Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR | Part Two: Connolly's Nightmare

Published: 2017-08-05

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Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR

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Game: Hearts of Iron IV

Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR | Part One: Heirs to the Revolution

Images: 68, author: Ceannairceach, published: 2017-08-05

[Welcome back to Homage to Britannia, an AAR utilizing the Kaiserreich mod for Hearts of Iron IV! In the previous installment, Mosley gained command of Britain, riding a wave of militarism and nationalism that has catapulted the Maximists into leadership roles across the Union. Envisioning a world revolution led by the British, Mosley's plan begins with the security of the Home Islands, or rather, the submission of the errant sister. Will Mosley's dream of British domination become a reality, or does the world hold more in store for the defiant British people? We return to Mary Webber to find out.]

Part One: http://imgur.com/a/A4pYC
Since the Monarchy fled Britain in 1926 following the year-long revolution, Ireland was been independent, and staunchly so. It resisted violently all attempts by its socialist neighbor to reintegrate their small republic, and the militaristic nature of the Irish people transformed from partisans in fields and villages into a formidable standing army. Though no match for the powers of the European continent, the military was Ireland's pride, an obstacle to overcome for any would-be invader.
While Mosley sought to renege on the promise of Irish independence, he could not do so easily: Ireland's safety was protected by the Germans - now safely subdued by their own economic collapse - and the Canadians, who had issues of their own to contemplate at the time.
Issues like the civil war that raged south of their border. The Combined Syndicates had proven strong in the face of adversity, and though they had lost New England to Canadian imperialism, the threat they posed to order on the continent was greater than the one the Union posted to Ireland.
What's more, the focus of Europe in those days was in Italy, not Britain: Austrian troops, backed by forces from across their fragmented empire, had reached and crossed the Po River by the 18th March, and threatened to push the Italians into the Ligurian Sea. Mosley's play needed to happen quickly, lest the gaze of the European powers turned to Britain.
At the time, debates were being had across the syndicalist world regarding the revolutions overtaking many developed and developing countries. With America's second revolution underway, it was decided that a second International Congress was needed to deliberate on a plan of action: much to my joy, Mosley's dignitaries secured London as the host city for the event, affording me the opportunity I had missed the previous year to attend.
Hundreds of thousands of people from across the socialist world gathered on the streets of London to inaugurate the Second International Congress, listening to speakers from around the globe as they debated the finer points of their ideologies. Personally, I was able to meet men and women from as far away as Calcutta, and more importantly, hear news from America from those fighting on the southern front. The spirit of the revolution was in the air, and had Britain not already had its own a decade prior, the mass of red flags might've inspired another to ignite then.
Perhaps an unintended consequence of the Congress, however, was my first exposure to anti-Mosley ideas and arguments, which, although suppressed by the committee that organized the events at the request of the Chairman, still filtered in to Britain in the forms of protests, lectures and street debate. I would ignore these arguments for some time - "counterrevolutionary" is what my friends called them, and I was inclined to agree, seeing the progress Comrade Chairman Mosley was making in the advancement of worldwide socialism.
Little did I and others know, Mosley had secretly been organizing elements of the Republican Army, then a collection of local militias drafted for specific national purposes, in Cardiff, planning for an invasion of Ireland. In London, we heard little of troop movements that interested us, for the pomp and circumstance of the Congress overshadowed everything.
The force was organized under the command of General Bernard Montgomery, a veteran of the 1925 Revolution, who turned the guns of his men on their fellow soldiers that refused to side with the revolutionaries. Though by all accounts at the time I understood him to be an upstanding socialist of great moral character, I have come to learn that his skill at arms and strategy was only matched by his lack of tact and diplomacy, though perhaps this is what Mosley valued most.
The Second Congress began with an inaugural address by Eric Blair, then Mosley's general secretary. The speech, which I attended, was centered around a single topic: something he termed "the worker's sword, and the people's shield."
Blair's speech caused an eruption throughout the crowd, with those from the front to the rafters calling out "Comrade Blair" in celebration. For the ease of the reader, I have recorded the conclusion of his speech below.

