Chapter 226: Happy Birthday, Herr Hitler (1-20 April 1944)

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Chapter 226: Happy Birthday, Herr Hitler (1-20 April 1944)

Introduction

The end of March 1944 saw Hitler’s Germany staring at the abyss, as they desperately tried to stave the Soviet onslaught against the last few Nazi strongholds in western Germany. Hitler prepared to endure his 55th birthday in the makeshift Fuhrer Bunker in Dusseldorf as Soviet artillery pounded the city. But would he and his odious regime last until the 20th to ‘celebrate’ it? The odds seemed firmly against it.

Italy continued to support the Germans in the north while using the Alps and the limited approaches to northern Italy through Venice to stall the Turkish-led offensive there, while Turkish and Soviet divisions in southern Germany pushed towards the Swiss border in an attempt to physically split the two main European Axis powers.

In the Secret War, Perse Fotheringay-Phipps was still on the run somewhere in or around Hollywood: the Turkish pursuit of her had slowed down somewhat with the departure of Cennet to Italy the month before, but the mysterious S.I.T.H. assassin 'the Duke of Midnight' was still at large and may be hunting her.

And in Italy, Cennet was making her way south for a rendezvous with the leader of the pro-Turkish Mafia, Don Vito Corleone. It was time to start undermining the Italian will to resist in earnest and there was a special interest in ports on the Adriatic coast …

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1 Apr 44

The day began with the old Blenheim TAC wing, at that time in Tirane, being flown northwards [reserve hopping to maintain organisation] via Beograd and Szombathely to Zagreb. From there, it would be in range of Pescara, where it would be ordered to conduct a ‘recon by bombing’ mission later that morning.

While that was happening, 1 AG (the older aircraft of 2 and 3 AFs) was pushed further forward from Zagreb to Trieste. 2 AG (Yak-7s in 10, 11 and 15 AFs) had finished its repairs in Budapest and hopped forward to operate out of Zagreb (where its longer range allowed it to reach far enough over Italy).

At 4am, three Comintern (Turkish and Soviet EF) divisions hit the swamps of Udine, directly east of Venice, which were defended by the German 68th Infanterie, under Italian command. They were found to be ‘paper wolves’, however: with only a small fraction of their established strength remaining, they were barely larger than a reinforced battalion. Despite delivering a well-executed local counter-attack, the Germans were retreating by 7am (Comintern 202/26,983; Germany 231/1,115 killed).

1 TAK departed Trieste on their daring recon of the proposed invasion target of Pescara shortly afterwards. By 9am they were over the target – and under attack from enemy fighters. Their Turkish counterparts had been standing by and soon engaged as both sides called more wings in, with five Italian against six Turkish INT wings by midday.

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By the time they retreated after having completed their mission, 1 TBF had verified that a single ‘binary’ Italian infantry division was the port’s garrison and no air or naval units were stationed there. 1 TBF was badly damaged in the aerial combat, but so too was one of the Italian INT wings. The six Turkish INT wings (all Yak-7s, from 2 and 4 AGs in Zagreb and Split, respectively) suffered only minor damage (95-100% strength by the time they returned to base).

The next stage of the invasion preparation was to switch HQ 1st Corps south to Split from Leibnitz by rail, where they would take command of the units comprising the designated invasion follow-on force.

OTL Event: Switzerland. The most significant bombing of Switzerland during World War II occurred when about 50 B-24s misidentified Schaffhausen as their target of Ludwigshafen and dropped bombs that resulted in 40 casualties.

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2 Apr 44

The 2nd of April 1944 was the fifth anniversary of the death of the Father Turk in 1939. Ataturk’s death was commemorated in solemn services throughout the UGNR, none of which now remained under enemy occupation. And at a time where victories in the field had become the order of the day and made the events brighter than they might have been.

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And in a very fitting coincidence, at midnight the Government of Finland surrendered – to Turkey, as represented by Romanian units in the field! Despite being an ostensibly Comintern government, the right-wing autocrats remained in power. Which actually matched the leadership of Turkey very well.

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This delivered the eleventh of the fifteen victory objectives the Comintern had set itself. The Soviets may intend to see the war all the way through to the defeat of Japan, but for Turkey the declared aim was to get to twelve of those conditions, of which (in addition to the defeat of Italy) Spain was the last to ensure the dominance of the Comintern alliance in the European Theatre.

Also at midnight, another British spy blundered into a trap set by Kaya’s secret police. After the five apprehended in March, perhaps the British were now sending in ‘newbies’ to try to re-establish their network. All this poor operative did was provide employment for the conductor and crew of the Midnight Express.

At 1am, Turkish troops entered Lienz in the Austrian Alps on their way south for the attack on northern Italy. They found themselves defending with Soviet troops against an Italian ground assault – and then an air raid. Deciding to test themselves out, the Turkish Yak-7 wings of 2 AG engaged the two Italian TAC wings.

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There were a couple of dogfights that morning as Italian fighters responded. By the end of it, both sides had lost considerable organisation but the bombers were ‘scared off’ (the 137 killed on the ground would be the only air raid casualties that day), while the Yak-7s of 2 AG also needed a rest. But no German fighters had been seen – nor would any be spotted for the rest of the month. It was now down to a Turkey v Italy death match in the skies.

Very quick off the mark, at 5am the Finns advised they had begun mobilising, even though they would remain in a two-wear truce with their former Axis partners (if the Axis lasted that long, maybe in the Far East).

Victory came in Lienz at midday – though most of the friendly casualties were probably Soviet troops (Comintern 362/49,896; Italy 451/27,988 killed).

On the drive to the Swiss border, the Turks were still fighting an attack on Oberstdorf that had begun on 29 March, which was now reinforced at 3pm by the tired [about 33% org] 3 Mot Div in Memmingen [to 58% progress].

In Kappl (to its south-east) the Axis was attacking 8 Inf Div [-47%] to delay its drive on Bludenz (which would seal the line to the Swiss border), while 2 Inf Div conducted a spoiling attack on the German and Italian troops conducting that attack from Längenfeld [14%]. The latter attack was reinforced by 4 SD at 9pm [progress inching up to 22%].

But these actions were enough to force victory in Oberstdorf by 10pm after a long and bloody battle that had lasted six days.

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OTL Event: Romania. Soviet forces crossed the Prut and entered Romania.

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3 Apr 44

But only a few hours had passed when the advancing Comintern troops encountered the just-arrived – and full-strength and fully organised – German 36th Infanterie, which had set up a hasty defence in Oberstdorf before it could be occupied.

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The exhausted 13 Inf Div was soon withdrawn from the attack, but 156 SD, newly arrived in Memmingen, was thrown into the attack. Enemy pressure remained on Kappl, so the spoiling attack on Längenfeld also continued.

Surprising but welcome news came at 9am, when STAVKA cabled that a new Soviet EF – 9 Guards Division (2 x GDS, 1 x AT, 1 x AA) was transferred to Turkish command in Kraków. They were immediately put on trains and sent to Split.

With the attack on Oberstdorf flagging, at 10am the recently arrived 307 SD (EF) was added into the attack from Memmingen.

On the Italian Front, a large Turkish attack on mountainous Tolmezzo at midday saw four Comintern divisions attack four Italian ones, including two mountain divisions. But the Italians were pulling out and only the briefest skirmish eventuated (Comintern 34/42,749; Italy 29/35,873 killed). If momentum could be kept up, Turkey would soon be down into the foothills north-east of Venice, and the swamps to its east.

Crucial news came at 7pm with victory in the defence of Kappl after 3 Cav Div was able to reinforce it. They were then free to finally push on to Bludenz and hopefully seal off Germany from Italy.

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Early the next morning, the expensive attempt to take Oberstdorf was called off: its purpose had been served and by this time the Turkish manpower deficit was deepening again.

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4 Apr 44

Turkish troops in Lienz commenced an attack on Belluno, to which the Italians in Tolmezzo were retreating, at 11am. The Italian light armour trying to defend it lasted for seven hours before giving up. To the south, Turkey was still making its slow way into Udine from Gorizia while the mountains of Bolzano remained undefended by the Italians.

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That evening, Vito Corleone and Cennet Kavgaci were meeting in a café in Genoa. The topic was disruption activities in cooperation with the local Turkish-backed anarchist Italian partisans.

“Don Vito, it is good to see you again.”

“And likewise, Miss Cennet. It is always a pleasure to meet you, but I suspect it is business that brings us together tonight.”

“Astute and to the point, as always, Vito,” replied Cennet with a hint of a smile. “Ambassador Mukerrim Ceylan sends his regards. We would appreciate your help in undermining the will of the Fascists to continue fighting. If you could use your resources to apprehend any important Fascist government members who may venture near the front to inspect troops or some such, we would be very grateful if you could pass such information on to our partisan allies to effect an arrest.”

“Anarchists, hmm, pezzo novante to be sure, but at least they are not Communists, who you know we don’t like – the atheistic bastards. I’m a businessman, after all. But as a favour for you and out of the deepest respect for our Turkish friends – and perhaps for a small consideration – we would of course be willing to assist.”

“Thank you, Don Vito. Here are some contact details and this ...” Cennet proceeded to write down a figure on a scrap of paper, “is the consideration we had in mind. In gold of course.”

Vito merely nodded once in curt appreciation and was soon gone, after finishing his tira misu, coffee and a refeshing glass of limoncello.

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“Don Vito, it is good to see you again.” “And likewise, Miss Cennet.”

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5-6 Apr 44

An early report that morning presented at the HQ 1st Army CP by GRU Agent SkitalecS3 showed the situation across the German sector, including the British advance through the Netherlands (in as much detail as was available to STAVKA).

