POD- Hitler delays the invasion of Poland until September 30th, 1939, in response to the Anglo-Polish mutual defense treaty. Meanwhile, the Soviets invade eastern Poland on September 17th and (in another POD), Polish armed forces engage the Russians. By terms of the bilateral Pact, the UK signed with Poland, it becomes obligated to declare war on the Soviet Union, while still at peace with Germany. British ally, France, also is forced to declare war on the Russians.
'"We were eyeball to eyeball, and the 'Führer just blinked."-- Polish Commander-In-Chief, Smigley-Rudz, on the lack of German aggression on the 1st of September.
The Red Blitzkrieg: September 1939.
Following the lack of War on the 1st of the month, Poland sighed a sigh of relief, although Germany still made aggressive overtures and War threats. The Führer, in the face of the Anglo-Defense treaty, decided a the last moment to cancel the attack to revise the War strategy. The USSR was told to go ahead with its planned Sep. 17th invasion, Hitler said he would order the Wermacht to attack on the 30th, so "as to fully disrupt the allies and their strategy."
World War II: September 17th, 1939, 4:30 AM.
The entire border with Eastern Poland lights up as a massive artillery barrage destroys Polish border fortifications and Field units. Red Air Force planes savage the Polish Air Force's bases, shooting up and strafing hundreds of their planes before they have a chance to react. Russian tanks, a mix of obsolete T-26's and new T-34's, as well as KV-1's sped through ill-prepared Polish formations, closing thousands of troops in pockets. The Poles fought hard, but they were outnumbered. The bulk of the Polish Army was deployed in defensive formations to the West, on the German border and East Prussia. Perhaps even that this early stage in the War, came one of its most defining moments: On September 30th, Hitler did nothing. No German forces invaded, just nothing happened. Shocking the Allies (consisting of just England and France) who also wondering as to why Hitler was strangely inactive. Stalin cabled Hitler numerous times, asking him why he hadn't declared War, but no reply came. But Stalin was too far in to abandon his War, so the Red Army pressed on, surrounding Warsaw on October 8th and it's armored spear heads having reached as far as Danzig.
POLAND SURRENDERS, RUSSIANS WANT GERMAN BLOOD!- New York Times Headline on October 15th, 1939.
The Phoney War and the Battle of Norway, November 1st, 1939.
No one really knew what to do once Poland surrendered. Germany wasn't at war with the USSR, nor was it an Ally. Britain and France couldn't transport their troops their Germany, although their combined Naval forces were on the verge of destroying the Soviet Baltic fleet. France slowly mobilized behind the Maginot line, and England rushed to build up its rather paltry manpower. But the "Phoney War" as it was later dubbed, ended with starling, urgent messages from Oslo: Norway was under Invasion. the Soviet Army sent the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 14th Armies into the attack. Starting with another surprise artillery barrage, the Norwegians were pummeled. Their Air Force was destroyed in a week, their Army pushed back towards the center of the country with enormous losses. Against four Soviet Armies, the Norwegians could only field six divisions, a massively lopsided contest. Although the weather combined with severe Norwegian resistance in the Northern part of the country following the invasion caused thousands of casualties, as well as the loss of almost 70 tanks, many of them obsolete T-26 light tanks, although the T-34 made its combat debut at the Battle of Boulzojavri. In England and France, attempts to land troops to assist the Norwegians were rapidly put together, although the lack of planning, resource allocation, and morale (on the part of the French Government) doomed the Allies and Norway. The first British troops landed under fire at Gildeskal, consisting of the 148th and 15th Infantry brigades on November 11th. They immediately gave support to the Norwegian troops desperately hanging on to the city, defeating several Soviet attacks, and even managed to launch a limited Counter-Attack, catching the Red Army unprepared. The Russians stepped up their attacks on Allied shipping, in an attempt to sink troop transports and cargo ships. The French never came, inflaming Anglo-French solidarity. The British, while slowing down the Invasion, could hold of the Red Army by itself. The French, who believed the Campaign was doomed anyway, refused to devote troops. On November 29th, General Paige, commander of British forces in Norway, was given the order to evacuate his forces. Starting on December 1st, all British forces had left Norway, doomed at the hands of Soviet Russia. Norway fought on, house-to-house, in the streets, against the wall, bloody last stand battles, bleeding the soviets heavily. When Oslo was taken after a week long siege in January, The Soviets had lost almost 19,000 men, 107 tanks.
