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unmerged(85800)

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well i hope churchill hasn't just made a major cock-up. he seems fairly confident though. hopefully france's valiant struggle and churchill's resolve to stand up to tyranny will convince the british public not to throw in the towel.
 

ColossusCrusher

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Let's see if the nationalist parties win (Irish, Welsh, Scottish) and fragment the Isles.
Then those groups can join the Axis and really make this interesting!
 

trekaddict

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BritishImperial Pretty much my own opinion.

ColossusCrusher Heresy! :mad:
 

ColossusCrusher

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Not heresy.
Excitement. :D
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 136


3rd October 1940

Eastern Mediterranean Sea

The British Mediterranean Fleet was amongst the strongest British Naval formations outside of the Home Fleet, and contained all of the British pre-war Carriers. HMS Ark Royal and her escorts were in the western Med, escorting troop convoys from the United Kingdom to Egypt, in fact most of the fleet was dispersed screening the approaches to Tobruk, in order to make it more difficult for the Italians to reinforce the fortress. Currently both sides were building up their forces end eyed each other warily over the no-mans-land between the trenches. Occasional Artillery Fire and patrol actions were the only reminders that there was actually a war on in the desert. On the sea things were different. While the Italians and their German chums had stopped sending supplies on the direct route, they still tried to slip small, fast convoys through that consisted of MTBs and the fastest ships they could find, sometimes even racing yachts. With these convoys they sent in more troops or sent over critical supplies. Shutting these supplies, or at least part of them off was important, as in spite of all it's efforts the Desert Air Force was unable to completely choke off the supply lines of Tobruk towards Benghazi and Western Lybia. The Germans had not yet sent any troops to Africa, and nor had the Soviets, the latter seemed content with sending bombers to help interdict the vital supply lines that tied the European and Asian parts of the Empire together. The Mediterranean Fleet was fighting, and fighting hard, and so far the Navy contested the seas south of Sicily and had the Eastern and Western parts in their hands, because the Spanish were no factor, given that the Nationalists were still busy mopping up the last remnants of Republican resistance and with the French Fleet at Algiers, the Allies had an edge on the seas. The three Carrier groups where proof for this. Each Carrier was sailing in it's own Squadron, with a Battleship and several Cruisers and Destroyers in close attendance. HMS Glorious for example was escorted by HMS Barham, while the cruisers were led by HMS Enterprize.

This was on the minds of the pilots of No.810 ( Fleet Air Arm ) Squadron as they flew their Fairey Swordfishes to the co-ordinates that the reconnaissance plane had radioed over the wireless. Or, eight Swordfishes were, as the rest were non-operational and would be replaced by new aircraft once the Carrier returned to Alexandria. The pilots wished they were serving on one of the newer
Carriers, as there Squadrons were not limited to ten Aircraft but had sixteen like in the RAF on land. Still, eight torpedo-armed Stringbags were better than none at all, and they would make the Eyties pay if they were really stupid enough to send a mostly unescorted convoy through the area. They had to know that Glorious Squadron was somewhere in the area, but alas, no one had ever accused the Italians of being subermen. “Ships, bearing 310!” one of the Swordfishes. B-Berty had spotted them. The others fell into line, and sure enough, there were two massive troop/transport ships, escorted by what seemed to be two Destroyers. The British aircraft decreased speed and went into a slight curve, in order to attack the enemy ships from the fading sun, leaving what had now been identified as Italians as little time as possible to react to their attack. Soon the eight bi-planes were skimming across the surface of the calm Mediterranean Sea and spread out to cover the maximum ammount of ocean with their eight Mk.XII torpedoes. Fleet Air Arm regulations stated that air-launched torpedoes had to be set to thirty-seven knots which gave them a range of about 3500 yards. They would however go as close as they dared.

