Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 6-12 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Australia
  • …The Events leading up to the Soviet Invasion of Finland are a mystery on the Soviet side. Enough is known from various defectors and what little records exist that the USSR had been considering a military operation against Finland at least as early as 1938 and began seriously planning to conduct an attack on Finland before the ink was dry on the Commercial Treaty with Germany. This was of course in contravention to a 1933 Non-Aggression pact they had signed with Finland, guaranteeing peace until 1943, but Stalin did not care about that.

    Rather than immediately invade however the Soviets first laid the diplomatic groundwork as they began stealthily moving military forces into position. On November 1st they publicly called for opening of negotiations with Finland over issues with the border. The Finns, not wanting war accepted the Soviet proposal and came to Moscow to offer reasonable concessions to avoid one.

    They offered the municipalities in the southern portion of the Karelian isthmus and most of the Finnish islands of the Gulf of Finland not directly adjacent to the Finnish coast. This would effectively double the distance from Leningrad to the border and much improve the security situation of that city, something the Finns were aware was a major Soviet concern given it was only 20 miles from the border as it stood. The Finns were further prepared to offer economic concessions and possible territorial concessions in the far north.

    The Soviets declared the Finnish offer insufficient and made a counter demand of their own. The Finnish border in Karelia would move to the point where Vyborg was within 20 miles of it, the Rybachy Peninsula would be ceded, giving the USSR command of the Petsamo Fjord and Finland would lease the Hanko Peninsula as an extraterritorial base for 30 years to the USSR. It is unknown if the Soviets intended this as an offer Finland would refuse, or if that was simply Stalin’s demands, in any case the Finnish government refused to consider the Soviet counter offer and ended that round of negotiations. They expected that this would be temporary and that another round of negotiations would start relatively soon…

    …Finland was almost completely penetrated by German intelligence services from the beginning. It had formed with German aid, the royal family was German, there were massive German economic ties, its military had taken part in Weimar’s attempts as evading the Versailles treaty, leading to a large number of German officers serving within it and it had taken in thousands of German political exiles in the 1930’s. As a result of this Germany had a complete view of what was going on with the Finnish military and as part of their agreement with the USSR they shared everything.

    The Soviet Union thus knew immediately that the Finns had launched a covert mobilization under the guise of refresher training at the start of November. They had complete details on the Finnish order of battle, that there were six divisions on the Karelian isthmus, two divisions north of Lake Ladoga and a brigade each in Lapland and North Karelia. They had a full map of the Finnish fixed defenses and knowledge of the delaying groups used and a complete inventory of Finnish stockpiles.

    Therefore the Soviets were supremely confident that they could destroy the Finns in a short campaign. 3 Rifle and 2 Tank Corps were located on the Isthmus, 2 Infantry Corps, a Cavalruy and a Tank Division north of :Lake Ladoga, a Rifle Corps and Cavalry Division in North Karelia and a Mountain Rifle Corps in Lapland. This overwhelming force of a half million men was by the first week of December prepared to come down on the Finnish heads, all they needed was a justification…

    …On December 10th a squadron of Fokker XIV bombers took off from an airfield on the Karelian Isthmus under the leadership of Captain Georg Bauer, a former Imperial German aviator serving in the Finnish Air Force. The bombers were carrying live munitions as part of a mission to respond to Soviet violations of the maritime border, or at least so the mission briefing said. At about 11:15, over what Bauer claimed was Finnish territorial waters they encountered a Soviet MO type subchaser and Bauer ordered an attack run. Not cleared for action the vessel did not even try to maneuver and it was struck multiple times, the small vessel quickly took on water and sank.

    At 1:05 the Finnish planes returned to base and before the mission debriefing could occur Captain Bauer disappeared. Shortly thereafter inspectors from headquarters arrived wanting to know what was going on, why had Bauer taken live munitions on a training flight, violated Soviet territory and attacked a Soviet war vessel?

    The answer from German records was that Bauer had ended up an agent of the Abwehr after his exiled Junker mistress proved to have tastes too expensive for his wallet to afford. Bauer had launched a provocation for the Abwehr, at the best of the USSR, and afterwards fled to an Abwehr safehouse before leaving the country with his mistress. Of course this course of events was not publicly known until after the war and was fervently denied by Communists even then.

    The Communists of course claimed this as an unprovoked attack on Soviet territory and thanks to skillful stage management had enough foreign journalists nearby for coincidental reasons to prove beyond a doubt that Finland had violated Soviet territory and attacked a Soviet vessel. Finnish offers of recompense for this were refused as insufficient and on December 14th the USSR demanded that Finland withdraw its air forces from Karelia and its ground forces back 50 kilometers from the border, in addition to payment of reparations.

    While Finland was willing to pay reparations they were not willing to see their border left bare to a Soviet offensive and refused the Soviet demands. In return on the 17th the USSR denounced the Finnish Soviet Non-Aggression pact as a farce in the face of Finnish aggression and severed their diplomatic relationship with Finland. War was now inevitable and on the evening of December 20th there was a firefight near the Kolla River, once more provoked by a German agent in Finland.

    In response at dawn of the 21st Soviet guns opened up en masse all along the Finnish border…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005


    The Commonwealth of Australia

    Basics:

    Australia is a self-governing dominion of the British Empire. It is currently under a coalition government led by the United Australia Party under Billy Hughes.

    Economy:

    Australia is primarily an agricultural and resource exporting country with a moderate industrial sector. It’s primary agricultural exports are wool, mutton and grain, while its primary mineral exports are gold, iron and coal. It is a wealthy country per capita.

    Land Forces:

    Australia has a small standing army of 5,000 along with 80,000 reserves, organized on the British pattern. Nominally speaking it has 5 divisions, infantry formations with integrated cavalry, though two divisions have seen their cavalry replaced with armored cars.

    The Standard Australian rifle is the Lee-Enfield in .303, primarily the short model and license built in Australia. Older models of Lee-Enfield are in use by the reserves. Australia has no plans to adopt the No. 39 or No. 40 Rifle.

    Australia’s standard Revolver is the Webley Mark IV in .38 though other .38 caliber revolvers are acceptable substitutions for officers. Older Webley models in .455 remain in storage. Some American Thompson Submachine guns in .45 ACP are kept for special duties.

    The standard Australian Light machine Gun is the Charlton, a conversion of the Lee Enfield Rifle in .303. Australia uses the Lewis gun in .303 as a supplement for times when volume of fire is more needed than low weight. Australia intends to adopt the Holek in .303 British to replace the Charlton and Lewis once sufficient tooling is available to start domestic production. The standard Heavy machine gun is the Vickers in .303 British. Some consideration is being made to replacing the Vickers with the Rolik, however that would require adoption of a new Caliber which Australia is loath to do.

    Australia’s infantry heavy weapons are the Boys .55 Anti-Tank Rifle and Mortars. The Standard Mortar is the 3.2” as a battalion weapon, with 2” mortars being issued as a company weapon, though that is not yet complete. Older 3” Stokes remain in storage.

    Australia currently lacks towed AT weapons but purchase of the 2 pounder from Britain is planned.

    AA is in the form of Vickers guns, Naval 2 pounders and 12 pounder AA guns from WWI. License production Bofors and 3.7”/50 AA guns is planned but has not occurred as yet.

    Standard Australian field artillery is the 18 pounder and the 4.5” howitzer. These are upgraded but Pre WWI pieces and obsolescent with fixed trail carriages. Australia plans to replace them with 25 pounders as those weapons become available. Australia also has BL 60 pounders, and BL 6” Howitzers in storage as heavier weapons. Australia also makes use of 3.7” Mountain Howitzer for expected use in jungle conditions.

    Australia operates about 30 Mark IV light Tanks as training designs, a preliminary to founding a proper armored corps. Australia plans on acquiring 30 Mark VIII Light Tanks before moving on to more powerful cruiser tanks.

    Australia operates a variety of 2-4.5 ton scout cars with a machine gun and minimal armor in their armored car units. More powerful vehicles are planned to be built to replace them.

    The Australian Army is relatively lightly motorized for its domestic motorization with only 4,000 motor vehicles, though this is planned to change rapidly. Full motorization is expected by the end of 1941 and they intend to license build British tracked carriers

    Naval Forces:

    Australia has a medium sized navy of about 12,000 personnel.

    The most powerful ships are the four heavy cruisers Australia, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. These are 12,500 ton cruisers with 9 8”/50 main guns in triples in an A-B-Y layout with B superfiring. 10 4”/45 AA guns are carried in five twin mounts, one in X position, along with 4 quad 2 pounder AA guns and 4 quad .55HMG, plus two quad torpedo tubes. They are well protected, good seaboats, habitable and make 32 knots, with two float planes.

    The next most powerful ships are the Sapphire class light crusiers Perth and Hobart. These are 7500 ton vessels with 4 twin 6”/50 in a conventional arrangement, 4 4”/45 AA, 3 quad .55 HMG and two quad 21” torpedo tubes. They are reliable seaworthy ships but only make 32.5 knots, have light protection against 6” fire and carry one float plane.

    The Chatham class Cruiser Adelaide is the oldest cruiser in the RAN and a 5500 ton vessel. She has 8 6”/45 in pedestal mounts, 3 4”/45 AA guns, 10 .303 machine guns, two depth charge rails and 2 submerged 21” torpedo tubes. She makes 25 knots and has only marginal protection from 6” fire at combat ranges.

    For smaller Units Australia has 6 V class destroyers bought from the RN. 1100 ton, 32 knot ships they have 4 4”/45, a 3” AA, 4 .303MG, two twin 21” tubes, two depth charge rails and two projectors.

    To lead this squadron the RN has one flotilla leader, the Hughes, a 1600 ton 36.5 knot vessel. She has 5 4.7”/45, 1 3”/45 AA, 2 triple 21” torpedo tubes, a quad .55 HMG, two depth charge rails and two projectors.

    An additional 8 1850 ton Tribal class destroyers have been ordered and the first 2 have started construction at Cockatoo Island.

    The RAN has 5 sloops in service with two building for escort duty. The Moresby is a Racehorse class sloop form WWI, 1300 tons she makes 14 knots, has a 4”/40 low angle gun, a 3”/45 AA and 4 .303 machine guns, along with a depth charge rail and two projectors.

    The remaining 4 sloops are Deptford class vessels, 1000 tons, 16 knots with 2 4.7”/45, 1 3”/45 AA, 6. 303 machine guns, 2 3 pdr saluting guns and a depth charge rail.

    Under development is a 1,000 ton multirole corvette class, similar to the 900 ton British design but longer ranged and capable of being fitted for minesweeping. 12 are planned.

    A pair of Hunt class minesweepers are in service, 700 tons, 16 knots with a 4”/40, a 3”/45 AA gun, 2 .303 machine guns and a depth charge rail.

    Australia has an additional 3 500 ton Netlayers meant for laying ASW nets in their harbors, built to a British design.

    Australia has no submarines, marines or naval aviation. Naval floatplanes are part of the RAAF

    Air Forces:

    Australia has a mid sized Air Force of about 300 aircraft in 24 squadrons.

    Their fighter force consists of two squadrons of Hawker Headhunters and two of Avro Archers, an open cockpit biplane based on the Avro Antlion light bomber. They plan on replacing these with Gloster Glaives as an interim before the Westland Warhawk enters service.

    The RAAF bomber force consists of four squadrons of Westland Wallaby Light bombers, something broadly comparable to the Avro Antlion but designed for Australian conditions. They plan on replacing these with license built Bristol Bullsharks and possibly variants of the CAC Challenger in a High-Low mix.

    The RAAF operates two squadrons of Hawker Hoopoe variants as floatplanes for the warships of the RAN, and land based maritime recon.

    For Maritime Patrol the RAAF has one squadron of Lockheed Longbow and one of Saunders Row Severn floatplanes. Long term plan is to replace both types with Short Sables as available.

    The RAAF primarily uses British designed transports, trainers and lesion aircraft. They have recently begun license building British basic trainers and have just introduced a domestic advanced trainer based off an American design, the CAC Challenger.

    Australia lacks high end aviation research and piggy backs of Britain. They lack paratroopers.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Australia maintains stockpiles of Lewisite and Mustard Gas. Deployment methods are artillery shell, aerial bomb and Livens projectors

    Australia does not have a biological weapons program

    Australia is a part of the British Nuclear Program

    Problems:

    Australia is located far away from Europe and North America.

    Australia has little domestic military industry for its size

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-13 Pacific Theater, Eve of War: Norway
  • …The Japanese offensives of 1940 had left them seriously overstretched. With both casualties and the need to garrison large swathes of newly conquered territory their frontline strength had fallen to its lowest level relative to the length of the frontlines since the war began. The Chinese were not unaware of this and Chiang planned on launching a counteroffensive to show that the Chinese could do more than just win on the defensive, but retake territory.

    To maximize his advantage in manpower and minimize his disadvantage in logistics and strategic mobility Chaing planned to attack on a very broad front all along the frontlines with almost all of the forces at his disposal save those defending truly vital positions or in deep reserve. By doing so even unsuccessful actions could contribute to the broader whole by tying down Japanese troops and preventing them from using their superior mobility to fight and defeat his forces in succession with overwhelming force.

    Exact details of the offensive are vague, in part because of damage to records and high personnel turnover, in part because the offensive was relatively hands off in planning. There were few specifics to be taken, the only known ones being the recapture of Sinyang north of the Dabie mountains and Suizhou and Zhongxiang south of those mountains, the former to complicate Japanese logistics near Hankow, the latter two to rectify the mistake of allowing them to fall so easily. Other objectives range from unknown to vague instructions to take what territory possible while avoiding excessive risk.

    The attack was originally scheduled to begin in November, but difficulties with communication pushed it back to December 22nd in order to make sure that all commands were informed of the offensive and ready to undertake it without the Japanese knowing. In this it was successful, on the morning of the 22nd the Japanese found themselves facing sudden attacks all along the front with functionally no warning. Japanese high command was functionally paralyzed for three days, unable to determine where to send reinforcements and leaving the battle up to local units for the most part.

    The success of the attacks varied. In the hills and mountains of Southern China the Chinese universally made gains. Japanese strength was the weakest here and the rough terrain was most advantageous to the Chinese, hindering Japanese firepower and allowing them to use local knowledge to match the Japanese in maneuvers. While no major cities were retaken, the Japanese were forced to retreat to the coasts and lost a good deal of strategic depth and a few supply routes. Perhaps more importantly despite attacking a better equipped force in rough terrain the Chinese traded casualties with the Japanese at a favorable ratio, one of the few times they would manage that during the war. This was however the smallest theater in terms of forces involved.

    Further north it was a mixed bag. Suizhou and Zhongxiang were retaken by the Chinese, wrecking two Japanese divisions in the process, but in doing so they had essentially ground up two of their better trained route armies into non functionality. North of that the offensive turned into a complete disaster as while the initial attacks were properly coordinated the follow on attacks weren’t, allowing the Japanese to crush them in turn once their initial shock had been gotten over using their superior mobility and internal rail lines. Some further success was achieved at the north of Henan province where multiple successful cavalry raids were pulled off to hurt Japanese logistics.

    In North China the situation functionally a draw. Communist interference meant that the KMT Armies found it difficult to procure the necessary supplies to go on the offensive properly. As such despite some initial success it could not be followed up upon and the Japanese through them back to their starting lines with heavy casualties. The IJA however made a major mistake by attempting to follow that up with an attack to take the Ninghsia area immediately. Without proper preparation that attack failed and the Japanese suffered heavy casualties in Suiyuan without ever reaching Ninghsia, admittedly inflicting heavy casualties in turn.

    Guerilla attacks by non-communist groups were launched in Japanese occupied territory, including near Peking and in long occupied Shangtung. While unsuccessful at doing significant damage they did disrupt Japanese logistics and tie down troops.

    Overall the offensive was a success for the Chinese when the last of the Japanese counteroffensives ended in March. They had demonstrated to the world that they could do more than stop the Japanese, but that they could retake territory, including urban centers, and not immediately lose them in counter attacks. This arguably outweighed the very real material costs that the offensive had incurred, they had taken 100,000 casualties to do it and used up a large chunk of their remaining heavy weapons and equipment. China could afford to replace 100,000 men, and with political capital gained by successfully pushing back the Japanese they would more than be able to replace the equipment in time.

    In the shorter term however the attack paralyzed the Chinese. Heavy losses meant that they would not be able to repeat the attack for a long time, and would even have trouble defending against the Japanese who despite 60,000 casualties of their own could still launch offensive attacks…

    …The Chinese winter offensive proved very troubling to Japanese high command. They had not conceived that the Chinese were capable of such a large scale offensive after the destruction of most of their professional troops near Shanghai. That the Chinese could both manage it and do so undetected was a serious shock that indicated they would need to step up their war effort in order to make the Chinese capitulate…

    …The Chinese Communists were conspicuous by their absence in the Winter Offensive. Despite having an extensive guerilla presence they did not actively participate in the guerilla attacks and their conventional forces were not deployed. This set a pattern of the Communists ignoring the Japanese to prepare for a resumption of the Civil War…



    -Excerpt from The Pacific Theater, an Overview, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2002

    The Kingdom of Norway

    Basics:

    Norway is a constitutional monarchy under the house of Glucksburg currently governed by the Labor Party. Norway was neutral in the First World War and only gained independence in 1905 from Sweden, which acquired Norway from Denmark in 1814.



    Economy:

    Norway is primarily a resource extraction economy, exporting fish and forest products. Agriculture is poor and grows primarily cold weather crops, supplemented by herding in some areas. Norway has recently had success using its hydropower reserves for Aluminum smelting and has a surprisingly large merchant marine.


    Land Forces:

    Norway has a small army of about 60,000 in peacetime. It is organized into six administrative divisions controlling 16 infantry regiments, 3 dragoon regiments, 3 artillery regiments, 3 mountain artillery battalions, and 3 independent infantry battalions, the best trained of which are the royal guards. Regiments are triangular, with two active battalions and one militia battalion.

    The standard Norwegian Rifle is the Krag-Jorgensen, a unique side loading bolt action rifle chambered in 6.5x55mm Swedish. It is produced in a number of variants, including cavalry, artillery, constabulary and sniper. There are currently no plans to replace it with a semi-automatic though experiments with converting it are underway.

    The standard Norwegian pistol is the M1911, license built in Norway by Kongsberg in .45ACP. A number of old Nagant revolvers are in storage. Norway like many countries uses small numbers of Thompson submachine guns in .45ACP, in their case for the Royal Guard.

    The standard Norwegian light machine gun is the Danish Madsen in 6.5x55mm. Standard heavy machine gun is the M1917 Browning in 7.92x61mm Norwegian, a typical water cooled belt fed weapon. Older strip fed M1914 Hotchkiss in 6.5x55mm are kept in reserve. Some Browning M2 .50 HMG are in service as AA weapons.

    Norway uses an 81mm Brandt Mortar clone as a battalion mortar.

    For anti armor use Norway uses 47mm/32 M1935 AT guns imported from Italy, with one company equipping each Dragoon regiment. They are supplemented by 20mm Breda Autocannon which have a dual purpose light AA/AT use.

    Anti Aircraft protection is primarily in the form of M2 Heavy machine guns, supplemented by older weapons for light AA. Medium AA takes the form of licensee built 40mm Bofors guns, which are their heaviest mobile pieces. 7.5cm/45 M1916 and 1932 are their primary heavy AA, domestic guns used for defending fixed positions.

    Standard Norwegian field artillery is the 7.5cm/31 Erhardt of 1901, an obsolescent box trail piece with the main redeeming featuring being the ability to be dismantled for transport by sled, they are organized in battalions of 4 3 gun batteries as part of the separate artillery regiments. These are supported by the 12cm/14 and 12cm/20 1914 and 1932 Howitzers, the latter one of the few modern pieces, which are assigned 8 or 4 guns per artillery regiment as a heavy supplement. Mountain artillery is equipped with the 7.5cm/17 M1911 Erhardt or the domestic 7.5cm/21 M1927, the other modern piece available to Norway.

    Norway has a fairly strong coastal artillery force with guns of up to 280mm and fixed torpedo batteries defending the most important of the Fjords.

    Norway has a tiny tank force. 10 FT-17’s with machine guns are in service as a training vehicle. 5 Swedish L-39’s, rearmed with an Italain 20mm cannon, have recently been purchased to gain experience with modern tanks. They are all attached to one of the three Dragoon regiments. The other two have machine gun armed armored cars of various types attached instead.

    The Norwegian Army is poorly motorized, with only the Royal Guard, Dragoons, and some of the artillery and engineers having motor transport.

    The Norwegian army is trained for ski warfare.



    Naval Forces:


    Norway has a small coastal defense navy

    The most powerful ships of this navy are their coastal defense ships. The largest and most modern are the Bjorgvin and Nidaros, 4900 ton vessels seized by the British during WWI, never finished and completed post war at British expense. They have two single 24cm/50 in single turrets fore and aft, four 15cm/50 in a diamond arrangement with two superfiring, four 10cm guns, two 45cm torpedo tubes, two twin 40mm Bofors and 10 .50 machine guns. Slow at 18 knots they are decently protected from 6” fire at expected combat ranges and have limited resistance to 8” fire.

    The Eidsvold and Norge are older 4200 ton vessels that make 17 knots. They have 2 21cm guns in single turrets, 6 15cm guns in casemates, 4 7.6cm guns in casemates, 8 .50 HMG and 2 45cm submerged torpedo tubes. They have reasonable protection against 6” fire at combat ranges and marginal resistance to 8” fire at shorter ranges.

    The 3900 ton Tordenskold and Harald Haarfagre have been converted to stantionary training ships, losing their heavy guns for a variety of AA mounts.

    Norway maintains a small destroyer force of nine vessels. The oldest three are the 600 ton Draug, Troll and Garm. Small and short ranged they are not too seaworthy, only make 26 knots and have 6 single 7.6cm guns, two 12.7mm HMG, a depth charge rail and two throwers and 2 single 45cm torpedo tubes.

    The Sleipnir, Aegir, Gyller, Odin, Tor and Balder are larger 800 ton 32 knot vessels. They have 3 10cm guns, 1 twin Bofors, 4 12.7mm HMG, 2 53.3cm torpedo tubes and 4 depth charge projectors.

    Norway has two 1300 ton Alesund class vessels under construction, they will be 34 knot ships with 4 12cm guns in a twin and two singles, 4 40mm bofors guns, 2 twin 53.3cm torpedo tubes and an array of depth charge launchers. They are expected to enter service in 1943

    Norway has a supporting force of torpedo craft in addition to the destroyers. Oldest are 10 second class torpedo boats. 40-80 tons they are 25 into vessels with 1-3 45cm torpedo tubes, 0-1 76mm and 1-2 37mm guns and at least one machine gun.

    Newer are 8 First class torpedo boats, about 110 tons they are more seaworthy and longer legged than their predecessors if slower at 21 knots. They have two 45cm torpedo tubes, 2 37mm guns and at least one machine gun.

    The Trygg, Snogg and Stegg are 260 ton vessels capable of 25 knots and much longer ranged and more seaworthy than their predecessors. They have 2 76mm guns, a pair of 20mm AA guns and two twin 45cm torpedo tubes.

    Norway is in negotiations with Italy to purchase older MAS boats for coastal defense.

    Norway has a force of minelayers to protect its extensive coastline. The Vale, Brage, Nor, Uller and Vidar are ancient 260 ton, 8 knot converted Rendel gunboats. As rearmed they had their muzzle loaders replaced with 1 12cm gun, 1 47mm and 2 37mm gun and up to 50 mines.

    The Gor and Tyr are slightly newer 290 ton converted Rendel gunboats and make 10 knots. They have 1 12cm, 176mm and 2 37mm guns as well as 55 mines after their muzzle loaders were replaced.

    The Glommern and Laugen are purpose built 400 ton 10 knot vessels. They have 2 76mm guns, 2 .50 HMG and carry 120 mines.

    The Froya is a larger 600 ton 22 knot minelayer. She carries 4 10cm guns, 1 76mm AA gun, 4 .50 HMG, 2 single 45cm torpedo tubes and up to 180 mines.

    The Olaf Tryggvason is a combination minelayer/training ship of 1600 tons and 20 knots. She has 4 single 12cm guns, a 76mm AA, a Bofors gun, 6 .50 HMG, two twin 45cm torpedo tubes and up to 280 mines.

    Norway has two purpose built 360 ton minelayers, the Otra and Rauma. They are 15 knot ships with a 76mm gun and two .50 HMG. Norway also has six converted Second class torpedo boats with their torpedo tubes removed to supplement these vessels.

    Norway has a small submarine force. The oldest vessels are two A class, 14 knot surfaced, 9 submerged and 270 tons. They have a 76mm deck gun, 3 45cm tubes with 5 torpedoes, and a range of 1600 knots. They are pre WWI boats with a shallow crush depth and primitive conditions.

    The six B class are modified US L class built under license, 375 tons, 15 knots surfaced and 9 submerged. They have 4 45cm tubes in the bow with 8 torpedoes and a 76mm deck gun, with a 2900 knot range.

    Norway operates a number of fisheries protection vessels of various size that can serve as patrol vessels if needed.

    Norway operates a small naval aviation arm of float planes. Norway lacks naval infantry.


    Air Forces:


    Norway has a small Air Force of about 100 aircraft, about half trainers and transports.

    Norway’s most common fighter is the Bristol Bullfinch an obsolete biplane, of which they have 20. Norway has 5 remaining Avro Archers used more as squadron hacks than real fighters. They have on order 20 used Fiat CR. 31 biplanes to be delivered by January and are in negotiations with Italy to buy modern fighters.

    Norway’s bomber force consists of Fokker XI and XIV biplane bombers, of which they have 20 and 10 in service, with 15 more XIV on order and to be delivered by December. Fixed gear open cockpit aircraft that carry 450 pounds of bombs they are not the most modern but are available. Negotiations are underway with Italy to buy modern twin engine bombers

    Norway’s trainer force is about 40 aircraft strong and British built. They further have about 10 transports of various assorted types and origins.

    Norway has a separate naval aviation arm of about 50 aircraft.

    20 of these are domestic Marinens Flyvebaatfabrik M.F.14 recon seaplanes, slow open cockpit biplanes with 3 machine guns and up to 660 pounds of bombs, not maneuverable but they have decent range. Currently work is under way on a monoplane successor design.

    Another 15 are older MF seaplane designs being used as trainers.

    10 more a squadron of Hall Triphibian twin engine monoplane export seaplanes from the US. Not too fast and with a mediocre ceiling it has 6 machine guns for defense in three turrets, nose, rear top and rear belly, and can carry 2,000 pounds of warload, most pertinently a torpedo. Negotiations for a second batch of 10 are underway for delivery in March.

    The last 5 are remaining TBD-1 torpedo bombers, biplane floatplanes bought from the US in the 20’s. Armed with a single machine gun they are shorted ranged, have an abysmal ceiling and are slower than some automobiles, but they can carry a torpedo.

    Negotiations are underway with Italy to buy modern torpedo bombers.

    Norway lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.


    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Norway does not have a nuclear, biological or chemical weapons program.



    Problems:

    The Norwegian military is underfunded and of low readiness

    Norway’s geographic position makes neutrality difficult

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001




    You expected Finland but it was me China, muhahahaha
     
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    Part 6-14 Fall of Europe, Setting Sun, End of Empire, Eve of War: South Africa
  • …The Soviet attack on Finland was initially successful, primarily because the Finns were not actually trying to defend on the border, but rather were either defending at lines past the border or in the case of central Finland trying a completely mobile defense. The Soviets were thus able to push on for several days with only modest losses, lightly armed Finnish delaying forces being unable to significantly damage Tank heavy Soviet forces and were limited to destroying broken down tanks with grenades or improvised incendiaries, nicknamed Molotov cocktails after the Soviet foreign minister who attempted to excuse the war with clumsy propaganda speeches.

    Major action occurred only on the 25th, as the Soviets had brought up their artillery forward to attack the prepared defensive works of the Mannerheim line in Karelia, the Kollaa River line north of Lake Ladoga and Petsamo. After a heavy bombardment the night before the Soviets planned to advance though the broken defenses the next day. Contrary to their later propaganda of a Scandinavian Maginot Line the Soviets were well aware that the Finnish defenses were relatively modest, a small number of concrete bunkers reinforced with trenches and additional log and earth bunkers, and they expected that a short sharp bombardment would leave the defenses sufficiently damaged that their assault forces would break through with no difficulty.

    This theory turned out to be incorrect, the Soviets had overestimated the accuracy of their artillery and thus despite throwing what their projections said was sufficient shells to break the Finnish defensive line it was damaged but still mostly intact. The assault proved more problematic in that at the Mannerheim Line and Kollaa the Soviets attempted to ram tank forces through in an attempt to force and rapidly exploit a breach characteristic of the typical interwar armored theories. Poor coordination between combat arms left masses of lightly armored BT series and light tanks attacking Finnish lines unsupported. What few effective AT weapons the Finns had proved ruinously effective against the vehicles as their advantage of mobility was nullified in a set piece assault, while even where those were absent the lack of infantry screens allowed Finnish infantry to get close and destroy the stalled vehicles with explosives or incendiaries.

    When the Soviet infantry, supposed to only have to mop up pockets of holdouts found themselves facing a mostly intact defense line they took heavy losses, as the infantry tanks that were supposed to support them were either not present or badly coordinated and the Soviet artillery was no longer suppressing its Finnish counterparts, exposing them to indirect fire. The exception was at a sector east of the village of Summa, where the Finns had overlooked the nearby Munasuo swamp when laying out their defenses. With the swamp frozen Soviet tanks were able to penetrate the Mannerheim line and cause no small amount of confusion in the Finnish rear before breaking down and being neutralized. This however allowed the Soviet infantry to seize the swamp before the Finns could. While the Finns were able to contain the breakthrough to the swamp, the hastily built trench lines there were perhaps the weakest section of their lines.

    The assault on Petsamo was somewhat less disastrous as with few tanks assigned to the area the Soviets only suffered heavy infantry casualties rather than heavy infantry and equipment losses. In central Finland the Soviets, not facing fixed defenses, were able to advance without casualties, harried and delayed by the Finns. However the Finnish wilderness forced them to stick to roads and they were becoming increasingly strung out with exposed flanks…

    …Immediately on the outbreak of fighting the Red Air Force attempted to deal a knockout blow to the Finns with strategic bombing. Over a hundred bombers struck Helsinki on the first day of the war, while a similar number struck Vyborg. Lacking radar and with their air force dispersed the Finns proved unable to intercept the initial raids. This soon changed as they worked out a spotting system and relocated their more modern elements, however only their Fokker monoplanes could successfully intercept the Soviet bombers, and the SB fast bombers only with great difficulty.

    The Finnish air force proved more successful at intercepting Soviet attack missions performed by older, slower single engine aircraft. Attempts by the Red Air Force to protect these missions proved costly as the Finns used superior tactics, Finger Four wing pairs as opposed to three aircraft Vic formations and displayed remarkable aggression. However while costly with only 30 older fighter aircraft that could be spared from interception duty they could only have a moderate impact on the Soviet air campaign.

    The Finnish bomber force was somewhat successful, but restricted itself to harassment attacks near the front to preserve its strength.

    In general the Finnish Air Force settled in for the long haul, working to preserve its force in being, operating out of dispersed frozen lakes and other tiny fields rather than trying for maximum operational efficiency…

    …The Finnish Navy primarily sat out the war’s early days in Turku serving as floating AA barges. Partly this was due to the winter ice conditions impeding operations, partly due to a desire to conserve difficult to replace forces. The Finnish icebreakers however were needed to keep shipping channels open and to supply Finland’s many islands, they and the Finnish light forces were the primary active forces. They mostly served to protect Finland’s naval lines of communications.

    The Red Navy was more active, attempting unsuccessfully to enforce a blockade of the Finnish coastline for as long as the ice permitted naval activity. The also undertook numerous bombardment actions in support of the front, facing off against Finnish coastal artillery. While the Red Navy was not able to successfully cause a breach with its bombardment, neither did the Finnish batteries manage to damage the Soviet attackers. The Finnish coastal artillery was more successful in firing in support of the Mannerheim line against the Red Army where its combination of protection, weight of shell and rate of fire made it very effective…

    …The initial Soviet campaign had played into the advantages of the Finnish in terrain, positioning, coordination, training and morale. Further campaigns in Karelia would see the Soviet advantages in manpower and material play out, especially as the Finnish warstocks could not be replenished nearly as fast as they were used…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    …the British declaration of war on October 3rd should have seen the full might of the British Empire fall on Germany. Yet it did not do so immediately for the several of the Dominions did not feel themselves bound by the decision of the mother country, despite agreeing that Britian retained the power to declare war for the entire empire at the Imperial conferences. Canada at least merely felt the need to make their own declaration and did so promptly, wasting merely some debate time. South Africa saw Prime Minister Hertzog attempt to keep the country neutral in pro British way, as he and his party represented South Africa’s Boers who somewhat understandably did not want to fight for the Empire that had conquered them and put their people into concentration camps. South Africa did declare war after Hertzog fell in a vote of no confidence and a minority government under general Jan Smuts.

    The Irish Free State was the most ungrateful of the Dominions and under President Michael Collins declared strict neutrality in a war. In doing so he violated the Anglo-Irish treaty which required him to provide basing rights to Britian at a number of ports and aerodromes and gave Ireland’s neutrality a distinctly pro German slant…

    …None of the Dominions immediately gave the war their full effort. All of them refused to implement conscription at the start of the war and none moved to a war economy like Britian did. In the case of South Africa and Canada this is understandable given the restive Boers and Quebecois would certainly cause no small amount of trouble if conscription were to be implemented, in Australia and New Zealand where such problems were absent it was not…

    …Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were willing to commit their ground troops as soon as practical, though given geographic realities they preferred to see them used to free up British forces from Africa as opposed to deployed in France. Canada however made significant efforts to avoid deploying any ground troops. The government of Robert Manion was privately willing, but could not publicly be so due to attacks from the liberal opposition. Instead Canada tried to get away with purely sending air force units, taking a great deal of cajoling to send even a single division to Europe…

    -A Setting Sun, the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Bodley Head, Nottingham, 2015

    …After sacrificing a great deal for the Empire in the First World War, and being treated as second class in the interwar era, the Dominions were understandably reluctant to commit wholeheartedly to a war in Europe that did not really threaten them. Given that in 1940 and early 1941 there was no real appearance that Britain might lose one can understand that the Dominions would not want to sacrifice their liberties and economies just so Britain could win slightly quicker and more easily. That they were willing to go to war and make commitments of blood and treasure in such a war showed that they still had a great deal of affection and support for the mother country…

    -Excerpt from The End of Empire: The British Empire from 1914 to 1964, Southern Hemisphere Press, Wellington, 2005


    Union of South Africa
    Basics:

    South Africa is a Dominion of the British Empire formed out of multiple colonies in the area, including the Boer republics conquered around the turn of the century. It is currently governed by the United Party under J.B.M. Hertzog.

    Economy:

    South Africa is primarily a resource extraction economy focused on Gold and Diamonds, with agriculture being in support of this. It has recently began to industrialize and see large scale coal and iron mining, though it remains only lightly industrialized.

    Land Forces:

    South Africa has a small army of 5500 regulars and 15,000 reservists. Active forces consist of a single British pattern infantry regiment and supporting arms, reserves 6 infantry regiments. An additionally 125,000 militia are theoretically available but only useful in defense of the country.

    The Standard South African rifle is the Lee-Enfield in .303, primarily the short model and license built. Older models of Lee-Enfield are in use by the reserves. South Africa has no plans to adopt the No. 39 or No. 40 Rifle.

    South Africa’s standard Revolver is the Webley in .455 though other .455 caliber revolvers are acceptable substitutions for officers. South Africa lacks submachine guns.

    The standard South African Light machine Gun is the Rieder, a conversion of the Lee Enfield Rifle in .303. South Africa uses the Lewis gun in .303 as a supplement for times when volume of fire is more needed than low weight. South Africa intends to adopt the Holek in .303 British to replace the Reider and Lewis once sufficient tooling is available to start domestic production. The standard Heavy machine gun is the Vickers in .303 British. Some consideration is being made to replacing the Vickers with the Rolik, however that would require adoption of a new Caliber which South Africa is loath to do.

    South Africa’s only heavy weapons are 3” Stokes mortars. Purchase of more modern British mortars and Boys AT rifles are planned

    South Africa lacks towed AT weapons but plans on purchasing 2 pounder AT guns.