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Most crucially for the Comintern, only limited progress had been made in Germany, with the last four key German cities [of which all but Köln are VP targets] remained firmly in German hands: resistance there seemed to have stiffened, while the British were advancing on a broad front through the Netherlands.

An encounter battle began in Bolzano at 7pm and lasted into the following morning. And a single air raid on Garmisch Partenkirchen killed just 87 Turks conducting the attack on Längenfeld.

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With 3 Cav Div still on its way unhindered to Bludenz (marked by the small blue flag above), the costly attack on Längenfeld was broken off at 7am on the morning of 6 April, while victory came in Bolzano that evening after a brisk fight.

A second battery of heavy AA guns was installed in Tirane that morning – with no more to be added after that. At midday, Cennet issued orders throughout the Turkish spy network in Italy: 100% of effort would now be devoted to disrupting Italian national unity, with the domestic secret police still nowhere to be seen.

Air Damage Report. Two quite heavy Italian air raids on Matrei Osttirol killed a total of 541 Soviet and Turkish troops on 6 April.

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7 Apr 44

Back in the US, Veronica Lake was in the papers in Miami, trading on her popularity after playing the daring Perse on the silver screen – selling war bonds, of course. Even as US papers reported the continuing stubborn resistance of the Germans in Dusseldorf and other key western German cities. Though of course headlining Soviet victories elsewhere.

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But Perse was on the road, trying to keep one step ahead of the pursuit she was sure remained on her tail, despite the clever publicity ploy she and the Americans had devised between them to hopefully deflect some of the Turkish ill-will certain factions continued to direct her way. Wisely, she went alone and ‘trusted no one’.

Another of the series of running battles in Belluno began that afternoon, with the well-provisioned and full strength 4th Italian Mtn Div.

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Two hours later, further reinforcements were sent in from Tolmezzo and Udine (which had since been secured) to tip the odds further in Turkey’s favour and speed up the victory: they were trying to trap the two enemy divisions that were yet to escape from Tolmezzo.

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8 Apr 44

The next unit conversions to be completed were three militia brigades in Tirane that completed retraining as mountain troops. They were sent to Split as well.

At 9am, the latest heavy attack on Belluno succeeded, with the Italian mountain troops taking very heavy casualties (Turkey 103/64,660; Italy 1,120/9,997 killed), with the other two Italian divisions still retreating there from Tolmezzo. They were further isolated when 1 Mtn Div took Bolzano at 1pm.

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But because they were advancing from Soviet-held territory, occupation of the province was allocated to the senior Comintern partner. From this point, the Turks would quietly take care for future advances to proceed from territory they had first occupied themselves, meaning the advance into northern Italy would henceforth be channelled and narrowed via the Belluno-Venezia gap

OTL Event: Poland-Manchuria. The Germans began running long distance cargo flights between Polish airfields and Manchuria, flying Junkers Ju 290 A-9 aircraft at altitudes of up to 38,000 feet to cross the Soviet Union undetected. [Comment: What on earth the point or value of such a cargo run would be I can’t begin to conjecture upon, but Prof Wikipedia reckons it was a thing. However briefly.]

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9 Apr 44

That morning in Beverley Hills, Los Angeles, in an up-market home, a woman was perplexed – and in some fear. She had received a threatening note and calling-card under her door that morning.

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An im-Perse-onator (or a Veronica Lake look-alike, at least) seems to have drawn the unwanted attention of the Duke of Midnight.

After thinking on it for a while, she put in a call to the Los Angeles Police Department. By noon, a young Detective Lieutenant was interviewing her in his office downtown.

“Good morning, I am Lieutenant Ed Exley,” the cop said as he introduced himself. “You made a report about a threatening letter?”

“Yes, my name is Lynn, Lynn Bracken. This is what was delivered.” It was a specially made Jack of Spades playing card. On the back was the simple phrase: 'Agony and Prayer'.

“Thank you, Miss Bracken. I must say, you look very like Veronica Lake.” There was an interested glint in his eye - of a not entirely professional nature.

“Some guys get Veronica Lake. Other guys get someone cut to look like her and a weekend in Arizona.”

“Ah, I see, Miss Bracken," said Exley, a little taken aback at her bitter and forthright self-deprecation. "Here, let me take this card and I’ll make some inquiries.”

Exley suddenly realised her ‘line of work’ and what kind of man must be paying for it - and the plastic surgery. Hollywood, he muttered to himself, shaking his head as she walked out.

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“Yes, my name is Lynn, Lynn Bracken.” “I must say, you look very like Veronica Lake.”

OTL Event: Free France. Charles de Gaulle became Commander-in-Chief of the Free French forces, ending a power struggle with Henri Giraud since the two men became co-presidents of the French Committee of National Liberation.

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10 Apr 44

Yet another partisan outbreak occurred in the Dodecanese from midnight on 10 April until it was suppressed (until the inevitable reprise) at 7pm on the 12th, with nine Turkish militia and 100 partisans being killed. No other battles remained in progress for Turkey that day.

OTL Event: Burma. General William Slim ordered a new offensive in Burma, calling for Stopford to break through to Kohima while the Imphal Garrison would make sorties into Japanese-held territory around them.

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11 Apr 44

A fourth heavy AA battery was installed in Trieste, with no further AA construction being begun there, either.

Then after a quiet period in the sector for a few days, all hell broke loose, as the saying goes. It seems this was triggered by the arrival of 3 Cav Div in Bludenz at midnight, thus reaching the Swiss border and severing the last direct connection between Italy from Germany. A frantic series of four Axis attacks followed later that morning.

First came a clash of mountain troops in Bolzano, where Muzir’s 1 Mtn Div expertly counter-attacked the assault of their Italian counterparts. The battle would last for over a day, eventually won by the Turks on the 12th. Three hours after the attack on Bolzano began, two Axis attacks unfolded simultaneously. They seemed aimed at re-opening the German-Italian border, with assaults on Kappl and Kempten.

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12 Apr 44

The fourth attack after the cut-off of Italy from Germany (see map above) came while the other three were still going. It was a dangerous assault on the as-yet lightly held Belluno, which 12 SD had occupied at 8am on the 12th. At 10am they were struck by the Italians from Treviso and Venezia: MAJGEN Panov did his best to delay the assault until relief came.

The victory in Bolzano came at 1pm, after Muzir was reinforced, as mentioned above. As that came, an attack was launched to probe the defences of Venezia. It was led by the IS-2 supported ‘shock troops’ of 17 Inf Div with two Soviet infantry divisions (EFs) and made promising initial headway.

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Two hours later, the enemy attacks to the north on Kappl and Kempten were repelled, with enemy casualties particularly heavy in the latter. Now only the dangerous Axis assault on Belluno continued (even as a heavy column of Turkish reinforcements were on the way from Tolmezzo), just at the Comintern attack on Venezia was gaining ground.

At that time, a report on the situation in the north was received that the key (VP) city of Frankfurt am Main had just been taken after days of heavy fighting, but it was not yet enough to trigger a German surrender, as their resistance intensified.

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The Soviets had made progress to its south, towards Stuttgart, however the Germans not only still held Dusseldorf, but had actually regained a little territory to its east. The British had liberated most of the Netherlands, but the Soviets were not aware of what Axis forces if any were contesting their progress towards Belgium.

Air Damage Report. The Italian TAC bombers reappeared on 12 April for the first time since 6 April to make two small air raids on Bolzano that killed a total of 127 Turkish troops.

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13 Apr 44

Victory came in Belluno at midnight after the first reinforcing division (14 Inf Div) arrived (Comintern 76/18,988; Italy 106/13,996 killed), with the casualties relatively light on both sides. This led to 14 Inf Div being immediately thrown into the attack on Venezia against the Italian’s northern flank [progress to 67%].

Aerial recon reported at 4am that all ten Italian air units had now left their air base in Venezia, no doubt due to the proximity of the ground fighting. They seem to have all transferred to Genoa (10 units/10 capacity), with more in Naples (5/5) and Taranto (9/10).

The Italian aviators must have known something, as their defence of Venice was lost at 10am (Turkey 135/39,940; Italy 535/12,989 killed). If it could be secured before any counter-attack, this would open the way into the northern Italian plains of the Po River valley. With the best part of four Turkish corps lining up to reinforce the push through the narrow corridor now being opened up south of the limit of Soviet advances in Austria.

This news put the invasion task force onto heightened readiness at 11pm, ready to exploit any possible Italian disorganisation or even panic. The fleet had almost completely repaired, with all vessel strengths at 99-100% and only one of the transport and the landing craft flotillas at about 50% organisation.

Air Damage Report. Three Italian raids on Belluno killed a total of 220 Comintern troops that day, but had failed to affect the outcome.

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14 Apr 44

Panov’s men were ready for a new attack and at 2am the ‘Two Twelves’ assaulted the Italians in the plains of Treviso. The mountain troops were exhausted from their failed attack on Belluno, though 1a Divisione was still fresh and dug in. But the Italians had seen enough by the early afternoon as a large Turkish column advanced in parallel on Venice.

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At 10am, 9 Gds Div pulled into Split to join the standby invasion force.

Turkey’s quickest formation, the powerful 2 Armd Div, was first into Venice at 10pm. They wasted no time and launched a quick attack on a hastily prepared Italian defensive position in Padua. The Italians [not sure if it is the same 4a Divisione Alpini as was in Treviso earlier that day] fought it out until the following afternoon, but could not hold any longer.

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15 Apr 44

In the early hours of 15 April, one of Vito Corleone’s henchmen who had entered Venice as the Italians were retreating the day before made contact with one of the local partisan cells associated with the Turkish intelligence service. He directed them to a small apartment on the outskirts of the city, where the hand-off of a well-known Fascist VIP was conducted.

