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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Enewald&humancalculator&Griffin.Gen: It will be the Axis powers, simply for simplicity and because I have always called them that in past updates, it's too late now to row back.

El Pip Indeed the RN is my primary service. They are always the first to benefit from technoligical advances, and not only for role-playing reasons.

BritishImperial True that. If today's news were like that I dare say that many conflicts like Vietnam and Iraq would be seen in a different light. Still, a very cool style and really inspiring I must say. :D


All Glad you all still like my writing style. Normal, narrative service shall be resumed soon.
 

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Chapter 54


The Kremlin, Moscow

Sunday, August 20th, 1939


Major General Heinz Guderian had not asked for this assignment, in fact he would have given his rank only to be able to be back in Germany with his Division. But a German Officer did not question orders, so here he was, coordinating the Axis plans for Case White with his Soviet Counterpart, General Zhukov. He liked the man. Both had similar views on Panzer Warfare, and when they had been tasked with planning the first joint offensive, the Invasion of Poland. Luckily Guderian was fluent in Russian as well as English and French, a gift from his days in the Kaiser's Army where he had served on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. He was quartered in the German Embassy, but he when he had his daily work sessions with Zhukov he still had to use clandestine measures to get to the Kremlin as his way there took him past the British Embassy. Once at the Kremlin he was always escorted to the same room where Zhukov would wait, with several pots of Tee and Coffee already waiting for them. Their work went smooth, but every once in a while they reached an issue that needed to be discussed with the leaders of their respective countries. “Say Georgi,” he said upon entering the room. “Have our leaders decided yet?” Zhukov nodded. “It seems that they will not even bother with a pretext. The British will not buy it and the French are of no consequence.” Guderian nodded in agreement. “True. I have studied the French extensively in the last few years, and I believe they will fight, but their Generals are weak, and spineless. I am confident we can defeat them in a few weeks.” Zhukov shook his head and made a doubtful expression. “You are confident that we can do in a few weeks what you failed to do in four years the last time?” Guderian nodded, full of self-confidence. “Yes I do, Georgy. Last time we had neither Panzers nor the Luftwaffe and we were fighting Russia instead of working together.” Zhukov nodded. “But Heinz, Comrade Stalin is not so sure.” “Well, I can only say what the conclusion of my studies is. Besides, if we can't defeat the French before the British expand the BEF to a real Army instead of a mere token force then we might indeed see another round of Trench Warfare. I am confident we can do that. French Armoured Doctrine is, frankly, crap and the British Armoured Divisions are too few in number to stop us if we work together.”


Aboard HMS Hood, HMNB Scapa Flow, British Empire.

Sunday, August 20th, 1939, 11:30 AM GMT

“Is the old girl ready to sail?” Captain Murray asked upon entering the cramped Bridge of his command. First Lieutenant Phillips answered with a salute: “Ready as she'll ever be, Sir. We can weigh anchor within the minute and be underway in five.” Murray nodded. “That is satisfactory, Jimmy. So tell me, Mr. Phillips, have their Lordships already sent the orders via wireless as promised?” Phillips nodded. “Yes, Sir. We are to sortie together with Destroyers HMS Hotspur and HMS Daring to patrol the sea lanes between the western coast of Britain and the north-sea ports of Germany for the next two weeks. According to the orders of the Admiralty it is to prevent a second Hotspur Incident, and to show our colours.” Murray raised his binoculars and scanned the area. “Signal Hotspur and Daring. Enquire their status and when they can sail.” “Already done, Sir,” Phillips said, “they are waiting at the exit and for our orders.” Murray nodded. Normally such a little squadron would be commanded by a Commodore at least, but the Admiralty had apparently decided to test his abilities. “Good. Signal them to sortie immediately. We will rendezvous with them at coordinates...” He glanced at the map and then rattled off a quick series of numbers. Phillips had his own binoculars trained at the two Destroyers. “Hotspur and Daring acknowledge, they will await us there.” Murray grinned. “Send them Godspeed, and Jimmy, tell Hotspur to keep away from any and all German liners they encounter.” Chuckling could be heard all over the bridge, and Phillips grinned widely when he answered. “Yes, Sir.” Murray scanned the harbour and he could see the Wilhelm Gustloff, anchored at St. Mary's, still flying the White Ensign the boarding party from the Hotspur and raised when they had finally taken her. He snorted quietly and lowered his glasses. “OOW, weigh anchor and prepare to get under way.” “Aye, Sir.” A few minutes later the mighty Battlecruiser was moving towards the exit of the base, refusing the help of harbour tugboats. Three hours later the small British Squadron was on the open seas, heading on a south-easterly course, towards the Naval Battlegrounds of the Great War. The three ships were steaming in a triangle formation, with HMS Hood in the lead, with Hotspur and Daring protecting her flanks farther back. Murray was immensely proud of his command. Hood might be old, but she still was as powerful and dashing as she had been on the day she had left the builders yard on her own power for the first time. Murray knew that the times of gun-boasting Battleships were coming to a close and that many of the younger Officers wanted a posting on one of the new Aircraft Carriers that were under construction at Rosyth and everywhere in the United Kingdom, but Murray still wouldn't have traded Hood for anything, not even a new Illustrious-Class. Hood had captured his imagination as a little boy, and ever since he had started his first day at Dartmouth he had dreamed of commanding her, and he intended to hang onto this command as long as possible.

