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

  1. #6021
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    Chapter 342



    The cab stopped two blocks from the British Embassy in Bern and two ragged figures stepped out. In spite of their appearance they both appeared to be in the best of spirits. One of them whistled British Grenadiers as they swiftly walked down the street towards the Embassy.


    “Ahh, there's something good to see!” Ian exclaimed as he saw the Union Flag on it's pole.

    “It is.”

    The guard at the entrance was much perturbed when the two walked up and demanded entrance but the Class One Identity Cards they both produced cut through his own outrage as this happened every other day at this particular embassy.

    The British Ambassador was elated to see them. He had been aware of the mission and been worried. Normally he would not do so but he knew enough of the mission to make him sit on coals. The war might have been over in months instead of years, though by the looks of the two Officers in his study it wouldn't happen.

    Dressed in Uniforms from the lugguage they had left behind at the embassy before setting off they were now sitting there, drinking rare import Tea from India and mentally composing his report. Being back in a British Uniform and at least for the moment on British soil did a lot to raise his spirits.

    “Frankly Sir, the entire mission was a total wash.” Ian said, “If there ever was a German resistance it's well and truly dead now. And from what I heard said at the meeting they could have benefited from some organisation.”

    The Ambassador nodded. “So what's next for you?”

    Ian looked up. “I'm afraid that is confidential Sir, though I must ask for permission to use your communications room.”

    When Ian he saw that Felix, who had not said a word during the entire meeting was staring into the distance. “Felix?”

    Felix startled back into reality and looked up at Ian. “What can I help you with?”

    “You okay?”

    “Oh yes, no worries.”

    With that Felix rose and followed Ian outside.

    Once alone in the communications room Ian quickly composed a message, coded it and prepared it for transmission. Before it was transmitted over the airwaves it would be decoded again to make it harder for the enemy to figure out what was being said, and even the plain text was nearly unusable for anyone but Ian and some unknown communications clerk at Century House.


    It took him three hours and six cups of tea to emerge again. With his usual flourish he announced to Felix, the only person in sight or earshot: “We are going to Africa!”

    “Surely you're joking.”

    “Alas, I fear not. I'd rather see my wife and child myself but it seems the Queen requires our presence in Africa.”

    “Where, if I may ask?”

    “I don't know. But the way this sounds, we just finished our last solo-mission behind enemy lines.”

    “Dear god. It must be something big then.”


    It was.



    The first incarnation of Torchwood Intitute Insignia. Even after production of Nuclear Weapons at the Institute (and it's subsidiary facilities) itself ceased each device is painted with this logo on the inside of the casing. Today the Institute is still instrumental in the development of advanced nuclear devices, general nuclear research and other highly classified activities with branch facilities all over the Empire and the Commonwealth.



    ~**---**~


    “Just for the record, whoever decided to put the Institute here should be made to carry the car with us and our bags within.”

    Ian knew that Felix wasn't really complaining about the remoteness of their location but rather that they had been flown half across the empire with less than two day's layover in Rome instead of enjoying what reportedly was the best British summer in years. That Felix hated the tropical whites didn't help but at least the air inside the brand new administration building was kept in motion by the ventilators that were hanging from every bit of available roof surface.

    They were not granted access to any of the laboratories but there cooling was provided. It was highly energy intensive but needed.


    On the more than 30 Square miles that the Institute covered at that point everything from housing to laboratories covered the land. Their security clearances were hardly high enough to even know how large the institute was, let alone know what was going on there. Officially the security was still explained with materials research and in fact one discovery made here that was highly valuable and would go on to change the world in it's own little way was Polytetrafluoroethylene.[1]

    It would still take two years to assemble the first actual device for the famous first test and another one for it's actual first employment in Germany but even when one didn't know what the true purpose was it was clear that this was a maximum effort.

    It was strange that Professor Enstein now looked even healthier than he had in Wales which was probably due to the local climate and his habit to walk from his house to his office each morning instead of using one of the official cars the higher levels of the Institute were provided with.

    He met them at the entrance gates to escort them to his Office. This was standard procedure but Einstein was well aware what had happened when he had met them last.


    Once they were all placed and issued refreshments the Professor opened the conversation.

    “Now, before you ask, my department heads are not cleared for knowing the details of how you came by this information but they will be given all the scientific data.”

    “If any, Sir.” Ian said and when Einstein looked at him quizzically he went on: “A sheer sense of scale, Professor. I doubt it's the full extent of their efforts and there's still the Soviets to contend with but considering it was Heisenberg who worked there..”

    “You are sure about that?”

    “Yes we are, Sir.” Ian replied, “he happened to be present when we entered the...facility and I spoke to him myself. However my colleague here wandered around and took the pictures so he is better at answering any questions in that regard.”

    Felix took his cue and handed the few pictures to the Professor.

    “The size of the entire facility, excluding the guard shack would barely fill the space of this floor. I'd estimate it at little more than five metres across and thirty deep. The reactor pile is similar to the one you used when in Wales though at the time these pictures were taken it was empty of any fuel or fluids.”

