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

  1. #5181
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    Chapter 290





    What was the Brits issue today Vice Admiral Karel Doorman of the Royal Netherlands Navy wondered. The De Ruyter was under repair at Darwin to fix damage she had suffered in a the last scrap with the Japanese Navy in the Mandates, so the flag of his new Command had been raised aboard the British Battlecruiser Hood.

    They were not yet at Action Stations and for any untrained observer nothing was different but Doorman saw that the British were behaving differently, and it took him a glance at the Calendar to know why. When he saw the date he merely grinned and in his mind almost pitied any Japanese that would face the biggest Allied Surface Battle Group that had yet graced the Atlantic. The absence of Prince of Wales and Warspite wasn't an issue, as Anson, Nelson, and Barham[1] had been sent from Europe along with the French Dunkerque, Strasbourg, and Richelieu, to the joy of Admiral Somerville who commanded the Allied Naval Forces in the Pacific.[2] The French had also sent several Cruisers, the Suffren, Dupleix and Vortex.

    Doormans group thus consisted of seven Dreadnoughts and two Battlecruisers, escorted by a wild mixture of Dutch, Australian, New Zealand, French and British Cruisers Destroyers.


    Having learned from past mistakes the ASBG was covered by three full fighter Squadrons, two Australian, one Dutch at the moment in relay with more units along the northern coast of Java.

    But the group was only a part of the Allied naval strenght that was out on this day. Forty miles to the East lagging behind in order to be able to cover the Surface Battle Group, while Vimy Ridge, Melbourne and Illustrious were turning into the wind to launch their Air groups. However today the target wasn't to attack the Japanese Navy, their Carriers weren't expected in this area for another four or five days but rather more to increase the number of aircraft supporting the forces ashore for today the Allies started the battle that would evict the Japanese from Java.

    It was barely past sunrise, so when Doorman watched through a pair of binoculars as the turrets of all his Dreadnoughts and Battlecruisers swung to port he could see the gun flashes of several dozen Batteries of Allied Artillery. Without looking he knew that the RDF screens at the back of the bridge were full with contacts that denoted Allied Aircraft.


    It was without question the most important Allied Offensive in the Pacific was underway, two months earlier than expected by most 'experts'. Doorman had spoken with Cunningham before boarding the Hood and the British Admiral had merely grinned and replied that the surest way to get promotion in the Royal Navy under the current Government was to act with dash and in front of the time table. With more seriousness in his voice he had replied that in reality it had been an effort to increase operational security aimed at lulling the Japanese in a false sense of at least temporary security and the best way to do that was to train the men and the Officers to act 'upon receipt of orders' with no actual date given which did imply that it was some time yet.


    Doorman had agreed with this as it was an example of what good Staff Work could do.

    “Signal from Illustrious, Sir!” came the yell from somewhere. Commodore Beattie, in command of the British contingent, had refused to shift his flag from his beloved ship in spite of the now rather cramped conditions read it aloud.

    “From the Admiral to all ships: Engage the Enemy more closely!”

    Doorman shook his head and only nodded. “Well, we best do what we are told. To all ships: Open fire.”


    Almost as one several dozen guns from eight to fifteen inch fired, in support of the Canadian on the northern half of the Island.

    The number of guns that were now concentrating on targets all over the Divisional area of the Japanese 99th Division was greater than those of their entire Corps, and they suffered for it. Extensive aerial and ground reconnaissance in the days leading up to this day had given the allies a relatively good idea of what was where.

    As he surveyed the firing line he couldn't help but wonder what the French Sailors thought about going into battle on the 21st October, on Trafalgar day.

    The Allied ships fired their guns as fast as they would go and on the Island itself the Allied Soldiers sat and watched.



    MN Richelieu the day before, photographed from an Australian Carrier Aircraft



    ~**---**~


    The Allies went onto the attack all along the line. From the North to the South-Coast of Java, where-ever there were Allied troops facing Japanese forces combat broke out in the early morning hours as the Allied Forces slowly made their way through the jungle towards the Japanese lines, hot on the heels of a creeping barrage that was expertly walked across the enemy lines.

