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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Bullfilter

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Still following 11’s adventures closely - another fine mess she’s got herself in! ;)
 
6th of January 1942, 'Odinatsat', Pt.3 A not-so-relaxing voyage.

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The 6th of January 1942, Vologda, -10,6°C, 1pm Moscow Time,

The meeting was as expected, you'll see the results in the next report. Now, back to the story of 'Odinatsat':

I started looking around in the carriage, opened one of the smaller chests, and found that it contained two Sten guns. It seems only one of them had ever been fired, but some dust and grime had gotten into the chest. To make sure I had a working submachine gun when I would need it, I would have to strip both, clean them, and put together the best bits of both. In training, I had quickly gotten very familiar with the lacklustre reliability and frequent jamming of the sten, especially when dirt or sand is involved. That said, when it works, it's a great close combat weapon, allowing you to spray down enemies at close range before they even have time to lift their own weapons.

sten-gun-min.jpg

Sten Guns and their accessories with a standard chest.
The sten was a start, but considering that this train was definitely guarded by Italian soldiers, and/or SS, it couldn't do any harm to gather some weapons and ammunition, in case an opportunity to escape that involved mowing down a couple of axis soldiers presented itself. To increase my chances I needed more options, so instead of wasting my flash-light on stripping and cleaning at night, I continued to forage a bit. I soon found something rather interesting, a crate with demolition charges and Gammon Bombs (N° 82 Grenades). With that, I could do some serious damage. However, I had to wait for the right opportunity. The train had to stop or slow to a crawl somewhere it wasn't heavily guarded, and somewhere I could quickly disappear from the sight of the soldiers on board. Part of me also didn't want to get out too soon, in the hope of finding out where the weapons were meant to go.

That brought me to the subject of how to leave. I contemplated blowing holes in the walls between carriages to get to the locomotive and take over the train, but this would have been both too noisy, and too dangerous, as a pile of Artillery shells, mortar shells, or some plastic explosive in a crate standing against a wall I wanted to blow a hole in would probably blow me up with it, and possibly start a chain reaction which could destroy most the train and it's cargo, which would leave me equally blown up in the process. A sacrifice I definitely wasn't willing to make.

I'm sure the Germans didn't want to take any chances by stopping in barely Italian-controlled Greek territory, especially after that encounter with British commando's and Greek resistance fighters right outside Athens. The train only started slowing down, 2 hours after the failed nightly ambush, as it entered Lieanokladi Railway station, near the city of Lamia. As the train came to a halt, at about 3 am, I noticed a large, brightly lit, Bulgarian flag hanging on the small station building leaving absolutely no doubt on the fact that this was Bulgarian-controlled Greek territory. Soon after, I noticed a Bulgarian rifleman, and another, and then more, all around the place. At least a company of Bulgarian riflemen was providing security, and about 40 of them, I guess they formed a platoon, were standing at attention on the platform. This was not the right time to escape. I was definitely better off alive, and observing the brightly lit platform from the relative safety of the carriage.

LianokladiStation2014-min.jpg

Lieanokladi Railway Station, not really meant for the longest of freight trains. Since the partition of Greece, it has served as a border station between greater Italy and greater Bulgaria.
An Italian 'Tennente', and a SS-Oberscharführer (both Lieutenants) seemed to have stepped out one of the first Carriages, and they soon walked into the small station building. About ten minutes later the two Lieutenants exited the building again, preceded by a Bulgarian Army Kapitan. As the Kapitan arrived on the platform, a 'Poruchik' (First Lieutenant) moved to his side, and after about 10 seconds of silent conversation between the 4 men, the 'Tennente' barked an order, I heard several heavy doors sliding open, and at least 30 Italian Infantrymen stepped out of the train, from their movements, I'd guess that at least three Carriages, one in front, one in the middle, and one at the rear of the train, had been occupied by a squad each. One of the squads, I counted 13 men had been behind me on the train, and didn't even have a platform to step out onto, as the train was clearly too long for the small provincial station's platform. 10 men were carried out of stretchers, it wasn't clear whether they were dead or just wounded, though I did hear a few muffled screams. Shortly after, I distinctly recognised the sound of several lorries speeding off with great haste, probably to some hospital.

Once all of the able-bodied Italians had lined up neatly on the platform, behind the Bulgarian soldiers, the 'Poruchik' barked an order, and the Bulgarians moved to take the place of the Italians on the train, taking several old German-looking machine-guns with them. A few minutes later, the four officers saluted each-other, and especially the Kapitan, before the Oberscharführer, now accompanied by the 'Poruchik' walked towards the front of the train. A minute or so later, another order was barked in Bulgarian, and doors were closed all along the train, and a few seconds later we were on the move again, after half an hour of standing still.

SalonicaStop-min.jpg

The staging yard outside of Salonica.
Exhausted, I tried to get some sleep. Now that we were out of the mountains, the train was making good time, and what seemed like 15 minutes later, I woke up as the train was coming to a halt in a brightly lit staging yard, which looked to be even more heavily guarded than Lieanokladi station. I checked my watch and 3 hours and 20 minutes had passed since the previous stop. This halt was even shorter than the previous one, as no one was getting on or off the train save for the two Lieutenants who stepped off shortly to salute a Bulgarian Podpolkovnik (Lt. Colonel), probably the man in charge of security there, which would suggest that an entire Rifle Battalion was guarding the staging yard, at least while we were there, for the locomotive to be resupplied with coal, and more importantly, water.

After 10 minutes of standing still, at around 6:30am, the train started moving again, and as we pulled out of the staging yard I made out the words 'Thessaloniki' and 'Diavata' in Greek on an old sign. I couldn't read the whole sign, but this suggests that we were just outside of Salonica, and that we had just made a turn to the North-West.

I soon dozed off again, and was awakened when the train came to a stop, I looked out of the carriage through the same gap between plank's I'd been using all along, and was blinded by the sunlight. I checked my watch, it was 10:25am, the sun had been up for more than two hours. After getting used to the light, I looked out once more, and noted that we were standing still in Skopje's Railway Station. I counted only about 40 Italian blackshirts seemed to be present as far as I could see. This stop might have presented an opportunity to escape, but before I could figure out a plan, after being stationary for a mere five minutes, the train was on the move again. No troops had gone on or off the train, which, I reckoned, meant that we were headed straight back into Bulgarian-controlled territory. The railroad became more tortuous and the train had to go significantly more slowly on the next part of my unexpected journey.

Skopjeold-railway-station-not-ruined-min.jpg

Skopje Train station. Built in 1938, by Velimir Gavrilovik in a decidedly contemporary style, with some Byzantine influences, it still looked brand new when I got there.
I slept some more, there was no point in worrying while the train was on the move, there was no way I could stop it on my own without being detected and fired upon rather too much, and any escape would have to happen when the train was stopped. I woke up again at 3pm, having caught up with much of the night's missed sleep. The train was still moving, at about 70-75 km/h, slower than in Greece, but definitely still too quickly to chance jumping out.

By sleeping, I had thrown off some of the stress and most of the related tiredness, and now I was hungry and thirsty, so I looked through some more of the equipment piled around the carriage worming myself between and over boxes, packs, sacks, and even a small gun. I found a whole crate of Royal Navy rations, which would tidy me over for a few months, not the tastiest food, but I could manage with that. After stumbling through the carriage, I found a large open crate that had been filled with miscellaneous equipment, probably picked up on the streets of Athens. Amongst the mess, I found a medical kit, wit most of the bandages and morphine still in it, and 5 water bottles, one was empty, of the others, not one was full, but in total, this water would be enough for a day, or two, at a stretch.

At this point, I was fully alert. With the sun out, I stripped and cleaned the Sten guns, before building a half decent one from a mix of parts from both. Conscious of the fact that the further I got from Athens, the longer I'd have to be able to survive on my own, I started to gather more equipment that could help me in case an opportunity to escape presented itself, In the miscellaneous crate, as I started calling it, I found a duffel-bag, and I started filling it, the med kit, explosives, Gammon bombs to serve as contact fuses, extra ammunition, and a few spare parts for the sten-gun.

After I had the basics, I started opening new crates, looking for a rifle of some sort, after opening several boxes, I found that I had the choice of a Pattern 1914 Enfield with a telescopic sight, or one of two standard issue No.1 Mk.III SMLE rifles. The first was going to be more accurate at long range, up to 800 yards, in fact, but the second was shorter, lighter, and magazine-fed for a higher rate of fire. I started stripping and cleaning both, not that they were as dirty as the sten-guns, but I might as well make sure and keep myself busy. As both rifles were re-assembled and in top condition, I placed the weapons and the duffel-bag together near the left-hand side door of the carriage. After having gathered some .303 ammunition, placed some of it in a belt with a couple of sten magazines, and the rest in the duffel-bag, I sat down, I was as ready as I could be.

pattern_14-min.jpg

Two Enfield rifles, so similar, yet so different.

There was still no real opportunity for escape as the train was either moving too quickly or it was too closely guarded to have a chance of successfully escaping. Though it was certainly conducted with noble intentions in mind, I found myself thinking that the botched nightly attack on the train outside of Athens may have been counterproductive, ensuring the train was under relatively heavy guard for a train of it's type.

The sun had been down for a good hour, and darkness was really setting in, when the train entered, what I soon figured out to be Beograd. As the train pulled into Beograd station, at about 7:30pm, I noticed a Pzkpw IV along the tracks, guarding the approach to the station. It looked quite menacing, especially in the limelight.

Inside the station, however, the train was greeted, not by German tankers, but by members of some second-line Reserve-Infantry Division. They were armed with weapons of a similar vintage to those the Bulgarians were carrying. There was another swap, this time, no one was being taken out on a stretcher, and the Bulgarian 'Poruchik' was replaced by a Feldwebel (Lieutenant, Wehrmacht equivalent of Oberscharführer'), who clearly wasn't getting along with the SS-Oberscharführer already on board.

