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Woody Man

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Damned Party politics, Lets hope it doesn't come to the worst, can't be killing prisoners, bad for morale.
 

TheHyphenated1

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trekaddict (1) - Yes and no. While certainly the war itself caused problems, most of the world seems to have swallowed the casus belli whole.

dublish - The truth is rather murky at present, but we shall soon be learning more about all that. Suffice to say, Britain certainly seems not to have been 100% "on board" about the war. While there is persistent talk of a British Expeditionary Force being sent to the continent some time over the summer, there are not yet any "boots on the ground" (with the exception of observers and a handful of pilots). What with the front being stabilized outside Paris right now and French troops doing quite well in Germany, it is rather understandable that most of the UK doesn't feel a great sense of urgency about all this. In a way, many people think that they've had their "Second Miracle of the Marne" and that the imminent danger has passed.

trekaddict (2) - [whisper] I'm trying to make the AI look good, remember? [/whisper] :rofl:

Slaughts - Especially in the days of Nazi Germany, many Party insiders called "Doctor" were a far cry from your friendly local GP.

Atlantic Friend - Good cause to take cover!

English Patriot - Indeed.
 

TheHyphenated1

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Chapter II: Part XXV

Chapter II: The Gambit of the West

Chapter XXV


May 10, 1936

The rolling thunder of tympani sent a sigh of relief through the German parade column staging in the Place de la Concorde and across the Seine into the 7ème Arrondissement. The City of Lights had offered up another murderously hot day, and by now the 30,000 soldiers had been sweltering in their dress uniforms for nearly three hours.

Generalleutnant Paul Hausser slipped on his white gloves and took the reins of his dapple gray horse. One of the regimental bands was moving into position, playing the Radetzky March. Some of the soldiers in formation behind them began to stomp their feet in time with the music. He trotted his horse towards the open-topped 300-Series staff car from which Field Marshal von Blomberg would lead the parade. He found Paris’ conqueror sitting in the back seat, drinking from a pitcher of ice-water brought from the nearby Hôtel de Crillon.

Hausser leaned down in the saddle and extended a gloved hand. “Congratulations, Werner.”

The fallen War Minister looked up at him, and Hausser saw that his victory in Paris had restored much of his old spirit. “Thank you. Thank you very much, Paul.” He took Hausser’s hand and shook it warmly.

Two days before, von Blomberg’s VI Armeekorps had at last broken through the last French defensive line along the Oise, and demanded the immediate surrender of the capital. Préfet de Police Roger Langeron had again declared Paris an open city, whereupon more than 120,000 German soldiers had occupied it.

The French armies around the city would be reeling for at least a week, but the Field Marshal wasted no time in consolidating his position and preparing defenses around the city. In the judgment of the Grand General Staff, this alone would likely be enough to dissuade the French from even trying to assault it.

To reinforce the permanence of this second occupation in the minds of Parisians, von Blomberg had scheduled for the following Sunday a massive parade along the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.

The parade column was now making final preparations for the start of the parade. Hausser spied Acting Field Marshal von Küchler on horseback, talking to one of his aides. He rode over to him. They greeted pleasantly and Hausser turned to survey the whole snake of the parade -- still coiled expectantly in the Place de la Concorde.

At the head of the parade, Field Marshal von Blomberg and his adjutant Major Lemm waited in their open-topped staff car. von Blomberg had offered to share the honor with Hausser, but he had declined. Immediately behind was a ceremonial guard bearing various flags -- the national swastika flag, the flag of the Wehrmacht, and the Imperial German flag, which had been reinstated as an adjunct national flag in January. The flag-bearers were followed by a regimental band from the 33. Infanterie-Division. A squadron of men on horseback followed them in turn; behind the horsemen, Hausser and von Küchler would ride at the head of a series of honor guards from each division fighting near Paris. The rest of the parade consisted primarily of battalions from the 9., 33. and 30. Infanterie-Divisionen, interspersed with various regimental bands.

The tympani swelled and there was silence. Hausser heard the roll of a snare drum and the parade began to move at a moderate cadence out onto the Champs Élysées and the 2 kilometer parade route.

“You did well in Luxembourg.”

It was von Küchler. Hausser merely nodded. The order to move into Luxembourg had come to him as a complete surprise. His own intelligence had confirmed the reports that French troops had entered Luxembourg in hopes of evading capture -- where it differed from the Abwehr reports he was given was in details suggesting that Luxembourgish soldiers had in fact made every reasonable effort to close its neutral border to the thousands of armed men fleeing across it.

“I know it was a difficult undertaking, but it had to be done.”

