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Operation Curtana


Kaiser Martens
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[i]Wir kommen wieder[/i]

[quote]
OOC: Nevermind the crudely edited addition of Südtyrol to Austria. Remember they also have slovenia. Also remember that this is an invite-only war. Back to IC mode...[/quote]

[img]http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii29/voxpopuli_album/invasion.png[/img]

Only fifteen minutes before daytime would officially begin, the border towns and border guards of Austria would be surprised that the threats had so quickly materialized - without a second warning. The stomping of the jackboots, the dashing of the bullets and the rolling of the threads would make themselves audible when the borders had been crossed: There was no turning back now.

The invasion was divided in four groups. On the west, Army Group van Haken. On the east, Army Group Gebivson-Mannelig. Each group had its own auxiliary, reserves group. The western reserve group was under the command of Schneiderhan, and the eastern reserve group under von Amend.

[b]AG van Haken:[/b]
This group's goal was to reduce the western "chunk" of Austria, including Tyrol, to eventually be able to converge upon the main part of Austria. They used a high amount of units and were very well organized, although they did not have the same high quality components or fast components of the other groups. Either way, all divisions had truck transports.

They were 100k Soldier divided in ten divisions.
Each division had an added help brigade:
1-Artillery (105mm)
2-Artillery (155mm)
3-Antitank Gun (37mm)
4-FLAK 37mmx2
5-Battle Engineers
6-Cavalry Scout Group
7-Panzer IB Group
8-Mountain Specialists
9-Flamethrower Group
10-Heavy Infantry (MG+Antitank Rifles)


[b]RG Schneiderhan:[/b]
This group, with many high mobility units, was supposed to be a reserve to cover any eventual counteroffensive or delaying operations by the Austrians.
50k Soldiers in 5 Divisions.
Helpbrigades:
1-Armored Car Group
2-Cavalry Scout Group
3-40mm FLAKwagen
4-75mm Artillery
5-Battle Engineers

[b]AG Gebivson-Mannelig:[/b]
This was considered to be the most important group. It was to seize Linz, and then move by the Donau all the way to Wien itself. Because of that, it had - unsurprisingly - the most numerous and best equipment and troops.
50k Soldiers in 5 divisions:
1-Armored Cavalry (Cavalry with metal plates *just* good enough to stop light arms)
2-Panzer IID Group
3-75mm artillery
4-37mmx2FLAK
5-Battle Engineers

[b]RG von Amend:[/b]
This group was tasked with the taking of Salzburg and with the prevention of any breakthroughs, flankings or counterattacks into Germany or onto AG Gebivson-Mannelig. It tried to use lighter, more mobile units for the sake of versatility.
150k Soldiers on 15 Divisions:
1-Neubaufahrzeug (Heavy Tank)
2-PzIII/50mm Gun
3-PzIV (Short barrel)
4-Mountain Specialists
5-105mm Artillery
6-155mm Artillery
7-FLAK 88
8-Cavalry Scout Group
9-Sturmpioneere (Storming Infantry)
10-Jäger (High mobility Infantry)
11-Heavy Infantry
12-37mm Antitank Guns
13-Kriegsmarine Infantry (Marines)
14-105mm Artillery
15-155mm Artillery

---------------

Shortly thereafter, General Haas announced that "Austria's sovereignty is henceforth revoked due to germanophobical historical revisionism" Austria, he said, would be annexed back into the true Fatherland. The news shocked the union, which had enjoyed peace and good relations with Austria for so long. There was, indeed dissent among the population. But even with dissent, duty was more important, and they would fight, even if not for the sake of conquering, for the sake of avoiding their own land's destruction...

Almost immediately, Tambarskjelve and his Valkyries and Einherjar stated that they would not participate in such a war of aggression against a brother, or sister nation: They go to Nordheim, while being threatened to be killed and courtmarshalled.

Never before had a war raised so many mixed feelings. To the Germanians, it would be known as the "Brüderkrieg" - the war of the brothers.

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Wilhelm Kirche sat puffing a large cigar as he watched the sun beginning to rise from the gilded windows of Hofburg Palace. He had been working with the Imperial Court closely for the past few weeks, erasing the drastic mistakes and mistrust of the Saenger Regime and attempting to push Austria's sovereignty in a Europe that was becoming progressively more hostile. Many of Austria's old allies had returned to her side after the Haas Regime had risen in Germany, but this was nevertheless cause for alarm. With the War in Korea taking a toll on allied economies, if Haas made good his boast to bring Austria back into Greater Germany, it was likely that Austria would be fighting the Northerners alone.

The radio in the background crackled as it played imported jazz from Pravus Inguro, then the music disappeared and Kirche turned his head in suspicion as the Österreichische Presse Radio Network came on. A frantic man's voice broke through the crackle with the sounds of explosions and gunshots in the background.

"This is Steffen Schneider reporting from the city of Salzburg. Precisely at five-fifteen this morning, German Infantry, Armor and Artillery crossed the Austrian border illegally in a surprise attack against our beloved nation."

Kirche's jaw dropped in horror and shock as the cigar dropped to the floor. He ran his head across his balding head and clenched his teeth as the door to his office thundered open with two Imperial Guard lieutenants who had the Empress and General Molke in tow. Each person had looks of fear and despair on their face. The news had just arrived in Vienna, the German's surprise attack had not been predicted, no one expected Haas to actually follow through with his ultimatum and now, only months after the Civil War had ended, Austria would be embroiled in another bitter war. This war, for their very existence as a nation.

The next fifteen minutes were a blur to Kirche as he was pulled by the two lieutenants through Hofburg Palace towards the bunker deep below the basement where the Austrian Imperial War Council had already gathered and was weighing their options. The Chancellor watched as the general's eyed each other cautiously and the Empress had her head buried deep within her hands, it almost sounded that she was silently crying as well, but it wasn't Kirche's place to judge. "Well, Your Highness, Generals, what is the plan for this assault. The people need to be notified before it's too late."

Molke got up from his chair and took a deep breath. "We were just about to get to that Chancellor Kirche. I know that some of you believe that our best option to avoid senseless death and damages to our cities would be to surrender to this Anschlusss, but if any of you are familiar with history then you will know what happened the last time a merger between Austria and Germany occurred. Whether it be recent history with the Germanic Union or the events of Adolf Hitler's advance into Austrian territory. I will say this now and I am sure that Her Majesty and Chancellor Kirche will agree with me, I would rather die than see Austria a part of the Germanic Union."

The Council nodded in agreement, except for a few generals who reluctantly crossed their arms. Molke took note and then turned back to the map of Austria spread out behind him. "At the present time, border patrols, scouts, and intelligence has shown that the Germans have deployed a a four-prong invasion of the Homeland. The largest of these is moving towards Linz, most likely to capture Vienna and destroy the Imperial Government. In response to that, I must propose the unthinkable, that the Imperial Government evacuates Vienna."

At this, the Council rose up in protest, except for Kirche, who sat looking at Molke along with the desperation in the Empress' eyes.

"Albrecht, you must be joking." Said General Markus Beyer, "Abandon Vienna? It would be a death move, the people would lose hope so quickly if they know Vienna has been abandoned."

The Empress shook her head. "To give up everything that is a symbol of Austria, General Molke, this city is the country's flesh and blood. It it our spirit itself."

"And if it is captured along with the government then we will be defeated right then and there." Said Kirche speaking for the first time at the Council. "There is no promise that what militia we have in the north will hold, nor is there any guarantee that what soldiers we can raise from the Imperial Army will be able to hold Vienna. I, like you Your Highness, would like to see Vienna left unharmed and if that is the case then we would have to abandon it on the outskirts. I believe the best course of action for this would be to move Her Majesty and Her Majesty's Government to Ljubljana and then make the Germans pay for every meter of Austria that they get their dirty hands on."

Molke nodded his head. "I am in favor of this. Morale for our people is the key here, Your Majesty, gentlemen, the capture of the Empress and or Her Government would be a huge demoralizing factor to those who are fighting." He sighed and closed his eyes, "And with the Imperial Army only numbering Two-hundred twenty thousand, we will have to draft at least some two hundred thousand more to make a stand. Some young, some old, perhaps even women. Morale will be key."

"Do we have a set plan for our counter-attack, General, or defense?" Asked Empress Theresia.

"No doubt Haas believes this will be a quick war and while Linz, Vienna and other cities are easily accessible, our positions in the mountains I believe we can hold long enough to either rally ourselves or for other nations to join in this war. At the moment however, Your Majesty, I can only hope to raise the Imperial Army, begin a very quick draft and start moving defensive forces to Vienna, Graz, and other choke-points within the Alps. We have a great deal of work cut out for us gentlemen, a naval war, an air war, and everything in between. This is revenge for the theft of Silesia under Maria Theresa the First and you can bet that this war is not going to be over until the Empress stands in Berlin herself."

A light of hope was finally shed upon the Council and the Empress as they joined their hands together in applause. Molke bowed and slowly the Council began to disperse, but before Kirche could head back to his office to begin the evacuation process to Ljubljana both Molke and the Empress stopped him.

"Wilhem," Molke began, "I was hoping that you would stay with me in Vienna for a time, until it becomes too dangerous for either of us. You have a way with the people, through words that I just can't compete with. It would be a huge help for keeping morale high during the first weeks of this fight."

"I would be happy to Paul, anything I can do for the war-effort, let me know, I am Chancellor after all." He laughed.

"Then I believe it would be time for the first address," said Theresia, "The people are scared, it's time we reassure them that their government is prepared, ready to fight and to die."

"I couldn't have said it better myself, Your Majesty."

---

[quote]

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ejg-lPcFxU"]Hymn of Independence[/url]

[i]Sons and Daughters of Austria,

Today, before the sun rose in the sky, the new German Regime, with it's perverted historical ideology has finally threatened Austria's divine sovereignty. Four prongs of attacks were made, in the Alps, near Linz, near Salburg, and across the plains. The Germans believe that with massed technological superiority, with shock troops and a surprise attack that our nation will fall. They believe that the suffering caused by our own Civil War has shriveled our nation and we will seek peace as an alternative to fight for our freedom, our liberty, our right to survive as Austrians. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today, will mark the end of an age my fellows, for the past half-century, Europe has been under the oppression of Nordic Ideology. Whether it be Martenicism, Nordic Socialism, or other mass cultural philosophies. I in my youth, as many of you did as well, watched as nations disappeared under the gray yoke of Germanism. The Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Baltic States, and even England and parts of Finland were included within this sphere of influence. Austria was included within that sphere as well and as one of the greatest moments of the Saenger Regime, our people protested and opposed being placed within a sphere we do not identify with. The North has forgotten their culture, substituting Vikings and Mythological Tales for strength and courage. But we have a greater duty to our country and our civilization as a whole. From this point on, Austria is the true protector of the German Culture, the culture of Mozart, of Beethoven, of von Goethe, of Marx, and of Gutenberg. We will defeat these self-proclaimed Barbarians just as Charles the Great did, centuries ago. Today marks the beginning of the end for Pan-Germanism.

But such a task cannot be done without the blood, sweat, and inevitable tears that this nation will face. Even now, militia across the northern boundary along with citizens, both young and old, man and woman have picked up what weapons they have to turn back this seemingly invincible invader. They cannot and they will not fight alone and I ask that every Austrian know his and her duty to the Homeland. A volunteer willing to fight for the survival of his or her lifeblood will be welcomed and trained to the best of their ability. Together, even with unlikely odds, will be beat the Germans. We will beat them on the plains, we will beat them on the mountains, we will beat them on the seas, and we will defeat them in the air. Herr Haas will regret the day he ever believed that Austria could be turned into a German Puppet State

And, sons and daughters of Austria, if the unthinkable were to happen and our country lain waste, the overseas territories of the Empire. Protected by the Imperial Army and Navy, along with our allies in China, Austria will survive and she will continue to fight, until either we have exhausted ourselves in the Good Fight, or Germany is liberated from a poisoned ideology.

With faith in God, faith in our nation, and faith in ourselves, Austria will stake her claim here and now. She is forever independent never to be enslaved by the forces of tyranny.

Austria will survive![/i]
[/quote]

---

Across the nation the cry of independence and liberty traveled from city to city, from village to village, and house to house. Old men, some Nordic, some Republican, some Royalist, all Austrian, gathered their rifles and ancient weapons as they shouldered and took off to the streets. Young men volunteered their service in the Imperial Army and hundreds of battalions were instantly made, ready to be shipped off to the defense of the Alps, of Vienna, and whatever other cities that Austria could in good will, hold. Women joined took, some as soldiers, but most as nurses and administrators in the army. Still many others found themselves preparing to replace their husbands in the industrial centers, to keep Austria alive as her blood was spilled.

In the north, the Germans would meet their first signs of resistance in the villages and hamlets along the border. As they moved closer to cities such as Linz, the Austrian militia, regulars, and citizens, would be at the ready.

The Battle of Austria had begun.

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"They what!" Jia demanded pounding his fist on the table at his residence in Qingyuan. "They invaded Austria sir, the Imperatrix's chief of staff has just informed me..." Qi said, noting his boss's fury. There were few things in the world Jia was more protective of than Theresia, , and it was about to show. "Adding a second front at the moment..."

"No!" Jia declared. "We are not debating this Qi, the United Federation of the East is going to declare war on Germany, expel their diplomats, I'm also authorizing unrestricted submarine warfare on all shipping flying the German Flag. I want war plans drawn up with what forces we do have, and I want a surface action group and carrier battlegroup sent along with marines to reinforce the troops we do have there... This will not stand." he said narrowing his eyes. "The world has known peace for too long... it will now have war... Damnit."

Later that evening Jia drafted a letter to be sent by encrypted telegram to Theresia.

[quote]
Dearest Theresia,

I regret that the terrible war in the East has kept me from Austria as of late. It seems that the world has become a much more hostile place in the past few months. Though my armies are mostly engaged in Korea, I cannot allow you nor your people to stand alone. I have ordered the captain of the Imperial Guard in Austria to begin assisting in the defense of Austria and have ordered what ships we can spare to the Mediterranean at full steam. The reserves have begun to be mobilized as well. Germany will be pushed back.

When we first met, it was your first time seeing combat and death, but since then one of my greatest joys has to see you grow strong without losing your compassion. I know you will pull through for Austria. Have faith in your commanders and your soldiers, they will look to you as a symbol of your nation, show them strength and Austria shall prevail.

I shall try and come visit soon.

