The invasion of Scandinavia was a very near-run thing, with something like the Marne battles of OTL 1914 being fought along the eastern river valleys of Norway. I had fantastic good luck with partisans, however, who appeared in exactly the single province in which they would cut off supply to the invaders; a fairly decisive stroke in the combat model of Hearts of Iron. The details of that will follow next week. This week, a speech by my head of government, promising to fight on at all costs. A Churchill moment with Hitler overtones, as it were. I amused myself by echoing, here and there, other famous speeches, and giving them that little twist that makes them fascist mockeries of the original cleanly-democratic phrases.
September 22nd, 1938
Lillehammer, on the east bank of Lågen
The radio crackled, then settled into clarity as the questing dial found the frequency. “…is the Voice of Norway, speaking truth to occupied Europe. We now bring you a special broadcast, a speech by Law-Speaker Vidkun Jonssøn to the Storting today.” The squad settled into silence as the Law-Speaker came on. “Nasjonale kamerater!” he began; he sounded tired, but determined. “National comrades! The struggle for hegemony in Europe continues. And let there be no mistake: This is indeed a struggle for hegemony, in which the winner will have a dominant position for all time. For the Yngling people, therefore, this is a struggle for survival. Alone among the nations, we not only understand, but admit, the realities of power. Our state is so constituted, that four-fifths of its subjects are unfree: Unable to bear arms, to duel, or to vote. Such a law cannot long endure in the absence of power, ruthlessly applied; and power depends, above all, on the Will of those who exercise it, and on the belief of those who are its victims. And that belief, the foundation of all inequality, cannot remain in the face of defeat. If the Yngling people is to survive, therefore, we must have victory.
Two weeks ago I had to bring you the hard news that Burgundian troops had forced Öresund and were attacking towards Stockholm. Since then we have had many damaging blows. We have heard in this hall proposals for what amounts to surrender; today we have heard the honourable Tingsmann from Namsos speak in favour of a negotiated settlement. I will not be responsible for such a course; if the honourable Tingsmenn wish to pursue it, they must do so with a different Law-Speaker. I will deceive none: There will be hard battles in the months to come; there will be fearful defeats and heavy sacrifices. This victory is not certain, and if won, will not be lightly bought. But we are not presented with the choice of hard-bought victory or cheap peace; our choice is between continued struggle, come what may, or ceasing to exist as a people. I trust that when the division is called today, the honourable Tingsmenn will prove themselves worthy of that choice, and of the name Yngling.”
The announcer came back on: “We may now report that the division went entirely in the Government’s favour, with only four dissenting votes cast against the motion of confidence.
We turn now to reports from the fighting front. A hard struggle for possession of the Lillehammer bridges has ended in victory for the Hird, which remains in control of its bridgeheads on the east side of Lågen.” The soldiers nodded at one another; that was their own personal fight the announcer was speaking of. “In heavy house-to-house fighting, the XIV Hird Skåne has captured several hundred prisoners, who are reported to be in poor spirits; many of them have not yet been issued winter clothing. In the east, enemy landings in the Åland islands were thrown back with heavy casualties…” The voice cut off as Karl flicked the power. “Nåvel…” he chewed on it. “They mentioned us, at least. ”
Bjarte, the sergeant, shrugged. “What did you expect, dancing girls? A mention on the radio is more than most will get. It’s a huge war, you know.”
“Yes… I suppose so.” Karl lightened as he changed the subject. “At least it seems we won’t be surrendering.”
“Hah, yes.” Bjarte shook his head. “I wouldn’t have expected it of that spineless little Moderate, but… well, not so spineless after all, I suppose. Burgundians on the Mjøsa, and he spits defiance when the Ting wants to negotiate! The man’s a true Yngling, even if he is soft on the strils.”
“And loyal to his own.”
Here are some screenies I took during the session; I’ll follow up with some large-scale overviews and a spot of narrative later in the week.
The height of the invasion, with Bergen itself threatened and most of the empire cut off:
A small victory in the north, but only the leidang stands between the panzers and escape:
A fantastically well-timed partisan rising:
Counterattack direction Stockholm!
Note the out-of-supply modifier for the Belgian troops, and bless those partisans.
Pockets. Die, foreign invaders!
The heroic leidang holding off all that the Burgundians could scrape up for a counterattack at that particular moment: