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Thread: Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two

  1. #4001
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    Hurray, Belgians are cool.
    Keep it up.

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  2. #4002
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner For the moment the SAS and SBS are doing all sorts of things. If I were to chronicle them all I'd be writing about nothing else. Special Forces are all the rage in Whitehall right now.

    Le Jones Thank you, thank you. I roleplay the revolt risk of non-core provinces as low-level partisan activity. That might change later on though.

    Griffin.Gen Of course they are.
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  3. #4003
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    Chapter 203




    3rd March 1942

    London, United Kingdom




    The Prime Minister was clearly deadly tired. He had slept little on the expedient voyage back from America when HMS Hood had raced back so fast that she had been forced to leave her escorts behind and now, scarcely a day later he was attending a conference that hadn't even planned, never mind the next one that he hadn't been meant to attend in the first place. Right now he was listening to a report that Field Marshal Auckinleck had communicated in from Delhi.

    “So let me summarize, Marshal Gort.” the PM said. “Heavy fighting in northern Burma with the Nips pushing us back by sheer numbers, the Frogs are loosing Indochina as fast as they can run and Slim is conducting a fighting retreat down the Peninsula.”

    “In essence yes, Prime Minister. The Nips have cut the telephone line between Singapore and Delhi yesterday, but the long-range transmitters in Singapore itself still allow us contact, and General Slim has used this route.”

    Churchill ignored this and asked then: “Has the Palace been briefed?”

    “Yes, Sir. I did myself.”

    “Good.”

    The Prime Minister leaned back and closed his eyes as most of the Civil servants and Officers left the room. For the next hour Churchill worked as if he hadn't been deprived of sleep for most of the last week and prepared the next meeting which, at least in his own opinion, was far more important for the bigger picture than the war in the Far East, given that the latter was merely days old and that there was nothing in the very short term that hadn't already been done.

    Parts of Force A were patrolling the Indian Ocean, allowing the main force to refuel before they moved on to Australia from where they would fight the expected thrust of the Japanese towards the Dutch East Indies, elderly reserve Crusader Tanks were moving the same way to equip additional Indian and Australian Armoured Units, supplementing the Sentinel, of which the Australians could never produce enough as it seemed. Crated Fighters, bombers and all sorts of war materials from the scarce reserves the Empire had were on their way into the pacific, and for the moment that was all that could be done. Here on the other hand the war was raging as violently as ever. The Allied Forces were still unable to break through the Gothic Line, but at least they had cleared away the stop lines in front and were now pitted against the main line of resistance. Churchill had not been there, but reports said that it was eerily resembling the Western Front the last time around.

    And now he had to be diplomatic to ambassadors and heads of state from around the allied powers and juggle all their demands and wishes to come to a satisfactory conclusion, never mind that he sometimes felt as if this was too early to talk about these things. Alas, there was nothing to be done about that, and it was nothing special anyway, only the occupation policies and plans for Germany. Since the early bird caught the worm the Foreign Office, the IGS and the Ministry of Defence had created a study group almost immediately after the invasion of Italy, and now they were negotiating the plans. He knew that the Poles were more than willing to go with the plan, he had already talked it over with President Raczkiewicz who knew that after the war Poland would simply be unable to manage, occupy and pacify a real, full-sized zone in addition to the territorial compensations, especially with the war against Russia still going on, same went for the Belgians and the Dutch that would simply be part of the British Occupation forces in the sectors of Germany that bordered them. The CANZACs had a similar problem, only they would get an Enclave somewhere in the north, probably in Schleswig or around Bremen. No, the real problem were once again the French. They would most certainly demand the full annexation of the Saar Region into France, and that was something that would repeat the mistakes that had been made at Versailles. Lower down in the folder he found the map, the map of how Germany was to be divided.



    There were many other problems. In Germany, unlike Italy, one could not rely on having a whole sector of the population sympathetic with ones own cause, there the occupation would have to be conducted and upheld against a hostile civilian population, and in Germany too the politics that had lead to the war itself were ironically rooted far deeper than in Italy where, unlike in Germany a viable opposition still existed and had managed to survive even throughout the purges and repressive measures. Then there was the matter of Austria... It was all a nightmare.