    South African AA is in the form of Vickers guns, Naval 2 pounders and 12 pounder AA guns from WWI.

    Standard South African field artillery is the 18 pounder and the 4.5” howitzer. These are upgraded but Pre WWI pieces and obsolescent with fixed trail carriages. South Africa plans to replace them with 25 pounders as those weapons become available. South Africa also has BL 60 pounders, and BL 6” Howitzers in storage as heavier weapons. South Africa also makes use of 3.7” Mountain Howitzer.

    South Africa lacks tanks

    South Africa has standardized on a six ton armored car with a pair of .303 Vickers gun built by Dorman Long from imported components. It is lightly armored, capable of 50 mph and about 100 are in serive.

    The South African Army is only lightly motorized.

    The South African Army is highly segregated with blacks, Indians and mixed race personnel only allowed to serve in unarmed noncombat support positions


    Naval Forces:

    South Africa has an embryonic Navy of about 15 officers and 20 seamen and is in discussion about acquiring a WWI era sloop for training purposes from Great Britain, it is otherwise lacking in ships.

    Air Forces:

    The South African Air Force is a relatively small force of about 10 squadrons.

    The standard fighter/light bomber is the Avro Aardvark, a variant of the Avro Antlion built for South Africa. An old, slow and unmaneuverable biplane with fixed gear and an open cockpit it has decent range, ceiling and the ability to carry 550 pounds of bombs. South Africa has 3 squadrons

    South Africa has two squadrons of bombers. One squadron is of Ju-76 airliners converted to bombers, acquired by a barter arrangement with the Germans for long range bombers. The other is of Ju-56 airliners converted to bombers, with a somewhat greater payload but less range and altitude.

    An additional squadron of Ju-56 are used as transports.

    The remaining 4 squadrons of aircraft are British designed trainers and liaison aircraft, some locally built.

    South Africa lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    South Africa does maintain a small stockpile of mustard gas variants and Lewisite, as well as one of the most diverse arrays of non-lethal chemical agents. Dispersal is by mortar shell, aerial bomb, grenade and truck mounted sprayer.

    South Africa does not have a bioweapons program at this time

    South Africa is part of the British nuclear program at this time

    Problems:

    South Africa is a highly segregated society with the nonwhite population almost completely excluded from most aspects of society

    A near plurality of white South African society is opposed to Britain and supports Germany

    South Africa is relatively isolated in southern Africa from the conflict zones

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001





    This was supposed to just be Finland today, but British politics invades as always on AH.com
     
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    Part 6-15 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Denmark
  • …The goals of the Soviet invasion in Central Finland, or what was considered the central Finnish theater if not central Finland in a geographic sense, were the cities of Oulu and Tornio. three divisions were assigned to attack the former, two the latter, with the Finns merely having an understrength brigade each. Without fixed defenses this should have resulted in an easy victory for the Soviets, being able to use their overwhelming numbers to fix and outmaneuver the Finns. However the poor terrain of the area meant that Soviet logistics were dependent on what amounted to a single road in both cases for supply and they lacked the skis and winter training to move off of it. By contrast the Finns had both skis and the training to use them.

    In the first few days of the war both columns made significant advances as the Finns sought only to delay with the occasional ambush and more common use of fallen logs. On the 27th that changed. In the north as two mountain divisions advanced on Tornio they reached the Kemijoki river. There the Finns had dug in and the Soviets attempted to storm the two bridges across the river they could reach. This proved a failure and after inflicting heavy losses on Soviet assault units the Finns merely blew up the bridges. This left the Soviets in need of bridging units, which had to be brought up from the border. With the roads congested this took a great deal of time, something made worse by constant Finnish raids. The bridging equipment did not reach the front until January 15th and the attack did not occur until the 18th. With a great deal of time to dig in and the Soviets forced to attack near the roads the Finns easily repulsed the attack and continued to harass the stuck columns.

    The attack on Oulu managed to penetrate further however its situation turned out even worse. Two divisions were strung out along a road between the village of Suomussalmi and the border. The Finns managed to slow them down with a blocking force of a battalion while assembling several more to the south of the Soviets. Operating from a trail hastily plowed through the snow the Finns attacked the strung out Soviets and cut them into a number of pockets or Motti in Finnish. The Finns then assembled forces north of the Soviets and began attacking the pockets one by one from all sides. The attacks were fairly simple in execution, but coming from all sides against poorly supplied and poorly led Soviet forces with inadequate winter gear in conditions of 40 below they were remarkably successful two Soviet divisions essentially ceased to exist by January 15th.

    The Finns attempted to repeat this success on a third division that was attempting a flanking maneuver. Less heavily supplied and equipped the 163rd Rifle division took up less road space and had its combat power more compacted. As such the Finns were only able to break it into its constituent regiments, rather than smaller, less coherent chunks. They were able to place blocking forces in its rear and prevent resupply from the Soviet border, but the Red Air Force was able to keep supplies flowing from the air…

    …Near Petsamo, north of Ladoga and on the Isthmus the Soviets continued to grind forward unsuccessfully into January. Little ground was gained and heavy losses were taken, thanks to continuously poor coordination between arms and unpreparedness for the harsh winter conditions. The Finns even temporarily managed to push the Russians back 5 miles near Primorsk for a week before having to withdraw back to the Mannerheim line or take severe losses. At the same time however losses were inflicted on the Finns by Soviet artillery and perhaps more importantly Finnish artillery stockpiles depleted, forcing them to use their heavy weapons more conservatively…

    …Despite the large degree of failure displayed by Soviet forces Stalin did not use it as an excuse to purge the senior commanders. The dominant assumption is that the commanders in charge were his personal favorites, ones he knew were loyal to him and that he personally liked. As such he was inclined to forgive them and only target a few of the most egregiously incompetent mid-level officers involved for purging.

    At the same time however he was displeased with the performance of the Soviet forces deployed in Finland. Marshal Voroshilov, a favorite and personal friend of Stalin’s and the commander of the Soviet forces in Finland was transferred out to control the occupation of the Baltic states at the urging of Admiral Kuznetsov and Marshals Kulik, Budyonny and Shaposhnikov. They stated that Voroshilov, with his strong party background and organizational skills was the ideal candidate and that a more hands on leader would be better to command a smaller theater with more subtlety while Voroshilov dealt with big picture issues elsewhere. Marshal Shaposhnikov instead took command and began the process of hammering the Red Army into shape in late January…

    …Finland’s plight attracted a great deal of sympathy and condemnations of the USSR from the nations of the world came pouring in immediately. Some such as that of Italy and Spain were exceptionally vociferous in their support of Finland, others like France were more mealy mouthed. The only exceptions, apart from the Soviet puppet states of Mongolia and Tuva, and China which was dependent on Soviet aid, were surprisingly Japan and Germany. Despite being publicly anti communist the two nations had private dealings with the USSR and did not wish to jeopardize them…

    …Finland received a great deal of support from abroad. The largest amount came from Sweden, who did not want a border with the USSR for quite logical reasons. 10,000 volunteers were sent, as well as batteries of modern artillery, AA and AT guns and a third of the Swedish Air Force’s inventory. Despite this aid however Sweden was loathe to more directly intervene, despite Finnish hopes to the contrary.

    Second to Sweden was Italy. Sanna sent a combined arms regiment of volunteers, including tanks, AT guns and artillery, along with a squadron each of fighters and bombers and a detachment of MAS boats, with equipment that was modern but not the newest Italy possessed to validate Italain doctrine. Sanna further sent a large amount of obsolete equipment, 100 captured Austrian artillery pieces from WWI, 100,000 Vetterli and Mannlicher rifles, 5,000 machine guns, 20 Fiat 3000 tanks, 10 WWI era MAS boats, 50 older models of fighter aircraft and 25 bombers amongst other arms.

    Thirdly was Hungary, surprisingly enough. Feeling a kinship with Finland due to recently revealed linguistic ties and Finnish friendliness in the interwar Hungary recruited a reinforced battalion to serve in Finland. Hungary also sent some of the few examples of modern arms received by Finland, ex Polish AT, AA and artillery, along with small arms that Hungary had received as payment for providing a distraction, along with a few older aircraft.

    Norway and Denmark sent about a thousand volunteers each, more then Hungary, but less than Italy. Both raised considerable amounts of funds for donation, Norway sent a battery of obsolete 7.5cm artillery along with older rifles and winter gear, Denmark sent 100 light machine guns and 10 20mm cannons.

    The Baltic states saw a considerable number of volunteers travel to Finland to fight the Soviets, about 1000 from Estonia, 600 from Latvia and 400 from Lithuania.

    Scandinavian Americans raised a large amount of funds for Finland and about 1,000 volunteered to fight with Finland, primarily those of Finnish extraction.

    Spain sent a volunteer battalion, partially filled out with Portuguese, and donated a small quantity of former Soviet gear as well as some of their oldest and most worn out weapons.

    France sent arguably the largest quantity of munitions, but also the oldest. France sent nearly 1000 artillery pieces including 200 anti-tank guns, but with the exception of the AT guns, a WWI German design, they were black powder weapons from the 1870s. The AT guns would have been useful, but France only sent 20 rounds per gun, not enough for useful training. France also sent a hundred thousand Lebel rifles, 50,000 Chamelot revolvers, 1000 St. Etienne Machine guns, 500 MG 08 and 50 FT-17’s, along with ammunition.

    Britain also sent a large amount of munitions. Britain sent a few batteries of semi modern unmodernized 18 pounder guns and 4.5” Howitzer, being one of the few countries to do so, along with obsolete 13 pounder guns and original 3” Stokes mortars. Britain also sent several thousand Lee Metford and Lee Enfield rifles, about a thousand Vickers Guns, and 20 old tanks as well as a quantity of captured German weapons from WWI. Unlike most other countries Britain would later regret this donation to the Finnish cause…

    …Despite receiving a large amount of donations and spending everything they had Finland found that they had a great deal of trouble purchasing modern equipment. Only Italy and Sweden had the capacity to spare and both were backed up by preexisting orders from other nations. Some bribing and cajoling managed to move them up in the queue but it would still take months for most of Finland’s purchases to be delivered, months they did not have…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005


    Kingdom of Denmark
    Basics:

    Denmark is a constitutional monarchy under the House of Glucksburg, cousins to the Norwegian monarchs, with the Prime Minister being Social Democrat Thorvald Stauning. Denmark remained neutral in WWI and controls a small colonial empire in the North Atlantic.

    Economy:

    Denmark is primarily an agricultural country with limited industry. Primary exports are Pork, Dairy Products and farmed Furs, fish if one counts the Danish empire. Denmark has functionally no domestic energy production.

    Land Forces:

    Denmark has a small army of 20,000 organized into two divisions and an independent Regiment on Bornholm. Denmark. Denmark has 1 triangular Life Guard Regiment, 7 rectangular infantry regiments, 1 Triangular infantry regiment on Bornholm, two triangular cavalry regiments, 3 artillery regiments and an independent heavy AA regiment.

    The Standard Danish rifle is the Krag Jorgensen in 8x58mm Danish Krag. There are currently no plans to replace the weapon.

    The standard Danish pistol is the Bergmann Bayard in 9mm Largo. This is only issued to officers in line units, others receive older 12mm revolvers. Denmark does not possess submachine guns.

    Denmark’s standard light machine gun is the Madsen, a domestic recoil operated design in 8x58mm fed from a 40 round box. It is used both as a squad level machine gun and a higher level weapon having replaced older heavy models from the turn of the century.

    Denmark uses a typical 81mm Brandt clone as a battalion support weapon, and 3 infantry regiments have an attached company of 37mm/21 Infantry guns from France.

    Denmark uses a scaled up version in 20x120mm as a combined AA/AT weapon, with 15 round AT magazines and 60 round AA, mountings vary between AT, multipurpose and AA. Denmark also uses 37mm/45 Bofors AT guns and possesses three batteries at present.

    For AA Denmark uses their Madsen cannon as well as 40mm and 75mm/52 Bofors guns. The 40 mm is used in Divisional AA units while the 75mm in the fixed AA regiment. Madsen machine guns are also used as needed.

    Standard Danish artillery is an unmodified Krupp 7.5cm/30 from 1903. This makes most of the Danish artillery. Heavier guns are the Schneider 10.5cm/48 and 15cm/22, modern interwar export pieces of which they have 12 and 24 respectively. Denmark has heavier artillery, but only as coastal fortress pieces.

    Denmark has about 10 Mark I light tanks from Britain with a single machine gun, being fast but lightly armored two man tankettes.

    Their standard armored car is the P40 4x4 from Sweden. It is 8 tons and has a 20mm cannon and 3 8mm machine guns, with armor against small arms. They make 45 miles an hour and 10 are in service. An additional 5 4x6 Swedish armored cars of the same size are also in use with similar armament and protection.

    The Danish Army has motorized its artillery, but otherwise is dependent on animal transport. Denmark is issuing bicycles to try and improve the mobility of the infantry with one battalion of every regiment so issued.


    Naval Forces:

    Denmark has a small coast defense navy.

    The largest are two coast defense ships. The older is the 3500 ton Peder Skram, 15 knots with 2 24cm in single turrets, 4 casemated 15cm guns and 10 5.7cm guns, and limited protection against 6” shells. The Niels Juel is a more modern vessel with 2 30.5cm and 8 12cm guns, and 6 twin 20mm as AA, though she is no faster or better protected.

    Denmark has 7 operational torpedo boats.

    The Delfinen is a 180 ton 26 knot vessel with a 75mm gun, a machine gun, a 45cm bow tube and a triple 45cm mount on deck.

    The Dragen, Hvalen and Laen are 28 knot vessels of 300 tons with 2 75mm guns, 2 20mm Madsen guns, 2 45cm tubes in fixed bow mounts and two triple 45cm deck mounts, 2 machine guns and up to 20 mines. The Glenten, Hogen and Ornen are near sisters of the Dragen class. They replace the 75mm guns with 87mm and the triple torpedo tubes with twins.

    Two larger 35 knot 800 ton Aarhus class vessels are under construction to finish in 1944 and have 2 105mm, 3 40mm, 6 20mm guns, 6 550mm torpedo tubes, up to 60 mines and two depth charge throwers.

    Denmark has 10 submarines with one more building. The Ran, Triton, and Neptun are the oldest, they are 200 ton short ranged vessels capable of 13.5 knots surfaced and 9.5 submerged. They have 1 57mm gun and 3 45cm torpedo tubes.

    The Rota, Bellona and Flora are larger, 15 300 tons and faster at 14 knots and 10.5 submerged. They have 3 bow and 1 stern 45cm torpedo tubes and a 57mm deck gun.

    The Daphne and Dryaden are 310 ton vessels that make 13.5 knots surfaced and 7 submerged. They have 4 bow and 2 stern 45cm tubes, a 75mm deck gun, a 20mm AA and a machine gun.

    The Havmanden, Havfreuen, and Havkalen are 350 ton vessels that make 15 knots on the surface and 7 submerged. They have 3 45cm bow tubes and 2 stern tubes, 2 40mm AA guns and 2 machine guns. A fourth vessel, the Havhesten is under construction to finish in 1942.

    Denmark has 3 minelayers. These are converted freighters of varying sizes and armaments, no two the same.

    Denmark has 9 Minesweepers. Six are former Springeren class torpedo boats, 110 ton 24.5 knot ships. They have 2 57mm guns, a machine gun and a 45cm tube in the bow after the deck mount was removed as part of conversion.

    The Soloven, Sobjornen and Soulven are 300 ton vessels that make 19 knots with a 75mm gun and a twin 20mm AA mount. Under construction are the Soridden, Sohesten and Sohunden.

    Denmark has 4 fisheries patrol vessels that can serve as gunboats. Falk is 750 tons, 13 knots with 2 75mm and 2 47mm guns. Fylla is 1250 tons, 17 knots with 2 120mm and 2 57mm guns. Hvidbjornen is 920 tons, 15 knots with 2 87mm guns. Ingolf is 1400 tons, 16 knots with 2 12cm, 2 57mm, 2 20mm guns and 2 8mm machine guns.

    An additional 4 Springeren class torpedo boats serve as short range patrol vessels.

    Denmark lacks a marine corps but has a naval aviation arm.

    Air Forces:

    Denmark has a small air arm of four combat squadrons that is part of the Danish Army.

    The newest fighter is the Fokker XXX, a monoplane with fixed gear and an enclosed cockpit armed with four machine guns. By far the best aircraft Denmark has, it is somewhat below average in speed and maneuverable but only has 4 machine guns, 15 are in service. 30 obsolete SPAD 460 bought from France are also in service, but the open cockpit fixed gear biplane was poor even when new.

    Denmark has 30 Fokker XI open cockpit fixed gear biplane light bombers. They are used more as recon aircraft than transports.

    Denmark operates about 10 British built autogyros for army cooperation and recon.

    Denmark operates a mix of various types in small numbers for transport and training.

    The Danish Navy operates 25 German built HE 5 float planes for recon. They have 1 fixed and one flexible machine gun, can carry 220 pounds of bombs and have good range. Their speed is unspectacular, as is their service ceiling and they do not maneuver well.

    The Danish Navy also operates 10 Fairey Dantorp floatplane torpedo bombers, based on a precursor design to the Foxfish from 1930. They are very slow and unmanueverable but have decent range and carry two machine guns and a torpedo.

    Denmark lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Denmark does not have a nuclear, chemical or biological weapons program.

    Problems:

    Denmark has an unfortified border with Germany

    Denmark’s geographic position makes neutrality difficult

    Denmark is extremely dependent on imports of fuel and raw materials

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-16 Naval History, Fall of Europe, Iron Eagle, Eve of War: New Zealand
  • …The European War saw the Royal Navy effectively playing defense. With Germany lacking in colonies to capture there was functionally no way for the Royal Navy to act offensively, or at least no way to do so without running into the minefields the Germans had emplaced to protect their coast. While mines could be swept, the minesweepers would require cover to do so and if the Kriegsmarine lacked the battle line of the Kaiserliche Marine, it did have the airpower and coastal forces to prevent any sweeping attempt from making progress. Of course playing defense rarely sat well with anyone, especially not members of a service with a long tradition of rewarding aggressive action. Thus the Royal Navy began looking for ways to take the offensive against Germany.

    As in WWI they took a hard look at the possibility of interdicting Swedish Iron Ore exports to Germany. Unlike in WWI they had a reasonable case for doing so, then Swedish exports of Iron Ore were both low enough to have only a slight impact on the German war effort and low enough to be moved entirely by rail to Southern Sweden in Winter. In WWII they were much more important to the German war effort and were large enough that during winter only 20% could be moved to an ice free port in southern Sweden by rail. The remaining 80% would have to go by rail to Narvik in Norway. Thus it was actually possible for the Royal Navy to interdict German Iron Ore supplies without committing suicide by entering the Baltic, admittedly by violating Norwegian neutrality.

    This requirement of breaking international law removed the topic from consideration until the Soviet invasion of Finland, at which point it was revisited. With the events in Finland the British, soon joined by the French felt that they would have a fig leaf to “act in support of Finland”. Forces would be landed at Narvik, Bergen and Trondhiem to occupy the cities, while forces from Narvik would follow the rail line southeast to the iron ore fields of Kiruna and Malmberget in Sweden. It was expected that given the presence of the USSR nearby that the Norwegians and Swedes would acquiesce to their presence, lest the area become a battleground between Germany and the Entente.

    Despite enthusiastic backing from the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had every reason to know better, the Prime Minister sensibly refused to consider implementing the idea save as a reaction to a German occupation of Norway…

    …A considerable amount of planning was made by the Reichmarine in the interwar to the possibility of seizing Norway. Doing so was considered vital by members of the pro commerce raiding faction of the Reichsmarine. As it stood there was only a tiny gap that German raiders could pass through to reach the greater ocean, one that the British could if not close off certainly make passage difficult. Seizing Norway would give them many protected anchorages that could be used as bases and a way to pass by the British by hugging the Norwegian coast, protected by air power and light units. This would substantially increase the effectiveness of any potential commerce raiding campaign and it was thus considered vital to accomplish. Neither the balanced fleet nor the minimal fleet factions particularly cared about raiding positions, however they were forced to admit that taking Norway would be useful in securing Germany’s iron ore supplies.

    All three factions admitted that as it stood in the 1920’s there was no realistic way of doing so. The Royal Navy was too large relative to the Reichsmarine for them to have a chance of getting an invasion convoy through or supplying a beachhead if one could be established. Any thought of capturing Norway was thus an idle fancy used as a planning exercise.

    When the Reichsmarine became the Kriegsmarine that changed. While the new service could still expect to be outnumbered by the Royal Navy to a very large degree, it would not quite be so crushing. Within a few years the Royal Navy would be unable to send a single battleship and escorts and expect to defeat the entire German Navy in a standup fight. Along with steady improvements in the ability of airpower to engage warships the Kriegsmarine by 1940 thought that they had a chance to take Norway. Only a chance however, the British could still easily amass the forces to defeat any invasion fleet they could create, however they were unlikely to be able to do it from a standing start. If they could move fast enough they could be in Norway before the British could send more than a QRF, and that they could deal with.

    Such a plan of course would require surprise to ensure a half dozen capital ships were not waiting to send the invaders to the bottom of the sea. It would also need to use a good chunk of the German surface fleet as transports to be able to land before the British could muster overwhelming force. Finally they would need to rapidly take Denmark in order to have airbases to secure the Skagerrak enough to serve as a logistics route.

    The German Navy presented a draft plan to Hitler in November 1940 but made it clear that it would require a significant diversion of airpower that could be better used in the decisive theater in Europe and thus should only be executed if absolutely needed…

    Excerpt From A Naval History of the European War, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2008

    …The Soviet Invasion of Finland resulted in a great deal of outcry in Britain and France. There was a distinct worry on the part of the two governments that public opinion might force them to intervene in the conflict. Despite a strong desire not to risk a confrontation with the USSR both governments made plans to intervene in case they were forced. Both focused on interventions that would hurt the Germans as much as possible and that could be walked back from full war with the USSR.

    Both governments were well aware that adding the Soviet Union as an active belligerent would make defeating Germany impossible. Soviet resources were already mitigating the economic warfare they were committing against Germany, turning a small stream into a flood would make that approach inviable. That did not even count the threat to their colonies that Soviet forces in Armenia and Central Asia posed, or the worry of additional bombers attacking from seized airbases in Scandinavia. Despite the obvious imbalance of forces there were quite a few members of both government calling for fighting the USSR, more prominent in Britain than France and led by the First Lord of the Admiralty. These voices however were correctly marginalized and ignored and planning was done on the basis of avoiding war with the USSR.

    British plans were thus for a naval intervention in Norway and Sweden, officially to deliver troops to Finland, in practice to cut off Swedish iron exports to Germany. French plans were for a major air strike on the Soviet oil fields at Baku, which would cut off Soviet oil exports to Germany. The former was the more preferred plan, at least outside the Armee de Air and Royal Air Force, but some prep work was done even for the latter, with the intent of scapegoating a “rogue” officer and paying reparations to avoid full on war.

    As time went on however and the public outcry remained at a manageable level the Baku plan was quietly shelved and forgotten about. The intervention in Norway and Sweden remained as it did not involve directly fighting the Soviets, save in a few politicians fever dreams. However violating neutrality as required by these plans would cost them a great deal of diplomatic capital, and thus actually executing the plan would require either Germany to act first or a major fig leaf to cover the blatant violations of diplomatic norms. Not doing so risked alienating the United States and thus a potential embargo on arms that they desperately needed…

    …From defectors in the late 40’s it is known that the higher ups in the Soviet Union were paranoid about the possibility of Anglo-French intervention in the war in Finland. Either from overestimating Anglo-French military potential, underestimating their own, sheer paranoia or some combination of the three it was believed that them intervening would be a disaster. Thus up until March of 1941 the Soviet Union was looking to quickly end the war in Finland without appearing weak.

    However by March enough intelligence reports had arrived indicating that there was no desire among the Anglo-French elites as a whole for intervention, and thus no need to rush the war in a Finland to a too hasty conclusion…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    …By January 1st it was clear to the Wehrmacht upper echelons that they would not be ready for a January 30th invasion of France. Stockpiles were still too depleted after the Polish campaigns and the new wave of infantry divisions that they were relying on were simply unready. It was requested once more that Hitler delay the operation to March 31st, though given his impetuousness the generals thought he would demand the first of March.

    Hitler surprised them by agreeing to the full extension, and then once more by asking about the progress of a revised plan. Even the revised plan had consistently failed in wargames and Hitler wanted a plan that did not. So too did much of the Wehrmacht’s upper echelon generals who did not have a part in crafting the original Case Grey, who felt that the simple revisions made violated the principles of mobile warfare.

    In an attempt to stem criticism General Fromm revised Case Grey to incorporate a larger attack through the Ardennes with two Panzer and two infantry Corps. One Panzer Corps would feint at Saint Quentin to occupy French reserves, while the other and one of the infantry corps would attack in the direction of Maubenge to outflank the main Anglo-French concentration of troops, with the last corps to guard the flanks.

    This modification proved much more successful when wargamed, resulting more often than not in a fairly cheap conquest of the Netherlands and 80% of Belgium and leaving the German mobile forces intact to fight another campaign to take Paris and end the war. The modified Case Grey was thus adopted on January 15th…

    …Even in the January 15th Revision Case Grey remained unsatisfactory to many in the German High Command. While it could take Belgium, what it could not do was neutralize the Anglo-French mobile forces. Wargaming subsequent campaigns based on a successful Case Grey generally failed to produce an immediately decisive result given the most likely outcomes of a bloodied but intact Anglo-French Army Group retreating to the coast. This left the Anglo-French with a strong force to oppose a drive on Paris and prevent a quick conquest of the city and surrounding region. With Germany on an economic timer a quick conquest was absolutely needed…

    -Excerpt from The Iron Blooded Eagle, Germany in WWII, Bishop Press, New York, 2000

    Dominion of New Zealand
    Basics:

    New Zealand is a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire. It is currently governed by the Labor Party of Peter Fraser.

    Economy:

    New Zealand has a primarily agricultural economy exporting primarily wool, mutton and dairy products. New Zealand has a moderate amount of light industry to tend to domestic needs.

    Land Forces:

    New Zealand has a small Army divided into three military districts with a peacetime strength of 5,000 and a mobilization strength of 20,000. Each district is expected to raise a three battalion Infantry brigade, a British pattern field artillery regiment and a battalion of cavalry on mobilization with supporting elements.

    The Standard New Zealand rifle is the Lee-Enfield in .303, primarily the short model and imported from Australia. Older models of Lee-Enfield are in use by the reserves. New Zealand has no plans to adopt the No. 39 or No. 40 Rifle.

    New Zealand’s standard Revolver is the Webley Mark IV in .38 though other .38 caliber revolvers are acceptable substitutions for officers. Older Webley models in .455 remain in storage.

    The standard New Zealand Light machine Gun is the Charlton, a conversion of the Lee Enfield Rifle in .303. New Zealand uses the Lewis gun in .303 as a supplement for times when volume of fire is more needed than low weight. New Zealand intends to adopt the Holek in .303 British to replace the Charlton and Lewis once sufficient tooling is available to start production in Australia. The standard Heavy machine gun is the Vickers in .303 British. Some consideration is being made to replacing the Vickers with the Rolik, however that would require adoption of a new Caliber which New Zealand will not do without Australia doing so first.

    New Zealand’s infantry heavy weapons are the Boys .55 Anti-Tank Rifle and Mortars. The Standard Mortar is the 3.2” as a battalion weapon, with 2” mortars being issued as a company weapon, though that is not yet complete. Older 3” Stokes remain in storage.

    New Zealand currently lacks towed AT weapons but purchase of the 2 pounder from Britain is planned.

    AA is in the form of Vickers guns, Naval 2 pounders and 12 pounder AA guns from WWI.

    Standard New Zealand field artillery is the 18 pounder and the 4.5” howitzer. These are upgraded but Pre WWI pieces and obsolescent with fixed trail carriages. New Zealand plans to replace them with 25 pounders as those weapons become available. Australia also has a few BL 60 pounders in storage as heavier weapons. New Zealand also makes use of 3.7” Mountain Howitzer for expected use in jungle conditions.

    New Zealand lacks tanks.

    New Zealand operates a small number of 2-4.5 ton scout cars with a machine gun and minimal armor. They are planning on replacing cavalry with armored cars, though have not decided on a design to mass purchase.

    The New Zealand Army is relatively lightly motorized for its domestic though this is planned to change, with full motorization by 1943.


    Naval Forces:

    New Zealand lacks an independent Navy but has a dedicated division of the Royal Navy primarily crewed by New Zealanders.

    The most powerful vessels in New Zealand service are the Sapphire class cruisers Opal and Onyx. They are 7500 ton 32.5 knot ships, long ranged, seaworthy with a float plane and limited resistance 50 6” fire at combat ranges. They have 4 twin 6”/50 in superfiring centerline turrets, 4 single 4”/45 AA, 3 quad .55 HMG and 2 quad 21” torpedo tubes.

    The hulk of the 2600 ton cruiser Philomel remains in commission but is incapable of moving with her engines removed, serving as a moored training ship with a varying armament.

    For Convoy escorts the Deptford class Sloops Auckland and Wellington are in service. They are 16 knot ships with 2 4.7”/45 guns, 1 3” AA guns, 4 3 pounder saluting guns and a depth charge rail, New Zealand has added two twin Lewis guns to its vessels.

    The Dunedin and Christchurch are newer larger Pelican class vessels of 1250 tons and 18 knots. They have 4 twin 4”/45 DP guns, a quad .55HMG, two depth charge throwers and two depth charge rails.

    The Flower class sloop Veronica is in use as a survey vessel. She has a 4”/40 gun, a .55 HMG and 2 .303 MG, with provision for two depth charge racks and launchers. She is 1200 tons and makes 15.5 knots.

    The Wakakura is the only minesweeper in New Zealand service and used mainly as a training vessel, being a 550 ton 10 knot trawler from WWI. She has a 4”/40, two Lewis guns and 4 depth charges along with her minesweeping gear.

    The New Zealand division has the normal complement of shipboard Marines expected in the Royal Navy.

    Air Forces:

    New Zealand has a small air force of about a hundred and thirty aircraft organized on the British pattern.

    New Zealand has no fighter aircraft.

    25 bombers are Gloster Grampus, on older model of ship based torpedo bomber replaced by the Fairey Foxfish. A single engine three place open cockpit biplane it is very slow with a low ceiling and unmanueverable. It is armed with a forward and a ring mount machine gun and could carry torpedoes, if New Zealand had any air dropped models.

    30 are Hawker Hegemon a very slow and oversized single engine biplane marginal faster and higher flying than the Grampus with a longer range and less maneuverability. It has the same armament as the Grampus, but provision for carrying 1800 pounds of bombs instead of the air dropped torpedoes New Zealand does not have.

    An additional thirty are modern Vickers Vendetta twin engine monoplane bombers. The Vendetta carries 4500 pounds of bombs and 6 machine guns in twin turrets in the nose and tail and flex mounts on the sides. The Vendetta has decent speed for a modern medium bomber but a slow ceiling and is of composite construction.

    The remainder of the RZNAF are various training and transport aircraft from Britain.

    New Zealand lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    New Zealand does not maintain chemical weapons of her own.

    New Zealand does not have a biological weapons program.

    New Zealand is nominally part of the British nuclear weapons program.

    Problems:

    New Zealand is fairly isolated in the South Pacific

    New Zealand lacks industry

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
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    Part 6-17 Fall of Europe, Before the Storm, Naval History, Eve of War: Luxembourg
  • …After the debacles of December and January the Soviets continued to push assaults on Finland. Losses were heavy but with the Finns short on artillery ammunition they were much less one sided, with the Finns having to kill with bullets and grenades rather than shells and bombs. The Finns in Karelia and elsewhere gave yard after bloody yard to the Soviets, but overall were not in serious danger of a breakthrough in February. The main exception to this slow fighting retreat was in central Finland where the Finns continued to attempt to destroy the isolated 163rd Rifle Division. The 163rd however was well supplied from the air and its constituent regiments were able to break through the Finnish screens surrounding them and reunite. The 163rd was however unable to break past the Finnish blocking forces to its rear and retreat back into the USSR. Thus it became a different king of stalemate, where the Finns were the attacker, rather than the defender.

    While these stalemates were going on however the Soviets were assembling and more importantly training a large reserve force. Marshal Shaposhnikov realized that the problem that prevented the Soviet forces from overrunning the Finns in the initial offensive was in coordination between arms. The artillery did not respond for calls for fire in a timely manner, or adjust or cease fire in a timely manner, leaving the other arms to not call for it and to wait excessively long before attacking after a bombardment. The tanks almost invariably raced ahead of the infantry and ended up attacking alone, and being massacred when they had to stop and engage fixed defenses without a screen to keep enemy infantry away. And of course without artillery bombardments to keep enemy heads down or tanks to destroy strongpoints the Soviet infantry was slaughtered in mass by the entrenched Finnish defenders.

    Shaposhnikov set about changing this, running his reserves through drills and wargames to provide this coordination. With only a little over a month he could do little to fundamentally change things, but he could move the Red Army somewhat closer to being able to perform as well as its doctrine said it should. With the imbalance of forces as they were even a slight improvement would have major results…

    …The Finnish Air Force continued to overperform compared to its armaments in February, however the writing was on the wall. Finland had only possessed 30 modern fighters, Fokker XXXs, when the war had begun, and by February they had lost 7 of them. The Swedes had sent 13 of their Hawker Headsmen to replace them, but the Headsman was an inferior aircraft too slow to catch most of the Soviet bombers if capable of fighting their fighters. Finland had received a further hundred fighters, but these were all substantially inferior to the Headsman, and most were only good for training or night harassment, being simply too slow to even deal with bombers much less fight the Soviet I-18’s.

    The Soviet destruction of 4 Fokkers and two older fighters on the ground on February 11th marked a decisive shift against the Finns. Finland was forced to overwork their remaining Fokkers in order to have a degree of coverage, resulting in rapidly increased mechanical failures and attrition. The Swedish Headsmen were pressed into supplementing them in the air superiority role, rather than the bomber destruction role and by the end of February five had been lost.

    The Red Air Force was increasingly able to operate with impunity, continuing to bomb Finnish cities, take photos of Finnish territory, supply the trapped 163rd Rifle Division, strafe Finnish ground troops and by the middle of February conduct an aerial mining campaign against Finland’s Ports. This last campaign was unable to completely block the Finnish ports, but still did better than the attempted submarine blockade in that it delayed the arrival of supplies for a matter of several days to a fortnight, a major problem for the Finns…

    …The Finnish situation in the air would stabilize and slightly improve in March, with the arrival of the Italain Volunteer Group and the first RE 2100s being built in Sweden. By that point however Finnish pilot quality and serviceability began to drop precipitously…

    …In January and February most naval fighting in the Finnish theater was limited to skirmishes between icebreakers. The exception was the Soviet use of several icebreakers to clear a channel and allow the big guns of the Baltic fleet to bombard the Mannerheim Line from maximum range. The Finns attempted to engage these vessels with submarines, but under the ice operations were extremely tricky and the Soviets heavily escorted their capital ships. The Finns lost the Ves Ihiisi in one of these attempts, with the smaller Nakki destroyed on the rails by Soviet aircraft when they attempted to bring it closer to the front in a second attempt…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    …John Nance Garner formally became the 34th President of the United States on January 20th 1941. Immediately he asked Congress to start working on rolling back some of the more egregiously intrusive and unpopular of the New Deal Programs. Others were put on temporary life support, in that Garner wanted to roll them back at some point but now that he was president he wanted the options that keeping them would provide, so he arranged temporary extensions. Many of the more popular programs, such as Social Security and the Development Authorities would be untouched, while others like the Civilian Conservation Corps would be scaled back.

    Garner left it up to Congress to decide how they wanted to do this, merely setting broad guidelines of what he wanted to do…

    …With the outbreak of the war in Europe and rising tensions Garner decided to abandon his push for a completely balanced budget. He still intended to raise the primary budget surplus, and to reduce the deficit from temporary funding to half of what it was under Franklin Roosevelt’s last year. Garner advocated reasonable preparedness and that excessive concern about a balanced budget should not prevent necessary and prudent military preparations. Of course Garner disagreed with the military, and Roosevelt, on just what counted as necessary and prudent, but only by degree…

    …To show that he was still committed to maintaining some of the New Deal Garner scheduled his first presidential trip for March 4th to attend the opening of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Dam, alongside his predecessor under whose administration it had started…

    -Excerpt From Before the Storm: American Neutrality in WWII, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2000

    …By the end of February 1941 the Royal Navy had backed down from planning on a full scale invasion of Norway, even if the First Lord of the Admiralty thought otherwise. Instead they planned a much more modest violation of Norwegian neutrality, a large scale offensive mining campaign to close the iron port of Narvik. This was much less egregious and would require less of a fig leaf for neutrals, and especially the United States, to ignore the violation.

