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Thread: The King's First Minister - a UK AAR

  1. #2541
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    What is the task of the First Sea Lord?
    And seconds, thirds etc?

  2. #2542
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    Perhaps having Eden dealing with the Dominions would be better. He would be far away from London However, he may manage to cause a "1776 revisited".

    PS: Silly question. How are Peter and Richard Wood doing?
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  3. #2543
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Pip View Post
    First off - Lord Hankey as PM? While it would be a spectacular improvement and one that I would immensely enjoy seeing I suspect you meant "Lord Halifax". Shame as PM Hankey would doubtless ensure the RN was properly resourced!
    Bugger

    Corrected, Sir. Many thanks. Last time I write an update knackered!
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  4. #2544
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    Perhaps having Eden dealing with the Dominions would be better. He would be far away from London However, he may manage to cause a "1776 revisited".
    He'll talk them into seizing the Suez Canal.
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  5. #2545
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    I'm was sort of waiting for Eden to say "My Lord, you're fired!", but hope does spring eternal!
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  6. #2546
    1SL appointment will be interesting--I think most of the obvious choices are wanted in the field ... anyone for bringing Chatfield out of retirement for another go? ; )

    The reshuffle seems mostly positive (Butler at the treasury excepted perhaps), and certainly burnishes Stanley's and Butler's respective resumes.
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  7. #2547
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    Wh do I feel like the Hawks might have bitten off more than they can chew?
    That is, they've made Halifax very cross. And he feels like the type who would bear a grudge forever.
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  8. #2548
    Does Butler know anything about economy?

    What are qualifications for Chancellor, does he usually has to have some experience in economic matters, does he have advisors or...???

  9. #2549
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlstadt Boy View Post
    Does Butler know anything about economy?

    What are qualifications for Chancellor, does he usually has to have some experience in economic matters, does he have advisors or...???
    As recent examples have shown, politiking is the only skill one must have.
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  10. #2550
    OTL, on appointing Butler Chancellor Churchill told him "It is no great matter that you are not an economist, I wasn't either." ; )
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  11. #2551
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Jones View Post
    Chapter 204, Downing Street, 11 June 1942
    Happy birthday to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Jones View Post
    Halifax sat back in his chair and allowed himself a smile at the American’s joke. The American was Mr Samuel ‘Sam’ Rayburn, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and his easygoing, Southern charm had been highly successful during this visit to London in company with the third American Ambassador in as many years, Averall Harriman. The Americans had instantly captivated Lady Halifax, who had insisted that their initial morning meeting with the Prime Minister became a luncheon, and then, after Rayburn and Fitzroy, the genial, languid Speaker of the Commons, had clearly forged the beginnings of a friendship they had retired to Halifax’s drawing room for an afternoon of tall stories, political anecdotes and mutually dubious stories of fishing and shooting.
    You handled Rayburn and Harriman quite well, Le Jones.

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    “Prime Minister,” Eden began, his voice sounding strained, “it is clear that a careful revision of our leadership is needed.”
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    The British war leadership:
    I enjoyed watching Halifax shake up his government.
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  12. #2552
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    Halifax has managed to get out of this better than I would have expected given his weak position- he's had to make some concessions but Eden and the hawks still have no alternative than to support him and he's managed to keep the Foreign Office and the Treasury out of the hands of his enemies. Making Butler Chancellor looks like a clever move now but it'll depend on how well he performs. Stanley was a good Chancellor and if Butler screws things up or is seen to fail then it's not going to reflect very well on Halifax.

  13. #2553
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    Chapter 205 Plymouth, 16 June 1942



    Lord Hankey’s car rolled past the Barbican and up towards the Hoe, the massive fortifications of the Plymouth defences on his right. Looking left, over the entrance to this massive West Country port, he saw the sleek lines of a light cruiser shining brightly in the summer sun as she slipped quietly into the English Channel. It was a very hot day.

