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

  1. #4941
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    it's taken me a fairly solid month to catch up from this scratch on this AAR.

    time very well spent may i add. Trekaddict i am in nothing less than awe of your talents for this. paid good money for far less satisfactory books.

    thank you for the time invested in entertaining us.

  2. #4942
    Lt. General Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    I too just caught up. It seems to happen every year about this time.

    The king is dead, Germany invaded, Axis alliances in tatters, the Hood lives still, Comets in action in India and Anzacs in Yugoslavia.

    All is right with the world.
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  3. #4943
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    To celebrate your bot catching up I give you a little spoiler:

    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  4. #4944
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    To celebrate your bot catching up I give you a little spoiler:

    idiots, you can bend the barrel doing crap like that.

  5. #4945
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    To celebrate your bot catching up I give you a little spoiler:
    While I'm sure those Tiger tanks are enjoying being intimate, is the battlefield really the time to indulge in some barrel-to-exhaust-pipe loving?
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  6. #4946
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    They are both unconcious from the fall of the collapse of the damaged bridge that used to be there.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  7. #4947
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    Chapter 275

    'Commence Operation Watchtower.'
    Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, September 1942



    The last German Offensive in Austria was so improvised that many within the OKW and the Headquarters of OB Süd were later quoted as having said that it was a wonder that the Allies had fallen for the trap as completely as they had. When the first Soviet T-34/85 slammed into the weak forward units of the Allied front just as the last British Paras went into position in Romania it disabused even the last Allied soldier of any notion that the Axis in Austria were on their last legs. The plan wasn't even Rommel's brainchild originally as the Field Marshal had taken it from the OKW planning group in Munich and adapted it slightly. The speed with which Rommel had scraped together the troops from Eastern Europe and Southern Germany was what enabled him to maintain strategic surprise. By the time ULTRA intercepts had been pieced together into a coherent picture, the 1st King's African Rifle Division had already been smashed into a thousand pieces.



    One attack was launched along the Southern Railway line, one along the Reichsautobahn Süd, and one sweeping through the relatively flat terrain in western Hungary, brushing aside the Anglo-Hungarian Forces there. The main objective of the third attack was mostly to draw Hungarian and British Forces away from the main fronts by trying to induce the belief that the objective wasn't to threaten the ling between the Allies and the Hungarians but rather that these units were going for the knockout blow by attacking Budapest directly.

    All three attacks were launched within minutes of each other and relied more on surprise and speed than on numbers as Rommel's command was heavily outnumbered and the main wave of reinforcements wouldn't arrive in time for the 1942 campaign season, the switch made by the former Balkan Axis nations had made sure of that as several Divisions originally meant to reinforce Rommel directly were instead fighting the expanded Allied Pact in the mountains of South-Eastern Europe.

    Instead of having six Panzer Divisions overall (of which three would have remained in reserve) Rommel only had two and Schwere Panzerabteilung 527. As planned these units formed the very spearheads of the attacks and when 7. Panzer and 11th Guards Tanks smashed through the positions of the 1st KARD and the 8th Infantry Divisions, shattering the left and right flanks of XXX and V Corps respectively the audacity of Rommel's plan paid off. German and Soviet motorized and mechanized Infantry swarmed through the gap created by the Armoured Spearheads and continued the envelopment of the two stunned British Divisions.

    By ten in the morning, two hours after the first attack, Field Marshal Alexander was made aware that the Axis had punched a massive hole into his front and even though reports from the front were inconclusive for most of the day due to the chaos reigning in the Allied command structure that had grown complacent with the availability of ULTRA and the course of the war over the last year.


