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Aguerra

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The Bark of the Underdog - Allied Spain AAR - HPP 1.9.2

This AAR is continuation to my previous one that described the events of Spanish Civil War and my second AAR. Details are the same;

Version: HPP 1.9.2 with hotfix, eyecandy
Starting date: September 4 1936, the day Spanish Civil War ended
Difficulty: Normal
AAR start date: 7.6.2011
Style: Seriousness not guaranteed

Goals in order of importance:

1.Survive as an independent democracy

2.Fight Fascism with any means necessary

3.Destroy Fascism

4.Cake

I have no idea how to create index page but I think I'll try. Hopefully this will become rather long AAR and it might be nice to put it into order.

INDEX


Chapter 1: 'A backward country of little importance.' - September 1936

Chapter 2: Let the good times roll - May 1937

Chapter 3: Hunger and despair - the story of Spanish army - January 1938

Chapter 4: Foreign Affairs - March 1938

Chapter 5: Cloak and dagger - January 1939

Chapter 6: Spain goes to wAAR - the order of battle - August 23, 1939

Chapter 7:"Poor Poland..." - September 1939

Chapter 8: The Phoney war - Novermber 1939

Chapter 9: OPERATION SNOW WHITE - The bloody struggle for Denmark - April 4 1940

Chapter 10: OPERATION SLAPDANCE - The Battle for Big Pancake - May 8 1940

Chapter 11: The Red River Blues - Infamous Faaborg Stalker Strikes - June 1940

Chapter 12: Mussolini's Adventures in Wonderland - A casual massacre - July 1940

Chapter 13 - Mussolini on the run - Spanish preparations - 1-24 August

Chapter 14: OPERATION BAD MEDICINE - Spain vs. Italy - 24 August 1940

Chapter 15: OPERATION DANDELION - An unexpected breakthrough - 20 September to 3 November

Chapter 16: "It was those darn Spaniards!" - 3 November to 25 December 1940
 
Last edited:

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THE CAKE IS A LIE! :p

I shall be watching this AAR again. Bring on the Spaniards!
 

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Even if it were not an AAR, I would read this just for the awesome title. Also, your sense of humour. Go defend Democracy (and maybe ensure some of the Spanish-speaking people around the world rejoin you)!
 

Aguerra

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Chapter 1: 'A backward country of little importance.'

September 1936 - May 1937


In September 1936 President Manuel Azaña addressed the Parliament, international press and the Spanish people. The main message of the speech could hardly be described as unexpected, but this did not diminish it's symbolical power. In symbolically damaged House of Parliament in Madrid President declared the Spanish Civil War, often called 'the Rebellion', finally over, the rule of law restored and expressed his wish that the much-suffered Spanish people could now return to resemblance of normal life. These were exactly the words people had awaited for long in their fields, homes and working places, amids the chaos and fear of the war, and soldiers had dreamed of in their shallow trenches. After the fear, uncertainty and anxiety the people had exploded into spontaneous celebration in the streets of cities and villages alike, and for week country had been united in exuberant joy. A roaring applause filled the chamber, and it was some time before President could continue.



President Azaña after the victorious civil war

However, President also expressed his belief that heroic people of Spain could - would - win more than the war. He identified the Civil War as a symptom, not the source, of many ills that plagued Spain. These included poverty, illiteracy, corruptions and general backwardness. President went further to analyze the situation of the world and economics, and identified fundamental flaws in such imperialism as Italy and Japan were practicing. The development of transport and communications would unavoidably lead to fundamental changes in global politics and relations and importance of global trade. On other hand, barbaric exploitation of colonies would lead to dependency of such methods, discouraging true economic development. The future of the world, and of Spain, would unavoidably move away from such methods. Future would be that of democracy, liberty and global markets, not that of Fascism and exploitation. If Spain was to flourish, the way forward would be found from economical and technological excellency, educated population, democracy and international trade. Age of Empires had gone, kings and colonies were vanishing, and for future model Spain would look upon liberal democracies, such as USA and Scandinavian countries. By these methods Spain would take it's place among it's peers, a true democratic 'government of the people, by the people, for the people.'

