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Thread: Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R.

  1. #141
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    I'm back, everyone! Update will be coming sometime this week!
    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

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  2. #142
    Field Marshal misterbean's Avatar
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    huh. I seem to have deleted my subscription by accident
    Germany Tutorial, Take Two: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...2#post13243122 or find it in the Major Threads sticky.
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  3. #143
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    Good news! I've missed this!

  4. #144
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Just found this AAR today, very fun read. Subscribed for hopeful future updates.
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  5. #145
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    Sorry guys, been really busy lately. I will try my best to get an update up this Thursday or Friday. Saturday may be the best day, but I should get an update on here by the end of this week.
    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

    Support freedom, oppose al-Assad.

  6. #146
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    Sorry about the wait guys, but here's the long awaited update. I know it's not very long, but I was struggling to find inspiration and also wanted to try something new. I would like to hear your opinions on whether you like it or not.



    Author’s Note: I think that one of these narrative sections has already been included in this AAR, but I don’t think I have explained what I want to do with them. The basic plan is that, now and again, I will include narrative sections. As you can see, these will be pretty rare in peace-time. When at war, however, they should come in more often. They will not form a continuous narrative and I may only write about a character for one part of the AAR. As the fate of these people will be dictated by how the situation plays out, do not be surprised if a new character is introduced, only to die at the end of the same part. On with the show!

    The first fingers of sunlight stretched over the hedge and crept into the room. Rearranged into a kaleidoscope of light and shadow by the shade of the birch outside the window, the morning sun swayed with the wind as it played out its dance on the floor. Rising fast enough to track its movement along the floor, the sun now gleamed above the roofs of nearby houses. John Harrison woke up. A few bleary seconds later, the clock revealed that he was a little earlier than usual. Rising stiffly and doing his best to stretch off the rigidity of sleep, he began to drift into routine, his legs working from memory. He stood by the window and looked out.

    This was his little kingdom. Directing his gaze to the long edge of the garden, he was pleased to be able to make out the blurred rows of the vegetable garden without his glasses, which still rested on the table by his bed. A narrow ridge between the sheer cliffs of his cheeks, resting high beneath the pockets of his eyes, his nose quivered as he inhaled a lungful of air from the window. A brief smile broke out timidly, his widened mouth seeming almost thinly spread, rimmed by wrinkles and a wispy haze of stubble. He reached for his glasses, with fingers that appeared slightly too big for their hands grasping the thick spectacles and affixing them to his face. The garden sprang into focus. The yellowy green of the Yarrow seemed serene in the morning shade. The most recent addition to his flowers, a quite rare set of Godetias, gleamed pink, holding centre stage in the beds. Seeing his hours of careful nurturing paying off, his long fingers gripped the window frame, his face pressed close to the glass like an excited child.

    For twenty-five years, this modest square had been his land. With it, he had worked hard, combining an artist’s eye with hard work and, developed over time, considerable skill. His two principal efforts had always been the vegetables and the central flowerbed. He was careful to balance what he grew to eat, rotating between carrots, onions and the like. He monitored soil properties as best he could, to ensure that his rotation schemes worked efficiently. It was here that the younger man, the accountant who had strived to make a name for himself and enough money to retire in peace lived on, compiling tables and records. It was the artist within him that truly flourished in the garden. He could remember the stern words of his father, now branded in his mind. There was no money in art. There would never be money in art. There is no such thing as money in art. Accounting, now that’s a solid job, a solid job with good money. Not many of those around anymore. Accounting will do you good.
    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

    Support freedom, oppose al-Assad.

  7. #147
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    Yes, following the lives of some characters caught up in the bigger story could make a nice feature. And this AAR is already written in many and varied styles!

  8. #148
    Good post... Your hungarian narratives were good. And as said above this AAR is multi-style.
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  9. #149
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    Worn by so many feet, by so many hurried steps, the carpeted stairs seemed distant, as if seen through a thick window. The same was true for the floorboards below. It had always been this way, since she had drifted away from him.

