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

  1. #4641
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    soulking I needed a snappy name for the British Nuke programme, and I was watching that episode where Queen Victoria founds it while writing that update. One thing led to another.

    Hardraade Thanks. We will see Nagel again, in the not too distant future.

    El Pip It was more crappy planning from above than neglect of tactics in the field. Allied Intelligence has flat out missed the presence of that Division and the Division is as indicated Himmler's pet project and thus gets the most and best of everything. Bavarian Desert Corps isn't that strange, I've been told that a lot of Rommel's Africans IOTL came from southern Germany.
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  2. #4642
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    just read up to chapter 150. great updates. amazing coincidence: I was listening to Iron Maiden's Aces High during the Battle of Britain. totally unplanned, but what an experience!
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  3. #4643
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    PSA: I made a mistake in the update before the last one, I wrote June when it was supposed to be July....



    Chapter 249


    He was still less than sure if it had been the right thing to accept the invitation, but his circle of friends had insisted that he go. It was a very big social event and they had insisted that he needed light, someone had accused him of almost turning into a mushroom and now that he was trying to get himself out of the emotional hole he had been in since the start of the war he needed to look beyond the gloomy predictions of the future that had become the staple of his authorial work of late. It was quite obvious really. Humanity would go through the endless cycle of war and peace until one day in the far future the destructive nature of man would no longer be able to sustain itself. He had been convinced of this from the moment the Soviets and the Americans alike had betrayed the International Left Spectrum of Politics, the Soviets the moment Stalin had made his grab for power and then again when they had allied themselves with the despicable Nazis, and the Americans when they had begun to sweep away the post-revolutionary reforms and returned the country to a state of affairs not similar to the one that had triggered the revolution in the first place. He had once considered himself a socialist and now all that remained of an optimistic young and celebrated author was an embittered old man who's life-long political views had been ground to dust and were being trampled on every day. Back during the First World War he had thrown himself behind preventing it though supporting the British Effort once the slaughter was under way. This time he had shut himself off from the public once it had become clear that the war was inevitable. That he had refused to speak out against the rearmament and quite obvious preparations for war during the late 1930s after the change of the Guard in No.10 had discredited him with the pacifist movement and his unwillingness to do anything to support the war effort beyond turning his front garden into a field of turnips, tomatoes and beans had not made him many friends among the wider population which was fully behind the war effort. Not that he thought badly of them for it. After all the remnants of the democratic world were at war with the two most odious dictatorships that ever existed on the earth. He felt that he was unable to come to terms with how the world had developed. During his glory days as an author he had promoted the Utopian ideal of a benevolent dictatorship, and he would never do that again.


    He reached over to his desk and his typewriter, trying to formulate a proper response, yet couldn't bring himself to begin typing. Instead he thought back to the days at the turn of the century. His probably biggest success as an author was a mere five years old and he had still believed in his ideals at the time. Then the war had come and the world had changed so much and so fast that he had barely been able to keep up and a mere twenty years later the world was again at war and here he was, about to be forgotten by a world that didn't want or need the didactic ramblings of an old man and instead wanted heroes and anything that could win the war for the 'New Empire'.

    That was something else that he had not yet come to grips with. Colonialism was a creature of forced overlordship over others and thus something he despised and yet it was morphing into something entirely new and different and he doubted that he had the energy to examine this 'brave new world' with as much attention to detail and eagerness as the old one. No, that would be the work of another, a younger generation of men and women that didn't feel so alone and so fatalistic about the future of this new age that had dawned within less than five years. It was the last thing he had expected to be perfectly honest. His republican leanings had died with the great promise of Socialism and Pacifism on the fields of the Russian Civil War, the Low Countries and France, but that the definition of Imperialism left it's own nature behind like that was...unexpected at the very least. The news of the Empire Conference, the Empire Act and the PM's proclamation of the New had thrown him for a loop with their unexpected intend, content and outcome.

