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

  1. #4161
    Lt. General Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    You'd think that he earnt that pretty well I'd say.

    But what about the Indian guy? Did he get a VC for it?
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  2. #4162
    Quote Originally Posted by Raaritsgozilla View Post
    You'd think that he earnt that pretty well I'd say.

    But what about the Indian guy? Did he get a VC for it?
    I bloody well hope so after that. Think the system was pretty decent in terms of spreading the medals about in terms of race, although there was a tendency for a class bias.

    Steve

    PS Just checked and according to Wiki:
    a) His name is actually Gurung so either Wiki or the magazine has it wrong.

    b) Result, he got the VC.

    Steve

  3. #4163
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    I first became aware of Major Cain when I watched Clarksons Victoria Cross Documentary, at the end of which he revealed that tidbit.
    I have the feeling that I saw the same programme as that definitely rings a bell.

    Clarkson does have a good side. His support of IKB in the debate on greatest Britons of the millennium a few years back and interest in areas like that documentary. However much of the time he is a mindless idiot with opinions that would make the Sun blush with embarrassment.

    Possibly the other factor is that as a non-driver I'm definitely not a petrol-head.

    PPS - If the Wiki article is up to date Lachhiman Gurung, VC (born 30 December 1917) is still going strong. There is a link on his page to a list of living VC holders. Only 7 still with us as of 8th July 09, along with two holders of the local Australian or New Zealand versions, which I didn't realise existed. Of those 7 3 are Gurkhas.

    Steve

  4. #4164
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    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiserMuffin View Post
    Gurkhas are made of solid steel and corded leather sinew of doom. They are secretly immortal.
    Which is why reportedly they were the only allied troops even the Japanese were afraid of.
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    Chapter 217


    The report Felix was reading right now traced its roots back to an undisclosed MI6 source that had to be somewhere around the Headquarters of Heeresgruppe Süd. From ammount, form and how the Information was coming in, it was most likely a servant of some sort, even though the daily courier that carried the information back and forth between the SOE and MI6 stations for the European Front professed to do nothing. These days paperwork was what Felix and Ian spent their time with, and even though both loudly and publicly claimed that they hated it, for them it was a welcome change from having to risk life and limb for King and Country.

    When Felix came to a paragraph near the bottom of the one-page report, he creased his eyebrows and decided that he had to show this to Ian. After a look at the clock hanging over the door of his Office he saw that it was near 1 o'clock in the afternoon, so by now Ian was definitely down in the large and long room that acted as the mess hall of the station's twenty regular Officers and Enlisted alike, the training camps where the man were trained for Operational Deployment were located elsewhere on grounds of operational security. Felix rose from his chair and walked out of the Office and down the corridor to the staircase not without locking the door behind himself. As he walked past the others streaming to lunch he quietly whistled 'Anything goes' to himself without really noticing, a bad habit he had picked up after his rescue where it had been the first song he had heard on the radio, and now it was permanently stuck in his head. The 'crew' of the station, considered to be a Navy one as evidenced by the White Ensign that was run up the flagpole every morning still consisted of a mixture of men from all the services, for example Ian had brought over Lennox of the South Essex Light Infantry, and even the Air Force had some Officers here which sometimes made for very tense conversations for Ian when he had to back the men under his command against superiors who were either ignorant of Operational Security or simply didn't bother with it. He found Ian in his usual seat and sat down in his own usual just opposite.

    Without a word Felix gave Ian the paper and rose again to get his own food, today Curry Chicken with rice (Ian insisted that they keep to standard Navy rations) and selected a normal water to drink. Back at the table Ian had ready the underlined paragraph and made up his mind.

    “Just what does that tell us? I mean the Germans travel back and forth between the staffs as much as our Officers do, that's nothing special.”

    Felix knew that Ian was not ignorant and the man would never be a bureaucratic pencil pusher either, so that meant that he was merely trying to sound out Felix' opinion and arguments.

    “Well, you see that this isn't normally done by full Colonels wearing the uniform of their paras and are thought to be attached to the Abwehr, in the dead of the night and just when we are launching a massive offensive. The last is probably a true coincidence, but the rest?” Felix shook his head to emphasize his point.

    Ian thought it over while eating several more forkfulls of the chicken. He swallowed the last bit and then said:

    “How to we know he is working with the Abwehr?”

    Felix crawled through the backs of his memory. He knew he had the answer somewhere, and after a minute or so he had it. Oh dear god.

    “We should discuss this somewhere more private, Ian.”

