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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Well, if Mother speaks Portuguese ... how about Lisbon? A useful transit point, base for info in Spain, later maybe even Vichy, occupied France?
Maybe Lisbon, maybe Brazil (who wants to see a South America update in a couple of weeks?). There is no Vichy, only German occupied France and France in exile (Colonial empire). I should also specify my personal rules for these missions, so we don't lose touch with the game... no mission if the country is part of a faction and we have no in game spies working in said country. (Germany in the case of Occupied France) It's a possibility, but it would imply a risky espionage mission in Germany (/Occupied France, it's one country right now)...Who knows, we could get something interesting out of Germany, if our spies last long enough to steal anything anyway. I should mention, that if all of in game spies in said country die while our Committee assets are still 'there', they will die too. (I'm not afraid to kill characters, I'll just make up new ones if the story gets a bit thin...). These rules is so I don't abuse the story to get in game info I wouldn't realistically be able to get with the elements in play the game...

What to do now? Idk, maybe drugging the French high-command and driving out in style. (wearing their uniforms):)
I'll see what I can do...

Now that's a fine plan. Maybe they should work on making heavy-tank balloons.:D
When you do it in a way to support existing enemy suspicions, it can work quite well. ;)
Agreed. Even for feigned-assaults, like those parachuting-dolls w/ fireworks attached.:)
It seems like you two are perfect for a job in French high command, sitting in a colonial palace in Hanoi, and pulling impressive Division names out of thin air, then fitting them out with balloons to fool the Germans... It'd be entertaining at least. The problem is that France has no heavy tanks left, so if you suddenly invent two "Divisions de Cuirassés Lourds" consisting of Militia with blow up tanks, you won't fool the Germans... The Division Motorisée was quite a bit more plausible. You might still fool the Italians though...
 
23rd of December 1940, 'Tri' & 'Shest': Foreign Government Report #2, Japan

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The 23rd of December 1940, near Vologda, -11.3°C, 10pm Moscow Time

A long burst of static was emitted towards Alger, meaning that we want 'Mother' and 'Odinatsat' to come home. Protocol dictates that they contact us through an Embassy or Consulate, as soon as they get out of French territory, they have a cover as gru operatives, and should thus be able to get into any embassy's secret communications room. As we don't know which way they will escape, it will be some time before we get a full report.

On another note, the second report on the world's Major Powers, by 'Tri' and 'Shest' has arrived ahead of schedule:

The 23rd of December 1940,

First, an introduction to how Japanese society became what it is today:

If you are already intimately familiar with the history of the Japanese Government structure in the runup to the Second World War, you might want to skip straight tot the review of the government.

In January 1868, the military regime of Keiki, Shogun of Tokugawa, was overthrown by an alliance of various Samurai clans. the Japanese Empire was restored, the seat of power was moved back from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto, city of residence of the Emperor. This turmoil followed pressure by imperialist capitalist powers for the then Isolationist island to open their ports to Western trade. The point of no return is often placed at 1853, when US Navy Commodore Perry entered Edo (Tokyo) Bay with the US East India Squadron, past the Japanese line of ships, training his guns on the coastal town of Uraga, and refusing to move until US demands had been heard. This move paralised the Tokugawa Regime, and the lack of a suitably strong response to this new threat eventually lead to the downfall of the whole regime as Tokugawa saw no other choice but to bend to US demands.

The disparate group of nobles who orchestrated the final deposition of Tokugawa all felt that Japan needed to be united, and have a strong military, so that it would not have to bend to foreign demands. They pushed for a heavily centralised system, with the Emperor, Meiji, as the figurehead. Quickly, the new government moved to disband the ancient 'Han' system, retiring the landed nobility of Daimyos and Samurai. I it's place came a system of 'Kens' (Regions/states), with each it's own Governor, appointed by the central Government. All this centralisation allowed for much heavier taxation. A new Imperial Army and an Imperial Navy was formed and conscription introduced. The extra income allowed the Government to hire experienced western officers as instructors, and to buy the latest western weapons and equipment. This new army was soon a serious deterrent for western interference, as it's training and equipment were on par.

But the new government had more ideas, they pushed for rushed industrialisation, and the development of large dockyards and Armament factories. To make things go faster, they weren't afraid to buy, steal and/or borrow western equipment, technology, and know-how. All this progress did put the Samurai and Daimyos out of work, they received a small state pension, and were forbidden to wear any distinctive markings. It should be noted that many members of the new government had Samurai ancestry, but they did not subscribe to the old feudal system. These old Samurai, who were bored, and looking for something to do, many joined the Army, and soon they suggested an expansion of Japan on the Continent, Korea seemed like the prime candidate. The peninsula refused to open it's ports to Japanese trade, despite significant diplomatic pressure.

The 'Korean expedition' was planned for 1974, but it was aborted at the last minute, not because the Meiji Government was against expansion per se, but because continued expansion of the Industry and economic development were seen as more important in the long term. Of course several Samurai did not see it that way, Saigo, Itagaki and Ito, all retired from the Government in protest. Saigo would go even further, he would raise a 20.000 man Army to defy the authority of the Meiji regime. The Imperial Army, now counting 40.000 men equipped with the latest weapons, managed to wipe out Saigo's rebel army and reassert control of the region. This was not the end of expansionist ideas in Japan, it was only the beginning.

The temporary shelving of expansionist ideas made an expansion and continued modernisation of the Imperial Army and Navy possible. In the early 1880s new nationalist and expansionist factions were founded and existing ones expanded. Soon these factions, supported by an ever increasing fraction of the population and the ruling class, started taking Korean invasion plans of the shelf again. By the end of the 19th century a full third of the national budget was spent on the military? The navy had 28 Battleships of approximately 57.000 tonnes, the Army had a potential strength of about 300.000 men when fully mobilised.

In 1894, there was a political crisis in Korea, under pressure to attack Korea, the Government decided to act on the opportunity and invaded the peninsula. Soon, the Chinese would strike back, and try to take control of Korea themselves. By August 1894, Japan and China were at war. The Japanese Army easily gave the Chinese a bloody nose and took full control of the peninsula in less than 2 months, exceeding everyone's expectations. By mid 1895, the Japanese Army was marching on Peking. This drove the Chinese to the negotiating table, and in the treaty of Shimonoseki, they recognised Korea as Japanese territory and agreed to pay large amounts of money and resources as war repayments.

This drew the attention of the Western powers, and some concessions were reversed under pressure from Western Diplomats. The direct effect of this was that the Japanese Government began to lose popularity. In response, to make sure that their 'legitimate' gains would never be taken away by outsiders again, they started to spend even more on the Armed Forces. By 1903, the IJA had doubled in size, and the IJN had added 4 Battleships, 16 Cruisers, 23 Destroyers and many smaller ships to it's inventory. Additionally, Japan managed to secure an Alliance with the UK, as both powers were worried about the possibility of Russia grabbing Manchuria. The Anglo-Japanese treaty wasn't binding, but it did mean mutual recognition of both Japanese and British holdings in the region. Moreover, if more than two countries attacked Japan at the same time, Britain had to come to it's aid, which would safeguard Japan against it's enemies ganging up on it.

In 1903-1904, Japanese diplomats tried to negotiate the fate of Manchuria directly with the Tsar's Diplomats. After a total failure to get any concessions from Russia, Japan prepared for war again, an ultimatum was sent, and in April of 1904, the Russian Fleet in Port-Arthur (Vladivostok) was destroyed by the IJN. The IJA went through Manchuria and started a siege of Port-Arthur itself. The Russian army was in full retreat throughout Manchuria, especially in the Mukden region, and after 10 months of siege, Port-Arthur surrendered in January 1905. The final blow was the decimation of the Russian Baltic fleet that was intercepted in the Tsushima strait by the full force of the IJN in a decisive battle. A peace treaty was negotiated in the United States in which the Russians recognised both Korea and Manchuria to be in Japan's sphere of influence, no reparations were paid and Russian territory remained intact. Japanese public opinion wasn't happy with this treaty, having hoped for more concessions from the Russians, and a general atmosphere of belligerence lived on in Japan. Korea became an official protectorate of Japan, before being annexed outright a couple of years later. Japan also took de facto colonial control of Manchuria.

In the first world war, Japan promptly declared war on Germany, not because they really wanted to help the British, but because it allowed them to annex all German territories and concessions in China, as well as the German controlled island in the Pacific. In 1915, a treaty was signed between China and Japan, which significantly increased Japanese influence over China's internal affairs, especially concerning resources and trade. With the other great powers at war in Europe, China had no choice but sign. After the war, Japan was pressured to let go part of the control it had been exerting over China, but no one managed to take away their territorial gains, and these were cemented in the treaty of Washington, which only the Chinese refused to sign. The naval treaty of 1921, which had been negotiated in parallel, put in place a size ratio between the world's main navies, the final ratio was 3-5-5 (IJN-RN-USN), and the Anglo-Japanese Alliance was mutually terminated.

After all this, Japan maintained the status quo in the Pacific through diplomacy, all the while consolidating their recent gains. This short period of peace now seems to have been an anomaly, as the nationalist and patriotic factions which had previously pushed for expansion were still very popular, especially amongst the rural population and Armed forces personnel. A small modification to the Washington Naval treaty was denounced by the IJN, but approved by the government, and this brought things to a boiling point in 1930, when there was a near miss assassination attempt on Prime Minister Hamaguchi, who would die from his injuries a couple of months after the attack.

This series of events brought to the surface the frustration of the Japanese Armed Forces, who had felt neglected with the diminishing defence budgets of the 20s, the Army didn't get enough of the latest equipment. The Army saw Manchuria as the path to gain more political power as there was a network of advanced IJA posts along Manchuria's Japanese built railroads. The combined effect of the Financial crisis, which hit Japan particularly hard, and the conciliatory tone of the government anathema to the feeling of the people that the world had left Japan to it's own devices gave the Army an excuse to execute secret plans,, by baron Tanaka, for Manchuria without political approval. After years of secretive manoeuvring, the Kwantung Army, an IJA captain was assassinated in mysterious circumstances, seemingly by Chinese soldiers. The IJA demanded a humiliating public apology by the Marshall of the Manchurian Army, and when that didn't push the government to action, a bomb exploded on a Japanse Manchurian railroad in what were probably a false flag operation. A Japanese patrol in the area opened fire on a Manchurian one that had come to see what had happened. Upon their return to base, Colonel Itagaki ordered the Manchurian barracks in the area to be taken over by force in retribution. In the morning, when the General staff of the IJA and the Central government awoke, they were briefed on the unfolding crisis and the aforementioned plan to take over Manchuria was put into effect. This is the first clear confrontation of opinion between the civilian government and the Armed forces, and it was won convincingly by the Army.