    The Anti-Imperialists had fallen to pieces in the aftermath. Some had supported it as the fulfilment of their every wish, some decried it as a publicity stunt meant to placate the colonials and some simply refused to acknowledge that anything had taken place. With every step the movement had fractured more.

    The New Empire wasn't a good example for anything but the drive for self-preservation that had driven an ardent opponent of the various India Bills like Churchill into supporting these reforms with such vigour. What this had however started was rethinking in his own views about Humanity. It was a tiny, tiny nudge and at first he had simply ignored it, but during the time spent following the war, the killing, the fall of France, the Battle of Britain, the expulsion of the Italians from Africa and then the Invasion of Italy itself he had more and more realized that not only Pacifism was a well meaning but naïve ideology with little credibility in real life but also that in very, very select cases violence and thus by extension war had a place in human society. The likes of Hitler and Stalin couldn't be stopped with well meaning words and backroom deals, the majority of what had gone on on the political arena during the early and mid 30s was clear evidence of that. He had had an epiphany only a few days ago when the invitation had reached him. One had to act decisively against tyranny in all forms and if this was perpetrated by nation states then another nation had to do so by force of arms if all other means were exhausted. This did not justify war generally, but it made him realize that the war Britain currently found herself in was a just war against unspeakable evil that threatened to swallow the world whole.

    And so he finally began to type. After all if the public had something to gain from him being visibly present at the christening named after a part of his work then so be it. He truly smiled and felt happy for the first time in weeks and began to write:

    “Concerning the Christening of the new Light Cruiser Thunderchild....”







    A few days later and in another part of London one of Well's personal friends, in fact the very one who had accused him of turning into a mushroom[3] was doing some 'proper work'. David Lowe had been going through a milder form of political soul searching, unlike the Friend whom he sometimes saw as a bit naïve. Still, he was glad that Herbert was coming out from under his rock and that he had accepted the invitation. Lowe was currently working on Colonel Blimp's opinion on the most recent issue, what was to be done with the Italian military that was, while mostly disbanded or disarmed, still a drain on allied resources in Southern Italy.

    Over his desk he had hung the only example of a piece of his work that had thankfully never published. It was a product of the dark times in the waning days of the Battle of France when it had seemed as if Britain might stand alone. It consisted of only three elements, a British soldier standing at the edge of a storm tossed sea, the sea itself with several shadowy aircraft approaching.


    First published in 'Low's Forgotten: Wartime, Punch Publishing Corporation, 2010[1]





    Never published for lack of need, it was still something that he had decided to keep around. It would always remind him of bad times and have him never forget that in a war fortunes might change at the drop of a hat. He lit his pipe again and continued to draw Stalin's distinctive features in a piece of paper when the Telephone rang.

    “Herbert, glad to hear from you!” were his first words upon picking it up. He listened as his friend explained why he called this early in the morning.

    Wells had been present when the widow of the Captain of the old Thunderchild had christened the new ship that was going to act as part of the escort for the equally new Carriers, destined to join the Canadian and Australian Fleets respectively, and both ultimately meant to reinforce Force A in the Pacific; after working up and taking aboard their airgroups of Seafires, Swordfishes and Barracudas.



    The entire way Wells talked and the tone he was doing it in were very encouraging.


    “In any case, there was a reason why I wanted to talk with you, Lowe.”

    “How can I help you, Herbert?”

    “I've come to talk with a few Expats on the train home and they gave me an idea for a new project, and I'd need your help with it.”


    Lowe was uncertain. Well's work as of late had more and more consisted of preaching the same causes over and over again and he wasn't totally willing to stake his own reputation on it at the moment.

    “Uhm...now don't get this wrong Herbert, but you do know that your views are...controversial at times.”


    There was a pause on the other end, and Low knew that Wells trying to decide what to say.


    “Oh fear not. After all, what's wrong with anything that helps win and thus end this war?”


    A pause followed again.


    “In any case, I'll come by in a few days.”