After a mere 20 minutes in Beograd Station, the train was pulled out of the station backwards, so that it could then make it's turn over the river Sava and be on it's way. This could have been a perfect opportunity to escape, were it not that that Pzkw IV followed the train towards the Junction and I now noticed a squad of Panzer-grenadiers were guarding the railway junction itself, so much for an easy escape. The train stopped for about 30 seconds, for the locomotive at the rear to be uncoupled and the switches to be turned, and then the big locomotive in front started pulling again, over the river, and towards the North-West.

BelgradeStation-min.jpg

Beograd train station, finished in 1885, following the designs of Dragutin Milutinović, it is still an impressive sight, especially at night.
The inactivity and my messed-up sleeping pattern of the previous day made it so that, although darkness had set in, I couldn't fall asleep. Wide awake, I again considered my options. Going through the side of the carriage was risky as I could get shot as soon as I entered the line of sight of one of the squads spread across several carriages along the train, so that would require the right circumstances, and would also mean that I had to re-arrange the cargo in the carriage as to not blow the whole thing sky-high when I try to blow the lock, as picking it from the inside would be hard, and once impossible to conceal from a cursory inspection.

As I laid there, in a skiff typically used by Royal Marines to cross rivers, trying to sleep, it dawned on me that I could also go through the roof of the carriage. I distinctly remembered seeing ladders on the outside of some of the Carriages, so getting down should be possible. The more I thought about it, the more sense it made, maybe I was delirious. The soldiers on the train probably didn't have a line of sight on the roof of the train, unless they got off, and even then, if I were to lay down on the roof, they would have to get a lot of distance from the train to spot me. Of course, having not examined the whole train in detail, there was the possibility that some or all of the enclosed carriages with soldiers in them had those little elevated cabins from which they could survey the top of the tran, but even if that was the case, those could only hold one man at a time, and given the choice between facing two soldiers, or close to 50, I'd choose the two any time. I also considered going through the floor, however, it would be quite hard to clear enough floor space in the packed carriage, and going through the floor would leave me trapped, with a limited line of sight, and the risk of being utterly exposed if the train drives off.

It was all still speculation, and none of my escape plans could reasonably be expected to work in a controlled environment, with sentries on top of surrounding buildings, etc. What I needed was an unexpected stop or slowdown, preferably in a turn somewhere. Just in case, I prepared a series of charges that I could place on the roof or side of the carriage at a moment's notice.

When the train stopped once more, at 11:40pm, I had just started to doze off a little, looking out of the carriage, I noted that we had stopped in Subotica train station, a relatively small town most notable for being right next to the Hungarian border. Peering towards the middle of the platform, I noted that this station was guarded by a mix of German second-line Reserve-Infantry and Hungarian Infantry. To greet the train, there was a Reserve-Infantry Hauptmann (Captain), flanked by a Hungarian 'Főhadnagy' (First Lieutenant), and a Hungarian 'Szakaszvezető' (Corporal), this suggested that there must have been at least a small company of German soldiers, and a platoon of Hungarian soldiers spread around the station, there was a 10-man squad of Hungarian Infantrymen neatly lined up on the platform. That didn't seem like a lot, but, considering that, like previous times, the station was deserted, except for all those soldiers, and brightly illuminated, escape was, once again, out of the question.
The SS-Oberscharführer wasn't impressed with the lack of commitment of the Hungarian army to the security of the train, but the Hauptmann calmed him, and the Hungarian Főhadnagy (who had clearly understood the reproach), down, probably pointing out that Hungary wasn't occupied territory, and that they would be just fine.

SuboticaStation-min.jpg

The station in Subotica, border station between ex-Yugoslavia and Hungary.
There was another swap, the tender was refilled with coal and water, and then the train was back on it's way, now with just 11 Hungarian Infantrymen, split into two teams, on board. At this point, we were pretty far removed from Greece, but, with the lighter security detail, an escape could have been in the cards, if it wasn't for the train's relentless propensity for not stopping. There must be some reason why this train had received such a high priority, or maybe German trains always had top priority when they travelled through Hungary.

At around 3:20am the train rolled into a large city, Budapest, I presume. However, it did not stop, it briefly slowed down going through a small station called Istvántelek station, next to a big Royal Hungarian Railways workshop, a Hungarian soldier saluted the train, and several workers waved, but it wasn't slow enough form me to get out, not to mention the Hungarian policemen guarding the workshop. It just wasn't worth the risk, especially considering that I couldn't count on any sympathy in Hungary... For the average Hungarian, Britain and France are the enemy, and the Soviet Union will soon be. As my German and Italian are terrible, and my Hungarian non-existent, I couldn't very well pretend to be from a friendly nation. There was also this nagging curiosity telling me to stay in the train until the very last moment to find out where the British weapons and supplies would end up. Somehow, it wasn't enough to get off the train, the train itself had to be tracked, and the weapons it carried should never see use in Axis hands

istvantelekStation-min.jpg

Isvantelek station and Hungarian Railways Workshop, Budapest.
The next stop, after flying through Bratislava, was in Lundenburg (Breclav) train station. It seems even the Germans themselves don't care much for Slovakia. After all, unlike Hungary, Italy, or Bulgaria, Slovakia is a puppet state of Germany and thus definitely not worthy of the same courtesy as the other Axis members. As we slowed down, we crossed the river Thaya (Diye) on an steel bridge, with a relatively new factory chimney dominating the view to left in the morning twilight. It was 6:40am. I quickly noted that the station was crawling with German Infantry, a whole trainload of them, about a Battalion I'd say. An old passenger train stood waiting, on the other side of the platform, the Locomotive warmed up and ready to go. I almost thought this was my lucky break, before I noticed the Heer markings on the sides of the carriages and the total lack of civilians in the station.

Breclav was normally a busy station, on the intersection of several big European railway lines, however I'm sure the war and the priority given to the Heer and the industry must have made a dent in long distance international railway travel, unless you are an Axis soldier, or in my particular predicament, that is. Not that the station was quiet. As soon as we stopped a passenger train filled with German Infantry rolled by, and a couple of minutes later, as seemingly a whole Kompanie of front-line Wehrmacht Infantry was still lining up on the platform, another Infantry-filled train rolled by.

Ludenburg_Breclav-min.jpg

Two postcards from Ludenburg, one depicting the bridge over which trains enter the city, along with the factory, the second depicts the busy station said trains end up in.
Soon, I heard another, smaller locomotive come from the rear of the train. An Oberstleutnant, flanked by a Major arrived on the platform. In the meantime, the small locomotive was moving something around towards the rear of the train. Then, as another train filled with Infantry sped past, the Hungarian 'Szakaszvezető' (Corporal) appeared in my line of sight, flanked by the SS- Oberscharführer (Lieutenant). Both men sharply saluted the superior officers facing them. The Oberstleutnant said something in German to the SS-Oberscharführer, which the latter wasn't happy to hear. The Hungarian Corporal clearly didn't understand German. Then, the Major backed his commander up, pointing towards the far end of the platform. There was a thud, and the whole train shuddered forwards just a little bit, as if a carriage had just been added at the rear of the train. I saw the SS-Oberscharführer mutter something under his breath, before he, the Hungarian 'Szakaszvezető' and the 10 Hungarian soldiers previously on board the train, all walked off the platform, saluting at every superior officer they encountered along the way. (The SS-Oberscharführer somewhat reluctantly, and the Hungarian Szakaszvezető, with some enthusiasm.

After the last of the Hungarians had disappeared from view, and another train packed with Infantry had rolled by. The Major barked an order, then all the Lieutenants barked orders, and then the whole Kompanie, I'd estimate it at about 120 strong boarded the train, with about half of them moving into the very rear of the train, probably into a passenger carriage that was just transferred from the other train. As soon as the Major had followed the Kompanie by boarding somewhere at the front, doors slammed shut.
The train soon picked up speed, and as the sun started to peek over the horizon, I wondered what all of this movement was about. Something was going on to the East, judging by the amount and size of the trains, I'd say a whole Infanterie-Division must be on the move, from somewhere in Austria towards Western Poland. The Wehrmacht Oberstleutnant had pulled rank on that SS-Oberscharführer and replaced him with his own Major and a whole Kompanie, meaning that the the importance of this train for the Wehrmacht, and possibly that of any train carrying weapons towards Western Poland, had just gone up, as well as the risk of something happening to them, or were they just redistributing forces to make the trains more efficient? Surely this couldn't be the prelude to an attack on the Soviet Union. Whatever the case may be, escape had just become even more difficult, or so I thought.
There you go, the train has reached Czechia, the final leg of the journey is up next. It's anybody's guess what will happen now, or why an entire division is moving from Austria to Poland. I'm already late for lunch. I will get back to this as soon as possible,

Greetings,

'Odin'
Notes from your WritAAR:
Sten guns were notoriously unreliable, they were also unusable at anything over 30 metres, due to their questionable accuracy. But, they were light, very cheap to make, and highly effective in close quarters gun fights, if and when they worked.

Freight trains turning left on the Athens-Salonica line didn't enter the end-station itself, and there were, and are still, several staging yards outside the city. I was surprised to find such a picture of one of those, and despite the bad quality, it is authentic.

The old Skopje Train Station (pictured) was mostly destroyed in an Earthquake in the early 1960, precious few photos of the original are present on the internet. What remains of the building is now a museum dedicated to the memory of the earthquake.

The Enfield rifles were omnipresent in British and Commonwealth Armies. The P14, or Pattern 1914 continued to be used as a sniper rifle long after the regular Infantry had gotten Mk.III Lee Enfields of various configurations. Most of the P14s was manufactured in the US from 1914 onward, being generally considered more accurate at long range than more modern Lee Enfields of the interwar period, P14s continued to be used a sniper rifles throughout WW2, they only began to be replaced when the first modified Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk.I (T) became available, in late 1942.

Subotica remains a border station to this day, it's a relatively small town with a huge station... specifically to allow for trains to park while they are inspected by customs.

Isvantelek is today Eastern Europe's train graveyard, the workshop went out of business decades ago, and old trains have been piling up there ever since, the variety of rusting rolling stock that can be found there is astounding.

Breclav, or Ludenburg, is still a key station in the European railway network, many international lines intersect there, trains going from the Balkans and Greece to Western Europe, trains going from Italy to Poland and Russia, etc.

