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Good news: a new session has been played and a new chapter written. I'll publish later today. But first, feedback for comments not already responded to:
Great episode, and using the scheme from Quick and Dirty is a good addition. Every passing day you're becoming a more pro authAAR :)
Thank you. I've refined it further there and then more when importing it back here again.
Vur ha! Flamboyant commanders and heavy armor is a recipe for success!
The two must go together! ;)
Maybe they lost a bunch of IC around Leningrad?
Could be it - of maybe they disliked us for knocking back a deal where we would give them supplies (whci we're already short of) for free under Comintern trade arrangements, which happened not long before the reduction. But I think your explanation is plausible. :confused:
ARE THEY THE SAME PERSON???? :D
Hmm? Possibly ... or not! o_O
;)
Those armors will be captured in the marshes
You will soon see if they are trapped or managed to escape.
We need like 5-10 more air wings yesterday :/
True - but we'll have to do with what we have :eek:
This time they'll have a harder time striking back. I think as soon as freeze/mud clears (and maybe Mustangs come online) we can go for something. It seems if we can pull ourselves together under the enemy's focus while our allies still have the momentum, we can join that momentum to break the back of axis.
You could well be right there - it was already starting to look that way as February ended. March will show us more.

---xxx---

I feel it would be a discussion between the two agents musing on how after the war a lot of these intelligence higher ups will be purged by the much more competent and ruthless secret police/counter intelligence organisations they are currently empowering.

Kaya is feeding SITH way too much. Now they're running every interrogation inside Turkey as well as in the other unions and abroad. This allows them to build their service up within the homeland, subvert anyone competent within his own service and kill anyone who is too stupid/too loyal to kaya (basically the same thing).

This is how the Soviets found themselves accidentally/on purpose a super powerful and terrifying intelligence wing post war.
It is a bit nasty, isn't it?Glad I don't have to live in any of these alternate countries! o_O

All of the fleet units that Paradox (did/did not) include could fill volumes...

Glad to see that MAJ Loggins is focusing himself on actually getting the Marines into contact and not dicking around with OSS crap, :)D) though I'm sure they'll drag him into it at times.
I'm glad I'm not a super naval history nut - or I'd be having conniptions. :rolleyes: Loggins has his eyes fixed on the main game. Durden ... who knows what's going on there? ;)

---xxx---

Reading through this really helps one understand why even intelligence agencies on the "same side" are so reluctant to share vital information. From the civilian perspective it's quite easy to say "why didn't Agency A share information with Agency B to prevent Horrible Thing C?", but the "view on the ground" so to speak is one where you can never be certain who to trust...certainly a lot of potential for drama and intrigue here!

Also makes one worry if perhaps Turkish intelligence is getting too close to the GRU lately...certainly the ties between Turkey and the GRU seem ironically closer than the ties between the various Turkish agencies! :eek:
This is very true. It's usually all about compartments and need to know. Sharing is vital - but also a risk. Most especially in the counter-espionage game.
Boooooooooooooooo!!! :rolleyes:
:D
These maps are quite encouraging at a glance, Operation Mars this has not been! Here's hoping for a TTL version of the Baltic Balcony sooner than later!
This is the hope. Neither side had the great swings and losses of the OTL campaign, which is now nearing the end of its third year (so early 1944 equivalent). Hoping we're seeing the beginning of real German manpower problems. We know that won't be affecting the Soviets - or Japan, which balances things in this ATL compared to the actual WW2.
One ought to substitute Turkey for Kursk here. Our tough and brilliant defensive stand in the Balkans is enabling these broad-front advances everywhere else. Vur ha! :mad:
Huzzah! :cool:
One begins to think of such crazy ideas as devoting IC to the construction of a much less MP-intensive new naval vessel or two, perhaps licensed from the good ol' US of A? A CV or two would be essential support for any hopeful invasions of Italy or beyond, not to mention solidifying Turkish claim to the Mediterranean in the post-war settling.
Noted the licence restrictions before. But we're definitely looking at low-MP investments. One reason the MIL and CAV bdes have been getting converted to MOT.
The Paradox OOBs are riddled with ancient ships that shouldn't be there. The US I think has an entire BB in their OOB that really shouldn't be there, for another example.
:rolleyes:

---xxx---

Those new maps clearly show now where my in-game-character was the last two months or so: Travelling around with the ex-soviet Romanian troops to eastern Karelia and back home to the FMs staff.

The FM is very pleased about the Turkish successes in the Adriatic region, both the capture of whole enemy divisions as well as the great axis-confusion which helped him to execute the recent Romanian offense.
Things are looking as good for Romania as they have for a couple of years. Let's hope they can continue it into the spring. :)

---xxx---

Turkey's army continues it's heroic stand in the face of increasing Teutonic hordes, and bombs.
It was a torrid month, but survived without losing ground.
I'm not sure why Soviet lend-lease to Turkey has been reduced. Perhaps it has something to do with the perception that Turkey has done better in the war, and that now that Leningrad is lost, we should use our resources to shore up the Red Army, and take back our lands. I realise such a way of thinking is selfish and probably more detrimental to Turkey that it is an improvement for the Red Army. I hope the Central Committee will consider increasing Lend-Lease to Turkey again soon.
A mystery. Agent Boğafiltresi had been unable to get to the bottom of it - no-one willing or able to answer the questions in Moscow. :confused:;)
The espionage landscape in Turkey proper is becoming quite fascinating. Lot's of rumours, lot's of double agents, and no-one with a clear advantage. Except for the Butterfly, of course, but he doesn't dabble in domestic matters... Maybe an exception is at hand?
K was just called back for the interrogation of the SD agent: Germany is his specialty at present. No interference in domestic operations allowed. ;) What will he get out of the extra insight into the political climate in Germany? We shall see some of that in March.
I'm honoured to have witnessed the Dark Lord's art in person once again. It was truly a masterclass.
Not for the squeamish! :eek:
Tyler Durden is a loose cannon, if the stories are to be believed. I'm glad I'm not the one handling him...
Very dangerous once he gets into your mind. No-one has a firm idea of what he will get up to - even me! :D
Any ship the Royal Navy doesn't loose to the Japanese, we don't have to face later on, in case the Comintern comes head to head with the British Empire aka. the Allies.
True. And the US isn't engaging the Japanese much, as far as we can see.
As a whole, the Comintern has done well the last month. Let's all keep it up, and I'm sure we will triumph in the end.
The pressure is indeed starting to tell - I believe the trend has now changed, both east and west.
Begining to worry about the build up of all these stupid spies agencies everywhere. We're going to have a huge mess on our hands sorting through it all when the iron curtain falls in europe and everyone starts really shoving all their agents through turkey. Much worse than even OTL.
War brings these fungal growths out, doesn't it? This post-war Europe won't be pretty, one suspects. :(

To All: OK, now to publishing the next ep! Thanks for your engagement and readership. Hope you've all survived the great challenge of out times OK: the update of the Forum! :D:rolleyes:
 
Chapter 195: A Drawn Breath (1 to 31 March 1943)

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Chapter 195: A Drawn Breath (1 to 31 March 1943)

Recap. February saw Turkey withstand a rain blows and crushing air attacks while Romania and the Soviet Union were able to advance the Comintern cause on their fronts, excepting the Ladoga sector, where The German’s retained Leningrad and expanded north on a narrow front. Finland had however not yet joined the Axis, as many had feared. Turkey was confronting manpower concerns and a heavy supply bill following recent combat and new military production. Some caution was yet indicated before another offensive was considered for the coming spring.

---xxx---

1 Mar 43

At midnight, Inönü issued a direction that all suggested objectives for Comintern partners be withdrawn, except for the standing invitation for the US to send expeditionary forces to Athens. If necessary, some new objectives may be requested of the US for landings in North Africa, Sicily or the Italian Peninsula at a future point.

This coincided with news of a heavy new Axis assault on Vrnograc, where mountain and infantry troops attempted to break through the lines of MAJGEN Diskoerekto’s 3 Mtn Div, 17 Inf Div (equipped with an IS-2 tank brigade) and the US 6th Marines. As had become standard, the attack was accompanied by heavy Italian air raids.


An hour later, four German and Hungarian divisions probed Doboj, but broke off the attack after two hours (12 Comintern v 38 Axis troops killed).

Air Damage Report. Italian bombers killed another 285 defenders in three raids that continued after the attack was halted.

Soviet Lend-Lease dropped to just 12.228 IC that day: the UK was still contributing 32.24 IC and the US 31.417 IC. This meant no new military production was possible for now, while supply production consumed an ever greater proportion of the remaining industrial capacity, which was now sitting at 166 IC in total.

---xxx---

2 Mar 43

Agent Boğafiltresi meanwhile sent a report from Moscow on the latest developments in Soviet fighter design. The new Yakovlev Yak-7 was now available – though Soviet aero engines were being researched but were not yet up to contemporary standards, limiting the current model’s speed. He also issued a simple personal request regarding Hitler.


These new specifications were compared to the current state of US fighter development – where the base model was still the F4F Wildcat.


The US interceptor still had superior speed (as US aero engines were still superior), though its armament was inferior to the Yak-7 and was not currently under development. The Yak-7 had better attack factors – especially in the crucial air attack – and range. Due to the incorporation of airborne radar, the latest Wildcat was significantly better at night and had better air detection capability.

As fighting continued in Vrnograc, at 10am the Axis launched two more large but short-lived probes further east over the Sava, at their favourite targets of Doboj again with four divisions (Comintern 8 v 38 Axis casualties) and Tuzla with three (Comintern 9 v 62 Axis casualties).

With heavy Axis air attacks continuing on Vrnograc, at midday the new P-51D Mustang wing – (8 AF) was close to full operational readiness and was transferred to Split, where it joined the the La-5 equipped 5 AF to bring 3 AG back to two wings strength.

That evening, the old Blenheims of 1 TAK were redeployed from Crete to Dubrovnik, from where they could be used recon missions in southern Italy if needed. Or later disbandment, if not.

Agent SkitalecS3 brought good news that night, with a report that a German heavy panzer division had been trapped in the Pripet Marshes: STAVKA expected a concerted attack on Italian and German units trying to hold its last escape route open would see it cut off and destroyed before it could extricate itself.



---xxx---

3 Mar 43

Victory came in Vrnograc at 10am: it had been a tough battle, but the Axis attackers had almost three times the numbers killed than the Turkish defenders. But the air strikes continued for the rest of the day.


Air Damage Report. Three days of raids on Vrnograc had killed 2,103 Turkish troops, more than making up for the disparity in ground casualties.

---xxx---

4 Mar 43

In the Far East 4 Cav Div – the advance guard of the three-division Turkish force - had finally caught up to the front line in Alma Ata late that morning. They pushed straight on towards Matay, to keep up the pressure on the retreating Manchurian militia.


To the north, in the centre of the Eastern Front, the Soviets were already making more progress after less than four days of the new month.



---xxx---

6 Mar 43

Midnight brought yet another Japanese-funded uprising in the Dodecanese. [It almost makes me want to produce an MP brigade to add to the garrison brigade there! But it’s not worth the IC or manpower.]

Inönü’s morning briefing included news that the Soviets had successfully destroyed the trapped ‘Tiger Division’ in the Pripet Marshes – amid more success on the main front there, both north and south of the marshes.

Back on the Sava, Major ‘Wraith’ Loggins was reporting on the increasing confidence of the US Marines, especially the 6th Marines in Vrnograc, that came with intense combat experience. He had not seen or heard anything more of the mysterious Major Tyler Durden or the equally obscure ‘Operation Mayhem’, having been busy with ‘real work’, as he termed it. He presented the President with a framed copy of one of the new US Marine recruiting posters as he delivered his personal briefing of the recent battle in Vrnograc that afternoon.


News Report: Moscow, USSR. Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin promotes himself to the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union, while the Communist Party proclaimed him to be "the greatest strategist of all times and all peoples". [Comment: well, except for Atatürk and Inönü in this ATL, anyway ;)]

---xxx---

8 Mar 43

The second P-51D wing (9 AF) was delivered to Beograd at midnight and began its work up straight away. The production capacity released was rolled into the construction of a wing of license built Yak-7s: the need for more fighter cover was too urgent to delay any further. Perhaps improved Soviet or US models would be available later.


Another attack was launched on Vrnograc at 7am, with air support. It was not serious however – just one German infantry division (the unlucky 21st) was committed. The attack ended in failure ten hours later (Comintern 94 v 755 German casualties).

Air Damage Report. Three Italian air raids killed 556 defenders in Vrnograc that day. With the attack defeated and the air raids finishing that night, Turkish fighters were not committed. 3 AG (mixed multi-role) was combat ready, but 4 AG (F4Fs) was still had 6 AF under strength (86%).

In the Dodecanese, the latest rebellion was defeated at 8am (Turkish 10 v 89 Rebels killed).

OTL Event: USSR. The Soviet Union established "Laboratory No. 2", the secret atomic energy research facility, with Igor Kurchatov as the lab's "chief".

