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

  1. #5781
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Steve nailed it. The OTL reasons for Dieppe (intelligence gathering, experience gathering for Overlord) don't apply and Mountbatten is tucked safely away in the Far East.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  2. #5782
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Steve nailed it. The OTL reasons for Dieppe (intelligence gathering, experience gathering for Overlord) don't apply and Mountbatten is tucked safely away in the Far East.
    All valid points, but the reason I was irritated at the mention of Dieppe was that it was a stupid, pointless waste of almost four thousand good Canadian's lives.
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  3. #5783
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperhawkZ View Post
    All valid points, but the reason I was irritated at the mention of Dieppe was that it was a stupid, pointless waste of almost four thousand good Canadian's lives.
    I know, hence why I mentioned Mountbatten.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
    "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." - Carl Schurz
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  4. #5784
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    I know, hence why I mentioned Mountbatten.
    Guys

    To be far, while he was a factor the Canadian commanders also wanted to be doing something and there was also pressure to show what could [or couldn't] be done at that point. [I.e. appeasing Stalin, showing the US and possibly the PM why an invasion wasn't practical yet and getting information and experience for when Overlord did occur].

    Steve

  5. #5785
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    My issues with Mountbatten are...supersonic, for lack of a better word.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  6. #5786
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevep View Post
    To be far, while he was a factor the Canadian commanders also wanted to be doing something
    It's true. The Canadians did want to do something: fight Fascists instead of guarding another country's island from an attack that never came. What they didn't want is to run up a beach, alone and unsupported, and die.

    But now I'm getting off topic, so that's the last I'll say of that "raid".
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  7. #5787
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    I must say, while Dieppe never happened ITTL, it was a factor in my decision to create an all-Canadian Marine Division.
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  8. #5788
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    Chapter 326


    “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.”

    Helmuth von Moltke the Elder





    MOST SECRET – CODEWORD FIRELIGHT

    EYES ONLY

    Operation Husky – Operational Outline


    Units allocated to first wave (Husky West):

    6th Airborne Division, Polish Parachute Brigade

    51st (Highland) Division, 1st Armoured Division (Royal Hussars)



    Units allocated to first wave (Husky East):

    2nd Indian Infantry (motorized), 56th (London) Division, 1st Belgian Armoured Brigade


    Detailed breakdown appendix A



    Estimated enemy Forces (Husky West)

    2x INF, 1x ARM BRIG


    Estimated enemy Forces (Husky East)

    1x INF

    Detailed breakdown appendix G


    Objective:


    The Objective of Operation Husky is to force a crossing of the Danube in two locations sufficiently built up area to sustain further offensive operations agains the Axis powers.


    Execution:

    Operation Husky has been divided into two sub-operations, Able and Baker.


    Site Able/Crossing One:

    Glider-borne elements of 6th AB and PPB are to land behind enemy lines at or around 0400 and to seize and secure landing areas and other such points to facilitate the landing of the Parachute Elements from 0600 onward. 51st HLND and 1st AD will then force a crossing. Details for each of these operations in appendixes B, C and D.


    Site Baker/Crossing Two:

    Differences in terrain and structure of available forces preclude glider/paratroop preparation. Instead with the use of extensive preparation using organic and temporarily attached Artillery and Air support elements the BAB and 56th LD will force the crossing. Note that here German and Soviet Forces are expected to be significantly weaker than at Crossing One. Details for this Operation in appendix E.

    You are hereby directed to execute Operation Husky on 20 March 1943, by order of Field Marshal Alexander, General Officer Commanding Allied Forces Europe.

    MOST SECRET - CODEWORD FIRELIGHT



    ~**---**~


    It was an ambitious plan and might have worked out perfectly if not for the fact that execution was rushed with the hurried deployment of the Airborne units.

