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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 19th, 2020, 10:49 am
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Kriegsmarine

With the new governing structure being “army focussed” and with the poor showing of the Kriegsmarine in the war, the German navy was not a high priority. The German naval and merchant marines suffered heavy losses, mainly in Norway. A blue-water navy to rival Britain’s was now beyond Germany’s potential, with naval production being better utilised with a focus on merchant vessels. Production of aircraft carriers and additional capital ships was no longer viable. The Plan Z navy to challenge the Royal Navy was abandoned and all further construction on capital ships halted, already the second aircraft carrier had been cancelled and scrapped in the shipyard.
Not willing to accept the change of policy away from a blue-water navy Grossadmiral Erich Raeder resigned, leaving Konteradmiral Karl Dönitz to become head of the navy. For Dönitz his promotion brought him to leadership at the perfect time to focus the navy to the direction of U-boats. With the new national administration and focus away from surface fleet actions, Dönitz renamed the navy back to its Weimar title of Reichsmarine.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 19th, 2020, 11:50 pm
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Sale Of The Graf Zeppelin

Italy had not considered aircraft carriers as a necessary part of her naval structure. As the Regia Marina’s sphere of operations was considered to only be the Mediterranean Sea, Italy’s island possessions were considered to be “natural” aircraft carriers allowing the extension of Italian airpower as needed. However the conversion of a ferry to act as a mothership for Ro.43 seaplanes and design work from the Naval Engineering Corps had kindled interest in conversion of 2 liners into auxiliary carriers.
With Germany’s remaining Plan Z carrier becoming “surplus to requirements”, Italy jumped at the opportunity to acquire a custom-designed hull, rather than having to re-engineer a civil ocean liner. Although having been launched in December 1938, the Graf Zeppelin was still being fitted and completed. Her sister ship, tentatively named Peter Strasser, had already been scrapped at the shipyard, and work on the Graf Zeppelin had been suspended due to changed strategic priorities. As such significant work was still required to bring her to an operational condition and with Germany’s new focus on marine construction that work would be required to be undertaken at a shipyard outside the Reich, and committed to before a decision was made to also scrap the vessel.
Italy’s shipbuilding industry was very much up to the task of completing a fleet carrier, and work on the creation of the auxiliary carriers was dropped in preparation for fit out for the Graff Zeppelin, now given the name of “Aquila” for Italian service. By the anniversary of the invasion of Poland that had precipitated the War, the former Graff Zeppelin had departed German waters for her new home in the Mediterranean.

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As Italy had no suitable aircraft for carrier use, the already constructed Fieseler Fi 167 and Messerschmitt Bf 109 T-1 aircraft which were otherwise redundant in Germany, were included in the sale to provide an initial nucleus of service aircraft while Italian companies worked to produce indigenous designs. In preparation for marine service the aircraft were delivered to Italy before the Aquila, and with a German training detachment, were formed into land-based training squadrons.

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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 19th, 2020, 11:52 pm
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Sale Of Heavy Cruisers

In October 1939 the Soviet Union had approached Germany to purchase the final 3 unfinished Admiral Hipper-class cruisers; Prinz Eugen, Seydlitz and Lützow. Germany had agreed to only a single sale, that of the fifth and final hull, the Lützow. The sale of Lützow had been agreed to in February 1940, and had been delivered in an uncompleted state by mid-April. In Soviet service the Lützow was renamed Petropavlovsk.
Construction of the Seydlitz had been halted after her launch at approximately 95%, while the Prinz Eugen was complete and in service trials. Both vessels were now reoffered to the Soviets. With the Prinz Eugen being virtually “ready-for-operations” the Soviets were very receptive and rapidly finalised the sale. Both vessels were sent to Leningrad to join their sistership, receiving the names Sevastapol and Poltava, mirroring the naming of the earlier Baltic-based Gangut-class battleships of the Imperial Russian Navy.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 20th, 2020, 4:49 am
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Deployment Of ANZAC's To Egypt, June 1940

With the time delays intrinsic to a global mobilisation, the first ANZAC troops from New Zealand and Australia reached the Suez Canal in early June. With the Armistice in force the War had not ended, but the need for additional troops in Britain itself had dissipated. Instead the ANZAC were redirected to Egypt for additional training and to bolster the British position in the Middle East. With their historical connection with the region from the Ottoman campaigns of the Great War this redeployment was treated positively by both the troops themselves and their nations in general.
The only fly-in-the-ointment was the Australian union-led resistance to any actions against the German-Soviet socialist alliance, which was most noticeable in the disruptive actions of the waterfront workers unions. Strikes, go-slows and outright sabotage had delayed the troop deployment and still hindered further military shipments.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 21st, 2020, 2:28 am
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Soviet Invasion Of The Baltic States, 12 – 22 June 1940

