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El Pip

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There really aren't that many worthwhile targets for a Lancaster in the Far East, well outside Japan anyway, so I do wonder what the heavies will be doing in future. I do think a few bomber Mossies would have been a better investment than using them as escorts.

Also it appears there are no Hurricanes in the Far East, I'd have thought this theatre would be the natural home of the them? Even the early models would be capable of tearing through those lightly built Jap fighters.
 

trekaddict

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Carlstadt Boy OTL RAF Squadrons in the Far East were mostly equipped with Lend-Lease Liberators, IIRC no Lancs where there.

Kurt_Steiner Well, as the Berlin Airlift demonstrated the C-47 is really too small for sustained air supply, at least in the numbers the British have them.


El Pip TTL the British are also using them to interdict the Sino-Japanese supply lines into southern China and when they were originally sent to the Far East, they were ment to hit targets in the Mandates and elsewhere from bases in Borneo. I had this plot idea for a Lancaster Raid on Tokyo from British Borneo which never happened. That they are there is a remnant of that. It's simply the longest-ranged heavier Bomber Aircraft that the Allies have and while Operation Linebacker style air-raids are out of the question (thanks to Forum Rules and the fact that the French still claim FIC) they can still hit targets in China. As stated that raid had pretty much the entire Allied Lancaster Force in the Pacific in it, and it won't grow anytime soon.

There are Hurricanes in the Far East, but mostly in the ground-attack role. Mossies are in rare supply for the same reasons they were rare in the Pacific in OTL, it's just that they haven't been mentioned in the update. IIRC the Royal Indian Air Force, the Aussies and the Kiwis are flying some. The situation is admittedly a bit of a mess, but that's a remnant from when I was still slaving myself to the tech tree of the game. Were I to do it again, I'd probably have a much larger Hurricane force there.
 

Le Jones

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I have to agree with Pippy - given the other foes you face I wonder whether heavies are really best used in the Far East - they'd make mincemeat of Italy's infrastructure for example. I note that you've been replying to comments, just thought I should mention it.

But the air production element - using India to churn out transports, is a good thing. Looking forward to seeing the Brits demolish the Japs.
 
Last edited:

trekaddict

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Well, Bomber Command is smaller TTL than OTL, so more Bombers can be used elsewhere. What of Italy remains in Axis hands is well within range of Tactical Aircraft. I never take offense by such comments btw. India isn't just turning out transports, as I mentioned Supermarine is building up a local production capability. My plan is that after the war the industries built in the duration help kick-starting the industrialization of the sub continent.
 

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Chapter 230





The 30th May in the year of the Lord 1942 was, at least in Dorset peaceful for once. The Axies hadn't bombed the camp for almost a year now and even though the Tank Museum was closed for the duration, the area was teeming with people. Most of them where part of the Royal Armoured Corps even though the massive expansion of the Force in recent years had turned Bovington into more of a research and development centre, as actual training was no longer conducted here. Instead here new prototypes were tested under the strictest security conditions. Proximity to the Coast however was also fast rendering this role obsolete, because the Ministry of Defence had decided that a more secluded location was needed. Until they had selected a suitable site, it was business as usual here, and most likely some part of the training apparatus would come back here anyway, the RAC would see to that. The Camp was surrounded by barbed wire, Redcaps and dogs, but any Axis Spy coming here today would only see British Tankers standing about and watching a group of Canadian colleagues climbing over a curious contraption. It was clearly based on an old Crusader tank, even though appliqué Armour and side skirts had been added to the hull. From the roadwheels upwards it looked nothing like a normal crusader. The turret was gone, and the superstructure had been rebuilt as a boxy shape, and the armament reduced to twin .30 calibre in a small turret on the top. Towards the rear of the vehicle two large doors had been mounted, and as the British watched, a Canadian Warrant Officer inspected the door closely and said:

“You can't open it from the outside.”

“Of course not, Axies might throw something unpleasant inside, and the PBI mightn't like it.” came the reply from the waiting British.

