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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ironhewer

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Nuts. Why couldn't he have stayed in Munich to arrange a heroic defense with armies that don't exist. A pity, a monumental pity for all the world.

Excellent update.
 

TheHyphenated1

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Slaughts - Keen guessing. I can tell you for certain that it's not the Ark of the Covenant ;) .

Kurt_Steiner - Yes they are... if Liebmann can pull things together enough to slow the French down!

stnylan - Yes they have. Don't think he'd listen to that much sense out of von Rundstedt's mouth :rofl: .

Ironhewer - Thank you! This is not, I'm afraid Hitler's Untergang -- at least 1945 Berlin in our timeline was reasonably defensible. Munich is, well... not.
 

Ironhewer

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Well of course its not the Ark of the Covenant. That's being studied by top men. Top men.

And as for not being Untergang, well it should be. Save the world a hell of a lot of trouble. Course it would end the AAR quite precipitously, so . . .

*Sigh* I hate conumdrums.
 

unmerged(94576)

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I shall wear it with pride :D .

I wonder how Hausser shall take it when he finds out that Fritsch and Bayerlein misrepresented his opinion to sway Hitler.
 

KLorberau

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Great update again.....

The only reason I think Adolf is agreeable to retreat of his armies, and having his travel plans changed to go North, is because he has not had years of "victories" under his belt where he felt he was the genius behind all of them. He has had some minor ones true, but when faced with real enemies he seems to panic and allow himself to trust his Generals and Feld Marshalls.....

I must say I was saddened by the retreat from Paris by Hausser....after all of his hard work to capture it....But it was obviously the best plan due to his tenious supply corridor..

It will be interesting to see if the OKW and OKH can pull off a crushing victory on France.....and retake the City of Lights again..

Waiting patiently......

KLorberau
 

TheHyphenated1

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Chapter II: Part XXIII

Chapter II: The Gambit of the West

Part XXIII


April 25, 1936

The cold water of the stream stung Victor Reinert’s calves as he slowly crossed to the far bank. It was already late into the afternoon, and Reinert had hoped to have been safely indoors hours ago.

“Do you need help, Herr Reinert?”

“No. I am crossing well on my own, thank you.” Reinert fought to maintain his balance as he looked up at the uniformed Army men who had crossed before him.

Unteroffizier Roggen and Leutnant Kaufring waited for Reinert to make it across before carrying their large crate up the rocky slope and setting it down on the grass. Kaufring squinted into the eastern sky and pointed a thickly-gloved hand into the distance.

“That might be Mörder!”

Reinert followed Kaufring’s gaze but couldn’t see anything. He chuckled softly to himself. Just days into the war, Canaris had learned that the French were making extensive use of homing pigeons to carry messages from forward commands. Through Acting Field Marshal von Küchler, he had ordered each frontline division assigned a falkner -- a specialist who maintained specially trained falcons used to hunt homing pigeons. The effort had initially yielded little of value, and was sneeringly derided by Himmler and Göring as soon as they learned of it. Nonetheless, von Küchler had maintained and even increased the numbers of falconers at the front.

wwi_pigeon_truck.jpg

The French military used converted vehicles such as this one to maintain large numbers of homing pigeons.


Reinert smiled at the Spymaster’s uncanny intuition. Three days earlier, a homing pigeon had been snatched out of the air north of Augsburg by a falcon attached to 2. Infanterie-Division. Its coded message had been transmitted to HGr.KdoAB in Regensburg, and thence to the Abwehr in Berlin for decryption.

When Canaris had read it, he had immediately summoned Reinert to his office. The message, the Admiral had said, was seemingly mundane. It provided locations of the divisional headquarters units in Blanc’s 4ème Armée. Canaris had asked Reinert to count the locations listed. “Four, Admiral,” he had said.

“According to our last reports, there should be six divisions under Blanc.”

“Aerial reconnaissance?”

“Cannot make anything of what they see. Major Drewes insists that while they are unable to find these divisions, they may still be there somewhere.”

“What does this mean?”

