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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    1400 Hours, 18 December 1942, Chittagong, India – The landing ship RFA Derwentdale and the assault transports MS Sobieski, and SS Duchess of Atholl and 12 empty freighters escorted by the destroyers HMS Foxhound, HMS Hotspur, HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, and HMS Javelin, the cruisers HMS Ceres and HMS Hawkins and the old battleship HMS Centurion departed for Trincomalee. The warships were all going to replenish and conduct minor repairs while the troop ships were due to load up additional supplies and reinforcements for Ramree Island.

    The old Greek heavy cruiser Georgios Averof also departed Chittagong bound for Ramree Island to continue serving as the task force’s primary gun support ship.

    Also departing port at the about the same time were the light cruiser Kinu and the destroyers Matsukaze, Hatsushimo, and Mikazuki. The Japanese ship were departing Penang bound for Singapore where both Kinu and Matsukaze were due for time in drydock.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  2. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    2300 Hours, 18 December 1942, Ramree Island, Burma – The night of 18 and 19 December saw the sharpest fighting yet on Ramree Island. The Japanese troops from the 65th Infantry Brigade and the beached sailors who made it ashore were just a few miles from linking up with the battalion from the 213th Infantry Regiment when they were ambushed by British troops from No. 5 Commando. While No. 5 Commando launched slashing attacks against the harried Japanese soldiers and sailors, Comanche Company from Riain’s Raiders hit the battalion from the 213th Infantry Regiment with a spoiling attack to keep them dug in and away from the main battle. No. 5 Commando’s attack quickly devolved into intense hand to hand fighting as the Japanese engaged in a fierce fighting retreat in order to get to the Japanese lines that were now due east of them. Casualties were not particularly heavy given that the troops on both sides were lightly armed and probably as many Japanese soldiers were killed by fratricide when the dug in battalion from the 213th Infantry Regiment opened fire on their own men as they approached their lines. As dawn approached the Allied troops broke off and retreated back into the forest and up the coast toward the main Allied position while more than 500 Japanese troops from the 65th Infantry Brigade and the sunken ships made to their own lines where they were pulled back into rear areas so they could be reequipped.
     
  3. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    0800 Hours, 19 December 1942, Trincomalee, Ceylon – A convoy of 12 freighters escorted by the destroyers HMS Duncan and USS John D. Edwards, and the merchant cruiser HMS Corfu arrived at Trincomalee from Bombay. The crews of the British warships were getting a few days in port as they waited for empty freighters to arrive from the Arakan that they could in turn escort to supply sources in India or Africa. The crew of USS John D. Edwards was heading back to the United States but their first task was to work with landed sailors from sunken Dutch warships who were taking over their old four piper in a hot transfer. The situation was a win-win for the American and Free Dutch Navies. The experienced Dutch sailors, most of whom were from the sunken light cruiser HNLMS Tromp were rejoining the fight while the Americans, with the exception of a small number of advisors were going home to training billets or to serve as experienced cadre to lead the crews of the seemingly endless stream of ships now getting produced in American yards. In a short ceremony administered by Vice Admiral Helfrich, John D. Edwards was re-christened HNLMS Karel Doorman.
     
  4. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    1000 Hours, 19 December 1942, Chittagong, India – The Indian sloops HMIS Indus, HMIS Sutlej, HMIS Hindustan, and HMIS Cornwallis arrived in Chittagong with an eight-ship convoy loaded with food and medical supplies for the civilian population and additional material for the General Slim’s troops. Despite the increasing intensity of the fighting around Akyab and Ramree Island, trying to prevent an out and out famine in Bengal was still a high priority for Slim and other Allied commanders in the area and two battalions of troops of the 1st Burmese Brigade of the Arakan Division were on hand to assist with the unloading of the ships and distribution of goods.

    The Indian sloops were due to depart the next morning after replenishing. They were needed for anti-submarine patrols further south near Akyab and Ramree Island.
     
  5. El Pip Well-Known Member

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    He looks philosophical for a moment, then shrugs his shoulders and says "It is war, these things happen. I'm sure they all did their best." He then calmly acceps his admirals advice and agrees with their recommendations.

    Certainly that is the most preposterous and unlikely outcome I can think of.
     
  6. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

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    Helfrich being the hypocritical SOB he is, makes this pretty much in character :)

    Great stuff as always Zeng He!
     
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  7. jonmb Well-Known Member

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    Launch it into space and create a Nazi moon base.
     
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  8. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    Use it to house the new Stargate program.
     
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  9. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Don't forget the part where the German admirals all spontaneously break into a rousing rendition of "For he's a jolly good fellow."
     
