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trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner Alas, no. :D Good idea though.

Griffin.Gen No, she has... something else to do.

stevep While it's indeed connected to the IJN, no Submarines. As for Napalm I was probably somewhat unclear. The Allies have plenty of it, but lacked tactics and doctrine. It will be in major two to three weeks down the line when they start their next big push.

And yes, there will be a dambusting airraid. :D
 

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HMS Hood in the Pacific (winces). She's very vulnerable, from sub-surface, surface, and air threats. Fingers crossed my bad feeling about this is wrong.
 

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HMS Hood in the Pacific (winces). She's very vulnerable, from sub-surface, surface, and air threats. Fingers crossed my bad feeling about this is wrong.
Remember, she recieved an extensive rebuild after sinking the Bismarck. Additional armour, an increased torpedo bulge in addition to the one from the 30s, and increased DP armament. She's a very formidable enemy.
 

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I seem to have lost the list I made with the particulars of the rebuilds she got over the years, but IIRC it was adding deck armour, replacing the pom-poms with twin 40mm Bofors, the Vickers MMGs with .50 Cal Brownings, and the old secondaries with (I think) QF 4.5 inch Mk.IIIs. IIRC she also got a new set of engines during the 30s though I might be mistaken, because as said, I seem to have lost the list. In essence she got the rebuild that never happened in OTL. Because after all, she survived Bismarck's plunging fire and sent the Germans a few 15'' greeting cards, courtesy of the Royal Navy.


:D

Badass, innit?
 

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Poor old Harris, while I understand your motives I still feel he's getting a bad rap. Still I doubt it would have bothered him, it's never a popular job being Nemesis.

And East German uranium. :shudder: Those mines offended my engineers soul, something even a mining engineer couldn't see the beauty in. :eek:
 

trekaddict

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Poor old Harris, while I understand your motives I still feel he's getting a bad rap. Still I doubt it would have bothered him, it's never a popular job being Nemesis.

And East German uranium. :shudder: Those mines offended my engineers soul, something even a mining engineer couldn't see the beauty in. :eek:
Harris: True true. Bear in mind though that Bomber Command has all of four wings of Lancs (the ones from the start + one I built) so his policies were seen as something of a failure so Bomber Command now concentrates on targets on which an adequate number of Bombers can be concentrated. Harris didn't like, so Harris was axed.


East German Uranium: TTL the mines will be built by engineers that know what they are doing. OTL the problem was that all of them were in West Germany mining coal. :D
 

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East German Uranium: TTL the mines will be built by engineers that know what they are doing. OTL the problem was that all of them were in West Germany mining coal. :D
I saw the West German coal mines as well and a more efficient way of wasting money I've yet to see in any mine the world over. I think my favourite part was the electrically powered wind turbine outside one of the mines to 'prove' how green they were! :D
 

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I saw the West German coal mines as well and a more efficient way of wasting money I've yet to see in any mine the world over. I think my favourite part was the electrically powered wind turbine outside one of the mines to 'prove' how green they were! :D
Well, exploitation of both fields will probably begin in the 60s, hence no need to be green. :D
 

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Guys, either this night or sometime tomorrow we will get to see the next, far longer update. It will either be a very long or two short ones, dunno yet.
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Been a bit of a lurker on your AAR for a while and just catched up. Just want to say you've written a very good AAR here Trekaddict. Aliitle bit of advice though...maybe change the font of the 1st few chapters,it was quite hard to read:p
 

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Chapter 239

The men of 57 Patrol were behind enemy lines for three days now. The plan called for them to infiltrate earlier than usual into the target area, in order to give them more time to approach their destination and scout the area. The mission had been laid on for several weeks, almost immediately after their target had shown up on reconnaissance pictures and bombed several times without success. Attacking the site was a tall order for only five men, but the plan the Major and the SOE Station Chief had worked out was meant to deal with that, and even so another three patrols of the SAS were converging onto the area. Their target were some guns, but not normal field guns, but rather two German K5 Railway guns.




The reason why they were so hard to attack from the air were not really the AA pieces around the site, even though there were enough of those, it was because the two railway guns could always retreat into a dual-track railway tunnel when not firing, thus being perfectly save from air attack. The SAS patrol had come across the burnt-out wrecks of more than one bomber on their way from the dropzone here. The Major in command of 57 Patrol and by extension the whole operation went over the plan again and soon the British split up.

