trekaddict

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Chapter 364


10th June 1943


The meeting room under the stones of Whitehall was thick with cigar smoke, and one of the two gentlemen present wished that that the Prime Minister had kept to his usual habit instead of for once actually smoking the cigar. But during the last few days things had come to a head and now the daily briefing was finally starting to show more good news than bad, at least in regards to Austria.

“The engagement is still ongoing, Sir,” said Sir John Dill, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, “but the Axis gains have not been great.”

Churchill took in the map spread out on the table. Positions were marked on it, but they were from the previous day, and he wished that there was a quicker and more reliable way to communicate great amounts of information over great distances.

The bulge in the Allied front was more than thirty miles deep at the moment and about half again as wide. Churchill knew that it was a testament to the Allied troops and their leadership that it wasn't more, considering what had been thrown at them. Still, Alexander was going to have the devil's own time getting all of that territory back, and he shuddered at the cost.

In all likelihood the plan had been to re-take Vienna, it was the sort of preposterous ideas Hitler was known for, but even with someone like, say, the late and unlamented General Percival in command that would not have worked, considering that the Allies had the advantage by being on the defensive.

Alexander may have been caught unawares, but by god, he had recovered the situation superbly.


By now he knew Alexander well enough to be able to tell that there was more to his plans than stopping Rommel cold.

“And for the future?”

Dill hid a sigh, and decided not to hold the question against the PM. After all, the man was trying hard to win the biggest bloody war the Empire had ever found itself in.

“Field Marshal Alexander is somewhat reluctant to discuss this over the wireless, Sir. Perfectly understandable of course, but no less inconvenient.”

Churchill nodded. “Of course. Still, I would like to know what his plans are.”

Both men knew better than to push further. Maintaining Operational Security was something they had all learned about the hard way.

It was also obvious that soon Field Marshal Alexander would be visited by someone asking the very same questions, though Dill knew that the man wouldn't be appreciated in any way, shape or form.

And anyway, Alexander's next move was beyond obvious, at least on the face of it, and he wasn't a man to surrender the initiative without doing his damn best to keep it.

“Marshal, you have complete confidence in Field Marshal Alexander?”

Dill heard the Prime Minister's question and knew that Army politics had reached the ears of No.10. “I do, Prime Minister.”

The Marshall looked at the PM.

“I agree.” Churchill said and reached for the glass with brandy to take a sip, “It was a failure of intelligence, and one thing I learned in the last war was that no officer should be judged but in the context of what he knew at the time. If anyone has buggered this up, it's MI6 and Army Intelligence. Hell's teeth, we have the SOE and four other Intelligence Services operating in the area, and somehow they all missed it.”

“There is a good chance, Prime Minister, that the information was found, but it just never reached the right set of ears.”

Churchill took another sip and nodded, in an effort to get this meeting back on track. Later today he had a meeting with Major General Quelch, something about the newest gadget he had unearthed somewhere that he wanted to be looked at more closely.

“So, what about our friends in the Far East? Has the weekly courier reported in?”

Every week, some hapless Officer was charged with carrying a bag with status reports and assorted papers from Australia to London, and a lot of those reports, memos and papers were things that Admiral Cunningham could not, or would not entrust to wireless transmission and breakable codes. Bletchley Park and Cunningham's own people were at all times trying to increase communications security, but since they had the supposedly 'unbreakable' Engima as an example, it was an unwritten rule that coded transmissions were not to be trusted. Not everyone believed that, nor was it always possible to do so, but such were the circumstances.

“He has, Sir. Not much of a change there, but weather permitting, the 14th Army should begin it's attack on the final Japanese positions in Siam early next week, Monday or Tuesday, it all depends if the Siamese can be ready on time.”

“The only thing worse than fighting with allies is to fight without them.” Churchill said, paraphrasing himself, “and if there's one thing the bloody French Government has shown us it's the wisdom in that.”

