The end of the Weltkrieg, the beginning of a new age

Published: 2017-07-31

Part of the campaign:

Poland Hoi4 Campaign

Previous part:

Game: Hearts of Iron IV

The Final Years of Peace, and the First Months of Weltkrieg

Images: 81, author: I miss Chris Hughton, published: 2017-07-26

A new Weltkrieg is upon us, and either SYndicalism or Imperialism will be the dominant political ideology within the coming months or years. How will Poland adapt to this?
Charleston fell to the US federal government, and with it fell the last urban centre of any real size under the AUS's rule and Huey Long himself, who was found dead in the rubble of a bombarded safe-house.
Long fell alongside nearly 350,000 of his fellow rebels of the course of the campaign. By this point they were outnumbered 10 to 1 and the population were spent. The America First Union party had lost any and all public favour, not that there was really any party left at this point.
The day Charleston fell the 'provisional regime' of the AUS announced a Unilateral ceasefire and requested a treaty to bring an end to the war. In reality this 'treaty' amounted to an unconditional surrender of the AUS to the US Federal Government
The declaration of peace was met by tremendous celebration across the United States. This was especially true in places that had remained loyal to the Federal Government such as here, in Denver.

Regardless of the celebrations (or lack of them) one thing was true. The US federal Government was back on the world stage, and it would not be backing either the Syndicalists or the Germans in the war in Europe.
Only a few days after the fall of Charleston Moscow falls to Mitteleuropa
The syndicalist defence of the city was dogged and determined but eventually came to nil. Fast moving German spearheads backed up by slower but well equipped Ruthenian troops totally overwhelmed the Syndicalists at every turn, taking the Kremlin even before adequate barricades could be erected on the streets leading onto the Red Square
The second attempt at a Soviet Russia came to the same end as the first, at the end of a German sword. Germany would now face a one front war with the Syndicalists.
On the peripheries of the European conflict a Syndicalist backed Tuareg uprising in the exiled French Empire breaks out.
...and a few days later they're joined by a similar uprising in Guinea. The French Government was caught on the backfoot, however their military supremacy was expected to show itself
Back at home the Polish Government announces a new Submarine design has been approved. Whilst Polands few shipyards were currently focused on the production of destroyers the ability to produce submarines was seen as a major bonus for the Polish naval presence in the Baltic
Despite the troubles at home, a major breakthrough comes in October of 1942 when the exiled French make their return in Brittany
The assault on Brittany was spearheaded by the elite French Marines. These crack troops swept aside Syndicalist resistance on the beaches and were met by surprisingly sympathetic civilians once they got inland. The Syndicalists situation had gone from bad to worse, now with a two front war against the 'imperialist powers'
The initial landings are met with high casualties, but the casualties inflicted upon the Syndicalists are far higher than what the emigres have received.

Of ote is that the United States has thrown its support to the Entente, making the Entente quite possibly as powerful as Mitteleuropa
The Germans also launch their own landings, taking Cherbourg in Normandy from the Syndicalists.
The Tuareg rebellion ends with a French victory. With Guinea sure to follow, the majority of Frances efforts can now be dedicated to defeating the Syndicalists
With Naval invasions becoming more prominent a better destroyer is designed to protect Polands tiny coastline.
Casualties are being taken heavily on the Syndicalist side. With the emigre French in Brittany a swift turn of fortune is needed if the Syndicalists are to succeed
The external war drives more people to support Polish independence, if not the Government. Incidents of Syndicalist and National Populist terrorism and dissent drop significantly.
In a bizarre twist, Ukrainian troops storm and take the port of Dover. They are quickly repelled by local Militiamen and professional military reserves. Mitteleuropean commanders repeatedly refer to the incident as a 'raid' and not a full blown invasion, whilst Syndicalist papers boasted at the impeccable defence and weak class solidarity of their Ukrainian foes.

Polish communications interceptors reveal another story. On the day of the invasion there was a remarkable uptick in communcations between Berlin and Kiev. Those messages that could be decrpyted reveal an air of mass panic in Berlin due to a total lack of communication between the two nations. The Ukranians apparently launched the attack by mistake. The attack made no progess after their initial successes, but the Ukranian troops caused a significant obstacle to the bumbling British militia for several hours.

