"Forlorn Hope AAR""
The scenario used will be the standard DH 1.05.2 Endsieg scenario with no misc edits, checksum KVZZ. I will update this post with hyperlinks to particular chapters as I post them.
The rules used:
Introduction (May 6, 2023) As many of you may know, the situation Germany finds herself in at the onset of this scenario is slightly less than ideal. We are out of everything, from the resources needed to run our admittedly respectable industry to the men needed to wield the arms our factories churn out.
Our production pool starts filled with a number of semi-completed units, which will surely come in handy, as they will be the only full strength divisions available for quite a while in the sorry shadow of the former Wehrmacht. The V2 rockets will also come in handy to slow our enemy movements down to a crawl once we use them for logistical strikes to buy ourselves some precious time for reorganization.
The Western Front (May 6, 2023) For the sake of clarity, I will divide the war into three theaters, in order of priority: the Western Front, the Italian Front, and the Eastern Front. That isn't to say that the Eastern Front is to be disregarded, it is still the most important and taxing front we are in, it's merely a sad truth that we won't be able to do anything there for quite a while.
(Chapter Ia) (May 6, 2023) In the early morning hours of December 15th, 1944, Adolf Hitler suffered a stroke, likely a result of an aneurysm bursting having read the latest battle report from the East. Having been remedied by his faithful dr. Morell with the usual cocktail of hard drugs, he calls his close circle of advisors for a meeting.
(Chapter Ib) (May 7, 2023) 'Tis time to finally start making the moves that will hopefully be translated into a victorious geopolitical position 3-5 years down the line. The first one, as always, is to gather our dwindling Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine so they may be reorganized into more useful formations than the profoundly unintelligent ones we happen to start with.
(Chapter Ic) (May 7, 2023) The time has finally come to set the timer free. Americans immediately greet my decision with some aggression.
(Chapter IIa) (May 8, 2023) "My Führer..." Hausser starts, but is interrupted by Germany's dictator: "The attack has started? You've done your job, as ordered? Great! Now cease interrupting my 'me time' with unnecessary info. Tell me when someone kicks the gates of Paris down!" -"Jawohl. I'll return when I have some proper news." he says as he leaves the room, exasperated. Still, he can't be too judgmental of his leader, as a minor elevation in his eccentricity was a price he was willing to pay for the newfound strategic soundness it was accompanied by. "Hah, maybe it's for the better. Now I got time for another würst."
As that bizarre exchange was happening, the Allied probing attacks in Nijmegen and Dunkirk are called off. The encircled garrison gets a short moment's respite.
(Chapter IIb) (May 8, 2023) The fight for the Benelux rages on. As the fatigued German war machine thirsty for oil sluggishly grinds the Allied resistance down in Luxemburg, von Rundstedt decides to attack once again, as the enemy armor has largely left Maastricht.
(Chapter IIc) (May 8, 2023) The Wehrmacht is again starting to look a little like the unstoppable force it once was. With the Allies in utter disarray, Hermann Göring decides to capitalize on their disorganization and send his Fallschirmjäger under Ferdinand Schörner to try and expedite the closing of an even larger encirclement. The men surely rejoice to be assigned to a mission with non-zero chances of success.
Intermezzo 1. Jan 1945 (May 9, 2023) Diplomatically, we're still swimming in the sea of red, both literally and figuratively.
(Chapter IIIa) (May 11, 2023) The war continues to rage. Despite the recent successes, the situation Germany finds itself in is beyond dire nonetheless. The divisions that have been fighting ceaselessly in recent weeks are running low on both men and morale. That is shown the best by their inability to dislodge the Allied divisions from Longwy.
(Chapter IIIb) (May 13, 2023) In Berlin, the Chancellor receives the news of the capture of Paris with joyous whimsy. The rate of champagne consumption has skyrocketed lately due to an unusual number of victorious news, so the ministers and the OKW are forced to diversify their toasts with domestic beer. However, if the pace of advance continues, the means of champagne production, as well as the French wine cellars will be back in German hands. Back to the front now!