At the same time, the brand-new Soldati-Class Destroyer Geniere was steaming along side the transports that carried reinforcements and replacement vehicles for the Arriette Armoured Division. The Commander of the Destroyer was also Convoy commander and was cautiously confident that he would make it through the blockade. Most, if not all the Carriers were busy escorting the massive convoys the British were sending through the gap between Italian Lybia and the Island of Sicily, carrying the Army that had fought in France a mere few weeks earlier, and that meant battle-hardened veterans with a chip on their shoulder the size of the Littorio-Class Battleships. Because of this, the two Italian Armoured Divisons were to be brought back up to full strength after the mauling they had received from the cursed English 8th Army. He would go there, refuel and be back home in time to taste the wonderful pasta of his wife and... “AIRCRAFT!” the lookout yelled, and to his horror, bi-planes boasting the markings of the British Fleet Air Arm came in, using an attack profile that indicated only one thing. “Full speed ahead, rudder hard to starboard! NOW!” the Italian commander yelled. Just as the Geniere started to change it's course towards the fading sun in a vain hope to have the British torpedoes pass on either side, one of them found it's mark and struck the ship just behind the forward 120mm mount that was still pouring out anti-aircraft fire. The 388 pounds of TNT ripped open the light hull of the Destroyer like a can-opener and exposed the innards of the ship to seawater, quickly leaving her in a sinking condition even before she broke apart, sinking with all hands. Of the other seven fish one malfunctioned, two plainly missed and one failed to explode after hitting hitting a freighter. The remaining three ran straight and true, with two hitting the forward freighter in the centre. They too ripped open the hull of their target and set the fuel drums that it carried ablaze. The third one struck the second freighter just forward of the rudder, ripping open her starboard shaft, bringing her to a dead stop while the crew fought the water that rushed in through the broken seals and the twisted and torn driveshaft. Even as the Swordfishes turned back towards their carrier, she began to settle in the water by the stern and her Captain gave the order to abandon ship. When the Italian Merchant sailors lowered their boats to the water and ladders towards the remaining Destroyer, the second freighter exploded in a cataclysmic explosion as the raging fire reached the tank ammunition that was stored on and below the upper deck. The sivering and wet survivors would have felt even worse had they known that over the course of the next two hours several more small convoys like this would be sunk by British Carrier Aircraft, effectively bringing the direct supply runs to Tobruk to a complete halt.


Night of 3rd to 4th October

Plymouth, United Kingdom.

Ian was sitting on the steps of the National Armada Memorial. For most of the day he had walked through the town, trying to make a sense of what had happened over the last few weeks since Felix had died. Now however he was sitting on the steps below the massive statue of Britannia which was covered in sandbags. He was itching for a smoke, but with the blackout in place, both lighting and actually smoking it would be difficult at best, as the local ARP warden was seen patrolling the street. Se he just leaned his head back on a sandback and tried to gather his thoughts. Suddenly he heard a voice, a voice that he had never expected to hear again.

“Typical. As soon as I am dead you are breaking apart on me.”

Ian jumped to his feet and almost fell over his own back.

“You...You are dead!” he yelled at the figure and still for some reason did not run away from the figure that looked so much like his dead friend. “Of course I am, Ian.” the ghost-Felix said, and smirked. Dressed in Civilian clothes for a change, the ghost was leaning against the sand bags in 'his' typical way. “But we are not here to talk about me, seeing as I am dead.” Ian scrambled backwards, still refusing to believe what he was seeing. He feared that he was slowly going crazy, after all, if one saw dead friends, what else could it be? “I....I....” Ian stammered. 'Felix' grinned in his way and said: “No, Ian. You are not crazy. I am just a projection of myself that your brain is inventing to help you deal with....” “Your death? And...” 'Felix' held his hands up and said: “Yes, all of it. Mind you, we both know that you merely need someone to talk with, and since your parents are in India, I am the most logical choice.”

Ian decided to use the opportunity while he had it.

