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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Aug 15, 2008
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Kramer has had a bad day at the office, someone should give him a stiff drink and tell him to calm down. When he goes back tomorrow those French tanks will either have broken down, gone on strike or (most likely) both.

Actually while I'm here I'll ask the resident French patriot if it's true the last batch of French employment statistics were indeed issued late as the civil servants responsible were on strike, complaining about the high levels of unemployment and the resulting extra work they had to do?

Yeah, the French tanks may be broken down and the crews gone on strike, but there will be enough bashed up panzer scrap metal around them for Raeder's Plan Z. :D (Sorry about the exaggeration, but I can't help it :p)

I assume that the resident French patriot is me, at least for now. So my answer to your question is sorry, I don't know more than you do, since I'm currently not living in France but in Canada for my university studies (I do wish to go to Harvard, but I ain't that good and ended up at UBC, Vancouver). However I can tell you that what you said is pretty likely. :p

BTW, instead of just a French patriot, I'd actually like to be called Promoter of French Grandeur or Promoter of French Awesomeness if that suits you. :D
 

unmerged(85800)

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someone give that man a custom rank, quickly :)
 

trekaddict

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Oh blimey, I totally forgot:
aarlander_feb09_b.jpg


The new AARlander is out!

Also, vote for this AAR in the AARland Choice awards while there is still time.

England expects that every man will do his duty, for King and Country!
 

Lord Strange

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Oooh a New AARlander, *reads quickly*
 

nickvorp

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Just caught up with this, and I love it. Excellent story and I love anything British. Also, cool article about Fort Simserhof,I did some extra reading about it and it's pretty interesting how many times it went back and forth during the war.
 

unmerged(85800)

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yeah good article, short but sweet. well done. i seem to have failed to express just how much i enjoyed the last update. nice to see the french get up off their arses and use their armour advantage well. pity the 88's effectiveness has been discovered.
 

trekaddict

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nickvorp Indeed. If you look at the planing for the west by the Germans you can argue that the very line that was supposed to safeguard France brought about her quick demise.

BritishImperial Thanks.

The French Army in TTL is well led at the lower and middle level, and the troops are relatively motivated despite the troubles behind their lines, but their Generals are still crap. ( More on that later ) In OTL and TTL the discovery of the 88 ( or more correctly the Flak 36 for this particular model ) as a potent AT gun has not happened by accident. It was purpose built from the beginning as a multi-role weapon, but it was discovered, or rather it is discovered only now how damn effective it actually is in the AT role.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(85800)

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well i didnt know that about the Flak 88. i thought it was more a case of improvisation, and had wondered why they weren't adapted fully for an AT role. thats one thing i love about these forums, you learn things all the time.
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 96


Zug.png


11th May 1940

Somewhere in northern Scotland


Chewing on the end of a Cuban cigar, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the British Empire was sitting in a rail car speeding northwards through the suburbs of the capital. It was good to get out of town now and then, and the last week had taken it's toll. Now that the situation seemed to be relatively stable and the British Expeditionary Force was on it's way to Belgium, the RAF was keeping the skies clear so far, and lastly the Royal Navy seemed to have the U-Boat situation under control, as losses were very light so far. His doctor had recommended that he should take a few days off, but the most he allowed himself was an inspection tour by train that he had been looking forward to since Admiral Cunningham had offered the invitation. Admiral Cunningham was annoyed that he and his ships were still only sitting in port, but at least he kept himself busy. During the Admiralty Christmas party, Cunningham had commented to Churchill that the Illustrious class, while an excellent Carrier, should not be expanded over the already authorized four units. The Admiral had then said that Harland&Wolff was proposing an enlarged Carrier, that, although superficially similar to the Illustrious Class, would be significantly larger and more capable. It had taken Churchill considerable efforts to push the development through the Treasury and the Admiralty, against many who had argued that the development of a whole new class of ships during wartime was a folly. Churchill being Churchill, he had ignored them and just used the weight and power of his position to get his will. The work on the new Carrier was in it's final stages, at least on paper, and Admiral Cunningham had said that the projections regarding the capability and general combat characteristics of the new ship were “more than promising”. It would have an American-style flight, but unlike Illustrious, whose deck would be made out of teak, and contained no armour plating at all, the new carrier would not only be able to carry a much bigger air group, but also had additional plating at the flight deck level, increasing protection without hampering the number of planes it could carry. Churchill made a mental note to ask the Admiral about this, as it was a turn away from the philosophy Cunningham had explained to him on Warspite all these months ago.