    The basic plan was to close the Vestfjord approaching Narvik with mines, followed by two smaller fields of Bud and Stad, more as diversions than anything else. If the Norwegians attempted to interfere, the plan was to move slightly and lay the mines nearby, the exact positioning of the fields not being a matter of huge importance. It was expected that the Norwegians would accept the operation with minimal fuss given the relative positions of the two countries.

    The Operation was presented to the Cabinet and quickly approved of. It was to be executed after the discovery of a sufficient number of German blockade runners illegally using Norwegian Waters. To that end Captains enforcing the blockade were given leave to violate Norwegian waters at need, something which in retrospect turned out to be a terrible idea…

    …In January 1941 German intelligence in Rome made contact with the Norwegian Ambassador. Vidkun Quisling, a former minister of defense, had been appointed as ambassador both for his excellent personal relations with Erasmo Sanna and to get him out of Norway. Leadership of his Fascist National Samling party devolved on his brother and it was politically marginalized. Quisling however still had a voice in government via his brother and contact with elements of the defense ministry and civil service. Should the Germans need to invade Norway, Quisling and his faction would support them…

    Excerpt From A Naval History of the European War, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2008


    The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

    Basics:
    Luxembourg is a Constitutional Monarchy under the house of Bourbon-Parma. Its current prime minister is Pierre Dupong, leading a coalition of the Right Party and the Liberals. Luxembourg has been officially neutral since 1867 and was occupied for the duration of WWI by the Germans. It is a binational state of French and Germans.

    Economy:

    Luxembourg has a relatively industrialized economy for its size. It has a strong steel industry with supporting iron mines, but imports coal. Luxembourg is important in European banking and cross border financing. Luxembourg is self sufficient agriculturally and has noticeable wine exports.

    Land Forces:

    Luxembourg does not possess an army and instead possesses a 1,000 strong Corps of Gendarmes. This force is organized into 4 companies and numerous independent detachments.

    Luxembourg’s standard infantry rifle is the Gewehr 98 in 7.92mm Mauser, given by Germany as reparations after WWI.

    Luxembourg’s standard sidearm is the 9mm Browning High Power Pistol built by FN in Belgium.

    Luxembourg’s standard heavy machine gun is the MG08 in 7.92mm Mauser, of which they have 20. They have an additional 15 Belgian built BAR’s in 7.92mm Mauser as light machine guns.

    Luxembourg lacks weapons heavier than machine guns.

    Luxembourg has four armored cars armed with single machine guns for policing duties.

    The Luxembourgish military has limited motorization, but can confiscate sufficient civilian vehicles at need for full motorization.

    Naval Forces:

    Luxembourg has no navy being a landlocked country without major lakes or rivers.

    Air Forces:

    Luxembourg has no Air Force.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Luxembourg does not have a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons program.

    Problems:

    Luxembourg is a small lightly armed nation next to Germany.

    Luxembourg has a pro German Fifth Column.

    Luxembourg’s economy is highly dependent on foreign trade.

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-18 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Newfoundland
  • …On March 3rd Marshal Shaposhnikov released his reserves on the Finnish line at the west of the Karelian isthmus. An hour long artillery bombardment of the highest intensity yet seen on the Finnish front began about 45 minutes before dawn. This was immediately followed up by an assault, tanks in the lead with infantry following behind, all having finally adopted proper winter white as opposed o the obvious forest green they had been using. The coordination was by most standards below average, the Finns had plenty of time to recover from the bombardment before the tanks reached engagement range, and sufficient time to engage the tanks before the infantry arrived. By the standards of previous Soviet attacks these timeframes were vastly shorter. Equally as importantly was that the Finns had their first encounters with the Soviet assault tanks.

    While slow, ungainly and often breaking down, the Soviet tanks proved impervious to 20mm and 13.2mm fire, with the T-40 and 41 being impervious to everything the Finns had short of physically attaching a bomb. With enough time the Finnish infantry would have done just that, yet they did not have the time as the soviet infantry arrived to screen their tanks before that could happen. This coordination let the Soviet tanks safely destroy strong point after strong point and allow the Red Army to advance. It did not however advance very far, Marshal Shaposhnikov realized that the terrain of Karelia, and the coordination issues of the Red Army, were not conducive to a breakthrough.

    The Soviets thus only advanced a few kilometers before pausing to rest and dig in against the Finnish counterattacks that were inevitably launched. Shaposhnikov planned on going through the Finnish Army rather than around it, launching attack after attack, of modest ambition to break the Finnish Army. With their paucity of resources, both human and material, the Finns could not easily counter this. They lacked the reserves to conduct a major assault, and giving enough ground to strain Soviet logistics and provide them with a breather would lose the valuable bottleneck of Karelia. Thus they had no choice but to stand and fight, digging new defensive lines each time one was overrun.

    The Finns did so and did so well, inflicting high losses on the Soviets. But high as they were they were less than earlier and ones the Red Army could easily afford, while by the end of March the Soviets had reached the outskirts of Vyborg, and even gained a foothold west of it with attacks across the frozen bay…

    …Soviet performance on the other fronts did not match that of Western Karelia, in Eastern Karelia that was by choice as the Soviets felt that the Finns would withdraw of their own accord to avoid being cut off if the Red Army advanced significantly north of Vyborg. Elsewhere it was more due to a lack of the intense training the fresh reserves deployed in Karelia had received. Even there however performance did improve as a combination of what changes in doctrine/training that could be made and simple experience made the Red Army more competent, if not by much. Still on the Kolla River or near Petsamo they made only minor progress and proved incapable of threatening a breakthrough.

    Despite the general improvement in competence the Red Army suffered a final debacle in mid-March when it attempted to relieve the trapped 163rd Rifle Division with a newly raised ski brigade. Despite a numerical advantage the Soviets were unable to match the Finns at their own game and the relief attempt was beaten back with heavy losses. The 163rd Rifle Division continued to hold out thanks to air drops of supplies and Finnish attempts to destroy it continued to fail…

    …The Finnish fighter force reached its relative peak in mid-March with the arrival of the Italian volunteers and the first of their prewar purchases of modern aircraft, as well as a few older but still viable Boeing export models that “fell off a truck”. This allowed them to temporarily force a halt to Soviet daylight raids over most Finnish cities. The Soviets switched to night bombing rather than cease attacking, resulting in a considerable decrease in accuracy, but a general inability of the Finns to engage them due to a lack of night fighters or Radar directed gunnery.

    The Finnish bomber force, larger than the fighter force, was however forced into a worse position. With the Soviets advancing in Karelia and artillery ammunition almost gone the Finnish Air Force was needed to make good this deficiency. This exposed them to significantly more risk, as rather than attacking isolated targets of opportunity or conducting night harassment missions they were forced to attack into the teeth of the Soviet defenses in daylight in order to put bombs on target. They did well but suffered heavy losses, with half of the force, even counting newly arrived aid and Italian volunteers, lost by the end of March…

    …Over the winter of 1940-41 the Anglo-French had a major disagreement over their war planning. At the start of the war they had been forced into a prewar hold on the border plan by lack of time and coordination more than anything else. The French however were unsatisfied with such a plan. They wanted a more forward defense inside of Belgium, to have space to trade for time and to spare French territory damage from fighting as much as possible, as they had planned in the 20’s and early 30’s during their alliance with Belgium. The Belgians under Leopold III were extremely skeptical of this and broke the alliance in favor of strict neutrality.

    The French however still wanted to conduct a forward defense. It was thought that King Leopold would change his tune as the threat of a German invasion would grow closer and they would be able to take up positions anchored by the Dyle River well before the Germans actually crossed the border, failing that they would take up a much closer line on the Scheldt river, as far as Ghent and then the Ghent Canal, as that was all that they had time to reach before the Germans would. The British opposed this.

    The British Army thought attempting a defense beyond the French border was a bad idea, especially if they had to race to reach it in a short time period. They were willing to accept a front on the Scheldt if the Belgians allowed them in at least 14 days before a German attack, so as to have time to dig in, but otherwise did not want to abandon the defenses they had made over the course of the fall at the French border.

    Both the British and French foreign ministries were well aware that the Belgian government would not accept a violation of their neutrality that would only protect 20% of the country, which a defense line on the Scheldt would. Therefore it was decided that the preliminary plan of a defense on the French border, modified to include skirmishers in Belgium upon the case of German entry into that country would remain as their primary war plan.

    In February however recon aircraft picked up a German buildup on the Dutch border. This troop buildup was in the wrong position to invade Belgium, but was well positioned to invade the Netherlands. Knowing that the Germans had planned to invade the Netherlands along with Belgium in the original Schlieffen plans it was quickly obvious that the Germans were going to do that to utilize the routes through Limburg to more easily maneuver through Belgium. This prompted questions on how might the Dutch be aided against the Germans.

    One suggestion was that based on the plan to establish positions on the Dyle River a motorized force could advance to Breda and then the Maas River, protecting the Netherlands south of the Maas and allowing the shipment of supplies through Antwerp by securing the Scheldt estuary. It was however very risky as it required Anglo-French mobile forces to travel 3 times as far as the Germans to reach Breda, but it did offer a chance to get in contact with and to some degree relieve the Dutch. Doing so, both foreign ministries hoped would keep the Dutch in the war similar to the Belgians in WWI, which would be of immense value. It was assumed that failing to do this would see the Dutch surrender upon the loss of their core territories.

    Both the British and French militaries were opposed to this, considering it insanely risky and unlikely to work. Still thinking in terms of a very long war however, the foreign ministries both absolutely wanted to keep the Dutch in the fight, to have access to Dutch financial resources, to the natural resources of the Dutch colonies and to Dutch political capital, the Dutch having better relations with the United States than the Belgians, British or French. In a long war this would vastly outweigh any short term losses in driving to the Maas. The British foreign ministry was thus willing to accept a forward defense, provided it included Belgium.

    In the end the situation was deadlocked before the French government decided to overrule their armed forces, if keeping the fight off of French soil meant some risk, so be it, that was better than another Zone Rouge. With the French backing the plan the British government agreed, once more over the objections of their armed forces. With the two governments in agreement the plan was decided, once the Germans invaded they would drive to the Dyle and Maas with their best mobile forces…

    …The problem with the Maas Plan was that it assumed that the Belgian Military would cooperate immediately upon a German invasion of Belgium…

    …By the start of 1941 it had become obvious to all in Belgium that the Germans once more planned to go through the country in order to get at the French. The problem Belgium faced was that there was a severe disagreement on what to do about it. Prime Minister Paul Van Zeeland wanted to invite in Anglo-French troops and attempt to defend as much of the country as possible. King Leopold wanted to remain neutral as long as possible and if fighting occurred to concentrate the Belgian Army in the National Redoubt at Antwerp and let the Germans pass through the rest of the country unimpeded, if the Germans lost, the Belgian Army would be in a strong position to counterattack, if the Germans won he would have an intact army as a bargaining chip.

    The two men were at an impasse complicated by the political situation. Van Zeeland had a very strong parliamentary majority, and with the exception of the Fascist Rexist party the opposition parties also agreed with him on this matter. At the same time however he was personally on shaky ground given that he was implicated as receiving considerable bribes while in office. Thus neither could get their way entirely, the King could most likely force the Prime Minister to resign, but in doing so he would gain the enmity of a newer and much stronger Prime Minister. As a result they compromised.

    The King allowed the Army to be deployed to at least attempt to defend most of the country, while the Prime Minister agreed to the King’s decision to embrace strict neutrality, something justified to other politicians as to avoid giving Germany an excuse to start bombing…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    Dominion of Newfoundland

    Basics:

    Newfoundland is a Dominion of the British Empire. It has given up self-government as a condition to a bailout in the early 1930’s and is currently run by a Royal Commission appointed from London.

    Economy:

    Newfoundland is a resource extraction economy with only limited industry, dependent on exports of fish, forest products, including paper, and minerals, primarily coal, iron and nickel. Newfoundland is not self-sufficient in many agricultural goods.

    Land Forces:

    Newfoundland does not have a land based military component beyond its local police. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has about 200 members, while the Newfoundland Rangers have a force of about 75 men.

    The standard Rifle is the Lee Enfield in .303 British. The standard sidearm is the Webley Revolver, either the Mark IV in .38 or the Mark VI in .455, with the latter being more common. 10 Thompson SMGs are in the arsenal for dealing with extreme crimes. 100 Lewis Guns in .303 and 100 Vickers guns are similarly in reserve, more for raising a militia if needed.

    Newfoundland has no heavier weapons.

    Naval Forces:

    Newfoundland lacks naval forces.

    Air Forces:

    Newfoundland does not have an Air Force

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Newfoundland does not have a biological, chemical or nuclear weapons program.

    Problems:

    Newfoundland is dependent on naval trade

    Newfoundland is poorly suited for agriculture and not self-sufficient in many goods

    Newfoundland has an active territorial dispute with Canada

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
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    Part 6-19 Naval History, Iron Eagle, Before the Storm, Eve of War: Belgium
  • …On April Second 1941 the British cruiser HMS Constance and three destroyer consorts entered Norwegian Waters in pursuit of the blockade runner Schone Lau after a 36 hour chase. Sailing under a false flag the vessel was carrying a load of rubber and strategic minerals, along with a number of British prisoners taken by the merchant raider Klaus Stortebecker. This passage of POWs through Norwegian Waters was not permitted by the Norwegian government, but the Schone Lau was running under a false Norwegian flag illegally, her Captain very emphatic in his desire not to be taken prisoner by the British again after losing several toes to infection as a POW in WWI.

    With heavy weather somewhat reducing the speed of the destroyers and neglect of the engines doing the same to the Constance the Schone Lau was able to make the stern chase a long one, constantly broadcasting for help that she was being illegally harassed by the British in hopes that the British would break off in lieu of an international incident. The British force continued on, under unofficial instruction to cause an incident that could justify the mining of Norwegian waters. However with the speed difference far less than it should have been the Norwegians had time to respond and the destroyer Troll was able to arrive before the British got close enough to be willing to fire across the German bow.

    With the arrival of the Troll things briefly heated up as the Troll’s captain demanded that the British leave, their offers of a joint inspection of the ship were refused as Norway would inspect ships in its own waters. Weapons were briefly pointed at each other before the British received confirmation from headquarters to allow the Norwegians to search the vessel and to only seize the ship if the Norwegians let it go. The Norwegians, heavily outnumbered protested the British presence in their waters but could do nothing and decided to go ahead with the search to make them leave. At this point the Schone Lau heaved to for boarding, Captain Kuhlman figuring that he could argue his way into being taken prisoner by the Norwegians rather than the British. The situation should have calmed down from there.

    Unfortunately as the Troll, was preparing to board the Schone Lau, the Germans began dumping code equipment overboard. Aboard the Constance nearby one of the watch standers, tired from being awake for 42 hours straight, saw the splash, but not the falling objects that caused it. Unsure if the ship they were chasing was a blockade runner or a merchant raider with submerged torpedo tubes in a panic he thought about the latter and yelled “torpedo”. One of the equally sleep deprived gunnery officers panicked and yelled open fire, resulting in the Constance attacking the water between her and the Schone Lau with her Pom Poms and machine guns in hopes of hitting the torpedo, with a number of long rounds hitting the freighter.

    The Troll, thinking that the British were opening fire on a merchantman unprovoked attempted to get her attention, and just before the Constance’s Captain managed to order a cease fire the Troll put a shot across her bow. The Constance’s escorts, seeing the Troll seemingly attacking the flagship opened fire on the tiny destroyer. After a few minutes sanity reasserted itself and fire ceased, by which point the Troll was aflame and the British rushed to aid her, in doing so giving the appearance that they were boarding her.

    This would not have mattered, save that before the fighting began the captain of the Troll had called for air support in order to improve his negotiating position with a force that seriously outnumbered, outmassed and outgunned his overgrown torpedo boat. Two flights of 3 aircraft arrived on the scene, having received a garbled broadcast stating that the Troll was under attack and observing her aflame. The first flight of domestic recon seaplanes attempted to warn the British off by buzzing them, but in appearing without warning at close range someone with a machine gun panicked. Seeing the tracers the recon planes dropped their bombs, comfortably missing any of the British ships and broke off.

    The second flight however saw this as confirmation that the British were hostile and began an attack run. The three American built torpedo bombers lined up on the Constance moving slow and low, the British gunners having been told to hold their fire and released their payloads. Two of the fish missed, one did not and the old cruiser took a hit amidships.

    Not the largest of vessels and with lacking compartmentalization characteristic of vessels of her age Constance quickly sank. Soon afterwards the destroyers Sleipnir and Aegir arrived on the scene, but further violence was averted by Troll’s XO successfully mediating the affair. The two newly arrived destroyers quickly searched the Schone Lau and then had the ship and her crew interned and the POWs freed on parole. That should have been the end of things but it was not…

    …The incident with the Schone Lau had major repercussions in Oslo, London and Berlin. The Norwegian government immediately forbid any of its forces from opening fire on foreign ships or aircraft, save in direct self-defense or in defense of a Norwegian settlement, with an exception for the forces in the north facing the USSR. The King and government felt that the only way to maintain their neutrality was to avoid any more incidents. Following that a strong debate on whether or not to resist a limited British occupation began, with arguments for and against presented and discussed in closed sessions.

    In London the reaction was surprise. The British had intended for the Royal Navy to capture a blockade runner or three to demonstrate that the Norwegians were incapable of maintaining their neutrality and that the British were justified in placing mines to prevent the Germans from misusing Norwegian waters. They did not want a firefight with the Norwegian military and were worried that the action would drive them closer to Germany. They further thought that given the resistance demonstrated by the Norwegians that they would not take mining of their waters sitting down. Laying the mines against Norwegian opposition would require much heavier protection and likely lead to the destruction of much of the Norwegian military, a further provocation. Given that many of the arguments against the invasion plan compared to the minelaying plan were rendered less viable, as attempting the minelaying plan might trigger a German invasion

    Similarly in Germany the reaction was also of surprise. The Germans had expected that the British would violate Norwegian neutrality but not to the extent of shooting at the Norwegian military. Given that plans to invade Norway to ensure the iron ore supply were moved to a high state of readiness, as if the British were able to preempt them and dig in they could be in serious trouble…

    Excerpt From A Naval History of the European War, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2008

    …As February ended Hitler was growing increasingly unsatisfied with the planning department of the Heer. Wargaming of Case Grey continued to produce results that did not quite satisfy him. After seeing yet another slight modification to reduce risk produce no functional changes he launched into a tirade demanding that someone come up with an original plan rather than keep trying to polish a failed one. Unlike previous tirades of his he actually received a response from a Colonel who mentioned the Nehring Plan under his breath, not expecting Hitler to hear it. However the dictator did hear him and demanded to know what it was.

    The outline of the plan was explained to him, along with the fact that it was the source of the plan changes he had already approved of. Hitler thus asked to speak with Nehring, who explained the plan in more detail. It was risky, an all or nothing prospect, but it offered the chance to completely destroy the Franco-British mobile forces. It appealed to Hitler’s nature as a gambler and he ordered it extensively tested in wargames.

    The plan quickly proved problematic, in that it resulted in disaster far more than it resulted in victory. Hitler was at one point almost convinced to go back to the older plan until it was pointed out by one General Manstein that the wargames were biased, the plan relied on surprise, so if the officers controlling the simulated Anglo-French knew about the plan they could easily counter it. If they did not however, then acting according to what was known of Anglo-French doctrine they invariably lost. Manstein showed that every time the plan was tried against officers unfamiliar with it, that it succeeded in those wargames, it only failed when tried against those who were wary of it. Hitler was convinced and ordered the Nehring plan be the basis of the German attack on the west.

    This required a delay of 40 days, with the offensive to start on May 10th, but that was acceptable to Hitler, though he said there would be no more delays save for the exigencies of weather…

    -Excerpt from The Iron Blooded Eagle, Germany in WWII, Bishop Press, New York, 2000

    …As the assembled dignitaries and guests were preparing for the speeches opening the dam, an uninvited guest was doing the same. Concealed in some trees 300 yards away from the temporary stage 25 year old Ezekial Tanner quietly checked and rechecked his dead father’s rifle. He knew he would only get one, two, maybe three shots at the man who destroyed his family and he wanted to make them count. If there was any justice in the world Franklin Roosevelt would not be leaving the dam alive…

    -Excerpt From Before the Storm: American Neutrality in WWII, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2000


    The Kingdom of Belgium

    Basics:

    The Kingdom of Belgium is a Constitutional Monarchy under the house of Belgium, formerly Von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, with the Prime Minister currently representing a Grand Coalition. It was invaded by Germany in WWI and fought as part of the Entente, and after flirting with an alliance with France in the interwar has embraced strict neutrality.

    Economy:

    Belgium has a highly developed industrial economy, with strong exports of coal, steel, glass and soda, with significant agriculture. The Belgian Congo is a major exporter of Copper, Rubber and Palm oil, among other Cash Crops.

    Land Forces:

    Belgium has a relatively large army for a small country with 100,00 active soldiers and a mobilization strength of 900,000. It is organized into 22 divisions, 18 infantry, 2 cavalry and 2 Chasseur light infantry divisions, as well as 5 independent heavy artillery regiments, 5 independent field artillery regiments and 3 independent AA regiments. Belgium also controls the 20,000 man Force Publique in the Congo, a Colonial Gendarmie organized into regional commands of 200-1000 armed with obsolete weapons.

    Belgium’s standard rifle is the Mauser Model 1889, updated to the 1936 version in 7.65x53mm Argentine Mauser. Unmodernized versions and variants of the M 1893 and Gewehr 98 rechambered for 7.65mm are in use with reserves, with unmodified Lebels, Lee Enfields and Mosin Nagants in deep reserve. Being issued is the FN 38, a gas operated semi-automatic with a 5 round magazine, but it has not yet reached wide service.

    The standard Belgian sidearm is the browning Hi power Semi-automatic pistol in 9mm Parabellum. Older FN semi automatic pistols in 38, .32 and .25 ACP are in use both active and reserve and various models of revolver including the domestic Pieper, S&W no. 3, Nagant, Webley Bulldog and French M1892 are in deep reserve in various calibers. Belgium has around 3,000 MP 18 clones in 9mm Parabellum issued at need primarily to MPs.

    Belgium’s standard light machine gun is a BAR clone by FN in 7.65mm with a quick change barrel and simplified take down, but still magazine fed. Older Lewis Guns, Chauchats and Hotchkiss M1909s are used by the reserves but are being phased out, all have been rechambered to 7.65x53mm.

    Their standard medium machine gun is the Browning M1919, again chambered in 7.65mm Argentine. Other machine guns include the Maxim M1911 and the Colt Browning M1895 in reserve and chambered in 7.35mm, and the Hotchkiss M1914, Vickers and MG 08, some rechambered and some not.

    For infantry support they use 50mm mortars of domestic design at the company level and 70mm at the battalion level, with 81mm Stokes mortars reserved for the regiment level and fortress pieces. At higher levels are 142mm Mortars specialized to fire a cluster of 7 smaller fragmentation bombs, though these are cumbersome and rare.

    For anti tank use each company has a single shot domestic AT rifle in 13.2x99mm Hotchkiss. At higher levels Hotchkiss M 1929 13.2mm HMGs are used as combined AT AA, as are captured MG 18 TuF from WWI in some reserve units. At higher levels a 47mm L34 AT gun is used, a modern, compact and easily transportable piece that is nonetheless very effective. Belgium is currently developing a 60mm AT gun to replace the 47mm.

    For AA standard AA is medium machine guns of various types in single mounts at low levels. Heavier AA at the regimental level is provided by Hotchkiss M1929 or MG 1918. Medium AA is provided by license built Bofors 40mm Autocannon as a divisional weapon. Heavy AA is in the form of 75mm M1928, an 8.8cm/45 Naval gun relined to 75mm, a French 75mm/33 M 1913 AA gun, a French 75mm/53 AA gun and a handful of domestic 90mm/50 heavy pieces.

    For field artillery the Belgians issue a convertible 76mm/8 infantry gun as a regimental gun, that can be converted to fire 47mm ammunition at lower velocities if needed, a modern towable piece. The standard actual field piece is the 75mm GP series, a 75mm barrel of 35 or 38 calibers on a captured German gun carriage from WWI, a semi modern design at best. Some reserves have the 75mm/30 M1905 a domestic pre WWI piece that has received little modernization. Light infantry divisions use the 75mm/24 Bofors mountain gun instead of the heavier field pieces. In infantry divisions the field guns are sometimes complemented by 105mm Howitzers, either German leFH 16 L22 or French M1913 L28 models. The Force Publique also operates some ancient 70mm Mountain Howitzers.

    As Corps guns the Belgians use 10cm/45 M1917, ex German, 120mm/37 M1931, a domestic piece, and 15cm/17 sFH 13 from Germany. Heavier pieces include British BL 6” M1, a 26 caliber naval gun on an improvised carriage, the German 15cm/43 Kanone 16 and the domestic 155mm/31 M1924.

    Belgium operates formerly German 17cm/40 and 28cm/40 railway guns as superheavy artillery and also operates a wide variety of guns in the fortress role, from 37mm all the way up to 280mm.

    Belgium has a fairly large tank force for its size. About 100 FT 17’s are in reserve, 75 machine gun models and 25 cannon model. Belgium’s best tank are imported French S36s, of which they have 30, all equipped with radios and very potent tanks. Belgium also operate 75 T20 light tanks of domestic design, mounting a 13.2mm Hotchkiss and based loses on the British Light tank Mark 4, it is a 4 ton machine capable of 40mph but protected only against small arms. In development is the T22, a larger 7 ton design based on the British Mark 8 with a 25mm autocannon and two machine guns. Belgium tanks are split roughly evenly between each cavalry and light infantry division.

    Belgium is notable for operating around 300 tank destroyers mounting the 47mm/34. 75 are T21A/B 5 ton vehicles, armored only against small arms with a fixed rear firing main gun, a light AA machine gun and 30mph speed. 225 are T-21C 6 ton vehicles, faster at 35 miles per hour with a turreted main gun and slightly greater but still only protected against small arms. Both designs lack a radio and have unarmored sections, the front for the A/B and the rear for the C. They are deployed in small groups to each infantry division to stiffen them.

    Belgium operates a number of 4x4 3-6 ton machine gun armed armored cars for rear area security, mostly converted civilian designs.

    The Belgian army is not very motorized, only about 1/3rd of their artillery and support units are. It does however make heavy use of motorcycle scouts and couriers. In addition each infantry division has a bicycle battalion, with the light infantry regiments each having one.

    Naval Forces:

    Belgium has a very small, almost token Navy

    The most potent ship in the Belgian Navy is the Artevelde, a 30 knot, 1600 ton patrol vessel and royal yacht. She has 3 105mm guns and 2 40mm Bofors AA guns, along with several machine guns.

    Next most potent is the Zinnia, a formerly British flower class sloop from WWI. She is 1200 tons, with a single 4.7”/40 and 3 76mm/40 guns, along with several machine guns and makes 14 knots.

    The third and last ship operated by the Belgian Navy is the 770 ton sailing ship Mercator, with an auxiliary engine that can make 11 knots. She is at present unarmed and used to train merchant sailors.

    Belgium also operates 6 350 ton naval trawlers bought from the British after WWI. They make 9 knots and the Belgians armed them with 1 47mm gun and two machine guns.

    Finally Belgium operates two 250 ton torpedo boats with an 88mm gun, two machine guns and 1 450mm torpedo tube. They can make 25 knots, but at present due to neglect only make 21 and Belgium does not have any torpedoes, thus are used as patrol boats. Two smaller 19 knot 110 ton torpedo boats, also formerly German are used as patrol boats, with a 5.2cm gun, two machine guns and two torpedo tubes without torpedoes.

    Finally Belgium operates a number of gunboats and armed river steamers in the Congo, the largest of which is the 500 ton gunboat Baron Dhanis on Lake Tanganyika.

    Belgium does not have naval infantry or a naval air arm

    Air Forces:

    Belgium has a mid sized Army Air Force of about 400 aircraft. It is organized into 3 air regiments, a fighter, bomber and liaison, and training and transport commands.

    Belgium has about 75 fighters. 25 are Hawker Headsmen, and 25 more are older Hawker Headhunters, imported from Britain. 25 aircraft are modern RE 2100 monoplanes from Italy. On order are 75 Lockheed P-42 Cleaver monoplanes, a fast, modern monoplane with 6 machine guns from the United States. Belgium has also acquired a license for the improved model of the MB 235 from France, to start production in July 1941.

    Belgium has about 75 bombers, all light single engine types. 25 are Breguet 480’s, the Belgian air force having ended up ahead of the queue relative to the Armee de Air for the new bomber. Older than that are 50 Avro Antlion’s, bought from the UK and thoroughly obsolete. Belgium has acquired a license for the PZL 47 light bomber for Poland and production is expected to start in January 1941 assuming no delays.

    Belgium operates about 150 liaison aircraft. 50 are Avro Antlions of older models, unfit for use as bombers but with better STOL capability. The other 100 are Reynard R32, a domestic high wing fixed gear monoplane, it is slow and has two machine guns with no capability to bomb, and maneuvers like a pig, with its only good point being a very high ceiling.

    Belgium operates about 100 mixed trainers and transport aircraft. Some basic trainers are domestic but most are imported, as are all transports, with no real predominant types. The Force Publique in the Congo operates a handful of trainers and transports as well.

    Belgium lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Belgium has a mid-sized stockpile of mustard gas variants delivered by Livens projector, artillery shell and aerial bomb.

    Belgium lacks a biological or nuclear weapons program

    Problems:

    Belgium has a major ethnic division between Flemings and Walloons

    Belgium sits on the best route between France and Germany

    Belgium has a an ethnic German population in the east that wants to be German

    Belgium is on the verge of a constitutional crisis

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001







    Yes I've seen the statue, no I didn't go in the pool
     
    Part 6-20 Fall of Europe, Before the Storm, Naval History, Eve of War: India
  • …By the beginning of April the Finns were near the end of their tether, they were effectively out of artillery ammunition and their position in western Karelia was collapsing. The Kolla River and Eastern Karelia were still holding strong however they were at immediate risk of being cut off and destroyed by the breakthrough in Western Karelia. To have a chance of saving those units, and especially their irreplaceable heavy equipment, the Finnish high command made the decision to essentially sacrifice their 5th division to hold Vyborg to the last and give time for the withdrawal of III Corps from eastern Karelia and IV Corps from the Kolla line. These forces, and the survivors of I and II Corps would form a new defensive line on the Kymi river, anchored by what reserves had been scraped up and the foreign volunteer groups.

    This however proved unnecessary as on April 7th, following events to the west, the Soviets asked for a temporary cease fire for “humanitarian reasons”. Not trusting the USSR but needing the breathing room the Finns agreed to it, with it taking effect at noon on the 7th.

    Despite potentially looking weak the Finns continued to withdraw their forces during the ceasefire. Given that their forces were essentially in a trap withdrawing would not actually weaken their negotiating position in a substantive way. Furthermore withdrawing while the cease fire was in place meant that they could do so in the daylight without fear of the Red Air Force, something that the Spring thaw made particularly necessary.

    As the ice melted the Finnish ability to operate dispersed from frozen lakes disappeared, and thus they were forced to operate from hard surfaces, prewar concrete runways or sections of paved road. These were much less common than frozen lakes and thus easier for the Soviets to monitor, increasing losses on the ground and reducing the number of sorties the Finns could perform…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    …At 11:37 AM Franklin Roosevelt finished his opening speech and turned to introduce President Garner. The president stood up and Roosevelt walked out from behind the podium to switch places with his successor. In doing so he finally gave Ezekial Tanner a clear sight line that did not risk hitting an innocent bystander located behind him. Just as Garner was about ten feet away from Roosevelt Tanner fired, and about half a second later a bullet hole appeared in the improvised stage about a six inches short of Roosevelt’s right shoe.

    Tanner had gotten his windage right but had overcompensated for being elevated 15 feet from the stage and up a tree to boot. He quickly raised his rifle and worked the bolt, hurrying to get a second shot off before Roosevelt could shelter behind the podium. About three seconds after his first shot he fired again.

    He missed Roosevelt by less than a yard, he had gotten his elevation right this time but failed to adjust his windage to account for a sudden gust. His bullet slammed into John Nance Gardner about an inch below his diaphragm on the left side. The President immediately collapsed and Tanner dropped his rifle with the bolt half cycled for a third shot.

    He had never meant to hit the President who he didn’t particularly know much about, he wanted to hit Roosevelt, the man whose damn “TVA” had taken everything from him. His family’s ancestral farmstead purchased for a pittance by “eminent domain” and drowned under a reservoir, and then his mother and sister in that damn cheap flop house fire, his father from the demon rum and his brother by this very gun. For what he did to the Tanners, and all those other families, the man had to pay. Yet Ezekiel Tanner was a god fearing Christian man, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” was a commandment for a reason, he would damn himself for justice but not kill an innocent man.

    As Garner was being tended to Tanner calmly climbed down out of the tree he was hiding in, raised his hands and walked over to one of the Meigs County Sheriff’s deputies running outer perimeter security. He said that he did it and asked to be arrested, which he promptly was…

    …President Garner was immediately rushed to a hospital where surgeons did their best to save him. However Tanner’s bullet had caused severe damage to Garner’s intestines and despite controlling the internal bleeding, there was little that the doctors could do for the infections that followed. Sulfa drugs proved insufficient to control the infections and on April 5th Garner finally passed away just before midnight, having had a Presidency only slightly longer than that of William Henry Harrison…

    …Ezekial Tanner pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to death. However his obvious contrition and sympathetic story struck a cord with the public. His sentence was thus commuted by the governor of Tennessee to life imprisonment without parole. He remains in prison to this day, and is in all regards a model prisoner and to this day remains deeply sorry for his actions that March day. He stands in direct contrast to the other two presidential assassins that followed him…

    …On April 6th at 9:30 in the morning Vice President Paul V. McNutt was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States by Chief Justice Charles Hughes. Immediately things began to change in Washington as McNutt was a progressive in contrast to Garner. Thus the rollback of the New Deal that Garner promised died with him. While McNutt did not like Roosevelt particularly much, the two men did agree on policy and McNutt wanted to keep the New Deal mostly as it was…

    -Excerpt From Before the Storm: American Neutrality in WWII, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2000

    …By the beginning of April British spies and recon flights were picking up increased activity in the German ports. Specifically it was noted that the Battleships Bismarck, Scharnhorst and Gniesenau were obviously preparing to sortie together. While this on its own could have been simply a grand scale convoy raid other preparations were not compatible. While cruisers could also be explained by that, the work on the Kriegsmarine’s destroyer fleet was not as even the German destroyers lacked the range for that. That transports were being requisitioned, old obsolete ships readied for action and troops being moved indicated that Germany was planning a major amphibious operation. Given geography and political realities the only possible target was Norway.

    This was further confirmed by cross referencing radar direction finding reports of U-Boats, which were concentrating off the Norwegian coast. A final piece of evidence was the discovery of intensive negotiations between the German and Norwegian ambassadors in Rome by British intelligence. It was obvious that the Germans were planning something, and given the reality of the naval balance they could not hope to actually invade a hostile Norway. Thus it was obvious that they had gotten permission from the Norwegian government to move forces into the country, possibly as a quid pro quo to keep the Soviets out.

    This would not only make cutting off the Iron Ore route impossible, but it would make containing German raiders, surface and submarine, much harder. Evicting the Germans once they had gotten entrenched would be very difficult, so it was requested that the German operation be preempted, as all of the components for a British occupation were in place. Eden, under immense pressure to do something, was convinced and the cabinet with him. Chautemps, under similar pressure, was willing as his own intelligence reported the same collusion between Germany and Norway, as well as additional meetings within Norway itself.

    Britain and France would invade Norway on the 6th of April, occupying Narvik , Bergen and Trondheim and raiding Stavanger to destroy the airfields there. With luck the Norwegians would accept the fait accompli without fighting, and the Germans would not press their luck with the British already present.

