To the Empire Eternal Part 6 - 1940-41 - Into the Dragons Den

Author: Electricfox
Published: 2018-11-16

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To the Empire Eternal

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Game: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

To the Empire Eternal Part 5 - The 1930s - The world turned upside down

Images: 14, author: Electricfox, published: 2018-11-16

Matilda tank on Formosa

The 1940s opened with tensions high on the continent and abroad, however no-one knew where the first spark would ignite the war. Japan continued her war in China, with continued scares of Japanese fleets moving south into the Dutch East Indies, and American embargoes targetted at bringing the Japanese Empire to the table and away from war.
Meanwhile in Europe, Nazi Germany made continuing in-roads into Eastern European nations, with Romania soon falling into line behind Hitler.


Then, in 1941, it began.
In the early morning of June 13th 1941, the biggest artillery salvo since the Great War preceded a massed wave of German bombers striking hard into the Soviet Unions front-lines. The Soviet leader was stunned into inaction, sealing himself away for three days as German tanks cut through the Soviet lines like a hot poker through paper. Soon they were on the outskirts of Leningrad, Stalingrad and even Moscow itself! In the north, Finland, still smarting after its war against the Soviets in the 1930s, decided to also join in, allying with Germany against Russia.
Then, whilst the western world looked at Moscow with baited breath, aircraft fell out of the Pacific sun at the American naval base of Pearl Harbor.

On the 22nd of June 1941, only nine days after Germany had declared war on the Soviet Union, the Empire of Japan declared war on the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Their naval airforce struck directly at the heart of the American navy, at their Pacific base of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, catching both the UK and US off guard, since both had expected an immediate Southern move from Japan, attacking the Dutch East Indies and the Phillipines respectively, but it seemed that Japan wanted to neutralise the American navy first...however, despite what seemed to be crippling damage to the US fleet at first, it was soon revealed that most of the warships sunk on that day could be refloated, repaired and ready to gain revenge.

For Britains part, her main concern was the garrison at Hong Kong, which had been reinforced recently with the arrival of the infamous Royal Marines, fresh from their successes in Spain, and the Grand Fleet under the soon to retire Grand Admiral Jellicoe.
As soon as the notice of war was given, more forces were despatched to Rangoon and then on to the Far Eastern Theatre.
A French Char B1 bis tank and its crew in Belgium, 1941.

For reasons which are still unknown to this day, Germany and France soon came into conflict, and then Germany decided to follow Japans direction and declared war on the United States.
With most German forces in the Soviet Union, France took the opportunity to march into Belgium and occupy the former German ally. Shortly after this, Germany invaded Denmark and annexed it, thus in order to help safeguard the Atlantic, Britain took possession of Greenland and Iceland from Denmark at the behest of the exiled Danish government.
Meanwhile the war in the Far East was mostly dominated by naval skirmishes, with the Royal Navy coming into contact with a myriad of Japanese warships. Despite in some cases being outclassed by the technology of the Japanese carrier fleets, the British vessels held their own, and indeed, inflicted some severe losses on the Japanese.
Japanese tanks moving through the Philippines, 1941
As expected though, Japanese forces soon came ashore in the Philippines, whilst Britain was unable to directly assist the Filipinos due to differing alliance membership, she did her best to block Japanese supplies and reinforcements coming ashore, and this she did well, as lightly or unescorted Japanese transport fleets repeatedly slammed into the wall of the Grand Fleet.
In early October it was decided that Britain could no longer just stand offshore and watch the Philippines be overrun, so an invasion force was quickly drawn up from Hong Kong and sent to Baguio to land there.
On the way, the fleet ran into the Japanese carrier fleet once again, scoring a decisive victory when they were able to sink the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi, which had previously participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
That victory, though, would be the only one that Britain would have that October in the Philippines, with the landing forces simply unable to gain a foothold at Baguio, and so with heavy hearts and casualties, they fell back to fortress of Hong Kong.
Meanwhile back in Europe, Finland soon learnt to its cost that it was not quite ready to face the Soviet bear on equal terms, and was forced to seek a seperate peace, which the Soviets were only too happy to give so that they could turn their full force on the Germans rapidly approaching Moscow.
As November rolled around, Britain looked at her options for advancing the fight in the Far East. Hong Kong was under siege, with regular bombing by the puppet Chinese forces, and the occasional assault which was repelled by the battle hardened Marines.
What the British needed was a more significant foothold near Japan from which they could use their newly developed and untested flying bombs and bombing techniques on the Japanese homeland.

The closest option and the first stopping off point was Formosa.
The initial invasion went much smoother than the Phillipines operation, with additional support from the Grand Fleet meaning that fewer casualties were inflicted on the invading forces by the Japanese defenders.
Once ashore, the British tanks and cavalry turned south, as German forces conquered Leningrad and Stalingrad, prompting a surprising decision from Finland.

If at first you don't succeed?

Time will tell, as we move into 1942, and British forces stand ready to push the last Japanese forces off Formosa, and American forces attempt to gain a proper foothold to retake the Phillipines. French forces are unable to push into Germany, but have taken Belgium without fuss. Meanwhile a titanic struggle continues between the giants of the Soviet Union and Germany.

Many experts in the nations fighting their seperate wars have suggested that alliances should be forged, that America and Britain should unite against their common foe, time will also tell if this takes place.

(Time, and whether I can figure out how to code it in, since I kind of broke the Allies in 1933)

Next chapter:

Game: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

To the Empire Eternal Intermission: Carrier Air Power & You

Images: 7, author: Electricfox, published: 2018-11-16

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