Up next: What's going on in Eastern Poland? Will 11 become desperate? Will she figure out a cunning plan? Will she be lucky?
 
Last edited:

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This keeps getting more and more interesting. Unless the security of the train lapses once it reaches German-controlled territory, 11 may be in for a tough time... An explosive solution would definitely attract attention, but perhaps it could also act as a distraction?

Sorry to burst your bubble but the 'modern' infantry small arm in HOI3 is the Sten Gun Mk.I (1940 tech, pretty much up to date as 1942 has barely started...), in any case, the sten will feature in whatever happens to that train... Even worse, I tagged to the UK, and found out that '1942 tech' is the SMLE Mk.III, a 1907 Rifle predating the sten-gun... a true paradox why that's the case... In any case I would expect the Bren-gun to be widely used in the infantry, especially the special forces.

I have no idea on the German Sten, I didn't even know they had copied sten-guns, interesting...

Goddammit, and here I was hoping they had weapons that weren't made mostly out of scrap piping with questionable material choices and poor workmanship. Oh well...

Therein lies also the answer to the question: The German copies were identical down to the markings, but identifiable due to their higher quality, or so I've heard at least. Apparently they used actually decent steel, not scrap piping and copper for bolts... And I don't think I need to say anything about the quality of German worksmanship (excluding most things produced in 1945 for obvious reasons).

I think I would rather go with the SMLE than the Sten 9 times out of 10, so maybe that's what PDX has based their choices in? Many of the technologies have never made a lot of sense to me. IIRC in HOI4 infantry AT weapons in '42 or '43 are Boys AT rifles for some countries, armour thicknesses and the rest of armour and artillery techs in HOI3 are all over the place if memory serves, and don't even get me started on the research system based on arbitrary year levels with everything in that year level being equal between countries...

Alright, rant over, and some research done. I presume they got confused (wouldn't be the first time) and wrote SMLE Mk.III when they really meant Rifle No. 4, which was adopted in 1941. Honestly speaking, I think while PDX does lot of work to achieve at least some historical accuracy, these kind of cock-ups just ruin the whole thing. If it takes all of 30 seconds with an internet connection to figure out which weapon should be there and they still manage to be so far off the mark, they are either lazy or ridiculously incompetent.
 

Bullfilter

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11’s travels are, I reckon from all these hints and indicators, taking her through the German preparations for a delayed Barbarossa. But time will tell.

SMGs are notoriously unreliable. We used the old F1 SMG up until everything was replaced by variations of the Steyr, (Australia made its own Steyrs under license, modified to our specs) including carbine versions for tank crew.

The F1 was an Australian design made in the 1960s, which replaced the Owen gun. A simple thing with a top-mounted magazine. And probably a lot better than the Sten, but never having fired one of those I can’t compare directly. I would like to have seen how the German MP 40 Schmeisser would have performed as well.

Apart from the unreliability and legendary inaccuracy at anything beyond 25m, the ammunition used also had a great bearing on the above and its hitting power. It used the standard 9mm ammo - and when it was older ‘War stocks’ ammo (which degrades over time) its range was even worse and it was said (without much exaggeration) that it would be unlikely to penetrate a wet greatcoat at its supposed ‘effective’ range (150m by the book).

Despite all that, it was still fun to fire on a walkthrough pop-up target bush ‘stalker range’. And good at short range.
 
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6th of January 1942, 'Odinatsat', Pt.4 The end of the line.

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The 6th of January 1942, Vologda, -9,8°C, 6pm Moscow Time,

The BR-45, original launch video of the first one of it's type, part of an old late 1930s German newsreel. Watching this, you realise a picture just doesn't do it justice...
After lunch I delved back into the long report of 'Odinatsat', still on the train-bound voyage of a lifetime:

The train turned back to the North-East, surprisingly, if we were going to Warsaw at least, we passed by the southern edge of Lodz. A mere 50 minutes later, after passing through a quiet staging yard, the train found itself turning right, then left, and shortly after we had crossed a bridge over another line. It was 1pm when the train hit the brakes in a very slight right hand turn. I looked out to the left, and noted that there were now two pairs of tracks next to the train, indicating that we were stopping at some kind of Junction. There was no visible security at the junction, and the slight bend of the train would conceal me from those on the train if I stayed close to it. The sun was much more helpful than the very slight bend, it was on the inside of the bend, meaning that I could hide in the shade. This was my chance. I instinctively tied my hair, closed-up my duffel-bag, ready to make a run for it, quietly, if at all possible.

JunctionLowicz1-min.jpg

The Railroad junction outside Lowicz, in the bottom left corner of the map, our train entered the area, coming from Lodz. The train was to turn right, then left, then over the bridge, and then exit the area on the right, to Warszawa.
It took me a full ten seconds to force the lock, and another five to move the door enough for me to get through. Just as I had made myself an exit, I heard a pair of boots hit the ballast at the front of the train. I didn't have much time. I hung the P14 over one shoulder, and the sten-gun over the other. I jumped out with the duffel-bag in my arms. Footsteps were closing in from the front of the train. Keeping in mind my previous considerations, I decided I would climb on the roof of the train. The train was bound to start moving again soon, and I had to hurry. I found a ladder that lead to the top of the carriage I had been in and soon realised I wouldn't be able to climb it while carrying both the P14, and the duffel-bag. I tied the P14 to the ladder by the strap, and climbed, not without considerable effort, until I could place the heavy duffel-bag on the near-flat roof of the carriage.

As I started to climb back down to grab the rifle, I heard a German Infantry-man closing in, on the left-hand side of the train (the side I was on). As he noticed me, he stopped in his tracks, before he could give the alarm or aim his MP40 at me, before I could even think about firing my sten-gun at him, he was felled by a head-shot. It seemed that there was some kind of hunter out there. As there was, at the shortest point, about 200 metres of open ground between the left side of the train and the woods, where I'd think he would have been hiding, this was a pretty decent marksman. A second after the soldier had hit the ground, all hell broke loose.

Machine-guns fired several bursts into the woods the shot had come from, I heard boots hit the ground behind me, and the train started to roll backwards ever so slowly. A squad of German Infantry, split in two teams, was running, across two tracks, and across an open field, towards the woods, to teach this lone hunter a lesson. I started crawling, then running, as soon as the Infantry squad was out of earshot, towards the rear of the train, both guns on my back, pushing and throwing the duffel-bag in front of me. Suddenly there was a ricochet on the roof to my right. I dropped on my stomach.

I glanced towards the front of the train, and, where there had been an empty observation cabin I had barely noticed before, near the middle of the train, there was now an angry German soldier with a great view of the roof, taking shots at me with his Gewehr 41. Luckily for me, he was more than 200m away, and I was laying down with my feet towards him, presenting a very small target, and he probably didn't have a telescopic sight, or he wouldn't have missed. Nevertheless, I had to take him out before he hit me, or managed to communicate to someone that I was on that roof.

I took hold of the P14, pushed the sten-gun away just enough, and rolled onto my back, my feet still pointing towards the attacker. Now, just like we practised back at Brickendonbury Manor, I cocked the rifle, lined up the shot while barely lifting my head, then just after he missed another shot, I pulled in my legs and rocked forward lifting my upper body, into a sitting position. As soon as my feet touched the roof of the carriage, before the German could take a shot at a now larger, sitting, target, I took the shot. It wasn't a hard shot, especially with such a powerful and precise weapon. The recoil slammed me on my back as my shooting position had been less than ideal, and I am still, a bit of a lightweight, but when I looked up, the German had stopped moving, his hands still clutching his rifle in his lifeless hands. His chin had dropped to his chest, and there was a gaping hole where his brain had been. This wasn't going to be a clean escape, not literally in any case.


I moved on towards the rear of the train, and as I got closer to the carriage before last, I could hear a machine-gun firing intermittently in front of me, and then, below me, as I climbed onto it's roof. In the meantime, the German Infantry had made it to the edge of the woods, and they were met by a nasty surprise, there was a whirlwind of pistol-fire, and all thirteen Germans laid dead. The hunter was not alone, and this must be a full-blown ambush.

The Machine-gun below me started firing again, the gunners surely enraged at the fate of their comrades, were not using short bursts anymore. The MG-36s were now throwing a hailstorm of bullets straight into the undergrowth. It suddenly dawned on me that a train filled with soldiers wouldn't be far behind. If the ambush were to have any chance at succeeding, it had to be delayed in some way. As the train I was on was still moving backwards quite slowly, a devious plan dawned on me. I took out a Gammon bomb, and stuffed it with plastic explosives, I grabbed the spare gun-belt from the second sten-gun and then, I jumped onto the final carriage, the passenger car that had been added in Breclav, filled with soldiers.

First, let me explain how a Gammon works, it's a bag with a contact fuse, you place explosives and/or shrapnel inside the bag, you take of the cap, and you throw it. The whole thing will explode when it makes contact with a hard surface. Now, I was planning on using this one slightly differently.

The roof of the passenger carriage was rounded, and this meant I had to leave the duffel-bag, and the rifle, on the flat roof of the carriage with the machine-gun in it. This would be tricky to pull off, especially without being noticed too soon. As I got to close the rear edge of the train, on the roof of the passenger car, my fear was confirmed, a soldier was standing on the little balcony, looking towards the rear of the train. Suddenly he was hit in the head, my hunter friend had clearly been following my movements. Before the man even hit the floor, I had swung off the roof, leaving the sten-gun behind, and grabbed onto the railing, hanging off the rear of the train.

donnerbuechse-schoener-alter-wagon-der-deutschen-reichsbahn-min.jpg

The last carriage of the train, added to it in Breclav, was a passenger carriage similar to this one, filled with German soldiers. Using it as an explosive delivery system was risky to say the least...
There was only a thin ledge on the far end of the railing to put my feet on, a rather precarious situation, but I persevered. I threw myself onto the left-hand side buffer, and using the spare belt, I strapped the Gammon to the end of the buffer, with the screw-off cap facing out towards the back of the train. As I carefully screwed off the cap, another body hit the floor on the tiny balcony, with another crackle of the hunting rifle, I swiftly pulled myself back onto the roof of the carriage, and grabbed the sten-gun again.
The track behind the train was a slight incline, which would only help with the next step, if I was quick enough. I rushed back towards the front of the train, my movements mostly drowned out by gunfire. Once I was on the carriage with the machine-guns, I placed the P14 on my left shoulder, grabbed the duffel-bag, and hurried to the third carriage from the rear of the train.

