trekaddict

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Le Jones&BritishImperial I'll find a place for them. :D
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 93



stalingradru2-22.jpg

8th May 1940

Southern Belgium, River Dyle

The Stafford Battlegroup was in position now for almost a day, and much to their surprise, they had been greeted by an obnoxious French Colonel, commanding the tank Brigade they had been replacing. Lieutenant Colonel Stafford had winked him away with his fake “up-yours” grin, and had proceeded to put his men into position. The Battlegroup covered a small stretch of riverfront, about three-hundred yards upriver from a bridge that the Belgians had blown days ago. The Infantry was fanned out in a classic Great-War style trench position, linking up with the Belgians to the north and the first French Units to the south. About half a mile farther back the tanks were sitting under camouflage netting, along with their crews. Stafford was pacing the length of his little unit and was observing the camouflage of the tanks and the Infantry. Without doubt the Germans knew that some sort of British unit had landed in Belgium, but he wanted to keep the presence of his Crusaders secret as long as possible. Luckily the 2nd Royal Hussars had been provided with the tools for this very task prior to embarkation. He silently hummed the tune of “We'll meet again” while walking back to his command tank, located, along with the rest of the HQ troop, a bit behind the line in order to provide a mobile reserve that would counter any breakthrough. In the dawn of the morning, the countryside seemed serene, peaceful, not betraying the fact that only a few miles to the east, Belgian Divisions had sacrificed their core and their men in order to give the rest of the Army and the Allied Forces the opportunity to form a line thicker than what had been envisioned in pre-war planning. Intelligence expected the advance units of the Axis Armies to reach the line later today. Unknown to them, and to Lieutenant Colonel Stafford, a small group of Siberian Cavalry was already scouting the Allied lines since yesterday evening, hiding away in the bushes that dotted the countryside. However, as they came from so far away, they mis-identified the troops they were facing, not having been told the difference between the respective Allied Armies, just what they needed to know to distinguish them from the German and Soviet troops. And so the report they sent back via the precious, German-made wireless set simply said: “Enemy Forces” and not, as it would have been correct, “British Armoured unit”. The Soviet Armoured Division tasked with attacking into what was still marked as a French Brigade on the maps did not care, and so the orders were given.

Stafford turned around just in time to see the horizon go orange, and muttered: “Bloody Hell..” He jumped into the nearest Infantry ditch, startling the troops there while yelling: “INCOMING!” The shells arrived, throwing up huge columns of dirt – behind the British positions, overshooting their target by a good thirty to forty yards. All that the barrage accomplished was pulverizing a couple of cows that had been left behind when the owner of a nearby farm had fled the imminent fighting, and to alert the British troops that had not seen the Colonels undignified jump into the trench. Then, suddenly a huge group of Soviet BT-7 tanks broke through the hedges about a mile away and advanced over the mostly open ground, ignoring the mortar shells exploding in-between the vehicles. The French to the south were still holding their fire, preferring not to give their presence away just yet. The British Infantry too was not shooting, at least not with the camouflaged 6-pounder Anti-Tank guns that comprised the mainstay of the Infantry's 'hard attack' when no Artillery was present. The mortars were flapping away however, trying to cut down the now emerging Soviet Infantry that struggled to keep up with the rapidly advancing Soviet Tanks. Stafford peeked out of the trench and saw that the tanks were now entering the engagement zone that had been allocated to the tanks as the minimum distance. Sure enough, Battleaxe opened fire, hurling the round towards the enemy, soon followed by the guns of the other tanks and the hidden ones that belonged to the Infantry.

“HIT!” the gunner, Corporal Clarence Garside yelled, as he watched the Soviet Tank explode. Captain Niemczyk watched the action through his viewports, seeing that the gunnery practice the tank crews had had paid off. “Tank, 200 yards, eleven o'clock!” he yelled, while the loader, Private Quentin Watson, rammed a new round into the breech of the gun. “On target!” “Fire!” Once more the gun belched fire, and once more the round found it's mark, exploding yet another tank. At the same time the Infantry was engaging their opposite numbers with their Bren Guns and Rifles, cutting them down with accurate fire. “They are coming in pretty dumb, Captain... Watson wondered while Niemczyk was searching for a new target. “Suits me.” He said. “Target tank, 100 yards, one o'clock!” “On target.” “Fire!” The round left the barrel and rapidly closed the distance to it's target, missing the turret by inches, instead slamming into a group of Infantrymen, trying to set up a Degtyaryov machine gun. Although it was 'only' an armour-piercing shell, it was enough to kill them all instantly. The Soviets were taking murderous losses at the hands of the entrenched and camouflaged British, but they had the force of numbers and were slowly pressing onwards, coming ever closer to the British lines. Soon they started to return fire in a more coordinated way, starting to pick off the machine gun and AT positions one by one. Niemczyk thought that they perhaps could still not see the British tanks, a notion that was quickly squashed when a Soviet round bounced off the frontal armour of his tank. He thanked the engineers at nuffield that they had upgraded the armour once more when the switch from the Mk.IIIa to the IIIc had been done, because the old model, or god forbid the old Cruisers could not have stopped the round. Then, much to his horror, he could see the lines of the Infantry break, allowing the Soviets a gap through which to advance with relative ease. Most of the line still held, but in one area, in the rough centre of the RIFs position a company's position was pierced when the men had to withdraw in order to avoid being crushed by the tanks. The Soviets flooded through the gap, obviously believing that they had reached the main line of resistance. However the rest of the Royal Irish Fusiliers held firm, pinning the Soviet Infantry in place, so the BT tanks were on their own. There was only one thing Niemczyk could do.