    If not then it was a perfect opportunity to destroy the German navy as it would be forced to come out to play on British terms…

    Excerpt From A Naval History of the European War, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2008



    British India

    Basics:

    India is a colony of the British Empire with limited self government, with an appointed Viceroy from London and elected provincial governments and a central Legislative Council. India is a vast and heterogenous land that has never been united for more than a Century. It has recently had Burma and Aden stripped from it.

    Economy:

    India is an undeveloped primarily agricultural economy with a large portion of the population being at subsistence levels. Primary exports are Grain, Tea, Cotton and Jute. India does have a large amount of industry in absolute terms, about half of the worlds industry excluding North America, Europe and Japan.

    Land Forces:

    India has an Army of approximately 210,000 men, all volunteer. In addition it controls 15,000 men in the Frontier Corps, 40,000 from the Auxiliary and Territorial forces and 50,000 troops belonging to the Princely states. It is organized into four infantry divisions, five cavalry brigades, 12 independent infantry brigades and 45 independent infantry battalions.

    The standard Indian Army rifle is the Lee-Enfield in .303 British, though India prefers the older Mark III as opposed to the Mark IV used by most of the British Empire, which is domestically manufactured. India still has a large number of Pattern 14 Enfield, Lee Metford, Martini-Enfield and even Martini Henry rifles in .577/450 Martini Henry. The Indian Army also issues Greener Shotgun variants of the Martini Henry as a sentry weapon for use at night, in addition to a number of Winchester Model 97 Trench guns for use by MPs or for special duties. India has no plans to procure the Number 39 or Number 40 Rifle.

    India’s primary sidearm is the Enfield Mark II in .38 British, licensed in India. Other models of revolver in .38 British or .455 are also permitted and a large stock of older Webleys is maintained in reserve. India has a moderate number of license built Swiss MKMO machine guns in 9mm Parabellum for issue to troops on riot duty.

    The primary light machine gun of India is the Vickers Berthier Model 1925 in .303 British, built locally at Ishapore. It is issued as a section weapon. India has a large number of Lewis guns in storage for use in wartime, as well as some remaining Hotckiss M1909 in .303. For heavier weapons India uses water cooled Vickers guns as battalion weapons in the same numbers as the British, usually .303 with a handful in .55. India does not plan to adopt the Holek or Rolik guns or the .276 cartridge.

    Each Battalion has 3 .55 Boys AT guns for anti-armor defense. 2” Mortars are beginning to be issued one per platoon as a support weapon, and each battalion has a four gun battery of 3” Stokes Mortars

    India does not possess any dedicated AT guns, though plans to purchase the 2 pounder as it is phased out of British service.

    Indian Air Defense is primarily provided by machine guns on single AA mounts. A number of 1 pounder and naval 2 pounder guns on trucks and AA carriages are in use for defending more important locations. India’s heavier AA comes in the form of 12 pounder AA guns from WWI.

    Standard Indian field artillery is the 18 pounder and 4.5” Howitzer, but in modernized form issued in the same proportion as in the Regular British Army. India still has a number of QF 13 pounder field guns in reserve for wartime use. For use in mountainous areas the Indian Army makes greater use of the 3.7” mountain howitzer than the regular army, built locally. India also still has a few 2.75” Mountain guns in reserve. There are plans to buy 25 pounders when the British Army has fully phased out the 18 pounder.

    Heavier artillery pieces are 60 pounder 5”/36 weapons, a pre WWI piece with an obsolescent box carriage and mediocre range. A 6”/13.3 Howitzer complements this, a WWI vintage piece with an obsolete carriage it is relatively short ranged. Newer guns are on the list of acquisitions, but after the British Army is fully equipped.

    India has no heavier artillery apart from coastal defense guns.

    India has a small number of tanks. About 25 are Mark III and IV Light Tanks and 25 more are Mark VI Light Tanks.

    India has about 50 armored scout cars on the British pattern, 2-5 ton vehicles with a single machine gun. They also have around 200 more conventional armored cars meant for internal policing built on truck chassis and still armed with one or more machine guns.

    The Indian Army is partially motorized and is in the process of converting its cavalry to motorized units, something about 50% completed. It is planned to fully motorize the cavalry and artillery at this point.

    Naval Forces:

    India has a relatively small navy of primarily coastal ships.

    The mainstay of the Indian Navy is its sloops, of which they have seven at present. Clive is a purpose built WWI era sloop for the Indian Marine, acting as flagship of the RIN. She is a 2100 ton 15 knot ship with 2 4”/40 and two pom poms, along with several machine guns.

    Lawrence is another vessel built for the Indian Marine, though is only 1250 tons and serves as a yacht/dispatch vessel. She makes 15 knots and has 24”/40, 1 pom pom, two machine guns and 8 depth charges at present.

    The Pathan and Baluchi are PC class sloops of 700 tons from WWI. Built as Q ships they make 20 knots and have 1 4”/40 and two 3” guns, as well as several machine guns.

    The Cornwallis is another post WWI purchase, a Flower class Sloop of 1250 tons. She makes 16.5 knots, has 2 4”/40, 1 3 pounder AA gun, four machine guns and two depth charge throwers.

    The Hindustan is a slightly modified Penzance class sloop, losing the limited AA capability for her 4” mounts and instead carrying an additional 4 3 pounder saluting guns.

    The Indus is an unmodified Deptford class sloop, ordered from Britian alongside the RN order.

    India currently has six Ibis class Sloops on order from Britian.

    India is currently considering ordering some corvettes from British yards and possibly building some domestically.

    India has no significant number of other large craft in service save the unarmed 1500 ton Investigator, a 12 knot survey vessel.

    India does have plans to construct a number of naval trawlers domestically in the near future.

    India operates a number of smaller patrol vessels of less than 300 tons.

    India lacks a separate Marine Corps or aviation arm.


    Air Forces:

    India has a small air force of about 100 planes.

    15 are Avro Antlion Bombers. These make up the entirety of the Indian Air Forces current combat arm.

    The remainder of the Indian Air Force consists of trainers, transports and liaison aircraft, of British design, some built in India.

    India lacks paratroopers or independent aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    The Indian Army maintains stockpiles of Mustard Gas and Lewisite for dispersal via artillery shell and Livens Projector. They also have one of the largest and most diverse stockpiles of tear gas and other non-lethal agents.

    India lacks independent biological or nuclear weapons programs.

    Problems:
    India does not want to remain part of the British Empire

    There is considerable ethnic strife in India

    Large numbers of the Hindu population have Volkist leanings

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
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    Part 6-21 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Netherlands
  • …The British assembled no less than seven task forces to attack Norway. Four were escort groups covering transports, Task Force Narvik being the largest and carrying a full division, Bergen and Trondheim carrying about a brigade and a half each, and Stavanger a reinforced battalion. The battleship Venerable was assigned to the Narvik force, Canopus to the Bergen force and Majestic to the Trondheim force, with Stavanger only being escorted by cruisers. Supporting these was a task force built around the carriers Ark Royal and Audacious, escorted by the battlecruiser Anson, meant to provide air cover to the invading forces at need. A task force built around the battlecruisers Beatty, Sturdee and Hood would be stationed between Shetland and the mainland to intercept any German attempts to interfere or break out into the North Atlantic. Finally to cut off any German attempt to occupy Norway itself a task force based on the battleship King Edward VIII, the aircraft carrier Hermes and the battlecruisers Rodney and Howe would be positioned to penetrate into the Skagerrak…

    …The British invasion of Norway was full of difficulty from the start. While well-resourced it was put together in a massive hurry and there was no time to do the detailed planning that was a hallmark of later wartime invasions. As such while units were properly mated to their transports, supplies and heavy equipment were loaded in a haphazard and confused manner and departure order ended up being far more mixed up than it should have been. This led to the invasion task groups departing about two hours later than they should have on the fourth, and the Stavanger group, which should have departed first, ended up leaving last…

    …The Norwegians detected the inbound invasion just after dawn on the sixth as British forces were sighted approaching Bergen. The Norwegians, under orders not to shoot first nonetheless manned their posts. Upon observing this activity the British grew more nervous and increased their speed, hoping to get into position to take control of the fortresses defending the city before they were in a position to fire on the troop transports.

    Unfortunately for the British the lead destroyer, HMS Anthony, proved more concerned about observing for possible air attack or hidden coastal batteries than her navigation and ran into a Norwegian second class torpedo boat, the identity of which is unknown, while approaching the fort at Kvaren. A standoff ensued as Anthony’s companions rushed to her aid and the Norwegians moved to aid their survivors. A message was sent to the overall operational commander on HMS Anson about the incident, unfortunately the message was garbled, and instead of HMS Anthony collided with a Norwegian Torpedo Boat, it was HMS Anthony rammed by Norwegian warship.

    Hearing about an outright hostile act, and worried about the possibilities of ambush by light units in confined waters, orders were given to preemptively eliminate the Norwegian defenses, fortifications, airpower and ships. These were soon countermanded as a non-garbled account had reached Anson soon afterwards, but by that point the battleship Majestic had already started shelling Norwegian batteries at the mouth of the Trondheim fjord. The shooting had already started and stopping now would only give the Norwegians time to dig in. Once more orders were given to preemptively attack the Norwegian positions…

    …The Norwegian government, upon receiving reports of the British invasion made the decision to allow it. They did not welcome the violation of their neutrality but they felt they could not effectively resist the British, and that any resistance would only make things worse. Furthermore it was thought that it was better that the British occupied them than someone else, if nothing else they might get compensation after the war like the Greeks did in the previous war. Thus orders to only fire in direct self-defense were reiterated to all those units not facing the USSR. This continued even after the collision near Bergen and the first exchange of fire at Trondheim. The British escalation that followed managed to eventually provoke a stronger response…

    …The British effectively managed to occupy Bergen without further violence, being positioned close enough that the Norwegians immediately surrendered upon being summoned to. Trondheim put up some additional resistance, but after the Majestic suppressed the batteries protecting the fjord entrance and her escorting destroyers destroyed the handful of warships present the Norwegian garrison commander surrendered.

    At Stavanger, or more properly Sola nearby things were slightly more difficult. Sola was a raid rather than an occupation and thus had no heavy cover and her troops were loaded on warships rather than transport, with the thought that they could get in and out before any possible German response. The goal of the Sola force was to capture and render unusable the Sola airfield, and to destroy the bombers and seaplanes based there.

    The raid proved only a partial success as the raid was delayed several hours and the Norwegians were warned. Thus while the British got ashore intact and the Norwegians did not launch aircraft, they were faced with a large body of troops from the local army garrison plus aviation personnel wielding weapons. After attempting to negotiate a peaceful solution the British attacked with support from the offshore warships. Over the course of the afternoon and evening they were able to destroy most of the facilities and all of the landed aircraft, however the Norwegian managed to protect the key fuel tanks and transfer system.

    Narvik was the largest engagement and started on the Eighth, delayed by the long sailing distance, slowest transports and leaving after the other two major forces. The British had attempted to soften it up with airstrikes, successfully destroying the defending aircraft on the ground and some of the warships, however the coast defense ships Bjorgvin and Nidaros and the destroyers Tor, Baldr and Odin survived the attacks. While the battleship Venerable methodically advanced up the fjord, bombarding suspected shore battery sites, a squadron of destroyers raced ahead to spring any ambushes.

    Just as the British destroyers entered the main part of the fjord they came under fire from the Norwegian coastal battleships hidden in a side fjord near Forra. The British immediately charged their attackers to enter torpedo range, in turn being countercharged by the Norwegian destroyers. A brief and fierce melee ensued where the British lost three destroyers but annihilated the Norwegians, smothering the small destroyers with fire and torpedoing the coastal defense ships. Following this they secured the main fjord and allowed the Venerable to enter and cover the landing of troops. The Norwegian land forces, after making a token resistance withdrew inland to avoid any more 16” shellfire landing on their heads…

    …Following the British preemptive strikes the Norwegian government issued an order to allow free engagement of British, and only British, forces violating Norwegian neutrality. Against other nations previous rules of engagement remained in effect…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005



    The Kingdom of the Netherlands
    Basics:

    The Netherlands are a constitutional monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau. The current Prime Minister is Dirk Jan de Geer of the Christian Historical Union, leading a coalition government. It remained neutral in the great war and possesses a mid-sized colonial empire.

    Economy:

    The Netherlands are a strong industrial economy with a strong agricultural sector in support, one particularly strong in dairy. While the Netherlands itself is relatively poor in most resources, save a newly discovered oil field, the Netherlands East Indies is the fifth largest producer of oil in the world as well as the largest of quinine, and a major producer of rubber, tin, tea, sugar and coconut products. The Dutch Caribbean is also a source of oil.

    Land Forces:

    The Netherlands has a relatively small army, plus a colonial army in the Dutch East Indies. The home based Army has a mobilization strength of about 300,000, into eight infantry divisions, one motorized division, two independent brigades and a large number of independent battalions. The Dutch East Indies Army consists of 90,000 men but has little organization above the battalion level. An additional 200 regulars are stationed in Suriname.

    The standard Dutch Rifle is the Geweer M. 95, a variant of the Mannlicher 93 in 6.5x53mm Dutch. It comes in a number of variants, including a large number of “trench gun” periscope rifles being issuled and is fed from a 5 round en bloc clip. Some older M1871 Beaumont rifles are in service for training duties, either a weighted “fencing model” for bayonet training, or a variant rechambered for 5.5mm Bosquet for indoor shooting. The M1873 Colonial Rifle in 11.3x50mm is used by Police in the DEI and a large number are in reserve.

    The standard sidearm is the Browning Hi Power in 7.65x21mm, with FN 1922 and 1910 in .38 and .32 ACP respectively still in use. M.73 revolvers in 9.4mm Beaumont are in reserve. The Army in the DEI uses Mauser C96 in 7.63mmx25 or Luger P08 in 9mm Parabellum as its standard sidearms, as well as Klewang Swords being widely issued. The KNIL Army also issues Pieper SMGs, derived from the MP-18, in 7.63x25mm to NCOs in the horse cavalry in the DEI.

    The standard squad machine gun is the Lewis gun in either 6.5x53mm Dutch or 7.92x57mmR, a unique rimmed cartridge the Dutch are currently introducing, one is issued per squad. Each battalion has 12 HMG, either Schwarzlose or MG08 in 7.92mm Mauser or 7.92x57mmR or Vickers guns in .303 British or 2.92x57mmR.

    For indirect fire support each regiment has 6 81mm Stokes Mortars. About 200 Krupp M 1894 6 veld Field guns are in use for direct fire support, or AT work in an emergency.

    AT duties are performed primarily by Bohler 47mm/39 AT guns, of which about 400 area in service, 6 per regiment, supplemented by a number of fortress AT guns in the same caliber. These are supplemented by about 50 Solothurn S-18/1000 20mm cannon, and 100 8 Staal field guns, an 8.4 cm piece from 1880.

    Standard Dutch light AA is machine guns, being replaced by 20mm Oerlikons and Italain Scotti export guns. Medium AA is provided by the 40mm Bofors, license built. Heavy AA consists of Krupp 57mm and 75mm guns from WWI, and about 100 Vickers 75mmm/53 model 1931 export guns,

    Standard Dutch field artillery is the 7.5cm/30 Krupp m1903, license built it has been modernized into a semi modern piece, with some upgraded to motorized towing, about 320 are in service. These are supported by 120mm Howitzers, 120mm/12 M1905 from Krupp and 120mm/14 m1914, both obsolescent pieces, about 100 total in service. A field artillery regiment would have 24 7.5cm and 12 12cm pieces.

    Heavier field artillery is in the form of the Bofors 10.5cm/40 or 42 M1927, a modern split tail motor towed piece, of which 64 are in service of 4 regiments of 16 as Corps artillery. Similarly Krupp 15cm/17 SfH 13 were in use, 40 in Dutch possession. Supplementing this are Vickers 6”/15 field howitzers, extended range version, of which the Dutch had 40, these are both WWI pieces and obsolescent with only minor modification and used as corps artillery.

    The Dutch have a verry large amount of modern to obsolete fortress artillery, from 37mm AT guns up to 240mm coastal guns. These are both land defense and coastal defense weapons in both the Netherlands and DEI.

    The Netherlands has a relatively small armored force.

    7 FT-17s make up their sole current tank force, used solely for training, two cannon and five machine gun variants. There are plans to procure more modern tanks from Sweden, Italy or the United States, but negotiations are ongoing.

    The Dutch also operate 15 Vickers Armstrong 1.5 ton export tankettes, splinter protected vehicles with a single Lewis gun and 30mph road speed. In the DEI 30 3 ton Vickers amphibious tankettes are operated, armed with a single Vickers gun they make 25mph and are protected against small arms fire.

    The Dutch operate about 40 armored cars attached to their motorized division in Europe. These are Swedish built vehicles of various models, armed with a 37mm Bofors AT gun and 3 Lewis guns,6 ton 6 wheeled vehicles that make 50mph and are protected from small arms. The Dutch have begun building them in the Netherlands at DAF.

    The DEI uses about 12 heavy armored cars with a .50 BMG and a 6.5mm Vickers gun. The also use another dozen light armored cars with an array of Lewis guns.

    Overall the Dutch Army is moderately motorized with strong standardization in domestically built vehicles, with only one division and the Anti tank weapons being fully motorized, with the artillery only partly so. There are plans to fully motorize the force eventually. The KNIL is lightly motorized and has no plans to fully motorize. The Dutch do make extremely heavy use of bicycles to supplement the motor vehicles, and the Dutch army has substantially more bicycles than soldiers.

    The Dutch also have a strong defense line based on flooding large parts of the country.

    Despite a strong radio industry the Dutch military has a major shortage of radios, with only the artillery having any, other branches being very reliant on telephones and couriers.

    Naval Forces:

    The Netherlands has a medium sized navy.

    The most powerful ships of the navy as planned are the new battlecruisers, two of which are under construction with one more on order. 30,000 ton vessels, the Dutch ships will once built be able to make 33 knots, and are effectively immune to 8” shellfire at all but point blank range. They are armed with 9 28cm/55 in a 3x3 arrangement, 8 twin 12cm/45 DP guns, 9 twin Bofors guns and 14 single 20mm Oerlikons. It is expected that the first ships will commission in January 1943, the Second in June 1943 and that the third will be laid down in May 1942 to commission at the end of 1945.

    The most powerful ship currently in the Dutch navy is the Panzerschiff Gouden Leeuw, a 16,000 ton derivative of the German design. She makes 31 knots, carries two float planes and is well protected from 8” shell fire. She has six 28cm/45 in two triple turrets, four twin 152mm/50 in a diamond configuration with two turrets superfiring, eight single 75mm/50 AA, 8 single Bofors 40mm, 12 M2 Machine guns and two quad 53.3cm torpedo tubes.

    The Coastal defense ship Soerabaja is the next most powerful ship, 6500 tons and 16 knots. She has two 28cm/42.5, 4 15cm/40, 10 7.5cm, 4 3.7cm guns, 2 45cm torpedo tubes, 4 7.5cm mortars and eight M2 machine guns. An old vessels she is in poor shape and is only protected against 6” fire at certain ranges thanks to her obsolete armor scheme.

    The Ijmuiden is a 5,000 ton stationary battery ship, with some protection against 6” fire. She has two 24cm/40, six 15cm/40, 6 7.5cm guns, 4 3.7cm guns, 4 40mm Bofors guns and 16 machine guns. The Vliereede is similar to the Ijmuiden, in being a former Coastal defense ship turned into a floating battery, but mounts two fewer 15cm guns and two additional Bofors guns.

    Under construction are the light cruisers Eendracht and De Zeven Provincien. They are 9,000 ton, 32 knot ships with two float planes and moderate protection against 6” shells. They will have 2x2 and 2x3 15.2cm/53 guns, 8 twin Bofors 40mm, 10 20mm Oerlikons and two triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes. Eendracht is expected to commission in October 1942, De Zeven Provincen in February 1943.

    The De Ruyter is a 7,200 ton light cruiser that makes 32 knots, carriers two float plane and is lightly protected from 6” shell fire. She has 4 twin 15cm/50, 6 twin 40mm Bofors, 12 Browning M2s and two triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes.

    The Java, Sumatra and Celebes are light cruisers, the former two 6800 tons, the latter 7300 to fit in flag capability. They make 31 knots, have marginal protection against 6” shell fire and carry two float planes. They have 10 15cm/50 in single mounts, four centerline and six broadside, six Bofors 40mm in single mounts, eight on Celebes, and 12 M2 Brownings.

    The Tromp and Jacob Van Heemskerck are 3500 ton flotilla leaders that are most certainly not light cruisers. They make 33 knots, have a float plane and some splinter protection. They have 3 twin 15cm/50, 4 twin 40mm Bofors, eight Browning M2 and two triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes.

    The Utrecht is a 4000 ton protected cruiser serving as a training ship. She has two 15cm/40, 4 12cm guns, 2 7.5cm guns, 4 40mm Bofors, two Oerlikons and two M2 Brownings. She makes 20 knots as has no functional protection against modern artillery above 5”.

    The Admiralen class are 8 1350 ton 36 knot destroyers based on a British design. All ships have 4 12cm/50 main guns, the first four only elevate to 30 degrees as opposed to 35 on the latter, with either 1 7.5cm/55 AA gun, two twin Bofors, 4 M2 Brownings, two triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes, two depth charge rails and two throwers.

    Under construction are four Isaac Sweers class vessels of 1650 tons and 36.5 knots. They have two twin and one single 12cm/45 DP, with the single superfiring over the aft twin, 4 single 40mm Bofors, 4 20mm Oerlikons, two quad 53.3cm torpedo tubes, two depth charge rails and two projectors. They are to be finished between July 1941 and January 1942.

    The Netherlands has eight torpedo boats of the Z class in service, 275 ton, 27 knots vessels. They have 2 7.5cm/30, two M2 Brownings, 4 45cm torpedo tubes and two depth charge throwers or rails.

    The Netherlands also has four older G class Torpedo boats of 180 tons, capable of 26 knots. They have 2 7.5cm/30, two M2 Brownings, 3 45cm torpedo tubes and two depth charge throwers.

    The Netherlands has a force of Motor Torpedo Boats. A single prototype is gasoline powered, 30 tons, 42 knots with 4 45cm torpedo tubes and two 20mm cannon. The production class are diesel powered, 50 tons, 34 knots with 2 53.3cm tubes and 3 20mm cannon, 12 are on order for deliver in the summer of 1941. A 20 ton design for the NEI is being worked on.

    Supporting the MTBs in the NEI is the 700 ton, 13 knot Serdang, she has 2 10.5cm/50, 1 7.5cm/40, 2 Pom Poms and 4 .50 HMG.

    The Netherlands has a moderate sized force of gunboats. 5 are ancient Thor class Flatiron gunboats, 250 tons, 8 knots, with a 15cm/40 or 12cm/50 and supporting 3.7cm guns and .50 HMG.

    The Three Gruno class gunboats are 540 tons, 15 knot vessels, with some protection against 4” fire. They have 4 105mm/50, 1 Bofors gun and two M2 HMGs.

    The two Flores class are colonial gunboats/sloops, 1500 tons, 15 knots with some protection against 4” fire, they are more seaworthy than most and with a very good fire control system. They have 3 15cm/50, 1 7.5cm/55 AA, and 4 .50 HMGs.

    The Johan Maurits van Nassau is a colonial sloop/gunboat of 1550 tons and capable of 15 knots with splinter armor and room for a float plane. She 3 15cm/50, 1 twin Bofors, 4 .50 HMGs and 4 7.92mm MGs.

    The Van Kinsbergen is an 1800 ton training gunboat/sloop capable of 25 knots. She has 4 12cm/45 DP guns, 2 7.5cm/55, 4 40mm Bofors, and four M2 HMGs.

    Under construction are 3 K class gunboats of 1300 tons with 3 more on order. They make 19 knots on diesels and will have splinter protection. They will have two twin 12cm/45 DP guns, 2 twin 40mm Bofors, 4 Oerlikons, two depth charge throwers and two rails. The first batch is predicted to be ready in late 1941, the second in mid-1943.

    Under construction are 12 subchasers, 6 in the Netherlands and 6 in the NEI, capable of 24 knots. The Dutch ones are turbine powered, 400 tons, with two twin Bofors and 60 depth charges split between two rails and four throwers. The DEI vessels are diesel powered, 350 tons, with 1 75mm/55, two twin Bofors and 40 depth charges with two rails and two throwers. The Dutch vessels are expected in early 1942, the DEI Vessels in early 1943.

    The Netherlands has a strong submarine force, divided between O type vessels for home waters and K type for the DEI. The oldest vessel is O8, an H class submarine bought from the UK. She makes 13 knots on the surface, 10 submerged with a 1600 knot range, 4 18” tubes in the bow with 8 fish.

    The 3 O9 class are 525 ton vessels with 3500 knots of range making 12 knots surfaced and 8 submerged. They have 2 bow 53.3cm tubes, 2 bow 45cm tubes and a stern 45cm tubes, with 10 fish total, an 8.8cm/45 and a .50 HMG.

    The four O12’s are larger at 625 tons, 3500 knots of range and 16 knots surfaced and 8 submerged. They have 4 bow and 1 stern 53.3cm tube with 10 fish, 2 44mm guns and a .50HMG.

    The 1000 ton O-16 is a developmental vessel using advanced steel to dive deeper and featuring better amenities. She makes 18 knots surfaced and 9 submerged and has a 10,000 knot range. She has 4 bow, 2 stern and two turreted 53.3cm tubes, with 14 fish, an 80mm/50 deck gun and two 40mm Pom-Poms as AA.

    The two 1100 ton O-19 boats are hybrids based on O-16 but usable anywhere. They make 19 knots surfaced and 9 submerged and have a 10,000 knot range. They have 4 bow, 2 stern and two turreted 53.3cm tubes with 14 fish, an 88mm/45 deck gun, two 40mm Pom-Poms as AA and 20 tubes for 40 mines.

    The O-21 class are smaller repeats of the O-19, eliminating the minelaying to reduce size by 100 tons but diving 70 feet deeper. Four are in service and four are building to finish from January to June 1941.

    The 3 K VIII class are colonial vessels, 525 tons, 3500 knot range, 16 knots surfaced and 8 submerged. They have 4 45cm tubes, two bow and two stern, with 10 fish, an 88mm/45 deck gun and a .50 HMG.

    The 3 K XI class are 700 tons, with a 3500 knot range, 17 knots surfaced and 8 submerged. They have 2 53.3cm bow tubes, two 45cm bow and two 45cm stern with 12 fish, an 8.8cm/45 deck gun and a .50 HMG.

    The six K XVIV class are 875 tons with a 10,000 knot range, 17 knot surface speed and 9 submerged. They have 4 bow, 2 stern and two turreted 53.3cm tubes with 14 fish, an 88mm/45 deck gun, and two 40mm Pom-Poms as AA.

    Supporting the subs in the NEI is the Zuiderkruis, a 2700 ton cable layer which makes 12.5 knots, with 2 75mm/40, and 4 machine guns.

    The Netherlands has a very large fleet of minelayers. Four Thor class gunboats have been converted to minelayers, they are slower at 7 knots than their brethren and have 1 40mm or 37mm Pom Pom and 2 machine guns or heavy machine guns and up to 50 mines.

    The 2 Hydra class are 700 ton, 11 knot ships with up to 100 mines, 3 75mm/40 DP guns and 4 .50 HMG. The two Van Meerlant class are similar but can fit 110 mines and reach 13 knots thanks to newer engines.

    The Pro Patria is a 550 ton, 10 knot vessel with 1 7.5cm/40, 2 .50 HMG and 80 mines.

    The Krakatau is a 1000 ton, 16 knot vessel with 2 75mm/40, 4 .50 HMG and up to 150 mines.

    The Nautilus is an 800 ton vessel, capable of 14 knots with 2 75mm/40, 4 .50 HMG, 2 MG, 40 mines, and 2 depth charge throwers.

    The two Prins van Oranje class are 1300 ton ships, 15 knots with 2 75mm/40, 2 40mm pom poms, 2 M2 HMG and up to 150 mines.

    The Jan Van Brakel is a 725 ton 15 knot ship, with 2 75mm/40, 1 40mm Pom-Pom, 4 .50 HMG, 60 mines and two depth charge rails.

    The Wilhelm Van Der Zaan is a 1250 ton 16 knot minelaying sloop, with 2 12cm/45 DP guns, two twin Bofors, two twin M2 HMGs, up to 120 mines, two depth charge throwers and a float plane.

    The government Yacht Regulus is 1400 tons and doubles as a minelayer, she makes 13 knots and carries 2 75mm/40, 2 .50 HMG and up to 150 mines.

    The Dutch have a small number of minesweepers. The four M class are 225 ton converted tugs with a .50 HMG and make 10 knots.

    The four A class are 180 ton 15 knot vessels with two .50 HMGs.

    There are 12 Jan van Amstel class in service with two more building. They are 475 ton vessels, 15 knots, with a 75mm gun of varying type and 4 M2 machine guns. The last two will be commissioned in June and July 1941.

    The Netherlands has a regiment of Marine infantry and maintains a naval air arm.

    Air Forces:

    The Netherlands has a relatively small Army Air Arm of 240 aircraft.

    About 75 are fighters. 35 of these are Fokker XX biplanes, a slow, not particularly maneuverable open cockpit, fixed gear, fabric skinned biplane with an excellent ceiling and two 7.92mm machine guns. 20 are Fokker XXX Monoplanes, obsolescent with fixed gear but still mostly competitive. The remaining 20 are Fokker G II twin engine heavy fighters, a fast, decently maneuverable for a twin engine design with a good ceiling, two 7.92mm machine guns and two 23mm cannon forward and one 7.92mm machine gun firing to the rear and up to 880 pounds of bombs.

    An improved fighter the Koolhoven 65 is in testing, it is faster and more maneuverable than the XXX with a retractable undercarriage and replacing two machine guns with cannon.

    75 Aircraft are bombers. About 30 are Fokker XI, old biplanes very slow with open cockpits, 2 forward machine guns, 1 ring mount, a 450 pound bomb load and moderate range. 30 are Fokker XIV, which are merely slow and have a bit better range and maneuverability. The last 15 are Fokker TX twin engine bombers, somewhat fast and maneuverable with a good ceiling, 1000 mile range, 2700 pound bombload and 1 20mm and 5 machine guns for defense.

    The Dutch operate their own domestic trainers and transports of varying designs that make up the remaining 90 aircraft.

    The Dutch Navy has its own air arm of 160 aircraft. More than two thirds of these aircraft are in the Netherlands East Indies.

    15 are Fokker X.W seaplanes, 3 place open cockpit biplanes they are very slow with 3 defensive machine guns with short range, but are only single engine. 15 are Dornier Wal, twin engine flying boats, very slow with a low ceiling and a light bombload of under 2,000 pounds and only modest range. 30 are Dornier Blauwal, triple engine export flying boats with good range, good ceiling, a 2600 pound bomb load, 1 20mm cannon and two machine guns.

    30 are Fokker T VI, slow, ungainly twin engine monoplane floatplanes with decent range, a moderate ceiling, 3 machine guns and 1800 pounds of bombs or a torpedo. 10 of more are Fokker T XVIII with somewhat improved range, speed and maneuverability but otherwise similar.

    25 are Fokker XII.W floatplane, ungainly, very slow biplanes with good range but a low ceiling, and only two defensive machine guns.

    15 are Fokker XVII.W scout float planes, biplanes based on the XIV bomber but beefed up for catapult launches and lacking bomb carrying ability and less aerodynamic.

    The 20 remaining aircraft are basically all trainers of domestic design.

    The Army of the Netherlands East Indies also has an air force of about 200 planes

    The only fighter aircraft they operate are 30 American built Curtiss Model 80 export fighters, modern high performance monoplanes with excellent speed and ceiling, good maneuverability and two medium machine guns in the cowl. Contracts for additional American fighters are being negotiated.

    15 more aircraft are Fokker XI light bombers.

    The most numerous aircraft are 120 US built B-14 bombers, not chosen by the USAF they are a twin engine design, slow with 3 machine guns and a 2200 pound bomb load, along with a decent ceiling and long range, while basically modern in design they are obsolescent.

    The remaining aircraft are a mix of transports, trainers and liaison aircraft of a variety of origins, but majority domestic.

    The Netherlands does not have paratroopers. It does however have some advanced aeronautical research going on including into push-pull aircraft.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    The Netherlands has a stockpile of mustard gas and older chemical weapons for dispersal by bomb and artillery shell. The largest component of the stockpile is located in the Netherlands East Indies.

    The Netherlands does not have a nuclear or biological weapons program.

    Problems:

    The Netherlands has not fought a real war in over a century

    The Dutch Army is very poorly trained by European standards

    The Dutch East Indies is far from the Dutch mainland and close to Japan

    The Netherlands is right next door to Germany

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
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    Part 6-22 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Burma and Rhodesia
  • …The Norwegian government was torn in the aftermath of the British invasion. On the one hand the king and the vast majority of the legislature were furious at the British actions and recognized that the people were too. On the other hand they realized that they could not expel the British on their own, and that trying would be futile and get many more of their soldiers killed for nothing. On the third hand they were well aware that inviting in the Germans to expel the British would probably be significantly worse than simply having the British remain occupying those cities. That would turn Norway into a warzone and even if they won would see Norway blockaded and her merchant fleet seized and no recompense to be found when the British and French eventually beat Germany on the Continent.

    After much debate a solution was agreed to late on the 9th. The Norwegians would ask for a ceasefire in place in the interest of humanity to stop the fighting and dying. They would then open negotiations with the British and try and get them to withdraw from Bergen and Trondheim and pay reparations, to satisfy the Norwegian people. They thought that this was likely something the British would concede, as long as they held Narvik they could stop the iron ore, and money was a small price to pay for restoring their tarnished image.

    Certainly that fit with the way things were. A de facto ceasefire had already went into place in Bergen and Trondheim. Fighting was ongoing in Narvik as the British attempted to push along the iron railroad, and British airpower continued to strike elements of the 14th and 15th infantry regiments defending it. Now that the fighting had moved out of range of naval artillery the British were finding it hard going and with the 3rd Dragoon Regiment and 5th Infantry regiment moving to reinforce, the British would soon find themselves facing numerical parity, which in the mountainous terrain of Norway would be sufficient to stop them. At that point it was expected that the British would agree to the deal.

    There was the worry that the Germans would take this badly, but the Norwegian government was unworried. With the Royal Navy in force there was no way that the Germans could force an invasion convoy through, they would have to wait until the British majority of the British fleet withdrew to rest and refit and Tirpitz finished working up to have a chance. Any currently ongoing activity in the North German ports was simply running on inertia and would soon cease.

    Bombers were more of a concern, but Norway was fairly far away from Germany, with the need to detour around Danish airspace only the longest range of the German bombers could reach and it was thought Germany had better tasks for them. Thus the Norwegians dismissed the possibility of an immediate German intervention.

    They were quite quickly proven wrong…

    …Just after 1:00 on the 10th of April German forces entered Denmark. The first wave was naval units, minelayers, icebreakers, tugs, patrol craft and other lesser vessels, along with the battleships Hanover and Pommern, and the regular ferries which had been loaded with troops. They moved quickly to land troops to secure the crossings between the Danish islands and the capital city of Copenhagen. However they could only move so quickly and before they could begin landing troops the next wave entered Denmark.

    Two companies of Paratroopers formed this wave, aiming to capture the airport at Aalborg and the Storstorm bridge between Falster and Zealand.