By that afternoon, Count Galeazzo Ciano, erstwhile Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs [in-game it is Mussolini] since 1936 and Mussolini’s son-in-law, was being tried in a ‘Peoples’ Court’ in Venice. He had been trying to flee the city after its fall became imminent, it seems hoping to abandon the sinking ship by escaping to neutral Vichy France. Vito’s team had nabbed him instead and now his prospects were very problematic.

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Count Ciano on trial in Venice (he is seated, in the centre, wearing the light coloured coat), 15 April 1944.

Even as the partisans conducted their show trial (carefully observed by Cennet, representing Turkish interests) the fast-charging and powerful 2 Armd Div was engaging one of the divisions that had retreated from Venice earlier in Padua (Padova). The Italians were in poor supply, making the fight even easier: the battle was won at 9am the following morning.

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16 Apr 44

The big news to start the day was that the Soviets had resurrected the old government of Denmark as a Comintern puppet state – surprisingly as a ‘Federal Socialist Republic’ headed by King Christian X and a liberal leaning government! But anyone seeking to question this paradox was told to be quiet and not rock the boat. Stalin’s motives and methods were best left undisturbed.

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And because – like Poland before them – they had not been part of the Axis, they were happy to declare war on the enemy immediately.

The radar installation in Split received its level two upgrade and another was queued (just in case it may still be needed in a few months).

2 Armd Div broke into Padova that evening, but finally had to halt for a few days for post-attack reorganisation as other formations moved up to continue the breakthrough. Unrelenting pressure was now required to maintain the momentum and prevent an Italian recovery.

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An hour later, 12 SD was the first to secure Treviso, widening the breakout zone. Six divisions were now funnelled in direct from Bolzano, while a similar number poured in from Belluno. The Italians would be given neither respite nor mercy.

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17 Apr 44

Early on the 17th, the big push was really on. At 2am simultaneous attacks were made out of Treviso by the newly arrived 5 and 12 Inf Divs on Vicenza and Trento. Only light resistance was met in Vicenza, where the defence was conducted by Marshal Badoglio himself.

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The initial fighting was far harder in Trento with Italian mountain troops defending in their favoured terrain. The odds were improved by 11am with 3 Inf Div reinforcing and LT Mehtin Sadik’s parent formation, 15 Inf Div, joining in reserve.

In Venice, Ciano was (inevitably) found guilty of treason, murder and various ‘crimes against the people’. The partisans wanted to execute him straight away, but Cennet insisted they wait until instructions as to his fate were received from the Milli Şef himself.

The old submarines of the 1st ‘Mk1 Eyeball’ flotilla were summoned from their base in Athens to Split that evening: they would be used to provide recon support for the proposed invasion. And in Split itself, the warning order for the invasion was issued and the HQ and divisions of 1st Marine Corps were loaded aboard the fleet’s transports and landing craft. COL Chesty Puller and MAJ Kenny ‘Wraith’ Loggins were busy ensuring the US Marines were as prepared as possible for the coming operation.

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Air Damage Report. The Italian TAC reappeared to conduct three raids on Treviso, killing a total of 268 Comintern troops.

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18 Apr 44

Before the planned recon was in place and the fleet could sail for the beaches of Italy’s Adriatic coast, their uncannily well-briefed Italian naval bombers resumed strikes on Split shortly after midnight. Two unescorted NAV wings (11a and 12a) launched a series of port strikes that morning, despite the AA batteries in the city and the fleet and being intercepted by a range of Turkish fighter wings working in relays.

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13a Gruppo weighed in at 10am while the Turkish interceptors were tangled up with their colleagues. By midday, they had managed to inflict some damage and more disorganisation on the fleet, especially the cruisers and destroyers.

But this did not hinder the breakout in northern Italy – now named Operation Ottoman Viper (scientific name montivipera xanthina, a venomous viper species found in north-eastern Greece and Turkey), in part due to its resemblance to the camouflage pattern sported by the tanks of Turkey’s armoured formations that spring. It was “very aggressive and will strike without provocation” and dined on rodents – perfect!

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The offensives certainly now resembled the strikes of an angry and venomous serpent as victories were won that morning in Trento and Vicenza, the latter being quickly occupied as Turkish forces continued to strike west towards Brescia, while 17 Inf Div leap-frogged 2 Armd Div to advance on Ferrara. Milan and Bologna [both VP locations] were the next Turkish targets for the breakout.

Over Split, dogfights raged for the rest of the day as the fighters tried to protect the fleet from further damage. Until the persistent Italian NAV (now attacking as an unescorted group of three wings) could be tamed, the weak and partly obsolete Turkish navy would not be risked in open seas even closer to the main Italian naval bases.

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By that night, it seemed the naval invasion may not be needed to effect the destruction of Italy’s northern defences as Genoa was added to the southern objective list for Operation Ottoman Viper, as Turkish forces poured into Padova. They would keep on the move until halted by enemy action.

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19 Apr 44

The early morning saw the continuation of Italy’s determined effort to thwart the impending naval invasion. They were eventually fought to a standstill by the dominant Turkish fighter wings: separate F4F Wildcat wings (6 and 7 AFs) alternating with the P51-D Mustangs of 4 and 5 AF to win an aerial victory by 10am.

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Still hoping to repair enough damage to make landings in a few days to hasten the brewing Italian collapse, the embarked troops stayed ready to launch. The subs rebased in Split that afternoon and were soon sent on their recon mission off Pescara: they would see what they would see and also act as a bait for any remaining operational Italian NAV wings that may be lurking back in Naples or Taranto. And the new destroyer flotilla (3 DF) had finished its work-up training and was ordered to join the fleet from its current training base in Athens.

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Trento was occupied by 12 SD that night, and soon afterwards the Italian 1a Divisione was encountered again, this time by the Namut’s veteran 5 Inf Div in Brescia, where a savage attack was launched on the poorly supplied defenders.

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The tank pictured above is General Namut's venerable IS-1 command tank, affectionately named Paslı Avcı ('Rusty Hunter' in English).
At 11pm, Inönü ordered four of the five Turkish-commanded divisions still in southern Germany (but having halted, passed by the Soviet advance on Stuttgart and no longer involved in direct combat) to make a strategic redeployment to Bolzano, from where they would be funnelled into the Op Ottoman Viper breakout. Only 3 Cav Div was left in Bludenz for now, to ensure the trap stayed shut on the Swiss border.

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20 Apr 44

The air base in Dubrovnik got its level four upgrade, though it was now uncertain it would ever be used actively in an invasion of Italy. In the north, with the pace of the advance increasing, 1 AG (I-16 and LaGG-5 INT wings), 2 AG (3 x Yak-7 INT wings), 1 TAG (Hawk III INT and 2 x Il-2 CAS wings) all relocated to the big air base in Venice to be closer to the developing action.

Mk1 Eyeball flotilla was on station off Pescara by 6am to begin their recon/baiting mission.

The inquiries of Lieutenant Ed Exley in Los Angeles meanwhile had worked their way back, via intel-sharing protocols, to S.I.T.H. in Ankara. A new file was opened and Ögel would have to decide whether the Duke of Midnight (pictured below in the background holding the shotgun) should be pulled back or let loose.

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A tricky choice, given the sensitivities of the Americans to foreign (even if allied) interference on their soil and the seeming profusion of Perse lookalikes in recent times. Which was the real one? Had any of the now three different (apparently, at least) women ever been seen in the same room at the same time?

5 Inf Div won their victory in Brescia at 8pm (Turkey 62/12,962; Italy 574/16,779 killed) while Turkish forces continued their hot pursuit of fleeing Italian formations across the Op Ottoman Viper front line. The manpower deficit was hovering at around 8,400 men (similar to where it had started the month) with monthly recruiting increased to 20,300 after recent gains.

Air Damage Report. The Italians conducted three raids on Vicenza, killing a total of 202 Turkish troops.

News Report: Germany. The RAF set a new record for a single air raid in Germany on Dusseldorf, dropping 4,500 tons of bombs for Hitler's 55th birthday. [Comment: an OTL event, but I have seen the RAF raiding Dusseldorf in the ATL, so this seems a plausible and fitting birthday present for the arch-bratwurst muncher.]

---xxx---

Coming Up: Can the sudden momentum of the Operation Ottoman Viper breakout be sustained? What will Mk1 Eyeball Flotilla find and will the Turks be able to launch their delayed naval invasion in the next few days? And how is it that the Germans have managed to stay in the fight until Hitler’s birthday after the dire position they found themselves in at the start of the month?

We will also find out in more detail how the British are faring in the Low Countries, India and Malaya; plus news of the Japanese invasions of Australia and New Zealand that stalled in March. And there is the ‘Forgotten Front’ in the Soviet Far East, plus the dormant Pacific Theatre, where the US remains a ‘silent partner’.
 
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Midnite Duke

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Not all of Hollywood has been bewitched by the beauty of the English Rose. Director John Ford has announced a documentary about the brave Marines fighting alongside their Turkish brethren. (His last completed project was a documentary about Gen. Puller narrated by John Wayne.) If Sofie Coppola was half the actress that Cennet is, the Godfather saga would still be going strong. Thank you for the update
 
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RustyHunter

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The Germans began running long distance cargo flights between Polish airfields and Manchuria, flying Junkers Ju 290 A-9 aircraft at altitudes of up to 38,000 feet to cross the Soviet Union undetected. [Comment: What on earth the point or value of such a cargo run would be I can’t begin to conjecture upon, but Prof Wikipedia reckons it was a thing. However briefly.]
That is quite interesting, and it's probably stranger than their submarine supply runs since those could at least carry some technology and such.

