Lord Strange

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Wow! Go the French! In this timeline, they seem to have some honour...... Also, Italiens fail whatever the universe.......
 

trekaddict

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trekaddict

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Hooray. The nice folks at steampowered.com resetted the hacked password of my account, sent the new one to me and said me I should change it. So yay, I have it back.
 

trekaddict

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Why has this not been updated yet? Because of an immensly addictive game as the SU with cores on the world. I have a 7.4 MP growth a day, and am building stuff that I don't really need, mainly because I can. I have all of China, most of Germany, half of Scandinavia, half of the Balkans and most of Indochina.
 

ColossusCrusher

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Could you send me the way in which I can make that edit, possibly by event? That way I can just trigger it. :)
 

trekaddict

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trekaddict

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Chapter 134


Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-751-0067-342.jpg



“Phoenix from the Ashes – The Second Century of the British Empire”

Volume #3: 1938 – 1950


“In the aftermath of the Fall of Metropolitan France and the political upheavals in the United Kingdom it is hardly surprising that Malaya and the Fortress of Singapore slipped from the public conscience. When then-Major General Slim was informed that he was to take over Malaya Command, he is reported to have remarked that he would prefer one more Squadron of Spitfires instead of the early promotion that would come with him taking the command. Still, he did as he was ordered and set off for Singapore from Bombay where he and his family had spent most of 1940 until then. General Percival fought tooth and nail for his command, seeing the sudden transfer to Kashmir and his replacement as a personal slight, but to no avail. It was not until after the Siege was over that it would be revealed that CIGS Gort and the Prime Minister had simply been fed up with Percival's continued and outspoken defeatism when it came to Singapore. Although initially in favour of defending Singapore at all costs, the developments in China, where the Japanese had propped up the Nanjing Republic as the Chinese State was called in the west. He feared that the fortress would simply drown in an avalanche of Chinese and Japanese troops, taking valuable troops and equipment with it, not to speak of the civilian population ( on his mind mainly the upper crust of the British residents ), whose evacuation at the first sign of Japanese aggression he deemed as 'improbable' and 'undemocratic'. It is unsure to this day what actually caused this shift in personality, given that even China was hardly enough to cause such a change, but various sources have suggested that it was the beginning stage of the brain tumour that would eventually claim his life in 1949.

arthur_percival1.jpg
slim11.gif

Slim was just the opposite. While he was worried about the Chinese contribution to the Japanese War Effort, and rightly so, he was also confident that if the resources allocated to Singapore as part of War Plan Firefly actually arrived and arrived in time, he would be able to hold Singapore indefinitely, given that the Allies managed to hold onto Sumatra. Upon arrival he was aghast at what he found, as Percival had managed to plant his pessimistic attitude not only in his Staff but also in the troops that had arrived to date. Work on the fortifications was still being done, but at an incredibly leisurely pace. It is unknown what he said about it, as the quote “of a Cat Street house of questionable character” originates from the 1960 film “Carry On Singapore”. As soon as he and his family were settled in in the quarters of the British Commander, he went on the infamous inspection tour of the defences that, to say it in his own words, aged him by ten years. Much of the appointed work was weeks behind schedule and some had not been started at all, especially the third water reservoir near the new Naval Base on the southern shore of the Island. Much of the Equipment was idling, and several severe cases of corruption were reported. Slim called a meeting of the military commanders and civilian representatives, that also included the leaders of the Malayan and Chinese communities, much to the annoyance of the upper crust of Singapore. The meeting lasted for all but ten minutes, during which Slim made three things clear: Firstly, Singapore would be defended at all costs as long as he was in command. Secondly, the defence of the Fortress was an effort that would require everything that it had to give, and thirdly, everyone who did not contribute would be evacuated upon the outbreak of hostilities and no exceptions would be made. The latter point especially enraged the British Establishment, as they expected to be treated different from mere colonial subjects. Whatever Slim personally thought of the matter, to his credit must be said that no heads rolled, and that he merely said that 'times are changing, and lest we change with it, history will leave us behind', and that was the end of that. The Evacuation stayed on the cards.

Over the next few weeks Singapore went into a frenzy. Not only where several additional companies of Malayan and Chinese volunteers formed, despite objections about the divided loyalties of the latter group, but also the 8th Australian Division arrived, bringing the Singapore Defence Forces to the following strength:

8th Australian Division, 18th Indian Infantry Division, 12th, 15th and 8th Indian Infantry Brigades, an independent Tank Company equipped with Mathilda Mk.IIs whose obsolete 2pdr guns were more than a match for any sort of Japanese Armoured vehicle. The two Gurkha Regiments that followed soon after Slim arrived were a welcome source of additional men. Along with the Singapore Division that mainly guarded the Southern Shore and the City itself, these were the land forces that Slim would have if no more were coming, something that was possible but extremely unlikely. One Division sized formation would hold the Main Line of Resistance, with units rotated through to always have relatively fresh and rested troops facing the Japanese.

In the air the situation was not good but not as desperate as it had been when Air Commodore Browning had taken over RAF Malaya Department. With two Squadrons of Spitfires, No.633 and 300 Squadrons, two additional Squadrons of Hurricanes on the way, the air over Singapore would at least be contested. As for other arms, RAF MD had a Squaron of Short Sunderlands, one of Wellingtons and the two Squadrons of Fairey Swordfishes of the Malayan Volunteer Air Force. Not much, but the Air Commodore would do wonders with this limited Force, and become as much a legend as Slim himself.

