Neville part 1, A Black Ice AAR

Author: Yoper101
Published: 2017-02-25, edited: 2017-02-25
A telling of a different war.

Part of the campaign:

Neville, A Black Ice AAR

'My issue, Honourable gentlemen, is not with Mister Hitler and his national socialism, but with this government's flat refusal to increase military funding despite clear evidence of German re-armament.'

'Mister Churchill, your concerns have certainly been noted by the government, as has your unbridled warmongering,' the old Prime Minister replied drily.

The Commons tittered at the jab, before settling down again as the fat back-bencher continued, saying; 'I do not propose a war, or even moving our nation towards a war. I do propose that this country must not be taken by surprise when; when I say, Germany begins to do more than move soldiers about inside her borders.'

Neville watched the debate grow increasingly uncivilised from his seat to the left of the Prime Minister. He shook his head and jeered along with the rest of the government, but secretly he agreed with Churchill. New battle cruisers were being built up in Germany and spies in the Reichstag had reported finding maps of Atlantic trade routes that were frequently used by British and French shipping. It was starting to look like Germany was planning for another European war.

After a particularly scathing insult, the Speaker of the house interrupted the PM and demanded that he withdraw his statement, and the debate then withdrew to more civil levels.

As Chancellor, Neville was called upon to make his comments about the state of the national treasury, which he did with great loyalty to his party, refusing to give Labour any ground. But as much as he claimed that the treasury was still reeling from the great depression and simply could not support an enlarged army, he was thinking to himself about where that money could be found.
Neville had only moved a short way down the road to a house he had visited many times before, and yet he felt particularly nervous. He was only thirty-five*, and yet he was the current inhabitant of Number 10.

He looked around the high-ceilinged room that was now his office. Bookshelves lined the walls, with a few desks scattered here and there. The middle of the room was dominated by a huge wooden table. Twenty-one seats were tucked under it, ready for the first cabinet meeting of the new government.

A knock came at the door, and before Neville had a chance to answer, it opened, revealing Thomas Humphrey, his long-time secretary.

'Sir, the reports you requested.' He stated, holding out a large manilla envelope.

'Thank you Humphrey,' Neville said, taking the envelope. 'Do I have anything scheduled for the rest of the morning?'

'No sir, not until the one o'clock lunch with the cabinet.'

'Thank you Humphrey, that will be all.'

The short, thin man nodded and left, pulling the door closed behind him while Neville sought a chair to sit at one of the desks with. Seeing no other alternative, he dragged one of the chairs from the middle table, sat down, and opened the envelope.

*Chamberlain was 68 when he became Prime Minister, and died in 1940. For the purposes of making this story entertaining, he found a time machine when he was twelve and got hit on the head when he stepped out of it into postwar Europe, and so forgot everything about living in Victorian England. He was adopted by a passing King, whose political pressure helped him to gain his (historically accurate) position as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Neville's hair turned grey after an unfortunate incident with a corkscrew and thirteen angry innkeepers. He refuses to talk about it.
The next day, Neville found a spare hour in between meetings and briefings to have a quiet word with Humphrey in the corridor outside the cabinet office.

'Make it clear to the new Chancellor that his budget must include a reduced tariff on materials required to produce military goods. I don't care how you do it, but we need to encourage the military industry to grow. We also need to stop this program of funding colonial development if we are ever going to find the funds for this project,' Neville muttered.

'Understood sir,' Humphrey said, jerking his head in a little nod, before he walked off, presumably to find one of his contacts in the finance ministry to deliver the Prime Minister's anonymous request.

Satisfied that he was doing all he could to keep his country safe, Neville put the matter from his mind.
The green seats of the Commons were almost completely filled for this address. Every party had called upon all their back-benchers to exert their influence on the new austerity bill. Neville had asked the defence minister to introduce it with a rousing speech about the defence of the realm. He had been doing quite well so far.

