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Old 08-08-2009, 06:40 AM
Kaika87 Kaika87 is offline
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Default [2nd] Week 95 - Blitzkrieg

Blitzkrieg - (559 words)

Poland never stood a chance, really. The Army of Nazi Germany brought the full strength of six Panzer divisions, including the 3rd Panzer Division under the newly-promoted Generalmajor Jakob Strauss. Each division had its own battle plan laid out, as ordered straight from headquarters. And although the path set for him didn't pass through any significant cities, Jakob's unit had a pair of relatively significant engagements with Polish military forces. The first clash came just days after the invasion began, as a small resupply depot was in the path of the 3rd division. The base had quite a few of the Polish-made tanks stationed at it, but thanks to the speed and power of the German blitzkrieg assault, the base had not yet been fully mobilized. Only a handful of the tanks were manned for combat, as more of a guard than any real threat.

As the base came into firing range of the over 200 tanks under Jakob's command, a few more Polish tanks had been manned, but well over half of them were still not operational. The battle was over in minutes and the base's armor and defenses were reduced to rubble, while the supplies of ammunition, fuel, and food were taken for use by the 3rd Panzer Division. Their second and final battle in the Polish campaign was something of a last stand for the Polish troops on Jakob's attack path. The six Panzer divisions had carved through the entire nation of Poland in just two days over a month, and this was one of the last holdouts where enemy troops had dug in for a siege.

There were quite a number of Polish tanks, supported by a trio of artillery pieces and infantry gun emplacements laid out in an arc. Their air force had been all but obliterated by the onslaught of the German Luftwaffe, and command had guaranteed that this last enemy defensive position would get no air support. However, the artillery did prove problematic, firing shells at the Panzers from ranges too far for the tanks to return fire accurately. The next day, Jakob received orders to overrun the defensive position, explaining that the Soviet armies were due to arrive to the rear of the Polish defensive, and the pincer offensive of the two armies would easily annihilate the enemy troops and equipment with minimal losses.

When Jakob's reconnaissance reported that the Polish were desperately trying to move some of their defenses to cover the other side, he gave the order for a full charge. The brutal assault was over very quickly, as the last Polish troops surrendered after the destruction of the third and final artillery gun. With this battle, the German and Soviet conquest of Poland was complete, and Generalmajor Jakob Strauss rode his personal transport to meet the Russian commander, with whom he shook hands at the site of their combined victory. In this way, Jakob had the honor of posing for a photograph that was printed in German newspapers for the victory announcement. This was October 6th, 1939, barely over a month after the initial invasion order was given. The German war machine had flexed its muscle against its vastly weaker neighbor, as if in demonstration to the rest of the world, and the message was clear. Poland never stood a chance. The world would not stand a chance.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:35 PM
Kaika87 Kaika87 is offline
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Der Riese (The Colossus) - (768 words)

With the conquest of Poland, Germany finally had the attention of the lazy and idiotic leaders of the major European countries. And now, now it was finally time for the proud Germans to show the world that they were not the meek and beaten dogs ruled by the Treaty of Versailles. No, this was a Germany reforged for conquest, a Germany that was destined to seize control of Europe. Jakob certainly had a few disagreements with some of the propaganda that came from the Fuhrer's administration officials, but the core of his loyalty was in the fact that the thought of a Europe unified under one rule, under German rule made him swell with nationalistic pride. And this was the ideal that he fought for.

Just a few months after the annexation of Poland, Jakob's 3rd Panzer Division was again poised to launch an offensive, but while these preparations went about in the same way as previously, there was an almost palpable feeling of anticipation that hung over the soldiers. Poland was just the beginning, everyone knew that without having been told so. It was simply logic concluding that there was no way the Fuhrer, with all his speeches and rallies, would stop there. And sure enough, the 3rd Panzer Division was poised at the border of northern France, again waiting for the radio to crackle to life and the tanks to roar awake. This was the real thing, the main event. The French campaign would decide the fate of everything. If Germany was halted, the European nations allied against her would gain renewed morale and strike back. But if the offensive succeeded, and France was crushed underfoot, Britain would see the futility of trying to stop the onslaught of Germany's armies, and might even surrender to spare their cities the devastation of war.

However, progress through France was expected to be not as rapid as the month-long campaign in Poland. For starters, Poland was caught between the Soviet armies to the East, and the Germany armies advancing from the West. Few major nations could have withstood such a brutal attack, let alone the Polish. And France was significantly better armed than Poland, most notably the defensive Maginot Line, a defensive fortification covering almost the entire border between France and Germany. Even with the relatively limited amount of information he had, Jakob knew that attempting a direct assault on the Maginot Line would guarantee a repeat of the trench warfare from 20 years earlier, if not the utter obliteration of all German military units involved. And this was the reason that Germany would not attempt such an attack. The 3rd Panzer Division was one of three divisions given perhaps the most important task of the French campaign, and easily the most crucial to winning the earliest victories and demoralizing the French military.

