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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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And yet another Entente remnant is doomed. I'm sure, that Dakar is just the beginning, and that other natives will turn against their masters.
Dakar is indeed only just the beginning.

It was nice knowing you, de Gaulle. Doesn't look like the French Empire has anywhere left to go except straight into the dustbin.
Peace is on the way.

Ahahahahahaha! Let the Europeans continue to kill each other! I'm sure the Reich will be able to keep the reds bottled up if the need arises...right?
Yeah... About that.


---------------------------------------------

New post is in the process of being prepped, I'll try to get something out for May Day as well.
 

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The Heart of Darkness (Part 2)

„...concerning difficulties in life, I am of the persuasion that they can't be escaped from nor can we learn to do so. They come unexpectedly and unknowingly, and we pull more of them onto our shoulders with our incompetence. Even from my primer I remember the phrase - 'Suffering makes the burden lighter!' Isn't it so? If we can get used to our situation, if we can bend to the will of destiny, as it were happening of our own accord or at least feel as so, then we would be much easier, if not better off. Then we could always feel at home. Feeling at home however is something grand, calming and encouraging. My word of advice would be: try to see life as so, try and reach 'home' and you'll say I was right, of this I don't doubt. I have been through quite a bit. Worked on myself quite a lot, which may have not amounted to much, however there has been some success - which makes things easier.“

Excerpt from the letters of Captain Irv, recipient Médaille militaire, in Romania 1916


The revolters requests for help were soon met, as a nearby squadron of CSA destroyers docked in the ports of Dakar. The predominantly African American crew of the new Labourer-class destroyers was eager to join their African brethren in the Liberation. After conferring with his superiors in Norfolk the ships were abandoned, apart from skeleton crews necessary to keep them under guard and afloat, and the sailors reorganized into a regiment. The rapid aid from the Americans proved key in restoring order amongst the garrisons and preparing them for the approaching French regulars ordered to contain the uprising. In addition to the forces in the Southern territories the Grand QG wasted no time in cancelling the planned Sicilian landings in Tunis as well as extracting some divisions from Calabria, much to the chagrin of de Gaulle. Although he tried to argue the importance of taking the assault against the almost broken Italians to a close, he was overruled. The rest of the Grand QG considered maintaining control over the vital Trans-Saharan railway as well as crushing the revolt against the French Empire of greater importance than wasting more resources on the already battered Italians.



Nicknamed the Railway of Chains the Trans-Saharan Railway became highly prominent in propaganda
by the Internationale due to the high use of POWs and slaves in its construction

News of the Dakarese revolt was taken with much joy across the Syndicalist world. Many saw this as the beginning of the end for the bitter conflict that had raged across the Northern Atlantic for almost a decade now. London and the cities of the American Steel Belt soon saw their streets overwhelmed in spontaneous meetings and parades celebrating the beginning of the Liberation. The opportunity posed by the revolt also presented a chance the Anglo-American planners thought would never come again. Thus, it was determined that the current plans for the liberation of the Caribbean would be put on a hold and that the full might of the Workers Army would be aimed at pushing the reactionaries in Algiers into the Mediterranean. Meanwhile the combined Anglo-American would enter the Mediterranean and force the weakened Marine Nationale into port so that British Army could relieve the Italians and strengthen the control over Sicily. Control over the latter would be vital in forming a springboard to invade Tunisia.


CSA pilots observing the wreckage of a French plane and the corpse of its pilot
Although the Dakarese Commune had now secured American aid in both material and men, both of those would take time to reach them. Additionally, as the Second American Civil War had done a number on the American merchant navy the aid would be limited to a single corps of men a month. This first month would prove pivotal for the whole affair and it was also what the French Empire was gambling on. The would-be liberators were soon faced with assaults on all sides as militias still loyal to the Imperial Government in Algiers took arms against the Syndicalists, whilst regulars pushed onto Dakar from the East and North. The assault from the East was made mainly up of second rate semi-motorized divisions as well as the Foreign Legion, the later had been exiled into the South following the reforms of Napoleon VI. Spearheading the offensive from the North were the redeployed Troupes de Marine operating on the newly formed armoured train division.


Armoured trains would form the backbone of the French Empire's effort in the fight against Internationale
Outgunned by the advancing French Imperial Army many native garrisons on the Northern border just disappeared into the bush rather than face their foes in pitched battle. Although many deserted the few that remained waged guerrilla assaults and ambushes on French supply columns and less armed positions. These attacks however were too few in number and would do too little damage to seriously slow the assault along the entire frontline. These attacks however proved crucial in delaying the French assault along the Trans-Saharan Railway as they more often than not targeted crucial parts of the railway, delaying the whole assault and costing the attackers vital time. The slow rate of advance as well as increasing distrust towards the natives often resulted in Troupes de Marine commanders organizing revenge assaults on local villages.