    Ian understood and waited patiently while Felix ate his own food with slow, deliberate motions – something else he had started doing after his rescue.

    Once back in the Office Felix wasted no time.

    “Remember back before the war when the Germans topped off the Duke of Windsor?”

    Of course Ian remembered, after all it had been the first time he was shot at.

    “Well, we still had something of a spy network in Germany at the time, and afterwards one of the sources reported that an Officer of that name was thought to be involved in training and mission planning. He popped up again later, during the attack on the Low Countries, where he was reportedly spotted behind our lines by one of our very own during the evacuation of Brussels.”

    “That's very, very thin.” Ian said. “But then again, we have acted on even thinner hunches before, so we might want to report this to London. While Mountbatten makes up his mind, we can ask our friends of MI6 to automatically forward everything further from that source. Somehow I feel as if we'll need them.”

    “Done.”

    “How's the battle going up north?”

    Felix had spent the last day reviewing the 'Behaviour when captured' booklet as a sort of mental exercise at his own insistence and was out of touch, since he tended to lock himself in his Office when he did work like that.

    Ian just snorted – it was the fourth day and in his opinion it was unlikely that much more was going to happen.

    “The Army connected with the Paras just in the nick of time and apparently they are considering pulling them out. This whole stupid attack was one grand failure from the start. Three times the number of troops couldn't have done it, not with the Germans almost expecting the attack at that spot.”

    It was true. Field Marshal Alexander had called off further attacks, and now all that Jubilee had yielded now was a bulge that extended to a point two miles north of the edge of Modena, hundreds of British and Allied soldiers dead and very little else to show for. The Grand Breakthrough would have to be made somewhere else, and now perhaps Aldershot was willing to listen to Alexander who had opposed the scheme after hearing of how many troops he was allowed to use, and now perhaps they would increase his operational freedom and finally cease from running the particulars of the war from England, even thought that happened rarely enough these days. The Imperial General Staff was beyond the blame game at this point in the war, but it was clear that someone would have to bear the responsibility. In the meantime however there were plans to be made on how the impasse in Italy was to be broken, and before the planning group could even begin to go to work again. Major Hackett had taken over C Squadron in the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars and was no longer involved in operational planning due to OpSec, but the plan was very loosely based on a proposal he had written even before the fall of Rome. The details and plans were known only to a select few[1], but a paradrop was not included and the number of units involved almost approached Market Garden itself. In the opinion of Field Marshal Alexander and many others it was far less reliant on good luck and the enemy acting just as expected, it was reliant on nothing but brute force, smashing the enemy to pieces which then allowed rested allied units to drive towards their objectives.


    Neither Ian nor Felix could know this at this point and therefore they didn't speculate on the matter any further. For the moment they had more important work to do. At the moment the biggest operations being run from here were the resistance movements in occupied Yugoslavia. The situation there was even more confused than in France, mainly because the Communists had lost their leader long ago, and now were running headless, still refusing to give in, even though they were eroded away since the British had a policy of not supporting Communist Groups. The biggest and most representative group were the Royalist rebels, a group that consisted of mostly serbs and croats, but since the new and elected Regent had pledged a return to Democracy once the war was over and had even gone so far as to have the Government in Exile, residing first in Algiers and now in London, draft a constitution of the Federal Kingdom of Yugoslavia, both facts that were appeared extensively in the broadcasts aimed at their occupied country. Resulting from this was a greater number of recruits from the other ethnicities in the country as they slowly began to rally to the flag, but even so many of the battles where they used British weapons were not fought against the Axis but rather with each other, since they still hated each other more than the enemy, and that the occupying forces had their own group of locally recruited counter-insurgency militias didn't help matters much. It was a mess, but Ian had been tasked with sorting it out, so that was what he would do. Of all the resistance movements within his area of operations the Yugoslavian Royalists were the most potent, even more so since the Soviets had taken over the occupation of the country and proven to be even worse masters than the Germans. With a population so deeply rooted within the land and such a warlike history the normal methods such as they were did not work, especially when your first act had been to shoot the ruler of the country (the Germans) and start pulling down churches and hanging priests in retaliation (the Soviets). All of this made the work for the British Intelligence Services rather easy when compared to Germany or even northern Italy, all that remained to be done was to sort out which group was following which little local village and prayed to whatever incarnation of the almighty. The only thing that combined them was their hatred for the Soviets and their German friends, and a dubious and sometimes shaky loyalty to the Government in Exile in London. One had to be very, very careful about whom to support, because this might turn a even more powerful group ten miles down the road hate you almost as much as the occupation.