Forward in the Infantry trench, Lieutenant Colonel Stafford was just re-loading his Webley-Scott revolver when the breakthrough occurred. The commanding Officer of the RIF had been killed in the first minutes of the action, so Stafford had taken over until it could all be sorted out. “Hold fast, lads!” he yelled, while praying for Niemczyk to launch a counterattack with the superior armour and armament of the Crusader tank. He fired a quick shot at a Soviet Officer, either hitting him or at least forcing him to take cover, before turning around. He could see the tanks of the 2nd Royal Hussars starting to move, only stopping for a few seconds to shoot at a target before moving on. “Lieutenant Windrige, take 2 Company and seal that breach!” Stafford screamed. The Lieutenant just nodded and soon his men were racing down the trench, yelling like madmen and shooting their Rifles and Tommy-guns from the hip. Faced with such ferocity, the Red Army conscripts faltered, retreating back towards their starting position or surrendering to the British troops that seemed to be in a frenzy. The Soviet Tanks knew nothing of this, as they had troubles of their own. Caught in the open, they were mercilessly shot to pieces by their superior British counterparts, while unable to effectively respond or coordinate for lack of wireless communication. When their commander was killed, the surviving Soviet tanks retreated, not caring for the footsloggers in the trenches, and raced back towards the starting line behind the hedges, hunted by British tank shells and beginning Belgian and French Artillery fire that was starting to feel for the open field between the lines. Of the seventy tanks that had started the attack, barely half made it back to their own lines, while the British and Allied losses had been relatively light. The 2nd RH had lost only four vehicles, of which one could easily be repaired, and the losses of the Infantry, albeit higher were still relatively moderate when compared to similar actions of the last war. When Lt. Colonel Stafford surveyed the scene, he knew that the Soviets would be back, and this time they would not fall for the same trick again. He turned around to finally walk back to his tank and his command post, and for some reason he still had that song in his mind, along with the faces of his daughter, his son and his wife.


We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
I was singing this song.

After the rain comes the rainbow,
You'll see the rain go, never fear,
We two can wait for tomorrow,
Goodbye to sorrow, my dear.



[Game Notes: No, no AT brigades. But I figured, similar to my decision with ships, that the hard attack represents some AT/Artillery guns are present even without brigades.]
 
Last edited:

unmerged(85800)

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a supremely amazing update. i could read your descritptions of battles all day, particularly when they involve the british steadfastly mowing down an inferior enemy :D lets hope this continues, though i fear not.

also, the thing about brigades that you said is the same as i have also assumed - all up-to-date divisions would have had small numbers of artillery, AT guns, and probably armoured cars and a few tanks too (though not sure about the tanks -anyone?) the hard attack value of units before any anti tank rockets have been invented must logically come from guns, rather than men just climbing tanks and throwing grenades inside.
 
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The Soviets will be back... perhaps even with German support. That will then cause serious havoc. :p
 

ColossusCrusher

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My username's British name is Rufus Butcher.
My real name (in British) is Quentin Callaghan.
:D
 

humancalculator

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Good Update! :D

You could should write a book. :)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Next time will be a Panzer division with Stukas, you can bet...
 

Lord Strange

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Heheh, useless siberian divisions. Soon they will fear the miught of the British more!
 

trekaddict

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BritishImperial Agreed, although the Colonel was right, they wont fall for that one again. Defensive manouvre warfare it is.

Griffin.Gen That's what you all signed up for, eh?

gaiasabre11 Indeed.

ColossusCrusher :D

humancalculator It might surprise you, but I don't have the Stamina and discipline for that.

