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

  1. #3101
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    If that's a widespread view it explains a great deal about French military history.
    Well, there is a statute on the books in Germany that says that if you are the sole remaining son and have two older brothers taht serve, you don't have to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    If that's a widespread view it explains a great deal about French military history.
    Well, this is probably just me. I just simply love my family more than my country. Don't know about you though.
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    I would echo Lord Strange - as a Brit I think that it would be supported.

    BUT: This is all massively reliant upon the Government 'spin' placed upon it -the British Government in 1940 managed to aid the change in public mood from panicked desperation (a la The King's First Minister) to plucky resolve. So Trek, pick your Information Minister carefully!
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  4. #3104
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    I am torn between Duff Cooper and Brendan Bracken, so historical choices.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    I am torn between Duff Cooper and Brendan Bracken, so historical choices.
    Sweet Baby Jesus! Bracken for his mind, Duff Cooper for his contacts.
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  6. #3106
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    You understand my problem then.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  7. #3107
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    You understand my problem then.
    Winnie would go for Bracken. Halifax or Chamberlain would whimper at both, but Winnie knows his man. Unless Bracken has managed to screw up (a distinct possibility) he'd opt for Bracken. Though personally, I'm always surprised that Churchill didn't send him as an envoy somewhere important - he usually did what Winston told him to...
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  8. #3108
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight, good sir.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  9. #3109
    Colonel gaiasabre11's Avatar

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    Just in case you don't have this, trek.
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    It seems that the Mosquito left an impression that won't soon be forgotten by either side in it's debut performance! Sad that you lost the Rodney too, though. The Royal Navy needs to get out there and turn things around now that the Kriegsmarine has been banged up.
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    Oh trust me, the Fleet ain't out of the game just yet. Battered but not defeated.

    As for the Mossie, yes, she will be one of these WW2 legends.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  12. #3112
    Colonel gaiasabre11's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Oh trust me, the Fleet ain't out of the game just yet. Battered but not defeated.

    As for the Mossie, yes, she will be one of these WW2 legends.
    I'm not convinced of all of that unless you write more updates.
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  13. #3113
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    Working on it.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    As for the Mossie, yes, she will be one of these WW2 legends.
    I can well imagine. She's certainly off to a nice start.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardraade View Post
    I can well imagine. She's certainly off to a nice start.
    Indeed. I can't tell you much right now, but I plan to wrap up Africa soon, and then planning for the next move will begin on both sides, and the Mossie will have a place in the Allied plans.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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    Well, well, my 200th post in this thread. I achieve this feat before you, El Pip!

    Anyways, trek, expect something in my AAR that has lots to do with aircrafts tomorrow in my July 14th special update. You'll be getting something from me tmr too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaiasabre11 View Post
    Well, well, my 200th post in this thread. I achieve this feat before you, El Pip
    Spam is nothing to be proud of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    Spam is nothing to be proud of.
    That is a spam, and so is this.
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  20. #3120
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    Chapter 144





    14th November


    Somewhere in Central Lybia, south of Benghazi

    “So tell me again Sergeant, how come we were moved to a bloody Welch Regiment?” Sergeant Harold Bloggs was wary of explaining it all again, but he did not like their new orders either. “It's because the Regiment got clobbered good in France and they need experienced NCOs and men, Corporal Hamilton.” The rest of the group snickered as the lorry was hobbling along the road in the desert. The two men had had this conversation countless times over the few weeks ever since they had left the 51st behind and taken a separate transport to North Africa. Bloggs was not looking forward to chasing a bunch of green recruits and even worse, Officers that were inclined to ignore his advice through the desert. But at the same time he would not have had to sit around in Blightey with the rest of the 51st Highland until it itself was back at full strength. Many of the troops that had distinguished themselves had been given leave to visit their Families, but the Bloggs family was not what it could have been, and Harold Bloggs tried to go home to the blasted little miner's home as seldom as he could. It was the reason why he had joined the Army in the first place and had signed up as a private soldier, even before the 1938 recruitment drive. He could still remember the day he had left the house. His father had been even more drunk than usual, ranting about the Government selling off Britain to the savages, and had decided to once again take it out on his barely 19-year old son. The son had decided to not let this happen again, had punched his father in the face, gathered a few meagre belongings and entered the next recruiting Office the very next day. Bloggs shook these thoughts from his head and leaned back, staring over the heads of the men that had joined the,. Aside from Hamilton and Cobbington, sitting across of him and reading a week-old London Times, he knew of the others only what they had told each other on the ship, and in some cases that was little more than the name. They were all at least Corporals, which made sense given how the Army had been thinned out in the Battle of France and Belgium. Replacement training was proceeding apace, but experienced NCOs were still in short supply, so those that were there were dispersed all over the Army. Bloggs himself for example had been slated to join the 8th Indian Infantry Division that was shipping in from Bombay, but the Welch Regiment's Old Boy network had changed his fate.

    In his hand he held a letter from his mother, and he was sad to see that she still clung to the fantasy that his father was a good man at heart. The line he was currently reading described how his father was ranting about the new conscription act, though Harold suspected that it was not because of any pacifist leanings but more because this would wrench the other brothers of the family from his iron grip. He grinned when he read that his one of his brothers had been drafted a week before this letter had been mailed and were now somewhere in Southern England while the other had joined the Navy. His only wish now was that his father fell down the stairs and broke his neck or something... “I think we're here, Sergeant.” The Lorry stopped and the men filed out, milling about in the middle of nowhere, with only the rumble of Artillery in the distance and a camp about half a mile to the right, with a dirt path leading towards it. “Is that it, Sergeant?” “Seems like it.” Bloggs said. “Alright men, fall in, column formation.” The men formed up and marched towards the camp. Upon reaching it they saw that it was occupied and that a man wearing the rank badges of a Lieutenant came walking out from one of the tents. The men halted and formed a short line in front of the tent, and Hamilton watched Bloggs talking with the Officer. The Lieutenant was wearing a standard desert uniform that seemed to be a size or two too large for him. Around his hip he had a pistol belt that seemed to contain a FN Automatic that was replacing the Webley as the standard Officer pistol. He was a somewhat lanky man, and a bit on the thin side for his height. Short black hair was almost totally hidden under an Officer's cap that bore the badge of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The man did not speak with a too pronounced Welsh accent, but just enough for a fellow Welchmen.
    After about a minute the Lieutenant stepped up to the waiting soldiers.

