Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, Sep 13, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: Story 2012

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Alexandria, Egypt April 29, 1943



    Two carriers turned out of the wind. The last fighter was aboard. The flight deck crews scrambled to tie down the narrow legged aircraft and bring the half dozen machines that had landed hard down below to the hangers for overnight repairs. Since the carriers had arrived from the Far East, the experienced fighter squadrons traded in their obsolete Sea Hurricanes and their older Seafires for factory fresh machines. Three crates and a pair of pilots had already been written off due to landing accidents.

    Forty miles south of the carriers’ training box and two miles inland from the great port, almost the entire complement of the 13th Army rested. Seventeen officers, fourteen sergeants and one hundred and seventy three men of other ranks along with four hundred civilian contractors (mainly truck drivers, painters and set designers) had been called to Alexandria for a briefing. Forty men were still sending radio messages to each other in eleven division and three corps headquarters. The largest of these sites was a pair of almost new Ford trucks. The men had been briefed on the next phase of the Army’s mission. And then they had been released to a night on the town before they headed back to the extensive training ranges occupied by the components of this mighty, false army.
     
  2. Killer in Well-Known Member

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    So how many armies do the Brits actually have and how many do the axis think they have ?
     
  3. fester Well-Known Member

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    Several AND a few more than reality.

    Actual Armies:
    8th Army (Libya/Tunisia)
    2nd Army (Tunisia/French North Africa) HQ in process of de-activation, manpower to be cannibalized for an army group HQ
    10th Army Persia/Iraq/Palestine rear area security
    11th Army Malaya/Thailand --- winding down active operations with intent to be a rear area force by 3/1/44
    14th Army Burma/Thailand --- de-activated and merged into 11th Army
    9th Army Cyprus --- primarily a planning cell with a few units attached at this time

    Indian Army Strategic echelon --- Burma, Ceylon and India --- force generation command/internal security.

    Home Forces

    Other Forces (<1,000 men assigned)
    1st Army (Arctic/Expeditionary Warfare -- Glasgow)
    13th Army (Alexandria)
     
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  4. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Those sneaky "I was Monty's treble" bastards LOL
     
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  5. Constantine Paleologos Well-Known Member

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    Oct 17, 2010
    Something I never understood about British manpower deficits in WW2. They raised an army of millions in World War I, so why couldn't they repeat the feat in WW2 with a (slightly) bigger population? Instead, it seems they had difficulties raising army units from day 1. Is it because the RAF sucked in so much material, resources, and manpower?
     
  6. Finbarr the Fair Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the answer has several facets. Away from my sources but I think both the RAF and RN will have taken a lot of personnel that could have been in the army. The army itself probably had much larger support and services elements, thus reducing the number of Divisions seen in the field. The UK Home Garrison was probably larger, these skeleton Divisions aren't usually counted. British troops served in the Indian army and the African Divisions.

    I'd have to check whether the UK actually enlisted as many personnel as in WW1 but the difference might not be very great. Keeping more skilled people in industry might account for any such trend. British policy was in part to use Imperial manpower wherever possible, arming them first by its own efforts and then via Lend-lease.

    I'm not sure all these suggestions are right but the answers will lie on these or similar lines.
     
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  7. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    There was a far greater requirement for men to be retained in industry during WW2 given the far greater use of heavy equipment and aircraft etc that was supplying the Imperial forces plus allied units compared to WW1 and this partially reinforced by lessons learned in WW1 when the rush to volunteer had a detremental impact on some of those vital industries ability to support the then war effort.

    If you were a skilled worker (known as a reserved occupation) that was deemed vital for the war effort then you could neither volunteer nor be called up.

    In the end so great was the demand for coal miners for example that a significant % of those called up became coal miners! Grey cells are telling me this was 10%!

    I was once informed (???) that one of the reasons why the commando units were so good was because they were partially made up of men who came from reserved occupations as the rules against them volunteering did not extend to the Commandos.

    Also as mentioned the RAF was a vast orginisation - a Bomber Squadron with its ground support 'slice' of personnel had nearly as many men as an Infantry battalions personnel 'Slice' of personnel.

    And while there were RAAF, RSAAF, RNZAF Squadrons under the RAF Umbreller while efforts were made to have their personnel 'slice' from that nation - in practice it very rarely got to 50%

    Then there was the navy - again far larger than in WW1 what with many hundreds of escort vessels and the personel necesary to support them plus the Merchant navy

    Then there was the 'British' men that were in the Indian Army units - many (not all) of the Indian infantry Brigades had 1 British Battalion of the their 3 Infantry Battalions many of the Indian Army units officers and Specialists would have been British as well.