All My Love,

Jia[/quote]

===================================

Imperial Guard Captain Dmitry Salov had thought himself having a plush job. Although the Austrians had their own Imperial Guards, Jia had insisted on keeping some of his own men on ready alert, worried about Austria's recent history in the Saengar Rebellion. Part of the special culture's division, a force raised from among European descended UFE citizens, he was happy to get the opportunity to serve in what until today was peaceful Vienna. He spent a good deal of his time at beer halls and coffee houses, reviewing security threats and procedures when he had to. Occasionally you had the whack job who had gone off his meds and wanted to kill the Empress but it was rarely actually credible. That all changed in an instant.

Barging into his office at the Palace, his second in command, Deputy Guard Commander Hanz Latter seemed out of breath, "Austria has been invaded by the Germans."

Dmitry practically fell out of the chair he had been leaning back on. "What?!"

Dmitry immediately stood up and walked at a brisk pace to the war room. It was already in full swing. He did not want to get in the way and merely observed, taking in the various orders and messages coming in from across the country building a picture of the situation in his mind. An Austrain Colonel approached him, "Imperial Captain have you been briefed?" he asked.

"No, is the Empress secure." Dmitry asked. "She is in a meeting with the Chancellor, I could check but I am afraid they are not to be disturbed."

Dmitry waved dismissively, "No no. Thats fine, merely customary first question." Dmitry explained. "Can I get a briefing packet, I will need to report to the August Imperator."

"Of course." the Colonel said handing him a packet.

Dmitry took the packet and read it as he walked through the halls back to his office, as he entered and got ready to report, Hans was there waiting for him.

"Sir. We have orders get a jump ready." Hans said with a smirk on his face.

"Heh. The Imperator's been in a pissy mood lately lemme guess what the orders say, jump behind them, kill a whole bunch of Germans, repeat till ammo is gone. Then take their ammo repeat till their ammo is gone. I have it about right?"

"Yes sir." Hans said.

"Well lets get moving. I want uniformed Ranger Regiments 1 and 2 ready, and special tactics group 4 ready as well. I want the station chief for PCIA to give me all he can on possible German resistance groups to organize with across the border too. There has to be someone over there with their heads screwed on the right way!" Dmitry ordered.

"Will do sir. Also we haven't heard from the Luftwaffe yet. I've taken the liberty of ordering the air units to austere basing that is more secure though." Hans said. "The Imperator has said we need to keep out combat air missions low till reinforcements get here. I believe we should concentrate on CAS and protecting CAS against enemy artillery moving in the West. Its going to be their hardest areas to advance with."

"So ordered." Dmitry replied. "Dismissed. Get your !@#$ together, you'll be leading this."

"With honor." Hans snapped a salute and walked off.

======================================================

The P-38s were the fighter of choice for the Imperial Guard Air Wing, although they were not dog fighters, they offered a versatility of both range and speed, which would give them an edge up in taking the fight to the enemy, and as always, offense was the preferred position of the Chinese Air Force.

Twenty P-38s would be launched from bases close to Klaggenfurt. Five of these units flying overhead to take wide angle photos of German approaching Innsbruck. The narrow Alpine roads and passes would provide limited areas of movement of german advance, and thus relative accurate aerial intelligence on the strength of the force could be obtained. Fifteen of them were equipped with bombs. Their mission was interdiction of enemy 155 mm.

The P-38s would use get maximum altitude relying on cloud cover and height to avoid danger from the German FLAKs. Instead they would rely on scouts reporting from the mountains around Innsbruck to find the location of their targets. Dive bombing would only be done at the last possible minute. Their goals were to hit the 155s and their large support equipment while they were in the narrowest parts of the alpine passes. A few bombs wouldn't do much to stall the german army in total damage, but this would have the dual role of damaging the enemies heaviest guns and also clogging the roads thus imparing the Germans capability to move more heavy weapons forward.

After their raid, P-38s would high tail it back to austere basing for refuel and preps for a second set of sorties.

Edited by Triyun
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[b]OOC: IMPORTANT! In the OOB in the OP, I mixed up AG Gebivson-Mannelig's composition to RG's von Amend. I am not editting it there for the sake of transparency, but consider it corrected. Unless you mind. Do you mind?[/b]

[b]AG van Haken:[/b]
This group seemed to have the easiest time, probably because it was aimed at less vital parts of Austria. It had divided in two sub-groups to capture and cover more territory, and occationally ran into skirmishes with the militia. The preferred tactic was using specialist, high quality infantry to counter those groups before moving on. One of the groups seemed to move towards Innsbrück, but in fact turned and, without engaging in combat, started to surround it. The second group would be tasked with the taking of the Southwestern area zones, and once doing so, it would move north to try to cut off Innsbrück from the rest of Austria. However, things were not quite that easy. Aircraft, somewhat predictably, attempted to take out the many 155mm Pieces that this AG had brought to the battlefield. The BF-109s would attempt to intercept, and although the FLAK on the floor tried to join in the battle, the smaller guns' effective range was not sufficient. Therefore, they were only able to fire upon the P38s when these decided to go in for the kill - to dive down. The FLAK remained close to the artillery, and while surely there would be P38 losses - probably greater than BF109 losses - the Lightning's mission would still be fulfilled. Engineer brigades would have to be put to use in order to get some of the Artillery Carcasses out of the narrow roads. The most mobile units however moved on as planned. The others would catch up. They had to. It was an order.

[b]RG Schneiderhan:[/b]
This group received the most resistance because of its proximity to Innsbruck. It would deal with "Issues" systematically as "rebels" arose while on the way, and once that it quickly reached the city's outskirts, it did not outright invade. Instead it settled, started pounding it with the artillery guns - which had been placed next to the FLAK, and sent in an envoy to request the surrender of the city. This would give time for Van Haken to get there and in all likelihood take the city by force. They did not really expect to receive a surrender. Stukas were summonned for the eventual battle, with escort compliments, but were not yet at Austria.

[b]AG Gebivson-Mannelig:[/b]
This group would also be targetted by air attacks, but this time, as these were equipped with the powerful 88 FLAK, defending the 155mms would be much easier. The lethality of the 88 would soon enough become (in)famous, and a compliment of BFs soared the skies to further help. Still, that is not to say that the 155s would be outright unscathed. P38s were, after all, competent aircraft. The Land forces did not wait for the air attacks to finish, but they move on throughout villages which sometimes put up stubborn yet futile resistance. Soon enough, the Panzer Groups are near Linz, while the others are to catch up. In less than an hour, the Battle for Linz would start. The city was ill-prepared, but its task was not to stop - it was to delay, and in that, it could possibly fulfill their task.

[b]RG von Amend:[/b]
Initially, they were having a simple time moving on. They were the first to arrive to their primary target, simply due to a matter of proximity, they would not give the Salzburgers time to organize a defence, instead, the Panzers followed by the Cavalry and then by everything else excepting two divisions which stay behind to protect the artillery and FLAK. They were prepared for the worst, although they considered that out of the main cities in Austria, this one might fall the easiest simply due to being so close to the border.

[i]At Wien...[/i]

An unlikely visitor shows up, and requests to talk to the Government in an urgent manner. It was Kaiser Martens himself, which apparently had decided to go to Austria out of his own accord to do what he thinks is right. He folds his arms and waits to be allowed in, while soldiers watch him awkwardly. What could he possibly be doing...?

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"So the Germans have moved on Austria...and Ireland as well..."

General Julien Jhudiel's fingers scraped the thin bristles that dotted his chin, as if lost in thought. Across from him sat the only Tribunes whose power over the Tribunal could truly be said to be near the level of the Speaker himself--Senior Tribune Colonel Josef van Buuren and Lieutenant General Zurie Avina. They were deep within the many halls and twisting corridors of the newly constructed State Building--the public squalor and majesty of the Palais Bourbon, which had been used in the months following independence as the seat of the Eastern French government, had been abandoned in favour of a more practical centre, far removed from the prying, ever-vigilant eyes of the national and international public. Here the Tribunal could convene in secrecy and confidentiality, to discuss national and international matters of importance without the public being aware of their actions and discussions.

The Tribunal had already spent the past day considering the issue of Germany's invasion of Austria. The nine officers that composed the Tribunal were somewhat split over the decision. The militant faction, lead by Lieutenant General Avina, which controlled the majority of the Tribunal, had voiced support of the new regime in Germany and now spoke in favour of aiding Germany here. A couple of Tribunes, mostly representing the isolationist faction, spoke against military support of Germany, citing Eastern France's prosperity over the years since independence and claiming the move would destroy all that had been done in that time. These concerns were easily swept aside, however, as Jhudiel then spoke in favour of Avina's side, and all dissent was simply silenced. The Tribunal was dismissed, as Jhudiel stated he would make a decision in the company of his most trusted subordinates.

However, the decision was already made. Germany was Eastern France's sole true ally, and the Optional Aggression clause of the treaty the two nations had was further reason to aid Germany in this war. The draft had been in service almost since Eastern France had first gained its independence, requiring all youths of healthy physique and mind between the ages of 18-22 to serve three years with the Eastern French army reserves, and production of military hardware and equipment had not ceased since then. Meanwhile, the Eastern French navy was still in the process of construction, with much of the planned naval power still in the designing stage.

"The Germans have two main army groups moving in on Austria," Jhudiel recounted. "One striking at the west, at Tyrol, and one at the east, most likely aiming for Linz."

"It is probable that from Linz the Germans intend to move down the Donau River and then march on Vienna itself," Avina added, her expression impassive, but a deep anticipation visible in the dull iron irises of her eyes. "If we are to invade Austria as well, it would be best to direct our advance towards the east as well. We can send Field Army One and Two to join the German armies at Linz and then march on Vienna as well. Given the abruptness of the attack, it is doubtful the military presence in Vienna has been well complemented in the interval since the first German attack..."

"And what of the Irish to the north?" van Buuren interrupted. "If they do indeed launch a hostile conflict against Germany, it would not be far-fetched to suppose they will also declare war on Eastern France for its role in Germany's invasion of Austria."

"We need only strengthen the garrisons at Picardy and Upper Normandy to ensure they will be unable to make a foray into actual French territory. We'll also deploy the navy out to the northern waters to ensure theirs does not approach Eastern France's waters."

"We will discuss the possibility of Irish hostility at a later time," Jhudiel responded. "Lieutenant General Avina, you are in command of Field Armies One and Two, as well as their counterparts in the Air Force and armoured divisions. You are to rendezvous with the German forces at Linz and move on Vienna. Colonel van Buuren, you are to maintain the military presence in the north. Cooperate with Admiral Alles and have him move his fleet to the northern waters. You are dismissed--I trust in your wisdom and skill to ensure all goes well on the Austrian front." He directed the final words to Avina, who wordlessly saluted the General and then turned, leaving to begin organising her forces.





By the time the Germans had advanced on Linz, the Eastern French forces were prepared to mobilise, having gained access through German land and airspace and confirmation to rendezvous with the Germans at Linz.

Avina's invading force consisted of 150,000 troops in total, comprising the two field armies, divided into ten divisions of 15,000 troops each. In addition, Avina placed a heavy emphasis on heavy armour in the invasion force, as three armoured divisions of tanks were dispatched with each field army. A division of 152mm and 122mm artillery pieces and mobile anti-aircraft systems was also merged into each field army. With the preparations and organisations complete, Avina's force began to move to join the German force at Linz.

((Sucks. I honestly had to rush it, especially towards the end there...))

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[img]http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/6457/invasion2r.jpg[/img]

[u]The Defense of Innsbruck [/u]

Horseback was the best way to travel through the Alps without calling attention to yourself and as Captain Jorg Eisner and Corporal Lukas Gerber approached the mountains overlooking Innsbruck, it was a true scene of serenity. The white clouds crawled slowly over the sky and the fresh mountain air played with the two men's noses. If the echoes of artillery fire had been silenceod then nothing would be wrong with the world, but that was Eisner's job and the job of the Western Expeditionary Force, to silence the German Artillery and break the Siege of Innsbruck.

The Germans had moved at a rapid pace, crawling over the Western Alps like spiders to ensnare the mountain city as quick as possible. Austrian militia and guerrilla fighters had attempted to stall enemy movements as best they could, but the Germans had brought a great deal of firepower with them and a few single detachments would not be able to hold them for long. Giving ground, these skirmishers began to fall back further into the mountains and would continue to harass Van Haken and Schneiderhan's moves as they positioned themselves around Innsbruck. The Alps would be central to the Austrian Strategy of the war, this was the area that would give the Germans the most trouble, as the Panzerkrieg tactics would not be as effective in the rolling hills and mountains of Western Austria. If the defense of Innsbruck was a success, it would also be easy to continue to advance and take liberate Switzerland from the Germanic Empire, which may influence Berlin's decision to make an early peace.

Eisner lit a cigarette as he shifted in the saddle looking down at Innsbruck from the mountaintop. The city was easy to siege given that it sat in a proverbial bowl, but this also made it easy to counter-siege the German positions.

"So what do you think Jorg? You think this is good ground?" Said Gerber riding up beside him.

"I think this is just what Colonel Hertzog is looking for. We can begin to position the 25-Pounders some meters back away from the city. On the Eastern Side, pound the Germans on the northern and southern flanks of the city. Give the civilians an avenue to evacuate and give our boys a way to supply the city. They haven't advanced on Innsbruck yet, they're having too much trouble with the mountains and our skirmishers, if we can position on equal or higher ground, we have a chance. At least until Vienna decides to send a larger force."

The flash recruitment of the Imperial Army was moving slow and Field Marshal Molke could only contribute Three-Hundred Thousand men for the first moves of the war. Many of those units were stationed directly north and directly west of Vienna, protecting the corridor that led South to Slovenia. Only seventy-five thousand men had been pushed towards Innsbruck and travel was slow. It would be some time before their arrival.

"Colonel Hertzog should only be a little bit down the road, should I ride back and tell him to bring the artillery pieces up first?"

Eisner nodded. "Tell him to position them in a wedge formation, the point of the edge driving towards Innsbruck and the sides looking out to the north and south. Then after we start our counter-siege we can begin to move in an arc formation around the city. Keep the Germans from flanking us, I know they've been moving through the south."

Gerber saluted and with a jolt of his horse began riding down the narrow roads. In the distance, Eisner could hear the marching feet of the upcoming Austrians and the [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB8F8g1-4Uw"]whistling [/url] that echoed through the mountains. He smiled and looked through his binoculars once more. "Such damn good ground."

