• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

HecNev

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Chapter 32

31st of March 1944

After supporting the landing on the Dodecanese, Souta returned to more conventional tasks.
A few days ago, the Russians had declared war upon Romania, probably hoping to sweep through it with a blitz and to fall into the back of the Japanese holdings in the Balkans.

Yet, Romania had remained neutral during the Second Great War, meaning that it still had a huge and capable army that was equipped with the latest German and Japanese weapons, as both nations had tried to tie this little state closer to itself. For the Japanese, Romania was so important because it was guarding the northern border of its Balkan holdings.

However, instead of a swift Russian victory, the Romanians were destroying the Soviet spearheads as they tried to cross the Danube River and then went on to push into the Ukraine and Bessarabia.

During this time, the Romanians requested air protection, which was given by the CAGs of the IJN Kaga and the IJN Akagi, which were both operating from the port of Varna.

At the moment, their squadron was flying low above a Romanian corps of old German tanks, namely the Type III tanks.
It felt odd to know that their friends as well as their enemies were using the same weapons, but every tank opposing the Soviets counted.

The Romanian tanks had just crossed the Danube River and were slowly pushing towards the city of Odessa. It wasn’t their task to protect them today, that was the task of 5th squadron. They were to move further inland to bomb an airfield near the town of Kyiv.
It was incredible what those new drop-tanks made possible.

Kyiv was known to be the airfield on which most of the Russian bombers disturbing the Romanian advance were stationed. As the way to Kiev led mostly through territory that was only inhabited by a few scattered Ukrainian farmers, the chances that they would be discovered early on were low.

So they left the Romanian tanks behind them and moved on over the grassy Ukrainian plains. They passed ruins of villages and farms that were either destroyed by the retreating Germans or by the retreating Russians, as none of both parties had wanted to leave anything to the enemy.
Souta was now 19 years old and had already seen his share of war, but the cruelty human beings were capable of still surprised him.
The sun was shining brightly on this morning and he was glad that they were equipped with glasses that protected them from the strong sun-rays.

After some time, a huge city appeared on the horizon. Kyiv.
The airfield was to the south of the town, so they didn’t have to fly right through it.
He could see Russian interceptors leaving the airfield and flying towards them. The Russian IL-2 was a heavy fighter with strong armor, but it was too slow to keep up with the Japanese A6M Zero.

Still, everyone kept silent, there wasn’t anyone using the radio. The group split up like planned before, i.e. one half of the planes went straight for the unprotected bombers whereas the other was to keep the fighters busy.
Souta belonged to the latter group.

The IL-2 proved to be a tougher opponent than the German FW-190’s as their armor was thicker to protect it from AA-fire. Thus, they had to be outmaneuvered and attacked in a dive from above.
So much on theory.
In reality, the IL-2 pilots knew about this weakness and were quite efficient in keeping the Japanese from diving at them.

After 30 minutes, the raid was over. Most of the bombers were destroyed and the Japanese made for a retreat to the south.
The Russian fighters were still battling them, but neither side had been able to inflict major casualties.

Souta dived at an IL-2, hitting the plane at its tail and sending it to the ground. As he tried to rise again, he himself was hit.

Adrenaline filled his veins. He lost control over the airplane and black smoke erupted from the engine, covering his sights and making him practically blind for all that happened outside the plane.
He broke the radio-silence and cried: “Anybody who can hear this: Once you get home, please tell my father that I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my promise of returning back home.”

He could make out the closing ground through the smoke and tried to do what they had told him about emergency landings.
Try to do all as usual.
He cursed loudly. How was he supposed to act as usual when he couldn’t see a thing and was lost several hundred miles behind enemy lines?

And that was when the plane hit the ground.

The Romanians didn’t waste the opportunity to advance with aircover and pushed deep into Soviet territory.



-----

25th of April 1944


The newspapers were filled with the war, but he wanted to know nothing about it.
The Americans had sent an expeditionary force consisting of five motorized divisions? Well, now that was nice!
Oslo had fallen to the marines a few days ago and, after Norway’s surrender, the Scandinavian front was now stabilizing again? Beautiful!





