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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

Avindian

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My theory is that the Soviet activities in bringing the Revolution to the peace loving people of Finland, Turkey and the Balkans lowered the mode of neutrality of the United States to the point that they became rather antsy whilst the Japanese didn't have anything other options given they already got what they wanted in China and they could not unilaterally attack the Soviet Union whilst Germany had the Petrova-Ribbentrop Pact.

Or it could be bunnies....

If the save game could be loaded, I should be able to prepare plans pretty quickly as I don't expect that there will be much to do in the March-April turn since all of the staging areas for Operation Plokhoy Volk have been secured.
I'll post it in the admin thread -- thanks for reminding me.
 

Avindian

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Chapter 12: A World War

Apologies for the somewhat short update, but I have a feeling we’ll get a lot more interesting very soon.

1 May 1940, Moscow

It was hardly common for all of Stavka to meet at one time; even less common was the presence of Stalin himself. That signaled something ominous. The General Secretary simply took his seat and gestured to Vatutin, who began the presentation.

“Gentlemen, I have been asked to brief you on the maneuverings of Germany over the past couple of months. Thank you all for coming so urgently.

First, I owe you a beer, Georgiy Konstantinovich. The fascists chose Norway first.”



A polite laugh rippled throughout the room. Zhukov, in particular, was less interested in jokes than in returning to his command – he had new brigades of tank destroyers and self-propelled artillery to integrate. He simply nodded to the Marshal.

“The Hitlerites have, at present, sent no soldiers to Norway, so this may simply be a feint to confuse the British. In any case, the real thrust of their attack was at the Netherlands, and there they have met with the success predicted.”



“We will look more in depth at German movements in a bit. The French and Italians have been trading blows in Africa – France has defeated Ethiopia, whilst the Italians have already taken most of French Libya and press farther west into Algeria.”





“A question, Comrade Marshal.” Stalin raised his hand.

“Yes, Comrade General Secretary?”

“What of our own movements?”

Vatutin put up a new slide.



“This was the first week of March.”



“This was a few hours ago.”

Stalin smiled humorlessly. “Your progress appears to be slight, Comrade Marshal,” ever so slightly accenting the “Marshal.”

“It is a matter of the terrain, Comrade Stalin. Our soldiers will seize Tehran by the end of the week or beginning of next, at which point we will move our rifle divisions forward before beginning the next step.”

“I see. And then?”

Vatutin took a deep breath. Operation Uran was his baby, his idea. If it succeeded, he might have the position needed to unseat Marshal Tukhachevsky. If he failed… well, he had better not fail.

“And then we strike at Germany, when they have sufficiently entangled themselves in France.”

The room went absolutely silent. Uran was only known to Tukhachevsky, the SGO, and Stalin, so this was news to everyone else.

“Indeed, Comrade Marshal. And what is Germany’s present position?”



“When Japan has taken a few more parts of Indonesia, the Dutch will surrender. However, you can see the Hitlerites have already pressed into France proper, and if history is any guide, with the European possessions of the Dutch neutralized, Belgium is next. Operation Uran could be activated in the next thirty to sixty days, depending on how quickly the Germans overrun Belgium.

Gentlemen, I recommend you read your briefing packets. You will not have much time to implement these orders.”
 

ZebraMinge

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Great update. With Operation Uran being flung into the forefront I'm going to have to finish up on my plans for the Western Front quickly.
 

Avindian

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Where do you see german-controlled french territory? I see two french-controlled german provinces on the eastern side of the Rhine.
Yeah, you're right -- I missed that.
 

Avindian

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Chapter 13: A Rising Sun

1 June 1940, Tokyo, Japan

Dr. Richard Sorge was well known in the embassy circuit and one of the favorite guests of Eugen Ott, the German military attache in Japan. With the exalted mood in Japan, his hosts couldn’t help showing off, particularly in front of Ott.

Ott could barely restrain his fury as he flopped down on Sorge’s couch. “Mein Freund, what is our leader thinking?”

“I am sure I don’t know, Ambassador.”

“Are you old enough to remember Graf von Schlieffen’s plan?”

Sorge smiled. “As you well know, Ambassador, I fought in the student battalions during the Great War, but no, I was not privy to our high strategy.”

“It is simplicity itself – we drive through the Netherlands and Belgium, maneuvering around the Maginot Line, and then capture Paris.”

