1939: It Begins

So, we finally come to it. Herr Hitler has pushed Germany to war. Will the free peoples of the rest of the world be up to defeating the Nazi menace? We think so… but first, a few events of note during the year.

UK forces disposition

We have been building up our armed forces diligently for a few years now, both in terms of strength and technology. Part of this has involved completely reorganising the Royal Navy. Because our Supreme Leader is a bit inept, this involved bringing the whole fleet back to the British Isles. We’ll be lucky if we’re done in time for war! Strategic bombers (well, all bombers really) are still lacking, but we have been building up our fighter wings. Air defences and radar are well under way also.

In terms of troop movements, most of them have been towards North and East Africa. Hostilities with Italy are clearly inevitable, so we need enough forces on hand to crush them quickly and easily, without risking our vital oil fields. There are still plenty of forces at home, of course… just in case.

In may we also made a choice about four of our old C-Class cruisers. These will be recommissioned one by one over the next 18 months or so:

C-Class cruiser conversion

Germany growing bigger

Germany’s size and might, however, have been growing vastly. First Austria, and now, in March 1939, we have this bit of mischief:

Germany annexes Czechoslovakia

Well, it was going to happen. Germany is now looking intimidatingly big though:

Meanwhile, Mussolini is also playing at Empires, albeit at a slightly smaller scale. Albania is attacked by Italy at the beginning of April, and falls pretty quickly, not surprisingly. Although troubling from a moral point of view, this is not strategically of great concern for us right now.

Germany, Poland and the outbreak of war

The big news this year, however, and what we’ve all be waiting for, is the outbreak of the Second World War. Herr Hitler has been rattling the sabre at Poland for a while, so, at the end of March 1939, along with the French, we guarantee Poland’s existing borders, rebutting Hitler’s desire for the return of Danzig and other concessions. Poland gratefully accepts, needless to say.

 

However, Hitler is not impressed. He stews in his own juices for a while, then, on 3rd September, 1939, he delivers this infamous speech to the Reichstag:

Hitlers speech to the Reichstag

It’s all lies, of course, but what does that matter at this point. Herr Hitler has succeeded in bringing Europe to war. He may hope that Britain and France will stay out of this, but we have made our intentions utterly clear. So, on 7th September, 1939 [editor’s note: running slightly behind historical reality], we are brought to this:

Declare war on Germany

A far more just, honourable and inspiring speech by George VI to the people of Britain and the Commonwealth (delivered with only a slight stammer):

The King's Speech

Is war desirable? Of course not. But Herr Hitler must be stopped! To this end, it’s time to pull out the stops in preparing for war:

full mobilisation

These measures vastly increase out available manpower, industrial capacity and various stockpiles. The activation of the reserve fleet is also most welcome. However, we are still far from ready: we have no real strategic bomber force (although we know a guy called Arthur Harris who might be able to help with that) and very few tactical bombers, the Supreme Commander didn’t manage to finish reorganising the Royal Navy in time for the outbreak of war (although this isn’t really a problem) and our land  units are also weak compared to German forces. So, here’s the question: do we help out France now with the forces we do have at our disposal, or allow France to fall, keeping our forces in reserve and intact for when they can make a bigger difference?

One final note: unfortunately Egypt has proven less than helpful in their attitude towards the war, so we have had to take control of the northern portion of the country in order to prepare of the defence of our vital strategic assets in the region:

Egyptian neutrality

Northern Egypt now looks much like this:

Northern Egypt

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3 thoughts on “1939: It Begins

  1. Once more the drama begins. Good luck to your just cause.
    Beware of von Manstein and Guderian, the german wizards of war. Fortunately, Herr Hitler will listen more to his inner voices than theirs, so you can expect some tactical mishaps on their side.

  2. I understand that would be strategic error of gigantic proportions but then, who if not Herr Hitler would attempt such a feat except Monsieur Napoleon maybe?

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