    She had never spent much time in the garden. John was secretly happy, this was the one strip of the house where her figure did not haunt him, and her voice did not slip into his head. Trying his hardest not to look at anything, he attempted to make a cup of coffee. He couldn’t bring himself to drink tea anymore. It had been the last thing she had drunk. The teapot sat, clean but coated with a thin mist of dust, in the furthest corner of the cupboard; it was easier to try and ignore it than to get rid of it. Easier to pretend it did not exist than to wrap his hands around the handle that she had touched so many times. He took the coffee back up to his room.

    As he slid a chair up to the window and rested the cup on the ledge, he was unable to stop his eyes from falling upon her picture. It rested on the bedside table, the side he never turned to when he slept. Though he could only see the back of the wooden picture frame, he could see her face, the picture of her and every image he had, locked up in his memory, playing out on every surface of the room. He shut his eyes and the pictures began appearing, like some nightmarish film, inside his mind. Clear as if she was in front of him, he saw her face. Framed in her bridal veil, with her dress flowing down and brushing the ground, she was angelic, radiating grace and elegance. He could not stop his hands from reaching out and the feeling of desolation as her image turned to dust before him was all too bitterly familiar.

    Then the worst came. The brief years flashed by like a distant lightning flash. Finally, he was thrown into the room, the room he could barely think about. Rain thrashed at the walls outside. It was growing dark – it was five in the evening, late November. His hands, almost blistered from gripping the waiting-room chair, grasped each other in front of him. A nurse, ever professional, had lead him in. Though his lip was beaded with icy sweat, his mouth was sticky and dry. He drew breath in shivering gasps. Then the four words that he could not escape, no matter how hard he ever tried came to him. The four most painful sounds to reach his ears pierced his mind. The doctor stood up, offering a formal hand. “She’s not got long,” he said.

    He was only allowed to hold her hand. As it grew finally cold, so did what was left of his tattered heart. He did not have enough strength for a tear. After the longest silence of his life, he drew in a stunted breath and released it. They lead him away. He drove home. Only as he was knotting the noose did he stop. The tears had finally come to him. In an almost relieved bout of catharsis, he sat through the entirety of the night. Sleep took him in the early hours of the next morning.
    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

    Support freedom, oppose al-Assad.

  10. #150
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    I think this poor man needs something to distract him from the bad memories... a world war perhaps?

  11. #151
    Keeper of the seven keys Lord Martin's Avatar
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    Very enjoyable so far.
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  12. #152
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    Thanks for the positive feedback on the new, more narrative-y elements of this AAR. Sadly, RL has again thrown a cruel sea of nails in front of the tyres of my AAR-mobile. Next Friday-Saturday will not see an update either, I'm afraid. I may be able to get one up midweek, however...
    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

    Support freedom, oppose al-Assad.

  13. #153
    Field Marshal misterbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elastic Fish View Post
    Thanks for the positive feedback on the new, more narrative-y elements of this AAR. Sadly, RL has again thrown a cruel sea of nails in front of the tyres of my AAR-mobile. Next Friday-Saturday will not see an update either, I'm afraid. I may be able to get one up midweek, however...
    I've been there myself, recently. don't worry. we'll wait.
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  14. #154
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    Guess who had more time than he thought he would this weekend!



    Foreign Policy




    The cabinet settled down. It was uncomfortably early, but everyone understood that the day’s events would take some time. In the sharp, bright summer morning, the deep mahogany of the conference table shone smartly. The walls of the briefing room were less vibrant, exuding instead an aura of calm, of professionalism. Turned on even though they were not really needed, the ceiling lights provided a diligent glow, their light sparkling on the crystal water glasses that rested by every place. No-one had entered yet, no birdsong passed through into the room. Nestled into the core of the building, the meeting room was no place for windows. In front of every chair, a daunting array of folders, dossiers and documents of varying sizes and thicknesses had been placed. Just in front of them, the name-cards had been rested. The names, expressed in an unemotive sans serif, spread across many walks of life. The blue-blooded aristocratic families still had influence here. Noble blood would sit at this table - at a high place too. There were plenty of seats for the generals. Names like Auchinleck, Alexander and Wavell were arrayed across the table. The great Sea Lords would sit at this council too. Sommerville and Tovey and the rest were there, the great men of the Royal Navy. There were one or two RAF men, as well. The formidable Dowding was, naturally, foremost amongst them. Then were listed the industrialists and bankers. The war profiteers of yesterday, the gleeful hand-rubbers, the barterers and hagglers, the filthy rich, the scheming factory-owners, the dastardly money-men, the investors, the mass-producers and all the other players in the seedy cavalcade of urban riches would sit down and have their say, too.