---xxx---

13 Mar 43

Intelligence Report: Berlin, Germany. Darth Kelebek passed on a Top Secret report on dissension within the Nazi State. In a plot called Operation Spark, German officer Henning von Tresckow attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler by arranging for an unwitting officer to hand Hitler a parcel thinking it contained a gift of liquor when it actually contained a bomb. All went according to plan and Hitler's plane took off from Smolensk to Rastenburg with the parcel aboard, but it failed to explode due to a faulty detonator. [Comment: The injunction against Kelebek conducting history-changing non-game actions remains in force. No matter how much Agent Boğafiltresi may want Hitler Found and Killed. :mad:]

---xxx---

11 Mar 43

The Turkish 'Eastern Task Force' (I'll call it the ETF) pushed forward in the east, all three divisions encountering a Manchurian militia division in Matay at 3pm and brushing it aside after a one hour skirmish. They would keep pushing aggressively while they could.

---xxx---

13 Mar 43

The ETF’s quick-moving advance guard (cavalry and old CV-33 light tanks) was first into Matay at midday and kept the pursuit going towards the mountains of Lepsy as the main body followed up far more slowly. There was another quick skirmish before the Manchurians kept fleeing.



---xxx---

14 Mar 43

With no spies being lost in Italy and the store of diplomatic team becoming low and officer percentages continuing to fall, leadership effort was redirected. The diplomatic academy was reopened [0 to 0.10 LS] and officer training given a small boost [1.29 to 1.34 LS], at the expense of spy training [0.35 to 0.20]. Research [8.00 LS] continued to get the lion’s share of leadership capacity.

That evening, the British LO at HQ 1st Army passed on news of a British offensive in Libya. They were making ground towards Bengasi after months of inaction!



---xxx---

15 Mar 43

The air base at Split (now home to four fighter wings) got a timely upgrade to level 4 facilities and another level of improvement was ordered.

---xxx---

16 Mar 43

Diplomatic Correspondence: Moscow, USSR. Joseph Stalin sent a letter to President Roosevelt urging that a second front be opened in Europe. Stalin wrote, "The Soviet, Turkish and Romanian troops have fought strenuously all winter and are continuing to do so, while Hitler is taking important measures to rehabilitate and reinforce his Army for the spring and summer operations against the Comintern; it is therefore particularly essential for us that the blow from the West no longer be delayed, that it be delivered this spring or early summer." [Comment: edited slightly for this alternate reality, but otherwise said on this day in OTL.]

---xxx---

21 Mar 43

A period of uncanny quiet on the Turkish front came to an end at 4am on 21 March, when Vrnograc lit up with an artillery barrage on the Turkish and American defenders. Another major attack had started. It pitted German and Turkish mountain troops directly against each other. MAJGEN Diskoerekto relished the opportunity to send more of the hated Nazi consumers of sub-standard preserved meat products to an early grave. But he and his comrades also had to put up with the hated Axis air raids which came in support.


Intelligence Report: Berlin, Germany. Another report from Kelebek describes the second attempt on Hitler's life in the space of eight days was made, this time by Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, who had been given the opportunity to escort Hitler through an exhibition of captured Soviet war equipment at the Zeughaus in Berlin. Gersdorff, who had expected Hitler to spend at least thirty minutes by his side at the Zeughaus, set a ten-minute fuse on a time bomb and made plans to kill himself and Hitler in a suicide bombing. Instead, Hitler rushed through the viewing and left after two minutes; Gersdorff bid his goodbyes, then went into a restroom and defused the explosive. [For their vaunted ‘efficiency’, the German opposition to Hitler just couldn’t get it right! Modern techniques would have seen the job done. Sad both in retrospect and for today. :(]

---xxx---

22 Mar 43

By this time, supply production was taking 39% of all Turkish industrial capacity [65 of 166 IC], and still running at a deficit of just under 200 per day, the stockpile now under 18,000 supply units.

That evening, Romanian LO Agent RasaUrs75 advised a whole corps of Romanian and attached Soviet EF troops was en route to the Eastern Front, passing Stalingrad in trains. STAVKA must indeed be confident of their position on the Patriotic Front to release them!

And in the east, 4 Cav Div finally came up against some substantive opposition. They had fully secured Lepsy at 6pm and made the next push onto Chindagatuy. But in the mountains and with poor weather closing in, they encountered a fully dug in Japanese regular infantry division, whose commander immediately counter-attacked their probe. The attack was quickly called off before more damage was done (Turkish 8 v 0 Japanese killed). Such a strong defensive position may required more than even the ETF’s main body for support: additional Soviet assistance would probably be necessary.

Heavy fighting continued all day in Vrnograc, as did the Axis air raids, with severe casualties on both sides.

---xxx---

23 Mar 43

Victory was earned in Vrnograc at 7am that morning. Once more, the terrain, entrenchments and IS-2s had exacted a heavy toll on the German attackers.


But the air raids continued during the day. By that evening, with 4 AG now back up to full operational status, a decision was taken to once again contest the skies against large Axis formations over Vrnograc. As before, the multi-role fighters of 3 AG (La-5s and the new P51-D Mustangs) would take make daylight interceptions, while the radar-equipped F4F Wildcats of 4 AG would take up the night-fighting role.

3 AG was soon in action when the next Italian raid hit Vrnograc. At 5pm they found four TAC wings with a one wing fighter escort and were soon mixing it – the Mustangs taking the lead. Then at 6pm, the proverbial hit the fan (translated into English for the benefit of readers):

“Sierra [Split] Base this is 8 Alpha Foxtrot – Me 109s! At least three wings worth! It’s madness up here …” <sound of explosion and scream, static hiss, transmission ends>


The raid finished seemingly unhindered, killing 328 soldiers on the ground. Some defeatists claimed the air battle was a ‘loss’, but although 8 AF had suffered 16% losses and around 50% disorganisation, it was till mission capable and there were some many Axis aircraft in the sky they must have been getting in each other’s way.

This experience did not put 4 AG off its job: it was now night-time and they scrambled to intercept the next raid and were in a furious dogfight Vrnograc at 8pm. This time, there were three additional Italian fighter wings added into the mix! They did not seem to do much damage to any of the eleven enemy wings in the air, but the air raid only killed 43 troops on the ground.


4 AF returned to Split at midnight, damaged but still airworthy. Whether it was because the ground battle was over and no more were launched in the next week (most likely) or because of Turkish aerial opposition (as their fighter pilots liked to think), the Axis bombers did not return for the rest of the month.

Air Damage Report. Three days of destructive Axis air raids on Vrnograc had killed 2,103 Turkish and US troops.

---xxx---

24 Mar 43

At 8am another militia brigade finished its upgrade to motorised infantry in Vlasenica and headed to Banja Luka, where it would likely contribute to the establishment of another motorised or light tank division in due course.

At the same time, the commander of 8 Inf Div, MAJGEN Naci Tinaz, was transferred from his quiet Danube Line position in Pozarevac to take command of the thus far leaderless 2 Armd Div [1 x LArm, 3 x Mech, 1 x SPArt] as it recovered in Perusic. It was now earmarked to play a key role in a potential Spring Offensive breakout and needed a commander.

As that transfer was being done, it was noticed that experienced general Kâzım Karabekir was not currently in an active appointment [not sure how that happened – must have forgotten him in a previous reorg. But it became a version of art imitating life - see note below :)]. This was soon fixed: it had long been desired to create another army HQ, as three corps and a 2 Armd Div were currently reporting direct to 1st Army Group HQ. The two ‘Comintern’ Corps, 1st Marine Corps and 2 Armd Div were assigned.


Musa Kâzım Karabekir (b. 23 July 1882) is a Turkish general and politician. A prominent Ottoman commander in the Great War, after the War of Independence, where he was one of the major Turkish Nationalist figures, Karabekir had differences of opinion with Mustafa Kemal about the realisation of nationalist reforms. On 17 November 1924, Karabekir co-founded the political movement Progressive Republican Party (Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası) and became its leader.


Afterwards, the party's recent members were blamed for the Sheikh Said rebellion and the assassination attempt made against Mustafa Kemal in İzmir, and the party was closed down on 5 June 1925 by the government. Karabekir was imprisoned with many of his party members. Following these developments, all relations were broken between Karabekir and Mustafa Kemal.

Retiring temporarily from politics, Karabekir devoted himself to writing his memories of the Turkish War of Independence and the reforms. After Mustafa Kemal (now Atatürk)'s death in 1938 [1939 in TTL], Karabekir's close friend İsmet İnönü rehabilitated him. [In TTL, he was never banished.] In ATL, he was a distinguished divisional commander throughout the Wars of Expansion and in March 1943 was appointed to command the newly formed 2nd Army, alongside his old friend and supporter, now President, Ismet Inönü.

Surprising news came at 3pm that afternoon: a single division (German, apparently acting under foolhardy Slovakian orders) was trying to storm over the Danube against 9 Inf Div and 171 SD. New commander MAJGEN Özdülek was confident of repelling this mad attack, being made by a half-strength division without any air support, against dug-in troops, over a major river on wooded terrain.



---xxx---

25 Mar 43

Another research breakthrough was finally made – and a much sought one. Mechanised offensive doctrine was advanced. And this unlocked the field of combined arms warfare research – long overdue in the Turkish army. The latter would not be achieved until September, but it was good to be approaching it at last.


At 9am, the newly converted MOT brigade and an SPArt brigade arrived in Turnu Severin, at the far eastern end of the Danube Line. This allowed the upgrade of 3 Cav Div into a more formidable formation. And there were plans for it to be improved further.


The spare AT brigade was sent to Velico Gradiste, where (surprisingly) the German attack persisted.

---xxx---

26 Mar 43

The second tech advance in two days came with the development of radar detection equipment for the radar stations currently under construction. It was hoped these would eventually improve visibility of enemy units behind the front lines. With manpower constraints biting and heavy casualties anticipated in any 1943 offensives, it was time to improve outdated Turkish combat medical services.


Victory was won in Velico Gradiste at 8am: the senseless attack had resulted in horrendous German casualties.



---xxx---

27 Mar 43

Two more militia brigades finished conversion to MOT outfits in the old air base at Kursumlija (south of Beograd) at 8am and were sent to Turnu Severin, to join 3 Cav Div.

And that evening, after the quiet period in the Adriatic sector continued, 2 Armd Div was ordered from its reserve position in Perusic over to Novi Grad, as part of the preparations for the proposed Spring Offensive. 2 Mtn Div, now recovered, was ordered back up to Otocac and 1 Mot Div from Ogulin to Sanski Most, another planned offensive jumping off point.

---xxx---

28 Mar 43

At 3pm, 3 Mot Div was formed in Banja Luka, the newly arrived converted MOT brigade linking up with a Level IV TD brigade. More brigades would be added as they became available.

That evening, the Turkish Chief Meteorologist reported that conditions across the proposed breakthrough area, on the opposite bank of the Sava all the way to Beograd, were excellent. The skies were clear, temperatures cool (around 8.5c) and none of the provinces had muddy conditions. So long as there were no great downpours as spring developed, the weather conditions were now favourable for an offensive whenever Turkey thought the time was right.

---xxx---

30 Mar 43

The repositioning continued when 2 Mtn Div arrived in the previous meat-grinder of Otocac at 10am and began digging in, relieving the ‘heavy infantry’ 15 Inf Div to head back to Novi Grad in preparation for a possible spring assault across the Sava.

In Baghdad, David Callan was getting impatient. Despite assurances of more extreme action by ‘Calixte Charon’ in Istanbul, nothing had been seen or heard from him during the month. But reports of his increasingly erratic behaviour had reached him via ordinary diplomatic reporting (the British Embassy in Ankara having no idea of his true identity).

Callan was afraid ‘Romeo’ had ‘gone native’ – losing himself on his personal voyage into the heart of darkness.

“Lonely,” said the MI6 man to his dingy-looking offsider.

“Yes, Mr Callan?”

“I want you to return to Istanbul. Seek out Romeo. When you find him I want you get a report – if he is any fit state to provide one – and then open this letter.”

“I don’t understand, Mr Callan.”

“You will Lonely, you will. But don’t open it before then. Until then keep it secret, keep it safe. It is sealed into the lining of this book.” It was, of course, a well-worn copy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. “Depending on what he has to say, read it and act accordingly. Be warned – you may have to take executive action. With extreme prejudice. Be careful of Romeo – we can’t tell how far gone he may be – if at all.”


Lonely takes his instructions from David Callan, Baghdad, 30 March 1943: “Be warned – you may have to take executive action. With extreme prejudice.”

---xxx---

31 Mar 43

Even with 67.24 IC devoted to supply production and a relatively quiet front, the supply stockpile had declined to 16,621 and was reducing by 210 units per day. This was increased again to 70 IC (41.92% of total industry of 167 IC). Lend Lease was still at the levels it had been in early March. Even more may be required to achieve balance – especially after an offensive was launched. As had been the case for some time, no trade deals for supplies were available that would ‘stick’.

At 1pm, the re-organisation of 3 Cav Div was finished in Turnu Severin – and they boarded trains for transfer across the front to Banja Luka, where they would contribute to the breakout group for the planned offensive.



---xxx---

Summaries

Patriotic and Eastern Fronts

In general, the wider Patriotic Front had seen advances on a wide front in all but the far North and in the south or Romania, while Turkey paused for breath on its front.