“I blame myself. I still do. I could... no, I should have saved you, and I didn't.” “Oh for Christ's sake. It wasn't your fault, if at all, it was mine, I didn't tell you I was hit, remember? But you still don't believe that, do you? Despite what my sister said?” “Yes, I do.”

'Felix' threw up his hands in resignation and said: “Then I can't help you.” before dissolving into nothingness, leaving a startled Ian behind, who promptly woke up and decided that he had dreamt it all. With a look at his wristwatch and at the street, he decided that it was better to go to his appointment and walked off to towards the Naval Base. As he noticed that it was light, he fumbled through the various pockets of his uniform for his lighter, but not finding it. What he found instead was a cube-shaped object, which caused him to pause in his stride. He opened it, and looked at the object inside with a wistful smile. He closed it again and shoved into his pocket. He turned around and looked back towards the monument where he could see...no, he couldn't, he decided, blinked and the vision was gone. Shaking his head, Ian walked on, towards the Naval Base. His command was waiting for him, and he would keep the object to himself until he had atoned for his sins. He had to earn this chance, and by god he would do so.

So an hour later the gangway guards of one of the Thames Class gunboats, HMS Severn, moored in Plymouth were saluting to an Officer wearing the stripes of a full Commander. He identified himself as Commander Ian Fleming and was obviously a former desk officer, judging by his demeanour. But for some reason he did have the thousand-mile stare, and on his breast the bar of the Distinguished Service Cross could be seen, and as these things did normally not really mix, so the 'obvious' conclusion was that he was either coming from Intelligence or was one of the few desk drivers that actually managed to get 'out there' once in a while and had accidentally done something heroic. But no matter what, he was their new commanding Officer, and anyone in the Service did what he was told. The Commander was coming with little luggage, he only carried two bags and a sealed envelope with their orders with him, so it did not take him long to get settled in. When the XO of the Severn knocked at the door of the Captain's cabin to announce that the Rear Admiral who commanded the Channel Coastal Forces was here to officially give him the command, he found his new captain lying on his bunk, staring at a picture of some sort. “Sir, the Admiral is here.” Ian dashed from his bunk and said: “Thank you, Number One.” He moved his hands to his waistband and straightened out his uniform shirt before putting on his blue jacket. “Tell the Admiral I am on my way.”

Three hours later Ian was back in his cabin. He sighed. It would be hard work to get the crew to fully accept him, with him being a desk officer and all that. At the same time much of the crew came from various combat stations all over the United Kingdom, and was as much a patchwork as the ship, but at least they had seen combat in one form or another. But that was something he would prove, both to them and himself, when HMS Severn was part of the escort for one of the now-rare channel convoys. Action was guaranteed, and Ian was desperate for it.



Thames Class Gunboat









[Notes: Since loosing a few of my notes, I missed some minor Naval Battles during which the French managed to sink an Italian Battleship, and I some Light Cruisers. Curse me. I need to change my procedures. Anyway, I do have a soft heart for the old Stringbag, and trust me, they will have their moment of glory. Great Glory. Ian's Officers will be explained in greater detail soon. ]
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Cruising the channel in that boat? I hope that the Stukas would be asleep... :D
 

unmerged(85800)

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i think i know what the object and its contents are... :D good for him, i say. I too love biplanes, and that little attack was cool, i really like the way you make tiny events into a decent story. heres hoping for some naval action for Ian... as long as his 'action' isnt a bombing raid that leaves him in tiny pieces.
 

Griffin.Gen

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Isn't Gunboat patrolling a form of punishment in the British Empire? :D
 

Lord Strange

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Must be something up?
Smuggling something to or away from the Continent?
Also, ooh, burning ships. And I still do a double take when I realise the French are not Pansies in this timeline.
 
