Homage to Britannia: An HOI4 Kaiserreich AAR | Part Five: The Hunt for Huey Long

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 Four: Italia Irredenta

Images: 83, author: Ceannairceach, published: 2017-08-05

[Welcome back to Homage to Britannia, an AAR using the Kaiserreich mod for HOI4! In this installment, the Second American Civil War draws to a bloody close as Syndicalist and British forces move ever closer to New Orleans, Long's temporary capital. As the Long's Union State slowly crumbles around him, how will the mighty Kingfish react to the demise of his could've-been empire? And how will the CSA repay its debt to the British volunteers?]

Part One: http://imgur.com/a/A4pYC
Part Two: http://imgur.com/a/opvee
Part Three: http://imgur.com/a/6TSmW
Part Four: http://imgur.com/a/AHgf7
By mid-June, 1939, the American Union State was for all intents an purposes a catastrophic failure: Long's dream of forging a new path for the American people was crashing down around him, his army on its back - and last - leg as it retreated further and further towards the Mississippi River, their last bastion of defense. Though the war raged on in the hearts and minds of the American people, it was impossible then to deny the facts: Long's days were numbered, and the deadline was fast approaching.
In Florida, a pocket had formed between Lake City and Gainesville, where some several thousand Union GIs were stranded behind Syndicate lines, doomed to death or capture as the CSA militias poured in from the north. British tanks made hard for the south, where determined Minutemen held firm to the state's southern half.
As Long's desperation became public knowledge for the soldiers that fought under him, in no small part due to a protracted propaganda campaign by the Combined Syndicates, the numbers of Unionist troops that surrendered skyrocketed: dozens, eventually hundreds, would cross the lines with white flags and hands raised high to surrender to the Syndicalist forces, who at that time - high off of the victory they had achieved in the south - welcomed them with open arms as brothers and comrades. The Syndicalist brass were less forgiving, however: Union troops were marched far to the north, housed in work camps until a solution was proposed.
The 2nd Florida Campaign was far less challenging than its predecessor, as the Blackshirts made short work of the hastily organized Minuteman battalions sent to halt their advance. The primary obstacle was the refusal of the enemy to meet the Blackshirts in battle: ambushes, sabotage and the occasional retaliatory suicide attacks by Long's most fervent supporters marked the Florida campaign as a still-bloody ordeal for Unionist and Syndicalist alike.
What worried observers about the fighting in Florida was its foreshadowing for what the occupation of former Union territories would look like in the post-war world: Long's rule over the southern people for nearly two years had transformed them, by that time, into something entirely different from their northern and western countrymen. Many were fanatics, who were armed and prepared to continue the war effort even after the expected surrender of the Union's army. The Syndicalist militias were unable, and often unwilling, to carry out the British suggestion that harsh punishments be handed out to collaborators: to many, the war was already over, and the destruction of cities like Atlanta left a terrible taste in the mouths of American soldiers.
Their resistance far too light to stop the British tanks, however, the Blackshirts continued relatively unopposed towards Miami, the last and ultimate goal of the southern campaign.
British troops were in high spirits during the summer of 1939: their return to America had resulted in great victories for the Combined Syndicates, whose soldiers treated the volunteer brigades like conquering heroes of old. The Blackshirts, comparatively, held a low opinion of their American comrades: twice they had needed British arms to fight back the reactionaries, and it appeared to many that it would be British troops that finally drove a knife into Long's heart as he inched closer and closer towards capitulation.
In the west, General Patton led a bloody defense of Louisiana, where he hoped to halt the advancing Syndicalists before they could capture Baton Rouge, and with it a path to New Orleans. Unfortunately for Ol' Blood and Guts, the Union Army hemorrhaged fight-ready soldiers far too quickly to form a general defensive line, and he was forced to use whatever was on hand to halt the Red Army in its tracks.
Although Patton's skills as a tactician and strategist were unparalleled by the British volunteers, his force was altogether too small to resist the red tide that was arrayed against him. Still, his leadership in the Louisiana Offensive was, perhaps, the only thing that saved the dream of the Union State from a quiet death in June 1939, for his defense secured a chance for those in power to slip into the shadows unnoticed by the preoccupied Red Army.
