Eurasia

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The Swedes? Just how helpful would they be in a European War? At best they might distract one of the MINOR Axis powers. If any even decide to look in their general direction.
 

roverS3

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The Swedes? Just how helpful would they be in a European War? At best they might distract one of the MINOR Axis powers. If any even decide to look in their general direction.
I'd argue that they can probably take care of German-held Norway, hold off the German troops there, and eventually liberate Norway, especially if we help them hold Malmö. Sweden would also be a good staging ground to open up the Öresund, and a Danish front, at a time of our choosing. As for minor Axis powers... there are no minor Axis powers anywhere near Sweden... they'll help us tackle the Hun, or they won't be very useful at all. If we take into account that Sweden feels threatened enough to join a faction, if it gets close enough, there are some real issues with Sweden ending up in another faction. If they end up in the Axis, we'll have to strengthen our presence in Finland, and we'll eventually have a full-blown Scandinavian front. If they end up in the Allies before the Germans declare war on us, the currently bored Wehrmacht might very well go up north and take over, giving us a potential Scandinavian front with German-controlled supply lines. All of these would really be inconveniences for the Red Army, and would somewhat thin the main German line, so you could still argue that it's not worth the cost, though I'm not so sure. Red Navy types who have seen the specs of the new Swedish Destroyers are adamant that getting Sweden into the Comintern would be a major advantage to securing the Baltic.
 

Finshades

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RE: The Swedes; Norway, the resources they have that, while not impressive compared to the USSR, are among the largest in Northern Europe, they're close to the Danish Straits and could facilitate their closure, the destroyers that would be a great improvement to our current ones, and one less nation on our borders that could turn against us.

I have to compliment our dear writer on how well he writes. The representation of post-traumatic stress is top notch, and some infrastructure and mechanical tinkering makes for a nice change of pace from the tense spy-thriller of the past couple chapters.
 
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Bullfilter

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I agree with @Finshades about the writing :) - I was becoming a little worried for 11, who despite her prodigious abilities is not immune from the stresses of her ordeals. Perhaps an innocent love interest (if it is indeed either of those things) would do her some good. Pity there aren’t assassinations in HOI3 - having her bump off some of those odious Nazis would be good therapy! :D
 

roverS3

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RE: The Swedes; Norway, the resources they have that, while not impressive compared to the USSR, are among the largest in Northern Europe, they're close to the Danish Straits and could facilitate their closure, the destroyers that would be a great improvement to our current ones, and one less nation on our borders that could turn against us.
I didn't even mention resources... Sweden is an important source of steel for Germany, which is why we're actually buying a significant amount of Swedish steel already, despite the fact that our stocks are overflowing. At this point, a decent part of the world can't durably supply Germany, either because the British will sink the convoys, or because they're at war with the Axis. Swedish steel can be moved mostly overland with no risk of raiding etc. The Heavy water in Norway is also worrisome, though we'd like to think we're ahead in the development of Nuclear Physics, we'd rather not give the Germans too many opportunities to develop a potential nuclear wunderwaffe...

I have to compliment our dear writer on how well he writes. The representation of post-traumatic stress is top notch, and some infrastructure and mechanical tinkering makes for a nice change of pace from the tense spy-thriller of the past couple chapters.
I agree with @Finshades about the writing :) - I was becoming a little worried for 11, who despite her prodigious abilities is not immune from the stresses of her ordeals. Perhaps an innocent love interest (if it is indeed either of those things) would do her some good. Pity there aren’t assassinations in HOI3 - having her bump off some of those odious Nazis would be good therapy! :D
I don't suffer from PTSD (not that I'm aware of anyway), though stress and anxiety are no strangers of mine. That said, I did rework that first part several times to try and really bring her struggle to life. I've also been delving deeper into my own psychology, and that of others, for various reasons, some recreational, some related to my studies, and others personal. I'm glad it all paid off, and that my readAARs appreciate what I tried to convey, and the way in which it was conveyed. This only motivates to continue to try and improve my writing, especially in the character-based narrative updates. If they take a bit longer to write, so be it. This AAR made me (re)discover a love for writing, and for characters and their adventures. Just like playing music, it's become both an escapist creative endeavor and an emotional outlet in a period of my life that is proving particularly stressful on an emotional level.

Getting back to our character's future, I've got a few ideas, I'm definitely not ruling out an assassination mission, I'd have to get somewhat creative as to who gets assassinated, and how it works within the context of the game, but that seems more like a fun challenge than a real problem. I will neither confirm nor deny that the young mechanic is, or will become either of those... To be honest, I don't know yet, and I'm not so sure 11 does either... A change of pace could certainly be beneficial for 11, especially if she's busy meeting new people, and improving her mechanical skills.

Next up is another 10day report, and then, I don't know exactly what's coming as I haven't played very far ahead.
 
30th of March 1942, 'Odin', 10-day report #191

roverS3

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The 30th of March 1942, Vologda, -1,4°C, 10 am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten-day period between the 21st and the 30th of March 1942,

by 'Odin'​

Army:
3 more Rifle Divisions (86 SD, 19 SD, 120 SD), on our western border, have been reinforced with brand new ML-20 152mm guns and the 3 Artillery Regiments (103 AP, 118 AP, 123 AP) that go along with them.
129. Motostrelkovaya Diviziya (Motx3, SP Art, Eng) has been deployed directly to Col. General Chuikov's 11ya Motorizovannaya Armiya, Armoured AG, STAVKA.
1. NKGBF Politeskaya Brigada, the first of it's kind, trained with the help of Military Policemen from Sinkiang, has been attached to Commissionner of State Security 2nd Class Provalov's NKGBF HQ.

Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 686 / 2.058.000
Support troops: 336 / 336.000
Total fighting troops: 1.024 / 2.394.000
Headquarters: 64 / 64.000
Total Army Personnel: 1.086 / 2.458.000
Officers: 101.529 + / 107.760 needed / 94,218 %
Active Leaders: 279 / 217 more available
Artillery production has been reduced temporarily to free up industrial capacity to upgrade the weapons of existing units. 1 new Art Regiment has started training.
Another Motorised Rifle Division has started training, this one will sport Su-100 tank Destroyers instead of Su-152 SP Artillery (Motx3, Eng, TD).
Army Leadership
New Maj. General Fediunkin SK2, OD has been placed in command of 129 MSD, 11ya Motorizovannaya Armiya, Armoured AG, STAVKA.
Air Force:
124 shiny Yak-7s have been added, as 141. IAD-PVO to Air Lt. General Eremin's VII. IAK
9. KPA has finished training, the new Carrier Air Group is comprised of 31 La-7s, and 31 Il-10s (navalised versions in both cases). The unit has been deployed to Leningrad as a reserve for the Red Banner Baltic Fleets Carrier Groups.

Aeroplane Numbers (Wings/Planes):
Interceptors: 28 / 3.472
Multi-Role Fighters: 8 / 992
Close Air Support: 10 / 1.240
Carrier Air Groups: 8 / 496
Single Engined: 53 / 6.200
Tactical Bomber: 4 / 400
Strategic Bombers: 1 / 100
Total Bombers: 15 / 1.740
Transport Planes: 3 / 372
Total VVS: 54 / 6.576
Total Navy: 8 / 496
Total Aeroplanes: 62 / 7.072
Active Leaders: 21 / 29 Reserve
Production of Yak-7s continues, the next 124 will form 147. IAD-PVO.
The production and modification of Aeroplanes for the Navy's Carrier Air Groups continues has been temporarily halted to make way for the upgrade of existing units to newer types.
Navy Air Fleet Leaders
New Navy Air Commander Kriukin, SK2 has taken command of the new 8 KPA.
Navy:
No changes to the Navy for the last 10 days.
Politics / International:
Unexpectedly, our Diplomats have managed to get a commitment from Communist China for them to train a new MP unit for us. It's not clear whether this will substantially improve our standing with Mao, but one can always hope...
There was a bit of a reshuffle in the Diplomatic service to accommodate the new arrivals as the budget of the Diplomatic Service has been increased significantly.

Battle Of Britain
Once more, the RAF took the fight over the Channel, with two reported battles over Belgium.
The Royal Navy intercepted a Wolfpack of German U-boats in the Channel, though the hun managed to slip away before suffering significant damage.
North Africa Front:
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 87,6
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 5,90 / 79,3
BNAF42-03-30-min.jpeg

The Axis advance continued at speed, with the Italian capture of Bir Hacheim, Gazala and El Adem, until Tobruch. The port, and the fortifications around it are held by an entrenched Division of Royal Marines, they are taking a stand, taking horrendous losses in the process. They are under attack from Italian Light Tanks, and German King Tigers, but also from the air. The RAF moved all of it's planes out of Tobruch Air Base, which means that the place became out of range for their excellent interceptors based in El Iskandarîya, the consequence was 4 unopposed bombing missions from the Regia Aeronautica. This is in contrast with the swift RAF intercept of an Italian bombing attempt on Bir Hacheim, before Tobruch was under attack. The response from the RAF was somewhat feeble, with a single bombing mission over El Adem.
The British bombers based in Malta continue to show they can do as they please, with another 2 bombing missions over Reggio di Calabria.

No naval losses on either side. The Royal Navy doesn't seem to have strengthened it's presence in the med, probably with good reason. (see below)
1 Italian convoy was sunk by the Royal Navy, it was on it's way to supply Cyprus.
South East Asia Front
United States of America (Surrender Progress / NU): 8,5 / 85,8
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 77,6
Philippines (Surrender Progress / NU): 74,2 / 74,9
Japan (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 70,3

Nothing is happening in the Philippines.
The Convoy war rages on, with 12 allied convoys lost to the IJN, and 7 IJN convoys sent to the bottom by various allied fleets. A better tally than the previous 10-day period.

The IJN has struck with a vengeance, losing no vessels, but inflicting serious, unsustainable damage to the Allied navies. First, they sent their Naval Bombers (16 & 60 Kaigunkigekiki no Hikodan) after French submarines based in Zhanjaing, there were 6 bombing missions, sinking 8, 10, and 12 Flotille des Sous-Marins. The submarines, having limped to Zhanjiang after an altercation with IJN Destroyers, were sitting ducks, unable to relocate to a Port further from Japanese Air Bases. A fourth Flotilla was somewhat lucky, as it managed to keep it's hulls afloat, however, if the Japanese bombers return, they will surely suffer the same fate as their colleagues. As opposed to the French surface navy, these submarines have really contributed bravely to the Allied war effort.
Even worse, was a series of Naval Battles between the Royal Navy, and a massive Japanese Fleet, the details aren't entirely clear, but we know what was sunk. For starters, Battlecruiser Kongo sunk Battleship HMS Ramillies, and 38th Destroyer Flotilla. Kongo's sister ship Haruna, sunk 4th Destroyer Flotilla, aeroplanes from the Escort Carrier Zuiho, 51st Destroyer Flotilla, and 21 Kuchikukantai finished off 36th Destroyer Flotilla. No Japanese units were sunk.
Pacific Front
All quiet here, there continues to be no US involvement in the war save for a few submarines sinking 2 Japanese convoys, and massive amounts of lend-lease to the UK.

Industry:
20 Infrastructure improvement projects were completed, and 20 new ones were started.
4 Air Bases were expanded, 4 new Air Base expansion projects have started. (see previous update)

Working Industrial Capacity / available capacity: 240 / 324
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )
Upgrades: 33,90 / 64,99
Reinforcement: 2,35 / 4,58
Supplies: 30,00 / 48,45
Production: 228,58 / 260,15 (A single Mountain Rifle Divisions, 10. TTGvD, and the Chinese MP remain unfunded)
Consumer Goods: 29,16 / 29,16
Stockpiles:
Energy: Maximum tonnes +
Metal: Maximum tonnes +
Rares: 46.826 tonnes +
Crude: Maximum barrels +
Supplies: 36.301 tonnes -
Fuel: Maximum barrels +
Money: 1.624 -​

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 (/) : 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Total: 5 / 0 / 0 / 1
Reserves: 3
Spy training leadership expenditure: 0,17 (a new spy every 40 days)
Leadership expenditure on espionage has been lowered temporarily to significantly increase the size of our Diplomatic corps.
Research:
A better Armour (Level 2) scheme for our IS-2 Heavy Tanks is ready to be implemented. With 160mm sloped front Armour, our IS-2s will be even harder to take out.
Our weapons designers haven't been sleeping either, they've delivered a brand new 82mm Infantry Battalion Mortar design, this Support Weapon will increase the firepower of our Rifle Regiments, especially on the defensive.