With their increased power, the IJA became split in two camps. The Kodo-ha, wanted the Army to take explicit control of the state's entire apparatus, and of the entire economy. The Tosei-ha wanted to keep the current system in place, they wanted more power for the army, but were okay with a slower evolution and capitalists, as long as the Army got enough money, equipment, and leeway. The Kodo-ha are held responsible for a slew of political assassinations in the 1931-35 period, the Tosei-ha didn't really mind this, as the assassinated men had been against both movements. The consequence of these assassinations was the loss of civilian control over the Armed forces. In 1935, there was a battle of appointments between both IJA factions, both trying to manoeuvre their own people into the most influential positions and to sidetrack their opponents. A certain Kodo-ha Colonel Aizawa didn't like being sidetracked, instead of going to his posting on a pacific island, he went to Tokyo and tried to assassinate General Nagata. During the ensuing trial, the Kodo-ha leaning 1. Hoheishidan (Infantry Division) tried to take control of Tokyo. They took several neighbourhoods and executed many political figures, but they didn't get the Prime Minister. Soon Navy detachments and Tosei-ha loyalists took the upper hand and the 1. Hoheishidan surrendered to the emperor, the leaders, including Aizawa were executed.

Ironically, the final defeat of the Kodo-ha faction in 1935 actually handed the Army and the Navy de facto control of the Japanese government. In the negotiations after the failed coup attempt, the Armed forces banded together, and demanded a small but significant modification to the make-up of the government. The Ministers of the Army and the Navy now had to be an active Army General and an active Navy Admiral. Previously they had to be retired Generals and Admirals. The real significance of this change becomes clear once you take into account the fact that, in Japan, the departure from the government of a single Minister means the dissolution of said government, similarly only a full government is allowed to govern. The practical result of this is that both the Navy and the Army could constantly threaten to scupper the entire government through the withdrawal of the Navy and/or Army Minister, needless to say that the country was now ruled through compromise between both Imperial armed forces, and not so much through the civilian government...

Review of the current government of Japan:

Head of State (Emperor): Hirohito

Hirohito_wartime(cropped).jpg

Born in 1901, the oldest son to then Crown Prince Yoshihito, Hirohito was predestined to become the Emperor of Japan. His was placed in the family of Count Kawamura Sumiyoshi, a former Vice-Admiral. At age 3, he then returned home after the death of Kawamura. He started Elementary school in 1908 at the prestigious Gakushüln, where all of Japan's nobility sent their children. After his grandfather died, in 1912, he became heir apparent, he was, at the age of 11, formally commissioned in both the Army and the Navy at the rank of Second Lieutenant. He was then promoted by both branches, in 1914, to Lieutenant and Sub-Lieutenant (In the IJA and IJN respectively), then in 1916 to Captain and Lieutenant. He was officially named crown prince in 1916, at the age of 15. After finishing elementary school in 1914, he attended Tögü-gogakumonsho (a special institute for the crown Priince). In 1920, he was promoted again, to Major (IJA) and Lieutnenant-Commander (IJN). After finishing his studies, he went on a tour of Western Europe, visiting the UK, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.


At his return in 1921, at the age of 20, he became Prince-Regent to his father, Emperor Yoshihito, the latter had mental health issues. In 1923, he was promoted again, to Comm (IJA) and Commander (IJN), and again in 1925, to Colonel (IJA) and Captain (IJN). In December 1926, Emperor Taishö (Posthumous name for Yoshihito) died of a heart attack, and Hirohito was proclaimed Emperor. Japan was already a great power, the 9th economy, and the 3rd naval power in the world. The empire was one of only 4 permanent members of the League of Nations. The role of the Japanese emperor is that of a good father, he surveys from afar and offers guidance and council, he has some influence, and big changes in the constitution and declarations of war never happen without his (sometimes tacit) approval or ratification. He rules from up high approving, or not, the proposals of others. He stood behind the political changes described above. He himself lead the Konoeshidan (Imperial Guards Division) to suppress the Kodo-ha rebels in 1936, frustrated with the slow advances made by the Army and Naval forces on the first day. He is said to be big on the Armed forces, and on expansion.

Hirohito, at first doubtful about an alliance with Germany, changed his mind when Germany took Poland in shirt order. He then spurred on his diplomats to have Japan join the Axis. He seems to be most afraid of Soviet interference in Japan's back yard. He is married to a distant cousin and has 5 daughters and 2 sons, among which Crown Prince Akihito born in 1933.

Hirohito is a stern imperialist, and his support for empire building and military expansion has motivated the Japanese factory workers to work harder, significantly increasing Industrial output. (IC +5%)

Head of Government (Prime Minister): Okade Keisuke, Tosei-ha (Control Clique)

Keisuke_Okada_2.jpg

Born in an old Samurai family, he joined the IJN, graduating 7th out of 80 at the IJNaval Academy in 1889. He was posted as midshipman to the ironclad Kongo, then to the cruiser Naniwa. Later on he served as a Lieutenant on the cruisers Itsukushima, the Takachiho, and later on the armoured corvette Hiei. Having served on the Fuji during the first Sino-Japanese war in 1894, he went to the Naval Staff College, and after graduation, served on the Ahikishima before becoming executive officer on the cruiser Yaeyama. Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1899, and to Commander in 1904, he served as XO on the cruisers Chitose, Kasuga, and Asahi. He received his first command, the Cruiser Kasuga in 1910 after being promoted to Captain in 1908. In 1912, he would command the Kashima, before being promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1913.

As a Rear-Admiral he held mostly desk jobs, most notably as commander of the Naval shipbuilding command. He continued his rise through the ranks, being named Vice-Admiral in 1917, and full Admiral in 1924 before being named Commander-in-Chief on the Combined Fleet. Then, in 1927, he became Minister of the Navy, he then resigned in 1929 to become Military Councillor on the Supreme War Council. He was part of the negotiations surrounding the London Naval Treaty in 1930. In 1932, he was Navy Minister for the second time. He fully retired from the Navy in 1933.

In 1934 he was named Prime Minister of Japan, also holding the portfolio of Colonial Affairs. He is told to have been against the increasing militarisation of the Japanese society. In 1936, there was an attempt on his life. He seems to have had a change of heart and is seemingly content to lead a government under the thumb of the IJA and IJN. Akada is considered a happy amateur, with little experience in politics (except for the Navy portfolio), he is perceived to have some trouble with the civilian aspect of things, this means that his administration is more wasteful than necessary, but it has the advantage that the people demand less consumer goods during peacetime, as his style of government makes him likeable. (Money -5%, CG during Peacetime: -2%)

Foreign Minister: Hirota Koki, Tosei-ha (Control Clique)

Kohki_Hirota_suit.jpg

Born to a stonemason in 1878, he was adopted into the Hirota family. From a young age his writing was very good, he wrote the nameplate on the gate of a shrine when he was 11. After going to Shuyukan High School in Fukuoka, he studied law at the Tokyo Imperial University. After graduation he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, becoming a career diplomat. He became director of the Europe and America Department of the Foreign Ministry in 1923, then he was Minister to the Netherlands, and finally Ambassador to the Soviet Union in the 1928-32 period. In 1933, he became Foreign Minister of Saito Makoko, and he retains that position to this day in the Government of Okade Keisuke.

Hirota was instrumental in the discussions following the 1936 coup attempt, he was a big supporter of the changes to increase the influence of the Army and Navy on the government. As Foreign Minister he has set out 3 principles: Creating a Japan-China-Manchukuo bloc, organising a common Sino-Japanese defence against the spread of Communism, and the suppression of Anti-Japanese activities in China. He clearly doesn't like the Soviet Union very much... He had a hand in the peace deal that has ended the war in China. Where China gave up the Coastal regions, and Japan stopped it's advance, content to exploit the resources in the Coastal area. This allowed Japan to redeploy most of it's Army on the Soviet border. He was also instrumental in Japan's joining of the Anti-Comintern pact, and later the Axis.

He is widely seen as a great compromiser, he is a calming presence, and this translates in a better, less belligerent image for Japan on the world stage, attracting more nations into Japan's sphere of influence in the process. (Susceptibility to Axis: +10%)

Armament Minister (Finance Minister / Home Minister): Shoda Kazue, Kokumin Domei

Kazue_Shōda.jpg

Born to a poor Samurai in 1869, he is already 71 years old. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University, and soon found a job in the Ministry of Finance. In 1915, he was named director of the Bank of Chosen (Bank of Colonial Korea). The next year, he started his first stint as Finance Minister under Prime Minister Terauchi. He returned to the Bank of Chosen in 1918, only to be called back for a short stint as Minister of Finance under Prime Minister Kiyoura in 1924. Then, in 1927, he became Education Minister under Prime Minister Tanaka. In 1929, at the age of 60, he returned to a quieter life outside the spotlight. Then in the events of 1936, he was recalled by Okade to lead the Armament effort on the home front, he has the portfolios of both Home Minister and Minister of Finance, grouped under the name Minister of Armament.

Here, he has shown himself to be an excellent entrepreneur, especially good at finding inefficiencies in the production of supplies. It seems that he only has to look at a table of production numbers to know where things might be improved. This means that Supply production has become much more efficient under his tenure. (Supplies +20%)

Minister of Security (Minister of Communications / Home Minister): Nakajima Kesago, Kokumin Domei

Kesago_lieutenant-general-nanjing.jpg

Born in 1881, Kesago attended several Military preparatory schools and went on to graduate from the IJA Academy in 1903. He fought in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 and upon his return he studied at the Army War College, graduating 25th pf his class in 1913. He was sent to France in 1918 and was Military Attaché there until 1923. In 1932, he had another big break s he was promoted to Major General and placed in command of the Maizuru Army District, covering the defence of the Southern Coast of Honshu along the Sea of Japan. Between 1933 and 1936, he was commander of the Narashino Chemical Warfare School. Promoted to Lieutenant General in 1936, he was appointed Provost Marshall (Commander of a department of Military Police).