    Following them came the main body, a full infantry division, an independent motorized brigade and attachments, moving over the land border at four different places shortly after 4:00am…

    …Falster was invaded by a battalion that had crossed on the normal ferry from Rostock, catching the Danes by complete surprise. Facing no effective resistance it rapidly advanced to the bridge to Zealand, and relieved the paratroopers there, who captured the bridge and nearby fortress completely without loss thanks to it only being garrisoned by four men…

    …The largest naval contingent was a regiment and battalion escorted by the German heavies. A battalion was landed on Funen at Nyborg while a regiment was landed on Zealand at Korsor and was positioned to neutralize the Danish forces on the west of the island…

    …Three flanking companies were landed on Jutland, one in the east a Frederica, and two in the west, one at Esbjerg and one at Thyboren. They quickly seized the small ports in order to be able to bring in further reinforcements if needed. The force at Frederica also landed a second company across the belt at Middlefart on Funen to control the narrowest part of the Little Belt…

    …The 156th Infantry division and the 10th Special Duties Brigade quickly moved up the Jutland Peninsula, the 10th racing ahead to neutralize the Danish garrisons while the 156th took control. With the Danes not fully mobilized and not warned they put up little resistance, with the 10th only rarely encountering resistance and nothing heavier than an understrength platoon with a 20mm cannon. Most Danish forces were caught still in their barracks…

    …The most important of the operations against Denmark was the landing at Aalborg. A full company of paratroopers landed, to find that the airport was totally undefended. Within hours the first few transports came bearing reinforcements, just before others came to refuel before heading to Norway…

    …The most intense fighting occurred at Copenhagen, six ships, the largest a 2500 ton minelayer, brought a reinforced battalion to take the Danish capital. Copenhagen had relatively strong coastal defenses, but under the rules of engagement the Danes were under they could only fire a warning shot without explicit authorization from the Navy Ministry. By the time this occurred the German ships had left the arc of fire of the forts 30.5cm guns and had already landed troops and captured the headquarters of the Danish Army without a fight.

    Shortly thereafter the Germans attempted to capture the Danish government at the Amalienborg Palace. However the Danish Royal Guard, if not fully mobilized, was prepared and fought them to a standstill. About an hour into the fight however aircraft from the Luftwaffe passed over Copenhagen, first returning from the destruction of the Danish air force on the ground at Vaerlose, and secondly to drop propaganda leaflets. This intervention by the Luftwaffe had a profound effect on the Danes.

    Even if they managed to stop the Germans from capturing the city, they could do nothing to stop it from being bombed to bits. With the military situation considered untenable even before the war, and what few reports they received consisting solely of disaster the Danish government decided that surrender was the best course of action. Five hours after the shooting started it ended…

    …The Polish Navy had originally interned itself in Copenhagen, but to save money the embassy had transferred the fleet to Kalundborg where the docking fees were lower. When they were informed that the Germans had invaded Denmark they offered their services to the Danes, something that was briefly accepted. Before they were ready to fight or even flee they were informed that not only had the Danes surrendered, but that the German battleships Hanover and Pommern, in the company of several torpedo boats, were approaching to neutralize them. Given the situation they decided to scuttle their ships by opening the Kingston valves, as they had not yet removed enough ammunition from the warehouses it had been placed in to destroy the vessels. They then borrowed the ferries to Samso and sailed them to Sweden, bluffing their way past the German ships at the mouth of the Kalundborg Fjord…

    …King Christian had considered going into exile, and even more strongly considered sending his son and a number of politicians off. However he dared not use an aircraft given the confused situation, and he believed that Roskilde and Helsingor had both fallen, cutting off potential routes for his escape. By the time that this was conclusively reported to be false the Swedes had stopped the ferries on their side and attempting to secure alternate transportation would have taken too long with German reinforcements as close as they were to Copenhagen…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    The Crown Colony of Burma
    Basics:

    Burma is a British colony with a fully independent legislature, recently separated from India and receiving separate representation at Imperial Conferences.

    Economy:

    Burma is a relatively developed agricultural economy, focused on the export of rice of which it is the world’s largest exporter. Burma also exports 75% of the world’s teak and has significant oil, silver, tin, tungsten and lead production. Burma has the second highest GDP per capita in Asia

    Land Forces:

    Burma has a single British pattern infantry regiment currently 5 battalions strong as its sole regular armed forces, with six brigades of auxiliaries and territorials, for a peacetime strength of 5,000 and a wartime strength of 12,000. Burma also has six military police battalions under the frontier force and three under the governor, for an additional 15,000 troops. Frontier force battalions each include a company of cavalry as the sole mobile forces under Burmese control.

    The standard Burmese Army rifle is the Lee-Enfield in .303 British, primarily the older Mark III as opposed to the Mark IV used by most of the British Empire. Burma still has a large number of Pattern 14 Enfield, Lee Metford, Martini-Enfield and even Martini Henry rifles in .577/450 Martini Henry in reserve. The Burmese Army also issues a number of Winchester Model 97 Trench guns for use by MPs or for special duties. Burma has no plans to procure the Number 39 or Number 40 Rifle.

    Burma’s primary sidearm is the Enfield Mark II in .38 British, licensed in India. Other models of revolver in .38 British or .455 are also permitted and a large stock of older Webleys is maintained in reserve. Burmaa has a moderate number of Indian built Swiss MKMO machine guns in 9mm Parabellum for issue to troops on riot duty.

    The primary light machine gun of Burma is the Vickers Berthier Model 1925 in .303 British, built in India. It is issued as a section weapon. Burma has a large number of Lewis guns in storage for use in wartime, as well for use by the frontier force and military police which have one per company. For heavier weapons Burma uses water cooled Vickers guns as battalion weapons in the same numbers as the British for their regular, auxiliary and territorial units, in .303. Burma does not plan to adopt the Holek or Rolik guns or the .276 cartridge.

    Each battalion of the regulars and reserves has a four gun battery of 3” Stokes Mortars, these are the only heavier infantry weapons. Burma plans on acquiring .55 Boys AT rifles in the future.

    Burma does not possess any dedicated AT guns, and lacks plans to buy any.

    Indian Air Defense is primarily provided by machine guns on single AA mounts. Burma’s heavier AA comes in the form of 12 pounder AA guns from WWI.

    Burma’s only field artillery is the 18 pounder of which they have two batteries. For use in mountainous areas Burma has four batteries of 3.4” howitzers.

    Burma has no heavier artillery apart from coastal defense guns.

    Burma has no tanks.

    Burma has around 20 armored cars meant for internal policing built on truck chassis and armed with one or more machine guns.

    The Burmese military is only lightly motorized with some motor transport available for requisition as needed.

    The Burmese military is almost completely formed of non-Burmese

    Naval Forces:

    Burma lacks a navy with naval protection handled by the RN, RIN and RAN

    Air Forces:

    Burma has no independent air force and is dependent on the RAF

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Burma has a small stock of mustard gas and various riot control agents

    Burma lacks biological or nuclear weapons programs

    Problems:

    Burma has very high income inequality

    The ethnic Burmese population is heavily excluded and discriminated against

    Burmese infrastructure is horrible

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001

    The Crown Colony of Southern Rhodesia
    Basics:

    Southern Rhodesia is a Crown Colony with full self-government currently led by the Centrist United Rhodesia Party. It became a self-governing colony in 1923 after the British South Africa Company ceded control.

    Economy:

    Southern Rhodesia has an economy functionally based on the export of Chromium and Tobacco. It is more than self-sustaining in agricultural production and still exports a quantity of Gold.

    Land Forces:

    Rhodesia has a tiny permanent land force of staff officers and two battalions of reservists with a mobilization strength of 2,000. The 2,000 men of the British South Africa Police.

    The Standard Rhodesian rifle is the Lee-Enfield in .303, primarily the short model. Older models of Lee-Enfield are in use by the reserves. Rhodesia has no plans to adopt the No. 39 or No. 40 Rifle.

    Rhodesia’s standard Revolver is the Webley in .455 though other .455 caliber revolvers are acceptable substitutions for officers. Rhodesia lacks submachine guns.

    The standard Rhodesian Light machine Gun is the Rieder, a South African conversion of the Lee Enfield Rifle in .303. South Africa uses the Lewis gun in .303 as a supplement for times when volume of fire is more needed than low weight. Rhodesia intends to adopt the Holek in .303 British to replace the Rieder and Lewis once South Africa production. The standard Heavy machine gun is the Vickers in .303 British. Rhodesia will only replace the Vickers gun if South Africa does first.

    Rhodesia’s only heavy weapons are 3” Stokes mortars. Purchase of more modern British mortars and Boys AT rifles are planned

    Rhodesia lacks towed AT weapons and does not feel the need to purchase any.

    Rhodesian AA is in the form of Vickers guns with no intention to acquire anything larger at the moment.

    Rhodesia has a quantity of 13 and 18 pounders and 3.7” Howitzers in storage but no actual artillery units to use them or plans to form them.

    Rhodesia lacks tanks

    Rhodesia has 20 imported Dorman-Long Armored cars from South Africa

    The Rhodesian Army is only lightly motorized, but is predominantly horse mounted.

    The Rhodesian Army is segregated, the BSAP is black with white officers while the reservists of the Rhodesian Regiment are all white.


    Naval Forces:

    Rhodesia is a landlocked country and has no navy.

    Air Forces:

    Rhodesia has a tiny airforce of 20 planes

    10 are Avro Aardvark light bombers, an obsolete design meant for South Africa.

    The other 10 are trainers, 5 basic and 5 advanced of British design.

    Rhodesia lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Rhodesia makes heavy use of tear gas, primarily in the form of grenades and truck mounted sprayers.

    Rhodesia lacks nuclear or biological weapons programs

    Problems:

    Rhodesia is dominated by a white minority of 5%

    Rhodesia is landlocked and isolated in Africa

    Rhodesia is on average very poorly educated and developed, with only the white minority being well off

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001







    A/N: for those of you wondering I am only doing colonies with a certain degree of self government, for British ones that means a separate seat at the Imperial conferences, so these are the last two. Also next week may not have an Eve of War, already started writing it but it would be a long one and I am going away for the weekend, a regular update should still happen
     
    Part 6-23 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Italy
  • …Forces started moving for the invasion of Norway even before those of the Denmark. On April 8th the first forces left Germany bound for Norway. These were the naval elements of the plan and were divided into five groups. Originally there had been no fewer than eight groups, however the British preemption of the operation made three of the seven invasion targets completely suicidal instead of merely very risky and they were diverted.

    The first group was two destroyers with 400 Mountain infantry to Egersund, this being the most exposed of the forces. The Second Group was the Light cruiser Konigsberg and four destroyers with Kristiansand as the target with 1000 Mountain troops and 600 regular infantry. Group 3 was actually a single destroyer with 200 Bicycle troops and targeted Arendal. The largest numerically was group 4 with the Panzerschiffe Admiral Scheer, heavy cruisers Seydlitz and Roon, light cruisers Emden, Koln and Osnabruck, 5 destroyers, 10 torpedo boats, the tender Jaunde and the training ship Bremse with 4000 troops to take Oslo. Group 5 is somewhat smaller numerically but largest in tonnage and is the covering force, consisting of the battleships Bismarck, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the Panzerschiff Admiral Hipper, the heavy cruiser Blucher and Prinz Eugen, light cruisers Leipzig, Magdeburg and Nurnberg, aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, and 11 destroyers.

    Before these forces arrived however it was the paratroopers that would actually reach Norway first…

    …The airborne attack on Norway featured a full regiment of Fallschrimjagers. One battalion would capture the airport at Sola near Stavanger, another the Oslo airport at Forneblu, and the remaining battalion would be broken up into companies to control railway junctions in southern Norway east of Oslo in order to prevent a response by the 1st, 4th or 6th Infantry Regiments to the invasion of Oslo. All groups would be preceded by a flight of fast bombers which would drop leaflets announcing that the German forces were there at the invitation of the Norwegian government to help expel the British.

    Following the leaflet drop the transport planes would observe the situation, if they were being attacked by ground defenses they would drop their paratroopers, if not the Sola and Forneblu detachments would land on the runways and unload their paratroopers in a much more relaxed manner. The smaller forces would dig in and await relief from Oslo while the larger forces would await regular infantry being flown in by later waves of aircraft, and at Oslo naval reinforcements…

    …By the time the first German aircraft reached Norwegian airspace just after noon on the 10th the Norwegian military should have received new orders to resist German forces. The cabinet ordered that changes to that effect be made as its first order of business on reconvening that morning. However upon reaching the Defense Ministry the orders disappeared. Blame for this is placed on one Colonel Conrad Sundio, a known sympathizer of the far right Nasjonal Samling. As a result only the Royal Guard had received word that they had to be prepared to resist a German invasion, with all other forces still under orders to only fire in direct self-defense unless against the British…

    …The aircraft bound for Stavanger reached the city without challenge and were briefly met with anti-aircraft fire before the gunners realized that they were not British. The bombers then dropped their leaflets and left. The transports, having not been fired on themselves, dropped in to land. Without an intact control tower to guide them in the landing proved difficult and one aircraft crashed, resulting a large number of injuries but no deaths. The remainder landed safely and deployed their paratroopers who began the awkward task of working with the Norwegian defenders…

    …At Oslo a Norwegian CR.31 on standing patrol spotted the incoming bombers and moved to intercept. Upon seeing Balkenkreuzs as opposed to three colored roundels on the aircraft the Norwegian pilot aborted an attack run and moved to communicate with the Germans. Hand signals sufficed to communicate that they were here to help and the pilot helpfully radioed the ground crews that the arriving aircraft were friendly, allowing the leaflet drops, paratrooper drops and landings at Forneblu to occur unmolested.

    The leaflet drops however served to warn the Norwegian government that something was wrong and orders were immediately sent to treat the Germans as hostile. By that point however there were two battalions present, the initial one and a follow up unit of regular infantry, and the guards of the airfield would need reinforcements from the 2nd Infantry regiment to dislodge them. This would take over an hour during which more Germans arrived by air and warships were sighted outside the Oslofjord, though initial sighting reports were unclear as to whether they were German or British…

    …The key question of the German invasion of Norway was not whether the airborne forces could capture Norway, they could not. They would be hard pressed to hold Oslo for more than a week as the Norwegian Navy was more than capable of shutting down the runways at Forneblu with artillery fire once ordered to do so, unless they were stopped. Without reinforcements flown in from Germany the Germans, still less than a regiment, would be overwhelmed by the four Norwegian infantry and two cavalry regiments still within response distance of Oslo. Stavanger was a different matter as there was only a single Norwegian regiment that could respond there, but at the same time it too could be isolated and destroyed, especially given that the airport was within easy naval artillery range of open water.

    If the Germans were to have a chance of victory they needed the seaborne reinforcements currently inbound. These of course would still not be enough to take Norway, or even southern Norway, only amounting to half a division. But they would, when combined with the guns of the warships that brought them, stabilize the German position long enough for the actual transports bearing five and a half divisions of reinforcements to start to arrive. That was equal in number to the entire Norwegian Army, and better trained and equipped besides. If they landed then the Norwegians would be totally dependent on the British and French to hold and hopefully retake their country. But for them to land they needed the ports to be in German hands, and for that to happen the first wave of naval forces needed to get through.

    That however was not something the Norwegians could effect, rather it depended on the British. If the blocking force of King Edward VIII, Rodney and Howe could smash their way through the German blocking force, or at least eliminate it so that other units could get through, then the German invasion of Norway would come to a premature and bloody end…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005



    The Kingdom of Italy

    Basics:

    Italy is a Fascist Constitutional Monarchy under the House of Savoy, with its current leader being Erasmo Sanna. Italy was a late joining member of the Entente in WWI, having switched from the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. After considerable unrest in the interwar era Italy became the first Fascist State

    Economy:

    Italy is a somewhat industrialized economy, being the least industrialized of the great powers in total and the second or third least per capita, but is still a major industrial nation. It is however still dependent on agriculture for much of its population and lacks an abundance of natural resources.

    Land Forces:

    Italy has a large and powerful Army of 1,200,000 at mobilization strength. It consists of 20 Infantry, 4 Alpini Mountain Divisions, 3 Bersaglieri bicycle infantry divisions, 3 Arditi motorized stormtrooper divisions, a cavalry division, a paratrooper division, two cavalry divisions and three armored divisions. In addition Italy has a militarized border guard 20,000 strong, a 100,000 strong paramilitary of Blackshirts and a 250,000 strong corps of colonial troops with 6 infantry divisions and supporting elements. Italian divisions follow on orthodox triangular structure.

    The standard Italian rifle is the M1935, a semi-automatic design by Breda with an 20 round fixed magazine. It is chambered in 7.35x51mm Italain and is currently the frontline weapon, having equipped the armored, paratroopers, Arditi, Bersaglieri, Alpini and some infantry. Others use the Carcano M1891 in 6.5x52mm Mannlicher Carcano, an obsolete cartridge with poor ballistics, though an increasing number M1891 have been converted to 7.35x51mm, equipping most frontline troops in the caliber. Colonial troops in East Africa use Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 in 8x50mm Mannlicher, with more in reserve for emergency use. Some Vetterli Vitali single shot rifles in 6.5x52mm are kept in reserve as well.

    The standard Italian pistols are semi-automatic Beretta M1933 or 1934, either a 7 round in .380ACP or a 8 round in .32ACP, both being issued to different units. The M1910 Glisenti is in reserve a semi-automatic in 9mm Glisenti, dimensionally equal to 9mm parabellum but weaker. Older Beretta M1915 in 9mm Glisenti or .32 ACP are also in reserve as are 9mm Steyr M1911 and 8mm Roth-Steyr M1907 pistols from Austria-Hungary and Bodeo revolvers in 10.35mm Italian. The Italians use the Beretta M36, a blowback SMG in 9mm Parabellum, issued in moderate numbers to every regiment for assault duties with 1-3 per squad being standard, though that is not reached. A competition for a 9mm Parabellum pistol to go with the submachine gun is underway.

    The standard light machine gun is the Model 1937, a ZB-26 clone in 7.35x51mm, issued one per squad, however some units still have only one per platoon. This is supported by the Breda M1938 in 8x63mm Swedish, a standard belt fed machine gun issued 4 per battalion but somewhat slow firing and heavy. Some units still have the FIAT M1935 in the same caliber, but heavier, slower firing and with a 20 round feed tray system prone to causing jams. Many units still have the WWI FIAT-Revelli M1914 in 6.5mm Carcano, an unreliable box feed machine gun. Also in reserve are large numbers of Schwarzlose machine guns in 8mm Mannlicher captured in WWI.

    For infantry support Italy makes use of mortars. The Model 35 is a 45mm weapon issued 18 per battalion and is an accurate weapon if firing light shells. The model 34 is a heavier Brandt mortar clone in 81mm issued 6 per regiment and has special extended range shells for better than normal range. Flamethrowers are used to support assault units and issued in independent platoons of six teams. Some units have Swiss built Solothurn 20mm AT rifles as anti-armor support attached.

    For Air Defense at the lowest levels Italy uses 13.2mm HMG on command vehicles. 20mm Breda cannon are issued 8 per artillery regiment and division headquarters as air defense. For semi-mobile defense Italy uses single barrel Breda 37mm54 Autocannon and 75mm/46 guns, either obsolete pieces dating to WWI or modern mobile pieces Model 1934. The newest AA gun is the 90mm/53 M38, based off a failed naval weapon it is a powerful and still mobile heavy AA gun with performance as good or better than any contemporary. All Italain AA guns are designed to do a dual role as AT guns if needed.

    Italy makes use of infantry guns to provide direct fire support typically 8 per regiment with 8 more per division. The standard piece is a 47mm/32 dual purpose infantry and anti-tank gun, slightly better at the latter than the former. Some units use the 65mm/17 M13 instead, or the new 75mm/18 M34 in that role. East African units use the obsolete 70mm/15M1902. Captured Austrian 37mm/10 are in reserve for the role.

    Standard field artillery is the 75mm/34 M1935, a modern piece sharing components with the 75mm/18 M34 mountain gun and doubling as an AT piece, 24 pieces are allocated per division. Older German designed 75mm/27 M1906 and 1912 and French 75mm/27 M1911 are in service with some modernized to a degree, most not, with more in reserve. These are supplemented by the captured Obice 100/17 M14 or domestic 105/14 M1917, with another 12 per division. Mountain units replace these with 75mm/18 M34 and more 100/17 of a modernized design.

    Heavier artillery is in the form of the Schneider 105mm/28 m1913 as a long range piece, only slightly modernized. A domestic 120mm piece is in development to replace it. It is supplemented by the 149mm/12 M14, a copy of the Krupp SfH 13 or captured Skoda 149mm/12 howitzers, with Corps artillery regiments having a 1:1 mixture. The howitzers are being replaced by the 149mm/19 M37, a modern design with good range for its weight.

    Army level artillery is provided by the Canon de 149/35A, a piece dating to 1900 that was obsolescent before WWI and is completely obsolete. It is being replaced by the 149mm/40 M35, which is a modern higher performing piece unspectacular save in its ability to be broken down into four pieces for transport as opposed to the normal two.

    Italy has mortars of 210mm, 260mm and 280mm for siege work dating to WWI, as well as captured and domestic 305mm Howitzers. Italy also has railway guns from 102mm up to 381mm/40 in reserve.

    Italy has a fairly strong tank force, with the newer designs and command tanks having radios. The oldest are about 100 FIAT 3000 kept in reserve, 5 ton vehicles with a 37mm/40, a 6.5mm machine gun, small arms protection and 13mph speed.

    500 are L5/34 a two man small arms protected vehicle with a 6.5mm machine gun, and a 13.2mmm or a flamethrower in fixed mounts, small arms protection and 26 mph speed. 300 more of the design are in reserve. 50 more are unarmed command tanks.

    500 are L6/38, a slightly larger version with a 20mm cannon replacing the 13.2mm machine gun and an 8mm replacing the 6.5mm but otherwise similar. 50 more are unarmed command tanks.

    200 are M16/39, a 4 man conventional design resistant to 20mm fire in the front with a turreted 47mm/32 and 3 8mm machine guns, it weighs 16 tons and makes 20mph.

    50 are L6/40 scout tanks, a compact 2 man 6 ton 20mph vehicle with limited 20mm protection, a turreted 20mm cannon or flamethrower and 8mm machine gun for scouting.

    Italy also has 20 M11/39 and 20 M12/39, 3 man export tanks for Hungary that are seized, They have 3 8mm machine guns, make 20mph, are protected from 20mm fire in the front and have a 37mm.40, fixed in the former, turreted in the latter.

    In prototype is the M22/41, a powerful 22 ton vehicle with a turreted 65mm/40 cannon.

    Italy also operates armored cars. The Lanzia is a 3.75 ton WWI vintage design, 4 wheeled, protected against small arms with 2 machine guns in a turret and a road speed of 37mph. 50 are in service.

    50 are more modern FIAT 615, a 7 ton 6 wheeled armored car with a rear facing machine gun and either two more in a turret or a 37mm/40 cannon, it is protected from small arms fire and makes 20mph.

    50 are the new Autoblindo 40, a 4 wheel 7.5 ton design with a turreted 13.2mm HMG and 8mm machine gun, a rear 8mm machine gun, limited protection from AT rifles, and 50mph road speed. An improved 8 ton version with a 20mm main gun is in development.

    The Italain Army is not well motorized but is still above average. It has relatively standardized its complement of motor vehicles.

    Naval Forces:

    Italy has one of the top 7 if not top 5 navies in the World.

    The most powerful units in the Italian Navy are her battleships of which 8 are in service with two more building. The Littorio and Vittorio are the newest and most powerful. 45,000 tons they are short ranged but fast at 30 knots, with 3 float planes and with an extremely impressive immune zone against 15” fire thanks to an innovative use of a de-capping plate, that does leave them surprisingly vulnerable to 16” and larger shells in comparison. Their main armament is 9 381mm/50 guns in three triples in an A-B-Y arrangement, overpowered weapons with a short barrel life. Supporting this are 9 152mm/55 in 3 triples in a C-V-X arrangement superfiring over the main battery, 16 100mm/50 DP guns, 40 37mm and 20 20mm guns. Under construction are the Roma and Impero, to be finished in December 1941 and June 1942 respectively.

    Slightly less powerful are the Actium and Lepanto, 35,000 ton light battleships capable of 30 knots with two float planes and a short combat radius. Their armament is 9 343mm/45 in 3 triples laid out A-B-Y, with a secondary battery of 12 152mm/55 in 4 triples, 12 100mm/50 DP guns, 24 37mm and 12 20mm AA. They are decently protected against 13.5” shellfire with a modern, orthodox scheme.

    Older are the Andrea Doria and Duilio, 23,000 ton WWI veterans. They currently make 20 knots after bulging, and have an outdated armor scheme insufficient against 12” shellfire in WWI. They have 13 305mm/46 guns in an A-B-Q-X-Y arrangement with two twins superfiring over the end triples. As secondaries they have after rebuilding 4 twin 152mm/55, 8 single 100mm/50 DP guns, 24 37mm and 12 20mm AA.

    Even older are the Leonardo da Vinci and Giulio Cesare, similar in size and speed with an identical primary armament save for a lack of an elevation upgrade. Their secondary battery has received a lesser upgrade with 8 casemated 120mm/50, 8 single 100mm/47 DP, 12 37mm and 8 13.2mm Machine guns, along with a less thorough set of other upgrades.

    Italy has plans for larger battleships but does not expect to lay any down before 1943.

    Italy does not have any aircraft carriers nor serious plans for any. It has a single seaplane tender, the converted 6000 ton train ferry Giuseppe Miraglia. She makes 21 knots, carries up to 16 seaplanes and has 4 102mm/35 and 12 13.2mm machine guns for defense.

    Italy has a force of eight heavy cruisers. The Trieste and the Trento are the oldest vessels, nominally 12,500 tons they are actually 13,500 tons. They have 4 twin 203mm/50 in a superfiring layout, 8 twin 100mm/47, 4 triple 533mm torpedo tubes, 4 twin 37mm and 8 20mm AA. Nominally 36 knot ships in practice they are 32 knot vessels, with two floatplanes and average protection from 8” shells at combat ranges, their main flaw is short range.

    The Zara, Fiume, Goriza and Pola are slightly larger at 14,000 tons. They feature improved 53 caliber main guns, twice the 20mm battery and most prominently are slower at 33 knots, 32 in service, but have excellent protection against 8” shellfire at combat ranges.

    The Monfalcone and Bolzano are large 14,500 ton ships. They have an improved torpedo armament of 4 quad tubes and 50 caliber 100mm guns, along with an extra 4 20mm guns. Their armor remains the same as their predecessors but they can reach 35 knots on trials, 33 in service.

    The San Marco is an old armored cruiser used as a training vessel, an 11,000 ton vessel she makes 18 knots after her conversion to oil firing. She has 2 twin 254mm/45, 4 twin 190mm/45 in wing turrets, 4 twin 100mm/47 DP guns, 4 twin and 3 single 37mm guns, 6 twin and 4 single 20mm guns, and 2 twin and 2 single 13.2mm machine guns. She has an obsolete armor scheme that is only effective against 8” shells at medium ranges.

    Italy has 14 Light Cruisers in service with 12 more under construction.

    The oldest cruisers are the Ancona and Taranto, 5600 ton former German war prizes of the Koln class. They have 8 single 15cm/45 in pedestal mounts, 2 76mm/40 AA guns, 4 533mm torpedo tubes, room for 200 mines, 12 20mm and 6 13.2mm AA guns. They are only lightly protected against 6” fire at combat ranges and after conversion to oil firing only make 24 knots.

    The oldest modern cruisers are the Alberto da Guissano and Alberico da Barbiano, 7000 ton 37 knot vessels. Armed with 4 twin 152mm/53, 4 twin 100mm/47, 4 twin 37mm, 6 twin 20mm and two triple 533mm torpedo tubes they are fast destroyer killers. They carry two float planes but have a very short range and only protection against lighter destroyer caliber weapons.

    The Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni delle Bande Nere are 7500 tons and have better hull strength and can more easily reach 37 knots.

    The Armando Diaz and Antonio Cantore are improved versions of 8500 tons, retaining the same armament, but having more armor, with limited resistance to 6” fire at longer ranges. They retain the same 37 knot speed and short range as their predecessors.

    The Raimundo Montecuccoli and Muzio Attendolo are even larger at 9500 tons, and slower at 36.5 knots. They do have room for a third float plane and have average protection against 6” fire for a light cruiser.

    The Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’Aosta and Eugenio di Savoia are 12,000 ton ships. They are slower at 34.5 knots, but better maintain that speed and have good protection against 6” shellfire., along with a fourth floatplane, though they remain short legged. They replace their A and Y guns with triples, and use new 100mm/50 AA with 12 37mm, and 20 20mm as light AA.

    The Giuseppe Garabaldi and Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi are 12,500 ton ships. They bring the speed of their predecessor up to 35 knots and mount 4 triple torpedo tubes instead of 2 and 4 extra 37mm AA guns. They retain the potent armor but lose the ability to carry four floatplanes, carrying only two.

    Two modified units are under construction. Now 13,000 tons they reduce the speed to 33 knots. This extra tonnage is used for two extra 100mm turrets and to make the B &X turrets triples, for 12 guns. They are expected in 1943.

    Under construction are the Scipione Africano, Giulio Germanico, Attilo Regolo, Pompeo Magno, Caio Mario, Claudio Druso, Fabio Massimo, Cornelio Silla, Curio Dentato, Paulo Emilio, Giulio Agricola, and Vipsanio Agrippa. The Roman Captains are 4000 ton vessels to be capable of 41 knots, with 8 135mm DP guns in 4 twins, 8 twin 37mm AA guns, 8 twin 20mm guns, 2 quadruple 533mm torpedo tubes, and room for 75 mines. They have slightly greater range than the other interwar cruisers of Italy but only have splinter protection for armor. They are expected to complete between January 1942 and December 1943.

    Italy has a fairly large fleet of destroyers and torpedo boats. They have a practice or rerating older destroyers as torpedo boats, and older scout cruisers as destroyers.

    The oldest destroyers are the rerated 1800 ton scout cruisers Carlo Mirabello and Carlo Alberto Racchia. They make 35 knots, are short ranged and unarmed and are unsuited for operations outside the Mediterranean. Currently they have 8 single 102mm/45, 2 40mm/39 autocannon, 4 13.2mm machine guns, 2 twin 450mm torpedo tubes and up to 120 mines.

    The next oldest are three rerated 2200 ton scout cruisers the Leone, Tigre and Pantera. They make 33 knots, are unarmored and while short ranged are modified for colonial service. They have 4 twin 120mm/45, 2 40mm autocannon, two triple 450mm torpedo tubes and 6 13.2mm Machine guns, along with up to 60 mines.

    The 4 1000 ton Francesco Crispi class were actually built as destroyers, the oldest vessels still serving as such in the Italian Navy. They make 33 knots, have decent range and have 1 twin 120mm/45 aft, 1 single fore,2 40mm autocannon, 2 twin 13.2mm HMG, 2 twin 533mm torpedo tubes and up to 32 mines.

    The four Cesare Battisti class are 1075 ton improved Crispis. Still 33 knots they upgrade the fore gun to a twin mount, the torpedo tubes to triples and have up to 52 mines.

    The Eight Zeffiro class are 1125 ton slightly improved Battisti, primary change being adding of 2 more twin 13.2mm and 2 single mounts and increased range and seakeeping.

    The 12 Navigatori are much larger 1900 ton vessels. They have 3 twin 120mm/50 of a not quite DP mount, 1 fore, 1 aft and 1 amidships, 2 40mm autocannon, 4 twin and 4 single 13.2mm machine guns, 2 triple 533mm tubes. They make 32 knots and have better seakeeping than previous Italain designs and unit machinery for damage resistance.

    The 18 Dardo class are 1250 ton economy models. They have two twin 120mm/50 fore and aft, 2 40mm autocannon, 4 twin 13.2mm, 2 triple 533mm torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge throwers and up to 54 mines. They are only capable of 30 knots but have good range and seakeeping by Italain standards.

    The 4 Libeccio class are compromises between the Navigatori and Dardo’s at 1650 tons. They have two twin and one single 120mm/50, with the single being just ahead of the aft twin, 2 40mm autocannon, 4 twin 13.2mm, 2 triple 533mm torpedo tubes, 4 depth charge throwers and up to 56 mines. They make 33 knots and are much more stable than previous classes.

    The 4 Poeti class are improved Libeccios of 1750 tons. They replace the AA fit with two twin 37mm guns and four twin 20mm.

    The 2000 ton Soldati class are larger vessels making 35 knots. They have two twin 120mm/50 DP guns, one turret fore and aft, two twin 37mm and 4 twin 20mm autocannon, two triple 533mm torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge throwers and up to 48 mines. 12 are in service and 4 more are laid down with 4 more on order, all to complete by the end of 1942.

    Italy has a variety of Torpedo boats. The Audace is a modified 925 ton Urakaze class destroyer, laid down as Kawakaze in Britain and bought from Japan under construction. She has 6 102mm/35, 2 40mm Autocannon, 2 twin 13.2mm HMG and 2 twin 450mm torpedo tubes. She makes 30 knots and is currently in reduced commission as a control ship for remote target vessels.

    The 6 surviving Rosalino Pilo class are 775 ton rerated DD’s from WWI. They have 4 102mm/35, 2 40mm Autocannon, 2 twin 13.2mm HMG and 4 single 450mm torpedo tubes. They make 30 knots and are short ranged.

    The 4 Giuseppe Sirtori are improved Pilo class, with an extra 102mm/35, two twin torpedo tubes instead of 4 singles and space for 10 mines.

    The 6 surviving La Masa class are larger 850 ton rerated DDs that make 30 knots. They have 4 102mm/45, 2 40mm Autocannon, 2 twin 13.2mm HMG, 4 6.5mm MG, two twin 450mm torpedo tubes and up to ten mines.

    The 4 Palestro class torpedo boats are 875 ton smaller versions of Audace. They make 32 knots and have the same armament as the La Masa class, but with room for 38 mines.

    The 6 Generali class are 825 ton economy designs, still rerated DD. They have 3 102mm/45, 2 40mm Autocannon, 2 twin 13.2mm HMG, 2 6.5mm MG, and two twin 450mm torpedo tubes. They have been upgraded to carry minesweeping gear.

    The 4 Calatafimi are lengthened Palestro class of 900 tons. They make 32 knots and have 2 twin 102mm/45, fore and aft, 2 40mm autocannon, 2 twin and 2 single 13.2mm HMG, two triple 450mm torpedo tubes and carry up to 18 mines.

    The 20 Spica class are 800 ton 34 knot vessels meant to take advantage of the 600 ton loophole by publicly being that small. They have 3 100mm/47, 1 twin 37mm Autocannon, 4 twin 13.2mm HMG, 4 single 450mm torpedo tubes and up to 20 mines.

    The 8 Orsa class are enlarged 900 ton 30 knot vessels based on the Spicas. They have 2 100mm/50 DP, 3 twin 37mm Autocannon, 4 twin 20mm Autocannon, two twin 450mm torpedo tubes and 6 depth charge throwers.

    On order are 20 Impavido class torpedo boats, 1000 ton 32 knot vessels. They have 3 100mm/50 DP, 2 twin 37mm, 4 twin 20mm Autocannon, two twin 533mm torpedo tubes, 4 depth charge throwers and two rails. They are to enter service between 1942 and 1943

    Also on order are 20 Urania class corvettes, 750 ton designs sharing elements of the Impavido class. They have a compact diesel electric powerplant that makes 18 knots, 6 on batteries while silent running for ASW. They have 1 100mm/50 DP, 1 twin 37mm, 2 twin and 2 single 20mm, 6 depth charge throwers and 2 rails.

    Italy has a large force of MAS boats, in excess of 100. They are 20-30 ton motor boats capable of 45 knots, with 2 450mm torpedo tubes and an armament of up to 1 37mm autocannon and four 8mm machine guns, though the usual fit is 1-2 20mm or 13.2mm weapons.

    Italy has a small number of lesser warships. The Eritrea is a 2500 ton colonial sloop, lightly protected from autocannon and field artillery, 20 knots but with a diesel electric power plant for extreme range and repair shops to support submarines. She has 2 twin 120mm/50 DP guns, 4 twin 37mm autocannon and 4 twin 20mm Autocannon. A 2800 ton half-sister Etiopia is under construction to commission in March of 1941 with greater range and facilities.

    The Diana is a 2000 ton Dispatch Sloop that serves as the state yacht. She makes 32 knots and has 2 100mm/50, and 4 twin 20mm AA guns.

    The Albatross is a 350 ton experimental submarine chaser. She makes 35 knots and has 2 100mm/47, 2 twin 13.2mm HMG, 2 8mm MG, 4 depth charge throwers, and two rails.

    The Amerigo Vespucci is an unarmed sailing ship used for training of cadets. She is 3500 tons, makes 11 knots on diesels, potentially more under full sail.

    Italy has about 20 160 ton coal powered minesweepers. They make 10 knots and have a 76mm/40 and two machine guns. A single 70 ton diesel powered minesweeper with the same armament has been recently built as a prototype for mass production.