    General Ritchie recovered fast. Almost as soon as he was torn from his breakfast that day he saw that he had to commit his reserves, all of them. Luckily for the British on that day I (BR) Armoured Corps and their Polish counterparts had been standing ready for the final assault on Vienna, so the first British counter-attack was launched a mere four hours after the first shots had been fired. However it was too late to save the 8th Division which by that time had dissolved into shrinking pockets of resistance that were eliminated one after another, with her commander having fallen victim to Soviet Artillery. The position of the 1st KARD was hardly any better, even though here 2nd Brigade had maintained a coherent front and was desperately holding a pocket centred around several crossroads that commanded a road right into the flank of the remaining units of the 8th Army.

    Ritchie quickly realized that the position as it was was untenable, even though I (BR) Armoured Corps had managed to halt and for the moment contain the Axis penetration into the sector of the 8th Army, as soon as the Axis had recovered they would attack again and then his two Armoured Divisions would be overwhelmed by numbers, as the unclear situation in the air and the total chaos on the ground prevented effective application of air support. At 11:30 AM he sent his famous message to Alexander:

    “8th Division and 1st King's African Rifle Division dissolved or in the process of doing so. All other line units in danger of being outflanked. All reserves already engaged. Am pulling back 8th Army towards Oberpullendorf.”


    With that it was clear that Vienna would not be taken any time soon, because pulling the 8th Army back meant pulling the 6th, 11th and 9th Armies back too, in fact the entire Allied line would have to be pulled back towards one of the old Axis defensive lines which would likely rupture the front and leave the left flank of the Hungarian Army hanging in the air, but the rapidly developing situation didn't leave them much choice.

    In the hills and mountains of Southern Austria the 2nd Royal Hussars had deployed in a wide, shallow arc that covered a critical road and crossroads that were the route of retreat for the 8th Army. Out east the remnants of 2nd Brigade KARD were still holding on and the stream of retreating allied troops over this road and a dozen other roads, mountain paths and semi-completed railway tracks to the north and south of their position wouldn't stop. Occasionally Allied and Axis aircraft battled overhead but none of the ordnance carried by both side's CAS aircraft had fallen nearby, the Regiment had not yet been spotted. 7th Armoured here and 1st Polish Armoured on their left flank were for the moment all that stood in the way of the advancing Axis forces. Colonel Jan Niemczyk VC was standing in front of Battleaxe, his tank and was sipping at a cup of army-issue tea while he watched the road that ran in-between the hills his Regiment was dug in on, waiting for either the enemy or the long-lost Infantry of the Royal Ulster Rifles, whatever arrived first.

    The RUR were semi-permanently assigned to the 2nd Royal Hussars as Infantry support, so Niemczyk knew that they weren't missing because of negligence, the drinking contest with Lieutenant Colonel Quinn of the RUR last month had seen to that.

    Up ahead he could see the Y-shaped crossroads where the two roads united into the one he was tasked with defending and he agreed with his expatriate second in Command, this was like Buford's position at the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, only that this time there would likely be no I Corps and no Army of the Potomac to come to their rescue.

    Truth be told though, right now he would be happy to have even one of the shrunken Infantry Regiments of the time deployed around his tanks, because in a defensive position Tankers felt positively naked without Infantry.

    What did arrive instead of Infantry was a motorcycle courier who peeled off from the column of men that was going down the road.

    “Lance Corporal Weaver, 8th Division.” he said and threw a tired salute. “Sir, we have German heavy Armour and Infantry twenty minutes that way,” he motioned towards the general direction of Vienna, “and Soviet Armour and Infantry behind that. This group coming through now are the last ones, everything coming now is likely the enemy.” Without a further word the Corporal sped off and Niemczyk once more wished the Infantry was to arrive this instant.

    He emptied the dregs of his tea into the grass and looked up at the trees that obscured his Regiment from view. He turned and climbed back into the turret of his tank. Wrestling himself past the breech of the 17 pounder he reached for the headset microphone of the wireless.

    “Badger Actual to all Badger Stations, stand to, we are about have company. Watch out for enemy Infantry.”

    Acknowledgement came in from all his vehicles.

    “Badge Actual to Foxhole, come in.”

