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roverS3

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All the best with RL mate, you have our solidarity and best wishes. We’ll be here when you can come up for air again. :)
Thanks for your support.

I admit this is OTL influenced, but 'trust' is a highly relative term w.r.t. the General Secretary.
Yes, it is. However, as the Secret Committee has nothing to gain from corruption or infighting, and they are all already officially dead, Stalin is more inclined to trust it, which is why he set it up, to have one source of information and advice that he could somewhat trust not to be constantly self-interested.
If, for some reason the Secretary General doesn't trust the Secret Committee anymore, he can easily destroy it with no consequences external to it what so ever, the whole thing is entirely expendable, which may give Stalin more reason to trust it.
 
25th of December 1941, 'Tri', Convincing Communist Comrades of China

roverS3

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The 25th of December 1941, Red Square, Moskva, -11,1°C, 9am Moscow Time,

Stalin was sitting behind his desk, facing me and 'Tri', wrapping up yesterday's meeting:

"So we're agreed, the external members are all saying Communist China is the way to go, at least for now. All right, I'll call Litvinov, I'm sure he'll be happy to hear I approve of his plan... I really do like the idea of banding together with another truly Communist nation, regardless of strategic merit, neither Sweden, Romania, nor Turkey are even close to being Communist."
The General Secretary picked up the telephone, the middle one of the three on his desk, dialled his Commissar for Foreign Affairs, and there was a short exchange:

"Comrade Litvinov, I've decided to start an influencing campaign in Communist China, to entice them to join the Comintern pact. Get your team back together and set it up, as quickly as possible."

...

"What do you mean, two weeks before they will be ready? I'll have the VVS send you whatever Aeroplanes you may need to make this happen, but I want our consulate to be operational on the 30th. You have five days Maksim, you've done well until now, don't ruin it..."
and the Secretary General slammed down the telephone, turned to us, and after a short salute, we left his office. 'Tri' immediately disappeared into the maze of corridors and offices of the Kremlin. I went to the exit and left the building.

I will now return to Vologda by train,

Greetings,

'Odin'
OOC:
I'm back! After a particularly hectic week... presenting a project on Tuesday, playing a concert on Wednesday, and handing in the final paper of the year on Friday... all the while dealing with the reorganisation of the home ecosystem following the separation of my parents mere weeks ago. This AAR has been a bit of an escape from the emotional stress of my life and studies these last couple of months, together with my cello, it may have kept me from losing my mind. Thank you all for your support, updates will resume now...
Will the Germans attack, we don't know, but I can tell you one thing, 1942 will be even better than 1941...
 

markkur

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This AAR has been a bit of an escape from the emotional stress of my life and studies these last couple of months, together with my cello, it may have kept me from losing my mind.
I think that is what ART & CRAFTS are for. Hang lovingly-tough brother and btw, respect for the Cello.:D Stay mello with the cello. At least that's what I do with my Guitar's six-strings.;)
 

roverS3

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I think that is what ART & CRAFTS are for. Hang lovingly-tough brother and btw, respect for the Cello.:D Stay mello with the cello. At least that's what I do with my Guitar's six-strings.;)
I've been playing since I was 5 years old, I need to remember 'stay mello with the Cello', it's a good catchphrase... and it's the truth. It never fails to keep me mellow... and About arts and crafts, I might actually do some watercolours again... I bought some more colours for a good price on my Easter trip to London, as well as a book called 'Art and the War at Sea 1914-1945' for inspiration. it could be fun... I have the time now, stay tuned...
 
30th of December 1941, 'Odin', 10-day report #182

roverS3

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The 30th of December 1941, Vologda, -11,4°C, 10am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten day period between the 21st and the 30th of December 1941,

by 'Odin'

Army:
2 new Artillery Regiments were deployed to 64 SD and 130 SD on the German Border.
Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 670 / 2.010.000
Support troops: 311 / 311.000
Total fighting troops: 981 / 2.321.000
Headquarters: 63 / 63.000
Total Army Personnel: 1.044 / 2.384.000
Officers: 97.031 + / 103.660 needed / 93,605 %
Active Leaders: 273 / 150 more available
Production of 152mm ML-20's has increased to the point where three new Artillery Regiments have started training.
Army Leadership:
Maj. General Sinilov L2 has been relieved of his command of 68 GSD, XX GSK, Far Eastern Theatre. He was replaced by new Maj. General Zhuravlev E.P. L2, DD.
Maj. General Smirnov L2 has been relieved of his command of 22 SD, XXIV SK, 10ya Armiya, Far Eastern Theatre. He was replaced by new Maj. General Sinenko L2, BM.
Maj. General Apanasenko L2 has been relieved of his command of 161 SD, XV SK, 8ya Armiya, 4th Army Group, Odessa HQ. He was replaced by new Maj. General Solomatin L2, BM.
Maj. General Stepanov L2 has been relieved of his command of 35 SD, XXIV SK, 10ya Armiya, Far Eastern Theatre. He was replaced by new Maj. General Tanaschishin L2, BM.

Air Force:
No changes to the VVS, nor to the Navy Air Fleet for the last 10 days.
Navy:
No changes to the Navy for the last 10 days.​

Politics / International:
The Soviet Union has started influencing Communist China towards the Comintern.
Battle Of Britain
Air Combat has intensified over the Channel, England, and Germany. There were 4 Air Battles over Norwich, 1 over Dover, and 1 over Portsmouth. The Port of Dover was bombed once, and that of Portsmouth 5 times, damaging ships and navy infrastructure. Liepzig was also bomber by the RAF. Many more hurricanes are on order, and will arrive early next year to gain the upper hand over the channel as the Battle of Britain is on, once more...
British North Africa Front
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 87,6
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 7,90 / 79,4
BNAF41-12-30-min.jpg

A 9.000 strong British Infantry Division has been cut off from it's supply lines and captured by advancing Italian troops. The Regio Esercito is now closing in, under intermittent RAF bombardment, on Bengasi, only 88km to the north of the Front line along the coast. British forces have pulled back to set up a defensive line 100km to the East of Bengasi, giving their tankers some time to reorganise.
Roma was bombed 2 more times, the Regia Aeronautica intercepted the Halifaxes both times.