Dill knew that Churchill was taking this personally to an extent. The behaviour of the French Government and their Army leadership had deeply disappointed the once francophile Churchill, and in some ways the performance of the French Navy and Air Force, especially in the Far East, had made it in some ways even worse.

The French Ambassador was not in a good position. Unlike a great many others, he was someone who was well aware of the balance of power in the Allied Pact, and yet he was the one who had, most recently, communicated French 'expectations' in regards to Indochina. It had been couched in diplomatic terms and phrased oh so politely, but Churchill would be damned if he let British policy be dictated by a bunch of Frenchmen who were totally unwilling or unable to understand that it might be in their own interest to use methods in their colonies that the British Empire had used during the negotiations of the Empire Act.

Algiers seemed to be hell-bent on re-building the Status Quo and seemed to expect British assitance in this effort. However if there was one thing the British establishment had learned in the late 1930s it was how brittle the hold of the European powers on their colonies was. It appeared that the French hadn't learned that lesson yet, and judging by the reports coming out of Indochina it would be a very bloody affair indeed that taught them that. Under Churchill's leadership they had done everything needed to preserve the Empire and it's place in the world, and that had taken sacrifice and courage. Politically expedient or not, Winston Spencer Churchill had a war to win, and he would be damned if he didn't use every means at his disposal to do so.

“Well, Marshal, there is a War Cabinet meeting this afternoon. I would be obliged if you and whatever specialist for Indochina you want to bring to attend it. There is still some feeling in the cabinet that we should try to accommodate the French first.”

“Yes, Sir. Should I wait for Admiral Cunningham's report until then?”

“By no means!” Churchill replied and grinned, “There will be some good news from those quarters after all.”

There was, but not much.

“Well, Prince of Wales and Warspite have re-joined the fleet, so at the moment Force Z consists of six Dreadnoughts and three Battlecruisers, and he intends to use them at the Marine landing next week. The 4th Chinese Division won't be ready by then after all, so after pushing the landings forward by four months, he will have to do without them.”

What Dill didn't say was that Cunningham wasn't too happy he had to use the Chinese to begin with, but not because he had any notions about their lack of martial spirit. It was more because the landing area in particular had a goodly number of Chinese occupation troops. While what reports were known told of a vastly different story than what was going on under the direct thumb of the Japanese, it was highly likely that sorting out that particular mess wouldn't be easy. But the two Divisions of Allied Marines were just that, only two Divisions, and against the last Japanese mainland holdouts outside China itself that would not be enough.


“By now Force Z and the Carrier support force should be doing circles in the gulf. Our tactical aircraft are waiting on our Malayan bases. The Marines are going to embark the day after tomorrow, so all we need now is the word.”

“I see. I hope that Admiral Cunningham won't mind having me close.”

Dill knew that the Admiral would most certainly mind, but Churchill had been itching to visit Singapore ever since the siege had been lifted, and now at last he was going to go.

He had been planning to tour the Far Eastern Empire and Commonwealth long before Cunningham had decided to move the landings forward, but now it would look too much like an attempt at micro-managing.

Cunningham hated this, though Churchill didn't care at that moment.

“He probably won't, Prime Minister.” Dill lied without much effort, “but considering the amount of work...”

“True enough. Which is why I have adjusted my schedule. I can wait either in Singapore or Canberra until after the landings are well established. The Commonwealth can do with the additional grooming anyway.”

Which was of course true. As CIGS Dill knew that Australia and New Zealand weren't in even the slightest danger of wanting to leave the war, but re-affirming British commitment to the Commonwealth and the war in the Far East in light of recent events in Austria couldn't hurt. Besides, it gave him an excuse to pull the Egg out of storage. Something about flying without having to use an oxygen mask appealed to him.


tbc



AN: I was originally going to flesh the battle out far more, but the idiot that I am, I never actually wrote most of that down, so I am trying to give as accurate a picture as my memory and the scarce notes I have will allow. I'm very, very sorry that a massive battle I planned out so much looks like this, but I'll have to rebuild all that from scratch...
 

