The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 5, Operation Barbarossa

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 4, The Battle for the Suez

Images: 38, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01

Hello and welcome to A Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 5, Barbarossa

The invasion plan for Barbarossa is an ambitious one. Two army groups are to make a combined advance deep into the Soviet Union. In the north the goal is Leningrad, in the center Panzer Armee Center will make an advance around the Pripet Marshes to Homel then continue towards Moscow and finally in the South the goal is a rapid advance into the Ukraine with the final goal behind the Don River.
The advance axis of the various panzer armies can be clearly seen in the terrain. The south is perfect terrain for our panzer divisions while the north will be harder going.
In the north the smallest Panzer Armee will need to break the Soviet defenses on the border and then rush over the Neman River. To prevent a holdup at the Daugava the 22. Luftlande Division and 7. Flieger will secure the river crossing. Another drop is planned to secure the west bank of the Narva River.
The second stage shown in Yellow will be launched as fast as possible. Hopefully in late August as it is vital to have enough time before the mud makes any advance impossible to secure Moscow and establish a strong line of defense in case the Soviet Union does not collapse.
The Deutsches Heer in the east has been split into two army groups. There were some arguments to make three but the advisor recommended against this due to “leader skill in army groups” whatever that means. Heeresgruppe Nord is by far the strongest army group containing 119 Divisions with 41 of them being either motorized or panzer. However Heeresgruppe Nord will be covering all operations from the south of the Pripet Marshes to the Baltic Sea.

Heeresgruppe Süd has a relatively small German component only having 50 divisions. Our allies in the south have however promised us troops to aid in our crusade against Bolshevism. Including the allied troops the strength of the army group jumps to 86 divisions.

All in all the German component of the Heer in the east Numbers at around 2 800 000 Men.
The Luftwaffe will play a vital role in Operation Barbarossa. Split into two separate corps based on which side of the Pripet Marshes they operate.

Fliegerkorps Nord
8 BF-109 groups totaling 34 wings
9 Ju-87 groups totaling 36 wings
Total Strength 70 wings

Fliegerkorps Süd
8 BF-109 Groups totaling 36 wings
4 Ju-87 Groups totaling 11 wings
3 HE-111 Groups totaling 11 wings
2 Ju-88 Groups totaling 7 wings
Total Strength 57 wings

Ju-52 Transport Group
20 Ju-52 wings

All in all the Luftwaffe has 70 interceptor wings, 65 bomber wings and 20 transport wings in the east. This concentration is about 3/4 of the entire Luftwaffe. The objective of the Luftwaffe is to obliterate the Red Air Force followed by providing support to the advancing troops in cracking the enemy resistance. The Ju-52 wings have the joint role providing transport for the Fallschirmjäger and dropping supplies to advancing troops when the logistics train cannot keep up.
In Egypt the last of the British resistance is cleaned up.
Going along with the battle in the east Operation Freheit will be an ongoing task. Freeing the Middle East from British dominance and securing the oil fields for the Wehrmacht.
The Luftwaffe will play a vital role in Operation Barbarossa. Providing 61 bomber wings and 82 Fighter wings. Air superiority will be established immediately and the Red Air force grounded within a week.
And so at midnight on the 22 of June the eastern front exploded into action. Artillery, Bombers and panzers all jumped into the fray. The crusade against Bolshevism has begun.
Winter clothing had been something fiercely debated inside of the OKW. The advisor had surprisingly too many of the German generals suggested not equipping the troops with winter clothing to enable a swifter advance. Hitler who was certain the war would be over used this to ignore equipping the troops with much needed winter clothing.

At the same time Hitler approved of Himmler’s suggestion to recruit foreign troops into the SS. Slovakia was also first with sending the promised troops.
The battle in the east would be harder than anyone could have imagined. Hitler raved at how everyone had seemingly become worse at doing “simply things like logistics”. As always Hitler’s view of military operations was simple minded at best.
Even the Kreigsmarine would be involved in the Baltic where it will provide support to our troops advancing along the coast while also destroying the Red Fleet in the Baltic.
The first reports from bomb strikes are coming back. Our modern bombers are crushing the Soviet troops.
The modern Fighters are also crushing the outdated Red Air Force who is still partly equipped with biplanes! Goebbels as always has a field day, the reports that the Soviets are using planes Germany used back in the Great War is a big morale booster at home. The fact of the performance of the biplane is however quietly hidden from the people.

