Moscow, Russia

When Molotov was the Minister of Foreign Affairs he had dealt with these people directly. He could have warned Stalin and Beria that they were going about things the wrong way. The Soviet Union could have taken Germany by itself but somehow, they had managed to anger the whole of Europe and insure that the Americans went from neutral to hostile. The halting of grain shipments to the Soviet Union had proven catastrophic. The starving of Ukraine in reaction had compounded that.

Molotov was correct in a direct comparison of the numbers:
OTL 1914 populations in millions:

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Note that the Russia population doesn't account for the two deliberate famines.

Germany and probably Poland have their total populations mobilized while everyone else has expeditionary forces of one size or another in the field against the Russians.

Edit: added Holland
 
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FBKampfer

Banned
From what I gather, the Italians and the Finns are primarily on the periphery, while Germany, Poland, and the BEF/FEF are providing the main weight to the offensives.
 
From what I gather, the Italians and the Finns are primarily on the periphery, while Germany, Poland, and the BEF/FEF are providing the main weight to the offensives.

The British and French have probably mobilized their total populations as well, but possibly not quite as fully as the Germans. I had forgotten that they have armies and fleets in the Pacific. The Dutch have a fleet there, too. Somehow I left them out, with a population of 9.1 million.
 
The British and French have probably mobilized their total populations as well, but possibly not quite as fully as the Germans. I had forgotten that they have armies and fleets in the Pacific. The Dutch have a fleet there, too. Somehow I left them out, with a population of 9.1 million.
I wonder with the current territorial losses what is actually left of the SU population base?
 
I wonder with the current territorial losses what is actually left of the SU population base?
Eye-balling it, I would discount the Ukranians and the White Russians along with the Natives in Siberia. Proper "Russians" should be down to 80 or 60 mil due to their own government and losses.

Reading that, its pretty harsh...almost OTL WW2 or worse. Then again, the 170mil figure probably includes all inhabitants of the empire. So 170 - 60 (non-Russians) - 20 (famine) - 20 (war) = 70. Still harsh and ugly.

Speaking of minorities, I'd imagine the post-war settlement will see the splitting off of non-russian territories on both the southern border and Siberia (where other interest might dominate). Basically, whats left of russia will be an icelocked core around moscow. Ironically reviving the Muscovite Prinicpality...
 

FBKampfer

Banned
Everyone's protestations to the contrary in the story aside, this war is within spitting distance of being over. The Germans would have to have an entire army group be annihilated and several Allies bail to give the Russians anything close to a fighting chance.
 
Everyone's protestations to the contrary in the story aside, this war is within spitting distance of being over. The Germans would have to have an entire army group be annihilated and several Allies bail to give the Russians anything close to a fighting chance.

The war in Europe may be approaching its final phase, but I think things will carry on for some time in the Pacific theatre.
 
The war in Europe may be approaching its final phase, but I think things will carry on for some time in the Pacific theatre.

Yes, and eventually Schmidt and TTL Allies will face the same questions that faced the OTL Allies a the end stages of the war - proceed with Downfall's Operations Olympic and Coronet, letting Japan starve to death, or a topical application of instant sunshine. To simplify things the OTL Soviet invasion of Manchuria won't happen. After the deliberate Soviet famines I don't see letting Japan starve as a viable alternative.
 
I think that the war in Russia will last another year because the Soviet commander may have von Wolvogle's number in preventing the use of von Wolvogle's favorite tactic of maneuver and striking fast and deep into the enemy's lines.

Peabody-Martini had posted earlier that the American Army is done with their relief work and has left the area.
Since it is cheaper and easier to replace equipment and supplies back home then to ship it back, I could see the Americans leaving some very nice things behind like jeeps, the M3 half-tracks, 2 1/2 ton trucks, tents such as the GP Medium and GP Large, field kitchens, field hospitals, supplies like canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, tons of flour, sugar, powdered eggs and milk and coffee.
I wonder who will get them? I could see the smaller allies like Poland or Hungary getting the equipment as it would be fast and cheap way to improve their forces.
 
