stevep

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[Notes: The inclusion of Edgar Schmued with Avro Canada was suggested by someone else on another forum where I am also posting this AAR. Even though I prefer British made aircraft for almost everything, once made aware that her designer would never willingly work for the reds, I couldn't sleep at night knowing that the Mustang was flying for the evul Commiez(tm). ]

Trekaddict

Well, the Mustang wasn't really anything special until we stuck a Merlin in it. If it's any help you could rebrand it. In a TL I was toying with where Britain takes over the initial design and develops it themselves it's renamed the Lion, which might fit better. :)

Steve
 

trekaddict

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Well, TTLs Mustang was designed around an early model Merlin to begin with, and she'll mostly do what she is famous for (in Germany at least): Escorting the Bombers.
 

trekaddict

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I'm puzzling over that as well. Rough calculations that makes it ~1st November 1949 but means nothing to me - as a non-yank. Not an election year which is the only thing that comes to mind. [Unless the hell is meant literally and some reference to fiction that involves some crisis with a visitor from somewhere very warm:eek:].



Thanks for clarifying those points. Just realised there's another chapter below to read.:)

Steve


Well, the 20th September 1949 will be just any other day in Germany I am afraid. The FRG wont be founded on that day.
 

trekaddict

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Oh and Steve, you might want to check out another little project I started over on Ah.com.
 

soulking

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Well, I just caught up with the last two updates. The death of King George VI, just 8 years into his reign over the United Kingdom would be a great blow to the morale in the British public. And wouldn't the British parliament appoint something akin to a regency since Queen Elizabeth II is around 18 years old ITTL? As well, your last update is giving me ideas for my AAR :D
 

Derek Pullem

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Well, I just caught up with the last two updates. The death of King George VI, just 8 years into his reign over the United Kingdom would be a great blow to the morale in the British public. And wouldn't the British parliament appoint something akin to a regency since Queen Elizabeth II is around 18 years old ITTL? As well, your last update is giving me ideas for my AAR :D

Regency Act (1937) makes provision for a regent if the monarch is less than 18 years old. Queen Victoria was 18 when she took the throne.

Edit : as she's 16 then a regent should be appointed. I would have thought Mountbattern would be an obvious choice.

Interesting thought - what would the Duke of Winsor do in this situation.

Edit Edit : the act specifies that it's the next in line to the throne who would be the regent i.e. HRH The Princess Royal, Mary, Countess of Harewood. Even more interestingly she was a strong supporter of Edward VIII!!!!!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary,_Princess_Royal_and_Countess_of_Harewood
 
Last edited:

trekaddict

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The Duke of Windsor incidentally is no problem, the Germans offed him before the war, incidentally one of the dead the Germans suffered was one Otto Skorzeni. And thanks for the information. I'll have to edit a few things, but nonetheless, thank you.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Mountbatten heading the regency of Elizabeth would be pretty funny...
 

Belisarious

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Awesome aar tk. Justr finished trawling my through this and Pippys masterpiece...4 days just gone. Nice to see a strong Empire. Dunno if it woulda worked OTL at the stage you started it but damn fine read though. I must commend you on your stalwart defence of Britain's aviation industry (or should I say the future, not yet written defence but obvious in a glowing 500' high neon lights way). Wish the Gov had actually done that in OTL
 

trekaddict

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Thanks! I know it wouldn't have worked at any point after WW1, but I can apply some Handwavium and say that the Point of Divergence from our timeline is before WW1, which it is. Anyway, saving the Aviation industry only came after I read into the matter and more than once had to stop myself from eating my keyboard out of anger....
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 260

“Ian....IAN!”

“What?”

“Jesus Christ Ian... could I bother you to focus on our work?” Felix said with a smirk, knowing full well that Ian's mind was with his family. Not that he minded, because the finely honed instinct that they both had told them that they wouldn't see them again for quite some time.

“Where were we....Ah yes..the list.” Ian said. He rummaged through the papers on his desk and picked it up. “There we go.”