At the start of the second Sino-Japanese war, Kesago took command of 16. Hoheishidan, which later participated, under his leadership, in the Battle of Shanghai or Second Shanghai Incident. His superior was the old General Iwane Matsui. In late 1937, he was placed in operational command of the Battle of Nanjing. After the Battle of Wuhan, he was transferred to command the Fourth Army in Manchukuo. When Tanomogi Keikichi died, he was selected to replace him, taking over his portfolio of Communications and Internal Security (Part of the Home Ministry, Skoda Kazue has the other part). His exploits in China make him popular amongst the Japanese population in general (dome go as far as to call him 'Man of the People'), and the knowledge he has picked up as commander of the Narashino Chemical Warfare School, make him especially capable of appealing to both Military officers and scientists. This means that Japan's intellectual and Military Elite work harder and longer. (Leadership +5%)

Head of Intelligence: Homma Masaharu, Kokumin Domei

Homma.jpg

Born in 1887, not much is known of his childhood, but we do know that he graduated from the IJA Academy 14th of his class in 1907. He quickly continued his studies in the Army Staff College, where he graduated 27th of his class in 1915. His English is excellent, probably thanks to his multiple stints as Military Attaché in the UK. His first was in 1917 with the East Lancashire Regiment, then in 1918, he actually fought in the British Expeditionary Force, and was awarded the Military Cross. He spent 4 more years in the UK, before returning to Japan. In 1930 he went back to the UK for another stint as Military Attaché. His rank, and especially his mastery of the English language, got him selected to be part of the Japanese Delegation to the Geneva Disarmament Conference in 1932. He then served with the Press section of the IJA in Japan. In 1933 he was placed in command of 1. Hohei Rentai (1st Infantry Regiment), and in 1935, he was commander of 32. Hohei Ryodan (Infantry Brigade).

In 1937, he was selected to be Aide de Camp to none other than Prince Chichibu, brother of the Emperor, and he joined the prince on a Diplomatic tour of Europe, which ended in Germany, where they attended the Nürnberg rally and met Adolf Hitler in person afterwards. The tour was meant to cement the fact that Japan just joined the Axis the previous year. Upon his return, Homma was placed in command of the Taiwan Army, where he composed the text to a song named 'Taiwan Army' to boost Morale.

During the short Second Sino-Japanese war, he was promoted to Lt. General and placed in command of the 27. Hohei Rentai in China, he was an early advocate of ending the war as soon as Nanking was in Japanese hands. His quit while you're ahead mentality gained him the fearsome position of Head of Intelligence, he leads the Kempetai since early 1938. This is an organisation with many departments. It functions as Military Police of both the Army and the Navy, Gendarmerie, Military Intelligence Agency, and much more. This is the organisation that was so ruthlessly efficient in capturing our spies.

Homma, is a versatile man, he's from the Army, but having spent many years in the UK, he understands the importance of a strong navy well. He thus tries to strike a balance between Naval Intel and Land Intel. This makes him especially suitable as his agency is supposed to work for both Navy and Army to provide policing and Intelligence. (Land Intel / Naval Intel +10%)

Chief of Staff (Minister of the Army / Military Secretary to the Prime Minister): Abe Nobuyuki, Tosei-ha (Control Clique)

nobuyuki-abe-smiling-1940-cb40a8904f970792fa45f698b9143330.jpg

Born in 1875 to an ex-Samurai, he had a good education until he dropped out of High school to volunteer for the Imperial Army in 1894, during the 1st Sino-Japanese war. After the war, he studied at the IJA Academy and graduated in 1897. In 1898, he started off as Second Lieutenant, he was promoted to Lieutenant in 1900, and attended the Army Artillery School where he graduated in 1901. Abe continued his upward movement through the ranks, became a Captain in 1903, and then studied at the Army War College, graduating in 1907. In 1908 he was promoted to Major, and he became an instructed at the Army War College in 1909.

Abe was sent to Germany as a Military Attaché at the Japanese embassy in 1910, he transferred to the Vienna Embassy in 1913. When he returned in 1915, he was named Lieutenant-Colonel, and the promoted to Colonel in 1918. Placed in command of the 3. Hohei Rentai (Field Artillery Regiment), he was sent to Siberia, as part of a force that was supposed to help the White Army in the Russian Civil war. His unit didn't see combat. In 1921, he returned home and was named Secretary of the Army War College, and later Director of the General Affairs Division of the Imperial General Staff. In 1923, after a large Earthquake, Abe was sent to oversee Martial law in the affected area. In 1926 he was Director of Military service affairs in the Army Ministry, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1927.

Later, in 1928 he was appointed chief of the Military Affairs Bureau, and then quickly to Army Vice-Minister. Finally, in 1930 he was placed in command of 4. Hoheishidan. Abe then moved up again to Commander of the Taiwan Arlmy, in 1932, before retiring in 1933. He came back into the spotlight when he was asked by Okade to join him in his government in 1936, he has remained at the side of the Prime Minister ever since, while retaining some responsibilities in the Army, and his active rank. He is a great proponent of Fire Support, or massing in troops and Artillery fire after an initial assault once it becomes clear where reinforcements would be most beneficial. His teachings and papers on Tactics are widely read and highly regarded within the Army, and this means that the Japanese Army is particularly well prepared to reinforce offensive battles when they have already started. (Attack reinforce Chance+10%)

Chief of the Army (IJA Chief of Staff / Minister of the Army): Prince Kanin Kotohito, Imperial Family (Control Clique)
KaninKotohito.jpg

Born in 1865 to one of the 4 minor Shinnoke branches of the Japanese Imperial family. To make sure to have a successor, Emperor Komei, grandfather of Hirohito adopted him into the imperial family, making him the adoptive brother to the erstwhile emperor Meiji, he was also great uncle to both emperor Hirohito, and his wife... (that's what you get when you marry a distant cousin). At the age of 3, he was sent to a temple to become a Buddhist monk, but he was pulled out of his sacred life in 1872, to revive another of the 4 minor branches of the Japanese Imperial family.

In 1877, he went to study at the IJA Academy, where he graduated in 1881. In 1882, Emperor Meiji, his adoptive father, sent him to France as a Military Attaché, to study Military tactics and technology. In 1894, he graduated from the Army Staff College, specialised in Cavalry. After the First Sino-Japanese war, he was made commander of 1. Kihei Rentai (Cavalry Regiment) from 1897 until 1899. In 1901, he took command of 2. Kihei Rentai, after the Japanese-Russian War of 1904-05, he was promoted to Lieutenant General, and placed in command of 1. Hoheishidan. Kanin was then placed in command of Konoeshidan (Imperial Guards Division) in 1911. He became full General and Supreme War Councillor in 1912, and finally, the youngest Field Marshall the IJA had ever known in 1919 at the age of 54.

In 1921, he accompanied then Crown Prince Hirohito on his tour of Europe, and in 1931 he became Army Chief of Staff , a position he holds to this day. A veteran of three wars, he wants to see an army based around the foot soldier and Static Defences, he thus makes sure that the Army knowledge on these topics remains up to date, simply by sowing a particular interest in them. (Mil & Inf Practical Decay: -25%)

Chief of the Navy (Minister of the Navy): Fujita Hisanori, Tosei-ha (Control Clique)

Fujita.jpg

Born to a former Samurai turned school principal, in 1880, Fujita joined the IJNaval Academy in 1901, graduating 15th of 115 cadets. After continuing his studies in the Naval Staff College and graduating in 1908, he was assigned to the Battleship Shikishima. In 1915, he was sent to the UK as a Naval Attaché to the London Embassy, and promoted to Commander while in the UK. Upon his return, in 1917, he became (interim-)XO on the Battleship Settsu. After a single month, he was placed in several shore assignments, before being promoted to Captain in 1920, and receiving his first command, a Cruiser, Suma. Then between 1921 and 1924, another list of shore assignments before becoming captain of the Battleship Kirishima in 1924.

Fujita was soon promoted to Rear-Admiral, and in 1926 he was appointed Director of the Personnel department of the Navy Ministry. After another promotion to Vice-Admiral, he was placed in charge of the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal in 1929. In 1930 he became director of Naval Shipbuilding Command, and in 1932 he was named vice-Minister of the Navy. He was named chief of the Kure Naval District in 1934, and promoted to Admiral in 1936 before becoming Naval Councillor, and finally Minister of the Navy in 1937, succeeding Admiral Nagano who returned to commanding the Combined Fleet.

Fujita, having served on several big gun ships, and commanded a few, was a proponent of the Mahanian Decisive Naval Battle Doctrine. He would like nothing more than tho see Japan have dozens of huge battleships larger and more powerful than the world has ever seen. He is rumoured to be backing a secret project to build several enormous battleships of an unseen scale. In any case, his mere presence keeps practical knowledge of Battlehships alive. (Capital Ship Practical Decay: -25%)

Chief of the Air Force (This position really didn't exist in 1940 Japan, in this case the closest in Chief of the Army Air Service, which is below Minister of the Army and Chief of Staff): Hata Shunroku, Kokumin Domei

Shunroku-Hata.jpg

Born to a former Samurai in 1879, Hata was quite an intelligent child. He was accepted at age 14, into the prestigious 1st Tokyo Middle School. The death of his father that same year meant that he couldn't afford his tuition, and Hata enrolled into the Army Cadet School instead, he graduated from the IJA Academy in 1901 as a Artillery Second Lieutenant.

After serving in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 he went on to study at the Army Staff College, where he graduated, top of his class, in 1910. He was posted to Germany as a Military Attaché, and remained in Europe as an observer throughout the Great War. During this period, he was promoted twice, to Major in 1914, and to Lieutenant Colonel in 1918. After the war, he was part of the Japanese delegation to the Versailles peace treaty.

He returned to Japan in 1921, and received the command of 16. Hohei Rentai (Field Artillery Regiment). In 1926 he was promoted to Major General and placed in command of 4. Omoi Hohei Ryodan (Heavy Artillery Brigade). he was soon assigned to the IJA General staff. He was first Chief of the 4th Bureau in 1927, and then of the 1st Bureau in 1928. In 1931, eh was promoted to Lieutenant-General, becoming Inspector General of Artillery Training. He got another field command, 14. Hohei Shidan, in 1933. In 1935, he was named Chief of the Army Air Service, a post he holds to this day, and from which he manages to really push his Army Aviation Doctrine. Ever the Artillery man, for Hata, Bombers are just another type of Artillery, meant to support the Army and destroy enemy Artillery and Air Fields, he thus keeps pushing research and testing of mid size, long range bombers. (Medium Bomber Practical Decay -25%)
Just as with Germany, we have no idea of the size of their industry and research departments. What we do know about their Armed forces is what we gathered by submarine some time ago. What is interesting is that the current government seems to be losing touch with the population. Only a third of the population seems to stand behind the government, 44% of the population would prefer a Capitalist Democracy, and sadly, only 14% would prefer a Communist Utopia like the Soviet Union. But, as civilians have no more say in the government, the Army and Navy seem to stand behind the emperor and the current government and that's all that really matters for now.