Part 33, Chapter 384
Chapter Three Hundred Eighty-Four


21st June 1944

Tula Oblast, Russia

It seemed like they were right back to where they had been a week earlier. Looking across a river at dug in defenses except it was a few kilometers up the road than before. When the previous defensive line at Yelets had been flanked the Russians had fallen back in good order across the next river and blew up the bridges. Now they were looking at a town across the river, called Yefremov. Jost had started laughing as soon as the river came into view. It was like some weird sick comedy where they just advanced on Moscow but it was towns and rivers without end. The punchline was that they would never quite reach Moscow.

No one else found that funny except Jost.

“Lieutenant!” Soren yelled, “What do you make of this?”

Hans walked over and saw something that he didn’t expect. It was a sheet metal cutout of a cat that had been painted black. There were two yellow marbles set in round holes for eyes. That Hans did find funny.

“A few years ago, my Uncle Klaus had an order to make these” Hans said, “It fell through and he got stuck with boxes of these things.”

“Are you serious?” Soren asked.

“Yeah” Hans said, “This one even has my Uncle’s touch mark.”

He pointed to the stylized K and B that had been stamped into the steel.

“This is creepy and supposedly they scare the Russians” Soren said.

“Then I guess that means that someone on our side is having fun with them” Jost said.

Hans stood there with a vague smile on his face.

“What’s your deal?” Jost asked.

“There can only be one person who could have done this” Hans said, “Knowing that Klaus had them and to disperse them all over the Russian countryside.”

Soren looked at the cat cutout in his hands again. “What diseased mind thinks that way?” He asked.

“Don’t say that within her earshot” Hans said as he went back to considering the real problems at hand.


22nd June 1944

Livny, Oryol Oblast, Russia

When Walter Horst arrived in Livny it was thought that having come up through the ranks he would be fairly easy going in his command style. As it turned out anyone who thought that was very much mistaken. Horst had spent most of the day traveling down the less than safe and wholly inadequate Russian roads to get to the bivouac of the 6th Panzer Division of the 3rd Army Corps. He was in a foul mood when he had arrived and just from what he’d seen of the camp he knew that the Division was nowhere near meeting his standards. The first thing he did was call a staff meeting to lay down the law. One of the classic rules of militaries since the dawn of time was that shit rolls downhill. This was like that, except the arrival of General Horst was an avalanche of epic proportions.

As the last of the staff fled, including the XO who looked like he’d been poleaxed, Horst felt the warm glow of satisfaction that came from giving several people a well-deserved ass chewing. None of them would dare to challenge him directly after that. Sure, he expected that a few of them might try to go the back-channel route but if Horst had learned one thing in his long career it was that no Officer in any army in world history had ever gotten in trouble for being a hard ass. Another thing he knew was that when the hard ass in question demanded hard work as well then even the most conservative of the old guard in the OKW, the ones who viewed Panzers and airplanes as passing fads, wouldn’t care what he did.

Horst looked at the calendar. He had until the 1st of July to get this Division up to snuff. Then it was straight back into the meatgrinder.


Formosa

The roar of aircraft engines overhead ruined Tilo’s imagining that he was just sitting on a beach and that there wasn’t a war going on just a few kilometers away. He had gotten to the point where he could tune out the artillery that rumbled out of the hills but having what sounded like a squadron of Navy attack planes flying at treetop altitude over the beach was too much. He opened his eyes and watched the blue and grey airplanes race off towards the horizon. They were headed towards their Carrier to rearm and refuel he presumed. There were also several lines of dark clouds swollen with rain rolling in.

Tilo was sitting on the edge of the beach against a crate of rations. It was a hot, humid day and his Company had been rotated off the line for a few days of R&R. The issue was that on Formosa there was really nowhere to go besides the beach where they could sit and watch cargo being unloaded. It was a hot day by anyone’s standards, so that made him glad that he wasn’t in the hills fighting the Japanese for a change. He was pondering how the rainy monsoon season how affected this place, like what happened last year in Vietnam when his thoughts were interrupted.

“What are you thinking about Line Dog?” Piotr asked.