With the world’s attention focused on Germany, the Soviet Union initiated action against the Baltic States, in line with the secret protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Since early October 1939 Soviet forces had been granted the right to establish military bases in each of the Baltic states for the duration of the European War, the rejection of this “request” by Finland had led to the Winter War. Moving now to formally gain control of the Baltic States, the Soviet forces were given orders on the 9th June 1940 to prepare for an invasion by the 12th. On the 12th Soviet naval forces were further instructed to commence a blockade of the Baltic States.
The position of the Baltic states was already very weak, with the Soviet military already in occupation of bases within them. On the 14th June the Soviets issued an ultimatum to Lithuania demanding the stationing of unlimited Soviet troops and the installation of a pro-Soviet government, and commenced the blockade of Estonia.

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That day the Finnish airliner “Kaleva” carrying passengers and US diplomatic pouches from Tallinn to Helsinki was intercepted by Soviet aircraft and shot down with the loss of all on board. Fear of further Soviet action against Finland prevented a formal Finnish protest.
On the 15th Soviet forces moved into Lithuania and attacked Latvian border posts, and on the 16th issued similar ultimata to Estonia and Latvia. With no possibility of resisting, the Baltic governments surrendered their sovereignty. The only resistance occurred in Estonia where a Signal Battalion fought the invaders and Estonian fifth columnists who attempted to disarm them on the 21st, until the arrival of Soviet armoured cars led to a negotiated surrender.

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By the 21st, new popular front provisional governments had been formed in each state. Under Soviet supervision elections were held to ratify the candidates with no opposition choices. Within a month each of the new assemblies had met with only a single order of business, a resolution to join the Soviet Union.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: October 22nd, 2020, 7:26 am
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Soviet Invasion Of Romania, 28 June - 3 July 1940

Just as Britain and France had guaranteed the protection of Poland, an agreement had been in place since April 1939 to guarantee Romania. Looking at how her treaty had protected Poland, the Soviets considered that the agreement on Romania had just as much teeth, and any action taken by the Entente would be more bluster than action. In line with the Molotov-Ribbentrop secret protocols, the Soviets turned their attention south from the Baltics to Bessarabia.
From late April Soviet troops commanded by General Georgy Zhukov began assembling along the Romanian border, with a plan to have numerical superiority over Romania of at least 3:1. The Soviet plan was for an simultaneous advances from the north and from the east to trap the Romanian forces in central Bessarabia. A secondary plan was drafted to rapidly move into Bessarabia if the Romanians chose to surrender the territory and not offer resistance.
Late in the night of the 26th June the Romania plenipotentiary minister in Moscow was provided with a Soviet ultimatum for the Romanian evacuation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, with 24 hours to provide respond.
In the morning of the 27th Romania started a general mobilisation. King Carol II assembled the senior government ministers and the ambassadors of Britain, France Italy and Germany for urgent discussions. The King wished to resist the Soviets and was relying on active Entente support, and diplomatic pressure to prevent Hungary and Bulgaria from making similar claims to north-western and south-eastern Romanian territory.
The response received were not what Carol had hoped. From being a strong ally, France’s economic and political position in Romania had weakened over the years. Although France was nervous on the future of Romanian oil it was in no position to provide military assistance. Likewise, although Britain felt a moral obligation to protect Romania, the diplomatic embarrassment over the partition of Poland prevented Britain from wanting to get mired in another unwinnable fight. Neither were willing to defend Romania from what was a request for the return of annexed provinces, rather than an out-and-out invasion. Romania’s economy was deeply tied to Germany’s, but Romania’s economic heartland including the oilfields of Ploești, was not directly threatened. Italy was still seen as a diplomatic middle-man and it was hoped that Italy could ensure the security of Transylvania and South Dobruja. The advice was unanimous; accede to the Soviet demands
That afternoon the Romanians government replied that they would agree to immediate negotiations. Instead of negotiations, the Soviets responded with an ultimatum demanding the evacuation of Bessarabia and North Bukovina within 4 days. With this new ultimatum the Romanian government debated a course of action through the night. The majority voted to accept the ultimatum, and in the morning of the 28th the order was communicated to withdraw and for the Romanian military to stand-down with strict orders not to react to provocation.
With Romania’s acquiescence Soviet troops immediately started moving, crossing the border on the morning of the 28th. The unplanned nature and rapidity of the Romanian withdrawal led to a complete breakdown of order and discipline. Departing Romanian troops were attacked by civilians, reported as “Jews”, stoking anti-Semitic sentiment. With the government losing support having chosen not to fight, the Romanian authorities scapegoated the Jews, focusing civil anger towards them rather than the government or the Soviet invaders. Seeing atrocities and local pogroms undertaken by Romanian troops led local Soviet commanders to advance beyond the stated objectives to neutralise the Romanian presence, additionally capturing southern Bukovina and the district of Hertza. By the 3rd July the Soviets had completely occupied their claimed territories and closed the border.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 22nd, 2020, 11:19 pm
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Hungarian-Romanian Relations