82mm1941-min.jpg

Essentially an evolution from the 1937 82mm Mortar, the M1941 82mm Mortar had some interesting features of it's own. On the 1941 model, the round base-plate is arched, and the two-legged construction is improved. This increased both traverse (now 5° to 25°) and elevation (45° to 85°). Maximum firing range (3,040m) and muzzle velocity (211 m/s) remain the same, but with the addition of MPB-82 sights, accuracy was also improved upon. Finally, a specially designed removable wheelbase was also added on the 1941 model, this makes the new weapon a lot easier to transport. During testing it did prove slightly less steady during firing than it's predecessor, but this downside pales in comparison to the advantages of the design. (at least that's the current official opinion of the Red Army)
Tank Designers at the Kharkov Tank Factory have received funding to create a more powerful Engine (Level 4) for our Medium Tanks, based on the V-2 Diesel, the new engine should be significantly more powerful.
Our Sappers won't be left in the cold, as work has started on new Assault Weapons (Level 3) designs.

LS distribution:
Research: 18,50 (-0,17)
Espionage: 0,17 (-0,27)
Diplomacy: 2,67 (+0,44)
Officers: 10,00 =
Total: 31,33​

Statistics:
National Unity: 83,241 =
Neutrality: 0,00 =
Dissent: 0,00 =
Manpower:
Available: 2.216.000
Men To reinforce(need): 7.640
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 30th of March 1942, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'​
 
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Bullfilter

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North Africa is looking a little shaky, but the British and French naval losses were quite severe. It will be difficult for the if the US doesn’t come to the party. Those IS-2s will be a nasty surprise for the Germans - if they ever invade.
 

Eurasia

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I don't think the Americans are going to be very helpful when the war with the Axis powers start if the Pacific is any example of how well they fight in this timeline. :(
 

roverS3

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North Africa is looking a little shaky, but the British and French naval losses were quite severe. It will be difficult for the if the US doesn’t come to the party. Those IS-2s will be a nasty surprise for the Germans - if they ever invade.
North Africa isn't going too well, and the Royal Navy Blockade has vanished, as the British scramble to make up for losses in South-East Asia.
Losses in the South China Sea are horrendous. It'll definitely be difficult if the US doesn't do something with their Pacific fleet soon, it seems like the entire IJN is breathing down Royal Navy's neck in the South China sea.
We don't have many IS-2s right now (2 Regiments), though there are plans to produce more of them in the future, especially if the Germans pull the trigger. The ones we have will certainly be a nasty surprise for the Germans, especially with the new upcoming gun design.

I don't think the Americans are going to be very helpful when the war with the Axis powers start if the Pacific is any example of how well they fight in this timeline. :(
I'm afraid that US support will remain purely economical for the foreseeable future. As you say, if they don't fight to recover their Pacific holdings, then why would they fight for Allied territory, let alone launch an ambitious amphibious invasion into occupied territory? Maybe they're waiting until we get pulled in from the sidelines, I'm sure they'd cherish some competition over who gets to 'liberate' the most Axis-occupied territory once we get involved...
 

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IJN finding a lot of success both with the double ASW whammy of destroyers and bombers and in the decisive battle. The Americans need to start doing something or soon we'll be hearing about IJN marines in Alaska. The economic support is notable, but any capital ships the Brits can produce will likely end up being too little too late, and I would imagine the Brits will start to get worried about their manpower soon if they keep taking horrible losses in North Africa. Bombing the Italian mainland is of little consolation if the Japanese start marching into India and Australia, which will eventually happen at this rate.

I can see the new mortar bringing very notable improvements indeed. The better sights should compensate at least well enough for the decrease in stability, increased traverse and elevation should mean rounds can be fired sooner and the need for relocation will be reduced, but when needed, that relocation can be done much faster. This should, in practice, translate to infantry getting fire support sooner when they need it, without compromising the effectiveness of the fire.

The tank improvements seem very nice, too. 160 mm of sloped armour should prove very comforting to our tankers. I doubt there are a lot of guns around strong enough to defeat that. New engines for the medium tanks should speed up those formations, as I recall the supporting infantry is capable of 12 km/h with the tanks being a bit slower, but I may be wrong on that. If not, it means we can improve the armour again without the tanks being slowed down from the current situation. Win-win. All of these improvements will, however, mean our upgrade demand will go through the roof. Upgrading tanks is not cheap nor fast, and every infantry unit in the entire USSR is now going to need new mortars.The new assault weapons our sharpest minds are currently devising should prove somewhat cheaper, but provide much-needed anti-fortification capability. Very important in the East especially. I doubt the Germans have built many fortifications, but the IJA might have.
 

roverS3

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IJN finding a lot of success both with the double ASW whammy of destroyers and bombers and in the decisive battle. The Americans need to start doing something or soon we'll be hearing about IJN marines in Alaska. The economic support is notable, but any capital ships the Brits can produce will likely end up being too little too late, and I would imagine the Brits will start to get worried about their manpower soon if they keep taking horrible losses in North Africa. Bombing the Italian mainland is of little consolation if the Japanese start marching into India and Australia, which will eventually happen at this rate.
Both North Africa and the Pacific, are definitely overdue a good dose of wholesome American 'freedom' and 'democracy', I'm sure the British would be very thankful for the assistance.