A single Italian convoy was sunk in the Med.
Greece Front
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 87,6
Italy (Surrender Progress / NU): 7,90 / 79,4
After a string of surprising Tactical blunders on the British side, the Italians have retaken Athina, an entire 10.000 strong Division of Royal Marines surrendered to the Regio Esercito.
South East Asia Front
United States of America (Surrender Progress / NU): 8,4 / 85,9
United Kingdom (Surrender Progress / NU): 1,9 / 77,6
Philippines (Surrender Progress / NU): 14,9 / 74,8
Japan (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 70,2
PHF41-12-30-min.jpg

Imperial Marines near Manila have taken Batangas, 70km to the south of the Philippine capital. Meanwhile, more IJN Marines continue moving south, hopping from Island to Island, this time, the island of Negros was added to the list of Japanese conquests.
All of Panay Island was also taken by Japanese forces.
Countless convoys were sunk on both sides in the Area between Singapore and Oosthaven, and around the Hainan peninsula, some more were sunk near the Philippines. Losses on both sides seem unsustainable and exact numbers are hard to come by.
French submariners convoy-raiding around the Hainan Peninsula had a run-in with a Japanese CTF lead by Akagi, and two whole 'Flotille de Sous-marins' were sunk from the sky.
Pacific Front
United States of America (Surrender Progress / NU): 8,4 / 85,9
Japan (Surrender Progress / NU): 0,00 / 70,2
JUSP41-12-30-min.jpg

Attu Island has been taken by the IJN. The Island not having any Radar Installations, this is somewhat surprising...
Between Wake Island and Eniwetok, Japanese submarines sunk 8 Allied convoys, before they were intercepted by a Royal Navy Carrier Fleet, lead by HMS Courageous. In two subsequent Battles the CAGs of both HMS Courageous and HMS Eagle sunk three full Japanese Submarine Flotillas. After these battles the Carrier Fleet sunk a few Japanese convoys in retribution, before our spies lost track of it's whereabouts. The RN continues to struggle against the IJN, seemingly without any help from the USN.

Industry:
Working Industrial Capacity / available capacity: 240 / 324
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )
Upgrades: 8,80 / 9,74
Reinforcement: 1,00 / 1,45
Supplies: 30,00 / 46,46
Production: 255,04 / 283,22 (the Licensed MP remains mostly unfunded, as well as two Mountain Rifle Divisions and 10. TTGvD)
Consumer Goods: 29,16 / 29,16​
Stockpiles:
Energy: Maximum tonnes +
Metal: Maximum tonnes +
Rares: 44.580 tonnes +
Crude: Maximum barrels +
Supplies: 38.592 tonnes +
Fuel: Maximum barrels +
Money: 1.826 -​

Intelligence:
Spy numbers, spies in (active / added / lost / caught by us)
France (Supporting our Party / Counterespionage): 5 / 0 / 0 / 0
{ Germany (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }
{ Japan (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 }​
UK (/) : 10 / 2 / 0 / 0
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Total: 15 / 2 / 0 / 1
Reserves: 0
Spy training leadership expenditure: 0,64 (a new spy every 4 days)
More reinforcements have successfully infiltrated the UK.
A Japanese spy was caught in the Soviet Union.
Research:
The Red Army has improved the organisational structure of our Special Forces (Level 3), this should help them hold out even longer in a fight.
Now, our theorists are looking into Mobile Warfare (Level 4), hoping to better prepare our mobile formation to execute rapid Breakthroughs on the battlefield.

LS distribution:
Research: 18,67 (-0,33)
Espionage: 0,64 (-1,00)
Diplomacy: 2,03 (+1,53)
Officers: 10,00 (-0,20) (50 Officers/day)
Total: 31,33 =​
The Diplomatic service has returned to full strength in light of the new influencing campaign in Communist China.

Statistics:
National Unity: 83,241 =
Neutrality: 0,00 =
Dissent: 0,00 =
Manpower:
Available: 2.145.000
Men To reinforce(need): 2.820
Men To mobilise(need): See above
Monthly gain: 48.200 Men (1 fully mobilised Infx3, AT Division every 7 days)​
No changes in Party Popularity for the last 10 days
No changes in Party Organisation for the last 10 days.
This Information is accurate on the morning of the 30th of December 1941, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'​
 
Last edited:

Bullfilter

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Great to have you, Odin and the rest of the crew back. Agree re the AARs being a good escape valve - they were for me last year during an otherwise very sad family time. :)

The cello is a lovely instrument - hope that concert went well. :cool:

Meanwhile, the Germans seem to be the weak link in the Axis at the moment. And they will dash themselves to ruin against your Western Wall of Steel when the time comes.
 

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Welcome back, Comrade! I must say I am rather impressed that you are skilled with a cello - I lack all musical talent, so it may as well be magic to me.

Our continued investment into artillery seems to be producing benefits, and an industrial giant of our scale must do its best to benefit from this sort of scaling benefits. That's about the only thing that seems to be going well in the global fight of Axis vs everyone else; the Italians seem to be rallying on all fronts now that the RN has given them respite, the Japanese continue their island hopping campaign and inflict serious casualties to Allied merchant navies. It would be interesting to see a decisive battle with IJN and RN going at one another. USN and all the other US branches seem to be content to twiddle their thumbs, but who knows what's in the production pipeline? Could the US be preparing for a major counteroffensive with new units, ships and aircraft currently rolling off the production lines?
 

Eurasia

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So the Italians and the Japanese are advancing while the Germans are just doing...what? I hope they are not building up their Air Forces or Heavy Armor!
 

roverS3

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Our continued investment into artillery seems to be producing benefits, and an industrial giant of our scale must do its best to benefit from this sort of scaling benefits. That's about the only thing that seems to be going well in the global fight of Axis vs everyone else
Our estimates put us in second place in raw Industrial Capacity, after the USA, though it is possible the Germans are pretty close, though that would not necessarily be good for them as they would definitely lack the resources to keep that many factories humming, while we could conceivably fuel many more factories, hence our huge stockpiles of various resources. In the long run, the combined industrial might of the two biggest industrial ^powers of the world should be enough to whittle down, and eventually crush the Axis.

; the Italians seem to be rallying on all fronts now that the RN has given them respite,
So the Italians and the Japanese are advancing
the Japanese continue their island hopping campaign and inflict serious casualties to Allied merchant navies. It would be interesting to see a decisive battle with IJN and RN going at one another. USN and all the other US branches seem to be content to twiddle their thumbs, but who knows what's in the production pipeline? Could the US be preparing for a major counteroffensive with new units, ships and aircraft currently rolling off the production lines?
The UK is stretched thin, even though our reports indicate that they still have the largest navy on the planet, they are struggling with the sheer scope of the war. Facing the IJN alone, they had to cut back their blockade in the Med, which will probably lead to a reversal of recent gains in Northern Africa. The war will only turn into the Allies' favour once the USA comes out in force. They may just be producing exactly what they need for this war... Ships, Aeroplanes, Marines, and Tanks, though we can't know for sure. A German Attack on the Soviet Union will not significantly improve the situation for the UK, unless Japan is involved.
In the meantime, the UK plays fire brigade, trying to keep back the Luftwaffe over England, the Regio Esercito, including German expeditionary King Tigers in Northern Africa, and the Imperial Japanese Navy in South-East Asia and the South Pacific. They could do better, but all things considered, I think they're hanging on just fine, for now...

while the Germans are just doing...what? I hope they are not building up their Air Forces or Heavy Armor!
Meanwhile, the Germans seem to be the weak link in the Axis at the moment. And they will dash themselves to ruin against your Western Wall of Steel when the time comes.
It seems they are producing more Heavy Armour as the density of Panzers on the front is rather worrying... but I do believe we are ready for them, with Anti-Tank Regiments in all of our Rifle Divisions, Tank-Destroyers in every Corps, 2 Guards Heavy Tank Divisions, and a nice big Tank Army with very many T-34s, not to mention the Armoured Cavalry which should be fast and capable.