"The unity of comrades from all corners of Europe and the world cannot be defeated. Reactionaries, monarchists and liberals flinch in the face of an assembly of people, armed and capable of defending themselves against imperialist aggression. But hatred for your oppressor is not enough to end him: the combined resources, intelligence and strength of the socialist world must come together, to forge from the fires of revolution our own Damoclean sword with which to strike down the enemies of the worker."
We would come to learn, in time, that the Sword of Damocles was more than just an evocative image: it was a threat, carefully placed to strike fear into those that heard its name. I would not hear the phrase again until much later, and by then, everyone would know its meaning.
On the 4th May, 1936, the second day of the Congress, word arrived from America that Washington DC had fallen to the CSA, prompting calls to officially endorse the syndicalist revolution. Mosley needed no further proof: weapons, resources and men were dispatched immediately to support the American revolutionaries, an action praised by his peers as an inspiration for other socialist leaders.
The fall of Washington to the American Red Army was particularly brutal, contrary to the orders that Jack Reed allegedly gave to spare the city, as symbols of the federal government and capitalist system were put to the torch by militiamen. Those representatives of the American republic who remained in the city, left behind by the US Army as they fled the maw that slowly closed around them, were rounded up and put on "trial," and by that I mean they were lined up and shot as traitors to the revolution they never supported.
To celebrate their victory, the organizing committee cleared the schedule to give American author and syndicalist delegate Ernest Hemingway a chance to address the Congress. In his speech, Hemingway took the time to thank the Congress for their support for the American revolution, and concluded his remarks with a powerful sentiment, that rallied all in attendance to the American cause:
"If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for."