“Nothing really” Tilo said, that old insult among the MA. Regular infantry got called line dogs and that was where Tilo had come from. The name had stuck, not that Tilo cared, it was still better than some of the things that Reier had called him. “I was wondering if it will rain around here like it did in Vietnam” He said to Piotr.

“God, I hope not” Piotr said, “That would make this campaign even worse than it already is.”

“I don’t know” Tilo said, “It’s nice.”

“Damn Tilo” Piotr said, “There are some days when it seems like you got a screw loose.”
 
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Well in the United States the Republican convention ended on June 21st and The Democratic convention will start on July 19th .
Both conventions are in Chicago Illinois and it will be the first time that political conventions will be televised and that is why Chicago was chosen.
 
German forces that are finding the cat cutouts need to be informed that there are probably explosive mines around and need to contract Pioneer units for UXB disposal.
 
Part 33, Chapter 385
Chapter Three Hundred Eighty-Five


29th June 1944

Yelets, Lipetsk Oblast, Russia

The SKA was shifting its headquarters from Voronezh to Yelets. Kat was sitting in the door of the helicopter watching the ground race by a hundred meters or so below. For today anyway, she was free of the crushing responsibilities that had been weighing on her. She had another thing to be happy about as well. A notice had been sent out to all German and Allied Units that on the Russian roads black sheet metal cats were a common sight. The cats were part of an ongoing psychological operation and they were strongly advised not to approach or touch them. Instead they were to call in explosive ordnance disposal and let them handle it. Kat herself, along with most of the Regiment, found that extremely amusing. Schafer was one of the ones who didn’t find it so funny.

“The day will come when you realize that you can’t carry around so much hate and anger” Schafer had said to her privately, “Making a joke out of being treated like a bomb ready to go off on such a grand scale, that’s eventually going to stop being funny to you.”

Kat had understood that well enough. At the same time though, the frequently lethal prank with the cats had made the Russians afraid to use their own roads, hampering the defensive build up. An unknown number of lives had been saved because of that. She wasn’t in the least bit sorry about any of it. And having the thousands of soldiers that surrounded Kat treating her like a bomb that could go off at any second suited her fine.

The helicopter flared and landed at the new base and it looked exactly the same as the old one. Same prefab buildings and tents surrounded by a double barbed wire fence. As soon as she reported in to Oberst Koch he told her that she needed to go into Yelets to be briefed on an upcoming operation and the role that the SKA was going to play. Around the base and then in the 2nd Army Corps Headquarters there was a buzz in the air. General von Wolvogle was planning something big, the term Kugelblitz was being thrown around. Ball Lightning?


Berlin

Augustus Lang was wondering where the time went. The ridiculously long American campaign season was in full swing again. The Republican Party’s Convention had just concluded with it a battle between Thomas Dewy and Charles Lindberg. Between the two of them Dewy was the only one with actual Government experience. Lindberg on the other hand seemed to be apt to tell people what they wanted to hear. Some of the things that Lindberg said were of the worst sort of pandering but it was believed that his supposedly pro interventionist stance regarding the Pacific Theater that had cost him the nomination. It was expected that whoever got the nomination would have to run against the incumbent President, John Nance Garner and that would be into a strong headwind. Garner was running on having kept the United States out the Second World War and continued the climb out of the Great Depression. It was said that the Republicans had been hoping to run on a renewed Red scare this year. But between the Soviet Union being on the verge of military defeat and the home-grown Communists having become either very quiet or very dead that tactic seemed to have lost its power. May the Americans never know that the latter was the result of one of the most successful Abwehr operations to date.

Lang was slightly concerned that it was actually Lindberg who was showing the path forward for his political Party. Bigotry, chauvinism and playing to the least common denominator. What would it mean for international relations if such a Government were in power?