    However the biggest issue was one that the Axis knew where, when and now with what the Allies would attack. The flight of the Lysander that had lost it's way during the night and crashed behind enemy lines had been strictly unofficial to begin with and the Canadian Officer in question had acted against standing orders and the damage was done. A great many Paras, Tankers and Footsloggers would die as a result.

    That his death would eventually go to shape Canadian History after the war through his replacement was of no consequence. For the moment the consequences were that the Axis Divisions in question were put on high alert and reserves were rushed into the area.

    Rommel was taking a gamble with his response. Instead of flooding the area with troops he opted for letting the paratroops land. If he took too many obvious steps the Allies might call the whole thing off but this way he had a chance at destroying some of the Allies' most elite, specialist troops. Husky East fell into the command area of Army Group East under Zhukov and Rommel knew that the crafty Russian could easily deal with a two Division attack. Still he was informed just so no complaints would later be registered.



    Instead Rommel, in a series of night marches, moved two of his Panzer Brigades into a central location. The briefing documents had been almost totally destroyed so the exact landing grounds were not known, but there was only a finite number of places where large numbers of gliders could land and all the most likely ones could be attacked by his Panzer reserve and lots of Artillery within less than an hour.

    The artillery came fro three different Divisions (though a standard German Infantry Division had less guns than a British-pattern one) and three wings of Stukas and Henschels stood at the ready to support operations.



    Henschel HS 129 B-1 at an Airbase in southern Bavaria. Prolifigate use of twin-engined Infiltrators such as the Mosquito and the Beaufighter by Allied Air Forces led to an order directly from Hitler that the plane was to totally replace the Ju-87 in the Luftwaffe's Close Air Support Squadrons by 1944.



    The Allies were further hamepered by the rushed execution of Husky. Originally planned for the beginning of May after the expected lengthy campaign to take Vienna and the parts of Austria that the Axis had abandoned on their own accord this meant that Husky would be executed with one instead of two Airborne Divisions (the 1st Airborne Division was still part of the theatre reserve and training elements of the new Italian Army) with almost fifteen percent of the air Squadrons (Fighter and Strike Commands alike) being not available both because they had not yet arrived in Austria or were going through extended maintenance cycles after the unexpectedly active early spring period.

    There also existed a shortage of pontoon bridges and assault craft, though ironically there were enough to cross against opposition with the units that eventually ended up partaking combat, breakdown and other losses slowed down the rate at which especially the Infantry could cross the river substantially.

    At the very least the stocks of muntions were high for once but that went for both sides.


    In the East General Colonel Zhukov made similar preparations though he was less willing than Rommel to rely on subterfuge. He did not have any need for it anyway. Soviet Signals Intelligence efforts had given him a rough idea as to where the 2nd and 56th Divisions were located so instead of sending his Tanks into a central position he quite literally stripped two of his Rifle Divisions of their tube and rocket artillery before lining these weapons up wheel to wheel covering the most likely crossing points.

    The Indian and English soldiers would have to walk a murderous gauntlet.

    In the air the Soviets had placed two full Frontal Aviation Divisions on alert, one equipped with the venerable IL-2, the other with the brand new Su-6.



    In 1941/42 the Iliushyn OKB fell from Stalin's good graces after the disastrious failure of the IL-6 Heavy Bomber programme. Because of this and because the SU-6 proved to be superior in all respects to the IL-2 even when fitted with a slightly less powerful engine the SU-6 two-seater 2nd Prototype was approved for full production in mid 1942, with the first examples arriving in Bohemia and Austria in January 1943.



    Had the operation been delayed (relative to when it was started) then the Allies would likely have spotted that the plan was known to the enemy, for then the bulk of 22 Special Air Service Regiment would have been behind enemy lines and likely detected the buildup of forces in the landing zones.

    As was the European Regiments of the Brigadier Stirling's men[1] had spent the winter in Hereford refitting after extensive deployments in France and had barely rounded Gibraltar when Vienna fell so by the time of Husky the Regiments (23 was supposed to support the Polish attacks into Slovakia and beyond) and had not yet been cleared for actuall combat deployment. 22 would eventually be deployed but not in the shape or place it had trained for.

