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Thread: The Butterfly Effect: A British AAR

  1. #401
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Chapter XXXII: Second Battle of Taranto Part II.


    As the two forces collided together, both equally surprised at the others sudden appearance, the balance appeared to tip towards da Zara. With numerical, if not actual, parity in battleships, superiority in cruisers and light units and a 'trick' of his own up his sleeve Vice-Admiral Blake's appearance appeared to present an opportunity not a problem. However before da Zara had finished deciding if this was a genuine mistake to be exploited, an attempted distraction or a trap the flaw in his reasoning became clear; the lookouts reported that instead of the expected Queen Elizabeths the approaching battleships were actually HMS Revenge, HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney. HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant might be out of the fight, but they had been replaced by two of the most heavily armed ships afloat, ships that Italian Intelligence had believed were committed to the Royal Navy Home Fleet.

    The Nelson class, while indeed remaining in Home Waters for the initial stages of the conflict, had always been scheduled for deployment to the Mediterranean by the Admiralty, becoming First Sea Lord had not removed Admiral Keyes aggression, just tempered it and given it a wider focus. Thus for Keyes reinforcing the only active theatre in the Empire at the cost of running down the quieter ones was the obvious choice, especially as the risk to the Home Isles was considered slim, the four Revenge class battleships along with HMS Glorious at Scapa Flow were more potent a force than anything any potential European rival could muster. The reason for the delay then was therefore not political or strategic but practical, the Nelsons were in dire need of refit and war equipping, the weight saving measures introduced to make her Treaty compliant had to be reversed to make her effective. Aside from the adding of as much new armour as was practical there were several other smaller changes; replacing fir wood decking with hardened teak, removing aluminium formwork and supports and replacing them with steel, fitting reinforced glass in place of plate glass as well as countless other alterations. While seemingly cosmetic those changes were in fact vital to contain the power unleashed when all nine 16" guns fired at once, being mounted so close together the immense forces unleashed were concentrated into a very small area, far in excess of what the weight saving designed Nelsons could take unaltered. Despite initial work having started almost as soon as the London Naval conference was abandoned it had nevertheless taken almost four months for the ship yards to rush finish their work and for the ships to be despatched.

    As Blake's squadron shortened the range da Zara realised that he would have to fight, the approaching British outpaced his slowest units so would only get closer if he ran, the fight was going to happen the only question was when. Determined to seize the initiative he formed up his battleships and a few key escorts and surged forward to meet the onrushing British, leaving Ammiraglio di Squadra Paladini to lead the merchants and transports to safety.


    The Second Battle of Taranto. Both sides split their forces into two squadrons, leaving the battle to be conducted as two separate engagements, the Italian forces attempted to escape in different directions to increase their chances of evasion while the British tried to pursue them both.


    Unlike the previous engagement, and much to the surprise of the Italian crews, neither side had a range advantage, the 16" guns of HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney opening up at the same time as the small but high velocity 12" guns of the Conte di Cavour, the Giulio Cesare and the Andrea Doria. Sadly for the Royal Navy this was not the only similarity with the BL 16"/45s lacking the accuracy of their 15" brethren instead displaying a large dispersion pattern making accurate shooting difficult. Despite this admittedly expected disappointment the Second Battle Squadron's heavier weight of fire began to tell, especially when the 15"/42s of HMS Revenge came into range. Easily the most accurate heavy guns in the world at that time these fearsome weapons further added to their immense reputation, shattering the heavy cruisers Trieste and Trento in short order.