When the Red Army under General Butler arrived at the Louisiana front, Patton was forced to realize the hopelessness of his situation: general retreats were ordered, as the exhausted Union Army prepared for a last stand in the new capital of New Orleans.
The Florida offensive, left unchecked by the savaged and scattered Minutemen, had reached Tampa, and secured the city and its ports for the CSA by the 27th of June, 1939. Miami was the last hope for the Union's defenders, as they fled or went underground in the face of the British advance.
The British success in the American intervention marked a radical evolution for the Republican Army: new ideas were constantly being developed in those days, as British military leadership reacted to the lessons learned in America. A new initiative was proposed by General Brooke after he submitted a report to the TUC: it was then that the Revolutionary Exportation Directory was born.
With a focus on new avenues of warfare, the RED was at the forefront of the Republican Army's development, supplied with the best equipment and trained in secret deep within the heart of Republican Britain. Though the general public would only become aware of them some years after their creation, the Republican Commandos were, in their infancy, already the envy of the rest of the armed forces.
The Florida offensive came to an unassuming end as Communard volunteers marched into Miami, mere miles ahead of the British advance that kept the Minutemen occupied. Though several thousand Unionists were captured in the Everglades, ten times that number slipped away into the bogs, either to attempt a return to normalcy, or fight on in the name of Huey Long.
By the 1st July, 1939, the Union State maintained control over the states of Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as parts of Mississippi and Missouri. What little progress Long's army had made against the Federalists was undone in weeks as the US and Red Army's crushed his forces between them. The collapse of Florida had sealed the Union's fate, as British forces prepared to move west for the final push on New Orleans.
Through all the fighting, losses and death, Huey Long remained unconquerable, a stiff board that refused to fall even in the greatest of winds. His daily speeches played over every radio in the south, even those in Syndicate hands, as the people became captivated by his slow descent into madness. The man, who had once called for every man, of every color, to receive their just due from their fellow countrymen, had abandoned all pretense of American values, surrendering vast amounts of power to his corporatist and racist allies who would be strung up once the Syndicates caught them.
While Long had initially tolerated some dissent in his fledgling dictatorship, protests and rallies against him were met with violence in the waning days of the war, as black men and white neo-abolitionists refused to take up arms against those they saw as their liberators. Those who refused to fight were imprisoned, or worse, should they fall into the hands of Pelley or the Klan, who were given free reign to punish "non-servile" peoples.
On July 5th, General Alan Brooke began the assault on New Orleans, where General Patton had organized the last of the Union's battle-ready soldiers into a vanguard for the partisan battle that was to end the southern theater.
Men, women, even children had been conscripted into Long's Union Army, given rifles and told to construct barricades out of everything available. Houses were ransacked for anything that could stop a bullet or tank round, for what General Patton termed "an all-out brawl between the dirty reds and you brave patriots." Morale was at an all-time low for the Union's draftees, who by that time had increasingly come to regard Long's dream as their nightmare.
With Syndicate militias reaching the front, British troops were ordered to surround the city, to prevent a retreat over land. The American and British commanders were in total agreement: there could be no escape for the Union's dictator, or his government. Long's dream would die along the banks of the Mississippi, or the war would never end.
With the surrender of all Union regulars in Florida, every British, American and French soldier rushed for the Louisiana front, eager to end the war in the south.
Their arrival on the Mississippi was not a moment too soon, as the remaining army of the Union State attempted in vain to resist the Red Army. Despite numerous calls for an armistice in northern Mississippi while the Battle for New Orleans took place, the Union's generals refused to lay down their arms without word from Patton or Long himself, who was assumed to be somewhere in the city.