I can see the new mortar bringing very notable improvements indeed. The better sights should compensate at least well enough for the decrease in stability, increased traverse and elevation should mean rounds can be fired sooner and the need for relocation will be reduced, but when needed, that relocation can be done much faster. This should, in practice, translate to infantry getting fire support sooner when they need it, without compromising the effectiveness of the fire.
Interesting, from what I read (which is limited to a couple of ww2 weapons forums, wikipedia, and other assorted internet sources), the 1941 variant was definitely a better all-round weapon, for all the reasons you cite, though this 82mm really came into it's own with the subsequent, and final, 1943 version. (not sure that one is represented in game though)

The tank improvements seem very nice, too. 160 mm of sloped armour should prove very comforting to our tankers. I doubt there are a lot of guns around strong enough to defeat that.
160mm really is massive, it should be noted that our heavy tanks are designed to be strongest on the defensive, and to support guards riflemen on foot, so more emphasis is put on Armour and Gun design, than on the engine, as long as the thing can keep up with a well-trained guards rifleman.

New for the medium tanks should speed up those formations, as I recall the supporting infantry is capable of 12 km/h with the tanks being a bit slower, but I may be wrong on that. If not, it means we can improve the armour again without the tanks being slowed down from the current situation. Win-win.
You're a bit optimistic on those speeds... currently our T-34 M1941's have a cruising speed of 7,5 kph, while supporting Motorised formations reach 8,5. Engineers, part of quite a few of our Medium Tank Divisions, have a top speed of 8 kph, so any faster than that would be pointless. Mechanised Regiments do reach higher speeds, but most of them are part of Cavalry Divisions made for outright speed... they can currently reach 9,5 kph, and once we improve L Arm Engines, these Divisions will break 10 kph, which is pretty good for the time (in hoi3), all things considered.

All of these improvements will, however, mean our upgrade demand will go through the roof. Upgrading tanks is not cheap nor fast, and every infantry unit in the entire USSR is now going to need new mortars.
You're right, we're cutting new production left and right to make way for upgrades, this has the added benefit of giving our Military Academies some breathing room to catch up with officer requirements. Only the best will do for our Riflemen.

The new assault weapons our sharpest minds are currently devising should prove somewhat cheaper, but provide much-needed anti-fortification capability. Very important in the East especially. I doubt the Germans have built many fortifications, but the IJA might have.
Even if the Japs didn't build many fortifications, Assault weapons are equally useful in Forests and Jungles, of which there are plenty in the Far Eastern Theatre's projected area of operations. As all of our Divisions there have Engineers, they should have an edge in those terrains over any Japanese Division without them...

The Red Army continues it's never-ending drive for modernisation, the world out there is moving fast, and our armed forces must move with it, or we shall suffer unnecessarily to our enemies more advanced weapons. We must keep up, there is no alternative...
 
2nd of March 1942, 'Odin', 'Odinatsat', 'Sem', 'Tri': Surprise delivery, Surprise Prime Minister

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The 6th of April 1942, Vologda, -0,8°C, 11 am Moscow Time,

After our return to Vologda, 'Odinatsat' went back to her previous routine. Solo target practice early in the morning, then, after breakfast, military drills with 'the boys'. The afternoons were spent indoors, reading. I joined her for breakfast every morning, whenever I was at the base. We would just sit there, and silently share the moment.

Things really got interesting on the morning of the 6th of April, while we were having breakfast. A member of the Garrison came to our table, informing us of the arrival of a lorry with an unexpected delivery at the gate. He handed me the bill of lading, it was an intriguing document. Under 'load', it said 'scrap metal: 1.200 kg', the point of origin was somewhere in Gorky, the destination was the 'Red Army training ground' that is our home, and our base of operations. Under recipient it simply said: 'Hand bill of lading to Guard' and under additional information there was a bunch of numbers and letters. To the untrained eye, it seemed like gibberish, but it was one character short of the usual classification number, it started with a 7, and the last two numbers were 11. This indicated that it was a special delivery from 'Sem' (7) to 'Odinatsat' (11). This couldn't be a coincidence. I told them to let the driver wait outside and bring the lorry inside of the compound so we could have a better look at it's cargo. It seemed quite unlikely for 'Sem' to send us over a tonne of scrap metal.

zis_10_33-min.jpg

ZiS-10, basically a tractor version of the very popular ZiS-5 lorry, pulling a flatbed semi-trailer. It could haul 3,5 tons, just like the ZiS-5, but the use of semi-trailers allowed for more varied, and longer loads. It was the first Soviet articulated lorry produced and used beyond the prototype, 766 tractor units were produced between 1938 and 1941.

I went to see for myself. As we walked out of the main bunker, an articulated lorry emerged from the trees, driving towards us. The vehicle was made up of a ZiS-10 tractor and a flatbed semi-trailer. On the trailer was a large covered load, it was definitely too big to be 1,2 tonnes of scrap metal. The men of the Garrison pulled off the cover. There were 1,2 tonnes of steel all right, but it definitely wasn't scrap, it looked like a brand new Gaz-M1, except that you couldn't really drive it off the lorry, as it was mostly just a pile of parts. Just as 'Odinatsat' excitingly climbed into the trailer to take a closer look, a note was handed to her. She read it, smiled, and then handed it to me. It was from 'Sem':

to 'Odinatsat':

The contents of this semi-trailer are yours. As you can probably tell, it's a GAZ-M11 that hasn't been fully assembled yet. I'll tell you the short story of how this came into my possession:

I was inspecting the GAZ factory, and was made aware of a temporary lack of GAZ-11 engines due to a problem with steel quality at the engine plant. The assembly line was stopped, but not before a surplus of parts and partially assembled vehicles had built up. All of this was taking up space, and as engine production wouldn't outpace the production of the other parts any time soon, the apparatchik in charge of the M11 production line was happy for me to take some of his surplus off his hands. In exchange I'll put in a good word for him so he doesn't get fired, or worse, over the faulty steel. The workers loaded up the parts for an entire car on a semi-trailer, and I arranged for the trailer to find it's way to the compound. Having heard all about your newfound interest for mechanical tinkering, I'm sure you'll happily find a way to put it all together. Personally I'm more of a trains person, and as such I don't have that much technical knowledge on the kinds of small gasoline engines that are out there. I can't get my hands on a standard 6-cylinder GAZ-11 Engine, as production is already behind schedule. I'm also not sure which other engine will fit, outside of the old and, from what I was told, quite inferior, 4-cylinder from the GAZ-A and the first GAZ-M1s. I'm sure you'll figure something out.


