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

  1. #3981
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciryandor View Post
    Seriously, I would really like to see/know what happens to the Philippines in this timeline. *whistles*
    For the moment the Phillipines are ruled by Mac Arthur in a style somewhere between Presidential Democracy and Military Dictatorship. How long that lasts without US support against the Japanese is anyone's guess.

    EDIT: Update on the previous page.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 25-12-2009 at 15:06.
    "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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  2. #3982
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    Nice update, War is coming!
    Anyways, in the little german I know: Fröhe Weinachten, mein deutsches freund.

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  4. #3984
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen Thanks.

    Kurt_Steiner Yeah. I had to take some liberties with the date though, since the AI chose a non-existent date for what is to follow.


    201/2 coming right up.
    "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
    Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two (ongoing) Last updated 09/22/14 Index - Index 2 - Index 3 - Knowledgebase -
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  5. #3985
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    Chapter 201/2


    27th February 1942

    07:22 AM local Time

    Hong Kong


    When Momma had first woken them at dawn yesterday the two boys had not been asleep for very long, or at least it seemed that way to them. Father had been called away two days ago an joined his unit and now it was only the three of them. William was fourteen years old and still was not really understanding what was happening, only that for some reason the Japanese were the enemy and for the last two months the adults had rarely been talking about anything but an impending invasion. His six year old brother Douglas understood even less.

    “Mum, why...”

    “Shut up! We are going somewhere else now.”

    William hardly had the time to take his favourite book in his hands before his mother shouldered the three bags that had been sitting near the door of their flat for days now, fully packed in case a hasty retreat was in order and dragged her two sons down the staircase onto the street. The moment they were stepping out on the street they were taken in by the torrent of human beings that flooded towards the harbour where, according to rumours that were flying about the city ever since the Japanese delegation had flown back to Tokyo yesterday. People where desperate to gain one of the few spots on the freighters that lay at anchor. The evacuation plan such as it was had been drawn up hastily and no one had bothered to devise a system to select the lucky few that were allowed onto the ships, resulting in utter and total chaos. Near two million men, women and children tried to cram themselves onto ships that could at best carry out one or two thousand. Small children and sick elderly people where trampled to death when they got under the feet of the stampeding mob that had brushed aside the Military Police and Hong Kong Police Force guards that had tried to divert the crowds away. The orderly boarding process for the few ships that were there had broken down hours ago and all the RMP, HKPF and Merchant Navy men could do now was holding the crowds back from storming the ships, now and then letting a few lucky persons through. William, literally tied to his brother's arm was following their mother who desperately tried to hold onto her sons as she elbowed her way through the crowds. The two boys were scared out of their minds and it was a nightmarish scene for even the most seasoned adults. It was still dark and the jostling, moving, hitting and scrambling people added a noise to the scene that was beyond anything anyone of them had ever experienced. They moved closer and closer to the harbour and could actually see the ships now. The road was descending towards the shoreline in a gentle slope and passed through the gates of the Naval base and there, just as they passed below the White Ensign painted onto the sign, the unspeakable happened. Their mother was hit in the side by a man who tried to cross the main road to a smaller one in-between two buildings and so their mother lost her grip of William's hand. The pressure of the crowed immediately separated the two children from their mother and carried them towards the nearest Freighter, the two bitterly crying children and the equally crying mother unable to do anything about it. The Freighter was an elderly steamer that had seen service during the First World War, shuttling troops between India and what had been German East Africa and had somehow found it's way into the hands of an enterprising and wealthy Englishmen who had tried to open a regular ferry route between Hong Kong and French Indochina before the crisis had put severe restrictions on civilian traffic. Somehow William and his brother found themselves in the first row of those that tried to get past the line of soldiers and sailors that had cordoned off the gangway of the ship and there, against their will and under orders from the Captain someone pulled them through the line and ushered them up the gangway. Once there they were greeted by two nurses who tried to separate them, only they clung so hard to each other that this proved to be impossible, so they were taken down below past the people that were sitting, standing and lying in every nook and cranny of the ship. Meanwhile down on the quay the sailors were beginning to cast away the mooring lines and when that filtered through to the crowd they realized that the ship was leaving they repeated a scene that played out all along the coast where the other civilian ships were moored. They tried to storm the line and the gangway as long as it was still connected to the land. For the most part the soldiers managed to hold them back, but some slipped through. The Freighter began to drift away from the quay and through a porthole William could see how the line dissolved into nothing. People standing at the front of the crowd were forced to go forward until they fell into the water, people at the back tried to get through to the front. Some even tried to swim after the freighter, but by the time they had managed to re-orient themselves the ship was already too far away. On the Bridge the Captain turned and looked deliberately at the Cruiser and the Destroyers that lead the small convoy out of the harbour area of the Crown Colony.