    After three more tries he did actually make contact with Division.

    “Badger Actual, this is Foxhole.”

    “Foxhole, where is this support you promised us? Leprechaun[1] is nowhere to be seen and I have reports of German and Soviet Heavy Armour and Infantry coming my way, over.”

    “Leprechaun is working his way towards you, Badger, but the trails are wet.” came the reply, meaning that the road was clogged with men going one way, preventing the Royal Ulster Rifles from going the other at any speed. The result of panicked reactions by Corps and Division commanders.

    “That's all well and bloody dandy, Foxhole, but doesn't help me when I have enemy Infantry coming out of my ears! Over.”

    “Roger that, Badger. Be advised, we have Catapult four and six on call for you.”

    Now that was good news. As was custom with the RAC at the time the Command troop contained a group of Artillery observers and this meant that the four men in two tricked out Armoured Cars could call upon two full batteries of guns.

    “Glad to hear that, Foxhole. Any joy on the little Friends?”

    “Negative, Badger Actual. Little Friends busy elsewhere.”


    So no air support. Well, at least the blokes from the Royal Artillery had managed to scrape up a couple of guns for him to use.




    ~**~~~**~


    They waited and waited and waited. Suddenly the external regimental frequency crackled into life.

    “Badger Actual, this is Leprechaun Actual.” said a voice with a thick Belfast accent.

    “Leprechaun Actual, this is Badger Actual. You are bloody damn late. Over.”

    “Roger that, Badger Actual. Going into position now.”

    And not a moment too soon. Even as the Northern Irish Infantry set up positions the opposing crest of hills roughly 500 yards away enemy scouting forces appeared.


    German scouting forces moving through a retaken Austrian village

    The tanks didn't open fire, but the movements of the Infantry were spotted and a few minutes later sporadic mortar fire began to fall in the fringes of the woods. Casualties were light but the troops redoubled their efforts to get at least some form of cover before the enemy attacked in force, and huddled in hastily dug shallow foxholes and between rocks and boulders on the slope below the line of tanks they awaited the enemy attack.

    Still, the bane of a soldier's life were paper and waiting, and Jan was doing a lot of that for the next half hour.

    He was awoken with a start and before he could demand to know who had let him sleep in the first place his gunner piped up.

    “Colonel we have Gerries coming over the hill.”

    He looked into the sights and saw that his gunner had been right. There were German Tanks coming across the crest of the opposing hill, and being more exposed than his own hull down tanks he could see their boxy shapes. At first he believed them to be Panzer Ivs, but soon realized that they were too big to be those.

    Whatever they were, they were coming closer and closer and would soon come within 400 Yards when Jan intended to open fire.

    He didn't know exactly what he was seeing there, but the 527th was not having a good day. On their march to the battlefield the three Porsche Tigers had broken down and had to be left behind, one with the suspension breaking under it's own weight before even coming off the train, another one where the main exhaust had not been fitted properly after the last maintenance (it was feeding the exhaust into the cabin) didn't go very far either and of course no fitting spare parts were to be had, whereas the third one had run afoul of a roving Belgian Mosquito and was now merrily burning away at the side of the road.

    The Henschel vehicles didn't fare very well either, but here only two of them were not there as they were now standing in a creek with no hopes of getting out as the damaged bridge had collapsed under them, forcing the remainder to make a wide detour.



    Germany's last heavy Tank then ran into yet another problem: At this close range the standard AP ammunition issued for the 17 pounder could easily penetrate the supposedly impenetrable frontal armour of the Tiger.

    “FIRE AT WILL!” Colonel Niemczyk yelled both to his crew and his command.

    “On target!” came the voice of his gunner.

    “Fire.”