“And how on earth did you get a hold of one of these old crates anyway? I thought you phased them out almost a year ago?” the Warrant Officer asked again even though he knew the answer already.

“You know the bleedin' Army, mate. They can't throw anything away. When we scoured the armoury for some extra kit a couple of weeks ago, we came across crates with old Metford Rifles.”

The Canadian only snorted. His own Army was the same. When Canada had scrambled to meet it's Commonwealth commitments back in '39 they had gone through even the most remote warehouses and some of the early recruit intakes had found themselves training with the godawfull Ross Rifle due to a shortage of Lee-Enfields until the production could be geared up. The 6th Brigade had initially trained with old Mk.VIIIs left over from the last war and the RCAF had flown Gladiators with some of it's Home Defence Squadrons as late as October 1940. Without the Bureaucratic mania of never throwing anything away, the men would have been forced to train with nothing at all.

“What you calling this again?” the Warrant Officer asked.

“Well officially it's the 'Armoured Infantry Carrier', but the PBI call it the Kangaroo for some reason; not that I can't see why the Official name doesn't appeal.”

It was simply horribly official. The Universal Carrier was also commonly known as the Bren Carrier, and no one used the real name outside official documents.

The project for the AIC had grown out of an idea that a Canadian Staff Officer had brought up after tanks had been tactically defeated by the enemy several times because the Infantry couldn't keep up or was pinned down by fire that the tanks just shrugged off. While Canada wasn't exactly experiencing a manpower shortage just yet, the prospect of reducing losses and at the same time making the Infantry capable of keeping up with the Spearheads was appealing to the Canadian Government. They commanded around twelve million citizens, actually marching on 13,[1] unlike Britain who had nigh on 50 million, with untold millions more in the rest of the Empire. For Canada to field an Army like she did, to say nothing of the Navy and the Air Force was a herculean task, and anything that made it easier was being smiled upon from above. Initially the Canadians hadn't been able to spare anything, but then the Officer had happened across the surplus Rams that the CEF had left behind when leaving for Europe and had 'borrowed' one and reworked it in his time off. In the end it ammounted to not much more than removing the turret and providing some extra seating, a far from perfect solution. The idea however had lived on, and had eventually reached the ears of Brigadier Boothroy at Bovington. Still in the line of work of developing new things for the Army, he had decided that if done properly the idea could work far better than the jury-rigged conversions made in Canada. He took one of the Crusaders set aside for inclusion in the museum after the war and reportedly spent a night with it alone in a shed, thinking over how it could be done. The next morning his staff was presented with a rough drawing and instructions.

They spent a week on removing almost everything but the roadwheels, suspension and gearbox, and stripped out everything that remained of the old armament. This had left behind a surprising amount if interior space, and with the reduction of the crew to the driver and a machine gunner most of that would remain for the PIB. They had then began to construct a sheet metal superstructure that, if the vehicle was approved for construction, would of course be replaced by armour plating. The breaking point was just that though. Armour-grade steel was in enough demand already for the Cromwells and the AA Crusaders, but alas, it wasn't the first time he was working without any form of official backing. They had converted four older Crusaders and only then had they heard that the Canadians were bringing several of their AICs over for testing at Bovington, and when the Canadian team under a terribly eager young Second Lieutenant had noticed that they weren't the only one's working on it, the two groups had entered in a healthy competition, because by that time the Canadians had already begun converting almost sixty of their remaining RAMs, without having really decided what to do with them, and the British feared that they would be shouldered with an in their opinion inferior vehicle. The Brigadier and his Canadian counterpart were well aware that all of these vehicles were less than what they could be, given that they carried only a section apiece,[2] but given the relatively cheap production that wouldn't be much of a problem. In Britain there was still low-rate production of the Crusader hull for the AA version, and the Canadians had almost two-hundred RAMs sitting in depots in Nova Scotia. The battle that the NCOs and enlisted had now started in the absence of their Officers was about which one was better. The Canadians claimed that since it had been their idea and since the RAM was lower down due to the PBI located in the hull of the Original Tank and thus better protected, the British said that theirs was better because the increased engine power, Christie suspension and reduced weight compared to the gun version made it almost four miles an hour faster in cross-country.