    Something else was the budding Italian resistance in northern Italy. The problem there was that most of the Italian soldiers that had not followed the King's and Governments order to lay down their arms after the fall of Rome and many had joined the Italian SS legion which was conducting counterinsurgency behind the lines and was reputed to be exceptionally cruel. What form of Italian resistance there was was often more than reluctant to accept help from the British who had been their deadly enemy only a few months ago, and the ideological splintering there was almost as bad as in Yugoslavia. Again there was a part which was the 'official' one, supported by the Italian caretaker Government and the Allied Powers, but there was also a sizeable Communist scene which recruited itself from those industrial cities that had not yet fallen into Allied hands and claimed that they were the only ones fighting for Italy and pointed to the crackdowns on communist groups in the Allied zone of occupation where they were sought for like the members of the old Fascist party, in compliance with the British Policy of regarding the Communists and the Nazis/Fascists as the two sides of the same coin. And still the SOE was tasked with aiding whoever fit the criteria set by London, and that was what he was going to do.

    When Ian looked at the clock over his own door by pure chance, he saw the time and bolted from his chair.

    “Bloody hell, we have to meet the new SAS Liaison!”

    Felix glanced at his wristwatch and soon the other members of the station saw their two bosses walking down the corridor and out of the house as fast as dignity and protocol allowed. Outside a lorry was waiting with four soldiers standing about and unloading their belongings, and from the red berets with the dagger he could see that they were SAS.

    The Lieutenant in charge was of reasonable height and brown hair with green eyes and a thin moustache in his average face. The most important thing however was that Ian could see in the way the Lieutenant carried himself that he was a relatively inexperienced Officer by the standards of the Special Air Service, and he could see why Colonel Stirling had sent them here.


    The Lieutenant meanwhile quietly looked over the two Naval Officers, who were most likely the station commander and his 2IC, if one was to judge them by their rank. He had been with the Royal Canadian Army for some years before being seconded to the SAS, and as an Army man he wasn't too happy to be under Navy command, never mind that it wasn't even his own. Still, he did what he was told and so walked over to them to meet them halfway. He came to attention and threw a crisp salute. “Captain Mathew Cribbs and No.77 Commando Wing reporting, Sir.”

    When he heard who the Captain and the Commander were he did a double take. Yes, they might only be lowly squids, but the Colonel had often used their names in the same sentence of such legends as the men of 12 Patrol or the old SIS security team. In fact, these two had been on one of the earliest missions with Drake and the others and some other things that were so secret that even the Colonel claimed he did not know all of it. So these two....

    Whatever had happened that they had taken on a desk job like this one? A mental shrug followed and instead he listened to the Captain holding what had to be the introductory lecture. It seemed to him that they hadn't had a Commando Wing stationed near here ever since Major Drake and the 6th had moved to the Far East, and now he and his men were selected to be the enforcers for the SOE. At least that was what the men would say, and he was inclined to agree with them, but then again the SOE directed all the Special Operations of the British Empire and most of the allies, and the Regiment always was a the beck and call of these Gentlemen anyway. When he had conducted his first patrol as Wing Leader a while back, in support of a SBS raid on an RDF station on the coast of France the SOE had also been in command, even though back then the Wing hadn't been on detached duty but rested with the rest of the Regiment at Hereford. Now he was having his first permanent 'overseas' deployment since he had joined up with the Regiment and transferred out of the 48th Highlanders of Canada. He would have preferred to fight with a unit from his native Vancouver, but when he had gotten the chance in the Highlanders for immediate deployment after Officer School, he had taken the opportunity and now here he was.

    He knew that he would most likely soon have to go into action again, but as he was led through the barracks that had sprung up around the mansion he saw that this operation was run by someone who had an idea what he was doing, and he hoped that his men would be properly supported. In a somewhat strange way he was looking forward to it all.





    [Notes: Up next: Some new Friends, and at last the combat I promised. ]


    [1] Even yours truly only has a vague idea so far, the security is that strict.
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  7. #4167
    Monarchist Griffin.Gen's Avatar
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    Potential Return of the monarchy in Yougoslavia? What's next? Zog will return in Albania and the Habsburg in Austria and Hungary? XD
    ...
    Please do!