Once the duffel-bag and both guns were secure on the third carriage from the rear, I looked in between both carriages, and noted that the coupling was a strange combination of two hooks, with two rings, and a big screw holding it all together. It was wound tight, and I would probably have to drop my body-weight on top of it to make it move, it was that or blow it up, and that could give me away quite easily, and see a hail of MP40 bullets fly through the wall of the machine-gunner's carriage.

I sat on the edge of the roof, took aim, and hoping the train wouldn't make any sudden movements, I jumped. Landing with one foot, and all of my weight, on top of the releasing screw, the screw gave way, and I had to throw myself at the small service ladder on the wall of the carriage as to not break both legs and end up underneath the train. One of the rungs of the ladder hit me in the stomach, and I almost dislocated my left shoulder. It hurt like hell, and I almost threw up my meagre rations, but the plan was still on. I was immediately reminded of the urgency of my actions as I heard the distinct sound of the locomotive's brakes being applied, the rear of the train would start slowing within z few seconds.

Precariously balancing on the tiny ladder's bottom rung, I proceeded to unscrew the Coupling, and as the tension from the braking reached it, the coupling, now almost undone, and critically weakened, let go. I was just fast enough to grab the tiny ladder with both hands, as the train came to a stop, to see the two last carriages, having no brakes of their own, more than 50 soldiers in them, move slowly down the incline, going the wrong way, with a sizeable explosive charge poised to explode whenever they would make contact with the next train coming down the line...


Now that the rear of the train was all out of machine-guns and soldiers, a good twenty partisans rushed the rear of the train from the other side. Someone yelled: “SHOOT DRIVER!” with a thick Polish accent. I didn't have to be told twice. I climbed back onto the roof of the train, picked up the P14, kneeled right next to the right-hand edge of the roof. Through the telescopic sight, I could see the instruments of the driver, but not all of them. The gap through which I would have to take the shot was relatively small if one considers the distance. On the right and the top, it was limited by the walls of the cabin, and at the bottom and on the left it was limited by the large tender, which had a higher part in the middle to store more coal. As my luck had it, the control-wheel was clearly visible through my telescopic sight.

Fuehrerstand01008b.jpg

The cabin of a large German steam locomotive, nearly identical to that of the BR 45, the clear part is about as much 'Odinatsat' could see from her vantage point as she describes it. The big wheel on the bottom right controls the amount of steam that goes into the cylinders, and thus the amount of power that is put to the wheels.
I don't know very much about steam engines, but I do know that the big control wheel gives you steam, and steam gives you power, and at some point, someone would try to make this train move again. Let's just hope the wind keeps blowing the smoke and excess steam to the left, and away from my shot.

While I was taking my bearings, placing my duffel-bag in front of me to help support the rifle, fine-tuning the telescopic sight to reflect the wind conditions and the range of 400m I would be firing from, I noticed Germans, railway personnel and soldiers alike, were trying to flip a big lever, about 30m in front of the locomotive. They were, however, getting shot in the process. Soon, Polish partisans arrived at the top of the train, others had already started moving alongside the train, on both sides. Not one of them talked to me, nor did any of them disturb me, this wasn't a time for talking or figuring out who's who, this was a time for shooting Germans and stopping this train from leaving. The men on the roof walked on the left as they moved towards the front of the train, leaving the right-hand side of the roof entirely clear, as to not interfere with my shot in any way.


About 20 seconds later, the 7th German to reach the lever in front of the train, if I counted correctly, managed to get it all the way down, he was rewarded with a bullet in the head from the marksman in the woods to the left.. I merely heard the shot, I didn't look, I was focused on this one big red wheel in the cabin. A few seconds later, a man appeared in my sight, as he moved towards the control-wheel, I was hoping he wouldn't do it, that he could be spared, just a train driver doing his job, but of course, doing his job to the very end, he grabbed the control-wheel, and as soon as he touched it, I fired, a fraction of a second later, the man dropped from view, and all I could see of him was some blood glistening on the front-facing wall of the locomotive's cabin.

JunctionLowiczZoom1-min.jpg

The red line shows the approximate position of the train during the ambush, it did move back a bit, so that the point, in front of it, to the east, could be observed while it was placed in the correct position so that they could continue on to Warsaw. The point's switch was eventually flipped under sniper fire. With another train on the way behind it, the only possible escape from the ambush was forward.
A second later, another man appeared, moving more quickly, aware of the danger, I fired again, the second man fell from view, now there was even more blood on the wall. I kept the spot in my sights, and I just laid there, for what seemed like hours, but was probably about ten minutes, staring through the telescopic sight, at the control wheel, and the now bloodied wall behind it, there was gunfire in front of me, MP-40s, rifles, pistols, yelling, grenades exploded, one by one, the MG-36s stopped firing. I didn't really take notice. I couldn't look away. I was both fascinated by, and horrified at, having just shot two unarmed men in the back of the head without warning, not only that, but I felt I was ready to shoot as many people as it took to keep this train stationary.

I also didn't take any notice when I heard a small explosion, followed by a bigger one, somewhere behind the train to the left of it, of course, in hindsight, this was my devious plan reaching it's conclusion, effectively destroying the locomotive of the next train, likely filled with German Infantry, and probably blowing up part of the tracks, and quite a few Germans with it. Thinking back, I could only imagine the carnage.

An elderly gentleman appeared in my sight, he was walking towards the control-wheel, but he hesitated when he saw the blood on the wall, the bodies on the floor. He looked straight at where I was, I doubt he was able to really see more than a speck on the roof of a carriage far away, he didn't look angry, nor shocked or horrified, his expression was kind, understanding, even thankful. I didn't understand at first, I wasn't so sure I could shoot this man, even if he tried to move the train, and I was happy when he didn't, and exited my sight, and the cabin, to the right.

I hear some yelling in a language I couldn't really place at the time. (it was Polish, of course). Then I heard someone say 'Hey lady!', in English in a thick Polish accent, then someone else yelled 'Hey! Lady!', with an even worse Polish accent. Someone tried 'Fraulein', and another 'Mademoiselle!'. I remained calm, and obsessively focused on the objective, not realising they were trying to get my attention. Then, someone touched my shoulder, and my reflexes kicked in. I hit the young man in the stomach with my elbow, and took out my knife, before realising that he was on my side, well, at least in this particular battle. I hear someone cock the hammer of a revolver, I turned, slowly, towards the sound. A kid, barely a teenager, was pointing an old revolver at me, he was shaking heavily, I dropped the knife, and took in my surroundings. The battle was over, the partisans had won, near the middle of the train, part of a carriage's roof was missing, and in front, three people were turning the point back towards the right-hand turning position, they weren't being shot at from the woods.

I turned to my immediate vicinity, and I counted eight people on the roof of the carriage, three of them, including the one I hit in the face and nearly stabbed to death, were males in their twenties, then there was the young boy, a girl only halfway to womanhood, I'd say she was about 15, there were two young women in their late twenties as well, and a man in his fifties. They carried stolen Luger pistols, kitchen knives, old revolvers, and the older man had an old hunting rifle. They were all looking at me, with that look you give someone when you don't know what to make of them.

In the adrenaline of the battle, I had all but forgotten about the pain, but as I calmed down, it all came back, in my muscles, in my stomach, in my back, my shoulder, my legs. I had to use both hands to sit up, it felt like I needed all of my strength to do it. Looking over my own body, I noticed countless bruises and several cuts, but before I finished my inspection, a man in his late thirties arrived on top of the roof. The others there made way for him, and he had the stern look and demeanour of a military man, not just a private, but someone with some authority.

The others on the roof made way, the man was holding a strange-looking rifle. In parts, especially the stock, it's shapes looked a bit like a Mauser Gewehr 98, but it was semi-automatic, and looked quite modern. Before I could ask about the rifle, the man introduced himself, in English with a very slight Polish accent:

Podporucznik... ehm... Second-Lieutenant, Nowakowski, formerly commander of KOP...ehm... watchtower 'Juszewiczez'. Part of the Polish Army's 38th Infantry Division, 96th Infantry Regiment, 8th Border Battalion, 2nd Border Company. Who have I the pleasure of speaking to?”

I answered: “Yvonne, British Military Intelligence”

Why are you here?”

I replied: “I got stuck inside a carriage, checking if the train was loaded with British Military equipment, back in Athens. No way out until now.”
He looked at me, with a look of some disbelief.

I've heard worse stories...but considering we probably wouldn't have been able to capture this train, if it wasn't for your efforts, I'll gloss over your story, for now. I'm sure you'll tell me the full story when we get back home.”
Then, to the assembled partisans, he yelled something in Polish, and they all cheered as they hurried to get into and onto the train wherever they could. Only myself, the young man I had nearly killed, and the second-lieutenant were left. On top of the carriage, he grabbed my Enfield P14 (T) rifle, and nodded approvingly, before asking me, with a touch of respectful compassion in his voice:

Can you get down from this roof? Szymon will help you.”


I said “yes”, but my body was saying no, and as I started dragging myself towards the ladder, the young man, who had now recuperated somewhat from the unexpected blow to the stomach, but had otherwise not sustained any injuries, grabbed my back under my left arm to help me stand. Somehow, I managed to get down from the ladder, and into the railway carriage I had started out in, as the train started moving, I blacked out.

When I woke up, I wasn't in the train any-more, but in a bed, I was dressed in a nightgown I didn't recognise, and my cuts had been bandaged. A little girl, only about 8 years old was looking over me, and when she noticed I was awake, she opened the curtains, then ran out of the small room yelling 'Nie śpi!' over and over as she was going.

