General Dimitri Igoumensita looked over the maps and reports he had been provided with. Germany would have to face the Eastern Bloc from the east. They obviously knew this, and were fortifying the border. Poland was the natural place to attack from.
Unless of course the Germans attacked them first. Would they do that? How much sense did it make? Igoumensita scowled. Which was the superior force? He had very few MI reports on the German army.
Where should he concentrate his forces? Poland was the natural place for considering an attack on West Europe, which was his major target. Now that the rebel army had been driven out of Poland and into Germany, Igoumensita felt reasonably secure about moving forces into Poland. There was still a major Polish underground movement, of course. He also had the rather onerous task of protecting all of the Eastern Bloc from attack. Russia had shown no signs of starting something, but they certainly could at any time.
With a sweep of his arm, Igoumensita knocked all of his papers off of his desk. He lit a cigarette and leaned back in his chair. He found that he was his best when he was not burdened with numbers, and could just think without considering the facts. He was a natural born warrior, who knew things instinctually, not by crunching numbers and statistics.
Now then. Poland. Poland was a pain in Igoumensita’s hind side. It had always refused to join the Eastern Bloc. They were too proud of their independence. Eastern forces had then occupied Poland, forcing the country into Eastern servitude. Yet he couldn’t squeeze a single collaborator out of the whole rotten population. The closest he had gotten was a Ukrainian with a Polish name: Johann Joniec. He had put Joniec in charge of running the Eastern fleet off the Polish border, and he had done admirable work, but the fleet was in constant danger of sabotage from the locals.
The Poles were always blowing up Eastern installations. They couldn’t stand toe to toe with the Eastern army so they went the route of subterfuge. He had been very surprised by the appearance of Lewandowski’s ragtag army. But now that the overt rebels had been chased out of the country, there was only the underground to deal with. They certainly would not allow Igoumensita to launch an attack unless they didn’t know there was an installation. Not unless there was some very good propaganda which would convince the Poles the Eastern army was elsewhere.
He picked up the phone and dialed the number.
"This is Igoumensita," he said in Greek, "I have a problem with Poland. I need them to think that aside from the garrison, the Eastern army is nowhere near Poland. Can you handle it? I don't care how difficult it is! I have a pretty god damned difficult job, too, you know! Yes, yes. I want a whole propaganda campaign. No, I really don't care about any other country. Well," he consulted one of the maps that had been thrown to the floor, "I may try to launch some attacks from the Czech Republic as well, so you may want to begin a minor campaign there to rouse support for the Union. Yes, thank you."
He hung up the phone on the Minister of Propaganda. Now, then, what were important German targets? Berlin, obviously, but that would be their most fortified area. Münich? No, that was too much of a southward push. Maybe he should just concentrate on border towns. If he took enough land, he could take Berlin and Münich eventually. How about Görlitz? From there he could proceed to Bautzen, Dresden, Chemnitz. Or maybe he should try Frankfurt an der Oder. That was a short push to Berlin.
Yes, Görlitz was the place. He should make a push from Poland. But where? Szczecin. What a godawful name for a place. Why couldn't any of them have nice, simple Greek names? He looked again at the map of Germany with all of it's horrible names. He laughed. The country looked like a huge mushroom.
Igoumensita picked the phone up again. This time he was calling Michaelis Pantermalis, his chief of staff.
"Pantermalis," he said, "Let's start diverting forces to Poland. There's a city called Szczecin, that's where I want our bulk to be. S-Z-C-Z-E-C-I-N. Yes, it's a lot farther north than any of our targets. My plan is to throw the Germans off. They're going to think we're attacking from a city pretty far south. We'll actually be marching the men from Szczecin down to Görlitz. It's feasible.
"Let's get the air force started right away. Our prime target is Berlin, obviously. Let's try to take their capital. But have the planes sweeping very broadly. Bomb everything from Cologne to Münich. The important thing about this campaign is to always keep them guessing! Keep them guessing where we're coming from, keep them guessing where we are, keep them guessing what we're after. Yes. Good bye, Pantermalis."
Igoumensita put the phone carefully back into it's cradle. He leaned back in his chair to begin thinking again. France? No, France was too far west. For now.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
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