After Action Report 02
Submitted by Phil Smith on 12 Oct 2005
 

Communiqué from Romanian Military Command:
"The Last War" - The Romanian Perspective

(or "It's not the taking part, it's the winning that counts").

The Prologue…
Romania is a small, peaceful country; its people are peaceful and freedom loving, and we just want to be left alone.
In 1939, Romania's fraternal brothers to the north, the Poles, were the victims of a vicious, unprovoked attack by the forces of Fascist Nazi Germany and the evil Soviet Communists. Romania, as a peaceful and freedom loving country, was appalled by this act of naked aggression by these two diabolical regimes, but was powerless to intervene. We were confident, however, that such a fate would not befall us, since we were allies with our beloved brothers, the French. Unfortunately, in June 1940, France surrendered to the evil, tyrannical Germans.
Being a small, peaceful and freedom loving country, we were forced to accede to the tyrannical German demands that we hand over rightfully Romanian territory (awarded to us in the Treaty of Versailles, for being on the winning side in 1918), to Bulgaria (Southern Dobrudja), Hungary (Northern Transylvania) and the Soviet Union (Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina). We also had to permit the stationing of hated fascist troops within our borders.
In June 1941, the evil Nazi tyranny realised its mistake in co-operating with the despotic Soviet regime.
Romania was happy to assist our fraternal brothers, the Germans, in their crusade to bring freedom and enlightenment to the benighted peoples living under the Soviet yoke. We also took the opportunity to liberate Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. Due to a slight oversight, the Romanian army also appears to have accidentally taken Odessa and driving somewhat further East.

The War (From January 1942)…
January 1942 saw the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army supporting their gallant, fraternal brothers in the German army in their struggle to free the world of the blight of communism. This action was broadly popular with the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian people, though they did express concern about the potential cost ("The people want the army in action, only there mustn't be any casualties…").
I, as military commander, discussed the situation with the Romanian peoples' glorious, peaceful and freedom loving leader, Marshal Antonescu. We determined that further operations on the Eastern Front front line could easily result in heavy casualties to the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army. As a result of these discussions, I informed my fraternal brothers in the brave and noble German military command that it was politically unaccepted to deploy Romanian troops further east than the Crimea (i.e., we had gone as far east as we could), but that we would be happy to assist the heroic German army in driving out the last of the despicable communists from the city of Sevastopol. Having undertaken this necessary task with our noble German comrades, we were a happy to accede to a German request to undertake rear area security duties - as I said "Just ask us when you want us to do so".
Having liberated Sevastopol from the communist grasp, the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army was now free to undertake other operations. At this time, the German peoples' beloved fuhrer apparently issued an order to the German East Front command that they should send assistance to their forces in North Africa, bravely defending Italian territory against the grasping attacks of the oppressive, imperialist British. Observing that British forces in North Africa were somewhat small (compared to Soviets on the Eastern Front), I was happy to suggest that the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army would be prepared to provide the requested assistance, thus allowing our noble and heroic German comrades-in-arms to remain in action against the hated Soviets.
Accordingly, with the help of our fraternal brothers in the Italian Navy and merchant marine, the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army dispatched the Romanian Africa Corps to Libya, to assist our brave and beloved Italian allies, and the forces of the German Africa Corps, to liberate Italian territory from the Imperialist British.
Unfortunately, while the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian Africa Corps succeeded in driving the Imperialist British back to the east, long before we got within sight of the Egyptian border the Imperialists heavily reinforced their troops, and proceeded to drive us, and our beloved allies back. This coincided with a slight glitch in the operations of the beloved and heroic Italian Navy that prevented any reinforcement of our forces in Africa. Towards the end of summer, 1942, the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian Africa Corps was destroyed.
While this news was not entirely welcomed by the people back home, at about this time the Romanian peoples' glorious, peaceful and freedom loving leader, Marshal Antonescu, with the assistance of our fraternal brothers in the German foreign ministry, was able to conclude negotiations with the Bulgarians for the return of Southern Dobrudja. During these negotiations, German, Romanian and Bulgarian historians also discovered that the territory then known as Macedonia, within the country of Yugoslavia, was actually the lost Bulgarian province of Western Bulgaria. The frontier posts were adjusted accordingly, and an instruction was given that all Romanian school atlases be corrected.
Towards the end of 1942, the little local difficulty that the Italian Navy had suffered appeared to be resolved. Our noble Italian allies expressed an intention to reinforce their surviving forces in North Africa, and so the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army reformed the Romanian Africa Corps, and dispatched it to Tripoli. The commander of the Romanian Africa Corps was slight perturbed to see two German panzer units, the last German troops in Africa, board the ships that the Romanian Africa Corps had just disembarked from, and sail back to Europe.
Following heavy attacks from the evil British Imperialist aggressors, the joint Romanian/Italian garrison of Tripoli was driven back, but refused to cross the border into Tunisia, and infringe Vichy French territorial integrity. However, an all Italian unit further south did retreat across the border. Following this, the Vichy government gave permission for us to enter their territory. While the Italian troops bravely formed a line to hold back the despotic British, the Romanian Africa Corps pulled back to secure the port of Tunis to permit further supply and reinforcement. Unfortunately, the Italian Navy again seemed to be suffering a little local difficulty, and no reinforcement was forthcoming. Nevertheless, the peaceful and freedom loving Rumanian Africa Corps bravely defended the port of Tunis to the last, and thus the brave soldiers of Rumania were the last axis forces in Africa.
Following this slight military set-back, the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army undertook a period of re-building, during which no military operations were carried out.
In July, 1943, following a specific request from our noble and gallant German allies, an anti-bandit (some might say "anti-partisan") operation was undertaken. Then, with the East Front front line almost at the Crimea, our fraternal German brothers accepted our offer to deploy Romanian forces into the front line, and in September 1943, the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army once more helped our gallant German allies to defeat the scourge of communism. Unfortunately, at this time, news was received that the Americans had landed in France.