    Neville Chamberlain arrived first. Almost ushered in by an aide who was at least an inch taller than him, he was reluctantly swallowed up by a chair. Wearily, he took out his pocket watch. A quick scan of it only increased his weariness. Replacing it, he reached out to pick up the papers on the table, but then thought better of it, sitting almost anxiously in his chair. He did not know what to do with his hands. Flitting from the armrests, to folded, to clasping each other as if sheltering from the storm, his fingers trembled slightly like agoraphobic twigs. Chamberlain attempted to sigh, but a shaky exhalation seemed to be the best his lungs could manage. His left hand, glad to have something to do, rubbed his eyes gloomily. He made no attempt to stifle his yawn. Cautiously surveying the closed door with his eyes, he allowed himself to slump a little in his chair.

    Dowding was next to arrive, causing Chamberlain to sit bolt upright in surprise. He walked with a certain sort of crispness, seeming brittle because of his thin build and sharp features. He seemed unable to bend easily, like a new book that still has a strong, resistant back and will not stay open on one page. His eyes, a wintry blue, scanned the room. A brief surveying of Chamberlain’s eyes doubled as eye contact – Dowding’s usual greeting. Chamberlain nodded hurriedly and somewhat over-vigorously. His chin touched the top of his necktie with his downward thrust. Dowding sat down, losing none of his stiffness and formality. He bent like a new young twig that is still green in the centre and will not break in two. As soon as he had smoothed out any traces of a crease in his trousers, the Air Chief began to sift through the papers in front of him. No individual sheet was deemed worthy of more than a few seconds of exposure to his calculating eyes. He still did not speak, seeming to think Chamberlain undeserving of spoken communication.

    Both of these men had been early, Chamberlain by five minutes, Dowding by two. On the hour, the time for the start of the meeting, a great wave of the aristocracy walked in. Sprinkled amongst them were the admirals and generals. Behind them, in the newest styles and fashions of the London wealthy, came the money-men and the giants of industry. Though the noble-blooded looked down their noses at them and tried their best to look haughty, they knew all too well that their blood and the blood of these new tycoons was mixing. They were also aware of the way the wind had been changing for generations. Ever since Britain became a country of factories, these men had held ever greater power. The land-owners, the old families of wealth, however, were slowly losing their influence, their power. Like a handful of sand, nothing could be done to stop it gradually slipping through the cracks between their fingers. Nothing that is, except for the fine art of adept marriages, of compromise and of diplomacy and flattery. These were all, of course, traditional strengths of the aristocracy. A clever marrying of a daughter here, a well-planned joint venture with a factory-owner there and a few prudent alliances with an investors scattered around ensured that blue blood continued to run in the highest circles of Britain.

    Lloyd-George was the last to arrive. Though he was late, he did not look at all hurried, or even concerned about whether he was putting the carefully crafted schedule out of kilter. Sitting himself down comfortably, Lloyd-George wasted no time. After clearing his throat, he began to speak.

    “Gentlemen, there is no doubt in my mind. The actions that have taken place over the past years have removed any uncertainty. There will be a war. I am not saying that we will be fighting it, nor that it will engulf the world, but I can assure you that there will be a war.”

    There was silence. Lloyd-George had employed this rhetoric before with his cabinet, but never to most of the people around the table. Several of those in uniform nodded their definite assent. The industrialists were pensive, the bankers were either worried or attentive and eager, seeing a potential for profit. The Prime Minister spoke again.

    “I believe that we have known for some time that the most likely enemy of our nation, should we have to fight, will be the Soviet Union. The Reds have already almost swallowed Poland in the war of 1919-21. Now, with that tyrant Stalin at the helm, they have become a far more dangerous nation, very much willing to use force to achieve their goal of ‘global revolution’.”

    Now there were more nods of assent. Everyone in the room had heard the stories. The Czar had been murdered in cold blood. The nobles had been killed or shamed, left with nothing. The Orthodox Church had lost its land and its power. The excess, too, was horrifying. A worker’s paradise of abortion, divorce and killing was what the men around the table saw in Soviet Russia. There were whispers of starvation, too, of peasants being killed, their grain seized. The top brass thought of the rumours of what was called the Purge, the gutting of the Russian officer class. The killing of most of the high-command and Stalin’s instatement of flatterers and yes-men instead of generals was something that the British commanders all feared. The room was very much behind him now, and Lloyd-George was going to take full advantage of it.