The area was during night time only guarded by a group of thirty men belonging to one of the many Artillery Regiments of the German Army. Normally regular Infantry they had been allocated to the 122. Schweres Heeresartillerieregiment (122nd Heavy Army Artillery Regiment) when High Command had decided that the danger of partisan attack was just too great to leave the guns with only the minimal guard of six that the battery normally used. The Gunners were snoring happily away half an hour away in an requisitioned Hotel in the next village, as it was still three in the morning, along with almost a company of troops. The only way to the tunnels in which the guns were hidden was a winding mountain road. To prevent them from reinforcing their comrades and driving off the SAS before the deed was done, 80 Patrol, acting as the Heavy Weapons troop of the Wing, had placed two Brens and enough explosives to block the road for the time being. The three other Patrols had surrounded the site by then and were only waiting for the signal.

The two sentries that patrolled the perimeter fence were unaware that they had only seconds to live. One of them was currently answering a call of nature against a piece of rock when the Major slit his throat, holding his other hand over the mouth of the unsuspecting German. Silently lowering the body to the ground, he saw the red flare that signalled the beginning of the attack rise into the air, and he knew that the other sentry was neutralized even as small arms fire began to slam into the battery from all sides. Before he picked up his Sten and joined his men, he instead lit one of his remaining 127 Cuban Cigars and readjusted the new, green and still unfamiliar SAS beret.

In the German barracks the first notice of the attack was when the windows were smashed by the salvoes from the Brens and by the time the British crossed the perimeter fence, they had grabbed their rifles and were returning fire through windows doors and loopholes. The flare however had long since burned out and the outside was bathed in darkness again, only interrupted by muzzle flashes. The Brens kept up a suppressing fire on the barracks to keep their heads down while the rest of the British did what they had come here to do. Intelligence provided by the Italian workers who had been 'invited' to help in the reconstruction of the main and service access tunnels had told them that ready ammunition was always stored in the service ones, and the Major had decided that it might be fun to arrange a little firework. The idea was that the explosions of the charges placed in the ammunition storage and on the support beams would collapse the tunnel and hopefully destroy or at the very least heavily damage the guns. The small guardpost that covered the entrance to the tunnel was already burning thanks to a well-placed round from a Paratrooper-issue folding PIAT[1] and by the time the Major reached the temporary command post established near it, he could see that his men were already placing the first of the charges.

“How we making out, Captain?” he asked and took another drag.

“Pretty well, boss. The Gerries in the barracks are held down, we have the Brens on the windows, the lads are already placing the first charges.”

The Major grinned and then asked:

“Losses?”

“Two dead, Carter and Hanson, and six wounded. The two poor bastards ran afoul of the friends holed up over there, pretty much seconds after we crossed the perimeter.” the Captain said, pointing over to the barracks that where now and then a few shots were exchanged.

“Right then. How are we doing on the explosives?”

About a quarter is placed. I took the liberty of sending Jackson and Peck down the tunnel a few dozen yards to make sure we're not stabbed in the back.”

“Good thinking, Captain. Carry on.”

The Major believed that everything was going as per the plan, but a mile up the road everything was very much not going as per the plan, and that was because the intelligence provided to the SOE was not perfect. As far as the British knew the only telephone line was running from the now burning guardpost at the entrance of the tunnel through the same along the tracks to the village, but in reality there was a second one that was running from the barracks under the tracks to the village, part of the old railway telephone network that belonged to the local company that had long since been swallowed up by the war

As a result the four men were not facing only the twelve man standard and routine patrol that came that way anyway and on schedule, but a full company of very angry Germans that were supported by light Armour. They did have a PIAT, but one of those with only one loader was only so much that could be thrown against a Company with almost a dozen armoured cars and it became painfully clear that the SAS was, in effect, nothing more than extremely well trained, equipped and motivated light Infantry. More and more the four men, all of them wounded, were pushed back onto their last fallback, the explosives. They had talked and agreed that the last man standing would detonate them, not only to deny the Germans the use of the road but also to warn the others. When they fell back to the bend in the road only three of them made it, and they had to leave one of their Brens behind.



