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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

ColossusCrusher

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You said "Without wood"...but I forget if for the Mossie, the opposite was true?
 

trekaddict

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ColossusCrusher said:
You said "Without wood"...but I forget if for the Mossie, the opposite was true?

That is a typo. I shall correct it at once.
 

unmerged(85800)

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oooh. that makes more sense. i couldnt see how metal could be lighter than wood.
 

robw963

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ya know? a friend of mine sent me a link to the Life magazine photo archive too. Honestly I was a little disappointed. There doesn't seem to that many images in there, although the ones that are there are nice and hi-res. Perhaps they'll be adding to it over time. I hope so...it could be an incredible resource.
 

trekaddict

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robw963 said:
ya know? a friend of mine sent me a link to the Life magazine photo archive too. Honestly I was a little disappointed. There doesn't seem to that many images in there, although the ones that are there are nice and hi-res. Perhaps they'll be adding to it over time. I hope so...it could be an incredible resource.

Well, you'll have to search for specific stuff.
 

trekaddict

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Also I have finally asked a mod to change the thread's title into Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two
 

trekaddict

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This is what happens when I day-dream:




As it happens I do have a picture of a B-1B in British colours.
 

El Pip

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trekaddict said:
This is what happens when I day-dream:




As it happens I do have a picture of a B-1B in British colours.
Impressively detailed, something to look forward to later in this AAR I have no doubt. :D
 

Kurt_Steiner

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I'll be interesting to see the Lanc of the Luftwaffe, too...
 

trekaddict

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Well, basically it's a heavily edited version of the Wikipedia sandbox in my browser, with a heavily edited version of the B-1 Lancer article. :D
 

unmerged(85800)

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that's pretty cool.
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 71



September 21st, 1939

Naval Base Leningrad, Soviet Union

The Auxiliary Cruiser Kalinin of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet was slowly easing away from where it had been docked for the last half year. The conversion from a german-built passenger liner to it's current configuration had taken longer than expected, with interruptions due to everything from enemy Spy activity to an acute shortage of guns and munitions. But the time from the moment where it had been bought from the Germans had been well-spent. The Kalinin now sported an assortment of guns that was rather impressive, given the ship's ad-hoc nature and mission. Six 130mm guns from broken-up Sisters of the Baltic Fleet's Flagship Marat, a battery of 40mm Anti-Air guns and several of the 45mm AT-Guns. Her commanding Officer, Captain Firt Rank Marko Ramius was very aware that his command was doomed in any stand-up fight with an enemy vessel larger than a Destroyer, but he intended to carry out his orders to the letter. When he hat taken over command three months ago the ship had been laid up at anchor for almost the same amount of time, and next to no work had been done, and only intervention by the Fleet Commander had made sure everything had been ready in time. Ramius had spent the last three days going over his orders time and again, plotting the best possible course. He knew that his chances of slipping past the British blockade in the North Sea undetected were slim at best, even more so if the rumours were true that the British had re-activated two more Battleships from their reserve. He was a good communist and completely loyal to the Rodina, but he was realist enough that the fact that the British had more Battleships in their reserve than the Soviets had in their entire Baltic Fleet was a tell-tale sign that the Superiority lay with the enemy. However, he did have some ideas how to befuddle the Imperialist Royal Navy, and one of them was being prepared below decks this very moment. He had flags from all the remaining Neutral nations of the world on board, and in fact he could even masquerade as an American ship although the Political Officer had not been pleased when Ramius had insisted on having it aboard. Still, someone had assigned a Lieutenant to this vessel, instead of having one that was equal in rank to the Ship's commander as usual, so Ramius had simply overruled him.

Ramius, born in Leningrad when it had still been called St. Petersburg, was a descendant of an old Naval family. One of his ancestors was said to have served at the Battle of Gangut, and his father had been a lowly officer on one of the lost Soviet Dreadnoughts of the old Black Sea Fleet during the Civil War, and had still made sure that his son followed in his footsteps as soon as he was old enough. Here he was now, risen through the ranks and just having a new command which could very well be his last. The concept of a commerce raider was new to the Soviet Navy, hence the help from the Germans in both construction and equipping the Kalinin. He was also the first ship of a planned class of Commerce raiders to leave port, out to disrupt the trade on which the different parts of the British Empire depended. The Germans and the Soviets both placed greater reliance on this concept, as the old convoy routes from the Great War were no longer in use or the traffic had become too sparse to warrant U-Boats, and the new routes were for now out of reach or too heavily protected by allied Air Cover. Ramius knew that even if he made it past the British blockades in the North Sea and actually started sinking merchantmen, the British would soon devote considerable resources to hunt him down. Then again, this would force the British to pull units from their Fleets in Europe, evening the odds for the Soviet and German Fleets.

