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    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

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
"Today we have done what we had to do. Mussolini counted on Britain to be passive. He counted wrong."
-- Neville Chamberlain announces war with Italy on April 3rd, 1937


Introduction
The premise I had when I sat down to this game of HOI2 was "what if Britain had pursued a policy of armed opposition to Italian ambitions in the mid-30s?". At the outset of the game this was my only real plan: I would shift as fast as I could toward Interventionism and declare war on Italy as soon as possible. I'd also take any action in the mean time that raised my Interventionism. I wanted to see what would happen.

The game's now over and I thought the outcome was worth an AAR. It'll be on the short side, and I'll have to reconstruct the few screen shots I'll use, since I didn't take any during the game, but it was an interesting outcome.

This game was played on Normal/Normal using version 1.3b with SMEP 4.5.

Previous AARs
Trattato di Roma - Clash of the Dictators (Italy, 1936, SMEP)
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Looking forward to it.
 

GeneralHannibal

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Looks interesting.
 

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interesting...good luck! then again you wont need much luck against the italians :p
 

Sir Humphrey

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Interesting premise. Looks good.
 

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
Neville Chamberlain rubbed the lapel of his suit jacket. His heart was paining him again.

"You mean to tell me that even though we have a dozen divisions –"

"A dozen native divisions."

"- a dozen native divisions along the Ethiopian border, we can't provide Selassie with any support against the Italians?"

"The public simply won't stand for it, Neville." Lord Halifax spread his hands, "Winston will get up and spout his usual rabble-rousing nonsense in the Commons, of course, but no-one will pay any attention. Mussolini's ambitions are simply too far away for most people to care."

"I care." Chamberlain reminded him, "Mussolini's not just a bore, he's a danger to the whole principle of mutual security. If he's allowed to continue unmolested, he'll destroy the very fabric of the League."

"What would you suggest, Neville? That we go to war to save some dustbowl African kingdom most people couldn't even find on a map? This government wouldn't last a day if you did that."

Chamberlain sighed. Halifax was right. Still, a thought niggled at his mind.

"You're sure Winston will make this speech?"

"When has that old windbag ever missed an opportunity to spout doom and dire warnings?"

"Yes. Yes, you're probably right." Chamberlain's agile mind was at work. The last thing he wanted was a war, but Mussolini was going to make one, unless shown that Great Britain wouldn't stomach his bullying. I still have some friends on Fleet Street. Perhaps I should persuade them to treat Churchill's speech with more respect than they usually give him.

* * *

As 1936 began, Italian troops were pressing southwards into Ethiopia, civil unrest was threatening to destroy the Spanish Republic, and Germany's chancellor was thundering denunciations of the Versailles Treaty and promising to remilitarize the Rhineland, whatever the Allies might say. It was a situation fraught with tension.

Perhaps, if his heart was not troubling him so, Chamberlain would have reacted to the tension with caution and conciliation. But the pains had been growing worse for months, now. If I were to die suddenly, who would lead the country? How would they lead it? I must show the way forward. I must keep the Empire strong.

Modernisation of the British Army, normally accomplished with as little fuss as possible, was publicly celebrated. Equally openly, research began on new weapons and industries: better machinery, to build better artillery, and new forms of aircraft. Units were recalled from a quiescent India to reinforce the more volatile Middle East, providing garrisons for Alexandria, Suez and Tel Aviv. Government spending was cut, allowing the treasury to build up the needed reserves for war.

"War is not and never will be Britain's aim." Chamberlain assured the nation, "But we are a proud, free Empire who will defend ourselves if provoked. Let no man think he can bully Britain, as he might some other nation."

It seemed that Mussolini could not help but know he was the 'man' to whom the Prime Minister referred, but he either did not believe, or was not concerned, by Chamberlain's more trenchant tone. Italy pressed its invasion of Ethiopia to the last. The African nation's outnumbered and poorly equipped soldiers fought bravely, holding out until May, but the outcome was never in doubt.

At Chamberlain's quiet request, the plucky struggle of the Ethiopians had received glowing accounts in the Fleet Street press, and even the bellicose speeches of Winston Churchill were no longer ignored or discounted as they once had been. There was a sense that British pride was at stake, as much as Ethiopian liberty. What, the papers asked, would it say about Britain if she stood idle while another nation was sacrificed to Mussolini?

Though the shopkeepers, school teachers and other denizens of the Empire could not know it, that question would not be hypothetical much longer ...




Game Notes: I moved the slider +1 Interventionism in January. In March, the computer helped me out with a 'Great War Demonstration' random event. My limited IC was dedicated to upgrading the existing army and building up cash reserves for the diplomacy I would need to conduct in the future. Research was heavily tilted toward industry and air power (especially doctrines, since they were improvements that wouldn't cost IC), but I also researched a new class of Destroyers and some better artillery pieces.
 

stnylan

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So perhaps an early alliance between Churchill and Chamberlain? Interesting idea.
 

Vann the Red

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Fascinating idea and a well-executed first post in your tale. Please continue!

Vann
 

Eams

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Expert writing, I hope to see much more of it!