    Hankey’s car led a small convoy in which the new American Ambassador, Averell Harriman, the ‘Court favourite’, Walter Monckton and the new Foreign Secretary, Oliver Stanley, journeyed for lunch onboard one of the capital ships in the Naval base. Commodore Holland, sitting in the back of Hankey’s car with him, was the only other member of the party who was aware of the second, secret objective of the visit. Whilst the new Foreign Secretary had his baptism of fire in dealing with the Americans, Hankey would affect the changes required of the Royal Navy’s upper echelons. Sighing at the bittersweet thought that despite the gorgeous weather it was going to be a hard day, Hankey looked again at his notes.



    HMS Prince of Wales still bore the scars of her February battle with the Japanese. After accompanying the battered HMS Valiant to Hong Kong, both ships had limped home to refits and crew changes. Prince of Wales was in decent shape materially and so after a period of training with the Home Fleet she would, in time, rejoin the Commonwealth fleets in the Far East. The Party was piped onboard and led to the Wardroom, where the officers cordially welcomed their American guests.



    Hankey remained on the quarterdeck, and turned to see Admiral Tovey, Commander in Chief of the Home Fleet, walking towards him.

    “Admiral,” Hankey greeted him quite curtly.

    “My Lord,” Tovey said with equal brevity.

    Both men smoked. “I asked to meet with you to discuss the changes that we will soon be making at the Admiralty.”

    “I understand that you will be recalling Admiral Forbes to be First Sea Lord?”

    “I will; he has the necessary experience, and did reasonably well in the Home Fleet command in nineteen forty.”

    Tovey was a very proper officer and didn’t ask any questions. “The Home Fleet will be delighted to serve the new First Sea Lord.”

    Hankey winced; he knew it was time to play his hand. “Yes, Sir John, but not under your command. I’m sending you to Washington. You’re to command the British Military Mission to the United States.”

    “Harwood?”

    “Vice-Admiral Harwood will go the Philippines to join the new Allied Coordination Command out there. We’re not sure what use it will serve but we have to go along with it and we’ll need an officer who understands the Americans. Harwood is the obvious choice: he practically built the Military Mission single-handedly.”

    “And I am to replace him?”

    Hankey nodded. “I need someone senior, someone who has the clout to talk to General Marshall and Mr Stimson. And you’ll have their Admiral King to deal with; from what Lord Gort said of their meeting last month he is something of a scoundrel, and he’ll be your challenge now.”

    Tovey looked out over the Hamoaze and nodded slowly. “When do you want me to leave?”

    “We’re sending Eden and Stanley out there soon for talks about the Chinese. You’ll go along with them in Prince of Wales to fly the flag.”

    After a discreet signal from Hankey Commodore Holland approached the two men. “My Lord, Admiral, I am sent to request you attend the reception in the Wardroom.”

    “In a minute, Hooky,” Hankey said with a smile. “Admiral Tovey has agreed to our proposal.”

    “May I congratulate you Sir,” Holland said with genuine warmth.

    “Thank you, I think”, Tovey said without a smile. “Will you excuse me, I must join our guests.” He walked off towards a ladder chain.

    “He took it well,” Hankey said distantly. “He also agrees with me. About Forbes.”

    “I still maintain that Ramsay or Somerville would have been better choices, Sir.”

    “No, no, Hooky, you don’t understand. Ramsay did alright in supporting the BEF in nineteen-forty but has never held a significant command. And Somerville is too important where he is. If the Americans get their way with these silly ‘theatre commanders’ he’ll end up as the Allied CINC for all of South East Asia.”

    “May I ask an innappropriate question?”

    “Of course.”

    “What was the PM’s view?”

    “On the job of First Sea Lord? He wanted Admiral James, apparently they know each other distantly and His Lordship took the view that he would provide a softer style than Admiral Pound. But Eden wanted Admiral Horton but Horton is...”

    “...tainted by Longbow,” Holland completed the sentence. “Not to mention that he primarily a submariner.”

    “But he works well with the Army,” Hankey said, wrestling with the varying personalities, “and so he’ll now work with Eden in the Defence Coordination Ministry.” Hankey stood to attention with Holland as a destroyer sailed past. “So Admiral Forbes is the compromise candidate.”