The Fw200 Condor naval bombers are also having a field day hunting Soviet submarines in the Baltic.
The Fortress Busters are the first to break through the Soviet defenses inflicting a crushing casualty rate of 378 to 1 on the Soviets.
Stalin is quick to give a speech urging the people to resist the invader.
Panzer Armee Süd led by Heinz Guderian is next to break through the enemy line.
The rare material situation in the Reich has totally collapsed cutting the industrial production of the Reich to nearly 50%. More rare materials must be acquired!
Crossing the Bug proves rather costly but now the fields are open to our panzer divisions, onwards!
After about a week Bulgaria joins the Axis and Croatia provides two infantry regiments to the battle in the east.
The battles in the east are unlike those normally fought in the east. Losses on both sides are much higher than expected. The fanatical resistance given by the Soviet troops spurred on by the political commissars is taking the lives of many German soldiers. Hitler who had sent out the Commissar order which orders the execution of any captured commissar is thus justified in Hitler’s mind.
Development towards the first Jet powered aircraft continues at a rapid pace. Disastrous news arrives from our spy ring in the USA which has been all but destroyed.
The future of the Soviet Union is established. No viceroys will be established in the east. It will instead be a more direct form of control under the Reich.
Volunteers arrive from Scandinavia and will be equipped with new equipment and sent to the front.
Panzer Armee Nord is making an astonishing advance led by the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.
In the very north the 25. Infantry Division has reached the Gulf of Riga.
In the south the first of many pockets is being created around Galicia.
Franco ever joyful over being given his country by the Germans sends a division to fight in the east.
Best.Gun.EVER.
The 22. Luftlande holds the north bank of the Daugava River having fought of two attempts by Soviet troops to force them back.
Panzer Armee Center finally crosses the Neman and is now approaching the open plains east of Minsk.
Serbia has proven to be a hotbed of resistance to German rule and has thus been reinforced by some 10 SS Cavalry divisions. The partisans, led by a communist named Josip Tito have turned Serbia into a battlefield where the population is the army. The SS are thus fighting a different war. Not a war against an army but against the entire population of Serbia. Men, women and children will all be casualties of this war.
The extent of the German advance not even a month after the start of Barbarossa. Panzer Armee Nord has advanced 250km, Center 400km and Süd an astonishing 450km! Soviet defenses have seemingly collapsed all over the front. Hitler has already declared the war in the east all but won.
The French take up the example of the Slavs and here the SS will fight another war against a population although less brutal than the one in the Balkans and the East.
Operation Irakisch Freheit is launched.
The Romanians are aiding us in closing the pocket in Galicia. They are heroic fighters managing to push back Soviet armor without anti-tank weapons.
Soviet troops are still holding out in the western part of the Pripet Marshes far behind the frontline they continue their doomed resistance.
The first Volunteer Corps is organized outside of Berlin. Equipped with French tanks, German 88’s and Czech artillery they are sent east.
In total some 150.000 Soviet troops are expected to be in the area. They are however occupying some 250.000 German troops to break them.
The Ostbahn is expanded along the German advance path. Logistics must take priority.
The Romanians take heavy losses but they break a Soviet Guard division all on their own using their force of numbers. For their heroic fighting spirit some are even awarded the Iron Cross by OKW.
More partisans.
After 9 weeks the SS have reached the outskirts of Leningrad. Here however they have ran into the people’s militia raised by Stalin, men given 2 hours of training on how to use their rifle and then pointed towards the frontline. Hundreds of Thousands of them stand in the way of the SS and their objective.
Finland joins the war in the east to reclaim lands lost in the winter war.
Sevastopol falls without a fight as Stalin had ordered the units in the city to defend Crimea they were overrun in the open plains and the city left open.
After 3 months much of western Russia is in the hands of the Wehrmacht. Resistance is still active in Galicia and the Pripet Marshes occupying many German troops. This slowdown is starting to worry OKW for the next stage of Barbarossa these troops will be needed.
The Großdeutschland Division is another elite formation fighting in the East. On their own they secured Vitsyebsk from 40.000 Soviet troops. Heroic men like them are what allow our swift advance.
The Advisor's Abwehr come with the suggestion of sabotage in the USA. The Advisor gives them all the funding they require with the Führer’s blessing.
Many volunteers are raised in the east. Communism is not as popular as Stalin would think like to think. German troops are also sent to reinforce Finland.
After 3 ½ months the next stage of Operation Barbarossa must be launched with or without proper organization. We must rush before the mud makes operations impossible. The two week delay may prove disastrous to the operation but non the less it must be launched. Moscow must be taken.

Next chapter:

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The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 6. September Offensive

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