    The 17 pounder spat flame and the shell slammed into the gun mantle of one of the Tigers and exploded the ready ammunition and the round that the loader was already holding. It blew the turret right off and it rose into the air. The remaining five didn't fare very well. On one a track link snapped and the crew immediately bailed out only to fall prey to the Artillery that began to fall around the Germans who had somehow managed to loose contact with their own Infantry. Four more Tigers fell prey to the massed British guns, and within half an hour after getting the order to move the 527th had ceased to exist, taking the very concept of the heavy Tank with it as Hitler, when informed of the abysmal performance instantly cancelled further production and development, whereas Stalin cancelled Soviet efforts in 1943 after a very brave Zhukov pointed out that one could achieve more firepower by building the T-44 instead of further development of the KV series.

    For the British however this victory didn't immediately solve things, because the offensive that Rommel had started was still going on and by the end of the day the 2nd Royal Hussars and the Royal Ulster Rifles were pulling back, along with the remainder of the 8th Army and the Allied front in Austria. However the sacrifice of the 1st King's African Rifle Division and of the 8th Division wouldn't be forgotten. The two units had been all but destroyed completely, but thanks to their sacrifice the bulk of the Army could withdraw.

    +-+-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten tomatoes?

    Can you tell that I dislike heavy Tanks as a rule?

    [1] Codename for the RUR.
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  8. #4948
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    Rommel leading a surprise counterattack. Well, that's not quite a surprise

    The Tiger breaking before gettign into action. Not a surprise, either

    As for getting into Vienna, it looks as the dreams in OTL to cross the Rin and to end the war by Xmas. Wishful thinking going wrong again.
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  9. #4949
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    Ah I do like the Tiger, but is seems they have run afoul of life ITTL.

    Will the Allied line hold? I do like seeing the Colonel again!
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  10. #4950
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    Heavy is a relative term, after all a Tiger only weighed as much as Chieftain. But then I suppose that only proves the Tiger was grossly over weight.

    I wonder where the Germans go with no Tiger? Pz V Panthers I guess. Sure they're less of a horrific mess than a Tiger, but still they were an engineering horror. Is Nazi engineering even capable of producing a simple design? Frankly I have my doubts so I think Panthers and Panther IIs will win out.
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  11. #4951
    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    Heavy is a relative term, after all a Tiger only weighed as much as Chieftain. But then I suppose that only proves the Tiger was grossly over weight.

    I wonder where the Germans go with no Tiger? Pz V Panthers I guess. Sure they're less of a horrific mess than a Tiger, but still they were an engineering horror. Is Nazi engineering even capable of producing a simple design? Frankly I have my doubts so I think Panthers and Panther IIs will win out.
    Eh... Possibly E-25s but I doubt it. The 3rd Reich was always fixated on "wonder weapons" instead of enough weapons that were "good enough"

    Although just perhaps...

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  12. #4952
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Sorry for the late reply, but RL has been murder recently.

    Kurt_Steiner I think that Rommel being Rommel would really do something like this if only to get a breather. At the point Rommel took over the Allies were expected in Vienna that evening.

    The Tiger failing so horribly is an expression of my loathing for the Luft46 and the Napkinwaffe, the same kind of people who think taht if Germany would have somehow managed to build 10.000.000 Tigers they would have taken Britain and America.

    It was some wishful thinking, but a look at the map made it easy to believe that. The Allies were almost in Artillery range.

    Raaritsgozilla The Allies will...fight, that much I can assure you.

    El Pip Heavy by the standards of it's day. The Leo2 would probably be seen as a Heavy bordering on the super-heavy in WW2, never mind the gyrostabilized turret.

    The Germans will build a *bleeeeep*-load of Panthers, while the Soviets will build lotsa T-34/85 and T-44s.

    Nazi Engineering is indeed incapable of producing something simple, an ailment that we still haven't fully shed. For example until very recently the turret of the Leo2 had the tendency to crash it's electronics when a cold start of the engine was performed. Restarting that takes up to 30 seconds, and they fixed it by fitting a small auxiliary motor.

