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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ironhewer

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This looks like a recipe for disaster, delicious, delicious disaster as the French close the salient and trap II Armeekorps. If all goes well, those men will soon be enjoying the finest French hospitality . . . in a POW camp, or if they refuse to surrendur, I'm sure the high command will personally provide a nice, shallow . . . hole for rest.

Most excellent update!

Viv la France!
 

dublish

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Ironhewer said:
This looks like a recipe for disaster, delicious, delicious disaster as the French close the salient and trap II Armeekorps. If all goes well, those men will soon be enjoying the finest French hospitality . . . in a POW camp, or if they refuse to surrendur, I'm sure the high command will personally provide a nice, shallow . . . hole for rest.

Most excellent update!

Viv la France!
How much money do you want to put on that? ;)

If I'm reading things correctly, the Germans have 1. Panzer under Nehring, 2. Panzer under Guderian, and 3. Panzer under von Arnim, all under Hausser's command (Hausser not in the SS? What is Germany coming to?). Pretty decent list of commanders, and maybe enough to offset the French advantage in hardware.

Unless The_Hyphenated_1 gives us a map showing German forces in France outnumbered by about 3 to 1, I think II. Armeekorps will stick it out.
 

Woody Man

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My biggest worry is that the Panzers in Paris will be outflanked and cut off, if I was a Frenchie, I'd order an armoured advance from St-Quentin and the surrounding area, through Compiegne and Soissons and surround Paris.
 

dublish

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English Patriot said:
My biggest worry is that the Panzers in Paris will be outflanked and cut off, if I was a Frenchie, I'd order an armoured advance from St-Quentin and the surrounding area, through Compiegne and Soissons and surround Paris.
There aren't any French armored forces at St-Quentin to make the advance. The only allied armored forces we know of are in Belgium (as of the beginning of the war) and on the western edge of Paris, far to the south of German-occupied St-Quentin. If this force were to aid the French attack on Compeigne against Nehring's 1. Panzer rather than pushing the end of the salient where Guderian's 2. Panzer is stationed, I bet the Germans in Paris would be in quite a bit more danger.

I'd still like to know where VI. Armeekorps is, and what the situation back in Belgium looks like. There've got to be more German units in the region than just two corps, and with France's reactive AI setting in, a lot of pressure will be taken off the front in Bavaria and the Rheinland.
 

trekaddict

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Well, it could be part of these two (?) motorized Infantry Divisions Germany has in 1936, sent to strengthen the salient.
 

dublish

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trekaddict said:
Well, it could be part of these two (?) motorized Infantry Divisions Germany has in 1936, sent to strengthen the salient.
I thought Germany doesn't even have the MOT tech researched in 1936... :confused:
 

trekaddict

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dublish said:
I thought Germany doesn't even have the MOT tech researched in 1936... :confused:


They don't. :eek:o I confused it with the 1938 scenario.
 

diziziz

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I'm not a military strategist like everyone here, but I dont think it's realistically possible for this to happen. The AI is horrible in HOI 2, so maybe it was stupid and didn't defend Paris. I just don't see this happening in a 1936 Germany, but that's just me.
 

TheHyphenated1

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trekaddict (1), SeleucidRex, trekaddict (2), dublish (1), trekaddict (3) - You learn something every day :D .

Kurt_Steiner - Indeed :rofl: .

English Patriot (1), stnylan - Interesting and dangerous at the same time!

Ironhewer - Thank you kindly! As for "shallow ... hole for rest" -- :eek: :rolleyes: :rofl: :rofl: . Goebbels himself would have a hard time putting it any better.

dublish (2) - You are indeed correct about the commanders (and justified in your surprise about Hausser getting to be an ex-SS officer nine years early ;) ).

English Patriot (2) (with a clarification to dublish as well) - I think what English Patriot may be referring to is the French units concentrated in the Abbeville-Péronne line, which has its eastern edge very close to St. Quentin.

dublish (3) - Situation well read. The only French armored forces known are indeed in Belgium and to the west and northwest of Paris. VI Armeekorps's main body was just behind Hausser's salient at the beginning of April 15. We'll learn more about Belgium soon, as well as the macroscopic picture of the front.

trekaddict (4), dublish (4), trekaddict (5) - At this point, the closest most German soldiers come to tires or tracks under them is a sturdy pair of marching boots ;) .