    Low replaced the Phone and pondered what had just happened. Wells had sounded far better than in years, probably the best since he knew him, and he wanted collaborate in some sort of business venture... What could that be?





    [Notes: Judging by what I read, Wells may have been suffering from a depression in the last few years of his life, at least judging by what I know from having a close relative who is suffering from this and what I've read about Wells online. Also, remember that all of this is written from an in-universe perspective. In any case, AF's update with Low made me think, and just like Barnes Wallis and Frank Whittle, Wells and Low are two that need to be locked in a shed with their tools of trade and that what comes out will be awesome. ]

    [1]This is IMO the best wartime caricature of them all.

    [2] Remember, TTLs Implacable Class is the equivalent in size and capability of OTLs Essex Class, so Warrior wont end her days as an ASW platform and Melbourne wont be too small for her expected duties.

    [3] Apparently they corresponded in OTL.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 06-09-2010 at 09:11.
    "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 03/22/14 Index - Index 2 - Index 3 - Knowledgebase -
    Inkwell Entry - Now with added obscure Doctor Who references - Visit the Dictionary!

    Possibly the world's most British German as awarded by El Pip here.

  4. #4644
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    Now that the RN is beginning to look awesonstantically good, take care when, once the war is won, what is done to her ships...
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  5. #4645
    not a beta for HoI3 Moderator Derek Pullem's Avatar
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    I'm not sure Low has it right at all..........

    After all Wells was nothing if not an idealist. The New Empire may be anathema for a utopian (by now Wells wasn't really a socialist) but the mechanism for a "New World order" is possibly something that Wells couldn't ignore. After all he'd flirted with Stalin as the new World Goverment.

    Could Wells be the Eleanor Roosevelt of the British United Nations?
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  6. #4646
    Man Of Many Wiles Demi Moderator Lord Strange's Avatar
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    Yey! Thunderchild!
    Also, an excellent update, now what could they be working on.....
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  7. #4647
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner With the kind of threat that's going to face the Pact after the war a big RN is a must.

    Derek Pullem TBH I am still figuring this out and that aspect will be developed further in due time. For the moment the idea is that Wells has seen his political convictions crash to pieces around him and he is still trying to find his place. He might very well go the way you suggest though, I can't say yet.

    It all depends on how long he lives (died in 1946 IOTL) and what shape the new League of Nations takes in the end.


    Lord Strange The name Thunderchild isn't going to disappear from the RN lists anytime soon, not after the heroic sacrifice of the Original Thunderhild off Hong Kong where she engaged a Japanese Battlefleet on her own to buy fleeing civies time to get away.
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  8. #4648
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    Ah, is the Royal Navy destined to rule the waves for another century?
    Also, Thunderchild.

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    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    An interesting change of pace, definitely very different from the usual spies and combat fare. It does pose the question of how British society will evolve in the very different post-war world, I suppose if nothing else the lack of a U-boat menace will ensure British cuisine doesn't suffer death by rationing!
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  10. #4650
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Griffin.Gen At the very least!

    El Pip I've been thinking a lot about that actually, and this piece is in part going to set it all up, at least in the way of Science-Fiction. The Lack of the U-Boat Menace will indeed rob the Germans of at least one Joke:

    "What are the two thinnest books in the world? Italian Hero epics and English recepie books."
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  11. #4651
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    "What are the two thinnest books in the world? Italian Hero epics and English recepie books."
    I thought the answer to that joke was the "Complete List of Grateful Frenchmen" and "The German Way of Love" but your prejudices may vary!
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  12. #4652
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Forgot to add: I will return to this theme from time to time, after all what would the world be without this guy:

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  13. #4653
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    I thought the answer to that joke was the "Complete List of Grateful Frenchmen" and "The German Way of Love" but your prejudices may vary!
    Well, I think thats different depending on where you live.
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  14. #4654
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    Chapter 250



