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King of Men
Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2018 7:34:10 AM
 Legatus legionis

One Year Membership MedalTwo Year Membership Medal

Joined: 11/23/2007
Posts: 8,493
Location: Nowhere
Baying at the Wall

Far off, the full tide clambers and slips, mouthing and resting all,
Nipping the flanks of the water-gates, baying along the wall;
Turning the shingle, returning the shingle, changing the set of the sand...
We are too far from the beach, men say, to know how the outwarks stand.

Last week I left the Legion of Doom locked in deadly conflict with the Pact of Hercules over the fate of the American continent, and the Ynglings in retreat to their fortress of ice in Scandinavia, muttering about winter in Finland. As often happens in a megacampaign, the diplomacy that took place over the week proved more important than the battlefield; by the time we returned to our command bunkers, the Pact of Hercules had triaged America, had gotten safe passage across the Atlantic for their armies in return, and were allied with the Legion and with the Latin Empire against Khazaria. Mark drove a hard bargain on my behalf, and I recovered the Jutland peninsula without a shot fired, as well as an epic rescue mission across several hundred miles of Occupied Germany to retrieve my army exiled in the Latin Empire - by now at half their paper strength due to Italian wine and women, but still a welcome accretion of combat power after the disastrous losses of the Elbe Campaign.

With the liquidation of the American front, and downprioritisation of the Danish one, I was able to consider how to counterattack in Finland; meanwhile Clonefusion had decided that fighting in Finland in winter is no joke, and that he preferred to send his tanks to Siberia to invade Japanese Korea and to counter the Chinese attack out of Tibet. Consequently, while the Herculean armies were evacuating America and being shipped across the Atlantic, and while screams for help rose from EastAsia, I amused myself by attacking the Onega Fortified Region with my own tanks:

Alas, amusing myself is all I was doing, as Clone had built my level-3 forts, meant to delay an invasion long enough for reinforcements to arrive, into level-7s, intended to enable the defending troops to maintain their resistance after an exchange of tactical nuclear weapons. Since I did not in fact have any nuclear weapons, four months of heavy winter fighting, in some of the worst terrain in the world, failed to make any dent in the line. However, Clone had unaccountably failed to fortify the line where his advance had stopped between Onega and Ladoga; thus, foiled in my attempt at breaking through in the north, I instead turned to the area between the lakes. Even in the absence of fortifications, Clone did have enough infantry to keep divisions cycling into this rather narrow front, maintaining a small amount of organisation in the fighting line to keep my tanks at bay. Nevertheless, his infantry (like the Yngling, Atlassian, Leonese, Japanese, and Chinese infantry) had no antitank weaponry:

Consequently, I was eventually able to grind my way through the red snow and break into the Onega-Ladoga region, finally restoring something like mobile warfare after four months of attrition. Meanwhile, the Herculeans and the Latin Empire had unleashed their attack, and for the third time in two years the armies advanced across poor Poland, although this time at least without much resistance:

Clone had (depending on how you read his mind) either not expected the Herculean DOW, or had deliberately triaged Poland in order to fight further east, and the Leonese tanks advanced very rapidly through the North European plain. By the time I fought myself through some of the worst terrain in the world merely to reclaim a few hundred miles of useless Finnish forest:

it was, in effect, too late. The Leonese tanks, almost entirely unopposed, had reached Leningrad - in this history, Odingrad, a minor outpost of the great Viipuri Fortified Region - and were able to encircle all three of the lines of resistance that Clone was still maintaining against me:

(Notice the Ladoga-Onega Line north of the river). This tactic occasioned rather a lot of controversy; the accusation was raised that Clone had deliberately allowed his Finnish troops to be encircled and destroyed, in order to give his fortress lines to the Herculeans, so as to improve their situation relative to mine - and this, after not raising any particularly noticeable resistance to their invasion of Poland, while Dragoon's similar attack into the Ukraine had been more or less stopped. I must say I wasn't particularly happy.