    KiMaSa Actually I see a lot of Jagdpanthers....
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  13. #4953
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    Hetzers gonna hetz
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  14. #4954
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raaritsgozilla View Post
    Hetzers gonna hetz

    Don't get me started on the Hetzer. I hate this thing.

    I'm more partial to the Stug III and the Jagdpanther.
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  15. #4955
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    Chapter 276


    The Allied commanders in Rome were burning the midnight oil on the third day of the Axis offensive. It was obvious for anyone on either side who was looking at a situation map that the Allied front had completely fallen apart and only the resistance by the rear guard of the 8th and 11th Armies had prevented this from turning from a reversal into a full-scale disaster, but the Allies still had been forced to fall again and again over the last two days. Right now the 8th Army was passing through the lines of hastily scraped together Indian and African units that were provisionally formed into the 17th Army. These units were untried and unbloodied, having been intended to step into the line both as the core for another Army and as spot reinforcements, now instead they were formed into an ad-hoc Army that would be forced to take up duties of the 8th Army that would in turn need a long rebuilding period.

    At the same I (BR) Armoured Corps was conducting a fighting withdrawal towards the new main allied line, bleeding itself white to buy the Infantry time to withdraw and catch their breath.


    The 2nd Royal Hussars bore the scars to prove it. Between them the Squadrons had lost nine Comets so far. Two Squadron Commanders were wounded, one was dead and Colonel Niemczyk had a troop that consisted of only two vehicles as 9 Troop had been caught by Artillery while displacing to a new position. None of the men had eaten since yesterday nor had they slept or shaved since that first battle against the 527th Heavy. Now the Regiment was again called upon, together with the rest of the Division they were about to fight the same units they has sparred with since the Germans had attacked. The German Panthers were deadly adversaries but time and again the Germans had attacked the British, lost a few vehicles, threatened to envelop them, killed a Comet in return and repeated the same affair three miles farther west over and over again. To say that the men were exhausted would have been an understatement and Jan was beyond caring that extracting his Regiment with comparatively little loss out of all these engagements, so tired was he. He looked through the optics and saw that once again the enemy was approaching. This time the Panzers were properly covered by Infantry.

    The Royal Ulster Rifles had taken frightful losses in comparison. The two Companies permanently assigned to the 2nd Royal Hussars were at maybe 50% strength each and even more tired than the Tankers even though on almost every move they rode on the Comets.

    “Colonel, we are down to seven rounds AP and ten High Explosive.”

    Jan did not react to this. He knew full well that he was running short of ammunition and that the Division's ammunition supply trucks had not yet found their way to his command, but with the Panthers and Infantry coming across the ridge there was nothing to do but expend some more.

    “INCOMING!” came the call over the Regimental Frequency, and within half a second the shells began to fall around them and amongst the Northern Irish Infantry. Even though nothing but a direct hit could harm the British Tanks the Artillery fire did it's own to unnerve some of the British, as it was a massive barrage. The Germans and the Soviets had concentrated no less that forty-two guns against this pesky and annoying British rear-guard force that had prevented them from destroying Britain's most famous Armoured Division in addition to the two Infantry units shattered during the last days.

    “Badger Actual to all Badger and Leprechaun Units. You know the drill Gentlemen, let them come in close and then hit them with everything we have.” The Colonel in command of the RUR was dead thanks to a Panther crashing into his command post when the Germans had nearly broken the Battlegroup up into pieces on the second day, and the Major who replaced him was simply not up to the job, so in all but name the RUR had been absorbed into the 2nd Royal Hussars.

    The British troops then did let the Germans come close but the Tanks still opened fire several seconds before the Infantry as the exact strength and disposition of the Infantry was to be kept from the enemy as long as possible.

    “Colonel, there are more coming in!”