At the same time the FAA had also asked for and received funding for the development of new aircraft. Especially in the fighter sector the Fleet Air Arm was still severely lacking, but it seemed that there was something brewing in this area. Almost all the major companies had put in proposals for the specification, and Cunningham had said that he, as CinC Carrier Fleet and his counterpart at the Fleet Air Arm, had decided upon a few candidates. Once again no details had been given, but Churchill supposed that it was simply a matter of secrecy, not only because of the Germans, but also because rumours might find their way back to the companies, and that would only harm the relations between the senior service and those that produced it's tools. The train was nearing the little Village from where the ferry would take him and his party over to Scapa Flow, where he would then meet the Admiral aboard HMS Illustrious, which was there at the moment for re provisioning after completing her sea trials in the Irish Sea. The train stopped at the station and to avoid attention by the press and any other interested party, the Prime Minister disembarked the train last, long after everyone else. An unmarked car too the Prime Minister, his body guard and several of his closest advisers to a jetty where the not the ferry was waiting, but rather the boat from a Black Swan Class sloop, moored a bit off the coast. “We are honoured to have you aboard the Black Swan, Prime Minister.” the Officer in charge of the shore party said, after throwing a quick salute.

Soon the small ASW sloop raced towards the entrance to the Fleet anchorage. Churchill inspected the security measures as closely as possible, and was pleased to note that there had been a second set of Submarine nets installed, in the way of a lock in a channel, and that at least four more sloops like he was on at the moment were patrolling this particular entrance alone. There was still some risk, but he felt that this was all that could be done to protect the fleet. Scapa flow was uncharacteristically empty. The First Sea Lord always kept at least two thirds of the fleet at sea, so that one third was always on station and one was en route to or from the stations the Fleet was operating on. The remaining third were ships that were in for repairs of combat damage or general maintenance. Of these many were in the Royal Naval Dockyards at Rosyth, only the few that had minor repairs to be made were actually at the Royal Navy's premier base. So aside from HMS Illustrious only 3rd Cruiser Squadron and HMS Royal Oak were at anchor. Royal Oak to overhaul some parts of her Wireless and Fire Director, and 3rd Cruiser for the same reason Illustrious was here. Unlike the Carrier, the other ships would soon join Home Fleet on Station in the North Sea, while the 'Lusty' would re-join Force A at Norwich. Just as they were about to go alongside the towering Illustrious, they could witness the entry of several V-Class Destroyers, they too were back for re-provisioning and minor overhauls. On board the Illustrious the Prime Minister was greeted with surprisingly little pomp and circumstance, but his visit had been a low-key affair anyway. On the way to the bridge Churchill had a quick look at the hangar deck. There, hidden away from prying eyes were two Aircraft, and he suspected that these were the reason why he was here today. On the bridge he was greeted by Admiral Cunningham himself. After introductions and the usual pleasantries were exchanged, Churchill came straight to the point. “I believe you wanted to show me something, Admiral?” “Yes, Prime Minister. As you are undoubtedly aware, the Fleet Air Arm is somewhat poorly equipped, given the new Naval Strategy. Despite the defence reforms, most of our Fighter Squadrons for example, are still using the Sea Gladiator, which, frankly, would be butchered if we were to send our lads against Jerry or Ivan with them.” “And how, pray tell, are we going to solve this calamity?” “Well, I gather you have seen the two planes on the hangar deck?” After receiving an affirmative nod, Cunningham continued. “These are two prototypes we received from Fairey Aviation Ltd the other day. The Fulmar and the Albacore respectively, the latter intended to replace the Swordfish.” “Yes, I have read the briefing.” “We are going to witness the Carrier tests. We hold them here in Scapa because of security reasons, and as the harbour is relatively empty....” Churchill just nodded and watched as the bi-plane was moved into launching position from the elevator. The radial engine roared into life, and the plane raced down the deck of the ship.

Four hours later Churchill and Cunningham sat in the flag cabin and enjoyed brandy and cigars. Cunningham waved the smoke out of his face and said: “You know, Prime Minister, I am not sold on either of them. But what are we to so, we need new Aircraft now. We can't wait for Supermarine to get their act together.” “I agree. You said Supermarine, Admiral?” “Oh yes, Prime Minister. I personally approached them a while back over a navalized version of the Spitfire, but they have too much to do, so god alone knows when we can expect it. And it's not that it's an emergency, Sir because Fairey is already working on a replacement for the Fulmar, and until then it will suffice. My pilots know how to fight with inferior kit, Sir, and it's not as of either Jerry or Ivan have anything like our numbers afloat.” “What about their Carrier the...” “The Graf Zeppelin, Sir?” Cunningham supplied helpfully, “Yes, that one.” “The First Sea Lord thinks that the Carrier is either not yet combat ready or will be confined to the Baltic Sea...” Churchill sensed that Cunningham was holding back. “Speak freely, Admiral.” Cunningham nodded. “Yes, Sir.” He paused quickly and placed his cigar on the edge of the ashtray. “The First Sea Lord has the tendency to be...opinionated. ...” The Prime Minister agreed wholeheartedly. “And I can't have him sacked unless he produces a cockup of monumental proportions. He still has many friends in Whitehall and Parliament.” “The Implacable will sell them, Sir.” Churchill was curious. “The Implacable, Admiral?” Cunningham leaned back in his armchair, grabbing a set of papers from behind it. “The next-generation Carrier we talked about. H&W sent this over, a picture of how it is going to look like.” “I must admit, it is a beauty...”

implac52.jpg

[Game notes: I admit the beginning of this chapter was inspired by Le Jones's newest update, but I wanted to do a naval-related tech update anyway. The operating pattern I described is what makes sense from my point of view, but if anyone has a better idea...]
 
