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

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    i'm still reading it, its by far the best aar on the market, but i hardly ever comment because i cant think of anything to say and university life drains a lot of free time. but rest assured its bloody great stuff.
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    And now, courtesy of my insane mind and my fondness for happy endings, the bit I have been working towards for many months!

    Chapter 198


    18th December 1941

    London, Britain, British Empire

    Croydon Aerodrome was among the lesser-used fields around London these days. The Civilian flights had been grounded the second the war had started, most of the aircraft stationed here had either been confiscated by the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and Army Aviation, or in some cases donated by the affluent and wealthy owners. As such it was ideally suited if one wanted to enter the capital city of this country at war via aeroplane and because of this there was an unsteady but somewhat noticeable trickle of aircraft coming and going when there was no air-raid alert. The Germans and Soviets were still bombing industrial targets now and then, most of the time at night with high-speed bombers that tried to penetrate the British Air Defences in small groups.

    Right now there was no alert and the aircraft could land unmolested. It was filled with military officers and huge bags of mail and as such a regularly scheduled flight of an Airline that was run by the British Overseas Airways Corporation and Air France with a gaggle of long-range aircraft that usually flew at night and in a wide arc out over the Ocean to avoid detection by the Axies that had begun to fortify the French Coast, even though Soviet and German Naval Aviation rarely ventured out of Fighter Range from the coast. The Aeroplane that was landing now had managed to slip through without being intercepted and was now coming to land after refuelling near Portsmouth. Several of the Officers were of the Royal Navy, but only two of them had actually managed to sleep on the plane, for the rest were staff Officers that were unaccustomed to the danger of being shot down by enemy fighters. The two of them made an odd pair and many had studied them since boarding in Casablanca. One was slightly younger than the other and and seemed to have been insufficiently fed recently since the uniform he wore was the better part of a size too large for him, but other than that he was a snappy and orderly Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Navy. The other was taller and carried the rank of a full Captain. Ian and Felix were understandably tired for they had not had any rest since setting out from Cairo. When Ian had forwarded word of what had happened and what they had found, both bi-pedal and mechanical then Mountbatten had immediately called Ian and Felix back to London back to London to 'report and bring every piece of Intelligence with you'. This was a clear indication that this was not only about the Enigma. Felix had said nothing and neither had Ian but both had known what this was about. Felix had been deep in thought for most of the Flight while Ian had tried to find something to say that would reassure his friend, but there was nothing he could say, and so he first said a word when they were led past the customs terminal into a section of the airport that was away from view. There a limousine with Government plates and a WAAF driver was waiting for them. “It's going to be alright, mate.” Felix just smiled thinly. London itself was still blacked out, but the first people filled the streets, early risers like Postmen and shift workers filled the streets while the black limousine made it's way through London.

    “When do we have to report?” Felix asked and Ian knew what was on his mind. “Do you think that's a good idea? What if.....”

    “Probably. Oh well, I haven't seen them in a year, a few more hours won't hurt, now won't it?.” Felix said flippantly even though Ian could still detect that Felix wasn't being entirely truthful. He didn't reply and simply looked out of the window instead as the car entered the centre of London and both men were alone with their thoughts. Ian couldn't help but notice how Felix was putting up a false air of of confidence and strength and that troubled Ian greatly. On one hand Felix had good reasons to feel unsure about himself, but why were all of his attempts at reassurance failing? What if....No. No chance. Felix would never do that, he had sworn the oath and the loyalty to King and Country he had shown... Yes. It was all a big fuzz, and he would damn well make them see, yes he would. He shifted in his seat and stretched the muscles of his upper back a bit. New confidence radiated through him and he only hoped that some of it rubbed off onto Felix. Before he could say anything the car stopped and they were standing in the quiet backstreet where the unobtrusive 'main' entrance was placed. Ian stood poised to knock on the door. “Ready?” Felix just nodded.


    Four hours later Ian was sitting on a bench in front of a door in a corridor and he was ready to kick in the door and demand that things were to be accelerated. Inside Felix was delivering his report, and by the small pieces Ian had seen before they had literally slammed the door in his face after being led here it was not a good sign. The grim faces and the RMP lining the wall all told of what had to be going on in there right now. The door opened and not Felix stepped out but Admiral Edwards instead.

    “It's not going well, Captain.” Ian looked up and rose to attention. “At ease. Follow me.”

    Ian followed in the regulation distance as the Admiral led him upstairs towards the roof but stopped in the staircase. “Captain, what are you personally thinking?”

    Ian said the first thing that came to his mind. “Never, Sir. No chance.” Edwards nodded and took off his cap. “That's what I think and that's what Rear Admiral Mountbatten seems to believe after reading your report, but the evidence is stacking up.” Ian was about to protest but Edwards raised a hand and stopped Ian in his tracks. “There isn't enough to actually convict him of anything, it's not as if he has been caught transmitting shipping schedules to Moscow, but....”