    Cunningham's subterfuge had worked perfectly and the Allies had complete strategic surprise.


    That did not mean that it was easy. In spite of the massive assembly of Artillery and air power that unleashed itself on the Japanese the front was just far too long to destroy every Japanese strongpoint at a distance and the sometimes incredibly intricate log and scattered concrete fortifications that the Japanese had constructed over the last few months was very resilient to gunfire of all calibres.


    Fierce fighting developed and while the Japanese forward position was pierced with relative ease[3] many of the Allied troops were tied down with mopping up Japanese holdouts. It was then that the semi-secret Brigade was revealed. It was a good thing that several good roads led along the coastline and that the vehicles that the unit based itself around were very capable in the jungle for their size and type.


    Mathilda II Crocodile, supporting the advance of a Battalion of the Australian 9th Division


    The fate of the last thirty Australian Mathilda II Tanks had been sealed and they had been due to be sold to the KNIL, but the modifications that turned them into flame thrower tanks after it had turned out that Flamethrowers were very useful and that the poor Infantryman who had to carry it was even more so.

    The Mathilda was slow, and while that made service in Europe impossible, on Java this was less of an issue. On this day a great many Japanese dugouts would be cleared using them.

    Being split op and assigned as a Divisional asset to each of the allied units these would soon prove to be very useful to the Allied Cause.

    Up north the Canadian Marines too were on the attack, but they moved slower and more cautiously than the Australians to their south. However this was not due to and deficiencies in leadership (although there were those) but more because of the sheer number of Japanese forces, more than anywhere else as a distant reminder of the Canadian probing attacks.

    Most of the Allied Air Power on Java was to support the Dutch down south, so the waters just off the coast were continually lit up by muzzle flashes and in front of them the Japanese lines were churned over by the massive collection of shells.



    Like their ancestors they went over the top when the whistle was blown. The guns shifted to other targets and the Canadian Marines fought among the burning, smoldering undergrowth and struggled with their Japanese counterparts.


    The Japanese Divisions fought hard but were pushed back along the line. The first attacks, air and Artillery, had torn into their formations and now determined and grim-faced allied troops came at them. For many of the Japanese soldiers something amazing happened: They were afraid.



    RCCM troops shortly before the attack



    +-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions rotten Tomatoes?

    The French NAVY is the only part of the French military really pulling it's weight in the Pacific aside from a few Fighter Squadrons in Burma. We will see more of the French ships in the future.

    And before anyone complains: I've been looking at the weather patterns for Jakarta and figured that it could be done. They aren't exactly what they were in WW2, but close enough.

    Sorry for the shortness, but I intend to go into the particulars of the campaign soon and starting that here would have been the wrong thing to do.

    [1] TTL all the Queens were given the same upgrades over time. Barham is the last, so ironically she is the most advanced of all the Queens until Warspite gets her new Radars.

    [2] Cunningham has now a Nimitz-type position as Allied CinCPac.

    [3] By Pacific War standards, with a healthy dose of British understatement.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  2. #5182
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Glad to see that the Matilda still goes waltzing with the Aussies. I don't know why, but I love that ugly fella.
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  3. #5183
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    Images aren't showing for me - but the story is certainly good. Blast those Japs back to their islands!
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    Well if the Vietcong were scared of the Australians in Vietnam you can bet the Jap's are going to be scared of the British.

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    as in infantry support tank matilda's worked fine. against the jappanese they must be quite terrifying machines indeed given the japs have virtually nothing available that would be effective against them.

  6. #5186
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    It may be a problem with photobucket, because this morning I saw them...
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    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner So do I. The Mathilda II was not the right tank at the right time and had a lot of issues, but it still managed to endear itself to me for some reason.

    ViperhawkZ Photobucket seems to be down.

    Agent Larkin Which is the desired result of the exercise. Allied soldiers resent beeing seen as weak, soft, decadent gits who aren't up to the level of the Japanese soldier.

