Volume 3, Chapter 11
“Reinhardt, what are you trying to do? Where did you get that thing? Did I not say that weapons were not allowed in the conference room?” Hitler said in a severe tone.
“My Fuhrer, this is not a weapon.”
“Not a weapon? Then what are those? Ornaments?” Hitler pointed to those rusty nails stuck out a good few centimeters.
“My Fuhrer, this is not a weapon. This… it’s just an ordinary chair leg. As you can see that’s where the nails come from.”
Hitler looked at it again and felt it was indeed a chair leg.
“Then why did you put it in your briefcase?”
“Ah, it’s a long story. So, I was sitting in this chair in Arras during one of the breaks in fighting. When I returned, I removed a chair leg to serve as a souvenir of the fight. I did not expect to put in my briefcase and forgot to take it out. So, when Göring wanted to duel me, I saw him holding a weapon, but I did not have anything at the time. In desperation, I took out this simple chair leg.”
Goebbels secretly gave Xu Jun a thumbs up.
Goebbels muttered to himself, “To even be able to come up with this ridiculous lie and sound so righteous. If he was not the Vice Head of State then my position would be endangered. But would the Fuhrer really believe such a crazy lie?”
But Hitler’s next words gave him a shock.
“Oh, is that so? Ah, well it is best not to use that thing to fight back. If I had not stopped the fight then blood would have been spilt. Now let’s return to the matter at hand.” With this Hitler returned to his seat.
Then he gave a brief but meaningful glare at Göring.
Then he said to Xu Jun, “Anyhow this can be discussed later. Now Reinhardt, explain to me. Why did you say that Marshal Göring was bragging?”
Even an idiot could see Hitler was showing favoritism towards Xu Jun. The military generals suddenly grew spirited again, and the Party officials were casting strange looks at Xu Jun. Everyone was waiting for his answer.
“My Fuhrer, I actually did not want to insult Marshal Göring, but his proposal is indeed impossible to achieve.”
“What nonsense!” Göring jumped again in protest.
Hitler then gave him another dissatisfied look.
“Take a seat and shut your mouth, I wish to listen to Reinhardt’s words.”
Göring was shocked and he could tell that Hitler was truly getting aggravated. Seeing that retreat was the wisest option, he returned to his seat.
“I am not speaking nonsense, Marshal Göring. However, the advice you gave had a few key flaws. Because of these flaws, the plan would be destined to fail. Furthermore, if we did what you suggested then it would bring even more troubles upon us. I cannot allow the Third Reich to bear the risk of failure because of your own arrogance.” Xu Jun’s well-crafted words set a stir among the audience.
The generals all looked at each other to reaffirm what they just heard. The Party officials were also stunned silent.
Has the issue become that serious?
Hitler’s face showed a slight frown, looking at the map in the front of the room. After a period of time, he raised his head, said to Xu Jun.
“Go on, Reinhardt. Tell us where you saw the flaw in Göring’s plan that will be so dangerous.”
Xu Jun gave a serious nod. Then he turned to Göring.
“Marshal Göring, do you have a complete and comprehensive plan to destroy the enemy?
Göring was stunned and didn’t know how to respond to this question.
“Of course you don’t have one! You don’t even have a plan and yet you dare boast complete destruction of the enemy. Are you even a military commander? Is everything just lip service?”
Even Hitler began to feel that Göring seemed a bit too irresponsible. Bring into question if he should continue to trust his judgment.
The Army generals cheered and applauded in their hearts.
Göring quickly remembered, “Although I have no plans now, I can immediately let the Luftwaffe Command come up with a strategy by tomorrow.”
“My dear Marshal Göring, you’re bragging again.” Xu Jun said with a smile, “It is currently nine o’clock. Even if you immediately inform your staff, they could never develop a detailed plan of attack by morning. Besides, this is not simple bombing operation. The Luftwaffe have never attempted such large-scale bombing operation before.”
Hitler and the generals listened and nodded in agreement. Göring became speechless and stumbled in his seat.
Xu Jun continued, “Even if you developed a plan, what is the possibility for it to succeed? That area is full of complex terrain. The enemy is also equipped with a large number of anti-aircraft guns. By now, they would have had enough time to camouflage many of their positions. Your air reconnaissance would surely have a hard time detecting them once that happens. Moreover, the enemy will send aircraft to harass and shoot down our bombers. If that situation, how can your bombers destroy such a large area in just three days?”
Then he continued on, “Nothing about three days, even in three weeks this would be difficult to accomplish. This plan would be a failure if the Army is not allowed to participate. Honestly, even if the infantry advanced with support from the Luftwaffe, that may not even be enough.”
After listening to this, Hitler leaned back in his chair and began to think. Jodl who sat nearby could not help but ask Xu Jun.
“We’ve already made it clear that the Luftwaffe cannot completely destroy the enemy. However, surely if they and the infantry were sent, it would be enough? While it definitely won’t be three days, it would still only be around half a month. We’ve already severed their supply lines, and they are left completely surrounded. It’s not like they can break through our defenses anyway. Why? Do you think that we’re unable to wipe them out?”
Then Hitler also shot a puzzled look at Xu Jun. Obviously also not understanding how the enemy could escape the encirclement.
[At this point I’d estimate the date to be May 24-28. Since the Battle of Arras started 21st and it’s been about 3-4 days since.]
Xu Jun smiled and replied, “That’s because we did not think of the most crucial point.”
Seeing everyone give him their attentive gazes, he felt very satisfied with the effect. Xu Jun leisurely picked up his coffee cup and took a sip. Then stood up and went to the huge map of Europe. Taking a long stick, he pointed to a small point on the French Coast.
“We’ve not paid enough attention to here.”
Jodl cried out. “Dunkirk.”
“Yes, Dunkirk. Even though we talk about having the enemy encircled, there is still a very big loophole. This humble little port city.”
“We’ve considered this port in the past. Indeed the British and the French have used this port for supplies. From our information, they seem to be setting something up on the breakwaters. They may be wanting to send some reinforcements or supplies from the island. But if you are worried about this then please rest assured. The port is too small (e.g. too shallow) for a naval force large enough to allow supply replenishment for all of the besieged troops.
Jodl triumphantly said as if he understood Xu Jun’s concern.
However, Xu Jun said in a disappointed voice, “What? Is this what you thought I was concerned about? What about you all?”
Xu Jun looked at the rest of the generals, all of them nodding one by one. Only Hitler was still staring at the map carefully, it seems that he finally realized something. Xu Jun walked back to his seat and said with a disappointed tone.
“I am disappointed that no one of our commanders saw the point.”
Xu Jun lifted his head and coldly said.
“Did you even think of the possibility of a mass-evacuation from that port?”
This caused a stir in everyone. Hitler suddenly lifted his head, his eyes flashing a thought.
Now that he had them hooked, it was time for the closing argument.
“Remember that this is almost the entire British Expeditionary Force, all the finest of the British troops. The British will never sensibly allow the loss of all their elite forces here. Because if the army is destroyed, they would be open for German invasion. The British will lose the very forces that will continue the fight for them. So, their leadership will definitely save these troops at all costs.
And so, they are left with two choices. One is to break out of the encirclement into the south. Then rendezvous with France’s main force in the south. But to do this they would have to tear through our Panzer units. According to their current strength is impossible. The British would naturally be very clear of this.
The only other way is to withdraw their troops by sea.”
[MD: You might be like Duh. But keep in mind that they overlooked the possibility in real life so it can happen.]