austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

There's gonna be a certain party at the station

The V-E anniversary made me realize I haven't given an update to my Hearts Of Iron II game since late January. Part of that is because I haven't had much time to play it: it's a time-consuming game and I've been working on quite a few side projects, although it's looking like that should clear up soon and I'll have more spare time in the evenings. However, it's also true that my United States, and the Allies, haven't had a lot to do.

The Pacific War, begun 1937, was simply Japan invading and taking more and more of the various Chinese factions. Come May 1941 they had conquered Communist China, the last lingering free clique, and since then I assume has been trying to digest the massive new population and resources. I would like to think there are partisan struggles keeping their army tied down, but the game's state of affairs makes it clear this happens only when the partisans actually take control of a province, and that rarely happens because the Resistance, wherever it is, tends to be pretty near useless. I've tossed some money and spies into supporting rebels, but it's really expensive and of tenuous, dubious value. That state of affairs continued through the close of 1942.

There's no guessing, of course, whether Hirohito and prime minister Hiranuma Kiichiro will decide to invade anyone, and if they do, whether it would be to the north or the south. The north --- the Soviet Union --- would seem the better choice since the Comintern is already battled to a standstill against the Axis and Japan could probably easily pick of Mongolia and Siberia. The south --- the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya, India, and Indonesia --- puts them at war with the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Netherlands, none of whom have any other conflicts to occupy them. On the other hand, the south offers oil, while the north offers only victory. They'll need one of those more.

The European War broke out over the Sudetenland and spread into a curious battle between the Axis (central Europe plus Portugal) and the Comintern (Soviets, Mongolia, and Tannau Tuva), which settled into a stalemate along the Dneiper River. That's stayed stalled there, although around September 1942 Germany attempted an amphibious assault near Leningrad --- the only space available, really --- only to be pushed back into the sea a few months later. While I am gratified to see my strategic assessment of invading the Soviet Union by that route validated, it does mean if the Allies go to war with the Comintern we have a problem.

With the indirect evidence that my estimations of the German Navy --- flimsy --- and Soviet Navy --- technically not nonexistent --- are correct I began moving more of the Atlantic fleet to Pacific destinations because I know from experience when Japan goes to war, it likes gathering infinitely many ships into one massive fleet and trying to cut down everything in its path that way. I'm still short on capital ships, although I've got a half-dozen Essex-class aircraft carriers due to be completed in the first half of 1943, but I've got cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and older capital ships to spare. (I hope that my working from this anticipation of Japan's strategy isn't inauthentic to the game. I know how Japan is likely to use its navy because I've played the game before and a Massive Fleet In Being is the way they like to play. But properly speaking in this game Japan hasn't been at war with a major power since World War I, and not in major fleet action against anyone since 1905. Still, I suppose it's not implausible that my military planners would notice how they deploy their fleet and arrange my deployments to match.)

So I'm positioning my Atlantic fleet in Dover, England, with a detachment in Malta. Meanwhile I'm assembling new fleets in California, to be sent to Manila and Pearl Harbor as bases and Guam for where I expect the naval front line to be, on the theory that the Co-Prosperity Sphere is the party most likely to try going to war with the Allies right now and I'll need the sea power in place. I've got detachments also put in Hanoi and Hong Kong, to support operations in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits, again assuming war comes to the Pacific. I've also got naval bombers coming off the production line starting late January/early February, and they'll go to the Philippines and Guam first. There's also a Caribbean Fleet, mostly in case someone tries something on the Panama Canal; in case of war with the Axis or Comintern I expect it will rebase to Boston as soon as it's clear nobody's getting to the Panama Canal. (Nobody ever gets to the Panama Canal.)

In technological developments the United States has mastered the ``Flying Bomb'' technology equivalent to the V-1. Unfortunately the game engine will let me deploy V-1 units only in national territory, so there's no place in range of any potential enemies, but it is a prerequisite to developing the V-2 and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, so I regard it as a worthwhile expense for that.

Something that struck me as interesting --- although it isn't modelled in the game at all --- is that since the 1942 elections went without any major Army mobilization, the absentee ballot reforms for soldiers that were in place in real 1944 wouldn't be there in this timeline. That would offer a prospect of making the campaign of 1944 interesting on that (pardon me) front, although unless the war came and was impossibly badly botched I can't imagine it would affect the net outcome.

With three days left to go in 1942, I got a note that a British team had successfully sabotaged the production of (unknown) in the Soviet Union. Apparently Mr Churchill feels it better to struggle against the Communists first. (Actually, this sort of sabotage may worsen relations but I've not seen it provoke a war in this game engine.)

Trivia: The first word of Germany's surrender and thus V-E Day came from Count Schwering von Krosigk, the Foreign Minister for the Flensberg government, who announced on the Lüneburg Heath radio transmitters that Dönitz had declared unconditional surrender at 2:21 am. Source: 1945: The War That Never Ended, Gregor Dallas.

Currently Reading: I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This! And Other Things That Strike Me As Funny, Bob Newhart. Whoa, Don Adams stole jokes, and not only that, stole a great gag from the USS Codfish routine?! I'm stunned and only slightly mollified that Adams's theft provoked Newhart to perform his comedy himself rather than let it get stolen.

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