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Posted on Feb 11, 2005 in Stuff We Like

Europe Aflame Interactive Combat Story: Episode III

By Shane Sohnle

 

Summary of what happened in Episode II: [actions based on survey results by our readers]

 

On March 3rd, 1940, German forces swept into southern Belgium and began the invasion that would see the French army collapse, and the capture of Paris by Axis forces.

After a period of initial confusion the French army, aided by the presence of the British Expeditionary Force, rallied and held a defensive position just inside the French border, limiting the initial German success. After a pause to resupply and consolidate their gains, however; the Germans renewed the offensive, and after weeks of intense non-stop assaults, the ability of the French to resist is failing. Troops have little or no ammunition, disruptions in the road and rail networks are keeping the much needed supply from reaching the front. Refugees fleeing from Paris cause further confusion as the remnants of France’s once-mighty army rally to defend the city.

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In the skies, combined operations by the RAF and French Air Force inflicted serious loss on the Luftwaffe, but the German ability to challenge for air superiority is only delayed, not impaired. The final battle for Paris is currently underway, and the city is expected to hold out no more than a week.

The push through the Ardennes

The speed with which the Germans advanced through French lines did not go unnoticed in many of the neutral nations of Europe, and when Italy declared war on the Allies on March 17th, 1940, some decided to take action. Both Yugoslavia and Greece mobilized their armies, and set about creating a much stronger defensive position based around their respective capitals and the ports and cities surrounding them.

Yugoslavian forces begin to redeploy around Belgrade

The British were not caught napping, as it were, when Italy joined the Axis. Previous Reader Polls directed additional reinforcements to this theatre, and when word of the Italian Declaration of War was received, action came swiftly. The Second UK Corps (a motorized heavy infantry unit) skirted the Italian defenders at Dire Dawa and advanced directly on Addis Ababa. Supported by the 9th South African Mech Division, the British were able to take the city after only a week – the Italian will to fight was non-existant. These were low quality colonial units however, mostly garrison and militia, and the Italians the British face in Libya are a far different story.

Victory will not come so easily again.

The British campaign for Addis Ababa, and the route to retake the rail line (Click to enlarge)

The British also sent additional forces to counter the possibility of an Italian invasion of Egypt through Libya. The potential for German units to arrive in this theatre has the British High Command very nervous. Currently, both sides remain content to sit entrenched behind the border, and as of yet, there has been no serious contact between the forces. This situation is unlikely to remain stable for long, however.

Stand-off at the border

With the collapse of France being perhaps a handful of days away, the British begin to consider their own security, and the potential of a German invasion across the Channel. A newly formed motorized heavy infantry corps awaits deployment orders in Birmingham, while the BEF awaits evacuation from France. The Royal Marines are currently routed, and have as of yet been unable to reach a secure port for withdrawl.

“We shall defend the beaches…” The British prepare for a possible invasion across the English Channel (Click to enlarge)

Episode III: A New Direction

 

With the fall of France, Germany finds itself with time to consider the next offensive. England still stands strong, mere kilometers away, her empire intact. The pact with Russia has provided vast amounts of materiel that were required to fuel the drive for Paris, but confrontation is inevitable. The Balkans also present a possibility – territorial concessions to Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary may secure their cooperation in the war.

The Axis Discussion Forum can be found here.

For the Allies, it is a dark time. With the fall of France, England alone must stand against Axis oppression. With Russia remaining neutral, in a distinctly defensive posture, and the Americans secure in their contribution of Lend Lease, there shall be no help near to hand for many months to come.

The Allied Discussion Forum can be found here.

The time has come for your input to guide the destinies of these nations. Help us determine the best courses of action for each side.

Please visit the Axis Poll here.

Please visit the Allied Poll here.

(Note: voting and discussion on our forums requires registration).

Read Episode II here.

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