Recruited exclusively from the Exiles and the former colonists,
the Troupes de Marine formed the elite core of the Imperial French Army

In the South however French commanders were met with dug in native forces similarly armed and trained as their own forces. This combined with the increasing rate of desertion, due to agitation amongst the rank and file troops by the rebels, caused the French assault to bog down and even give ground in some places. Although the French continued to inch forward towards Dakar, the rebels had managed to fulfil their objective of delaying the advance of the Imperial Army for a month allowing for the XIII Corps of the Workers Army to land and prepare for the counter-offensive.


Frontline in West Africa on the arrival date of XIII Corps, the 1st of March

 
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The Imperials manage to buy a little time. I still don't think that they're going to come out of this with an unequivocal win, but maybe there's a chance they can fight to a stalemate and a new "Peace with Honour." (Not a very high chance, mind you...)
 

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How strong is the XIII Corps?
About 3 divisions of 14 thousand strong, plus corps command and corps assets of about 3 thousand. Totalling up to around 45 thousand.

The Imperials manage to buy a little time. I still don't think that they're going to come out of this with an unequivocal win, but maybe there's a chance they can fight to a stalemate and a new "Peace with Honour." (Not a very high chance, mind you...)
The French are in for a fight of their lives. A Peace with Honour however is not how this will end.

As promised, the May Day post, the actual story will continue soon.

---------------------------------------------

Shanghai, 1949

The hustle and bustle of Little Tokyo had begun to fade as evening turned into night. Although quieter the streets were still filled with both white- and blue-collar workers returning home from a round of drinks with their colleagues at the local watering holes. Suddenly the quiet hum of the streets was pierced by a chic woman running down the street on high heels. Behind her followed a loudly dressed man yelling at her.
"Oi! Oi, stop Setsuko."
As she turned around to look back her foot slipped. Bracing against the hard pavement, she suddenly found herself in his arms
"Let go of me", she shouted pounding at his chest with her hands.
"Not until you tell me, what's going on." he calmly replied.
Setsuko looked at him with a sad look on her face and turned away - "Can we at least go and sit down somewhere, Kiyoshi?"
"Sure," Kiyoshi said pulling her up into his arms and walking to a nearby bench.
"Now, could you please tell me what's going on."
"... I got a letter from home." Setsuko replied.
"Hmmm... From your mother?"
"Yes, she said she's been in an accident and needs me to come home as soon as possible."
"Is there more?"
"No... but... I don't want to leave you Kiyoshi," the girl replied with tears in her eyes.
"Don't cry my sweet, look up at the sky. The moon is crimson, just like on the night we met."
"Huh, you're right. This street... It's Sumaro isn't it."
"That's right, the street we met on. Do you remember when we met, the lilacs were just in bloom?"
"I do, I do."
"And now that we're parting, they're falling."
"I don't want to leave you behind, Kiyoshi."
"Go and take care of your dear mother Setsuko. I'm going to cut my ties with the family tomorrow, I don't want you around for that."
"But..."
"No buts, there's no telling what they might do to you. I got us a place of our own and work in Hokkaido, when I get there, I'll send you a letter."
"Oh, Kiyoshi." - Setsuko said falling into his arms.
"Setsuko" - he said, hugging her back.
"Now, let's not linger. The boat back to the Home Islands will be leaving soon. Let me at least send you to the pier," Kiyoshi calmly said.

[...]

Kiyoshi woke up from his stupor and stumbled out of the bar he had been in. The cool morning breeze of the city blew some life into him. Passing the street corner, he stopped to look at the paperboy.

"Extra, extra. Read all about it, bomb sinks Taiyou-maru. Perpetrators holed up in the International Settlement."
 
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Nothing like a little direct action on a May Day.

The situation in the Legation Cities has always been delicate, one hair's breadth away from some power or another simply deciding to step in and nationalize the whole thing (and most serious efforts to do so being stopped only by all the different members of the Legation Council ganging up on the one who tries it). I think someone has just given Japan the excuse it needs to do exactly that...
 

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Nothing like a little direct action on a May Day.

The situation in the Legation Cities has always been delicate, one hair's breadth away from some power or another simply deciding to step in and nationalize the whole thing (and most serious efforts to do so being stopped only by all the different members of the Legation Council ganging up on the one who tries it). I think someone has just given Japan the excuse it needs to do exactly that...
I'll just hint that this goes much further than just the Legations.

-----------------------------------------------------------


The Heart of Darkness (Part 3)


The arrival of the first American forces in Dakar did little to change the balance of the war itself, however it marked the start for a change of pace in the conflict. French troops, who had expected little more than a repeat of the crushing of the Tuareg insurrection just a scant decade earlier, now found themselves facing well trained regulars on all fronts. The going was especially hard for the Armoured Train Division and the Troupes de Marine, who found themselves facing the bulk of XIII Corps. The tried and true methods of railway assault proved useless against such numbers and although it remained used for probing assaults the French began to dig in order to tie up the American forces. The situation in the South however remained much more fluid, although the drive to Dakar had failed to fulfil its last objectives, it had secured the supply routes for much needed reinforcements from North Africa. The pitched battles had also begun to do a number on the regular troops of the Dakar Commune, which saw increasing levels of militiafication within its already highly militia dependent forces. This allowed the French forces to retake the initiative and to push into Dakarite lines. The assault, lead by the Foreign Legion, was only stopped when 35th Infantry Division was redeployed from the northern front to stabilize the line and avoid a collapse.


