A Storm of Steel and Fire (an alternate WW2 history); by Tanner151

Discussion in 'Finished Timelines and Scenarios' started by miner249er, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 21: A Date Which Will...

    This chapter is similar to chapter 20 in that it is mainly an information chapter plus some dates and a story segment at the end. Chapter 22 will resume more dates and story segments but I need to get this out of the way.

    This chapter will deal with tanks/panzers; will be doing the tanks currently in service to each major power.

    Germany: Germany armored divisions field a wide range of panzers. Germany started the war with Panzer Is, IIs, IIIs, and very few IVs. As the war progressed the I and II were phased out of frontline service and are now used as military police enforcement in occupied areas and as training vehicles. The IIIs was upgraded from its older arsenal to a more effective 50mm in late 1940/early 1941. Since mid 1942 when the anti-tank Panzer IV was beginning to outnumber the III the Panzer III is now used on secondary fronts such as the Northern Front and stationed along the Westwall to act as a deterrent. The Panzer IV is the latest and most powerful panzer in the German arsenal but does have some flaws including the lack of sloped armor. The Panzer IV since 1941 has had a forward sloped armor chassis but this is an add on not purpose built from the ground up.

    Germany is currently doing research and final testing the Panzer V “Panther” and the Panzer VI “Tiger”, these are almost the same as OTL’s but have much fewer mechanical or engine issues. Imagine the Panther tank of 1945 and that is what the Panther will be in ITTL in 1943. Tiger will have much more powerful engine but still retains the non-sloped armor.

    France: The French tank force started the war with one of the largest tank forces in the world. Throughout 1940 many French tanks were equal to the German Panzer IIIs and IVs. However due to the escalated war in the East the Germans have rapidly advanced their panzer divisions to the point that by late 1941 the Germans had outclassed nearly all French tanks. This has led to the French Army to order new and more powerful designs.

    These new designs are the Char B2 and B3 and the ARL41. The Char B2 is an overall improvement of the Char B1 but the B3 is truly a successor to the B1. The B2 has been produced since late 1941 in moderate numbers while the Char B3 with its powerful engine and 75mm cannon alongside its sloped armor makes it the equal and in some ways superior to the German Panzer IV due to being designed and built with sloped armor in mind. The B3 has only just started mass production but the potential for the B3 is vast. The ARL41 was a heavy tank design started in late 1940 to combat German/Axis tanks in the field successfully. For over a year there were a multitude of issues ranging from weight distribution, lack of engine power, and short barreled cannon. However by mid 1942 the ARL41 has been deemed combat ready and has started production. The ARL41 is slow but has incredibly thick armor and a 90mm long barreled cannon. It and the B3 are predicted to be the main French tanks for years. The B2 was a stopgap advancement of the B1 but with the B3 coming out it is being neglected.

    German tank destroyers are the STuG III, the STuG IV and the Hornisse (Hornet). The STuG III like the Panzer III is being sent to minor fronts with the STuG IV and Hornisse dominating the Eastern Front.

    Britain: The Royal Army’s main two tanks are the Crusader and the Chamberlain. They are equal to the Panzer IV and have the potential to be better with continued upgrading/improvements. The British are beginning to use the American tanks sent by the U.S. but compared to the Crusaders and Chamberlains they are few and far between.

    If curious of what the Chamberlain is, look up the OTL Churchill. Same tank just named different for reasons stated in previous chapters.

    Italy: The Italian Army fields older 30s model tanks (Fiat M13/40 medium tanks with the rest being made up of Fiat L3s, Fiat L6/40s and Fiat M11/39s and a small number of M14/41s) and lost the bulk of the 30s era tanks in Greece. This has led to the use of Italian constructed Panzer IIIs called the “Titan” and the Titan has performed well but is still less powerful than the French B3 and the British Crusaders/Chamberlains.

    Italian manufactures and designers have a new tank called the “Centurion” which is in final testing which will equal the current variant of the Panzer IV, the early variants of the French B3 and the current versions of the Crusader and Chamberlain.

    Soviet Union: The workhorse of the Soviet Union in late 1942 is the T-34. The USSR started the war with a small contingent of T-34s but was able to quickly produce them as 1940 came to a close. The other tanks the Soviets used early on were 30s era tanks and in this war of rapidly advancing technology were outdated by early 1941. The surviving units of these older designs are now acting as scouts and the majority of armored vehicles in the Far East/Mongolia/Caucasus area, especially on the Turkish-Soviet border. The KV-1 is the heavy tank of the USSR and has doggedly assisted the Red Army but due to the resources needed to construct a KV-1 could be used to make several T-34s the KV-1 is being phased out of production while the KV-1s already in the field are used to break open an enemy’s fortified area. The T-34 and KV-1 despite fielding excellent armor and cannon were vastly unprepared to fight a mobile, blitzkrieg type of war due to lack of radio communication (because most tanks did not have radios, just the commander’s tank) and this was telling throughout 1940, 1941 and much of early 1942. Realizing the flaw of insufficient radio communication the Soviets have spent much time and effort to put a radio in every Soviet tank to better coordinate and attack (before the mass use of radio the Soviets used flag signals). So by late 1942 almost all Soviet tanks have radios and the few that do not are getting one installed.

    Japanese: The Japanese Imperial Army has by far the worst tanks in terms of effectiveness and numbers when it comes to armored units of the major powers. The Type 97 Chi-Ha tank is the most capable out of Japan’s tank designs but is still very much inferior to the Soviets, the Entente, the other Axis members and the Americans.

    A new tank, the Type 103 tank is on the drawing boards with a few prototypes built and tested but little progress has been made as there does not seem to be a need for it just yet. Army commanders in Siberia and China are demanding the Type 103 to be mass produced but Japan is industrially preoccupied supplying its Navy with ships and planes alongside the Army having sufficient amount of rifles, bullets and grenades. When Japan launches its attacks on the Entente/American territories and if they are taken the extra resources will go towards the construction of the Type 103. The Type 103 has a 57mm cannon, two machine guns and can perform well in jungle environments but has weak side armor and no sloped armor at all.

    United States: M3/M5 Stuart: is the most common American light tank. This is also the most supplied tank to the British Army as it is being phased out as the American military is upgrading its armored units to be more of a contender against current Soviet and German tanks.

    M3 Grant: Produced the same year as the Sherman the M3 Grant showed some promise but is quickly being overshadowed by the Sherman as the Sherman is dominating the medium tank field in the American armed forces. The few Grants that have been made are being sold off to Entente forces to supplement their forces while allowing the U.S. military to focus on newer/better models.

    M4 Sherman: The Sherman is new but is quickly being praised as the finest American tank yet. Production for tank is relatively low due to the military budget restraints, however with the Grant and the Stuart being deemed outdated and the process of phasing them out has begun the Sherman will, in a year or so time, be the main American tank across the board (light, medium, heavy).

    August 22nd, 1942- Lieutenant General Gott has reached Italian controlled Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. Within hours his better trained and equipped soldiers cut off the Italians from the rest of the country and by the end of the day have forced the Italian commanders to surrender.

    With Addis Ababa secured, the bulk of the Italian forces defeated, and the return of Ethiopia’s exiled King of Kings all Italian forces in Ethiopia surrender as their situation is hopeless. Many are unable to surrender to Gott and his British and French soldiers as the Ethiopians are taking revenge. Hundreds of Italian troops are butchered. Gott and Entente authorities try to stop it but can only stop the executions in major cities.

    In Britain and elsewhere in the world the liberation of Ethiopia garners little attention and praise. Only Churchill and members of the military appreciate what Gott did. Plans are to move Gott north to Egypt but London has ordered Gott to establish a stable government and ruler ship, alongside cleansing Ethiopia of fascist supporters, before he can move on and this is predicted to take months. Also in Egypt Field Marshal Wavell is trying very hard to keep Gott away from his command as the distrust and mutual hatred of the two is reaching legendary proportions in the British Army. Wavell does not want to share the ‘coming glory’ as he puts it as British forces in Egypt prepare to assault eastern Libya.

    August 25th, 1942- General de Gaulle and Montgomery in Sweden launch the Entente offensive. Montgomery’s tanks spearhead the advance which is to reach the eastern coats of Sweden while simultaneously the French move south to occupy southern Sweden. With southern Sweden gone the Swedes north of Entente lines will be starved of reinforcements and resupply thus ushering in a quick surrender. That is the hope anyway.

    Entente aircraft, reinforced the past few weeks, take control of the skies with both sides losing heavily but the Axis unable to sufficiently reinforce their depleted squadrons. Axis lines had not anticipated the location of where the Entente would attack and are therefore lacking in anti-tank material and armored support. With Axis forces retreating due north and due south with the British driving east and the French south from their previously held positions causes Model to send an encrypted but near desperate message: “I need men and panzers. Now!”

    German High Command, with the war in the East having quieted down, is moving to grant this request but this will take time. As a stop gap measure a division from Denmark and a division residing in Helsinki (which had just arrived there to move east to support the simmering offensive there against Soviet forces in the Karelia region) are immediately ordered to ship to southern Sweden. Both comply and board their transports with the Kriegsmarine acting as a guard. These 20,000 men will bolster Axis resistance in the southern cut off portion of Sweden but will not be able to assist the northern part. They will arrive in two days.

    Model and the majority of his panzers which were west of Stockholm and north of the Entente drive, attack the flanks of the Entente forces but have not been able to cause any noteworthy damage on the whole British/French assault.

    August 27th, 1942- The two German divisions arrive but the Swedish southern position has deteriorated severely with a quarter of the territory already lost. Axis forces are in full retreat. The German reinforcements are able to slow but not stop the southern retreat. Model and his panzers continuously make attacks and raids on the long northern Entente flank but do little but hurt the beast that is the Entente force.

    August 28th, 1942- After three days of blitzkrieg attacks, with support from air support and rapid troop movements Montgomery has reached the east coast of Sweden but at the cost of a fifth of his tanks and troops but with the north and south portions of Axis controlled Sweden truly cut off from each other Montgomery and de Gaulle can now attack and defeat Axis forces individually. In Berlin and Stockholm the mood is grim but Axis forces in both the south and north must regroup and resupplied for the inevitable counter-attack. Model is worried and rightly so. He radios Berlin for orders. They reply with “Hold the northern line” and “Await for further orders”.

    August 29th, 1942:
    Captain Helmut Sturnmeir stood in Stockholm’s docks with his anger barely controlled. Not just his anger but his commander Model’s anger as well. The messages from Berlin were becoming few and far between and cryptic. When Model finally received directions to go to the Swedish docks he had replied he would so with disgust. He was fighting a war for the north and they expected him to leave the front and go to Stockholm. Instead he sent a representative, his military attaché to the Swedish government: Helmut Sturnmeir. Nothing but the arrival of the Führer himself would drag Model out of combat and Hitler was reported to be preoccupied with operational planning for the summer offensive against the Soviets.

    A small torpedo boat sailed close to the docks and within a few minutes was pulled in and docked itself. A man with a swastika armband steps out and at first Steiner thought it was a Party or government (was there a difference anymore?) lackey had come to “assess and advise”. That was until Sturnmeir noticed that the rest of him was in black and silver: SS colors. Steiner’s expression went from annoyed to worried. The SS had never ventured into the affairs of the Heer or monitored it, at least not to the degree the NKVD monitored the Red Army but his presence here was worrisome. The asphalt soldiers as they were called followed Party orders fanatically. His being here could not be good.

    As the SS men (a few other SS members got out of boat as well, none armed other than pistols Steiner noted) walked closer Sturnmeir noticed the first SS man that stepped out had the markings of the Waffen-SS. At least he was soldier unlike the Allgemeine-SS and especially the SS that guarded the concentration camps. The lead SS man continued to get closer and Sturnmeir saw he was a brigadier general or whatever their own name for it was.

    Confused as whether to use the Party Salute or military salute Sturnmeir just saluted as if the man were part of the Wehrmacht. The brigadier general returned the salute and held out his hand surprisingly.

    “SS-Brigadeführer Walter Krüger. And you are?” he asked innocently enough.

    “Captain Helmut Sturnmeir attached to the Lieutenant General’s staff, attaché of the German Heer to the Swedish government. Welcome to Sweden, Herr Brigadeführer.”

    “Well I never thought I would be sent here to be honest. I only received the orders two days ago. Speaking of orders where is Model I was told he would meet me here in person,” an undertone of superiority and danger lurked there Sturnmeir thought.

    The Army captain frowned and looked the Waffen-SS man in the eye. “Lieutenant General Model,” he stressed the rank, “is at the front attempting to slow down the Entente advance. Sir,” he added the sir as an afterthought.

    Krüger looked at the Army man in surprise but laughed full heartily within seconds. “My, my I had forgotten the emotions the Army field. I was only curious, captain. No mean for offense. I am so used to receiving answers from SS men. They try very hard not to retort with anything seen as a disobedient comment. It is refreshing actually.”

    Sturnmeir exhaled, surprised at not only the SS general’s response but the fact once he said what he said he prepared for the worse of consequences. “Glad to assist, mein Herr.”

    The SS man laughed again as Sturnmeir motioned for the SS group to follow him. “Have you been told why I am here, captain?”

    “No, sir. Berlin was very tight-lipped about it.”

    “I can see why. With the British continuing to break our Ultra codes we did not know if they broke the latest version or not. And the information was sensitive enough to send me personally to talk to you, err, well Model I meant.”

    “Why are you here, sir, to monitor the general’s actions in Sweden or to promote inter-branch communication?”

    “Neither. Although the last will happen as a result of the reason I am here I am sure of that.”

    “Then why?”

    “To win this campaign or at least prevent us from losing it. Now I’m not saying you, Model or the Army hasn’t performed well,” he said quickly as Sturnmeir frowned again, “In fact you have performed admirably with the resources and manpower you had. But you asked for reinforcements and we were the next available batch in any significant strength.”

    “And what strength is that?”

    Krüger smiles, “An entire Waffen-SS panzer division fielding entirely Panzer IVs with a division of elite SS panzergrenadier troops accompanying that plus three infantry divisions of the Army, we are the reinforcements you asked for.”

    August 29th, 1942- In the northern half of divided Sweden German reinforcements have arrived to the shock of local commanders who had no expected such a large force so quickly (Berlin kept radio silence to not give the Entente a potential heads up). The Waffen-SS panzer division had come from the Eastern Front months ago for R&R in southern Germany as it was heavily mauled outside Smolensk. It had been rebuilt to full strength (300 panzers) and was about to move east when it was rerouted to northern Germany to be sent to the northern part of Sweden alongside its panzergrenadier contingent.

    The three Army divisions have been sent to the southern half to bulk up the defenses there. In Berlin they are planning to send a full strength Army panzer division to the southern portion but none are available. Instead of one full division they are beginning to assimilate three decimated divisions into one and will send when deemed combat ready in a couple of weeks. A few Luftwaffe squadrons are detached from the East to assist in Scandinavia and are already entering combat against the British and French air forces.

    (The reason for the very quick reinforcement is that Berlin had already begun to send reinforcements to Sweden the Entente offensive had only hastened the preparation and the actual sending of troops).

    While all this reinforcement is happening the Axis lines in southern Sweden continue to shrink. The one good news in the south is of a large force of Swedish infantry have been able to hold a nice chunk of the western Swedish shore and are being constantly supplied by Axis ships and planes with anti-tank weapons alongside every other form of material supply from food and water to bullets and grenades. They are holding out as thorn in the Entente side… for now.

    August 30th, 1942:
    Commander Mitsuo Fuchida continued to survey the air space around him, looking for any planes bearing the American star. Beside and behind him flew hundreds of planes of the Imperial Navy Air Service, the Rising Sun a stark contrast to the white and green plane colors.

    Cloud coverage was about one-fifth coverage and all was quiet on the radio bar the local American music. Fuchida listened in and the syrupy music that blared from his headset caused him to frown. The Americans called it jazz and Fuchida was not a fan, that much was certain.

    A large cloud was in front of him and for a few seconds he was surrounded by the whiteness of the cloud. Once through he looked at the island of Oahu and the military base of Pearl Harbor. Fuchida grinned. There was only a few American aircraft airborne, probably just in training maneuvers or the default air patrol. The Japanese fighters in the first wave would eliminate these and establish air superiority.

    But other than those few American aircraft the airspace was clear of enemy contacts. Below him in the harbor itself was battleship after battleship with dozens of destroyers, frigates, cruisers and even, his eyes opened in anticipation, two aircraft carriers; the Empire had hoped for the carriers to be there . The Empire had caught the Americans sleeping. Fuchida glanced at his chronometer. 6:07 a.m. Sunday morning, August 30th, 1942.

    Fuchida went to Imperial radio frequency. “All pilots, we have caught the giant asleep. Tora, Tora, Tora!” The confirmation of Hai’s came over the radio. Fuchdia led his squadron on to attack the carriers. They were more important than anything, Fuchida yelled, "Banzai!" along with the other Japanese pilots. As the Japanese planes descend on the American harbor and the ships residing there Fuchida was the first Japanese aircraft to fire on an American ship. His bullets would kill three sailors as they were on deck having a smoke.

    Caroline Walker strode on a sidewalk in Honolulu, capital of the Hawaiian Islands. She was a tall, for a woman, red head with deep blue eyes. Her good looks and excellent medical education, paid for by her rich father, gave her a promising future in the States as a nurse. However on a trip to Hawaii to celebrate her graduation from college she fell in love with the place.

    So many things to do here. Surfing, which she quickly learned, and going up and down all the hills and mountains. She never returned to the States to get a job in her father's company. She would have been a nurse for the executives in the company more than not. But here... here she was free. No rules, no restrictions. Everyone was nice. She loved Hawaii and would not leave. Her father and mother were noticeably angry about it and cut her off financially. So she worked odd jobs, enough to get by. Caroline was on her way to a babysitting job while the parents went to church.

    A buzzing sound above her made her look up. Plane after plane flew by and she frowned. What was the Navy doing enacting exercises on a Sunday morning? The planes flew by and dropped something. She cocked her head and squinted to get a better look. The stuff that dropped hit a building down the street and exploded. Fire and smoke encompassed that portion of the street. Caroline stood there frozen, not comprehending what she was seeing. In the background her mind registered dozens, scores more of explosions from what she could only assume were from the planes.

    A small child waddled out of the smoke. A boy of five or six with blood streaking down his soot covered face. He was crying and Caroline's mind snapped out of the shock. She pictured the small boy as her younger brother Jared when he was that young. She rushed to the boy and grabbed his hand, causing a cry of alarm. The boy cried and pointed towards the smoke, "My mommy is in there!" he screeched.

    Caroline could see through the dissipating smoke and saw a women on the concrete, blood pooling the ground and spreading. Caroline turned the boy's head toward her. "What's your name?"

    He hiccuped his tears, "Franklin."

    "OK, Franklin. Let's go."

    "What about Mommy?"

    "She... she cannot come with us. Come on, we have to go. Now."

    Franklin came with her, perhaps influenced by her authority, perhaps knowing his mother was truly gone. Overhead the planes lowered down and fired their machine guns into the confused crowds in the streets. Bullets chipped the concrete all around. Miraculously no bullets hit the two of them but more civilian bodies littered the street, men, women and children, the bullets did not care who or what you are. One of the planes was hit by anti-aircraft fire and fell to the ground and crashed into the street.

    Caroline looked at the plane. The cockpit had a large hole in it, possibly an anti-aircraft round, that had punched through and killed the pilot. Blood was everywhere. On the side of the plane was a large red circle. Her eyes opened in surprise. The Rising Sun was the symbol of the Japanese Empire. The full implications caused her to widen her eyes in shock. They finally did it. The Japanese finally did it. After years of a tension filled peace the Japanese attacked the United States. It was madness. It was war.

    August 30th, 1942-
    Pearl Harbor: Japanese aircraft launch a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. Led by Fuchida the first two waves attack and either disable or destroy the American ships at anchor and the Army Air Force and Navy aircraft on the ground. The three American aircraft carriers: the Enterprise, the Saratoga and the Lexington are crippled in the harbor with one sunk and the other two heavily damaged (Enterprise is sunk while the Lexington and Saratoga are heavily damaged).

    (There are currently two Essex carriers deployed in the U.S. Navy: the Essex and the Victory, since the Lexington Yorktown class carrier is still around there is no Lexington Essex carrier, the two Essex carriers are split. The Essex is in the Atlantic Fleet while the Victory is in San Francisco).

    By day’s end the American Pacific Fleet is crippled. With air superiority established and the American Fleet taken care of the Japanese land their Army divisions on Oahu and other major Hawaiian Islands. Their advance is rapid, taking advantage of the Americans being surprised and disorganized. While the individual American soldier is better equipped and armed the Japanese have the advantage of fanaticism, surprise, and air support. Within hours the Japanese have established beach heads and are pushing inwards to take the major islands.

    With Hawaii in the process of being secured Japanese naval elements sail west towards Midway to secure that island. They are carrying a division of infantry for Midway while three divisions are on the Hawaiian Islands.

    The Japanese have lost 44 planes throughout the day and a destroyer along with a supply ship (both were hit by submarines that were on patrol, the submarines that sunk the destroyer and the supply ship were able to escape and sail east to California. The ships are carrying vital intel on what had happened in Hawaii).

    Philippines: In the Philippines the Japanese Imperial Second Fleet launches its attack. Japanese aircraft quickly take control of the skies over the northern and western portions of the island. General MacArthur and his island fortification specialist Colonel Ryan Andrews’s preparations for a coming invasion prove very successful with the Japanese Army have difficulty landing on some of the major islands (of the Luzon portion of the Islands) with interconnected fields of fire on key beach locations, forcing the Japanese to land on more minor, smaller beaches to land without suffering immense casualties.

    Within hours the Japanese have established beachheads in Luzon and continue bombings and fighter strafes over Visayas and Mindanao which hamper American and Filipino supplies and motor transport. Japanese fighter-bombers and fighters bomb and harass Manila, capital of the Philippines killing hundreds of civilians and damaging but not crippling the American base and military depots in the city. By the end of the day Japanese forces will only have advanced only a scant handful of kilometers (but have connected most of their landings into a cohesive front) but reinforcements continue to pour in and are pushing the joint American/Filipino back albeit slowly. MacArthur and Andrews are content with this. They are using their Filipino auxiliaries as the cushion, taking the brunt of the Japanese attacks while the 100,000 or so American soldiers are acting as the strategic reserve and the killing blow, which has already decimated two Japanese landing zones.

    The Japanese are landing with about 200,000 men but are calling Tokyo for reinforcements to break through the containment zones the Americans and Filipinos have established. Tokyo however cannot comply as its entire transport system is already supporting the troop/naval movements against Hawaii/Midway and the Dutch East Indies, along with some supporting actions against Entente holdings in China.

    So for now the Japanese in the Philippines are barely advancing but have continuous air support and naval support and have established beachheads to land supplies. They are not able to advance in any meaningful way until significant reinforcements arrive which will be sometime as available naval transport is dangerously low.

    China (Entente portions): Japanese, with heavy support from their Chinese puppets, attack all of the major Entente holdings on the Chinese coast. The small and ill-equipped Entente forces practically melt before Japanese aggression and by midday had taken most of the holdings. Only Hong Kong, with the support of Royal Marines and a few Army units have held out any length of time and continue to hold the city as Japanese/Chinese forces pour in.

    Dutch East Indies: Japanese landings in the Dutch East Indies go extremely well as the Dutch had very few military forces there in any shape to fight. The Dutch naval forces which were protecting the East Indies were quickly destroyed by Japanese air and naval forces. The native Indonesians support the Japanese as they see the Japanese as liberators from a European colonial empire. This attitude will quickly change in the coming weeks. By the end of the 30th the Japanese have landings on Malaysia and Borneo and are moving steadily to major cities and strategic locations.

    Throughout the Pacific the Japanese have destroyed dozens of Entente ships, mainly frigates and destroyers with the most powerful Entente ship sunk being a British heavy cruiser. The U.S., outside of Pearl Harbor, loses only a few ships but only a few ships were outside of Pearl Harbor. The majority of the Pacific Fleet that was not in Pearl Harbor is located around the Philippines and once the Japanese started the attack the commanding officer in charge of the naval forces in the area, ordered the U.S. Navy ships to Australia.

    The Japanese have lost overall nearly a hundred aircraft plus about a dozen ships either sunk or so heavily damaged as to be considered lost. Most of these losses are frigates, destroyers and a few supply/transport ships while the damaged ships can be easily repaired within a few months (in most cases). Overall the Japanese operations have gone accordingly to plan, in some cases better than was expected. The only part of the operation not doing as well as hoped is the invasion of the Philippines as Imperial Command had underestimated the preparations done by MacArthur, Andrews and the Army Corps of Engineers.

    In London Prime Minister Halifax is shocked by these turn of events and with regret does declare war on the Empire of Japan. In Washington Congress is assembled by Roosevelt to discuss the matter of a declaration of war. The Netherlands declare war on the Japanese and will assist Entente forces in the Pacific only. The Dutch will fight the Japanese and their puppet allies NOT the Germans and the other European Axis Powers. The French shortly after the British declaration of war also declare war on the Japanese.

    The greatest war in the history of Mankind continues to spread.
    MuttDaniels, Old1812 and Nerdman3000 like this.
  2. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 22: …Live In Infamy

    August 31st, 1942:
    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stood, thanks to his leg braces, at the podium facing Congress and the press. Flashes of the camera and the large reels of the video recorders visible despite the lights and flashes that were upon his face, making it hard to see far in the Capitol building. Before him stood hundreds of men and women, waiting upon what he had to say not just to them but to the nation.

    “Yesterday, August 30th, 1942 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

    The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

    It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost and are continuing to perish as the Japanese advance on the Hawaiian Islands. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco, Honolulu and Manila.

    Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against the Dutch East Indies. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese air force has attacked Midway Island.

    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

    As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

    Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

    I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

    With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, August thirtieth, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire."

    The applause of the men and women echoed the chamber and the bulbs of the cameras flashed in increasing numbers. Roosevelt sighed on the inside. It finally happened. The United States had entered the war.

    August 31st, 1942- In a radio and televised session of Congress President Roosevelt asks the American Congress for a declaration of war. It is unanimous except for a single vote against the war: Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin who is a pacifist and will receive intense criticism for years but will standby her decision.

    The United States of America declares war on the Empire of Japan alongside its puppet states of Manchukuo and Mengkukuo. Throughout the United States American men line up at military volunteer centers in record breaking numbers as the need for vengeance is soaring through the American people as patriotism not seen since the First World War sets in.

    Hate crimes against Japanese-Americans are on the rise (predominantly on the West Coast) despite that many of them are loyal Americans. Police forces, especially on the West Coast, are noticeably ignorant of the Japanese-American plight and ignore many calls for help against harassment or are late in responding resulting in many Japanese-Americans being injured or their property damaged.

    Government orders are sent to factories and industries to make more weapons, bullets, tanks and any other item to fight a war. Government money floods into businesses to stimulate this rapid enlargement of war production. The American economy is put on a Total War Mobilization which will ration everything from oil, gas and rubber to food and clothing to provide for the war effort.

    While Roosevelt and a small portion of Americans see for the need to begin enlarging supplies to the Entente the majority of the American public and many members of the government and military see the use of resources being sent to Europe to fight a war they are not involved in as wasteful and would not contribute to the American fight against the Japanese. This majority of people are able to prevent a much larger Lend-Lease Program. It will grow slit lay but not the degree that would greatly benefit the Entente.

    In Berlin top German Party/Government and military officials meet in the Reich Chancellery to discuss the impact of Japan attacking the U.S. Almost the entire government agrees that to declare war on the United States would be signing a death warrant as the war in the East is taking up almost 85% of the German Wehrmacht and if the Americans entered the war on the side of the Entente in Europe the German Reich would not survive. Hitler, after lengthy discussion of logistics, manpower and resources available for the various fronts in Europe with the General Staff agrees not to declare war on the U.S. at this time, if at all. Hitler understands that the Soviets and the Entente must be dealt with first.

    *(It has been pointed out to me that Hitler is to “sane” ITL and I have to agree to a certain point but ITTL Germany, led by Hitler, did not have lighting victories over France, the Low Countries, Denmark and Norway and did not launch an invasion of the USSR that in half a year reached the outskirts of Moscow. So Hitler’s megalomaniac mentality has not been allowed to grow to the rate it did in OTL because when Hitler declared war on the U.S. in OTL Germany was at the height of its strength and many Germans believed that the Soviet Union would fall under the might of the German military before the U.S. became a significant threat. Of course they were wrong but in this timeline Germany has had few easy, lightning victories. It has had to advance meter by bloody meter and the General Staff, most of the Government/Party and even Hitler to a certain degree know that Germany just cannot take on the U.S. in any fashion. That is why he wisely chose to not declare war on the United States but will continue to fight the simmering proxy Battle of the Atlantic which involves some American shipping but there is no official war declared between America and the Reich).*

    In the Pacific American forces will assist and supply Entente forces but the U.S. will NOT join the Entente and fight the European Axis, only the Japanese and their puppet allies. It will be an alliance of mutual benefit in the Pacific and will be led by the United States as France and Britain are just too weak militarily in the region to do much but assist American forces.

    As the Americans finally enter the war with the statement that they will fight only in the Pacific the American Government arranges political and logistical arrangements with the Entente for operations in the Pacific. Meanwhile the Japanese continue their conquest.

    Hawaii: American resistance on the Hawaiian Islands has begun to organize and recover from the Japanese surprise attack but it may be too late as the Japanese have landed armor and mobile forces to assist their infantry and the continuing air support has made efforts at concentrating a powerful force difficult.

    By midday Japanese forces have total control over Pearl Harbor and Honolulu as American Army and Marine divisions were swept away by the zealous Japanese Army troopers. Many of these American units did not have their weapons and most were not of the same units and bad coordination alongside the damaged communication network has paralyzed any large scale defense.

    Most civilians hunker down in their homes, trying to avoid the war, while the American soldiers, sailors, pilots and even some civilians retreat to the hills and mountains to fight as long as possible but ammunition and heavy support is scarce. Japanese Imperial Marines, detached from the naval ships land on Oahu to take over the security of the occupied portion of the island to allow those Imperial Army units to move to the front.

    Japanese engineers begin scouring the American ships in the harbor. Their goal is scavenge any useful parts for their Navy and to find any advanced American technology that Japan does not possess to send back to Tokyo so Japan can copy the design and send to their own forces.

    Meanwhile in the hills of Hawaii American engineers purposefully sabotage then destroy all advanced radar/communication equipment and anything related to the subject to prevent that from falling into Japanese hands. Throughout the islands American officers destroy any and all documents that could give the Japanese intelligence into the location, the strength and how well armed American forces in the Pacific are.

    Philippines: Japanese forces continued to be contained albeit there were a few close calls throughout the early morning hours as Japanese officers ordered many night time mass assault charges that almost broke through key locations but all eventually ended with the Americans/Filipinos successfully continuing to contain the Japanese and the Japanese losing hundreds of soldiers every attempt.

    Despite the setbacks on land the Japanese naval and air forces have managed to surround the Philippines and are shooting and sinking any ships that are trying to enter or leave the islands. Most of these are civilian ships but some are military: some Entente, a few Filipino but most are American. The Japanese continue to bomb and strafe major cities, major roads, key junctures and all known military installations and supply/communications hub damaging but not crippling American defenses among the islands.

    China (Entente portions): British Hong Kong remains defiant to the Japanese/Manchurian/Mengkukuoan attackers but portions of the city have fallen to the Japanese. The British are trying to evacuate as many civilian personnel as possible but the Japanese fleet off the coast has made it very difficult with the evacuation of the civilians by sea being planned to ship at night in small vessels, mobile vessels.

    Royal Marines and the British Army doggedly fight the Japanese street by street as they are slowly pushed back to the docks of the city. Casualties on both sides are heavy. Surrender is not an option to the Japanese as it goes against their code of honor and the few British civilians and soldiers that did surrender were quickly executed, sending a message to the rest of the British. To surrender is to die, to stay is to die, death is coming for them. After this the British themselves are not taking prisoners.

    Using their Chinese puppets as bullet sponges the Japanese do take much of the northern and eastern portions of the city by the end of the day with British forces retaining the south and western portion.

    Dutch East Indies: Disaster after disaster strikes the Dutch forces in Indonesia as Japanese troops occupy large swathes of the islands despite it only being the second day. Matters are made worse by rebel Indonesians, falsely believing the Japanese are liberators and allow the Indonesians their own country, have incited uprisings throughout the Dutch east Indies, tying down Dutch Army and colonial forces; forces that would be put to better use against the Japanese invaders.

    Elsewhere in the Pacific: Japanese forces land on dozens of small/medium islands that hold strategic locations and quickly take many of these, Guam included. With these small but strategically placed islands secure Japanese air power extends throughout much of the western and central Pacific.

    The Japanese dispatched small task forces to take these carrying anywhere from 500 troops to up to 4,000. Japanese planes begin landing on the islands with airfields, almost exclusively fighter planes with some long-range bombers.

    Just hours before the official U.S. Declaration of War Japanese aircraft soar over Midway, having essentially destroyed the entire U.S. military base there. While the American air power had been eliminated there was still hundreds of Marines and close to 2000 other military personnel who are hastily digging trenches and foxholes to prepare for the Japanese land invasion which is soon approaching Midway.

    September 3rd, 1942- Axis line of defense in southern Sweden has solidified against Entente advance causing de Gaulle to order his troops to dig in while he waits for Montgomery to take Stockholm as he lacks the necessary armor and mechanized forces to break through the Axis defenses. Further north Montgomery and his British troops advance north towards Stockholm against Model and his men while unbeknownst to the Entente a powerful panzer force under Waffen-SS general Krüger is landing in Stockholm and is becoming assembled as fast as the men and panzers arrive. Plans are made for a counter-attack when an opportunity presents itself.

    The Entente knows the Germans received reinforcements in the north but they do not know the size and disposition. British troops in Sweden are among the first to receive the new British anti-tank rocket launcher similar to the American bazooka and nicknamed as such. It is effective to all types of German armor but does require multiple shots for an upgraded III or IV. This will greatly improve the British infantry in combat effectiveness against enemy tanks. Production of this weapon is scaling up to meet the demand in the British Army with Sweden receiving priority with North Africa close behind. The French are in the process of making a modified version for their military forces and are some months away from full, mass production.

    September 4th, 1942- The Japanese land on Midway with its division worth of men and quickly establish a beachhead despite the heavy resistance by the American soldiers. The Japanese begin to move forward suffering appalling casualties but the American troops are quickly running out of ammo and room to fall back on. Japanese bombers and fighters bomb/harass the Americans hourly leaving many Americans with shrapnel wounds but many continue to fight as long as they can. They know what will happen to them if they surrender.

    September 6th, 1942- Field Marshal Wavell finally authorizes Operation Sandstorm, the British invasion of the eastern half of Italian Libya. A couple of hundred fighters and bombers rule the skies while the Italian Air Force makes a valiant but ultimately failed attempt to maintain air dominance over its own territory.

    The British Eighth Army advances the first ten kilometers easily but that is until the British encounter the deadly tank traps, trenches, barbwire, minefields and interconnected fields of fire maintained by machine guns and artillery cannons. Despite the RAF’s intense pre-operational bombing the fortifications are barely damaged and the Italians are manning them with fanaticism to rival to the Soviets. Progress from here on out will be slow and bloody for the Eighth Army.

    For the remainder of the day the British are jockeying for position to break the eastern fortifications while the Italians maintain discipline and combat readiness causing high casualties amongst the British ground forces.
    Sounak and Old1812 like this.
  3. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 23: Rise of an Empire

    The grogginess began to fade and voices were heard around him. Georgy Zhukov opened his eyes to see a nurse beside him. She looked at him, felt his pulse and nodded, turned around and walked towards the open door. She said something that Zhukov could not make out to someone outside the room. As the nurse left the room she was replaced by a man in uniform, with the blue patches of the NKVD upon his shoulders and collar tabs.

    “Ah it is so nice to see you finally awake, Georgy Konstantinovich,” remarked Lavrentiy Beria, director of the NKVD and Stalin’s right hand man.

    “Where am I?” asked Zhukov, his voice rough with disuse.

    “You are in a hospital east of Moscow. A bit spartan for my tastes but there is a war going on after all.”

    “How long have I been unconscious? What has happened out there?”

    “You have been unconscious for weeks, the doctors said if your body was unconscious you would heal faster and their administrations would have been easier. The Germans stopped west of Moscow, about 150 kilometers away. The front is largely the same as both sides prepare for the summer offensives. Leningrad is surviving, albeit barely. Vatutin has had to go to extreme measures to ensure the city survives. At least that is what he tells us; devil knows what else is going on there in that city. The United States has been attacked by the Japanese,” Zhukov eyes widened in shock, “Hawaii and the Dutch East Indies are in the process of falling to them alongside dozens of islands throughout the Pacific and Honk Kong. Only the Philippines seem to be doing fair against the imperialist Japanese. No the Germans and the U.S. did not declare war on one another. Shame there if I’m honest about it. That would have helped us a lot. But those capitalists have little love for us, perhaps even less than what they hold for the Fascists. No matter. The dialectic declares we will win in the end, just not when that end is to come. Now… what to do with you I wonder?”

    Zhukov frowned. He suspected after his failures he would be executed but not this soon after waking and not by Beria himself. An honor he supposed. “So Stalin sends you to finish me off.? While I’m still in a hospital bed,” despite himself anger oozed into his words.

    “Oh, Zhukov, you wound me so,” Beria said with a sad look upon him that was mocking and turned into a jester’s laugh. “How foolish you have become, Zhukov. Stalin does not want you dead per se; at least not immediately. If he were to execute you the people would rebel. They have grown fond of you as of late; the people that is. The military personnel as well, many consider you the leader of the Red Army and not Stalin himself. Something Stalin cannot stomach. Yet he won’t kill you. Yet. You will be sent to Siberia. The gulags always want new inmates.”

    “So I am to die in a frozen wasteland while the Motherland dies a slow death, hmm? What have you done other than supply Stalin with a fanatics army, one who takes all they want including the best equipment and weapons while killing its own civilians!” contempt flecked in Zhukov’s voice.

    “Calm now, Marshal, what if some one hears you. Yes to die in Siberia whether it is the cold, lack of food, or the work is Stalin’s idea but it is not necessarily mine.”

    Zhukov looked at Beria with suspicion. “Explain.”

    Beria sat next to the hospital cot in a simple chair. He leaned back, craned his neck to crack it, took his glasses off and looked at Zhukov. “Stalin is a fool. He had purged the officer corps throughout the 30s, butchering our Army and Air Force leaving it weak for foreign invaders.”

    Beria looked out the wall across from him; meanwhile Zhukov noticed the room was entirely walled with no windows so he assumed he was in an underground infirmary. Beria continued, “I may not like you, Zhukov, I honestly do not care if you live or die once my goals are met but I do see a patriot in you. One who yearns for the Motherland to survive this Fascist invasion and to see the Soviet Union into prosperity. Prosperity that will not happen under Stalin, this has been clear the past two and a half years. If we are to survive some elements of the Party must be… removed.”

    “Killed you mean?”

    Beria snorted in irritation. “Removed, tortured, killed, shot, stabbed, hanged; choose a word it matters not. It is the same in the end. If the USSR is to endure Stalin and certain factions whose loyalty to him must be eliminated.”

    Zhukov frowned. “But how? Stalin’s grip on the USSR, Moscow specifically, is iron tight.”

    “His grip is strong yes but what controls the hand, eh?” the security chief gestured towards his blue collar patches.

    “The NKVD,” Zhukov stated matter of fact.

    “Ah, now you see, Comrade Zhukov. Now you see. Stalin might be the hand but we are the bones that secure the grip, the ones that move the hand. Without the NKVD the ‘Man of Steel’ becomes as fragile as a house of glass.”

    “So you will rebel against Stalin. What of it? Why tell me? I am his protégée.”

    “Once, perhaps, but not now, Smolensk saw to that. You are a pariah, Georgy Konstantinovich. One who has no place in Stalin’s regime, but… one who might have a spot in the one I intend to create.”

    “You must know the Red Army will never follow an NKVD chief as General Secretary. The purges have left a bridge between our two departments that cannot be mended, let alone be led by one or the other.”

    “I will not be General Secretary. Rather Molotov will.”

    Suspicion clouded his next words, “Molotov will never betray Stalin. His loyalty is absolute and vocal.”

    “As is mine of course. Well at least where the Georgian’s henchmen can hear it. Molotov has pledged his support to my little coup. Molotov will bring the Party apparatus in line. I will cleanse the NKVD of any potential Stalinist elements and the Red Army and Air Force will be yours. We three will rule the Soviet Union for the duration of the war and make damn sure the USSR survives to see another winter.”

    Both men’s eyes meet and clashes of personality and ambition subsided for the potential for mutual benefit. Zhukov nodded and Beria held his hand. After a mere second Zhukov shook it. With that the NKVD chief stood up. “I have a meeting with Stalin. He wants to know of the progress of the NKVD Army, currently at 24 divisions and rising albeit glacially slow now since manpower is so stretched. Remember you will go to Siberia, you will go to gulag a prisoner but you will return a Marshal of the Soviet Union and one of the triumvirate that will see the Soviet Union to victory, or at least survival which is a victory all of its own. Good day,” and with that he was gone from the room, the plain grey door closing behind him.

    As Zhukov lay down, alone in the room, he thought to himself. If Beria and Molotov would revolt against Stalin than Stalin’s hold on power was precarious to say the least. It’s a trap was a constant thought that his subconscious kept telling him of but Stalin could have Zhukov killed anyway or spend eternity in the frozen Siberian tundra to work himself to death. No, this was no elaborate trap to ensnare Zhukov. No. He believed this was genuine. If Stalin was deposed the Soviet Union might see a winter of 1943. It was a small hope but a larger one than he had before.

    September 7th, 1942- In Germany, Hitler authorizes that women can join the armed forces of the Reich but in limited capacities such as serving as AA teams in eastern Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States. Since these areas of the Reich will not be bombed to the degree of places such as western Germany or the Eastern Front the men here can be replaced by woman operators that will free up thousands of men for more active fronts.

    Along with this and perhaps more importantly the German government authorizes the mass use of women to work in factories and other industries vital to the war effort. This will free up untold tens of thousands of men to go to the Wehrmacht. The German industrial output will remain the same yet the German Army will increase in soldiers (they will be used as replacement troops in devastated divisions or create new divisions). They will have to go through training and be deployed but these tens of thousands of men will help in military theatres. While these will help ease of the pressure of the demand for German manpower it will not stop it. A lot of German men have died and the demand for new soldiers is increasing.

    September 8th, 1942- The transports in Hong Kong reserved to carry as many of the non-combatants and civilians out as possible leave in the black of night. While many are caught and taken over by Imperial Japanese Marines (which will help bolster their naval transport system to a small degree) around a third makes it out and escape towards the direction of French Indochina. With the transports gone the Japanese continue to push into the city to deliver the killing blow. The British have resigned to their inevitable fate but are determined to make the Japanese and their Chinese lackeys pay with untold liters of blood.

    Commanding officer Major General Sebastian Fredricks would remark on his final message to British command in Singapore and India, (excerpt) “My men have run low on ammunition, food is in critical shortage, most of us are fighting wounded. We have fought an enemy who sees any form of surrender or civilized discussion as dishonorable and treats its own men as nothing more than feral dogs. Our bodies are broken, our wills tested but our spirit is as high as God in Heaven. We will die in the next few days as the Japanese continue their advance and slaughter through the city. But know this. We will not go quietly in the night; we will not bow to some foreign invader, we WILL NOT GIVE IN.” We are the Defenders of Hong Kong. For King and Country! This is Major General Sebastian Fredricks, signing off.”

    September 9th, 1942- The British Eighth Army under Wavell has become stalled by the Italians fortifications. The British have forced their way 1/3 through the defense line but have not been able to get through the rest as Italian troops are carrying en masse anti-tank rockets, copies of the German Panzerfaust, and many are veterans of the Greek and Tunisian campaigns. While they are not the equal of the British Army they are much better trained and experienced than Wavell had anticipated. Gott had sent him intelligence reports stating the probably strength of the Italians in Libya but Wavell barely gave the papers a glance as his animosity towards Gott was legendary in the British Army. Mussolini has dispatched ten more divisions plus another contingent of the new Titans to reinforce eastern Libya. The Bulgarian detachment in Tunisia is pulled to move east as they have some armor forces that could assist in the defense there as armored warfare is a greater probability with the large and powerful Eight Army than the remnants of the French forces in Algeria and the Entente held remnant of western Tunisia.

    Japanese Imperial Command authorizes the use of biological warfare to be used on the Philippines to weaken the American defenses there. Using a new strain of bio-weapons cultivated from the masses of Soviet prisoners since the end of the Siberian campaign have made more lethal strains that can easier kill those of Caucasian descent. The bombings will begin the 16th.

    *(The Japanese have a large amount of Soviet prisoners, almost all of Caucasian “white” descent and has led to strains that can better attack the different immune systems of Caucasians. Different immune systems to the point that Europe, some degree to the USSR, and North America has advanced medical fields and hospitals are very common with antibiotics and the like common or at least accessible. This is not so in China where the Japanese have used their bio-weapons to great use. So the Americans have a much better medical technologies and treatment to cure older versions of the Japanese’s bio-weapon programs therefore they needed samples of white descent to test new strains and to produce deadlier ones. Since no large amount of Americans were available for testing Soviet soldiers and civilians were used and the Japanese have more efficient strains that can kill/incapacitate much quicker than previously. The Japanese hope that since their bio-weapons will be deadlier that Americans, who have had moderate to excellent health in terms of medical treatment and the like their whole lives, will get sick and die much quicker than the old strains could have done. This is done so that by the time the American doctors have diagnosed their sickness and put a request in for treatment that the sick patient will usually be dead or so far gone as to be a lost cause. Does this make sense? I’m really trying to explain it, if I’m not doing it well enough let me know).*

    September 10th, 1942- Midway falls to the Japanese. Construction teams are called in from Japan to rebuild the base and make it ready for Japanese aircraft squadrons. Imperial Army soldiers advance quickly through the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch Royal Army is hopelessly outclassed. The call for surrender is resonating throughout the Dutch colonial administration but has not gone through yet as the Japanese might be held off long enough for reinforcements from somewhere, anywhere.

    September 12th, 1942- The NKVD Army, strength at 240,000 men, is placed in and around Moscow to be the shield that will protect Moscow from the Axis forces. These men are the core strength of a vast defense network made up of over a million men, women and even children. All dedicated to ensuring the survival of the socialist paradise. Defense works, tank traps, minefields, inter-connected field of fire, concrete bunkers, trenches, barb wire, and a hundreds of tanks and thousands of artillery guns ready to defend Moscow and the surrounding region from any ground attack. While still in its infancy these defense fortifications are some of the deadliest in Russia and by early 1943 when they are predicted to be done will be some of the most well defended territory in all of Europe (barring the Maginot and Westwall) (these fortifications are being built on top of and supplementing previous networks of trenches, bunkers etc that have been in development since late 1940/early1941).

    September 14th, 1942- With the American Pacific Fleet practically wiped out President Roosevelt orders a large percentage of the Atlantic Fleet to go to the Pacific as a stop gap measure. While he knows it is nearly impossible that the Japanese would invade the West Coast the American people are in a near panic. This is done to appease concerns in the Western United States and to establish some naval presence that can contend with the Japanese if the Imperial Navy wanted to launch aerial attacks alongside the American coast. Included in these reinforcements are two carriers, the USS Wasp and the USS Essex. These two carriers will supplement the USS Victory and form a core strength of carriers and fighters that will be key to an eventual liberation of Hawaii. That is the plan anyway.

    Hong Kong falls to the Japanese. With Hong Kong in their hands the Japanese now control the entire Chinese coast. The Japanese have dozens of submarines roaming the eastern Pacific hunting for American/Entente shipping and four special submarines in particular are waiting on the far edge of an extended deployment in the east, waiting. Major General Fredricks and his entire surviving contingent of soldiers fought to the last man and all died, reaping a bloody toll on the Japanese. For this the Defenders of Hong Kong will forever be remembered as the Heroes of Hong Kong.

    In Sweden Montgomery can see the southern outskirts of Stockholm and is determined to take the Swedish capital and break the back of Axis forces in Sweden. Reinforcements from Britain and France have helped a great deal but Axis resistance was draining his men. Nearly a third of his original force is either dead, wounded or captured. But he must go on. He must.

    September 16th, 1942- Japanese bombers, carrying the new strands of bio-warfare, bomb the heavily populated portions of the Philippines killing thousands in the first hours and disrupting American/Filipino strategy and troop movements and forcing the defenders to dispatch units to quarantine the worst affected areas. Hospitals throughout the Philippines skyrocket with the amount of sick people coming in and many of them dying within hours as their bodies cannot handle the deadly diseases. Hundreds of American soldiers have died already with hundreds more hospitalized.

    September 17th, 1942:
    He had spent many hours of late staring into the fire. His personal physician was worried, afraid that his mind had become strained with events that had befallen him. The doctor was wrong. Or so the man wished. As the fire died down the King of Norway Haakon VII tossed in another log and watched as it began to catch fire and burn. Burning like his people. Being consumed by a war they wanted no part of. A sigh of sadness escaped him.

    Before the war he had thought the British and French his friends and if he had to choose who to join it would have been the Entente. But, there is always but he thought, the British forced a coup to overthrow him, impatient with his stance on neutrality. Their greed and warmongering had caused the entire southern half of his country to be ruled by those it did not wished to be ruled by. This ‘Provisional Government’ was entirely illegal and would not have had the support of the people and rebellion would have bloomed all over the Entente held portions of the country if Haakon himself was not a prisoner of the Entente.

    They had called it house arrest but it was the same. He was a prisoner in his own house. His royal guard having been disbanded and in some cases imprisoned. His wife and son were guarded by British and French men who, while treating them politely and ‘correct’, were seen as an outsider; an intruder into their lives and rightly so.

    Haakon and his family had been treated well he would admit. Well fed and kept warm while most of his country was hungry and cold. The Entente having taken every available resource to send back to their own nations to feed their war machines to make up for the lack of total economical mobilization that the Axis and Soviets had exercised. The Americans now from what the papers said.

    Newspapers written by Entente propagandists, column upon column praising Entente victories and describing the ‘bond of friendship’ between the Entente soldiers and the Norwegian people, all of it lies.

    Some did cooperate he would admit but most only went through the motions, tried to do as little as possible with them or for them. When the war ended, for it must surely end eventually, what would become of Norway? Would it be independent or are those days gone forever. Would it be a puppet of the Entente or the Axis? The people might prefer the Axis since the Axis had tried to defend Norway from the Entente. It was for its own nefarious purposes of that Haakon had no doubt but the effort was given. Haakon’s eyes looked into the fireplace and saw the ash at the bottom of the pile. That was what it would become. The ashes of the past, Norway would become a shadow of its former self.

    Commotion outside his double set wood doors caused him to glance at it in irritation. Expecting the Entente officer in charge of his security or possibly his wife, annoyed that he was up as late as he was he was mildly surprised when the man that came in was not the British officer in charge of security but a French officer. One he had not seen before.

    “The hour is late and I do not wish to be disturbed. Leave me,” the powerless king ordered.

    “Well that will defeat my purpose for being here, Your Majesty,” the stranger said in excellent French. The stranger came closer and Haakon noticed how tall he was. Nearly two meters with a noticeable scar upon his face. The stranger smiled and the scar crinkled.

    Curiosity and suspicion grew in Haakon. “Who are you? Is this some kind of test?”

    “A test it most certainly is, Your Majesty. A test of your commitment to the people of Norway in these trying times, your honor and loyalty will be put to the test. Will you take this test?”

    “Of course, but who are you?” the king demanded.

    “I am currently Major Eduard LaSalle, new officer in charge of night security for His Royal Majesty Haakon VII of Norway but names are a fickle thing. They can change at any moment. But if you so wish my birth name is Otto Skorzeny, my rank is Standartenführer of the Waffen-SS. I am here to rescue you from the Entente. I am taking you to Berlin… eventually. We will have to go through many places until we get there.”

    Haakon’s eyes widened in shock. A German? Here? Insanity. A German SS man in the middle of enemy territory, it was madness. He sat there speechless.

    After a moment’s pause another figure came into the room, another officer but in British livery. Haakon looked at Skorzeny in alarm. The SS officer merely looked and nodded at the British man. The British captain walked over to him and spoke in hushed German. Skorzeny looked into the fire as Haakon was doing earlier. Once the ‘British’ officer finished and walked away Skorzeny once again looked at Haakon.

    “Your Majesty, we must leave. My men have fooled the Entente for now but that will not last long. Please come with me,” Skorzeny grabbed Haakon’s arm.

    “What if I do not come with you voluntarily?”

    Skorzney’s face became stone as he looked the Norwegian king in the eye. “That will be very unfortunate for me to have to carry you around like a child. But you are coming with me. The Führer ordered me to bring you and I will.”

    Haakon met the eyes of the German and stiffly nodded. He would go voluntarily. “What of my wife and son?”

    “They have already been taken care of. You will be rejoined with them when we have escaped Entente territory. Our destination is north, towards Narvik, from there to Sweden and through the Baltic Sea we will reach Germany.”

    Haakon nodded as he rose from his chair, grabbed his coat and a few belongings and left the room. His journey would be long and difficult but his escape might spark the flame of resistance now that he would be out of the clutches of the British and French.

    September 17th, 1942- In Oslo, Norway German commandos, led by Otto Skorzeny, free Norwegian King Haakon VII and his wife and son who were under house arrest. The German commandos would after a long and difficult journey eventually end up in Narvik, Norway. This territory had remained in Norwegian Loyalist hands and was awaiting the hopeful safe return of their King. That is if he makes it. The German commandos had been training for months for this operation.

    The Entente in Norway immediately clamps down on this leaking to the public but already whispers of this have slipped through their informational blackout and already elements within the population, mainly in Oslo, begin passively resisting the Entente in unprecedented numbers. This passive resistance can easily transform into active, aggressive, armed resistance soon if not contained properly.

    September 18th, 1942- Brigadeführer Krüger’s forces have fully disembarked in Stockholm and are moved north-west of the city to avoid being trapped in the Swedish capital if Montgomery had somehow entrapped the city which seems unlikely but is a possibility.

    Lieutenant Gott has helped the Ethiopians re-establish an effective, active government and with Ethiopia secure Gott petitions to rejoin Egypt to help break the deadlock there. Wavell, with the backing of certain members on the British General Staff blocks this. But a slot for command has opened up in an unlikely area: Singapore. The local commander, General Arthur Percival, has asks London to give him Gott. With Hong Kong and Midway already fallen with the Dutch East Indies and Hawaii on the verge of surrender Percival knows that Singapore and/or French Indochina will be next on Japan’s list of conquest and wants an experienced commander there to help him organize and run the defense for Singapore. Gott is needed there badly as for years the defenses of Singapore, the ‘Gibraltar of the East’ has been consistently underfunded and the garrison is usually the dregs of the Army and Air Force. With Gott, Percival may have a chance to defend Singapore, without him there is practically none.

    London agrees and Gott is to be transferred in the coming days and will be some weeks before he is there to assist with the re-construction of fortifications and preparing the British units there for a coming invasion.

    Gott, while disappointed to not be sent to Egypt as he believes Egypt is more vital to Britain in the war than Singapore, realizes that it is still an important fight and stoically accepts his new orders and prepares for his transfer.

    September 21st, 1942- Marshal Georgy Zhukov is stripped of all honors, titles and rank by order of Stalin. He is to be sent away to a Siberian gulag within the week. This causes ripples of muted dissension throughout the country, particularly the Red army and Red Air Force but not to the degree if Stalin had ordered Zhukov’s death.

    September 23rd, 1942- A bomb goes off in the British embassy in Cairo, Egypt killing half a dozen British nationals and over twenty wounded in varying degrees. The pro-German, anti-British National Islamic Party is blamed by British authorities and is declared an illegal party and all members must renounce their loyalty to the party and be apolitical.

    This does not go so well with rioting happening across many major cities of Egypt as Egyptian anger and distrust of the British and the complacent Egyptian governments rise to epic proportions. The British and Egyptian authorities currently have it under control.

    The National Islamic Party changes its name to the National Islamic Movement and goes underground and begins operating more as a terrorist (in the British and Egyptian government’s eyes)/resistance (in the common Egyptian people’s eyes and to some degree their military as well) organization rather than a political party.

    Both the British and French cast a wary eye on their Middle Eastern provinces/territories. Worried at how that vast population contained significant anti-Entente, pro-fascist elements that were just waiting for the powder keg of Egypt to blow up in their face to take some form of action. With Ethiopia secured those forces used in that campaign are transferred north towards Egypt and the rest of the Middle East to reinforce the garrison units there in case of any mass riots and/or potential uprisings.

    September 24th, 1942- The last resisting American soldiers in Hawaii run out of ammunition and food and are forced to surrender. While the officers are quickly shot (post-surrender) the remainder of the military forces, are interned as POWs. With the last bastion of American resistance gone the Hawaiian Islands are fully in the hands of the Japanese Empire.
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  4. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 24: South America 1938-1942

    Ok this chapter is a bit of a prequel and sidequel (it’s a word now) to the story as of late 1942. This is to give insight into what has been happening in South America as I had never really planned South America’s storyline other than being pretty much the way OTL South America was… but that wouldn’t be fun would it. So I’m going to make a South America divided by politics and ideology; one teetering on the brink of war as of 1942. I’ll stop teasing, here we go.

    First PoD in South America does not happen until late 1938. Carlos Ibáñez del Campo wins the presidency of Chile because the National Movement did not launch a coup d’etat, Ibáñez wins, and the slowly through the late 30s the right-wing fascists consolidate power and ally with Argentina in mid 1941. From here these two will dominate the fascist side of South America. Second PoD is below.

    March 22nd, 1938- Instead of announcing his candidacy for presidency on September 4th, 1938 Carlos Ibáñez del Campo announces his presidency much, much earlier to secure a more firm voter base and to spread his message to the Chilean people of unity, strength and justice. Many fascist/Nazi groups heavily support

    Do to the potential threat of Ibáñez and his right-wing, fascist stance that is gaining popularity in Chile, ultra-conservative Gustavo Ross Santa María goes on a nationwide to expand his voting base and to establish footholds throughout the country to prevent Ibáñez from winning or even coming in at second. Primary presidential candidate Pedro Aguirre Cerda has a steady lead in early, pre-vote polls but this could change easily since the actual vote is in late October.

    June 13th, 1938- While on a campaign tour through northern Chile Gustavo Ross Santa María is heavily injured in a car accident outside of Arica, Chile. He is immediately rushed to the hospital.

    June 15th, 1938- Due to the extent and severity of his injuries Gustavo Ross dies in the early morning of the 15th. His death causes a vacancy in the Liberal Party’s candidacy.

    June 22nd, 1938- Due to lack of a strong candidate the Liberal Party falls into infighting. Ibáñez will take advantage of this and appeals to the conservative voters of the Liberal Party, who dissatisfied with the lack of unity in the Liberal Party, switch to Ibáñez’s platform as his ideals are more in line with them over Cerda’s Popular Front platform.

    Early July-mid October, 1938- Throughout this time the race for presidency is intense with minor riots and large speeches dominating.

    October 25th, 1938- 52% of the voting population vote for Ibáñez in the election and he wins the Presidency. He will be sworn in later that day. The Chilean military, long supporters of Ibáñez highly anticipate his term.

    From 1939 through 1941 Chile would undergo military expansion, military and industrial modernization, and political consolidation within the government from multiparty and multi-ideological to one dominated by fascist movements, led by the National Socialist Movement of Chile.

    In October 0f 1940 Chile and Argentina enter into a military cooperation designed to bolster defense and relationships between the two countries. This military alliance will be seen with varying degrees of suspicion, elation and the like from South America and, less so, the world.

    February 13th, 1941:
    “Are you sure?” the tired voice asked the uniformed man.

    “Yes, Your Excellency.”

    “I cannot believe Rawson would do this. It is a betrayal,” remarked El Presidente Roberto Maria Ortiz, president of Argentina.

    Across from the room standing, looking out at the rainy city of Buenos Aires, was Pedro Pablo Ramírez, one of the more important and skilled officers in the Argentinean Army. “My men in General Rawson’s ranks can leave no doubt. The man is planning a coup de e’tat.”

    President Ortiz rubbed his head, feeling weak. Not just weak from his diabetes that has caused him to pass over much of the actual ruling of the country to his vice-president Ramón S. Castillo but weak from despair.

    “When does he plan to launch this coup?”

    “In the next few months is our best guess but we cannot be for certain. It could be a year from now or it could be tomorrow we cannot pinpoint the exact date.”

    A deep silence was the only response.

    “Your Excellency, we must act now before it is too late.”

    Ortiz released the breath he was unknowingly holding. “Let me ponder, general. You will have an answer tonight.”

    “Very well, Your Excellency,” Ramírez saluted, swiftly left the building to a car waiting outside the Casa Rosada.

    4 hours later…

    “Did he fall for it?” asked Colonel Edelmiro Farrell. Beside him, Major Juan Domingo Perón stood with his hands behind his back as the three of them walked through the city park, still wet from the day’s earlier rain storm.

    General Ramírez rubbed his chin. “I believe so. The man is weak, we all realize that,” the other two men nodded, “and he will cave in. The real threat is not Ortiz but Castillo. His ambition and corruption knows no bounds. Have we arranged for his part too?”

    “Yes, sir,” replied Perón.

    “Good. I will contact you if, no, when the president calls.”

    Both of them nodded, saluted, and left to their respective pre-planned posts.

    2 hours later…

    The phone rang and Ramírez let it ring for a few times before he answered. “Ramírez… Yes, sir… Wise choice, sir… Very well, Your Excellency… I will be in touch with you in the morning… Good night, Your Excellency.”

    Ramírez put his telephone back on its stand and smiled, knowing his plan was coming together. He brought out three pieces of paper, wrote on them briefly, put them in envelopes, sealed them and called for some messengers to come to his room. Three soldiers came to him. He pointed at the far right one, “Go to Colonel Perón and give him this,” he gestured with the envelope with Perón’s name on it.

    The soldier picked up, saluted, and quickly left. To the middle messenger, “Take this to Colonel Farrell.” The messenger did the same as before.

    To the left and final messenger Ramírez handed it to the soldier personally. “Go and hand this to Rawson. Quickly.”

    The soldier saluted and left.

    With all three gone Ramírez poured himself a glass of wine as he awaited confirmations from Perón and Farrell. The Rawson card had just been played.

    February 19th, 1941- In Argentina, General Rawson of the Argentinean Army launches a coup de e’tat against the corrupt, fraud filled government. He and his men quickly storm the Casa Rosada, the National Congress Palace and the National Justice Palace alongside numerous military and communication bases within the capital city. Within hours President Ortiz and Vice-President Castillo are captured and held in captivity in the basements of the Casa Rosada.

    February 20th, 1941- Rawson executes Ortiz and Castillo and proclaims himself President of Chile and demands the entire military submit to his rule.

    A large military force led by General Ramírez alongside two of his subordinate officers Perón and Farrell, move to Buenos Aires to declare their loyalty to the new regime. Rawson has no doubt of General Ramírez’s loyalty as he was the one who warned Rawson that Ortiz and Castillo were going to eliminate Rawson due to his popularity and power within the military which caused him to launch a coup.

    Once in Buenos Aires however Ramírez and his men launch a counter-coup and eliminated all Rawson loyalist factions within a few hours. With Rawson, Ortiz, and Castillo all dead Ramírez, with a “heavy heart” declares himself President until such time lawful elections can be held.

    This is the beginning of the Ramírez Regime.