Considering the roster of Ministers and deployment of their Army we estimate it highly likely that Japan will attack the Soviet Union somewhere within the next decade. This is not good news, and serious consideration should be given to reinforcing our Far Eastern Front.

The next report should be in collaboration with 'Mother' and 'Odinatsat', about France,
Until next time,

'Tri', and 'Shest'
There you go, an in depth report on Japan. I'm working on the next 10-day report, and it should reach you on schedule, on the 25th of December.

Greetings,

'Odin'

Notes from your WritAAR:

Okada Keisuke was actually against the Military power grab of 1936, and resigned as head of the Government shortly after the attempt on his life. After this, he was part of a group of Politicians and former Military men who wanted to negotiated an early end to the hostilities of WW2. He was entirely opposed to any war with the United States. Let's just day that he had a change of heart in this ATL.

Hirota Koki was actually prime Minister in 1936-1937, then Foreign Minister again in 1937-1938, and then he retired because of his opposition to Japans push into China and SE-Asia, while he saw the Soviet Union as Enemy number one.

Kazue Shoda was actually considered for Home Minister in 1938, but he was considered too old, seems he isn't too old for Paradox...
Its also not very clear why he's a Military Entrepreneur...

Tanomogi Keikichi was selected as Minister of Communications after the events of early 1936. After that there were a lot of changes, but as those changes don't seem to have happened in ATL, I'd say that, instead of becoming Mayor of Tokyo, he continued as Minister of Communications, until he dropped dead in office (just as in OTL, only it was a different office), in February 1940. Kesago never held a political position, though he was responsible for quite a few war crimes (not to be discussed here), let's say that for some weird reason, he was selected to replace Tanomogi. It's entirely unclear why Paradox sees Kesago as a 'Man of the People'...

OTL Homma Masaharu was the Commander of the IJA 14th Army tasked with taking the Philippines, he fell out of favour when he failed to root out Allied resistance on the island of Bataan, and was regarded by IJA HQ as not agressive enough. He was de facto replaced by Sugiyama, as he was called back to Japan, while theoretically retaining his command. He retired from the IJA in 1943, and was executed in 1946 for war crimes committed on his watch during his Philippines campaign.

During the Sino-Japanese war, he was also promoted away from the action to Taiwan, when he started to question the protracted war in China, after the fall of Nanking.

Abe Nobuyuki didn't belong to any Political faction, and certainly not to the Tosei-ha, which is why he was the ultimate compromise candidate for prime Minister in 1939 OTL...

Prince Kanin Kotohito is quite historical, except for the fact that he retired in october 1940 (2 months before this update...) maybe something to watch...

Fujita Hisanori got close to being Navy Minister in 1939, in OTL, when he didn't get the post, he retired from the Navy and became Chief Priest of the Meiji Shrine. After the war he would be Chamberlain to Emperor Hirohito, accompanying the latter to his meetings with the US occupation forces. In 1946, General MacArthur ordered Fujita's dismissal because of his military background. Fujita then retired for good. Being old, and having been a naval attaché to the UK during WW1, Decisive Battleship Doctrine seems only natural for this man.

Hata didn't stay in the post of Chief of the Army Air Service very long OTL, but he was in that position in the beginning of 1936, so he could have just stayed on... not too bad considering that WW2 Japan doesn't really have a single Air Force Minister, so it has to be the chief of either the IJA Air Service, or the IJN Air Service.


My sources have been Wikipedia, and the French Language edition of "The Japanese War Machine" by S.L. Mayer, A.J. Baker, Ronald Heiferman, Ian Hogg, John G. Kirk, William J. Koenig, and Anthony Preston. 1976. Bison Books / 1978 Elsevier Séquoia Brussels.
That last book had a very comprehensive chapter on the evolution of Japanese society from 1853 until the start of the 2nd world war. I thus kindly wrote up a summary (It's about a third of the original chapter) for you to enjoy...
 

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Very in-depth analysis of the Japanese Cabinet. I recognise a few of the same names from my game of around about the same period.

Will be interested to see what assignment Mother and Odinatsat get next.
 
25th of December 1940, 'Odin', 10-day report #145

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The 25th of December 1940, Vologda, -11,3°C, 10am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten day period between the 16th and the 25th of December 1940,

by 'Odin'

Army:
2 new Regiments of Engineers have finished training, 26, and 28. IP have joined 198, and 163. MSD respectively, adding some versatility to Lt. General Lebedenko's XXVIII MSK, 2ya Tankovaya Armiya, Armoured Army Group, STAVKA.
Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 598 / 1.794.000
Support troops: 217 / 217.000
Total fighting troops: 815 / 2.011.000
Headquarters: 57 / 57.000
Total Army Personnel: 870 / 2.068.000
Officers: 78.402 + / 87.060 needed / 90,055 %
Active Leaders: 242 / 105 more available
3 More Engineer Regiments have started training, they will be deployed to XXVIII MSK's remaining Divisions, giving Lt. General Lebedenko 5 Motx3, TD, Eng Divisions.
Air Force:
100 brand new LaGG-3+ interceptors have been delivered to the VVS, they will form 96. IAD, and be deployed together with 73. IAD in now Air Lt. General Rog's VI. IAK. Aeroplane Numbers (Wings/Planes):
Interceptors: 22 / 2.200
Multi-Role Fighters: 3 / 300
Close Air Support: 4 / 400
Carrier Air Groups: 6 / 600
Single Engined: 35 / 3.500
Tactical Bomber: 4 / 400
Total Bombers: 8 / 800
Transport Planes: 2 / 200
Total VVS: 35 / 3.500
Total Navy: 6 / 600
Total Airplanes: 41 / 4.100
Active Leaders: 14 / 16 Reserve
The production lines continue churning out LaGG-3+'s, the next 100 will form 105. IAD-PVO, and be assigned to VI. IAK as well.
Navy:
No changes in the Navy for the last 10 days
Politics / International:
The Norwegian Front
Norway (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 85,1
Germany (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,0 / 84,5
GNW25:12:40.jpeg

The Wehrmacht has take the province of Gol from the Norwegians, if they continue at this pace, they will reach Oslo in a month, but I'm guessing that they will be pushed back once the get too close. It's an interesting plan though, rolling up Norwegian lines from the North, in the middle of winter...
British North Africa Front
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,0 / 77,7
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 79,5
BNAF25:12:40.jpeg

The Italian advance into British Egypt continues. The Regio Esercito has reached El 'Alamein, 111km from El Iskandarîya. They seem to have slowed ever so slightly... Will the British empire make a stand at El Iskandariya?
French North Africa Front
France is a Government in exile.
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 79,5
FNAF25:12:40.jpeg

Alger has fallen to the Italians, we all know that French North Africa is very probably doomed, having learned about their severe supply issues from our team previously based in Alger...
East Africa & Ethiopia Front
Ethiopia (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 75,9
France is a Government in exile.
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,0 / 77,7
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 79,5
EEAF25:12:40.jpeg

Ethiopian troops have taken the forests of Juba out of British hands, not that this matters much as there is nothing of interest there...The Allies haven't moved at all, so this is still a stalemate. The only meaningful Axis targets in the area are Mogadiscio, Berbera, and Addis Ababa. The allies have moved neither closer to, nor further from any of them.
The Greek Front
Greece (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 87,3
Bulgaria (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 71,8
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 79,5
GRF25-12-40.jpeg

The Bulgarian front has been pushed back, but it seems the Greeks have, at least temporarily formed a new stable 3 province defensive line between Salonica and the fortified woods of Giannitsa, making excellent use of the terrain. On the Albanian front, the Italians seem to have definitively broken through the first line of defence, having taken all the border provinces, they are now moving south. Their advance is slowed by mountains and hills, and probably by stiff Greek resistance, mostly in the mountains of Pramanta. It looks like Greece will not be able to hold out indefinitely without foreign help, but it is proving quite a tough nut to crack.
Industry:
6 groupings of 5 Anti-Air batteries have been delivered to the VVS. They are on their way to their respective destinations: Demjansk Air Base, Kholm Air Base, Izbork fortifications, Haradok fortifications, Biesankovicy fortifications and Chalopienicy fortifications.
Production has started on another 6 groupings of 5 batteries.

Working Industrial Capacity / available capacity: 238 / 321
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )
Upgrades: 26,65 / 26,69
Reinforcement: 0,55 / 0,58
Supplies: 36,07 / 42,05
Production: 228,85 / 228,85
Consumer Goods: 28,89 / 28,89
Stockpiles:
Energy: Maximum tonnes =
Metal: 91.112 tonnes +
Rares: 31.680 tonnes +
Crude: Maximum barrels =
Supplies: 21.245 tonnes -
Fuel: 99.350 barrels -
Money: 2.095 +
Intelligence:
Spy numbers, spies in (active / added / lost / caught by us)
France (Covert Operations / Counterespionage): 5 / 0 / 0 / 0
{ Germany (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }
{ Japan (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 }
{ UK (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Total: 5 / 0 / 0 / 3
Reserves: 12
Spy training leadership expenditure: 0,25
We have so far recruited 15 like-minded Covert Operatives in our French sleeper cell. The KGB is back in action, and catching unwanted guests...
Research:
No completed research projects, no new projects, no changes to LS distribution
Statistics:
National Unity: 83,073 (+0,01)
Neutrality: 0,00 =
Dissent: 0,00 =
Manpower:
Available: 2.066.000
Men To reinforce(need): 650
Men To mobilise(need): See above
Monthly gain: 48.200 Men (1 fully mobilised Infx3, AT Division every 7 days)​
No changes to Party Popularity
No changes to Party Organisation
This Information is accurate on the morning of the 25th of December 1940, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'

OOC:

I probably won't publish any substantial uploads before the 20th of December or thereabouts, there is just too much to do irl. I'm already quite sleep deprived, so I won't start working on the next update before the 19th. @Bullfilter, and the other readers and commenters too, thanks for the support.
 

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In-game: the slow build to war goes on - remain interested to see how the AI commanders use all the hardware and manpower you have provided them when the Fascists come! Good to see Greece putting up a hard fight: would probably take the intervention of some significant German forces to really roll them quickly.

Re RL: is what it is - hope it all goes well. I’m certain your loyal readership will be relaxed and looking forward to the resumption of regular updates: when it is comfortable for you to do so. It’s for fun after all and while we will always want an update, pleasure and the demands of RL should trump virtual duty. ;)And I am sure I speak for all of us when I say of course you are always welcome to continue to browse through our works in the meantime, as time permits :)
 

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In-game: the slow build to war goes on - remain interested to see how the AI commanders use all the hardware and manpower you have provided them when the Fascists come! Good to see Greece putting up a hard fight: would probably take the intervention of some significant German forces to really roll them quickly.