Aug 15, 2008
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Even I have to admit that your carrier is a beaut. :D (Though I am still embracing my Clemenceau Class :p)

I read your article too btw, excellent work. :rofl:
 

humancalculator

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I thought that you were going to have a repeat in your AAR of the accomplishments of the U-47. :D

Luckily, it didn't play out like I thought it would. :)
 

El Pip

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I must confess I'm unsure as to actual operating patterns, however if the Home Fleet has been committed to an 'on-station' distant blockade then the ratios seems right, but it depends upon how long it takes to get 'on-station', ideally it's quite short so the time in port can be extended.

Now I've no idea if that is indeed what would happen, though I have a feeling the fleet wasn't at sea unless it had an actual mission (if only to save fuel). Thus I can't see Home Fleet BBs and CVs patrolling around on blockade, I have the impression they would wait for hard sightings or intel of Germans leaving port.

Of course that's a ridiculous plan in HOI2 as there is no such intel system, thus I think you've got a good compromise between game and (possible :) ) reality
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Dunno why, but, each single time someone mentions H&W, it brings echoes of a cold night... Titanic... iceberg... you know... :D
 

Le Jones

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Flattery Sir!

If Pound is your 1SL (I think you mentioned it recently) then Winston will be exceptionally reluctant to do get rid of him as the two were good friends.
 

trekaddict

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gaiasabre11 Well, the Implacable-Class is amongst the better-looking WW2 vintage Carriers. I'm afraid the Clemencau doesn't count as she is a post-war design.

humancalculator I admit it crossed my mind, especially after I put the Royal Oak in there, but I think that the Royal Navy in TTL, which was better funded during the entire 1930s and the earlier adoption of a Wartime pattern of operations prevent it for now.

El Pip In the game it takes about two days to get on station... which should put it somewhere in the south-eastern north sea in reality. IMHO the sea provinces in the North Sea are a bit stupid. I have my Fleet(s) in that province that covers both Wilhelmshafen and the other harbour the map has in the North Sea. In the AAR this translates to a blockade line about here:

T405819A.gif


I hope these provinces are better structured in HOI3. I therefore go with actual map locations instead of ingame provinces in this case, and perhaps others. Don't know yet. And before you are all screaming that this is too close to the enemy Airbases, I know that, but others... :D

Kurt_Steiner Yeah, same here, but they are the best Naval Tech team the UK... sorry, the British Empire has IMHO, and until I have numbers, I need at least a technological advantage over present and possible future enemies.

Le Jones Your update gave me the idea on how to kick this one off. :)

Backhouse is 1SL, i.e. Chief of Navy in the game. Pound is indeed a good friend of the PM, and as soon as Backhouse makes a mistake, Pound will have a new job. For the moment Backhouse is save though, was 'inherited' from Chamberlain and kept to silence some political opposition in Whitehall and Parliament.
 

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Backhouse is 1SL, i.e. Chief of Navy in the game. Pound is indeed a good friend of the PM, and as soon as Backhouse makes a mistake, Pound will have a new job. For the moment Backhouse is save though, was 'inherited' from Chamberlain and kept to silence some political opposition in Whitehall and Parliament.

Bugger - I remember you saying that, sorry. Still, it is amazing that despite a good set of senior officers in theatre (Somerville, Harwood, Tovey, Cunningham etc) the RN wasn't brilliant at the Grand Strategic level. Both Backhouse and Pound leave a lot to be desired!
 

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Bugger - I remember you saying that, sorry. Still, it is amazing that despite a good set of senior officers in theatre (Somerville, Harwood, Tovey, Cunningham etc) the RN wasn't brilliant at the Grand Strategic level. Both Backhouse and Pound leave a lot to be desired!

Yes, and that will later on come to haunt the RN. Cunningham is however destined for greatness, as you can see here:

ecabf241.jpg

Grand Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham VC, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, Bt, KT, GCB, OM, DSO - the architect of the Imperial Military​
 

unmerged(85800)

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looks like he has an evil eye...
 
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gaiasabre11 Well, the Implacable-Class is amongst the better-looking WW2 vintage Carriers. I'm afraid the Clemencau doesn't count as she is a post-war design.

Well, at least I can say that Clemenceau rulez when compared to the Invincible, and anyways you can build Clemenceau class carriers in HoI as France (along with Charles de Gaulle if I remember right :p)
 

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BritishImperial :D

gaiasabre11 Indeed you can. But as said, the Invincible was a nifty carrier for her time.