29th June 1941
The Fleet returned, and it was bringing a resounding and war deciding victory with it. Britannia's rule over the waves had been challenged, and the Fleet had at last answered the call. There was an ominous silence about the Battle coming from Germany, and many thought they were merely trying to find a way to make less of a disaster of it than it really was. That however was something that the Germans would not have much luck with it. Radio Oslo reported that parts of the Bismarck had come down as far as northern Kristiansand and that wreckage was still being washed ashore all over their coast with the Battle area, the damaged windows in Kristiansand and the simple fact that many of the ships where nowhere to be found made that simply impossible. The Germans had gone to bed on the 25th with the knowledge that their Fleet was 'out there' and that the British Navy could be defeated. When they had gone to bed on the 26th, it slowly began to filter through that the Royal Navy had once again shown her adversaries who was the thoughest kid on the block. An Invasion scare greater than that in Britain after the fall of France swept through northern Germany, and in Britain the battle gave the Britons a much needed boost of morale while they were busy dodging Axis Bombs. The Fleet it all rotated around was slowly trickling into Scapa Flow. Tovey had had his undamaged heavy units race ahead, and promised himself that next time he would take the Light Carriers attached to the Fleet out too, with or without Admiralty permission. Luckily this was unlikely at best. The RAF had had risked several of it's precious Spitfire Mk I PR Type C's ( converted from decommissioned and about to be scrapped reserve Mk.I and II Spits ) that stretched their range and photographed every port from Wilhelmshaven to Kiel, which had not only proved most of the sinkings that had been claimed, but also shown that the few capital ships the Kriegsmarine still had were either damaged or were sulking away in port. There were some inaccuracies and misidentifications of course, but it was clear that the Kriegsmarine had vanished as a credbile threat. The Fleet continued it's patrols of course, but the Kriegsmarine, save for some enterprising U-Boats, would not be seen again for the remainder of the war. Ironically the victory also spelled the end for the gun ships. None were under construction, but many projects were cancelled, among them one that would not have been available until 1945: The infamous Vanguard Class.
Post-war artists impression of the Vanguard Class
The British Admiralty surprisingly managed to draw the correct conclusions, and since the Germans and Soviets had no way of rebuilding their fleets to a level where it could threaten the Battle-line of the Royal Navy ever again. The existing units were more than enough to maintain the blockade, and therefore several promising, yet unneeded designs went into the bin in these days. On the other hand the construction of Carriers was speeded up, something that the gun club within the Navy bemoaned but was powerless to prevent, as both No.10 and the Palace were for increased production in Carriers.
In Germany the consequences were much more severe. Hitler threw a fit of rage, and ordered the Hood to be sunk. He had however lost faith in the Kriegsmarine, and as a consequence, the fleet lost almost all of her funding. Construction of surface units was suspended, U-Boat construction curtailed so that the flotillas were just so able to replace their losses and remain at established strength, and in perhaps the biggest humuliation the Airgroup of the Graf Zeppelin was disbanded, her aircraft either scrapped outright or taken over by Luftwaffe Coastal Defence Squadrons, and the Carrier itself would never be fully repaired. With one stroke Hitler had finished the war Admiral Tovey and Captain Murray had begun.
However, that all happened over the next few weeks and months. On the 29th itself HMS Hood entered Rosyth where she would spend the next months having her battle damage repaired and receiving a few minor upgrades. When she entered the harbour she was greeted by a cheering crowd of sailors and civilians. Someone had managed to call together a brass band that did it's best to play 'Rule Britannia' and 'Royal Oak' while the harbour tugs towed the wounded Battlecruiser in. The Prime Minister and the King were in attendance, as they had rushed north yesterday, ableit for something different. They did not know yet, but both Murray and Phillips, along with the entire crew of Hood were about to be decorated. Both Murray and Phillips had survived, and the Captain was seen to give orders about how the 3rd Officer, about to be bumped to full Commander and Second in Command was to handle her up until the doors of the ambulance closed behind him.