Revolutionary militia that had started the Liberation were becoming increasingly out of place on the battlefield

Whilst the ebb and flow of battle continued in Western Africa the situation in the Mediterranean had changed completely by the arrival of the British and American navies. In a few short engagements they forced large chunks of the Marine Nationale into port and reopened the supply lines into Italy. Operation Marseille itself had also started to come undone when the French armoured and motorized divisions met dug-in Italian forces in Benevento as well as Telese and Montesarchio. Indeed it had started to seem that most of the Italian Revolutionary Army had abandoned the Green Line to focus their entire effort on the defence of Naples. Attempts to put the city under siege were further met with failure as the arrival of British reinforcements seemingly coincided with orders from Grand QG mandating the withdrawal of infantry and armoured divisions to defend North Africa and aid in the fight in the Southern territories. This change in the balance of power however made the Naples salient untenable. Rather than risk encirclement, the French commanders decided to pull back to their own defensive positions. As spring turned into summer the situation in Italy looked to have normalized, once again returning into its well-trod path of trench warfare.


French commanders in the siege of Naples

With the arrival of summer the lines had begun hardening in Africa as well, where the arrival of 2 additional corps of infantry from the Workers Army did little to upset the balance against the ever increasing depth of the defensive lines of the Imperial French forces. The latter had increasingly turned to tried and true methods against a superior foe as more and more American troops kept flooding into the region. Unable to turn the tide of battle militarily both sides turned to propaganda in an attempt to whittle down enemy morale. Although noted by French commanders at the time to be less effective than actual munitions and more coarse than tissue paper, at least 10 cases of desertion and a few attempts at mutiny were reported to be caused as a result of it.
The increasing rate of militiafication amongst the Dakarite Liberation Army had also become an issue for the Americans, who found that their allies were becoming more of a burden as the conflict went on as more of their was spent on internal squabbling rather than fighting the Imperials. In early June the lines were reshuffled and most local units sent back to Dakar, where they were subsequently disarmed by the newly arrived VI Corps and subjected to retraining and reorganization. The local militias were abolished with men that were deemed unfit for service sent back to their homes. The remaining troops were then reorganized under an American control structure and subjugated to VI Corps as the 201st "Afrique" Infantry Division, returning to the front lines in early September after their training ended.


Although armed largely with British equipment the 201st Division would become a
guideline for American attempts at professionalization of the Dakarite Liberation Army

September also marked the first real high point for the campaign as the American troops finally reached parity with their close to 300 thousand French "besiegers". Determined to break the stalemate offensive plans were drawn up for Operation Quiet Thunder, which would commence at the start of the dry season in November. The plan was a two staged action in which Quiet would see multiple simultaneous infiltrative actions across the lines of the Imperialists after which Thunder would commence with strikes on weakly defended points in the French lines to allow for troops to funnel through and envelope nearby French formations.
Preparations for the operation however soon hit a few setbacks, which delayed the start of the operation by a two weeks. Inadvertently this had the added benefit of allowing the arrival of the XVI Corps, the 9th corps of infantry, which freed more men for the operation. Using the night as their cover American battalions would begin their infiltration across the Southern Sahara to the French rear. Despite the loss of some units the Americans soon had entire brigades in the designated rendezvous point ready to commence with Thunder. Finally on the night of the 30th of November the American assault began with a three massive and nigh simultaneous air strikes as well as bombardment by artillery. The defending French forces often barely had enough time to recover from this initial mass barrage, when they where washed over by a wave of American infantry and armoured vehicles.


Captured French soldiers following Operation Quiet Thunder

Although some French forces continued to resist when surrounded many native troops chose to surrender to the Americans rather than continue to fight for what they deemed a lost cause. In order to combat this families of known deserters would be severely punished in order to make an example out of them. These acts of collective punishment did little to endear the Imperial government to the local populace, which soon saw rebellious militia forces take control over territories in the French rear and support the advancing Workers Army in other means. Although battered the French continued to offer stiff resistance to the advancing American forces and slow them down by any means necessary. Despite their gargantuan efforts however the genie was now out of the bottle and the Americans advancing on all fronts. It wasn't until the arrival of the rainy season in April that the American advance paused and even it was only after the capture of the vital railway hub of Timbuktu, which sliced the Trans-Saharan Railway in half and trapped 2 French field armies in the South.


Nearby Benikongo offered refuge to many retreating French troops that found
themselves cut off by the advance of the American Workers Army

 
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The slow collapse of Imperial France continues. The diehards may fight on to the bitter end, but they're long past the point where they could have turned the tide of this struggle.