I too remain interested in how the AG level AI will handle the GPW... The longer Greece holds, the better, especially considering Italy is doing quite well in North Africa, and East Africa is a stalemate. We need for the Axis to be, at least slightly distracted when they eventually attack...

Re RL: is what it is - hope it all goes well. I’m certain your loyal readership will be relaxed and looking forward to the resumption of regular updates: when it is comfortable for you to do so. It’s for fun after all and while we will always want an update, pleasure and the demands of RL should trump virtual duty. ;)And I am sure I speak for all of us when I say of course you are always welcome to continue to browse through our works in the meantime, as time permits :)

You're spot on, writing an update, as you well know, especially a wordy one, can take up a lot of time. I'll keep reading AARs, as time permits...

Any plans for a larger production run on CAS or TAC? Or are both always in queue?

Right now, in the queue, there are 2 CAS wings, 1 Ftr wing, 2 Int wings, and 1 CAG wing, and then there is everything that is not a plane... I'm slightly torn concerning Tac, they are quite effective, especially against infantry, but I know that I probably won't have the leadership to keep them up to date.
From a production point of view, our factories churn out CAS a lot faster than they do Tac's, so we will have a sizeable bomber force by mid 1941. At least 3 or 4x (CASx2, Ftr), and 2x (Tacx2, Ftr). The emphasis of VVS production was mostly on Interceptors for a long time, as we want to be able to counter the Luftwaffe. To that effect, we will have 6 or 7x(4xInt) wings by mid 1941. It should be noted that the first four-engined Soviet strategic bomber is being designed. If the war becomes a war of attrition, Str might be very useful for strategic or logistical strikes (this might be helpful in the far east as well). Should we pursue Tacs anyway? Should more aircraft be built. Should we open up new factories (ie add more planes to the queue)? Any comments on the state of Soviet Military Aviation are welcome.
 

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Should we pursue Tacs anyway? Should more aircraft be built. Should we open up new factories (ie add more planes to the queue)? Any comments on the state of Soviet Military Aviation are welcome.
Hmm,,,I think this after what you explained. Since, you should be in good shape manpower wise, German armor should be the main-target? CAS is much faster to build and if you can make a large force that should give you a lot striking power against those panzers? I have always went most heavy on TACs, but maybe you should ramp-up at CAS, since those tanks are going to be the really big trouble. Plenty of INT groups to cover the CAGs? All of it is Light-aircraft - your Practical should shoot through the roof.

About the Strats...they are great for range but I don't care for all the extra-tech research.
 

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Hmm,,,I think this after what you explained. Since, you should be in good shape manpower wise, German armor should be the main-target? CAS is much faster to build and if you can make a large force that should give you a lot striking power against those panzers? I have always went most heavy on TACs, but maybe you should ramp-up at CAS, since those tanks are going to be the really big trouble. Plenty of INT groups to cover the CAGs? All of it is Light-aircraft - your Practical should shoot through the roof.

CAS production shall be increased as soon as enough people and machines can be scraped together to create another production line. This, of course, without jeopardising other important projects, like tank production, radar stations, Aircraft Carriers (I know. Not essential, but we're building them, and there will be no delays), ...

About the Strats...they are great for range but I don't care for all the extra-tech research.

A few of these will probably be built in the future, because range can really be a problem in the Soviet Union, especially the Far East... As for extra research, they should be all the way at the bottom of the VVS research priority list, and as the VVS has trouble reaching the bottom of the list as it is, I'm sure Research to improve our Strats will not impede anything more important. There are no plans for un-escorted long range missions into heavily contested airspace, so if there ever is to be an improvement, it'll be fuel tanks... and that's if there really isn't anything more pressing research-wise... (so not for a couple of years probably)

I should be able to start working on the next update soon, as things will calm down slightly for the winter holidays, and I could use the distraction. Thanks, everyone, for your support, until the next update. It should be a fun one, with our two spying ladies finally reporting in... but from where?... and how did they get there?
 

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I should be able to start working on the next update soon, as things will calm down slightly for the winter holidays, and I could use the distraction. Thanks, everyone, for your support, until the next update. It should be a fun one, with our two spying ladies finally reporting in... but from where?... and how did they get there?
Looking forward to it! :) In the meantime, your alter-ego SkitalecS3 has been active, so his presence has been greatly appreciated during this busy time ;)
 
28th of December 1940, 'Odinatsat' #6, The Maréchal's Car, Escape from Alger

roverS3

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The 28th of December 1940, Vologda, -10,5°C 2pm Moscow Time

I just received a diplomatic package from our Lisbon embassy, it held a letter, several pages long, and some pictures. Here is a carbon copy of the original document:

The 26th of December 1940, Soviet Embassy in Lisbon, 4,5°C, 4pm local Time (7pm Moscow Time)

To 'Odin', from 'Mother',

As you probably guessed from the tags on the package, we are in Lisbon, in the Embassy of the Soviet Union. We are both fine, and even our luggage has made it to the embassy. Here is how we got to Lisbon, which is the closest Soviet embassy to Northern Africa in a neutral country. As you know, the civil war somewhat soured Soviet-Spanish relations, and we had to make sure we weren't perceived to be Russians. A report on our travels follows.


23rd of December

After your message to return home immediately, I convened with 'Odinatsat' on what would be the best course of action to get out of there quickly.
Now usually, the fastest way would be some kind of Aeroplane, but none of those were based in Alger Air Base. The only planes nearby were the Carrier-Based D.105. These were a particularly risky proposition, as none of us has piloted an Aeroplane before, let alone taken off from the heavily damaged deck of a French Aircraft Carrier. So even in the unlikely event that we could get our hands on a plane, on board of the carrier, we would most likely die in the attempt, probably for our own lack of flying experience. This pretty much ruled out the navy, ships, and Aircraft, as a means to make our escape. All merchant vessels had already left during the initial Italian attack.

Sticking with the Army wasn't much more interesting, as we would most likely be dragged along with the Armée de l'Afrique HQ on it's achingly slow retreat, until we reached another Port. When we returned to the main room of the bar, we found Amiral Darlan and his executive officer impatiently waiting at the bar. Darlan said:

"Mesdames, our ships are ready to go, we will sail within the hour. We need to go now, under the cover of darkness, as we have discovered that the Regia Marina is absolutely useless in the dark. We have radar and sonar on board many of our ships, so we should be a ble to use this advantage to keep the Italians at a distance. At this point, all I want is to keep the French fleet afloat, we don't have the supplies for a naval battle and most of our ships need serious repairs. Are you joining me on board the Heavy Cruiser Colbert? Our destination is Oran. Or did you get a better offer from the Maréchal?"

Before I could utter a word, 'Odinatsat' replied:

"To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty scared of sailing on a Military ship, especially as you seem to consider the Italian navy a serious threat. Moreover, you admit that you would not be able to really defend yourselves if you were to be intercepted, which is why you sail at night. I just feel that staying on dry ground is going to be the safer option. However, to make your trip more pleasant, here is a bottle of our finest rhum, on the house, have a nice trip."

She concluded with such a disarming smile, that Darlan, slightly flustered, concluded with:

"It's a pleasure to have met you Mademoiselle, and of course, Madame, I sincerely hope that this is 'au revoir' and not 'adieu' "

He the bowed and rushed off towards the Harbour.

It was only after Darlan had left that we noticed Maréchal Weygand, sitting in the exact same spot as last week. He was sitting alone, purposefully getting drunk on our best cognac, but he was only lightly inebriated at this point, it seems he had slipped in together with the Amiral, taken a bottle from behind the bar and sat down while we were out of the room.

Once he realised that we were looking at him, and that Darlan had left, he said:

"Mesdames, does this mean that I will be able to enjoy your company on my way out of here? I have brought my personal car so you can travel in confort, it's right there" - he pointed to the window.

I saw 'Odinatsat' move towards the window and glance outside and smile, but Weygand soon retained my attention again:

"My driver will drive us, my official car will follow us at the hands of my executive officer. For your safety, you are to stay with the headquarters until we reach a port that is open for business. And Madame, I assure you that you will be far removed from the action. I really wouldn't like to leave two lovely françaises behind for the Italians." So please, come with us."

I replied that we would be leaving Alger one way or another, and that we'd discuss his offer while we packed. 'Odinatsat' was no longer in the bar. I found her chatting up the Maréchal's driver, outside. I sternly called her inside to help me pack, and in the privacy of our sleeping quarters we discussed what we would do, well, I listened to her crazy plan...

"Have you seen the Maréchal's car? It's brilliant, it's a Citroën Traction Avant 15-six, with the 77 horsepower six-cylinder engine, very rare, more reliable than the expensive V8 version, and more powerful than the crummy four cylinders. It's rumoured to be able to reach speeds in excess of 130 km/h. We need to take it and get away. Think about it, if we go along with the Maréchal, we'll be surrounded by soldiers, so it's now or never. We take his beautiful car, and no one will be able to catch up to us, it'll be the best drive of our life... I'll drive!"

TractioAvant15-6-1938.jpg

A publicity poster for the Citroën 15-Six Traction Avant, 77 hp, a 130 km/h top speed, and an average fuel consumption of 'only' 18.75 l/100km.
(This was arguably the best of the pre-war Traction Avant lineup. 'Traction Avant' stands for front wheel drive, a novelty introduced by Citroën with this very car.)
I tried to bring her back to reason by saying:

"But what about french checkpoints? Do you think they'll just let us through, in the Maréchal's car? We need a reason to be there..."

I was cut off by 'Odinatsat'.

"I know what we'll do, I'll get the driver's clothes, I'm sure I could pull off being the Maréchal's driver, with a fake Moustache, and some strategic make-up. As long as I don't have to get out of the car... And you, you get the Maréchal so drunk, that he doesn't know what's happening. You'll also make a perfect wife for the Maréchal. All right. Let's take our luggage downstairs, I go 'help' the driver with the luggage, while you make sure the Maréchal gets drunk quickly. You'll have some time, but once I get the driver out of his clothes, I'll lock him in, and by the time he comes down or the Maréchal sobers up we'll be far away from here..."

And that's how it went, she blatantly flirted with the driver, took him to her room, and returned minutes later, still fully dressed, holding his uniform as a trophy...
Meanwhile, I kept feeding the Maréchal so much cognac that he got close to passing out, I used the well know trick of drinking to lots of great things... you know... let's drink to France, let's drink to the Royal Navy, let's drink to your wife...
By the time 'Odinatsat' had returned dressed as quite a convincing military man in a smart driver's uniform, moustache and all, the Maréchal had passed into a deep drunken slumber.