Japan had managed to establish a democratic government in Mongolia? Now that really meant the Allies were on the move!



He didn’t care about it anymore since the letter had come three weeks ago.

You son has died a hero’s death in serving his country in his darkest hours. His sacrifice was not in vain, for it made the most recent military successes possible.

For his successes in the War against Fascism and the War against Communism, your son will be awarded with the order of the Emperor for exceptional deeds on the battlefield.

You will receive it in his stead on the 2nd of June 1944.
The Emperor would be pleased if you attended to honor your son’s deeds by accepting this award.

It had destroyed Haruji’s life once and for all. His wife was crying almost every day since it came, she couldn’t look at him because he remembered him of her dead son and he himself didn’t do much better.
The Reds had wrenched the best man he had known in his life from his hands and he had been unable to do anything about it.

Attending the meeting with the Emperor was something he seriously considered, though he didn’t know how he would react should he see one of the army’s generals.

-----

20th of May 1944

Takumi was waiting in Oslo for new orders since a month by now.
He enjoyed the life far off the front with the marines, but he couldn’t help but think of his men back in France who still had to endure the back and forth of the border-combat.

The marines weren’t deployed anywhere else at the moment because almost the entire transport fleets were busy with bringing the American forces from Baltimore over to the European battlefield, namely the port of Trieste, and new recruits from the Japanese homelands to the Balkans.

He was shocked to hear that the French, that had welcomed them as liberators from the Soviet menace, were actually rising to fight them as enemies of the Soviet state.



This was outrageous.
At first, the French always needed someone to fight their wars because they were defeated faster than one could say “mérde” and now, as they found idiots like the Japanese to do so, they were rising against them.

At the same time, fighting those partisans proved to be difficult, as the Japanese were still busy holding the Red Army from taking France back.



The Allies had clearly lost the initiative in this war which had grounded to a stalemate. But that might change once the Americans arrived.

Or hopefully it would.

From replacements, he had heard that the government had just finished the construction of a huge military site in Kagoshima to which all entrance was forbidden.
The replacements were conspiring that a new, secret weapon was developed there, but as he heard that wires were leaving the site, Takumi decided not to hope to much and just to consider this as a new power-plant and nothing more.

Whther it was anything else, future would tell.
 

Slan

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timkoningskelp

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Very interesting AAR. Never seen Japan playing such a big role in Europe, even defeating Italy singlehandedly. Will surely be following your crusade against the Red Bear!
 

HecNev

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Thank you for all the comments!
I'm afraid I probably won't be able to post another update before the next weekend, as I'm unable to continue playing the game during the week.
 

Leathaface

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Any idea of the ETA for an update on this excellent AAR? Discovered it last week orso and read it to the end in one go! Curious about a showdown between Comintern and the Allies :)
 

HecNev

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As I said, I don't intend to let this one die but, unfortunately, during the last few weeks I neither ahd the time to play nor to write.

Sorry, mate.
 

Lord Fearless

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As I said, I don't intend to let this one die but, unfortunately, during the last few weeks I neither ahd the time to play nor to write.

Sorry, mate.
Everyone who has ever written or tried to write an AAR knows that Real Life doesn't care about ones subscribers.

Because of that we will have to wait for this Epic Tale of Honor and Bravery (That's with capitals!) to be resumed.
 

HecNev

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Chapter 33

1st of June 1944

The war had grounded to a stalemate. Back in France, Takumi noted this even more than when sitting around in Norway.
In Scandinavia, the war was now shifting towards the Allied factions, as Sweden slowly recovered from its early losses against the Soviets. In this, it was supported by the democratic Norway.



Also, Japanese marines were now helping the Swedish in fighting the Soviets in the north, as their transport fleet had been sunk by Soviet submarines recently.

In France, both factions were battling for the areas which had once belonged to the mighty Maginot Line, the former bulwark of France against Germany. Now the Allies were trying to seize control of it as a bulwark against communism.