Oh, how I wish I could agree with him now as I did then.
Though it occurred far away from the bustling center of the Congress, news of a second, secret meeting of the minds of socialism filtered in from those in the know: allegedly, a number of scientists and politicians met in Cambridge to discuss putting Comrade Blair's ideas to paper: the construction of a new weapon with which to strike at the heart of imperialism.
Though I would never see one, I have learned now that secret facilities were constructed beneath London and in the countryside to develop this terrifying new weapon, dubbed "Damocles." On occasion we would hear that some academic person or another was to be drafted into a secret project, never to be heard from again. Though we ignored these things at the time, in hindsight, it is only to clear what they were creating in those bunkers that required such secrecy: a weapon with which to end war.
We had no time for such things, however, as the Americas were the topic of the day. Bolivia, recently having elected socialists into power, joined the Americans in requesting British aid in the coming struggle, something Mosley was all too keen to offer up.
Perhaps sensing war on the horizon, Mosley's push for women's equality in the armed forces sped up dramatically during the events of the Second International Congress. Myself and other Maximist women were put on parade to show Chairman Mosley's dedication to women's liberation, much to the cheers of foreign comrades who were fighting for similar progress at home.
The equalization of the armed forces was rapid, with the old restrictions on women in combat roles dropped immediately and with little ceremony. Whereas when I enlisted my duties were limited to guarding camp and maintaining equipment, Mosley's decree saw that all women were expected to complete militia boot camp and orientation post-haste. My old rifle was replaced with a modern Lee-Enfield, and our uniforms were stripped of the markers of a woman volunteer.
Perhaps sensing Britain's willingness to aid American revolutionaries, the socialist republic of Centroamerica was the next to speak at the Congress, where their representatives made bold declarations and promises of reaching the Panama Canal by Christmas next year. Though many would doubt the Sandinistas, they did not escape the Congress without heaps of praise and support from their fellow internationalists.
On the eve of the last day of the Second Congress, news broke throughout Britain that Philip Snowden, the man who held Britain together for a considerable time of change and upheaval, had passed away at the age of 73.
A funeral march was held from his home in Surrey to London, where Mosley had his predecessor interred as a hero to the revolution: festivities in his honor broke out across the nation, and the TUC declared the day of his death a holiday, to be marked with further celebrations each year. Mosley, though Snowden's enemy in life, made an impassioned speech to commemorate the fallen comrade. I will not record it here, for I believe it now to be filled with lies: the men were not friends, and it dishonors Snowden's legacy to infer that they were.
To bring an end to the Congress, the delegates from the socialist nations of the world - Mexico, Centroamerica, Bolivia, Chile, Communard France, Bharatiya, Georgia, Italy, America, and Britain - joined hands to celebrate the unity of all peoples against imperialism and capitalism. Chairman Mosley made a point of standing in for Blair, who applauded from the background while Mosley took a bow, and the cheers of the gathered masses.
Though the Congress had ended on the note of solidarity, even then could the rifts of ideology be seen: National-Syndicalists from Italy consorted entirely with the Maximists of Britain, and not at all with the French Traveilleurs, despite their clear and continuing alliance at the time. Americans found greater commonality with the French, Spanish and South Americans than their British financiers. Though united against the forces of capitalism, there was little love to be had between the various forces of socialism.
With the Second International Congress concluded, Mosley returned immediately to his previous mission, the subjugation of Ireland. With no pause, he used his influence in the armed forces to organize a grand display for the Republican Navy. Such an exercise was hotly debated, both in the Navy and in the TUC: hard anti-royalists demanded a show of force across the length of the Atlantic, while doves cautioned restraint. The Maximist bloc, of course, followed Mosley's whim,
At his suggestion, the RNS Rebecca, Britain's newest aircraft carrier, was sent on an exercise around Ireland. I watched as its massive silhouette slipped away from port, sailing south for the Channel and then west for the Emerald Isle. I knew about a half-dozen sailors and a handful of pilots who sailed with the vessel. I couldn't have known then, but some I bid farewell to would not return from that journey.
The revelry related to the launch of the Rebecca was quickly overshadowed by news from the continent: Spain, always a hotbed of political unrest, had collapsed into civil war, much in the way America had. Three competing factions warred outright for control over Spanish destiny: Carlist Catholics in the north, monarchists loyal to the dictator Franco in the south, and anarchists to the east.
The CNT-FAI was a coalition of anarchists, trade unionists and republicans, seeking to overthrow the status quo of Spain. Their revolution was much like that in America and Britain, though perhaps less organized and more prone to senseless violence. Regularly reports came in about churches burned and mass executions of the faithful, suspected of being Carlist spies.
Regardless, the Anarchist uprising prompted Mosley's response, resulting in his public declaration of support for the Spanish revolution in Catalonia. Though at home he moved to crush or suppress Anarchism, it seemed to Mosley, any enemy of reactionaries was good enough to call friend.
When the RNS Rebecca performed its maneuvers around Ireland, there was a general expectation that a response from the imperialists was to come at any moment: Germany or Canada would surely have something to say regarding a syndicalist country deploying its navy against a capitalist nation. And yet, no response came: the Rebecca returned to British waters unscathed, though it remained on standby for further orders from the Chairman and TUC. At last, Mosley had his opening.
Emboldened by British militarism, France sent an ultimatum to the government of the Swiss Confederation, demanding it cede the province of Romandie to the Commune post-haste. Though supported by Germany, Switzerland decided to concede to the French demands, fearful of war.
With Ireland abandoned by the world and the powers that be ignoring the expansion of France, Mosley had his chance to bring them back into the fold of Britain: an ultimatum of his own was in the making.
Preemptively, the Republican Air Force was deployed over the skies of Ireland, allegedly there for training exercises.
Reformed and ready for combat since the 1925 Revolution, the RAF was a formidable fighting force in the skies, unparalleled in their skill. Though Ireland would be a tough nut to crack by land, few expected the young republic to match the RAF in the air.
On the 24th July, 1937, Mosley issued an ultimatum to the government of the Republic of Ireland: in this document, he stressed his respect for the sovereignty of the island, but demanded that the Republic turn over control of the country to its working class, and specifically the syndicalist parties within it. Uncharacteristically, he made no allusions to British control over the Republic's future, perhaps knowing that the terms he gave were a tough enough pill to swallow.
With no allies abroad willing to stand up for the Irish nation, it was quite easy to suspect how these negotiations would result...
...and yet, the talks broke down. In defiance, Ireland broke off contact with the Union of Britain, and declared its refusal to bow to syndicalism in any form.
In a passionate speech delivered in Dublin, Michael Collins, president and undeclared dictator of the Irish Republic, asked all Irish men and women to resist the Syndicalists at their doorstep. In the Dublin Declaration, Collins promised that the British invaders would be opposed "on the landing grounds and in the streets, in the hills and in the fields, until the last drop of Irish blood be spilled."
For the first time in either of their short-lived histories, the Republic of Ireland and Union of Britain were at war.
Immediately, the men in Mosley's secret invasion force were mobilized, to be shipped off as soon as was possible to fight in Ireland.
Many, to my understanding, had little idea as to their purpose in Cardiff: some were young men, freshly drafted and eager to learn the truth behind their mission, while others thought their expertise and veteran status meant they were to be prepared for something grander than an act of pure imperialism.