The 'Ukranian Christmas Party' would later become a formative moment in the creation of a Ukrainian national identity
The first major operation of the new year is a large scale landing on the French Riviera. The French Syndicalists, already overwhelmed, struggle to match the new threat from the south
The French Riviera landings were a major undertaking that was only really made possible due to the promise of material support from the immense war machine of the USA. They opened a gaping wound in the Syndicalist defence and were seen as a potential 'tipping point' in the war, as the Syndicalists would have to massively change their battle plans in order to meet the size and scale of this offensive.
In response to the expanded war, a new Infantry corps is raised to help secure Poland's borders.
The Syndicalist inability to adequately meet the invasion was revealed when, after only a little more than a week, French troops were well inland and a German force had taken Bordeaux.
The war is entering a critical phase, but already the casualties stretch into the millions on both sides. Most everyone on both sides of the conflict pray for it to end. The downside is is that they both pray for it to end with their nation victorious over the other.
German troops disrupt Syndicalist battlelines with a landing in Dunkirk. France's lifelines to its British brothers are being torn away one by one.
By the start of spring the war begins to break from the meatgrinder of the previous year as Mitteleuropean troops, bolstered by the influx of support from the now victorious Russian front, flood into France and the low countries in massive amounts
Germany's vast industrial base allows it to outproduce the French on the latest weapons of war, and its military leaders are able to put into action theories that were dreamt of on the less well resourced Russian front. Tank breakthroughs are common and inflict heavy losses on the French troops trying to contain them
The French response to these armoured breakthroughs relied heavily on the competent S35 tank. These tanks proved a serious threat to their German counterparts, however as the war went on the toll of constant combat found these models increasingly in short supply. Their absence was a serious blow to the Syndicalist war effort
French troops repel the Germans from Dunkirk, but the surprisingly effective Ukrainian Marines. With DUnkirk now part of the larger German front, its possible that they may hold this crucial port for a while, causing overall confusion for Mitteleuropas logistics
Things go from bad to worse for the Syndicalists as the German army reaches Lyon. A narrow corridor from the west of France to the Italian border now risks being crushed between the advancing French Emigres and German forces, something that would surely end the war
In the north things are not much better, with the French landing in Brittany making quick inroads into Normandy and the rampant German army making their way up the Seine towards Paris. For the first time since the war began, people begin to hesitantly speak of the war "being over by Christmas"
Within a few days in fact the two forces were nearly an equal distance from the capital city, with some Emigre forces fighting in the suburbs themselves.
The incredible Emigre advance during the first weeks of May 1943 were notable for the prolific use of American machinery and Civil War surplus, as seen here with a French motorcycle column heading for the outskirts of Paris.

Syndicalist resistance was minimal, with most forces having been relocated to the German front
By early june these predictions look accurate as French Emigres return to Paris, taking the city of light with incredible firepower.

The city was racked by the battle, with plenty of famous landmarks being destroyed in the fighting, and the city would change hands multiple times.
By the end of June the frontline had somewhat stabilised, but Syndicalist France now consisted of a narrow alley seperating the Emigre French and the German army with Calais as the makeshift capital city. It was obvious to all that France, home of the revolution, was too fall in the next few days, weeks or months.
By the end of June the frontline had somewhat stabilised, but Syndicalist France now consisted of a narrow alley seperating the Emigre French and the German army with Calais as the makeshift capital city. It was obvious to all that France, home of the revolution, was too fall in the next few days, weeks or months.
Syndicalist party members made for Calais to get transport to Britain. Rumours where abound that the British Navy was making frequent evacuation runs spurring more people to make the desperate dash north
In reality the beaches at Calais were awash with demoralised Syndicalists from all over Europe. The few evacuation ships that appeared off the coast were reserved for military or political elites.
During the war the Polish navy continued to expand. The latest ship, the ORP Wicher, was confusingly a member of the newer class of Grom class destroyers
The Grom class was bigger, faster and better equipped than the Wicher class the Grom class was a masterclass of Polish engineering.
It was one of these shops that was tasked with Polands most important diplomatic mission outside of europe since independence as General Sikorski was sent to Tangiers to meet with the Emigre French regime. It's objective was refreshingly brief, summed up post-war as "to remind the Entente that we existed".