What of Germany? Hitler watches the War rage around him
"It's a rout! it's becoming a rout!" Germany enters the War, February 1940.What ever became of Hitler? silent since the invasion of Poland, he has not made any sort of fuss about the progress of the War. The Soviets hold the former Polish Border, while the Wehrmacht stares at them and at France, trusting neither. What does Hitler want? Will he join the War? and on whose side? No one seems to know. Hitler However, plans to surprise everyone else with his plans. Ever since the War started in 1939, Hitler realized Germany was not truly ready for War yet. Her Army was not yet fully motorized, and the Luftwaffe had not yet incorporated the Bf-109 into all their active-duty squadrons. Deciding to take the fight to the hated Allies, Hitler uses the time between September '39 and the surrender of Norway to correct these defences. Initiating Case Yellow, Hitler finally joined the War on February 10th, 1940. France, cowering behind it's Maginot line, was really in no way ready for the German onslaught. which came at 3:30 AM, starting with Luftwaffe air raids on allied air bases, destroying many fighters, fuel and ammo dumps, as well as communication centers. instead a massive artillery barrage, the first infantry to enter France were motorized units of Army Group A, consisting of roughly 45 Division, led by General Von Rundstedt, seven of which were Armored. They invaded and conquered Luxembourg in the space of a day, quickly pushing towards the initial objectives of Apach, Belmach, and Merschweiler. Army Group B, consisting of 29 Divisions, watch the border with Holland, while watching the Maginot Line is Army Group C, consisting of the 1st and 7th Armies. Manned by reservists and new recruits, Group C is meant to perform small actions against the Maginot Line, as well as prevent the french from launching a counter-offensive towards the Rhineland. By the morning of the 10th, France has issued mobilization orders for almost one-third of the male population between 20-45, although many of those won't come into the French order of battle for weeks, most likely a month or more. German forces slice through the French, who while possessing superior tanks, such as the Char-B, lack the tactics to fight agains the German Blitz. Panzers, all equipped with radios, foster rapid communication and battlefield maneuvers that the French can simply not master. The B.E.F. stationed in Paris, quickly moves out towards the front. The Soviets respond to the invasion of France with the offer for an alliance to Germany, although it is essentially Blackmail. Stalin drives a hard bargain: either Germany joins the USSR in an alliance, or Germany will wage a two-front war. Hitler, who is furious at the Soviets for their political maneuvering, has no choice; he signs the agreement and forms the Axis Powers stating to the German people "From now on, the Berlin-Moscow Axis shall be the one on which the world shall turn...In the end, we will have victory in our eternal struggle!" Fighting hard, the French suffer defeat after defeat. The Battle of Reims was one such defeat. Approaching the city outskirts, The German 12th and 10th divisions faced the French 8th Division, dug in trenches with ample Artillery support. Flying in support, the Luftwaffe bombarded the city, but failed to root out the defenders. Probes on French lines were unsuccessful. Planning a envelopment, The 12th was to take the French head on, committing most of its armor in the aattck, while the 10th would sneak towards the rear, and enter the city from behind if possible. The attack began on March 8th, With the French preoccupied with the 12th's onslaught, they send most of their reserves towards the battle, and were completely unprepared when the 10th struck from the rear. Although A German victory seemed near, the British 148th Brigade came to the rescue, pushing the 10th from the rear of the French defenders. The 12th, its offensive power spent, fell back and formed a defensive line on the territory it captured north of the City. the French, who believed that a counter-attack was in order, demanded that the 148th support it. Unable to communicate with the French due to radio errors, the French counter-attack failed, dislodging the Germans from few positions with very high losses. the French, perceiving it as another example of British bumbling, never forgave them for it. Unable to defend