The peace talks have failed, but the stalemate continues. The Chinese finally crossed the Elbe in the summer of 1937, but were unable to maintain their advance, and the front bogged down again south of Magdeburg. Even the long-awaited entry of Prussia into the war, expected to cause a swift French collapse as Georgians and Finns finally brought their numbers to bear on a long front, failed signally to end the war; the French, with their usual tactical brilliance, were able to pivot south and halt the new advance only a few dozens of kilometers into occupied Germany. The prewar German fortifications, unmanned and useless when the French overran them, now make any attack a grim business; every hilltop – and southern Germany is full of hilltops – has a strongpoint or a bunker, or hides an entire fortress full of excellent artillery.
Conversely, however, the French have likewise made no inch of progress – on land. The lack of air bases on the German side has, with the withdrawal of Norwegian basing rights for China, made them supreme in the air, and they have exploited their superiority well. Between their cruisers’ interdiction of the allied supply line, and the cratered mess their bombers have made of the German roads, allied troops on the Elbe consider themselves lucky to be fed, never mind supplied with ammunition.
Worse yet, there is dereliction and corruption among the allied officers. The Chinese carrier fleet, formerly based at Kiel in readiness to engage the French blockade, is no more. The details are not clear, but somehow French bombers were able to come over the city, unopposed, daily, for two months, while the carriers lay in unprotected berths. Where were the officers? Who knows? Bribed, gone on holiday to the fiords of Norway, living it up with German refugee Hausfrauen desperate for a ticket to more peaceful lands? Only the result is clear: No less than twelve modern carriers are shattered hulks in Kiel harbour, worthless except for scrap. (To be clearer, apparently Blayne didn’t notice he was being bombed until he got the ‘Fleet annihilated’ popup. One may wonder what the devil he was doing, Kiel being right behind the front line which presumably he should have been paying attention to. Heck, I noticed it, and I’m a kibitzing spectator in this fight.)
Still, even though it is wielded clumsily compared to the rapier speed of the French state, the allies have vast resources. Malaysia and Japan have joined the war, hoping for crumbs from the African table; only the American powers are now neutral in the former Franco-German war – now, with the entry of of all the Asian powers, the Eurasian War. There are not many nations to whom it is given to defy for years on end all the world at arms. The French have shown enormous resource and skill on offense and defense; but they have advanced no inch for more than a year. Surely, although it is not yet, there can be only one end.
Not much happening in Norway, for obvious reasons. Here’s a snapshot of my tech teams:
I’m not sure how advanced the European armies are; it may be that they’re all trying to fight with 1918 infantry and prewar tanks, which will surely be a slow business when the whole of Germany has forts of levels two and three. A grim attritional struggle, at best; and the French naval victories have apparently stopped the continuous transfer of Chinese reinforcements. Africa is likely doomed at this point, but their addition to French strength is not particularly large. Still there must be limits to how long Foelsgaard can hold off two entire continents!