I jumped into the car while 'Odinatsat' primed the engine before roaring off towards the West. As we reached the first mountains, we spotted Maréchal Weygand's executive officer's car coming the other way. 'Odinatsat' slowed slightly as we passed and gave a reciprocated salute as our paths crossed... He clearly didn't detect the change in driver, and didn't even hesitate. Things were going fine, with the car handling very well on the windy mountain roads. 'Odinatsat' was clearly having a lot of fun throwing the car through the bends at high speed, while I held on for dear life.

Soon, I fell asleep.

The 24th of December 1940,

I was awoken, at dawn, the car slowing to a crawl, it seems that we had reached the outskirts of Oran, and up ahead was a french checkpoint. 'Odinatsat' was now looking visibly tired from a whole night of driving, quite quickly I might say. This was working wonders for her disguise, as a non exhausted french soldier would certainly raise some eyebrows...
When she noticed I was awake, 'Odinastat' whispered, without looking back:

"Pretend you're asleep, and they'll ask fewer questions. I'll act as if you are the Maréchal's wife, act very entitled, and let's just hope that they don't know what happened in Alger, well not yet anyway. I'm sure the news of someone stealing a Maréchal's car will come out eventually... all right, sleep now, we're almost there"

I didn't see what happened next, but this is what I heard. A man, I was later told that he was the Lieutenant in charge of the checkpoint, stepped towards the car and said:

"What's going on here, this is the Maréchal's car all right, but why isn't he in it? Wasn't he moving out of Alger?"

It seems that he was looking into the back of the car at this point, disregarding the driver, who, with the rank of Soldat de Première Classe, was clearly below the notice of a Lieutenant... Before the Lieutenant could ask any more, 'Odinatsat' said, in her best young man's voice:

"This is the Maréchal's wife, I have orders to take her to Casblanca, where she will be far removed from the action, for a while at least. The Maréchal himself is with his troops, I am to leave his personal car in Casablanca, as he doesn't want either his wife, or his traction avant, hurt by a stray bullet. Now, he explicitly stated that we should remain in Oran for as short a time as possible, as shelling by the Regia Marina is a real possibility, especially considering the Marine Nationale are headed this way. Madame Weygand is asleep now, so with all due respect. Could we get some gasoline and be on our way, we want to be out of here before the Navy gets anywhere near the port, that's why we drove through the night!"

The Lieutenant was taken aback, and he respectfully took a step away from the rear window, he quickly ordered his men to top up the fuel tank, and even got them some of their meagre rations. The bluff had worked perfectly... they now had enough fuel for another 600 km. The Lieutenant even ordered a man to go with us and make sure that we weren't stopped again on the way through Oran, now luckily the escort was a mounted military policeman, and there wasn't a chance of him getting a good look of 'Odinatsat'. We drove through Oran, without stopping, and in silence, we were waved through every single checkpoint with 'Odinatsat' and our mounted escort giving the required salutes perfectly, every time we passed an officer, or so I was told, I didn't dare open my eyes and remained 'fast asleep' on the rear seat of the limousine.

After the last checkpoint, on the westernmost edge of Mers-El-Kebir, we were waved off by our escort on horseback, with the sunrise behind us. Shortly after 10am, we stopped in the small Colonial village of Lournel, known to the locals as 'El Amria', the proceeds from the bar would prove useful as food was at a premium. 'Odinatsat' stayed in the car, as a good driver should, while I stepped out to eat msemens (a local kind of pancakebread) at a small table in one of the nicer establishments in town, this was of course accompanied by a pot of mint tea. A platter with the same was also handed to my driver... We didn't waste any time and after devouring two entire msemens with honey and drinking several glasses of tea, each. We set off again with a healthy store of olives and bread to keep us sweet for a while, but a mere five minutes after leaving the town, we turned off the main road, onto a small dirt road barely wide enough for the car, until 'Odinatsat' found a spot to park up on the side.

She turned to me and said:

"All right mom... what do we do now?"

I proposed going to Casablanca, hoping to smuggle ourselves onto a merchant ship, possibly a Portugese one. Of course, that would mean ditching the car somewhere in the city... and there was a significant risk of being discovered, considering the French Military presence there... so I concluded with:

"Do you have a better idea?"

"Yes" she replied

"First I change out of these clothes, into something more appropriate, then we erase or remove all military markings off the car, making it impossible to definitely identify as the Maréchal's car. Now, what I propose, is that I am now the french second wife of an obscure, but obscenely rich, Portugese businessman, and you are his sister. We were seeing my cousin in Oran, and as I have a fear of flying over the sea, I drove us down from Lisbon, taking a ferry in Cadiz, in my brand new car, a wedding gift... Now, with the Italians approaching, and the situation getting worse and worse, I'm trying to make my way back home... to my dearest husband who is, of course, 20 years older than I am..."

Now, as I am tired, you shall be driving this part, all the way up to the Spanish border, the Moulouya river, near Melilla... It's a four hour drive, if you take it easy, I'll be taking a nap on the back seat."

Stunned at the degree to which 'Odinatsat' had planned out our escape on the go, I just agreed to everything, and while she changed, I went around the car, taking off all extra tags and flags identifying the car as the Maréchal's vehicle. We were now clearly deviating from the route to Casablanca, and this costume change was a great way to keep everyone off our trail, especially as news of the theft must be flying through the telephone and telegraph networks right about now...

Citroen-Traction-15-Six-familiale-19[1]-min.png

Top: Algerian / Moroccan breakfast pancakes or 'Msemen'
Bottom: The Maréchal's car, with all military markings removed.
After the preparations were complete and we had both changed, I took the wheel with 'Odinatsat' sleeping on the back seat. Due to my cautious driving and the bad condition of certain roads, the drive took me five hours, for about 200km, so we reached the border by 4pm. I woke up 'Odinatsat', who suddenly looked positively refreshed, as if she had never missed a minute of sleep in her whole life... We stopped well before the border guards could see us, to figure out how we would handle the crossing. Now, when we were moving 'under orders of the Maréchal', no one had dared ask for papers, the car and driver had been confirmation enough. But now, we were civilians... Luckily, I still had my papers from my time in Brazil, and we used my old Portugese papers from my time in Brazil as a template to forge a passport for me. 'Odinatsat' somehow had a blank french passport saved for emergencies like this... so we made sure everything looked believable, and drove down towards the bridge.

Once we arrived at the barrier, 'Odinatsat' started talking to the customs official: About how beautiful the spot was, About how much she would miss french culture, and at least her husband had bought her a nice french car. She seemed entirely carefree and like a spoiled brat who is always listened to but rarely listens to anyone but herself, it was beautiful. I uttered a few words in french, with a heavy Portuguese accent. We were already halfway across the bridge when one of the french customs officers yelled for us to come back, that they needed to double check the car, make sure that it wasn't stolen. When we didn't turn back a few men started aiming their rifles, but when they were met with Spanish warning shots from across the river, they lowered their weapons and backed away. France didn't need any more enemies.

The Nationalist Spanish didn't particularly like french, and when we came to a halt, we were applauded by the fascist soldiers for not turning back. They welcomed us into the country, and especially welcomed the choice of 'Odinatsat' to marry into a nice right wing dictatorship. Suddenly, 'Odinatsat' character had changed, from a woman who was sad at the thought of leaving french territory, to a woman who couldn't get away fast enough and into the arms of a stricter, stabler society, ruled by one strong man. She was tired of elections, coalitions, and striking workers, it was all disgusting to her... she said that she was glad that the nationalists won the civil war as communism was clearly pure evil, much worse than the lethargic and ineffective democracy she grew up in.

Reinvigorated by her own performance, she took the wheel again, and four hours of agressive driving later, we arrived in the city of Tetuan, more than 220km from Melilla... Once there we had a typical local 'tajine' (rice with dates, and peppers) with 'kefta' (roasted meatballs with lots of spices), some eggs, and later on, some tea. We managed to exchange some money and stayed in a largish hotel in Spanish colonial style. From our window, we looked down on the Medina and it's maze of alleyways, all protected by large walls and heavy gates.

There were only very few Spanish civilians to be seen, as everyone was back home celebrating Christmas eve with their family. We had the hotel mostly to ourselves, but were too tired to do anything with our small kingdom...

25th of December,

After a good night's sleep, we ate a 10am breakfast of scrambled eggs in olive oil, olives, some Spanish cheese, and bread in the hotel restaurant. We got back in the car, and less than an hour later, we arrived in Tanger. After looking around the port, we found a small trap steamer that would leave for Cadiz in the afternoon. There was no room for the car however, so we put that into a crate with Istanbul as the final destination. I'm sure someone from our consulate will be able to pick it up and send it on to Vologda before anyone finds out the car of a french Maréchal is inside...

AvdaEspañaTanger.jpg

Tanger as we found it.
After a visit to the city and a nice couscous based lunch, we boarded the steamer, and departed on a 12 hour journey. Luckily, we had a cabin, and managed to get some sleep...

26th of December

At around 6am, we arrived in 'El Puerto de Santa Maria', just east of Cadiz, there was no one to check who we were. We left the port and after some Tortilla for breakfast, made our way, on foot, to the station, bought tickets, and at 9am, we were on a train bound for Sevilla. On the way, I asked the train conductor for the easiest way to get to the Aerodrome, I only speak some broken Spanish, but I took the care to hide my usual french accent with an exaggerated Portugese one. For once, 'Odinatsat' was keeping quiet, as she can't speak a word of Spanish without either a Russian accent, or a French one sneaking in there... She was thus fast asleep for the whole one hour train ride.

estacion_anos30_puertosantamaria.jpg

The station of Santa Maria
In Sevilla, we got out of the train at the small Virgen del Rocío station, then found our way into a bus, taking us on to Tablada Airfield. With my, still fake, Portugese papers, and a lot of money, we managed to secure a ride in a mail plane that was flying to Lisboa at around 1pm. Interestingly, the Aeroplane that would be taking us was a re-purposed Tupolev SB-2 bomber with a layer of fresh paint over the Soviet and Republican markings... it was very cramped, but, it fitted 2 passengers, our luggage, and some mail, those last two, in what used to be the bomb bay. 'Odinatsat' sat in the front turret, and I sat in the rear. It was an uncomfortable and noisy flight, but in less than an hour we were circling Sintra Air Base (official designation: Base Aérea Nº 1 ).