  10. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    I very much doubt that. Many of these men would have seen the effects of the Blitz - might have relatives or friends or neighbors who were killed or mutilated by German bombs. Others would have seen dead or dying men pulled from the Atlantic after U-boat attacks.

    Seeing Germans die wouldn't bother them in the least. They might even enjoy it. "Remember Coventry, you bastards!"
     
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  11. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps but I got the idea from an interview I saw on a show about the Bismarck chase with Jock Moffat (last surviving Swordfish pilot from that event, and like Dusty Kleiss passed away in 2016) and he said he was part of group that launched on the day she was sunk in case they were needed and that after Bismarck went down, none of them took any joy in seeing the German sailors in the water struggling to stay alive in the frigid waters.
     
  12. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    1200 Hours, 19 December 1942, Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, Scotland – OPERATION COBALT was complete and the ships of the combined task force were safely at anchor in Scapa Flow with the crews enjoying some well-deserved down town after a job well done. Admiral Sir John Tovey, commander of the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet was meeting with the task force commanders, carrier and battleship captains, and air group commanders onboard HMS Howe. The assembled officers looked over the photographs of Tirpitz spread out on a table taken the day before by the RAF PRU Spitfire. The pictures confirmed even the most optimistic estimates of the dive-bomber pilots. Tirpitz was surrounded by repair tugs and clearly down at the stern with her aft decks underwater. Most significantly there were two large holes where the battleship’s after 15-inch gun turrets should have been an neither turret was visible. Signs of lesser damage were also visible across the length of the ship.

    The discussion quickly turned to how long Tirpitz would be out of action. Some of the senior American officers present including Captain Wilson of USS Alabama drew comparisons to USS California and USS West Virginia, the two most heavily damaged battleships to survive the attack on Pearl Harbor. Wilson pointed out that both ships needed several months of emergency repairs in Pearl Harbor, a fully functioning naval base with substantial repair facilities, before they could sail for Puget Sound and neither ship was close to rejoining the fleet.

    All agreed the Germans were facing a significantly greater problem. Tirpitz would have to get emergency repairs in a remote fjord where even the barest facilities did not exist and then would have to sail back to Germany for a lengthy stay in a dry dock. This would obviously mean running a gauntlet of British submarines and mines before she got home where she would then be exposed to attacks from Royal Air Force Bomber Command.

    After a lengthy discussion, Tovey had no problem agreeing that Tirpitz was out of the war for at least two years, probably longer, and maybe permanently. After the formal element of the meeting was done, Tovey told Vice Admiral Lyster to give all of the ships in the task force the order to Splice the Mainbrace. Tovey also told Rear Admiral McWhorter that for the next 24 hours, his ships were all honorary ships in the Royal Navy and therefore his crews were permitted to participate in the festivities.

    Tovey also commented to the captains of HMS Victorious, HMS Formidable, and USS Ranger that with three highly successful combined operations between them as a team (PEDESTAL, TORCH, and COBALT) the navy staffs were going to have find a way to keep them together because something was obviously working.
     
  13. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    USS Ranger at Scapa Flow following OPERATION COBALT, HMS Norfolk is in the background:

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    King George VI visiting USS Alabama following OPERATION COBALT (OTL picture of the King visiting USS Washington):

    [​IMG]
     
  15. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    I think it's time Ranger paid a visit to a Navy Yard for a brief refit to allow her to handle torpedoes...
     
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  16. formion Well-Known Member

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    What a splendid task force for Somerville!

    Tirpitz is out of the game and operations in the Mediterranean will resume only in summer. So ...
     
  17. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    Interesting, but a bit different. Bismarck had been sunk; the blow had been struck earlier. Now it's defeated enemies versus nature.

    Whereas for the bombers hitting Tirpitz, killing or wounding active enemies is the point of the attack.
     
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  18. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Scharnhorst is the only German capital ship left, Hitler either sends her out on a death ride or pulls her back to the Baltic. The Anglo Americans have proved they can deliver killing blows in Norway and she's the obvious next target, while there's b all the Germans can do to protect her.
     
  19. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, changes made, thanks...
     
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  20. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    1400 Hours, 19 December 1942, Bassein River Delta, Burma – The USAAF F-4 Lightning made its pass over the Japanese support base in the mouth of Bassein River with its cameras rolling. With only one Dave floatplane on patrol over the base, the pilot decided he could risk a second pass. The sighting report provided by the submarine S-33 made it clear the Japanese were using the area as a base to support its operations in the Bay of Bengal. Allied commanders needed to know what was there in order to determine if the targets there were worth diverting attack assets from the fighting around Akyab. As he made his second pass, the pilot waggled his wings while the Japanese on the supply ships and barges below could only watch.
     
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