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

  1. #5201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ehran View Post
    12000 lb payload and 2000 mile op radius and 30k feet altitude.
    specs for a bomber to deliver early model nukes i'm guessing.
    Yes, that's what I thought as well.
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  2. #5202
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Agent Larkin They don't have them just yet. Since this is Nazi Germany we are talking about the inherit weakness and inertia of the system (read: Hitler) still wants it as a Bomber of some sort to counter the Mossie. That will eat up considerable time. Meanwhile the Meteor is chugging along nicely. For more info on that I recommend reading the Intermissions that are in the Knowledgebase link in my sig.

    Kurt_Steiner Actually I am going for something more along the lines of the B-36 Peacemaker but a tad smaller. I am aware that the Victory Bomber had all the specs one would need for that sort of aircraft, but if this picture is to scale....



    Frankly this is three orders of magnitude too large for the semi-realism I am going for and in any case would take far too long to build.

    ViperhawkZ Avro Canada? What's that, some folk band? Honestly though, Allied Jet Tech is at least on par with Axis Jet Tech. There will be Canadian construction lines for Meteor and the Vampire alike.

    Ehran&ViperhawkZ Because that's what it is. Neither the Lancaster nor it's future replacement, the Lincoln, can be made to carry it with any degree of safety for the crew, so a new Aircraft had to be had. On another site someone suggested the Victory Bomber, but I felt that it would be too large and hard to build. We won't see that many of these Bombers described here, but more than the one or two Victories that the British could realistically build and make work before they all die of old age.
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  3. #5203
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    I'd always thought that the Vicky bomber was the British version of the Maus.



    That makes more sense. A pity that I can't find an image of a B-36 and a Lanc together.
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  4. #5204
    Trekaddict

    Gods! I didn't realise the Victory design was that bloody huge! It might actually be practical for an initial design nuke as I doubt that Britain will be delivering many of them - unless things go really pear-shaped. However something smaller would be better. Especially for longer term post-war service rather than one off operation.

    I thought the Lanc could carry the initial nuke designs? Remember reading somewhere that it was the only one other than the B-29 that could and the yanks briefly looked at using it if something went wrong with the B-29 development. Not sure if it could have managed the post-launch turn away that was needed to avoid it being a suicide mission however.

    On the Me-262 I'm wondering if the Nazis are going to see a significant problem in terms of development, especially for a fighter design? Notice you have Galland taking off but given how dangerous it could be for pilots too used to prop planes you didn't have anything about him coming down in one peace. If he did go down in flames it would prevent him pushing for a fighter and also cast a shadow over the design for many pilots, although that might make it safer in the longer run.

    Before I forget, best of luck with the exams.

    Steve

  5. #5205
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevep View Post
    Trekaddict

    Gods! I didn't realise the Victory design was that bloody huge! It might actually be practical for an initial design nuke as I doubt that Britain will be delivering many of them - unless things go really pear-shaped. However something smaller would be better. Especially for longer term post-war service rather than one off operation.

    I thought the Lanc could carry the initial nuke designs? Remember reading somewhere that it was the only one other than the B-29 that could and the yanks briefly looked at using it if something went wrong with the B-29 development. Not sure if it could have managed the post-launch turn away that was needed to avoid it being a suicide mission however.
    Maybe the Lancs could deliver a modified TARZON glide bomb with a nuclear payload

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  6. #5206
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    The Lancaster could indeed carry the early Nukes with enough modifications to the bomb bay but wouldn't survive it being dropped. The early glide bomb isn't exactly a weapons system that I'd trust with a nuke, and in any case the concept of the glide bomb has yet to prove itself in British Service.
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  7. #5207
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    Chapter 292




    They were scared. The Japanese Imperial 3rd Guards Division had been in reserve and was now being thrown forward. As veterans of Malaya they had a good idea of the Power of British Artillery, but of the stories they'd heard over the last few days this was something different. Marching along the road they could hear the ripping cloth sound of shells passing overhead more or less constantly and they were coming in. So it was true then, and as the Squad began to hastily occupy a trench right near the coast.