About ten seconds later, the Second-Lieutenant from earlier walked into the room, carrying both our rifles, followed by the elderly man I had seen through the telescopic sight of my Enfield P14, and a woman in her early thirties holding a Royal Marines med-kit. As the woman checked on my wounds, the second-Lieutenant started his story:


skierniewice1-min.jpg

Skierniewice, a picturesque town on the Vienna-Warsaw line, the train probably already took a detour to avoid being ambushed in or around the one town in Western Poland, free from fascist occupation, since the 2nd of January.
Welcome to 'Skierniewice', the only part of Poland with no German or Russian occupiers in it. (If only he knew). This is my wife, she's been tending to your wounds, and this is my father, a retired train driver. Before you tire yourself by making up more stories, let me tell mine.

I volunteered for the Polish Army in 1937, I was a bit past prime fighting years and I had to work on the farm, so I was placed with the reserves. After having officially joined the Polish Army, I went trough basic training, where they soon discovered I had a knack for long-range shooting. Soon after returning to the family farm - He indicated that we were in said farm right now - I received a letter from an old friend I went to Middle school with in Warszawa. Józef Maroszek had become an Engineer specialised in weapons, and was looking for marksmen of the right calibre to help him develop a new rifle. In the letter he explained that he had designed modified copies of Mauser rifles for the Polish Army, but that he felt he was ready to create a truly revolutionary weapon of his own design, and that, seeing my record, he wanted me to come down to Warszawa to test it.

PolishRifle-min.jpg

The 'Karabin samopowtarzalny wzór 38M', a great weapon that came too late for Poland's Army, only about 150 were produced before the surrender of the Polish armed forces ended it's production run prematurely. Today, these are exceedingly rare, and very expensive... Maroszek stated after the war that he only saw the rifle once in the hands of front line troops, and that was in the hands of a group of German soldiers, no one knows whether these soldiers ever fired the guns in anger.
The final result is the rifle you see here, the official designation is 'Karabin samopowtarzalny wzór 38M', or self-repeating rifle model 38M. It's a modern gas-operated weapon with a high muzzle velocity and a 10-round internal box magazine. Sadly, it came too late for the German invasion, production only started in late 1938, and there were many problems, I was the only man in my whole Division to have one when I was finally called up in late August 1939, and I had brought my own. Some stories circulate about Józef actually managing to down a low-flying German Aeroplane by killing the gunner and wounding the pilot from a moving train, a bold statement, but not one I'd discount off-hand. Józef ins't a bad shot himself, and this rifle is impressive to say the least, not to discount the Enfield P14 you use so well, of course...

After the surrender, I returned to the family farm, and laid low for a while, gathering resources, weapons, ammunition, war buddies, trustworthy neighbours, friends, and their friends' friends, until, three days ago, we heard through the underground radio that this train was coming, filled with British military equipment. It was just what we had been waiting for. We soon took over the town, by killing a couple of second-line German occupation troops, it wasn't hard, as only a squad was placed in our small village, and there were about nine-thousand of us when we took over. It seemed as if the Germans didn't expect an uprising in the countryside between Lodz and Warszawa, but here it is, our own little piece of free Poland.

Now, I don't expect we will be able to hold the village indefinitely, and I'm sure there are German regulars coming our way, but this small window will allow us to unload all that barely used Royal Marines equipment from the train, which has been parked at the main platform of Skierniewice Station by my father. We'll learn to use it properly, hide most of it, and finally, use it. To fend off the first Germans that make it here, and to continue undermining the Germans once they have restored their occupation. Now, what do you do in Military Intelligence that makes you so well trained in handling explosives?"
Without blinking, I replied:

"Officially, I'm doing practical research in the fields of Guerrilla warfare and sabotage operations in the Uk, but as I'm here, I'll tell you what we're actually doing"
I proceeded to explain to him, without encumbering him with dangerous things like details, or specifics, that MI(R) was busy gathering resources and setting up communications to be able to conduct sabotage operations, and to support resistance movements across the occupied continent. I told him the same back-story I told the British, and I proposed to teach his resistance movement how to use some of the less self-evident weapons and pieces of equipment on that train. In counterpart, all I wanted was to send out a couple of letters to Polish contacts I made, during my education in France...

And that's how I found myself in the middle of a large-scale insurgency in the Polish countryside, safe and sound, but still tired, and in need of rest. I will keep you updated if anything happens, but for now, no German regulars have been sighted. After all, the troop movement may have been part of the preparations for a big counter-insurgency operation to restore German control over Skierniewice and the area surrounding it. As they left me alone i my room with my thoughts and a plate of Borscht, I started writing my report. Of course, my 'contact from my days in France' is a GRU office in Eastern Poland, which will send on this letter without questions, as a few subtle indicators in the writing of the address should tell them that this letter is for someone high up, and that they don't want to know what's in it.

I need some food, and then some rest, as you say,

Greetings,

XI
Phew, what an adventure, I for one am glad, and amazed, that 'Odinatsat' has not only made it out of that train alive, but helped bring it into the hands of Western Polish resistance, fighting valiantly against the Fascist invader. As opposed to the Eastern Polish resistance, that doesn't exist, officially at least, for if it did, it would be the people fighting the people's government, and that wouldn't make much sense, now would it.

I still have work to do, and 'Vosem' wants a word about the Research budget,

Greetings,

'Odin'
Notes from your WritAAR:
Buffer and Chain Couplers, which is what 11 describes, consist of draw-gear with a screw coupling and buffers. The basic principle is that a three-part chain links two towing hooks. The chain consists of two large rings, which are hooked onto the towing hooks and draw together by a big double-ended screw. The buffers prevent the carriages to hit each other, but more importantly, they prevent the chain from buckling due to emergency braking, or when carriages are pushed backwards, as they absorb compressions. These kinds of couplers are still in use in most of continental Europe, except for parts of Eastern Europe and Russia. They suffer little wear in tight bends, as opposed to the couplers ubiquitous in North America. The price is that they need to be manually attached, and that they limit train length to somewhere between 450 and 650m tops depending on the weight of the train, and the Buffer and Chain coupler design used.

The map is an actual Polish military map from 1936, I checked with a German Military map from early 1944, and the track layout of the junction didn't change between the two.

Edit: I reread the whole thing and cleaned up some errors, the content remains unchanged. In some places phrasing was improved, in others typing errors were rectified. A few words were added for clarity, they don't really add to the story, they just make it more readable. I also added to the description of the couplers.
 
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Bullfilter

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Epic! 11 is proving to be worth a company of marines by herself alone. The poor Polish resistance - unlikely to survive their tangles with the Germans and then, if they do, will have the Soviets to contend with (sorry, must go OOC with this bit due to Polish heritage ;) ). I’m sure a good propaganda film could be made of her adventures (if it could be declassified)!
 

Finshades

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Impressive! Not that after sneaking in the compound, anyone expected any less, of course. She seems to be a crack shot; maybe an assassination mission might be more "up her alley" as the saying goes? (OOC: Sniper Elite anyone?) For the time being though, helping Poles fight off the invader should prove highly beneficial, but we need to make sure those same teachings are not employed against the Red Army once we roll across Europe. If they could hit some supply trains once the bullets really start flying, they'd be worth their weight in gold.

Edit: Damn heatwave, making me scatterbrained. Hope your trip is nice, relaxing and you have great company! Have a trip of my own coming up in a little under two weeks, too, a week in Croatia, so I'll have some catching up to do once I return.
 
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markkur

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I might have gone overboard on the Locomotive, but the Rolls-Royce of German freight locomotives of the time cannot remain unmentioned, when so much of this story hinges on a powerful and relatively fast German train.
I don't think so. You're the general and I thought it a fine order.

I'm having trouble keeping abreast, as testified above, but want to encourage you. My friend, this espionage writing is exceptional for what you are doing here and your yarn, is becoming more intricate. Very well done. Spy-fiction has always sold well in RL - might make a nice hobby that pays-out.

English expressions for expressing recognition of another person could be many:
You've a knack
It comes easy for you
You're a natural
You have a gift
It's in your DNA:)

I prefer the belief we ALL have at least one gift to share with the rest and with that in mind you are blessed with many it seems to this hoary-headed-wizard.;)
Navigating a second language and writing this tale? Bravo.
 

AtlanticFriend

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So much train porn! This I suspect will send the Pipmeister to Cloud Seven.

I'm going to re-read the whole AAR, because starting to read this update was like tasting a morcel of the finest meal, and realizing I have missed all the entrées and hors d'oeuvres and most of the main courses.

But before I do, kudos for the pictures! They do capture the atmosphere.
 

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I have returned from my travels, and will now proceed to respond to all of your lovely comments:

Still following 11’s adventures closely - another fine mess she’s got herself in! ;)
She got herself in a mess all right, but is certainly not yet out of said mess, though the situation is no longer acute...

11’s travels are, I reckon from all these hints and indicators, taking her through the German preparations for a delayed Barbarossa. But time will tell.
I tried to make it seem that way, though one could argue the Wehrmacht has been preparing for Barbarossa for three years off and on. I suspect the Germany won't launch Barbarossa, at least not before it dealt with those Polish Partisans in their rear. That said, having not played past the 6th of January, I have no idea whether Barbarossa is now imminent, or whether they will wait until winter weather abates.

This keeps getting more and more interesting. Unless the security of the train lapses once it reaches German-controlled territory, 11 may be in for a tough time... An explosive solution would definitely attract attention, but perhaps it could also act as a distraction?
All answers have been provided. One could say that 11 herself was much of said lapse in security, though a few Poles were needed in assistance... Her use of the explosives was quite creative...

Therein lies also the answer to the question: The German copies were identical down to the markings, but identifiable due to their higher quality, or so I've heard at least. Apparently they used actually decent steel, not scrap piping and copper for bolts... And I don't think I need to say anything about the quality of German worksmanship (excluding most things produced in 1945 for obvious reasons).
How very German... copy a cheaply made weapon, and use better materials than the original...

SMGs are notoriously unreliable. We used the old F1 SMG up until everything was replaced by variations of the Steyr, (Australia made its own Steyrs under license, modified to our specs) including carbine versions for tank crew.