It was a list with names and addresses of of all the spectators at the perimeter who had been present at the site of the explosion, but the plod had already talked to them so there was nothing much to be found there, even more because neither Ian nor Felix looked forward to knocking onto twenty-six doors all over Coventry.

Still, Ian rattled off the names and occupations of everyone, and by the end of it they had no more of an angle on this than yesterday when they had started, and Ian had the sickening feeling that barring anything unforseen they wouldn't find anything. And yet he hated the thought of the King and Queen dying in something as mundane as an accident following a cockup in communications.

“So what do you think?” Felix asked.

“Something's off on all of this.” Ian replied and Felix nodded in agreement, but Instinct didn't automatically mean truth and id didn't generate proof either.

“But what would that be, Ian?” Felix did have a point. So far nothing in the police reports and in the few questions they themselves had managed to ask since taking over gave even the slightest indication of the matter being nothing but a tragic accident and yet both of them couldn't help but feel that they were missing something.

“Dunno.” Ian glanced at his wristwatch and then said: “I do know though that something else is off too. Pub?”

“Pub.”

The formula was the same, even though since the war had begun they were mostly going to whatever cantine was in reach, and today was no different. At least Mountbatten made sure that the SOE employees were well fed, so unlike the workers at, say, Vickers, the SOE ate well.

“What bugs me the most is that this is so obvious an accident...” Ian began once they entered the cafeteria, “....that there is definitely something wrong.” Felix added. The SOE cafeteria was, just like it's equivalents at MI5 and MI6 parcelled up into cubicles just large enough to house a table and four seats to eliminate accidental eavesdropping and everyone entering had to sign in. Once they were seated, Ian and Felix continued to talk, completely ignoring the meat they were eating and that was actual Beef for a change.

“Rule Number Eight.” Felix said, and both then recited at exactly the same time: “Nothing is ever as clean as it looks like.”

“Right, so what are we going to do about it then?” Ian asked, but by the look on his face Felix could tell that his friend was asking himself. “We'll need to go through the entire list, door by door.”

Felix thought about protesting, but Ian was right. If they talked to them again they might find out some things that the Plod had missed or just by accident they might find something, or, if they really were unlucky they might waste their time and all they would accomplish then was to have no one to present the vengeful British Public. Hell, even HRH The Princess Royal, Mary, Countess of Harewood and under the Regency Law of 1937 currently the regent for the Queen until she came of age in 1944 had communicated the Palace' desire to see the perpetrators punished if they could be found, but Felix had the sickening feeling that they might come up empty.

“Well?” he asked Ian when he hadn't heard anything more for a couple of minutes.

“Ask around. What else is there to do?” Ian answered, “however, we should start first by talking to the relatives of that UXB crew. It says here that they were sent there after the original crew got held up by another Bomb on the other side of the city.”

“Gotcha.”


The UXB team had consisted of the usual six people, all Army NCOs led by an Officer who usually did the actual defusing. Their service records had revealed nothing except that two of them were expats, something that didn't indicate anything as Felix didn't have to point out after all their time together. Still, Felix felt apprehension when he realized that he would probably have to dive into the Expat Community again, and he had carefully avoided that wherever possible. The rest of the Leiter clan might not be able or willing to see it, but the self pity some of the wallowed in was in Felix' opinion the wrong thing to feel when quite obviously nothing could be done to 'send the reds packing' as the Observer, the principal American Newspaper liked to say.




Three hours later they were sitting in the living room of the Carter household opposite the parents of one of the Non-Coms that had been killed. Both Ian and Felix were wearing civilian suits to disguise the fact that agencies other than Special Branch, and while Felix exchanged pleasantries with the grieving parents to 'soften them up' for the actual questioning later, Ian discreetly surveyed his surroundings. According to the background brief, Mr Carter had been a mid-level buissenessman in Detroit and had by the looks of it managed to evacuate some of his assets, because the house, the location and the trimmings inside were definitely upper-class if still below the lower half of the landed Gentry and the big Industrialists. Therefore the furniture wasn't of much interest, but rather more the place of remembrance in the corner of the room. The usual picture of the dead with the black band draped over a corner, surrounded by little British and US Flags. It was placed on a corner shelf that held memorabilia of days gone by, the prize and centrepiece was black-and-white picture of the Washington Monument as taken by someone standing on the far side of the pool.