EDIT: diziziz - Aww, go easy on the AI ;) . As I've said, it simulates historical blundering with uncanny accuracy... To clarify: in-game, there was a single division in the province of Paris, but in Weltkriegschaft this is represented as participating in the attack on von Weichs' 1. Panzer, rather than occupying the city of Paris, because that would preclude it being an open city, and thereby require house-to-house fighting that would have been highly implausible given the cultural value of the city. Thus, Hausser's move relied not so much on overwhelming force, but upon doing something with his tanks that the French (rightly) could not have expected in a million years, as it had never been done before.
 

Woody Man

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TheHyphenated1 said:
English Patriot (2) (with a clarification to dublish as well) - I think what English Patriot may be referring to is the French units concentrated in the Abbeville-Péronne line, which has its eastern edge very close to St. Quentin.

Exactly that, I think, were I a German Staff Officer at this moment in time, I would be immensely worried about the possibility of encirclement...
 

unmerged(94576)

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TheHyphenated1 said:
Aww, go easy on the AI ;) . As I've said, it simulates historical blundering with uncanny accuracy...

Ahahah..... that sounds like something Paradox might include as a "feature" to disguise AI flaws.

(from the back of the HoI3 box)

- Play as one of 115 historical nations.
- Guide your country through every hour from 1936-1947.
- Historical leaders and events.
- New and improved Blunder AI realisticaly simulates enemy mistakes.
- Technology, intelligence and espionage.
 

TheHyphenated1

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For everything there is a season, now including Weltkriegschaft, which has just turned three months old!

Thanks again to all the readers.

Chapter II, Part XX can probably be expected tonight!
 

TheHyphenated1

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Chapter II: Part XX

Chapter II: The Gambit of the West

Part XX


April 17, 1936

Rudolf Schwarzbeck opened his eyes slowly after drifting in and out of sleep for a long time. Looking out the window next to him, he no longer saw the great blue river far below. We must be getting close.

The drone of the Junkers Ju-52’s three engines had been his near-constant companion in the twenty-three hours since leaving Rome. He was traveling with the leader of Fascist Italy, Benito Mussolini, for a surprise visit to his soldiers in Abyssinia.

Half-Italian through both parents, Schwarzbeck had attended university in Milan before returning to Germany to work for the Reich Bank -- which he did until 1934. He had served as industrial attaché in Rome since January, until Foreign Minister von Neurath had named him one of Germany’s foreign observers in Abyssinia.

Thus, he had been invited to fly with Mussolini’s entourage, who now sat in the seats around him. Bureaucrats, photographers, bodyguards and diplomats alike had endured the grueling flight and now shared a certain common bond of privation that had dissolved barriers of class and formality.

At the rear of the aircraft, a large steel safe lay in the aisle, flanked by two of Mussolini’s bodyguards. Secret documents? Bribe money? Curiosity needled at Schwarzbeck’s thoughts, but he knew better than to ask questions.

800px-Junkers_Ju52_3M.jpg

The Junkers Ju-52 transport that carried Benito Mussolini to Abyssinia.


A few rows ahead, the Duce, in his black fascisti uniform, leaned back across two of the seats idly swishing a riding crop. He was a bull of a man, appearing more a prizefighter than a Caesar. Across from him sat the other German observer traveling to Abyssinia -- diplomatic Special Deputy Carl Feldt -- looking positively tiny in his seat across from Mussolini.

bention4.jpg

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, shortly before departure for Abyssinia.


“Duce,” Schwarzbeck heard Feldt say in Italian, “earlier you said that the opportunity had arisen. Yet, it would seem that Great Britain remains too strong.”

Mussolini sat up in his seat and smiled. “The English are now preoccupied with France’s troubles. They have divested their Mediterranean Fleet to reinforce their islands and are now transferring soldiers away from Africa. Three cruisers and several destroyer squadrons are all that remains to defend the Mediterranean.”

“Candidly, then, you plan to seize British colonies in Africa while it is still occupied elsewhere?”

“I have sent word to your Führer as to my intentions. Of course, if it comes to that, I shall be in Abyssinia personally to ensure victory.”

