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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

El Pip

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That could have gone worse, but still not a good day out.

On the mechanisation front are we talking up-armoured Lloyd Carriers (perhaps with some form of shrapnel proof roof) or making the jump straight to 'proper' APCs? The former seems more likely given the strains on British industry of supplying half the world's exiled armies, but the latter is much more your style! ;)
 

trekaddict

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As it happens, 'mechanization' in this case mostly means that by the end of the next year most formations will be in effect motorized Infantry, i.e. the proliferation of lorries for transport. Some 'elite' shock formations if you will do get the Kangaroo-style APCs, whereas the rest of them, those that have been earmarked for full mechanization, gets the Loyd Carrier, with essentially a bigger engine and an armoured box bolted on top. Slowly, very slowly the 'proper' APCs will spread as more obsolete Tanks become available but that will take at least four, five years. All of this was supposed to go into a 'mechanization' update I was planning to write soon. You have been reading my notes, have you?

Overall what I have in mind sort of reminds me of the 1960s Soviet Army, minus the political indoctrination and dodgy Nuclear Battlefield doctrine. And of course with lots more tea.
 

ViperhawkZ

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Aha! Victory! I'm caught up at last!

Has Canada's crowning moment come and gone, or are we yet to see the triumph of the True North Strong and Free?
 

trekaddict

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Well, there is the Royal Canadian Marine Division in the Pacific....
 

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trekaddict

I think ViperhawkZ might be referring to the final suppression of the tax-dodgers rebellion and liberation of the lost colonies.:rolleyes::p

Seriously, with it's neighbour to the south a lost less friendly I could see Canada developing significantly more in terms of both population and economic might.:)

Steve


Aha! Victory! I'm caught up at last!

Has Canada's crowning moment come and gone, or are we yet to see the triumph of the True North Strong and Free?

Well, there is the Royal Canadian Marine Division in the Pacific....
 

trekaddict

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He's very right. The tax-dodgers are unfriendly, and Canada will end up having a significantly larger population and military, including some instant sunshine.
 

ViperhawkZ

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We did have once, in real life. Well, okay, it was missiles with sandbags in, but I blame America for not wanting to give their friendly neighbour a hand - erm, warhead.
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 277

The streets of the biggest city on Sumatra were blacked out continually. While other settlements further down the coast of Sumatra where always within reach of British Aircraft out of Singapore and regularly were bombed and sometimes shelled when the Allies ran another one of their supply convoys the only allied aircraft that regularly overflew the city or the area around it were the occasional British Dakotas that ran the gauntlet several times a week, braving losses and Japanese Night Fighters such as they were. The still extremely rare Nakajima J1N had trouble finding their targets at night, most of the time they were scrambled when the planes were past, and there were exactly three operational J1N-S with the crude Japanese Aerial RDF sets and those made up two thirds of the overall available force. The British had a clear advantage in the area as the current retreat in Burma showed where British Beaufighters intercepted night-time raids by Ki-67s and the Navy's G4M that were flying out of Airfields in Thailand, frantically trying to support the ground troops. During the last two weeks heavy fighting had seen the Sino-Japanese Army back to the gates of Rangoon where now the Allies were preparing themselves to retake the capital of the British colony. The rain that had been falling for the last three days only added to the gloomy mood that dominated the commanders of the Japanese East Indies District. The Japanese had good reason to feel gloomy. While the High Command in Tokyo still believed to be able to defeat the Allies and force the British to the peace table with a spirited defence in Burma, the subjugation of Singapore and the final conquest of the Dutch East Indies. Never mind that the Canadians had deployed their remaining overseas Forces to Java, backing up the weak Dutch and relatively strong Australian forces already there. The General Headquarters would likely have dismissed the presence of an additional Allied Division even if it hadn't been a Marine Division that wasn't part of the Canadian Navy but rather formed the core of the Royal Canadian Marine Corps.