(This was the end of day 1. John, my team mate, and Romania-political, was unable to be at the game until about 2pm Sunday).

With the losses suffered in North Africa, an apparent resurgence of the evil Soviet menace, and the America landing in France, there was a certain amount of discontent at home. The Romanian peoples' glorious, peaceful and freedom loving leader, Marshal Antonescu was at this time most unfortunately detained, and I, as senior military commander, took charge of all aspects of the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian state.
With the news of the American landing in France, the German Army on the Eastern Front switched largely to the defensive. The Romanian army, being peaceful and freedom loving, followed suit. Following a further request from the German military command, Romanian commenced a second anti-bandit operation; Romanian military command took this opportunity to reduce our front-line strength, so ensuring our home-army forces remained strong. This was partly due to rumours that SS troops were about to be ordered into Hungary, and partly due to a report of Soviet political contact with the Hungarian government.

Reviewing the current military situation in Europe, in became apparent that a re-appraisal of Romania's world view may be in order. Thirty seconds later, I discreetly sought out the American Secretary of state. I pointed out to him that Romania was a small, peaceful and freedom loving country, forced into the war by the actions of two despotic regimes (though I was sure the Soviets were much better nowadays), that there would be an 'after the war', and Romanian had a lot of oil which the Soviets would keep in its entirety if they occupied my country, and would he please approach the Soviet Government to establish free and fair negotiations.
Shortly after (and in plain view of the German East Front military commanders) I received a message from the Soviet military staff requesting that I communicate with Marshal Stalin.
There than followed a very amiable meeting, leading to a treaty (witnessed by the US secretary of state) whereby Romania's fraternal brothers, the Soviet Union, agree to formally recognise the old 1939 border, in return for the peaceful and freedom loving Romanian army assisting in the noble task of defeating the tyrannical forces of Nazi Germany. Accordingly, in the summer of 1944, the peaceful and freedom loving Rumanian army liberated Odessa from the evil, despotic, Nazi invader, and linked up with our good friends in the Soviet Army. While we were eager to continue to drive back the hated German monsters, the monsters unfortunately ran away from the mighty, but peaceful and freedom loving, Rumanian army. Being peaceful and freedom loving, and not willing to infringe on lawful Hungarian (which obviously doesn't include Northern Transylvania) or Soviet territory, the Rumanian army was unable to continue operations against the despised Germans. Instead, it carried out a though inspection of Romania's borders, and, finding that the state of the border markers was somewhat tatty, undertook to remain on the borders as long as necessary to 'tidy things up'.
This largely concluded the peaceful and freedom loving people of Rumania's part in the war, and by coincidence, the Romanian peoples' glorious, peaceful and freedom loving leader, Marshal Antonescu, returned to take back political command.
A few minor events occurred thereafter.
Due to an apparent failure in Allied communication, a senior member of the brave and noble British military staff threatened Romanian with invasion and occupation by British troops if we didn't unconditionally surrender, despite the fact that we were now fraternal allies (a fact know to the Soviets, the American government, and the British front commanders, but evidently not by our good friend in the British government). Fortunately, this communication failure was corrected without incident.
Slightly more regrettable was the appearance of two groups of bandits within peaceful and freedom loving borders of Romania. A very strong rumour went around that these were communist terrorists. However, this was clearly not the case since (i) there are no communists in Rumania (ii) If they were communist terrorists, that would imply our good and noble friends in the Soviet Union was responsible for them, which obviously couldn't possibly be the case. These terrorists were therefore identified as murderous, Nazi extremist die-hards, and were hunted down and killed with no mercy. Just to be clear, I reiterate: there are no communists in Rumania.
While the peaceful and freedom loving nation of Rumania is once more free and at peace, we noted that disturbances were still occurring in neighbouring Yugoslavia. When our good and trusted Soviet friends requested to overfly our territory with transport aircraft, we readily gave our permission, as long as everything was undertaken in accordance with normal civil aviation rules. It appears, however, that the Soviet flight plan showing transport aircraft was not strictly accurate, and the aircraft were actually military combat planes. We were most upset about this apparent bureaucratic blunder. However, we console ourselves that we shortly be taking delivery of some shiny new British-made jet fighters, in a trade deal made by our glorious, peaceful and freedom loving leader, Marshal Antonescu.

