The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 20, American Counteroffensive

Author: Mattekillert
Published: 2017-02-01

Part of the campaign:

The Thousand Year Reich

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 19, The Invasion of America

Images: 78, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01

The initial landings in America ran into enormous American formations and were nearly pushed back into the sea. The arrival of Manstein saved the day and turned the tide. Now Germany has pushed the enemy far back and the next operation, Herbsterwachen (autumn awakening) is to be launched before the snows hit.
The attacks begin in the south where the panzer, marine and Fallschirmjäger combo have been holding strong around Norfolk.
On the 1. Of October units approaching the Canadian border report first snows. Winter is coming.
The southern part of the front is starting to break as large amounts of Allied troops are now central American, who are known as rather poor fighters.
Heavy losses are taken in every large battle.
The majority of the losses were however in the Frikorps Danmark who hasn’t been reequipped since Barbarossa. It is sent back to guard the backline as it has no place on the front.
The first of another wave of “Civilian divisions” as German commanders have dubbed them arrive around Cleveland. Again men without uniform try to resist us and the result on the civilian population is harsh. Buildings burn and men are shot on sight.
The Panzer Division Clausewitz is shattered in heavy fighting. However upon closer inspection it turns out they lost their motorized segment. Hitler is outraged, commanders are confused and the Advisor blames “events”.
Herbsterwachen claims its first pocket.
More and more civilian divisions are flooding into our line. Our numbers in the area are low and reinforcements are being sent to the area.
A similar story is taking place in the south however we have already reached our operational objectives here.
Outnumbered nearly 10-1 our troops still inflict 1-1 losses on the enemy.
The Americans are trying to attack all over the central part of the line. Only Canada is quiet.
In Canada the first task of the Luftkavallerie comes in as they rush to claim territory in the north. Their high speed makes the ideal for the task but it is doubtful they can resist fully support infantry or tank formations.
Civilians do not good soldiers make.
With the arrival of the Berater division the civilian reckless assault turns into a rout. No man dares resist a Maus after all.
Scandinavians SS men are taking heavy losses in fighting west of Cleveland. Even so they persevere. Scandinavians have been a vital part of the SS since the addition of SS Divisions Wiking and now they make up about 10% of the SS but are by far the most powerful part of the large SS armies.
The Luftkavallerie runs into a large force of Canadians and is sent running. The SS will have to clean up the area.
With the arrival of Panzer Armee ‘Süd’ another army group is created. Our numbers in America grow each day. As we grow stronger America grows weaker!
The taking of Québec traps hundreds of thousands of troops on the wrong side of the Saint Lawrence River.
Desperate attempts by desperate troops end in predictably horrid results.
We advance in the hopes of trapping some troops around the Cleveland area.
In the south the constant assaults force us back from the Cape Fear River. A counterattack is prepared but it shows the tough fighting along the entire line as the Americans try to break us.
The news of great victories rekindles hope in the German people. Much like the invasion of the Soviet Union there were some worries that invading another great power would prove disastrous. Yet propaganda footage of thousands upon thousands of captured American troops, especially the civilian types put hope into the German people.
The remains of the Schlactflotte Raeder which has lost many cruisers in its destruction of the USN pulls back into the ports in Boston for some much needed rest.
Churchill and King George are both spotted by recon flights and the SS are now on the hunt to capture the mad Churchill. He commands the Canadian troops in the area by sheer force of will but his skills are found lacking.
And a week later he is nowhere to be found. Hitler demands an explanation which the Abwehr pins on either a submarine or a plane. The Advisor just grumbles about “shattering mechanics”. The mere word of mechanics triggers Hitler to reach for the brandy bottle and the Advisor and Hitler drown out their pain together.

