Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR | Part Three: The Devil In Georgia

Published: 2017-08-05

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Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR

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Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR | Part Two: Connolly\'s Nightmare

Images: 91, author: Ceannairceach, published: 2017-08-05

[Welcome back to Homage to Britannia, an AAR for HOI4 using the Kiaserreich mod! We return at the start of Britain's intervention in the Second American Civil War, where Huey Long and Jack Reed fight one another and their "legitimate" government for control over the fate of a revolutionary new America. Who will emerge victorious in this battle for the fate of the western world? Get your syndie caps on and find out below!]

Part One: http://imgur.com/a/A4pYC
Part Two: http://imgur.com/a/opvee
After nearly a year of civil war, the situation in the United States had reached a stalemate in the winter of 1937. The American Red Army had reached the border of North Carolina and Tenessee, only to be halted in their advance south by stiff resistance from Long's Union Army, which refused to cede even an inch of land to their hated syndicalist enemy. Though the Federalists fell like paper to the Syndicate advance, the Union State held firm to its territory, and the fighting proved more brutal with each day that passed.
With his army unable to secure the quick victory in the south that his allies had been expecting, and support slipping among black Americans that feared Long and poor whites who supported him, Reed was forced to divert troops away from the more successful Great Plains front, slowing the guillotine that plunged towards Garner's neck. Something was needed to tip the balance towards one side, and fortunately for Reed, Mosley was ready with a solution.
With the volunteer regiments sent to Spain suddenly free of their duties following the collapse of the Spanish Revolution, Mosley reorganized them into an American unit, and deployed them immediately to support Reed's revolution. Four divisions of infantry, supported by artillery and tanks, represented an extreme tactical advantage for the CSA, who, though they boasted the largest fighting force in the Civil War, maintained a largely undeveloped militia army supported by defecting officers and soldiers, similar to that of Britain during the 1925 Revolution.
Dubbed the 'Blackshirts' by their Red Army comrades for the characteristic black Maximist militia uniforms they wore, disguising their affiliation with then formed Republican Army, the British Volunteers would come to be one of the most pivotal military forces in the Second American Revolution. I envision that in the history of that uprising, their leaders shall be spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Lafayette.
The Blackshirt volunteers arrived in Philadelphia, PA in the early morning of the 13th December, 1937. They expected to be met with cheering crowds, or at least recognition from the CSA's governing body. Instead, they were met with a list of orders from General Smedley Butler, commander-in-chief of the American Red Army.
Smedley Darlington Butler, a two-star Major General - having never accepted higher rank within the Combined Syndicates - represented the strategic and military heart of the American revolutionaries. A career man in the American armed forces prior to the civil war, he was decorated for heroism, and seasoned from several foreign interventions. His message to the British volunteers under General Brooke was simple: America thanked them for their service, "but would waste no time in putting you to use," to quote the document.
Though British volunteers, when they embarked for their Atlantic voyage, believed they were going to fight against the tyrant President Garner, it would surprise many to learn that the federal government was on its back legs in late 1937, stalling in its advance westward by strong resistance from the Pacific States while simultaneously collapsing in the east in the face of Syndicalist invasion.
As the US Army fled further west, it abandoned city after city to the CSA, and left behind an unspeakable trail of devastation as it waged total war against the rebels. Everything was considered expendable, even human lives, in their retreat to the west, with widespread reports of looting and pillaging by the supply-hungry troops.
No, the Blackshirts would be sent after an altogether different tyrant: Huey Long, the Kingfish. President-for-life of the American Union State, Long headed a loose coalition of racist paramilitaries, corporate mercenaries and reactionary soldiers in what he hoped would herald in a new American golden age of prosperity. His dream, while perhaps noble in intention, was a living nightmare for those living at the bottom of his society.
Long transformed his loose confederation of allies into a cult of personality around himself and his dream to make "Every Man A King," with the popularity of the regime skyrocketing as the Red Army failed to cross into the Carolinas. Minuteman militias saw recruitment beyond their pre-war imaginations, and Long himself was increasingly seen as more than just a simple leader, but as a symbol of America itself.
Perhaps worse, the Union State was aligning closer and closer to Germany by the day, with some in the military openly praising the German Empire and calling for Long to seek their aid. The British feared that should Germany enter the conflict, it would be inevitable that another Weltkrieg would begin over the fate of America,
Mosley ordered that the Blackshirts form a front line along the Virginia - North Carolina border, and prepare for a push to Atlanta. The mission was expected to take the bulk of a year to complete, though the general feeling was optimistic at home, the Republican Army still seen as invincible following the successes in Ireland and Spain.
