MotF 242: In The Footsteps Of Xenophon

MotF 242: In The Footsteps Of Xenophon

The Challenge

Make a map showing a march or military maneuver.

The Restrictions

There are no restrictions on when the PoD of your map should be. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed.

If you're not sure whether your idea meets the criteria of this challenge, please feel free to PM me or comment in the main thread.
Entries will end for this round when the voting thread is posted on Monday, September 6, 2021.
Any discussion must take place in the main thread. If you post anything other than a map entry (or a description accompanying a map entry) in this thread, you will be asked to delete the post.

Don't forget to vote on MotF 241!


Few would dispute that 1940 was the darkest year in the history of the British Isles. After the stunningly fast defeat of its continental allies in the summer of 1940 and the encirclement and near-total destruction of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, Britain soon found itself under siege by sea and air. Disaster after disaster at Scapa Flow, Narvik, Calabria, and Mers-el-Kebir robbed the Royal Navy of its substantial numerical advantage over the combined Axis fleets, while the utter defeat of the Royal Air Force left England defenseless against German strategic and tactical bombing. With total air supremacy, the substantially-smaller Kriegsmarine nevertheless successfully wrested control of the English Channel from the battered Royal Navy over the late summer and early autumn.

On September 22, 1940, the German 9th and 16th Armies under the command of Field Marshal Rundstedt landed in Kent between Folkestone and Seaford, marking the first successful foreign invasion of the British Isles since 1066. Simultaneously, an airborne assault on the inland part of Kent cut off roads to the peninsula, preventing Home Army's Eastern Command from responding in time to meet the invaders on the beach. Within days, the Germans successfully seized the ports of Dover and Portsmouth, opening the way for armored divisions to be brought in, against which the relatively lightly-armed Home Army had little defense. By early October, the Germans had landed 6th Army in Lyme Bay and pushed west to the Bristol Channel, cutting off most of the Southern Command from the bulk of the British forces in the north, and had crossed the Thames east of London. Over the next few days, German forces would encircle London, forcing the British government to flee north, and cut the Eastern Command in two by pushing north to the Fens and seizing a bridgehead over the Ouse.

Despite these early successes, the Ouse would be the high water mark of the invasion and of Nazi Germany's hitherto-unstoppable advance through Western Europe. Starting in mid-October, worsening weather weakened the advantage provided by German air superiority and broke the back of the already thinly-stretched logistical chain. Even in the last week of September, when cross-channel shipping was at its peak, the Germans were able to import an average of only 6,000 tons of supplies daily - less than 75% of the rule-of-thumb needs for frontline combat for the 25 divisions deployed to the island by that point. By the second week of October, as the weather turned and the number of attacks on convoys increased, this number had fallen to 4,500 tons. By October 25, the Royal Navy - by then reinforced by squadrons from the Mediterranean and Far East - began to recontest control over the Channel, leading the OKH to conclude it was no longer possible to support the invasion. After a substantial delay to convince Hitler of the need to abort the invasion, German forces were officially ordered to begin evacuating the island on November 16, and by December 9 the last surviving German forces had departed. Despite his early opposition to Sealion on practical grounds, Field Marshal Rundstedt was scapegoated for the failure of the invasion and was removed as commander of Army Group A. However, he was reinstated in advance of the invasion of the Soviet Union and served until the end of the war.

The costs of the failed invasion were enormous for Germany. Between ordinary losses of the campaign, 5 divisions near-totally encircled by British forces during the evacuation, and the substantial number of casualties sustained from sunken transports in the Channel, Germany and its allies lost over 200,000 veterans of its earlier campaigns - more than it had sustained in successfully seizing France and the Low Countries in the spring. To make matters worse, even those formations which successfully evacuated were forced to leave their heavy equipment behind. For instance, 15th Corps' 7th Panzer Division lost over 70% of its tanks in its hasty retreat via Portsmouth. These losses - especially of trained veterans and aircraft - crippled the Wehrmacht's future campaigns. Some historians speculate that Germany could have defeated the Soviet Union had Hitler heeded the advice of his generals and canceled the operation in early September.

