Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, Sep 13, 2018.
Looks like Black March will be OTLs Black May for the U-boats in this TL
Great work Fester
March 18, 1943 Gibraltar
The Dakota landed. It taxied out of the way as another three of its squadron mates were in queue. Fifteen minutes later, passengers had disembarked. One man carried a briefcase full of plans for an invasion that would never be. The rest were carrying plans for invasions that still could come. RAF 512 Squadron had completed its first operational mission. The four aircraft and sixteen aircrew bedded down for the night before a return trip to a staging base near Lands’ End.
March 18, 1943 Singapore
USS Neville sat heavily in the water. A battalion of Diggers had loaded up over the course of the morning. Other troop ships had most of the men of the 6th Australian Division aboard. Sailors were trying to do their job around the infantrymen who had been shown berthing spaces and the chow halls. A movie projector was whirling in readiness but the mess deck was only half full as the diggers were luxuriating in the almost unlimited hot water showers.
The tug boats made themselves fast to the large transport ship. They pulled her off the pier and soon she was moving under her own power. Eighteen large, fast ships were now assembling underneath the guns of Johor. Half a dozen destroyers and a pair of light cruisers waited for them to emerge from the channel before they started their journey.
Morocco, March 19, 1943
Recently promoted Lt. Commander Kennedy relaxed as soon as the last engine turned off. Propellors feathered and slowly decelerated. The flight engineer went over the gripe list as the co-pilot confirmed that the aircraft was secured. Five minutes later, he had emerged from the latrine and a cup of good, fresh coffee instead of the bitter coffee that he drank from a flask during the eleven hour patrol was in his hands. They had seen nothing beyond a handful of baleen whales twenty five miles north of the troop convoy.
An hour later, he sighed in relief. Every plane from his squadron, his new responsibility, that had gone up this morning had come back down. Bronco-7 dropped depth charges on a surfaced U-boat eighty miles in front of a convoy. No oil slicks were seen. He would credit the crew with a force down instead of their claimed kill. The other four Privateers had missions similar to his; productively boring.
Tomorrow would be a rest day for the crews that had flown today. The other six bombers of the squadron would take their place over the convoys that were coming to and from Gibraltar.
Bern, Switzerland, March 19, 1943
An agreement had been reached. The Kingdom of Thailand would surrender. The king would retain his throne and the government would not collapse. This was not an unconditional surrender like that demanded of Germany, Italy and Japan by President Roosevelt. It was a pragmatic surrender.
Two divisions of Australians were already on their way in a rush to Bangkok. The Royal Navy had loaded transports with the lead brigades days ago as the final details were being hammered out. By nightfall, the troop transports were in the Gulf and by the next morning, the first of forty thousand Australians were in the Thai capital. Loyal Thai troops had seized the docks and the coastal defense guns and their new allies or at least new co-belligents were helping them burn out and dig out their former co-belligerents.
Singapore is going to be quite different after the war.... since no Japanese takeover, anti colonial sentiment will be tempered and the British would be still seen in good standing (at least).
Should have invited the senior Japanese commanders in the area to a gala... and arrested the lot.
I'm not sure I'd say good standing. But the message about evil Western Imperialists in Malaya will be harder to swing when the evil Eastern Imperialists were beaten back. Perhaps a more pragmatic approach to independence which is less anti-West and more pro-"third way"
An Operation Mincemeat coming up? AKA "The Man Who Never Was"
Near Hong Kong, March 20, 1943
HMS Rorqual turned to the southeast. Her screws turned and pushed the suddenly lighter boat forward at four knots. The third and final minefield had been sown. Torpedoes were still in her tubes, but those would be held only for an emergency. She was needed back at Singapore.
It sure looks that way. But exactly what is the deception and what is the real invasion in TTL? Also, what a coup for the Allies convincing Thailand to join their side. Next up, Italy?
The island is certainly less wrecked (and intact) as the Japanese never got even near to Singapore to do any damage.