By that afternoon, Count Galeazzo Ciano, erstwhile Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs [in-game it is Mussolini] since 1936 and Mussolini’s son-in-law, was being tried in a ‘Peoples’ Court’ in Venice. He had been trying to flee the city after its fall became imminent, it seems hoping to abandon the sinking ship by escaping to neutral Vichy France. Vito’s team had nabbed him instead and now his prospects were very problematic.
A nice parallel to OTL, and I suspect Mussolini will be sharing a similar fate. An interesting man for sure, and his diaries give an insight into inter-war Europe.

But this did not hinder the breakout in northern Italy – now named Operation Ottoman Viper (scientific name montivipera xanthina, a venomous viper species found in north-eastern Greece and Turkey), in part due to its resemblance to the camouflage pattern sported by the tanks of Turkey’s armoured formations that spring. It was “very aggressive and will strike without provocation” and dined on rodents – perfect!
Perhaps my animal naming scheme has found another adherent? That is quite the snake, and I certainly wouldn't mess with it!

The tank pictured above is General Namut's venerable IS-1 command tank, affectionately named Paslı Avcı ('Rusty Hunter' in English).
I heartily approve!

Overall, Germany is done for, but I'm excited for the naval landing!
 
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roverS3

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Most crucially for the Comintern, only limited progress had been made in Germany, with the last four key German cities [of which all but Köln are VP targets] remained firmly in German hands: resistance there seemed to have stiffened, while the British were advancing on a broad front through the Netherlands.
It looks like the Germans are more afraid of the Red Army than the British one. They're seemingly throwing everything into delaying the Red Army, which is now fighting on a shortened front due to the British invasion. It doesn't seem entirely implausible that they would prefer to surrender to the British than to the USSR. Another possibility is that STAVKA is re-organising it's forces after the victory in Finland, and thus, for a few weeks, fewer forces are available to push the Germans back.

Turkey's offensive in Northern Italy has gone much better than expected, and it looks like the looming invasion works as a good distraction for Italian High Command, even if no invasion takes place.

I do have one question, does the Turkish Army have any numbers on the amount of Italian forces that were overrun during the beginning of operation Ottoman Viper?

The transfer of 9th Guards Division to Turkish control shows STAVKA's confidence in Turkey's leadership for the fight in Italy.

Look-alikes of Perse are a minor annoyance, but bringing Cennet back to destabilise Italy was definitely the right call here.

To Rome!

SkitalecS3
 
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SSmith

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Finland surrendered – to Turkey, as represented by Romanian units in the field!

I can understand the Finns preferring to surrender to Turkey rather than the U.S.S.R. but this is really going to annoy Comrade Stalin. I understand in game terms you needed to make sure of the victory condition, but at this rate the Third Great War is going to start when the Comintern tears itself apart in the not-so-distant future.

Perse was on the road, trying to keep one step ahead of the pursuit she was sure remained on her tail, despite the clever publicity ploy she and the Americans had devised between them to hopefully deflect some of the Turkish ill-will certain factions continued to direct her way. Wisely, she went alone and ‘trusted no one’.

I think she may have a point. The U.S. is a large place in which to hide. The F.B.I. has protected her well but there is always a risk something will leak to Turkish Intelligence. Her main problems are her resemblance to Veronica Lake and being able to support herself. She will certainly have money from her movie rights and I’m confident she will spend it wisely (unlike Guildenstern) but accessing the funds could still be risky.

In addition to being a first-class propagandist she is actually rather good at this as well.

The British had liberated most of the Netherlands, but the Soviets were not aware of what Axis forces if any were contesting their progress towards Belgium.

I certainly underestimated Germany and never thought for a moment the Nazis would still be holding out at the end of this chapter. This has allowed the British far more time than anticipated. They have certainly secured the Netherlands now (along with the problem of the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies) but they really shouldn’t be given the chance to reach Brussels. It does make the post-war map of Europe more interesting.

Count Galeazzo Ciano, erstwhile Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs since 1936 and Mussolini’s son-in-law, was being tried in a ‘Peoples’ Court’ in Venice.

A significant prize. Perhaps not the worst villain, but his prospects don’t look good unless he turns out to be useful somehow to the Milli Şef. It’s good to see Cennet back in Italy and working against our actual enemies for a change.

The big news to start the day was that the Soviets had resurrected the old government of Denmark as a Comintern puppet state – surprisingly as a ‘Federal Socialist Republic’ headed by King Christian X and a liberal leaning government!

I’m sure the government of Denmark can look forward to a few personnel changes in the coming weeks…

And in Split itself, the warning order for the invasion was issued and the HQ and divisions of 1st Marine Corps were loaded aboard the fleet’s transports and landing craft. COL Chesty Puller and MAJ Kenny ‘Wraith’ Loggins were busy ensuring the US Marines were as prepared as possible for the coming operation.

One thing I hoped to discover from our aerial reconnaissance was if Pescara was a large enough port to supply our invasion forces. I suspect the answer is no. Really, the front in the north is going so well now that I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by landing there. I definitely overestimated the Italians! My preference would be Taranto – giving us a major supply hub and the chance to go for the southern Italian VPs.

The inquiries of Lieutenant Ed Exley in Los Angeles meanwhile had worked their way back, via intel-sharing protocols, to S.I.T.H. in Ankara. A new file was opened and Ögel would have to decide whether the Duke of Midnight should be pulled back or let loose.

The Duke of Midnight left a calling card to see how the target reacted? Either very clever or giving away the element of surprise. Not sure which.

Logically, Operation Unconscionable had to be the work of Ögel as he is responsible for external intelligence operations and has oversight of S.I.T.H. If he now starts targeting any woman who bears even a passing resemblance to Perse, it is going to get very messy, very fast, and the Americans are going to get extremely angry. Maybe Ögel will over-reach himself and embarrass us? Really, something needs to happen to force a re-think. Perse is a unique and valuable national asset who was always far more useful to us than the British. Repatriating her to Turkey would be far more sensible than assassinating her.

The manpower deficit was hovering at around 8,400 men (similar to where it had started the month) with monthly recruiting increased to 20,300 after recent gains.

This is very good news. If we can complete our victory over Italy without sustaining more heavy losses, we will have plenty of time to build up our manpower reserve again. I was thinking it might be helpful to know the total manpower deployed in our armed forces in order to gauge the scale of our deficit?
 
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diskoerekto

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And in a very fitting coincidence, at midnight the Government of Finland surrendered – to Turkey, as represented by Romanian units in the field! Despite being an ostensibly Comintern government, the right-wing autocrats remained in power. Which actually matched the leadership of Turkey very well.
:eek: well those years there were some theories about how Hungarians and Finnish were the cousins of Turkish based on those languages all being agglutinative. Maybe in this alternate universe that somehow became the basis of this? :D

Very quick off the mark, at 5am the Finns advised they had begun mobilising, even though they would remain in a two-wear truce with their former Axis partners (if the Axis lasted that long, maybe in the Far East).
they'll all participate in an operation unthinkable war I guess, right?

But because they were advancing from Soviet-held territory, occupation of the province was allocated to the senior Comintern partner. From this point, the Turks would quietly take care for future advances to proceed from territory they had first occupied themselves, meaning the advance into northern Italy would henceforth be channelled and narrowed via the Belluno-Venezia gap
this is a bit weird, I don't understand how Romanian involvement made Finnish territory allocated to us for example, they all went through USSR territory. Here though whatever we take falls to the Soviets.

That morning in Beverley Hills, Los Angeles, in an up-market home, a woman was perplexed – and in some fear. She had received a threatening note and calling-card under her door that morning.
oooh another storyline, nice :)

The big news to start the day was that the Soviets had resurrected the old government of Denmark as a Comintern puppet state – surprisingly as a ‘Federal Socialist Republic’ headed by King Christian X and a liberal leaning government! But anyone seeking to question this paradox was told to be quiet and not rock the boat. Stalin’s motives and methods were best left undisturbed.
shall we just declare on Sweden as well to keep the divisions in Finland busy? :D It'll stay there neutral like a sore thumbç

2 Armd Div broke into Padova that evening, but finally had to halt for a few days for post-attack reorganisation as other formations moved up to continue the breakthrough. Unrelenting pressure was now required to maintain the momentum and prevent an Italian recovery.
I think we'll hit them like a truck, the beginning seems very promising. A rotten wooden door :)

It was “very aggressive and will strike without provocation” and dined on rodents – perfect!
couldn't be more apt! VUR HA!

Trento was occupied by 12 SD that night, and soon afterwards the Italian 1a Divisione was encountered again, this time by the Namut’s veteran 5 Inf Div in Brescia, where a savage attack was launched on the poorly supplied defenders.
ooooh against the HArm in open plains, unsupplied, that's so one way :D

One thing I hoped to discover from our aerial reconnaissance was if Pescara was a large enough port to supply our invasion forces. I suspect the answer is no. Really, the front in the north is going so well now that I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by landing there. I definitely overestimated the Italians! My preference would be Taranto – giving us a major supply hub and the chance to go for the southern Italian VPs.
good point

The Duke of Midnight left a calling card to see how the target reacted? Either very clever or giving away the element of surprise. Not sure which.
playing with food




great episode, things are now happening so much faster than before and european axis is on the brink of simultaneous collapse!
 
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Wraith11B

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RustyHunter

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I have to assume Finland is a Turkish puppet because Bullfilter declared war and chose the wargoal while the Soviet AI probably never specified anything. I remember reading an AAR on here long ago, and player Albania allied with Germany, using them to conquer a series of puppets that eventually conquered most of the world. It's an obvious exploit, and I usually tag over to my ally and declare the proper wargoal because it bugs me otherwise, but I don't think it's too big a deal seeing how the borders will be messy anyways.
 