    All in all Operation Husky was going to cost the lives of thousands of British Paratroopers, Infantrymen and Tankers and once and for all demonstrate the need for strictest security to even the densest of Staff Officers.

    +-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?

    Shorter than usual but I lost some of it due to my own laziness and decided not to bother rebuilding it as was.

    [1] There is 22 SAS, 23 SAS in Europe with 24 and 25 in Asia. Theoretically all part of the Special Air Service Brigade but de-facto commands of their own under the regional Theatre Commanders. The smallest Brigade in the British Army.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 17-11-2011 at 07:13.
    "That's right, Adolf. The British are coming." - The Eleventh Doctor
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  9. #5789
    Lt. General Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    A wall of rockets and artillery is very daunting indeed.

    This will be painful. Are the Romanians and Hungarians involved or are they simply busy holding their line?
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  10. #5790
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raaritsgozilla View Post
    A wall of rockets and artillery is very daunting indeed.

    This will be painful. Are the Romanians and Hungarians involved or are they simply busy holding their line?
    IIRC one of the conditions for accepting the ex-Axis states was that they keep operations within their own borders. The Axis probably still holds Hungary north of the Danube anyway, or the Brits would probably cross in friendly territory and go west.

    I'm so intrigued at the mention of the Canadian officer, and of his mysterious, nation-shaping successor! Who could it be? I can't wait to find out!
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  11. #5791
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    Congratulations, trekaddict - for the escapades of Felix and Ian you are the Character Writer of the Week!

    Go and say a few nice words, everyone!
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  12. #5792
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Raaritsgozilla It's supposed to be. The Allies were well due for some bad luck.

    The former Axis nations hold the line against the Soviets in expectancy of a general offensive.

    ViperhawkZ The successor is one of the sort we love to hate IOTL. Again, guesses via PM.


    Director Aaw shucks.... Going over there now.
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  13. #5793
    Trekaddict

    As you say we're due some bad luck, but was this something that actually went wrong in the game itself or an addition for dramatic effect.

    Apart from not wanting to warn the British he's onto them Rommel might also be cautious about being deceived by false information planted by British intelligence. Not sure if there has been a case of 'the man who never was' in TTL but probably something like that.

    The question is how quickly will Alexander realise and cut his losses. From the details mentioned not too early unfortunately.

    Is the Canadian successor a native son or an immigrant from the south?

    Steve

  14. #5794
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Mincemeat happened ITTL.

    Rommel did indeed hedge his bets, but luckily for him things flowed together as it were since he couldn't do much more than he did without alerting the Allies.

    Never mind that German intelligence is worth the powder it takes to blow them to bits.

    Losses will be..bad. Very bad, though I'll keep it secret if it really happened in the game, lest I spoil the whole thing.

    The Canadian is local born.
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  15. #5795
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Chapter 327





    Ian gently placed the pen on the table and glanced over to where his wife was sleeping on the couch with a Jane Austen Novel resting on her stomach. He grinned and picked up the pen to resume writing. After few more lines he decided that it was pointless to continue. Without access to the library there was no more reason to work anymore tonight, he decided and placed his attempt to re-write some aspects of his manuscript on the table.

    Instead of writing he instead looked at his sleeping wife. He liked to observe her when she did not know he was doing it, mostly because there she was at her most unguarded. He was aware that the entire family had several ghosts at least as large and dark as his own but even with them he had come to prefer the Leiters over his own parents for a whole host of reasons, even more so since the lack of a response to his letter proclaiming his marriage and the birth of his son.

    He knew that his father did not approve of the match but Ian couldn't care less. He loved the woman in the room with all the strength in his heart and he knew that the feelings went both ways.

