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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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ColossusCrusher

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It's true that the Germans wouldn't be able to invade, but without the RAF they would be able to bomb with impunity.
 

trekaddict

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It's true that the Germans wouldn't be able to invade, but without the RAF they would be able to bomb with impunity.

Defeat is relative. Defeat in the Battle of Britain itself would have meant pulling the fighter Squadrons back and out of range of the escort fighters which would have surrendered air over the channel to the Germans, yet on the other hand the Island itself would still have been defended, since the German Fighters still would have had less than half an hour over England.
 

stevep

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Trekaddict

Interesting change of pace. Must admit that when he started doing the crossword puzzles I was wondering if he was going to expose some Axis spy ring.;)

Not quite sure what the psycho-murders have to do with the broader war, unless its a case of putting a touch of non-war life [can't really say normal life] into the plot. Be interested where you take this.

On the rationing situation the securing of supply lines will be better, although would have expected, without an eastern front, Germany would be making more effort at sea. However where are the supplies, especially the grub coming from. Other sources, such as Argentina and Australia/New Zealand are some distance off so the best source logistically would be Canada. Can it produce enough of a surplus or are we still trading with the US successor state?

On the situation if Britain had lost the BoB any German invasion effort is likely to see a bloody defeat for the Germans but where they went from there would be the big question. On the AH site I met Trekkie there was an excellent TL where the Germans do things slightly differently and manage to make an invasion bid. The result was not only a heavy defeat but the losses of Rhine barges especially and of special units meant that when Hitler still pushed an invasion of Russia - which I'm not sure even he would be insane enough to - the wheels came off very quickly. On the other hand you could get a nasty situation if a Sealion defeat actually persuaded the Germans to put sustained pressure on Britain militarily and economically.

Steve
 

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Lovely writing style, Trekaddict, and by reading Agatha Christie novels you're just the sort of chap that Lord Halifax would appwove of.
 

trekaddict

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Well, it is indeed a touch of non-war life. :D


Anyhow, the supplies are coming from the sources you listed, and yes, limited trade with the US successor state has been agreed upon, but only non-war critical materials. Canada has at the very least 1.5 to 1.7 times the normal population thanks to a massive influx of American loyalist refugees throughout the 1930s which allows for larger industry, larger agrigculture which does indeed produce something of a surplus that is sold at very generous and definitely below world-market prices to Britain. The Germans do make an effort at sea, but Hitler has been...disenchanted with the Kriegsmarine as a whole thanks to the superb gunnery on HMS Hood and the Battleships of the Home Fleet. That includes the U-Boats which are barely able to sustain the numbers they had in early 1941 thanks to the hammering they got from the larger than OTL escort Force which is larger thanks to the French and their Navy fighting on and more funding before the war. (Thanks to anti-communist paranoya when the Reds won in America. One can't have heathen communists threaten the sea lines to the oldest Dominion.)
 

trekaddict

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Lovely writing style, Trekaddict, and by reading Agatha Christie novels you're just the sort of chap that Lord Halifax would appwove of.

Thanks...I think.....:wacko:
















:D
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Lovely writing style, Trekaddict, and by reading Agatha Christie novels you're just the sort of chap that Lord Halifax would appwove of.

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 210​


'Operation Catapult was an improvisation of the highest order, thrown together within days at the behest of a Government that was desperate for good news from the Far East. Nevertheless, it worked, it did what it was supposed to do and I am bloody well proud about my part in it.'

Captain 'Sam' Beattie, 1944


22nd March 1942


The South-East Asia Area Air Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service was the largest such formation by a fair margin. The Carriers and the smaller Northern Area Air Fleet covered the Northern Pacific, but here a larger formation was needed. Countless of small islands and countless places to hide a ship, never mind prowling British Carriers, made sure that a great part of that Air Fleet would be patrolling the area. It was expected that later on almost half of the Air Fleet would assist in the defence of the newly Japanese East Indies against the expected British and probably also American counterstrokes. Torpedo planes and bombers were just waiting to pounce on any British ships that dared to challenge Japanese mastery over the area, and right now there was a buzz of activity on a multitude of airfields in Southern Indochina and Siam as reports had come in that the British were moving a heavily escorted convoy through the Straits of Malacca to their fortress at Singapore that had yet to fall. The 25th Army was exhausted and would need to be resupplied before they could attack the fortress in earnest, and the British knew that as well as anybody it seemed, because now they were rushing in everything in the way of supplies and men in an effort to strengthen Singapore that was obviously doomed to fail. The Squadrons of the Air Fleet were loading up their bomber and torpedo planes that had worked oh so well against the Phillipines and in the first battle against the Americans. Intelligence was sketchy, only the report of two Submarines of 'large, lightly escorted convoy' and neither of these Submarines had reported in since. The Surface Fleet had no major units in the area at the moment, they were busy escorting the big attack against the Dutch, so the honour of attacking this convoy had fallen to the aircraft. The first wave was of course preceded by several H6K Flying boats that were tasked to find the convoy. These had taken off hours ago when it had still been almost dark since they would have to take the long way around to avoid British and Dutch Fighters that operated around Singapore and they had reported the convoy where it was expected to be. Now the G3Ms and G4Ms of the Fleet began to take off in Squadron order and were vectored towards the suspected position of the enemy convoy