    The stink of blood permeated the basement room. Inside walked General Ramírez, Interim President of Argentina, before him stood two guards with submachine guns and a handcuffed prisoner awaiting his judgment. “Leave us,” the guards complied, filing out of the small room.

    “You, treacherous bastard!” roared former General Arturo Rawson.

    “Hmm, I have received many new titles today, might as well add another.”

    “You will never get away with it!”

    “Oh, but I already have,” Ramírez said as he crouched down facing the red faced rebel general. “You see when I told you that Ortiz was on the verge of ordering you purged he was. I told him you were about to launch a coup, which you weren’t, but me telling him that gave him such concern he did order your execution. An execution I told you was coming for you, thereby causing you to rebel. So I pit the two of you against each other, you eliminate him and Castillo; I eliminate you in the name of the old government making me seem pure-hearted and loyal to the popular Ortiz and then I take over as President, with much regret and a heavy heart, of course.”

    Ramírez laughed. “You played your part well, better than I expected to be honest. There will be an election soon. One that I will win no matter how people vote but it may not even matter. I squashing your little coup has made me quite popular. I might actually win legitimately, who knows.”

    Rawson just stared in contempt as Ramírez. Ramírez condescendingly patted the disgraced, rebel general. “Now I just have to fix some loose ends.”

    A standard military pistol came from Ramírez’s side holster and pointed it at Arturo Rawson. A single shot escaped from the weapon, with the shell casing hitting the ground. A small hole appeared in Rawson’s forehead where the bullet entered and blood spattered the ground where the bullet exited.

    Ramírez wiped some blood that flecked his face. He opened the door leading out of the basement. He gestured to the guards. “Clean this up. Bury him in a ditch or something, just out of sight of the people.

    “Yes, Your Excellency!” they chorused as they rushed to carry out their new commander-in-chief’s orders.

    April 7th, 1941- New elections are held in Argentina. Interim President Ramírez is elected to office. Whether the election was jury rigged or not may never be known outside of the inner circle of the new government. With Ramírez now president legally, he begins to modernize and expand Argentina’s military and industry in similar ways to what Chile has done. This brings the two countries even closer.

    Ramírez and Ibáñez announce via their respective state controlled radio of a extension/enlargement of the military alliance that has existed between Chile and Argentina since late 1940. This new pact will include political and economic factors. Trade between the two countries will also grow, benefitting both. This alliance from henceforth will be known as the South American Fascist Bloc (SAFB).

    *(While highly respectful of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, indeed both countries model heavily after the Italian model, Chile and Argentina do not want to join the Axis Powers, as doing so would enact potential American wrath alongside war with France and Britain who despite fighting a large war in Europe and North Africa can still threaten Chile and Argentina via sea. While friendly and cordial with the European Axis nations the SAFB is its own political/military alliance for South America only. The formation of the SAFB will send ripples throughout South America).*

    April 17th, 1941- Alarmed by the events happening in the south Venezuela and Colombia begin talks of forming a political and military alliance to the one shared between the Chile and Argentina. However these are just preliminary talks, nothing concrete as of yet.

    April 23rd, 1941- Ramírez, wanting to solidify his power in Argentina and to show the military and country he is a strong leader (also he wants to flex his political muscle) begins pressuring Uruguay for potential annexation. Exploiting cultural ties between the two countries the possibility of Uruguay into Argentina is somewhat popular and rapidly growing as the corrupt government in Uruguay continues to be inefficient and brutal.

    August 4th, 1941- The Argentinean military, under orders from Ramírez, begin sending weapons and ammo to rebel factions in Uruguay that are clamoring for unification between the two countries.

    August 10th, 1941- Uruguayan rebels, using weapons provided by the Argentinean Army launch a rebellion. The rebellion should have been quickly crushed but Uruguayan military officers, wanting to gain more power in a post-war government, join the rebels and the government is quickly toppled within hours.

    With the capital city of Montevideo under control by the rebels and military the new rebel government asks for military assistance from Argentina. Ramírez
    who had been waiting for such a call sends in the Army and Air Force to help the rebel government finish off the former government which is resisting in the countryside.

    August 18th, 1941- The government of Uruguay surrenders to the combined forces of the rebels and the Argentinians. The rebels quickly form their own government and their first order of business is unification with Argentina.

    Despite the success of the Army and Air Force in pacifying the countryside of Uruguay of Uruguayan government loyalists, Ramírez knows his military is rapidly becoming outdated in the era of advancing technology and doctrine. He orders the military to revise its offensive and defensive doctrine, to create a better logistics supply system and to produce better tanks and aircraft. It will take years but the military will set out to do these orders as rapidly as possible. Chile will do the same.

    August 23rd, 1941- Uruguay is annexed by Argentina. In Buenos Aires celebrations and parades echo through the streets as patriotism and nationalism rise to high proportions. Ramírez popularity is reaching new heights.

    Despite being annexed by Argentina the new provinces Uruguay is adding to Ramírez's country will have a certain degree of autonomy unseen in the rest of Argentina.

    Both political/military alliances begin to heavily influence the other nations of South America.

    October 8th, 1941- Alarmed by the Argentinean aggression Venezuela and Colombia form the South American Democratic Union (SADU). It is very similar to the SAFB but is pro-Entente/pro-American instead of pro-Axis. It is also vocally supported by the United States. Ecuador and Panama have various amounts of interest in the Union.

    January 6th, 1942- Bolivia, still angry over the loss of the Chaco War against Paraguay and wanting to use the SAFB to extend its own power and economy begins talk of joining the SAFB as its third member. Peru and Brazil see this as a threat with Peru entering talks with the SADU and Brazil increasing its military forces, yet remaining stubbornly neutral from either side.

    April 13th, 1942- Paraguay, divided into three political camps of fascist, democratic, and communist, is on the threat of civil war. SAFB agents are propping up fascist elements, the SADU propping up democratic elements while the communist elements are becoming more and more like terrorist cells, using terror tactics and public displays of murder to further their gains.

    July 7th, 1942- Higinio Morínigo, President of Paraguay, is assassinated by unknown assassins. All three factions blame the other two and tensions rise to unprecedented levels.

    July 13th, 1942- Six days of political infighting and barely veiled threats spills over into open combat as the three political factions begin fighting for dominance. Across the country fighting rages with the military, instead of acting as a unified force, divides itself along political lines and fights to gain dominance.

    July 27th, 1942- Enrique Peñaranda, President of Bolivia, orders his military to invade Paraguay. Within hours his military units have recaptured the territory lost to Paraguay in the Chaco War and continue to advance. Argentina supports this action alongside Chile.

    August 2nd, 1942- Argentina and Chile both declare war on Paraguay. Argentina would actually invade with ground and air forces. Chile would send some air squadrons but not many.

    This action is condemned by the United States and the SADU but they do not intervene. With the influx of fresh troops the SAFB quickly overwhelm the remnants of the divided country.

    August 4th, 1942- Paraguay is divided between Bolivia and Argentina. Peru out of fear of invasion joins the SADU and begins to rapidly enlarge its own military forces.

    September 13th, 1942- The United States, now in the war, warns the SAFB that any further attempt at conquest would be met with opposition from the United States of America and its Latin America allies, the SADU. American transports begin delivering some heavy equipment (mainly older 30s and leftover equipment) to the SADU.

    (I know it might seem weird why the U.S. would support the SADU more than the Entente but this is due that since the mid 19th century Central and South America have been in the American sphere of influence and the Americans see fascism and communism as a major threat since it is close to home while fascism in other parts of the world (Europe) are not as large of a concern. So the U.S. once its total war mobilization is complete will begin sending decent amount of supplies, weapons and such to the SADU).
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  5. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 25: Battle of the Java Sea

    Lavrentiy Beria sipped the warm tea beside him, grimacing at the weak taste. Food in general had degraded in quality in the Soviet Union, especially with the Ukraine a battleground. He looked at the reports before him and grimaced.

    Axis forces were continuously bombing Moscow, Kalinin, Kursk and a host of other Soviet cities damaging Soviet attempts to fortify them. Moscow was well on the way to becoming a fortress surpassing Smolensk and Leningrad.

    The people were starving, the people were cold, but the people were determined. Trench line after trench line, bulwark and bunker, machine gun and tank-killer, all were ready to defy the German invader and ever increasing in number.

    His NKVD Army was leading the defense for Moscow and the surrounding area, their fanaticism and loyalty to the ideals Lenin set forth and to Beria himself were unmatched. Armed with the latest weapons and equipment they formed the iron core of the Moscow Defense Force. Red Army units were being assembled, over 400,000, to resist the Axis forces all the way from the starting point 150 kilometers away to the outskirts of the heart of the Rodina.

    Other reports garnered his attention. The purging in the Caucasus was nearing completion, the NKVD division commander reported. He did however warned that if Turkey were to go to war against the Soviet Union than the Soviets military and police forces would have to monitor the Muslim populations in the Southern Republics. The Muslims were officially in line with the Communist atheistic policy but unofficially they were still devoted to Islam. The NKVD commander stated that precautionary measures should be put in place to minimize potential damage if this happened. Beria agreed and made a note to send a reply applauding the commander’s effort and for him to create policies he sees fit.

    In the Far East things had settled down almost completely, Japanese/Chinese (Manchurian/Mengkukuoan) and Soviet units had practically stopped fighting other than small raids and such. Bloody business trench raids, but not important.

    Important, however, was the change that was coming. He could feel it in his very bones, it would be many months until everything was in place, but it was coming. This morning assured it. The Red Army factions that had resisted during the July Meltdown and escaped NKVD pursuit were still in Moscow and Beria had found them, over a year ago. But he did not rein them in, no, he saw what was happening to the Motherland and he planned, knowing they would useful eventually.

    Those generals would support him, well at least his vision. They would support Zhukov and once word came in that he would support Molotov and Beria those generals quickly pledged their allegiance. Even now, slowly but surely, his access to Moscow’s war industry was allowing him to arm those officers and their men with the best weapons that his NKVD men also carried. Those officers whose blind loyalty to Stalin would be deprived of the SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle and submachine-guns to make them more vulnerable when Beria was able to launch his coup. He predicted February, maybe March, before he launched the plot to overthrow Stalin. All the cards must be in place to make the transition of power seamless and it must be done before the Germans launched their next offensive.

    Beria looked outside his office window, across the rubble strewn Red Square towards the Kremlin. As he sipped his weak tea he thought to himself, soon, very soon.

    September 27th, 1942- Field Marshal Wavell organizes his armored divisions to pierce through the Italian defenses to create a narrow corridor through their defenses. The British Eighth Army might have been slowed by the Italian defenses but they were not stopped.

    The Japanese have conquered the island of Borneo and British East Malaysia alongside the Dutch held island of Celebes. Dutch resistance is heavy but faltering quickly as they are critically short on weapons and ammo. British naval commander Vice Admiral Gerald Dickens has assembled a powerful force of Dutch, French and British warships in Singapore to relieve the Dutch East Indies. If the Entente can break through the Japanese blockade of the islands than the Dutch may have a chance, if not the Dutch East Indies will fall.

    In Sweden Montgomery has entered the extreme south-western portion of Stockholm and is forging his way forward through Axis defenses. He has sent requests to London and Paris for reinforcements. The British promise to send some but not as many as Montgomery would have wished because North Africa is becoming a major theatre for the British military and the need to supply men and materials for the Pacific Theatre also drawing some forces away from the Northern Front. The French however do comply and 10 more divisions of the French Army will be arriving over the next few months, with seven going to Montgomery to capture Stockholm, two to de Gaulle, whose area of operations against southern Sweden having stalled, and one will remain in southern Norway as the Norwegian population is becoming more and more restless.

    Model and Krüger allow the Entente to enter Stockholm to become bogged down and for attrition to take its toll. The German commanders want the British to become bogged down by the city in the north, become trapped by sea to the east and leaving very little maneuverability for their tank and mechanized divisions. The British know they are in a vulnerable position and have heavily reinforced their flanks with anti-tank weaponry.

    The Swedish government may not like it but they know it is the best military course of action, most of the civilians had already been evacuated and Stockholm was a fortress-city to rival Leningrad since fortifications had been built since early 1941 and the limited maneuvering the British can do will assist Axis defenders.

    September 29th, 1942- British armor divisions punch through the central line of the Italian defense in eastern Libya. Using blitzkrieg tactics copied from the Germans and Montgomery the Eighth Army quickly establishes itself through the defense line and swings south and north to trap the Italian and Bulgarian troops there causing the Axis forces to begin retreating west towards the incomplete secondary line.

    Italian and Bulgarian commanders report to Mussolini that the outer defense line was lost and the weaker, more western line was all that was left to stop the British. If the secondary defense line fell than the British would be able to march on to Cyrene and Jebel Akhdar with not much in between to delay them. If those locations fall then not much would stand in the way of a British assault on Benghazi.

    Mussolini orders reverse troops in Italy to prepare to move south to Libya. He requests Croatian assistance in garrisoning Greece which the Croats quickly agree to, sending three small divisions to Greece which will help lessen the burden of the Italians there. Drafting in Italy is expanded for the first time since Italy entered the war as it needs to meet the demand for manpower.

    While almost 70,000 Italian troops being assembled alongside armored divisions made up of entirely Titan tanks the Italian dictator knows that if the British cannot be halted then Italian Libya will be lost to him with Sicily in threat of being invaded. He sends a personal message to Hitler asking, begging really, the need for German reinforcements. Hitler takes this under close advisement.

    After assembling a strong fleet Dickens is ready to attack the Japanese 1st Fleet. Dickens’ fleet, named the 13th Fleet, consists of the British aircraft carriers the Formidable and the Indomitable, the French carrier Béarn, two battleships, four heavy cruisers, five light cruisers, and thirteen destroyers.

    The Japanese Fleet was currently divided into two task forces, the first taskforce was preparing for the invasion Java while the second task force was north of the island of Sumatra to block and warn of any impending Entente incursion. The focus of Dickens attack would be the second taskforce.

    Vice Admiral Dickens and the 13th Fleet engage in combat with the Japanese early in the morning. Using the remaining Dutch fighters and every RAF/French Air Force plane he could scavenge the Entente launch their attack (the Entente aircraft are based out of Sumatra nearby with the aircraft carriers fighters and bombers acting as a reserve).

    For hours the Entente used their fighter squadrons, based out of northern Sumatra, to attack the Japanese taskforce with the Japanese fighters having the better tally. However late in the morning a squadron of land-based British Vickers-Wellington medium bombers was able to slip through the Japanese air coverage. Protected by three squadrons of fighters, principally Hurricanes with some Spitfires, the British bombers are able to locate and attack the second taskforce’s fleet carrier. The Vickers-Wellington went into their bombing run while the fighters defended them from the Combat Air Patrol.

    The AA guns and CAP of the Japanese aircraft Jun'yō fired round after round into the British bombers, downing seven with five more continuing their attack run. Another bomber was heavily damaged and crashed into the sea shortly after.

    The other four bombers were able to drop their payload on the carrier with heavy damage across the ship. The flight deck was so heavily damaged that no aircraft would be able to land or take off, the engine room took a severe beating, and large holes in the ship appeared from where the bombs hit, looking like pockmarks from high above. With the ship crippled the British planes were leaving the combat zone when suddenly the Jun'yō exploded. The leading theory is an uncontrolled fire that resulted from the dropped bombs reached either the ammunition magazine hold or the aviation fuel. Regardless of what caused it the carrier exploded, breaking into two significant sections and the broken carrier slipped beneath the waters of the Java Sea. The first Japanese carrier lost in the war, but it would not be the last.

    Despite this victory the other two carriers of the Japanese 1st Fleet were still operational and the fighter squadrons that had landed on Borneo were also used to reinforce Japanese taskforce’s airspace making a long range aerial only raid towards the other carriers certain suicide for the pilots involved. After crippling and/or sinking of the Jun'yō’s escorts (three destroyers, a light cruiser, and a heavy cruiser) the British, French and Dutch fleet (having lost two destroyers) made their way towards the other two carriers and their escorts.

    Dickens plans to use the Entente fighters based in Java, to assist the Entente naval aircraft in damaging or destroying the Japanese fleet with the carriers and the troop transports being the top priority. The Entente aircraft strength from Sumatra had practically been expunged with the few combat worthy planes being flown south-east to Java.

    Combat would first begin between scout planes between both sides. Hours later the two fleets, knowing the location of the opposing fleet, would send in most of their fighter and bomber strength to attack the enemy fleet.

    What would go down in history as the Battle of the Java Sea would see the Entente 13th Fleet crippled with the loss of the French carrier Béarn, the British carrier the Indomitable, one of the battleships, one heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, and four destroyers with many of the rest suffering various forms of damage. The Entente would lose a combined 174 fighters and bombers, both land and ship based aircraft.

    The Japanese would lose a battleship, two heavy cruisers, a light cruiser, six destroyers and three troop transports causing thousands of dead Imperial Army soldiers. The two carriers however, despite suffering some light damage, would survive and fight another day. The Japanese would lose 211 fighters and bombers, both land based and carrier based.

    With two out of his three carriers sunk and the third, the Formidable, suffering from heavy damage Dickens orders the retreat back to Singapore where the Entente fleet would conduct emergency repairs and from there they would sail west towards India to finish repairs and to await possible reinforcement that would allow them to re-enter South-East Asia in force. The 13th Fleet would sail here to primarily leave the potential range the Japanese would have when the Dutch East Indies fell as they were in no doubt to fall soon. The back of the Entente had been broken in South-East Asia, at least for now.

    The Japanese having lost a carrier with the other two lightly damaged and over half of the 1st Fleet sunk or so heavily damaged as to be considered lost would show the Japanese that they were not the premiere masters of naval warfare. They had won a pyrrhic victory at best. The two carriers would go to port in Borneo to conduct repairs.

    The Dutch were shocked by the turn of events. Just as it looked like the Entente might break the back of the Japanese 1st Fleet the opposite occurs with the Entente retreating with their tail between their legs.

    The Dutch after weeks of bloody combat, and virtually their entire local navy and air force elements destroyed along with a large portion of their army, consider surrendering to the Japanese. The reason this is considered is to prevent heavy civilian casualties amongst the Dutch population of Batavia, capital of the Dutch East Indies and since there was no reason to fight on anymore with the failure of the 13th Fleet.

    September 30th, 1942- Dutch colonial and military authorities in the Dutch East Indies surrender to the Japanese Empire. Japanese troops begin landing and occupying of the territory they had yet to conquer. With the Dutch East Indies having fallen, the vast resources of Indonesia will be available to the Japanese. In Tokyo the Imperial Command begins the planning of the eventual invasion and occupation of French Indochina and the remainder of British Malaysia and Singapore.

    Wavell’s tanks encircle a large portion of the retreating Axis forces and after some hours of combat the encircled Italians and Bulgarians surrender. Nearly 40,000 Axis soldiers, almost the entirety of the Bulgarians, surrender to the British. This is one of the largest victories for the British since the beginning of the war. The remaining Axis troops (over a 100,000) begin using delaying tactics and sabotage to slow down the British until they get to the secondary defense line. Over half of the Italian tanks have been destroyed with the Bulgarian armored division being for all purposes destroyed. The remaining Italian tanks retreat towards the secondary line but only a few make it as they run out of fuel in the middle of the desert, or damage takes toll, or destroyed by pursuing British aircraft.

    Wavell predicts he will be at the secondary line within three weeks at current rate of advancement. In Tunisia the French attempt an offensive to retake Tunis but this fails with heavy losses with the gain of just a scant handful of kilometers. French North African Command underestimated the Italian forces in Tunisia, believing the Italians undermanned and poorly armed. This was not the case. While much fewer than the Axis forces to the east the Italians holding eastern Tunisia are highly trained, determined, and fielding the latest Italian made anti-tank rockets, alongside being heavily dug in.

    October 3rd, 1942:
    Lieutenant Cameron Higgins smoked a cigarette and watched as the Essex-class carrier, the Essex, waited in the Pedro Miguel Lock, lowering slowly as the water level decreased. Overhead a squadron of F6 Hellcats flew as a Combat Air Patrol.

    Higgins finished his cigarette, crushing it beneath the sole of his Army issued boot. He brought his binoculars out again looking west and scanned the sky of the Pacific again. The radar showed everything was clear but the captain of the Essex demanded that all U.S. installations in and around Panama have not only radar and air coverage but also naked eye coverage. Pearl Harbor had radar and air coverage and it fell to the Japanese and they could sneak by it again, that was the captain’s reason why he wanted hundreds of men to scan the sky hour after hour until the Essex and the carrier Wasp and their escorts accompanying her transit through the Panama Canal to the Pacific.

    Already half a dozen escort ships had transferred over into the Pacific and the Essex was the first carrier through. So far, all seemed to go well, no Japanese ship or plane within five hundred miles of the Canal, or so Higgins thought.

    The first sign of trouble was a radio message from an observer from a watch post north of the Canal of potential Japanese aircraft on its way towards the Canal. Then another from the south just minutes later. The Hellcat squadron had already been dispatched to the northern sighting before the southern one had been seen. Already another squadron was preparing for takeoff on the deck of the carrier to replace the one that left but it was already too late.

    The Japanese Aichi M6A fighter-bombers from the south, six of them, flew in towards the Essex carrier. AA fire from the carrier and the other AA guns spread out across the Canal fired at the Japanese planes, shooting two down with the other four continuing on towards their target. The lead Aichi M6A’s wing was hit and it started losing altitude. The pilot, putting mission before everything else, steered his plane towards the carrier hitting the flight deck and skidding into the command tower killing dozens, causing heavy damage to the ship.

    The other three, knowing the carrier was the primary target of their mission, flew at the carrier with bombs primed. Another was hit before it could drop its load and fell into the sea just meters from the ship’s hull. The other two however dropped their bombs onto the ship causing extensive devastation. The two planes would fly on, swing around and go in for a kamikaze run. A tactic the United States Navy would learn to hate and fear.

    Both planes took a variety of hits but none damaging enough to shoot it down. The first plane flew into the port side of the carrier, rupturing it like an egg. The second plane flew further down the hull but also on the port side with much the same result as the previous plane. The carrier began to sink below the water when the three out of the six M6A’s from the northern sighting made its way past the Hellcats and upon seeing the carrier as sunk began to attack the Pedro Miguel Lock itself. Another Aichi was shot down before it could contribute to attack while the remaining two bombed the lock’s control center and the gate’s large drive wheel, which opens and closes the gate.

    Higgins looked on with shock as the Essex sunk and the gate was locked shut, unable to open until the drive wheel was replaced. In just over a month the Imperial Japanese Navy had sunk/crippled four American carriers without losing one to the Americans. It was unfathomable that these poorly equipped, scrawny yellow Japs could wreak such havoc on the United States of America. Beside him the other observes looked on, all in a mix of shock or hatred. The Japanese would pay for this. As the observes left their posts to go help in the damage control the men’s anger turned into a seething well of fury. The Japanese would pay, oh how they would pay for this.

    October 3rd, 1942- Twelve Japanese planes launched from four I-400 carrier-submarines attacked and damaged the Pedro Miguel Lock of the Panama Canal and sunk the USN carrier the Essex. The planes were launched from the carriers near the coast and north and south of the Canal, bypassing the American destroyers west of the Canal.

    While all twelve planes were lost the cost was deemed more than worth it. Another American carrier was sunk and the Panama Canal would be out of action for months, specifically the Pedro Miguel Lock. The disaster would have been even greater if not for the emergency flood control damns. American rage at the Japanese increases yet again with Roosevelt having to resort to ordering the entire Japanese-American population all along the West Coast to be put into internment camps.

    This has a dual purpose of locking up potential spies and to keep the Japanese-American civilians safe from an enraged, fury driven American populace. The other American carrier, the USS Wasp and its escorts are ordered to get to the Pacific via Cape Horn. The American ships are warned of potential action by the SAFB and the American carriers will be posting half of its fighter strength in the air at all times to prevent another catastrophe.

    American destroyers do catch and sink one of the I-400s but the other three are able to withdraw to the north-west towards the Japanese held Hawaiian Islands. Americans destroyers, frigates, and submarines are sent from the West Coast to survey the path the American taskforce will be taking from east of the Canal to the West Coast. This is to help prevent any Japanese subs attack the American taskforce.

    *[NOTE: ITTL the Japanese, with the urging of Admiral Yamamoto, began to test and research a way to have a submarine carry 3-4 planes that would be able to go on extended deployment to bomb American cities when the inevitable war with them came. The I-400 is the result of that research. Produced from early/mid 1942 to present there were only four when war was declared but 14 more are planned to be built and the success of them at the Panama Raid would give them more credit as well. The Aichi M6A was built for the I-400s and in OTL was not made until 1943, in this TL however they are made early/mid 1942 to work in hand with the I-400 to be made an effective long range carrier-submarine.]*

    October 4th, 1942- The German Panzer V “Panther” and Panzer VI “Tiger” enters mass production in the Reich. Also a report from the rocket testing facility at Peenemünde informed Hitler that progress on rocket technology was increasingly dramatically and would have an example of the A-4 rocket ready for test launch in early November.

    The launching would be attended by many powerful men in the Deutsches Reich such as Goebbels, Göring, Speer, Hess, Jodl and Wever. Brigadier General Dornberger, commander of the rocket facility, notes that while the A-4 is a huge leap in rocket technology it suffers from short range (relatively) and is not very accurate and carries a small payload. He asks Berlin for increase in funding to research the A-5 which could be a true rocket missile. Berlin replies that they will discuss this further after the test launch results.

    October 6th, 1942- Japanese troops on the Luzon Island of the Philippines finally launch another attack after having been reinforced. Despite suffering heavy casualties the Japanese are able to break through the use of close air support and more infantry divisions focused in crucial and weak areas.

    The Americans and Filipinos on Luzon begin retreating south toward other defense lines but these are not as strong as the ones near the beach landings. With an even larger established beachhead and several airstrips taken the Japanese will be able to increase their fighter strength over the islands, once the inevitable damage to the airstrips has been repaired of course.

    MacArthur and Andrews, despite disappointed to losing ground, had contingency plans to this and American troops held in reserve attack, slow, and finally halt the Japanese advance by midday. MacArthur and Andrews know they cannot hold out forever but they have bled the Japanese greatly for the minimal gains they have acquired. The Americans are well stocked in terms of weapons and ammo but these will not last long at the rate they are being used. And medical equipment and supplies is dangerously low because much had been used to combat the Japanese plague bombs.

    October 9th, 1942- Germany begins the planning of the military offensive into Russia in the summer of 1943. Codenamed Case Blue/Fall Blau it will focus not on the capture of Moscow but rather the crucial oilfields in the Caucasus. Despite severe rationing and the buying of large amounts of oil from its Axis ally Romania the fuel situation for Germany was reaching a dangerous low level. Without a significant boost in fuel within a year and a half to two years Germany’s industry and war machine would grind to a crawl of its former self. Romania could not supply all the oil Germany and the other Axis Powers required.

    Case Blue will be launched with the heavy assistance of the Romanians, Hungarians, Slovakians and especially the Ukrainians in terms of manpower. With the Northern Front demanding more and more men the Germans cannot be the primary force between the offensive. The Germans instead will form the tip of the offensive and will act as the “tip of the spear” of the offensive.

    Field Marshal von Rundstedt would be overall commander of the offensive with some of the most able German commanders from across the Reich being transferred to take command of the armies that would encompass the force that would drive to the Caucasus. Field Marshal Guderian and Colonel-General Rommel would be the commanders of the panzer elements.

    A planned 110 divisions of German infantry alongside 2600 panzers and supported by 2400 Luftwaffe aircraft (1800 fighters and 600 bombers, this is the majority of German bombers at present). This would be supported by an estimated 35 divisions from the Ukraine, 8 from Hungary, 10 from Romania, and 2 from Slovakia alongside a combined total of 600 more Axis tanks and 400 aircraft. While on paper this represented a powerful force, one powerful enough to march to the Volga if need be there were tremendous logistical issues. Out of the 2600 panzers planned to be used over 600 are supposed to be the Panther and the Tiger and only a few have even been created. This force was non-existent as of late 1942 and while it was hoped to be done by the time the offensive was ready there were no guarantees. Another issue was the Luftwaffe support. Entente bombings over western Germany continued and replacement fighters were being sent there first, with the Eastern Front receiving the majority of the extra with some going to the Northern Front meaning the Eastern Front might not get all the fighter squadrons in the end that it was promised. As mentioned earlier the fuel situation was tight and any large expenditure of it was worrying.

    The Germany Army was currently in the process of re-arming itself going from the Kar98k as its main rifle to the Gewehr 1942, the G-42, semi-automatic rifle. While most of these had been sent to the East only half of the German forces part of Case Blue would have been re-armed by the projected time of the offensive. Many of the divisions that would take part in Blue were divisions that had suffered heavy losses in Fall Orange and their replacements were usually fresh recruits due to the new drafting laws passed in Germany that allowed more men to be sent to the East and they were untested.

    Another, and major issue, was the amount of supply trucks. The German supply system had barely kept up with German advancement and with the Soviets relatively weak in the Ukraine to the Caucasus, as of now, the advance was projected to advance far but quick. If the Germans advanced too quickly the Soviets may be able to disrupt supplies causing armored elements to run dry of fuel and ammunition and causing large pockets of panzers and infantry to be trapped.

    Trucks were being taken from all over Axis Europe, whether it is an actual military vehicle or a civilian model, that somehow was not broken down into scrap metal for the war effort, is sent to Axis Logistics Command. But would it be enough? No one in Berlin knew. The Soviets were very weak but still had millions in their Red Army and their Red Air Force was once again rebuilding like a phoenix from the ashes. More and more Soviet tanks and artillery guns were coming by railroad from the Urals to Western Russia and eastern Ukraine. Could it be enough to stop or slow the German advance?

    Key to German success was surprise so German engineers begin placing hundreds of wood or rubber “tanks” and “trucks”, with thousands planned, in positions around the German territory west of Moscow. Soviet spy planes and scouts will see these and report to Moscow that there is a huge formation of German war machines preparing for an offensive on Moscow during the summer of 1943. German troops will remain of course but will construct three times as many tents as there are troops to further fool Soviet spy planes. German radio messages, purposefully sent to where the Soviets could intercept if they are paying attention, shows that Germany’s Case Blue will be launched from the territory they took from the end of Orange to Moscow. Stalin orders much of the new tanks and aircraft to be sent to the Moscow area to defend the heart of the Motherland. 30 German divisions would remain in the area with the ROA, rapidly increasing its strength from volunteers and draftees from across Russia, would remain also with around 30 divisions as well. By the time of March the ROA is predicted to have 60 divisions and the Germans 35 but these, especially the German amount, is subject to change based off how the war goes elsewhere.

    Already many in Berlin want to decrease Fall Blau’s force by ten divisions that can be sent to Sweden. This is rapidly gaining support because of the large amount of Entente troops in Sweden with the war there in the balance. If Sweden were to fall then the iron ore so crucial to Germany’s industry, already cut in received amount due to southern Norway and much of southern Sweden being occupied, than Germany’s factories would have a much harder time producing planes, panzers, ammunition, submarines and nearly everything else.

    Also while Germany’s allies were throwing in their full support to war against the Soviets they were not as well trained or equipped as the Germans. Only the ROA and Ukrainians were close due to their former Red Army training and the surplus of equipment left by the Soviets after the July Meltdown not to mention the factories occupied by Germany and its allies had been converted to support the Axis war effort. Hungary had a decently trained but poorly equipped army, Romania had a poorly trained but decently equipped army (due to capturing Odessa and its factories and supplies along with all the money Romania is receiving selling its oil to the Axis nations in Europe. Slovakia was both poorly trained and equipped and was mainly used as a garrisoning force.

    1942 was rapidly coming to a close and while looked forward to 1943, many others looked on apprehensively and nervously.

    October 10th, 1942- Japanese authorities in Hawaii orders all civilians to participate in converting any available fertile land to be converted to the growing of crops to help feed the Hawaiian Islands as they are on the far end of Japanese logistics.

    Across the Islands hundreds of small farms are set up by the Japanese military with a ratio of 90% grown goes to the communal supply with the farmers themselves keeping 10% and with the possibility of extra if they have a successful crop. Also the Japanese Navy begins to allow sail boats (all boats that ran on fuel having been scrapped due to the lack of fuel for civilians making them useless) to sail around the Hawaiian Islands to fish and bring in their haul. Again the same ratio is used for fishing as it was for farming.

    While this will not feed everyone on the Islands, leading to starvation for thousands, it does do enough to prevent riots and to feed the people just enough to get by. The sunken ships and heavily damaged ships of the U.S. Navy are beginning to be stripped of valuable assets and the remainder of the steel shipped back to the Home Islands to assist in the construction of more Japanese ships. The damaged but still sea worthy American carriers, the Lexington and the Saratoga will be shipped back to Tokyo shipyards to be re-fitted to serve the IJN. The Enterprise was sunk and will be pulled from the sea and shipped back to Tokyo as scrap metal.

    October 13th, 1942- Gott, after many delays and a long journey, arrives in Singapore to take up his position as second in command of the British “Gibraltar of the East’. Even on his first day, tired from his trip, he is already ordering improvements to the fortifications of Singapore. All will be allowed by General Percival.

    October 15th, 1942- French intelligence detects the movement of Japanese infantry and armor towards the border between Japanese held China to French Indochina. The French, already suffering from a rebellion against the communist Việt Minh for over a year now, have little in the way to stop this coming invasion force. The British do agree to send some forces and air units but their focus is on their own territories of West Malaysia and Singapore.

    The Japanese force is approximately 60,000 with some light tanks in support. Air support as usual is the strong point of the Japanese forces with 250 aircraft assigned to this army. More will be forthcoming once the Dutch East Indies has been properly garrisoned.

    October 17th, 1942- President Roosevelt, feeling that American morale has suffered greatly from the fall of Midway, Hawaii, Guam, and recently the damage done to the Panama Canal along with another carrier sunk, informs the General Staff that Americans need some kind of victory to reinvigorate them to stop the falling of morale. The General Staff promises to have proposals done by early November.

    October 21st, 1942, somewhere in the Ukraine:
    Brigadier General Hermann Balck looked across the panzers he was leading. Barely thirty of them had advanced the local Axis position almost ten kilometers through Soviet territory. Infantry, both German and Ukrainian, followed the panzers either on foot or on half-tracks.

    Case Orange may have ended but that did not mean the frontlines stopped. Both sides attacked and retreated in small engagements all across the Eastern Front. Ever the frontline general his Panzer IV was second in the column, with the one in front of him acting as a scout and to see if there were mines the minesweepers somehow missed.

    In front of him was a village. Maybe a few hundred, if that, had lived there before the war. Now it was deserted. The Ukrainian villagers had probably retreated when the Germans had to fall back during the Soviet Scythe offensive.

    Now it was about to switch hands. “Men,” he said via the panzer’s radio, “up ahead is a village occupied by the Red Army. They think they can stop us. They are wrong. First squad advance from the north-west, second squad from the south-west, I will lead third squad from the due west. For the Vaterland!” he said and his men echoed.

    Within ten minutes his panzers and troops were ready. At his order they swept towards the Soviet village. Four T-34s and several Katyusha trucks were in the village alongside a few artillery guns. The German panzers quickly destroyed the T-34s from a distance, losing two in the process. The Ukrainian and German infantry swept into the village supported by panzer fire on the outskirts. Within half an hour the Soviets broke contact and retreated. Balck dispatched first squad to chase after the survivors for a kilometer before returning back to village.

    Balck looked at the casualty reports. In the ten kilometers he had taken he had lost five panzers, three half-tracks and about thirty men. The Soviets was estimated to be eight tanks, a dozen trucks, including some of the Katyusha trucks and over fifty men. His force had taken two Katyusha trucks, half a dozen artillery guns and a cache of ammunition for Mosin-Nagant rifles and other Soviet weapons. His Ukrainian allies would be happy for those.

    Over the past month he had done several such little advances and continuously impressed his commanders, especially when he had outstripped his supply and support and was cut off for over two hours but instead of defeat he was able to turn it around to victory causing the Soviets to lose four times as many men and panzers that he had lost.

    As he observed the Axis troops establishing themselves a Kübelwagen drove up next to his panzer. “Panzer commander, do you know the location of Brigadier General Balck?” the front passenger asked.

    “Indeed. You are looking right at him.”

    “The front passenger, a sergeant by his chevrons, saluted. “Apologies, sir, I did not recognize you. You must come with me, sir, back to Kiev.”

    “Why is that, sergeant?”

    “I do not know other than I ordered to bring you with me.”

    “What of my men?” Balck gestured around him.

    “No mention of them, sir. We are to go to the nearest railroad station and travel to Kiev. These orders came from all the way from Berlin that I know for sure.”

    Balck looked on in curiosity. Why would Berlin call him away from the frontlines? “Very well,” He went to the radio, “Colonel Frank, you have command.”

    “Yes, sir,” came the reply.

    Balck jumped from his panzer and landed in the soft dirt. He jogged to the car. The sergeant gave him the paper orders which he quickly read as he stepped into the car and as it drove west. The orders were not very clear but did have the office of Field Marshal List’s signature. He would go to Kiev and then from there he was off to Berlin by air. They must want him there quickly if they could not wait for him to get there by train.

    As they drove to the nearest Axis held town with a railroad Balck looked out the window at the endless Ukrainian plains. Why to Berlin though, he kept wondering.

    Map of Europe on October 21st, 1942


    The current state of the war as of October 21st, 1942. Entente forces have cut Sweden in half with the British mainly on the northern half and the French in the southern half. While the front has stalled on both sides it is still very much an active combat theatre. British (and soon to be French infantry) forces are moving into the southern portion of Stockholm, just in the outskirts as of now but slowly but surely pushing in. German/Swedish/Norwegian Loyalists are fighting tooth and nail enacting a bloody toll on the Entente.

    Elsewhere the Eastern Front remains bloody but relatively quiet as both sides prepare for summer of 1943. The Soviets cannot even pretend to launch an offensive as they are so military spent right now. However they can perform excellent defenses in the Moscow area and thanks to German trickery they believe that will be the focus of the Axis offensive in 1943.

    Leningrad is holding but is starving. Axis forces are content to allow it to die and not spend the manpower necessary to take the city. (By next chapter or the one after it would have fallen)

    North Africa (cannot see it) has Italian East Africa colonies occupied by British/French forces that were led by Gott earlier that year. eastern Libya has been attacked by the British Eighth Army and is performing well and advancing albeit slowly due to heavy Italian resistance. Eastern half of Tunisia is held by the Italians and after the failed mini-offensive by the French to retake it there may not be much action there for a while.

    Ok there is this map. Pacific map may or may not come out with next chapter, still working on it (and trying to find time to clean it up). What I might do for the Pacific one is release it next sunday in its rough form to give you an idea and over the next week or so really clean it up and present a cleaner image for y'all.

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    Old1812 likes this.
  6. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 26: Tales of War (Part 1)

    October 14th, 1942:
    Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, glared at those around him in the Reich Chancellery. He had been told he always glared, that it was in his eyes, his personality. But at the point in time he was actually intending to glare. The officers’ around him continued to hold his plans back, his dreams! He had suffered their ideas for years now and he had grown tired of it.

    He slammed a fist upon the table, knocking over troop disposition markers on a map of the Ukraine. He was tired of being held back by these Prussian elitists. They could not seem to fathom a corporal from Austria was their commander sometimes. “I am the Führer; I am the leader of the Reich, and your commander. You will obey my orders ro you can resign, your choice.”

    The assembled generals and field marshals around the strategy table looked at each other in the corner of their eyes. Hitler had been very cooperative for years, especially in the Northern and Eastern Fronts due to his patient listening of reports, a trait many of them were surprised and glad to see. He would suggest or confirm orders done by field officers but rarely insist on orders that went against the General Staff. This, however, was one of those rare times.

    “The Italians are weak in North Africa, the British having pushed them back. If they lose North Africa, Italy itself will be under threat. If Italy falls then the Entente will plunder it and move north into the Vaterland itself. I want a strong military force sent to Libya immediately. And I want an effective panzer commander to command the force.”

    Field Marshal Franz Halder, Chief of Staff of the German General Staff, hid his frown with iron control. The Führer had kept raising this point time and time again. Ever since combat action started in North Africa between the Axis and Entente forces, the Führer had adamantly supported sending troops to North Africa. While Halder did not have a problem with this in and of itself, he did understand the merits of having German troops in Libya; he did protest that sending troops to North Africa when other fronts were in desperate need was a mistake.

    The Northern Front had stabilized, thank God, except for the snail paced advances done by Montgomery towards Stockholm and the Axis was building up its forces there for a strong counter-attack and in the East Case Blue was in earnest preparation. If Case Blue failed then the war in the East might well drag on until Germany ran out of men and resources.

    Halder, as chief, knew it was his duty to protest this yet again, to be the voice of concern and reason, “Mein Führer, while I do agree with your assessment, we can just not afford to send men and material to North Africa. The latest draft of Case Blue calls for the capture of Kursk, Orel, and Bryansk. This alone will require more manpower, separate of the original forces mustering in the Ukraine."

    Hitler turned his blue eyes towards Halder. “You do not have the appropriate National Socialist mentality, Herr Field Marshal,” Hitler looked at the map of the East before him. “Pull German and ROA divisions from the forces west of Moscow to assist in the capture of Kursk, Orel and Bryansk.”

    “But mein Führer,” began Field Marshal Ludwig Beck, fresh from field service in the East, “This will severely weaken the forces we have there. If the Soviets decide to attack while those forces are occupied with Fall Blau it could shatter our position in the area.”

    “The Soviets will not attack. They would not dare. Even if they see half the forces amassed west of Moscow move south-east they will not attack. Our spies within their ranks continue to report that Stalin and many on the Stavka believe the false forces we are erecting there are in fact real units. No, they would not dare attack. If their attack failed then the road to Moscow would be open and they would never risk it.”

    Halder thought about that it and realized the Führer had a point, he had a power to turn arguments in his favor it seemed. Even with the combining of forces from Army Group Center with those from Army Group South to secure Blue’s northern flank it still left the question of where to pull the necessary forces to support the Italians in North Africa.

    Mein Führer,” began Keitel, Hitler’s General Staff lap dog alongside Jodl, “We cannot spare a lot of troops from any one front, what if we were to take a little from Army Group North, Center, South, troops from the Westwall Garrison, none from Scandinavia as that front is hotly contested right now, and to use more troops from Bulgaria.”

    “How much is ‘a little’?” asked an logistics officer from the corner of the table.

    “A few companies from full strength divisions, perhaps even a division or two that have just finished R&R or were recently created. Not enough to rob units in the East of their combat effectiveness but enough to form a German nucleus of Axis reinforcements to Libya.”

    “You want to pull men out of divisions, put them into a force together with little to no former cooperation between the various units and send them into the middle of a collapsing warzone,” Halder stated.

    Keitel looked at Halder, “I am merely trying to fulfill the Führer’s order to the best of my ability. We just need an exemplary commander to mesh them together effectively and lead them into combat.”

    Hitler nodded emphatically. “Yes, this is a good idea, Keitel,” he looked at Halder. “This will be done, Herr Generalfeldmarschall. If the Entente is able to beat the Italians out of North Africa and invade Italy then we will be drawn into a Southern Front regardless. We need to establish troops there now to withstand and stall the Entente’s attempt to capture Libya. I realize we cannot send an adequately sized army to push the British out of Libya but we can at least prevent our Italian ally from losing the theatre. A force of five to six German divisions plus armor and air support should be enough.”

    Halder internally sighed; knowing Hitler’s mind was made up, “Very well, mein Führer.”

    “Do any of you have a commander in mind? I would prefer Rommel, but his talents are much more needed for Case Blue?” Hitler said.

    Silence as the officers thought about it. “Colonel-General Hoth perhaps?” Jodl mused.

    “He is assigned as one of the commanders of Blue, we cannot pull him out,” Halder said quickly, trying to derail any such thought of pulling a talented commander already assigned a critical slot in the next eastern offensive.

    The General Staff bounced around a few more names, all declined, until Beck had one. “What about Brigadier General Herman Balck, I fought with him in the Ukraine in ’41. He is a talented commander, with a gift for tactical surprises. He has a talent with inter-Axis relations as the force he commands now I believe is a mixed German and Ukrainian unit and has used them quite exemplary. Field Marshal List has mentioned him several times in reports as a competent officer. He is also on the short list for promotion to Major General.”

    “A Brigadier General to command an army between 50,000 to 60,000 German troops, armored units, artillery, plus whatever we can squeeze out of the Bulgarians? Not to mention the one hundred or so thousand Italians in eastern Libya,” Field Marshal von Brauchitsch, Commander of the German Heer, said incredulously.

    “He was already on the fast track to Major General, why not skip it and go to Lieutenant General to give him the rank and authority.”

    “Ludwig,” Brauchitsch said to Beck, “I know of this Balck, a fine commander yes, but one who would risk his assets to launch a reckless attack. He has also never commanded anything larger than a division and we are to put him in command of a force many times that size. It is very risky.”

    “Yes it is and he will need to be a good diplomat if he is to work hand in hand with the Italians,” said another general.

    “Balck might be rough around the edges but he is a fine panzer commander who may not only slow the British down he could very well stop their advance entirely with the help of the Italians and Bulgarians,” Beck insisted. “He is quick to adapt to different situations and his record shows he can work well with our allies. I believe he is our best bet.”

    “Very well, it is decided. Bring Balck in, brief him and get him ready to go south,” Hitler ordered and with that it was decided.

    October 23rd, 1942:
    Hermann Balck, a Brigadier General in the German Heer, sat uncomfortably in his dress uniform. He hated the damn thing, much rather preferring the field gear of a panzer commander. He still did not know why he was here. Everyone he had talked to either did not know or was tight lipped about it.

    A secretary, a rather plain faced blonde with brown eyes, opened the door to the waiting room, “Field Marshal Halder will see you now, Brigadier General.”

    Balck strode to the door, his natural energy barely pent up. Inside sat the Chief of Staff, sipping from a glass of water which eh set down when he saw Balck enter. Balck stood at attention in front of Halder. “At ease, at ease,” Halder waved the panzer commander to one of the chairs in front of his desk.

    Balck sat down and looked at Halder waiting. Halder toyed with his drink for some time but eventually set it down and looked at Balck. “You are wondering why you’re here?” Halder asked smiling a little as if it was a personal joke.

    “It has occurred to me, sir, once or twice,” Balck replied with a slight chuckle.

    “To begin I should let you know that you have been promoted, not only to Major General, but to Lieutenant General. This will be obvious in a few moments why you jumped rank. We are sending you to North Africa, despite my and most of the General Staff’s objections to our deployment there but the Führer demanded a German presence in Libya.

    "I understand why he wants us there and even agree in his logic for us going there, I just do not agree with it being done at this time with the East still in doubt and the war in the North becoming larger and larger causing us to send more men and material there," at least the Finns have promised to send as many troops as they can spare from their own eastern front as that portion of the front has gone very quiet for many months, Halder thought.

    “Thank you very much, sir,” the newest Lieutenant General in the Reich said, faintly surprised but not wanting to show it, instead a demeanor of iron self control took its place.

    “Anyway the force you are to command, which has already been dubbed the Deutches Afrika Korps by some on the General Staff, was originally to encompass five to six veteran infantry divisions with units pulled from across the Reich and meshed together to form a deadly force with a division of panzers and significant Luftwaffe support,” Halder’s face took a pained expression, “Unfortunately, after assessing our forces and not wanting to strip the East in any major way we were forced to limit your force, at least for the time being.”

    Balck nodded, not very surprised. He had read the operation planning for Case Blue, at least a very broad and early rough draft. Case Blue had recently been extended with more forces from AGC (Army Group Center) to assist the northern third of AGS (Army Group South) which Balck agreed was smart. With the northern third of AGS, with AGC assistance, taking Kursk, Orel and Bryansk the other two-thirds of AGS would be able to drive east without fear of being cut off for quite a while. But to do all that, as Case Blue was very ambitious and required massive amounts of men, material, aircraft, and panzers meant creating a new, strong force for a new front difficult to say the least.

    Halder continued, “We have been forced to limit this obviously. You will be given three divisions of infantry with one being newly raised, another one having being pulled from the Westwall Garrison. Those men are highly trained and motivated but have faced little actual combat against enemy infantry and panzers. Your last division is a mesh of multiple units from all across the Eastern Front, sometimes a platoon, sometimes a company. This was done to not limit the effectiveness of the forces they were pulled from. This division will be your combat tested veterans but have little cooperation with each other but I believe, based off what Beck has told me, you can whip them into shape in a short amount of time.”

    “Yes, sir, they will all be integrated and made to perform my orders as if they were an extension of my body,” he said confidently.

    “Good. Now on to your panzers, artillery, and air support elements. Your panzer division has gone from 250 to just 113. These panzers are a mix of IIIs and IVs with even a handful of IIs to act as scouts. You will not be receiving any Panthers or Tigers I’m afraid, they are all being sent to the Ukraine. We won’t be able to spare you any artillery units either; you will have to use the Italian and Bulgarian forces to make up for it. You air assets will be rather small as well. The air combat over the Westwall and the Northern Front has increased as of late and we just do not have a lot to spare. I talked to Field Marshal Göring *(remember he was never promoted to Reichsmarschall in this timeline as there hasn’t been a Battle of France)* who has promised to send half a dozen fighter squadrons but I have no idea if these are at full strength, half strength, rookie pilots or veteran pilots or a mix thereof. I just do not know yet.”

    “I understand,” Balck remarked.

    “We have talked to the Bulgarians and they are contributing another two infantry divisions but with no armor support as they are still recovering from the loss of their panzers when the British first launched their attack. Their air forces are not going to Libya either, as their aircraft are needed in case the British launch a raid to the former Greek territory they took when Greece surrendered. Ignorant I know, but understandable. The Italians at first said they were going to send 70,000 plus four Titan armed panzer divisions but this was Mussolini exaggerating. Three of those infantry divisions are not fully formed or even fully equipped. So only 40,000 troops will be going there and those four armor divisions are in much the same problem with one being in the process of being formed and organized but a month or two away from completion, another that does not even exist outside of paper, Mussolini thought he could make one quickly from various divisions throughout Italy but obviously he was not able to. One division is at half strength, about a hundred or so, and the remaining division is at full strength.”

    Balck frowned. With such a drastic change in Italian reinforcement the odds were swinging in the British’s favor more and more. Just to make sure he understood everything, “So I will be going to North Africa with 30,000 German soldiers, most with no real combat experience, plus 113 German panzers, with no real artillery support except what our allies can give us, along with a possible undermanned/inexperienced Luftwaffe contingent? The Bulgarians will be giving 20,000 with no armored elements or air support. The Italians, as usual, promised much but give little with 40,000 soldiers of varying degrees of experience with only three hundred Italian panzers, all of them based on a modified Panzer III chassis, a chassis which is rapidly becoming inferior compared to the latest British models,” Balck shook his head, “That has to be the most motley assembled force I have ever seen, sir. What of the enemy's strength?”

    Halder picked up a document beside him. “The British have an estimated 220,000 troops, they stripped the Middle East bare to create that also with Italian East Africa gone the British have sent those troops north towards the Eighth Army. Anywhere from five hundred to six hundred panzers, most of them of the Chamberlain or Crusader design.They have heavy artillery and aircraft support.

    "Wavell may not be the best strategist or tactician in the British Army but he did wait long enough to assemble an army that would decisively defeat the Italian/Bulgarian forces. Our reports from the Italians, which in turn comes from Egyptian rebels and Libyan resistance fighters, describes the British as highly trained, very well equipped, with a steely determination. Their air forces we are less sure of but we believe they have anywhere from three hundred to three and fifty fighters and bombers, all superior to Italian aircraft with our aircraft being the only true modern adversary for them there. The Bulgarians will be using outdated equipment and weapons, the Italians using more modern material but not with the training on how to use them as effectively as they could.”

    Halder took off his glasses, shaking his head. “That is about the entirety of it, Balck. The enemy will outnumber you and hound you all the way to Benghazi and perhaps to Tripoli if you allow it. Not all is grim though. With the Italians controlling the center of the Mediterranean the Reich can ship supplies via Italy quite easily. Small arms munitions and replacement troops should be consistent enough to keep your strength and armament consistent unless you fight a major battle and suffer heavy casualties while expending most of your infantry’s ammunition. Panzer shells, fuel, replacement panzers and aircraft on the other hand… I will not make promises that I will not be able to keep. It will be scarce and you will have to beg, borrow and steal so to speak from our allies for certain supplies. It will be difficult but if you are able to stall the British long enough we will be able to send forces to significantly reinforce you if Case Blue ends in a state the Führer deems acceptable or if the deadlock in Sweden breaks in our favor. We will just have to wait and see.”

    One thing continued to bother Balck, “Who will be the overall commanding officer in North Africa? I’m too low of a rank, even with the jump up.”

    Halder took another sip from his glass of water, sett it down again. “Marshal Italo Balbo is the Italian C-in-C for North Africa and the Governor-General of Libya. While he is the overall commander his primary field commander is General Rodolfo Graziani. Balbo is not very enthusiastic about the war or many of Mussolini goals; he was in the anti-war faction of the Italian military.”

    “Why is he in command of such an important theatre then?”

    “Well he is one of Mussolini’s long time supporters and is a long time Party member. He is a sound tactician and organizer and despite his preservations and complaints is probably the best the Italians could put there. But with Graziani having arrived after Greece fell, he was the overall Italian commander there, the actual field operations have fallen to him. While you will officially be put under the command of these two men you will have a large degree of independence. Both these men are not too prideful to admit we produce better officers.”

    “Excellent. When do I depart?”

    “Within the week if all goes according to plan. Your Korps is still be assembled, organized, outfitted, and prepping for transportation south, a week or so to leave the Reich, another day or two to get through Italy and cross the Mediterranean. You should land in Benghazi on November 1st or 2nd. You have much to prepare for, Black, I would get to it. My secretary outside will give you the necessary paperwork. Helga might be a bit plain but she is a dman good secretary,” Halder stood up and reached over his desk, hand outstretched. “Good luck, lieutenant general. I know I am putting you in a bad spot but if anyone can rally the Italians and stop the British it is you.”

    Balck stood, accepted the firm handshake. “I won’t let you down, sir.”

    Looking into the other man’s eyes Halder replied, “No, I don’t think you will. You are dismissed.”

    The commanding officer of the Deutches Afrika Korps stood at attention, did a smart about face and walked from the room. As Halder sat down he rubbed his eyes. The paperwork before him calling his name it seemed. The original draft of Blue was very straight forward but left the northern flank open, the newest draft rectified that but caused the already stretched German forces to spread themselves even thinner and was forcing the Führer to heavily consider pulling more divisions from the Westwall Garrison lowering it to dangerous levels but still strong enough to resist a Entente invasion… at least for a while.

    Deep down he knew sending troops to North Africa made sense strategically. If the Entente was still fighting Axis forces in North Africa, Italy would be safe, the Italian-French border would remain contested, similar to the German-French border, and tying down around a hundred thousand Frenchmen. If Italy were to fall the south of the Reich itself would be under threat from yet another front. So Halder did see why the General Staff agreed with the Hitler in the end but could Germany spare the men?

    Sweden and Norway contributed over half of the infantry to the Northern Front and Finland agreeing to send a few divisions would help enormously but most of the air and armored assets were German. With that front becoming more and more bloody, latest dispatches from Model showed the British led by Montgomery were slowly impeaching on the outskirts of Stockholm itself, and the expansion of Case Blue… Halder did not know how long the Fatherland could continue waging this vast and costly war. Despite the stellar victories in the East causing the severe weakening of the Soviet Union the Northern Front and now the Southern Front was draining more men and material that was desperately needed in the East to finish that fight, Halder did not know what the future would hold. In his bones he knew that 1943 would be a critical year, perhaps the most critical since 19040. If Germany did not do exemplary in Case Blue, liberating the rest of the Ukraine, conquering the Crimea, reaching the Volga and taking the Baku oil fields, then the war might be lost, unless Hitler would be willing to call for an armistice against the Soviet Union. Blue would be risky, it would ambitious but it was the only real chance Germany had to win the war. If Blue failed, Germany would has lost.

    He took a deep gulp from his water, setting the empty glass down. No, he will not allow that to happen. Germany barely survived one defeat, it could not endure another. No for the Volk, for the Vaterland and for the Führer, Germany must survive, Germany must go on!
  7. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 27: Tales of War (Part 2)

    October 25th, 1942- Hitler, tired of the defiance of Leningrad, orders Göring and Wever to use every bomber available to bomb Lenin’s namesake. Both Luftwaffe commanders promise mass bombings of the starving, dying Soviet city, to begin on October 30th. If Leningrad surrenders it would free up over two hundred thousand German soldiers plus another hundred thousand ROA troops and a few thousand Finnish soldiers. With those troops and their accompanying material and equipment freed up this will vastly ease many manpower issues in the Reich. Hitler plans to send around 100,000 of the freed Heer soldiers to Scandinavia, with the rest being distributed throughout the Eastern Front with 50,000 planned to go to Army Group Center to assist in Case Blue and to further fool the Soviets into them thinking Moscow was the objective of the Axis next summer offensive. The ROA troops would be split between Field Marshal von Leeb’s Army Group North and von Manstein’s Army Group Center.

    Generals Montgomery and de Gaulle are both promoted to field marshal as their theatre of war has grown larger and larger. Later that day Berlin promotes Model to Colonel-General with Krüger being promoted to SS-Gruppenführer.

    October 26th, 1942- Japanese leaders in Tokyo, growing tired of the stalemate in the Philippines, orders the officers there to break through at all costs. The Japanese officers comply with ordering a mass charge of the American lines. While the Japanese would lose over two thousand that day alone they did succeed in overrunning American lines and pushing south. Division after division of Japanese troops is poured into the momentum gained by the day’s earlier breakthrough and by the end of the day it is clear to MacArthur and Andrews that Luzon is lost. While it will still be days until the northern major island is fully in Japanese hands the writing is on the wall. MacArthur orders American forces to move south through established lines of retreat to the Visayas Island.

    While many would criticize MacArthur’s abandonment of the rest of Luzon, Manila in particular, as premature since he could have slowed the Japanese down for another week or so the end result would have been the same. Modern historians agree that MacArthur pulling out was a wise choice allowing him to keep the bulk of his American units in fighting condition and to resist in the Visayas more successfully.

    Despite delaying tactics by the Italians, causing him to reach the incomplete Italian line later than he predicted, Field Marshal Wavell and his Eighth Army are prepared to overcome this last major Italian resistance east of Benghazi. Wavell is content to wait a few days for his supply line to correct itself and giving his men a much needed break as their march west was tiring and took a heavy wear and tear on the British vehicles and tanks.

    The American carrier, the USS Wasp, arrives into port at San Diego. Taking a long, cautious trip from the Cape Horn, skirting by the watchful eyes of the fascist countries of Chile and Argentina, the carrier and her escorts arrive safely to the American West Coast to cheering crowds. With another American carrier in the west Navy Captain Francis Low, Assistant Chief of Staff for anti-submarine warfare, reports to Admiral Ernest J. King of an idea he has, an idea that grabs the attention of the American admiral. This is the plan that will be presented to Roosevelt in the coming weeks.

    October 27th, 1942- King Haakon VII reaches Narvik in northern Norway. After weeks of moving north, careful to avoid detection by patrolling Entente scouts, the Norwegian King announces to the world that he and his family are safe, that he applauds the Norwegian spirit and calls upon all Norwegians to actively resist the Entente whether passively or aggressively. This will cause severe problems for Entente supply lines in the coming weeks as resistance cells form in greater numbers than previously and Norwegian freedom fighters, without their king in harm’s way, are fighting back against Entente occupation through force of arms.

    In southern Sweden the Swedish pocket on the west coast is forced to surrender due to lack of manpower to hold back French troops. With this thorn in the French side removed the French have shifted their entire focus on the German controlled southern half but German forces here are heavily entrenched and are able to resist the French attempts at advancing south.

    October 29th, 1942- The first French reinforcements begin arriving in central Sweden. With some of the divisions having gone to either the southern portion of Sweden or sent to staying in Norway due to the mass rioting and increase of sabotage, the majority of the French troops are sent to Montgomery who gladly uses the reinforcements to expand his hold on the southern tips of Stockholm he controls. Now with more infantry on hand the British field marshal is determined to take Stockholm, no matter the cost.

    British and French infantry are pushing into the Swedish capital. Stockholm, rapidly becoming a heap of rubble is being fought over tooth and nail with bloody fighting not only between blocks but even in houses. British tanks are holding the flanks alongside anti-tank holding infantry but the German panzers have refused contact so far.

    Elrich Dorff, Munich, Germany:
    Munich. His home. He had not seen it in over a year and a half. Dorff picked up his duffel bag and walked towards his house. Looking around he noticed the abundance of propaganda posters and recruitment posters. More so then he remembered when he was here last.

    Here and there he saw the National Flag, the red, white, and black swastika flag moving with the wind. He respectfully nodded in its direction. He may not be a National Socialist but he was a patriot. The people he saw were a little shabbier, a little thinner then he remembered but had a defiant look in their eyes.

    Turning a corner he saw his home. A small but respectable household if anything but it was home, it was where he grew up. Dorff smiled, remembering the better times of peace living there. He hadn’t informed his parents he was coming home this time; he had wanted to surprise them. Walking towards the small white house he heard footsteps behind him; naturally he turned and was surprised to see Anneliese Gerste walking towards him, an old girlfriend of his from before the war.

    “Well, well, the mighty Hero of Munich returns?” she said smiling as she hugged him. Dorff hugged back in response. “How long are you here?” she asked, her grey eyes questioning. Dorff’s green eyes looked down into them.

    “A week, then I am back to the East. What are you wearing?”

    Anneliese smiled, stepping back and turning in a circle with her arms outstretched showing off her brown breast jacket, her black beret, and her dark blue skirt. “I am in the Bund Deutscher Mädel now. Well again I mean. I served in the BDM when I ten until I turned eighteen and left but I rejoined to serve in a leadership role. The pay is not bad and it is my patriotic duty to serve.”

    Dorff smiled. “Always the patriot, eh Anneliese?” he laughed, for the first time he stepped foot in Germany. “How are your parents, your brothers?”

    “My mother is doing fine; father is now a volunteer down at the Wehrmacht recruiting center for Munich. He served in the Great War as you recall; I guess it’s called the First Great War now, and despite his limp he was determined to help. So now he helps organize the paperwork and the like. Heinz sends mail regularly, you know how he is. The stories he tells of Stockholm are a bit scary, to think he is going through that does disturb me. Rudi… Rudi’s plane was shot down last month over the Westwall. He died.”

    “Anneliese, I’m so sorry-” began Dorff.

    “It’s ok, it’s ok. Mother took it hard, father maybe even harder but he will never admit to it.”

    “And you?”

    She paused, taking her black beret off and letting her raven colored hair reveal itself. “I’m ok now. The first few days were tough, I cried a lot, but I have learned to accept that he’s gone. I still miss him so much,” her voice cracked and tears were beginning to fall, showing Dorff that she was in fact not totally fine.

    “This war has taken a lot away from everyone. Come here,” Dorff embraced Anneliese again, this time with more emotion in it. He held her, allowing her to bury her face in his arm. He put his head on top of hers and within a few seconds she was crying. Her crying was not loud but intense.

    Eventually she stopped and pulled away, using a gloved hand to wipe the tears away from her eyes. Anneliese smiled, “Thank you, Elrich. I needed that. Mother is near overbearing and dad is all tight lipped about everything. It is good to let it out you know?”

