The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 10, Operation Zitadelle

Author: Mattekillert
Published: 2017-02-01

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The Thousand Year Reich

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 9, Operation Edelweis

Images: 37, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01

Nearly a month has passed since the end of Operation Edelweiss. The follow up operation to Case Blue proved to be just as effective as Case Blue was. Millions of Soviet prisoners walk west as the weather gets worse and worse. Even with the enormous losses the Soviet Union is still resisting with an army still millions strong they resist our advance all along the front. With the destruction of several Soviet Tank Armies over the summer their offensive capability has been vastly reduced.

The call for a continuous advance is strong among the generals and even Hitler. However just like last year the mud stop us. The spread out and disorganized Panzer Armies will now shuffle around and reorganize for the still unnamed planned 1943 offensive. The objective is simple a large scale advance along the Kama river towards Siberia. We will advance until there are no roads to advance over. We will divide and conquer.
Yet such plans are still far away. Now comes the time for rest, reinforcements and infrastructure building. After such destruction many more volunteers arrive from the east and yet another legion is formed. With it new Panzer Divisions are formed and placed in the Western Reserve. The strength of the western allies creates the need for such reserves even as they are needed in the ever stretching Eastern Front.
More SS and volunteer legions are formed.
In a daring move we have attempted to move the now somewhat antiquated German fleet to the Mediterranean. With large Luftwaffe support it was hoped we could sneak by unnoticed but the Royal Navy is not to be underestimated and a skirmish ensued in the English Channel.

Pictured is the Bismarck exchanging fire with the British battleships.
The British took heavy damage but managed to limp back to port while we lost both the Deutschland and the Leipzig. At least the Bismarck and Tirpitz survived.
The reason for the Kreigsmarine movement is simple. To transport the new Army Group India to prepare for the invasion of the jewel of the British Empire.
This new army group is no creme of the crop however. The war in the east consumes our troops at such a daunting rate that there were simply no units available for a needed invasion of India. So whatever could be scrapped together was. To call is a rag tag group of soldiers would be a vast understatement.

The “Army Group” contains Russian volunteers, Indian volunteers of the Azad Hindi, French volunteers, Czech conscripts, Men from the Sturmabteilung (SA), SS Cavalry divisions and many others. Equipment varies wildly for the men. Some have no AT guns while others have captured Russian T-26 tanks and even 88’s and AT guns. Out of the 35 divisions we have 5 Panzer Divisions, 3 fully equipped Czech divisions and 3 Jäger divisions. They and 3 SS divisions have AT guns while the remaining 21 divisions have 4 brigades of T-26’s and 10 brigades of artillery. Some divisions are nothing more than an unsupported infantry brigade with a recon cavalry brigade. It is fortunate that India is lightly defended as the British are involved in heavy fighting in Burma against our Japanese allies.
Italian weapons you say?
They are going to need some upgrades.
The Japanese finally create a large puppet regime to run the inner parts of China.
In the midst of the winter snow a single Mechanized Guard divisions smashes through our line over the Volga. Supported by the brand new IS-1 heavy tank our poor infantry were smashed aside. In all honesty our entire infantry arm needs 88’s to fight these new beasts but the industry of the Reich is busy in other sectors.
More industry for the Reich!
The plan for the Invasion of India would use all the Fallschirmjäger available to capture the large port of Karachi and from the advance south with another possible drop at Bombay. The issue of range might prevent the second one as the closest airfield in Oman will be quite a stretch.
On the 16 of February Portugal proclaims their support for Germany in our crusade against Bolshevism following the British forced pressure to seize the Azores. They are happily welcomed but personally Hitler would take to calling António de Fragosa Camona as António the late. While they officially joined the Axis they were not called to honor any obligation of war. If the British wish to invade our European friend we will answer their call as our Portuguese allies dare not join the war.
The production of the Reich is split over many different sectors. Planes, Battleships, Assault ships for India, Marines, SS and even more Fallschirmjäger are being produced. Add onto that some 200 IC worth of infrastructure and Germany has no room for more troops for India.
More divisions for the east.
A large oversight had been made in the planning for the invasion of India. The Go-244 B-1 only had the range to reach to the opposite side of the Hub River. Our poor Fallschirmjäger will again be forced to not only cross the Hub River but then also take Karachi. We can only hope that combined support between the Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine can provide them with enough support to seize Karachi. They are after all the Führer’s miracle men.
On the Persian border large formations of Guards and armored divisions have appeared and are pushing our men back with heavy losses. The Soviets still have factories in the Urals that we must reach!
At first glance resistance around Karachi seems thin but recon aircraft have spotted more formations south east of Karachi.
The British are not letting us advance and are constantly suppressing our troops with attacks. The Usual tidal wave of Stuka dive bombers will dissuade them in time.
The increasing pressure in Persia calls upon us to start the offensive earlier this year. Just as the mud drifts away our Panzer divisions are unleashed yet again in the east. The most common phrase among our men being

“We kicked in the door, we smashed down the walls, now we only have the floor left to smash and hopefully The Russians don’t have a cellar!”

