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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

trekaddict

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For your information, RN/Allied Air Groups are as follows, using the Implacable Class as a base:

  • 2 squadron of 18x Hawker Sea Fury fighters
  • 4 squadrons of 18x Fairey Spearfish, with a 1:3 Bomb and torpedo armament.
  • 1 flight of 4x Blackburn Barracuda RDF recon planes.
 
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JudgeKing

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I've been wondering, what happened to the Supermarine Type 317 heavy bomber in AAO?

Also, I've found something interesting you might like, the Hawker Siddeley HS.1202 which was effectively a British F-16.

Britain's own F-16 - the Hawker Siddeley HS.1202

An altogether larger aircraft, this comprised a long series of designs over three years, mostly outside AST.403 requirements.

Power came from two reheated RB.199s or single RB.431 (essentially a straight - through Pegasus).

The first HS.1202 was drawn in November 1975 and featured a canard with square side intakes (there was also a tailed version with intakes above the fuselage). Two 27mm cannon and the forward undercarriage were housed in a lower fuselage bulge beneath the canards. Four bombs were placed in a low drag recess behind it.

A year later, studies had advanced to layouts more akin to the McDonnell Douglas F-18 which introduced leading edge root extensions.

In 1977 the aircraft became a British "F-16" and with a single fin, it looked remarkably like the General Dynamics machine. Four Sidewinders were carried, two 27mm in the LERX and a variety of ground attack weapons on four more under wing hard points.
 
Last edited:

TheButterflyComposer

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An aar this long still being updated? And a spring sale?
And three weeks off for Easter starting today?

What did I do to get this much good karma?
 

Kurt_Steiner

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This AAR is under the spell of the "slower than time" doom created by our dear Pip...

but let's see what Trekkie has to say about it...
 

TheButterflyComposer

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^Awesome^. Thus far it doesn't seem like too much of an 'against all odds' type affair. Churchill is in (and in a mild super-duper form) so...idk, does Japan do something drastic early on or are the Americans going to do something...odd?
 

JudgeKing

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^Awesome^. Thus far it doesn't seem like too much of an 'against all odds' type affair. Churchill is in (and in a mild super-duper form) so...idk, does Japan do something drastic early on or are the Americans going to do something...odd?
Regarding the UAPR, I wouldn't mind if they got some more focus later on in the story. They are supposed to be the British Empire's geopolitical rival after all.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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As of half way through (future reference, 169 pages in), the US have done basically nothing apart from kill a few Qubecian communists and saving Trotsky (I approve cautiously).
Italy has done more by this point (although ineptly).
I guess that the US becomes a threat later but right now I'm only worried by the actually quite good German soviet alliance. If the soviets end up taking even more of Europe than OTL, the Empire will be in trouble.
 

stevep

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Regarding the UAPR, I wouldn't mind if they got some more focus later on in the story. They are supposed to be the British Empire's geopolitical rival after all.
Without giving too much away, having read much of Trek's other work on the resulting TL the UAPR is the main geopolitical rival of the British empire/commonwealth/alliance after WWII largely because they are the two main powers left standing. There is another great power that I think would be up there with them, albeit at a slightly lower level but it takes a fair mauling in the war. At this point Britain and the UAPR are de facto allies against Japan [if you have read that far], although with no real cooperation. I don't know how much Trek will put in about them competing and possibly even occasionally cooperating in the latter stages of the Pacific war.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I've got over a hundred pages left to go before catchup but at the moment, Italy looks like it's about to be won, the Japanese panicked and launched an attack too early but also slightly too late and the American cousin from Langley is back.
Europe is still going to be tricky though. I can't see the German soviet alliance breaking down yet and as it is they have far too many troops to be beaten by just the British on their own (the French have, true to HOI life, failed to contribute anything).

It remains to be seen what happens after the war but I imagine that the Cold War will be far hotter and more volatile than in OTL. After all, if the US and the USSR directly bordered each other (and in fact, the Candians split the Communists up) and there wasn't just one island off the coast of the US that was on the enemy team but basically all of them... Oh dear.
 

stevep

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I've got over a hundred pages left to go before catchup but at the moment, Italy looks like it's about to be won, the Japanese panicked and launched an attack too early but also slightly too late and the American cousin from Langley is back.
Europe is still going to be tricky though. I can't see the German soviet alliance breaking down yet and as it is they have far too many troops to be beaten by just the British on their own (the French have, true to HOI life, failed to contribute anything).