the city any more, it was ceded to the Germans, who entered the City on March 14th. By March 20th, The Germans had flooded into mainland France, and were conquering in all directions. Not only had Reims fallen, Paris was left undefended, the speed of the German Blitzkrieg catching it defended by a few untrained and poorly equipped rifle brigades. Coupled with the German capture of Pas Calais, Marseilles, as well as the first appearance of Soviet Forces, led theFrench to began to send out peace feelers. Cut off and surrounded by German and Soviet Forces on April 3rd, Paris was given an ultimatum: Surrender in 24 hours, or the City of Light would be destroyed. at the same time, in the south of France, Italian troops crossed the border with France, capturing Cannes and Grasse within four days of their invasion, as well as scoring an early victory against the French Navy, sinking two destroyers and a cruiser at the Battle of Marseilles sea. following up their naval victory, the Italians land in Corsica. The French finally take enough and surrender on April 20th, following the completed and utter destruction of Paris. France is put under German Occupation, all French units in France are disbanded, although much of the Army escapes to England with the B.E.F. Italy is given slice of southwestern France, and Corsica. the French Navy is also given to Germany, But the British raid and sink the ships before they are turned over to them. Europe, June 1st, 1940 Britain and the Rising Sun
In Europe, the last obstacle to the Axis domination of Europe is England. Although surrounded, England has two major advantages: The Royal Navy rules the seas. Germany, Italy, and the USSR are forced to move their forces overland. Also, Britain has control of the Mediterranean, along with free French forces. Their plan is to cut the Italians off and push them out of their African Colonies. The Desert Campaign, started with an inept Italian Invasion of Egypt on May 15th; by June 1st they were in full retreat towards Libya. But in Berlin, Hitler and the OKW met with Stalin and the Stavka (Italy, already considered to be the minor partner, was not invited, although Hitler promised Il Duce a full report on their plans) to discuss the next phase of the War. There were several options: One, The Axis could focus their efforts on destroying Britain, then grabbing their isolated territories. Two, the Axis could sweep down to take North Africa and the Middle East, thereby depriving England of a staging ground, as well as the all but vital oil fields of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Three, Axis could invade and split up the remainder of Europe, conquering the Balkans and Spain. Hitler sent Admiral Wilhem Canaris in June of 1940 to meet with General Fransico Franco of Spain to discuss the entry of Spain into the Axis. making outrageous demands, Hitler decided to leave Spain alone, for the time being. It was decided that the next phase of the War would be a concentrated effort to defeat Britain, and in the long run, corner the United States, an future enemy much feared and hated by the Nazis and Communists. Across the Channel in London's War room, Winston Churchill discussed strategy against the Axis. Although the Royal navy could no longer blockade Russian coasts, it was more than strong enough to rule the seas around it. And even though American Lend-Lease was helpful towards easing the increasingly desperate supply situation, nothing short of an American declaration of War could save England. British Generals decided correctly that the Axis would attempt to conquer England, so they quickly sped up War production, victory gardens, and put most of the population to work to build defensive fortifications. The R.A.F. aggressively patrolled the skies, watching for Axis planes. In the Pacific, Japan was at a cross roads. Back in March, The Allies had approached her in secret, discussing the possibilities of a Japanese attack into the Soviet Far East, in concert with an Allied cross channel landing in France. Japan was not sure what to do. She was engaged in the fourth year of War with China, which she invaded in 1937. For now, the land of the Rising sun looks out eagerly towards the rich oil and resources of the south East Indies, and decides that she wants them. Drawing up plans to attack is Admiral Yamamoto, who while against war, is forced to act. For now, ominous rumbles come from the Pacific.
