Azure Three Bezants: The Last Throw

In which an ancient kingdom falls, and a much younger one is turned to a purpose older than human civilisation.

Some headlines of late 1936:

Tempora Venezia, December 6th (translated from the Italian):

Egypt capitulates! Boys home by Christmas?
Ceasefire on all fronts
President al-Nasr disappeared; martial law declared in Venetian occupation zone
Egyptian army to lay down arms for internment and demobilisation

Wichita Chronicle, December 8th (translated from unpronounceable grunting; this is a best guess, but nobody truly knows what the Fox says):

King Robert meets Jorgenson in person
Plea for mercy to defeated Egyptian population?
Transition negotiations “proceeding rapidly”

London Times, December 10th (translated from what passes for English in the Wicked Wardenate):

African Union formed under English protection
Wife of the late President to form transitional government
King Robert: “A woman of great statesmanship”

Hamburger Zeitung, December 15th (translated from the German):

Frau Jorgenson made Vicereine of African Protectorate
Former Egyptian military re-mobilised as King’s African Rifles
Naval clash in Indian Ocean

London Times, December 24th:

“Christmas Doctrine” announced – war to end wars
Unite the Human Race!
Vicereine Jorgenson speaks to Parliament on “drastic technological acceleration”

Tempora Venezia, December 29th:

“Who conquered whom, anyway?”
Large convoys with steel, rare earths, engineers bound for Casablanca
Secret projects in African desert?

Azure Three Bezants, superimposed Fasces Sable

When the last session ended I had just inflicted a massive defeat on Egypt in the Nile Delta, bypassing the fortified Sinai Line with a daring naval invasion across the Red Sea, and pocketing and destroying the twenty divisions of Army Group North around Cairo. Meanwhile England was exerting a steady, slow pressure all across western Africa, advancing slowly yet resistlessly on a broad front, like an incoming tide. Egypt still had a line across the valley of the Nile, but the distance from the Red Sea to the English front had narrowed to three or four provinces; the divisions facing me, therefore, were at risk of being once again surrounded and destroyed, and rather than allow that, Kuipy pulled them south to where his domains were wider and they could defend his capital:

Nile Valley Front, September 6th

Nile Valley Front, October 14th

My planned naval invasions to again surround his fighting line were a bit redundant; however, advancing through the constant Egyptian sandstorm was, as always, slow, and Kuipy was able to hold the highlands north of his capital against me, and the Nile against attempted English crossings. This saved some portion of his industry and manpower, and perhaps, with allied aid, he might even have staged a comeback from that defensible stronghold. However, as you can see in the lower right corner of the screenshot, I had another naval invasion underway – planning started even before I encountered resistance, to get a second front for quicker occupation – which, in spite of heavy and sustained resistance from the brave Egyptian Navy:

Egyptian Navy

I was able to expand into a substantial bridgehead:

African Fronts, October 31st

Even then, Kuipy managed to stop my attack in the Ethiopian highlands around Lake Tana, saving his capital from this threat as well. But he didn’t quite have the forces to cover the southeast; I sent three divisions to advance unopposed into the Horn of Africa:

African

and was able to slide around and take state after state, with the inevitable end result:

Eurasia, December 6th

I got the remaining Egyptian territory (except those two islands), presumably because the war had originally been declared against me. Baron announced that Kuipy could, if he chose, play on as an African vassal of England, with some large portion of the territory Baron had just conquered and perhaps some extra bits in Algeria (formerly Venetian land; stolen goods are never sold at a loss, they say); Kuipy, however, has reached the conclusion that he does not enjoy HoI4, and does not intend to play further. You should not be fooled by this; the Jackal has abandoned one particular human vessel as no longer useful, that’s all.

As you can see in that last screenshot, things did not go so well on the Chinese front. India was ably subbed by oddman, who (while complaining that he would have built much more infantry) gathered his tanks into a spearhead and thrust for the coast:

Asian Fronts, October 12th

Indian Troops Advance

Indian troops advance on the Northwest Frontier.