ViperhawkZ

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Jolly good show. Glad to see this story back on the move!

AN: I was originally going to flesh the battle out far more, but the idiot that I am, I never actually wrote most of that down, so I am trying to give as accurate a picture as my memory and the scarce notes I have will allow. I'm very, very sorry that a massive battle I planned out so much looks like this, but I'll have to rebuild all that from scratch...

Which battle are you referring to?
 

El Pip

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Churchill took another sip and nodded, in an effort to get this meeting back on track. Later today he had a meeting with Major General Quelch, something about the newest gadget he had unearthed somewhere that he wanted to be looked at more closely.
Should be interesting, I look forward to the latest gadget with interest. ;)
 

trekaddict

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ViperhawkZ Thanks!

stevep Thanks, and yes, that was the battle I was referring to.

El Pip It's nothing really special from our perspective. Let's just say that post-war the RN will have a lot of it, and leave it at that for the moment.
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 365​

14th June 1943


The Allied landing beaches had been selected because they were the least bad of a set of bad choices. Any farther north, and they would have run straight into the mountains, any farther south, and they would have landed in the middle of the Mekong Delta. But in the end one thing had decided for the Allies, and that was the close proximity to Saigon. From the landing area, which was in terrain almost all commanders present tried their best not to think about, to the centre of the biggest city in southern Vietnam and the rest of French-Indochina it was less than sixty miles on god-awful but at least present roads and footpaths. It was terrain where the Marines with their Light Infantry ways would come into their own, but it still favoured the defence.

Nominally, five Divisions were defending the area of southern Vietnam and parts of modern-day Cambodia, but only two were Japanese, the 1st Guards and the 15th Infantry Divisions. The other three were Chinese and only nominally Divisions. Not because the Chinese Government was unwilling to send it's unreliable troops to where they could do little damage, but rather more because the Japanese wanted to ensure that they could overpower and disarm them if they had to.

But all those plans would soon be for naught, because the Allies had managed to achieve strategic as well as tactical surprise. The Japanese knew that the Marine Divisions and 'reinforcements' had been embarked, but Japanese Naval Intelligence and it's Army counterpart had convinced themselves that Borneo was the target. While there were several good reasons to believe so, Allied planners had long before the Siamese defection decided that removing the enemy from the South-East Asian mainland was to be the priority.


The first Allied troops ashore that night were a party of British Marines landed by a submarine, and even as it disappeared back into the night and under the waves, Operation Teardrop was well and truly under way. It was one of a dozen such groups, all belonging to the Special Boat Service, and their task was not, as usual, to prepare the area for actual landings, but rather to make the Japanese believe it and force them to deploy their reserves and generally make them look away from the real landing beaches.

The first landings took place at 03:32 hours local time, with the first shots fired four minutes later when a group of twelve SBS soldiers ran into a Japanese bicycle patrol. By four in the morning, sporadic gunfire could be heard along a sixty mile stretch of the coast, and over time it became louder and louder, as the Japanese began to deploy first sections, then platoons, and then companies to battle the unseen invaders, while on the other side the local resistance, which had lain low at a very politely formulated British request, sprang forth, even as their leaders gave the orders to do so, having been informed that special forces would be landed a few days before.

In spite of the hap-hazard nature of this part of 'Teardrop', friendly fire incidents were rare.

Elsewhere, the Allies acted in a more direct manner. Force Z had drawn up in line formation little more than two miles from the coast. Cunningham had decided to run this risk, because he assumed, correctly as it would turn out, that for one, the Allies had tactical as well as strategic surprise, and between the SBS, the nationalist resistance, called the Viet Minh, and by that time, around 06:00 hours, also the allied aircraft racing in over the gulf, Japanese attentions would be diverted.

Aboard HMS Hood, third in line behind Repulse and Dunkerque, Rear Admiral Murray glanced at his wristwatch in the low glimmer of the hooded lamp of the chart room and looked at the moon. Perfect landing weather, but too little moon-light for his liking. Still, at least the Japanese would have a hard time spotting any of his ships, at least for another few seconds. All the guns were turned on the beach.