Ireland, however, would remain a constant hiccup for Mosley's regime in its infancy. Discontent with British domination, the Irish refused to remain idle while Britain hypocritically exploited their labor.
Riots broke out near weekly on the island, with the occupying Republican Army forced to take drastic measures to contain the violence. Dozens were killed in the course of the fighting over months, with no end at the time in sight. We in London heard little from the press, which by that time Mosley was increasingly censoring for "common and national safety," but the news that did filter in was gruesome, and scratched away at the revolutionary spirit of Britain.
On the 15th December, 1937, the Italian Federation under Pope Julius IV surrendered to the Austrian Empire, capitulating control of all but the Holy See in the Treaty of Anzio. The Austrians were quick to organize a line of succession for a new Kingdom of Italy.
Austrian troops marched triumphantly through St. Peters Basilica, and according to the terms of the Treaty, Austrian troops were to remain there for all eternity as "protectors of the Catholic faith." Though Pope Julius IV would remain the King of the Vatican, he had lost all political authority, and was, in effect, a prisoner of the Church.
Josef von Österreich-Toskana, a voice for Austria in the court of Pope Pius XI, was granted the Kingdom of Italy, which he took under the name Giuseppe I. Though he himself ruled mostly by decree, the population was exceedingly leftist, and it looked to many that it would not be long before the Italian Union marched north.
With the situation in Ireland deteriorating by the winter of 1937, Mosley called for a new plan to deal with the "Irish Question." Though right-wing Maximists called for detention camps to "reeducate" the population, the left-wing of the party, under Eric Blair, successfully lobbied for restraint. Mosley would employ a "wait-and-see" approach to Ireland, in the hope that tensions would dissipate over time.
Brooke's Blackshirts reached the North Carolina border on New Year's Day, 1938, and immediately launched an offensive with the intent of pushing the Longite forces out of the Carolinas altogether.
When the Blackshirts arrived at the front to join the American Red Army, they were shocked to see the devastation that had become the norm on the AUS-CSA border: shelling was constant, and entire towns and the people inside them were wiped off the face of the map in bombing raids and reprisal attacks. Veterans from Ireland were notably less shocked by these developments, though they kept quiet as to the familiarity.
Attempting to organize the Minutemen guarding South Carolina was General George S. Patton, Jr, among the leading men on Long's military council at the time. Though his men were mostly draftees from the less compliant communities in the Union State, Patton's leadership held off several attacks from the similarly-trained Syndicate militias: the introduction of British armor, on the other hand, was a cause for concern.
An Olympian and decorated military veteran, Patton was a firebrand, an unquenchable font of Americanism whose personality either toppled you in its wake or absorbed you into its aura of invulnerability. Black servicemen, drafted by the Union State in its darkest days, spoke well of Patton, despite his derision and flagrant disregard for racial equality, for he saw every man as clay, and he their sculptor.
Despite Patton's spirited leadership, his lines could not maintain order, and eventually British troops found holes that they exploited to the best of their ability. By the end of January, the Blackshirts were at the gates of Charlotte.
Despite the victories overseas, British attention was becoming increasingly focused on the happenings in Ireland, where the terror campaign by the IRA spiraled deeper into open conflict, and thus became harder for Mosley's government to ignore.
Attempts by the Union to establish trade syndicates in Ireland were met with open hostility, as factories were bombed and riots were incited outside registration centers. Soldiers and local pro-Union militias were targeted by assassination campaigns and attacked in small ambushes across the island. The situation, as it stood in early 1938, was untenable, and the tension threatened to flare up into civil conflict at a moment's notice.
On the 16th February, Union Blackshirts began their assault on Charlotte, only to be met by AUS Army and Minutemen under the direct command of General Patton, who defended the banks of the Rocky River ferociously.
Their tanks unable to cross into Charlotte, the British were forced to fight in close-quarters to secure a crossing into the city. The combat was slow-going, and saw some of the highest British casualties in the American intervention. General Brooke was forced to organize an alternative strategy to break the stalemate, and so devised Operation Sherman.
