"Mom, when are they going to let daddy go? He never did anything bad to anyone." Six-year-old Suzy had never understood why her dad left home 2 years ago. The italians, hopelessly behind in technology, had hired americans to join their secret research teams. Mussolini had spared no expense, spending 60% of the GNP on the underground labs. None of the scientists were allowed to leave the labs or talk to their families until the project was finished. In return they were promised lives of luxury for them and their families after completion.
"He'll come home anytime now, hon. Today we can see what he made!" Suzy's mom sounded re-assuring but her voice wavered with anxiety. Infront of them were the massive elevator doors which would emit the creation of many years of toil. The crowds were held back by thick walls of bullet-proof glass. Infront of the elevators was a hulk from a destroyed american sherman tank.
The crowd waited in nervous anticipation as security guards watched over. Cheerleaders handed out balloons to children. Then the elevator doors hummed as they slowly opened. The crowd went silent. Everyone gasped as the Mech Legionary walked out, shaking the ground with each step. Each arm contained a huge chain cannon. Some of the audience started to panic. Movies like Robocop gave robots a bad image. The announcer, a popular news announcer, assured everyone the robot had a human operator inside and the walls could stop bullets.
The mech was about 15 meters high and weighed 340 tons. It's mixed-alloy armour could stop any tank or infantry munitions. Equipped with 2x50mm chain cannons with 2000/4000/overload 8000 rpm fire selector speeds. It carried both uranium-depleted and jacketed munition types. It emitted a buzzing sound as the chain cannons targeted the sherman tank. It only fired for 2 or 3 seconds but the damage was horrific. The cacophony of ripping metal could be heard for miles. The tank was shredded and transformed into a jagged caricature. Ricochets took chunks out of the glass protecting the audience setting off a panic.
"Kleist, tell us your plans for the deployment." Hitler sat rigid in his chair and the mood in the room was tense for everyone knew what would happen if Hitler didn't like Kleist's plan to invade Italy.
Just yesterday, Manstein, the most brilliant strategist in the german staff, the mastermind who planned the blitz's through England and the the arab nations, had his career cut short for being "defeatist". Manstein had planned for attacks all along the long border with the army's strength spread between all the attacks. It was to be coupled with an amphibious assault on 2 Italian harbours. His theory was that the germans up until then had always used concentrated armour attacks called "schwerpunkt" to crush their foes so now the italians were surely preparing to defend against such an attack. This new attack style would throw the inexperienced and obsolete italian army into confusion. The german divisions out-numbered the italians by a factor of 5 to 1 so the multiple attack points would drain the defenders of strength. Hitler exploded with rage saying there must be a schwerpunkt. It was the "proven way to win".
Kleist began, "My plan is to have 3 army groups. Army Group A under Heitz will attack in the east with 10 regiments of stormtroopers. Army Group B under Halder with 4 tiger tank and 6 stormtrooper regiments will attack in the center. Army Group C, the schwerpunkt, under Hube, Jodl, Haase, Raus and Paulus will attack in the west with 100 stormtrooper and 50 heavy armour regiments including elite tigers and all of the new tiger II's. The italians have only 20 obsolete tank and 3 cavalry regiments in reserve to face all this with."
Hitler looked intrigued and uncharacteristically quiet. Kleist continued, "My logic is, the italians will commit all of their limited reserves into stopping groups A and B. In the west the terrain has not been developed since we exterminated the english so the slower group C will get there just after groups A and B have already engaged the enemy. Under the fog of war they will never see us coming. Our special ops teams will make sure no one is in the area."
"What about the air force?"
"Stukas will bomb all transportation routes infront of groups A and B to contribute to tying-up the italian reserves. Me-262's will fly recon. The few italian fighters are so old the few serviceable ones will likely be too weak to take out a stuka."
Hitler responded, "Excellent. Initiate that plan immediately."
The peaceful farming people of Aurelianorum and Tarentum had no idea of the storm gathering just north of them.
In Rome, Mussolini gathered his generals in his war room. The room was splendidly decorated with legionary statues and pictures of Caesar. This display gave no justice to the sad shape of the obsolete army, neglected for decades. More appropriate would have been a room filled with dust and rusting antiques.
"Place all the tanks, mechanized infantry and calvalry on the border ready to invade Germany." Mussolini, obese from a life of luxury and corruption, pompously gave orders which baffled his generals.
His heart was set on re-establishing the roman empire as the prime super-power of the world. The mech legionary was his trump card.
"Supreme Lord, our reserves would be destroyed by the enemy's bombers and V-1 rockets. It would be better to keep them in a safe area. We have railroads leading everywhere to move them as necessary." Indus was the only experienced general in the war room who had fought in the coalition against the treacherous english.
"Why didn't you use a tiger tank hulk for the mech demonstration? It would have inspired the people to see it torn apart."
Indus answered,"Too few tigers were destroyed in the coalition's war against the english. Apparently the american sherman was much easier for the english to destroy. We only found 2 tiger hulks left on the battlefield and several dozen sherman hulks. The tiger hulks were already used during testing."
Mussolini didn't seem to notice the subtle lesson contained in Indus's answer. "Hmmm. What is your plan for the mech legionaries?"
"Supreme Lord, they are necessary for defence but we don't have enough to put one in each city. They require much time and resources to build. The cities in the west will only be defended by grunts as an attack is not expected there. The enemy has vast numbers of elite heavy armour units. They are expected to mass their armour against one target area. Even the mech's may not be enough."
"Do I employ you as my advisor to tell me we will lose the impending war with Germany?" Mussolini's arrogance did little to help the advisors. "We will meet again tomorrow. You had better come up with a stategy other than to lose!"
But tomorrow would come too late.
