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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(61356)

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Kramer is certainly having a better time in Yugoslavia than in France it seems. Yugoslavia can't possibly hold out for much longer with all of these armies tearing through it.

I'm not sure that I like hearing that those commies are going to be running around in Canada. They can't be up to anything good.
 

trekaddict

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Le Jones Thank you, good sir.

Griffin.Gen They are communists and yanks at the same time you know. As for the agents, well, I think we discussed some of my ideas via MSN.

Hardraade He is definitely doing better this time around. As for the Yugoslavs, they managed to mobilize a greater part of their Army, so they should be able to hold at least as long as in OTL.
 

Griffin.Gen

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Griffin.Gen They are communists and yanks at the same time you know. As for the agents, well, I think we discussed some of my ideas via MSN.
I know too much, don't I?
I'm probably under surveillance right now :eek:
 

trekaddict

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I know too much, don't I?
I'm probably under surveillance right now :eek:
Naa. MI6 has tagged you as "Loyal and non-hostile Dominion Subject" and therefore only checks up on your whereabouts once a month. :D
 

El Pip

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Hmmm French-Canadians, possibly the most evil kind of Frenchman as they are French by choice, the fools.

The Panzers appear to be slicing through Yugoslavia, Greece must be bricking it (that's the technical term by the way ;) ). The Balkans will be very messy I predict, when the Soviets and Germans do go to war a great many nations will have to pick which Axis to follow at very short notice. Looking forward to that immensely. :D
 

trekaddict

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Well, the Balkans is mostly decided by now. Greece is neutral for the time being and the other Balkan nations are firmly in the axis camp.
 

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trekaddict

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unmerged(85800)

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Ah but which side of the Axis camp?
shouldn't that depend on what type of government they have? obviously being an ally of the soviets may mean they have been influenced by their particular government style, but if they're still ruled by the vanilla leaders then surely they will join germany in a 'crusade' against communism.
 

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Well, I left the politica setups and events of most European minors in the area alone, so most of them should more look towards Berlin. Aside from poland, the Baltic States ( Which are still around for some reason ) and Bessarabia the Soviets have no interests in Europe.
 

trekaddict

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Note ahead: I was thinking about where to go next and suddenly realized that we haven't heard from Ian in far too long, and therefore certain...ehm...issues I totally forgot about arose. Herm. Don't think bad of Ian because his author's mind is made of swiss cheese.



Chapter 148



5th March 1941

London

Sandra Leiter held her gas mask case in her hand as if it were her salvation as she stood in the queue for her weekly ration of meat from the butcher. The massive bump she was always carrying around these days ensured not only that she received greater rations than the rest of them, but also that she was not pushed around too much. Ian had been elated in his first letter when it had finally arrived three weeks after she had mailed her own. They had been writing each other since at least once a week, and Ian had promised to come home as soon as possible, and had repeated that promise in every letter for the last seven months. So far however his duties kept him away from her and their growing child. Not that it mattered to her personally, but the nosy neighbours had begun to talk behind her back, and that made it all the more difficult. Not that she would mind having a child out if wedlock, but the rest of the world might see it differently. Her parents had not said anything, and it seemed to her that, while they did not approve of the situation, also knew that there was a war on and that the Father of the child could not leave his duties on a whim. Still, she longed to see him again, to feel his touch to hear his voice, just to be near him again. She loved him with every piece of her heart and body, and the child growing inside her was a testament to that even though it had not been planned. It had taken her time to get used to the idea herself, and now she could not await the day, set to be somewhere in may. The woman behind her softly nudged her with the elbow and said: “Luv, they are waiting for us to move back there.” “Oh, I am sorry,” Sandra answered and stepped forward to close the small gap to the woman in front of her. She hated queuing, and for the last two months her mother had gone shopping most of the time, but this was the only day the meat ration could be collected this week and she was on ARP duty today and her father was busy at the backery, so Sandra had volunteered over the objections of her overprotective and endearingly doting parents. Ian would have laughed and said with a sad smile that he wished his own parents were like that. She smiled and shook these thoughts out of her head, because by now she had entered the butcher's shop. The small shop had it's walls plastered with propaganda posters. 'Dig for Victory', and superimposed behind the counter on the wall was the 'Let us go forward together' poster.