Also, as the Romanians were pushing into Ukraine, the Japanese found the chance to liberate the rest of Yugoslavia:



The operation was to become long and tedious, as only slow infantry and garrison divisions were involved. The bulk of the Japanese armed and motorized forces was still locked in a deadly combat along the river Rhine.

The days back at the French border were worse than those in Italy.
They were hammered by bombers, artillery and heavy Tiger tanks that couldn’t be outmaneuvered due to the difficult terrain and the huge number of hidden bunkers of the Maginot Line.

On the 22nd, most of this area had been liberated, but the casualties were incredibly high and several divisions were only a shadow of their former selves.



But with the arrival of American reinforcements and the redeployment of Japanese paratroopers from the Far Eastern battlefields, High Command did not wish to leave the initiative to the Red Army, although the Allied forces in France were severely outnumbered by their enemies.

The large Allied presence along the river Rhine and Romanian offensive had forces the Soviets to concentrate their forces in two completely different locations.
And Stalin made the mistake of leaving almost no defenders in between those two hotspots. This had first become obvious at the beginning of June, but High Command had considered this too good to be true.

-----
1st of July 1944



“Alright, you know your orders. Tomorrow will be our day. I want each and every one of you to sleep for the night. It’ll be the last sleep you’ll get for the next few days!”

The paratroopers were to be the spearhead for the liberation of Austria.
The country was very mountainous, so it was expected that the Soviets would have fortified every city as soon as the 8th Corps, the American expeditionary force, would have made its way past the mountain roads and into the heart of Austria.

The paratroopers were to prevent this by securing and holding the key cities until the motorized reinforcements of the 8th Corps arrived.

Takumi had heard about this plan before and now, that he was amidst it as a liaison officer with the Americans, he couldn’t believe that High Command had suggested this and not the bunch of Cowboys Roosevelt had sent to them.

Yet, as the operation was launched, High Commands decision was to be proven right.

The paratroopers encountered no resistance, save for a small infantry division in the town of Graz.
The Americans made their way through the Alps unharmed and unopposed.

Takumi had never seen anything like this. Landings at beaches without defenders had become common to him during the last few years, but liberating entire countries without firing a single shot?

Well, not that he had something against that.

8th Corps reached the town of Graz on the 5th of July, the day Austria surrendered to the Allies.




The country was given a democratic Japanese government until the end of the war, when a true democracy would be formed.
All over the world, the free people gained new hopes that this bloody struggle might end soon. Austrian forces on all fronts rebelled and surrendered to the Allies or, if they were too far off from the frontlines to do so, they harassed Soviet supply lines.



Europe was being liberated. Step by Step.

The stunning success of this operation and the Soviet counterattack against Romania, which ould barely be halted north of Bucarest, the Romanian capital, prompted High Command to launch another operation like the one that led to the liberation of Austria.

This time, Hungary, from where the most attacks against Romania were coming, was to be the target. As the paratroopers were still engaged at the Austrian border, only a few divisions of 8th Corps would take part in this maneuver. They were to be reinforced by fresh Japanese rifle and motorized divisions.



Despite the lack of paratroopers, this operation was over after six days, too.




But the Japanese had not expected what was to come now.
Of course, Hungarian forces were rebelling now everywhere within the Red Army, but now, the few divisions that had managed to overwhelm an almost undefended Hungary were facing a fierce Soviet counter attack from across the Carpatian Mountains.

----------
Author’s Note: Sorry that this update is so short, but there wasn’t really that much happening. The offensives went very swiftly and there is just no battle that could be talked about.
 

HecNev

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So, unfortunately, the savegame got (somehow) corrupted.

As the only other save of this game I have left is dating back to some time before my invasion of Italy, I don't wish to do that bit all over again.

Thus, the AAR is over at this point.
Thanks to all the readers.
 

Avindian

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Sorry to hear that; this was a really good AAR and I enjoyed reading it.