Hausser sighed. “What will become of Luxembourg?”

“That is not my affair. I would guess something similar to the administration of Belgium, though.”

The parade made its way past the Petit Palais and soon the Grand Palais, opulent museums built for the Universal Exposition at the turn of the century. Langeron’s police -- now disarmed and wearing white armbands -- could be seen lining the rest of the parade route. Some of the Frenchmen could be heard muttering insults at the conquering army passing them. Others maintained a stoic silence.

4--7678.jpg

Soldiers marching along the parade route. The divisional Reichsadler of 30. Infanterie-Division can be seen in background.


“Were I you, Paul, I would give the greatest part of my thoughts to our friend General Blanc.”

“Do not think that I have not, Field Marshal.”

“Blanc has proven their ablest field general in this war.”

Blanc had reacted quickly and adeptly to Hausser’s “left hook”, withdrawing and concentrating his forces so as to present a sturdy and deep line of defense against XII Armeekorps' onrushing panzers. He had swiftly moved his headquarters, along with three full divisions, into Baden-Württemberg to counter the new threat.

There, he had engaged Nehring’s 1. Panzer as it crossed the Neckar near Reutlingen. Without the maneuvering room that they had had on the way to Paris, the German panzers had proven ready targets for Blanc’s artillery. Nehring -- now promoted to Generalmajor -- had been forced to slink back across the Neckar with a bloodied nose. In the ensuing hours, Blanc had set about fortifying the river’s east bank across his entire frontage. After two more abortive attempts to drive the 4ème Armée back, Hausser had recognized the wastefulness of further offensive action and ordered XII Armeekorps to dig in itself.

Blanc had, as Hausser wrote to Bayerlein on the seventh, “Traded ground for tactical advantage … making him now very difficult to dislodge from his position, while only forcing him to give up cities that France has no intention of keeping even if it should win the war.”

Indeed, even the cities that the Left Hook had either directly or indirectly allowed to be retaken had not yielded the triumphant and emotional scenes some of the Reich’s leaders had envisioned.

The liberation of Nuremberg -- for which propaganda cinematographer Leni Riefenstahl and her crew had been personally dispatched by Goebbels -- had been supremely uneventful. French units had been withdrawn from the city before the hastily-formed SS and SA stay-behind groups could even organize armed resistance. Local Ordnungspolizei had already retaken the streets by the time Wehrmacht units arrived. Aside from minor injury to the grass of the Märzfeld parade ground, the hallowed Party Rally Grounds were found virtually intact.

“Still,” the Acting War Minister continued, “only a week ago, the French had almost the entirety of southern Germany -- from Luxembourg to within, what, 80 kilometers of the Czech border? Now, we -- or rather you -- have beaten them back to holding only Baden-Württemberg north to the Neckar and most of Bavaria north to Ingolstadt, if I recall the map correctly.”

“That is accurate, Field Marshal.”

“As I do not need to tell you, you have been of service to the Reich which cannot be valued.”

“Thank you. I -- have done what I can.”

“But I do bear a warning.”

Hausser raised his eyebrows. He noticed that the aristocratic Field Marshal, an accomplished equestrian, was riding without using the reins at all.

“There are, I shall be plain, those in the Army who no longer trust you, Paul. Your politicality -- your association with the Schutzstaffel. The Heer is still very Imperial, very Monarchist in its thinking. Such people do not look very favorably on my own support of the Führer, but they view the activities of the SS with utter contempt. To make it worse, your return to the Heer at von Blomberg’s heel is, well, compromised by his own disgrace.”

“Disgrace? You believe the accusations?”

“As a soldier it is my duty to neither blindly believe or disbelieve them. The facts speak for themselves though.”

“What facts?”

von Küchler glanced about, and drew his horse nearer to Hausser’s. “Beck admitted as much to the Special Court. It stands to reason that --”

“But not Blomberg! He hasn’t been before any court, and if there was merit to all this -- innuendo -- he would have been sacked immediately.”

“I will speak no more of this. Heed my warning, though. If you do not, the officers who oppose you will bring down trouble upon the entire Army.”

“Then I see our beloved Heer has become far more political than the SS, Field Marshal. If my renewed presence is causing such a stir amongst the Officer Corps, perhaps I was unwise in returning.”

“Do not take my words that way, Paul.” The Field Marshal swallowed, and lowered his voice. “We need you. It is for that reason that I hope to protect you from those who no longer wish you well. We are fighting a war against perhaps the best army in the world. My God, if not for you, Blanc would be in Berlin by now.”

