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 41: The Treaty of Tula

    November 6th, 1943- As the Afrika Korps nears Tobruk Axis bombers increase their raids over the British held city. The AA is concentrated, accurate and highly effective causing German and Italian bombers to suffer heavily with little to show for. Balck, despite the losses, orders for the bombings to continue; he needs to soften up the fortress-city before he gets there.

    On the island of San Cristóbal American soldiers push the Japanese out of populated areas, after much devastation and bloodshed amongst the local populace, and into the hills and rough terrain located throughout the island. The Japanese are dug in, well supplied and ready to fight to the death if need be.

    American artillery, both from land units and American warships nearby, pummels known Japanese locations and disrupts their preparations as much as possible but their burrows are deep and ready for such an assault. The American naval commander, Admiral Frank Fletcher, in an interview with war correspondents quoted, “The Japs are dug in deep, but through shell and fire we’ll root them out of their holes.” The phrase “root them out” would become quite popular in the Pacific Theatre, particularly amongst the Navy and Marine Corps.

    Elsewhere, combat on Guadalcanal continues with both sides determined to butcher each other into oblivion. Five times the Japanese have assaulted American territory and five times they have withdrawn with depleted ranks, leaving behind a trail of bodies leading into the depths of the thick Pacific island jungle.

    November 7th, 1943- IJN and USN fighter craft engage in aerial dogfights west of the Solomon Islands. The IJN fighters had emerged from airbases on New Britain and Bougainville Island, the USN planes had come from the carriers operating in the vicinity. Both sides lose minimal aircraft, but the aerial conflict is escalating at a steady pace.

    The USN is watchful for the inevitable Imperial Japanese Navy reinforcements that will soon arrive. If the IJN taskforce is defeated the U.S. liberation of the Solomon Islands is all but assured while if the American navy lost many thousands of personnel would be left on the contested/captured islands. Not to mention it would be a detriment to American morale, something President Roosevelt is conscious of avoiding at all costs if possible.

    Despite the official cease fire across the Eastern Front multiple “firefights” break out between both sides, though they never escalate into anything larger than minor skirmishes. While both sides want peace both are ideological enemies with so much anger and enmity towards one another that they are finding hard to keep in check after three years of barbaric total war.

    November 10th, 1943- After a week of heavy, heated debate the Treaty of Tula is forged and signed by the Axis Powers and the USSR and its puppet allies. The main points of the Treaty are:

    1. The Soviet Union formally renounces dominion over the Baltic States, eastern Poland, Belarus, the Ukraine, the entirety of the Caucasus Republics along with huge swathes of western Russia.

    2. The USSR is to accept that the territories of central and eastern Poland, the Baltic States, Belarus, much of Western Russia and most of the North Caucasus is to be annexed into the German Reich at a time the Germans deem fitting, until then they would remain under Wehrmacht occupation in conjunction with local pro-German militias. The Soviets are also forced to recognize that the territories of Kola, East Karelia, and Karelia would be annexed directly into Finland (this territory is deemed too difficult to defend properly, also it shortens the amount of border territory both sides would have to man and defend).

    3. The Soviet Union is made to recognize and publicly acknowledge the existence of the National Republic of the Ukraine and the Autonomous Free Republic of Chechnya.

    4. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is to be reinstated with trade between the two countries to once again occur again for a period of five years with the ability to renew every five years.

    5. The Soviet Union is to pay a large sum of reparations to the Axis Powers, specifically Germany and the Ukraine, for a period of six years.

    6. The Red Navy is to build nothing larger than a frigate in the Barents Sea while the Caspian Sea Flotilla would be allowed to remain albeit not allowed to come near the German and Turkish controlled territories west of the Caspian.

    7. There is to be a five kilometer wide demilitarized zone that stretches across the breadth of the Axis-Soviet border with any caught in between to be considered “fair game” and can be shot by either side. A spot north of Tula is selected as “neutral ground” where both sides can meet and discuss if need be in a somewhat civilized manner.

    8. Both sides are to enact an exchange of prisoners program.

    The Treaty heavily favors the Axis Powers, as they come to the negotiation table from a position of great strength. The Soviet Union is forced to accept it as its armies have been bled dry, its industries ravaged, and its people tired. Moscow and Molotovgrad would both be within fifty kilometers of the border. While the Germans and its allies were successful against the Communists it did not mean the war was over, far from it.

    Communist partisans/freedom fighters plague significant portions of Axis controlled territory, forcing the entirety of the Ukrainian military to assist the one million men Germany plans to leave in its Eastern Territories as an occupation force. Turkey would have to leave almost four hundred thousand soldiers to properly patrol and maintain order in the South Caucasus which looked to be a hotspot for years.

    With the Caucasus Republics having come to the realization that the Turks had no intention in giving them their freedom this has led to extremely violent fire-fights between the Turks and the indigenous populations. Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the German territories of Poland, the Baltic States, and Belarus would contribute large amounts of manpower and supplies to hold down the former Soviet territory.

    In accordance with the Treaty an exchange of prisoners would occur between both sides, though the number would be pitifully low through a combination of both sides not taking many prisoners and many that had been caught were worked to death or would be kept in confinement for any potential future use.

    The war in the East was now finally over.

    November 11th, 1943- Throughout Axis Europe celebrations are held in cities with the streets filled to the brim with jubilant crowds. Not even the threat of Entente bombings in western Germany deterred local German citizens from taking to the streets in joy. Radio stations throughout the Reich and its allies blare speeches, victory music, and other pieces of propaganda and would continue to do so for days and even weeks in several locations.

    While the Axis Powers reaction was of relief and immense satisfaction at having not only survived but captured huge swathes of territory, much rich in natural resources with (in most cases) a compliant population, the threat of Communism over Europe was now a forgotten nightmare for the foreseeable future. The Entente, and to a lesser degree, the United States watched with muted horror. The hope of the Entente had been for the Fascists and the Communists to wear each other down to the point where the Entente would be able to take on the scraps and leftovers of their once great and might militaries.

    It would not be so. With the threat in the East over the Entente High Commands predicted the Germans would amass their armed forces in western Germany or North Africa and both possibilities hinted at grim scenarios. The governments of Britain and France had realized they had dilly-dallied the war; they had to be led by the hand and even coerced by their respective militaries to do such steps as the bombing of western Germany, the extension and enlargement of conscription, the slow but methodical transition to a wartime economy.

    It might be enough to weather the Fascist threat… but it might not be. French Premier Édouard Daladier, facing an all time low popularity with many in his own party despising his weakness and apparent lack of will for the war, is forced to step down as Premier of the Third Republic.

    Paul Reynaud, a successful French politician and a vocal anti-Fascist/anti-German is elected by the Chamber of Deputies to the premiership. In his first speech to the French nation hours after ascending to the most powerful governmental position in the country the politician declared, “For too long France has acted misguided, led by fools or incompetents in government, hampering our brave and valiant military. No longer will that happen. I hereby transform conscription into a national draft. Our economy will make the transition to a total war economy, a state which our enemies’ have been at for years, much to our disadvantage. I will not lie to you, the coming years will be hard and will be a constant struggle. But France will not bend the knee to Fascism; it will protect its liberty with the blood, sweat and toil of its countrymen. We will see this war end with an Entente victory, of that I have no doubt.”

    It should be noted that the French Government moved with incredible speed in removing Daladier and replacing him with someone more vibrant and dedicated to the war. For years Daladier’s support base had eroded and Reynaud’s had grown. His selection was inevitable and everyone knew it, he merely needed the affirmation of the Chamber of Deputies to assume control.

    With a new leader, a more focused military policy, and a transition to a more effective war time economy beginning the French were well and truly committed to the war at last. The British viewed the Treaty of Tula with disdain but were unsurprised. They had predicted in one of their many scenarios a similar event occurring. Now was the time to act, not panic. As France did so too does Britain with the beginning of a universal draft, expansion of military industries and more suitable economic policies being set into motion. More and more planes, tanks, and men are to be sent to the Middle East but with a threat to France’s eastern border bound to become a reality in the near future a significant portion of the Armed Forces is to be diverted there to bolster the relatively small British Expeditionary Force. Estimates state that by the beginning of next year there will be nearly a hundred thousand British soldiers in France with more planned but other Theatres demand manpower as well.

    The United States reaction was pallid shock, specifically in the upper levels of government and the military, but public opinion was still against war against the Axis Powers. It seemed the American public viewed the European Theatre as “none of their concern” while the Pacific Theatre required their full, simmering gaze. In a call to London and Paris Roosevelt promises to once again send significant Lend-Lease to Britain and France, the first major shipments since the U.S. curtailed much of the Lend-Lease shortly after the Burning of Swede, but neither Roosevelt, Halifax nor Reynaud know if it will be enough.

    Major Theodore Hamilton, London, England, Great Britain-
    “We’re bloody screwed,” mewled Captain Harris as he stared ahead at the wall of the pub.

    Hamilton frowned, not in disagreement, but in the audacity of Harris. This was a military pub after all and many didn’t take well to defeatist sounding talk. “’Screwed’ is an exaggeration, Harris. We have been dealt a bad hand with the Treaty of Tula being signed but by all appearance the French are finally getting themselves together. This new premier of theirs has more balls than Daladier ever did, and we are following the French lead on this. You heard what the PM said over the radio: ‘Expansion of the Army, Air Force and Navy, total war mobilization, et cetera, et cetera.”

    Harris titled his head in quasi-agreement before he brought the pint of beer towards his mouth. “Yeah, we are doing a lot. But these should have been done in 19 fucking 40, not in 1943!” the Army officer sounded exasperated and Hamilton couldn’t blame him. He began to drink his own pint, though he was careful of how much alcohol he consumed these days. He had been ever since the pub fight after the Burning, the subsequent arrest by military police and the brief confinement had convinced him to never become so intoxicated as to lose one’s sensibilities, because if he did he could be in a compromising situation again and the next time he might not have a friend to help get him out.

    “Come now, Harris, have faith,” stated the ranking officer at their little table. Colonel Nigel Eddington bit into his cold sandwich and after chewing then swallowing continued to make his point.

    “We need to have faith, Harris. Whether it is faith in God, in the King, in the nation or our fellow comrades-in-arms, it doesn’t matter. We must have faith; faith in democracy, faith in Britain, faith for victory.”

    Harris shrugged. “I don’t know quite what to put my faith in anymore.” He laughed, “I’m getting drunk tonight, and I have faith in the beer drowning my sorrows, for at least a day.” Harris stood, downed the remains of his beer and left the pub. Most likely he had hard liquor in the Officers' Barracks.

    Colonel Eddington shook his head in disgust. “Any more attitude like that and I will write him up,” growled the colonel.

    “Easy, sir, he’s just had a rough few weeks, we all have. With the USSR having folded the war in the West will grow more and more. It’s going to get very bloody, very fast.”

    “Aye your right, Theodore, there’s a reason I got you out of the brig earlier than what was proposed. You have a sharp mind, and more combat experience than a dozen other officers I know combined, can’t let that go to waste in a prison cell.” Eddington finished his pint and called for another. When it had been set down in front of him the British officer continued in a more hushed, worried tone. “This war is entering a new phase, Theodore. It’s entering quite possibly the final phase. Either we hold the Germans, defend France and the Middle East successfully and counter-attack all the way to Berlin or…”


    “Or we get used to that damn swastika flying all over Europe,” Eddington muttered darkly and began to drink his new pint. It seemed that whole faith talk was for public's sake, that what Eddington was saying now were his true thoughts.

    Hamilton considered his words and nodded in agreement. The next year or two would decide it all. If Germany attacked and failed the Entente most likely would have the chance to invade Germany in a successful offensive. If the Entente failed France was lost and Britain would stand all alone. No matter how optimistic one could be Hamilton found it very difficult that Britain, even with the Empire, could face off against an Axis Europe from the British Isles. The logistics and manpower alone would be incredibly difficult.

    Rubbing his eyes he sighed. Everything was coming to a head. This was the crucible; this would be the moment historians looked back and said ‘This is where the tide turned,’ but for which side he knew not. But whatever happened he would fight on. It was all he knew how to do anymore.

    November 12th, 1943- Forward elements of the DAK encounter British periphery defense lines west of Tobruk. German panzers, bolstered with modern and effective Italian tanks along with mechanized infantry, are able to puncture the British positions in multiple junctions but with airpower leaning more and more into the Eighth Army’s favor as RAF reinforcements from Britain having arrived, the task of moving east become increasingly difficult. Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica squadrons are barely able to provide air coverage, much less penetrate Entente airspace in eastern Libya/western Egypt. Balck, in conjunction with Graziani, curtail further bombing raids over Tobruk. Losses had been dreadfully high with replacements weeks away at the very least.

    November 15th, 1943- Three days of dust-caked armored warfare outside of Tobruk sees the Third Reich and the Italian Empire victorious as the Eighth Army withdraws to east towards Bardia, the last major city west of the Libyan/Egyptian border. Cunningham bled the Afrika Korps but doesn’t quite have the strength to perform a defeat upon them. His withdraw saw most of his army reach Bardia albeit low on fuel, munitions and food. The RAF dominates the skies east of Torbuk and standing orders are not to fly any farther east due to it being essentially suicide and the moment pointless.

    British and American troops, commanded by Slim and Bradley respectively, capture Magway in south-central Burma. With the city having fell to the American/British forces the Burmese capital Rangoon is now the primary target. Bur moving men and equipment through such dense jungles is time consuming and Burmese and Japanese ambushes are constant, slowing down the Allied troops. Operation Undercut and the assembly of resources on Hawaii has saw General Bradley’s reinforcements drastically reduced though his shipments of supplies continue generally uninterrupted, something both him and Slim are thankful for.

    General Secretary Vyacheslav Molotv, Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics-
    The highest office of power in the Soviet government was in his hands, yet he had the least amount of power amongst the those assembled. All three sat a table in the General Secretary's office, the official office, not the private office Stalin had worked from so much for years.

    Beria, resplendent in his NKVD Chief uniform, coughed in annoyance. Molotov took the cue. "Let us begin. Military matters first." He nodded to the third and final occupant of the table.

    First Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov leaned forward in the comfortable chair. "I will not go into excessive detail over our losses and munitions usage but it is very high, dangerously high in fact. It would take us decades to properly recover from this war, if not longer. Nearly everything west of Moscow and Molotovgrad belong to the Fascists. That is a vast percentage of our population, former population I should say as many are now loyal to the Nazis, and significant amount of our industry. We might have the Ural factories still, and many millions of people, but we have been dealt a near mortal blow. Let us not forget that," the First Marshal looked at the other two members of the Triumvirate before continuing.

    "Though peace has been achieved we must forever be wary of the Nazis and their allies. If the Germans attack we must hold them or the Bastion of Socialism will collapse. To ensure the survival of our Soviet state I have begun issuing orders to establish in depth, formidable defensive networks along our borders with the Axis Powers. It is impossible to properly set up an in-depth defense system and man it for the entirety of the border, so the focus will be in strategic/tactical areas such as major cities, key road junctions and the like. Any avenues the Germans are likely to storm across in case of war will be sufficiently prepared to resist them."

    Beria and Molotov nodded in understanding as well agreement.

    "The upgrading of the Armed Forces will continue as well as replacement aircraft and tanks for the Red Air Force and Red Army respectively. Due to the current limitation of industry and resources there will be no new Red Navy vessels laid down for at least three years.

    “Now to our main objective for the military: the Japanese. Their imperialistic invasion of Siberia and our ally Mongolia constituted the most heinous of foreign aggressions,” Molotov noted Zhukov said this without any irony as the USSR under Stalin had done similar ‘heinous foreign aggressions’ multiple times. Zhukov continued, “And we the people will have revenge. Already I have dispatched fifteen divisions to the Far East along with three restructured tank divisions and eleven aircraft squadrons.”

    “What if the Germans betray the Treaty and invade us? We divert too much of our remaining forces to the Far East,” remarked Molotov. “If the Germans resumed conflict here it would lead to disastrous results for the Rodina.

    “You are quite right, General Secretary, but Army Intelligence has noted the mass movement of German troops and material to the west, back towards Germany. There is still a very impressive one million Germans plus Slavic auxiliaries and the Ukrainian military and the ROA but it is not enough to launch a front-wide campaign and hold down all of their newly acquired territories. It is simply not feasible. “

    Molotov nodded in understanding. Zhukov entered his final phase of the meeting. “Now what we are sending now is only the beginning. My staff and I hope to have a million freshly arrived soldiers in the Far East within a year with enough armor and aerial support to roll over the Japanese Empire and its Chinese puppets. I have many notable commanders in mind to command this Theatre-”

    Beria spoke for the first time, “First Marshal, there is no need to send anyone.” The NKVD butcher smiled, “Why send a competent commander when we can send the best commander? I nominate you go, First Marshal. Command our troops and bring a victory as swiftly as possible. If anyone else was sent the campaign would last many months more and we need every day to ready ourselves for the eventual return engagement, whether it is against the Fascists or the Capitalists. Your presence in the Far East would be a boost to morale for the men and women, military and civilian both, and would show the Japanese we are serious about prosecuting the war there to a finish. What do you say, Comrade Zhukov?”

    As Beria had talked Zhukov’s face reddened and jaw clenched but he said nothing. Molotov understood what was happening. If Zhukov accepted the command he would be sent far, far away from Moscow and its still fluid political structure. With Zhukov out of the picture Beria’s influence would grow and if he controlled Moscow he would, in theory, control the Soviet Union.

    It was a political move to remove Beria's one true opponent in the capital. With Zhukov gone Molotov would have to bend to Beria’s wishes or face being charged with ‘treason.’ Zhukov could technically decline the offer but doing so would paint him as a conspirator, because why else would a high ranking, well-respected military officer not go towards a critical warzone but stay far away in the snake pit that was Moscow. He would be brought up on trumped up charges and removed. The Army and Air Force would complain but their threats would not materialize past that for whom else did they have to transfer their support to? Purkayev? No, he was respected but did not have the support of the Air Force. Ivanovich? Competent, but not particularly well known outside his command. So Zhukov had to accept it or risk all the cooperation and unity he had built up for years disintegrate before his eyes.

    “I… I accept the recommendation, Comrade Beria.”

    Now things would get interesting, very interesting, Molotov thought gloomily as the meeting continued. Could the ambition of the Soviet Union survive the ambition of these two men as well as himself? Molotov was determined it would, but with himself as leader in more than just name. It was a dangerous game, but was the only path left to him.

    November 16th, 1943- In Germany the Tiger I panzer production is cancelled with only units currently in the process of construction allowed to be finished. The reasons for this cancellation are many and varied but comes down to Armaments and Munitions Minister Speer citing the Tiger was too costly, too long to develop, and overall a disappointment in various categories and these issues warrant it to be cancelled.

    Hitler nearly forces Speer to continue production until he is informed of the progress of the Tiger II “King Tiger” program which was from the start created to properly replace the Tiger. The Tiger II is almost a year away from production but Speer successfully hints that if the Tiger I was to continue the King Tiger would take longer to reach production lines due to budgetary constraints and lack of available resources.

    With the war in the East having ended German focus is on both Western Europe and North Africa. One faction led by Field Marshal von Brauchitsch calls for the invasion of France to take precedence over any further action in North Africa. If France fell to the Reich than its colonies would surrender and bring Britain to the negotiations table, that is the hope at least. The other major faction, led by Field Marshal Franz Halder calls for a massive reinforcement of North Africa. His reasons was that if the Entente lost their major source of oil that their industries would sputter and their will broken, allowing both Britain and France to come to the negotiation table with honor but in a poor position.

    Hitler stated in a General Staff meeting that he would contemplate and ponder both sides and would give an answer within a week.

    As Berlin decides to do with its vast forces waiting reassignment in the East Field Marshal Wever does order the immediate reinforcement and bolstering of the Luftwaffe contingent in Libya. It would take a week or less but the order had been given. Another four German infantry divisions alongside a veteran panzer division were to be shipped to North Africa sometime in late December.

    November 18th, 1943- San Cristóbal is liberated in its entirety by American/Entente forces. The divisions from here are to be sent to Florida and Tulagi to further spread Entente/American sphere of control. More and more landings by American troops across the southern and eastern Solomon Islands begin,

    Orders go out from the Reichs Chancellery in Berlin to the vast army groups on the Eastern Front. The redeployment of manpower and material has begun with most slotted for western/central Germany with some to be sent to North Africa while a million men would remain to hold Germany’s new conquests. Germany’s Axis allies would be tied up assisting holding down former Soviet territory. The Ukrainians, numbering close to two hundred and ninety thousand men would be spread out over much of southern Russia and the northern Caucasus. The auxiliaries from the Baltic States, Poland, Belarussia and Russia would be used to hold down large tracts of territory with the Germans acting as a heavy reserve, available to move out and stop any rebel/guerilla groups from causing any significant trouble for the Reich. Chechnya is allowed to police its own area with only a minimal Wehrmacht presence.

    First Me-262 squadrons arrive from the East to the Westwall Air Command and will quickly become the known as predators of the air with Entente bomber squadrons’ losses nearly doubling and their accompanying fighter protection escorts suffering heavier than average losses. With more and more jet fighters arriving from the heart of Germany to defend its western border, and the results of their effectiveness becoming obvious, both the French and the British give their respective jet programs full, undivided attention. The British hope to have the Gloster Meteor in service within the next six to eight months, with the French estimating a year or more, though the British might offer assistance to accelerate their lethargic progress. The Luftwaffe’s victories in the West have seen Wever grow in prestige and influence within the Third Reich, though he is still far behind Himmler, Speer, Goebbels, Hess and Heydrich in terms of political power.

    November 21st, 1943- American reinforcements arrive in the Solomon Islands to expedite Operation Undercut. The majority is Army but a third is Marine. These troops will be put to good use in mass landings onto Malaita and Maramasike Island.

    Field Marshal Gott begins to send more divisions of British and Australian men to supplement the Americans in Undercut. When the majority of the Solomon Islands became secured Gott would order a predominantly British force to recapture New Britain to secure Papua New Guinea’s eastern shore and from there prepare for an eventual invasion of the Dutch East Indies.

    Reichsprotektor des Osten Reinhard Heydrich, Minsk, Belarussia Territory-
    “Unacceptable, Herr Heydrich, simply unacceptable,” spoke ‘Supreme Commander’ Andrey Vlasov to arguably one of the six or seven most powerful men within the German Reich.

    “What is unacceptable, Supreme Commander?” Heydrich had to be polite to Vlasov, officially the Russian was in a command chain separate of German control, but unofficially Vlasov served at the expense of the Führer’s pleasure. In 1941 Vlasov understood he was a tool. It seems since he had developed visions of grandeur, false grandeur at that.

    “The dissolving of the ROA! That is my army; I created it after the Meltdown! I helped you win the war for Christ’s sake.”

    Heydrich smiled a humorless smile. “My dear friend, the war is not won. We have the Entente still to fight and after that the Judaic-Bolshevik state still clings to life, no matter how much blood and lives it has lost it refuses to die. There will be another war, mark my words. It might be ten years, it could be a hundred, but it will happen, Supreme Commander. Race and ideology demand it. But we still have to fight in the West and there are so many variables as to cloud accurate predictions of when that war will be won,” or if, but Heydrich was a good enough National Socialist not to ever voice such thoughts aloud, even in private.

    He continued. “The ROA is to be dismantled and integrated in full into the Slavic Auxiliaries where they will serve a vital function for the Third Reich as wardens and protectors of the Eastern Territories.”

    “I was promised Moscow-” began Vlasov.

    “Has the Supreme Commander forgotten Moscow is still under Communist rule?" the SS officer asked sharply. "That the Triumvirate rule from there with an iron fist? Yes, you were promised Moscow, sizable portions of Russia and full membership in the Axis Powers,” Vlasov was more of a fool to actually believe that he would receive his 'promises', “but without Moscow, how the Americans would say it, ‘the deal is off.’ You will not have an independent European Russia, those lands from now on till the end of time will belong to the Fatherland and its citizens. Those Slavs of Aryan descent and good behavior, such as yourself, will become citizens of the Reich in due time when they have been put through proper introductory and reeducation into German National Socialist ideals and beliefs.”

    Heydrich leaned forward and stared at the Russian with a predator’s eyes. “The East is our living space, as dictated in Mein Kampf, and it belongs to the German people. The Baltic States, Poland, Belarussia and much of German controlled Russia has come to accept this. You have no true public support, no independent industry, and no political or monetary infrastructure separate of the Reich. You will accept this decision. That, or face the consequences,” what little warmth in Heydrich’s voice had disappeared, his tone was a wintry as Russian snowstorms.

    The bespectacled Russian turned red with fury. Opening his mouth to retort he stopped as he saw the look in the Reichsprotektor’s eyes. He promptly left. Heydrich sighed as the fool left left and picked up the black telephone that rested on his desk. Vlasov was a problem and must be… dealt with. He had a call to make to Berlin. The Führer and Reichsführer-SS must be appraised of the situation.

    November 24th, 1943- Japanese naval reinforcements in the form of three carriers and a large assortment of escorts arrive northwest of the Solomon Islands and begin to proceed south to engage and defeat or rout the American fleet.

    In a crucial meeting with the General Staff the Führer informs his subordinates that he has decided France is to be the next target of Germany. The vast majority of the Wehrmacht would be transferred from the East to the West and begin preparations for the invasion of France, codenamed Operation Nightfall. While he does affirm that France will be the Reich’s main target he will not ignore Field Marshal Balck. Vast amounts of supplies, especially supplies Balck is in constant shortage of such as fuel, spare parts and munitions would be diverted to him since the Eastern Front had come to a close, freeing up vast amounts of said materials.

    Reinforcements in terms of supply was great for Balck but manpower wise he would not receive much more than the four infantry divisions and a single panzer division for the foreseeable future. Italy, which has provided the bulk of manpower and equipment in the Theatre since the beginning, is running low on available manpower. Mussolini informs Hitler that his military is stretched very thin, with vast amounts of Army and Air Force personnel and equipment tied down in guarding the French-Italian border, as well as holding off the French in western Libya. The Italian Navy has recovered, in many ways but not entirely, from the Battle of the Tyrrhenian Sea and stands ready to take the fight back to Entente in the Mediterranean.

    With the Regia Marina having recovered to the point of once again representing a serious threat to the French and British naval interests in local waters the Entente is worried at where the Axis member will strike. Mussolini wants to strike at the French naval ports in southern France in a show of dominance over the French Navy; however the Italian General Staff are pushing for a strike against the British fleet based in Alexandria. If this fleet is defeated, or at most scattered, then the British grip on Egypt, and in turn the Middle East, will loosen significantly.

    November 27th, 1943- With both fleets playing cat and mouse the USN is forced to abandon its positions near Guadalcanal, albeit temporarily, but this leaves plenty of time for IJN transport ships full to the brim with men and supplies to be offloaded into Japanese-controlled portions of the island, steeling their resolve and will make them all the more harder to defeat. Two more sunk by American submarines in conjunction with a squadron of destroyers but the majority of Imperial troops making it to land to bolster the soldiers already on the island.

    After a review of expenditures, casualties, vehicles in need for maintenance and soldiers in need for rest the General Staff informs Hitler that the earliest the Wehrmacht can initiate effective combat operations against France would be in mid to late August of next year, with late September looking even more likely. The Führer was quite annoyed that it would take this long but after reviewing the reports himself haltingly agrees with their assessment.

    November 30th, 1943- Supreme Commander Andrey Vlasov, leader of the ROA, is assassinated by pro-Soviet terrorists outside his residence in downtown Minsk. Waffen-SS units are quick to capture and force the rebels to confess of their "crimes against the German State and its allies." All eleven are promptly executed by firing squads soon afterwards.

    Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels speaks over Radio Berlin, and via that to the rest of Axis Europe, of Vlasov's bravery and commitment to freeing the Russian people from under the steel boot of Soviet Communism. At the end of the well spoken, though short speech, it is announced that with the death of Vlasov, the highest ranking ROA commanders and the German government had come to an agreement that the ROA was to be folded into the Slavic Auxiliaries. No longer would there be talk of an independent Fascist Russia, but rather all of European Russia, barring the territory given over to the Finns and some minor border adjustments with the Ukraine, would be directly administered by Germany and would eventually be annexed into the Reich itself after a thorough "Germanization" and "Aryanization" process of the Eastern Territories which is predicted to take a decade at the minimum. Those ROA soldiers, now part of the Slavic Auxiliaries, would become eligible for German citizenship after meeting a vast multitude of criteria, ranging from serving in the Slavic Auxiliary Corps until war's end plus a subsequent ten year extended service, to reading and speaking German fluently, to finally proving their racial purity through a variety of tests, background searches and family history investigation to prove they would have good a "Aryan gene-pool" to add to the principal source further to the west.

    To the many tens of millions of Slavs not part of the ROA but under German rule the criteria would be much harsher. The racial purity trials would be more invasive and those that did not meet the criteria would become part of the Untermenschen Work Force that was planned to be created by early 1944 to modernize and improve infrastructure for the benefit of the Germanic and Slavic Aryans. It would take a minimum of thirty years for a civilian in the Eastern Territories that did not serve in any military capacity for the Wehrmacht to become a citizen of the Third Reich. Due to the easier conditions and future benefits many Slavs, those proven of "good blood" would join the newly established Slavic Auxiliary Corps which would become a sub-branch of the German Wehrmacht and actively assist in the occupation, policing, and easing the integration of the Eastern Territories into becoming future provinces of Germany. This is the outline approved by Hitler and his inner circle who eagerly begin making this hellish vision a reality.

    Any Slavs found to have Asiatic, Romani (gypsy), or Jewish ancestry are to be stripped of rights and immediately put into the Untermenschen Work Force and be worked to death. Some, principally Jews and Communists, would transported to the various death camps already being constructed throughout the Eastern Territories for quicker removal. The Final Solution had been simmering but with the Eastern Front now over as a military theater the SS could finally arrest and purge those elements deemed "unclean" or "potentially dangerous" to Germany and its peoples leading to the Nazis grand racial plan in the East to come into full play like a roaring fire being fed wooden logs.

    December 2nd, 1943- Another Japanese carrier arrives to the Solomon Islands with a small escort. This raises the threat level of the IJN in the area by a large factor as their airpower over water has grown by twenty-five percent.

    December 9th, 1943- Mussolini decides to follow his officers’ suggestion and orders the Regia Marina to prepare for an offensive operation against the British fleet based in Alexandria. The Italian carriers MS Aquila and MS Sparviero would lead this assault. But to secure their flank the Entente airbases on the Island of Cyprus must be silenced.

    The date for the Italian fleet to depart is January 6th, 1944. German assistance is called in the form of aircraft, particularly the Ural Bombers (Heinkel He-179 and the few remaining Junkers Ju 89). Squadrons of bombers and fighters would arrive over the coming week, landing on Italian controlled Crete to not only provide a powerful vanguard for the Italian ships but also to scout the eastern Mediterranean in interconnected patrols to thwart any aggressive probes by the Royal Navy.