    Aeronautical Testing Centre, exact location secret


    “You see Marshal Dowding, I have been working on this design since January 1940. On and off, since I have other work to do, but I finished the drawings about half a year ago, and now at last we have three dummy prototypes for testing in the air.” Barnes Wallis was enthusiastic when explaining his work as always.

    Dowding just nodded and pretended he was interested in the technical explanation that followed.

    “The bomb itself is based on a scaled-down version of our 2000pounder AP bomb, with a strengthened casing for increased armour penetration and of course more external modifications to allow the bombardier to steer it into the target.”


    “What about guidance?” asked Dowding, more to keep the conversation going than for anything else.

    Wallis swallowed and answered tentatively after a few moments.

    “That is what we are working on right now, Marshal. The electronic parts are delicate and as a result can be unreliable, but the principle is perfectly feasible.”

    Dowding raised an eyebrow in response before Wallis continued.

    “If...or rather when we make it work, we can theoretically attack enemy shipping from two to three miles away, and as long as the launching aircraft does not manoeuvre too wildly we should achieve reasonable accuracy.”

    That commanded Dowding's full attention and his eyes gleamed with the interest of a man who made a living out of preventing what the good bombmaker was proposing. “Are you sure? Three miles?”


    “Well, under perfect conditions of course, and I know how seldom those are actually there, but it should indeed be something thereabouts in most cases. The most important thing is that the weapon itself cannot be intercepted, since it is moving too fast, and it would give the chaps that fly against enemy ships from land bases a weapon beyond the torpedo.”

    Dowding was even more interested now. Since he came from Fighters he detested the thought of flying a torpedo attack into the teeth of the enemy defences, and anything that saved men and aircraft in Far Eastern War was something that had at the very least be considered – RAF Malaya Command was hard pressed. Even though they had suffered relatively few losses in men so far, thanks to the Malaya Volunteer Air Force, the stocks of pre-positioned spares would not last forever, never mind in Burma where the air war was just as intense as it was over Italy itself.

    “I see.” Dowding said and mused over the implications of such a weapon for a few minutes while Wallis kept looking out of the window. “So Mr Wallis, you say you have two prototypes ready for testing?”

    “Yes, Sir. We have one with a new experimental guidance system, and one with the old, dodgy one. Before Air Marshal Harris left Bomber Command we were ready for testing, but he decided that there was no application for the weapon for Bomber Command, convinced that it was too small to be of any use against the U-Boat bunkers the Germans are building or against any other form of land target. That was two weeks ago, Marshal.”

    “So when you telephoned his successor you were hoping to get in touch with me instead?”

    Wallis nodded. He took off his glasses and cleaned them vigerously for a while.

    “The point being that I...we felt that Coastal Command might be more receptive to new types of weapons, especially in the far east.”


    Dowding just nodded. “And what about tests?”

    Wallis smelt the morning air, now only one more hurdle needed to be climbed.

    “We have conducted some, we can look at the films made.” Wallis looked at Dowding again and decided that he had to play for keeps. “I would first like to show you the bomb itself.”

    Wallis led the Marshal out of the room and through the long corridors before they entered one of the many small rooms where the Special Weapons Sections, inherited from the Air Ministry were now creating special toys for the Ministry of Defence. What Dowding saw in the room did not look exceptionally special. It was a bomb casing surrounded by several boffins that were working on it feverishly. At a closer look one could see that the bomb had been altered. Short, stubby wings, presumably to keep it level, fins at the back to give it steerage and the changed nose section that contained various electronic items.

    “We have lined up a test for tomorrow, Sir.” Wallis said while the Marshal inspected the weapon as close as he dared without touching anything. “Given all goes well and meets with approval we can start series production within less than four months.”

    “That fast?”

    “Yes, Sir. After all, we would need very little retooling, and production could, with the exception of the electronic components of course run largely parallel with the normal bombs. We would most likely take normal bomb casings off the production line and then refit them to turn them into these. Now, if you would follow me into the projection room please...”

    Minutes later Dowding was watching as a Wellington, carrying the weapon opened it's bomb bays and dropped the weapon using a specific manoeuvre to make it come out from under the aircraft. He watched as the bomb began to glide in a ballistic curve. At this point Wallis changed the roll and then he watched a mountainside somewhere that had been painted with the outline of a warship. Suddenly the focus of the camera changed and it caught a fast moving black shape that raced downwards in a curve and hit the painted shape somewhat forward of the 'smokestack'. Had that been a real ship and a real bomb the warship would have suffered massive damage to it's machinery spaces.