Three hours later the Kalinin had passed the open sea marker and had set course for the Kattegat. Ramius had personally plotted a course that would take them through Swedish territorial waters, far away from prying eyes along the Baltic coasts of the Soviet Union and Germany. He would have the Swedish Flag raised, in order to fool eventual British or French Submarines that everyone expected to swarm in the Baltic Sea. Only now was he allowed to brief his officers on his orders. “Comrades, this mission is of most vital importance to the Motherland.” he closed the briefing. “Luckily for us we, or rather the Germans already have their supply ship at sea, so we will be able to re-supply from there. Now back to your stations, Comrades, we have work to do.” The Kalinin steamed exactly west from Leningrad in an attempt to sneak past the Finish patrols and their observer posts on the coast during the night. But to make sure he had ordered the first part of his subterfuge to be put into place: a fake second funnel and fake hull plating that disguised his superstructure. If everything went well they would look like some freighter or another, anything but a converted passenger liner to a casual observer, even more so if they spotted the Finish flag that was currently flying from the stern of the ship. In fact his men were preparing a wide variety of disguises, allowing the Kalinin to masquerade herself as many ships of similar size. Ramius was something that was rare within the Soviet Military, he was able to think out of the box, as the westerners would call it, which ironically made him ideal for this mission. The Kalinin's political Officer on the other hand was uncomfortable, as he had a hard time explaining to himself why a Soviet Warship needed to put on the costume of an Imperialist vessel, something that amused Ramius to no end. Currently he was standing on the bridge, enjoying the fresh night air and the simple fact that he was at sea again, something that he couldn't do not often enough, and he had already decided that if he survived the war he would become a Fisherman just for this very reason.

“Come right two degrees.” he ordered. This course would take them through what clearly were Finish waters and just out of range of the shore batteries around Helsinki, but he figured that his was as good a time as any to test his theories. The Kalinin was not the fastest ship afloat, but with a top speed of eighteen knots and a cruising speed of ten it would be able to catch most merchantmen currently afloat. While they tested out their camouflage the crew did not stand still. As soon as they had cleared the moorings Ramius had ordered gun drills. They could not fire them until they had cleared the Gulf of Finland, but racing to stations and preparing to fire them without actually exposing them to prying eyes was possible, and the conscripted sailors needed all the practice they could get. As if on cue one of the lookouts yelled: “Aircraft at 10 o'clock!” “Battlestations.” Immediately the drills went into effect as everyone raced to stations. The plane, a Finish Blenheim Light Bomber, started to circle the ship, tracked by several of the hidden anti-aircraft guns. After several circles the plane wiggled with it's wings and turned back north, probably thinking that the Kalinin was a genuine Finish Freighter, and everyone aboard dared to breathe again. Nevertheless, Ramius ordered the speed to be increased to maximum, he wanted to get out of the area as soon as possible in case someone noticed that there was no Finish Freighter with that exact configuration.
A yeoman brought him a cup of tea in the classical Russian fashion and Ramius said, while waiting for it to cool down a bit: “Well, Comrade Putin, does the Political Officer now believe that we need the camouflage?” Putin grudgingly agreed, and answered: “Yes, indeed I do. I still do not like it.” Ramius slapped him on the back, and said: “Fear not, Comrade. Soon the Imperialists will fear the Kalinin like the proverbial devil of theirs! They can never find us, as we will hide under a different flag each time we disappear after an attack.” Privately he was not as optimistic, but he was sure that he could play havoc with the British Merchant Navy for a few weeks at least, and this would be enough to accomplish his mission. “Besides, for this very reason we have our special friend on board.” Ramius continued, referring to the NKVD officer, formerly of the British Station, who spoke perfect English in many of the dialects of the Western world. Should they ever have to actually talk to a British vessel over the wireless. Putin still looked uncomfortable, despite all that Ramius had said, but this was not his mission, so he said no more. The Bridge fell silent as the Kalinin steamed westwards ever closer to it's destination.


[Game Notes: Marko Ramius is in this mainly because Hunt for Red October is one of the few Clancy books I can still read, and because I simply like the character. I also did this because of a friend of mine, who has an avatar in this story from which we will hear in due time, and who has also been of invaluable help in many areas of this AAR. Jan, this one's for you. Unfortunately that 'damn yankee Writer' as you put it hasn't done much of anything yet. Again I can only recommend "The last War" which was one of the inspirations for this AAR. If you have an ID there go download the complete narrative from the files section.]
 

unmerged(85800)

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ah, i recognise ramius' name. is he actually loyal this time around?

the bit with the flags made me think of lord of war, too, though i expect that sort of thing has been in numerous books/films.
 

humancalculator

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BritishImperial said:
ah, i recognise ramius' name. is he actually loyal this time around?
Don't worry, all of the Communists on board will end up dead anyway. :eek: :p
 

El Pip

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That section reminded me of 'Battle of the River Plate' in some ways, I think it was the discussions about disguises and false flags.

Anyway I look forward to Ramius and Putin sailing the seven seas and having great adventures. And then being sunk by the Royal Navy before they can do any actual damage. :D
 

trekaddict

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BritishImperial Hehe. Unfortunately I can't do it like the author of TLW:

Soviet Army General: Is everything ready?
Ramius: Yes, Comrade General.
Soviet Army General: You won't be taking us to america then?


humancalculator Who knows.....:D

El Pip This update was indeed inspired by that film but the Kalinin is the TTL version of the German Auxiliary Cruiser Kormoran. I can promise Adventures, but for starters no one in the Admiralty knows they exist. Let's just say I have plans.
 
Last edited:

trekaddict

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Hardraade said:
I thought I recognized the captain's name, but couldn't place it right away. I'm sure that the Kalinin will have many adventures. Assuming that she makes it out into the open seas anyway.
I can't really comment on her chances, but let's just say I wish I had more ships.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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For a few months, I guess that Ramius would have a "happy time".

Perhaps this time he will indeed end in Cuba :D