery pieces could be mounted on vehicles, increasing their own mobility and the mobility and firepower of their parent divisions.

The third, final, and most important change was in many ways a return to the French Army of old. Twenty years of defence-focused doctrine was slowly ground down by the advocates of mobile war, who pointed to the proud tradition of aggressiveness and élan that had long characterised the soldiers of France, and called for its return. The Spanish experience, they argued, had shown that the dominant position in war was no longer with the defence. France must adapt to the new realities of war, or risk destruction …


Game Notes
Just some fluff to explain the actions I was taking in game around this time. Which were, in short, to continue producing more Infantry corps as fast as I could, given my peace and difficulty-afflicted limited IC. I also cranked out six early tank destroyer brigades, and started off research on SP Artillery.
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
Vienna, March 1938
Although the French High Command was now advocating a more aggressive strategic doctrine, one unpleasant truth remained: the opponent the army was most likely to face was Germany ... a nation which possessed more population, and more industry, than France.

And a nation which, in March 1938, redrew the map of Europe.


"Anschluss." "Gesundheit."


Tokyo, August 1938
Germany was not the only nation to be redrawing maps. Nationalist China, already reeling in its conflict with the warlords and their Japanese ally, had now been stabbed in the back by Mao's Communist forces.


By April, Communist infiltrators have already reached the outskirts of Chungking.

Chiang's forces fought doggedly, but there was no hope of victory. The Guomindang simply had too many enemies, too many frontiers, and insufficient men for either. The Generalissimo stole away from his besieged capital soon after the first Communist artillery strikes landed near his palace. After a long, arduous trek across Nationalist-held but partisan-plagued mountains, Chiang managed to pass into neutral Tibet. From there, he made his way into British India, and then across the Pacific to the United States, where he would spend the next few years doing his best to poison the already-strained relationship between Japan and the US.

With their leader gone, Guomindang forces surrendered. The Japanese established a puppet state based in Nanking, under the figurehead leadership of Wang Jingwei. This new regime was forced to cede considerable territory to the warlords of Yunnan and Guangxi, as well as leaving its entire coastline under Japanese control. In theory, these concessions would be made good by the reclamation of Communist-controlled territories, but in practice, the infant regime would be too busy trying to get its sullen population under control to press these claims, and the Japanese seemed to have little interest in assisting them now that their main war aims were achieved and Chinese power had been splintered.


Japan carves up the Chinese cake.

The victorious Japanese government immediately began a diplomatic offensive in the Far East, putting increasing pressure on Siam, Sianking, and Tibet to join Tokyo's self-proclaimed "Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere". Within weeks, this pressure would pay dividends, as Sinkiang's leaders read between the lines of the polite diplomatic overtures and joined the growing Japanese-led alliance.


The Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere


Paris, March 1939
In the months following the Ahschluss, the French government desperately sought an answer to its most troubling question: how could France, with a smaller population and industrial base, defeat Germany, should war come? The events of the Spanish War had shown the weakness of the vaunted Maginot Line: a simply plunge through Belgium, as had happened in 1914, would circumvent this White Elephant of an obstacle.

The obvious answer was that France needed allies. And not allies like the United Kingdom, with its small army, or like distant Australia and Canada. It needed a continental ally: a strong state with a modern army, a direct border with Germany, and the will to defy Hitler.

In the first instance, French leaders looked to Czechoslovakia. Perhaps, with British pressure, Prague could have been brought into the fold. However, Neville Chamberlain's cabinet had their eyes on the East, where Japan's rise seemed to threaten the Imperial Jewel: India itself. "The United Kingdom has no interest in further alliances or guarantees on the continent." Lord Halifax told the French Ambassador. "I doubt most British subjects could even tell you were Czechoslovakia is."

With Britain disinterested, France could only watch helplessly as Czechoslovakia was first stripped of the Sudetenland, and then dismembered completely, by the increasingly rapacious Hitler.


Germany breaks the promises of Munich ... and breaks Czechoslovakia at the same time

Finally, the United Kingdom was forced to act. Unilaterally, they made an offer that stunned the French cabinet ... but which also offered a glimmer of hope.


Could Poland be the anvil, and France the hammer, if war should come?

Immediately, overtures were made to the Polish government for military talks at the highest level ...


Game Notes
The Chinese settlement is an event I modded in. It's basically the existing Chinese Surrender, except Japan doesn't annex any warlord states to which it is allied. Instead, it gives them spoils from China, and releases a weakened Chinese puppet (which I think is a good thing, since the full-size Chinese puppet is deeply unsatisfying to me).