When the battle was finally joined, Hertzog, with a command of about twenty-thousand of the total Western Expeditionary Force positioned himself east of the German Siege. Ordinance 25-Pounder Artillery pieces were positioned on the mountainsides overlooking the city and the German siege positions. Blasts would echo down from the rocky slopes as blasts of ball and shell exploded over the city below. With a range of some 12,000 meters, plus the altitude, which these guns were positioned at, nearly all visible positions of the German siege were at risk of being barraged. In addition, any attack on the artillery positions would come at a massive cost. Using the narrow mountain roads, Hertzog commanded for traps and choke-points to be set up along all roads leading into the mountains, east of the city. Skirmishers would be positioned throughout the mountains, equipped with sniper rifles, anti-tank rifles, and light machine guns.

With the wedge formed, Hertzog would also have connect down the mountains into Innsbruck itself. Those citizens who wished to be evacuated under the protection of the Imperial Army were allowed, though many would stay and defend their city in the impending siege. Defenses were built within the city, snipers positioned in houses and roadblocks formed. When and if the Germans decided to move towards capturing the city itself, this would begin the growth of the defensive arc. Hertzog would divide his force into two prongs, one to move through the mountains in the north and the other to come towards the south, while reinforcements from the Expeditionary Force arrived to strengthen the wedge's center.

Air power was not yet requested as Anti-Air Batteries stationed in the mountains were predicted to make any German air support costly to the overall campaign. Austrian air power was needed elsewhere. Especially for the flat lying cities of Linz and Salzburg.

---

[u]The Defense of Salzburg[/u]

Salzburg had probably suffered the worst from the sudden German invasion of Austria. The border guards could barely believe their eyes when the German tanks and infantry, accompanied by aircraft blasted across the border. There were rumors of a coming war, but no one had really expected it would come so soon, nor that it would come between Germany and Austria without some kind of formal declaration. Alarms would blast through the city at five-fifteen in the morning as the Salzburgers drowsily pushed themselves out of bed with the shouts of "Angriff! Angriff! Die Deutsch Überfallen!" The border guards would put up what fight they could with rifles and light machine guns, but they were not prepared to battle armor and those who were not killed in the initial fight fled back towards the urban center to build some kind of defense.

Most of the western side of the city would fall without much trouble. Not only were the Germans on top of the city within minutes, but those who could defend from their houses, men, women, and even some older teenagers were ordered to fall back towards the eastern side of the Salzach River and prepare a defense there. However, the battle around Salzburg Airport and the Sports Medicine Complex would prove to be much more difficult for the German attackers. By that time, border guards who had access to the city's armory were able to fire some anti-tank rounds and set up machine gun nests within the hangars and control towers as well as throughout the medicine complex and nearby buildings. It was a death sentence to these defenders to cut themselves off from the defenders across the river. But it would buy those defenders time to prepare obstacles along the bridges and bring up reserve armor stationed within the city along with artillery pieces which were placed upon the elevated hills of Kapuzinerberg Park. As the Germans would approach the Salzach, the artillery would open fire and the western side of the city would light up in glorious fire.

From the window of the Unfallkrakenhaus Salzburg, the city hospital, Elisabeth Amsel looked out at the University where she had only been a half-hour ago, running over her medical notes for an exam the next day. Everything had changed in the course of ten minutes, her entire world had been destroyed. She had tried to get in touch with her parents in Vienna, but the call never made it through. In addition, she and many of her friends had been pulled out from dorm rooms by border patrols and policemen, hurrying them to trucks to take them across the city. When they had found out, however, that Elisabeth was going to school to be a surgeon, she had been yanked off the truck as quick as she had been put on. There was no time to say good-bye to her friends as a policeman drove her to the hospital across the river. She would be there to receive the first wave of those wounded and the first screams she heard would be branded forever into her mind.

Some came with missing arms, some with missing legs, some with wounds so great that there was chance of saving them. The head doctor in the hospital, a small man with thick glasses told Elisabeth to place a large "X" over the head of those who could not be saved. When a policeman who had been brought in, one who she had known since she had arrived in Salzburg had a gaping wound in his stomach, her hand shook horribly as she crossed his forehead with the black "X". Then running out of the room, Elisabeth collapsed in the bathroom as she threw up yesterday's dinner, lunch, breakfast, and perhaps food that she had eaten when she was a little girl.

She sat there, head over the toilet for what seemed forever, until another nurse ran in with the same idea. Elisabeth pushed herself up from the floor and pushed her blond braid over her shoulder as she looked at the brunette in front of her. "Are you okay?"

The brunette looked up with her eyes glossed with tears. "They just brought in my fiance, he died in the doctor's arms." The girl turned back to the toilet and threw up again and Elisabeth's troubles seemed to vanish compared with the gravity of this girl's situation. Suddenly the sky lit up in brilliant explosions as the plaster from the ceiling began to fall down on the two women. Elisabeth scooted over to the brunette and placed her arms around the girl's shoulders.

"Come on, we can't stay here. The blasts are getting worse, you need to lay down, everything is going to be okay."

The girl looked back with fire in her eyes. "How can you say that? Do you have any idea of the pain right now?"

"Yes." Elisabeth said quietly. "I'm about to lose my entire life too, but we have to go. What's your name?"

"Anna Lechmann."

"Elisabeth Amsel, its a pleasure."

With a bit of force, Elisabeth pulled Anna away from the toilet and amidst the sounds of artillery, shouting, and gunshots, the two women pushed themselves through the hospital towards an open room near the second floor. The river was only meters away and Elisabeth knew that if the defense didn't hold, she and the others would have to evacuate, but Anna would stay in her care. She was fatigued and her life was collapsing, she needed Elisabeth to be strong for her. As the sun just began to rise in the sky, the crackling radio began to push through for the Chancellor's speech which brought everyone in the hospital hope. But for Elisabeth, it was the next song that gave her a piece of mind. A lovely Austrian voice came over singing [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUsePoATbrU"]Lili Marlene[/url]. It brought a tear to the nurse's eye as she stared out the window.

"My home..."

---

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8egdIqDA0M"]The Defense of Linz[/url]

Linz, unlike Salzburg and Innsbruck stood as the first city on the German's campaign to conquer Vienna. Behind the city stood nearly one-hundred fifty thousand Austrians, together with armor, artillery, and air power. The question for Molke was whether to advance his entire army northward and hold Haas' attack at Linz or allow the Germans to gain some ground in Austria, thus making their supply lines a tad longer and more vulnerable to Austrian militia and guerrilla fighters. He decided that a defense of Vienna would be easier to create then a rushed defense of Linz and so only a small vanguard of about fifty thousand men were dispatched from the Imperial Army to hasten the city's defenses. However, there was also ample time to prepare a stronger counter-offensive than had been done in either the Western or North-Western Fronts. Given Linz' proximity to Vienna, the Imperial Air Force (I.A.F) was immediately mobilized to push a full offensive against German Air Power and German positions in the north.

The Submarine Spitfire was one of the Austrians' most versatile fighter and on the morning of the German invasion, several squadrons of fighters crossed the skies above Vienna and Linz. They were well aware that the Germans had brought large amounts of Anti-Air to make an Austrian counter-assault costly, however, with the German positions divided between assaulting the city and positioning themselves on the plains and hills outside of Linz, the spitfires and their brother bombers, the Avro Linz (Avro Lancaster), would pound German positions and hopefully create a large enough hole in the advance to give the citizens and defenders of Linz more time to build suitable defenses. Molke figured, if the city could put up a strong enough defense, then it's survival could be put on par with that of Vienna. It only needed to last a number of days and the full might of the Imperial Army would be brought north to hopefully push the Germans back out of Austria. The chances of this were small, but Molke only needed one of the defenses across Austria to work. That would be enough to push into Germany proper and destroy the supply lines feeding the army from Munich and other points north.

In Linz proper, the sight would be that of other cities the Germans would encounter. Austrian citizens fighting for their homeland, including the old and young, men, women, and some scant children. The city would be a stone and metal trap with militia and soldiers placed along roofs, sidewalks, and doorways. Anti-tank positions would be combined with machine gun nets and every citizen understood that Linz may not survive the encounter. This was a farewell to the city they knew and loved as the blasts from grenades and artillery blew holes in the streets and reduced buildings to rubble. But if Vienna could be saved by Linz's sacrifice then everyone was prepared to fight until the last.

On the south side of the city, the first Austrian Armor, the Magdalena-II would begin to push in towards the city. These would be the Imperial answer to the German's panzerkrieg tactics. But the Austrians knew that they had small chances of betting the German tanks on the fields and plains, they would settle for beating them as they trapped them in cities and mountains.

---

Meanwhile, in Vienna, Martens would be guided to Hofburg Palace. It was a true surprise that he had arrived, though not the most pleasant surprise for the Austrians. The Kaiser, while not the aggressor of this conflict had on his belt much of the history of Germany that Austria was opposed to and many soldiers and government officials believed that it was through his ideology that people like Haas came out of the woodwork. He was taken to Kirche's study, where the Chancellor sat with cigar in hand, and pocket watch hanging form his large stomach as he bowed at the Kaiser.

"Well, the soldiers said that we had an honored guest. I hadn't expected it would be one of the past leaders of Nordland." Kirche extended his hand and chuckled. "So what can Austria do for the once conqueror of Europe. The man who is fighting us now is taking moves right out of your playbook Herr Martens. Can't say that Austria trusts our Northern neighbors now, but in light of humor, what can I do for you?"

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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The P-38 pilots had been given orders to avoid engaging the Luftwaffe as well as get out of dodge when the Germans opened up with their FLAK. After competing their bombing run, this is exactly what the P-38s did. The Bf. 109s dumb enough to try and climb with the P-38s would be forced into stalls soon enough, as their single engines gave way to the force of gravity and overheating, while the P-38s could keep it up. Those that did were briefly engaged after the stall using the energy maneuverability theory of dog fighting combat. With the advantage of having their gun in their nose the fighters could be more accurate in their engagements, and with a higher rate of climb and a serviceability ceiling, along with more fuel, the P-38 was able to put the Me-109 into a severe disadvantage at high altitude combat. If a Me-109 force attempted to outnumber them, the P-38s simply would out climb and out run them. If they attempted to follow them, they'd let them stall out and then make a flip and light them up like a Christmas tree with their better sites. At no time would they give the Me-109s the pleasure of a fair fight or low altitude dog fighting where the P-38 would be disadvantaged.

That night Hans rested his back against the vibrating shell of the transport plain taking comfort in the weight of his Colt 1911 and Thompson submachine gun. He looked over to the boy next to him. "First drop?" he asked.

"Yes sir. Private First Class Reginald Mathers, Hong Kong Batt." the boy said saluting. "Was supposed to drop on Korea but got stuck here."

"Lucky you." Hans said saluting back, "Remember your training, follow your NCOs and officers, and you'll make it out of here in one piece. Don't fear the Germans, they always lose, just they get a bit antsy once in a while and need a good smack in the face. We keep our heads about us, and they'll be suing for peace once again." Hans said with a cool confidence to give the nervous first timer his nerves.

"Yes sir." Reginald said.

As the planes neared the area, the sound of FLAK erupted from below. Hans took a sip of brandy from a flask he kept on him at all times. The likely hood was they wouldn't hit anything, but just to be sure.

Outside the scene was chaotic. The UFE force was flying on radio silent, moving to get over the middle of AG von Haken above cloud cover. This made the FLAK guns going by noise alone, meaning enemy fighters would just as likely be shot at as UFE transports. P-38s rearmed from their last mission with fresh pilots kept their eyes alive for enemy fighters, while two groups of B-26s would act as strikers, hitting FLAK positions far below. As they reached the combat space it was time to jump.

Going radio live, the signal was given to the Austrian artillery battery to open up on areas where FLAK was received from as suppressing fire as the transports dove.

Getting the green light as they reached altitude, the chutes of the UFE Imperial Guard Ranger units would open up, barely visible on this cloudy night.

Hans felt his knees impact the ground with a thud... it never got easier even with a parachute. No time. He pulled his boot knife to cut through the cord, before unlatching his thompson and taking a look around him. Reginald and twenty other men were with him. Using hand signals he motioned for them to meet up under a rock outgrowth about .1 clicks ahead.

Moving quietly the team approached the outgrowth. Huddling in, their bodies blocked the light from others to see as Hans got out a match illuminating the aerial recon photo. "Enemy position, bottom of this hill, six guns, two FLAK, four artillery. Priority target disable these guns, secondary target, kill German officers. We aren't to get bogged down in a fire fight, disable enemy fire support and C2, the rest the Austrians will take care of in their counter offensive." he said. The men nodded.

Extinguishing the flame, the team moved silently towards high ground. One of the corporals, from the Transamur raised his scope of his high powered A-T/M rifle towards the enemy position, .5 clicks down hill and down wind. Scouting around he smirked, "Yeah." he whispered. "Twenty men, most of them support, these guys aren't fronties." he said in the jargon of the unit for referring to the shock troopers of the German Army."

"We put down suppressing fire, you can get'em?" Hans asked.

"Yeah."

"Move out." Hans ordered. The team divided into two units. One group lead by Hans would move in closer, this team was outfitted with close range automatic weapons and hand grenades. A second group with four browning autos would take up position mid range.

Once positions Hans's unit threw grenades into the encampment as a signal to open up. The brownings targetted the tents of officers while drum magazines of the submachine guns laid down suppressing fire. The boom of the anti-material rounds in the AT rifle echoed through the mountain passes as round after round went int precisely on the German guns to disable them. A second clip was reloaded going off again.

"Go go go!" Hans ordered. The team pressed the attack on the rear line German unit, throwing more grenades into the mix. The Imperial Guards eyes were filled with blood lust as they descended upon the support unit executing their mission methodically and without mercy. German units who attempted to surrender would not find their attackers unwilling to do so, aside from always one or two.

The scene would be repeated across the German rear. There were ghosts in the night, and they were not in the prisoner taking business, they were in the prisoner killing business. This would have two effects. First it would force a German redeployment, without secure rear lines Germany would have to pull its crack troops from the front and use them to guard the supply lines, secondly, the German units who had gone into Austria expecting to be on the secondary or tertiary line of combat would now know be forced to always be on watch.

For their part, after mostly experiencing successes the first night, the IG units were ordered to move and blend in with the Austrian Villagers during the day. Trained in Maoist doctrine despite their European heritage, the troops would bring the lessons of the Guerrilla Master of the Orient to the villagers of Austria. The Germans would find themselves engulfed in revolutionary people's war and in a constant fight for large swathes of inhospitable country side, diluting the force they could muster against the main Austrian line.