...and anyway, that's what the paper says.” Felix concluded a sentence Ian had mostly missed. Sensing that Felix thought they were ready, Ian concentrated his attention on the people sitting on the other side of the coffee table.

“But why are you asking us all these questions again?” asked the Father. “We have talked to the Police already..”

“Well Sir, the questioning then wasn't very exhaustive, the Officer were understandably pressed for time and the Chaos everything was in hasn't helped either, you understand.”

Using a little white lie Ian had implied that he did not think that the plods had done a good job even though when they had done what they could and even more, for it had been their King and Queen that died.

“The thing is though that we would have gone all over the testimony of everyone involved anyway and it would have been more than likely that we would have called on you again in that case too.”


“That is true.” Carter said. What can I tell you?”


Ian leaned back in his chair and asked: “Well, firstly I would like to know how he came to be in the Royal Engineers, much less a UXB team?”

Mr. Carter smiled ruefully while his wife quite obviously tried to keep her tears under control. “That's a long story...I can tell you if you want, but suffice it to say when he saw when we fled Detroit mad him want to do something more constructive when he joined yo..the Army in '38.”


So Max Carter was...had been part of the wave of Expat volunteers that had flocked to the British colours when the Army had virtually exploded in size in 1938-39. Ian had faint memories of some rumblings in the scene back then and made a mental note to ask Felix later on, since he had been involved much more back in the day.


“I see.”

Felix asked the next question.

“When did he join this line of work, I mean has he ever talked about what he did with the RE?”

His mother excusing herself for a few seconds. She came back with a stack of letters and said with a voice that showed that she was barely holding back the tears: “He...he..he always wrote at least once a week, and he was so happy now that his group had been assigned to the task last week when the other team was....”


That was new to both Ian and Felix. None of the records they had been given had indicated that the Team had replaced another one at the last moment, but then again they had never bothered to ask and in the total Chaos that was still gripping the law enforcement community of Coventry and the surrounding counties this must have slipped through the grid.

When they stepped out of the house wand walked down the road to where they had parked the car, Felix suddenly asked: “You do realize that this proves nothing?”

Ian nodded. “I do. But remember, we aren't part of MI5, so technically we have no authority at all, and what we have now is enough to try and make everything we do official.”


“You know, if there really is a conspiracy, and I am not saying there is, I almost pity the poor fools who did it.” Felix said when he saw the predatory grin on Ian's face.


[Notes: And the case goes on...]
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Oh... a dormant agent in the UXB Brigade? Pretty interesting, indeed.
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner For the moment no one has anything beyond suspicions though.

Deathsheadx As said, nothing firm yet.

freelander007 Thanks!

Chapter 261​

What had happened in Coventry had no influence on the war in the Far East. The attack by the Co-Prosperity Sphere troops had driven ever deeper into the Allied lines, but by the 8th the Allies had completed their retreat towards the Indian border and the stage was set for the engagement that is today incorrectly called the Battle of Imphal after the location of the General Headquarters from where O'Connor directed combat. He knew that sooner or later he would be relieved of his command for being caught with his pants down and loosing most of Burma, but at the very least he was determined to regain the initiative.

The advance of the Sphere Forces had slowed greatly after the mad rush of the first two days. The stay behind forces, a mixture of SAS and local militias were contributing to the scorched earth tactic the Army was using and the simple fact that the Japanese tactic of infiltrating in and creating roadblocks did not work against troops that were mentally prepared for it allowed the Allies to conduct an orderly retreat once the rearguard forces had managed to slow the Japanese sufficiently.