    Wallis began to explain some more. “You see these bits falling off? They were parts of the bomb casing. We conducted this test a week ago and we have the second prototype prepared...”

    “With actual explosives?”

    “Yes. Short of an actual target vessel we had to rely on calculations for an estimate of penetration abilities, but we could base that on the properties of the actual bomb this was based on so we estimate that it should be able to penetrate or at the very least cause very high damage to the armour belts of most escorts and smaller capital ships.”


    Dowding thought about the proposition that was laid out before him even though Wallis had not said a thing. He was the only one who could authorize the bomb for production. He was already convinced, and if he knew the Prime Minister correctly so would Churchill be as soon as he saw these films.

    “If all things go as I think they will you might get some visitors for the tests.”




    [Notes: Now, next week I have to start studying. This means that until after the exams all my AAR work is on hold as of Sunday evening. I will try to get something else out before then, but no promises.]

    [1] Of course I can't discuss Harris' proposals, but methinks he theories are known to be of a rather controversial nature, they certainly are here in Germany. Let's just presuppose that there has been something of a scandal within the service about this. My reasoning is that Churchill is against it this time because the Army is already in Europe, so ITTL Bomber Command at this point is no longer the only way to hit back at the enemy.

    [2]Formerly the Air Staff.
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  4. #4004
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    That's a good looking Post-War Germany, there. Shame about Prussia, though. But it's a small price to pay.
    Also, the French are stupid (Annexing the Saar? Reminds me of Nappy)

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  5. #4005
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Couldn't you stop the war with the Japs and invade, punish, destroy and annhilate the French?

    Please?
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  6. #4006
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    I have to confess that I, like Griffin.Gen, Kurt_Steiner and maybe others, found the first part of the update the most interesting. I can forsee the "temporarily" bit in the title for the French zone being swfitly removed by Paris - they'll want retribution for yet another orgy of blood and suffering. I also seriously question the joint French/Polish sector - it's closer to Poland so in theory easy for them to take over it, but I suspect that French muscle will be needed.

    All in all a setup that carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. The FO should know better.
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  7. #4007
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen They are planning to annex the border strip, roughly 15ish miles beyond the pre-war border. It's not decided yet wether they actually get to do that.

    Kurt_Steiner Alas, no. As much as I might want to.


    Le Jones I kind of look at the border strip a bit like the Saar area in OTL. I can't see them actually getting it, even though they will strip their occupation zones clear of anything remotely looking like industry, kinda like the Soviets in OTL - which is why I took care to place my hometown well into the British zone of occupation. The Northern French and French-polish sector is as much a compromise towards the Poles who only get East Prussia ITTL (ablbeit all of that) as territory and the French who are denied a larger zone in southern Germany. It's a compromise, and I never said it was a good one or one that would last forever.
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    Henry V may be quite angry in his tomb right now...
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  9. #4009
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Chapter 204