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That may have been so - that his ideology allowed for creatures like Haas to rear their ugly heads. But at the same time, if it were not for Martens, Austria would not, in fact, even at all exist. Such details were easily forgotten however...Austria...was now a country without past, without memory - just like Germanic Union. Only with a present, and whether if they had a future or not, was yet to be decided.

He enters the room and remains with a rather serious face and demeanor, far from the light-hearted Martens that had been the norm often when he had been off duty. He does not say anything at first, but he does in fact nod respectfully before sitting down. He stares towards Kirche, red eyed, for several endless seconds, and then speaks,

"AEIOU. I have come to organize the defence of Wien."

He tilts his head forwards and then adjusts one of his several badges. He had shown up to the fight, ready for the real deal.

"Do not be fooled. Haas is using censorship to appear to be fully in control. But he does not have nearly enough support as the legitimate government had. The Valkyries and the Einherjar have decided to disobey and not fight against Austria. Many divisions have done so, and are only to be active due to the Irish meddling. The majority of the people do not support him, but do fear him. *We* have a resistance going on."

He shakes his head and his eyes become more intense.

"This man Haas is no Pangermanist. No Martencist. No Nordlander, he is simply in it for the power. This is just an excuse. He does not care for invading Austria any more than he does for invading everybody else - he simply had to start somewhere. This man is a traitor. Do you know what people in the north are calling this war? Brüderkrieg. You know what that means."

He breathes in deeply and gradually lets his air go when speaking,

"Yet in spite of it all, his forces are impressive and he will not give up. You may think that you are fighting against the whole "Germanic" concept. But you are not. You are...you are the ones that now bear the torch...the torch of our eternal fire...if Austria should fall...others will follow. Right now...Austria is the bearer of the Deutsch spirit. I recognize this. And my allegiance is to our People, not to an arbitrary state. Therefore, I will fight for Austria. You need my help and have no other choice."

He nods firmly.

"Go if you must. I will defend this city even if it costs my own life. He shall not pass. And your Government must not be captured nor killed." He balls his fists. "We must rescue our people. Haas muss sterben. We have no time to lose. Let us begin."

He spoke, with an air of calm authority, far from being at all bossy, instead having exposed a series of what he considers to be undeniable facts. There was a fire in his eyes that had not been seen since the revolution. The old Martens had returned. Yet as he spoke, Haas' Armies' advanced, and the French, misguided yet loyal, were going to arrive soon enough.

Air battle was too fierce. The experienced commanders warned the newer pilots about chasing the enemies up above. A few of them did not listen, and would fall to be a deadly example to the rest. They tried to outnumber them, this would often fail, they would have to wait for the 38s to "go in for the kill" by diving, then they would have their best chance. Nerves of steel were required for such a job, requiring patience and reflexes. Some P38s would fall, some ME109s would fall too, but the 109s' were dissapointed to realize that their aircraft did not seem to be enough to dispatch the P38s in even terms. Berlin would hear of that...and FLAK kept moving throughout the skies, as if the vatican god above were their enemy himself, trying to bring the heaven down. Sometimes, a fiery plane would drop from the clouds, but it would not always be an enemy plane. Soon, it rained men, men with parachutes ready to fight.

When being informed of this, Haas commanded: "If they send their own paratroopers, we will trump them with our own!" In a way, this was a fairly retarded idea, using paratroopers for such a task would be simply wasting the chance to go behind enemy lines. But then, he figured that only a paratrooper knew how their counterparts fought, and would be best suited to engage them. Several more squadrons of BFs arrive to the area escorting the german's own air transports. The Fallschirmjäger would join the fight.

Linz was under attack. The German Group pushed on, and had decided to organize their attack in several waves, while the armored elements would serve as an individual unit. The idea was they the Armor should move first to draw fire and destroy fortifications, when the Austrians had to focus their fire to destroy the tanks, then one of the soft-target waves would go forth, artillery barrage being first shot towards different areas under request of the tank crews. When the city seemed to hold, another wave would come, and then another to overwhelm them. The defenders mostly seemed to be militia, yet Haas' troops knew better than to overestimate them: By grenades and submachinegun fire, they would die. The German tanks seemed to prefer to avoid direct confrontation with the Austrian tanks, instead when spotting them they would request artillery support or specialist heavy infantry to attempt to take them out with bundles of grenades and other explosives - or, if some tank were lone and by itself, they might sometimes try to capture it. Others used antitank rifles to try to achieve mobility kills, or if they got lucky and could aim at the underside of a tank at times, to wreck the crew within. Those rifles weren't that good, but were certainly far better than nothing. When a German tank would be forced to fight the Austrian tanks, they would need to use very careful aim to shoot at the small slit through which the driver could see. It was not so much a matter of aiming at the gap itself, but the armor there was the weakest. Their weapons could not pierce the rest of the matilda armor other than a lucky shot on the tracks (Which had reasonable cover) and then, the underside. At least these were slow tanks, the faster germans and their infantry would take advantage of this. Above, an air battle ensued between the Austrian Airforce and the BF109's.

Salzburg's fate was sealed. The Germans had attacked with speed, and many defenders would end up in little pockets to be reduced soon with overwhelming force. When the Austrians thought that they had a reasonable chance at fending off the invaders, they would begin to hear what seemed to be the sound of a terrible siren, the most terrible siren they had ever heard. Then, upon fortified positions, upon artillery positions and upon strongholds - bombs. Someone pointed up into the air and yelled. "Stukas!" - Time and time again, the best items within Salzburg's arsenal would be targetted, while presumably fighters escorted them. People would learn quickly. The siren meant that things around them were likely to explode into pieces - afterwards, the offenders stormed the position.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZZ504TGDpE )

Innsbruck...fierce fighting would take place there. The Germans knew that using armor in the west in large number would not be a suitable choice, so the armor that they did field there was light, maneuverable, yet infantry seemed to be the core of the forces. Some cavalry could not be underestimated in such complicated terrain either. The southern detachment would become a series of smaller ad-hoc groups to fight the militia and scattered units in an independent manner, as if they were themselves the ones trying to delay a massive army. Germany knew how to play the guerilla game too. Eventually, they would come in fire from artillery when reaching the "Hallway" that the austrians had created for supply, evacuation and reinforcements: They did not try to push it. Not yet.

[i]"If we cannot use our tanks successfully, we will use the air power."[/i] - Said and done, an Air Group led by Air Admiral von Danzig would show up from the place where Germany and Switzerland met with austria, bringing large numbers of Messerschmitts and Stukas, this time the fighters were also given one simple bomb in a fairly improvised manner, to drop it quickly and then escort the airborne executioners of the Austrian artillery. Counterbattery fire would also be sent towards some of those positions, and what seemed to happen was that the german attack was essentially on hold while the artillery would be attacked, as opposed to pushing on to let the austrian's pounders pound away. While this all went on, there were smaller skirmishes everywhere. The troops did not push on, but would not remain static, to prevent being easily targetted. As soon as the Stukas started to use their bombs, then, the attack continued, cavalry and armor first, and then, everything else but the rear-area troops. The Austrians had a superior tactical position, but for the time being, they did not have enough manpower deployed at the area. van Haken moved quickly enough before that one advantage would be utterly negated. Reinforcements were already being prepared.

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Sergeant Juan Domingo Vasquez looked to his left and right as he made his way down the gangplank from the SS [i]Florida Sunrise[/i], a passenger and mail liner which had been his home for the last week or so. The moving was slow as he slowly descended the steep walkway onto the dock at Koper, the main port of the Austrian nation. The port seemed to be a flurry of activity, even though it was five-thirty in the morning, a time he made sure to check on his father's wristwatch. He sighed and pocketed the heirloom inside his right pants pocket, looking up at the sky as a duo of aircraft passed over.

'What in the hell am I doing here?' said Juan's mind, a question he had asked himself on the ride over on the tub he was currently vacating. He rolled his shoulder a bit so that his bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifle wouldn't slide from its precarious perch. His simple khaki uniform was rather comfortable, loose fitting, though his feet was still getting used to the boots, and he probably had a number of blisters covering his feet. He had sown the Sergeant's stripes on himself on the passage over the pond, having left Biloxi only a week and a half ago. One his other arm, there was a simple patch of the Hapsburg Royal Crest.

Juan was a volunteer for service, one of about one thousand Spanish Creoles who had volunteered for the La Regimente Creole, a unit which had been non-affiliated with the Cajun Federation's government. The members of La Regimente Creole had a strong affiliation with the House of Hapsburg and the Spanish Crown, and with a Hapsburg in need, the unit had volunteered for service to fight the German invasion of Hapsburg Austria. The unit had no real hope of reinforcement or support from the Cajun Federation, who had quietly turned a blind eye to the organization and arming of the unit. With only about a thousand combat-ready troops, the Creoles were a scratch force, carrying very little in the way of heavy weapons. Machineguns were in short supply, many that were available were of the water-cooled type, anti-tank weapons were also in short supply, with the only available actual anti-tank weapons being anti-tank rifles. The only personal artillery weapons that could be relied upon, were the 3-inch mortars that could be hand carried, and these were also in short supply. The unit was mostly armed with the Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifle, with a few precious Owen Submachineguns being available as well. Personal weapons self-procured, including trench guns (shotguns), pistols, semi-automatic rifles, or submachineguns.

As his platoon lieutenant had told him, what the Creoles lacked in firearms and heavy weaponry could be made up with a strong sense of duty and honor, and the legendary tough spirit of the Creoles of the Gulf Coast. All of these men were here by choice, it was an all-volunteer unit. As the hodgepodge regiment disembarked, Juan watched as the units' second in command, Major Maurice Grabin, seek out the local Austrian military commander. As many of the so-called "soldiers" disembarked, they began plopping themselves down on the expanse of the dock, awaiting orders. They had made it to their destination without incident, but what lay ahead was a much more perilous journey then just plodding across the ocean aboard a passenger liner.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, Juan sat down against another one of his platoon mates, Francisco Arroyo, a steady chum that Juan had befriended on the journey over. Francisco carried the base for the platoon's machinegun, a task in and of itself, while also carrying his own service rifle. He also carried an extra ammunition pouch for the machinegun crew, and had been dubbed the platoon's mule by the end of the voyage to Austria.

"At least we're off that infernal tub," remarked Francisco, in a dreamy voice, his eyes closed as he dozed, the regiment's platoon lieutenants were running around trying to maintain order, not that there was any at this point.

"I doubt we were even expected," scoffed Juan, as he watched Grabin look around helplessly for an Austrian military officer, haggling with a dockyard worker.

"Can't be hard to find out where the action is," replied Francisco, opening his eyes to watch Grabin as well. "Just find someone who can point us in the direction of the gunfire, and we go there."

"I'd like to get my land legs back first at least," noted Juan, stretching his legs after spending the final sixteen hours cramped in his bunk below the decks of the [i]Florida Sunrise[/i].

"Doesn't look like we have much time for that," answered Francisco, noting the approach of their platoon lieutenant, Lieutenant Enrique Martinelli, a diminutive Creole who could bark strings of orders all day.

"Up and at it, you kids, its time to form ranks!" called out Martinelli, giving Juan's rifle barrel a nudge with his boot, and pointing to the organizing Regiment. Men were grumbling as they were disturbed from their rest on the dock, and gave dirty looks to the officers who told them to gather in their platoons. They had earned their "sea" legs, it was time to earn their "land" legs, a march to the north would soon begin, who knew what lay at the end of that march?

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[i]In Vienna[/i]

Kirche liked speeches, he liked seeing people motivated and the fight for the preservation of a nation's independence was, in his mind, one of nobler reason to engage in war. On the other hand, Martens entered his office with a stride of prestige, bordering even arrogance, it was like a Northerner to do so and it made Kirche uncomfortable and upset. He pushed those feelings behind him for the sake of diplomacy however and nodded after the German had finished his call to arms. "Well a rather captivating statement, Herr Martens, and I'm glad to know that not all of Germany supports an invasion of your brother nation. Austria and Germany have had too many wars against each other, it is a shame that we once again have to spill each others blood."

He pushed himself out of his chair and walked over to the window that overlooked the capital. On the streets below, soldiers were already preparing defenses for the inevitable fight. "But this war is about Pan-Germanism, it is about Nordism, whether you want to think so or not Herr Martens. Your ideologies of the past have either influenced Haas or are influencing those he is fighting against. Every country has their dark movements, Austria had Bridgette Saenger, you have Haas. But these kinds of people crawl from the woodwork because of unbridled nationalism, because the people are not happy and while they may fear him. They still do support him. If Austria wins this war, things are going to change in Central Europe. This 'Barbarian' Nonsense is going to end. Germany has to decide, if they will continue wanting to be a Scandinavian nation or if they are finally going to become a German nation. That is there choice, but if the former is chosen. Austria will be the bearer of the German Civilization from now until forever."

Turning back around he reached over on his desk and took another puff of his cigar. "But we appreciate your help in defending the capital. Field Marshal Albrecht Molke is in charge of the Imperial Army and is overseeing the defense of Vienna. You are to work with him, not above him, in preparing the city's defenses. If you have no problems with that Herr Martens," Kirche bowed, "I wish you the best."

Meanwhile, deep within the bunker of Hofburg Palace, Molke held the second war council with Austria's commanders. With a force of only three hundred thousand, the larger German and French forces bearing down against the small European country would be it's greatest test of courage and bravery. It would also take near perfect strategy and tactics to see the invaders pushed back across the Danube and the borders into Germany. While Vienna was definitely the Germans' target, it would also be the hardest to defend given the terrain around the city. Advantages would only come from the city itself and Molke did not want to see the capital turn into a Stalingrad for the Second Austro-German War. Of all the avenues of German invasion that could realistically be pushed back, was the attack through the Alps on Innsbruck, here Austria had the advantages in the mountains and knowledge of the terrain. In addition, once the flank was secured, the forces had a variety of options. Whether to invade Germany proper, destroying supply lines or move around the border of Austria, liberating Salzburg and Linz, if those cities would in fact fall.

