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

  1. #5441
    Trekaddict

    Sounds like a big clash coming up. Do the allies know where the main Japanese force is or are they launching a big strike just for the enemy vanguard?

    Presuming this is the next stage in the relief of Singapore.

    A couple of small quibbles:

    a) There is a [2] after Albania, which makes it look like a footnote but no actual footnote, nor a [1].

    b) Do you realise how confusing it is when you spell vanguard with a capital V. I was briefly thinking she was going into battle.

    Steve

  2. #5442
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    now why do i have the feeling this will be the last time nip battleships will be allowed out without carriers to cover them?

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    HMS Albania? I'd love to hear the reasoning behind that one I must confess. But then I'm also looking forward to seeing the carrier strike, so either way I think I'll be happy.
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  4. #5444
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    HMS Albania? I'd love to hear the reasoning behind that one I must confess. But then I'm also looking forward to seeing the carrier strike, so either way I think I'll be happy.
    HMAS, so it's an Aussie ship as well.

    Oh, and from before the last update:

    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    ViperhawkZ HMCS Vimy Ridge soldiers on until the early 80s when she's replaced by something along the lines of a souped up and of course totally modernized CVA-01.

    Melbourne is pretty much the same, although there is five year gap with no active Aussie CV.


    Vimy Ridge is preserved after a lengthy, lengthy battle over sense and funding for the museum, Melbourne is scrapped.
    The CVA-01 you say? Only 50 planes? Ah, well. Any carrier is better than none.
    Last edited by ViperhawkZ; 09-07-2011 at 02:23.
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  5. #5445
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner This is as much a strike against the IJN Fanboys as the Dreadnought Admirals in Japan. Think of it as TTL's equivalent of the attack on Force Z.

    ViperhawkZ The Fleet Air Arm is ready.

    stevep a) That's a remnant from when the plot of this was going slightly differently.

    b) Damn auto-correct. Thinks I have the time of day for that ugly crapbox of a Dreadnought.

    Anyhoo, the British have a vague idea about where the Japanese are, thanks to aerial recon, SIGINT and the Fairey Swordfish Mk.VIII and their surface-search Radar.

    Ehran Anything that stretches Japanese resources is welcome.

    El Pip HMAS Albania. Named after the time the Commonwealth Armies landed in Albania after the Balkan Axis Countries switched sides. Canberra was a bit pressed for names.

    ViperhawkZ Not CVA-01 as we know it, just a non-nuclear Carrier Design. The closest equivalent to that is CVA-01.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Thinks I have the time of day for that ugly crapbox of a Dreadnought.
    You are, and sadly probably always will be, a complete heathen.
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  7. #5447
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    You are, and sadly probably always will be, a complete heathen.
    Not saying that she's a bad one, just that she's ugly.
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  8. #5448
    Shouldn't there be some note explaining HMAS Albania, it has a number next to it?

    Edit - I just saw the the other page.

  9. #5449
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    ViperhawkZ Not CVA-01 as we know it, just a non-nuclear Carrier Design. The closest equivalent to that is CVA-01.
    Oh, I see. Believe me, any carrier is fine - I just see in my head a massive Canadian supercarrier fleet, mainly because I am a gibbering patriotic fanboy.

    And I do appreciate the Canuckwank that comes about as a side effect of your Britwank.
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  10. #5450
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    Britwank? i thought this was about the canadians/aussies saving the british yet again.

  11. #5451
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    It's also something of a Commonwealth Wank.

    As for Canadian CVs, TTL being anti-military can be very politically damaging, and the Canadian Carriers are a symbol of national pride.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  12. #5452
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    At least Canada this TL will probably have the population to back up a Blue Water Navy - American Expats, plus all the millions of migrants that would have gone to the States but won't.
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  13. #5453
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Yeah. Canada isn't going to be the only country benefiting from the migrants (British Africa will, as will the ANZACs and to a lesser extent India), and there will, added to those from Western Europe also be a lot of Eastern Europeans coming, unlike OTL where the Communists prevented that.


    EDIT: It's hard to give any exact figures. For one getting exact population statistics from pre-war is hard at best, and figuring out how many people died in Europe even more.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 09-07-2011 at 22:36.
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  14. #5454
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    Chapter 302



    Five Allied Carriers[1], three British, one Canadian and one Australian launched every serviceable airplane. The first of 154 Seafires (twenty kept back for self-defence), 87 Barracuda Mk.IIs with three 500 pound bombs and the main punch, 177 Barracuda Mk. IIIs with one 18-inch Mk. XII torpedo apiece. Once the mission signal of 'Buster' was sent back Java three Squadrons of Australian Beauforts and one of British Beaufighters took to the air, racing north at their best speed.