“A good strategy, I think.”

“I do too, yet the Führer… he attacks Luxembourg!”



“That is most unusual, yet I do not find it that troubling. After all, surely Luxembourg poses no threat to the Wehrmacht?”

Ott fumed and practically threw the latest map in front of Sorge.



“They’ve advanced, Eugen?! Is this some sort of treachery?”

“I wish I knew. It makes an officer rage to sit here in your lovely home instead of leading his country to glory.”

“I can only imagine.”

“It is doubly frustrating with the Japanese successes. They have conquered the Philippines, you know, and through some clever diplomacy have convinced most of the Chinese warlords to support the Japanese Empire in exchange for autonomy.”




“The Nationalists are still fighting.”

“Yes, but to what purpose? The other warlords have already turned on them. Sorge, it is bad for the Axis to have one partner do so well and the other so poorly.”

“What do you think of the Soviet threat?”

Ott’s mood lightened for the first time since he arrived. “Have you heard of this Popov fellow?”

“Can’t say I have.”

“Rumor has it, completely on his own initiative, he attacked the Persian city of Isfahan. Our sources tell us he could be in a lot of trouble back in Moscow.”



“Hah hah! At least we can count on the Soviets to be bumbling incompetents.”

“Quite so!”

“May I freshen your drink, Eugen?”

“But of course! Oh dear, this bottle has run dry.”

“I shall go to the cellar; I won’t be but a moment.”

Sorge, as quietly as he could, closed the cellar door and picked up the wireless receiver. After a few clicks, he spoke. “This is Ramsay.”

“Report, Ramsay.”

“Our friend knows no more than we do.”

“Disappointing but expected. What of Peterson?”

“Peterson’s vacation will be in Rio de Janeiro this week.”

“I shall see he gets his ticket, then. Thank you, Ramsay.”

Sorge looked for a brief moment at the small closet behind one of his newest batches of French cognac. In that closet were a few personal items: a photo of his family, a few passports, and some money. There were also a few books. One of them was a German to Japanese dictionary, or so the cover proclaimed. Even the first hundred pages or so confirmed it; in fact, the only difference between this edition and one for sale down the street at a book store were three pages in the middle, pages that did not belong in any such dictionary.

They were in Russian. The phrase “Rio de Janeiro” was on that page. The translation was simple – no known operation of that kind. Sorge had told his contact, in other words, that Popov was not a German spy. The response from the other individual – he didn’t even know where – simply confirmed his response without adding anything.

Sorge found an older bottle of cognac and prepared to make his way back up the stairs. He thought, briefly, about his closet one final time. He smirked to himself, thinking that the dictionary wouldn’t even get him in trouble.

The GRU uniform, however, might.
[hr][/hr]
Sorge and Ott were real people. I recommend reading about both of them, especially Sorge. Most of the details here are invented, but the broad strokes are absolutely true. GRU, for those who do not know, is the Russian military intelligence. (It stands for the Chief Intelligence Directorate, a nice generic name).
 

Davout

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I say it http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?671118-Tukhachevsky-s-Army-and-the-Politburo-(Interactive-TFH-4.02)-Admin-thread&p=16845306&viewfull=1#post16845306 and it comes out here...

[video=youtube;BYbtAZjB8QM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYbtAZjB8QM[/video]

One of the things I have learnt from this AAR is that the frequent save games makes the AI re-evaluate its strategy at each restart whereas a straight play through means that it does not stop to consider whether it is making a mistake. In initial play throughs, the Germans completely abandoned the Soviet border and attacked France from the Alps in the South. In the more recent play throughs, they took the traditional route through Belgium. I have never seen this latest Maginot Line only approach. I suspect that moving the Red Army up to the Border has dragged all of the panzers out of the Low Countries and onto our border.
 

Avindian

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The wolf on the fold

3 August 1940, Moscow

Marshal Sokolov sat quietly in his armchair. His son and wife were out visiting friends, as was the normal practice on a Saturday evening. Normally, he would join them, but he had other work to do. He had been absent for many a meeting of the Politburo in the previous few weeks. Even his wife did not know where he had been, although she had confidently told the other members that he was feeling ill. One person, however, did know where he was: the General Secretary, who had personally entrusted this mission to the People’s Commissar for Foreign Intelligence.

