The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 11, Operation Summer Awakening

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 10, Operation Zitadelle

Images: 49, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01

On the 23 of June Arkhangelsk falls to a force of nearly 40.000 Fallschirmjäger. These men are proving an invaluable asset to the Wehrmacht. Whenever an objective needs to be taken, however far away the Fallschirmjäger are always ready. Their combat record is long and proud. Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, India and now Russia, wherever the fighting was extreme and hard to reach the Fallschirmjäger were always ready. In Arkhangelsk they rooted out the Russian rats without armor support and through sheer determination.

First the parachutists dropped over the city and immediately began securing large squares and the airfield. Then the gliders came with all the equipment needed to root out urban defenders. Small artillery pieces, anti-tank guns and lots of flamethrowers. After 24 hours of fighting the 8.000 strong garrison had been expelled and with it the last chance of supply, the only hope for the millions of trapped men was gone. The Luftwaffe reigned supreme over the skies of Russia. The country had been divided into two with no hope of escape.
Yet there was hope for the collapsing Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands of well-equipped and well supported Americans had landed in Morocco. The German infantry divisions placed in the Tangier zone were no grizzled veterans from the east. After a short campaign in France they had been placed to defend Tangier and it is all they had done for 4 years, yet still they were Germans and so they resisted heroically.

Pictured is a old Matilda tank captured during the battle of Gibraltar and granted to the 133 Infantry Division.
The only hope now for the nearly 100.000 trapped German troops in Tangier is the Reserve Panzer Corps held back to defend against an allied landing in Western Europe. Now they rush to save their trapped comrades.
In India the slow but steady advance continues. A combined Czech, German and Walloons force drives back the famous Gurkhas. A lack of anti-tank guns dooming the Indian troops like so many before them.
In the east the battle continues. Another pair of spearheads strikes out and pocket and destroy more Soviet divisions. It is clear that the Soviet Union is approaching collapse. Old weapons are still widely used amongst Soviet conscripts. Old T-26 tanks a by now ancient design about equivalent to the now completely out phased Panzer II is still encountered all over the front. The only redeeming quality for the poor Soviet troops is the ZiS-3 Anti-tank gun which has been in use since the start of the war and is still capable of piercing even our new Panzer IV.
Yet even as the clear doom approaches the Soviet Union the people resist. They fight with the ferocity of a doomed people the rumors spur them on. The horrific rumors of the Einsatzgruppen and the equally terrible treatment of Soviet POWs, slave labor for the infrastructure being built in the east and so the fighting goes on in ever increasing brutality.
The news of the Fallschirmjäger seizing the port of Arkhangelsk spurred on the exhausted German people. The news of millions more trapped Russians were met with hope by some and pessimism by some. How many times had we not captured millions of Russians only for them to stand up for another year? Knockout blow after Knockout blow yet the Russian fighter always stood back up.
Yet with their latest equipment they were one of the strongest formations within the entire Wehrmacht. Calls for them to be sent east were constant every general complained about the impossible odds he faced and the need for reinforcements.
And with the Soviet Union on the verge of complete collapse many agreed every effort they felt had to be made to destroy them before America could land in Europe. The Advisor however held them back citing the need for a new western reserve with the troops being sent to Tangier.
The situation in Tangier was deteriorating quickly, yet the hills and mountains around Tangier was perfect defensible ground and we would make them pay dearly for every inch.
The reinforcements are crossing the border of Ostmark, rushing towards the port of Pola to the salvation if the Tangier infantry.
An amazing stroke of luck after the downing of an American aircraft indicates the landing of the Allied troops in the Bordeaux area.
An amazing stroke of luck after the downing of an American aircraft indicates the landing of the Allied troops in the Bordeaux area.
The planned operation code named ‘Ironside’ is a highly ambitious plan with parachute drops an astonishing 200 km from the coast. The SS panzer reserve has been placed in the north to launch a quick counter offensive and destroy the northern landing, then a quick move down to Bordeaux to halt the southern advance followed by the destruction of the other southern landing site. The Vichy French troops who have been informed of the captured allied plan will move to Toulouse to block and potential advance into Southern France and destroy the paratroopers dropped around the city.

The American planners seem to have no connection to reality deeming the independent Vichy Regime who has fought in several actions against British troops is merely our puppet. Together we will halt and then destroy the Americans.

Hitler has ordered more troops to be sent to the area but the Advisor remains adamant in keeping another reserve in northern France. He is not convinced this plan is realistic and calls it a mere diversion yet under increasing pressure the SS panzer reserve in the area will be increased to a strength of at least 5 divisions and more garrison troops placed along the coast.