    For the next two hours everything went fine, and by the time it did not anymore William and his brother were standing on the uppermost deck of the ship, holding onto a cup of tea each and looking like what they were: two utterly lost children adrift in a world gone mad with war. Then however a cry of despair went through the ship. On the horizon, coming in from the South-west were three shapes. Warships. Japanese warships. William and his brother watched silently as the shapes drew closer and closer as the small convoy was flapping it's way westwards. The Destroyers were nowhere to be seen, and more amazed than terrified the two children stared at the distant vessels. The Freighter suddenly changed course to avoid collision with a vast steel bulk as it raced through the calm waters. Big steel upperworks, gun turrets and aerials of any form and description rose out of this headlong structure. It was the heavy Cruiser Thunderchild[1] which had turned around to come to the rescue of the threatened shipping. Her turrets were trained at the Japanese who hopelessly outclassed the single British warship. Ignoring the odds the ship interposed itself between the onrushing Japanese that had been identified as a Kongo Class Battlecruiser and two Destroyers.


    HMS Thunderchild in happier days


    The Captain of Thunderchild hoisted the White Ensign and over the distance one could hear the steam sirens that sent ship and crew to action stations. The intentions of the Japanese were pretty clear to most aboard both ships, but so far no shots had been fired. Thunderchild however had accomplished part of her mission. The Japanese Task Force had changed course and slowed down, and over the next hour the Freighter put more and more distance between itself and them. But then all changed again. Suddenly the Japanese Battlecruiser was lit up with a yellow flash, and seconds later the bellowing of her guns carried over the distance to the cruiser and the freighter. The shells fell embarrassingly wide of the mark and the smaller guns aboard Thunderchild bellowed in reply. As the the Freighter pulled away from the scene of the battle those standing at the stern could see that Thunderchild turned, presenting her side to the enemy. Her tubes spat out four 21inch torpedoes that raced towards the enemy that was just now coming into range of the deadly fish. The Japanese spotted them only very late and tried to avoid, but couldn't avoid all of them. One of the Destroyers was hit astern by a single torpedo broke in half and sank. Enraged about the loss of one of their own the other Japanese ships utterly forgot about the fleeing civilian ships and concentrated on the insolent British Cruiser that had dared to defy them. Thunderchild defiantly returned fire, but the remaining Destroyer and the far heavier Battlecruiser soon overpowered her and the last thing that the persons aboard the freighter could see was a large yellow flesh when the Magazines of Thunderchild exploded. However the sacrifice of the Cruiser was not in vain, because the Japanese decided not to pursue the convoy. They suspected that stronger British Naval Units might be close and decided to carry out their main mission, fire support for the landings on Hong Kong Island.

    None of those on the Freighter would ever forget what had happened, and thanks to them and their testimony the memory of Thunderchild and her actions would forever be remembered by the Royal Navy and the population of Hong Kong. All that remained of the cruiser was the memory and the last signal, broadcast in the clear for the world to hear:

    'Have engaged superior Japanese forces'



    Singapore Island

    07:12 local time


    The information centre for the three RDF stations that covered the approaches to Singapore was dug deep into the soil of the Island, so the men on duty there did not know if it was daylight outside or not. But they didn't care. General Slim had put the Island on full alert mere hours after the war warning had been received and now they were beginning to feel the strain. The room was of a similar layout as Fighter Command back in Britain, but smaller, directly linked to the battle box by an underground tunnel. Instead of southern England the map in front of the WAAFs showed Singapore Island and the surrounding sea. It was the same setup as in Fighter Command, and now it would pay off. When one of the WAAFs received a message of a contact she followed procedure, placed the marker on the table and pressed the alarm button. The Male Officer of the day looked down at the table, spotted what had happened and pressed his own alarm button. He picked up the telephone and did his duty. With this system it took the RAF at Singapore a mere thirty seconds from the first sighting to the alarm being raised on the airfields scattered over the Island. On these fields No.633 Squadron (RAF), No. 300 Squadron (RAF), No.1 Squadron (RIAF)[2], flying current-model Spitfires, 75 Squadron RAAF, 12 Squadron RNZAF on late-model Hurricanes and No. 22 Squadron (RCAF) on Typhoons.

    On one of the airbases Wing Commander Dashwood was sleeping in the cockpit of his Spitfire and would have jumped out of the same when the alarm sounded had it not been for the harness that strapped him down. The sirens wailed all over the base and he could already see the first propellers starting to turn while the loudspeakers yelled: “SCRAMBLE SCRAMBLE!”. His own ground crew came running from the edge of the revetment where they had been sleeping and as Dashwood pressed the starter button they removed the brakes from his weels and after less than half a minute Dashwood was taxiing onto the concrete runway. He looked around as he waited for his section to form up. Soon the four aircraft gunned their Merlin Engines to full power and roared down the runway.

    Once in the air Dashwood keyed his microphone.

    “Hunter Leader to Home Cave, Hunter Group is in the air.”

    The voice answered promptly.

    “We have contacts coming in from the East at medium and low level, bearing...” directions followed.

    “No IFF, two groups.”

    North East. That meant somewhere over the South China Sea. Carriers.

    Dashwood swallowed the lump in his throat and decided to get on with his job.

    “Hunter Leader to Hunter Group, we have customers. Set your bearing and follow me.”