    December 13th, 1943- After weeks of maneuvering to gain an advantage the USN and IJN meet each other in battle, southwest of the island of Santa Isabel, the fleets are arranged as thus:

    USN- 4 carriers, 1 battleship, 6 heavy cruisers, 6 light cruisers, 11 destroyers, and 8 frigates
    IJN- 4 carriers, 3 battleships, 4 heavy cruisers, 7 light cruisers, 9 destroyers, and 6 frigates

    By mid-afternoon both fleets had sent out their fighters and bombers which saw both forces’ air contingents fight in dogfights for miles around, the destroyed craft falling into the cold Pacific waters. Both admirals, Fletcher and Nagumo, show intelligence and tenacity, as well as a sliver of caution, but with superior tactics and highly trained pilots the Americans finish the fight with one carrier heavily damaged, the battleship nearly sunk and light to moderate losses amongst the remainder of the fleet. The battleship would be towed to Australia for repairs. Japanese losses were shockingly high, at least to the IJN: 3 carriers sunk, 2 battleships so heavily damaged as to be abandoned with moderate losses amongst the escorts. With so much tonnage lost in a single afternoon Yamamoto painstakingly orders the remainder of the fleet to withdraw to the Dutch East Indies, despite the dishonor for the Battle of the Solomon Sea was clearly an American victory.

    In Japan there is a near panic. In a single day the IJN had lost three precious carriers, along with more losses amongst its escorts. The loss of the battleships was bad but the sinking of the carriers was far worse. Redeployments are ordered, resources are to be diverted. The large assembly of ships in construction in the Home Islands must be completed sooner then late 1944; the Empire will desperately need them soon.

    Yamamoto convinces many within the Imperial Command that Japan can no longer expand, instead it must consolidate and defend its territory. Therefore there would be no more offenses into Mongolia, Siberia, Burma or China to regain territory. Instead infantry divisions, primarily ground forces from their puppet states, would hold off encroaching enemy forces while the Japanese begin to fortify and dig in anywhere and everywhere. The periphery of the Empire might fall but the core must survive, that is Yamamoto’s thinking. It is not a popular one amongst the Army and many admirals within the Navy. Many begin to meet in secret to discuss their dissent of Yamamoto’s strategic planning.

    December 17th, 1943- Twenty German Type VIII U-boats are transported via specially modified trains from Germany's Baltic Sea coast down through Central Europe to Italian naval ports in eastern Italy. These Kriegsmarine vessels and their veteran crews are to be used in the coming offensive against the British Royal Navy. Admiral Dönitz hopes to bleed the Royal Navy before the Italian and British fleets meet for the crucial engagement. Every ship heavily damaged or sunk is another the Italians would not have to worry about.

    December 22nd, 1943- What few Imperial Army soldiers remain on Guadalcanal are cornered and wiped out to a man. The island is now in American hands but at the cost of over three thousand casualties. Japanese casualties are estimated to be nearly twenty thousand.

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, Munich, Germany-
    Snow fell softly onto the earth, thick enough to obscure sight for any kind of range. The train pulled into the station, the conductor spoke on the PA system, “Welcome home, soldiers, rest and relax, you deserve it.”

    With that farewell he took his place in the line disembarking the train. Took a while, due to the confinement and the unloading of luggage but eventually he stepped out of the carriage and stood not far from the track, looking for his mother, father, and Anneliese.

    After a moment he noticed his father, tall and proud and in a dark grey coat very similar to the coat Elrich himself wore. After a brisk pace he hugged his father, who returned the embrace with vigor. “It’s good to see you son, remarked Joachim Dorff.

    “Good to see you as well, it’s good to be home, though I wished I hadn’t been delayed in Belarussia or I would have been her for Christmas.”

    His father shrugged, “With so many returning from the East I didn’t expect you until January, I was surprised when you called from Poznan saying you were on your way.”

    “Better be late but here than be over there any longer,” Elrich said with a shudder that had very little to do with the cold.

    “Is it still bad over there, even since the treaty was signed?”

    Ja, there are still a lot of partisans and guerilla fighters. For every cell we find and exterminate, another takes its place. It will be years, perhaps longer until the Eastern Territories are pacified in full.”

    His father nodded. His father picked up one of Elrich’s bags, despite his polite objection but his father shrugged the words off and continued to carry the bag. They left the station and made their way to their house, which was not far away. After a moment his father spoke, “I bet you are wondering where Anneliese is?”

    “I had wondered, but with the weather I didn’t expect her or mother to be there.”

    Elder Dorff nodded. An awkward pause followed, Elrich’s boots and Joachim’s shoes leaving imprints in the thick snow. “Son…” began his father. Elrich raised an eyebrow for him to continue. “Son, when we reach the house there will be a surprise, but do not get angry over it. We all agreed we shouldn’t tell you until you got home.”

    Elrich frowned. “What’s happened?”

    “You will see soon.”

    And with that they continued to trudge to the Dorff house which they reached soon after. After wiping their snow covered shoes on the porch, Frau Dorff would not take kindly to dirty snow being brought into her home, they entered.

    The first thing Elrich noted was the welcome heat and a yelp of emotional excitement. His mother Ingrid hugged him, her brown hair tickling his chin. He returned the hug and looked expectantly for Anneliese. He saw her parents in the back of the hall and out of the main living room she emerged.

    Elrich froze from shock. Not at what she looked like for her midnight raven colored hair and gray eyes benefitted her slim body quite nicely, but was shocked at what she carried. Not what but whom.

    She walked to him, carrying the bundle with confidence of much practice. She looked at him, her gray eyes full of doubt, fear, but happiness and love.

    “Hello, Elrich, this is your son Johann. Johann, meet your father,” she moved aside some cloth to show Elrich the boy’s, his son’s, face. A tuft of black hair so like Anneliese and the Gerstes lay atop his head. But the eyes… they were his eyes. A forest green that seemed to shine in the pink face that stared up in wonderment at the new person which he did not know was his other parent.

    “Johann?” emotion leaked out of Elrich. Funny how a battle-hardened solider who had seen, and even done, terrible things during the war, would be so shook up. He held out his arms for the baby to be placed.

    “Yes,” Anneliese smiled, hearing the love in his voice, if not understanding. She handed Elrich his son and both the child and man looked at the other, both seemingly fascinated by the other.

    It seemed to last an eternity but was perhaps thirty seconds. Eventually he found his voice. “Why?” he didn’t need to explain.

    Anneliese seemed to stiffen but after a deep breath she relaxed somewhat. “When I found out I was pregnant you were already back to the frontlines. What right did I have to burden you with the knowledge you had a child that your ability to meet him decreased more and more with every black bordered casualty list that was released. I was scared, Elrich. Should I have told you? Yes I should have, but I could not have known for sure whether you would be happy, annoyed, and angry.”

    “I would have been happy-” he began but Anneliese raised a hand to cut him off.

    “That was what I thought, as did your parents and mine, but you were so far away fighting, seeing friends and comrades die…” she held back her tears, “We, I, didn’t know how you would take it in such an environment. It was a risk I was not emotionally ready to take.”

    Elrich grinded his teeth in thought, she had a point, he concluded. There were times where everything seemed to go to hell and his emotions were erratic. He liked to think he would have been as happy as he said he would have been but not even he knew, nor will he ever. But here and now, without the stress of combat or the threat of death he could enjoy life.

    “While I wished you had told me, I... understand,” her shoulders sagged in relief, “and I am in agreement with your decision. The important thing is we are here together again. There is just one more thing to do.”

    “What?” her eyes darted across his face, trying to discern what he had in mind. Elrich grinned which eased her thoughts.

    “Anneliese Gerste, will you marry me?”

    December 28th, 1943- Balck receives the first major shipment of supplies from the Fatherland, especially spare parts as his panzers are in desperate need of maintenance. The first reinforcements (a panzer division and two infantry divisions) arrive in Benghazi and will begin to move eastwards towards Tobruk where the German Field Marshal continues to lay siege to the city, the other reinforcements of two divisions of infantry are currently in the midst of transit to Croatia where they would board ships for North Africa. The small handful of ports between Benghazi and Tobruk have been damaged by the intense combat of the North African Campaign with both sides sabotaging the ports when forced to withdraw.

    December 29th, 1943- The Brooklyn Project informs President Roosevelt that they have made great strides. Robert Oppenheimer himself flew to Washington D.C. to detail all that they were accomplishing. Oppenheimer told the President of their growing stock of enriched U-235, painstakingly separated from U-238 in variety of ways, and the increasing efficiency the Brooklyn Project was experiencing. Oppenheimer predicted sometime in 1944 that the Project would be able to split the atom and from their construction of a war-winning bomb could begin in earnest.

    Roosevelt is pleased but urges the scientists to move as fast as humanly possible. The casualty lists in the Pacific were steadily climbing higher and higher as the Japanese refused to go down without a ferocious, bloody fight. But that is not his only concern. Roosevelt and much of his Cabinet and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff cast wary glances at Europe. The Nazis victory in Russia have made them a larger threat to American interests then ever before. If the Atomic Bomb can be created and used in the Pacific it would send a message to Hitler to be wary of antagonizing the United States more then he already has.

    There is talk among the scientists to invite the French and British nuclear scientists over to America to compare notes and if need be accelerate the Entente's flagging programs. After much deliberation Roosevelt declines. The Burning of Sweden was bad enough with conventional weapons. If atomic weaponry was used on Europe the casualties would be horrifyingly staggering. No, only the United States would have these weapons of mass destruction, if the concept actually worked that is. The risk with what other nations would do with them was too scary to contemplate.

    January 1st, 1944- In Cairo, Egypt the Islamic National Movement leadership meets and decides that the small sabotage and guerrilla warfare the Movement had performed for years is to come to an end. To replace it the Movement plans to launch a Middle East wide uprising against the Entente. The Persian and Iraqi governments, specifically the militaries of these nations, send their assent with this decision. Soon, the sands of the Middle East will run red with blood and the cry for independence and freedom will roar like thunder.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  2. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 42: The Battle of Midway

    Major Theodore Hamilton, English Channel-
    The troopship swayed as it plowed through the cold waters of the English Channel. Standing on deck, smoking a cigarette, the British major sighed, his exhaled breath and smoke intermingled, indistinguishable in the cold morning chill.The coast to the east was nearing as the transports and escorts sailed to France. France.

    God damn bloody France.

    He didn't despise the country, nor its people, rather he despised what it represented to the Hamilton family. In the Great War, or rather the First Great War now he thought sardonically, the Hamilton family sent eleven men over to France to fight the Germans. By 1918 only two had survived that butchery to return home, one Hamilton's father and the other a distant cousin. It was a travesty the Hamiltons had yet to fully recover from. A prime example was he was only one of three men from the family in this war, along with two female cousins serving as Army nurses in southern England. He had a first cousin in Australia, and a second cousin in the Middle East.

    He had been in France before, prior to the Invasion of Norway, and subsequent invasion of Sweden, he had been stationed in north-eastern France, along with the majority of the British Expeditionary Force. It had not been a bad time. Far from it. The French were glad the British were there, to help deter the Germans though the Nazis were too busy fighting the Soviets to give the West a hard look. He remembered the countless nights of cheap food, cheap booze, and cheap women. As an officer, a captain at the time, he got women of... better quality than the majority of his men. It was not a bad way to live, not bad at all. In those days he had been a tad naive, admittedly. He thought the Entente would wear down the Germans through the bombings, despite the heavy losses among the aircraft and the crews. He had dreamed of marching through Berlin with the Union Jack flying high and proud behind him through the heart of Nazi Germany. Beside him stood comrades and friends... many of whom were now buried six feet under in various parts of the world.

    But that was then, the present was not nearly so kind. France was no longer an easy posting it had been in 1940. It was now territory soon to be drowned in blood once again as it was once decades ago.

    He took another drag of the Navy Cut, grimacing at the foul taste. Even with near unrestricted trade with much of the world the quality of many things, tobacco for example, had dropped. Despite the Nazis best efforts the British Isles still received ample food and supplies but rationing was growing ever tighter. Even though the Germans had to launch their U-boats from bases in Norway, Denmark and Germany itself they were damn effective with ship losses and casualties ever growing, though the Germans were careful to avoid American ships.

    Hamilton took his last drag and flicked the cigarette into the churning grey-green water, watching as it landed on the top and floated for a moment, eventually falling into the depths of the Channel. He remained where he was, watching as the coast of France became more and more visible, a Royal Navy destroyer sailed nearby, its radar operators undoubtedly watching their instruments closely to make sure no torpedoes or enemy submarines appeared to catch the British sailors and soldiers unawares.

    Would France fall? Possibly. Would the Entente be able to hold off the Reich until the hated totalitarian regime collapsed into chaos? Maybe. There were so many unknowns, especially in this war. If the Germans established naval ports and airbases in northern and western France how long could Britain hold out against Germany and its allies? Hamilton did not know, nor did he want to know for he was afraid of the answer.

    January 6th, 1944- The Regia Marina leaves port in eastern Italy and sails toward Crete from where it would head south towards the British port of Alexandria. In preparation for this assault the Italian and German airplanes throughout the eastern Mediterranean begin to bombard Cyprus, whose local aircraft contingent suddenly found itself under assault and valiantly defied the Axis bombers and fighters, but did not have the available aircraft to properly resist.

    January 8th, 1944- German U-boats operating in the Mediterranean Sea sink two British destroyers and a half dozen transports south of Cyprus. The British, unable to crack the latest version of Enigma at the moment, had predicted the highly effective and deadly German submarines and their respective crews would come to the Mediterranean Theater eventually. The British and French High Commands had gleamed from spies in Axis Europe that such vessels were on their way but the sudden loss of two warships and six ships carrying vital goods to the airbase on Cyprus was a bit of a wakeup call. Royal Navy naval patrols double and air patrols extend their range, deeper and deeper into Italian controlled waters. The British will not be caught unawares.

    American advances in the Solomon Islands continues unabated, merely delayed by the Japanese, who finding themselves cut off from supplies and any possible reinforcement since the Battle of the Solomon Sea are beginning to whither on the vine, but are still prepared to die and kill as many Americans as possible. They only delay the inevitable.

    January 9th, 1944- The French, still unable to directly assist their closest ally in the Mediterranean due to the Italian dominance of the central and large tracts of the eastern Mediterranean, do put into motion two major offensives that were to help occupy and stretch Italian manpower and resources.

    The first offensive, codenamed Venom, is to be a renewed push from French Tunisia into western Libya. With a strong core of tanks and mechanized infantry plus a quite large, though poorly-trained and poorly equipped, Algerian auxiliary force in support, the French feel confident in their ability to break through the Italian lines all the way to Tripoli.

    The Italians however have had fortified the border for years, even before their entry into the Second World War. Trenches, bunkers, kilometer after kilometer of barbwire, extensive minefields and 120,000 battle-hardened soldiers fielding the latest weapons Italy has produced, many are copies of the more effective German armament, stand in their path.

    The Italian Fifth Army is backed with hundreds of tanks, most are Centurions and Titans, and the Italian air support is made up of veteran piloted fighters and interceptors. Mussolini knows he cannot lose western Libya, particularly Tripoli and has spent much in the way of manpower and resources to secure this border. The French High Command predicts it would be bloody, much more than the liberation of Tunisia but if Italy and Germany could be kicked out of North Africa the Entente would be able to consolidate its troops, tanks, aircraft and ships in Europe.

    The second offensive, codenamed Skyfall, is to be a massive air campaign against northern and central Italy. With the bombing raids over Germany having been postponed until the Entente had their own jet fighters to better protect their bombers the Entente suddenly found itself with thousands of aircraft sitting idly in eastern and northern France, unable to venture east into Germany without catastrophic losses.

    The French High Command would dispatch near three-fourths of this massive aerial fleet to southern France to maul the Italian heartland. German and Italian spies report this sudden exodus of Entente aircraft to their respective leaders and commanders, many of whom were shocked at the potential, horrifying consequences.

    Hitler, confident of his western border but wary of what this massive bombing campaign would do to his southern ally that was hanging on, but could slip at any moment if pushed so suddenly, so hard, orders that the Luftwaffe assist their fellow Axis compatriot. From across the Reich are dispatched and within the next several weeks hundreds of German fighters and interceptors arrive throughout western and northern Italy, most are propeller but a significant percentage are the jet engine Me-262s.

    While this is great news for Mussolini in terms of support, it is bad news for Balck, who after receiving the initial batch of reinforcements Wever sent him, watches helplessly as the next wave of Luftwaffe reinforcements slotted for the Afrika Korps become hastily diverted to Italy. He couldn’t blame or find fault in the General Staff’s reasoning but their sudden redeployment would leave him thinly protected against the RAF which was growing ever bolder as his highly mobile DAK was stalled by Tobruk and the siege of the city was predicted to last many more week, if not months.

    Mussolini of course cancels any further resupply of North Africa, at least in terms of men and heavy equipment. Food, water, ammunition and other vital items would of course continue to flow towards North Africa but not much more than this.

    January 10th, 1944- The Italian Fleet sails near Cyprus, their destination obvious to the RN scouts that had been shadowing the large fleet. The local aircraft contingent in Cyprus had been wiped out and had not been reinforced as the British retained their aircraft to protect Alexandria and its critical ports.

    The RN fleet in Alexandria, commanded by Admiral Andrew Cunningham, elder brother to Field Marshal Alan Cunningham, mobilizes and begins to move out. Cunningham cannot risk the ports and docks of Alexandria to become seriously damaged or destroyed as it would hamper British naval actions in the eastern Mediterranean for many months at least.

    The RN Mediterranean Fleet consists of 2 carriers, 2 battleships, fourteen cruisers of varying classes and a host of lighter escorts. The RN moves north towards the Italian armada, both sides preparing for a titanic sea and air engagement.

    January 11th, 1944- After two days of small skirmishes between their respective scouts both fleets clash south-west of Cyprus. It would go down into the annals of history as one of the most critical sea battles fought in the war at that point in time.

    Though casualties on both sides were heavy the conclusion of it ended with a British victory with the sinking of both Italian aircraft carriers. But this was not all; over a third of the Italian fleet had been sunk or so damaged as to be left behind. Italian sailors would leave demolition charges to scuttle their ships, rather then they be taken by the British. With both carriers and a large percentage of their capital ships lost the Italian navy, mostly consisting of vessels in the heavy cruiser class and lower, withdrew to eastern Italy, defeated and broken.

    The British, though having won, were also bloodied. A precious carrier had been sunk with the other receiving minor damage which would take weeks to fully repair. The rest of the Royal Navy fleet had suffered but not to the degree their opponents in the Regia Marinaexperienced.

    It was a clear British victory but at a heavy cost on both sides. The Royal Navy would be able to penetrate deeper into Axis controlled waters but the risk of being attacked by aircraft would result in the RN being wary of veering too close to land.

    In Rome Mussolini is furious at the losses his navy has taken, effectively reduced to a state similar to what it was immediately after the Battle of the Tyrrhenian Sea, if not in worse condition when casualties and lost tonnage were accounted for but his navy still had many escort-class ships and scores of submarines to ward off any major intrusion by the Entente. But it was a blow the Regia Marina would need years to recover from.

    January 19th, 1944- Belgium, fearing the massing German troops returning from the east to situate themselves in western Germany, signs a variety of defense pacts with France and Britain but is one step short of actual membership into the Entente. The Belgians do not want to invite the ire of the German Reich.

    The Netherlands remains stubbornly neutral to both sides. Though nominally at war with the Japanese Empire, the Dutch are committed more to homeland defense than foreign colonies, seeing the former as much more important than the latter. The Netherlands has since its induction into the war in the Pacific Theater enlarged its military and modernized its equipment with trade from the Entente and the U.S. but still lags behind the major powers by a wide margin. But if the Netherlands were to be invaded the country would not go down without a fight.

    January 20th, 1944- The Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’ is recalled from the front line duty and would remain in service in the Eastern Territories policing the vast plains of the Reich’s new conquests. No longer shall it fight against a first-tier military, but will be delegated in supporting Slavic Auxiliaries and Wehrmacht units in hunting down partisans and guerrillas. It is a task it will perform quite well.

    The Messerschmitt Bf-109 will be modified to step into the vacancy the recall of the Stukas creates. The Bf-109 is not able to do such steep dives as the Stuka, nor does it have the nerve wracking horn but it is just as effective and more easily able to defend itself and run away from trouble if confronted by superior Entente planes.

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, Munich, Germany-
    He was nervous and he hoped to God it did not show. Since he proposed to Anneliese barely a month ago things had moved quickly. They hastily prepared a wedding, for they did not know when and where Elrich would be deployed again. There were rumors circulating that his division would be transferred to North Africa but as of yet that was pure speculation. But the rumors were worrying enough for both the Gerstes and the Dorffs to fund a wedding with only a few weeks preparation.

    It was near chaos, and the times he spoke to his mother and Frau Gerste about the preparations and details he got the impression it was worse then he knew. He did know Herr Gerste did not have enough money to pay for the entire affair, so his father naturally helped when and where he could. But today was the day. As befitting him as groom Elrich was immaculate, or so his mother claimed. He merely hoped he was good enough for Anneliese.

    Standing in his Heer dress uniform near the altar he glanced around the cathedral. Friends and family, many of them in uniform of one sort or another, sat and whispered quietly but excitedly to each other in their seats. Glancing to his left he saw his best man Corporal Anton Keller standing with hands clasped behind him. His friend smiled and nodded. He returned it with a slight chuckle. Anton was not his first choice. His first had been a close friend from before the war but Elrich had found out he was recently killed in northern Belarussia by Soviet partisans. He had been shocked by his lack of reaction. Sure there was some, he would never drink a beer with him again, nor play football in the backstreets of Munich... but Michel was gone and there was nothing that could change that. Anton however was available and a comrade who had saved Dorff's live on multiple occasions so it only made sense for him to become the best man.

    Scratching his chest through his uniform he waited... and waited... and waited for what felt like forever but could not have been more than five or six minutes when the piano played by Frau Gerste began to play. Everyone stood and turned around to the doors at the back of the church. They opened to reveal and angel.

    Anneliese was stunning. Her long raven colored hair carefully braided, her dress was a stunning white and was a new buy he could tell. This was not her mother's old dress, but a new one. He wondered how much they bankrupted themselves on it plus the wedding, and also how they had scrounged up the cloth ration cards for it. But that thought quickly drifted away as she began walking down the aisle, her father escorting her, a rare smile on his lips. Not even his limp suffered from the First World War slowed him down.

    Her figure had recovered almost entirely from giving birth to Johann and was tight across her stomach, though not as much as it once was which he knew annoyed her greatly, and covered her small but pleasant bosom. As she walked to her future husband both of them stared at each other with love and adoration obvious to all he could see the young couple. As she ascended the steps, and her father released her, she came to stand beside him. "You are beyond beautiful," he whispered in her ear.

    She giggled quietly and they turned to priest who smiled at the two of them and began the long process of finalizing their marriage in the eyes of God and State.


    If someone had asked Elrich how the wedding and following ceremony went he would be pressed to give a full account. He remembered some pretty well, like sliding the ring on her finger and kissing her, as well as drinking some champagne during a toast to him and his new bride but other then that not much. But he did know Anneliese never stopped smiling or laughing or glancing at Elrich. And he acted the same.

    Hours later when the ceremony had begun to die down, people began walking back to their homes as night began to settle as a curfew was still heavily enforced. The Gerstes and Dorffs withdrew to the Dorffs' house where they had another bottle of champagne and some beer and side foods to go with it. Another hour of this occurred when Elrich's father stood up. "I think it is time we left the newlyweds alone," he said with a wink.

    Anneliese's parents and his own left the house, to make their way to the Gerstes' which wasn't far away. Elrich watched as the door closed and looked over at Anneliese. She was staring at the ring he gave her. The diamond was small, much to his embarrassment but when he slipped it onto her finger her face was one of immense joy and satisfaction. It was still there though clouded with nervousness. Neither were virgins, both had lost it to each other years ago, but tonight they would lay down not merely as a man and woman but as husband and wife.

    She looked up, meeting his eyes. Gray stared into green and green into gray. Without a word Elrich stood up, walked around the table separating them and held his hand out for her to grab. She reached up, grasped it, and pulled herself up. They walked down the short hallway, leading to his room. As he opened it he gasped in surprise. The bed was new and large enough to accommodate the both of them easily, much larger than his old bed.

    "It seems our parents gave us one final gift," she commented as she walked past Elrich to the bed, her fingers running over the smooth covers.

    "A great end to a wonderful day."

    She turned around, her figure highlighted by the moonlight shining through the window and what little light was on in the house via candlelight.

    "The day is over, but the night has just begun," she said. Anneliese began to undress, slowly and methodically. Elrich stood in the doorway watching with amazement. She was simply the most beautiful human being alive, of that he knew for sure. As she discarded her undergarments she climbed into bed, turning on her side, awaiting him.

    And he would not keep her waiting.

    Closing the door behind him he made his way to her, his love, his wife.

    January 31st, 1944- Luxembourg signs defense pacts with the Entente and Belgium, seeing them as the lesser of two evils but does not yet join the Entente.

    February 12th, 1944- Zhukov arrives to Irkutsk in Siberia. He is there to begin orchestrating the vast offensive the Soviet Union would launch on the Japanese Empire and its allies. Since the war on the Eastern Front ended nearly 200,000 Soviet soldiers had arrived in the Far East with more arriving every day. Morale is soaring in the Soviet Union, particularly the Soviet Far East, as the lion's share of their military begins the redeployment to take the fight to the Japanese Empire.

    February 17th, 1944- In Britain a new model of the Lee-Enfield Rifle is put to mass production after a series of successful tests. It is essentially the same rifle the Empire had used for decades but was no longer bolt-action but instead was semi-automatic.

    For years British soldiers faced a disadvantage against German soldiers as their bolt-actions were inferior to the German Gewehr-42 but the new Lee-Enfield Rifle Number 5 Mark 2 would even out the odds, much to the appreciation of the common British grunt.

    It will take time bu the Royal General Staff hope to have the No.5 Mk2 fully replace the older models by early 1945, but most likely it would be mid 1945. The divisions of men in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East will receive the new rifle first, the other troops in the remaining Theaters will be of second importance on this matter.

    February 20th, 1944- Nationalist forces in China launch their long awaited offensive against the Japanese. Using equipment given to them by the Americans in a Lend-Lease like program the Chinese Nationalists quickly pierce through Japanese positions using only a few score American-built Chinese-crewed Sherman tanks.

    February 22nd, 1944- Operation Venom is launched from French Tunisia. The French, having decided to concentrate their offensive in a narrow twenty kilometer front, break through the outer echelons of the Italian perimeter but are almost immediately stalled by ferocious Italian defenses,

    Integrated artillery fields, fighter-bombers, anti-tank cannons and infantry carrying anti-tank personnel weapons shred through a multitude of French Army vehicles and tanks but the French have more to replace them and continue to apply heavy pressure of the Italian soldiers.

    Above the battlefield on the ground the battlefield of the air wages with reckless abandon as French and Italian aircraft engage with lethal precision. Mussolini is awoken from his sleep to be informed of the French assault. Due to the looming threat of Skyfall the Italian dictator is unable to do to anything other than fume and hope the Fifth Army holds its positions.

    February 25th, 1944- French troops and armor in western Libya are still bogged down but they are relentless and the Italians are tiring and running low on expenditures in anti-armor weapons. Supplies from Tripoli are on the way but it will be some time.

    February 28th, 1944- Operation Skyfall is launched. Over seventeen hundred Entente bombers, escorted by near two thousand fighters, fly from air bases in southern France and fly over water and land towards their target: Italy.

    French bombers and fighters from Corsica pummel Sardinia but suffer heavy casualties in the process. The Italian early warning radar coverage, though inferior to the British and Germans, is still effective enough to give a fair amount of warning, allowing the Regia Aeronautica ample time to respond in a proper manner.

    After these initial clash over the two islands the real confrontation began when Italian interceptors first engaged French bombers and fighters just east of the Italian-French border. Soon after, off the coast of western Italy, the two air forces would also clash in the air.

    The 28th of February, 1944 would go down as one of the hardest fought battles fought in the Mediterranean. While the French did succeed in damaging a significant portion of Italian industry in west-central and west-northern Italy it came at the cost of over six hundred bombers and nearly five hundred fighters. Not only were these planes lost but hundreds and hundreds of trained pilots were killed, wounded or missing, many of whom would be captured by Italian authorities over the next several days (these pilots were able to evacuate their planes and parachute down to the ground throughout Italy. Many would surrender immediately, others would have to be hunted down and captured, some shot and killed in the process).

    Italy and Germany would lose eight hundred aircraft, the majority is of Italian origin but the Germans would lose hundreds as well. How the Axis nearly achieved a 2:1 kill/death ratio is simple: the Italian radar system assisted tremendously and German jet fighters were a deciding factor, ensuring a Axis victory but at a high cost.

    The French, who had planned to begin a long term bombing campaign of Italy, cancel any further raids and begin redistributing their air force throughout eastern France, the vast majority returning to north-west France. While their losses had been high there were some benefits to the mass raid. Italy had suffered extensive damage to its infrastructure and industry, particularly in northern Italy.

    While central Italy fared better of the two regions that does not mean it went untouched. Rome, Pisa, Siena and a half dozen more cities suffered varying degrees of damage with civilian casualties numbering in the tens of thousands.

    Italy had survived and remained very much in the fight but had been weakened considerably. In the course of less than two months it had saw the reduction of its Navy by over a third, its industry and infrastructure wounded and its only remaining African colony under a two front war.

    Germany would leave several veteran squadrons of fighters to help assist with air coverage but the remainder would be recalled back to Germany’s Westwall.

    March 2nd, 1944- Field Marshal Purkayev orders the resumption of the offensive against the Japanese/Manchurian/Mengkukuoan positions in eastern Mongolia. The Soviet marshal has received a moderate amount of reinforcements but a vast amount of supplies, especially fuel. Zhukov endorses this offensive, hoping it will weaken the Japanese hold on the Soviet Far East for his eventual offensive, codenamed Righteous Fury.

    The Solomon Islands are cleared of all Japanese soldiers. The opening phase of Undercut has succeeded. Now for the successive blow aimed towards New Britain, the Gilbert and Marshall Islands.

    The British and Australians would undertake the operation on New Britain while the Americans would liberate the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. Many tens of thousands of men and hundreds of ships prepare for the next phase of the war against the Japanese Empire.

    March 4th, 1944- Italian Praetorian tanks roll off the production lines. This is an Italian made tank, although heavily inspired by the Panzer IV and the Panther it is nonetheless an impressive achievement by the Italian Empire. While initial production is limited Mussolini plans to switch Titan producing factories to produce his new armored behemoth.

