Chapter One : Sir Anthony C.H. Melchett Takes Command New
HoI3 AI ExperimentAAR
- Jun 21, 2014
A Gentleman’s War : The Middle-East Command
(HoI3 TFH - UK AAR)
Chapter One : Sir Anthony C.H. Melchett Takes Command
(HoI3 TFH - UK AAR)
Chapter One : Sir Anthony C.H. Melchett Takes Command
Captain Timothy Malek had to stay up after the party while most of the staff got to go to bed. Their new commanding officer was meant to be there very soon. The new Field Marshal had arrived at the Port of El Iskandariya early yesterday. Well, now two days ago. Seems he had grabbed a lorry from the local Navy boys, loaded it up with his luggage and fuel cans, had borrowed a driver, and had started on his journey to meet his Headquarter unit in Al Qahira.
The man was said to be somewhat skilled in the art of warfare as well as a master of logistics. He WAS a member of the ‘Old Guard’ as he had lived through the trench combat of the Great War and there were rumors he was somewhat prejudiced towards modern warfare.
The Captain started to clean up the staff room. He tried to anyway. The New Year’s Party to welcome in 1936 had been loud and some of the clerks couldn’t handle their booze. It didn’t help that the local ‘champagne’ was made from any fruits and sugars the HQ staff could find to distill.
The headaches that resulted from such booze were famous throughout North Africa.
As he was placing a half-eaten cucumber sandwich into another trash bag he heard a engine come down the street outside the HQ.
“Wow,” said the Captain aloud, “He made good time.”
He stepped outside into the cold night to see a worn out driver helping a officer out of the passenger side of the truck. The man, at first sight, was amazing. He looked like he had stepped out of a Great War recruitment poster.
Slicked back hair, a amazing moustache, and a huge chin.
“Good morning Captain,” Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett said, “please have my things taken to my quarters. I tried to nap on the way here but the roads in Africa are most disagreeable to sleeping.”
Before the Captain to reply the Field Marshall add, “I don’t wish to be woken up till 8 AM and will require a breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, fried onions, toast, and marmalade. Make sure the toast is cooled before serving of course. And a pot of tea. Good ENGLISH tea. Not any of the native beverages. Right? Good.”
The Field Marshall then marched into the building without waiting for the Captain’s response.
The driver looked at the Captain with pity. “Have fun mate,” he said.
At 8 AM the Captain went to wake the Field Marshall up. The man had been snoring in bed while dressed in a sleeping shirt and robe. His moustache had been carefully kept in check with a tiny net. On top of all that he had a teddy bear.
“Right,” the Field Marshall as he stood up. “Where’s my manservant? Wait, you haven’t even hired a boy to wait on me yet? Oh my word. Go make sure the breakfast is ready and I will be out shortly.”
It took almost an hour before the Field Marshall appeared in his office. He had shaved his face, combed back his hair, and even waxed his moustache.
He was in his full dress uniform with all the medals on display. The medals looked freshly polished along with his shoes.
His breakfast, at least something that reassembled what he had asked for, was waiting for him on the large desk in the Field Marshall’s office. The cooks had tried their best.
“Morning Captain,” said the man as he settled behind his desk. “Present yourself and use that map over there to explain to me what I’ve been put in charge of.”
“Yes Sir. Captain Timothy Malek.”
“Walsh?” the Field Marshall suddenly asked. “You look it.”
“No, sir, mother was Arabic,” the Captain replied. “Know a little about the language. The higher ups felt having me stationed here would be helpful.”
“They call this TOAST?” demanded the Field Marshall. “Was this bread sourdough? And it’s still warm.”
“Er…sorry sir. I can talk to the Quartermaster about trying to find some proper sliced bread. We try to do with what we have and find replacements for what we don’t have. Al Qahira isn’t that bad a place once you get to know who runs what.”
“Ask him about finding me another tin of moustache wax,” add the men as he stared at one of the sausages on his plate.
“Yes sir. Now as for your forces-”
“Wait,” said the Field Marshall with a frown. “I thought this was Cairo?”
“Yes sir. Same place, different names,” stated the Captain.
“Hmmmm,” said the Field Marshall who was too busy investigating his meal to listen. “Is this milk for my tea? Smells weird. Is this GOAT milk?”
“Maybe we should focus on the map so I can tell you about your command?” suggested the Captain who was fighting the impulse just to walk out of the office.
“If you wish,” pouted the Field Marshall as he started to wolf down his food.
The map was a simple color coded map of North Africa and some of the Mediterranean. There was the normal pins you would find on a military map. The military loved maps with pins on them.
“As you know sir you are here in Al Qahira,” started the Captain pointing out ‘Cairo’ on the map. “The HQ of the Middle-East Theatre. Under your authority is the Middle-East Command, the Malta Command, the Mediterranean Fleet, the 1st Submarine Squadron, and the Middle-East Air Command.”