    March 1942

    Burma


    The Burma Campaign was deteriorating, and fast. The Chinese were willing to take extremely heavy losses in order to push the 3rd Mountain and the 101st Division back and were slowly managing to do so, in spite of terrain that favoured the defenders immensely they forced the British back. From the 2nd to the 4th The 101st Division made a fighting retreat that made the Asiatics pay dearly for every inch gained, but all the same they retreated. On the 5th however three things happened that would influence the course of the campaign. One, the commander of French Indochina surrendered and Japanese Marines began to pour into Siam, secondly the Japanese landed half of an SNLF on the eastern coast of Malaya, forcing Slim to pretty much give up everything north of Kuala Lumpur and disperse the militia into the countryside from where it would fight on as guerillas. Secondly the Japanese began landing three Divisions in the northern Phillipines, making it clear once and for all that their target were the Dutch East Indies, and thirdly aerial reconnaissance spotted a trail of Asiatic troops climbing over the mountains of North-Eastern Burma, aiming directly for the gap between the 101st and 56th Divisions. Jacomb was forced to bring his reserves into play to try and plug the gap he had intentionally left open in the assumption that the Japanese would only attack in Western Burma and not through Keng Tung, one of the Shan States. The reserves consisted of part of the still arriving 77th Indian Division, four of it's Regiments that had been organized in the 1st Provisional Brigade until the rest of the Division arrived. Having disembarked at Rangoon on the 4th, they were ordered to move early in the afternoon of the 5th. The troops were mainly recruited from Peshawar and northern India, and so were not acclimatized and used to the terrain and progress was slow. This was not aided by the constant Japanese Air Raids on the transportation network in Burma that, whilst small and largely ineffective thanks to the efforts of RAF Burma Command, were still enough to disrupt the movement of men, weapons and supplies to the front. So when the 1st Provisional Brigade arrived in position the Japanese had already taken the capital of Kengtung, placed their Artillery guns on the relatively open space around the city and had begun shelling the Brigade as it approached them. Even so the Indian troops managed to get into position and when the Japanese attacked with the bulk of two Brigades, all that had crossed these mountains so far they found the enemy prepared and as the battle developed and raged through the 7th and 8th March both sides found it to be even. Wave after wave of Japanese Infantry hurled itself against the line of the British forces that bent, fell back, held the next line, but did not break.

    When Auckinleck was informed of this on the 9th and asked Jacomb what he was about to do about this, the General had already ordered the withdrawal of the 56th Division from the Siamese border to a position that was roughly 90° to the right flank of the 101st Division which left the 1st Provisional Brigade hanging in the air. It was also potentially dangerous if the Siamese decided not to wait for the Japanese to be in position alongside their forces and instead just lashed out at the 56th as it was retreating. This did not happen, but the Japanese, pulverizing the 1st Provisional Brigade in a pitched battle over the last few days at the cost of horrible losses to themselves advanced southwards, utterly unaware that they had an opportunity to throw almost a third of the British forces in Burma into utter disarray. The battle and death of the 1st Provisional Brigade would have consequences that went far beyond the Battlefield, but for the moment the news that the Japanese could hit his very, very exposed flank 'any second' sent the inexperienced commander of the 56th into a frenzy and he ordered the speed of the withdrawal increased. The Japanese battled the 1st Provisionals for the next few days and failed to incite a rout within the 56th Division and the British withdrew in good order into their new line, going roughly from the flank of the 101st Division in the north to where the remnants of the 77th Indian Division and the 12th Australians and an Independent Brigade of New Zealand Infantry, with the New Zealanders screening Rangoon until more units could be mobilized or brought into the theatre. This meant that eastern Burma was given to the Asiatic Powers without much of a fight. The bad news for the British did not stop there, because the Siamese and the Japanese had combined their forces and at last crossed into Burma proper. The 77th was weakened because a huge part of it's strength was dying in the mountains farther north and rest was not really in any fighting trim considering that they had been sent to the front straight off the boat and were down to two Regiments in strength, forced to hold a stretch of the front that had been intended for the entire Divisions full strength. At least the 12th Australian Division was adept in Jungle and mountain Warfare, having spent much of 1941 on duty in Papua New Guinea. It was on this Division that Jacomb placed most of his hopes on. The New Zealanders that defended the approaches to Rangoon were not as well suited for their task, but they were heavy in artillery for such a small formation thanks to Australian Surplus from the last war that had been replaced by new 25 pounders and other British made guns when the Australian Forces had shipped out to Europe.