However when the exhausted and demoralized troops stumbled into the army camps and bases east of Imphal they found that the roads were already blocked by several reserve Battalions who were there to give the customary relatively weak Infantry advance guards a bloody nose and give the main body of the reserve army, to 80% Indian troops time to sort itself out before the main body of the Co-Prosperity Sphere Army arrived. A measure of desperation more than anything else, and the fact that on 10th August 1942 the three Battalions on which the entire front hinged for the day earned two Victoria Crosses between them is evidence of the type of fighting seen. On the southern part of this blocking position, where they faced the Chinese 42nd Route Army the 5th and 6th Battalions, Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles were placed, while the three roads to the north were were covered only by the 3rd Battalion of the 46th Indian Infantry Regiment. The weakness of the Allied front in that sector was the consequence of the haphazard and rushed way in which O'Connor had scratched the entire position together once he had found a working wireless set with enough power to reach his deputy in Imphal, and all the troops knew what depended on them and prepared for the most gruelling fighting of the Pacific War to date.

The Japanese High Command, located in Rangoon at the time found itself continually frustrated by British delaying tactics, outnumbering your enemy 5:1 didn't help of you couldn't get to grips with him and the British had once again proven themselves to be masters at irregular warfare, a fact that didn't really match up with the propaganda image of the slovenly, fat, decadent, weak and exploitative western Soldier that everyone knew so well. But now at last, after two days of snails pace advance down roads that were mined, blown up, blocked by felled trees and seething with .303 calibre insects that tended to sting four-five times before disappearing into the jungle the advance units were within artillery range of Imphal, the key to India. There were only three roads to take the new heavy guns that came out of Japanese and Chinese factories[1] and the British were sure to have them blocked, but the Generals were confident. The 3rd/46th was the first to make contact with the Japanese in the pre-dawn hours, but the one thing they'd had ample time to do was digging trenches. C Company was on the northern, narrower road that couldn't even take Japanese Light Armour, in a square shaped blocking position with a single 3 inch mortar and two .50 Machine guns in addition to the Bren Section.

This single Battalion then found itself with the undivided attention of as many troops as could possibly be brought forward and with sheer surprise, numbers and determination the Chinese almost overran both positions at the first try, but C-Company managed to throw the Chinese out again with a sharp counter-attack, and in the south the attack was defeated by good, old-fashioned Platoon Rifle Fire.

The first shots were fired at 09:11 local time, and the firefight raged uninterrupted for the remainder of the morning as the Chinese kept up the pressure, driving the British[2] troops inwards onto their inner defences, and it was then, at roughly eleven o'clock that the day's first VC was earned. The Chinese attacked again, but just in that moment the Browning HMG was running out of ammunition. One of the non-coms was sent back with another of the six men in the nest to fetch more .50 belts. They hadn't done more than three steps out of the nest when one of the private was hit by three bullets and killed instantly and the non-com, a Lance Corporal, was wounded when a bullet graced his ribs on the left side of his body. He still ran back towards the company ammunition dump and hoisted two boxes of ammunition belts onto his back, ignoring the weight and running back over open ground to the observer post. Once there he did not just put the Ammunition where it was needed, he repeated the run across the open field and through the Chinese gunfire four more times in each direction, a time during which the gun he supported wore out a barrel and it's crew broke the Division record for a barrel change under combat conditions.

When he completed this run for a fifth time, he found to his horror that the crew of the gun had been killed to a man, and that the Chinese were attacking again. Wounded twice more over the next twenty minutes, he spent the remainder of the fight behind the gun and defended the curve in the road on his own. By the time the Chinese broke off their fight at roughly an hour after mid-day, the Corporal was found, bleeding to death from six gunshot wounds and shrapnel cuts to his face and half-buried in empty .50 casings, without a single round in any of the rifles and with dozens upon dozens of dead Chinese clogging up the road in front of the nest. The thrust along the northern road had effectively been crushed, and the first albeit posthumous VC of the day had been earned.