“I do not know. But I believe it means that Bayerlein’s plan has worked. That is, it seems that Blanc has detached -- or had detached -- one third of his force to plug the independent penetrations by 4. 8. and 35. Infanterie-Divisionen of the French lines near Strasbourg. Unfortunately for Blanc -- if this is indeed the case -- it appears that he has detached the only divisions in a position to guard him against a sort of left hook punch that II Armeekorps could deliver in a day or so to the rear of 4ème Armée. Unfortunately for us -- if this is not the case -- the unaccounted-for divisions could very likely smash Hausser where he least expects it.”

“I understand the difficulty, Admiral.”

“Have you any ideas as to how we might confirm the truth, Victor?”

Reinert’s idea had taken him -- after a morning of intense trigonometry -- out here, to the wild country near Reutlingen. It was here that Reinert calculated any homing pigeons sent by Blanc to the detached divisions, if they were indeed detached, would pass briefly over German-held territory. Canaris had had von Küchler assign him one of his best falconers, and soon the falkner, his aide, and Reinert had bundled into a car and set off southward to stake out the area.

Kaufring’s falcon, Mörder, had proven one of the most ill-tempered creatures Reinert had ever seen. While Roggen drove, Kaufring had let the falcon have free run of the vehicle’s cramped interior -- a privilege which Mörder wasted no time in using to repeatedly charge at Reinert with outstretched talons. “Don’t cover your face; you’ll only make him interested in scratching at it,” Kaufring had conversationally urged the cowering Reinert.

They had at last reached their destination, which turned out to occupy a gray area between German and French lines, and Kaufring had let his raptor go. They had spent the ensuing hours scanning the horizon for any sign of the falcon or his quarry. Nothing.

Reinert had been prepared to encamp for several days if necessary, and suggested as much to the expert falkner. “No need, Herr Reinert. Mörder is never denied.” Kaufring had chuckled in a manner that struck the Abwehr agent as vaguely unsettling.

Thus, Reinert had stayed; desperate for good news, desperate for a victory.

Absorbed as he was with his own personal adventure -- “deep behind enemy lines” as he had decided to phrase it in his war memoirs, if he ever wrote them -- he had been all too aware that the war had shifted back in favor of the West.

Despite appalling losses, Royal Air Force bombing had paralyzed VI Armeekorps, which had taken and held the northern outskirts of Paris on the twenty-third, only to be forced out thirty-six hours later by fierce counterattacks. Worse, with Hausser having moved east, von Blomberg now lacked vital armored support.

In the south, Blanc had scored stunning back-to-back triumphs. He had first invested Munich with two divisions, sending the remainder of his force barreling northward before General Liebmann could even hope to stop him. On the twenty-fourth, Blanc’s cavalry -- despite its decimation at Pforzheim -- had paraded unopposed into a city of great symbolic significance to National Socialism. Reinert’s secretary had wept at the news: Nuremberg, Capital of the Party, and ancient seat of Emperors, was in French hands. Scant hours later, word arrived that Munich had fallen. Hitler had cashiered Liebmann on the spot.

aldwych30jun1944.jpg

Munich fell only after artillery had inflicted serious damage to the city center.


“Aha! My boy did it!” Reinert turned to see Kaufring looking through his binoculars.

“What is it?”

“He’s got a pigeon!”

“How can you tell it’s a pigeon at this distance?”

Kaufring eyed Reinert darkly. “Mörder doesn’t pick up rats and voles.”

Soon, even Reinert could see a bird clutched in the falcon’s talons. With a rending screech, the great bird swooped over the three men and dropped its bloody prey onto the crate before alighting on Kaufring’s gloved forearm.

“Very good, Mörder! You are a fine killer, Mörder.” Kaufring chuckled as he stroked the bird, revealing a row of bad teeth. His falcon, now placidly hooting, ate a strip of something fleshy Roggen threw to him.

Reinert knelt next to the crate. The pigeon was still alive, but was badly injured. Slipping off a narrow tube that had been tied to the pigeon’s leg, Reinert managed to push out a tightly rolled piece of thin paper. He unrolled it, and quickly read the French. It was addressed to Général de division Barreau.

Whom Blanc wants us to think is with him in Munich right now.

Reinert clenched his fist. Hausser’s left hook could go forward immediately. With luck, Blanc would be cut off before he was any the wiser.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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Pidgeons... for a moment I thought we were back in the Middle Ages... or in the trenches...