    They heard the shells again and this time....


    “INCOMING!”


    They all dove to the bottom of the trench and for the next ten minutes they held onto the ground for dear life as a massive firestorms of gunfire crashed down all around them. Losses were light but the men were shaken and half their ammunition was gone.

    When the fire let up Saigo slowly came to his feet he wondered how the enemy had known they were there. They were at the edge of a clearing but...what was that? He saw a black speck in the air and then knew. It was an artillery observer.

    He feared that they would be shelled again and again but suddenly the soothingly familiar sound of engines was to be heard and two Reisen arrived on the scene to chase the British Observer away. The Japanese troops did not pause in their work to dig in themselves their machine guns.


    “Sergeant!” came the yell from the Lieutenant. “The Colonel has attached three anti-tank guns to us. See to it that they are sighted and fortified.


    Saigo saluted and stepped out of the trench. He glanced upwards where the two Reisen were still circling. The Lieutenant was a graduate of one of Japan's famous war schools and he thought such work to be beneath him. He was courageous but usually left the menial work to his NCOs. He would spend his time polishing his sword and dreaming of a valiant charge into the enemy guns. He had joined their Division in Bangkok, he still believed the rubbish that the propaganda spewed over the Radio.


    “Here they come!” came the yell. He felt as if no time at all had passed since the artillery but a glance upwards showed him that the sun had moved considerably.

    Khaki-clad figures in British Turtle helmets leapfrogged from piece of cover to piece of cover. The Lieutenant might be an indoctrinated idiot, Saigo thought, but he is not stupid. The mortars still held their fire, waiting for the word. He raised his rifle and chambered a round when he heard the rattle.

    The position was overlooking the road and along that road came what he had learned to fear in Malaya. A Mathilda II Medium Tank.


    Someone gave the orders to fire. The mortars, both the portable and the Infantry kind began flapping out their rounds that began exploding amongst the Canadian Infantry, the 'tack-tack-tack' of the Machine Guns beginning to cut down the enemy, and then the first Anti-Tank gun fired. The round bounced off the Mathilda's frontal armour, quickly followed by another one.

    Then the horror began when the Mathildas came closer and their main guns spat flame. The forward foxholes were burnt clean and the enemy tank rumbled forward, with the Infantry braving the mortars and machine guns with a determination that was sure to amaze the Lieutenant who had spent the last three years hunting Partisans in China.

    There a few grenades and some Machine Gun fire had been enough to chase the Chinese away, but these men were determined and had the courage to storm into the fire. What was it the old Lieutenant had said before he had been killed? Vimy...something during the last war?

    His head was cleansed of these thoughts when a rifle bullet zinged past his head and he instinctively pulled the trigger. For what seemed like an eternity but was no more than ten to fifteen minutes the single flame tank, supported by the Canadian Infantry (he could see the strange red-white leafed flag on the back of their helmets now) burnt it's way through the forward lines and soon the fire began to slacken and he was sure that the line would collapse soon.

    “Fall back!” came the order from the Major. The blackened face of the Lieutenant suddenly appeared and Saigo could hear that the man was protesting loudly. According to his opinion falling back was not something that Japanese Guardsmen did and that they had to defend the Emporer to the last. Like Saigo however the Captain had served under Kuribayashi and was one of the old pre-war Army and he merely repeated his order and told everyone who wanted to hear that the Emporer was best served if they came into a position and weapons with which they could destroy the accursed flame tanks the Allies were bringing in.


    There was no talking around it, they had been defeated by what were in essence British Colonial tro...no. The old Lieutenant had travelled Canada thoroughly, whatever the real situation was, the Canadians saw themselves as a Nation on par with the British Empire. They had enough pride in themselves and their country for any Guardsman and that today they had routed the pride of the Imperial Japanese Army so easily was a testament to that. By the Emperor what sort of war was this?