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    I don't envy Alexander - a meddling War Office/General Staff and his warnings going unheeded. At least in true Alexander style he tried anyway. Good update.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin.Gen View Post
    Potential Return of the monarchy in Yougoslavia? What's next? Zog will return in Albania and the Habsburg in Austria and Hungary? XD
    ...
    Please do!
    Zog? Who needs him! We want Wilhelm of Wied!

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  10. #4170
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen The British plan to reinstall the monarchy wherever possible, and since Tito is dead, a federal Monarchy would most likely be the greatest unifiying force Yugoslavia can expect. Somewhere I have a map of a Federal Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the 2000s.

    I'll look for it once I get home to my files, but IIRC the premise was that you had several recognized main languages, Capitol in Belgrade and a British-inspired constitutionnal monarchy of what was in essence a Confederation.


    A restoriation of Austria Hungary is not on the cards at the moment.


    Le Jones I haven't yet decided if Gort will be replaced and of so by who (Any suggestions? The Auck, O'Connor, Ironside and Brooke are out, all deployed or in retirement.), but however it goes, it will lead to the IGS and the MoD will listen to their Field Commanders which will also have repercussions in the Far East very, very soon, and the diplomatic factor will be even worse because soon another country will join the Allied cause. More on that hopefullly in the next chapter.


    Kurt_Steiner Dunno about Zog, but Communism shall not take root anywhere west of the Russian border.
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    Nice bunch of updates. I really liked the ones featuring DI Hunt and the matter of the mysterious IRA plot. I hope that he'll be seeing the Inspector again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardraade View Post
    Nice bunch of updates. I really liked the ones featuring DI Hunt and the matter of the mysterious IRA plot. I hope that he'll be seeing the Inspector again.
    Not in the near-term future, but I have my plans for him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post

    Le Jones I haven't yet decided if Gort will be replaced and of so by who (Any suggestions? The Auck, O'Connor, Ironside and Brooke are out, all deployed or in retirement.), but however it goes, it will lead to the IGS and the MoD will listen to their Field Commanders which will also have repercussions in the Far East very, very soon, and the diplomatic factor will be even worse because soon another country will join the Allied cause. More on that hopefullly in the next chapter.

    Dill, Wavell, Paget (good luck) Neame or Nye are the obvious ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Griffin.Gen

    A restoriation of Austria Hungary is not on the cards at the moment.
    Pffft, somehow I can see Otto being a freedom fighter in Austria and Hungary XD

    Edit: If I remember correctly, the Royalists in Albania were the strongest non-communist resistance in Albania

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    Le Jones Hmm. I'll have to think this over, but thanks for the suggestion.

    Griffin.Gen Hmm hmmm. We will see eventually, but Austria is destined to become a Republic. Winston remembers WW1.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post

    Griffin.Gen Hmm hmmm. We will see eventually, but Austria is destined to become a Republic. Winston remembers WW1.
    I don't remember Winston saying anything bad about Austria-Hungary. I'm not sure if he said anything bad for any of the Central Powers... (feel free to prove me wrong)

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    Still catching up but I must say those Screaming Eagles are entirely lacking in coth. It's a shame Colonel Howard wasn't about to show the colonials how to do things with a bit of class;

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    True, but with a bullet through his leg and a very deep cut across his chest Howard was indisposed.
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  19. #4179
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post

    Griffin.Gen Hmm hmmm. We will see eventually, but Austria is destined to become a Republic. Winston remembers WW1.
    Trekaddict

    I think the merit of some sort of revived Austro-Hungarian state, if it was practical, might be to establish a degree of stability in the region. Also to provide a bloc that while not massively powerful is better at protecting the region from the influence of Russia and Germany than a collection of often squabbling small states.

    However I think its probably too late by the 1940's, barring something dramatic.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevep View Post
    Trekaddict

    I think the merit of some sort of revived Austro-Hungarian state, if it was practical, might be to establish a degree of stability in the region. Also to provide a bloc that while not massively powerful is better at protecting the region from the influence of Russia and Germany than a collection of often squabbling small states.

    However I think its probably too late by the 1940's, barring something dramatic.

    Steve

    You have a point, but even if someone with a legitimate claim to the throne could be found, both Austria and Hungary are seen as Axis powers, and turning the two small countries into one big one would be seen as rewarding them, so for political reasons the idea is dead. I can't comment on the post-war military/political/economic reasoning against it too much without massive spoilers, but I can tell you that they are against it too.
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    Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two (ongoing) Last updated 12/16/14 Index - Index 2 - Index 3 - Knowledgebase -
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    Possibly the world's most British German as awarded by El Pip here.

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