Photos of the Kaiserreich

lossy-page1-800px-Hortamuseum.tif.jpg

The house of Victor Horta, a belgian art-noveau artist who fleed to the Netherlands after the creation of Flanders-Wallonia. This building was restored by Mies van der Rohe after the Weltkrieg
 
1635443559061.png

Estonian Government in Exile leader Artur Sirk announces independence of Estonia with Russian Republic support 22 September 1944 during Tallinn offensive
 
Levantamientodel43.jpeg

Argentine troops depart from Buenos Aires for the advance toward Patagonia, 1938.

The outbreak of the Second American Civil War had drastic effects on the balance of power worldwide, but Latin America was easily the most directly impacted region outside of the U.S. itself. The sudden collapse of the Monroe Doctrine set South and Central America on the path toward chaos and bloodshed, beginning with the violent war of extremes that would take place in the Southern Cone in the late 1930s. Radical Argentine dictator Manuel Carlés, having secured near-total control of his government, launched an effort to conquer the rebellious socialist federation in Patagonia that had split the nation in two. The conflict grew exponentially as Chile intervened to defend its puppet and Paraguay attempted to backstab its southern neighbor, leading to months of grueling combat from the Chaco to Tierra del Fuego.

s2-4cuwjcov-Gob9R7ymQoquKdWw1Ia-zEOdNI21bqM.jpeg

Argentine officers in Patagonia, pictured in the German-style military dress of Carlés' army, in the process of planning their final thrusts to destroy the FOP's militias.

By the end of 1938, against all odds, Carlés’ ultranationalist regime found itself the victor. Chile and Paraguay were quickly absorbed into the Argentine state, fulfilling the first of its dictator’s promises of territorial expansion and military glory. The defeated nations’ arms and infrastructure were immediately put to use by the Argentine war machine, while LPA paramilitaries spread throughout the newly annexed territories to enact a campaign of terror against ‘potential dissidents’. A brief and nearly bloodless war with Bolivia secured Argentina’s claimed territories there, while Carlés was careful to maintain close ties with his fellow rightist authoritarians in Peru.

Meanwhile, as great powers scrambled to secure their zones of influence in the aftermath of the US collapse, the Panama Canal Crisis erupted. Panama, having proclaimed its independence and secured control of the vital Canal in the absence of its American overlords, became the center of international attention overnight. British-Canadian diplomats, mixing promises with thinly-veiled threats and some gunboat diplomacy, eventually succeeded in pressuring the Panamanian military government into accepting membership in the Entente, securing the Canal for the Exiles.

Argentina-Mountain-Troops-22.jpeg

Argentine artillerymen prepare to fire on a Brazilian position during the Axis' offensive into southern Brazil and Uruguay.

While Carlés had significantly expanded his nation’s borders in the wars of the 1930s, the extremists of the military and LPA clamored for yet greater glory. To the north, the liberal democratic republic of Brazil struggled in the wake of economic catastrophe, yet had chosen to remain neutral geopolitically - with one significant exception: the republic of Uruguay. The South American giant signed the Montevideo Treaty in 1939, officially integrating the two republics into a tightly-knit defensive military alliance. Argentine nationalists and military planners came to a swift conclusion: For the nationalist goals of the state to be achieved, the annexation of Uruguay was necessary, and in order to seize Uruguay, Brazil would need to be dismantled once and for all. The Buenos Aires - Lima Axis was quickly officialized in January of 1940, transparently in opposition to Brazil. The best units of the Argentine army, supported by Juan Peron's newly-expanded armored brigades, were massed on the border of Uruguay and Brazil's southern states, which had quickly become a focus for 'liberation' and annexation in Carlés and the LPA's propaganda machine as well. The Axis' veteran jungle fighters, weathered from the conflicts in Paraguay and Bolivia, prepared an offensive into the Brazilian heartland itself. While slow to organize and respond, the Brazilian army nonetheless began to mobilize defensively in May, which Carlés described as an act of aggression, stoking fears of an attack by the northern behemoth. The Argentine army, far better equipped and organized than its opposition but at a large disadvantage in terms of land and manpower, decided that the time was right for a 'preemptive' invasion of Brazil. It was on such terms that South America saw its bloodiest war yet beginning in the summer of 1940, as the Argentine combined-arms offensive shattered unprepared Brazilian defenders in the southern states and Peruvian troops slogged their way into the Amazon.