    Reichminister Albert Speer, just outside of Posen, Germany-
    The clatter and roar emitting from the weapon was eye wincing to Speer, but as Reichminister of Armaments and Munitions he had witnessed many weapons tests of various kinds ranging from artillery to machineguns to the weapon being held by a Wehrmacht colonel.

    The colonel stopped firing at the target twenty-five meters away and reloaded but did not fire, merely looked behind him at the assembled Party, Government, and military officials. Many were nodding in appreciation and wonder.

    "As you can, mein Herr the rifle is quite accurate in short to medium distances. Though it struggles with the ranges the Gewehr-42 and the Kar98k can attain due to recoil and shorter barrel it nonetheless a highly effective weapon and would give our soldiers a clear advantage in close quarters combat and in urban environments," spoke a Wehrmacht general to his left. The officer continued, "Its magazine holds thirty rounds and is more powerful than machine pistol ammunition and comparable to our principle rifles in terms of stopping power. From those that have fired it, many have demanded its immediate mass production. The final decision is of course yours, mein Herr. It's said the Führer himself is impressed with the rifle, so much so he named it Sturmgewehr (storm rifle).

    Speer walked to the colonel to inspect the weapon. Gesturing, Speer held out his hand the colonel gave it to him and stepped back. Raising the rifle to his shoulder he fired in short controlled bursts to the target down the field. While not as accurate as the colonel he did not do too poorly. Satisfied with the rifle he gave it back to the German colonel and walked back to the general who awaited him. Nodding towards him Speer stated, "The Sturmgewehr-1944 is a remarkable weapon. It will give us an edge in infantry combat. When I return to Berlin I will speak to Hitler about the StG-44 becoming mass produced to gradually replace the G-42. It should not take long. I will inform the Führer himself of your dedication to the project and your zeal in bringing it to my attention."

    The general beamed at this compliment. Speer would actually tell Hitler of the man, and he might see a raise and a promotion but not much more then that. Walking to his car not far away, the Reich Minister contemplated the effect the StG-44 would have on the war. He pictured the assault rifle being in the hands of every German soldier and he could see no field of battle they would walk away from in defeat with that weapon in hand.

    Tomorrow he will talk to Hitler about the storm rifle. Knowing Hitler the rifle will most likely be green-lighted to be mass produced that same day. As he entered the car the driver began to drive back to the new factories being constructed outside Posen to contribute towards the war effort. After his inspection he would board his plane and by tomorrow would be in the capital.

    March 6th, 1944- The Sturmgewehr-1944 is authorized for mass production by Hitler and Speer. Even though it has been authorized the StG-44 can only be produced in limited numbers until more factories are built or others convert from G-42 production to StG-44. It will take time, well over a year if not two, for the Wehrmacht to switch from the G-42 to the new assault rifle. Certain units, particularly elite units such as the Waffen-SS, the Fallschirmjäger, and veteran Heer divisions would be the first to receive the weapons in the coming months. The rest of the German Armed Forces would simply have to wait for the assault rifle to replace their current weapons.

    March 8th, 1944- The USN Pacific Fleet leaves port in Hawaii and makes its way towards Midway. With nine carriers, six being Essex-class, as the center of the vast fleet the USN sails forth to liberate the crucial island of Midway with vengeance in its heart and likely victory carrying it aloft.

    March 10th, 1944- The Chinese Nationalist offensive is assisted by the Chinese Communists. The Communists, supplied by the Soviets via a long, and quite strenuous supply line, are still able to deliver a knocking blow to the local Japanese garrisons. With another major offensive being launched by the Empire's enemies towards the Chinese coast the Imperial Central Command orders heavy bombing of the two separate Chinese factions.

    Massive firebombings and biological warfare bombs are dropped, killing tens of thousands by day's end. Despite these losses both the Nationalists and the Communists are committed to liberate more territory from the occupying invaders.

    March 13th, 1944- On the French Syrian-Turkish border a large shipment of arms is captured by local French authorities. The weapons are German Kar98ks and MP40s. While the Entente knew German arms and military advisers were slipping into the Middle East this was the first major capture of said weapons so close to the border, a mere three kilometers away.

    The Entente quickly launches a massive political and propaganda campaign against the Turkish government, claiming that they are threatening the stabilization of the Middle East and instigating rebellion.

    The Turkish government retorts that the shipments had been done by black marketers and German equipment such as the outdated Kar98k and older versions of the MP40 could be found quite easily throughout Eastern Europe.

    Both sides know the truth but Turkey is not willing to go to war against the Entente as its attention is firmly fixated on holding down the South Caucasus which consistently flaring up with partisan activity by the hate-filled locals. The Entente is not willing to go to war against the Turks as that would require opening another front, a front which would require a vast assembly of resources France and Britain are simply not able to detach from other Theaters at this time.

    France does recall its ambassador to Turkey and shortly after Britain follows suit. Turkey also recalls its ambassadors from all Entente nations. Germany, hoping to see Turkey become more active in Middle Eastern affairs, is secretly glad at the increasing hostility as it could benefit them strategically but are disappointed when the situation does not escalate.

    The Turkish-Entente relations have vastly degraded but warfare is not likely to happen unless something even more drastic occurs suddenly.

    March 17th, 1944- American and Japanese naval forces engage near the island of Midway. The Americans hold a numerical edge but the Japanese have a large reserve of fighters and dive-bombers on Midway and are able to contribute to the conflict.

    The Japanese brought seven carriers and a host of other warships to defy the USN. The losses suffered by both sides in the Battle of Midway are heavy but after seven hours of near constant combat the victor emerges from the oil-stained, ship-burning part of the sea the two fleets fought in.

    The Americans lose two Essex-class carriers, an escort carrier and three battleships, but only lost fourteen other vessels as the Japanese focused on the carriers and the battleships. The USN had lost 248 planes, and most of the pilots flying these planes. A terrible loss but one the United States can and would recover from in time.

    The Japanese on the other hand would lose four carriers, two were sunk within a half hour of each other early on in the battle, the third destroyed near the end of the battle, with the fourth gutted by a pair of American submarines shortly after the main engagement concluded. But this was not all, a precious battleship, this one a Yamato-class behemoth, the IJNS Musuahi, would be crippled and eventually sunk by American dive-bombers as the sun began to set below the horizon. Losses amongst the lesser ships were high as the Japanese commander left destroyers and cruisers to act as an obstacle for the Americans to fight through, buying time for the remaining capital ships to sail back with all speed towards Japan.

    The IJNAS and the IJAAS would end the day with 362 aircraft losses, many trained pilots, veteran of Pearl Harbor and many other campaigns fought throughout 1942 and 1943. The Imperial Japanese Navy would have a harder time than the Americans replacing these pilot losses, as their flight schools were having to force their classes through shorter terms to keep up with combat casualties. The IJNAS, and in many ways the IJAAS as well, are clamoring for more highly trained pilots but cannot warrant the time it takes to properly and fully train the new waves of replacements. If the desperation continues the Japanese would be forced to recruit pilot instructors to replace the growing list of casualties but in doing so would hamper the training of future pilots. It was a dilemma Japan had faced since the war began for them in 1942 but only now was it becoming a major issue where tough choices were needed but both were damaging in their own particular way.

    March 18th, 1944- As the reports of the disastrous Battle of Midway in Tokyo are detailed to the upper levels of the government and the military, reactions in Tokyo are dismal to say the least. The past four months had seen six valuable carriers lost at the hands of the Americans and the Entente. The shipyards among the Home Islands were working as fast as humanly possible but only four carriers would launched by late 1944. There were even rumors by some pessimists that by then those might be the only carriers Japan would have left.

    Marshal Admiral Yamamoto and Prime Minister Tojo are beginning to come under heavy pressure from various factions within the military, particularly the Army, and the government. Their grip on power was loosening but remained steadfast as the Emperor was known to support them, especially Yamanoto whom the Emperor saw as the best naval commander Japan had and in him was their best chance at survival in the war with the United States.

    Throughout the Japanese Empire sacrifices were being made by its many millions of citizens to keep the Empire's fighting forces well equipped and prepared but will it be enough? Many say yes, as they are blind to facts; they state that Japan will win in the end as it is a warrior culture and the Westerners are "weak" but more and more are beginning to wonder if this is true. Through all the facts, discussions, and gloom there was not an utterance of surrender. The Empire simply could not fathom it, it could not happen. For the Emperor they will fight on, and for the Emperor they will die.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  3. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 43: The Sands that turn Crimson

    Private First Class Jared Walker, Midway-
    The bodies of the dead were being buried in mass graves, at least the Japanese corpses were, he noticed. The American ones would be gathered, cleaned, and sent back home to be buried with honor. Jared Walker, with Randall Quigley in tow, walked the sands of Sand Island (Midway).

    The small island was once again in American hands after over a year of occupation, and it had been bloody to take. The Japs had not been idle in their year of occupation. Mines, trenches, bunkers and more protected the island from outside attack. Near three thousand Japs died protecting the island, over half were not even soldiers, he thought, but clerks and mechanics given rifles to defend their conquest. In the end it didn’t help them. There was no naval or air support to help them and the Americans had tens of thousands of soldiers ready to deploy, fresh and fully supplied, unlike the half-starved and supply drained Imperial Japanese Army and Navy personnel.

    Jared pulled out a cigarette and lit it, Randall did the same. After sharing his cigarette to get his friend’s alit, he returned it to his mouth and took a deep drag, savoring the smoke. The sun was beginning to set in the west; the sky had become red, orange and violet.

    “Beautiful,” he remarked. Randall agreed with a simple nod.

    They stood there for a few moments, watching the sun set, and they were not the only soldiers doing so. Dozens were. Some were looking at the horizon, admiring the beauty, but others looked for that was where the ultimate target of the United States was: the Home Islands of Japan.

    “Rumors are we will be moving out soon, once the fleet is readied,” commented Randall.

    “I’ve heard the rumors. Some say we are heading to the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, others say to Australia, even others that we are heading to Burma or to the Mariana Islands. We won’t know for sure until the brass decides where is best.”

    “Hmmph,” replied the other soldier. A pause, then, “How’s Caroline?”

    “She’s good. Her and Franklin are doing good, the rations from the military are not exactly delicious but filling and constant, which is more important in her mind.”

    “Yeah, I don’t blame her, must have been hell to be under occupation by the Japs that long, terrible even. She’s tough for doing as good as she did.

    “Yeah, she’s the tough one. Always has been,” murmured Jared. The waves crashed against the sand, advancing until slowing and eventually stopping, then withdrew. The process would go again and again for, well, forever.

    Jared looked at his watch his father gave him. He grimaced, “Time to head back, Randall. We need to get some decent sleep, especially if we ship out soon. Can’t sleep much at all on those damn transports,” he remarked with a chuckle, one which Randall returned as they headed back to the rapidly being repaired military facilities.

    March 20th, 1944- American troops, having landed on the beaches of Midway hours after the naval battle, finally able to liberate the entire island, though the infantry suffered heavy losses. American morale on the home front is soaring, despite steadily increasing losses, but many in the military know the war in the Pacific is far from over.

    American, British and Australian marines land on the beaches of New Britain, quickly establishing beachheads. In the Gilbert and Marshal Islands the American eagle unleashes its military might. Predictions are the Japanese, who are working off of stretched shoe-string logistics since the loss of the local fleet in the Battle of the Solomon Sea will quickly buckle and in a matter of weeks the islands will belong to the American and Commonwealth forces.

    With the Russian Bear gathering its strength in Siberia and the American Giant prodding and invading many islands under the Empire’s rule in the south and southeast Pacific the situation is rapidly turning grim for the Empire, to say the least.

    But Japan has had a warrior-culture for many centuries, and would not bow down in subservience to its enemies. It would fight on and bleed its enemies to such a state that the blues, greens, and grays of the Pacific will run red with the blood of its enemies.

    Surrender or making peace on non-favorable terms has not even been recognized as viable options. To do so would be dishonorable to the God-Emperor. Despite the recent setbacks, Japan will continue to fight, and hope for a way to end the war in victory. The massive fleet currently under construction in the Home Islands is the Empire’s last hope, though many projects are begun to facilitate a victory through unconventional means.

    March 23rd, 1944- American reinforcements begin to flood into Australia thanks to the pacification of the Solomon Islands and the recent invasions of the Gilbert and the Marshall Islands. General Eisenhower leads this massive influx of men, supplies, and vehicles. The American Joint Chiefs, in conjunction with the British Imperial Staff, have one objective in mind: a massive invasion to liberate the Dutch East Indies.

    It will take time to properly prepare, but both the Americans under Eisenhower and the Commonwealth under Gott is ready to take the war to a new stage and if the Dutch East Indies are liberated, Japan will lose much of its rubber and oil.

    General MacArthur voices his opinion that the Philippines should be liberated first, so as to cut the Japanese Empire in two but Eisenhower, with the support of President Roosevelt and the bulk of the Joint Chiefs is able to rein in control over the ambitious general.

    Eisenhower promises the operation to liberate the Philippines will happen, but not before pushing the Japanese out of the Dutch East Indies. With that said MacArthur has thrown his full support behind the Dutch East Indies Campaign. The sooner that is done, the sooner he can make due on his promise to return.

    March 27th, 1944- Across the Soviet Union construction is conducted on the Trans-Siberian Railway to expand exponentially, specifically in Siberia where the single railway is unable to transfer men and supplies fast enough for Zhukov’s needs. Many of the work gangs are formed of internees of the gulags.

    Though the USSR had suffered greatly in the war against the Axis, and had torn and purged itself many times in a short period of time, there was still much dissent and disagreement across the Union, especially the countries unable to gain independence, there was still a fresh supply of prisoners to be sent to the gulags, therefore granting vast amounts of manpower to rebuilding and reconstructing the Motherland.

    While construction has only just started, with predictions for it to continue for years, perhaps even a decade, there is a rising wish, and ambition, to flood Siberia with an army that would not only take back eastern Mongolia or the portions of Siberia stolen by the Japanese but also invade into Mengkukuo and Manchuria. Both of which are doorsteps into a war-torn China, ripe for planting a government loyal to Moscow.

    First Marshal Georgy Zhukov, Irkust, USSR-
    Beria might have effectively banished him here but the Soviet marshal was beginning to embrace his semi-exile from Moscow. That pit of snakes can belong to Beria and Molotov. Let him be out where he was born to be: on the battlefield.

    Though the frontline was quite some distance away, the city of Irkutsk acted as the main depot of what many were calling the Far Eastern Army. Nearly six hundred thousand troops were here alone, with another half million mustering at various portions of the Siberian Front. Even Mongolia was receiving substantial reinforcements.

    Purkayev was advancing and making good progress. Mongolia would be fully liberated within the next few months. With that done, the next stage of the war could truly begin. Looking out over row after row of tanks and vehicles, Zhukov felt his heart swell with pride. Not even the NKVD Army divisions that he was forced to bring along could deter his pride in the Red Army and Red Air Force.

    “Inspiring, isn’t it, Comrade First Marshal,” spoke Commissar Yuri Rakallovich from behind, the new watchdog of Zhukov. Even since the Triumvirate had been formed, Beria had called for tighter restrictions on the Army and Air Force, similar to the restrictions placed on them in 1941 and 1942. Restrictions that had nearly saw the end of tactical and strategic individual thought amongst the Soviet officer corps, which could have been, and almost was, a death blow.

    It seemed Beria was content to ignore that little fact. With the war against the Axis over, along with the threat of being defeated, the commissars’ powers had been expanded once again for them to reel in the Armed Forces of the USSR to ensure “better communication and efficiency between service branches.”

    It was a lie. It was a poor excuse for them to watch over those that the NKVD, specifically Beria, did not trust.

    “Indeed, Comrade Commissar,” he replied respectively. Dmitry Novoborosky might have been a bastard, but he was a patriotic bastard. The deceased commissar had been Zhukov’s watchdog during the dark days of 1942, but he was a loyal son of the USSR and thought with a mind unclouded by political jargon.

    God how he missed Dmitry, which he never would have admitted to himself before, but Rakallovich was like a canker, who fed on the success of others. The only reason he had been sent to watch the First Marshal was his unquestionable loyalty to Beria.

    It was sickening. And there was nothing he could do to change that.

    As he looked out over the rank upon rank of tanks, rockets and vehicles, stationary, awaiting his orders, the First Marshal turned from Rakallovich and smiled a small smile. He couldn’t do anything to change the Soviet Union… yet. Once the war against the Japanese was won, well, he flashed his teeth in a predatory grin; no one could predict what would happen then. And then the snakes could be put down.

    April 3rd, 1944- On the Finnish-Soviet border a firefight broke out between two companies which nearly escalated until rapid response by both side’s high commands. The officers in command of the Finnish troops were sent to tertiary military bases, their careers effectively stalled while the Soviet officers were shot, their bodies hanged from trees on the edge of the demilitarized zone.

    The Triumvirate is adamant about not reigniting a war with Axis Europe and the feeling is mutual. Shortly after news of the incident reaches Berlin Hitler calls Mannerheim and talks down onto the Finnish Marshal for half an hour before the Finnish officer hanged up on the Führer, causing the German dictator to be incredibly enraged. He was only calmed down by Speer, Wever and Goebbels. All three stated with the war in the West coming soon they could not risk a fracturing of the Axis in the East and Finland was crucial in ensuring regional supremacy.

    Hours later Speer, using his subordinates in Finland, delivered to the Marshal of Finland an informal apology, not from Hitler but rather from the Reich. The Finnish Marshal is impressed by this and accepts it allowing relations between the two nations to remain friendly.

    April 6th, 1944- USN and USAAF bombers begin the mass bombing of the Kwajelein Atoll, the crux of the Marshall Islands. Four hundred bombers, escorted by near five hundred fighters, many which had their own rockets and bombs, begin to pulverize Japanese positions and defensive centers. The USN assists with heavy bombardment off the coast with its long range guns.

    April 7th, 1944- German U-boats continue to hamper British ships in the North Sea and North Atlantic but newer models of destroyers and cruisers, along with longer ranged fighters and bombers has seen a slight but ever noticeable spike in losses of the Kriegsmarine’s U-boat fleet. Admiral Dönitz is worried about his rising losses as these take time to replace and U-boat crews take time and patience to properly train to be an effective unit.

    But the de facto leader of the Kriegsmarine is hoping Operation Nightfall will secure the Low Countries and northern France, allowing his U-boats an extended range, fresh areas to hunt, and to vastly underpin Entente naval operations in the North Sea/North Atlantic. It would give his U-boats more “breathing space” to operate.

    April 8th, 1944- The only division of Praetorian tanks in existence as of yet arrives in Tripoli with a small but highly trained and well equipped mechanized infantry units. Italy, despite recent setbacks and defeats, is quickly modernizing. The near four years of warfare Italy has endured has seen its military grow exponentially, with significant strides made in technology and doctrine. Even the Italian military, largely considered inferior by both its enemies and allies before the war, has made considerable leaps into becoming a major power, though it still lacks behind Britain, France, the Soviet Union and Germany.

    Balck is annoyed these troops were not sent to him but can do little but protest. The Italians are becoming more and more worried about the situation developing in western Libya and Mussolini cannot risk another defeat on such a scale; he is worried enough to transfer his paratrooper units and a few infantry divisions to the west. With the failure of the Italian Navy near Cyprus and the extensive damage wrought onto Italy by the French Air Force his powerbase has loosened somewhat and the Il Duce is keen on preventing anymore loss of power and prestige.

    General Gott, in conjunction with the newly arrived General Eisenhower, has set a date for the liberation of the Dutch East Indies. Both officers plan to launch an invasion of the Dutch East Indies by June 5th, 1944.

    April 12th, 1944- The Islamic National Movement plans to begin their widespread rebellion on the tenth of May. Most of the assets were in place, weapons, both smuggled in by the Axis and taken from the Entente, have been distributed to scores of major cells in a multitude of cities.

    With progress in the New Britain Campaign being steadily made the U.S./Entente decide to invade New Ireland to protect the northern flank of the forces arrayed in New Britain; Gott wants to prevent the Japanese forces on the island from going south and reinforcing the garrisons on New Britain. Eisenhower agrees and thousands of Army and Marine soldiers begin assembling with their British, Australian and New Zealand counterparts.

    April 27th, 1944- Tobruk falls to the Axis Powers. After many months of siege the fortress-city, bereft of fresh supplies and manpower, simply could not stave off the German and Italian troops forever. It is a massive morale blow to Entente, specifically Britain. Field Marshal Cunningham had hoped the city would endure long enough for his inevitable counter-attack to relieve it, but alas it would not be so.

    With the sharp thorn in his side removed, Balck can fully turn his attention to the east where the Eighth Army awaits. The reinforcements, no matter how small, from the Reich had brought the Afrika Korps numbers up to respectable amounts, larger than it had been since the latest push to Egypt. The resupply of material, ammunition and vehicles was more important, if not the most important thing though. Panzer IVs, Panthers, even a few Tigers, along with several STuG IIIs/STuG IVs and several platoons of the fearsome Hornisse panzer-killers. Despite being light armored against modern panzers they had long range, accurate cannon fire, and their relative low cost allowed them to continue being manufactured.

    The Marshall Islands Campaign is concluded with the liberation of Kwajalein Atoll. Nearly four hundred American soldiers would lose their lives taking the strategic island but the high toll was deemed worth it with the Marshalls finally cleansed of the Empire’s presence.

    April 29th, 1944- With the Italians having been reinforced the French are forced to halt any future operations further into Libya. Casualties had been high for relatively little gain. With rumors of a German attack into France and the Low Countries becoming more and more of a possibility the French are reluctant to send any more troops to North Africa or the Middle East.

    May 2nd, 1944- Prime Minister Halifax’s popularity is rapidly decreasing in the United Kingdom. The loss of Tobruk was a major blow to British morale and prestige. His powerbase in Parliament has decayed immensely, but the prime minister continues to hold onto his majority, and therefore his office, by slivers.

    Halifax is desperate for a victory anywhere whether it is in Asia, Africa or Europe. The British politician throws his full support into the invasion of the Dutch East Indies and increases the gradual reinforcement of the Middle East.

    Politics in Britain were beginning to become strained. Churchill and his war-hawk faction were clamoring for more and more to be done for the war effort, policies that the populace would be displeased to accept.

    The liberal faction was calling for an armistice, declaring peace was necessary. Halifax was finding that maintaining the balance between the two sides incredibly difficult and exhausting.

    May 3rd, 1944- The last island of the Gilbert Islands, Tarawa, falls to American marines, though with high losses amongst the first two waves. With this strategic island taken the Gilbert Islands are once again free from Japan’s oppressive rule.

    May 4th, 1944- Launch installations for the German rocket weapons begin construction in western Germany. The majority is centered on the French/Luxembourg/Belgium/German border but there are dozens more elsewhere. The scientists and engineers at Peenemünde had not been idle. Since the demonstration of the A4 to many key leaders in the Reich the facility had made significant strides.

    The current model, the A4c, has slightly longer range and more accuracy than its predecessors of the A4 and A4b. An A4d model is nearing productions which have further increased accuracy and slight increase in destructive payload. Von Braun though is working intensely on his next great rocket: the A5. The A5 is still in development but would have considerable more range, accuracy and payload all in one, making the A4 painfully obsolete. The A5 design has had complications and delays as scarce resources had been transferred to the A4, delaying the A5 until early 1945 at the earliest.

    May 6th, 1944- Brazilian militarist-fascists, due to their massive influx of armaments and “volunteers” from the SAFB member-nations, defeat a sizeable army of center and left wing soldiers. With this victory the military junta strengthens its hold in eastern Brazil, particularly the cities, forcing many of the pro-democracy and pro-socialism to flee into the countryside where only their burning hatred for the fascists has kept them from descending into conflict amongst themselves.

    In China the Nationalists and Communists are forced to curtail any offensive operations for the foreseeable future. They had regained moderate tracts of land, but losses and expenditures had been high. The United States continues to generously supply the Nationalists, though the supply lines to do this are stretched and few. The Soviet Union supplies its Communist proxies but these are usually leftover scraps deemed too outdated for the rapidly modernizing Red Army.

    Despite the seemingly lackluster supply of rifles, ammunition, and vehicles given to the People’s Liberation Army, it had bolstered it tremendously and allowed it to expand to become a very large, if relatively untrained, army.

    May 10th, 1944- Throughout the Middle East National Islamic cells, particularly in French Syria, Egypt and Transjordan, rise up in arms against their Entente overlords. In Iraq the military quickly occupies the majority of the British bases, though not without a tough fight in many of them, costing the Iraqis dearly in trained men and vehicles, both of which are limited supply in comparison to the British and French. Despite this, the material and weapons captured at these locations would be put to good use.

    May 16th, 1944- In the first six days of what was quickly being dubbed “Arab Spring” by journalists, the Islamic National Movement flares like a pox across the Middle East. British and French troops in many instances are overwhelmed by sheer numbers, caught off guard and trapped in many cities.

    But the larger military bases, full of troops, tanks, and aircraft, begin to mobilize their garrisons to secure strategic cities. The British and French may not have known the exact date of the large-scale rebellion, but they knew it had been coming and had military units on standby to deter and crush any Islamic rebels.

    The war had started off favorably for the Movement, but resistance by the Entente was stiffening, though the Middle Eastern rebels and fascists are continuing to gain more territory and supporters every day.

    May 23rd, 1944- British armored divisions, assisted by mechanized infantry divisions, begin confronting Islamic National Movement cells. Despite being supplied by the Axis governments the lack of tanks is a deathblow.

    Though the Movement has captured several Entente tanks, they lack the training and proper replacement parts. Munitions would not be a problem for the first few engagements but the Movement had little to no ammunition reserves for tank armaments.

    May 25th, 1944- Three more tank divisions arrive to Tripoli, less than half are Praetorian. Mussolini knows of Nightfall and though he wouldn’t be able to contribute much on the Italian/French border due to the heavy fortifications and the mountainous terrain, the Italian dictator is willing to retake the initiative in the western half of North Africa. Not only would it help tie down French forces from reinforcing France and the Low Countries, which the German General Staff wants very much, but when the Germans launched their offensive on Western Europe that would mean the French would have little to no desire to reinforce their North African territories, especially with their own country under assault.

    May 28th, 1944- Rapid reinforcements arrive from the Reich to Balck’s DAK. They are to take advantage of the chaos enveloping much of the Middle East. It will take some time for them to reach Tobruk. The former British fortress is now being used as a forward operating base for the Afrika Korps. German and Italian logistics have been able to stretch towards eastern Libya and have cemented themselves into a strong support system to help any offensive east into Egypt.

    Balck plans to drive towards Egypt in mid June.

    May 29th, 1944- German General Staff sets a date for Operation Nightfall: September 25th, 1944. By that time most of the rocket sites would have been constructed and readied, the bombing force would have been rebuilt to a formidable air fleet once again, and the Heer would have been able to fully resupply and receive more of the new weapons that had only just begun to go into full production. The most crucial factor of the German Army, the panzers and mechanized vehicles, would have been brought up to full strength and even expanded.

    But in the meantime the Entente would also expand. The French and British militaries were growing and modernizing rapidly. On the diplomatic front the Entente is pushing hard for the Low Countries to join them as they could be used as a bulwark against the Fascist tide. Belgium is returning the feelers though it has no commitment as of yet. The Netherlands and Luxembourg refuse to join in fear of inviting German wrath.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  4. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 44: Desert Arrow and Hightower

    Ensign Mark Willard-
    Ensign Mark Willard watched with amazed eyes at the massive fleet massed before him. Standing on deck aboard the USS Valiant, just off the coast of northeastern Australia, he gazed upon dozens of capital ships, scores of escorts and well over a hundred transport ships… and this was only a large portion of the vast armada soon to set sail for the East Indies, not the entirety.

    Overhead a constant presence was felt by the U.S. and British Commonwealth air forces, numbering in the hundreds in organized squadrons. In the distance two American carriers and the recently arrived British carrier were like fat whales in the water, but as the war had shown that carriers were not whales.

    They were sharks carrying little sharks.

    Not long now, he thought. By tomorrow the armada would set sail and the Japanese Empire would tremble.

    And then what many were already calling the Fall of Japan could be set in motion with vigor.

    June 2nd, 1944- A large U.S.-Commonwealth fleet leaves Australia, their target: the Dutch East Indies. The operation, Code-named Hightower, is the largest invasion of the U.S. military to date with hundreds of thousands of soldiers assembled and readied.

    June 5th, 1944- The U.S./Commonwealth coalition lands their tanks, vehicles, and men onto the beaches of the Dutch East Indies. The primary landings are in southern Java, southern Sulawesi, and eastern Moluccas. As the ground forces secure the majority of the beaches, overhead the airborne troopers land in their thousands across stretches of the islands to properly secure flanks and to disrupt enemy communication, coordination and troop movements.

    Some paratroopers land off course and drown in ocean water or trapped deep behind in enemy lines, these unfortunate few would perish but the majority would land in their designated drop-zones and proceed towards their objectives with trained efficiency.

    On the beach landings thousands of American and Commonwealth soldiers depart their landing craft and storm Japanese defensive fortifications. The Japanese have had well over a year for extensive preparations but with Burma, eastern Mongolia, Siberia and multiple islands in the east/southeast Pacific under attack by the Entente, Soviets and Americans the Empire simply did not have the time or resources to sufficiently secure its vast holdings.

    After several hours all the landing zones are secured, and thus begins the mass unloading of American and Commonwealth men, weapons, vehicles and other assortments of supplies necessary for war. In the skies hundreds of bombers of all types hammer Japanese positions. Beach landings push inward while at the same time extending to reach and link up with other landings parallel to their positions.

    In Japan Prime Minister Tojo, a former Army general himself, orders 50,000 more soldiers to boost the garrisons in the Dutch East Indies. But there are not 50,000 soldiers readily available. They will have to be pulled from a variety of secondary fronts and occupied territories.

    While the message that reinforcements are coming reaches the Japanese commanders of the Dutch East Indies, the realities of this happening soon are apparent to all and realize that it will be some time, if at all, that these reinforcements arrive.

    Private Akio Kato, eastern Mongolia-
    It was distasteful to go eastward, but it was necessary.

    Soviet tanks, planes and soldiers had steadily pushed the Empire out of Mongolia for months now, casualties high on both sides but with Japan fighting a multi-front war it simply did not have the resources to spare in effective resistance against the Russian Bear and its Mongolian puppets.

    He sighed and sipped the weak tea from a tin cup in his hands. The hands were scarred and rough, telltale signs of field grunt work. Several kilometers away the Rising Sun flew tired and solemn above the Mongolian city of Tamsagbulag, the wind caressing it but abandoning it shortly after, leaving it limp and hanging.

