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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Nikolai

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Oh Göhring, you fool. :p
 

J_Master

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Rather interesting devellopement in France I must say, the victory of Maurras. It puts the Netherlands in a delicate position. It is a German ally, but in Verdinaso it has a potentially strong integralist movement. I guess it will depend om the fact whether Van Severen is as much a Germanophone as OTL, since there isn't a WWI he fought in to really cause it. With the End of Belgium beginning with the rise of the Flemish Movement, I could also see him being more of a Francophobe and refusing a Nieuwe Marsrichting and keeping his anti-wallonian stance. Speaking of the Wallonians, I can't really place Degrelle, mostly because I know less about him. But perhaps he can become a agitator for the French government in the name of Rattachisme. Once the German Order starts to really show its cracks in the 30'ies, I'm certain a level of appeasement will follow, so Wallonia might find itself split from the Dutch state and annexed by France
 

stnylan

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The problem with being on the very top of the world is that there is a long long way to fall
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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Oh Göhring, you fool. :p
At least he's not a drug addict in this timeline ;)

Rather interesting devellopement in France I must say, the victory of Maurras. It puts the Netherlands in a delicate position. It is a German ally, but in Verdinaso it has a potentially strong integralist movement. I guess it will depend om the fact whether Van Severen is as much a Germanophone as OTL, since there isn't a WWI he fought in to really cause it. With the End of Belgium beginning with the rise of the Flemish Movement, I could also see him being more of a Francophobe and refusing a Nieuwe Marsrichting and keeping his anti-wallonian stance. Speaking of the Wallonians, I can't really place Degrelle, mostly because I know less about him. But perhaps he can become a agitator for the French government in the name of Rattachisme. Once the German Order starts to really show its cracks in the 30'ies, I'm certain a level of appeasement will follow, so Wallonia might find itself split from the Dutch state and annexed by France
Dutch allegiances are clear, neutrality is not a option anymore.

The problem with being on the very top of the world is that there is a long long way to fall
Some Germans know that, some are starting to have dumb pacifist ideas, as always in time between two wars. :)

Granted, but it's fun to speculate :D
However, if someone helped to put them into that situation, during which something had to happen, thats different question...
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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(Part 1)

"Bolshevism is the form of organized crime and must be dealt with accordingly."
- Polizeiobersekretär Heinrich Müller, Bavaria, 1930
It should be always clarified, that conflict known today as '1926 Russia Expedition', wasn't based on any formal declaration of war. The entire action was sanctioned as a legal proceeding, fully supported by the only recognized Russian government-in-exile. Located in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and headed by the hero of Civil War, General Sergei N. Voytsekhovsky. It took years of careful political manoeuvring between Reich's interests and multiple different views of major White Russian emigré groups on how Russia should continue as a state. At last, after almost eight years long negotiations between various surviving factions, the added cooperation of the Japanese proved critical, - many White Russians remained in Manchuria and China, creating virtual emigré strongholds throughout China, be it Harbin or Beijing. Some of their leaders refused to negotiate with Germans at all, so they were prepared to only accept most basic cooperation in principle of united Russia after fall of Bolshevik regime. It was exactly the true reason behind the delayed reaction to revolutionary rampage. As ironically as it could sound to their own ears, the German Empire's best interests lied in continued existence of stable Russian state. Any thoughts of it's 'controlled shattering' ended nowhere, as it would mean added burden. Industrialists and bankers, as always, prefered more business opportunities, although they expected fierce competition with Americans once the new government will start to search for loans and trade treaties.


Berlin in Summer 1926 was rapidly growing metropolis, filled more with suits than military uniforms

Presumably focused elsewhere, the Germany was perceived by the Bolsheviks as no longer an threat it was in 1918-1920. Instability in Britain and France, aggressive diplomacy towards United States and interference in matters of South America or East Asia, not mentioning the support of it's satellites, meant that Kaiserreich have other priorities. When they finally dealt with last pockets of resistance even in the most remote parts of the country, the so called 'Soviet Republic' wasn't recognized by many sovereign states. The Americans sent ships in the name of 'humanitarian aid', same as British, mostly just in spite of Germans. Not even they were prepared to accept it's diplomatic recognition, as long as there is Russian government-in-exile, recognized by all other Great Powers and neutral states.