    At a distance the six men standing crowded around the RAF Lysander on the airfield on the eastern Coast of Italy were perfectly ordinary, or as ordinary as the Special Forces Missions that went into Yugoslavia from day one of Operation Market Garden up until now, and most of these were flown by the Lysanders and Dominies of No.138 (Special Duties) Squadron, something of an open Secret. Because of this four of the six men, not counting the Pilot who was already doing pre-flight checks in the cockpit were hand picked and reliable RAF Regiment Security personnel who studiously refused to see or hear anything as they stood with their backs to the aircraft and stared out at the airfield. This field was used exclusively by No.138 and 139 (RAF) Squadrons, the Canadian No.555 Squadron and No.44 (ANZAC) Squadron, consisting of Australian and New Zealand pilots and ground crew and from here most of the Allied (read: British and Commonwealth) support operations for the Royalist Partisans and the British military mission in Yugoslavia were flown.

    The SAS was conspicuously absent from the base even though the patrols regularly flew out through the base, along with it's much smaller brother Regiment from Canada. The SAS patrols were based a few miles away when they weren't in Yugoslavia where the majority of the Allied Special Forces outside of France and the Far East were working. Yugoslavia was a beehive of activity by all sides. Besides the Royalist Partisans who were the largest faction thanks to Allied support, making up slightly more than half of the various groups. Then followed the local Nationalists who at first had supported the Occupation but then turned out against the Germans and Soviets when the anticipated local Serb, Croat and other assorted states had failed to materialize, and of course the shattered remnants of the Communists who were cut off from all forms of support and spend most of their days hiding from Germans and Nationalist rebels alike. The Nationalists were as much fighting among themselves as they were against the Occupation, the Communists were fighting everyone and tried to keep alive, thus being the most savage of the lot and the Royalists were relatively restrained in that regard on pain of loosing British Support. The Royal Yugoslav Army in Exile had managed to cobble together two brigades and the Imperial General Staff had had to move heaven and earth to stop the PM from allowing them to be inserted into Yugoslavia to reinforce the Royalists.



    All in all it was a mess of epic proportions but the close presence of Allied Forces boosted the Royalists the most so slowly something akin to an ordered resistance like it existed in France emerged.

    In any case Allied Command was faced with a Dilemma. On one hand there was a lot going for clearing out Yugoslavia right away instead of waiting: It would close the southern Flank of the Allied drive on Vienna and add another country and what remained of it's economy to the Allies, allowing them to maybe even drive into Hungary and Romania. On the other hand this would tie up valuable troops that couldn't really be spared in the first place and would entangle the British in the local Enthnic troubles at a time when all attentions were firmly set on Vienna. Since the whole area fell into the purview of CinC European Front, Field Marshal Alexander had consulted with Aldershot and then selected the least bad of a set of bad choices. Support for the Royalists was to be increased, propaganda and attacks from the air intensified and hoped that the Partisans would expand the no-go areas that already existed for the Occupation Forces. When this filtered through to the Yugoslav Government in exile there was a lot of proverbial blood spilt in London, the Yugoslav Prime Minister/Regent went from everyone from the Prime Minister over CIGS to even the King, yet every reply was essentially the same: One regretted that no determined effort could be made to liberate Yugoslavia right now, but since brave partisans were tying down more enemy troops that could possibly be neutralized by taking the country at this time when trained forces were scarce and precious then so be it. Terribly Sorry.


    The controversy of this decision would be amply discussed in both Yugoslavia and Britain, but for the moment it was the best thing to be had.

    The Lysander on the airstrip was part of that.

    “Now Felix, don't get killed again.” Ian said when Felix climbed into the aircraft.

    “Oh shut up, Ian.” Felix replied. He sat down and strapped himself in, this was far from the first Lysander trip, but the first he was taking alone.

    After takeoff, he reviewed the situation in his mind.