That said, I do have to wonder just what effect the resurgence of the Internationale's fortunes -- and, in particular, a new major presence in Africa right next door to their colonies -- is going to have in Berlin.
 

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The slow collapse of Imperial France continues. The diehards may fight on to the bitter end, but they're long past the point where they could have turned the tide of this struggle.

That said, I do have to wonder just what effect the resurgence of the Internationale's fortunes -- and, in particular, a new major presence in Africa right next door to their colonies -- is going to have in Berlin.
A degree of panic perhaps, but they do face a somewhat weaker foe this time to be perfectly honest. The threat of Syndicalism spreading to the Kaiserbunded Mittelafrika is however rather plausible, but Germany currently has bigger fish to fry as a result of the economic crisis.

Will British send any land units to Africa?
Yes.

New update coming soon-ish... Potentially today.
 

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The Heart of Darkness (Part 4)
There are many theories as to where the term Pied-Noir, Black Feet, arose. Some attribute it to the tone of the feet of the workers shovelling coal on steamers in the Mediterranean. Others attributed it to the footwear of French soldiers in North Africa, compared to their barefoot native counterparts. However following the collapse of the Third French Empire the term began to signify the French fleeing from North Africa back to the Metropole in fear of repressions. Although the Hannoverite Kingdom of France was dominated by the "hated Bosche" many saw it as the better alternative to the revolutionary chaos of the Anglo-American Internationale.

The end of the war in North Africa and the resulting chaos ensuing from it provided cover for a mass exodus of more than 1.5 million of the estimated 2 million Pied-Noir. The return of the Pied-Noir came often through Bourbonist Spain with whom the Third French Empire had shared warm relations and was cautiously approved by the economically struggling Kaiserreich. Although many still bore old grudges against the Germans the following decades would see the Pied-Noir be characterized by virulent anti-Syndicalism, which they had begun to see as the greater threat and would often see them clash with die-hard Continental Syndicalists.


- Excerpt from For God, King and Country: The Story of Exiles from 1921 to 1951

Although the wet season had largely put a halt to operations in West Africa, the pause meant anything but rest for the battered forces of the French Empire. Bombing raids from the island fortress of Sicily became an almost daily occurrence as the forces of the Internationale attempted to bomb the French Empire into submission by any means necessary. The damage of these bombing runs and the cost of countering them soon began to ripple across the French forces, which found themselves more and more strapped for resources. Nowhere else was this harder felt than in Italy. After the Internationale established control over most of the shipping lanes in the Mediterranean the French Expeditionary Force in Italy found itself already short on supply. However as Anglo-American efforts to target French shipping intensified these problems only kept getting worse and worse. Soon French forces also found themselves outgunned, as more and more British troops kept pouring into the peninsula, what however didn't arrive was an offensive. Having learned from their colleagues in West Africa, the French commanders on the ground had expected an all out assault to pierce through the lines and had prepared accordingly. However autumn and winter passed in Italy without even the slightest hint of such a plan. As spring rolled around the supply issues had really begun to show for the French, which marked the beginning of the British offensive.



The decade of war had turned the Western Mediterranean into a dangerous place for shipping,
as such many heralded the arrival of the Anglo-American navies due to the restoration of law and order

British military planners had pinpointed a few key targets in their Italian offensive. The most important of which was the port city of Taranto. The city had become the cornerstone for French logistics in Italy and taking control of it would be vital for eliminating the French forces in Italy as well as denying them the only viable route to escape. As such a plan was layed out, which would see a landing force lead by the Republican Marines take control of the city, whilst an assault would try and overwhelm the French forces at the Green Line. It was hoped that this pincer movement would catch the French unaware and unable to reinforce. The operation was planned to commence right after the American offensives ground to a halt.


Although a lot of the Tommies sent to Italy were serving in penal units their morale was unquestionably high
The British assault began on the 3rd of April. The French forces on the Green Line were met with a mass of artillery fire and strafed by bombers, which were soon followed in tow by British infantry and tanks. The British found themselves facing stiff resistance as French armoured reserves were thrown into the fight and did their utmost to beat back the combined British and Italian assault. However due to the lack of troops as well as the increasingly limited number of supplies from munitions to POL the French were finding themselves being beaten back. The same was true in Taranto, where the Republican Marines had caught the French garrison unawares and had deftly taken over the city. A British infantry corps followed soon after and helped reinforce the surrounding area. With the noose tightening around the neck of him and his men Field Marshall de Gaulle, "exiled" to the Italian front after increasing disagreements with Grand QG following the American offensive, chose to offer the surrender of him and his men to Field Marshall Vereker, which the British graciously accepted.


The nearly a decade of French rule had done a number on Southern Italy, where the mafia had massively
grown in power further aggravating the problems the Socialist Republic of Italy faced during Reconstruction

The Imperial Government was outraged at de Gaulle's surrender and quickly branded him a traitor, stripping him of his rank and his property, but could do little else as the men were loyal to de Gaulle. The loss of Italy meant that North Africa, the beating heart of the Empire, was now in the direct line of fire. Attempts to break out of their pocket by the two French field armies trapped in the Southern territories so as to0 move up across the Trans-Saharan Railway were also met with failure. The writing on the wall was becoming clearer and clearer for many native troops, who begun deserting en masse. Despite the rapid weakening of the French forces spring and the first half of summer passed uneventfully.