    While Blake's squadron appeared to be gaining the upper hand Cunningham's First Battle Squadron sighted Paladini's fleeing transports, aware that Blake believed he had the situation under control Cunningham ordered an intercept course, unwilling to let the transports and tankers escape. The engagement that followed was scarcely worthy to be called a battle so one-sided was it, the long ranged gunnery of the three Queen Elizabeths devastated many of the Italian cruisers before they had even closed to firing range. Having seen at the Battle of the Coast of Tobruk how highly the Regia Marina valued their heavy cruisers, even to the point of sacrificing other units to save them, Cunningham struck while he could, HMS Barham and HMS Queen Elizabeth hammering the Zara with shells leaving HMS Malaya to target the escorting Condottieri light cruisers. Once again it was Cunningham's flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, that sank the enemy's flagship, the Zara, a coincidence that was not ignored back in the UK, especially by those in the media hungry for a new naval hero. After the Zara succumbed, taking Paladini and his staff with it in a hellish explosion, the Italian formation lost direction and it's only long range firepower. In quick succession HMS Queen Elizabeth sunk the Luigi Cadorna while the Armando Diaz and the Alberto da Guissano both fell to the guns of HMS Malaya, once again the vaunted 37knot speed of the early Condottieri cruisers not being enough to compensate for their paper thin armour.


    The tanker Aventino burning furiously shortly before the vast fuel stocks she was carrying exploded, devastating the rest of her convoy. The lack of convoy experience in the ranks of the Regia Marina had led to the ships adopting a tight formation for the perceived advantage of mutual protection.


    With the escorting cruisers gone Cunningham called on the remaining ships to surrender, unwilling to engage in the massacre of a force that had no chance of defending itself. This call went unheeded as the Italian formation surged for the safety of Catanzaro Harbour, hoping to shelter under the protection of its harbour guns and minefields. A last attempt by Cunningham to force a surrender went tragically wrong when the warning broadside from HMS Malaya did not land in the sea but instead smashed into the side of the Aventino, a tanker carrying aviation fuel for the Regia Aeronautica. The detonation of that ship and it's cargo decimated the tightly grouped convoy, those ships that did not sink instantly under the force of the explosion caught fire.

    As Cunningham watched the remains of Paladini's squadron burn Blake was discovering just what da Zara's surprise for Cunningham was; the Explosive Motor Boat. An EMB was, literally, a torpedo motor boat, a 19ft hull consisting of little more than an engine and 660 pounds of high explosives that was steered towards it target by its two man crew who would jump overboard before impact. Although slower than a torpedo, barely capable of 28knots, the vast improvement in targeting and accuracy a human crew provided made them a fearsome weapon, more so as the crews were generally die-hard Fascista men prepared to take immense risks for a cause they believed in.

    On their approach runs the EMBs were initially identified as Motor Torpedo Boats and their destruction left to the escorting cruisers, the battleships focusing their fire on their opposite numbers. As the Italian crews pressed on through withering fire the cruisers' spotters reported the lack of any obvious weapons or indeed space for weapons, as this information was digested valuable time was wasted by Blake and his staff working out what the EMBs were. By the time the correct conclusion had been reached the range had got perilously low and time had ran out for HMS Revenge, broadside on she was the biggest and easiest target and moreover was the least maneuverable. Locking their rudders the crews of the two remaining EMBs bailed out and left their craft to run, one was taken out by the 6" secondary guns of Revenge the other smashed into her amidships, flooding the port engine room and seriously reducing her already poor stability.


    The Italian EMB, operated by the 10th Light Flotilla it had been developed by the Regia Marina to provide them with a striking force that did not risk their capital units.


    As Blake tried to restore order to his dispersed fleet da Zara capitalised, making smoke and sending his destroyers on a follow up torpedo attack he attempted to flee back to Taranto while the Second Battle Squadron was distracted. Such was his determination to escape he sacrificed his slowest unit, the Conte di Cavour battleship, reducing her to a skeleton crew then ordering her to escort the destroyer attack, prepared to lose one battleship to avoid losing them all. While Blake neatly despatched the Conte di Cavour, HMS Nelson claiming the killing blow, he did not vigorously pursue da Zara, for the simple reason he was in no fit state too. Revenge needed towing back to port for urgent repairs while the rushed work done on Nelson and Rodney was showing, the temporary reinforcements having failed to fully contain the force of the 16" guns. While Cunningham attempted pursuit the lead da Zara had gained was too great and the battered remains of the Prima Squadra escaped back to Taranto harbour.

