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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

trekaddict

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Hardraade said:
No! Flemming and Leiter will stop him! Then, in the aftermath of the cat and mouse spy game that they played with Philby, Flemming will get an idea for a book. Yes.... :D
:D I can at least tell you that you are going partially in the correct direction.
 

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Chapter 40/2



December 29th, 1938

Conference Room, Windsor Castle

Then, after we have fought the Germans to a standstill our own Armoured Divisions, supported by the French would counter-attack. We believe it will work because tank against tank we are at least on par with the Jerries, and in the long run the French and British Armies combined will defeat them before the Soviets can move in to support them simply be sheer numbers.”

The King contemplated what he had just heard. “This is a rather risky plan, Marshal.” “Indeed it is, your Majesty, but it is the only combined plan the French would agree to. We have recently tried to get rid of the Dyle Plan, but the French refused to even consider it. This is either because they nearly bankrupted themselves with the Maginot Line or because of the losses they took in the Great war. Either way, they refused to partake in any offensive action before the German capabilities to conduct one themselves has been severely blunted. The thing is, Sirs, without the bloody frogs we can't do anything, because the British Army will be too small to conduct its own major offensive for at least another two to three years.” The discussion then shifted to the general structure of the new Armoured Divisions and the attached heavy tanks for the Armoured Divisions and the Armoured Cars for the Motorized Infantry Divisions. Gort then seconded his place to Sir Charles Portal, the new Chief of the Air Staff who would deliver the briefing on the RAF.

“Gentlemen, the new structure of the RAF is three fold: RAF Fighter Command, RAF Bomber Command and RAF Coastal Command, each with clearly defined objectives, orders and doctrines. If I may I would like to begin with Fighter Command. Currently Fighter Command is spaced into eight groups. 11 Group, commanded by Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, defends southeast England and is also able to protect London and the Majority of Fighter Command's squadrons are stationed there. 12 Group, commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, defends the Midlands and East Anglia, 13 Group under the command of Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul defends the North, and lastly 10 Group commands Wales and the Irish Sea. Overseas we have four additional groups. 21 Group contains the Fighters in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, 22 Group will in the future be Fighter Command in North America, 23 and 24 Group cover India and the Far East. Each group commands one or more Sub Commands that each have an assigned Sector of our Airspace to defend and that work together with the Chain Home System which I will explain later. Each of the Sub Commands contains four Wings of Fighters that each contain several Squadrons.

RAF Bomber Command is similarly structured. Here on the Home Islands we have No. 5 Air Command which is the entirety of Bomber Commands European Tactical Strike Force, and No. 4 Air Command which will be, once at full strength be our main Strategic Bombing Force. Again each of these groups contains four Wings with several Squadrons each. Overseas we have the Middle East Command, the Far East Command and soon the North America Command, each with a group of Tactical Bombers.” After pausing he continued. “RAF Coastal Command is solely stationed here in the United Kingdom and has the objective to guard the coasts of the UK against any threats that might make it past the Royal Navy.” At this Roger Backhouse, the First Sea Lord, and Earl Standhope, the First Lord of the Admiralty snorted. Both intently disliked the RAF and were firm members of the Gun School, which combined translated that they hated anything that did not float. Churchill and the King had often discussed replacing both, but as of yet they enjoyed too much support within Parliament and the Royal Navy, so simply axing them without proper cause was politically unwise. So barring proof of gross negligence or some disastrous defeats at sea both men enjoyed relative job security. The PM and the King had still managed to get Backhouse and Tanshope into approving the formation of Force A and the promotion of A.B. Cunningham to its commander instead of having him rot in Alexandria. Portal ignored these juvenile interruptions and continued with his own briefing.

