Volume 3, Chapter 31
May 28, 1940, at nine o’clock in the morning. Tournai, Belgium. Camp firing range.
“Bang, Bang, Bang.”
A burst of continuous gunshots was fired towards a target stationed 50 meters away. Xu Jun and the rest of the officers applauded loudly. Hans slowly lowered the pistol and carried it back to the table behind the officers.
“Well done, Hans. You are among the best shots of all the people here. Haha. What do you think of this gun?” Xu Jun said.
“General, don’t make fun of me. If I wasn’t a good marksman then why would I attempt it? Anyhow, I didn’t expect such a gun to have such strong firepower with a few adjustments. In contrast, my own pistol is simply a toy. However, the downside is that it’s a bit heavy. Too inconvenient to carry.”
Hans handed the Mauser 1932 automatic pistol back to Xu Jun. Taking the rather bulky pistol, Xu Jun skillfully opened the chamber and retrieved the empty clip. Beside him, Randolph quickly handed him a new clip of bullets which Xu Jun promptly loaded into the pistol. Then he turned his head towards the group of officers.
“Would anyone like to try? Ah, chief of staff, why not take some shots?”
Colonel Weiler nodded his head. Then, the rest of the officers also stepped forward. After all, they are usually confined to desk work. Perhaps they have not even shot a gun in the past year. Now that their commander has given them the opportunity, they were glad for the chance.
“Haha, you all want to try? Don’t worry everyone will have one. Lieutenant Hull, give each one of the staff officers one of these guns.”
“Yes, General.” The young lieutenant said as he quickly ran to the barracks, along with a few soldiers.
“The officers? General, do you want to re-open this pistol for officer use? Weiler said in a surprised tone. “Don’t you think that this would be too heavy?”
Xu Jun turned his head and smiled confidently. “Not only the officers but every soldier in my army will get one of these pistols.”
Then Xu Jun walked in front of the group of puzzled officers.
“The power of Mauser 1932, I think we’ve all seen it. Its ability to fire automatically is especially useful. Its range is also quite satisfactory. If our soldiers get into melee then they will be able to rely on this continuous fire pistol. I hope that this will become the last line of defense for our infantry.
You can imagine when soldiers are facing multiple enemies all charging him, a reliable and ferocious automatic pistol will be much more useful than a bayonet attached to a 98k. Although it is a little bit heavy, it can save your life in that crucial moment, does it really matter?
This pistol would also strengthen our offensive firepower in the infantry units. Although it is not as powerful as a true submachine gun, it still offers similar benefits. This is what we need on the front lines.”
Colonel Weiler nodded, however, he still had some questions.
“So how do we get so many of these pistols into every soldier’s hands. This pistol is not a traditional design. Would Mauser be able to produce so many pistols in a short time?”
“Yes ah, the first time I saw this pistol, it was during the last war. However, it was only semi-automatic.” Dorgen also said.
“There is no need to worry. In fact, the former Army armament director was short-sighted. He also believed that the weight of this weapons would be too impractical and refused to adopt it. However, you would not believe how popular this weapon is abroad. Especially in Asia, where the majority of the army is equipped with this thing. The biggest customer is China, they’ve ordered hundreds of thousands of such weapons from Mauser. However, because of our relationship with Japan, the recent batch to China was canceled.
There are now 130,000 of such pistols in Mauser’s warehouse and plenty of ammunition. When I heard the news, I thought it was better to make use of such an excellent self-defense weapons rather than leaving it to gather dust.
After that, I studied how the gun was employed by the Chinese and found the most efficient method of shooting it. That is, just as Hans demonstrated. Extend the pistol directly parallel to the ground and have the body nearly straight with the arm. This method would greatly improve the accuracy of the weapon.”
Then Lieutenant Hull and the several other soldiers returned with several big boxes. Xu Jun nodded for them to open the crates.
Xu Jun walked over and picked up a pistol and began to inspect it. Turning to the officers he said, “These are the new batch that I commissioned from Mauser. I requested that they take the old pistols and reduce the weight and increase the firing rate. Since all of you are staff officers, the standard clip of ten bullets would be enough. The soldiers will be equipped with a ten-clip and two twenty-clips. Of course, it would also be depending on the circumstances.”
The officers enthusiastically walked up and picked up their own pistols.
While the officers were busy selecting the pistols, Xu Jun walked to the young lieutenant. “Lieutenant Hull, thank you for sending these weapons to us. When you go back, tell your boss that I am thankful for his cooperation.”