The other Companies of the Battalion fought equally hard and without Artillery support that was missing because there had simply been no time to set up the extensive Artillery parks that were at the core of British doctrine for defensive actions and Self-propelled Artillery was still some ways off. The second VC was earned when a Company-sized group of Chinese Mountaineers broke through the forward position of B Company and stood poised to capture the Company CP and most of the Officers there. The Captain in command was killed, but his second in Command, an Indian late-entry Officer who had earned his commission in the deserts of North Africa, and now he once again showed heroism. He led a spirited defence of the HQ bunker and when the Chinese were on the point of overrunning them with almost all of the Staff dead or wounded, he grabbed a Bren from a dead man and charged down the entrance trench, firing the gun from the hip and personally beating back the Chinese attackers. Then directing the fire from the surviving mortars by standing upright in front of the mortar pits since the forward observers had all been killed, braving the enemy bullets and shrapnel for more than two hours before he, ignoring wounds and wounded, personally led the counterattack that not only drove the Chinese out of the forward position and netted the Battalion twenty-four prisoners. He then commanded the Company for the remainder of the day during the intense action before the Battalion Commander forced him to have his wounds seen to.


On the Southern Road however the battle was going badly. The Battalion had managed to hold the line for most of the morning against a combined attack of Chinese Infantry and Light tanks, but in the Afternoon at around three o'clock they began to run low on ammunition, especially for the PIATs that had held the Japanese-made armour at bay and soon their lines began to buckle under the pressure. By five o'clock the forward line simply gave way and the Chinese swamped into the Company placed on the left flank of the narrow valley position, swatting the attack by the reserve forces aside as if they weren't there and racing the surviving tanks down the road and past the bits of British Infantry that remained, for the road towards Imphal and India was now open.


However the sacrifice of the Battalion had bought O'Connor time, and soon the Chinese tankers ran...into their Indian counterparts, or rather the four of the first six locally-built Comets that advanced in column formation along the narrow, winding mountain road. Two had broken down already because they had literally been rushed into service yesterday, right off the train. The shells from the 37mm gun of the Chinese tanks proved beyond inadequate, they mostly bounced off even the non-sloped armour of the British tanks, in most cases just scratching the paint and smashing headlamps. The forward Comet later counted no less than eighteen hits, none had done any damage that couldn't be fixed by the crew itself in the field. In return the Chinese tanks were like lambs lead to the slaughter, the British crews never even bothered with armour-piercing rounds and instead used the high-explosive shells that were meant for Infantry support. The outcome was predictable and swift, and an hour later the tired Indio-British troops that were still in their old position waiting to be transported somewhere woke to the clanking noise of tank tracks and the rumble of the R-R Meteor tank engine. The Chinese too knew what this meant and even though they fell back and left their prisoners behind, they decided to make a fight of it some ways down the road.

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The British attack caught the confident Chinese troops off-guard, as the blocking Battalions had been thought of as nothing more than a rear-guard of the retreating main body of the Army, and no one had expected that the British would risk 'heavy' tanks on these narrow roads against a determined enemy. Still, the blocking Battalions had done their jobs and now fresh if somewhat green Divisions that had trained warfare in this area for months came forward. It was however a massive gamble on the part of O'Connor. These three Divisions were the entirety of his reserves, of they were forced to retreat as well, there were no organized Allied forces between the Sino-Japanese front and the plains of India, at least until the mass of retreating Allied forces became organized again, and that would take at least another two days, the Australians in particular needed to be rested before they could attack again, however much the Officers of the two Divisions were clamouring for being unleashed.

Gamble or no, it paid off, because the Chinese advance was blunted at first and after two hours sharp fighting thrown back, the forward Chinese Divisions simply being spent after the exertions of the last few weeks. Down south the Chinese fared little better. Even though they both had the new Type 1 Chi-He tank supporting them and better supply lines, the better roads in the coastal areas allowed the British concentrate more of their own armour, and the Japanese Type 1 was hard pressed against the Cromwells that they fought against, also here the battlefield was not as narrow and small unit tactics played a greater role. Two Indian Divisions destroyed the advance corps of the 12th Route Army in a set-piece battle, one Division pinning them in place with the second one supporting them and sending elements out to catch the Chinese in the flank, cutting off one Division and forcing the others to retreat. The Chinese advance had now been stopped and at least along the coast the Allies were actually advancing, but the success of the entire thing hinged still on the reaction of the Japanese South-West Area Expeditionary Army who had fallen behind after the breakthrough and was trudging along the northern mountain paths under low-intensity but almost constant militia attack, never mind the weather. If the Japanese managed to fall the Northern Division into the flank then they might yet capture Imphal and the gateway to India. Time needed to be gained and to that end O'Connor concentrated most of his air assets onto them, but even so the slow rate of advance puzzled the Allied officers somewhat.