My greetings to you, and to 'Odin'.

'Sem'

P.S. On the back you'll find the blueprints for your new car.


gazm11-73-min.jpg

The GAZ-M1, based on the 1932 ford, it's engine was a domestically made copy of a ford 4-cylinder. The later M-11 model was almost exactly the same, except for the engine and some minor cosmetic changes. The M-11s had a Chrysler-inspired Flathead straight-6. Thousands of these cars were built, and they were used by a wide variety of people, in a variety of roles, from low-level party officials, to cabbies, to the NKVD, to Red Army Staff, all used the M1 and it's M11 variant throughout the war. In 1941, a raised up 4-wheel drive version was also built for the Red Army. The NKVD seems to have upgraded quite a few of their 1937 run of M1s, using imported Ford Flathead V8s, resulting in dramatically better performance. The 1932 ford was also used quite a bit by boozerunners in the US, usually with souped-up Flathead ford v8s, or swapped chevy straight-6 crate engines.

The tractor-trailer was moved to the hangar, and all the pieces were unloaded with the help of the hangar's small cranes and a couple of men from the Garrison. The grumpy old mechanic who makes sure the Garrison's lorries keep running looked at the pile of parts that was to be 'Odinatsat' new car. His body language and facial expression made it clear that he definitely wasn't going to be assembling that car. When he was told that he'd have to share his workshop with a woman, he got even grumpier... Sometimes I wonder why we keep him around, but then I'm reminded that he's simply an exceptional mechanic. If only he'd work on his attitude a bit, and maybe talk once in a while.

In the depths of the hangar was the Maréchal's traction avant, still sitting exactly where it had been placed upon arrival. A memento to 'Odinatsat's first foreign adventure, and her spectacular bamboozling of the erstwhile 'Armée de l'Afrique'. Only having a relatively superficial and theoretical interest in the mechanical workings of auto-mobiles, I was about to leave the hangar to return to my office, when a wall-mounted telephone rang. The grumpy mechanic picked up, and unenthusiastically handed me the receiver. It was 'Tri'', of course:

What a crazy couple of days. Two days ago, there was a small Norwegian uprising in Agdenes, on the Atlantic coast, West of Trondheim. Somehow this lead to German high command rearranging all it's units on our shared border. Despite the fact that, according to 'Shest's' intelligence, the Tronheim Garrison was more than enough to deal with the Norwegian patriots. It's not clear whether, and they promptly did so yesterday. It looks like the German Army will soon re-assert control. If that was the end of it, I wouldn't have bothered with a call, but there's more.

GNW42-04-01-min.jpeg

Rebellious Vikings outside of
Trondheim. Brave, but ultimately doomed to failure.

Once the Norwegian nationalists were soundly defeated, the UK's house of Commons became embroiled in a heated debate. It seems that the Norwegian nationalists had asked for weapons from the British, and that no weapons were sent out. This was the latest in a string of British failures in Norway. As you may remember, there was the halfhearted expeditionary force consisting of that single Airborne Division in Oslo. Later on there was the disastrous attempt at landing a free Belgian line Division into
Kristiansand. These Belgians, never trained for amphibious assaults, were wholly unsuited for the mission, and they were dragging along great war Artillery pieces. Losses were horrendous.

It's not clear why it was precisely this relatively minor failure that set off the parliamentary debacle that followed. It all started on the 3rd of April with a short speech by prime minister Chamberlain, expressing cautious support for the Norwegian Nationalist partisans, and his confidence in a British victory in the current war. The response was outright hostile, and quite entertaining when viewed from afar:

Clement Attlee, leader of the Labour mocked Chamberlain's confidence in British victory, and heavily criticised the handling of the Norwegian 'campaign', by Chamberlain's government. He expanded this to the government, especially Chamberlain, mentioning “a failure of grip, a failure of drive” in the pursuit of the war. His conclusion:
There is a widespread feeling in this country, not that we shall lose the war, that we will win the war, but that to win the war, we want different people at the helm from those who have led us into it”

Sir Archibald Sinclair of the Liberal party was also critical, mentioning the lack of inter-service cooperation. He brought up the fact that troops were available to reinforce the British presence in Norway, but that no transport ships ever ferried them there. Chamberlain previous implications, that the Norwegian operation had failed because of a lack of resistance from the Norwegians to the German invasion, were now demolished with Sinclairs summary of reports from British paratroopers who “paid a high tribute to the courage and determination with which the Norwegians fought alongside them. They paid a particular tribute to the Norwegian ski patrols. Norwegians at Lillehammer for seven days held up with rifles only a German force with tanks, armoured cars, bombing aeroplanes and all the paraphernalia of modern war."

A series of respectable Conservative backbenchers, from Chamberlain's own party, started to heap criticisms onto the Chamberlain hiomself. Sir Roger Keyes, a veteran Admiral of the Fleet, now retired to parliament, appeared in the house in his full uniform (including 6 rows of medal ribbons), to speak for the servicemen of the Royal Navy. He laid the blame of the success of the German landings in Norway squarely on the shoulders of the government,. He discerned a lack of courage and offensive action from Chamberlain in those crucial days. He concluded with a quote from Nelson: “I am of the opinion that the boldest measures are the safest”

Leo Amery criticised the Prime Minister's woeful lack of preparation for an armed conflict, even when a war became quite likely.He concluded, to the Prime Minister: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Arthur Greenwood remarked the existence of plans to assist the partisans, and Chamberlain's reluctance to enact any of them.

On the 4th, Herbert Morrison of Labour called for a vote of censure. Chamberlain, thinking he still had the upper hand called for support from any and all members of the house.

David Lloyd George, who used to be Prime Minister in the second half of the Great War put the final nail in Chamberlain's coffin by saying that Chamberlain “should sacrifice the seals of office”.

Chamberlain had survived longer than many expected, forming a national government after the 1940 elections, including Ernest Bevin (Labour), but now his time had really come. Chamberlain informed the senior members of his party that he was about to go to the king to announce his resignation. He then asked who he should suggest to the king as a replacement. Halifax and Churchill were the most obvious candidates. Halifax spoke first, saying that his position as a member of the House of Lords made him unsuitable to become a prime minister.