American forces during downtime in Northern Africa
As June drew to a close however the American offensive continued in the South, crushing the two remnants of the two field armies and slowly edging up the Trans-Saharan Railway. Desperate to slow the Americans down however possible the French took to blowing up the railway as they retreated. Although these actions did buy the French extra time the Americans kept pushing onwards and by September they had reached the town of Touggourt. With the entire railway now under their control the Americans began funnelling troops up to North Africa and with Italy fully secured the stage was set for Operation Torch. The operation would consist of two axes of assault – the first would head directly towards the Imperial capital of Algiers whilst the second would consist of 3 separate naval landings along the coast of Tunisia and Algeria to secure the towns of Tunis, Bona and Medenine. Once those plans were complete the second axis was to also head towards Algiers.


Republican Marine Commandos storming the beaches of Tunisia
Under intense pressure by the advancing American forces the French withdrew most of their garrisons from Tunisia, leaving the region almost defenceless and an easy target for landings by British forces. With more and more Internationale troops pouring into North Africa the French found it harder and harder to offer any sort of meaningful resistance. The sheer mass of the advancing forces just washed over the ever fewer defenders like a wave. As the Anglo-American forces drew closer to Algiers, Emperor Napoleon VI chose to evacuate himself and his family. Under the cover of darkness the Emperor commandeered a transport plane and forced its pilot to fly to Spain.


After evading Syndicalist assassins in Spain the former Emperor would live out the rest of his life in Switzerland
The Bonapartes escaped unharmed, but rumours of their flight soon spread across the world. Encouraged by this Arab Syndicalists soon attempted to stage a coup in Algiers and Oran. Although the coup itself failed to achieve its primary objectives it managed to spread chaos behind the French lines allowing the forces of the Internationale to surround the city and capture elements of the French government as it tried to escape. Seeing that the war was lost Foreign Minister Paul Baudouin signed the document notifying surrender on behalf of the French government on the 7th of November 1950. For the Internationale the war against the Entente had almost ended now that the Far Eastern powder keg had finally blown.


Following the collapse of the French Empire 1950 was declared by the Internationale to be the
Year of Africa, even though they continued to occupy the territory ostensibly under the goal of fostering Syndicalism
 
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I liked that exerpt form fictional book, it was realistic.

Well, that was predictable. I was only surprised that De Gaulle surrendered instead of making a heroic final stand.

The final entente remnant - Australasia - and the Reds will sign a peace treaty/ceasefire now?
 
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And with that the would-be French Empire is no more. I can't imagine life is going to be very pleasant for those pieds-noir who haven't managed to flee.
At least for those important enough to be notable, but unimportant enough to not manage to flee. Anyway the Internationale might be glad to get rid of them in the end.

I liked that exerpt form fictional book, it was realistic.

Well, that was predictable. I was only surprised that De Gaulle surrendered instead of making a heroic final stand.

The final entente remnant - Australasia - and the Reds will sign a peace treaty/ceasefire now?
Thanks. :)

Well, de Gaulle did get thrown into the thick of it with increasingly rapidly decreasing resources. Also, it's not like history would remember him kindly regardless, who won as such he and his men might end up being better off.

About that...

New post in the pipeline.
 

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Southern Cross (Part 1)

"You're late," Fritz said in a cold demeanour.
"Sorry, the meeting ran long, Fritz Hansovich. That damn business in the Balkans seems to have finally come to an end," Vanya said apologetically.
"No matter, Catherinenthal is beautiful enough that I can forgive a fifteen minute wait. So what do you have for me?"
Vanya looked around as if to check that nobody was listening on them. However he saw nothing out of the ordinary – servants watching over children as they ran amock and teasing swans and a few couples of young nobles apparently attempting to keep alive old traditions of courting. Confident that nobody was listening he continued.
"My sources in the Far East claim that the recent rumblings in the region seem to be serious, the Japanese appear to be on the move."
"Do you have any idea to where?" Fritz asked.
"Not exactly, however based on what they've told me I doubt it is your precious Fatherland, Fritz Hansovich. I doubt they'd attack the Philippines or the Indochinese either though. So that leaves the Australasians. Apparently the incident in Shanghai was the last straw."
"Verdammt... Well better them than the Internationale in the Pacific."
"There's more. Our government seems to be displeased with the continuing chaos in the Middle-East and are considering intervention."
"The same one they considered before shelving, when the Bolshies pulled a fast one on you?"
"Quite possibly, however recently the Shah has been looking like a better than the Arabs to the Stavka."
"Fascinating, anything more?"
"Nothing more, but I would like to know something from you. We appear to have lost track of the Yudenichi. Do you have any recent intel?"
"Last I heard they went underground. Their recent attempts to curry favour amongst the Balts seems to have blown up in their face. The native 'organizations' were less than pleased with them trying to muscle in on their turf. I do actually have some useful intel for you Vanya."
"Oh?"
"Indeed, the Finns pulled out a craft near Viipuri with an interesting crew. It appears your guess was correct."

