1940 - Newscast

@Andresvmb
@chesskid3
@Duskfall98
@Ellibereth
@GTacc
@JakeTheWolfie
@M2H
@Urist

January 5th, 1940

Last week, the USSR continued their offensive in Finland with plans to crush the Finnish at the Mannerheim Line, Finland’s major defensive line north-west of Lenningrad. The Fins near Taipale noted that the Russian artillery outnumbered their own by 10 to 1.

On Christmas Day, under the cover of fog, the Russians advanced across the frozen river near Vilakkala, establishing 2 beach heads… The fog dissipates however and the Russians are massacred. Near Kelja, the Russians held another advance across the river that threatened to break the Finnish line from the rear, this one fought for 24 hours while awaiting reinforcements before being destroyed. Over 12,000 Russian men were killed in action during these offensives, 2,500 casualties total (killed and wounded) for the Finns.

Also last week, the Finns go on the offensive in the north as a counter-attack near Suomussalmi pushes the Russians back to the Soviet border. Many Russians were killed, and the wounded froze to death in the -35 degree weather. Anywhere the Russians did advance, the Finns burned farms to the ground, depriving the Russians of any shelter or food. Over 25,000 Russian troops meet their fate in this battle, less than 2,000 killed and wounded for the Finnish. The Russian troops referred to the Finnish ski snipers as the white death.

Finland also attempted an offensive of their own on the Kurelian Isthmus last week, however, it was easily repelled due to the complicated plan, limited resources, lack of armor and inexperience of the men. This operation was called off before it became a total disaster, but it showed that the Red army, though inept on offense, was able to dig in and fight just fine. It also demonstrated many weak points in the Finnish army, which made it unsuitable to carry out any such offensive.

On the Soviet side, the month of December demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the current command, this is largely due to the purges by Joseph Stalin who eliminated most senior army officials before the start of the war (and anyone who could potentially oppose his absolute power). Help was now on the way as the senior command overseeing this operation was being replaced and massive amounts of reinforcements were on route.

On the Finnish side, the pre-war estimates indicated that they would have artillery shell supplies for 3 weeks of conflict… Now a month old, they were running precariously low.

Back in Germany, Hitler and Stalin exchange holiday greetings… Some of the staunchest Nazi party supporters are angry at the molokov-ribbentrop pact. Their belief (also Hitler’s belief as described in Mein Kampf) is that the communists are bloodstained common criminals… And though we know how this turns out, at the time, Hitler was betraying his supporters in a pretty big way.

In the occupied territory, near Warsaw, 2 German soldiers are killed by criminals. Less than 1 hour later, over 100 random men, including 2 Americans are rounded up, tried for their crimes and shot.

The first Indian troops arrive in France, and as of last week, rationing in the UK will now apply to butter, bacon, ham and sugar. In the Atlantic, German Uboats sink 25 ships, losing 1 of their own.


The Game:

This thread is the official news thread for 1940. If you have any pertinent information about the game and / or senseless propaganda to post for other players to see, you may post here. Each player is only permitted 1 post of this thread per game week.

Outside of this thread, players may take 1 action per day.

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Players will exit the game when they achieve victory. The game is over once any of the following conditions are met:

  • Either the axis or allied powers are destroyed or have surrendered.
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The game’s “week by week historical newscast” will be updated every 4-8 days with the latest developments.

There is 1 set up action pending, but that player may take it as a D1 action. Game start.

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Hi

VOTE: REMOVE STARV FROM THE WAR COUNCIL

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I’ll figure out how this works tmrw.

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Did you?

I might not be around on the weekend, so here’s your newscast for the week, with an extra little historically relevant article on misinformation that originated from the Winter War.

In game:

January 12th, 1940

All is quiet on the Western Front as the phony war is in full effect. The allies seek to resolve if and when the Germans will make a move. The political war & espionage was in full effect last week. Our sources indicate that critical information was leaked to spies by high ranking government officials… We do not have any details on the incident itself, or if there will be any consequences as a result of the leak.