He glanced at the ship's Captain and only nodded.

The Officer turned. “Sparks, send to all ships: Open fire in turn.”

Twenty seconds later the darkness was torn to shreds as one after another the first six 15'' guns fired. In spite of the gathering morning light, the gun flashes still blinded him, but he didn't need night-vision to know that even as the shells raced overhead the landing boats of the leading Regiments head towards the beach.


4bHWS4h.jpg

Landing boat and troops belonging to the 2nd wave landing shortly after sunrise. This section of beach was not shelled. No pictures of the first wave are known to exist.


In some ways he wished that the rest of the Allied Line was here, but they had another task today. Covered by Implacable, Vimy Ridge and Bonaventure, they would attack and destroy what was left of the Japanese base and Cham Rahn Bay. It had been bombed several times before, and it was considered unlikely that there was much of a fleet presence, but Admiral Cunningham was willing to risk his bigger ships now rather than have a bleeding ulcer in the future. Six Dreadnoughts would be enough to permanently end any Japanese activities at the base.

That this would draw as vigorous a response as the Japanese could manage was something Murray was certain Cunningham knew and had considered, but with three Carriers in attendance, air-bases on Borneo and in Vietnam itself under air attack already, whatever planes managed to get off the ground would hopefully shatter their teeth against that force and not interfere with Force Z.

On shore, the Royal Saskatchewan Marine Regiment and it's counterpart from the British 9th Royal Marine Light Infantry Regiment had formed the vanguard of the allied attack, and especially the British Marines were going close to the plan. The Regiment was one of three Regiments that had recently been given one of the old titles and was about to prove itself worthy of that honour. With the 2nd Royal Marine (India) Division and the ANZAC Brigade being conserved in the Theatre Reserve for the invasion of Borneo after the next monsoon, it fell to them and the Canadians to take Saigon so that the bulk of the Chinese reinforcements could be landed.

And since it was almost fifty miles from the beach to Saigon, a flank guard was needed. Since most of the units in the Central highlands were Japanese, though none larger than Brigade size were any closer than Da Nang, the 2nd Chinese Division was supposed to land hot on the heels of the Allied Marines as soon as their Divisions were fully ashore. Until then the British 2nd Brigade would act as flank guard while the Canadians had taken Ba Ria, the closest large settlement, only a few miles from the shore.

Japanese coastal defences, where they had existed in the first place had not lasted long against the tried combination of crack infantry and naval gunfire, but the farther in the Marines moved in, the more resistance stiffened. The two lead Regiments which were then, about an hour after landing, had not yet been joined by the remainder of their respective Brigades which were still in the process of landing, thus they were outnumbered by the Japanese Brigade, the 2nd Brigade of the 15th Infantry that was stationed to the east of Saigon.

Running head-first into them checked their advance, because even though the Japanese Commander of Southern Vietnam was at the time 'unavailable for personal reasons' and wouldn't arrive at his command post until three hours after the initial landings, the Brigade's commander was a professional of the highest order. Thus, he had raised the alarm both towards his superiors and his subordinate units the moment he was woken by the shellfire he heard in the distance and the explosion of the bombs from the air.


Their new position was some fifteen miles inshore, with their backs to the town, and the Marines slammed right into it. Japanese expectations had been that any attack on Saigon would come from the west or the south, so no pre-prepared positions existed, but the Japanese made up for that by an immediate counter-attack that over-ran one of the platoons of the 9th RMLI's 2nd Battalion with all the unfortunate consequences for the men involved. Then however the greater firepower of comparable British units told. By now armament production was so increased that any British rifle section, Marine or not, had a Bren gun of it's own on establishment (though not all of them had drawn them from stores yet), and so the platoons and companies that were scrambling to defend the road and the footpaths of the area against the unexpected and fierce Japanese attack could put up a hailstorm of .303.