It remains to be seen what happens after the war but I imagine that the Cold War will be far hotter and more volatile than in OTL. After all, if the US and the USSR directly bordered each other (and in fact, the Candians split the Communists up) and there wasn't just one island off the coast of the US that was on the enemy team but basically all of them... Oh dear.
Well happy reading. You have a lot of events to catch up on but things are possibly coming to the end games in both Europe and Far East. A lot of fighting still to come and one "fascist" power is still standing afterwards but victory is in sight.

Relations between the UK and the UAPR are often rocky in the post-war world and there are a number of incidents. Trekaddict has written some stories in the post-war AAO world, including a Falklands war version. [Argentina is a left wing dictatorship under UAPR tutorism and beefed up by them but gets roundly stomped by the AAO RN is the one I remember.] IIRC by the current time the UAPR is still in existence but the Soviet Union has collapsed as OTL.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Argh! What happened to Walt Disney! Noted anti communist and probable genius. Tell me they both get out alright?
 

trekaddict

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AN: This the big one, the one I've been looking forward to for years. I've considered ditching AAO a few times, but I always got back up on the horse because of this battle. The only comparable one left will be the first deployment of a Blue Danube device.


Chapter 385/Part 1



Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!


“Fortune favours the bold.”
Admiral Somerville's Word of the Day, 3rd April 1944

3rd April 1944


The Battle of the South China Sea is often compared to Trafalgar by Western historians, and even though this is sometimes disputed by their British counterparts and always was by Admiral Cunningham, it did indeed cement the premier position of the Royal Navy, a position it has remained on since. Even the understandably far less sympathetic reading of events that finds itself into American textbooks acknowledges that events on those two days in April for all intents and purposes created the modern strategic situation in the region. It ended all hopes that American influence might be reasserted on the Philippines in spite of earlier agreements with the Allied Pact.


It also permanently ended Japanese naval ambitions.


The first move was made by the Japanese. In the early dawn hours of the third a Japanese submarine spotted part of the distant escorts of Force Z. The submarine fired a spread of torpedoes after sending in a contact report, yet failed to hit anything and was sunk by HMS Hotspur for its troubles. Still, it showed both sides that the other was on the move.


Japanese battleplans called for the fleet to be divided into three distinct groups. The Battle Force under Vice Admiral Kurita, consisting of all of Japan's surviving dreadnoughts, would act as a shield between the British and the Carrier Strike Force under Nagumo's personal command. The third and final group, dubbed the Distant Cover Force, consisted of much of the Combined Fleet's remaining strength of cruisers as well as appropriate if weak escorts under Rear Admiral Takahashi was a scouting/raiding force that was meant to harass the outer van of Force Z and to keep their focus away from the air strikes that were to destroy the Allied Carriers and the Force Z itself.


Some had suggested splitting the fleet even further to attack the Allies from multiple angles, but the lack of suitable escorts and the sheer strength of the Allied fleet would have made that an invitation to defeat in detail, which was why the plan was ultimately scrapped. What emerged then was a crassly unsubtle plan by Japanese standards.


The Allies on the other hand benefited from a vastly superior intelligence picture. Japanese Naval codes had been first broken in 1942, and even the changed version that had been introduced in summer 1943 had not withstood a Colossus Mk.10, the version specifically developed to speed up decryption of the old version for very long, being based on the same principles. Because of this, Admiral Cunningham was aware of Japanese plans and intentions before Captains of most of the Japanese ships involved.


It also allowed his field commander, Vice Admiral Somerville, to plan his own dispositions accordingly. In the end his plan mirrored that of the Japanese, except that the vast majority of the cruiser force remained around Hong Kong to support events there. Force Z had also been deprived of the services of the Battlecruisers which were all relegated to close escort for the carriers, much to the chagrin of their crews.


Other than that, Force Z, consisting of Prince of Wales upon which Rear Admiral Murray, OC Force Z flew his flag, Warspite, King George V, Anson, Howe, Richelieu and Jean Bart, was relatively small what with the British Pacific Fleet's other commitments and the fact that at least some naval strength needed to be kept in Europe, but their Japanese counterparts could only scrounge up five vessels in fighting condition. Still, the scene was set for what was to be the last engagement between ships of that type.