    “But.” Ian took up when the Admiral trailed off. “With all due respect Sir, but that's bloody stupid. He would never do that, never.”

    “Can you be sure? Lord knows what happened to him in Germany.” Ian paused only for the slightest second. He still trusted Felix with his life and he would always do so.

    “Yes, Admiral.”

    Edwards nodded. “I see. To be honest if my best friend and brother in law were to come back from the dead like that I'd feel the same. And to be honest, I do. Mountbatten is a good fellow, but he doesn't know Lieutenant Commander Leiter like you and I do. For that reason I have to get back in there.”

    “Sir, when can I have a say?” “You can't I'm afraid. They wouldn't give you any credit, and that bastard from the SIS might even make you a hangman's noose out of it.”

    “So what can we do then?” “I have an idea. But even if it works it will be some time before he can work with you again should that be what he desires.”

    With that the Admiral walked back and Ian knew him well enough not to ask about the idea he'd had. So instead of asking he walked back down the corridor sat back down on the bench and refused to think about all that could happen. Another two hours passed and then the door opened again. Felix stepped outside and closed the door behind himself. Ian rose and asked: “So, what happened?”

    “Hrm.” was the only response. “I need a Coffee.” was another. Ian nodded and followed Felix into the mess where they could not only get Coffee for Felix but also Tea for Ian. They poured what they wanted, paid and then walked back into the still silent corridors that lay on the upper two floors of the building.

    “I have to swear the oath again. I have to go through the security clearance process again. And I am on probation, if you can call it that, for the next year, and even that is only because the Admiral vouched for me and still someone with a higher security clearance than mine must 'supervise'.” Ian was puzzled about Felix' face. “That doesn't sound so bad, now does it?”

    Felix just snorted and took a drag from his cup. “You know, this is what I missed the most even though you limeys can't make proper coffee.” When Ian refused to take the bait, Felix spoke again. “I should be glad I suppose, but how would you feel if you were told after going through something like this that you are suddenly no longer trusted and that they think you are....are one of THEM?” Ian could see the horror in the eyes of his friend and was trying to think of something to say. They reached a staircase and Felix sat down on the upper edge while Ian just stood behind him.

    “Probably the same. Don't get this wrong, but I hope I never have to find out.” Felix snorted and gulped down the rest of his coffee. “You sure?” “Yes I am, I bloody well am, and wallowing in fucking self pity does not help you at all.” Ian said with a rising voice. “You can be lucky they didn't toss you out of the service just like that! Do you really think Eddie would have done that if he didn't completely trust you?”

    Felix looked up at Ian and after they stared at each other for what must have been at least five minutes Felix just said: “You probably have a point there.” Felix grinned and felt a bit as if a huge chunk of stone had fallen from his heart. At last he was fully convinced that Ian had accepted him back and that was all he needed except......his parents. Good god. Nobody had told them yet. They still believed he was dead. Oh god..... He rose to his feet and slowly began to walk past Ian who simply followed without words. Near the exit they passed Admiral Edwards who simply nodded to Ian who nodded back.






    Somewhere in London

    The rationing system was affecting the Londoners probably even more than the rest of the country. The largest city in Europe could hardly be expected to feed itself even with the vegeteables that had been planted in every open patch of ground that could be found. This forced the Londoners to improvise in ways that could hardly have been expected before the war. Oil was rationed, so Mayonnaise was made out of water, flour and spices, and generally the people made do with what was at hand. To many it seemed as if the city itself, although a collection of houses, roads, pipes and glass was steeling itself for what was to come, even more so since the Battle of Britain had ended. The larger public buildings had their ground floors encased in sand bags and even the statue of Admiral Nelson on Trafalgar Square could only just be seen over the top of the bags and wood that encased the column. The Londoners themselves were confident again. The fall of France and the hardships during the Battle of Britain had had a drastic effect on public morale, but between the AA towers that were now being constructed slowly but surely due to monetary and resource constraints, the invasion of Italy and the seemingly impending fall of Rome to Allied Forces had given the city a morale boost because the war was noticeably going somewhere and that was all that the Londoners had needed. The weather was unusually cold for the season and it had just begun to snow again. Normally this would have been a major hazard for motor cars, but since petrol was rationed most of those that had a car were saving it up for the holidays in the hope that they would be able to visit relatives all over Britain and so there was little traffic on the streets themselves. Ian and Felix hadn't had the time to get a car from somewhere and so they were both marching through the cold and snowy capital at war. Felix was not running ahead, he still had enough good sense to try and stay on his feet by taking things slower than he would have done in the summer, but Ian was still struggling.

    “Bloody hell, Felix, take it easy, will you?” Ian said as they were crossing a small canal where the riverboats were logged in the frozen water.

