The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 21, Winterschlacht

Author: Mattekillert
Published: 2017-02-01, edited: 1970-01-01

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The Thousand Year Reich

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 20, American Counteroffensive

Images: 59, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01, edited: 1970-01-01

The intense American counteroffensive that has been raging for the last two months has left many German formations shattered. Dug into the open with whatever can be scrambled together into a defense they hold fast against the American hordes. Many formations are down to two tenths of their original strength. Fighting in America is proving remorseless for the German soldiers on the ground.
Relief however is on its way. The Panzer Armee Süd is preparing for a counterattack along with Frewilligen Korps ‘Frankreich’. Even though they lack heavy flak guns to counter enemy armor the much feared Panther will show the Americans the power of German engineering!
Everything has been readied for the counterattack, or the Winterschlacht as it is being called by the troops. The Luftwaffe has been gathering its strength since December and is now readied to strike once more. The jet aircraft of the Luftwaffe will destroy the USAAF just like it destroyed the Red Air force nearly 7 years ago.
On the 8th of February it begins, the FW-190’s strafe and bomb anything that moves while the panzer divisions move up. The Winterschlacht has begun.
The Americans resisted but the sheer shock of us attacking yet again caught them off guard. It seems their constant advance has made them cocky, it will be their downfall!
The Fortress Buster Korps is picked out of the line and sent to the Canadian sector. Stripping the line this heavily is dangerous but necessary as these elite men can turn any battle as they proved in Leningrad, Moscow, Gibraltar, London and New York.
Our infantry move into the hole created by the SS retreat from Quebec. Being fresh troops they are cheery on their way to the front. Many are seeing combat for the first time alongside their eastern front veteran comrades.
In the attack we consistently inflict more than 3-1 casualty ratios. Yet another triumph of the Aryan man over Jewry.
On both sides formations are often damaged. Only the new formations are even close to their 100% strength. The 99. Leichte infanterie Division for example is sitting at 22% strength yet they hold on in their trenches and dugouts.
For their sacrifice clears up other troops, wherever a division can be stripped out from the front it is. Straying away from the concept of the Schwerpunkt (the focal point) we have lost critical battles. Now our troops will gather together and carry on the offensive into Canada. We will reclaim the lost lands and much more.
No matter the cost…
The American line keeps cracking, but will it break?
A river crossing is finally secured, primarily by the French volunteer divisions. These heroic soldiers are proving the eternal bravery of the Frenchmen. Finally allies of the Germans after so long. Just like we followed them into Russia so long ago so do they follow us into America.
As late February sets in the snow begins to vain. While mud is a problem the better road infrastructure compared to the fighting in Russia means fighting is getting easier, not harder.
Nearly completely shattered formations try to hold Ottawa. It is clear that the Americans exhausted themselves in their grand offensive towards New York. It seems they held nothing back, and now the lack of reserves will drag them into the abyss.
The SS meanwhile move in to claim Montreal resistance here is lighter than in the great cities of New York and D.C. The Canadians seem less keen on the idea of dying for liberty than their southern neighbor.
The Panzer Division Lehr and a Panzergrenadier regiment along with SS infantry cross into Hamilton. They are the key to dividing the American forces. One will be forced north and the other crushed between two great hammers, there is no anvil in German strategy.
And they break, shatter, rout. Defenses are abandoned, equipment left behind as the men run into the open to be gunned down and the Panzergrenadiers roll on. The way is open.
Divisions that are adequately reinforced from the “Great Shattering” period of December-January are sent back to the front line, towards Hamilton.
Ever so slowly holes are starting to open as the Americans descend into ever greater panic. Their hopes of turning back the “fascist invader” crushed they return to their natural state, retreat.
Frenchmen make good fighters, whichever side they’re on.
The battle of Quebec does trap a large amount of American troops that rushed through as the line in the north broke. Their attempt to trap the SS has turned against them and the trapper has become the trapped.
Mexico loses yet another Pride of the Fleet to the Kreigsmarine; Raeder has lost count of the Pride of the Fleets he has sunk, much to the anger of Goebbels who trumps up their propaganda value.
More 128 mm flak guns for the Heer are deployed in Elsaß-lothringen to be rushed to America.
In a controversial move the Advisor authorizes the use of the Italian Folgore division to drop in Sarnia, a cutoff point leading back into the States. It is doubtful that they can hold on their own for very long but in the words of the Advisor “Every day counts, even every hour, hell with Italians on the line even minutes count!”
While their drop is uncontested it doesn’t last for very long as they are surrounded by American troops. Much to the liking of the Italian Fallschirmjäger who have been waiting for a real fight. The Italian state was actually one of the primary pushers for the use of the Italian Fallschirmjäger who have been kept back since the start of the offensive. Compared to the French who have been fighting viciously since the get go. The worry that French combat records will aid them in gaining German influence is a real worry.
The Americans continue their rout north as we pursue them ever faster. Every day thousands surrender to our troops as we take on stragglers and deserters.
Yet the Americans will not take a beating lying down and constantly counterattack and on the 21 of March they break the line at Barrie and move in to reopen the pocket.
Our troops finally reach the drop zones of the Folgore. There is however not a single living Italian to be found. Only bodies, Hitler declares that they all died in a heroic battle against the Jewry of America, whatever that means.

More disturbingly Detroit, the city we nuked not that long ago is beaming with activity. The Industry runs at full and troops move through the city constantly. Hitler refuses to believe it, Manstein claims the Americans do not care for their troops lives and the Advisor blames the ever cunning “Game Mechanics” yet again.
However there is a solution, A hopefully final solution, to the Detroit problem.
And so Detroit is the first city to ever earn the title of being nuked twice.
Another pocket, another hundred thousand troops gone for the Americans.
The Americans seems to have finally realized to just what an extent we cannibalized the Cleveland area of the front and begin to counterattack. Yet little do they know our own reinforcements are on their way for an attack of their own.
Just like the Russians during Case Blue they flee into each other. They march past the other formations thinking they are heading for the front.
A similar story plays out against the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Central Americans have yet to learn of the wonders of the AT gun and as such are massacred outside Toledo.
The last nonaligned nation in Afro-Eurasia finally joins the Axis.
Strumme and his Korps HQ move through the ruins of Detroit, the city nuked twice. It is in complete ruin and the men strive to drive around. To their amazement they see progress has been made on clearing the Airfield already. Strumme calls the Americans “Tenacious beings”.
Even with the smashing success of Winterschlacht the bleeding goes on. There is not rest for the German troops sent to fight in America.
And in the north what Manstein has dubbed “The Great Panzer War” is constantly ongoing as we duel back and forth. The Americans throw forward 15 panzer divisions and we send 10 of our own and on and on it goes.
The troops now trapped in northern Michigan now being to retreat towards Wolverine and the promised retreat across the Great Lakes.
The Italians get the honorable job of collecting soon to be Brazilian POW’s on Bermuda.
As the celebration of Operation Barbarossa approaches the front starts setting in. In the north the Great Panzer War rages while in Michigan our troops gather in south and north constantly harassed by the American troops.
Yet we will not let the situation descend back into a war of attrition. German soldiers are worth more than that. The great encirclement battles will return. It is expected we can trap nearly 50% of the American army by taking everything east of the Illinois and Mississippi River.

Projected strength on the American sides put their troop numbers in the area at around 3.8 millions to our 3.3 million troops. German superiority in fighting has however since long ago been established and the extra half millions Americans will be brushed aside.

And so the troops who have just finished 4 months of fighting get a mere month of rest before they have to get back into the breach. Into the, Führerschlacht.

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 22, The Finale

Images: 39, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01, edited: 1970-01-01

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