I wish there was more to provide in this update, but the war has been overly quiet for the last couple of months. The Germans havenít really made any moves to speak of, and I have been mostly busy mopping up resistance in Africa.North Africa
My westward march from Tobruk continued without pause. I finally defeat the last Italian units in North Africa, seizing Tripoli and taking 12,000 Italian soldiers captive by 22 October. East Africa
I want to completely secure my African base before thinking seriously about landings at Sicily, so I redeploy 6th Corps in transports to the Red Sea and send them through Italian East Africa. The few Italian garrison and militia divisions scattered around are easily defeated by the tanks and battle-seasoned infantry of 6th Corps. The real frustrations are the mountainous terrain, supply issues, and very poor infrastructure in the region. What should have taken a few weeks stretches on throughout the winter. By mid-March, we have finally taken the last piece of territory in East Africa, and 6th Corps boards transports to be redeployed back to Tripoli for possible action against Sicily.Other Developments
Losses to submarines are still really heavy. Iím losing one transport a day on average, and starting to get a little nervous about some dwindling resource levels at home. Iím rebuilding the transports nearly as fast as the subs can sink them, but thatís industrial capacity that could be put towards building new divisions. Patrol groups still reporting no success tracking down the subs.
Some good news - the German battleship Tirpitz
has been holed up in Wilhelmshaven for a couple of months. In mid-November 1940, she attempted to break our blockade, but was severely damaged and was forced to retreat back to port. The Fleet Air Arm squadrons of 3 Carrier Group pursued Tirpitz
into port, and, after several days of persistent attacks, finally sink her on 29 November.
Bombings in southern England continue with negligible damage. A curious sight over Plymouth in early December, however: German aircraft of unusual design bearing naval markings. Hurricanes on air intercept duty pursue them back to Brest, where they make a huge discovery: the Germans have a fully-operational aircraft carrier
. Graf Zeppelin
is docked in Brest, and is apparently launching her aircraft in bombing runs against our southern cities. Someone in military intelligence is going to lose their job for this, but there she is. Naval bombers of 1 Coastal Command make a few runs against her, but between the heavy AAA in Brest and German air cover, they do no appreciable damage and withdraw. There is nothing we can do for now, but I have screens already patrolling in the Bay of Biscay and Channel Approaches; if she departs from Brest, we should know about it, and can sortie a fleet to intercept and sink her.
On 28 February, Germany declares war on Norway. The Norwegians join the Allies immediately. Their armed forces are quite limited, but any help is welcome. With the majority (entirety?) of the German surface fleet lying at the bottom of the ocean, I donít expect any invasion of Norway to come soon. Nevertheless, I move task groups from the blockade off the Helgoland Bight into the Skagerrak. Theyíll patrol for any transports attempting to drop off an invasion force.
Speaking of invasion forces - more surprises, this time in the Mediterranean. In late March, the Italians manage to sortie a transport out of Sicily and try to dislodge my garrison at Malta. Once again, itís hard not to respect the courage shown by Italian troops as they pour out of their transports and attempt to scale the fortresses on the island. The attack reeks of desperation, and theyíd have probably taken Malta, too, had a nearby battleship group on patrol not intervened. The transports and their troops retreat back to Sicily.
I think itís about time to take a bite out of Italy on their home turf, and Sicily is a prime target. Reconaissance over the island in late February 1941 shows fairly weak defences; two corps landed near Siracusa, one headed west and the other north, would probably do the trick.
We now have 6th Corps back at our disposal, plus another five armoured divisions just deployed back home. All are deployed to the 1st Expeditionary Army, reinforcing 3rd Corps and the newly formed 11th Corps. With those divisions done, I issue production orders for two sets of four parachute divisions and accompanying transport aircraft.
Oh, and much of my research is proceeding well ahead of schedule. I now have A34 Comet tanks! And Hurribombers!