They would surely come tonight again. The german special ops teams always came when there was no moon and often during heavy overcast when the moon was blocked from view. They had the advantage over the italian grunts not in only from their exceptionary training but mostly from the infrared scopes attached to their sniper rifles. The italians had no such technology and suffered dearly for it. The germans special forces had never left a single weapon behind, depriving the italians of the chance to reverse-engineer their technology.
Vanni was commander of the grunt platoons who were responsible for defending Italy's one and only rubber plantation. As luck would have it, the plantation was located exactly on the border with Germany in heavy jungle. Special ops teams could come over the border at night, hit the facilities and transportation network, kill anyone found and leave without being identified. Numerous workers had been killed by germans blowing-up their living quarters and from sniping.
The war, expected by all, had not started yet, but Germany was softening-up Italy with these unofficial attacks. The nazi regime denied any knowledge of these teams and described them as "unsettled guerilla terrorists left over from the arab nations".
Vanni's platoons had become hardened veterans from defending against numerous attacks. They had memorized the terrain and re-studied it daily. They knew how to hide from the infrared scopes by using water from nearby swamps to form muddy pools to hide in at night. All the approaches to the plantation facilities through the steamy jungle were booby-trapped. Engineers used electric circuits inside manequins from department stores which made a warm infrared target to fool the snipers into firing and giving away their positions.
Rome sent commandos equipped with image-enhancing goggles to help defend and despite their intense training they didn't have Vanni's platoons experience and scored few kills. They were inferior to the german special forces and lost many fire-fights. But Vanni's people never failed to defend the plantation and kept Italy's industry alive.
"Vanni, since we're going to be at war soon, why did Germany teach us the secret of longevity and how to cure cancer?" Antonio had worked on a farm before joining the army and knew little of modern politics.
"It was part of the deal to get our uranium. The germans also pay 250 international gold units a month to keep us supplying that uranium. Their using it to power their Krupp nuclear plants to make all their heavy tanks to steamroll us with." Vanni was replacing the foilage copiously covering his uniform making him look like a little tree.
"So how were they able to beat the americans, the tech leaders of the world, with those projects?"
"Well, do you know why Germany invaded the arab nations? They needed human ginea pigs. They experimented on the muslim prisoners they herded into their labs by the hundreds of thousands. That's why they only burnt down half their cities unlike the english whom they virtually made extinct."
Antonio cursed in disbelief as he attached the wire from a grenade to a palm tree.
"That's why when you see those germans coming through the wire you don't hesitate to light 'em up. You don't want your friends and family to go the same way. Just make sure you don't attach any o' them booby traps to a rubber tree or the foul-tempered plantation boss'll have some words for ya."
The London Scene
A thousand years before, the english had invaded a nearly defenseless Italy. The romans didn't have enough infantry regiments to put one in each city. The english burned down 3 cities and captured a fourth - Neopolis sparking a hatred of them which would never end. Then their worst nightmare began.
Caesar was quickly promoted to general commander of the armed forces. He pushed for the army to develop heavy armour and large shields coupled with a short stabbing sword. The legionary was far superior to the english swordsmen. Caesar backed them up with catapults and the combination was the optimal city-buster.
Caesar waited until a sizeable army of legionaries, archers and catapults had been recruited and trained before launching his campaign. Once prepared, the powerful army marched to Nottingham and after a preliminary catapult bombardment the legionaries easily captured the city. Caesar forbade his troops to enter the city after killing the defenders. He knew they would massacre the citizens in their lust for battle and revenge. Instead, he recruited a garrison, sent 300 hostages to Rome and then his army continued onto the capital, London.
At London, the scene was repeated. The legionaries spared no mercy for the evil english who had burned 3 roman cities and their innocent inhabitants. Some of their friends and family members had perished in those terrible fires. But Caesar again spared the citizens. Rome was a small country and needed the new cities. Also, London had 4 famous wineries which exported all over the globe and would boost Rome's weak economy. The english counter-attacked the city repeatedly but only managed to impale themselves on the impregnable roman defenses. One english general, leading a charge against the walls of London, was hit by a large ballista projectile which pinned him to his horse. The roman archers on top of the wall pouring arrows down on the doomed english swordsmen, cheered wildly at the heart-warming sight.
However, Italy's golden age soon ended. Caesar was over-whelmingly popular for being a tactical genius and superb leader. He fell victim to the jealousy of the muslims who longed to take over Italy which had blocked their expansion. They planned a war against Italy and knew Caesar was too strong a leader to oppose. They assassinated him by bribing a roman senator to do the dirty work. To make matters worse, the assassin not only survived, but was supported by many other senators who envied Caesar's rising power.
The arab nations' plans to invade Italy were cut short. The terrorism and threats the muslims carried out on their neighbours aroused the anger of the world and a coalition was formed to punish it. The long war which followed ended in annihilation for the muslims. Millions of muslims were butchered without mercy.
Meanwhile many romans had moved to London to work in the wineries. All the english workers were displaced. The english were only allowed to do hard labour while the romans did the high-pay white collar jobs. Roman and english citizens were segregated and not allowed to fraternize with each other. The new fascist regime which came about much later had an law enforcement militia known as the blackshirts. They copied the german brownshirt militia idea. The blackshirts patrolled the streets of London by walking in a row which extended across the street. Everyone had to get out of their way. English not working hard enough were beaten like rented mules. The english responded with a look-out system where one would watch from on top of a building and use hand signals to warn workers below of the coming blackshirts. The english were doomed to a hard life as a result of their ancestors' crimes.
2 Bone-crushing battles coming up!!
Stay tuned for the vicious Battle of Lugdunam where german Army Group A slugs it out with the desperate italians. There will be another episode about a fire-fight in the rubber plantation where the crack german special forces take on Vanni's well-prepared, battle-hardened grunts in the jungle. Two match-up's you don't want to miss!