TabladaSevilla1929-2.jpg

Aerodromo deTablada, the Airport of Sevilla, picture from 1929, not much has changed
Upon landing, we were greeted by a group of armed Portugese soldiers, our arrival had not been planned and the Air Base Garrison had quickly scrambled. Now, these men weren't going to be fooled by our previous story about 'Odinatsat' being married to a Portugese millionaire. They would know it wasn't true, as most Portugese pilots came from high society. We didn't really have a chance to talk since Sevilla, and had expected a customs agent instead of a military reception. It seems that passengers were rare on this route, especially since the civil war, and that the Portugese army was closely guarding it's base, which, incidentally, was the only Airport of any kind in mainland Portugal.

Now, it was my turn to improvise. The commander of the base arrived in his car, and politely but sternly asked me for my papers. I handed him my Portugese papers, then he noticed 'Odinatsat', asked for her papers, soon realising that she didn't speak Portugese. She was starting to look slightly alarmed, and that was just what I needed to make this work... the truth... well, some of it, before he could ask me about her, I stepped forward and explained:

"Sir, she is a fugitive, she's a friend of mine and she's in trouble. Katerina here, had to get out of Spain in a hurry. She's Russian, and for some reason, Franco's Policia Armada is secretly rounding up whoever they think might be an allied spy, and as a war widow who was married to a Republican soldier, she was a prime target. She only just made it out alive. Luckily this pilot agreed to hide her in the plane, for adequate compensation of course."

At this point the SB-2 was taking off, to deliver Portugese mail to Madrid, making it somewhat unlikely that anyone in Portugal would question that particular pilot anytime soon.

"Would it be at all possible for us to be delivered to the Embassy of the Soviet Union?"

Amazingly, it worked, I heard the commander mumble to his driver:

"I'm not sure she's peaking the truth, but if we deliver the girl to the Soviet Embassy and they take her inside, it's not our our problem. The lady is free to go, just take them to the Soviet Embassy, and if they don't let the pretty one in, lock her up. Report back to me immediately upon your return."

Then he shouted to the gathered soldiers:

"Get off my runway!"

And then more softly, to me:

"Have a nice trip."

The rear door of the Major's car was opened, we got into the back, the driver, and a guard got in in front, then, when we crossed the gate, two Military policemen on motorcycles joined us.

Gladiator Mk II, AM Portuguesa.jpg

A Gloster Gladiator Mk.II of the Portuguese Air Force, picture taken by yours truly. They have hundreds of these. This one was waiting to take off when we left.

Without stopping, weaving through traffic, the motorcycles holding back the other vehicles on the road, we were ferried to the Russian Embassy, about 30km away, a trip which took only 40 minutes. After I got out of the car, the guard left me alone, but as soon as 'Odinatsat' got out, she was flanked by the two Military Policemen, until we were let into the Embassy of the Soviet Union through the use of a GRU code word.
I must say that this trip has shown me what 'Odinatsat' is really capable of, she thinks on her feet, and if it wasn't for her, our escape would probably have taken weeks, if not months. I look forward to seeing you again. In the meantime, we've sent a preliminary report on France in another diplomatic bag, to 'Tri', he should find the information most helpful for his report on the general state of the country...

We await further orders in the comfort of our rooms in the Ambassador's residence. A return to the Soviet Union would take a considerable amount of time, so we will stay here until we hear from the Committee one way or another. Salazar's 'Estado Novo' doesn't care much for communists, so I have to remain close to the embassy, but under diplomatic cover, I'm sure you can get us out of here to wherever we are needed.

May we fool the world, just as we fooled the French,

Mother.
With 'Mother' and 'Odinatsat' in 'Lisbon', where shall we send them next? There is the possibility of sending them to the UK as french refugees from the war in Northern Africa. They could stay in Lisbon and find a way to sneak into the city, but with the high risk associated with 'Odinatsat' not speaking Portuguese. 'Shest' is pushing for a mission to the United Kingdom and it's territories, so there is a possibility to integrate both efforts. Otherwise, we could bring them in, or send them to Brazil to check in on the new world.

What are your thoughts on 'Odinatsat's performance? She's very talented, but quite reckless, will she be a liability or a valuable asset? I'd say she's probably a bit of both...

This concludes our first Secret Committee espionage mission.


Greetings,

'Odin'

 
Last edited:

Bullfilter

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Very interesting escapade! I think mother seems very well suited to undercover work of the more conventional kind, where care and patience are foremost. To me, ‘Odinatsat’ sounds like she would - with a little more seasoning- be well suited to more exciting work. Sabotage, assassination, leading resistance cells, etc.

In terms of next stops, it seems Mother would be good in Portugal, where she seems at home. 11 might do OK in London - though sounds like she would be well suited to life in America. New York? Infiltrating the Russian emigre community or some such? Is her English OK?

Neat coincidence between the in-game and real time of year - Merry Christmas to you :)
 

Eurasia

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Having somebody in the UK to see more of the Allied side of the war would be nice. Surly even the limited information from the UK press would give the spies a nice "Big Picture" of what is happening from the British point of view.
 

roverS3

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In the meantime, your alter-ego SkitalecS3 has been active, so his presence has been greatly appreciated during this busy time ;)

It is always a pleasure to advise the Glorious Turkish government in their quest for regional hegemony and petty vengeance...:D

Very interesting escapade! I think mother seems very well suited to undercover work of the more conventional kind, where care and patience are foremost. To me, ‘Odinatsat’ sounds like she would - with a little more seasoning- be well suited to more exciting work. Sabotage, assassination, leading resistance cells, etc.

'Mother' is very much the patient plotting type, she likes to work things out in advance, and plan for everything. She has a knack for long term undercover work, but she is at least uncomfortable flying by the seat of her pants in fast-paced operations, which is where 'Odinatsat' excels.
As for 11, I think this test has proven her loyalty to our cause, now she just need that little bit more in terms of skills, and we've got ourselves a very effective operative.She needs to learn to fly aeroplanes, and also to handle a variety of weapons. Improving her English would also be a must. Her evasive driving seems to be just fine.

In terms of next stops, it seems Mother would be good in Portugal, where she seems at home.

That is a definite possibility, letting her go to ground in Portugal, with maybe a trip to Brazil, might give us valuable intelligence on South America, and Iberia. Especially on which way they are leaning diplomatically, and on what capabilities they could bring to the table...

11 might do OK in London - though sounds like she would be well suited to life in America. New York? Infiltrating the Russian emigre community or some such? Is her English OK?
Having somebody in the UK to see more of the Allied side of the war would be nice. Surly even the limited information from the UK press would give the spies a nice "Big Picture" of what is happening from the British point of view.

There is some discussion on the topic within the committee, but as we all agree on the need for 11 to receive complementary training, either in the field, or back in the good old Soviet Union. The UK seems like a good place to start. She can easily pull off being a french refugee, has the most immaculate forged french documents for several identities. In the UK, she will get plenty of sympathy and will be learning English faster than we could ever teach her. She can help set up the next British GRU operation while she's there. From the UK, the way home is considerably shorter, so it would be easier to pull her out for training, if we believe that to be necessary.

The US is an interesting proposition, but it's far away, and quite risky, and her English needs to be better before we would even consider trying to send her there.

Neat coincidence between the in-game and real time of year - Merry Christmas to you :)

Yes. Merry Christmas to all of you readAARs, lurkers included.
 
1st of January 1941, New Year Cabinet Changes

roverS3

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The 1st of January 1941, Vologda, -10,3°C, 6pm Moscow Time,

This meeting was called by 'Tri', he had, on my suggestion, encouraged several members of the Committee to attend New year's eve parties in Moscow. Now, he had called everyone to Vologda for a meeting where everyone would presumably get to know why they were sent off to various parties. 'Tri', as you may remember, is a master of political intrigue and international diplomacy. Most people at the table were hung over, but 'Tri' wasn't. This was his show, and he thus took the stage:

"Gentlemen, Ladies, I arranged for you to go to official parties linked with your areas of expertise, this was not only because I'd like my colleagues to have some fun once in a while, but also because these parties are the place where the up and coming politicians are found. So let's go around the table. Which party did you go to? Did you meet anyone worthy of the central committee? Someone with a new skill set, a new approach? What position would they be suited for?"
'Dva' sat directly to my right, started talking:

"I went to the Red Army Officer's Party, and there, I was most impressed by the ambitions of General Georgy Konstantivovich Zhukov. He is universally considered the brightest General of the Red Army, and his current position reflects this. He is currently in charge of 2ya Tankovaya Armiya, the Red Army's most potent Army. Now, he seems to have political ambitions as well... He only half-Ironically set out his programme if he were to be selected for a Central Committee position. Were he to become People's Commissar of Armaments, he would reorganise the Military Supplies Industry, which he reckons to be wildly inefficient today... He promises a 20% increase in output. Besides the Armament portfolio, he also seemed interested in becoming Chief of Staff, and Chief of the Army. He believes the Red Army lacks fire support, and would like to see an increase in Artillery production (Chief of the Army). Moreover, he proposes to reshape training and doctrines in order to make the Armed Forces better prepared to reinforce other units on the offensive. (Chief of Staff)

Another interesting guest with a lot of ambition was Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko, a veteran of the Winter War and Lt. General of the veteran XIV. MSK, a full corps of Motorised Riflemen. He is well positioned for the job of Chief of the Army. His views are interesting but predictable. He want to see an increase in the amount of Mobile Units in the Red Army, and to make this happen, he wants to drastically increase the production of trucks and Armoured Cars. His plan for the coming war with the Axis is one of Elastic Defense, where a very mobile line constantly adjusts to the pressure exerted on it without ever breaking thanks to the mobility of the Divisions it's made up of. We'll have to ask our own Generals about the usefulness of such tactics, especially compared to their high cost per unit.

That's it for the new faces.