Spanish people had fought for their freedom and inspired the world, and as long as Spain stood liberty and democracy would not vanish from Europe. President ended his historical speech by statement that would be remembered in years to come: "Freedom is not free." Amid thunderous applause President Azaña stepped down from the stage.



Freedom was not free. Spain was badly mauled by Civil War.

But then it was time to get back to work. The Civil War had devastated much of Spain, and left tens of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands homeless. Cities had become battlefields of the 'first modern war', ordinary citizens soldiers and victims. Families had been split by political and physical realities of the war, and many Nationalists had left Spain, never to return. It was estimated that up top 62.5% of taxi drivers of early 1937 New York were former Nationalist officers from Spain, while number was 37.4% among London restaurant waiters.



In post-Civil War Spain there was abundance of love, but very few tractors.

Even without the horrors of Civil War Spain was 'a backward country of little importance' as cynical British observer noted. Spanish agriculture was hopelessly undeveloped, and motorized equipment were very rare. In late 30's most of the population were still farmers and industry was both ineffective and rather scarce. For most of the Spanish people the efforts of everyday life very much circled around the necessities of life, keeping the roof over their heads and earning enough to feed their families. The Great Depression had not left the world, and most countries had to struggle with direst economic difficulties in living memory. It was some consolation that for such a great proportion of Spanish people this represented continuation of affairs, rather than decline. People were poor, they had always been poor and their fathers before them. It seemed some things never changed.

But something had changed. The Civil War had unleashed unexpected energies in Iberian peninsula, and new Government tackled difficulties with gusto. During exuberant months following the capitulation of Nationalist Spain nothing seemed actually impossible, only little distant. Had USA not been a poor country long ago? Government included the heroes of Civil War, most capable men and much less corrupted than had been the norm in Spain before.

Suave gentleman José Yanguas was still Minister of Armament, administrating closely governed industry. The Mobilization of Industry Acts of Civil War had proved so successful that they were never removed, though otherwise ordinary civil society had been restored. Factories were once again churning out soap, cheap toothpaste and other luxury goods for hungry masses, and rumors were that shipment of Coca-cola was to arrive from USA. Resourceful Juan Hernández had become a hero of Civil War and was now both Head of Intelligence and Chief of the Army. Burly Toribio 'the Walrus' Martínez had regained his position as Chief of Staff, after leading divisions during the Civil War.



Under the firm, if sometimes noisy, leadership of President Azaña the Government tackled the tangled web of inefficiency, tradition and corruption that formed much of Spanish society. In exuberant mood that followed the Civil War many important reforms of liberal nature, both economic and legal, were hammered through. These included progressive taxation, removal of privileges of Catholic Church, obligatory education, free basic health care, liberal family laws and many others. Most reforms were funded by massive removal of old privileges that still existed in Spain, especially those of Church, and more effective taxation system. These reforms, especially improved education, would prove immensely beneficial in the long run as common people became to understand the world beyond the narrow borders of previous generations. Most of Spanish people were more than happy to work hard to provide a brighter future for their children.



Poor people and women were among the major winners of Spanish reforms.

One of the major challenges of Spain was the reform of industry. Though certain improvements could be made by improved administration and laws, it seemed certain that Spain could not truly flourish without massive expansion of industry. While Spain possessed considerable urban working population, their workshops and methods were obsolete. Even practical knowledge of building modern facilities was lacking. Hardly surprised Government stoically decided that this matter would not become easier by waiting, and launched a systematic campaign to hire, import, steal, hijack, shanghai or seduce necessary materials and knowledge. Slowly Spanish economy begun to show signs of improvement as exports increased and massive rebuilding programs quickly wiped unemployment away.





Spanish industry was mainly producing Spanish industry. October 1936.