    Felix turned on his heels and almost yelled. “No I will NOT take it easy! I have spent the last year wishing for this, worrying about them, and not you, not Admiral bleeding Edwards nor the almighty himself can stop me now!”

    Ian raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. “That may be so dear friend, but do you really think that you will have the desired effect on them when you arrive in a casket after breaking your neck on these roads, hmm?”

    Felix said nothing and instead turned to look down the canal past the boats and a small bridge in the distance. “Ian, I....I missed them terribly, and to be honest, I have no idea how to...”

    Ian patted him on the back in a gesture of reassurance and said: “Your mother didn't take it well, let me tell you that, and neither did your father and your sister. They missed even more, and I think I haven't seen your mother smile once since, not even when....” he stopped himself, and had to remind himself that Felix still didn't know that he and Sandra had not only been married but already had a son, something he had tried to avoid telling his friend because he was frankly scared how he would react even though he suspected that Felix had at least guessed on the first part.

    Felix looked down at his feet and did in no way acknowledge that he had noticed the almost-slip up. “You're probably right, Ian. I can even see why you haven't told them yet, despite promising it to me.” Ian just shrugged guiltily and said nothing. “I can imagine that my mother would have had a heart attack if you had send her a telegram or a letter... she has a family history of that you know.”

    Around them the increasing traffic flowed. Normally the triple shifts that some companies and factories used these days the many servicemen that were stationed here in London made for a constant stream, but around mid day it was even worse because many went home for lunch or simply to the pub. After being bumped in the back for the fifth time Ian simply grabbed Felix by the arm and said: “Come on. I am turning into an Icicle here. Your mother probably has something hot to drink for two poor, freezing sailors.”

    “Your sense of humour is still just as awful, Ian. I wonder why my sister hasn't chucked you out yet. Come to think of it, how is she?” Despite his anxiety to see his family, Felix could not help but grin at the sight of the mighty Ian Fleming squirming like a little child and realized with satisfaction that his guesses were true, because if they hadn't been Ian would have reacted differently. There was something Ian wasn't telling him, but he was sure it was nothing that would make him walk out of the friendship they shared. He looked up at Ian one more time and then simply began to walk towards St.Pauls that could barely be seen in the distance through the fog that just wouldn't dissipate today. He hadn't spent much time in this particular part of the British Capital but from St.Pauls he knew the way and when he saw the cathedral towering over him less than half an hour later, he began to whistle. Bugger MI6 and the Navy, he would get to see his family again, and that was all he wanted right now. Ian was following him with a small distance and when he heard Felix suddenly whistling the tune of “There'll always be an England” only slightly off-key he almost fell over his own feet in surprise, because Felix only did that when he was in an exceptionally good mood and he wasn't surprised at all when this attracted a few strange looks from the other people on the street. Ian snorted and with a smile followed his friend through the frozen streets of London.

    In the bakery Caroline was clearing up the stalls. Thursday was rest day and therefore the shop was closed and the family used this to prepare for Friday when many went to buy bread that wasn't rationed and sometimes cake where the ingredients were rationed.[1] The main business these days was made with bread and all sorts of non-rationed things that could be made from wheat and since this was the only bakery that was anywhere near the area it all went well, so well in fact that Sandra had started to help again with little Sean staying in the back in the cot that was hanging from the roof. Right now she was feeding him and was already proud that her son was loving the bread Jonathan was baking every morning. She sighed and wished for the umpteenth time that Felix was here to see it, because he would spoil his nephew rotten beyond belief. A knock on the glass door pulled her out of her thoughts and she automatically said: “We are closed, come back tomorrow.”

    What she didn't expect was a “Are you sure?” in return. When she looked up the flicker of a smile went over her face. “Ian! When did you get in?” she said and moved over to the door, careful to avoid the cleaning tools and the slippery bits on the floor and stepped outside. When she opened the door Ian did not step in and instead said: “There is someone else.”

    Caroline thought of herself as a strong women and was not prone to fainting, and if she had been asked only that very morning she would have said that she did not believe in miracles. But when she heard that voice she had not heard for more than a year she almost fainted.

    “Hello, mum.”

    Felix watched as his mother slowly turned on her feet without moving her head an inch. When her eyes settled on the frame of her son she refused to believe what she was seeing. Her eyes and ears had to deceive her, because as Ian and everyone knew, Felix was dead. When she looked Felix up and down she refused to blink for fear that he might disappear again if she did and stared at Felix for nigh on ten minutes. Ian was standing a bit back and Felix was starting to worry about his mother. He took the step that lay between them and hugged her tightly like he had imagined during the months of captivity. “God I missed you, mum. I missed you so much.” he said as both Leiters felt the tears running down their faces. After another ten minutes Ian began to fear for the health of the both of them and began to move them inside. When he moved inside he knocked over a broom which then proceeded to knock a metal keg from a table which then fell to the ground with a suitable loud clang. Neither Caroline nor Felix noticed as Felix guided his mother to a stool while Ian slipped off his gloves and looked around just in time to see Jonathan and Sandra who was holding Sean in her arms coming out of one of the rearward rooms. The next half hour was a complete blur, and later Ian would claim that Sandra had put Sean into his arm and started to run over to the table with one fluid motion and soon the Leiter family was in a tight knot around the chair where Caroline was sitting while Ian retreated to the back of the room where Ian began doting and playing with his son. From time to time he looked over and saw with a smile that the hurried conversation on the other side of the room had still not stopped.