Great to have you, Odin and the rest of the crew back. Agree re the AARs being a good escape valve - they were for me last year during an otherwise very sad family time. :)
Glad to be back. AARs are a 'great escape'...

The cello is a lovely instrument - hope that concert went well. :cool:
Welcome back, Comrade! I must say I am rather impressed that you are skilled with a cello - I lack all musical talent, so it may as well be magic to me.
The Concert went great, I played as a soloist with my Orchestra, only the second time I did that really, and to my own surprise, unlike the first time, I didn't flinch, and played the Concerto just as I intended, it was the high point of my week, and possibly my year, even if I do say so myself. As for Musical talent, I had a musical upbringing, my Mother is a trained professional pianist, and I was introduced to classical music from a very early age... I actually have a photograph of me pretending to play the Cello at age 4... But, it's never too late to start learning an instrument, someone I know started the violin at age 20 and stuck with it, and now, at age 26, can play at a decent amateur level... I've met people who started even later, but I don't remember the details. The biggest reason, imo, why adults without prior musical experience tend to drop out when they try to learn an instrument is that, for years, you won't be able to make your instrument sound the way you expect/want it to sound, personal expectations are that much higher with adults than with children. If you are motivated enough and stick with it, anyone (even those lacking talent) can reach a decent and enjoyable level of skill, just find a teacher that works for you and don't expect the results you're working towards for years...
 

markkur

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The biggest reason, imo, why adults without prior musical experience tend to drop out when they try to learn an instrument is that, for years, you won't be able to make your instrument sound the way you expect/want it to sound, personal expectations are that much higher with adults than with children. If you are motivated enough and stick with it, anyone (even those lacking talent) can reach a decent and enjoyable level of skill
Well worth a...second. There is another reason; when a Rebel like me comes along and decides I want to explore (think oil-painting) and nothing more and plays by ear. Wonderful for the gift of creating or your own tunes (in the end) but lousy for playing with other folk playing other people's songs.;):)
 

roverS3

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Well worth a...second. There is another reason; when a Rebel like me comes along and decides I want to explore (think oil-painting) and nothing more and plays by ear. Wonderful for the gift of creating or your own tunes (in the end) but lousy for playing with other folk playing other people's songs.;):)
There is a reason music notation and solfège were invented... to be able to communicate and exchange more easily, and to preserve said tunes for posterity. Jazz standards and related rules serve the same purpose, providing a clear framework for improvisation thus making it much easier to improvise live with others. On the other hand, playing by ear is a great skill to have, if you also know a standard notation system, you can easily write down music you're listening to. Of course, the world couldn't agree on a single notation system for notes, well the 2 main western ones are somewhat related and rhythm notation is basically the same... I learned notation the classical way, with do re mi fa sol la si, and five lines with black dots, however, in Jazz, and even more so in rock music, they use A B C D E F G , starting with La, instead, they just write Abmaj.7 and you're supposed to know that's a La bémol (flat) Major 7th chord (Lab - Do - Mi b - Sol) or (Ab - C - Eb - G). Then there are some more interesting baroque and renaissance ways of writing things down, which were once explained to me by someone with extensive theoretical knowledge and include several numbers under the note indicating that any notes you add to the base note should fall within a certain chord. Even musicians are incapable to agree on one good way to do things, every genre, and every period and style introduce new things, and eliminate others, and in the end, even pro's sometimes need to play by ear, if they try to go off the trodden path, that is. Many of the guys who are making EDM tunes and so on often don't have a classical musical education, and I'm sure they have a whole different terminology and vocabulary to communicate with each other, as for them it's all about the electronically generated or modified sound, and both melodic and rhythmical complexity are mostly outside of their scope, and both rhythm and melodies remain pretty basic, in most cases.
In the end it all comes down to what you want, exploration is great, and I pity the musician who doesn't try out new things, on his own, outside of convention, expectations, education, etc.

What I was mostly on about with that, were middle-aged people that I have seen appear and disappear in the public music schools I frequented for many years, most of them aren't there to explore per se, they dream of playing this or that piece, or even just this or that instrument that they have listened to time and again, and loved, all they want is to be able to play the pieces they like, the way they want them to sound, eventually. That's a respectable goal, but the big ticket pieces they like are certainly going to be out of their reach for many years, hell, some big ticket pieces I like are still just a little too difficult for me (not that I haven't tried), and even with easier pieces they won't be satisfied with what they manage to do, when they compare it to what they have been listening to, often for years before making the step to learning the instrument.
Many drop out after a year or two, frustrated, feeling that they don't have enough talent, that they are too old to learn, etc. Much rarer are those who persevere and actually get to a level where they don't just enjoy the act of playing, but where they are content, and even feel proud of how they perform, but they do exist, and they weren't more talented than the drop-outs, they were simply more patient, more disciplined, and often a little less hard on themselves.

What I find harder to comprehend, are those who stop playing their instrument when they go to university... they have often been playing an instrument since they were 6 or 7 years old, and reached a pretty decent level, but then, when they go to university, it's over, they stop playing their instrument, on their own, or with others. Then again, some of them had the instrument pretty much imposed upon them by their parents, but that's still a minority. Often these are people I have played with growing up, and then, I bump into them at university, and when I ask whether they still play it's they explain that they don't have the time, too much work, the usual etc. But they often do have the time to party... go figure... maybe there is something I'm missing here...

There you go, you tricked me again into a big rant... I hope you're proud of yourself... On that note, if you ever want someone to write down your personal best tunes for posterity, I'm sure I could write them down for you and send you a scan... or even better, I might be able to play them on my cello... who knows, I'm always open for some original repertoire... especially during the holidays, when I have a bit more time to explore...

So, I've been busy this week, I painted a watercolour, which will feature in the AAR eventually, but it might take some time, you'll have to wait and see... it was a lot of work, as I started with a bit of technical perspective to make sure the scale was correct as I was drawing and painting something that didn't exist OTL, so there were no pictures I could reliably use...It took me two days, and I still want to add a final touch in the foreground...

I have also been working on quite a long narrative AAR post, and I'm now thinking that I might split it into 2, or even 3, parts, as it keeps growing and growing, and it would be nice for you to have something to read while you wait for the rest of the story... stay tuned, I'll post something tomorrow, and I hope you all had a nice week-end.
 
6th of January 1942, 'Odinatsat', Pt.1 Getting off the Island.

roverS3

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The 6th of January 1942, Vologda, -11,2°C, 7am Moscow Time,

Just as I awakened, there was a knock on my bedroom door, it was a motorcycle courrier, still shivering, with his helmet on. He looked at me, and without a word, he handed me a big manilla envelope with the Address for our secret Vologda station post box written in Polish, and next to it a scribbled translation into Russian. As I opened the envelope, a small 'XI' was visible on the inside of the lip. Instantly I was fully awake... news from 'Odinatsat'... I hurried to my office, pulled out my code books, and started translating what looked to be bad Polish poetry full of spelling errors, into Russian Prose:

If you're reading this, it means that a long list of things has gone just right, it also means that I'm probably still alive. So, how did I get here? Let me start from where we left off last time I managed to send out a report, more than half a year ago. Much has happened:

For starters, the SIS cleared me, but that didn't mean I was free to go as I pleased, first I would have to prove myself trustworthy in the field. The risk of being caught by one of Cecil Clarke's inventive security measures while attempting to sneak out my correspondence was just too great. I stuck with the training, and vowed to write a report later on, whenever I would have a reasonable chance of it getting to you. Considering you're reading this, I'm sure my report reached you.

