Some kind of spring flu has got me down, so it’ll have to be screenshots and game narrative today.
The Great War continues. The antagonists are the Northern Alliance, consisting of Russia, England, Norway, France, Bavaria, and Italy; versus what left of the Southern Coalition. Of the latter, only Inca and Spain are still actively fighting; Greece has been overrun and occupied, while India and China, recognising that the costs of continuing the war are no longer proportionate to the possible benefits, have asked for cease-fires. Some metagaming with respect to the conversion may be involved, here: India’s industrial production has dropped something like 25% due to war exhaustion, and HoI starting IC is based on Vicky industrial output. Anyone who has such a sneaky plan in mind, however, should please observe that in the latest version of the converter, WE suppression is accounted for and India’s formerly-missing IC converts as damaged.
The struggle for control of the Atlantic is not yet finished, but the advantage is, I think, slightly with the traditional naval powers, Norway and England, as against newcomer Inca:
On land, most of the active fighting is in Africa. The Pyrenees front remains deadlocked for all the obvious reasons:
In Arabia, the Incans have been driven back almost to their colonial ports, but as no decision is to be had on this secondary front, few troops have been committed by either side and the lines are thoroughly static:
The south African front, stretching from Lake Victoria to the mouth of the Congo (which incidentally must make it about the size of the Eastern Front in the historical world wars, and through desperately difficult terrain at that), is no longer active after the Indian ceasefire request.
That leaves the north African front, from Tunis to Morocco. (Ignoring the very minor theatre of the Caribbean – Cuba is occupied by Norway, but then again, who cares?) The problem with fighting Spain is that you can occupy vast tracts of land, and overstretch your armies in mere garrison duty, without much damaging the Sultan’s war-fighting capacity; to do so requires an invasion of the Iberian peninsula, where the factories and soldiers are. Which has, for sure, been tried! Breaking through the Pyrenees has been quite thoroughly demonstrated to be impossible; and naval landings have the problem that the Spanish can move their reserves to the threatened spot faster than reinforcements can be brought in by sea. (Not to mention the ever-present threat of those 600 Incan warships – it’s not as though we have full control of the Atlantic.) So, we drove the Spanish back and back across the Sahel, deadly fighting in one of the most inhospitable climes on the Earth, and eventually ground to a halt on the Atlas range:
Note the Spanish holding the high ground, and the Russians and Norwegians digging in miserably in the foothills! This was a chosen halt-line, not a random outcome of the fighting but a deliberate strategy by the Spaniards, to hold us at bay where they could still protect their industrial heartland. A redoubt, if you like; the armies of Islam retreating to their mountain fortresses, abandoning what could not be held, but never abandoning the struggle itself.
I have to say I admire Vaniver’s coolness under fire; abandoned by his allies and forced to retreat across all of Africa, still, he kept fighting and, apparently, built up his reserves for the eventual counterattack. Which was, I’m forced to admit, quite effective. He punched at the weakest spot in our lines, at the Moroccan coast, with a huge weight of artillery; even on defense, the mobilised conscripts there – no artillery support – couldn’t deal with it, and were forced south halfway to the Ivory Coast – and we’re still retreating. Of course, now the point about vast tracts of Africa cuts the other way: The fact is that we can lose the whole Sahel and indeed all of occupied Greece, and not be particularly discomfited as far as real fighting strength goes. At this rate Eurasia may always be at war with Oceania.
I’m actually reasonably pleased with the Vicky war model here – not the combat model, but the strategic level; this war has felt like the kind of thing that actually could reasonably happen. It begins with the Great Powers stumbling into war because of some damn silly thing in the Languedoc, and then locked into it for reasons of prestige. Then there are years of deadlock on a short front, and both sides trying to find a way around, to force primary concessions out of victories on secondary fronts. Then the swaying struggle across Africa, with one side driven back to its a defensible redoubt, but eventually rebounding after gathering its strength – I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t see that particular development in EU3, and perhaps not in HoI3 either.
It’ll come down to either who is less willing to accept the financial burden of continuing the war, or alternatively who is better at HoI. I think, once we get to HoI3, the Pyrenees will prove a bit less impenetrable than they are under the Vicky combat model. Which said, to be honest I hope we don’t convert while at war; my troop-redistribution algorithm is really not meant for it, and won’t stand the strain. I’d have to tweak it in a hurry.