    Italy has a fairly strong submarine force, divided into ocean going, sea going and coastal types. The oldest ocean going vessels are the four Balilla class, 1500 tons with a 12,000 knot range, 16 knot surface speed and 7 submerged. They have 6 533mm tubes, 4 bow and two stern, with 16 torpedoes, a 120mm/45 and two 13.2mm HMG.

    The 4 Archimede class are 1000 ton vessels, with a 10,300 knot range, 17 knot surface speed and 7.5 knot submerged speed. They have 8 533mm tubes, 4 each bow and stern with 16 torpedoes, 1 100mm/47 and 2 13.2mm HMG.

    The Ettiore Fiermosca is a single large submarine of 1500 tons, she makes 15 knots surfaced and 8.5 submerged with a range of 12,000 knots. She has 6 533mm torpedo tubes, 4 bow and 2 stern with 16 torpedoes, 2 120mm/45, 4 13.2mm HMG, and 50 mines or 200 tons of cargo.

    The Enrico Tizzoli class is 3 strong. They are 1600 tons, capable of 17 knots surfaced and 7.5 knots submerged, with greater crush depth than previous designs. They have 8 533mm torpedo tubes, 16 torpedoes, 2 120mm/45 and 4 13.2mm HMG.

    The 12 Enrico Dandolo class are 1100 tons, capable of 17.5 knots surfaced and 8submerged with a range of 7500 knots. They have 8 533mm torpedo tubes, 16 torpedoes, 2 100mm/47 and 4 13.2mm HMG.

    The 3 Atropo class are improved versions of Ettiore Fiermosca. They have only a single 100mm/47 deck gun, but are a half knot faster on the surface, dive deeper, maneuver better, at the cost of two mines, a knot and a half of submerged speed and a range of merely 8000 knots.

    The 5 Galvani class are improved Archimedes. They are a half knot faster on the surface, have 1000 knots less range, carry two extra stern tubes but two fewer total torpedoes and an extra pair of 13.2mm HMGs.

    The 4 Capitano Tarantini class are slightly larger at 1050 tons. They have a second deck gun, and an extra half knot of speed both submerged and surfaced compared to the Galvanis.

    Under Construction are 6 Liugi Torelli class vessels, 1200 tons they have a 10,500 knot range but the same speed as their predecessors. They drop a deck gun and two torpedoes for better accommodations, and will commission between October 1940 and January 1941.

    Also under construction are 4 Francesco Carraciolo class submarines of 1700 tons. They will make 17 knots surfaced, 8.5 submerged with a range of 13500 knots. They have 10 533mm torpedo tubes, 6 bow and 4 stern, with a total of 26 fish, 2 100mm/47 deck guns and 4 20mm AA guns.

    The oldest sea going designs are 4 Tito Speri class. They are 825 tons, make 15 knots surfaced and 8 submerged with a 4350 knot range. They have a 102mm/35 gun, 2 13.2mm HMG, 4 bow and 2 stern 533mm torpedo tubes and 10 fish.

    The 4 Deys Geneys class are enlarged by 75 tons to increase range to 5000 knots but are otherwise the same as their predecessors.

    The 4 Ciro Menatti class are further enlarged to 950 tons to add two stern tubes and two torpedoes.

    The 4 Narvalo class are only slightly modified to improve stability over their predecessors.

    The 2 Fillippo Corridoni class are 850 ton minelayers, they make 11.5 knots surfaced, 7 submerged and have a 4200 knot range. They have 4 533mm tubes in the bow with 6 torpedoes, 1 102mm/35, 2 13.2mm HMG and 2 tubes for 24 mines in the stern.

    Italy has 48 600 class submarines of 650-725 tons in various arrangements. They make 14 knots surfaced, 7-8 submerged with a range of 2400 knots. Armament is 4 bow and 2 stern 533mm tubes with 10-12 torpedoes, a 100mm/47 and 2-4 13.2mm HMG. 12 more are under construction to complete in 1942.

    The 2 Ruggiero Settimo are improved Narvalo’s increasing speed to 17.5 knots surfaced and range to 6000 knots.

    Italy has 4 remaining US built H class submarines of 400 tons for training as coastal vessels. They make 14 knots surfaced and 10 submerged, have a 1600 knot range, 4 bow 450mm tubes with 8 torpedoes, a 47mm deck gun and a machine gun.

    4 CA class 15 ton midget subs are in service, they carry 2 450mm torpedoes but little is known of them. A successor class of 40 ton vessels is in planning.

    The Italain has a Regiment sized Marine Force, the San Marco, but it is under the control of the Italain Army. The Italain navy also has an extensive special forces section with frogmen, manned torpedoes and piloted explosive motorboats

    Italy does not have an independent naval air arm and the Regia Aeronautica controls their float planes.

    Air Forces:

    Italy has a strong independent Air Force of about 3000 aircraft. It has a strong reputation and holds the largest number of aeronautical world records of any air force

    About 600 of these are fighters. 200 are Fiat CR. 34 biplane fighters, fast for a biplane but slower than modern monoplanes, maneuverable but limited by the open cockpit and fixed landing gear. 200 more are RE 2100 a relatively fast and modern monoplane, highly maneuverable with a pair of 12.7mm machine guns, and potentially 330 pounds of bombs, it is lightly armed and lacks growth potential. The last 200 are Caproni 180’s, another light fighter like the RE 2100 with similar performance, but a third 12.7mm and better growth potential. A heavy fighter is expected to be introduced in 1941 after the failure of an attempt to introduce one in 1939.

    Italy has a large bomber force divided into light and medium, with heavies only in a prototype stage.

    The older light bomber is the Breda 72 of which 200 are in service. It is a very fast single engine monoplane dive bomber with mostly retractable landing gear and performance capability equal to some modern fighters, with a 1100 pound bombload and decent range, with two forward 12.7mm and two rear 8mm machine guns, its only flaws are a mediocre ceiling and being tough to fly. The newer model is the Caproni 204, a slower twin engine monoplane with only a 1000 pound bombload and a three 8mm, 2 fixed fore, 1 rear flexible MG, but much greater range and a slightly better ceiling, 150 of the 204 and 100 of the older, slower 202 are in service. An improved Caproni design is under development to increase the speed and range.

    Italy has a fairly potent medium bomber force. 100 aircraft are FIAT BR.22 a monoplane twin engine fast bomber, it has 3 machine guns for self-defense and can carry a 3600 pound bombload, with a long range of up to 1500 nautical miles. 50 old Caproni 110 are in use in east Africa, a slow high wing cantilever monoplane with 3 engines, 840 mile range, 4 machine guns and a 2600 pound bombload. 250 are variants of the SM 180 series, a three motor converted monoplane airliner ranging from fast, to very fast with 2600-4600 pounds of bombs, or a torpedo on some aircraft, long range and a defensive armament of up to 5 12.7mm and 8mm machine guns. 25 are new CANT Z 900 trimotor bombers, built of wood to save aluminum, they are fast, long ranged monoplanes of modern design, with 2 12.7mm and 2 8mm MG, 2600 pounds of bombs internally and 2200 more externally or two torpedoes.

    Italy has no heavy bombers at present.

    Italy operates a large number of recon aircraft. The Caproni 87 is a fabric skinned high wing fixed gear design, slow but with up to 4 machine guns and 1300 pounds of bombs, with decent range, 50 are left. 100 Caproni 200 are left, they are twin engine predecessor to the 202 bomber, they are slow with average range and a low ceiling, 3 machine guns and up to 660 pounds of bombs. 150 are IMAN Ro. 40, a composite construction fixed gear biplane, it is slow but has decent range for a single engine, two forward and one flexible machine gun and 400 pounds of bombs. The plan is to replace older aircraft with a new variant of the Caproni 200 series.

    Italy typically uses lower specification versions of its bombers and surplus airliners as transports and has a decent sized force.

    Italy is able to supply its trainer needs domestically using obsolete fighters and a few standardized dedicated designs.

    The Italain Air Force operates aircraft for the Italain Navy and handles maritime patrol.

    The standard float plane is the Ro. 42, a variant of the land based RO. 40 with floats, about 125 are in service both at sea and on land bases.

    Italy has 25 new FIAT RS 32 Strategic reconnaissance floatplanes. They are twin engined fast designs with a long range of 1350 knots, 3 defensive machine guns and up to 880 pounds of bombs. A land based derivative is in the works with improved engines.

    For maritime patrol Italy operates 200 CANT 600, a single engine high wing flying boat. It is slow with a relatively short range, 3 machine guns and 1400 pounds of bombs. The CANT 700 is supplementing this, a tri motor seaplane of more conventional design, it is much faster but still below average with 1 12.7mm and 3 8mm machine guns and 2600 pounds of bombs or a torpedo.

    Italy has a division sized force of paratroopers.

    Italy has limited research into jet propulsion.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Italy has a large stockpile of chemical weapons, primarily mustard variant, phosgene and chlorine. Italy deploys them by shell, bomb and aircraft mounted sprayer. Italy does not have a very active research program.

    Italy lacks a biological weapons program.

    Italy has a small centralized nuclear program that is achieving slow but steady progress, hampered by a lack of talent and funding.

    Problems:

    Italy is highly dependent on imports of coal

    Italy’s industrial development is uneven and it has difficulties in quality control and mass production at the same time

    The Italain military is weaker than its reputation suggests

    Italy has a growing problem with members of the military and government who are “more fascist than Sanna”

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001




    A/N okay I managed, had more motivation and free time than I thought
     
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    Part 6-23 Great Naval Battles
  • #84 The Battle off Eigeroya, April 10th, 1941

    Germany had entered WWII dependent on Swedish iron ore imports in far greater quantity than in WWI. With the Swedish rail system no longer able to handle their needs during winter when Lulea froze up the ore had to be shipped from Narvik in Norway. This made it vulnerable to blockage, either from seizing the port or simply mining the fjord. Such an action would vastly weaken the German War effort and therefore Germany planned to occupy Norway to stop this. In the wake of the incident with the blockade runner Schone Lau, where the British violated Norwegian neutrality and got into a shooting incident, this was moved up. The British however preempted the German invasion on April 5th with their own invasion, seizing Narvik, Bergen and Trondheim, along with a raid on Stavanger.

    The German invasion was thus scaled back slightly with Narvik, Bergen and Trondheim removed from the target list. At the same time however the need for the invasion grew more important, as they needed to drive Britian out of Norway before the British managed to entrench themselves. Thus the invasion was set for April 10th. It would start with an airborne invasion, followed by a half division of reinforcements aboard warships, with five and a half more divisions to follow, focusing on the ports Oslo, Egersund, Kristiansund and Arendal. The British however had their own thoughts on the subject.

    Theoretically a German invasion of Norway with an aware Britain should have been impossible. Britain had no fewer than 23 capital ships in service, while Germany had 4, 6 with predreadnoughts carrying reduced armament and 9 counting Panzerschiffe as Capital ships. Realistically, not counting the predreadnoughts, counting the Panzerschiffe as a half and ignoring the working up Tirpitz, the Germans had 4.5 available, of which only Bismarck was equal to the median British capital ship.

    However the odds were not quite as bad as 5 to 1. 5 British capital ships were on trials, working up, or in transit from doing so and thus not present, bringing it down to 4 to 1. A further 6 were considered too old and slow for anything but convoy escort or shore bombardment, bringing the total down to twelve. Another, Repulse, was considered too weak for anything but chasing raiders, being merely the equal of the Scharnhorst or Gniesenau, making it 11. Another was in repair, reducing to total to 10 in theater. That was still better than 2 to 1 odds against the Germans, worse in combat power, however the British forces were divided. The 3 most powerful capital ships of the Venerable class were escorting invasion convoys, while the refitted battlecruiser Anson, a match for Bismarck, was protecting the carriers, leaving six. Together these six were three Admiral class battlecruisers, heavily refitted to be roughly equal of Bismarck, two Beatty class battlecruisers, which were significantly more powerful, and the fast battleship King Edward VIII, between the two in power.

    As a coherent force these six would have made any engagement with the Germans a forgone conclusion. However deploying them as such would leave them vulnerable to being outmaneuvered. The British admiralty felt concern that the German invasion force might be a decoy, and that the Germans would attempt to break out into the Atlantic and attack the convoy lanes, or would attempt to repeat the WWI battlecruiser raids on the English coast. To forestall this the force was divided into two, with the battlecruisers Beatty, Sturdee and Hood positioned in the north to intercept a German breakout and the battleship King Edward VIII, the aircraft carrier Hermes and the battlecruisers Rodney and Howe in the south to block a coastal raid or penetrate into the Skagerrak.

    On the evening of April 9th, when the German invasion convoy was spotted the order was given for the southern group to move to intercept the German convoy. On the morning of the 10th they were spotted by German scout planes from Graf Zeppelin and the blocking force quickly moved to intercept. British scout planes found them soon after and Hermes attempted to launch a strike. However the Germans, knowing that Graf Zeppelin was in no way ready for offensive action instead used her aircraft purely for defense and between her CAP and Hermes mediocre air wing nothing got through the German AA despite a number of failures on the part of German fighter direction.

    At 1:00 in the afternoon the two forces spotted each other off southern Norway, with the closest land being the island of Eigeroya. The Germans had 3 battleships, two of them light, a Panzerschiffe, 2 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers and 9 destroyers, with two more destroyers escorting the Graf Zeppelin. The British had a battleship, two battlecruisers, two heavy and five light cruisers and 12 destroyers, plus two more destroyers and a light cruiser escorting the Hermes.

    At 1:30 the two sides turned broadside opened fire at 28,000 yards, with Bismarck engaging King Edward VIII, Scharnhorst Rodney and Gneisenau Howe. Very quickly the British ships proved more accurate, while the Germans fired faster, having not been quite so paranoid with safety interlocks as the British. At 1:45 Admiral Hipper joined in at 26,000 yards, engaging the cruiser Gloucester. At 2:00 the heavy cruisers began engaging at 24,000 yards and the light cruisers at 2:10 when the lines reached 22,000 yards.

    At about 2:25 the ranges stopped closing at 19,000 yards as the two sides moved south in parallel. Here the British made their first mistake in staying with the Germans, prioritizing a minimal risk engagement over a more aggressive attempt to either come to grips or bypass the Germans. The British were able to continuously get the better of this engagement, taking out Scharnhorst’s central fire control at 2:37, Gniesenau’s A turret at 2:43 and Bismarck’s central fire control at 2:51. At the same time however they were drawn further and further away from the invasion groups.

    At 2:54 Admiral Hipper shifted fire from Gloucester to the anti-aircraft light cruiser Naiad, having disabled the former in perhaps the only bright spot in the battle for the Germans. Shortly thereafter at 3:04 Scharnhorst lost her B turret and two minutes later Bismarck took a nonpenetrating hit to the bridge, rattling the German command staff. Realizing the situation was now critical, and with the fast ships of the initial invasion force nearing their targets the decision was made to turn 45 degrees and run to the southeast. The British immediately turned to pursue.

    The Germans had an initial advantage in the stern chase in that their slowest ship, the Admiral Hipper, was a knot faster than the British King Edward VIII. Unfortunately at 3:26 the cruiser Leipzig took a hit that slowed her to 23 knots. A destroyer attack was ordered to buy time for her to make up speed.

    Unfortunately the attack turned out poorly, the British destroyermen proved more skilled than their German opposites and with their numerical advantage and faster firing guns they ensured no German vessel got into effective torpedo range of the British heavies. A single British destroyer was torpedoes, in exchange for two German vessels, and a third crippled by gunfire and finished by the cruisers.

    The British attempted to press home a torpedo attack on the Germans, however fire from 15cm secondary batteries prevented them from getting too close. They did however torpedo the lagging Leipzig, reducing her speed to 10 knots and forcing her abandonment, to be torpedoed later by a British cruiser.

    At this point damage on the German ships continued to mount, with Scharnhorst having lost her rear main battery turret and Gneisenau two secondary turrets. The British were not unscathed, but still retained all of their main battery turrets and their central fire direction, in part due to various shell design issues from Krupp who retained pre WWI style booster charges and shell hardening methods, leading to reduced penetration and high dud rates. Still almost fully combat capable the British continued to pursue the Germans until 3:55.

    At this point a squadron of Do 25’s arrived. Having just flown into a recently captured Danish airport to refuel the bombers were assigned to aid the blocking force. Hermes was too far away to put up a CAP, the only dedicated AA vessel, the Naiad was heavily damaged and soon to sink, and the British capital ships and cruisers had lost an average of several AA guns each in the fight, leaving them in a poor position to fight back. Despite this the Dorniers did almost no damage, with the only hit being from a damaged bomber on a run against Howe dropping early and getting a near miss on an already damaged destroyer that contributed to her later loss.

    Still the air attack convinced the British to break off. After this attack they worried there would be more coming that could inflict real damage, which combined with the moderate damage they had received could lead to real losses. This was their second major mistake in that even a brief continuation of the pursuit would have caused severe damage and the German losses would be much more keenly felt. As it was a parting shot managed to take out a fourth German destroyer and another jammed both of Bismarck’s rear turrets.

    Following this the British made their third and final major mistake of the battle in withdrawing, rather than moving north to attempt to overwhelm the German forces in the Norwegian ports.

    Thus the Battle of Eigeroya was a German strategic and operational victory if a tactical defeat. They lost four destroyers and a light cruiser, as opposed to 2 destroyers and a light cruiser for the British, and on average their ships were far more damaged, with Bismarck being out of action for ten months, and Scharnhorst and Gneisenau would have been out for 18 to 20 months had the decision to rearm them not been made, while all three British capital ships were battle ready within eight months. At the same point however their heavy units all did survive to make further contributions to the war and they did enough damage that the British force declined to continue on to engage the invasion force. By the time other forces were available to do so the warships had reached Norway and the slower freighters could take a safer path via the Danish straits, well protected by land based air and light units…

    …Eigeroya could have very easily resulted in the complete annihilation of the German force, had the capital ship complements of the northern and southern forces been swapped, with the more powerful battlecruisers Beatty and Sturdee and the better shooting Hood doing the engagement then it was quite probable none of the German capital ships or heavy cruisers would have come sailing home and that the British force would have been intact enough to disrupt the landings. Had there been even a single replacement it was likely that at a minimum the Germans would have been down a battleship. Similarly had the King Edward VIII been completed to a larger 16” design she would have likely still been present and ensured Bismarck met her end there as opposed to lasting the longest of all of the ships engaged…

    -Excerpt from 101 Great Naval Battles, American Youth Press, New York 2010




    Okay my laptop got fixed but I still lost two and a half days of writing, plus yardwork today means no Eve of War this week
     
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    Part 6-24 Fall of Europe
  • …At about 2:30 the first German warships carrying troops reached Norway, this was the Egersund force. 400 troops rapidly landed and secured the small port without resistance, capturing the harbor and undersea cable immediately. The landing at Arendal with its cable terminus was similarly effective. At Kristiansand the powerful coast defenses on the island of Odderoya, a mix of 24cm howitzers and 21 and 15cm guns remained silent per orders, despite heavily outgunning the invasion force. The town was quickly captured and the 7th Norwegian Infantry regiment and 3rd Divisional headquarters were neutralized without a fight…

    …At Oslo, with its close proximity to the government there was severe potential for a German setback. The primary base of the Norwegian Navy was at Horten in the outer fjord, while there were four coastal batteries defending the harbor, with 15cm batteries at Bolaerne and Rauoy, a 21cm battery at Haoya and a 30.5cm howitzer battery at Makeroy, with an additional 12cm battery at Bolaerne and 8.4cm batteries at all forts.

    However by 3:00 when the main German force entered the Fjord proper no orders had yet been received, thanks to delays at the Defense Ministry. Thus the Germans were able to capture the forts and the outer guard vessels with only waning shots fired on both sides. New orders to resist the Germans did reach the base at Horten, at 4:30 after Admiral Scheer and several torpedo boats had anchored at the mouth of the base and put the ships there under their guns while the tender Jaunde landed troops on the landward side.

    At this point the only defense remaining to the capital was the fortress at Oscarborg and with unmodernized 40 year old weapons it was considered effectively useless and not worth informing. This left the Norwegian defenders of Oslo with a big problem, no longer could they afford to wait and crush the defenders of Forneblu with sheer numbers, not with thousands more German troops on the way.

    The plan was thus changed to delay the Germans so that the government, royal family and treasury could be evacuated to the Royal Guard barracks at Elverum, or a vault in Lillehammer in the case of the 50 tons of gold, as per the prewar evacuation plans. There was however one hitch to that, the evacuation plans assumed that the rail lines out of Oslo to the east were all secure, something quite reasonable assume when the only possible invasion vector was either overland from Sweden or by sea, where there would be plenty of warning as the border or coastal forts bought time. An airborne invasion was unexpected, the German paratrooper drops east of Oslo had put a company right across the rail line the plan relied upon.

    Without a sure knowledge of where all of the paratroopers had landed the Norwegians did not want to risk using another line east, and south was also out due to the naval landings. Finally the air landings at Forneblu had blocked the railroad lines to the west, leaving the rail network essentially useless. Instead a road evacuation to the north using backroads would be conducted, with the government quickly rounding up trucks, cars and busses for the purposes.

    To buy time the Royal Guard and 2nd Infantry regiment would fight a delaying action in Oslo itself, before retreating north. They would not fight particularly hard, manning improvised barricades with machine guns, fighting for ten to twenty minutes and then withdrawing, to avoid giving the Germans a reason to fire naval artillery at targets within the city itself.

    This proved successful and by eight PM the evacuation convoy had fully departed, save the four members of the Storting who refused. Following this the surviving defenders broke contact and moved north by foot in the night, mostly successfully…

    …Around Midnight the Storting, minus the four members remaining in Oslo, convened in Elverum and issued a decree stating that since they could no longer meet in ordinary session that all Legislative powers would be temporarily vested in the Cabinet until the Storting could once more meet in ordinary session…

    …The German position in Oslo was still relatively precarious, they were outnumbered heavily by the three infantry, two cavalry and two artillery regiments around Oslo. However with the exception of the 1st artillery at Ski and the 1st Infantry at Fredrikstad they had not yet received orders given the chaos of the invasion, the desperate attempts to organize a naval resistance and the actions of the Volkist sympathizers in the defense ministry. During the night the 3rd Infantry at Kongsberg and the 6th infantry at Honefoss were informed, as were the 2nd Dragoons at Hamar.

    By morning however the situation had become substantially worse. An additional regiment worth of German troops had arrived by air and the first transports with heavy reinforcements were entering the fjord. Furthermore German forces had moved through the night and the 1st Artillery at Ski had to precipitously evacuate without their guns to avoid being captured by the Germans, having no infantry screen. The 1st Infantry also had to evacuate without much of their equipment as the Panzerschiffe Admiral Scheer had redeployed in the night to within range of their base at Fredrikstad.

    The largest coherent body of Norwegian troops was at Gardermoen, and consisted of the 4th Infantry, 1st Dragoons and 2nd Artillery and including the only tanks in Norwegian service. They however were uninformed, as during the night they had received word from the German-controlled defense ministry that the British had attempted a coup and to be wary of false orders and infiltrators, they were to sit tight until further orders. They had also received orders telephone from Elverum to mobilize and prepare to move on Oslo, backed up by a few actual messengers. The conflicting orders caused a great deal of confusion to the regimental colonels commanding the units, as no higher headquarters was located there.

    In the morning just after dawn Colonel Finn Kjelstrup arrived from the defense ministry, bringing orders to stand down while the new government sorted things out. Colonel Kjelstrup was well known as a senior officer in the Defense Ministry and was exactly the person who would be sent as a messenger, giving the orders from Oslo a sense of legitimacy the orders from Elverum during the night lacked. Thus by 10:00 the largest body of Norwegian troops in southern Norway was essentially disarmed, with the Germans immediately taking up positions to prevent their rearmament. At noon Major- General Erichsen arrived from Elverum to take command and narrowly avoided being taken into custody by the Germans…

    …At 8:00 in the morning on the 11th Arne Quisling of the Nasjonal Samling got on the radio, backed by the other member of the Storting from the Samling and two allies from the Agrarian party, he announced that with the Storting having performed a self-coup with the aid of the British he was forming an emergency government to remove the British with the help of the Germans. He called upon all Norwegians to continue to resist the British to their utmost and to work with the Germans…

    …The conflicting orders from Oslo and Elverum served to paralyze Norwegian forces in the north and center of the country. No one was exactly sure what was going on and it took time for trustworthy couriers to physically arrive. During that time period the British made things worse by assuming active Norwegian cooperation with the Germans and restarting the fighting near Bergen and Trondheim, as well as intensifying the fighting near Narvik and launching additional bombing raids…

    …At 11:00 in the morning the German ambassador arrived in Elverum to deliver a message to King Haakon. He was told that Germany desired him to appoint Arne Quisling to lead a minority government and to cooperate with Germany in expelling the British. After all it was the British who attacked first and had so far killed many more Norwegians than the Germans had, given the situation precipitous German actions in Norway were understandable. If the King would dismiss the British friendly Hornrud from the Prime Minster’s position and replace him with Quisling then Germany could work with Norway to expel the hated British. If he did not, the ambassador reminded the King that the Luftwaffe was the superior air force, that the Germans controlled the most populous part of Norway and that the Germans had beaten the Danes in five hours. German victory in Norway was more probable than not, and even a German defeat would take a long time and see the country ravaged, if he wanted what was best for his people he would dismiss Hornrud and appoint Quisling.

    The King stated that he could not act without consulting with the government and dismissed the ambassador. He then met with the Prime Minister and cabinet about just what course they should take now that Norway had been invaded by Germany as well, with the Germans having performed so successfully…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005





    Once more no eve of war, I had to work on my day off on Thursday, work overtime Friday and work a partial shift this morning, plus start splitting firewood. I did start the eve of war, but no time to finish it
     
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    Part 6-26 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Spain
  • …During the emergency cabinet meeting at noon on the 11th the Norwegian government and loyal opposition debated on what course of action to take. A majority of the cabinet preferred the British to the Germans, and public opinion in March and before had favored the British as well. The British invasion had changed opinions, but still public opinion had merely become neutral after the German invasion from what the Cabinet could see. The cabinet could probably justify supporting either side, leaving the measure purely to pragmatism.

    Militarily speaking they felt that despite German claims the situation was a wash. The Luftwaffe was more powerful than the RAF and Armee de Air, but the Kriegsmarine was weaker than the Royal Navy by far, and Norway had a long coastline. On land the situation was functionally balanced, with the advantage likely to benefit the Anglo-French in the longer term, as they planned to stand on the defensive in France and could thus spare more forces as time went on to push back the Germans.

    In the end several major factors weighed in favor of the British. In WWI the British had withdrawn from the parts of Greece they briefly occupied during the Gallipoli campaign, the Germans did not do the same to neutral Belgium or Luxembourg, with the Germans the clear aggressors in this war, it was thought that even if the British were expelled the Germans would not leave. Secondly there was the worry that Arne Quisling, and his brother Vidkun, would undermine Norwegian democratic institutions if given power, certainly the King, Conservatives and Agrarians would have to expend considerable power to keep such a government running on the German behalf, which would make them complicit as well, further damaging the legitimacy of the constitutional government. Thirdly it was assumed that with the British holding Narvik, the Germans would be unable to import all the iron they needed for 1942 and that the German war economy would undergo significant distress, which combined with the strength of the Maginot line and the Belgian fortresses on the flank would mean that Germany would be unable to win before their war economy would collapse, thus losing them the war.

    At 3:30 the German ambassador was informed that the King had refused his offer, Norway had thrown in with the British…

    …Poor communication and German disinformation made fully implementing a ceasefire with the British take until the afternoon of the 12th, at which point the Norwegian forces facing them had taken even further losses. Functionally the four infantry regiments facing the British had been rendered combat ineffective during the fighting, requiring rest and refitting before engaging in combat while the infantry and cavalry regiment brought up to Narvik as reinforcements had merely taken 15% losses. Furthermore the fighting led to a severe lack of trust between the two sides, hampering their ability to work together…

    …On the 11th the Germans launched a three pronged assault using forces landed at Oslo. One prong to the east was to focus on eliminating surviving Norwegian resistance, another to the west would link up the German coastal garrisons, and eliminate the 3rd Infantry at Kongsberg, while the last would advance north to capture Elverum and the Norwegian government.

    At the start these forces were outnumbered by the Norwegians, being only a single regiment each on the 11th, though reinforced to division strength by the 15th. However unlike the Norwegians the Germans had air supremacy and constant dive bomber attacks made Norwegian life very difficult, as did a lack of training and modern support weapons. The Germans were thus able to destroy the third Infantry and link up with Kristiansand by the 14th, with the remainder of Norway west of Oslo secured by the 15th.

    North of Oslo things were more difficult as there were more intact Norwegian troops and the terrain was more favorable for the defense. Still by the 16th the Germans were only a days march by foot from Elverum and the Norwegian government felt it was time to evacuate themselves and the Treasury. With Bergen being under relatively heavy German air attack Trondheim was chosen as the destination for evacuation, both to be easier to leave and the symbolic value of having the capital at the old city of Nidaros, the ancient capital of Norway.

    Unfortunately for them the Germans had preempted them and dropped two battalions of paratroopers, at Alvdal and Dombas the same day as blocking forces for a British advance out of Trondheim. The first landing proved a debacle, with the paratroopers widely scattered, with the largest single force being a company sized unit that ended up on the wrong side of the Glomma river. With a scratch battalion of Norwegian reinforcements for Elverum present in town the Germans found themselves unable to take the town, with attempts to storm the bridges broken by machine gun fire. The German battalion was eliminated over the course of three days by second line troops and local rifle clubs, thus clearing the way for the evacuation of the Norwegian government and royal family, about a day ahead of the fall of Elverum on the 22nd.

    The Norwegian treasury however had no such luck, stored in Lillehammer as it was it needed to evacuate via the Dovre line through Dombas, as moving to Trondheim via Elverum was impossible when the Germans had fire control over the rail line between Elverum and Hamar. There the German landing, while somewhat scattered was only opposed by a platoon of reservists and the local rifle club. Ther Germans were thus able to take control of the town and dig in with little opposition.

    On the 19th the first major attempt to retake Dombas occurred when a scratch battalion of Norwegian troops from Trondheim attempted to retake the town and were beaten off. Another company arrived and they tried again the next day, only to be attacked by dive bombers while they were still forming up for an assault. Following this the Norwegians asked for British assistance on the 21st, but the British delayed agreeing until the 23rd and did not send assistance until the 24th.

    The Norwegians themselves tried a third attack on the 23rd, supported by an obsolete artillery piece that had been scrounged up. This proved as much of a failure as the previous attack, with the Germans eliminating the weapon using a recoilless gun and then shelling the Norwegians from beyond their range.

    On the 24th a British battalion attempted to retake the town with a few armored cars in support. Expecting only rifles and a few machine guns, they were surprised by the recoilless guns of the paratroopers and lost their armored support in short order. They then called for reinforcements, and on the 25th a pair of artillery pieces were sent forward from Trondheim on railway carriages, along with an additional battalion. They did not arrive as German dive bombers struck the train near Berkak, derailing it.

    A second train with another battalion, several tanks and a battery of artillery, along with a few AA guns was dispatched on the 26th and arrived on the 27th. After a day of bombardment the British attempted to storm the town on the 29th. They managed to take half of the town, however by this point it was too late, as the Germans reached the town of Otta and captured the gold train there on the 29th. On the 30th the British managed to take another quarter of the town, before German reinforcements arrived to relieve the paratroopers and forced them to retreat in the face of superior firepower…

    …British attempts to react to the German invasion on land were extremely sluggish, as the British had not prepared or planned for any mobile warfare outside of Narvik. Additional troops, supplies and transport had to be brought to Bergen and Trondheim. This however was impeded by German air and naval attacks, with the narrow fjord entrances serving as shooting galleries for U-Boats, while the fjords themselves made maneuvers to avoid air attack difficult, something most apparent at Bergen.

    While none of the big troop transports were lost a considerable number of smaller ships were, severely impacting the supply situation. In addition to the transports was the loss of warships, which while minor in the context of the campaign would be keenly felt in later ones…

    …Worse than the material situation was the mental and moral situations of the Anglo-French command staffs. They had not intended to conduct mobile warfare and even after receiving the tools to do so were not mentally prepared for it, focusing more on securing their lodgments on the Norwegian coasts than pushing inwards to stop the Germans and support the Norwegians. By the time this sluggishness was overcome and a sense of urgency instated, April had ended and their best window of opportunity was lost…

    …The sole effective British contribution to the Norwegian campaign from the 10th to the 30th of April was the bombardment of the Sola airfield by a capital ship force on the 14th, finally rendering the key airfield useless to the Germans, after two regiments had been flown in and Stavanger secured…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005



    The Spanish State

    Basics:

    Spain is a Fascist dictatorship under Emilio Mola and the Falangist Party. Spain successfully sat out WWI, but the Spanish kingdom fell after a disastrous colonial war in the Moroccan Rif, leading to the end of the Monarchy and a brief Republican interlude before a Communist Coup started the Civil War that led to the current regime.

    Economy:

    Spain is a semi-industrialized country with limited industries, primarily textile and metallurgical tough with some industrialization in all categories. It is primarily agricultural, with its main exports being citrus, olive oil and wine. Spain also exports Tungsten, Iron, Zinc, Lead and Mercury and is dependent on petroleum imports. It is currently recovering from a civil war.

    Land Forces:

    Spain has a relatively large army of 300,000 in 28 infantry and two cavalry divisions, organized into 10 Corps and an Army reserve. Spain uses two year Conscription and has a mobilization strength of 1 million and 65 divisions.

    The standard Spanish rifle is a variant of the Mauser M1893 in 7x57mm Spanish Mauser, usually a carbine or short rifle version. In reserve are Gewehr 98 and 88 in 7.92mm Mauser or more rarely 7mm, Polish Mauser 98 clones in 7.92mm Mauser, Czech Mauser 98 clones in 7mm or 7.92mm, Model 17 Enfields in 7mm, Type 38 rifles in 7mm Mauser as well as Mannlicher 1888 and 1895, either in the original 8x50mm or converted to 7.92x57mm. In deep reserve are approximately 20 other types of rifles, most commonly Mosin-Nagants in 7.62mm Russian, but including Lee-Enfields, Lebels, Ross Rifles, Berthiers, Winchesters, Gras Rifles, Mannlichers, Mauser clones in 7.65mm and others up to and including Black powder weapons. Currently Spain is selling off the oldest on the American sporting market as new Mausers are produced, Spain having no intention of adopting a semi-Automatic at the moment.

    The standard Spanish sidearm are the Astra pistols, the 400 in 9mm Largo for the army and the 300 in .380 or .32 ACP for the other branches. Older but still used is the Astra 900 in 9mm Largo or 7.63mm Mauser, along with the C96 Mauser. In reserve are Bergmann Bayard Semi-Automatic in 9mm Largo and Nagant Revolvers. Spain has a large number of various MP-18 clones of various sources, which have primarily been rechambered for 9mm Largo and is currently developing a domestic weapon based off a Catalan emergency design from the civil war.

    The primary light machine gun of Spain is the Hotchkiss M1924, an export gas operated design fed by a 20 round magazine, as well as the Madsen in 7mm. In reserve are first ZB-26/30 and clones, in 7.92mm Mauser, along with Madsens in the same caliber, with other light machine guns including Chauchats, BARs and clones, DPs and Bergmanns. Heavier weapons are primarily Hotchkiss M1914 in 7mm and MG08 in 7.92mm, with a dozen other watercooled and heavy aircooled designs in a variety of calibers in reserve, most numerous the Schwarlose in 8mm and Maxim M1910 in 7.62mm Russian. Spain currently plans on fielding a 7mm ZB30 clone in the near future.

    Spain’s standard field piece is the canon de 75 M1897 in various variations. This is supplemented by FK 16 or FK16NA, Cannone da 75/27M11 and 12, and 76mm Divisional guns M1902, with most of those in reserve. These are supplemented by Obice da 100/17 M14, Skoda Houfnice 10mm 14/19 and QF 4.5” howitzers. For mountain use is the Canone da 65/17 M13, Canon de 65m m1906 and 76mm M1909, depending on the unit. Spain plans to replace the field guns with 10.5cm/28 Howitzers licensed from Germany at 36 per division, with Italain 75mm/18 for mountain artillery.