Not willing to look a gifted horse in the mouth, the British Generals pushed the tree Divisions forward as fast and far as they dared, stopping only at a line about the same way in the direction of the original defence line that the Chinese had covered in the last day. On the more morning of the tenth however a surprising picture presented itself: The Japanese Army had not only advanced during the night as the Japanese often did, it had even fallen back somewhat. The reason for this was that the Japanese Commanding General had, uncharacteristically for the IJA decided not to bother with attacking when frantic reports that the Ind...British were swarming down the roads and tearing into the Chinese formations and he requested permission for his Army to fall back towards the Irrawady River. In the Japanese Headquarters in Rangoon a quick look on the maps confirmed the general consensus. There was exactly one north-south road, and he knew it was in such a bad state that marching down it to attack the British force in the flank would take days, and by that time the British would have reorganized at least some of the forces that had retreated from the Irrawady River and that presupposed that the British didn't unleash more reserve Divisions, being unaware that this was it in terms of immediately available Forces.

As it was the Chinese tried to make a stand twice over the next few days, but this time were not only the guns supporting the British attack and the Air Forces more than able to keep the skies contested, but also by the third day the first reorganized Australian and British units began to support the Indian advance, mostly with Artillery but they made their presence felt and it hammered home the undeniable fact that the British had regained the initiative, and for the moment the question was how far O'Connor would press this attack home. Things were looking better for him by the day. On the 11th the remnants of the 4th Corps of the 12th Route Army surrendered, the survivours and not already captured bits of two Divisions having shrunk to the size of a reinforced brigade due to losses the day before and simply having run out of ammunition and even the most basic of supplies, as the few surviving bridges that Japanese Army Engineers had built over the river were long since gone thanks to the Allied Air Forces. O'Connor himself was surprised at how well everything had gone and because of this he halted the advance on the 11th to allow the reinforcements to catch up and prevent overstretch, about a third of the way to the old position along the river. The Battle for Burma once again hung in the balance.

[Notes: I am placing the description of these roads on a map of the Battle of Imphal OTL that shows the relevant pieces of Burma.]



[1] The Japanese have more resources to play with and the Army is the senior service, one result of that is that Japanese Artillery is generally more numerous and by now also somewhat heavier than OTL.

[2] British = troops from any part of the Empire.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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Time to break the back of the Japs and prepare to march to Tokio...
 

stevep

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trekkaddict

Good to see an update and it could mark a turning point in the east. With the Red army pressing them in the north and very bad logistics the enemy have taken heavy losses and being forced to call off their offensive.

Two small quibbles. You confused me by the non-com. Thought at 1st you were referring to some non-combat units but thing you were referring to non-commisioned officers. Usually abrieviated in my experience as NCOs. Also you refer to 2 and 3 divisions in referring to the counter attack. Think you later on refer to Tree so suspect it should be 3 divisions involved in it.

Steve

PS Have you mentioned you're spin-off TL on another web site? or would it give away too much about how things will end up?
 

c0d5579

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Not that I've caught up... or even properly started yet... but "noncom" is a period-accurate term for NCO; the acronym didn't gain primacy until later. "Noncom," though, has been around forever and a day.
 

trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner With 20something Divisions through China? :eek:

stevep If the Allies can retake the old position it will break the Offensive capabilities of the Sino-Japanese for the remainder of the year, even with the Russians stuck in the north (something I need to deal with, and soon) it'll be some time before the Chinese run out of Divisions. They fell so fast that they had almost three years to spam Infantry and Militia.


As for the quibbles: Never, ever write at four in the morning....

I haven't mentioned the spin-off here because IMO it would give too much away. If anyone wants to read it (set in TTL's Falklands War) PM me.

c0d5579 Glad to have you reading anyway.


EDIT: Two Divisions are on the southern road and attacking there, a single third one on the northern approaches to Imphal.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Let's try then the old solution: finish of Europe and then go Eastern... erm... but you have to finish the USSR too...