    The Allies had only a rough idea where the Japanese Battlegroup was, which was why all of the Carriers had launched one of their Scout Swordfish half an hour ago, with their powerful Surface-Search RDF systems these aircraft would search for the Japanese fleet and hopefully tell Vice Admiral Somerville where the Japanese weren't.


    Forming into three waves the British Air armada flew along the bearing that would lead them towards the suspected position of the Japanese fleet. Some of the faster Seafires were scouting ahead, but the majority was on escort duty and it was these aircraft that appeared on the Japanese RDF scopes first.

    When a small group of contacts approaching high and fast from the North-east was announced, Kusaka believed for a moment that these could be Japanese planes sent to support him, but when they bore straight in towards his command he went white in his face. These aircraft were enemies, and their speed made them fighters. Fighters this far out could mean only one thing....

    “BATTLE STATIONS!” he screamed, “prepare to defend against air attack.”

    All over the Japanese Dreadnought and later all other ships present men raced to their stations and ammunition was brought up from the hold.

    “Load main battery with beehive.” Kusaka ordered without taking his binoculars off the direction the enemy aircraft were coming from.

    There! Half a dozen black spots in a wide formation. Less than a minute later they were joined by more. And more. And more.

    Kusaka swallowed audibly. He had eschewed fighter cover by the Japanese Army Air Force earlier today and was now paying the price for it.


    Up in the air the Allied pilots were seeing the dream target for any Naval Aviator and the British Strike Commander had his the planes of each wave attack in relays. First the Dive-bombers would go in to disrupt the Japanese formation, then followed by the torpedoes and so on.

    The Allied aviators split.


    Down below some Japanese Officers couldn't help but admire the courage of the Allied pilots as twelve Barracudas dove towards the Yamato which began to manoeuvre wildly to avoid their bombs, while four more were going for the Nagato, the remainder of the bomb-armed Barracudas attacking the Cruiser and Destroyer escorts.


    Aboard Yamato the anti-aircraft guns began to fire. Several Barracudas were damaged, but only one was shot down outright.

    Then it was the Allies' turn. Few hits were scored on the escorts, although one Destroyer broke apart after a 500 pound bomb from an Australian Barracuda exploded her ready torpedoes. Several other ships suffered splinter and shock damage.

    On the Capitals damage was slightly more substantial. Nagato suffered the most. One bomb bounced off her deck and exploded in the water, but another one obliterated one of her 5''/40 DP mounts and started a small ammunition fire, while Yamato only suffered scratched paint and a bent auxiliary fire director where it had been clipped by the crashing British Barracuda, one wing of which was still stuck where it had struck the Japanese ship.

    The formation thoroughly disrupted, the British dive-bombers that had not yet attacked singled out the escorts, more to keep them busy than to actually defeat them while low and fast (for Barracudas) the torpedo-bombers came in. One group of twelve from the Vimy Ridge came in through the gap in the escorts, loosing two of their number to an ill-timed beehive shell fired by Nagato, triggered when the shock of a near mess threw a gunner from his feet made him accidentally press the trigger.

    Ten Barracudas continued towards the Yamato whose shells failed to down any aircraft and released their torpedoes in a picture-perfect attack. Two more planes were shot down as they passed over the ship at maximum speed but Kusaka could still see the roundels on the wings.





    Canadian Pacific Roundel



    Australian Pacific Roundel



    New Zealand Pacific Roundel[2]




    Between malfunctions and anti-torpedo movements by the target only two of the fish hit the massive ship, and both of those exploded more or less harmlessly against the torpedo bulge, causing only minor shock damage. On the other side of the ship however Fourteen Australian Barracudas from No. 201 Squadron, Australian Naval Aviation executed a picture-perfect attack. The hammer-anvil approach was not by design, the strike Commander had tried but failed to gain contact with the Australians, but this was because the leader of the Squadron had been shot down by a Japanese Cruiser. Fourteen out of eighteen Barracudas remained and they released at the regulation speed, altitude and distance, with one more shot down by Japanese AA.

    Fourteen fish ran straight and true, and no less than four detonated against the side of the Yamato, with one that missed her rudder by inches instead detonated against and exploded a Japanese Destroyer on the other side of the Battlegroup.

    Yamato's starboard torpedo bulge was annihilated and one fish, running slightly higher than the others, detonated against the main belt and did little damage, although the shock took out two circuit boxes and plunged a few sections of the ship into total darkness.