These developments however were not the only ones. The de Havilland Company was delivering one of it's greatest contributions to the Allied War effort. The Second American Civil War had seen many companies flee. Among those had been several key engineers and executives from the Douglas Aircraft Company. After a long odyssey the group had found it's way to Britain in late 1935. De Havilland was more than receptive to them, even more so since they had brought what could have been a massive cash cow for Douglas save for the Civil War: The Douglas DC-3. The de Havilland Company was receptive, as they had no comparable aircraft on their own drawing boards that was this close to completion, and therefore was able and willing to fund the group and take over the Douglas Company in Exile as a subsidiary of de Havilland. The UAPR managed to get production of the aircraft up and running first due to the factory being captured relatively intact, but in May 1936 the Douglas/de Havilland Dh.100 flew. Even though the Government was uninterested at this point, being busy with making the British economy perform despite the disappearance of the American markets, but Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. were interested and bought twenty units that served on Empire and several European routes. Export sales were almost non-existent as the world economy adapted to the disappearance of America, but by 1937 a hundred units had been produced, and the plane allowed de Havilland to weather the crisis. However the finest hour of the aircraft would not come until 1938. In the aftermath of Churchill's rise to power the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force were massively expanded to counter the new threats and as a part of this the Royal Air Force Transport Command and the British Army Military Transport Command were founded and were on the lookout for a medium range, high speed aircraft for Empire-wide transport. De Havilland proposed a militarized version of the Dh.100, calling it the Dakota. The main differences to the civilian model were that the civilian amenities were removed. Even though the plane was initially presented to the War Office, Air Ministry and Admiralty as a pure freighter, de Havilland also made clear that there were multiple other uses, including troop transport either normally or for 'special purposes', alluding to Paratroops even this early. The seats inside were mounted on rails and could be removed easily, making it possible to convert any given Dakota to whatever use desired. The Navy quickly lost interest, mainly because they had no real need for such a large-scale transport ability, but the RAF and the Army were still interested. However institutional infighting delayed adoption by the Army, because some in the RAF resented the fact that the Army should have it's own aircraft, never mind some that the RAF could very much use herself. In the end however pressure from above, namely No.10 and the Imperial General Staff forced the Royal Air Force to concede, and such Army aviation was born. BAMTAC ( British Army Military Transport Command ) was formed with twenty-four Dakota Mk.I as No.1 AAS ( Army Aviation Squadron ), permanently attached to the 6th Parachute Brigade as a part of the 6th Airborne Division. The RAF version, known as Dakota Mk.Ia had only very few differences from it's army brethren, mainly that they had none of the paratrooper-specific equipment of the Army versions and had provisions for V.I.P transport. By that time however, in late 1940, de Havilland was more than busy with it's contract for the Mosquito, and was forced to look for alternative production lines. These were found with Blackburn when production of the Skua was cancelled and the company found itself without something to do. Initiall production Mk.1s were engined with the same Bristol Pegasus that powered the Short Sunderland, the Fairey Swordfish and the Blackburn Skua, but when Short began to develop the next version of the Sunderland and decided to engine it with the much more powerful Bristol Taurus, de Havilland decided to re-engine he Dakota too, since it was as clear as glass that the Pegasus would eventually go out of production since most of the aircraft powered by it neared obsolescence.
The most publicized operations of the Dakota were the Parachute drops during Market Garden and later on even though the Dakota only made up roughly 40% of the transport force during Market Garden. Another one was the 'Singapore Express' in the Far East.
BAMTAC Dakota Mk.II during the Farnborough Airshow 2009, wearing the distinct Market-Garden identification stripes.
The second technical breakthrough would have even bigger consequences for the future.
Royal Aerospace testing centre, somewhere in Britain
30th June 1941
It were only two aircraft. One was not airworthy at the moment, but that was not the problem that the crews faced. The problem was that the King and the Prime Minister were present at this test, so less than nothing was allowed to go wrong. The test pilot had never flown this aircraft before, but that was no problem, because the aircraft itself had never flown before. It was an entirely new type of propulsion, and the constructor of the same was walking around the plane, supervising the technicians and and ranting over delays. But soon enough the technicians went to a save distance while one volunteer stayed behind and started an auxiliary generator to start up the main engine. It caught at the first try, and soon the airfield was engulfed by a devilish roar as the little aircraft first did some taxi tests on the ground. Soon enough the little plane sped down the runway with it's turbo-jet engine roaring so loud that the windows in the observation stand rattled in their fittings. The speed amazed the observers as the little aircraft was handily faster than anything the RAF had currently in service. It took to the air and soared skywards. Since this was the first test flight, the pilot merely circled around the field for three times, but even then the level speed was amazing enough. Soon enough the plane landed again. The Jet age had reached Britain.
[Notes: The DC-3, and therefore by extension also the C-47 is my favourite non-combat aircraft of all time.]
 Not the British Airways. Not yet.
 At this point I suggest you listen to the sound of Freedom. NSFW, as it gets somewhat loud.