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Battle of Wismar (Napoleon's World)

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The Battle of Wismar was an engagement between April 16 - May 3, 1942, at the German city of Wismar, between the European Alliance and Turkish re-inforcements and a combined host of French-Scandinavian and Danish divisions. Despite being outnumbered more than three to one, the Allies scored a massive victory at Wismar, resulting the casualties of nearly 200,000 enemies, most of whom were Danish. The battle completely gutted the ability of the Danish government to continue fighting the war and single-handedly broke the back of the small country's exhausted economy in the midst of the war effort. The Battle of Wismar led to the Allied occupation of Denmark after July, and the Allied capture of Scandinavia shortly thereafter with the victory at Uppsala in September 1942.

Background

Campaigns of 1942

The advance of the Turks from the south through eastern Germany and the advance of the Russian/German Allied forces through Poland in the spring of 1942 had resulted in the triumphant sack of Berlin on March 12th, but the difficult part of the war lay ahead - namely, assaulting the industrial backbone of the Empire's war machine, the Rhineland. Despite the moral repurcussions of losing Berlin, the Grand Army's top commanders, including generals such as Erwin Rommel and Francois Austere, realized that the industrial heart of Germany lay further West. As such, they established a mighty defensive perimeter against Allied forces, retreating willfully across the Elbe and allowing eastern Germany to fall into the hands of the enemy to buy time.

Top Allied commanders such as Lukov, Mannerich and Suvarov agreed that the weakest part of the defensive line lay in the north, where the Imperial forces would be trapped against the coastline and have the beleaugured, underequipped Danish to rely upon. After winning the Battle of Rostock on April 5th, Mannerich received the necessary Turkish reinforcements coming off of a victory at Wittenburg from the South to move forward against the eastern end of the Danish line - at a small city called Wismar, where the Danish were concentrating their forces to defend against a perceived attack against Lubeck and, by proxy, the critical Hamburg region.

Allied Forces

The European Alliance's forces consisted of the 60,000-strong VI Corps, which was composed mostly of German defectors under General Frederick Schutte. They were reinforced by armored cavalry stolen during the sack of Warsaw as well as 30,000 in Turkish infantry led by Seyd Ali Seyyed, 15,000 in Turkish armored personnel as well as Turkish air forces stationed near Nuremberg. The tactical air advantage would thus lie fully with the Edmondian forces. In total, the Allies had a host of about 105,000 headed to Wismar.

Imperial/Danish Forces

The Danes were now seriously concerned about defending their homeland and thus moved 350,000 soldiers into the Jutland and into Hamburg, fearing that that was the next target. Along with an additional 275,000 committed to the Hanseatic coast, between Lubeck and where Wismar was located, the Danish government under Quisling genuinely believed that it had established a defensive perimeter in northern Germany and in southern Jutland capable of defending Denmark proper, especially with air support from four air bases within Danish borders as well as the monstrous Lubeck Aerodrome nearby. The Imperial General Staff committed 70,000 men to Lubeck who moved towards Wismar on April 13th, intending to intercept the Turkish Army headed to rendezvous with the European Alliance forces near Rostock. The French forces were commanded by Anton Bergerac, and the Danish forces were overseen by Krigsgeneral Alfred Skallende. In total, the French and Danish had a combined force of about 310,000 in the vicinity of Wismar, with a reserve of 45,000 French-Scandinavians of the XXII Corps arriving under David Gavelsborg on April 19th.

April 16 - 25: The Early Maneuvers

April 25 - May 3: Decisive Maneuvers

Aftermath

The devastation suffered by Danish forces dealt a death blow to the already overstretched and undermanned Danish army, which retreated into Jutland soon thereafter. French-German forces were scattered across 25 km of territory, often enemy-held, in the aftermath of the battle. The Danes suffered a total of 184,000 casualties out of the Imperial total of 205,000 - the Allies only lost about 32,000, most of whom were injuries instead of deaths, and shot down an estimated sixty to eighty Danish planes and forty additional French ones. On May 8th, Allied bombers cratered the Lubeck Aerodrome, thus removing the French Air Command's primary northern Germany air base and removing any serious aerial threat against the ground forces as they moved against Hamburg.

While the Battle of Hamburg was a relatively bloodless affair in comparison to its tactical signifance, much of the ease of taking Lubeck on May 17th and Hamburg on the 24th is accredited to the shellacking received by French and Danish forces in and around Wismar in the precedeing weeks. The Danes completely retreated back into their own territory and were dealt another terrible blow at Flensburg on June 3rd, and the Turkish invasion of Denmark that month ended with the occupation of Jutland by June 20th, the toppling of Quisling government by the military on June 27th, the occupation of Copenhagen on July 4th by Seyd Ali Seyyed, and the invasion of Scania on July 19th. The rapid collapse of Denmark's army, economy and government is often attributed to the stunning, jaw-dropping losses suffered in a single battle at Wismar.

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