"Interesting, did they manage to get something out of them?"
[...]


The end of the 40s marked a low point for the already cold relations between the Japanese Empire and the Australasian Confederation. Although the Japanese had tried to foster warm relations with the British, even after the revolution of 1925, the tensions between the Japanese and the British in the South-Pacific had continually grown as the years went on. Australasian meddling within what the Japanese perceived as their sphere of influence and their rather brazen support for the revolt in Indonesia, as well as the continued guerilla fighting, was just one of the latest in a growing list of grievances that the Japanese government held towards their erstwhile allies. The White Australasia Policy, which had formed the crux of the issue the Japanese Empire had with Australasia, as it saw the policy as a stain on its prestige, had continued to plague the relations between the two. The Empire was less than pleased when the policy was first strengthened under the late John Curtin, GBE, and then further reinforced when Herbert Evatt emerged victorious from the leadership race in February of 1949.



The death of Curtin left big boots to fill for his former Foreign Minister and an even bigger crisis.
Seemingly oblivious to the threat presented by the Internationale, Evatt seemingly embarked
on a crusade against the Yellow Peril presented by the continued rise of the Empire of Japan.

The sinking of the Taiyou-maru in the same year had only exacerbated the growing tensions between the two nations. The ship had left Shanghai en route to Nagasaki with 1152 people on board, at 9AM, when the ship was almost 400km out to sea, several explosions ripped through the hull of the ship sinking it. The IJN destroyer squadron that was sent to help with the rescue reported that they found no survivors. The incident shocked Japan with the population demanding to know who was responsible. Various Chinese and Korean nationalists as well as a Japanese Syndicalists, resurgent following the success of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina, were amongst the first suspects. However all these groups were soon ruled out as it came to light that two former crewmembers of the Taiyou-maru had failed to report for duty when the ship left port. Suspicions were further aroused when it came to light that both were of Indonesian Dutch heritage and after further investigation reported that both were Australasian nationals. Reports soon flooded in about the suspicious behaviour of the two European sailors in the harbour on the days prior as well as eyewitness claims that the men had been spotted entering the former British concession. Japanese requests for aid in finding them for questioning were met by stonewalling by the Australasians, British representatives on the council. The latter feigned ignorance about the existence of these two men and reminded the Japanese that even, if the men did exist and were responsible they would have to be tried in British courts due to extraterritoriality.


Asama-maru, sister ship of the Taiyou-maru in 1931

The Japanese representatives were furious and felt they should do something, however they could do little to act without potentially drawing the ire of the Germans. Despite the perceived weakness of the Germans the Imperial Government could do little but wait for the problem to resolve itself or for the men to pop up outside the former British concession. In the meanwhile public opinion within the Empire grew more and more negative towards the Australasian Confederation. The situation had seemingly been the last straw for the Japanese public, which proceeded to turn the victims of the sinking into martyrs, with some nationalist groups even lobbying the government to have them enshrined at Yasukuni shrine. It wasn't long after that the increased focus on Shanghai prompted a response from the Yakuza and the native Chinese syndicates, all of whom were displeased at the level of attention "their" city had attained. The clans banded together and lead an assault into the former British concession, killing the two men thought responsible. The Australasian representatives were furious at what they perceived as further proof of a Japanese deal with the criminal underground, however Japanese representatives denied all responsibility for the attack. In response to this the Australasian government had the two men declared martyrs by the Imperial Anglican Church.


Huang Jinrong, Zhang Xiaolin and Du Yuesheng the Three Tycoons of Shanghai, although getting on in years
the three men remained at the top of the criminal underworld in the Legations and subsequently all of China

Despite the Japanese government trying to push the issue under the rug, the population of the Empire still remained unappeased. Their anger was soon redirected onto the many other issues that plagued the Japanese-Australasian relations. This combined with what many diplomats around the world deemed the inevitable collapse of the Entente posed an issue as well as an opportunity for the Japanese government. There was no doubt in the Ashida cabinet that the Internationale would pursue the war to a victorious end, which would mean the establishment of a puppet of the Internationale in the South Pacific. Many in the cabinet feared that this would push the Indochinese Federation into the arms of the Internationale, as well as further destabilize China. War with Australasia posed a solution to many, if not all the problems the Empire faced without nearly any consequences of a chaotic collapse of the Entente. Although doves in the cabinet objected to war and continued arguing for a brokered peace treaty that would isolate Australasia, after the collapse of the French, they were outweighed as the chance to rid the Pacific of another player was deemed too important. The cabinet thus approached the Emperor with their plan on the 5th of September 1949. Although the Emperor expressed reservations about the invasion given the potential threat to the Windsors, he did give the plan his approval once the government assured that everything would be done to assure their safety.