    It is a mark of the high expectations people had of the Royal Navy that Second Taranto, although a clear tactical victory, was lamented by some as a missed opportunity; two of the Regia Marina's battleships had escaped and the decisive battle that was craved had been avoided by da Zara. This is to miss the absolute strategic victory that was won, denied of reinforcements, resupply and hope Italian forces in North Africa collapsed and surrender on mass to Gort's advancing forces. Within two weeks of the Battle Operation Templar officially ended with the Sitre and Homs garrison surrendering to VI and II Corps respectively. Although final mopping up and securing the towns would take longer Italian resistance in North Africa was over, a victory only made possible by the victories of the Royal Navy.

    This good news from North Africa was balanced by bad news both at home and from South Africa, events that would have far reaching consequences for Britain and her Empire.

    --
    Up Next: News from Africa and from the Home Front all mixed up with some political shenanigans.
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  2. #402
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    And thus Libya is under British control. I wonder how Il Duce will explain this loss to the Italian people. Great update.
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  3. #403
    Strategos ton Exkoubitores Fulcrumvale's Avatar
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    Quick! Someone find the lyrics to Heart of Oak!
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  4. #404
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
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    Politics are my favorite, I must admit that naval battles are not my favorite reading, but I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see these "far-reaching-events". I'm guessing something will happen so that South Africa leaves the allies, no? Also, what's been happening in East Africa?

    Have you allied Ethiopia and taken Somalia and Eritrea?
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  5. #405
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    Lovely update Pippy. I congratulate you on... hang on, did someone say shenanigans?!?

    Better get my broom, there's shenanigans afoot...
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  6. #406
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    Well done RN!

    Fine stuff, well worth waiting for! Make that Cunningham chappy a Duke!

  7. #407
    Father of the Nation Woody Man's Avatar
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    A good victory, not as decisive as some would like, and its a pity to see the big ships take damage and de Zara escaping with two of the Regia Marina's battleships. But good show in North Africa and all that sort of thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulcrumvale
    Quick! Someone find the lyrics to Heart of Oak!


    Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
    To add something more to this wonderful year;
    To honour we call you, as freemen not slaves,
    For who are as free as the sons of the waves?

    CHORUS
    Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,
    we always are ready; Steady, boys, steady!
    We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.


    We ne'er see our foes but we wish them to stay,
    They never see us but they wish us away;
    If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,
    And if they won't fight us, we cannot do more.

    CHORUS...


    They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
    They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
    But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
    Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.

    CHORUS...


    Britannia triumphant, her ships sweep the sea,
    Her standard is Justice -- her watchword, 'be free.'
    Then cheer up, my lads, with one heart let us sing,
    Our soldiers, our sailors, our statesmen, and king.

    CHORUS...
    'What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

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  8. #408
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    Exclamation Regola Britania, as sung by Babelfish. . .

    Quando la Gran-Bretagna in primo luogo,
    all'ordine del cielo,
    è risultato verso l'esterno dalla conduttura azzurrata,
    è risultato,
    presentato,
    presentato verso l'esterno dalla conduttura di un-azzurro,
    questa era la lettera,
    la lettera della terra e gli angeli del guardiano hanno cantato questo sforzo:

    Regola Britania!
    Britania di regola le onde.
    Britanni, non saranno mai mai mai schiavi.

    Le nazioni,
    non così più blest come,
    dovete alla loro girata,
    ai tyrants cadono,
    devono dentro,
    devono dentro,
    devono alla loro girata,
    ai tyrants cadono,
    mentre lo shalt del thou fiorisce,
    shalt fioriscono grande e liberano,
    il terrore e l'invidia di loro tutto.

    Regola Britania!
    Britania di regola le onde.
    Britanni, non saranno mai mai mai schiavi.
    All Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!
    The experience of our ancestors, ever incentives and aids to virtue, would never
    have inspired or saved a single soul, had not the loyalty, zeal, and diligence of writers
    triumphing over sloth transmitted them to posterity
    . — John of Salisbury
    “ æ ð € £ § ¬ † ‡ ¹ ² ³ — · ˚ ſ ¡ ¿ ‽ ≈ ≠ ¶ • º ”

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  9. #409
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    Great reading naval battle!
    Showcase of the Week March 30, 2004 - The Australian Lion.
    Writer of the Week March 6, 2005 - Under the Crimson Skies.
    Writer of the Week May 29, 2005 - The Sacred Grove of Britannia.
    Showcase of the Week January 17, 2006 - Under the Crimson Skies.