During the next few days Hood and her Destroyers combed the North Sea for German and Soviet Merchant and Warships but found nothing. The crew was getting bored, but this changed fast on August 24th. Her gunnery RDF set showed several contacts on the surface plot a few miles away. The way they behaved indicated Warships. “Alter course to three-three-o. Make to Admiralty and the Destroyers: “Have sighted group of unknown ships. RDF characteristics indicate warships. Are changing course to investigate. Give them position, speed and our new heading.” Murray ordered. Immediately the signal lamps on the Bridge wing of Hood and her Radio-room flashed out the signals. Half a minute later Hood was swerving onto her new course, with the Destroyers following suit. The Royal Navy ships followed that course for about half an hour until the lookout on the Hood yelled: “Ships, bearing three-four-five. Two heavies and a Destroyer.” Murray flashed around and raised his binoculars. The shape and the flag were unmistakable. “Bloody Hell, that's the flamin' Bismarck!” The men on the Bridge shared worried looks. The Bismarck was the newest and most powerful vessel the Germans had, a tough opponent for any ship. Phillips studied the other ships. “It seems that the other heavy is one of their Battlecruisers, possibly Schleswig-Holstein, Sir.” Phillips lowered his glasses while Murray ordered: “Yeoman, make to Admiralty: Bismarck and Cruiser sighted, steering north-west, my position, give latitude and longitude. Get that off immediately, in case we run into trouble.” “Yes, Sir.” the Yeoman acknowledged and ran off. “Well Mr. Phillips, shall we carry out our orders?” Murray asked rhetorically before turning to his signal officer. “Flags, signal Bismarck. Identify us and inquire their intentions.” A few minutes of signalling with flags and lamps later the officer reported back to Murray. “They say that they are on a shakedown cruise for Bismarck, and stress that these are international waters and that it is none of our concern where they are going.” “Midshipman, tell them that we are on patrol duty and that our orders are to ask for destination of any and all German and Soviet vessel we encounter and remind them that they are not to cross the tripwire line. Also tell them if they do so we will be forced to board and seize their ships.” The man dashed off, and Murray turned to Phillips next. “Mr. Phillips, notify the Admiralty at once.” Phillips nodded and left the Bridge. “Action Stations.” The crew of Hood rushed to stations, but Murray's caution was not needed. The German Squadron veered to a north-easterly course and was out of sight an hour later. Murray, who had lighted his pipe in the meantime said to Phillips when he went to his cabin for some tea and a bite to eat: “Somehow, Mr. Phillips I feel that this is not the last we have seen of her.”

[Game notes: Instead of Zulu time as per OTL the Imperial Armed Forces will use GMT, as will the rest of the Allies, at least in the TTL Present. Hood does NOT have a radar Brigade attachment. In OTL her first set was installed during her early 1941 refit. I had originally planned to have her rebuilt in the time since we last saw her, but I then realized that the time to do it was much too short. (In one AH written by a friend of mine that is centred around Hoods exploits in WW2 it takes them three years.) I then went back to the update where Murray took command, and decided that when he took over Hood just was in the last phase of the rebuild that was planned for the late 1930s but that was never carried out in OTL, and not just the minor refit I had in mind when I wrote that particular update, and TTL this also included a Gunnery RDF set. Oh and here is some info on the OTL Wilhelm Gustloff. What made me laugh is that during my resarch for this Chapter I found out that Guderian's surviving son was the Inspector of Panzer Troops in the West German Army, our Bundeswehr. :D ]
 

Enewald

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do the brits think that everyone needs their permission to sail international waters? :rofl: :confused:
That is kinda a bit too rude...

Good Guderian!
 

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Enewald said:
do the brits think that everyone needs their permission to sail international waters? :rofl: :confused:
That is kinda a bit too rude...