    Ian had made the usual jokes when orders had come through that someone had to meet with the most prominent leader who had started out as a Lieutenant in third place of seniority of a Cavalry Squadron. When the Yugoslav 55th Division had retreated to avoid encirclement between German and Hungarian units the Regiment had defended a village in a rear-guard action and the Squadron had lost contact during the confusing retreat. Their horses were long since gone, but the men and weapons of the Regiment had formed the nucleus of the group and when the Yugoslav Government had tried to start to exert some control over what was going on through the British Special Forces, he had commanded the largest such group and been field-promoted by the Regent and had over the years managed to unite most of the Royalist groups in Macedonia and Croatia, and many of the groups south of Belgrade paid at least lip service to his Command and instead worked with the local British Liaison Officers. As a result, the occupation forces only travelled through the rural areas in at least Squad strength, and in large stretches of the mountains near the Albanian border and in eastern Croatia the people hadn't seen a German soldier in months, so large was the control of the partisans in these areas that in several villages the Royal Yugoslav Flag was openly flown and members of the Resistance wore their Army uniforms from day to day and Felix was to meet their Commander, General Marko Vuckovic.


    The situation of the Occupation forces was grim to say the least. The minor axis powers were reluctant to risk their armies against partisans when fully equipped regular forces seemed to stand within striking distance of their borders, the Soviets were fully engaged agains the Asiatic Force and had even begun to move some of their second line formation out of occupation duty in the Soviet Exclaves in France and some of the reserve Divisions out of the Axis main reserve force in Austria to bolster the struggling Forces in the Soviet Far East where the front had in essence stalemated in a sea of Chinese, Japanese and Russian blood. The Germans had few forces to spare, all was needed for either the big defensive battle that the OKW expected or the bold push to thrown the Allies out of Northern Italy like the Führer and Stalin demanded. The result was that neither side was strong enough to fully defeat the other.


    After that Felix fell back on his experience as a soldier and snatched some sleep. The Lysander slipped past the feeble Axis Air patrols, thanks to the night time and increased activity by Bomber Command down south in an effort to hit the Romanian Oil Fields as part of Operation Blowlamp and air activity that drew a lot of the Axis Fighters to other areas. By three in the morning the Lysander began to circle and as if on cue Felix awoke and instantly cringed when he felt his stiff neck.

    “We are about to land.” said the Pilot.


    Six hours, a very uncomfortable and unwilling mule, a very tasty Goulash and two shots of the local moonshine later he was sitting in a cave opposite General Marko Vuckovic.


    “Your people did a good job on that bridge, Lieutenant Colonel.”


    Felix, who was wearing a Marine Uniform, replied: “Thank you very much Sir. I'll pass that on.” he paused, and then readjusted his cap.

    “Major Mallory send's his regards, General. I saw him before he was reassigned. How is his replacement doing?”

    The General acknowledged the sentiment and offered Felix a cigarette who respectfully declined.

    “Captain Turner is out forward at the moment with one of our patrols, he wanted to make his own picture.”

    Felix nodded approvingly.

    “In any case General, I gather you want to know why I am here...” Felix said and briefed the General.

    General Vuckovic sat in his chair, looking at Felix with a neutral expression and then said after a while:

    “It's difficult to swallow someone telling you that there won't be a military operation to liberate your country.”

    “You have by sympathies General, but I am merely the messenger...”

    “You have never been occupied.” Vuckovic said with a very real air of distaste about him.

    Felix silently debated with himself how much about his past he was supposed to reveal. He decided that trying to show the General understanding and compassion would probably backfire and simply decided to not back down at the challenge.

    He simply said nothing.

    “It's all fine that the Regent decides such things in the safety of an Office in London, not out here when we sift through the smoking remains of village after village, Colonel.”

    Again Felix decided not to reply at first but then...

    “As soulless as that may sound, this war will not be won in Yugoslavia General, that much even I can see and I have far from a complete picture of the Front.”

    Vuckovich nodded. “At least you are honest, I like that in a man. However I can't say that for all of my subordinates, but at least Croats and Serbs aren't into shooting the messenger for the bad news.”