Heavy fighting would continue for almost an hour even as more of the Marines and even some of the advance units of the Chinese 2nd Division landed, but it was clear that taking Saigon by storm was not going to happen.

As down broke fully, Allied superiority in the air and at Sea began to tell. Unlike in the Mekong Delta farther south or in the Highlands farther north, there was little to cover the Japanese defenders in the fields and countryside of this part of Vietnam. The Allies had good reasons for trying to bring the Japanese to battle before they retreated to the hills in the distance, and the Japanese had to try and keep the town as from it the enemy would be able to command the entrance of the bay. Of course the Japanese didn't know that the British wouldn't try a direct assault on Saigon, but they had to consider it.

Over the next few hours the Japanese position grew increasingly precarious and the Brigadier requested the Division's ace, the 95th Independent Tank Company. At this point Japanese and Chinese factories were beginning to disgorge increasing numbers of the Type 3 Chi-Nu tanks, so units like the 95th had more and better tanks available, in this case thirteen Type 95 Ha-Go.

However, the light worked in both ways, as the column was caught in the open by a roving flight of bomb-armed Barracuda Mk.Vs. The new versions of both branches of the Barracuda family had one feature that made them more suited to ground attack: two forward-firing 20mm cannons. The two Barracudas approached in the same ground-attack manoeuvre that the Fleet Air Arm had shamelessly poached from it's land-based counterparts, and a furious whirlwind of shells and bombs left six of the thirteen tank burning or torn to shreds. The seven remaining ones continued on into the explosions and the gunfire ahead of them. Up forward allied superiority in naval Artillery began to tell as the light allowed the ships and forward observes to spot for fall of shot and easily correct their fire.

By this time also the combat elements of the respective Canadian and British brigades had landed and the Japanese were slowly being pushed back into the town. With their momentum checked and their rear areas being a frightful mess, the Allied troops did not immediately follow, and for the next half-hour, most fighting ceased. The Japanese almost immediately ejected the civilians from the town and herded them towards the allied lines. Several civilian casualties were caused when Marines running on adrenaline after hours of sustained combat mistook them for attacking Japanese, but almost all of the civilians were led through the lines and then told to stay out of the way as best they could, with the logistical units, such as were ashore at this point, being far too busy trying to untie the knots the divergence from the battleplan had caused.

It did, however, remove any remorse that may have existed within the allied chain of command, and so Lieutenant General Gordon McKay, CG Allied Amphibious Corps, wasted no time in requesting help from Force Z.





tbc

Basically, TTL the Viet Minh is nationalist first and communist a distant second. Like a lot of the far-left movements all over the world, the Vietnamese communists were left adrift. The Soviets are busy elsewhere and wouldn't fund them even if they could because it would indirectly help the British, and the Americans have zero interest in mainland Asia at that time of the war. The Brits on the other hand were rather more eager to help, under the proviso that they at least try and talk with the French once the war is over. Of course, this is oversimplifies things, but it gives you a rough idea of what's going on. Immediate-post-war Vietnam will be chinese-interesting, but for the French far more than the British, as I hear the Vietnamese have long memories. The Helicopter will need to find a different conflict to grow up in though.

My descriptions of the Vietnamese countryside are based on Satellite pictures in Google Earth, pics on the Net and of course various examples of that form of entertainment that uses moving pictures.

I think I also need to say a few personal words. One reason, if not the biggest one in the first place, why I had blockage on this was because it was getting too damn formulaic. Now as a trekkie, I don't really mind predictable episodes and so on, but if you do it alone, writing those over and over is incredibly tedious. Now, I have decided to cull some plotlines, bring others back and basically shift focus somewhat. It'll still be about this war, but you will see more cases where it's relayed in things like newspaper headlines or some such a character reads, and you may not even see the front for a considerable number of chapters. Another problem was I had far too many plotlines, and it was getting harder and harder to keep them even half interesting.