The ultimate result was that Chamberlain resigned and informed the king that Halifax had taken himself out of the running. The king thus called for Winston Churchill, and named him Prime Minister. This morning, the new prime Minister, described by my sources as a 'Flamboyant Tough Guy', held his first speech, starting with:

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat”

churchillspeech-min.jpg

Winston Churchill giving his "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech to the nation at the BBC.

To summarise. The British National Government remains the same, but Winston Churchill has replaced Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister. I, for one, am curious to see whether this Churchill fellow will push Britain into a more proactive role in the ongoing conflict. Even more crucial is his upcoming trip to Washington, where he'll probably try to convince the Americans to do more than running the biggest military-industrial complex the world has ever seen to supply the allies with large amounts of advanced weaponry.

Tell 'Odinatsat' congratulations on the new car. Well, maybe not just yet, maybe I should wait until she gets hold of an engine. In any case tell her to have fun, and good luck putting it all together.”

And that's where the call ended. Hearing this, I'm sure Stalin will be very happy he's not the leader of some volatile Democracy, where open criticism of his government could lead to his forced resignation, instead of the disappearance of the critics. I turned around, my mind still wrapped up in British politics, and before leaving the hangar to return to my work, I caught a glimpse of 'Odinatsat', who was attentively studying the blueprints provided by Sem', and comparing the drawings with the physical parts. This looks like the kind of challenge that'll keep her busy for a while.

It's back to work now, I'll keep you appraised of further developments, both in British politics, and with 'Odinatsat's new project car.

Greetings,

'Odin'

 

Bullfilter

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Good to see the crew back in action. Sem is a thoughtful chap. From a game perspective, the switch to Churchill may not change much, but it will be good at least from a narrative perspective! I wonder if the Germans will attack before 1950 ... ;):rolleyes:
 

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Very nice! I wonder what the rest of the Committee can pull together, as apparently favours to 11 are all the rage these days... Any takers for a bet that she'll manage to talk the plane mechanic into shipping her enough parts to build an engine for the car? I just hope no one gets the idea that what she really needs is one of those fancy new destroyers; imagine the problems of storage with no water around! ;)

Chamberlain is finally out. British politics seem messy as always, but not as messy as their handling of the war. Maybe Churchill can whip them into some sort of shape, eventually, maybe. Or at least drag the Americans in. Or anyone, really. :p
 

roverS3

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Good to see the crew back in action. Sem is a thoughtful chap.
He sure is. On an entirely unrelated note, 'Odinatsat' is quite an attractive lady, even with the scars she picked up in Poland... maybe there is an ulterior motive there somewhere...
Very nice! I wonder what the rest of the Committee can pull together, as apparently favours to 11 are all the rage these days... Any takers for a bet that she'll manage to talk the plane mechanic into shipping her enough parts to build an engine for the car? I just hope no one gets the idea that what she really needs is one of those fancy new destroyers; imagine the problems of storage with no water around! ;)
I'm not sure we should make a habit of doing her favours, though we do want to keep her sane and out of harms way until the fighting really starts. We don't want her to have a total mental breakdown from her traumatic experiences, and we don't want her to start an international incident by killing Germans, until we feel like starting the war ourselves...

From a game perspective, the switch to Churchill may not change much, but it will be good at least from a narrative perspective! I wonder if the Germans will attack before 1950 ... ;):rolleyes:
Chamberlain is finally out. British politics seem messy as always, but not as messy as their handling of the war. Maybe Churchill can whip them into some sort of shape, eventually, maybe. Or at least drag the Americans in. Or anyone, really. :p
I should clarify that in game there were 1940 elections which introduced something of a National government with a Labour foreign secretary... And the Norway Debate event only fired on the 5th of April 1942, and then it only replaced the prime minister, not changing anything to the make-up of the national government. The events as described above were somewhat tailored to the in-game situation, while retaining real quotes (sometimes slightly altered), to make it feel real. But I'm sure you gathered as much.
 
Last edited:
9th of April 1942, 'Odin', 10-day report #192

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The 9th of April 1942, Vologda, -1,0°C, 10 am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten-day period between the 31st of March and the 9th of April 1942,

by 'Odin'

Army:
3 additional Artillery Regiments have been deployed to the Western border. 105 AP, 110 AP, and 112 AP were deployed to 54 SD, 70 SD, 139 SD respectively.
2. Vozdushno-Desnatnaya Diviziya (Parx3) has been deployed to VVS West, STAVKA
21 KP and 12 KP have seen their lorries replaced with shiny new half-tracks, they have rejoined Maj. General Levandovski's 7 KD, II KK, 2ya Tankovaya Armiya, Armoured AG, STAVKA.

Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 689 / 2.067.000
Support troops: 339 / 339.000
Total fighting troops: 1.028 / 2.406.000
Headquarters: 64 / 64.000
Total Army Personnel: 1.092 / 2.470.000
Officers: 102.029 + / 108.510 needed / 94,027 %
Active Leaders: 280 / 216 more available
Artillery production has been reduced further to free up industrial capacity to upgrade the weapons of existing units. 2 new Art Regiments have started training.
2 more Cavalry Regiments, 47 KP and 65 KP (16 KD), have started training with Half-tracks in anticipation of the replacement of their lorries with them.
Only 4 Cavalry Regiments are still equipped with lorries and waiting for the upgrade.
Army Leadership
New Maj. General Briukov SK2, Cdo has been placed in command of 2 VDD, VVS West, STAVKA.
Air Force:
No changes to the VVS, nor to the Navy Air Fleet for the last 10 days.​

Navy:
No changes to the Navy for the last 10 days.
Politics / International:
The wavering Swedish government decided once again to change track and align themselves more closely to the Allies, previous experience tells us that this won't last...
The Norwegian province of Agdenes is once again firmly under German control.

