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Seeing Red (Army, that is)

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Part 1:Forward, Comrades!

Invasion of Germany, 1941

April 11th, 1941

Marshal of the Red Army Georgi Zhukov isn't normally a man given to believing in supernatural phenomena; even if he were not a diehard Marxist, his rigorous military mind is skeptical of the notion that it can ever be possible to read another man's mind. And yet, as he listens to his leader and fellow Communist CPSU General Secretary Joseph Stalin, he is tempted to think that perhaps Stalin has in fact been listening to his thoughts. "Comrade Marshal," the mustached Georgian says, "the invasion of Yugoslavia has made it clear that we must strike a blow against the German Fascists and do it quickly ... Hitler cannot be relied on to keep his word. Therefore, Comrade Marshal Zhukov, I charge you with the task of devising and carrying out in as short a time as possible a suitable campaign plan for the invasion and conquest of the German Reich."


The last words are barely even out of Stalin's mouth before Zhukov leaps to his feet saluting his patron. "I shall have it ready for you by tomorrow, Comrade Chairman!" the stocky marshal pledges.

Imperial Foreign Ministry Headquarters,Tokyo,Japan

April 17th

The applause is almost deafening as Foreign Minister Vycheslav Molotov shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Yosuke Matsuoka. The just-signed neutrality pact between Tokyo and Moscow is already being lauded by state-controlled radio and newspapers in both Japan and Russia as a masterstroke of peacemaking, guaranteeing that the tragedy of the 1938-39 Siberian conflict will never be repeated.


For Marshal Zhukov, the new treaty couldn't have come at a better time; with the threat of Japanese attack on Soviet territory in the Far East at least temporarily neutralized, the Red Army can now bring the bulk of its Siberian forces west to be put to good use for the coming war with Nazi Germany.


For Imperial Japanese Navy Combined Fleet C-in-C Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the timing is also most fortunate. He had long disagreed with his peers' insistence on the "go north" strategy, arguing instead that Japan should seek to gain control of the rich European and American colonial holdings in the South Pacific. Now, he can finally put his theories into practice.

The Reichschancellery, Berlin, Germany

April 20th

Adolf Hitler gazes with unadulterated pride at the continuous stream of men, tanks, and aircraft streaming past his review stand at the celebration of his 52nd birthday. For him, they are a testament not only to the strength of the Third Reich but also to the truth of his personal conviction that destiny has appointed him to lead the German people to world domination. Chatting with propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and Luftwaffe commander-in-chief Hermann Göring, he radiates unshakable confidence that no power on earth can overcome Germany's might.


One of his other guests, however, isn't so confident; sitting in the section of the reviewing stand set aside for foreign dignitaries, Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano has this creeping suspicion of impending doom that's been haunting him ever since he arrived from Rome. For the better part of five days, according to Servizio d'informazione Militare (SIM) operatives in eastern Poland, the Red Army has been holding what they claim are simply routine training maneuvers but sound to Ciano like something far more substantial--and dangerous. He makes a mental note to himself to speak to his father-in-law about it when he flies back to Italy tonight ...

The White House, Washington, D.C., USA

April 21st

"George, I have a serious question for you and I want a straight answer ... do you think the Russians are going to attack Germany?"
"Frankly, Mr.President, I'm surprised they haven't done it already." General George C. Marshall, sitting just across the Oval Office desk from President Franklin Roosevelt, gazes thoughtfully at a New York Times headline that reads RED ENVOY TO GERMANY RECALLED TO MOSCOW FOR MEETING WITH STALIN. "1939 Pact notwithstanding, you're talking about two world leaders with vastly different and largely incompatible ideologies--add to that the traditional Russian-German antagonism, plus that neutrality treaty Stalin just signed with Japan, and you've got the perfect conditions for war to break out between Moscow and Berlin any day now."
"What does this mean for our interests in the Pacific?" asks Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
"Simply put, Mr.Secretary, "Marshall answers, "it means Comrade Stalin has sounded general quarters for every American sailor from Manila to San Diego...."