At this point the German armies are coming to Japan’s aid, and even the minor forces I could spare from the African front are attempting to advance; but it’s slow going in the fortified mountains of the Northwest Frontier and, even worse, Afghanistan. Oddman stated that he simply left that front for the AI to manage, and instead concentrated on the victorious thrust of his armour for the Yellow Sea:

Asian Fronts, October 20th
Asian Fronts, November 7th

Note also the Foxy landing around Hong Kong in that November screenshot. It is, I think, fair to say that this campaign is something of a disaster for Japanese arms. Naturally, both I and England rushed our newly-freed-up forces from Africa to the aid of our stricken ally. England landed troops in Indochina to save what was left of the Japanese mainland; I, having thus far had success with daring naval invasions, conceived a greater risk for a greater reward: I ordered the Milice di Venezia across the Indian Ocean. My initial New Year Landings – single divisions, so as not to take forever planning them – were successful:

New Year Landings

Note the divisions in Japanese-held Sri Lanka – I moved them across at the same time the actual invasions were going in, so as to have an immediate reserve if the landings succeeded. So far, so good; however, I then had the pants scared off me by the sudden appearance of the Foxy Navy, right in the path of my reinforcement convoys:

Foxy Navy

By dint of prompt maneuvering (and my admiral’s superior beard) I was able to extract my battleship; nine divisions, including two armoured, were immediately rerouted northwards and are currently fighting on the Northwest Frontier, thanks kindly. Nevertheless I was able to get some reinforcements into southern India by more northerly routes, and to reach the river Krishna; there, however, my offensive was stalled by oddman’s hastily-redeployed armour, and for some time looked in danger of being thrown back. The front is now stabilised:

Asian Fronts, February 22nd 1937

It remains to be seen whether I can reach Delhi from here. As in most wars, there are some minor theatres; I have sunk some large portion of the South American navy:

Battle of Bourbon

Note the just-begun occupation of Madagascar. I have also declared war on Australia, who have far too many factories to be allowed to be neutral in this war – or even worse, to be turned to the service of the enemy. The Australian theatre offers the unusual spectacle of the AI doing something intelligent, to wit, trying to cut me off from my supply ports:

Australia

Clever! If not successful; Australia should fall in a few months, short of outside intervention. Note the general leading this small expeditionary force – it is the same Niccolo “Don Doloro” from the siege of Cairo, promoted (and sent to a remote front…) for his courage in arguing against the gassing of Cairo’s civilians, and now confident enough in the regime to resume his old family name.

On the subject of the Jackal, you realise of course that it has now perforce turned to its backup plan – the one in which it uses its immense personal magnetism, and the obedience circuits built into subhuman brains (much decayed by millennia of unplanned mutation, but still powerful), to become the power behind the throne of a different country, and rule indirectly. This is contrary to all its inclinations; for subhumans to appear to be in charge of a human, however illusorily, is perversion. But needs must when the Devil drives; and besides, it has of course prepared for this, has carefully groomed one particular dynasty over the CENTURIES. Oh, yes, wherever possible it has brought together people with complementary defects in their obedience-circuit DNA, so that their children might be born with the father’s working command-voice-detector and the mother’s functional obedience-rationaliser; but that is only the ordinary work of a human colonist, done casually here and there when an opportunity presents itself. There is only one family line on which it has truly concentrated its vast powers, ensuring that every breeding pair produced ever-more-obedient children; even at the price of some occasional inbreeding, carefully hidden from the official records. That is, of course, the dynasty which now commands the greatest power in the world, with far greater resources than Egypt ever had. The Jackal knew well that if it ever came to the backup plan, it would be scrambling on a tight timeline, and would need to just throw steel and rare earths at the problem rather than carefully divert them from a working economy over the course of decades. And now the worst has come, and England’s war economy must be forced to divert massive amounts of raw materials and skilled workers to the equator; to the point where the war might be lost, and even the subhumans have noticed. That cannot be helped. This body must reach the stars, or the Jackal will die on this forsaken planet amid chattering animals who think themselves human. It will be good if England conquers the world, for that will mean a larger resource base to make a better spaceship; but win or lose the spaceship must be built, and soon. It will ride the smallest rocket that will reach orbit out of a crumbling empire, if it has to; what matters is that it again reach the stars.

England February 22nd 1937

Would you trust this man to resist the Command Voice of an ancient being from beyond the visible stars?

Finally, the overall war situation:

Overall war situation February 22nd 1937

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Filed under Azure Three Bezants, One With Nineveh and Tyre, Recessional

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