    The Allied aircraft withdrew and the next wave arrived, and they too concentrated on the Yamato as they flashed past the Japanese Destroyers, with the Dive-bombers attacking first. One Squadron from Vimy Ridge attacked the Nagato and managed to score no less than four hits, probably due to an engineering casualty that the Japanese ship is thought to have suffered as her speed was markedly reduced and she began to fall out of formation. In reality of course this was indeed because one of her shafts was damaged, not because of any of the bombs or torpedoes but rather because this shaft had undiagnosed damage and was thus vibrating so much that the Nagato's Captain was forced to reduce speed. Why this was never communicated to the Yamato was never discovered by the Allies, but in fact the Nagato's commander did order a message to be sent, but before his order could be carried out the next wave arrived.

    It was a bigger wave (the third one would be the largest) and it consisted of no less than twenty-two Mk..IIs and sixty Mk. IIIs and not all of them attacked the Yamato. One Squadron of Mk.IIs from the Implacable mistook the Nagato for the Yamato which was hidden partly by the smoke from a burning Destroyer (courtesy of a crashing Barracuda that had ignited her own fuel).


    Yamato under attack


    The Japanese Dreadnought took no less than six hits due to her decreased manoeuvrability and three of these did damage that would put the Carrier into the history books. One destroyed her main AA fire director, rendering her defences almost useless. Two more hit the large Pagoda mast and killed most of her senior Officers so that no one could give the orders that would arrest the turn she had been on when it was hit.




    Without them she continued the circle, ran over and sank a Destroyer that was too busy fending off two Barracudas from the Implacable and then bore straight for her sister ship.

    The Mutsu was still under control, but she was in the middle of a turn herself, presenting her side to the Nagato and in the chaos nobody noticed the other ship until it was almost too late. When she was noticed her Captain immediately ordered the wheel to be put hard over to comb the Nagato's track as if she were a torpedo. It would have worked too, but for the after-conning position aboard her sister ship. There the Lieutenant in command had been told that he was about to ram another ship, but in his confusion he put the wheel full over but in the wrong side. And all that did was to make a narrower angle when the Nagato collided with the port side of the Mutsu.

    Her bow crumbled almost immediately and her forward compartments were opened to the sea and flooded. She in turn opened up one of the fuel bunkers, exposing it to the sea and flooding several other compartments.

    This of course ignores that the impact also destroyed the complete electrical system on both ships, plunging them into darkness and the fact that on both the engines were still at full forward for a while only served to worsen the damage as they slowly began to take on a list.

    When the next Allied pilots saw them they were stopped and in an entangled mess that no one would ever sort out, and this attracted their attention like flies to honey. Over the next five minutes thirteen torpedoes slammed into the two ships, and while it would take almost six hour for them to sink their fates were sealed.


    In total disarray now the Japanese formation still pressed on, but the attack of the second wave wasn't over and now Yamato's luck began to run out. She took three bomb hits, one that took out a battery of her secondary guns, this time on the other side while the other two disabled her forward most turret so that it was stuck in position by way of destroying the cranking gear and damaging the turret itself.

    Still, Yamato was not slowed down in any way.

    Until the third wave arrived.


    Seventy-five Torpedo-Bombers and thirty-two dive-bombers fell at the Japanese formation. By now all semblance of order on both sides was gone (the strike commander had been shot down) and every element of never less than two or three attacked whatever ship came in front of them. That meant that no less than twenty attacked the Yamato, twelve from one side and eight from the other, while the dive-bombers almost instinctively bombed and sunk one of the escorting cruisers.



    If the Allies were in disarray then the Japanese were in utter and total chaos. In an effort to avoid the tangled and by now also burning mess that had been the Nagato and Mutsu the Japanese formation had lost the last semblance of order and now all of the Japanese ships were under attack, and the land-based aircraft were now less than an hour out.


    Six torpedoes hit the Yamato's starboard, another four her port side. The Starboard torpedoes caused minor flooding, but it was the port-side attack that did the most damage. There two hits opened up her side like a can opener, one hitting mere inches from an earlier detonation point and this immediately gave the Yamato a slight but increasing list to port while another hit obliterated her remaining torpedo-bulge. It was the last hit that would eventually prove to be fatal as it destroyed and broke open the seals of her port-most propeller shaft which reduced her speed and caused flooding in her engine spaces.

    Damage to her rudders was insignificant, as it was the decrease in speed that would doom her because now the last Allied Carrier aircraft attacked her and she was unable to do much to avoid the eight planes that attacked her port side again. Three hits caused more flooding and the last Allied dive-bombers caused several fires on board.

    Kusaka was bleeding furiously from the nose when he was told that his ship's port side was effectively dead and even if the surviving Engineer hadn't, the increasing list was making it more and more difficult to stand upright. Counter-flooding efforts were hampered by the damage the ship had suffered to starboard and the death of many of her men, and it looked increasingly that the damage might be fatal. But...