Things I will definitely keep:

1) Ian, Felix and Paperclip, along with the character development stuff I had last running before the break. I like those two and they provide good PoV characters.
2) The members of a certain northern police force will appear again, though probably not in the form you know them. I have plans for Hunt.
3) The resistance on the Philippines. I like the idea of Guerillia Cavalry. Also maybe occasional appearances of LtC. Drake.
4) Major General Quelch and the Commonwealth Technology Board.
5) The 2nd Royal Scots Hussars. They will remain my PoV characters for the main event, as it were.

Consider everything else on hiatus until further notice.
 

stevep

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Treakaddict

Great to see an update and further progress.:) Given the size of the project and how long since you actually played this game its amazing you kept on the number of interacting factors you did.

I do have one concern. Given how hard pressed the Japanese are and what happened OTL I fear its about time the allies started having wind problems and the fleet could get a nasty shock. Even with the armoured decks they are likely to see at least some mission kills for the short term plus some of the older/smaller ships taking serious or fatal damage. [Not sure what triggers it in the game but possibly not far away, although Japan still 'owns' virtually all of China].

Steve
 

trekaddict

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Thanks.

As for the Allies, you are partially right. The Allies are starting to run out of steam, in that they have few undeployed reserves left. In essence, the two Divisions I referenced as earmarked for Borneo are pretty much the entirety of Cunningham's reserves. This will become increasingly apparent as 1943 goes on, and both sides will secretly welcome the monsoon season, because it gives them a pause to take a deep breath and consolidate what's been going on in the last twelve months.

At sea, the Allies own the Gulf of Thailand and that bit of the South China Sea between Borneo and Vietnam, and the IJN knows this. They aren't really contesting the area because they know that the Allies have an advantage because of the bases and the closeness of their forward logistical hub at Singapore.

Cunningham and the Allies are growing a bit overconfident (though nowhere near as badly as the Japanese did OTL in 41/42 thanks to the fanatical resistance of the IJA) and they'll be in for a nasty shock when they move northwards towards the Philippines and Hong Kong. I think I did reference a desicive Battle of the South China Sea before. In all fairness, Cunningham is seeking out the IJN as he (IMO correctly) believes that the only way to defeat them is to destroy or CTL more ships that they can easily repair between the British and the Americans.

Strangely, I didn't really seek that battle out. IIRC (and it's been a while indeed) my Carrier stack was just doing normal Naval Patrols in the area while I shipped in some troops from the UK (my favourite new feature in AOD is overseas deploying of units) and suddenly I found that my CVs were in a massive battle. I lost a fair number of ships, but after that I never saw the IJN in anywhere near the same strength. Since I know that this wasn't all they had (I periodically took a peak, I must admit) I can only assume that they either didn't have the IC to spare to repair them or the Americans sank the rest between then and the surrender.

EDIT: I did call it the Battle of Formosa, sorry.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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A lot to read, few time to do it. Shit.
 

robw963

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I just have to love that someone built a Wiki for this AAR. That's just awesome! lol
 

trekaddict

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It's more for the universe than the AAR, both of which I intend to keep alive for as long as I can.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Ah, what would be of an update without a bit of French-trashing-teasing... :p
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 366



14th June 1943


The destruction of the town may have attracted some controversy in later years by the armchair generals of the world, but right at that moment the violence of the bombardment disrupted the Japanese enough so that the forward positions, hastily thrown up and now brushed aside by the charging Marines. It had taken two hours of more or less constant shelling and air attacks to reduce the city to rubble and ashes, and in between that shaken Japanese Infantrymen struggled with Marines running on adrenaline. By the time the last nest of resistance was stamped out three hours later, a company of the Royal Saskatchewans was shattered and would need rebuilding.

But the road to Saigon was open, because those parts of the Japanese brigade that had not been caught in the cauldron of the battle were either insignificant when they were caught against the coast and then eliminated over the course of the day or slinked into the countryside and towards the tender mercies of the Vietnamese resistance. Overall, there were only six prisoners, all of them too wounded to fight or kill themselves.