Soldados_paulista_em_trincheira_em_Silveiras,_1932.jpeg

Brazilian infantrymen man an improvised line in Rio Grande de Sul during the opening Argentine offensive, 'Operación Goliat' (June 1940). Though they possessed a considerable advantage in numbers, Brazilian soldiers were often undersupplied, unorganized and suffering from poor morale, largely as a result of the nation's economic collapse and its democratic government's apparent failure to resolve the situation.

The war was long and vicious, with disease and logistical issues plaguing both sides, but after over a year of fighting, Carlés found his regime victorious once more. Whether through the instability of the Brazilian government, the weakness of its military, or simply the strength of the Axis armies, Brazil had been decisively beaten, and then fractured into a number of much smaller states headed by supposedly reliable military leaders pliable by the Argentine regime. While guerilla warfare in the balkanized remnants of Brazil and along the new northern Argentinian border would continue sporadically for decades, the Axis now ruled nearly unchallenged in South America - Nearly.

With the exception of the European colonies in Guyana, the social-democratic republics of Colombia and Venezuela were the only regions outside of the Axis’ grasp on the continent by mid-1942. However, the northern republics were far removed from the affairs of the Southern Cone, and separated from the twin powers of the Axis by weak buffer states in Ecuador and the chaotic Brazilian successors. With this in mind, their new Andean Pact felt confident enough to initiate the Second Panama Canal Crisis in early 1942. With the war in Europe having proceeded in the favor of the Internationale and Moscow Accord, and the Entente committed to large-scale actions in Spain and India, there seemed no better time to liberate Panama once and for all. Within barely an hour of declaring their intent, Pact troops began advancing north to secure the Canal, supported by Panamanian rebels and dissenters. Canada and the Entente, decisively wrongfooted against the Internationale following the fall of the Reichspakt, were scarcely able or willing to maintain significant resistance against the suddenly advancing Pact armies. Nonetheless, they put up a strong and bitter fight alongside the native Panamanian divisions, forcing the Colombians to claw for every step of ground given.

IMG_0403.JPG

British-Canadian warships shell the coast of Panama to harry the Pact's advance, June 1942. Though very few Entente troops or ships were dispatched to Panama during the Crisis, most already in action elsewhere, those that did move against the Pact fought valiantly and managed to considerably slow the invaders' advance.

Although Carlés’ plans regarding Colombia had been vague at best prior to the fall of Brazil, the Canal Crisis gave Argentina the perfect casus beli against the Pact. As such, the Axis quickly joined in on the Crisis, ten Argentine divisions racing north to reinforce the attacking Peruvian-Ecuadorian line - which found itself struggling mightily to advance on any part of the well-defended front. Even concentrated Argentine attacks, which had gained a fearsome reputation in recent years, struggled to gain ground against the unforgiving terrain and die-hard grit of the Colombian defense.

Argentina-Mountain-Troops-13.jpeg

Officers of the Argentine specialized mountain corps, the Anditi, scout terrain in the Colombian Andes. Modeled after the Italian Arditi and Alpini, the Anditi led effective but extremely costly offensives through the mountains toward Bogotá following the outbreak of war.

The Colombian war, planned as a rapid intervention to secure the northern regions for the Axis, quickly became a brutal slog akin to the worst moments of the Brazilian and Chilean campaigns. As Axis forces slowly ground their way north through mountains and jungle, the ferocity of the fighting took a turn for the worse, atrocities becoming commonplace between the embittered forces of the opposing factions. By the time Argentine troops reached the outskirts of Bogota, tens of thousands had already perished during the offensive, with civilian deaths reaching similarly shocking numbers for the continent.

The war continued unabatedly for the next several months, while Argentine forces, including tanks and heavy bombers, were amassed for an assault on the Colombian capital. Though Bogotá’s defenses had already proved to be strong, Argentine and Peruvian generals were nonetheless prepared to launch everything they could throw at the enemy, in the hopes that a decisive victory in the engagement would prompt the Pact to surrender.

DL-43.jpeg

An Argentine Nahuel DL-43 tank, modeled after the CSA's highly effective Butler medium tank. DL-43s were relatively rare among the Argentine armored brigades, comprised mostly of light tanks and other lightly armored vehicles, but were notoriously effective when put to use.