Yunnan has a couple of claims on the Chinese Communists (who right now, have an IC of 59/41, but must be chewing through stockpiles to do so, as they definitely don't have the resources to maintain it). Nationalist China has claims on all the rest.

I've taken MilCom over Poland, and have begun organizing their forces for defensive operations against Germany.

You know, just in case the need arises ... :)
 

th3freakie

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You cancelled the Dunkerque? Have you no pride in the Glorious Naval History of France? :(
 

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
I have a great deal of pride in the glorious naval history of Trafalgar, the Nile and Cape St Vincent :)

If I was playing on Normal, I would have finished the Dunkerque. On Hard, with a total of 40 IC, it's just too darn expensive.
 

Nathan Madien

Field Marshal
Mar 24, 2006
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I love the attitude of the British.

"Screw Czechoslovakia! We don't need them! But Poland! We can't live without Poland!"
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
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Berlin, August 1939
All through the Spring and Summer of 1939, Europe seemed to hold its breath. It seemed too much to hope that Nazi ambitions had ended with the betrayal of the Munich treaties. On the other hand, Poland's accession to the Allies, and the establishment of a combined Franco-Polish High Command, under the able oversight of Maurice Gamelin, represented a significant challenge to Hitler's territorial aspirations.

Perhaps the biggest question of all, however, was "What of Stalin?". The Soviet Union had been an implacable enemy to Fascism and Nazism. However, it was also no friend of the Allies. The French government in particular had cold relations with Stalin, who they accused of subverting the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. "French soldiers fought and bled," remarked Albert Sarraut during private deliberations of the government, "but it was the Soviet Union who won the war."

Despite the distance and distrust between Stalin and the western nations, a British diplomatic mission was despatched to Moscow. It was hoped, as tensions continued to simmer, that a new Entente could be formed, which would dissuade Hitler from any further aggression.

The British mission was still steaming across the Baltic Sea, however, when the situation changed completely: an exultant Goebbels, speaking live on radio, announced a "perpetual treaty of peace and friendship" between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Far Left and the Far Right of politics, despite the rhetoric of hatred between them, signed a cynical and self-serving diplomatic agreement that left Hitler free to act.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, indeed.


French forces ready for the coming storm

The French response was immediate: the code-word 'Babylon' was sent to all units, and dozens of divisions immediately re-deployed to the German border. It was hoped, by this demonstration of military readiness, to avert war.

"Operation Babylon was our last, best hope for peace." General Gamelin would record in his memoirs. "It failed. But now it would become something greater: our best hope for victory."


Warsaw, September 1939
Franco-Polish operational plans, refined over the previous five months, immediately went into effect. In Poland, the strategy was "elastic defence". The central Polish line was to hold its ground as best it could, but to be prepared to retreat when a position became untenable. A great deal of time had been spent training units in the importance of maintaining an unbroken battle-line. "A breach in the line allows the attacker to out-flank the defence", French-produced training documents warned. "A defensive position that has been out-flanked and surrounded is simply a prison for the defenders. It is better in most instances to give up ground, and maintain an unbroken line, than to become cut-off by holding a position for too long".

The German onslaught quickly overran Danzig and Poznan, with Polish forces falling back, in good order, to a line running from Torusc to Cracow. There, the natural lie of the land made it difficult for German forces to get multiple angles of attack on the Polish positions. At least temporarily, the position solidified.

Although defence was the priority, Polish élan could not be entirely contained, and mobile forces had been retained on each flank of the line. These forces now pressed forward. In the south, they easily overran the eastern half of Germany's Slovakian client state, while in the north, they seized Konigsberg, trapping several German divisions in Memel, and then advanced into Elbing, driving Wehrmacht forces from a dangerous flanking position near Torusc.


The Polish Front, Day 12


Paris, September-October 1939
Polish commanders had good reason to be pleased with the outcome of the first two weeks of the war. Though hard-pressed, they had held their line. However, their efforts and sacrifice would all be in vain if French forces did not also show the same spirit and courage.

Fortunately, Gallic pride demanded no less than the utmost possible effort. At dawn on the first morning of the war, three quarters of a million men began to move. French forces crossed the Rhine first in the region of Freiburg, then swept north toward Stuttgart.

"Our forces in Strasbourg are a clenched fist." The normally dour General De Gaulle said in an unusually colourful moment. "When the war comes, the fist must be swung, and swung with all our might. And it must be swung straight for Berlin."

Wehrmacht forces on the border fought bravely, but were outnumbered by eight or even ten to one. They reeled back from defensive line to defensive line, barely slowing the grinding advance of the French forces.