Canadian-made AIC (RAM)

Their Officers were discussing the same thing, but in a much more gentlemanly manner, with less fists and cursewords and more hoarded Whiskey and pool playing. On that day was the first time that the Canadians were actually seeing the so derided and had decided that the Crusader had, while having thinner armour on the sides, a better seating arrangement and the crew could vacate the vehicle faster. What they didn't know was that their two units, forty men in all and eleven vehicles overall were about to be merged with an Welch Territorial Army Home Defence Company into an experimental unit as part of the 79th Armoured Division, a formation of equally experimental units whose identity was disguised from the enemy as being part of a Home Defence reserve.

“I keep tell you elk herders that the Crussie is superior!” yelled one of the Brits.

“Shuddup!” came the muffled reply from the inside of the vehicle.

Before the Brits could answer, the two Officers in charge came back.

“Everything in order, Corporal?”

“Oh yes, Brigadier.”

“Good. Now, get the Canadians out of there and proceed to the start of the course.”

The Corporal talked to saluted, and briskly walked over to the vehicle, shooed the Canadians out and took his place behind the machine gun, waiting for the driver. The Officers wanted to see the Crussie going through the course, so that was what they would get.

The weather in Southern England was perfectly fine, good weather for testing new vehicles that lacked any form of heater, but not so good for one that lacked any form of ventilation system. On his way over the Corporal rounded up some of the Infantry Security Force that were stationed around here and shoved them into the innards of the AIC. The Soldiers of the Force were used to this sort of treatment and knew what to do. Even so the Corporal barked his instructions at them and the Soldiers pretended to listen while being bored to death as the Carrier waited at the starting point of the course. In the centre of the course a tall observation tower had been built, and there the Brigadier, the Major and some other Officers assembled. None too early, because as soon as Boothroy raised his binoculars towards the carrier, it began to move. Among the Officers were several members of the Irish Blue Hussars, the Official Mounted Escort for the Irish President and therefore the closet thing the Irish had to a Guards Regiment. The sitting Irish President had been felt not much enthusiasm when De Valera had bound Ireland to the British when joining the Allies (there was talk of formalizing the Alliance with some sort of treaty for 'Post war stability) but when he had realized that the Irish People themselves had gladly done so for the most part, he had 'donated' his guard to the Army. The soldiers themselves had not been too keen on the prospect of not only being enlarged to Battalion size and converting to Tanks but also on having to spend the first two months in several training grounds under the command of merciless British and Canadian instructor Officers, many of whom bore the scars of battle to show that they knew what they were talking about. The Battalion was already stationed 'somewhere in Northern England', where many of it's troopers found out that at least one half of the English wasn't so bad after all, and they also trained in old Crusaders that had been relegated to Training duty upon being declared obsolete after the fall of Metropolitan France.

Since the Irish were even shorter on available manpower than the Canadians they had been very interested indeed when the AIC idea had come to the ears of the Irish Military attaché, and even though Ireland could scarcely afford them, formal interest had been communicated from Dublin and duly passed on to the British Ministry of Defence. As a result a few Officers had been sent to observe and tell Dublin just how good an idea that was.

As the Officers watched, the singular AIC (Crusader) made it's way to the first obstacle, a zig-zag Anti-Tank trench that ran right across the path. The AIC covered disembarking Infantry with it's machine guns as they disembarked and carried out clearing drills. They jumped aboard again and the vehicle continued on.

Later that evening Brigadier Boothroy was writing his report to the MoD.