    The Japanese on the other hand, represented in the theatre by the 15th Army under General Shōjirō Iida found that the units in Burma were a mess of epic proportions, even though they were supposed to be under a unified command. The Siamese and the Japanese forces, the bulk of the 15th Army (33rd Infantry Division , 55th Infantry Division and the Siamese Phayap Army) were working together reasonably well when one considered that the Siamese King was at all times surrounded by Japanese 'advisers'. In the north however the troops were only under nominal command of the 15th Army, and there was absolutely no co-operation at all. Luckily for the Japanese the terrain did not allow for much manoeuvre warfare anyway, and even uncoordinated troops could try human wave attacks against prepared positions. The Asiatics there slammed into the 3rd Mountain again, again and again, but the Indian troops stubbornly held their positions and gave no further ground. Similar attacks were launched against the 101st Division and there, where the Japanese could rely on resupply and support over the Burma Road the British were slowly forced back. The left flank of the Division held on, but the rest was gradually forced back and in the second week of March the Divisions commander ordered a full retreat. The 12th was the black day for the British Army in Burma and henceforth known as 'Black Thursday' in the Asian parts of the Empire. Not only did Hong Kong surrender on that day, but also because the 101st Division broke apart. On that day the Division was forming a rough bulge of Regiment-sized units that stretched from the edge where the front connected to the still holding 3rd Mountain to a spot roughly three-hundred miles to the north of Rangoon. Here the thinness of the British lines became apparent to even the most casual observers where Divisions had to cover the better part of 100 miles each, and gaps developed. However for the most part these were of no consequence because the lions share of the fighting took place where the few roads were, this being before the construction of the India-Burma-Singapore railway after the war. However the fact that the unit holding the centre of the line broke under the strain of more than a week of constant fighting had a domino effect on the rest of the front, especially in the south where one after another the Japanese broke through and captured one roadblock after another.

    In central Burma it was worst where the already demoralized 77th and 56th Divisions were caught up in the retreat and turned the whole thing into a rout as the Japanese began to cut towards the coast – threatening to cut off Rangoon where General Jacomb still had his headquarters from the rest of Burma. Even though the New Zealanders still held the line to the east of Rangoon the population of the city took to the streets in an effort to get out before the Japanese cut the roads. At this point the situation in Burma itself briefly needs to be explained. Before the war the established majority of Burma was becoming restless and in other circumstances might have refused to fight for the British establishment, but now the nascant Burmese Government, debating amongst itself whether to leave Rangoon and make for India called for 'all Burmese to united behind the King, the Government and the British Community of free Peoples' – a speech made by the Leader of the Legislative Council (With elections for the first Parliament and the Prime Minister being sheduled for June that year) in attendance of the Governor-General and General Jacombs.

    The General on the other hand was not as sure about what to do. Should Rangoon be defended with the New Zealanders and the smattering of the Australian troops in the city? While he was trying to come to a decision, the Japanese were about to make that redundant when they cut through the fleeing mass of British units and refugees, making through the jungle and along the few streets that were cleared mercilessly of whatever it was that slowed the Japanese march down towards the coast.

    Auckinleck was growing increasingly impatient. Both he and Jacombs knew that giving up Rangoon would mean giving up Burma to the east of the Irrawaddy River, more than half of the country, never mind the population that was still streaming over the roads towards India. The decision to evacuate Rangoon and leave it to the Japanese was made on the 18th, with the advanced Japanese units having engaged the New Zealanders who had in turn formed a hook to the east and north of the city. The Japanese failed to break through and were at the end of their logistical tether, on the verge of withdrawing back north. The Japanese Commander on the scene had already prepared for the withdrawals and ordered a diversionary attack along two roads that led towards Rangoon. That attack went in at dawn the next morning found no enemy forces, only empty trenches and positions. Cautiously advancing the Japanese General soon realized that the Commonwealth Forces had slipped away and when the Japanese marched into Rangoon, the SNLF Special Detachment (of which more will be heard later on) in front they found only those that had been too slow or unwilling to evacuate. The Japanese took over Rangoon with all the pomp and circumstance that was to be expected, but it was a ghost town for the most part.


    Japanese Marines marching into Rangoon


    The British meanwhile tried to retreat out of the bag that the Asiatic Forces were about to close using streets clogged with refugees and military forces. Total communications breakdown not only between the units extended itself up to the other services. General Jacmombs was among the first to evacuate and this left the Army without means to call for air support, never mind that the RAF itself was scrambling to re-deploy men and machines from eastern Burma to behind the river. Due to that the Japanese had free reign, and many a marching column and refugee group fell victim to roving Japanese aircraft. So a mass of men, women, children and machines of all imaginable form and make streamed west while stay behind parties began to trash and destroy everything that might be of value to the Japanese, often turning over ammunition and weapon stockpiles that could not be moved over to the Militia that was now, as ordered, going into the woods while on the 20th the British main force, such as it was, established itself behind the Irrawaddy River to await the inevitable Japanese onslaught.