Montgomery took the time to address their fears, I was told. In a speech to the invasion force, he told them it was their honor to fight and die for the glory of the international revolution, which was to begin in the neighbor's front yard. It did little to assuage the feeling that it was back to the old ways that many men felt that day.
British boots touched down outside Cork on the 4th August, 1937, meeting heavy resistance from a hastily drafted local militia battalion led by Irish general Tom Barry, a native of southern Ireland who made Cork his home.
Though the landing was rough, and met by staunch opposition, the Irish militiamen were little match for the better-trained and armed men of the Republican Army: though both militias in name, the reforms of Mosley had refined the British forces into a more organized and effective force, which overwhelmed the paltry defenses erected by Barry in the city.
Similar results were expected at sea, where the overwhelming might of the Republican Navy bore down on what passed as its Irish opponents.
The first major test of the Republican Navy since the 1925 Revolution proved an astounding success, particularly for propaganda purposes: I received orders to paint the victory as a supreme one, which it was, though papers and radio presentations seemed to forget that the Irish navy was little more than a collection of outdated destroyers and light cruisers. What could not be forgotten, I will admit, was the devastation caused by British battleships and carriers, whose firepower were enough to crush Irish formations alone.
With the sea secured, Montgomery had no issue breaking through Irish lines to secure the city of Cork, which fell to his men on the 24th August, 1937. Emboldened by his own victory, the general deployed his men across the southern part of the island, hoping to secure a major chunk of territory before Irish troops could be deployed against his invasion force.
With a wide beachhead secured for British troops to land around the city of Cork, Montgomery launched the next phase of his plan, and drove hard for Limerick, gateway to the River Shannon. By taking the city, Montgomery would secure the majority of the southern half of the island in one move, and the river that ran through the city made an excellent natural defense.
Limerick did not fall as easily as Montgomery hoped, however: elements of the Irish Defense Forces had gathered there to organize a more effective defense against the British, and though the Republican Army made headway, it was slow going compared to the fighting in August. Fortunately for Montgomery, the London Territorial 1st Division saw an undefended path through enemy lines, around Limerick and to the city of Galway, and exploited it independent of his instruction.
The 1st Division entered Galway unopposed, the villagers shocked in the middle of the early morning by British soldiers singing "the Red Flag" outside their homes. No resistance had been mustered, and with the enemy fortifications in the city empty, the British had no problem turning their guns on the Irish soldiers in Limerick afterwards.
Though the city was surrounded on three sides by British soldiers, Limerick held for a considerable time considering the difference in experience and equipment between the two armies. Were their other troops not committed to defending the way to Dublin, it is conceivable that more Irish soldiers might've been able to hold the city against the British onslaught.
The urban fighting, as the soldiers returning from the Irish War shared as they filtered back home from the occupation, was some of the most brutal in British history, worse even than the early days of the 1925 Revolution. The Irish refused to surrender even a block to British soldiers, and hundreds of Irishmen, fighter and civilian alike, were dying in the carnage. British tanks and artillery flattened whole blocks, while bombs rained down terror from the skies. Though British casualties were light, Irish numbers were massive, and more dead were found and counted with every passing hour.
Heading of the carnage in London, plans were drawn up by Mosley for a second naval landing, this time in Belfast. Normally, such information is classified: the reason I know of it is because I was drafted to participate, along with the rest of the Greenwich Workers Battalion. We were to be absorbed into the London Territorial 12th Division and sent from Liverpool in shortly over two months time.