Five minutes later the British at the tunnel all halted in their work as they heard the explosion and knew that they were running out of time, and fast. Luckily they were finished, and the Major personally set the five-minute fuse. To prevent the surviving Germans in the barracks from finding it, it had been hidden behind a gaggle of shells for the guns and a dummy one had been left on one of the K5s itself in order to throw any eventual ordinance disposal team off the scent. When the Major left the tunnel, the bullets from the barracks kept flying all around him as the covering gunners had already withdrawn, and as he ran across the open space between the burning guardpost and the barracks he could feel the bullets narrowly missing him. Still, he made it unwounded and made to follow his men who were already heading for the assembly point and on the dot five minutes later he heard the explosion of tons of explosives behind him, and he grinned. He loved it when a plan came together.


The each patrol made it's way to the various assembly points where they would rest and then, when things had died down, slowly make their way through the front lines during the many cracks. The Major hadn't liked it, the men didn't and neither had the SOE station chief, but the mountains and the density of enemy forces ruled out evacuation by air as so often practised in France and Yugoslavia where the Royalist Partisans were getting stronger and stronger and sometimes even fought small set-piece battles against the occupying Germans. Like the others the assembly point of 57 patrol was more a general area than any fixed point on the map, the existing intelligence was far to sparse for that. Instead they trusted in each others ability to track the others down in case they got separated. Again this was far from a perfect arrangement, but the mission had been deemed critical by someone upstairs and over the loud protestations of the SOE and the SAS alike it had been ordered to be carried out. The reaction of the SOE Station Chief and his deputy to the news had surprised the Major and convinced him that at least some of the rumours that were flying around the Regiment about the two were true, never mind the DSO they both carried.

The area selected for 57 Patrol was a shallow valley that sort of looked like a bowl that was strewn with boulders which reduced visibility. That this went for both sides explained what happened next, because suddenly the four men were staring into the muzzles of at least a dozen SVT 40 Rifles. They had wandered straight into a Soviet NKVD patrol, and with these guys even their status as uniformed Soldiers wouldn't help them much, since the NKVD seemed to have some sort of personal vendetta against the Allied Special Forces, and their Green Berrets and the SAS Cap badge clearly marked them as such.

The Major quickly surveyed the situation and did the only sensible thing, raising his hands.


By 11 o'clock on the same day they found themselves in the back of a lorry and farther behind enemy lines than before. When the lorry stopped near a Soviet-occupied railway station the men were herded into a small room with a single window. The Major instantly had his men sweep the room, but they didn't find any form of surveillance equipment, and the waiting began until an hour later the Major decided to look out of the window.


He smiled and when his men saw his smile they knew that he had one of 'those' plans again that tended to be highly risky but did at the same time give the Major something of a high.


“Oh bloody hell, he's on the....” said one of them before the Major interrupted him by simply picking up a chair and smashing out the window with it. The desk instantly found itself blocking the only door into the room, and by the time Soviets managed to break open the door, they could see the last of the Brits scrambling out the window. Outside the object of their hairbrained escape was standing almost unguarded.

It was a formerly Italian Armoured Reconnaissance Train, the type of which the Italians had intended to use to police their African Colonial possessions but that had never made it out if Italy. For some reasons this one had apparently fallen in the hands of the Soviets, as evidenced by the Red Star painted on the roof. The four British Soldiers didn't know that, but they apprechiated that the enemy hadn't installed Soviet dials and lettering and instead left the old Italian ones in place, a language that they all spoke and red well, a prerequisite for being assigned to the theatre, it was even fully fuelled.

They laboured to start up the engine, and decided to ignore the small arms fire that dinged off the hull. The heavy FIAT diesel Engine roared into life and after trying to find the correct lever for a minute, the train moved off. The Soviets apparently lacked any form of Anti-Tank Weapon as the vehicle moved out of the station utterly onmolested.

“Um boss, how come we are going in that direction?” one of the men asked when he noticed that they were going east instead of west.
“Because my dear boy, this line happens to feed right into the Rome-Venice-Vienna line without any other switches we might have to pass.”


“Uhm...the same line that ran through the tunnel?” one of the man said, using the somewhat different preception of discipline within the SAS.

“Yup. In fact, this one goes into that one about a mile from the tunnel.”