Well, perhaps is this the beginning of the push that may encircle most of the French army in Germany?
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner said:
Pidgeons... for a moment I thought we were back in the Middle Ages... or in the trenches...

Well, perhaps is this the beginning of the push that may encircle most of the French army in Germany?


Most likely. The whole war was screaming for the old Freiburg encirclement from the start, even more so since he occu...pacified Belgium.
 

Ironhewer

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I would be wary though. This could be a perfect deception, the old lost order thing. At least, I hope it is.

And now, since I'm a huge nerd, in honor of a suspiciously named falcon:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
 

stnylan

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Hausser is being kept busy :)

And to continue the theme:

Yet long ago he rode away
And where he dwelleth none can say
For into darkness fell his star
In Mordor where the shadows are
 

TheHyphenated1

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Ironhewer (1) - A conundrum indeed.

SeleucidRex - Hausser's too good a soldier to make a fuss about it ;) .

KLorberau - Thank you! Excellent analysis. Hitler has indeed not yet been as fully convinced of his own insoluble genius as he was by 1940 in our timeline. Yes, Hausser's retreat is sad -- but with a little luck he'll soon get a chance at redemption. Finally, as a clarification, OKW does not exist yet in Weltkriegschaft, with its functions still performed by the War Ministry. What with the fall of von Blomberg, though, the War Ministry is a declining institution.

Kurt_Steiner - Hopefully!

trekaddict - Trouble is, even if Hausser's left hook annihilates Blanc's forces (which still have considerable fight left in them), the French Army would still have 80%+ of its strength intact.

Ironhewer (2) - The falcon's name means "killer" in German. Thus, Kaufring said literally "You are a fine killer, Killer" -- which amused the man to no end.

stnylan - Busy he is!

Swift birds fly through the sky,
Bearing tidings of woe and war,
Yet snatched by falcons this trained for,
In the land of Mörder, where the pigeons die.
 

trekaddict

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TheHyphenated1 said:
trekaddict - Trouble is, even if Hausser's left hook annihilates Blanc's forces (which still have considerable fight left in them), the French Army would still have 80%+ of its strength intact.

Maybe, nut knowing both the AI and game mechanics the French have probably put some of their most mobile Units in the 4th Army, and elminating those can only help you.
 

unmerged(46967)

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I swear, everytime I think of the falcon, I think of this:

shatner_falcon.bmp



"No...it's a falcon....a falcon of truth!"
 

KLorberau

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Long live Capt Kirk.....finest Starship Captain in Starfleet Command...and one heck of a chick magnet........

KLorberau
 

KLorberau

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Hmmmm, just how much of the French Armee will be rounded up to work in the war factories? Those Frenchies must pay for all of the gains they have won in this short war....

Like that Roman General in Gladiator said in the beginning of the movie, "Unleash hell."

KLorberau
 

dublish

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TheHyphenated1 said:
trekaddict - Trouble is, even if Hausser's left hook annihilates Blanc's forces (which still have considerable fight left in them), the French Army would still have 80%+ of its strength intact.
I've seen Soviet defenses crumble after a loss of 10%. If you wipe a fifth of the French army from the map, the initiative will be yours to lose.

I forget... can Vichy fire in 1936?
 

TheHyphenated1

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trekaddict - True. Bayerlein has every intention of seeing them eliminated ;) .

Slaughts - :rofl:

KLorberau (1) - *is relieved that no Picard-fanatics stepped in to make an argument out of that statement*

KLorberau (2) - If only Germany had a Generaloberst Maximus. Hausser will have to do.

dublish - Of course, of course. I actually don't have the foggiest idea whether Vichy can fire this early.
 
Last edited:

TheHyphenated1

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Part XXIV should be up sooner rather than later. I just have to run something by stnylan before posting so as to be sure to adhere to forum rules. Thanks for your patience everyone!
 

TheHyphenated1

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While we wait for Part XXIV, I'd like to take this moment to check in with everyone as to general suggestions or concerns.

We are now 45 installments into the story, which means that it is more difficult for new readers to quickly catch up. Primarily for new readers: were you intimidated by the length of the story so far, or was that not a problem?

Is the pace of updates good? How do you feel about the length of updates? Is there something that you just can't stand?

Now's the time to let me know how things are going!