Under Hitler, Germany had balanced the Balkan States into accepting the status quo of their borders delineated after the Great War, while endeavouring to keep them all on good terms with each other and as good trading partners for Germany’s economy. Hungary had been the most strident though, with claims against Romania over the territory of Transylvania continuously broached. With Romania’s weakness in the face of the Soviets, public agitation for military action to reclaim that territory started in Hungary.
With the reality of the threat from Hungary, Romania repudiated the Anglo-French guarantee on the 1st July, and the next day King Carol II contacted Imperator Willem III requesting to join the Italo-German Pact of Steel.
Germany was now placed in an awkward position. Although not allied with Hungary, the country was very closely tied politically and economically, and Hungary had enjoyed territorial gains with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Hungarian ambitions could not be held back much longer, which would destabilise the whole of the Balkans, jeopardising Romanian oil supplies and risking further Soviet penetration in the region.
At German insistence, Hungary and Romania entered into territorial negotiations on the 16th August.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 23rd, 2020, 4:59 am
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Double post


Last edited by Sheepster on October 23rd, 2020, 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 23rd, 2020, 5:23 am
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Republican Party National Convention, USA, 24-28 June 1940

The Republican Party went in to their convention with no clear candidate, only 30% of the delegates had pledged support to any candidate by the start of the Convention. The calming political situation in Europe was the major international consideration, while Roosevelt’s “creeping socialism” was the domestic issue. The three front-runners for the nomination were District Attorney Thomas Dewey, who had shot to fame as the Mafia “gangbuster” prosecutor, Senator Robert Taft, a conservative non-interventionist, and Senator Arthur Vandenburg the senior Senate Republican.
Dewey’s youth and lack of government experience caused his campaign to lose strength in the face of competition against the professional political muscle of former President Hoover and the Governor, Senator and Representative candidates. Although both Taft and Vandenburg were both non-interventionists, Vandenburg’s campaign was lethargic and rapidly collapsed, leaving Taft to carry the Convention as the Republican’s nomination for President.
In a first, Taft took to the podium to give his acceptance speech which was televised live to three television stations in New York City, Schenectady NY and Philadelphia. Taft confirmed to the audience that he believed America should avoid entanglement in any European or Asian wars, and instead concentrate on its domestic issues, believing that America’s geographic isolation and a strong military would be sufficient to protect American prosperity and sovereignty.
With no preferred choice for vice-presidential candidate, Taft left the decision to the convention chairman, who suggested the Senate Minority Leader Charles McNary, who was ratified by the Convention.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: October 23rd, 2020, 5:26 am
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Democratic Party National Convention, USA, 15-18 July 1940

With the calming of tensions in Western Europe, and a disregard for Eastern Europe and Asia, President Roosevelt was comfortable following the accepted 2-term presidential limit, looking forward to writing bi-weekly articles for Colliers in retirement. His endorsed candidate being his former campaign manager and Democratic Party political “kingmaker” James Farley. The other main candidate was the Vice President, John Nance Garner. Although he was the incumbent Vice President, Garner had split from Roosevelt’s policies during the term and now pushed his disagreement with the New Deal. In contrast Farley had worked closely with Roosevelt and capitalised on continuing with the policies that had brought America out of the Great Depression. Voting was not particularly close and Farley received the Democratic nomination after the second ballot. With the obvious schism between Farley and Garner, the vice presidential nomination was awarded to Henry Wallace, also Roosevelt’s choice.


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