“The majority of the RAF Fighter Squadrons is as of yet unformed, but as soon as mass production of the new Supermarine Spitfire Multi-Role fighter begins we will triple our strength within a few months. The Squadrons we already have are mostly equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. II.” At this point he was interrupted by the King who forestalled a less forgiving question by Backhouse who wanted to do everything to discredit the RAF. “A question if I may, why do we not simply equip our lads with Hurricanes?” “That your Majesty, is a simply matter. The Hurricane is a splendid Kite, but ageing, and it is also not equipped with the hardpoints the Chief Engineer, Mr. Mitchel fitted on the Spitfire a month ago. The Spitfire is faster, more manoeuvrable and albeit slightly shorter ranged without external fuel tanks generally a much more capable Fighter.” “So you are saying it is worth the wait?” Portal nodded. “Yes, your Majesty. Now,” he said, turning back to the others in the room. “RAF Bomber Command is currently equipped with two types of Aircraft, the Vickers Wellington two-engined tactical Bomber, and the Avro Manchester heavy Bomber. Now while both of them are two-engined the Manchester is considerably larger, but also much to underpowered for its size. It has therefore been scheduled for replacement as soon as a replacement aircraft can be developed. Here too several additions will be made to the arsenal. We are currently thinking of attaching a Squadron or two of heavy, two-engined fighters to each Bomber Wing to provide long-range escort over enemy territory. We ditched the Idea of the Bomber always getting through after we did some trials that will be repeated in the spring with both his Majesty the King, the Prime Minister and myself in attendance to prove this beyond doubt.” Portal had arranged these to prove the validity of his theories to even the most boneheaded bureaucrats in the Air Ministry that still clung to that doctrine and had been rather surprised when the PM and the King had announced that they would like to witness these trials. If he could prove that he was right in front of these two men then he had the two most influential figures of the Empire on his side, and that would definitely be an advantage in dealing with the likes of Backhouse and Tanshope.

“The other area where we have instituted reforms is in Fighter combat tactics. I believe that Air Vice Marshal Leigh-Mallory can brief you all better on this.” Portal sat back down to make room for Leigh-Mallory. The AOCinC of Fighter Command stood up and walked into the centre of the room. “Your Majesty, Gentlemen, as you all know until a few months ago the primary fighter formation of the Royal Air Force was the vic, meaning three planes flying in close formation. This was thought to provide excellent defensive capabilities for the pilots and planes. However with the additional funding we received in the last months we managed to deduce that while it does indeed greatly add to the defensive of the planes the Vic formation is highly inflexible. For example one Wing Commander Daswood was ordered to take his Squadron and experimentally re-train it as he saw fit, with the only order not to use the standard tactics. In a mock Air Battle he was pitted against one of my other Squadrons that I had picked at random. Dashwood and his boys ripped the others apart by attacking from behind and out of the sun. According to the pilots of the second Squadron they had too much to do with holding their positions and could not really look out for the 'enemy'.” This time it was Churchill who asked the first question. “I know Dashwood, and from how I read him he certainly devised something special.” Leigh-Mallory nodded and said: “That he did indeed, Prime Minister. He adapted the finger-four formation the Germans invented. By flying a section in a loose formation that looks a bit like the fingers of a hand he gives the pilots time to look out for the enemy and also improves early warning and makes detection harder as the planes are harder to spot from afar. Should we choose to adopt this tactic for the rest of the RAF the smallest tactical unit would no longer be the three plane vic but rather the two-plan pair. Two sections would make up a swarm, three swarms a Squadron and so on. Now before anyone starts complaining about using the enemy's tactics: They have been proven to work over Spain, and we cannot afford to loose any of my lads to antiquated and unrealistic tactics.” The AVM sat back down and Portal once again took the stage, reporting business as usual at Bomber Command.