    Tamsagbulag was the last true bastion of defiance in eastern Mongolia still in Japanese hands. How long that would last though, he did not know. Even know the drone of bombers not built in the Home Islands rumbled over the horizon. Soviet bombers and judging by the deep roar it was many, very many.

    Kato was a warrior of the Emperor, defender and conqueror for the Empire but that distant yet ever-growing in pitch drone tore at his fortitude. He had been bloodied, thrown around, days on end marching in retreat. ‘Advancing to the rear!’ they said, the officers. Fools, the lot of them. Their pride and ambition forced tens of thousands to die so far from the Home Islands. He suffered from nightmares and his left hand had the habit of twitching on the eve of battle.

    As the drone became louder and louder it began doing so now. A tic-tic of the hand's muscles.

    Above all, he was tired.

    This was not a war Japan could win, no matter how fervently he wished or how ferocious his commanders became. The USSR, the USA, the Entente and their allies all constricting the Imperial domain, pushing it further and further inwards, squeezing, watching as the blood and meat of the peoples of Asia spilled over the land.

    Kato finished his cooling tea, cleaned his tin can with a splash of water from the creek nearby and rose to head to the half-hidden buried bunker. It was not perfect protection, a direct hit would kill all that dwelled in it, but it was better than nothing.

    He jogged in, watching as others followed, their minds focusing on the air raid to come. Outside anti-aircraft crews readied, officers bellowed orders, and the few ragged squadrons of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service took flight from the airfield to rout the Red Air Force’s bombers and fighters. Water against rock would have been more effective, but Kato kept these thoughts to himself. To speak aloud would have seen him censured at best or executed at worst with him family name becoming dishonored by the son that carried it into far-away lands.

    He knew others thought as he did, but they too kept it to themselves for the very same reasons. To speak up was to die and dishonor his family, to run was to die and dishonor his family. To fight… was likely to see him die but at least his soul would go to the Yasukuni Shrine and his father and mother would be able to go through the market with heads held high.

    The bombers’ engines were loud as deep thunder now, roaring and blaring like angry gods. Bombs began to drop on the plains leading into the city; the Russians knew the Japanese had dug extensive protective lines and sought to soften them up, which they did. Scores of Imperial soldiers lay as shredded meat and burnt, smoking bones in the fields. In the city hundreds died. Both Mongolian and Japanese corpses littered the streets and filled the fiery husks of buildings that were victims of aerial vengeance.

    Kato could hear the tack-tack-tack of anti-aircraft fire and he wondered if they were hitting anything. A moment later a loud crash was heard, not sixty meters away.

    A private peeped out and said in an excited voice. “We got one! We got one of the-” a flying piece of serrated shrapnel saw an end to his exclamation. A piece of metal not longer than Kato’s thumb had lodged itself in the boy’s right eye. They hoisted up the corpse and allowed him to block the doorway leading upwards. If more shrapnel followed, it would hit the dead man, saving the others or at least most of them.

    Is this what they had come to? Cold, calculating duty in the name of a dying empire? By the Emperor, what was the point anymore?

    As the Army troopers and non-coms sat in that dirt and wood bunker, buried by sandbags and more dirt, they waited, helpless to contribute and suicidal to withdraw. Pride and honor saw them stay. And duty, ever the looming father, saw them stay. Near total silence loomed between them.

    After almost thirty minutes the bombings ceased and the drone faded. Whistles were blown and Kato returned to his post with the rest of his depleted company.

    In the distance a cloud of dust was growing large. He knew what it was, as did everyone else: Soviet armor and mechanized infantry. Too many to hold off for long, but they would try, the coming deaths would show that they at least tried.

    Wiping the sweat from his brow ceased the stinging in his eyes, albeit temporarily, as he checked his Arisaka rifle, making sure it was clear of dirt and blood. Satisfied he clamored forward into a recently created foxhole and lay there, waiting, watching, as the Red Army drove to the east, to reclaim what they thought was theirs by alliance with the Mongolians. It would be bloody and no matter how long the Imperial Army held off the Communists, they would be forced to withdraw in due course.

    These grim thoughts drifted in his mind, but so too did another. I will not die here, I will not die here. I will not.

    June 6th, 1944- Commonwealth and American armor begin forming on land, assembling for the drive towards Batavia. Despite the Japanese sabotaging the roads as they are pushed back, the engineer elements of the coalition forces are working fast, causing the delays to be minimal.

    Even with overhead air support the road to Batavia is not going to be an easy task, with tens of thousands of Imperial soldiers and a willingness to lay down their lives for the Emperor and the Empire.

    June 7th- 16th, 1944- The Dutch East Indies’ cities of Manado, Kema, Kendari, Makassar, and Oosthaven are freed of Japanese tyranny. With these cities now in U.S./Commonwealth hands Sulawesi is well on the way towards full liberation, with the islands of Java and Sumatra being more difficult to take as the Japanese are more dug in and forcing the Americans, British, Australians, and the New Zealanders to advance at a methodical, though slower, pace than Eisenhower and Gott would like.

    June 18th-June 21st, 1944- Field Marshal Balck launches Operation: Desert Arrow. The German Afrika Korps, numbering over two hundred and thirty panzers (mainly Panzer IVs and StuG IIIs)and one hundred and ten thousand men, move out from their forward operating bases in eastern Libya towards western Egypt. The DAK is supported by less than a hundred Italian tanks, all older models, and almost a hundred and seventy thousand Italian infantrymen (much of the veteran and better equipped units were pulled west to West Libya for future operations against French Tunisia and French Algeria (this front has become a stalemate as the Italians build up their forces and the French fortify their territories).

    Even with the large influx of men, material and vehicles from the Reich, Balck knows that Egypt will not be easy to take. The British grip is not quite iron strong but still formidable, and due to the large presence of British soldiers the Islamic National Movement cells had been forced to perform minor guerrilla warfare and ambushes. The British simply have too many men, tanks, and planes to effectively oust out of Egypt without Axis aid in the form of an army.

    Facing Balck is two hundred and twenty thousand British soldiers, four hundred and seventeen tanks and an RAF recently reinforced to outnumber the German Luftwaffe and Italian Regia Aeronautica by a slim, but noticeable, margin.

    Desert Arrow began with no pre-offensive bombardment as that would warn the Eighth Army. This gives the Axis the element of surprise but Field Marshal Cunningham has learned from his mistakes and experiences in Libya and has a multi-layered defensive system with extensive minefields and overlapping fields of fire.

    Cunningham has also placed his armored units away from the frontline, so as to avoid the initial losses that would bring, as well as bolstering British infantry with more and more anti-tank rockets and explosives bought from the United States or made in Britain.

    The opening phases of the offensive go well for Balck as Axis armor and infantry drive eastwards, slowed down only by tenacious British defenders and large minefields.

    In response to the Axis army moving into Egypt, Islamic National Movement cells rise from hiding and join their “liberators” in fighting the British and the Egyptian Royal Army. The Egyptian Royal Army was small, weak, poorly led, and almost its entirety was stationed in the cities to repress Movement support. With the Axis advancing ever closer to Alexandria, more and more of the Egyptian military joins the Movement though they are by far the minority as most would remain loyal… for now.

    Private First Class Jared Walker, somewhere in the Pacific-
    The swaying of the troopship in rough waters was as bad as he would have guessed. Many were puking over the railings on deck, some puked into buckets, and others unfortunately puked on the flooring, giving the air a sour smell.

    Cigarettes helped keep the smell down, as did open view-ports, but only just. It was, smelly, and overly crowded.

    ‘Join the Marines and see the world!’ they said. What a load of crap, he thought.

    Randall began laughing. Apparently he had said it aloud and his friend heard. The laugh was infectious and Jared found himself chuckling despite himself.

    After a brief moment their smiles faded and they continued their card game on Randall’s bunk. Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em, only true way to play the new company captain would say, being a native Texan he was the most patriotic pro-Texas soldier in the Corps. Had to be, but that was a moot note.

    As they played, another man heaved his lunch into a bucket. To counter it, both of them lit up smokes. Both took deep drags, enjoying the strong American tobacco. They continued to play. Jared won some hands, Randall won more.

    After watching Randall win another two dollars from the pot, Jared spoke up.

    “I know where we are going,” he said smoothly, his forearm wiping some sweat from his brow.

    “Do you, now?” he friend asked quizzically. He put his recent earnings into a growing pile; quite a contrast from Jared’s shrinking one. “Well do tell, General Walker. Where is our all-knowing and wise Joint Chiefs sending us?” The sarcasm was heavy in the other Marine’s tone and Jared chuckled again.


    “Really?”Randall was surprised, he had not expected that.

    “Yes, really,” replied Jared. “I heard it from a lieutenant in another company. It seems the higher-ups want to reinforce Burma so French Indochina can be liberated all the faster. The war in the East Indies is going more or less smoothly, ‘all according to plan’ some say. When we reach Burma, we will most like assist in a future attack into Siam and from there we can march all over French Indochina.”

    “Interesting, but why,” asked the other Marine.

    “Well,” began Jared, “Eisenhower is receiving enough troops and weapons from the States as it is and the liberation of the East Indies is occurring rapidly. But,” he stressed the word, “the campaign in Burma took a long, long time as they were poorly supplied with the necessary manpower and equipment. Now with Burma in our hands we can advance into French Indochina and when both French Indochina and Dutch East Indies are ours the Japanese will suffer from lack of resources. Oil, rubber, magnesium, you name it. Without those regions their industry will eat itself up in no time.”

    “General Walker at it again,” Randall snickered.

    Jared ignored him. “From Indochina we can push into China proper and support the Chinese Nationalists in the south better than ever. We can help put them into a strong position to counter the Chinese Communists.”

    “But they’re allies, the Second United Front and all.”

    "Yeah… for now, but when Japan is defeated the two largest factions in China will play out their civil war to its finish. And we can’t let the Commies take China, hell no, so we will send them a lot more material and possibly even American troops to bolster them against the Communist in North China. The Russians are supplying the CPC with leftover weapons but once the Soviets launch an all out attack on Japanese territory, which they will, the Chinese Commies will be a huge threat to our interests.”

    Randall was silent for a moment, processing what Jared had said.

    “Shit, Jared, why are you a Marine grunt? With a brain and an outlook like that, you could be an officer, easy.”

    “I… I never thought of becoming an officer, if I’m honest.” And it was the truth. He scratched his chin, knowing he would have to shave soon. “I’ll give it some thought.”

    “You should, you would be better with bars than stripes,” and Randall was serious.

    “I’ll give it some thought,” he repeated, and he would. To break the silence that had enveloped them some Marine, not too far away, threw up. That brought them back. “It’s your turn to deal,” he said as he handed the shuffled cards to Randall, who quickly began to deal them out between the two of them.

    And their next game of poker ended with Randall taking another three dollars from him. Christ, he should either get better or quit. But he wouldn’t and he didn’t and he began to shuffle the cards again for another round.

    June 22nd, 1944- U.S. infantry, supported by several divisions of British and Australian tanks and mechanized infantry, encircle Batavia and begin encroaching towards the heart of the city. Japanese resistance numbers in the many thousands, holed up and running low on heavy munitions. In spite of this shortage casualties amongst the Commonwealth and U.S. men are high as more and more Imperial soldiers are pretending to surrender, but in fact have explosives strapped to their chests and causing maximum devastation amongst the common soldiery.

    An unofficial ‘take no prisoners’ policy is put into place, despite both Gott and Eisenhower denouncing this. Even with high command disapproval, the shooting of any and all Japanese soldiers for whatever reason, even if they are in fact surrendering (though this is rare), is extremely high in occurrence.

    June 24th, 1944- Prime Minister Tojo and his ministers, in conjunction with Marshal-Admiral Yamamoto authorize the withdrawal from the several slivers of eastern Mongolian territory that the Empire had retained thus far. These divisions would supplement the trench-defense networks that had been in development for several months throughout Mengkukuo. Though not an ideal way to stop the Soviet Bear, it will at least slow them down long enough for a new tank design to come into production.

    This tank is the Type 5 Chi-Ri medium tank, supporting a 75mm cannon. While the latest and most powerful Japanese tank, it is still inferior to the Soviets T-34, Su-2 and more in line with the American Sherman, though lacking the rounded deflecting armor that had become commonplace in the major world power’s the past several years, and not as mass-produced as other major powers more powerful tanks.

    The Type 5 Chi-Ri should entering frontline combat in the coming weeks as their deployment continued with little to no interruption.

    After heavy fighting on the outskirts of Batavia, the Japanese are pushed ever inwards in a tightening grip by U.S./Commonwealth divisions. Throughout the Dutch East Indies the U.S./Commonwealth hold air superiority with the few remaining Japanese squadrons running low on fuel and spare parts, forcing many to be grounded and their pilots thrown into the meat grinder of ground combat.

    Field Marshal Hermann Balck, western Egypt-
    His command vehicle drove past a burning Panzer IV, its flames licking and crackling into the air. A body, dressed in German desert khaki lay beside it, his figure unburned but cut down by machine-gun fire. Red and black blood stained the sand around the fallen panzer crewman. Engineers attempted to extinguish the flames so they could scour the panzer and retrieve anything that could be valuable.

    Watching the metal bend and melt, he doubted there would be much left but warped scrap metal. Shame, really.

    In the distance he could see Mersa Matruh, and it was ablaze by fires. The Luftwaffe dominated the sky, temporarily, and punished the Egyptian city for its defiance. The British had held him off long enough that Desert Arrow was running behind schedule, if only slightly.

    Men on horses approached his vehicle from the south as it resided off the main road. Panzer after panzer, followed by trucks, half-tracks and foot-slogging infantry continued heading towards the city. Intelligence predicted it was held by only a thousand or less soldiers of the Eighth Army and being outnumbered as they were the British should surrender relatively soon.

    Most likely wouldn’t, but it was a hope Balck wished to occur for it would accelerate the drive towards Alexandria and put Desert Arrow back on track. Hopefully, he thought.

    As the horses drew closer, Balck noticed von Stauffenberg bring an MP-40 to bear. He cocked the weapon, readying it to fire.

    “Nervous, Major?” he asked, bemused.

    “A little, sir,” his adjutant replied honestly. “I’m not comfortable with people I can’t trust, nor never met. These,” he gestured to the men on the approaching horsemen, “radicals are valuable to our war here, but that does not mean I will trust them.”

    “Wise beyond your years, Klaus,” he said in a half-serious tone.

    “Thank you, sir,” von Stauffenberg replied in the same tone and manner as his superior officer.

    The Muslim men rode up to Balck, weapons holstered or strapped over shoulders, a flag with the German cross crudely painted on showing they meant no harm.

    “Who is in command?” asked an individual leading the Islamic National Movement fighters in thickly accented German.

    “I am,” Balck said as he rose from his sitting position. There was no roof on the vehicle so it allowed him to stand up straight. “Field Marshal Hermann Balck, commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps. And you are?”

    The Muslim leader removed a scarf, which covered his mouth and strong jaw from dust, and nodded in respect to Balck.

    “I am Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, commander of Movement forces in west Egypt.”

    Ah, the famous colonel of Egypt. “It is good to meet you, colonel,” Balck replied with repect in his voice.

    “And you as well, Herr Generalfeldmarschall.” Nasser turned his head to look at Mersa Matruh. Balck could see the bombing of a city of his nation bothered him, but knew that Nasser realized it was necessary.

    Nasser turned back from the burning city to look at the Germans. “Are you ready, Field Marshal Balck?”

    “Yes,” thank God the Reich had supported the Movement, if they had not this would all be much harder, “let’s take the city and from there, on to Alexandria.”

    “To Alexandria!” yelled Nasser in German and assumingly the same in Arabic, his right hand in the air via a victorious thrust upwards. His men followed suit, yelling the Arabic version of the words.

    “To Alexandria!” announced Black and his staff. German and Italian troops walking by that overheard the proclamation, took it up as their own battle-cry.

    “To Alexandria! To Alexandria! To Alexandria!” they cried in their own languages as more bombers pummeled the city before them into ever increasing piles of rubble.

    June 30th, 1944- After months of slogging, slow warfare, Rangoon falls to the British-American army led by General Slim and General Bradley. With the capital of Burma now out of Japanese hands, nationalist movements throughout the country rise in open warfare. This will further deteriorate the Japanese position in Burma.

    The movements had fought bravely in guerrilla-style war for years but with the Japanese, on orders from General Masakazu Kawabe, withdrawing towards the Burma-Siam border they had become emboldened and are lashing out at their occupiers with terrible fury. Kawabe would be harshly criticized by many in the Imperial Japanese Army for this withdrawal. Only Yamamoto and his allies prevent the Burmese Theatre IJA commander from having to commit seppuku.

    Kawabe would retain command of Siam and its allied troops. The Japanese general will have less than a hundred thousand men in Siam, plus local forces, and with the British-American army moving ever closer to the border there are fears that the Japanese will have to abandon any pretense of Siam being an effective ally and occupy the country entirely.

    This would ease fears in Tokyo of the Siamese becoming turncoats, but would lay tremendous burdens on the local Imperial divisions as they would be spread too thin across the country and the supply line would be more difficult to maintain without local assistance.

    July 2nd, 1944- Mersa Matruh falls to the Axis. With this city now under Axis control the DAK and its Italian, as well as Egyptian, allies move east as fast as possible. The farther they advance however stretches their supply lines and Field Marshal Cunningham has yet to deploy his primary armored divisions to the fight. He is holding them in reserve, waiting, watching for the Axis to overextend themselves or make a catastrophic mistake.

    He only needs one chance, a single opening that will allow him to cripple the Afrika Korps and the Italians and push them back to Libya.

    July 3rd, 1944- Batavia is liberated from the Japanese. With the capital now in allied hands the western half of Java is now under the full control of the coalition. The eastern half however remains quite a problem however. To rectify this bombers from recently captured airfields pummel the Japanese forces spread out through the forests and hills of eastern Java.

    The advances on Sumatra have stalled significantly in the face of fierce resistance. Fresh divisions of Army and Marine divisions from the United States are on their way to break the stalemate.

    July 10th, 1944- Balck, after a necessary supply rest in Mersa Matruh to allow his supply lines to catch up and become effective, pushes towards his next objective. A small port city named El Alamein, vital to his advance onto Alexandria.

    In response Cunningham brings the bulk of his forces to bear, knowing the coming battle would be crucial and could very well decide the outcome of the Western Desert Campaign.

    July 12th, 1944- First significant American reinforcements and resupply arrive to Burma, greatly bolstering General Bradley's forces. General Slim is not receiving much past Indian divisions, and even these have slowed down in arriving since the Middle East continued to simmer with rebellion.

    July 16th, 1944- Palembang is liberated by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. With this critical city now in their hands the Japanese grip on southern Sumatra is fracturing. More and more Imperial troops are moving towards the north, towards better established positions. Rumor is that the Imperial Command will soon order to move these soldiers to French Indochina. Nothing on this matter has been ordered as of yet, though some believe it will.

    Japanese reinforcements finally arrive to the Dutch East Indies, principally Borneo and northern Sumatra but is not the promised fifty thousand men. Instead, it numbers barely thirty thousand. Another division is soon to be on the way, but will be sent to Malaya to begin preparing it for the inevitability of an invasion.

    July 17th, 1944- British commanders in Transjordan launch an offensive to topple the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Rashid Aali al-Gaylani. Though lacking large numbers of infantry (as British manpower is becoming increasingly spread thin), the British more than make up for this with heavy artillery, modern tanks and overpowering air-power, strong enough to quickly quell the Iraqi militaristic-fascist government if all goes according to plan. French divisions from French Syria, where the Islamic National Movement had been effectively crushed (though many Movement fighters still fought to free Syria while others went into hiding, waiting for the right opportunity), join the British in their endeavor to invade Iraq, seeing the strategically placed Middle Eastern country as a thorn into Entente operations.

    The Iraqis have the infantry and small arms, but lack in almost every other category, especially combat experience, air support and armored vehicles.

    Within hours the Entente tanks and trucks break through half-assembled defenses and roll east towards Baghdad. Nothing can truly stop them and they know it, so too do the Iraqis and many are avoiding direct confrontation and forced to use guerrilla tactics to even slow down the Entente. It doesn’t work very well.

    August 6th, 1944- After a quick, brutal offensive from the Transjordan deep into the heart of Iraq the Entente advanced elements begin to surround Baghdad, waiting for the rest of their forces to arrive to begin a proper siege.

    Much of the Iraqi government and higher ups flee to Persia which is, by and large, free of Entente influence and control as they had pushed the few Entente personnel out of their country early on in the uprisings. Persia was unable to help their ally Iraq due to British India bordering them to the east, but is more than willing to take refugees and Iraqi military assets to bolster their own military disposition.

    The British, under Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck are amassing an army to invade Persia but are still in the early stages of assembly, as India had seen much of the British garrison redeployed elsewhere in the world to fight on various fronts and the local Indian soldiery was not adequately equipped in anything past small arms. It would take some time for Auchinleck to assemble this army, many months at least.

    The world, after years of large-scale, destructive, bloody fighting, turns its weary eyes from mainland Europe and mainland Asia and watches, with interest and fear, for the outcome of the battles of the Pacific and North Africa.
    Nerdman3000 and Jack Brisco like this.
  5. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 45: The World Trembles

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, Munich, Germany-
    They held hands as they lay in their shared bed. Raven black hair covered his left shoulder and he felt the wetness of her tears as Anneliese cried against him.

    “Shhh, shhh,” he whispered softly, but she cried harder, her body shaking. The sun’s early morning lights began to edge around the blackout curtains.

    “I don’t want you to go,” she murmured.

    “I don’t want to either, but I have to. Duty calls, and if this works the war could be over.”

    “Could, key word there, Elrich, could,” she stressed the word, it coming out like a hiss.

    He patted her shoulder, trying to comfort her. “If I can survive the Eastern Front, I can survive the Western one.”

    Her gray eyes looked up at him, his fingers intertwined in her hair. They looked at each other for a moment, savoring their affection for each other.

    “I’m pregnant,” she said suddenly.

    Elrich’s fingers froze in their massage and he looked upwards at the roof. If one were to see his face they would have seen pride, despair, nervousness and fear.

    “Pregnant?” he inquired.

    “Yes, I suspected last month, but I wanted to be sure and now I am. I’m pregnant,” she repeated.

    I… I’m happy for you.”

    “For me?” she glared at him.

    “For us I mean, for us,” he spoke quickly; he didn’t want to fight right before he left for the west.

    She smiled a small smile. “I’m sorry for my attitude these past few days. I’m stressed and worried about you.”

    He reached down and squeezed her hands in his. “Don’t be. I’ll come home, previously I had two reasons, but now,” he gestured towards her midsection, “I have a third as well.”

    She smiled again and angled herself upwards. Their lips met and they hugged each other, consoling the other.

    “I will return, Anneliese, I swear it.”

    They embraced again, outside the morning birds began chirping their melodies.

    August 8th, 1944- General Bradley and General Slim begin amassing their respective forces to invade Siam. With the recent influx of U.S. soldiers and supplies the liberation of the country is likely to be considerably faster than the liberation of Burma. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff are determined to reach more of southern China to supply the Nationalists as with the Soviets now in control of Mongolia they are poise to invade Mengkukuo and rumor is that the Soviet offensive into Manchuria is soon to begin.

    If this was to happen the Communist Chinese would be directly supplied and enforced by the Soviet Union and the United States cannot risk all of China falling to the Communists. To combat this nearly one hundred and fifty thousand U.S. soldiers are being sent to Burma and the strategic objective is to surge eastwards to capture Hanoi. The hope is that capturing northern Siam and northern Vietnam will cut off the Japanese soldiers in the rest of French Indochina and that they will slowly wither and die without supplies from the Home Islands.

    Field Marshal Balck, with his German and Italian army ready, moves towards Alexandria with the intent to capture it and proceed along the coast to the Suez Canal, ignoring the relatively unimportant Cairo.

    As he moves along the coast Cunningham initiates his attack at the strategically important port town of El Alamein. The British are slightly outnumbered but have better air support and some off shore assistance by the Royal Navy. They also have more modern tanks and are using the lessons learned throughout the Desert Campaign to good use.

    Balck, knowing casualties would be heavy but that withdrawing would cost him the momentum he had gained since Desert Arrow began, met Cunningham head on and the clash of two skilled commanders began in bloody earnest.

    August 9th, 1944- U.S. Navy squadrons confront the token Japanese taskforce defending Wake Island. The half dozen destroyers, two heavy cruisers and an escort carrier cause only scant damage among the Americans ships, but all but three destroyers are crippled or sunk. The three survivors head towards Saipan for repairs and to be integrated into the local defense squadrons.

    August 10th, 1944- The civil war in Brazil rages on with SADU supported elements receiving a massive influx of weapons and material from their sponsor: the United States. A few hundred American volunteers and special operatives from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) arrive as well to help train and organize the Revolutionary Brazilian Freedom Front. The Brazilian military junta, led by General Antonio Azevedo, begins to secure its hold in the east and south.

    Azevedo, whom had been a major three years ago, had rapidly ascended the ranks of the Brazilian military and was noted for his cunning, skill in politics and military aptitude. Azevedo hopes for an offensive, codenamed Amarelo-Um (Yellow-One), aimed at the vital port city of São Luís. This is one of the primary port cities the U.S. ships in weapons and supplies, and the city has a large stockpile that Azevedo dearly wants to be in the hands of his army to give it the edge it needs to end the war in his favor.

    The offensive would begin in January of 1945 as he has to wait the formation of new divisions and the rebuilding of his logistics train. The RBFF knows that an offensive is coming and is readying itself. It has a weapon and technological edge but not the numbers nor military experience or leadership that the junta’s forces have.

    August 13th, 1944- U.S. Marines land on Wake Island. With no naval support and only a few half-strength squadrons for the Japanese the outcome is inevitable.

    Elsewhere in the Pacific the eastern half of Java is cleansed of Japanese troops. General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Gott begin reallocation of available troops to northern Sumatra and central Borneo. The garrisons on New Britain and New Ireland, both islands having been liberated some time ago, are halved to help reinforce other units across the Dutch East Indies.

    With Nightfall rapidly approaching, Hitler orders 300,000 German soldiers from the Eastern Territories to the Western Front. The reasoning is that these thirty divisions will act as a strategic reserve and to assist in any breakthroughs that occur as the British and French will either match or outnumber the Germans in most engagements in Northern France.

    With thirty percent of the Eastern Territory Army being withdrawn to the Fatherland, the Germans are forced to rely more and more on their local allies and followers. Entire divisions of Slavic Aryan soldiers are created for the Slavic Auxiliary Corps, led by German officers. These soldiers are loyal to National Socialism and have come to accept their role in the German Reich. Though not on par with Germanic peoples, the Slavs are considered close cousins and those that have a ‘pure’ genealogy and loyalty to the Reich and the Führer could go far in the newly acquired territories.

    The Ukrainians for their part have begun to open newly constructed and/or rebuilt factories that begin churning out weapons, vehicles, tanks and other war materials for both their National Republic, of which two-third of it goes towards their armed forces, with the last third being gifted to the Reich’s garrisons in the Eastern Territories. This assists the Germans with their supplying and reinforcement of the forces readying for Nightfall, easing the logistical strain in the East significantly.

    Field Marshal Alan Cunningham, El Alamein, Egypt-
    Black smoke lifted towards the heavens, carrying the remains of fuel and flesh. Wrinkling his nose in disgust the British field marshal looked past the remains of the latest German attack. He saw nothing at the moment but he was wary of any tricks the Desert Fox might throw at him, but it appeared that Balck simply could not force a breakthrough the formidable Eighth Army lines.

    Cunningham smiled. His men had finally stopped Balck decisively in Egypt. Thousands of bodies and scores of tanks and vehicles littered the desert sands, the sand having burned into glass from the heat of destroyed vehicles. The Eighth Army had suffered a multitude of setbacks in the war against the Afrika Korps, but finally it appeared that they had gained the upper hand.

    But he would be worried. Balck wasn’t called the Desert Fox for nothing.

    Looking towards his adjutant, Cunningham spoke what would arguably be some of his most important orders ever uttered. "Bring up the reserves, I wish to break Balck by the end of the month."

    "At once, sir," said the lieutenant-colonel, who went about carryign out those orders. With the reserves in play his rear echelons would be weakened but his frontline troops would be reinforced significantly. It was a risk he was willing to take.

    August 14th, 1944- Cunningham is able to fend off three Axis assaults towards El Alamein and begins to outflank Balck from the south with mechanized and armored reserves. The Desert Fox has to hastily redeploy his own reserves, several Italian divisions, just to stall the British field marshal long enough for Balck’s panzers and mechanized infantry to pull out of the flanking maneuver’s trap zone.

    The Desert Fox is forced to sacrifice one German and three Italian divisions as a rear-guard action to allow the bulk of the Afrika Korps to survive. A painful sacrifice, but necessary.

    August 15th, 1944- Plans for the invasions of the Caroline and Marianas Islands are put forward to the Joint Chiefs who agree to these invasions, seeing them as further constriction of the Japanese Empire, and to allow the American Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” long-range bombers to become in range of southern Japan from forward air bases in the northern Marianas. This would begin the mass-strategic bombing of Japan to cripple its industry and hamper its war effort, and hasten the end of the war in the Pacific.

    August 18th, 1944- The Japanese Wake Island garrison surrenders with only seventy-nine out of its’ three thousand strong force surviving.

    August 21st, 1944- With the massing of German soldiers across the border, their intent quite clear, the Belgian government officially asks for membership in the Entente, which is accepted immediately. This annoys Hitler but it is pointed out that Belgium’s joining of the Entente was inevitable and that this development could actually work in the German’s favor.

    August 22nd, 1944- Cunningham pushes westward with an iron resolve. Despite suffering heavy casualties, especially in his air support as Axis AA coverage was extensive as well as effective, he is adamant in his desire to recapture Mersa Matruh. From here he could push the Axis back to the Libyan-Egyptian border.

    Although they are being pushed back the Afrika Korps is costing Cunningham dearly, and pulling back to hastily built defense lines that are quickly overrun by the Eighth Army but at a very high cost.

    August 23rd, 1944- After five days of trial and examination, twenty-two out of the seventy-nine survivors of the Japanese garrison on Wake Island are executed for war crimes against the American soldiers and civilians that were captured on the island in late 1942. Its commander, Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara, committed suicide hours before his execution.

    Entente soldiers, primarily British, begin crossing the French-Belgian border to establish defensive positions and operating bases to help the Belgians defend against the coming German onslaught. Nearly two hundred thousand British soldiers arrive in Belgium, alongside eighty thousand men of the French Army.

    The Germans are pleased with this development as it thins the Entente out tactically in several important sectors and allows the Germans to have a numbers advantage at the Schwerpunkt: the Ardennes Forest and its surrounding territory.