At the moment, seventy-five thousand men were en route to Innsbruck, and about twenty thousand of those had already arrived within the "Wedge" that the Imperial Army had created. One-hundred-fifty thousand were tasked with the task to defend Vienna and the regions around the capital, while another seventy-five thousand had been dispatched north-west towards Salzburg to attempt the push the Germans out of that border town. This plan was scrapped however, for a more aggressive push on the Western Front by the 1st Corps commanded by Ulrich Bohm. It would move a total of seventy-five thousand men, coming from both the Salzburg Campaign and the Vienna defense, pushing the 1st Corps to one hundred-fifty thousand soldiers, scores of tanks, light armor, and artillery that would bear down on the German siege around Innsbruck. Vienna would of course be weakened and more than likely Salzburg would fall, but it was a chance to have the Alps fully secured and avenues to fight in Germany and Austria at the same time. The generals around Molke were cautious but ultimately agreed and the march began.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1z5UW5_8D8"]Molke's March to the West[/url]

It would be a glorious spectacle as Vienna shouted for joy as the brave men of the 1st Corps began to fill out of the city into the countryside. Austrian banners, both Imperial and Republican flew from the windows of cafes, shops, and castles as new draftees, some barely out of college, some who had on the road to retirement shouldered their rifles and stomped along the cobblestone streets. Edelweiss fell from the windows, caught by the marching soldiers from smiling and crying women.

"Write to me!"

"Be safe!"

"Stay strong!"

Were the cries around the city as kisses were exchanged and hugs were given. It was an air of jubilation and on the balcony of Hofburg Palace, Kirche and Molke stood with determination in their eyes.

"If this operation is a success Marshal, I believe we have a much better chance to win this war. Look at the morale of the people. They're ready for a fight." Said Kirche swinging his fist. "They need to keep their faith."

Molke crossed his arms behind his back and nodded. "With the added forces, we should be able to push the Germans out of Western Austria, but I cannot say how long that will take. It could be weeks, even months before we will be able to push against Salzburg or Switzerland and you realize in that time, Vienna could very well be captured."

"Most of the government has already fled to Ljubljana, not including the Empress, she has been rather demanding in her desire to stay in Vienna until the last moment."

"If the Germans make it to the capital, I want you both to flee, perhaps even to Koper. If the Germans would push that far down into Slovenia, we can turn the army back out of the mountains and secure the south. By that time, their supply lines will be easier to intercept, but I don't think they'll reach as far as Slovenia. In addition we can defend the region from the mountains on the north of the border. We should be okay, no matter what the Germans throw at us."

"I hope to God you're right Marshal, Austria depends on it."

---

For the moment, Innsbruck was secured, the Germans were not able to move against the Austrian Wedge and with more reinforcements arriving as the days continued, Hertzog, still in command would begin his next plan of attack. The 'Wedge' was ordered to always be garrisoned by some twenty-thousand men, with the mountains all around them and the narrow roads leading out of Innsbruck blocked, the Austrians commanded what went on in the grounds below them. This kind of security, along with constant artillery barrages against German movements made every mountain and every road costly to take. Now it was time to go on the offensive and men in small skirmisher squads, some no more than fifty men would begin to leak out of the 'wedge' moving every which way through the mountains and around Innsbruck. The goal here was to begin to spread the 'Wedge' to create an 'Arc' shape of the Austrian positions. First the skirmisher units would conduct mop-up type operations through the mountains still in reach of Austrian artillery, then if those positions could be held, request the advance of artillery to these new positions. If everything would work out for Hertzog's force, the 'Wedge' would begin to expand and Innsbruck would start to have a defensive line form along it's northern and southern edges. With the Germans using the same strategy, it would become a duel of skirmishers along the mountainsides.

The city itself did not need to have a large garrison as any defenders could be pushed out with artillery fire. Innsbruck would be like the eye of a storm around it. Shell explosions and gun fire in the mountains and roads surrounding the city, but in Innsbruck itself, all was quiet. But Austrian guns were pointed at the buildings, if the Germans attempted an occupation, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

---

Salzburg of all the Austrian cities was fairing the worst during the war thus far. The Germans' surprise attack had awarded them with all the territory to the west of the Salzach River. Those defenders in the airport and at the Sports Medicine Complex were eventually either killed or captured with the terrible sounds of German aircraft bearing down upon them. This did not mean that their defense was not valiant and a good many Germans would perish before the Austrians would concede their defenses. This defense however, had bought the Salzburgers on the eastern side of the Salzach time to prepare more suitable defenses to hold back the Germans, at least momentarily. The Germans would not be facing scores of trained Imperial soldiers here, most of the Salzburg defenders were local prefects, border patrol men, and citizens who had taken up arms against the attackers. Most were armed with hunting rifles, but what weapons could be salvaged from the bombarded armory were available to defenders on the bridge and in buildings looking out on the river.

When and if the Germans would decide to approach the Salzach, they would face a barrage of bullets coming from fortified sandbag positions and ruined brick. If they would bring tanks at the vanguard across the river than those defenders armed with Anti-Tank weapons would rain shells from out of office buildings and the hospital where Elisabeth was stationed at watching the entire attack take place. In addition to the barrage of anti-tank and infantry weapons, artillery stationed on Kapuzinerberg Hill would zero in on those positioned across the river. Salzburg would be aflame within moments with the sounds of whistling shells and bright explosions in the mid-morning light. It was a warm day and the inferno taking over the city only made it hotter.

Austria's air force still being prioritized over Linz could only offer minimal defense against the German planes, but this combined with anti-air fire could at least damage the German offensive. Molke had already come to terms that there was only a slim chance that Salzburg could be saved. It would be up to the courage of her defenders if the city were to stay free. Elisabeth held the defense in her heart as she looked at Anna laying in the bed, still crying in her sleep. The doctors and nurses had all been given a rifle of their own and she was prepared to use it, just not prepared to face the consequences of doing so.

---

For the defense of Linz a combination of air power and urban defense would keep the German echelons at bay. With the low-lying plains, the Germans would have the advantage of speed, but Austrian Spitfires would have clear shots against the aggressors. If the Germans would push into the city, however, they would find themselves in the stone and metal trap that was not too far off from what was going on in the mountains above Innsbruck. Linz defenders, who were a mixture of Imperial soldiers, prefects, and citizens, would make every street costly to take and it would require a combination of artillery, infantry movement, and armor support to push down streets. Of course, the Austrians would use the same strategy and with the Magdalena tank at the forefront, Germany would see that Austria too had the capability to make superior weapons.

One did not need the Rhineland to have industry and expert industry at that.

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Denard and Dellion look at each other with a bit of amazement. Bob asks, "Hey Dellion, what is wrong with your uniform?"

"What, don't these knee length shorts look just charming?" Dellion asks back.

"Ughh, I think I drank way too much and woke up in another timeline or something. Anyone trying to kill us?" Bob asks.

"Yep."

"What the hell? Who?"

"The Germans."

"Oh, well I guess it can't be that bad then. Right, where we gonna go kill us some Hun?"

"Salzburg I do believe," Dellion replies.

"Alright, 1st to lead, 3rd to take up tail end charlie. We'll make the run into Salzburg at night rather than get the snot shot out of us during the dayling. Have the lads load up extra fuel, food, medical supplies, and ammo. Lots and lots of ammo," Denard says.

With the order given the African Legion begins to scramble to load up their packs and mules with supplies. It isn't an outrageously long march into Salzburg, which prompts the long legged Africans to load up with more supplies than normal for their brothers in arms in the Austrian Army. They do have a small but robust mechaniced component that is a small force in its own right. The Legion Logistical and Support Brigade can be heard warming the engines of their heavy trucks in the distance as they prepare to move out.

Heavy Artillery pieces, towed anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft pieces, and other implements of war are the property of the Legion LSB. A single 175 mm Artillery Company, with another full 155 mm Artillery Battalion is further backed up with another 2 battalions of 105 mm artillery. These units aren't road marched together either. They are scattered about properly and they utilize the American Time on Target techniques for dropping a devestating barrage that lands more or less at the same time on a small target for horrorific effects.

The last bit of hardware that is of interest is the Legion's Single Armored Regiment. It is a straight formation of tanks and armored cars with a mobile artillery and anti-aircraft weapons. The Legion's 4th Regimental Combat Team is to be held in the rear for the time being as the bulk of the fighting in Salzburg seems to be urban warfare, the sort they'd prefer to avoid having their tanks caught up in.

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A smile came to the face of Hans as he read reports of Germans across the country side attempting to play guerilla. It was somewhat amusing because for the attacker, playing guerrilla warfare was simply bad strategy, they had the overwhelming force, why not apply it? Without the support of the natives it made very little difference. The Austrians would give away German positions and ambushes, but not their own native ones nor their allies. So far Hans claimed twenty helmets to his name. He expected to get more soon.

The introduction of air power by the Germans had proved to be something of a nuisance. The unit had to limit attacks mostly to night where close in air support would be just as dangerous for the Germans as for the Allies. It'd be really nice if sometime in the future someone would invent some type of visual device with which one could see at night... a night vision if you will.

Hans say a hand signal out of the corner of his eye. The team sniper had seen something. Peering out from behind the rocks he was buried in, he say the feint orange glow of a cigarette in the distance. "What do you see." he said.

Corporal Boris Yuri looked peering closely. "German patrol. Cavalry." he said. "Permission to engage, eyes on enemy... rank captain."

"Granted." Hans said. The sound of the rifle firing rang out in the night as the Captain of the enemy unit went down, a second shot was fired, two more browning rifles opened up into the position as Hans and the close range units moved close in for the ambush. As the Germans attempted to dismount, Hans tossed a grenade into the mix sending shrapnel into one horse and causing the rest to flee in panic. The unit then advanced with sub machine gun fire before closing the distance around them.

Of the patrol of 20, about 8 were left alive when they had taken them all hostage. Hans stood one up, he appeared to be a 2nd Lieutenant... a von Whatevertropp, probably old Prussian. "You." Hans said drawing his dagger.

He got out a map. "Show me where the German positions are around here on this map."

"Go $%&@ yourself." the young lieutenant said. "You !@#$@#$ Austrians with your morals... you can't do !@#$ to me."

"Well I ain't an Austrian." Hans said.

"Still... what am I going to do "rot" in a warm prison cell on the Mediterranean till my compatriots rescue me?" the lieutenant retorted.

"I think you're mistaking us for someone else. We ain't Austrian, and we ain't in the German prisoner takin' business we're in the german killin' business. Now you'll tell me what I want to know, or my associate here, will take a base ball bat, and bash your $%&@in' brains in." Hans said with a smirk.

Reginald had in the past several days, evolved from a timid first private, to a hardened almost psychotic killer of germans. Stepping out of the shadows he tapped a base ball bat against one hand.

"Now. You wanna show me where you friends are?" Hans said.

"$%&@ off." the German retorted.

"Fair enough." Hans dismissively said. He got his flask out and offered it to the man. "Final drink?" he said.

The German took a swig and knocked it on the floor causing it to spill.

"Now that's just not kosher." Hans said picking it up and lamenting the remaining contents. Raising his sub machine gun he aimed it at the man hand and fired a round straight through it. "$%&@ him up." Hans ordered.

"With pleasure." Reginald replied. Raising the bat behind this head, Reginald envisioned the mans face as a giant water melon, he then swung the bat at full speed. Hans winced, the site before him was not the most pleasant in the world.

Hans turned to the rest of the captured men. "Now. As you can see, I'm not in the mood to deal with this !@#$ today, so which one of you are going to tell me what I !@#$@#$ want to know on this map?" he demanded.

"I will sir..." one of them said. Stepping forward. The man, another old prussian family by his looks stepped forwards pointing to some open areas on the map. Hans nodded. From behind one of the men shot up the supposed traitors knee caps.

Hans stepped on the wound, "You think we're !@#$@#$ stupid?" he demanded. "Yeah, we're going to waltz into an open field to get shot up. Next time you try to play hero... or in your case villian... try to come up with a better plan. Now... because of your associates selfishness, you get no final drink so think long and hard because you either get a hit of morphine or a hit of a Louisville slugger, where the $%&@ are the German positions?" Hans demanded.

The man meekly pointed to several positions. Hans twisted his boot. Writhing in agony the man yelled out, "Sorry sorry." he exclaimed, "Here." he pointed to others north, in thickets. "There we go." Hans said. "But unfortunately for you, as I said, we ain't in the German prisoner takin' business, we in the German killin' business."

Walking off finishing the last of the booze, he heard the sounds of automatic weapons fire behind them. He then gave his orders, "There's no chance they krauts don't have a patrol heading over here right now. Lets pack up and move out, reset the ambush." Hans ordered. "... And see if one of those mother $%&@ers has a flask."

==================================================================

The Imperial Guard air units were meanwhile engaged in defending Innsbruck. Outnumbered by the Luftwaffe, the P-38 forces would stay at high altitude for most of the fighting. While it was brutal to do. The P-38s were ordered to not engage the German air force on its approach. That would be left to Austrian anti-air. The P-38s would get chewed up but the Germans in attrition even with high kill ratios. Instead, they'd be there to get the Germans on the way out. After the German planes carried bombs all the way to Austria evading air defenses, Austrian interceptors, and executing fuel guzzling maneuvers, they'd be hard pressed to fly dogfights on the way home. This is where the P-38s would engage them. Staying at very high altitude over relatively friendly territory, P-38s would loiter using their superior fuel reserves. Then when an enemy force was spotted they'd swoop in. With nose guns they'd have good first shot ability on Luftwaffe planes returning to Germany. Taking advantage of the kinetic energy of the dive, and speed, going past the first wave, they'd bait the Germans into attempting to follow them upwards, something, the Bf-109s couldn't hope to do. If they did, they'd be forced to guzzle their fuel to get back home. If they did not, they'd rarely have a shot at a P-38 and the P-38s would just repeat the process. If there were too many Bf-109s, the P-38s simply had the option not to engage the unit. The results of these tactics would be the steady degradation of skilled Luftwaffe pilots. Even if Germany could keep up in the industrial production game with the units the UFE was producing for Austria at this very moment, the more skilled pilots they lost, the less they'd have to train their newcomers with, and the more the Austrian pilots would have a chance to improve.

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"You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. But when we later cross into the Germanic Union's borders, we will then both see the reality with our own eyes...and know."

He nods. "Remember that Haas is an Austrian himself."

Martens found him a very disagreeable man. A man that viewed the situation through a very narrow scope, one that could not see the greater picture. He spoke with confidence about that which he could see, but for a man like Martens, Kirche focused on a little rock while unable to see the mountain. It did not matter. He soon meets up with Molke and the others, and begin to discuss Wien's defence but also the strategy to be used in the war as a whole.

Martens' opinion is simple, "Using too many resources in the west is not a good idea. You might be able to delay the German army indefinitely there, but winning in the west is not going to win us the war. Instead we have got to bring together as many of our tanks as we can and use them in the east where the terrain is most favorable. So far, Germany cannot field tanks that can defeat them...this is a key advantage which will come...and go. Their antitank guns are also unable to deal with them. If we make enough Panzer Divisions in the east, we can waltz through the invaders and push them back to their land. Give me your tanks and I will ruin their day, I assure you. Even if we win in the west and push them back, we'll just find our fate reversed in their mountains. East is key. Do not divert to the west."