After the sighting report was received aboard Akagi and delivered to Admiral Nagumo, he ordered the Combined Fleet to proceed south at best speed and to assume battle formations. While this limited everyone to the speed the slowest units could do, Nagumo was prepared to accept that because he was well aware that despite what Radio Tokyo espoused every day, the Imperial Japanese Navy was very much on the back foot and could not afford to be too aggressive. He knew that his best chance for victory lay in getting a massive, overwhelming first strike in. He was confident that he had achieved this when this ships were within air range of the spot where the British had last been spotted, no snoopers had been detected, nor had there been any submarine sightings.


Yet fate, aided by technology, was to deliver an entirely different verdict...


~**---**~


C for Charley, 3rd April 1944, 30 miles south-south-east of the Japanese Main Body, course due north



Flying this far from the fleet without any escort in a plane that was unarmed made the pilot of C for Charley very uneasy. What was it that the chap from Raytheon had said? 'Alone, unarmed and unafraid'. If the man had been anything but a scout pilot with the American Air Corps in the last war, he'd have been slugged for such a comment. What was more, as the pilot, he was the only one aboard this Barracuda who had a window to look out.


What evened all this out, partly at least, was that with the RDF sets they had on board, the other crew members would be able to tell him from quite a distance if anything was coming their way.


Speaking of which....


“Oy, look at this, Sir. I have half a dozen contacts on bearing 030, maybe twenty-five miles away.”


“What size?”


“Small, certainly not larger than a cruiser. Hard to tell at this dist--- Hold on to your hats lads, there's just six more that popped up.... and... hell's teeth, that has to be a dreadnought... two at least!”


“Time to call it in.” the pilot said, “Sunray One-One, this is Charlie-Two Two, have sighted....”



~**---**~



The early sighting by what turned out to be the comparatively thin escort of the forward Japanese Battlesquadron certainly threw a monkey-wrench into everyone's plans, and though it affected the Japanese more, the Allies were the first to be aware of it. After short deliberations, Somerville decided to have the CANZAC force launch a limited strike. He knew that with the Japanese heavies out there, the Carriers had to be near, and he did not want to risk getting caught re-arming. With nine modern Carriers and all of them equipped with modern planes (especially the Sea Fury being a generation at least beyond anything the Japanese had) he could risk a limited strike. Some modern historians have criticized him for this penny-packet attack and the losses suffered by the CANZAC aviators, but generally back then the results were considered acceptable, especially since the Admiral could not know that the Japanese Carriers were out of position to launch an immediate attack or be attacked in return.


Two Allied submarines also converged on the reported position of the Japanese. Not because of any order they'd been given, but because some of them had copied the transmission and they did have standing orders to engage enemy shipping at their discretion. By good fortune HM Submarine Taciturn and her class-sister, the Dutch Zeehond had been both surfaced and in position to both copy the transmission and make a successful attack, though the distances involved meant that neither would be able to do so until after the CANZAC strike had taken place.


Meanwhile, the Japanese continued onwards, completely oblivious that the enemy was about to dare and attack before the plan called for it. Confidence reigned on their ships, although at least the higher officers were well aware that this was the only and last chance they had to inflict a crippling defeat. Nagumo did not expect to encounter the Allies until later in the day, so only a few scouts had been launched and by luck or misfortune, depending on how you looked at things, no one was in position to even see, never mind report the strike as it came in shortly after ten in the morning.


The Battle of the South China Sea began at 10:08 AM on 3rd April 1944.


Japanese observers did not actually detect the CANZAC aircraft until they were within about ten miles distance thanks to their inferior RDF technology. Nagumo instantly scrambled the alert fighters even though he knew that the fourteen planes (two from each of his carriers) and the two already in the air wouldn't be enough, and that the enemy would strike before more could be fuelled and armed.


Why Nagumo chose not to do so earlier is the cause of much speculation among historians and others, but no satisfying answer has ever been found. In a 1976 interview, Sir Lesley Phillips stated that in his opinion it was evidence of the sort of doublethink that the leadership of the Japanese Empire suffered from in the later years of the war, and that in Nagumo's case this was applied to say that since the plan called for the Allies to be farther south than they were, that would be so, even though Nagumo knew that the Allied fleet had been sighted steaming north and would by now have passed the position the Japanese Admiral had selected as his desired place to do battle.


However, it must be said about Nagumo that he was aware that the correlation of Forces was not in his favour.