The Turkish Sector in the Balkans had seen 1,745 Turkish troops killed in ground combat against 7,097 Axis casualties killed in failed attacks. This imbalance was largely offset by 5,060 Comintern troops killed in air attacks during the month. With minor casualties in the east and Dodecanese, that brought total casualties to troops under Turkish command to 6,830 and 7,192 for the Axis.


The concentration of Axis effort on Vrnograc was once again apparent in the monthly summary map provide to Inönü. It also showed the Turkish build-up along the Sava River south-east of Vrnograc – the stepping off point for the next proposed offensive. The opposing Axis line along the Sava was thinned in places but still solid.

The Ladoga Sector showed some continuing Axis advances in the north, but the Soviets had retaken ground on the south of Lake Ladoga – narrowing the neck of the German salient.


Great strides had been made in the Central Sector with some salients thrusting deep into German occupied territory during the month, and noting the Pripet Marshes, where the salient containing the trapped German heavy panzer division had been snuffed out. Minsk was now behind the front line.


Ukraine also saw continued good gains, from the Pripet Marshes all the way to the Romanian border. Lwow was now beginning to come within reach again.


And in the south and centre of Romania, Soviet and Romanian troops ground forward, with the regional centres of Iasi and Brasov now, like Minsk in Belarus, behind the lines and Axis forces still in some disarray.


All this contributed to a feeling that the time for beginning a complementary Turkish Spring Offensive on the Sava was getting closer. It should make it even harder for the Axis to switch effort from one part of the front to another if all were under simultaneous pressure.

The pace of the advance was also accelerating in the East, with rapid gains (as noted previously) in the south by the Turkish ETF and in the centre more broadly.



---xxx---

Allied Reporting

To the surprise of the Comintern powers, Britain had managed to make further deep advances in Libya and had recently managed to surround and cut off Bengasi!


And noting the British 8th Army was part of the push. Very appropriate.

The picture in Burma was not so rosy, however, with the Japanese now on the edge of more open terrain after trudging though the mountains and jungles. They were about to take Chittagong from the Nepalese and Bhutanese troops that had been trying to hold it.


To the west of there, the only British unit in the vicinity was the 23rd Inf Bde in Calcutta (off map).

There were no other changes in Sea East Asia or the Pacific.

---xxx---

Intelligence, Manpower and Diplomacy

The month had been quiet in the Secret War, with no foreign spies detected in Turkey and no losses on either side in Italy. The Italians had one counter-espionage team in the field against the ten Turkish teams in place, plus a reserve pool of five more back home. One third of effort remained directed against Italian agents, the rest to disrupting Italian national unity, which sat at 75.7%. The Italians’ production efforts were directed to producing destroyers (three flotillas) and NAV (two wings).

Turkish manpower had recorded a small net rise during the month, despite battlefield casualties and the commencement of the new fighter wing, up 1,000 to 76,000 (monthly accrual is 13,500).

On the diplomatic front, Thailand came in for some attention, with the creation of a puppet government being suggested by Turkey to follow the imposition of a communist government. One could dream – even if it seemed a distant one (in time and distance) now.



---xxx---

Naval Report

Naval losses were comparatively light in March. For the Allies, the British lost one light cruiser and two landing craft squadrons. In the Axis, Japan lost a transport and a landing craft squadron and the Italians a destroyer flotilla.


HMS Dragon.

HMS Dragon was a D- or Danae-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. Laid down 24 January 1917, launched 29 December 1917, commissioned 16 August 1918. [In OTL was transferred to the Polish Navy on 15 Jan 43]. Displacement 4,850t; complement 462; main armament 6 × 6in (152 mm) guns. Sunk in March 1943 by IJNS Haruna (BC).

---xxx---

Coming Up: With two months of solid gains in Romania and the Soviet Union and a period of relative quiet on the Turkish front allowing reorganisation, repair and preparation, was it time yet for the new Spring offensive to be launched? If it was, the likelihood of Axis air superiority was a sobering prospect, but one that may have to be suffered if an attack was to proceed.

The Eastern Front was also looking better, but other than for the three-division US Marine task force and lend lease (around 31 IC for Turkey and almost 80 to the USSR), there was no evidence of useful ground or naval activity by the US in the Pacific or elsewhere. British progress in Libya was heartening, but their weakness in Burma was worrying. Nothing much in the way of direct assistance, again excepting their generous lend-lease support, was expected against Germany itself.

The Secret War had been fairly quiet this month, everyone seemingly laying low after the long winter. What would ‘Lonely’ find in Istanbul when he finally tracked ‘Calixte Charon’ (aka Romeo) down? Would Tyler Durden resurface or ‘Operation Mayhem’ prove anything other than a rumour?

As Turkish breath was drawn in March, would an exhalation in April be enough to blow down the rotten Fascist house in the Balkans?
 
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stnylan

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All is (mostly) quiet along the Sava. It is the deep breath before the plunge....

The news of the general Soviet advance along the Eastern and Siberian fronts is most encouraging. In fact it is even more than that: is this the long-awaited sign of Axis collapse? One can hope so. Well, European Axis, at least.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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No interference in domestic operations allowed. ;)
That may remain the official line, but we have certainly gone beyond that by now.

Intelligence Report: Berlin, Germany. Darth Kelebek passed on a Top Secret report on dissension within the Nazi State. In a plot called Operation Spark, German officer Henning von Tresckow attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler by arranging for an unwitting officer to hand Hitler a parcel thinking it contained a gift of liquor when it actually contained a bomb. All went according to plan and Hitler's plane took off from Smolensk to Rastenburg with the parcel aboard, but it failed to explode due to a faulty detonator. [Comment: The injunction against Kelebek conducting history-changing non-game actions remains in force. No matter how much Agent Boğafiltresi may want Hitler Found and Killed. :mad:]
SITH wanted another drinking game aside from British military 'successes'. Operation Lets kill Hitler looked promising and we took it.

That evening, the British LO at HQ 1st Army passed on news of a British offensive in Libya. They were making ground towards Bengasi after months of inaction!
Take a shot.

Diplomatic Correspondence: Moscow, USSR. Joseph Stalin sent a letter to President Roosevelt urging that a second front be opened in Europe. Stalin wrote, "The Soviet, Turkish and Romanian troops have fought strenuously all winter and are continuing to do so, while Hitler is taking important measures to rehabilitate and reinforce his Army for the spring and summer operations against the Comintern; it is therefore particularly essential for us that the blow from the West no longer be delayed, that it be delivered this spring or early summer." [Comment: edited slightly for this alternate reality, but otherwise said on this day in OTL.]
Not this year. Not long before it becomes too late anyhow.

Intelligence Report: Berlin, Germany. Another report from Kelebek describes the second attempt on Hitler's life in the space of eight days was made, this time by Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, who had been given the opportunity to escort Hitler through an exhibition of captured Soviet war equipment at the Zeughaus in Berlin. Gersdorff, who had expected Hitler to spend at least thirty minutes by his side at the Zeughaus, set a ten-minute fuse on a time bomb and made plans to kill himself and Hitler in a suicide bombing. Instead, Hitler rushed through the viewing and left after two minutes; Gersdorff bid his goodbyes, then went into a restroom and defused the explosive. [For their vaunted ‘efficiency’, the German opposition to Hitler just couldn’t get it right! Modern techniques would have seen the job done. Sad both in retrospect and for today. :(]
Take two shots, one for the attempt and another for balls of steel disarming skills under pressure.

Great strides had been made in the Central Sector with some salients thrusting deep into German occupied territory during the month, and noting the Pripet Marshes, where the salient containing the trapped German heavy panzer division had been snuffed out. Minsk was now behind the front line.
Hmm...ok, I see an chance here. The Germans are still making large gains on the Finnish border, meaning they have an army's there pushing through. However, hundreds of miles to the south, the Russians have the chance of possibly making it to the Baltic Sea if they take the shortest route, thus trapping this army in the frozen north. Unless the fins make a deal to house them, the Germans will have to surrender. And that could well be the begining of the end of the German military if we keep encircling in the Balkans and the Russians trap a whole army up north.

Not sure what turkey can do to make sure the Russian side go for this properly...but I guess even in the worst case, the germans spotting the encriclment and halting it or retreating their whole army back down to Poland is still a big win. Certainly the end of Finland threatening us too.

To the surprise of the Comintern powers
Take a shot.
 
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roverS3

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Interesting that removing all Comintern objective suggestions seems to have had a positive effect on Comintern operations. These things could be mostly unrelated though.

Looks like Yakolev's reasearch team has been hard at work. Once the new engines become available, the Yak-7 will be truly world class. I hope the vote of confidence the Turkish government has given to the Soviet Arms industry by ordering a wing of the new interceptors will convince the Central Committee to increase lend-lease aid to Turkey once more, possibly with the stipulation that the money be used to buy Soviet weapons.

This month's defensive battles were more easily won, the lower loss of life means that Turkish Mapower was actually positive, with more young men reaching fighting age, than are lost in the war.

The Turkish Cavalry in the Far East is proving perfect for quickly recovering Soviet territory. They need fewer supplies and a lot less fuel than Motorised Divisions, and the horses can more easily navigate the rough terrain. Of course, they aren't equipped to take on dug in Japanese regulars, but that's what our Rifle Divisions are for.

The Aerial fighting over Vrnograc was brave and certainly more effective than Turkish high command gives it credit for. Turkish aircraft losses were relatively limited when you take into account the sheer number of enemy aeroplanes that were faced. Enemy losses were probably more difficult to quantify, but the main point is that, as long as the Turkish Air Force continues to engage those Axis bombers, all three Axis powers in the area seem to be keeping significant numbers of interceptors in the area. That means that aerial superiority is more easily achieved elsewhere, by the VVS, or by the British in North-Africa. It may look desperate, but the Turkish pilots are providing a vital service to the larger war, not to mention that there must be at least some disruption to Axis bombing operations, meaning that they are saving lives on the ground, at least a few of them. Hitay and Berköz are true heroes in the eyes of the VVS. Fighting superior numbers of enemy aeroplanes, with slightly less capable aircraft.

Karabekir seems to be very skilled, he definitely deserves his 2nd Army Command.

The improvement of Mechanised Warfare will definitely benefit Turkish mobile formations, and combined arms warfare will help them get the most benefit from their varied assortment of mobile and armoured equipment, in cooperation with the flesh and blood component. On that note, the rate of mechanisation of the Turkish Army is quickly becoming the envy of the Comintern, soon it may well become known as the fasted Army in the Comintern.

The Soviet Great Patriotic front is looking quite good, especially in the South. The pre-war border is only about 100 km away. In the North, it looks like the Axis troops North of Leningrad will eventually be trapped in the Karelian wilderness, unless the Finns join the war, of course. With the current rate of progress, Riga, and the Baltic coast is only a couple of months away, so even the enemy forces in the Leningrad area may find their supply lines truncated sooner, rather than later.

Turkish ambitions in Siam seem somewhat strange and awfully imperialist. At least the UGNR isn't planning a full-on occupation. Of course, Turkey could always make the argument that Siam was part of Turkey since Ancient Times and call it a day, though I'm not sure Stalin will be convinced. Of course the former Ottoman territory around the Mediterranean, including most of the Balkans, North Africa, and the Arabian peninsula is considered to be the Turkish sphere of influence by the Central Committee, as long as some bases for the Red Navy can be established along Turkish Navy bases, in strategic locations.

I concur with the suggestion by @nuclearslurpee for Turkey to expand it's Navy. The development of Turkish Capital ships of some kind should probably start soon, if Turkey wants to be ready to take and maintain it's Mediterranean holdings. It takes a long time do build big ships. If we want to face down the Royal Navy, and Turkey wants to call the shots in the Med, backed up by the Black Sea Fleet, it needs a strong fleet backed by land-based Air Support. Considering Turkish resources, it may be wise to license-build a few light cruisers, alongside the US Destroyers currently in construction, to build up the knowledge needed to build and operate cruisers, all the while designing a decent Turkish Heavy Cruiser Class. Once the European Axis is in it's death throws, they can then spam out these heavy cruisers to be able to project a Turkish Naval presence across the Med, the Black Sea, and the Persian gulf. Comparatively, the Soviet Union needs much less of a navy, and I'm sure no one will be offended if Turkey doesn't order Soviet Warships. If Turkey fails to build a strong enough navy, the USN will likely send more forces to the Med in case of war with the UK, making it harder for Turkey to dictate terms in the area and to grab the territory it wants.