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Bullfilter

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The time approaches when I'll begin writing up the last part of April 1944 and the monthly summaries. The image editing is already done, but I have four different types of cricket matches (of varying duration and weather permitting) coming up in the next five days, so am not sure when the chapter will be published. Not too long, I hope.

In the meantime, so comment replies:
Not all of Hollywood has been bewitched by the beauty of the English Rose. Director John Ford has announced a documentary about the brave Marines fighting alongside their Turkish brethren. (His last completed project was a documentary about Gen. Puller narrated by John Wayne.) If Sofie Coppola was half the actress that Cennet is, the Godfather saga would still be going strong. Thank you for the update
That would be a good documentary too! As for GF, I think three was enough. Once you go to four, its Police Academy time! :D
That is quite interesting, and it's probably stranger than their submarine supply runs since those could at least carry some technology and such.
Yes, I just didn't have the time or inclination to chase that one up any further. Very strange.
A nice parallel to OTL, and I suspect Mussolini will be sharing a similar fate. An interesting man for sure, and his diaries give an insight into inter-war Europe.
Thanks. Yes, I consulted some notes on his OTL capture and adapted it a little to the ATL circumstances. Though we shall see what happens to him this time ...
Perhaps my animal naming scheme has found another adherent? That is quite the snake, and I certainly wouldn't mess with it!
The Turks in this ATL have a history of naming ops after animals (wolves) or past battles - whatever comes to mind!
I heartily approve!

Overall, Germany is done for, but I'm excited for the naval landing!
Was hoping you would. The Paslı Avcı is likely to feature again.

Germany is grinding on but surely doomed. The landings? We shall see what is in store soon ...
It looks like the Germans are more afraid of the Red Army than the British one. They're seemingly throwing everything into delaying the Red Army, which is now fighting on a shortened front due to the British invasion. It doesn't seem entirely implausible that they would prefer to surrender to the British than to the USSR. Another possibility is that STAVKA is re-organising it's forces after the victory in Finland, and thus, for a few weeks, fewer forces are available to push the Germans back.
Probably a fair observation, though we'll find out more about what the British are seeing in the coming chapter. I think it could be a little of each.
Turkey's offensive in Northern Italy has gone much better than expected, and it looks like the looming invasion works as a good distraction for Italian High Command, even if no invasion takes place.
It did start to take off and, as always, once the wind is in the hair the Turks will press ahead for all they're worth!
I do have one question, does the Turkish Army have any numbers on the amount of Italian forces that were overrun during the beginning of operation Ottoman Viper?
So far, I only have what figures have been published. I don't recall any Italian divs being overrun (ie surrendered) so far in April. If I do see them, I record them.
The transfer of 9th Guards Division to Turkish control shows STAVKA's confidence in Turkey's leadership for the fight in Italy.
It was useful, and the first in a little while.
Look-alikes of Perse are a minor annoyance, but bringing Cennet back to destabilise Italy was definitely the right call here.

To Rome!
Perse is just 'throwing chaff' now. ;) And Cennet has more important work to do back home. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were the main game in the US.
I can understand the Finns preferring to surrender to Turkey rather than the U.S.S.R. but this is really going to annoy Comrade Stalin. I understand in game terms you needed to make sure of the victory condition, but at this rate the Third Great War is going to start when the Comintern tears itself apart in the not-so-distant future.
Oh, it will all be sorted out in the post-war settlement. The Turks would take this as a purely cosmetic technicality and have no doubts the Finns reside in the Soviet part of the Comintern's broad tent.
I think she may have a point. The U.S. is a large place in which to hide. The F.B.I. has protected her well but there is always a risk something will leak to Turkish Intelligence. Her main problems are her resemblance to Veronica Lake and being able to support herself. She will certainly have money from her movie rights and I’m confident she will spend it wisely (unlike Guildenstern) but accessing the funds could still be risky.

In addition to being a first-class propagandist she is actually rather good at this as well.
She hasn't stayed alive this long without some decent tradecraft (and luck, of course). She never believes she is safe, no matter where she finds herself.
I certainly underestimated Germany and never thought for a moment the Nazis would still be holding out at the end of this chapter. This has allowed the British far more time than anticipated. They have certainly secured the Netherlands now (along with the problem of the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies) but they really shouldn’t be given the chance to reach Brussels. It does make the post-war map of Europe more interesting.
Same here - I was very surprised. You will soon see what has happened (for both Germany and the British advance in Benelux) by the end of April. The DEI is only partly occupied by Japan - they never finished the job off.
A significant prize. Perhaps not the worst villain, but his prospects don’t look good unless he turns out to be useful somehow to the Milli Şef. It’s good to see Cennet back in Italy and working against our actual enemies for a change.
He did get pretty harsh treatment in OTL, that's for sure. His life remains in grave danger here, too. As you say, though, the Turks may (or may not) have some use for his and ability to influence the Italian Resistance. Then again, maybe they just want him conveniently out of the way, with someone else's hands getting red.
I’m sure the government of Denmark can look forward to a few personnel changes in the coming weeks…
Hmm, you'd think so, if the HOI3 game engine can manage it (of which I'm not optimistic). :rolleyes:
One thing I hoped to discover from our aerial reconnaissance was if Pescara was a large enough port to supply our invasion forces. I suspect the answer is no. Really, the front in the north is going so well now that I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by landing there. I definitely overestimated the Italians! My preference would be Taranto – giving us a major supply hub and the chance to go for the southern Italian VPs.
Probably not. They'd quickly want more than one - or alternatively, just wait to link up with Op Ottoman Viper if it can keep its pace up. The issue with Taranto is it's got nine wings based there which could cause problems for the landing fleet and its air support ... we'll see if it's needed.
The Duke of Midnight left a calling card to see how the target reacted? Either very clever or giving away the element of surprise. Not sure which.
There's definitely more to that than meets the eye. The Duke is not too shabby and definitely had a reason for scaring the Perse double, whether he thinks it is her or not ... ;) As the old saying goes, "If I'd wanted you dead ..."
Logically, Operation Unconscionable had to be the work of Ögel as he is responsible for external intelligence operations and has oversight of S.I.T.H. If he now starts targeting any woman who bears even a passing resemblance to Perse, it is going to get very messy, very fast, and the Americans are going to get extremely angry. Maybe Ögel will over-reach himself and embarrass us? Really, something needs to happen to force a re-think. Perse is a unique and valuable national asset who was always far more useful to us than the British. Repatriating her to Turkey would be far more sensible than assassinating her.
Yes, this is Ogel's province, whether its the MSH or S.I.T.H. The plot here? It's thick, and getting thicker.
This is very good news. If we can complete our victory over Italy without sustaining more heavy losses, we will have plenty of time to build up our manpower reserve again. I was thinking it might be helpful to know the total manpower deployed in our armed forces in order to gauge the scale of our deficit?
Given the range and frequency of the ops, it has indeed been comparatively bloodless for us so far. And lives spent now with the initiative still strongly in our favour will reap many more saved later.
well those years there were some theories about how Hungarians and Finnish were the cousins of Turkish based on those languages all being agglutinative. Maybe in this alternate universe that somehow became the basis of this?
:D
they'll all participate in an operation unthinkable war I guess, right?
If it were ever to come to that - one hopes not! :eek:
this is a bit weird, I don't understand how Romanian involvement made Finnish territory allocated to us for example, they all went through USSR territory. Here though whatever we take falls to the Soviets.
Not sure how that worked in Finland - a bit confusing, but thankfully it doesn't really matter too much in this ATL. o_O
oooh another storyline, nice :)
Yep, here we go ...
shall we just declare on Sweden as well to keep the divisions in Finland busy? :D It'll stay there neutral like a sore thumbç
I think we'll leave them be. It's a paradox ;) And those troops can be of more use in Western Europe or particularly in the Far East.
I think we'll hit them like a truck, the beginning seems very promising. A rotten wooden door :)
Rotten doors are there for kicking down!
couldn't be more apt! VUR HA!
Thought you might like it. :)
ooooh against the HArm in open plains, unsupplied, that's so one way :D
Yes, a real hammering.
great episode, things are now happening so much faster than before and european axis is on the brink of simultaneous collapse!
Thank you, my friend!
Thats whats happening to the poor 1a Divisione!
Yes: "Hello, breakfast!"
Well, let us launch operation Natrix megalocephala and come in from the water!
Nasty things, sea snakes. We'll see if/where they may be poised to strike.
In honor of the season and of our story, something that came across my Reddit feed:
Nice!
I have to assume Finland is a Turkish puppet because Bullfilter declared war and chose the wargoal while the Soviet AI probably never specified anything. I remember reading an AAR on here long ago, and player Albania allied with Germany, using them to conquer a series of puppets that eventually conquered most of the world. It's an obvious exploit, and I usually tag over to my ally and declare the proper wargoal because it bugs me otherwise, but I don't think it's too big a deal seeing how the borders will be messy anyways.
Something like that. The HOI3 'diplomatic AI' (if such a thing exists) is not exactly sophisticated (to understate the thing)! In this case, if it mattered (or for a post-script) Finland would definitely fall into the Soviet sphere.

Thanks everyone for your continuing support and comments. I notice this AAR now has significantly more posts than any other HOI3 AAR on the 66 pages of this sub-forum, going back to mid-2009.
 
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Good Cricket Luck!
Thanks! Got a game in yesterday, but it looks like steady rain for the next week! Did get a win, a wicket and some runs. :) But today’s game already cancelled :( More time for AAR writing, I suppose
 
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Chapter 227: Snake Bite (21-30 April 1944)

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Chapter 227: Snake Bite (21-30 April 1944)

Introduction

The German Reich and its loathsome leadership had managed to survive until Hitler’s birthday on 20 April 1944, when the RAF delivered a record payload of bombs on Dusseldorf as a birthday present. Stalin had hoped to deliver him to a firing squad, but it was not to be.

While the Germans rallied despite also having to deal with the British invasion of the Netherlands, Italy’s fortunes had taken a sudden plunge with the breakout into the Po Valley of Turkey’s Operation Ottoman Viper. Inönü had been hoping to complement this with a naval invasion on Italy’s Adriatic coast, but persistent Reggia Aeronautica attacks on the assembled invasion fleet in Split had delayed the mission.

In Los Angeles, Persephonee Fotheringay-Phipps was embroiled in a complicated plot where film stars, look-alikes and the LAPD had so far figured, while the Duke of Midnight had also left his calling card. Cennet continued to spearhead Turkish provocations to undermine Italian national unity through their own MSH agents, the Turkish-sponsored faction of the Italian resistance and S.I.T.H.'s own Mafia connections. Count Ciano was in partisan custody and awaiting his fate, while zealous resistance fighters looked up old training manuals on hanging, drawing and quartering …

---xxx---

21 Apr 44

A rising by Saudi nationalists in the Arabian GNR at Umm Lajj required the Riyad Militia Division to react – it would be a long journey to get to the outbreak on the Red Sea coast.

But back in Italy, promising news kept coming in from the edge of the breakout.

“One, this is One Mike,” came the latest radio report from 1 Mot Div on the 1st Army command net. “Bologna seized at 0400 hours, now moving on to Objective Michelangelo! Out.”

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Italian partisans celebrate in Bologna after its liberation on 21 April 1944.

Back in Venice, a message was received by the partisans guarding Count Galeazzo Ciano from S.I.T.H. head office, via Cennet.

“The prisoner is to be kept alive and unspoilt. A special car has been prepared on the Midnight Orient Express. The Count can be informed that he will be escorted personally by Darth Kelebek to Istanbul and that ‘resistance is useless’”.

“They think we’re useless!?” said the angry Resistance guard in charge of Ciano’s custody.

“No, no,” replied Cennet patiently, trying to overcome the loss of nuance in translation. “But I do think it wise advice not just for the Count, but for any hotheads you have that may be keen to take matters into their own hands. If the prisoner is spoiled in any way and ‘Uncle Kelebek’ finds his sport is not as good as it should be, the transgressor will have to answer to him personally.”

The guard simply gulped, nodded, and ensured Ciano was very well guarded from both escape and any freelancing compatriots keen to administer some summary revolutionary justice. Kelebek was known never to hold a grudge: those causing serious offence did not survive their first encounter.

That afternoon, the Mk1 Eyeball sub recon off the Northern Coast of Dalmatia confirmed both Ancona and Pescara were garrisoned by enemy infantry divisions. Back in Split, the fleet was still making repairs after the most recent Italian NAV raids.

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News Report: Free France. Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French provisional government, issued a simple decree giving French women the right to vote. [In OTL, he was in Algiers by then.]

---xxx---

22 Apr 44

With Turkish leadership resources growing after recent conquests [now up to 11.62], extra effort was put into espionage [0.25] and officer [3.38] training. None was currently invested in diplomat recruitment, while eight research projects remained in progress and officer strength stood at 117%, with five diplomats and seven spies in reserve.

By 1pm the swamps of Chioggia had been taken on the Adriatic Coast below Padua and 97 SD ‘Shev’ was ordered to continue advancing south along the coast, via Ravenna. Later that evening, 2 Armd Div made it to Carrara on the outskirts of Genoa and began a quick attack, though this time the defending garrison looked to be better prepared. Taking the city would cut off northern Italy from the rest of the peninsula.

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Air Damage Report. A single Italian raid on Verona killed 290 defenders. There would be no more Italian ground attacks made for the remainder of April.

News Report: Versailles, France. It what could prove to be the last meeting between the two Axis leaders, a two-day meeting between Hitler and Benito Mussolini began at the Palace of Versailles [Schloss Klessheim near Salzburg in OTL], also attended by Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Rudolf Rahn and Karl Wolff on the German side and Serafino Mazzolini, Rodolfo Graziani, Filippo Anfuso and general Umberto Morera for the Italians. Mussolini and his delegation presented a list of problems the Italians were having which they attributed to the lack of cooperation with German authorities. Both leaders had the air of desperation about them and resembled shadows of their former selves. Mussolini was soon flying back to Rome, while Hitler took his last chance to gloat in Versailles before driving back to beleaguered Dusseldorf – which still resisted defiantly.

---xxx---

23 Apr 44

At midnight, Ciano was bundled into Kelebek’s specially heated carriage and began his journey on the Midnight Orient Express to Istanbul. A veil of discretion will be drawn over what may have occurred on that journey. It may not have been murder, but would have been far from a pleasant trip for the former Fascist grandee.

By that morning, the British had fully liberated the Netherlands and had pushed into northern Belgium on a wide front. Only a sliver of Germany remained in Nazi hands, but they stubbornly held onto just enough key cities to remain in the fight.

In the Adriatic, that afternoon the Turkish subs drew the wrath of the still active Italian naval bombers (escorted, this time), with Turkish P51-D patrols soon also contesting the skies. But RADM Cebesoy’s old subs were soon badly damaged and started heading back to Split before they were all sunk.

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That night, the 1st Army command net burst into brief life again.

“One this is One Mike, Michelangelo secured, seeking further orders, over.”
“One Mike this is One, Sunray speaking. Secure Line Fatal Venom; repeat, secure Line Fatal Venom, over.”
“Wilco, out.”

ea9MOD.jpg


---xxx---

24 Apr 44

Another garrison brigade conversion – this time to a mountain brigade – was completed in Athens at midnight. They were put onto troop trains straight away and sent up to Split, where the new 4 Mtn Div would be assembling.

A brief battle was fought in the hills of Bergamo, on the approaches of Milan, from 2 to 7am, with an easy victory going to 5 Inf Div (Turkey 6/12,986; Italy 68/21,061 killed).

The submarines made it back to port in Split at 4am, with no additional damage [57% strength, zero organisation] and the fleet continued to bring itself back up to invasion readiness.

---xxx---

In Los Angeles, a new member of the LAPD’s detective bureau reported to Police Captain Dudley Smith.

“Good morning Captain, Detective Wendell White, reporting for duty. Here are my orders.”

“Hmm, I see you’ve been specifically assigned to the Midnite Owl murder investigation by the Commissioner,” replied Smith. White’s papers appeared to be in order, anyway. “Report to Lieutenant Exley, he’s leading that one.

“Yes, sir,” said the brooding White, whose face tightened at the mention of Exley's name.

He looked like he came from the ‘bad cop’ school of officer. Fine with me, thought Smith to himself.

---xxx---

25 Apr 44

The latest improvement to Turkish logistics distribution came at midnight, sorely needed given how the advance into Italy was stretching supply lines. Research effort now directed to the next round of infantry equipment improvements, starting with small arms.

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At 4am, Kanatli’s 1 Mot Div finally encountered some opposition on their drive south to Rome in the form of an Italian light armoured division in Arezzo. The Italians were fresh and launched a holding attack on Montevarchi, halting the rapid advance.

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Early the following morning, 1 TAG (now based in Venice) would be put in to start bombing the Italians in Arezzo, while additional escorts were also put on standby. Which was just as well, as the Italians sent two wings to intercept – which were savaged quite effectively by the three wings of Yak-7s that responded.

As that battle was happening, at 9am 17 Inf Div (IS-2 armed) had arrived in Parma (to the north of 2 Armd Div in Carrara) and began advancing to Bobbio, from where they would be able to support the attack on Genoa [which was down to 30% progress]. Slower moving infantry units were also heading south to support the drive on Rome, where 1 Mot Div was still isolated in its attack on Arezzo.

---xxx---

26 Apr 44

At 1am, as 1 TAG was heading to Arezzo to begin its round of missions that would last for some days, the air base at Tirane was expanded to level five.

By 5am, 1 BG (with 2 x La-5 M/R and 2 x Yak-4 TAC wings) was re-unified in Dubrovnik and sent to join the attacks of 1 TAG on Arezzo, where initial casualties had been rather light. But this combined raid from 7-10am was also ineffective (just 35 enemy killed). 1 BG would subsequently fly up to Trieste to be in range of Genoa, where its efforts might be better applied.

Much of the action remained in the air at that time, with a new Italian port strike launched on Split at 9am. This would further reduce fleet readiness, especially among some of the older escorts and the sole landing craft flotilla. It led the marines to be disembarked from their transports to take cover in the city as the ships were pounded. And because they had escorts, it looked as though these raids may have greater durability than past uncoordinated Italian efforts.

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While that was happening, the battle of Montevarchi was won at 9am on the 26th (Turkey 258/11,000; Italy 440/7,994 killed). 1 TAG kept striking 134a Armoured in Arezzo, while 1 BG finished its relocation to Trieste at midday and 1 Mot Div reorganised.

An initial skirmish was fought by 5 Inf Div against an Italian HQ in Milan at 1pm, with no casualties on either side, so the Turkish advance on it continued.

Over Split, the air battle continued throughout the day, with three successive dogfights fought by rotating groups of Turkish fighters against the Italian bomber group, which was starting to look very ragged by that night.

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1 BG, which also boasted some additional escorts from the old but experienced 1 AF, began raids on Genoa that afternoon. The initial raid only killed 86 enemy, so the newest TAC wing - the B-26s currently based in Split – were ‘reserve hopped’ to Trieste to join 1 BG that evening.