    21st March 1941

    Malaya



    The bunkers of A Battery of the Royal Artillery Singapore Detachment were the biggest on the Island, and they had their guns facing northwards, and right now they were preparing to help shelling one of the Japanese flanking landings that they had used to drive the rest of the Army down the Peninsula, now they were trying to do the same to force the Army to retreat towards Singapore proper. Alas, the newest landing was just so within range of the heavy Naval Guns that were the teeth of the fortress. In later days Slim would often wonder if the Japanese Intelligence was really that bad, but right now he seized the opportunity, and as a result from this the gunners in the Battery were sitting there, waiting for orders. “Gunner Milligan?”


    “Sir?” said the man the Commander had spoken to.

    “You may open fire at your discretion, Fire plan Alpha.”

    That meant that they were simply blanketing the area. Milligan was enough of a gunner to know that at that range any form of aimed fire was less than likely. Only the western half of the battery could reach the landing zone in the first place, and those that could were at the far edge. So Milligan pulled the trigger and winced as the roar of the gun came even through his protective headgear. The 16 inch High Explosive shell raced towards the Japanese positions in a flat trajectory, the slight wind only marginally altering it's course. It slammed into the ground at the southern edge of the Japanese landing zone, a mere thirty yards from where the few flank guards were trying to contain the Japanese landings. Of the nine guns only four could reach the small beachhead, but these were of a high calibre, and shelling did unsettle the Japanese. The interdiction effects were minimal, with only 1.5 rounds per gun and minute, but it was enough to disrupt the landing of supplies and further men from the three freighters off shore. The Japanese landing was covered by a Heavy Cruiser as no form of naval opposition was expected. Distant cover was neither existing nor needed since there was no naval presence of any significance at Singapore. The Royal Navy however was about to prove them wrong.

    HMS Belfast and three of the Thames Class Gunboats were slowly closing in on the latest Japanese beachhead. Slim had decided to commit Belfast and the boats to help defeat this landing, mainly because he realized that the Army up north, heavily engaged would have to be pulled back into the Fortress itself within the next few days, and that would be next to impossible if the Nips had Marines sitting all over the coast. Air cover was no problem, since the landing was within easy range of Singapore's Spitfires.

    Now for the first time the Thames Class was doing what it was designed for. Belfast's RDF set had clearly told apart the two groups and the experienced crews had correctly deduced that the group closer to shore were freighters and/or troopships, easy prey for the gunboats while Belfast would take on the cruiser in a classic fashion, torpedoes first and then in with guns blazing. On Belfast everyone could see the shells of the guns of Singapore exploding at irregular intervals, and farther inland the sparks of small arms fire could be seen, clearly one side or another was attacking. Belfast was less than three miles from the coast, with the Japanese ships further up towards the main line of resistance. The British separated at this point, Belfast swung around and prepared to fire the torpedo tubes. Three 21'' steel fish were bounced into the water and made their way towards the Japanese. Beattie had decided against swinging around for another salvo and instead adjusted course so that he would open the range to the coast in order to unmask his rear turrets. The torpedoes were aimed at the assembly of freighters, and now the turrets that could bear locked onto the Japanese Cruiser.

    The Cruiser was the Kinugasa, a Furutala Class Cruiser that had been completed in 1926 just like all the others in her class, and since they were the first heavy Cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and were fast becoming obsolete. What would become their downfall today was that they had no RDF sets, and so the first sign of trouble was when torpedo tracks were sighted as they passed the cruiser. Before her Captain could send out a warning one of the freighters was hit in the stern. The Explosion ripped open the rear areas of the vessel, the destroyed driveshafts instantly flooded the engine rooms and doomed the ship. As the Kinugasa accelerated, her turrets swung around and the crew scanned the sky for enemy aircraft, because initially the Captain thought that it was an air-raid by Swordfishes from Singapore. Then however RDF guided 6'' shells began to fall around them. HMS Belfast was widely known as the best shot in the Mediterranean Fleet and was once again showing her talents as the first salvo straddled the Japanese. The British went to rapid fire even before the Japanese were knowing where the fire was coming from. Soon though the muzzle flashes gave the position of Belfast away and the six 8'' guns fired in reply. Both ships were roughly evenly matched, the smaller calibre of the British guns cancelled out by the smaller number of the Japanese guns. Superior gunnery soon began to tell as Belfast was seriously outshooting her opponent. The Japanese prided themselves with their night fighting skills, but so did the Royal Navy, and RDF gunnery was something that the Japanese had not yet faced and had no counter for. The superstructure of the Kinugasa was soon peppered with hits, while Belfast suffered only few in return. Soon fires began to take hold as both her floatplanes caught fire and soon the damage control on the Japanese cruiser was overwhelmed, and no less than fifteen minutes after the torpedoes had left the tubes on Belfast the cruiser stopped as her machinery spaces were opened up to the sky and burning aviation fuel incinerated her crew – loss of power followed and the turrets froze in position. Beattie could easily see that as the Japanese Cruiser was illuminated by her own fires and was finished off with torpedoes, while the Gunboats hunted down the freighters, sinking every one of them. All involved knew that the next time would not be this easy, even though this landing would surely be defeated.