Nevertheless, despite their victory, the invasion also posed a substantial setback to the Allies. Much of Britain's most industrially-developed regions sustained serious damage during the bombing campaign, occupation, and requisitioning by supply-starved German forces. The GDP of war-torn Surrey County, which saw fierce fighting both during the initial encirclement of London and as the Germans attempted to cover their evacuation, did not recover to pre-war levels until the 1970s. The diversion of colonial forces and naval assets to reinforce the Home Army also weakened the Commonwealth armies in North Africa, arguably leading to subsequent defeats at El Alamein and Alexandria. Some British historians claim the invasion dealt the killing blow to the British Empire, and suggest that Britain could have played the role of a 'third superpower' in the postwar era had it been prevented. Although the occupation was short enough to spare Britain the mass horrors experienced by the civilian population of continental Europe, 3,500 people, including Jews and prominent opponents of the Nazis, were arrested and deported to concentration camps in Germany. Only 800 survived the war.

General Brooke, who commanded the Home Army during the campaign, is now considered one of the greatest generals in British history for his successful defense of the island. Notably, his choice to redesign the defense plan to integrate a mobile reserve rather than a static defense is often credited by military historians as a key factor which allowed the Home Army to quickly build a defensive line to prevent the Germans from moving further north. After the threat to the Home Islands passed, Brooke was appointed Commander in Chief of the Middle East Command, where he oversaw the liberation of Egypt, advance into Libya, and initial landings in southern Italy. New scholarship has begun to challenge the popular memory of Brooke as a brilliant and honorable general, as historians began to question whether he was partially responsible for the encirclement of V Corps at Southampton, and recently-unearthed documents revealed Brooke favored the heavy use of chemical weapons in the defense, even in heavily-populated areas, only to be overruled by Churchill.

At the time, the invasion of England was the largest amphibious and airborne assault in human history. The Allies would use lessons learned by British forces during the defense of Britain to plan the 1944 Pas de Calais landings.
3rd Carrier Division world tour (May-August 1971).png

3rd Carrier Division's world tour was a 1971 circumnavigation of the globe by a fleet of 6 Japanese warships, the two Zuikaku class nuclear powered aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Shōkaku alongside 4 escorting destroyers.

The Background: At the end of the 2nd World War in 1945 5 nations were at the top. These were the founding members of the International Concord Great Powers Forum. The Union of Britannic Syndicalist Commonwealths, German Empire, Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire and the Empire of Japan. Japan's inclusion into this exclusive club was much controversial however. Japan had, since the Meiji Restoration, been trying to prove itself to be the equal of the European Powers. It's victory in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War was a major step in this struggle for recognition. Japan was however still looked down upon. It was only with Japanese victory against the United States and reluctant acceptance of Japan into the Forum of Great Powers did Japan finally achieve this goal fully. And once this recognition was achieved Japan's focus changed to preserving this status. Throughout the 50s and the 60s most these powers had to deal with different issues. Russians lost some international influence and had some internal issues but mostly weathered these decades fine. The Britannic Union had to deal with rebuilding its new territories gained during the early 40s and improving the infrastructure in the formerly colonial areas of the UBSC. Ottomans also were rather stable thought they had some internal issues, leading to the independence of Arabic majority areas as independent nations in personal union with Turkey by 1970. Germany was focused on decolonization and rebuilding from the 2nd World War. Japan in these two decades only had a total of 9 years of peace as it had the deal with the Japanese Colonial Wars. These wars costed Japan much, and culminated in Japan recognizing the independence of Korea in 1970. In the mean time British Empire in Exile, India and even Japan's erstwhile puppet in the Pacific States of America had either surpassed or at least became a match for Japan. For the following decade Japan was mostly internal focused and only extended influence during the 80s and afterwards, and even then being more trough economical, social and cultural means rather than military ones.
However Japanese Government of the time and the navy had decided on one last military show of force. This was the global cruise of the 3rd Carrier Division. Imperial Japanese Navy of the time had already retired all of its battleships and battlecruisers (besides the fast battleship Ōsumi, preserved as museum) and its main capital ships consisted of 8 aircraft carriers. These were the 4 ships of the conventionally powered Tairyū class and 4 ships of the nuclear powered Zuikaku class, with the ships being organized into 4 carrier divisions of 2 carrier each. 1st and 2nd Carrier Divisions were stationed in Japan, forming the core of the Combined Fleet and the 1st Air Fleet/the Mobile Force (the famed "Kidō Butai") while the 4th Carrier Division (consisting of the Zuikaku class Hōshō and Ryūhō) formed the centerpiece of the Eastern Fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor. 3rd Carrier Division, consisting of Zuikaku and Shōkaku, were to be either be a part of the Kidō Butai themselves or replace the 4th Carrier Division in the Eastern Fleet (with the 4th Carrier Division joining the Kidō Butai). The Government however decided that to show the world that the loss of Korea or other Japanese colonies in the Western Pacific (and loss of influence in the PSA politics) did not mean that Japan was no longer a powerful country by organizing a global tour by 3rd Carrier Division, partially inspired by the US' Great White Fleet in 1907-1908. The voyage was planned by the Emperor, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Naval Minister trough the late months of 1970 and early months of 1971.