At any rate, even as the Japanese fighters rose to battle their CANZAC counterparts, the strike divided. Since they were not accompanied by an RDF aircraft or had constant situation updates as modern technology allows today, they happened to completely miss the presence of the main body and actually attacked the ships C for Charley had reported. The small group did not actually contain a dreadnought, but rather the battlecruiser Amagi, the first and only ship of the B-65 class to be completed. As the biggest ship present, she found herself the centre of attention.


The allied strike was carried out by 'only' six strike squadrons with three for fighter escort, but those consisted of crews that had gone through the hardest school of all and were one for one far more experienced than anything the overstretched training system of the IJN could produce. A classic hammer and anvil attack was not possible, but no ship could avoid both dive and torpedo bombers, and with the torpedo-heavy airgroups favoured by the Allies the number of fish was too large to entirely avoid. Amagi was hit by no fewer than four, all on the same side. While the torpedo protection defeated the first two, in the end she was a battlecruiser and hits three and four breached enough compartments to slow her to ten knots and give her a six-degree list to starboard. Ironically the fatal blow was from a thousand pound bomb dropped by a New Zealand Spearfish.


It pierced the relatively thin deck armour and penetrated right into the forward magazine, where it detonated, shortly followed by all the armour piercing shells for the main battery.​




First strike had gone to the Allies.


While that was going on, the Japanese fighters engaged their counterparts. However, in the first major engagement for several months, they found the Hawker Sea Fury an entirely different proposition to the short-ranged Seafires they had faced previously. So only three Japanese planes managed to return to their ships, having shot down a grand total of one Sea Fury in return.


All they had accomplished was to remind Admiral Somerville of the possible presence of enemy aircraft carriers and alerted him to their actual position. Obviously, a major strike was immediately ordered.


The non-CANZAC carriers could potentially launch almost six-hundred aircraft, with the remaining CANZAC fighters being kept back for local defence. It was the biggest air armada the Royal Navy had ever assembled and would be the largest single strike of the day.


On the other side, the Japanese were reviewing their options. Unlike the Allies, they only knew that the enemy carriers were close, and had no idea exactly where to send their own attack. Scouts were launched and sent into the general direction from which the CANZAC strike had come, but it would be some time before anything could be discovered. In the meantime they re-ordered a formation that had been thrown into disarray by the unexpected attack.


Just as Taciturn and Zeehond arrived. Not aware of the other's presence, they both made independent approaches, aiming for where the screen had been thinned out by the air-raid. Taciturn fired first, its four torpedoes making a beeline for Akagi. However, they were spotted, and in the end only one of them hit and turned out to be a dud. Still, it disorganized the Japanese and allowed Zeehond to make an unopposed, textbook-perfect attack against the Japanese western screen. Her Captain aimed for what his log described as a 'cruiser sized ship', probably either a large Destroyer or a plain misidentification as at that point there were no cruisers in near her position. At any rate, the Destroyer Hibiki just so happened to move directly into the torpedo tracks, was hit by two of the 21'' weapons with predictable results.


However, the consequences of these twin attacks were far-reaching. Believing himself under general submarine attack, Nagumo ordered the fleet to its best possible speed to close the distance with the enemy and reduce the effectiveness of the Allied wolfpacks he was sure were lurking for him there. The course he chose was based on the direction the Allied air strike had come from, but it was not quite the correct one. If both sides followed the courses they had when Nagumo gave that order, at 13:12 AM, they would pass each other at a distance of less than fifty miles.


A second move he made was to send out more scouts.


One of them spotted the Allied ships only a short time before the second Allied strike sighted the Japanese carriers, and only a short report was broadcast before the singe Aichie E16A in range was shot down by an RNZN Sea Fury.​





The above scout being launched​



Had Nagumo not ordered a strike being prepared long before his scouts spotted the enemy, what happened next could have been the end of the battles aerial portion, because less than half an hour after the last Japanese plane had disappeared from view in one direction, a cloud of allied aircraft appeared from the other. Knowing that he would have to hit hard and fast, Nagumo had kept a grand total of one fighter squadron back for defence. He had gambled that Admiral Cunningham would close the range further before launching an attack. The Japanese rose to the challenge and tried to break through to the strike planes, but they were outnumbered by almost 16 to 1 in just fighters, with their Allied counterparts generally being better trained and much more experienced. Still, they managed to shoot down three Sea Furies before being destroyed in turn.