Intensive training had been going on for more than 5 full months. Having finally assembled a couple of decent teams, and trained them to bits, Cecil Clarke was quite enraged. The operational plans him and Captain Jefferis proposed were rarely accepted by the government, and if a plan was, half-heartedly, accepted, the RAF would magically run out of transport aeroplanes or pilots, and the Navy would run out of submarines and torpedo boats, giving us no way to actually get to where the mission was supposed to happen. The simple truth was that MI(R) was shunned by all those who had a say on anything. For most generals and Field Marshall, the point of MI(R) was to effectuate practical and theoretical research into Guerrilla Warfare and Sabotage, not to actually use such dishonourable, and ungentlemanly tactics in the field of war.

Captain Jefferis and Lieutenant Clarke were running on their last nerves running exercise after exercise, including many successful mock-sabotage operation on vital British infrastructure like power station and railway bridges. At the very least, MI(R)'s teams improved security at many vital installations of the British Isles.
By far our most ambitious exercise was to sneak into HMNB Clyde, near Glasgow, during the final week of October. With a team of five people, we managed to place our magnetic limpet devices at critical points along the hull of HMS Warspite. Instead of plastic explosive a British flag, and a note from Lieutenant Cecil Clarke were included in these limpets. We got out without being noticed, it was a success that only further confirmed our readiness for real operations, if only someone would step up and give us a way onto the continent.

Warspite-min.jpg

HMS Warspite in port, this picture was taken, after the mock-charges were placed, and before they were discovered...
Begrudgingly recognising, after discovering the devices more than a week after they had been placed, that this highlighted a real risk to their ships, the Royal Navy sent a Royal Marines Colonel Commandant to conduct a short inquiry and make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again, both through pressure on MI(R) and through improved security at Naval Bases. Royal Marines Colonel Commandant Robert Sturges turned out to have been the wrong choice to take Lieutenant Clarke's unit down a peg. He arrived at Brickendonbury Manor around dawn in his staff car. We had just returned from a mock-sabotage exercise at Watford Power Station. (A 6-chimneyed Coal-fired affair built around the turn of the century, in the neo-Gothic style.)

As had become usual practice by now, with unwanted visitors especially, spigot mortars rained down small bricks on the Colonel Commandant's car when it drove over a couple the trip-wires on the driveway, before Lieutenant Clarke jumped out from behind a bush pointing out to the Colonel Commandant that he would have been blown to smithereens, had the mortars been loaded with actual explosive charges.

WolseleyStaffCar-min.jpg

The Colonel Commandant's staff car, before being hit by several bricks. A 1938 Wolseley Series II 14-56, sporting a 1,8 liter 6-cylinder engine putting out 56 horsepower,, giving it a top speed of 110 km/h. Not as nice or fast as the Maréchal's traction avant, but still pretty good.
Surprisingly, the Colonel Commandant didn't look especially fazed when he got out of the car, instead he expertly walked over to the mortars to examine them then he turned to Lieutenant Clarke:

What great fun, let's shoot some rocks at a superior Officer's car...you forget that I was at Gallipoli, when I was still First Lieutenant Royal Marines Sturges, you'll have to do better than that to really frighten me...

Now, Lieutenant, the Navy sent me here upon my return from Iceland to make sure MI(R) never places phoney explosive devices on the hull of one of their ships again. The Sea Lords are questioning your very right to train your own operatives, they don't so much mind the related research bureau's which gave them the Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon, but they do mind these mad exercises you've been holding.
However, considering the skills of your top operatives, I have a different question. Why aren't your operatives placing explosive charges on Italian Battleships and in German power-stations? Why are they still here. When a team is capable of infiltrating one of the most highly secured naval bases on the British Isles and place charges on one of our Battleships, I'd say they've had quite enough training, wouldn't you say?”
Lieutenant Clarke was quick to respond:

With all due respect sir, myself and Captain Jefferis have been petitioning the government to give the go-ahead on any operation we could think of. Most were refused, and when one was accepted, neither the Navy, nor the RAF were willing to infiltrate my operatives. Do you think I'm satisfied to have my troops pretending to blow up our own ships? To do the work, we first need to get there!”
The Colonel Commandant replied:

“That is indeed a sad state of affairs, though I might be able to help, unofficially....

For starters, I want to see what these men... and women... can do, their equipment, their basic training, tell me everything. Since I've returned I've been proposing several plans to set up company-sized elite units within the Royal Marines to effectuate daring raids on critical Axis Facilities, in and out before the enemy brings in proper reinforcements, seat of the pants stuff. My proposals have fallen on deaf ears until now, but that doesn't mean I can't integrate the skills and equipment you've been honing for years now. If I understand this correctly, Captain Jefferis' aim is to train smaller covert teams ranging from 2 to 10 operatives, to be inserted into occupied territory, and to execute their missions, possibly with the help of local resistance movements in the utmost possible secrecy.

As a Royal Marine, I'm not really the kind to do things in a sneaky manner, but the exercises you seem to have been holding across the country prove that there is merit to this concept. I know many of my colleagues see these kinds of raids, and even worse, those sneaky missions you're proposing, as ungentlemanly, and so they may be... but look where gentlemanly warfare has taken us. I don't want another Gallipoli, I don't want to let the enemy strengthen it's forces while we sit back and prepare another grand operation or wait for the Americans to join us, if they ever will...
Enough talking, let's see a demonstration.”
There was a day-long series of demonstrations, more craters were added to the garden, a car was blown up, the usual, and more. Lieutenant Clarke was ecstatic that he had finally found someone outside of MI(R), with a decently high rank, who agreed, at least somewhat, with his way of seeing things. Captain Jefferis was called, and arrived soon after, and around the tea table in Clarke's office, Clarke, Jefferis, and Sturges surely did a lot of talking I couldn't really make out. We were all ordered outside, and Colonel Commandant Sturges insisted on making an announcement, before he departed:

Robert_Sturges-min.jpg

Colonel Commandant Robert Sturges, besides his car, about to announce his intentions to the assembled troops,


This is a tough war, the Commonwealth stands alone against the Axis, and it's not a fair fight, the Germans sink our shipping, the situation in Northern Africa is still uncertain, and our politicians are unwilling to risk too many British lives far away from home. Raids and covert operations may be the only way we have to fight this war right now without actively working against the politics. After the impressive demonstrations of today, and after having discussed this at length with Captain Jefferis and Lieutenant Clarke, and I am glad to announce that I will do my best to sneak MI(R) operatives into continental Axis territory. Of course that would mean circumventing the Military establishment without explicit support from the government, but the military can't directly pull your funding and I'm a respected veteran with seniority, they couldn't possibly justify demoting me to anything lower than Major, and I wouldn't mind being a Major again, if it helps the war effort, Lieutenant.