The Voyage: The two carriers and the four escorting destroyers left Tokyo Bay (and the Yokosuka Naval Base) on a fine day of may, carrying the Emperor and the Foreign Minister, having completed what amounted to an Imperial inspection of the base, to the cheers of the populous. Ships then sailed into the Seto Inland Sea passing by Osaka and Kobe without stopping but sailing into the Naval Base of Kure near Hiroshima, this visit also serving as an Imperial inspection of the Kure Naval Base. After which came the one of the more controversial visits of the 3rd Carrier Division, as the fleet visited the Korean port of Busan. There the Japanese Foreign Minister met with the Korean Foreign Minister. This was a goodwill visit, and the meeting of the foreign ministers laid the groundwork for normalization and cooperation between Japan and Korea. Next stop was Okinawa (visiting Sasebo Naval Base was considered but discarded), functioning as an Imperial visit to the island. Next port visited was Kīrun (Keelung) in Taiwan. This served as an imperial goodwill visit to the new autonomous region (consisting of 8 prefectures), which had been a dependency until the 1967-1968 uprising organised by Chinese Nationalists in an attempt to seize the island for the Republic of China Government in Exile (which had only lost control of significant areas of Chinese mainland in 1966 as the Chinese Social Republic finally won the war and completely seized the mainland). Next visit was to British Hong Kong which mostly served as a military show of force against the Chinese Social Republic. This was followed by a goodwill visit to Manila, capital of the Philippines. This visit was quite similar to Busan visit as Philippines had only gained independence from Japan in 1966. The fleet called into Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies next which was followed by Singapore, the capital of the British Empire in Exile. There the Emperor met with King Edward VIII and his heir Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh in the Istana while the Japanese Foreign minister met with the British Prime Minister, the Chinese President in Exile and the Australian, Canadian, New Zealander and South African Ambassadors. While the fleet and the Emperor continued on the voyage trough the Straits of Malacca the Japanese Foreign Minister remained in Singapore for some time longer, discussing foreign policy and defense coordination with the representatives of the British Commonwealth, before returning to Japan via plane. Next port of call was Mumbai in India, where the Emperor was received by the Indian President. Next port visited was Muscat, one of the three rotating capitals of the newly independent from the Ottoman Empire Union of Arab States, as well as Oman and Federation of South Arabia. The Emperor was received by the Sultan of Oman, the President of the Federation of South Arabia and the then Vice-President of the Union of Arab States. After leaving Muscat the fleet first entered the Red Sea and then crossed the Suez Canal. In Port Said the fleet separated into two groups consisting of one carrier and two destroyers each. Zuikaku and her escorts continued towards the west, port calling in Alexandria, Tunis, Ostia (mainly with the purpose of visiting Rome, like the port call in Kīrun having the purpose of visiting Taipei), Marseilles, Valencia and Lisbon before rendezvousing with Shōkaku and her escorts west of Galicia. Shōkaku and her escorts first called to port in Jaffa after which the Emperor visited Jerusalem. Next stop was Constantinople where the Emperor met with the Ottoman Padishah. The Emperor