“Thank you for your praise. To be of service to such a commander is my pleasure. Rest assured, I will certainly convey your gratitude.”
“Good. Also, when will that batch of those things be ready?”
“Very soon, several of the munitions factories have been ordered to hasten their work. They should be done by today.”
Xu Jun said seriously. “You should understand that those things are very important for the next stage of operations. If they cannot be ready by today, then the consequences will be very serious. You must urge the manufacturers that they must go all out to produce them within the allocated period. Production on other things can be temporarily stopped, but I must have sufficient quantities of them, understood?”
‘Yes, I will send a message now.”
“Do so.” Giving a quick nod, Hull quickly ran towards the barracks.
After Goring’s fall, he left a lot of industrial and manufacturing factories without a proper owner. Causing some mild conflicts between the high-level Party officials. Because Xu Jun was busy with the front lines, he had no opportunity to take some of the spoils. However, he did not expect that he would become one of the largest beneficiaries. Goring’s personal factories and businesses were re-designated to himself and the position of the overseer of the Four Year Plan also fell to him.
When he heard the news two days ago, he could hardly believe his ears. Many of the other high-level Party members were also interested in the plan, however, the position was eventually given to him. This effectively granted him control over the German economy.
As for the several factories and businesses, they were left to his secretary Martin Bormann. Bormann was always quite adept and cunning so Xu Jun had no qualms about having him take care of the economic sector as well. This led some officials to lament for their bad luck. However, eventually, they did get their small share of either businesses or from Goring’s art and jewelry collection.
Xu Jun, rather, was more curious of Martin Bormann. In the past history, he was the personal secretary of Hitler, but now he worked for him. Although he was often noted to use sinister and cunning tactics, he was also well known for his devoutness and loyalty.
But now that he took over the Four Year Plan, Bormann became his own secretary. His ability to handle economic and tedious matters saved Xu Jun a lot of time and trouble.
Back to the current situation. As expected, the British have decided to restart Operation Dynamo. It seems they have swept open a path and yesterday, sent three boats across. But it seems to be too late. Last night Guderian’s forces broke through the forward defenses and set defensive positions around Dunkirk this morning. Leaving the British ports and beaches within firing range of the heavy artillery.
This morning, Guderian’s artillery managed to sink the three ships at Dunkirk. Whether they were able to unload the supplies onboard is uncertain. Even so, the supplies of three small freighters would be hard pressed to keep the army going. By Xu Jun’s orders, Guderian stopped his forward push. Then, he began to build entrenchments and allowed the 19th Panzer unit to have a rest. Of course, he could not allow the British to have such an easy time as well. So occasionally, some artillery shells would be fired into the city to obliterate their morale.
The Cerberus Corps were still pushing nonchalantly through Belgium, almost reaching the French-Belgium border. The Belgian casualties approached fifty thousand. Definitely nearing the maximum that they can withstand. The Belgian Army’s surrender should only be a matter of a couple more hours.
As long as the Belgians surrender, the Cerberus Corps would immediately take over their defenses on the right side of Dunkirk. Completely locking the port city in. Allowing Xu Jun to take his time and slowly conquer the trapped British.
Rather, his plan is to use the British Expeditionary Force as bait. As longs as he leaves a sliver of hope, he could let the Royal Air Force waste a lot of their planes in a hopeless effort. Perhaps he could even incur some losses on the Royal Navy as well.
The fighting in France was smooth sailing. Kleist was happily leading his 19th Panzer Corps and engaging the French army to the south. The British Expeditionary Force had been completed isolated and surrounded by the Germans. The four British infantry divisions were still surrounded at Arras.
The British have been contacting the French army. Probably due to their low supplies and ammunition. Also, they should have realized that the Germans intended to starve the British into submission, causing their morale to plummet further.
Now, the only thing that Xu Jun was waiting for was the Belgian surrender. Once that happened, the true suffering of the British would begin.
A while later, a messenger ran in from the distance holding a piece of paper. Standing and gave a salute to Xu Jun, then handed the telegram to Xu Jun.
Reading aloud the message.
“General Reinhardt, the Belgian king had sent messengers to demand a ceasefire. They are prepared to surrender.
How do you wish to respond?”
Xu Jun folded the message and smiled at the rest of the officers.
“It seems we will be busy for a while. Haha, the play finally begins.”