As town after town fell to the French, panic appeared amongst the German High Command. Forces were stripped from the Polish front, condemning the planned attacks there to failure, in a desperate attempt to plug the collapsing western front. But this meant taking men who had already been tired and bloodied by battles in the east, and force-marching them back to face a triumphant enemy. Disorganised and dispirited, the Wehrmacht forces simply could not hold the line. The position became so bad, in fact, that even the eastern front began to crumble. Danzig was lost to Polish forces, while Kustrin and Bratislava came under threat.

By the end of October, it was clear that Hitler's dreams had brought Germany only nightmares.


The French Army: Finest in the World!

Circumventing their increasingly irrational leader, Wehrmacht commanders used contacts in Sweden to make a covert approach to the French government, requesting terms for a surrender.

In Paris, the French cabinet met in secret session. The German request was debated long into the night. In the end, the decision was made. It was far from universal, and far from universally popular with the French populace, but it had been supported by the overwhelming majority of the cabinet.

There would be no terms for Germany.


Berlin, November-December 1939
"The German Army had long argued that it was never defeated in the Great War." Albert Lebrun explained the decision that he himself had argued against. "It was the majority opinion of the cabinet that such an outcome could not be countenanced this time. Germany must submit utterly, or not at all. There would be no armistice. No agreements. For every Wehrmacht soldier, there would be only two options: surrender or death."

Within France, the decision caused considerably dismay. In Germany, it led to increased resistance, as many soldiers felt they had nothing left to lose. But the outcome of the war was no longer in doubt. French and Polish forces had linked hands, cutting off the former territories of Czechoslovakia and Austria from their high command. Berlin was invested, and after a stiff defence, was occupied on November 19th.

Berlin falls; Hitler's corpse recovered from Fuhrerbunker

By now, there were only the mopping up operations to go. Ever-dwindling numbers of hardline Wehrmacht and SS units continued their resistance, but it was a forlorn defiance. Finally, on December 10th, the last German regiments – some forty thousand men trapped in Memel - laid down their arms.


Over by Christmas!


Danzig, December 1939
The victors of the war now known as "Hitler's Folly" met in Danzig, the symbolic heart of the conflict, to discuss the new order in Europe. It was a three power conference: representatives came from Britain, which had provided the majority of the Allied air support; from France, which had provided the largest and best-equipped army; and Poland, whose brave soldiers had provided the anvil on which the Wehrmacht was shattered.

The conference took place under the cloud of ever-worsening relations with the Soviet Union. The secret clauses of the Molotov – von Ribbentrop Pact had been discovered in the ruins of Berlin. These clauses represented a vile betrayal of Poland, and exposed Stalin's naked ambition for power and land. Already, Estonia and Latvia had been gobbled up by the Red Army. It was obvious the Allies would need to be strong and united if they were to resist any further expansion of Communism. It was also obvious that, in the event of war with the Soviet Union, it would have to be France who led the Allies. Britain's famed navy might keep the island kingdom safe, but it could not protect Europe from the Red Army.

French ascendancy within the Allies, as well as the new stature of Poland, was recognised by the four points of the Danzig Declaration.

First, that in light of the Soviet aggression toward the Baltic states, the territory of Memel would be ceded not to Lithuania, which was in danger of Soviet occupation, but to Poland.


Memel to Poland

Second, that the oppressed peoples of Czechoslovakia would be freed, and their homeland immediately restored to them.


Czechoslovakia restored – but what to do with the Reich?

Third, that once the Allies were confident that there was no risk of a fascist insurrection, and "at any event within three months", independence would also be restored to Austria.

Fourth, that the answer to the "German Question" was to be resolved by further discussions, but that the final decision would by force of the circumstances rest with France, in consultation with Poland. This decision to be delivered "within eighteen months". Until that time, direct occupation by Franco-Polish forces would continue.


Game Notes
Germany folded like a paper bag. I honestly expected it to be much tougher than it was.

If France is beating the Germans, the Germans can ask for an Armistice, and France can either accept it, or reject it. If you accept it, France gets the Rhineland, and Germany eventually has a democratic revolution. I, however, chose the latter course. I figured it might be fun to create an alternate settlement of the German question.

After Germany was annexed, I modified the save game so that France, not the UK, is leader of the Allies. I think that makes sense in the circumstances, and I like actually being able to do something useful diplomatically – like invite countries to my alliance.
 

th3freakie

Commissar for a European People's Economy
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Yup, Germany is like that. You kinda have to want to lose to re-create an historical situation or a repeat of WW1. :(
 

Hawkeye1489

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Very interesting. Can't wait to see what happens with Jairmany and Paris's answer to the new Soviet Question.

Cheers,
~Hawk
 

stnylan

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Gutted Germany like a rotten fish. Whither now?