    Ehran OTL the Aussies used the Gun-version of the Mathilda against the Japanese as late as Summer 1945 in the Borneo Campaign.... Says a lot about Japanese AT...
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    Adn the pics returned to thee...
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  9. #5189
    Trekkaddict

    Just back from hols and caught up. Only about 2 page's worth so not too bad. You can go into full hyper-drive now please.

    Looking good with the offensive in Java although a pity about Henderson and his info. [Don't suppose they were able to hide any of it somewhere, for someone else to pick up later? If they kept some to surrender to the yanks that might hide the fact that they haven't handed it all over].

    On the 21st October it might actually be better if the attack came either the day before or the day after. Especially given the Japanese had their own awe of historical dates it might be a touch too obvious. Although since it is mainly an army offensive a naval date may be overlooked.

    Steve

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    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Glad to have you back. It's exam season soon, but I plan on putting out at least three more chapters in addition to the one I have standing by now and will post tomorrow.

    The Henderson Aftermath will be dealt with soon, our awesome twosome has to travel back to the UK first.

    As for the attack date: Cunningham was taking a gamble here. He was banking on the Japanese expecting that the British would not attack on their greatest Naval Holiday, figuring in the perceived and not necessarily true Japanese notion of seeing the Western Nations as shying away from actual combat wherever possible. Here it panned out, but this trick might not work again. So far no Invasion of Japan at the anniversary of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent is on the cards.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Glad to have you back. It's exam season soon, but I plan on putting out at least three more chapters in addition to the one I have standing by now and will post tomorrow.

    The Henderson Aftermath will be dealt with soon, our awesome twosome has to travel back to the UK first.

    As for the attack date: Cunningham was taking a gamble here. He was banking on the Japanese expecting that the British would not attack on their greatest Naval Holiday, figuring in the perceived and not necessarily true Japanese notion of seeing the Western Nations as shying away from actual combat wherever possible. Here it panned out, but this trick might not work again. So far no Invasion of Japan at the anniversary of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent is on the cards.
    How about landing on the anniversary of Agincourt? 25 October?

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    The anniversary of Amiens, 8-11 August? That was a fairly major victory, and with the same major participants (UK, Canada, Australia, France, America).
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  13. #5193
    All

    Well if you really wants to confuse them then attack on the 1st July. If their fearing another victory celebration offensive they won't expect an attack on the anniversary of the 1st day of the Somme.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevep View Post
    All

    Well if you really wants to confuse them then attack on the 1st July. If their fearing another victory celebration offensive they won't expect an attack on the anniversary of the 1st day of the Somme.

    Steve
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  15. #5195
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Well, Agincourt is primarily something for the Army, and Cunningham is clearly in the Andrew. I tend not to do ones like this too often. However, there are three dates when you can expect something special: 6th June 1944 and 8th May 1945.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
    "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." - Carl Schurz
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    Chapter 291


    He checked the blackout curtain and turned on the lights in his Office. He had not yet even taken off his coat and was already sitting in the armchair he always used when he had to think. It had been the strangest of meetings. A man in a civillian suit had approached him as he had just been about to go out this morning and been driven to meet Air Chief Marshal Portal who, strangely enough, had not waited for him in his Office but rather in one of the many small rooms at Vickers. The directive he had been given was stranger still.


    'Design an aircraft for us. This is most secret, so there is no Operational Requirement and no specifications except that it has to be able to carry a load of twelve-thousand pounds at an altitude of thirty-thousand feet, with an operational range of two-thousand miles and a speed at least as great as that of the Lancaster.'


    Shortest meeting of his career, but the mere fact that CinC Bomber Command had met him under such secret circumstances told him more than he wanted to know. Such was the consequence of success, after the Bouncing Bomb that had destroyed the German Dams he was expected to deliver such weapons and things on command. There were many things he was working on already and he would have to tell the MoD that he wouldn't be able to work exclusively on one project. The people at the institute had the Glide Bomb project well in hand and Whittle had been carted off to somewhere weeks ago[1].

    He rose to his feet and stepped to his drawing table.


