April 1942 Alternate Indian Ocean

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Zheng He, Feb 9, 2014.

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  1. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    0800 Hours, 9 December 1942, Chittagong, India – For General William Slim, commander of the XV Corps things had certainly changed since May. Then he and everyone else welcomed the onset of the monsoons as they covered the ignominious Allied retreat from Burma and saved thousands of soldiers and civilians. Now, Slim could not wait for the monsoons to end. Not only did the rains keep Allied aircraft on the ground, they made the 14th Indian Division’s advance down the Arakan coast that much more difficult.

    Still, the news was not all negative. The East African and Indian troops holding Akyab were dug in and had easily rebuffed the initial Japanese probes, the assault on Ramree Island was going forward, and when the weather was good, Allied aircraft owned the skies over the Arakan. The biggest concern was the 14th Indian Division’s overland advance toward Ramree Island. The Japanese were holding fortified positions and the Indian troops had encountered something that would plague Allied troops throughout the Pacific and South East Asia for the rest of the war, the coconut log bunker. So well-constructed were these fortifications that the defending Japanese troops had already displayed a willingness to call in artillery strikes against attacking Allied troops on top of the bunkers. Obviously new tactics would be necessary to dislodge the dug in Japanese. Slim also had his staff drawing up contingency plans to send the 6th Infantry Brigade, XV Corps’ reserve formation for a landing on the coast near Ramree Island as soon as the shipping became available. Slim was not quite ready to release his Corps reserve but intelligence indicated that the troops opposing the garrison Akyab were no more than a single division and he was starting to think that the garrison in place would be sufficient to defend the key objective.
     
  2. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    OTL note - during the failed Arakan offensive, Japanese troops did call in artillery strikes on top of their own bunkers against Allied troops on the roofs.
     
  3. Schlock Well-Known Member

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    Well, the natural enemy of the bunker is a flamethrower. Are there any available in theatre?
     
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  4. Some Bloke Well-Known Member

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    British Officer attacking bunker: Kill it with fire!

    Japanese tank commander: Drive me closer! I want to hit them with my sword!
     
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  5. fester Well-Known Member

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    Averoff is still floating in Keynes Cruisers
     
  6. jlckansas Well-Known Member

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  7. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Would that have been historically one of the first incidents where a commander deliberately called down friendly artillery fire on their own positions?
     
  8. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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    Of these flamethrowers only the Wasp is likely to be available this early and then only to Canadian engineering units. British flamethrowers were not really deployed on active service until mid-1943
     
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  9. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    Doubtful. Cornwallis ordered his artillery to fire on his own troops to beat back an American advance in the Revolutionary War back in the 1700s.
     
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  10. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    But how difficult is it to field fit a portable flamethrower to a vehicle in the field.
     
  11. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    That must have pretty rough for the British troops if they weren't behind fortifications.
     
  12. Driftless Geezer

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    Wasn't that Guilford Court House or Cowpens?
     
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  13. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    They weren't. Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Though recent research says the story is apocryphal. Still, the fact that it was even mentioned, whether fake or not, shows that the tactic was not unheard of, even in 1780.
     
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  14. Derek Pullem Butterfly Killer

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    That wasn't the issue - the issue was finding a reliable low maintenance flamethrower
     
  15. Cymraeg Ebil bocagist CONSPIRATOR!

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    That and solid shot from a tank. There's a great description of a small unit action with 14th Army units taking on and destroying a group of Japanese bunkers in Burma, at Meiktila or Pyabwe, by Slim in Defeat into Victory.
     
  16. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    0800 Hours, 9 December 1942, Port C, Indian Ocean – The escorts and most of the ships of the convoy were not lingering in area. Five merchant ships bound for Diego Garcia were taken in hand by the corvettes HMCS Vancouver, and HMCS Dawson and the gunboat USS Tulsa. The escort ship from Port C’s flotilla would escort their charges for 100 miles before releasing them to sail independently. The merchant ship SS Hawaiian Merchant with aircraft engines and spare parts and three P-43Ds was staying at Port C as her cargo was meant for AIRCOS. The rest of the convoy, eight merchant ships escorted by USS Copahee and the destroyers USS Patterson, USS King, and USS Alden and the merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia continued on to Colombo.
     
  17. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    It's probably one of the few times troops have called artillery fire down on themselves confident in the knowledge they would survive and their enemies would not.
     
  18. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    1200 Hours, 9 December 1942, Hval Fjord, Iceland – The battleships HMS Howe, HMS Anson, and USS Alabama were anchored in Hval Fjord, Iceland. The aircraft carriers HMS Victorious, HMS Formidable, and USS Ranger and their escorts were in an operating box 150 miles to the east. A half hour earlier the carriers had begun launching their dive bombers and fighters for the day’s first round of mock attacks against the battleships. Today’s training runs would be simple day light attack runs the battlewagons. Subsequent days would increase the complexity of the training evolutions to include the sequencing of the attacks by the individual squadrons from the carriers. The task force was due to depart Iceland in one week, based on the phases of the moon, current weather forecasts, and a desire to disguise the task force’s movements as a covering force for Convoy JW51A.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  19. Errolwi Well-Known Member

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    Wow, a whole 4h30 of proper daylight.
     
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  20. jayel Well-Known Member

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    not to mention carrier ops in the North Atlantic
     
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