Indeed, the final fate of brutal marxist experiment in Russia was left hanging on balance for a long time. German military planners now had to account for larger consequences in world politics, something the British were historically more experienced. Politicians, as always, were more concerned about impact for domestic politics. The Soviets were in no position to seriously threaten German hegemony over Eastern Europe. Prosperous and loyal buffer state existed between them now and they too needed time to recuperate from the horrors of war, such went the rational debate behind closed doors in Reichstag offices and Supreme Army Command. Meanwhile, the individuals calling for direct military strike against rogue state refused to change their own, quite straightforward view: the mere existence of such dangerous regime with potential in manpower and resources to become major threat to civilized world in next generation, is just unthinkable. For others, it was more personal and less strategic issue. The revolutionaries, like the Jacobins in France, were bloodthirsty thugs which must be eliminated at all costs, such was the opinion of young soldiers as much as of the old Prussian marshals.


Hetmanate's government under control of Skoropadsky was purest example of military dictatorship possible. Led by the most ruthless bureaucrats the old Russian Empire's fall squeezed into Ukraine, the state's apparatus constantly fought against all 'rebel groups', be it Ukrainian nationalists or Bolshevik partisans occasionally plaguing the countryside. The German military presence was heavy, but limited to few key areas crucial for growth of Ukrainian economy.

Miscalculation on the Soviet's part accelerated the inevitable afterwards. Red agitators in countries bordering the Soviet Republic started to operate more frequently, after few years of laying low, slowly building networks and cells of sympathizers. This was particularly easy in Ukraine, governed by hardline monarchists and pro-German collaborators. Dissilusioned Ukrainian nationalists had to tolerate continued russification policies, German farmers claiming the land instead of poor Ukrainian peasants, Reichsbank in full control their economy and companies such were Germaniawerft (in Sevastopol and Odessa) operated without any interference of the government. This made them willing allies of the Bolshevik agents, promising them benevolent autonomy after inevitable German withdrawal and eventual liberation of the new Soviet member state.



The Hetmanate's own powerful secret police (TAPO) provided weekly reports to Hetman's office as often as it reported any major occurences to Germans. Growing numbers of sabotages and openly provoked dissent in the streets proved the proponents of aggressive action right in exact moment when debates in the Reichstag left the building and became public. The outrage was massive, akin to throwing gas barrel into fire and supporters of more rational approach, how they cautiously called it now, chose silence, which was very much deafening silence for foreign observers - like from out of nowhere, from one day reporting about coming agricultural international trade fair, the all newspapers changed their headlines into 'WAR IN THE EAST'. From modest article about protests in Ukraine caused by some anarchist elements to 'holy crusade against Bolshevism'.


The German Army in the middle of 1920s focused on continuous modernisation and recruitment, with the more and more of Weltkrieg veterans leaving the military to pursue their luck in the newly acquired colonial possesions or flourishing opportunities in the heart of the Reich. Some retired to the Baltic states, encouraged by local Baltic German community or to Ukraine, to purchase cheap land held by Reichsbank subsidiaries.

When the Soviet representatives in Switzerland and Sweden were notified of sudden German military buildup and relocation of all elite divisions to the East, the surprise in Moscow was too apparent. Quickly assembled group of intellectuals and former tsarist army officers boarded a ship to Memel, East Prussia, notifying their presence through multiple third parties, such as American Red Cross. An offer of general peace without any demands whatsoever, now, or in the indefinite future.



They weren't even allowed to step on Prussian soil. Low-ranking naval officer from SMS Emden, whose guns remained turned on the Soviet vessel at all times, informed the newcomers that their presence is unnecessary and certainly not desired. The cruiser escorted them to middle the of Baltic Sea, half-way back to Petrograd.


The rally of German National People's Party, Berlin, 1926

In the middle of DNVP's rally of most prominent party members, with many more outside the hall, the party's current chairman, Alfred Hugenberg, declared that 'armed conflict' now exists between the German Empire and the criminal state of Soviet Russia. Not many attendees caught his clear evasion of word 'war' and no one ever heard what he said next, but before finally the crowds dispersed, when last shoutings lessened, everyone clearly heard lyrics of 'Argonnerwaldlied' sung by the veterans in the party. Now those lines in forests mentioned in lyric will be forests in Russia, much less merciful to the defeated enemy than those in France.