    Felix was revelling in being amongst his relatives again and at one point he began to look around the room and what he saw made reality come crashing back in.

    “Say Ian?” “Hmmm?” Ian was already beet read at this point. “Whose child is that?”

    Sandra offered him a watery smile as she said: “Your nephew. Sean Fleming.” Now it was Felix' turn to not know what to say. He did however know one thing, he knew that everything would be okay whatever course his life would take from then on out.








    [Notes: Read and review please, as always.]


    [1] Bread was rationed from 1946 to 1948, after the war!
    "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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    Awwwwwwwwwwww.



    Now Felix has to become a double agent for the KGB/GRU/Abwehr/Gestapo (all at once), it's the only way that epicness can be maintained.
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    D'aaawwwwwww
    That was nice, I really liked it. I can't think of anything else to say....

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    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    I'm not going to say awwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    It has been a quite nice scene, lovely, tender but...


    I WANT THE RED DEVILS IN BERLIN!

    WHEN I WANT THEM THERE?

    YESTERDAY!

    SO YOU'RE BLOODY LATE!

    HURRY UP!




    And no, I'm not making a subtle reference to the Beatles.
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    ColossusCrusher

    While that would indeed be epic, I have different plans for the awesome twosome.

    Griffin.Gen Thanks!

    Kurt_Steiner Well, I think there will be at least some Red Devils in Berlin, trust me.
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    I meant, that all of them had turned him and that Felix was spying for four different enemy agencies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColossusCrusher View Post
    I meant, that all of them had turned him and that Felix was spying for four different enemy agencies.
    Naa. A good idea but not what I have in mind for the two.
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    Both of them turn?
    In Canonized's Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World?, awarded 20 points for pointing out the centrifuge used at one point; identified a cell phone; detected the inspiration for a bounty hunter; inspired a Cube scene and given 30 points for a Star Wars reference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColossusCrusher View Post
    Both of them turn?
    No. But I have (very) long term plans for them both that are even more epic than that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColossusCrusher View Post
    Both of them turn?
    Actually, it had to do with turning someone, but I'm not going to tell you, otherwise I would have to kill you.

    ...

    ....

    Hell, hear this...

    Felix turned Eva Braun and Stalin's teddy bear into working for the UK. Then, in the most unexpected moment...


    they'll hit!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    Actually, it had to do with turning someone, but I'm not going to tell you, otherwise I would have to kill you.

    ...

    ....

    Hell, hear this...

    Felix turned Eva Braun and Stalin's teddy bear into working for the UK. Then, in the most unexpected moment...


    they'll hit!
    Actually what I do have in mind does have something to do with turning someone, but it's not them.


    EDIT: And how would a long update right now grab you, to smooth over the wait for the next one?
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    Chapter 199



    21st December 1941

    South of Rome, Italy


    Both sides knew what was coming, it had been inevitable since the Canadians had brutally thrown the Germans through the Italian positions and taken Monte Cassino a full week earlier than Rommel had expected. Freshly promoted General der Panzertruppe Rommel was forced to bring what remained of the central core of the Italian Army to bear, fifteen Divisions that had been resting and refitting with German and licence-built equipment to the north of Rome. He would have preferred to keep these troops in reserve for a counter-attack, but pressure from Mussolini and resulting orders from Berlin forced him to abandon his hope to send them into the exposed northern flank of the three Canadian Divisions that were scrambling to re-position themselves for an attack on Rome. If asked in later years Rommel would say that at this point he knew the game was up and that he would at the very best loose Rome to the Allies because he knew that even though the Axis forces had seventeen Divisions guarding Rome and the approaches in a half-circle that ran from the coast, where it faced the 11th Dutch Infantry Division to the north-east where it faced the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade and an attached British Infantry Regiment, the 5th Royal East Kent Regiment from the 12th (Eastern) Division. Given the previous performance of the Italian Army in most instances Rommel was prompted to make his famous quote about the Italian soldier of World War 2:

    “Good soldiers, bad officers; however don't forget that without them we would not have any Civilization.”