Historical:

January 12th, 1940

Last week, the counteroffensives continued.

We’ll start this week with a quote from historian Max Hastings.

“The Finnish government never deluded itself that the nation could inflict an absolute defeat on the Russians; it aspired only to make the price of fulfilling Stalin’s ambitions unacceptably high. This strategy was doomed, however, against an enemy indifferent to human sacrifice.”

Last week, we followed the Finnish counteroffensive near Suomusalmi. The Russian 163rd division that had been surrounded was no longer in any fighting capacity. The Russians had sent the 44th division to relieve them, but after 5 days without food in -30 to -40 degree weather, they stopped trying. The 44th Division was now spread over a 5 mile stretch near Suomusalmi with the gaps being patrolled by Tanks. The Finnish forces attacked the flanks at close quarters, the Russians dug in. Due to the close fighting, the Russian army was unable to make use of their artillery… And the Russian air support, helpless, could only watch from above.

This offensive gave the rest of the Suomusalmi forces dealing with the 163rd time to catch up and join the offensive. The Russian tanks are unable to really be put to use either due to the Finnish controlling and mining the roads between the Russian platoons. In fact, the Russian tanks mainly ended up providing a source of cover to the attacking Finns. The commander of the 44th Army Brigade, Alexei Vinogradov had refused to announce a retreat despite the state of his forces. This is because he did not receive an order from higher up to do so. Some of the Russian men ran, others were gunned down in their dugouts without any attempt of resistance or escape. Alexei Vinogradov will later call for a general retreat on the 6th… Most of the 44th division will either be killed or freeze to death, 1300 were taken as PoWs. Following the retreat, the commanding officers of the 44th division were held responsible for the failure and were executed by firing squad.

The rest of the world took note of the failures by the Red Army and determined that despite being grand in numbers, the Red Army would be no match for a skilled and disciplined Western army. The German general staff wrote this in their assessment of the Red Army:

“Organization, equipment, and means of leadership unsatisfactory… Communication system bad, transportation bad… Fighting qualities of the troops in heavy fighting, dubious. The Russian mass is no match for an army with modern equipment and superior leadership.”

Back in Germany, Hitler addressed the nation and indicated that the Jewish capitalist would not survive the 20th century. Still, it is worth noting that many people in Germany did not take Hitler’s plans seriously and saw it as an expression of his antisemitism which was shared by many.

In the occupied territory, people are starving to death in Warsaw… Several cattle trucks arrived there carrying thousands of PoWs, over 200 of them had frozen to death before arrival, many more will die within hours of their arrival.


Now, I think this is as good of a time as any to debunk some myths about the second world war, namely as it relates to Russia and the Red Army. You see, a lot of the misconceptions that the western powers had about the Soviet Union were based on its performance in the winter war. These myths were later propagated by captured German commanders who fabricated stories in order to absolve themselves of various failures throughout the war.

  1. The Red Army had infinite manpower

  2. The Red Army’s tactics consisted of human wave attacks

  3. The Red Army was incompetent

So, these myths kind of go hand in hand, and while they originated from a grain of truth, it’s greatly exaggerated to the point where it no longer has any basis in reality.

Let’s start with #1… If we’re talking about the Winter War and a comparison to Finland, then… yeah, it must have seemed like the Russians had an endless horde of men and reserves to replace those men… Finland did not have much of an army at this time and did not have a large population to call on. However, if we jump forward over a year to the summer of 1941… Operation Barbarossa began and the narrative persisted, and many German Generals attributed their loss to the pure volume of Russian manpower at the end of the war. This is simply not true. Russia had manpower shortages from the very early going on the eastern front. For much of the war, the central Axis powers had more men that they could call on than the USSR did.

Point #2, the Red Army did not focus much on tactical warfare, this much is true. The Red Army was far more focussed on a global strategic level (as opposed to the Wehrmacht that was more focused on tactics). Despite this, the Red Army was not the human meat grinder that it was widely believed to be. Simply put, in order for this myth to be true AND for the Russians to have won ANY war, they would have needed to develop a better version of the human being, one that was resistant to machine gun fire. The “WHY?” is quite obvious. Machine guns, even back in WW1 had demonstrated that they could kill well over 100,000 men in a single day when faced with a mindless charge. It’s worth noting that the Red Army, despite embarrassment won both the Winter War and the Eastern Front of WW2. These feats cannot be accomplished by human wave attacks into machine gunfire.