 
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J_Master

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Whilst the goal might be a united and stable Russia, one cannot help but ignore Byelorussian, Ukrainian and Finnish claims on Russian lands, or support smaller, more easily influenced states in the Caucasus
 
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stnylan

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Welcome back
 

Herbert West

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Well, you came back with a bang :)
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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(Part 2)

"The feats of our brave troops are wonderful, God gave them success. May He continue to help them to peace with honour, & the victory over Antichrist in Russian garb. — The hand of God is creating a new World & working miracles."

- Wilhelm II. to Reichskanzler Paul von Hindenburg, 13. August 1926
Despite the further constitutional changes to keep at bay dangers of extremism, federal elections after the Weltkrieg remained somewhat irregular, as some domestic affair or foreign crisis could easily tip the balance. Cooperation between DNVP and Centre Party ensured stability of the government alone, but all the postwar Chancellors generally preferred greater majority than 51% of seats to show strong public support for the government. Banker Helfferich therefore had to be replaced with Soldier Hindenburg, once rebuilding the country anew wasn't a primary concern anymore and questions over domestic and international stability couldn't be ignored anymore. After the Treaty of Westminster and dissolution of Austria-Hungary, Germany had to obviously keep the new order in place by whatever means necessary. Preemptive strikes against revolutionary activities in Italy, Belgium or Anatolia were just the first from many necessary improvements. Not much culturally or economically united, Italy couldn't be left alone with rampaging radicals in control of streets. Belgians proved to be untrustworthy in their neutral status already - and Turks decided to forget their allegiance as much as to forget who owns Berlin-Baghdad Railway and their oil wells. Combined with massive colonial development of newly acquired lands, the opposition couldn't leave it without criticism. They repeatedly questioned if 'Prussian militarism' is a good way to keep peace, without offering any other effective solution. Except, of course, useless debates about respecting sovereignty or abstract imagination of international relations at the cost of Reich's economic and military security. Standing army, logically, had to be enlarged by the mere fact that German Empire now had additional duties for it's new allies and protectorates and investments in Africa and Asia had to be followed by the continuing naval expansion, which was calmly explained by government's officials. How could any good German see any malice in obviously rational decisions, they often asked.



Vote for Hindenburg: "I extend my hand to every German who thinks nationally and wants to bring peace to denominational and social groups". 1926.

Preemptive strike against menace in the East was deemed just as same, rational and lawful decision by the Hindenburg's government. Any other was impossible to imagine, at the cost of further existence of this rogue state. The support for Russian government-in-exile was not a primary concern. Indeed, there was not much overall sympathy to White Russian cause, since in the eyes of public, they received all support they needed and still did lost their country to criminals, due to their own corruption and infighting. Personal failures of Nicholas II. were too, once again, dragged in the various articles, wondering where world would be if literally anyone else ruled Russia. Also, the conflict wouldn't have been necessary and German people wouldn't have to march through mud and snow to the Asia again, if Denikin, Wrangel, Kolchak and others were able to focus on true enemy instead of their egos. That was the kind of reasoning on which rarely all the newspapers in Germany had very similar opinion. The Social Democrats went only so far as to lament over failed Soviet experiment to accomplish socialism without democracy, an inevitable road to Hell, and hoped for strong constitutional and progressive government in future Russia.



The military operation itself didn't encounter any serious resistance for a weeks. The Red Army tried to mobilize a large armies further from the border battles, where border guards and local militia was heavily outnumbered and outgunned. German-trained Baltic, Ruthenian and Ukrainian divisions proved reasonably effective, filling the gaps between larger German formations, which could focus on more important objectives. Former imperial capital was taken in first few days, when it's port of Kronstadt was immediately captured by the Kaiserliche Marine, which also took care of transporting major White Russian forces to the city, making it safe seat of the new government. The same day, Otto Freiherr von Brandenstein, ambassador in Finland and retired officer, informed the King and Prime Minister Svinhufvud about 'possibility of Finnish expansion'. This was more than welcomed offer. Conservative royal government, compared to Germany itself, had to face much stronger opposition from agrarians and social democrats, led by Väinö Tanner and Kyösti Kallio, who opposed both monarchy and German influence. Formation of 'Greater Finland', by then only a concept proposed by a few nationalists, could weaken the dissent for a years. The public support for conservatives friendly to the Reich deteriorated so fast, that in 1925, Finnish Chief of General Staff Kurt Wallenius (veteran of Royal Prussian 27th Jäger Battalion) advised the King to consider an 'emergency measures' if Tanner and Kallio formed an anti-monarchist majority.