    ~**---**~



    On the 22nd and after a night of small-scale combat the Allies resumed the advanced. Three of the precious flame tanks had been knocked out but on Java on the whole they proved to be as impervious to enemy attacks at they had been in France or during the short North African Campaign. If anything the Japanese were even lighter in Artillery and Anti-Tank Weapons than the Italians or the early Soviet Divisions had been.

    All the Allied Divisions reported fierce fighting and fanatical resistance but were grinding forward thanks to overwhelming firepower.

    Overhead the Allied Tactical Air Forces proceeded to sweep the skies clean. They had failed to do this yesterday, Japanese opposition in the Air being much stronger than expected as two IJN Fighter Squadrons that had somehow been completely missed by Allied Intelligence had been present. But now a cloud of Mosquitoes, Beaufighters and Hurribombers descended on the airfields and extracted a fearful toll from those planes that had survived the fighting on the day before.

    XX Corps was making good progress on the road towards Bandung, while XIX and XXI Corps were slogging through the best Japanese Units that were on these Islands. They knew that on the 23rd there would be no Naval Artillery to support them, the Surface Battle Group would go off to do it's job, to seal off Java from any reinforcement convoys from Sumatra, Borneo or Japan itself. If anything it was hoped to lure out a part of the Japanese Surface and, with the help of the Carriers, erode Japanese air strength in the area.

    Today however they fired a huge part of their remaining high-explosive shells at the Japanese as the unstoppable Allied advance ground forward.

    The Japanese High Command was in chaos. Tokyo, like most of the field commanders had not expected that the British would be attacking on the 21st as we have already learned, but the reaction that followed to the Allied Offensive was uncharacteristically confused. A convoy with reinforcements was dispatched early on the 22nd, but these were the troops that were supposed to reinforce Java anyway as a preclude to the Japanese Offensive on Java in 1943.

    Needing to readjust their strategy to the fact that the Allies has attacked despite being technically outnumbered was something that no one had expected.

    The Japanese Navy was still reeling from the loss of Admiral Yamamoto (the news release being the first Idea that the Allies had he was dead) and no clear leader of the Naval Faction had yet emerged as most of their most senior and best people were at sea in the Central Pacific where a big Battle with the Americans was expected.

    With the Army being represented by Tojo Hideki the response here was slightly more decisive, but owing to the weakness of Army-controlled transports they needed the cooperation of the Navy and the Generals loathed to ask for anything from their supposed comrades in blue.


    What did happen however was that the High Command, with the Naval Minister acting in Yamamoto's old position for the moment, ordered a strong escort for the reinforcement convoy.

    Off the coast of Formosa they would meet up with with a significant part of the Battle Line, seven Dreadnoughts lead by the massive Yamato...


    On the spot on Java itself the Commander of the 42nd Army issued the expected orders to stand, fight and win or die in the name of the Emperor but events overtook this quickly. In any case he rallied himself quickly and issued three orders that would lengthen the Battle of Java considerably: Firstly the 50th Armoured Brigade, attached to the semi-static Division that defended Batavia was detached from these duties and sent to face the Dutch Divisions on the southern Coast, secondly the two Battalions of the 'Java Liberation Army' were activated and sent north to face the Canadians, thirdly he refused to allow the 44th Special Naval Landing Force to return to Borneo as had been expected and ordered.

    Fighting intensified but it would still take four more days for the Allies to come within easy Artillery Range of Bandung and it would take two weeks to fully secure the area around the two high peaks in the area.


    But the momentum in the Dutch East Indies had clearly shifted to the Allies and this alone gave the Fortress Troops in Singapore hoped and was a significant factor in how things developed there during that same week.

    +-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?
    Last edited by trekaddict; 26-05-2011 at 19:11.
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  8. #5208
    __________ engines?
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  9. #5209
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0d5579 View Post
    __________ engines?

    I was going to insert the make of the Zero's engines.... Oppsie.