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A short-lived Italian spoiling attack on Carrara at 7pm made no progress at all and was called off just two hours later. But it was an indication that Italian resistance was just beginning to grow a little after the initial shock of the Turkish breakout in the north.

Air Damage Report. Four Turkish raids on Arezzo (mainly by 1 TAG) only killed 95 enemy. Only the one raid (causing 86 casualties) was completed on Genoa that night. It was then called off due to supply issues in Trieste hampering operations.

---xxx---

27 Apr 44

At midnight, two garrison brigades finished their conversion to regular infantry in Adana and a third would follow the next morning, creating a three-brigade regular division that could be called upon to act in Syria, if that became necessary in the near future.

The Italians persisted in their determined attacks on Split early that morning, but the rotation of comparatively fresh fighters by the Turks saw them defeated over Split by the F4F Wildcats and then again by a different group of Yak-7s over the Adriatic, as they tried to escape a little later.

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The advance in Italy remained in full swing, as 2 Armd began to make a little more ground in Genoa and 7 Inf Div moved to secure the Italian air base at Pisa – thus hoping to cut off the Italian garrison division in La Spezia. But 1 Mot Div remained delayed in Montevarchi and 5 Inf Div had run out of supplies as they tried to secure Milan. But more supporting infantry divisions were fanning out to expand the strength and coverage of the breakout.

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The earlier air victories against the Italians attacking Split did not stop a fresh group of enemy NAV from attacking later that morning – they really did seem determined to thwart any sortieing by the invasion fleet. After their first strike caused more damage, subsequent fighter rotations blunted the next one.

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But the already damaged subs seemed to take the brunt of things and they took off for the greater safety of Athens even as the bombs continued to fall on their exposed mooring facilities. The latest raids were defeated again by 6pm, but the light cruiser TCG Hamidiye and the LC flotilla in particular remained unseaworthy.

---xxx---

Over in Los Angeles, Ed Exley and ‘Bud’ White had arrested three black men for the Midnite Owl mass shooting. It seemed to be an ‘open and shut’ case and with some very convenient evidence found at the men’s residences. This was a feather in Exley’s cap, but White thought there were still some ‘loose ends’ to be tied up.

White also questioned Exley about the mysterious calling card that had been left with Lynn Bracken. “Any further leads or theories on that one, boss?”

“No, not for now. Nothing more had happened to Lynn and there appear to be no connections to any other cases at the moment.”

White simply nodded and moved on to his next case. He mentioned nothing of the fact that he hated Exley as the ‘straight’ cop had shopped White’s former partner, Dick Stensland, for corrupt conduct to earn his promotion to the detective force. But Stensland had been killed at the Midnite Owl, so White wanted to get to the bottom of it. And he didn’t believe Exley had got there yet.

Air Damage Report. Four more Turkish raids on Arezzo by 1 TAG killed 151 enemy troops.

---xxx---

28 Apr 44

5 Inf Div was still waiting in Bergamo for supplies by 9am that morning, very frustrating as Milan still laid open, though there was now a growing Italian build-up to its south in Piacenza. Supply and fuel shortages in Trieste from the increased air force presence there was also keeping 1 BG on the ground, unable to fulfil its mission against Genoa.

At midday 17 Inf Div was in Bobbio and joined the attack on Genoa, even though they too were in need of resupply. Their addition would eventually prove decisive, but the defenders would last until 2am on the morning of the 29th before finally breaking.

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Air Damage Report. The four Turkish raids that day on Arezzo by 1 TAG only killed 58 enemy troops – it hardly seemed worth the expenditure of fuel. They would be called off the following morning, after the next raid only killed four enemy soldiers, making in a grand total of just 308 over three and a bit days.

OTL Event: England. The first practice assault in Exercise Tiger, a series of large-scale rehearsals for D-Day, was held on Slapton Sands in Devon. The exercise was attacked by nine German E-boats that killed a total of 749 American servicemen. Two landing ships were sunk including USS LST-507. [To be fair to the UK in this ATL, they are already ashore in force and across a broad front on the Continent, without any US support to assist them ... other than lend-lease, of course.]

---xxx---

29 Apr 44

15 Inf Div made it to Cremona shortly after midnight and launched an encounter battle against three Italian divisions in the open ground of Piacenza. But the attack was across an arm of the Po River and met with heavy resistance [only 26% initial progress], the Italians substantially disorganised from earlier fighting but having had a chance to dig in a little. It was halted at 2am to allow approaching reinforcements to get to the front (Turkey 5/11,749; Italy 1/22,090 killed). Acting Captain Mehtin Sadik, now commanding a company, was relieved when the order came to hold in place.

Dusseldorf still resisted at 3am that morning, even as the RAF appeared to be launch ground attacks on it. Stuttgart too still held out. By then, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp had been liberated by the British and they had just retaken Brussels an hour or two before and now so too Dunkirk was liberated – a first foray back onto occupied French soil.

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A new attack was launched against Piacenza by 14 Inf Div at 6am, with 10 Inf Div joining in reserve at midday, improving the progress there [from 26 to 43%]. 1 BG was also called in to assist after a lone raid on Genoa, which fell to 2 Armd Div at 9am, with Pisa taken an hour later.

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In the south, 1 Mot Div had resumed its advance on Rome, bypassing the Italian armour in Arrezo, which 1 TAG had continued to hit until that morning. The battle for Piacenza would be won early the next morning.

Cebesoy's subs managed to limp into port at Athens that day, beginning a long repair program after their dire adventures in the Adriatic and Split.

As the fighting in Piacenza continued through the 29th, 7 Inf Div attacked the Italians surrounded in La Spezia from the south while 2 Armd Div reorganised in Genoa. Then Gürzlin’s men found themselves under a strong spoiling assault from the south by fresh Italian forces at 1pm. 2 Armd were then able to join the La Spezia attack later that night, improving the odds even further.

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After another ineffectual raid, this time on Piacenza, 1 BG was again taken off line at 8pm to gather supplies and fuel in Trieste, where the logistics system was not yet able to cope with the demand of the massively extended and reinforced front in northern Italy and the aircraft supporting it.

Air Damage Report. One raid on Genoa (20 casualties) and then two on Piacenza (62 killed) by 1 BG were almost useless, the last raid only killing two enemy soldiers. Perhaps better results would be had when supply for the bombers improved.

---xxx---

30 Apr 44

A victorious short attack on the mountainous Saló on the morning of the 30th by 2 Mtn Div (Turkey 29/15,000; Italy 6/13,318 killed) was the next stage in the envelopment of the Italian defence of northern Italy along the Swiss border, while 5 Inf Div still remained halted east of Milan (south-west of Saló), awaiting resupply.

And the reserves of Italian NAV seemed almost bottomless, as two repaired from assaults earlier in the month returned over the skies of Split to once more strike the invasion fleet in port. But this time, to the detriment of the Italians, they were once again unescorted, two waves of Turkish fighters (Wildcats then Yak-7s) taking a heavy toll in three separate dogfights.

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But before they had been successfully repelled at 6pm that evening, heavy damage had again been done to enough Turkish ships to leave them still in port and under repair. This was a pity, as it could have really added some shock factor to the breakout, but Admiral Üngen was not willing to risk the fleet – and the Turkish and US marines – when they could well be vital to subsequent operations to secure Spain and perhaps parts of Vichy North Africa for Turkey and the Comintern.

As the month drew to a close, fighting continued in La Spezia and Pisa. But 1 Mot Div had managed to keep fully supplied and had raced way ahead of the following units, penetrating as far south as Viterbo by 6m without encountering any further opposition. They drove on mercilessly to Rome, in the true Turkish R.A.W. style of old.

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In Los Angeles Bud White had run into Lynn Bracken (a coincidence, or deliberate?) at a liquor store. She appeared to have been ‘roughed up’. Bud White hated women-bashers with a real vengeance, his mother having been beaten to death by his father when he was a young child. He decided to follow Lynn out – who like Exley before him he thought looked remarkably like Veronica Lake - to see if he could find out what was going on.

White pulled his gun on Lynn’s ‘minder’ who was waiting for her next to a flashy car just outside.

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“Get your hands off her, low-life!” cried White as he drew his service revolver.

But after a short conversation, he found this minder was yet another ex-cop, Leland ‘Buzz’ Meeks, who explained Lynn hadn’t been attacked, but was simply recovering from plastic surgery. White backed off, but decided to investigate more of these linkages on his own.

After asking around back at the station, White would later discover Meeks now worked for one Pierce Patchett, owner of the exclusive Fleur-de-Lis prostitution service. A matchbook for which had been found on the body of one of the Midnite Owl victims – none other than his ex-partner Dick Stensland!

It seemed less and less likely that the three men apprehended were guilty – at all or at least solely – of that crime. White would continue to dig – but not before CAPT Smith had some additional ‘extra-curricular’ work for him to do ‘off the books’.

---xxx---

Western Europe Theatre Summaries

On the broader Patriotic Front, both the British in the Low Countries and Turkey in Northern Italy had made large breakouts against apparently crumbling resistance. The Soviets had made more advances along the line in Western Germany, but had still not managed to make the knock-out blow against Hitler and his vile, bratwurst-and-potato-munching cronies.

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Turkish combat casualties had been comparatively light that month for all the gains made, though some attrition on top of those losses from being in enemy territory detracted from the recovery of the manpower pool.

In Germany, Stuttgart was now in an exposed salient in the south, guarded by an elite Italian Alpini division under German command. Dusseldorf was again under pressure from three directions and seemed to be under attack again, but had held out all month, as did [non-VP] Cologne to its immediate south.

xhpFS5.jpg


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Hitler’s stooges still served the crazed megalomaniac, pictured here disconsolately surveying the damage outside his Dusseldorf Führerbunker on 30 April 1944.