Opposing them was a convoy of twelve Freighters loaded with everything from Artillery ammunition to foodstuffs, and indeed the close escort was as thin as the Japanese had reported, only Force Z[1] and HMS Belfast who had been dispatched earlier that week with two Destroyers to guide the Convoy in, but also, and probably most importantly, three Aircraft Carriers, HMS Illustrious, HMS Implacable and HMS Indefatigable who formed the Distant Escort Force. The carriers had been detached from Force A which, under the command of Admiral Cunninghams 2IC would make their way towards Australia on the southern route. Force Z and Force A were tasked with helping the ANCAZ and Dutch Navies in the defence of the Easts Indies, something that was hard to do when one was based from Ceylon. Some in India screamed blood and murder that the fleet was 'deserting' them, but Admiral Cunningham stated that if the Japanese Navy ever had free reign in the Indian Ocean one way or another air-raids on coastal cities would be India's smallest problem anyway, and the best way to forestall that was to make the DEI an impregnable barrier anchored at Singapore and Darwin respectively. The AZACS on their own were too weak for that, and the nine Carriers that Force A had taken with it to the Far East would be instrumental for that task because of said weakness.

At the moment however Admiral Cunningham was more busy with cursing the Idiot at CinC Far East who had insisted on the convoy taking the northern route, using the prerogative of the Theatre Commander to overrule Cunningham as the commander of the Convoy. Resulting from this was a testy Admiral and a very cautious bridge grew that watched as Cunningham was walking up and down the bridge, as usual wearing his peace-time No.1s instead of regulation tropical kit. The Carriers of the Distant Cover Force were lagging back almost twenty miles with Force Z inbetween them and the Convoy, and only by sheer coincidence had neither of the snooping Japanese spotted the British Capital Ships, nor had they spotted the slow – flying Japanese Flying boats. Until now. Just as Cunningham was about to begin the 122nd round of the Bridge since returning from Breakfast when the wireless room reported that the Standing Air Patrol over the convoy (six Seafires from Illustrious) had intercepted and destroyed a snooping Japanese aircraft.

“That's torn it.”

The Admiral paused for a few seconds and then began to give orders.

“Action Stations. Tell the convoy and escorts to make best possible speed towards Singapore, and prepare to turn the Carriers into the wind.”
Bustling activity followed, but soon the RDF operators and lookouts on every ship had their eyes, electronic or not, looking for the expected enemy planes. Within minutes the three Carriers had turned into the wind and began to launch their fighters as fast as they could because once in the straits there was barely enough room to do so without running into land on either side. Soon three Squadrons of Spitfires were circling over the convoy, one more over the Carriers with the rest in varying states of readiness and reserve, all waiting for the inevitable.

The Convoy itself was keeping formation with a defence that was as deep and as layered as the circumstances would allow. Force Z and most of the rest of the escorts interposed themselves between Japanese occupied Malaya and the merchant men so that if the Japanese wanted to attack the Convoy, whilst RDF would make it very difficult at best for them to come from the other side, and in the south the Spitfires from Singapore would make that doubly hard.


The first attack was less than ten minutes away at that point, just as the convoy was passing Smith Island[2].

Coincidentally it was Belfast who reported the first contact. The attack force consisted of three waves of eighteen G4M each, and all that made for a rather large blip on the screens of the cruiser. The Air Controller in command of the air defence of the convoy immediately vectored the Spitfires in. The Japanese were utterly unaware that the convoy had such a strong fighter cover. As far as they were concerned the Carriers were still patrolling the Indian coastline and Smith Island was just a rock in the ocean. The latter was most certainly true at that point in the war, but the former would force the Japanese to pay a steep price. The G4Ms were armed with torpedoes and came in low, slow and on a straight line. The first sign of fighter opposition was when several of the thinly skinned and lightly armoured planes burst into flames when 20mm and .303 projectiles hit the fuel tanks that were not self sealing.