    “I sure hope so, General.” He did. This was an assignment like any other, and yet he couldn't fault the Yugoslavs for being angry at what he had to say.

    “You know what, Colonel? I believe you.” Vukovich rose and stepped behind a divider. He changed from the peasant outfit he had been wearing into the uniform of a Major General of the Royal Yugoslav Army.

    “And since I do, Colonel, I think you need to impress on your superiors that if we are to do what they ask of us we need more of everything, guns, explosives, instructors, and wireless sets. But before that, I need to show you something.”

    He reached under his table and took out a file folder. When Felix read the contents he looked up and said: “And all are...”

    “Oh yes. All we would need from you is transport.”


    It was going to be difficult and risky, but even if Field Marshal Alexander might disapprove, Churchill was going to love this....



    [Notes: So my dear ReadAARs, what next? Far East? Vienna? RCN Halifax? Or the resolution of the cliffhanger?]
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  15. #4655
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    Yugoslavia only happens to be on the way to Romania oildfields. And even Salonika is closer to them

    Yugoslavia is not worth the waste.

    Congratz for the 250th chapters!
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  16. #4656
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    Yugoslavia only happens to be on the way to Romania oildfields. And even Salonika is closer to them

    Yugoslavia is not worth the waste.

    Congratz for the 250th chapters!
    Kurt

    Probably but it could be easier getting to the oil via Yiugoslavia than the Agean, Greece and Bulgaria.

    The key question however is how important is the Romanian oil? Both in game terms and in 'war' terms in that the Axis can in theory get what it needs from Baku. [Unless the apparent peace in the ME is broken and Bomber Command pay it an [un]friendly visit or two.

    Steve

  17. #4657
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    Kurt_Steiner With Greece Neutral and Britian unwilling to add to their enemies, they could only go through Yugoslavia, and thanks.

    stevep Romanian Oil is not that important. The U-Boats are about to go the way of the dodo, and a lot of German Oil is coming from Baku. However Hitler is unwilling to fully rely on the Soviets and Ploesti is used as a large source of oil for Germany, however with the Allies that close this early in the game, it is regularly bombed, figure once or twice a week.
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    That update had something of a 'Force 10 from Navarone' feel to it, which was good.

    I'd also like the cliffhanger sorted, given how bad you are normally the last thing I want is you to drag it out more than necessary!
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    That update had something of a 'Force 10 from Navarone' feel to it, which was good.

    I'd also like the cliffhanger sorted, given how bad you are normally the last thing I want is you to drag it out more than necessary!
    Well, the name of the General is lifted straight out of the novel.


    Cliffhanger it is then!
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    Chapter 251


    “So, would your leaders accept this?” General Vuckovich asked.

    Felix was too dumbfounded, but the General mistook that for hesitation of a different kind. “They belonged to two Fighter Squadrons that were down south when war broke out, coincidentally they were flying Hurricanes and 109s, so either way they might be of importance to you. They were being transported north into Germany last month when we attacked the train. We didn't even know they were still alive, let alone in that train, we thought it was a troop train... Luckily the PIAT gunner asigned to destroy that train car missed.”


    “And they've been milling about your headquarters ever since?” Felix asked.

    Vuckovich nodded. “Yes, we gave them one of the barracks caves.”



    [3]


    The Partisan headquarters was hidden away in the hills and mountains of eastern Croatia about as remote as it got. It was a complex of caves that had in times long past probably been created by an underground river, what still provided them with fresh water. Vuckovich said that they had discovered the system back in 1940 when they had dodged Germans and tried to stay alive, and that there was little chance that anyone would find it, given that the entrance was covered by trees, brushes was a few dozen miles from the next road. Felix had seen aerial photographs of the place and seen the entrance and the surface parts of the camp even when Major Mallory had pointed it out to him. There was only one narrow footpath running along the edge of a cliff so three men and a machine gun could hold a Regiment there for days, never mind that two mortars were sighted on the path at all times.