Still, the Allies wouldn't attack if Singapore could be crushed before they were ready. So to that end a meeting had been called in what had been the residence of the regional KNIL commander. Strangely enough the gathering of Navy and Army Officers remained rather civil for Japanese standards and General Kuribayashi had outlined an audacious and complicated plan that would crush Singapore once and for all. Since that required Navy assets to work and since it was in the interest of both services to do something about the frankly intolerable situation as it was now. High Command was pre-occupied with the American attempt at retaking Midway that was expected for early next year and with the increasingly annoying Allied probes towards the Mandates. What they did not know was that right now the Allied Gunline in the Pacific was at the lowest strength it had been in years, two of it's ships, Prince of Wales and Warspite were to return to the United Kingdom for maintenance during the winter period. Having left two weeks ago just about when the Allies had broken the Japanese attack in Burma, this reduction in Force had left Force Z with only Hood, Repulse and Queen Elizabeth as heavy Capital ships.

Not that it mattered. To the consternation and surprise of the Japanese Navy the British had almost totally discarded the gun line, apparently they could have either Battleships or Carriers but not both and had decided to have Carriers. But that was of no importance right now. What was of importance was that the Army and Navy would have to put their combined air assets into a single pool.

“It is of the essence that we act before the next convoy can make an attempt at resupply.” Kuribayashi said as he closed his presentation. “Even though our Comrades in the Navy manage to sink more of the convoys each time,” he went on, using a diplomatic little white lie, “Singapore becomes stronger and stronger. As long as they are relatively weak we can crush them.”

Everyone knew what he was referring to. While the fighters based at Singapore continually struggled to maintain a credible force they were still enough to prevent Japanese Air Dominance over the Fortress and contested the air around it. At the same time the relative strength of the ground-based air defences grew. Like their German and to a lesser extend Soviet counterparts the Japanese Air Services had long failed to notice the importance of RDF, and by now the Allies had such a lead in the technology that Japan was hard pressed to keep up. As it was now at Singapore the Allies had excellent early warning as by now most of the stations had the vital parts underground wherever possible. The British Anti-aircraft Artillery was beginning to get stronger, and Japanese losses in the air began to mount. All this, together with the Allied buildup on Java told a clear story. What that story was though, there the opinions and estimates around the table varied widely. That the Allied plan was the attempt to clear Java was a given, but the allied plans for afterwards were a source of discontent among the Japanese Officers. The General in command of the Japanese 42nd Army on Java believed that the Allies would likely try to retake Borneo to cut of the remainder of the Japanese forces in the Dutch East Indies, whereas the Rear Admiral in command of the extensive Light Forces permanently deployed to the area believed that the British would attack Sumatra to break the siege of Singapore a the earliest possible moment. Kuribayashi was sitting on the fence. He was not one to guess on things like this, and even though he had toured Britain before the war and he knew the British mentality well, but recently they had been behaving oddly, as if someone had taken the British political class and infused them with a determination that they had been lacking during the inter war years.[1]

Whatever the plan was that the British Commanders in India and Australia were following, the picture presented to the Japanese was not a clear one by any means.

“The question remains the same though: What are the British intending to do after the conquest of Java?”

While no one showed it, everyone knew that the more hawkish members of the group didn't see any sense in even thinking about the question. The 42nd Army after all outnumbered the Allied forces on the Island by about 6:4, but it did not take a genius in military strategy to know that the rumours that the new Indian Infantry Division that had recently arrived in Australia would not be going to Europe.

They all had confidence in the fighting Spirit of the Japanese Soldier and Bushido, but the notion that the westerners were decadent and weak soldiers had died on the battlefields of Burma and was dying each day on the siege line in front of Singapore. Decadent they may be, but weak they were not.[2]

“Plainly, their plan has to be an attack on Borneo, General, and...”


~**~~~**~

The crew of Her Majesty's Submarine Tiger was doing what was called 'the run' within the service. Each week one or two Submarines made the run from Darwin that was fast becoming the biggest Naval base in the Far East[3] towards the besieged fortress of Singapore, mostly carrying those things that were not trusted to freighters susceptible to attacks by the Japanese Air flotillas, in this case Sea Tiger carried something far more valuable than medical supplies (even though most of her limited freight space was crammed full with Penicillin), a sealed metal box, hidden in the Captain's safe so that it would forever disappear within the deep recesses of the Pacific Ocean if the vessel was sunk. In that box was a set of secret orders, eyes only for the Commanding Officer of the fortress.

Lieutenant-Commander Matthew Sherman was well aware of the freight but not of the exact wording of the orders contained in the box, nor was it the first time he carried them. The Japanese had long since cut the lines that connected Singapore with India and thus by extension the Empire and lately no one trusted the British Naval Codes. Sherman glanced at the map on the table in the centre of the control room and saw that if the calculations were correct they should be off Singapore now. In peacetime they would have run the last three hours on the surface and would now see the navigational marker, but in this third year of war all they had for naviation were maps, a stopwatch and their skill.