By then, he was adjusting an Austrian uniform that he had been given, although he kept a Germanic Union pin on it - the actual flag, not the one Haas has been using. Shortly thereafter he would seen moving through Wien, coaching in particular those who he perceived to be ill-trained, especially Militia. The men were determined to defend, but were also understandably scared, Martens' prescence was hoped to be a morale boost enough to turn this situation around. He would be waiting on the decision regarding the Panzer units - he had had the nerve to request the most important, most expensive pieces of the land army! - But he was confident that he would be able to crush the German War Machine with them.

News reached Berlin and the world that Kaiser Martens was helping Wien. This seemed to be a big shock to Haas, who reportedly exploded in anger, and presumably would cause some dissent among the Germanic ranks. Still, a few did see in this a chance to get rid of his influence once and for all. As Martens sat onto an improvised command wagon which drove him around the city, as he gave different orders for the building of fortifications and more, he received news from Linz. As expected, the Germanic Units there had done a fine job wiping out the defenders, and with the arrival of the French forces, whatever will to resist that the already overwhelmed units there had, had been broken.

Still, such a victory had not come for free. Spies also reported that the Germans' advance had forced to been halted after the victory for repairs and reinforcements. Also they were quite dissapointed to see the superiority of Austrian tanks, to which they had yet to have an answer. Unknowingly to all, Haas had decided to develop new weaponry, but would not wait for it to be ready - he would push on Wien soon. The defenders of Linz had been able to stall the German Army just enough...soon, they would go on advancing while air battles and skirmishes were still seen. But Wien had a good number of extra hours to be ready. The Battle of Vienna would later begin.

Salzburg was too faring poorly, although it would too cost many German lives. Like in Linz, the Austrians at this point of the war would not be completely aware of this, and would perhaps be proud once that they eventually found out, but although Germanic Propaganda was indeed portraying the fall of Salzburg as a great defeat, the fact that they had to pause to refit, regroup and receive reinforcements betrayed that fact. The city had turned into a hell, the pounding of all guns had damaged much of it and forced many civilians to simply flee or die - and even some soldiers in both sides. It would then be the stillness after and before the storm. Due to blurry intelligence, Austrian forces overestimated the German troops, but then the Germans thought that they had so far faced the elite of the Austrian army, and were mistaken into thinking that the rest should be much easier to defeat. Within a matter of hours, they would move on, the battle would resume. What would happen then?

The air battle was quite different however. The Luftwaffe had no trouble dealing with most that the Austrian Airforce had to offer, but that did not stop these from causing very significant damage. And then the P38s continued to be a nightmare and a hue dissapointment to Haas, who was starting to run out of ideas. This had a profound impact on the battle of Innsbruck. It would not be solved easily, there would be artillery shots back and forth without interruption for days. The Germans tried now and then to seize different parts of the city, it was all a mess and resembled the ancient world war one. They had given up on trying to encircle Innsbrueck, and, after a while, decided to cancel the failed attack waves, Berlin had decided to mass-up many, many more soldiers to then do a decisive, frontal push. But organizing this would take a long time - so until then, the battle in the west was a mix of guerilla warfare with continuous rains of shells onto both sides. Would it be the new Verdun? When the attack continued, the world would know...

At Berlin, Haas sat watching the news and was presented with a captured - the only one captured - Magdalena tank. In fact, it was not even a tank, but was put together by several pieces of broken, unusable captured ones. It would be examined...studied...improved upon. He ordered that the PzI and II chassis had their turrets removed to be fitted with guns good enough to pierce the Magdalena - long barrel 50mms, although even then it was sketchy. Therefore, a new, 75mm gun would be created. It would take a rather long time to get any of this ready, so, the upcoming battle of innsbruck nor the battle of wien would be able to benefit from such improvements. Haas had thought that the BF109 would be good enough to tackle anything that the enemy might be able to send their way, however, he was now upon the painful realization that, obviously, two engines were stronger than one. He decided, simply enough, to send his own similar aircraft, hoping that these would not be bound to fail. FW189...Fokker GI... FW187... Me410. These had all been developed and produced yet not adopted for frontline use as they were less maneuverable than the BFs. But now it seemed that only through the use of these, fighting the enemies on even terms would be possible. The BFs have long ceased to try to hunt the P38s excepting when these dive down for the kill, and some of them even go back to their bases. Instead, a number of squadrons of the other planes would be sent forth. They had been tested, but never in combat, so it seemed to be a bit of a gamble. They would approach already on high altitude to try to reach the enemy where the BF failed to do so. And the battle continues.

Hans' luck might be running out. As they moved north, already the "Green Devils", the German Parachutists deployed early, were waiting in ambush themselves. Tackling these would be quite different than the rear-area units that they had run into so far. With their rifles and submachineguns, they wait, concealed within trees, folliage, even within the ground, invisible for all practical purposes. They were going to end up the killing spree, even if it would cost them their own lives. Haas needed more victories, else he might end up hanged like good old Benito by his own folk...

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While Martens went to prepare the defenses of Vienna, Molke joined Kirche at Hofburg Palace to oversee the reports which had just come back from the front. As feared, the lightly defended cities of Salzburg and Linz could not hold up against the entirety of the German invasion force. It had come too suddenly with too much force, it could not be expected of urban guards and militia to turn back a serious invasion. However, the amount of time that the defenders had bought Vienna was enough to call up a force of two hundred thousand volunteers who would defend the gateway from Northern Austrian into Slovenia. These troops were spread out from the shores of the Danube to the Alps, but the largest concentration of forces were centered in the now, abandoned capital. All except Kirche had fled to Ljubljana, but he had decided to stay to see the city defended to the last. If need be he could be evacuated, but Austria needed her Chancellor and they needed Vienna, he would not leave.

Molke would be staying as well to run the actual defense of the city, while Martens may think he was in control, he was not and his suggestions to the Austrian Grand Strategy, while discussed, were ultimately turned down. Austria had, in Molke's mind, out performed the Germans at both Linz and Salzburg and those were with barely trained militia regiments. Instead, the 1st Army that was ordered to march West would continue to do so, a great portion arriving at the edge of Innsbruck around the time that the assault on Vienna would take place. Part of Molke believed that while Martens was in exile, he might be trying to restore the idea of 'Greater Germany' much as Haas was doing, just through a different measure.

To the soldiers in Vienna itself, while a fear of the unknown and what was ahead did exist in their heads, to say they would not be ready to fight was a grave misjudgment. Many of them were in fact Austrian soldiers, men who had served in the army since the creation of new state. Some of them had been Royalists, others had been Republicans, but this war would be their unifying factor. For the younger draftees, man and woman alike, they would find courage in the stories of older battles, along with the defenders in Linz and Salzburg, who were just beginning to reach the outskirts of Vienna.

In this caravan of prefects, guards, soldiers, and mangled tanks Elisabeth Amsel was still standing guard over Anna Lechmann's misfortune of losing her fiance in the first hours of fighting. Vienna to her was just another stopping point on the long road to the Adriatic Coast. The Germans had been close behind the Austrian columns and she had not slept in days. By the time that the battalion she was assigned to stopped, she threw her bags and gun off to the side of a Viennese sidewalk and tilted her head back. Sleep was nearly upon her, when she heard the rattling of metal cups to her right. She turned and adjusted her military beret, to see another young man sit beside her. He looked about the same age as her, just out of college, with the sorrow of fear in his eyes.

"Oh, I didn't mean to bother you if I did. I've been making a commotion everywhere I go, these damn cups."

Elisabeth smiled, pushing herself up from the wall. "Do you need to carry your entire mess kit around with you? It won't get in the way when the Germans arrive?"

"I'm hoping they're not arriving at all and I can throw this gun away too." The boy chuckled. "I wasn't much of an athlete in school, I don't know how they expect me to fight a war. That German guy is giving drills a few blocks away. They're all mad, no wonder that country believes in war gods, all they do is talk about war."

She grinned, "You're a college student aren't you?"

"Tobias Unger, Music major at the University of Vienna." He said extending his hand.

"Elisabeth Amsel, Pre-Med at the University of Salzburg."

Tobias' eyes widened as he took off his cap and bowed his head. "Mademoiselle, my apologies, I didn't know I was in the presence of a genius." He ran a hand through his short brown hair and blushed. Elisabeth blushed in return as her sleep faded from thought. Anna was safe with the battalion for now and she needed a friend so far away from everything that was real with the world. For the next few hours she and Tobias talked about everything under the sun, all trying to push out of both their minds that the Germans would be arriving soon, with their French allies. Then they would be expected to defend Vienna, it would be their baptism of fire and a new friendship pushed to the limit.

Meanwhile in Innsbruck, the arc forming around the city continued to push further into German lines. The mop-up campaigns were finding various units of Germans within the mountain roads and were quickly fired upon and pushed back. With the added troops from Vienna, it was the 1st Army's hope that Innsbruck would be secured within the next week and that they could turn their force in attacking the German flanks in Salzburg and perhaps even break the border and advance on Munich. However this was only a hope, the Battle for Innsbruck had really only just begun and the arc was still being pushed. Artillery fire was a constant and much of the town had been evacuated. The two large armies, German and Austrian now stared at each other from across the mountain tops, skirmishers battling throughout the narrow trails, but everyone wondered would this be a battle of endurance and nerve, or would the dike finally break and both armies surging at each other over the peaceful Alpine town.

Austria's future hung in the balance, two battles would decide it's fate.

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OOC: For the duration of the Battle of Vienna, dotcom will be in charge of both his own, French forces, as well as AG Gebivson-Mannelig plus its luftwaffe groups. Also for simplicity, I'll just refer to the battles in the East and West.

IC:

[i]On the West...[/i]

When the Austrians pushed, they at first seemed to have a relatively easy fight for them, which may at different points stimulate them to be overly eager about advancing. But then, it was a matter of time - a matter of time for the German Artillery to get the information of the "Stabbing" into their lines, then concentrated fire would fall upon the defenders. Afterwards, a mix of armor and cavalry would be sent to cover the "patch" on the line, or if the terrain allowed - which it often did not - to flank the ongoing attack. Then these defenders would go on with their counterattack. The result was a constant back and forth between both armies. Which group would break down first?

Over the other side of the mountains, Haas was preparing a relief force of 150k more soldiers plus their brigades to eventually move in and overwhelm the Austrians at Innsbrück and around. But this would take a long time. The operation would be known as: Unternehmen Eisbrecher - Operation Icebreaker. The composition of the army, which was yet to be deployed, was as following:

[quote][i]Task Force Donnerkeil[/i] (General Sokolovnikov) 15 divisions of 10k soldiers each, plus brigades below.
1.Panzerjäger I
2.Marder II/III
3.Heavy Infantry
4.FLAK 88+ Hanomag Armored Truck
5.Neubaufahrzeug Ausf. B (Enhanced armor, no secondart turrets, main turret has a long barrel 75mm)
6.Wespe 105mm SPG
7.155mm + Hanomag Armored Truck
8.Nebelwerfer 41 + Hanomag Armored Truck
9.Battle Engineers + Hanomag
10.Sturmpioneere + Hanomag
11.Flakpanzer 38(t)
12.Panzer IIIJ
13.Prussian Cavalry
14.PAK 50mm (Antitank gun) + Truck
15.Jäger (High mobility infantry)[/quote]

Plus a variety of BF-109s and German Fighter Biplanes for air defence and several Junkers Ju88 as a level bomber.
They would get the job. They had to. But the plan could not be rushed...the group had to be assembled just right. Maybe in a week or so, it would be deployed. Until then, replacements for lost troops and material was sent to the west, but nothing to constitute any new divisions.

----------

Martens, at Vienna, felt quite frustrated that they had not listened to him. They all kept sending reinforcements everywhere, to the west, even to the south where there was yet to be any other combat. But Vienna? Vienna received fewer troops than he thought it should, and there were certainly no Panzer Divisions available, only scattered tanks. He sighs, and either way continues to patrol the town to verify that the construction of pillboxes, trenches and refugees are in order. He has some of the supply depots moved to entirely new areas, after deeming some of them as "easily bombable". The troops dislike having to do this extra job, but it would pay off later. So was the war. He did not rest, nor would he rest anytime soon. He has had some cavalry groups move ahead and outside of Wien, they would report upon the movements of the German and French armies. He went back to coach several militians on the use of antitank guns, as he waited for the unholy alliance of Parisiennes and Berlinese to strike. He would resist by sheer willpower, because even if the Austrian high command may blunder, Haas himself had been blundering profusely.

[i]"We will push them back. It will be just like in the Silver Revolution. Your grandparents must have told you about that. How the French and the Western Germans had surrounded our city, this very city. But we pushed them back, them and their hordes. And because of that, we are still able to speak our language and have our own lives."[/i]

OOC, EDIT: Fizzy will command, out of the new divisions: 8,11,10,13,1. This will be known as "Detachment <whatevergeneralname that fizzy comes up with>". That is all.

Edited by Kaiser Martens
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Legion Infantry formations rarely ever travel on the road during the daylight. More often than not they make an overland march to a point along the roadway where they are picked up by their transports at dark and then deposited back into the forest once the sun pops up. Legion travels in this matter to reduce its exposure to aerial bombardment as several of the Legionnaires had witnessed the sad result of a convoy caught in the open during the day.

Many tend to mistake the Legion for being a light infantry formation. This simply isn't the case. The Legion is loosely used as a numerical modifier for native forces by bringing a supply of well trained men to the scene to reinforce Austrian forces and other colonial formations. Training is harsh, the pay is terrible, but morale is as always incredibly high. Serving with the unit that had fought nearly to the last man at Dengali is sort of a spiritual quest of sorts for many young Africans and lately young Austrians.

The Legion approach to Salzburg is done mostly at night. They take their time moving into the region as they move under cover to avoid detection. It is one thing to see small groups of troops roaming the countryside, but another to see a huge column marching towards the sounds of the guns. This approach might seem lackadaisical to some, but to the Legionnaires the indirect approach or the economization of forces is what wins battles. In short, being at the right place at the right time with more firepower than the enemy.

Small Legion Pathfinder Teams quietly make contact with Austrian forces defending Salzburg. A rapid exchange of food, ammunition, and other supplies is made for information and the wounded. A Legion hospital set up to the rear is soon quite busy treating the Austrian wounded. The first units to arrive to the south Salzburg aren't the majority of the infantry, but doctors and support troops.