    He left the shooting to his gunner as he quickly realized that they would not be able to hold them this time. Unlike for the last two days this wasn't a probing attack, this were at least two Regiments, and if he had to bet he would say that another one was waiting in reserve. It was no question at all that the exhausted and depleted British troops would not be able to hold back this sort of attack. It seemed as if someone on the German side had finally woken up and realized that the attacks weren't working and changed the way they were conducted.

    “All Units, fire at will!” he said with more urgency in his voice than he would have used with a good nights sleep under his belt, and for the next twenty minutes his world degenerated into the motions of mechanized death on the battlefield. But soon he could see that his command was about to be overwhelmed.

    “All Badger and Leprechaun units, prepare to pull back towards Haltline Charlie Two.”

    He didn't really know how the rest of the Regiment was faring, but from where he was he could see three burning Comets and he knew that he would spend the rare hours of muse of the next three months writing letters to parents, and that was if he got out of here alive.

    “ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS THIS IS HOTEL SIX! WE ARE BEING OVERWHELMED AND OUT FLANK....” came a frantic voice over the wireless over the background noise of rattling tank tracks and since the Battle was spiralling totally out of control with more and more units threatening to be overrun he knew that it was to vacate the premises.

    “All stations, all stations, this is Badger Actual, fall back now.”

    Within seconds of giving this order the various bits and pieces of his force that were still able to follow the order did so. As Battleaxe began to move Artillery began to fall among their positions again, killing British and Germans without discrimination and that ironically allowed the engaged Infantry and Tanks to disentangle themselves from the mayhem that had been created.


    Battleaxe began to back out of position, stopping every few feet to fire once more until they simply ran out of ammunition. Before Jan could give an order a shell slammed into the sides of his tank. Luckily for him and his crew however the shell came in at an angle and bounced off the appliqué armour that most of the vehicles in the Division had been fitted with in the field. It still snapped the track on the right side and brought the tank to a shuddering halt. Almost immediately the cabin filled with smoke, apparently something had been set on fire after all.

    “OUT OUT OUT!” Jan yelled and wrestled open the hatch. As he climbed out into the deadly outside silently thanked Battleaxe, as she and her ancestors had taken him to every Battlefield of the European Theatre. Once outside he drew the Webley Mk.VII he carried as his personal firearm and checked on his crew. But before he could turn a fountain of dirt erupted nearby and then everything went black.



    ~**~~~**~


    The 7th Armoured Division was close to the breaking point by this time at the end of the third day, not only through the considerable losses it has suffered but also because the Axis attack had broken through the line at two places, only to be stopped by the last reserves of the Division and two Regiments from the 5th Division. When the disorganized units, usually Regimental in size formed up, between them they had 60% of their original establishment strength. Forty percent losses in three days was unprecedented in this war so far for a unit of this size and it was clear that the 7th Armoured would need several months of rebuilding, never mind the rest of the Corps. Field Marshal Alexander knew that a huge part of his Armoured forces was out of action for the time being.


    However....

    The rest of the 8th Army was pulling itself together and British Reserves were fighting hard on throughout the night.

    Field Marshal Rommel at the same time realized that this attack was about to run out of steam. The rear guard action carried out by the British Armoured Corps had prevented him from destroying the 8th Army whole and now the Allies were throwing everything they had into the defence, and that didn't include the British 9th Army and the Hungarians who were sitting on his flank. Hitler demanded that Vienna be held at all costs, but he suspected that low supplies and an undecided leadership had prevented the 9th Army from doing more than spoiling attacks, and the Hungarians were far too concious of their lack of spare parts for their German-made weapons to conduct any offensive operations even if the British would have allowed them to do so. Instead they relied on the British 9th Army to secure their flank and doggedly defended the mountains in the north of their country and were doing a very good job at it, the attacks by the German XXXV. Korps and the Soviet Bessarabia Front or whatever it was called having accomplished little to nothing at all. If these units had been under the direct authority of OB Süd instead of the OKW and STAVKA, by extension Hitler and Stalin, this might have been different, but the recent attack had done enough to destabilize the Allies and give Rommel's forces enough time to organize the defence of Vienna.