As expected, the first wave was utterly ripped to shreds, only two of the aircraft got even within sight of the British ships. However there were two more waves coming in, and by the time the majority of the Seafires (both those already in the air and those that had been scrambled) were turning to intercept, the Japanese were almost in a position to begin their final torpedo runs. When it became clear that this time some would slip through the net, the commander of the Close Escort Force, Captain Leach aboard HMS Prince of Wales, ordered the convoy to prepare to scatter and allowed the warships to move independently in order to avoid incoming torpedoes. The heaviest warships trained all weapons that would bear onto the direction from which the Japanese would appear, even HMS Belfast added her main and secondary guns to that. The Japanese aviators continued on their course in spite of the heavy resistance that opposed them and began to bring more and more of them down. Soon the Japanese had reached the fire envelope of the warships and the British fighters veered off as the ships began to open fire at the nine Japanese bombers that remained of the second wave. The Battleship, two Battlecruiser and the single Light Cruiser could put up an impressive wall of ackack, but the Japanese continued their approach. When they did let loose with everything, two more Japanese were instantly downed, the rest continued in. Of those four managed to release their load. The ships began to manoeuvre wildly in an effort to comb the torpedoes as dictated in the manual, but the Japanese Type 91s that were dropped that day had a maximum speed of 42 knots and had been dropped relatively close, so avoiding all of them was not to be. The only hit of that attack wave was on Prince of Wales. In a freak of war the hit was so close to the port outer drive shaft that later some would say that mere inches closer would have resulted in the shaft would have twisted and might have led to serious flooding. As it was the engineer put the shaft to half the maximum number of revolutions for safety. This impaired the speed of the ship but other than that she was fully combat capable. The other enemy fish continued on without hitting anything. For the cost of more than twenty bombers the Japanese could show exactly one torpedo hit and a slowed Battleship, but that was not the most important thing by a long shot. Admiral Cunningham was painfully aware that almost all of his fighters were either low down and struggling to get back up to height or forced to return to their Carriers due to battledamage or simply for refuelling,[3] and the Standing Air Patrol[4] over the Convoy was dangerously thin and low, effectively negating the fighter umbrella until the planes could climb to their patrol altitude again.

PoWConvoy.jpg

Prince of Wales and Repulse under attack​

He felt an immense pang of dread when he heard that the RDF plots showed yet another wave of blips coming towards them, this time high and above. With all the fighters down or still climbing the high-level bombers had a clear run. Many of the pilots flying them were veterans from the fighting in China and almost all of them had fought in the Phillipines days before, so they continued in even though contact with the first two waves had been lost. Unlike the torpedo bombers they also had the time to split up into two groups, one would circle around to the north and attack the convoy from the other side whilst the other would simply go in and attack them from the bearing they were currently on. That was a standard tactic when attacking ships at sea, so not much communication between the groups was needed and as they split apart they traded only a few messages via blinker light.

Unknown to the first group their course would take them right to where the Carriers were trying to operate Aircraft and not be left behind by the convoy at the same time. Only a single section of Seafires was up and even though they attacked as soon as it was clear that the bombers were going to stumble onto the Carriers they could not divert the Japanese or even break up their formation. When the Japanese spotted the Carriers the formation initally continued on, but even as Cunningham had his ships do evasive manoeuvres half of them peeled off and and turned, some dropped bombs as they were and a very small group just continued on. What caused this breakdown of discipline was probably that like all Naval Aviators they were trained to go after the most dangerous enemy ship first, and what was more dangerous to a group of unescorted bombers than an Aircraft Carrier that wasn't even supposed to be there? The fact that they were unescorted would later turn out to be a career breaker for quite a few Officers, but a the moment it simply turned into a disorganized and uncoordinated dropping of bombs that fell all over the British formation. The carriers diverted in three different directions like a fork, making any aiming difficult.

While most damage came from near misses and splinters, one bomb hit Indefatigable's deck aft of the forward elevator. The bomb pierced the deck and impacted on the main armoured deck – without exploding. It simply shattered in hundreds of little pieces that flew around the hanger as shrapnel, cutting into men and machines alike. Several hit one of the pumps that brought the aviation fuel up from the bunkers and set it on fire. Luckily the valves on that pump had been closed and the fire was easily contained, and in spite of the cloud of smoke that billowed upwards the Carrier would be able to operate Aircraft again by the time the fleet reached Darwin, but at the moment one Carrier was out of action. The other group however had by now broken through the much weakened fighter screen and the surviving nine Japanese bombers found themselves right over the convoy and began their attacks even as the warships fired at them with every gun that could bear. A very confusing and turbulent fifteen minutes later two of the freighters were on fire whilst a third one was damaged but still under way.

This was only the first attack that would be made on said convoy, but it was the most savage one. While two warships had been damaged and several freighters sunk or damaged, some of the best Squadrons of the South-East Asia Area Air Fleet had been ravaged and would need some serious rebuilding, while in return the British had lost only nine Seafires. Indefatigable was out of action though, but the other Carriers had enough reserve capacity to operate her Aircraft until she was eventually repaired with the friendly help of the Royal Australian Navy. The Convoy itself however, while it had beaten off the worst air attacks of the unprepared Japanese, would still take losses from both the smaller, piecemeal air attacks from the Japanese Naval Air Service and the Army Air Force but when the Convoy finally did enter the HMNB Singapore South only three more freighters were destroyed, fewer than most had expected.


In the aftermath three things happened, for one the men of Singapore had a massive boost in morale and a even more civilians could be evacuated to Australia using the empty freighters and warships, secondly the South-East Asia Area Air Fleet was out of action for almost a week which delayed the initial Japanese attack on the DEI by at least several days, allowing the Dutch, Australian and British Navies to pull themselves together and face the Japanese thrust at least somewhat prepared when it did come. Thirdly the commander of the Air Fleet was 'invited to use the garden'[5] even though it was not his fault that the Secret Services had failed to provide him with the intelligence that the British were risking three of their Carriers on the northern route, most likely because it had come from a source that was run by the Army and so the people in charge had decided that the Navy did not need to know.