    The Airbase Dashwood Commanded was the home of the three Spitfire Squadrons and as they raced eastwards towards the enemy he knew that the remaining Squadrons were preparing themselves, forming the Fighter reserve in case it was needed.

    Forty-eight Spitfires were racing to meet an unknown number of presumably Japanese Aircraft. For all Dashwood knew the entire Kido Butai hiding out there with it's ten full-size Fleet Carriers and a cloud of Zero Fighters.

    “Home Cave to Hunter, you should be able to see them any moment now.”

    Dashwood adjusted his oxygen mask and looked around. The canopy of a Spitfire wasn't optimal, but he still spotted them below him, almost a thousand feet below the height the RAF normally operated on.

    Hunter Leader to Hunter Group, Tally ho, tally ho, down below us. Dive and attack in sections, good hunting.”

    One after another the sections of Spitfires dove upon the group of Japanese Aircraft. The Spitfires were all fitted with tropical filters that impaired performance, but Dashwood had made sure that much work had gone into minimizing this and as a result the Mk.VII was only slightly slower than her European Sisters. Dashwood however had no mind for this as he centred his gunsight on a Aichi D3A 'Val' and pressed the trigger of his 20mm cannons.

    That morning a series of desperate Air battles was fought over the South China Sea and Singapore Island itself. The Imperial Japanese Navy had committed three of it's Carriers to the opening attack on Singapore which were reinforced by land-based aircraft out of Siam which, unlike the Japanese, actually declared war on Britain through Radio Bangkok before allowing the Japanese and their own aircraft to launch their attacks. The entry of Siam into the Asiatic pact was so sudden and unexpected to the Allies that the Dutch and the British both initiated separate hearings into how this could have been missed, but that night no one cared about that even as troops from Southern China began to move into French Indochina to link up with Siam.

    The Air battles took place everywhere between Singapore itself and the Siamese border. Shortly after Dashwood's group had launched and vectored onto the attack force from the Carriers more groups were spotted coming in from Siam, mostly following the length of the Malay peninsula and by 7:45 every serviceable fighter present at Singapore at the time was in the air. The Allied Fighters fought hard and the losses the Japanese took in the end were almost thirty percent above estimates several groups slipped through and descended upon the Island and the harbour. The planes that broke through mostly belonged to the land-based 4th Air Fleet of the IJNAF and as such were trained and ordered to go after the harbour and any shipping present. There the Japanese made their first mistake. The Intelligence compiled prior to the war had made them aware of the second Naval base at the southern shore of the Island, but they had been unaware that the primary Naval anchorage had been moved so more than half of the planes that attacked went after a base that was mostly empty, bombing empty docks, quays and buildings. They still managed to obliterate the base and take it out of action for the remainder of the war. The half of the group attacked the correct Naval Base after running the gauntlet through Hurricanes, Typhoons and massive anti-aircraft fire to the second base which was not empty.




    7:44 local time


    Belfast was at Action Stations for half an hour now and Captain Beattie knew that he most likely was senior officer afloat. Belfast had raced from Ceylon to Singapore at a speed that would have made her builders proud only to arrive an hour before the alert had been given and the ship had been sent back out again. Now she was circling a mile off coast and waiting for the inevitable air alarm. At the back of the bridge was another Officer, respected by the crew and the Captain even though he belonged to the Army. It was none other than Major Malcom Drake, flown to India to raise a new Commando Wing that recruited from the Gurkhas and other locals – only to be moved to Singapore in times of crisis before the training was complete. Now Drake was nothing more than an additional pair of eyes in a situation that was frighteningly unfamiliar to him. Beattie on the other hand knew exactly what he was doing. The Singapore Squadron was small, three Destroyers and four Thames Class Gunboats aside from Belfast herself but the ships circled in formation and all the guns that could were trained upwards in anticipation of air attack.

    Beattie had his binoculars trained outwards like everyone else when the cry came. Instantly the main turrets with their triple BL 6 in Mark XXIII guns swung about and prepared to open up on the enemy even though the traverse speed of the turrets made an actual hit unlikely. The secondary dual-purpose 4 in Mark XVI followed, as did the 40mm Bofors that had replaced the trusty pom poms on the ship. The formation that approached the harbour was smaller than the one that had broken off from the main group thanks to the anti-air defences that were scattered all over the Island. The ships in the harbour added their own guns to the volume of fire that covered the sky over the harbour. At the same time as HMS Belfast opened fire and on the other side of the pacific six more carriers were attacking another Naval Base, but here in Singapore they did not have total tactical surprise and suffered for it. The few of this group that made it back to the Carriers later told the tale of a sky black with shells. When they left the scene one of the Destroyers and several of the buildings on shore were burning fiercely, but for some reason the largest target, Belfast herself had managed to avoid the torpedoes fired at her and was now slowly approaching the shoreline while her communications tried to make contact with anyone in a position of authority on the shore. Drake piked up the cap of his tropical uniform from the deck where it had fallen at some point and then walked out onto the bridge wing where he joined Beattie who was looking over the scene of devastation on shore.

    “They'd have totally clobbered us if they'd brought more torpedo planes.” Beattie said.