    August 26th, 1944- A rebellion breaks out in Turkish-held Southern Caucasus, specifically in the former-Soviet province of Georgia. It is centered on the city of Kutaisi. The rebellion does not come as a shock to the Turkish government as the Southern Caucasus had been brimming with dissent since the Treaty of Tula was signed in November of last year.

    It was inevitable that an organized, large-scale rebellion would occur. The Georgian rebels are determined, fairly well armed in small arms, and have a massive underground movement and public support.

    August 27th, 1944- Entente armored and mechanized divisions begin to move east into Persia. British and Indian divisions stationed in western India concurrently move westward. The Persian military, though better prepared than its Iraqi ally, simply does not have the strength to resist the might thrown against it.

    Field Marshal Auchinleck hopes to subdue Persia within six weeks.

    August 28th, 1944- After two days of fierce combat the Turks ask for German assistance in the form of air support and “special pacification units” to help squash the Georgian Rebellion as it now becoming called.

    Local German commanders, with approval from High Command, agree and three squadrons of Stukas and two squadrons of BF-109s arrive immediately to assist the small Turkish air force. The special pacification units deployed by the Germans into northern Georgia are several SS storm brigades commanded by Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger. This arrival of the sadistic SS commander would begin what the survivors of rebellion would call the Days of Horror.

    The Royal Navy defeats the small Persian Navy within hours of the engagement starting, allowing Royal Marines to land in several key ports across Persia’s southern coast. With these quickly secured, or soon to be, four divisions of infantry and some regiments of armor begin landing to secure southern Persia.

    In north-central Egypt, Cunningham nears Mersa Matruh but is forced to stop to allow his logistics to reform and catch up, his forces nearly spent and many of his vehicles needing serious maintenance and repair.

    August 29th, 1944- British Gloster Meteors begin arriving in Northern France in force, though still lacking far behind the German Me-262s in numbers and operational/combat experience. French built Meteors are beginning to roll of the productions lines though these are few in number at the moment.

    Oberführer Oskar Dirlewanger, northern Georgia, Southern Caucasus-
    Screams were his melody.

    Looking out over the burning town he saw his men, clad in SS camouflaged uniforms, dragging men, women and children from their homes. They were returning with whatever valuables there were and setting fire to what little remained. Dirlewanger walked down the dirt road. Two of his men were dragging a half-naked Georgian woman from her home. They were laughing as they took her to a cluster of trees on the edge of town.

    Another house was being evacuated of occupants. Leading the former residents was a late-stage pregnant woman. A man, presumably her husband, was dragged behind her, his nose clearly broken and barely conscious. The SS men dragging him forcibly threw him on the ground, causing the man to cough dirt, blood and spittle onto the ground. He groaned in pain, which elicited a strong kick to the groin by an SS man, creating another, more painful groan.

    Behind them all came a girl of perhaps fourteen, maybe fifteen. That caught Dirlewanger’s attention. With a beckon to the private holding her, she was brought before him. She sported shoulder length brown hair, intricately braided, and she had very beautiful hazel eyes that were a pale light green spattered with brown. Her face was untarnished, except for bruising around her left cheek.

    The SS commander kneeled before her. “Ah, my poor child, what has been done to you?” She of course did not answer as she did not know German. Her mother spoke something in their garbled, barbaric tongue and the daughter replied.

    He did not like the exchange. He slapped the daughter across the face, bruising her right cheek.

    “Do not talk in that tongue. You will learn a more civilized language in due course.” Motioning with his hand, two guards took her away.

    Kneeling before the mother he could see where much of her beauty came from, though these eyes were solid brown. “I will take care of your daughter. She shall become my companion during my mission in your country.”

    In response the mother spit blood-speckled phlegm in his face, impacting against his cheek. Grimacing he wiped it off with his sleeve. Disgusted, he rose from his former position.

    “What an uncivilized people you are,” he declared. Pulling his pistol from his holster he fired three shots into the still groaning husband. One bullet penetrated the leg, another the thigh and one more entered the lower back. Not done to immediately kill, but to punish.

    The man’s wife screamed and screamed. God, it was such a rush to hear it, the most pure music humanity had ever made. Oh how it rung and rang. He was the conductor, and war was his theater. His head was facing the matte-gray clouds when he opened his eyes. Looking downwards he noticed that the wife had crawled to her husband, trying to staunch the bleeding but failing.

    Bored of the scene before him he raised his pistol again and fired a single shot in her midsection. Blood burst from the weak skin and streamed down her stomach in little crimson rivulets. She began to scream at the realization that her baby was dead. He let that realization sink in for several seconds before he fired a bullet into her head, ending her part in the symphony.

    His subordinates were not shocked by this behavior, as it was not only enacted by Dirlewanger himself quite often but most of his men as well.

    “Orders, Oberführer?” asked one of the soldiers near him.

    “Same as before: take the valuables, burn the town, kill the men and children. Enjoy the women, then execute them as well.”

    Jawohl, mein Herr,” responded the soldier as he set off, other tailing him to finish the job. Gunfire and the screaming continued, though had faded somewhat.

    A groan beside him grasped his attention. The husband was crawling, every move obviously painful, towards his now dead wife and babe.

    Snorting, Dirlewanger moved in front of him, his black boots impeding the Georgian’s way. The man raised his head to face the barrel of the butcher’s pistol.

    “What a piss-poor excuse for a country.” A single shot fired and the man died. Reloading, the SS commander returned to his command vehicle where the girl was tied and gagged, but in clear view of what he had done.

    Good, he thought, it would teach her a lesson of power.

    September 2nd, 1944- Sumatra is declared clear of threatening Japanese aggressors, though some pocket forces remain as guerilla units but these are of little concern. The liberation of Borneo nears completion, however the port city of Pontianak is firm in its resistance as supplies and a division of reinforcements arrives from Singapore, despite the USN’s best effort at preventing this. The Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea are considered hot warzones as the Japanese still have a handful of naval squadrons in the area alongside three escort carriers and hundreds of land-based fighters and bombers.

    September 3rd, 1944- Balck, having been pushed to the outskirts of Mersa Matruh reveals his hidden card. All across the Eighth Army supply lines the remnants of the Islamic National Movement in Egypt, led by Colonel Nasser, strike and capture vast amounts of fuel and ammunition, forcing Cunningham to deploy both armor and infantry to recapture his supplies.

    Balck, who has had time to repair, refuel and rearm his panzers, as well as use his small strategic reserve of fresh panzers he had left in the city, strikes back at the Eighth Army and capitalizing on the fatigue on the British infantry and tank crews, he pushes back fast and hard, capturing dozens of tanks and hundreds of vehicles, many undamaged or only lightly so.

    Colonel Abdel Nasser, just west of El Alamein, Egypt-
    “Come on, come on, go, go, go!” he urged his men as they pillaged the British supply depot, taking all they could. Guns, ammunition, fuel and anything else they could load and carry was being taken. The few British soldiers that had been guarding it now lay dead, as did the several men in Quartermaster uniforms.

    Overhead a drone was coming: a fighter. This far east it was undoubtedly an RAF plane. Within minutes it was flying overhead, strafing the Egyptians below him. Small arms and the dozen trucks with machine-guns bolted to the back began firing back with fervor.

    Nasser raised his own gun, a captured British STEN, and began firing, knowing his bullets would do little to it, but perhaps he or one of his men would get lucky.

    The British fighter strafed three more times, killing more and more men in each fly over. On his fourth however the pilot became cocky and flew low enough for the surviving Egyptians to unleash their ammunition near the cockpit.

    It started with sparks, then wispy black smoke but soon developed into a raging inferno where the pilot’s cockpit used to be. The plane dipped and fell into the desert, exploding upon impact. The Egyptian survivors, two thirds of their starting strength, began retrieving anything valuable from the dead and carrying the handful of wounded to the few medics in the trucks. Hopefully some would survive the journey back to their hidden base.

    Climbing atop a former British jeep, Nasser yelled to his men, “Move out, brothers. Soon, all of Egypt will be free!”

    September 4th, 1944- To prevent a rout, Cunningham goes to the frontlines with his veteran armored divisions to halt Balck before he can continue eastwards. What follows is a continuous seventeen hour engagement which sees Balck lose slightly more panzers and much of his Italian infantry, but he has access to ammunition and fuel reserves, while Cunningham is only receiving a trickle in comparison due to the Egyptian nationalists’ disruption of his logistics train.

    September 5th, 1944- After an intense armored engagement Cunningham is wounded, losing his left leg. The Eighth Army, under orders of its recently wounded commander, withdraws to the east, heading back to Alexandria, broken and shattered. With most of the Army’s armored and mechanized units running on fumes, the British hope to recapture several depots of fuel that the Egyptians captured but are dismayed when many of them are destroyed or their fuel relocated somewhere in the desert, hidden to fuel the rapidly encroaching Afrika Korps.

    September 6th, 1944- The rocket sites in western Germany are fully completed and begin receiving the first shipments of the A4c and A4d rockets. These are to be used for both military and propaganda use, as well as to terrorize the Entente soldiers.

    September 7th, 1944- With the recent lack of serious maintenance, low to non-existent fuel reserves, and scarce ammunition for the British Crusaders and Chamberlains, the Eighth Army is falling apart as it makes its desperate trek back to Alexandria.

    Cunningham’s men have to fight dozens of skirmishes against Egyptian nationalists that are not only using up what little fuel and ammunition is left, but is also costing them crucial time. These delaying actions are allowing Balck’s forward elements to capture dozens of tanks and close to two hundred vehicles in a single day, alongside almost sixty thousand British Army soldiers.

    Now the soldiers that are being left behind are largely delaying Balck in turn, but are usually quickly defeated. Not only are they slowing down the Desert Fox, the British soldiers are also destroying their own equipment, leaving little for Balck except scraps but this is to be expected.

    Cunningham, in one of the few times he has attained consciousness warns the Royal Navy commander, his elder brother Andrew, that he cannot guarantee the security of Alexandria and that the Mediterranean Fleet should evacuate its namesake via the Suez Canal as a precaution. Its commander agrees and quickly goes about to leave Alexandria for the Red Sea and from there he will make way towards the port city of Aden.

    But the British admiral will not leave until the fall of the city is inevitable.

    September 10th, 1944- German forward elements are only a mere five kilometers from the outskirts of Alexandria. Realizing that the Eighth Army was in shambles, with very little of its tank force still in active, working service, Field Marshal Cunningham informs Admiral Cunningham that the city was on the cusp of falling.

    The admiral initiates the fallback procedures he was ordered to follow in case Alexandria was undoubtedly on the verge of collapse. The harbor facilities and docks were soon coming under British nava; fire and the vast warehouses of supplies were destroyed, as they could not risk those falling in the hands of the Axis. With the ports destroyed or crippled, which would require months of serious repair to be reopened, the Mediterranean Fleet evacuates through the Suez Canal and promptly set charges on key intersections in the Canal, then detonating them causing the Canal to be disabled for years and causing minor but severe floods throughout eastern Egypt, ensuring the deaths of tens of thousands.

    September 12th, 1944- Balck captures Alexandria and takes Field Marshal Cunningham, who was interred in a hospital due to his injuries, as prisoner. Cunningham refuses to signal the surrender of British forces in Egypt outside of Alexandria. With the floods still dissecting large portions of eastern Egypt, the Germans have to wait for veteran engineer teams to assemble pontoon bridges to cross the thinner flood rivers.

    Balck dispatches two armored divisions alongside accompanying mechanized and infantry divisions to move south and capture Cairo, primarily for a political victory and to assist the Egyptian nationalist force that has besieged the capital, wanting to overthrow the British puppet King Farouk I.

    British presence in southern, particularly south-eastern Egypt, is fierce but these will not be able to go toe-to-toe against the Axis, even with the remnants of the Eighth Army left west of the Nile moving south.

    September 14th, 1944- With pontoon bridges having been established German panzers with support move across the Suez, heading towards the Egyptian border. The resistance facing them is weak and lacking in armaments and crumbles before the Deutsches Afrika Korps.

    September 17th, 1944- Balck reaches the Egyptian-Palestinian border but is under strict orders not to proceed further east, much to his relief as the DAK has been severely depleted by the Egyptian Campaign and is in desperate need of materials and manpower from the Reich, supplies and reinforcement that will not be coming any time soon due to the approaching date of Nightfall.

    September 19th, 1944- The Georgian Rebellion is put down, with great cost to the local populace. The Turkish Army would lose near three thousand troops while the Germans lost less than two hundred. The SS special units are allowed to stay to help maintain "law and order" in the still simmering country.

    September 20th, 1944- The eastern, western and southern portions of Persia have fallen to the Entente. The northern quarter, centered on the capital city of Tehran remains defiant but have no hope in winning or even surviving. Despite this Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, the Shah of Persia, refuses to surrender, though he does take precautionary measures and has his family, specifically his son and heir Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, put into hiding.

    September 23rd, 1944- U.S.-Commonwealth units begin storming across the Siamese/Burmese border, their primary target: Hanoi. Air supremacy belongs to the U.S-Commonwealth army, with only several Japanese fighter squadrons taking to the air where they are quickly overwhelmed and shot down.

    On the ground Japanese resistance is more effective but in the face of overwhelming armor and infantry the IJA is forced backwards kilometer by kilometer.

    September 24th, 1944- Nearly two million German soldiers, thousands of panzers, thousands of artillery guns, and thousands of aircraft, with almost a hundred rocket sites, ready themselves for Operation Nightfall.

    In Berlin the atmosphere is tense. Either this operation would succeed and see Germany become the master of mainland Europe or see the Reich crumble under a storm steel and fire.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    Jack Brisco likes this.
  6. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 46: Nightfall

    “The world is watching; let them see the fire of our righteousness.” –Adolf Hitler, Führer und Reichskanzler of the German Reich

    “I was there when the fire and steel reigned from the sky. Missiles of murder and death butchering thousands, it was hell incarnate. I saw the German Eagle strike, its talons sharp and stained crimson by the blood of its foes.” – Unknown

    “By God, it finally happened.” –Lord Halifax, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

    September 25th, 1944- At 5:00 am local western European time, Operation Nightfall began. Over four hundred A4c and A4d rockets would be launched that day, specifically against civilian targets to cause mass confusion and chaos behind enemy lines, notably in central Belgium. The targeting of the A4 rockets had improved significantly since their initial showcase in Peenemünde years earlier, but were still not the most accurate of weapons and therefore the General Staff opted to use them solely as terror weapons as their effectiveness against military targets would largely be minimal and their reserves of the rockets were limited. The four hundred rockets would kill thousands, wound tens of thousands and cause a massive influx of civilians from cities, clogging road networks and delaying Entente military forces from routing towards the frontlines.

    Overhead thousands of bombers and fighters of the Luftwaffe bombard, strafe, and terrorize north-eastern France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The targets are almost exclusively military, the rockets taking care of the non-military factors. Army bases, naval ports, airstrips, and supple depots are hit devastatingly hard, thanks to intelligence gathered by the extensive Fascist underground movements operating in France and the Low Countries. This intelligence gathering was done by both the German Army’s Abwehr and the SS’s RHSA, though the Abwehr focused on military matters while the RHSA focused on political and ethnic issues. Such was the RHSA’s extent on information gathering over the people of the Low Countries, that a list numbering nearly thirty thousand individuals was compiled. These individuals were to be immediately arrested when control of the Low Countries was established, with many to be executed at a later date.

    Entente quick-reaction squadrons of fighters and interceptors, almost all of which had been in a constant rotation of aircraft for the Combat Air Patrols squadrons for the past month, took to the air to engage the oncoming Germans planes. The clashes of that first day, and the days to follow, would become legend in both the Entente and the Axis. Nearly sixteen hundred aircraft were destroyed on the first day of Nightfall being launched, almost a third were Entente aircraft destroyed on the ground in the early first hours of the attack, the rest were shot down in the hundreds of dogfights and dozens of major air battles that were taking place all across Western Europe.

    The skies over Luxembourg and the Netherlands, both of whom had remained stubbornly neutral in the war in Europe, were quickly cleared of local air forces, leaving total control to the Luftwaffe. In Belgium, the Entente defense squadrons proved quite successful, after the initial destructive first wave of the Luftwaffe, in preventing German bombers from hitting the western third of the country. The central and eastern third, however, became pummeled and thrashed by bombers and the Entente aerial forces in Belgium suffered almost 50% losses, prompting Britain and France to send many reserve squadrons to Belgium to bolster the air defense there. Accompanying these reinforcements are a half dozen squadrons of British Gloster Meteor jet fighters, manned by some of the RAF’s most veteran pilots.

    Beginning at 6:30 a.m. local time, the massed ground army of Germany moved westward. Spearheaded by panzers and mechanized vehicles, the near two million German soldiers swarmed their day one objectives, objectives that had already experienced an hour and a half of heavy artillery. Luxembourg fell to the Nazi invasion within nine hours, but the Wehrmacht do not progress further from there as the General Staff has no plans to attack France’s Maginot Line from their newest conquest as it would lead to massive, irreplaceable casualties. Instead they begin establishing defensive lines and amassing for the next phase of the operation, while almost half of the army that invaded the small European state are transferred to a secret army group assembling in the Ardennes, an army commanded by Field Marshal Heinz Guderian.

    Three hundred and fifty thousand German soldiers invade the Netherlands and quickly push westward. The Dutch Army, many of whom are veterans of the war in the Pacific, are only delaying the inevitable but are surprising German High Command as it was thought the Dutch would collapse almost instantly.

    Five hundred and fifty thousand German soldiers invaded Belgium, but unlike the progress in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, their attacks are met with fierce resistance from British and Belgian troops, with some French divisions there as well, with more being readied in northern France. The Belgian Army fortress of Eben-Emael stalls a significant portion of the German invasion.

    The defenders of Eben-Emael, numbering near three thousand, had been on high alert since Belgium’s induction into the Entente. Due to this readiness the Belgians soldiers were able to defeat a German glider assault in the first hours of the invasion. The Germans’ hope for a quick capture of Eben-Emael was squashed and a large section of the front would remain a standstill. To the north and south though the Germans faced either smaller or not as well defended forts and these were quickly captured, allowing the German army groups to drive further into Belgium’s interior, though casualties were higher than expected.

    September 26th, 1944- First clashes of the German Swallow and the British Gloster Meteor are recorded north-east of Brussels. The results favor the Germans, but the performance of the Meteors worried many. The German jet fighter, having been in combat service for nearly a year, had seen a host of technical and mechanical improvements since its initial mass production and the pilots that flew them were experienced with their aircraft as many had fought in the latter stages of the Eastern Front. The British, flying newly-created jet aircraft with pilots unused to the capabilities of such weapons, suffered higher casualties than their Luftwaffe counterparts but did impress Field Marshal Walter Wever with their early performances.

    The Luftwaffe commander-in-chief was quoted as saying, “If the RAF gain enough experience and learn how to fly their new planes, they will be a dire threat not only to the Luftwaffe, but to the Fatherland as well.”

    With the British deploying the Meteors in growing, but still small numbers, and the French producing several of their own jet squadrons, Wever orders more and more aircraft factories to switch from propeller-powered fighters to jet-powered ones. A half-dozen factories for bombers are also converted into jet fighter manufactories. Further output of aircraft from these would decline in numbers, but raise in quality and performance. Modernity over traditional is the thought in Berlin, at least in terms of weapons.

    September 27th, 1944- A massive air fleet of Heinkel He-179D bombers, the second Ural Bomber, lay waste to the key port city of Antwerp. The air fleet, which lost thirteen percent of its bombers, crippled the key port that was vital to resupplying the BEF from Britain. Other, smaller ports are now having to bear the burden of taking in and distributing the massed influx of men and material from the British Isles.

    With the fires of the Bombing of Antwerp still raging, Prime Minister Halifax is made to leave office after a Vote of No Confidence passed with a majority in Parliament. Halifax’s replacement, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, swears that the Nazi tyrants may have struck the first blow, but that the Entente will win the match.

    Churchill orders more and more of the British military, specifically air and ground forces, to France. Reinforcements to the Middle East, Southeast Asia or the Pacific are rerouted to arrive in French ports. The fate of the war is in the balance.

    Brigadier General William Hawthorne-
    Walking from the house he shared with his wife Meredith, they having been married in early August of this year, Hawthorne dropped himself in his Army-issued work vehicle. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but he had plenty of fuel, unlike many of his neighbors who could only refuel on certain days of the week and with ration cards to boot.

    His wife stood in the doorway, her long curly brown hair and brown doe eyes wanting him to call in sick for the day, but he knew he couldn’t. After all, when the Chief of Staff of the United States Army tell you to come see him, you say “Yes, sir,” and go to him promptly. She waved and he replied in kind.

    Backing out of his Washington, D.C. suburban home, the commander of the Japanese Internment Camp System quickly drove to the newly-built Pentagon, listening to local radio which detailed the German offensive into Western Europe. Things looked grim for the Entente. After passing through security, he made his way to his parking spot. Within twenty minutes of parking, he had entered the waiting room of the Army Chief’s office.

    The secretary noted him, and quickly informed his commanding officer. After a few minutes of waiting the secretary ushered Hawthorne in. Upon entering, Hawthorne heard the ending of a heated conservation over the telephone.

    “…I don’t give a damn how “impossible” it is, keep Bradley and Slim supplied with all we have available. They will need as they march eastwards. I’ll talk to you later. Goodbye.” The clunk-sound of a phone being returned to its receiver echoed in the room.

    “Brigadier General William Hawthorne, reporting as ordered, sir,” he said.

    Chief of the Army, General George C. Marshall, looked at Hawthorne coolly, his eyes never wavering. Hawthorne, on his part, remained looking at a spot just above the senior general’s head.

    “At ease, Mr. Hawthorne, sit. Would you like refreshments?” Marshall’s hand hovered over a buzzer.

    “No thank you, sir.”

    “As you wish.” Marshall leaned back into his chair, and sipped his coffee. The smell was appetizing. Maybe he should have asked for some coffee. Well, too late now, he thought.

    “Now,” began Marshall, “I bet you are wondering why you are here.”

    “It has crossed my mind, sir.”

    “Hhmph,” Marshall smiled at the comment. Hawthorne replied in kind.

    “Well, I won’t keep you guessing. You’ve been promoted, lieutenant general.” Marshall held out his hand across his desk.

    “Lieu-? Thank you very much, sir!” said Hawthorne as he took the other man’s hand, strong and firm and gave it two pumps with his hand.

    “Congratulations are in order; I hear a little celebration is being planned in the courtyard in an hour’s time.” Another small smile lit the general’s face.

    “But your promotion is not all,” Hawthorne looked at him expectantly, “You are being transferred as well. To the Pacific, exactly.”

    “The Pacific?” Hawthorne did not like how dumb-founded he sounded at that moment.

    “Yes, the Pacific. You will arrive in Hawaii first, naturally, and then make your way across the South Pacific, leading to the Dutch East Indies. That will be your principal location until the war is won."

    “What then?”

    “And then you will go to Japan.”

    Hawthorne sat silent for a moment.

    “Sir, I must ask why I am going. Has my performance here lacked in any way?”

    “On the contrary, you’re performance is exceeding expectations and that is why we need you over there.”


    Marshall pushed himself out of his chair and walked towards a small globe in the corner of room. He spun it, watching the world turn on its axis. A moment of silence followed.

    “We have done terrible things in this war.”

    “Sir, what are you saying?”

    “I’m saying we are not the pure-hearted good guys that we claim to be. Since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and occupied it, our hatred for them grew. The bio-bombings on the West Coast only heightened that anger. When we retook Hawaii and saw the massed graves, people shot or gassed by the Japanese our anger knew no limit.”

    Marshall moved back to his seat.

    “In retaliation, our boys have done bad things in return against the Japanese populations in areas we are liberating or invading. What you saw while a commander of Camp 17 back in ’43 pales in comparison to the reports I’m getting daily. Reports of mass shootings of Japanese soldiers, collaborators and the like are piling up on my desk like a garbage heap from across the Pacific. We estimate almost sixteen thousand have received mock trials or were shot outright. Now our actual participation varies, but I am certain American hands pulled the triggers in many of these instances.”

    Hawthorne looked at the general, shocked.

    “Does it shock you? Truly? Because it really shouldn't. You saw what people would do to avenge their loved ones, killed by what they considered a foreign aggressor. The worse was Hawaii. Every town we liberated, every island we secured, the bodies of Japanese prisoners, and what few of those there were, and their collaborators, which were many, began to litter the ground. Almost two thousand Americans were killed by their neighbors in Hawaii. Some by vengeful mobs, others by former lovers, and even others by American soldiers, who had sworn to protect them. Have you heard of Jerry Rensen?”

    “No, sir?”

    “That’s probably for the best, it means there had been no information leaks to the media, but you need to know. Jerry Rensen was a fisherman on Oahu, a very good one I hear. During the occupation, food became scarce; especially meat, so Rensen sold his fish to the Japanese for high profits, and starved the Americans in the streets just for a pretty penny. Many did not like that, and when we sent MPs to bring him in for trial, he was hanging from his front porch. The rope was standard Army-issue, and I do not like what that implies.”

    “Why are you telling me this, sir?”

    “Because you’ve proven yourself a good man. Most of our Armed Forces are made up of good men, but they don’t have the drive for fairness and justice, not where the Japanese are concerned. People see them as savages, not human beings. We are rounding many in Asia into internment camps and from the initial reports they are treated worse there than they were before your camp reformation here in the states. Simply, I want you to oversee these camps, clean up the act of the officers involved or court-martial them. We need to rid ourselves of this embarrassment before it becomes too widely known.”

    “I can clean up the camps, sir, I guarantee you that. But, what about the random shootings, and refusal to accept prisoners by our boys. I can’t stop that.”

    “No, and I don’t expect you to. I have laid down fierce penalties for any caught abusing prisoners of wars or took part in massed shootings after the fighting was over, but it will continue in some form I’m sure for the rest of the war, perhaps even after that. When the Japanese attacked us, they awoke a Giant, but they also awoke a Demon within us.”

    Hawthorne had no response to that.

    September 28th, 1944- Fallschirmjäger commando units infiltrate Eben-Emael, destroy key sections of the fortress with satchel charges, allowing more commando units and elite regiments of German Heer infantry to assault the breached Belgian fort.

    After several hours of close-quarters and bloody fighting the upper levels of the fortress are taken by the Germans, forcing the surviving few hundred Belgian soldiers to withdraw to the lower underground levels. With the thorn removed from their side, the large army group consisting of panzers and mechanized infantry quickly move past Eben-Emael to fill in the center of the Axis frontline in Belgium.

    September 29th, 1944- German infantry enter the outskirts of Liège. British, French and Belgian soldiers rush to the city with heavy armor and air support.

    In Egypt, Field Marshal Balck concentrates his DAK in northern and eastern Egypt. He is unable to fully push the British out of southern Egypt and leaves this principally to the pro-Axis Egyptian soldiers that are swarming to the Germans in droves. Rather waste them away to British guns than his own countrymen.

    Border skirmishes occur frequently upon the Egyptian-Transjordan border, but there are not enough available men and resources from either side to decisively push into enemy territory, therefore the skirmishes will continue unabated and seen as minor in the larger scheme of things by both sides’ commanders.

    September 30th, 1944- With most of the country under occupation the Netherlands surrenders to the Third Reich. The government was flown out of the country hours before the surrender; it would set up a government-in-exile in London. With the country having fallen, the bulk of the soldiers that invaded the now subdued country would turn south and attack northern Belgium. Despite surrendering, there would be tens of thousands of Dutch men and women, many of the defeated military, would journey south to bolster Entente units.

    The last survivors of the Eben-Emael garrison surrender after all hope of being rescued is lost and are promptly executed by SS “special units” in a nearby ditch. The official statement is that all the Belgian soldiers either died or took their life, though no one really believes that once word that an SS special action unit was nearby.

    October 3rd, 1944- Thanks to Eben-Emael’s fall, the Wehrmacht was able to move forward a large percentage of their panzer and mechanized infantry to be stationed east of Liège. The General Staff is planning an encirclement of the Belgian city, which would damage Entente morale and their military effectiveness in the area.

    Due to the rapid surrender of the Netherlands, the northern border of Belgium was, in comparison to the frontline to the east, lightly defended. Wehrmacht units broke through the Entente border defense units and quickly captured Turnhout and Herentals, paving way for the advance onto Antwerp.

    October 4th, 1944- At early noon many of the Reich’s elite panzer divisions swooped south of Liège, having broken through the frontline after several intense armor skirmishes with Entente tanks. These panzer and mechanized divisions had one order: proceed to the city of Tienen and prevent any Entente forces from withdrawing southwards.

    Italian offensive into French Algeria begins. A quarter of a million men of the Italian Army, supported by armored divisions consisting of modern Praetorian tanks, rush over the border. The French, though lacking heavy resupply and reinforcements with the war in Europe having suddenly heated up, threatening France itself, are well dug in, and are commanded by veteran commander General Henri Giraud. It doesn't hurt that Giraud had stored much of his supplies and heavy equipment for months, keeping them in reserve just in case resupply from France declines or ceases.

    October 5th, 1944- Antwerp falls to the Third Reich.

    In Southeast Asia, General Bradley and Field Marshal Slim launch a major offensive into Japanese-controlled French Indochina. Their objectives are to capture Hanoi, thereby cutting off the entire Japanese military apparatus south of Hanoi and starving it of supplies, and to begin setting the stages for operations into southern China.

    Having learned valuable lessons in Burma, both commanders and their subordinate officers and men are able to move much more quickly eastwards than before. The Japanese units here are second and third-tier, lacking munitions, spare parts, medicine and even food in some cases, are easy prey and are defeated quite quickly. Local Siamese divisions begin surrendering wholesale to the American/Commonwealth army, though some remain loyal to their corrupt regime.

    Kampuchean divisions are being pulled from their home country to deter, or hopefully stop the American/Commonwealth army. Time will tell if this becomes effective.

    October 6th, 1944- Entente forces attempt to pull out of what is quickly being dubbed the Liège Pocket. Luftwaffe bombers and fighters attempt to stall the retreating columns of Entente troops and vehicles, with mixed amounts of success.

    October 9th, 1944- After three days of moving south and/or west the Entente troops trapped in the Liège Pocket are running low on ammunition and fuel. Entente Command orders supplies to be dropped to these entrapped soldiers by transport planes. Predicted losses amongst the transports is supposed to be horrific.

    October 10th, 1944- The bulk of the British Expeditionary Force and over four hundred thousand French soldiers, plus around a hundred thousand Belgian troops, halt the German advance at the Dyle River, decimating several panzer divisions as they attempt to cross the river. The Entente have finally stopped the Germans' advance.