As we have seen, northern Italy had been extensively occupied after the Turkish Operation Ottoman Viper breakout from Venice earlier in the month. Despite the seizure of four major Italian centres and espionage operations to undermine Italian national unity, they were still some way off being ready to surrender.

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Though if Milan and Rome could be taken quickly enough, the still hoped for naval invasion of the Adriatic coast – or even further south, perhaps even Sicily – may not be necessary. Once those ships could be sufficiently repaired.

British monthly reporting fleshed out in more detail where things now stood in Belgium. It appeared that the Germans had begun to gather some substantial forces in north-eastern France, whether to defend against the British, the Soviets or both was unclear. Ironically, the Germans now faced a similar strategic dilemma to that of France in 1940 – with the additional complication of having lost most of Germany already and being on the edge of surrender.

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In Finland, the strange spectacle of at least a corps-worth of Romanian divisions being assigned as expeditionary forces to the (still neutral) Finns perplexed Supreme HQ in Ankara. Another paradox, thought Field Marshal Calistar to himself. Of the remaining troops left from that victorious campaign, some appeared to be well on their way to the Far East, others to Western Europe.

---xxx---

Eastern and South-West Pacific Theatre Summaries

Soviet progress in the Far East remained steady if not spectacular. The important centre of Irkutsk was finally coming within Soviet reach after a broad advance in its direction.

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British reporting from India revealed Dhaka had been retaken, but other advances towards Burma remained modest during the month.

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The appearance of Japanese marines and Thai troops in Malaya had halted the rapid and previously unopposed advance of the bold Belgian 1st Motorised Division in Kuala Lumpur.

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The stalemate continued in Australia and New Zealand. The US had not done anything observable in the wider Pacific area.

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---xxx---

Manpower, Intelligence and Industry

After increasing again earlier in the month, the Turkish manpower reserve had been reduced back down to just 5,420 men by the end of the month.

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The espionage mission in Italy continued full-bore, diplomatic sources confirming their national unity stood at 65.2% (rather than the more optimistic 56.5% estimated by MSH operatives on the ground). Their secret police no longer seemed able to offer any opposition.

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Turkish industry and resource stockpiles remained healthy enough. The issues with supply at the front were about throughput, not production of supplies. There was now enough reserve industrial capacity to start modest new equipment upgrade programs again.

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---xxx---

Naval Report

It had been another bad month for the French against the Japanese, losing a battleship and a light cruiser, plus three submarine flotillas. The British had suffered no new losses, but Australia had lost another submarine flotilla.

Japan had lost one destroyer and one submarine flotilla.

Bretagne was the lead ship of her class of three dreadnought battleships built in the 1910s for the French Navy. Laid down 22 July 1912; launched 21 April 1913; commissioned 10 February 1916. Standard displacement 23,936 t; crew 1,193; main armament 5 × twin 34 cm (13.4 in) guns. Sunk by IJNS Furutaka (CA) April 1944. [OTL fate: Fearful that the Germans would seize the French Navy, the British attacked the ships at Mers-el-Kébir in French Algeria on 3 July 1940 after the French refused to surrender or demilitarise the fleet. Bretagne was hit four times and exploded, killing the majority of her crew.]

kjuled.jpg

Top: The French battleship Bretagne in happier days. Bottom: Bretagne, partially obscured by the shell splash, is on fire and sinking by the stern, April 1944.

La Galissonnière (pictured below) was the lead ship of her class of six light cruisers built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the 1930s. Laid down 15 December 1931; launched 18 November 1933; commissioned 1 January 1936. Standard displacement 7,600 t; complement 540; main armament 9 × 155 mm (6.1 in) guns. Sunk by the IJNS Akagi (CV) April 1944.

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---xxx---

Coming Up: How much longer can Germany’s grim last-ditch defence hold on for – surely not beyond May 1944? Speculation continues about the fate of France in particular after the assumed imminent fall of Germany: who will get what and what will happen to the still-neutral Vichy Government?

On the other hand, will Italy’s sudden downward spiral and the ‘R.A.W.’ of Turkey’s continuing Operation Ottoman Viper mean they fall before Germany after all? And will the naval invasion fleet ever get out of Split to hit the beaches of Italy – if indeed they are required to?

And what the heck is happening over in Los Angeles? Can Bud White – and/or Ed Exley – get to the bottom of it all? How many agendas are running and who are the behind-the-scenes players we have yet to see? How (if at all) is this all linked to Perse, the Duke of Midnight and the FBI?
 
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Well Italy burst open surprisingly easily. A shame that the Low Countries are going to be liberated by the Allies but given that the Soviets could very easily turn around and kill them all, I think some negotiations (I.e. game modding) may occur in the post war that means the Allies don't actually get much of western Europe back. They're in an impossible position really. No way they can beat the Soviets and the Japanese at the same time.

From the looks of things, the colonial empires are doomed post war anyway. Germany is going Soviet. Italy Turkish. Finland soviet. Eastern Europe split between the pact.

The allies maybe keep the low countries and maybe Norway but that will be it. They'll complain. France will scream. The US will shout. But there's no ignoring reality.
 
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RustyHunter

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Italy has gone smoother than anyone was expecting, so well done! I suppose the fall of Rome will be very important, but a naval landing on Sicily to take Palermo could also be useful to snag some VPs, but it really just seems like a matter of time.

Germany continues to amaze me with their tenacity, but I agree they must be wearing out.

Nice shoutout to the P26/40, those are cool tanks that were obviously heavily inspired by the T-34. Italy wouldn't have built enough to make a difference, but I'm curious how they would have stacked up against Shermans, Panzer IVs, and T-34s.

What are the specific plans for the future? Spain is a victory condition, but taking Vichy would complete Turkey's Mediterranean dominance and ease the way into Spain.
The allies maybe keep the low countries and maybe Norway but that will be it. They'll complain. France will scream. The US will shout. But there's no ignoring reality.
I think they absolutely keep the Low Countries and Norway, seeing how they already liberated them. France is going to be a mess, but I'm curious how the game will sort them out when Germany surrenders. It'll just get worse when Turkey snags Vichy.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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think they absolutely keep the Low Countries and Norway, seeing how they already liberated them. France is going to be a mess, but I'm curious how the game will sort them out when Germany surrenders. It'll just get worse when Turkey snags Vichy.
I suspect the game auto liberates every ally member when they win the war...but that still leaves the matter of vichy France. Does it auto dissolve into free France? Become a separate state? Who knows?

Otherwise yes, I suspect rhe Allies will just get Denmark, Norway the Low Countries and Poland back...but they really shouldn't. Not with the mighty red army all over Europe and the UK alone with a toe hold in the low countries and nowhere else. Be suicidal of them to insist on everything back whilst still fighting off a Japanese invasion of India.

In actuality, what I suspect would happen would be a return to relative normality in Western Europe, aside from Italy and Germany going into the comintern...in exchange for finalnd and Eastern Europe going entirely to us.
 
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Wraith11B

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I wonder at this point if it's time to just declare war on Vichy France. Force them into the war so that they have to be gobbled up (and because I don't know if the British are at war with them too). They can't possibly have that much of an army, and we can possibly get Syria on the cheap.
 
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diskoerekto

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That afternoon, the Mk1 Eyeball sub recon off the Northern Coast of Dalmatia confirmed both Ancona and Pescara were garrisoned by enemy infantry divisions. Back in Split, the fleet was still making repairs after the most recent Italian NAV raids.
2-3 divisions each to Ascoli Piceno and Ortona to directly attack and meet at Pescara would be a good plan

News Report: Free France. Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French provisional government, issued a simple decree giving French women the right to vote. [In OTL, he was in Algiers by then.]
Turkish women got this right in 1930

“One this is One Mike, Michelangelo secured, seeking further orders, over.”“One Mike this is One, Sunray speaking. Secure Line Fatal Venom; repeat, secure Line Fatal Venom, over.”“Wilco, out.”
Once again R.A.W at its finest!

Much of the action remained in the air at that time, with a new Italian port strike launched on Split at 9am. This would further reduce fleet readiness, especially among some of the older escorts and the sole landing craft flotilla. It led the marines to be disembarked from their transports to take cover in the city as the ships were pounded. And because they had escorts, it looked as though these raids may have greater durability than past uncoordinated Italian efforts.
Seems like we'll only be able to use this amphibi capability against Vichy France or Spain :D

White simply nodded and moved on to his next case. He mentioned nothing of the fact that he hated Exley as the ‘straight’ cop had shopped White’s former partner, Dick Stensland, for corrupt conduct to earn his promotion to the detective force. But Stensland had been killed at the Midnite Owl, so White wanted to get to the bottom of it. And he didn’t believe Exley had got there yet.
I love noir gumshoe detective stories! :D

But before they had been successfully repelled at 6pm that evening, heavy damage had again been done to enough Turkish ships to leave them still in port and under repair
At this point I imagine the repairmen at the naval facilities like the cabbage salesman in Avatar the Last Airbender

and what will happen to the still-neutral Vichy Government?
We'll eat them so fast :D

And what the heck is happening over in Los Angeles? Can Bud White – and/or Ed Exley – get to the bottom of it all? How many agendas are running and who are the behind-the-scenes players we have yet to see? How (if at all) is this all linked to Perse, the Duke of Midnight and the FBI?
hmmmm
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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I suppose we can't make the situation ant more complicated by declaring war on vichy, and it would allow us to steal Syria on the cheap so...

I suppose it depends what happens to vichy when Germany falls though.
 
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