    Drake replied as he put on his cap. “I couldn't tell. But I can tell you one thing, we are up for a tough fight, both the squids and the footsloggers.” He adjusted his oncomfortable walking out uniform and wished himself back in Para battledress before turning back to the Naval Captain. “Let's just hope the rest of the Army and the RAF are up to the task.


    [Notes: There you go. This is now truly a World War. I was originally going to put Drake into Singapore during the Christmas Special, but as it turned out I wrote something completely different. My original idea was to have Drake travel on Thunderchild to Singapore and arrive just in the moment the first Japanese planes are over the harbour. Oh well.]

    [1] Yes, yes, wrong spelling, but like this it scans better I think.

    [2] Royal Indian Air Force.
    "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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  6. #3986
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    Awesome, Air battles!
    Keep it up!

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    Another excellent update!

  8. #3988
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    A hard war in the Pacific is slowly erupting. It's going to take a bit of time...
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  9. #3989
    Major Ciryandor's Avatar
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    HMS Belfast? HMMM! *puts thinking cap on*

    And I will be asking more about what happens to MacArthur, Quezon et al when the Japanese do make an earnest attempt at wresting the Philippines for use as a "land carrier".

    My view is, the Filipinos, having seen the US descend down Syndicalism, would stamp out Taruc and his cohorts in ruthless fashion, and declare independence from the UAPR. This would not mean the loss of influence from MacArthur and the Americans still there, as Quezon and company would realize that without the protection of the US, and a patron in Europe, it would be incredibly difficult to protect the islands from the Japanese. Most likely, a decent amount of the Pacific Fleet and some troops from the US would have escaped there, which would probably mean a longer defense of the country, however, a protracted guerrilla war would be in the offing if the UAPR support the Communists in the countryside.
    Last edited by Ciryandor; 26-12-2009 at 15:37.
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  10. #3990
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen Thank you!

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    Ciryandor Yup, HMS Belfast. Unfortunately my knowledge about the Phillipines doesn't go much beyond the Bataan Death march...
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  11. #3991
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    Chapter 201/3


    Six hours after outbreak of hostilities

    Imperial General Headquarters, Tokyo


    Except for the still somewhat awed Chinese and Siamese Liaison Officers the Officers present were efficient and professional when they delivered the preliminary reports. Currently Admiral Yamamoto was delivering his report.

    “To summarize our attack on Pearl Harbour once again: Admiral Nagumo reports four Battleships sunk or heavily damaged, two Carriers sunk and/or damaged.”

    Personally Yamamoto was unsure about these estimates, but it seemed that despite that they had landed a crushing blow on the American Fleet. The little gnome that effectively ruled Japan these days, General Tojo spoke again.

    “And what about British losses in Singapore?”

    Yamamoto did as if he was consulting his papers even though he knew the figures by heart. “The British were more prepared than the Americans at Pearl Harbour or the Phillipine Republic were. Not only where our squadrons met by British, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and even Canadian Fighters already in the air, but the density of anti-aircraft Artillery on the ground was also heavier than expected. It seems that an even greater part of the British defence spending in the Far East has been poured into Singapore than we expected. So far no loss reports have come in from Siam, but I can say even now that they will be above expectations. Hiryu, Soryu and Akagi have transmitted theirs just minutes before I joined you, and between them they have lost thirty-six planes of all types, with several more written off after landing. The Navy pilots report that their opposition mainly consisted of modern Fighters, late model Spitfires to be exact.”

    Tojo waved these losses away and asked instead about British losses.

    “That is hard to say, General. Again, no reports yet on sinkings from Siam, but our Carriers have sent theirs. So far we have sunk three British Cruisers and several Destroyers, along with setting both Naval Bases ablaze.”

    Tojo nodded and reeked of satisfaction when he spoke next. “Good. That takes care of most of their Far Eastern Squadron. All we have to do now is for the Army to do it's part and victory shall be assured.” Tojo leaned back and talked no more while a Staff Officer gave the Army's report. Initially Yamamoto did not listen. Unlike what Tojo said in public the Armed Forces of Japan were far from united behind the Emporer. It still amazed Yamamoto that Tojo had agreed to temporarily put the Army Aircraft in Siam under the command of the Navy, and that had been only so that they could together better smash Singapore to bits in order to allow the Japanese/Siamese forces to take the city with fewer casualties. He wished he were as confident of victory as the Army, unlike them he had seen what a trained, supplied European Navy could do and he knew that the British could fight as doggedly and brave as any Japanese, at least their sailors did, and if their soldiers were made out of anything like the same material this also extended to their Army. The Imperial Japanese Army on the other hand rarely bothered with finding out how European troops waged war, because it was a basic staple of the diet in the Imperial Japanese Army that the Japanese soldier was inherently superior to everyone else. At this point Yamamoto decided that it was better to listen in to what the Army had to say.