    Felix had once remarked that it was as if Ian and Sandra were made for each other and Ian could not help but wonder what would have happened had he never met her.[1]

    he shook his head and glanced at the grandfather clock in a corner of the room. It was almost early again, and he decided against waking his wife. One last, loving glance at her and he rose to his feet and walked down across the hallway to the kitchen. He turned on the lights and quickly checked the blackout curtains before turning to the cupboards. The kettle was soon filled with water and on the oven to be heated.

    Ian reached for a large tin box and smiled as he realized that there was one good thing coming out of loosing most of his luggage at sea as it had allowed them to fill up the space and weight on the flight home with cans and boxes of the best Darjeeling Tea and Indian spices to be had in wartime India.

    When the kettle whistled to announce that the water was boiling Ian was torn out of his reverie and instead turned to filling the pot with water.

    A few minutes later the tea was drinkable and Ian used up a tiny fraction of his sugar ration for sweetening it slightly. He placed the pot and two porcelain cups on a wooden tray but before he could carry it upstairs he heard footsteps behind him and from they way it sounded he knew it was his wife.

    “I love you, you know?” she said and without turning Ian knew that she would have that lovely bed hair of hers and would be clutching the novel in her hands. And sure enough, even as she reached for a cup and pecked him on the cheek he saw that she had made a dogs hear at the page she had been reading.

    “I know.” he replied and then glanced up out of the door towards the staircase purely out of habit.

    “Sean is asleep, Ian.” she said as she saw where he was looking. Then as she looked at his face she felt her own fall. She knew that look, she had seen it far too often on his face and that of her brother and father not to.

    She hated it that Ian and Felix kept having to risk their lives and apparently liked whatever work made them do it but she knew better than to argue and re-ignite a fight that they had had before. In the end she had relented that Ian would eventually despise himself if he could not do his part in the war, there was nothing he loved more than his country, with the exception of his family and when his patriotism was questioned Ian could be incredibly pig-headed. He would do anything for Queen and Country and if she was to be honest, so would Felix.

    The two of them reminded her far too much of an even more fiercy patriotic version of Horatio Hornblower for her liking but at the same time she knew just what the two were fighting against. Ian knew better than to tell her everything he knew, but she suspected that even what he told her was still a sanitized version of what was going on.

    When Felix had returned from the dead she had noticed his hatred for the Germans but in the last couple of months Ian's hatred for the Nazis and the Communists had become even more obvious and fierce.

    What was it that Churchill had said? 'The least bad system yet devised'.

    Her husband and her brother certainly both lived that idea, and she had read up enough on Royal Navy decorations to know that they had often shown deeds to follow words, in fact there was a persistent rumour that had reached her via her firewatch duty that their DSOs had been presented to them by the late King George in person.

    “I can't help it, my love.”

    “I know.” she replied and placed the hand not holding the cup on his shoulder.

    Ian glanced down at her and saw that she didn't like it but was honest with him. He watched her as she walked over to the door, turned the lightswitch and then removed the blackout curtains from the large French windows in the kitchen. Without words they both watched the sun rise over blacked out London and slowly drank the tea.

    When they heard the morning paper being delivered Sandra turned to him and looked into his eyes with a worried look of her own.

    “Do you know anything?”

    Ian just hugged her and placed his chin on the top of her head.

    “No, love. All I know is that I am to report for orders to the Admiralty next week.”

    That was not perfectly true, but all he could tell her. He himself knew nothing more that next week he and Felix where to report to the back entrance of Downing Street for orders. Whatever the PM had in mind for them it was going to be both big and highly dangerous.

    Normally Ian would do what he was ordered without blinking but the last weeks spent with his wife and son made him appreciate just how mortal he and how limited his time was. It wasn't that he wouldn't be willing to risk it all for Queen and Country but now that he wasn't just looking out for himself he had a far stronger urge than usual to make it back in one piece.

    He released his wife from the hug and went to get the paper. He opened the door and looked up when he heard the familiar roar of engines. Overhead at least three dozen Lancasters were flying south-east. He picked up the Times and threw a quick salute at the formation before stepping back inside.