ChinaRevolt42-04-08-min.jpeg
A revolt has broken out in Japanese-Occupied China. Partisans took hold of the province of Nantong on the 8th of April. It is expected that the IJA will squash the nationalist revolutionaries any day now
Battle Of Britain
The Anglo-German Air War has gone quiet once more. The quiet before the next storm?
A single Royal Merchant Navy convoy was sunk off Cape Wrath. That's it.
North Africa Front:
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 87,6
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 79,3 (recapture of Tobruch)
BNAF42-04-09-min.jpeg

Tobruch has been lost to the Axis tanks. The Royal Marines gave all they had, but in the end, they couldn't stop the combined might of King Tigers, and Italian Light Tanks. Italian Motorised Infantry moved into Ridotta Capuzzo unopposed. The border is almost back to where it was before the war started.
There were no Air-Ground Attacks on any side.
The Naval Bombers of No.16 RN 'Naval Coastal Command' based in Malta flew 3 bombing missions over the Naval Base at Reggio di Calabria, resulting in the sinking of 12. Flottiglia Torpediniere. Even without a strong Royal Navy presence in the med, the British continue to hit the Regia Marina from the air.
continue to pester the Italian
No naval encounters.
1 Italian convoy was sunk by the Royal Navy, it was on it's way to Tobruch.
South East Asia Front
United States of America (Surrender Progress / NU): 8,5 / 85,8
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 77,6
Philippines (Surrender Progress / NU): 74,2 / 74,9
Japan (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 70,3

Still Nothing in the Philippines.
The Convoy war rages on, with 8 allied convoys lost to the IJN, and 10 IJN convoys sent to the bottom by various allied fleets.

Japanese Naval bombers halted their attacks on French submarines based in Zhanjaing, the last submarine flotilla in the port thus remains barely afloat.
Pacific Front
All quiet here, there continues to be no US involvement in the war save for a few submarines sinking 1 Japanese convoy, and massive amounts of lend-lease to the UK.

Industry:
Working Industrial Capacity / available capacity: 240 / 324
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )
Upgrades: 33,80 / 64,75
Reinforcement: 6,75 / 13,03
Supplies: 30,00 / 48,72
Production: 224,30 / 247,52 (A single Mountain Rifle Divisions, 10. TTGvD, and the Chinese MP remain unfunded)
Consumer Goods: 29,16 / 29,16
Stockpiles:
Energy: Maximum tonnes +
Metal: Maximum tonnes +
Rares: 47.071 tonnes +
Crude: Maximum barrels +
Supplies: 35.923 tonnes -
Fuel: Maximum barrels +
Money: 1.607 -​

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 (/) : 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Total: 5 / 0 / 0 / 0
Reserves: 3
Spy training leadership expenditure: 0,17 (a new spy every 40 days)
Nothing of note happened here.
Research:
Our IS-2 Heavy Tanks will now be fitted with even larger Guns (Level 3), as the 1936 130mm B-13 naval Gun has been fitted to a brand new turret design. Our new IS-2/130mm will be longer and a little slower, but they will pack even more firepower than with the 122mm guns they had previously.
When I first saw that Paradox suggested a 130mm Gun for a Heavy Tank, I was somewhat sceptical of the historical plausibility of that decision. Until I found out that the Soviets actually built a prototype tank with a Naval 130mm gun on top
SU-100Y-min.jpg

The SU-100Y prototype consisted of the mating of a 1936 130mm B-13 Naval Gun with the hull from one of the 1938 T-100 twin-turreted heavy tank prototype hulls, the 100 in it's name refers to the provenance of the hull and not to the Calibre of the gun, as is the case with the SU-100 (The SU-100 is basically a 100mm gun mounted on a modified T-34 chassis) Having looked at the dimensions of the T-100 hull, it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to fit the same 130mm Naval Gun to a slightly lengthened IS-2 hull, which has a significantly wider, but slightly shorter footprint. The T-100 prototypes saw combat in the Winter War, the single SU-100Y prototype saw combat in the Battle of Moscow. 64 tons ... Of course one might ask why one would do this, as the 122mm is plenty powerful, and the 130mm will reduce the amount of rounds that can be carried, make loading more arduous, and make the tank even harder to hide. The SU-152 already exists for when a really big gun is needed, so why the strange in between that's somewhere between a tank and a SP-Gun? I guess there's a reason why there was only a single SU-100Y... In this ATL, though, we'll be replacing all of our IS-2s with brand new IS-2/130s.
Work has started on a new Engine (Level 5) design for our Light Tanks, lorries, mechanised units, armoured cars etc. All these units rely on speed to be effective, and new engines will surely helpt them be there in time.

Statistics:
National Unity: 83,241 =
Neutrality: 0,00 =
Dissent: 0,00 =
Manpower:
Available: 2.222.000
Men To reinforce(need): 5.690
Men To mobilise(need): See above
Monthly gain: 48.200 Men (1 fully mobilised Infx3, AT Division every 7 days)​
Party Popularity:
- Communist Party: 64 (+1)
- Trotskyite: 6 (-4)
- Bukharinite: 3 (-1)

- Social-Revolutionary: 5 (+5)
- Trudoviks: 7 (+2)
- Kadets: 2 (-3)
- Octobrists: 2 (-1)

- Tsarists: 9 (+3)
- NTS: 0 (-2)
- POA: 2 =
The Communist Party is gaining in popularity once more, but so are the reborn Social-Revolutionaries, and the Trarists, the latter probably due to interference by Japanese spies... We remain firmly in control with a solid mandate from the people.
No changes in Party Organisation for the last 10 days.
This Information is accurate on the morning of the 9th of April 1942, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'​
 
Last edited:

nuclearslurpee

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Our IS-2 Heavy Tanks will now be fitted with even larger Guns (Level 3), as the 1936 130mm B-13 naval Gun has been fitted to a brand new turret design. Our new IS-2/130mm will be longer and a little slower, but they will pack even more firepower than with the 122mm guns they had previously.
When I first saw that Paradox suggested a 130mm Gun for a Heavy Tank, I was somewhat sceptical of the historical plausibility of that decision. Until I found out that the Soviets actually built a prototype tank with a Naval 130mm gun on top
index.php

The SU-100Y prototype consisted of the mating of a 1936 130mm B-13 Naval Gun with the hull from one of the 1938 T-100 twin-turreted heavy tank prototype hulls, the 100 in it's name refers to the provenance of the hull and not to the Calibre of the gun, as is the case with the SU-100 (The SU-100 is basically a 100mm gun mounted on a modified T-34 chassis) Having looked at the dimensions of the T-100 hull, it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to fit the same 130mm Naval Gun to a slightly lengthened IS-2 hull, which has a significantly wider, but slightly shorter footprint. The T-100 prototypes saw combat in the Winter War, the single SU-100Y prototype saw combat in the Battle of Moscow. 64 tons ... Of course one might ask why one would do this, as the 122mm is plenty powerful, and the 130mm will reduce the amount of rounds that can be carried, make loading more arduous, and make the tank even harder to hide. The SU-152 already exists for when a really big gun is needed, so why the strange in between that's somewhere between a tank and a SP-Gun? I guess there's a reason why there was only a single SU-100Y... In this ATL, though, we'll be replacing all of our IS-2s with brand new IS-2/130s.

