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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

trekaddict

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Oh, my bad. On a side note, I kinda want to draw a true pocket battleship displacing around 20,000 tons standard carrying 8 x 305mm guns in quads with speed of 30+ knots and armor good against 8" shells. She'll be able to hunt down cruisers like the Belfast with ease. :p
Well, the Belfast is, at least in this AAR, classified as a Heavy Cruiser. THe one you mean, like this?
 
Aug 15, 2008
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Well, the Belfast is, at least in this AAR, classified as a Heavy Cruiser. THe one you mean, like this?
My PB design should be able to hunt and kill every surface warship, except for BBs and BCs of course. Me kinda plotting a gunnery duel between my PB and some ships named after German Admirals...... :p

btw, this is how I classify cruisers (using only displacement):

CL: displacement between 3000 and 10000 tons
CA: displacement between 10000 tons and 20000 tons
BC: 20000 tons and above
 
Last edited:

trekaddict

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My PB design should be able to hunt and kill every surface warship, except for BBs and BCs of course. Me kinda plotting a gunnery duel between my PB and some ships named after German Admirals...... :p

btw, this is how I classify cruisers (using only displacement):

CL: displacement between 3000 and 10000 tons
CA: displacement between 10000 tons and 20000 tons
BC: 20000 tons and above
Bugger. I should stop typing without thinking. Belfast is of the Southampton Class, a CL in the game and this AAR but a CL in real life.
 
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Bugger. I should stop typing without thinking. Belfast is of the Southampton Class, a CL in the game and this AAR but a CL in real life.
I was about to point that out too, but I guess it isn't necessary. :p

I find it confusing to classify ships mainly by the calibre of the guns they carry, so I like to use displacement as my guide. ;)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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AFAIK, the CL/CA consideration can vary also depending on the guns mounted, methinks... Just take a look at the US Northampton-class CA.
 

El Pip

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Another fine naval update, though I do wonder about the code breaking side of it. What effect did the Soviet-German alliance have? Either the Germans had to give the Soviets Enigma (very unlikely) the Soviets gave up their coding system (again very unlikely) or all communications between the Soviets and Germans were using un-secured or very low security systems.

I wonder what the consequences of that were?
 

trekaddict

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Another fine naval update, though I do wonder about the code breaking side of it. What effect did the Soviet-German alliance have? Either the Germans had to give the Soviets Enigma (very unlikely) the Soviets gave up their coding system (again very unlikely) or all communications between the Soviets and Germans were using un-secured or very low security systems.

I wonder what the consequences of that were?
Would you mind if I gave you the answer to that in a PM in an hour or so since it is very spoiler heavy?
 

El Pip

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Would you mind if I gave you the answer to that in a PM in an hour or so since it is very spoiler heavy?
That would be the cunning solution, I await with interest. :D
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 186​

11th November 1941

Salerno, occupied Italy

The 10th Airlanding Brigade, unofficially called the American Brigade was standing at attention. Up front was 1st Battalion under Colonel Mc Auliffe and they were waiting to greet those that were to relieve them from this bit of the front so that the Airborne Divisions could be moved to Sicily where they would rest and refit before being brought back to action. The Battalion was to greet the visitors with their battalion march, played by the Brigade's band. Mc Auliffe was standing at attention in the first row among his men, and he could already see the men and vehicles approaching. He could faintly hear the men marching and the roar of the vehicles. Normally Commonwealth Troops ( Mc Auliffe still through of himself as an American first ) had a marching band up front at times like this, but from what he had heard these were an exception. He looked as close as he could from his current position, and soon heard the voice of General Palmerston: “Colonel, our friends are arriving. “Yes, Sir.”

The Colonel stood at attention, but even so he could see the vehicle markings. When they marched closer, he could see that they had a flag waving over their heads, the Maple Leaf Red Ensign of Canada, because these men were the advance units of the 5th Candian Armoured Division, part of I Canadian Corps, the belated and smaller than expected contribution of the Dominion of Canada to the war in Europe. The Canadians marched into Salerno without a band and music, but with the Corps Commander marching in front of the others. Lieutenant General Crerar was marching in front of his troops, followed by a flag party that carried the colours of the Corps and the Canadian Flag, who were in turn followed by some of the tanks of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. The Canadians had traded in their Rams tanks for Cromwells with a sad heart, mainly because getting supplies for them would have been devilishly hard in Europe, since the British did not use the gun, so the Rams were reserved for Home Defence and other duties, while the gun had found it's way into the Australian Sentinels. The Canadians had spent the last month getting worked up on their new Equipment and had been itching to get into to fight, believing that they had something to prove, which was even more true for the Franco-Canadian 22nd Regiment which was part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division.