Things are really looking up, a Turkish offensive will only speed up the Westward Comintern advance,

Vur Ha,

SkitalecS3
 

diskoerekto

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Could be it - of maybe they disliked us for knocking back a deal where we would give them supplies (whci we're already short of) for free under Comintern trade arrangements, which happened not long before the reduction. But I think your explanation is plausible. :confused:
I don't think that kind of tit-for-tat cancelling is built in the AI, but both (needing of supplies and decreasing the LL) might be because they're suddenly low in IC thus also low on supply production.

where mountain and infantry troops attempted to break through the lines of MAJGEN Diskoerekto’s 3 Mtn Div, 17 Inf Div (equipped with an IS-2 tank brigade) and the US 6th Marines. As had become standard, the attack was accompanied by heavy Italian air raids.
Witnessing heavy Soviet armor and US Marines blow the Axis into smithereens is one joy to behold, and directing my mountaineers so that all 3 divisions make an orchestrated stand against the enemy is another. Taking shelter from the enemy airpower is not. :)

Agent Boğafiltresi meanwhile sent a report from Moscow on the latest developments in Soviet fighter design. The new Yakovlev Yak-7 was now available – though Soviet aero engines were being researched but were not yet up to contemporary standards, limiting the current model’s speed.
The US interceptor still had superior speed (as US aero engines were still superior), though its armament was inferior to the Yak-7 and was not currently under development. The Yak-7 had better attack factors – especially in the crucial air attack – and range. Due to the incorporation of airborne radar, the latest Wildcat was significantly better at night and had better air detection capability.
It's only March and they (US and USSR) already have 3 out of 4 fighter techs, this is good. Very soon they'll both have the latest model and we can buy the production license from whichever we like. I hope US starts researching the armament soon so we can buy with all '43 base stats AND the RADAR techs. Or USSR researches the RADAR techs and we buy from them but this sounds like a long shot.

Victory came in Vrnograc at 10am: it had been a tough battle, but the Axis attackers had almost three times the numbers killed than the Turkish defenders. But the air strikes continued for the rest of the day.
Air Damage Report. Three days of raids on Vrnograc had killed 2,103 Turkish troops, more than making up for the disparity in ground casualties.
Vur Ha! and Ouch! at the same time

To the north, in the centre of the Eastern Front, the Soviets were already making more progress after less than four days of the new month.
The imperialists are running with their pants down!

Midnight brought yet another Japanese-funded uprising in the Dodecanese. [It almost makes me want to produce an MP brigade to add to the garrison brigade there! But it’s not worth the IC or manpower.]
Having visited the Dodecanese many times, this situation always brings me to chuckle. If they'd give any crap to Axis agitators, that would be grandpas and grandmas chasing them away with WWI era pistols. How Japanese spies would blend in with the locals, that would be another funny story :D

Inönü’s morning briefing included news that the Soviet’s had successfully destroyed the trapped ‘Tiger Division’ in the Pripet Marshes – amid more success on the main front there, both north and south of the marshes.
Vur Ha! Albeit only one :/

The second P-51D wing (9 AF) was delivered to Beograd at midnight and began its work up straight away. The production capacity released was rolled into the construction of a wing of license built Yak-7s: the need for more fighter cover was too urgent to delay any further. Perhaps improved Soviet or US models would be available later.
The urgency to have them now trumps the improvement that might occur some months later, good decision.

They were making ground towards Bengasi after months of inaction!
And with real divisions! I cannot believe my eyes.

MAJGEN Diskoerekto relished the opportunity to send more of the hated Nazi consumers of sub-standard preserved meat products to an early grave. But he and his comrades also had to put up with the hated Axis air raids which came in support.
My exact feelings :D

That evening, Romanian LO Agent RasaUrs75 advised a whole corps of Romanian and attached Soviet EF troops was en route to the Eastern Front, passing Stalingrad in trains. STAVKA must indeed be confident of their position on the Patriotic Front to release them!
Not again!!! I wonder if that's triggered by the removal of ally objectives?

This experience did not put 4 AG off its job: it was now night-time and they scrambled to intercept the next raid and were in a furious dogfight Vrnograc at 8pm. This time, there were three additional Italian fighter wings added into the mix! They did not seem to do much damage to any of the eleven enemy wings in the air, but the air raid only killed 43 troops on the ground.
It seems even if we cannot hit their organization, at least by having them bring out so many planes we're reducing their efficiency.

Spoiler: Kâzım Karabekir
After these years writing TT, you now know more about early 20th century Turkish history than many Turks :) I like how writing this AAR sparked this interest in you.

Surprising news came at 3pm that afternoon: a single division (German, apparently acting under foolhardy Slovakian orders) was trying to storm over the Danube against 9 Inf Div and 171 SD. New commander MAJGEN Özdülek was confident of repelling this mad attack, being made by a half-strength division without any air support, against dug-in troops, over a major river on wooded terrain.
I'm sure this is our army intelligence intercepting Axis communication lines and creating bogus orders to make a suicidal attack

Another research breakthrough was finally made – and a much sought one. Mechanised offensive doctrine was advanced. And this unlocked the field of combined arms warfare research – long overdue in the Turkish army. The latter would not be achieved until September, but it was good to be approaching it at last.
The EDOK Command HQ keeps working hard (EDOK stands for Eğitim & DOKtrin, Education & Doctrine). I used to drive past it every day :)

MOT brigade linking up with a Level IV TD brigade.
Juicy

“I want you to return to Istanbul. Seek out Romeo. When you find him I want you get a report – if he is any fit state to provide one – and then open this letter.”

“I don’t understand, Mr Callan.”

“You will Lonely, you will. But don’t open it before then. Until then keep it secret, keep it safe. It is sealed into the lining of this book.” It was, of course, a well-worn copy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. “Depending on what he has to say, read it and act accordingly. Be warned – you may have to take executive action. With extreme prejudice. Be careful of Romeo – we can’t tell how far gone he may be – if at all.”
o_O

At 1pm, the re-organisation of 3 Mot Div was finished in Turnu Severin – and they boarded trains for transfer across the front to Banja Luka, where they would contribute to the breakout group for the planned offensive.
Süvari Tümeni actually means Cavalry Division. I think we converted these mot brigades from cavs, right? The name must have stuck. No need to change though, it shows the historical roots of the division.

The Ladoga Sector showed some continuing Axis advances in the north, but the Soviets had retaken ground on the south of Lake Ladoga – narrowing the neck of the German salient.
A neck that ought to be snapped like a dry twig


Turkish ambitions in Siam seem somewhat strange and awfully imperialist. At least the UGNR isn't planning a full-on occupation. Of course, Turkey could always make the argument that Siam was part of Turkey since Ancient Times and call it a day, though I'm not sure Stalin will be convinced. Of course the former Ottoman territory around the Mediterranean, including most of the Balkans, North Africa, and the Arabian peninsula is considered to be the Turkish sphere of influence by the Central Committee, as long as some bases for the Red Navy can be established along Turkish Navy bases, in strategic locations.
İnönü likes Thai food, I guess? :D I mean, at least Turkey is a warm country, so instead of the Russians running Siam, it makes sense if it's the Turks who's running them
 
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Bullfilter

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Quick initial response:
Süvari Tümeni actually means Cavalry Division. I think we converted these mot brigades from cavs, right? The name must have stuck. No need to change though, it shows the historical roots of the division.
Thanks - that was actually a misprint and it was 3 Cav. 3 Mot had just been formed over in Banja Luka and I got them confused. :oops: Fixed.
After these years writing TT, you now know more about early 20th century Turkish history than many Turks :) I like how writing this AAR sparked this interest in you.
Have been reading a lot about Karabekir in the Ataturk book @stnylan gave me - just got up to the bit where he had formed the break away opposition party after the Republic was declared and fell afoul of Mustafa Kemal as a result. :) I felt he deserved both the extra attention and a promotion.;)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Those air losses remain unacceptable. Over two thousand casualties in three days? Ridiculous.
 
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GangsterSynod

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Is there anything you can do in the short term to contest that insane air superiority? Sorry, never played HOI, but those losses are, as @TheButterflyComposer said, absolutely unacceptable.
 
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Bullfilter

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Those air losses remain unacceptable. Over two thousand casualties in three days? Ridiculous.
They usually had four TAC wings and were flying four missions a day. And I knew how many fighter wings they had ready to intercept. But did in the end.
Is there anything you can do in the short term to contest that insane air superiority? Sorry, never played HOI, but those losses are, as @TheButterflyComposer said, absolutely unacceptable.
Not much other than what we did in the last raid. And they put 11 wings into the air - but must have taken them from somewhere else. With things as they are at the moment, I mainly commit only when things get extreme or battle is in the balance. Until I can get more aircraft or they divert them, I'll just have to be judicious in their use.
 
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diskoerekto

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I've never done such a thing in the past, but do you think a 5 brigade AA or motorized-AA division that we can put in target provinces help more than its cost?
 
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roverS3

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I've never done such a thing in the past, but do you think a 5 brigade AA or motorized-AA division that we can put in target provinces help more than its cost?
It would probably better to add AA to existing divisions as those will then be used against tanks etc. The priority should go to Divisions that don't currently have a direct-fire brigade (AT, TD, Mot-AA, AA) attached, as that will give them an extra combined arms buff. I don't believe there's a benefit in grouping your AA together. AA-brigades (motorised or not) will only engage aeroplanes that are targeting them (ground Attack), so a logistical or strategic attack, nor a dogfight overhead will be impacted by them. On the other hand, fixed AA installations will target any and all enemy planes overhead. The former is mobile and can be used against tanks (though they're significantly less effective than AT or TD), the latter will have more impact on the Air war. Of course, they are no substitute for interceptors. I have to say, the attrition from modern German AA brigades on the VVS bomber wings in 'Odin's universe is noticeable, but it's not enough on it's own to make me significantly reduce it's ground attacks as most of that damage is repaired overnight. AA brigades can make a difference, but there are costs and trade-offs. (research to keep them up to snuff, lost opportunity cost, and them taking the place of a brigade that's more powerful in ground combat). Turkey's case is a bit special as it doesn't have the possibility to upgrade it's existing fighter wings and it depends on foreign technology for new ones. All in all, I think the resources would still be better spent on more Interceptors, Turkey can go all in on that front as soon as the USSR has a new Aero engine, or the US has better armaments.
 
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diskoerekto

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and them taking the place of a brigade that's more powerful in ground combat
That's why I was suggesting to make dedicated AA divisions to not water down frontline divisions. In the end if the AA division stands in the same province as the frontline divisions getting bombed, they fight against the planes, right?

A 5 bde AA division would cost around the quarter of an interceptor wing in terms of IC, and mot-AA double that but I don't know how effective they would be to compare against interceptors. Of course there's also MP considerations which make this idea even less useful. Just mental gymnastics :)
 
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Wraith11B

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During a briefing, MAJ Loggins looked at the overall situation map and had to express his desire that the Soviets recognize how close they could be to a "Sickle Cut" of their own to not only recapture the Baltics, but envelop a large number of Axis divisions... Not even that close to the Danger Zone... If they put enough ass in it!

MAJ Loggins is also a fan of "Danger Close" fire missions, and given that the Turks have so little possibility to contest the skies, recommends the Nelson command: Engage the Enemy More Closely!
 
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roverS3

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That's why I was suggesting to make dedicated AA divisions to not water down frontline divisions. In the end if the AA division stands in the same province as the frontline divisions getting bombed, they fight against the planes, right?
Thinking along the lines of getting as much out of the investment as possible, using the AA brigades only to protect from Air Attack means they are used less for the same investment. I would posit that by integrating them into existing Divisions, Turkey can save on the production of other support brigades and put additional Divisions into the field. What I meant was that, even if the latter approach is taken, not building AA at all and building AT instead will provide a better punch over-all in the war on the ground...

A 5 bde AA division would cost around the quarter of an interceptor wing in terms of IC, and mot-AA double that but I don't know how effective they would be to compare against interceptors. Of course there's also MP considerations which make this idea even less useful. Just mental gymnastics :)
Unless you're integrating AA into mobile Divisions, Mot-AA is pointless as it isn't any better at shooting down aeroplanes than the regular variety. I think another problem is that your AA brigades only work in the province they are stationed. If the enemy bombers shift their attention to the province next door, you can't move you AA there in time to intercept them. There's a real risk that, even if you're managing this yourself, you will have to keep moving around the AA guns only to see the enemy bombers move their attention elsewhere. Interceptors may be 4x the price of AA, but they can cover a wide area and rapidly go where they are needed. If you want to cover all the potential targets within the operating range of your Interceptors with AA guns, you'll have to spend the equivalent of several interceptors just to have mediocre AA coverage all over the place. And that's keeping in mind that AA is usually less effective at downing planes than interceptors are. And yes, then there is the MP side of things. AA can still be useful in specific circumstances. In vast territories with few Air Bases and little Infrastructure AA can somewhat deter enemy bombers when it's not practical, nor affordable to build forward Air Bases etc. If you have a severe lack of fuel, AA doesn't consume fuel, and Interceptors do. For very fast mobile formations, Mot-AA is faster than TD. Something like L Arm, Mec, AC, Mot-AA, SP R Art or a variation of it is the fastest you can go, for Combined Arms, and for some piercing attack without sacrificing speed, Mot-AA is perfect. If you have no way to buy or build modern interceptors, either because you're playing a tiny minor with close to no IC/LS, and/or you're diplomatically isolated, AA will be a better bet long term. There's not much point using 1918 interceptors against 1944 bombers, you might as well send some AA shells their way. Garrisons of singular targets, like pacific Islands, can benefit from AA, but that's on top of fixed AA emplacements.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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During a briefing, MAJ Loggins looked at the overall situation map and had to express his desire that the Soviets recognize how close they could be to a "Sickle Cut" of their own to not only recapture the Baltics, but envelop a large number of Axis divisions... Not even that close to the Danger Zone... If they put enough ass in it!