Other events of note in the session included a Medinan naval invasion of Chinese-held Thailand, which was eventually stopped and rolled back after the Japanese navy interdicted their supply line across the Bay of Bengal; and English anger at the perceived betrayal of Japan "temporarily occupying" their remaining Asian colonies, in order to better fight the Medinans, which in turn led to the British invasion of South America. Further, the Legion of Doom attacked Mexico, which with the quit of its off-again, on-again player Zirotron was again a Latin colony, leading to much hard jungle fighting, since Dragoon did not choose to abandon his colony as the Herculeans had done. Thus we have the following wars:

  • Khazaria against Legion of Doom, Pact of Hercules, Latin Empire, and China.
  • Medina against China and Latin Empire.
  • Legion of Doom against Latin Empire and Pact of Hercules.

    However, due to general salt over the various betrayals, general exhaustion with the scenario, and possibly a feeling that the war is more or less settled in favour of the Legion of Doom, who boast that they will shortly take Finland and be masters of all Europe, tomorrow's will be our last Hearts of Iron session. We have decided to continue the conflict into Stellaris, each player presumably sending out one colony ship to recreate their culture before the final victory of $VICTOR, much as Iceland was settled by petty-kings who didn't want to be minor nobles in a unified Norwegian kingdom. It remains to be seen whether Finland actually falls to the admittedly impressive Latin tanks. But if, by mischance or miracle, Viipuri should fall at last, I will get my vengeance IN SPACE.

    Read my blog.
    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2018 4:42:58 AM
     Legatus legionis

    One Year Membership MedalTwo Year Membership Medal

    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,493
    Location: Nowhere
    Now we can only wait till the day, wait and apportion our shame.
    These are the dykes our fathers left, but we would not look to the same.
    Time and again were we warned of the dykes, time and again we delayed.
    Now, it may fall, we have slain our sons, as our fathers we have betrayed.

    The final session of Hearts of Iron began with my troops standing between the lakes in Finland, planning to hold off the Leonese tanks with rifles, warm bodies, and the fabled Yngling mind-control rays. Due to the various shenanigans of the prior session, several people had declared that the game was no longer amusing, and there wasn't any diplomacy to be done any more, meaning that the Pact of Hercules was in effect the winner. Consequently my goal was no longer victory, but merely to maintain the Yngling Republic as a sovereign state still keeping the field, for the four hours of the final session. As the session began in August, I would have the formidable assistance of winter in Finland in doing so; further, although AI, Khazaria still kept a large number of divisions in the east which would tie up a considerable fraction of the Herculean forces, and Japan remained an ally who could in principle send troops to my aid.

    Yngling artillerymen trying to fight off Leonese tanks who have broken through their protecting infantry.

    Unfortunately, the impenetrable Leonese tanks cared for none of these things; they rolled right through the Finnish forests as though my infantry weren't there, which might have been better strategy. My thought, therefore, was that formidable as the tanks were, still they could not be absolutely everywhere, and that if they could be sucked deep into Finland it might be possible to sneak around their rear and cut them off from supply. My first attempt at doing so was on the Ladoga-Onega line, where I held the fortifications in the north, but Leon had taken the southern ones from Khazaria, making a natural bastion:

    Counterattack direction Ladoga.

    Alas, my connecting troops were not fortified, and Sauron was able to cut off my bastion instead of them cutting him off:

    End of the Ladoga-Onega line.

    Realising that I just didn't have the mass of maneuver, in the face of tanks I couldn't touch, to do encirclements on a small scale, I instead bethought myself of a desperate expedient, but on a grand scale: An Arkhangelsk Landing to get my one remaining reserve army unopposed into Russia through the Arctic Sea, which I still controlled, and sweep to the Baltic to create a giant Finnish Pocket.

    The Arkhangelsk Landing.

    A thin blue line, tipped with heavy tanks.

    For a short while this project did not look utterly impossible; I got a good amount of troops ashore into "Japanese Europe" (a leftover from Victoria) and faced only a thin screen of vassals and a few Atlassians. But the muddy distances of Russia defeated me; I could not move fast enough, and the "thin screen" thickened until I could no longer push it, then started pushing right back. Alas, this time I had no convenient war crime in my pocket to give my enemies pause and force negotiations.