“As I am certain my foreign minister has told you, Germany can only fully support Italy in Africa if Italy provides the same understandings with regard to France.”

“Herr Feldt, as you know, there are questions about Austria and other things which must first be resolved.”

Feldt sat in silence. The Italian dictator was right -- alliance would prove elusive until certain key elements of foreign policy could be aligned.

Several minutes later, Feldt made his way back three rows to where Schwarzbeck was sitting. “You heard all that?”

“Of course.”

“May I just say,” Feldt said, casting a glance across the cabin to see who might be listening, “that Mussolini seems to have been very distraught about the glory found by the Führer in Belgium. He seemed in better spirits when France first declared war, but now -- with Paris taken, he is spoiling very irresponsibly for a fight and glory of his own. If I am right, he may get us into a great deal of trouble. If Italy joins the war against Britain, the Suez will be closed and we shall be stranded here. Likewise, we will not be able to fly through Khartoum or anywhere in Arabia.”

“What can I do?”

“Be wary, Rudolf. I have to stay here, but you’re not von Neurath’s man and you can still get out if you try to.”

“Yes. Well. I don’t know. Thank you, Carl.” Schwarzbeck nodded.

There was a jolt of turbulence that seemed to send Feldt’s thoughts elsewhere. “Have you seen this?” He produced a copy of the Daily Telegraph he had picked up in Cairo.

“No. Is it about Paris?”

“Yes, look…” He unfolded the paper. The headline, in large bold letters read: Paris Taken. Feldt began to read the article aloud, taking care that he be overheard in the rows ahead. “In a move that has shocked the world, German tanks penetrated French defenses in northern France during the night of April 15-16, arriving at the gates of Paris after an all-night advance. Lieutenant General Paul Hausser accepted the surrender of the French capital early yesterday. Parisians awoke on the otherwise un-extraordinary Thursday morning to find their city in the hands of German soldiers. All those on non-essential business stayed indoors by order of the German occupiers, who feared demonstrations or civil unrest if the population was allowed to freely congregate. The very day before, German armies remained more than one hundred miles away from Paris, which is several times further than the nearest approach of Imperial German armies during the Great War. The French High Command was seemingly taken unawares by German maneuvers, which managed to bypass the ten full-strength French divisions which blocked the way to the French capital. The French government was forced to evacuate to Bordeaux, from which it plans to orchestrate its country’s defense until Paris can be retaken. From its train, Mr Lebrun’s government issued a statement that due to the cultural and historic nature of the city, the French military will neither bomb nor shell the German units scattered throughout Paris.”

Schwarzbeck could not help smiling. The war had had a very poor start, but Hausser had brightened prospects immeasurably. He shall be the next Blücher.

“And this one…” Feldt opened the newspaper to another article, under the headline Markets Fall. There was another sharp bump, and Schwarzbeck could feel the Ju-52 descending.

“Stock markets dropped sharply following news of the capitulation. Uncertainty about the outcome of the present war, combined with inevitable economic disruption in France over the coming weeks set off frenzied selling. By mid-afternoon in the City, the selling had accelerated rapidly, leaving London markets devastated by closing. In total, the London Exchange lost 6 per cent of its valuation. Mr Baldwin is to address Parliament today regarding the economic crisis.”

“That may be a help, Carl.” But Feldt had turned away again.

The plane banked, and Schwarzbeck looked out the window again. Addis Ababa spread below, an untidy sea of whitewashed buildings on a high plateau of patched greenery. Abyssinia.

The descent to the airfield was quick, and after skidding down the bumpy runway, the airplane came to a stop. One of the bodyguards opened the Ju-52’s waist door, and aligned the staircase that had been wheeled into position next to the aircraft. He descended, followed by the photographers, Feldt and Schwarzbeck.

Several thousand Italian soldiers stood at attention at the airfield, where Schwarzbeck saw a platform had been erected from which Mussolini would speak. Black fascist banners had been hung from the buildings and towers of the airfield. Over the central hanger was draped a large flag depicting the Duce’s helmeted profile.

A military band had formed up next to the airplane, and began playing a patriotic anthem, the name of which escaped Schwarzbeck. As they played, Il Duce appeared in the doorway and saluted the soldiers arrayed to greet him. The response was spirited, but strikingly less so than the receptions the Führer received from the Wehrmacht.