Lt. General Meretskov, and General Rokossovsky are still looking to be Chief of Staff. The former with an agenda of using Psychology to boost the Armed Forces Morale in perfectly tailored messages. The latter with a focus on maximising the Red Army's mobility. Strangely there are no other contenders for Chief of the Army"
Then it was the turn of 'Chteyre':

"I went to the VVS party and didn't discover any new exciting faces, it's still the same trio that's looking to replace Yakov Ivanovich Alksnis as Chief of the Red Army Air Force. Air Lt. General Golovanov of I. BAK and ex-Lt. General Loktionov, both want to switch Aeroplane production to Medium Bombers. Air Lt. General Rychagov of IV. IAK wants to do the same, but with a focus on Naval Aviation, having part of his staff support Naval Engineering projects along, the ridiculousness of this proposition in our current context makes me think that either his application must be a Joke, or he truly believes we will win by flying our whole Air Force from the decks of 10s of Aircraft Carriers... So nothing new under the sun"
Next was 'Piat'

"At the Red Navy party it was much the same as always, a drunk Rear Admiral Kuznetsov of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet arguing that we should be building Battleships instead of Carriers, and a perfectly sober Commander Isakov of V Flot Podlodok arguing for better control of supplies in our Naval Bases to improve efficiency. We might want to consider that last man once the war starts, as he could lessen the impact of Naval units on the Far East and Southern supply route."
Then 'Shest'

"The GRU / KGB party was quite interesting,


The man who made the biggest impression is Alexey Pavlovich Panfilov, Maj. General, commander of 139. Strelkovaya Diviziya, and Deputy Chief of the GRU, he wants to replace Semyon Uritskiy as Chief of the KGB. What is most interesting here is what Panfilov brings to the table. He proposes to use his skills in negotiation and blackmail to get more out of the nation's intellectuals, he says he can increase the intellectual output by about 5%., which means that research teams can be shrunk and new ones created, and more officers and spies can be trained, all with the same number of smart people... It sounds like black magic and subterfuge, but if he can deliver it might be hugely beneficial. If he gets to be head of the GRU instead, he will concentrate on Land Unit Intelligence.

The other candidates for the KGB were already known. Laurenti P. Beria, with an agenda of terrorising the populace into supporting the Communist Party, Sergiy G. Gendin, wanting to focus on giving foreign spies false intelligence, and finally Andriy G. Orlov, who proposes to silently calm things down, making everyone seem less threatening.

For Chief of the GRU, only Filip P. Golikov is looking for the position with an agenda of Political espionage."
'Sem' and 'Vosem' had gone to the same party, 'Sem' talked first,

"We went the party of the Leaders of State Institutions, this encompasses Industry, Mining, Education, Research, etc. Two industrialists are looking for the position of Armaments Minister:"
'Vosem' continued:

"The new face, part of many Red Army Research Programmes, and now director of an Armaments factory, Dimitri F. Ustinov wants the Soviet Union to look to the future and be the first nation to succeed in the theoretical development of Rockets, Jet Engines, and Nuclear Physics. He believes getting a better grasp on these cutting edge fields will give us a technological edge over any enemy..."
'Sem' cut him off,

"But looking to the near future, Lazar Kaganovich is still pushing for the same position, promising more efficient extraction of resources, in order to fuel a larger Industrial base."
Before 'Vosem' could go into a highly theoretical expose on the possible applications of Rocket science, and Nuclear Physics, 'Tri' took the stage again,

'All right, let's wrap this up.

I went to a party of the Diplomatic service, where I found several contenders for the post of foreign Minister:

The new face is Andrey Vyshinsky, Jurist, Diplomat, and since last year deputy to the Foreign Minister, he proposes to defeat the Germans, by subtly encouraging nations to join the Allies. I'm not sure this will work.

An older contender, who held the job before Molotov is Maksim Litvinov, he proposes a straightforward intellectual charm offensive to lure other nations closer to the Comintern.

So, to summarise,

For Foreign Minister, we have:

The incumbent, Molotov, who through his antics pisses of foreigners, while increasing domestic support for the 'strong' Communist Party. (Threat impact: +5%, Ruling Party Support: +10%)
Maksim Litvinov, a brilliant intellectual (Susceptibility to the Comintern: +10%)
and Andrey Vishnivsky, a known schemer who wants to win by making the Allies stronger (Susceptibility to the Allies: +10%)
For Armament Minister:
The incumbent, Georgy Bazilevich, Army man and all round Infantry proponent (Inf Theory Decay: -25%, Mil. Theory Decay: -25%), Comrade Stalin doesn't like this man, and the NKVD thinks he might be a traitor.
Lazar Kaganovich, Resource Industrialist (Resources +5%, Chemical Engineering Decay -25%)
Dimitry F. Ustinov, Industrialist, and theoretical scientist who want to see Soviet Jets and Atom Bombs (Jet Engine Theory Decay -25%, Nuclear Physics Research -25%)
General Georgiy K. Zhukov, Military man and Entrepreneur (Supplies +20%)
For Head of the KGB (Security Minister)
The Incumbent, Sergej Uritskiy, Crime fighter, a spy-catching white knight of sorts (Counterespionage +10%), Comrade Stalin isn't very fond of him either.
Lavrenti Beria, hoping to become a Prince of Terror (Ruling Party Support +15%, Partisan Efficiency +10%)
Andriy G. Orlov, Silent Lawyer (Threat impact -10%)
Sergiy G. Gendin, an impressively efficient Sociopath (Counterintelligence +10%)
Alexey P. Panfilov, a Man who motivates people (Leadership: +5%)
For Head of the GRU (Intelligence Minister)
The Incumbent Ivan I. Proskurov, he's an enigma to everyone (Land Intel +10%, Naval Intel +10%) He insists on telling the truth to Stalin, which is fine.
Filip I. Golikov, a Political Specialist (Political Intel +20%)
Alexey P. Panfilov, Specialised in researching people and armies (Land Intel +20%)
For Chief of Staff:
The Incumbent Maj. General of 163. MSD and Chief of Staff Boris M. Shaposhnikov, known to have said that Quantity is a quality on it's own concerning his vision for the Red Army (Manpower +5%, Human Wave Doctrine Decay -10%)
Lt. General of VII. SK, Kirill A. Meretskov, Scholar of Psychology (Org. Regain Rate +10%)
General of 1ya Armiya, Konstantin K. Rokossovsky, a proponent of Manoeuvre Warfare (Combat Movement Speed +10%)
General of 2ya Tankovaya Armiya Georgiy K. Zhukov, a fan of massed Fire Support (Attack Reinforce Chance +10%)
For Chief of the Army:
The Incumbent, Field Marshall of the Far East Theatre, Kliment Y. Voroshilov, a man who knows how to conserve rations and ammunition (Supply consumption -10%)
General of 2ya Tankovaya Armiya Georgiy K. Zhukov, lover of Artillery and Decisive Battles (Art Practical Decay -25%)
Lt. General of XIV. MSK Semyon K. Timoshenko, proponent of the Elastic Defense Doctrine and Mobile Warfare in general (Mobile Unit Practical Decay -25%)
For Chief of the Navy:
The incumbent, Commander of IX. Flot Podlodok, Mikhail V. Viktorov, fan of Power projection and Aircraft Carriers (Carrier Practical Decay -25%) The NKVD doesn't like him, but he's managed to stay alive. Comrade Stalin argues that he should be promoted to be believable in his role as Chief of the Navy.
Rear Admiral of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, Nikolai Kuznetsov, Mahanian at heart, fan of Decisive Naval Battles and the Battleships that come with them (Battleship Practical Decay -25%)
Commander of V. Flot Podlodok Ivan S. Isakov, loves to keep the supply train nice and efficient, and his far flung bases well organised (Naval Base Efficiency)
For Chief of the Air Force:
The Incumbent, ex-VVS Colonel, Yakov I. Alksnis, loves to focus on Air Superiority and believes that the Air force with the largest amount of modern planes is always the best, regardless of type. (Light Aircraft Practical Decay -25%)
ex-Air Lt. General Aleksandr. D. Loktionov, and Air LT. General of I. BAK Aleksandr. E. Golovanov, both proponents of Army Aviation and Medium-sized Bombers. (Medium Bomber Practical Decay -25%)

Air Lt General of I. BAK Pavel V. Rychagov, proponent of Naval Aviation, believes that what the Soviet Union really needs is lots of long range torpedo bombers, and a larger Navy."
Now, I will give the word to 'Odin' who will explain the meaning of all of this."
I took the floor:

"Comrade Stalin is tired of these same old faces, so he asked us to propose some changes to the cabinet. Now, the men he really doesn't like will have to disappear, courtesy of the NKVD, but others may stay with a little guidance, or as they are. So, for now, we need a new Armament Minister, Head of the KGB, and head of the GRU. Now, it should be noted that military personnel who fill a post outside of Chief of 'Their Branch' and Chief of Staff, should be replaced in case of full scale war, either as a commander, or as a Commissar. Stalin might also take the Armament or the Army portfolio in case of war. Now, despite the fact that our Committee assists Comrade Stalin in the making of many decisions, the day to day grind is still in the hands of the Central Committee, so the choices we make here still have a significant impact. So..."
I was interrupted by 'Tri', who seemed to have just received some kind of file from one of the analysts.

"All right, it seems that the rogue Danish Ambassador in Washington convinced the United States and the United Kingdom that Iceland and Greenland should be kept in American hands until Denmark is no longer a government in exile. Our diplomats were surprised that, having taken both islands unilaterally little more than a year ago (after the fall of Denmark), the UK gladly handed them over to the US for safekeeping. Are the British trying to lure the Americans into the Allies with this diplomatic gift? Probably. Maybe we should find out more about the state of the US in general, and it's armed forces in particular? That's all, back to you 'Odin'."
I continued:

"I was about to say:

Think it over tonight and tomorrow we will send our recommendations for cabinet changes to Comrade Secretary General, we'll open tomorrow's meeting with the conclusions of today. You're all invited to go home and sleep off your hangovers. 'Dva', 'Chteyre', 'Piat', see you tomorrow, we'll meet with some of the Generals tomorrow to discuss a course of action on Military Leadership."
Dearest external Committee members, feel free to weigh in on the changes within the Central Committee, the non-secret one of course.

Greetings,

'Odin'
I had left the politics mostly alone, but now there are some new and interesting options. So things will be shaken up a bit. The politicians who have an explanation of what Stalin or the NKVD thinks about them were executed before or during 1941, the most interesting one is Proskurov, who was 'disappeared' in 1941 for always telling Stalin the truth. The ones Stalin or the NKVD 'Doesn't like' fell from grace and were easy prey for the NKVD. So for the sake of realism at least some of these have to go. What do you think would be the ideal Central Committee at this point? Of course the Central Committee will be shaken up if we get into a large scale war. I also noticed that my Chief of the Navy was a mere Commander of a fleet of 15 Submarines, which is a bit strange, so despite his mediocre skill, he might be given another assignment.
Our spies will also return soon...

 
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roverS3

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Still catching-up. One word about your car-theft segment...Excellent!
Thanks for that, I really enjoyed writing that one. On another note, I recently read all of 'Little Britain', that was also quite excellent.

Re the Air Force : Novikov has not shown up yet?
No, he hasn't... FYI, I checked and he will show up as potential Air Force Minister in 1942 (In game anyway). He does command II. ShAK (CASx2, Ftr) in TTL, so you will probably be hearing about him, If war breaks out that is...

The next update will be coming after the 12th of January, as I need all my (productive) time to work on a University project due on that date. Thanks for your support. Have a great 2018.