I returned from Iceland under orders to take command of the 8th Royal Marines Brigade, which is still training, but will soon be ready for action within the 3rd Royal Marines Division. I have been unofficially training an independent company within my Brigade, a small elite formation for the toughest tasks, but I will definitely not have the authority to send them on daring raids, on their own. However, if 3rd Royal Marines Division were to be deployed somewhere, I will allow your teams to hitch a ride with my men, specifically amongst the more motivated Battalions of my 'independent company', who will most certainly not object to, nor spill the beans about, your presence. Gentlemen, ladies, soon, you may be able to actually do some good.

In counterpart, I will send over my best 'independent' platoons, one at a time, for them to benefit from some of Lieutenant Clarke's less orthodox training methods I couldn't possibly get away with on a Royal Navy training ground. It is sad that we need to so deceive high command to get things done, but I think we all agree this needs to happen for the war effort, that said, I'll be on my way, and I will return, whenever 3rd Royal Marines Division is shipped out to participate in the war.”
After this unexpected series of declarations, burly Royal Marines started to arrive, new ones every few weeks, and we all helped train them in the Clarke school of warfare. They learned how to use limpet mines, how to circumvent security measures, and how to rig effective booby-traps using anything from an old grenade to an unexploded 100kg aeroplane-dropped bomb. It was all great fun, and only mild burns were sustained in the process. At least we had something useful to do now, though we were still itching to get into action ourselves. On the 16th of November, Colonel Commandant Sturges returned to Brickendonbury Manor with news that the 3rd Royal Marines Division would shortly depart for the Mediterranean. Where exactly was not clear, but Sturges explained that he the navy had assigned enough transport capacity to his Brigade for them to sneak 20 of Clarke's operatives, and about a metric ton of equipment into the various vessels under various disguises and pretexts. That is how our first deployment started, on a ship to the Eastern Mediterranean. I was disguised as a nurse, another woman was the Colonel Commandant's new secretary, while the men were dressed either as Royal Marines or sailors.

It took about a week before the transport fleet got to Athina, which seemed to be our destination, on the 26th of November. Soon, landing craft were being lowered into the water, and soon after, they were heading straight for the docks of Piraeus, filled to the brim with freshly trained Royal Marines. It was an impressive sight, a perfectly executed naval landing... with no opposition. No bodies were found in the old barracks, which had been levelled by the Royal Navy. It seems that the Italians had left the ancient capital of Greece entirely devoid of troops, no one could figure out why they did, but this meant that the 3rd Royal Marines Division scored a nice symbolic victory over the Axis by taking the 'birthplace of civilisation'.

British_troops_disembarking_at_Piraeus-min.jpg

After the first wave encountered no opposition, the rest of 3rd Royal Marines Division was unloaded in the Port of Piraeus.
Soon, our equipment was offloaded, and we were dropped off on the docks of Athens. The Greeks were glad to finally see British troops liberate their country. In the first week, many trenches were dug as Maj. General Gambier-Parry had ordered the 3rd Royal Marines Division to dig in, even though no Axis units seemed to be present in Italian-controlled Greece, he didn't want his Marines to be caught on the move. Moreover, everyone was hopeful reinforcements would be forthcoming to take advantage of Italian complacency. In the meantime, MI(R), now having a lifeline into Europe through Athens, was busy setting up a base in the Greek Capital.

Every day some more equipment, officially for Colonel Commandant Sturges' Brigade arrived in the port, we were all working discreetly, around the clock, lead by Clarke who had made his way over there as well, setting up radio equipment, digging tunnels, and creating hidden rooms, only reachable through the caves under the Acropolis. Weapons were being stockpiled, and soon, representatives of various resistance movements started appearing, they had been tipped off by elements of the Greek resistance who started working with us to try and make the Greek Capital into a large covert warehouse for weapons and equipment to be distributed to Europe's resistance fighters.

acropolis-caves-min.jpg

Plenty of caves under the Acropolis, and every day, more explosives, and cheap, compact weapons, were being hidden in them, ready to be used, or sent to whomever was willing to take them up against the Axis.
All of it had to be imported under the pretence of supplying 7th Royal Marines Brigade. The quantities were limited by the need to be discreet, and the fact that 7th RMB did need actual supplies, but MI(R)'s creative weapons, like the limpet, or the spigot mortar, were quite compact for the punch they carried, and thus the amount of weaponry that was reaching us was impressive nonetheless, and we continually had to create and look for new hiding places as local resistance couldn't smuggle the weapons out of the city at anything resembling the rate at which they arrived there.
It's a lot to decode, and after the first few pages, I need some coffee, and some breakfast. I'm sure you're as curious as I am to read how the situation changed when the Italians took back Athens, and how 'Odinatsat' dealt with it. I will send what follows later today, as I decipher it.

Greetings,

'Odin'

Notes:

The Royal Marines were reorganised into Commando's only in 1942, a decision that was probably inspired by Churchill's liking of Commando tactics and raids, and the fact that these tactics had proven their worth in the preceding years through the SOE, which had already set up Commando's in 1941. These initiatives were historically strongly supported by Churchill and his Allies, considering how badly 'ungentlemanly' warfare was viewed by the military establishment before Churchill's second ascension to power and subsequent shake-up. The SOE was set up by Churchill, and thus does not exist in TTL, meaning that here, MI(R) and SIS are both doing their own thing, along with a few limited initiatives in the Army to set up elite 'independent' companies within their units.

Cecil Clarke did hold exercises for his pupils that consisted of sneaking into British power-stations and the like to place dummy charges on generators. The power companies nor the government were warned of these mock-raids. In the morning Captain, and later Major Clarke would go down to the Power station in his uniform and ask to inspect the security of the power station, when they inevitably found the dummy charges he would reveal what had happened and the whole thing would be covered up by the owners of the power station, lest someone might get the impression that their security was bad... That was during a period where funding was forthcoming and the government put pressure on the RAF and the RN to provide logistical support and transportation for the SOE. Considering his character it doesn't seem like such a stretch that he would make a bigger bang and go after a Battleship if his operatives were stuck twiddling their thumbs, with the double objective of keeping them sharp, and attracting attention to their possible contribution to the war effort.

Sturges was instrumental in the switch of the Royal Marines to a Commando structure and commando-style training. A veteran of the Gallipoli campaign, he was in command of the Battalion that secured Iceland, and was promoted to Colonel Commandant and became acting Brigadier around that time. I don't see why he wouldn't be in this timeline. Of course, the Navy selecting him to go and talk to Clarke was a bit of a stretch. That said, I'm sure most of the Navy Commanders and Admirals, let alone Sea Lords felt themselves too important to go and put some upstart Captain of a rather pointless department in his place... I'm sure they'd have been just fine if a Royal Marine of sufficient rank proposed to take that burden off them... I'd rate this unlikely, but still possible, as far as plot devices go...

HMNB Clyde is the base of the UK's Nuclear Submarines to this day, it was first set up in 1940, to provide another base, far from the reach of German bombers. I'm not sure Warspite ever docked there, but the game put HMS Warspite in Glasgow, and HMNB Clyde is the Naval Base right next to Glasgow (it's inside the Glasgow Tile of HOI3), so I assume that's where it was.