    Einstein studied the pictures for a few minutes and had to agree with the initial observations. On a sheer sense of scale even at it's worst the funding for the Institute had always allowed for far more substantial research than this.

    “How deep was the core?”

    “I couldn't be too interested in the core itself for obvious reasons but judging by the length of the chains[2] it wasn't very deep.”

    “Thank you.” Einstein turned towards Ian. “What were they using for a moderating agent?”

    “According to Professor Heisenberg there is a critical shortage of Heavy Water in Germany and from on high there is a standing order that the Soviets are not to be made aware that the Germans even have a programme. What that tells us is that they don't trust each other.” That was an understatement but Einstein wasn't cleared to see the papers that were waiting for them in Field Marshal Alexander's Safe.

    “What they intend to use is a mixture of Paraffin and whatever quantities of Heavy Water can be produced in Germany.”

    Ian hadn't been told but he strongly suspected that the biggest other source of Heavy Water, Norway, was exclusively selling to Britain at premium rates.

    “Well, I hope you have written a more detailed report.”


    “I have.”


    +-+-+-+-+-

    Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?

    [1] To us more commonly known as Teflon. However that brandname doesn't exist here as it was trademarked by an American company in 1938 after discovering it by accident, here it was also by accident some time later.

    [2] Used to hang the reaction Mass. Cube-shaped bits of a Uranium compound.
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  2. #6022
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    To start the new year with an update is always a good thing.

    But to have Einstein in it makes it even better.

    Now it would be nice to return to the frontlines...
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  3. #6023
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    Africa?

    Ok I know history is a lot different here but decolonisation I would imagine is still going to happen. So I'm assuming it's not a permanent facility surely?

    Unless TTL the British Empire saunters down to the rubbish heap of history a lot more sedately then in OTL.

  4. #6024
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Kurt_Steiner I am currently plotting that update.

    Agent Larkin Actually.... they did an adjusted version of this which basically excepted the Commonwealth Nations from it. It's not exactly the same. Westminster looses a few more powers to the Imperial Parliament, the former Colonies (and their popularly elected Parliaments and IMPs) get a few more devolved to them and India is de facto but not de Jure a country in Personal and Political Union with the British Empire and has considerable independence, up to and including their own Army, Navy and Air Force within the Imperial Command structure.

    Technically the old, colonial Empire is already on the trash heap and the Brits are now at a place similar to where the German Empire was in the 1870s. Only with fewer constituent parts.

    This is basically the main but only somewhat ASB thing I build this universe around.

    It's not totally plausible but a necessary plot device to keep Britain THE western Power that the USA were in Real Life. But fear not. The Emerald Isle will remain very much independent.
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  5. #6025
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Kurt_Steiner But fear not. The Emerald Isle will remain very much independent.
    Nah I'm not worried about that. Even with a Britain becoming a 20th/21st century Superpower I think it's safe to say that taking back over Ireland would not be worth the effort.

    And besides I can already tell that Ireland is going to be stuck on the same track as Britain internationally, maybe not fully but I doubt my nations history of neutrality *cough*cowardice bullshit*cough* is going to be the same TTL. As to borrow a phrase attributed to a Canadian politician whose name I can't recall talking about US - Canadian relations "When you sleep next to an elephant you learn to be careful of it's movements."

  6. #6026
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    Continued in a different post:

    The Empire, with the exception of India, isn't actually that much unlike the USA in terms of the basic political structure though of course that's a gross oversimplification. During the transitional period (WW2 to the 70s) the whole thing is held together by loyalty to the Crown, prosperity and the shared experiences during the War, afterwards a generation that never knew anything else grows up and starts to see it as just another country. Slightly ASB but I am more interested in examining the universe rather than what led to it coming into being.

    That being said, Africa will indeed see decolonisation. The French especially will have a massive problem with locals pointing at the British Empire and saying "We want that.". Paris will be rather more reluctant than London to devolve powers to the Natives and in the end we will have a delayed conflict in Algeria.

    Indochina on the other hand... let's say this particular part is solved by 1955 and will have a rather different outcome.

    The example of the British will lead to the rest of Africa decolonizing slower and more sedately, leaving all of those countries in much better shape (especially the Congo) and with far better relations with Europe. Some will hold on to a few bits and pieces though, especially Portugal in regards to Macao and their bits in India, being forced by popular and British pressure to go for a British solution in what they have left.