    “Our and Siamese troops are pouring over the borders of British Malaya, advancing southwards without meeting any resistance at all.” The Officer cleared his throat and said then after a few moments: “No prepared defences, no organized resistance be it in the open or through ambushes, simply nothing at all. We have no exact information on the defences as of yet, we simply have not received any word about minefields and the like as one would expect. It is similar for the forces advancing into Burma, only here and there light resistance is encountered. We are on schedule almost everywhere so far, the Invasion of the Philipines will be launched next week, the landings on Guam on three days.”



    Somewhere to the south of the Siamese/Malayan Border


    The Japanese had not yet faced any British or allied troops anywhere but Hong Kong where the fighting had to be fierce, but they were by no means not observed. Slim had made good use of the blank cheque he had received from London, and so he had decided to use the Militia to monitor and delay the progress the Japanese made. After all, who knew the lay of the land better than those who lived there? Besides, having to check behind every stone for ambushes would give the Engineers farther back the time they needed to demolish military infrastructure like for example Kota Bharu Aerodrome were, so far, the only significant engagement had been fought between the RAF Regiment troops that had died to buy time and the Engineers had detonated buried bombs under the runways even as the Japanese Marines overwhelmed the defences. Other than that no resistance, none at all. This unsettled many of the Japanese troops, as green and inexperienced as they were. Many of them were fresh from training, especially those in the 3rd and 22nd Tank Brigades that were feeling like they were being boiled alive in their metal fighting machines. However those that suffered the most were the two Divisions of Chinese Mountain Troops that suffered dearly in the unfamiliar heat after their service in the cold lands near the Soviet border. On the British side the Militia on the other hand was confident. They weren't as well trained as the the Regular Army ( this including the Malay Volunteer Regiment as of late ) and like all Militia around the globes had to make do with cast off Equipment from the Regular Forces. The Militia men were dressed in 1897 second pattern khaki drill service dress (KDSD) that was no longer being issued to even the units of the Indian Army but where large stocks were at hand. In weapons the groups usually had a Vickers MMG or two magazine-only Brens, along with a PIAT while the rest had to make do with rifles, a mixture of Rifle No. 1 Mk V and Rifle No. 1 Mk III*s that were sometimes older than the men that carried them but had still proven to be quite deadly to the local wildlife when they had been used to improve the rations that came forward when the Militia was actually deployed. In effect they were light Infantry.


    The Japanese were at that point none the wiser about these forces. Many had bought into the propaganda coming out of Tokyo and believed this war to be a liberation of Asia from European colonial interests, so why should the natives here fight the Asiatic forces? That the villages close to the border had been devoid of all forms of lives except the cockroaches was no evidence to the contrary to them, for all they knew the British had forced them south. Still, a cautious soldier had good chances to become an old soldier, so they advanced in marching columns of Infantry with at least a single troop[1] of tanks inbetween, while the mixed Sino/Japanese forces were advancing down the eastern coast. The Japanese troops were full of confidence into their tanks, Type 94s that had served in China before, after all the Chinese had fled whenever they appeared, so why should it be any different now? They advanced, sang martial songs while they did and were utterly surprised when they heard a sudden bang, a wooshing sound and then watched the forward most tank explode without any further warning.

    Not that they had much time to wonder about that, because then gunfire from the left side of the road came at them, including a machine gun that began to fire and cut great swaths out of their company. The gun then did something those that could actually watch would not have believed possible, it concentrated on the tanks, and instead of repelling the slugs the armour on them gave way and then the first petrol tank exploded, then another, then another, the Machine gun deliberately ignoring common Infantry and concentrating on the biggest threat. Then, as sudden as it had started the attack was over and the few unwounded survivors were too busy with tending the wounded to pursue the Militia as it was melting back into the jungle. Small attacks like this rarely did more than killing the unfortunates making up the forward screen because the Militia wasn't stupid enough to attack the main body of the invading Army, but other than that it did it's purpose well. It deprived the Japanese of much of their intelligence on things like road conditions and it forced the Japanese to advance slowly and cautiously in fear of running into a far larger ambush by a larger force. Coincidentally this actually played into the hands of the Japanese in the long run. Logistics had never been the strong suit of the Japanese and Chinese Armies and they would have eventually run low on supplies by the time they reached the main line of resistance to the north of Kuala Lumpur. Now however their strained logistical train could catch up even though the British would soon begin to mine and booby-trap the roads.

    That however lay in the future at that point – several days in fact. In the meantime there was fighting to be done. The Sino/Japanese force that advanced had run into similar resistance but on that flank the British had managed to mine the road in a density that made movement in any form of speed impossible so the Militia forces that continued to harras them could do so and then slowly withdraw towards the first stopline that had a job similar to themselves, delay the Japanese.