MAJ Loggins is also a fan of "Danger Close" fire missions, and given that the Turks have so little possibility to contest the skies, recommends the Nelson command: Engage the Enemy More Closely!
Well I keep plugging away at it, but it is almost entirely down the to aI whatever we do so probably down to luck or not whether the Russians pull off the biggest coup of the war.
 
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Bullfilter

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All, sorry I haven't done comprehensive replies for a while, but the other AARs were taking up a fair bit of time. The last month has been played through here now, and the first of two parts covering it will come out soon. To remaining comments responses:
All is (mostly) quiet along the Sava. It is the deep breath before the plunge....

The news of the general Soviet advance along the Eastern and Siberian fronts is most encouraging. In fact it is even more than that: is this the long-awaited sign of Axis collapse? One can hope so. Well, European Axis, at least.
A very apt description of bated breath. And we remain cautiously optimistic that all the recent sacrifices may soon bring some benefit.

---xxx---
That may remain the official line, but we have certainly gone beyond that by now.

SITH wanted another drinking game aside from British military 'successes'. Operation Lets kill Hitler looked promising and we took it.
The S.I.T.H. remains an insidious if effective blight within the heart of the Turkish security and intelligence services.
Not this year. Not long before it becomes too late anyhow.
I suspect never - but one can never quite tell. Perhaps if the Germans really start to falter badly ...
Take two shots, one for the attempt and another for balls of steel disarming skills under pressure.
It really is fascinating (if practically pointless) to wonder what would have happened if he'd succeeded.
Hmm...ok, I see an chance here. The Germans are still making large gains on the Finnish border, meaning they have an army's there pushing through. However, hundreds of miles to the south, the Russians have the chance of possibly making it to the Baltic Sea if they take the shortest route, thus trapping this army in the frozen north. Unless the fins make a deal to house them, the Germans will have to surrender. And that could well be the begining of the end of the German military if we keep encircling in the Balkans and the Russians trap a whole army up north.

Not sure what turkey can do to make sure the Russian side go for this properly...but I guess even in the worst case, the germans spotting the encriclment and halting it or retreating their whole army back down to Poland is still a big win. Certainly the end of Finland threatening us too.
We can only wait to see what, if anything, the Soviets can achieve along these lines during April. It will be totally reliant on the Soviet AI. I am just letting them get on with whatever they will, but maybe an offensive in the Balkans will just make it that much harder for the Germans and help anything the Soviets and Romanians may be able to cook up.

---xxx---
Interesting that removing all Comintern objective suggestions seems to have had a positive effect on Comintern operations. These things could be mostly unrelated though.
Yes, they seem to have settled down very well all on their own. I think I'll just leave it to them.
Looks like Yakolev's reasearch team has been hard at work. Once the new engines become available, the Yak-7 will be truly world class. I hope the vote of confidence the Turkish government has given to the Soviet Arms industry by ordering a wing of the new interceptors will convince the Central Committee to increase lend-lease aid to Turkey once more, possibly with the stipulation that the money be used to buy Soviet weapons.
I think the aid has been permanently cut, alas. Or at least, maybe until Leningrad is liberated and repaired: we shall see. But the our Western friends (US and UK) are keeping up the pipeline, at least.
This month's defensive battles were more easily won, the lower loss of life means that Turkish Mapower was actually positive, with more young men reaching fighting age, than are lost in the war.
A big offensive will strain that manpower reserve again, though. I keep getting feelings like those the British had in France after D-Day. We must still be bold, but selective. And try to do something about those horrendous losses to air raids. :eek: But the fighters have been largely kept back recently for good reason. We'll see whether it works or not.
The Turkish Cavalry in the Far East is proving perfect for quickly recovering Soviet territory. They need fewer supplies and a lot less fuel than Motorised Divisions, and the horses can more easily navigate the rough terrain. Of course, they aren't equipped to take on dug in Japanese regulars, but that's what our Rifle Divisions are for.
There will be something for them all to do in April, too. ;)
The Aerial fighting over Vrnograc was brave and certainly more effective than Turkish high command gives it credit for. Turkish aircraft losses were relatively limited when you take into account the sheer number of enemy aeroplanes that were faced. Enemy losses were probably more difficult to quantify, but the main point is that, as long as the Turkish Air Force continues to engage those Axis bombers, all three Axis powers in the area seem to be keeping significant numbers of interceptors in the area. That means that aerial superiority is more easily achieved elsewhere, by the VVS, or by the British in North-Africa. It may look desperate, but the Turkish pilots are providing a vital service to the larger war, not to mention that there must be at least some disruption to Axis bombing operations, meaning that they are saving lives on the ground, at least a few of them. Hitay and Berköz are true heroes in the eyes of the VVS. Fighting superior numbers of enemy aeroplanes, with slightly less capable aircraft.
I was most affronted at that report provided! :p I agree, they did far better than the pessimistic assessment reckoned. But a major ground offensive will really kick the Murder Hornet nest! :eek:
Karabekir seems to be very skilled, he definitely deserves his 2nd Army Command.
And he is just in time for a Big Show!
The improvement of Mechanised Warfare will definitely benefit Turkish mobile formations, and combined arms warfare will help them get the most benefit from their varied assortment of mobile and armoured equipment, in cooperation with the flesh and blood component. On that note, the rate of mechanisation of the Turkish Army is quickly becoming the envy of the Comintern, soon it may well become known as the fasted Army in the Comintern.
This next period will really prove a testing ground for the mechanised forces of the Glorious Union. The success of the proposed offensive really rests on them having the speed and punch to exploit any success the initial 'heavy assault' across the Sava may have. It's really got a mini D-Day feel about it. Except the Axis are the ones with the edge in air superiority. :(
The Soviet Great Patriotic front is looking quite good, especially in the South. The pre-war border is only about 100 km away. In the North, it looks like the Axis troops North of Leningrad will eventually be trapped in the Karelian wilderness, unless the Finns join the war, of course. With the current rate of progress, Riga, and the Baltic coast is only a couple of months away, so even the enemy forces in the Leningrad area may find their supply lines truncated sooner, rather than later.
Yes, it is looking better still: and we're relying on the ability of the Steamroller to do its thing to allow us and the Romanians the chance to take on an essentially superior enemy on reasonable terms. It's been the strategy all along, for almost three years of the Great Liberation War so far.
Turkish ambitions in Siam seem somewhat strange and awfully imperialist. At least the UGNR isn't planning a full-on occupation. Of course, Turkey could always make the argument that Siam was part of Turkey since Ancient Times and call it a day, though I'm not sure Stalin will be convinced. Of course the former Ottoman territory around the Mediterranean, including most of the Balkans, North Africa, and the Arabian peninsula is considered to be the Turkish sphere of influence by the Central Committee, as long as some bases for the Red Navy can be established along Turkish Navy bases, in strategic locations.
Haha! Just using up all the game-provided War Goal options. :D Don't really mean anything by it.
I concur with the suggestion by @nuclearslurpee for Turkey to expand it's Navy. The development of Turkish Capital ships of some kind should probably start soon, if Turkey wants to be ready to take and maintain it's Mediterranean holdings. It takes a long time do build big ships. If we want to face down the Royal Navy, and Turkey wants to call the shots in the Med, backed up by the Black Sea Fleet, it needs a strong fleet backed by land-based Air Support. Considering Turkish resources, it may be wise to license-build a few light cruisers, alongside the US Destroyers currently in construction, to build up the knowledge needed to build and operate cruisers, all the while designing a decent Turkish Heavy Cruiser Class. Once the European Axis is in it's death throws, they can then spam out these heavy cruisers to be able to project a Turkish Naval presence across the Med, the Black Sea, and the Persian gulf. Comparatively, the Soviet Union needs much less of a navy, and I'm sure no one will be offended if Turkey doesn't order Soviet Warships. If Turkey fails to build a strong enough navy, the USN will likely send more forces to the Med in case of war with the UK, making it harder for Turkey to dictate terms in the area and to grab the territory it wants.
Expanding the Navy a bit is a good thing - and light cruisers are on the menu. But the problem with larger ships is not industry, but our prehistoric naval tech. And there's so much more important stuff to research in the meantime and never enough LS to do it. The alternative is building pre-WW1 vintage ships, which seems pretty naff. :( I'll think about CA, but for now it's not going to be a priority. I don't think I need them to help the Comintern win the overall war.
Things are really looking up, a Turkish offensive will only speed up the Westward Comintern advance,

Vur Ha,

SkitalecS3
It would be nice if, after all this time, we could really get some flowing, dashing offensives going! It's been a tough slog so far.

---xxx---
I don't think that kind of tit-for-tat cancelling is built in the AI, but both (needing of supplies and decreasing the LL) might be because they're suddenly low in IC thus also low on supply production.
Thanks. I think it must just be their own production capacity and requirements. :(
Witnessing heavy Soviet armor and US Marines blow the Axis into smithereens is one joy to behold, and directing my mountaineers so that all 3 divisions make an orchestrated stand against the enemy is another. Taking shelter from the enemy airpower is not. :)
Just wait until April! o_O
It's only March and they (US and USSR) already have 3 out of 4 fighter techs, this is good. Very soon they'll both have the latest model and we can buy the production license from whichever we like. I hope US starts researching the armament soon so we can buy with all '43 base stats AND the RADAR techs. Or USSR researches the RADAR techs and we buy from them but this sounds like a long shot.
Yes, hoping so, but I need more fighters sooner rather than later, so will just go with what I can get, as we've discussed separately.
Vur Ha! and Ouch! at the same time
Yup. :confused:
Having visited the Dodecanese many times, this situation always brings me to chuckle. If they'd give any crap to Axis agitators, that would be grandpas and grandmas chasing them away with WWI era pistols. How Japanese spies would blend in with the locals, that would be another funny story :D
Yes, it's a bit ridiculous, isn't it! The the Japanese imperialists aren't finished there yet, either. :mad:
Vur Ha! Albeit only one :/
Still, hopefully the first of many.
The urgency to have them now trumps the improvement that might occur some months later, good decision.
Yes, as mentioned above. I held out for improved models as long as I could.
And with real divisions! I cannot believe my eyes.
You may be interested in what they get up to in April. ;)
My exact feelings :D
:)
Not again!!! I wonder if that's triggered by the removal of ally objectives?
I think it's more Romania is going well, so they're happy to divert some troops.
It seems even if we cannot hit their organization, at least by having them bring out so many planes we're reducing their efficiency.
It's just a small rehearsal for the coming conflagration! :eek:
After these years writing TT, you now know more about early 20th century Turkish history than many Turks :) I like how writing this AAR sparked this interest in you.
And you have have assisted me in that, plus dear @stnylan and his gift of that Ataturk book. :)
The EDOK Command HQ keeps working hard (EDOK stands for Eğitim & DOKtrin, Education & Doctrine). I used to drive past it every day :)
Nice!
A neck that ought to be snapped like a dry twig
That would be very nice. Head in noose, etc.
İnönü likes Thai food, I guess? :D I mean, at least Turkey is a warm country, so instead of the Russians running Siam, it makes sense if it's the Turks who's running them
:D As good a reason an any!

---xxx---

I've never done such a thing in the past, but do you think a 5 brigade AA or motorized-AA division that we can put in target provinces help more than its cost?
It would probably better to add AA to existing divisions as those will then be used against tanks etc. The priority should go to Divisions that don't currently have a direct-fire brigade (AT, TD, Mot-AA, AA) attached, as that will give them an extra combined arms buff. I don't believe there's a benefit in grouping your AA together. AA-brigades (motorised or not) will only engage aeroplanes that are targeting them (ground Attack), so a logistical or strategic attack, nor a dogfight overhead will be impacted by them. On the other hand, fixed AA installations will target any and all enemy planes overhead. The former is mobile and can be used against tanks (though they're significantly less effective than AT or TD), the latter will have more impact on the Air war. Of course, they are no substitute for interceptors. I have to say, the attrition from modern German AA brigades on the VVS bomber wings in 'Odin's universe is noticeable, but it's not enough on it's own to make me significantly reduce it's ground attacks as most of that damage is repaired overnight. AA brigades can make a difference, but there are costs and trade-offs. (research to keep them up to snuff, lost opportunity cost, and them taking the place of a brigade that's more powerful in ground combat). Turkey's case is a bit special as it doesn't have the possibility to upgrade it's existing fighter wings and it depends on foreign technology for new ones. All in all, I think the resources would still be better spent on more Interceptors, Turkey can go all in on that front as soon as the USSR has a new Aero engine, or the US has better armaments.
That's why I was suggesting to make dedicated AA divisions to not water down frontline divisions. In the end if the AA division stands in the same province as the frontline divisions getting bombed, they fight against the planes, right?

A 5 bde AA division would cost around the quarter of an interceptor wing in terms of IC, and mot-AA double that but I don't know how effective they would be to compare against interceptors. Of course there's also MP considerations which make this idea even less useful. Just mental gymnastics :)
Thinking along the lines of getting as much out of the investment as possible, using the AA brigades only to protect from Air Attack means they are used less for the same investment. I would posit that by integrating them into existing Divisions, Turkey can save on the production of other support brigades and put additional Divisions into the field. What I meant was that, even if the latter approach is taken, not building AA at all and building AT instead will provide a better punch over-all in the war on the ground...