For McKay it was obvious that the intent of the Japanese had not been so much to stop him but to delay him so that reinforcements could arrive. He knew better than to take intelligence reports at face value and acted as if there was a rather more large army than what actually opposed him. As planned, he sent the Chinese towards their blocking position and the rest of the troops raced towards Saigon as fast as they could.

By that time the Japanese Commander in said city knew more of what was going on than the Allied Marines. He had what looked like at least two Divisions landing to his east and they had already destroyed two-thirds of his armour, in the south the countryside was in the process of exploding into open rebellion, in the war west the Allies had attacked as well and were driving through the Japanese position as if they weren't there. He had already tried to alert Tokio to this, he had asked for the reinforcements he desperately needed, but Tokio had all but abandoned South-East Asia.

Indecision plagued him, but in the end there was little he could have done. By the time the few reserve units left, the remainder of the Japanese 15th Divison and the entirety of the Chinese 275th Division, the latter having the strength of just shy of a Brigade, with equipment that had been obsolete at the time of the KMT surrender.

Since no one trusted them an inch, the unit had been 'reinforced' by a company of Guard's Infantry, and when they ran into the 10th RMLI this 'stiffening' prevented them from falling apart on the spot, but it still did not help them make much headway against a single Regiment of Marines in the open field.

To prevent a lengthy battle, the commander of the Regiment asked for and received permission to call upon two Matildas. The New South Wales Independent Tank Regiment was a regular Australian Army unit that had one squadron attached to each of the Marine Brigades and it now showed. Half of it's tanks had 6pounders, the other half were CS variants, meaning that they had a 76mm howitzer in the turret.

At the same time the Chinese were short of anti-tank weapons even by Japanese standards. The entire 'Division' had only eight anti-tank guns, and they were old Pak 36 copies which were, while hopelessly obsolete against Allied forces, were still useful against the rather more obsoletely equipped Soviet Forces and produced for that purpose.


At about ten minutes before one in the afternoon the crew of one of the anti-tank guns, dug in behind the dam of a road between fields and a clump of trees and Infantry to each side, noticed the sound of engines coming towards them, barely audible over the near constant din of battle, and suddenly the greenish shapes of tanks appeared. But where had they come from? Rumours about monster tanks in the west were rampant, but this was an amphibious landing, and the Colonel had told them that landing tanks with the first wave was impossible.

Yet here they were. None of the troops in the unit had seen action since the early days of the fighting against the Soviets, and they were unfamiliar with the type. The gunner could see them, even though they were out of range, and they were getting closer.

Behind the tanks, the infantry was advancing, crouched low as to not attract undue attention even as mortar rounds began to fall among them. Then the first machine-guns at the far end of the unit's position began to fire and suddenly the order came.

His gun spat fire.

The unit hadn't done many life-fire shots since they had arrived here more than a year ago, so of course the first round went wide by at least two or three metres, as did the next two. The fourth round on the other hand hit the tank's frontal armour smack dab in the middle.

And bounced off.

Only then did the gunner realize that for the last five minutes the lumbering British tank had been within range but not fired a single shot. Now that it was close enough to almost spit at, shrugging off everything he and the infantry around him could throw at it, he was suddenly worried.

He felt boxed in, and not by the allied troops that had begun engaging the Chinese Infantry, but by the trees to each side of him. The tank stopped and it's turret turned to the left flank of the position, near one of the buildings. But when it fired, it spat flame instead of a shell, and the gunner watched with horror as the flames engulfed the buildings and the Chinese Infantry. The wall of flame, fire and death walked across them all. The last thing the gunner felt was a searing flash of heat, then nothing ever again.

Thus having punched a hole in the Sino-Japanese lines, the Marines surged through it and began to envelop the 'Division' where it stood. The General in command was more than willing to retreat, or even better, to surrender, but his Japanese 'adviser' in his headquarters made either option impossible.