The war would not last long enough for us to even see the barracks.
Though the war was hell for those living through it, in civilian Britain, people were ecstatic about the victories Chairman Mosley was reporting. With the southern half of the island more or less secure, many were sure the war would be over before Christmas, a dangerous assumption in Britain. Still, the Maximists saw a wave of support from the general populace during the war, and many joined the bloc or crossed the aisle in the TUC.
After Limerick capitulated to the British advance, Mosley called for a general offensive to push north towards Ulster, to "put an end to the capitalist exploitation of Ireland," or so the Maximist party line went. Irish Defense Forces had centered their lines around Dublin to prevent the capital from falling, and though their defense was spirited, it was little match for British tanks.
Still, the Irish made attempts to push back the British, all of which ended in more dead Irishmen. In particular the counteroffensive to retake Cork, involving the majority of what was left of the Defense Forces standing army, ended in immense bloodshed on the Irish side, while the British took few casualties.
Irish forces were completely unable to fend against the British, whose infantry was supported by artillery and light tank attachments. Forced to attack from afar to avoid the devastating armor and shelling, it was hard evidence that Mosley needed to begin drawing up plans for new army divisions to overtake the outdated infantry that made up the bulk of the Republican Army.
By the 21st September, 1937, British forces had pushed the Irish to the outskirts of Dublin, the IDF shattering in their wake. Though the fighting would continue for some time, with partisans arming themselves in secret and nationalists promising a bloody defense of the Irish capital, many knew by then that the war was nearing its close.
By the beginning of the Battle for Dublin, roughly ten times as many Irish had died as Britons. Though outside observers might desire to credit the Irish with some success considering the number of troops Britain had then, allow me to amend that assumption: Montgomery, despite his flaws and mistakes, invaded Ireland with ten divisions, and held it with thirteen by the time they reached Dublin. A stunning success for the British and catastrophic failure for the Irish, to be sure.
Cut off from Dublin, many Irish troops continued to struggle against the invaders, but with no access to supplies or reinforcement, their fates were sealed.
British shells landed hourly on the trapped Irish soldiers, with no reprieve. Little distinction was made between civilian and military targets, as thousands of Irishmen attempted to flee the fighting, only to meet British guns at the front.
With all pockets of resistance south of the front line crushed, Montgomery was free to focus his attention on the capture of Dublin, and ordered all forces north towards the capital of the island.
Though the majority of the remaining Irish troops fled the city north for Ulster, a stubborn mixture of Irish nationalists, republicans, and soldiers refusing to leave their posts formed a hasty defense for the city.
The Dublin Brigades formed the only resistance in the city, the army having fled north with the government to Belfast. Though brave, and worthy of a story of their own, they were routed gruesomely by the Republican Army. They made their stand at Dublin Castle, which was shelled and nearly leveled in the fighting, before their leadership led a sally - on horseback no less - to spare the castle their fate.
The spirit of Irish resistance died with the fall of Dublin: troops everywhere were forced to flee from the advancing British lines, many deserting or going to ground, expecting their government to surrender.
The Irish army desperately defended refugees south of the city, but in doing so, surrendered Belfast to occupation: British soldiers swept around the Irish flanks and took the city by storm, shelling it for good measure even while expecting no resistance.
British soldiers marching through Belfast's streets was the last straw. The back of the Irish military was broken, and the war couldn't feasibly drag on longer. As the nationalists known to the army were dragged from their homes, Ireland prepared its surrender.
The last of the Irish troops fought until their bullets ran out, and then threw their guns into the sea.
The war lasted barely three months, and yet it claimed 66,000 lives - 4,000 British, 62,000 Irish. It was a harrowing moment to head the final tallies at home, and a stark reminder of the changing face of war.
Michael Collins, along with the rest of the Irish government, was sentenced to death as traitors to the Irish people. One by one they were shot in the gardens of Dublin Castle, their last words recorded only by a pastor called for them. Collins, to my surprise, quoted fellow Irish national hero James Connolly verbatim:

"If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs."