The British reaction outside of Singapore was predictable and would eventually lead to the story of the convoy being turned into a warfilm later that same year. The Americans on the other hand soon saw themselves forced to react too. Their expedition towards the Phillipines had been scrubbed at that point and the APN Pacific Fleet was doing circles around Hawaii while Washington tried to decide what to do. In the end it was down to either a Carrier Raid by the massed force such as it was on the Japanese Naval Base at Truk or simply sitting around doing nothing and defending against any Japanese moves (that would eventually come, unknown to anyone but the Japanese High Command) until the People's Republic Class was available in greater numbers. Admiral First Rank Grear was pressed by both public opinion and his political leaders in Washington to do something, but refused to be pressed until at the very least he could bring overwhelming force to bear, and that meant to wait until the Pacifica and the Rocky Mountain (both working up along the West Coast and waiting for the remainder of their air groups) would join the fleet in mid march. Until then the task of fighting back would fall to the Air and Submarine Forces. The main effort there would be to mine the waters around the Midway Islands using flying boats from Hawaii that would also occasionally drop bombs. This avoided the impression that America was sitting around twiddling it's thumbs while the British Imperialists fought hard against the Japanese Fascists and also prevented the Japanese from turning the Islands into a base from which they could conduct attacks of their own, not only against Hawaii and the Fleet but also against Alaska which was lukewarm member of the UAPR to begin with and where a show of strength on the side of the enemies of the Revolution had to be prevented at all costs.

The first phase of the Far Eastern War was about to end with a bang one way or another as the different sides and factions prepared themselves, and in Tokyo, London and Washington alike anticipation rose.




[Notes: Oh yeah. Running the gauntlet. For the Japanese taking Sumatra or preventing such resupply convoys will be difficult at best since most of Sumatra and the Straits are within easy fighter range from Singapore, even though the Island is a bit light on actual bombers. For the moment the British can move ships in the Straits relatively free and without hindrance. Also remember, the Implacables are more an Essex-Class looking like an Implacable than the OTL Implacables. ]


[1] HM Ships Prince of Wales, Repulse, Hood and five Destroyers

[2] Remember that.

[3] These are relatively early-model Seafires. They still have that range problem.

[4] That goes into the dictionary.

[5] From what I've heard, Gardens were a preferable location for committing Seppuku because of their natural tranquility.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Royal Navy 1 - Imperial Japanese Fleet 0.

:D
 

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Aha, the IJN is going to think twice before attacking the Royal Navy! :D
 

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Can't wait for the battle of Singapore! :D
 

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Sorry I forgot to give feedback.

Kurt_Steiner Well, there has yet to be a proper battle Fleet vs Fleet.

Griffin.Gen At least they know that the RN is willing to risk it's carriers.

Raaritsgozilla More on that soon.





Chapter 211​


23rd March 1942

A pub in Liverpool, just after closing time


DI Hunt was happy that his good friend still allowed him and the blokes from the station to use the pub after hours for 'private gatherings' and right now Hunt and Jackson were sitting there over a glass of very rare pre-war Whiskey that the owner kept hidden away for special guests and occasions, and when they had arrived there an hour earlier the look on their faces had told him that they needed a stiff one, even though it was only eleven in the morning.

“Almost a month, and NOTHING!” Hunt yelled and slammed his fist on the table with enough force to send everything on it rattling.

“Nothing but that spent .303, Boss.”

Hunt snorted and downed the rest of his drink.

“Death by Squaddie sounds a bit strange in the report though, and a bit too easy to boot.”

But it was all they had. The second murder scene had been searched for anything that even looked like a clue, but the only thing that they had found was a spent .303 casing that was definitely Army issue, and nothing else at all. Since the bodies lacked fingers identification by fingerprint was impossible and what else was there? A week spent going through Army records had brought up nothing that they could use. Small Arms ammo disappeared all the time. Troops lost them at the range and failed to report it, cases split open and not all of the rounds were collected, the point being that the casing could have come from anywhere.

“But boss, I still think that we are onto something there. And save a miraculous break it's the only thing we have.”

“True enough. And that is why we will go over everything again.”

Jackson suppressed a groan. “But Boss, we've been through all that a thousand times already.”

“Again true, but never at the same time. If this was really the same sick bastard who did both of them, there have to be things overlapping in other ways than in what condition the bodies were found, and that might give us what we need.”

Hunt rose to his feet and looked at Jackson.

“Now quit whining old boy and follow me.”

Soon enough they were sitting on the small Office again and had both sets of the files in front of them, going through them bit by bit for the umpteenth time that month. Both Victims had been found in relatively good neighbourhoods where mostly middle-class residents lived, and both had been in their lodgings for not too long. Both had had false papers that had gone nowhere when followed up on, in both cases Hunt himself had done the checks and called around, but had only heard that these people did not exist, hence the troubles with identification. It was a wonder that they had been able to even match them to these fake papers to the mutilated faces.