    “Yes, I do,” Elrich looked back at his house. “Anneliese, would you like to come to my house for dinner tonight. My mother should just be readying a meal and I brought this from the East,” he opened his duffel bag and wrapped in foil was a chicken, plucked and ready to eat. “A gift from a Russian farmer and his family, when we came upon their farm it was being raided by bandits. After my squad dealt with them the farmer gave my squad and I four chickens. Me, being the ‘great sergeant’ that I am took one for myself.”

    She looked at the chicken, her mouth slightly open, and her eyes wide open and envious. “I haven’t had quality meat like that in weeks,” she glanced up in embarrassment, “with rationing being as strict as it is.”

    Dorff nodded in understanding. He had been fed well because of being on military duty but he had heard rationing was very strict in Germany; even with all the foodstuffs the Ukraine sent to the Reich rationing was still in effect.

    “But yes, I would like to come to dinner. Let me just go home and change. I will be there within an hour.”

    “Very well, I’ll see you then,” he replied, smiling. As she walked away Dorff couldn’t resist thinking of her. He snorted; guess the torch he carried for her never truly died out. Chuckling to himself he walked home to see his family.

    October 30th, 1942- Hundreds of German bombers loaded with incendiary and high explosive bombs drops their payloads across Leningrad killing thousands and wounding tens of thousands more. The Germans plan to bomb the city for another week to force the Soviets to surrender. For months there has been little actual fighting around Leningrad, the Germans and the ROA being content to starve the city because it is completely cut off from the rest of the Soviet Union. The General Staff and Hitler, however, want to finish the Siege of Leningrad to free up the German/ROA units that are partaking in the siege.

    November 1st, 1942- Japanese troops cross the Chinese-Indochinese border. French and British troops resist but the lack of supplies and troops forces the Entente forces back. Japanese troops quickly advance forward, more adapted to the jungle warfare then the Entente.

    In the Philippines the Luzon Island completely falls to the Japanese, with Manila holding out with Filipino soldiers resisting until the late hours of the day but finally, after running out of ammo and supplies, the Filipinos are forced to surrender.

    In the United States recruitment is reaching an all time high, with volunteers lining the streets outside of recruiting centers. In the West Coast the first internment camps for Japanese-Americans are opened and within weeks tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans will be interned in these camps, for “the safety of the American people” as the government put it.

    Wavell, after solidifying his supply line, begins to move west once again. The Italians, outnumbered and lacking armored support are being forced back past their second, unfinished defenses. Despite being forced back the Italians are enacting a heavy loss amongst Wavell’s men and tanks.

    November 2nd, 1942- The Afrika Korps arrives in Benghazi, Libya. Tired of the long journey, Balck nevertheless orders his men east to stop the Italians from retreating. Balck knows if the British are not stopped now then North Africa will be lost. Balck will be moving by night to avoid being seen by RAF scouts.

    Japanese troops begin landing in West Papau (this territory did not surrender when the rest of Indonesia surrendered). While not a large invading army these forces will establish a foothold for future operations in the area. Australian, New Zealander, Dutch, British, and even some American troops that have retreated from Japanese conquests from across the Pacific, are resisting the Japanese troops in West Papau but do not have the forces to push them back. Japanese aircraft continue to dominate the area, limiting any chance the Entente and American forces have of pushing the Japanese out.

    November 4th, 1942- In Peenemünde Professor von Braun and Brigadier General Dornberger present the A-4 rocket. Many ranking Nazis, military and government officials watch the test firing and most walk away impressed. Berlin will authorize the expansion and increased funding of Peenemünde. Dornberger informs Berlin that they can have a mass produced, enhanced version of the A-4, called the A-4b, by late 1943 with increased range and accuracy. A bigger, longer ranged rocket with more explosives titled the A-5 begins to be worked on but is very much in the early development stage.

    General Nikolai Vatutin, Leningrad:
    The streets were full of rubble and corpses. As Vatutin and his Red Army protection cohort walked through the streets of Leningrad he knelt beside a body of Soviet woman. He turned her over with his gloved hand. She had no wounds resulting from the German bombing barrage, but her small frame and protruding bones showed she was malnourished and more than likely died of starvation.

    Vatutin closed her eyes, which had remained open, and walked further down the street. All around were corpses, some dead from the bombings, but most from starvation. Already Red Army troopers supervised the removal of the corpses and to take anything of value they had, they did this before the bandits and gangs did.

    A baby’s cry echoed through the area. Vatutin looked up and in the corner of an apartment complex’s entrance he saw a Soviet officer raise his pistol to silence the child. “Major, withhold your fire!”

    The major dutifully did so, holstering his Tokarev. Vatutin briskly strode over to where the crying came from. A couple, presumably a wife and her husband, were dead, both of their wrists cut by a broken piece of glass. They had killed themselves to avoid dying by starvation or Axis bombs. It had been recent, possibly in the last hour or so. Vatutin knelt down again, picking up the child wrapped in blood stained bed sheets. He stared at the major, demanding to know his reasoning.

    The major had the decency to blush. “We could not feed it, sir. With food as low as it is the child would have been another mouth to feed. We could not afford it,” he whispered.

    “I will ignore what I saw and will not ask you of your name, major. Leave this street now,” Vatutin’s rage barely kept in check.

    The major did so and quickly took his leave of the area with his men following. Vatutin looked at the crying child. It was small, the fat of it having melted away due to lack of nutrition. The child’s brown eyes looked up at the man who ordered Leningrad to resist the Germans and the ROA, causing its parents to kill themselves and for over a million to die, and hit the general’s hand in reflex, its weak hands pounding on Vatutin gloves as if in contempt.

    He did not know how long he stared into the child’s eyes, mouthing his apologies and begging for forgiveness. His guard’s radio operator rushed up to Vatutin, “Sir, spotters detect another German bomber formation inbound. We must seek shelter.”

    The Commanding Officer of Leningrad looked at his radio operator with sadness in him. “Hand me the radio speaker and set it to all frequencies, Soviet and Axis.”

    The operator numbly handed his commander the speaker, knowing what was to finally happen. Vatutin knew, as he took the speaker in his hands, that this was signing his death warrant. The Germans would kill him for the actions done to their people in East Prussia but he was tired of war, so very tired. He had the deaths of many hundreds of thousands on him, each weighing him down to where he felt he would never shake off their presence. But better to end the siege and allow those that are alive to continue to survive, or at least give them the chance.

    “Attention, all Soviet forces in Leningrad and Axis forces. I, General Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin, Commanding Officer of all Soviet forces in Leningrad, hereby surrender to the Axis Powers. Our spirit remains defiant and courageous but our bodies are broken by disease and starvation. I have no wish to see the remainder of the civilian population die in this war of tyrants. All Soviets forces stand down. To the Axis commanders, I and my men are surrendering with honor and any Soviet soldiers that resist Axis soldiers are to be considered rebels and not any longer under my orders.”

    Vatutin paused, looking at his men beside him, all in agreement with their commander. He looked at the baby who had stopped crying and fallen asleep in his arm. “The Siege of Leningrad is over.”

    November 5th, 1942- Leningrad surrenders to the Axis Powers. General Vatutin and most of his command staff and high ranking officers are taken into custody by the Germans. They will all be placed on trial in Germany for “crimes against the German people” and will be hanged within a few weeks.

    Over a million Soviets died during the siege, predominantly from starvation and disease but Axis bombardment, whether it was aerial or ground artillery, also contributed to the high death toll. With the Soviet city having finally fallen the large German/ROA army that had to lay siege to it are now free to go to other fronts, mainly to Sweden and Case Blue. Nothing will be sent to the Afrika Korps just yet. Sweden and Case Blue take precedence. The Finnish troops that took part in the Siege are moved to other fronts as well. Over half will go to the Finnish-Soviet Winter War border of 1939 to prepare for the eventual offensive there, which Finland has prepared for many months for. The remainder are sent to Sweden along with the 100,000 German contingent (60,000 will go to northern Sweden via railroads from Leningrad to Finland to northern Sweden with 40,000 going to the southern Sweden via sea).

    November 6th, 1942- France and Britain, struggling to maintain the vast war they are a part of, announce that both of their nations will enter into a War Economy state with more rationing and the beginning of large scale conscription. The British populace complains but does accept this much more readily than the French population does.

    French citizens tired of the war launch large scale riots not seen in months throughout Paris, Lyons and a dozen other major cities. While the rioters are not even a fraction of the population the situation is deemed serious. French soldiers and military police are called in to assist local law enforcement and after many hours subdue the rioters with very few casualties on either side. All know that it could have gone worse. With French and British war industry expanding and conscription having been enlarged both major Entente powers will be able to maintain the large scale combat and demand for resources the war is entailing.

    November 7th, 1942- Japanese troops land in northern and eastern Visayas. American soldiers fight hard but overwhelming Japanese numbers and air support push the American/Filipino men inland and south. The lack of medical supplies, artillery shells, and rapidly going through the cache of small arms ammunitions is causing the stout American defenses to be weaker than MacArthur had hoped. When he envisioned his fortification of the Philippines he did not think the USN would be forced to retreat like it did. This lack of Navy assistance which would have allowed supply ships from Australia and Hawaii access to the Philippines to keep MacArthur and his men continuously supplied. But with Hawaii having fallen to the Japanese and Australia cut off from the central Pacific his plans are falling apart. Within a month or two he will be forced to surrender. MacArthur however has a plan, a plan that could save the bulk of his troops.

    Japanese troops continue to advance in French Indochina. Gott and Percival prepare themselves for the eventual battle that will take place at Singapore.

    Caroline Walker, Oahu, Hawaii:
    Her hands and knees were raw from physical labor. Before the Japs arrived she had eloquent nails, beautiful and red. Now they were gone, replaced with callus and bleeding fingers. Her knees were chafed and sore. She walked home to her apartment, away from the communal farm she had been forced to work. She was tired, so very tired. The streets were near empty with only a few policemen here and there, about to enforce the curfew.

    Caroline sneered in their direction, perhaps unjustified. The police were allowed to keep their weapons and enforce law in the islands at the behest of the Japanese. But the laws were Japanese not American. But the police did try and keep people out of trouble; they tried to keep the Japanese military police out of it because once they get involved the troublemaker is likely shot.

    It was just hard to take orders from someone who was taking orders from conquerors. This was life in the new Hawaii. Her apartment was coming up soon. She turned a corner and froze. Ahead were six Japanese Army soldiers, standing guard outside a building.

    Japanese brutality had been widespread during the first few days of occupation with rape and executions the common. Their hot-bloodedness had eased but was an ever present threat. The loved to show their dominance to the Americans and the Americans were having a hard time accepting the fact they were beaten.

    If she took the long way around she would be out past curfew and detained which could lead to a variety of bad issues. If she walked towards them they might attempt to rape her. But these troops were rigidly at attention, their rifles with long bayonets high in the sky. They were on duty, seemingly guarding something. She looked at the small house they were guarding. Francine Jensen lived there, a widow whose husband died in the opening hours of the invasion.

    Caroline had to risk it. She walked down the street towards the soldiers. All of them noticing her but not breaking their stance. She bowed as she passed them; the Americans learned not bowing respectfully would lead to a beating. They ignored her and Caroline walked all the way down the street to the bottom of the apartment complex. She turned back and saw a figure emerge from the house. A Japanese officer, samurai sword and all strode out with swagger. He said something to his men who all laughed. As they walked away Caroline saw Mrs. Jensen in the doorway of her house, crying.

    Jared Walker, California, USA:
    The line to the recruiting officer extended past the block, sliding past the local town church. The priest and some church helpers began handing out ham and cheese sandwiches alongside a glass of lemonade to all the men waiting in line.

    Jared Walker gratefully accepted the food and drink. He ate it all, savoring the flavor of the rich, thick ham. The lukewarm lemonade was a nice finish to the meal. Beside him his friend Randall Hardisty made a noise of appreciation. “Damn good, damn good stuff.”

    Jared shook his head in humor. “You think anything edible is ‘damn good’, Randall.”

    “Hey, what can you do,” he said shrugging. “I like food.”

    “I can see that,” Jared looked at the line which slowly moved forward, “at this rate we will be in line another three or four hours.”

    “I reckon you’re right,” Randall paused, “How are you holding up, bud?”

    He winced, wishing the topic was not brought up. “I’m fine. Mother sends me tear stained letters and I talked to father on the phone. He’s proud of me and wishes me luck but I can tell he doesn’t’ want to lose his other child, his last child.”

    “Hey man, Caroline could be alive man, easily. She’s a smart girl, I’m sure she can survive those Japs any time of the day.”

    “I know but… Well come on, you heard of the stories that leaked out of Hawaii when we still had ships nearby. Murders, violations, looting and the like and with Hawaii cut off from the States the food supply is gonna be troublesome to say the least.”

    Randall nodded in agreement. Silence lasted between the two of them for a few minutes. “Hey, when we take Hawaii back, because we will take it back, we’re gonna find your sister. Then are all gonna drink together like we did years ago. After that we take the fight to Hirohito himself. The Japs hurt us bad but they didn’t kill us. Soon it will be our turn.”

    Jared nodded enthusiastically. “Hell yeah, we’re going to wreck the yellow bastards and take back our own land and take over Tokyo if we have to.”

    “Damn straight,” Randall said as the lined continued to move forward.

    Georgy Zhukov, Siberia:
    The gulag was worse than he dreamed it would be. The cold, the poor rations, and the work ate away at Zhukov’s bulk, taking away the muscle and fat he had before coming here. The work was hard, grueling in fact. The bodies that were buried daily were a testament to that.

    The camp guards, NKVD of course, watched on from towers and from behind chain fences. Beria had told him right before he left that no special treatment would be given towards Zhukov so as not to arouse suspicion and that there were those in the NKVD, particularly in the Gulag System who were loyal to Stalin first, Beria second.

    The people around him, fellow inmates, were predominantly military and civilian personnel that rebelled against Stalin since the war began. It gnawed at Zhukov to think he was working beside traitors. He laughed. Traitors! What was a traitor nowadays? Zhukov, Beria, and Molotov were all planning a coup and they would be branded traitors… until they usurped Stalin and became the new leaders of the Soviet Union.

    Zhukov continued to work, work that would help the USSR survive, the resources he and his fellow inmates were prying from the earth would be sent to factories in the Urals and from there west towards the front.

    Patience was key to surviving here. All he had to do was be patient and wait for Beria to send him back to Moscow. He just hoped he was alive long enough for that to happen.
    Jack Brisco likes this.
  8. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 28: Tales of War (Part 3)

    The city of Kielce had very few lights on during the night of November the eighth, nineteen forty-two. This was due to a multitude of reasons. Fuel rationing and martial law were the predominant reasons. But one part in particular had no lights on at all, except for the light of cheap candle flame, probably taken from the black markets that always seem to sprout in places where the people were desperate.

    Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth looked out upon the dark ghetto of Kielce. SS men, Polish auxiliaries and local police had surrounded the walled portion of the city. Machine guns, armored cars, and roadblocks made the ghetto even more secluded than it was previously used to.

    Göth watched as columns of black coated SS men, armed with MP-40s and G-42s, jogging into the ghetto, storming into the cramped apartments where the Jews lived. Immediately he heard gunfire, seeing the muzzle flashes quite easily in the dark city. The screams of men and the wailing of women and children cried out into the cold night.

    “And now it begins,” he said to his fellow officers and subordinates who nodded in reply. Throughout the night and into the morning the gunfire increased and advanced into the center of the ghetto. What came out were crying Jews, men, women and children, none were spared, with squads of SS men with dogs escorting them to the trains. The Jews were stripped of all valuables, if they even had any. With only the clothes on their backs they were marched to the railroad to where they would be deported further east. The weak, the old and the children would be sent towards the death camps, such as Auschwitz and Treblinka, while the more fit ones would be sent to labor camps to contribute something to the Reich.

    Göth stood by one of the many columns. The Jews looked at him, many with hatred, others in defiance, but all with fear. He nodded, that was how it should be. For hours the columns continued coming from the city with the gunfire echoing behind them and even increasing as the few defiant Jews were trapped and hunted down in the shithole they called home.

    The SS commander looked at his watch, surprised to see almost nine hours had passed; the sun was on its way towards noon. Fires were rising from the ghetto, along with the dead in the streets being thrown into piles by Polish auxiliaries, visible from the SS commander’s vantage point.

    “Very good, Hauptsturmführer, you did well this night. The Führer will be pleased.”

    Göth turned around seeing Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, commander of all SS forces in the East, and de facto second in command of the Schutzstaffel and by default one of the most powerful men in Germany. Göth came to attention, saluting with the Party Salute, the other SS and Polish officers following suit. “Heil Hitler!” they exclaimed.

    “Heil Hitler,” came the reply. The tall, uniformed Nazi officer walked towards Göth, his bodyguards in tow. “How many Jews were there in that ghetto?”

    “Around 24,000, Herr Reichsprotektor, give or take a few hundred.”

    Heydrich nodded. “Excellent. With Kielce Jew free we can finally move to the other cities of Poland. Eventually Poland will be cleansed; making the integration of Poland into the Reich much easier, from there will be go into the Baltic States. The Final Solution is well on its way. The Reichsführer plans to have Poland and the Baltic States completely Juden frei by early 1945. The war, of course, takes precedence and we may have to slow our operations down to ensure the Heer and the Luftwaffe receives their supplies before we can move any undesirables via train.”

    “Of course, sir,” Göth paused, “is there anything else, Reichsprotektor?”

    “Nein, I just came to watch, to ensure it went smoothly. I will inform the Reichsführer of how well this went. Hitler himself will hear of you and your men’s duty to the Party and the Vaterland . Good day, Göth.”

    “Good day, Reichksprotektor,” Göth and the officers gave the Party Salute as Heydrich left. Once Heydrich left the Hauptsturmführer breathed a sigh of relief. He had met the man with the iron heart himself and was even congratulated by him, a rare occurrence. Now back to the operation. It would be many hours more until processing was finished and the Jews shipped east. He and his men went back to work.

    November 8th, 1942- The Jewish Ghetto in Kielce, Poland is cleaned out by SS forces. This would be the beginning of the systematic removal of undesirables from cities to concentration camps and labor camps throughout all of Poland and the Baltic States (Germany had already exported all their undesirables earlier).

    Hitler, Himmler and the rest of the upper echelons of the Nazi Party dream of an Aryan German dominated Europe and this is their first major step in that direction. In Poland and the Baltic States this policy is met with high approval from those locals deemed Aryan (most of the population) and supports it and even participates in the removal of the Jews. Thousands of Jews are killed within the first few days with tens of thousands to follow and this is only during the removal phase. Once the Jews begin arriving in concentration camps and the labor camps the death rate will skyrocket to unprecedented levels.

    This is a dark chapter of not only European history but world history that will be remembered for generations to come.

    Lieutenant General Hermann Balck, North Africa Theatre, eastern Libya, east of Beda Littoria (Bayda):
    The wind blew the dust all around, getting into engines, water canteens, eyes, and mouths. Hermann Balck pulled a scarf over his mouth to block out the windblown sand. Darkness was setting in North Africa, the sun setting beginning to set below the horizon.

    He looked out to the east where he knew the British were making camp. The German commander shook his head in amusement. This British Field Marshal, Wavell, was a competent officer, his strategy against the Italians showed he knew what he was doing, but, Balck had noticed, he was not in tune to the modern way of war. He didn’t pursue the enemy to the extent he should have. When the sun sets the British advance stopped. It was a shock to see this in comparison to the battlefields on the Eastern Front where the war never stopped, only changed in intensity.

    The British had pushed the Italians far to the west; the Eighth Army was just barely twenty kilometers away from Beda Littoria, a major supply center for the Italian Army, a supply center they could not afford to lose. If the Italians lost the city the road to Benghazi would then be open. That was why Balck would make his stand here. For days the Italians had retreated west in a chaotic disposition, no order, no discipline with entire units being swallowed up by the advancing British armor and forced to surrender.

    With the Afrika Korps having arrived it quickly instilled hope in the Italians, allowing their commander, Graziani, to stop the retreat and begin organizing his forces just east of Beda Littoria to resist the British. Wavell had to have known, through RAF reconnaissance and scouts, that Graziani was establishing defensive works in and around the city but which was very much in its infant stage. These trenches and traps would be defeated but would cost more men and material to break through if he allowed those defenses to grow stronger.

    Balck would assume Wavell knew this and if he was the British officer he would attack tomorrow, before the enemy had adequate time to erect trench works and panzer-traps. Balck only hoped that Wavell didn’t know the Afrika Korps, which traveled by night, had reached Beda Littoria yesterday. He probably thought they were still in Benghazi due to the RAF not seeing them during the day travelling east and for the fact having inflatable rubber “panzers” that would be see from the air by scouts was placed in concentrations around Benghazi, hopefully tricking the British into thinking the DAK was still in the port city.

    At least that is what Balck hopes. Tonight could very well decide the North African Theatre. Looking out from his armored car to the panzers, half-tracks, trucks, and other vehicles with a mix mash of German and Italian insignias he nodded. The General Staff had entrusted him leading the Afrika Korps and he would try and show that they were right to do so.

    Graziani was in the city but had given Balck complete field command of the few intact Italian Army divisions hat had made it to the city. With Balck’s thirty thousand German soldiers and the five divisions of Italian troops deemed ready for combat Balck was ready to launch his first action in Libya.

    Major Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Balck’s adjutant, detached from the General Staff, stood up to get a better view of the darkening desert. “Sir,” he began, “are you sure we should do this? We are heavily outnumbered with barely any real Italian support. If the British are even remotely ready for us it will be a slaughter, with the DAK destroyed and the Italians crippled we will lose North Africa in a matter of weeks. It is too risky.”

    Balck smiled, “True, all true, but he knows that as well,” pointing east towards where Wavell had set up base, “and will not expect this. What we are about to do Wavell would think irrational and idiotic so he won’t even think of the possibility that we would try to attack so heavily outnumbered and outgunned. To win a battle or a war one must do the unexpected, never to fall in a pattern and become complacent. This is only the beginning,” he motioned to his radio operator. “Commence the operation.”

    The radio operator complied and within minutes 113 German panzers, 24 Italian tanks, 30,000 German infantry, assisted with 50,000 Italian troops, with hundreds of trucks and other vehicles, most Italian or locally made civilian models, moved east as Italian artillery fired off its opening barrage to slam into forward enemy positions.

    November 9th, 1942- The German Afrika Korps launches its first offensive in North Africa. Using the elements of surprise and concentrating its forces the Axis break through British lines, reaping a heavy toll on the Eighth Army. Wavell, shocked by the unsuspected attack, believes he is being attacked upon by a much greater force than was actually attacking him.

    Wavell would wisely order the retreat east as the German panzers and Axis infantry tore through British positions. The combat would last hours and by early morning it was over. The Germans lost 26 panzers and 12 Italian tanks and dozens of other vehicles and a few hundred infantry death for the combined Axis ground troops (most are Italian) but did succeed in rounding up/killing almost 8,000 British soldiers, many who had been in their sleeping cots when the attack began and not prepared for the surprise attack, capturing dozens of artillery guns, a large cache of other supplies, and more importantly captured 62 British tanks, most were Crusaders with a fair amount of Chamberlains. Out of the 62 only 54 were able to operate, the rest were too damaged and were cannibalized for parts. These would be colored in German livery and would replace the losses suffered in the battle. A few score trucks were also captured, many already damaged but most can be repaired to help the Axis infantry keep up with their armored units.

    The British had retreated to the east. When the sun rose RAF fighters took to the skies but found few to no enemy forces in the open (the Axis forces had gone into camouflaged areas to hide their vehicles from RAF bombers).

    Wavell has no idea of the forces arrayed against him. His intelligence stated a large but disorganized Italian force with German armor and infantry landing in Benghazi but no reports that they had moved east yet. Obviously intelligence was wrong.

    Not knowing what the forces arrayed against him were Wavell would wait, reorganizing his forces, sending depleted units to the reserve and consolidating his armored divisions. This German commander might have attacked him when he didn’t expect it but Wavell would not allow that to happen again. From here on out there will be extended perimeters, more communication between the troops on the frontline and those in the rear, a respectable force of tanks and soldiers will be put on standby at any given moment to repel any potential enemy attack.

    November 11th, 1942- In Washington D.C. the Joint Chiefs of Staff presents a plan to the president. Using the plan initially conceived by Captain Francis Low, the Joint Chiefs presented a daring raid on the Hawaiian Islands using Army Air Force B-25 Mitchell bombers. The raid would be purely symbolic but if successful would be a huge morale boost to a nation who had seen defeat after defeat and mishap after mishap so far in the war. Roosevelt approves of the operation with the USS Wasp and USS Victory selected to carry the bombers.

    Despite the risk to the carriers Roosevelt deems the operation will be worth it. Besides even if both carriers are sunk two more Essex carriers will be completed and ready to be commissioned by early February. A host of other escort carriers have been laid out and will be finished by mid to late 1943.

    The raid, which is to be commanded and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, U.S. Army Air Forces, is to be launched sometime in late January to mid February.

    November 12th, 1942- A Japanese I-400 submarine was sunk off the coast of California by a destroyer squadron. The U.S. Navy continues to scour the area, knowing I-400s don’t travel alone. The West Coast institutes a curfew to better maintain security. Anyone out after 9:00 p.m. must have a form of approved identification or face arrest.

    The Japanese continue to take larger and larger chunks of Indochina. Unrest in British Myanmar and the lack of support from Thailand the British are considering moving their troops west towards India to where they will be able to shorten their supply lines, extend the Japanese supply train and to save the thousands of British soldiers who would possibly die in the jungles of Myanmar fighting the Japanese, who are more used to fighting in such terrain.

    The first German troops from Leningrad reach northern Sweden and proceed south to meet up with Colonel-General Model and Gruppenführer Krüger. These troops will be held in reserve, waiting for the right moment. A moment both German officers agree is fast approaching.

    British and French infantry continue to slog into Stockholm, suffering heavy casualties but steadily pushing the Axis forces north. About a fifth of the city is under Entente control with more ground following daily.

    November 13th, 1942- Japanese troops continue to advance deep into Indochina. General Percival prepares his men for the coming battle. Entente and Japanese aircraft skirmish throughout all of Southeast Asia with the Japanese winning most engagements due to their superior aircraft when compared to the second rate, older Entente designs.

    In North Africa Luftwaffe and RAF aircraft engage in aerial combat which ends in a draw. The Luftwaffe strength, originally six full strength squadrons of mixed veterans and new pilots, loses nine aircraft to the RAF eight. This will be the first in many engagements to come. Italian reinforcements in terms of men, supplies, tanks and aircraft begin arriving in Benghazi. These are the first of the promised reinforcements. The Bulgarian reinforcements should be arriving in early December.

    The Japanese pockets in Visayas grow as more and more reinforcements arrive. American and Filipino soldiers, despite stunning success and enacting heavy casualties amongst the landing Japanese forces, are unable to stop this as ammunition and other critical supply caches continues to shrink.

    Lieutenant General William Gott, Singapore:
    “You understand why I am doing this, no?”

    Gott nodded to his commanding officer, his teeth clenched in contained annoyance and anger. “But I cannot leave now, the Japanese are nearing.”

    “This is precisely why I am sending you to Australia,” Percival replied sternly, “Gott you are a fine commander, more than fine. You are bloody good, despite what Wavell thinks.” Percival looked pained to say what he about to say, “Singapore will fall, there is no doubt about it. It might be a week or a month but it will fall. You have helped make it more fortified and your input has helped us prepare for the coming storm but if you stay here you will either die or be in a Japanese POW camp which might as well be death. I’m honest enough with myself to admit you are a better commander than me.”

    “Sir-,” Gott began.

    “No, William. You are needed elsewhere in this war, I am not. I’m ordering you to go, Gott. Not a request, not a suggestion, but an order.”

    “Yes, sir,” Gott replied, his defiance deflated.

    Both men stood in silence as the submarine docked. Gott picked up his small travel bag and walked into the submarine when the top hatch opened. He shook his head as he clamored down the hatch’s ladder. Percival made logical sense but he felt that leaving was equal to abandoning the men Gott encountered in Singapore. Rubbing his hand over his head he thought of his destination: Australia. Percival had the hindsight to know Singapore would fall. With Singapore in Japanese hands all of South-east Asia will fall to them. Then they could turn their attention east towards Papua New Guinea and could possibly threaten northern Australia.

    He would have a lot to do when he arrived in port at Dampier. Gott would have to take a long plane ride from Dampier to Perth and from there to Canberra. The Australian Defense Force would have to be enlarged. The RAAF would have to prepare to intercept Japanese aircraft and scout for sightings of IJN ships in coastal waters.

    November 16th, 1942- The Entente forces in north-western Indochina retreat westwards towards India via Myanmar. The civilian, colonial and military officials and forces will be evacuated to eastern India.

    In India the British begin raising an army of Indian volunteers. This army is rapidly growing once the British announce that when the war is over India will be allowed to become an independent dominion such as Canada and Australia but only if India contributes to the war. Tens of thousands of Indian men sign up, with many more on the way, to be auxiliary forces for the British. While lacking heavy equipment and quite frankly a lot of basic military equipment the Indian army is highly motivated and will be trained by the British themselves to ensure they are as effective as can be in combat, despite their inadequate armament.

    In North Africa the British have fully recovered from the Axis night attack and through intelligence agents learn the estimated size of the German and Italian force that attacked them on the night of the ninth. The information is withheld in the Eighth Army command hierarchy because if the information came out that the highly trained and prestigious Eighth Army was forced to retreat by a much smaller force, especially in terms of tanks and other heavy equipment, than British morale would suffer. At least that is what Wavell and his subordinate officers think.

    Wavell is planning to regain the initiative in an attack to break the Axis forces in eastern Libya and take Beda Littoria and through a blitzkrieg like offensive reach Benghazi by the end of December before the Italian reinforcements, which landed in Benghazi earlier, can fully commit to the fight. Wavell plans to launch the attack on December 1st. On the Axis side Balck has plans of his own.

    November 18th, 1942- In a top secret meeting President Roosevelt meets with the scientists who approached him before to discuss the possibility of properly setting up and funding an American Atomic Program.

    After many hours of discussion of the logistics, funding, and the potential benefits of the program the president authorizes and gives the scientists all the funding they require with the entirety of the vast resources of the United States of America available to them. He is able to do this with the country at a total war setting and with Congress not so fiscally sensitive anymore since war was declared. The secret project, codenamed the Brooklyn Project, will be under the command of Major General Leslie Groves and all will fall under his jurisdiction.

    November 20th, 1942- Two I-400 submarine carriers, the surviving two of three launched from Hawaii, launch their aircraft over Los Angeles. The aircraft damage a handful of transport ships, sinking one, and causing some light exterior damage to an American frigate but little else as Army Air Force squadrons were already in the air as per mandatory aerial sweeps denying the Japanese planes the element of surprise, also radar installations detected the submarine-carriers and their planes may minutes before they could actually attack.

    All of the Japanese planes are destroyed and U.S. destroyers hunt down and destroy both I-400 submarines. Japanese Imperial Command cancels any further raids on the West Coast for the rest of the year. Imperial Command has other ideas in store but will take time to develop and assess the situation.

    Lieutenant Artyom Vetrov, just outside of Moscow:
    Despite being a Lieutenant in the Red Army, Artyom decided to work alongside his soldiers in the trenches, digging them and shoveling out the cold, half frozen dirt. He did this for a variety of reasons. One was for the building of camaraderie with his men, many times officers in this war were not only as hot by the NKVD or the enemy but also their own men, if said officer was a bit… too demanding. Two it was for showing his men he would do the exact same work he ordered his men to do, showing he was not above it.

    Other reasons but those were the predominant ones. Artyom stood up to stretch and wipe his brow, taking note of the progress made today. He nodded at how much his men had dug. This trench was one of the many trenches being dug in and around Moscow; behind Artyom the domed towers of the Kremlin could be seen, albeit barely.

    Sergeant Yanikov walked up to his commander with a frown upon his features. “What is, sergeant?” Artyom asked wearily.

    Yanikov merely gestured behind him where both Red Army men could see a batch of newcomers entering the trenches, armed with SVT-40s and PPSh-41s smoking cigarettes, laughing and beginning to settle down in a portion of the trench that was already finished, their blue markings and arrogance told the world who they were.

    “NKVD Army men. Great,” Artyom said tonelessly but with sarcasm implied. Yanikov quietly chuckled. “They come in and take the best part of the trench, the most finished part and set up shop for themselves. Where were they when it needed to be dug, hmm?”

    “Not sure, sir, possibly sipping exquisite wine at Moscow’s finest whorehouses.”

    The lieutenant looked at the grizzled sergeant. “Let’s be realistic,” he began, “it was vodka and cheap vodka at that and the women were no beauties themselves. That is why they drank so much, to make them prettier,” both men laughed at their little joke.

    A roar of engines overhead was a squadron of Red Air Force fighters flying overhead, heading west, potentially to stall or stop another German bombing raid. In the aftermath of the Battle of Smolensk Artyom and his men had began building earthwork defenses across the front, alongside hundreds of thousands of other Soviet soldiers, and he had experienced no less than twenty mass bombings of Moscow itself. Artyom shook his head, weary of it all. When would it all end he thought. When would the war end so the world can know peace, a peace it has forgotten? His sigh was visible due to the cold air.

    “We better get back to work, before a commissar comes by.”

    “Yes, sir,” Yanikov jumped into the nearest section of the trench and begins digging with his trench shovel, laughing with and cursing the men at the same time, just as many sergeants would do. After another stretch Lieutenant Vetrov jumped back in and continued his shoveling. Would these makeshift defenses work against the German juggernaut? Maybe. The Soviet Union will find out in next year’s campaigning season.

    Corporal Akio Kato, Siberian Front:
    Moving quietly Akio and his fellow squad mates crawled through the snow. The Soviets had been quiet recently, too quiet for the tastes of the company commander. He sent out four squads, Akio’s included, to test the Soviet lines.

    Akio held his Arisaka, no bayonet on it, as he inched his way forward. Snow had been falling since the night before and helped cover their tracks to the Soviet foxholes. In the distance they could hear two men singing together, their singing could use improvement Akio thought.

    For another ten minutes the Japanese soldiers crawled their way, centimeter by centimeter to where they could see the Russians. There were four of them, two of them clutching vodka bottles and beginning another round of singing, one who sat by the fire making food and another one looking out into the white wasteland.

    That would the one they would have to kill first. Akio moved his rifle, positioning it so he could fire the weapon. He moved slowly, so as not to attract attention. Once he had the stock against his shoulder ready to fire he took a deep breath, held it, and released while firing his rifle. His troopers followed suit.

    Akio’s bullet hit the Russian in the head, causing him to fall backwards, blood gushing from the exit wound of the bullet. The snow was turning red and pink in the area. Akio re-bolted his rifle and fired again, missing the cook but another shot from one his troopers took the cook out. The two singers dropped their drinks. One reached for a submachine gun while the other jumped out of the foxhole and to run north.

    One of the Akio’s troopers pulled out his combat knife and jumped on the Russian reaching for the weapon. They became entangled with Ishi eventually able to stab the Soviet in the chest repeatedly. The one that was running away was shot at by three troopers and fell down with two bullets hitting his back.

    But that was only one foxhole. About twenty meters away was another foxhole full of soldiers who had heard the commotion and were preparing to attack. Akio grabbed a grenade from a dead Red Army soldier, pulled the pin and threw it at the foxhole. Two of his men followed his example with their own grenades. As they threw them one of the Japanese soldiers was shot and killed by the enemy soldiers in the other foxhole. One grenade was too far and exploded behind them, blackening the snow. Another was a little to the left, killing one of Russians but the rest were alive. The last grenade made it in the foxhole itself blew up, killing the other four men.

    Akio looked at the surrounding area. The Soviets were aware of the intrusion and undoubtedly were making their way to the foxhole. Akio looked at one of his men nodding. That infantryman pulled out a mine and began to carefully dig it into the ground with a light covering of snow and sticks to hide.

    When the demolition man raised his thumb up the Japanese squad left the foxhole, heading back to their own lines. When they were about fifty meters away the sound of the mine going off was heard clearly. Akio grinned. Another minor skirmish won for the Emperor.
  9. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 29: Tilting the Balance

    Captain Theodore Hamilton, Stockholm outskirts, Sweden:
    The city was death incarnate. Snipers, traps, and enemy infantry plagued the Entente forces, forcing their progress to advance at a snail’s pace. In the street beside his foxhole there were dozens of bodies, most French or British with some Axis troops with a dosage of civilian corpses.

    Field Marshal Montgomery was determined to take Stockholm, no matter the cost, or so it seemed to him. Hamilton wiped his brow and sunk further down on the foxhole. Spent shell casings and his Enfield rifle were all that accompanied him. Looking up into the grey sky he could see the long tendrils of black smoke from the city reach up towards the heavens.

    He had been in Scandinavia for damn near two years, he had watched Entente forces push east towards the heart of Sweden and watched many friends and men die on the way there. Now his company was composed of nostly fresh recruits, boys to be honest. Most eighteen or nineteen years old, some could barely shave.

    Down the street he and his men were holding, in league with another Infantry Company commanded by a Captain Biddel, was an apartment complex that held the road junction. If the Entente were to advance in this part of the Swedish capital that building must be captured. The British captain moved to the edge of foxhole and nodded towards the radio-operator in a foxhole near him. He could hear the operator telling the other platoons of Hamilton’s company and the other British company to advance down the street. Hamilton dashed out of the foxhole, his rifle in his hands. Beside him hundreds of men moved forward to another line of cover, with another few hundred covering them as they advanced.

    With the first wave in cover halfway to the complex the second wave began moving forward. That was when the machineguns and mortars began firing. Bullets shredded through the second wave killing a dozen of British soldiers within seconds, mortars crashing down doing the same out with shrapnel exploding outwards, wounding many.

    “First platoon flank left through the alleyways, second platoon flank right through that building, third platoon provide covering fire, fourth platoon with me!” Hamilton shouted over the roar of war. He ran over the street rubble towards the Axis held complex. Going from a broken car to a partially collapsed building Hamilton and his men surged forward. From the lower stories of the complex rifle fire emerged as well. Bolt action and submachine guns fire ripped through the leading elements. What seemed like an eternity but could only have been a minute or so Hamilton and a few score were able to reach a small store in front of the complex, the thick stone walls preventing the bullets from penetration. To his left he could see first platoon crossing the street from the alleyways he ordered them through. The first platoon would enter the buildings nearby and work their way through to the complex's upper floors, silencing any enemy activity.

    “Sir, look,” one of his troopers said, motion towards the right. Second platoon was crossing the road when more machinegun fire was shot at them with a quarter of them falling to the pavement. The remainder scattered into any cover they could find.

    “Damn. At least the first is getting through.” He looked back at where they came, the third platoon giving covering fire as the other British company moved forward. The amount of bodies littering the street grew, all dressed in British khaki.

    “Parker, Golden, Harper, get rifle grenades ready,” he ordered.

    “Yes, sir,” they chorused.

    As they prepared Hamilton checked his Enfield, to make sure it was undamaged. Content with the state of his weapon he looked at the three privates. They nodded, their rifles tipped with a grenade tip.

    Motioning towards the complex, at the three machinegun nests facing their direction Hamilton ordered them to fire. All three men fired, their grenades hitting the nests they were aiming at, exploding, killing or disabling the machinegun operators.

    “Move, move, move,” he said as he charged across the street, his men following. A Swedish soldier in a low story window fired into the oncoming British men, killing one of the advancing soldiers. Hamilton and the other men fired back but they were on the move and did not aim very well, it was just to keep the Swede from firing again.

    “Franklin, Hagen, Belview, ready grenades, throw through the windows into the lobby,” as the readied Hamilton chambered another round, aiming at the door, three grenades flew through two windows into the main complex lobby exploding with the sounds of screams and ammunition going off like firecrackers.

    The doors to complex opened and two Swedes stuttered out, bloodied, but with hands raised. The British men shot them before they could utter a word. Glancing quickly in the lobby the captain saw two more dead Swedish soldiers and a pair of machine guns, bent and broken by the grenade’s shrapnel.

    “Go, go, go,” motioning the men forward, fanning out into the room, securing the bottom floor rooms, shots rang out and the all clear sign was repeated by the men. “First squad stays here and waits for Biddel’s company, the rest with me in clearing the building. Remember, first platoon is making their way in from accompanying buildings, watch your fire.”

    Picking up a German MP-40 from the hands of one of the dead Swedes, and a few magazines of ammo, the British officer led his men up the stairs, clearing room by room. Eventually fourth and first platoon met up on the fourth floor, eliminating the guns firing on second paltoon. Within minutes the apartment was flooded with British soldiers.

    Eventually Captain Biddel’s company made it to the complex as well, with Hamilton’s third platoon in tow. “Good work, Theodore, with the complex taken we control the entire road junction for three blocks.”

    Hamilton nodded. Looking at the casualty reports he saw that he lost sixty eight men, Biddel lost seventeen, for control of a few blocks. The Swedes lost sixteen. Only about a quarter of the city had been taken, if this action was an example of all the other skirmishes happening in Stockholm than what would be left of the Entente forces when they completely took Stockholm. That was a question Hamilton almost did not want to know the answer to because the cost would be too high.

    November 23rd, 1942- Entente troops continue to advance into Stockholm at high cost in lives. Montgomery orders his men to not relent and tells them if Stockholm is taken Sweden will fall. Axis officers plan to bleed the British and French in preparation for future operations, operations that are rapidly nearing launch.

    In the East the preparation for Case Blue is going incredibly well as infantry and panzer divisions swarm into the Ukraine in readiness for Blue. West of Moscow the dummy army the Axis has built up continues to fool the Soviets, which in itself is also growing to further cement the idea in the Soviets eyes that Moscow will be the summer's objective. Since the Fall of Leningrad the German troops that were there have been stationed elsewhere with many tens of thousands send to western Russia to further fool the Soviets that the next German offensive will be directed towards the Soviet capital.

    Gott arrives in Australia. It will be another week or so before he makes it to the capital city of Canberra to officially take command of the Australian and New Zealander military forces. He is given a promotion to General to give him the authority that the rank carries with it.

    The United States Army informs Roosevelt that the U.S. Army has now reached a million men, almost all post-Pearl Harbor volunteers. Many are in training or just finished boot camp and will be situated among the West Coast States, waiting for the inevitable offensive against the Japanese Empire. The Army expects another million man growth in four to six months.

    Japanese troops finish conquering all of French Indochina and begin entering northern Thailand, their goal: West Malaysia and Singapore. Japanese naval ships and aircraft bombard the British fortress city for hours every day, killing hundreds of soldiers and civilians. Thailand declares itself an ally of Japan and allows the Japanese quick and total passage through Thailand. Thai soldiers, who have been on standby for weeks, move south and west to assist the Japanese, south towards West Malaysia, west towards Myanmar.

    November 24th, 1942- British light bombers laden with explosives fly off Royal Navy aircraft carriers in the North Sea and heavily damage the German naval shipyards at Wilhemshaven, killing almost a hundred civilians and wounding many more. The bombers struck German warships at port, severely damaging the German battleship KMS Tirpitz. While not sunk the damage was so extensive that the Kriegsmarine decided to scrap the ship to build more U-boats. A half dozen more ships suffered various amounts of damage.

    Hitler, furious over the raid, forces Admiral Raeder into a powerless desk job in Berlin, and promoting German U-boat Admiral Karl Dönitz to command the German Navy which is increasingly seeing budget cuts and surface ship cancellations to provide more money, manpower and resources for the Heer and Luftwaffe. Raeder will remain nominally the official commander of the German Navy but will be, in reality, led by Dönitz.

    Dönitz begins issuing orders for the surface ships of the Kriegsmarine to move further into the Baltic to escape any Entente incursions. The U-boat Fleet is still a deadly threat to the Entente but the convoy system is causing heavy losses amongst the U-boats. The new Kriegsmarine commander changes tactics. Supply ships are of secondary concern, except in the North Sea, elsewhere in the Atlantic the U-boat wolf packs primary goal is the damage and sinking of British and French warships. This will see a rapid rise in Entente naval losses but not enough to loosen their iron grip of the Atlantic.

    Dönitz hopes that the new U-boat class, the Type VIII, will reinvigorate the Kriegsmarine and show the Führer that the German Navy is an asset in the war. This U-boat has longer range, can stay submerged for longer periods of time, has increased speed, and “quieter engines” to allow the U-boat to more easily evade Entente ships if need be, the snorkel, which was smuggled to Germany by Dutch fascists in 1940, would be built in from the ground up and not just added on like it was to the Type VII.

    This U-boat has been in development and testing since late 1940 when it was obvious the focus of the German military would be in the east and that the Germans would not have naval bases in southern Norway, the Low Countries or France. The General Staff hopes that this new U-boat will tilt the balance of the Battle of the North Sea in the Reich’s favor. Whether it can do this is to be seen. The first batch of Type VIII U-boats will be deployed in the summer of 1943.

    November 27th, 1942- Lieutenant General Balck puts the final touches on his defensive planning; he knows Wavell will come again. This time the British know of the Afrika Korps and are prepared against any further night attacks. Balck knows this and is preparing accordingly, he has a few tricks up his sleeve.

    The British and French have completely abandoned Myanmar as Japanese and Thai forces enter the eastern portions of the country, this is done to overextend the Japanese and to prevent thousands of Entente soldiers from fighting a losing battle in the already dissident country. The Burmese also join Japan in its war for the Entente with the majority of the population supporting such a move. However British commandos, who were left behind to stall the Japanese, and Burmese freedom fighters quickly wage guerilla warfare against the Myanmar and Japanese authorities. A guerilla war that would be waged unmercifully with thousands of civilians killed in the collateral damage in the coming months.

    In Oslo, Norway the Norwegian Resistance detonates a car bomb outside of the French embassy killing seven and wounding almost thirty French citizens and soldiers. This will be just the first in a large scale operation launched by the Resistance against the occupiers and false Norwegian government.

    Throughout southern Norway Resistance fighters strike at British, French, and Provisional Government supply centers and railroad system, putting a strain on the Entente logistics supplying their troops in Sweden. The Entente can cope with it for now but will need to get a hand on the situation before it spirals out of control.

    New rules by the occupying authorities are put out. For every Entente soldier killed by a resistance fighter five Norwegian civilians will be rounded up at random and if the resistance members do not turn themselves in than the civilians will be shot by firing squad.

    November 29th, 1942- A U.S. submarine sinks a Japanese transport ship on its way to Hawaii. The ship carried primarily food with a small amount of mechanical parts for aircraft. This is the first supply ship lost by the Japanese to the Americans post Pearl Harbor (in the waters near Hawaii that is). The U.S. Navy dispatches dozens of submarines in formations similar to the German wolf packs throughout the Pacific which hunt down any and all Japanese ships.

    This inadvertently hurts the American populace of Hawaii more as that food which would have gone to occupying soldiers will now have to be taken from the civilian’s stock of food. The result of this campaign will cause thousands of Americans to die on the Islands from starvation.

    The Japanese are forced to extend their aerial coverage of the Islands to hunt for the submarines. This is rapidly burning through their fuel reserves forcing the Japanese to import more fuel as a result. The extension of the air coverage is also causing the Islands themselves to be relatively void of Japanese planes except for a Combat Air Patrol and a few reserve squadrons.

    Athens, Greece, having been under the thumb of the Italians for almost a year rises up in rebellion. The rebellion is led by a former Greek Army Colonel named Mordehai Frizis, a Greek Jew. Italian authorities are quickly overwhelmed and nearby Axis infantry divisions are called in.

    The Greek Resistance rounds up hundreds of collaborators and Axis officials, shooting them all with weapons fire. Mussolini declares via radio announcement he will wipe the stain of rebellion from Greece for all time. Already bomber squadrons from across Albania and Italian controlled southern Yugoslavia and other Italian controlled Greek cities bomb the rebel city. These aircraft would be considered obsolete against any modern opponent but against rebels without air support it more than did the job. The Italian bombers would spend the rest of the day bombing the city, creating dozens of small firestorms and killing thousands.

    The Athenian rebels had hoped all of Greece would rise up but the local resistance cells are much smaller, have less supplies and weapons and local Axis authorities upon hearing of Athens rebelling locked down the rest of Greece under martial law.

    December 1st, 1942- Field Marshal Wavell launches his offensive at the Axis positions. In the first hours he is able to push his way through relatively quickly, meeting only half formed defenses and small enemy units.

    The only negative for the day was the high amount of armored vehicles destroyed by Axis soldiers carrying Panzerfausts and Panzerschrecks. Wavell still had just over five hundred and fifty tanks and hundreds of armored vehicles/trucks. He was confident he would be at Beda Littoria within the week.

    In China Nationalist and Communist Chinese, under a temporary armistice since the Japanese invasion years earlier, begin once again putting significant pressure on the Japanese occupying forces and their Manchurian/Mengkukuoan puppets. While this is not met with much success in the short run these actions, ranging from sabotage to hit and run tactics, will tie down hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops and a significant portion of the Army Air Service. Casualties among the Chinese are high but they are determined to free their homeland.

    The joint Croat and Italian force encircle Athens and move into the city itself to stamp out the rebellion. The fighting is bloody and the conclusion is known by both sides but the Greek rebels refuse to surrender. Italian, Croat, and Greek die by the hundreds as the day progresses.

    December 3rd, 1942- German/Italian fighter squadrons intercept RAF fighters. The combat would last the rest of the afternoon with the British losing twenty-nine aircraft to the Axis’s nineteen. Balck continues to refuse combat to the British, preferring his panzer-busting armed infantry to whittle away at the Eighth Army. Wavell is becoming increasingly frustrated as his losses mount but the Germans and Italians lose nothing more than a few dozen infantry.

    American bombers, operating out of forward Army Air Force bases in Alaska fly across the Bering Strait to bomb local Japanese bases. The damage done is miniscule with only eleven Japanese soldiers killed, some damage to their camp and supply depot and not much else. The American bombers all return home with one heavily damaged due to anti-aircraft fire, two crewmen died.

    While on the grand scale of things the operation was strategically/tactically unimportant but did show the American people that the United States was beginning to strike back. The Japanese are forced to pry away some fighter squadrons from Manchuria and the Home Islands to cover the area. This will force the Americans to double their bomber force and to add screening fighter squadrons for the next time.

    The Entente launches a large scale bombing operation against the Swedish city of Uppsala. This is done for multiple reasons. The principal reason is that with Stockholm a major battleground the Axis military headquarters, and Swedish government, are located in the Swedish city. Another primary reason is that Uppsala is a major supply depot for the Axis military in Scandinavia; the Entente hopes that if they damage or destroy enough supplies that Stockholm will be easier to take if its defenders run out of bullets and other armaments.

    The Entente loses fifty three bombers and fighters to the Axis’s twenty-two. Swedish AA fire in the city took a heavy toll amongst the British and French bombers. While some supply depots were damaged or destroyed the majority went through unscathed, much to the chagrin of the Entente.

    Gott, after some delays, arrives in Canberra to officially take command of all Commonwealth forces in Australia/New Zealand. His first order of business was the expansion of the Army and for more of Australia’s industry to switch to wartime needs. This will see the RAAF expand and modernize and allow Australian Army to grow rapidly while becoming well and sufficiently armed.

    December 4th, 1942- After three days of hard fighting the Croat/Italian force breaks the back of the Greek defenses, forcing the few survivors to surrender. All the rebels are executed by the end of the day and thrown in mass graves outside the city.

    Mordehai Frizis, the rebel leader, is to be flown to Rome to stand for trial against “crimes against the Italian Empire.” His trial will last mere minutes and he will be hanged by the end of the day. Mussolini, under pressure from the Germans, puts into effect new, harsher laws against Jews in Italy and across its Empire.

    The previous anti-Semitic laws had only been formal and were rarely enforced outside of government or military offices but with a major rebellion having been led by a Jew, Mussolini and the Germans decide to make it a point of bullying the Balkan Jewish population into submission. Jews in Italy, who have lost their rights and freedoms since the 1938 Manifesto of Race, are harassed to an unprecedented scale with Italian citizens, spurred on by the MVSN, the Blackshirts, robbing Jewish homes, burning Jewish synagogues, and the occasional shooting of innocent Jews as they protested these actions.

    This would be the Italian version of Kristallnacht and would see over four thousand Jews arrested, wounded or killed. German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, who was in Rome on a state visit, suggested to Mussolini of the need to secure the safety of the Italian people away from the undesirables such as Jews, Gypsies and the like. He suggested “…camps where they can be concentrated…” Mussolini agrees and thus begins the process of the Italian concentration system. A system influenced, assisted and directed by the Germans, the SS will command it but the camps’ staffs will be primarily Italian and the camps will be created by the Italians. It will span Italy, Albania, Italian controlled parts of Yugoslavia, and Greece. Croatia itself would create its own camps with some help from its Axis allies, but it would be entirely independent of the German dominated system.

    December 6th, 1942- Entente troops have taken approximately a third of Stockholm and continue to advance. Montgomery is putting more and more men into the city to conquer it. He is being forced to strip his tactical reserve of men. This means that while his flanks are secured if the Axis attacked and somehow broke through he would not have many troops to oppose them behind the lines.

    Wavell has retaken all the territory he lost some weeks ago. In the five days of his offensive he had lost over twenty tanks to Axis infantry, fighter-bombers, or mechanical breakdown. His men had been pushing hard, staying alert for any sign of Balck. This has caused fatigue amongst the British men. Balck plans to use that for his advantage.

    In the early of December 6th Balck finally comes into contact with the British army. Concentrating his panzers once again he attacks. Balck’s 141 panzers, a mix of German models and captured British tanks, pierce the British armored spearhead. After hours of combat in which is Afrika Korps, in coordination with the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica, cause heavy losses amongst the forward third of Wavell’s army, especially in his tank divisions.

    The Axis air forces had been combating the RAF for days for dominance and while it had not been established the Axis did temporarily control the skies early on during the day as the German and Italian fighters overwhelmed the RAF. RAF reinforcements were called in and within a half hour the battle for the air was once again swinging back and forth between the two sides.

    Near late afternoon Balck ordered a retreat, citing heavy losses. This radio message was intercepted by the British and they prepared to deal the killing blow to the DAK. The Eight Army swarmed forward to crush the Afrika Korps before they could enter the relative safety of the Libyan city. The British were able to capture/destroy some of the retreating rear elements of the Axis forces when they suddenly came under fire from scores of carefully placed and well hidden artillery guns, many German 88s that had been shipped to Benghazi late November and sent to Beda Littoria as fast as possible during the night.

    The artillery guns had been dug in and covered with camouflage. The tank-busters were bordering the southern and western flank of the British, waiting for the British to overextend themselves and to get into easy range of the artillery guns. When the artillery guns announced their participating in the battle it was a near massacre. Within an hour dozens of tanks had been crippled or destroyed. Balck would reverse his ‘retreat’, and reinforced by forty two Italian tanks (thirty tanks had arrived days earlier from Benghazi, the first to arrive but not the last from the Italian reinforcements and the other 12 were tanks that were already there), ordering his men and allies forward.

    For hours both sides combated with the British being the ones who would finally withdraw from the field. Italian fighter-bombers would harass the retreating Eighth Army. This would cause extensive damage amongst the British but would result in over thirty Italian aircraft to be shot down with the British losing only a dozen or so but Balck concluded the damage done to the British ground elements more than worth it.

    The Second Battle of Beda Littoria, despite never taking place in the actual city, just near it, would see over 220 British tanks destroyed/captured, over 300 hundred vehicles of varying types captured or destroyed 40,000 captured and/or killed or missing. Not to mention that the RAF lost over sixty nine planes throughout the day.

    The Axis lost only 6,000 men, most of them Italian, 56 panzers (twenty-two are Italian tanks), almost a hundred vehicles and dozens of artillery guns destroyed or damaged. The Axis air power suffered the most with seventy six aircraft shot down (fifty-eight are Italian).

    Balck would pursue Wavell all the way back to Wavell’s original starting position on December 1st. The Afrika Korps performed incredibly well, even the Italians did exceptional. Some of the material losses could be replaced by the captured British supplies, some but not all, most of his remaining panzers suffered damage of varying degrees and were in desperate need of repair. His men were exhausted from the day long fighting in the hot desert. His ammunition expenditure, especially for the panzers and artillery, had burned through most his stockpile.

    While his losses were light compared to the British he knew he had gotten lucky. If Wavell had only stayed in the fight for a few more hours his losses would have been higher but the Afrika Korps would have been defeated and Beda Littoria would fall.

    But Balck had assumed Wavell would not stay committed after so many losses and he was right. It would take weeks, perhaps a couple of months to properly repair the DAK and for the Italian reinforcements to fully arrive from Benghazi.

    Balck would be content to wait though. Back at Wavell’s headquarters the field marshal is heard cursing the name of Balck calling him, “… a damn fox. That is what he is, a bloody fox, and the desert is his home,” this is the origin of Balck’s famous nickname: the Desert Fox which will quickly be adopted by both the Entente and the Axis. The German general would embrace this title.

    December 8th, 1942- Turkey, impressed with the success of the Afrika Korps against the British in Libya, begins to take a careful look at the Middle East, a Middle East rife with growing civil unrest against the British and French. A Middle East stripped of most of its powerful occupying/defending forces to supply Wavell in North Africa.

    For years Turkey had been edging closer and closer to the Axis. It had weighed its options and while it had not settled on anything final it was beginning to do so. The military commanders, who effectively ran the country, privately congratulated the Germans of their victory in Libya but stated that they were not yet willing to join the Axis. They would need some more convincing in the form of Axis victories to decide whether to join or not.

    The General Staff promotes Balck to the rank of General. This promotion is well deserved.

    The Japanese, despite the best efforts of the Americans and Filipinos, have expanded into Visayas, their two pockets having joined to be one large force. From here the Japanese are advancing south at a rapid pace. While they are quickly taking Visayas in comparison to Luzon the Japanese are still losing many thousands of men. Japanese bombers continue to hammer at American supply lines and Filipino cities, disrupting the already weakened defenses.

    December 11th, 1942- The Bulgarian reinforcements, 20,000 men, finally arrive in North Africa. Also a nice surprise to Balck was the inclusion of 40 new Panzer IV’s and enough replacement soldiers to bring his German strength back up to 40,000 men. The Luftwaffe also sent in replacement planes and even an extra squadron, bringing their total strength to seven squadrons. Italian replacement aircraft also arrive with more aerial reinforcements of the latest Italian models inbound.

    Unbeknownst to Balck these reinforcements are sent by order of Hitler so DAK has a chance of invading Egypt. This is done for a multitude of reasons. The two primary reasons are if Balck captured the Suez Canal he could threaten the Middle East itself, with the possibility of invading the oil rich territory. The other primary reason was if Germany had large, clear victories against the British, possibly destroying or crippling the Eighth Army, the hesitant Turks might join the Axis.

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, near Kiev, Ukraine:
    Elrich Dorff continued to look at the picture Anneliese had given him. It was a newer one of her, she was in the dress he had bought her before he came back East. During his R&R in Munich they had rekindled their relationship and now she was his girlfriend, again.

    Dorff chuckled. Before the war they had been off and on since school but the war brought them together in a strange way. She lost her brother and he lost men under his command. Both shared something they hadn’t before.

    He missed her already. He had been back for a little over a month and he was already counting down the days for a possibility to go back for R&R to see her. Both of them wrote letters every other day, her more than he. She occasionally sent pictures, either of his or her family, sometimes her, sometimes of rallies or just things from the street. She was a bit of a photographer, a secret love of hers. Sometimes she sent intimate, revealing pictures. All were nice. He treasured all the pictures. They reminded him of home and not this damn war.

    Looking out the moving train he could see the city of Kiev, capital of the National Republic of the Ukraine. The city was battered, what city in the East wasn’t, but it was defiant. Glancing around the train carriage he saw his men sleeping, playing cards, reading, writing, drinking, or just staring out the window.

    Many were veterans of the war, some new but not many, and all knew the significance of the transfer of their division from western Russia to the Ukraine. This would be the launching pad of the Reich’s new offensive into the USSR. They had all been given the new G-42s before they set out as well.

    As the city came closer and closer Dorff could make out a large area set aside for panzers. He saw a multitude of armored fighting vehicles. He saw the outdated Panzer III, armed with the 50mm and determined to keep fighting, he saw the Panzer IV, the Jagdpanzer IV, the Hornisse panzer-buster, and the STuG III and StuG IV and… others.

    These must be the newest additions to the Heer. One had sloped armor like the T-34 with a 75mm cannon while the other was entirely boxy like earlier German models with an 88mm cannon, these were the Panzer V “Panther” and the Panzer VI “Tiger” respectively, the new and deadliest additions to the German Army.

    Dorff nodded in approval. With those mechanical beasts the Germans would have a clear advantage, panzer to panzer, over the Soviets; the downside was the Soviets had so many damn panzers. But with these new weapons and vehicles the German Army was receiving, maybe, just maybe, the Reich could win the war in the East, doubtful but a possibility.

    He looked back down at the paper he had brought out for Anneliese. He began:

    “Dear, Anneliese. I am in a different location now, cannot tell where, but I am doing well. My men and I are rested, armed with the best weapons the Reich can produce. We wait with a mix of dread and eagerness for the next campaigning season. The quicker this war is done the quicker I can come back to you. I have received your last letter…” he continued for quite a while. As the train pulled up to the station he ended, “With love, Elrich Dorff.”

    He put the letter in an envelope, wrote her address on the front and when he got a chance he would give it to the Reich’s military postal service. They’ll see it gets back home, after being checked by someone to make sure he wasn’t telling anything he shouldn’t have been.

    The train stopped, Dorff stood up and started ordering his troops around, “Alright men, wake up, time to move, let’s go, let’s go. You are not paid to sleep, you are paid to fight. Move.”
    Jack Brisco likes this.
  10. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 30: The Eagle Strikes the Lion

    Colonel-General Walter Model stood over the folded table that was holding the map of central Sweden. Obergruppenführer Walter Krüger stood across from him, his arms folded across his chest, his SS runes catching the electric bulb’s light. The SS runes on his collar the only noticeable difference from his and the Model’s uniform. Both were field gray.

    Reading the reports from intelligence officers, spies, and scouts Model moved more of the flags representing Entente troops further into Stockholm. Elsewhere on the map the concentration of German gray was like an iron spear, waiting to be cast into battle.

    After a moment Model looked at the SS officer. At first Model did not want to work with an SS man but the Waffen-SS were tough, dependable and ferocious, qualities that would help here in the coming battle. Krüger looked up as well. Both men knew now was the time.

    Model turned about face, walked to the radio operator. He took the microphone from the sitting soldier. Clearing his throat, “Red Snow is a go, I repeat, Red Snow is a go.”

    December 15th, 1942- The Axis Powers launches Operation Red Snow in Sweden, after a mere twenty minute artillery barrage the offensive is spearheaded by the German Heer and Waffen-SS divisions the Axis forces attack from the west side of the Mälaren Lake. The attacking forces are 130,000 Germans with 90,000 Swedish, 20,000 Finnish, and 40,000 Norwegian Loyalists. These 280,000 soldiers are focused on a very narrow front and led by 650 Axis tanks (350 German). Luftwaffe squadrons, brought in from the Leningrad area of operations since that city fell, take to the skies, reinforcing the already strong Axis air power (about half which was non-German).

    *(The reason for such heavy forces here in spite of the German buildup in the East is that the Germans have been preparing for an offensive similar to this for almost two years, stockpiling panzers, material and conserving manpower. It also significantly helps that a 100,000 men from Leningrad were transferred here when that city fell, 60,000 to the north, 40,000 to the south). *

    The British flank holds for just under an hour until it is pierced by panzers and mechanized infantry. With little to no reserve troops the British quickly lose ground to the German led troops. Montgomery, who by this point has taken about half of Stockholm realizes the danger and immediately orders troops that are near/in the city to head west to slow/stop the Axis. He is already too late.