The F1 was an Australian design made in the 1960s, which replaced the Owen gun. A simple thing with a top-mounted magazine. And probably a lot better than the Sten, but never having fired one of those I can’t compare directly. I would like to have seen how the German MP 40 Schmeisser would have performed as well.

Apart from the unreliability and legendary inaccuracy at anything beyond 25m, the ammunition used also had a great bearing on the above and its hitting power. It used the standard 9mm ammo - and when it was older ‘War stocks’ ammo (which degrades over time) its range was even worse and it was said (without much exaggeration) that it would be unlikely to penetrate a wet greatcoat at its supposed ‘effective’ range (150m by the book).

Despite all that, it was still fun to fire on a walkthrough pop-up target bush ‘stalker range’. And good at short range.
I must have seen too many memes on Austria/Australia, because I find it somewhat funny that Australia used a licensed version of an Austrian weapon...

On SMG's, having no hands-on experience with guns what so ever, from what I can gather, that's what smg's are for, shooting more lead at very close range than any other weapon. They are short, so easy to manoeuvre, and they pack a much bigger punch than a pistol, and are able to take out a small group of enemies in one burst. They are relatively cheap, and definitely very good in tight quarters.

I think I would rather go with the SMLE than the Sten 9 times out of 10, so maybe that's what PDX has based their choices in? Many of the technologies have never made a lot of sense to me. IIRC in HOI4 infantry AT weapons in '42 or '43 are Boys AT rifles for some countries, armour thicknesses and the rest of armour and artillery techs in HOI3 are all over the place if memory serves, and don't even get me started on the research system based on arbitrary year levels with everything in that year level being equal between countries...
Maybe so... let's not go into the arbitrary tech system... I still haven't played HOI4, but if it's anything like HOI3, the weapons and techs are definitely not entirely accurate, to put it mildly...

Alright, rant over, and some research done. I presume they got confused (wouldn't be the first time) and wrote SMLE Mk.III when they really meant Rifle No. 4, which was adopted in 1941. Honestly speaking, I think while PDX does lot of work to achieve at least some historical accuracy, these kind of cock-ups just ruin the whole thing. If it takes all of 30 seconds with an internet connection to figure out which weapon should be there and they still manage to be so far off the mark, they are either lazy or ridiculously incompetent.
That would make a lot more sense, as the No.4 really started to get to the front lines in 1942, and became truly ubiquitous in 1943 iirc, that would fit much better.

Epic! 11 is proving to be worth a company of marines by herself alone. The poor Polish resistance - unlikely to survive their tangles with the Germans and then, if they do, will have the Soviets to contend with (sorry, must go OOC with this bit due to Polish heritage ;) ). I’m sure a good propaganda film could be made of her adventures (if it could be declassified)!
Well, the official position of the Soviet Union at this time is that Poland does not exist, and has no right to exist... Of course, if Germany were to attack, this Position would change, and eventually, you might see a new 'Poland SSR' encapsulating now German-occupied Poland, Eastern Prussia, and part of Eastern Germany... (Oder-Neisse line anyone?)
There will be no propaganda on this action, a Soviet operative working in name of the UK to support delusional 'Polish Nationalists' is definitely not what we want on the front page of tomorrow's paper...

Impressive! Not that after sneaking in the compound, anyone expected any less, of course. She seems to be a crack shot; maybe an assassination mission might be more "up her alley" as the saying goes? (OOC: Sniper Elite anyone?) For the time being though, helping Poles fight off the invader should prove highly beneficial, but we need to make sure those same teachings are not employed against the Red Army once we roll across Europe. If they could hit some supply trains once the bullets really start flying, they'd be worth their weight in gold.
I had different versions of that fight in mind, and even partially wrote some others out. In the end this version was most consistent with 11's character. At heart, she is a lone operator, she acts quickly, sometimes impulsively, and she knows she is at her best when the enemy is always one step behind. A version where she blasted out of the carriage didn't make sense, as she would have needlessly alerted the Germans to her presence, her deviousness, and her strong sense of self preservation made a sneaky but devastating approach much more in character. One could speculate where she learned to shoot like that, but as we don't know much about her background besides what's in the GRU files, and what she has told us, there are huge gaps in what we know on her life, and I'm sure she'd like to keep it that way. What is certain, is that she received some level of training within the GRU, and that MI(R) must have added considerably to that, especially in her knowledge of British weapons, and her handling of explosives. 410m is only about half the cited effective range of a P14, and from what I read, the P14 was a very accurate rifle for it's time. That said, she's definitely an above average marksman to make those shots without missing.

Sabotage of supply trains is surely an interesting idea, though I'm sure the Poles can blow up rails without her help. For now those Poles are a thorn in the side of the Germans, and considering that they will probably grow to trust her, they will be all the easier to deal with if it became necessary to deal with them... Or maybe, she could persuade them that joining the USSR is not the same as military occupation... maybe have them join the ranks of a Polish Division of the Red Army? All speculation at this point.

I already have a mlssion in mind which could put her marksmanship to use, and introduce some more developments in 11's already quite convoluted story, but first, I'll get back to the game.

I don't think so. You're the general and I thought it a fine order.
So much train porn! This I suspect will send the Pipmeister to Cloud Seven.
I like trains, what can I say... @El Pip is quite busy with his newly born daughter, but I'm sure he would appreciate the amount of research I did on the train porn side of things...

I'm having trouble keeping abreast, as testified above, but want to encourage you. My friend, this espionage writing is exceptional for what you are doing here and your yarn, is becoming more intricate. Very well done. Spy-fiction has always sold well in RL - might make a nice hobby that pays-out.

English expressions for expressing recognition of another person could be many:
You've a knack
It comes easy for you
You're a natural
You have a gift
It's in your DNA:)

I prefer the belief we ALL have at least one gift to share with the rest and with that in mind you are blessed with many it seems to this hoary-headed-wizard.;)
Navigating a second language and writing this tale? Bravo.
Thanks a lot for your encouragement, I feel properly encouraged...

Some insight on how I got into this narrative, pretty much my train of thought, leaving out a lot of research:
There was the 'random' in-game succession of the second fall of Athens of the war and the rising in Poland, as there is no Polish GIE in game, and with seemingly no foreign support, one wonders how those partisans got their hands on enough weapons to arm 9.000 people. Secondly, I had been thinking of how to follow up the 11 story with a way to get MI(R)'s agents to continental Europe. As I was looking into British commando's and special operations, I found that there were small scale initiatives before Churchill got into the driver's seat and really started pushing. The Royal Marines were a logical place to start... and Athens was taken by Royal Marines... When they were beaten, weapons had to litter the city as they had no way out and were well supplied... Weapons were needed in Poland... What if the Germans moved those weapons to Warsaw as they want to strengthen 2nd and 3rd line units against possible Partisan movements? How do you move so many weapons in 1941? Which route does such a train take? If MI(R) is there, they would want to try and keep those weapons? Someone on that train could end up in Poland. If there is an uprising near where the train is going, security of the train would increase, so Partisans might be outmatched, especially without enough weapons. Someone on the train would help. How about 11 ending up on the train?

Basically, connecting a lot of dots, both in-game, and from research... And then making it into a story that isn't too implausible, while remaining uncertain, and exciting enough in it's outcome. It did take a lot of time and brainpower, but I really enjoyed the process. There is a lot more yarn to be spun, I will definitely endeavour to keep improving my writing, and to keep surprising you all.

I've always been one to make up stories, as I never had a lot of (close) friends, if any, growing up, I could spend hours in my own head, thinking up characters, events etc. Later on, I followed Improvisational theatre classes for about 5 years, in french. As for the second language part, I read quit a lot in English, I get part of my news from 'The Economist' (My dad has had a subscription for as long as I can remember). Having a relatively small language as a native tongue (Dutch), I've always watched movies and tv-series with subtitles, most of what I watch is English-language stuff (Hollywood, BBC, HBO, etc.). And then there are the 'learn as you play' English language lessons my dad took me to once a week from when I was 7 to about 12.

I'd say my musical abilities come from my Mother, and my language skills come from my dad (who has a master's degree in Germanic languages from the KULeuven). Of course one has to grab the opportunities and support one is presented with, and work to develop one's own abilities and skills along the way, but I do owe a great deal to the support of my parents, and the opportunities they have offered me. As I mentioned before, this AAR is helping me develop my writing skills, and initially, I started it at a time when I had to keep up a blog in English in the context of an international exchange programme at my university, and found that whole process to my liking.

I'm going to re-read the whole AAR, because starting to read this update was like tasting a morcel of the finest meal, and realizing I have missed all the entrées and hors d'oeuvres and most of the main courses.

But before I do, kudos for the pictures! They do capture the atmosphere.
Well, I'd like to think this AAR is mostly going crescendo overall, as I endeavour to improve all aspects of it gradually. Compared to these last updates, I'm sure some of the early ones may seem a bit clunky, and maybe a bit short on narrative. (as explained in the expanded first post) That said, welcome to this AAR, I'm glad you enjoy it, I can only encourage you to re-read the whole thing as to get the big picture all these bit fit into. I've done my upmost not to introduce no paradoxes or inconsistencies... sometimes going back and rereading my older updates to make sure (that summary in the first update is there just as much for me as for my readAARs...)

As for the pictures, I'm glad that the time looking for the right images was not spent in vain, and that the atmosphere was duly captured in the eyes of my readAARs...

Edit: Damn heatwave, making me scatterbrained. Hope your trip is nice, relaxing and you have great company! Have a trip of my own coming up in a little under two weeks, too, a week in Croatia, so I'll have some catching up to do once I return.
It's driving me crazy too. We had temperatures up to 38°C in the Carcassonne area, and in Brussels, it's 28-29°C right now... The trip was quite physical, we did quite a bit of hiking, several times, we parked the car near the bottom of a small mountain, then hiked up to the castle at the top in 30+°C on steep and narrow paths with little shade. One time we did 25km in one day, hiking to the next village, then up a hill to visit a castle, then back to the camp site. We were there for 11 days, and in those days we visited 6 castles, one fortified city (Carcassonne), went rafting, canyoning, spent half a day repairing the tent, climbed a small mountain with no castle on it, and went swimming in the Mediterranean for half an hour (before a Jellyfish burned me across the chest), the trip was mentally relaxing though... We (My mother) also drove down there and back, which took more than 12 hours each way. In HOI3 terms we stayed in the province of 'Limoux' and visited in the provinces of 'Mirepoix', 'Lavelanet', 'Carcasonne', and 'Perpignan'.

