Now we can only wait till the day, wait and apportion our shame.
These are the dykes our fathers left, but we would not look to the same.
Time and again were we warned of the dykes, time and again we delayed.
Now, it may fall, we have slain our sons, as our fathers we have betrayed.
The final session of Hearts of Iron began with my troops standing between the lakes in Finland, planning to hold off the Leonese tanks with rifles, warm bodies, and the fabled Yngling mind-control rays. Due to the various shenanigans of the prior session, several people had declared that the game was no longer amusing, and there wasn’t any diplomacy to be done any more, meaning that the Pact of Hercules was in effect the winner. Consequently my goal was no longer victory, but merely to maintain the Yngling Republic as a sovereign state still keeping the field, for the four hours of the final session. As the session began in August, I would have the formidable assistance of winter in Finland in doing so; further, although AI, Khazaria still kept a large number of divisions in the east which would tie up a considerable fraction of the Herculean forces, and Japan remained an ally who could in principle send troops to my aid.
Yngling artillerymen trying to fight off Leonese tanks who have broken through their protecting infantry.
Unfortunately, the impenetrable Leonese tanks cared for none of these things; they rolled right through the Finnish forests as though my infantry weren’t there, which might have been better strategy. My thought, therefore, was that formidable as the tanks were, still they could not be absolutely everywhere, and that if they could be sucked deep into Finland it might be possible to sneak around their rear and cut them off from supply. My first attempt at doing so was on the Ladoga-Onega line, where I held the fortifications in the north, but Leon had taken the southern ones from Khazaria, making a natural bastion:
Counterattack direction Ladoga.
Alas, my connecting troops were not fortified, and Sauron was able to cut off my bastion instead of them cutting him off:
End of the Ladoga-Onega line.
Realising that I just didn’t have the mass of maneuver, in the face of tanks I couldn’t touch, to do encirclements on a small scale, I instead bethought myself of a desperate expedient, but on a grand scale: An Arkhangelsk Landing to get my one remaining reserve army unopposed into Russia through the Arctic Sea, which I still controlled, and sweep to the Baltic to create a giant Finnish Pocket.
The Arkhangelsk Landing.
A thin blue line, tipped with heavy tanks.
For a short while this project did not look utterly impossible; I got a good amount of troops ashore into “Japanese Europe” (a leftover from Victoria) and faced only a thin screen of vassals and a few Atlassians. But the muddy distances of Russia defeated me; I could not move fast enough, and the “thin screen” thickened until I could no longer push it, then started pushing right back. Alas, this time I had no convenient war crime in my pocket to give my enemies pause and force negotiations.
“That’s it then; the Arkhangelsk Landing is washed up.”
In the end I decided to evacuate, and was able to extract the army mostly intact. This was just as well, for meanwhile Sauron had been crashing through the Finnish forest, shouting his new battle cry, “Encirclements will continue until morale improves!” Alas, fighting in Finnish winter is no joke for either side; in the snow and bad terrain, my troops were not able to maneuver fast enough to maintain a continuous line in front of the tanks, and a large number were pushed towards the coast and encircled:
The Kola Pocket.
And yes, at this point, Viipuri had indeed fallen to the tanks. Slik forgår verdens herlighet. 😦
Leonese tanks and infantry advancing cautiously through the shattered streets of Viipuri. The picture is taken some months after the other events described here, hence the green leaves on the trees, but a hard core of stay-behinds and die-hards still maintain a guerrilla resistance using the many caches of weapons and explosives hidden all around Viipuri for just such an event.
I managed, nevertheless, to keep a fighting retreat through the terrible terrain of northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway; for a while I held Grense-Jakobselv, the OTL border between Norway and Russia, and by the time I was forced off even this line I had built some fortresses across the Scandinavian peninsula, at about the latitude of Narvik; moreover, true winter had descended on the North, and every advance was deathly slow.
Eurasia, December 1940.
By this time I had managed to get anti-tank guns, heavy tank destroyers, and new Mjølnir-pattern tanks (also known as Medium II) into my few remaining formations; supplying your army gets that much easier when it shrinks by about 80% in six months, and for all its strategic value Finland didn’t contain much industry. Consequently my formations could now actually face a Leonese armoured division in something other than the fetal position:
Fighting on somewhat more even terms, but too late.
Further, the supply lines through Finland were obviously terrible, and a large proportion of Leonese troops had been withdrawn to force the Urals. Thus in February I had something like an actual stable front running through northern Norway and Sweden, protecting my industrial core:
The Umeå Line – if this had fallen, there would be only three or four more river-in-mountain lines that could plausibly be fortified before the Leonese were in artillery range of the factories supplying the resistance.
From here I could, conceivably, have gotten back into the fight, given a diplomatic revolution fueled by my mind-control rays plus vast injections of Japanese auxiliary troops. Unfortunately, I had meanwhile lost Jutland again, this time to an AI mishap; I had ordered an attack out of Kiel on the off chance that it would go through and allow me to run wild through Germany, and the stupid, stupid AI creature interpreted this as an order to move all seventeen divisions holding Dannevirke into one province. Thus the Kiel canal lay open to my enemies; and by dint of vast patience, they were able to move an invasion through the Baltic, repeatedly encountering and retreating from my battleships, but never sinking! (Really now. This should have been a slaughter. But in all fairness, they should also have moved their own battleships into the Baltic, so it evens out.) At last they got ashore in Stockholm; I had stripped all my coastal defenses to feed the lines in Finland and Denmark, and there was nothing to oppose them. In this manner, by a sneaky stab in the back rather than straight-up combat, Leon finally got me over the capitulation threshold, with about 15 minutes to spare in the session.
Eurasia, February 1941.
Americas, February 1941; note the renewed British invasion of Vinland – to everyone’s surprise Golle managed to get back into the fight at the very end, a development which I have completely ignored because it was a bit of a side show relative to my desperate struggle to keep a formed army and a fighting line in Finland.
For Stellaris, Leon gets the Sol start, and everyone else is dispersed out into the galaxy. I created this faction to reflect the history of the Ynglings in this timeline:
and have had fair success with them so far. However, I won’t write an AAR for Stellaris; I’m too new at the game to make it interesting, and to be honest I am somewhat burned out on AARs, which I have been writing weekly for longer than most people reading this have been playing Paradox games. The Great Game, I’ll note, was played in 2005. We will return to Crusader Kings in a few weeks (recruiting thread) but I think it is unlikely that I will write an AAR for that; enough is enough.
Ends here the saga of the Ynglinga Republikk.