    Axis dive-bombers, light bombers, medium bombers, heavy bombers, fighter-bombers and escorting fighters bombard the Entente positions south of Stockholm and those units facing advancing Axis forces with utter devastation. In Stockholm itself Swedish/Finnish/Norwegian Loyalists with the few German divisions there engage the Entente in heavy, bloody combat throughout the city, not to push them back but to tie down British and French forces so they cannot disengage and leave the city.

    December 16th, 1942- Entente armor and German armor come into large-scale contact just west of the Swedish city of Eskilstuna. The engagement would last for two hours and see the Germans victorious with the British armored divisions having lost many of their tanks in one battle, damaging their ability to resist. The Germans suffer as well but the panzer-busting Stuka and anti-panzer infantry account for a third of the Entente losses, forcing them back towards the east.

    The Swedish town is quickly taken and the German/Finnish/Norwegian Loyalists/Swedish troops continue to move at breakneck speed east. Model and Krüger are pleased and somewhat surprised. They knew Montgomery had thinned his reserves, they just didn’t realize that it was by this much.

    Norwegian Loyalist intelligence agents inform the Norwegian Resistance of the ongoing Operation Red Snow. Seeing a chance to truly hurt the Entente the resistance rises up in large scale revolt across southern Norway with half a dozen cities falling to the resistance by day’s end. British, French, and Provisional authorities are quick to dispatch men to retake these centers of opposition but will take time and blood.

    In Oslo itself resistance leader Max Manus leads an attack on the Provisional Government’s seat of power, the former Royal Palace. The Norwegian underground commander is determined to cut the head off the illegal government’s shoulders.

    Japanese and Thai troops are nearing Singapore, the conquest of West Malaysia is nearing conclusion. Percival prepares his men to hold out as long as possible. Stockpiles of food, ammo, medical and other supplies are accounted for and prepared to be rationed for a long siege. Despite the dire situation the British men of the fort are in high spirits, ready to give the Japanese a bloody nose that they will never forget.

    In West Papua the Japanese are halted from their progression east by a combined Australian/New Zealander/British/Dutch/American force. While the combat was not particularly large scale it was a noted battle in future history books for stopping the Japanese conquest of West Papua. Gott would order two Australian and a New Zealander division to be transferred to Papua New Guinea to travel west to West Papua. While this would leave Australia weak in terms of land units Gott was confident the Japanese could not afford to attack due to being overstretched in other fronts.

    Akio Kato:
    The road leading to the city of Vladivostok was frozen dirt until the wagon convoy neared the former Soviet city. That was when the roads transformed from dirt to paved, allowing the wagons to make better speed and not bounce all over the place as it moved, much to the relief of its occupants.

    Corporal Akio Kato smoked a cigarette, taken from a now dead Red Army private, when Kato partook in another raid amongst the enemy trenches a few days ago. Overhead the sky was azure blue with little to no cloud coverage directly above Vladivostok but dark, rolling clouds in the distance to the north, warning of another snowstorm moving in.

    After smoking the cigarette to its butt he flicked it into the snow covered road. Craning his neck to stretch he saw multiple dots moving fast towards the city. His instinct was to duck for cover but common sense dominated. Those were Japanese planes, aircraft from the Army Air Service and indeed they were; the Japanese red sun easily visible on their side as they flew overhead towards an airfield near the Siberian city.

    Another hour and a half passed until he was in the city itself. Hopping down from the wagon with the other men that hitched a ride on it Kato looked at the city around. It was obviously not a city built under the Empire or even a Chinese city. Stone, wood, steel and glass had dominated before war shattered the glass, forced the steel to be smelted down for scrap metal, leaving only the wood and stone.

    Walking down one of the wide streets, wider than they would be in Japan, Kato hummed an Army hymn that he remembered from his days in training. The streets were crowded with Soviet citizens, citizens of all shapes and sizes. He saw blond and brown hair dominating but saw red more than once, a hair color he never saw until the beginning of the Siberian Campaign. He saw brown eyes, which were the right eye color in his opinion, and blue, hazel and even green. All so strange from what he was used to. The white Russians were noticeably taller on average than the Japanese troops. Throughout the city there were patrols of the garrisoning troops, their Arisaka’s sporting the long bayonet the Army used. On the walls of the street were propaganda posters detailing the victories of the Empire over the greedy Americans, the vile Entente and the communist Soviets, showing victory after victory and announcing to the Soviet people that the war was lost and better they adjust and adopt the Empire’s way of thinking rather than clinging to a defeated nation’s ideals. Kato’s chest swelled up with pride. It was a good time to be a Japanese man, more so than usual. Japan’s dream of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was finally being accomplished, albeit with much bloodshed establishing it.

    Further up the street was a pair of MPs. As Kato passed them they held out one of their hands, the other on their pistols. “Papers now, corporal-san,” the older one ordered. Despite that he outranked both of them in the conventional sense the MPs held dominance behind the lines, subjecting Kato to their authority.

    He gave them his papers showing he was allowed this three day leave in Vladivostok. The older MP returned the papers. “Thank you very much, sir. Just had to check it, orders and all being the way they are.”

    Kato nodded. “No problem, private,” he replied casually. No need for him to act like a bastard of a non-com for the next few days.

    The older MP leaned in, “Welcome to Vladivostok, sir, but I warn you. Do not go into the alleyways by yourself and do not travel at night without a group. Soviet partisans have captured some men, killing them and doing… worse things to their bodies,” the MPs tone was one of horror, a tone Kato did not want to know what act of horror caused it.

    In attempt to lighten the mood, “Where is the closest brothel?” he asked.

    The younger MP smiled, “The best one is the ‘Purring Tiger’. The women are pretty and good, for a price.”

    “How much?” Kato cautiously asked.

    “Twenty yen,” they both said.

    “Twenty?!” he said incredulously. A normal whorehouse was five yen at most with ten yen being known for officer brothels but twenty was outrageous.

    “Sadly yes, but the women more than make up for it. They don’t just lay there and take it, they actually interact and make it a much better experience, corporal-san.”

    “Hmmm, where is it located?” They gave him the location and after a round of respectful bowing to each other they went their separate ways. Within ten minutes he had found the Purring Tiger and it was a grand sight to behold. It was a tall, concrete building with tinted blue windows, towering three stories. The sign above the door showed a red and pink tiger, with its back arched and its claws white and clean as snow.

    Kato walked in. Music, a Japanese song he noted, was playing in the background and the lobby was well lit. An older woman, the madam of the place obviously, walked up to the Japanese non-com, bowing low as a sign of respect and quite possibly fears he mused. She was at first glance of Asiatic descent but on closer look show the wideness of the eyes and the curlier hair, showing she was of mixed heritage.

    “How may I help you, corporal-san,” she murmured in a husky voice. Her Japanese was… understandable and much better than Kato would have expected but still not the best.

    “I require a woman.”

    “We have those. What kind? Tall, short, white, Mongolian, Chinese-“

    “White,” he interrupted. He had never been with a white woman before, always either Japanese or Manchurian. “White with, uh, blonde hair.”

    “Very well, sir. One moment please,” she went through a set of double doors, leading into the building proper. After a few minutes she returned. “Twenty yen,” she held out her hand. He parted with the money, albeit not without a sigh of much money he was spending. After taking and counting the money she looked at him, “Room 11, on the bottom floor, straight down to your left. Enjoy.”

    Kato nodded, following her directions, finding the room quickly. He opened the closed door. Inside was a voluptuous blonde with large breasts and long, curly hair the color of straw. Walking in he began to take off his clothes, approaching the bed. “30 minutes only,” she said in very bad Japanese. He nodded in understanding.

    She parted her legs; her pubic hair was darker than the hair on her head but still a shade of blonde. Kato, once fully unclothed and erect put himself upon her, her long legs wrapping around him. As he begun he couldn’t help but smile. This was truly Japan’s day in the sun.

    December 17th, 1942- Montgomery realizes he has stretched his men too thin, especially by taking most of the reserve troops into the city itself. But maybe, just maybe the British can hold off Axis. He communicates a plan to de Gaulle which the French Field Marshal immediately agrees to. In western Sweden transport aircraft are prepped with thousands of airborne troopers being loaded and briefed.

    In South America border skirmishes between Bolivia and Peru begin resulting in eighteen dead with dozens wounded. While contained and quickly stopped before the issue grew any further both countries raise their military alert status. The SADS and the SAFB launch propagandas campaigns against the other, blaming the other for starting the skirmishes. Bolivia, Chile and Argentina begin communicating each other over the possibility of starting the war against the SADS. South America holds its breath as war is likely to be declared.

    December 19th, 1942- German, Norwegians Loyalist and Swedish troops in southern Sweden engage the Entente troops facing them. There is little to no hope that the Axis can break out of there but it is forcing de Gaulle to commit most of his army in containing the southern threat and preventing him from reinforcing Montgomery in any significant, large-scale way.

    Resistance leader Max Manus is wounded in the attempt to take the Royal Palace. He is taken by his fellow resistance fighters to a location outside the city to where he can be healed by a sympathetic doctor and be given time to heal.

    December 20th, 1942- The German led Axis troops have penetrated deep into Entente held Sweden, making their way east towards Södertälje. If this city is taken by the Axis the Entente army of 260,000 men will be trapped in a pocket with lakes and Stockholm to the north, the Baltic Sea to the east, and Axis lines to the west and south, cutting off supply and reinforcements.

    Montgomery has all his hopes on the massed paratrooper attack to be commenced the next day. If it works the Axis offensive will stop dead in its track and the British/French forces may be able to counter-attack, destroying the largest concentration of German armor in the entirety of Scandinavia.

    Japanese infantry come within range of Singapore for their heavy artillery. The British fortress-city is being shelled and will mark the official beginning of the legendary Siege of Singapore. The Japanese are confident of their ability to take the city quickly but Percival, using Gott’s defensive plans, is determined to hold the Japanese for as long as possible. A determination which puts faith into his men.

    MacArthur orders all available American units to fall back from Visayas to Mindanao. This would be the final stand of MacArthur and his men (the civilian population has lost over 300,000 from collateral damage, bombings and bio-bombs. At this point in the conflict there are only 35,000 Americans and 60,000 Filipino auxiliaries remaining, the rest are either captured or dead. MacArthur knows the Philippines are lost but he is proud of his accomplishments in how well the Japanese were bloodied with over 140,000 dead or wounded.

    MacArthur, through various submarine commanders, contacts General Gott and the surviving American/Entente ships in port in Australia. They discuss the possibility of evacuating the American forces if possible. Gott agrees and plans to assist MacArthur when the time was right. Transport ships, naval warships and aircraft are prepared for the eventual evacuation of the American troops in the Philippines.

    December 21st, 1942- Over central Sweden a large aircraft formation begins to unload its cargo over Axis lines. The 1st, 2nd, and 4th Airborne Divisions of the British Army deploy to stop and/or slow the Axis advance by cutting off supply lines and destabilizing the entire region.

    The operation from the start is going to be an uphill battle for the British, Entente Command knows this, the British and French just needed a stop-gap measure. The quick assembly and deployment of the paratroopers prevented up-to-date, accurate field information of enemy formations along with the locations of some key enemy supply depots preventing the British from fully capitalizing on their surprise drop.

    The 30,000 British paratroopers are scattered all across Axis held territory in central Sweden, some companies too far apart to support one another with others landing in the same location, making them an actual threat to the Axis rear-line troops. Worried that this was the beginning of more drops the Germans call off the advance for the next 24 hours to assess the situation, redeploying men and material if necessary. While this 24 hour halt did buy the British more time on the frontline it would all be for naught.

    Axis infantry, primarily Swedish, were protecting the flanks of the Axis advance and were the primary force of the Axis Powers outside of the offensive’s frontline. They would be the main opposition to the British airborne. Combat would last throughout the day into the night with neither side knowing the exact situation of the other. Fighting would wage across dozens of towns leading to the deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians.

    December 22nd, 1942- By mid afternoon it was clear to the German commanders that the British paratrooper threat had been contained and that the offensive could be continued the next morning. The paratroopers did buy the Entente 48 hours respite but when the paratroopers failed to meet their primary objectives of crippling the major supply lines of the Germans making Montgomery to reluctantly order his army to withdraw south in an organized, disciplined fashion. Being pressed from both the north and the west was forcing him to leave tens of thousands of men engaged in combat to prevent the frontline positions from being completely overrun which would make the organized withdraw into a total rout. The British field marshal would be forced to sacrifice these men to allow the rest to make it out. A decision he does not make lightly but does so anyway.

    Despite the paratroopers failure and the loss of a quarter of their force on the first day the British airborne soldiers refused to surrender, digging in the few towns they were able to take by surprise. The Swedes, assisted by Norwegian Loyalists and Finnish divisions would have to dig the British out. The fighting would be bloody and the collateral damage high. It would be many days before all the British paratroops would be defeated and captured.

    The SADS and the SAFB lower their military readiness rate as both sides have had time to think of the consequences if war was declared. The SAFB will not declare it as it does not want to anger the United States.

    December 23rd, 1942- The Axis resumes their offensive east. Spearheaded by hundreds of panzers and supported by tens of thousands of panzergrenadiers the German troops near Södertälje, just a few mere kilometers away, its buildings in sight.

    In Hong Kong, China thousands of Chinese civilians, along with the few remaining Western civilians that stayed behind, take to the streets in protest of Japanese occupation, marching in front of the Japanese Army headquarters. The Chinese, having grown used to the British way of things, think at most some will be imprisoned and the rest sent home. They were quite surprised when Japanese machineguns opened up on the city with martial law being declared shortly thereafter. Over four hundred civilians died in the ensuing slaughter. Imperial Army authorities declare any civilian out after nine o’clock would be arrested and possibly executed or sent to labor camps.

    In western Burma (Myanmar) the Japanese/Burmese troops approach the border of British India. Over 180,000 men are preparing for the invasion of eastern India (20,000 Japanese, 160,000 Burmese). Imperial Japanese Command believes the Entente is broken, disheartened and that this relatively small army would be able to occupy portions of eastern India, a propaganda coup if anything, despite the Japanese’s long, fractured supply line and lack of air support and armored elements. The British, Indians and the surviving French forces cripple the advance with aircraft, decimating the invading Japanese-Burmese force by killing/wounding over 14,000 on the first day. The Japanese-Burmese army, surprised at the effectiveness of Entente resilience, decides to return to Burma to lick their wounds. Their main goal from now on would be as a bulwark against any future Entente aggression east.

    This would be the first major Entente victory over the Japanese Empire. The first but not the last (the battles won in West Papua while important were not seen as a major battle as the Japanese invasion of India was. With India successfully defended, morale rose not only for the Entente troops in India but throughout the entirety of Asia). Field Marshal William Slim, C-in-C of all British and by extension all Entente forces in India, congratulated his men but warned them the war was far from over and much more blood would be spilt until victory was accomplished.

    December 24th, 1942- The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, having been assigned by Montgomery to defend Södertälje, was the only unit to be considered full strength that stood against the leading tips of the German blitzkrieg. Elements of half a dozen British divisions have integrated into the 3rd Canadian Division bringing its number close to 18,000. Montgomery’s order of “Hold as long as possible” would be followed to the letter.

    Skirmishing between the two sides occurred late morning west and south of the city with the Canadian led Entente forces able to push the Germans back, denying the Axis an easy conquest of the city.

    The Canadian commander, Major General Ralph Holley Keefler, would state over the radio, “If you want it, come and take it,” his defiance would boost the spirits of the Entente defenders but would anger the Axis commanders.

    December 25th, 1942- German panzers head south of the Swedish city, cutting the Canadian and British troops off from the south, then swinging north to surround Södertälje, cutting if off from the east and north as well.

    Axis ground troops move in and warily advance through the city outskirts, assailed by Entente machineguns and mortars. Swedish civilians either try and hide from the war or join in on the side of the Axis, threatening interior Entente defenses.

    Elsewhere the Germans continue moving east but the British paratroopers had indeed damaged some supply lines causing the rate of advance to slow down, allowing Entente troops to move south towards what they hope is safety. They are being harassed by German Stukas and other Axis bombers their entire way south. The frontline is only forty or so kilometers to the west the British and French troops must hurry if they are to escape.

    In North Africa the Italians and Bulgarians have finished landing, having brought the lion’s share of the landing forces to Beda Littoria to be under the command of the newly nicknamed Desert Fox. With the army under his command growing rapidly the General Staff promotes Balck to Field Marshal to give him absolute authority over all Axis offensive units in North Africa.

    Balck is planning an offensive east to liberate all of Libya and advance towards Egypt but will need to stockpile on fuel and ammunition to accomplish this largescale offensive, meanwhile he will be focusing on integrating the Italians and Bulgarians into an effective fighting force that can greatly assist rather than somewhat help the Afrika Korps.

    Wavell on the other hand is content to wait, receive reinforcements from Britain and repair his damaged army. Throughout eastern Libya and western Egypt defense lines are being resurrected along with extensive minefields.

    Jared Walker:
    The mess hall for the Marine training camp was filled with Marine recruits, shoveling Christmas dinner down as if food would be outlawed tomorrow. Jared had been in the Marines for just over a month and he had grown noticeably fitter.

    The typical Army chow was gone, replaced with mouth watering chicken, thick beef steaks, delicious ham, buttered corn on the cob; gravy mixed mashed potatoes, hot vegetable soup and all sorts of other great foods. He kept pace with his fellow soldiers in terms of devouring the food. Overhead music played through the PA system. It stopped suddenly causing some to look up at the ceiling’s speakers in surprise mixed with curiosity.

    The Camp Commandant, Colonel Geery, spoke to the men through the speakers, “Attention Marines. The President is about to make a special Christmas Day Speech, we will be playing the speech over the PA for the duration of it. One moment,” the colonel stopped talking. An occasional pop and hiss of static came through until President Roosevelt’s voice rang out over the mess hall, strong and vibrant.

    “Hello my fellow Americans. Merry Christmas to everyone, even to those do not celebrate this holiday I bid you a good day for we are all Americans, united in purpose,” the President’s voice rang clearly and with steel seemingly imbedded into his voice causing the men around Jared, himself included, to be nodding at the commander-in-chief’s words.

    “We have been at war for five months now and we already have lost thousands in the Pacific from firearms, bombings and plague-weaponry. We have lost Pearl Harbor, the Mariana Islands and the Marshal Islands. The Philippines is on the edge of collapse, despite the valiant American defense led by General MacArthur. Our Navy, Army, Marine Corp and Army Air Force have been stung, bloodied, and left to recover.

    The President took a deep breath, “But we are still here. The American people have recovered from worse multiple times throughout our history, all the way from the days of Revolution to the First World War. Not this second, even greater war needs to be won not just for the United States, not just for the Entente. Not just for democracy, but for humanity and its freedom as a whole. Throughout Asia and Europe authoritarian governments dominate with millions already dead and millions more soon to be with even more millions held under the thumb of an oppressor whther it be native to one’s country or foreign.

    “My fellow Americans, my friends, my brothers and sister, it is the duty of this great country to not only protect itself but to protect others when they cannot defend themselves. I vow to you that this war will not only end, it will end with the American flag raised above Tokyo in victory, with the United States of America having freed the territories the Japanese Empire now occupy. The warmongers of this war will be tried in a court of fair, international law and they will be judged as such. This is not a war like any we have fought against. This is a different war, a total war. We will not stop in the pursuit of freeing Asia and its peoples until the Empire of Japan unconditionally surrenders to the United States of America. Thank you ladies and gentlemen, and God bless.”

    The speech ended and at first there was silent in the mess hall when suddenly clapping, cheering and joyous screaming echoed in the cafeteria, echoed across the United States. Jared clapped so hard his hands started to hurt, his roaring making his throat raw. But he did not care, the country was committed and Jared was determined to be there they day Japan surrendered, this he vowed to himself amongst his comrades-in-arms.

    December 27th, 1942- The Germans concentrate their forces east of Södertälje. The majority of their panzers and mechanized infantry advance east towards the eastern Swedish coast. The Entente tries to stop the Axis panzers but fails as the Germans destroy any and all Entente armor, butchering the accompanying infantry to shreds.

    The British paratroopers, running out of food and ammunition are forced to surrender, their ability to resist having dissolved. Now with the rear fully secured reserve divisions move in to supplement the already aggressive drive east.

    December 28th, 1942- The Third Reich and its allies have reached the east coast of Sweden, cutting off the troops still engaged in what is now called the Stockholm Pocket from the Entente to the south. Montgomery, knowing the German lines will be relatively weak for a short time plans to mass his armored units in a small number of potentially weak areas to break through, opening up a passageway for the majority of his armor and mechanized infantry to escape if possible.

    The Japanese have completely conquered West Malaysia and now lay siege to Singapore with the full might of their military. Aerial bombings, artillery bombardments, naval barrages, and infantry raids are soon to be the norm but the British are resolute, holding firm against the Japanese.

    December 29th, 1942- Field Marshal Montgomery and his remaining tanks (around 360 alongside 70,000 infantry) attack weak points in the German lines, breaking through them temporarily. With hope I sight the Entente rush south.

    Late during the day Montgomery’s section of the retreating British/French forces comes into contact with German panzers. The panzers unknowingly shoot and destroy the command vehicle Montgomery was riding in, killing him and his entire staff. While it would be some hours until it was realized the Entente had lost one of their two commanders of the Scandinavian Campaign and the northern half of the campaign was effectively without leadership for some hours until the next in the chain of command was notified.

    Shortly after Montgomery’s death the Axis closed the small openings made in their lines by the British armor but not without 50,000 men and 200 tanks escaping the German trap. Within the Stockholm Pocket there were still over 145,000 men remaining with very little armor or air support with moderate amounts of artillery.

    With the noose wrung the time has come to tighten it. Axis armor and infantry continue to push in from all sides forcing the Pocket to become smaller and smaller by the hour. The troops that made it out of the Pocket move south to meet up with de Gaulle at his headquarters of Vetlanda, Sweden.

    Captain Theodore Hamilton:
    South and south again, he counted himself lucky to be alive. Hamilton and his company had been south of Stockholm on R&R when the German offensive was sprung. His company was dispatched to the west to slow it down but within a week it was clear the British would not hold out and received the order to move south.

    Fighting a dozen skirmishes before breaking through the Axis lines the Entente men, both British and French, were relieved to have escaped the Pocket but dreaded and feared what would happen next. The truck Hamilton and his command squad rode on had bullet punctures and marks all over it, thankfully nor the tires or engine allowing them to make it this far.

    Speaking of such the engine started to sputter and die, the driver pulling over to the side of the road to prevent the truck from blocking traffic. Cursing Hamilton yelled at the driver. “What the bloody hell is happening?” he demanded.

    “Sorry, sir, the engine has been running too hard for too long without proper maintenance. We are going to have to abandon her to keep up with the rest of the retreating columns,” the corporal driving the truck said matter of fact.

    “Fine,” he spat, “First squad, out. We’re legging it from here on out. Let’s go. We have a long way until Vetlanda.” He and his men left the truck as it was on the side of the road and continued south on foot with thousands of other soldiers. “Stay sharp. Be wary of any Swedish partisans, they could be anywhere.”

    Rubbing his eyes, not allowing the fatigue to set in, Hamilton put one foot in front of the other. Heading south, always south, south towards hope, south towards a potential, temporary haven.

    December 30th, 1942- The remnant of the 3rd Canadian Division, along with the surviving British soldiers attached to them, surrender to local Axis commanders in regard to the city of Södertälje. With this thorn in their side removed the Axis can fully focus on Stockholm itself and pushing the Pocket towards the city it is named after. The Canadians and British had to surrender due to lack of air/armored support, food, medicine, and above all ammunition.

    Major Igor Grumpe:
    Was?! He is here… they are here?” the Luftwaffe major exclaimed. The lieutenant before him, young, fresh from the training schools, barely old enough to shave, nodded vigorously, his officer’s cap wobbling, threatening to fall off. The lieutenant was a pilot but had been detached for temporary duty to Grumpe, his plane having suffered damage during an air raid and was taking longer than usual to be repaired.

    Jawohl, mein Herr,” the lieutenant said nervously, “The Field Marshal, the Field Marshal is here. Reich Minister Todt is escorting him around, showing him the latest additions to the Westwall.”

    Scheisse,” the major whispered. “Why wasn’t I informed of this? I would have prepared a tour, a meal and-“ He gestured at his uniform which was the standard Luftwaffe combat uniform worn by the Flakkorps. Not at all as gaudy or impressive as a formal dress uniform.

    “I do not know, sir,” the lieutenant said.

    “Never mind,” Grumpe straightened his uniform and walked from his underground office to the upper floor where the Field Marshal and Reich Minister were. Walking into the room Grumpe saw Göring himself with Todt escorting him gesturing at area around them, probably talking about the underground bunker system.

    Grumpe and the lieutenant stood a respectful distance away until the two Nazi leaders looked at them. “Sirs,” the major said with both him and the lieutenant saluting. Goring returned the salute with a chuckle, his chins wobbling slightly.

    “Ah major, good to see you,” the Field Marshal and commander of the Luftwaffe held out his hand. Grumpe took it, gave a firm pump and let go. Göring also shook the lieutenant’s hand. “Sorry to surprise you like this, major. It was done for security reasons.”

    “Of course, sir. May I show you a tour of this section of the Westwall?”

    “Why yes, that would be splendid,” the Field Marshal began moving after the major. But stopped suddenly, craning his neck to listen. “Is that… aircraft engines?”

    Grumpe stopped listening with his ears, hearing the low, droning sounds despite the thick concrete and dirt above him. “Gott im Himmel it is. Sirs we need you to get further down in the bunk-“ Grumpe was cut off as the world shook, the overhead light going out, the roof collapsing with it crushing Göring and Todt, blood pooling around the dead men. Grumpe did not have long to think about that when a sharp piece of steel, heated by the munitions exploding above, was thrown down with a powerful force of kinetic energy right through Grumpe’s heart. He died instantly, not knowing he was about to die. The lieutenant surprisingly suffered little in the way of injury, his wrist was broken and had some minor burns on his face but he was the only survivor out of all those in the room.

    “Oh my God,” was all that Lieutenant Erich Hartmann said. He sat against the wall, sliding down into a crouching position. German rescue teams would later find him, he was hurt, tired, dehydrated but alive.

    January 2nd, 1942- Over the Westwall the Entente sends out over 1100 bombers protected by 1300 fighters in a retribution day raid for the loss of Montgomery and the entrapment of over a 100,000 Entente soldiers. The Westwall Air Command, numbering around 1900 fighters scrambles all of its squadrons and calls for reinforcements from further in the Reich itself. Reinforcements that are just not there in large numbers with the Eastern Front and Northern Front taking up most of the reserves and the North African Front accounting for some more. Only a few score aircraft were able to heed the call.

    The British/French bombers would pound a half dozen German cities causing large scale carnage with thousands killed and tens of thousands left homeless or wounded. German industry, while targeted, did not seem the primary target. This would be the first mass terror bombing of the Entente against German cities. A fact the Germans would remember for a long time. While the Entente would lose over 250 bombers and 220 fighters the Germans lost almost 390 fighters.

    Field Marshal Herman Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe and one of the most powerful Nazis in the Third Reich would die alongside Reich Minister of Armaments and Munitions Fritz Todt during the bombings when bombs landed directly on the underground bunker they were in. Field Marshal Wever would succeed Göring and Albert Speer, the Vice-Minister of Armaments and Munitions, would become the Reich Minister of the same ministry. Throughout the Reich flags were put at half-mast and a day of mourning was put into effect by the Führer. Church bells would ring across Germany forty-seven times in the memory of Göring who was posthumously promoted to the office of Reichsmarschall, a title only he was to be given in recognition of his serivce to the Party and the Fatherland, while the Organisation Todt, the Reich Labor Service and various other elements of the German war machine wore black armbands in mourning of Todt. Both would be given large state funerals, Göring’s would obviously be much larger, it would be held in Berlin with Hitler, Himmler and many other German leaders, politicians, military officers and foreign diplomats in attendance. Todt would be buried with a smaller crowd in attendance.

    With the catastrophe of Montgomery's death with almost 150,000 soldiers cut off from the rest of Entente held Sweden the British and French High Commands agree to send hundreds of bombers, fighters, and transports north to continue supplying/assisting the Stockholm Pocket. While de Gaulle may not have the offensive power to punch through Axis lines he hopes the transports can supply the Pocket long enough for him to assemble a counter-attack. The bombers and fighters he hopes will damage the Axis airpower and ground units to make them weaker for his eventual, hopeful counter-attack.

    The British and French governments call for a combined conference to discuss the war and military officers will give their input. The conference will be held in Paris in mid January and will take into account the entirety of the war and the new directions the Entente needs to pursue.

    The year of 1943 was young but already heating up to possibly surpass even 1942 in amount of lives lost and dreams broken.
    Jack Brisco likes this.
  11. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 31: The Doolittle Raid

    January 5th, 1943- Entente cargo planes begin supplying via air-drops to the trapped men in the Stockholm Pocket. Food, water, ammo, weapons, and other materials needed to fight a war are sent but it is not quite enough. Nearly a quarter of materials dropped are dropped in Axis territory as the frontlines are constantly shifting inwards, faster than the Entente are predicting. The remaining three-quarters are just not enough to supply all of the British and French soldiers.

    Axis and Entente aircraft skirmish across central and southern Sweden. Both are determined to dominate the skies through the extermination of the enemy planes. On the ground the Entente that were lucky enough to breakout and retreat from the Pocket continue making their way south towards Field Marshal de Gaulle’s army. Due to the lack of available bombers and escort fighters the retreating Entente soldiers are not being assaulted daily by Axis aircraft as those planes are needed elsewhere.

    De Gaulle, in his headquarters inside the Swedish city of Vetlanda, is worried about the state of the operational theatre. Casualties among the joint British/French/Canadian/Norwegian Provisional army have been dismayingly high, not to mention the large amount of material and weapons captured by the Axis. The knowledge that the Axis suffered near equal losses does little to ease his mind. Southern Norway was in the midst of a bloody rebellion with the Entente men there barely able to keep it in check. Armor and aerial losses had been catastrophic of late and despite dealing similar, albeit slightly fewer, losses to the Axis armored divisions and aircraft squadrons it just was not enough. There was little hope to relieve the Stockholm Pocket. By the time de Gaulle could assemble the necessary forces the Pocket would be even smaller and the Axis lines more entrenched. Those in the Pocket had served their countries but could not be rescued, it was just not possible with the resources the French Field Marshal had available to him.

    For two and a half years the Scandinavian Campaign had been fought either with parity or with Entente dominance but with the surrounding of 145,000 soldiers in Stockholm, another 50,000 on a long retreat south being constantly goaded by Swedish Resistance cells, and tens of thousands either dead, captured or wounded the war in the north had become a stalemate. The allied forces had been stretched too far across Sweden, leaving weaknesses in their line.

    De Gaulle knew what he had to do however. He spoke commands to his army group commanders who passed it down to their division officers. The order would reach Paris and London and would be endorsed by the respective governments. The army of De Gaulle and the remnant of the deceased Montgomery would meet up and move west in an organized, efficient manner. Sweden was to be left behind.

    January 7th, 1943- With West Malaysia fully occupied by the Empire Imperial Command in Tokyo begins dispatching orders to halt any further offensives in South East Asia barring the Siege of Singapore. Burma and Thailand would be the dominant powers in the area, supported by a moderate army of infantry and aircraft of the Japanese. Meanwhile in Indonesia and Vietnam the Japanese annex the two countries and start enacting harsh laws to keep the local populace under control. Military police and collaborators begin to root out any that are deemed political or military enemies of Japan and its puppet states. Resistance groups in both countries form and begin a long term guerilla warfare using weapons hidden and stolen from the land’s occupiers. The Viet Minh in Vietnam are the largest and best supplied and will be for the remainder of the war. The battles between the imperialist Japanese and the communist Vietnamese will be some of the most brutal and gut wrenching of the entire war in South East Asia.

    With operations in the area scaling down Japanese troops are ordered to begin redeployment to other theaters that require their attention. Some 40,000 are being transferred to China to combat the rising military action there being committed by the Chinese Nationalists and Communists. Another 30,000 are being sent to the Pacific to take any American, French or British bases/islands that have not fallen yet but have been cut off from reinforcements. The transport for these 70,000 will be difficult to arrange but are receiving top priority. To the Philippines only a few thousand men are to be sent but to make up for the relatively small ground force the Japanese are preparing to dispatch many, many aircraft squadrons to the Philippines Islands to hasten the American defeat. It will take weeks if not close to two months to accomplish all this.

    British and French Intelligence, through their spy network in Japanese territories, notice the mass deployment and report this to General Gott in Australia. Gott knows that if these enemy reinforcements reach their destinations than the chance to evacuate the American troops in the Philippines will slip away entirely. Gott contacts MacArthur who agrees. The timetable to recover the American soldiers under MacArthur is moved forward. The fleet in port in Australia is readied with Entente and American aircraft preparing to extend their coverage past Papua New Guinea into the western half of West Papua to engage the Japanese aircraft in the area. The evacuation operation is planned to begin on the 11th, which is when the fleets sails north towards the Philippines. Gott, who has been in communication with British and French naval forces that survived the Battle of the Java Sea, is informed by Vice Admiral Dickens that his remaining ships (one carrier the HMS Formidable, one battleship, three heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and nine destroyers) are nearing Australia as they took the long route from India to Australia to avoid any possible Japanese naval forces. These would nearly double the amount of allied ships and give the Entente/American force a better chance to rescue MacArthur and his men.

    January 9th, 1943- After organizing and planning the withdraw west de Gaulle gives the order to his men and those that had made it to him from the north. Hundreds of thousands of bloodied, exhausted, demoralized troops, along with their armored divisions and motorized support, begin moving west towards southern Norway. Sweden was to be abandoned but not without being punished. All manufacturing capability in Entente hands that could not be transported west would be disabled and/or destroyed. Roads would be mined and blocked off to cause as much internal disruption as possible to any future Axis advance to the west. Bridges would be rigged with explosives and detonated once all Entente ground units had crossed. Any and all supplies or material that could not be taken by the Entente would be burned. This would include civilian crops, factories and even large swathes of civilian homes. Many thousands of Swedish civilians would die as a result with tens of thousands more later on from starvation and sickness. This would be known in history as the Burning of Sweden, an agonizing and terrible event that will scar Sweden for decades.

    January 12th, 1943- After a days delay to allow the British/French 13th Fleet to combine with the Entente/American fleet the united fleet, rechristened the 17th Fleet, sail from Australia to the Philippines. The 1st Taskforce of the fleet will be Dickens vessels which have gained three more British destroyers that were in port in Australia. The 1st Taskforce would act as the distraction and engage with Japanese ships if need be while the 2nd Taskforce would evacuate the Americans. The 2nd Taskforce comprises of only escorts with the most powerful ship being an American light cruiser that had survived the Invasion of the Philippine Islands. In the center of the formation is dozens of large cargo ships, many former civilian ships requisitioned by Gott for “use in the armed services of His Majesty the King in times of necessity and war.” These are large ships but lightly armored and relatively slow a potential weakness that could be exploited by the enemy.

    In conjunction with the 17th Fleet on the move Entente/American troops in West Papua strike west to push the Japanese back into the sea. Surprised by the overwhelmingly force the Japanese are forced to fall back. However there is no significant amount of Imperial Navy ships nearby to evacuate them. They are trapped and insufficiently supplied. This does not stop them from preparing to die for the Emperor and for honor’s sake. The resulting battle would be a bloodbath but would show the allied forces just how truly fanatic the Japanese Army and Marines are.

    January 13th, 1943- After much deliberation and discussion with the upper echelons of the Axis Powers, principally Germany and Italy, it is decided to expel to the Japanese and their Asian puppet states from the Axis. This is done to prevent any possible American declaration on the European Axis as an extension of its war on the Asiatic Axis. The Japanese officials and ambassadors in European nations are rounded up and arrested. This is met with demands and threats by the Japanese, demands and threats that cannot be enforced due to the distance between Europe and Japan. Axis officials are similarly rounded up by the Japanese.

    January 15th, 1943- Japan declares the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere a formal, separate alliance. The GEACPS members are relatively behind technologically and lacking heavy manufacturing ability except for the Japanese and the territory they have been able to conquer. What they lack in production output and technology they make up for in fanaticism and numbers.

    January 16th, 1943- North Africa remains relatively quiet as both the British and Germans prepare their respective armies for the coming fight. Balck is trying to hurry his preparation as he knows that if the British are given more time to dig in than the attack to the east would be quite bloody and potentially a failure.

    With the British and Germans focusing on eastern Libya, the French in Algeria have amassed a moderate force of 90,000 with over two hundred tanks and moderate air coverage to support any move east into Tunisia. Most of the troops are local Algerians with a core of French infantry. The French are preparing to attack starting on the 20th.

    January 19th, 1943- The Stockholm Pocket has been pushed to the southern half of the city itself. Brutal house to house fighting rages throughout the Swedish capital. The Entente forces are running low on supplies and cannot last much longer. They are reaping a bloody toll on the advancing Axis troops though.

    Entente air forces are forced to cancel further supply drops into the Pocket as their losses in aircraft in attempting to supply the shrinking Entente pocket had been very high. Losses amongst the cargo planes had been dreadful with fighter and bomber squadrons faring little better.

    An Italian destroyer is sunk by a French submarine in the western Mediterranean, another small victory that is wearing down the Italian Navy into a ghost of what it was at the beginning of Italy’s involvement. Mussolini is forced to shrink his navy’s coverage as he has too few ships covering too wide an area. In Italian ports dozens of ships have been under construction for years and many are nearing completion. These destroyers, cruisers and even a few battleships and two carriers could turn the tide in the Mediterranean. The Entente knows this and are preparing accordingly with their own shipyards constructing warships and bombing missions being planned for future raids.

    January 20th, 1943- The 17th Fleet, after a harried journey, reaches the Island of Mindanao. The force that is there to greet them is the pitifully small number of 27,000 American troops that have survived to reach the beach. They must hurry to evacuate them. Japanese ships had come into contact with the protective 1st Taskforce and were determined to break through.

    Vice Admiral Dickens is ready for the Japanese however. After studying the reports of what happened at Java, his mistakes, the Japanese mistakes, both sides’ strength and weaknesses, he believes he is ready. The Japanese are much more spread out as they are in a blockade formation with very few naval squadrons concentrated together. Using the HMS Formidable and its contingent of fighters and fighter-bombers the day would end with the IJN losing four ships (three destroyers and one light cruiser) to the 17th Fleet with the Entente/American ships only suffering the loss of a destroyer and a frigate.

    The Japanese would lose dozens of aircraft from land based squadrons that tried to attack the beach holding the American troops. British and American fighter coverage would provide just enough protection to prevent any significant losses amongst the departing infantry.

    After nearly eleven hours of hectic sea warfare and aerial skirmishes the evacuation is declared a success with nearly all 27,000 troops evacuated, except for a few hundred volunteers that would remain as guerrilla fighters with the remaining Filipino fighters. This resistance would be led by Colonel Ryan Andrews. The 17th Fleet would withdraw back to Australia flush with victory.

    In North Africa the French launch their attack of Italian held Tunisia. While the Algerians, who make up the bulk of the French North African army, are poorly trained and equipped they more than make up for it in numbers and dedication to victory. France promises the Algerians that if France wins the war than Algeria will become more or less a dominion of France instead of an outright colony, granting more independence and local government. The French goal: Tunis, capital of Tunisia and the linchpin of Italian defenses in the whole country as well as a critical supply depot.

    After discussing the threat of French drive towards Tunis Balck and the Italian commanders agree to send 20,000 Italian troops with another 40,000 to be sent in early to mid February when the transportation network would allow for it. The Italian Titan divisions would remain in Libya however. Gott refuses to give away over half his armored strength to the conflicts in Tunisia. They are needed much more for the eventual attack east. Sending this much infantry does force Balck to delay his attack, at least that is what Axis communications would state. Communication British spies would intercept and relay to Wavell. The Desert Fox is planning his greatest gamble yet.

    January 22nd, 1943- The U.S. carriers, with the modified B-25 Mitchell bombers aboard and ready for their mission, set sail north-west with a full complement of escorts. Roosevelt and the Joint Chiefs are desperate for a propaganda victory for the American people. This raid would be critical to future American morale. The USAAF pilots, all volunteers, who would fly the B-25s, are ready and willing to take the fight to the enemy that forced their country into the largest war the world had yet seen.

    January 23rd, 1943- The last few Entente troops withdraw from Sweden back into Norway. Sweden is now entirely in the hands of the Axis Powers, except for the Stockholm Pocket that is. Axis infantry and armor, principally Swedish and German respectively, enter territory that had been under the thumb of the Entente for many, many long months. What they find dismays them but they are soldiers and they will carry on and rebuild upon the ashes of war if they can.

    January 24th, 1943- In a historical speech by President Roosevelt the United States formally creates the Alliance of Democratic Nations and become the first member and leader. This new alliance would work in conjunction with the Entente but would entirely separate. It would be a combined military and political force, promising not only protection but a large amount of economic stimulation. Mexico and Canada are the first to join. Mexico joins for a variety of reasons. It joining the Alliance creates a multitude of economic opportunities with the United States with little to no fear of an enemy attack. Soon American industrialists would soon be establishing extensive manufactories in Mexico with Mexican civilians working as a cheap labor force. This will not only stimulate a flagging Mexican economy but give the American military another source of production. Canada, despite being a member of the Entente, joins as well due to the economic opportunities the Alliance will give and the close proximity to the United States.

    Colonel-General Walter Model, Stockholm, Sweden:
    The building was small, a former bakery that had been ravaged by combat. Shell casings, blood stains, and the stench of death remained. It was nearly three hundred meters behind the front lines in Stockholm.

    Beside him sat officers from the Army and SS, Krüger would remain at the military headquarters as a precaution. Sentries inside and outside the building stood vigilant in case of a trap, their dirty, mud smeared white smocks blending in with the snow and rubble that made up much of the city.

    The Lieutenant that stood watch at the door turned his head gesturing outside. “Sir, they are approaching.”

    “Good. Let them in, Lieutenant.”

    “Yes, sir,” the clean shaven young officer said as he opened the door of the bakery and walked towards the British and French officers approaching the bakery. The men that made up the command hierarchy of the Stockholm Pocket were tired, that much was obvious. Tired and filled with despair. Model watched as they walked into the bakery. He stood as a sign of respect, his mofficers following suit.

    “Please sit, gentlemen. We have much to discuss.”

    The Axis officers resumed their seats, the British and French accepting the offered chairs. A German corporal passed out various sized glasses of water to the men sitting down. Nods of thanks went his way as he withdrew to the bakery’s kitchen.

    “Now,” Model began, “for months we have fought each other tooth and nail. I have lost many men and so have you. The war has swung both sides favor but right now the Scandinavian Campaign is clearly in the favor of Germany and her allies. I have been ordered by theFührer to ask for your surrender. I will now tell you the terms of surrender,” as he spoke Model smirked internally. The Führer’s words were more of an adamant demand of surrender and if they did not Model was to drag them out root and stem from the city, which he could do but would cost both sides dearly in loss of life, life that did not need to be wasted, not here at least. He finished the terms and waited as the Entente officers deliberated over what he told them.

    The British commanding general looked to his fellow officers. All knew what their answer was going to be. After a heavy sigh the British officer looked at Model in the eye. “To prevent needless loss we agree to the terms of surrender. The battle is over. You have won,” that last part held an acid tone in it but Model would let it slide. After all he had won.

    January 27th, 1943- Entente troops in the Stockholm Pocket surrender. Nearly 96,000 men survived the battle and begin throwing down their arms in surrender to the Axis troops. Throughout Sweden celebrations begin and the Swedish Parliament states, “The war is one step closer to its conclusion but is still a long ways off from final victory for Sweden and her allies.”

    The news is taken poorly in Britain and France. Over two and a half years of combat had been for naught, now all the Entente controlled was southern Norway and even that barely. Brimming with rebellion casualties for the resistance and the Entente continuously rose with civilian bystanders suffering the most. With such a heavy loss of material and manpower the combined Entente Command is rethinking its war strategy. Decisions will be made soon on what to do in Scandinavia.

    In North Africa the French are nearing Tunis. The surrounding area had been turned into killing grounds by the Italian Army but the French were still steadily advancing.

    January 28th, 1943- Model, in conjunction with Krüger, declares Operation Red Snow a success and call off any future offensive engagements. The offensive might have succeeded beyond many Axis officers dreams but was heavy in munitions expenditure and loss of life, particularly among the Swedish and Norwegian elements of the Axis forces. German losses were heavy but deemed acceptable with what they were able to accomplish. Hitler is ecstatic; he promoted Model to Field Marshal and awards both German officers with the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves medal.

    The General Staff is glad of the victory and it forcing the Entente out of Sweden but they have more pressing matters to attend to. Case Blue was well underway in preparation but was lacking experienced German infantry. To make up for this lack the ROA had increased recruitment and the Hungarians, Romanians and Slovakians and increased the amount of men sent east. Throughout the German held territories of Poland, Belarussia and the Baltic States recruitment is expanded tremendously but still barely stays within reach of the demand. Not only are there veteran manpower issues but also supply shortages as well. Minister Speer reports to Hitler and the General Staff of the severe lack of G-42s and other newer, more powerful weapons among the German Army. To make up for this lack Speer proposes using Jews and other undesirables as a slave labor force to work in non essential departments to free up more skilled and loyal manpower for other areas of production vital to the war effort. Hitler agrees, albeit barely. The Final Solution being carried out across Eastern Europe would be suffering another delay in its genocidal rampage. Hundreds of thousands of able bodied undesirables would be transported across the Reich and into manufacturing centers to begin assisting the war machine that was killing them; a cruel twist of irony in any. If the undesirables worked they would live… barely. If they refused they were shot or gassed. Their families would be kept alive as collateral to ensure they worked and did not commit any sabotage.

    German industrialists would use the slave labor to expand their factories and increase their production output along with a substantial increase in their wealth. Through all this only one German citizen would treat his Jewish workers with anything approaching fairness and equality. He was a Nazi entrepreneur who had built up a respectfully sized factory creating enamelware for the German Wehrmacht in Krakow. For years this German Nazi prevented deportation of his Jewish workers through bribery and black market goods to certain SS officials. His name was Oskar Schindler.

    Meanwhile in the Soviet Union the Soviets are establishing deadly obstacles to the German military in front of Moscow. The entirety of the land between the frontline and Moscow is ringed with bunkers, trenches, artillery, AA, tank-traps and has the cream of the crop of the Red Army. The Red Air Force, which has once again grown into a dangerous force, is able to fight and push back many German bombing raids over the Soviet capital. So much so that the Luftwaffe is forced to curtail the amount of raids over Moscow as the losses had begun to grow significantly. While Stalin prepares for the summer of 1943 he has no idea of the snakes in his government ready to strike him down.

    Caroline Walker, Oahu, Hawaii:
    Holding Franklin’s hand was reassuring to her. It made her feel like she wasn’t alone in her world which had turned upside down. Strolling down the sidewalk, heading towards the beach, they went. Franklin was humming tune that popular before Hawaii had been attacked. Caroline smiled to see such happiness in him. He had been noticeable lacking since his parents had died but it seemed he was finally moving on.

    Up ahead was a checkpoint. A dozen Japanese soldiers stood vigilant as the mass of American and Hawaiian moved between them. Two machine guns were pointed into the crowd from behind sandbags in case any civilian tried to be rebellious in any way. Swinging left to right waiting for any and all threats, real or imagined.

    Caroline and Franklin passed through quickly and after a few more minutes of navigating through the outskirts of the city they were on the beach. Before the war the beach would have been filled with people on vacation, or partying, or just having an overall good time. Now… now most people just sat there, staring out across the deep blue of the ocean. Some were in the ocean nude using the sea water as bathing water. Caroline didn’t blame them; she had done the same multiple times since the Japanese began to ration drinkable water. Others farther out were attempting to fish for food to sell to give to the communal food supply, ort the black market or most likely to eat themselves.

    Choosing a spot relatively empty of people Caroline sat down and set up her and Franklin’s towels. She set down her small picnic basket that held cooked fish and pineapple for Franklin’s and hers lunch. Police officers on the beach, American/Hawaiian ones not Japanese military police for which she was thankful, patrolled the beach to prevent any theft of food or clothing.

    Franklin ran into the ocean laughing as he jumped in, feeling the water through is hair. Caroline laid down, took her shirt off to better tan her body, and watched Franklin as he played. Her bathing suit, as red as her hair, was old and a bit worn out but was all that she had left.

    For an hour he swam while she watched and read a beat up book she purchased with vegetables and fruit that she grew that she was allowed to keep. It was a bad book but something to do nonetheless.

    Eventually they ate lunch. Fish with pineapples washed down with pineapple juice. Overhead she heard a low thrumming of engines coming from the north. Probably Japanese planes returning from a patrol, she thought.

    But within minutes the deep roar of the engines made it clear it wasn’t anything the Japanese had. She sharply looked up and saw over twenty large planes flying low overhead with the American star prevalent on their sides. She watched in shock as the bombers flew overhead with some going to the airfield and others to the harbor. Explosions rippled through the air and before she could help it Caroline was standing up cheering as were the entire beach. Even the cops were pumping their fists into the air.

    Anti aircraft fire from the Japs began to shoot upwards into the sky at the bombers. One was hit and fell in the middle of the city. With that the bombers turned around and began to flee back from where they came. AA fire chased them as the retreated, another bomber being hit and falling into the ocean.

    January 30th, 1943- The American B-25 bombers, coming in from the north therefore evading the majority of Japanese fighters that were patrolling in the east, bomb Japanese airfields and installations. While the result was mediocre to say the least with one AA gun destroyed, about a dozen planes destroyed/heavily damaged on the ground along with light damage to a docked Japanese battleship and also killing sixty-eight Japanese soldiers/sailors/airmen along with nineteen American civilian causalities.

    The Americans would lose three bombers, two over Oahu, while another was shot down over the ocean by a Japanese destroyer’s AA guns. Colonel Doolittle and his remaining pilots would return to the American carriers, crash-landing in the nearby waters to be picked up by USN lifeboats, who would begin moving east as soon as all the pilots were brought back aboard ship.

    While the raid had very little impact militarily it had a positive effect on American morale, boosting it up to from the low depths it was at. It also showed the people of Hawaii that their country had not forgotten them and that the United States was still in the fight and would be as long as Japan resisted it. To the Japanese it showed that the U.S.A would not simply leave Japan and its new conquests alone. That they would be in for a long and bloody war against an enemy much more powerful in terms of population, resources, technology, and industry. But only a few Japanese leaders see the danger they are in, Admiral Yamamoto is one of them.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  12. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 32: Cutting Losses

    The tension in the air was heavy to say the least. Thick enough to cut with a knife even. The men around the table had been discussing, even though the word argue would be a more accurate description, for hours. A score of men surrounded the long table in the residence of the Prime Minister on 10 Downey Street, London.

    At the head of the table sat Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. God help us all thought Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty of His Majesty’s Royal Navy and one of the more… aggressive minds in the room. He had been the driving force for much of the war, notably the invasion of Norway, for the British.

    Before everyman was a thick dossier of the war. Casualties, munitions expenditure, food and fuel consumption. It was all there, all dwindled from the blood and reality to mere statistics for soft men to read. High ranking military officers and leading politicians of Britain sat at the table, many grim, all tired.

    Field Marshal Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, began o speak, “As you can see Prime Minister the situation in Scandinavia has become grim to say the least. Field Marshal Montgomery is dead, the loss of almost 200,000 soldiers, either dead or captured in the past two months, along with hundreds of tanks and vehicles captured or destroyed. Aircraft losses, noticeably among the transport squadrons, were heavy. De Gaulle has been able to evacuate the remainder of the Entente troops back to southern Norway and has established order in the rebelling cities but the countryside remains active with patrols being consistently ambushed further increasing losses among our men.”

    Churchill looked at Halifax who was pinching his nose in exasperation. Everyone knew the Prime Minister tired of the war. Brooke continued reading, “Naval losses are much lighter and the ratio is in our favor actually. Recent skirmishes with the U-boats have seen eleven destroyed the past week with the loss of only a handful of supply ships and a light cruiser that was sunk off the coast of Holland. Our recent cracking of the latest Enigma code has revealed the Germans are to deploy a new submarine type this year that is likely to cause a spike in Entente ship losses for short time until we adjust our deployments. This information is two weeks old and we are currently in the process of cracking the latest version of Enigma. Intelligence predicts a month until it is cracked.”

    An elder balding butler came in passing out refreshments. Tea and biscuits were handed out. Churchill sipped the tea, savoring the flavor. His drinking of the fine tea was a testament to the Royal Navy securing the shipping lanes against German aggression with crucial assistance from the Royal Canadian Navy. Setting the cup back down on the table he looked back at Brooke who shuffled papers, placing a new one on top to begin reading.

    “The situation in North Africa has stabilized. General Balck, this ‘Desert Fox’ as he is known, is a dangerous German officer. Wavell confirms this but states he will not go on the offensive into the Axis meat grinder nor will he budge from his lines until thoroughly reinforced. He is content to wait in eastern Libya and allow Balck to come to him. Our spies in Libya have confirmed Balck is assembling a powerful force made up of principally Italian with a relatively small amount of Bulgarian infantry and a powerful but small contingent of German armor. This would be a dire threat to Wavell’s position but the French offensive in Tunisia is forcing Balck to divide his forces. We are receiving reports from our French allies that tens of thousands of Italian soldiers are making their way west towards Tunisia even now which will impede their advance.

    “Asia is grim but may be turning around already. Thailand and Burma are now allies with the Japanese but their industry and military are laughable against any true modernized force. They might be more of a drag than anything on the Japanese who have to leave a lot of resources in the area to prop up their puppets. Vietnam and Indonesia being annexed by the Japanese will give them an incredible amount of natural resources particularly rubber and oil but both these countries have resistance movements noticeably Vietnam with its communist insurgence movement the Viet Cong,” the men nodded in appreciation although frowned that it was communist guerrillas. No love between righteous democracy and the atheistic communism.

    “To undermine the Japanese in Southeast Asia I have authorized Field Marshal Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of India, to begin smuggling in weapons and supplies to the underground movement that is already taking form in Burma, Thailand we do not know of any large scale guerilla network as of yet. Our supply network towards China has been temporarily disconnected but we hope to reestablish it soon with minor military operations in western Burma. General Slim will lead once the Indian volunteer divisions finish training and fully armed.” That report was set down and another was picked up, “The Middle East is simmering. Already there have been thirty-three incidents of guerilla action against our British soldiers and civilians. The French have reported twenty. Gentlemen the Middle East could explode in rebellion. The Islamic majority resent us being there and is desperate to shake off Entente control of their ancestral territory.

    “Noticeable hotspots are Egypt, Iraq and Persia. Egypt is a hotbed of anti-British activity and even though the government is supportive of us and the war large portions of the populace is either joining or verbally supporting the growing Egyptian underground. It is not a serious threat Wavell says but he having to use frontline divisions to keep order in the major cities. These men are being stretched very thin and are only in strength in the major cities.

    “Iraq is becoming more troublesome by the day. The Iraqi government is a mixed pro-British/pro-German combination while the military is thoroughly pro-German. It is a dangerous balance and one that could easily fall in favor of the Axis. Our military bases inside the country could be under threat from attack by fascist supporters. The base commanders are on alert and have the firepower to defeat any Iraqi rebellion or coup quite easily but we need to keep a handle on it.

    “The Persian government under Reza Shah is militaristic, nationalistic and leaning more and more towards policies and ideals spouted by the Axis Powers. He is not a threat militarily but we must keep an eye on the Persians for the foreseeable future.

    “Will the Soviets invade Persia?” asked a lowly lieutenant general.

    “We do not believe so. With the summer campaigning in the East only months away Stalin will be focusing entirely on that. Reports are sketchy but the Germans seem to be amassing a large force west of Moscow though rumors persist of another force as large or even larger are assembling in central Ukraine. I doubt the rumor as the Germans cannot possibly have the resources to wage two massive offensives in Russia, not even with their allies contributing. And while the rest of the Ukraine and the multiple large Soviet cities there are important politically or industrially Moscow is by far the centerpiece of Soviet power in European Russia. If the Soviet capital falls to the Axis war machine the USSR might well fall into chaos as the various factions within the country fight not just the German invaders but themselves as well.”

    “What are the casualty reports for the Soviets at this point?” asked Halifax softly.

    Brooke frowned. “Over twenty million judging by what our embassy in Moscow says. The information is outdated as it takes weeks to months for information to reach us. That is all we know and even that is guesswork at best. It may be less, but is more likely there are many more dead throughout the USSR if one is to include the multiple war purges.”

    Brooke finished and Churchill spoke up. “Gentlemen the war is on a knife’s edge. Our war in Scandinavia has grounded to a halt and saw half our army there captured or killed with the other half in disarray. We need to reinforce them as soon as possible. It will take much of 1943 but perhaps by 1944 we can retake all of our lost ground and liberate the rest of Scandinavia from fascist oppression.”

    Brooke nodded albeit hesitantly Churchill noticed. “The Royal Navy and the French Navy can keep our troops in southern Norway supplied and we can start sending new divisions in a month or so. From there a couple of divisions per month will significantly improve our position for any future operations. The Axis may have Sweden back but de Gaulle in his withdrawal to the west made sure nothing viable remained. It will be difficult but I believe we could do it. However,” he stole a glance at Churchill, “if we did begin to reinforce Scandinavia our troop disposition in Asia and the Middle East will suffer. Therefore I propose that we pull our forces out of Norway and use the extra manpower to reinforce Wavell in North Africa, General Slim in eastern India, Gott in Australia, and enlarge the units holding down the Middle East. We have wrecked southern Norway and central Sweden from our offensive and it will take years for the Axis to fully make use of the industries there, especially with their focus elsewhere.”

    Churchill stared at Brooke in disbelief. The British staff officer had supported the campaign in Scandinavia for years. He had agreed with Churchill that it was the weak front of the Axis but this was a betrayal or so it seemed to the First Lord.

    Halifax scratched his chin in thought, “So Sir Brooke it is your opinion that we abandon the Northern Front?” All eyes turned to Brooke and a few to the rapidly turning red Churchill who was successfully trying to hold on to his temper.

    “Yes, sir, it is not necessary for us to remain there any longer. We have more pressing matters in Africa and Asia. I have talked to our French allies about this and they concur. It is the opinion of the majority of the Imperial Staff that we focus on our other theatres.”

    Halifax thought about it for a moment than nodded, “Very well, Field Marshal. Withdraw the troops from Norway. Disperse them to the other fronts as you deem fit.”

    “Thank you, my lord. I will issue the orders when I return to my office.”

    “Good. We are adjourned gentlemen until next week,” the Prime Minister pushed back from his chair and left the room with political cronies in tow. Churchill remained as the room emptied. Brooke was gathering his papers.

    When everyone was gone save the two men Churchill strode over like a bulldozer and asked the question that ate away at him, “Why, Alan, you supported me for years about Scandinavia, now all of sudden you turn coat?” the First Lord growled.

    Brooke stood up. “I supported the campaign in the north until we lost the Stockholm Pocket. We need to be realists here, Winston. If we lose the Middle East to rebellion our oil reservoirs will shrink significantly. If we lose North Africa to the Germans they can invade the Middle East and take the oil for themselves. Either way we lose. To run a war you need resources, to run a modern war you need particularly oil. Britain does not exactly have a large storage of it so we need the Middle Eastern oil. It is the lifeblood of our Army, our Navy, our Air Force and our industries. Scandinavia has resources for sure but it is not worth the trouble anymore. ”

    “But if we had taken-“

    “But we didn’t, Winston, we didn’t!” the British Field Marshal stressed the last word, “Our transgression in Sweden and Norway have turned the population against us, even the Provisional Government is becoming more and more uncooperative. Better we cut our losses and let the Axis have Scandinavia. What we cannot take with us we will destroy to prevent the Germans from getting their hands on it,” Brooke sighed, rubbing his hands over his eyes. He was tired, they were all tired, and the stresses of the war had become great as of late.

    Brooke looked at Churchill in the eye, “I’m sorry it has to be this way but there is no other logical way for us to proceed. Let the Axis have the remains of the ravaged north, we have other campaigns to worry about.” And with that the British Field Marshal left. Churchill clenched his fists in anger but it faded after a moment. He would remember this… incident. The First Lord took a look around the now empty room. Fools he thought and stormed off without a second glance.

    February 3rd, 1943- Entente Command orders its troops in southern Norway to withdraw back to Britain and France for redeployment to other fronts. The British will be sending its troops to North Africa, India, and Australia along with divisions of men to hold down the Middle East in case of any uprisings. The French would send more men and resources to Algeria while some will go to the Middle East and the rest would stay in France for the foreseeable future. The evacuation of the Entente troops and any pro-Entente civilians, along with the Provisional Government, will begin the following week.

    February 5th, 1943- Japan finishes occupying the major Philippine Islands. Japan near a hundred thousand soldiers, sailors, and airmen to take the Philippines but the won in the end as honor and the Emperor demanded. With the islands now theirs completely transport ships begin arriving to take the Imperial Army troopers to the few remaining Entente/American bases throughout the Pacific that could be easily taken.

    February 8th, 1943- French/Algerian soldiers begin encroaching into the outskirts of Tunis and become entrenched before the recently arrived Italian reinforcements can push them out. The Battle for Tunis will be so hard fought and bloody that some would nickname it the ‘Stockholm of Tunisia’.

    French commanders, using their Algerian volunteers as cannon fodder, are still pushing towards Tunis from the south. Italian troops are spread too thin without any heavy support. The Italian reinforcements revitalize the defenses and stall the French/Algerian advance but cannot truly stop it.

    February 11th, 1943- Field Marshal Model receives reports from Norwegian spies in southern Norway of the mass evacuation of the Entente. While he would like to immediately attack the Entente in their vulnerable position he realizes his men are exhausted from Red Snow and most of his surviving vehicles were down for maintenance. It would be impractical and idiotic to attack. Model is content to allow the Entente to evacuate without hassle. All of Scandinavia will soon be under the protective umbrella of the Reich.

    February 13th, 1943- With the success of the Doolittle Raid and resurge in morale the American Joint Chiefs begin formulating plans to recapture Hawaii in a large scale combined force of naval, air and land units. It is very much in its infant stages but the Joint Chiefs hope to have something to present to President by early March. American production is rapidly producing tanks, aircraft, weapons, and ships. Already two more Essex-class carriers are nearing production along with two smaller escort carriers. These would be done in late April or early May.

    February 15th, 1943- An early manufactured Me-262 “Swallow” jet fighter is tested east of Berlin. Results are good enough to warrant limited production to begin in July with full production to begin in September. Wever and Galland are pushing for these to be out as soon as possible as the air war over western Germany continues to drain resources and remains deadlocked but are aware that if the jet fighter is rushed to production the results would be lukewarm. The Luftwaffe officers want the Me-262 to change the tide of the war in the air and for it to do that its few remaining kinks must be solved in the next few months.

    The date of Fall Blau to begin is slotted for April 30th, 1943. That is the earliest opportunity the General Staff believes the operation can be launched and Hitler, flush with victories in the Scandinavian and North African Theaters, demands that the operation begins soon.

    February 18th, 1943- The Japanese troops in West Papua are completely defeated with less than twenty surrendering out of a force of thousands. West Papua would be reinforced by Entente troops to prevent future Japanese landings.

    February 19th, 1943- Turkey begins weighing its options. At first the generals that unofficially led the country wanted to enlarge its national borders and resources by advancing into the Soviet Caucasus and into the French territories of Lebanon and Syria in the Middle East. From there they would have assisted the Iraqi’s in freeing their country from the British military and economic domination. Persia was quickly becoming more and more likely to join the Axis Powers and a Turkey intervention in the Middle East, a successful one that is, would undoubtedly ensure their joining of the Axis.