The sole 'surviours' of the opposing Squadron returning to base​


[Game Effects: Up Next: everyone's favourite: His Britannic Majesties Royal Navy!
Technical notes: The TTL Spitfire Mk. Is are universally fitted with the C-Type Wing that in OTL had two hardpoints for 250ib bombs. In TTL they will also be able to carry AT-Rockets and heavier bombs in later years. The rest of the Armament is as per OTL, meaning the two 20mm cannons will not be fitted yet. Bomber command is doing business as usual. They can't really implement and test any newly developed tactics until the escort fighters arrive and that is going to take time.]
 
Last edited:

unmerged(61356)

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Damn French. Always wanting to huddle behind their Maginot Line instead of facing the fact that war is changing or growing enough balls to go on the offensive. Good overview of what's going on with the British military as well.
 

trekaddict

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KiMaSa said:
Excellent! Just make sure the Royal Navy strengthens its squadrons in Haifax and the West Indies... Frankly include some transports. You may need to be proactive to bring down those communist scum!
Well.. lets just say that the current leadership of the RN is very very old guard. :mad: But that is bound to change. :D
 

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trekaddict said:
Well.. lets just say that the current leadership of the RN is very very old guard. :mad: But that is bound to change. :D
El Pip might not agree with it but there's always Draco's method... :D
 

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KiMaSa said:
El Pip might not agree with it but there's always Draco's method... :D
Alas, as entertaining as Draco's AAR is ( considering that I have nicked just about every picture in it ) I tackled the problem from a different angle. A setback at sea where a rather prominent ship is sunk?
 

El Pip

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KiMaSa said:
El Pip might not agree with it but there's always Draco's method... :D
Given how much of a thrashing Draco's RN got in the early years I stand by my judgement that killing of large chunks of your senior officers is a bad move. Even if you limit yourself to only the most 'deserving' you scare the living shite out of everyone else and terrify people into taking no risks and becoming yes men. See also Stalin's purges.

On Backhouse I have absolutely no sympathy, he was only appointed First Sea Lord in November 1938! Indeed King George has no excuse - Backhouse was his principal naval advisor for most of the previous year. No worries though he'll be dead in six months. ;)
 

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El Pip Backhouse won't be killed, he will rather be 'retired' after a massive and most humiliating setback at sea. I refrained from killing anyone, but once the initial stages of the war are over there will be no shortage of retired Generals, be sure of that. In TTL A.B. Cunningham was the King's Naval Advisor before he was appointed Commander of Force A, but they still talk whenever Cunningham is in London. Pound will btw replace Backhouse one day. I won't say where and when though.

darthkommandant I won't tell. :p
 

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Argh.. I missed an update.. :mad: God Darn It..

On the positive side, those two updates were positively brilliant.. :)

And getting the luxury of not one, but two updates in a row is a rare treat..

Even if it goes squarely against my rule of posting at least once pr update, whenever possible.. I have the time for it, usually and after beginning on my own story, I deeply recognice just what regular responses mean to the writer and his/her enthuasiasm and joy of writing..

On that account, please read my signature.. ;) and please also: Act on it.. ;)

On the updates.. I've always found it particularly hard to explain to naval chiefs that their favorite toys are no longer suited for the task, nor are they themselves chiefs of the main and most important part of the armed forces..

True, for Britain and certain other nations, superiority at sea is very important, but above all else, superiority in the air is paramount and will usually mean the difference between victory and defeat..
And, with the introduction of the Carrier, this is true on the waves, as well as on dry land, with a few modifications on the somewhat more fluid battlefield, which is the High Seas..

The army, while the centerpiece of any armed force, their job is somewhat lessened as well.. Although no war can really be prosecuted without it, unless conquoring of your enemy's territory is not an objective, it is no longer the main 'punch', as various forms of bombers and fighters take that form.. To some extent.. Likewise for the navy.. While you can't really project power across the sea without it, you can decimate the naval forces quite effectively with the proper use of naval aviation, if said forces are not protected.. So while the air force of any nation is not the actual 'staying' or 'taking' power of the military, no other arm of it fields as effective a punch, as it.. Thus I consider it the primary military force, as both the others are to some extent doomed, without it..