Once the Battle of Makassar Strait was clearly decided and the Thais could confirm that the IJN had their asses handed to them, the only two relevant questions were:
1) When would they surrender
2) How much pain would they suffer until #1 was confirmed
Everything else was a detail. They will get a pretty good deal out of their flip. The IJA will be cleaned up, and it helps that most of their combat formations had been very roughly handled down south and the IJA air units are low on gas as the IJN can't force convoys into the Gulf of Siam any more. Their major cities won't be routinely bombed and the RN won't be conducting constant gunnery drills on their ports. Instead, they'll become co-belligerents with independent units up to regimental/brigade level and Allied supervision at division and above, no cash reperations and a seat at the conference table. They know they'll be giving up pretty much all gains from French Indochina (minor tweaks may occur) and some of their lands on the Kra might be handed over to Malaya.
No cash reparations but what about the rice harvest? Thailand was a major rice exporter. Using the harvest surplus to feed the 11th Army has a couple of advantages:
a) Less stress on the Burma harvest that can be used in Bengal and India in general.
b) A bit less shipping is needed to feed the Commonwealth troops.
Additionally, and cynically, the British can now save thousands of Commonwealth lives in that theatre by arming the Thais. In fact, with Singapore, Burma, and Malaya now unquestionably secure, I'm not really sure the British need many troops at all in theatre, other than a few divisions for political reasons, at the most. We could even see large scale Indian Army commitments to the ETO (and I'm calling it now, a Greek campaign is happening).
DISREGARD DISREGARD DISREGARD EDITED 3/15/19
Right now in the Far East, five divisions are already heading back to the Med. The Commonwealth has [strike]9[/strike] heavy combat divisions in either Malaya, Burma or Thailand:
1 Australian Armoured Division
3 Australian Infantry Division
4 Indian Infantry
1 UK Infantry
The Australians have an infantry division in Tunisia. New Zealand has an infantry division in Tunisia.
There needs to be a garrison for Malaya and now Siam, plus a corps to support South China Sea operations. CIGS can probably bring the committment down to no more than six divisions. The question will be distribution. I anticipate that the Australian government would be willing to send 2 divisions (including their Armoured) back to the Med. One Indian division could probably be sent as well. I think the UK infantry division would be needed just to provide a token of London's commitment to the Empire. None of those divisions in the second strategic wave would be available to fight the Germans or Italians until Christmas 1943, IMO.
PAY ATTENTION STARTING HERE
Going back to https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...uisers-volume-2.451883/page-130#post-18523490
Commonwealth Forces East of Calcutta as of November 1942:
3 Infantry corps with 9 divisions (2 Australian, 4 Indian, 3 British)
1 Armored Exploitation corps (1st Australian Armored, 7th UK Armoured)
LoC troops (Straits Settlements Volunteers etc)
2 Indian Infantry Divisions
1st Burma Rifles
1 UK Infantry Division
1 East Africa Division
1 Armored Brigade
1 Rhodesian Brigade
1st Strategic Wave out ---
From Malaya --- 7th UK Armour, 3 Indian Infantry Divisions
From Burma 1 UK Infantry Division
1 Rhodesian Brigade
Current Forces in SE Asia as of March 1943
2 Australian Infantry divisions (Thailand occupation duty)
1 Indian Infantry division (Malaya)
3 British Infantry Divisions (Malaya/Kra)
1 Armoured Division (Australian --- rebuilding at Singapore)
3 Raj infantry divisions (2 Indian, 1 Burma)
1 East African Division
I misplaced 2 divisions.
Total redeployable forces back to Europe/Med theatres are probably 5 divisions
2 Australian, 2 UK, 1 Indian
Well, 5 divisions headed back currently, plus 3 more, is quite a bit. I also wonder if the Indian Army couldn't send more, but I'll defer to you.
Either way, 8 Commonwealth divisions available in 12/43 or 1/44 could do quite a bit, IMO.
Also remember that the North Africa and Greek campaigns saw no Commonwealth divisions destroyed or in need of massive reconstitution.
Yep. I'm not writing your story for you - although I am thoroughly enjoying it - but I just see a hell of a lot of reasons to launch a Greek campaign. Looking forward to seeing where you take this!
The man that never Was?
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