"When has that old windbag ever missed an opportunity to spout doom and dire warnings?"
:rofl:
 

Lord E

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Very nice start, and it sounds like a nice idea for an AAR. Very interesting to see Chamberlain as a more aggressive type. Good luck :)
 

GeneralHannibal

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I like this, I've been thinking of doing something similar when CORE gets more advanced.
 

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
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Despite what some of his colleagues in the House might think, Winston Churchill was nobody's fool.

"It seems to me Prime Minister that your inquiry as to whether I intend to make such a motion is in fact an instruction that I should do so."

"Does it?" Chamberlain asked blandly, refilling the other man's cup of tea. "I can assure you that the government would never advocate such a provocative step at this time."

"But daft old Winston might?" Churchill gave a barking laugh, "And so I probably would. I just did not expect to receive your approval, covert or otherwise."

"And you never shall." Chamberlain assured the other man, "The government will only reluctantly allow your motion to be debated, I assure you."

"Debated and passed, with any luck. And if not, then it is only my head on the chopping block, not yours, right?"

"I imagine there would be some outcry against you, yes."

"You're a tougher fish than I thought, Prime Minister." Churchill noted grudgingly, "Why the sudden desire to support the Spanish Republicans? An anarchist rabble, aren't they?"

"It's more a matter of opposing Fascism. The free hand he had in Africa has emboldened Mussolini. He must be made to see that Britain will not stand idle while he supports military coups in our continental neighbours."

"And what of Herr Hitler? He too has supported Franco's troops with material and volunteers."

"I believe Herr Hitler will listen to reason, in time. Unlike Mussolini he does not have a history of demanding new territory, or of declaring war on other nations."

"What of his remilitarisation of the Rhineland?"

"An understandable act that I think most people are surprised did not occur sooner. Hitler is not the braggart and bully that this self-styled Duce has shown himself to be."

Churchill looked far from convinced of Chamberlain's words, but he shrugged his broad shoulders.

"Time will tell on that question, Prime Minister. For now, I can simply assure you that I will table a motion in the House for material and volunteers to be permitted into Republican areas."

A week later, in a fiercely contested debate and vote, the motion passed: British supplies and volunteers were on their way to Spain.


* * *


Three months later, in the dark morning hours of October 20th, Chamberlain stared across the table at his cabinet. The pain in his chest were worse than usual, today, and his tone was sharp as he spoke.

"What was the Italian response?"

Lord Halifax shuffled his papers nervously.

"The official response reads 'The recent detonation of bombs on Gibraltar was doubtless the fault of disorganised Republican forces. However, even if the unfortunate explosions were due to a navigational error on the part of a volunteer pilot serving with the Nationalist brigades, the Italian government has no responsibility for the failures of private individuals who are not members of its armed forces."

Chamberlain forced himself not to slam his fist on the table. The nerve of that Italian jackal. 'Private individuals' indeed!

"Order the dispatch of IV Corps to Gibraltar." he snapped, "Issue communiques to both sides warning them that this government will consider any further damage to our territory to be an act of war against the British Empire."

There was a shocked murmur from around the table. Halifax literally went pale.

"Prime Minister, are you sure? With the heavy fighting in Malaga, accidents -"

"Of course I am sure!" Now Chamberlain really did slam his fist on the table. "You will issue the warning at once. You will make it clear that we will tolerate no more accidents."


* * *

"The people of Gibraltar were touched by the Spanish war for the third time yesterday, when eleven bombs were dropped on the isthmus. The source of the bombs was a Nationalist bomber, probably attempting to attack Republican positions some ten miles north of Gibraltar.

This government has repeatedly warned the participants of the civil war that we would act to defend our territory if it was harmed. We did not issue that warning lightly. In order to safeguard the lives and property of British citizens, I have ordered the Army to advance into Spain and take up peace-keeping duties between Seville and Malaga. Any attempt to resist this advance will be treated as an act of war."
-- Neville Chamberlain addresses the nation, 17 December 1936


Game Notes: Clearly, I chose to send materials and volunteers to the Republicans. Germany, Italy and the Soviets all got involved as well. I then worked at improving relations with Republican Spain until they were willing to join the Allies. On December 17th, they finally signed up, with the front lines looking something like this (red borders show Republican territory, yellow shows Nationalist):

 

Lord E

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Nice to see Neville take an offensive stance. The first clash with fascism will happen in Spain that should be interesting to see. I think it was right, because you couldn’t sit still and watch as your subjects in Gibraltar was bombed. Now it is time for the British army to crush the Spanish and their evil allies. Good luck :)
 

stnylan

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A very aggressive foreign policy approach - I like it!
 

Sir Humphrey

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I wonder how the British people will react to such a policy? Good stuff indeed. :)
 

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plenty of provs to get experience for the divs! :p
 

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
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My basic premise is that Chamberlain isn't that much different from history, hence his assumption that Hitler's not such a bad sort. But Italy clearly means to build an empire: and the most likely way it will do that is at Britain's expense. As a good son the Victorian era, Chamberlain has no intention of allowing that to happen.

As far as the British people's reaction to war in Spain .... they pretty much shrugged and got on with it. There's no dissent hit for making an alliance with a country who is already at war. I'll get a lot more reaction (about 11% dissent) when I do a straight declaration.