    However the Turkish officers had enough sense to know they couldn’t tackle both the Soviets and Entente, despite their military modernization, enlargement and training, courtesy of Axis assistance. It would be impossible, suicide even. The Turks had the hope that if the German officer Balck broke through the British in eastern Libya and routed them all the way to the Suez Canal and beyond Turkey would have found a much more vulnerable and weaker Middle East to exploit. But Balck had to divert troops to the west to deal with the French, Italian troops to be sure but soldiers he would need nonetheless. And with the British and French abandoning the Scandinavian Theater a large influx of veteran troops will soon be in the Middle East, right in the path of the Turkish conquest.

    No, going south was impossible now. The Entente strength would be too much for the Turkish military. Looking north was a different story altogether. The Turkish-Soviet border had been left with a bare bones force, albeit one that manned an impressive array of fortifications. The Soviets lacked any large amounts of armor or aircraft, a similar issue with the Turks therefore leveling the playing field. If the Turks attacked the Russian bear while the Germans advanced east, for the German ambassadors claimed this would happen but was not specific where though Moscow was likely the focus, than Turkey could invade the Caucasus Republics, assimilating the large populations that found themselves under the oppressed rule of the Soviets. For years Turkish spies had begin fermenting an underground within the Caucasus Republics, specifically Azerbaijani. Only in the past year since the NKVD ravaged the Caucasus Republics had anti-Soviet wane while pro-Axis support increased significantly, the opposite of what the NKVD had hoped. Seditious groups, mainly in Azerbaijani, but also noticeably in Armenia and heavily in Georgia, were being sent supplies and weapons from the Turks who made sure that nothing could be traced back to them.

    Turkey’s Army was at a million men, armed and ready. Its Air Force was moderate and relatively modern since it was allowed to build older models of the Bf-109 and FW-190 by the Germans with a small fee per plane constructed sent to the Third Reich. Its navy was miniscule but could assist in damaging Soviet coastal cities since there was no Black Sea Fleet since its destruction by the Italians years ago. The threat of attack from the Entente was a minor one at that. Turkey had built a respectable border fortification line and the Entente was already too busy with the Germans and the Italians in North Africa and Europe to invade another country not at war with them, they learned their lessons from the debacle in Scandinavia, at least that is what the Axis spies in the Middle East were telling the Turkish government.

    The country was ready, willing even, to join the war but would need to see how well the German summer offensive went. If it did poorly Turkey would back down its forces and remain neutral. If Germany and her allies did well in the drive to the east… than things might get interesting for the Soviet Union.

    Geoffrey Keyes, Beda Littoria, North Africa:
    He was the youngest colonel in the British Army, was formerly the youngest lieutenant-colonel up until three months ago when he was promoted. Now he was the youngest colonel, yet this did not impact his skill.

    He and his men had been given a mission by Brigadier General Laylock himself in Alexandria. Their mission was to kill him, this 'Desert Fox'. Assassination was not an honorable thing to do nor was it deemed “correct” in terms of warfare yet it must be done. This German general if allowed to could defeat Wavell despite the British officer having superior numbers. It did not stop the Eighth Army from losing to him twice however.

    Holding his Sten submachine gun in his right hand the British commando slid across a house’s sidewall, his men right beside him. Throughout the Italian city his commandos were deployed, nearly thirty of them handpicked by Laylock and Keyes in groups of three. He brought ten with him while the other two groups were sabotaging as much military equipment as possible.

    The city was quite empty as the Axis forces enacted martial law when Britain began its liberation of Libya. That made the commandos’ job easier than. The only patrols out were half-asleep Italians who were not expecting anything like what Keyes and his men represented.

    Nearing the center of the city where Balck had made camp was the first time they saw German soldiers. These men were off duty, drinking and singing near a campfire, obviously drunk. But behind them were armed guards standing as still as stone statues. Their Kar98k's were loaded and ready for trouble.

    Keyes knew they could not all go they would be spotted too easily. Turning around he said, “Stay here, in ten minutes fire on the guards; I will be going in to get Balck myself.” His men nodded and prepared themselves for action, their black painted faces in contrast with the whites of their eyes.

    Keyes jogged further down the street using empty back alley ways. Nearing the end of the alley which would allow him to run unseen to the fenced off area a door in front of him suddenly opened. Silhouetted against a weak candle light was a boy no older than ten with a bag of trash in one hand.

    Keyes in his black fatigues and black covered face armed with a submachine gun must have been a sight indeed. His hand jerked his weapon towards the boy but stopped suddenly. He might murder a man but not a boy. Bringing his fingers to his mouth, “Ssshhhh,” and smiled.

    The boy smiled as well and repeated the sound. The boy dropped the trash bag and closed the door waving as he shut it. Keyes waved back. When the door finally shut the colonel let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. Too close, he thought.

    Running across the street half crouched he reached the fence quickly. Thankful of the half drunken German soldiers singing he made quick work with the fence with some steel cutters. Moving through the hole he made Keyes began to move further into the camp. Most of the German soldiers were asleep, some reading by candle or torch.

    After four minutes of traversing the camp he found the large tent he was looking for. Intelligence was right for once. It seemed Balck slept out in the field with his men to gain their loyalty and confidences as well as making him seem like a fellow soldier instead of just some officer.

    There wasn’t even a guard at his tent. Cocking his Sten slowly to make sure the metallic sound didn’t create too much noise Keyes moved in. He peeked inside. Balck and two other officers were in there over a plastic table looking over a map. All were armed with pistols but they were holstered.

    Taking deep breaths Keyes was preparing himself to fire when gunfire suddenly erupted from outside the encampment. The ten minutes must have already passed, the commandos following their commander’s orders to the letter.

    Bringing his Sten to his shoulder he rushed in. Two of the officers had their pistols out. Keyes shot both of them; one was hit in the chest and head and fell instantly to the ground, dead. A taller officer with handsome features raised his pistol to fire. Keyes bullets hit the shooter in the arm and he fell over clutching the wound.

    Balck remarkably did not move merely looking at the British soldier with what approached disappointment or despair. Just as he was pulling the trigger the wounded German officer had raised his pistol with his other hand and fired. Keyes’ bullets hit Balck in the right arm and stomach but the wounded officer fired his pistol hitting Keyes in the throat and shoulder. Both men fell like sandbags. Keyes hit the floor dead not knowing if Balck was killed or not. Balck fell down in quiet agony.

    Major Claus von Stauffenberg rushed to his commander’s side putting his good hand over the worst wound afflicting Balck, the one in his stomach. The general looked up at the roof of the tent beginning to lose consciousness “Medic! Medic!” he yelled as the German camp awoke to the war brought to their doorstep.

    February 25th, 1943- General Balck is attacked by a British commando team sent to assassinate him in his headquarters at Beda Littoria. Only Staffenberg’s actions saved the Desert Fox. While he did not die the wounds were grave and quickly becoming worse. Balck would be put in medically induced unconsciousness as the German and Italian doctors attempt to save his life. He is flown to Benghazi where better medical facilities are located.

    German Lieutenant General Walther Nehring takes temporary command. He is Balck’s second-in-command who was away visiting the frontlines when the assassination attempt occurred.

    February 26th, 1943- The Entente finishes its withdrawal from southern Norway leaving destruction in their wake. Axis troops begin pushing into the previously occupied territory. Met by cheering crowds the weary but victorious Axis soldiers march west to Oslo. Throughout the Axis Powers propaganda is in overdrive from state radios and newspapers declaring the ‘Clear victory over the Entente and a dawn of a New Age for a Scandinavia united under the German led Axis Powers.’ The news of Balck being critically wounded by a "vile, cowardly assassin," is announced to demonize the British. Accurate information over whether the Desert Fox is alive or not is unmentioned.

    February 28th, 1943- A division of American troops are loaded up on transport ships and are to be sent to Australia to reinforce Gott and to become the nucleus of an American army group to be led by MacArthur. Roosevelt and the Joint Chiefs plan to have 150,000 Americans in Australia by the end of the year. They are to assist in defending Australia from any Japanese invasion although this was unlikely with the Japanese failure to conquer West Papua. They would also be used in the future campaigns the Joint Chiefs are currently planning.

    Lavrentiy Beria, Moscow, Soviet Russia:
    Being called by the boss for a private meeting was never a good thing, especially now with Stalin’s calm, stoic demeanor beginning to crack with anger always but a step away. At least the bombing raids had stopped thanks to the influx of Red Air Force replacement aircraft.

    Walking through the Kremlin, remarkably the building had suffered little damage in the bombings in comparison to much of the city despite the Luftwaffe’s best efforts, Beria took note of the fact his blue-collared, khaki clothed NKVD were everywhere. Stalin had no trust in the Red Army or Red Air Force anymore for good reasons.

    Beria wondered why he was being called though, especially now. Did he know was Beria’s first thought but he quickly dismissed it. If Stalin had even an inkling that Beria was to launch a coup against him Beria’s corpse would be hanged outside the Kremlin for all too see. No there was something else.

    Walking to the office of General Secretary, not to the formal office upstairs that Stalin took state pictures in, but rather to the real office of the Man of Steel, small and cramped it was but nonetheless it was the true seat of power in the USSR.

    Knocking and hearing a gruff “Come in,” Beria opened the guarded door to see the Man of Steel smoking a badly wrought cigar and sipping weak tea. If the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world could not gain access to high quality items than the Soviet Union was truly in the darkest of perils.

    “Yes, Comrade General Secretary?”

    “Sit, Comrade Lavrentiy Pavlovich, we need to talk,” the dictator ordered.

    Sitting in an undecorated upholstered chair Beria waited. Stalin took a long drag on his cigar before setting it down, the smoke hovering in the air like a cloud. “It has been brought to my attention that you are acquiring massive amounts of arms and ammunition for your NKVD Army more so than I authorized.”

    “Yes, Comrade General Secretary. We both know the Red Army cannot be trusted. Not anymore. The July Meltdown and the debacles in combat have shown they are now inadequate to defend the Motherland. I am also being cautious. If the Red Army launched a coup it could cripple us and the Motherland. That is why I am taking any excess weaponry into the hands of the NKVD, that way it can be better tracked, preventing any chance that a general intent on launching a coup would have.”

    Stalin stared down the NKVD leader, scanning his eyes for any hint of betrayal. After a tense moment Stalin relented. “Very well, I was just curious. You may leave. Send me daily reports of any Red Army officers that might be troublesome.”

    “Yes, Comrade Stalin.”

    “Dismissed,” the dictator waved his hand intent on his paperwork once more.

    Beria left and once he was far enough away he internally chuckled. Beria had indeed been assembling weapons and supplies but not to prevent a military coup but rather to start one. The weapons would be held by the NKVD until the day of the coup. At that time it would be given to the Red Army and Red Air Force officers and their soldiers that swore allegiance to the new Soviet Union Beria would create with Zhukov and Molotov of course. At least until the war ended.

    Walking through the Red Square his eyes glinted with what the future would bring. Soon now, less than a month to go until he launched his bid for national control.

    March 2nd, 1943- Axis troops, with Norwegian Loyalists at their head, enter Oslo to find the city already under control of the Resistance led by Max Manus. Despite the damage wrought throughout the city as the Entente left a parade is being prepared to celebrate Norway being free of the Entente after nearly three years of warfare and occupation. King Haakon VII and his family would return by plane within hours of the city being secured and would once again govern his country from the capital.

    With southern Norway fully in the hands of the Axis the General Staff begin issuing deployment orders for 180,000 out of the near 210,000 German troops to be pulled out and sent to the east. The rest would remain to safeguard against any further invasion of Norway despite that the chance of this becomes more and more unlikely. The Germans are dismayed to find all of the ports in southern Norway crippled beyond quick repair. Docks, construction facilities, and housing for submarines have been utterly destroyed by explosives. It would take years to rebuild. The U-boat force would have to be content with the northern Norwegian bases as launching sites for their U-boats into the Atlantic.

    Across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia wars were fought whether in the open or behind closed doors. Ideologies, religions, economics all fought for control of the world.
  13. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 33: Rumblings of Dissent

    King Haakon VII looked out amongst the crowds of his countrymen as the car drove by. Confetti and flowers were being thrown into the air, falling down on the marching Axis troops as they paraded in victory through Oslo, capital city of Norway. Haakon had never seen the streets so crowded, not even before the war. The citizens of Oslo were yelling with exultation and relief at the marching Norwegian, German, Swedish, and Finnish soldiers. The Entente had been driven out and they were now free from the tyranny of the French and British.

    Haakon looked around the capital. He had not been here since he was rescued by the German Skorzeny and his Schutzstaffel commandoes. It had changed, oh God how it had changed, and for the worse. Oslo had become heavily damaged by the skirmishes between the Norwegian Resistance and the Entente garrison contingent. The smell of smoke and death permeated the city but was slowly fading as rubble was cleared, plumbing was fixed, and, of course, dead bodies were removed and buried with all the ceremony needed. Unless they were Entente soldiers, whose bodies were thrown in mass graves outside the city.

    Sitting next to Haakon was Field Marshal Walter Model, commander of all Axis military forces in Scandinavia, barring eastern Finland which was General Dietl’s theatre. Haakon eyed him from the corner of his eyes, watching him smile and wave his black gloved hand at the cheering civilians. The King had never wanted war to come to Norway, but it seemed it had come to them anyway. Haakon thought to himself how things might have been, in another life, another reality.

    Before the British and French invaded the southern half of the country the King had received intelligence reports from the Norwegian military of increased German activity in the Baltic Sea in mid 1940. His top generals and admirals had told him of a potential German invasion of Denmark which would likely lead to an attack on Norway itself.

    That threat, thankfully, faded when the Soviets attacked German held Poland on June 22nd, 1940, forcing the Germans to cancel their probable invasion of Scandinavia to focus on the greater threat to the east. For a time Haakon hoped no bad would come to Norway as mainland Europe fell into chaos.

    That hope did not last long. The Entente determined to cut off Swedish steel pouring into the German Reich and therefore grinding the German war machine to a halt, invaded and was assisted by the traitorous Provisional Government, dividing Haakon’s nation into two. The Germans to protect their northern flank invaded and occupied Denmark.

    From there they sent men and material to Sweden for the eventual campaign there and for British and French tore a path all the way to Stockholm… only to be surrounded and defeated by the same German commander sitting next to him. And now after years of warfare, and years of murder and bloodshed, Norway was whole again… and committed allies to the Third Reich. It is not what Haakon wanted but it was how life had unfolded. Could there have been a different outcome? Would Norway have been invaded by the Germans and occupied, waiting for liberation from the Entente? Perhaps, but that is not what happened nor will it ever happen. Norway’s path was clear: help the Axis win the war or face even more suffering and horror at the hands of the Entente. The Nazis ideology was distasteful to Haakon but they did ensure his country’s independence.

    The British and French had shown what they thought of Norway and her people. Tens of thousands of graves littered the country, many women and children. The Nazis were evil, Haakon would not deny that, but they were the lesser of two evils, at least to Norway.

    Model turned to the Norwegian monarch. “Smile, Your Majesty, your country has been freed from foreign tyranny.”

    Haakon forced a smile. “Of course, Field Marshal, I cannot properly thank you and Germany enough for your assistance.”

    Model smirked. The German arrogance and sense of national pride showing for a moment, “We had help of course. Sweden took the brunt of the heavy fighting, it will be years to recover from the Burning.”

    Haakon could only nod in agreement. Norway had suffered from the invasion and occupation, but not every centimeter was fought over like it was in central Sweden. Add the Burning to the already devastating and bloody military campaigns and you had a nation ravaged by war, but united in purpose for final victory.

    He had already heard the fascist parties in Sweden had united into one, gaining a large percentage of the Swedish parliament but not a majority. What this would mean for the future of Sweden’s politics the King could only guess but it seemed the Nazi influence and assistance had slowly turned the once liberal democratic state into one mirroring more and more fascistic tendencies, albeit much less obvious and ruthless than its other right-wing Axis allies.

    How long until Norway leaned away from democracy and towards fascism? A year? Five years? A decade? There was no way to tell. Sweden’s change in political alignment had been because of the war and the Germans helping them fight off a foreign enemy.

    Sighing internally, the King raised his hand to wave at the crowds as confetti and flowers continued to fall.

    March 3rd, 1943- A parade in Oslo is held in honor of the great sacrifices of the Norwegian people and of the liberating Axis soldiers. As the parade takes place the Norwegian Army divisions, with support of Swedish and German troops, begin preparing to defend the Norwegian coats in case of any Entente intervention even though that possibility is looking more and more unlikely. The Finnish divisions return back to their country as their presence is needed elsewhere.

    March 4th, 1943- Italian soldiers, thanks to their recent influx of reinforcements, have stalled the French advance in Tunisia. However the western third of Tunis is under French control and are determined to take the rest of the city, even if by doing so transforms the city into one of rubble mounds and corpses.

    Japanese raiders are caught trying to break into Singapore. They are shot down before they succeeded. Despite this the Japanese are unwavering in their commitment to take the fortress-city. Japanese bombers, some carrying biological bombs of the newest strains, hit the British held fortress-city. Casualties are thankfully low but scarce resources are used to contain and eliminate the threat of the bio-bombs. Singapore is good… for now.

    German officials note the rising unruliness of the Warsaw Jews. Harsher rules are implemented to curtail this. Over a hundred Jews are randomly selected and shot near the gates of the Ghetto as an example for poor attitude. A crowd of Polish Aryans cheer the German SS executioners.

    The first ships from the United States reach New Zealand and Australia. Carrying critical supplies this will greatly improve the growing industry and war preparation. American troops are inbound and will reach Australia shortly. Gott and MacArthur are already planning of future operations in the Pacific.

    Field Marshal Hermann Balck, Benghazi Hospital, Libya, North Africa:
    His eyes flickered open. Wincing, his eyes were not use to the light; he raised his hand to block out the stark white light of the room as they adjusted. After a moment it became bearable allowing him to drop his left hand. He looked around seeing he was in a room by himself, the door closed. Looking around he gathered he was in a hospital bed. Obviously, he thought to himself. He was shot, looking down at the wounds which were covered in thick, white gauze.

    The door opened and a nurse walked in. She looked up from her reports that she carried in her hands and froze in place. “Herr Generalfeldmarschall, you are awake,” she blurted out in surprise, and rushed away before Balck could utter even a word, the door closing behind her.

    Moments later Major Klaus von Stauffenberg walked into his commander’s room, his right arm in a sling.

    “So you really are awake.” he stated.

    “Yes, I am. Hope you didn’t get lazy during my absence,” Black responded dryly causing his adjutant to chuckle. Balck shuffled to push himself up from being flat on his back to the perched up position. “Where am I, Klaus?” he asked after he righted himself.

    “You are in the primary Italian hospital in Benghazi, sir. Your wounds were severe, sir. Many did not think you would make it to Benghazi, let alone survive at all.”

    Balck nodded. He didn’t feel much pain other than a dull ache. Morphine was likely the cause. Benghazi, hmm, what else has happened during his absence, “How long have I been unconscious?”

    “A week, it was really touch and go the first few days. You nearly died six times. But the doctors and nurses kept you alive long enough to remove the bullets, stop the bleeding, and to patch you up enough to begin healing properly.”

    Balck gestured towards a wooden chair next to the bed, “So what is the situation like out there, Major?”

    The German major took the offered chair, scooting it up to be closer to his commanding officer. Once settled he looked at Balck. “The British commandoes that tried to kill you failed, obviously, but they did kill Colonel Gerhardt and wounded both of us. The frontline has not changed although the British have been massing their troops and vehicles since you were brought to Benghazi. Lieutenant General Nehring is in command and is prepared to resist any offensive attacks but, to be honest sir, the only reason the British had not attack us yet was because they wanted us to attack them first. You are a better commander and tactician than Wavell, everyone knows it, but with you… temporarily out of commission, Wavell just might try his luck against Nehring. He has the men too. Our Egyptian allies have been able to smuggle information about the British troop movements happening in western Egypt. It seems Wavell is amassing for a strike to breakthrough our forward defenses and makes a move for Beda Littoria again. “

    “It is only logical.”


    Balck pursed his lips. “Inform Nehring I’m awake, than contact Governor-General Balbo and General Graziani and inform them as well. Contact the Bulgarian commander as well; he should be kept in the loop too. Tell the men from the DAK via radio broadcast that I am alive and well, it will boost their spirits I’m sure.”

    Von Stauffenberg nodded, “Yes, sir.”

    Balck looked down at himself, noticing the bandage covering his stomach wound was turing red in the center. “Ah damn, it must have ripped open when I moved.”

    The major stood up, “I will go find a nurse to stitch and replace your bandages, Field Marshal,” and just like that von Stauffenberg was gone. Looking up at the unpainted roof Balck grimaced. He would be bed ridden for weeks, at least. God knows what could happen in that time. He only hoped if, no when, Wavell attacked that Nehring could hold him off long enough for Balck to recover.

    March 7th, 1943- Field Marshal Balck wakes up in a hospital in Benghazi. The news of him being stable and doing well will raise the morale of the German, the Italian, and even the Bulgarian forces. In Berlin Hitler and the General Staff are relived of this good news but can only spare a second’s thought on the North African Campaign. With Fall Blau just over a month away tensions are high as deadlines must be met. Germany realizes it has enough men, material, and supplies for one massive offensive, larger than what Blue was originally planned as, but it only has the one shot. The Reich and its allies must knock the Soviet Union out of the war or face internal collapse as the three front war is placing large strains on the economy, the people, and the war industry. The German Foreign Ministry is working overtime to convince the Turks to join the Axis and assist in combat operations in Russia but so far the Turks are resistant against the Germans empty promises. They will wait and see how Blue does in its opening moves.

    March 11th, 1943- Marshal of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim begins preparing the Finnish Army and Ar Force to move east to liberate the eastern sliver of Finland that the Soviet Union annexed after the Winter War.

    In conjunction with General Dietl the Finnish Marshal plans to puncture the Soviet defenses and reclaim eastern Finland. The Soviet defenses are strong but undermanned.

    It would be many months, nearly a year to prepare the Finnish military to go on the offensive. It was still recovering from sending so many soldiers to Sweden and Norway. The industry and infrastructure of Finland, which had suffered greatly under Soviet occupation and their subsequent retreat, was just now starting to show proper recovery.

    Field Marshal Archibald Wavell, eastern Libya, North Africa:
    Walking through the forward camp the Eighth Army commander looked at the vast array of tanks, armored vehicles and trucks before him. Egypt had been stripped near bare to provide all the necessary supplies but it would be worth it. With the Desert Fox out of the picture, for now at least, it was the time to strike at the Axis.

    Wavell had near 220,000 men, nearly 510 tanks of various classes, and a large and established supply line with significant air coverage. From what the spies amongst the Axis in Libya were stating Nehring only had about 150,000 men (40,000 German, 20,000 Bulgarian, and 90,000 Italian), 280 tanks (an amalgamation of German, Italian, with a very small amount of Bulgarian tanks that have survived since their introduction to the theatre, also many are captured British tanks repainted to Axis colors). Their air support was strong, especially with the new modern Italian fighters arriving, but still noticeably smaller than the Eighth Army’s.

    It would be difficult, and bloody, but Wavell had learned from his engagements with Balck, and knew that this Nehring was competent but lacked the… imagination and skill to outmaneuver and outclass an enemy force of Wavell’s size.

    Better to strike with Balck gone and to take Beda Littoria and from there on to Benghazi. With those two cities taken the war in North Africa would swing in the Entente’s favor, possibly enough to guarantee victory.

    Wavell took his officers cap off, rubbed his hand through his hair. Yes, he thought, we have much to do and must act quickly. He turned about face and walked back towards the command tent to begin preparations.

    March 12th, 1943- Wavell begins drawing up plans for an offensive, codenamed: Lizard, to take advantage in the change of German leadership and through the use of his larger army to push back the combined Axis forces. With the French pushing from the west, drawing away significant Italian infantry reserves (60,000 that were in eastern Libya had to be transferred over to help the Italians already in Tunisia) Wavell believes he can break open the Axis defenses and drive forward to Beda Littoria and possibly Benghazi. He had thought this twice and proven wrong twice but that was by Balck who is a much more aggressive, intuitive commander while Nehring is competent and disciplined but not much else.

    In Tokyo plans are submitted to the military junta of the possibility of bombing the American West Coast with bio-bombs using the Kawanishi H6K aircraft. This long range reconnaissance/light bomber plane would bomb American cities on the West Coast to spread fear and chaos through the States. Few believe it will actually cause this but many want this bombing to occur no matter the benefits or negatives to simply act as a response to the American Doolittle Raid. Dozens of H6Ks are to flown to Hawaii for preparation for this long range bio-bombing.

    March 13th, 1943- Japanese soldiers raid a Chinese Communist Party meeting in Shanghai. A fierce firefight would break out with the Chinese Communists being massacred and the survivors imprisoned.

    Among the dead would be Communist leader Mao Zedong. With his death the Chinese Communist Party would descend into inter-party conflict. The Japanese would capitulate on this and secure their hold on their Chinese territories.

    March 14th, 1943- The Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland rises up in rebellion. Armed with weapons bought on the black market and smuggled into the ghetto the Jewish fighters throw out the German/Polish guards and quickly seal off any way in or out of the ghetto. Dozens of captured German/Polish guards are tried in makeshift courts and are executed by hanging by day's end.

    When informed of the even Hitler descends into an infuriated rage, cursing the Jews for their “disobedience and damaging acts.” Himmler quickly orders three divisions of Waffen-SS infantry, which were in Warsaw awaiting transit to the east, to subdue this little rebellion. They are to be assisted by the Warsaw German Army Garrison and the Polish defense militia.

    March 17th, 1943- After a brief interlude of inter-party conflict the Communist Party has a new leader: General Peng Duhuai. He was chosen by the Party Central Committee for his notable military and leadership skills.

    His political enemies in the Part's upper hierarchies would be arrested and purged to prevent any further fracturing of the Party. Across China the majority of the Party affirms their support of Peng. Those that do not support Peng break off from the Communist Party to from their own parties in ideological, and sometimes physical, opposition.

    The alliance between the Nationalists and Communists will remain unchanged. Their civil war will remain dormant until after the Japanese are pushed out of China.

    March 18th, 1943- The Waffen-SS divisions, after being reinforced with Stuka squadrons, prepare to enter the ghetto through force. After hours of dive-bombing, artillery and mortar strikes the German troops move in with the Polish auxiliaries and German Army men to protect the flanks.

    The initial thrust is repelled with heavy German/Polish losses but the SS have gained a foothold in the ghetto and are not wavering or falling back despite the best the Jews can throw at them. Even with this small foothold the Germans know it will be weeks before the Jews are defeated. And it will not be cheap.

    Lieutenant General Walther Nehring, eastern Libya, North Africa:
    Surveying the east with his Zeiss binoculars, the officer in charge of the entirety of the Afrika Korps and by default the entire Axis military forces in eastern Libya, Nehring swayed left to right, right to left, looking for any sign of trouble.

    The landscape before him was lighting up as the sun rose. Just as the first slivers of light etched itself across the sandy plains a sound of thunder erupted from the east. Not thunder, thought Nehring, artillery.

    Suddenly over a hundred artillery guns were firing on the German and Italian lines. Overhead aircraft flew west, laden with bombs and bullets. The artillery and the aircraft were only the beginning. Soon panzers, armored vehicles, and infantry would follow.

    Nehring began to bark out orders. The Luftwaffe would have to scramble to intercept the British bombers before they did any major damage. The Axis infantry would be running towards their positions, ready to resist the assault with bullet and explosive. But… it might not be enough. The German general ran to his command car, festooned with radios and antennas.

    It was going to be a long day, of that he was sure of.

    March 20th, 1943- Wavell launches Operation Lizard with the entire Eighth Army at his heels. The Axis defenses hold for about an hour before they are overrun. Throughout the day Nehring and Wavell use their armored units to engage at the forefront of the battle but as the afternoon passed away into the night the battle was clearly won by the British.

    Nehring, defeated but not dead, ordered the remaining three-quarters of his forces west towards Beda Littoria. Wavell, now a seasoned campaigner in Libya, ordered a quick advance but protected his flanks with a higher amount of armor than usual to prevent any German tricks.

    The entirety of the Eighth Army RAF contingent flew west to bomb and strafe any and all Axis positions they could find. They would be contended with the Italian and German craft and air superiority changed hourly.

    Italian reserves in Benghazi are to be moved towards Beda Littoria to assist in the inevitable battle that will be fought there. Balck, who is healing well, curses Wavell but he cannot take command of the DAK yet, his health was not good enough to be moved out of the hospital. He must put faith and trust in Nehring to preserve the Afrika Korps in a fighting state long enough for Balck to return to command.

    As midnight nears British bombers release a large amount of high-explosive bombs into Beda Littoria, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers alike. A handful of bombs were lucky and hit a supply cache full of ammunition and spare parts for the German panzers. This would hinder the Germans ability to repair and arm their panzers in the coming days.
    Jack Brisco likes this.
  14. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 34: Blood in the Kremlin

    Joseph Stalin, Kremlin, Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics:
    Power, control, victory, and survival, that was all that mattered anymore, that was all that ever really mattered to begin with.

    These were what circulated through the General Secretary Stalin’s mind. His power of being the one supreme ruler of the Soviet nation, his power base built upon the blood and cries of millions. Control was total domination of the government, the Party, and the military. Victory was a forgotten dream, a dream he spouted to boost the spirits of the populace but he knew the USSR could never defeat the Germans unconditionally, not now. The hammer-and-sickle flag would never raise itself over Berlin, not in this lifetime. The campaigns of 1941 and 1942 saw to that. Stalin could only hope to stave off a German victory by bleeding them in the summer of 1943. If the Germans and their puppet followers were bled enough they would have to leave the Soviet Union alone for years. Years that could go into rebuilding and reforming the Soviet Union to be even more loyal to the dictator. Purges would have to be enacted, across all fields, particularly the military. Millions would have to die but it would not be in vain. Their sacrifice would ensure victory over fascism in the future.

    Survival was now his goal. The German offensive on Moscow would fail, it must fail, if it did not the Soviet Union might well collapse. Stalin glared at the maps before him, wishing there were more red flags than already were there. The Red Army might still outnumber the Germans and their allies but the gap had considerably shrunk the past two years. And nearly half of the “men” in the Red Army were half-trained boys and old men.

    Women were taking more and more of an active role in the war. Nearly the entire workforce on collective farms, factories and behind the lines garrisoning was done by female soldiers. There were even a few dozen all-female divisions on the frontlines, although mainly in quiet sectors like the Southern Republics, the Caucasus Republics, and the Karelia Front. Nearly a third of the Red Air Force personnel consisted of women as well.

    Almost four thousand T-34s, the entirety of the surviving KV-1s in the USSR arsenal, nearly a hundred, and a few hundred IS-2 heavy tanks which could contend with anything the German Army could throw at the USSR were within a hundred and fifty kilometers of Moscow. Over three and a half million troops, NKVD Army included, resided in the capital’s area of operations, two million at the front with a million and a half as a reserve. Around two million were new recruits, drafted through cities across the Soviet Union. With over twenty million dead or missing the Soviet Union did not have as wide of a recruiting pool as it did before Operation Red Dawn. Add the fact that the Belarussia was practically a German province-in-the-making and the Ukraine was its own country and the situation became even bleaker. Those former member states should have been full of guerilla fighters and partisans, hitting German supply lines and garrisons. Instead the Belarussians, along with the Baltic States and Poland, contributed men and resources towards the German war machine, and the Ukraine waged war against its former Russian masters with a burning passion.

    The Army of Moscow as some were calling it was being re-armed with SVT-40s and submachine guns en masse at a rapid pace. The old but durable Mosin-Nagant bolt action rifle was to be delegated to second and third tier fronts almost exclusively.

    The Red Air Force, thanks to the Ural Mountain factories, had been rebuilt although the pilots flying them were predominantly half-trained or had no combat experience. Over two thousand modern aircraft guarded Moscow, preventing any Axis bombings of Moscow or cities further to the east, a fact Stalin was thankful for, those bombings had made large portions of the city become rubble. He was hesitant in sending sorties deep over German territory as he did not want to lose large portions of the revived Red Air Force before the campaign season even begun. Knowing the Luftwaffe’s abilities he would lose anywhere from a quarter to half of the planes on each sortie.

    Sighing he put a cigar in his mouth, lighting it up with a match. The cigar was not of the quality it was before the war. Sacrifices had to be made, even by the leader of an industrialized nation. After a moment of contemplation of what could have been he went back to work. Paperwork never seemed to be truly finished, especially during a war. He signed papers authorizing the enlargement of defenses in Vyazma, the fortress-city that was essentially the frontlines and near the furthest Axis line of advance. He signed a paper authorizing the petition Beria sent him to enlarge the NKVD Army from 250,000 men to 350,000, which would take many months, more likely a year, to make reality.

    As he took another drag of his cigar gunfire roared down the hallway, causing him to freeze halfway through flicking the ash away. More gunfire followed with yells of “traitor” and “betrayal” echoed in the midst of sounds of pain and death.

    Bullets hit the front door of his sanctum, presumably to kill the guards stationed there. Stalin ducked under his wooden desk. More gunfire followed and the screams of dying men filled Stalin’s ears. What seemed like an eternity but could not have been more than a minute or two the gunfire finally stopped.

    A few seconds later the door to his office opened, creaking as it did so. “Comrade Stalin?” intoned a familiar voice, relief flooded through Stalin as he recognized who it belonged to.

    Stalin rose up from behind his desk. “Beria? What is happening out there?” the General Secretary demanded. The Chief of the NKVD stood before him, carrying a PPsH, his uniform smeared with blood. Behind him stood other NKVD guards and Red Army personnel, awaiting what was to come. “What is the situation? Is this another uprising?”

    “Fool,” the word hit Stalin like a bullet. Understanding came to him suddenly. Walking from behind his desk he walked towards Beria, stopping a couple of meters away. If he was to die he will die as a man of his position should. Straightening his uniform he looked at Beria with cold contempt, his face devoid of all emotion except for the tell-tale signs of anger as he slowly became red with rage.

    “I should have purged you years ago, like I did to your predecessors,” remarked Stalin.

    “Yes, you should have. But you did not, and now here we are,” replied Beria.

    “Yes, we are,” Stalin noted, grinding his teeth in fury.

    Beria raised his submachine gun, aiming at the chest of Stalin, and unleashed a burst of bullets into the Georgian’s chest. The bullets impacted and shredded through his body, shattering bone and cutting arteries. As he fell, blood poured out in great spurts, staining the uniform he wore and dripping onto the carpet covered floor. Stalin was dead before he hit the ground. Beria walked over and unleashed another burst into his skull, just to be sure, and to send a message to all those that witnessed it. Beria killed Stalin himself and inherited the power, so to speak.

    As he turned around Beria saw the expression of the men he led. They looked… stunned. As if they surprised at what they did and that they actually carried it through. They had conspired in killing one of the most powerful men in the world. Most of them were young when Bolshevism came to power, and many had lived the majority of their life under the iron rule of Stalin. Now the monolithic, imposing figure of Joseph Stalin was gone, dead in his office.

    An era died with the Georgian. But Beria was determined to begin another era, an era more beneficial to the Soviet Union, one that would see it survive. “Comrades,” the guards and army troopers came to attention. “We have much work to do. The Man of Steel is dead but he still has loyalists out there and they need to be arrested and dealt with. Make sure Molotov is safe and secured. Inform the Army officers that swore allegiance to us to make their move on the weapon depots in the city and the motor pool. We need to move fast if we are to ensure success,” turning to a captain in the NKVD Beria ordered, “Round up the elements of the NKVD and the military we marked as loyal to Stalin. Round them up and shoot them immediately,” the captain nodded and ran off to ensure the orders were carried out.

    Walking around Stalin’s desk, his boots stepping into the growing pool of blood emanating from Stalin, he sat down into the stuffed chair. “Also, retrieve Zhukov. We will need him here. He has the Motherland to defend.”

    March 23rd, 1943- NKVD Lavrentiy Beria launches coup d’état in Moscow. Using the NKVD Army, NKVD security forces, and Red Army troops the coup quickly takes control of Moscow and within an hour Stalin is declared dead with photos and videos filmed to confirm that the Soviet dictator of near twenty years was deceased. With this propaganda in hand and spreading the majority of the Soviet military, Party, and government officials in the surrounding oblasts pledging their loyalty to the new triumvirate consisting of Beria, Molotov, and Zhukov.

    Beria would remain in control of the NKVD, the NKVD Army, the non-military intelligence bureaus, and would be the most powerful man in the Soviet Union. Molotov would officially become the new General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but the majority of his executive powers would be given to Beria “for the duration of the war to ensure internal stability.” Molotov would lead the political apparatus and assist in removing Stalinist elements from the government and the Party. He would be the least powerful out of the Ruling Triumvirate. Zhukov, once he would return to Moscow, would resume his duties as an officer of the Soviet Union. To signify his complete command over the Soviet Armed Forces Molotov, with the grudging acceptance of Beria, would create a new rank for Zhukov: First Marshal of the Soviet Union. Molotov wants Zhukov to act as a counter-weight to Beria's increasing power and influence.

    Zhukov would be the next strongest of the Triumvirate after Beria, and his control over the Soviet military would give him significant leverage. While Molotov was technically the leader of the USSR, the real leaders were Beria and arguably Zhukov.

    News of the coup sends shockwaves through the Soviet Union and waves of surprise throughout the rest of the world. When Hitler is informed that Stalin was assassinated he reportedly smiled and allowed everyone in the command bunker to smoke a cigarette in his presence, a rare event due to his anti-smoking stance. While the feeling of delight would not leave Hitler and other ranking Nazi officials, the German General Staff became worried about what a Russia led by this Triumvirate could do. Stalin had become predictable with using his armies as a hammer, slamming against the Axis forces. This has led to many Axis victories and horrendous Soviet casualties. But with the Man of Steel out of the picture predictability was gone. No one knew if this new Soviet government would allow its generals more room to command independently and not be tied down by commissars and political clutter. The General Staff will be having many meetings discussing the new situation in the east.

    The Soviet Union, after nearly two decades of leadership under Stalin, finds itself under new management. Management that some of the populace disagree with. With chaos raging in Moscow and the surrounding territory many thousands take the opportunity to desert the military with thousands more loyal to the old regime take up arms against the new one.

    Already there are half a dozen skirmishes around the Soviet capital with the NKVD Army and coup-supporting Red Army moving in to crush those that rebelled. The combat is bloody but quick. By day’s end over half of the rebelling forces have been defeated and apprehended, the other half crippled.

    Lavrentiy Beria, Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union:

    Hundreds of men, ranging from former military officers and party or government officials stood before him. Their faces were of grief and despair; they knew what was going to happen. They were the highest ranking/most influential Stalinist elements that had survived the purges and the following skirmishes that began after Stalin’s death three days ago.

    They had been arrested and now would be dealt the ultimate punishment. Beria walked past them, his hands behind his back. Beside him walked Vyacheslav Molotov, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, and the de jure leader of the country.

    Molotov wasn’t an idiot, he knew he was essentially a mouthpiece for Beria and he wisely kept any thoughts he had about this to himself. He was frowning however.

    “Is there something wrong, Comrade General Secretary?” asked the NKVD chief.

    Molotov’s frown quickly disappeared and his face became unreadable as it usually was. “No, Comrade Beria. I was just wondering of the wisdom of doing this in public. Behind closed doors, or in the middle of the night somewhere out in the country is one thing, but to do it here, in the middle of the Red Square. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, pairs of eyes observing this.”



    “Yes, good, the people can see that the stain of Stalin will be removed from Moscow. This will also send a message to those we were not able to catch and to those doubtless loyal to Stalin and his policies. To follow the Georgian is to die.”

    Molotov looked out at the hundreds of men, some were beginning to shake and cry as fear swept over them. Behind them stood two score armored cars, machine guns loaded and ready to fire, pointing at the assembled crowd.

    Beria continued, “Comrade Molotov, this will send a message to the peasants and workers of the Soviet Union as a whole. To be affiliated with the former government or be in resistance against ours is to ensure death.

    “We have a war to finish, Comrade Molotov; we cannot have… distractions that plagued Stalin’s regime. We will cut this canker out here and now, and focus on the struggle against the Fascist invaders.”

    After a moment the new General Secretary nodded in agreement. Beria raised his hand, swinging it down quickly. The armored cars, the machine guns, and the drum magazine PPsH carrying guards shot into the crowd. It was a slaughter, within a minute and a half the Stalin supporters fell down, either dead or dying. The machinegun fire ceased and dozens of guards ran out amongst the fallen Stalinists. An occasional shot could be heard as they executed the survivors.

    Beria could see hundreds of civilians at the edge of the Red Square watching the executions, some leaving when the gunfire started, the rest leaving as it ended. They would spread the word of what defying the new Triumvirate would lead to. Good, fear was a weapon the NKVD had honed sharp in its years of use.

    March 26th, 1943- Beria’s coup, after three days of anticipation and dread, appears to have succeeded. The vast majority of the Red Army surrounding Moscow have sworn loyalty to Beria, Molotov, and of course Zhukov when it was announced that the Soviet military officer would be returning to Moscow soon to be the third member of the Ruling Triumvirate.

    The Joint Chiefs present Operation Liberty to President Roosevelt. It details the plans and the logistics of liberating Hawaii through a massive invasion force of over two hundred thousand soldiers, sixty thousand in the first wave alone. It would involve the entirety of the American Pacific carrier force and hundreds of other ships ranging from destroyers, cruiser,s frigates, transports, supply ships and many more.

    This would be first major offensive against the Empire of Japan by the United States. If successful the Joint Chiefs hope to have follow up operations soon after with Hawaii as a staging point rather than the West Coast.

    March 27th, 1943- After four days of heated discussion and arguing in Berlin the General Staff proposes to Hitler that the offensive date be moved up from the 30th to the 15th of April. This is done in light of recent developments in the Soviet Union. Beria and Molotov might have secured Moscow and its protective forces but its authority is not quite established outside of the Soviet capital and the surrounding oblasts. The General Staff wants to attack as soon as possible to capitulate on the instability of the new regime’s rule in the wider USSR.

    Hitler quickly agrees, he wants to attack the Soviets while they appear weak. With the operation moved up ahead by fifteen days the Axis logistical corps is under heavy pressure to finish supplying and readying the forces to take part in Fall Blau.

    Field Marshal von Leeb, overall commander of the main thrust of Case Blue, would be working overtime to prepare his army for the offensive. Field Marshal Guderian, the primary panzer commander of Blue, is called to Kiev, along with his protégée Colonel-General Rommel to discuss any changes to be made of the battle plans in the opening days. Dozens of other field marshals and generals would attend this meeting as well.

    Field Marshal von Manstein, commander of the northern thrust of the campaign, is ready for the offensive but has to continue fooling the Soviets into thinking Moscow is the target of the coming offensive. The current instability should improve his ability to hide this fact.

    Georgy Zhukov (newly promoted to First Marshal of the Soviet Union), on a Trans-Siberian Railway train, somewhere in Siberia:
    The train only stopped to take on supplies and fuel, the rest of the time it was chugging west as fast as it could. He had been retrieved from the freezing shithole of a gulag not even a week ago. At first he thought the NKVD guards were to execute him when they isolated him but instead they showed him proper respect and escorted him to the railway station where he ate good food, showered, shaved, and put on his former uniform.

    It didn’t fit as well now; he had lost considerable weight while working in the gulag. He intended to fix that the next time they stopped. He would order a seamstress be brought aboard to fix his uniform to fit him in a more suitable way. He did not want to appear ragged to Molotov or Beria when he returned to civilization.

    Not only did the NKVD guards retrieve him they brought the most recent military dispatches as of a week ago. While not as up to date as he would have wanted they were much preferable than nothing and helped fill him in on what happened to the Soviet Armed Forces in his absence.

    The result was not the most satisfactory. The Red Army and Red Air Force had grown into large forces again but nearly half of both were half trained boys, old men, and women. The so called ‘Army of Moscow’ was re-arming with more modern, and deadlier, weapons and the latest versions of the T-34s, IS-2s, and the handful remnants of the KV-1 tanks.

    Sipping the vodka laced tea he looked over projected Axis military positions. Mhmm, the Germans and the ROA had concentrated heavily for a move on Moscow. Two years ago that would have made sense, a year ago would have been believable, but from Zhukov had read Moscow was a fortress to rival any in history. Over three and half million entrenched soldiers with the support of thousands of tanks and aircraft, it would be suicide to take that path. Zhukov, as any respectable Communist, had a low opinion of Hitler and his Nazi butchers, but Zhukov had respect for the abilities of the German Wehrmacht. They were arguably the best military in Europe, especially in large armored engagements and blitzkrieg warfare. Advancing to the Moscow of 1943 however would be a mistake, a catastrophic one at that. Their tanks and men would be damaged and bloodied every meter of the way and what would reach the capital would be a hollow shell of what started the campaign.

    When he returned to Moscow he would have to take a closer look over the reports and situational maps to better understand the situation. He stretched, feeling bones pop in his back, and looked out the window at the snow covered trees passing by, seemingly taken in by the beauty of the simplicity of nature.

    March 29th, 1943- The last elements not loyal to the Triumvirate are put down in the Moscow area. Their leaders would be executed with the remaining soldiers imprisoned or sent to gulags in Siberia. With total command of Moscow and the surrounding provinces secured Beria and Molotov quickly reach out to Party officials and military officers elsewhere in the Soviet Union to ascertain their loyalty. The majority will side with Triumvirate, knowing that to defy was to be destroyed and the past two and a half years showed that rebelling against the more powerful foe had disastrous results, usually.

    The Japanese finish conquering the Marshall Islands after months of slow combat. The Marshalls had been a secondary front while the campaigns in Indonesia, Indochina, and the Philippines were being waged but with those ending in Japanese victory more men and supplies were sent to the Marshalls to finish what was started.

    Laos, which had been under French rule before the Japanese drove them out, has been under Japanese occupation for several months. The Japanese approach the Laotian King Sisavang Vong to create a puppet government under Japanese rule and to join the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Surprisingly the king declines and is placed under house arrest. His son, Crown Prince Sisavang Vatthana evaded the Japanese authorities and fled to the countryside to join the guerilla movement located there. His presence would bring more and more people to aid and join the resistance in the coming months becoming a major pest to the occupying authorities.

    Cambodia on the other hand, was also approached of setting up a puppet government, was much friendlier towards the idea of semi-independence. The young King Norodom Sihanouk creates a Cambodian run government and renames his country the Kingdom of Kampuchea. This cooperation greatly assists the Japanese in manpower and logistical issues in Southeast Asia. The garrisoning forces of what is now called Kampuchea, by the locals, the Japanese, and its puppets, are reduced from thirty thousand to a mere five thousand. Fifteen thousand soldiers will be sent to China where the situation has turned in the Japanese’s favor temporarily since the death of Mao Zedong. A whole division of infantry would head to Burma to reinforce the Japanese and the Burmese.

    March 30th, 1943- German Field Marshal Balck has recovered significantly enough to leave the Benghazi hospital and is housed in what was once the beach home of an Italian dignitary who is currently in Italy. The German commander would be under constant guard to prevent any further assassination attempts and despite the warnings of his doctor Balck begins immersing himself back into duties relating to a German field marshal, at least the paperwork side of it. The actual command of the Deutches Afrika Korps will remain in the hands of Nehring, for now at least.

    Communication between the two leading German officers is done daily. Nehring apprises Balck of the situation and Balck gives tactical advice to Nehring. With Case Blue just over two weeks away there will be little to no reinforcement from the Reich. Resupply and reinforcement from Italy would continue uninterrupted though.

    April 2nd, 1943- Zhukov arrives in Moscow to no ceremony, arriving in the dark of night, greeted only by Molotov and a guard contingent. From there the First Marshal would meet at the Kremlin with Beria. This would be the first meeting between the Triumvirate in its entirety.

    Wavell encircles Beda Littoria, capturing it by mid-day with light losses to both him and the Axis. Nehring is in retreat towards Benghazi but with the majority of the DAK intact and most of the Italian soldiers were able to evacuate as well. Wavell is only 200 kilometers away from Benghazi and is steadily moving west.

    April 3rd, 1943- General Slim in eastern India launches an offensive into western Burma. What he lacks in heavy equipment and vehicles he more than makes up for in inspired tactics that see the British/French/Indian force move rapidly into western Burma. The Burmese and the Japanese resist fanatically but are simply outgunned. British RAF and French fighter squadrons dominate western Burma until Japanese aerial reinforcements are ushered over. The extra ten thousand infantryman sent to Burma by the Japanese was a wise move on their part as these troops are forming the reserve to engage any possible breakthrough.

    April 9th, 1943- Six days of advancement and Slim calls off the offensive for supply lines to catch up and to assess the situation. The Indian troops having gone through their trial by fire have performed quite well, despite the lack of modern equipment. Slim is asking for more vehicles, tanks, modern arms and more supplies. A task Britain cannot fully meet at this time, but a task the United States can. Contacting Gott and MacArthur in Australia Slim arranges for the USN to begin escorting convoys carrying military supplies from the West Coast, to Australia, and from there to India. It will be a very long road but Slim desperately needs these resources if he is to move into central Burma.

    April 11th, 1943- The first six Type VIII U-boats are launched from their ports in northern Germany to begin conducting training exercises in the Baltic Sea. Admiral Dönitz wants the crews to become accustomed to their new, deadly submarines before sending them into combat in the North Sea and eventually the North Atlantic.

    Only four days left before Case Blue and things are looking good to the Axis commanders. All the armor divisions have been assembled and are ready to move out; the majority of the infantry and the entirety of the air support are ready. There were still almost two hundred thousand Axis infantry that would not be there at the initiation of combat operations as they are in transit or finishing basic training, or caught up with other situations such as suppressing rebellious ghettos.

    Mordechai Anielewicz, Warsaw Ghetto, Warsaw, Poland:
    The streets were eerily quiet. He preferred it like this to be honest. When the streets of the ghetto were loud these days it was because of gunfire and murder.

    The militant arm of the SS, along with Polish auxillaries and Army garrisoning troops, marched into the ghetto thinking it would be a quick pacification. Mordechai chuckled, "Man were they wrong," he murmured.

    After the initial foothold was gained the Germans and the Poles went into the Jewish held parts of the ghetto five times and were thrown back five times. Losses though were heavy for both sides. Both sides would not take prisoners so it would be a fight to the death or until one side ran out of ammunition which would be the Jews eventually. The black market and stealing gave the Jews enough ammunition and weapons for a tense uprising that could last weeks, maybe a month or scavenging from the dead Germans but in the end all of them would die. It was inevitable.

    But they all knew their fate. They did not embrace it but accepted it. And all the Jewish men, women, and children that took up arms did so in the name of freedom and liberty. Things the Nazis took away from them.

    Mordechai knew he would not see a 1944, he would not live probably past the month but he knew this and was at peace with the knowledge. But before he died he woud kill a few more Nazi scum before they shot him.

    In the distance footsteps could be heard, someone running. Mordechai brought up his rifle, aiming down from the window he occupied towards the rubble strewn, corpse littered street.

    A small boy appeared from behind a collapsed building, running towards the Jewish headquarters.

    "Hold fire, it's Abraham."

    Abraham was a boy of eleven, skinny due to malnutrition but incredibly fast with good eyes. The boy also knew every nook and cranny in Warsaw and could slip in and out of the ghetto much easier than an adult could have. He was the primary scout for the Jews under Mordechai's command. Some might look down upon using children in war but those facing extermination would use every resource they had available.

    Abraham ran into the building to report to Mordechai. He turned around to face the open doorway seeing some Jewish fighters returning to their corners of solitude or going to their families.

    The boy scout finished running up the stairs and stood in front of Mordechai, bent over taking in lungfuls of breath. He laughed, "Come on Abraham, catch your breath and drink this."

    The boy accepted the offered canteen and practically inhaled the water within. Once done his breathing returned to normal. Abraham returned the canteen back to its owner.

    "Now what did you see out there?" he asked. Mordechai could hear the other cell leaders behind him leaning forward to hear what the scout had to say.

    "Another division of infantry is assembling just outside the ghetto walls."

    "Waffen-SS?" asked a cell leader.

    The young boy shook his head, "No. They didn't have the SS runes on them. I heard one of the German soldiers mention they were Lithuanian."

    "Lithuanian? Here?"

    Abraham nodded vigorously. Mordechai pondered for a moment. "It makes sense, it might have been the closest available unit to respond. We have all noticed how many trains have headed to the east laden with men and materials and returning to the west empty. They Nazis are preparing for the summer campaigns in Russia which has led them to have a lack of frontline infantry to respond to 'internal threats'."

    The other Jewish fighters could hear the quotations, chuckling at the dark humor the phrase represented.

    "Lithuanian or German, it makes no matter. They have come to kill us and we must respond in kind," Mordechai turned to the cell leaders, "Notify your cells and prepare for imminent skirmishes with the SS and the Lithuanians." They nodded and quickly left.

    Turning back to the boy Mordechai grinned and tousled his hair. "Now go and get something to eat from the kitchens. I hear there might be meat in there today."

    The boy, wide eyed, ran to the ad-hoc kitchen. The meat was of... questionable origin but it would suffice. Seeing the boy run away happy to have the chance to eat meat saddened the leader of the Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa.

    Have we really delved to such depths of misery and pain that a simple addition to our diet brings hope, he thought. No matter. He resumed his position by the window, checking to see a bullet was in the chamber ready to fire.

    In the background mortar fire and whistles, quickly followed by small arms fire erupted east of his position. It seemed like the Lithuanians had made their move. Now he would make his.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  15. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 35: Case Blue

    Major Hans-Ulrich Rudel stood in front of his assembled squadron in an airbase’s conference room, adjacent to their dormant Stukas. The Luftwaffe controlled airbase was a former Soviet Red Air Force one not six months earlier, it was east of Bryansk and one of the major airbases south of the Moscow area.

    The son of a Lutheran priest, a teetotaler and a devout Christian as well as a fervent National Socialist Rudel had risen far since the war began. He had flown as a reconnaissance pilot in the Polish campaign of 1939, a dive bomber in the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1940 and ever since he had fought on the Eastern Front. He had flown over sixteen hundred sorties as of a week ago, the most in the history of the Luftwaffe and indeed the world in the field of military aviation.

    He had been there in the middle of 1940 when it looked like the Bolsheviks would overrun German held territory and enter the Fatherland itself, which they did in East Prussia, at least temporarily. Now three years later the tables had truly turned. The Reich and its allies held large swathes of western Russia. Belarussia, the Baltic States, and Poland were provinces of Germany in all but name. Rudel had heard after the war they, and their populations deemed sufficiently Aryan, would be fully integrated into the Third Reich. But for there to be an after there must be a victory in the present, thought Rudel.

    A victory that was not as apparent as many in the Fatherland were told by the Ministry of Propaganda. Yes Germany and its allies had wreaked havoc on the Soviet Union, over twenty million dead at least but the war was draining the German economy and resources. Even with the tithes of Germany’s eastern territories the economy and war production was barely keeping up with the demands of the Wehrmacht.

    He didn’t like admitting it to himself or to others but it was a growing known fact in Axis Europe that despite all the victories Germany and its allies had won it still very might well lose the war. To wage a war you need foodstuffs, metals, fuels, and manpower. All of these were running lower than many would like, soon in a year’s time it would reach dangerous levels. Foodstuffs, metals, and fuels were rationed to the extreme while manpower was also being stretched to degrees Rudel never would have thought he would have seen when the war started. While it was not the level of desperation seen in the USSR it was still bad. Women had to take more and more duties to relieve men for the frontlines and auxiliary divisions raised in the Baltic States, Belarussia and Poland were having to begin large scale conscription when not even a year ago it had been volunteer based.

    This year was the deciding year for the East. If Blue succeeded Germany might have enough strength to deal with the Entente. If it failed… if Germany failed a Second Dark Age would descend on central Europe and the light of a National Socialist civilization would die out.

    Looking out at the faces of the brave men of his squadron he knew his fellow pilots realized the situation, they were not incompetent or blind to the realities of war, far from it. Looking out amongst them Rudel felt a tug of sorrow as only a few of those faces began the war with him. Piloting a Stuka was signing one’s death warrant, it was only a matter of time before even he, a recipient of the the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, would die as well. But he would so in the service of his people and country.

    Clearing his throat he began to speak to the men, “Kameraden, Freunde, Brüder,” he began. “Today is the days of days. The ultimate clash between the National Socialist Reich and the Jewish-Bolshevik parasite that is the Soviet Union begins this morning. This coming battle will echo through the generations when our children and our children’s children will know of this time as the deciding moment of the war.

    “We have lost millions in this war to protect the Vaterland and to ensure our national dominance, both civilian and military. Good, innocent German citizens at home are being bombed into death and destruction by the aerial butchers of the RAF and the French Air Force. From the Rhine to just east of Gagarin, from Scandinavia to North Africa this war is being fought for the preservation of our culture, our race, our ideology and our dreams.

    “My German brothers, now is the time to win this conflict against the Communists! We will grind them into the dust and in doing so ensure the survival of all we hold dear!” he took a deep breath, “Who’s with me?”

    Affirmations of loyalty and dedication were enthusiastically said back. “Let us show these Soviets how to win a war! For the Vaterland, for the Volk, for the Führer!” he bellowed.

    The pilots stood clapping, cheering and fist-pumping into the air; they were ready. “Let’s go!”

    Rudel ran to his Junkers Ju 87, his subordinate pilots following him to their respective planes. As he climbed into the canopy his eyes looked to the east where the sun was just rising over the horizon. It was a dark red color. It was a color both the Party and the Bolsheviks used. It was also the color of blood, a premonition of what was to occur this day.

    His co-pilot and rear gunner, Sergeant Albert Dieselhorst situated himself in the rear cockpit. Rudel sat down and did a quick check over the Stuka’s instruments. All was green and in working order. Attaching his breather mask Rudel began to guide the plane to the runway.

    Rudel sped down the runway, his squadron at his back. His target: Orel and the large Soviet panzer force stationed there. His was not the only squadron to go there. Dozens of squadrons, the most concentrated assembly of Stukas Rudel had seen in many months flew towards Orel. When that city fell the northern flank of Fall Blau would be better secured against any force moving from Moscow, better ensuring Axis success further south. The Soviets of course would see the Fall of Orel as part of a larger strategy to surround the Russian capital.

    Good, let them think that. The large “army” west of Moscow, about thirty kilometers east of Gagarin in the Smolensk Oblast was false, a collection of out of date equipment, wooden tanks and principally manned by ROA forces with just a scattering of German soldiers. The Soviets would think Moscow would be the primary target for many days and by then it might be too late for them.

    Rudel smiled a predator’s grin as he pulled back on the stick allowing his plane to fly into the morning skies. Already German FW-190s, Bf-109s, ROA controlled MiG-3s, Yak-1s, Yak-3s, Yak-7s, and Yak-9s flew air coverage. Bombers of all classes were flying in conjunction with the fighters and fighter-bombers.

    Rudel saw Dornier Do 17s, Junkers Ju 89, the first Ural Bomber class and one rapidly being replaced by its even better successor the Heinkel He 179, Dornier Do 217s, Heinkel He 111s, Heinkel He 177s, Junkers Ju 88, and the new Junkers Ju 188 flying high and proud. This was the largest assembly of German bombers since the final mass bombings of Leningrad and the early raids on Moscow when the city’s air wings were decimated. There were even a handful of former Soviet bombers that had been pressed into service although they were few and far between.

    Rudel looked around him, seeing the Iron Cross of the Luftwaffe and the ROA chevron of a blue X on a white background painted on their own aircraft. The Luftwaffe major looked towards the East, the voice of the Brigadier General Werner Mölders, commander of the local air wing, came through the radio.

    “All aircraft proceed to mission objectives. Good hunting and good luck.”

    April 15th, 1943- Germany, and its Russian auxiliary forces the ROA, launch Phase I of Fall Blau in western Russia. The scope of this offensive is nearly 215 kilometers north to south with the two major cities of Kaluga and Orel as the primary objectives. Both cities have large stockpiles of supplies, men and vehicles.

    Both cities are the key cities guarding the approach to Moscow from the south. If these cities fall the southern flank of the Moscow Defense Area will be in a danger very much like its western flank. The Stavka will think it is an attempt to cut off any quick reinforcement from the eastern third of the Ukraine and the surrounding area while being the first major thrust to surround the Soviet capital.

    The German General Staff is planning for the Soviets to follow this train of thought. For Phase 1 of Case Blue is to secure the northern flank of Blue, not the southern. The Red Army will be out of position to quickly respond for many days, possibly weeks, as their primary concern is Moscow and are heavily entrenched to resist the large Axis “army” that has assembled in the city of Gagarin and surrounding territory.

    The offensive is launched in the early morning, just as the sun is rising, and begins with a two hour long artillery bombardment on concentrated Red Army positions while overhead aerial squadrons hammer key Red Air Force and Red Army positions as well as railroads, major supply depots far from the frontlines and the cities of Orel and Kaluga. The intelligence gathered by Axis spies and civilians sympathetic to the fascist’s cause is crucial as is the resurgence of partisan activity against the “Communist oppressors”.

    After the relatively brief but damaging artillery bombardment 900 German and 500 ROA panzers surge eastwards with an iron determination. Panzer IVs and STuG IIIs are the dominant German panzers while the ROA is using T-34s, either confiscated from the Red Army or manufactured from the few major factories that had become operational to support the Russian Liberation Army.

    Following the armored units are 650,000 infantry, 300,000 of which are seasoned German soldiers many who are armed with G-42s. The first twelve hours of the offensive saw great success as the Germans broke through the Soviet frontlines after some initial heavy fighting but after breaking through they quickly steamroll over multiple reserve units which were only just beginning to respond to the western threat, and capturing a moderate amount of supply depots to further fuel their drive to the east, sometimes literally. The rest were destroyed by retreating Red Army men.

    At the beginning of Case Blue the Red Army had 810,000 soldiers defending the Kaluga-Orel Line facing the 650,000 Axis troops while it had 1800 tanks, principally the T-34, facing the 1400 Axis panzers. In the air the Luftwaffe and ROA Air Force numbers nearly two thousand aircraft, over a third were bombers and fighter-bombers while the Red Air Force had just over fifteen hundred, mainly fighters with a small cache of bombers and fighter-bombers in reserve. But with the severity of the Axis assault, as well a crippling partisan campaign behind the lines the Soviets would lose almost a hundred thousand in the first day, either dead, captured or wounded while the Axis lost much less but still a lot. The losses were principally in the less well armed ROA infantry divisions as they were used to wear down Soviet strongholds allowing the German Army to conquer said strongholds much easier than it would have been at a much more acceptable cost also.

    By the end of the first day the Germans, with their Russian puppets in tow, from their positions thirty kilometers east of Bryansk had reached within sixty-five kilometers of Orel. The Axis forces advancing towards Kaluga advanced “only” twenty kilometers but were facing a more entrenched area due to the proximity to the USSR’s capital to the north. The progress is still quite good.

    April 16th, 1943- Zhukov, the First Marshal of the Soviet Union, orders 200,000 soldiers to Kaluga to prevent the city from falling. Beria sends a hundred thousand of his NKVD Army south as well. He realizes if Kaluga falls Moscow will be threatened from the south as well as the west.

    The Soviet Stavka mobilizes its reserves, many still in the process of training and becoming armed, to be sent to the west and south while around a million Red Army soldiers, two hundred and fifty thousand NKVD Army men and the lion’s share of the Red Air Force and the armored divisions of the USSR will remain in the Moscow Defense Area readying themselves for the inevitable, from their point of view, assault from the Axis army amassed near Gagarin.