“Periscope depth.” he ordered.

The one-year old T-Class Submarine slowly rose from it's cruising depth and and Sherman, holding on to the cup of tea that was threatening to fall of the table waited for his command to level off.

“Any contacts?”

“None, Sir.” the ASDIC operator said as he listened into the sea with the hydrophones on the hull, repeating a reply that he had given ten minutes earlier.

“Up periscope.” Sherman ordered.

On the first sweep he saw little as the rain that had been falling in the area for days now obscured everything. On the second sweep he saw the coast to the north where he had expected it, darkened and blacked out.

“Prepare to surface.”

The pumps forced more compressed air into the ballast tanks and the conning tower broke the surface. Sherman did not as was usual go up to the bridge but instead walked over to the cubicle where his wireless operator was sitting.

“Sparks, send the message.”

He turned and joined his First Officer up top while the boat's wireless sent out this week's pre-arranged three-letter keyword that alerted the watch at the New Singapore Naval Base.

“Wireless-bridge, signal sent and acknowledged.”

“Thank you, Sparks. Stand by.”

Sherman nodded towards his first Officer who raised a specially designed signal lamp that cast a very narrow but long-reaching beam. The shore was a mere three miles off and within two minutes the signal was returned.

“Code fits, Captain.” his First Officer said and Sherman nodded.

“Take us in, Number One. I'll be down below preparing the freight.”

He stepped into his tiny cabin and and opened the safe. The box was still inside and as per his orders he checked if the seal was unbroken and if any form of new damage had appeared. This was of course slightly ridiculous as these boxes frequently moved around in various safes when the boats had to manoeuvre, but such was the service. As he stepped back outside the Diesel Engines in the back of the boat caught and filled the boat with their regular background noise. HMSM Tiger picked up speed and made it's way towards the coast of Singapore. All the men aboard knew that by now at least a dozen guns were aimed into their general direction and it was a given that at least one aircraft was being readied for flight if the Submarine didn't reach the base in a certain amount of time.

The lighter, mobile Guns on the southern Islands should have them in range by now, but procedure was not to engage the position lights until the boat was a mile from the shore. Sherman cursed the rain, inwardly complaining that it was much worse than anything he had ever experienced in his native Essex, and readjusted the Southwester that abysmally failed to help keep him reasonably dry.

As they made their way towards the South Islands three more times the signal lamp flashed and soon HMSM Tiger slipped through the narrow channel between the Islands towards the place where she would be moored.

HMSM_Thunderbolt.jpg

HMSM Tiger at anchor in Darwin​


In the command bunker Sherman had to wait for a moment. The drive across the Island towards the camouflaged entrance to the nerve centre of the Island had been long and torturous in an Austin Seven that was long overdue for maintenance but kept falling by the wayside as scarce resources were used to keep the Matilda IIs going.

As a Naval Officer he was the odd one out and felt uncomfortable in a group that almost exclusively wore Army and RAF Far Eastern kit, and he was glad when the door to Browning's Office opened.



~**~~~**~


Even as Sherman closed the door Browning opened a small cabinet behind his desk and removed the key for the box from it. He opened it and took out the envelope that was sealed and stamped with the insignia of Cunningham's nominal Flagship, HMS Illustrious. The innards of the envelope made him smile and his most pressing worries disappeared. Singapore was beginning to run low on everything from Artillery ammunition that was expended faster than it could be brought in to fighters and most importantly morale, but in the air the situation was especially bad. At any given time no more than half of the Spitfires were operational, and even then they were often mended with a brick and a piece of string. Crated planes were all well and fine, but he himself had requested that the lion's share of the freight space be divided up between ammunition of all calibres and food for the still substantial civillian population, and the Air Force had to suffer. If the orders in this were accurate and if the plan was even half-successful then most of his troubles would be over.

He began to read again....

EYES ONLY – MOST SECRET – PALLINDROME

Only for distribution to: CinC South-East Asia, CinC Singapore Fortress District.