They have grown quite close during their 11 years together. The Advisor being one of the few people Hitler trusts fully. Whereas men like Göring and Himmler try to build their own empires within the Third Reich the Advisor has always been a faithful servant to the Reich. His enormous popularity among the generals also leaves him as one of the strongest men in the Reich. Himmler may have his own army, but the Advisor has the entire Wehrmacht behind him.
While the Advisor and Hitler sleep of their hangover the Americans take Buffalo with heavy loss of life. Again counterattacks are prepared. The Americans may cross the river but they cannot hold their crossing.
Even so the loss of life among the SS is disturbing to say the least.
The Advisor, Manstein and Guderian sit down together and draw up the next great plan. The St Lawrence River in Canada will be garrisoned with as few troops as possible while all other troops are focused on making great gains into the United States. It is hoped we can trap huge amounts of American troops and finally put an end to the bloody battles all along the front in favor of large encirclement battles.
By the 1. December snow begins to fall in earnest and with it the Americans start to attack all over the St Lawrence River. The calm sector becoming embroiled in heavy fighting.
Some of the huge pool of reservists is put into the factories. We need panzers not men.
As the stripping of troops had slowly begun it left a hole in the western part of the northern line and the Americans have gathered enormous amounts of civilian, infantry, mechanized and tank formations in the area.
By the 4 of December the situation is starting to become clear. There is a great American counteroffensive going on.
The line starts to crumble as reinforcements are sent in. The advance threatens our entire northern sector of the line. Some demand a retreat from the St Lawrence River already, towards a more defensible line somewhere in the US.
The Arrival of the Gebirgsjäger Armee are welcome news as most of them are armed with the all-important 128 mm gun which has replaced the much loved 88 mm flak gun. Once only used in the great flak towers in Berlin they are now a part of most divisions, redesigned to be more mobile without losing the tremendous power of the gun it is the best tank killer in the Heer.
Outnumbered heavily our troops are trying to hold back the Americans.
Even as insane amounts of Americans die they just keep coming. The United States is proving to be equal to the Soviet Union in their lack of care for the deaths of their men.
Trying to keep up with the loss of troops with replacements is proving impossible as more and more units begin to go below their supposed strength.
Once more unto the breach!
In the south however the line is stable. The Americans attack, they die and life goes on.
The Panzer Armee Süd which was the hoped great reinforcement has a major problem; it doesn’t have any 128 mm guns and as such is unable to penetrate the heavy armor of the American tanks. Pulling them north would also mean giving up on Operation Frühlingserwachen.
So the dying must go on.
It is clear that we do not need boats or planes. We need troops and lots of them.
A small counterattack drives the Americans out of Plattsburgh.
But not for long.
More and more divisions shatter and most are down to 1/12 strength or lower.
The Advisor orders an enormous production of 60 regiments of 128 mm flak guns. He is quoted as saying to Hitler on ordering the production, “When in doubt build the 88 flak gun if it does not work build the 128 mm flak gun, and if that doesn’t work then pray to god.”
More and more of the St Lawrence River is being surrendered to the Americans after brutal fighting.

Pictured are men from the Großdeutschland division after weeks of fighting.
More and more divisions start to become ineffective as they lose thousands of men.
An attempted counterattack on Naiperville, a vital part of the front is abandoned after a few days. Even in attack against superior numbers our men inflicted more losses on the enemy.
The poor infantry holding Saranac Lake however are badly mauled by American mechanized troops.
More of the shattered formations move up to act as the only real reserve we have.
Troops are pulled from Cleveland to stabilize the northern line. Trust in the French volunteers!
The sheer amount of mechanized formations is out of all proportion to what was expected from America. Even with their enormous amount of factories the amount of tanks we face is beyond comprehension
The graveyard of New York where our shattered formations reform, most units here are below 10% strength and it is destroying the experienced formations that landed in America. Many of the grizzled eastern front veterans are now dead. Replaced by men seeing their first combat.
But even so the Americans are taking heavy losses. For every defeat they inflict on us we give them three of their own. Their losses are in the millions.
The graveyard of New York is now at 30+ full divisions.
And so Manstein and the Advisor agrees. Operation Frühlingserwachen is to be postponed. All effort is to be exerted on pushing back the American counteroffensive. The lack of Heavy Flak guns in the Panzer Armee Süd does leave them weaker yet it is hoped that by sheer experience, will and numbers that they can turn the tides along with the next reinforcement wave. Will it be enough? Will German blood and iron persevere over the American hordes? All will be decided in The Winterschlacht.

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 21, Winterschlacht

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