    Over the next few days the Army retreated ever further towards Singapore itself and when March turned into April, Singapore was laying under siege, and both sides prepared themselves


    On the political scene back in Britain the war in Europe had for the moment taken a backseat, after all it was not going anywhere. Field Marshal Alexander had decided to wait until the weather was better before he assaulted the Gustav Line again, so naturally the air war and more importantly the Far Eastern War were taking over the headlines. Rangoon had fallen, heavy fighting along the Irrawaddy River and political troubles in India.

    India was the first of the Imperial Dominions that had sent observers to Parliament in lieu of the system proposed in the Empire Act being in force. Said observer was Rajendra Prasad and on the day HMS Belfast opened fire he rose in the House of Commons. At this point the Dominion Observers were just that, officially they had no actual powers and yet they were considered to be Mps by the Government and were therefore allowed to speak. The fate of the 1st Provisional Infantry Brigade had sent a fit of rage through India, and the political Establishment in Britain had taken up on that. In the presence of the Prime Minister Prasad told a story of troops being abandoned to their fates, as being found unworthy of getting the aid and support they deserved, and even though this went against the military realities of the situation as it had been back then, this caused quite a stir in a country that was just now becoming used to the fact that the Empire as they had known it was gone. Militarily the result of this was that Jacombs was sacked from his post and replaced by Lt. General O'Connor who took over the newly designated British 14th Army, arriving there in the first week of April.

    Military things taken care off the Prime Minister took care of the political side of this affair. Like many of the Conservatives he was surprised at the public outcry that the fate of a reinforced Indian Infantry Brigade had produced, but unlike many of the older hard-line Imperialists in London he was willing to do something about that.

    The speech he held in the backup facility of the House of Commons on 5th April was one that would help shape and define the way the British Empire would see itself for the rest of the Century. Many did not expect much more than the usual post-colonial and wartime rhetoric, but when the PM started to speak it was clear that this was not one of his ordinary speeches. The entire speech is beyond the scope of this work, but the closing paragraph sums up the spirit of the speech and what Winston Churchill was probably actually feeling at this point even though History would never be any the wiser.



    “The struggle currently raging in the Far East is not one of masters and colonies that just happens to be against a foe of one of them as it was in the past. This time it is a struggle against a vicious enemy against equal, loyal subjects of the British Crown, fighting side by side under the Union Flag against the enemy. The British Empire is a nation of many equal peoples, of many men women and children. In the past this was different, and the British Empire cannot go on like this and we must face up to the realities: The Empire of old is dead. What we have now is a New Empire, one not built upon gunpowder and gold, but rather upon the principles of Democracy and freedom. The Empire is dead, long life the Empire, long live the New Empire!”








    [Notes: That's it then. Two to three weeks of hiatus, as much as I don't like it. I will still slip in now and then and comment, but no writing. God I so hate exams.]
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  10. #4010
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    Long live the New Empire!
    Very good update. Good luck on your exams.

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    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Before somebody may worry for the following words (Kurty becomes emotional and silly, run, you fools!!!!), let me say that I'm OK.

    I can't tell why, but when I saw that Trekkie had written a post, I knew at once that it was an update. And when I saw that I was right, this silly fact has made me awfully happy.

    It's silly, I know, but it's the truth.