Now it was clear to the men, the Major was either stark raving bonkers or had once again one of his spleens.

“Uhm Sir, the tracks are broken in at least six places between the fronts alone, never mind what the Crabs[2] have done since we set off.”

“Don't worry, Sergeant, it will be a piece of...”

“CAKE” the others yelled, having heard the line often before from the Expat American Major.


The stolen armoured train raced south relatively unmolested, aside from breaking through four Soviet and two German control points at various crossings and the hull of the train had various chinks in it from enemy fire, but so far nothing larger than a heavy machine gun. When they turned into the main line the Major turned the engine up to full throttle and the train raced down the tracks as fast as it would go. They no longer had to save fuel, they only had to get away from the tunnel as fast as possible. When they stopped again, in the middle of nowhere they were held up by something that even SAS training and operational experience couldn't overcome, a very large set of large craters had cut the line permantently and by the look of things no one had tried to repair it yet.

“Out, before the Krauts find us.”

After leaving some nasty surprises behind the four SAS men abandoned their vehicle and ran through the undergrowth deep into the woods to put as much distance between them and the rail tracks. The Major wasn't particularly worried, they were almost thirty miles from the tunnel and any would-be pursuer would take his or her time to get here, considering that they had stopped and had rigged most of their remaining explosives into a nice charge that would explode whenever someone ran over it.

As the British ran and the time passed without shots being fired or anyone challenging them they began to suspect that they had managed to evade capture. When it was getting dark the Major decided to use the darkness to approach the front and simply cross via the creek, and since they knew that the water would still be very cold, they already cursed the suddenness of the mission and wished they had a nice, cozy little raid into France or Yugoslavia where exfiltration by Air was the standard mode of operations. So they walked, swam and ran until they reached the British lines three days later.


Around the time when the Major and his men abandoned the train, another Officer was reading a two weeks old issue of the Punch where on the front cover a rather ragged looking Uncle Sam draped in the remnants of his clothes and a torn up Stars and Stripes, appealing to help from a gracious Britannia sitting on the top of a gun turret, who was saying: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my shield beside the golden door!”


Colonel Jan Niemczyk VC knew that the text was coming from the late Statue of Liberty that had gone the way of the Dodo along with the rest of the United States and he found it rather appropriate given that the flow was now in the other direction. To be perfectly honest he was bored to tears, the Regiment hadn't moved even an inch out of the area where the Division had been placed to rest, recuperate and absorb replacement equipment and men in time for the great Offensive that he knew was due to begin at the end of the month of June.


“Sir?”

Jan looked up from the paper and saw his batman[3] standing in the door of his Office/Quarters.

“Yes Hanson, what is it?”

“Sir, they are here.”

“Excellent, Hanson.”

“They are waiting outside.”

With that Hanson saluted and withdrew. Normally an assembly of high Officers like this required the wearing of the No.2s, but Jan never wore them when inside a tank, so instead of the cap he grabbed his beret from the table, set it on his head win the right manner and stepped out of his quarters and outside the barracks. Sure enough he could see an assembly of high Officers and Jan had to admit that even though Campbell could be a bit annoying at times, he was as good as his word, and the VC on his chest was a sign of that.

The group outside read like a who's who of senior Allied Commanders, General Crear of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, General Sikorsky of the Polish Army in Exile, General Piron of the Belgian Army, all of them were here to see the new Tank, accompanied by Major General Campbell VC and Lt. General Horrocks.

“Sirs, would you please follow me?” Jan said after saluting and then led the group to the back of the camp where his crew was already waiting at attention. Jan made a mental note to commend Hanson for his initiative and walked over to the tank that was still hidden under camouflage netting. He climbed on top of it and turned.

“Gentlemen, I present you the newest of the Empire's Tanks.”

The crew pulled off the camouflage netting. The Generals saw a vehicle that was noticeably larger than the Cromwell, even though it clearly sported the same 17pdr Gun.