    With the routine that they had suddenly developed he already knew what Sandra would be doing, and sure enough when he stepped into the eating room she had already placed breakfast on the table and without a worked he plucked the paper apart, handing her the front pages while he contended with the crossword puzzle. Eight across, other term for supreme ruler. Ian scribbled 'overlord' into the brackets.

    He glanced upwards as Sandra asked him for the still half-full pot of tea. He gladly poured some into her cup.

    “Here's one for you.” he said with a smirk. “Five down, City in Nebraska, first an O.”

    With that incredibly cute frown on her face she thought and replied eventually. “Omaha.”

    That moment the doorbell and the telephone on the counter rang at the same time. Sandra only glanced at Ian with a mixture of pity and regret and then went to open the door (finding her brother there) and to get Sean who had been woken up by the double racket.


    “Ouch.” Felix said as he watched his sister stomp off up the stairs. “She's an Army brat though, she'll understand.”

    Ian poured Felix some tea and remarked that Felix wasn't the one who had to suffer until that happened.

    “Still, she loves you enough to know that for once it isn't your fault.”

    “And that is rare enough, things not being my fault.” Ian agreed with a smile. He looked at his in-law and his smile faded.

    “What brings you here in uniform that early in the morning?”

    “That meeting we were supposed to go to?”

    Ian nodded in understanding and downed the rest of his cup.

    “Well then, time to put on the uniform and return to the salt mines.”

    “I'd rather go into the salt mines at times. At least there no one tries to shoot you.”

    It was then that Sandra returned with Sean who wanted to be held by his father in her arms. “Work?”

    “Unfortunately.” Ian said and took Sean.

    It took Ian almost half an hour to unglue himself from his family and put on his uniform.

    “When are we supposed to arrive at the hallowed heart of the Empire?”

    “In an hour. Knowing how domestic you are these days I came somewhat early.”

    Ian just smiled and climbed into the car.


    +-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?


    [1] OTL Fleming didn't have much luck in his private life, and his heart attacks and relatively early death can at least in part be attributed to it. ITTL he will live (and write) far longer than OTL. The contract he signs with Universal will also state that he has creative control over all his work which in turn means that all scripts have to be approved by him (or after his death the estate) before being turned into moving pictures.
    Last edited by trekaddict; 17-11-2011 at 07:14.
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  16. #5796
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post

    What was it that Churchill had said? 'The least bad system yet devised'.
    "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other ones that have been tried."

    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post

    “Here's one for you.” he said with a smirk. “Five down, City in Nebraska, first an O.”
    I was under the impression that the UAPR had abolished the states and set up some chunky internal divisions?
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  17. #5797
    Quote Originally Posted by ViperhawkZ View Post
    I was under the impression that the UAPR had abolished the states and set up some chunky internal divisions?
    Who outside the UAPR cares? And certainly no one in Felix Leiter's company.
    "Politics is warfare conducted by other means." Prince Yukihito.

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  18. #5798
    Lt. General Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    Haha, smooooth.

    Overlord and Omaha randomly appearing in the crossword? Spies I say! Spies!
    "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre"

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  19. #5799
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    ViperhawkZ I heard that quote both ways and I simply liked the one I used better.

    KiMaSa Pretty much. The chaps behind the puzzle figured that 99% of Britons wouldn't know the new sub-divisions so they used the old state names.

    Raaritsgozilla So you heard the urban legend that shortly before Overlord the names of the landing beaches appeared in the puzzle, someone noticed and then no sleep was had by a lot of people? I wrote in the crossword because I like doing the one we get in our own local rag and then thought of the legend.
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  20. #5800
    Lt. General Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    Actually yeah, now I do remember that. It was one big coincidence right?
    "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre"

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    Land of the Long Red Cloud, A narrative New Zealand AAR Newly Updated 17/9/10
    Rebirth of an empire, A 1936 AAR Great Britain reclaims her spot at the top of the world! (Abandoned)

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