Kurt_Steiner Perhaps. Who knows? ( Well I do of course. )

Lord Strange One day, when the British Army is large enough, yes. Right now, no.
 

unmerged(61356)

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I've gotten myself caught up once again and it was a pleasure to do so. Great series of updates. I was sad to see Warsaw overrun, though it was inevitable. At least they went out in a suitably dramatic style. And now the BEF fights to defend the continent. Let's hope that they can continue to hold off the Soviets and the Germans.
 

trekaddict

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I've gotten myself caught up once again and it was a pleasure to do so. Great series of updates. I was sad to see Warsaw overrun, though it was inevitable. At least they went out in a suitably dramatic style. And now the BEF fights to defend the continent. Let's hope that they can continue to hold off the Soviets and the Germans.

Warsaw was a foregone conclusion the moment the Soviets and the Czechs ( don't forget that they joined the axis in exchange for continued national existence as a nation. ) took the Romanian border areas from the poles. After that they had no chance.

Also bear in mind that this isn't actually the BEF, but rather a Tank Regiment and an Infantry Batallion that's send ahead to stiffen the defence until the rest of the BEF can be deployed.
 
Aug 15, 2008
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Raaritsgozilla

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Im with Hardraade, just caught up, and it was very nice to do so. Brilliant updates. It was a bit worrying for Case Yellow to kick off, but the Allies seem to be holding their own.
Could I make an appearance as an enemy? German names Klaus Schumacher will be fine. You can even kill me off if you feel the urge. And another air battle perchance? Puleeeez?
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 94

hms-hood-in-flow.jpg

9th May 1940

HMNB Scapa Flow

The change of command of the Battlecruiser Squadron had sparked something of a controversy within Homefleet. Although Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland was no unknown figure within the fleet, many mistrusted him, not because he was seen as an incompetent officer, but rather because he was another political appointment after his predecessor had been promoted to the Admiralty. Coincidentally Hood was due to go back out to sea again, after her latest refit. It still amazed people that the Admiralty had dared to put a third of her Battlecruiser strength out of action during wartime, and for longer than planned, but the timely re-activation of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus had offset this, allowing the Admiralty to extend the refit considerably. As the result of this, Hood had received a new fire director, two of her torpedo tubes had been deleted, allowing for the others to have more spare fishes around, she had received additional anti-flash equipment, supplementing that which had been installed during the 1930s, added anti-torpedo protection and a multitude of other little changes that turned Hood into a more effective fighting ship than she had ever been before. Holland knew that some regretted the loss of the old 'pom-pom's but he believed that the new dual-purpose guns that were the latest craze would eventually perform better, if only by making it easier for the blanket stackers ashore. HMS Hood had been re-painted and polished to perfection, the grey colour shining in the morning sun, making her look much younger and newer than her actual age, something that became any ship well. At the stern the White Ensign was flying proudly in the wind, the crew stood at attention on deck, wearing their dress whites, as if the King himself was coming to visit. Holland walked up the gangway and was greeted by Captain Murray, the Captain of the Hood. “I was under the impression that the Commodore was going to greet me, Captain.” Murray answered, after guiding Holland into the superstructure of the ship. “He had me tell you that he is terribly sorry, but their Lordships ordered him down to London much earlier than expected. With all this business in the Low countries they needed him, apparently something to do with the BEF. He left yesterday morning, Sir.” Holland grunted in acknowledgement and followed Murray to the Bridge, where the crew was already waiting at attention.

“So I hope you don't mind that I am doing the introductions, Vice Admiral.” Holland grinned and just said: “Not at all, Captain.” An hour later they were standing around the map table, while Lieutenant Phillips was commanding the ship while it left the base. “According to the latest signal from the CinC, Repulse and Renown are waiting about here.” Holland indicated on the map. “While we wait for the rest of Home Fleet to follow us out from the ports, we are to provide distant escort for the BEF convoys. Then, when Home Fleet has joined us, the fleet will relieve the Channel Fleet.” Murray was relieved upon hearing this. Numerous ships or not, he seriously doubted that the two old Iron Dukes and the assorted heavy cruisers could have stopped the Kriegsmarine had Jerry decided to sortie in earnest. He had served on Erebus, back when he had been a Jimmy himself, but even then the old ladies had been well past their prime. “Captain, have we received any word from the CinC, as to when we can expect the rest of the fleet?” Murray shook his head. “No, Sir. Last we heard was that Sir Charles was still on his way up from London. From what I heard when I talked with her Captain before we sortied, Nelson is awaiting his arrival sometime tomorrow.” “Thank god for the grapevine.” Holland chuckled and returned to the bridge. Soon Hood was leaving the base behind, cheered on by the Destroyers and assorted patrol ships guarding the approaches, speeding towards her destination.