Blackshirt volunteers fought a pitched battle in the bayous of Louisiana, bogged down by the terrain and the relentlessness of their fanatical enemies, the only soldiers still willing to fight for Long's doomed nation. Athough much can be said for the bravery of Long's devoted soldiers, much more can be said of the devastation brought to them by the Republican Army, who returned each death with a slaughter that brought the Minutemen militias to their knees.
On the 23rd of July, 1939, General Smedley Butler assumed control over operations in New Orleans, at the insistence of the Central Committee of the CSA. They demanded that American boots be the first to enter the city, something the British, who had fought all the way to the Mississippi on America's behalf, were all too happy to concede. British tank support lent aid to the American advance as they moved to liberate the last Union city.
Perhaps "liberate" was the wrong word: "bring ruin to" may be more accurate. The battle claimed hundreds of lives in its opening moves, as British and American troops pushed deeper into the fortress city against a cornered enemy adverse to surrendering even an inch of ground. Unionist soldiers were around every corner, in every house, beneath every piece of rubble. Ambushes were commonplace, as the desperate Patton and Union Army tried and failed to hold a consistent defensive line.
After nearly a week of fighting, the American Red Army gained the upper hand on the 27th of July, 1939. Patton, for all his promises to go down in a blaze of glory, could not senselessly throw away American lives for a hopeless cause. On that day, Patton ordered a general retreat from the city, as the Syndicalists moved in to claim it in totality.
Though New Orleans was far behind the lines for the vast majority of the war, only ever threatened by the occasional Federal air strike from Texas, the month of conflict outside its gates had devastated the once proud city: the French Quarter was nearly demolished completely in the fighting as British tanks failed to recognize its historical significance, the famous Bourbon Street turned into rubble by artillery and tank fire.
What's more, the protracted fighting led to the destruction of several levees and drainage systems, leaving several quarters of the city submerged beneath floodwaters. These districts were particularly poor and black, with thousands of impoverished civilians displaced by the sudden disaster. Though the CSA went to work immediately to repair the damage they had done, for many, it was too little, too late.
Not all were so discontent, however: revolutionaries and dissenters, though perhaps not entirely pleased with the Syndicate victory and occupation, were free to speak their minds once more, as Long's iron rule came crashing down. Women, minorities and the politically oppressed swarmed the streets to celebrate the victory: roofs were painted with anti-Longist messages and slogans to announce to the world that New Orleans welcomed its liberators.
All was not well, however: at Long's impromptu palace in New Orleans, British commandos - the first of their kind deployed to combat - stormed his offices, only to find them disappointingly empty of both intelligence and the Kingfish. It had appeared that Long escaped justice as he did in Atlanta, though no one could figure how: between the Red and US navies fighting in the Gulf of Mexico and the battle for New Orleans raging outside his door, there were assumptions that perhaps the would-be president took his own life in shame. I, like many others, did not believe this: those who grew up in the south knew well of Long's vanity, and that he would never take such a cowardly path out.
The fate of Huey Long would become a subject of great curiosity for me and others who suspected that he survived the Battle for New Orleans. Though officially declared dead by the Central Committee, it is generally understood that the hunt for Huey Long did not end at New Orleans: a dozen rumors, sightings and reports of his location would surface over the years, sometimes in Cuba, or Brazil, even Germany. All we can be sure of is that Long's country may have died, but the fire he lit in the hearts of the southerners would not be extinguished so easily.
With the fall of New Orleans and the sudden disappearance of Long, the will to fight had been sapped from the Union Army. Patton led a final stand along the Louisiana coast to facilitate an evacuation westward, where the Federal government offered amnesty to Unionist soldiers willing to fight for the United States. Unfortunately for Patton, no such offer was extended to the Union's leadership.
With enemies on both sides of the Mississippi demanding his head, Patton decided to spare the American people further bloodshed on his behalf: General Patton rejected offers from the Union Army to lead a resistance movement, saying to the officers cabal, "I am not a coward like that bastard Long, but when the fighting's done, it's done. Ain't nothing one man can do about it."