A Red Army staging area somewhere in eastern Poland

April 22nd

Like four million of his Red Army brethren along the Soviet frontier on this clear and cold spring morning, the tank commander awaits the start of the coming attack with a combination of pride, nervousness, and excitement. Whether he will still be alive when this day is over he cannot say, but he knows he is part of a historic moment in the history of the Soviet Union--a moment when the heroic Red Army will begin the final destruction of the Hitlerite monsters in Berlin. If all goes well, he and many of his fellow tankists will celebrate May Day in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.
His thoughts are interrupted by the voice of his platoon's radioman informing him that Moscow has given the authorization for the Red Army to begin Operation Suvorov. With a grin born of utter confidence and fearlessness, he turns toward the assembled T-34s and KV-1s behind him and bellows a simple command:
"Вперед, товарищи!(Forward, comrades!)"

The German Response

Headquarters of the General Government, Warsaw, Poland

April 22nd, 1941

The only warning Hans Frank has of the bombing that will soon kill him is the wail of air raid sirens outside his office window. He pokes his head out the window just in time to see a large formation of Ilyushin Il-4 bombers swarming over the Polish capital like a cloud of locusts ...
Desperately the Nazi overlord for occupied Poland tries to get himself and his staff to a bomb shelter, but it does no good; even as he races down the stairs, a 1000-pounder finds its mark and blasts a gaping hole in the General Government's headquarters, instantly killing Frank along with his staff. Of course, Frank isn't the first Nazi to die on this fateful day, nor will he be the last -- merely the most famous. Farther west, thousands of his fellow Germans have already perished at the hands of the Red Army. From his headquarters at the city of Brest-Litovsk in the Soviet occupation zone of Poland, the commander of the invasion force, General Ivan Koniev,is directing the kind of blitzkrieg campaign that had until now seemed the exclusive province of the Wehrmacht.

No. 10 Downing Street, London, England

Prime Minister Winston Churchill tries to hide his disbelief at what he's just heard--and fails. "You can't be serious." he tells Anthony Eden. "The Russians simply haven't got the leadership for that sort of thing anymore--most of their first-class military men were executed in those horrible purges."
The British Foreign Secretary earnestly replies, "I assure you, Prime Minister, that what I'm saying is nothing more or less than the absolute unvarnished truth. Our embassy in Moscow informed us of the invasion less than an hour ago, and independent sources have confirmed that the Reds are already encircling Warsaw as we speak." He then proceeds to show Churchill a rough map indicating the gains made so far by the Red Army along with what British intelligence believes to be the German plan of counterattack.
Within an hour Churchill has convened an emergency meeting of his war cabinet.

The Kroll Opera House, Berlin

Even by Hitler's standards, the speech with which he formally announces Germany's declaration of war on the Soviet Union is brimming with rage. The Red Army, he vehemently shouts, is guilty of an unforgivable betrayal and must be punished for the hideous crime they have committed. "Wollt Ihr den Totalen Krieg?(Do you want total war?)" he demands of his listeners.
"JA!" the legislators of the Reichstag shout in unison.
"Dann soll der Totale Krieg stattfinden!(Then total war it will be!)" Hitler pledges, to thunderous applause and shouts of "Sieg Heil" from the Reichstag deputies. Within the hour, Hermann Göring has authorized the Luftwaffe to start saturation bombing raids against Moscow and Leningrad and Kriegsmarine C-in-C Grand Admiral Erich Raeder has ordered U-boat wolf packs to attack the Soviet naval base at Kronstadt.
Young men from all corners of the Reich flock to Wehrmacht recruiting stations and reservists are recalled to duty from civilian life as the German armed forces struggle to recover from the surprise blow inflicted on them by the Red Army. Anti-aircraft batteries are on full alert. The Abwehr, Germany's counterintelligence service, is moving swiftly to arrest known and suspected Soviet agents inside the Reich....