    He also made secret preparations to have his staff, soldiers, non-combatants and aides alike taken out of the city in the very likely circumstances that the Allies would manage to break through the Italian lines. He knew that during the last week the Allies had managed to push the front up to a line that was between twenty and thirty miles from Rome. Alexander had pushed the momentum after taking Cassino for all it had been worth, and the Axis forces had offered only limited resistance, for they were in a worse shape than the Allies who controlled the seas and very much contested the air, smashing the lines of communication between Rome the Italian industries in the north.




    The Battle began when British and Allied Artillery began to blanket the closest routes between those parts of the front that faced the greatest number of Allied units with a hailstorm of Artillery fire. Rommel and many of his top commanders instantly realized why this was done. Experience in this and the last war had shown that the chances of Artillery alone dislodging determined troops from their positions were minimal at best, and cutting the still feeble communication lines between the Italians who hadn't been in position for much more than a few hours in some cases thanks to the efforts of the Allied Air Forces that put an increasing pressure on the Axis forces that opposed them. The British were reinforced by a collection of Squadrons from all over the Alliance, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and even the Malayan Volunteer Air Force had sent men, and so Spitfires, Mosquitoes and Beaufighters in a huge variety of markings could be seen over the Battlefield. Opposing them were the Luftwaffe, the Red Air Force and the Regia Aeronautica that, like the Allies, were using the latest versions of their respective Aircraft, even though the Italians were becoming more and more dependant on the Germans for deliveries of modern Aircraft as their war industries were buckling under the strain of the nightly attacks by enemy heavy bombers and the demands of a war that was becoming increasingly massive in scale. So when the Air Forces clashed during those crucial days the Italians were for the most part flying either outdated MC.200s and a few, more modern Macchi C.202 or the increasingly omnipresent Me 109.



    However the quality of their equipment might be, the hard school of air warfare over Europe had made certain that the skills of the individual pilots were evenly matched, and resulting from this were losses on both sides that were higher than they had been ever since the Invasion itself. Rommel's counterpart, Field Marshal Alexander was as anxious as Rommel about the coming Battle. For him taking Rome meant not only the fall of a first Axis capital city but also the formal end to Operation Market Garden. His staff was already planning the rest of the advance up the Italian peninsula in very great detail, but nothing of that could be implemented until after Rome had been taken. Like most higher British Officers he had enjoyed a classical education in his youth and to him Rome and Athens were the cradles of civilization and this clashed with the military necessities that would probably need him to order the shelling of the eternal city. The biggest difference between him and Rommel was though that he had full confidence in his troops. The Canadian 1st Infantry was down to 92% nominal strength, but the Canadians had tasted blood during the Battle of Monte Cassino and were now begging to be unleashed, having pushed to within thirty miles of the city limits. Overall the quality of the Allied troops had only increased since the war had started. The British and Commonwealth forces were experienced and the capture of Rome would boost their morale just as much as it would hit that of the Italians. During the Invasion the majority of the Allied troops had been issued with the standard kit for the warmer Mediterranean Climates but by the time the Canadians began to eject the Germans from Monte Cassino normal North-West European and winter kit was being issued, to much rejoicing especially by the British soldiers that had been forced to fight in the worsening weather with much the same web and shoes that they had conquered North Africa with.

    At this point it pays to examine the standards of the time further because they would not change much for the next few years. Any single British or Commonwealth soldier was dressed in the standard Battledress Uniform as it was issued since after the fall of France, together with the heavier boots of the NW-Europe theatre, armed with the No.4 Mk.I* that was an intermediate until the Mk.II could be produced in sufficient numbers by factories in Canada, the United Kingdom and India. The Bren guns that armed the British[1] and Canadian troops were variable feed while the re-equipped troops from the occupied countries had to make do with the old magazine feed Brens. The heavier .50 cal Brownings, made by Vickers and several shadow factories were also in heavy use, but since they required a special type of ammunition in comparison to the .303 Brens and Vickers Guns they wouldn't replace the Vickers MMG and were only used for the Battalion-level Heavy machine gun sections, one per Battalion. Each platoon also had a Ordnance SBML 2-inch mortar which, together with the improved PIAT launchers that were finding their way to Italy gave any British or Commonwealth Infantry or Rifle Regiment a firepower that far outweighed any comparable Italian unit by a fair bit, only German and Soviet units came close in that regard. In Artillery the Allied superiority was even greater. Aside from the usual Divisional Artillery Brigades each Regiment could also call upon the support of the Divisional Anti-Tank Regiment which had four Companies with 12 17pdr Anti-Tank guns apiece. These guns had the drawback that they were too heavy to be easily moved by Infantry on foot but this was far outweighed by their ability to easily penetrate any known Axis armour from the front, even that of the (in-)famous[2] Soviet T-34 and later on that of the German Panther and other models.