[1]
When she was finally at the head of the line she opened her gas mask bag and pulled out the ration books for the family. Procedure was normally that you couldn't get rations for more than one book at any given time, because of which families normally had only one for all inhabitants of the household, but the butcher knew and liked the Leiters, hence why he was inclined to overlook it.

“Good morning, Mr. Jones.” Sandra said, “Good Morning, Miss Leiter, what can I do for you today?” Butcher Jones was a small man of undetermined age and with an old-fashioned moustache and small glasses. Normally he was a jovial man and well liked within the community, but he had a tendency to start telling war stories from his own Army Service, especially when he returned from Home Guard Duty. Still, he did not talk of that at the moment, and handed Sandra the meat rations she was entitled to. He wrapped the pieces of fillet and placed it on the counter. “Everything al-right, Miss Leiter?” he asked, genuinly concerned when Sandra grimaced without warning. “Oh yes, it's just that the little soc...Football player decided to kick... I only wish his father was here...” Jones nodded understandingly and quietly placed some off the books and under the counter sausages beside the fillet and wrapped the package. “Oh, I think he would give a lot to be here, Miss Leiter. There is a war on you know, and we all have to do our bit. When I was in the Sudan under General Kitchener...” Sandra blanked the rest out, paid for the meat and left with a smile on her face. On the walk home she looked around and took in the streets of London at war. It was a stark contrast to the desperation and gloominess she could remember from the Civil War in America. Here the air was more one of determination and willingness to 'fight it out to the finish.' It was something she was still amazed by, and something that she wished America had had when the country had torn itself apart. Anti-Aircraft guns were poking their barrels into the air from every open space, and whenever the occasional four-plane fighter patrol criss-crossed in the sky some cheered. Most tried to live their lives as well as they could during wartime. Fewer civilan men and more soldiers of all services on the street, more women in jobs. Sandra sometimes wished she could also do her bit...but whenever she tried to look at her feet, the reason was obvious. She did so again and smiled broadly. Felix would be absolutely insufferable as the 'expecting uncle' and she wished he could be at least alive to see how happy she was despite her current situation. She walked the mile back to her home. She opened the door and was greeted by....


“IAN!” she yelled and threw herself into his open arms. He embraced her as well as he could under the circumstances as she pressed her head into the Navy-Blue cloth. He smiled and his right hand made soothing circles on her back while the other one cradled Sandra's head. “Now now,” Ian said after a minute, “mind the Blackout, love.” She smiled without moving and resolutely ignored the tears of happiness that were streaking down her cheeks. Normally she wasn't this emotional, but this child had taken her life and thrown it out of the window, so this was probably just a natural extension. She stepped back and looked up at him. “When did you get here?” “About an hour ago. Your parents weren't in, so I used the spare key.” “I see....” She led him into the living room while Ian was uncharacteristically unsure about what to say. He knew what he had...no scratch that, what he wanted to do, but he had no idea how to proceed. In his pocket he fingered the small box with the ring that he had brought with him with the fair intention to actually present it to her. But before he could say anything, she turned around and kissed him, her arms winding themselves around his neck as far as they could. “I missed you Ian.” she said in a low and husky voice. “It wasn't all fun and games for me either you know.” Ian answered. No more words were exchanged as the two stood there in the room and thought about what they had missed in the last few months. Then suddenly Sandra remembered that she still had the family's weekly meat ration in her bag and iced herself from Ian and slapped his hand when he tried to keep her in place. “Now wait, my dear. I have to put this away fírst.” She checked the refrigerator for any leaks and then simply placed the meat into the unit. Closing the door she saw that Ian was leaning against the doorframe of the kitchen in a way that reminded her of Felix when they had still live in Colorado, and was startled back into reality when he started to talk. “Are you all right?” She smiled at him again and just said: “Yes, yes, I'm fine.” An awkward silence ensued as neither knew what to say next. In the end they settled for just sitting down on the couch with Sandra's arm wound around Ian. When she began to become slightly uncomfortable and began to shift, she noticed an object in Ian's pocket. Ian immediately noticed and tried not to become tomato red in the face. Careful not to hurt the woman in his arms he pulled the box from his pocket and asked the question not with words but more with the look on his face. The radiant smile on her face and the tears of joy running down her cheeks were answer enough.