    He started with a long, tubular shape. At that altitude a pressurized cabin was unavoidable and at least four engines could be pre-supposed. What to use for that was not something he had to decide immediately, but he would either use the Rolls-Royce Merlin II[2] or the Hercules VIII.... There was something about this project that made a cold shudder run down his spine, as if he was helping to unlock Pandora's box.

    He laid down the pen he was using and leaned back.


    Just what would anyone need a bomber of this size for? There was of course his Earthquake bomb but the Ministry of Defence had cancelled it. The official and highly secret reason that Wallis wasn't aware of was that the Admiralty felt that they had the U-Boats under control. Soviet Vessels rarely ventured out of the Baltic and the ports at the White Sea and the sea itself were so heavily mined that some joked it was possible to walk from Murmansk to Archangelsk without getting ones feet wet.

    The Royal Navy and Coastal Command had the North Sea sown up tight between the Home Fleet and the RAF Sunderlands, so the few flotillas that were stationed at the coast of France were less of a threat to Allied shipping that would have been the case if, say, France had surrendered and the British had neglected Convoy Warfare even more than had been the case.[3]

    The Tallboy was going to be produced as there were enough hardened targets all over Axis Europe to warrant it, but not a bomb meant to be used against U-Boat Bunkers.

    His old Windsor studies would not be up to the job. It was a hard blow for him as a designer but he was aware that the Lancaster was the better aircraft. It hadn't been when he had first started working on it, but now, with the new engines the Lancaster was at least as good as the Windsor would have been.[4]

    And in any case Chadwick was a good man, and it was only proper that he would receive recognition for his work.

    It was worth looking at his early sketches for the Grand Slam Bomber again. While his estimates for it made it clear that it was at least an order of magnitude too large than anything the Empire would be able to produce within the two year deadline he had been given.

    But advances in aeronautics, in engines and material sciences made it possible to reach this sort of thing with an aircraft no more than twice the size of a Lancaster. The Victory, if built would have been large enough to 'park a Lancaster on one of her wings with room to spare.'


    Getting it to go as fast as Bomber Command desired would not be easy, but then again, he had always liked a challenge.



    ~**---**~





    The massive He-111Z came to a halt and like everyone else the crew disembarked as fast as was possible. They had been up there to observe the test as per their orders and had been the first to call it in when things had started to go disastrously wrong. Two prototypes of two Aircraft were being tested today and the first one had crashed due to what on the face of it looked like a plain engine fire. That the other was still cruising overhead and making the prescribed loops of the airfield only hammered the defeat home.

    The Me-262 V-1 had performed flawlessly on the aircraft's first ever powered flight whereas the direct counterpart, Heinkel's -280 V-5 was nothing more than a burning wreck.


    For Heinkel the only good thing coming out of this disaster was the proof of concept for the ejector seat he had insisted be fitted to all of his prototype Jets. Powered with Compressed Air upon the pull of a handle it had catapulted the Luftwaffe Major who had flown the aircraft to safety when one of his engines had caught fire. He had come down just like with any other parachute jump and was now being checked out at the Infirmary.


    There were rumours that the Martin Baker Company in Britain was also working on similar things, but this was the first confirmed use in an actual emergency.

    While this truly was what this day would enter history for later the simple fact that the only He-280 prototype that had been Operational was destroyed now spelt the end for Heinkel's aspiration to enter the fighter market once and for all and decided the Strahljäger Wettkampf[5] once and for all in favour of Messerschmidt's design.


    Much to the relief of General der Jagdflieger Galland who had preferred the more aeronautically advanced 262. The 280 had experienced problems with buffeeting at high speeds and while Heinkel had been working on re-designing it the 262 could reach a higher relative Mach number. Swept wings clearly were the way to go.


    Unlike the British programme the German one was rather disjointed, with several companies doing bits and pieces of it, wheras the British one was concentrated around several engines and a single Aircraft, the future Gloster Meteor.

