Standing Resolute : Chapter 1, The Empire on Which the Sun Never Sets

Author: Mattekillert
Published: 2017-03-17

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Standing Resolute

The Empire on which the sun never sets, controller of 1/4th of the world and home to over 500 million people. It is the greatest empire ever forged. Yet the once great empire has been scarred. The Great War that raged 1914-1918 had took a horrific toll on all combatants. France was bled white, The Russian Empire was destroyed and The British Empire was bankrupted.
After 18 years of peace the world is yet again in a perilous state. In Germany the rise of Adolf Hitler and his party has created a resurgent Germany. While in the east Stalin modernizes his empire bringing another madman to the front.

An even larger shock came in the 1936 French elections where Maurice Thorez and his communist party seized control in France. Claims of voter manipulation and Soviet interference in the elections weakened the regime.
Under the control of Chamberlain the frequent demands from Berlin were met by the Appeasement policy. At first the Germans marched into their own backyard in the Rhineland while the post-election crisis was on going in France, then came the Anschluss of Austria, the camera reels of Austrians waving the swastika flag again made protest difficult.
The first real challenge came in the Sudetland crisis where Chamberlain in the end gave in to the demands of Hitler. The ‘Peace in Our Time’ would only end up lasting for 3 months before Hitler broke his agreement, marching into the rump state of Czechoslovakia.
The focus of Chamberlain during his reign has been the increasing of the industrial power of the British Isles. Coal mines in northern England have been expanded while factories boom in all the population centres of the Isles. This has left the Armed Forces rather weak with many projects, including the expansion of the Royal Navy being pushed back several years.
Finally in the Far East Japan continued her rampant imperialism. Invading China in 1937, after two years of brutal conflict China still hangs on but only barely. The alignment of Japan to Germany adds more strain on the British Armed Forces.
As war draws near much of the production of Britain is pulled into upgrading the equipment of the British Armed Forces older aircraft models are replaced with newer models.
The situation in Europe is increasingly tense. Germany yells louder and louder about injustices done by the Poles. War is expected to break out within a month as the German propaganda machine kicks into high gear.
The most shocking incident since the elections of communists in France takes place when Germany signs a pact with their arch nemesis. For 6 years he has ranted endlessly about his hatred for the communists yet now they fall into league with each other. Fascism and Communism united against the free nations of the world.
Against it stands the British Expeditionary Force. While the early aim of the force was to provide a fully mechanized force to supplement the French Army budget cuts meant a more basic army was to be deployed. It contains twenty five divisions with one fifth being armoured. Most divisions do still have some motorized capabilities.
Strategy wise we expect a repeat of the German plan launched in 1914 with a possible extension into the Netherlands. As such Operation Oak provides a northern bulwark for the French forces with us covering the majority of Belgium to allow them to face off against the German forces along the Rhine.
Meanwhile in Africa Operation Imperial Salvation is the planned liberation of Ethiopia wrongly stolen from Haile Selassie.
Following the election crisis of 1936 the communist party in France soared in popularity. By treading a careful line between socialism and communism they managed to avoid any large revolts. Even so 1/4th of the country is a part of the suppressed right wing parties. All we can hope is that they will perform on the battlefield.
After a huge reorganizing effort the Royal Navy is split into several fleets. Three for the Mediterranean, a small fleet for Asia and the rest staying in the isles. With Japan still embroiled in the war against China we hope to knock out the Italian and German fleets early on to allow us to turn on Japan whenever they join with the European wolves.
Just one of the many destroyed uprisings in France. The nation is by no means united.
And on the 2nd of September it begins. A small German radio station is supposedly attacked by Polish troops and with that the world is yet again at war.
We instantly set to work. The stoic British people will persevere yet again.
And with us comes the commonwealth.
The transportation of the BEF is attacked by a huge German air fleet almost equivalent to the entire bomber wing of the RAF. What kind of monster air force have the Germans created?
Even so the Carrier fleet sails out and sinks the first vessel of the war, a German submarine.