    Now that the British were pulling themselves together (admittedly faster than he had anticipated and hoped) it was maybe time to pull back to a defensible perimeter and await the Allies next move. Overextension was something that the French were suffering extensively from in the Alpine front. If the trickle of information coming in from Italy was correct the French were fighting a separate war in all but name and this didn't help matters there much. If they had been fully supported by the Allies then they would likely be marching on Paris in another year... No, better to be cautious for once. Hitler had dreams of pushing the Allies out of Austria completely, but that was a pipe-dream with the number of Forces as surprise carried only so far. The 7. Panzer and all the other units out there were awfully exposed.

    Within hours orders went out to all the Axis units rampaging through central Austria. 'Hold position. Defend against enemy attacks.' If there were rumblings none filtered back to Rommel's Headquarters, because thankfully the SS troops were still reconstituting in Bavaria after the fearful thrashing they had gotten at the hands of the Jewish Legion and the 9th Army that had mutually exhausted both sides, so the fanatics were off his back for the moment. But what to do next? Barring substantial reinforcements that weren't going to arrive before the year was out the Axis forces were too weak to push the Allies out of Austria, yet at the same time the Allies would likely need at least a week or two to sort out their own problems. Two Divisions gone were a hard blow, especially if the rumours about manpower shortages in the Allied camp were correct. Now it was time for digging in.



    ~**~~~**~

    A week later Jan was sitting at a desk in a run-down town hall in a village in western Austria, occasionally touching the banadage that was wrapped around his head where the fragment of a German Artillery shell had come literally within an hair's width of ending a promising military career. He had lost quite a lot of his black hair but at least he was still alive, doing better than his driver, gunner and co-driver. In front of him were the papers that told the story of death and destruction, all the while it was hailed as a well executed, orderly retreat. His Regiment was down to thirty percent strength, the retreat had been gruelling and he was blaming himself for not being there to keep his men together.

    It was of no comfort to know that the rest of the Division and the Corps were in no better shape, it and the entire 8th Army would need three months of rebuilding at least. The 9th Army and the Hungarians were holding on as the Germans had halted, and now the Allies would have to fight for the same ground they had taken in during the summer, with Supreme Allied Headquarters constantly fearing that Rommel dashed into Yugoslavia to destroy the tenuous supply lines to the...whatever status the former minor Axis countries now had in the Allied ranks and more importantly the ANZACs, Canadians and of course the 9th Army. Behind closed doors inside the Division this notion was seen as ridiculous, because for all the factionalism that made a re-establishment of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia doubtful, the groups were united in their hatred for everything connected to the Axis powers and Partisan warfare in these mountains promised to be brutal.[3] At least now finally one would be able to sort out the clerical error that had been the bane and shame of the Regiment almost since it was formed.

    As a unit with a 'Light' Heritage, meaning in their case that as formed they had been smaller than the heavy Dragoons Regiments they had been recruiting across Scotland even after being brought up to the regulated TO&E. Now however the name was the 2nd Royal Hussars, missing the 'Scots' moniker that all other Scottish Regiments had, all because someone at the old War Office had failed to notice that unlike the 1st Hussars the 2nd was not an English Regiment. Therefore the official name had been incorrect, and any inquiries into the matter had been lost in the bulging bureaucracy of the Ministry of Defence. Jan himself had talked to the Official responsible[4] and now at last, during the rebuilding this incredible oversight would be repaired. When the Division went into action the next time, the 2nd Royal Scots Hussars would be a part of it.










    +-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten tomatoes?

    Jan, I hope you don't mind I gave you the classic .455 Webley.


    [1] I believe that blood transfusion and the various developments and discoveries around it is one of these things that are too convenient and logical not to be invented at some point. Even more so in AAO where there was a large war fought in the 1930s.