He did find it suiting to add an addendum of his own:

"If only Connolly could see us now."
Ireland capitulated officially and totally on the 17th October 1937 in the Treaty of Dublin, surrendering total control to the Union of Britain. Celebrations were ordered throughout the Union, including in Ireland, though few expected the Irish to join in the festivities.
Though Britain had shown its strength in the world by winning its war, others still raged across the world. The Combined Syndicates had pushed the federal government out of the east completely, coming to blows directly with the American Union State, who posed a much greater threat than the neutered United States.
Worse still, the CNT-FAI faltered in its own revolution, slowly eaten by the dictator Franco who held together the Spanish kingdom. Drastic action was needed to save the anarchists from total annihilation.
Mosley put out the call for any able-bodied veterans of the Irish campaign to volunteer for a special mission to assist in the worldwide revolution. Though many were more interested in returning home rather than in fighting an ocean away, the call was impossible for some to resist, and enlistment was high enough to meat Mosley's goal within days.
The so-called Lincoln Brigade, named such for the town it was organized in, was to be shipped out within the month for Barcelona, a dangerous journey through the Strait of Gibraltar and around Spain. Should they have been discovered, it would undoubtedly mean their end by Spanish warships.
We received news at that time that Austria had successfully driven the Italians to the Ligurian Sea, and cut off parts of their army at Nice. The new Pope faced a difficult choice as the Empire overran his nation, and the Catholic world looked to him for guidance.
With Ireland securely under British control, the question came to what was to be done with the errant sister island. Passionate socialists made the argument that Ireland was independent of Britain, and deserved to rule itself independently. This was not, however, the Maximist line.
Mosley ordered that Ireland, like the rest of the British islands, be administered directly from London by the Trade Union Congress. This launched a new wave of anti-Mosley sentiment in the Congressional opposition, who called him an unabashed imperialist, an accusation he washed off like sand on the beach.
The Irish would not forget Mosley's oppression, however. Across the Emerald Isle, partisan groups were forming to resist him. The New Irish Republican Army, made up of remnants of the Irish Defense Forces and civilian militias, would cause havoc for some time to come.
Bombing campaigns, assassinations and ambushes were regular fare in occupied Ireland, though we on the "mainland" heard little of it: Mosley was sure to keep news from his new conquest safely censured for the safety of his immaculate revolutionary image.
British volunteers arrived in Barcelona on the 31st October, 1937. Immediately they were deployed to the front line, to shore up the Anarchist forces on the coast.
When the forces engaged, it was not Spaniards they fought, however, but Russians, serving in an opposing role to the British for Franco's dictatorship.
Though armed with outdated guns and inferior equipment, the Russian soldiers proved far more effective combatants than the British expected, and added much to the Spanish offensive capabilities. Were it not for British troops on the line, it was likely the Anarchists would have broken at the sight of them.
It appeared that the British and Communards were not the only ones interested in the Spanish conflict: the Russian State, a militaristic dictatorship led by former republican general Boris Savinkov, stood ready to fight socialism worldwide, and planned to start that battle in Spain.
Savinkov was a mastermind in battle, and obviously enough a skilled politician, as he had secured for himself leadership over the whole of Russia following the assassination of President Kerensky. His hatred for syndicalists and socialists was matched only by his desire to advance the Russian state, and to him, the goals were identical. He would prove a thorn in the side of the left for years to come.
Though strong they were, the British brought tanks and artillery to the fight, and outmatched the outgunned Russians in Spanish with ease. Mosley ordered the volunteers to push hard for Valencia, but when the news arrived, it was far too late.
On the 15th November, 1937, the CNT-FAI surrendered totally and unconditionally to the Spanish Kingdom under regent Francisco Franco. British troops were allowed to flee across the border into France, or face trial as foreign agents.
For their part, the Anarchist leadership were rounded up and imprisoned in Madrid, to wait their trial. Unlike the syndicalists, it seemed at the time that Franco intended to make more of a show for the people than a simple execution: each individual officer and representative was given a cell and a court date, only to be told that their guilt needed no deliberation, and that they were to be executed anyway.
Syndicalism in Europe, it seemed, reached its natural borders: Spain would not fall to revolution, and so it was the responsibility of the International to bring the revolution to them by force. But that was a cause for another day...
...for there was another revolution that needed tending to.

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