    Still even though there were almost regular flights to and from improvised strips all over central Yugoslavia, bringing out some twenty-five pilots would require a Dakota, and that would be a far cry from sneaking in a couple of Lysanders. Felix was well aware that this was an attempt by the Yugoslavians to get the British to take the Pilots off their hands.

    “I can't promise anything, but I will pass it on. You must understand, there is a great risk involved, not only for you and your men but also for British Aircrew. That's not a call I can make on my own, Sir.”


    Vuckovich said nothing, and Felix was unable to read the man at this time. After a few moments the Yugoslavian General sighed and placed his arms on his desk, using them to push himself out of his chair.

    “Fair enough, Colonel.”

    “And Sir, if I may ask: Why aren't they simply recruited into your force as Infantry?”

    “Because we can barely arm our existing forces, there's nothing like enough rifles to start with, we are short on machine guns, mortars, ammunition, medical supplies. The only thing we have enough of is recruits, thanks to the Germans.”


    Felix didn't reply, he knew what that meant. During the Civil War Communist and Federal Insurgents alike had battled against their enemy behind the lines with the unpleasantness that came with Civil War, so here he did know what the General felt like. The British had to re-equip four exiled Armies in addition to the still expanding British Forces, so fewer weapons than one would like had found their way into Yugoslavia, and that had only started when the Allies had gained a foothold in southern Italy.


    “I see, Sir.” he said once he realized that the General expected an answer. “Still, it will be difficult to arrange.”

    “Again, fair enough. Now, shall we tour the camp?”

    Felix was very, very tempted considering the Stories Major Mallory had told during his layover at 'The Villa' but he had his orders.

    “Thank you very much, General.”

    Normally SOE procedure was to send a coded message back to report in, but the importance and the sensitivity of this mission had prompted Ian to use his powers as Head of Station and circumvent procedure in this case. He wouldn't set out for the meet until tomorrow anyway, considering that it was several hours worth of riding away for security purposes.







    While Felix was shown around in the camp, in an Office in Belgrade some else was still at work. The German occupation authorities had established themselves firmly in and around Belgrade, the presence of a full Division of troops saw to that and had set up their authorities there. The city was under tight lockdown and even though the population was seething with discontent and rebellion nothing happened, the SS troopers on the streets saw to that. However the Waffen SS was too weak to occupy Yugoslavia let alone crush the insurgency, and if the rumours that filtered through to Germany were true, the contribution would get even weaker very soon. The Heer ran things here, the plans to set up a civilian German administration had been quietly scrapped when the train that had been carrying the selected Governor had had an encounter with sixty pounds of Dynamite and the reprisals had triggered violent but futile uprisings in the areas targeted. General der Infantry Hans Maybach was in a difficult position. He wasn't a devout Nazi and because of that and Hitler's personal dislike (no reason given) he had been given this backwater post, and he saw it as such. Wedged in between the 'freeriders' in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria and the Allies, with neither making his job any easier. He knew that the Allies would try to attack towards Vienna and then suddenly all railways would obviously be needed to supply the battlefront, so he had started stockpiling supplies as much as he could the moment the Allies started breaking through the Gustav Line. That this incurred Partisan activity en mass was a side effect that he had to deal with, and the burning villages, dead bodies and the blood that began to drench the countryside was evidence of his efforts. Thus the SS was for once trusting the local Officer, hence why the SS Cavalry Brigade had been readily released to the Wehrmacht by the Reichsführer SS when the OKW had respectfully requested reinforcements after some Heer units had been moved to deal with the Allied offensives south of Rome.

    Maybach was pouring over the maps of central Croatia where the positions of the principal German units in the area, Festungsdivision Stettin, the Croatioan National Guard, officially a Militia in preparation for independence after the war but in reality little more than an armed mob and of course the SS Cavalry Brigade. It were fewer forces than he liked, but he had only fifteen German, two Soviet and six Hungarian and Romanian Divisions with which to hold down a country more than twice the size of Austria down.[1] For comparison in France there were forty-seven German and twenty Soviet Divisions, and they had troubles of their own as it was. So ruling the country with an iron fist was the best.