    The reserves are a mish-mash of half-trained units, some not fully armed or supplied, while the remainder are trained but have not fought in any large scale battle just anti-partisan activities and the like. Despite these issues this force of 600,000 is being prepared to be sent to the frontlines, 400,000 to Kaluga-Orel Front with the remaining 200,000 to be sent to Moscow to replace those troops that were forced to be sent south as a stop gap measure. It will be about a month before the reserves can properly deploy.

    Axis air power is temporarily established over the two hundred plus kilometer Kaluga-Orel Front as the Red Air Force suffered extremely heavy losses in the first day. Soviet ground forces, despite heavy losses, are in much better shape, especially the armored divisions which are moving westward from their bases in the two major cities (the frontline divisions had been thoroughly mauled, with entire divisions of men and tanks utterly gone while the majority are remnants of their former glory but are withdrawing in good order to the strong forces emanating from Kaluga and Orel).

    The German General Staff are not happy with how fast Zhukov is reacting; they had become complacent with inept officers that had replaced the brilliant Soviet officer. With Stalin dead as well, giving Zhukov essentially ultimate authority over the Soviet Armed Forces, the Communist Marshal is quick to dispatch reinforcements south in strength and in an organized manner. He also plans to dispatch a significant aerial force south as well but Beria is hesitant to allow this.

    Field Marshal von Manstein, commander of all Axis forces in Phase 1, is under heavy pressure from Hitler to take the two critical cities as quickly as possible. Von Manstein is making swift progress and is suffering acceptable losses but he has little in the ways of true reserves. His “reserves” are just enough men to replace the losses he has already taken. The majority of the German Army is in central Ukraine while the remainder of the ROA is holding the line west of Moscow.

    His orders to his field commanders are to push on towards the Soviet cities as fast as possible, their control of the air is certain for the next few days which will ensure rapid advance but that will not last long.

    In North Africa Wavell is sixty kilometers away from Benghazi. Lieutenant General Nehring is doing his best but his best is not good enough to stop the vengeful Eighth Army. Reinforcements particularly armored and aircraft units are set to arrive from Italy soon to bolster the flagging defense campaign in Libya.

    Field Marshal Balck is healing well but still under strict orders from doctors and the General Staff to not take to the field and remain in the Italian dignitary’s house to fully recover. The General Staff do not want Balck to die for if he does they would lose a valuable commander and, if the worst happens, then Balck will become commander-in-chief of all German forces and co-commander of Axis forces in Italy. This is a worst case scenario but is necessary, just in case.

    April 23rd, 1943- Axis forces begin surrounding Orel, cutting it off from resupply and reinforcement. The German/ROA divisions approaching Kaluga are still fifteen kilometers away and are coming under increasing attack by Red Air Force reinforcements.

    After a month the Warsaw Ghetto is put down by a combined SS, Army, and auxiliary force. Nearly seven hundred German soldiers died while the Jews suffered an estimated twenty-four thousand (the majority from starvation and bombings). Even though it was defeated a few score Jews were able to sneak out of Warsaw and make for the open countryside but would be hounded by Polish and German units for weeks.

    Orders from Berlin are sent to Reichsprotektor auf der Ost (Reich Protector of the East) Reinhard Heydrich, commander of all SS forces that is not part of the Waffen-SS militant arm in all eastern territories.

    His orders: the complete elimination of the Jewish problem from Warsaw. Warsaw, which had seen few deportations as the German authorities were going city by city instead of “a little from here, a little from there” policy so the amount of Jews still alive in the former Polish capital numbered an estimated 372,000. Heydrich would send the majority of the Jews to Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz while around six thousand were either shot by machineguns outside of Warsaw or sent by gas trucks to mass grave sites. With the trains running full time, with only military supplies and reinforcement deemed more important, in just two weeks over eighty thousand would be killed.

    The process of slowly starving and occasional gassing was abandoned with the gas chambers and ovens of over twenty death camps working full time to eliminate the Warsaw Jews. The camps would be over flooded with so many Jews in such a short time that Camp Commandants, buckling under pressure from Himmler and Heydrich, not to mention the Führer himself, set up large scale hangings to help combat the backed up lines to the gas chambers. This barely helped stem the tide. Einsatzgruppen units were brought in from the East to assist in the mass murder.

    Mass grave and mass grave were dug and filled to the brim over the coming months. With Hitler’s anger at the Warsaw Jews ebbing he turned his focus back to the Eastern Front where a crucial moment is fast approaching.

    April 25th, 1943- Using the few reserve forces he was able to scrabble up together and the best panzer divisions under his command Manstein reports to Hitler that Orel is surrounded and is on the verge of falling while Kaluga is within artillery range and is beginning to be surrounded.

    Despite the Red Air Force reinforcements the local air superiority remains firmly in German hands and the majority of the surviving German bombers continue to slow the combined NKVD Army/Red Army force making its way from Moscow. The damaging of railroads and train stations is the principal cause, not to mention the extensive partisan movement which is leeching Soviet manpower and material slowly but surely that has prevented them from reaching Kaluga already.

    The Finnish Army under the command of Marshal Mannerheim launches its long prepared offensive into Soviet held eastern Finland. Supported by General Dietl and his small army of Germans as well as a moderate sized force of Swedish and Norwegian men and armor the offensive as four major objectives.

    The first objective: the liberation of the entirety of Karelia (the south-eastern half was already liberated when Finland helped Germany take Leningrad).

    The second object: the liberation of Salla.

    The third objective: the liberation of the Rybachi Peninsula.

    The fourth objective: the conquest of Murmansk.

    The small but highly motivated Finnish Air Force in conjunction with the meager Luftwaffe and Swedish Air Force presence quickly destroy the majority of the mediocre sized Red Air Force detachment thereby establishing air superiority. The few armored vehicles (almost exclusively Swedish and Finnish as the majority of the German panzers were sent south for Case Blue) break through Soviet lines, the defense lines being patch-work and undermanned.

    The Finnish desire for vengeance since the Winter War was apparent as few Soviets survived long enough to surrender. Throughout Soviet held Finland uprisings by a discontented people were all too common forcing local Red Army commanders to divert much needed manpower to fight untrained and poorly armed civilians rather than the highly professional and well armed Axis forces liberating Finnish land.

    April 27th, 1943- Orel surrenders to the Germans. With Orel secured von Manstein directs a good portion of his remaining men and panzers north to stimulate the drive on Kaluga, which was now becoming increasingly bombed and surrounded. With Orel secure and the northern flank protected against any assault from Moscow the second phase of Fall Blau is prepared to launch.

    Wavell and Nehring engage in heavy armored warfare twenty kilometers east of Benghazi. While Wavell would win by day’s end he suffered heavy but barely acceptable losses. The Afrika Korps, its core strength still around but lacking much needed repair, fuel and munitions are forced to withdraw into the Libyan city itself as it cannot survive another encounter with Wavell in the open field, not yet anyway.

    Much needed Italian reinforcements and even more needed munitions, fuel and spare parts is arriving soon but will it be soon enough? Balck and Nehring are truly worried now. Orders go out to the rest of Libya to bring any available Italian unit to Benghazi to reinforce the crucial port.

    With the French drive in Tunisia effectively stalled (due to heavy casualties and not enough armor or air power to push towards capturing Tunis) the Italians are able to transfer 40,000 to Benghazi over the next few days. These will be greatly appreciated by both German and Italian commanders.

    Major Theodore Hamilton, London, Britain-
    Major Theodore Hamilton swigged the last of the weak beer and set down the pint with some force, he belched as he did so. Gesturing to the pub owner he slurred, “Another pint.”

    The pub owner had seen his fair share of drunken servicemen, a number which had risen since the unpopular withdraw from Scandinavia, but this major was putting away beer at an alarming rate. He was thoroughly drunk but his money was as good as anyone else, and he hadn’t caused any issues yet. Ddin’t hurt he was a former soldier in the Great War, err the First Great War as it was now called.

    Hamilton watched as the bartender-owner filled his drink to the brim. He smiled knowing another two of those and he would be very drunk to the point where he might be able to sleep well tonight. Waking up would be another story but Hamilton needed this escape from life.

    The return from Norway had been… difficult. His men were demoralized and not only were it because of the defeats and deaths in Scandinavia. No, the true demoralization began when they returned home. Hamilton remembered arriving on the docks and seeing a large crowd of civilians. He at first thought it was to welcome them home. He was wrong.

    Many, not most, but many of the civilians booed and threw rotten food at them. The British soldiers, tired and despairing already almost broke then and there. He almost broke. The civilians called them “warmongers”, “murderers”, "butchers", and “inept”, to name only a few.

    A rotten tomato hit Hamilton in the head. Casuing little physical harm but more emotional than he would have thought it would. His country hated him. Maybe not all, but certainly a large proportion, larger than he thought possible. They hated not only him but the military, the government and the war. He knew the war had lukewarm support when he departed Britain in late 1940 but it seemed the growing casualty lists, the increased rationing and conscription reminded too many of the First World War and the horrors associated with it. Hamilton didn’t blame them for wanting to avoid such tragedies but the reality was the Nazis were the real murderers, if rumors leaking out of Eastern Europe were to be believed.

    The Germans started the war with their invasion of Poland and would have invaded Western Europe if they Soviets hadn’t attacked first. If the Germans had invaded the West would the war be more supported by the population? Would Britain truly involve itself into the war in all categories instead of just some? Perhaps, but what could have been, what could have been alternate paths taken, was of no importance, not now at least.

    It had been weeks since returning to London to await redeployment. There was talk of deployment to France, others said North Africa or the Middle East, even a few said Asia but nothing had happened just yet, it was all hearsay and rumors until his commanding officers told him what was what.

    Sipping his pint, savoring the taste despite its poor make compared to pre-war beer, he reached out to eat a handful of salty peanuts. As he did so his hand was batted away by a new arrival. Turning his eyes, blood shot and becoming increasingly foggy, towards the owner of the hand he frowned at what he saw.

    Three men, both young and fit stood before him. How were they not in the Army? They stood before him, their attitudes evident at a quick glance, their eyes burning with hatred and their bodies shaking with barely contained fury.

    “You don’t deserve that, murderer,” spat the one whose hand batted away his.

    “Why?” was all he asked, the question having many depths layered into it.

    The young man poked Hamilton’s chest. “I had extended family in Sweden. They’re now dead because of you. You and your bloodlust are worse than the Germans! I lost family because of you! Not only that but a lot of my friends have been conscripted and some are even dead. They died in shitholes no one will remember, all for a war you,” poked his chest again, “thought needed to be fought.”

    “We had an obligation. We swore to Poland we would fight for them,” he stammered, his anger quickly rising.

    “Do you think I give three fucks for ‘obligations?’ These ‘obligations’ have saw the world fall into chaos. Millions are dead, millions are homeless, and millions are starving. We,” gesturing to his two lackeys,” have family in the military that have fought and died for our country, in this war and others but this war is different. We aren’t defending democracy, freedom, and our country. You,” gesturing now towards Hamilton “have invaded neutral countries, killed tens of thousands of civilians either on purpose or accident and have seen that Britain has gained nothing, but lost so many. So tell me, murderer, do you think I care at all if you live or die, hmm? This war should have ended years ago but the military has justified its continuations because of ‘obligations’ and ‘honor’. Fuck you and your honor for it has brought nothing to misery to Britain.”

    Hamilton, despite being drunk, reacted quite fast. He swung his beer pint at the idiot young man. He knew it was a mistake as soon as he gripped the cold, wet glass but he couldn’t help it. He would not stand here and listen to a boy who had never fought a battle, never heard the screams of the dying nor held a fiend as his life pooled out of him.

    The pint hit the boy in the head hard and he fell over slamming into a table occupied by a man and a woman. But that was his one hit; the other two men jumped on Hamilton and pummeled him then and there in front of everyone. The bartender was on a telephone, probably calling for MPs.

    Due to the beating and the alcohol Hamilton blacked out. When he awoke he was in a cell. His left eye was swollen shut, his lip cut open and the taste of blood permeated his mouth. A tooth was missing he noticed, his tongue touching the empty space. His body was sore all over.

    “Christ, what did I do?” knowing full well what happened and regretting it. He would have to live with the consequences, of that he was sure of.

    April 28th, 1943- The Axis Powers launch Phase II of Case Blue. In central Ukraine the massive force that had been preparing for many, many months consists of a million German soldiers with 350,000 Ukrainians, 150,000 Romanians, 120,000 Hungarians, 30,000 Slovakians with another 500,000 (300,000 which are German) acting as a strategic reserve. To support this incredibly sized army a powerful force of 2400 Axis tanks. 2000 are German and principally Panzer IVs and Panzer Vs ‘Panthers’ with a small amount of Tigers and panzer-destroyers woven in. The remaining 400 are the combined armored might of the Ukrainian National Army (which is using the T-34 as its workhorse), the outdated Romanian and Hungarian armored corps (which are beginning to feature their versions of the Panzer III and the Panzer IV similar to what Italy is doing and will be paying a small fee to Germany for every one built but they are not here in any significant numbers).

    In the air are a noticeable lack of German bombers as most of those are participating in the northern thrust but the southern, the main, thrust has a large amount of fighters and the remainder of the fighter-bombers. The only bombers in the southern thrust are those of the minor Axis Powers which are outdated in many cases but still effective if air superiority is achieved.

    Field Marshal von Leeb, commander of all Axis forces in the southern thrust decides to not do an hour plus preemptive bombardment and instead surges forward after a mere fifteen minute bombardment to soften up certain targets.

    The Germans surge forward as the tip of the spear with its allies acting as shields to the flanks albeit with German units scattered amongst them. After encircling the majority of the Soviet frontline troops and armored divisions in isolated pockets von Leeb presses forward, leaving these pockets to his allies.

    April 30th, 1943- Two days after Phase II was launched German led Axis troops are quickly driving east, even faster than the northern thrust (as was expected due to the northern thrust facing more fortifications as well as better trained and armed soldiers, also the Ukrainian Front commanders were forced to send some of their own forces north towards the Kaluga-Orel Front as well as some to Kursk just in case von Manstein’s forces turned south).

    German spearhead units quickly capture the Ukrainian cities of Dnipropetrovsk and Kremechuk and proceed across their still standing bridges to establish footholds further east (the bridges were taken by Ukrainian resistance soldiers with German and National Army commandoes having assisted them).

    Unfortunately for the Axis Zaporizhia’s bridges were blown by retreating Red Army engineers before the partisan/German/Ukrainian special forces could take them. While temporary pontoon bridges would soon be constructed to transport men, vehicles, and material over the Dnieper River it was still a noticeable delay.

    German air support, having established a firm control over the Ukraine, assail any and all Soviet concentration of strength, weakening them to the point that by the time ground forces reach the Soviet units that many surrender or quickly defeated.

    May 2nd, 1943- Kaluga is taken by the Germans after much bloodshed and expenditure. With this city having fallen von Manstein moves in the majority of the ROA into the city and surrounding area to begin fortifying as the combined NKVD/Army force is days away despite all efforts by the Luftwaffe.

    Shostka and Poltava are quickly liberated. Throughout the Ukraine resistance groups take to the streets delaying Soviet withdraws and capturing large assortments of materials and vehicles which will help stimulate the offensive.

    German forces approach Kharkov and Voroshilovgrad, if these cities fall to Germany the Soviet Union will have little to no significant armed forces to resist against the Wehrmacht between the Ukraine and Molotovgrad (formerly Stalingrad, name changed after Stalin was disposed), over four hundred and fifty kilometers away (there are hundreds of thousands of USSR men and women but are not coordinated well here, not organized effectively and lacking heavy weapons, sufficient air support and armored vehicles as most of these are in the Moscow Defense Area).

    May 4th, 1943- Wavell plans to attack Benghazi in a week and from there he will march on to Tripoli. While confident he is still wary for enemy tricks. Balck and Nehring, in conjunction with the Italian and Bulgarian commanders, have a daring plan that will either work and save Italian Libya or fail and see all of North Africa fall to the Entente.

    German forces capture Kharkov and are nearing Voroshilovgrad but Soviet resistance is stiffening and responding in an organized, effective manner due to orders from Moscow coming through.

    Zhukov quickly realizes that the southern thrust of Case Blue is in fact the main one and orders the reserve (600,000 men plus some air support and armored divisions) in its entirety to move south to slow down Axis army. The reserves will take some time to be transported that far south but they are receiving top priority on the train network.

    Zhukov, after heated discussions with Beria and Molotov, orders all Soviet forces from eastern Finland and western quarter of Russian Karelia with Murmansk being close to the frontlines. This is done to shorten Soviet supply lines, concentrate forces better on their own territory, lengthen Axis supply lines and to begin consolidating forces for an effective defense of the area rather than a half-hearted attempt on foreign soil.

    Zhukov also manages to convince the rest of the triumvirate to begin sending veteran divisions south to the vast area between the Ukraine and Molotovgrad to help steel the resolve of the relatively green reserve troops. Beria and Molotov agree and soon a quarter of a million men and five hundred tanks and hundreds of aircraft will be sent south as soon as possible.

    The drive on to Kaluga is stopped temporarily as the Soviet men begin to dig in while almost half their number is being prepared to move south. Von Manstein breathes a sigh of relief. He had done his part of the offensive well but he didn’t think he could hold onto Kaluga for very long. Orel was another thing entirely; it was firmly in German hands.

    However with the quick advancement of southern thrust and the deep penetration the northern thrust had created a large wedge was forming between the two arms of the Axis offensive, a wedge centered on the Soviet city of Kursk which could be a very big problem is allowed to continue.

    But Case Blue covered this as elements of both von Manstein’s and von Leeb’s armies were already approaching the major Soviet city, supported by a fresh army of a 100,000 German soldiers with an appropriate amount of armored support already marching on the strategic city. While still some distance away they had very little stopping them from reaching it. Taking the city would be another matter altogether as Red Army men and women were digging in with a will to not take one step backwards.
  16. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 36: Battle of Benghazi

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, outskirts of Voroshilovgrad:
    The sky was full of aircraft laden with explosive death that rained destruction on the enemies of the Reich. The city before the approaching German Army was rapidly becoming a heap of rubble. Bombers and artillery shredded through what few defenses that the local Red Army soldiers had erected in a few hours and were overrun by men of multiple nationalities but with one goal: the defeat of the Soviet Union.

    Dorff and his men moved into the city with support from half-tracks and armored cars. The panzers were too valuable to bring into the city; the threat to them was too much ranging from landmines to satchel strapped suicide bombers. So the Panthers, the Tigers and the Panzer IVs instead of driving through the city were moving around its flanks, capturing or killing any that sought to escape Voroshilovgrad.

    Mechanized infantry followed them and within four hours the city was surrounded and the armored might of Army Group South B pushed towards the eastern borders of the Ukraine. Within the city itself German, Ukrainian, Romanian, Hungarian, and even some Slovakian troops pushed through. In many places the Red Army soldiers knowing defeat was inevitable simply surrendered and were sent behind the lines under guard, most would even make it. The ones that did not… well their corpses were looted and left on the side of roads as an example to not annoy their captors.

    Running across a rubble strewn four-way street a sniper picked off one of his men. The hole in his forehead signed his death warrant and Reinhard didn’t know he was even shot. A blessing considering the other horrible ways there was to die in a war such as this. Another sniper, perhaps the same one, picked off two more men in the next fifteen minutes before Dorff radioed into headquarters.

    Their response was a squadron of Stukas that bombarded the area with a mixture of explosives and machinegun fire. After a few minutes the German sergeant and his men advanced towards the last known location of the sniper.

    It was a tower that had taken a beating but still stood proud. After half an hour of searching, and executing a half dozen Red Army soldiers who were hiding in the lower third of the tower, they found the sniper. His left leg had been crushed by falling debris caused by the Stukas and he was stuck and would need medical attention before he bled out. The sniper, a corporal by his chevrons, bellowed at the German Heer men, his German barely understandable.

    “Leg… bad… help… me… comrades.”

    Dorff looked at the sniper and kicked away the scoped Mosin-Nagant that lay at the corporal’s side. Raising his Gewehr-42 Dorff fired one shot. The bullet splattered the brains of the Soviet over the broken stone, leaving it to drip and drag downwards.

    Lowering his rifle Elrich took a deep breath and looked around. The tower, even in its decayed state, still held a good vantage point and was near the middle of the city. “Anton,” he said, looking at his radio operator.

    “Yes, sarge?” the trooper asked.

    “Tell Command we took the tower in,” checking a small map from his breast pocket, “Sector B-3. Tell them it has a good view into the innards of the city and machinegun crews and snipers will have a field day from here.”

    Jawohl, mein Herr,” Anton began talking to headquarters who responded back. Within an hour a half dozen machinegun crews, all totting the deadly efficient MG-42, arrived at the tower and took their pick of spots deemed good. Meanwhile the four snipers scattered, one staying in the tower and the other three departing with one to the north, another to the south and the last who went directly towards the city center as the sun set.

    One of the MG-42 operators looked at the corpse of the Soviet sniper as he took note of his surroundings. “Bastard deserved it did he?” he asked as he turned to look at Dorff.

    “Yes, yes he did.”

    May 5th, 1943- German bombers unleash heavy ordinance across central Kursk killing thousands and wounding many more. Axis troops from both von Leeb’s (Army Group South B) and von Manstein’s (Army Group South A) forces are moving in coordination to capture the vital Soviet city.

    The small Red Air Force contingent is no match and is quickly dealt with, leaving the city without aerial defenses. Bombings from the Luftwaffe will continue for days causing much havoc and chaos. Near midday Axis infantry enter the city from all sides and rapidly move in, linking up with Ukrainian resistance cells only hastens the Fall of Voroshilovgrad. Casualties are heavy on both sides.

    By the end of the day the city is in German hands and the flags of both Germany and the Ukraine flew high and mighty over the liberated city. Meanwhile further east Red Army and Red Air Force units withdraw as the rapidly advancing Axis men, vehicles, and tanks approach in earnest.

    First Marshal Zhukov orders the Strategic Reserve of 600,000 men to move south as fast as possible. However the Axis know of this and supply the Russian resistance with enough explosives to heavily damage large tracts of the rail network in central Russia, delaying the Soviets… for a time. The quarter million troops and their accompanying armored support have not left the Moscow Defense Area yet principally due to the much damaged rail network connecting central Russia to southern Russia. Even railroad centers such as Tula and others further east have suffered heavily due to the large Heinkel He-179s, the Second Ural Bomber.

    In southern Ukraine Axis forces are able to sever the land connection between Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Crimea, trapping 120,000 Soviets there. The Red Army Commander of the Crimea, Marshal Boris Shaposhnikov, withdraws all forces to Sevastopol as it would be easier to concentrate around the Crimean city rather than defend the entire peninsula. Luftwaffe with allied aircraft assisting hounds the withdrawing Soviets leaving corpses and burnt out vehicles all the way to the Sevastopol fortress-city, the Red Army men and women having very little to counter the Axis aircraft.

    May 7th, 1943- Kharkov falls to the Germans, led by Colonel-General Rommel, in the early hours of the day. With the capture of the Ukrainian city all of Ukraine would fall to the Axis by noon. Rommel will be promoted to Field Marshal within the hour of the surrender of the city. With the Ukraine fully restored celebrations are held in Kiev and many of the cities liberated. A bit premature considering the campaign was still ongoing but the Ukrainian people were exultant their country was finally made whole. Now would come the next hard part of Case Blue: Drive to the Caucasus.

    First shipments of supplies reach British General Slim en masse in eastern India along with 60,000 American soldiers led by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley. Bradley is a calm, methodical and tactically wise commander who will work well with Slim in the days ahead.

    In Australia General Gott and General MacArthur plan to invade Indonesia to liberate the islands and also to prevent anymore of the vast resources of the Dutch East Indies from being sent to Japan to further fuel her war machine. To do this Gott has 160,000 British, French, Dutch, Australian, and New Zealander men while the Americans are nearing 130,000 for a future land invasion. But to do a large scale invasion control of the seas and air must be established.

    To do this a large fleet, commanded by Admiral Dickens (promoted after the successful evacuation of American assets in the Philippines), has assembled in Australia. While the fleet, called the Fourth Fleet, has elements of the British Royal Navy, the Dutch Royal Navy, the French Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal New Zealander Navy, as well as a few escort squadrons of the Royal Canadian Navy, nearly half of the ships making up the Fourth Fleet is American.

    The Fourth Fleet consists of:
    2 battleships (one that survived the Battle of the Java Sea and another from the British Isles, both are British)
    3 carriers (one is British called the Formidable, the other two are newly built and arrived American carriers the USS Vengeance and the USS Unto Victory. They are not Essex-class but rather Yorktown-class and were in various stages of development when war began. Construction was finished some months ago but the crews had to be assembled, trained and shipped off. Were sent because the Entente clamored for naval support and the U.S. did not want to send any Essex-class carriers as those would be need in the upcoming Operation Liberty such as USS Wasp and USS Victory).
    11 heavy cruisers (5 are Entente, 3 of which fought at Java and the remainder are American)
    14 light cruisers (7 are Entente, 2 fought at Java, and the remainder is American).
    36 destroyers (19 are American the rest are Entente)
    61 submarines (39 are American, the rest are Entente).
    Scores and scores of supply ships, tankers and transports.

    The submarines, while nominally attached to Fourth Fleet, are primarily there to raid deep into Japanese waters causing scarce Japanese supply ships and on occasion an escort or two to sink to the bottom of the ocean. The increased submarine success has forced the Imperial Japanese Command to dispatch many squadrons of destroyers and light cruisers to patrol the shipping lanes connecting the Empire together. Losses among the submarine crews are increasing as the Japanese develop better anti-submarine warfare techniques but the losses pale in comparison to their success, especially in the last five months due to the influx of new and improved Balao-class submarine which had been produced only in small amounts until the United States was forced to join the war. Since then production has escalated and now there are over a hundred Balao subs in service to the USN, almost all are in the Pacific Theatre.

    May 8th, 1943- Japanese refurbished American carriers the Lexington and the Saratoga, renamed the IJN Aso and the IJN Ikoma respectively, are sent south to reinforce the Japanese fleets in the South-west Pacific. Japanese commanders, Yamamoto among them, are becoming worried of the impending attack from both the south and the east.

    Belgorod falls to the Axis forces moving north from the Ukraine to capture Kursk. Soviet defenses were half-hearted at best and were quickly overwhelmed. Hitler flies out to Kiev to boost morale and also to confer with von Leeb about the minute changes of the operation which are practically inevitable because war is always changing and plans must be edited accordingly. Hitler is happy with the progress but is worried of the massive Soviet reserve that is moving, albeit at a crawl, to the south.

    To slow them down even more, to give Army Group South B more breathing space, Hitler orders that after Kursk has fallen then Tula is to be the main focus of not only von Manstein’s Army Group South A but the men and panzers sent from von Leeb’s army to capture Kursk will also assist in the future advance on Tula. The rail network focusing on the city might be damaged because of Luftwaffe bombings but are already in repair and once fixed the Soviet Reserve, and eventually the quarter million in Moscow, will begin moving south towards southern Russia/the Caucasus much quicker.

    Von Leeb agrees and informs von Manstein later that evening. Both Field Marshals while confident of their success so far and future success in the south both are worried that they might be thinning the ranks a bit too much in central Russia as von Manstein had the manpower to take Kaluga, Orel and assist with Kursk… but not much else. Reinforcements would have to be brought up but there were none to spare. None that was German was available at the time anyways.

    May 9th, 1943- Thirty five Japanese H8K2 long range bombers launch from their airbases in Hawaii. The bombers fly towards the West Coast. Obviously the planes cannot reach their destination due to fuel limitations and are refueled by submarines on the way there.

    By nightfall the H8K2s fly over San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Bombs laden with biological diseases are released into the heavily populated cities. As the bombs are falling to the ground the Japanese bombers are intercepted by American air patrols.

    By the time the bombers leave American airspace they have lost twenty seven bombers. The remaining eight would be refueled and sent back to Hawaii but only seven would reach Hawaii as one bomber had engine issues and crashed into the middle of the Pacific, the entire crew dying on impact.

    May 10th, 1943- Hitler holds a conference with high ranking ROA officers, specifically Supreme Commander Andrey Vlasov. Hitler tells the ROA commanders that Tula must fall but his own men are too committed farther south to lend heavy assistance. The ROA would have to fill in the manpower gap. Vlasov quickly agrees and sends dispatches to newly raised ROA divisions to move to Kaluga and from there to Tula when the time comes. These troops number 80,000 but are very green and lacking armored support. These troops are also Vlasov’s ROA Reserve and past this very few ROA reserves will be left for some time until more can be recruited and/or conscripted from the vast populace of western Russia.

    Finnish/Swedish/German move in and liberate the entirety of Finland and the western half of Russian Karelia. In Helsinki the Finnish government is pleased that Finland is at long last one country, perhaps more so than the Ukrainians are. The western Karelia territory is run by a military government made up of the Finns and Germans. Most of the civilians that lived in the area had been evacuated, whether voluntarily or not, further east towards Murmansk where NKVD commissars begin conscripting all able bodied men and women into local defense militias to resist any possible attack.

    American authorities in the cities attacked by the Japanese terror-bombers are quarantined and a plethora of doctors, nurses and military medics rush into the infected areas to try and contain the diseases that are running rampant.

    After many hours the initial outbreak is contained and many of the infected are given medicinal drugs to combat the contagions in their body. A large percentage survives… but many do not. Rough estimates put the total death at around two hundred by the end of the day with hundreds more hospitalized and in serious condition with thousands more becoming sick in varying stages.

    President Roosevelt is disgusted with what happens and goes on the radio to boost American spirits declaring, “We have suffered but this is merely an obstacle for the American people to overcome. Even now our revenge burns within us and in time it will be dealt out to the Japanese. All American men, women, and children, we must remain steadfast in our dream of a democratic, free world and pray to God for those affected in the bombings that occurred this night.”

    Roosevelt gives the green light on Operation Liberty to begin later in the month as Hawaii needs to be retaken as soon as possible for not only logistical or strategic reasons but also to liberate the hundreds of thousands of American citizens, many slowly starving.

    May 11th, 1943- Field Marshal Wavell attacks the east and south of Benghazi with artillery and RAF bombers. The Italians take moderate losses and portions of the city in the south and east begin falling to the British after intense urban warfare.

    The Eighth Army is attacking with a vengeance, they want payback for all the times they had been defeated and embarrassed by the Afrika Korps. But as the first day of the engagement ended no German forces other than Luftwaffe fighter squadrons and occasional artillery batteries were spotted. Wavell, suspicious of trickery, orders his southern flank to be reinforced. His 220,000 British soldiers are facing off 80,000 Italians that they know of but the 40,000 Germans are still missing and Wavell does not know of the reinforcements Balck has received from Italy and troops transferred from Tunis.

    May 12th, 1943- The first few scouts of the Axis military reach the outskirts of Kursk. The city is heavily defended with a small but veteran force of 45,000 Red Army soldiers. They are lacking armored support and artillery but have plenty of small arms ammunition and food and water to last some weeks unassisted. Colonel-General Gotthard Heinrici, commander of the Axis forces moving in on Kursk, demands the surrender of the Red Army garrison and that they would be treated well, a sentiment he was sincere about. The Soviet commander curtly refused as he was a diehard Communist and knew no matter what he would die under German hands so better to die fighting than die a slave to a regime he despised.

    Hitler, enraged at their refusal to surrender, orders Heinrici to burn Kursk to the ground. Heinrici takes a different… interpretation of the orders. He will capture it but not needlessly destroy the city’s infrastructure as the city is strategic and will be vital in future German defenses as well as being a transport rail hub and logistical center. German troops quickly surround the city but are having a difficult time pressing inwards as the Soviets are dug in and prepared to reap a bloody toll on any who attempt to take the city.

    May 13th, 1943- British forces are grinding their way towards the heart of Benghazi. With the British firmly engaged in taking Benghazi Balck, who is now able to lead from the front albeit in a command car just behind the action, orders Operation Cutthroat to be launched.

    40,000 German soldiers, 30,000 Italian soldiers and the surviving 5,000 Bulgarian soldiers attack the southern flank of the Eighth Army with ninety-eight Panzer IVs with sixteen surviving Panzer IIIs in tow. While the panzers of the German Afrika Korps led the attack the bulk of the Axis offensive strength was the one hundred and forty three Italian Titan tanks. Overhead Italian Air Force reinforcements join the fray and assist the air units, including the small Luftwaffe contingent, that were already fighting over Benghazi.

    The southern British flank holds for two hours but is eventually ruptured after continuous assaults by Axis armor. With the attack in the south beginning infantry reserves in western Benghazi move forward and whittle away at the British troops entrenched in eastern Benghazi, slowly pushing them back.

    British reserves are moved south to stop the German/Italian armor that is moving north to cut off the troops remaining in the Libyan city and the rear echelons of the Eighth Army. These reserves arrive in strength but coordinated Axis weapons fire along with Stuka support (some squadrons arrived a week ago) breaks the back of the British reinforcements.

    Wavell, infuriated and dismayed at the situation, decides to defeat Balck once and for all. Leading over one hundred and sixty tanks against the remaining German and Italian armor results in a bloody confrontation just south-east of the city. If the British win the Afrika Korps is effectively annihilated and the back of Italian North Africa is broken. But if the Germans win than Wavell will have no choice but retreat east, again.

    May 14th, 1943- After a full day of combat the results who won the battle are… unclear to say the least as both Field Marshal Wavell and Lieutenant General Nehring are dead, killed in the tank engagement south-east of the city. Dozens of British ranking officers were killed as are many Italian and German commanders. The Bulgarian presence is once again decimated to the point that the troops that survived represent only a fraction of the army that arrived. These Bulgarian troops will be used as rear-line troops for months afterwards because they were no longer deemed frontline worthy.

    The British lost one hundred and seventy three tanks and over three hundred vehicles, armored and non-armored, with infantry losses reaching 119,000 which is both wounded, captured and killed. Axis losses are not much better with one hundred and twenty nine tanks lost, one hundred and seventy six vehicles and infantry losses at 88,000. Aircraft losses by both sides were high but the core strength was left intact.

    The British begin withdrawing their way east back to Beda Littoria. Axis fighter and bomber squadrons would pursue them and would cause moderate damage on the retreating columns but would sustain losses by the protective RAF. The new British commander General Alan Cunningham is ordering the retreat from Benghazi to shorten supply lines, assess the situation, and to reassemble the Eighth Army as well as receive eventual reinforcement from Egypt and the Middle East.

    The Battle of Benghazi was a pyrrhic German victory. With Nehring dead Balck lost his “eyes, ears and right hand out in the field.” The losses the DAK suffered was high, over half of the infantry were dead, wounded or captured and the rest tired, ill-supplied and running short on morale despite the victory.

    But all is not bad for either side for in Egypt 100,000 fresh troops have assembled; many seasoned veterans from the Scandinavian Campaign and with them are strong armor and air forces. On the German side five German infantry divisions and thirty Panzer IVs are inbound with fifty Panzer IIIs accompanying them.

    This force, while veterans from various campaigns and fresh from R&R, is rather small in comparison to the reinforcements the British are receiving. Italy though is committing heavily to Libya with about sixty thousand men to arrive in the coming months as well as the first fully deployed divisions of Centurion tanks (a Panzer IV like Italian model). These tanks will bolster the flagging Axis armor divisions in Libya and provide a solid force of armor for Balck. A fact he is very grateful for.

    North Africa continues to heat up but the eyes of the world are on the Eastern Front. Some are watching with joy, others with dread, and even others are noticeably neutral on the subject but the entire world watches as the German legions grind towards the Caucasus with more and more Soviet territory falling everyday with casualties on both sides high, the Soviets much higher as is usual because of their wasteful attrition methods and poor training.

    The world holds its breath for whoever wins on the Eastern Front it could very well decide the fate of the war.
    Jack Brisco likes this.
  17. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 37: Fall of Kursk

    May 15th, 1943- Siege lines are erected around Sevastopol with principally Ukrainian and Romanian troops stationed around the isolated Soviet city. The rest of the Crimean peninsula falls to the Axis military.

    Kursk is surrounded with German armored divisions continuing to advance as the infantry fight a bloody war in the streets to take the city. While the Red Army fighters are heavily outnumbered and outgunned they will fight as long as possible to delay the inevitable.

    The death toll of the terror-bombings by the Japanese on the West Coast has reached over a thousand with hundreds more in critical condition. Decontamination teams are sweeping through the affected areas sterilizing and removing any contagious items and purging the water supply of any unclean elements. Tens of thousands of civilians are volunteering to help despite the risk and is predicted within a few weeks all of the cities and the quarantined areas will be clear for resettlement.

    The entirety of the West Coast is put under a heightened state of martial law to prevent any further attacks. This state will drop if and when Hawaii is retaken. To the despair to the Japanese Empire the American morale did not suffer much in the latest attack but rather was inflamed with rage and the call for revenge is growing more and more daily. Future attacks on the West Coast are cancelled.

    Treatment of Japanese-American civilians in the internment camps are beginning to rapidly deteriorate. American troops withhold supplies to them causing the civilians to struggle to get by in terms of food and water.

    Lieutenant Colonel William Hawthorne, Internment Camp 17, western New Mexico:
    Lieutenant Colonel William Hawthorne sipped his coffee as he did his morning walk around Interment Camp 17, known to the locals as ‘Haven’. And it wasn’t far off when you consider how the other camps were run.

    Unlike most American men Hawthorne knew these people were not spies or terrorists. Are there some, more than likely, but not every Japanese-American is a sword waving fanatic who follows their home country to an early grave.

    The half-bird colonel snorted. He had German blood in him for Christ’s sake, thanks to his Opa. Did that make him a goose stepping Nazi? No it did not and Hawthorne was quietly embarrassed at the attitude of the majority of American citizens towards their own fellow citizens. It was disheartening that the land of the free was locking up people based of skin color and cultural origins.

    Going through the camp Hawthorne nodded to the men, women and children he saw. They were not afraid of him here. Despite being secluded from the rest of the world they still heard rumors, principally from other soldiers who guarded the camp of the… misdeeds committed by Americans at the other internment camps. Withholding of supplies was a common problem; one Washington refused to deal with. The capital was taking a blind eye towards the camp commanders that were hoarding the food, medicine and water sent to the camps. Rape and physical abuse were occurring with those being punished but only half-heartily.

    When Hawthorne came to command Camp 17 four months ago the former camp commander had been like the majority, abusing his position and withholding supplies necessary to the survival of the Japanese-Americans. Within a week Hawthorne reversed nearly all the previous commander’s orders. Many of the troopers complained and most asked for a transfer and were granted their request.

    The troops that came in were principally new recruits and most followed his orders without question or vocal complaint. For a time Hawthorne thought his camp would not carry the stain of mistreatment that spread through the internment camp system. He was right, until two months after he arrived when a corporal was caught raping a sixteen year old girl.

    Hawthorne had to contain himself not to shoot the rapist. Instead he was tried by a military tribunal, who although were primarily anti-Japanese they were still honorable men who detested rape of any kind, especially to one so young.

    So within three weeks Corporal Martin Coosley was hanged outside the gates of the camp with all soldiers and civilians in attendance. It was a message that seemed to go through everyone’s minds. Beatings and rapes dropped to zero soon after as did any abusive behavior.

    He shook his head as he finished the coffee and walked towards the front of the main gate where he saw a squad of troopers arguing with dozens of civilians, their trucks and cars waiting in the background. Not liking this he walked quickly to see what was happening.

    “What is all this about?” he demanded as he stepped through the gate with another squad at his back. The sergeant who commanded the gate turned around from the disgruntled men and walked to his commanding officer.

    “Sir, these men are demanding access to the camp. It seems,” the sergeant’s face frowned, “that justice needs to be done.”

    “What?” Hawthorne said. Surely he couldn’t mean-

    “Are you the commanding officer?” barked an elderly man, perhaps in his mid to late fifties. He strutted over and Hawthorne could tell his anger was barely held in check and judging by how red and obvious his veins in the nose were that he liked his drink a bit more than was recommended.

    “Yes, sir, Lieutenant Colonel William Hawthorne, U.S. Army,” Hawthorne began, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. This is a restricted zone under the administration of the United Sates Army. If you do not cooperate I have the authority to arrest you.”

    “Arrest me?!” the older man croaked. “I’m a God-fearing white American. They,” he pointed at a growing crowd of Japanese who were gathering at the metal fences, “are a bunch of foreign mongrels. Their kind killed my son and his wife.” Tears began to well up in the old man’s eyes. “My son, his wife, and their children lived in Los Angeles when it was bombed. They were among the first to die. Those behind me also lost family in the attacks and we demand justice.”

    Hawthorne looked at him and shook his head. “I am sorry for your loss and those that dealt harm to us will be brought to justice. But these,” gesturing to the huddled Japanese-Americans, “are American citizens who are being kept from the public for their own protection and yours.”

    The old man’s face scowled and flushed red. “That is crap, son and you know it. I demand a dozen of them brought before me. An eye for an eye, it is only fair!” he was practically yelling, his tone filled with emotion.

    Hawthorne frowned and felt bad for the man. “Listen, sir, I am sorry for you loss, I truly am, but these people had nothing to do with it. They have been here for months without leaving. They had nothing to do with it and if you harm them it would be murder and you do not want that to haunt you.”

    “Why you little-“

    Hawthorne pulled out his Colt.45 and raised it in the air and fired a single shot. The loud bang stopped all talk. The two squads of soldiers raised their rifles, not quite aiming at the disgruntled civilians but in their general direction.

    “I suggest you leave now.”

    The old man spat on the ground. “You’ll regret that, boy.”

    “We’ll see about that.”

    The old man turned around and left, the various trucks and cars drove away. The Army soldiers lowered their weapons and the lieutenant colonel holstered his pistol. The Army sergeant walked up to his commanding officer.

    “What do we do now, sir?”

    “Extend the perimeter; we don’t want any… incidents to occur.”

    “And if they are non-cooperative?”

    “Arrest them.”

    “And… what if they fire on us?” the sergeant seemed pained to ask.

    “Respond in the manner to keep our men alive and the internees secure.”

    A vague one but an answer nonetheless, “Yes, sir,” the sergeant began to bark orders. Hawthorne rubbed his eyes. He would have to contact Washington about this, of that he was sure.

    May 16th, 1943- The Liberation Fleet is assembled fully on the West Coast. A large armada supplemented with large amounts of aircraft and soldiers began readying themselves for Operation Liberty.

    The Chiefs of Staff are confident of victory but are worried about the Japanese Fourth Fleet which is rumored to have been supplemented with another carrier and a large amount of naval warships. The American spies on Hawaii report that another two divisions of infantry have landed on the islands bringing Japanese numbers to seventy thousand strong.

    In the Soviet Union Axis soldiers advance with near impunity across southern Russia. Soviet troops are divided, undersupplied and poorly armed and spending most of their time fighting seditious elements amongst their own population.

    Rostov-on-the-Don is captured by German troops after a brief but bloody skirmish. With this railway and naval port center secure supplies will flow much easier to Germany and its allies as they move east. With Rostov secure and the Soviet Reserve still moving south, constantly hounded by Luftwaffe bombers and fighters, the General Staff believe they can reach Molotovgrad in late June to early July. If Molotovgrad is captured then it is estimated the Caucasus, along with the Baku oil fields, will fall quickly.

    With Rostov taken, Kursk and Sevastopol on the verge of surrender, the situation in North Africa once again stalemated the Turkish military believe now is the time to join the Axis. A secret diplomatic telegram is sent to the German Embassy in Ankara.

    The Embassy is being visited by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and he gladly takes the information and flies immediately for Berlin to inform the Führer. While Turkey agrees to join the Axis it has certain conditions that must be met.

    The Turkish government will not go to war against the Entente. The Middle East will not be invaded by them as the Turkish military cannot fight a two front war with any hope for success. There will be no conflict with the great powers of France and Britain; the Turkish military will only fight the Soviets. The Turks want to annex Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, including the vital Baku oilfields. Germany agrees to this and both sides agree that if and when the oilfields are made operational under the Turks that Germany will receive the bulk of the output as is only right for all the assistance Germany had given Turkey as well as the fact Germany needs that oil much more than Turkey does at the moment.

    May 17th, 1943- Turkey officially joins the Axis Powers but only the German General Staff, Hitler, von Ribbentrop, the officers in charge of the various armies participating in Case Blue and a select few others know this. Hitler, on the suggestion of Speer, makes the alliance between Germany and Turkey a state secret which will only be revealed when Turkey invades the Caucasus Republics.

    Turkey begins to quietly mobilize and prepare for war. To distract the Soviets and assist the Germans Turkish intelligence prompts the various nationalist, anti-Communist, rebel groups within the Caucasus Republics to raise the flag of rebellion and hamper local Red Army and NKVD units.

    Turkey hopes these groups to do as much damage as possible but also hoping these groups fight themselves to extinction. Turkey may have began many of these groups to foster a future uprising but did so under the assumption it would give Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan its sovereignty which it clearly will not do. These groups are to serve a purpose, then die out allowing the Turkish Army and Air Force to conquer a much weakened area. If there are any rebel fighters still alive and they resist Turkish occupation then they too will die.

    Within hours of the orders going out uprisings flare up across the Caucasus Republics, especially Georgia and Armenia, reigniting the flames of nationalism the Soviet government had thought was extinguished. Local Red Army, NKVD, and loyal militia groups fight against the rebels and do hold their own in many skirmishes but the rebels had planned this for years and having been supplied in secret by the Turks the rebel groups are very well armed and somewhat trained as well as being highly motivated.

    Turkey sets its attack date on June 1st, 1943. seven hundred thousand soldiers, three hundred semi-modern tanks, many are Panzers IIIs and IIs built with permission from Germany, and an air force over just over two hundred modern aircraft.

    With Turkey about to join the war Hitler wants Kursk taken as soon as possible so those forces can capture Tula and hamper further Soviet reinforcement to the south. Von Manstein reports that the city is being fanatically defended and will last for at least a month at current progress. Hitler angrily retorts that is not good enough and that it must be captured by the end of May.

    Von Manstein informs the Führer that it will be done although the German Field Marshal is not happy with how many soldiers will die to hasten the conquest. Von Manstein orders the men to accelerate their progress and entire squads armed with MP-40s swarm through the littered and corpse strewn streets of Kursk, advancing to the center. Resistance is fierce and the German casualty rate raises dramatically but the Germans have more troops and more firepower. The Soviet pocket in the city slowly shrinks with every passing hour.

    Private First Class Jared Walker, San Diego:
    The steak was delicious. It was medium rare and was filled with flavor, every bite exquisite and savory. Jared’s mother and father sat at the table with him, they eating along with him. The restaurant was for those of good class and was filled with uniforms and suits. It was a safe distance from where the Japanese dirty bombs went off and therefore no one had to wear a mask or eat military rations. It was safe here, well at least safer.

    Many soldiers knew they were about to set off for war and wanted a good, warm meal before they shipped out. Army, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard it didn’t matter. All were cordial and ate their food in peace. Jared saw some men from his own platoon there, with a girl in hand. Some might have been their girlfriends or wives; most likely they were simply a companion for the evening.

    Jared sipped the bottle of beer and grinned. Setting the bottle down he looked at his dad Robert. Robert Walker was a well to do doctor and made good money. His father suggested paying for the meal but Jared insisted. Once he was deployed he would have very little to purchase and would like to give his father and his mother Debra a good meal before they left tomorrow.

    “Son,” Jared turned back to his father, “Are you nervous?”

    “A little,” he admitted. “But also excited in many ways,” the thoughts of glory and fighting the Japs gave him confidence. His humor dimmed somewhat. “I do hope Caroline is ok.”

    His mother’s eyes began to wet as Robert put an arm around her shoulder. “I’m sure she’s fine. She’s a smart, brave girl. If anyone could survive there it would be her.”

    “Of course, your right,” mutter his mother. After wiping the tears away she went back to her food. “Let’s finish this meal so we can go watch the picture showing in an hour.” Both Walker men nodded at that and turned their attention back to the food.

    May 19th, 1943- French forces in Tunisia having been reinforced significantly begin moving towards Tunis once again, this time French infantry, veterans from the Northern Front, are able to lead and capture more territory at a better death ratio than the Algerian conscripts and green Frenchmen that fought before. The Italians are dug in and will relentlessly resist but their numbers have been thinned to support the war in eastern Libya.

    New factories in the heart of the Reich have finished construction. Although months away from full operations these factories will have one purpose: to build Me-262 Swallows. A test group of thirty-six will be built and flown in July with a few more squadrons following while mass production will begin early September. Hitler, the General Staff and Wever will have multiple discussions and arguments on where to use the deadly jet fighters. Hitler prefers to use them in the east, Wever prefers to use them in the west. Time will tell who will get their way.

    May 22nd, 1943- The Brooklyn Project informs Roosevelt that the proceedings are developing well but are still a year to a year and a half away from creating an atomic bomb and that is if there are no delays. Roosevelt affirms his support for the program and directs FBI Director Hoover to add even more security to the Project along with Army personnel approved by Lieutenant General Leslie Groves. The President cannot risk the plans or even the rumor of the project falling into the hands of the Japanese, the Soviets and the Germans, and to a lesser extent the Entente. They might be allies but if they had a weapon of such magnitude who knew what they would use it for. It could be the Burning of Sweden on a larger scale for all he knew. If perhaps Churchill was Prime Minister things would be different but unfortunately Halifax led the government and recently defeated a vote of no confidence showing his position in Parliament was still strong.

    May 24th, 1943- The Liberation Fleet sets sail to Hawaii. American troops in Australia reach 130,000. Gott and MacArthur will begin their next moves once Hawaii is secure. Once the Islands are retaken overall strategy is for Gott and Macarthur to retake Indonesia while Bradley and Slim move into Southeast Asia. From the east the bulk of the American Navy, Army, and Marine Corps would island hop west, taking the most important and strategic islands and leaving the many scores of small Japanese held islands to wither on the vine.

    German Type VIII U-boats, situated into wolf-packs, are released into the North Sea where their superior hardware to the Type VII shows good results in a short amount of time. The six wolf-packs, four U-boats each, sink four Royal Navy ships, all destroyers with one heavy cruiser as well. A Type VIII is lost but the loss is deemed well worth it. Admiral Dönitz hopes to see a rapid spike in Entente warship losses while the trade between the U.S. and Britain could not truly be broken it could be threatened but not to a degree that would affect the war effort that much.

    That is why the U-boat doctrine had changed from hunting primarily merchant and supply ships to warships as their main goal. Churchill does not know what the Germans have unleashed in the North Sea and North Atlantic but he intends to be cautious.

    Orders go out for warships to travel by squadron instead of individually and the Canadian Royal Navy takes on more responsibilities in the South Atlantic and western half of the Atlantic to better free British and French warships for the naval war near Europe.

    The quarter of a million men of the Red Army that were sent from Moscow after the Reserve had left instead of moving south are transferred to Tula. Zhukov will need Tula if there is any chance to supply the territory from Molotovgrad to Moscow in any time efficient manner. These hardened veterans begin digging in and within hours dozens of mobile flak guns bolster the already formidable AA defenses of the Soviet city.

    The Reserve is beginning to increase their approach as the majority of German bombers are still focused on Kursk, Tula and the cities south of Moscow. However the roads are few and far between with many railheads sabotaged by partisans or German Special Forces. The Reserve is not concentrated any longer but a third of it is rushing to intercept and slow down the advancing Axis tanks and vehicles midway between Molotovgrad and Rostov-on-the-Don. The other four hundred thousand are making their way to south-east with two hundred thousand alone going to Molotovgrad to bolster the garrison there with the remaining two hundred thousand taking up residence in dozens of cities and towns across southern Russia. They are not in place just yet but this is the plan. Zhukov and the Stavka hope it will work out anyway.

    In the Far East Japan reduces the Japanese manpower on the Siberian Front by almost fifty percent. These men will be sent to China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and some to the Philippines where simmering guerilla warfare refuses to die down. The resistance leader is an American officer named Ryan Andrews, a Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers.

    The Philippine Militia as it is called has been active since the fall of the islands many months ago but is a constant thorn in the side of the Japanese authorities. Executions by the Japanese are common as are murdering entire villages but the Filipinos refuse to reveal where the Militia is and how many there are. Imperial Japanese Command hopes the extra soldiers will be better able to contend and eventually defeat the Militia freedom fighters.

    May 26th, 1943-
    After much bloodshed and death Kursk falls to the Axis. With the strategic city having fallen German logistics are vastly improved in the area and the troops that were sent to conquer the city can now be spared on the frontlines. Von Manstein orders his men to begin moving to Tula but the hopes of him conquering the city is much slimmer now that it has been bolstered by a quarter million veteran Red Army soldiers.

    Field Marshal Balck, now with strong reinforcements from Italy, begins to consider a counter-offensive to recapture Bed Littoria but he is still healing, albeit he can walk and lead from the front now in a fashion similar to what he was used to, and his men are weary, especially the German soldiers whose replacements were usually new recruits far from home. They were tired, bloodied but confident of final victory with Balck leading once again.

    In South America Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, dictator of Brazil, is shot and killed. Both the fascists and socialists of the country blame each other. While Vargas nominally supported the right wing elements of the political sphere he was not particularly a fascist nor did he believe in any racial or expansionist ideology. While critical and repressing the left they were allowed to function in a sense and were never quelled like they were the SAFB (South American Fascist Bloc) countries.

    Both sides angled for power and both were kept in check by Vargas. That is until his death. Even before his body was buried fighting began on the streets between the far left and the far right which quickly transformed from brawls, to riots, to outright skirmishes involving guns and grenades. The Army principally supported the fascists but the Brazilian Army was not that large, well trained, or equipped as many nations in Latin America were quickly becoming.

    Seeing an opportunity both the SAFB and the SADU (South America Democratic Union) begin rallying support for their own factions in the country is quickly teeming on the edge of civil war. South America once again nears war for the detriment of all.

    Asad Akram, on the border of Iraq/Persia:
    Asad Akram sipped the lukewarm water which eased down his throat. The heat of the day was blazing outside and inside was only marginally better. The small village Akram and his men entered had been abandoned years ago for reasons unknown but was close to the Persian/Iraqi border which made it suitable for their needs.

    An hour after arriving one of the sentries reported a column of vehicles arriving from the east. These were the Persian delegates, around thirty. All wore casual clothes but Akram’s trained eye could see some were most assuredly trained in the military with their straight poses and iron demeanor. Akram welcomed them and gave them water and some bread. Smalltalk between everyone occurred but was primarily of family, the war, the weather but nothing about politics or why they were all there… not yet anyway.

    Another hour passed when word reached him that a column was approaching from the west. The six trucks and three cars came to a stop, with about twenty men exiting. Doors slammed shut and similarly clad men walked to the abandoned home Akram had set up in.

    The Persians and Iraqis looked at each other, some dislike was there but the look was mostly one of shared fates of being tools for the British. A fate they had come to hate. Persia was void of British military forces but over the years the British had been economically strangling the Persian people into becoming dependent on them. For years the British and to some extent the French lorded over the Persian government as well as trying to implement policies for the benefit of them. It was an outcome the Shah did not wish to see.

    The Iraqis on the other hand were a nation with British troops and tanks milling about in an undeclared occupation. Akram shook his head at that. In 1937 the British left Iraq except for some RAF airbases but those were minor. However since the rise of Islamic nationalism the past three years the British once again invoked the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and now Iraq was housing almost sixty thousand British soldiers along with some armor and aerial divisions.

    Akram knew the Iraqis resented this but the monarchy was weak due to King Ghazis dying three and a half years ago and the new king was a boy of eight. It didn’t help matters that the current Prime Minister was toeing the Entente line, whether it was by fear or loyalty it did not matter. He was betraying his people, which brought Akram’s attention to the Iraqi man before him who stood in the archway of the door looking about. The man wore glasses with a stylized mustache on his otherwise clean shaven face.

    Akram stood and walked to the man. “Rashid Aali al-Gaylani I presume?”

    “Yes,” the main’s eyes narrowed. “And who are you?”

    “I am Asad Akram, a colonel in the Islamic National Movement and personal voice for Chairman Nasser.”

    “You are Asad Akram?” the man didn’t seem to believe it. “You are so young?”

    Akram was aware of his age of twenty-two years but he rose through the ranks of the Movement based on skill and merit, not luck. “Age does not matter anymore, only the depth of one’s conviction for a better future does. Please, let’s sit.”

    The Iraqi, Persian and Movement leaders seated themselves while their men were situated behind them against the walls. Akram opened a map of the Middle East and handed documents to the seated men.

    “My fellow Muslim brothers we are under a threat so severe it threatens our way of life, our culture, our ideology and our religion. By the Prophet we must act. Since the war began in 1939 the Entente have slowly through economic and military power subjugated the Middle Eastern countries once again to give them oil at a reduced cost, robbing us of a good profit and filling their weapons of war to kill and murder throughout the world.”

    His eyes turned around them, seeing the will laying in them, the will to do what was right. “No longer shall we be slaves of foreign men, but rather the rulers of ourselves. Persian, Iraqi, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese… it doesn’t matter our nationality, not anymore, but that we are all united by the dream of freedom from the Entente oppressors.”

    “What do you propose,” spoke Brigadier General Mahdi Karim, a rising favorite in the Shah’s increasingly pro-Axis military.

    “Revolution,” the seated men shifted uncomfortably but continued to listen. “The Movement was founded in Egypt over a year ago and in that time we have branched out to be more than just an Egyptian political entity but also a movement dedicated to freeing the Middle East from the Entente once and for all.

    "The Movement is strong in Egypt and growing stronger every day, we have active cells in Transjordan, Palestine, and even some in Syria and Saudi Arabia. We do not have any however in Iraq and Persia which is why we requested this meeting. I won’t go into specifics but the Movement is ready to make its move. For a year we have gathered strength, grown, trained in the arts of war with help from our allies and having bought a large amount of weapons off the black market. We have the means and drive to expel the Entente in Egypt and possibly elsewhere as well.”

    “But that leaves central and eastern Middle East,” quirked Rashid Ali.

    “Correct. We do not have the resources to fight the British and the French… but you do. The Movement knows your peoples are tired of being subjugated to those not like us. Britain, France, and in minor but still similar fashion the United States view us as nothing more than oil suppliers. They are stealing the lifeblood of our countries to fuel their wars and if they win then I fear for what will come. We all have heard of what the Entente did in Norway and Sweden. It could happen here as well.”

    He had their attention. “Will you join the Movement into freeing the Middle East?” he asked bluntly. Rashid Ali nodded quickly. He would want to be reinstated as Prime Minister; his yearning for power was obvious. The Persians were quiet for a moment but nodded in agreement as well.

    “The Shah wishes to see a Persia freed from her restrictions.”

    “And he will have it. And Rashid Ali, you will have power in Iraq. Our allies have assured it will happen.”

    “And who are these allies?” said one of Karim’s aides.

    Akram turned and nodded to the captain standing next to the door. The captain opened it and out stepped a tall man with brown hair and gray eyes, a scar falling from his left cheekbone to his mouth.

    As the man stood tall the assembled Iraqis and Persians gasped, they knew who this was. He had been internationally famous, or infamous depending on whom you asked, for freeing the Norwegian King out from under Entente noses. He had been on many newspapers and even some German propaganda films. Seeing him they felt hope that their dream of national freedom could come true.

    Guten Tag, my friends. We have much to discuss,” remarked Otto Skorzeny, Obersturmbannführer of the Schutzstaffel.
    simssss and Jack Brisco like this.
  18. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 38: Operation Liberty

    May 28th, 1943- The German advance towards Tula is progressing though von Manstein is worried about the rapidly rising casualty rates. Using the ROA troops as cannon fodder the Germans are slugging through the veteran Soviet divisions to attempt to capture the critical city but the outcome is far from certain.

    German bombers are unloading payload after payload into the city but are suffering heavy casualties, casualties that cannot be replaced in any short amount of time. Red Air Force squadrons, detached from the Moscow Air Defense, are sent south to Tula and are making local Luftwaffe dominance waver.

    Turkey has assembled seventy divisions of trained but untested men just south of the Soviet-Turkish border supported by a small but efficient tank corps with the air units few and far between but sporting modern aircraft and having been trained by Luftwaffe advisors for well over two years. Soviet spies report the growing army near their border with the Turkish government countering they are reinforcing any territory bordering the Soviet Republics to defend against any of the rebel groups which are causing a miasma of difficulties in the Caucasus from slipping their way south into Turkey. Local Red Army and NKVD commanders do reinforce the border with the few scraps of soldiers they have available but no more can be spared at the moment.

    In southern Russia two hundred thousand Soviet soldiers, almost all draftees and new recruits are rushed to slow the German advance towards the Caucasus. Lacking air support and significant armor assistance does not fare well for the outcome of these men and women.

    May 29th, 1943- Marshal Boris Shaposhnikov, commander of the Sevastopol garrison, dies from poor health. His subordinates send surrender terms to the Axis soon after. Ukrainian Brigadier General Roman Shukhevych accepts the surrender but orders all Communist Party and NKVD official to be arrested and brought before him.

    They are arrested and within hours are executed by firing squad. With the death of these Party and NKVD officials the city surrenders in full to the Axis Powers. The troops that participated in the siege are to be transported north-east towards where German led Axis forces are moving to the east at a brisk pace. They will be used as flank defenders to better free up German manpower for the spearhead.

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, east of Rostov:
    The open sky was vast and blue. Puffy clouds of white stretched themselves across the heavens. Dorff looked up admiring the beauty of the day, basking himself in the serenity of the moment. One could almost convince himself that there was no war. A bird flew by; seemingly unaware of the vast military juggernaut it was flying over. And then it was gone and Dorff’s attention was turned back to the noises of machine and man.

    Looking around him Dorff saw panzers, panzer-destroyers, half-tracks, trucks, armored cars, motorcycles and all other sorts of vehicle. Being carried were men in field gray uniforms, sporting Stahlhelm on their heads and holding Gewehr-42s, MP-40s, even the occasional Kar98k although those who carried that weapon tended to be a sniper or a squad marksman.

    He had sat in the back of a half-track for nearly three hours as the military might of Axis Europe rolled across the expansive plains of Russia. Looking beside him were his comrades, his brothers-in-arms. Only a few had fought in Poland back in 1940, the rest were conscripted or joined at a later date. God that had been over three years ago, he thought. So many had perished since the war began; friends, countrymen, and family. It was all too much to ponder on for long.

    He had seen many things in his military career. He was there in Poznan holding the Reds back with the knowledge that if the Poznan Line collapsed the Reich likely would have fallen to the Communist butchers soon after. He witnessed Operation Talon, the July Meltdown and fought at the frontlines for Operation Gray, Orange and now Blue.

    Going through eastern Poland into the Soviet Union he saw what the Soviets did to their own people. He saw the graves; the mass clearings filled with bodies riddles with holes. The corpses of innocents strewn over fields ignited hatred within him against the Soviets. Being stationed in the Ukraine he had heard the stories of the Holodomor from the Ukrainians and the effects the First and Second Great Purge had on the USSR.

    It did not mean his own side was free of guilt however. Dorff had witnessed the expulsion of Jews and other undesirables from the Fatherland to Poland and witnessed the murdering of dozens, scores, even hundreds of them by SS men. He closed his eyes, remembering the horrors. The reeking smells of death, the burning of fuel and the fires of war would forever haunt him, forever plague his dreams until his dying day. Dorff was a patriot, he loved his country. Germany was a home worth defending and fighting for and it was better the Soviets suffered this fate of invasion rather than his own country but how many had died for the ambitions and greed of a few; millions, tens of millions and quite possibly more.