'First evaluation of the concept shows the viability. Unlike the Mk.IX in World War One, the series production of either variant would at first not require many additional production lines or large-scale changes in most, since for now, both of the RAM and older Crusader variants a sufficient number of vehicles can be converted from either the existing reserve stocks awaiting disposal (numbers attached in fig.1) or by increased production in the case of the Crusader Chassis, something which is easily possible according to the report of the 12th of last month handed in by the appropriate offices. The Ram based Armoured Infantry Carrier would be available faster but is in the end constraint by the low availability of base vehicles and the absence of any sort of ongoing production either in the British Empire or in Canada itself. […]

It is the estimation of me, my staff and the Irish delegation that if a determined AIC programme is to be approved, it should concentrate on the Crusader based variants because of:

1st: The availability of resonable numbers of Crusaders in storage meant for scrapping or conversion to Gun Tractor/AA variants allowing the production of a larger number of vehicles in a short timespan

2nd: The AIC concept offers far superior protection to the troops over the German or American half-track solutions, which in the opinion of the present Officers outweighs the fact that the AIC concepts can carry fewer troops.

3rd: The lack of adaptability to other weapons systems when compared to especially the German Half-track is also outweighed by the fact of increased protection and commonality with existing vehicles.

[…]

Overall it must be said that the idea should be pursued vigerously and with best possible speed.'

The report made it's way up the chain and landed on the desk of the appropriate people. Plans were made, ideas tossed around and decisions made.



[Notes: And thus beginneth the long and illustrious history of the Commonwealth Mechanized Infantry School.]




[1]TTL, with an influx of Ex-US refugees over almost ten years now these figures are realistic.

[2] I am well aware that the Warrior, Marder and Bradley can carry only seven each, but back then they can't know that, now can they?
 

Kurt_Steiner

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The Crusader.... eeeeeeeeeeeeek....

'nuff said.





:D
 

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Very very nice update Trek. And now for some lurching off topic.

davdev.jpg


WE'RE ALL DOOMED!
 

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Kurt_Steiner All that's to be had I'm afraid.

KaiserMuffin&Lord Strange Let's keep RL politics out of this thread, ok? :)
 

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But of course... *fistshakes* Though not to argue, to continue to disseminate opinion or indeed continue further - It was okay last week? ;)
 

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But the acting Labour Leader is...

images5.jpg


...all that stuff about the lesser of two evils I think! Thank God she's not in office.
 

El Pip

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Thank God she's not in office.
Indeed sir, indeed. For a time I was genuinely concerned the Limp Dims were going to force me to emigrate by putting her into power, a very lucky escape.

Anyway, APC-a-go-go in the update, which I'm sure the Infantry will eventually learn to love despite their initial indifference. Hope the Canadians get over the disappointment of losing out, though really they shouldn't be too surprised, industrial logic always said it would be a struggle.
 

trekaddict

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Anyway, APC-a-go-go in the update, which I'm sure the Infantry will eventually learn to love despite their initial indifference. Hope the Canadians get over the disappointment of losing out, though really they shouldn't be too surprised, industrial logic always said it would be a struggle.

The plan is to have the Infantry Regiments in the Armoured Divisions mechanized by the end of 1943, and one Company per normal Inf Regt by 1945. Remember, low-rate production of the Crusader Chassis is still going on anyway, thanks to the AA-variant.
 

Ciryandor

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IFVs, what will you arm them with for covering fire? .50 cal guns?
 

trekaddict

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IFVs, what will you arm them with for covering fire? .50 cal guns?


OTL the Ram Kangaroo was armed with a single .50 cal at first, which was later changed to twin .30 cals because they could carry more ammo. TTL there is a shortage of .50 cals, so they go with .30s from the start.
 

Le Jones

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trekaddict

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Ciryandor

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OTL the Ram Kangaroo was armed with a single .50 cal at first, which was later changed to twin .30 cals because they could carry more ammo. TTL there is a shortage of .50 cals, so they go with .30s from the start.

Hm, dual 30 cals. Quite a strong support for pushing up and out. I approve of this. :D