    Holland was a discreet man and enjoyed being the principal military aide to the First Lord. “Shall I prepare a communique?”

    “Please. We’re actually quite pleased about all this, so make it a positive one.”

    “Of course, My Lord. Are there any other personnel announcements?”

    “One. Rear-Admiral Mountbatten will shortly be announced as Commander Amphibious Operations.” Hankey saw the look of confusion on Holland’s face. “It’s a new position, to learn from the mistakes of Longbow. The appointment is purely political: Mountbatten lobbied the King who lobbied Lord Halifax who lobbied me. I hope he can craft something out of Longbow.”



    Holland gestured towards the sound, where HMS Anson, the first of the new class of battleships, was anchored. Her fitting out had been set back for a couple of weeks to allow Prince of Wales’ repairs to take place. Hankey had ordered that a Royal Dockyard should be able to cope with two such projects and now watched with satisfaction as a pilot craft sped off to the massive warship; she would be towed in on the next flood tide.

    The two men entered the Wardroom to hear Captain Leach, Prince of Wales’ CO, making an eloquent speech praising the recent American successes off New Guinea and informing them all of a recent American submarine raid on a Japanese convoy near the Marianas. Hankey was impressed; the US Navy was now really flexing its muscle, hunting the Japanese to destruction. But like their Royal Navy allies, they too were still seeking that elusive great victory. Both navies were seemingly winning by waging wars of attrition, nibbling away at the Imperial Japanese Navy and claiming a capital ship here and there. Hankey, unlike some in the Cabinet, was happy to take success in whatever way it appeared.

    Hankey found himself in company with Harriman. “Ah, Ambassador, I am intrigued,” Hankey lowered his voice conspiratorially, “to hear how you reported our recent changes to the Government.”

    Harriman smiled, knowing that he had to be careful. “We know that Oliver Stanley was a good First Lord before you, and that he is supportive of the alliance.”

    “But?”

    Harriman winced, then carelessly waved a hand, in what Hankey, who knew Americans, called the ‘oh what the hell’ gesture. “We’re worried that his Under Secretary of State is Mr Hogg. He has made some unsupportive comments in the past.”

    “Don’t worry about Quentin,” Hankey said in a confident, reassuring tone. “He’s Halifax’s mole in the Foreign Office now that Rab has moved on. He’s really there to make sure Oliver doesn’t upset the Germans.”

    “And will he?”

    “We don’t think so; he’ll behave, but he won’t mess about. If Herr Hitler turns nasty we’ll be ready.”

    Harriman nodded. “The Home Fleet?”

    Hankey inclined his head. “And Fighter Command, and Bomber Command. Not to mention the BEF. But here’s the man himself.” Hankey looked at Oliver Stanley, who now wandered over to the two men.

    “Foreign Secretary,” Harriman said with a smile.

    “I’m getting to used to that, slowly,” Stanley said with an amiable smile. “Though this visit today is an easy one.”

    “Good preparation for America.”

    “Regarding which, Ambassador, we need to have a chat. I need to know what the President’s priorities are for the alliance.”

    “The same as you,” Harriman said with confidence, “the defeat of the Japanese.”

    “A ha. I need to tell you, Averell, you need to send this back to Washington. I’m in the process of ripping up much of Rab’s policies. But I agree with him on two key themes.”

    “Which are?” That was Hankey, intrigued and not afraid to show ignorance.

    Stanley smiled. “To wage the war.”

    “And the second?” Harriman also smiled.

    “To preserve the British Empire. From all threats.” It was delivered bluntly; Harriman knew that he was being warned.

    “I shall pass that on, Foreign Secretary,” Harriman said formally.

    “There’s no point whining later on when the President starts to meddle. So I’m warning you now, it’s ‘hands off’ British territory.”

    The two men, from different worlds, with differing views, nevertheless shook on the understanding that Harriman had gained. Captain Leach, ever eager to be a welcoming host, propelled a steward in the direction of the three politicians.

    “Excuse me, Sir, but Captain Leach wondered if you would like a ‘horse’s neck’?”

    Harriman almost choked as he laughed. “A what?”