    Editing.
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  10. #5210
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    It's a long way to Singapore, it seems. And Japan isn't in the mood to make it easier.
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  11. #5211
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    I dare say in TTL Bridge on the River Kwai isn't going to exist for I don't see any chance of British troops surrendering.

  12. #5212
    Trekaddict

    Why do I get the feeling that there is going to be a big-gun battle shortly? Yamato and 6 sisters are a sizeable force. Hope we're got enough. [Don't mean the sisters literally but what capital ships are present?] At least it sounds like the carriers are off clashing with the Americans, which takes them out of play. Preferably win the battle without too much damage and losses as well.

    Not sure how much bombardment the capital ships can do. Think most WWII capital ships only had about 50-60 rounds per barrel for their big gun simply because of storage space. Unless their pretty damned positive they can rearm before clashing with any surface threat they need to leave a lot of that capacity spare for AP rounds which doesn't leave a lot for HE rounds.

    Steve

  13. #5213
    Captain ViperhawkZ's Avatar
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    So many updates this week - most excellent!
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  14. #5214
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner They are certainly not, as we shall find out soon.

    Agent Larkin
    I dare say you are correct.

    stevep There is indeed such a thing coming on, with the Carriers fighting their own action against Landbased air.


    We will see just what ships the Japanese are sending in due time, but suffice it to say the Japanese will shortly begin to feel a shortage in Carriers, not so much because of battle damage (only) but also because they are stretched thin.

    There is a large stash of shells of all types at Surabaya. The Capitals can re-ammo and re-fuel in Surabaya, but the next dock big enough for anything larger than a Destroyer is in Australia.

    ViperhawkZ At least two more incoming.
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  15. #5215
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    that jappanese determination to die in their foxholes rather than retreat cost them more men and ironically made it easier to defeat them. bloody germans on the other hand had no problem with falling back so they could sell you the next bit of land dear again and again.

  16. #5216
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Agreed, but from what I've read this early in the war the Japanese usually only did that when the Officer Commanding felt cornered or was exceptionally stupid. Here the 42nd Army is graced with a commanding Officer who not only has a brain but is still willing to use it. This will change though if/when they feel their feet getting wet at the Western Coast of the Island. Where the Germans would have evaced their troops to Sumatra (see Sicily to Italy after Husky) the Japanese will fight it out.
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  17. #5217
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Agreed, but from what I've read this early in the war the Japanese usually only did that when the Officer Commanding felt cornered or was exceptionally stupid. Here the 42nd Army is graced with a commanding Officer who not only has a brain but is still willing to use it. This will change though if/when they feel their feet getting wet at the Western Coast of the Island. Where the Germans would have evaced their troops to Sumatra (see Sicily to Italy after Husky) the Japanese will fight it out.
    Trekaddict

    From what I've read I got the impression this was basically the standard attitude. The officers especially put honour in front of practicality. Not just in fighting to the last but often in launching suicidal counter-attacks rather than withdrawing or fighting defensively. One of the reasons Iwo Jima was so costly for the Americans was that the Japanese commander insisted on his troops digging in and fighting determined rearguard actions. After he was killed a lot of the discipline was lost and the sort of frontal attacks 'for the honour of the emperor' resumed, which made the rest of the campaign a lot easier for the yanks.

    I think as well as the personal pride the system did a lot to emphasis the Japanese lacked real experience of WWI so had no real understanding of modern firepower and it's lethality. Also, simply because they knew they couldn't match the western powers in material terms the army had long emphasised fighting spirit as a way to overcome those limits. I'm a great believer that the Corsican ogre underestimated moral in his famous 3-1 quote but on it's own will is simply not enough. [Conversely I would say the greatest problem in Britain today is that there is no will, at least in people in power, to actually seek to resolve problems. Rather a desire to ignore them and make hay until everything falls apart].

    Steve

  18. #5218
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    The General you described is in command of the Siege of Singapore btw.


    But yes, the commander of the 42nd Army is someone in the same mould.