It was a reminder that the clamor for new elections here on this side of the Atlantic was growing louder by the hour. Lang was reluctant to call for them while the war in the East continued. The prospect of mischief by the NKVD was all too real but it couldn’t be delayed more than a few months on the outside. Field Marshal von Wolvogle had flown into Berlin and personally briefed Lang about the operation he had planned for the start of July. It was exactly like so many other of von Wolvogle’s plans. It was rumored that he started by thinking of all the ways a military operation could go wrong and worked his way backwards. The old general had not lost his touch and this operation looked like pure anarchy until smoke cleared. At that point, either the Heer would be on the verge of capturing Moscow or they may have suffered one of the worst reverses in history.

It was the nonchalance with which von Wolvogle had explained all of this that made Lang understand that there was a very good reason why the Emperor hated him so passionately. That also reminded Lang that von Wolvogle and the Emperor had finally reached an accommodation regarding the Grand Cross of the Pour le Mérite. Field Marshal von Wolvogle would except the medal on behalf of the Heer but that was contingent upon one thing. As soon as the medal was presented then von Wolvogle was to retire from the Heer, permanently this time. And it was the Emperor’s preference that he retire from public life as well.

Lang had the impression that von Wolvogle didn’t really care about the medal. The Field Marshal just wanted to make one last statement on his way out the door. The Grand Cross was to be the exclamation point.
 
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ITTL President Garner is unpopular with labor unions and liberals.
IOTL Sen. Truman as the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs was named by Time magazine as the most valuable senator for fighting waste and corruption in the defense industry.
I can see him holding hearing based on Gen. Bradley reports on what is going on in Europe about the need for drastic change and reforms including a proposal to merge the War and Navy Departments into a single Defense Department.

With the need for television programming during the daytime, I can see the hearings being televised nationwide and making Sen. Truman a national figure.

This will give the labor unions, big city political machines, and liberals a candidate who is also acceptable to the south, and we must remember that Garner will be 76 years old at the time of the Inauguration.
 
ITTL President Garner is unpopular with labor unions and liberals.
IOTL Sen. Truman as the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs was named by Time magazine as the most valuable senator for fighting waste and corruption in the defense industry.
I can see him holding hearing based on Gen. Bradley reports on what is going on in Europe about the need for drastic change and reforms including a proposal to merge the War and Navy Departments into a single Defense Department.

Merging the War and Navy departments into the Defense Department will just add another couple of layers of bureauracy. You'll always have the sentiment that "The opponent is Japan; the enemy is the Navy." Replace 'Japan' with another country and the sentiment still obtains for both the Navy and Army. It'll get even worse once an independent Air Force is established.
 
Merging the War and Navy departments into the Defense Department will just add another couple of layers of bureauracy. You'll always have the sentiment that "The opponent is Japan; the enemy is the Navy." Replace 'Japan' with another country and the sentiment still obtains for both the Navy and Army. It'll get even worse once an independent Air Force is established.

This was the attitude IOTL after WWII when it was thought that future wars were going to be atomic wars and the control of the atom bomb was fought between the Air Force and the Navy.
Also after the war there was very steep budget cuts and it was everyone for themselves.
ITTL the U.S. Military is smaller but growing, and wars are still being fought conventionally, reforms are needed and in this time the brass does not have the influence to stop the armed services unification (Admirals Revolt).
 
Part 33, Chapter 386
Chapter Three Hundred Eighty-Six


1st July 1944

Livny, Oryol Oblast, Russia

It had taken a herculean on Horst’s part but he had gotten an entire Division almost to within screaming distance of his standards. Horst had the impression that at the moment only the Noncommissioned Officers in the Division liked him. He had basically given them carte blanche to do their worst and they had. Anyone in the Division who wasn’t seen as pulling their weight was in for a lot of hurt.

Horst had finally gotten a chance to indulge in his longtime habit of reading his newspaper in the driver’s seat of his car while paying more attention to the activity around him them anyone realized. In the short time that he’d been in charge they had already learned what happened when he looked up from his paper. Nothing good happened to the person who caused that.