I did some poking around, because even by Paradox standards this sounded fishy. In the localisation files we have SOV_heavy_tank_gun_3 simply given as "130mm" with no reference to an actual designation, so I think this would actually have been the 130mm S-70 gun that was mounted on the IS-7 prototypes, which was in turn a modification of a naval gun - I cannot find a reference saying if this was modified from the B-13 discussed in this post, however. That said, the IS-7 tank was not developed until 1945 and first prototypes built in 1946, so in traditional Paradox fashion the research is anachronistic even though not entirely divorced from reality.

Which goes to say that, so long as we're building anachronistic tank models, the B-13 gun and a new IS-2 based on the SU-100Y project is equally as realistic by Paradox standards, and I wholeheartedly endorse this deployment of new and fearsome firepower against the Nazi hordes!
 

Finshades

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130 mm naval guns on tanks, sweet high-explosive jesus that's a lot of firepower. So much that those of lesser faith may call it useless or "excessive". Why would one do this? Why, for the glory of our magnificent Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, of course! And for the glory of the Worker's revolution, and comrade Stalin! We have boldly gone where no tank designers have gone before!

Well, that's how we'll have it printed in the Pravda, anyway. I hope someone made sure it can withstand the main gun being actually fired. More than once. Now, you may be wondering whether increasing the diameter by 8 mm is really worth having to refit every existing heavy tank by manufacturing and replacing the current chassis with a longer one, with probably a reinforced turret mounting, too, and manufacturing and installing new turrets. I think our designers and scientists didn't get that far. Maybe we should fund a study into that, as soon as we're done with the refitting?
 

Bullfilter

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Big beastly HArm for use against potential King Tigers? Why not! It can always be rationalised away, if necessary via a liberal sprinkling of non-historical alternate history fairy dust over the whole thing! ;):rolleyes:

Those Nazis are still running scared. If no attack by June 1942 you should send them a white feather - and a bazillion Shock Armies! :p
 

roverS3

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I did some poking around, because even by Paradox standards this sounded fishy. In the localisation files we have SOV_heavy_tank_gun_3 simply given as "130mm" with no reference to an actual designation, so I think this would actually have been the 130mm S-70 gun that was mounted on the IS-7 prototypes, which was in turn a modification of a naval gun - I cannot find a reference saying if this was modified from the B-13 discussed in this post, however. That said, the IS-7 tank was not developed until 1945 and first prototypes built in 1946, so in traditional Paradox fashion the research is anachronistic even though not entirely divorced from reality.
I based my research on what was close historically, and as you point out the IS-7 development started in 1945, with the first prototypes in '46. The SU-100Y prototype was built in 1940. For Paradox the 130mm is a 1941 tech...

Which goes to say that, so long as we're building anachronistic tank models, the B-13 gun and a new IS-2 based on the SU-100Y project is equally as realistic by Paradox standards, and I wholeheartedly endorse this deployment of new and fearsome firepower against the Nazi hordes!
130 mm naval guns on tanks, sweet high-explosive jesus that's a lot of firepower. So much that those of lesser faith may call it useless or "excessive". Why would one do this? Why, for the glory of our magnificent Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, of course! And for the glory of the Worker's revolution, and comrade Stalin! We have boldly gone where no tank designers have gone before!
Indeed all glory to the mighty Red Army, now with the largest tank guns in the world...

Big beastly HArm for use against potential King Tigers? Why not! It can always be rationalised away, if necessary via a liberal sprinkling of non-historical alternate history fairy dust over the whole thing! ;):rolleyes:
I guess I'll put in an order for several mountains of said fairy dust... I feel like it might be needed in the future.

Well, that's how we'll have it printed in the Pravda, anyway. I hope someone made sure it can withstand the main gun being actually fired. More than once. Now, you may be wondering whether increasing the diameter by 8 mm is really worth having to refit every existing heavy tank by manufacturing and replacing the current chassis with a longer one, with probably a reinforced turret mounting, too, and manufacturing and installing new turrets. I think our designers and scientists didn't get that far. Maybe we should fund a study into that, as soon as we're done with the refitting?
Obviously, to properly evaluate whether the cost of refitting is worth it, we need to refit first, that will give us all the data we'll need for the study. Doing it the other way around would be counterproductive and capitalist... I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the same is true of the tank's resistance to firing it's 130mm gun, I guess we won't know until we try it, in combat...

Those Nazis are still running scared. If not attack by June 1942 you should send them a white feather - and a bazillion Shock Armies! :p
We don't have a bazillion shock armies, but we're not exactly weak. I guess we'll see where this all goes.

On another note... 3 weeks with no updates, and then 2 updates in 3 days... have I gone mad? I was very busy before the Easter 'Holiday', many concerts, lots to do for my project. I also went on a bit of a musical vacation last week, which included three days filled with string quartet rehearsals, a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. The latest narrative update (about the surprise car and the Norway Debate) took some research and time to put together. I'm not sure when the next update is due. I'm going far away from my internet connection for a couple days starting tomorrow, and I have many things to do, ideally before classes start again the week after... time always seems too short

Don't forget to vote in the Q1 ACAs for 2019, the end date is the 8th of May, so plenty of time to make up your minds.

I see some of you have already done so, I've been procrastinating a bit, I'll put in my vote tomorrow.;)