    The issue with Japan can IMO summed up with Pre-WW1 military thinking, early WW1 tactics and late WW1 equipment and not enough of that to begin with. That all the enemies the Japanese Army fought inter-war weren't particularly strong or well equipped by western standards didn't help either.
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  19. #5219
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    Chapter 293



    “The second big Japanese push on Singapore came closer to success than any before. The Fortress bulged, the Fortress cracked but did not shatter. In these dark days immediately after the emotional high of the early stage of Operation Drumbeat on Trafalgar Day the commanding presence of Air Vice Marshal Browning was essential, and it....”

    Excerpt from “No.1 RIS in Wold War Two”, Rangoon RBL Press, 2004





    General Kuribayashi had assembled every Artillery gun in Malaya, in fact even a few captured British field pieces were arrayed here now, but the Artillery would not fire until the attack was well under way. Assembling the force had been a 'bloody nightmare' to use a British expression, but heavily escorted convoys had deterred the Malayan Militia enough to enable him to assemble this force in relative secrecy. He looked at the long rows of boats that were waiting to take his men across the straights and hopefully over the British coastal fortifications.


    He was convinced that at last his men would carry the British before them, his men could do anything if properly motivated. The Artillery was mostly there to distract the British from the real site of the attack.

    He glanced at his wristwatch and as the seconds passed he waited in the darkness for midnight to arrive.

    In the distance Artillery Fire lit up the night like so many times before and below Kuribayashi the men of the Japanese 11th Division slowly and silently began to row across the straights towards Singapore Island. Behind them two Brigades were waiting to move and Kuribayashi hoped that the British did indeed believe that these units were there to reinforce the landing. Instead, once the 11th had drawn in all the British reserves all his remaining forces would attack and crush the British perimeter around the Causeway Bridgehead.


    It took the Japanese less than half an hour to slowly cross the straights and then all hell broke loose upon the British Defenders. The message that they had started engaging the British defences came via a wireless set and a red flare and the General merely nodded.


    Meanwhile Air Vice Marshal Browning was standing in his command post, buttoning up the shirt of his uniform.

    “Talk to me, people!” he yelled in his dramatic fashion and his Chief of Staff replied:

    “We have Nip troops coming out of our ears, Sir. They are shelling our positions in the old Naval Base and in the west the Indians are reporting Japanese forces in front and among their positions.”


    Browning quickly glanced at the map and decided that he would personally shoot Kuribayashi if he ever got his hands on him for waking him up like this.

    “Right. Unleash the gunners. No ammunition restrictions. I want Lion Battery to do counter-battery fire on those Japanese guns, all others engage targets of opportunity. Send the Armoured Brigade[1] to the Indian Division to reinforce them and alert all reserves. Who is near the causeway?”

    He knew that it was 2nd Brigade from the 8th Australian that was on reserve duty and his Chief of Staff was aware of that, but one had to involve the men, and morale was something prime right now. Within minutes the familiar and reassuring rumble of the big guns could be heard.


    Browning however had not stopped to react to the newest crisis and issued orders throughout when the next catastrophe hit and he was told that the entire causeway perimeter was under attack. Using the infiltration tactics they had perfected they seeped into the British position, using their numbers to help accomplish something that they had failed to do, and even though the interlocking fields of fire of the Hedgehogs prevented the infiltration of large Japanese forces into their rear a few trickled through.


    The small-scale fights all along the line were beyond the control of anyone on either side, but then a chance incident tipped the battle in favour of the Japanese. Behind the position of B Company/25th Indian Infantry Regiment a group of eight Japanese Soldiers found itself in the same ditch, and one of them still had his infamous knee mortar. They fired and the very first shell fell through the hatch into the ammunition bunker. Someone had left it open against standing orders and the massive detonation devastated the British bunker and trench system.