August to November 1940The Luftwaffe, Red Air Force, and Italian Air Force managed to gain a tenuous air superiority over the R.A.F. by July. during this time, the OKW had drawn up a revised version of Operation Sea-Lion: It would consist of a three pronged invasion of the English homeland, with the Nazis landing in Dover across the channel, The Russians in Scotland, and the Italians to strike at British positions in the Mediterranean. The Invasion date is set for August 4th. The Axis order of Battle consists of: Army Group A under the Command of General Manstein, totaling 50 Divisions, eight of which are armored divisions. Leading the 1st Panzer Division is General Erwin Rommel, a promising leader. Army Group B commanded by General List consists of 30 Divisions, six of which are armored, the rest being a mix of Mountain Infantry (for the cliffs of Dover) and Paratroopers (including the Hermann Göring Division.) The Soviets: The 7th, 8th, 14th (veterans of the Norwegian Campaign) and 16th Armies. The Italians will land seven divisions at Cyprus, as well as join forces with Panzer Armee Africa, consisting of only 20,000 men and 200 tanks to push the land in Libya, to push the British back towards Egypt and relieve Italian Ethiopia. The Invasion begins at 11:30 PM on the 3rd, with the 7th Airborne division and XI Freikorps paratroops landing in and around Dover and small coastal towns. British units, while caught by surprise, quickly fight back, leading to very heavy casualties among the Airborne forces. By 6:30 AM the next day, The 14 and 15 Mountain Divisions landed at Dover, scaling the cliffs against British machine guns and snipers. The first reports back to Hitler stated that the paratroops had failed to knock out British coastal units. The rest of the German Invasion force landed under heavy fire from British bunkers and infantry, whom were well dug in and had artillery on call. Although kept at bay from the supply routes, the occasion gunboat or destroyer would sail into German ships heading towards their beaches. In one instance, a torpedo boat entered the harbor at Pas Calais, sinking two infantry transports, causing the loss of 1,000 men and 10 tanks. In Scotland, the Soviets had a better landing. Their forces landed almost unopposed, quickly forcing their way inland. The Italian’s raid on Cyprus was a failure, causing 20,000 casualties and almost 1,000 captured. The landings on the Libyan coast was successful, dislodging the British under General Lord Gott. British resistance on the channel coast was not over until the afternoon of the 5th, when they finally surrendered, surrounded on all sides. German reinforcements were brought in fast to replace the losses. Churchill pleaded with the United States, stating "Only a Declaration of War can save the British people." The morning of the 6th brought the Axis every reason to be pessimistic. The Royal Navy kept forcing their way into the Channel, despite the best efforts of the Luftwaffe. German dead numbered almost 59,000 with 10,000 missing, wounded or captured. The Russians, having lost few men in their landings, faced renewed resistance, stopping them in their advance towards Inverness. For Churchill, he knew that if at least one of the Invaders could be dislodged, England had a fighting chance. The 1 Panzer division under Rommel moved out towards Dover, which was part of the hastily assembling British line. Engaging the 7th Infantry, as well as units of the "Home Guard" Rommel lost many tanks to ambushes on England's forested roads. But the issue was never in doubt: Dover, isolated to its rear by elements of the 7th Airborne, as well as lead tanks of the 4th Panzer Division, would fall to the Germans on August 9th. In Scotland, the Soviets were advancing against ineffectual resistance, with the tanks of the 13th Armored Division reaching Inverary on the 10th and launching air raids on Scottish positions at Aberdeen. In Libya, the newly renamed "Deutsches Afrika Korps" assisted the Italians in their battles, making their presence felt. One occasion, they single handedly turned an Italian retreat into a successful counter-attack, capturing a small stock of ammo and fuel.On September 14th, the Germans were dug in 3 miles outside of London proper when Churchill pulled the master stroke: He ordered the Royal Navy to throw their full force into closing off the German's resupply from Occupied France. Hundreds of destroyers, gun boats, and submarines, as well as husbanded R.A.F. fighters, viciously raided the harbor at Pas Calais, Dover, and sank any German vessel in sight. At the end of the day, the Harbor at Dover was completely destroyed, and would be unusable for almost 6 months. Pas Calais was also heavily damaged, delaying the Germans even more. almost 90 troop transports were sunk in transit or at port, causing the loss of nearly an entire two Divisions, and hundreds of tanks. In the North Sea, Soviet losses were equally heavy, contributing to a general halt of Soviet Forces. Hitler, at least, for the moment knew his army was completely cut off in England. Instead of ordering a retreat to the sea, in a rage he ordered the 6th Army to assault London. Resupply? Hermann Göring promised the Führer that "The Luftwaffe will and can fully resupply the army ... and then, we shall destroy the Royal Navy" Hitler had his doubts, but decided to trust him anyway. Stalin, although not completely cut off, could only send a trickle of re-inforcements to his beachheads. Due to faults in Soviet leadership, training, and tactics, their main advantage of weight was negated as they spread into Scotland.