The picture of the disembarking British troops in Piraeus is from early 1941, when the UK sent several Divisions to help the Greeks fight off the Italians... to little effect.

There are quite a few caves beneath the Acropolis, not all of them are accessible, some have Ancient Greek artefacts in them, others don't, I'm taking some liberties here. It does seem like a perfect place to stash the weapons you're smuggling...

This is part 1 of 3, if not more, so stay tuned for more narrative, a lot more narrative... much of the story is written (It's up to 8.5 pages already), though I'm still reworking it, looking for pictures etc. 11 truly did live an epic adventure, and you don't even know the half of it...
 

Bullfilter

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Thanks for a very interesting update and background. I think it is all entirely plausible for an ATL and well reasoned out. Glad to know 11 is out and about doing the good work of taking down the Fascists ... I think she and Cennet would get on well if they ever met in another alternate universe. ;)

There are quite a few caves beneath the Acropolis, not all of them are accessible, some have Ancient Greek artefacts in them, others don't, I'm taking some liberties here. It does seem like a perfect place to stash the weapons you're smuggling...
:eek: Oh no, not again! Is this going to lead to the destruction of the rest of the Parthenon? :(

"On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the Parthenon was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures."
 

Finshades

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Well now, this is interesting! (OOC: Especially having just watched Churchill's Secret Agents: The New Recruits on Netflix, which I heartily recommend.) I was wondering about the British efforts in Greece, but this does inject some sense into that absurdity.
 

roverS3

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Thanks for a very interesting update and background. I think it is all entirely plausible for an ATL and well reasoned out. Glad to know 11 is out and about doing the good work of taking down the Fascists ... I think she and Cennet would get on well if they ever met in another alternate universe. ;)
I hope it all continues to be plausible from here-on out...I'm definitely stretching things a bit more in what follows... 11 is doing the good work all right, finally MI(R)'s operatives and weapons begin to be unleashed into continental Europe, who knows what they will be able to achieve. There is definitely some resemblance between Cennet and 11, there is a good chance they'd get on well, on missions anyway.

:eek: Oh no, not again! Is this going to lead to the destruction of the rest of the Parthenon? :(

"On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the Parthenon was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures."
Well, it's a definite possibility, though efforts were made to avoid the possibility of a chain reaction, and the quantities stored probably aren't nearly as large as the large cannon balls and many vats of gunpowder the Ottomans must have been storing there...

On another note, there is a huge crater somewhere in Staffordshire, England, where the main underground storage of RAF heavy ordnance (big bombs) called RAF Fauld used to be, until one day in 1944, a bomb was mishandled and the whole place blew...3,500-4,000 tonnes of mostly HE bombs... It was the largest non-nuclear explosion in human history... about 70 people died. Remember that whenever you're frustrated by health & safety regulations...

Well now, this is interesting! (OOC: Especially having just watched Churchill's Secret Agents: The New Recruits on Netflix, which I heartily recommend.) I was wondering about the British efforts in Greece, but this does inject some sense into that absurdity.
Glad to make some sense.
The context, of the first part anyway, is mostly based on what I read in Giles Milton's book 'Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare'. I haven't seen that series yet, I'm currently watching 'Yes Minister' having recently become acquainted with this wonderful satire on bureaucracy and government in the UK, it's funny because it might just be true...
I'm up to 10 pages now, and I'm almost done with the writing, I also gathered some more pictures, the next part will be up tomorrow.
 

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There you go, you tricked me again into a big rant... I hope you're proud of yourself... On that note, if you ever want someone to write down your personal best tunes for posterity, I'm sure I could write them down for you and send you a scan... or even better, I might be able to play them on my cello... who knows, I'm always open for some original repertoire... especially during the holidays, when I have a bit more time to explore...
:D I'll try to contain...yourself. <LOL>

Wonderful offer kindheart. Wish I could take advantage but when it's 95 F, it makes my rust-dragon breathe fire and I seek a cool cave.:)

So, I've been busy this week, I painted a watercolour, which will feature in the AAR eventually, but it might take some time, you'll have to wait and see... it was a lot of work, as I started with a bit of technical perspective to make sure the scale was correct as I was drawing and painting something that didn't exist OTL, so there were no pictures I could reliably use...It took me two days, and I still want to add a final touch in the foreground...
Me like much. Me Wait:)

I have also been working on quite a long narrative AAR post, and I'm now thinking that I might split it into 2, or even 3, parts, as it keeps growing and growing, and it would be nice for you to have something to read while you wait for the rest of the story... stay tuned, I'll post something tomorrow, and I hope you all had a nice week-end.
Interested to read. "Be bold and...?...well, you'll be bold.":)

Cheers mate...from down-under.:cool:
 
6th of January 1942, 'Odinatsat', Pt.2 Italians attack, a race against time, and a train.

roverS3

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The 6th of January 1942, Vologda, -11,2°C, 8:30am Moscow Time,

After I quick breakfast, I returned to deciphering Polish poetry. The story continues, with the Battle of Athens:

On the 5th of December, a surprise arrived in the form of an Italian binary Motorised Division, Armoured Cars, Self-Propelled AA-Guns and about 8000 men was nothing to scoff at, and soon 3rd Royal Marine Division's outposts outside the city itself were under attack. The Royal Navy was no-where to be seen, probably on it's way to Singapore, no reinforcements were forthcoming, it was now up to the 3rd Royal Marines Division alone to hold the city. Clarke decided to return to England while he still could as Jefferis had been calling for him to come back and continue his research and training efforts. We all knew what to do, all 20 of us.

Once the Italians fought their way through the forward line of defence they were caught out by booby-traps and sniper-fire upon entering the suburbs, before coming face to face with dug in Royal Marines. Needless to say Italian progress was slow and bloody, but still not as bloody as it could have been, as the Italians used their Armoured cars to hide behind, and their mobile Anti-Air guns to blow holes in the British lines.

AB41_Athens-min.jpg

The AB41 Armoured Cars of the Italian attackers, near Athens, the protection they offered against small arms fire certainly helped in keeping Italian casualties down.
The Marines used the buildings and their prepared positions, using Bren-guns and the new PIAT, to ambush and Delay the advancing Italians. The Royal Engineers' deployment of anti-tank mines and plastic explosives made sure the Italians had to move very carefully if they wanted to preserve their vehicles, this ensured that, although casualties were mounting on both sides, the front moved very slowly, street by street, sometimes house by house, and after a week of fighting, the Italians had only just reached the edge of the old city.

In the meantime, we had to keep working, helping out Colonel Commandant Sturges' Marines behind the lines, moving up ammunition, bandaging the wounded. On the 15th of December, things started to go wrong, first, in the face of mounting casualty numbers, Maj. General Gambier-Parry ordered a 'tactical withdrawal' to prepared positions in the inner city and on the road to Piraeus. The withdrawal was quite chaotic as the order didn't get through to all the platoons at the same time, and several of them were caught behind enemy lines when the Italians used their lorries and armoured cars to move up more quickly than the now isolated platoons could retreat. Even more problematic than the loss of men, was that the positions these Platoons were tasked to fall back to were in the middle between the city centre and Piraeus, putting all the troops in the city at serious risk of being cut off from all supplies and reinforcements.