On the map the situation was clear. Almost a third of his units was cut off from the rest of his forces and would soon either be forced to surrender or be pushed into the low hills to the north, and there the Viet Minh was already waiting. Unlike the people at the front he also knew that the British 14th Army was in the process of dismantling the Japanese forces in the west into their tiniest possible component parts and would sooner or later fall into his back even if he somehow managed not to be ground to paste between the Japanese here and the Allies.

He found that he was unable to do anything but watch as his command died in the field.

Less than half an hour after the initial breakthrough the Chinese position was dissolving like a wet sugar cube, with only the centre companies holding on, and more because they had the Japanese between them, and the Japanese Guards troops fought with all the tenacity that was so common among them.

However, their position still began to crumble as small numbers of British and Canadian troops began to disperse in the rear areas and soon linked up. The main pocket would fight on for several more hours, but the units on it's flanks crumbled almost immediately.

And even the hope of stalling the Allies for the day was not to be fulfilled as McKay decided to 'quit messing about' and decided to accept higher losses now rather than having to spend more lives and time to take Saigon later. Spearheaded by the detachment of Tanks, the Marines proceeded to storm the enemy position. Furious hand-to-hand combat ensued, often literally down to the knife. Of the Japanese company there were no survivors by three in the afternoon.

The Chinese on the other hand far more readily surrendered, but even there there were only thirty-two that managed to live through the day.

In Saigon the sudden and obviously permanent silence of the last coherent force between the city and the advancing allied troops was greeted with far more fatalism than the Japanese usually displayed. The city was on the brink of open rebellion, and any British Officer would have considered the situation hopeless. But evne when news of this began to leak out to the general population of the city via one of the many Viet Minh spies that worked at the Japanese Headquarters as 'volunteers' nothing changed. Instead, what few troops not deployed to keep a semblance of peace in the city and defend the most important structures were assembled into two scratch companies and sent out to fight near two Divisions of allied Marines.

By the end of the day the Marines were nearly within striking distance of Saigon, but General McKay decided against an immediate assault. For one, his troops had a hard day of fighting and marching behind them, but most importantly no one in his staff or in the three Allied Divisions was looking forward to fighting in a city at night, and the at least nominally friendly population would be even more in the line of fire than it was already.

In the end though the Japanese in Saigon were doomed by their low numbers. News that the Allies were mere miles away ran through the population like a wildfire, and soon even the customary five-man patrols began to disappear, and in more and more places gunfire could be heard.

Less than two-thousand Japanese stood against near two-hundred thousand Vietnamese of all ages, and soon the city was in open rebellion.

Of course word of this eventually reached the allies. The Japanese perimeter around the city could, at best, be charitably described as loose and at six in the evening, a staff meeting was interrupted, and half an hour after that, the Marines were roused from their rest and started a forced march to cover the rest of the distance to the city.

Soon they saw the fires.

Inside Saigon, the fighting had started a dozen major and minor fires, and the fire brigade, when circumstances allowed them to sortie in the first place was hopelessly outmatched.

Thus, a nightmarish scene greeted the Marines as they marched into the city, but luckily, only intermittent fighting took place, and by midnight the last Japanese soldiers had been hunted down by a vengeful populace or would soon be. A day later, not a single Japanese soldier was alive in the town, and in spite of the sometimes half-hearted efforts by the Marines, they were soon joined by a large number of perceived or actual collaborators.

For once, the allies were actually ahead of the plan, though it was the last time this would happen for the duration of the campaign.


tbc

Basically, the Soviets are sending all their crap and obsolete equipment to the Chinese front. The good stuff (such as the T-34 and what not) is reserved against the Allies.
 

ViperhawkZ

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Kurt_Steiner

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Saigon obliterated? Well, there is a chance to rebuild it without any trace of French colonial architecture :laugh:
 

trekaddict

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Glad to see this still has interested readers.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Indeed. Even my good old Lady General, Amona, has her own core of loyal readers.