Anyway, I'm back for a week, before heading off to the Belgian coast for another week. The next update will be a traditional '10-day' Report, unless something else happens in-game in the meantime.
 
Last edited:
9th of January 1942, 'Odin', 10-day report #183

roverS3

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The 9th of January 1942, Vologda, -11,0°C, 10am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten day period between the 31st of December 1941 and the 9th of January 1942,

by 'Odin'

Army:
4 new Artillery Regiments were deployed to 169 SD, 177 SD, 182 SD and 179 SD on the German and Hungarian Borders.
Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 670 / 2.010.000
Support troops: 315 / 315.000
Total fighting troops: 985 / 2.325.000
Headquarters: 63 / 63.000
Total Army Personnel: 1.048 / 2.388.000
Officers: 97.530 + / 104.060 needed / 93,725 %
Active Leaders: 273 / 223 more available
Production of 152mm ML-20's has been reduced slightly to make way for upgrades, three new Artillery Regiments have started training.
Army Leadership:
Lt. General Juravlev L2 has been relieved of his command of III TK, 2ya Tankovaya Armiya, Armoured AG, STAVKA/Moskva HQ. He was replaced by new Lt. General Bogdanov S.I. L4, BM.
Air Force:
124 new Il-10 Beast Assault Bombers have been delivered to the VVS, they have been formed into 2. ShAD, which has been deployed to V. ShAK, newly commanded by Air Lt. General Goryunov L2
Aeroplane Numbers (Wings/Planes):
Interceptors: 27 / 3.348
Multi-Role Fighters: 7 / 868
Close Air Support: 10 / 1.240
Carrier Air Groups: 7 / 434
Single Engined: 50 / 5.890
Tactical Bomber: 4 / 400
Total Bombers: 14 / 1.640
Transport Planes: 3 / 372
Total VVS: 51 / 6.228
Total Navy: 7 / 434
Total Aeroplanes: 58 / 6.662
Active Leaders: 20 / 30 Reserve
Production of Il-10's continues towards the formation of 55. ShAD and VI. ShAK
Navy:
No changes to the Navy for the last 10 days.​

Politics / International:
After he was found to have certain disturbing Trotskyite leanings, Yakov I. Alksnis has been replaced as Chief Marshall of the Aviation / VVS by Alexander Alexandrovich Novikov, a man who has been deemed more loyal to comrade Stalin and the Communist Party, yet very capable, and with a similar focus on small Aeroplanes and Air Superiority.
Partisans in Poland
PolishRevolt42-01-04-min.jpeg

Partisans have taken up arms against their fascist oppressors and cleared Skierniewice of Nazi occupiers. The Wehrmacht is seen scrambling forces from the Soviet border right now to make an example out of those who challenge the Third Reich's rule over Germanic lands...
Battle Of Britain
Nothing much happened in the Air over the UK, there was some British strategic bombing in Liepzig, and several Air Battles took place over occupied Western Europe.
British North Africa Front
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 87,6
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 5,90 / 79,4 Retrieval of Bengasi.
BNAF42-01-09-min.jpeg

As the Regio esercito reached the prepared British line in the hills 100km East of Bengasi, the Axis used both the German Heavy Tank Division and an Italian Motorised formation to attack El Mechili, the Southernmost province of the British line, guarded by a single unsupported Infantry Division. The predictable result was a rout, the Italian Motorised formation has already occupied the province. Meanwhile, the British Armoured Division to the north, in Suluntah, saw an opportunity and is winning in it's fight to push an Italian Light Tank Division out of Beda Littoria. This presents a serious risk, as there are no British Divisions between the Italians and the coast, to the east of the British tankers, the strongest British Division in North Africa may get cut off from supply.
Roma was bombed another time, the Regia Aeronautica intercepted the Halifaxes.
2 Italian convoy have been sunk in the Med.
South East Asia Front
United States of America (Surrender Progress / NU): 8,4 / 85,9
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 77,6
Philippines (Surrender Progress / NU): 14,9 / 74,8
Japan (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 70,2
PHFN42-01-09-min.jpeg

Imperial Marines have taken Quezon City, east of Manila, as far as we can tell no attempt was made to take the city, which remains in the hands of two US Airborne Divisions and a local Garrison.
PHFS42-01-09-min.jpeg

To the south, Japanese forces have taken over the Islands of Negros, Cebu, and Bohol. As if that wasn't enough, the rush south has moved onto Mindanao Island, with IJN Marines taking Cagayan de Oro, and Gingong City.
Countless convoys were sunk on both sides in the Area between Singapore and Oosthaven, and around the Hainan peninsula, some more were sunk near the Philippines. Losses on both sides continue to seem unsustainable and exact numbers are hard to come by.

There have been quite a few naval skirmishes, but neither side lost any combat vessels.
Pacific Front
The Japanese submarines the British sunk some time ago mustn't have been replaced, and relatively few convoys were sunk in the Pacific proper. (2 on each side) No islands changed hands, no ships were sunk. Has the Pacific gone quiet?
Industry:
Land fortifications in Vladivostok were improved with the addition of some Heavy Artillery bunkers facing inland (Level 3).
Now, the fortifications of Moskva will be improved even further, with tank traps, underground control centres, and storage space for more supplies. Barbed wire, Machine Gun bunkers, anything our designers can think of really... (Level 9).

Working Industrial Capacity / available capacity: 240 / 324
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )
Upgrades: 9,30 / 11,74
Reinforcement: 2,00 / 2,37
Supplies: 30,00 / 46,52
Production: 253,54 / 281,81 (the Licensed MP remains mostly unfunded, as well as two Mountain Rifle Divisions and 10. TTGvD)
Consumer Goods: 29,16 / 29,16​
Stockpiles:
Energy: Maximum tonnes +
Metal: Maximum tonnes +
Rares: 44.835 tonnes +
Crude: Maximum barrels +
Supplies: 38.406 tonnes -
Fuel: Maximum barrels +
Money: 1.805 -
Intelligence:
Spy numbers, spies in (active / added / lost / caught by us)
France (Supporting our Party / Counterespionage): 5 / 0 / 0 / 0
{ Germany (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }
{ Japan (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
UK (/) : 10 / 0 / 0 / 0
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Total: 15 / 0 / 0 / 0
Reserves: 1
Spy training leadership expenditure: 0,64 (a new spy every 4 days)
Research:
Improved organisational structures and protocols at the Tactical Air Command (Level 3) Level are ready for implementation throughout the VVS. This should greatly aid in maintaining organisation during bombing operations.
A group of the nation's brightest industrial and Mechanical Engineers will now be looking into increasing the Production (Level 7) of our existing Industrial complexes. The Soviet Union can always use more production...
Development of improved, cheap to produce, Support Weapons (Level 3) for our Militia units has been finished, resulting in a 50mm Mortar.

The 50mm RM-38 Mortar was based on the larger 120mm P-38 (M1938) Mortar. Both were 'inspired' by the British 'Stokes' Mortar. It was a light weapon weighing only 12kg, with charges no stronger than a decent grenade of the time. It had only two possible elevation angles, 45° and, 75°, this severely limited options for whomever was firing it. Range was altered by moving a sleeve as to cover or uncover a number of holes in the cylinder that would bleed off exhaust gas if uncovered. Maximum firing range is 800m (45°) or 420m (75°). Deemed overly expensive and complex, it was replaced, after a short production run, by the 50mm RM-39, a simpler, cheaper, variation, which was produced in huge numbers.
50-RM-38-min.png

Our weapons designers have now shifted their focus on developing new and powerful Support Weapons (Level 5) for the regular Infantry
No changes in LS distribution
Statistics:
National Unity: 83,241 =
Neutrality: 0,00 =
Dissent: 0,00 =
Manpower:
Available: 2.154.000
Men To reinforce(need): 2.820
Men To mobilise(need): See above
Monthly gain: 48.200 Men (1 fully mobilised Infx3, AT Division every 7 days)​
Party Popularity:
- Communist Party: 66 (-4)
- Trotskyite: 4 (+3)
- Bukharinite: 7 (-6)

- Social-Revolutionary:3 (+1)
- Trudoviks: 3 =
- Kadets: 5 (+4)

- Tsarists: 4 (+4)
- NTS: 6 =
- POA: 1 (-1)
The lure of Market Forces and the Nostalgia of the Tsar have lured some of the Communist Party's Supporters to their side. No one is getting worried, yet, as the Party retains a healthy 2/3 of public support, and more supporters were lured away from the treasonous Bukharinite point of view.
No changes in Party Organisation for the last 10 days.
This Information is accurate on the morning of the 9th of January 1942, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'​
 
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Eurasia

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While it is nice to see Revolts within German territory I doubt we can rely too much on Rebellions weakening the Fascists. Still, do we have any plans to start our own underground cells if the Germans advance into the Homeland?
 

markkur

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As I mentioned before, this AAR is helping me develop my writing skills, and initially, I started it at a time when I had to keep up a blog in English in the context of an international exchange programme at my university, and found that whole process to my liking
Very wise. Salute!
 

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While it is nice to see Revolts within German territory I doubt we can rely too much on Rebellions weakening the Fascists. Still, do we have any plans to start our own underground cells if the Germans advance into the Homeland?
Not yet... An optimist would say that there is no need to set up partisans if the Germans never make it into our homeland... (It should be noted that in HOI3 FTM, you can only train Partisans if some of your territory is under enemy occupation)... If Germans manage to push deeply into our territory, it would, of course, be beneficial to set up Partisan cells behind their lines. (as happened historically in some areas, an effort that intensified from 1943 onward)
 

Bullfilter

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The Cold War continues with the Reich - who knows where that will end up? I think that every day that goes by will make the hammer fall harder on the Fascists when/if they attack.
 