    October 11th, 1944- The last Persian military forces in northern Persia surrender to Field Marshal Auchinleck. With the Middle East’s ‘Arab Spring’ having its back thoroughly broken, Auchinleck can now redistribute more and more soldiers to the Egyptian-Transjordan border. Persia surrenders in full, and their leader: Rezā Shāh Pahlavi is imprisoned in the ruins of Tehran.

    Although both Iraq and Persia have been defeated, there are still hundreds of pockets of resistance through the Middle East, all of which would have to be dealt with eventual. But with his lack of resources and manpower, as well as having to counter any potential attack from Axis-controlled Egypt; Auchinleck decides only to deal with the major groups, or the ones that threaten the security of his control of the Middle East.

    The rest could be dealt with later, when the promised reinforcements from Britain arrive… if they ever arrive.

    October 12th, 1944- The Entente troops in the Liège Pocket surrender come noon, as it becomes apparent the rest of the Entente will not risk a counter-offensive just yet. Over a hundred thousand men are captured, with tens of thousands more dead and with the fall of Liège, central Belgium is ripe for the taking, though the Germans are reluctant to push south.

    The French and British, void of this reluctance, rush men, material, vehicles, aircraft and tanks to the front, near the Dyle River and all across central Belgium, stalling the German advance. Nearly half a million men are near the river or in central Belgium, ready to defend southern and western Belgium, and prevent the German advance into France. Little do they know they had walked right into a trap.

    October 16th, 1944- Phase II of Operation Nightfall begins with the veteran panzer, mechanized and infantry brigades of the German Army and Waffen-SS forcing its way through the supposedly impenetrable Ardennes Forest.

    Four hundred thousand of Germany’s most elite and veteran divisions of the military were assembled to spearhead in a narrow path leading southwards into France, then sweep westward, capturing and crippling Entente supply depots and reserve divisions, many of whom were raw, inexperienced troops. Following this spearhead, once suitable highways and railroads were captured, would come the German Strategic Reserve, numbering slightly over six hundred thousand. This Strategic Reserve contains the three hundred thousand soldiers transferred from the Eastern Front some months earlier.

    The attack came as a complete surprise to the Entente, who had to suddenly revise their strategic situation. The Germans fighting in eastern and northern Belgium began to apply pressure to the Entente, making sure they would not escape the trap while the Ardennes Army Group deprived the Entente of crucial fuel and ammunition, forcing the Entente to either fight with almost no bullets and cannon rounds in vehicles that were running on fumes, or to surrender.

    German advance is quick as well as devastating. A trail of corpses and burned out vehicles is left in their wake.

    October 19th, 1944- To alleviate his manpower shortage, Auchinleck has authorized the creation of an all-Jewish auxiliary force within the Middle East, titled the Jewish Volunteer Defense Organization. This would be placed directly under British, and will be almost exclusively in Transjordan. Many thousands join immediately, with projections of thousands more joining in the coming weeks and months.

    October 22nd, 1944- After six days of rapid movement, fierce engagements, and blood-strewn retreats, the back of the Entente in Belgium is broken. The Germans, limping from their many wounds and running light on supplies, nonetheless continue their drive to the west, to trap Entente soldiers in a large encirclement; a Liège Pocket writ large so to speak.

    The Entente is desperate to avoid this and order multiple breakouts and delaying actions. This allows almost half of the forces still left in central/western/southern Belgium to retreat into northern France but leaves the remainder trapped, with only the sea as a war out. Prime Minister Churchill issues his first major order as leader of Britain: “Evacuate the men on the beaches.”

    October 25th, 1944- 430,000 British, French, Belgian, and Dutch soldiers are trapped near the port of Dunkirk. Hitler orders that the men entrapped there be “forced to surrender, or wiped off the map.” Consequent bombing of the Dunkirk area increase rapidly, though Field Marshal Wever is becoming dismayed by the rising casualties he is experiencing over the Belgian port city. The British redeploy their entire jet fighter strength to the area alongside dozens of propeller-powered squadrons.

    October 27th, 1944- Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, the Shah of Persia, dies in a British prison, reportedly from poor health though the situation is suspicious. The Shah’s family however could not be found, despite the British military intelligence scouring the country since its surrender.

    His death causes outrage amongst the pro-Axis portion of the Persian population, but since the outright military defeat of their country, these radicals have been forced to go into hiding or moderate their views, less they anger an antsy and trigger-happy occupation force of the British Army. Already thousands have been shot or hanged, principally those that had a hand in Persia’s involvement with the Arab Spring Uprising.

    October 29th, 1944- Belgium officially surrenders to the Axis Powers, but like the Netherlands there are tens of thousands of military personnel who disregard this and join the Entente as auxiliaries.

    U.S. bombers begin bombing runs over Singapore. The fortress-city has stout anti-aircraft but only has so many guns, men, and ammunition. The focus of the bombing raids is the variety of Japanese military installations and the port facilities that houses a small Japanese naval taskforce.

    November 2nd, 1944- The IJN ships docked at Singapore attempt a breakout but every ship, all thirteen of them, are stopped with many either sunk or crippled by the American blockade. The USN suffers losses, but as always these are much more replaceable than their Japanese counterparts. Plans to invade southern Vietnam and Kampuchea are drawn up, but will not be pursued as of yet. With Bradley and Slim quickly pushing through northern Siam, causing destabilization amongst the Japanese occupation there, and nearing Japanese-occupied Laos, there is no need to assault French Indochina by sea. The resources that would have been used for that potential invasion are transferred to the eventual liberation of the Philippines, a massive invasion which is set for some time in mid-1945.

    November 4th, 1944- After a hasty evacuation nearly 320,000 were evacuated from Dunkirk, including all of the 170,000 British soldiers. The remaining 110,000 are captured and consist primarily of Belgian, Dutch and French soldiers. Churchill claims the evacuation as a victory for propaganda purposes, but is internally dismayed at the campaign in Belgium, particularly the loss of life and military equipment.

    On a bright note for the Entente, the Luftwaffe, having been stretched over Belgium and northern France, could not concentrate their jet fighters in western Belgium and as a result would lose over sixty Me-262s and almost two hundred BF-109s and FW-190s over Dunkirk due to the Entente concentration of their Meteors.

    November 6th, 1944- The Italian offensive into French Algeria fails. Mussolini orders his men to cement themselves in what little territory they had captured. The Italians, though losing much of their mobile and armored vehicles, had captured much on Tunisia, including Tunis once again, and had redeployed several reserves to the frontline to push further westward to capture the entirety of the country. French soldiers and local Tunisians continue to resist heroically, only withdrawing when forced, causing the Italian body count to rise dramatically.

    To discourage American bombers, the Japanese arrest and jail thousands of Singapore's citizens in their military and government buildings. This does force U.S. Bomber Command to carefully select its targets and attempt more accurate bombings. Results are mixed on its implementation.

    November 7th, 1944- U.S. Marine and Army units land on the beaches of several islands within the Caroline and Marianas Islands. Sea and air control are quickly established. The local Imperial Japanese Navy taskforce withdrew to Taiwan to await the assemblage of a massive fleet to throw back the Americans.

    The reason for this is because the Marianas allowed the U.S. Army Air Force’s long-range B-29 Superfortress to bomb much of southern and central Japan. Japan, which had not been bombed on its home soil, cannot afford tom risk such an embarrassment and make it become known to their public that they were losing the war that badly, that quickly. Imperial Command had prepared for the American invasion by stationing over a hundred thousand of Japan’s fiercest warriors there, stripping the Home Army and the armies of Taiwan and Korea of their most veteran men. Forty thousand alone were stationed on Saipan, as it was considered to be Japanese imperial territory.

    The initial wave of landings avoided Saipan, as it would be a tough nut to crack, and instead focused on other islands. Despite not being landed upon by infantry, Saipan would fall under daily bombing and shelling by the U.S. Navy, in the attempt to soften it up for the eventual invasion.

    November 8th, 1944- In face of the approaching Fascist threat, the French government moves from Paris to Nantes. General de Gaulle is promoted to Marshal of France and becomes commander of all French Armed Forces in France. Premier Reynaud endorses the ambitious and skilled commander, believing he can turn around the tables of the war.

    November 11th, 1944- German forward elements push into Paris from the north and east while armored elements attempt to encircle the city. The Germans rapidly advance across northern France, but their offensive is quickly losing steam and casualties are mounting. The French mobilize their third-tier reserves and redeploy soldiers in southern and central France to northern France. Even divisions from the Maginot Line garrisons are pulled. The French are stalling for time, they know they cannot hold Paris for long due to the Germans’ swift advance, but they can stall the Germans long enough for reserves to be brought up.

    November 19th, 1944- French Army holdouts in downtown Paris surrender to the German Army, completing the conquest of the French capital city. Despite this achievement the German Army is tired, bloodied and in desperate need for a breather. The French and British, having taken a bloody nose since Nightfall began, assemble their militaries for a massive counter-attack across northern France.

    November 23rd, 1944- Zhukov, in conjunction with Beria and Molotov, set a date for the liberation of Soviet Siberia: February 26th, 1945. Over a million and a half Soviet soldiers were ready, with another million in reserve. This force, which had taken over a year to assemble, would utterly crush the Japanese and their Chinese puppets.

    To assist with this massive operation, Communist Chinese cells escalate their attacks and acts of sabotage, severely draining on Japanese resources and manpower.

    December 1st, 1944- The French and British launch their counter-attack, hoping to liberate Paris, destroy the weakened panzer divisions before them and push the Germans back to Belgium, and hopefully beyond.

    December 2nd, 1944- German defense line in central France is punctured by the determined Entente armored divisions. The Germans withdraw in good order, though suffering heavy casualties and losing large tracts of territory. Hitler is furious and orders that under no circumstances are the German forces to retreat a single step. By the time this is sent out to field commanders, it has been filtered and watered down to an order of only retreating when absolutely necessary.

    December 10th, 1944- Heavy snowfall grinds the Entente counter-offensive to a halt. The Entente had recaptured significant amounts of land, and was only thirty-one kilometers from the center of Paris.

    December 14th, 1944- German U-boats continue their long-range raiding, but their casualties are mounting significantly, forcing Admiral Dönitz to scale back some of the raids, much to the fury of the Führer. Entente shipping losses had doubled since Nightfall began, but were lowering every day, back to pre-Nightfall casualties.

    December 28th, 1944- Snow continues to fall in record amounts across Northern and Western Europe, but the Germans have dealt with much worse in Russia, and have used the eighteen days since the snow began to fall to good use. Supplies, reinforcements and new panzers have rushed from the Fatherland, bringing depleted units close to full-strength.

    The German’s own counter-offensive began in the early hours, as was usual, with a brief but damaging artillery barrage, followed by swarms of panzers, half-tracks, trucks, armored cars, and infantry. The Entente, who had not expected a large-scale attack until late January are caught on the back-foot, and are quickly pushed back.

    Within five days the Germans had recaptured all their lost territory and proceeded south and south-west, using Entente supply caches to fuel their offensive when supplies from the Fatherland were delayed or insufficient.

    December 30th, 1944- A hastily assembled defensive line running from Caen, to Orléans, to Dijon, and ending at Besançon, is established. Everything north of this line is considered lost to the Germans.

    January 2nd, 1945-Within five days the Germans had recaptured all their lost territory and proceeded south and south-west, using Entente supply caches to fuel their offensive when supplies from the Fatherland were delayed or insufficient.

    Lieutenant General William Hawthorne arrives to Hawaii to oversee the humanization of the internment camps there, to turn them off being prisoner camps to more of a holding area. Food and medicine will soon reach the interned Japanese civilians, many of them born in Hawaii as American citizens, in amounts not previously seen.

    January 4th, 1945- The C-O-D-B Line is pierced in dozens of locations by armored Heer speartip formations. Central France is now open to attack.

    A massive Japanese fleet that had gathered in Taiwan make way towards the Marianas Islands. This fleet would attempt to dislodge the Americans and set back the American advance long enough for the massive fleet that was currently in the final stages of construction back amongst the Home Islands to be readied and deployed. This massive fleet, dubbed the Sword of Japan, would be finished and ready to deploy by mid-1945.

    The Japanese heading towards the Marianas have something in plan for the Americans, something that had never been done on a large-scale before. It is hoped this new tactic would achieve victory, either through results or shock-and-awe.

    January 6th, 1945- French fascists, led by German commandos, storm the temporary residence of Premier Paul Reynaud, whom was in the midst of an emergency Council of Ministers meeting. The Frenchmen kill dozens of top government officials, including almost the entire council.

    The next highest ranking member of the French government was Minister of the Interior Philippe Pétain (made Minister of the Interior in December of 1943, barely a month after Reynaud became French Premier), who had been elsewhere at the time, attempting to quell the countless rebellions and riots blossoming up across his country.

    Pétain is made Premier later that day. His first order of business was to assemble the highest ranking officers in the French military and assess the strategic situation.

    Due to French forces withdrawing from the Maginot Line, moving south to bolster the C-O-D-B Line, the German garrisons on the Westwall are able to move into France proper, passing the famed Maginot Line. Much of the Maginot Line was destroyed by retreating French military engineers. This brings nearly eight hundred thousand more German soldiers into France, fresh and rested and the heavily burdened supply lines leading into central France from northern France and Belgium are bolstered by fresh, and quicker, supply routes from Germany itself.

    January 10th, 1944- Caen falls after a brief siege. More and more British divisions are moving towards the coast, to prepare for the evacuation they knew was coming. Entente air power, especially the French Air Force's, continues to wane on continental Europe with casualty rates favoring the Germans by a fair margin, principally due to the extensive use of the Me-262.

    Dogfights between IJN and USN scout aircraft occurs west of the Marianas Islands. The U.S. Navy, having known of the oncoming IJN fleet, has prepared in advance and will have a slight numerical advantage of the Japanese.

    January 11th, 1945- The Japanese fleet from Taiwan engages the American fleet west of the Marianas. After almost thirteen hours of sea and aerial warfare, the Japanese fleet limps back to Taiwan, having lost a third of its number. Losses were noticeably heavy amongst the escorts. But on a bright note for Japan, only a single carrier was lost. Two were heavily damaged but would be fully operational in several months and one received only artificial damage that could be repaired in a few weeks at most.

    In contrast the U.S. lost two carriers with another heavily damaged. The remaining two on station would have to work overtime to cover all approach vectors. Losses amongst escorts were low, but the other capital ships, the battleships, also suffered greatly as the Japanese pilots were targeting the bigger ships first and foremost.

    The reason the Japanese achieved such success was their introduction of the kamikaze aircraft: an aircraft stripped of armor, packed with explosives and the bare amount of fuel alongside a fanatical pilot. It would terrify the American sailors and airmen in this first engagement with its mass use, but they would grow accustom to it, as the Japanese had now found themselves a very effective, if crude, weapon.

    The Japanese may have lost the battle, but they inflicted heavy casualties amongst the American fleet and will cause the Americans to become quite cautious and temporarily halt any further naval incursions into waters west of the Marianas and Caroline Islands.

    January 12th, 1945- For over a week anti-government/anti-military riots were taking place across central and southern France, spurred on by native fascists and the Nazis. This was enlarged and escalated to the point of armed insurrection by the various political groups in the country.

    A quarter of the French military is forced to suppress their own people, and due to the confusing nature of the riots and guerrilla warfare by the fascists, as well as communists and anarchists, the French Army begins executing thousands for "state treason", many of them entirely innocent of the charges they are accused of.

    France, which had been under martial law for many months, finally explodes into chaos which only assists the Nazis. Right-wing, fascist groups are taking to the streets to fight off against French communists, anarchists and liberals, with the other three factions responding in kind. The fascists support the Nazis, the communists and liberals the government of France though their realtionship is strained, and the anarchists support no one but themselves and attack all factions.

    January 13th, 1945- Brazil’s military junta launches their great offensive into northern Brazil. Resistance is fierce but progress is swift. Despite the gains, reports reach the junta of massive activity in Brazil’s north-eastern ports, and sightings of American ships, both civilian and military, worry them.

    A counter-attack by Japanese, Kampuchean, and Siamese divisions into the long supply train of General Bradley and Field Marshal Slim fails miserably as these men are running dangerous low on military equipment and supplies, but do enough damage as to worry the two officers of their long and somewhat weak supply line. This forces them to redistribute more and more infantry to protect their flanks. Local guerrillas and freedom fighters assist with this.

    With German armor and infantry elements proceeding swiftly to Tours, the French military and some members of the government prepare to execute a mass evacuation of men and material to North Africa and Britain. De Gaulle green lights this initiative, though Premier Pétain does not agree with orders being carried out, however he does not voice any public opposition to this, nor does he order the French military to stop.

    British liaison officers are invited to help assist with this planning, and Churchill swears the full support of the Royal Navy alongside any civilian ships the government can get its hands on, as well as tremendous support from the British maritime commercial fleet. This same fleet, using experience learned from Dunkirk, knows the dangers and the importance of what might come to pass. This massive planning and troop movements obtains the title of the Great Exodus.

    January 17th, 1945- Pétain contemplates an armistice and his recently formed cabinet is split on the matter. Some believe an armistice with the Germans is worse than death and either support the Exodus preparations or that the French fight to the death in their homeland, while others see it as a way to save lives by ending the fighting raging across France.

    Sergeant Elrich Dorff, Tours, France-
    The half-track he and his squad rode into town with became peppered by machinegun fire, killing two of his men. Ordering them off, Dorff and the infantry squad ran to cover. Overhead the Luftwaffe battled with French and British interceptors. A crash resounded from a nearby street, signaling a plane fell to the earth to meet its demise. A jet fighter zoomed across the skies, its form showing it was a Me-262. An anti-panzer rocket launcher shot its ordinance at the half-track, incinerating the driver and front passenger. The smell of burning meat permeated the air.

    Hefting his StG-44, Dorff ran across a side alley, past the corpses of two civilians. A large swastika was spray-painted onto the wall, with a saying in French below. It seemed the local French fascists were taking to the streets. Unable to read the language he moved on, intent to silence that machinegun nest. Looking across a small street he saw the building where the weapons’ fire was coming from. The tat-tat-tat of machinegun kept going, with only brief pauses and the occasional scream where the bullets were sent.

    His squad was veteran; they broke into small fire teams and were making their way to the nest. One of the privates of his squad came up to him, nodding respectfully. Both men crouched in a rubble-strewn ditch, forty, maybe forty-five meters away from the building where their target resided.

    “Come on, let’s go,” he said, gesturing with his assault rifle.

    Both men crawled, using broken cars and a burnt out British panzer as cover. As they snuck up on the building, they heard something that resembled a curse, they could tell with the vehemence in the voice. The voices that spoke were not French, but English. By their cursing and lack of firing either the weapon malfunctioned or they ran out of ammunition.

    Both Heer soldiers moved up the staircase, moving slowly as to avoid making noise. Walking up they saw two men in British Army uniforms attempting to fix the quietened machinegun. Raising his gun, Dorff fired a burst into the two. They fell down, dead, blood pooling beneath them.

    Motioning his man to cover the stairs, Dorff went over to where the two enemy soldiers lay dead. They didn’t know what hit them, it was a good death. Peaceful, in a sense, he thought.

    Gunfire erupted behind jolted Dorff back into action. Turning, he saw the other German soldier against the wall, crimson painted onto the brick, his head tilted downwards and blood dripped from his mouth. From the staircase they had come from, came more British soldiers.

    Dorff fired three bursts of his rifle, and then it clicked on empty. He had killed two more British men but another two came at him. With his rifle empty and no time to reload, Dorff rushed them. Using his combat blade, which he pulled from its sheath he dodged the first enemy’s thrust with his own bayoneted Lee-Enfield. Stabbing upwards he pierced the flesh under the chin, cutting through the tongue and mouth into the roof of the mouth and into the lower portions of the brain. The dead man’s eyes rolled up in their sockets and he collapsed to the ground, dragging Dorff down with him.

    That saved his life.

    The other British soldier, an officer by his markings, fired once he realized his man was dead, but the bullets only hit corpse-flesh, and when he adjusted Dorff fell downwards with the corpse. The officer fired his last two shots of his semi-automatic rifle, one hitting the ground and the other hitting Dorff’s arm.

    Thankfully it muscle and not bone. The pain was noticeable, but adrenaline kept it tolerable. Pushing himself up, he rushed the enemy officer, tackling him down the stairs. Both fell into the street, in the background contested gunfire could be heard all around them. Punching once, then twice, with his good arm, Dorff rolled away, looking for a weapon that would kill the other man.

    There! In the dirt was a knife. By the looks of it, it was a British Army combat blade, must have fallen off his opponent when they tumbled down the stairs.

    Running, he picked it up and turned quickly to engage the other man. The other, to his credit, recovered quickly from the fall and tackled Dorff the minute he turned around. The blade went flying from his hands, landing not far. They rolled in the dirt and stone, punching and kicking the each other. Dorff raised his good arm, hand balled up in a fist, when a rock hit him across the face, clenched in the hand of the Englander.

    His vision became hazy, but only for a moment. When his eyesight returned to normalcy he saw that the knife was near him again. Reaching for it, grabbing it, he rushed the officer. He stabbed into the man’s only opening: his side. He heard a yelp of pain and hot blood gushed over his dirtied hand, dripping downwards onto the pavement. The rock was still clenched in the man’s hand and he swung it again, hitting Dorf in the left temple. He fell backwards, dazed again.

    When he came through he saw the object held before him: a pistol. Looking up, Dorff saw the struggle was over. The man's stern face, cold eyes and firm set of the jaw detailed his intentions. He closed his eyes, waiting for what was to come. He pictured Anneliese with her raven black hair and gray eyes, holding little Johann, her hand upon her stomach awaiting their second child. He smiled, which was odd, knowing he was about to die, but the image of both of them, well really the three of them, brought a smile to his lips. It was a pleasant feeling. He pictured them together on the few times he was on leave, their wedding, their days following that, their final night together, and above all he remembered the laughter and joy of being with someone. Holding them, laughing with them, crying with... it did not matter, for they were all something to cherish, something to remember. He hoped Anneliese would remember their time together, and cherish it as he did.

    He heard the pistol fire twice and he fell backwards onto the hard ground. Opening his eyes the British man was limping away, one of his men had come along to help him, and Dorff lay there with two holes in his chest, bleeding profusely.

    He was becoming cold, he was dying, but he wouldn’t die until he saw one more thing in his life, one last time. Reaching into his breast pocket he pulled a crumpled and dirtied photo of Anneliese and him on their wedding day, little Johann in both of their arms. They looked happy, like a real family. He smiled again, bringing it to his mouth and kissing the picture, tears falling from his eyes and streaking down his face.

    After kissing the photo he left it on his chest and looked skywards at a beautiful blue sky, clear as day yet cold as winter. He breathed one last breath, exhaling, and everything became dark, everything became quiet.

    January 19th, 1945- The city of Tours falls to the German Reich. A swastika flag flies over the city by midday. With Tours having fallen, tens of thousands of French soldiers either go AWOL or refuse to obey orders. This is reminiscent to what occurred in the 1917 mutinies. This causes a chain reaction of morale plummeting and mass desertion. France’s situation is worse than dire, it’s abysmal.

    Realizing that France was lost, Churchill orders all remaining British military and civilian personnel to evacuate as soon as possible.

    January 20th, 1945- USN ships depart from Hawaii to reinforce the depleted fleet in the Marianas.

    President Roosevelt is sworn into office for an unprecedented fourth term. Harry S. Truman, his vice president-elect is sworn in as well. Many, though, note how frail and sickly Roosevelt looks, and most conclude he will not see the end of the war.

    Marshal de Gaulle orders the remnants of the French Armed Forces, as well as any that are willing to fight or unwilling to live under German tyranny, to make their way south or west to French ports to join the Exodus evacuations to French Algeria or to Britain. The idea is from here they would continue the fight. Many take to this advice and all across France mass evacuations are occurring. Thanks to the preemptive moves by de Gaulle, other high-ranking French and British officers with the assistance of the French government, many are able to evacuated quickly, though more and more keep arriving to port cities. Too many in fact, that tens of thousands are denied transport while military units, equipment, and supplies are given priority.

    January 21st, 1945- The entirety of the Dutch East Indies is declared free of Japanese control, though there are still several remnants of IJA divisions hiding and fighting in the deep jungles, but these are of little consequence to the overall war in the Pacific.

    With the Dutch East Indies, as well as Sarawak and North Borneo, having been secured, the Joint Chiefs of Staff now begins to plan wholeheartedly the invasion of the Philippines. Increased bombing of Malaya, Singapore, Kampuchea and Vietnam are to continue however. Japanese interceptor squadrons are spread thin and are suffering losses that they simply cannot replace in a timely manner.

    January 22nd, 1945- British commercial and privately-owned ships begin arriving in French ports in massive numbers. German aircraft, while dominating the interior of the country, are unable to secure the airspace over a significant amount of coastal port cities, though they are not lacking in the attempt to do so. Casualties are heavy on both sides, but the Entente, having exhausted most of their jet fighter squadrons, are suffering more, but continue to fight on regardless. These pilots know that without the manpower and resources being evacuated from France are critical to the war effort.

    January 23rd, 1945- Japanese Imperial Command begins the mass transport of significant amounts of the latest and deadliest bio-weapons to China, Manchuria, the Philippines and to Japanese-controlled Siberia. Accompanying this are, while untested in the field, deadly chemical weapons, code named: Fury Wind.

    January 25th, 1945- While flying to southern France from Lyon, de Gaulle’s plane is shot down by a scouting party of Me-262 fighters operating deep behind enemy lines. By this point the French Air Force was either largely destroyed or captured, with the bulk of what remained having relocated further south to protect the ships fleeing the country, or was in the process of relocation to French Algeria or Britain, where they were eagerly welcomed.

    January 29th, 1945- Realizing that the Germans have a chance of rolling through the evacuation zones, Pétain's government asks for an armistice to buy them time as that would force German units to remain in their current positions. .

    February 1st, 1945- Field Marshal Gott is transferred from overseeing the war in the Pacific for Britain and the Commonwealth, to Transjordan where he will take command of the newly created British Thirteenth Army. The Thirteenth Army will have the remnants of Eighth Army and large portions of Tenth Army, which had been occupying Iraq and Persia since the defeat of those two countries, melded together. His primary mission is to prevent the German Afrika Korps from pushing further into the Middle East, but Gott has the support of Churchill and therefore advocates a massive counter-attack into Egypt. With the war in France effectively over, almost a hundred thousand men will be transferred to Egypt in the coming months, with many tens of thousands to follow. While these are important, the most crucial factor are the veteran tank divisions and vast assortment of trucks and armored vehicles being transferred. This will give Gott a very effective, as well as mobile, defense force.

    February 3rd, 1945- After delaying as long as possible, France formally surrenders to the Axis Powers; the French signatories were forced to sign their nation’s surrender in the same railcar that Germany was forced to surrender in, back in 1918. Hitler, who attended the signing under massive guard, is stated to have danced a little jig. With France having officially surrendered, German military units begin going to France’s coasts and borders to prevent any more military personnel, equipment and weapons, and civilians too, from leaving France as every one that leaves becomes an enemy combatant still in the fight against the Axis Powers.

    Throughout the Axis Powers, celebrations and cheering could be heard for days, mimicking the emotions felt once the Treaty of Tula had been signed in late 1943. In occupied Paris, Hitler excitedly tells his inner circle that with France having fallen, Britain will be open to the negotiating table within the next few months, Germany and Italy only need to secure North Africa and the war would be all but won. The officers, while excited and glad of the French capitulation, are still worried. Britain now has the more dogged and determined Winston Churchill leading the country, and despite France having fallen, almost five million French men, women, and children had escaped the encroaching German divisions and would eventually contribute to the Free French in the war, one way or another. The French Navy had also left their own ports, ignoring that they were legally owned by the German Kriegsmarine, as part of the surrender agreement they were to be incorporated into the German Navy. French naval officers spat on this legality and fled to Britain and North Africa, carrying soldiers and civilians alike, alongside precious amounts of war material. The ports of France were bare, almost every ship, either civilian or military, had been boarded, stuffed to maximum capacity and went to safer ports.

    Many ships, particularly escorts and civilian transports, from both the Royal and the French Navies made multiple runs from Britain and Algeria to France. It was called by an editor of the New York Times as “Dunkirk on a national scale. The French, though having lost their country, have retained their fighting spirit and are still able to fight to the Axis. Their heroism, with the assistance of the brave souls of Britain, have ensured that French are not out of this terrible world-encompassing war, and their actions will go down into history as legend."

    The Great Exodus would go down in history as an inspirational and amazing success, a feat of a dying nation defying its conquerors. Though the tales of heroics and brave actions would fill hundreds of books in the coming years, hundreds more detailed the tales of extreme hardship, families being torn apart as they boarded ships and the heavy casualties suffered by the evacuating ships by the Italian Navy with aerial assistance of the German and Italian Air Force were high but deemed acceptable in light of the overall situation and success of the Exodus. Even more would be written over the near-starvation by the evacuees to Algeria in those early months and of the diseases that spread, killing tens of thousands but were stopped by the extensive medical assistance from the Red Cross, the Entente and other foreign nations, distraught to see the French people be driven from their homes and dying in droves in a harsh desert..

    February 4th, 1945- A government-in-exile is formed in Algiers, with support from Britain, by General Henri Giraud who declares that while the cowards in France may have surrendered, the patriotic and country-loving French people that had escaped had not.

    American and British troops, after the many months of surging forward from the Burmese-Siamese border, now enter northern Vietnam and are proceeding towards Hanoi, supported by local guerrillas.

    February 5th, 1945- France is partitioned by the Axis Powers. Corsica will go to Italy, as will the border provinces between Italy and France. Algeria and Tunisia will go to the Italians as well, but with the Free French continuing to make western North Africa a warzone, the Italian government is unable to properly integrate the two former French colonies into Italian ones.

    Germany would directly annex Alsace-Lorraine immediately, with northern, central and western France to be placed under occupation and subject to thorough “Germanization.”

    Southern France is formed into a puppet state, headed by the aging Pétain as First Citizen, who will act as a powerless head of state. The head of government would be led by a right-wing French fascist who would be titled the High Councillor. Hitler is not pleased with Pétain's actions before and during the Exodus, the actions of the new First Citizen allowed untold amounts of Frenchmen to escape, but Hitler cannot remove Pétain, as he has stated to swear neutrality in the war, with leanings towards the Axis. Also, the First Citizen is desperately needed to act as a figure of order and unity in the new French country. Saved by politics, Pétain would toe the Axis line, but never become an Axis supporter fully.

    This rump state would be formally called the French State, but the informal name of Marseille France, named after the city the new government placed itself in, would become the common name. Marseille France would not join the Axis as of yet to prevent the British occupation of French Syria, but instead will have a close trading agreement with the Axis Powers, and have open borders for Axis military forces, specifically the German and Italian militaries.