A subsequent weakening of the front to the North of the city to try and plug the gap only made the problem worse as the Italians exploited this new weakness to envelop the city, moving around it to the north-East. The only thing slowing down the Italians on this manoeuvre were a few small but relatively effective raiding parties from Colonel Commandant Sturges' 'independent company'. On the 22nd, Italian troops arrived in the rear of the line between Athens and the port at Piraeus, which had already been under pressure from the North-West for 5 days at that point. Soon, the city, and most of the 3rd Royal Marines Division's remaining men were isolated in a pocket around the Acropolis.

The Marines and Engineers in Piraeus weren't numerous, organised, nor mobile enough to force a breakthrough, so the Italians mostly disregarded them and moved swiftly back into the city in force. The fighting was brutal, I even had an opportunity to practice my shooting skills killing a few Italian officers, despite my modest contribution, the Battle was clearly lost as, for once, the Regio Esercito had outwitted British forces. Maj. General Gambier-Parry, stuck in Piraeus, soon realised the futility of continuing a lost battle, and officially surrendered.


ItalianGermanAthens1941-min.jpg

An Italian soldier and a German soldier share a propaganda photo opportunity. No Germans were actually involved in the fighting, but it never hurts to share the propaganda value of capturing a whole Royal Marines Division, in Athens no less, with your biggest Ally, now does it.
Some squads from the 7th and the 9th Royal Marines Brigades continued to hold out in the denser neighbourhoods and on the Acropolis, while we went into hiding, before all resistance ceased on the 27th of December. The 3rd Royal Marines Division was no more, at least a third of it's men had been killed in the battle, and of the rest, most were captured by the Italians, while a few squads form Sturges' 'Independent Company' joined us in hiding, hoping to carry on with the fight covertly.

This is the day our covert operations really started. The first order of business was to get hold of and hide as much of the Royal Marines' equipment as we could before the Italians had time to gather all of it and put it under guard. We went out in small groups at night, I would walk the streets in civilian clothes, while a squad of Royal Marines Commandos would follow in the shadows as soon as I had cleared the way. It was a great success, and we got hold of several Heavy Machin Guns, tens of bren guns, hundreds of grenades and thousands of rounds of Ammunition, as well as rations, rifles, mortars, explosives, knives, helmets, morphine, radios. Whenever I bumped into Italian soldiers, I would talk to them in the Ancient Greek I learned at the lycée back in Paris, It's not as if Italians would be able to tell the difference... The commando's would hide in some doorway, behind a cart or car, or around the corner, while all Italian eyes were on me, luckily, it all worked out, despite my having to punch a particularly handsy Caporale in the face, to no objection of the overly gallant Sergente standing right next to him. The Italians were tired from the tough battle, and there was just so much stuff strewn about the place.


athens-greece-ancient-greece-min.jpg

The Narrower streets of the popular neighbourhoods of central Athens, plenty of places to hide.

On the second day of the cleanup, the Italians started to get more organised. They enlisted the help of local civilians to clear the streets more quickly, which proved to be a mistake, as quite a few of these civilians would steal half of what they picked up for the resistance, and even more materiel was reaching us.

A German SS Hauptsturmführer (Captain) and his staff arrived by Aeroplane on the 29th of January to overview the efforts to redeploy the British weaponry the Italians had captured or accumulated in the depots of Piraeus and Athens Railway station. On the 1st of January we received word that several trains were been formed and loaded in the main Railway station. Several Freight trains were being loaded with captured British equipment, but also with other loot like Ancient Greek statues for Berlin's musea. The Hauptsturmführer had done the maths and realised that quite a lot of British equipment had gone missing, which is why he decided to send it, and the loot, by train, to German-controlled territory.

Greek resistance had figured out that the trains with the equipment would be going somewhere in Poland. Over the radio, First Lieutenant Clarke confirmed that we had to go after the equipment, as the more equipment we have at hand, the longer, and the better, we can support resistance efforts throughout Europe, and our own sabotage operations.

The train station was heavily guarded, the Italians were ready for an all-out assault on the station, with armoured cars, sharpshooters, and ex-Royal Navy searchlights all over the place, along with about a thousand Italian Infantrymen, I blame that paranoid SS Hauptsturmführer for that. In any case, we needed to make sure which train the equipment would be in, not to take it out of the station, as sneaking more than a few trained operatives in there was suicidal, but to make sure we targeted the right train and didn't end up with some invaluable, but ultimately useless art. Leveraging art, or even stolen jewels and gold, for guns, would mean more danger, and more time wasted than just taking the guns in the first place.


After silently making our way around the sentries and over the fences, we reached the far end of the platforms, and noted that the passenger trains with the POWs had already left, as having prisoners board a train was quiet a bit faster than loading tons of mismatched items into a freight-train, especially, if you decide to no longer let the civilians get anywhere near the station, let alone the train.

LarissaStationAthens-min.jpg

Athens Central Station, this is where the SS and the Italians decided to form up all of those trains bound for the Third Reich,or maybe some of them will got to Rome, who knows for sure.
There were several freight trains there, one train had some of the doors, near where we were, still open, so that's where we went first, it was filled with statues, vases, and a whole assortment of antiques and Jewellery. Next, we turned our attention to a freight train pulled by a very large Reichsbahn locomotive, even from far away, it clearly dwarfed the already sizeable Greek locomotive parked next to it. This train had most of it's enclosed carriages already locked, we unlocked one of them. The light from the searchlights didn't go far enough to see more than a few wooden crates, which may have contained rifles judging by their dimensions. I ventured inside the carriage to take a closer look, some of the crates had Royal Navy markings on them, and further from the door, there was even a small Royal Marines skiff, and a folded up campaign tent. This train had to be the one. Somewhat worryingly, the loading process was further along than expected, and this could make the second part of the plan more tricky. Just as I was about to get out, an SS-Rottenführer (Squad-Leader) appeared from between two Carriages further down the train, my two colleagues dived underneath the train, but all I could do, not to be seen, was retreat into the carriage.

A few seconds later I heard the footsteps, now of several people moving in the direction of the carriage from where the Rottenführer had been standing. I heard the men below the carriage starting to shuffle as quietly as possible towards the rear of the train, their sounds being barely masked by the military boots treading the gravel in my direction. All I could do was curl up in a gap behind a couple of crates filled with British weapons as far away from the open sliding door as possible.

The soldiers came to a halt, and the Rottenführer shouted something in broken Italian I didn't quite get ending his tirade by spitting out 'Italiener!' in his native German. A young Italian private and the Rottenführer appeared in the door-opening, the private was lazily shining his flash-light around the inside of the Carriage while the German was peering into the carriage. Satisfied there was nothing there, the Rottenführer barked an order, and a second Italian private joined the pair in the door-opening, before the two privates pushed the door closed and locked it. Then, another order was barked, and the privates took up post outside the carriage, and 20 seconds later a searchlight bathed the carriage in light. Luckily for them, my two colleagues had escaped the vicinity of the Carriage, but there was no way they could come back for me without getting caught.