    Dutch Infantry to the south of Rome

    All things considered the Allies had a slight edge in morale, a huge edge in Equipment and Doctrine, an even larger one in terms of Artillery and were very outnumbered. As Alexander ordered the Artillery to shift from the rear areas to the units themselves. Executing a fireplan like this with less than a day's planning was risky, but at this stage in the war the density of forward Artillery observers was finally meeting with what the Royal Artillery wanted thanks to portable wireless sets, so friendly fire was unlikely even in ad-hoc Battles such as this one. This. This was the big edge the Allies had. The Royal Artillery.


    2 hours later

    Primo Tenente Bianco of the Royal Italian Army was hating the British Artillery. As he waited for the third barrage of the day to end he wished that god would make a lightning strike the British gunners that shelled and tormented the men of his Company, and he hated it even more that the town of Norma, his home and barely ten mile distant had fallen to the British...no, Canadian dogs only yesterday. Probably was some stiff British Officer forcing his mother to make him Tea, probably some unwashed negro or Indian was sleeping in the room he had grown up in with his six siblings, and it galled him even more than the fact that the Enemy was shelling him again and again. He was one of the few veterans of the campaign in North Africa and he had learned the dreaded feeling of helplessness when Artillery came crashing down, but he had also learned that you could ride it out if your hole was deep enough. At last the barrage lifted and he peeked over the edge of his foxhole. Looking up and down the line he could see that his position was mostly intact, and so far nothing else could be seen. Normally a barrage meant that there was an attack coming, only that the last few times only more artillery had followed. Once again cursing the British and their mountains of shells he took the German-made Zeiss Binoculars from the bag hanging from his neck and looked towards the hills on which the Canadians had dug in after their rapid advance from Monte Cassino. He made a fist with his free hand and thanked god when he could see the tiny figures of men climbing out of their own foxholes a mile distant. Between him and them there was relatively good ground to advance over, trees, rocks and small hills dominated the countryside for miles in all directions. Bianco reached for the field telephone. Time to give them some fire of their own.

    “This is ventuno, calling uno, request Artillery fire on the following coordinates...”

    “Sorry, Captain, there will be no Artillery this time!” a voice yelled back.

    “What? How? Who are you?” Bianco yelled angrily into the telephone.

    “Maggiore Salvatore to you, Captain! And we don't have any Artillery because we lost contact to Division, the enemy attacked the Command post with their Infiltrators.” the Major said, using the British term for what the Italians knew as fighter-bombers. “We are trying to get the Germans to lend us some Artillery, and there is support on the way, but for now you are on your own, sorry.”

    Bianco slammed the phone down in disgust and turned his binoculars on the Canadians again. Right now they were entering the trees and he wished there had been time to send a party out at night and lay some mines there, but they had been pulled out of their assembly areas so fast that they had been forced to leave them behind, but at least they had their Brixa Model 35 mortars, and he was glad to see that his men took the initiative because now the mortars began to cough out the rounds without him ordering them. The Canadians were at the extreme range, yes, but the sooner they began to take losses, the easier it would be to repulse their attack later, and he was sure that they would be repulsed. Concealing the position was also pointless, because their accurate but ineffective barrages told him that they knew exactly where his company was dug in. No, it made more sense to simply shoot at them and kill as many of them as possible. Soon they would be close enough for his three remaining machine guns, soon...soon...almost there...now! He barked a quick order and one after another the guns opened up and began to reach out for the Canadians. Bianco watched as some of them went down and more were felled by shrapnel from the 1.75 inch rounds and he watched as the enemy soldiers were scythed down, but it was not enough and soon they were within rifle range. Even though the Carcano rifle was not renown for it's accuracy, the fire began to pluck unfortunate Canadian soldiers from their life and forced to others to put their heads down. The Canadians were advancing in a leapfrogging manner, covering each other's approach and giving return fire that was feeble when compared to the....at this moment a .303 rife bullet slammed into the head of the man in the foxhole next to him and the man fell down without uttering a sound. At this point the Canadians were close enough so that Bianco drew his pistol and added it to the exchange of gunfire. He could see that some of his men were dying or screaming of their wounds, but much to his satisfaction even more of the Canadians did the same. Even so he could see that they would overwhelm him with sheer numbers if nothing happened. His field telephone was long since forgotten, a shell had severed the line long ago, and instead he prayed to the almighty that he would send his deliverance while at the same time shooting at the Canadians as fast as his pistol would allow him to.Then he heard a sound that made him look behind himself and much to his delight he could see a group of armoured vehicles approaching. Autoblinda AB 41 Armoured Cars and even a few of the precious new P40 heavy tanks[3] came rumbling down the road, ignoring the intermittent artillery that was falling behind them.