 

Player Perspective : Phil Smith
The logical and historical course of action for Romanian at the start of the game is to fully commit to supporting the German army on the Eastern Front. However, historical precedent suggests that this is likely to result in the Romanian army being chopped into little pieces, a large Soviet army arriving at Romania's borders, and Romania having to switch sides from a position of weakness.
An additional problem with simply committing to the Eastern Front is that, given the size of the Romanian army relative to the scale of the fighting, we would never be more than a subordinate to the Germans. While the German command may have observed the diplomatic niceties and 'asked' Romania to cooperate with their plans, Romania would be incapable of carrying out significant independent operations on the Eastern Front. It was also clear that Romania's principle value to the Axis was the oil from Ploesti (and therefore to keep any influence, keeping the oil fields secure was vital).
Another fear we in the Romanian team had was of being 'bullied' by the Germans, so we pursued a policy of being as helpful and friendly to the other minor axis powers as possible, to try and establish some diplomatic strength in numbers. This also led to the idea of the Romanian Africa Corps to support the Italians.
The first military decision was therefore to get our units out of the front line on the Eastern Front. Conveniently, the Germans starting discussing sending reinforcements to North Africa, and readily agreed to the Romanian army deploying to the Middle East.
Ideally, we had plans to drive with the Italians through Egypt and into the Middle East, to secure the oil fields. If the Germans took the Middle Eastern oil, our supplies would become less important, but if we took it, we would still control most of the axis oil supplies, so retain our influence. In practice, we figured the best we were likely to achieve was to distract the British and force them to commit more troops to the North Africa. Unfortunately, the British plan appears to have been to swamp the Africa with troops anyway, so we achieved little, other than to earn 'brownie points' with the other axis powers. However, the losses we sustained gave us an excuse to hang back and rebuild the army.
By the first few moves of the second day, the axis situation looked increasingly poor, and (noting our briefing objectives) it appeared to be time to start negotiations to distance ourselves from the Germans. Conveniently, the German East Front collapsed just after we attacked German troops, thus allowing us to (i) claim 'Allied' status, (ii) avoid German retribution (since they had just retreated) (iii) avoid further combat losses, since we now were unable to reach German troops without leaving Romanian territory.
At the end of the war (game), the Romanian army was considerably stronger than at the start, and we had a treaty with the Soviet Union (even though we didn't trust them). We also retained all our advantage cards, which we planned to use if necessary/possible in the 'any other use permitted by control' mode to mobilise world public opinion to stop the Western democracies from abandoning us to the Soviets.

Game Objectives:
1: Maintain Rumanian independence and territorial integrity, particularly from Russia.
At game end, we had lost no territory, and there were no foreign troops on Rumanian territory.
2: Defend Rumanian territory by political, military and diplomatic means preferably along the Treaty of Versailles borders.
At game end, we had regained the territory lost to Bulgaria and the Soviet Union (but not Hungary), while losing no other territory. Our long term outlook relative to the Soviets probably isn't that good, but that's another game…
3: Be on the winning side at the end of the war (or at least safely detach yourselves from the losing side).
At the end of the war, we are formally allied with the Soviets, and therefore on the winning side. Again, we are probably about to be swallowed up by the Soviet Union, but we haven't been yet…
4: Obtain modern military equipment from the Germans.
Never happened, though we got aircraft from both Hungary and Finland, and we are about to receive modern jet aircraft from the British.