Good Guderian!
Hmm.. I should have specified the location some more. Suffice it to say this encounter took place probably 40 miles off the British Coast, and the demarkation line is 30 miles off shore.
 

unmerged(85800)

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i was getting tense there, wasnt sure if you were going to kill off the hood or not. imagine my relief.

also what is zulu time? +1?
 

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BritishImperial said:
i was getting tense there, wasnt sure if you were going to kill off the hood or not. imagine my relief.

also what is zulu time? +1?

I have plans for the Hood, and it isn't her time (yet? :p ). As for Zulu time: No idea, I only know it's some universal military time.
 

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Three words. Sink The Bismark!
 

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trekaddict said:
I have plans for the Hood, and it isn't her time (yet? :p ). As for Zulu time: No idea, I only know it's some universal military time.
according to wiki its pretty much the same as GMT or UTC (whatever that is) except some stupid thing about slowing rotations of the earht. so its basically GMT.
 

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BritishImperial said:
according to wiki its pretty much the same as GMT or UTC (whatever that is) except some stupid thing about slowing rotations of the earht. so its basically GMT.

Probably, it still sounds stupid. :D
 

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Nice couple of updates. Good to see that Flemming and Felix are coming up in the world. Now that they have gained the King's personal notice, who knows how far they can go?

For a second there I thought that the war was going to start with a showdown against the Bismark.
 

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Hardraade said:
Nice couple of updates. Good to see that Flemming and Felix are coming up in the world. Now that they have gained the King's personal notice, who knows how far they can go?

For a second there I thought that the war was going to start with a showdown against the Bismark.

I have great plans for these two, rest assured.

The almost-war feeling there was intended, and it was also supposed to illustrate the friction and anticipation the militaries on both sides live under at the moment.

Edit: A little nitpick if I may: That ship is spelled Bismarck with a ck.

2nd Edit: The link I wanted to insert about the RL Wilhelm Gustloff. Somehow her TTL fate seems more dignified.
 

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trekaddict said:
I have great plans for these two, rest assured.

The almost-war feeling there was intended, and it was also supposed to illustrate the friction and anticipation the militaries on both sides live under at the moment.
The tension between the two was certainly clear to be seen. I bet it must have seriously galled the German captain to turn away from his course at the insistence of the Royal Navy. Especially when he probably feels that he could have won that fight.
 

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Hardraade said:
The tension between the two was certainly clear to be seen. I bet it must have seriously galled the German captain to turn away from his course at the insistence of the Royal Navy. Especially when he probably feels that he could have won that fight.

True.
 

El Pip

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Hardraade said:
The tension between the two was certainly clear to be seen. I bet it must have seriously galled the German captain to turn away from his course at the insistence of the Royal Navy. Especially when he probably feels that he could have won that fight.
Depends on whether or not he had a lucky shot on just the right part of the armour. ;)

Mind you our author has said this is the upgraded Hood with the planned but not done armour refit. I suspect it would be a much closer match than history (and HoI2 dodgyish BCIII classification) would indicate.
 

trekaddict

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El Pip said:
Depends on whether or not he had a lucky shot on just the right part of the armour. ;)

Mind you our author has said this is the upgraded Hood with the planned but not done armour refit. I suspect it would be a much closer match than history (and HoI2 dodgyish BCIII classification) would indicate.

Indeed. In TTL Hood is in a much better shape than she was in the Denmark strait in OTL.
 

unmerged(61356)

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El Pip said:
Depends on whether or not he had a lucky shot on just the right part of the armour. ;)

Mind you our author has said this is the upgraded Hood with the planned but not done armour refit. I suspect it would be a much closer match than history (and HoI2 dodgyish BCIII classification) would indicate.
I had forgotten about the armor refit. Still, I don't think that the Hood would have been able to beat the German squadron without heavier escorts. Of course, now that I think about it, with the encounter taking place so close to England, help would undoubtedly arrived in short order at least in the form of aircraft. In that case, the Royal Navy would have almost certainly won the day.
 

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Hardraade said:
I had forgotten about the armor refit. Still, I don't think that the Hood would have been able to beat the German squadron without heavier escorts. Of course, now that I think about it, with the encounter taking place so close to England, help would undoubtedly arrived in short order at least in the form of aircraft. In that case, the Royal Navy would have almost certainly won the day.
Indeed. And the support from the RAF probably was what made the Germans turn tail.
 

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trekaddict said:
Indeed. And the support from the RAF probably was what made the Germans turn tail.
I wonder if the German captain shook his fist at the British and said, "I'll be back!" in heavily accented English. Hey, does he look like this?

 

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Hardraade said:
I wonder if the German captain shook his fist at the British and said, "I'll be back!" in heavily accented English. Hey, does he look like this?


No. He looks more like this:





:D