In a bid to cut off Union troops in eastern North Carolina from escape, Brooke launched an attack east, towards the port at Wilmington. Some 20,000 Union soldiers were between the city and Norfolk, where the remnants of the eastern US Army was trapped, and such a blow was expected to in part cripple the Union's eastern army.
At home, the first signs of Mosley's consolidation of power were beginning to show publicly. In a declaration to an assembled TUC, Oswald Mosley called for the unifcation of the post of General Secretary, then held by Eric Blair, and his own post as Chairman of the TUC into a new office, the Grand Protector of the Union of Britain, in the interest of protecting Britain from foreign imperialism and aggression in a time of uncertainty.
With widespread popular support, Mosley's motion was swept into law, with Mosley given the new title immediately. In a speech broadcast to every British home, Mosley promised to "safeguard the eternal British revolution until his dying breath," a statement I find morbidly ironic, perhaps even funny, were it not perhaps prescient in some malevolent manner.
Blair, ever loyal to the cause, stepped back from his roll as General Secretary with grace, and took on more roles behind the scenes of the Mosley regime. He would not disappear from British politics, for Mosley still found him indispensable at the time, and without a direct hand in the management of the Union, his popularity soared.
With the majority of the Unionist troops trapped around Norfolk, Brooke was free to smash into the Minutemen and reserves stationed at Wilmington, where he sent the bulk of the Blackshirts to ensure Syndicate control over the state's coastline.
British troops liberating the southern cities met strange welcomes from an eclectic assembly of factions in the occupied south: blacks and those workers who had gained the corporatist's ire cheered at their arrival and flocked to CSA militias to volunteer for service, while radical groups, such as the KKK, Silver Legion or Minutemen plagued the Blackshirts with sporadic attacks in the dead of night. Despite this brutality, the British troops were effective at pushing the Unionist lines back: the occupation was better left to the Syndicates who hoped to rule it.
Wilmington fell totally on the 3rd March, 1938. With the capture of the last port in North Carolina, the Unionist troops were doomed to collapse and surrender, which they would in a number of weeks following the victory.
Red Army and Blackshirt soldiers cheered in the streets as they celebrated a belated May Day to commemorate the liberation of North Carolina, preemptive though it might have been. In three months, the Blackshirts had pushed the Union State back farther than the Syndicate had in the duration of the war, and hopes were high in expectation of future victories.
There was no time for extended festivities, however, as the war carried on. Brooke, under direct orders from Mosley, pushed to collapse the Union pockets left behind Syndicate lines and to push further down the coastline.
Brooke's Blackshirts reached the South Carolina border on the 24th March, an event overshadowed in British news by further terrorism in occupied Ireland.
A general insurrectionist movement had swept across Ireland, and Mosley had begun to doubt Comrade Blair's appeasement policies. More troops were stationed in Ireland as retaliation for the violence, inadvertently angering the nationalists further.
Militia barracks and government buildings in Ireland were heavily defended out of practicality, with many the target of bombing campaigns and the occasional attempted occupation. The Irish Republican Army was omnipresent in Irish society, rebels hid in every shadow and around every corner. It was feared that should too many be jailed or killed in the suppression of the movement, another Easter Rising would spark in the cities.
The Blackshirts crossed the South Santee River and began to assault Charleston on the 29th March, 1938, only to be kept at bay by Minutemen who had established fortifications in the city to defend their retreating forces.
The retreat was across all fronts, as Unionist troops abandoned Charlotte in favor of securing the interior of their country. Blackshirts were able to march into the city unopposed, save for light civilian resistance.
British and American forces were in high spirits as the last resistance in the borders states was folding, though in hindsight, they might have reserved some of that morale for later: the coming days weeks, months of the civil war would be more brutal than the previous year together. Still, their successes were well merited: united, there was little, it seemed, socialists united could not do.
In South Carolina, Patton and Brooke met once more in Charleston, as he organized the last retreat of Unionist soldiers from the state. With British tanks bearing down on his position, the grizzled military commander knew, as most who read the news did, that a red tide was bearing down upon him. Like any sane man, he chose to run rather than ride it.
British soldiers gave chase on foot, their tank support storming ahead to win victory after victory for the Syndicate. Patton would at one point say regarding the British tanks, "If Americans had a dozen of 'em and some fucking Germans to pilot them, we'd be sipping cocktails in Chicago by Christmas." And he was correct: of all the lessons learned from the American Civil War, the value of tanks in warfare was the greatest takeaway for the Republican Army.