    “Brandy and ginger beer,” Hankey explained. “But probably more of the former.”

    “We’ll all have one,” Stanley said.

    The steward returned and the three men clinked glasses. “To allies,” Stanley offered.

    “To the Royal Navy,” Harriman replied,

    “To the United States Navy,” Hankey toasted.

    [Game Effect] – After wars, political upheavals, a gentle update as the political changes are completed.

    This update was originally intended to talk about the change of First Sea Lord, but to be honest Forbes wasn’t massively interesting. Having discussed this El Pip and Trekaddict, I think that with the obvious candidates (Somerville and Cunningham) needed in the Far East, there were only a handful of potentials, I listed them as Forbes, James, and Horton. Horton can be ruled out immediately for his submariner ‘bent’ as well as his support for Longbow; he just wouldn’t be a uniting candidate. James would, invariably, be Halifax’s preference, but having pensioned off one amiable old salt I cannot see Hankey putting in another one. That leaves Forbes, who therefore becomes First Sea Lord due to his decent record, the fact that he has held active commands, and the fact that he isn’t one of the other candidates.

    An admiral I’d love to see become 1SL, but who is sadly just too junior, is Tovey. He is my choice for the role played by Dill OTL, i.e. leading the British military team in Washington, replacing Harwood, who’s going out to the Far East. Tovey and Dill have a lot in common; both were sharp, perceptive men, though I suspect that Dill is the better diplomat and that Tovey will not take any nonsense.

    Harriman and Stanley both have good first outings, Stanley attempting to draw a line over some of the tensions that hindered the Washington summit.

    El Pip: Stanley is starting off slowly at the FO, but will certainly need Cadogan close by for the America visit.

    Enewald:

    First Sea Lord – Chief of the Naval Staff
    Second Sea Lord – Personnel
    Third Sea Lord – Procurement
    Fourth Sea Lord – Supplies
    Fifth Sea Lord – Chief of Naval Air Services

    Kurt_Steiner: I agree about Eden, but he will not want to move from his powerbase in the War Office. I’ll put something about Halifax’s sons in a later update.

    Trekaddict:

    Sir Humphrey: Not yet, anyway...

    DonnieBaseball: The 1SL appointment is a headache, for Hankey and me!

    Arilou: A good point – the hawks are now totally responsible for the war, and if anything else goes wrong they will have to take responsibility. Halifax does bear grudges, and will remember how Eden caused so much uncertainty.

    Carlstadt Boy: To be honest, no. Butler knows very little. But there no (theoretically) qualifications needed. He’s an MP, it’s a good job, Halifax wants someone there he can (politically) trust.

    Trekaddict: Sadly true.

    DonnieBaseball:

    Nathan Madien: Harriman will of course feature again.

    Zhuge Liang: The direct swap between Butler and Stanley was a good move by Halifax, and was totally unforeseen by the Party. But it really was his last card and any other changes will be costly.
    Last edited by Le Jones; 02-07-2010 at 17:33.
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  14. #2554
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Stanley has, thus far, been everything I hoped he would be. Sure it's just one meeting, but Butler would inevitably have arsed it up and Stanley didn't thus making him immeasurably better.

    Nice to see my man made it to the top, I'd agree Forbes is not the most interesting chap but there are worse choices and the 'pool' available isn't impressive. Though the next generation just a rung below is a different matter, the post-Forbes choice will be a very hard one due to the shear number of outstanding candidates.

    And huzzahs all round for HMS Anson, while I still think she's under-gunned (OK technically 12 x 16.5 means she's well gunned but she could have been better) it will still be good to see her strut her stuff in the Far East.
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  15. #2555
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    Please tell me Anson doesn't look like Vanguard.
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  16. #2556
    I like Stanley as FM already.

  17. #2557
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    What are the Japs doing?
    Reactions to the changes in the east?
    Or just trying to defend as well as possible on all fronts?

  18. #2558
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  19. #2559
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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  20. #2560
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    Well at least Halifax managed to get Butler out of the Foreign Office. Stanley seems to be doing well so far but it should be... fun to see what any meetings with Roosevelt will be like with this course of action.

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