    “I am Lieutenant Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn, and I was ordered to disperse you men among our new recruits.” He began to read off a list, with Bloggs and Hamilton ending up in his own Platoon, with the rest dispersed over the Regiment. They soon settled in, being the experienced one had it's perks. They had to. Soon enough the Regiment was moved back into the line and over the next month the front moved slowly westwards against dogged Italian resistance. What slowed the British advance the most was, aside from the need to break line after line of trenches, was the scorched Earth policy implemented by the retreating enemy. Whenever the British took another village, hamlet or water hole, they would have to spend sometimes days to get everything back in working order, spending most of the time not rebuilding blown up roads or buildings. What was worse however was that the wells, so far they had not been blown to smithereems, were always poisoned, forcing the British to devote an even bigger part of their supply train to bringing water forward. This, combined with the attrition of the French Navy over the course of December, where the French lost most of their pre-war Mediterranean Fleet between attacks by small and fast Italian Squadrons and constant air raids, despite the best efforts of the Desert Air Force and the Malta Flight. In one particularly bad engagement the Battleships Provence and Lorraine were lost, along with several cruisers and Destroyers. The only good thing was that the French managed to sink two Italian Battleships in turn, the Andrea Doria and the Littorio falling victim to the guns of Paris and Provence. However damaged the Italian Fleet was, they had achieved a strategic and tactical victory. The French Navy was a non-entity and would not recover it's full strength for the remainder of the war. Richileu and Jean Bart had survived and held a firm grip on the Western Mediterranean Sea, with the British Mediterranean Fleet holding the east and a teneous supply line from Benghazi to Malta. The rest was clearly in Axis hands, with the Italian Fleet acting as a deterrent with the real sea control in the hands of the Air Forces, forcing most of the troop and supply convoys to either go around the cape or run the gauntlet from Tunisia to Crete.

    On land however things were picking up. By 5th December, the French advance had picked up more speed and after fierce fighting the Italians were evicted from Sfax and retreating fast towards the Lybian border, leaving behind the same scorched earth, but as most of the troops involved in this attack were Moroccan, they managed to deal with this somewhat better than their European and Indian counterparts. After taking Sfax, the French halted in order to sort out the shaky supply situation. The basic problem they faced was that in the hasty retreat from the mainland, they had put a priority on combat troops, with many of the support trains and troops staying behind, which forced them to rebuild a logistics system from scratch and with almost no industry. Prime Minister Churchill offered aid, which was politely refused. Instead the French Army Engineers struggled to extend the remaining road network so that it be able to handle the strain of supplying the Army. Supplies landed by British freighters in Algiers and produced with the small industrial base in North Africa would need it to get through, because until the French troops at the front received the supplies they needed, the Italians had a good chance to hold onto the bits of French North Africa they still had in their grasp. For the British the supply situation was slightly better, as the 8th Army had had a stroke of luck and captured the main supply dump of the Italian Army south of Benghazi, which allowed the forward units at least to restrict their supply requests to ammunition and the likes. In the end however they too fell victim to the circumstances, as on the 14th, the French at last accepted British help and agreed to the movement of the Western Desert Force as it was before 8th Army had been raised to the front south of Sfax. With supplies finally reaching the forward areas in sufficient quantities, the advance continued and the French were no longer devoid of Armoured support. The Italians had moved most of their tanks to the west in order to stop Brook who had taken over direct command of 8th Army and was driving towards El Agheila.

    The Anglo-French attack in the west came as a rude surprise and the speed of the advance was accordingly fast. The Italians fell back, and finally Rome began to realize that their position in North Africa was not a good one and that the Battle there would most likely end in defeat. Mussolini reacted to this like it was expected and sacked the commanding General on the 18th, on the day British Armour rolled through El Agheila. Christmas saw a slowdown of operations on both sides, but not because of the occasion but mainly because the massive Armies the Allies and the Italians had in theatre had managed to use up vast stocks of material. While losses on the Allied side had been light in spite of the heavy fighting, huge amounts of ammunition had been expended, vehicles needed maintenance and above all the men needed rest. They had been fighting almost without pause for the last month, and were simply close to the breaking point when the British and French commanders called a halt to all offensive operations for this year, giving themselves two weeks to rest and rearm.

    North Africa was quiet for the moment, but shipyards in the United Kingdom were buzzing with activity, more than they would have under normal circumstances. But recent events necessitated the pomp and circumstance that was going on, as this was the biggest extension of the Fleet since before the First World War. Nine ships joined the Fleet, four Illustrious-Class Carriers and the five King George V-Class Dreadnoughts. HMS King George V was taken into service by the King himself, and was already taking on provisions for an extended shakedown patrol in the Denmark strait where the Admiralty was doing all sorts of trials lately. It gave ships and crew some experience and forestalled repeated attempts by the Germans and the Soviets to slip commerce raiders past the weakened net of the Fleet. On new years day Force A put to sea for the first time. The four Carriers formed the nucleus of a much larger fleet and they had to prove themselves despite it all.





    [Notes: Mr. Llewelyn's description is based on how he appeared in Goldfinger. ]
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