The revitalized Spain quickly adopted 'Americanization' as the new Gospel. Though Spanish social model was closer to Scandinavian countries, this did not diminish the abundant admiration of all things American. American products were the highest fashion in any possible or impossible form, American cars were fastest, clothes most chic, food tastiest. Spain enjoyed surprisingly good image in USA, mostly because of works of Ernest Hemingway, selling Spanish Civil war to American public exactly as such as story as Americans wanted to hear. Immediately after (and sometimes during) the civil war middle-class American tourist had flocked to Spain to see the 'famous' battle-sites, mostly unknown to those Spaniards who had not read Hemingway. Spanish people quickly learned to exploit this tendency, and Spain enjoyed a steady supply of foreign currency, despite the Depression. Also American tractors and harvesters begun to change the face of Spanish agriculture in 1937, resulting in dramatic increase of output.

This tendency resolved some problems with unexpected efficiency. Some extreme parts of Spanish society demanded more than Government thought reasonable. The Basque country demanded independence, and Stalinist elements yearned for closer 'cooperation' with USSR. However, after first bottles of Coca-cola arrived in early 1937 both problems vanished. After first swing of the new miracle drink both Basques and Stalinists happily forgot their demands, and then spent the cover-funds from USSR, meant for revolution, to obtain more.



The future of Stalinist Spain ended here.

As pressing as internal questions were, foreign affairs did not go unnoticed, at least not completely so. The world of 1936-37 was not as peaceful as many liked to pretend, and Spain had not forgotten the threat of Fascism that still hung over Europe, still-fresh bullet holes in nearby walls handily reminding of this.

For one thing, the perfidious German Reich had conjured an Anti-Comitern Pact in October 1936, quickly attracting countries such as Hungary, Japan and Italy to sign. In Spain there were particular suspicions about Italy, a Fascist state that clearly yearned to be the powerhouse of Mediterranean. Luckily, both France and UK had interests there and Spanish experts though that Italian adventures could not go very far.

Indeed, they were not. The Italo-Abyssinian war still dragged on during the rest of 1936, took vacation during Christmas, and went back to work in January 1937. Italians seemed unable to gain ground. Some speculated that demanding terrain and strenuous supply routes were to blame, though in Spain people preferred to think that defeat of Italian forces in Civil War had just knocked to stuffing out of Mussolini. In any case, Ethiopia stood unconquered.



Situation in Ethiopia. January 1937



The situation in Ethiopia took a new turn in March when Ethiopia actually signed the Anti-Comitern Pact with Germany, with full blessing of Hitler. Spanish experts saw this as a sign of conflict between Italy and Germany, but this did little to halt Italian war effort. Also Argentina had signed by now.



Lions of Ethiopia: In May 1937 Italian had actually been pushed back.

Naturally the pain and shame of Italians were source of great joy and happiness among Spanish people.

Also news leaked out of Soviet Union, telling a grim tale of paranoid purges among officers. Spanish leaders were immensely relived to think that we had distanced ourselves from USSR. This clearly showed that it was everything but 'worker's paradise.' They did not even serve mojitos!

Also Japan was struggling with internal problems. It seemed that the politics of Japan were filled with coups, assassinations and collapsing cabinets. They would be so much better of as our colony. Unfortunately we had given up all fantasies of colonial glory, but fortunately we had absolutely no interests around Japan. Still, Spanish government hoped that Japan would not slide into military dictatorship.



But continuously reports were received that certain Herr Hitler continued to smooch his way into hears and minds of German people. Hopefully nothing bad comes of it...



This young gentleman appears rather suspicious. What a clever boy.
 
Last edited:

loki100

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glad you're taking this forward ... and in an interesting direction. Your last picture is a gem too.

Re: index.

What you need is a piece of code linked to each page. The syntax is {url=pagereference goes here]Give it the title you want to appear here[/url] ... with the important difference that the first bracket isn't a { but a [. To get the code part right click on the post number (top rhs of each post) & click on 'copy link location'. So as an eg your first post is: the one with the suspicious kid
 

Aguerra

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glad you're taking this forward ... and in an interesting direction. Your last picture is a gem too.

Re: index.

What you need is a piece of code linked to each page. The syntax is {url=pagereference goes here]Give it the title you want to appear here[/url] ... with the important difference that the first bracket isn't a { but a [. To get the code part right click on the post number (top rhs of each post) & click on 'copy link location'. So as an eg your first post is: the one with the suspicious kid
Thanks Mashal, I'll give it a shot. Now if I could just figure a way to get good quality screenshots, they still look blurry. I blame steam.
 

unmerged(83789)

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Its good to hear that coke has wiped away all possible opposition that may stand against the new goverment. You would think stalin (stalzo) would be importing it by the gallon.
 