Support Troops in the form of Engineers. Denard doesn't entirely expect to hold Salzburg, and with this in mind he ordered his Engineers forward to prepare a fallback position. Mines, tank traps, and trenches are dug for the defense of vital choke points along the lines of advance and retreat to Salzburg. Legionnaires are positioned as the 1st through 3rd Regimental Combat Teams push forward and further reinforced by supplementing their numbers with ancillary Austrian forces. If anything this will give the lines of supply more security and defense as the choke points are also defended with generous amounts of light anti-aircraft weapons. Legion movement isn't confined to the bolstering of their route of advance.

Pathfinder teams with the primitive communications devices are sent to the far right and left flanks as well. No sense in leaving those areas unsecured from German probes. Sharpshooters and mobile machine gun teams are sent directly to the Austrian line and slotted into the weak points to bolster the defenses. With them go three batteries of 25 pound anti-tank guns. The goal being to ensure Salzburg stands until the time is right to push the Germans back across the border without having to commit the entire reserve available to the region. Well, not the only reserve as there is the small matter of the Legion 4th Regimental Combat Team (Armored) and it's location.

The 4th is kept well to the rear with outriders mounted on motorcycles and small agile all terrain vehicles well forward keeping their eyes open for German flank attacks and other breakthrough attempts. The very idea that the Germans are willing to settle for a slugging match for a city like Salzburg strikes Denard as a bit thick. He wouldn't bother with the place, he'd just bomb it flat, surround it, and bypass it using rapidly moving mobile forces. Resorting to what amounts to modern day trench warfare leaves Denard questioning the sanity of the German High Command, but if anything, it is a wild stroke of luck for Austria and the African Legion.

Maybe not so lucky for the 333rd Air Pursuit Wing and their 36 Spitfires waiting quietly in their concealed hangars due to the boredom. The men chafe under their orders to stay on the ground until word is sent, but they follow their orders. To do otherwise would either get them kicked out of the Legion or shot. Not many are willing to risk both.

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As the enemy amassed Bf-109s and Junkers they would be in for a nasty surprise. The UFE had kept its air force grounded for several days, the reasons were unknown. In reality it was a mission of terrible secrecy and deadly effect. Operation Slam was made possible by the arrival of the UFEs closest global maritime pre-positioning task forces and the equipment they provided, full cannon and rocket packages and parts to assemble more P-38s as a result; the UFE now had sufficient concentration of forces to mount their plan. A larger than normal group of of 84 P-38s were organized for the operation. Lead squadrons were equipped with incendiary bombs and flares. Behind them, planes were equipped with nose cannons and rockets.

At around 2:00 am the operation would begin. Hans and his men would hit German forward observation outposts like clockwork. In the chaos, the enemy would have little chance to report the flight overhead towards Germany of high flying P-38s.

With the Germans unable to really bomb effectively in the dimly lit mountain passes at night without risking significant friendly fire casualties this was determined to be the time to initiate a maximum effective strike. As the enemy was based near Munich, the lights of the city would be used to guide the planes in the general direction, from there previous intercepts had given the UFE a pretty good idea where the main southern enemy air base was.

Descending down from cloud cover the lead squadrons litup the area by dropping down flares to illuminate the enemy before barreling upwards. Barreling down, using their superior accuracy of the nose cannon, pilots engaged FLAK positions while armor piercing bombs were launched into the runways to crater them. Then total hell broke loose.

P-38s executing a carefully planned waves used their cannons and rockets against the Junkers as the primary targets, Me-109s were also priority targets but slightly secondary. Additional targets one the way out were enemy fuel and ammo stores which were targeted with armor penetrating bombs followed up be incendiary bombs. This was done last so as not to obstruct the view of pilots engaging planes. However, it would leave maximum out of control fires and severely hinder the enemy's capability of damage control.

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Lieutenant General Avina was not an 'armchair' general. She had taken inspiration from the very beginning of her career as an officer from the likes of Napoleon and Walther Model, both of whom commanded their troops from the frontlines--sometimes even leading the charge personally. As such when the French troops met the German forces and merged under her command after the battle of Linz, the first thing she did was lead an inspection of the troops and the equipment, ensuring all was up to par before the most important battle in the Eastern theatre of the war. Avina divided the 300,000 troops into five main army groups, each with 60,000 troops; each army group was further broken down into three divisions of 20,000.

[quote]Each division of 20,000 was backed up by,

I. KV-1 Heavy Tank Brigade, each led by one KV-2 unit
II. T-34 Medium Tank Brigade
III. 76mm Anti-Air Gun mounted on SdKfz 251 half-track armoured car
IV. Katyusha Multiple-Rocket Launcher System
V. Hummel self-propelled gun
VI. 152mm/122mm artillery gun
VII. Cannone da 90/53 anti-tank gun mounted on SdKfz 251 half-track armoured car
VIII. SdKfz 164 Tank Destroyer[/quote]

Whatever the Austrians had, it was no match for the KV-1 and T-34, Avina thought, satisfied. The troops were prepared for urban combat within the streets and buildings of Vienna, and had absolutely no intention of failure--it was not even a possibility in their minds. The invaders had fought their way through the defences outside Vienna, and now they stood at the outskirts of the city itself, preparing to begin the assault. Meanwhile, above, the Luftwaffe air forces' bombers, escorted by interceptor fighters, routinely launched from German air bases towards Vienna; their target was to cripple any supply routes into and out of Vienna, and prevent the Austrians from bringing in any more troops or supplies.

The next day, as the sun barely began to rise above the horizon outside Vienna, the Katyusha launchers lined up outside the city began to unleash their payload, firing salvos of 48 310mm M-31 rockets from each truck. The rockets were targeted at known key supply depots, factories, production centres, and military positions. As soon as they fired their payload, the trucks were on the move again to avoid counter-battery fire. As this happened, the main bulk of the invading forces began to push into Vienna in waves, using a two-pronged pincer, with two main forces driving in from the northeast and northwest. First the KV-1 brigades entered the fray, each helmed by a single KV-2 unit, accompanied by a T-34 brigade, with lighter AFVs and infantry units following in their wake. The KV's, with their front and side armour almost immune to shells ranging up to 7.5 cm in diametre (and certainly could take the Matilda tank's 2-pounder gun), were expected to be a key element in the first wave, clearing the path of enemy armour and equipment before the infantry that followed would focus on clearing out the Austrian troops left behind. All the while, the 152mm and 122mm artillery, aided by the Hummel self-propelled artillery systems, battered the enemy positions, making the push of the KV/T-34 forces into the Vienna perimetre even easier.

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Juan had been marching side by side with Francisco for the better part of two and a half days since they got haphazard orders to move out from Koper. With no real motorized transport inherently their own, the La Regimente Creole had to rely on their own sets of feet. Already twenty of their number had left the ranks, complaining of foot pain or just exhaustion as they marched northeast to join the battle. They had stopped in the late evenings, and rose in the early mornings, sleeping mostly under the stars, sometimes in barns when a friendly farmer appropriated their property to them for the night.

Many had no real sleeping apparatus, finding soft spots on the ground to lay, using their packs as pillows as they crumpled to the ground, their legs cramping from the nonstop marching. A number of men were wearing broken shoes, some none at all. But they had a purpose for why they were here, they had volunteered for this test of endurance, and even the twenty that had dropped out of the ranks looked pained to say anything along the lines of giving up. Juan wiped his brow with his red handkerchief as Francisco took a swig of water from his canteen, the baseplate of the machinegun he was carrying weighing his tired shoulders down. Juan had actually shared the burden of the heavy nuisance as well, as they marched towards Vienna, the only destination they knew. Every town and city along the way was just a blur, another stop along the way to Vienna, that was their destination, the city needed all the help it could get.

Juan scoffed at that thought, 'all the help it could get'? What help would they be? They had no real training, and were a ragtag crew of soldiers that shared a khaki uniform with that Hapsburg seal patch on it. The march had broken down most of the organization, whoever could march faster was up front, whoever straggled, was behind, there was no order, just a column of around a thousand men marching in one direction. Juan grumbled at the added weight he had also picked up today, in the form of twenty stripper clips of .303 ammunition for his rifle, from one of the men who had given into the attrition of the march. Despite the relatively light weight of the new burden, at this point in the march, any extra weight felt twice or three times as heavy as it actually was.

They had seen a sign that reported that they were slowly crawling forward towards the junction town of Neunkirchen, about halfway between Graz and Vienna. Juan and Francisco marched with their heads down, exchanging remarks every so often about their surroundings, but paying little attention. News was filtering down the ranks that the Germans and their allies were at the gates of Vienna, and that this would probably be the battle royale of this conflict. Their pace may have quickened at this news, Juan didn't know, but he did feel like the towns seemed to not take so long to pass through. News had also been whispered that the air war over Austria had intensified, and that the Germans were beginning to try to interdict any movement into Vienna. Many times, when any aircraft could be heard, whether friend or foe, they would dive into the ditches or get off the road.

That is why, when a cry was heard in the ranks, "AIRCRAFT!" Francisco and Juan scrambled towards a bunch of bushes on the side of the road. The movement was almost automatic to them now as they dove into the shallow ditch, which was overgrown with bushes that crashed as the ragtag group of Creole 'soldiers' took cover. Francisco quickly set up the base for the platoon's machinegun, whose carrier, he suddenly realized, had ended up in the [i]other[/i] ditch.

"Idiota!" cried out the machinegunner, Sergeant Pancho Urribe, pointing at Francisco.

"Idiota?!" called out Francisco, angrily. "You're in an open ditch you fool!"

"Quiet in the ranks!" yelled Lieutenant Jose Alvada, giving both of them an annoyed look.

"Not like that machinegun would be much help against an aircraft moving more then two-hundred and fifty miles per hour," grumbled a soldier, next to Juan, who nodded in agreement. A nervous-looking chap who had his rifle pointed upwards looked at them, as they both looked at him, and he blushed, and lowered the weapon.

"Stay down!" yelled Alvada, looking through his field glasses up at the aircraft.

The Creoles huddled in their ditches, most preferring to stare at the grass and mud, few looking up at what could be death. You'd think they were trying to avoid being sighted by a great flying beast, as their lips moved in silent prayer. Juan took the moment to hunker down a little farther next to Francisco and kiss his crucifix, before slipping it back under his uniform tunic.

"You really think Our Savior is going to be able to suddenly give pilots worse eyesight?" questioned the soldier, who had muttered about the ineffectiveness of a machinegun against aircraft.

"At this point, I'll take whatever help I can get, since we don't have anything to properly shoot those buggers with," retorted Juan, looking back at his counterpart.

The man considered the answer for a bit, and shrugged, "Amen." They both looked up again, to see whether the planes would begin raining death upon them, or if they had just gotten their tunics muddied again because they had no way of knowing, at that altitude, whether they were friendly or not.

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[i]Vienna...[/i]

For invaders attempting to take the capital city of an enemy nation, they had gall. One barrage of rocket attacks and then an advance? Molke had believed that the German and French alliance would have at least mounted a siege as they had done with Innsbruck. This battle would most likely destroy Vienna, but in return he believed with a line of two-hundred thousand troops stretching towards the Alps would be enough to either turn the advance, or hold long enough to make taking Vienna too costly to continue the march south. He had also heard the rumors passing through the lines, that the enemy general, Avina, was leading her troops personally. This would be one of the main objectives of the Austrian Special Operations Units moving through the city. If Avina could be killed, it would break the morale of the French and Germans, making victory much easier. Or at least it would inspire the Austrians to fight harder. The other rumor that persisted and this was answerable the moment the Allied attack was using both German equipment and a form of Russian equipment. If French tanks could then be decommissioned, not even totally destroyed, they would be inoperable. Russian and German equipment were non-interchangeable and it would create a logistical nightmare for the coalition forces.

To drive this strategy home it wouldn't be a counter barrage against the Katyusha rockets, though that would come later, it would be an attack from the air. The Allied forces had not brought air support for their beginning attack or in their barrage and no matter how close it might have been, it would not be able to arrive to completely push the Austrian air-strike away. Spitfires and Avro Linz (Lancaster) Bombers would fly through the smokey Viennese sky and pepper the rocket deployments with bullets and bombs respectively. There was always the possibility for anti-air counter-fire and of course the Allied Air Force showing up after the initial attack, but Molke had faith that this first assault would at least completely stop or delay further rocket barrages against Viennese defenses. In addition to that move, the Austrian air attack was also told to do what they could to pepper and harass the enemy advance into Vienna. While there were doubts to the effectiveness of this move, the fact that Avina was assaulting the city with such a large number of forces there were sure to be easy pickings in the open fields to the north-east and north-west of the capital.

Meanwhile, the Allied advance would have to be contested.

It was true, the Allied armor would be tricky to deal with as the armor was thicker and the guns larger than the Germans had used previously. However the general German strategy of war had also been followed and Austria was ready to deal with a tank charge. Given that the Allies had not engaged in sufficient reconnaissance movements to detect where Austrian artillery had been placed their bombings, while severely damaging Viennese industrial complexes, homes, and of course the front defense of the city in Donaustadt and Flordisdorf respectfully, had not pulverized the defense as much as the enemy may have hoped.

Instead, radio operators from the forward trench would signal back to artillery commanders stationed at Prater Park, Augarten, and the outskirts of Kierlinger Forest. The vantage on the Viennese flanks were workable and after radioing the enemy positions, the BL 5.5 and the BL 4.5 Medium guns would open fire and the fields outside of Vienna would become a proverbial hell of explosions. Dirt and debris flew into the air as the shells exploded around the tanks and surely more than one, would find their mark and bits of iron and steel would join the chaotic storm. The barrage would attempt to cover a radius of about ten miles, both flanks with the artillery in the forest concentrating on the west, while the artillery in the parks concentrated on the eastern advance.

Beyond the artillery barrage and the air peppering, if the Allied advance successfully through the storm, they would meet another obstacle that stood in their way; Vienna itself.

There was little need for actual trenches here as the city streets themselves provided a natural defense from armor penetration. Viennese streets were incredibly narrow and from the windows and roof tops of the city suburbs, Austrian soldiers armed with PIAT's fired towards the tanks, which given their elevation, was a dramatic advantage as one of the weaker points on a tank were at the top. In addition, the streets beginning with the suburbs in Donaustadt and Flordisdorf were mined. Meaning, that as the Allied tanks would push down the already narrow streets, it would come as a sudden shock to the drivers when an explosion would happen and the tank would find itself trapped within a cobblestone hole. With no way out, these tanks would come under immediate fire from Austrian defenders and thus making that street impassible until the tank remains could be removed. This would be the strategy throughout the entire Vienna Defense for the Austrians.