Word had also spread from the 4th Division about his reputation. Yeah boys, you bastards are now being led by the hardest man in the whole fucking Army. They would take pride in that, eventually. For now, they were just tired of getting their asses kicked. Well, they had not seen anything yet. None of them knew it but tomorrow they were going to move up to the line to be one of the lead elements of Operation Kugelblitz. Named for the mysterious weather phenomenon, a ball of lightning that wrecked everything before it. It was obvious that von Wolvogle was up to his usual insanity. Horst had been there when Wolvogle had quite literally written the book on modern armored warfare and been there at Ussy when a relatively unknown Oberst had shocked the world by turning what should have been a crushing defeat into a surprising victory. When Horst had been briefed on the plan he’d seen the sheer scale of insanity involved. Then he remembered that the normal rules got strange when Wolvogle was involved.

Horst glanced back at the paper. What were the Brass thinking in letting that weasel into Germany or Ukraine? Horst thought to himself. He remembered the American Army’s presence in Ukraine a year ago. It seemed that all the American newspapers were in a tizzy over the US Senator from Missouri, Harry S. Truman, who had made a name for himself over something called the Bradley Report. Horst remembered Omar Bradley, the same General who had commanded the American relief effort. It had turned out that Bradley had been keeping notes on what he had observed of the German Heer. When he had returned to the United States he had submitted it in a written report and Senator Truman had held hearings regarding the woeful obsolescence of the doctrine and equipment of the US Army.

According to the article that Horst was reading Senator Truman was very likely going to be the next Vice President of the United States and a modernization of the American Military was sure to follow. That was the sort of thing that Horst didn’t like to see. As far as he was concerned his potential opponents should be armed with muskets or spears. Roll the APCs over them and be home in time for dinner. The ideal war.


Yefremov, Tula Oblast, Russia

It seemed like no matter how far they traveled through this blighted country they always seemed to find themselves fighting over a pile of bricks that had formally been a building. Jack had almost bristled when he had gotten the order to hold in place. Just where the Hell where they expected to be going? He had also been recalled to the Regimental headquarters to speak with the Coirnéal. That required walking back across the pontoon bridge across the river. He had no idea what the name of it was but they had gone to a bit of trouble to get across it over the last few days. Now, it was obvious that the Germans were making other plans that did not include a small town in the asshole end of Russia. That was a laugh, from Jack’s point of view every part of Russia was the asshole.

It was when he got across the bridge he saw a good portion of what Coirnéal Aiken wanted to discuss. Men in Khaki uniforms. As if to add insult to injury some genius at the OKW had just placed what looked like an entire British Division in the rear of the Irish Regiment. When Jack’s men learned of this they were not going to be happy.

Eventually Jack found the Coirnéal’s tent which was surrounded by several unhappy looking Officers from Reisimint Ilchríochach.

“Mr. Kennedy” Aiken said, “I see that you’ve seen the temporary circumstance we find ourselves in.”

“I can’t say that I’m happy about it” Jack said with a frown.

“At least it’s not Romanians and Hungarians that our German friends are putting this with” Aiken observed, “The shooting would have started by now if they had.”

“Mind telling me what’s going on?” Jack asked.

“Seems that the von Wolvogle has something up his sleeve and he’s moving troops around to have them ready for it” Aiken replied, “Other than that, I’m as much in the dark as you.”

“Still though” Jack said, “Why did they have to stick us with the damned British?”

“Men make plans and God laughs” Aiken said. That was as good a reason as any.
 
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Nice update. I was wondering how accurate my understanding is: The Germans initiated TTL's Kursk offensive into deep prepared defenses, now they are planning a manouver warfare scheme on top of this? I am Guessing that the initial offensive have not been a do-or-die commitment, but have made modest progress nevertheless, do to superior forces of the German coalition?
 
Part 33, Chapter 387
Chapter Three Hundred Eighty-Seven


2nd July 1944

Moscow, Russia

As Molotov walked across Red Square he thought about how he had just gotten off the phone with Marshal Tukhachevsky. The Marshal had assured him that the plan was working and that he would grind the Germans down long before they reached Moscow. Molotov had made the call after he had received reports of the German Army massing on the roads south of Moscow. At the same time, the Germans and their Allies had renewed their efforts in the north and west. What was left of the Army was spread precariously thin. Tukhachevsky had said that it would play out exactly like it had in the past in Ukraine, the German Army would advance until they over extended and then be forced to fall back in order to save their Army.