US Pacific Fleet Headquarters, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel listens to the radio on his desk with growing unease. He knows in his gut the news out of Moscow bodes ill for his fleet; the Russkies wouldn't be trying a stunt like this unless they were pretty damn sure the Japanese would keep their end of the bargain in the Molotov-Matsuoka non-aggression pact. And if Japan isn't going to make a move on Siberia, there's only one other possible option for the Imperial Army and Navy to take...a full-scale invasion of Southeast Asia, with special attention being paid to the US-governed Commonwealth of the Philippines. That in turn means Yamamoto's armada is likely to move against Hawaii within weeks, if not days...

Navy Department Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox stares grimly at the intelligence report on his desk. If even half of what it says is true, the question is no longer if but when the United States will be drawn into the Second World War. Among other things, the report claims that the Imperial Japanese Navy is modifying some of its torpedoes to be capable of operating in less than forty feet of water. It also mentions the designation of a code phrase -- "Climb Mount Niitaka" -- as the signal for a carrier strike on an unspecified target at the Pearl Harbor naval base, possibly Battleship Row or the harbor's oil storage tanks.
Knox quickly requests and is given a secure phone line to Admiral Kimmel's office, and before long arrangements have been made for Kimmel to personally debrief President Roosevelt in two days' time on Tokyo's war plans...


April 23rd 1941

30 km east of Warsaw

Hauptmann Von Gench peered out of the cupola of his panzer IIIJ, searching for more targets. the Russians had thrown huge numbers of semi-obsolete and obsolete Tanks and Aircraft at the Reich's soldiers, hoping to drown them in a sea of blood, but it wasn't working. already the Russians had lost 250,000 men killed and 500,000 men taken prisoner. Almost 4000 tanks had been destroyed and the red air force was almost non-existent, the I-16s and I-153s being no match for the Bf-109s of the Luftwaffe. and yet the Russians were still pushing for Warsaw. suddenly a group of tanks appeared in Von Genchs binoculars. taking a closer look he could see that they were BT-7 fast tanks, lightly armoured and armed, no match for his panzer III-J. bellowing to his gunner 'enemy Panzer' he prepared to engage ...


The Defence of Warsaw

May 2nd 1941

Warsaw

with the Russians driving for the city,the Germans desperately gathered everything they could for what they believed may be the last battle before Berlin

Part 2:Operation Whirlwind

"Let him Reap the Whirlwind!" 1941

May 28th 1941

Berlin

"Stalin has sown the wind, now let him reap the Whirlwind!" Hitler said to the Chiefs of the general staff. With Stalin's armies exhausted and bloodied. Now it was time to strike back. Betriebs-Wirbelwind would be launched on the 2nd of June 1941, and would smash Stalin's armies.


June 2nd 1941

Poland

Hauptmann Von Gench peered out over the quiet fields, the enemy no-where to be seen. Soon Ivan would know he was here. Behind him was the 3rd Panzer corps, three divisions equipped with the best new tanks, and all ready and eager to settle accounts with Stalin. He checked his watch. 3:23am. Then the roar of a thousand guns reached his ears as the supporting artillery pounded the enemy lines. Then the colums of Panzers rolled off, Von Gench in the lead. Soon they passed scattered groups of Ivan troops. Most cried out Tovaritch, or Kamerad and surrendered. Every so often, a group tried to fight, but they were quickly destroyed py the Panzers. By nightfall, the front was torn open, and the Panzers rolled on. But they harldy know that this exactly what the Soviets want them to do.


June 16th 1941

Moscow

"Tell me, Comrade General, what the Fascists aim to do" Zhukov stared at Stalin, as he calmly puffed on his pipe. "We believe the Fascists aim to roll up our flanks, Comrade Secretary" "and what do you intend to do about this?" Stalin asked. Zhukov was nervous. Stalin did not tolerate failure. one false word, and he would be off to the Gulags. "We have diverted several divisions, equipped with T-34s, to meet the Fascist drive head on. it will not fail:" It had better not" Stalin growled "or it will be your head on the chopping block"

Guderian's Gamble

The Collapse of the Wehrmacht

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