(Chapter IIIc) (May 15, 2023) The German panzers, despite their frail state and lack of oil, remain the backbone of the Wehrmacht. As such, when Hasso von Manteuffel's Panzerarmee reached Nancy and immediately proceeded to charge the enemies in Belfort to assist Ringel's paratroopers, the day got that much gloomier for the defending Americans.
(Chapter IIId) (May 19, 2023) As Churchill ups his cigar consumption and Roosevelt spins in his grave (a remarkable feat considering he was quite literally immobile prior to his death), Germany continues on towards more victories. Le Creusot is the first to come, with Allies suffering almost 7 times the casualties in their chaotic retreat.
Intermezzo 1. Feb 1945 (May 26, 2023) As February of the Anno Domini 1945 knocks on the door, the time has come for yet another overview of the general situation. After a war-torn winter, we may expect a very bloody spring to follow.
Diplomatically, Germany keeps painting the map in the west, while the east is *strategically* disregarded.
(Chapter IVa) (May 28, 2023) Chancellor Hitler assembles his minister cabinet once more so the recent happenings in the war can be discussed. The air in the room is not unlike it was back in May 1940, with everyone in barely suspended disbelief at the Wehrmacht's amazing successes against a more powerful enemy in France. Except this time around, the country is completely depleted of its manpower and oil reserves.
With a bittersweet half-grin, he concludes: "Gentlemen, we are finally done with the introductory part of the war. May our grandchildren love us or despise us, what comes now will be remembered as the greatest military success in mankind's history, or the last gasps of a dying Reich. Make sure it's the former. Dismissed!"
Back at the front, the victories continue trickling in. The first one is Manstein repelling the overly ambitious American assault on Vichy with relative ease. He immediately proceeds to counterattack the lone armored division in Limoges.
(Chapter IVb) (May 31, 2023) The saga continues where it left off: amidst the total Allied collapse in France. The German war machine again looks like the unstoppable steamroller that it once was, if only one would ignore the dire manpower and oil situation.
The first attack of the day belongs to Ferdinand Schörner, who attacks the stranded American paratroopers in Cherbourg with their German counterparts.
(Chapter IVc) (June 5, 2023) The question everyone seems to have been asking at the OKW, but somehow never openly, was of course: "Has the Wehrmacht run out of steam once more? Has Italy finally marked the end of the German ambition to rule Europe?" Despite the news of a devastating victory in Angouleme, the general staff trembled with trepidation as the news of the Allied counterattack in Grenoble reached them.
April Fools Intermezzo 1. April 1945 (June 13, 2023) As the 1st of April 1945 comes around the corner, a new overview of the situation Germany finds herself in is in order. Very little has changed politically and the German diplomatic corps is stuck twiddling their thumbs, as we are still the losing side in a world war.
(Chapter Va) (June 15, 2023) With spring in full bloom, Wehrmacht enjoys a period of sporadic hostilities and largely uses the time afforded by its previous victories to replace losses sustained in the brutal fighting and recruit more men to the banner. However, not everything is peaceful. The Luftwaffe high command is posed with the titanic task of securing the skies of the Reich, as the rumors of a devastating new weapon being tested in the USA have reached the ears of the Abwehr operatives. As such, a plan is reluctantly drafted and handed to Göring, who then presents it to the Führer. It is henceforth unimaginatively titled Plan zur Luftverteidigung des Reiches (Plan for the Air Defense of the Reich). No one had any patience for grandeur in naming considering how many failed operations named after Nordic mythology have painfully been imprinted in the collective memory.