“Here in Jerusalem is the Middle-East Command HQ and its 7th Infantry Division and its 8th Infantry Division,” he pointed out. “Lt. General Gowrie is in charge of the command and is known for his skills at defense.”
“Why,” said the Field Marshall as he chewed what may, or may not, have been scrambled eggs, “is he in Jerusalem when the Italians are over there?”
He pointed his fork towards the western side of North Africa. “The Italians are THERE. Isn’t the government more worried about them then the natives?”
“Well,” said the Captain, “the Jews and Muslims keep trying to kill each other.”
“Surely they can do that without us watching?” demanded the Field Marshall as he sipped some of his tea.
“We are trying to stop them,” said the Captain slowly.
“Oh…well they still need to move west to face the Italians,” remarked the Field Marshall. He started to peek at the mushrooms with suspicion on his face.
“The problem is the Middle-East Command has five infantry brigades BUT no support brigades,” pointed out the Captain. “So, maybe ask London for some cannon?”
“Yes, yes,” said the Field Marshall without really listening.
The Captain sighed, braced himself, and continued.
“Here in Tel Aviv Yafo,” said the Captain, “just north of Middle-East Command is the Middle-East Air Command.”
“No doubt a mighty force,” commented the Field Marshall as he enjoyed his grilled tomatoes which, at least, looked like grilled tomatoes.
“Lt. General Ludlow-Hewitt is a skilled pilot and is experienced at attacking moving ground targets,” continued the Captain. “He has a wing of tactical bombers. Bristol Blenheim Mark Ones.”
“Good plane are they?” asked the Field Marshall.
“Faster than most fighters and good at night bombing,” replied the Captain. “But we only have a wing and that’s not a lot.”
“HmmMhmmm,” was the reply as the man behind the desk tried out his bacon.
The Captain moved on to poke a finger at the Island of Malta. “The Malta Command is here. Really, just a garrison brigade under your direct authority. As you know officers are in short supply.”
“Good troops are they?” asked the Field Marshall trying some of his tea again.
“Not really,” commented the Captain with a shake of his head. “They would likely be better at acting as police in Jerusalem than trying to keep Malta.”
“Hmmmmmm,” said the Field Marshall thoughtfully. The Captain wondered if the man was thinking about his command or just thinking about his tea.
“Now this is the Province of El Iskandariya,” stated the Captain. “Also known as Alexandria. This is where your ships are stationed.”
“The 1st Submarine Squadron is under Commander Ingram, a man known for his skill are hunting down cargo ships, and has two Submarine Flotillas. Both contain Triton-Class, or T-Class, submarines.”
“It was designed for long patrols in the Pacific so it’s not that bad a design,” he added with a almost hopeful sounding voice.
He waited to see if the Field Marshall had anything to say but the man was too busy trying to make a sandwich out of his leftover toast, eggs, sausage, and mushrooms.
“And last is the Mediterranean Fleet,” he said tapping a finger on the port of Alexandria again.
“Admiral Horton is in charge. His Flagship is HMS Courageous. One of the two Courageous-Class Carriers in the Fleet. The other is the HMS Glorious. Both have two wings of Swordfish.”
The Field Marshall just chewed and chewed.
The Captain kept in a sigh and continued. “It also contains the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the HMS Barham, the HMS Valiant, the HMS Malaya, the HMS Warspite and the HMS Revenge. Which are all battleships from the Great War.”
The Field Marshall made a noise that sounded like “BBAAAHHH”. Was that approval or disgust?
The Captain just shrugged to himself and added, “Then there are the Kent-Class Heavy Cruisers, the HMS Devonshire, the HMS London, the HMS Shrophire, the HMS Sussex and the HMS Exeter. There are also the Caledon-Class Light Cruisers, the HMS Coventry, the HMS Curlew, the HMS Delhi, the HMS Despatch, and the HMS Durban. Though we do also have a Leander-Class Light Cruiser the HMS Arethusa.”
The Captain stopped to see if the Field Marshall was reacting to his little lecture. Or even listening. It was hard to tell. The man was looking towards the Captain and sipping the last of the tea with the remains of his breakfast before him. But was he here in the present or still in the trenches trapped in the past memories?
“Then there are the destroyers. One Flotilla of A-Class. And four Flotillas of V-Class.”
“Yes, yes, all very interesting,” replied the Field Marshall with a smile. “By the way have you hired a manservant for me yet? No? Oh well, get one of the clerks to take this away and bring me a pen and some paper.”
“Well, you wanted me to ask for more cannon, yes? And maybe some transports to ship them here. And maybe more infantry divisions. And a proper garrison unit for Malta, right?”
So we end this chapter with the Field Marshall Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett trying to write a letter to the Ministry of Armaments that would make sense.