When and if the infantry would arrive in the city, the fighting would take on a whole new push and Molke was prepared to throw everything at the Allies to see his city saved.

An order was also sent out to the Chinese Foreign Legion operating in the West, their new mission...to destroy all rail lines north of the Alps in both Germany and Austria. It was time to cut off supplies.

OOC: Will get to the West in the next post.

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OOC: It's fine, let's just let the west be for a few turn I figure, since right now this is the most important thing by far.

IC:

Some minutes before the attack had begun, Martens was surprised when some 200 elderly men and women showed up by his command truck. These people were wearing the old German Reich uniform from Martens' ruling era, and so, he was positively surprised. "What...is the meaning of this, this...?"

Then, a quite old yet formidable-looking Austrian with a long beard, stepped forwards wielding what seemed to be a mixture between a Mauser rifle and an Axe. "Michel.", he says, and Martens stared with narrowing eyes. Then he grinned and got up from his chair, hopped down from the truck answering, "Bernd! You old fool, what are you doing still here!" - The old comrades hug and pat each other's backs perhaps too roughly. But that was alright for them soldiers. "I see that you're still in the wrong city at the wrong time, old comrade." Said the bearded man. Martens sighed and shaked his head merely saying, "Story of my life" While looking at the other faces, some of which he can recognize. Martens steps back and asks. "So did you ever find her, did you ever see her, hm?"

A breeze passes by when Bernd shakes his head. "No, I have not found her. I thought that I might finally be chosen today. I have always waited for the day..." And then when Martens nods he interjects, "You old fool. You and your Valkyries. You are going to find them alright, I assure you. But I just do not understand..." Bernd, unbuttoning the uppermost button of his uniform grins. "We are just here to finish the job. We would like to serve you and the true Germany once more. We will defend our friends, and will defend our country's honor. We are too old to take !@#$ from a bunch of effeminate parisiennes and cliche pseudogermans."

Martens steps back, folding his arms behind his back. "So be it. It will be a honor to reform the First Silver Revolutionary Brigade, [i]Wotans Faust[/i]. But is your kin safe?"

-"As safe as can be, mein Kaiser. Around Laibach. But they will never truly be safe as long as Haas is alive."

"We will show him what we've got." - Martens raises his chin and moves on to keep organizing the defence after requesting that Bernd and the other volunteers - constantly increasing in number - to stick around. In the background, one can nearly chew the tension right off of the air, and troops read the manual of their newly-issued PIAT Antitank Rifles - a brilliant, new invention - while the time approaches...

As the attack started, Martens sat comfortably and calmly with an FG42 on his lap, orderly overviewing the movement of some of the troops. Not far from his position some of the Katyusha rockets fell, which caused for his cap to be blown off. As if it were just a winter breeze, he goes and picks it up again, reading his map and intel as if he were reading a newspaper by a fireplace. He nods a few times, affirmatively, when it is communicated to him that a number of "Monster tanks" are headed their way. He acts completely unimpressed by the Francogerman antics and the superiority of French Armor, in spite of the fact that such a powerful weapon was, single handedly, the greatest threat to Austria right now. He says, "They also had better tanks back then, when we crossed through Belgium. That changed nothing. Their pilots were fools and they were defeated. We too will outsmart them, no matter how much steel they throw onto their designs. Simply hit the upside or downside, from under or from onto a hill, that is all, they will eat [i]this[/i] and die. Do not forget that one can also destroy their tracks easily. They will regret having ever crossed your path, Austrian Soldier!"

It would not be quite that easy however. Martens would move to the very front to see the enemy armor for himself, and, yes, the defenders had good reasons to fear those machines. If only he had a division of those, he would be able to end the war all by himself - or so he likes to think. He moves back to a somewhat safer area, but still in the front - the battle is now going.

"[i]Alles Erdreich ist Österreich Untertan![/i] (Austrian imperial slogan) Shoot it! In the wheel there, go! Forwards soldier! Get our artillery on those !@#$%^&* we are going to make them pay for it! You go back to the fight, losing a finger is no excuse! Fire, FIRE! Not one step back, I do not care how big their cannons are! Well done you, do that again twice!"

He had a very special style of command...

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With the sharpshooters, machine gunners, and anti-tank weapons positioned on the frontlines of Salzburg the next phase of the operations begin. The front seemingly has been a bit quiet of late without much ado since the initial German rush. Denard and Dellion find themselves quietly squatting in a bunker not far from the frontlines as they examine their maps and quietly give a string of orders.

"Shift the 4th Regimental Combat Team towards Vienna. Night moves only, but have them in striking distance within 24 to 36 hours. If a tank craps out, leave it," Denard orders.

"Beckwith to Vienna it seems," Dellion comments as he sends a messenger to Beckwith and the 4th Regiment.

"Next, I want the 1st Regiment moving into a reserve position here in Salzburg. Have them hunker down and be ready to plug any holes in the Austrian lines. Most of the sharpshooters and machine gunners came from the 1st so it makes sense to have them in reserve," Denard mumbles as he writes down a few notes to remind himself later.

"Lt. Colonel Hardcastle has my regards, tell him to move the 1st up to the rear here in Salzburg," Dellion instructs another messenger who rapidly sets off with the orders.

"2nd and 3rd Regiments to the left. Tell them not to engage, but to push forward skirmishers to sound out the German left flanks. Keep it low key though, don't want nothing too crazy going down till I give the orders."

"Will do, I'll lead that one myself," Dellion replies.

"Sounds good," Denard comments.

"The 333rd has a few recon Spitfires don't they?" Denard asks.

"Yes."

"Put them in the air, I want them busy figuring out the German rear area," Denard concludes.

"Gotcha, also, you want the briefing on beans and bullets?" Dellion asks.

"Yeah, hit me with it."

"Red Route 1 is up and running. Most direct route back to our staging area. I have it covered with roving teams of Legion Scouts and Austrian Militia. We are pushing fuel, food, ammo, and other supplies forward, and pulling civilians out with Austrian and Legion wounded. We are going to have to start feeding the refugees and wounded out to the Austrian Civil Authorities ASAP as we can't handle the influx."

"Not a big problem, notify the regional hospitals and use the schools for temporary shelters.Stick to the agreed upon evacuation plan. We need to clear this area of civilians as much as possible. No telling where sympathies may lie along this part of the border," Denard concludes.

"Roger, will get the orders out," Dellion responds.

With the orders given the 1st Regimental Combat Team and the 4500 men that consist of it move their way forward into the rear of Salzburg. They dig in, they dig in deep as they fill sand bags, set up firing positions, and carefully position themselves to funnel attackers into a kill zones that are surrounded by hostile fire. These defense preparations are met with offensive ones as well on the part of the 1st Regiment.

Routes up to the frontline are charted. Special stakes are placed to mark the way for advancing Legion forces to help them avoid stumbling into minefield and areas that could be open to sniper or other hostile fire. The gaping maws of the 175 mm long barreled howitzers are kept under wraps for the time being until they are needed. Information is fed back to the artillery crews of the 175 mm pieces. The same information is passed along to the 155 and 105 mm classes as well. This information allows them to spread their locations and notifies the battery commanders as to the probable areas that will most likely need fire support.

The 2nd and 3rd Regiments aren't so lucky in the sense they are rich with artillery. They are traveling light with only the support of local Austrian tank units, should there even be any in their position off to the left of Salzburg. Their skirmishers are sent well forward, they site their mortars, they place their machine guns, and they dig in deep. Digging in isn't an option for the 4th Regimental Combat Team though as they are on the move.

Beckwith personally leads his unit out of their laagers. 112 Tanks and a larger number of scout cars, ambulances, and other vehicles crank to life as they rumble their way towards Vienna just as soon as the sun begins to drop over the horizon. The route to Vienna isn't something that comes to a surprise to them. They've made the journey before and they know the lay of the land. Despite this they are well staffed with Austrian guides to make sure no one wanders off in the dark. Of course, full blackout night driving conditions are observed, as per Legion procedure, which they've also practiced extensively in the past on the very same roads.

The 333rd Air Group sends out its Recon Spitfires as soon as they get word. The four planes make high speed aerial photography runs, or attempt to do so, over German positions near Salzburg. The pilots are good at what they do, but no telling what can happen on a recon run. Still the distance to base and the front is short enough. They start low, bounce up to a good height for pictures and pray to God and Allah they don't get a Hun out of the sun so to speak.

To make sure this doesn't happen the entire 333rd Spitfire complement is sortied as well. 36 other Spitfires jump into the air and take up a position over Salzburg at a high altitude as they wait for radar intercept reports to guide them to any incoming German fighters. The only thing left on the ground is a highly experimental unit of planes and pilots.

These men nervously look at their P-36 Aircobras and the ugly 37mm cannons that protrude out of their snouts with a bit of awe. Truly there isn't an uglier aircraft. The pilots are seasoned pilots, but new to this specific airframe as delivery of them had been accepted just before the start of the war. Their role is known to them and undoubtedly, if they don't all crash as soon as they take off, that role will make itself known to the Germans as well.


ooc: I made a minor boo boo when I labeled my 333rd Pursuit Wing as a wing. It really should be the 333rd Air Group. Total of about 80 aircraft. If this is a problem lemme know, I'll draw down the numbers.

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The arrival of the PLAAFs bomber units was a large boost to the moral of the Imperial Guard forces. 60 B-24 Bombers had been deployed to the region to conduct a large scale raid against the enemy forces. Painted in a glossy anti-search light paint, the force was ordered to begin the conduct of anti-rail missions in the West cutting the supplies from East France to Vienna.

Hans' unit was deployed to the first area of operations with incindiery mortars to shell the area and light it up for the bombing raid. Six platoons of fire support would be tasked with the mortar strikes while Hans and his team along with twelve other squads would mount suppression attacks against the air defenses and guard units. By now the UFE units had been supplied with plenty of anti-tank personnel weapons and anti-material rifles allowing them to conduct hit and run attacks against larger gun positions from a distance. This time their targets were about 100 clicks deep into German lines in the west. Several rail bridges would be required to be knocked out, so as to cut of supplies for the T-34s operating in Vienna.

With UFE air raid success's against Munich, the Luftwaffe was less plentiful... a temporary situation but one they had to take advantage of. Their attack would take place, one hour before the bombers, something which was extremely important considering the potential for friendly fire during a night time raid.

Hans placed the first German FLAK position in the site of his anti-material rifle adjusting the scope slightly before letting off a shot. This was quickly followed by the rifle on the firing light next to him. The muzzle flashes and loud bangs would give the German troops their position, but the rounds would impact into the guns disabling them it wouldn't make a difference. Another loud pop came out of the night sky as a flare round struck the FLAK position around the bridge. Hans and his team quickly moved, as other German gun positions lit up revealing their position, a second rifle line quickly hit the position and mortars hit the area with flare rounds.

UFE troops zig zagged through the mountain passes keeping their heads down to avoid detection while hitting enemy positions and lighting up the area with flares. Incoming in thirty.

Hans men eventually retreated to a safe position from which they could watch the fire works. The sound of aircraft coming overhead would certainly alert the enemy to the UFEs position, but anti-glossy paint would mean what FLAKs were online would have a hard time targeting their opponents, especially with the flares killing their night vision. UFE P-38s acted as CAS strikers hitting guns as they opened up with rockets while the B-24s began laying down high impact bombs designed to give structural failure to the several rail bridges through the Austrian Alps.

If the Luftwaffe did somehow manage to get to this position to defend it the UFE had a few P-38s stay at high altitude to act as spotters, while two other forces closer to the German border acting as ambush forces. In such a case they German fighters would be engaged two fold giving the Bombers a chance to escape.

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Meanwhile Vienna, Dmitry's forces had been split into Twenty ten man firing teams, 3 close in autos, 1 mortar gun, 3 snipers to a team. They would be primarily tasked with night time infiltration of the East French line. The units were ordered to keep back from the front while keeping an eye on the enemy line. Mortar teams would provide cover for manuevers while the units would position themselves to get high grounds on enemy formations. Their tasks would be to shoot East French Officers.

The remaining 200 soldiers were ordered into plain clothes and to infiltrate the enemy line as they advanced. The Imperial guards primary responsibility in this role would be to detect and report the configuration of the enemies katusha forces back to the Imperial Guard for preparations of close in air strikes.

Edited by Triyun
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They had assembled in city of Graz, thousands of them, from every corner of the globe, from all walks of life, every ideology, race and creed, but they had one thing in common, they were prepared to stand against the fascist forces of the Germanic Union in the defence of a free nation. The foreign volunteers for the I International brigade were untrained, and there was little time for training, they would have to teach themselves in combat. It had been decided to arm the brigade with austrian weapons, for logistical ease: Lee-Enfield rifles, Webley revolvers, Bren light machine guns, Crusader tanks, 25 pounder howitzers and they had even managed to scrounge together some PIATs. The Brigade was given three days to train, before they would be moved to the front lines.

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There were some 3,000 foreign volunteers in Graz, currently being organised into battalions and ranks by the International Brigade Committee, 12 former soldiers, who would manage the organisation and formation of the brigade. The volunteers were divided into 4 battalions and a battery as follows.

[quote]
[b]I International Brigade[/b] (3,000)
- Staff Company
- Logistics Company
- Medical Company
- Kropotkin Battalion (Armour)
- Makhno Battalion (Light Infantry)
- Bakunin Battalion (Light Infantry)
- Durruti Battalion (Light Infantry)
- Arshinov Battery (Artillery)
[/quote]

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"This boys and girls, is an Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk. I. It is has been killing facists for almost 100 years, it was carried by the british in North Africa, and will we will carry it on the streets of Berlin." Said Grigori Sokolov, as he stood before a crowed of young volunteers. "In the next 3 days, you will learn everything about this rifle. How to shoot, how to fight with its bayonet and most importantly, how to maintain it." They were a ragged bunch, none of them had any combat experiance, with the exception of the men trainng them, and the high ranking officers of the brigade. "The Lee-Enfield fires the .303 british round, very powerful, all you need is one shot to the center of mass to take a man down." Sokolov didn't have enough time to train them, but he would do all he could.

The volunteers were trained in marksmanship, the most talented shooters were issued with scopes for their rifles, others were issued with light machineguns. They traind hard for the three days, but they were still woefully unprepared, but it would have to do. When their time was up a message was sent to Austrian High Command, requesting orders. Then the brigade marched noth to face the facists, and defend Ausrtia.

Edited by Aggressivenutmeg
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