“Gentlemen, the Tank, Cruiser, Comet I (A34). As you can see it has the same main armament as the Cromwell, in fact the gun here is reportedly an improved version of the 17pdr. Better APDS, HESH, HEAT and normal HE rounds have been developed, but the gun can take normal 17pdr Ammunition if needed, I have tested this feature myself. The new gun has increased accuracy but retains almost all the other features of the old version. It is powered by an improved version of the Meteor Engine that powers most of our tanks these days. Maximum speed on the road is 32 miles, with 14-ish cross country. Maximum operational range is 123 miles on the road and roughly 74 cross country, which is not too shabby for a vehicle that weighs 33 tons. Maximum armour is in front with 25 inches, which as you know is a marked improvement over the Cromwell.”

“How many are there in Italy?” asked Sikorsky who was a tanker himself and thus very interested in the Comet.

“Today?” Jan replied, “1 Squadron of my Regiment along with the HQ Troop of my Regiment has been re-equipped, and we have some spares, more are coming in from the United Kingdom next week. All in all around twenty-three, of which ten are pre-production test-vehicles, so they spend most of their time in the shop getting fixed. When they do run however my lads like them much, especially since they are probably the best-armoured tanks they have seen so far.”



And they were just that. The Coment was born out of one of several Tank programmes that had been started by various manufacturers as an, at the start at least, unofficial Cromwell replacement programme that had been taken up by the Ministry of Defence when it had become clear that the Cromwell couldn't stand up to the T-34 indefinitely. Initially the idea was to simply up-armour the Cromwell as it was, but not only would this have increased the height of the vehicle but it was also too much for the transmission/engine combination. Leyland thus went on to completely re-design the Cromwell chassis and hull and had intended to retain as much commonality in parts as possible. However as the work went on it had become apparent that almost nothing would be inter-changable, especially in the new turret that would need a more powerful traversing system due to the increased armour and the new, slightly heavier gun. In the end the Tank that was accepted for service was longer, wider and heavier than the Cromwell, and even though it would take until at least the end of the year to equip even only the British and Canadian Formations in Europe with the new Tank it was expected that the 2nd RH would be by the end of July and the rest of the Division would be re-equipped by the end of August, thus giving I (BR) Tank Corps a bit of extra punch for the expected heavy battles west and north of Venice. Since the Battles that would then take up the rest of the year until the winter were going to be extremely Infantry heavy due to the terrain, the time after that would be used to re-equip and reorganize the Army. Rearranging the Divisions to the new Structure luckily required merely a change of the mindset of the Officers and readjustments of the wireless frequencies, but introducing the new, larger PIATs with the new improved HESH warheads, heavy-barrel .50 calibre Brownings and scores of other bits of Equipment developed or improved through war experience. Soon there would be scores and scores of surplus Equipment. The Cromwells would either find their way to India to raise another Indian Armoured Division or, in the cast majority, be funnelled into the AIC programme. When the Allies broke through the Axis lines and crossed the Alps, the Germans and Soviets would find them to be even tougher enemies than usual.







[Notes: Which fictional character is the Major based on?]




[1]OTL there was a paratrooper version of the Bazooka.

[2] Army slang for the Air Force.

[3] Aide, who certainly doesn't have a secret cave stashed around.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Feb 12, 2005
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Yay! The Comet!

[Notes: Which fictional character is the Major based on?]
The Major is based in some US Special Forces officer who may be missing gold ol' Murdock to take them for a ride instead of walking... :D
 

ColossusCrusher

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No, the Special Forces aren't Mary Sues at all, no sir, not at all. :D
 

Raaritsgozilla

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Ahhh the Comet. Such a wonderful tank. Will Jan be leading it into battle shortly?
 

Le Jones

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Great update, you do these special forces style updates extremely well. Just a tiny little point - the Army are not alone in calling the RAF 'crabs' - the RN and some of the other elements of the war effort would to.
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner Well, the Helicopter isn't invented yet, and M's special sort of madness isn't needed for extraction with ligh Aircraft.

ColossusCrusher To paraphrase the Doctor: Special Forces are cool.

Cowboy84Thank you. I've been a fan of the show since I was a little Kid, and the Movie only pushed me over the edge and forced me to bring him in.

Raaritsgozilla He will, very shortly.

Le Jones Thank you.

As for the slang bit, I get most of my slang stuff from here, which is kinda biased towards the British Army.

Postscript: Actually the first ever bit of narrative writing was actually a Commando Mission set in a rather ridiculous Alt-Hist Naziwank TL which I have since stopped following.
 
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