  10. #410
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    Ah, I do love the naval battle posts. Well done, Pipper!

    Vann

  11. #411

  12. #412
    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneralHannibal
    Politics are my favorite, I must admit that naval battles are not my favorite reading
    One needs a good, sound map to keep half an eye on whilst reading.

  13. #413
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip
    It would take a stronger willed man than I not to be moved by such a display of pathetic crushed-ness. Suitable changes to the update have been made.

    Which, as luck would have it, is now on the top of the next page.
    Now you're just showing off Pip, not only is your finely tweaked mappage and descriptive finery not enough post-AAR winnings, but now you've taken to timing your posts so that they're now sitting neatly at the top of each page. A true professional. You should write a book! Oh...you already are.

    Great update! Now the Italian navy has all but perished with little or no damage to the majority of the British fleet, surely there can be no viable opposition in European waters to match RN tonneage?!
    Last edited by scubadoobie2; 15-04-2010 at 12:14.
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  14. #414
    Field Marshal GhostWriter's Avatar

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    El Pip: As the two forces collided, both equally surprised at the others sudden appearance, the balance appeared to tip towards da Zara...the lookouts reported that instead of the expected Queen Elizabeths the approaching battleships were actually HMS Revenge, HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney. HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant might be out of the fight, but they had been replaced by two of the most heavily armed ships afloat, ships that Italian Intelligence had believed were committed to the Royal Navy Home Fleet.

    not a pleasant surprise ! ! well, perhaps except for us readAARs ! !


    El Pip: ...Sadly for the Royal Navy this was not the only similarity with the BL 16"/45s lacking the accuracy of their 15" brethren instead displaying a large dispersion pattern making accurate shooting difficult...

    tsk, tsk ! ! is this something that can be corrected before you play with real fire (in the Pacific) ? ?

    da Zara was too good to loose, even if he was an enemy ! !


    magnificent updates ! !


    GeneralHannibal:
    Politics are my favorite, I must admit that naval battles are not my favorite reading...

    i guess you just have to take some "lumps" in your reading materials.

    as for me, there are no lumps as i love the Naval Action, as well as the political, and, hmmm. yes, no doubt about it, i love all the updates ! !

    naturally, it helps that all the updates are excellent, magnificent, etc ! !
    B an 0:-), make someone happy, :-) GhostWriter :-)

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  15. #415
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    good updates, great battle.

    now, what's happening in the rest of the world??

    later, caff
    "death is more universal than life; everyone dies, not everyone lives"


    Knowledge is power, guard it well.

  16. #416
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Ohh custom title, how nice. Anyway feedback;

    Karelian - Il Duce has a great deal of explaining to do but then he always was quite good at propaganda.

    Fulcrumvale - That's quite a power you have there, to command the appearance of song lyrics. Now just command the appearance of the next Christmas #1 and I'll be down the bookies laying the bet that will enable me to retire to a life of AAR updating and beer. Mainly beer probably but I will write more.

    GeneralHannibal - It would appear you are in the minority regarding naval battles, c'est la vie. I do like writing them so I'm afraid they're here to stay. Rest assured though that the next few are pure politics, scheming and diabolicalness (if that's actually a word).

    Duritz - That's alot of brooming you've just commited yourself to. There's a great deal of shenanigans afoot, you may need a bigger broom.

    RAFspeak - No Dukage for ABC, after all two Battleships escaped. Now if he'd sunk them all....

    English Patriot - To be fair the RN has been fairly lucky ship wise so far (nothing sunk. At all) so they were due some damage. Nothing fatal or serious though.