The British were not alone in learning lessons of war, however. Russia's Savinkov was spreading his wings over the Caucasus and Central Asia, and by April 1938 had declared war on the Don-Kuban Union and the freshly independent Alash Autonomy. Left unchecked, he threatened to demolish the German-established order in the East, something tentatively welcomed by the syndicalist governments of the time.
Russian troops, refined by Savinkov's brutal reforms, poured south, washing over their neighbors like a wave of bodies. A warning shot to the Europe that had neutered Russia in the previous decades.
With tension rising across the world, Mosley demanded a quicker resolution to the southern campaign, and the general staff drafted a new plan for the capture of Atlanta. Referred to as Operation Cherokee, the mission saw the Blackshirts push immediately west, through the center of Georgia towards the Union State's capital, and my former home.
Atlanta, though not the largest or most grand city in the world, bears a special place in the heart of the people of Georgia, myself included, though I despise what it became in the years following 1936. Under Long's rule, the bustling little metropolis transformed from a commercial hub into a military fortress, secure against the coming invasion. It would not be allowed to fall easily.
The first city to fall in the Georgia campaign was Savannah, which was left empty by terrified Unionists fleeing the front lines. Across the front, British troops advanced hastily in the hope that a quick victory would mean the Union's surrender.
When the Blackshirts entered Savannah, I am told, they were greeted not by Minuteman resistance, as they had during their fighting the Carolinas, but rather a healthy movement in rebellion against Long, especially among the minority populations. British soldiers were welcomed in the southern cities as liberators, liberating factories and executing racial supremacists in the service of the Longite regime.
By the end of April 1938, the Combined Syndicates had, through their Blackshirt comrades, claimed the states of North and South Carolina, and made forays into the heart of the American Union State. Atlanta was in sight, and Britain stood perched to claim the Kingfish as a prize for Reed. One might think, had the story ended here, that syndicalism was due for world dominance, and that the red tide would sweep over the rest of America, and then the globe.
Fate had other things in store, however. On the 27th April, 1938, the Greater Italian Union declared war on its northern brother, the Kingdom of Italy.
Citing the cause as Austrian imperialism, Benito Mussolini proclaimed an eternal war until all Italians were unified under one banner. In doing so, he challenged the might of Austria, and promised that the red, white and black flag of Italy would fly over Vienna before the war's end. In conclusion, he gave his ultimate declaration of intent: "Three cheers for the war. Three cheers for Italy's war and three cheers for war in general. Peace is hence absurd or rather a pause in war."
Neither Italy stood alone: on behalf of Mussolini came the Internationale, then represented by the French Commune, while the Kingdom was effectively propped up by the Austrian state. Either side of the civil war was particularly stronger than the other, but between their benefactors, there was a clear divide. France stood more powerful than the whole of the Empire combined, and with Italy at its side could have proven invincible in the war.
Emboldened to finish the fighting in America, the Blackshirts drove fast for Atlanta, with the hope that overwhelming force could dislodge the defenders before adequate defensive lines could be established.
Much to Brooke's dismay, as I can imagine, he arrived at Atlanta to find it abandoned, save for a lone division of German volunteers from Berlin. Long, his government, and the army had abandoned the capital, and the expected battle was naught but a predictable slaughter.
Still, the destruction was harsh, as the Blackshirts and American Red Army stormed the capital to violently dislodge all resistance. Any individual holding a gun was shot, as were most found in rich housing or in the possession of America First party documents. I heard from friends and family who lived through it that the British soldiers shot indiscriminately in the streets, even after the last Unionist had been killed, though the Blackshirts who returned told a different story altogether.
The Fall of Atlanta would be remembered for years to come as perhaps the most brutal event on the Syndicalist side of the civil war. With the help of the local populace, "traitors," those deemed too supportive of the Long regime, were hunted down and lynched and tortured by mobs with the assistance of the occupying British forces. Inpromptu workers tribunals were established to allow the people of the city to seek justice against their former oppressors.
Corporate executives, bosses, managers, officers, bureaucrats and others tied to the Union State were sentenced to death by firing squad en masse by the tribunals, a fate the British Blackshirts were more than happy to facilitate. Much to everyone's general despair, Long had escaped capture, and was rumored to be securing his power in his home state of Louisiana in preparation for a final struggle.