Crown Prince Hirohito and Edward, Prince of Wales in 1921
The British Revolution had brought about a massive improvement of relations between the two houses,
which made gaining Imperial approval for the "Australasian intervention" a difficult sell

Up until now, most Japanese war plans against Australasia had been planned as interventions into a possible civil war and dated back to the late 20s and early 30s. After approval was gained from the Emperor the Army and Navy General Staffs set to work revising the plans to fit with the new realities of warfare. Originally the assault had been planned to begin in the spring of 1951, however given the rapid collapse of the Third French Empire at the hands of the Internationale and the increasing presence of CSA squadrons in the South Pacific those dates were deemed to be too far in the future. Given this the plan was first moved up to the fall of 1950, however as early reconnaissance reported weak to non-existent Australasian garrisons on their far-flung possessions in the Pacific the plans were once again changed, with the staff officers finally settling on the 24th of June 1950.


Special Navy Landing Forces officers during wargames in in the Lesser Sunda Isles, december of 1949
 
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Australian government will pay the price for angering the Empire! Let's hope, that Japanese will be faster than the reds.
 

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Australian government will pay the price for angering the Empire! Let's hope, that Japanese will be faster than the reds.
A quick advance is the Japanese speciality.

Australasia has sealed its own fate here; much as with Imperial France I don't really see any way out for them short of giving in to Japanese demands (which they'll never do on their own initiative).
The fate of the Entente was indeed sealed for the most part following the intervention of the Americans. Mind you, I didn't really rig the game against the Entente.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Southern Cross (Part 2)


Thus the earnest hope of the Japanese Government to adjust Japanese-Australasian relations and to preserve and promote the peace of the South-Pacific through cooperation with the Australasian Government has finally been lost.

The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the Australasian Government that in view of the attitude of the Australasian Government it cannot but consider that it is impossible to continue relations with the current Government and hear-by announces a severing of all diplomatic ties. Furthermore the Japanese Government regrets to have to notify the Australasian Government of the state of war that now exists between the two countries.


12-Part Message, delivered to the Australasian Government on the eve of war at 11PM on the 23rd of June 1950 by Japanese ambassador to the Australasian Confederation Nishi Haruhiko.

The Japanese invasion of Australasia or, as it would become known in the Japanese Empire, the Australasian intervention was marred by controversy right from the start of the conflict. Three months prior to the declaration of war the Japanese approached Australasia claiming to wish to solve the issues between the two states in a diplomatic manner, hailed as a victory for the doves in the Ashida cabinet and by other governments with vested interests in the Pacific. Following the Japanese declaration of war, however the Australians revealed that the negotiations had been nothing but a Japanese deception to lull Australasia into a false sense of security. Prime Minister Evatt also lambasted the Japanese raid on Darwin as treacherous and sneaky, claiming that the Australasian government hadn't received a proper declaration of war. Despite these efforts the Australasian diplomatic campaign was doomed to fail as neither the Russians nor Germans had any interest in interceding on their behalf. Japanese landing craft containing the II and III Marine Corps storming the beaches around the city following, as soon as the first assault returned to their carriers to refuel and rearm. Darwin was defended by little more than a division of the Royal Australasian Marines and the local territorial defence brigade. The city and its surroundings fell on the 28th of June after brief resistance establishing a Japanese beachhead on Australia proper. The collapse of the Australasian defence is largely attributed to the death of General John E. Duigan as well as much of his staff during the raid at the start of the conflict, according to eyewitness reports the building they were in was hit with bombs by a squadron of Yokosuka D4Y dive bombers.



The rapid establishment of the beachhead at Darwin was vital for the rapid prosecution of the war against Australasia
In order to maintain secrecy the troops to be used for the invasion had all been deployed to the Lesser Sunda islands and New Guinea for massive inter-service exercises. Following the bombing of Darwin, many troops in New Guinea found themselves surprised that their training exercise had transitioned into an invasion of Australasian territories. Advance through the jungle however proved rough on both Japanese troops and equipment, as they found themselves harassed by the 2nd New Zealand division as well as Commandos from the moment they crossed the border. Although the former was forced to surrender after it was caught trying to cross the Fly River delta by elements of 2nd Army, the latter continued to harass Japanese forces long until after the war with many becoming zanryū gōshūhei or Australasian holdouts. The surrender of the 2nd New Zealand division opened the road to Port Moresby, which fell on the 18th of July. The rapid capture of New Guinea combined with a string of Australasian naval defeats in the Cape of Carpenteria and in the Solomon Sea convinced the Japanese that the Royal Australasian Navy could do very little to endanger Japanese operations. Due to this the plan to have I Marine Corps establish control over the Australasian Pacific possessions was given a green light. The advance was rapid with Japanese control over Fiji being declared on the 20th of August. The islands offered no resistance as the small garrison had been evacuated at the outbreak of war with the intention of reinforcing New Zealand.