On the 28th of July, 1939, Patton raised a white flag. The war in the south had come to an end.
The so-called Treaty of Little Rock, the only city that housed a functioning Union State government, dissolved the Union and admitted the states it had held into the Combined Syndicates. Trade unions, previously suppressed by Long's corporate allies, were given control over the political organization of their towns, workplaces and people. It went unsaid that no southern militias would be formed for the Red Army, as a general distrust grew between the south and its northern "comrades."
With the fall of the Union, the Second American Civil War seemed to swing decidedly in the favor of the Combined Syndicates, who by the end of July 1939 controlled roughly half the country, from the Rockies to the east coast. Their success against the Federalists was assured with the demise of Long's dictatorship, and for many, it was only a matter of time before America saw peace once more.
That peace would come at a terrible cost, however: President Garner refused to admit defeat so long as his home state of Texas remained free, and promised to continue the fight even then in exile. Though the US Army were in a general retreat across the Great Plains, their size and fighting experienced posed a threat to the CSA, who desired nothing more than to bring an end to the fighting once and for all.
The Blackshirts under Brooke were redeployed for the Louisiana-Texas border, where thousands of US troops prepared to seize territory previously under Union occupation. As the closest force ready to meet them, the British volunteers were ordered to push for Dallas in an effort to halt their attempted offensive.
The fighting was brutal, as for the first time since the beginning of the war, the Blackshirts met a force that was equal to their own: the US Army had spent the better part of the war fortifying the Texas border in preparation for the fight against Long, who opted instead to focus his own attention on the Syndicalists to his north. This made the Texan border a bloodbath, as US soldiers fought back assault after assault from the Syndicalist lines.
For the first time, British tanks were not a deciding factor in the fighting, as the US Army had more than enough anti-tank equipment to fight off the volunteers. Instead the tanks became mobile gun emplacements to shore up the infantry advance, who bore the brunt of the violence in the first battles for Texas.
By August 1939, the conflict between the CSA and Federal government had claimed roughly 300,000 lives, though the number of civilian casualties is estimated to be far higher. Though the United States for all intents and purposes was too far gone to ever recover by the end of that summer, the President and what remained of Congress refused to surrender, knowing that a terrible fate awaited them in Chicago.
By the 29th of August, 1939, British troops had cleared a path to Dallas against overwhelming odds, and seemed poised to deliver the death blow to Garner's administration. This, of course, would never happen: a new conflict was brewing, one that would drag Britain, Europe, and the world through a hell far greater than I or anyone could have imagined in the summer of 1939.
France, humiliated by their dramatic defeat by Germany in the First Weltkrieg, had agreed in secret pacts with Mosley and Mussolini to issue an ultimatum to the Kaiserreich: surrender Alsace-Lorraine, or it would be war. This message, meant to be delivered in secret, was intercepted by Entente codebreakers, who saw in this an opportunity of a lifetime.
On the 30th of August, 1939, the French Republic declared war on the Commune of France, in expectation that Germany would refuse the terms. Caught off guard by the sudden boldness of their eternal enemies, the Communards immediately called on the Union of Britain and the Great Italian Union to support her in the final struggle against capitalism and the forces of reaction. Britain could not refuse, as on the side of the Nationalists was her own hated enemy: the Canadians.
The French Republic, restored to a semblance of its former glory in Africa in the decades since the Revolution overtook her shores, had amassed an "armée de libération," a force of tens of thousands ready to reclaim their homeland from what they called "the red terror." Led by hero of the Weltkrieg Marshal Petain and younger officers like General de Gaulle, the Nationalists were prepared to sacrifice everything to reclaim their "birthright."
Across the Atlantic, the revanchist King Edward VIII joined the war not out of loyalty to the French, but to sate his own ambition: the British Exiles had been dethroned, so to speak, in Canada, replaced by the Liberals who advocated for limitation on the power of the Exiles and the King. With Canada rising to its own on the international stage, Edward seemed driven to reclaim his homeland, before the last vestiges of his power were lost to time immemorial.
Britain found itself at war on six continents, as the forces of the Entente rallied behind their respective leaders in what was quickly becoming a world war. There would be no end to the fighting until all their enemies were driven from the face of the Earth, as neither faction saw peace or surrender as viable alternatives to victory.
Mosley's consolidation of power, all he had done to secure his strength and position in the Union of Britain, had been for this: he had seen the writing on the wall, and did what he thought just and necessary for the preservation of the British Revolution. Their victory would mean the realization of socialist ideals, and the start of a new golden age for all mankind.

Or so the Maximist line went. The truth was, perhaps, something altogether different.
On the 1st of September, 1939, the Kaiser's foreign minister delivered a response to the Communard ultimatum: they chose war.
German soldiers were mustered from their barracks to the sound of "Heil dir im Siegerkranz," as they paraded through the streets that would soon become battlefields. The Kaiser himself had this to say on the start of the fighting, a quote that I believe should be remembered by history:

"The French fight the French. The British fight the British. Germany shall fight them all."

He could not have known what the war would become, as the world tore itself apart in the name of revolution, glory, honor and revenge. The world was at war, millions stood ready to die for Kaiser, King, country, or comrade.
The 1st of September, 1939.

The Second Weltkrieg had begun.

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