Britain had abandoned for some time the pretense of isolation, thrice intervening militarily in foreign countries for its own benefit. Mosley solidified this future with a declaration to the TUC formally ending Britain's policy of isolationism, opting to spread the Revolution by any means necessary.
With his political power expanded beyond normally constitutional means, Mosley saw fit to name David Kirkwood, Scottish labor leader and militia commander, as the new Commissary of the Exchequer. The decision came as questions circulated as to the legality of the Grand Protector holding all positions in government, which can be no coincidence.
If you, like I did at the time, thought that the Italian Civil War could not have been more complex, allow me to correct you: on the 2nd June 1938, the Kingdom of Illyria declared independence from Vienna, an action that effectively put it at war with the Empire. Austria had found itself with dwindling allies, and Italy's situation did not bode well.
With France joining the war effort, Mussolini diverted the attention of the Austrians in the south, who desperately hoped to maintain their hold on Rome, which allowed the superior and numerically larger French forces to sweep into Piedmont and Savoy.
Though the fighting was brutal in the many cities of Italy's north, the Communards smashed through the green and ill-equipped Royal Italian Army, halting only when faced with Austrian enemies. The French would value the experience of fighting in the north of Italy, as the war threatened to drag onward, far into Eastern Europe.
With the situation in America somewhat stable, Mosley gave the command to secure another state for the CSA, to lend to their program of rapid industrialization. Troops were pulled from the Georgia front and sent south, towards Florida, with the intent of eradicating any resistance on the peninsula before swinging back north to assault Alabama.
Not long after British troops evacuated Atlanta for the south, however, the Unionists reoccupied it, a slap in the face to both the British who took it and the Americans who let it slip away. What's worse, a special someone was flown in to deliver a speech from the restored capital of the Union State.
Atop a platform addressing the crowds gathered to see their dictator, Huey Long promised that he would personally die fighting before he saw America surrendered to syndicalism. "From California to New York," he said, "and North Dakota to Texas, it is the duty and honor of every red-blooded American to defend his country against the vile darkness that is syndicalism."
Though the Combined Syndicates had gained much in their year and a half of war, the Second Revolution was far from concluded in June 1938: on the contrary, it was, in many ways, just beginning. Huey Long remained not only in control of his capital and his country, but the drain of the southern war would prove devastating for the Syndicalist war effort in the west, where little changed by the day or week. Drastic change was needed to tip the scales of power towards one side.
Though America ranked higher on Mosley's list of concerns than Italy, the Union of Britain was still the patron of international socialism at the time, particularly of the totalist flavor. It was seen as a necessity that British men be on the front in Italy, even as France mopped the floor in the north. To ensure British visibility in the fight, a volunteer regiment was organized out of London to fight in the Italian Civil War.
I, like many brave young people who saw this war as the first in the avalanche of conflict yet to come, enlisted in the Italian Volunteer Division quickly, all too excited to do my part for the revolution. I got as far as basic orientation before we caught the news.
On the 28th June, 1938, the King of Italy, Giuseppe I, surrendered to the Greater Italian Union to spare any more loss of Italian life. He and his government fled to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, where they intended on riding out the war until the Austrians claimed victory. Or so they hoped.
Italian troops laid down their arms at the border between the two Italy's, and Socialist troops flooded the countryside to restore order. Immediately Mussolini had himself flown out to Rome, where he declared the unification of Italy in perpetuity. Military parades were hastily organized throughout the city's streets, even as partisans fired off rounds and used explosives to disrupt the occupation.
Austria stood alone against the French and Italians, supported only by the puppets it called an Empire. With Illyria at its back, Austria's fate did not look bright in the summer of 1938, as even the Kaiser recommended the Austrians negotiate rather than meet their doom.
Though I did not go with them - a bout of food poisoning kept me in the barracks on the day of deployment - Britain did send its volunteers to Italy despite its victory in the civil war, as a show of solidarity in their war against imperialism. It was a paltry force that was unlikely to turn the tide, but a kind enough gesture as far as politics go.
Mosley, however, planned a grander display of loyalty to the international cause: secret negotiations that would only come to light far after they had concluded were underway in the summer of 1938, as the Union of Britain plotted its course into history. The writing was on the wall, plain for all to see: war was on the horizon, a war to revise the very meaning of the word, and Britain would not stand alone against the forces of reaction.
The message was on the lips of every Briton in those darkened days:

"Vive la Commune."

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