Unless you're integrating AA into mobile Divisions, Mot-AA is pointless as it isn't any better at shooting down aeroplanes than the regular variety. I think another problem is that your AA brigades only work in the province they are stationed. If the enemy bombers shift their attention to the province next door, you can't move you AA there in time to intercept them. There's a real risk that, even if you're managing this yourself, you will have to keep moving around the AA guns only to see the enemy bombers move their attention elsewhere. Interceptors may be 4x the price of AA, but they can cover a wide area and rapidly go where they are needed. If you want to cover all the potential targets within the operating range of your Interceptors with AA guns, you'll have to spend the equivalent of several interceptors just to have mediocre AA coverage all over the place. And that's keeping in mind that AA is usually less effective at downing planes than interceptors are. And yes, then there is the MP side of things. AA can still be useful in specific circumstances. In vast territories with few Air Bases and little Infrastructure AA can somewhat deter enemy bombers when it's not practical, nor affordable to build forward Air Bases etc. If you have a severe lack of fuel, AA doesn't consume fuel, and Interceptors do. For very fast mobile formations, Mot-AA is faster than TD. Something like L Arm, Mec, AC, Mot-AA, SP R Art or a variation of it is the fastest you can go, for Combined Arms, and for some piercing attack without sacrificing speed, Mot-AA is perfect. If you have no way to buy or build modern interceptors, either because you're playing a tiny minor with close to no IC/LS, and/or you're diplomatically isolated, AA will be a better bet long term. There's not much point using 1918 interceptors against 1944 bombers, you might as well send some AA shells their way. Garrisons of singular targets, like pacific Islands, can benefit from AA, but that's on top of fixed AA emplacements.
I'll let the discussion largely stand on its own. But, just as they reckon the best anti-tank weapon is another (suitably equipped) tank, I still reckon its more fighters I want - just been waiting for something adequate to buy. If I'd had the LS, I'd have invested it in native fighter development, but alas ... :(

---xxx---

During a briefing, MAJ Loggins looked at the overall situation map and had to express his desire that the Soviets recognize how close they could be to a "Sickle Cut" of their own to not only recapture the Baltics, but envelop a large number of Axis divisions... Not even that close to the Danger Zone... If they put enough ass in it!

MAJ Loggins is also a fan of "Danger Close" fire missions, and given that the Turks have so little possibility to contest the skies, recommends the Nelson command: Engage the Enemy More Closely!
Oh, the skies won't be unconstested. Just need to do it at the right time, as their numbers will test our endurance. ;)
Well I keep plugging away at it, but it is almost entirely down the to aI whatever we do so probably down to luck or not whether the Russians pull off the biggest coup of the war.
It is entirely up to the Soviet AI and you will see in the next two eps whether the Soviets are ready and able to do anything interesting re wielding the sickle <pictures a Grim Reaper with grinning rictus, a la almost all heavy metal album covers :p>

---xxx---

OK, now to the next update, which is written and illustrated and just needs publishing. It is a big 'un, as lots is happening and I want to cover everything in a busy April in just the two chapters. And there is an introductory cameo by a Turkish interrogator who attempts to rival Kelebek for menace and terror in his own particular way. :eek::D
 
Chapter 196: Mayhem (1 to 19 April 1943)

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Chapter 196: Mayhem (1 to 19 April 1943)

Recap. March had seen relatively less action in the Turkish sector than in many previous months, as manpower was husbanded to the extent it could be. Axis ground and air attacks were repelled and the breakthrough area for the proposed Spring Offensive prepared. Elsewhere, Turkey’s Soviet and Romanian Comintern allies had started to make inroads against the Germans and their lackeys elsewhere on the Patriotic Front. Britain had dashed to the gates of Bengasi in Libya, while Japan threatened eastern India. The US giant continued to largely sleep – except for the marines they had sent to help Turkey: and they were getting ready to venture far into the Danger Zone!

---xxx---

1 Apr 43

April began with the apprehension of an unfortunate Italian agent by one of Vito Corleone’s ‘business associates’ in Napoli. He was handed over to an intermediary of Şükrü Âli Ögel’s MAH (National Security Service) – the ‘conventional’ intelligence service operating the spy network in Italy. Both it and its more mysterious offshoot the S.I.T.H. (Secret Intelligence Technical Headquarters) answered to Ambassador ‘Mike’ Ceylan, who was based in Switzerland and in charge of all Turkish intelligence operations in Western Europe.

The key question Ceylan wanted answered was whether it was now safe for Turkish operatives to resume full national unity disruption operations. The unfortunate Italian secret policeman was strapped to a chair. An elderly-looking Turkish MAH interrogator conducted the ‘interview’. He was a former dentist …

“Is it safe?” he asked. No reaction.

“Is it safe?”

“Are you talking to me?” the Italian operative asked.

“Is it safe?”

”Is what safe?”

The interrogator was convinced his ‘patient’ knew and was feigning ignorance. Unfortunately for the Italian, he genuinely had no idea as to the answer. But how to convince his interrogator?

“Is it safe?”

“I don't know what you mean. I can't tell you if something is safe or not unless I know specifically what you're talking about.”

But the MAH man wasn’t going to reveal what he knew. That was the captive's – forlorn – task.

“Is it safe?”

“Tell me what the "it" refers to.”

The MAH man would have none of this obvious (to him) evasion. “Is it safe?”

The Italian started blathering. “Yes, it's safe. It's very safe. So safe you wouldn't believe it.”

“Is it safe?”

Still no luck, the captive thought. He tried another tack. “No, it's not safe. It's very dangerous. Be careful.”

The interrogator was not convinced. He began to force the policeman’s jaw open.

“Relax, relax. Come on. Open. Open. It's OK.”

“Is it safe?”

At first, it only seems to be an ordinary examination. He then jabbed his steel probe into a cavity in one of the man’s teeth, so hard he struck a nerve. The scream was piercing.


“That hurt? I should think it would. You should take better care of your teeth. You have quite a cavity here.” A short pause. “Is it safe?”

“I told you I can't tell you...”

Another jab, another scream. Even the interrogator's hardened assistants were getting a little squeamish by now.

“Think he knows?” asked one of them.

“Of course. He's being very stubborn.”

“No, please. Please don't. No.”

“It's OK,” said the ‘dentist’ soothingly, rubbing in some pain relief. “Is it not remarkable? Simple oil of cloves and how amazing the results. Life can be that simple; relief - discomfort. Now, which of these I next apply, that decision is in your hands, so ... take your time and tell me. Is it safe?

“Please... Please stop.”

The record does not indicate whether the ‘neutralised’ agent ever gave what his interrogator thought was a satisfactory answer. The Turks decided to maintain the current levels of activity, split one third on counter-espionage and two thirds on disrupting national unity.

For those with a strong constitution – this is the original scene from The Marathon Man. Warning, don’t watch this before you’re due for your next dental check-up! One wonders if Dustin Hoffman could ever feel comfortable in the dentists chair ever again …


---xxx---

A short probe by three Axis divisions (including the SS-Verf) on Doboj started at 1am on 1 April but stopped after three hours when met with firm resistance (Turkey 15 v 43 Axis casualties). With the line otherwise quiet and no large Axis formations seeming to mass for offensives, Gataly’s ‘Fighting 15th’ Inf Div was switched across from Otocac and marched towards Novi Grad. The preparations for a possible Turkish Spring Offensive continued. And SGT Metin Sadik would once again be at the forefront, it seemed.

A report from the Chief Meteorologist at HQ 1st Army noted there was the possibility of storms in the region, but weather conditions remained clear in the proposed breakthrough area and there was no mud in the target provinces or in their rear. Plans remained on track.


Proposed breakthrough zone marked.

A major Axis attack on Tuzla broke out at 7pm that evening, but the defenders (led by MAJGEN Seven) remained confident of holding out, despite enemy air strikes.


Air Damage Report. Axis raids on Doboj added 354 men to the Comintern casualty count.

---xxx---

2 Apr 43

The attack on Tuzla did however provoke a response from the Turkish Fighter Command, which decided to test the Axis air response again. The Italians had sent four TAC wings with a multi-role fighter escort. The older fighters of 1 AG (I-16s and LaGG-3s) intercepted between 5am and 7am. Neither side suffered heavy casualties (9% for 2 AF and 7% for 3 AF) in the air and the strike went in, killing 151 defenders; but no additional enemy fighters joined in. The test mission was cancelled on completion. The enemy air raids continued into the following day.

2 April was commemorated around the country, marking four years since the death of the Father Turk and the accession of his successor Ismet Inönü.


A soccer match organised at a community centre to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The banner exhorts the populace to be active – and not undermine the war effort through idle chatter: "Don't spend your time gossiping, perform sports instead." [Courtesy of the photo archives and translation services of MAJGEN @diskoerekto :)]

---xxx---

3 Apr 43

By 4pm, only one enemy division remained in the attack on Tuzla, which was failing. Victory came at 6pm: 700 Comintern men were killed compared to 1,832 Axis troops.

Air Damage Report. The Italian raids on Tuzla killed another 902 Comintern defenders.

---xxx---

4 Apr 43

The latest expansion for the air base in Beograd was completed, which would take it to Level 9 facilities when fully operational.

---xxx---

5 Apr 43

Another delivery was made early on 5 April – a flotilla of brand new Forest Sherman class destroyers! They far outshone the ancient equivalents of the single flotilla of Kocatepe class ships currently in service.


Soon afterwards, US ‘LO’ (?) MAJ Tyler Durden was seen slipping over the Sava River with a small team of ‘off book’ US and Turkish operatives. Speculation as to what behind-the-lines activity they might be up to made it back to MAJ ‘Wraith’ Loggins, who was attached the HQ of the 1st US Mar Div as it completed last equipment checks: they had been put on two hours notice to move. He just shook his head, muttered 'cowboy' and got on with his own preparations. All the Marines' river-crossing gear was ready; faces were camouflaged; weapons cleaned; two front lines of ammo distributed; letters back to loved ones written and left with the ‘REMFs’.[1] The Danger Zone beckoned.

For those not aware: Rear Echelon Mother F@ckers! :p

Later that day, leadership for diplomacy training was increased [from 0.15 to 0.20] at the expense of espionage [0.15 to 0.10]. The need for more licence builds were anticipated for the future and there were only two remaining ambassadorial teams left in Ankara.

Then at 5pm, 15 Inf Div reached Novi Grad. As soon as the code word “Fight Club” was transmitted to 1st Army HQ, Inönü replied with the signal “let the mayhem begin”. This was the code word for the unleashing of Operation Mayhem: the Turkish spring offensive for 1943. Reports of disruption, sabotage and other fifth column operations behind the Axis lines were soon coming in. Durden, his Turkish allies and local guerrillas were doing what they could [no game effect, but it would be a logical kind of thing for the Turks to do in what is occupied territory of the UGNR. Think a mix of French partisans before D Day and the German's in the Ardennes as the Battle of the Bulge was kicking off. :eek:]

All four marine divisions and supporting troops were soon crossing the Sava en masse … into the 'Danger Zone' (ie the breakthrough provinces of Sisak and Bosanska Dubica). It promised to be a tough fight. The US and Turkish Marines were assisted by the two most experienced of the ‘heavy’ breakthrough divisions: 1 and 15 Inf Divs.


The remaining divisions assigned to the offensive stayed their hands: they would wait until the opposite river bank had been secured before moving through and leapfrogging the initial attack forces, who (if they even succeeded) would no doubt be both exhausted from the combat and hampered by post-attack reorganisation delays.

---xxx---

6 Apr 43

The enemy soon began spoiling air raids on the jumping off points in Vrnograc and Sanski Most, appearing at 1am. But this time, they would not go unchallenged. Turkish fighter strength had been carefully husbanded for this critical time. This offensive would hinge as much on the air war as it would on the desperate ground fighting to gain a bridgehead over the Sava. This would be the biggest and perhaps most important test yet for the Turkish Air Force.

In Split, 4 AG (two F4F Wildcat INT wings) would intercept over Vrnograc and 3 AG (La-5 and Mustang MR fighters) went to Sanski Most. In Beograd the La-5s and newest wing of Mustangs (9 AF, now ready) were taken out of 1 BG (the TAC group) to form 2 AG and sent against Vrnograc. 1 AF (the old I-16s and LaGG-3s) had mostly recovered from their recent fight and were ordered to Sanski Most. All groups were ordered to conduct continuous interceptions, by day and night.

The first round of interceptions went from 2 to 4am. In both locations, three additional wings of either Italian or German interceptors soon joined in. Both the additional Turkish wings ended up joining the dogfight over Sanski Most. The early results were reasonable and it seemed both air raids had been limited in their effect somewhat.


The six Turkish fighter wings of 1, 3 and 4 AGs were at between 77-99% strength when they got back to base. 2 AG was still in the air in a ‘follow-on’ encounter dogfight with two Italian INT wings over Novi Grad between 6 to 8am. Both sides took strength and organisational damage, but the Turkish MR fighters gave as good as they got.