    Spain’s standard heavier pieces are Cannon 105/28 M1913 and Canon de 155 M1917C, a 15 caliber WWI era howitzer. In the long-range gun role these are supplemented by 4.2”/30 field guns of Japanese design from Russia, and 60 pounder guns from the UK of predominantly older design. In the short range howitzer role they are supplemented by 15cm SFH 13, Obice da 149/12, 122mm Howitzer M1910, 152mm Howitzer M1910 and 6” 26 cwt howitzers, all unmodernized WWI era pieces. The plan is to replace these with a mix of 10.5cm/52 and 15cm/30 of German design but license built in Spain.

    The heaviest Spanish land-based artillery is the Canon de 155 M1917L, a 32 caliber piece of late WWI design without modernization. It is to be replaced by modern 55 caliber German 15cm pieces.

    Spanish AT weapons are the Bofors 37mm and the Soviet 37mm, both 45 caliber pieces, which are issued in batteries of 6 to support divisions. They are supplemented by AT rifles, either a 13.2mm copy of the WWI T-Gewehr or an Italian 13.2mm export design with a 4-round magazine, with 6 issued per regiment. The Guns are to be replaced by the German 3.7cm/45 to be license built in Spain.

    Spanish AA is primarily in the form of 20mm Breda cannon, 2cm Flak, and 13.2mm HMG for close in defense, with the Breda gun license built. Higher level defense comes from 37mm/54 Breda Autocannon, license built in Spain. The heaviest AA is the modern German 7.5cm/60 and Soviet 76mm/55, supplemented by old Italian 75mm/45 to be replaced by license built Italain 90mm/53.

    Spain has a reasonably potent tank force, but it lacks radios. The oldest are 50 Renault FT, about 30 machine gun and 20 cannon armed units, that the Spanish use for training.

    First rate tanks are 75 T-29 and 25 BT-4 captured from the Popular Front and supplied by the USSR. Relatively modern vehicles with 45mm main guns, they are the backbone of the Spanish tank corps.

    100 tanks are Italian L5/34 with a 13.2mm HMG and a 6.5mm MG. About 20 have had the 13.2mm replaced with a 20mm semi-automatic cannon.

    75 more are Panzer III from Germany, which have been rearmed to feature a 13.2mm AT rifle instead of one machine gun.

    Spain currently plans on license building M16/39 from Italy.

    Sapin operates a number of armored cars. 20 are BAI captured from the USSR, while 50 are BA-12, both modern powerful units with a 37mm or 45mm cannon. They also have 30 improvised designs based on various chassis and armed with a variety of machine guns. They plan on licensing Fiat armored cars to replace them.

    The Spanish Army is not well motorized, being average only in a global sense and does not have a standardized vehicle park.

    Naval Forces:

    Spain has a moderately sized navy that was larger before the Civil War.

    The most powerful ships of the Spanish Navy are the battlecruisers Castilla and Aragon. 26,000 tons they are very well protected against 8” fire, but only slightly protected against heavier guns, and make 29 knots with two float planes. They have two quad 340mm/45 in the A&B positions, with 4 twin 155mm/50 rear and 4 twin 100mm/50 AA guns amidships, 24 Breda 37mm and 36 Breda 20mm.

    The other Spanish capital ship is the Espana, the sole survivor of her class of 3. She is small at 15,700 tons, cramped, unseaworthy and makes 19 knots with marginal 12” protection by WWI standards. She has 8 12”/50 in 4 twin turrets with two wing mounted en echelon for limited crossdeck fire, 12 4”/40 in casemates, 6 75mm/60 in deck mounts 2 twin 37mm and 14 20mm autocannon.

    Spain has two heavy cruisers, the Canarias and Balaeres, based on the British Devonshire class but enlarged to 11,000 tons for 33 knots and better TDS, but reduce protection to merely average for a CA. They have 4 twin 8”/50 in a conventional arrangement, 4 twin 4.7”/40, 4 Quad Pom poms and 8 twin and six single 20mm along with 4 triple 21” torpedo tubes.

    The Almirante Cervera and Miguel de Cervantes are the most modern light cruisers of the Spanish navy. They are 7500-ton ships and make 33 knots but are only lightly protected from 6” fire. They have 2 single 6”/45 in A&Y positions and 3 twin in B, Q, and X positions, with two superfiring, 4 4”/45, 8 20mm Autocannon and 4 triple 21” torpedo tubes.

    The Blas de Lezo is a 4800-ton design, capable of 29 knots with slightly lighter armor than her successors. She has 6 6”/45 in single mounts, 4 37mm AA and 8 20mm AA, along with 4 triple 21” torpedo tubes.

    The 5500 ton Navarra is a training vessel only capable of 25 knots, with armor the same as the Blas de Lezo. She has after her refit 6 6”/45 on the centerline, 6 75mm/60 Flak, 6 20mm AA and 4 13.2mm HMG.

    The oldest destroyers of the Spanish Navy are the Alsedo and Velasco, 1050-ton vessels capable of 34 knots. They have 3 4”/45, 2 20mm cannon, 2 twin 533mm torpedo tubes and two depth charge rails.

    12 Churruca class are in service, with two more being recovered from their loss in the civil war, 1600–1700-ton 36 knot vessels. They have 5 120mm/45 in single purpose singles, 1 76mm or a twin 37mm AA gun, 2-6 20mm AA, 0-4 machine guns, two triple 533mm torpedo tubes, two depth charge throwers and two depth charge rails. The two recoverable vessels are expected to be in service by 1942.

    The two Mellila class destroyers were bought from Italy and are 1600-ton export designs intended for Romania in 1914, they make 34 knots. They have 2 twin 120mm/45, two twin 37mm, 4 20mm, 2 depth charge throwers, two rails and up to 24 mines.

    12 200 ton T-1 class torpedo boats are in service, these are 26 knot vessels built in the teens and early 20’s. They have an armament of 0-3 47mm guns, 0-4 37mm guns, 0-4 20mm guns, 0-6 machine guns and 1 single and 1 twin 450mm torpedo tube.

    Spain also operates 12 MAS boats bought from Italy, and 4 captured Soviet Motor Torpedo Boats.

    Spain has 8 Impaivado class Torpedo boats on order based on the Italian design. They are to be completed in 1944.

    Spain operates a small submarine fleet. 4 are old B class vessels of 575 tons, 16 knots surfaced and 10 submerged with a 4900 knot range. They have two fore and two aft 450mm torpedoes with 10 fish and a 76mm/45 deck gun but have a shallow crush depth.

    4 C class remain in service, 925 tons with 16.5 knot surface speed and 8.5 knot submerged and 6800 knot range. They have 4 bow and two stern 533mm tubes with 10 fish, and a 76mm/45 deck gun.

    Under construction are 3 D class, 1100 tons, 20 knots surfaced and 9 submerged with a 9000 nautical mile range. They have 4 bow and two stern 533mm tubes with 10 fish, and a 120mm/40 deck gun and 2 20mm AA guns. They are expected to be commissioned by 1941.

    Four 2100 ton Minelayers of the Jupiter class are in service, 18 knot vessels that double as gunboats. They have two twin 120mm/45, two twin 37mm AA, 6 20mm AA, two depth charge throwers and up to 264 mines.

    Two smaller Triton class are under construction, 1600 ton 18 knot ships. They have two twin 102mm/50 DP guns, 4 37mm Autocannon, 6 20 mm AA, two depth charge throwers and a rail and up to 80 mines. They are expected to be completed in 1941.

    3 Dato class gunboats are in service, 1350 tons and 15 knots. They have 4 single 102mm/50, 4 20mm AA and 4 machine guns.

    Spain has 4 Urania class gunboats on order, based on the Italain design. They are to be completed in 1944.

    Sapin has 8 WWI era Naval trawlers of 450-650 tons, capable of about 12 knots with a 76mm gun, depth charges and some smaller weapons. They also have a number of patrol boats of 130 tons and 40-ton designs.

    Spain has a naval aviation arm and a force of 5,000 Marines, part of the oldest marine force in the world.

    Air Forces:

    Spain has a moderately sized air force of about 800 aircraft organized on the Italian pattern.

    The standard Spanish fighter is the Fiat CR. 34 biplane, of which Spain has a production license and 250 are in service. Supplementing these are 50 Me 115, a much superior monoplane. Spain plans to license build a more modern German or Italain design.

    For dive bombers Spain has 50 HS 96 leftover from the civil war and is considering licensing the Hs 128 to replace them.

    Spain has about 150 bombers. 60 are converted Ju 56 transports, carrying up to 3300 pounds of bombs with two defensive machine guns, they are however slow and maneuverable. 60 are FIAT BR. 22 export bombers, fairly typical twin engine fast bombers, they have 3 machine guns for self-defense and can carry a 3600-pound bombload, with a long range of up to 1500 nautical miles. 30 are German new He 132 that are the most modern in the Spanish arsenal. Spain intends to license the Ju-90 from Germany to replace these.

    Spain has about 100 transports, most commonly Ju-56 and possesses a license to build them.

    The remaining 250 aircraft are a mix of trainers, liaison aircraft and obsolete aircraft only useable for that role. Some of these are domestic designs but most are imported from a bewildering array of sources during the civil war.

    Spain’s naval air arm has about 100 planes.

    About half are Ro. 42 single engine float planes and the other half are CANT 600 flying boats.

    Spain lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Spain has stockpiles of Mustard and chlorine gas. Dispersal is via artillery shell and aerial bomb.

    Spain does not have a biological or nuclear weapons program.

    Problems:

    Spain is still recovering from their civil war

    Spain has poor infrastructure for a European country

    Spain has an active communist insurgency

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001




    Okay finally an Eve of War
     
    Part 6-27 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Portugal
  • …Finno-Soviet negotiations began on the 9th and started relatively reasonably. The Soviets were demanding a large amount of territory, but only about as much as they currently held, along with the lease of a naval base and concessions regarding the Finnish Communist Party. These terms were not popular with the Finnish government, yet given the state of the war they felt that they had no choice but to accept, lest the war continue and worse terms be demanded.

    Just as the Finns were preparing to accept the terms on the 11th the Soviets altered them, adding that unrest to the west required them to lease an air and naval base in the Aland Islands as well as on the Hanko Peninsula. At the same point their rhetoric and negotiating style became more belligerent. The Finns could not immediately accept the changed treaty and the Soviets painted that as obstinance in their propaganda. On the 13th, after the Finns immediately refused a revised treaty that included a Finnish demilitarized zone and the ceding of the two Finnish coastal battleships as reparations, the Soviets broke off negotiations. On the 15th they declared that the Humanitarian Ceasefire was over following Finnish use of it to conduct military preparations…

    …By the restart of fighting in Finland the mud season had entered force in the south preventing a war of movement. The Soviets thus were limited to minor bite and hold assaults. They conducted these anyways in an attempt to inflict losses on the Finnish rear guards using excessive amounts of artillery and force them to withdraw faster and leave behind more equipment. In the first they were somewhat successful, inflicting a reasonably favorable loss ratio thanks to their ability to fire 50,000 shells a day while the Finns fired less than 500, destroying strong points and killing men with harassing fire. In the second they were completely unsuccessful as the Finns had eight days during the ceasefire and the advance was simply not quick enough. As a result by the end of April the Soviets had only finished taking the Isthmus itself and about 20 miles beyond.

    To the north in central Finland the mud season started slightly later, giving them some time to make modest advances. They did not get particularly far, but the trapped 163rd division was finally relieved and jumping off positions were secured for later attacks. It was in the north that the Soviets had the best success, with the mud starting even later.

    There the Finns had left the defense of Petsamo to volunteer forces from Sweden and Norway in order to rotate out their troops for rest, refitting and rebuilding in reserve before deployment to another section of the front. One the one hand this was a positive as these volunteers were more numerous that the forces they replaced and were fresh, on the other hand they were unbloodied. Furthermore the British and then German invasions of Norway saw dissension emerge in the Norwegian ranks with numerous desertions to go home and look after family, or to fight for their own homeland.

    Dealing with the organizational issues of the Norwegians required the defenders withdraw to the outskirts of Petsamo itself, needing to abandon the Peninsula to the northeast of the city. This allowed the Soviets to cut off the sea route with artillery, leaving supply only by land. The Soviets took advantage of the late thaws in the north to press the assaults, bringing up reinforcements and additional artillery. A long bombardment was launched in the last ten days of April and the first 10 days of May, shattering defensive positions. Then on May 11th the Soviets revealed a new weapon, their top secret Katyusha rocket launchers, using the ability to instantly drop a mass amount of explosives to stun the defenders before a major assault.

    This was successful in breaching the defensive lines as the volume of fire had a major shock effect. The Soviet troops were able to get in close before the defenders recovered and overrun the defenses. This process was repeated and by May 15th the fighting was house to house inside the city, with the city falling on the 20th. Within two days the Soviets reached the Norwegian border and cut off Finland from the Arctic…

    …Even into May the Finns continued to receive donations of arms. These arms however became increasingly obsolete and usually lacked an appropriate amount of ammunition. Finland could raise over a million more riflemen, but many would be armed with single shot weapons and they would lack supporting arms. Similar were the 10,000 or so obsolete machine guns they received, almost all WWI heavy watercooled designs in 20 different calibers, but with relatively little ammo for most of them. Similarly they received 100 tanks, but all were obsolete WWI era models including Rhomboids.

    Nevertheless the Finns still were able to make use of these relics and orhpans. Rifles and pistols were buried for use by guerillas if not of a few standard calibers. Machine guns similarly were converted to drip guns save a handful of models and tanks into bunkers. The obsolete artillery pieces and aircraft they received however almost all ended up simply as decoys.

    The general exception to this rule was the British, who delivered additional supplies of relatively modern Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield Rifles, Lewis and Vickers Machine guns, and sufficient .303 Ammunition to make use of them, as well as several batteries each of 18 pounder, 4.5” howitzer and 6” mortar, plus a single battery each of 60 pounder and 6” howitzer and a generous supply of ammunition. While insufficient to Finnish needs alone it was something semi-modern. Even more so than their previous deliveries however the British would soon regret the transfer of so many rifles, machine guns and artillery pieces…

    …The fall of Petsamo and the restarting of the war of movement in Southern Finland as the mud began to dry made it clear to the Finnish government that the writing was on the wall. The Soviets were going for the kill, with the USSR having officially created a puppet government called the Finnish Democratic Republic that they recognized as the “legitimate government of Finland”. Finland’s stocks of heavy ordnance were almost completely exhausted, with only the oldest and most obsolete weapons having a real reserve of ammo beyond what was in transit, they only had enough crew served weapons for a fraction of their forces and Soviet air superiority was inching ever closer to total air supremacy. By the end of June they estimated that they would be unable to support anything more than riflemen given their supply situation and that was simply not enough against a modern mechanized army.

    The Finnish government thus began negotiations with Sweden over the matter of refugees, hoping to get as many of their people out as possible. The treasury and cultural artifacts of import were sent to Stockholm and preparations were made to form a government in exile. The Finnish military would focus simply on holding as long as possible so that as many refugees could get to the Aland islands, and if necessary the Swedish mainland, as possible…

    …The Finns entered talks with the US to see if the US would take in Finnish refugees. While sympathetic, the US was unwilling to take in very large numbers and a proposal to turn over a large area of Alaska was immediately shot down. The US would take in some refugees, especially those with family already in the US, but not too many and would donate funds to support them, but no more…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    The Portuguese Republic

    Basics:

    Portugal is a Fascist State currently led by Antonio Salazar. It fought as part of the Entente in WWI, but was little effected by the war and attempts to plot a neutral course in the present.

    Economy:

    Portugal is an incompletely industrialized primarily agricultural economy. It’s primary exports are fish, cork, textiles and wine. Portugal also possesses tungsten mines, making it a valuable supplier of that resource with Angola exporting Iron, copper, manganese and rubber and Mozambique exporting a variety of cash crops.

    Land Forces:

    Portugal has a medium sized army of 200,000, organized into four military regions with 6 infantry and two cavalry divisions. Portugal also controls 50,000 Colonial troops.

    Portugal’s standard infantry weapon is the Mauser-Verguiero in 6.5x58mm Verguiero. A limited number of Mannlicher M1896 in 6.5x53mm are in reserve with Colonial troops using the Kropatschek, a tubular magazine bolt action in 8x56mm. A number of Lee Enfield and Enfield M1917 in .303 British are in reserve. Portugal is considering adopting the Italian M1935.

    Portugal’s standard sidearm is the Walther P38 in 9mm Parabellum. Older pistols include the Luger P08 and Mauser C96 in 7.65mm, the Savage M1907 in .32 ACP and Smith and Wesson Model 10’s in .38 Special. For submachine guns Portugal extensively uses developments of the MP-18 in 9mm.

    Portugal’s standard light machine gun is the Madsen, in .303, 6.5mmx53mm or 6.5x58mm depending on the unit. A number of Lewis guns are in reserve. Portugal is considering licensing the M1937 from Italy. The standard medium Machine gun is the Browning M1919 in 6.5x58mm and Vickers guns in .303, with newbuilt Breda 1938’s in 8x63mm slowly replacing these.

    Portugal lacks anti tank rifles or other specialized low level heavy weapons. For support they use 3” Stokes Mortars, 4 per Battalion, slowly being replaced with an 81mm Bradt mortar clone. A number of 6” mortars from WWI are in reserve.

    Portugal’s standard field artillery is the Canon de 75 M1897 in a number of variants of different levels of modernization. These are supplemented by 105/14 M1917 Howitzers from Italy. In reserve or FK 96 NA in 77mm as WWI war prizes and older 18 pounders and 4.5” Howitzers left over from WWI. For mountain use Portugal uses Italain 75mm/18 M34, with older 3.4” mountain howitzers in reserve.

    For heavier artillery Portugal uses slightly modernized but still obsolescent 60 pounders and 6”/13.3 Howitzers from the UK. Portugal’s only other heavy artillery is coastal defense pieces. They are planning to acquire modern artillery from someone.

    Portugal has a tiny tank force of 25 British tankettes of 2 tons with a fixed machine gun, splinter armor and speed of 30mph. In reserve they have 40 FT-17’s, split 50/50 between gun and machine gun units.

    Portugal operates a number of armored cars converted from civilian designs and armed with machine guns, about 100 in total. These are attached to their cavalry units and deployed individually in their colonies.

    The Portuguese Army is only lightly motorized with a heterogenous motor vehicles park. Currently there are no significant plans to alter this.


    Naval Forces:

    Portugal has a medium sized navy of 6000 persons.

    The most powerful ships of Portugal’s navy are six Douro class destroyers of 1250 tons and 36 knots. Built to a British design they have 4 4.7”/50, 5 20mm AA, 4 depth charge throwers, 2 quad 21” torpedo tubes, and 2 rails for 20 mines.

    2 Vouga class destroyers remain in service. They are 525 ton ships capable of 27 knots and are coastal vessels. They have 1 4”/40, 2 3”, 4 MG and 2 twin 18” torpedo tubes.

    Four additional destroyers are planned, of a British design built domestically but no larger than 1500 tons.

    2 Ave class Torpedo boats are in service, 230 ton 28 knot vessels with a 3” gun, another 3”AA, 2 machine guns and 2 twin 450mm torpedo tubes.

    Portugal has 7 submarines in service. Three are Vickers 800 ton Delfin class. These are export designs with 16.5 knots surfaced, 9.5 submerged and a 5000 knot range. They have 1 4”/40, two machine guns, 4 bow and 2 stern 21” tubes with 12 torpedoes.

    The other four are 1100 ton Espardarte class vessels from Italy. They make 17 knots surfaced, 8 submerged and have a 10,000 knot range. They have 2 100mm/47, 2 13.2mm AA and 8 21” tubes, 4 bow, 4 stern with 14 torpedoes.

    Portugal operates a number of Sloops. The most powerful are the British built Alfonso de Albuquerque and the Bartolomeu Dias of 1800 tons and 21 knots. They have 4 4.7”/50 in singles on the centerline, 2 3” AA, 8 20mm AA and 4 depth charge thorwers, along with up to 40 mines.

    Smaller are the Gocalvs Zarco and Goncalo Velho, 1100 ton 18 knot vessels. They have 3 4.7”/50, 5 20mm AA and 4 depth charge throwers.

    The Pedro Nunes and Joao de Lisbon are domestic versions, 1000 tons and 16 knots. They have 2 4.7”/50, 2 40mm Pom Poms, 4 20mm, 4 depth charge throwers, and 2 depth charge rails.

    2 Flower class sloops were purchased from Britain as gunboats, 1200 ton, 16.5 knot vessels they have 2 3” guns, low angle and two machine guns.

    Six Beira class gunboats remain in service for colonial use, 470 ton vessels capable of 13 knots with 2-4 47mm guns and 2-4 machine guns.

    Portugal has a tiny naval aviation arm flying only land based seaplanes. Portugal also lacks a Marine corps, having abolished theirs in the 30’s for budgetary reasons.

    Air Forces:

    Portugal lacks an independent air arm, with it being a branch of the army. The Portuguese Air Force is relatively small at under 150 planes.

    Portugal operates 45 fighters. 15 are Hawker Headhunters, 15 more are Hawker Headsmen and 15 more are CR. 34, with all aircraft being biplanes. Portugal wants more modern monoplanes but does not consider it a high priority.

    Portugal has 15 Ju-76 converted airliners as their heavy bomber force. Their light bomber force is 15 Italain Breda 72.

    Portugal other land based air include 75 assorted trainers and transports of foreign design. Their standard transport is the Ju-56.

    Portugal’s naval aviation consists of 15 Grumman G-25 twin engine flying boats with 2 machine guns and 200 pounds of bombs. They are maneuverable but short ranged for flying boats with otherwise average characteristics, being relatively small.

    Portugal lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Portugal has stocks of mustard, chlorine and phosgene gas, which they deploy by artillery shell, Livens Projector, aerial bomb, aerial sprayer, truck sprayer and boat mounted sprayer.

    Portugal lacks nuclear or biological weapons programs

    Problems:

    Portugal is allied with Britain but politically Fascist aligned

    Portugal is unable to effectively defend her colonies

    Portugal is unprepared for a major conflict

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-28 French History, Mass Destruction, Eve of War: Switzerland
  • …The shift of Belgium from a French ally to a true neutral left France’s main defensive line, the Maginot Line, in danger of being outflanked. While Belgium possessed formidable defenses and a relatively strong army, there was considerable fear that without the French Army fighting alongside in the forward positions that the Germans would quickly win and be able to invade France once more without facing the Maginot line. With neutrality making prepositioning and fighting alongside the Belgians impossible, that meant the French would have to either fight a mobile engagement in Belgium or fortify the border.

    The French Army preferred a hybrid plan, moving up slightly into Belgium to a line based on the Scheldt river to gain space without risking a meeting engagement and then falling back on a line of border fortifications in a fighting retreat. This was the plan the French intended to execute, however with the other commitments on the French budget only a few hundred pillboxes were ordered to be built on the Belgian frontier from Maubenge to the sea, pillboxes that at the start of the war were still incomplete…

    …The outbreak of war saw additional pillboxes and bunkers ordered both to thicken the existing set on the Belgian border and to cover the area of the Ardennes to be part of the “certain measures” that Marshal Petain stated were necessary to ensure the Ardennes were impassable. Funds for these bunkers were not released until December and while the bunkers had their concrete portions finished by mid-April, the metal doors and shutters that were to go with them did not even begin to be delivered until mid-May, to say nothing of the armaments…

    …Land Mines were an important part of French defensive plans, being able to slow down an attacker considerably while they swept them or found safe routes. Yet for budgetary reasons no stockpiles were made in the interwar period, instead they were only ordered in November after the war had already broken out, and only started to be delivered en masse in March of 1941, with priority of course going to the belts supporting the Maginot line and not to building up a reserve or to the Belgian frontier…

    …The French Army of 1940 was while much better equipped than the Army of 1914 not nearly as well trained or disciplined thanks to interwar reduction of conscription to one year, a lack of training budget and meddling by interwar socialist governments. The reservists of 1914 while lacking the tactical articulation of regulars could march, at the very least had the discipline to stand under fire and charge home with bayonets fixed and the organization to quickly carry out orders and adapt to changing circumstances.

    This was not the case with the divisions mobilized in 1940. They could march and they could shoot but their ability to stand under fire, even with good morale, something they lacked, was questionable, as was the ability of the officers and NCOs to deal with the unexpected. This problem was not unique to the French, the British territorials had the same problem and the later waves of German infantry too were far inferior to the reservists of the Kaiser’s Army in 1914. Yet the British and Germans realized their problems and over the winter and early spring moved to correct them, training and drilling their reservists and conscripts to a fine edge.

    The French did not. Troops stayed in their barracks and waited patiently for their furloughs, which were frequent and long, where they would take part time work for extra cash. Training was infrequent in most units as was drilling, with the poilus as 1940 simply waiting. Boredom quickly became the biggest problem for the French and as ever it proved more corrosive to morale than almost anything else. The British and Germans knew this and when they weren’t training they made sure to keep their troops busy, with make work if nothing else. The French Army, outside of elite units, had lost that habit thanks to years of Socialist governments meddling in the affairs of the army. As a result morale, never good, fell precipitously…

    …Outside of fighting positions for the interval divisions on the Maginot Line no major fieldworks were constructed by the French. Attempts to construct such works were halted as “defeatist” and corrosive to morale. Why should they dig trenchlines in northern France when they would advance into Belgium and stop the Boche there, or in eastern France behind the Maginot Line, as if the Boche could break through that. No, building extra defenses would be a waste of effort and would demoralize the soldiers and the people of France…

    -Excerpt From The Rooster has No Feathers, French History after 1919, New York, Philadelphia, 2007

    …By the start of 1941 the Togo unit had perfected a new approach to biowarfare. Rather than attempt to generate a large scale outbreak using typhoid or paratyphoid fever and hope to incapacitate Chinese soldiers as part of it they would instead attempt to target the soldiers directly. The agent of choice for this was Gonorrhea, which while rarely lethal had a reputation for putting soldiers out of action going back to the Crusades.

    The distribution vector that the Togo unit chose was condoms, impregnating the contraceptive sheaths with the gonococci bacterium and arranging for their distribution to brothels frequented by the Chinese military through contacts with the various Triads made by IJA intelligence. This proved almost instantly successful at generating venereal disease outbreaks and putting large numbers of Chinese troops, particularly officers on the sick list. The outbreaks proved self-reinforcing, as the spreading disease triggered greater condom use, which in turn further spread the disease among the prostitutes and troops they serviced, among others. By the time the Japanese Spring offensive was ready over 20,000 troops in combat theaters were incapacitated by the disease, disproportionately officers, and unlike previous attempts there was no significant blowback onto the Japanese.

    The success of this campaign inspired the Togo unit to repeat the campaign with a new wrinkle in the next year, which would build off the success of the Gonorrhea contaminated condoms to further weaken the Chinese military apparatus, something that would also target the political one as well…

    -Pandora’s Children: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012


    The Swiss Confederation

    Basics:

    Switzerland is a Confederation of 26 Cantons. It is governed democratically and its current leading party is the Socialists. Switzerland has a tradition of neutrality and has remained neutral in all wars since 1815, and has no present alliances.

    Economy:

    Switzerland is a moderately industrialized nation specializing in precision industry. Switzerland is self-sufficient agriculturally and exports dairy products, but is highly dependent on raw materials imports. Switzerland is a major hub of international finance.

    Land Forces:

    Switzerland has a small professional army of 20,000 and a mobilization strength of 850,000. This Army is organized into 3 Corps of 12 divisions, with more to be raised under mobilization.

    The standard Swiss long arm is the Furrer, a 6 round straight pull bolt action in 7.5x55mm Swiss, probably the most accurate service rifle in the world. Some units have older Schmidt Rubin M1911 the heavier predecessor design in the same chambering. Some reservists have Mondragon M1893 in 7.5x55, Mannlicher M1893 in 7.5x53.5, Vetterli M1881 in 10.4x38mm Swiss black powder or 1866 Winchesters in 10.4x38mm. Some lucky units have Mondragon M1908 semi-automatics in 7.5x55mm which is built by SIG and remains in low rate production.

    The standard Swiss sidearm is the Luger P08 in 7.65x21mm, built in Berne. Reservists may be issued M1882 in 7.5x23mm Swiss or M1878 in 10.4x18mm Swiss revolvers, both still using black powder cartridges. Switzerland has only acquired small numbers of Submachine Guns for testing and has not adopted any.

    The standard Swiss light machine gun is the Furrer M1925, a magazine fed design in 7.5x55mm attached one per squad. These are supplemented by clones of the German MG 27, another somewhat cheaper but heavier and less accurate design, in 7.5x55mm. The standard heavy machine gun is the MG 11, a clone of the water cooled German MG08 in 7.5x55mm.

    Like many nations Switzerland makes use of a clone of the 81mm Brandt mortar as a battalion weapon, issuing 3 per.

    For light anti-armor Switzerland has about 100 S-1100 AT rifles in 20x138mm. These are large carriage mounted semi-automatic designs used as mobile AT firepower to make up for a lack of proper AT guns. Some 5.3cm/24.5 Gruson Fahrpanzers exist, two man mobile pillboxes of armor steel, often mounted on railway track and used for fixed defense.

    Swiss AA at the lowest level takes the form of 2cm autocannon, either the ST-4 predeccesor to the German 2cm design or the Oerlikon, the former in 20x138mm, the latter in 20x110mm. At higher levels Switzerland uses Bofors 75mm/52, a modern piece and older 75mm AA guns from WWI bought used from France.

    The newest Swiss field artillery is the Bofors 105mm/24, a modern piece licensed from Sweden. Most units have older designs, Krupp 7.5cm/30 M1903, 8cm Staal M1880 from the Netherlands, 8.4cm M1879 and 1871, the last a bronze black powder piece they still have over 400 of. Lighter units may use 75mm/22 m1929 Bofors mountain guns, also licensed built in Switzerland. Reservists may have 7.5cm/14 M1906 or 7.5cm/13 M1880 from Krupp, obsolescent to obsolete designs the Swiss still have in numbers.

    Swiss heavy artillery is also in the form of Bofors guns 105mm/42 guns and 150mm/22 howitzers, though Switzerland possesses very little of this.

    The Swiss have an extensive fortress network with guns of 37mm-150mm built in concrete casemates and firing pits.

    Switzerland has a small tank force. 10 machine gun armed FT’s are in service as training vehicles.

    10 are machine gun armed Mark III Light tanks bought from the UK.

    30 tanks are 10 ton Czech Panzer 38(t), with a 37mm/48, machine gun and decent armor.

    10 are Swedish L40, similar to the 38(t).

    Switzerland lacks armored cars.

    The Swiss Army is poorly motorized primarily using horse transport and do not have the budget to change this. The Swiss do have a large number of bicycles, with every division having at least one battalion so mounted.

    Switzerland is one of the most heavily fortified countries on Earth and the Swiss have effective plans to demolish all possible transit links during a withdrawal to their national redoubt.

    Naval Forces:

    As a landlocked country Switzerland does not have a navy. It does maintain about 20 machine gun armed patrol boats of under 5 tons on lakes Geneva, Lucerne, Constance, Lugano and Maggiore

    Air Forces:

    Switzerland has a relatively large air force of 400 aircraft, organized on the French pattern.

    The standard Swiss fighter is the Me 115 for which Switzerland has a license and 900 are in service, a modern and potent monoplane. 60 more are old Potez 75, open cockpit gull wing monoplanes of mediocre performance license built in Switzerland. Finally Switzerland has 20 or so late WWI surplus of various types.

    Switzerland operates 60 Fokker XI bombers, old and slow open cockpit biplanes with a 450 pound bombload and moderate range. Switzerland has a modern enclosed cockpit monoplane bomber in development to replace them, the C-45.

    Switzerland operates a number of recon aircraft 90 C-44 and 20 Dh-5. The most numerous is the C-44, a domestic open cockpit biplane with fixed gear, slow but maneuverable with decent range and ceiling, it has a 20mm motor cannon, 2 forward and 1 rear machine gun and can carry up to 90 pounds of bombs. The DH-5 is an older domestic design, very slow and only somewhat maneuverable with two machine guns and a decent ceiling, it is a 20’s era wooden fixed gear open cockpit biplane.

    Switzerland has about 10 transports and liaison aircraft of a variety of sources.

    Switzerland has about 50 trainers, primarily domestic designs from Pilatus as basic trainers, with a handful of domestic Dewoitines and some imported German designs.

    Switzerland lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Switzerland does not have a nuclear, biological or chemical weapons program.

    Problems:

    Switzerland is landlocked

    Switzerland is completely dependent on imports for energy and raw materials

    Switzerland has not fought a war since 1848

    Switzerland has internal ethnic divisions

    Switzerland has no allies

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-29 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Ireland
  • …At the start of May the focus of the Norwegian campaign became the port city of Bergen. Controlled by the British and Norwegians, it was the southernmost port they controlled. The Germans wanted to eliminate it, the British and Norwegians to break out of it. The problem for the latter was the geography of the part.

    Bergen was accessible by sea through a set of narrow passages between rocky islands just off the Norwegian coast. To traverse these passages ships had to move slowly and predictably, making them very vulnerable to air attack. With Bergen far closer to German controlled air bases than friendly ones and with its airport only capable of servicing seaplanes this meant that the Germans had air supremacy and were able to constantly attack incoming ships with dive bombers, and the facilities on shore with level bombers. This did not stop the British from being able to supply the city but even with the diversion of AA batteries and escorts it meant that they could not supply an offensive out of the city, or even a full scale defense.

    This left them attempting to link up by land. With Norway’s rocky, fjord cut coast being what it was combined with the inland mountain ranges the British were left with only one real option. A force would need to advance south from Trondheim along the railway to the town of Otta and then via the road network to the rail line from Oslo to Bergen where they would cut off the German line of supply and force them to withdraw. There were several possible points this could be done at ranging from Gol at the closest to Voss at the farthest, but thanks to geography this was the only way to form a line of communication with Bergen. The only possible alternative was to take Oslo, but the Germans were too well dug in for that to occur quickly.

    Thus two Brigades would push south on Otta, once there one would hold position while another the other would push along the road network via a somewhat circuitous route to cut the German line of communication at Gol. A third brigade would advance south from the railway junction of Storen along the eastern fork as a diversion.

    The two British attacks got off to a strong start, reaching Otta and Alvdal by May 5th. The Germans were over extended, suffering from attacks by isolated groups of Norwegians and focused on Bergen, thus they gave ground they did not need at the moment to reduce their losses. It was after this that the British started to run into trouble.

    The Germans spotted the movement of the 24th (Guards) Brigade along the Norwegian road network on the 6th and launched a concerted campaign of air attacks on them, thinking they were a flanking attack to force them to withdraw from their defensive positions at Sjoa prematurely. On the 8th as they conducted a withdrawal to Vinstra after the British had brought up more artillery they realized that the British were nowhere to be found at the towns of Skabu or Kvikne where they assumed a flanking attack would come from. Recon flights on the 9th confirmed that the British were planning on attacking Gol and a battalion was quickly sent from Norway to reinforce the company guarding the town, while aircraft were vectored in to attack them.

    The British were thus slowed and by the time their scouts arrived on the 10th a full battalion was dug in and waiting for them. By the time they were ready for a set piece assault on the 11th a second battalion had arrived and the Guards had only a 3:2 edge. Without the artillery superiority the British had elsewhere in the campaign this was not enough and after a day’s fighting the British had not gotten significantly past their starting positions. On the 12th a platoon of German Panzer’s arrived, and with the British having abandoned their AT weapons to lighten their logistics footprint they were forced to withdraw to their headquarters at Sanderstolen. The situation thus turned into a stalemate as the British were unable to bring enough artillery to bear over the long road route and the Germans felt no need to push them back further.

    This changed on May 13th when the Admiralty requested that Bergen be evacuated. They had just lost a third destroyer to air attack while escorting merchants into the city and they felt that there was no military reason to hold the city. Given the constant German air attacks they judged that it was not worth trying to hold the city just for purposes of bolstering Norwegian morale. Politically sensitive to warship losses Prime Minister Eden agreed with the Royal Navy and made the decision to evacuate Bergen over the protests of the British Army and Norwegians.

    A pair of carriers were brought in to provide temporary air cover to allow the evacuation of the troops in Bergen to Trondheim between the 15th and 18th. This gave a necessary respite to the air attacks on the city, but came at the cost of rendering the Ark Royal and Audacious hors de combat until their air wings were replenished. The Germans captured the city on the 19th and the focus of the campaign moved to Lillehammer and Elverum.