For anyone who needs supporting evidence on the above point, let me refer you all the way back to August 20th & 22nd of 1914. On August 20th, a French Army of 40,000 men charged at a German position, taking over 50% casualties & PoW. On August 22nd, the French engaged in two other offensives of similar nature, one force lost 1/3 of it’s men before retreating, the other well over 50%. From August 20th-August 31st of 1914, France lost 75,000 soldiers, killed in action. In these 11 days, France suffered over 275,000 casualties in total. In just a couple weeks of WW1, over 1,000,000 men had died, not a single objective had been taken as a result of human wave attacks against machine guns. It’s now in 1940… Machine guns are more accurate, they have a better rate of fire. Artillery is more deadly, more accurate, and has a longer range. Modern Armor is now a factor. Death from above was also a real threat. If you believe that human wave attacks could realistically accomplish anything in 1940, then you are sorely mistaken. This is a myth.

There are German first-hand accounts in WW2 which described the Russians advancing in waves, however, these are the exception. These were targetted offensives where the Russians would take high casualties against a weaker defensive point in order to gain positional advantages against the main German advances. The Red Army favored Strategic warfare over tactical warfare. Also, many of the failures we’re seeing in the Winter War are due to the lack of radio & coordination between Armored units & Infantry Units… We’ll get to that in a second.

Point #3, the Red Army was incompetent. This point is the most valid point of the common misconceptions, it’s just… A complicated issue. I think, one of the big misconceptions is that soviet Bolshevism is the main cause for the army’s failure… Namely Salin’s purges. Now, Stalin executed a lot of people, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that he decapitated the Red Army. Historians are split on this, however, there is a serious question to be asked about how significant of a role did these purges play in the overall performance of the Red Army.

The general argument (without condoning mass murder) is that all of the warring nations who had active generals that commanded in WW1 had outdated tactics and suffered a lot of needless losses as a result (this was even more true at the start of WW1).

The actual reason for soviet incompetence or perceived incompetence is that from 1939 to 1941, the Red army grew by 5x. All of a sudden, 80% of the Soviet Army was in serious lack of training… 80% of the soviet army lacked basic supplies… This ranged from Gasoline, to winter clothing, to ammunition, to food… Nevermind more advanced coordination equipment such as radios. All of this expansion was about preparing for imminent war (as was the campaign into Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Finland - to secure military bases on the Baltic Sea & to secure a western front away from Russia itself).

One thing that the Red Army realized in 1940 was the great logistical issues and training requirement that came with rapid expansion, which I think they didn’t really properly figure out till 1942… It’s great to have a large army with a lot of stuff, but when you can’t supply it, it then becomes useless.

I think it’s especially interesting when you look at the German report from the New Year of 1940 in light of the growing logistical and training challenges they would run into as they themselves moved into the vast terrain that the Red Army itself was struggling to deal with.

I genuinely have no idea what’s going on

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I think you need to use your imagination a little bit haha

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On the global intercoms

Hello? Hello Hello? Yes, this is your global radioman Jake, here to give you the news. For some reason, there are no current troops fighting in the war sent by either Korea. In other news, there is no other news. Now for the global weathercast. Over to you, Jake.

Thank you Jake, the weather is unusually overcast over all the fighting countries. If you were here on ground level, you’d suspect something ominous is coming.

Thank you for the weather Jake. We have just recieved information that Antartica is joining the war effort on Germany’s side! Secret Documents have been leaked about project POTATO. This document includes over 46 different tests that German scientists completed, including using penguins as troops! All leaked documents were unsuccessful endeavors. That’s it for news this week, I’ve been radioman Jake, and this has been your global news.

tbh I just got through the flavor, now time for the actual game mechanics

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