Europe Aflame Interactive Combat Story: Episode II
Summary of what happened in Episode I: [actions based on survey results by our readers]
The German war machine was unleashed on Poland after a series of trumped up excuses of border incursions by the Poles themselves. While the defense put up by the Poles was noble, it was ultimately doomed to failure. France and Britain both pledged support for Poland, but in reality could do little except take in their government-in-exile. In just a few short weeks, Poland was erased from the map.
Not content to simply digest this new territory, the Werhmacht began planning a stunning campaign into Denmark and Norway, with an eye towards protecting vital shipments of Iron Ore from Sweden. These were coming through Norwegian territory and could easily be interdicted by British shipping. With the help of airmobile units as well as amphibious landings, the Germans began an invasion near Oslo along with a quick strike to capture Denmark at exactly the same time.
The invasion of Norway was initially thrown into a state of disarray as several ships were intercepted and sunk with all soldiers onboard going down as well. Several German capital ships were also lost in the operation. However, with determination, they were able to get ashore and secure and subdue the capital city of Oslo, forcing the government to capitulate. French and British expeditionary forces inside Norway (now faced with operating without their Norwegian allies) had little choice but to escape back to the Home Isles before being digested in the mountainous terrain. The allies were able to cause enough trouble for the Germans that this won’t go down as an “easy” mission – as losses were quite high for them. Yet, for now, they were victorious. Swedish Iron Ore will once again flow freely to Germany…
In Russia, the high command was committed to absorbing the Baltic states into the Soviet Union, as a means of protecting themselves against perceived aggression of their German “ally.” Poland was also sacrificed by the Soviets, and in return they gained more buffer zone between themselves and the Germans. While elements of the high command suggest that Russian intervention in Finland and in Persia are necessary for protection of the Soviet people, the threat level has not reached a point which would justify such unprovoked aggression.
At the end of 1939 both sides of this developing conflict were willing to cease hostilities, lick their wounds, and prepare for 1940. Contact between the two sides was minimal, leading to what some have called the “Phoney War” or Sitzkrieg. As the winter snows melt in early 1940, it is time for both sides to look ahead…
Episode II : Germany Looks To The West
German high command has dictated that the greatest threat to the German state is the French and British. In 1940 plans must be drawn up to attempt to conquer the French people. The attack must be swift, devastating, and decisive. There can be no repeat of the Great War here…
For the allies, war has come calling, and the door must be answered. France, sitting behind its invincible Maginot Line, feels that the Germans will get more than they bargained for should they choose to invade. The British are committed to provide some units to a British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to help protect France. In Russia, at least temporarily, it must sit idle on the sidelines and spectate as this monumental clash is obviously unstoppable. The hope is that France will stop the German war machine so that it cannot be used against the Russian people any time in the future…
Both sides require input before they can continue this conflict…and your help is requested to guide both sides towards victory.
Your Options For The German High Command
This upcoming battle with France is of the utmost importance, and thus must be chosen with care. The German high command must choose a course of action that will ensure victory with the least cost in men and materiel. Victory is inevitable we feel, as the world has not witnessed the full power of true combined arms…until now.
What are our options to proceed into France?
A) Invade France along the coast road through the Hague, Antwerp and on toward Paris. Far from the big guns of the Maginot Line, this path seems to offer better tank country in northeastern France. Naturally the neutral Belgium and the Netherlands must also be destroyed.
B) Invade France through the Ardennes. This would flank the Maginot Line, as well as consume Belgium and the Netherlands. While certainly not the best tank country, we could gain a strategic edge by a surprise thrust through this hostile forest.
C) Invade France assaulting the Maginot Line. If we dismantle the Maginot Line methodically, we could avoid ever having to invade the Low Countries…leaving these nations as a buffer zone against future aggression against the Fatherland. If needed, we can always attack them at our leisure…
D) Invade France with a strong southern thrust coming from Germans stationed in Italy. This would put a large Axis force south of the main French defenses, but carries the danger of involving Italy in this war (sources indicate they are quite unprepared), as well as having to traverse the French Alps. It would certainly be a surprise however.
Involvement of Italy. Pact of Steel or Fifth Wheel?
The Axis High Command is asked to consider the implications and benefits of bringing Italy into this war.
Should the Axis bring Italy into this war?
A) Yes. Italy could potentially force the allies to defend areas the Germans alone could not reach until much further along in this campaign. Having Italy will expedite some of these territorial gains, such as the Middle East, and southern France…
B) No. Bringing Italy into the war can only lead to disaster. Her forces are unprepared for this new type of warfare, and her presence will only serve to sap the German forces to help save their Italian allies.
Vote in the Axis Poll here.
Your Options For The Allied High Command
War is coming to France. How will you defend?
A) The Germans will never respect the rights of a neutral Belgium, and the invasion will come through there. We must prepare to move our forces into Belgium at the first sign of trouble to put as much distance between Germany and Paris as possible. We must have our forces as far forward as possible to make this plan work…
B) The Germans may try to skirt the Maginot Line to the north, in an attempt to avoid hitting it face on. They could come through Luxembourg and thus we should stack our defenses from the Maginot Line north to the sea.
C) The Germans are overconfident in their planning and will try to surprise us by going to the most defensible portion of our line…the Maginot Forts. If we stack our defenses just behind the forts, we will catch them as they try to push through.
D) It doesn’t matter where the Germans attack initially, we must defend in depth around Paris in an attempt to hold out as long as possible and be ready to send forces out to any developing holes. Our main force should be around Paris to form an impenetrable ring of defense.
Should the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) be committed to France?
A) Yes. France is our ally and a natural barrier to Axis aggression. The longer she stays in the war, the longer war stays out of Great Britain.
B) Yes, with reservations. We should send some units to France, but we should only send the bare minimum to make our presence felt. We should be quick to pull them out if the fighting gets too bad so they are available for any future conflicts either on British shores, or elsewhere in the Empire.
C) No. There is no point to throwing away British soldiers when it appears nothing can stop the Axis juggernaut.
Vote in the Allied Poll here.
Read Episode I here.
Make Your Decisions!
Please consider the alternatives above, vote in the polls, and then proceed to our forums to discuss the choices. Remember, these votes tell the commanders of each side which course their nations should pursue. As the votes begin to add up, and the decisions are finalized, the game will continue along that path. Since no one knows the exact outcome of any decision, don’t be surprised if the unexpected happens along the way. This game, like history, is complex in it’s unfolding…and in fact, we are counting on this “fog of war” to make this recreation as uncertain as the real thing.
We hope you enjoy this story, and will participate and return for future episodes.
–The Europe Aflame ICS Team
Have a comment, question, suggestion, complaint, or just want to help write the next chapter? Just join us on the forums!
Read Episode III here.