    Llywelyn - Push that back through the Italian-English translator and it's quite impressively maimed;

    "When Gran-Bretagna in the first place, to the order of the sky, has turned out towards the outside from the coloured blue duct"

    Which while perhaps not as impressive musically or grammatically may have a future in psychological warfare. Particularly if played on the bagpipes. *shudder*

    Sir Humphrey - Big shells, torpedoes and lots of explosions. I have a simple recipe for naval battles but it seems so popular I see no need to change it.

    Vann the Red - Another naval fan, I hope the politicking can hold your attention in the same manner.

    Jape - Could be, could well be that. Could be something else as well. Could be a combination of several events that an opportunist might take advantage of.

    Allenby - Criticism, request, compliment or random comment? Who can tell? Not me that's for sure.

    However I will take it as an appreciative comment on the fine map that was provided unless I hear otherwise.

    scubadoobie2 - Years of practice and blind luck are often indistinguishable I find. It's one of the secrets of my success. As for European waters, well the French could be tricky if so inclined and Germany's happily ignored other parts of Versaille so can't be trusted not to be building up in secret. No there are still navies to watch in Europe, there's just one less now that's all.

    GhostWriter - You've returned! I trust whatever real life issue kept you away has been satisfactorily dealt with and you can now return to spending time here. Well that's what I hope anyway.

    Turning to the Nelsons, basically they need proper British slow and heavy shells, not the fast light ones they were built with. Unfortunately that would mean replacing all the shells, the shell handling equipment and the stores which would have cost money the RN didn't have in the 20s/30s and by the time there was money it was spent elsewhere on new builds not retrofits.

    Fortunately I don't think money will be a problem for the RN this time around.

    caffran - The rest of the world is getting its very own update, right after the one I'm currently finishing of that is. Yes I have promised that before so I don't hold me to it but that is the current plan.
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  17. #417
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip
    GeneralHannibal - It would appear you are in the minority regarding naval battles, c'est la vie. I do like writing them so I'm afraid they're here to stay. Rest assured though that the next few are pure politics, scheming and diabolicalness (if that's actually a word).

    I know . But I'm an odd sort of fellow . But the next few updates sound magnificent, expecially if they include The USA, Spain, Italy, the UK, France, or Central and Eastern Europe. And I think they will
    "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


    "Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice." - Leon Blum

  18. #418
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Chapter XXXIII: Straws In The Wind.


    The news of Cunningham's victory and Gort's successful conclusion of the North Africa campaign returned to a Britain quite different from the nation that had sent them. The massive government spending on war materials and supplies, combined with the first fruits of the investment heavy 'Keyes Plan', had substantially boosted the economy and provided jobs where they were most needed; the industrialised Midlands and the north of England. While the depression was far from over, it would take more than a few months spending to undo the damage done, the worst depths had been plumbed and the darkest periods passed. In addition to the economic changes there were the more obvious changes in the public mood as confidence, both in the economy and the country as a whole, returned on the back of the war and the mounting victories, an outcome few would have expected scant months earlier.

    The Great War had left its mark on almost every community in the country and even by the 1930s Lord Halifax's 'peace with honour' movement were merely the most high profile of the many pacifist organisations demanding that "The war to end all wars" would be just that, for Britain at least. With such wide spread anti-war feeling a strong reaction to the war was expected by the government: dissent in parliament, protests in the streets and the media up in arms. In the event when Italy declared war the press was united in it's call, in many cases demand, for the vigorous prosecution of the conflict and in general the public rallied for King and country. That is not to say there weren't dissenting voices but they were in the minority and far outnumbered by those displaying an almost jingoistic enthusiasm that the war be fought and won.

    The fact that it was Italy who started the war, after what the popular press called a 'dastardly and treacherous sneak attack', is certainly a factor. The Suez raid could not, in fact, have gone much worse for Mussolini, he had angered the British public without doing any military damage and while he had completely surprised the enemy he had also surprised the majority of his own military and plunged his country into a war it was ill prepared for. For the British public the raid, and the last minute intervention by HMS Diomede, had turned the entire incident into a heroic, portentous victory and one that required Britain avenge such underhand aggression. The other oft overlooked point factor is that the Abyssinian War was, from the British view point at least, more a Victorian era 'colonial' war than anything else. Aside from the obvious African connections the war was markedly different from the country's experience in the Great War; the army contained a comparatively small British contingent so there were few 'military' families or communities, there was no threat of invasion even if things went badly and, most importantly there had been no shortage of victorious naval clashes and rapid advances to keep morale and confidence high.