    Then three more torpedoes slammed into her starboard side and even more compartments were opened up to the sea. The lights started to flicker, telling of more damage to the Yamato's electrical systems and her speed decreased perceptively. Kusaka discussed options with his first Officer, ignoring that both men were massively bleeding from the nose.

    Even as they spoke the speed at which the listed increased markedly, a sure sign that the damage control teams were loosing their battle, and then they found yet more Allied aircraft were coming in even as the strained and shock-damaged boilers of the Yamato failed and the huge steel behemoth slowly shuddered to a halt.


    Kusaka then realized that the game was up. With any other ship he would have attempted a towline, but the Yamato was too large and all of his other Battleships, even those that hadn't yet been attacked directly were too busy staying alive under the onslaught. Of originally seven Battleships two were lost and afire bow to stern now, one more, his biggest and the pride of the Japanese Navy was listing more than 30° now and of the remaining four two were moderately damaged. Fires had broken out aboard ship and too many of his crew were dead or wounded to fight them effectively.



    Yamato listing[3]


    The Emporer's portrait was shifted to the Cruiser Nagara at 09:11 AM in the morning, slightly more than two hours after the initial attack, and as Kusaka climbed up the Cruiser's side Yamato turned turtle.

    And the day was not yet over, and even though no more ships would be sunk, the attacks by the land-based aircraft chased the Japanese back whence they had come, and no reinforcements would reach the Japanese forces on Java.






    +-+-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?


    [1] HMS Illustrious, HMS Indomitable, HMS Implacable, HMCS Vimy Ridge, HMAS Melbourne. The first two are Lusties, the latter three Implacables. Different philosophy in British Carrierdesign ITTL means that the former are close to a Yorktown and the latter to mid-war Essexes in terms of aircraft carried, mainly because during the 30s the RN expected to fight the American Navy in the Atlantic, or at the very least used that as an excuse for more and bigger ships.

    [2] An RNZN Squadron of Seafires is flying off the Melbourne.

    [3] I know it's listing on the wrong side..
    Last edited by trekaddict; 11-07-2011 at 10:35.
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  15. #5455
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    And that boys and girls is why you never deploy without air cover.

    Nice to see the NZ air force pulling its weight as well. I imagine that the Japanese are now pretty much screwed.

    Also the bleeding from the noise bit made me laugh.

  16. #5456
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    Those Japs... they are not even able to list to the right side...
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    The IJN just got royally screwed - care to give us a tally of ships sunk?
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    Ballsy move that, leaving only 20 Seafires for defence was really asking for trouble. Still it all worked out so everyone gets to go home a hero rather than face some awkward questions, though I imagine the poor buggers flying defensive CAP rather than having all the fun will not be much fun to be around on the way home.
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  19. #5459
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    Agent Larkin Even aircover from your mortal enemy, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service.

    The Kiwis are the smallest Commonwealth member to be sure, but they have as much to loose as anyone.

    The Japanese are most certainly screwed in the Dutch East Indies. For the loss of twenty-three Aircraft the British tore the heart out of the Japanese line of Battle and the CVs are...busy... *shifts eyes*

    Kurt_Steiner Alas, there aren't too many pictures of the Yamato taken during the sinking, and the actual post-sinking picture was used to describe when the Hood made the Bismarck go boom.


    ViperhawkZ Well, they lost three BBs sunk, two moderate damage that will require extensive repairs two with light damage. In escorts they lost a cruiser and eleven Destroyers, the ones of the Scouting Battle included sunk, several more of each damaged.

    El Pip This time the gamble worked, it might not next time. Somerville knew that the Japanese had no CV escort and gambled that the landbased Japanese Aircraft would concentrate on protecting their own fleet once the attack was underway.

    The CAP pilots are assured that they get to go out with the attack force next time something happens, so it's not all that bad.
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    Possibly the world's most British German as awarded by El Pip here.

  20. #5460
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    The Japanese Dreadnought took no less than six hits due to her decreased manoeuvrability and three of these did damage that would put the Carrier into the history books. One destroyed her main AA fire director, rendering her defences almost useless. Two more hit the large Pagoda mast and killed most of her senior Officers so that no one could give the orders that would arrest the turn she had been on when it.
    You might want to clarify this paragraph, it seems to be missing a few words.
    AAR Commentator and Werewolf Whackjob

    "Getting paid for reading is the best way to make a living."

    The best bit in that game is this PM from OY to his packmates:

    OrangeYoshi: ... I'll also put in a preliminary hunt order to Hunt Oky's replacement. (THE_SPLIT if I'm not mistaken). He publicly asked for a sub, and that is slightly more common in Lite if you have some sort of important role.

    This is OY putting in a hunt order on Oky's replacement, who is none other than OY.

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