The key lay in the fact that France had not extended their defensive line past their own borders with Germany, and felt themselves safe because Belgium to the north had established their own fortifications, creating a total defensive wall against Germany. Or, at least, so the French generals thought. German headquarters had determined that a strike at the most crucial structure of the Belgian defensive line would be possible. While decoy forces took positions opposing the Maginot Line, as if they were going to attempt a direct assault, a covert infantry unit used gliders to get atop the Belgian fortress and capture it from within, after destroying its defensive gun emplacements. Jakob was completely astonished when so quickly after observing the destruction of the guns he saw the Belgian flag lowered, and the swastika raised. The three Panzer divisions then passed right through and found themselves behind the impregnable Maginot Line with free license to obliterate it. With brutal efficiency, German tanks destroyed and captured the enemy fortifications, and with each emplacement they neutralized, more forces from Germany crossed over and began the assault on France in earnest. As soon as Generalmajor Strauss reported to headquarters that his assigned section of the Line was clear, he was congratulated for his work and awarded a promotion to General, skipping over Generalleutnant. His orders were then changed to join the main forces in the assault on France. In Jakob's eyes, both he and Germany could not be defeated, and no army could stand against his nation.

That was until one battle, one week-long incident that should have been his country's greatest triumph, but was instead his most humiliating battle yet. And for the rest of his existence, Jakob Strauss would wince every time he heard its name: Dunkirk.
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Old 08-09-2009, 02:09 AM
Kaika87 Kaika87 is offline
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Dunkirk - (873 words)

The invasion of France was initially proceeding as well as a German commander could have hoped for, with all of the armored units keeping pace relatively within schedule, with the exception of the 7th Panzer Division, which was apparently so far ahead of the line that it was out of radio contact. But, as far as anyone could tell, they were scoring victory after victory, so the "Ghost Division," as it was nicknamed, earned a measure of notoriety. Jakob's 3rd Division was carving a path along the northern French coast when word came over the radio of an enemy retreat that was moving straight into his path, towards the beaches of Dunkirk.

General Jakob Strauss was making excellent time with the 3rd Panzer Division. Backed up by bombings from the Luftwaffe roaring overhead, the armored division was marching inexorably across the coastline, unfazed by any enemy attacks, whether from the British or from the French, or both. Jakob was pleased to report to high command in Berlin that at his current pace, he would be able to reach the Dunkirk beach, where the last retreat of British and French forces had holed up, a total of almost 400,000 troops who where desperately low on ammunition and morale. Jakob was confident that the troops in his Panzer Division and the other Divisions alongside his would be upon Dunkirk in a day or two, and then could easily force a surrender, or obliterate them if need be. But, in the most puzzling of acts, an order was handed down to Jakob from the office of the Fuhrer himself. It was an order to the entire Army group to halt, with no time frame given on when they would resume the march to Dunkirk.

At the time, Jakob had faith that the Fuhrer knew what was the best strategy. After all, for all he knew, the enemy might be trying to lure the German army into a trap. What if the British Navy was waiting off the coast of Dunkirk for the Panzer divisions so they could bombard them out of existence and take back France? Or maybe high command had gotten intelligence that the enemy has been saturating the ground with mines as they retreated, and ordered the halt to wait for confirmation. Either way, Jakob was absolutely sure that there was a good reason for the halt order.

All the while that the Army group was stopped a stone's throw from Dunkirk, the soldiers watched as Luftwaffe planes flew overhead, back and forth from Dunkirk. Bombs were going off in the distance, in the direction of the beach and shoreline, and some of the soldiers under Jakob's command started griping that the halt order was only made so that the Luftwaffe could take all the glory of what should have been their victory. Jakob, however, quickly staunched these. First of all, he would tell them, the German military is one entity, and a victory by one part is glory earned for them all. Similarly, a defeat suffered by one part shames the whole just as much. And secondly, there is not a chance the Luftwaffe would be able to conduct the entire assault by themselves. Air support needs ground support, otherwise there is no way for enemy soldiers to surrender. And if the plan was annihilation, taking no prisoners, then the Luftwaffe would still need the help of the Panzer divisions to ensure that all enemy soldiers were neutralized. These arguments were always successful in calming the temperaments of Jakob's men.

Three days after the initial halt order came down, a second order was relayed to all of the Panzer Division commanders to resume the march to Dunkirk, and to do so with all due haste. The divisions faced bitter resistance as French forces desperately tried to hold a defensive line to cover the retreated enemy troops, most likely to buy time for some kind of evacuation to Britain, Jakob assumed. But by the time the Panzer divisions arrived at the beach, there was not a living soul to fight. All the while that the Army had been halted, and the French had been stalling for time, an evacuation had apparently taken place of a scale that Jakob could hardly believe if he hadn't witnessed almost 400,000 troops practically vanish in front of him. Such a retreat over the course of half a week would have taken swarms of ships, and the fact that it was a success from right under the noses of three Panzer divisions and the Luftwaffe made all of them look like fools. And, for the first time since having his crisis of faith after the first war, Jakob Strauss found himself questioning the judgment of his leaders. Why in god's name was the halt order given? With those three days that they lost, the Panzers could have easily overwhelmed the forces gathered at Dunkirk. Jakob tried to re-hash all of the explanations that could have caused the halt order, but there was nothing that he could think of. He was willing to give the people in command the fact that they weren't wholly infallible, but the sting of humiliation that he suffered at Dunkirk would always stay with him.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:06 AM
Kaika87 Kaika87 is offline
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Paris - (1,021 words)

