Die Kaiserzeit : Chapter 7, Die Kaiserschlacht

Author: Mattekillert
Published: 2017-02-01

Part of the campaign:

Die Kaiserzeit

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

Die Kaiserzeit : Chapter 6, Hanging On

Images: 58, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01

The second stage of Operation Axis begins as our armor breaks over the Po River. Leading the charge is the brand new Leichter Kampfwagen II or LK II for short. It uses its 37mm gun to shatter machine gun nests and provides a safe path for our infantry. With them breakthroughs are finally made possible.
Brazil declares war upon us, citing the sinking of their merchant vessels as the casus belli. We politely inform them that we have a grand total of 0 submarines left in our navy. Not to be deterred by fact they declare war either way.
Most worrying is the continual offensive going on against the Ottoman Empire. It is rapidly collapsing as the Entente breaks through their thin lines.
In Italy Operation Axis continues to crush. The Italians flee upon the mere sight of the Panzerkampfwagen.
Mati Hari one of our many low level spies has been executed by the French. Accused of providing us with information on the weak point in the Entente offensive in 1916 she has proven a valuable scapegoat for the French. The best information we got from her was the sexual scandals of Paris.
The Ottoman Empire continues to crumble. There is however little we can do to help. We have our own problems.
The Italians continue to shatter themselves upon our brave troops.
Even British aid is spotted in Italy. A rare sight in Europe the British primarily fight in the Middle East working on the “soft underbelly” of the Central Powers.
In a new move we send our Panzers as they are often called forward beyond our lines. We will divide the valuable railway lines and trap a large chunk of the Italian army around Firenze.
The Austro-Hungarians with only limited aid from us continue to attack west towards France. They are finally approaching the competence we held in 1914.
Close to 100 000 troops are trapped in and around Palestine. The sea is no safe haven for them as the French and Italian navies dominate the Mediterranean, their doom approaches.
We begin construction on the A7V. Larger and heavier it will be an even stronger battering ram for our troops.
The Italians surrender en masse south of Firenze. 50 000 walk into captivity along with the previous surrenders the Italian Army is in a state of collapse. Only some 150 000 men stand between us and Rome.
As the Russian government continued the fight against us the Russian people grew angrier and angrier. Finally coalescing in the April revolution of 1917 the Bolsheviks seized power. On a slogan of Peace, Bread and Land they quickly rushed to negotiate a peace with us. For the return of St. Petersburg the Central powers would receive vast lands and more importantly, peace. A whole front suddenly gone.
Heersgruppe Francois. With nearly a million men is now set free and it is packed up and sent west immediately for a final push.
The Landwehr Armee, cavalry, militia and garrison forces is finally relived of the front line duty they have performed for 3 years. In 1914 they repelled the Russian offensive into Germany. Outgunned and outnumbered they nonetheless beat the Russians back. They saved Breslau and held Warsaw. Now they can finally rest.
With the collapse of the Russian Army the invasion of the Ottoman Empire collapses. 2/3’s of the troops in the theatre pack up and goes home without resistance, a shipment of coal is even sent from Germany to fuel the train ride home for the soldiers.
After a slugfest south Rome finally falls to German forces. The Italian army now stands roughly at the strength of 150 000 men. The entire nation has been shattered.
And shattered nations don’t last long. On the 2 of May Italy surrenders unconditionally. In two months half the entente has fallen apart.
Yet it has taken a heavy burden on us. Reserves have dried up completely.
So the Landwehr is sent west to reinforce the units. While the normal replacements our units receive are often poorly trained and at the tender age of 17 these troops are hardened veterans often older but tough as nails.
Even with the collapse of the Russian Army the troops trapped in Palestine are doomed. They flee towards Beirut in desperation.
But are trapped in Soûr, A rather sour moment for the Ottoman Empire.
Our troops enter France from the south. The French too will face the panzer.
In fact they will face a whole lot more.
They will face the Kaiserschlacht. A force of 1.1 Million men, from the elite to the new recruits there is no pessimism in the ranks. The face of all troops shine, the trench warfare will end. We will break the French as we broke the Italians and Russians. Germany will truly be above all. All it will take is one final push!
The last of the Landwehr is also sent west. More than 4/5 of German troops are fighting France in the north or south.
Von Spee continues to sink British ships in Öresund.
With the last Autocracy gone from the Entente the United States show their true colors. Estimates for the American army ranges somewhere around the 800 000 men, or over half the size of our army. Fresh and with plenty of men in the reserves they join without any real reasoning we paid for the Lusitania and have since then not touched America while the British board any ships who try to give us food. They join with the Entente who has tried to starve us for so long. Demands for an explanation are greeted with their new slogan. Die Autocracy, Die Kaiser!
On the 11 of June The Kaiserschlacht begins. For the first time since Der Endstrum failed in 1914 we are back in the fields of France. The last time we tried to cross the Marne we used small boats and artillery barrages. Now bombers fly overhead, engineers put up pontoon bridges and our panzers roll in front.
The effect of the new technology is clear. The French are utterly smashed. The enormous losses they took in their 1916 offensive have left the French army a shadow of its former self. The German Army has suffered equally but we have the strength for the last push.
Von Spee continues his miracle craft of sinking British ships. The British refuse to pull out of the sector hoping to threaten our Baltic coastline.
It is still deadly business.
It is clear that the French have lost their spirit. With most of their best troops in POW camps in Germany only the backline troops remain.
And they fall in their thousands.
In a mere 10 days Paris falls. The French army is shattering all over the front. Even so the French army fights on.
In the south with huge human wave tactics they repel one of our divisions in the south. One of our few defeats.
The last pieces of Germany are freed, having been held by the French since 1914.
The French army begins to disintegrate by our furious offensive.
On the 2 of July the new communist state is challenged by the vast coalition of the whites, fighting the red revolution. We quickly begin funneling support to them. Communism must after all not be allowed to take root. We will take responsibility for what we caused in Russia.
On the 5th of July France finally surrenders. With an army in a complete rout they surrender unconditionally. The peace treaty that follows is brutal, enormous war indemnities, the ceding of large parts of land and a demilitarization of France.

At the same time the Americans finally end their adventures in Mexico as they prepare to join the world war in earnest.
The shift in power in 1917 is astonishing. Germany went from facing a coalition of Britain, France, Italy and Russia to only facing Britain and America. Germany no longer had huge fronts sucking up their troops in trench warfare. Millions were free to first rest and then be used to finalize what the soldiers had died for since 1914. As the Kaiserliche Marine continues to batter down the Royal Navy it is increasingly clear that Germany now truly holds the upper hand.

The war however is not over. Many powers resist us still and Britain and Sweden could prove to become gathering points for their overseas allies. They must be destroyed alongside the British invasion in the Middle East.
The soldiers finally get a chance to rest. Having gone beyond the point of exhaustion celebrations are short lived as most soldiers simply lay down and sleep. For over 2 days The German Army stops functioning as soldiers catch up on much needed rest. The war may still be on but now they can breathe.
Kaiser Wilhelm himself comes out to inspect the German troops and hands out hundreds of medals within a few days. Most troops are given leave to see their families for the first time in months. Most divisions are relocated either to the Baltic coast or the Channel coast with some remaining in France to oversee the demilitarization of the country.
For our two remaining opponents within striking distance are both separated from us by sea. As such Admiral von Spee is given charge of planning the two great operations. The naval invasion of Sweden and more importantly, the invasion of Great Britain.

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

Die Kaiserzeit : Chapter 8, Endsieg

Images: 52, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-06

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