Even as the first waves advanced toward Bogotá, however, the war situation changed. The Reichspakt's collapse led to a cascading series of anti-Entente victories in Europe and Africa, leading to the fall of Carlist Spain and National France under Internationale assault. The ongoing land war in India drained further resources every day it went on, while the Royal Navy struggled desperately to halt Syndicalist sorties across the North Atlantic. Canada itself, under naval assault from the Union of Britain and in no position to defend its further satellites, decided to withdraw from the conflict sparked by the Crisis, taking most of Panama’s remaining defenders with them. The small state was quickly overrun, and as the Battle of Bogota began, Colombia had achieved its war goals in the north and freed up several powerful divisions for combat with the Axis.

Guerra_peru1_1932_d.jpeg

Colombian spotters position their artillery on the Bogotá line, preparing to meet the forthcoming Axis offensive. Though the Andean Pact suffered from supply shortages and a lack of experience in modern war compared to their Axis counterparts, their troops largely made up for these deficits with their bravery and refusal to give ground.

From the very outset of the Battle, it quickly became clear that it would not be the quick and decisive blow that Axis planners had hoped for. Advancing Argentine shock troops met heavily dug-in Colombian lines across the mountainous front, mowing down hundreds of attackers as they rushed headlong into the defenses. Despite rapidly growing casualties, Argentine command was unwilling to halt the offensive now and waste the months of buildup that had gone into it. Instead, the front’s few armored brigades were concentrated on Bogotá as well, and reserves were increasingly brought up to advance into the meat grinder. Even with the aid of modern Argentine light tanks, the Axis offensive did not break through decisively; instead of a brutal stalemate, the Battle became a slow, ugly slog forward, as the attackers fought to gain ground meter by meter.

As Axis tanks, half-tracks, armored cars and infantry fought their way into the streets of Bogotá itself, the Battle took yet another turn for the worse. In the bombed-out city, urban combat became a hellscape of house-to-house fighting, the buzz of aircraft and pounding of artillery as constant as the sound of small arms fire. Argentine tanks, so effective in open battle, found themselves sitting ducks more often than not on the cramped, rubble-strewn streets, as Colombian defenders quickly learned to disable them with rudimentary anti-tank weapons. Over half of Bogotá’s buildings would be irreparably damaged in the fighting, as Axis troops treated each house in their path as a hotspot of Pact resistance.

3-bombing.jpeg

A lone Argentine infantryman patrols a ruined street in Bogotá. The Battle would see some of the worst urban combat of any South American war in history, with its house-to-house fighting and grim, rubble-filled landscape often compared to the Battles of St. Louis and Philadelphia during the Second American Civil War

Despite staggering losses for the attackers, a month of this grueling close-quarters fight was all they needed to bear. Finally, after pouring ever more troops, tanks and shells into the beleaguered Colombian capitol, the last of its organized defenders fell back past the northern outskirts or surrendered on the 14 of July. Argentine mountaineers would continue the fighting for another two days as they pushed what was left of the defending Colombian battalions out of the region, but on the 16th, the Battle finally came to a bitter end. Though the Axis had claimed victory, it was at a heavy cost; over ten thousand of its veteran troops were killed or severely wounded during the Battle, while over one hundred precious modern tanks had been irreparably damaged and many aircraft shot down. The high materiel losses and heavily weakened state of Axis frontline divisions in the aftermath of Bogotá ensured that Carlés’ 1942 summer offensive had come to a decisive end, and Argentine divisions in particular would not go back over to the offensive for several months.

IMG_0400 copy.jpg

Battle of Bogotá wikibox. Troop numbers for the Pact are largely based on Axis estimates, as few Colombian military records remain from the conflict.

While it was overshadowed by the upheaval in North America and the prior war against Brazil, the Second Canal Crisis saw some of the most devastating fighting of all the continent’s conflicts during the period. While Pact defenses eventually collapsed in the face of unrelenting Axis attacks, the numerically inferior and undersupplied armies of the social-democratic north nevertheless put up an incredibly valiant fight against their ultranationalist attackers. With the eventual end of the war in 1943, the Axis claimed final victory in South America and quickly set about eradicating ‘insurgents’ in their new territory, while control over the Panama Canal became a contentious issue in the ensuing decades; the Buenos Aires-Lima Axis held technical and military control over Panama following the Crisis, but an international Canal Zone was soon established in hopes of averting the wrath of the Internationale and drawing closer to the Moscow Accord.
 
Last edited:
Top