also made a speech at the International Concord Headquarters and the IC Common Forum. After which the Emperor returned to Japan via the Japanese State Aircraft. The carrier and escorts also entered the Black Sea calling to port in Sevastopol. Next visit was Athens, which was followed by Venice. After visiting Venice Shōkaku and escorts left to rendezvous with Zuikaku and escorts. The combined flotilla called to port in Portsmouth, Syndicalist Commonwealth of England, Union of Britannic Syndicalist Commonwealths. The main Naval Base of the UBSC and one of the 3 communist controlled ports visited by the 3rd Carrier Division in their tour (others being New York and Buenos Aires). Where they participated in a Fleet Review alongside the Home Fleet, Portsmouth Division of the Revolutionary Navy (alongside a visiting United Socialist States Navy carrier and a West French frigate). Next port visit was the Hague, serving as a goodwill visit after the unsuccessful socialist uprising in the Netherlands in February, after which they were put down by Dutch military and intervening German military. Netherlands would join Germany in October. After leaving the Hague the 3rd Carrier Division would sail to Wilhelshaven rendezvousing with the German High Seas Fleet where they conducted a joint exercise, also visiting the museum fast battleship SMS Deutschland. Next port of call was Oslo where Shōkaku remained while Zuikaku and escorts conducted a tour trough the Baltic. In the Baltic cruise Zuikaku visited Kopenhagen, Königsberg, Riga, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm before rendezvousing with Shōkaku in Oslo. Afterwards the fleet sailed across the Atlantic to New York City, Syndicalist Britannic Commonwealth of New York. This also served as a visit to the United Socialist States of America as New Jersey neighbors New York. After leaving New York the fleet sailed south before dividing into two groups centered on either carrier again. Zuikaku's force sailed into the Caribbean where it visited New Orleans in the USA remnant, which served as a goodwill visit as USA had just lost a war against PSA and USSA. Zuikaku then sailed out of the Caribbean to rendezvous with her sister in the North Brazilian (Federative Republic of Brazil) capital of Recife. In the meantime Shōkaku sailed across the Atlantic to visit Dakar, the capital of Senegal, before sailing to Recife. Afterwards the 3rd Carrier Division sailed to Portuguese Cabinda. Cabinda port call was also used to visit Congoville (capital of the 2nd Republic of the Congo) and Brazzaville (capital of the state of Congo in the Empire of Equatorial Africa (in personal union with Germany) across the Congo River. 3rd Carrier Division sailed south to Cape Town and rendezvousing with HMSAS South Africa and conducting an exercise. Japanese Fleet then sailed to Buenos Aires, capital of Socialist Federative Republic of Sudamerica. After which they sailed around Cape Horn, then visiting Lima followed by San Francisco (and admitting that PSA is no longer a Japanese satellite but confirming its status as a Japanese ally). Then the 3rd Carrier Division rendezvoused with the 4th Carrier Division and the Japanese Eastern Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. Followed by a visit to Darwin ("temporary" capital of the Commonwealth of Australia) meeting with HMAS Australia. After leaving Darwin the 3rd Carrier Division sailed north to return to Japan as they returned to the Yokohama Naval Base. Following some R&R the 3rd Carrier Division replaced the 4th in the Eastern Fleet in 1975.

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