BURN AFTER READING

Copy No.3, CinC Singapore Fortress District

The intention of Operation Drumbeat is to eject enemy forces from Java and Sumatra in order to open lines of communication to the Fortress of Singapore, break the siege and enable further Allied forces to begin the liberation of Japanese occupied areas in the Dutch East Indies and the Imperial Dominion of Malaya. Launch date is yet to be determined but no later than the end of the current wet season (expected to be the end of march 1943). Secrecy is of the essence. It is strongly believed that the Japanese are aware of our buildup and that we plan to make a push, but the actual location of the first blow and those coming afterwards must be kept secret for as long as possible.

Air Vice Marshal Browning, you are hereby directed to use all assets and Special Duties personnel at your disposal to disrupt Japanese Operations where ever possible without compromising your of defence. You are not to disclose Operation Drumbeat and the particulars to anyone before being given permission to do so via the Headquarters of CinC Far East.


Signed and approved: Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, GCIE, CB, CSI, DSO, OBE



BURN AFTER READING

The grin would not leave Browning's face as he put the document to the torch and picked up his phone.

“Get me Major Mallory.”



c4a3c1e6.png


+-+-+-+-

Comments, questions, rotten Tomatoes?

[1] I am not ashamed of taking the credit for that. :D

[2] As a result the Japanese Army down south has been cured from victory disease. The case of the Japanese Navy on the other hand is about to get much, much worse.

[3] Darwin will by the time the war is over likely replace Singapore as the RN's main base in the Far East.
 
Last edited:

ViperhawkZ

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Excellent.

So we'll be seeing a Special Forces assault in the near future?
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Suddenly I see a lot of chindit-like forces giving a headche to the Japanese Army...
 
Last edited:

Raaritsgozilla

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Chindits are awesome. Slim is in Europe though isn't he?

Are you playing this game in Arma still, or did you restart in Semper Fi and kept the storyline going?
 

El Pip

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You've got the wrong Major Mallory you know. Peck was the looker but Shaw had the brains.

Very interesting if Darwin ends up the main RN base in the Far East, it's miles from anywhere! Only one small narrow gauge railway into the place and it lacks the ports and shipyards you normally get with a big naval base. The fort parts of Fortress Singapore were fairly cheap, it was the drydocks and shipyards that cost the money and Darwin has none of that. Massive investment by the Aussies in the RAN? Or another one of the Empire's "Damn the logic and logistics, we're building it there!" like the Nuke project? ;)

Still enough nitpicks, another excellent update and I look forward to Mallory in the Far East, though given the wide variety of nationalities to chose from will he be a Brit, a Kiwi or whatever-the-hell Peck played him as? And can we please have the Force 10 from Navarone version of Dusty Miller, ideally the Edward Fox one because he was epic. :D
 

trekaddict

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Darknesskilla Thankee!

ViperhawkZ Thanks, and it will be a big one at that.

Kurt_Steiner Oh yes, they rule.

Raaritsgozilla Slim is indeed in Europe, trying to hold the Hungarians in line.

I finished the game more than a year ago, I am doing this from my notes and a lot of screenshots.

El Pip I couldn't find a decent picture of the Shaw version... :(

Well, ITTL the RAN was expanded in the inter-war years, and Darwin intended as the main base, as that was where the Japanese were/are expected from. Still, even so what they did or rather could afford was essentially build a proper railway line and a few piers that could handle the Sydney and the Australia. At first when the RN arrived, Darwin was merely a stop-off point where the ships refuelled before doing what ever their mission was, but when the RN Carrier strength in theatre in essence tripled the base was extended and can now house the bulk of the Fleet.

EDIT: Construction is still going on.

Mallory is a Brit here, and of course the Edward Fox version of Dusty Miller will be the incurable showoff with the explosives. :D
 
Last edited:

Griffin.Gen

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Ah, Naval Warfare and Special forces. The type of updates I love. :D
Keep it up.
 

trekaddict

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Well, those are forms of warfare that are the most epic short of a Kursk-size Tank Battle.
 

trekaddict

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Oh hell. *Facepalms* I have a major Retcon to do, as I forgot that I still have Force 10 lying around here somewhere. I could lift some pics directly from the film.
 

trekaddict

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Trying to read through this epic is like trekking through a very lovely jungle - do carry on, I'll catch you up!

*blushes*


Glad to have you aboard.
 

ViperhawkZ

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Trying to read through this epic is like trekking through a very lovely jungle - do carry on, I'll catch you up!

Trekking - I see what you did there! :D