    In Burma at the same time the war was getting an even slower start, but there the Japanese would soon begin to have to fight, because Auckinleck knew as well as them that Burma was the gate to India the Jewel of the Crown, the source of much of Britain's manpower reserves outside the United Kingdom, along with Burma itself a source of Raw Materials and, most of all integral British Territory so there would be a fight made of it. The largest part of the the British Army in Burma at this point were six Divisions of the Army of India, two of the British Army in India with the rest of the Indian Army itself. A BAI and a IA Division were stationed in the mountains along the Burmese-Chinese border. The 101st Infantry Division and the 3rd Indian Mountain Infantry Division were faced with overwhelming odds but they would fight. Against them the Asiatic Pact had no less than twenty Chinese and nine Japanese Divisions to field, outnumbering the British Border forces by almost fifteen to one and the British Forces in Burma by five to one. General Auckinleck was painfully aware of this but the orders from London were clear, he was to defend Burma and the approaches to India to the best of his abilities and this was what he would do. The British Divisions that defended the northern mountain regions of Burma were the best he had at his disposal, not only because they were well trained and lavishly equipped when compared to some of the units that he had ordered onto accelerated training back in India, at least by local standards but also because they, unlike the others had from the beginning been meant for this job and therefore were trained and acclimatized for the kind of terrain they operated in. Even though it was then not known these two Divisions would later go on to pioneer many of the techniques, methods and modified pieces of equipment, such as the 'Jungle Carbine' version of the Lee-Enfield and the Ordnance QF 25-pounder Short field artillery piece. At the moment though they had none of this, but would still make good use of that which they actually had. These two Divisions were, as a result of their area of operations the best in South East Asia when it came to mountain fighting. The Chinese had deployed four Mountain Divisions as part of their contribution though, and that would make life hard for the British forces in Burma.

    However not all was as bad as it seemed. Aside from mountain tracks made by local widlife only one major road existed at the time that could take the strain: the old Burma Road that had been used to supply the KMT and that would now be turned against it's creators – a point of irony that wasn't lost on Auckinleck and even less on General Thomas Jacomb Hutton, who was in direct Command of the Defence of Burma. As a result from this the bulk of the 101st Infantry Division was deployed to cover the Burma Road while the 3rd Indian Mountain Infantry Division (from hereon shortened as the 3rd Mountain/3rd Indian Mountain Division) was to cover the area between the western flank of the 101st and the Chindwin River. This left the 3rd Mountain stretched very thin and also created a gap in the defences between the 101st and the Siamese border, but since the Burma Road was the best road in existence General Jacomb believed that the Japanese would, like anybody, go the easiest way. An additional Division, the 56th (London) Infantry Division was deployed to cover the Siamese border. Again Jacomb believed (correctly) that the Siamese would not attack into a strongly defended Burma until they had a firm connection with the Japanese troops that were systematically overrunning French Indochina against little resistance. Saigon, Hue and Ha Long had already fallen, but it would take them at least another few days to make contact with the Siamese.

    The Initial attacks looked as if they were following the plans made in Rangoon. Unlike in Malaya the Asiatic Forces ahd the power and strength to mount a full-scale attack down the Burma road almost immediately, and when the 101st Division made contact, it immediately faced two Regiments of Chinese Mountain Troops less than five south of Wanting. Overwhelming the light screening forces on the forward positions fell back towards the main body of the Division in good order with the Chinese hot on their heels. The Chinese forces were motivated and, by Chinese standards, elite troops, in effect on par with their British counterparts. Their Commander attacked the main line of resistance without hesitation and the unexpectedly fierce assault almost managed to break through before the commander of the 101st committed his reserves and threw the Chinese advance back with losses heavy on both sides. Fierce fighting followed near the main British 'front' as Company and Battalion sized formations fought battles between the mountains. For the rest of the day the British could easily hold their positions as the Chinese brought up the rest of the Division even as very light Artillery from the few guns that had been manhandled into position began to interdict the Burma road.


    Chinese Forces fighting in Burma


    Meanwhile to the west the 3rd Mountain had not been engaged significantly except for some minor air attacks that proved to be less than effective in the existing terrain and several small probing attacks against their forward screen by Japanese Infantry that were easily repulsed.


    [Notes: I hope I can make the Battle of Burma somewhat interesting.]
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    The Japs will NEVER take Singapore!
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    Just two Yanks Carriers sunk?

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  14. #3994
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    Where's the story notes? It seemed they were missing from the Mk 1 rifle and the tank numbers.
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    Griffin.Gen The KMT is deader than dead. And yes, I will make a good fight for Singapore.

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    Oh, if you need something for the Philippines, PM me.
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  17. #3997
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciryandor View Post
    Oh, if you need something for the Philippines, PM me.
    Will do.
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  18. #3998
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    Chapter 202





    27th February 1942

    Occupied Belgium



    The village had been lucky so far, the war had run past them in the form of a few British then German tanks, and after the evacuation of Brussels the occupation forces. The Germans were in this area of Belgium, the Soviets occupied Oostenede to base their Channel Light Forces there and the closet assembly of occupation forces near the village was a German military Camp of some sort six miles down the road. For the most part the life for those in the village went on as usual except that three times a week the Germans patrolled through the village and infrequently air raid sirens sent the people into their cellars when the British were attacking military targets at night. Tonight however it was different. The Germans were going mad about something, because they had surrounded the thirteen houses and barns of the village and were now calling for everyone to step out of their homes and onto the only street that ran through the gaggle of buildings from south-west to north. The villagers feared for their lives, but the Germans ignored them and instead methodically searched through each house and each barn. Large dogs were brought in to look everywhere and to smell out whatever it was they were looking for and the Belgians were forced to watch as the Germans went through their homes and their lives without caring for anything. More than once occupants winced when they heard ceramics or glass crash on floors, evidence of the Germans not taking any form of care with their belongings. Hour after hour passed and the people still standing on the road were beginning to feel the strain. After almost five hours of standing in the street the mayor was contemplating to beg the Germans for letting those whose houses had been searched back inside when the German Major in command had the people assemble at the other edge of the village where he was beginning to talk in the pre-dawn light whilst standing on the top of an armoured Command Car.