Green = Allied
Red = German
Blue = Vichy
As the eyes of Germany turn to France the last hope of the men trapped in Tangier is finally loaded onto transports in Pola and sent to Tangier. Salvation is on the way!
Salvation is not only coming from Germany however as Vichy French troops rush men from Tunisia towards Morocco. This so called puppet regime sure is eager to put up a fight!
In Xauen a shell of a division retreats east before the American onslaught, artillery, bombers and tanks have destroyed over half the division. Yet they bought valuable time. The men of the 136 infantry division can be proud for their action.
As the Americans pull into Larache they are greeted by a hail of artillery as some 48.000 men attack the overstretched American troops who are outrunning their supply line. The inexperience of the Americans is clear.
And just as the panzers arrive in Ceuta the infantry shove the Americans back Tangier has been divided by the Americans and some 20 000 men are trapped.

The concentrated artillery proved too be to much for the Americans
The panzer reserve rushes forward to reopen the gap and save the trapped infantry.
The Italian Regina Marina has appeared in force outside of Casablanca and engaged in a naval duel with an American fleet, driving it back from the port. The Advisor reportedly went into shock upon hearing the news. Hitler meanwhile was overjoyed at the Italians who he called Germany’s ever faithful ally.
Yet naval action will not save the 25000 men trapped in eastern Tangier with Americans approaching on all sides it is unclear if they can survive.
On the 19th they are trapped as American troops enter Melilla. Yet salvation is near as the panzers rush to their aid.
But against such odds there could be no escape. Whittled down from an original force of 32.000 nearly half of the troops died in action before the remaining men lacking in food, ammunition and medicine surrendered to the allies. The first large scale surrender inflicted during the entire war.
In the east the final preparations for the late summer offensive of 1943 is nearly complete. Zitadelle had created the largest pocket in history and now it was time to destroy it.
The best of the Soviet formations trapped inside the pocket rush towards the thin line along the Kama River. Hundreds of thousands of guards make attempt after attempt to breach the line yet out panzers hold. The normal large scale artillery barrage the Soviets are so famous for is not present it is clear the Soviet troops are desperate within the pocket.
In India our troops are in control of the majority of the southern sector. Resistance is light as expected but whenever resistance is encountered the under troops of Army Group India fight with desperation to gain victory.
With the rush to save the infantry lost the line settles down. Our troops lacking in fuel and supplies knock back assault after assault from the American troops, desperate to crush the Tangier zone to defend their northern flank.
Early in the morning on the 25 of July German troops cross all along the old line that had been held for so long. Most of our troops come out unscathed as we cross the line. In many cases starved men beg our troops for food as they have been left to starve to death. The 2 month period has drained the supplies of the pocket immensely.
Om the eastern part of the eastern front our troops trap yet another large formation of troops on the east side of the Volga. The salient created during Zitadelle were reinforced and with large panzer formations crashing from the north while the Freiwilligen korps ‘Europa’ charged from the south. Hungarian and Italian troops are used mostly in defensive actions or small scale supporting offensive actions the disaster of May has not been forgotten.
On the 28th the Americans finally relent after brutal losses and both sides pause to breathe. Tangier is still holding on.
A desperate attempt is made to open a path to the pocket hordes of conscript charge down the open plains towards the Kama River only to drown or be mowed down as they try to cross.
Japan finally seizes Burma and rush west, seemingly desperate to capture territory. Hitler is equally hasty as he demands a faster advance east.
More Croatians form up to serve in the German army. They are welcomed warmly as their brothers who fight in the east are proving to be hardy men.
All along the eastern front Soviet troops are collapsing. Morale is at an all-time low among the Russians as we continue our relentless push east.
In Karelia the Waffen SS sent to save Finland are advancing steadily. The number of POWs taken by the SS is remarkably low and Von Brauchitsch is quick to demand an explanation. Like most Germans he probably knows the answer, the SS give the normal excuses. Escape attempts, attacks, resistance and the like. One report claims a force of 8000 Soviet troops from a Soviet Militia division attempted to escape in the woods of Karelia. Out of the 8000 only 259 were recaptured while over 7000 were killed. No wonder surrender is so rare to the SS.
Some resistance is met within the pocket but it is pushed aside as our men rush forward. The desperate Soviet troops try to run and ride away but they are powerless to escape before our trucks and panzers. Thousands are captured each day and thousands more are killed.
Yet in Pikalevo the Gebirgsjäger based in the north run into determined resistance. A rare sight of fully equipped Soviet infantry divisions halts our advance with heavy losses. Low on food and ammunition they continue to resist, to the bitter end.
A recon flight spotted a large formation on the very edge of our eastern line. It was a curious sight of old KV-1 tanks incredibly rare as production has switched to the IS-1 tank the only known quantity of KV-1 tanks are the ones Stalin took with him to Vladivostok in the winter of 1941.
The announcment by the Soviet Propaganda Ministry that Stalin was in the fight himself to repel the fascist invader put on the hunt for Stalin. All nearby panzer formations are rushed towards his location. The fool has come to go out in a blaze of glory.

Next chapter:

Game: Hearts of Iron III

The Thousand Year Reich : Chapter 12, Drang Nach Osten

Images: 35, author: Mattekillert, published: 2017-02-01

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