    It was against this broadly positive picture that the first warning signs of impending crisis became apparent and, in one of life's ironies, it was the cause of Britain emergence from one crisis that allowed the seeds of the next to be sown. The war may have been a boost to the economy and improved morale but it also provided an opportunity for rivals and enemies to take advantage of the distraction it caused. The South African offer of a military mission to East Africa had been under suspicion ever since Hertzog had made it, question being asked as to why such an avowed Boer was offering to help the British Empire. Although accepted, the presence of General Jan Smuts at its head doing much to calm nerves in the War Office, the mystery lingered on well into April. It was not until after the mission arrived on the 20th of April that the real reason for the offer became clear, for Hertzog the point was that the mission was sent not what it did when it got there. The South African mission contained, along with Smuts, many other officers turned parliamentarians who, in the main, were pro-British and affiliated with the South African People's Party wing of the coalition United Party. For Hertzog this was a golden opportunity to put his own National Party into an unassailable position politically, in essence he planned to alter the Representation of Natives Act, which had been passing through parliament when war broke out, to disenfranchise SAPP voters thus ensuring his own party could govern unaided.


    General Jan Smuts, Statesman and General he had left Hertzog in sole charge of the coalition trusting Hertzog would not pass controversial or biased legislation in his absence. That trust would be utterly betrayed scant days after Smuts established his HQ in East Africa.


    South African politics had become intensely polarised, hard-line Boers solidly voting National Party while the British, 'Coloured' (defined as anybody not white or a native) and the few eligible Cape Town natives supported the SAPP. As these two groups roughly cancelled each other out the balance of power was held by the so called 'Moderate Boers', Boers who did not agree with the naked prejudice of the National Party or their desire for an independent Boer Republic as soon as possible. For Hertzog this was an unconscionable compromise, forcing him to moderate his views just to gain power and limiting his options once he was in office. The act had been intended as a tiding up procedure, formalising the position of the 'Tribal' MPs who represented most native areas and confirming the historic right of all in the Cape Province, the most liberal and 'British' province, to vote regardless of their colour. Hertzog swept that away, slashing the number of 'Tribal' MPs, removing the proposed representative council and, most controversially, imposing a whites-only voting restriction on all provinces, bar the Cape which was not considered Boer homeland and in any case was strongly pro-British. The cumulative effect of these changes would be to reduce the SAPP and indeed all opposition groups, to their Cape Province strongholds and the few 'Tribal' MPs while the National Party would hold the rest of the country unchallenged.

    Whatever the British governments views, and the condemnation was far from universal, this was an internal South African matter and one they could not interfere with. General Smuts and his colleagues resigned themselves to not getting back in time, Hertzog had waited until they were as far away as possible and was rushing the act through, and threw themselves into the East Africa campaign. It was not until the act passed and it appeared Hertzog's audacious political coup had succeeded that the crisis erupted; The Governor General, the Earl of Clarendon, seeing the bill for what it was used his reserve powers to withhold Royal Assent, blocking the act from becoming law. As a former under-secretary in the office for Dominion Affairs Clarendon knew his constitutional position was secure and believed, like Lord Byng in the 1926 Canadian crisis, history wuuld judge him correct in invoking his powers. While he was indeed constitutionally correct, the reserve powers of the monarch, and by extension the Governor-General, existed for just such an occasion, he had failed to foresee the full political and diplomatic fall out of his actions. Hertzog, naturally furious at this impediment to his scheme, attempted to rally support both domestically and from the other dominions, hoping Earl Clarendon would fold under pressure and agree to giving assent.


    James Barry Hertzog, possibly the most unprincipled and opportunistic politician of his era. His manipulations and desperate attempts to avoid their consequences would plunge the Empire into crisis.