Mussolini descended the stairs, followed by more of his bodyguards and at last the safe that had been sitting in the aisle. An Italian colonel soon appeared, and after brief introductions led Schwarzbeck and the others to a row of chairs that had been arranged in front of Mussolini’s platform.

“My soldiers!” Mussolini began. His voice was surprisingly well-suited to oratory. “These long months, my soldiers, you have fought and struggled for Italy. You have earned by your shed blood the place in the sun that I promised would be Italy’s. You have been lions of battle, like your fathers and uncles during the Great War, if not even more heroic. Yet from that war, the soldiers of Italy were not honored, were not glorified as they should have been. It is fitting, then, that you be honored properly. Not by ungracious silence but loud acclaim before the world. Thus, by honoring you I shall honor those before you were could not be honored justly.

His general phrasing seemed familiar, but Schwarzbeck struggled to recall from where.

“Our Roman forebears bore the sacred aquilae -- the golden eagles -- before them in battle. Each legion defended its aquila unto death, as it represented the majesty of the Empire. So too, the men of Napoleon fought under the sign of the eagles, and with their power mastered the whole of Europe.”

No. Schwarzbeck had attended the Heldengedenktag ceremonies in Berlin, and Mussolini clearly and brazenly intended to replicate that bit of militaristic theater.

“As heirs to Rome -- the civilization of heroes, poets and saints -- it is only proper that you too should march into the sun under the same sacred eagles. I have thus brought from Rome golden eagles of your own. Each division must treasure and defend its eagle, for the eagle brings honor unto the men and the men bring honor unto the eagle! Behold!”

From the safe, one of Mussolini’s aides had produced the first eagle and handed it to him. The Duce held the eagle aloft to shouts of “Victory! Victory!”. Its wingspan was but twenty centimeters, and it was less elegantly cast than those awarded by the Führer, but seemed to thoroughly impress the Italian soldiers.

“Divisional standard bearers, come forward to receive your eagles!”

From the front rank of the assembled soldiers, seven officers marched forward, holding aloft their standards. When they arrived at the platform, each dipped his flag so that Mussolini could affix the eagle, just as Hitler had done in March.

“You are soon to assure for all time the rightful stature of Fascist Italy, and a place in the sun to be recognized by all the world. And I will be with you.”

Schwarzbeck felt Feldt nudge him subtly. “Do not forget,” he whispered, “what I warned you.”
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
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Musso's so original sometimes... :D

WEll, it wil lbe funny if he gets stranded in Abyssinia :rofl:
 

unmerged(94576)

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Mar 12, 2008
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funny, I know a Schwarzbeck.

What of the counterattack on Paris?
 

TheHyphenated1

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Mar 1, 2008
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English Patriot - Indeed. Right now it's down to Nehring to keep Paris from being cut off, and von Kuechler to speed relief forces on their way. Remember, general military mobility/flexibility is considerably less than that of 1940 in our timeline. What with advancement being at approximately Spanish Civil War level, it will be both harder for France to effect an encirclement and harder for Heeresgruppe A to prevent it.

SeleucidRex (1) - :rofl: . Yes, I'd like to see that someday...

Kurt_Steiner - Yes, it's interesting to see how Hitler and Mussolini alternatingly imitated one another.

SeleucidRex (2) - On to that soon!
 

Ironhewer

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Ah, so Mussolini steals from Hitler. Course, Il Duce would view it as Hitler ripping of the great Roman civilization, which he did with the whole eagles thing. I can see it now. Mussolini joins Axis, and makes the war a whole lot worse for everyone involved, especially as Mussolini engages in massive imperial overreach.

A most excellent update, but how will this bode for France's chances of beating the Nazis into their constitute particles of horse excrement?
 

KLorberau

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Good ole Papa Hausser...

What simply perfect timing on his part to turn the tables on the French......start turning those wineries into breweries.....

KLorberau
 

stnylan

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Mussolini is definitely trying to jump on the bandwagon.
 

unmerged(46967)

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I just read everything from page one and I must say, I am very impressed by your writing style. Will continue to look forward to future updates.

Btw, what is your research status as of this point?