At this point Hunt had an idea. He quickly had Jackson continue what he was doing, grabbed his coat and waltzed out the door without seeing the DCI coming in.

“Where is he going?”

“He didn't tell me, Chief.”

The DCI looked at Jackson with a face that betrayed emotion.

“They found one more they think might be the work of your murderer, and this one is in a really bad state.”

“Just how bad, Chief?”

“Really, really bad.”



Hunt meanwhile was walking through the shadier parts of Liverpool with no definitive destination in mind. He always kept tabs on his contacts, but with the war and the constant influx of men going through the city in all directions some always gave him the slip. The person he was looking for now could be in any number of places, all he knew was that he hadn't been called up, because he was not only missing a foot but with fifty-six too old anyway.

“Bloody hell Jameson, where are you?” Hunt said to himself as he was leaving a shady back-street pub that said Jameson normally frequented. Hunt was well known in certain circles of the city and the people in question knew that he was a fair man, so he didn't think that they had lied to him when they had said that Jameson hadn't been in in at least a week. No, they also didn't know where he was. Hunt had thrown some money on the table, let the patrons of the pub stand where they were and had stepped outside again. He walked about half a mile down the street and then sat down on the stairs of a 'closed for the duration' shop that apparently used to sell furniture and other things imported from southern Germany. The destroyed shopwindow was evidence that someone didn't like even that, but Hunt had no mind for that. He thought long and hard over where Jameson could be. The old crook rarely disappeared like that, and even then he could be tracked down by those that knew him well, to which Hunt counted himself.

Then suddenly Hunt had a brainwave and rose to his feet. He knew now where Jameson was, or rather where he most likely was. He began to run for the nearest tube station and spent the next half hour under the city. When he ascended again he immediately made his way to towards the harbour area of the city where many of those who wanted not to be seen or noticed crawled under and hid amongst the sailors and throngs of people that were always there and went through. Usually when on the streets in this area he could easily mingle with the crowds, but Liverpool was easily the most important embarkation port in the entire United Kingdom for all of the fronts, and both the troops coming from as far as India for special training[1] and those going out went mostly through this city. That made for an utter mess, and it was of course quite possible that the murderer was now deployed somewhere on sitting in a freighter on his way to India. He refused to consider that and walked purposefully towards his destination.


His destination was a rickety old house that was amongst the oldest in the oldest part of Liverpool, in fact it seemed to him that the house was old enough to have seen the beginnings of the Slave trade that had sadly put this city on the map. The street was deserted, but in the middle of the day that was perfectly normal, and when he knocked on the door of the house he wasn't surprised that no one answered. The single-storey house belonged to Jameson's family, at least officially. His mother had died years ago, and his father had dropped off the edge of the earth years ago, and it was unclear wether he was still alive, and Jameson simply had access because no one had so far bothered with the pile of bricks that he called the house. He rarely came here, preferring to use the place as a spot to lay low and Hunt was sure that if he was still in Liverpool, he was here. Just as he began to contemplate yelling or simply kicking down the door he heard a sound inside. Good. So someone was there. Hunt opened his mouth to demand entrance when he heard another noise and this one commanded his attention. It was the screaming of someone in danger, muffled though it most likely was. Hunt drew the Webley Mk.IV he always carried when he went into this part of town and decided that this warrented entrance without warrant. After the door had been persuaded to give way with a hearty kick he slowly made his way to the back of the house where the sounds were still coming from. He had been here before a few times and knew that back there only a small room remained. Upon reaching the door he tested it silently. It was unlocked. He eased it open and what he saw then would have frozen the blood of lesser men. On the right of the room a red-haired man was standing with a knife in his hand over the apparently still living body of Jameson who was the one doing the moaning. Redhead turned to see who had surprised him and launched himself at Hunt who lacked the time to take aim and just pressed the trigger. The heavy gun went off with a deafening roar and the .380 round slammed into the left shoulder of the assailant. The man staggered back and decided that living was better than dying. He simply threw a “Bodalach!” at Hunt and threw himself out of the window before Hunt could fire a second time. Hunt was torn between going after the man and looking after Jameson, but one look at the poor wretch on the floor decide the matter. He sighed, put the weapon back into the right pocket of his long coat and went down on his knees to cut Jameson loose. At first he removed the gag that had prevented the older man to do more than moaning and used it to bandage the deepest would he could see, a cut on the left leg. Jameson spat out some of the fabric and then instantly began to rant.

“Bloody hell, what on earth are you doing here? Gene Hunt if you ever break into my house like this I will call your bloody mates down on you.”

Hunt was about to give a snappy retort when Jameson spoke again.

“But since you saved my life I will forgo that and instead ask what brought you here in the first place.”

Hunt finished cutting the ropes that had been used to bind Jameson and said: “Most likely the same things that brought that chap here. Fake papers.” Jameson was about to protest but Hunt cut him off.