Aug 15, 2008
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It's sometime since I posted in this thread, and I still have a fair bit to catch up. :eek:o

trekaddict, read this latest news about the FAA if you have not already done so and tell me what you think about it. ;)
 

Le Jones

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It's sometime since I posted in this thread, and I still have a fair bit to catch up. :eek:o

trekaddict, read this latest news about the FAA if you have not already done so and tell me what you think about it. ;)
If I may, and being in position of some familiarity with it, this sort of stuff is always on the boil. It's redolent of the CVS bickering of the 70s. Torpy is fighting hard because he has to - one MOD paper recently argued for the future of the RAF at all. The FAA is quite safe, as is the Army Air Corps. The RAF are due a trimming though - most of their base personnel could be civilianised with no loss to Operational Capability.

EDIT - Trekaddict, I am remiss. I really enjoyed this update - as ever, top quality!
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner The RAF is out there. Spits are flying constant sorties over the Channel, so chances are that they will at least be close.

BritishImperial Originally the idea was to reveal the object right after the mission, but then I had to kill Felix.... Anyway, this battle was a small one, yes, but we will see bigger, grander Naval Battles aswell.

Griffin.Gen Naa. Gunboats have always been the forefront of the service, and of the Foreign Office for that matter.

Lord Strange For the moment it's mundane escort duty. Ian has to prove himself on sea for a while.

gaiasabre11&Le Jones My argument against would be that after the mess they made of the Fleet Air Arm the last time they had it under their control, the Navy will fight tooth and nail.


And thanks!
 
Aug 15, 2008
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gaiasabre11&Le Jones My argument against would be that after the mess they made of the Fleet Air Arm the last time they had it under their control, the Navy will fight tooth and nail.

And thanks!
I agree with your argument. I'd also like to quote from this chap at post 1009 of the page.

Anyways it's not good news for the Eurofighter in any sense. Of course it's not too late to just give it up and buy some awesome (and sexy) Rafales, mwahahahaha. :p I also heard that there's an über Rafale being developed for the UAE...
 
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[Notes: Since loosing a few of my notes, I missed some minor Naval Battles during which the French managed to sink an Italian Battleship, and I some Light Cruisers. Curse me. I need to change my procedures. Anyway, I do have a soft heart for the old Stringbag, and trust me, they will have their moment of glory. Great Glory. Ian's Officers will be explained in greater detail soon. ]
Ok, I missed this completely:

Mwahaha, let me guess how the Italian BB sank, the Richelieu pounded her with her guns and sent her to the bottom of the seas with one salvo. :p

BTW, me thinking of using your gunboat as a base for my own. Do you mind?
 

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Ok, I missed this completely:

Mwahaha, let me guess how the Italian BB sank, the Richelieu pounded her with her guns and sent her to the bottom of the seas with one salvo. :p

BTW, me thinking of using your gunboat as a base for my own. Do you mind?
Naaa, I don't mind.
 
Aug 15, 2008
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trekaddict

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Thanks trek, btw, can you tell me the armaments for your gunboat since I'm using it as a base? ;)
2x 4inch turrets slavaged from decomissioned V-Class Destroyers, 1x 3inch, 8x 20/40 mm Oerlikon, 10 .50cal Machine guns, the usual small arms and Depth Charges.
 

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2x 4inch turrets slavaged from decomissioned V-Class Destroyers, 1x 3inch, 8x 20/40 mm Oerlikon, 10 .50cal Machine guns, the usual small arms and Depth Charges.
sounds like a tiny floating fortress. obviously not against a battleship, but not something i'd like to meet on the Thames.
 
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2x 4inch turrets slavaged from decomissioned V-Class Destroyers, 1x 3inch, 8x 20/40 mm Oerlikon, 10 .50cal Machine guns, the usual small arms and Depth Charges.
mwahahahaha, trek I'm sorry but I've built a better gunboat using only French weapons of the time. I'm basically done already, would you like me to send it to you with PM? ;)
 

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BritishImperial That's the idea. They should do well in the Channel, the Med and in the Far East, not to speak of possible more clandestine uses.


gaiasabre11 You are free to do that. I will go into the history of the Thames class some more soon.