    The Company fought on but with the death of the Captain in command and most of the men being wounded to some degree they were eventually overwhelmed and two hours after the first shots were fired a substantial gap was torn into the British lines for the first time and suddenly the entire fortress was in grave danger. The pumping station for the main water supply was now for the first time within reach of the Japanese.

    The bad news came flooding into Browning's command post, and he quickly realized that the causeway perimeter was collapsing. Sure, the other units would fight, there were no illusions about the alternatives, but the perimeter was broken. Ironically it was the Fortress' biggest advantage and biggest weakness. As long as it was held all along the line it was strong, but once broken it would prove to brittle. This was something Slim and Browning both had lost sleep over and now they were paying the price.

    The 12th Division fought and shortly before the forward telephone lines were cut the General in command reassured Browning that it would continue to fight it out, but by now, at dawn, at least two Regiments worth of Japanese was streaming towards the causeway which left Browning with a horrible choice. The causeway was wired to blow in three places, but destroying the crossing meant that the men of the 12th were effectively sentenced to death with no way to retreat.

    Browning was well aware of that has he let his look run over the men in the command post and wished that Slim was still in command. But there was nothing for it but act.

    “Broadcast Evergreen on the 12th Command and Regimental Frequency. Blow the charges as soon as possible.”

    This would also disconnect the water pipeline from the mainland, but he thanked the gods of war that Slim had in one of his last acts as commander used volunteer and semi-conscripted labour from the city to build an additional cistern that had given the city another breather. So there was just a chance that he would be able to hold on for some more, if he managed to defeat the Japanese incursion on the Island itself.

    He had to admit, Kuribayashi was smart. The attacks had forced him to divide his all-important Artillery and now all the guns were either suppressing the Japanese guns or trying to support the 12th Division.

    Taking a deep breath he prepared to give more orders.

    “Retask Lion One.”



    ~**---**~




    Bombardier Milligan was now the Deputy Gun Captain for Lion-One Able.[2] That was a strange feeling if anything was. It was even more unusual that what was a Corporal to the rest of the Army was in this position, but the Sergeant had managed to drink himself half-blind, fallen off a lorry and then broken his neck.

    “Milligan? We have a re-task order.”

    “Yes, Sir.”

    The Lieutenant was young but no one served in Singapore for long without picking up what was needed to survive. As the deputy he was in command of the large system that rotated the metal turret that contained the actual gun.

    The gun elevated to the prescribed angle and Milligan's men the rotated it to the direction the Lieutenant read out, apparently being directly connected to the command post.

    “Gun in position, Sir!” Milligan yelled into the Intercom system.

    “Prepare to fire!”

    Everyone put on the ear protectors over their anti-flash gear and moved away from the viewing slits.

    “FIRE!” the Lieutenant yelled and pressed the electrical trigger.

    The massive naval gun boomed and the 16'' shell was fired.

    Next the gun lowered and was retraced for re-loading. Everyone in Lion Battery was aware of the situation and the men worked as fast as their equipment would let them.

    The Units that had crossed the straights were now in a pickle, but even the fire from the two guns of Lion Battery that could bear on them did not deter the now constant flow of small craft across. Lacking any form of Naval Defence only the interdicting Artillery fire from Lion Battery impeded the crossing and that wasn't much with eight rounds a minute. Losses were caused but not enough. And while this attack was easily contained by the Allied Infantry the loss of the perimeter and the Causeway made it much, much easier for the Japanese to cross towards the island, and in effect Browning had lost almost a third of his forces.

    Within a day Operation Drumbeat had turned into a race between the besiegers and those coming to rescue the besieged.


    Milligan (left) and two colleagues after the war.[3]




    [1] Not really a brigade. More a unit that has some twelve operational Mathilda II.
    Also, remember Lion Battery is named such because the guns were originally produced for HMS Lion and are thus 9x BL 16'' Mk. II.


    [2] Relax, he will meet the Goons. When or if that appears here I haven't decided yet.

    [3] See?
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    Yay Milligan!

    My Nana's father was in his unit and played the mandolin while he did trumpet ^^
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