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Yet another case of Ethopia kicking Italy's ass. :D
 

Aguerra

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Its good to hear that coke has wiped away all possible opposition that may stand against the new goverment. You would think stalin (stalzo) would be importing it by the gallon.
Capitalistic debauchery and conspiracy! He probably could, but he would end up drinking it all himself anyway.

Yet another case of Ethopia kicking Italy's ass. :D
Spanish experts are baffled how Italian propaganda explains this mystery, and how long it will take before Mussolini is fired for gross incompetence. This seems to be something that happens only in HPP, I can't remember Ethiopia surviving very long in vanilla SF.
 

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Chapter 2: Let the good times roll

May 1937

During years 1937-39 something like a modest, local version of Roaring Twenties emerged in Spain, thanks to liberal economic policies, recovering global economy and booming Coca-cola trade. The rebuilding of the country after the Civil War was well under way and government had taken bold steps for massive expansion of Spanish industry. The emerging liberalism quickly penetrated all of Spanish society as centuries of oppression, narrow-mindedness and class-society were brushed aside by the people. The lifestyle, habits and expectations of people were dramatically different, and more visibly fashion on the streets begun to change dramatically. Practically this ment skirts that shortened by average pace of 1.27cm/month, and deeply infuriated clergymen, but all the rest were quite happy with the 'new fashion.' The few brave clergymen who were left at this point argued that this 'moral decadence' threatened to corrupt the character of Spanish people, and were corrosive for national unity.

Government responded dryly that the Civil War had also been rather 'corrosive' for national unity, and most clergymen had been against us anyway.

Heavy investment in foreign trade ment enormous imports of American goods, and now Spanish industry could use less resources into cheap toothpaste and soap, and concentrate on something worthwhile, such as Spanish Industry.



Industry had expanded already by 15% in volume from January 1936 level and much more in cost-effectiveness. Such was this extraordinary success that by now even American media had dubbed Spain as 'the most formidable industrial insect in the world.' Spanish hearts swelled with pride...

Since now our industry seemed less hopelessly obsolete than before, Chief of Staff Toribio "Walrus" Martínez begun to make carefully worded requests to do something with the army. Since the end of the Civil War most of the old officers had been sacked and all formation had been reorganized and appointed with new leaders of unfaltering loyalty. Also these were men who could do more with less, since Defence Budged had been cut so deeply that the paper it was printed on was worth more than the budget. In short, Army was seen as a useless leech that produced nothing, which indeed is the nature of all armies. Even Chief of Staff himself had to work three off-time jobs and peddle army property in black market just to make ends meet.

As the cabinet met on 18th of May 1937 he proposed limited reforms, carefully worded to make the Army sound cheaper and more productive, also hinting that Spanish-made weapons would revitalize the economy. This report was signed by greatest heroes of Civil War, General Rojo and Marshall Miaja, just to add credibility. Though the proposition was abandoned, 'the Trio' made such a noise for next two weeks that finally limited reforms were accepted, just to get cabinet members some peace. But all of it had to be 'cheaper than Daily Mail and about hundred times more silent.' With gusto the best brains of Spain were set into motion, restructuring the Army and paying special attention to infantry, since Navy and Air Forces had no gasoline anyway. Spain exported all munitions that were produced, most into USSR, and national stockpiles were falling fast. Actually so fast that even Toribio had no time to steal anything.



While the standard of living rose dramatically in Spain during this period (sugar consumption rose by 512% between 1936-39) some problems simply could not be brushed aside. 7th June 1937 a major strike broke our in Barcelona docks, workers demanding safer regulations, higher salaries and more Coca-cola. While Chief of Staff suggested driving over them with a tank, this was judged to be unacceptable as tanks used a lot of gasoline. Finally deal was made, and workers went back to work as new, happier men of Social-Democratic Wonderland of Spain. "strength from joy indeed" muttered the President.



As pressing as internal matter were, Spanish intelligence services and media did not turn a blind eye to global events.