    Now surely the Canadians would have no chance. He watched as the tanks and armoured cars raced past the cheering Italian soldiers and pursued the retreating Canadians that fell back in good order. Just as Bianco was about to say that they had won the day, the lead P40 was struck by a projectile that penetrated it's side armour easily even though it impacted at an odd angle. The projectile exploded and even though the tank was seemingly intact other than the hole it stopped dead and smoke was beginning to leak from the slits for the crew, a tell-tale sign that something was burning inside. This was the beginning of the end for the force, because now a rain of what had to be British-made PIAT projectiles began to rain down on the Italians, aided by the heavy Browning Machine Guns the British were using at Regimental[4] level, and much to Bianco's dismay they were able to penetrate the armour of the AB41s, and between them they shredded the attack. Soon the Canadian Infantry was advancing again, in less strength than before but this time supported by two Churchill Heavy Infantry Support Tanks. That was enough. This time they got close enough and began to overwhelm the line, ignoring the losses they were taking and soon the Italian line just snapped under the pressure. Bianco was yelling and cursing at his men for not fighting to the death, but it was to no avail. Like a huge wave the second attack simply swept the company and the rest of the Regiment away. Suddenly something hit Bianco's forehead and the world went dark.

    The Canadian Infantry belonged to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, namely the The South Saskatchewan Regiment of 6th Brigade and was racing the 48th Highlanders of Canada in 1st Division to Rome. It was an unspoken agreement in the CEF that the Maple Leaf Flag would be the first to fly above Rome, it was only a matter of which unit would have the honour to hoist it. The CEF had hurled itself against the Italian lines with this in mind and at least here the gamble had paid of in spite of the horrible losses the Regiment had taken during that first attack. The Regiment was advancing forward in pursuit of the Italians leaving the reserve Company of 1st Battalion/The South Saskatchewan Regiment to clear up the scene. Burial details were organized and the wounded were carted off to the aid stations that were following the advance as fast as possible. Right now they were walking over the battlefield, looting the Italian dead and picking up the weapons from the ground, because apparently someone down south was collecting them for whatever reason.

    “Oy, we got a live one here!” came the yell from one of them. When his comrades turned around he was standing with a wide step over an Italian Officer bleeding away in a foxhole, his bayonetted Rifle pointing at the man's throat.

    Meanwhile in Rome it was decided that the situation was desperate. The deepest Allied penetration into the Italian lines was less than twenty miles from Rommel's headquarters in the Italian Ministry of War and there was no chance that the reserves of the reserve, and more importantly the German and Soviet units farther east could be brought to bear in time, because the British 8th and 10th Armies conducted spoiling attacks to pin the Axis forces in place. These attacks were unconnected to the attack on Rome, but they inadvertently prevented Rommel from racing his Panzer reserve, the 7, 2 and 2. Panzer Divisions, the 12th, 22nd and 3rd Guards Tank and the Littorio Division to bear against he Canadians and instead had to keep them in place to guard against any possible breakthroughs by the two Armoured Corps the British had in Italy at that point. As a result from this he was faced with two possibilities. Either pull every unit he could lay his hands on into Rome and fight in the city itself, which would wreak havoc on it and would cause innumerable casualties among the civilian population that was only now beginning to flee the city, or to declare Rome an open city, pull out his units and simply leave it to the Allies. He favoured the second one, but Mussolini was insisting that Rome was not to fall into enemy hands at any cost. Once again the Duce's desires clashed with military realities and Rommel, unwilling to make the decision himself instead wirelessed Berlin and asked for instructions from the OKW. Hurried consultations between the OKW and the Führer were carried out, with Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff since the beginning of the year, arguing for giving up Rome. Initially Hitler refused, but when the Generals argued that grinding up German, Italian and Soviet units alike in city-fighting might cause losses to the Allies, but would hamper the abilities of the combined Axis forces to retake the city, should it fall at all, and southern Italy at a later date. The Führer relented and through the Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres ( Commander in Chief of the Army ), Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch Rommel was quietly ordered to evacuate all Axis Military personnel from Rome, with precedence given to German units. Mussolini was informed through the German Ambassador to Rome who had to endure the Duce's rant about being stabbed in the back by his supposed allies. Once the poor German diplomat had managed to extract himself from the situation alive, the Duce ordered that the Italian Army had to defend Rome alone if need be, but by this time Rommel had already issued “Fall Chimäre” ( Case Chimera ) and begun to evacuate the communications staff of the Italian Ministry of War, effectively cutting Mussolini and the impotent Italian General Staff out of the loop, anticipating just such an order even before the Ambassador had gone to the meeting. For the remainder of the day the city was sinking into chaos as civilians and soldiers alike tried to leave the city before the Allies captured it. The constant stream of people leaving the city northwards hampered the evacuation so much that even the Supreme Axis commander was forced to clear a stretch of road by force of arms so that his Fieseler Storch could land and evacuate him and his own Chief of Staff. Many Italians fled, but even more decided to stay when word, or rather rumours of the incidents and circumstances in the north made their way south, so ironically the close one got to the advancing Allied troops, the lesser was the Chaos in an unusual display of fatalism.