    As a teenager in the 1930s Dorff had attended a National Socialist rally in Munich, as many boys did. The regalia of the Party, the lights, the fireworks, the singing and chanting; it riled him up, filled him with nationalistic fervor. A fervor that was not quite as bright as it once was when he realized the cost of war but continued to burn strong even now. The one thing of the Nazis he could never accept, or support, was the persecution of minorities, specifically the Jews.

    His mother and father might not have cared for Jews but they were not ardent anti-Semites like so many people in Europe are and they passed this belief to their children. Dorff neither liked nor hated the Jews. They were just people to him, people with a different religion, strange customs and holidays but people all the same. The Führer didn’t see it that way. Rumor was some of the camps in Poland were not labor camps or concentration camps but death camps, their sole purpose to eradicate those deemed of ‘unclean blood.’

    But what could one man do? A sergeant in the service of a country he loved. Did not agreeing with the government in all matters make him a traitor or seditionist? He didn’t think so but some did. Too many perhaps, which was why he kept quite on political issues.

    Rubbing his weary eyes he craned his neck to look over the armored wall he laid against. Up ahead vehicles were stopping, troops moving out, though not in any kind of hurry. “Rest break,” he called to his men. They nodded and prepared to disembark.

    The rest break was used principally for the fuel trucks to catch up with the advancing vehicles and fill them up with petrol and to give the drivers and occupants time to stretch, allowing them to temporarily relax. Dorff jumped out and walked away from the half-track, not too far though from any of his fellow Germans for everyone in the Wehrmacht had heard of what happens to German soldiers captured by the Soviets. Tortured, cut, shot and even worse things were experiences he never wished to see or feel.

    After walking a few meters away, sitting on a small rock, he pulled out a pencil and paper. The thoughts of bloodshed, death, and murder faded from his mind as thoughts of happiness entered.

    ‘Dear Anneliese, I hope you are well. And happy birthday! (I hope this reaches you in time). I am well and thank you for the care package you and your family sent. Tell your father I am really enjoying the books he sent, and tell your mother the needle is helping a lot in fixing the multiple holes and tears that are a constant on every field uniform. Much better than the Army prescribed one.’

    Taking a moment to think of what he would say he began again.

    ‘My request for leave has been cancelled, unsurprisingly with the way things are right now. But I might be able to get a request approved for sometime in December. It all depends of how the war here fares.

    ‘I am somewhere in southern Russia, east of Rostov (near the Sea of Azov, adjacent to the Black Sea). The offensive is going better than anyone had predicted. Every day sees new stretches of land taken. In almost half of the towns we go through we are greeted as liberators, some we find empty, possibly evacuated by the Bolsheviks and the rest we have to fight for but many of those are small firefights at best.

    ‘Some of the officers are saying the war in the East could be over this year, maybe even next year. I hope it’s true because that means I could return home soon. How is Munich? How is your family? And how are you?

    ‘I miss you very much. Cannot describe how much in words alone,’
    he stopped and looked over his words. Some of it would most likely be censored out by the military mail service but that couldn’t be helped.

    Now to end the letter as it was about time to leave. He could hear orders going out for everyone to get back in their vehicles. Corporal Friedrich Keller was waving his hand to get Dorff’s attention. His hand rose in acknowledgement and went back to writing.

    ‘I have to go now. Hope to hear from you soon. I love you.

    ‘-Elrich Dorff’

    Funny how they had gone to from friends to a relationship so quick since he was last in Munich, so many weeks and months ago it seemed. They had dated before, lost their virginity to each other but broke up for trivial reasons. It seemed the war brought them together, that and the knowledge both had lost people close to them. When they had first kissed on his leave he thought it wouldn’t lead to anything but it did. Now they were serious about a relationship more than ever with both teasing the idea of marriage.

    Putting away the parchment he gathered his gear and jogged back to the half-track. Keller looked at his superior. “Writing love letters again, Sarge?” the corporal teased.

    “Oh shut up,” he jokingly replied, his grin remaining on his face despite his best efforts. When he thought of Anneliese all was better. The memories of the front faded and memories of how she looked with her raven black hair and gray eyes, how soft and smooth she felt, and what she said took the fore. They were better, more pleasant memories.

    May 30th, 1943- American submarines, acting as scouts, begin relaying the latest information to the Liberation Fleet. Admiral Nimitz, commander of the Fleet, is eagerly awaiting new details of the Japanese fleet stationed in Hawaii.

    Slowly and in small doses new intelligence reaches the American commander and the battlefield was being set. The Japanese began moving all their naval assets to the south-east within range of the Islands’ land-based aircraft.

    It would be bloody but Nimitz was confident in his men. After the embarrassment the Navy had suffered since the war began the U.S. Navy had been thirsting for revenge and was set on victory. Their training and desire for vengeance drove them on, pushing them to think of nothing else than winning back the Islands, no matter the cost.

    In North Africa Balck delays moving east against British officer General Cunningham and the Eighth Army to deal with the French threat to the west. Dispatching veteran Italian units and some of their new Centurion tank divisions he hopes to delay or stop the French advance into eastern Tunisia.

    With the casualty figures amongst the Royal Navy in the North Sea/North Atlantic escalating due to the Type VIII U-boat the British Imperial General Staff cuts back RN reinforcements to the Pacific Theatre, for the time being at least. The Americans while not happy with this development understand and begin to take on more and more roles in the Pacific.

    French forces are on the verge of capturing Tunis despite the horrendous losses, Italian commanders are screaming for reinforcements but only the men Balck is sending will reach them in any reasonable amount of time and even they might be too late.

    French/Algerian losses, though heavy, are relentless in their push to take the capital of Tunisia. Using the Char B2 tank and mechanized warfare learned in Scandinavia the French are moving eastwards at a rate deemed acceptable by French High Command.

    June 1st, 1943- Turkey declares war on the Soviet Union and quickly invades SSR Armenia, SSR Georgia and SSR Azerbaijani. Soviet defenses are indeed strong but undermanned with little to no reserves so when Turkish forces create a breakthrough there is no one to stop them from establishing a foothold past the fortifications while at the same time moving behind the Soviet fortified lines and attacking from the rear hastening the defeat of these bunkers and trench lines.

    Turkish aircraft bomb and strafe key Red Army and Red Air Force locations within aircraft range. The few Red Air Force squadrons in the area were at half-strength and suffering from various lack of spare parts as well as fielding out of date models of aircraft and insufficient AA coverage except in the Baku area of operations where a small but powerful air detachment of the Red Air Force flies protective/interceptor sorties. Turkish built Messerschmitt Bf-109s dominate the skies within an hour of the operation being launched.

    By end of the day most of the border has fallen to the Turks and are moving north and east. Their primary objective is the Baku oil fields to the east and north towards the Caucasus Mountains. German units have captured Tatsinskaya and the airfields located there allowing the Luftwaffe to extend their reach all the way to the Volga quite easily. This is the farthest east Axis troops have marched and now with the crucial airfields captured their supplies will be easier to reach them via airlift.

    Field Marshal Rommel moves south towards the Caucasus Republics with a strong armored contingent with adequate mechanized and infantry support. His goal is Grozny, heart of the Chechen–Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Field Marshal Guderian on the other hand moves east towards Molotovgrad with the bulk of Army Group South’s panzers and mechanized infantry.

    Resistance against Rommel is sparse but ferocious while Guderian faces the two hundred thousand Red Army men and women sent to slow him down which they do. These twenty Red Army divisions are outnumbered, outgunned, and poorly trained but are dedicated to preserving the Motherland and equipped with Soviet anti-tank weaponry they stall Guderian long enough for the other two hundred thousand troops to take defensible positions west of Molotovgrad while the last two hundred thousand take positions in the city itself, they will act as a reserve. Zhukov dispatches another hundred thousand to Molotovgrad but will take some time as Tula is still being fought over causing disruptions to the railroad network in western Russia.

    June 3rd, 1943- Batumi, Georgia falls to the Turkish Army. The red and white flag of Turkey replaces the red and gold flag of the Soviet Union. Yerevan, capital of Armenia is under artillery bombardment and within the city Armenian rebels fight the Red Army garrison which from attack from both fronts is withering in their ability to resist.

    Chechnya, sensing the weakening of the Communist grip on the area, erupts into widespread rebellion. Fighting erupts throughout the countryside but the cities remain firmly in the grip of the Soviet military for the time being.

    Rommel plans to meet up with Chechen rebels and to capture Grozny therefore occupying North Caucasus from a position of power. This would also cut off South Caucasus from resupply and reinforcement.

    Caroline Walker, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands:
    She knew something was wrong with the bustling of activity on the streets. Civilians were ordered to remain in their homes with the threat of death if they ventured out. In the middle of the streets trees, half-dismantled cars, and anything else they could move was positioned in most of the minor roads leading from the beaches to the city. The main road was left open but Japanese tanks and armored cars dominated the concrete pavement with machinegun nests being spout up from small houses, apartment complexes and even phone booths, abandoned vehicles and hastily dug foxholes.

    Could this be it, she thought. Could the United States finally starting the liberation? In her excitement to look out on the ocean, which was blocked from her view, she almost opened the door. The thundering of footsteps up the stairwell froze her hand on the door’s latch. Parting the window blinds every so much she saw two teenagers, one white the other possibly a Samoan based on his size but could be one of the many Asian inhabitants of the Islands, run past her with folds of paper in their hands.

    Their faces from their neck to their nose were covered with red, white, and blue bandanas. Running past the apartment a few pieces of paper fell out, some falling over the railing to the lawn below but some landed in front of her door.

    The white teenager bent down to pick them but a panicked voice stopped him, “Leave it, Kyle! Come on, we have to get out of here.” The white boy grunted his response and abandoned the papers. The boys disappeared around the corner, heading towards the other stairwell set.

    As she was about to open the door she heard more footsteps coming from her right. Three Japanese troopers, their long reaching bayonet armed rifles gleamed deadly in the clear sunlight. They stopped looking at the few papers scattered on the floor, with a few more leading a trail down the left hallway.

    Their barbaric language was foreign to her and she didn’t catch many of the words other than, “Orders… arrest… kill,” and that was all for they were speaking too fast for her to follow. Eventually they left to chase the two boys.

    Caroline waited a few minutes until she finally opened the door and quickly scooped one of the papers into her apartment. Behind her a yawn erupted from the mouth of Franklin who finally woke up. “What is it?” he asked, glancing at the paper.

    Caroline looked at it. The American flag was displayed proudly at the top with the captions below stating multiple languages: “Free Hawaii against Japanese occupation, join the Islander Patriots!”

    Quirking an eyebrow she knew what this was; a propaganda leaflet, nothing more. She had heard of the Islander Patriots. They mainly avoided confrontation with the occupying authorities but as of late she heard rumors of armed raids and ambushes of Japanese soldiers with their equipment and weapons pillaged by the this Hawaiian resistance.

    They were growing reckless to be out in the daytime like this, especially now with the Japs so active and out in force from their bases. Reckless… or confident. The sound of thunder boomed from the east, reaching her ears as a dull thump. Seconds later Japanese aircraft soared off into the Pacific. More booms followed with the barely audible rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire.

    “What is that?” asked Franklin worriedly.

    Caroline took a moment to respond for she knew what that was. “That’s our freedom coming back to us.”

    June 4th-June 5th, 1943- The U.S. American Liberation Fleet and the Japanese Imperial Fourth Fleet come into contact early in the morning. Both sides are well armed and combat ready. Fighting starts with scout planes coming into contact with each other just south-east of Hawaii. From there it quickly escalates to entire squadrons of fighters engaging each other with scout planes continuing to look for the enemy carriers.

    Japanese pilots, many of them veterans of Pearl Harbor/First Battle of Hawaii, are confident that their Mitsubishi A6M ‘Zero’ would clearly dominate the air as it did in 1942. This would not be the case as the Americans were using the F6F Hellcat, a vast improvement over the F4F which leveled the differences between the two aircraft and in some instances the Hellcat was even a better fighter design than the Zero. The Zero had not seen much improvement since 1941 due to lack of air combat with modern enemy machines as it had usually fought outdated aircraft models or models on par with the Zero.

    Not even the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service land-based Kawasaki Ki-61 ‘Hien’ or the Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ were superior to the Hellcat, at best they were on par. The Zeroes were fast but lightly armed and many were shot of the sky early on in the first aerial skirmishes with the hellcat able to soak up more damage and remain flying. For most of the afternoon both sides skirmished with dozens of dogfights breaking out between the two fleets.

    Throughout the morning leading into the afternoon both sides continued to look for each other. As luck would have it the Japanese fleet, with its carriers in the center, was found first and their coordinates transmitted to the American fleet. Nimitz orders all bombers and fighter-bombers to destroy or cripple the IJN ships. A handful of fighter squadrons would be kept in reserve as well as performing as the Combat Air Patrol to protect the carriers.

    The American bombers would reach the five Japanese carriers in the late afternoon and would proceed to bomb them, three of them taking various amounts of damage. However none were sunk or crippled in the first wave. The Japanese bombers would follow the withdrawing USN aircraft and would attack the American carriers with the USS Shiloh, a Yorktown-class carrier, taking heavy damage.

    Back and forth the two sides would send aircraft against the other. The Japanese had a slight numerical edge with Army Air Service squadrons on the Islands included but bad inter-service communication and superior American anti-aircraft fire doctrine prevented this from defeating the Liberation Fleet.

    Into the early evening with the sun rapidly setting both sides recall their aircraft to rearm, refuel and repair. Both sides lost heavily but the Japanese took a greater loss with two carriers sunk, the remaining three damaged in various states as well as over half of their aircraft contingents having been shot down or heavy damaged which would force them to be out of action until they were repaired.

    The rest of the IJN Fourth Fleet was not in much better shape. Seven of twenty-six destroyers were crippled and/or sunk with two heavy cruisers and two light cruisers along with it. The battleship IJN Musashi suffered such damage that the captain of the vessel feared his ship would sink but through the excellent efforts of the damage control and repair teams the damage was kept in check allowing the ship to remain afloat, if only barely.

    Admiral Chūichi Nagumo, commander of the IJN Fourth Fleet, as well as the one who commanded the Japanese fleet during the First Battle of Hawaii, orders his ships to withdraw to Midway. He knows that Imperial Command is sending another carrier taskforce to Midway with replacement aircraft and supplemented with a large escort force. Nagumo does not want to risk another day of combat with the Americans because if his three remaining carriers are sunk the eastern flank of the Japanese Empire would be vulnerable and quite possibly irreversibly ruptured. He cannot allow that and would rather suffer this loss of honor than suffer the loss of his fleet. In the middle of the night the Japanese Fourth Fleet would make way towards Midway. It would make emergency repairs to its ships on the way with more assistance waiting at Midway in the form of repair ships and minor dock facilities although the help they can do is artificial at best. Nagumo would do this in radio silence, not informing the Japanese Army commander his intentions so as not to tip off American spies or code-breakers. In Tokyo Admiral Yamamoto endorses this course as it is logical and has to use his vast amount of influence to convince the rest of Imperial Command that what Nagumo is doing is the smarter plan and therefore more honorable overall as it gives Japan a better chance at a victory.

    The Americans lose a single carrier, the USS Shiloh, a Yorktown-class, along with three heavy cruisers, a light cruiser and seven destroyers with many other ships suffering various amounts of damage. The USS Gettysburg, another Yorktown-class. was so damaged it would have to be sent to the West Coast under escort for full repairs in dry dock in the San Diego Naval Yard. The remaining four American carriers, two of them Essex-class with two Yorktowns as well, remain combat operational.

    The Liberation Fleet after the battle withdrew farther away from the Islands in case of long-range night bombings but their fears would be unproven. Scout planes would comb the waters of south Hawaii searching for the Japanese for most of the morning the next day. Eventually American resistance fighters on the Islands was able to contact an American submarine nearby and informed them that the Japanese fleet had left Hawaii due to the communications made between Army garrisons on the Islands.

    Code-breakers in the fleet intercept these transmissions, proving what the resistance fighters said and on noon June 4th, 1943 Admiral Nimitz orders the liberation of the Hawaiian Islands to officially begin. Replacement craft and pilots, having been unloaded to the carriers from transport ships carrying reserve squadrons, are implemented into the depleted aircraft ranks.

    Now back at full strength air power wise the Liberation Fleet sends its fighters, bombers and fighter-bombers to begin launching strikes at Japanese bases, communication centers, and supply depots, the information given to the United States via the resistance.

    For hours the local Japanese Army Air Service contingent fights bravely but is outnumbered, outgunned and quite frankly outperformed. The Army Air Service didn’t have the quality of pilots or aircraft hardware that the Naval Air Service received.

    By mid afternoon the Japanese lost nearly all of their air power; the Americans had total air superiority although they too suffered greatly in achieving this. The troop transports, having been brought closer to the islands when air superiority was achieved, begins to land tens of thousands of Marines and Army troopers on key locations on Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu. The other islands will be liberated in time.

    Local resistance which had never done much physical harm to the Japanese occupation authorities due to fear of retribution and ration-holding , attacks with what few weapons they managed to hide and steal. The Japanese are much better armed than the resistance fighters but are outnumbered and are focusing on the landing American soldiers.

    Beachheads are established but not without casualties. Almost nine hundred would die on Lanikai Beach alone due to well thought out Japanese machinegun nest placement and entrenched enemy positions. Another four hundred American soldiers would lose their lives at Kaloni Point on the Island of Hawaii. Despite these two heavily contested spots the majority of the landings went relatively well with casualties being quite light in comparison to the two bloody beaches.

    Leading the land assault is American Lieutenant General George S. Patton, an aggressive but driven commander. With beachheads established on the three islands heavy equipment would begin moving in the form of trucks, military bulldozers (to move away debris and roadblocks created by the Japanese) and M4 Sherman tanks. The Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank, which had been the principal tank for the Japanese Armed Forces for years, was simply outclassed and outnumbered by the Shermans and would be essentially useless in tank engagements. It would only perform well when facing infantry and even there it failed expectations as American soldiers carried around anti-tank weapons, specifically the bazooka, in large amounts, mirroring doctrine and tactics performed by the German Heer.

    Admiral Nimitz would report back to Joint Chiefs and the President that the U.S. Navy was victorious at sea the day before and that the landings were well under way and going smoothly with losses within the acceptable range. This news would be released to the public, minus the heavy infantry casualties suffered thus far, and would work wonders for the American spirit who were finally taking the fight back to the Japanese on even terms.

    In western Russia German forces under the command of von Manstein have grinded their way to the outskirts of Tula but have failed to encircle the city and he dare not enter the city without overwhelmingly force which he did not have the numbers to achieve.

    Four times von Manstein tried to encircle the city and four times he failed with losses on both sides appalling but reinforcements were arriving from Moscow and northern Russia. Lacking sufficient men and material von Manstein orders his men to withdraw ten kilometers to the west to avoid being trapped against the city. Hitler would be furious and threatens to remove the German Field Marshal from command for refusing to take the city but is persuaded in not doing so by the General Staff who distracted the German Führer with the news from the Caucasus where the news was much better.

    Rommel, as per his usual maverick tactics, was spearheading deep into Soviet territory with little regard to his supply lines other than having just enough to keep moving forward. If the Soviets had concentrated tank divisions in the area with adequate infantry support Rommel might very well have been cut off and defeated.

    But there was no force like that in all of the Caucasus Republics. The Red Army had been stretched the breaking point fighting the Germans but with the introduction of the Turks there was just not enough manpower to go around. Tank divisions were scattered, broken, undermanned and almost constantly on the run. Infantry was spread too thin, demoralized and facing shortages. The only problem the Germans were suffering was their overstretched supply lines and having to deal with the occasional powerful force here and there that slowed them down.

    Private First Class Jared Walker, near Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii:
    The landing craft, called a Higgins Boat, chugged west towards the beach alongside hundreds of its fellow wood counterparts. Machinegun fire and artillery impacted the water nearby, a boat to his left was hit directly with artillery and the thirty-six American soldiers died instantly. Or so it looked from here. If any did survive the blast they might well drown in the clear waters of the Pacific or be snatched by a hungering shark.

    “Clear the ramp, thirty seconds!” yelled the coxswain over the roar of weapons fire as he steered the boat towards the beach. Hearing a sound from above Jared looked up seeing aircraft adorned with the American star, shoot rockets and drop bombs amongst the Japanese positions to soften them up. He hoped it was working.

    He was in the middle of the platoon, as part of second squad. At the front of the boat Captain Thomas Belkenridge turned to his men. “When the ramp lowers first squad goes to the left flank, second squad to the right, third and fourth go straight in the middle towards the foxholes created by our buddies in the air. Once there we will ascertain the situation. Fire only if you have a clear target, we can’t just waste ammo. We don’t know when we will be resupplied. Stay in cover; remember your training and God willing we will all make it out of here alive. Remember Pearl harbor!”

    “Remember Pearl Harbor!” the soldiers replied. Looking to his left his friend Randall Quigley was fingering the small cross he wore around his neck, his lips mumbling a prayer.

    “Come on, Randall, we go this. And remember once we secured the beach we’re looking for my sister as soon as possible,” Randall numbly nodded, remembering the promise he made to Jared when they were signing up for the Marines after Pearl Harbor.

    “Ten seconds! God be with you and good luck!”

    Captain Belkenridge nodded towards the coxswain and turned to face the ramp, his Thompson in hand. Jared gripped his M1 Garand tight, the knuckles on his hand turning white. Everything seemed to go quiet as the beach drew near even though Jared knew gunfire and artillery detonations were still happening.

    The short serenity ended with a whistle and the lowering of the ramp. Captain Thomas Belkenridge, veteran of the Solomon Islands Campaign in late ’42, which ended with the Japanese occupying the islands, died before he took one step off the boat. Three bullets hit him, two in the chest and one in the thigh. He was dead before he hit the ground. The front five soldiers suffered a similar fate as their officer with blood splattering those nearby. Lieutenant Sidney York, commander of the platoon, was hit with four bullets. He would die soon after hitting the boat’s deck.

    Sergeant Alfred Rakes became the next in command of First Platoon, Echo Company. Gesturing and shouting the men followed his orders and departed the boat leaving thirteen dead on it or near it. After the battle Jared couldn’t recall how he made it to a slight rise in the dirt offering him and a dozen men some protection. He followed orders and moved to the right but how he got there he never knew, especially with men all around him dead or dying.

    Hunkering down Jared looked around and back out at sea. Dozens of landing craft, their cargo of men and material nearing, were under heavy machinegun fire and artillery attack. Checking the Garand to make sure it was working he turned back to face the beach.

    The Japs didn’t have the time or the resources to erect proper beach defenses. That was what Intelligence said in the briefing. As so often was the case Intelligence was wrong. Trench lines were dug into the ground with protective boarding and makeshift bunkers here and there, made of wood and metal. Machinegun nests were everywhere, their weapons spitting death and hate in metal form at the arriving American Marines.

    Sergeant Rakes was with them. Raising his head over the dirt he quickly glanced at the immediate area ahead of them. “Alright, this is what we’re gonna do. Rogers, Ferguson, Johnson, and Goldstein you’re going to stay here and provide covering fire on the nearest nest. Floyd, Walker, Piper, Quigley, Jackson, and Phillips you’re with me. We’re gonna go to a couple of foxholes nearer it, throw some grenades in and storm the nest. From there we advance down through the trenches, rooting them out. Got it?”

    “Yes, Sarge,” they all said.

    “Good,” Rakes took a deep breath. Alright, covering fire!” The Four Marines began firing at the nearest nest, forcing the Japs to duck or risk a bullet to the upper body. “Go, go, go!” and with that seven Marines rushed for the closest two foxholes near the nest.

    All but Piper made it; he had been shot by some Jap grunt from another trench line. The bullet hit him in the chest and he lay there out of reach dying as the machinegun started up again and hosed him down, ending his life.

    The six survivors huddled in the two foxholes. Rakes pulled out a grenade and the troops followed suit. “Three, two, one-“ all of them pulled the pins on their respective grenades and threw it at the nest. Two were too far and landed farther in the trench line, one was not thrown with enough accuracy and landed on the sand next to the nest. Three grenades however did land in the nest. A few second delay and explosions shook the ground.

    Taking cue from Rakes the rest of the Marines charged the foxhole. What they found was shredded and charred meat that could only have been human. The gunner and loader were dead. Another dead body lay by, half his face caved in and his chest peppered with shrapnel. Farther down the trench connected to the nest was a Japanese trooper screaming in pain as he tried to crawl away.

    Sergeant Rakes walked up behind him and shot the Jap in the back of the head, the bullet piercing the helmet. A pool of blood quickly grew around the deceased soldier’s head. Turning around he gestured at the five Marines. “Come on, we got work to do.”

    They began to wade through the trenches, going from cover to cover. Jared was right behind the sergeant as they made their way to the next nest. Turning a corner they saw half a dozen Japs firing their Arisaka’s out over the top of the trench with another two manning a Type 92 heavy machine gun.

    Rakes held out his hand signaling the men to halt. Gesturing with field commands Walker moved to the sergeant’s right with Jackson right behind him with his BAR, Randall standing behind Rakes. The Japanese were so focused on shooting out at the approaching Americans they didn’t even think to look to their flank.

    Rakes held up his hand with the three fingers raised. He lowered one, then another, and when the index finger also dropped all four Marines opened fire at the unaware enemy troopers. Jared had been aiming at a Jap who was reloading his rifle. Firing two shots from his Garand he saw the Oriental man fall with two holes in his side. Turning his rifle he fired in the mass of enemy soldiers, his rifle bucking with every shot until the distinctive clang of the Garand becoming empty sounded.

    Putting a fresh clip in they moved forward, the others reloading as well. This end of the trench ended. Clever Japs didn’t connect all their trenches together. They had only cleared the first set. Further inland was more defenses with bunkers and even more nests. Machine guns and rifles poked out raining murder on the Marines first wave.

    More American troops jumped into the trench with them, first a few then dozens. One boy jumped to get in but was shot in mid-air and died as he fell, his corpse slamming into the packed dirt. He was dragged to the side by Goldstein to make room.

    “Who’s in charge here?” a voice asked. Jared saw a young lieutenant, barely older than Jared speak up. After a moment’s silence Rakes responded. “Looks like you, sir.”

    The boy officer paled.

    “Orders, sir?” Rakes grated.

    “I… I uh-,” the lieutenant stammered.

    “Might I make a suggestion, sir?”

    “Yes, yes of course, sergeant,” the lieutenant seemed relieved to let some else lead.

    “I say we storm the closer trench line and push out from there, eliminating nests and troops concentrations as we go. From the second line it looks like it connects to the third and after that we are near the roads and the small houses I can see from here. I suggest smoke grenades to cover our approach. Once we are in we should be able to push through.”

    “Yes, good idea. Let’s do that.”

    And they set off to it. With a couple hundred armed men crammed in the first trench line, with over two thousand more on the beach hiding in foxholes and small mounds of dirt, time was of the essence as the second wave was inbound.

    Within a few moments they were ready. “Pop smoke,” yelled Rakes. Dozens of smoke grenades were thrown forward to cover their approach as best as it could. The Japanese were no fools, they knew what was happening and when the smokes began to spew from its canisters the bullets started flying. Jared was one of the first out of the trenches followed by a few hundred American Marines.

    Left and right soldier after soldier fell, some wounded, some diving for cover, many of them dead. He ran, and ran and ran. What seemed like forever he was in a forward position of the trench. Three Japs were there. They fired at Jared but raised their rifles in a hurry with poor aim. Their fire missed him but killed the man behind him. Raising his Garand he fired the semi-automatic rifle faster than the three Japs could rework the bolt on their rifle. All three fell down in his barrage. Reloading another clip in he glanced behind him seeing dozens of Americans down on the ground not moving but hundreds more were running towards the second set of trenches.

    Enemy machine guns swung back and forth trying to contain them but there were simply too many Americans rushing at once. Using grenades, bayonets, and weapons’ fire the second set was cleared quickly with the majority of the dead in Imperial Army khaki and not American colors.

    From there they moved west inland towards the third and final set of trenches. The makeshift bunkers slowed them down the longest with their multiple machineguns but those too fell to the USMC. With the third set clear the next was the road which separated the beach from the few houses across the street.

    Bullets, both rifle and machinegun, spurted forth keeping the Americans heads down but the Marines replied in kind with their own weapons. The Japanese gunfire temporarily stopped and a piercing whistle was blown and over a hundred Imperial Army troopers with officers dotted throughout with samurai swords in hand along with a pistol led the charge, the white and red flag of Japan flying high.

    Jared and his countrymen watched in shock for a second. It was a suicide charge, they could see that. There were close to half a thousand Marines on the beach side of the road with another couple of thousand beginning to move from the blood soaked sands to further into the trenches to reach the road.

    The hesitation lasted only a few seconds until the Marines began firing. M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, Thompson sub-machineguns, BARs, and portable LMGs began to fire at the oncoming charge. It took less than thirty seconds for the hundred Japanese soldiers to fall down dead or wounded.

    Thinking it was over a private from another company rose up and was quickly shot from a house across the road. It seemed not all of them had come out. Bullets began to pepper the house but to be sure a radioman messaged the off-shore carriers and soon after a SBC2 Helldiver flew over and dropped its payload destroying the house and nearby ones as well.

    With that gone the Americans rushed over the road to secure the other side. Further down the road to the north were three military trucks with two Japanese tanks laying ruined. Smoke and flames kicked into the air. Those must have been destroyed by dive bombers before the infantry began to land.

    Jared could see blackened corpses littering the road around the Japanese vehicles. Taking the beach would have been harder if those were around as the Shermans had not yet landed and most of the heavy equipment was scattered through the landing force, some of it at the bottom of the ocean.

    Randall and he ran towards one of the houses. Looking through the windows Randall pulled out a grenade. Jared was about to give the go-ahead. “Wait, wait!” he said quickly, his hand raised to stop his friend.

    Randall looked at him quizzically. “What?”

    Jared grabbed the door handle and pushed inwards. The door creaked open and standing there in the living room was a family of five; a man, a woman and three children. They were bronze skinned and bigger than most Asians.

    “Samoans, natives,” Jared whispered to his friend. “Put the grenade away.”

    Walking in, gun lowered Jared waved. “Do you speak English?”

    “Yes,” said the man with a hint of an accent, presumably the father of the children and husband to the woman.

    “Are you ok?”

    “Yes, we are. Thank you.”

    Jared nodded and turned around. “Come on, let’s go. We need to tell an officer there are still civilians in some of the homes.”

    June 7th, 1943- Zhukov dispatches orders for all fronts and sectors to be stripped to the bone to provide reinforcements against the Germans from the west and the Turks to the south. Northern Russia, the vast expanse of central and east Russia, as well as the Siberian Front will be picked clean. The Southern Republics thus far have shown little rebellion and dissent and the large forces occupying those Soviet Socialist Republic can be drastically reduced at least in the short term to provide more manpower for the crisis in the Caucasus.

    Beria, Molotov, and Zhukov are worried about the war situation because the USSR is scrapping the bottom of the manpower barrel. Women are making up almost a quarter of the military and that proportion is growing. Conscription ages had been lowered from seventeen to fifteen with children younger than that forced to work in vast industries of the Soviet Union to free up more manpower.

    The German’s Case Blue was going through Soviet manpower like a scythe through wheat. Only Zhukov’s tactics and management had staved off total collapse. The Turkish intervention was a bit of a surprise and with that the Caucasus are likely lost but the Soviet Union might yet survive for the First Marshal has plans in the works.

    June 9th, 1943- Field Marshal Guderian, in conjunction with Colonel-General Friedrich Paulus and Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben are able to break and scatter the Soviet troops delaying them east of Tatsinskaya. Over half would be killed, wounded, or captured. The remnants would make their way east to meet up and reinforce the Soviet troops digging in there, west of Molotovgrad.

    A few full strength bomber squadrons of German Heinkel He-179s and Junkers Ju 89 bomb Molotovgrad for the first time. Casualties are light but this would not be the first time the city would be bombed in the coming days. It would merely be the first of many and there were scant few air units available to defend the city.

    With Tula now secure Zhukov could turn his full attention to the fiasco that is the Caucasus Theatre. With the Red Army stretched to its limits Zhukov requests that Beria send the NKVD Army south. Beria grudgingly agrees and three hundred thousand out of the three hundred and fifty thousand NKVD Army soldiers move south. This leaves the Moscow Defense Area guarded almost exclusively by the Red Army which still numbers over half a million in the region. Zhukov dispatches them to Molotovgrad and sends two hundred thousand Red Army men to Tula to allow the more veteran divisions stationed there to move south as well. Out of the two hundred and fifty thousand that defended Tula only one hundred thirty thousand are able to head towards Molotovgrad the rest were either killed or wounded too much to travel. Despite the heavy losses these men are some of the most veteran and experienced soldiers in the entirety of the USSR.

    American Marines capture Honolulu and have secured the eastern and southern portions of Oahu. Progress on the other islands is being slowed by fanatical Japanese defense using civilians as a shield to hamper any attempts of American soldiers to use artillery or aerial bombardment but victory is assured it is only a question of when now.

    Colonel Ryan Andrews, Mindanao Island, the Philippines:
    The Philippine Militia crept through the jungle, masters of their environment. Weapons were held low or slung but within easy reach if trouble came at them. Ryan Andrews, a Colonel in the United States Army Corps of Engineers and since MacArthur left the Philippines one of the leaders of the Filipino Militia.

    Slung about his shoulder was an Arisaka, the bayonet unattached. At his hip was a Nambu pistol he took from an officer’s dead body. His uniform had long since become torn and ragged forcing him to scavenge from a multitude of clothing from varying sources. The men and women moving with him wore similar attire.

    Life as a Militiaman was difficult, noticeably the lack of a roof over his heads most nights was a real bother but he adapted. He always did. The thick jungle surrounding them stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions. The nearest town was twenty kilometers away and the nearest Japanese base was almost thirty; plenty of spaces to hide in the countryside.

    It had not always been like this. The first few months he and the few remaining American and Filipino soldiers were constantly on the run just trying to survive but the past few months the Militia had made itself a force to be reckoned with. Their equipment had improved, raided from Japanese supply depots. Their numbers grew as more and more civilians joined the resistance. And to top it off the Japanese had reduced their search parties and even some of their elite units had been shipped out. Andrews didn’t know where although Indonesia, Southwest Asia and China were more than likely but he couldn’t be sure.

    Scratching his neck he felt the beard he had begun to grow since the Fall of the Philippines. He hadn’t had it this long since he joined the service after college. It was itchy but without a proper razor he didn’t trust himself with a knife. So he persevered and wore it. At least it was longer and thicker than most of the Filipinos but that wasn’t exactly hard to do.

    They walked to the secret base, most of it dug underground. They were allowed in unmolested as the sentries scattered throughout the jungle already relayed they were coming. Andrews walked down the dirt steps to the small underground base.

    Here and there stood men and women armed to the teeth but the majority was children whose parents were either fighters or helpers in the Militia. No one wanted to live under the thumb of the Empire, not after the atrocities that had been performed.

    Commander Datu Salipada Khalid Pendatun, simply called Salipada Pendatun, walked briskly from an adjacent tunnel to Andrews. See the man move like that in this place was odd. Raising an eyebrow in the form of a question Pandatun held out a small piece of paper.

    Andrews took it and read it, his eyes widening. He read it twice to be sure. “So it’s finally happening.”

    “Yes,” the Filipino commander said. “The Americans are retaking Hawaii. The United States is now taking the fight to the Japanese.” Cheers from the few Americans and the large assembly of Filipinos erupted from their throats at those words.

    It was finally happening. The war to liberate the Pacific had begun. Andrews knew it would be a long, bloody road before any American or Entente soldiers stepped foot on the Philippines but the wheels had started to turn, it was only a matter of time now.

    June 12th, 1943- Oahu is fully liberated. Landings occur on the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Island of Hawaii is nearly liberated in its entirety. Maui is still be hotly contested over with the fighting there having bogged down temporarily.

    In western Burma General Slim and Lieutenant General Bradley begin advancing further into Burma facing fierce resistance from both the Burmese and the Japanese. Although progress is slow due to the terrain and enemy fanaticism both officers are pleased with the pace of progress.

    June 16th, 1943- After heavy urban fighting Murmansk falls to the Finnish Army with Swedish and German assistance. With Murmansk now in the hands of the Axis resupply to the Finnish soldiers in the area will be much easier. The entirety of Karelia had been recaptured by Finnish forces and was re-annexed back into Finland along with some extra territory that formerly belonged to the Soviet Union.

    Soviet resistance in the area is practically nil but the Axis forces here have little to no armor support and air support was becoming scarce as more and more units were called south. Similarly Zhukov has stripped the area of any respectable amount of equipment and manpower to bolster Moscow while he sends many thousands of men in the Moscow area to the Caucasus and to Molotovgrad. The Karelia Front would essentially sputter into nothing more than skirmishes and raids, similar to what has happened on the Siberian Front between the Soviets and the Japanese for many months.

    In Tokyo the Japanese Imperial Command is worried about the situation in the east and south. Both directions have large enemy fleets although only the one in the east had begun its operations as of yet. They knew Hawaii could never be held long term and the fact it was held for ten months gave Japan plenty of time to conquer Southeast Asia and solidify its hold in the western Pacific.

    Hawaii could be sacrificed although the loss of two carriers hurt it was not the end. Many carriers remained and the determination of the Armed Forces had not wavered. It was predicted and merely came to pass. Midway though would be the far eastern colony of the Empire and must be held at all costs. To do so the Imperial Command was dispatching four carriers to reinforce Midway, two from the Home Islands, one from the Yellow Sea, and one from the fleet stationed in Indonesia.

    With the damage to the three carriers that survived the Second Battle of Hawaii being repaired by the facilities and repair ships at Midway the total strength of the Japanese Fourth Fleet will reach seven carriers and a large assortment of escort and support ships. The fate of the war against the Americans would be decided at Midway, for better or worse.

    Anneliese Gerste, Munich, Germany:
    “Let’s go, let’s go, mach schnell,” ordered Anneliese, in her leadership BDM uniform, ordering teenage girls around as they moved supplies into the trucks. Those trucks were full of extra clothes, food, clean water and other materials that would be sent to West Germany, especially the Ruhr Valley. The bombings by the Entente never truly stopped and those affected need to be take care of.

    The Western Reich Relief Program was instigated over a year ago. It was made of donations by charities and citizens in areas unaffected by the bombings and sent as much as could be spared to those surviving the horrors of terror bombing.

    Waving her hand and barking orders the girls followed her without question. Her rank and status ensured obedience. The paperwork she filled out as the transfer of supplies proceeded seemed near endless but it eventually did end as did the loading of the trucks. Within a few minutes the heavy laden trucks started their engines and moved west out of town.

    With that done she filed the paperwork and with work having ended she dismissed the girls to go back to classes. After a quiet lunch with her fellow leadership officers she began organizing the next shipment of goods from home to be sent to the soldiers to the east. Thinking of the east her mind eventually went to Elrich.

    The happiness the thoughts of him gave her lasted until work ended and she returned home. Her mother was washing clothes and father would not be home for another hour or so as his work never stopped.

    Nodding respectfully to her mother, followed with a hug, she returned to her room upstairs in their small two story house. Opening her door she saw a letter lying on her bed, put there by her mother.

    She saw the eagle and swastika of the Reich on it and she nervously went to it but was relieved to see it was merely a message from Elrich, not a killed-in-action notification. She sat on her small bed and opened the letter. Darting her eyes across the page she was glad that he was okay and the possibility of him coming home during December and that the war might be over in the east sometime this year or next gave her some joy and satisfaction. Fleeting emotions rarely felt in a war such as this.

    Setting the letter down she felt her stomach kick. Reaching down she smiled as her future son or daughter kicked. The week Elrich had been on leave in Munich had been lively for the both of them and after she missed her period she went in to get checked. Finding out she was pregnant was exciting but scary at the same time.

    She hadn’t told Elrich, she didn’t want to put that pressure to him while he was fighting nor did she think a letter saying “I’m pregnant,” would work that well. When he next came he would find their child already born and ready to meet his or her father.

    “Shhh, shhh, little one, your father sent me a letter. Even though he doesn’t know about you yet, I know he loves you.” Anneliese began to sing a children’s song to her unborn child that her mother sang to her when she was a child.

    June 23rd, 1943- Yerevan falls to Turkey and with the capital city having fallen Soviet troops are beginning to retreat north into Georgia and east into Azerbaijani.

    In France anti-war riots break out in Paris. Government officials fearing these are spurred on by the far right, which they in fact are, deploy armed soldiers to stop the protests. Tensions rise and quickly descend into chaos with both sides yelling abuse and eventually shots are fired, although both sides blame the other. Nearly thirty people are killed, mostly civilian protestors.

    Paris is put under temporary martial law and throughout the country future protests and public displays of unpatriotic manners in the forms of rallies are put on a permanent ban with the threat of detention and imprisonment.

    July 6th, 1943- After over a month of bubbling tensions outright warfare breaks out in Brazil between the far left and the far right. The army supports the fascists and gives them a clear edge early on but the socialists have a majority of support in the poor countryside and are able to scatter, avoiding a major confrontation and allow them time to build up their strength. Both the SADU and the SAFB quietly send men, material, and weapons into the country supporting their respective sides.

    Tunis falls to the French, Italian reinforcements from Balck have arrived in strength but too late. Taking in the remnants of the Italian military in Tunisia they retreat towards western Libya and entrench themselves in the already strong border defenses.

    First Me-262 ‘Swallow’ jet fighters arrive in the Ukraine in five squadrons of twelve. They will be testing their combat capabilities in actual combat in the coming days. The Swallow is by far the most advanced fighter in the world and the first jet fighter being used in military actions. Britain, the United States, and France have jet programs as well but are quite behind with only the British in reaching distance with the Americans close behind.

    The Italians have a budding jet program although it is much farther behind than the Entente, the Germans, and the Americans. The Soviets have a jet program as well but incredible difficulties as well as shortage of funds, manpower, and belief the program held little merit saw it cancelled under the rule of Beria. Zhukov argues for it to restart but Beria refuses to spend sparse resources on a project which would take years to come to fruition if it even did.

    In the West the Entente continue bombing German cities in the western quarter of Germany. They are damaging the German industry but taking heavy losses in doing so. In North Africa the French have retaken Tunisia and are preparing to move east into Libya while Balck is focused on the British centered on Beda Littoria. In the East the war is swinging more and more in the Axis Powers favor with the joining of Turkey to the Axis, the rebellion of the majority of the Caucasus against Communist rule, and the German military steamrolling over any attempt to delay them from reaching the Volga and cutting the Caucasus entirely off from the rest of the USSR.

    But the Soviets are not dead yet. The victory at Tula showed both sides that the USSR still had some fight in it and vast amounts of soldiers, aircraft, and armor are being rushed to Molotovgrad to stop the seemingly invincible German advance.

    The results of the next few months would define the outcome of the Eastern Front and quite possibly the war.
  19. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 39: Drive towards the Volga

    July 9th, 1943- After an aggresive ground push all of Armenia, along with large stretches of Gerogia and Azerbaijan, are now under Turkish occupation. The Soviets have too few men and resources to fight for every meter of ground and are therefore retreating to the north and east where new lines of resistance are being constructed. These will slow down the Axis Powers, but not stop them.

    South Caucasus is effectively written off by the Stavka as no significant amount of reinforcements can reach there in time to make a difference, not with German troops nearing Molotovgrad. Beria, fearing what the loss of the Baku oil fields would mean to Soviet industry, fears more what would happen if the Germans were able to access that oil unhindered.

    German fuel problems would become a thing of the past and would solve many, not all, but many of the worries the German Reich was currently facing. Beria would not allow this and therefore orders Red Army and NKVD engineers to begin rigging explosives throughout the oil fields to cripple them just before Turkish troops enter them. This would cause the Baku oil fields to contribute little to nothing to the Axis Powers' war machine for anywhere between five to eight months if not longer depending on the damage and speed of the rebuilding efforts done by the Axis.

    With the South Caucasus inevitably going to be under German/Turkish control within another month or two the situation in the North Caucasus is worsening by the day for the Soviet Union. Chechen rebels are growing bolder and becoming more adept at hurting the local Red Army garrisons very badly with little loss on their part; German and Turkish transport planes are dropping off ammunition and weapons to the Chechens, further damaging Soviet dominance in the area. Add the fact that Field Marshal Rommel is rushing to Grozny with over 170,000 men and six hundred panzers also seals the fate of the North Caucasus. It too will fall to the Germans. It is inevitable.

    As this is going on Field Marshal Guderian, with the bulk of Army Group South B, attacks and begins to fracture Soviet defenses west of Molotovgrad. These are the two hundred thousand poorly armed and supplied men and women whose only job is to slow the Germans down. They will succeed but few will live to tell the tale. In Kiev Field Marshal von Leeb and Field Marshal List send in the Axis Reserve of 500,000 (300,000 German, 200,000 Ukrainian) to the frontlines. The bulk of these will secure Guderian's flanks while the remainder will go to Rommel to secure the North Caucasus.

    In Moscow there is an actual fear of not only German victory in the Caucasus but German victory at Molotovgrad. If this occurs the Soviet Union would be forced to sue for peace and even if it received that peace from the Axis Powers the current leadership of the USSR could very well be overthrown shortly after, either by the people or by a powerful faction within the military or government that feels it would run the country better.

    Under Soviet rule millions have died and since war began in June of 1940 tens of millions more have perished with Leningrad under German occupation, Moscow a shell of its former self and within a hundred kilometers of the front, the Baltic States, Belarussia, and much of western Russia under German control with large swathes of that territory and population actively contributing to the Nazis economically, industrially, and militarily. With the Ukraine a committed ally of the Third Reich this adds hundreds of thousands of willing men and women to fight on the frontlines against the USSR. The Soviet Union as a Communist nation was looking weak and riddled with internal problems as its multiple uprisings and rebellions since the July Meltdown of 1941 had shown.

    If the USSR lost Molotovgrad and was forced to make peace there could possibly be enough support for a non-Communist government that another civil war would start soon after ending war with the Germans. If this happened there was no guarantee Communism would persevere, not with millions of soldiers which would have fought for it lying dead in the cities and plains ranging from Poznan to just west of the Volga.

    Not only was that extremely problematic but the Soviet Union was fighting an exhausting three front war: the very broad and bloody Western Front (from their point of view) against the Germans and minor Axis Powers, the chaotic Caucasus Front against the Germans and Turks, and the extensive Siberian/Eastern Front against the Japanese, Manchurians and Mengkukuoans were draining manpower very quickly and as of mid 1943 there simply were no large reserves left for the USSR's Armed Forces.

    The Strategic Reserve, the only true reserve left in the country, had been sent to southern Russia and had seen itself diminished by two-thirds by July of 1943 with the remaining two hundred thousand in Molotovgrad itself with other Red Army soldiers. Reinforcements from all over the country had been sent south as well with long stretches of the frontline from Karelia to Moscow having been stripped of any and all that could be spared… and even that which could not.

    Almost 1.2 million Soviet men and women, 300,000 which were NKVD Army, are in or near Molotovgrad preparing to face off against a smaller but more experienced, better equipped, highly disciplined and extremely motivated German Army. If this Red Army/NKVD army group was destroyed or crippled beyond recovery there was not much else the Soviets could do for over a year, at the very least. They had scraped the bottom of the manpower barrel, the factories in the Urals were beginning to suffer from a lack of the steady stream of natural resources as much of the Soviet industry had either been captured, destroyed or heavily damaged by the Axis militaries along with vast tracts of the railroad network in central and southern Russia made inoperable due to the Luftwaffe’s Ural Bombers.

    Beria and Molotov are becoming worried with Beria becoming more and more paranoid, similar to what Stalin had been experiencing his last few days. If the Germans reach the Volga and capture the crucial Soviet city they would most likely be rounded up, declared traitors and shot by those they governed. It was an outcome they did not wish to see. Only Zhukov seemed to not be too worried. Whether it was because he was better at masking his fear or because there was a chance he would not be killed in any coup due to his popularity with the common people and the military. Beria did not know but envied him for his calm demeanor in the current situation.

    Zhukov has a plan to stop the Germans. It will be bloody, and risky, but if it works… if it works the Soviet Union might just hold off outright collapse. And he would be able to keep his position and his head if it succeeded which was of course welcoming to him.

    July 16th, 1943- The Hawaiian Islands are finally clear of any lingering Japanese resistance. Almost two hundred thousand American soldiers and sailors are on the Islands now with more on the way. Engineers from all branches of the Armed Forces begin to repair the Harbor extensively as well as all the battle damage suffered in the invasion by the Japanese, who saw fit not to repair anything other than what was militarily important, and by the liberation which saw large sections of the Islands quite damaged by both sides. Casualties in the liberation were high: American military suffered around sixteen thousand casualties with over five thousand of them dead, the Japanese out of their seventy thousand strong garrison less than two hundred would be captured. None surrendered, they were only captured in many instances due to their wounds being so severe they blacked out/became unconscious before they could kill themselves. American civilian casualties from the ten month long occupation and the fighting that ensued saw over forty thousand die with much of the remaining population half-starved and suffering from lack of basic medical assistance. This is being rectified as shipment after shipment of supplies from the States begin to arrive. The few Japanese collaborators throughout the Islands would be tried and hanged in the coming months for their treasonous crimes.

    The Joint Chiefs are planning their next move from Hawaii: the invasion of Midway. The bulk of the Japanese Navy that is not in the Southeast Asia/Indonesian waters is located there. If that force were to be crippled or destroyed it would go a long way towards shortening the war for the inevitable American/Entente victory, and in the process save American/Entente lives.

    In Vietnam the Communist Viet Minh continue to plague Japanese authorities, forcing Japan to send an additional 30,000 men from the Home Islands. Rebellion is beginning to flare up in Laos, led by Savang Vatthana, the Crown Prince of Laos. Japan is forced to dispatch two divisions (20,000 men) to reinforce the Laotian Garrison. With so much territory to occupy and guard Japan is starting to feel the pinch on her manpower. To rectify this Manchuria, Mengkukuo, Burma, Kampuchea and Thailand would be "asked" to expand their respective militaries to make up for lack of Japanese troops. Where these enlarged armies are supposed to get their arms and equipment is a matter for their respective governments to figure out.

    In western Mongolia a moderate Mongolian/Tannu Tuvan army, led by Soviet officers with a small corps of Red Army infantry and armored vehicles, has assembled and is beginning to move eastwards. With half of their country occupied Mongolia dearly wants to see their homeland liberated from the imperialist Japanese aggressors. A scattering of older model T-34s is the major strength behind this offensive, despite these being of an older variant the T-34 still outclasses anything the Japanese can field. What little the Red Air Force has assembled in the area is starting to fly sorties against known Manchurian/Mengkukuoan/Japanese positions.

    Japanese Army Air Service planes take to the sky but the two air forces are evenly matched with neither side able to secure air superiority. The Soviet commander, Marshal Maksim Alexeyevich Purkayev, intends to liberate Mongolia and begin exerting pressure on Japanese-held Siberia. He also plans, once Mongolia is liberated, to better supply Communist Chinese cells in Mengkukuo and Manchuria along with the rest of China, both occupied and unoccupied. The Japanese, confident that the USSR could not engage in large-scale military operations on the Siberian Front while the Axis Powers assaulted the heartland of the Soviet Union, had reduced the amount of their military personnel and equipment by a large degree. Over two-thirds of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (GEAC-PS) units in the area are non-Japanese. They are principally the poorly armed, poorly trained, poorly led, and poorly motivated Manchurian Army which while quite large at almost a million and a half were at best third-tier soldiers.

    Purkayev, though lacking in troops and equipment, more than makes up for in daring and efficient use of the resources he has available. His force of 110,000 Mongolians, 30,000 Tannu Tuvan, and 40,000 Soviets is far smaller than the GEAC-PS forces facing it but, despite lack of equipment, materials and supplies, is in fact better armed and supplied than the GEAC-PS arrayed against it. He plans to attack soon, once enough Japanese planes had been shot down to allow easier cross country day time movements. First Marshal Zhukov applauds the Soviet Marshal and wishes him well in his endeavors.

    Tbilisi, Georgia is surrounded by the Turkish Army. The SSR capital has entrenched Red Army/NKVD soldiers, who are well supplied and dug in. It will take several weeks to clear the city of their Communist filth. The local Georgian rebels assist the Turks with the knowledge that the Axis Powers are there to free them from their Soviet overseers. Unbeknownst to them the Turks have no intention of leaving Georgia independent but the new Axis Power member is wise enough not to declare its true intentions just yet.

    Balck takes a trip to Berlin to speak to Hitler on the North African Theater. Balck has a plan in the works but needs Hitler's support for it to work. Once Balck informs the German dictator what he has planned Hitler not only authorizes it but gives Balck more resources than he had dared hope to receive.

    July 17th, 1943- American/Entente submarines begin delving deeper and deeper into Japanese controlled waters between the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. Imperial merchant and military transport losses spike and will do so from mid July to early August until IJN destroyers from the IJN Second Fleet based in Manila arrive in force to effectively patrol the area. Despite the reinforcement American/Entente submarines will continue to plague the area, costing the Japanese dearly in supply ships; ships that Japan cannot replace for some time.

    July 20th, 1943- Rommel enters the outskirts of Stavropol. German panzers and infantry begin securing large sections of the city within hours. Further south-east Turkish forces are just thirty kilometers away from Baku but Soviet fortifications are in-depth. Soviet armor, what little there was left in the Caucasus, has concentrated here and for every Soviet soldier killed so far the Turks have suffered almost two times the number of casualties. A ratio the Turkish High Command is not happy with but one it can live with.

    General Bradley and General Slim in Burma are progressing well into central Burma. Japanese/Burmese resistance is stiff and the American-Entente force is suffering heavy causalities but is deemed acceptable with the progress being made. American Shermans are performing well against enemy armor but due to the thick jungle terrain and bad infrastructure (paved roads etc) the effect the Shermans have to the U.S./Entente advance is minimal at best and in some ways is slowing them down.

    Field Marshal Hermann Balck, Benghazi, Libya, North Africa:
    The open windows allowed a cool breeze from the Mediterranean to drift inside the military headquarters of the Deutches Afrika Korps. Balck sipped iced water and moved slightly in his chair to get more comfortable as his wounds, though generally healed, irritated him on occasion and made certain postures uncomfortable.

    Major von Stauffenberg walked in, his arm having healed enough to not require a sling nor to nurse it, leading some of Italy's most powerful military figures into the room. Balck stood, as was expected, and walked to each of them to shake their hands with a strong grip and pump he was accustomed to do.

    "Governor-General Balbo, nice to see you again," he lied. The Italian political and military leader of Libya was considered by many to be Mussolini's heir apparent in the role of Duce for the Italian Empire. He was not a bad choice but Balbo was not exactly enthusiastic about the war, a trait Halder warned him about before his deployment to the North African Theater. The neatly maintained beard he wore hid his frown, a thing he had done much of since Italian withdraw from Tunisia. On to the next.

    "Marshal Graziani, a pleasure as always," which was true in many aspects. The Italian Marshal was much more... energetic about the war than the Governor-General and actively participated with the DAK and Balck's office. The two had become close acquaintances, not friends, but respectful of one another.

    The third man Balck had communicated with on occasion but never had the 'pleasure' to meet personally. "Marshal Vittorio Ambrosio," he said neutrally. Ambrosio was the Chief of Staff of the Italian Armed Forces and held the ear of Mussolini. If Balck was to get his plan pushed through he would need the support of Ambrosio to convince Mussolini. Graziani knew the general outline of what Balck was about to propose and supported it fully. Balbo might go against it which was unfortunate and Ambrosio was the wildcard.

    "Likewise, Field Marshal. Likewise," responded the Chief of Staff.

    "Please be seated," the Afrika Korps commander said, his arm held out in invitation to the table. The three Italians followed suit. They would speak a mish-mash of German and Italian with a translator nearby if anything got too complicated. Out of respect Balck would try to use his limited, but functioning, Italian. It had improved greatly since he first arrived in North Africa in November of last year but was rough around the edges here and there.

    "Gentlemen, I have called you here to discuss my next military action against the British." The Italians interest piqued at this. "Since the Battle of Benghazi I have been planning an offensive, codenamed Warhammer. Its objectives are quite simple really. I intend to drive the British from Marj all the way to Tobruk."

    The room was silent at that. Only Graziani was absent of looking shocked.

    "That is... ambitious, Field Marshal," spoke Ambrosio whose hand went through his hair in a nervous tell.

    "It is mad, damn mad. What are you thinking?" grumbled Balbo.

    "I'm thinking of securing your eastern border," he emphasized to make a point. Taking a deep breath he began to outline his plan. By the end of it Graziani was attempting to hide a smile but failing, Ambrosio was stroking his chin and Balbo looked at the German wide eyed.

    "You're insane, you realize that?"

    "I like to think of it as intuitive," countered Balck.

    "What will you need to accomplish this?" asked the Italian Chief of Staff.

    "Both of your airborne divisions, another forty thousand men, and another two hundred tanks. Preferably Centurion. I will also need all the motor transport you can spare from Italy and your Albanian, Greek and Yugoslav provinces."

    "You don't ask for much do you," murmured Ambrosio but there was no bite to the words. He even chuckled a bit. "Explain why you are doing this."

    Leaning forward Balck began, "The Italian Fifth Army has been driven from Tunisia and now sits on the Libyan-Algerian/Tunisian border, waiting for the eventual French assault. The Fifth Army numbers just over a 120,000 soldiers with moderate armor and aerial support and I believe it can hold... for a time. My Afrika Korps and your Tenth Army number 70,000 and 80,000 respectively. Our armored units are 144 German panzers and 302 Italian tanks. Our air strength is 87 Luftwaffe aircraft and 247 Italian fighters and bombers.

    "From the reports we are receiving from the Islamic National Movement cells in Egypt the British under Field Marshal Cunningham, he was promoted some time ago, have amassed 230,000 men with just over 500 tanks and over 500 aircraft. Cunningham outnumbers us in all fields.

    "What I plan not only pushes the British back to Tobruk, and possibly beyond, but will hopefully allow us to capture large amounts of equipment and vehicles to boost our own numbers, replacing what we lose to get the Libyan-Egyptian border. Cunningham is a competent officer but has very little aggressiveness in him, even less so than Wavell. If we attack within the next seven to nine weeks I believe we have a very good chance of success. Gentlemen, we have to break this deadlock in North Africa. If we can push the British to the Suez our eastern flank is secure. Then we can turn our attention to the west and deal with the French there. If we do not do these things we will be pushed out of Libya. Not a maybe, not a perhaps, we will. The Entente have the numbers and resources to do so if given another year, no matter what we do with our current forces on hand."

    The Italians, even Balbo, nodded in agreement.

    "To add to our forces I have spoken to the Führer personally and he agrees with my assessment of the Theater. When I visited Berlin to inform him of my plans I expected it to be authorized, what I did not expect was for Hitler to give me more than what I asked in terms of equipment and support."

    "Such as?" queried Graziani.

    "I went to Berlin to try and pry elite units for my offensive. I expected little to nothing." Balck's mouth turned into a fierce grin. "I instead not only got authorization but received two newly raised panzergrenadier divisions, fifty new Panzer IVs and another four squadrons of aircraft. All this next to my original request of one of the Fallschirmjäger divisions being sent here with their full complement of transports and gliders. All these reinforcements will be here in the next three to four weeks."

    All three Axis commanders shifted in their seats, leaning towards Balck. Graziani and Ambrosio were nodding in agreement and picturing such a force could do in eastern Libya. Even Balbo nodded grudgingly.

    Turning to Ambrosio, "Will the Duce support this endeavor. Will he give me the troops and vehicles I require?"

    Ambrosio rubbed his chin. "I believe so. It will take four to six weeks at least to get that much here on such short notice, maybe even longer, but it can be doable."

    "What about the Bulgarians?" Graziani asked.

    "There are barely a couple thousand left, poorly armed and equipped with low morale. If we took them into combat they would be more than useless. I plan to send them to garrison many of the smaller Libyan cities from Benghazi to Tripoli to free up more Italian manpower and for them to recover properly. General Daskalov agrees with me on this. Rumors from Sofia are that another 40,000 Bulgarians will arrive, with armor, but I intend for them either to be garrison troops or to reinforce Fifth Army in the west," spoke Balbo. Balck nodded in agreement. That was a wise move.

    "Excellent," Balck looked at von Stauffenberg who began to pass out glasses of champagne to each officer. Raising his glass Black spoke, "To victory."

    "To victory," they echoed and downed their drinks.

    July 22nd, 1943- Roosevelt, disappointed with the slow progress from the Brooklyn Project, nearly doubles the Project's funding. Lieutenant General Leslie Groves is given the equivalent of a blank check and told to expedite the Project at all costs. The American general promises to use the money wisely and for everyone to bolster their efforts.

    Even with an unlimited budget the scientists predict it will be almost two years before a bomb is made. Mid to late 1945 is the window they are shooting for. However possible, unexpected breakthroughs could lower the amount of time the create the Bomb but also unexpected delays could hinder it

    Japan begins to produce the Type 103 medium tank due to the increased pressure they are facing from armored units in Mongolia, Siberia and Burma. While not the equivalent of the U.S. Sherman, the German Panther, the British Chamberlain, the French B3, the Italian Centurion or the Soviet T-34 it is still an improvement over their current tanks. Has a 57mm cannon but with very little sloped armor in the front with none on the sides. Its armor is also very thin allowing quicker speed but more prone to be destroyed in one or two shots from the modern tanks fielded by the other major powers. It is considered to be better than nothing from Japan's standpoint.

    General Arthur Percival, Singapore:
    Radio excerpts from the front were not good. Actually they were bloody awful. The Japanese had broken through, albeit after losing tens of thousands and many months in doing. Percival gave it another two to three hours before the Japanese broke into the command center.

    There were far fewer left now, he noticed glancing about. Many were walking wounded. The garrison had been 90,000 when the Siege started. Now it was less than 40,000.

    And what would resisting now accomplish? They were out of ammo, out of medicine and damn near out of food. And they held them. By God they held them for seven months. But now the Japanese had broken through and if the fighting was not stopped it would be a mindless slaughter.

    He knew what he had to do and strolled over to the radios.

    July 24th, 1943- Singapore, the last British held city in the Japanese dominated Malay Peninsula, surrenders to the Japanese after the Imperial Army finally broke through after a seven month siege. The British under General Percival reaped a bloody toll on the IJA but simply ran out of ammunition and supplies to successfully stave off another attack. Once news reached Percival of the Japanese breakthroughs the British officer asked for surrender terms. They were harsh but Percival was forced to accept them as he had no ability to resist effectively anymore. Out of a garrison of 90,000 soldiers plus thousands more in civilian support staff, both men and women, only 38,000 in total survived the Siege. They will soon wish they had resisted to the last.

    With Singapore now under their hands, finally, the Japanese can redistribute the vast force that besieged the fortress-city to other troublesome fronts such as the Burmese Front, the Chinese Front and the Mongolian Front. Over two hundred thousand soldiers will go to these fronts in the next several weeks.

    July 25th, 1943- Stavropol falls to the Germans. Rommel is forced to curtail any further operation south to wait for his overextended logistics to catch up, much to his annoyance. Turkish soldiers have advanced to within five kilometers of the Baku oil fields. Their losses have been dreadful but they have reserves while the Soviets do not.

    Sensing that Baku is on the verge of collapsing Beria orders the explosives rigged throughout the area to detonate and what few troops and tanks are left are to be evacuated by the Caspian Sea Flotilla and transported north to bolster the Red Army at Molotovgrad. The Caspian Sea Flotilla is all that remains of the once large and proud Red Fleet.

    Turkish infantry and armor would soon secure the Baku oil fields but would spend the next several months trying to make the area operational again. It will be a long and arduous process.