The next aerial clashes started at 8am. This time the Turkish fighters were evenly spread. 2 and 4 AGs ended up tackling six German and Italian fighter wings over Vrnograc, while 1 and 3 AGs in Sanski Most were up against three Italian INT wings. 7 AF and 5 AF took the brunt of the damage, but the enemy also took some damage and neither raid killed too many ground troops. All the Turkish fighters were kept in the air at this point, despite the damage. Something the hard-pressed troops trying to get across the Sava River greatly appreciated.


In fact, it later became apparent the Turkish fighter cover had seen off the bombing raids over Sanski Most, which were discontinued after the second interception battle. But this meant the Axis fighters were able to concentrate on Vrnograc. Which they did when the next dogfight broke out – to the extent that they got in each other’s way! No fewer than eight INT and one MR wing escorted the next raid, met by 2 and 4 AGs. Once again, the Turkish fighters took some heavy damage, but managed to deal a little too and once again limited the damage the raid caused on the ground.


To maintain a functioning fighter group, 6 AF swapped into 3 AG, allowing the heavily damaged La-5s of 5 AF to rest and repair in Split, along with the even more heavily damaged Wildcats of 7 AF. 2 AG was also rested in Beograd, but with 1 AG still in good condition viable interception was available over both Vrnograc and Sanski Most that evening. But it wasn’t needed: no more Axis bombers appeared that night.

Air Damage Report. Three raids on Vrnograc killed 267 Comintern attackers, while the two raids on Sanski Most killed just 127. The attacks would be conducted without enemy air interference for the next few days, at least.

That afternoon the enemy made another probe attempt on Doboj at 1pm, but it did no better than the last (Comintern 16 v 85 Axis killed after three hours). The newly mechanised (and still leaderless) 3 Cav Div arrived in Banja Luka from the far east of the line at 10pm and was sent forward to Novi Grad to add to the exploitation force that hoped to follow up if the river crossings could be forced.

---xxx---

7 Apr 43

By 3am Gataly had launched a reckless attack on Bosanska Dubica [31% progress], where 7 Pz Div still remained fully organised but was at only just over 50% strength, while their Hungarian companions looked to be unaffected so far. In Sisak [28%], Orbay kept up the pressure on the German 2 Pz and 21 Infanterie Divs. Both remained well organised, but were at around two-thirds strength. Perhaps all the recent pressure across the whole Patriotic Front was finally starting to tell on German manpower, intel staff speculated when they heard these reports. Not so the Hungarians or Italians, though. All of the attacking Comintern divisions remained in good condition so far after a day and a half of heavy fighting, which continued throughout the day without relief for either side.

---xxx---

8 Apr 43

Midnight saw a British-sponsored spy team apprehended trying to infiltrate a Greek militia battalion in Athens. There had been a tip-off from the Soviets to Kaya’s Secret Police in Ankara. It had actually come from Maclean, but the Soviet source was not disclosed to the Turks, of course. But it was very fishy and there was a great deal of muttering and suspicion now within the MI6 operation in Ankara.


This time, due to the co-belligerent status of the British, the neutralisation of the agents was not particularly violent. One British agent and his Greek team were imprisoned, but not put on the Midnight Express. For now, anyway.

Word of this filtered through to Calixte ‘Romeo’ Charon later that day – just as Callan’s emissary ‘Lonely’ arrived to assess the situation, get Romeo’s report and then consult his sealed instructions from Callan.

“At last, I have a lead,” said a rather dishevelled-looking Romeo. “I’ve heard the Turks got a tip-off from the Soviets that led to a recent series of arrests of British agents. The Turks have been gloating about it. But how would the Soviets have got hold of such information?”

It was a rhetorical question. Lonely, not talkative at the best of times, wisely maintained his silence.

“There is also some degree of disquiet in the British Embassy too, so I hear," 'Romeo' continued. "Dark words about betrayal. Their ‘cultural attaché’ – that is, MI6 station chief – is meant to be searching for a mole, so I hear, but without success. I am suspicious of him: this is a local operation and the leak probably came from within his own set-up, but from what my contacts there tell me he does not seem too fussed about it. I’ll see if I can hammer something out.”


“I’ll see if I hammer something out.” Calixte ‘Romeo’ Charon seemed to be getting more deranged as his personal voyage plunged ever deeper towards the heart of darkness.

“Er, thank you ‘Mr Charon’, most, um – interesting,” said the diffident Lonely, trying not to appear alarmed. They discussed funding and other matters for a while, then Lonely returned to his hotel room.

There he opened his instructions and read them before destroying them. If Romeo had nothing to show, he was to have terminated the operation. And, if this was resisted, the termination would be carried out ‘with extreme prejudice’.

But Romeo seemed to be onto something now, so Lonely breathed a sigh of relief. He would stay another day then return to Iraq and update Callan on the latest developments and Romeo’s theories. He might be able to piece together more using his official MI6 sources.

---xxx---

Also at midnight, in the Far East 16 Inf Div joined their other colleagues (4 Cav Div and 47 SD) in Lepsy and - as a group - began following up a Soviet advance on Chindagatuy, where three Manchurian militia divisions were fleeing.

By early afternoon, Orbay was trying to blitz the Germans in Sisak [31% progress], where the organisation of both attackers and defenders was starting to fray a bit. In Bosanska Dubica, the damage on both sides was less, but Gataly was keeping up his attack [35%].

---xxx---

9 Apr 43

On the morning of 9 April, both the river crossings were gradually inching forward [37% in Bosanska Dubica and 34% in Sisak]. This seemed to galvanise the Axis air commanders: a new raid hit Vrnograc at 6am, with two TAC wings plus a fighter wing escorting. The intercept was missed and the raid killed 193 men. But next time, fighters from both Split and Beograd were able to react. They were on patrol when 3 AG (La-5s and P-51Ds) they were jumped by three wings of German Me-109s. 3 AG took heavy damage, but managed to inflict some on the Germans as well.


The next air raid came that afternoon, with two heavily escorted Italian TAC wings hitting Vrnograc, and 1 AG joining their compatriots. This time, the Turks had the tactical advantage due to the enemy’s overcrowding of the skies. 3 AG took more heavy damage and withdrew but 1 AG stayed. The older aircraft did surprisingly well and managed to get at the Italian bombers, whose interrupted raid this time only killed 55 on the ground. 3 AG was spent and ordered to rest, but 1 AG remained operationally viable.

It was just as well, because they were called upon again that night as the large enemy force returned over Vrnograc. Once again the smaller Turkish force retained the tactical edge and, together with the night conditions, the Italian bombers only killed 36 men on the ground. 1 AG remained strong enough to stay on intercept alert by the time they returned to base in Beograd early the next morning.


Air Damage Report. The Italian raids on Vrnograc were limited to 284 ground casualties once the Turkish interceptions took hold. They did not reappear for several days, once more allowing the river crossings to progress largely unhindered from the air.

---xxx---

10 Apr 43

As the grim fight on the Sava continued into a fifth day, a midday report from Agent Boğafiltresi in Moscow gave an update to events on the wider Patriotic Front. The Germans continued to inch forward in the north, but the Soviets seemed to be making a little progress to the south of that, in the direction of the Baltic ports. Elsewhere, there was give and take, while Romania was holding up well.


And in Libya, it seemed the British had decided to bypass Bengasi and had broken out into central Libya, racing along the coast once more.


The situation in Burma remained unchanged and Singapore still held out.

In Sisak [40% progress], the organisation of 1 Inf Div and 1st and 6th US Mar Divs was beginning to erode (around 50%), but the Germans’ was worse (around 25-30%). While in Bosanska Dubica [44%], 15 Inf Div was at about 50% organisation and 4th US Mar Div down to about 25%, but the Turkish 1 Mar Div [4 x MAR, 1 x ENG] was holding strong at around 75% organisation. 2 Pz Div still resisted strongly (around 50% org), but the Hungarian 13th Infantry was beginning to wither under the pressure (about 25% org). But the enemy was not yet close to retreat after five days.

---xxx---

11 Apr 43

A day later, things were moving closer to a resolution. All sides were getting worn out, especially in Sisak, where both sides were weakening more quickly (especially 2 Pz Div), but 1 Inf Div remained strongest. In Bosanska Dubica, 1 Mar Div was holding up the best, closely followed by 15 Inf Div, while 7 Pz Div was still holding firmly. 4 US Mar Div and the Hungarian 13th Infantry were both close to the end of their tether. The skies remained mercifully clear.


Just an hour later, the Hungarians broke in Bosanska Dubica, but 7 Pz div fought on. Inönü refrained from sending in reinforcements to finish of either of the attacks: he wanted the second wave forces fresh and not hampered by post-attack reorganisation delays.

Intelligence Report: Salzburg, Germany. Turkey’s intelligence operation in Italy provided a report from informants in the Italian government on a four-day meeting Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini began at Schloss Klessheim near Salzburg. Mussolini was in poor health and spent most of the conference listening silently to Hitler's long rambling monologues; an attempt by Mussolini to bring up the possibility of making peace with the Soviets was swiftly rebuffed. [Note: an OTL event that suits this ATL well.]

Partner Reporting: US. Frank Piasecki made the first flight of his own Piasecki PV-2, only the second successful American helicopter. The PV-2 "featured the first dynamically balanced rotor blades", differing it from the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300, which had made its first free flight on May 13, 1940. [Note: an OTL event – not directly related to any game effect.]

---xxx---

12 Apr 43

The increasingly desperate Axis commanders tried another air raid on Vrnograc at midnight with a single unescorted Italian TAC wing: 1 AG reacted, but an hour later so did three Me-109 wings. Turkish strength held up fairly well, though their organisation was deteriorating. And the raid only killed 52 on the ground. Despite this, 1 AG remained on intercept duty, but the Axis bombers did not return. The Air Force had once again protected the ground troops – with some of its oldest planes.


At 4am, 2 Pz Div withdrew from Sisak, leaving 21 Infanterie to fight on grimly, while in Bosanska Dubica 4 US Mar Div had also had enough, falling back to the western bank of the Sava.

Then at 8am, Inönü’s adjutant entered his office quietly, handing him a report from 1st Army’s Chief of Operations.


Victory! Vur ha! Though the cost had been very heavy. As the attacking units moved forward to secure the battlefield, the follow-up forces still held back to ensure they would be able to push through for their planned exploitation attack to the north-east on Virovitica. Zagreb would be bypassed and the fight for Bosanska Dubica continued.

An hour later, the two US Marine breakthrough divisions had secured the eastern river bank in Sisak – MAJ Kenny ‘Wraith’ Loggins with them. At 11am 1 Inf Div joined them. All were quite badly disorganised – 1 US Mar Div had only just made it over. Straight away 17 Inf Div (another ‘heavy’ division equipped, with an IS-2 tank brigade) started across the Sava, as did the lighter but quicker 2 Armd Div. Simultaneously, the risk was taken to move the speedy and powerful 2 Mot Div across to Vrnograc from Otocac.


By midday, 7 Pz Div in Bosanska Dubica [62% progress] still had some fight left in them and refused to yield, with 15 Inf Div assaulting with the still comparatively fresh Turkish 1 Mar Div, which had made a stellar showing so far in its first big operation.

OTL Event: Berlin, Germany. Martin Bormann was appointed as Secretary to the Führer, the second highest office in Nazi Germany. [What a collection of odious creeps they had running things. :(]

---xxx---

13 Apr 43

At 1pm, as soon as 2 Mot Div crossed over into Ogulin, the enemy launched a concerted attack on 2 Mtn Div in Otocac [-60% in favour of the attackers]. The response was swift: 1 Armd and 2 Mot Divs launched a quick spoiling attack from Ogulin on Delnice, where two of the attacking Axis divisions were based. As soon as it went in at 2pm, the Otocac attack was called off (Turkish 68 v 38 Axis killed).

The spoiling attack on Delnice was also called off straight away, its job done (Turkish 5 v 40 Axis killed) – technically a loss, but actually a great tactical success. 2 Mot Div pushed on towards Vrnograc, where 3 Mtn Div would soon be alone as 17 Inf Div followed up the assault forces over the Sava. 2 Mot were due to arrive at 3pm the next day.

At 5pm, after eight days of vicious fighting, 7 Pz Div finally retreated from Bosanska Dubica: the casualties had been similar in quantity and proportion to the Sisak river assault. As 15 Inf and 1 Mar Divs advanced in to secure the bridgehead, they could see two Axis divisions were already moving to counter-attack from Gradiska. It was critical to get across the river before they arrived.


Fortunately, due to the length of the battle, the Turkish units were already well forward and the bridgehead was secured an hour later at 6pm. 1 Mot and and 3 Cav Divs were sent over from Sanski Most for their exploitation operation. At the same time, 2 Armd Div was the first of the second wave across the Sava into Sisak and struck immediately at Virovitica, hoping to retain the momentum of the offensive after such a protracted start. Their only opposition at this stage was the already badly depleted Hungarian 13th Division.


And as anticipated, the weary 15 Inf and 1 Mar Divs were under attack by German and Hungarian troops from the south-east within the hour. They would have to hold until their reinforcements made it across the Sava. A further calculated risk was taken by summoning 176 SD from Tuzla and 97 SD ‘Shev’ from Valjevo by truck to Sanski Most, from where they would be used to hold the developing salient as it was hopefully extended, allowing exhausted divisions to recover and exploitation formations to keep going if they succeeded in breaking out.