It was true that the French Army had proven itself the Wehrmacht’s superior. In the south, especially, it had lived up to its reputation as arguably the best in the world. Able divisional generals such as Martin, Grandsard and Le Gentilhomme had afforded Blanc the ability to run riot in the south of Germany with speed and flexibility unheard-of for a foot army. Though the French armies in Bavaria were undoubtedly better led and equipped than those near Paris, even the divisions in the north had proven themselves better pound-for-pound than those of Germany. It had only been by deft maneuver and unorthodox strategy that the Reich had needled out an advantage.

Seeming to read the Generalleutnant’s thoughts, von Küchler chuckled. “How then, has the Wehrmacht managed to stun the world a second time?” Though from a strictly territorial perspective France still controlled more German soil than Germany controlled French, the strategic situation now decidedly favored the Reich.

Hausser opined to the Field Marshal that because the majority of the Wehrmacht’s strength was deployed in Free Belgium at the outbreak of the war, Germany had been in a position to quickly bring the fighting to French soil -- a factor which significantly diminished the freedom with which Condé’s army group could advance, and siphoned forces which would otherwise have been available to him.

“I agree. The Bayerlein Plan has proven successful as well, I believe.”

The Bayerlein Plan, as the multiple division-level incursions into France came to be known, ran very much counter to established military doctrine, and had evidently taken Gamelin and the French High Command by surprise. They had reacted sluggishly at first, and when efforts had at last been taken to beat back these incursions, the force required to do so had critically weakened Blanc’s 4ème Armée.

“It has proven quite successful, Field Marshal. Which has ultimately allowed von Blomberg to capture the city.”

von Küchler nodded. “Good. I am satisfied by your answers.”

The fall of Paris, unless the city was retaken immediately, clearly spelled doom for a France that had started the war a month earlier with every prospect of driving to Berlin. Hausser expected that Lebrun’s government -- probably with mediation by the British -- would soon approach Germany with peace terms.

An anguished wail drew Hausser’s thoughts to the present. von Blomberg’s car had passed through the Arc de Triomphe. Thousands wept openly at the sight of the German soldiers goose-stepping through its hallowed vault.

weeping-frenchman.jpg

Parisians wept at the sight of their occupiers.


Hausser looked off to his left. The Eiffel Tower stood in the distance, and Hausser could just make out the top of the swastika banners that had been draped from it over the tops of the chestnut trees ringing the Place de l’Etoile. The message was clear: Germany is here to stay.

As the rest of the parade passed through the great arch, a sergeant of the Feldgendarmerie directed units down one of three of the avenues branching from the plaza. This was the end of the formal parade.

Paris-6-14-1940.jpg

German soldiers on horseback at the end of the parade route.


At one side of the arch, Hausser saw several dozen SS men standing in formation. He quickly deduced the reason for their presence.

A single company of the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler had defended the Berghof through a five-day siege, confounding all French efforts to take it. Despite substantial losses, they had ensured that no invader defiled the Füher’s private residence. The various newspapers of the Schutzstaffel had hysterically praised the defense. “The Malta of Today” one headline had read. The commander of the Leibstandarte-SS, Sepp Dietrich, had, the article continued, flown the survivors of the siege to Paris to take part in the triumphal parade to receive decorations. Sure enough, Hausser soon spied the brawny Dietrich making his way down the line, followed by an aide. At each man, the aide handed him a medal, which the former butcher pinned to the soldier’s chest. The Iron Cross 1st Class.

openerwaffsspg1.jpg

Sepp Dietrich awarding Iron Cross 1st Class medals to members of the LSSAH.


Hausser tugged at his own. It was now superseded by the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross that hung from his neck. He had received it less than a week before. So much had happened so short a time. Hausser stayed to the side of the arch, waiting until each man had received his medal before following one of the dispersing parade columns.

Nazi-parading-in-elysian-fields-par.png

Staff cars dispersing after passing through the Arc de Triomphe.


At the sound of rapid hoof beats, Hausser turned to see von Küchler riding up.

“Yet that still does not satisfy me as to one thing,” the Acting War Minister said, continuing their conversation where it had ended.

“What is that?”

“Why the French are only now mobilizing… Why would Gamelin not order the army to full strength before launching an attack? More importantly, why would President Lebrun authorize war with seemingly so little cooperation from the British?”

Hausser frowned. “I tend to agree with von Rundstedt -- perhaps Gamelin valued the factor of surprise more highly.”

“No. Surprise or not, the French started the war with forty-one active divisions to our thirty-seven. Mobilized, they would have nearly a hundred!”