    Just for the effort that it takes, thanks a lot, Trekkie, good old chap, for writting so well and for the smile of happipens you've caused ini this old fool.

    Thanks a lot.

    Now, time to read.
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  12. #4012
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Ironic that the Japs have been doomed by torpedos, unable to use their "long lances"
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  13. #4013
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Almost caught up, just one more chapter to do it seems. Aside from the unstable nature of the post war plans this one did jump out at me

    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    [1] Of course I can't discuss Harris' proposals, but methinks he theories are known to be of a rather controversial nature, they certainly are here in Germany.
    Dunno why they'd be controversial, as Harris himself put it while standing on the Air Ministry roof watching London burn "They have sown the wind, and so they shall reap the whirlwind".

    Revenge may not be the prettiest of human emotions and 'they started it' not the most eloquent of arguments, but that doesn't make them any less potent motivators.
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  14. #4014
    Taking a break at last! Good luck with those exams -- I'll need the time to catch up on this at last.
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  15. #4015
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen Thanks.

    Kurt_Steiner Alas, their lack of RDF sets in the fleet as this point came back to bite them.

    El Pip I am cross-posting this on another Forum where someone pointed out the same, and I will give you the same answer, vetted for Forum Rules. I am fully aware of these emotions, but....thanks to Fighter Command and various things that never happened. The note there is the unedited version that I simply forgot to take out, but let's suppose that the controversy is more that Harris was turning BC into his personal fiefdom and proved reluctant to use official doctrine coming from the Ministry of Defence (and by extension from No.10).

    TheHyphenated1 Thanks!




    EDIT: El Pip You can basically summarize it like this: His 'I can win the war on my own' attitude is more of a problem than the means he proposes to achieve it. BC is considerably smaller than in OTL, with much of Britain's aircraft production potential going into tactical Bombers and Fighter Aircraft, never mind the FAA.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 13-01-2010 at 09:41.
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  16. #4016
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    I have to be off for Uni in a few minutes, but let me just tell you this concerning banned things:


    I have similar problems with the darker aspects of Nazi Germany (you know what I am talking about) which I can neither use directly nor can completely ignore, as I feel obligated to deal with them. I have my ideas about that, but I have to get some feedback from the mods first.
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  17. #4017
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    I have to be off for Uni in a few minutes, but let me just tell you this concerning banned things:


    I have similar problems with the darker aspects of Nazi Germany (you know what I am talking about) which I can neither use directly nor can completely ignore, as I feel obligated to deal with them. I have my ideas about that, but I have to get some feedback from the mods first.
    Be careful. God Speed Ye.
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  18. #4018
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    You can basically summarize it like this: His 'I can win the war on my own' attitude is more of a problem than the means he proposes to achieve it.
    I can certainly see Harris rubbing people up the wrong way at the Air Ministry, he utterly prioritised men in the field over procedures. (The story goes that the only person in the Air Ministry allowed to turn down a request from a squadron was Harris, everyone else could only say 'Yes' or pass the request up the chain).

    Given the number of scrapes Harris got into it's not a big change to say that TTL he made one important enemy too many and was forced out as a result.
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  19. #4019
    not a beta for HoI3 Moderator Derek Pullem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    El Pip I am cross-posting this on another Forum where someone pointed out the same, and I will give you the same answer, vetted for Forum Rules. I am fully aware of these emotions, but....thanks to Fighter Command and various things that never happened. The note there is the unedited version that I simply forgot to take out, but let's suppose that the controversy is more that Harris was turning BC into his personal fiefdom and proved reluctant to use official doctrine coming from the Ministry of Defence (and by extension from No.10).

    [EDIT: El Pip You can basically summarize it like this: His 'I can win the war on my own' attitude is more of a problem than the means he proposes to achieve it. BC is considerably smaller than in OTL, with much of Britain's aircraft production potential going into tactical Bombers and Fighter Aircraft, never mind the FAA.

    Actually with the potential stalemate in Italy, Bomber Command may find its targets are in the Northern Italain industrial cities rather than the Ruhr
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  20. #4020
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Pullem View Post
    Actually with the potential stalemate in Italy, Bomber Command may find its targets are in the Northern Italain industrial cities rather than the Ruhr
    I have plans for breaking the stalemate, and they do involve planes.
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