(Chapter VI) (June 29, 2023) With the conclusion of the Italian front, Germany finds herself in a position of fragile truce of sorts. The Soviets to the east are seemingly unwilling to attack the fortified river lines or violate the Allied buffer zone. The air war has also seen a decrease in intensity, as the Allied and Soviet bomber crews lick their wounds, having been dealt numerous costly defeats in the previously undefended German skies. Both the civilian and military leadership has received this lull in hostilities with thinly veiled joy, as it has given them the much-needed time to replenish the country's capacities for waging war in the future, capacities that have thus far been stretched way past the point of breaking. The cracks in the once invincible country are showing and are threatening to pull her apart if only given the smallest of chances. It is up to her armed forces and the pioneers of the military-industrial complex to prevent it from happening.
(Chapter VII) (Jul 5 2023) Despite the occasional upset, such as the utilization of the most destructive weapon in the history of mankind, the situation Germany finds herself in remains that of fairly low-intensity warfare. The arts and sciences are booming, like in more enlightened times of ye olde interwar, so a new and contemporary tactical bomber model has successfully been developed. The logical next step is a better fighter model, and Messerschmitt is tasked to develop it.
(Chapter VIII) (Jul 16 2023) With the addition of Switzerland into the loving and prosperous (or so the Volkischer Beobachter says) fold of the Greater German Reich, it is again time to bide our strength and think about the moves ahead of us. What Germany lacks in everything else, she compensates for (hopefully) with bright academic minds. As such, the improved rocket artillery is developed and the work on advanced naval doctrines continues.
(Chapter IX) (Jul 18 2023) As the morning hours arrive, the dreamy English city of Hull wakes up, the war being just another curiosity in the newspapers for the past couple of years. Sure, the news arriving home haven't been pleasant recently, especially considering there likely are worse things that the Daily Mail dares not publish, and many a neighbour not knowing what became of their sons and husbands on the frontlines of Italy. But alas, life goes on, and the busy morning continues, as there is work to do and chores to see to. Anyone considering the war to be a more pressing matter than the milkman coming around on time would be receiving fairly odd looks this far North. As such, no wonders that the majority of population stood frozen in shock as they saw thousands of parachutes decorate the morning sky and German paratroopers taking swift control of the port installations. The war had finally arrived to Hull, England.
(Chapter X) (Jul 25 2023) The world is still aghast at the news that the mighty Royal Navy was unable to prevent the in comparison insignificant Kriegsmarine from invading the British Isles. That, however, doesn't prevent the brave servicemen of the Wehrmacht from capitalizing on the confusion and scoring another victory against the under-prepared Home Guard in Oxford.
(Chapter XI) (Jul 27 2023) The spectacular demise of Britain has opened certain interesting scenarios that may or may not happen. One of them is certainly the imminent collapse of the buffer zone with the Soviets, which is something the OKW is painfully aware of. Whether the Wehrmacht is strong enough to assume a defensive stance against the terrifying Red Army on a wide front is something that will have to be seen, as the die has been irrevocably cast. Currently, there aren't enough forces present by far, and they will have to be shipped from Britain posthaste
(Chapter XIIa) (Aug 2 2023) With Britain firmly under the control of the Axis and a continent-spanning front with the Soviet Union, Germany and her allies turn to strengthening their vastly outnumbered forces. German industry, having been stretched way past the point of breaking for years now is left to produce new equipment at its own pace, with no desperate needs in need of fulfilling. The resource situation is also shaping up to be quite good, with only slight worries in the rare materials department. Nevertheless, the synthetic conversion program can be restarted if needed, but imports are preferred as the more efficient option. Most of the deficit is due to the new Axis members' IC needs anyway, and it wouldn't be too tragic to let them be running on lowered efficiency for a while, since the most critical asset for the productive capacity of the Axis is still Germany and her fully geared air lines.
(Chapter XIIb) (Aug 9 2023) The seemingly quieter times in the Reich continue. Germany's enemies, likely acutely aware of the fact she now possesses city-levelling weaponry, are left helpless and are mostly relegated to waiting to see what is to be done with it. Mostly helpless, that is, as the renowned Soviet spies manage to derail further research into nuclear weaponry slightly by spilling coffee all over Heisenberg's lab notes.