    The Americans will of course try to mess with that, but as El Pip so succinctly put it a while back, a lot in the Empire will say things along the lines of "The evil British are oppressing us by giving us the vote!", laugh and go on with their lives.
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  7. #6027
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Larkin View Post
    Nah I'm not worried about that. Even with a Britain becoming a 20th/21st century Superpower I think it's safe to say that taking back over Ireland would not be worth the effort.
    They have no need to do it nor any desire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Larkin View Post
    And besides I can already tell that Ireland is going to be stuck on the same track as Britain internationally, maybe not fully but I doubt my nations history of neutrality *cough*cowardice bullshit*cough* is going to be the same TTL. As to borrow a phrase attributed to a Canadian politician whose name I can't recall talking about US - Canadian relations "When you sleep next to an elephant you learn to be careful of it's movements."
    Indeed. Economically Ireland will try to orient itself more towards the continent for political reasons, but with godless hethen Communists just across the pond and Ireland having suffered considerably during the War they will always remain a close ally.
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  8. #6028
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    With Italy defeated, what is the fate of Libya/Eritrea/Somaliland/Ethiopia?
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  9. #6029
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperhawkZ View Post
    With Italy defeated, what is the fate of Libya/Eritrea/Somaliland/Ethiopia?
    Pretty much as in RL.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Pretty much as in RL.
    Meaning gradual decolonization, socio-economic ruin, and/or dictatorial takeovers?

    Oh, by the way, what's the UAPR's stance on racial issues? I was watching this, you see.

    One last thing: what happened to Company Sergeant Major John R. Osborn? Dead or alive, he has to get a VC. The Great White North and the Fragrant Harbour demands it.

    Marc A

  11. #6031
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusAurelius1 View Post
    Meaning gradual decolonization, socio-economic ruin, and/or dictatorial takeovers?
    More like what happened during the War. Afterwards it's another game entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusAurelius1 View Post
    Oh, by the way, what's the UAPR's stance on racial issues? I was watching this, you see.
    Officially there is no racial issue. The Armed Forces are fully integrated and revolutionary comradeship does away with any colour distinction. Unofficially and de-facto this is still 1940s America. Not as bad as in OTL but nowhere near what things are today.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusAurelius1 View Post
    One last thing: what happened to Company Sergeant Major John R. Osborn? Dead or alive, he has to get a VC. The Great White North and the Fragrant Harbour demands it.

    Marc A
    *googles* No VC so far but the Canadians are in for a rough time in the near future, and the Winniepeg Grenadiers are part of the 2nd (Canadian) Division as part of the 1st Canadian Army in Romania.
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  12. #6032
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    OTL's British decolonisation is rather nastier than commonly thought - plenty of hushed up murders, tortures, colective punishment etc - not quite Algeria but...

    See the recent court case about torture by former Kenyan Mau Mau fighters - eventually someone found the 'lost' archive of papers brought back at independence for 'the prevention of embarassment'. There's a country house somewhere isolated in the home counties where all the papers have been stored. The Foreign Office had been denying all knowledge for decades. William Hague (Foreign Secretary) has ordered transcription and publication - it's not just Kenya.

    IIRC your Torchwood facility is in Kenya isn't it?


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  13. #6033
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrawnStar View Post
    OTL's British decolonisation is rather nastier than commonly thought - plenty of hushed up murders, tortures, colective punishment etc - not quite Algeria but...
    Not to get too OT but I think that was actually common in those times. Here it's an Irony that countries seeking closer ties to the Empire will look at doing it better or at least be better at hiding it.


    Quote Originally Posted by PrawnStar View Post
    See the recent court case about torture by former Kenyan Mau Mau fighters - eventually someone found the 'lost' archive of papers brought back at independence for 'the prevention of embarassment'. There's a country house somewhere isolated in the home counties where all the papers have been stored. The Foreign Office had been denying all knowledge for decades. William Hague (Foreign Secretary) has ordered transcription and publication - it's not just Kenya.
    Again, there's probably a similar house somewhere in France with similar files, never mind Portugal and Spain.

    Not to condone what has happened, I am merely saying I'm not at all surprised.

    Quote Originally Posted by PrawnStar View Post
    IIRC your Torchwood facility is in Kenya isn't it?
    Alas, that falls under the Offical Secrets Act.
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  14. #6034
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    Last edited by trekaddict; 03-01-2012 at 17:20.
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  15. #6035
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    I'm also cross-posting this as an ongoing piece on ah.com, so...
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    Hmmm... I wonder what would happen if you ISOT TTL's Canada and Hong Kong to OTL on December 21, 2012 ()

    Marc A

  18. #6038
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    The Chinese would shit Bricks (for Hong Kong is not only larger ITTL but also heavily defended. it would take an costly attack to take it), the Americans would be worried since not only is there suddenly a Nuclear Power but also an Army of more than 750.000 from a half a dozen Countries to their North. Whom are all geared to defend against an American attack.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    The Chinese would shit Bricks (for Hong Kong is not only larger ITTL but also heavily defended. it would take an costly attack to take it), the Americans would be worried since not only is there suddenly a Nuclear Power but also an Army of more than 750.000 from a half a dozen Countries to their North. Whom are all geared to defend against an American attack.
    What do you mean by "larger" and "heavily defended"? I'm dying to know...

    Marc A

  20. #6040
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusAurelius1 View Post
    What do you mean by "larger" and "heavily defended"? I'm dying to know...

    Marc A
    You'll find out eventually....
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