    The British were advancing down the railroads to those two cities. They were doing so at a snails pace and with heavy losses, but they were advancing as if they could take them they would gain the room to conduct a mobile campaign. The brigade at Sanderstolen was withdrawn to join the Lillehammer prong while the Elverum prong was reinforced by brigade from Narvik. These would allow them to keep advancing, and hopefully reach the halfway point between Otta and Lillehammer and Alvdal and Elverum by the first week in June. More reinforcements however would be needed to actually complete the advance to those cities, and then advance on Oslo, both ground troops and aircraft to cover them.

    The French were prepared to provide that, having five divisions of light infantry preparing to embark by the end of June and appropriate air cover to support them. With those extra light forces trained in mountain operations they could afford to conduct flanking attacks through all possible routes and force the Germans back at a much quicker pace…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

    The Irish Free State

    Basics:

    Ireland is a nominal dominion of the British empire, in practice an independent republic, consisting of all but 6 of the island’s 32 counties. It gained its independence from Britian after a war in the aftermath of WWI.

    Economy:

    Ireland is a primarily agricultural economy, focused on food and processed food. It is highly dependent on imports of fuel and manufactured goods. It does have a limited amount of domestic industry.

    Land Forces:

    Ireland has a small army of 10,000 with the ability to rapidly expand from militia and volunteers, with small arms for at least 100,000. This army is in the form of 4 minimal mobile brigades and 26 territorial brigades, which are mere skeletons for volunteers and militia.

    The standard Irish rifle is the Lee-Enfield of varying marks in .303 British, inherited from Britian. In reserve are Lee Metfords in .303 British and various quantities of rifles in odd calibers from the war of independence or purchases/barter deals/donations. The most common of these are secondhand Gewehr 98 in 7.92x57mm and Mannlicher M1895 in 8x50mm, and Mosin-Nagants from somewhere in 7.62x54mm.

    The standard Irish sidearm is the Webley revolver in .38 British or .455. These are supplemented by a variety of automatic pistols in .32 ACP and a varying number of older revolvers in different calibers in reserve as well as small quantities of other automatic pistols. Ireland has a barter deal with Sapin for Astra pistols in .32 ACP as a standard sidearm. For submachine guns Ireland has standardized on the US Thompson in .45 ACP, but they are kept primarily in reserve.

    The standard Irish machine guns are the Lewis and the Vickers, both in .303. The Lewis is used as a squad weapon, while the Vickers are issued 6 per battalion to provide a base of fire. Madsen Guns in .303 supplement the Lewis guns and are used as vehicle mounted weapons. Ireland is in talks with the US to purchase Brownings in .303 British.

    Ireland issues 3 bolt action Anti-Tank rifles per battalion, US export designs in .50 BMG with a 5 round magazine. Ireland also has some German model 1918 AT guns in 37mm, bought secondhand from Belgium and issued 3 per mobile brigade.

    Ireland issues 3” Stokes mortars 3 per battalion to provide indirect fire support. The Irish intend to replace them with French Brandt mortars.

    Ireland’s standard AA weapon is the Vickers MG on an AA mount, supplemented by 1 and 2 pounder pom poms and 12 pounders from WWI. Ireland is shopping around for more modern AA.

    Ireland’s standard field piece is the QF 18 pounder and the 4.5” Howitzer, still in their WWI configuration. Each mobile brigade has 2 batteries of 18 pounder and 1 of 4.5” howitzers, plus a central reserve. Ireland also has 8 batteries of 3.7” mountain howitzers, also unmodernized. Ireland lacks any artillery heavier than this beyond coastal guns inherited from the UK.

    Ireland has 6 FT-17 tanks with machine guns bought from France for training purposes.

    Ireland has about 30 armored cars of various types armed with machine guns.

    The Irish army is largely unmotorized, with only limited motor transport for artillery and utility. It is expected to rely upon impressment of civilian transport during wartime.

    Naval Forces:

    Ireland has a small naval force for fisheries protection and law enforcement.

    The oldest ships is the Muirchu, a 325 ton yacht formerly HMS Helga. She makes 15 knots and has 2 3” guns and two machine guns.

    Supporting her are three larger formerly British trawlers from WWI, 440 ton Mersey class vessels. They make 11 knots and have 2 3” guns and two machine guns.

    Supporting them are two 250 ton 11 knot Fort Rannoch class patrol vessels. They have a 3” gun and 3 machine guns.

    Supporting them is a squadron of 6 30 ton Motor torpedo boats, carrying 3 machine guns and two 21” torpedoes with a speed of 40 knots.

    The Irish naval service is prepared to convert a number of civilian fishing trawlers to minelayers in case of war

    Ireland lacks naval infantry or naval aviation

    Air Forces:

    Ireland has a small air corps of 75 planes

    12 fighters are American Boeing export designs, bought cheap after China could not accept delivery, open cockpit fixed gear monoplanes that while not fast are still decently maneuverable and are armed with a pair of rifle caliber machine guns and up to 200 pounds of bombs. The other 12 are Hawker Headsmen bought from Britian.

    20 Avro Archers are used for Maritime patrol, twin engine monoplane light bombers with a 400 pound bombload and 2 machine guns, maneuverable but lacking in range.

    5 Supermarine Saltern single engine flying boats are in use for coastal patrol, very slow short ranged biplanes with 2 machine guns and up to 600 pounds of bombs.

    10 Westland Warrington have been bought as liaison aircraft.

    The remaining aircraft are trainers of mixed British and American origin.

    Ireland lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Ireland lacks nuclear, biological or chemical weapons programs

    Problems:

    Ireland is still formally part of the British Empire

    Ireland is home to a small anti-British insurgency

    Ireland has strong anti-British sympathies

    Ireland is right next to Britian

    Ireland has a territorial dispute over the 6 counties of Northern Ireland with Britain
    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-30 Fall of Europe, Eve of War: Yugoslavia
  • …The poor performance of the British and French in Norway, and the excellent performance of the Germans was extremely notable to King Leopold III. The Royal Navy had failed to stop a German invasion force from reaching Norway, despite a margin of superiority that was nothing short of crushing. The Royal Air Force had comprehensively failed in Norway, being only barely able to defend a handful of debarkation ports and otherwise ceding the skies. And the British Army had proven to be sluggish in the extreme, effectively held off by poorly equipped Norwegian forces and unable to rapidly take action against the Germans. The French forces involved, few as they were, had done no better, while the Germans had shown even when the odds were against them they could act quickly and decisively.

    For King Leopold that had an enormous implications for his defense policy. The current Belgian war plan involved inviting in British and French troops to take up defensive positions inside of Belgium. That however required them to act quickly and decisively, in order to get into position in time to resist the Germans. With the British having shown a shocking lack of quickness and decisiveness in Norway that was appearing a less than likely outcome. The failure of the RAF further shaded Leopold’s thinking, as it seemed certain that the Germans would have air superiority and be able to hinder Anglo-French troop movements and bomb Belgium at will.

    Leopold thus decided to go with his personal inclination and on April 28th he ordered the Belgian Army to change its deployment plan to the defense of the National Redoubt, as opposed to the previous broad front deployment. This immediately sparked a constitutional crisis as the Prime Minister and Cabinet did not agree with this decision at all. On the one hand Article 64 of the Belgian Constitution made it clear that no Act of the King was valid unless signed by a Minister of Government, at the same time however Article 68 explicitly gave the King supreme power in military matters.

    Thus began two weeks of political maneuvering as Prime Minister Van Zeeland attempted to make the King go back on his decision and acknowledge the supremacy of the government. He was excessively cautious in this matter however as he did not want to give the King an opening to force his resignation, something that would leave him vulnerable to bribery charges.

    The military, taking the King’s perspective, executed their redeployment orders and by the 10th of May was well positioned to defend Antwerp for months on end…

    …By May of 1941 Sanna was making preparations to take advantage of the imminent distraction of the other major European powers. He had received intelligence briefings on the German buildup on their western border and was convinced that Hitler would not back down this time. Once that happened he would have a totally free hand.

    Sanna’s first priority was the Balkans and particularly Yugoslavia. He began rapidly stepping up support to the Chetnik movement, with the goal of making them strong enough to overthrow the Yugoslav monarchy and takeover the country. He would then be able to swoop in while Yugoslavia was reeling from the coup and break up the state, annexing the territories Italy failed to receive after WWI, and a few other choice bits, and dividing the remainder of the state into smaller, mutually hostile states that Italy could easily control. Following that, which he expected to occur by mid-1942, he planned to pressure the Greeks, with the aid of the Bulgarians, in exchange for territorial concessions, though he would offer to support them against the Turks to soften the blow.

    His second priority was to integrate the territories that Italy already had. He planned to annex Albania and with that officially proclaim that Italy was an Empire and no longer a kingdom. Along with that he planned to have his fascist puppet government in San Marino agree to annexation as a symbolic reunion of the longest lost Italian territory.

    His third priority was to economically exploit Germany for all it was worth. He expected that Hitler would be forced to surrender sometime in 1943, but until that time he would gain the maximum benefit from being Hitler’s only real hole in the blockade. Already he had managed to get significant payments in gold and coal in exchange for strategic materials, improving the strength of the Lira and Italy’s negotiating position vis a vis the British, their normal coal supplier, by building up a large reserve of the substance.

    His fourth priority was to exploit the troubled security situation in eastern Europe to lay the groundwork for Italian hegemony. With Stalin having shown his true colors by invading 5 countries in three months, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary were increasingly nervous. All three wanted arms and security assurances an with Italy, along with the US, having the only major military industry that was not overbooked with domestic orders he had large amounts of leverage. Romania and Bulgaria received all the equipment they could afford at reasonable prices, while Hungary received nothing as punishment for their alignment with Hitler. Sanna further negotiated a three way defense pact between Bulgaria, Italy and Romania at the end of April…

    …Sanna’s plans were no secret to the British, through a combination of communications intercepts and human intelligence they were aware that he was planning something in the Adriatic. Substantial movements of troops, aircraft and small warships had all been seen, as had increases in the amount of ready supplies. This was considered a major relief as it indicated that Italy had no plans for interfering in the war with Germany, drawing down strength in southern and western Italy. At the same point neither of them wanted Sanna to dismantle Yugoslavia, which he clearly had an interest in doing.

    The French were stretched enough that they were unable to do anything. The British however were able to do something. The Royal Navy began using Malta as its primary base for its surface warships to work up. By May 1941 the Battleships Commonwealth, Dominion and King George V, the Aircraft Carrier Africa, 1 heavy, 4 light and 3 anti-aircraft cruisers and 16 destroyers were based out of the small island group, with another 8 destroyers and a light cruiser at Alexandria.

    While highly exposed to potential air attack from Italy, hence the plans to transfer the Mediterranean fleet to Alexandria in case of Italian hostility, its proximity to Italy was politically important. By basing the fleet there the British sent a message that they were not afraid of the Italian military and that Italy should reconsider any adventures, or at the very least provide a suitable fig leaf for Britain to ignore them. At the same time however this fleet was a scarecrow, unready for action and kept at Malta secure in the knowledge they were under no real threat…

    -Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005


    The Kingdom of Yugoslavia

    Basics:

    Yugoslavia is a constitutional monarchy under the house of Karadordevic, currently governed by a centrist coalition led by the Croation People’s peasant Party. It was formed after WWI out of a merger of Serbia and Montenegro, including territories taken from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    Economy:

    Yugoslavia is a primarily agricultural country, with most of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture. It has very little industry and is only slightly more industrialized than Bulgaria. It does however have a relatively developed mining sector.

    Land Forces:

    Yugoslavia has a large Army of 1,200,000 at full mobilization strength. It is organized into 33 divisions, 28 infantry, 1 stormtrooper, 1 mountain and 3 cavalry, and 35 independent brigades.

    The standard Yugoslav infantry weapon is the FN Model 1924, a Belgian Gewehr 98 variant in 7.92x57mm Mauser. Reservists may be issued the Zastava M1899, a Mauser 1895 clone converted to 7x57mm, Gewehr 98s or Mannlicher M1895 converted to 7.92mm.

    The Standard Yugoslav sidearm is the Ruby pistol in .32 ACP or FN model 1922 in .38 ACP. Reservists may be issued the Rast and Gasser M1898 in 8mm Gasser, a double action revolver, or Roth Steyr Semi-automatics in 8mm Roth Steyr. Yugoslavia makes limited use of Vollmer Submachine guns imported from Germany in 9mm Parabellum.

    The standard Yugoslav light machine gun is a variant of the Czech ZB-30, locally license built in 7.92mm Mauser. Other units may be issues ZB-26 variants, Madsen’s in 7.92mm, or Chauchats rechambered for 7.92mm as their squad weapons. Heavier company level weapons are the MG08, Schwarlose rechambered for 7.92mm, or rechambered Hotchkiss m1914.

    Yugoslavia standard mortars are a 60mm Stokes variant, being replaced by an 81mm Brandt clone, four per battalion.

    Yugoslavia makes use of Czech built 37mm/40 and 47mm/43 anti tank guns as a divisional weapon, with about 400 of each in service. A locally built variant of the Mauser T Gewehr is used for Regimental AT work, chambered in 13.2mm TuF and issued 12 per regiment.

    For AA Yugoslavia uses 15mm Czech Heavy Machine guns and 20mm Oerlikon at lower levels. At mid-level they use the Skoda 40mm/67 Autocannon. At high level 83.5mm/55 and 90mm/45 AA guns from Skoda are used, modern pieces, with older French 75mm designs in service.

    The standard Yugoslav field gun is a modern Skoda 80mm/40 field gun meant as a combination field, mountain and AA gun, but a failure at the last. Older 80mm FK M5 and M17 are in use by reservists. Mountain troops use 75mm/15.4 M1915 from Skoda. The 80mm Pieces are supplemented by 105mm/12 M1919 Schnieder Mountain guns, 100mm/16 M16 Mountain howitzer, 100mm/24 M16/19 mountain howitzer, 10.5cm/15.5 LfH 98/09, 100mm/24 M14/19 or the 100mm/25 M28, a modern combination howitzer and mountain gun, all from Skoda.

    Heavier artillery includes the obsolete 105mm/28 M1913 Scheider and modern 10.5cm/42 K35 from Skoda. At the highest level for mobile artillery Skoda K Series 149mm/27 howitzers of modern design are used.

    For siege work Yugoslavia has a mix of obsolete 120-305mm siege guns inherited from Austria Hungary and modern Czech 220mm and 305mm guns.

    Yugoslavia has a modest tank force of 200 units.

    50 are refitted FT-17 that have gone through a comprehensive refit program in the 20’s with new tracks and suspension, faster and more reliable but still obsolete.

    50 more are French Renault NC 28, a 10 ton development of the FT capable of 12 mph, with a 47mm gun, two machine guns and some protection against 37mm AT guns.

    50 more are Czech Skoda ST, 6 ton vehicles with a casemated 37mm/40 and limited traverse, capable of 25mph but only protected against AT rifles from the front.

    50 are modern French N36.

    Yugoslavia is attempting to license the Swedish S40, to replace their curtailed ST and N35 orders and obsolete FT’s with at least 100 vehicles.

    Yugoslavia also has about 50 machine gun armored cars of various designs based on civil truck chassis.

    The Yugoslavia army is poorly motorized but is currently importing large amounts of standardized trucks from the US to change that.

    Naval Forces:

    Yugoslavia has a small coastal navy.

    The Dalmacija is the largest ship in the Yugoslav navy, formerly the Hapsburg Novara. She makes 25 knots presently with 7 10cm/47, 2 8.35cm/35 AA, 4 47mm guns and 4 15mm machine guns.

    The Dubrovnik and Nada are British built 1900 ton 37 knot flotilla leaders. They have 4 14cm/54 main guns, 2 8.35cm/35 AA guns, 6 40 mm autocannon, 2 15mm HMG, two triple 533mm tubes and up to 40 mines.

    The Beograd, Ljubljana and Zagreb are 1200 ton 35 knot vessels, the first French and the last tow domestic built. They have 4 120mm/46 on the centerline, 2 twin 40mm autocannon, 2 triple 550mm torpedo tubes, 2 15mm machine guns and up to 30 mines.

    The Split is a 2400 ton large destroyer under construction, she will make 38 knots. She will have 5 140mm/56, 5 twin 40mm autocannon, 4 twin 15mm HMG, and two triple 533mm torpedo tubes. She is expected to finish in October 1942.

    Yugoslavia has a 600 ton yacht, the Beli Oroa, built in Britian, that can double as a gunboat. She makes 19 knots and has 2 40mm autocannon and 4 15mm HMG.

    Yugoslavia has 6 250ton 28 knot torpedo boats from Austria-Hungary. They have 2 66mm/45 guns, two twin 450mm torpedo tubes and two 15mm HMG.

    4 Cetnik class torpedo boats are in service, British built, 15 ton 40 knot vessels. They have 2 7.92mm machine guns, and 2 457mm torpedo tubes or 4 depth charges.

    8 Suvobor class supplement them, German built, 34 knot, 60 ton diesel powered vessels. They have 2 550mm tubes, a 40mm autocannon and 15mm machine gun.

    Yugoslavia operates 4 submarines. The 2 Nebojsa class are British built 1000 ton vessels based on the WWI L class and using recycled parts. They have a 4”/40 deck gun, 6 21” tubes in the bow with 12 torpedoes, a 15mm machine gun and 2 7.92mm machine guns. They make 16 knots surfaced, 10 submerged and have a 5000 knot range.

    The 2 Smeli class are French built, 650 ton vessels. They have 1 100mm/35 deck gun, a 40mm Autocannon and 15mm machine gun, and 6 550mm tubes, 4 bow, two stern, with 12 torpedoes or 25 mines. They make 15 knots surfaced and 9 submerged and have a 5000 knot range.

    They are based on the Hvar, a 2700 ton British built tender.

    Yugoslavia has an extensive mine warfare force.

    6 minelayers are modified German M1916 minesweepers, 500 ton 15 knot vessels. They have 2 83.5mm/55 guns, 2 15mm HMG and up to 30 mines.

    The Zmaj is a converted German built seaplane tender, 1900 tons and 15 knots. She has 2 83.5mm/55, 2 twin 40mm autocannon and up to 100 mines.

    5 Austrian MT. 130 Minelayers were acquired by Yugosalvia, they are 130 ton vessels that make 9 knots and double as minesweepers. They have a 47mm/44 main gun, 2 machine guns and up to 39 mines.

    Yugoslavia has a midsize river flotilla. The mainstay are 4 river monitors of 400-600 tons, with 2 12cm L35 or 45 and 1-3 12cm howitzer and speed of 10-13.5 knots, with limited armor against field artillery. Supporting these are auxiliary gunboats and minelayers to be mobilized in wartime.

    Yugoslavia has a small naval aviation arm but no naval infantry.

    Air Forces:

    Yugoslavia has a mid-size Airforce of about 300 aircraft. It is structured into a hierarchy of brigades, regiments and groups, with groups being a squadron equivalent.

    The main fighter of the Yugoslav Air Force is the Bristol Bullfinch, of which 60 are in service. This is supported by the domestic Ikarus IK-5, a high wing monoplane with fixed gear, and an open cockpit but is nonetheless not too far inferior from modern aircraft, with an excellent ceiling, a 20mm motorcannon and 2 7.92mm mg, 25 are in service. 15 Hawker Headsman are also in service as are 20 old Avia 505 low performance open cockpit biplanes with a pair of machine guns. An improved IK-6 is under development, with performance equal to other modern aircraft.

    Yugoslavia’s primary bomber is the Avro Antlion with 50 in service. These are supported by 30 Do 25 flying pencils from Germany. 60 Breguet 21 are in service, very slow open cockpit biplanes with 1 fixed and two flexible machine guns and up to 1000 pounds of bombs.

    The remainder of the air force are a mixture of transports, liaison and trainer aircraft, all of foreign design from a variety of sources.

    The Yugoslav navy operates about 50 aircraft.

    20 are Ikarus IIIO biplane flying boats, very slow, short ranged and unarmed but domestic.

    5 more are Dornier Wal Flying boats

    15 more are Dornier Co 5 export floatplanes, a relatively fast float plane with two machine guns, decent range and the ability to carry up to 1800 pounds of bombs or a torpedo.

    The remaining aircraft are trainers.

    Yugoslavia lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Yugoslavia maintains a moderate stockpile of Chlorine and Mustard Gas. Deployment is by artillery shell and aerial bomb

    Yugoslavia lacks a nuclear or biological weapons program

    Problems:

    Yugoslavia has severe issues with ethnic strife

    Yugoslavia has territorial disputes with every single one of its neighbors

    Yugoslavia is deep in debt

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
    Part 6-31 Naval History, Airpower, Eve of War: Greece
  • …January 1941 saw the U-Boats finally able to sortie en masse and British losses spiked. Smaller U-Boats raided coastal traffic and laid minefields while medium sized vessels lurked in the western approaches, and the larger long ranged vessels raided Franco-British commerce off Africa. More tonnage was lost in January 1941 as in all three wartime months of 1940 combined.

    The Kriegsmarine planned on utilizing its long range boats more aggressively, particularly against British commerce to its New World Empire. The United States had however, in consultation with the nations of Latin America, instituted a Pan American security zone in January 1941. Inside this zone, based on straight lines between 19 points 300 nautical miles offshore, belligerent acts would be forbidden. This nominally applied to both sides, but in practice favored Britain to a massive degree. Because of this the Kriegsmarine was not able to raid the flow of tankers going to Britain from the Caribbean refineries and was limited in attacking Canadian commerce.

    February thus saw a dip in sinkings as opposed to January as the British adapted and the spike in U-Boat activity proved impossible to sustain even with slightly more boats available. In March sinkings fell further, as the U-boat fleet was recalled mid-month for positioning in support of the attack on Norway. The U-Boat fleet was to play an important part in this, by distracting the British and interdicting British attempts to interfere. The U-Boat fleet would further by accompanied by a mass sortie of the auxiliary cruisers Germany had been converting, who would penetrate into the open seas during the British distraction and wreak havoc while the British were focused on Norway.

    The British preemptive invasion of Norway caught the U-Boats out of position and made it too risky for the Hilfskruezers to leave the North Sea. After a few days however the U-Boats were able to get into position and the fjord entrances became shooting galleries. 8 U-Boats were lost off Norway between mid-April and Mid-May, but in the process managed to kill 8 British and 1 French destroyer, 2 British light cruisers, 2 British sloops, 20 transports, and crippled the Battleship Venerable, forcing her to return to Portsmouth for length repairs. In addition the British lost 3 of their own submarines during the same period to friendly fire, attempting to use them against U-Boats too close to their own forces…

    …The Hilfskruezers remained in port, or were used as additional transports during April or May, with a breakout only planned for when the Royal Navy had to reduce its operational tempo in the North Sea…

    …By Spring of 1941 the Royal Navy was considering their building for the 1941 program. They had during the war emergency programs ordered 32 destroyers, 40 escort destroyers, 10 sloops, 60 corvettes and 32 submarines, along with large numbers of smaller craft such as mine sweepers and trawlers. Therefore it was decided that 8 large destroyers, 8 escort destroyers and 16 additional sloops would be ordered for escorts, with the amount being built under the war emergency program seen as mostly sufficient for their needs with only the need to replace losses, as well as 8 large submarines for the Pacific to completement the smaller submarines built for European waters.

    Instead their concern was on heavier units. It was clear that their battleship force was sufficient, and thus the last pair of Conqueror class battleships, to be laid down in 1942, would be cancelled, though the earlier 4 units would continue construction at a slower pace. Instead two slightly modified Bulwark class carriers would be procured, Cochrane and Champion, to replace the lost Powerful.

    Similarly their cruiser losses needed to be replaced and the older units phased out. As such 8 repeats of the Canterbury class were planned, 9000 ton 31 knot derivatives of Newcastle, they dropped the X turret for a heavier AA armament. This was in contrast to plans for larger cruisers, however with only 6 German large cruisers to consider the Royal Navy felt that quantity was more important than quality and 6 months extra war service could be important...

    Excerpt From A Naval History of the European War, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2008

    …For the first 7 months of WWII the Aerial war had been remarkably restrained. Germany and Poland briefly unleashed their full air forces against each other, yet even that was fairly limited, by the small size of the Polish Air Force and by the tactical/operational nature of the German campaign. Following the conclusion of the Polish campaign the air war became further restrained.

    Von Richthofen put the Luftwaffe on a lower tempo to rebuild after the Polish Campaign, being well aware of the need for it to support the Heer against France. The Armee de Air was constrained by sheer obsolescence, in that it could not actually deliver bombs on target without suffering unsustainable losses, therefore it only rarely chose to operate offensively. The Royal Air Force, while still technologically behind the Germans was more eager but constrained by politics.

    As such the Germans primarily focused on attacking British coastal traffic, the French on German air bases at the border and the British on dropping leaflets. The British nonlethal approach may seem incongruous however political leadership demanded that the RAF do nothing to destroy anything that was not a military target, to avoid the risk of killing civilians or destroying private property.

    This began to change in April 1941 with the opening of the Norwegian front, and an increase of operational tempo there. The action however remained confined to the tactical and operational realm inside Norway, with neither side attempting to escalate to strategic attacks…

    …By Spring of 1941 the Anglo-French inferiority in the air was beginning to reverse. Production of the Glaive, Bandit and Buccaneer was ramping up on the British side, allowing older Bullfinches and Headhunters to be retired to colonial theaters. The French saw later tranches of the MB235 and new MS 670 and HS 740 take flight and their deliveries of Dutch and American fighters accelerate.

    By the September Britain expected to end building Headsmen, and France would stop building MS 400, with production to concentrate on newer types…

    …In May 1941 as an alternative to the Westland Warhawk Blackburn offered a conventional development of their Bandit turret fighter, carrying 2 machine guns in the nose and 10 in the wings it would be better armed than the Glaive while having performance equal to the German He 120 and being available sooner than the Warhawk. This offer was refused as the Bandit was seen to have almost no long term growth potential, with a very tight nose and fuselage design making upgrades to the engine or cooling system difficult…

    …In early 1941 Britain raced ahead of Germany in Jet propulsion research. Caught on the wrong end of the airpower race Britain was determined to pull ahead and stay ahead and while the RAF thought Warhawk would allow them to pull ahead, jets were seen as a way to keep ahead. Specifications were issued in April for prototypes for a point interceptor to enter service by the end of 1944…

    -Excerpt from Airpower!, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2010


    The Kingdom of Greece

    Basics: Greece is a weak Constitutional Monarchy under the house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. The current King is George II, and the government is currently controlled by the royalist party. Greece became independent from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and entered WWI late, successfully acquiring territory in Asia Minor, if less than desired.

    Economy:

    Greece is a primarily agricultural economy, dependent on exports of wine and olive oil, with a relatively undeveloped agricultural sector. It has a relatively weak, primarily, light industrial sector but a strong shipping sector. It is almost completely dependent on imports for raw materials

    Land Forces:

    Greece has a relatively large army of 600,000 at full mobilization strength consisting of 17 infantry and 2 cavalry divisions.

    The standard Greek Rifle is the Mannlicher Schonauer, an accurate conventional bolt action rifle with a 5 round rotary magazine, in 6.5x54mm Schonauer. Greece does not have domestic production of this rifle and imports from Switzerland. Second line units use Lebel and Berthier rifles in 8x50mm, and third line units use single shot Gras Rifles in 11x59 black powder or 8x50mm. Greece has a domestic semi automatic with a 20 round magazine based on the Mannlicher Schonauer under development to be introduced in the spring.

    The standard Greek sidearm is the FN M1910/22 in .32 ACP, supplemented by the Ruby pistol M1914 in the same caliber. Second line units are issued Peiper M1898’s, variants of the Nagant M1895, in 7.62x38mm. Greece has a domestic gas operated submachine gun, the EPK, in an intermediate 7.92x36mm cartridge based off the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schonauer, that is being issued to MPs.

    The standard Greek light machine gun is the Hotchkiss M1922 in 6.5x54mm, with a 30 round feed strip. It is issued as a squad weapon and reservists have the Chauchat, in 6.5x54mm or 8x50mm. The standard Medium machine gun is a remanufactured Hotchkiss M1914 with doubled rate of fire in 6.5x54mm. Older un modified Hotchkiss M1914 in that caliber and 8x50mm are in use by second line units as are St. Etienne machine guns. The standard heavy is the Schwarzlose in 6.5x54mm.

    Greece uses 81mm Brandt mortar clones for battalion fire support, 4 per battalion. They also have a domestic flamethrower design they make heavy use of.

    Greece lacks dedicated AT weapons but is expressing interest.

    Greece uses Hotckiss 13.2mm HMG and 25mm Autocannon for lower level AA work. Higher level AA is from Bofors 80mm/50 M1929, with some older WWI era French 75mm AA guns supplementing. Greece is currently attempting to purchase Bofors 40mm Autocannon for medium AA.

    The standard Greek field piece is the Schneider 85mm/35 M1927, a potent modern piece. It is supplemented by 75mm weapons in second line units, Canon de 75 M1897 and Schneider-Cruesot M1906. For heavier fires the Skoda 100mm/24 is used to supplement divisional artillery. As Greece is mountainous all divisions have a mountain artillery section as well, with the standard piece being the Schneider 75mm M1919. Second line units may have 75mm Schneider Canet M1910, 75mm Schneider Danglis M1909 or 65mm Schneider Ducrest M1906 instead.

    The standard heavy field piece is the Schneider 105mm/31 M1925/27, a modern companion piece to the 85mm used as Corps artillery. This piece works with the Schneider 155mm/15 M1917C, an obsolescent WWI era howitzer. De Bange 120mm M1878 and British 6”/30 cwt Howitzers from 1896. For their heavy pieces mountain artillery uses Schnieder 105mm M1919/24 or Skoda 105mm M1916 pieces, both obsolescent.

    Greece has a small tank force. 10 FT-17 machine gun variants, and ten assorted models of British export designs from 2 tons to 6 tons make up the entirety of their tank force. Greece is expressing interest in purchasing more tanks.

    Greece has about 50 armored cars based on civilian trucks with machine guns, primarily used by the military police in Asia Minor.

    The Greek Army is only lightly motorized, with each cavalry division having a motorized regiment. Greece is attempting greater motorization with French pattern trucks, but only to the point of motorizing 3 infantry divisions.

    Naval Forces:

    Greece has a potent mid sized navy.

    The pride of the Greek Navy is the battleship Nika, formerly HMS Erin. 24,000 tons and 21 kntos as rebuilt, she has improved torpedo defenses, enhanced elevation for her main turrets, oil firing boilers and a new superstructure, though she remains poorly protected from 14” shellfire. She has 10 13.5”/45 in 5 twins, two fore, two aft and one amidships, with B&X turrets superfiring, 8 6”/50 in casemates, 4 twin 4”/40 AA, 4 quadruple Pom Poms, and 4 quadruple .55 HMG.

    Supporting her are the 14,500 ton old battleships Kilkis and Lemnos, formerly USS Mississippi (BB-23) and USS Idaho (BB-24). Pre dreadnoughts, they retain their two twin 12”/45 and 4 twin 8”/45, but have had their secondary armaments altered for use as training ships and speed reduced to 14 knots.

    The last Greek capital ship is the 10,000 ton armored cruiser Georgios Averhof, making 20 knots in her old age. Protected against 8” fire in a pre WWI scheme, she has 2 twin 9.2”/47, 4 twin 7.5”/45, 8 3” casemate guns, 4 3” AA and 4 37mm AA guns.

    The Elli is a 2600 ton US built protected cruiser laid down as Fei Hong for China, only making 18 knots by 1940. She has 3 6”/50, 2 3”AA, 3 Pom Poms, 2 18” torpedo tubes and up to 100 mines, but is only splinter protected.

    The Antinavarchos Kountouriotis and Lambros Katsonis are 5200 ton 26.5 knot vessels briefly seized by the UK in WWI. They have 10 5.5”/50, two centerline and eight broadside, 2 3” AA, two twin Pom Poms, 4 twin .55HMG and 2 21” torpedo tubes, but have only modest protection from 6” shells.

    An additional unnamed light cruiser is on order in the US, 7500 tons and 33 knots. She has 3 twin 6”/47, A-B-Y, a twin 5”/38 in X position, 4 single 5”/38 and 2 quad 21” torpedo tubes, lighter armament TBD, with marginal protection against 6” fire.

    Two Thyella and 2 Niki class destroyers remain as training vessels, 350 ton, 30 knot ships. They have 2 3” and 4 6 pounder guns along with 2 18” torpedo tubes.

    4 Aetos class destroyers are in service, bought from Argentina under construction they are 1000 ton 32 knot ships. They have 4 4”/50, 4 single 21” torpedo tubes, 1 depth charge rail and two projectors.

    4 Kriti class destroyers follow them, temporarily seized by Britian in WWI, they are 1050 tons and 32 knot vessels. They have 3 4”/40, 1 pom pom, 2 machine guns, 2 twin 21” torpedo tubes, 1 depth charge rail and two projectors

    4 Hydra class destroyers are French built Basque class derivatives, 1400 tons and 33 knots. They carry 4 130mm/40, 2 37mm and 4 13.2mm AA, two triple 21” tubes, two depth charge projectors and two depth charge rails.

    The Imbros class destroyers are 1350 ton 35.5 knot British H class derivatives, 2 British built units are in service, while 2 Greek units are building. 4 5”/38 DP, 2 twin pom poms, 2 quad .55 HMG, 2 quad 21” torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge projectors and 2 depth charge rails.

    Greece has 6 ex Austrian torpedo boats of 250 tons and 31 knots. They have 2 66mm/30, 2 8mm MG, and two twin 450mm torpedo tubes.

    4 Egli type torpedo boats remain, 150 tons, and 21 knots with a 37mm gun and 3 450mm torpedo tubes.

    Greece also has two motor torpedo boats, bought from the UK, 15 ton 40 knot vessels. They have 2 machine guns, and 2 18” torpedo tubes or 4 depth charges.

    Greece has 4 Mersey class Trawlers from WWI as minesweepers, 450 ton, 11 knot vessels with a 3” gun, a pom pom and 2 machine guns.

    Greece has 3 coastal freighter converted to minelayers of varying sizes.

    Greece has 6 submarines. The two Kastonis class are older, French built 600 ton vessels. They make 14 knots surfaced, 9.5 submerged and have a 3500 knot range. They have two single shot 21” bow torpedo tubes, 2 reloadable bow tubes, 2 single shot stern tubes and reloads, plus a 100mm deck gun and 2 machine guns.

    The 4 Nirefs class are 750 ton French built vessels. They make 14 knots surfaced, 9.5 submerged and have a 3500 knot range. They have 6 internal bow 21” tubes, 2 internal stern tubes, 8 reloads, a 100mm deck gun and a 47mm AA gun.

    The Greek Navy lacks Marines but has a Naval Aviation branch based on shore.

    Air Forces:

    Greece has a small but effective air force. About 200 aircraft are in service.

    The standard Greek fighter is the PZL-13, a high wing open cockpit monoplane with 4 machine guns, of which they have 30 at present. These are supplemented by 20 MB 235 from France, a more modern design. Additional PZL-13 are on order, with Greece having plans to license build the new PZL-41 in 1941.

    The standard Greek light bomber is the PZL 25, somewhat obsolete but with good rough field performance, Greece has 30. Greece has an additional 20 SNCAO 300 from France. Greece has 40 PZL 47 on order with plans to license build the design.

    Greece has 10 more Breguet 21 biplanes for reconnaissance that can double as bombers. Greece has a further 25 liaison/observation aircraft from Germany and Britian.

    The remainder of the Greek Air Force is trainers and transports from a variety of sources.

    The Greek Navy operates about 50 aircraft from land bases.

    Greece has about 15 Avro Archer for maritime patrol as land planes.

    Greece has 20 Dornier Co 5 export floatplanes, a relatively fast float plane with two machine guns, decent range and the ability to carry up to 1800 pounds of bombs or a torpedo.

    Greece has 5 Dornier Wal Flying Boats and 10 British Hoopoe floatplanes for water based reconnaissance.

    Greece lacks paratroopers or advanced aeronautical research

    Weapons of Mass Destruction:

    Greece has stockpiles of Mustard Gas, Chlorine and Phosgene. Deployment is by aerial bomb and artillery shell.

    Greece does not have a biological or nuclear weapons program.

    Problems:

    Greece has a strong Republican Opposition

    Greece has territorial disputes with all of its neighbors

    Greece has poor foreign credit and a major domestic debt crisis on the horizon

    -The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
     
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