Later that same day,

Undisclosed location, somewhere in Scotland


“We need more landing craft. There is no way we can put more than two Divisions ashore with what we have now, never mind the second wave!” Marshal Gort all but yelled. The Fourth Sea Lord chimed in. “I am afraid I must agree with the Marshal here, Sir. We could just so land and supply the troops that are put ashore in the first wave, but the second part of the plan is simply impossible. We have the troopships we need, but we can't very well send our forces ashore in rowing boats. They would be sent to the slaughter.” The Third Sea Lord was of a different opinion. “There is no way we can build the requested number of landing craft! We have other commitments for our shipyards. May I remind you that we have get the Aircraft Carriers out there as fast as possible, and that we still have to re-build the escort force for our convoys to Canada and the Mediterranean? We simply do not have the ship-building capacity to have such a force of Landing Craft ready by the time they are needed. It simply cannot be done. We are building them as fast as we can, but there is no way we can have enough for six Divisions ready by September.” The First Sea sighed and said: “Then what can you give us, then?” The Third Sea Lord, Admiral Bruce Fraser, rose from his chair and rose to his full height, his hands placed on the table and the papers on it. “The explanation will take some time, so bear with me, please. First, there are several types of landing craft, each one for one or two special tasks.”

“Most of them have one thing in common: they are shallow draft, and carry a certain number of troops or vehicles. The basic one is the Landing Craft Assault, or LC-A. In the force for Market Garden they will be the type we will use in the greatest numbers. It is 41.5 feet long, ten feet wide and has, when loaded, a draught of 1 ft 9 in forward, 2 ft 3 in aft and carries roughly thirty-six troops and around eight-hundred pounds of Cargo. The type has a top speed of roughly six knots when full. Now the problem is that we currently have enough to land perhaps one Division, or two if we stretch it, and with only six months left it is doubtful we can produce enough for a full six Divisions. However we already have 'just' enough for the landings of the first wave as Marshal Gort has pointed out. I would however like to have a comfortable stock of LC-As for attrition replacements.” He cleared his throat and went on. “Then there is the problem of bringing Artillery and vehicles ashore. For that we have plans for a Landing Craft-Mechanized, or LC-M. Again, shallow draft and relatively slow, but it is able to carry a tank weighing up to thirty tons, including crew and ammunition for it. So for setting the four Armoured Division on the beach over the first weeks will take a substantial number of LC-Ts, even if we manage to capture a port like Reggio di Calabria, and even if we do, there is still the Italian Army on Sicily to deal with. If they manage to interdict our convoys into that port, we could very well loose the entire force in one go.” Before he could continue, Gort interrupted. “How many troops could you put in place with right now at the moment?” “If we stretch it and absolutely goes wrong, two Divisions of Infantry and perhaps half an Armoured Division. And bear in mind this is after we pushed production of all sorts of landing craft ever since the fall of France with what resources we could scrounge together.” At this point Captain Hackett, who was sitting on a chair leaning against the wall spoke for the first time. “With all due respect, Sirs, but may I state that the second landing on Sicily was always more a theoretical exercise to begin with? We included it in the plan in order to have an option to circumvent the more direct and obvious route across the strait of Messina. Invading that Island there would be easier, as, aside from the initial landing force, it can be done with troopships. There are suitable port facilities on both sides.” Fraser nodded and made a mental note to keep an eye on that Officer, for better or worse. “Another problem is that the force of landing craft we have at the moment also includes ships that date from the last war, along with a stock of craft that were built in the 1920s, but the problem with them is that they were built to the specifications of the day, and it is doubtful that they could be used in Market Garden. An example are the Tank Landers. But to replace them we have so-called Landing Craft-Tank, or LC-Ts. Under the right condition we can land one entire Armoured Regiment, including all support and HQ troops with between six and ten boats, depending on the beach. Of these we have five at the moment, with, when I left London two days ago four more on the slipways.” Gort grunted appreciatively and asked: “Can the Dominions be of some help?” “In India we have practically commandeered most of the ship-building capacity large enough to handle them, and they are busy building landing Craft. If they take part in Market Garden, they would sale under the flags of the Imperial Dominion of India and the RIN. It will only be a relatively small number though, as the Indians are busy with the Burma Line and all the contingency planning for the Far East, it all takes up a considerable amount of resources. The ANZACS can't spare anything with the Japanese acting more aggressive each day, and the Canadians can't either.”