IJA troops had little precious experience or training for fighting in jungles, which lead to a rather high casualty rate.
Fighting in New Guinea did however prove vital in changing strategic thinking towards extreme terrain.

I Marine Corps continued their quick advance up with landings in Auckland on the 30th of August. Unable to halt the Japanese advance the 4th New Zealand division withdrew to South Island and dug in allowing for the Japanese to establish control over the rest of North Island by the 25th of September. Eager to avoid a protracted fight over New Zealand a plan was devised, which would see 2 divisions land at the town of Dunedin in order to flank the defenders from the south. The Dunedin raid quickly turned into a disaster as the light cruiser Sydney and the 10th destroyer squadron sallied from Christchurch and intercepted the lightly defended convoys. The resulting battle saw the sinking of the troop transports carrying the 9th Marine Division with the 10th only being saved by the speedy intervention of the rest of 1st Fleet. Despite this set back the Japanese assault continued and control over Dunedin was quickly established. Following an assault on both sides supported by bombardment from the battleships Suruga, Kii, Owari, Tosa and Mutsu as well as air support from the light carrier Ryujo the 4th New Zealand division surrendered. Japanese control over island was fully established by the 13th of October, however the loss of its corps level engineer assets as well as a third of its strength caused the exclusion of I Marine Corps from further operations.


Although the battles against the Australasians convinced even the most diehard of battleship proponents in the
IJN that the future lied in naval aviation. Nobody could however deny the use of battleships in landing operations

Unlike the nigh defenceless island possessions Japanese advance into Australia proper proved a bloody fight. The capture of Darwin had opened 3 offensive directions and following the landings by the 19th 'Ken' Army and the South-East Army the Japanese offensive began in force with the two Marine Corps and the 19th Army attacking east and west, respectively, along the coastal highway and the South-East Army heading south along the Stuart highway. Wishing to protect the economic heart of the Australasian Confederation the Royal Australasian Army had been largely withdrawn to defend the eastern states, as a result of which Japanese forces advancing through the Outback saw little resistance bar skirmishes. The fall of Port Moresby allowed for the redeployment of most of 2nd 'Ikioi' Army to support to advance along the eastern seaboard, which was stalling due to the so-called Townsville line. The line of fortifications had proven a difficult nut to crack for the marines despite aerial supremacy and frequent small landings in the enemy rear. Despite the arrival of these reinforcements the Australasian defenders managed to delay the Japanese assault until the 20th of September.


Royal Australasian Army soldiers digging slit trenches around Townsville, spring 1950
Out in the Outback many troops felt that it was as if nature itself had sided with the Australasians against their advance. Additionally the forces found themselves under near constant attack by the Outbackers, an irregular force made up of locals and Commandos that conducted guerilla assaults on Japanese troops. all this caused the advance to lag greatly from their targets – with the South-East Army taking Port Augusta on the 16th of October and the 19th Army taking Perth on the 24th of October. The capture of Perth resulted in an unexpected upper hand for the Japanese, as the surrender of the garrison was conducted by Prince-Regent Albert. After the Japanese commander, General Nishio Toshizō, insured that they would not meet harm the Prince-Regent also revealed that the rest of the Windsors were also in the city and that they had been sent out of the way by Prime-Minister Evatt. The Japanese blockade however had made escape by sea impossible and thus they had ended up trapped in Perth. After consulting with his superiors General Nishio had the Windsors interned at the Melbourne Hotel until the end of the war, after which they would be sent to Tokyo to meet with the Emperor.


The Melbourne hotel also hosted the temporary headquarters of the
19th Army in Perth until a more permanent solution was completed in 1953.

The collapse of the Townsville line sent the Australasians on the run with Japanese hot on their tails. Brisbane fell on the 13th of October and Newcastle followed soon after on the 28th of October. Having reached Sydney the Australasians finally managed to reform a defensive line, which would hold on until the end of the war. As the marines and the 19th Army dug in around Sydney the South-East Army continued their advance intent on stomping down on the final centres of Australasian resistance. Adelaide fell on the 8th, Melbourne on the 15th and Canberra on the 22nd of November. The quick and successive capture of the rest of major cities of Australasia was greatly aided by the French surrender on the 7th of November, which was amplified by Japanese propaganda. Following the fall of Canberra the commander of the Japanese forces in Australia, Prince Kannin Haruhito, demanded the surrender of Sydney by the 23rd of November or the forces within the city would face certain destruction. This ultimatum however fell on deaf ears, despite pleas by his commanders, as Prime Minister Evatt refused to bend to Japanese demands. Following approval by the Cabinet the Japanese strike was prepared for launch as the clock struck midnight. Sydney harbour and the Royal Australasian Navy ships anchored there disappeared with what those lucky enough to survive being near the blast described in a brilliant flash followed by a loud booming sound.


Although some in the cabinet had argued that the atomic weapons be used in conjuction with the surprise attack
to completely sap the morale of the Australasians, most doubted whether it would not result in the opposite reaction
 
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