This was made necessary only a few months before it happened, as the addition of the USA and the French successes in France made the Entente one of, if not the most powerful alliance on earth. Policy makers in Warsaw anticipated that France in particular would be a major European power in the very near future, and so dedicated considerable resources to improving relations with them.
In France Paris is unrecognisable, the front line passing over the ruins of Paris with the Seine being the most treasured frontline on the entire French theatre of operations
During the war Polands tank development took large strides forward, including the development of a modern medium tank
The Entente had been performing incredibly well during the war dealing well over 500,000 casualties to their opponents in mainland europe. The war against the British however remained very distant
The spring had seen around 500,000 casualties on the German front for the Syndicalists, with them inflicting only a fraction of the same onto their German adversaries. The war was increasingly looking totally lost for the Syndicalists in Europe
The "Arras Gap" was one of the most heavily bombarded places on the entire front outside of Paris, taking fire from both east and west
The town of Arras was levelled in the bombardments and artillery duels. The death count is unknown, but it was almost certainly heavily inflated by the massive stream of refugees trying to get too the coast.
By this point the Syndicalists are at the end of their rope. Facing total destruction in France, the few who can travel up the coast to the channel hoping to gain some kind of transportation so that they may retreat
The Entente's armies are inflicting huge casualties on their syndicalist foes.
By this point the Syndicalists are at the end of their rope. Facing total destruction in France, the few who can travel up the coast to the channel hoping to gain some kind of transportation so that they may retreat
However the Syndicalists dug in and refused to surrender. Despite heavy pressure the loss of Paris south of the Seine and the complete loss of any coastal ports the French Syndicalist regime continued to fight as if they had a chance of winning the war. The more passionate syndicalists revelled the chance to fight in the home of the Paris commune. The more realistic retreated once again to the cellars, metro tunnels and even catacombs of the ancient city.
At the call of Syndicalist leaders barricades were erected and weapons issued to the civilian population. Paris, were the first attempt at Socialism was made, would be the place were it would sink or swim under Imperialist attack
Despite the ambitious French resistance in Paris by the start of October the Dutch syndicalists had had enough. Facing another cold and hungry winter any remaining syndicalists either surrendered or went into hiding. Regardless, the conflict in the low countries had come to a close
By November it was possible to walk from one end of Syndicalist Europe to the other in an afternoons stroll (albeit it one with more shrapnel than most). Around this time broadcasts of 'Paris Stands!" that had been broadcast for the previous few weeks were cancelled as the broadcasters realised that their sole audience was now inside the city itself, making the messages somewhat irrelevant
The once optimistic garrison of Paris had now fallen too an all encompassing sense of dread as the Franco-German forces closed in. They were kept fighting purely by fictious rumours of a massive British landing in Calais rapidly moving to relieve them, and off socialist revolts in Germany.
...but rumours cannot win a war...
...and even the most dedicated regime needs land to fight from. By December the Syndicalist holdouts in Paris had surrendered or been captured by advancing German forces
The fighting for Paris was some of the most intense yet seen anywhere on earth. German forces often relied on directed airstrikes to remove even the smallest obstacles, such as a machine gun in a house window or an alley barricade. Even after the official capitulation, fighting continued fiercly within the city for several weeks, claiming hundreds of German and Emigre French lives, with many more that number of Parisians falling.
The war had seen well over two million syndicalist casualties. Although the Union of Britain and the Italian Syndicalists remained in the fight, too most the Second Weltkrieg was over
Throughout the war Poland had dramatically increased the size of her armed forces, which now totalled over 30 divisions in the field (and around 40 when including those in advanced training)
Most of these were deployed on the Carpathian border. Austria was yet to recognise the Polish liberation of Galicia, and with attention focused on the winding down war the Austrians might yet try to reclaim their lost territory.
The war in Europe comes to an effective end as the German Army marches through Paris and the last major continental syndicalist power is defeated
But even at the height of German victory questions must be asked as to whether or not they are the most powerful force in France as the newly returned French are bolstered by Canadian and Especially American forces preparing to take the British isles from the Syndicalists.
As all of this goes on Poland prepares for the festive season, free of war but with tensions on her southern border. What will this new, post-syndicalist age bring?

Check out another AAR:

Game: Europa Universalis IV

The Golden Empire. Part 1 The Disaster Years

Images: 40, author: lokigtvarre, published: 2019-03-13