Fascists aggression in Ethiopia had lasted a whole year, took a vacation over Christmas and went back to work in January, and was now threatening Adis Abeba. However, Ethiopian mountains were hostile terrain indeed and attacking Italian forces suffered terribly from hunger, heat, murdering natives and VD. Spanish government begun to spread the news of Fascist aggression systematically, creating widespread antipathy towards Italian ambitions that were seen as barbaric and imperialistic. They were also rather silly. Ethiopia was desperately poor country, and there was no realistic way that it's occupation could become profitable. Mussolini was chasing dreams.



Adis Abeba nearly surrounded, July 1937.


In Ethiopia many Italian Fascists had a good taste of war. Many soon found it not to their liking.

But Ethiopia was still fighting back with surprising or, depending on perspective, frustrating fury. Mountains, terrible heat and long supply lines were causing more casualties to Italians than Ethiopian bullets, but Ethiopian army had also won important victories against invaders, using their superb familiarity with the terrain and fieldcraft to their advantage.



Ethiopian soldiers dug in around Adis Abeba. July 1937.

While Ethiopia was not the paragon of Democracy, surely it deserved better than hostile occupation of that walking joke named Mussolini. As the Italian Army fought and lost with increasing desperation, it was also becoming a victim of international ridicule. A popular Madrid graffiti read "LOST: ONE ITALIAN ARMY GROUP. A GOOD REWARD FOR HONEST FINDER."

Naturally League of Nations interfered with magnificent inefficiency.



Rabbit: 'As my offensive weapons are nil, I must charm it with the power of my eyes.'

Even as Italian army seemed puny, Fascist Italy was not a force to sneer at, at least if you were Spain. Italian Navy was disproportionately more powerful than the feeble land forces, and had significant presence on the Mediterranean. The perfidious Italians had raving fantasies of Mediterranean being 'their' ocean, their Mare Nostrum -a ridiculous claim at best. Spain had fought here centuries before those pesky Italians united their nation! Also, we were not alone on this theater. Two significant Great Powers had interests here; France and UK. France had her colonies on Algeria while UK jealously protected her lifeline to India through Suez. While Italy might bolster his clearly flagging manhood by beating poor countries such as Ethiopia, major disturbances would not be tolerated.

Italian Navy was, unfortunately, a sight to behold. Spanish experts carefully estimated that Regia Marina is at least four times larger than Spanish navy, and indefinitely more modern. Luckily our territories overseas were more worthless than worthlessness itself, and in case of war with Italy (unthinkable!) they would simply be written off. Nonetheless, we had managed to secure some information about their Vittoria Veneto-class Battleship.



Vittoria Veneto. 1937.

This modern ship had displacement of 45,963 tons fully loaded, speed 29 knots, range of 3,920 nautical miles and main batteries 3x15 inch, enough to make a Spanish seaman gape.

Fortunately, Royal Navy would come down like a ton of bricks on Italians should they overplay their little games. While Italy dreamed of Empire, UK actually possessed one already, and still ruled the waves. As Spanish national history knew, the British took naval matters very seriously and had an long history as formidable seamen. They had a new, strange design know as s 'carrier', a big ship without big guns. Despite the economic turmoil, they seemed to prioritize Navy above all other military matters,and had recently completed the hull of their new carrier, Ark Royal. This mighty ship was named after the flagship of the English fleet during the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588, a time Spain would like to forget. For 350 years Britain had ruled the waves, and seemed determined to do so in the future. If Italians really wanted to try their luck against Royal Navy, Spain would gladly enjoy the fireworks.



HMS Ark Royal in 1937.

She was impressive 240m long, with speed of 30 knots and modern design on which the hangars and flight deck were an integral part of the hull, instead of an add-on or part of the superstructure, or so the Brits boasted. In naval matters Brits were a voice to listen to. Also USA had many carriers, and everything USA did had to be great! Italy had none, which only showed their disregard of reality.



Mediterranean in 1937.

August 1937

On 13th August when Europe slept tremendous events were taking place on other side of the world. After a clash between border forces on Marco Polo bridge, the Empire of Japan had invaded peaceful warlords of China! While in Spain the cabinet struggled to find China from the map, the Japanese invaders poured into the unprepared country from the north.