The November plot November 1940
After the disaster of the September 14th raid, Operation Sea Lion was doomed to failure. The Germans, resupplied partially by air from its southern airfield (most notably at Ramsgate.) But it was not enough to arm and feed the men, or to fuel and maintain the Panzers or fighters stationed in England. Although the SS made a name for themselves in the Battle of London and subsequent retreat from said city, Supply reserves dropped to a mere 15 tons airelifted per day, which was barely enough to hold the line, much less advance. By November 1st, the Germans were battling house to house in capture cities, determined to stall the British advance, who were slowed down by their inferior infantry and tanks, as well as the fact the the Axis still had air superiority. At the second Battle of Ashford, the 16th Infantry along with tanks of the 9th armored, were caught in a trap set up by the 3rd SS Corps. Stalling the British advance, it bought the Germans almost a week while the British regrouped and replaced their severe losses. But in the end, the entire Army would be trapped and destroyed with their backs to the sea, so a few German officers felt it was time to save the men from death and imprisonment. Colonel Von Stuaffenberg had served in the French Campaign, serving with distinction and earning an Iron Cross during the Battle of Sedan. But even though he was a high-ranking Wehrmacht man, he was a devoted Chrisitian who loathed Hitler and the Nazi Party. He knew from the start, that any war Germany started against the West was doomed to fail, so he involved himself in a small ring of conspirators, ready to overthrow the Nazis and free Germany. After the 14th, the plot was accelerated. In Berlin, the conspirators were ready to arrest all SS men, as well as Nazi Party officials such as Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring to prevent them leading Nazis against the plotters. On November 22nd, with the Nazis ferociously fighting with their backs to the sea, Hitler was killed when a bomb, placed by Stauffenberg, exploded. Also killed were General Heinz Guderian and List. Flying back to Berlin, Stuaffenberg alerted them to begin the coup with the phrase "The Führer is dead." Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler were the first to be captured, and many SS units in Berlin were arrested by plotters or soldiers. Germany did not get word of it until the next day, when General Witzleben announced "That the Führer, who has led Germany into a bloody war... caused the deaths of so many, and for not a just cause ... is dead, and we shall lead Germany back to its rightful place as an honorable nation of this earth." With the Reserve Army in control of Germany, the SS units in England turned on their Werhmacht comrades, amazing the British on the other side of the lines. Eventually SS resistance died away and a cease-fire between Germany and England was set for the 24th. Witzleben was declared the leader of the German Republic, and for the most part was fully supported by the people. Stalin was furious, Germany's exit from the War meant now he to go at it alone. The Peace of Berlin was signed on the 30th, and in it the Germans promised to withdraw their occupation forces from France, order the D.A.K. back to Germany, and in return England would let the remains of the German forces in England return to home. Germany was now at peace.
March 3rd, 1941.After Germany deposed the Nazi Party and dropped out of the War, Stalin knew he could not finish his War against the Western Powers. Italy, going at it alone, had managed to capture Cyprus, and were outside of Cairo before the D.A.K. had been ordered home. Italian forces, on what has been regarded as momentum alone, just barely managed to capture Cairo, after suffering almost 20,000 dead. The 9th Sicily Division, which had finally captured the city, received the Honor of Parading with Il Duce, who had come to survey his most truimphant conquest. His heady dreams of a new Roman empire seemed to have been realized. In Scotland, the end of the war was imminent. With the British Army now redeployed from the south, the undersupplyed Soviets were pushed back, and by February 1st they were holding their positions just outside their beachheads. Stalin, in one final display of anger, does not attempt to negotiate a settlement that would allow his forces to escape. They fight to the bitter end, and the last Russian beachhead falls to the Scottish 1st Infantry on February 20th, who are given the honor of eradicating the Russian invasion. With his Army largely destroyed, Stalin engages in heavy deliberation with the Allies over a peace settlement. World War II ends officially at 11:00 AM, March 3rd 1941. The Treaty of Dover is signed by England, France, Italy, and the Soviet Union. It says that the Soviets are to leave Norway and Poland, and Italy is allowed to keep the parts of Egypt under their control. Germany becomes part of the Anglo Defense treaty, although aminosity among the singitory nations remain for years to come. Stalin abides by the pact, even hough he "technically" withdraws from Norway and Poland, but supports Communist uprisings that take control of both countries. After almost two years of conflict, the world was at peace- but their was more yet to come.