    He either didn't realize or care that this only served to drive more people into the welcoming arms of the Partisans of whatever political group, unlike the relatively benevolent rule in the Low Countries and France[2], and so turning the situation into a self-feeding circle of death and destruction.


    This didn't mean that all of the locals were against the occupation, far from it. Many of the Chetnick groups were working with the royalists, but many had been seduced by the promise of an independent state after the war, some Yugoslavs just hated everyone outside their own ethnicity slightly more than the Germans and some just were plain old bandits who took the opportunity to indulge themselves. For this reason the Royalists were so disorganized and hard to catch, they were organized in cells that knew little of each other, and that prevented General Maybach from scoring a second coup like he had when he had managed to crush a network in and around Zagreb back in 41. A good day in his opinion.

    The rifts between the local ethnic groups had payed off again, because there were rumours that a group of Royalist leaders was meeting in an abandoned watchtower. Normally this was nothing to get exited about, for all their knowledge the cell leaders were far more replaceable than they might think, what caught his attention was the fact that General Vuckovich was going to be there. He was the grand price that had eluded him so long. The Partisans had a headquarters somewhere in the mountains and all efforts to find it had failed. Taking out Vuckovich meant taking out the central brain of the Partisans, and even if he couldn't be persuaded to give up the location of his headquarters, various spies he had, including a very valuable one that was run through the RSHA that had taken over the functions of the defunct Abwehr. The man had taken a long, long time to infiltrate where he was now and he had only very recently made contact with him, and already he had brought this valuable piece of intel. On the map General Maybach could see that the SS Cavalry Brigade was too far away and in any case they were currently engaged in reprisals for a recent attack on a supply and weapons depot that had been looted clean before being blown up, so that left either the 553. Infanterieregiment, or, much to his disgust the unreliable Croatian National Guard.

    He decided on the 553rd, not only because they were Germans but also because they were far better equipped. Uniquely for a fortress Division, this one had a Regiment of Light Tanks attached, and while the French-made H-35 series vehicles were unable to even scratch the paint of the modern English Cromwell and Comet Tanks, they were a valuable asset for all forms of occupation duty.


    Tanks of Panzerabteilung 221


    He called for his adjutant and quickly fired off orders. The 553rd was to make ready to send a company of Infantry, accompanied by four tanks as far as possible towards the watchtower, where the tanks would stay behind with half the company to seal of the retreat of anyone who might slip through the attack of the others.

    Of course the meeting would be guarded by a significant force, but the Partisans rarely went out in bodies of more than half-company strength, everything above that simply left too big a trail that could be followed back to camp. Losses were thus inevitable, but netting the upper echolon of the Partisans in general and that bastard Vuckovich in particular was definitely worth it. Perhaps after this they would finally recall him to Berlin, back home.

    He hated this country, the people in it and the fact that they dared to resist both the Reich and the will of the Führer, and he hated how his people were attacked at every corner. Even if he wasn't recalled to Germany, when he left here no one would dare to resist, and if some of those bastards could be bought off with the pretence of independence, then so be it.


    [Notes: Why is Maybach Heer and not Waffen SS? Well, I wanted to make sure that the readers know the Regular Army wasn't free of warcrimes like some circles like to believe. To illustrate, neo-conservative circles kicked up a gigantic stink in Germany about ten to fifteen years back when a exhibition about Wehrmacht warcrimes toured the country.]

    [1] Size is eyeballed.

    [2]Weserübung was cancelled as you know when the RN destroyed the German/Soviet Fleet and Denmark has managed to stay neutral by simply lying low and hoping they don't get noticed.


    [3] Yay for screencapture functions in media players!
    Last edited by trekaddict; 26-08-2010 at 21:38.
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