More are called into action.
Another German air attack is repelled by our Hurricanes.
The German advance is quick and after less than two weeks much of the Polish army has already been destroyed.
British flying boats spot a German Battle fleet heading into the North Sea. With the Tirpitz at its head, the hunt is on.
In the east China faces collapse.
After being spotted the German fleet tried to flee back to German ports but got caught just off the Norwegian coast.
In the end the German fleet escaped after taking heavy damage, but not without inflicting heavy damage on our destroyers.
.
The WLA kicks into gear.
The Cash and Carry act, (+10% supplies -2% Money)
By early October Warsaw is being threatened and the damned Stalin has entered into Eastern Poland. Not wanting to face war with both powers and bind them together we leave Stalin to his cowardly ways.
Much to the rage of Churchill who continues to criticize the regime for failing to aid our Polish ally.
On the 16th, after one and a half months of fighting Poland falls. Our hopes of a two front war with Polish aid are quickly crushed. Even so the so called ‘Blitzkrieg’ only worked against the poorly equipped and largely horse drawn army of the Polish.
Following the victory over Poland Italy falls even closer into the German sphere of influence.
Although they stay out of the war, for now.
Mussolini makes a much vaunted threat of 8 million bayonets. Even so what is a bayonet compared to tanks and planes?
With Italy drifting so closely to the Germans reinforcements initially held for Europe are sent to Ethiopia.
The WAAF is formed.
In addition to revealing astonishing in depth information about various weapon systems it also grants us further insight into the workings of the Third Reich. The reports we have heard from various spies confirm the identity of an ‘Advisor’ as he is referred as. A young man of seemingly enormous intellect he along with Hitler himself seems to be the main driving force behind the Third Reich.
Following the disastrous results of the early war Chamberlain loses his post as Head of the Government to Ramsay MacDonald who made a huge health recovery in the mid 1930’s allowing him to yet again become the leader of the Government.
And a mere day into his reign reports comes in of the sinking of the Admiral Scheer of the German coast.
Eastern Europe falls into line behind Germany.
Two weeks after the sinking of the Admiral Scheer the Graf Spee is also sunk.
North of Ireland our ASW fleets continue to hunt the German submarine fleets.
Following the increasingly apparent size and strength of the Luftwaffe the RAF is given a huge funding increase and production of the Spitfire ramps into gear.
A fast and agile plane the Spitfire is one of the most advanced fighter designs in Europe. Equivalent to the German BF-109E
Yugoslavia too falls into line.
In a daring move by the Germans the Tirpitz slips through our blockade of the North Sea and in the North Channel it engages and routs the 3. ASW Fleet.
The hunt is yet again on for the Tirpitz.
With the HMS Hood in the lead we rush towards the Tirpitz.
As Germany invades Denmark to secure their northern flank we purchase planes from the Americans. At the same time The USSR launches an invasion of neutral Finland after their rejection of an ultimatum. The Commander of the Finnish Armed Forces Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim is supposed to have responded with "Let them come if they dare." Even so with a population of less than 4 million against the 170 million of the USSR their situation is grim.
The first aid from the Commonwealth arrives on the same day as Germany defeats Denmark.
With the defeat of Denmark our troops occupy their islands to prevent a German takeover. We fear a German invasion of Norway and troops are readied in Britain to rush towards Norway in the case of an invasion.
Instead of catching the Tirpitz we catch and sink the Schleswig-Holstein performing a rear guard for the Tirpitz. German naval losses continue to mount.
Churchill continues his aggressive approach and frees nearly 300 sailors from the Germans. Although the Norwegian government is outraged their phony neutrality leaves no other approach. War is coming for Norway whether they like it or not.
The poor 3. ASW Fleet has a second run in with the Tirpitz and supporting vessels while our fleets rush to the scene. The Tirpitz must be sunk!
As the war in the North Sea continues the Soviet invasion of Finland now dubbed "The Winter War" continues. Finnish troops have proven remarkably effective, advancing in Karelia while only giving some ground in the south. Now protected by the Mannerheim line they resist bitterly. Hold on you freemen of the north! Stand Resolute!

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

Standing Resolute : Chapter 2, Operation Oak

Images: 42, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-03-19, edited: 2017-03-20

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