    And this would have been the same for many of the other 'non dominion' Commonwealth divisions such as the 2 West African Divisions.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Story 2013

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Kennedy Township, Pennsylvania April 30, 1943



    “Have another one”

    The bar tender passed a free drink down the polished oak bar to one of his quasi-regulars. Victor Jaroshek showed up every Tuesday and Friday and had anywhere from two to three beers. Tonight he was on his fourth. And more unusually, his wife was with him and working on her fifth.

    They were exuberant and depressed at the same time. She had pictures of her newest grandson. Margaret had the child and both mother and son were doing well enough. Little Edna was a very proud big sister as she was trying to snuggle and strangle little Jonathan. This was their celebration. Their family was bigger.

    They also had received a telegram saying that their second youngest was wounded and would be coming home again. His letters had stopped in late December. He had hinted that something big was going to happen and given that he was a Marine, that probably meant something near Makassar, but then there was nothing. He had written but the ship holding a month’s worth of mail had been torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Coral Sea. The telegram was short and non-specific, at least it was meant he was alive. Enough mothers had keened in the hollows and flats of the Ohio Valley already.

    So they drank to celebrate, and they drank to forget their fear.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  9. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Love the T/L, just going to try and be helpful with a nitpick for this latest post.
    1. In WWII even deaths were reported by telegram (usually) and the current practice of a service member (usually officer) and a chaplain showing up to deliver the bad news would have been quite exceptional.
    2. "mess dress" is the military equivalent of formal wear and would not have been worn for such duty. For the Navy, the persons delivering a notification would be wearing blues or whites (depending on the season/location), the the Marines probably blues. In WWII you might have also seen the the officer wearing service dress khaki (Navy) or alfas (Marines).
     
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  10. stubear1012 Well-Known Member

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    Regarding British manpower during WW2, I recall that the men drafted who were sent to the coals mines did not get credit for military service. They felt that it was unfair since they were drafted and their military service was mining coal. Was that true?
     
  11. vl100butch Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Slorek, the practice of casualty notification as we know it today started during Vietnam. I think mess dress was suspended during WW2 and is not a uniform one would wear for notification.
     
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  12. Mike D Well-Known Member

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    Nov 30, 2013
    Bevin Boys wouldn't have got any recognition but men who ended up in the forces wouldn't have got anything other than whatever medals they might have earned. There was no equivalents of the GI Program that I've ever heard of for British forces so the only thing they really missed out on would have been the right to return to their old jobs which men called up for the forces had.
     
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  13. fester Well-Known Member

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    Updated
     
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  14. Threadmarks: Story 2014

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Mers El Kebir, April 30, 1943



    In the dank, dark bar, fighter pilots gathered. Americans were sharing Kentucky bourbon with Frenchmen who offered wine while the Englishmen wanted gin.

    Josh grinned as he could not understand a goddamn word that one of the French pilots was saying except ME cent neuf but he was speaking the language of all fighter pilots --- his hands were zooming back and forth, his thumb tilted upwards and then inwards before swooping to the ceiling. The excited pilot’s hands slowed as he came onto a merge after an inverted roll at the top of a loop. His middle finger was pointed ever so slightly ahead of his left hand. A perfect solution to the problem.

    The Frenchies flying P-40s had a busy few weeks over Tunisia. The German machines were closer in performance and design philosophy to his mount than the Japanese. Their engines were bigger and more powerful which meant that the slow speed ballet of a Zero could be ignored. His Corsair could roar, zoom and slash but the Germans could match anything that he did. The Japanese were playing a different game but the Germans had to play by the same rules. The Marines had trained for months to beat the Japanese at their game but now, the squadron aboard USS Wasp had to forget some of their training and learn from the pilots who had survived fighting in Europe.


    “Another bourbon for me, and whatever he wants” Josh shouted as he started to maneuver his hands to show the French pilot how he got out of the chaos of Pearl Harbor.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  15. RyderWest Spintop Isolated

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    Josh is now in North Africa?
     
  16. fester Well-Known Member

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    Yep, USS Wasp and USS Ranger have both taken on a Marine Corsair squadron for operations in the Mediterranean. Independence and Princeton are due to arrive shortly bringing more naval air as well as the RN Far East Fleet recently arriving at Alexandria to re-equip with Seafires. Rochambeau is in Mer El Kebir with a Corsair only air group. The next round of operations needs high performance naval fighters so that means not WILDCAT and not HURRICANEs which means creative assignments are needed for the USN.
     
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  17. mudhead Little-Known Member

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    Has he just invented the Immelmann turn?
     
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  18. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Jan 15, 2014
    That was a fellow named Max. But I'm sure that the fokker was a Messerschmitt.
     
  19. jlckansas Well-Known Member

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    The Corsair is going to be a shock to the Germans who are not used to that type of aircraft in the US hands, especially if they are CV based. If the JU 88 and SM 79 torpedo planes run into these they are going to take some losses.
     
  20. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Jan 15, 2014
    Yes but even more importantly is the ME 109s and FW 190s units need to take losses.
     
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