There is a surprising amount of truth in what our troops say. The Russians are running out of divisions to place along the front and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Soviet People’s Militia divisions are no substitute for real soldiers. The only real worry is the ever stretching front. Our army in the east has only expanded by an army while the front is more than 500% larger than before.
The first of the new Rocket propelled aircraft are ushered into the Luftwaffe. A new generation of aircraft has begun.
More rats to be purged from the Großer Reich. Various SS units are called in to clear them out.
The Fallschirmjäger being the battle over Karachi against British colonial police, urban fighting is always brutal. No matter the opponent.
The news of the great eastern offensive puts hope into the German people. Perhaps the end of the war is finally at hand?
*grumble grumble* damn Poles *grumble grumble*
As the offensive spikes east the flanks must be defended by offensive action. However costly the attacks they must be made to defend the flanks.
The Abwehr came with the horrifying report that 90% of Finnish divisions were at 25% strength or lower.

“Helsinki is on fire from bombing raids. It is like a giant beacon calling for aid, we have ignored their lend lease requests for too long, Finland calls for aid!”

“…And Germany will answer. Muster the Waffen-SS!”
In better news the construction of an airfield in Sonmiani allowed our Fallschirmjäger to be flown directly into Karachi as British resistance collapsed. As the captured the city the British finally gave up on their attempts to oust us from India. We have gained a foothold.
The rats of Warsaw are finally dealt with and the city is returned to normal order, after large scale deportations.
The Southern swing of our Eastern Offensive now code named ‘Zitadelle’ is proving disastrous. It was hoped that with the reduced capabilities of the Soviet army the better equipped allies could prove useful. Oh how wrong one can be. The battle of Tyuligen would be the last time they were used in any offensive operations in the east. This does however completely stall the southern swing of Zitadelle. We simply lack the reserves.
Von Esebeck has finally reached the end of all roads in the north. His personal report of “I see snow, ice and trees.” is met with cheers at OKW.

A report from the forward units small recon detachment reported “A incident with the locals” As the troops had to make a hasty retreat when they ran into a Polar Bear mother as not even rifle fire could scare away the Polar Bear. Only High Explosive 20mm Shells from a nearby armored car managed to scare it away. Even Polar Bears fear exploding trees after all.
More curious research into what could “create a mother of all bombs.”
Our troops land unopposed in Bombay as not even the British seemed to have imagined we would be so bold.
And bold we are with these kinds of divisions.
The offensives on our flanks are kept up to relieve pressure on our spearhead.
More volunteer units but made from good hardy men unlike the eastern volunteers.
A few Fallschirmjäger divisions are pulled out as reinforcements are being sent to Karachi by sea. As the Fallschirmjäger have a more important task at hand.
The eternal war in Africa continues as the Italians make a very slow but steady advance.
Halted on the border with the Congo in the west but they are involved in heavy fighting in East Africa.
Another Panzer Korps is sent east as the line is starting to crumble under the pressure of the increasing length of the front.
To completely cut off the supplies flooding into northern Russia Arkhangelsk must be seized. And who better but our Miracle Men?
Further advances into new Jet technologies.
Come back when you have some tanks!
The Slovakians are tasked with seizing the Island of Ceylon with heavy Luftwaffe support.
The spring offensive of 1943 has completely split the Soviet Union. Out of the estimated army strength of the Soviet Union which is at around 7 million at least 3 million are now stuck without any way of getting supplies. Now the torturous task of reducing a pocket that stretches over 1600km begins.
The stalled southern advance supposed to crush all hopes of a Soviet counter offensive in the east. The Freiwilligen Korps ‘Europa’ was to lead the charge with panzer support but in the end the Italian and Hungarian parts failed them utterly. Which leaves some 3 million men still facing us along the Volga.
Then disaster strikes, Koppe sends the news that the Americans have seized Casablanca from the French and are now attacking towards Tangier. The force estimation is at least 150.000 Men with a very large air detachment. A total of 6 divisions are now all that stands between the Americans and Tangier. Furthermore each American division is supported by armor battalions! How they can afford such wastage of armor is beyond us even if these units use outdated designs.

Reserves must be scrambled but from where? A few divisions stand in reserve in the west but most were sent east for the final knockout blow against the Soviets. The Luftwaffe is embroiled in defending our industry and supporting our men in the East and India. Can Tangier and with it North Africa be saved? Is it a diversion or the large American invasion we have feared for so long? Find out in the next installment of The Thousand Year Reich.

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 11, Operation Summer Awakening

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