Marco Polo Bridge incident. 15th August 1937.

The ancient and thoroughly obsolete Empire of China was by now divided between warring factions of warlords and various lunatics. Not only was the country hopelessly underdeveloped, undemocratic backwater heap, now it was under attack by the aggressive Japanese. Very well, it seemed that the hardballers had their way in Japanese politics, and they seem to regard war as a natural answer to all difficulties of life.

However, China is a big country, probably bigger than most Japanese commanders realized, and it would not fall easily. Japanese forces begun their assault from Manchukuo, their satellite foothold that they had conquered in the last war. Their puppet emperor of choise was the Puyi, the last Emperor of China, and unemployed after the Empire fell in February 1912. It seems he found a new job as a lap-dog of Japanese conquerors. Such a hard worker.



Emperor and his wife, as happy as two daisies.



Chinese soldiers, eager and otherwise. 1937.

We hoped than China would become a second Ethiopia, but it seems that our hopes are in vain. The Japanese press forward, swiping away pathetic Chinese forces. Great Guns! Even Denmark would fight better! Soviets send some help to China but it is not enough to turn the tide. We hear reports of hundreds of thousand of Japanese soldiers swarming over the northern China.



In 14th September the city of Jinan falls to Fascist aggressors, and Japanese cross the Yellow River. Please do Spain a favor and drown in that river! They don't, and Japanese continue to press forwards...

However, on 20th we have happier news. Some crackpots in Madrid university actually managed to complete that insane rocket project that was assigned to them last year! Now Spain is a serious, civilized nation with highly sophisticated technology. Unfortunately we should build a rocket test site to test our theories, but the estimated cost caused the President six minor heart attacks immediately. The project was postponed indefinitely. But what a glorious achievement!



Soon afterwards our scientists managed to cultivate some multi-seasonal plants, giving our agriculture significant boost. Now Spain feeds more people with less effort, causing wide unemployment. Luckily, we kick kids into schools and others into quickly expanding factories. Also we have lots of manpower to waste in case of war. But major European war is unthinkable, and it would be so expansive to boot.



But Chinese Dragon continues to bleed. In October all the China unites against Japanese aggression and even UK begins to send shady shipments through Burma. These shipments are top-secret, and we should not know that they mostly include Sten guns, ammunition and badly written propaganda. But none of this seems to enough. Chinese can't fight, or they have no soldiers left.



By 10th of November Fascist had almost reached the Chinese capital. Spanish people are infuriated by this savage attack on peace-loving warlords and call for Japan to fight with somebody of his own size! Such as Spain. Cabinet sends strongly worded referendums to Japan, all of which are ignored.

Almost impossible to believe, Spanish scientists managed to build a functioning radio to such level of perfection that it fits mass production. "Jesus has nothing compared to this." commented the President this unexpected breakthrough.



And finally, after a month of ferocious defence, Nanjing falls to the Fascist aggressors.

It has been a dark year for powers of democracy as Fascist boots have trampled the globe. Spanish cabinet retreats for Christmas holidays, weary and pessimistic, dreaming of better days to come when there will be cake.
 
Last edited:

Slan

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I don't have time to read this yet, but subscribed nontheless! :D
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Good. So the Spaniards will have radios to follow the news of the German panzers advacing towards Madrid! :D:D:D
 

SSmith

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An impressive start to the sequel!

I see a big emphasis on strengthening the Spanish industrial base. Just one concern, though. Your resource stockpiles are low and you are building a lot of new IC. Do you hope to trade for the resources you need? Or do you have some foreign acquisitions in mind?

Nice to see Ethiopia fighting hard. In the latest HPP version I saw the Ethiopians hold out for over a year - but I've not seem them actually win... yet.

It is looking bad for China now that Japan has taken Nanjing (and so swiftly).
 

Aguerra

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Good. So the Spaniards will have radios to follow the news of the German panzers advacing towards Madrid! :D:D:D
Only if they can defeat my secret super weapons! :mad:



An impressive start to the sequel!