    “Yesterday a German patrol was ambushed by those that fight against the German Defence Forces in your country in spite of the peace that has been concluded.” he paused and looked around at the assembled villagers who looked at him with blank faces. They might hate him but by god they did not dare to act against Germany. Cowed to the ground. Still, the search teams had not found anything that incriminated the villagers, nothing beyond left-over Belgian Army uniforms that were evidently too small for most of those who they belonged to, no weapons beyond knifes and a hunting rifle that turned out to be registered with the authorities after the owner had produced a permit that had held up against double checking. “I am here to warn you that whoever actively fights against the new order and incites violence against the Axis Defence Forces will be punished accordingly. Bear that in mind.”

    With that he climbed down into the car and lead his troops out of the village.

    The Villagers eventually began to walk back towards their houses and catalogue the damage. None of them were looking over towards the small creek that ran near the village under the road and then off into one of the many rivers. In the creekbed two men were hiding, and they were what the Germans had been looking for. Their names were Henri and Jules Labrecque and they were both of average height and had light brown hair and were of about the same age. Even though they had differently coloured eyes the cut of their faces made it impossible for anyone not to think that these two were brothers. The two of them were from the village they were going to, but had not been home since being called up into the Army in 1939 when the King had mobilized. They had formed the rear guard for their regiment when the Army had evacuated the Capital and since then hidden away, fought with the struggling resistance movement ever since. Before the war both had been destined to take over their family farm, but now explosives, sabotage, blowing up German and Soviet trains, wireless antennae and ambushing patrols had become their line of work and that of many of their countrymen. Indeed it had been their group that had attacked the patrol. It had gone as planned, a lorry with six Germans aboard and two ex-Belgian Army armoured Cars.[1] British supplied Machine Carbines, Rifles and hand grenades had made short work of the Germans and soon the group had begun to disperse. Then was when things had gone wrong for the two brothers. Because they were relatively near their home village for the first time, they had decided to go there and spend a few days there before re-joining the group at the specified day and time, normally a pretty good idea which had turned sour pretty quick.

    After an hour of walking through the dark with their weapons hidden under the coats that were usual at this time of the year they had run into an unexpected roving foot patrol of Waffen SS that were detailed to assist the Wehrmacht in patrolling this area for some reason and had suddenly found themselves to be in need of a good explanation. One of the brothers had then produced a claspknife and rammed it into the Scharführer's throat. He had acted so fast that the others couldn't react before the two brothers had raised their Stens, but one of them managed to squeeze of three rounds from his MP 40, one of which hit one of the brothers in the thigh. When they had reached the creek and could see the farm of their parents, they had also seen the massive group of Wehrmacht troops that had searched the village and had hidden in the waist-high and terribly cold water of the creek. Enraged and unable to do anything they had watched the Germans search the village and instruct their friends and few relatives like school children without the ability to do anything. Now they tried to work out what to do next. Both were against going in right now, but the wounded one could not bear another hour in the horribly cold water which played hell with his wound and the makeshift bandages they had wrapped around it. So after a hushed conversation they decided that they would have to risk it, at least to somewhere where it was dry and they could spend the rest of the day until it was dark again. They slowly crouched towards the edge of one of the farms, roughly half a mile from the main street.

    “What? Are you crazy?” whispered the slightly older brother. “We might as well walk op to the Germans and yell 'Here I am'! That bloody bastard would turn is in without thinking twice!” His brother pressed his head down in an effort to be even less visible from the house and whispered back. “Oh you are right, but he still has that shack, and given how much of a miser he is he probably never fixed the rear wall.” “Good point that.”

    A few years ago, when they had both been barely 16 they had experimented with fireworks they had 'accidentally' blown up the rear wall of a wooden shack of an old, widowed farmer who had been thoroughly hated even before he had thrown his lot with the Degrelle Rexists after the Government and the King had retreated to London. Now the two were crouching towards the rusty metal fence the man was using to mark the boundaries of his territory, quickly cut through the thin metal wire and cracked the 'makeshift' repairs from six years ago that consisted of a bit of canvas that by now had been replaced by a newer one that still gave way as easily as the old one. Inside they found the expected assembly of gardening and farming tools, and after they had barred the door with a spade one of them slept while the other was standing watch. By the time it was dark again they were reasonably well rested.


    An hour later someone knocked at the door of their parent's house. When their father opened the door and saw who it was he quickly caught himself again and simply motioned them in. He had served in the Army during the last war and he knew that now was no time to talk. During that night the parents kept a vigilant watch in the kitchen without saying a word.