19th of January 1942, 'Odin', 10-day report #184

roverS3

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The 19th of January 1942, Vologda, -11,0°C, 10am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten day period between the 10th and the 19th of January 1942,

by 'Odin'

Army:
2 new Artillery Regiments were deployed to 116 SD and 173 SD on the German Border.
Both Cavalry Regiments of 5 KD have finished retraining with their brand new half-tracks, they have now been renamed 21. and 26. BKP. Maj. General Kondratchev is very pleased about this.
The same can be said of Maj. General Rybalko of 4 GvTD, who has just seen the return of his Motorised Guards Rifle Regiment in the guise if 124 Armoured Guards Rifle Regiment.
A new Mounted Brigade has been deployed in Finland to bolster the ranks of the NKGBF in case more fascist foreign trouble-makers need to be dealt with in the FInland SSR in the future.

Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 673 / 2.019.000
Support troops: 317 / 317.000
Total fighting troops: 990 / 2.336.000
Headquarters: 63 / 63.000
Total Army Personnel: 1.053 / 2.399.000
Officers: 98.030 + / 104.560 needed / 93,755 %
Active Leaders: 274 / 222 more available
Production of 152mm ML-20's has been increased again, and 4 Regiments have now started training.
After 5 KD, 7 KD's Cavalry Regiments, 12 KP and 27 KP, have started to make the transition to half-tracks.
A fourth NKGBF Mounted Brigade has started training in Finland.
NKGBF Leadership:
New Senior Major for Finnish State Security Maligin L1, OD, WS has been placed in command of the brand new 3. NKGBF Konnaya Brigada, NKGBF, 1st Army Group, Leningrad HQ.
Air Force:
Amongst great fanfare, the VVS has officially commissioned it's first Heavy Bomber Aviation Division sporting 100 Tupolev TB-3 4-engined bombers. The Division was named 1. DBAD, and for the time being, it will be based out of Moskva. New Air Maj. General Kalinin L2 has been appointed it's commander.
Aeroplane Numbers (Wings/Planes):
Interceptors: 27 / 3.348
Multi-Role Fighters: 7 / 868
Close Air Support: 10 / 1.240
Carrier Air Groups: 7 / 434
Single Engined: 50 / 5.890
Tactical Bomber: 4 / 400
Strategic Bombers: 1 / 100
Total Bombers: 15 / 1.740
Transport Planes: 3 / 372
Total VVS: 52 / 6.328
Total Navy: 7 / 434
Total Aeroplanes: 59 / 6.762
Active Leaders: 20 / 30 Reserve
Production has been switched to Lavochkin La-7 fighters, with the aim of setting up a long range fighter aviation corps for the more remote regions of the Soviet Union, especially the Far East. The first 124 aeroplanes will form 122. IAD-PVO
Navy:
No changes to the Navy for the last 10 days.​

Politics / International:
Partisans in Poland
We have no news here, Germany hasn't reasserted control over the province, though it is expected that the Wehrmacht is already fighting the Partisans. I guess we'll hear what happened from our asset on the ground, eventually.
Battle Of Britain
The Air War is living something of a ceasefire at the moment.
British North Africa Front
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 87,6
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 5,90 / 79,4
BNAF42-01-19-min (1).jpeg

(As all of Britain holds it's breath for their brave tankers' to survive to fight another day, rather exceptionally, a map with exact troop positions was located and copied by one of our GRU assets in the UK)
The tense situation East of Bengasi got very interesting. First, as expected, the Italians in El Mechili broke through to the coast, taking Derna, and the British tanks took Beda Littoria helping them in no way to break out of encirclement. However, the Italians seem to have been moving up so quickly that only their three mobile Divisions had made it to the front. The German Heavy Tank Division hit the British armour in Beda Littoria instead of moving into El Mechili to solidify the pocket. The province being empty, a Corps HQ managed to walk into the undefended province and provide a lifeline to the British tanks while simultaneously encircling the Italian Motorised troops in Derna. Being no match for the King Tigers, the British tankers are retreating, they made it to Susah, and are now moving into Suluntah. It's now a race between the battered British Tank Division and two Italian Divisions, with a British HQ running interference. They have a good chance to make it out... we're all cheering for the British tanks to make it out...
Italian Bombers have hit battered British Infantry that may have tried to hit the Italians in Derna, three times. Meanwhile, the RAF hit the Italian Motorised Infantry in question just once.

It seems a RN Fleet has returned to the Med, and it's doing a lot of damage already, with the sinking of at least 8 Italian convoys north of Libya.
South East Asia Front
United States of America (Surrender Progress / NU): 8,4 / 85,9
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 77,6
Philippines (Surrender Progress / NU): 14,9 / 74,8
Japan (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 70,2
PHFN42-01-19-min.jpeg

Now entirely bypassing Manila and it's strong Garrison, Japanese Marines are moving north, taking Dingalan, Sierra Madre, and Bayommbong. It seems no Allied units stand in teir way
PHFS42-01-19-min.jpeg

The Beachhead on Mindanao has been expanded to the South-East at a rapid pace, there was, in all probability no opposition at all facing the Japanese Marines. No one seems to be trying to stop the Japanese take-over of the Philippines, which is continuing at an alarming pace.
The convoy war has calmed down a lot, as far as we know, it's not clear whether several nations ran out of convoys, or whether fleet engagements, while not sinking any ship, have made all sides pull in their fleets for repairs, therefor easing the pressure on convoys of both sides.
Pacific Front
We don't know where this happened exactly, but 2 Allied Destroyer Flotilla's, the British 33rd, and the Australian 14th, have been sunk, probably in the same engagement, by Aeroplanes from Japanese Escort Carrier Zuiho.
Industry:
The first Land fortifications in Kryvyy Rih, little more than a couple of Machine-Gun bunkers in strategic locations have been delivered.
Now, the fortifications of Minsk will be improved with the addition of tank traps and some reinforced trenches.

Working Industrial Capacity / available capacity: 240 / 324
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )
Upgrades: 10,20 / 10,98
Reinforcement: 3,00 / 3,01
Supplies: 30,00 / 47,05
Production: 251,64 / 279,98 (the Licensed MP remains mostly unfunded, as well as two Mountain Rifle Divisions and 10. TTGvD)
Consumer Goods: 29,16 / 29,16​
Stockpiles:
Energy: Maximum tonnes +
Metal: Maximum tonnes +
Rares: 45.090 tonnes +
Crude: Maximum barrels +
Supplies: 38.403 tonnes -
Fuel: Maximum barrels +
Money: 1.784 -
Intelligence:
Spy numbers, spies in (active / added / lost / caught by us)
France (Supporting our Party / Counterespionage): 5 / 0 / 0 / 0
{ Germany (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 }
{ Japan (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
UK (/) : 10 / 0 / 0 / 0
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Total: 15 / 0 / 0 / 1
Reserves: 2
Spy training leadership expenditure: 0,64 (a new spy every 10 days)
A spy from Germany was caught in the Soviet Union.
Research:
No completed projects, and no new projects for the last 10 days.
No changes in LS distribution
Statistics:
National Unity: 83,241 =
Neutrality: 0,00 =
Dissent: 0,00 =
Manpower:
Available: 2.155.000
Men To reinforce(need): 3.020
Men To mobilise(need): See above
Monthly gain: 48.200 Men (1 fully mobilised Infx3, AT Division every 7 days)​
No changes in Party Popularity for the last 10 days.
No changes in Party Organisation for the last 10 days.
This Information is accurate on the morning of the 19th of January 1942, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'​
 

Bullfilter

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Heavy bombers eh - how do you plan to employ them? If war breaks out with the Japanese, might they be better used in those wide-open spaces and long distances? A desperate fight in Libya - the game does seem to replicate its see-saw and logistics-driven nature quite well, I’ve often noticed.
 

roverS3

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The Cold War continues with the Reich - who knows where that will end up? I think that every day that goes by will make the hammer fall harder on the Fascists when/if they attack.
They aren't exactly sitting still though, considering the amount of Panzers on the border... (I should do an update on that pretty soon, not sure whether I'll do it before or after the follow-up on 11's predicament)

Heavy bombers eh - how do you plan to employ them? If war breaks out with the Japanese, might they be better used in those wide-open spaces and long distances? A desperate fight in Libya - the game does seem to replicate its see-saw and logistics-driven nature quite well, I’ve often noticed.
The plan is to have a few heavy bombers for the following reasons:
1. Heavy Bombers have a really long range, which can come in handy where Air Bases are few and far between, i.e. in the Far East.
2. Heavy Bombers are the best at Logistical Bombing and at least as good as Tac at Runway Cratering, they could potentially be very useful to destroy supply lines in critical locations to cripple a possible enemy breakthrough.
3. If there is nothing else for them to do, they could always be used for strategic bombing, though that's pretty low on my list and would usually be left to the RAF and USAAF.

The next big step should be to restart Tac production once VI. ShAK is fully equipped with aeroplanes, or once hostilities start. Tac practical is terrible, so the first new ones will considerably more expensive than Str or Tra, but in the long run, we will need more Tac as well. As our Air Bases close to the front will be filled with short-range single-engine aeroplanes the only reasonable way to expand the VVSs hitting power beyond a few Str wings is to build Tacs. Research into Tacs and Heavies will probably increase once the VVS becomes a great Air Force, somewhere in the second half of 1942
 

roverS3

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Dear readAARs,

Don't forget to vote in the Q2 ACAs for 2018. The more participants, the better, the deadline is tomorrow 8pm (GMT+1)...

On another note, I'm going on vacation to the Belgian Coast for a week, so I won't be active on the forum, at all during that time.

Thanks for reading,

RoverS3
 

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Great updates! The first STR wing is a welcome addition; Wehrmacht lives off of its logistics, and what better way to deny it than massive bombs? Half-tracks seem to be coming on quite well, a massive boon, and as usual, I love the tech details about the new militia mortar.