    [Notes: Is this too long? Normally I would not post something of this size so until at least Tuesday, but I have to study for my first exam, and this is supposed to smooth you over. There is a Christmas special of some sort coming in, but the only thing I can promise you there is that it will be posted on the 24th. Also, read and review please.]


    [1] Again, this includes forces from the UK and what would have been colonial troops in OTL. Right about now the Colonial Divisions are becoming available in great numbers, and we shall hear from them more often in the future.

    [2] Not feared, thanks to the 17pdr. Professional respect, yes. Feared because nothing you have can touch it? No. The RAC isn't using Panzer I, II and III for invading Russia after all.

    [3] Allied sources would probably classify it as a medium tank, and ITTL it comes into service in late 1941 instead of 1943, just before the Armistice. More information here.

    [4] Faulty Intelligence here.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 13-12-2009 at 18:53.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  14. #3954
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    It was a very good update but yes, it was a bit long.
    You should have cut it in two parts and posted the other one later.
    Very good nonetheless

    Fan of the week 12/06/10, Thanks trekaddict!

  15. #3955
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    If Musso ends his days caught by the Allies, I'm going to have a great laugh.

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  16. #3956
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Garrrgh so far behind. I've only just read the update where Felix is rescued, nice 'Where Eagle's Dare' reference by the way.

    So many things to do, so little time. :shrugs sadly:
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    Kenyan Nuclear site. I think Britain may be going too long on isolated and not enough on developed, still not impossible so could work out.

    The actual plan though is dodgy, while Nuclear physics/engineering isn't my strongest suite I do believe a Uranium bomb is not the best plan for Britain. As has been mentioned the U-235 enrichment process is very expensive in energy and resources (though not actually technically difficult). It will be one hell of a stretch for the Empire and not one I'm sure they can afford along side the CVs and Tanks they will desperately need. The Uranium bomb is thus a safe bet, but a costly one.

    Conversely a Plutonium bomb is very cheap (say 1/3rd the cost of the Uranium route) as there's no enrichment. Of course it is technically harder but nothing insurmountable, it did work in OTL after all.

    Ideally you'd go the US route and do both, but that really can't be an affordable option for Britain. Given the resources available (lots of bright people, not much money) the Plutonium only choice is the best one for Britain to make, cutting the U-235 work out and you could slash the budget by ~75% and things suddenly look affordable.

    And now after staying up too late before work I must go, still several updates behind sadly.
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  18. #3958
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen Alas, splitting apart the update would have left the bits too small.

    Kurt_Steiner So would I, but alas, I still have to think about it when I get down to actually write it this weekend.

    El Pip Ohhh, a lot of feedback to give here. Let's do this bitt-by-bit.


    1) Glad someone caught it, thanks!

    2) Too isolated is a secondary consideration, because "away from prying eyes" is more important to the MAUD, for that reason Australia for example is out.

    3) True that, but I know even less about Nuclear Engineering. I wasn't aware that the cost disparity was that large though. Overall the project is on a much smaller scale than the Manhatten project, and as a result the primary effort will, in the light of what you have told me and of what I have read since writing this will be for a Plutonium Bomb.
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  19. #3959
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    "The World at War" - a AAO reader participation project.






    Since in the near and mid-term future there will be a few dry spells where updates are concerned, I have decided to introduce this project now. I was inspired this after re-watching the original Thames Television/ITV series and whilst watching the Japanese attacking China I began wondering about how the series would look in the AAO-verse. Now, since you, unlike me, do not know how the war will go, and sometimes don't have knowledge of the workings in the background I can't simply write up and post it here. Instead, as it is going on I have decided that in regular intervals you, the readers, get to divide the timeline as it is at that point into bits and name episodes.

    Each Episode mustn't be any longer than a normal episode was in OTL, but there is no restriction on the eventual length of the series.

    The Format should be something like this:


    *Episode name* - *Episode Number*
    *Time Covered*
    *Rough outline of what is going on*


    Even though I get the final say on what eventually comes on the list you get extra kudos for fitting pictures ( 640x480 max ) and all that do make it get credit later on. This is ongoing as long as this AAR runs. Post your ideas whenever you want, and I will add them onto this post after approval, with this post being linked in my sig.

    EDIT: The first Phase is from now until Holy Night, the 24th of this month. One Episode per man/phase.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 16-12-2009 at 22:31.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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    Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two (ongoing) Last updated 03/22/14 Index - Index 2 - Index 3 - Knowledgebase -
    Inkwell Entry - Now with added obscure Doctor Who references - Visit the Dictionary!

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  20. #3960
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    I'll try to think of something, but I can't guarantee anything.

    Fan of the week 12/06/10, Thanks trekaddict!

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