For the next hour they discussed the various specialized types, before the discussion turned to the next big issue for this meeting. Logistics. This time the Fourth Sea Lord spoke. “Here our main problem is that while we have been building up the fleet train again since 1937, most of that will be needed to maintain the Carrier Blockade and the Home Fleet once it is combat worthy again, or earmarked for the Far East and CinC Far East will not like it at all when we take that away to conduct an Invasion in Europe. But we can operate all over the Mediterranean Sea without a Fleet Train as extensive as the one needed in the North Sea or the Far East. For one we don't have to be on station for as long a period of time as in the North Sea, and on the other hand unlike the Pacific, we always have bases nearby. In the case of Market Garden this would be Alexandria and to the extent we can maintain air superiority, also Malta. We are lucky that we have a large Merchant Navy, but if Naval and Air Superiority cannot be guaranteed for some reason or other, we would be forced to land the supplies in Morocco and ship them eastwards over the road the French built to supply their forces in Tunesia and Lybia.” Gort grimaced at this. He already got stomach ulcers from only thinking of selling Market Garden and the long-term strategic plans of the IGS to the French. The PM was still fond of them, but Gort knew that he was willing to carry out the plan without them if push came to shove, mainly because taking the Battle to the enemy and starting the liberation of western Europe was more important than a bruised French ego. The Foreign Office, concerned with the long-term diplomatic fallout might disagree, but Gort didn't give a damn about that. He had a war to win. “From our own bases in eastern Lybia and Egypt we can then use our own ships to run the supplies up to the Bridgeheads until Sicily is taken or fully neutralized. And before you say it, yes this would draw the Italian Fleet out, but then we would at last have the chance to engage them in Battle and destroy them on the high seas. This would free up substantial Royal Navy assets for service elsewhere, so we are understandably eager to do so.” “But are you willing to gamble the supplies for god knowns how many men on your ability to intercept the Eytalians in time?” Gort said bluntly. With a steely voice the First Sea Lord replied: “There is a difference between a gamble and a calculated risk, Marshal. Rest assured that the Royal Navy will not let the enemy slip away. It is in our own interest as much as yours to destroy the Regia Marina as fast as possible.” Gort just nodded and lit a cigar. It was going to be a long night.



[Notes: As stated above. Also, no offence meant to real pregnant women, but this is merely based on what I saw in my family over the years. Another tidbit of the plan as it is, or rather was, revealed. For the calculations, especially the Armoured landings I used late-war numbers as it proved difficult to find the ones earlier in the war. The next update will be something special, but after that I will update RHBF.]

[1] Substitute Spitfires for the Hurricanes in that one.
 

TheHyphenated1

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In the process of catching up again, trekaddict!

I thought you had exams that were going to slow you down or something :p.
 

trekaddict

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TheHyphenated1

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Congratulations :).
 

Griffin.Gen

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For a while I thought you had forgotten about Ian until you told me about it on MSN. ;)
Keep up the good work.
 

unmerged(85800)

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nice to see how our favourite couple are getting along. i found the stuff about different types of landing craft really interesting as well.
 

trekaddict

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TheHyphenated1 Thanks.

Griffin.Gen Well, there was lot's of other stuff happening, both in RL and in the AAR.

BritishImperial When I started this couple thing I was just coming off some RL turmoil and needed some soulfood to feel good again. I am such a sap. Also the Landing craft shown here are only a few, there are various special types we will see revealed as we go along.
 

El Pip

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Ahh the logistics of landing. Not the most thrilling of subjects but interesting none the less, particularly given they're so vital.

With such work and resources being put in I'm sure the landings will be a realistic success. ;)
 

trekaddict

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Ahh the logistics of landing. Not the most thrilling of subjects but interesting none the less, particularly given they're so vital.

With such work and resources being put in I'm sure the landings will be a realistic success. ;)
That's the idea. A few years ago I was visiting the Normandy Beaches myself, and only then did I realize how big OVerlord really must have been, and since then I apprechiate the work that is put into such landings.