The same time

near Wilhelmshafen

The Battleship Bismarck had been hiding away at anchor, along with most of the Kriegsmarine's surface fleet, much like their fathers had done in the Great War. During the entire war so far, Bismarck had sortied exactly five times, always to patrol the immediate shore area, where it could be supported by the Luftwaffe, once also escorting the Graf Zeppelin during her sea trials. Kapitän zur See Lindemann, her commanding Officer, was however glad. He did not know all details yet, but it was some sort of combat operation. That it was going to involve the Bolsheviks was no reason for him to smile, but he jumped at any chance to get to sea, especially now that the Tirpitz was nearing completion, which would mean even less sea time for the Bismarck. All that he knew for sure was that he and Vize-Admiral Schröder, who had for some reason decided to plant his flag on Scharnhorst, were to proceed north and patrol the approaches to Wilhelmshafen until further notice. This suggested that something serious was coming up, and the fact that the Soviet liaison was aboard Scharnhorst indicated that the Reds were going to be involved somehow. Out on starboard he could see four Z-1936 class Destroyers, and without looking he knew that four more would be escorting Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to port. All in all it was only a small task group, but their orders were not to seek an engagement with the British blockade line anyway. Intelligence was scarce, but Naval Intelligence was sure that at least two British Battleships were always on station. For all they knew, the British Carriers were still stationed in Alexandria in Egypt, at least those the brass knew about, as the British wouldn't sit on their four letters and rely on the ships they already had. “Kapitän, we have received a signal from Group West.” A yeoman stepped up to him and handed him a message form. “Heinrich, would you care to join me in the back, please?” Korvettenkapitän* Heinrich, his second in Command, was curious, but also felt some dread. Whenever Lindemann was like this, no good news would follow. “It seems Karl,” Lindemann said, using his XO's first name, “that Group West has a rather delicate mission for the fleet.”

He briefed Heinrich on the orders they had received. “Herr Kapitän, this mission is.....unusual.” Henrich said diplomatically. “The Tommies would call this a bloody understatement. This depends way too much on wishful thinking....” Lindemann did not have to say it aloud. Both were thinking of the disaster the Kriegsmarine had suffered a while back, when it had been tried to move the troop transport fleet around Denmark instead of going through the Kiel Channel. “At least this time the Luftwaffe can cover us.” Lindemann nodded. “For whatever that's worth... these idiots almost sank the Prinz Eugen last year, remember?” “I do, Kapitän. But as you know, Sir, we will soon have our very own Air Cover.” “Bah! This Carrier is a toy we don't need. That the Prinz Eugen is still afloat proves my point! A plane will never be able to attack a ship with anything resembling accuracy.” Lindemann said. He then sprinted back onto the Bridge, just in time to catch the blinker signal from the Scharnhorst himself. Shortly thereafter the squadron turned north-east, hugging the coast on their way north, in order to sneak past the British picket cruisers. They would spend the rest of the next few days on that course, hopefully staying undetected until they reached their destination. But this was not to be. Two miles away, a periscope hid stuck through the surface of the north sea. Attached to the other end was HMS Superb, a Swordfish-Class Submarine, on picket duty at Wilhelmshafen. The boats on this very first line had orders not to engage until directly attacked and only to risk or leave their position if they spotted a 'major sortie', and the Lieutenant Commander in charge of the ship rated a Battleship, a Battlecruiser and at least five Destroyers as major activity. He decided against getting a full count, because if he wanted to be back on station before nightfall, he needed to hurry up. “Come left, course 180. Half on the electricals.” Soon a message was flashed out, and the Channel Fleet moved, hoping to intercept them without having to move too much out of position. Lindemann had been wrong. The Channel Fleet consisted not of two, but of four Battleships. HMS Revenge and HMS Resolution, both of the Queen Elizabeth Class had joined the Channel Fleet when it had sailed from Dover.

kms_bismarck.jpg

KMS Bismarck, as seen through the periscope of Superb​

*Commander

[Game Notes: I felt it was time to revisit some old friends and set things up for future....occurrences. Note: I don't really have Subs in the area, but I felt that no one would mind me role-playing the odd single boat here and there.]
 

El Pip

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As a wise Admiral once said;

"You can't expect anything from a navy that gives it's ships numbers rather than proper names."

This will end badly for the Germans mark my words, while our author has revealed they will have some success in the end the shear foolishness of naming a destroyer Z37 will insure nothing but miserable failure.
 

KiMaSa

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As a wise Admiral once said;

"You can't expect anything from a navy that gives it's ships numbers rather than proper names."

This will end badly for the Germans mark my words, while our author has revealed they will have some success in the end the shear foolishness of naming a destroyer Z37 will insure nothing but miserable failure.

Besides... The Mighty Hood will be ready this time!
 

humancalculator

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Glad to see the Bismark. :D

Good Job! :)