    [2] At this point I was tempted to pull something along the lines of “36 Hours”, but decided not to...

    [3] Basically I figured that the attack was something like that (in-) famous first Rommel launched in North Africa IOTL, only that this time he won't push it any further. Both sides aren't really strong enough to do much attacking at the moment. The Axis need to sort out the chaos that the defection of the minors brought them, the Allies need to sort out the front and the damage that the attack has caused, never mind try to re-equip at least some of the Balkan Forces with Allied kit. Basically the 1942 campaign season ended earlier than anyone expected.

    [4] Read: Me. I failed to anticipate the intricacies of the Regimental System..
    Last edited by trekaddict; 13-02-2011 at 00:19.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  16. #4956
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Rommel is going to end mad with this mess, and Jan won't have to fear for his hair, as it's going to turn grey with so many troubles.
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  17. #4957
    Trekaddict

    Gods that was a mess. I didn't think the Axis had the strength to launch such a counter-attack and a lot of terrain has been lost that will be costly to regain. At this point the commanders may be thinking the initial diversion of the ANZAC forces to Yugoslavia could have been a mistake as with them available Rommel's attack could have been smashed. However the Balkan intervention has produced some pretty big gains, presuming they can be held.

    The Hussar took a hell of a beating. Glad Jan made it bit a pity about the rest of his crew and so many losses in the unit.

    Don't like the mention of manpower shortages. All too likely in RL given the opponents we're facing, even with the American emigres and greater mobilisation of the empire. Not so much in total manpower but in manpower educated enough to operate successfully in a modern [i.e. WWII] conflict. Going to have to see how they handle it.

    I can't see footnotes 1 & 2. Might have missed [2] but given the clear medical detail of [1] unless my eyesights a lot worse than I think. On [4], welcome to the British civil service.

    Steve

  18. #4958
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner The Allies will pay dearly for the complacency that led to this.

    stevep It's actually much less of a mess than Rommel's first attack in RL was, mainly because this time the Allies managed to extract the bulk of their forces in one piece and the commander wasn't captured. The Balkan Invervention ITTL will be seen as we see fighting in Greece or trying to hold onto Crete, i.e. some will say it was Winston's most ridiculous idea since Gallipoli, and some will (correctly) say that the presence of strong Allied forces was what kept the Axis from pressing the attack any further.

    The 2nd Royal Scots Hussars will take some rebuilding and will probably never reach quite the same level of skill again that they had before this disaster, but the Colonel will do his utmost.

    Manpower shortages is relative. The British went to a war footing some time before war was actually declared in the first place and started training as soon as the expansion of the Armed Forces was announced, and in 1943 a large influx of green but well trained troops will bolster the Allied ranks. THese troops started training in 1939/1940 and will have almost the same abilities and standards as those of the pre-war troops. We are a very long way from the point where the British will have to disband Divisions to keep others up to strength, but eventually they might be forced to stop forming specifically 'ethnic' Regiments because at some point that will put a prohibitive strain on both the manpower pool itself and the local training machinery which can barely do the job as is. Ironically this will also lead to a faster mechanization of the Army, as anything that potentially reduces losses in the field is at least looked at.

    The Footnotes are a remnant of an early scene in that place that didn't comply with forum rules and thus had to go. I'll edit that soon.


    As for [4], the real-life counterpart of the Colonel describes himself as an underpaid, hard working Civil Servant.... Over here we have a saying for when we are faced with Bureaucracy: "Der Amtsschimmel wiehert." = "The gray horse of officialdom speaks". Loosely.
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  19. #4959
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    At least Rommel was start enough to stop the attack, but had he kept going it could have opened up the chance for a counterattack if the unblooded divisions were up to it.

    no chance of the Allies and French co-operating more then?
    And I agree, Stug III/Jagdpanther beats Hetzer hands down
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    Great AAR - still dragging myself through! Only about 50 more pages to catch up...

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