    The borders and coasts of France are secured by the German Wehrmacht, but with almost five million Frenchmen having escaped the downfall of their country, this would represent a dangerous thorn in the Axis’ side as that is millions of soldiers, or potential soldiers, and support personnel.

    February 6th, 1945- The government-in-exile of Henri Giraud is declared illegal by the Axis Powers, as the legal government of France surrendered and consequently reformed into the French State. Giraud responds that he no longer represents the now defunct Third Republic, or acknowledges Pétain’s French State. Instead, the French officer does away with the Third Republic entirely and creates the Fourth Republic in Algiers, with the liberation of France and restoration of democracy being paramount objectives for this government without a homeland. This Fourth Republic would garner its own nickname, the Free Republic.

    Across the world, more and more French colonies align themselves with the Free Republic, with only Syria officially remaining part of Marseille France. This is due to having Axis Turkey to the north and Entente troops to the south and east. The British don’t want to invade it as they have no troops to spare at the moment, the Turks don’t want to invade and spread their military dangerously thin due to their previous commitments in the Southern Caucasus and the French government in Syria would rather remain neutral to begin with. The Arab Spring revolts had shown the French Syrian government how terrible war can be when brought to your doorsteps.

    February 14th, 1945- Franklin Delano Roosevelt passes away in his sleep. The doctor that examined the president’s body notes that he had suffered a stroke in the night. As the nation mourns, Vice President Truman is quickly sworn in as President of the United States of America.

    February 16th, 1945- Giraud asks for British armaments and supplies, as well as tank and infantry assistance from the British Army. Churchill promises that supplies would be sent immediately, but actual troops would take time as the British were having to reorganize their Army, as it had suffered heavily in France and need to be brought back up to strength.

    February 18th, 1945- The entirety of the Caroline and Marianas Islands, save Saipan, are now in American hands. The Americans begin readying themselves for the invasion of Saipan.

    The U.S. jet fighter, the Lockheed F-83 "Stormhawk", had experienced multiple delays and re configurations and design changes, but was finally ready for mass production. Within the next several months, Stormhawk squadrons would be making their way to Asia to prepare for the massive upcoming bombing campaign over Japan. Italy plans to have a jet fighter by mid 1945, with the Soviets hoping to have a jet fighter by early or mid 1946.

    February 19th, 1945- The Brooklyn Project military commander, General Leslie Groves, reveals to President Harry S. Truman the existence of the Brooklyn Project and that a working bomb would be ready for a demonstration by early April.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
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  7. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 47: The Storm Rages On

    Anneliese Dorff, Munich, Germany-
    It was a cold morning when she left her house to visit the graveyard. After a small, poor breakfast, she walked from her home, content with letting her parents take care of Johann for an hour or two if need be.

    She walked to the small cemetery where Elrich had been buried weeks ago. She passed many that were coming from there, and was walking besides other heading there. Despite all the victories the Reich had gained, the war continued and many still died every day. The Fatherland was slowly losing a generation to the meat-grinder that was war.

    She walked into the cemetery, passing freshly dug graves, and walked to where her husband lay.

    She knelt into the hard ground before his grave, and sighed. Her greatest fear, she realized, was not raising Johann and her unborn child alone, because she had her parents for support and if need be she could remarry. No, her greatest fear was forgetting him. She had plenty of pictures and memories, but she feared the day when she couldn’t think of his voice or accurately recall his face or his smile or his laugh. That was a cold stone in her stomach.

    Thinking of her second child she rested her hand on her stomach. She hadn’t begun to show yet, but she would in a few months. Anneliese hoped for a girl.

    Shuffling to her right made her turn her head. An old man limped to a row of graves next to her and placed flowers on four of them. He knelt as well as bowed his head.

    Curious, she moved next to him.


    He looked up. His face was wrinkled and weary, his eyes a faded brown. His hair, largely covered by a cap, was iron-gray.

    “Hello,” he said politely.

    Anneliese gestured towards the graves. “Did you know them?”

    The man looked at the graves and was silent for a moment.

    “Yes. These are my children, two sons, two daughters.”

    “I’m sorry for your loss,” she said automatically. Those words had been said a lot since 1939.

    “Its fine,” he took off his cap. “I noticed you were at a grave too. Who was it?”

    “My husband Elrich, he died in Caen.”

    “That was a bloodbath. I lost my youngest there,” he gestured to the grave he knelt in front of. “I lost Anna,” gestured to the first grave, “in mid-1942. She was stationed in Belarus and was killed by local dissenters. The Army rounded up a hundred locals and shot them all. That was how much my daughter was worth. One German Aryan for 100 Slavic Aryans; so much death in this war and it doesn’t want to end.” He shook his head slowly.

    The man continued, “I lost Heinrich in ’43 during the push to Stalingrad. Sonja died six weeks later from poor health. And Rudi died at Caen. Four children, all my children, dead.”

    She looked at him with sadness and wonder. “How do you go on after such loss?”

    He smirked, “I seem to be just going through the motions at this point. My wife died before the war. I have nothing left, but I don’t have the weakness, or maybe its courage, to die. It’s human nature to keep going, no matter what. We fight, claw and scrape to survive. Having something to hold dear helps in the long run; it gives you goals and satisfies needs. Do you have children?”

    “One, soon to be two.”

    “Ah, a parting gift from your husband.” He chuckled quietly. As he looked at her, his eyes became sad again. “Hopefully they never have to fight a war like this one. And I fear that the wars to come will be worse.”

    As she glanced at the four graves she muttered, “I hope they won’t have to.”

    February 22nd, 1945- The southern portions of Laos still under Japanese rule are liberated, but to the regret of the Laotian people, their monarch Sisavang Vong was executed by the retreating Japanese soldiers near the Laos-Kampuchea border before he could be rescued. With his death, Crown Prince Sisavang Vatthana becomes king. The former crown prince had been a guerilla leader since the occupation of his country and was a strong supporter of the American and British forces, though he distrusts what few French units that are part of Slim’s Entente army. Vatthana is adamant that Laos becomes a separate nation, without foreign, specifically French, influence or control. American and British officials ensure Laotian sovereignty post-war, much to the dissatisfaction of the French. However, with France occupied by the Axis Powers, and the Fourth Republic (Free French) focused in North Africa, there is little the French can do outside of formal protests that are politely ignored.

    February 23rd, 1945- American forces approach Hanoi and are surprised to find it free of Japanese soldiers. Instead, the Viet Minh hold control of the city and surrounding land. The Americans are welcomed and the U.S. establishes common ground with Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Viet Minh. Both sides agree to a continued alliance until war’s end, and the Viet Minh will assist U.S. troops throughout Vietnam, and will take up many garrison duties to relieve American manpower for other theaters.

    Hanoi is to be used as a supply depot for the eventual American drive north into southern China.

    February 26th, 1945- First Marshal Zhukov initiates the long planned and developed offensive into Japanese-held Soviet territories. From the Soviet Siberia a massive army of a million and a half men, supported by some fifteen hundred tanks and nearly fourteen hundred aircraft with thousands of vehicles, assault the Japanese lines and quickly breakthrough in scores of locations.

    The Japanese tanks, even the latest models, pale in comparison to the T-34 and the various tank destroyers the Soviets brought with them. Overhead the battle-hardened and better supplied Red Air Force laid waste to the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service, destroying hundreds of precious planes by the first day’s end.

    The call for reinforcement falls on deaf ears as Imperial Command has none to spare. The Home Islands, though heavily fortified, is severely undermanned and lacking sufficient aerial squadrons. The lack of fuel, spare parts, trained pilots, and even munitions is becoming apparent as the American Giant and the Soviet Bear quickly hammer the Empire into submission.

    Field Marshal Henri Giraud, leader of the Free French, readies for an effective offensive in northern Algeria to push the Italians eastward and to liberate Tunisia. Prime Minister Churchill worried over the dwindling British support for continuing the war and not wanting to see the French defeated in North Africa, warns Giraud to not pursue an offensive. Instead the British leader advocates a defensive strategy and that the French wait for more vehicles and armaments from the U.S. and Britain as well as eventual British reinforcement via several divisions that are in the midst of formation.

    Giraud dismisses the warning, as he is desperate to see some form of victory in Algeria to give the Free French hope and to drive the Italians back to Libya, which would strategically help the British in the Middle East through the application of pressure on the Axis’ principal territory in the region and establish themselves as a strong partner of the Entente and not a shadow of their former selves as many deem them to be.

    Following the total liberation of Laos, an unhappy population enacted a popular uprising against the Japanese-puppet, King Norodom Sihanouk of Kampuchea. Throughout the country militia forces and tens of thousands of civilians quickly defeat the weak Kampuchean Royal Army. The few remaining Japanese military units that are left withdraw towards southern Vietnam, near Saigon where the bulk of the Japanese military in Southeast Asia are located.

    February 28th, 1945- The invasion of Saipan begins with a six hour long naval barrage with USAAF/USN bombers and fighter-bombers unloading ton after ton of high explosive and incendiary bombs across the Japanese island, killing thousands of civilians and soldiers, but not breaking the spirit of the defenders. By noon, the landings have begun and are meat-grinders for several hours before Marine and Army divisions can secure the beachheads and nearby territory.

    March 3rd, 1945- Field Marshal Balck, under severe pressure from Hitler, launches his planned mass offensive into British Transjordan, titled Operation Eastern Lance. Balck has received vast amounts of new supplies, especially entire platoons of the latest variants of the Panzer IV and the Panther. To accompany this he had received moderate mechanized units and substantial air support, though few Me-262s as those are need in northern France to deter RAF bomber and Gloster Meteor aerial incursions.

    Hitler, and the General Staff, hopes to crush the British in the Middle East. This would allow vast amounts of oil to be in Axis hands and out of the Entente. Hitler declares that with the Middle East under Axis control, he would pursue peace with the Entente due to the political and economic leverage such a conquest would give him. The General Staff, aware of the increasing war weariness of the German military and people, add their support to the campaign, though they feel the Führer is overreaching in his ambitions.

    March 5th, 1945- Two days after Eastern Lance was launched from the Sinai Peninsula, German forces near Gaza and begin to encircle the ancient city. Gott, who has sacrificed advance elements to slow down the DAK, hoards the bulk of his armored and mechanized reserves, waiting to use them in the crucial moment of the campaign.

    A half dozen more U.S. fleet carries, Essex-class, with additional escort carriers and accompanying escorts ranging from heavy cruisers to frigates sail from Hawaii to the Dutch East Indies, in preparation for the soon to come Battle of the Philippines.

    Meanwhile in northern Vietnam, controlled by the U.S.-Commonwealth forces, plans to invade and liberate southern China are pushed ahead of schedule due to the Soviet Union’s military operations occurring in Siberia. General Bradley and Field Marshal Slim are distrustful of Soviet intentions, as is U.S. President Truman and Prime Minister Churchill.

    Although the U.S.-Commonwealth forces are spread thin pacifying central Vietnam and moving into southern Vietnam and into the last remnants of Japanese controlled Malaysia, they do have more than enough supplies and will supply the Chinese Nationalist elite military divisions with the latest weapons and armor, as well as the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force providing the majority of the air support.

    Outside of Hong Kong and several other port cities, much of Japanese-dominated China is occupied by third-rate troops, undermanned divisions with little air support and practically no armor. The American Joint Chiefs hope to liberate as much of China as possible for leverage against the USSR when the War in Asia ends. The Truman Administration hopes to have a united, pro-West China that will ally itself with the United States and Britain, but realizes that it would be very difficult to accomplish and are preparing alternate plans to counter Soviet expansion into Asia.

    Though the Soviets are not officially enemies of the United States and its allies, Beria, Molotov and even Zhukov look upon the United States with disdain due to their minimal Lend-Lease support during the Eastern Front of 1940-1943. They viewed it as cowardice and imperialistic ambitions and there is no love lost between the two factions.

    March 7th, 1945- Gaza is captured by the Afrika Korps, but not without heavy casualties. Luftwaffe squadrons note the growing RAF presence in the Middle East. Gott approves deployment of the Gloster Meteors over central Transjordan, which sees to the Luftwaffe’s strength diminishing.

    Balck, despite the weakening of the Luftwaffe, orders his men to trudge onwards to Jerusalem. Hitler demands that the capital of the Judaic mongrels be captured, and that with the holy city in Axis hands, the German leader hopes to see a Second Arab Spring erupt throughout the blood-soaked Middle East, though this is unlikely.

    March 13th, 1945- American and British units lay siege to Singapore, the last bastion of the Japanese Empire in Malaysia. The siege begins by mass naval and aerial bombardment against the city’s defenses, avoiding the heavily populated areas therefore limiting civilian casualties though many still occur.

    King Norodom Sihanouk of Kampuchea is found guilty through a public trial of several crimes against humanity, noticeably allowing the Japanese to press tens of thousands of Kampucheans into labor gangs where many died through harsh treatment and overwork. The former king’s support and total subservience to the Japanese have left many with a bad taste in their mouth, and blame him for many of the country’s problems.

    He is hanged at midnight to signal the end of the old regime and herald a new one. A temporary military government is ruling until war’s end when proper elections can be made. The U.S. is watching to make sure the Kampuchean military do not become too comfortable as leaders, lest a military dictatorship is formed.

    March 15th, 1945- After three months of warfare, the Brazilian offensive Amarelo-Um that was launched by the fascistic military junta led by General Antonio Azevedo nears the port city of São Luís, but the Revolutionary Brazilian Freedom Front has received substantial supplies from the U.S. and has been trained by OSS and military operators. This well-trained, well-supplied army is able to stall the right-wing offensive, and even counter it in several locations.

    But that is not all. Truman, wanting to secure Brazil to halt future SAFB conquests, has dispatched two Army divisions to Brazil, alongside extensive air and naval support. When word of this reaches the various leaders of the SAFB nations, their support is withdrawn, as they do not want to test the wrath of the U.S. military juggernaut. The Brazilian military junta worries at this, but can do little but fight on as peace is not an option in their eyes.

    March 18th, 1945- Singapore is liberated by American and Commonwealth soldiers, with both flags flying proudly by day’s end. What few Japanese soldiers are left are imprisoned, awaiting trial for war crimes that had plagued the city since its occupation.

    March 20th, 1945- U.S. Army soldiers land in São Luís and proceed to the front in conjunction with American and Brazilian armored units.

    Soviet soldiers and armored divisions near Vladivostok, the linchpin of Japanese operations in Siberia. Much of Soviet Siberia has been liberated already, with only pockets of resistance remaining, but with the eventual fall of Vladivostok, the Red Army could then invade Manchuria and Mengkukuo and wipe these Japanese puppets off the map.

    Throughout northern China, the Chinese Communists launch a multitude of guerilla attacks to cripple the already weakened Kwantung Army, which can field only six hundred and eighty thousand men as the rest were redeployed throughout China or the Pacific to other vital sectors.

    March 24th, 1945- Kamchatka is cleared of all fighting Japanese soldiers. Several hundred were evacuated by boat to northern Japan, but these were but a fraction of the occupation force. On the same day the Second Siege of Vladivostok begins. Red Air Force and Red Army bombardment and artillery pummel the city, uncaring of civilian casualties, but it does succeed in killing hundreds of Japanese soldiers, despite their well-fortified positions.

    March 26th, 1945- Balck nears Jerusalem with the DAK. Bombing begins in the early morning hours. Gott readies his reserves for the climactic battle to come.

    March 28th, 1945- Giraud readies his forces to attack the Italians. April 15th will be the start date. Giraud hopes to push the Italians back to Libya before German reinforcements could arrive. Mussolini, afraid of losing his blood-soaked conquests, petitions Hitler for soldiers, panzers and aircraft. Hitler is focused on the ongoing Battle of Jerusalem and has little time for his Italian ally at the moment.

    Gott unleashes his reserves into Balck’s flank. Balck knew Gott had withheld a lot of most powerful units, but he is surprised by just how large this counter-attack is and deploys his own reserves to counter Gott’s attack.

    March 29th, 1945- Balck and the German Afrika Korps are defeated in a crucial armored engagement just seven kilometers south of Jerusalem proper. Suffering heavy losses and a staggering supply line, Balck orders the DAK to withdraw back to the Sinai Peninsula where several undermanned German infantry divisions and poorly armed but motivated Egyptian divisions are located. Hitler is enraged and threatens to recall Balck to Germany but does not proceed with the threat. More infantry, aircraft and panzers are transferred to Egypt, but with the intent to defend Egypt rather than use it as a launch pad for future operations, though Hitler plans to assault Transjordan again in the near future if given the chance.

    Gott, flush with victory, quickly recaptures all lost territory in the Transjordan and begins to rebuild the border fortifications. Churchill is quite pleased with the field marshal’s performance and is relieved that a victory finally came as it has stalled the dropping approving rates, and even raised some support for him and the war though the prime minister knows this is only temporary. Churchill begins to use his political clout to stiffen resolve in Parliament.

    April 2nd, 1945- Saipan is conquered by American forces. Casualties are high, but Japanese casualties are much worse with very few surrendering. With the island secured, plans to bomb Japan proper are put into play.

    April 5th, 1945- Following the defeat of Balck south of Jerusalem, the Germans are desperate to improve their stance in the Middle East. Political pressure and subtle threats is applied to the Marseille French government, with High Councilor Pierre Laval and his fascists/right-wing faction supporting the Germans wholeheartedly.

    Knowing that an offensive into Transjordan in the near-future the General Staff curtails any future military ground offensives, though they do dispatch more aircraft squadrons, including many more Me-262s to Egypt, while several divisions under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel are being readied for deployment to Tunisia to assist the Italians.

    April 6th, 1945- In the first, but certainly not the last, mass raid, the United States dispatches over four hundred B-29 “Superfortress” heavy bombers to bomb the Japanese Home Islands. Protected by hundreds of long-range propeller fighters and the new F-83 “Stormhawk” jet fighter, the bombers suffer few casualties and accomplish moderate to heavy damage across their multiple targets across southern Japan, principally on the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku.

    April 8th, 1945- The White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, owned and operated by the U.S. Army, witnesses the testing of the world’s first atomic bomb. President Truman, a majority of the Joint Chiefs and hundreds of scientists and engineers of the Brooklyn Project would witness the historic moment.

    The results of the explosion impressed many, though several were afraid of such power being used in the war. President Truman, who was awed and dismayed at what he saw, told the Brooklyn Project to build more as soon as they could. Truman wanted to have a reserve of atomics before he committed the weapon, but many amongst the Joint Chiefs wanted it to be used as soon as possible, specifically against Japan itself, though plans for use against Okinawa or the Philippines are drawn up as well.

    April 11th, 1945- Joseph-Jules Brévié, Minister of the Colonies of the French State, is forced by Laval to declare Syria and Lebanon to be “free and independent nations, which will be protected by the Axis Powers for all time.” Shortly after the speech, the Syrian and Lebanese French governments are forced to hand over the reins of government to the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), led by Antoun Saadeh. In both nations, the right-wing political movement comes to power and quickly invites waiting Turkish military units stationed in southern Turkey into both countries for “protection against outside aggressors.” Brévié’s ministry is made defunct and he promptly resigns.

    Gott is unable to move north to conquer the two nations as his Thirteenth Army is still recovering from Eastern Lance, and is lodged firmly in southern Transjordan.

    April 13th, 1945- Operation Tycoon, the invasion and liberation of the Philippines is greenlit for a May 1st launch date.

    April 14th, 1945- The Sword of Japan is complete, and with other minor forces permanently integrated into it, represents a massive naval force of seven fleet carriers, with five light carriers as well, nine battleships, seventeen cruisers, and thirty-eight destroyers. The fleet sails under the cover of night to the northern Philippines to await the inevitable American liberation fleet.

    Giraud launches the Free French attack into eastern Algeria, particularly aimed on the coastline towards Tunisia. The attack proceeds very well with Italian soldiers crumbling under the French armor and integrated mechanized/infantry forces. French artillery, though lacking in numbers, does shellshock many Italians in several sectors of the front with the intensity and accuracy. The coordinates of many Italian weapon emplacements were provided by Algerians loyal to France. Churchill is forced to publicly support the attack though he believes it to be foolish.

    April 16th, 1945- After years of political and economic pressure from the British, King Ibn Saud, monarch of Saudi Arabia, pledges his public support to the Entente. Tens of thousands of Arabian soldiers are to be deployed across Transjordan and elsewhere to counter any possible Axis incursions, specifically in Iraq and Persia. Although the British endorse and welcome this, as it is another visible ally against the Axis and allows them to redeploy tens of thousands of soldiers to other fronts, many locals in the countries where the Arabian soldiers are stationed are not too pleased.

    With Southeast Asia effectively liberated and secure, Churchill orders Field Marshal Slim, his British and Indian soldiers, to withdraw from the Asian Theatre and redeploy to the Middle East to bolster Gott’s forces and to prepare for an eventual counter-attack into Egypt.

    April 17th, 1945-
    Spanish military forces begin to entrench themselves around Gibraltar while Spanish, Italian warships, and even several German U-boats, patrol nearby waters. Churchill demands that the Spanish back down or there will be consequences. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco ignores these communiques. In retaliation Churchill orders the Royal Navy to station themselves near key Spanish ports for an eventual blockade, and assault if need be.
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  8. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 48: Rise the Mushroom Clouds

    April 19th, 1945- After nearly a month Vladivostok is liberated by the Soviet Union, with the Japanese garrison almost completely wiped out during the fanatical defense. Commissars, NKVD Army and Red Army military police comb through the city, rooting out any collaborators and Japanese sympathizers. The mock trials and executions would go on for several days.

    This is a major victory for the Soviet Union, but also a major propaganda victory for Zhukov. Zhukov, who had been effectively banished to the Siberian Front by Beria, is now once again the beloved general of not only the Red Army and Air Force but also of the Soviet people. While Zhukov has been in the Soviet Far East, Beria has been instigating more and more miniscule purges in Moscow and the rest of the USSR, causing his already low popularity to further decline. The removal of government officials, brought up on trumped up charges, is common and reminiscent of the USSR under Stalin. Thousands disappear and are sent to Siberian gulags where their deaths are all but guaranteed. Several ministries are thoroughly purged, notably the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, replacing the officials and workers there with more and more pro-Beria minded individuals. Molotov, still in his position as Foreign Commissar, spends little time in Moscow’s inner circles as he is effectively ostracized by Beria and the NKVD. Though not arrested, it is an open secret that the NKVD keeps an eye on Molotov and “stand guard” at his home.

    With Zhukov gone and Molotov’s power vastly reduced, Beria is laying the foundation to become another Stalin. That is something that Zhukov and Molotov cannot let happen. Communiques between the two are quietly initiated and carried by trusted subordinates. Once the Japanese were dealt with, there would be a reckoning in Moscow.

    April 22nd, 1945- The Brooklyn Project informs President Truman that two atomic bombs are near completion with another three to be completed by late June. After that the American government could expect anywhere from two to three atomic bombs a month until more facilities could be opened to increase production. Abwehr and SD-Ausland agents, several whom were able to witness the atomic bomb testing at White Sands, are able to send information to German-occupied Europe via other agents in Portugal. From there they meet with their respective commanders and Hitler is quickly informed of what had occurred in New Mexico. Himmler, Heydrich, Goebbels, Wever, Halder, von Brauchitsch, Keitel, Jodl, Hess, Speer, and several other high ranking officers and Nazis were summoned by Hitler to discuss this revelation.

    British anti-submarine convoys continue to improve with ships lost to U-boats lowering and U-boat destroyed rising. German U-boats are confined to the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean, their contribution to the war effort is still vital to the Reich but lessening as the weeks continue.

    In North Africa, Free French forces continue to pummel into Italian-controlled Tunisia and continue to see success while both Balck and Gott stare at one another across the Sinai Peninsula. Artillery and air attacks are common by both sides but land operations are not put into play as both sides know that attacking the other will offset the balance in the Middle East and allow the possibility of the other side securing victory in the Middle East. Reinforcements from their respective countries continue at a steady pace, but a wealth of material and vehicles continues to flood to both, though the Germans have the advantage of a shorter supply line.

    April 24th, 1945- Soviet soldiers advance into northern Manchuria and Mengkukuo. Japanese resistance is as fierce as always but cannot stop the Red tide. In the countryside, Communist cells sprout from hiding and ensure chaos reigns in Japanese-held territory. Reprisals are swift but have no effect in stopping the cells from destabilizing the Japanese interior. On average the Soviet soldier is better trained, better armed and far more motivated. The Soviets fought a more advanced and deadly enemy during 1940-1943 and came out alive, injured, but nevertheless alive and capable to be strong once again. A weakened and overstretched Empire has little chance against this Red juggernaut. This dawns on more and more Japanese soldiers as they are continuously pushed southward and eastward, outclassed and outgunned.

    Field Marshal Rommel and his army arrive in Tunisia: several hundred panzers with a full complement of mechanized infantry. Luftwaffe assets also arrive, with seven squadrons of Me-262s to lead the way. Hitler is content to allow the Egyptian Front to remain a stalemate while he and Mussolini focus on Algeria. Hitler wants to defeat the Free French and then turn back to east and make another push into the Middle East.

    American fleet elements depart from the Dutch East Indies towards the Philippines with cargo ships teeming with infantry. Bombing of Japanese positions in Chinese port cities are greenlit, tying up more and more Imperial aircraft. Large-scale bombings of Japan continue around the clock and despite significant American casualties more and more bombings occur. The Japanese cities are open to attack as Imperial interceptor squadrons are spread throughout China, Manchuria, Mengkukuo, the Philippines and more attempting to hold back American air power and failing. With the bombings of the Home Islands continuing and increasing, Japanese industry begins to grind to a halt as railroads are wrecked, warehouses destroyed and farms put to the torch via incendiary bombs. Japanese air and ground defenses are doing their best but it is only staving off the inevitable.

    April 26th, 1045- Saadeh unites Syria and Lebanon into the nation of Greater Syria with the SSNP as the dominant political party while the others are firmly repressed. Greater Syria officially joins the Axis Powers. Turkish and Syrian soldiers prepare extensive defensive lines in case British soldiers decide to invade. Many French citizens are made to leave the country and return to the French State. SSNP paramilitary units comb the country searching for political enemies. Hitler dispatches SS units to assist with this and to root out any Jews in the country. Many Jews and potential political enmies of the new regime attempt to flee southwards toward Palestine, Transjordan or British-occupied Iraq. Some succeed, many do not.

    Soviet bombers fly out from bases in Vladivostok as well as other bases on the Siberia Coast in range of the Japanese Home Islands. For the first time in the war Japan was under bombardment by the Red Air Force. This, on top of increasing American bombardment of the southern Home Islands is leading to tense arguments between the Army and the Navy. Yamamoto has lost significant amount of prestige and influence as of late, but hopes the Sword of japan can turn things around. If the Sword is victorious then Japan will ask for an armistice, but if the Sword is lost then Japan might have to face the possibility of surrender in some form.

    April 28th, 1945- Rommel and his men, having arrived from Tunis and preparing for several days, soundly defeats the Free French in the Battle of Kasserine Pass due to better leadership and better air support, halting their offensive and forcing Giraud to redeploy divisions to prevent a rout in the center of their army. This grinds the rest of the operation to a halt as the Free French do not have the trained manpower to waste and must use them conservatively.

    German U-boats and Italian submarines sink more and more British cargo ships leading to Algeria and French Morocco, causing the Free French to be wary with the amount of armaments making it through the Axis submarines.

    April 29th, 1945- With Greater Syria now a bastion of Fascism in the Middle East, German aerial defenses in northern France being nearly impenetrable to RAF incursions, the Free French having been stopped in Tunisia and rising military casualties as well as rising war weariness amongst the civilian population, Prime Minister Churchill sees his approval ratings plummet and narrowly defeats a vote of no-confidence. Even with the recent victory in the Middle East due to Field Marshal Gott, Churchill’s ratings continue to steadily slip. The battle had only bought him time. Despite the ever-increasing supply of materials, weapons, vehicles, food, fuel and money from the United States, the British people are becoming tired of a war that seemingly has no end in sight.

    British politician Horace Wilson, Secretary of the Treasury and Head of the Home Civil Service, begins to openly attack Churchill’s policies and decisions. The secretary goes on to say that the current situation of the war is the fault of ineffective government officials and poor military integration with other Entente allies. Wilson places the lion’s share of the blame on the Prime Minister’s shoulders. The accusing secretary is wise enough not to attack the military as they still hold vast amounts of respect and influence in Britain, but these are waning as the war trudges on with no hope for a clear victory. Wilson’s anti-war faction is beginning to gain significant momentum and support of several political parties.

    American soldiers advance from northern Vietnam into southern China and make quick progress as Chinese Nationalists and guerrilla fighters assist the American forces in much the same way Chinese Communists assist the Red Army in the north. American soldiers move towards Guangzhou as overhead the Army Air Force cement their dominance of the sky.

    May 1st, 1945- U.S. Marines and Army infantry storm the beaches on the islands of Basilan, Palawan and Mindanao. U.S. aircraft compete with the large Japanese aerial presence with better training and more planes. The Japanese slowly have to give more and more of the sky over Mindanao to the Americans.

    Hours after the initial landings, General MacArthur arrived and was photographed walking from the ocean onto the sandy beach and spoke his famous words, “I have returned.”

    May 3rd, 1945- The sword of Japan leaves its ports in the northern Philippines and moves south through the South China Sea towards the Sulu Sea to confront the American fleet. Hundreds of fighters had been pulled away from China, Korea, Manchuria and even the Home Islands to assist in this operation. The Sword was Japan’s best hope for a limited victory.

    May 4th, 1945- With their military operation having failed to secure northern Brazil, the lack of SAFB support and an increasing U.S. presence (both militarily and materially), a group of colonels launch a coup against the dictator General Antonio Azevedo.

    The Colonels’ Coup quickly takes the communication centers and supply depots in Brasilia and within hours establish themselves as the new leadership in the nation. Despite many being right-wing, they can see the writing on the wall. The new government orders all soldiers to stand down and invites the Americans and their South American allies to assist with “humanitarian efforts and public stability.” Although this is a turn of good fortune, American soldiers will spend the next several months hunting down right-wing extremists that escaped the purge of government. Trials for those that led the previous government are to begin in June.

    May 10th, 1945- As the U.S. Army and Marine Corps continue to push further inwards into the Philippines, coming into contact with Filipino guerrilla forces and even several hundred American soldiers that stayed behind, the IJN decides to strike the American fleet in the Sulu Sea.

    The Sword of Japan: seven fleet carriers, with five light carriers as well, nine battleships, seventeen cruisers, and thirty-eight destroyers.

    U.S. Navy facing them: five fleet carriers, eight light carriers, six battleships, twenty-two cruisers, fifty-two destroyers, thirty frigates, and scores of submarines.

    Both fleets have hundreds of planes but the United States has significantly more from airbases in liberated Philippines and long-range support from bases in northern Dutch East Indies.