But this was not what Mc Auliffe thought.

“Eyes to the right in salute!” came the order from the Canadian General, and in response the Paras snapped to attention, and the band began to play their Brigade March. The Canadians marched past and stopped when Crerar drew level with Brigadier Palmerston where an elaborate ceremony began. In the end the Canadians hoisted their own Red Ensign with the Golden Maple Leaf over the city hall before the Paratroopers marched out.

I Canadian Corps was all that could be spared from Canada, but it was the cream of the Royal Canadian Army. Not only the most trustworthy recruits that had gone through the extensive vetting process for overseas deployments but also the best trained and the best equipped, and they were about to show the Italians what was what. The British Army had been going through a 'strategic pause' that was in reality just a hurried attempt to sort out the mess of units that the front had been in the aftermath of the rapid advances and un-planned avenues of attack that had characterized the campaign now. I Canadian Corps was a combined unit. Aside from the 5th Armoured it also had the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Canadian Infantry Divisions, the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade which was equipped with mostly Churchill Heavy Infantry Support tanks in anticipation of city fighting and field fortifications, and assorted independent Companies and Regiments at Corps level. It was lighter on Artillery than a comparable British formation, but other than that carried the same complement of weapons and equipment as the British Army. All this combined made them very suited for the job. Alexander's master plan for advancing through Italy was essentially leapfrogging. One attack on one side of the central mountains would follow one on the other. While this would soon become clear to Rommel and the Axis high Commands, it would force them to extend any defensive line they had over the whole of Italy instead of just sealing off one axis of attack. And at this stage in the campaign there was not much point in hoping for strategic surprise anyway. The only viable strategic target that was in striking distance of the front was Rome, and both sides knew, the only thing Rommel and Alexander had to do was to figure out where the Allies would strike first.

Here Rommel made the mistake of discounting the Canadians as those who would deliver the first blow, even though it must be said that he based his decisions on the Intelligence that was delivered to him, and that said that the Corps wouldn't be ready for combat for at least another five days.

Much of the Axis forces in Italy, twelve Divisions of which three were motorized, five Armoured and the rest Infantry, were concentrated south and east of Rome at the 'urging' of the Duce who still yelled towards Berlin and Moscow for more Divisions. Rommel had repeatedly tried to explain that you could operate only so many units in a space as confined as Italy and was privately remarking that the damned Italians should do more of the heavy lifting since it was their bloody country. Now he was forced to commit what had been supposed to be a combat reserve if the Italian units on the eastern coast broke earlier than expected against what he saw as a diversionary action at first. III Corps and the Mountaineers would face steep odds, only that Alexander had anticipated something like this thanks to ULTRA which was disguised by recce missions from Polish, Belgian, British and Dutch airfields farther south. His Armour was mostly concentrated towards the Eastern Coast of Italy since they were later expected to fan out into the northern Italian plain, so a smaller Diversionary action was in order. The Canadians were the ones who would carry it out. After taking over Salerno from the Paras, they had moved to a position along Route 6 in accordance with Alexander's plan, and they would attack on and along that road towards a Mountain that dominated the valley and had the potential of holding up the advance for days and weeks: Monte Cassino.

Monte Cassino was a rocky hill about 130 km (80 miles) southeast of Rome, Italy, c. 2 km to the west of the town of Cassino and 520 m altitude, and the Germans had indeed stationed troops there, even though not in the Monastery itself, but had rather placed a three German Infantry Divisions, two Italian Regiments and a Soviet Cavalry Division there. A further edge the Axis had was, aside from the distance that the Canadians would have to cover against determined Italian resistance and delaying measures of all sorts was also that the attack would have to cross two modest sized rivers before the town of Cassino was reached. The distance was vast, and it would turn into one of the most bitterly contested battles of the entire war.

On the 13th both attacks kicked off, and as expected the Canadians made good progress against only small company-sized rearguards. These however bought time for the Italian engineers and sappers to create a myriad of obstacles for the Canadians who were forced to advance along a single road in the winter, because during the halt, it had begun to rain, and the roads, while better than they were in Russia at this point of the year were suitably altered by all the water that came from the sky, and the temperatures were clearly part of what shaped up to be a mild but still rather cold winter for Italian circumstances, sometimes it was even freezing over night, even though the Canadians still considered this rather warm. The Battles on the other hand were rather hot. The Italian commander in this region was one of the few in the higher Officer Corps of the Italian Army who was of the opinion that the current arrangements of command were good ones, and he had embraced the tactics that the Germans had adopted to so good effect. For the first time the Allies would go up against a skilled, determined opponent with similar combat power and similar numbers.