    “I am sure you will concur when I say that we must be prepared for the ever more likely eventuality of a war with the USSR. If this is to take place, then we must play to our strengths and not allow them to use their weaknesses. The Red Army is enormous, and no amount of build-up on our part will allow us to match them in the field alone. A contest between the Red Air Force and our own will largely depend on how high a priority Stalin gives to expanding the numbers of the Reds’ aircraft and how high a priority we give our own expansion. It is at sea that we have our biggest advantage, as you can well imagine. The Red Banner Fleets are made up of vessels that were new in the days of Imperial Russia. What’s more, the Japanese obliterated most of the old Imperial Fleet’s more modern vessels at Tsushima, back in 1905. This means that, by our best estimates, the Soviets will have less than five battleships, all of a pre-Great War vintage. They do not have any aircraft carriers, although their air force is likely to have some naval strike aircraft. One thing that the Red Navy has on its side is a sizable and modern submarine fleet, however. Our analysts predict that their most likely course of action will be to try and punch a hole in our defences with their surface fleet before we can bring our superior numbers and technology to bear, and then use this whole to move their submarines into areas with heavy merchant shipping.”

    “Their plan depends on surprise, then?” Said Somerville; his arms were folded and he leaned back slightly in his chair.
    “Exactly,” replied Lloyd George, “The Soviets are not stupid; they know all too well what will happen if they come up against our fleet in open combat. However, they have made one key miscalculation. As I am sure you know by now, Herr Hitler’s Germany is the Soviet Union’s greatest threat. Not only is the idea of Hitler’s strong leadership and anti-communist rhetoric abhorrent to Stalin and his lackeys, but Germany is more industrialised than Russia and can outmatch them, potentially, on land. This is something that Stalin is deeply uncomfortable with, as you would expect from an expansionist tyrant. As the Russians are so afraid of Germany, they have made the mistake of assuming that we are as well. They clearly see Germany as having designs on their land and the rest of Europe. This assumption has lead them to believe that our naval assets will be focused on attacking and destroying the Kriegsmarine, along with being ready to engage Germany’s closest ideological rivals, Italy and Imperial Japan. Whilst I acknowledge that Japan’s plans for dominance over South-East Asia are worrying, and that Italy’s war in Abyssinia has shown that Mussolini is an empire-builder in waiting, we have agreed that Hitler’s Germany is a nation to offer a hand of friendship and trust to. The Italians alone will not risk war with us and the French. The Japanese will spend years fighting the Chinese before even considering an attack on us. This leaves us with the necessary assets to ensure a naval victory over the USSR. Now, these are my plans…”

    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

    Support freedom, oppose al-Assad.

  15. #155
    Field Marshal misterbean's Avatar
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    very nice update. Dowding portrayed exactly as I have always pictured him, and Lloyd-George not having a clue of things to come and planning for a war against the Soviets instead.
    Does this mean you will "give" Germany poland when the time comes? Or are you just "in the moment"?
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  16. #156
    General SSmith's Avatar
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    Yes, very nice indeed.

    The British stance is most interesting. It almost looks as though Lloyd George is eager to go to war with the Soviets, although from a practical point of view it's rather hard to see how the UK could make a decisive intervention against such a vast country. I'm curious how Britain will respond to the German expansionism to come in 1938-39. If you don't guarantee Poland, that would certainly make things unpredictable.

  17. #157
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    Yes, very nice indeed.

    The British stance is most interesting. It almost looks as though Lloyd George is eager to go to war with the Soviets, although from a practical point of view it's rather hard to see how the UK could make a decisive intervention against such a vast country.
    I suppose the same way they hoped to achieve anything when the Allies invaded post-WWI: invade a few key cities and hope for a popular uprising.

  18. #158
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    The next part should reveal just how exactly Lloyd George wants to fight the Red menace...

    Thanks for your support
    Seed of the Magyar -- Hungarian A.A.R. Completed

    Very Well, Alone! A British H.P.P. Semper Fi A.A.R

    'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”' Churchill, 18th June 1940

    Support freedom, oppose al-Assad.