The attack on Virovitica took until 11pm to clear the Hungarians out (Turks 13 v 61 Hungarians killed). Further south, a hasty spoiling attack across the Sava at 8pm from 156 SD and 6 Inf Divs from Banja Luka and Prnjavor on Gradiska quickly halted the Axis attack on Bosanska Dubica, which was also ended at 11pm (Comintern 13 v 61 Axis killed). Having succeeded in its aim, the spoiling attack on Gradiska was called off at 1am the next morning (Comintern 41 v 39 Axis killed). The bridgehead had been secured – the first phase of Operation Mayhem had been completed. Next would come the exploitation, already begun with the attack on Virovitica. Or at least, that was the plan.

The night ended with 17 Inf Div arriving in Sisak – but they waited for 2 Armd Div to secure Virovitica first, when they would hopefully pass through and exploit south-east from there to Slatina, continuing the leap-frogging process to maintain momentum.

---xxx---

14 Apr 43

The day would prove an eventful one. The events started at midnight with a Bulgarian nationalist rebel uprising in Plovdiv. The Cavalry Reserve (the two spare brigades from the reorganisation of 3 Cav Div) were diverted on trains to take care of this rare guerilla upset in the Balkans.

At 3am the Axis launched another attack on Otocac, employing shock tactics to try to overwhelm the single defending division (Türkes’ unlucky 2 Mtn Div). Another spoiling attack, this time by 1 Armd Div alone, was immediately ordered on Delnice, from where both the attacking formations (Italian and German) were coming. It went in at 4am and, as before, quickly ended the attack on Otocac, by 6am (Turks 35 v 34 Axis killed). As before, the successful spoiling attack was halted at the same time (Turkish 13 v 17 Axis killed).

More serious was a simultaneous attack by three divisions on Vrnograc, timed to strike the isolated 3 Mtn Div, with 2 Mot Div still 12 hours away. MAJGEN Diskoerekto would have to hold on as best he could against the shock attack. At the same time, enemy bombers began hitting Prnjavor.


With the repeated attention being paid to Otocac and Lussino now seeming secure, at 4am 217 SD (just 3 x INF) was instructed to head there to boost the defence. By 9am, just the one German formation – 68th Infanterie from Karlovac – continued the attack on Vrnograc, but it remained concerning.

Good news was received at midday: 2 Armd Div had reached Virovitica, though they still had another 27 hours to wait before they could attack again. 11 Inf Div (MAJGEN Baransel) arrived in Sanski Most and was ordered across the Sava to reinforce the bridgehead in Bosanska Dubica,

An hour later 3 Cav Div had crossed into Bosanska Dubica and ready for tasking: it came straight away, with orders for an exploitation attack on Slatina. But they encountered a dug-in and full-strength Hungarian infantry division: the fight would be no pushover.


2 Mot Div joined 3 Mtn Div in Vrnograc at 6pm – but could take quite some time yet to reinforce. For now, the mountain troops were standing firm against the German shock attack.

Air Damage Report. Three uncontested Axis air raids on Prnjavor killed 314 Comintern troops over the course of the day.

Later that night, the Italians sent two TAC wings to hit Bosanska Dubica to try to spoil 3 Cav’s attack. Air Chief Örlungat was soon on the field telephone to MAJGEN Namut commanding the partly recovered 2 AG in Beograd:

“This must not stand. Send whatever aircraft you have to stop the Axis swine!”
“At once – vur ha! For Atatürk and Inönü!”

Partner Reporting: Moscow, USSR. Agent Boğfiltresi advised the Soviet Union has reorganised its intelligence gathering system, setting up the People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB, later the MGB) as a separate agency from the NKVD (later the KGB). [Historical note: Lavrentiy Beria remained in control of the NKVD, while Beria's assistant, Vsevolod Merkulov was named as the Director of the NKGB. Both Beria and Merkulov, along with four other Beria loyalists, would be executed on December 23, 1953, nine months after the death of Joseph Stalin.]

---xxx---

15 Apr 43

Namut's mixed MR fighter group engaged the unescorted enemy bombers at 11pm, managing to diminish their attack somewhat. The bombers did not return that day.


They were up again early the next morning when another raid started, but became engaged with a group of three Italian INT wings over Sisak while the enemy raid went in on Bosanska Dubica. The old La-5s of 4 AF were down to just over half strength and completely disorganised by the end of that dogfight. The newer P-51Ds of 9 AF had fared better.

Air Damage Report. Once again, the interceptions seemed to have halted further air raids on Bosanska Dubica for now, with just the 128 defenders killed in the two sorties that morning.

Another Axis diversionary attack on Tuzla saw three divisions beaten back in a short battle between 4am and 1pm which killed 123 Comintern defenders and 429 Axis troops.

At 11am the exploitation was boosted when 17 Inf Div moved up to Virovitica, while 1 Mot Div made it to Bosanska Dubica and was thrown straight in to reinforce 3 Cav’s attack on Slatina.


The situation in Vrnograc was getting tougher, however. By 1pm a full strength Italian mountain division had joined but not yet reinforced, while MAJGEN Diskoerekto’s attempt to delay the shock attack was negated and casualties were mounting, with 2 Mot Div yet to reinforce.

And the Axis kept trying to press the Turks elsewhere along the line, to perhaps try to draw forces away from the breakthrough – or keep them from joining it. Fortunately, 217 SD pulled into Otocac just an hour before it was attacked by an Italian motorised division. Meanwhile the fighting dragged on in Vrnograc and Slatina. But the skies remained clear.



---xxx---

16 Apr 43

The attack on Otocac intensified [40% progress] with a German infantry division reinforcing from Delnice. But the strengthened defence seemed to be holding, so it was decided no spoiling attack from 1 Armd Div in Ogulin was necessary this time.

1 Mot Div did well to reinforce the attack on Slatina at 3am, while 2 Armd Div had also joined in reserve, their previous post-attack reorganisation finished. Taking Slatina was crucial to keeping the offensive’s momentum going. Balancing this, the German 1st Infanterie had also joined the defence in reserve. Some bomber support would have been useful at this point, but the scarcity of escort fighters, which were either badly damaged or on crucial intercept duty, kept the Yak-4s on the ground in Beograd.


At 8am, with the emphasis on the offensive, Inönü gave orders that all subordinate 1st Army divisions should use more aggressive tactical choices [ie medium aggressive selected on the slider].

But the Axis continued to try to foil the Turks’ plans with a new attack on Bosanska Dubica launched at 10am. This time, the response was vicious: LTGEN Artunkal’s reinforced HQ 2nd Corps led a cross-river spoiling attack from three directions on Gradiska.


The result was immediate: the latest Bosanska Dubica attack was called off (Comintern 16 v 57 Axis troops killed) when the attack on Gradiska went in at 11am. But even though this toughened the odds on the Gradiska attack [36% progress], Artunkal thought it might still succeed, so it was continued this time.

Vrnograc was getting tight: neither side could reinforce and, while a simple defence had been reinstituted, the German shock attack was taking a toll on the Turkish mountain troops.


This was balanced by good news a couple of hours later, with a hard-fought victory in Slatina.



---xxx---

17 Apr 43

The Turkish supply system, under pressure for many months now, was boosted with better supply production techniques: the line of research was continued, as this aspect remained well behind contemporary world standards.


The promising news continued with 3 Cav Div occupying Slatina at 3am, allowing 17 Inf Div to begin moving into position for the next exploitation attack, while Artunkal’s persistence was rewarded with victory in Gradiska.


The latest Axis attack on Otocac was broken off at 9am, the enemy taking 771 casualties against 467 for the Turkish defenders. But in Vrnograc, the Germans redoubled their efforts: with 3 Mtn Div weakening, they launched a reckless assault.

All the while, the Turks kept sending follow-up divisions into the salient to reinforce the line and back up the quicker mechanised breakthrough units. For example, at 11am 11 Inf Div was passing through Bosanska Dubica to Slatina.

Sensing blood in Vrnograc, the Italians sent their bombers in again to harass Diskoerekto’s hard-pressed defenders at midday. They were met by the weary but still fighting veterans of 1 AG, who were in turn attacked by three more German interceptor wings at 1pm.


The old I-16s of 2 AF were badly cut up in this latest dogfight. Another reorg in Beograd saw 3 AF replace 4 AF in 2 AG to reconstitute the interception patrol in case needed again.

Air Damage Report. The raid on Vrnograc killed 151 men on the ground but, once more, the bombers did not return.

Between 3-5pm, 1 Mot and 2 Armd Divs arrived in Slatina, but both now had more than four days to wait before they could attack again. This was why 17 Inf Div had been held back from combat until now: when they arrived, they would be able to attack straight away.

3 Cav Div, which had been holding the province, was quite disorganised and also had an attack delay: they were sent to defend and recover in Virovitica, to secure the ‘elbow’ of the breakthrough, even though there was no immediate threat to it. They would support 6 US Mar Div, which was also there to defend and recover from its earlier traumatic crossing of the Sava.

---xxx---

18 Apr 43

It was fortunate Slatina had been well reinforced, because the German 1st Infanterie mounted a strong attack from Nasice [-25% progress] (to the south-east) at 1am.

By 5am things had come to the critical point in Vrnograc: neither side had been able to reinforce the front line and both the Germans and Turks had virtually no organisation left. Who would break first?


By 8am the answer was known: MAJGEN Diskoerekto’s men had held on by the slimmest of margins after four days of intense combat! They had lost almost 10% of their strength killed and had very little morale in reserve. The Germans had lost even more men in one of the bloodiest battles of the month. The new Turkish general was learning quickly on the job!

Gürler’s 16 Inf Div was the first into Gradiska at 4pm, securing it to expand the bridgehead over the Sava to three provinces in width. Three hours later, the Germans admitted defeat in their counter-attack on Slatina: it had been a bloody repulse (Turkish 104 v 963 German casualties).

This left no battles in progress for Operation Mayhem for the time being as forces moved into position for the next phase of the breakthrough: a hoped ‘pocketing’ of a portion of the Axis forces still holding the Sava to the south.

---xxx---

19 Apr 43

At 5am 17 Inf Div had made its arrival in Slatina and pushed straight into an advance eastwards against Valpovo, where there were no defenders yet, but three Axis divisions were retreating to it from Nasice, no doubt now fearing encirclement. But as 19 April finished, no battles had recommenced. The pause would not last long.


Summary of Combat, Adriatic-Sava Sector, 1 to 19 April 1943. It includes the first two weeks of Operation Mayhem, which started on 5 April.

---xxx---

Coming Up: Will the Axis be able to contain the initial hard-won successes reaped so far in Operation Mayhem? Can the Turks keeps pushing quickly and hard enough to pocket Axis forces still trying to hold the Sava? Or is another Axis counter-offensive in the offing? How will the rest of the Patriotic Front have developed by the month’s end? And will the British be able to capitalise on their latest breakthrough in Libya?

In the Secret War, can ‘Romeo’ make some real progress to help Callan uncover the Soviet double agents infesting MI6? Conversely, will the latest capture of British agents in the Glorious Union shed any light on the identity of the mysterious ‘Rose’ – if they even exist and are not just an elaborate disinformation exercise, as Kim Philby is beginning to believe back at MI6 HQ in London.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

The Dark Lord Kelebek
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And in Libya, it seemed the British had decided to bypass Bengasi and had broken out into central Libya, racing along the coast once more.
Despite everything, the British have had a pretty good war. They won the naval side of it pretty much by themselves across all theatres, kept all the important and valuable stuff in Asia locked down tight, and sent colonials to bleed out Japan and Italy. Post-war, they'll be much stronger militarily and economically than they were OTL and, since they've still done more than the Americans have without sacrificing anything, will probably keep the dominions around for at least a little while longer. In fact, when there's an inevitable break between the USA and the Soviets, and they come begging for help, the empire might be in a very strong position indeed.

As for the war effort, it seems we were right to focus on hungary as the weak link in the chain. The Germans are defending them well, and the Italian Air Force conquest to be the biggest thorn in our side, but progress is being made. Taking down hungary, even if it doesn't mean much in terms of the war situation, will be a huge morale boost for us, a huge wallop to the Axis relationship (our best hope is to force a split between Italy and Germany) and in general should help out in various ways that the game probably won't simulate. Still, it will relieve romania forever of threat, and we can then focus on taking down our prize of Italy.

Russian AI is actually quite close to pocketing the German far north army twice over! I wonder if they'll mange it and whether they'll manage it further south to trap ad many men as possible? But as I said before, just halting the march north and ending the last big german offensive and putting zthem firmly on defence for the rest of the war is a great step forward. We are at last within sight of the end, even if it is a long way off.
 
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Wraith11B

Call Kenny Loggins, you're in the DANGER ZONE...
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That was a tough ground fight, and a hearty Vur Ha! to the men of the Turkish Air Force who went up with barely anything beyond some interwar airframes against probably the latest and greatest that the Krauts have and gave them some wut-fer!

Kudos as well to the USMC for kicking down that door across the Sava for Turkey! That's the kind of Danger Close missions they excel at and great job to the Turkish High Command for putting them where they belong!
 
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