    The armadas clash initially with scout aircraft and escort ships, ending with draws for the vast majority. American casualties are slightly lower due to superior equipment and training. U.S. F-83 Stormhawks are kept in reserve to defend the carriers and also to be used as the killing stroke once the Japanese carriers are found.

    May 12th, 1945- At a high-level conference in Berlin, scores of high-ranking Party, military and government officials discuss the course of the war and where to go from here. Hitler is in attendance but is uncharacteristically quiet and allows Hess to largely lead the meeting. The meeting touches upon the economy which is straining to support the war and the Total War Mobilization that had been instituted for years. The weariness of the German people is noted and that for Germany to truly win the war, Britain would have to be invaded and all recognized the impossibility of that with the Kriegsmarine unable to compete with the Royal Navy. Talks of the Eastern Territories and how there would be guerrilla movements for years but was largely under controlled. There was also talk of the possibility of America entering into the European Theater of the war. With Japan slowly being crushed by both the Americans and the Soviets it was only a matter of time before the United States turned its eye to Europe. It was also agreed that even if Germany could invade Britain, it would bring the Americans to Europe even quicker, if not instantly.

    At meeting’s conclusion, Hitler tells the assembled men that the German Reich would not surrender nor ever be controlled by foreign powers again. But faced with the reality they found themselves in, Hitler agreed an armistice would be necessary as Germany needed time to recover from the war, integrate its newly won territories and expand its economic and military might. To the surprise of those that had not met with Hitler five days earlier, Hitler stated that if Britain did not sue for peace or an armistice in six months’ time, then Germany would make a public statement available to the world of their intention for peace, of which Britain would have to respond, especially since its people were even more tired of the war and had a very vocal and growing anti-war movement. In the meantime, the German embassy in Switzerland would begin to send feelers to the British government.

    May 14th, 1945-
    After four days of almost nonstop combat, the Sword of Japan is defeated. Losses are heavy with the Japanese losing six fleet carriers, all five of their light carriers, seven battleships, six cruisers, eleven destroyers and 433 aircraft. The U.S. in comparison lost two fleet carriers, one light carrier, two battleships, four cruisers, ten destroyers, three frigates and 174 aircraft. The F-83 proved extremely valuable and was one reason the USN fleet was able to thoroughly cripple the Sword of Japan.

    The remainder of the Sword of Japan would limp to Formosa for emergency repairs, American fighter-bombers and jet fighters hounding them until they were out of range.

    Guangzhou is liberated by a combined Chinese/American army, and both commands plan in conjunction of several operations to the coast. Hong Kong would be the primary focus in the short term, but Shanghai is the primary target in the long term. The Chiefs of Staff and General Kai-shek hope to liberate much of China and unite it under Kai-shek to act as a bulwark against northern China where the Communists have stronger support and Soviet backing.

    The majority of Japanese-occupied China is in open rebellion and both the Americans and Soviets are exploiting this. Japanese troops in China, minus the Kwantung Army still fighting in southern Manchuria, are generally third-rate troops that are poorly supplied, equipped and have almost no tank divisions or heavy artillery. Territory is quickly lost to the rapidly advancing American and Soviet armies.

    May 15th, 1945- Churchill receives the first feelers from the Germans. Knowing that to respond to them or make them public would only result in more and more of the British citizenry becoming anti-war and demanding for peace, he quietly ignores them and keeps the information away from those in his government that he cannot trust.

    May 16th, 1945- German infantry and specialized divisions enter Spain via southern France with Franco’s permission. They proceed southwards toward Gibraltar. The Luftwaffe sends multiple fighters squadrons and several of the rare bomber squadrons. Spain is also given license to manufacture Panzer IIIs and Bf-109s as both are obsolete to the German military.

    Rommel, his men having rested and his supplies restocked, advance into eastern Algeria. Italian armor and infantry protect his flanks and rear. Free French and loyal Algerian forces are trained, determined and brave, but stand little chance against a veteran panzer army, especially one led by one of Germany’s premier panzer officers, the protégée of Field Marshal Heinz Guderian. The Free French also have very little in the way of maintained armor as they have been forced to cannibalize older and damaged tanks and can barely field enough armored resistance to keep Rommel from sweeping through Algeria like a scythe through wheat.

    May 18th, 1945- Marshal Admiral Yamamoto, with the Emperor in attendance and silent approval, proposes to Imperial Command that Japan send out feelers for a peace agreement to the Americans and Soviets. Almost all attending are horrified at the concept of surrender but a surprising amount agree to it, though many, especially the Army vehemently disagree and storm out of the Emperor’s presence to the disgust of the Emperor’s more respectful subjects. War Minister Korechika Anami disagrees with Yamamoto and barely restrains himself from storming out though he does leave promptly when the meeting ended.

    May 23rd, 1945- With the encouragement of the German government and military support from the Wehrmacht, Spain joins the Axis Power and immediately declares war on the Entente and begins to bomb Gibraltar with artillery and bomber aircraft. German aircraft assist in pounding the Rock, while German infantry and special forces attempt to break into the fortress.

    Churchill is furious as this further damages his political power base and Spain joining the Axis means yet another enemy for Britain. He orders the Royal Navy to destroy the Spanish Navy and wreak havoc amongst the ports of Spain. The Royal Navy which had been expecting the order for some time quickly deals with the Spanish Navy, such as it was, and quickly attacks and cripples many of Spain’s western and southern ports. The eastern ports are protected by several Italian Navy squadrons and heavy air cover.

    May 25th, 1945- After two days the Royal Navy has succeeded in damaging all ports within its power to attack, heavily damaging Spanish shipping and causing thousands to lay dead.

    Franco, under “suggestion” from Hitler, asks Portugal to join the Axis Powers and to rid the Iberian Peninsula of Anglo influence. Prime Minister António de Oliveira Salazar, effective dictator of Portugal, agrees but does not join the Axis Powers but does lay the foundation for future membership if Portugal eventually decided to join.

    May 27th, 1945- After liberating Mindanao and a majority of the other Philippine islands, U.S. forces land in southern and western Luzon and quickly march towards Manila where four divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army have fortified themselves.

    Hong Kong is besieged by American soldiers. The local Japanese garrison can do little to stop the Americans.

    May 28th, 1945- With the Empire having effectively lost the Philippines with the Sword having failed and no reinforcements are available to be sent, alongside the bitter truth that the Americans cannot be stopped; Emperor Hirohito decides to send the first feeler to the Americans. Hours before he could give the order though, his Tokyo Imperial Palace is stormed by Army divisions led by War Minister Korechika Anami. Anami believes that Yamamoto somehow tricked the Emperor into thinking that Japan needed to surrender and that the Emperor needed to be “saved” from the influence of the Marshal Admiral. As Anami was storming the Imperial Palace, his men were arresting dozens of officers and officials throughout Tokyo that agreed Japan would have to surrender.

    May 30th, 1945- The Kyūjō Incident would end two days after starting with the Emperor and his family under house arrest by the Army. Yamamoto and many of his allies and supporters are also put under arrest. Anami is forced to arrest Prime Minister Hideki Tojo as he falsely believed Tojo would support him, but the prime minister’s loyalty to the Emperor was stronger than the dishonor of surrender. Anami stripped Tojo of the office of prime minister and gave it to himself. The Emperor would be sent to the Kyoto Imperial Palace as the Tokyo Palace was heavily damaged due to the coup and he did not want the Emperor “to come to possible harm.” Anami replaces the Imperial Guard with men of his own choosing to guard the Emperor, ensuring the Emperor could not get in contact with Yamamoto’s supporters that were able to evade the arrests.

    The military coup d’etat sends shockwaves throughout the Empire as Yamamoto and Anami supporters begin to fight one another. With orders from the Home Islands vacant, chaos spreads through the Japanese forces in China and elsewhere.

    June 2nd, 1945- The Americans secure Hong Kong and begin to set their eyes northward. General Bradley prepares his men for the long trek north towards Shanghai.

    War Minister Anami orders the remnants of the Kwantung Army and whatever Japanese forces it can bring with it to withdraw towards Korea where the northern half of the country is quite mountainous and would slow down the Soviets and force them to pay the butchers bill to advance southwards.

    June 3rd, 1945- The trial of General Antonio Azevedo and his associates begin. Over three thousand men and women are to be put on trial, overseen by an American military judge who is seen by the majority of Brazilians to be impartial, leading to a more fair and legitimate trial.

    The charges are mass murder, repression and a host of others of what would be called 'crimes against humanity.'. Azevedo and many of his associates would not survive the Brasilia Trials.

    Manila is liberated and with it the liberation of the Philippines. There are several thousand Imperial soldiers left but are scattered, poorly supplied and have little to no command structure.

    June 7th, 1945- The Kwantung Army arrives to Korea, numbering roughly three hundred thousand men plus another hundred thousand of other Japanese soldiers. To cover their withdraw, Anami ordered that the remaining Mengkukuoan and Manchurian divisions, plus third-rate Japanese troops, delay the Soviets to buy the Kwantung time to successfully withdraw. Soviet fighters and bombers would hound the retreating army until poor weather forced them to halt their attacks.

    June 10th, 1945- A leak within the Churchill government reveals that the Prime Minister has been ignoring peace feelers from the Germans for weeks and this causes political chaos to erupt in Parliament. Horace Wilson proposes a vote of no-confidence. It is scheduled to occur on June 13th to allow all members of Parliament to attend and for the media to circulate the story widely and for Churchill to lose more and more public support.

    Churchill goes on the radio to defend his decision, calling for the British people to continue the war against tyranny but his message largely falls on deaf ears as more and more people turn against him as they see him as an inept politician at best and a warmonger at worst.

    June 11th, 1945- As Britain begins to politically fight itself and as Japan begins to recover from the shock of Anami’s usurpation of power, the United States decides to use the two operational atomic bombs to force Japan to surrender. With the Philippines secured, Bradley racing northwards toward Shanghai, and dozens of strategic islands in the Pacific having recently become liberated or in the process of, the Chiefs of Staff want to end the war soon. American military dead had recently reached 400,000 and with the war in its final stages, the Chiefs of Staff were looking at the Soviet Union and the German Reich as future opponents in the decades to come.

    Two American B-29 Superfortress bombers, the Enola Gay and Serenity, under heavy F-83 guard, fly to Japan and within hours of each other had dropped their atomic payloads. Camera on several F-83s and the bombers themselves would capture the explosion and the ensuing firestorms, with the rising mushroom cloud able to be seen for miles and miles away.

    On June 11th, 1945 the cities of Hiroshima and Kokura simply ceased to exist and the world was made aware of the horrors and devastation of atomic warfare.
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  9. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 49: The Rising Sun Sets

    June 12th, 1945- The world watches in shock and horror as reports of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Kokura begin to circulate throughout the world. Rumors that it was American propaganda are quickly silenced as images begin to appear in newspaper worldwide.

    President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff listen to the projected civilian casualties that occurred from the bombings, and despite some disgust at what they done, none regret the act itself, at least not initially. Japan must be made aware it cannot win or even fight on an equal footing. They hoped this would frighten Japan into surrendering and saving lives, principally American, in the long term. The Anami Government worried Truman, as they were driven more by fanaticism and a clouded sense of honor rather than common sense and realism.

    In Tokyo, Anami and his government are worried. To restore some morale amongst his supporters Anami states that the United States could not have any more of the weapons and decides to remain in Tokyo as a show of his defiance against the Americans.

    June 13th, 1945-
    Winston Churchill is forced out of office by losing the vote of no-confidence and is replaced by Horace Wilson as Prime Minister. Wilson promises to end the war between the Axis Powers and the Entente as swiftly as can be done. Wilson hopes to have the war end on favorable terms for both sides.

    Churchill says he plans to retire to Canada to “get away from foolish politicking and spineless cowards.” Though Wilson intends to end the war soon, he will not do so from a position of weakness. Gibraltar will continue to resist and efforts to supply the Free French will be doubled. The Royal Navy escort of the supply ships will increase to deter any German U-boats.

    June 14th, 1945-
    The Battle of Beijing begins between the under-supplied and undermanned Japanese garrison and near two hundred thousand Red Army troops, supported by massed artillery and unquestioned air superiority.

    June 16th, 1945-
    Hitler, ecstatic about the leadership change developing in Britain, authorizes the General Staff to conquer Algeria and capture Gibraltar as quickly as possible for political leverage over the British. On another note Hitler is impressed with the atomic bombings done by the Americans and as a result increases pressure on the Uranprojekt, the German nuclear research program. Though Germany had the most advanced rocket program, alongside advanced air and ground military assets and an efficient allocation system of resources due to Minister Speer’s work, the German atomic program was far behind the Americans and the British. Even with spies in the Brooklyn Project, siphoning away critical information and theories, it would take the Reich years to test a bomb, much less field it for use in war. But the wheels were turned, funds given, and the Uranprojekt for the first time in its existence was given significant attention from the government. Hitler wants a bomb as soon as possible to counter American dominance of that field.

    June 18th, 1945-
    Field Marshal Rommel and his German/Italian army, nicknamed the Algerien Korps, continue their drive into eastern Algeria. Free French troops reap a heavy toll on the German officer and his men, but cannot truly stop the advance of the German field marshal, though Giraud brings up what few reserves he has, mainly consisting of conscripts taken from the civilian population that fled France in the Exodus. It gives the French leader a dozen divisions but many lack heavy weapons and equipment.

    Soviet soldiers defeat what little resistance remained in Beijing and begin to expand their ever-growing grip on the Chinese coast. With Soviet advanced elements nearing the Yellow River and Americans nearing Shanghai, Zhukov wants to take as much of China as possible for his Chinese allies as they will be needed as a counter-weight to the Americans support of Kai-shek’s regime.

    June 21st, 1945-
    The USSR dispatches spies to the United States to observe the Brooklyn Project and attempt to infiltrate it. The chaos of the war, the heavy casualties, and loss of so much Soviet territory to the Axis forced the Soviet government to shutdown dozens of projects, one of which had been their atomic program. Beria intends to have a bomb, built by Soviet scientists preferably, but stolen if need be. The brutal NKVD director/General Secretary wants to have the bombs to stabilize the situation in European Russia. If the USSR received the bombs it could pressure the Germans or, if need be, strike with them in any war that might come.

    June 23rd, 1945-
    Using prisoners of war and Korean labor gangs, Japanese scientists have accumulated a fair amount of radioactive material. Anami wants to strike back at the Americans with their own weapon and orders the scientists to make it so.

    The material is to be combined with what little the Japanese atomic program knew to create a make-shift atomic bomb. Their target was to be the massing American fleet in Manila Bay.

    June 27th, 1945-
    U.S. and National Chinese troops enter the outskirts of Shanghai. The Second Battle of Shanghai begins.

    An exchange of weapons fire between German and British artillery in the Sinai Peninsula escalate to a large-scale battle between the two sides. After several hours of fighting involving almost exclusively artillery, scout units and aircraft, both Gott and Balck rein in their men and silence reigns for the next several days between both sides.

    June 30th, 1945-
    Early Soviet probes into northern Korea are thrown back by the Kwantung Army but Zhukov is not worried. Plans are being put into motion. He has time on his side.

    July 2nd, 1945-
    Rommel’s Algerien Korps stalls out near central Algeria. Free French and French-loyal Algerians are plaguing his supply lines. Rommel does not want to overstretch himself and risk a defeat. The Führer had been very adamant that a defeat would hurt them in future negotiations.

    July 6th, 1945-
    The Soviet Union launches a massive invasion of Korea. In the north, hundreds of thousands of infantry push southward, whilst in the air transport planes drop thousands of paratroopers throughout key communication hubs and known supply depots. To the west Soviet soldiers land in landing craft, much of it is captured from Japanese stores though some is Soviet craft.

    July 9th, 1945- After three days of hectic fighting, the Kwantung Army is on the retreat throughout Korea. Japanese divisions are withdrawing to the south-east of Korea to set up a defensive perimeter around the port of Pusan.

    July 17th, 1945-
    After a bloody street by street sweep of the city, Shanghai is liberated by the American and Chinese army. General Kai-shek arrives to the city with much fanfare, pictured to be shaking hands with General Bradley, and proclaims to the Chinese people that “…the age of foreign tyranny is over. The age of China’s rebirth has begun.” The Nationalist leader would go on to set up his headquarters in the rubble strewn city, to boost civilian morale and to cement himself as liberator of the city.

    July 23rd, 1945- Brazilian fascists are largely defeated in Brazil's vast jungles, securing the new regime. Democratic elections are to be held at years end to symbolize the country's pursuit towards liberty. These elections are heavily encouraged by the Americans and the new regime, key players in the Colonels Coup done earlier that year, are unhappy with it but bear it nonetheless as having little to no power was better than being a corpse or in prison.

    July 27th, 1945-
    Gibraltar falls to the united Axis army that had besieged it. This drives home to Wilson that the war could not end on favorable terms and must instead be ended as quickly as possible to prevent further loss of British prestige. Despite this major defeat early in his government, Wilson is able to deflect the blame onto Churchill, who had recently arrived in Canada for his retirement.

    Spanish and German losses are heavy but Hitler deems it worth the price. Italian losses are minuscule at best, largely ships that engaged Royal Navy squadrons or aircraft.

    July 28th, 1945- Wilson asks the Germans for an armistice and is quickly agreed to. From France to the Eastern Territories, from Scandinavia to North Africa, silence reigns in Europe for the first time in nearly six years.

    July 29th, 1945-
    A commercial ship, crewed by hand-picked Japanese soldiers loyal to Japan and Anami, moves into Manila Bay under a Dutch East Indies flag. The ship nears the American fleet as close as it dared before detonating the Japanese atomic bomb nestled in its cargo hold.

    The explosion would sink dozens of American ships, including two carriers, damaging scores more and sinking/damaging hundreds of commercial ships, leading to tens of thousands to be dead or dying. Radioactive fallout would descend onto Manila itself due to wind. American authorities quickly go about containing the radiation and trying to heal an afflicted with minor cases of radiation sickness. The ones that had received more severe doses of radiation are made comfortable; their health in no doubt as their bodies begin to shutdown.

    The White House is shocked by the audacity of the Japanese and alarmed by what they had created. Truman and the Joint Chiefs decree the war must end now.

    August 2nd, 1945-
    The Axis Powers and the Entente agree to meet in Zurich, Switzerland for the peace conference. The conference is to begin on August 12th.

    August 4th, 1945- Three atomic bombs arrive to secure U.S. airbases on Saipan. Pilots and bombers, briefed hours ago, ready themselves for the long trek to Japan and the cargo they were soon to drop on the Home Islands. The bombers would leave later that night.

    August 5th, 1945- In retaliation to the destruction caused in Manila Bay the cities of Niigata, Yokohama and Tokyo have atomic bombs dropped on them, killing hundreds of thousands and wounding well over a million. War Minister Anami, his staff and most important supporters are killed when Tokyo was bombed. With the military government now radioactive ash, chaos reigns in Japan similar to when Anami initiated his coup but multiplied.

    August 6th, 1945-
    To ease public concern and show that though Japan lacked a proper government it still had a monarch the Emperor goes on the radio for the first time in his life and tells the Japanese people that the Empire of Japan is surrendering unconditionally to spare the rest of Japan the horrors and atrocities of war. Emperor Hirohito invites the Americans, British, and Soviets to Japan so the surrender could commence.

    Marshal Admiral Yamamoto and former Prime Minister Tojo are released from prison to help govern the country until a proper government could be formed.

    August 7th, 1945-
    As the day reaches noon on the deck of the USS Missouri the Empire of Japan surrenders unconditionally to the Entente, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America.
    Jack Brisco and Whiteshore like this.
  10. miner249er Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Chapter 50: The New World

    August 8th, 1945- As American ships, aircraft, and troops move into Japan to secure the country, victory is celebrated in the United States. Streets are crowded with millions of cheering people. Victory over Japan, popularly called V-J Day, would signal the end of the war for the United States.

    August 9th, 1945- Japanese militarists of the Kwantung Army in Korea refuse to surrender and ready themselves to die for honor in the Pusan Perimeter. First Marshal Zhukov fields an army of little over a million, with significant armor and artillery alongside a dominant Red Air Force. The Kwantung Army stands not a chance but they will not submit to the cowardice that has overtaken their government on the Home Islands.

    Various Japanese generals in China either turn to temporary warlords with what few forces they have at their disposal, or surrender en masse to the Soviets or Americans, many preferring the somewhat milder treatment of the Americans when compared to the harsh Soviets.

    August 11th, 1945- The last delegates of the major world powers finish arriving in Zurich for the peace talks. The United States and the Soviet Union would be attending, but would have little to no say in regards to the European Theater as the conference is between the Axis and Entente, but would discuss aspects in South America and Asia.

    American military police begin arresting hundreds of Japanese soldiers and officers, as well as several dozen high-ranking government officials. There is to be a large trial against these individuals, to be held in Kyoto in mid-1946 as the city was now the official capital of Japan since the atomic destruction of Tokyo. The charges against these Japanese officials vary but all are being brought up on charges of crimes against humanity. Evidence is to be gathered, witnesses brought in, and a court of American, British, and Soviet officials is to be formed, headed by the United States.

    August 12th, 1945- The Zurich Peace Conference begins. Discussion between how the post-war world will look quickly turns into a heated debate as the Fourth French Republic, the Free French, refuse to withdraw from Algeria, stating it is French land, as French as France itself. The German, Spanish and Italian ambassadors, under orders from their respective leaders, persist that Algeria is to become an Italian colony, whilst French Morocco is to be handed over to Spain. Mussolini wants Algeria for his Italian Empire, Spain wants French Morocco for the Kingdom of Spain; Hitler wants to see the Free French humiliated and removed of their primary support base, effectively crippling the fledgling government-in-exile if it was to happen and removing them as a credible threat to Axis North Africa for years, possibly decades.

    Giraud knows this and pressures the British not to buckle under the diplomatic pressure and the desire of the British people to end the war as soon as possible. Wilson is not going to risk the war to drag on for an ally that was once a co-partner of the Entente but no longer. The prime minister quietly ignores Giraud. The Free French leader goes to the American in desperation but his pleas fall onto deaf ears as the Americans have no wish to interfere on the European aspect of the war, not when it is finally coming to a close.

    August 13th, 1945- With Algeria, French Morocco, Tunisia and French Indochina lost to him, Giraud desperately attempts to keep the remainder of French Africa. The British are willing to support this as they still want the French to remain a regional power to help act as a counter-weight to Spanish and Italian influence. Britain would not risk war over a province that was already being lost to the Germans and Italians, but would lend their support to the remaining French colonies.

    German-occupied Egypt is formed into the Republic of Egypt led by the newly elected President Abdel Nasser and joins the Axis Powers, effectively a semi-independent puppet of Germany similar to the Ukraine. Mussolini is disappointed that he would not be able to annex Egypt, but recognizes the necessity of having an ally that can largely stand on its own two feet facing Entente-occupied Middle East. The Italian Navy and Kriegsmarine would have basing rights in Egypt’s ports, as well as the Italian Army and Wehrmacht having sizable forces in Egypt for “its protection against hostile neighbors.”

    August 15th, 1945- The Zurich Peace Conference concludes and with it the Treaty of Zurich is born. Pace between the Axis Powers and the Entente is achieved.

    German occupation over Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the Eastern Territories are internationally recognized, as are Italy’s claims to Greece (minus the portions taken by Bulgaria and Turkey, also recognized), Yugoslavia, Tunisia, Algeria, Malta and Italian-occupied France. The German puppet states of Chechnya, Croatia, Greater Syria, as well as the National Republic of the Ukraine and Republic of Egypt are recognized. The Sinai Peninsula is recognized the Republic of Egypt’s eastern border.

    Gibraltar is returned to Spain, though would have a German/Italian taskforce assigned to it, as well as principal port for both nations’ navies. But it would be Spanish territory and largely garrisoned by Spanish soldiers. British citizens that remain are to be shipped to Britain as they are no longer welcome. Spanish Morocco evolves from a protectorate into an outright colony, alienating many of Franco’s Moroccan supporters which would lead to the large scale civil war in Spanish Morocco during the early 1950s. French Morocco, much to Franco’s delight, is given to Spain, despite the Spanish Army unable to invade it during the war as Free French units were able to not only halt Spanish ambitions but invade portions of Spanish Morocco.

    Turkey’s possessions in Greece and the Caucasus are recognized.

    The Fourth French Republic is forced to leave Algeria, dropping their claim to it and Tunisia. The withdraw from French Morocco is forced as well, gifting it to Spain, alienating the Fourth Republic. The French still have an extensive African empire with a French upper-class. The millions of French men and women, many that left France during the Exodus while others decided to leave their homes in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, will become the dominant and wealthy class, in comparison, to the poorer African populations and strong supporters of the Republic. The city of Dakar, Senegal is to be the center of the Free French military and home port to the small Free French Navy. Abidjan, Ivory Coast will become the economic and political capital of the Fourth Republic.

    Due to the Netherlands being occupied by the Germans, the Dutch East Indies is renamed to Indonesia and the country is to be given its independence sometime in 1946 after a period of rebuilding and stability directed by the American military.

    Various and more points are announced in the Treaty, but the most important one is that the world after six years of the bloodiest and most destructive war in human history could now be content that was finally over.

    August 17th, 1945- U.S. and Soviet forces meet on opposite sides of the Yellow River, becoming the boundary between their two militaries and the militaries of their Chinese allies. What few Japanese holdouts there were in China are all but eliminated.

    August 20th, 1945- After eliminating Japanese pockets throughout Korea, barring the south-eastern area of the country, Zhukov finally attacks the Pusan Perimeter and the last battle for the Kwantung Army begins.

    Italy, as a sign of goodwill and for ethnic and administrative reasons, cedes north-western Algeria, the Oran region and surrounding area to Spain. The local European population is heavily Spanish and the giving of land is to tie Spain further into the Axis, as well as help mend the high losses the Axis country suffered by the Royal Navy when it entered the war.

    August 23rd, 1945- Germany formally annexes Luxembourg, Eupen-Malmedy, Northern Schleswig, and central Poland (the former General-Government) into the Reich. Plans for the future annexation of the other Occupied Territories are laid out: Eastern Poland and Lithuania by 1946, Latvia and Estonia by 1947, Northern France by 1948, Central and Western France by 1950, Belarus by 1951, with the other vast swathes of former Soviet-territory is to be annexed starting in the early-1950s and scheduled to conclude in the mid-1960s. Germanization and Aryanization of these areas have been in full swing since each territory’s occupation and with peace secured they would take prominence in German internal affairs for decades. Already German colonists are dispatched to the non-annexed territories to lay the groundwork for the eventual annexation.

    In German-occupied France the French are encouraged to move to Marseille France as tens of thousands of German settlers move to France, this being only the initial wave with many more to follow. The German government wants the possible disloyal segments of the French population to leave their homes in Occupied France, whilst those loyal and racially approved may be allowed to remain. Furthermore if a French civilian desires to marry a German they are allowed to if the French individual is loyal to the German government, is law-abiding, and above all is deemed bearing sufficiently pure Aryan genes then it is approved. It is hoped that with these unions and the children that would be produced in the years to come that the French identity would be slowly and cleanly erased, replacing it with descendants who latch onto their German heritage and becoming fully-fledged citizens of the Reich who identity as only German, therefore increasing the number of Aryan Germans in the world. Similar policies are adopted in the remainder of German-controlled Europe, with marriages between Danish, Belgian and Dutch women to German men encouraged, though German-to-German coupling will forever remain the preferred and dominant. These polices in the Eastern Territories are even stricter and the guidelines more stringent. With the war won and much of the East depopulated by the battles that raged through it the SS and Slavic Aryan auxiliaries begin rounding up the non-Aryan population, even many sub-Aryans with either insufficient proof or questionable background are rounded up for the concentration camps. Hitler desperately wants to increase the population of Germany to better colonize its newly acquired territories. He hopes to either exterminate via Einsatzgruppen or via the concentration camp system, force out into ghettoes or into unpopulated wildernesses of little value, or breed out local Aryan populations of their former ethnic identities, replacing it with a German-centered one. This would see the German population skyrocket in the ensuing decades, as well as their occupied subjects in the East either be killed in camps or outbred and outnumbered by their cruel masters.

    August 28th, 1945- The Kwantung Army is utterly destroyed, with the few remnants surrendering to the Red Army. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, but the Soviet Union stands triumphant.

    September 2nd, 1945- Hitler renames the German Reich into the Greater German Reich.

    The Soviet Union installs the Korean Communist Party as the sole party of the new government of Korea. Korea is renamed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the capital city is Seoul.

    September 4th, 1945- The United States and the Soviet Union establish two governments in China: the Republic of China with Shanghai as its capital, aided by the United States, and the People’s Republic of China with Beijing as its capital, aided by the Soviet Union. This is to be a temporary solution to the “Chinese problem” as one American politician stated. A plebiscite and election to unite the two Chinas is scheduled by both the U.S. and the USSR to start in 1947 but few believe it will come to pass. South China is formed of China east and south of the Yellow River, the remainder goes on to form North China with the exception of the province of Tibet which gains independence and backing of the American government. Both South and North China dislike this, but Kai-shek is forced to accept it for continued American support and North China cannot intervene without an international incident that the USSR does not want to occur at this time.

    September 8th, 1945- The United States calls for an international body to succeed the ineffective and defunct League of Nations. This successor is to be called the United Nations and stationed in New York City, New York. All nations are invited, whether they are democratic, communist, fascist, or other. The world suffered heavily in the Second World War, casualties in the tens of millions, with many reporting nearly seventy million people having died, some speculate more. The United States does not want such a war to happen again and hopes the United Nations can prevent it.

    As a precaution, however, the United States forms an economic-military alliance with several countries throughout the world, called the Alliance of Democratic Nations. It is hoped this alliance will keep in check communist and fascist aggression where the UN cannot. Founding members would be the United States, Britain, Free France, South China, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the entirety of the South American Democratic League, and several more.

    Likewise the Axis Powers officially integrates the South American Fascist Bloc into the Axis Powers. The Soviet Union integrates North China into the Comintern. Attempts to add Vietnam to the Comintern fails miserably as the communist country is surrounded by U.S. allies and has fair relations with the Americans, who also liberated their country. Vietnam might be communist, but it would become a strong American ally in Southeast Asia in the years to come. India on the other hand becomes accepting of Soviet influence and a rising communist movement would worry Britain and the United States for years. North-western India begins to experience riots and mass demonstrations against central Indian control as the predominantly Islamic population is pro-fascist. This would eventually evolve into the country of Pakistan coming to and being a bastion of fascism in an area surrounded largely by communist and democratic movements.

    The Second World War might be over, but three nations have attained dominance, giving birth to three superpowers, each leading a different military alliance. The war was over, but the seeds for another had been sown. Thus the foundation for the Cold War began.