    While the German programme was disjointed, the Soviet one was non-existent. It wasn't that the Soviets weren't able to replicate Jet technology, but rather because Stalin was not yet convinced that Jet Engines were the way to go, and the ever increasing needs of the war in the Far East. All this had focused Soviet efforts on perfecting existing models. Among many other things several Soviet Factories near Moscow and Leningrad had started licence production of the German DB-601 Engine that was to power the next versions of the Yak-9 and various other in-line aircraft, and industrial expertise was flowing in both directions.


    The Soviet experts were also very interested in the BMW 801 engine but more because they wanted to know just how the Germans were doing things, the Soviet Union was producing a great many advanced radials.

    There were no Russian Officers present and officially the Competition was secret, but Hitler and Stalin were playing a strange game of military and technological one-upmanship so as soon as the -262 was approved for production Moscow would be told, in fact many expected that they would have to perform a flyby for the Soviet ruler.

    “Well, it seems that our aircraft works at last.” Willi Messerschmidt said to Galland.

    “And once we get the production model we will crush the English fliers.”


    And that was the crux of the matter, both men knew. Hitler wanted an aircraft that would out-fly the Mosquito the Führer hated so much, and that meant that this magnificent aircraft would likely to be the newest attempt at creating a 'Schnellbomber', dropping everything from Jellypet to firing the new rocket packs that the Luftwaffe's close air support aircraft were carrying.

    “We can only hope....”

    Galland would approach the Führer over this aircraft soon and he would fight for an Interceptor version. British Bombing wasn't as bad as it could be but it did start to make itself felt and the Ministry for War Production was looking at dispersing German industry, at putting it underground.

    “You know what,” Galland said, “which one is the next prototype that can fly?”

    The industrialist looked at the General and said: “You know that these are prototypes? You know, liable to have faults?”

    He gestured at the pillar of smoke that showed where the Heinkel Jet was burning.

    When he realized that the General would not back down he merely shrugged his shoulders.

    “The V-4.”

    He walked away.

    Four hours and an intensive course of familiarization later he was pushing the throttle forward. He had been pulled by a lorry to the end of the runway so this was his first experience with a Jet engine. As he slowly began to roll he noted immediately that there was no torque-steer, and while ground visibility wasn't the best ever he accelerated slowly. Speed did rise more slowly than with a -109 or a -190, but Messerschmidt had blamed the engines on that and Galland was inclined to agree. It was reckless beyond imagination for a man of his rank and position to risk himself on a technology as untried as this, but...dear god this was fast!


    He reached take-off speed and went into the air.

    The engines might he hard to produce and have troubles reaching their highest speeds once it was there... He thundered over the airfield at speed. Dear god, it was as if Angels were pushing...[6]



    +-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?

    Making tech update not sound like a bad Wikipedia article is hard, mind...Anyhoo, those who know me know how much I hate the Luft46-Napkinware crowd, so you won't have to fear Nazi Über-weapons of thee Ta-183 or Amerika-Bomber type. Go Allies!

    [1] Rolls Royce.

    [2] Alt-name for the Griffon.

    [3] Read: OTL. ITTL Hitler hates the KM because it has failed him badly. The U-Boats will be totally defeated by the end of 1943.

    [4] TTL the Grand Slam was axed before Wallis could really start working on the Bomber. The Windsor was a contender for the Lancaster replacement OR that will eventually spawn the Lincoln and the increase in capabilities over the then-standard Lanc was seen as too small to warrant production. As you know TTLs RAF is much more geared towards Fighters and CAS, hence everything BC related going slower or very different.

    [5] Jet Fighter Competition

    [6] It's known he actually said that about the 262.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  17. #5197
    Major
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    So Jerry has his Jet fighters?

    Were is our blasted Meteor's then?

  18. #5198
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Mmmh... working for a bomber like the Washington B.1?
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  19. #5199
    Captain ViperhawkZ's Avatar
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    What could this secret project be, hmm... I have my ideas. And jet plane tech is good - Avro Canada will have an idea a few years on, I think...
    Last edited by ViperhawkZ; 26-05-2011 at 01:01.
    “Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst.”
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  20. #5200
    Sergeant

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    12000 lb payload and 2000 mile op radius and 30k feet altitude.
    specs for a bomber to deliver early model nukes i'm guessing.

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