It's been a long time since I've posted a real AU on here; of my original one, Pallamara, little remains save for the text posts. It was fun, naive, and overly optimistic in some regards about what a small nation could do, but it was my first attempt. Afterwards I posted a few false starts here and there, but never found the inspiration for anything like Pallamara, though watched and enjoyed other AUs grow, and developed my own ideas.
Finding the starting point is the hardest, and deciding on size is the most difficult element of that. Too small, and you'll only be able to post a few designs, because your nation can't afford much more, and too large, and you'll have too many and it also loses much of the challenge of having to do more with less. Location is also tricky, as it needs to be somewhat plausible, but also needs to match the story you have in mind for it. With Ardania, I'm going to have to sacrifice the former for the latter, even if it means I have to raise a continental shelf, ignore some laws of geography, and just take it on faith that some set of geological forces are in play that lets it all somehow work. Maybe, just maybe, when everything else is figured out, and I get enough input, I can alter some details to make it more plausible, but until then, I don't find things such as the effect of wave action on the shape of my coastline enjoyable to contemplate or have the time to research the topic enough to draw a useful conclusion about it. Thirdly, you have the matter of resources. I know that some have spoken about AUs sitting on oceans of oil and with diamond strewn beaches, but a certain level of resources are needed for industrialization, otherwise, you're going to end up with a nation like I dunno...Ireland?
So, with all of the above taken into account, I'm naming my nation Ardania and locating it in the Bay of Biscay. It has a population of 20 million in 1940, and most of the same natural resources that England does, albeit in smaller amounts. The main people of the nation are Bretons who arrived mainly around 400 to 650 AD. While I plan on giving the place a bit of history, the focus of the AU will the 1930s and WWII, which brings me to my next point.
Germany. Now a problem I see with many WWII AUs, particularly in Europe is they run mostly along the lines of the historical war with the addition of their nation. The problem for me, especially as these almost always end up on the Allied side, and mostly focus on the naval and air forces, is they are piling onto an already overmatched, overextended enemy, so much of my work on this AU has boiled down to how to make Germany a more worthy enemy, making most of the stuff I'm going to post about them instead of Ardania.
After much thought on the matter, Hitler and the gang are mostly going to die in the 1928 Putsch with Fatty Goering among them. That's going to pretty much finish off the NSDAP, and in its place is going to rise the DNVP,(The German Nationalist People's Party--it really did exist) which will absorb the remains of the NSDAP and eventually come to power led by the charismatic Johan Kessler, a fictional character. Kessler's goals are to rearm, restore the German Empire, avenge Versailles, and create a German hegemony in Europe. After this is done, he can turn his attention to the real enemy, Stalin and the USSR.
Unlike Hitler, he's not stupid enough to fight both at the same time, making an agreement with Stalin that in exchange for giving the Soviets a free hand in Eastern Europe, the USSR won't contest German annexation of Poland, also arranging for trade in strategic materials between the two nations. Stalin, that master of the long game, is perfectly content with this; it gives him time to put his own military, weakened by the purges, back in order, using places like Bulgaria as a testing ground. He's counting on the Allies to weaken Germany, and each other, and willing to keep Germany in the war until it's beaten down enough to take, and the West is too worn down from the fighting to stop him.
For Kessler, Poland is going to be the first order, but the real battle will be against France and Britain. Using doctrine hammered out in Spain, Kessler is convinced France can be dealt with, but the UK will need special measures, such as a long range bomber force, backed by plenty of U-boats and surface raiders. None of these things will be easy, given limitations Germany is under regards time and production capacity.
(I'm planning on the Ju 89 being a flop, and in desperation they end up licensing the Piaggio P.108, correcting its flaws. I'm going to have to juggle all sorts of things around, but hopefully, they'll get some actually flying by 1940. This means that Germany takes an interest in the design much earlier, probably before the first Italian prototype is flown.)
So, that's where I'm at right now. I'm just a kitbasher myself, and Ardania is going to have rather modest forces, but I'm hoping to add to this AU by inviting other artists to take part in periodic design competitions, and hopefully, perchance, stimulate some good historical debate along the way.
I'm not planning on posting the AU itself for the moment, as there is a lot more work to do, and things to be decided, before that point is reached, but I'm interested in hearing ideas and getting input from the board.
Note: I'm probably going to wait until the new site is up for the actual Ardanian AU.
We can't stop here--this is Bat country!
If it's close enough to cast a shadow, I think the flying house wins initiative.
Bronies are like the Forsworn. Everyone agrees that they are a problem but nobody wants to expend the energy rooting them out.
"That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way."