I see a big emphasis on strengthening the Spanish industrial base. Just one concern, though. Your resource stockpiles are low and you are building a lot of new IC. Do you hope to trade for the resources you need? Or do you have some foreign acquisitions in mind?

Nice to see Ethiopia fighting hard. In the latest HPP version I saw the Ethiopians hold out for over a year - but I've not seem them actually win... yet.

It is looking bad for China now that Japan has taken Nanjing (and so swiftly).
Well, I'm kinda poor country so I'll scrape the bottom of the broken barrel. I think I'll trade them if situation becomes desperate. One of the charms of playing with a minor country, I think, is that you can take almost nothing for granted, and economy becomes a real issue.

I think Chinese are trying kung-fu against machine guns. It's not working.
 

Simcon

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Gosh, I actually think I might enjoy this AAR, such a bizarre thing ;). (Subscribed).
 

Aguerra

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Chapter 3: Hunger and despair - the story of Spanish army

January 1938

By 1938 the smell of war loomed over the corridors of power in Europe. Germany was rearming powerfully and embracing such aggressive rhetorics and policies that send it colliding with Western democracies. However, for most of the ordinary citizens of European nations January 1938 meant white winter and rising hopes about future. The war would not come.



Paris in January 1938. Intense snowball war was waged on streets.


The general mindset of the period was an odd mixture of worry and carefree belief in the future. After all, the economy was finally improving and new technological wonders were introduced daily. The motorcar, the ultimate status symbol, was becoming steadily more common, and at lest some prosperity was trickling down on poorer classes as well. New prototypes of personal cameras were pressed into mass production, and even 'Reds' had developed their own model. Formerly high key consumer goods were now in hands of the middle classes and even lower.



French style. Renault 1938.

Futurism was the rage among artists and architecture, especially in totalitarian regimes that explored new ways of communicating their own overpowering might and crushing the will of the individual under its massiveness. Some remarkable examples serve to portray the mentality of the time.



Design for Palace of the Soviets, construction begun in 1937 in Moscow, that was to be no less than 420m tall.



In Italy Mussolini continued to assault good sense, good taste and good aesthetics.

However, in Spain the smell of war was replaced by overpowering stench of mojitos and cheap cigarettes. Finally the parliament had finally toughened it up and faced the reality, at least to some degree. There was to be no more hiding in the bushes, and even President demanded that decision had to be based on hard facts, not wishful thinking. As snow piled on streets of Paris and Berlin, cabinet chain-smoked through impressive amounts of paperwork, trying to grasp the state of the army. The reports were not for those of sensitive nerves.



Overview of Spanish 'Army' in 1938.

Ground Forces - Hunger and Despair.

Since the end of the Civil War in late 1936 the army had been left to rot, as much as possible in democratic nation, and even some more. While Spain technically possessed 16 full infantry divisions, 5 of which were lucky enough to posses artillery support, these had seen better days. Since the end of Civil War defence budged had mainly been wasted on Coca-cola and rebuilding efforts, and Army had been placed on permanent "advanced survival" training, practically meaning that they had to scavenge or farm their own food just to keep body and soul together. Army barracks had been converted into workshops, and Spanish infantry mainly occupied itself as construction workers. Physical exercise was received from shovel and pick, meaning that soldiers were employed in paid physical labor, usually constructing roads.



Spanish soldiers were very brave, very handsome and very well equipped.

It went without saying that rifles were too expensive to fire so that they were replaced by wooden replicas. Combat drill was centered around "advanced close combat", which technically ment a solid swing with a wooden rifle. Many soldiers earned their living as prize-fighters during 1936-37.



122mm Putilov was the foundation of Spanish artillery. The lack of options often made an easy choise.

Air Forces - the Flying Coffins

Spain also possessed air forces, consisting of 2 bomber wings and 2 fighter wings. These were ignored during this time as they were too expensive to fly. Luckily Spain had captured over 200 German-made planes at the end of the Civil War, and could not boast air forces that were only almost insignificant. In any case, air forces were something of a Cindarella service, as it seemed obvious that Spain was condemned into infantry warfare. The parliament strongly opposed any reforms, expansions or advancements of Air Forces. Visiting English or French officers often dubbed our planes 'The Flying Circus' or 'Winged Suicide.' Both agreed that our pilots were very brave to fly them at all, not to mention enter combat. Truth was that most of our pilots were so afraid of their vehicles that they dared not fly them sober, preferring inebriation.