As this was going on, the rest of the planes split into their single squadrons, having standing orders to concentrate on carriers above all else. The Japanese put up fierce anti-aircraft fire and knocked down a fair number of torpedo and dive bombers, but the Allies bore in anyway. The ANZACs concentrated Akagi and Junyo, with both Japanese carriers being still fairly close together in spite of their evasive manoeuvres. As was and is usual in battles, it did not go entirely to plan, and mis-identification and misheard orders led to all but two sections of that element attacking Junyo.


The result was obvious, with no less than five torpedoes impacting in that ship's hull and breaking her back. She would eventually be scuttled by a Destroyer with her flightdeck awash.


Akagi on the other hand managed to dodge the torpedoes.



Next on the list was Shinano. The first attack was carried out by torpedo planes from Audacious. Somehow they managed only three hits on what was then the longest carrier in the world, but those three hits still managed to slow her down sufficiently and cause serious flooding that would have sunk her eventually. Exactly why the British torpedo planes showed up so poorly here is undetermined, but most likely the relative inexperience of the aircrew is to blame.


Hiryu seemed to be lucky this round, as she managed to dodge no less than eight torpedoes that came close enough to be a danger.


Her near-sister ship Ibuki, part of the Soryu class and named after a cruiser that had been lost to an American submarine in 1944, was on her first and only cruise. Five torpedoes opened up her starboard side like a used ration can, she began to list, turned turtle and sank with most of her crew on board in less than ten minutes.


The other carriers present, Taiho and Katsuragi received only minor damage in spite of several hits, thanks to their better than usual torpedo protection and being just plain lucky.



When the torpedo planes departed, they had lost twenty-two aircraft but in return sunk two carriers outright and heavily damaged three more, with one being left in sinking condition, although that was not known to British authorities until after the war.


That left the dive-bombers. Being at high altitude, they were left entirely unmolested by the defending Japanese fighters and faced only limited anti-aircraft fire from the escorting cruisers and destroyers. As per British doctrine, their numbers were limited, but their presence would prove to have just as much impact as that of United States Navy SBD Dauntless aircraft had at Midway in another world.


By the time they were in a perfect attack position, the Japanese formation was completely disorganized, with little in the way of defences to stop them. In fact, they received more fire on the way out.


In spite of standing orders, two sections of British Barracudas attacked the few escorting Japanese cruisers, loosing two of their number for no hits in return.


One element attacked Akagi. The carrier suffered only splinter damage, but was reported as 'damaged, afire', either due to the deception methods employed by her captain or because of misidentification. Either way, she would survive the battle, and in fact the war itself, only coming on an end in an American nuclear test in 1952.


Hiryu was attacked in turn by elements from Melbourne and Implacable, suffering an unprecedented fifteen hits and misses near enough to cause damage inside of five minutes. Due to poor damage control and the general chaos caused by this hammering she was soon on fire from bow to stern, eventually succumbing to a catastrophic magazine explosion. The crews of both Allied carriers as well as the crews of their modern descendants debate to this day who delivered the killing blow.


Ibuki suffered fewer direct hits, but it needed only one 1000-pound Armour-piercing bomb straight to her forward magazines to seal her fate.


The debris from her explosion had not yet stopped falling when she was joined by Taiho. Her armoured deck actually rejected the first three hits, but her defensive efforts were crippled when another bomb impacted right below her bridge, killing everyone present there. Exactly how this happened has never been conclusively proven. A deep-sea expedition conducted to her wreck on behest of the University of Oxford's Faculty of History and ITV revealed nothing on the matter. However most historians and certified experts consider it likely that the deck was tilted at time of impact as she was doing a tight turn to evade her attackers, aided by the bomb being dropped at a non-ideal angle to begin with.


In any event, she was effectively headless, with her rudder stuck at full, she continued a fast starboard turn, only to be set on fire by both another hit and a Barracuda crashing into the hole it's own bomb had made. This odd and incredibly unlikely occurrence has been verified by both fortuitous photographic evidence as well as accounts by the few survivors that had escaped her shattered hull by the time she too was scuttled by a Destroyer.


Katsuragi here too suffered only minor damage and was initially considered as lucky. Until, that is, Zeehond fired her remaining torpedoes at near maximum range. Only one hit, but it not only obliterated her starboard driveshafts and killed several boilers in the process, but it also warped the other ones, causing more leaks that led to the ship rapidly sinking by the stern.