This did not deter the Canadian troops at all, and neither did the weather which most of the Canadian troops saw as a bit of a stiff breeze at most.

They were deployed in a classic formation, with the 5th Canadian Armoured Division in the centre and the Infantry Division protecting their flanks, or at least this was how it was supposed to be. In reality the Armoured Division was advancing in the valley with the Infantry advancing on the hills surrounding the valley, and there it was when the advance met the first setback. The 2nd Canadian Infantry Division there ran into an elite Italian Alpini Division.

Among those advancing was Lance Corpororal Griffin. Less than a year ago he had been a raw recruit at the depot and an inconsistency in terms, a Franco-Canadian with an English surname and Canadian first, Quebec second. Now he was a green but highly trained NCO in the Canadian Infantry who was about to get his first taste of combat. The Regiment, the Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal was advancing in a loose formation towards a crest. Griffin glanced down into the valley where he could see that the tanks were shelling a hamlet from which feeble return fire could be seen, and farther back he could see a disabled Cromwell with a broken track. His attention was diverted forward again when ahead a machine gun could be heard. It was neither the fast hammering of the Bren nor the lower thudding noise of the heavy .50cal Brownings, so it had to be enemy fire. Soon enough this was joined by mortars that cut down several troops of the Company before they could take cover. Griffin robbed forward to the rocky area where he could see the Regiment establish a defensive position in the rocky and frozen ground. The Canadians had been stopped, but the Regiment's commanding officer refused to be stopped after less than a day's worth of advance, so the Regiment rose as a man to attack the Italians, to overwhelm them with the sudden attack. The troops tried to rush through the rock garden that was ahead of them, and Griffin was one of them. He suddenly found himself alone, and he ran forward. Bayonet fixed he stabbed at the Italian troops where he could see them, he slammed the butt of his rifle into one of the Alpinis, he fired a round into the belly of another, all of this in a fit of rage and and with bloodthirsty yells tearing from his throat. Then suddenly it was all over. Later he would know that it had all lasted less than twenty minutes, but when Griffin looked around and saw the rest of the world for the first time again, he saw that Italian and Canadian dead were lying about all over the area he could see, and something told him that this was not the last such action he had fought. He gathered up his rifle and detached the bayonet. As if on cue it began to rain again and the suddenly sullen and disillusioned Canadian troops found the weather to fit their moods. Griffin was far from the only one who had the sickening feeling that this was what the war would be like for them.

He was not wrong. The Campaign for Monte Cassino was one that threatened to sap the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force or the CEF on land and in the air. Just as the Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal were battling the Italian Alpinis the Tanks in the Valley were battling German Panzer IV with the long barrelled 75mm gun, and in the confined spaces the superior gun of the Canadian Cromwells could not come into play. It was a savage battle for supremacy between the experienced Germans and the green but well trained Canadians who would have to pay dearly for every yard gained.


[Notes: I am taking some liberties with the weather here.]
 
Aug 15, 2008
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This update reminds me of bf1942, the road to Rome. There is also a Monte Cassiano Campaign that you can play, and in that campaign, I discovered a bug while playing the Axis. I virtually killed like over a hundred men and destroyed countless tanks by my own. :p

Anyways, Air battles over the Italian sky? :rolleyes:
 

Griffin.Gen

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I'm flattered. :)
Must....stab....more....Italians. :mad:
:p
 
Aug 15, 2008
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Lord Strange

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Heh. Might I add the small point that the update was supposed to be 11th November: Armistace day/Remebrance day? Some mention might be good?
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Don't bomb any sacred building this time...:D
 

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gaiasabre11 I used to play that too.

Griffin.Gen Happy to oblige. Your input on Canada has really helped me.

Lord Strange To be perfectly honest, it didn't occur to me. Here in Germany 11th November is just another day, no Remembrance Day. :eek:o

Kurt_Steiner Who knows....
 

trekaddict

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An addition for Lord Strange: I didn't forget on purpose. Next year.
 

Lord Strange

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Heh. I was merely wondering if you actually knew or not, rather than complaining. Also, nice update.
 

trekaddict

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Heh. I was merely wondering if you actually knew or not, rather than complaining. Also, nice update.
Thank you, thank you. Now, as the 9th is coming up in real life, I will try to do something special for that.