    Predictably South Africa split along its traditional Boer-The Rest fault line, both side mobilising their supporters at rally and counter-rally, clashes between supporters getting increasingly bad natured. Internationally opinions were less clear cut, the Dominion governments torn between condemnation of interference in the domestic matters of a fellow Dominion and the acceptance that Hertzog had acted unacceptably, indeed undemocratically, and there had to be some constitutional brake to stop him. Earl Clarendon did much to ease their decision by stating his opposition was not to the bill but the method with which it had been passed and he would of give assent to the bill after the whole parliament had been able to vote on so major a change to the country. With fears suitably calmed the Dominion governments united in support of Clarendon and against Hertzog, even the most pro-independence republicans forced to concede that in this case the issue was more important than the principle. Isolated diplomatically and having alienated enough wavering MPs and marginal 'Moderate Boer' voters to ensure his defeat in both a vote of no-confidence and the election that would force Hertzog's back was against the wall. He was a desperate man and it was events in the UK that gave him the chance to show just how desperate he was.

    In Britain King George V has suffered another, more serious, bronchitis attack and was once again gravelly ill. With the war de facto won the King's sense of duty was satisfied and the sheer force of will that kept him going through the previous weeks began to desert him. Lord Dawson informed the cabinet that this would be the final act for the King, the question was when not if he passed on. In the intervening weeks King George had not been idle, in between regular, if short, morale raising trips around the country he had been talking with senior politicians of all backgrounds about his prime concern; the Prince of Wales and his unsuitability as heir.

    The great irony of the situation was that the opposition was not to Edwards accession per se, while he didn't appear prime monarch material neither had Edward VII until upon the throne and there was a hope he would settle down after his coronation. The opposition was to his choice of consort, Wallis Simpson, quite possibly the most inappropriate choice it was possible to make. Possessing enough undesirable qualities to offend almost every strata of society, the twice married American was known by Special Branch to be having relationships with other men, was suspected of being 'too close' to the German ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop and had alienated any remaining possible supporters with her almost limitless ambition and lust for power and money.

    In his final weeks the King pulled together a coalition from politics, the church and even included the more trustworthy media barons. Edward would have to be removed from the unhealthy influence of Mrs Simpson and find himself a more suitable match. While orchestrating such a conspiracy against ones own son may seem cold, cruel even, it was the ultimate expression of the King's creed; Country before Family, Duty over Love. The question was whether his son would follow that creed and put the country and the empire before his love for Mrs Simpson.

    --
    Up Next; Constitutional crisis in two countries and things only get more complicated as other opportunists jump in while the Empire is distracted.
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  19. #419
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Llywelyn
    Of course, I also like the naval updates - it's one of the benefits of good and well-thought-out writing: you can like lots of it. I just hope we'll see the same kind of attention to tactical detail once we get to the land wars. Even though that means this AAR will still be going strong long into HOIs 5 & 6...

    j.
    First off: Git. I was hoping for top spot on this page for the update. That would have been impressively swish.

    Second: The early stages of the North African campaign had tactical detail for land battles, the later stages however were too much of a pushover to be interesting and hence were skipped. Rest assured if I can drag a good update out of it detail will return.

    Third: My current estimates is: ~16 months for ~4 months in game. Thus, assuming the same rate of progress, to do the whole 12years to take me to 1948 will take somewhere in the region of 50 years. No rush then.

    Fourth: New Chapter in Index, I tell you this as I doubt many check the index, and believe the title is suitably portentous of the upcoming updates.
    Last edited by El Pip; 22-06-2007 at 11:28.
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  20. #420
    Field Marshal Llywelyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneralHannibal
    I know . But I'm an odd sort of fellow .
    Seconded.

    But the next few updates sound magnificent, expecially if they include The USA, Spain, Italy, the UK, France, or Central and Eastern Europe.
    Seconded.

    And I think they will
    Seconded.

    Of course, I also like the naval updates - it's one of the benefits of good and well-thought-out writing: you can like lots of it. I just hope we'll see the same kind of attention to tactical detail once we get to the land wars. Even though that means this AAR will still be going strong long into HOIs 5 & 6...

    j.
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