    Lt. Col William Hawthorne, Internment Camp 17, western New Mexico:
    He knew paperwork was the lifeblood of the American military but God how much he disliked it. Just running a regiment was a lot of paperwork but when you have to care and maintain thousands of civilians, a camp to contain them and the guards to man it then paperwork piled up very fast.

    Grabbing his coffee cup he took a drink and nearly spit it out. It was cold. Glancing at the clock next to his desk he was surprised to see it was 2 a.m. Last he checked it was 11:30 p.m. Time flies when you're having fun. He snorted at his private humor and set down the pen, grabbed his cup as he pushed himself away from the desk. Dropping the cup in the small sink he quickly washed it and left it to dry on the rack beside him, beneath the cabinets.

    Resigned to the cravings of his body he disrobed to his underwear and crawled into bed. He would have to wake up at 7:30 for his morning walk around camp, better to get some shuteye before then unless he wanted to look like a hung over drunk in the morning.

    Turning off his room's light he drifted off to sleep.

    The sound of an alarm and machinegun fire followed by an explosion caused him to wake up groggily. Stumbling to his feet he stared out the window. A truck, non-military, was on fire and three more had broke through the barbwire fence. Two of the towers were firing at the closest truck. Return fire came from the trucks as its occupants spilled out, moving further into the perimeter as they did so. In the camp were multiple electrical light poles, usually shut off during the night, except the outer perimeter ones to allow those inside to sleep better. But these were all on, probably one of the soldiers turned it on to better see the enemy.

    Grabbing his pants and shirt he put them on as he rushed out, almost forgetting his Colt.45. The camp was in chaos. Hundreds of Japanese-Americans were running away from the barracks where the civilian trucks parked near. Eleven bodies were on the ground from what he could see. Nine Japanese-Americans internees and... Jesus Christ, two of them were white men in civilian clothes. One of them Hawthorne recognized from his dealings with the idiotic civilians in May. It was one of fools that followed that old man to the camp.

    The machineguns in the towers were firing out amongst the barracks, trying to kill the men who ran in there. An internee ran out but the trigger-happy machine gunners shot him down. "Oh my God..." there were still civilians in the barracks.

    Running to the base of the towers, sidestepping corpses and moving past his troops that were assembling outside their own barracks near the gate, most half-dressed as they too were asleep when all hell broke loose. Raising his hands he yelled at the top of his lungs.

    "Cease fire! Cease fire damnit!" Eventually the loader saw him, got his gunner's attention and pointed at their commanding officer. The gun stopped firing. "Stop firing there are still internees amongst the barracks."

    The other tower quickly stopped firing shortly after, following the example of its neighbor. Frustrated and angry Hawthorne turned back facing the camp. Grabbing an M1 Garand from one of the privates he began asking questions to those that were on duty when the bullets started flying.

    Captain Oakley, the night shift CO began to speak. "Everything was normal until five minutes ago. We saw four vehicles near the camp, all trucks and all approaching at low speed. Lieutenant Green walked out with two men. I could tell from the gatehouse that Green and the lead truck driver were in the midst of an argument. I was about to go out to see what the issue was myself when... when the passenger leaned out and fired two shots into Green. The two privates were shot dead before they could react. Then those... bandits drove through the gate, shooting and hollering. I lost two more men before I reached the alarm switch."

    From there Hawthorne could picture the rest. That old man had promised him he would regret defying him. At first Hawthorne was worried and for the next month he doubled guard duty as a precaution but when nothing happened he lowered their threat level. He thought it was an empty threat. But they did come back. Damnit! he slammed his fist on his leg in anger at that old men and his minions as well as himself.

    "Orders, sir?" asked Sergeant Colber.

    After a moment he began to speak. "Oakley, take forty men and go around the perimeter. I don't want these murdering bastards to get out of here. Get on the radio and inform Captain Loebel of the situation. Set up a medical area here as well. Lieutenant Sanders, Lieutenant Ferris, take twenty men each and secure the left and right flanks of South Camp. Colber, you and I are taking the rest and going to clear out the barracks. Our objective is to save as many internees as we can. If possible take the bandits prisoner, if not, shoot them dead on my authorization."

    The Army men nodded, many with anger and horror etched on their faces. They were about to go hunt white American civilians while protecting what were for all intents and purposes national prisoners. But this was not anger directed at Hawthorne or the Japs, but rather anger at those that thought they had the right to kill innocents. It was a crime they wouldn't see go unpunished, no matter the victim's race or color it was still wrong.

    And with that the U.S. soldiers dispersed, following Hawthorne's orders. Cautiously they approached the bullet riddled barracks, dead internees were everywhere, at least twenty by the time they passed through two barrack lodges. They did find five bandits dead, thanks to the machineguns.

    Going past the third barrack lodge was when a bandit opened fire on the soldiers. A shotgun fired, killing the corporal behind Hawthorne immediately and hurting the private behind the now deceased corporal. Turning with his Garand aimed Hawthorne fired three shots and watched as a straw hat wearing body fell to the ground, dead with a growing pool of blood expanding from him.

    That's the first man I've ever killed. Not exactly how or where I imagined doing it.

    For the next twenty minutes the Army scoured the southern half of camp, the northern half was divided by another fence and knowing Captain Loebel he would be ready to shoot any threats that neared his jurisdiction.

    In those twenty minutes five more bandits were found and shot, usually near a large group of dead internees. Judging by the type of wounds these innocents were not accidentally killed by the machineguns but rather by whatever weapons the bandits carried. Only one bandit surrendered, a young kid no more than seventeen. Mumbling how he was forced to do it Hawthorne sent him back under guard to the gate. If his men were a little rough with the prisoner... well he deserved it.

    Here and there they found groups of survivors to send away from the combat zone. One such group held a bolt-action rifle and a pistol. Hawthorne's men almost fired at the internees. Anyone not wearing Army colors and totting a weapon was a threat in their eyes. Only their Lt. Colonel's exclamation of "Hold fire!" stopped them.

    Jogging over to the armed internees, he ran over in a hunched position just like he learned in basic, Hawthorne looked at the two Japanese-American men who were protecting over forty women and children. It was a tense stare between the three but when Hawthorne held out his hand the internees gave him their confiscated weapons.

    "You'll find two of them dead back behind the barracks, Colonel Hawthorne," spoke the one that carried the rifle. "They came at us and killed five before we rushed them. They seemed surprised, almost like they didn't think we would protect ourselves."

    "Good man. Go to the front gate, there will be medics and water there along with a protection detail." The Japanese-Americans nodded and left hurriedly, eager to get to safety. Hawthorne dispatched four men with them for not only protection but to make sure none tried to leave the camp in the ensuing chaos.

    Six shots rang out, loud and clear, not far away. Motioning for Colber and the rest to follow he went to investigate. In the central clearing of the South Camp, where the American flag flew high and proud, was where the last four bandits decided to make their last stand.

    They were making no effort to hide what they were doing. Six bodies lay out on the dirt, all shot in the head. The old man was reloading his revolver as he moved to another group of captured internees. Upon seeing him Hawthorne almost fired but restrained himself. He would try to end this peacefully to prevent anymore mindless butchery.

    He walked to the base of the flag where the four bandits were. They aimed at him, poorly he might add, but didn't fire. The old man seeing him smirked in arrogance. "I told you there would be consequences didn't I," it wasn't a question, rather a statement.

    "You did."

    "And now I had to do some bad things to get in here. Shooting your men was... necessary to exact justice from these mongrels," the revolver gestured towards the other internees on their knees, many crying, all afraid.

    "What is your name, sir," Hawthorne asked through clenched teeth, his anger barely held in check.

    "Jebediah Parsons," the old man said, almost cocky.

    "Well, Jebediah Parsons, you do realize you will never make it out of here alive?"

    "Yes. Yes, I do," he seemed resigned to his fate from the tone of his voice, "And I have come to live with that." Parsons raised his revolver and shot two more internees in the back of the head in quick succession. As raised to fire at a third one, a young woman, spurred Hawthorne into action. Raising his Garand he fired two shots into Parsons' chest.

    The old man stopped, wobbly gazed at his wounds and fell to the ground. The other three bandits, upon seeing their leader dead dropped their weapons. American troops moved in and arrested them while also securing the dropped guns.

    Walking over to Parsons he saw the bastard still lived, his life hanging on a knife's thread. The old man looked at Hawthorne with hatred. "Didn't... think... you would... do it."

    Leaning downwards he spoke quietly. "I will do anything to protect those under my care. I hope you enjoy hell, Mr. Parsons, for you are surely going there."

    Parsons laughed, blood erupting from his mouth some of it flecking to Hawthorne's pants. "I'm not gonna... go to hell..., boy. I'm going to see... my family... in heaven."

    "I highly doubt that." Hawthorne stood, brought his Garand and rested the end of the barrel on the madman's forehead. Parsons looked at it wide-eyed. A single shot was fired and Jebediah Parsons was dead, his brains, what little he had, were sprayed over the dirt ground.

    Looking up at the American flag he felt shame that it had come to this. He should have protected his internees better. He shouldn't have lost any men. His grip tightened on the weapon in frustration. He didn't know how long he stood there but a woman's voice from behind broke his thoughts.

    "Lieutenant Colonel Hawthorne, sir," a voice nervously said.

    Turning around he saw the Japanese-American woman that Parsons was about to kill standing meekly in front of him. Her head was downcast as if afraid to look at him.


    "I.. I just..." she glanced up at him. "I just want to say, thank you." Before he knew what happened she rushed him and put her arms around him, holding him tight and began to cry heavily. Dropping the M1 he held her.

    "It'll be ok Miss..."

    "Ohayashi. Kazumi Ohayashi."

    "Why are you thanking me, Miss Ohayashi," he asked bewildered. He failed, people were dead because of his negligence.

    "Because I was going to die next. That murderer killed my aunt and uncle but he would also have killed me, my mother, my father and both sisters if you hadn't stopped him. Thank you, thank you so very much." Her sobbing increased and there was little he could do but allow her to cry out all the fear, despair, sadness, and anger.

    July 27th, 1943- American extremists attack a U.S. Internment Camp in western New Mexico. Total death tally would be nine American soldiers, eleven extremists, and sixty-seven Japanese-American internees. Four out of the fifteen bandits would surrender to American military personnel. Their trials would end with all four declared as committing acts of murder and treason against the United States of America and its people. All of them would hang by mid-August.

    President Roosevelt is forced to take notice and throughout the majority of the country, barring the West Coast, protests against the treatment of the interned civilians is on the rise. Roosevelt is forced to launch an investigation into how the camps were being run. Over the coming months dozens of officers and enlisted personnel would be arrested throughout the entire camp system with a few even facing a hanging due to their crimes against the internees such as beatings and rape. The rest would face time in jail with a minimal of fifteen years.

    All camps would be based off the model of Lt. Colonel Hawthorne's Camp 17, nicknamed 'Haven'. The Lt. Colonel, after his report and the discovery to the American public about how corrupt and unfair most of the camp system was being run, was instantly promoted to Colonel to show his fair treatment would be awarded and to put a good light on an otherwise disastrous public relations incident. Hawthorne would soon be promoted to Brigadier General and would oversee the entirety of the Internment System by the end of 1943. He would place like-minded individuals in command and ensure the Japanese-Americans were treated fairly and all portions of supplies sent to the camps were distributed fairly.

    August 3rd, 1943- Guderian, orders a short pause in the campaign to allow supplies, replacements, and even reinforcements to come to the front. Once his resupply is done he intends to move east and capture Molotovgrad. There is little to stand in his way but the city itself is full of military personnel ready to die for the Motherland. North-west of the city, above Guderian's Army Group South B is a large NKVD/Red Army force, waiting for the orders from Moscow to attack. This army is 800,000 strong with the troops in or near Molotovgrad numbering a little over 400,000.

    German intelligence notes the buildup but are not sure how large it really is. Hitler, confident of total victory in the East to be obtained by late 1943, declares that the NKVD/Red Army threat is nothing more than "old men and young boys fielding outdated equipment." He could not be more wrong as that army holds the cream of the crop of what was left of the Soviet Armed Forces.

    While the General Staff tentatively agrees with the German Führer precautions are still put in place to prevent anything disastrous from happening. Colonel-General Heinrici and his men are transferred from Guderian's southern flank to its northern as it is deemed a more likely location to see large-scale enemy counter-attacks. Guderian supports Heinrici in the endeavor and detaches the elite Waffen-SS divisions Das Reich, Totenkopf, Wiking, and Florian Geyer (the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 8th SS Divisions respectively) to enforce his depleted panzer and infantry divisions.

    The Waffen-SS , nicknamed asphalt troops, are some of the best armed soldiers in the entirety of the German Armed Forces but have not expanded past ten divisions as the regular Wehrmacht has received the lion's share of recruits and equipment. They are highly trained, well armed and equipped, disciplined and following the example started by Field Marshal Model andWaffen-SS Obergruppenführer Krüger in Scandinavia are subject to Wehrmacht officers and are expected to fully integrate themselves into Wehrmacht's operational plans. They are to supplement the Heer, not supersede Wehrmacht command.

    Krüger himself is in command of the Das Reich Division (he and the Waffen-SS divisions were transferred from Norway to the Ukraine just before Case Blue began) and will be subordinate to Heinrici as he was to Model. He leads the Waffen-SS reinforcements.

    Guderian hopes that both commanders, who are considered some of the very best in Reich, can protect his long northern flank sufficiently enough for him to capture Molotovgrad. It remains to be seen if they can do so.

    Tbilisi, Georgia falls to the Turkish Army. Most of Georgia is now under the occupation of Turkey as is much of western and southern Azerbaijan.

    In the rubble of Singapore Japanese authorities force the surrendered British troops and civilians to march to a work camp around a hundred kilometers away. This camp wasn't even the closest, just chosen for its physical accommodation and the long travel was seen as punishment for British defiance. Thousands more would die on this journey. This would be known as the Singapore Death March.

    August 6th, 1943- Baltic and Polish infantry divisions, auxiliaries to the German Wehrmacht, begin arriving in strength west and south of Tula where von Manstein and Vlasov are waiting to launch another assault on the Soviet city.

    The ROA had received fresh recruits from across Western Russia and now fielded a moderate force next to von Manstein's German and auxiliary force.

    August 7th, 1943- Guderian resumes his drive towards the Volga after a four day rest period. While longer than he had wished it did allow his logistics a chance to catch up and for his troops to be bolstered by a few infantry divisions fresh from Germany.

    The civil war in Brazil is tilting in the right-wing military's favor as they hold most of the cities, industries and ports. The military is beginning to encroach on the socialist controlled countryside while the pro-Entente democratic faction begins to come under persecution by the military junta.

    Talks of alliance between the socialists and democrats is put forward by both sides as separate they are bound to lose but together they would perform much better, possibly even surviving.

    August 8th, 1943- Krasnodar and Novorossiysk fall within hours of each other, by two separate Axis assaults (one German, the other Ukrainian). With the fall of these two cities the western half of Rommel's southern flank is secure but the eastern half is not. Rommel before he can advance on Grozny must take Armavir and Labinsk. Dispatching the majority of his Ukrainian, Romanian, and Hungarian divisions to take these two cities he awaits with his 170,000 German soldiers and near six hundred panzers (almost all are Panzer IVs and STuG IIIs, Guderian gets the majority of the panzer-destroyers such as the Hornisse, Jagdpanzer IV and all of the Panthers and all the Tigers) in Stavropol preparing for the eventual drive east and south.

    With Hawaii in the midst of vast recovery program and being brought up to once again be the home of the Pacific Fleet it is still many months away from being declared operational. It is quickly being restocked with supplies, men, weapons, aircraft, and ships for future campaigns against the Japanese launched from Hawaii. But it is still many months away from being the launching point of an invasion of Midway.

    The U.S. Navy itself might be ready, and willing, but it needs a secure supply line and base to fall back on for refit and resupply. The Hawaiian Islands are not able to support such a massive operation yet and are not expected to do so until January of 1944. This delay only helps the U.S. Navy as it has three more Essex-class carriers nearing completion. These will be renamed theUSS Enterprise, the USS Saratoga, and the USS Lexington in honor of the carriers lost (sunk or captured) by the Japanese during the Battle of Pearl Harbor on August 30th, 1942. Not only will three new Essex-fleet carriers be ready by then but also five escort carriers to a combined eight carriers to be ready by early to mid February, 1944 at the latest.

    The Joint Chiefs set the date for the liberation of Midway as March 8th, 1944. But that would be many eight months away and the JCS want to keep up the pressure on the Japanese. Therefore a military campaign was called for and the Joint Chiefs had a campaign in mind.

    Operation Undercut was revealed to the President. It called for a land invasion of the Japanese occupied Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands fell to the Japanese in late September of 1942 and despite the severity of the threat of Japanese invasion of Australia and Papua New Guinea having lowered dramatically there were still aggressive reconnaissance and bombing raids from the Islands against nearby Entente positions.

    With the Solomons secured not only would the threat against Australia and Papua New Guinea reduce even more but the Islands would be a stepping stone for the future invasions of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. U.S. strategy is to take these three island chains and from there push into the Caroline, Mariana and Yap Island chains, recapture Guam and other U.S. bases currently under Japanese control and from there the Americans would have a path open to the Philippines.

    If the Philippines were liberated from the Japanese their Empire would be split in two. Japan and its closest colonies to the north with Indonesia to the south. With the Dutch East Indies cut off from the Home Islands the liberation of the DEI would be quicker due to overwhelmingly U.S./Entente numbers and the lack of reinforcement or resupply from Japan.

    The vast armies Japan wields in eastern China and Southeast Asia would begin to suffer from the lack of sea-based supply lines. They will have to begin depending on land-based routes through eastern China and not only would that take longer it was also at more risk due to the growing problem the Chinese Nationalists and Communists were presenting.

    The Imperial Japanese Command know this and are committed to preventing this from happening. A large fleet is in the midst of completion on the Home Islands. Will have three carriers, three battleships, and a large cohort of escorts. But this unfinished fleet is not expected to be completed and ready to deploy until late 1944 (September-November) with the chance of being extended if the flow of natural resources from Japan's imperial possessions slows down or stops.

    Admiral Yamamoto of the IJN Combined Fleet reduces the amount of the Home Fleet by half to reinforce the Fourth Fleet at Midway and the Fleets operating in the waters of Southeast Asia and the Dutch East Indies. The Japanese admiral seems to be the only one aware of the danger the Empire was soon to be in.

    August 12th, 1943- Balck has received all his reinforcements from Germany and Italy. Operation Warhammer is nearing. Set to begin August 26th. Balck, Mussolini, and Hitler hope to push the British out of Libya and if possible invade Egypt where the Islamic National Movement promises to launch uprisings all along the Nile but only if the German led Axis troops make it far enough into Egypt to ensure their success.

    The Islamic National Movement while growing very popular, with cells doting throughout much of the Middle East, was still not strong enough to launch a widespread uprising against the French and British garrisons with any chance of success as of yet. Balck also wants more breathing space in the east so he can assist with the French problem looming in the west.

    August 13th, 1943- Armavir and Labinsk fall to the Axis. With his southern flank secured Rommel can make the mad dash towards Grozny. There is virtually no resistance in his way as most are retreating north-east, making their way to the Volga.

    August 14th-19th, 1943- The Me-262 Swallows, on deployment in the Ukraine for testing and for the pilots to grow accustomed to their new jet aircraft, are used in active military operations for the first time. The sixty jet fighters engage in aerial combat with Red Air Force propeller craft in the North Caucasus. Each skirmish ends in German victory with only two Swallows shot down over the five day period, with only one of the pilots killed, and the Soviets losing sixteen fighters and bombers. Very promising results for the Luftwaffe. Minister Speer approves for the construction of even more Me-262 factories to be set up in eastern Germany. They will be needed as the Entente bombings of West Germany continue to kill, maim, and destroy vital industries, infrastructure, and people within bombing range.

    August 20th, 1943- Rommel's vanguard reaches Grozny by noon. He finds much of the city in the hands of the Chechen rebels. With his vanguard assisting the Chechens the city is doomed to fall to the Axis Powers.

    August 21st, 1943- Grozny is fully cleansed of any remaining Soviet military and governmental presence by early morning. Rommel, with orders from Berlin, authorize the Chechen people to form their own government under the "guiding hand of the Third Reich."

    The Chechen people gladly accept and declare the Autonomous Free Republic of Chechnya (AFRC) which immediately petitions and joins the Axis Powers within the day. It would be a protectorate of the Reich in all but name with its own government and laws. These would have to be overseen by German authorities as a matter of course. Rommel is careful to state that Chechnya would be its own country and can run itself internally but its foreign policy will be heavily influenced by Germany and the Axis Powers. The Chechen people, having been under the domineering rule of the Soviets for decades, accepts this without qualm as they will experience more freedom under this new management. The Chechens would be experiencing more independence under the Germans than they ever would have under their former Communist masters.

    To better secure the country's vast mineral resources for Germany negotiations between Berlin and Grozny begin with talk of extensive economic trade that would benefit the German economy and allow the Chechens to receive a moderate income, far more than the Soviets would be willing to pay. The resources would be paid for on credit with promises that the debt would be paid in full after the end of the war.

    August 23rd, 1943- German troops begin shelling Molotovgrad from the west. Later into the afternoon Guderian dispatches his veteran infantry units to secure the western outskirts of the city before the majority of the infantry move in. From hard earned experience both the Germans and the Soviets refuse to send any armored forces into dense urban environments when possible. Guderian has his panzers guarding his immediate northern and southern flanks which have fended off multiple small incursions by Red Army tank units. The Soviet tanks are merely testing Guderian's armored strength and responses. These reports would find their way to Zhukov in Moscow whose plan is coming ever closer to fruition.

    In Brazil a consensus is reached. The socialist left and democratic middle will unite in an alliance of necessity until the fascist threat is over. With the resources of the two sides pooled together the fascist victory goes from absolutely certain to likely. The militarists still have more troops, weapons, and heavy equipment than the socialist/democratic alliance but the alliance has more support in the countryside. First large-scale shipments of food, money, medicine and weapons begin to arrive from the SADU to support the alliance against the SAFB backed fascist military junta.

    August 25th, 1943- German troops are advancing into the outskirts of Molotovgrad, facing fierce resistance and casualties are raising. Guderian mentions in a report to Berlin that perhaps Germany should bomb and shell the city but not attempt to take it as it is already costing high in lives. Hitler responds soon after that Guderian WILL take Molotovgrad for the glory of the Reich.

    Guderian grudgingly continues the attack but he does have multiple evacuation scenarios planned in case he is forced to withdraw to the west on a moment's notice.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  20. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 40: The Eagles’ Talons and the Bears’ Claws

    Private First Class Jared Walker, Oahu, Hawaii-
    “Caroline Edith Walker,” the increasingly frustrated and annoyed Jared Walker said to the military official sitting at the desk in what was once a Japanese command center, and before that it had been a government office building.


    “Edith Walker.”

    “Caroline Edith Walker, okay let me see here.” The bespectacled captain used his thin, spider like fingers to wade his way through a mass of paperwork before him. The man was whistling a popular patriotic tune from the States. Jared sighed and rubbed his eyes in exhaustion.

    The Japs might have been pushed out a month ago but in the ensuing chaos of fortifying the Islands against any counter-attack and establishing order again took time and he only now returned back to Oahu. Once he had some R&R scheduled he went to find his sister. Looking about informed him he wasn’t the only soldier looking for family. Hundreds of soldiers, from all services, stood in lines waiting to find out if their relatives were dead or alive. If alive they wanted to know where their family members were located, if dead... well they would want know where the bodies were buried.

    Many had found out their relatives and friends no longer lived. Soldiers, many who had fought a bloody campaign of liberation, sat on the dirt and concrete crying at the unfairness of it all. Jared hoped he would not have reason to join them.

    “Ah, here she is. Caroline Edith Walker,” the captain pulled out two sheets of paper, one with information typed on it, the other blank. The officer clerk quickly copied the information over to the blank sheet of paper, handing it to Jared with a nod. “There you go, private,” he looked past Jared to the man behind him, “Next!”

    Having taken the offered paper Jared left. He had been to Hawaii before, years and years ago, but he remembered the general layout, so he knew the general area of his sister’s address. Walking down paved streets, dirt roads, and side alleyways he made his way towards Caroline’s residence.

    The streets had been cleared of rubble, for the most part. Occasionally there were the wrecks of vehicles pushed out of the road into the ditches, waiting to be hauled away. He walked past six Japanese light tanks and a Sherman plus dozens of cars and trucks that had been picked clean of anything valuable but by whom was anyone's guess.

    Walking through what was once a shopping center, many of the shops having long been boarded up, he saw a large group of civilians, with some U.S. Army grunts and Marine jarheads watching on with varying degrees of interest. The civilians were in a large circle, looking inwards.

    His curiosity piqued Jared found himself walking over. Shouting became clearer as he became closer to them. The men and women were shouting, “Whores! Sluts!” and “Disgraceful” were the predominant words but not the only ones bellowed.

    As he reached the center he saw what the locals were yelling at. Nine women, four obviously pregnant, with eight of them bald with harshly performed haircuts, their scalps bleeding in several places. The last woman, a blonde, he guessed at being no older than twenty was seeing her golden locks sheared away by scissors. Tears ran down her face like little rivers.

    Turning to a man to his left he asked him, “What is going on here? What have they done?”

    The man, no older than thirty, looked at him. “They slept with the Japs. They thought that warming the beds of the invaders would keep them safe. But it didn’t; now they pay the price.”

    “Jesus Christ, they're Americans.”

    “Hmm, if you say so. All I see are collaborating whores.”

    Jared shook his head in disgust.

    The man looked at him with a hard eye. “They are getting it easier than the men at least.”

    “What happened to the men?” he asked worriedly.

    The civilian gave him a crooked grin, and gestured with his head to Jared’s right. Turning he paled in shock. So this is what it had come to. It was wrong, but what right did he have to tell the population what to do, especially when they had suffered so much under the Japanese.

    Shaking his head he left to the sound of the civilian laughing heartily, but whether it was at his discomfort or at the women he knew not. As Jared made his way to Caroline’s he passed beside the tall tree where seven men hung, their corpses moving with the breeze, attached to a thick branch by tightly wrought rope.

    It took another twenty minutes to reach Caroline’s apartment complex. His eyes darted over it, yes this was the place, she sent a picture of it before Pearl Harbor and the subsequent invasion. People swarmed about, many carrying rations the military was distributing out to the populace, combating the near starvation the Islands had suffered.

    Now was the moment of truth. Jared walked up the flights of stairs to her story. After a moment he found the room. Raising his hand to knock on the door he paused. What if she isn’t there? What if she died and someone else had taken residence?

    Closing his eyes to shut out the thoughts he knocked hard on the wood door. Knock. Knock. Knock. A moment passed, and it opened and Caroline stood before him, her mouth open in shock.

    “Jared…” she whispered.

    “Caroline,” he croaked, his mind full of relief that she was here, alive.

    She launched at him, hugging him tightly. “I had sent a letter home, but I didn’t expect you to be here, especially not in uniform.”

    “I had to join, everyone was doing it. It felt right. Oh God, Caroline, I’m so glad you’re alive.”

    “Me too,” her quiet sobs began and unashamedly Jared joined in, both crying in relief.

    “Caroline?” a young boy’s voice called out from inside. “Caroline?”

    “Who’s that?” he asked, pointing to a small boy as he cautiously walked to the door. Caroline turned, breaking the hug, and smiled.

    “Oh, that’s, Franklin. His parents were… lost on the day of the attack. I sort of took him in. I guess he’s mine now. Franklin, this is Jared, my older brother, Jared this is Franklin.”

    “You’ve taken care of a kid for eleven months? A kid that wasn’t even yours?” he blurted out, surprised.

    His sister’s face twisted into annoyance. “Yes, I have Jared Paul Walker. Why, do you have something to say?” she near stamped her foot on the ground in frustration.

    Wanting to ease the situation he raised his hands in apology. “Meant no offense, just surprised is all. Before the war you barely liked taking care of a dog, let alone another human being.”

    “Well the war has forced me to change a lot. It was either adapt or die.”

    “I understand-”

    “No, you don’t," she said curtly, her eyes hard. Eventually they softened, "Life was hard here, very hard. I can’t really describe it all but I had to make tough decisions, made all the tougher because I was making it for two people. I just… I just couldn’t let Franklin be left alone out there. He might have died,” she whispered the last part.

    “It’s, okay, it’s okay. You did good, sis. You really did.” They hugged again and broke off once more.

    “Thanks, Jared.” She smiled, a weight seemingly have dropped from her shoulders. “Please, please come in. I was cooking supper. Its military rations but it’s better than half of what we used to eat.”

    Jared smiled, “Sounds good,” he said as he stepped inside her apartment, with Franklin watching wide eyed.

    Anneliese Gerste, Munich, Germany-
    Cries of a newborn baby woke her up every night. Her own child’s crying. She loved little Johann dearly, but she never dreamt that she would continuously wake up from his noises. Her mother knew, oh how she knew!

    Mother had warned Anneliese of what to expect and she was young enough to think herself ready. Which she was not, but… she was learning. Slowly, but she was learning. Pushing herself out of her single sized bed, stumbling with a sleep fogged brain to the cradle in the corner of the room.

    She picked up her baby, Anneliese’s eyes half closed as she began to carry him to her bed. Sitting down she fed him her breast, his mouth sucking greedily. Once finished she burped him and laid him down to change his diaper.

    It was done quickly; she washed it and cleaned it, preparing it for a proper cleaning in the morning. As she changed him she looked at his face, his smile. The raven color hair, so much like hers, was already becoming thick, and his eyes were the color of freshly cut grass, a solid green like his father’s. As she put him back into the cradle she wearily made her way to the bed and fell back to sleep once more.

    Sergeant Akio Kato, eastern Mongolia-
    Bullets whizzed by as Akio rushed into the foxhole. The three soldiers that were with him lowered to two, the other lay dead on the ground with Mosin-Nagant rounds having killed him. Spitting the little bit of dirt that found its way in his mouth during his mad dash in the newly promoted sergeant cursed his luck.

    Being promoted meant more pay and authority, things he did not mind, but immediately after that his division had received orders from the Home Islands to transfer from the Siberian Front to the Mongolian Front where the damn Soviet commander, Marshal Maksim Purkayev, decided to launch an offensive.

    Purkayev may not have a lot of Red Army infantry or Red Air Force planes but he had enough, along with T-34 tanks, that everything the Japanese and their allies had to resist them actually did very little to slow them down.

    Retreating, or “advancing to the rear” as the Imperial Army called it, was disdainful but was necessary if Japan was to have any men left to defend its eastern Mongolian holdings. The past few days had been nothing but advancing to the rear.

    A small military car, one donned in Mengkukoan Army colors, drove by, filled to the max in transport capacity. A Soviet tank round slammed into its side, killing all within and quickly becoming a pile of flaming wreckage. Looking behind him the T-34 advanced, with infantry to the sides, moving up with the metal butcher.

    A machinegun opened up to his right, bullets slaying the Red Army soldiers, many falling but he could not tell if falling as corpses or as men diving for cover. A whistle blew, muffled by the sounds of war, but still audible. An officer of some sort, gauging by the sword he carried, stepped out from the protection of trenches and foxholes and led dozens of men in a charge to the tank. A flag displaying the Rising Sun was carried by a trooper, the men near cheered at the sight. Kato didn’t want to charge to a near certain death, but he could not just remain for his honor and the honor of his family would suffer a blow if any others survived and witnessed his lack of action.

    Cautiously moving forward, running from artillery-created crater to man-made foxhole to a slit of trench, the Japanese sergeant fired his rifle at his final location. Two shots, reloading a new five round clip, and began to fire again. He for sure killed two Soviets. One died with a hole to the head, the bullet having pierced his helm, blood draining from him. Another bullet hit one in the stomach. The white man fell, clutching his wound, trying to staunch the loss of blood, and screamed at the terrible wound.

    To end his misery Kato fired another bullet, higher in the chest this time. That bullet killed him when impacted, a red stain forming upon the khaki uniform. From his position Kato could see the advancing Japanese troops being slaughtered with only three making it to the T-34, one of them the officer. But three was all that was needed at that point.

    While the other two infantrymen fired and fought with the surviving Red Army men on the ground, the officer climbed the tank, lifted a hatch, dropped a pair of grenades inside, yelling “Banzai” as he did so, and jumped down, running away. Motioning for the two survivors the officer and his men ran back to Japanese lines. The dull thump of explosions erupted from the tank, followed by another, larger explosion of the ammunition being ignited. None exited the inferno the T-34 had become. Kato hadn't expected any.

    The three Japanese men were barely ten meters away when they were shot by Red Army marksman, leaving only a private to make it back. Kato fired and withdrew back to the east, fire and withdrew, fired and withdrew until he was back where he dived into the dirt. The Soviets would not attack the rest of the day, as their armored vehicles were few and far between.

    The next day though they attacked with wave after wave of Mongolian and Tannu Tuvan soldiers. Despite being poorly armed and trained they did manage to push the Japanese back two kilometers, although their force suffered around thirty percent losses.

    Hours later the Soviets moved in, with a dozen T-34s leading the way. Kato resigned himself to retreating to the east, as did the majority of the Japanese, Mengkukoan, and Manchurian soldiers. The Soviets would advance another seven kilometers until Japanese fighter-bombers stalled them in their tracks.

    But that only stalled them for the day, for on the morrow the Red Army and its puppets would attack, and advance, of this Kato was sure of. Alas this was life on the Mongolian Front.

    Sergeant Adamo Bernardello, in the air above Barce (Al Marj), Libya-
    The plane shuddered as it soared through the air of eastern Libya. This would be his second combat drop, the last being the drop over Malta. Having known what hell that was, this was even worse although there was no fear of drowning, not here in the desert.

    But the fear did not leave him; he had quite enjoyed occupation duty in Greece, except for the little rebellion in November of ’42, led by the Jew Frizis which had resulted in murderous urban warfare, but other than that it had generally been pleasant. He had gotten to know a pretty Greek girl quite well, although her father did not agree with their relationship.

    He wondered what the father has done to her since Adamo was shipped out to North Africa, probably nothing good or too drastic. He shook his head, clearing his mind of her and focused on where he was. Turning to look at his comrades he saw a few smoking, their hands shaking. He would have bet money it wasn’t because of turbulence, others looked at pictures, checking their equipment or simply staring at the deck, waiting for the inevitable.

    Scratching his chin, freshly shaven, he pondered on their objective. The Italian 1st Airborne Division was to capture key road junctions, major weapon/supply depots, and secure the local British headquarters. Meanwhile the 2nd was to be dropped at Tocra.

    The Fallschirmjäger were to be dropped into Beda Littoria itself, but only when Barce, Tocra, and Abyar fell to the DAK and the Italian Tenth Army. Rumor was Balck didn’t want to risk a near 200 kilometer airborne drop, not with his elite German paratroopers. They would be used at a later date.

    But Adamo and his paratrooper compatriots would be dropped far behind enemy lines, and expect to accomplish much, feats Adamo believed they could pull off if the British were caught unawares.

    Speaking of the British anti-aircraft fire began to unleash into the heavens. Due to fluidity of the North African Campaign both sides did not station AA guns except around cities and large concentrations of forces. That meant the journey east had been somewhat calm, but now scores of AA guns began firing their payloads into the aircraft filled sky.

    Looking out one of the small windows he saw multiple flashes from the ground, with bullets and shells ascending upwards. A transport plane, carrying two full squads was struck in its right propeller which quickly caught fire. It lost altitude, but was able to remain flying. That was until a large caliber shell hit the cockpit, killing the two pilots and plunged the plane straight downwards toward the sand.

    Another plane fell, then another, and then another. The British AA coverage was more superior than what German and Italian Intelligence divisions had dared thought. Adamo watched another transport become struck, becoming a raging inferno. He watched as paratroopers spilled out, most of them on fire, their equipment damaged. Their descent would be quicker than his, and more fatal.

    Swallowing and putting both hands together to stop the shaking he saw the ready up light finally turn on. As the lieutenant barked orders, Adamo stood and looked out the door as it was opened. He saw more transports and could spot men jumping from them, their chutes opening soon afterwards.

    “Call off!” yelled the lieutenant.

    “Twenty okay!”

    “Nineteen okay!”

    “Eighteen okay.”

    And thus it continued until the corporal behind him yelled in his ear, over the roar of the engines. “Two okay!”

    The officer nodded and turned his back to Adamo, who quickly checked his gear, making sure everything was in proper order and would work correctly.

    “One okay!”

    A thumbs up was the reply. Leaning against the door the lieutenant looked out, paused for a second and finally jumped. Adamo gripped the edges of the doorway, his breathing quickening and his heart beating rapidly. He didn’t know how long he stood there, but it felt like hours. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds.

    Finally the Italian sergeant jumped. The cold, early morning wind, tugged at his face as he fell. After a moment he pulled the chute, and his descent slowed significantly. Tracer rounds passed him, he saw one soldier’s parachute become shredded by the weapons’ fire, the man would fall a long ways towards his death.

    After some minutes, which felt a hundred times longer, Adamo was on the ground. He disengaged his ‘chute, pulled his rifle from its wrapped plastic bag and ran to the closest set of buildings he could see. Looking up the sky was alight with fire as more planes were shot down, so many and their crews and cargo would die that day. But the majority would survive, deposit their paratrooper cargo and head back west to the safety of Benghazi.

    Hiding into a small enclave, covered in darkness he saw two men rush by, a light machinegun in their hands. Their words were spoken fast in clipped British accents. Readying his weapon he fired once into the back of the one totting the LMG. He fell down, dead, into the sandy grass. The other turned, only to be shot by Adamo. He too died.

    More and more Italian soldiers landed in the area Adam occupied. His lieutenant was gone, dead or missing, or possibly having missed the drop point all together, but thankfully there was a major who organized the Italian paratroopers and led them further into Barce.

    August 26th, 1943- In central Libya, just east of Benghazi, Balck launches Operation Warhammer. Italian paratroopers, escorted by Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica squadrons, start off the operation by landing deep behind enemy lines, in drop-sites in and around Tocra and Barce. Their objectives are to secure the two Libyan cities while establishing lines of resistance to defy any desperate attempts by the British to recapture what they had lost. The 1st Italian Airborne Division, dispatched to Barce, would suffer heavy casualties from heavier AA fire than was expected but by noon there were still seven thousand still fighting and holding large portions of the city.

    Tocra would fall much easier to the Italians for two reasons. One was the lack of AA weaponry, more had been ordered and was on the way but as of the time of Warhammer being initiated, they were still stored in Cairo, just over a thousand kilometers away. The lack of dense AA coverage allowed more paratroopers and their equipment to touch down in their drop-zones, allowing them to quickly establish a strong position and move from there.

    The other was the deployment of Italian Special Forces via small motor boats, deposited off of Italian destroyers and cruisers a few kilometers off the coast. These Special Forces would infiltrate the British held city and quickly have interfered with communications to and from the city, along with setting explosives through the city to cause panic and disrupt British reaction to the paratroopers soon to arrive.

    Meanwhile east of Benghazi, 90,000 German panzergrenadiers and standard infantrymen, led by panzers, surged eastward after heavy artillery barrage towards known British positions, this positions quickly surrendering or being smashed into submission.

    Cunningham, in his base at Beda Littoria assembled the reserve of 100,000 men and 300 tanks to confront, and turn back the German Afrika Korps and the Italian soldiers accompanying them. But this would take time to assemble and move out in full. The British Field Marshal hoped his forward lines held long enough to slow the Axis down enough to allow him to reach Tocra and Barce in time to retake and defend properly.

    It was time he would not have as German led forces punctured British lines in multiple locations, only being delayed by extensive minefields that Cunningham had wisely ordered placed in the most likely paths of any future Axis advance. In most cases the British Field Marshal was correct, leaving some elements of the DAK/Italian Tenth Army to move forward at a crawl. Others were able to find gaps and exploited these mercilessly.

    Balck was eager to capture Tocra and Barce quickly, and to march onto Beda Littoria as soon as possible. Once Beda Littoria fell into German hands again he could set his eyes on his true target: Tobruk.

    While all this was happening on the ground, German and Italian air units swarmed over eastern Libya, attacking any and all airfields, railroads, trains, supply depots, and communication centers. The RAF was not one to back down and flew to the air to meet them. The fighting was bloody, with dozens of planes shot down the first day, but due to the element of surprise and high attention focused on the airfields, which saw to them being bombed, greatly hampered RAF response as they lost a quarter of their planes within the first six hours.

    The Axis losses were heavy but not as much so as the RAF, who was forced to land at airfields in Beda Littoria as their home airbases were wrecks, unfit to land at. As Balck advanced both towards Barce and Tocra, General Graziani was striking towards Abyar, which was important to capture if the Axis wanted to have a protected southern flank once more eastern land had been taken from the British clutches.

    Despite fielding mostly older Italian tank designs with only a handful of Titans and Centurions amongst his forces, as the majority of those were with Balck, Graziani was rapidly advancing, even faster than Balck, although he faced much less resistance than his German ally.

    In London the British General Staff is ordering reinforcements that were to be sent to the Pacific to be rerouted to Egypt and from there to Libya. Balck was attacking with a considerably large and powerful army. If he was to break through into Egypt the results would be catastrophic for the Entente.

    Lieutenant Artyom Vetrov, north-west of Molotovgrad-
    Four more Su-76 tank destroyers rumbled by him, followed by another twenty T-34s, and even a rare KV-1 that had somehow remained alive after all these years. He had heard that their production had been effectively terminated so each and every KV-1 was part of a dying breed as the factories that had built them now switched to T-34 or Su-76.

    Clutching his new SVT-40 Artyom darted between a gap he noticed, passing by two tanks as they continued to move south, down the road. Well road was stretching it but it suited their purposes. Sergeant Yanikov waved at him, which Artyom returned.

    They hustled into a tent, as two of Artyom’s men stood outside. “News?” asked Yanikov

    Da,” replied the lieutenant. “Supposedly around two weeks, we are waiting for the final tank divisions squadrons to get here from Moscow. It is taking time due to the rail network being a mess, but they’ll be here soon. When they do, we are attacking the Germans at Molotovgrad.”

    Yanikov smiled, “Good.”

    The two Red Army men brought out a bottle of vodka to toast to the coming battle, and to drown their sorrows for the evening.

    August 28th, 1943- German and Italian armor enter the outskirts of Tocra, mechanized infantry in tow, and quickly eliminate the few holdouts the British had established. With these gone Tocra was now in the hands of the Axis Powers in full. Though its docks had received minor damage, thanks to British Army engineers, it was hoped the docks could be repaired and reopened in a week to allow a closer resupply point for the Axis.

    Barce is less than ten kilometers away from forward elements of Balck's Afrika Korps but resistance from the British is surprisingly effective. Using the tactic the Germans employed consistently in all Theatres of the war the British were using their artillery guns as tank-killers, and killing they were doing. Over thirty Italian and six German armored vehicles had been destroyed or crippled in a day. The British are only retreating when outflanked or bombed into dust by Italian bombers.

    September 1st, 1943- The Soviet offensive into eastern Mongolia is put on hold due to the scarcity of spare parts, and the near total lack of fuel for the Red Army’s tanks and vehicles and the Red Air Force’s aircraft. Zhukov was forced to cut their fuel resupply by ninety percent, as with Baku and its rich oil fields gone a fuel problem had developed within the Soviet Union which was quickly turning into a fuel crisis.

    Zhukov was sending all he could to army north of Molotovgrad. They would need it more than anyone. Other fuel sources were being exploited but their output would be miniscule compared to the bountiful Baku. Beria, Zhukov and Molotov hoped it will be enough.

    September 3rd 1943- After circling around city the Axis laid a brief siege to Barce. The British, who were able to retake two-thirds of the city, quickly surrender or retreat before the Germans can close their ring of iron effectively. The Italian paratroopers, numbering only four thousand at this point, are congratulated by Balck for their tenacity and bravery.

    In southern Russia the Soviet army awaiting final reinforcements receives these last tank units. Now with everything ready Zhukov orders them to begin their assault on September 9th. The assault is codenamed Red Vengeance.

    September 4th, 1943- German and Turkish soldiers meet up in northwestern Georgia. This will be the first of many interactions between the two armies as what little resistance separated them simply melted away under the pressure from the north, south, and west. With German and Ukrainian soldiers meeting Turkish soldiers in multiple locations the Soviets have officially lost the South Caucasus except for some slivers in the east near the Caspian Sea and western two thirds of the North Caucasus.

    Abyar falls to Graziani and his Italian divisions. With the three cities under Axis control Balck can focus fully on Beda Littoria. Field Marshal Cunningham, his force now 180,000 as those that withdrew from the frontline have joined him, now begins to make a stand west of Beda Littoria in a town called Massah, known by the Italians as Luigi Razza. The small town was swarming with British soldiers, vehicles, and artillery. A nearby airfield, though small, was filled to the brink with RAF fighters and bombers.

    Balck still has a way to go until he reaches Cunningham but the towns in between them were sporting only half-formed or manned defenses, allowing a quick conquest, although Balck was being slowed down by them which was the reason Cunningham had left any troops between him and the German Field Marshal. Every day bought was another day to prepare.

    September 7th, 1943- Guderian, seeing how thin his men were spread on his vulnerable northern flank, orders Romanian, Ukrainian, and Hungarian soldiers to move north to beef up the German divisions under Heinrici.

    Heinrici is grateful for the reinforcements but wishes they were well supplied, veteran Germans instead of half-equipped allies with much less experience in holding a crucial front. Nonetheless he takes them and distributes them across the front, while his own German divisions would act as a strong reserve.

    Progress into Molotovgrad is proceeding slowly and bloodily, despite the Germans controlling the north and south sides of the city, reaching the bank of the Volga in both locations. Despite their best efforts, and the best efforts of the Luftwaffe, the Axis invaders cannot quite stop the flow of men, arms, and supplies being shipped into the partially besieged city.

    September 9th, 1943- The Soviets launch Operation Red Vengeance. 800,000 Soviet men, with thousands of tanks, tank destroyers, and vehicles at the forefront of the offensive, surge from their positions north of the strategic city down south into the northern Axis defense lines. With NKVD units leading the way, due to their superior weaponry and near fanaticism, the Soviet soldiers ram into Axis held territory. Using Soviet deep battle operations doctrine the Axis lines are pushed back, and in some cases, wiped out entirely.

    Colonel-General Heinrici, his men, and the Waffen-SS men attached to him, prepare to hold the line in Kotluban’, almost fifty kilometers north of Molotovgrad.

    The Romanian, Slovak, Hungarian, and Ukrainian troops fight well, despite their lack of heavy equipment. They reap a bloody toll on the NKVD men attacking them but very few are able to retreat south towards Kotluban’, as the NKVD are not taking prisoners. In the first day alone the NKVD lose seventy thousand men, but shatter the Axis lines in multiple locations and kill almost sixty thousand minor Axis Powers’ soldiers.

    September 10th, 1943- Heinrici and Krüger’s German men come into contact with NKVD scouts. After a few brief firefights, the Germans withdraw into the city, with German panzers to the west and east to prevent any flanking maneuver. Their orders from Berlin are to hold the line at all costs, not one step backwards. The orders sent from Guderian, which Heinrici, and even Krüger, follow are to fight a delaying action, allowing Guderian to successfully disengage from the Molotovgrad and withdraw to better defensive positions to the west. This is proving difficult as Soviet forces within the city have begun to attack the Germans, forcing them disengage more slowly and carefully, while holding off the 400,000 now aggressive defenders of the city.

    Guderian knows he is running a risk in withdrawing. Hitler will see it as a cowardly retreat and likely sack Guderian, forcing him into retirement. If not that, he would be forced to a desk job in Berlin. But the German Field Marshal wagers Hitler would rather have lost some land rather than his most veteran army. Doubtful but he hopes the Führer can see the sense into what Guderian was hoping to achieve.

    September 13th, 1943- Balck is only a few kilometers away from Massah. He is forced to wait as logistics are somewhat in a chaotic flux due to recent, and daring, RAF raids into Italian airspace, hampering his supply lines, if only temporary.

    He plans to attack the 15th, at sunset; to have the sun’s light in the west. But that won’t be his only surprise. The German Fallschirmjäger division was ready to drop. They were supposed to be dropped on Beda Littoria itself but Balck changed the destination, due to the different circumstances he now faced than what he pictured back in Benghazi when he was planning Warhammer. The German paratroopers, instead of Beda Littoria, would drop on Massah.

    Casualties would be high, extremely high, but if the paratroopers could cause enough chaos and disruption the British responses to his assault would be delayed, less informed, and raise the percentage of his victory by a moderate amount. It was a risk he was willing to take.

    September 14th, 1943- Sukhumi falls to Turkish infantry with Ukrainian aircraft assisting. With the city having fallen to the Axis the entire Black Sea coast now belongs in the hands of the Reich and its allies. The eastern third of the North Caucasus is rapidly falling to the Axis. It is mostly being taken by the Ukrainian, Turkish and Chechen troops as Rommel and his German panzers and infantry are hastily redeploying north to prevent the catastrophe in the making north of Molotovgrad.

    Heinrici and Krüger hold out for some time, while inflicting brutally heavy casualties on the NKVD, but are simply overrun. Red Air Force fighters and bombers dominate the sky as Luftwaffe and Axis air forces are spread extremely thin. Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, Luftwaffe commander on the Eastern Front, orders all Me-262 jet fighters to redeploy to the Volga area of operations to protect the Axis army as it moved away from the Volga.

    The Me-262 ‘Swallows’ would be there the next day to reinforce the scattered and depleted Luftwaffe squadrons fighting for dear life to contain the Red Air Force north of the towns of Borodino and Kuzmichi.

    Operation Undercut is beginning to be assembled in Australia. U.S. reinforcements have begun to arrive in droves. American military presence is near 200,000, with 50,000 slotted for the initial wave of Undercut, with many more to follow.

    September 15th, 1943- The Me-262s arrive to bolster the Axis northern flank. While numbering less than sixty, the veteran pilots in their advanced planes deliver devastating strike after devastating strike on the Soviet bombers and fighters. But sixty planes can only be in so many places at so many times. And the constant sorties had begun to take a heavy toll on both pilot and machine.

    German forces are forced out of Kotluban’. Three Waffen-SS divisions are stationed to cover the retreat south. While brave and well equipped the German SS infantrymen can only hold out for the rest of the day, with barely four hundred to survive the battle and actually be taken into captivity. The NKVD suffers as well but their superior numbers and heavy use of tanks and tank-destroyers won the day for them.

    Balck launches his attack in the dusk hours of the day. While his ground forces slug their way through strong British defenses, the Fallschirmjäger division drops into Massah. Unfortunately for the Germans the transport aircraft carrying the paratroopers suffer heavy losses leaving only about nine thousand to land and begin fighting. Much of their heavy equipment was shot down as well, but the Germans are using British weapons and vehicles captured within the city to make up for it.

    September 17th, 1943- After two days Cunningham is forced to disengage or risk the Eighth Army becoming shattered and scattered across Libya. Balck ruthlessly pursues him, although his own army has suffered extensively. German paratrooper losses numbered seventy percent plus a lot of the Italian tanks, most the old models, lay as burning wrecks around Massah.

    Guderian’s army finally disengages from Molotovgrad and is making its way west to Karpovka, laying waste to any cities and towns on the way in a burned earth policy, particularly Gorkovskiy where German engineers lay waste to much of the town, the rubble spilling over onto cratered roads.

    North of the German Field Marshal the situation is quickly becoming dire. The NKVD had fought tenaciously for over a week and its fighting strength had dropped from 300,000 to less than 50,000. The Red Army, which had been held in reserve, begins to advance and it is 500,000 strong, not including the now 350,000 exiting Molotovgrad.

    Despite the heavy losses the NKVD inflicted losses almost as high on the Axis. Three Waffen-SS divisions, Totenkopf, Wiking and Florian Geyer (30,000 men) were simply gone. Das Reich was still a fighting force but it too had lost almost half of its fighting strength. Heerforces lost 80,000 and minor Axis Power militaries lost a combined 120,000, most Romanian and Hungarian.

    The northern flank had been torn open and the only reason the Soviets were not able to exploit it was because of Luftwaffe reinforcements from the Caucasus and from elsewhere across the Eastern Front. Another six squadrons of Me-262s would be deployed in southern Russia. Soviet pilots were quickly learning to dread the Swallow as it was far more advanced than what the Red Air Force was flying, and it showed with far more downed aircraf featuring the Soviet Red Star rather than the German Cross and Swastika.

    September 23rd, 1943- Rapid advancement by the Afrika Korps, east of Massah, sees 60,000 British soldiers plus a strong armored element running low on fuel surrounded west of Beda Littoria. RAF squadrons delay the DAK as it moves east. A thin line of retreat is kept open by a South African division who is keeping a line of retreat open, even as most of it is cut down by artillery and fighter plane strafes. If Balck can capture this force the Eighth Army would be forced to run back to Egypt.

    In southern Russia Soviet forces continue to push the Axis back from Molotovgrad, but at a heavy cost in equipment and manpower. Hitler grudgingly agrees with Guderian’s withdrawal although he threatens him with forced retirement but the Führer doesn’t pursue these threats. He needs Guderian there.

    September 27th, 1943- A two-pronged attack towards the German lines occurs at Dmetriyevka and Karpovka. The Red Army juggernaut, which has combined the elements from north of Molotovgrad to the elements from the city itself, prepares to steamroll the two cities.

    However Guderian has assembled his force and concentrated them to form strong bulwarks against the Communists. His force having been bolstered by Rommel’s panzers and panzergrenadiers only days before, freshly arrived from the North Caucasus.

    September 29th, 1943- Field Marshal von Manstein, his forces having sufficiently recovered, resupplied, and reinforced with Baltic/Polish auxiliaries and ROA troops, prepares to assault Tula once more. If he can take the city it would be a direct threat to Moscow itself, although he had no intention of moving further north. He hoped to take away any possible reinforcement from Moscow heading to southern Russia to be diverted elsewhere.

    Cunningham counter-attacks Balck with what tanks and artillery he has left, and thanks to the South African division that now numbered less than eight hundred, he is able to widen the small sliver of territory the Axis were unable to clamp close. For seven hours British soldiers swarmed out until the Germans were able to rupture the line of retreat and surround the remaining 20,000 British that were unable to get out. A fair amount of equipment and material was left behind but the vast majority was taken by the British. Balck is very frustrated a golden opportunity such as this slipped by him. He vows to not let it happen again.

    October 2nd, 1943- The Azerbaijani city of Khachmaz falls to a combined German-Turkish assault. With the fall of this city the entirety of the South Caucasus is firmly under the grip of the Axis Powers. Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan are put under the occupation of the Turkey.

    October 3rd, 1943- Von Manstein launches an attack on Tula. Using what little air support he has he quickly dominates local airspace and begins to encroach on the city, while his mechanized infantry and panzers begin to flank the city in an attempt to encircle it.

    Zhukov, having almost nothing to reinforce the city with, is forced to abandon territory from Mozhaysk (the outermost edge of Soviet defenses west of Moscow) to Kubinka. This is abandoning almost fifty kilometers of territory but allows what forces are in the area to concentrate and to man even more formidable fortifications.

    Due to now having to protect significantly less territory in the Moscow Defense Area, Zhukov is able to spare five divisions for Tula. However it would take time to withdraw from the territory to the west and then reinforce Tula. Time he might not have.

    October 8th, 1943- Four times the Soviets assault, and four times they fail to breakthrough in southern Russia. Each assault had been bloody and destructive for both sides, with the Red Army coming out worse. Zhukov is worried the Germans would counter-attack but they cannot. Losses had been extremely high, along with half of the armored divisions wiped out or in desperate need of a thorough period of maintenance, as well of heavy munitions expenditure.

    The Third Reich and its allies would not be able to launch another attack. Not for many, many months. It simply taken so much ground since Case Blue began that the Axis were spread thin, were tired, and had very little in which to wage large scale offensive operations.

    Neither side could attack and receive positive gains but both were too strong on the defensive. At least until both sides rested and were resupplied, where the initiative would most likely swing in favor of the Axis but the Reich not only had an Eastern Front to fight but a Southern and Western as well, those far from being decided.

    But Hitler refused to be the one to initiate peace talks with the Soviets. In his mind it would be seen as a sign of weakness. This caused great alarm amongst the General Staff who believed if a war with the Soviet Union continued into 1944 Germany might very well win a total victory in the East but lose the war in the process as the economy was teetering dangerously close to ruin, western Germany was a bombed out wreck, and there was always a chance the United States might extend its alliance with the Entente past Asia and into Europe.

    If that happened Germany would lose the war. The tension in Berlin was thick enough to cut with a knife as most of the General Staff and military advocated asking for an armistice first. The Party/Government, the SS, and Hitler had become adamant that they will not be the first ones to begin peace feelers. While Berlin remains undecided war still rages across the Eastern Front.

    Balck captures Beda Littoria after some initial fighting on the outskirts of the city. The British are not going to waste away the Eighth Army in Beda Littoria. Rather they are going to Tobruk to resupply and reorganize. Luftwaffe/Italian Air Force attacks on the retreating British are becoming less and less effective as more and more RAF fighter squadrons are appearing in eastern Libya from the rest of the Middle East.

    October 13th, 1943- American transport ships, laden with Army and Marine infantry, leave north-eastern Australia, their destination the Solomon Islands. A British infantry division is accompanying them as the territory was a protectorate when it was taken by the Japanese.

    Tula falls to the Germans, though in doing so the ROA was effectively wiped out as an effective fighting force through its catastrophic losses it had suffered the past year. It would take at least two years or more to build it back up to moderate numbers. Case Blue had saw it become a shell of its former self, with hundreds of thousands dead and most of its equipment destroyed, damaged or captured.

    Despite the near extinction of the ROA the German swastika flies from downtown Tula. German panzers push the Soviets back a few kilometers north and east to form a buffer zone but do not advance much farther.

    October 14th, 1943- Japanese aerial scouts notice the armada and warn local Japanese garrisons but can do little against it as two American light carriers and a Yorktown-class fleet carrier have formed a moderately strong combat air patrol, one the Japanese have little chance to break through with.

    The IJN task force nearby is a joke in comparison to the American fleet, numbering at half a dozen destroyers, two cruisers and a few supply ships. They are ordered to watch, but not attack the American ships. Not yet.

    Reinforcements from the Dutch East Indies are on the way. Japanese fighters and bombers are flown in from Rabaul, New Britain (taken by the Japanese soon after the Solomons, the only part of Papua New Guinea that had been invaded and occupied, was heavily reinforced when Japanese forces were pushed out West Papua early that year).

    By late evening the Americans arrive to the selected islands of Rennell Island, San Cristóbal, and Guadalcanal. Once these three were taken the rest of the islands would be captured, at least the major ones in an island-hopping campaign.

    Before the landings can begin light bombers and naval guns begin unleashing their armaments against the Japanese held islands. The Japanese do suffer enough casualties to convince them to abandon the beaches and to dig in the inner parts of the islands.

    October 15th, 1943- The withdrawal from Mozhaysk to Kubinka is completed and the five divisions he can spare are sent to the towns north of Tula to ward off any potential attack from von Manstein. The German Field Marshal has no intentions to do so, other than prepare his newly conquered territory for any possible counter-attack.

    German/ROA forces west of Mozhaysk rapidly advance eastwards to Kubinka. While generally abandoned there were enough sharpshooters, partisans, and booby traps to keep these Axis soldiers from getting too cocky.

    U.S. Marines spearhead the landings on the three islands, with Army personnel soon behind them. Bombardments by the U.S. Navy on parts of the islands continue unabated. The initial wave faces little to no resistance, the exact opposite of what the landings in Hawaii faced.

    American commanders decide to be hesitant until enough men and material are shipped to the beaches to guarantee a fallback position if need be. A perimeter is established, and extended slowly but confidently. Meanwhile what few Japanese aircraft are operating in the area are either shot down or forced to fly to other Japanese-held islands, casualties amongst U.S. aircraft were moderate and deemed acceptable.

    October 19th, 1943- Chinese Communists begin amassing for an offensive directed at the Japanese held city of Shímén. While the Nationalists will not help directly, the Nationalists already have two offensives planned that would draw Japanese reserves from the city. And the Communists attacking Shímén would do the same for the Nationalists as well. The Japanese are aware of the impeding attacks through their spies but have little in the way of stopping them as they would have not one year ago. There was a high probability to hold the city, but also a high probability to lose the city.

    What few Japanese tank divisions are left in China are put on high alert, as is the still large Imperial Army Air Service presence in China.

    October 23rd, 1943- With Operation Red Vengeance a success in relieving Molotovgrad and regaining some territory the ruling Triumvirate of the USSR agree to send peace feelers to the Axis Powers through neutral Switzerland.

    Beria, Zhukov and Molotv are all in agreement the war must end. The Soviet Union would see a 1944 but if the war continued, and if the Germans were able to muster another offensive, this one directed at, say, Moscow, victory would most likely fall to the Fascists. It would be a beggars peace from the Soviet Union’s point of view if that happened, one bad enough they might even be forced to accept the Urals as the new border between the Third Reich and the USSR.

    But if they went for an armistice now, not only would they come into negotiations with a moderate show of strength at having survived Case Blue and even repelling the Fascists's drive towards the Volga, it would most likely be accepted. True the Germans were in a much stronger position and might win in the end, but in doing so would exhaust themselves militarily to the point that taking on the Entente would become all the harder to impossible. And the Germans knew this, whether they would admit to it or not.

    Rennell Island is fully liberated as it held only a hundred Japanese defenders. These were defeated quickly by American soldiers with less than half a dozen taken prisoner. Losses amongst the Marines and Army are thirty-seven.

    Derna, Libya falls to the Axis, the city near abandoned of enemy defenders. The port however was heavily damaged which would require months to repair to once again become operational. Throughout eastern Libya Cunningham is enacting a burned earth policy, leaving little to nothing for the Axis. It is proving effective in slowing Balck down, much to his annoyance.

    October 27th, 1943- Through the Soviet Embassy in Bern, Switzerland the USSR asks for an armistice with Axis Powers. The peace offer comes as a surprise to Berlin as many did not think the Communists would ever give up. It was assumed they would fight until the end, even if it guaranteed their destruction.

    October 29th, 1943- The military quickly endorse the offer with Hitler following soon after, the SS and Party of course following his line. In a public announcement over the radio to the Reich Hitler spoke “That in the interests of world peace and harmony between our two nations I will accept the peace offer from the Soviet Union and hope that our two governments can come to a fair, honorable, and above all lasting treaty.”

    American and British soldiers come into contact with dug in Japanese resistance a kilometer into Guadalcanal and San Cristóbal. While fierce the Americans do continue to advance. Casualties are rising but the Japanese are losing as many, if not more, men.

    October 30th, 1943- Rudimentary negotiations begin through communiqués and phone calls between Berlin and Moscow, although no actual cease fire has been called yet, leaving the war to still continue with thousands dying daily on the Eastern Front. Throughout Axis Europe entire nations hold their breath, anticipating the worst but hoping for the best. If negotiations failed the war would continue, if they were accepted the war in the East would finally end.

    November 1st, 1943- West of At Tamimi the British have forged moderate bulwarks but these last only a day in delaying Balck. The city falls by nightfall. Balck plans to drive to the east on the 4th. His supply lines need time to catch up and for replacements come in. Warhammer was proving successful so far, he only needed to capture Tobruk to make it a total victory in Libya.

    November 3rd, 1943- After four days of discussion a cease fire is called for across the entirety of the Eastern Front by both sides. Delegates from both the USSR and the Axis Powers, headed by Germany, are to meet in Tula on November 6th to forge a long term, permanent peace treaty.
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