The Marshal had assured Molotov that even if the Germans broke through the current defense line, there was another one right it that was even stronger on the Oka River. Like before he was certain that he could withdraw in good order except this time he’d easily be able bleed them white in the hills and forest. The Germans would still be trying to reach the city when autumn rains came and snow fell. Regardless of what had happened the prior winter the two greatest Field Marshals in Russian History, Mud and Winter, would have the last word. He must have said the same thing to Stalin because the General Secretary was positively buoyant this afternoon…

That was when Molotov heard it. Overhead was another one of those interminable flying bombs that the cursed Germans loved so much from the sound of it. Why couldn’t they give it a rest for once?

That was when the airplane changed course and started firing rockets at a building across the river. Molotov caught a glimpse of the swept back wings as it screamed past seemingly centimeters over his head. People were scrambling for cover as some of the rockets went long. They were exploding in the river and even the Square itself. Molotov felt the sickening realization fill him. The Germans largely had control of the air. They would have seen every move that Tukhachevsky had made yet still they had played into his hands like they had in the past. Or had they… What if they were trying to get Tukhachevsky to fully commit in the south for some reason.

Molotov ran back to his office and picked up the phone and demanded to speak with the Marshal immediately only to be told that he couldn’t because the building that housed the Moscow phone exchange had just been hit. He learned in the following minutes was that phones were down and the radio stations were gone as well. He seen some of that himself from Red Square. The Luftwaffe had just cut off Moscow from the rest of the Soviet Union during what he feared were about to be several crucial hours.


Yelets, Lipetsk Oblast, Russia

It was time. Kat had been briefed on the role that the SKA was to play in the coming hours. She in turn had briefed the command staff of the SKA. They were to fulfill one of the most basic missions that they could perform in the field. But just getting there was where it proved complicated. Kat had sat in on all the planning meetings and pointed out some of the expected pitfalls. She had performed a mission like this herself in Belarus a couple years earlier. Small teams inserted in cover of darkness to perform one specific task and hopefully not get killed in the process.

Kat herself was sorely tempted to break her promise to Kira and lead one of the teams herself but she realized that would be a mistake on her part. Sometime after dark the helicopters started to take off and head north. As always staying behind felt wrong to her and she worried that it would be another sleepless night. To pass the time Kat went to the mess tent and helped herself to the mysterious black sludge that was being passed off as coffee. At least it was hot and theoretically caffeinated.

“You mind if I sit here?” Oberst Koch asked.

“It’s your camp, Sir” Kat replied, “You don’t need my permission.”

“Still, it’s nice to ask first, Major” Koch said.

“I guess” Kat said. It was not as if there was a dearth places to sit. She suspected that this might be yet another attempt to gauge her mental state. That probably meant that Doctor Holz was on the verge of passing through again. She steeled herself to speak with the Oberst when to her surprise he started pulling papers out of a folder and filling them out. Kat could tell with a glance that the papers had nothing to do with her. So, she wasn’t the only one who didn’t like being required to wait like this. The thought occurred to her that she really needed to stop winding herself up like that.

“Does this ever get easier, Sir?” Kat asked.

“It doesn’t” Koch said, “And the higher you rise the further removed you are from the action but your decisions carry greater weight. If that makes any sense.”

“It makes perfect sense” Kat said taking another sip of her coffee, she was trying to place the taste, rusty nails, oven black and battery acid? That was silly, what would battery acid even taste like?

“You seem to be able to handle it so far” Koch said, “Continuing the training even though no one holds you to it, it sets a good example.”

Not really, Kat thought to herself. She did that to keep from going insane. If she wasn’t tiring herself out with physical exertion then her mind would race and before she knew it the black depression that haunted her life would come crashing down on her like a ton of bricks. It was the classic story of Kat’s life. Doing all the right things for reasons that were not just wrong but profoundly selfish.

“I do my best, Sir” Kat said. Wishing that were true.
 
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