There was, however, a small niggling issue. With the train this close to being fully loaded, it could leave within minutes, leaving very little time for my two colleagues to get back to base in time so that the second part of the plan could be enacted in time. In theory, this second part was for a mix of Royal Marines Commando's, MI(R) operatives, and members of the Greek resistance, to ambush the train in the woods between Malakasa and Avlona, where it would come through about 30 minutes after it left. However, my colleagues had to get back to the hideout and radio the description of the train to the Commando's about 10 minutes before the train got there. And the raiding party had left the base, on foot, at the same time as I had, so they hadn't even arrived at the site of the ambush yet.

As I contemplated my possible rescue, I was surprised, and mildly alarmed, when the train started moving mere minutes after I had been locked into the carriage. I looked at my watch, it was only 20 minutes past midnight local time, and it was clear that my colleagues would have to hurry to make the plan work, as the train had left hours before we had anticipated, in the middle of the night.

As time went by, I tried to look outside, but couldn't make out much in the darkness, and with a blackout now in place. After 30 minutes, the train didn't slow down, a couple of gunshots were fired outside the train, before several machine gun on the train opened fire on the wooded hills where the shots had come from. It seems the commando's had been caught off guard and they probably hadn't had the time to set up properly. The train was also more heavily guarded than expected. I could see silhouettes falling down in the light of the muzzle-flashes. A machine-gun on the hill also opened up, carefully, with short bursts. They were probably only firing at the carriages with soldiers on them, as they didn't want to accidentally kill me, very thoughtful of them.

BR45DRG-min.jpg

Baureihe 45, the biggest and fastest dedicated freight locomotives of the Deutsche Reichsbahn in early 1942. Built in 1936-1937, they have a 1-5-1 axle layout, are more than 25m long and weigh in at 208 tons (127 tons without the tender) Spreading the tractive effort over 5 axles comes at the cost of some speed, but it does allow the locomotive to pull heavier loads, being able to put more of those nearly 3.000 horsepowers down, accelerating trains from a stand-still to a top speed of over 90 km/h. The maximum tractive effort from a standstill stands at more than 280 kN. (For comparison, the biggest steam locomotive ever built, (1944) Union Pacific's 550 ton Big Boy, produced 607 kN of tractive effort, reaching a top speed of 130 km/h, but that one is basically two massive locomotives stuck together on a massive chassis.)
The 45 also had another trick up it's sleeve, the non-powered axles could be moved relatively easily to shift the weight distribution, allowing these locomotives to be reconfigured to go more quickly on sturdier track (highest axle load: 19.7 tons, top speed: over 90 km/h) , or more slowly on less sturdy tracks. (highest axle load: 16.7 tons, top speed: 80 km/h).
It seems the ambushing party had only just gotten there, and they hadn't had the time to set up an obstacle to force the train to stop. With the train travelling at high speed the gunfire didn't last long, nor could it have been very effective, the train sped up even more to get away from the danger, before slowing back down to a sustainable cruising speed, of about 80-85 km/h.
There are yet more pages to decode, but right now, I have a meeting to attend concerning some brilliant new officers which have just left the nation's Military Academies. I'm sure they will be allocated commissions in the same way as last year, but it needs to be confirmed once more. I'll continue deciphering 'Odinatsat's adventures when I get back,

Greetings,

'Odin'
Notes from your WritAAR:

In-game, the Marines are up to date with the latest equipment, thus weapons which stared production OTL in 1941 or before are already widespread, in contrast with OTL, where the newest weapons were only sent out when the stocks of the previous version was exhausted, or declared obsolete (something that probably only rarely happened to weapons that were still stocked...). Older weapons were often offloaded to Commonwealth forces to make room for replacements and keep the flow of weapons going. In any case, it often took a year or more of production before a new variant reached the front lines... Dunkirk actually sped up the delivery of newer weapons to the troops due to the huge amount of weapons left behind on those beaches. There was no Dunkirk in TTL, but that's pretty irrelevant in this light, as TTL British policy seems to be to make sure every unit has the newest weapons as soon as possible.

Greek resistance movements were fierce and were increasingly Communist in nature. They enjoyed the support of the British through the SOE and SIS, right until the Allies actually liberated Greece, and the Communists were dissuaded from seeking power by British military forces. Let's hope TTL will have a communist Greece, eventually....

I might have gone overboard on the Locomotive, but the Rolls-Royce of German freight locomotives of the time cannot remain unmentioned, when so much of this story hinges on a powerful and relatively fast German train.

Up next: 11 tries to find a way out. Will she get out? Or will she remain on the train while it races across Europe?
 
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Finshades

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Clearly Odinatsat is in quite the predicament, but considering how resourceful she is... Well, I wouldn't be surprised if that train ended up in a resistance headquarters somewhere, perhaps with a nice ribbon on the front. At least the commandoes have modern weapons now, instead of just Sten guns, which, while great compact weapons in wartime (at least when they worked properly...), weren't exactly modern marvels.

Which reminds me, does anyone know how one could tell a British-made Sten from a German-made Sten? :p No, not the MP3008, but rather the ones designed to copy British ones down to the markings, aka. Gerät Potsdam.
 

racebear75

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Great story with odinasat in Greece!

And let me help with the translation of the SS-rank: it's Rottenführer, not Röttenfuhrer. Umlauts can be difficult...
 

roverS3

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:D I'll try to contain...yourself. <LOL>
Wonderful offer kindheart. Wish I could take advantage but when it's 95 F, it makes my rust-dragon breathe fire and I seek a cool cave.:)
35°C, and I thought it was too hot here in Brussels at 25°C/75 F, the offer will still stand when it cools down over there...

Me like much. Me Wait:)
Posting my modest artwork does depend on being at war with a Major power... I will post an image of the preparation drawing as well at that time...

Interested to read. "Be bold and...?...well, you'll be bold.":)
Cheers mate...from down-under.:cool:
Cheers from up-top...;). I'm not the one who is bold, 11 is... Ok, maybe it's me...

Great story with odinasat in Greece!
Clearly Odinatsat is in quite the predicament, but considering how resourceful she is... Well, I wouldn't be surprised if that train ended up in a resistance headquarters somewhere, perhaps with a nice ribbon on the front. At least the commandoes have modern weapons now, instead of just Sten guns, which, while great compact weapons in wartime (at least when they worked properly...), weren't exactly modern marvels.
Sorry to burst your bubble but the 'modern' infantry small arm in HOI3 is the Sten Gun Mk.I (1940 tech, pretty much up to date as 1942 has barely started...), in any case, the sten will feature in whatever happens to that train... Even worse, I tagged to the UK, and found out that '1942 tech' is the SMLE Mk.III, a 1907 Rifle predating the sten-gun... a true paradox why that's the case... In any case I would expect the Bren-gun to be widely used in the infantry, especially the special forces.

I have no idea on the German Sten, I didn't even know they had copied sten-guns, interesting...

And let me help with the translation of the SS-rank: it's Rottenführer, not Röttenfuhrer. Umlauts can be difficult...
Damn and blast... The error has been rectified, thanks for pointing it out... I should have checked...
 
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