They were back at the Place de la Concorde. von Küchler rode up to von Blomberg’s staff car and extended congratulations much as Hausser had done earlier. “Generalleutnant Hausser and I are having a discussion. Why do you think the French were not mobilized when they attacked?”

Before he could answer, Major Lemm dashed up to the car and handed von Blomberg a telegram.

“Given that they were not mobilized,” Hausser asked von Küchler while von Blomberg read it, “how soon do you think victory shall come?”

The Acting War Minister thought for many seconds. “I fear that the war may last longer than we have come to hope.”

von Blomberg shook his head gravely. “I fear that you are more right than you know. Read this.”
 
Last edited:

trekaddict

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Oh boy! My hometown has been mentoined. Let's jsut hope taht the frogs didn't damage it too much.
 

Woody Man

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France is only now mobilising? Oh dear indeed, with extra divisions they could surround and cut off the Germans in Paris, and tear through Belgium..
 

trekaddict

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Oh and I was thinking... near Reutlingen the Neckar is so narrow that you can practically spit across, so tits worth as a defensive line is doubtful.
 

Ironhewer

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Hmm what is that mysterious message? My hopes, the French have ray guns. My best guess, the French are mobilizing and/or the Brits are landing units. I take it that the fall of Paris for a second time has made an impact.

Excellent update.
 

unmerged(46967)

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I would take it as another incursion of piercing German defenses in Upper Belgium.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, so Blanc is in a pocket around Frieburg/Stuttgart or does the French still have a connection to him via the Maginot line?
 

stnylan

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The German politial machine almost seems to want to lose this war. With their various shenanigans, now against Hausser, they run the real risk of being defeated.
 

TheHyphenated1

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trekaddict (1) - Ingolstadt? Reutlingen? Since Reutlingen was previously mentioned, I'm going to guess Ingolstadt.

English Patriot - Indeed. The burning question is with Paris in German hands, will it be too little too late?

trekaddict (2) - Unfortunately, loogies are better at crossing open water than the Panzerkampfwagon I ;) .

Ironhewer - Thanks! Apologies in advance for disappointing you about the whole Ray Gun thing :p .

Slaughts - Blanc has not been cut off. He still controls Munich and southwestern Germany.

stnylan - Yes. Though to be sure, this is independent ill feeling from the officer corps.
 

trekaddict

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Reutlingen is my hometown. It is rather small-ish, even today there are only 120.000 of us, so every mentoining it gets outside of our local newspaper is noteworthy.


As for the river, it still is a rather small one.
 

dublish

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...

I want to see a map. How much of northern France have you actually captured?
 

TheHyphenated1

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trekaddict - Ah. You can see the actual battlefields then. How exciting!

dublish - Regrettably there isn't a savegame that shows the exact position. But I'll list the provinces that the game uses to represent the current situation, if that helps. Germany controls: Le Havre, Dieppe, Calais, Dunquerque, Lille, Valenciennes, Reims, Metz and Paris (and all of former Belgium and Luxembourg). France controls: Freiburg, Friedrichshafen and Munich. Sorry for any confusion :eek:o .

EDIT: I realize that on the face of things that would make it seem like Germany controls more French territory than vice versa, but in "reality" the game engine's representation is somewhat deceptive. France still controls marginally more territory.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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The telegram...

The Brits have landed

a) at Belgium
b) at Jutland.

We shall see...
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner said:
The telegram...

The Brits have landed

a) at Belgium
b) at Jutland.

We shall see...


Naa. The French have DoWed the United States and the US is now in the Axis.
 

dublish

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TheHyphenated1 said:
EDIT: I realize that on the face of things that would make it seem like Germany controls more French territory than vice versa, but in "reality" the game engine's representation is somewhat deceptive. France still controls marginally more territory.
I understand. From the game, you'd think Texas had less territory than France.
 

Ironhewer

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Sometimes the requirements of gameplay force such things. Generally, more battles will be fought in France then in Texas. Which of course is frustrating to all of those who have ever wished to use Mexico to launch a northward war of reconquest.
 

TheHyphenated1

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Kurt_Steiner - Jutland? Denmark is not even in the war (yet) ;) .

trekaddict - :eek:

dublish - Yes. I'll do my best to provide maps as possible and appropriate :) .

Ironhewer - Zimmermann take note!

Part XXVI very nearly complete -- just researching an important but hard-to-find detail.
 

dublish

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TheHyphenated1 said:
Part XXVI very nearly complete -- just researching an important but hard-to-find detail.
Is the detail something we could help with? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one eagerly awaiting Part XXVI...
 

trekaddict

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dublish said:
Is the detail something we could help with? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one eagerly awaiting Part XXVI...


Same here. I'd love to help.