With France teetering on the brink of collapsing at the hands of the Germans the Western Allies are scurrying to try and create some kind of resistance across the rest of Europe. Politically the Allies have been very ineffective, whilst the Axis have gathered a number of historical and extra allies to their side. As the British try to create some chaos in the Mediterranean their real hope is that the USSR can press from the East when Stalin and Hitler’s relationship eventually breaks down.
August 1940 – France Conquered!
The Germans, spread across Northern France, were poised to rush across to the western coast and capture key ports for the Strategic War. To open up proceedings the German 7th swung out of Le Havre to attack the newly mobilized 2nd French Infantry. The Germans weren’t pulling any punches as they needed to put the French to rest before the Eastern Front opens up (Nazi-Soviet pact reevaluation starts to occur in October).
The Germans gain a natural +2 modifier, but they also had Air Support, another +2, Ground support from their token and a bonus for attacking an Isolated Unit. The French had no Air Support as they couldn’t break through the Luftwaffe patrols over the channel and had been fought off. They brought their tanks to bear as well, but being reduced means that their fighting strength was just nothing compared to the Germans.
The French were driven into the ocean and the German 9th Swept across to the West coast to take Brest and Nantes, leaving the French with a National Will of 4. The exact number the French would lose if Paris was retaken by the Nazis. Sadly that’s exactly what did happen. The Germans marched into Paris, and whilst there’s no moral victories in this board game, it’s nice to know that the French held out two months longer than historically was the case. Where the Germans were historically unopposed in Paris, in this game the fighting had been a struggle and lasted two months. The French Resistance will have more hope and faith in their capacity to combat the German War Machine.
After the conquering of France the British Expeditionary Force were repatriated as part of the terms of surrender. Vichy, central and southern France, was created as a puppet state for the Third Reich. Syria and French North Africa became independent neutral countries, which is a sigh of relief for the Italians in Libya. The French were trying to create chaos in the Italian rearguard but that threat has melted away.
The list of conquered countries grows ever larger as the Axis strike with no mercy. German national will increased by 8 at the capture of France. Part of this I think is due to the element of revenge in having the French capitulate and sign the armistice in the exact spot where the WWI armistice was signed, but with the roles reversed.
The fun really began when Spain joined the Axis faction as a result of seeing the French collapse. Franco and Hitler were able to set aside their differences this time round and Hitler gave up control of Gibraltar to the Spanish, if they could take it. It’s fairly common knowledge that Franco’s demands from the Germans were seen as too much and therefore Spain chose not to enter the war. But once again Unconditional Surrender! shows me why it’s such a fun game. Anything can and will happen.
Central Europe now looks to be a pretty bleak place with almost every square inch being over shadowed by the flag of fascism. Inspired by their new-found friendship Franco pours troops south to try and assault The Rock of Gibraltar. The Spanish have no air force and as such must rely entirely on the merits of their ground troops. A small tid-bit, my sister was born in Gibraltar whilst my parents lived their over thirty years ago. My father was an Army Major and I can tell you from their experiences and the pictures that taking Gibraltar without naval or air support is a very hard ask.
The Spanish 5th were unable to contribute to the assault because of their long journey from the north, but even with the combined forces of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Spanish Armies the British forces were able to repel their attack. The Axis were trying to figure out a way to try and get the Italian air force down to Spain, but it was far too risky with the British fleet at Malta just waiting for them.
Meanwhile in North Africa, the Brits tried to take Tobruk, but couldn’t, so they’re bringing in reinforcements from Kuwait and Jerusalem. The Germans, secure with the Spaniards in the West, started to flood units east to support Fall Blau in the coming months. Two German units stayed in and around Hamburg to invade Denmark in September. They’re looking to try and take Norway with as small a force as possible to try and ramp up the pressure on the Strategic War.
More nothing happened in the political phase except some Pro Soviet thinking in Sweden, but diplomacy is almost all but over, because once the Nazi-Soviet pact breaks, there will be no more talking and only fighting. The Germans will make one last gasp to try and get Hungary or Yugoslavia into the war as a buffer against communist Turkey, but it’s looking a bit to late for that.
Truly, at the end of August, Europe is in a really bad spot with regards to Democracy. Communism has spread from the East and Fascism reigns across most of Mainland Europe. As Stockholm looks to join the Axis Faction, Germany’s forays northwards toward Norway may become a little more difficult.
Thanks again for sticking with me on this journey through an alternate (and seemingly terrible) history of Europe. September will have good weather all around as well so we’ll see how much the Axis can push east before the glorious Russian winter sets in. The Russian Winter token provides an interesting tipping point where Severe weather in the East is considered only Poor for Russian’s attacking. The German’s have no choice put to push east as quickly as possible, but they might have a real struggle fighting across the Marshlands of Eastern Poland and then on into the frozen winter Tundra.