Although far from being fully motorized, German divisions moved at much faster pace in 1920s, equipped with more trucks, cars and armored vehicles than all other armies in Europe, and possibly world, combined.

As the any larger formations of Red Army were cut off and destroyed, plans were made for other parts of the country. The still existing resistance movements in Caucasus and Central Asia could help to form new states, if not allied to Germany, then at least not allied to it's present or future enemies. With the final fall of Ottomans, and with unclear intentions of Rashidi Arabia regarding it's current neutrality, the Reich extended it's hand to Persia (or now more commonly, Iran). It's new Shah, who promptly exiled the pro-British Qajar dynasty immediately after British defeat, received massive shipments of weapon stockpiles to ensure he will be able to claim their new destiny. Former Ottoman vilayets of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra were already annexed by Shah's forces, and same plans were made for reconquest of Transcaucasian and Khorasan provinces lost in Russo-Persian Wars. Along with establishment of client Armenian state connected to Greek Anatolian provinces, a northern route of Berlin-Baghdad Railway could now be build. Southern route, built during the Weltkrieg, had to deal with sabotages and partisan attacks, since powerless rump Turkish state basically deteriorated into anarchy, after Greeks, Bulgarians, Arabs and Iranians received green light from Berlin to do whatever they want with murderers of Sultan's family - and marched in unison into the Anatolia and the Middle East, doing whatever they felt is necessary, sometimes with support of elite Sturmtruppen and Jäger Battalions, officially keeping the peace in Beirut and Jerusalem.



By the start of August, in just three weeks of war, the Army sized formations started to surrender. In Opochka pocket, 150 000 soldiers of Red Army surrendered. Officers urging them to do otherwise weren't usually captured alive. After a few weeks, the prisoners of war were transferred into care of White forces, leaving any subsequent decisions regarding them in hands of their countrymen. As far as most of the divisional commanders were concerned, they were doing their own task they failed to accomplish, so if anything more should be done, they won't allow them to blame it on soldiers of German Empire.



It wouldn't be fair to say, though, that Bolshevik forces were completely outclassed in every aspect: knowing well they are facing currently most powerful army in the world, they sacrificed small portion of their military, to conserve manpower and stockpiles of weaponry for the main force amassed east of Moscow. Since they refused to just throw their hands into air and surrender without fight, this was only reasonable thing to do. Red leadership completely agreed with former tsarist generals, such as Brusilov, that their only chance is to prolong conflict until famous Russian winter will came. Then the German morale will fall as well, since they realized quickly they are fighting mostly standing armies, supplemented by limited numbers of regular military service conscripts and nationalist volunteers.


On a rare occasion when enemy managed to hold off initial strikes against defended positions, sharpshooters were deployed, picking the enemies one by one over the few days, before inevitable night attack by Sturmtruppen units, leaving no one alive. Artillery barrages were often unnecessary addition.

This, in theory, could work and if nothing else, it would force Germany to declare full mobilization, with all the possible consequences, as the country still had to solve consequences of the world war at home and elsewhere: economic and military support of old (Bulgaria) and new allies (Finland). Return to the Gold standard had to be supplemented with government bonds printed for state colonial companies in Africa, Middle East and East Asia - and various business ventures in the East Europe. These were massively purchased by insurance companies and private banks for speculation and their prices were steadily rising - which wasn't a problem at the time. Integration of former Austrian lands wasn't flawless and Hungarians, so far, proved unable to write anything like balanced state budget.



Unfortunately for the Soviet Russia, this only explains why the demise of Soviet state had to be so quick and sudden. Mostly professional soldiers marched through Russia to Urals and Caucasus with grim professional determination, not bothering too much with anything else but basic logistics. Many of these soldiers returned to battlefields they marched through only few years ago, some marched through France, Italy, Britain, Russia and Middle East combined. The Sino-Japanese forces more than just 'supported' return of White Russian forces pouring into Siberia, retaking every single Transsiberian Railway station, while Reza Shah's Iranian columns armed with Mausers and Austrian armored cars invaded Turkmen and Azerbaijani Soviet Republics. Finally, after everything was happening in quick succession, Finnish Royal Army didn't need any additional persuasion, and started to move their borders a little far too.