After Dunkirk, the Army Group to which the 3rd Panzer Division belonged reorganized and continued a march across France. It wasn't long after that that his soldiers forgot about the defeat at Dunkirk as French soldiers surrendered at the mere sight of the advancing German armies. However, the memory of Dunkirk stayed fresh in Jakob's mind, and drove him to a higher standard of performance against the enemies of Germany. He kept pushing the soldiers in his command, receiving distinction from his peers on the high level of performance displayed by the 3rd Panzer Division while suffering casualties that could only be termed as minimal.

General Jakob Strauss continued his advance until word came from the radio that the French government had surrendered. Upon announcing this to his troops, Jakob allowed his soldiers to have a large victory celebration, as he also got a notification over the radio to have the division make best speed for Paris, as the Army was being reorganized for several new campaigns. Many of Jakob's men were disappointed that they would likely not end up in his command after the reorganization, and even more of them inquired about the possibility of transfer requests.

Upon General Strauss' arrival in Paris, he and the 3rd Panzer Division were treated to a grand spectacle, rolling through the Champs-Élysées between the entrance of the 5th Panzer Division, and coming in ahead of the 1st. All of the division commanding officers had been invited to take part in the victory celebrations in Paris, and the Fuhrer himself had flown in to oversee the completion of his newest conquest. The charismatic leader spoke to his generals, Jakob included, thanking them for their loyalty and service.

Although he'd never considered himself to be a "ladies' man," so focused was he always on his military career that he had never found the time for a wife, not to mention he was always on the move, he had to admit that he relished the attention many of the women at the victory formal party gave him. He knew, of course, that the only reason they were interested was because of the colors on the shoulders of his uniform, but Jakob, like most men in that time, enjoyed the stroking of his ego.

As the evening proceeded onwards, a Leutnant came to Jakob to deliver a message from one of the other generals, a fellow Panzer Division commander in fact. The general had requested Jakob's presence in one of the side rooms. He immediately excused himself and followed the Leutnant to the room and thanked him.

Mostly due to decades of military service, the first thing about this general that Jakob's eyes passed over upon entering the room was the rank displayed by his uniform. The slightly-older officer had the rank bars of a Generalfeldmarschall. Instinctively, Jakob saluted the much higher-ranking officer, who returned the salute and smiled. "At ease, I'd rather we kept this discussion more informal. I appreciate you coming here on this short notice, General Strauss, but I'm a fairly impatient man. Please, have a seat. Would you like a glass of French red wine? Assuming you haven't had too much already, of course." The Field Marshall followed this with a small chuckle.

"Thank you, sir, I would like a glass." Jakob sat down in the plush chair offered to him, and sipped the spoils of the German conquest. "Forgive me for saying so, but I didn't think any of our Generalfeldmarschalls were commanding Panzer Divisions. Which were you in command of?"

The other man nodded, acknowledging the legitimacy of the question. "A fairly bold question to ask, really. You're wondering why, if I was of such high rank, I wasn't in command of an entire Army Group?" He relished in Jakob's discomfort at having the subtext of the question read so easily before continuing. "Don't worry, it's a perfectly legitimate question that I would have asked as well, in your position. The simple explanation is that I was just recently promoted at the completion of this campaign for my leadership of the 7th Panzer Division. So, your logic is still sound, that no Generalfeldmarschalls commanded Panzer Divisions." The Field Marshall took a sip of wine, and set down the glass, staring into Jakob's eyes, as if sizing up this junior officer for himself. "This is the primary reason I have called you out here. My promotion came with a new assignment. Germany must expand if it is to survive this war, which is far from over. To that end, we must secure the rest of Europe, for which we will need supplies and strategic advantage.

"I have been tasked to command of a massive Army Group, much larger than those we used for the offensive against France. The goal of this newly-formed Group is to capture the resources of Northern Africa, and in doing so, secure the Gibraltar Strait and a clear path for the armies of Germany to attack Spain and any other nation on the Mediterranean Sea, including the resources held by the Arabian Peninsula. But, to that end, I need an executive officer, a second-in-command of a unique caliber. My peers regard me as a tactical genius, but you, General Strauss, you possess a valuable quality to win the trust and maintain the morale of your soldiers, a trait that I've seen reported time and time again in your service record. I believe the combination of our strengths will create an ultimate alliance to lead Germany to victory. Would you be my second-in-command for the campaign in Africa, General Strauss?"

At this point, Jakob grinned from ear to ear. Here was an opportunity that would only come once in ten lifetimes, the chance to change, no, to make history with his own hands. "Sir," he replied almost immediately, "it would be my greatest honor."

The older general stood and extended his hand for Jakob to shake. "Then welcome to the Afrika Korps, Generaloberst Strauss."

Jakob swelled with pride as he firmly clasped his new superior officer's hand and replied, "I look forward to working with you, Generalfeldmarschall Rommel, sir."
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