'The deplorable state of the Royal Navy must be remedied before we can possibly consider further colonial development. Why, we are barely hanging on to Canada and Australia as it is. Our resources are overstretched and our Empire will crumble without at the very least eight modern aircraft carriers and sufficient escort craft, which I hope the honourable ministers will consider when discussing this proposed austerity bill.'

The defence minister sat down. Neville leaned over and whispered into his ear 'Good job.'

The minister smiled, and waited to hear what his opposite number would have to say.
Humphrey poked his head into Neville's office and announced 'Lord Halifax to see you sir.'

'Send him in then.'

Halifax was an exceptionally tall man, and dominated the room until Neville asked him to take a seat, which the lord; whose real name was the rather mundane David Wood, was most grateful for.

'Is this about your visit to Germany?'


'Then what do you have to say.'

'They have a fantastic show going on over there old chap. They're keeping everything they're up to mum and Hitler's power is solid. No pandering to those Labour nincompoops over there!' The lord enthused.

Silently, Neville agreed with him, but he did not want to hear repeated what he already knew. 'What of their military. Do you have any idea what their air force is up to. I'm sure they have one somewhere.'

'Well, that Goering chap seemed pretty proud of all the private flying clubs that are popping up all over the country. I can't help but wonder if the Germans are secretly building up an air force without even letting the pilots themselves know.'

'What about aircraft, did you see any factories for them?'

'Well, no, not really. I suppose they can't have an air force without planes.'

Neville steepled his fingers. 'Well, its better than nothing I suppose. Thank you for that, your lordship.'

'Yes well, I'd better get back to the foreign ministry. Give them the news too.'

'Of course your lordship. Oh, and on your way out could you send Humphrey in. I have a call to make.'
'Yes, I understand the cost.' A pause.

'Yes.' Another pause.

'Well I've changed my mind now.' A short pause.

'I've heard that Hitler's training pilots, but has no planes for them to fly. He must be trying something similar.'

Long pause.

'Look, just get the scheme up and running. Let me worry about Labour. If they ever need to find out, they'll be singing our praises.' Another pause.

'Yes, thank you. Goodbye.'

Neville put down the phone and hoped that he would not need to use the scheme he had just put into motion.
'... there's little we need to worry about. Hungary and Italy are also both fascist nations. This coup in Austria poses little risk to us.' The foreign minister finished.

'All the same, I think increased spy activity would cause no harm...'

The men around the table looked up as the door to the cabinet office burst open and Humphrey dashed in.

'Sorry ministers, but this is urgent,' He said, whilst walking swiftly over to Neville. When he reached the PM, he handed him a telegram.

Neville read it quickly. 'The nation of Austria,' He announced. 'Has been fully taken over by Germany.'

Small sounds of surprise, shock, and a little admiration came from around the table.

Neville pointed at the foreign minister. 'Do not recognise this as a legal action. See if we can get France to lodge a complaint with Berlin also. And someone get me Hilter on the phone. Perhaps we can talk him into backing down from this.'

'Pigs will fly.' Commented the foreign minister, voicing aloud the sentiments of every man sat around the table.
Author's note; I've been wanting to do a BICE AAR in HOI4 for some time now, but I've been beset by bugs, in particular one which caused submarines to stop killing convoys, and stay stuck in battle for eternity. Also, BICE submarines seemed too strong (as some of you might have seen for yourselves, BICE submarines can cut through entire navies with minimal losses.) I fixed these issues by going to the defines file, and replacing the entire NNaval section of that file in the BICE mod with the NNaval section in the original HOI4 file. Since then, I've had no issues. Except that New Zealand stole the High Seas Fleet, which was mildly annoying.

I want to keep the first two parts of this AAR short and snappy. Reading about interwar British fiscal policy is not exactly entertaining, but trust me when I say that this one is really going to pick up once the war starts.

Next chapter:

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Neville part 2, A Black Ice AAR

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