  19. #159
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    Lloyd-George is doing his best to condemn Continental Europe I see!
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  20. #160
    Second Lieutenant Elastic Fish's Avatar
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    Decisions, Decisions




    “Now,” Lloyd George continued, “Given that we understand that the Russians will attempt an early naval strike, we arrive at the conclusion that we must prepare for the eventuality of a war with the Soviet Union before we can be certain of its occurrence. We know that the chief Soviet naval base is in what is now called Leningrad. Therefore, in order for any major Soviet strike to take place, their navy will need to sail through the Baltic and in between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, in the channels called Skagerrak and Kattegat. From there, we can assume that they will not risk passing through the English Channel and will therefore sail to the north of Scotland. Once the Russians are in open waters, finding them will be very hard; we can expect them to keep a low profile. Therefore we must engage them before they can do so. We can hope that the Scandinavian nations will allow our fleets to protect Skagerrak and Kattegat, but should they decline us this right, we may have to compel them, through means that are somewhat beyond diplomatic, to allow our fleets to move in. There is also the possibility that Russia may declare war on these nations, hoping to install puppet regimes to govern them. We must use force to prevent this. Returning to naval matters, the first document that you have received, gentlemen, is a guide to how we must engage the Red Banner Fleet in the North Sea, along with major naval bases in the area.”



    Fig. 1. Likely passage of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet in its attempts to enter the North Sea

    “What of Sebastopol?” A voice from the back said. Lloyd George turned to face the question and, without pausing, sent back his retort:
    “Our naval forces in Gibraltar will be able to close of the straits completely in times of war. Likewise, our Mediterranean fleets can totally shut off Suez. Any Russian fleets based out of Sebastopol or any other Black Sea ports will be trapped in the Mediterranean.”

    While the admirals in the room paid close attention to the diagram, the others who were present seemed content with Lloyd George’s reasoning. Their attempts to seem dismissive of the Soviets were brushed aside by the genuine concern that sparked in their eyes whenever they thought of the dark, immense stretches of the East. The howling steppes and frozen Arctic plains were bad enough to visualise without the nefarious triumph of the Reds. The stories, the rumours that pervaded high society of Bolshevik evils returned to the minds of the rich. Unified by their deep unease about the tales of brutal famine, of cannibalism, of churches having their prized treasures seized mercilessly and of the rich having no choice but to barter all they had for a pitiful ration of black bread and to burn their once great libraries for heat, the assembled members of this High Council were edging further and further behind Lloyd George, committed to their ideals of Britannia and the glories of Empire.

    “Now, though we may engage them in the waters of Skagerrak, it is certain that some remnants, however organised or powerful they may be, will escape into the North Sea. We must attempt to engage them again in their journey northwards, before they round the north tip of Scotland and split up to begin raiding our merchant shipping. The second document you have been provided with illustrates the key area in which we must seek our second engagement. The square marked with the arrow is what we believe to be the optimal area for such a battle. The lined rectangle shows an area in which a belt of destroyers and vessels equipped for anti-submarine warfare should be placed. Should the Soviets pass through these defences, we have shown the likely areas in which they will raid our shipping. I trust that we are agreed on this being the best course of action?”



    Fig. 2. Optimal areas for interception and destruction of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet.

    There was a wave of assent. Some nodded eagerly, as if wanting to prove beyond any doubt that they were with Lloyd George. Others also nodded, but moved their heads pensively, agreeing slowly, but just as decisively. The murmurs of assent were then pierced by Dowding’s voice.
    “What of the Royal Air Force? Are we expected to conduct a strategic campaign against the USSR from Scandinavian air bases? Will our interceptors be guarding Britain from a strategic aerial assault, or should we cover the fleet? This will, of course, determine where the meat of RAF spending is diverted to. Either we focus on a heavy bomber wing, or interceptors or torpedo-armed aircraft for land based naval operations.”

    This question earned some thought from the Prime Minister before he answered. Indeed, the first stage of his answer was another question, this time to Tovey.
    “Are the carrier aircraft we currently possess sufficient to cover the fleet?”
    “Along with the protection offered by the anti-aircraft armaments, they will protect us from any air assault the Russians dare to throw at us.”