    "That's it then; the Arkhangelsk Landing is washed up."

    In the end I decided to evacuate, and was able to extract the army mostly intact. This was just as well, for meanwhile Sauron had been crashing through the Finnish forest, shouting his new battle cry, "Encirclements will continue until morale improves!" Alas, fighting in Finnish winter is no joke for either side; in the snow and bad terrain, my troops were not able to maneuver fast enough to maintain a continuous line in front of the tanks, and a large number were pushed towards the coast and encircled:

    The Kola Pocket.

    And yes, at this point, Viipuri had indeed fallen to the tanks. Slik forgår verdens herlighet. Sad

    Leonese tanks and infantry advancing cautiously through the shattered streets of Viipuri. The picture is taken some months after the other events described here, hence the green leaves on the trees, but a hard core of stay-behinds and die-hards still maintain a guerrilla resistance using the many caches of weapons and explosives hidden all around Viipuri for just such an event.

    I managed, nevertheless, to keep a fighting retreat through the terrible terrain of northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway; for a while I held Grense-Jakobselv, the OTL border between Norway and Russia, and by the time I was forced off even this line I had built some fortresses across the Scandinavian peninsula, at about the latitude of Narvik; moreover, true winter had descended on the North, and every advance was deathly slow.

    Eurasia, December 1940.

    By this time I had managed to get anti-tank guns, heavy tank destroyers, and new Mjølnir-pattern tanks (also known as Medium II) into my few remaining formations; supplying your army gets that much easier when it shrinks by about 80% in six months, and for all its strategic value Finland didn't contain much industry. Consequently my formations could now actually face a Leonese armoured division in something other than the fetal position:

    Fighting on somewhat more even terms, but too late.

    Further, the supply lines through Finland were obviously terrible, and a large proportion of Leonese troops had been withdrawn to force the Urals. Thus in February I had something like an actual stable front running through northern Norway and Sweden, protecting my industrial core:

    The Umeå Line - if this had fallen, there would be only three or four more river-in-mountain lines that could plausibly be fortified before the Leonese were in artillery range of the factories supplying the resistance.

    From here I could, conceivably, have gotten back into the fight, given a diplomatic revolution fueled by my mind-control rays plus vast injections of Japanese auxiliary troops. Unfortunately, I had meanwhile lost Jutland again, this time to an AI mishap; I had ordered an attack out of Kiel on the off chance that it would go through and allow me to run wild through Germany, and the stupid, stupid AI creature interpreted this as an order to move all seventeen divisions holding Dannevirke into one province. Thus the Kiel canal lay open to my enemies; and by dint of vast patience, they were able to move an invasion through the Baltic, repeatedly encountering and retreating from my battleships, but never sinking! (Really now. This should have been a slaughter. But in all fairness, they should also have moved their own battleships into the Baltic, so it evens out.) At last they got ashore in Stockholm; I had stripped all my coastal defenses to feed the lines in Finland and Denmark, and there was nothing to oppose them. In this manner, by a sneaky stab in the back rather than straight-up combat, Leon finally got me over the capitulation threshold, with about 15 minutes to spare in the session.

    Eurasia, February 1941.

    Americas, February 1941; note the renewed British invasion of Vinland - to everyone's surprise Golle managed to get back into the fight at the very end, a development which I have completely ignored because it was a bit of a side show relative to my desperate struggle to keep a formed army and a fighting line in Finland.

    For Stellaris, Leon gets the Sol start, and everyone else is dispersed out into the galaxy. I created this faction to reflect the history of the Ynglings in this timeline:

    and have had fair success with them so far. However, I won't write an AAR for Stellaris; I'm too new at the game to make it interesting, and to be honest I am somewhat burned out on AARs, which I have been writing weekly for longer than most people reading this have been playing Paradox games. The Great Game, I'll note, was played in 2005. We will return to Crusader Kings in a few weeks (recruiting thread) but I think it is unlikely that I will write an AAR for that; enough is enough.

    Ends here the saga of the Ynglinga Republikk.

    Read my blog.
    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
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