“Don't bother denying mate. You know as well as I do that you are the only one in this whole city who can make papers that passed inspection even by the bloody office that normally makes them. Now I want to know from you where you made them, who you made them for and thirdly, why on earth you thought that this was a good idea. I could charge you with treason under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act and I am not even Special Branch, so you better talk.”

“The Irishma-”

Jameson was cut off from talking when a shot roared and the bullet pierced his head.

Hunt turned around and pulled out the gun in the same movement but once again the other man was faster and gone just as Hunt pulled the trigger. The bullet harmlessly slammed into the door frame and Hunt cursed himself for not locking it behind himself. He ran after the man this time though, and since the front door was damaged, he had the time to lay a shot, but again he missed. He swore with the vocabulary of the gutters he had grown up in and turned around. He knew that all this banging about would soon bring his colleagues to the scene, so instead of bothering to call them, he began to search the four rooms of the house.

Thirty minutes later he was not only joined by Jackson and knew about the third murder but also had found something that the Paddie had definitely been there to remove, a set of papers that showed him to be Liam Malone, another on for Brian Shanahan out of Belfast, along with a sheet of paper which was a filled out form of one of the many shipping companies that operated here and this was at last something tangible.

It took them hours upon hours to sift through the evidence. Hunt hated theorizing when not under the influence of caffeine, which was the reason while he was rarely seen without a cup of Tea when at the office. However the day past the two of them had convinced both Hunt and Jackson that something with more kick was needed again, so instead they were sitting at the table in Hunt's Office, knocking back his emergency reserve whilst theorizing on why this all happened. Jackson, having spent some years with the Royal Ulster Constabulary himself when he had been new was convinced that it was plain old Irish terrorism and that the people killed were informants or some other form members that had pissed off their bosses. Hunt meanwhile was convinced that there was something more behind it all. There where enough Irish along the British West Coast to recruit the entire Irish bleeding Republican Army three times over, and that didn't mean that every paddy was one of them. No, his gut instinct told him that something more was going on here and he would do his damndest to find out.

Meanwhile the man Hunt had shot at was sitting in the Offices of a warehouse, cursing the English policeman and his superiors who had given him orders to teach a list of people 'a lesson that would not be forgotten', which in the parlance of his chosen trade meant that he was to kill them in a way that would make people take notice, the right people at least. Just as he had expected the murders had instead drawn the attention of entirely the wrong sort of people. He should have know that using the underworld of the city to carry out his mission would draw the attention of the police, but the lack of cover he had been sent here with made that a non-decision. He should also have known that the sniveling weasel that had made him the papers would run instead of doing what he was paid for, but he was professional enough to know that faulting a man for trying to stay alive was just like blaming the English for being English, no matter the state of war that his masters found themselves in with them. There were eleven more names on his list and now that the police was not only looking for him but also had a good idea what he looked like teaching the lesson to those on the list would be difficult, but he would try. Now who was the next one on the list? Ah yes, Davies.







[Notes: I will develop this plot a bit further for this and at least the next update, because soon there will be lots of combat everywhere, and I don't know when I can come back to this. Also no offence meant to people from actual Liverpool, alas my description is probably utterly inaccurate.]

[1]Mainly the Paras, Mountaineers and Marines and sometimes also Armour.
 

stevep

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Trekaddict

Interesting developments. Now we know that there's a list of people who have upset someone in the IRA, or possibly someone else. Also that the first two victims [at least] were using false papers themselves. That made me think initially of espionage but sounds more like their in hiding so not sure what's going on. The killer is Irish but that doesn't mean for certain that he's working for a Irish group.

With Hunt's 1st name being Gene, was that a passing reference to Life on Mars? Never actually saw the series but from bits I heard about it pretty good.

Steve
 

Griffin.Gen

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*insert dramatic music here*
I really like this story arc, trek. Keep it up!
 

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stevep It shall be revealed down below.

Griffin.Gen :D






Chapter 214​

23rd March 1942

Somewhere in Liverpool

He kept his real name secret and for the moment he was going by Daniel Baird and was known as such to the local cell. The encounter with the British policeman had thrown plans into disarray that had been made for years (not that anyone had told him such, it was simply what he had deduced on his own), and now he had been forced to appeal to the local leaders, and since he had been convincing a meeting of the entire cell was called. The risk was minimal since it was night and the men were for the most part working in a similar profession in their other lives, so seeing them together at this time of the day would not arouse suspicion. Neither would the location, the dark and dampnackroom of a British Restaurant that was run by the man who also ran the cell, so if asked they would all claim that they had met their by chance on their way to the various morning shifts in one of the many factories and shipyards that produced the war materials so desperately needed. Most of them worked in the shipyards, but four either bolted together Dakotas for Douglas UK or Lancasters for Avro. Their masters had no need for intelligence on either aircraft, so it was simply a convenient cover that provided them with a livelihood. Baird was leaning against the rear wall of the room as he waited for the men to stop eating the slob that went for food in Britain these days and was at the same time quietly going over his options again.

Soon enough though he decided that something had to be done.

“Brothers, could I have your attention for a few minutes?”