    In the morning the two brothers gave an account of what had happened since they had been called up. Of course their parents instantly took their sons in again, but Henri shook his head.

    “No, mother. This is too dangerous. The Germans will eventually find out that we are here, and we don't have papers. No discharge papers from the Army, no discharge papers for freed prisoners of war and no ration cards ---” Jules interrupted him there. “At least not for our real names, Mother.”

    Then their father spoke. “So where will you go?”

    “We have...friends that will take us in.” Before his parents could say anything Henri went on: “But mother, Father, we cannot stay here longer than it takes for me to rest. We will be out of here by tomorrow evening at the latest. Orders.”

    He could see the disbelief in his father's eyes shift and sure enough he said with the voice he usually had when he was lecturing his sons: “But what you are doing, it is dangerous , it makes no sense to...”

    “What, Father? To fight against the enemies of our King and our country?”

    This appeal the the sense of duty of a man who had been in the Army reserves until six years ago and who had fought against the very same enemy in the last war. Sure, the Germans had occupied Belgium and the Government was ruling from London, but the Belgian Nation had never surrendered. “Well, I see there is nothing I can do to persuade you, and to be frank I agree.” He paused and looked at his wife who was still trying to hold back her tears. “You can of course come and go as you please and stay as long as you want, always.”

    For the next few days they spent the days in their rooms, staying away from the window and fully resting for the first time in months. One night however their mother was crying once again, because she had to say goodbye to her sons once again. Equipped with their weapons, part of the meagre rations and the food grown on the farm and the best wishes of their parents the two set off into the night without a further glance back. They didn't know how long it would be before they could come here again, if at all.


    They walked through the night without pause and found themselves lucky not to run into any more German patrols before they reached the meeting point. Their group was one of those that were in contact with the Government in London so they had support and advisers. The group that huddled in the wine cellar of the abandoned and centuries old fortress that was older than their country. It had been in use up until just before the first World War and had fallen into disuse when the Belgian Army had reoccupied the territory and had not found anymore use for it in the drawdown of the forces after the war. By now it was mostly forgotten and the above-ground buildings had not been repaired for more than thirty years and were in a state that would make it prohibitively expensive to fix them up even in peacetime. The Germans did not use it either, mainly because it was far away from the approach routes of the British Bombers and also too far away from their main supply routes to matter to them as any form of station. The resistance, called the Netwerk van de weerstand - Réseau de Résistance or Resistance Network was in no hurry to make the Germans aware of the new importance, and as a result all that they used were two ammunition magazines and the wine cellar, all of which underground and accessible only by an easily defended entrance that just happened to be behind the building that had once housed the Cavalry Horses. The Belgian Resistance, or at least these groups associated with the RR were classified by London as an official Branch of the Belgian Armed Forces, yet without names they could not be actually commissioned, that would have been far too dangerous. For the men here in this underground hideout though it was vital, more for morale than anything else and the aid that came their way because of that was also very important. In the beginning they has mostly been armed with what they had carried over from the Army and what they could steal from the Germans, and while the latter still was a huge part, much if not most of their equipment came from England via parachute drops that were made irregularly and at random locations.[2] With a wireless set whose antennae was hidden in the overgrowth of Common Ivy that covered most of what remained above ground along one of the higher walls they kept in contact with London via the BBC and Radio Belgique / Radio België which used the BBC's facilities. They themselves were only broadcasting in emergencies and as short as possible. The Germans were aware that the group existed, but the network was at by this stage of the war so hard to grasp that short of arresting every single Belgian actually stomping them out would be extremely difficult – and the Resistance Fighters knew this. Their attacks were mainly meant to keep the Germans on their toes and to force them to keep garisson forces in Belgium that might otherwise be used against the Allied Armies in Italy that were still trying and failing to penetrate the main line of resistance of the Gothic Line and had done so throughout the winter.

    So far the resistance was confining itself to knocking off patrols, sentries and nlowing up the occasional munitions dump, but that did not mean that it was easy going. Casualties were something all of the unit Commanders lived with and once in a while the Germans and the Soviets managed to take down a cell, but here the system came into play, because if you managed to get your hands onto one cell, they did not know anything about the others, the only people knowing everything sat in the Belgian Committee for National Defence which was safely located somewhere in Britain.

    The Dutch and the French had set up similar systems, and as a result from this the Germans would be forced to station a huge number of troops in Western Europe for the remainder of their involvement in the war, troops that might have made the difficult, bloody and great battles that were to come in the future even more difficult. The resistance movements all over Europe were a staple of the fight against the Axis powers and their sacrifices would never be forgotten.

    [Notes: *salutes the resistance fighters and those who helped them everywhere*]



    [1] The Germans often used captured and obsolete ex-enemy vehicles for patrol duties.

    [2] This being the responsibility of the SOE, Mountbatten has set it up that way.
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  19. #3999
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  20. #4000
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    Liking the European resistance fighters - a great update Trek. Just wondering if you did anything 'in game' to reflect their actions.
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