Marshal Vatutin had established the idea of the “Blue Zone” in the official documents for Plokhoy Volk.



The concept was simple. In order to ensure that Germany could not react quickly to a Soviet attack, the Wehrmacht needed to be deep within France, yet not so deep that they would seize Paris quickly. The timing needed to be absolutely precise; the Blue Zone was considered the point of no return. If German forces approached the line too closely, that was the signal to attack. Just an hour before, the Soviet Ambassador in Berlin had placed a phone call to Sokolov: Germany had moved into two regions bordering the Blue Zone.



Sokolov’s task was a challenging one: he needed to provide a legitimate casus belli in order to justify breaking the Petrova-Ribbentrop Pact. He also had to do so without much support in Berlin, as most of the NKVR agents in the city had already been arrested, or worse. The KPD was of no help whatsoever. A standard border incident wouldn’t do (of the sort that worked fine for Persia), as Germany and the Soviet Union did not share a border. An uprising in Poland was proposed and rejected, simply because nobody knew what the Poles would do in such a situation. They might do something foolish like declare outright independence from both Germany and the Soviet Union, and that simply wouldn’t do.

That was when Richard Sorge made his suggestion: if there were a Communist revolution in Berlin, the Soviets would naturally mobilize to support it, particularly given the “heinous imperialism” the fascists had already done. A real Communist revolution, of course, was highly unlikely, as the few remnants of the KPD that had escaped were in hiding. Sorge understood that. His proposition, instead, was to simply convince the rest of the world that it had happened. A few judicious bribes in some of the German newspapers and radio stations had done the trick. All they needed was Sokolov’s signal, and they would distribute the newspapers and send the fake news broadcasts.

Sokolov picked up a glass of vodka and stared at the telephone for a few moments. He sighed, downed the glass, and made the phone call. Then, he notified Stalin. An emergency session of the Politburo was called, and war was declared.


[hr][/hr]
Here’s a screenshot of the new laws, and a map of Europe and Asia. Note that the US already has Midway and Wake Island.





 

Davout

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Let the games begin!
 

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Alea iacta est !!!
 

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For those interested in the motivation behind Plokhoy Volk, the Wikipedia link is here although at university I recall discussing with my lecturer whether the Soviets could have been ready/may have been planning on 1940 but for the swift fall of France and delays in the Soviet build up as a result of the Winter War and general operational incompetence following the purges.
 

Avindian

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Would you folks rather see an update for each month, with relatively more battle detail, or a two month update that focused more on big picture stuff? We'll still play two months at a time, but I'm curious as to what the preferences are here. Players, lurkers, general readers, I want your opinion!
 

red_KLG

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The moar, the better !!!
 

Avindian

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Belgiumruler

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Comrade Zaitsev reporting for duty! Let's blitz them and make the world red!
 

red_KLG

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Which is a vote for... which? :D
Per month update with lots of technical goodies and every 2 updates one short one with the big picture ;)
 

Avindian

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Glad to have you back, Belgiumruler!

Yeah... "technical details" are not something I have. :p If you're looking for an interactive Uriah AAR, your best bet is to convince him to do one.

The question is whether we get one update, focused mostly on strategy, that keeps things moving briskly, or whether we get two, roughly equal parts tactics and strategy (including battlefield narratives), that will slow down the overall pace but provide more detail.
 

red_KLG

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Glad to have you back, Belgiumruler!

Yeah... "technical details" are not something I have. :p If you're looking for an interactive Uriah AAR, your best bet is to convince him to do one.

The question is whether we get one update, focused mostly on strategy, that keeps things moving briskly, or whether we get two, roughly equal parts tactics and strategy (including battlefield narratives), that will slow down the overall pace but provide more detail.
Option No2 !!!
 

Avindian

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Option No2 !!!
Well, since you're the only one who voted, you win, I guess. :D

I'm going to post the first update sometime tomorrow. The pictures are mostly done, I think, but I want to spend a bit of time on the narrative aspect. The second update will come Sunday or possibly Monday.
 

Sakura_F

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Well, since you're the only one who voted, you win, I guess. :D

I'm going to post the first update sometime tomorrow. The pictures are mostly done, I think, but I want to spend a bit of time on the narrative aspect. The second update will come Sunday or possibly Monday.
I agree with Option #2, so long as I can see Anastasia Petrova visiting occupied Warsaw, tears in her eyes.
 
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