The 'crowd' of nine men looked up from the plates and almost stared at Baird who felt uncomfortable with talking to a relatively large group like this, at least by his standards. Baird was a roving troubleshooter years before the term was coined, and so he often dealt with three or four people but never with this many.

“Brothers,” he repeated and reminded himself that he hated those that worked in a more 'conventional' for the cause, he considered them to be mere drones that could be expended for the cause at his convenience, and he had done so on more than one occasion. The only thing he hated more than this level were the English, so he decided that the footsloggers were a neccesary evil.

“Brothers, as you know the enemy has recently turned quite a few of our comrades to his own twisted cause. You also know that some of them met with an untimely end recently. Now by pure chance the enemy has stumbled on the operator cleaning our house while he did so. He knew my face and for that reason I can't be seen on the street again until I leave this place for home.”

“If I may ask Baird, why can't the operator do this alone?”

Baird suppressed a grimace. The supposed leader of this cell was the only one who knew that Baird was the one doing the housecleaning. No need to frighten the worker bees.

“It is because I am the only one who knows all the names and for good reason. You know as well as I do that Operational Security requires this. It's bad enough that they might know who I am, they can be sure now that it was an Irishman! The sodding traitor I personally dealt with had just enough time to tell him that before I shot him, so your group better starts realizing that they will start going through the Irish Communiy sharpish!”

He slammed his fist on the wall and instantly wished he hadn't done it because a jolt of excruciating pain went through his injured side.

“The point is that I need your help.”

Unease went through the assembly and Baird calmed them down.

“Only with Intelligence brothers. I know of course that your long-term position here is too important to be risked by doing the actual wetwork,” (not that he cared, but getting things done was the main priority here) “I need you to give me the intelligence I was going to collect myself because naturally I do not know all these men myself!”

The group made noises of agreement.

“Agreed then.”

“Agreed, Mr Baird. For the cause and the Irish Republican Army.”



Over the next two days Baird was lying low and barely left the room above the restaurant that acted as a safehouse for him as the group spent every moment that could be spared and it seemed as if the rudimentary training these idiots at gotten was enough for them to keep tabs on six people without anyone arresting them. He knew of course that ticking off the list one by one was a sign of vanity, but someone as deep into this line of work could afford such small vices.
That Davies fellow for example had quite a few of his own. From what his masters had said the man had been one of them, but he had allowed himself the vice of falling for a woman and had then promptly turned from his friends and the cause, and was now apparently working together with the English. He would be made to pay, pay indeed....



Somewhere within the halls of the Liverpool City Police another room was packed with people only that this time they were Police Officers to a man. The Chief Superintendent was the one doing the talking with Hunt standing behind him. Even though Special Branch didn't have too many friends in the Force they had been notified, since the IRA were most likely involved, but that also was the problem because the Force could not yet prove that it was so, and as often as Hunt and the CSI were at odds they wouldn't bring in Special Branch until after they had found out who was mucking about on their patch, and thanks to the unexpected windfall a case which had been having a bad effect on the morale of the Force. Going through the entire Irish Community on the West Coast would be impossible at best, so instead it had been decided to order all departments to milk their informants for what they were worth. In this city nothing happened without someone hearing of it in some way, especially when it was as brutal a crime as this one. As the meeting broke up and the Officers went back to their own teams and departments the CSI could see that Hunt was talking with his Sergeant and the face Hunt made upon hearing whatever was said was one that told anyone who knew him that the mind of the man was filled with profanities and curses that would make most sailors cringe. In the CIS's experience there were only two things that would make Hunt feel that way, either when politicians interfered with the Force and how it worked or when his requests for information were cut short by whatever source he had tried to use. More out of curiosity than anything else the CSI stayed behind instead of going back to his Office. When Hunt was about to leave, probably to try and drown his sorrows in the war-time thin but unrationed beer the Chief intercepted him at the door.

“What was that all about, Gene?”

“Nothing much, Sir. I had Jackson forward the details of the stiffs to the Security Services as a matter of routine when we found out that the Paddies might be involved, but it turns out we might have stomped on someone's foot. Not minutes ago he was called back and very intently ordered to drop it an not to make further inquiries into these deaths.”


The CSI said nothing at first and knew that he would seen get a visit of some sort since he had no intention of stopping anything unless he got some answers first.

Sure enough by the time he got back to his own Office two men in smart suits were waiting for him in the anteroom. Over the next hour the CSI found himself briefed on what was going on, and his anger at MI5 running something like this right under his nose without any of his channels bringing him notice, never mind official ones was abated by the fact that both Special Branch and MI5 now needed his part of the Liverpool City Police to prevent it all from crashing down any more than it already had. When he had asked why it had taken the call from a Detective Sergeant to send them running up north when the first murder had been committed more than a month ago the one who did most of the talking said that this was on a need to know basis, so the CSI figured that either they were busy with something else or it was a ballsup, both things that would give him nightmares if it was his responsibility and did indeed worry him even though they weren't. Soon after a very delighted DI Hunt and DS Jackson were handed with a list of names which was frightfully short if one took off those that had been underlined red by the Super.