German troops in Moscow, August 1926. The Red Army left the city entirely, after critical pieces of infrastructure were blown up and anything useful taken along with them to industrial city of Ivanovo.

After the capture of Moscow (famously done at Friday 13rd), the German cavalry formations clashed with the best forces the Red Army could muster to defense of Ivanovo, a center of Russian textile industry, conveniently positioned between two more major economic centers, Yaroslavl and Nizhny Novgorod: once the both cities will be captured, there will be nowhere to escape. With even more conveniently long Summer lasting well into September, the German forces had enough time and manpower to both engage the enemy and to continue with flanking manoeuvres.



The imminent capitulation of Brusilov's army meant that breaking point will be reached soon, and with Caucasus, Central Asia, Far East and Karelia in the state of dissaray, falling to foreign enemies and various rebels - not all of them were purged during 1920s - the remnants of Bolshevik government and military will shatter. In fact, unless those were strongholds of hardline revolutionaries, soldiers of Kaiserreich were invited by actually friendly faces or, very at least, silent acceptance of reality. Particularly people of Yaroslavl greeted Germans as liberators, since many of them remembered how Bolshevik forces used artillery bombardment against the city, day and night, 8 years ago - and because local authorities took some heavy-handed measures against invaders, like blown up tyre factory or destroyed food and coal supplies, while not allowing people to leave (the city was full of refugees from Moscow and wounded soldiers filled one remaining factory hall).


The Weltkrieg veterans filled the streets in Germany practically daily, in support of ther (often literal) brothers in arms fighting in Russia. This, among other things, seriously limited any kind of different political views being expressed in the public, just before general elections.

All was done for naught, because there was turning back this time. This time, the country which shouldn't exist by the will of German volk and will of God, one and the same - will cease to exist.

 
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HIMDogson

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Although far from being fully motorized, German divisions moved at much faster pace in 1920s, equipped with more trucks, cars and armored vehicles than all other armies in Europe, and possibly world, combined.
Well, already ahead of the Wehrmacht.
It's interesting that you're invading Russia so early- I expected it to be a major enemy in WWII.
 

stnylan

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Winter did not come soon enough, or so it seems.
 

Specialist290

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The Soviets seem to be folding quite quickly. I know the prediction is a bit cliche, but it sounds like this war may actually be over by Christmas -- or at least any major operations short of the mopping-up, anyway.

Which is just as well, since it sounds like some of the other powers in the German sphere of influence are trying to slip the leash while Germany is distracted...
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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Delighted to see this back, and to see the general course of the Kaiserreich.
Welcome back
Well, you came back with a bang :)
Great to see you back, I was missing your AARs!
Thanks guys. Stuff happened, then another stuff, then happened global stuff too, but now everything is in order. :3


Whilst the goal might be a united and stable Russia, one cannot help but ignore Byelorussian, Ukrainian and Finnish claims on Russian lands, or support smaller, more easily influenced states in the Caucasus
That is affirmative.

Germany marches to war once more. Let's hope this one doesn't prove as bloody or destructive as the last one...

Glad to see you back, @Vlad_Dracul1989 :)
This is not a war, this is police action :p

Well, already ahead of the Wehrmacht.
It's interesting that you're invading Russia so early- I expected it to be a major enemy in WWII.
Who says it won't be? Then again, this is different timeline, some stuff may happen earlier or later.

I'm interested to see what Japan will do about this.
They've got green light for stuff in rest of East Asia for supporting stuff in Russia.

Will Russia be balcanized?
Nah. Better to just keep Bear in an iron cage.

Winter did not come soon enough, or so it seems.
The Soviets seem to be folding quite quickly. I know the prediction is a bit cliche, but it sounds like this war may actually be over by Christmas -- or at least any major operations short of the mopping-up, anyway.

Which is just as well, since it sounds like some of the other powers in the German sphere of influence are trying to slip the leash while Germany is distracted...
That's why Germany is nice to former enemies now and giving stuff to new friends, so the quick success is guaranteed.
While, for example, Italians are raging for some reason.
 

Cromwell

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I've read this all the way through in only a few sessions, it's very impressive indeed. I hope you get to 1991! I might take at look in at some of your others too.