    Lloyd George was pleased by Tovey’s confidence and was able to turn to Dowding to provide his true answer.
    “We need no more naval aviation aside from potential further carrier air groups for potential further carriers. The creation of an air force capable of large scale strategic bombing will be too taxing on our industry, given the demands that it already faces.” At this remark, a few of the leading industrialists showed their decisive agreement. Lloyd George waited for silence before continuing. “A modest expansion of our interceptor wings is the best that can be hoped for, along with the improvement of home air defence.” Dowding did not look content, but did not respond.

    Lloyd George returned to the matter of the Soviet Navy. He turned to the third of the sheets in front of him and began to speak, barely noticing how all heads turned squarely towards him: “Although an assault on the Soviet naval base in Leningrad may at first seem appealing, we must bear in mind that the Soviets have the potential to heavily mine the entrance to the port. This would make any assault unacceptably dangerous. The likely area of minefields is illustrated in the third sheet that has been given to you, marked by the red square. The lines stretching from Estonia to Finland show were we predict that the Soviets may scuttle ships to block off the port. I trust that this information has dissuaded any of you that may otherwise have believed an attack to be wise.”



    Fig. 3. A diagram showing the foolishness of an attempted attack on Leningrad naval base.


    The Prime Minister needed only a moment’s silence to confirm his belief. He carried on, not needing to ensure that he would have the undivided attention of the room: “However, though we may predict a Soviet attack and plan for it, all our preparations will come to nothing if we lack the necessary force to carry them through. Therefore, Tovey, your 3rd Battleship Squadron has been ordered to rebase from Malta to Hull. For those of you who do not know, the 3rd Battleship squadron contains, among others, the battleships HMS Warspite, Revenge, Royal Sovereign and Royal Oak. From Hull, the 3rd Battleship squadron will be prepared to operate alongside the rest of our North Sea forces in the task of engaging the Soviets.”

    Tovey showed a brief flicker of surprise, he clearly had not been told. However this brief expression of shock was quickly erased from his face. His eyes wandered upwards as he began to consider the implications of leaving Malta for the English coastal city of Hull. He barely noticed the aide handing him a sheet detailing his orders.



    The orders issued to Admiral Tovey which commanded him to rebase to Hull.


    Lloyd George was considerate enough to give him a few moments before moving on. He closed one notebook which he had been reading from and replaced it in his briefcase, before retrieving another one. The more sharp-eyed amongst the group could see that it was titled ‘Rest of World’. After finding a page very near the front of the book, Lloyd George surveyed it for a few seconds and then placed the notebook, open on the same page, on the desk. “We must realise,” he announced, “That the threat of Bolshevism is not just confined to Russia. Even now the breakaway People’s Republic of China is engaged in a bloody civil war, under their dictator Mao, against their democratic allies. You have been issued with a map of the area, with some annotations. The green area shows how we believe that the communists are aiming to expand in the short-term. The relatively poorly defended mountains of north-eastern China, overseen by a state that is allied with the Republic of China against the Communists known as the Ma Clique will make easy pickings for Mao’s forces. Once this early phase of expansion is complete, Mao will probably attempt to finish of the Ma Clique by driving through to Golmud, the capital city, shown by the red rectangle. My sources tell me that it is surprisingly highly industrialised, and will be of value to Mao’s Communists. From there, Mao could strike into the Republic of China to the south or the north. The south is better defended, but more industrialised. Both of these axes of attack are also marked by red rectangles.”



    Fig. 4. Areas of expansion for the Communist, breakaway nation, the People’s Republic of China, led by the enigmatic Chairman Mao.


    “However,” Lloyd George did not bother to stop, or even slow down, “China has more than one area of major interest to us. The next and final document you now possess shows this. The first flashpoint is the border of the Republic of China with Manchuria, currently a Japanese client state. There have already been disturbances there in the recent past. If there are more, it could lead to an outright war between the two nations. The second point has already been discussed by us. Mao’s China is clearly something to be worried about. The third flashpoint covers the security of our territory of Hong Kong and the French holding to the west. These must be protected in order to show the world that we will protect our Empire. I hope we all agree on this. Now, are there any questions?”



    Fig. 5. The three major potential flashpoints in China.




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