“Take a couple of Uniforms and head down to the next on the list. Keep him and his family safe.”

The Uniforms were issued with batons, the Detectives with Mk.IVs and soon two cars, one filled with the two Detectives and a lorry filled with six uniformed Officers raced out of the car park where the vehicles were stored. Again, this was not something CID normally did, but time was of the essence.

As it happened they reached the Davies residence even before the IRA cell could place a man to watch the house. John Davies, the senior in the house and the person this was all about. He had left this time of his life long since behind himself and now he was not only faced with the demons of his past coming back to haunt and kill him but also with the need to explain it all to his family.

His wife had always known that something was haunting her Husband and that he had come from Ireland in the mid 20s, but this... When he told her about how he had been recruited by the IRA when it had still been a small group in the shadows of Irish society and when it had still been led by Micheal Collins himself, how he had thrown stones and bottles at the Black and Tams during the riots and how he had been selected as to infiltrate Britain just after the Civil War. For more than an hour she and Charles hugged each other and listened to the true life of the person they knew as their father/husband and a mid-level civil servant working for the city council. When he paused and waited for a reaction Charles simply looked at him and ran out of the room and up the stairs to the second floor of the house.


He looked at his wife and he could see the feelings running across her face. Betrayal, anger, confusion and yes, love, all was there. After several minutes she simply turned around and left the room too, leaving a devastated and broken man behind. Hunt meanwhile had stretched the Uniforms around the house, three to watch every entrance, two to stay with the family (which he would all keep in the same room) and the last two were on the second floor to have a good look at the streets. Luckily for them nightfall wouldn't be for another four hours so they had time to get familiar with the lay of the property without being too conspicuous, Hunt had even had them park the cars the next street over just to make sure that no marked police vehicles could be seen, for he was laying the bastard a trap – against orders.

Baird was meanwhile busy with readying himself for the night. Usually he did the work at night, only when he had run into that policeman had he acted when it was day. Never again, such deviations from procedure were bad and sure enough it had given him a bullet wound that would hamper his ability. He did not carry a gun tonight, but he was armed with the usual knife and the club he used to knock his victims over if needed. He quietly slipped out of the rooms he was in and on his way down met the man who had been tasked to watch the residence. A quick exchange of words followed and soon Baird was on his way. According to what the man had said to him, the residence was a normal two-storey middle class home that was in a good neighbourhood, all part of the sickeningly adapted and anglified life the turncoat had built for himself. He made his way through the city on foot, and so it was almost dark by the time he reached the street the house was in. When he reached the property he first decided to have a look around the house. Normally he did so a day or two before her went in, but here and now there was no time.

He silently climbed over the fence that surrounded the house and the small garden and dashed towards the house. He looked through the window into what happened to be the kitchen. Since it was empty and seemed to lead into the centre of the house judging by the position of the door, he decided that this was as good a place as any to go in. Just as he was halfway through the window the door opened, and Baird barely had the time to scramble back out again before the Uniformed policeman stepped inside. When he stepped back from the window he stepped on something on the ground that made a noise that immediately brought the English copper to the window. All that he could however see was a dark figure leaping over the fence, and by the time Hunt and Jackson were in the kitchen he was long gone.

“That's it then, boss?” Jackson asked.


“Far from it, Jackson.”



The next morning the Davies family was collected by a car driven by an MI5 men, carrying them off to a new life, while Baird, realizing that the English were now aware and prepared, gave the mission lost and prepared to make his way home. He knew that he would eventually have to try again, but for the moment it was simply too dangerous, and any overt act would only cause the English to forgoe even the pretence of law and apply their wartime regulations on terrorism and espionage. All in all it was an anticlimactic end to the entire affair, but there was nothing to be done about that. All involved knew however that a second round was only the beginning, and that MI5 would never be caught that unawares again. Time to go back home and start planning again.



[Notes: Up next is the IGS doing some long, long term planning, and some old friends make a return. ]
 

Ciryandor

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Um, are the Americans "using" the IRA to do their dirty work? :D
 

stevep

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Um, are the Americans "using" the IRA to do their dirty work? :D


Ciryandor

Its a possibility, especially given your got a totalitarian dictatorship there so could be a case of one hand not knowing what the other was doing. However, even without the de-facto alliance with Britain against Japan its not in the American interest to weaken Britain at the moment. I would say more likely some independent action by Irish extremists or possibly some German/Soviet fishing in troubled waters to try and make difficulties for Britain.

Although, while killing former members who had made their peace with Britain might fit in with some Irish extremist aims its not likely to be have a real impact on the British war effort. Unless there is something else going on?

Steve
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Um, are the Americans "using" the IRA to do their dirty work? :D

As when in our timeline the IRA got weapons and trainning from Lybia, IIRC.
 

trekaddict

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Ciryandor Mabye. :D

stevep All very good points, but as you understand I can't reveal it just yet. Be patient young padawan.

Kurt_Steiner Yup, pretty much.


all Possibly some delays:


cabinet.png

´
 

Raaritsgozilla

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Sigh. I want AOD!

How much betterer is it really?