Long story short, in less than an hour, the Allies had permanently destroyed any notion of the Imperial Japanese Navy as an offensive force. While there were carriers under construction in Japan and while some of those would end up seeing service, the Combined Fleet would never again be capable of seriously threatening Allied or American operations.


For now however, it was their turn.


The Japanese strike could do nothing but listen in as one after another their motherships went off the air, never to return. Being faced with no option but to press on.


At the same time the Japanese cruisers, having been missed by all Allied patrols, split into yet another small force.






tbc


I hope it was worth the wait.


Again, Audacious being the lead ship of her own class is a retCon. This the first part only, never fear.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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Thus far, the IJN seems to be finished. Without their motherships, the Japanese pilots are going to go full kamikaze...
 

stevep

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Thus far, the IJN seems to be finished. Without their motherships, the Japanese pilots are going to go full kamikaze...
Ugh! That could be very nasty for the RN, although hopefully the defensive cap and AA fire, especially if proximity fuses are available by now, a lot will be stopped. Do we know if the Japanese have started using kamikaze tactics yet? I suspect not as they still think, before this battle, that they could win a classical battle.

Steve
 
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stevep

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Excellent to see an update and know your OK after such a long pause.

It must have been quite a task keeping things going for quite a number of years now. While I would love to see it completed in detail I would fully understand if after this battle, you just summarise a lot of the rest. Assuming in this war Blue Danube will be used in anger, in place of Little Boy?

Provided the Japanese attack isn't too dramatic in the damage it inflicts the battle is as good as won already. Sounds like there could be a nasty surprise from those undetected cruisers. I'm wondering if the IJN battlefleet will go down fighting against Force Z's big guns, which could be a hell of a battle if Yamato and her sister are there, or get overwhelmed by carrier a/c. While the former would be dramatic the latter would be safer for the allies and probably mean a lot less casualties on our side. Or we could combine the two with the carriers doing most of the work and the battleships delivering the coup de grace.

Anyway, great to see the TL continue and looking forward to seeing more.

Best wishes

Steve
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The Allies on the other hand benefited from a vastly superior intelligence picture. Japanese Naval codes had been first broken in 1942, and even the changed version that had been introduced in summer 1943 had not withstood a Colossus Mk.10, the version specifically developed to speed up decryption of the old version for very long, being based on the same principles. Because of this, Admiral Cunningham was aware of Japanese plans and intentions before Captains of most of the Japanese ships involved.
This makes me wonder how much Bletchley Park has been expanded as it is both being as successful as OTL and located in a country with far more resources than OTL.

Good update. This has the potential to change how people view naval warfare, for good and for ill.
First of all, the Japanese and the rest of the 'bad guys' have no real way of fighting a naval war and this means either the Aran will be allowed to build up strength for the enviable post war clash with the Americans or (shock horror) be put aside a little whilst everyone else gets a little more love whilst the war is on.

Secondly, this changes how naval warfare is going to be viewed, especially as it happened quite suddenly. Aircraft and their carriers are going to be the main focus from now on, full stop. It might discredit naval warfare in and of itself, as aircraft did the job and just happened to be carried by large boats. In any case, the dreadnaught is doomed, cruisers are going to get more compact and faster, and overall the airforce just got it's wings, finally showing up (to some people) the elder service and becoming actually important in the eyes of top brass.

There are other things but that's a summary of two things more likely to happen.
 

El Pip

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Definitely epic, I can see why you had to keep going for this one and I look forward to the next part.

There could be an interesting debate on dive bombs vs torpedoes after the battle. It won't be a long debate as I imagine the combination of jet and missile technology will probably kill both types pretty quickly as in OTL (though a jet torpedo bomber carrying an air-launched, rocket-assisted, first-stage sea skimming, second-stage torpedo weapon would be superbly cool).

Back on topic one question for the FAA is, would more dive bombers and less torpedoes have sunk more carriers? Obviously in such an overwhelming victory it doesn't really matter, but something to think about when putting together the next generation of carrier air wings. Particularly as I assume it will take a while to get reliable jets on carriers as per OTL.

Finally, while others may chide you for adopting a Pip pace of updating, I'm all for it if it keeps you going without abandoning us.
 
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