However, the branch with the worst conditions was the Royal Navy. The Far Eastern Fleet had been gutted pre-war and mostly been transferred to Bombay in order to defend the Indian Ocean and the SLOCs to Australia and New Zealand, and in Singapore only three old V-Class Destroyers and three Thames Class Gunboats remained, and [...]

The defences of Fortress Singapore were formidable. This book's description of the same will begin with the main line of resistance, to the North. About ten miles in length and three deep if one is to count the forward empty dummy trenches and guns, along with the minefields 'defending' the same, this giant stretch of concrete was probably the biggest fixed fortification line outside of the famed Maginot Line as far as Allied countries go. Unlike the Maginot Line, the line, ironically named the Percival Line, was a continuous stretch of concrete bunkers, trenches and other positions, and not a line of separate defensive works like the infamous and in the end doomed line in France. The centrepiece were several layered lines of concrete-reinforced trenches, supported by semi-underground mortar, heavy machine-gun and anti-tank positions. The real punch of the fortress however where several large Artillery bunkers. Some where located on Singapore Island itself and contained nine 16'' guns that had been shipped in from the United Kingdom at considerable expense before the outbreak of war in Europe. These guns, originally intended for the cancelled Lion Class Battleships, were exclusively tasked with shelling the rear areas of any Japanese siege line and to interdict road traffic as far as they could range. The second line of eight Artillery emplacements was armed with 6'' guns, tasked with providing fire support and to shell the immediate area to the left and right flank of the main line of resistance. Up front, between Johore Baru and the MLR, smaller bunkers contained three British Batteries worth of 25pdr guns. All this was of course aided by the pre-existing fortifications, and needless to say, Singapore was bristling with guns, and to serve these, underground ammunition dumps contained several million shells for the guns and several more millions of rounds for the other weapons. The water supply remained the biggest problem, but with the reduced population, the roughly 50% of the supply that came from the Island itself, be it through rain or what fresh-water sources it had would be enough if rationing was strictly enforced.

At the same time as General Slim turned Singapore into a real fortress, in the United Kingdom the British Expeditionary Force was licking it's wounds, and prepared to ship out to where it was next needed. During the reverse Operation Dynamo the BEF had lost most of it's heavy equipment, especially tanks and Artillery guns were destroyed in France in great numbers. Still, within a week the first units of I (UK) Tank Corps were on their way to Egypt, soon to be followed by the rest as soon as new tanks and guns could be produced or released from storage. This would still mean a relative lull in the fighting, as both sides had suffered tremendous losses, which coincidentally the British found easier to replace, for example 7th Armoured Division was quickly brought back up to strength by simply bringing in replacements from the several Divisions that were training in the United Kingdom, and with more joining the Division in Egypt. That this meant that ethnically homogeneous units became more and more few and far between would have implications later that not only changed the course of the war but also the history of the British Empire as a whole.

Another thing the fall of Metropolitan France had shown was that despite the pre-war reforms and the new tactical and strategic Doctrines the British Armed Forces were still a cumbersome instrument, suffering primarily from a lack of co-ordination between the services. Over the next weeks a “Lessons learned” white paper would be devised, one that would be the base for the biggest Defence reform since the end of the first World War.






[Notes: Singapore is as well defended as I could make possible once the forts are complete. In the game I only had the one GAR Division, but for the sake of narrative plausibility I added these units. Also many many thanks to Le Jones, who has been a great help in formulating all this. Whitehall. This Chapter will also go into the Knowledge Base. Lastly, what can I say, I am a huge fan of tube Artillery. :D ]
 
Last edited:

Lord Strange

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Yey for Slim! An old boy of my school, and he's saving singapore!!! Also like the style of update very much.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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I hope so, or Australia will miss a good Governor-General :D
 

unmerged(85800)

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Yes, finally an update! i would like to say two things

1) The defence of Singapore is going to be one hell of an update(s?) to read about.

2) I wish for about the 20th time that i lived in your timeline. The thing which inspired me to think that this time was the hint about a very ethnically diverse and tolerant empire. (ie, hundreds of gurkhas living in britain with the full gratitude of the nation, for a start)
 

trekaddict

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Lord Strange Thank you, thank you!

Hardraade It better be. I invested a lot in it. Hell, Singapore now has more 15" guns than your average Battleship, and most have a 360° traverse.


Kurt_Steiner So do I.



Also, I forgot to mention El Pip who was also of indespensible help.
 

trekaddict

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Yes, finally an update! i would like to say two things

1) The defence of Singapore is going to be one hell of an update(s?) to read about.

2) I wish for about the 20th time that i lived in your timeline. The thing which inspired me to think that this time was the hint about a very ethnically diverse and tolerant empire. (ie, hundreds of gurkhas living in britain with the full gratitude of the nation, for a start)

1) That's the idea.


2) I figured, and it is supported by much literature and from what I've seen that nothing melds a group of people together like fighting against a common foe, and much of the racial bigotry we have seen in the real history is merely ignorance and lack of exposure to the other group.

EDIT: Basically a superpower for the 21st Century that embodies a mix of traditional British Values, such as a mere continental sees them, partially my own values and of course the avoidance of mistakes made in OTL.
 
Last edited:

trekaddict

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Le Jones

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Another vintage update Trek - thank God for Slim :)
 

trekaddict

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