But still, having to explain this to the admirals always leave me feeling that I really shouldn't have got out of bed that morning.. ;)
 

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As much as I agree with you a tiny tidbid was forgotten: The Royal Navy is already shifting towards Carriers. The Illustrious-Class CVs are only the beginning, and despite the resistance of First Lord of the Admiralty and First Sea Lord the powers that be ( in this case Mr. Churchill and the King ) have realized this and are pushing for the flattops quite hard. Hopefully by the end of the war Britannia shall not only rule the waves but also the skies above them.

EDIT: TPTB is not only comrpsied of these two of course. Cunnigham has probably more influence in naval matters than Backhouse the First Lord of the Admiralty combined, because he has the ear of those that make the final decicions and he is a member of the Carrier School. I haven't decided yet if there will ever be a Taranto-style raid, and tbh, if this game hadn't been for an AAR I would have build my usual SHBB stacks, but Cunningham will get his proof. By 2008 the Navy will be based on CVs. (perhaps even CVNs? :D )
 
Last edited:

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trekaddict said:
El Pip Backhouse won't be killed
Won't need to. He died of a brain tumour in the summer of 1939, barely six months after becoming First Sea Lord.
 

trekaddict

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El Pip said:
Won't need to. He died of a brain tumour in the summer of 1939, barely six months after becoming First Sea Lord.
Wow. :eek: That I did not know and never bothered to find out. Well, he will die of ripe old age in the 50s or so but in disgrace and blamed for the loss of *censored*.
 

KiMaSa

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El Pip said:
Given how much of a thrashing Draco's RN got in the early years I stand by my judgement that killing of large chunks of your senior officers is a bad move. Even if you limit yourself to only the most 'deserving' you scare the living shite out of everyone else and terrify people into taking no risks and becoming yes men. See also Stalin's purges.

On Backhouse I have absolutely no sympathy, he was only appointed First Sea Lord in November 1938! Indeed King George has no excuse - Backhouse was his principal naval advisor for most of the previous year. No worries though he'll be dead in six months. ;)
In all honesty I actually agree with you. In truth if you feel that much of a need to rearrange your command structure then go ahead and reassign, retire or whatever. That really ought to be sufficient to show you mean business.
 

Doge Robert

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I can think of only one suitable reply trekkadict:

Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves... Erh skies.. :D

*hums*
 

trekaddict

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Doge Robert said:
I can think of only one suitable reply trekkadict:

Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves... Erh skies.. :D

*hums*

:rofl:

Seriously though, I plan to spam Carriers as soon as I have a sufficiently large force at the Front in Europe.
 

trekaddict

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Comming soon to a AAR-update near you:




When Britain first at Heav'n's command
Arose from out the azure main;
Arose, arose, arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!
(hopefully.....)​
 

Enewald

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Oj, no battle of britain coming it seems. :eek:o

Ah well, better to die above the lands of teutons. :cool:

Funny that the actual britons moved away from Britannia because of the evil anglo-saxon invasion. :D
And they call themselves britons after stealing the lands of the bretons. :p

That's an big airforce!

Where do you get all the noble pilots? :D
 

trekaddict

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Enewald said:
Oj, no battle of britain coming it seems. :eek:o

Ah well, better to die above the lands of teutons. :cool:

Funny that the actual britons moved away from Britannia because of the evil anglo-saxon invasion. :D
And they call themselves britons after stealing the lands of the bretons. :p

That's an big airforce!

Where do you get all the noble pilots? :D

There will be a Battle of Britain, because despite the bigger and better trained RAF I have to go against two Air Forces instead of one...

As for the Britons: In reality the Frog invaders were quietly assimilated by the means of excessive Tea drinking and pipe smoking.


The pilots are many volunteers from not only the UK but all over the Empire, Indians, Canadians, ANZACS, the lot, even a few exiled Americans are forming so-called Eagle Squadrons.