Spanish experts trying to unlock the mechanical secrets of German planes. Note the smug German prisoner who is still allowed to wear his leather boots.

Navy - High Seas, Low Morale

Spain had a long history of powerful navy, only equalled by a long history of staggering naval defeats. Even if glory days of Armada were gone, Spain still possessed naval forces that were not completely insignificant. Spain possessed two old 'battleships', some eight heavy and light cruisers and hordes of destroyers. In naval bases two odd relic submarine units slept forgotten by both men and God alike, both needing severe updates to make them viable. Once again the cabinet decided to use their meager resources on something more useful. There was no realistic option to challenge Italy on high seas in case of war anyway, so why bother? Navy was happily stamped 'expendable', which plumped new depths of morale among sailors.

There was an embarrassing episode about our flagship 'España' during her diplomatic visit to USA, in January 1938. The journey went smoothly enough, but when she docked on enormously long New York harbor there was nobody to meet her. As Spanish sailors were glancing around them in the middle of the massive naval base, suddenly two American officers appeared, looking rather upset.

'Get your soap-box outta here you idiots!' Cried the other one. 'Spanish flagship is docking here soon and she's going to need all this space!'



Spanish 'battleships' España and Jaime. Note the very civilian appearance.

As the cabinet poured over these impressive reports and considered cheapest ways of disposing them (reports, not problems), the global events were developing with staggering pace that bewildered those who bothered to follow them.

.

On 8th of February 1938 the world shakes by two nearly simultaneous events of so tremendous nature that even British PM misses his tea. For one, ancient country of Austria becomes willing part in Greater Reich, sending shock waves thorough all of Europe and skyrocketing Hitler's popularity. But we also receive fractured reports about imprisonment of political enemies and other unwanted elements. France and UK protest in vain. It seems that reason is not the line of communication Herr Hitler understands.



Anchluss is greeted by German brass.

On other side of the globe perfidious Japanese reveal their true colors by brutal atrocities against helpless Chinese population in Nanking. But 22 foreigners still in the city have formed a committee, called the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, meant to protect civilians. Their reports cause global revulsion and anger against Japanese, and harden US policy. Western experts wonder if Japan truly understands the consequences of the game it is playing.



Spanish intelligence service Republican Intelligence Platoon (RIP) secured pictures of Nanking Massacre, but they were of such nature as best not to show here. Instead we offer this cute picture of a cat.

Soon afterwards the ruthless Japanese form Jingwei Regime as their official satellite in China. Spain sends more strongly worded referendums, but without any effect. In 2nd of March German Reich recognizes Manchuko. This apparent cooperation between two Fascist powerhouses causes intense debate in West, but no action. Appeasement policy still stands.



China was not doing very well. March 13, 1938

But while dark clouds gathered over Asia and Europe alike, Spanish industry had finally completed some impressive expansions. New, gleaming factories were opened in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, producing bricks, concrete, toothpaste, radios. By now know-how had improved so significantly that further expansions were both faster and cheaper.



Spanish military authorities had been experimenting with modern tactics, and published their results to the struggling parliament. While reports recommended massed artillery, anti-tank guns and motorized formations, more realistic option was deep, well-organized infantry formations that could fight well by concentrated mortar support and massed firepower. The recommendations summed up: "every other Spanish infantryman is to carry a mortar, every other a machine gun." They forget to mention who would carry ammunition for all this. The weapons and equipment were not improved yet, but future budged was earmarked for military affairs. It was to be 1939 budged.



Also fear of Fascism was drummed up now, and government circulated pictures showing the fundamentally alien and repulsive mentality of Fascism, rising anger among Spanish people. Passions run deep in Iberian peninsula, and it was well-remembered that Spanish people had defeated Fascists in Spain not even two years before. How hard could it be to defeat global Fascism...



Baptism SS-style.



Raising children SS-style.