Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

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

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  1. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    Nice thesaurus poetry there.
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Gela Sicily, 0635 May 13, 1943


    Will paused for a moment. Holding oneself under cover while a machine gun is sending keep your head down fire in your general direction is a good opportunity for a fast break. His uniform had been torn by stone and steel shards. Italian artillery had caught part of the company in the open. He had hit the ground a few seconds before the contact fused shells landed and that saved him even at the cost of ringing ears and an unsettle stomach. The twelve men in his squad had climbed down the rope cargo nets and into the landing craft in the middle of the night. Eight had made it to the sea wall. Four other men were still within yards of Private Jaroschek.

    The machine gun was still stuttering. He looked up for a moment and saw a dark blue fighter with big white stars fly over the beachhead. Four other fighters followed the leader and went out to sea. Air support so far had been minimal. The Navy at least was shelling the ever living snot out of the assholes trying to kill him. He had looked over his shoulder a few times in the past hour, and each time, the big gray ships had gotten closer to the beach. One of the destroyers looked like it was on fire as anti-aircraft cannons were shooting at something a few hundred yards away from him while the main guns were throwing shells that would make any redleg happy against something on the small hill in front of him.

    The 2nd squad leader and now platoon commander rose up. Two BARS started to hum and the rest of the platoon followed the twenty two year old sergeant. Forward was danger, and forward was safety. Will wanted to stay as close to the earth as possible, but that would only guarantee his death as the Italian and German mortars and artillery teams found the range and pounded everyone in it to pink hued dust. He swallowed his fear and screamed as his legs dashed in concordance with the man screaming orders and giving some structure to the chaos of battle around him. It was only a twenty yard run until he was behind a masonry wall. He took two big breaths, placed his rifle on his shoulder and fired a few shots in the general direction of the Italian defenders who were shooting at the last few men in the platoon who were still uncovered.

    Only Murphy was wounded. A slug ripped open his flank. The medic had died half an hour ago, but by now, none of the veterans of Tunisia were unfamiliar with blood. A knife took off the shirt, and fingers quickly confirmed that the bullet only caught muscle and no core organs. He would live if he could be evacuated. Evacuation was not possible now. One man would need three to get him back. He could wait while the platoon advanced. Morphine, fluids and pressure bandages were what could be spared until the next strong point was taken.

    Will waited as another platoon which was now merely a reinforced squad rushed to another position thirty yards away. Soon it would be his time to rush again. The base of fire was ready, the grenadiers primed, and then the riflemen would make their first attempt. If they could seize this sand bagged bunker, the interlocking Italian defenses would be disconnected. A sip of water and a cigarette later, the call to attack was raised.
     
  3. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Will may have seen his brother fly over.
     
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  4. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    First name Audie? I hope not.
     
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  5. fester Well-Known Member

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    Nope, last name of one of my coauthors who was droning on about nothingness during a conference call this morning.
     
  6. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Authors' fiat. :)
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Palawan, May 13, 1943


    Daylight revealed horrors. Over 1,000 Japanese infantrymen had tried to storm a dug-in battalion of infantry. Automatic riflemen, machine gunners, and field artillery men ran their weapons until the barrels were red and ready to droop from the heat. Burned sugar cane stubble hid some of the bodies. More were still draped on multiple strands of wire. Broken bodies had been shattered by hastily placed mine fields. Two platoons had been destroyed in fierce minutes of face to face and hand to hand fighting. Only the intervention of a reserve tank company had stabilized the line which was on the verge of being breached. Loaders were directing drivers gingerly leading their tanks down to a fast running stream to get the ruined meat out of the tracks and the smell away from their noses.

    Two miles away, two fresh American battalions greeted the light with an advance by company column. Their objective was two miles north, a small ridge that once taken would open the field of battle again where heavy armor and plentiful artillery supported by quartermasters who could always push another truck forward could dominate instead of the infantry-centric slog of a choke point.


    Overhead a dozen Mustangs orbited, providing cover for the division. Two squadrons of P-40s flying as fighter bombers began their attack runs against suspected Japanese strong points. The attacks would continue.
     
  8. Driftless Geezer

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    Does that mean at least one (maybe more?) airfields on Palawan are operational?
     
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  9. fester Well-Known Member

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    why yes it does imply that.
     
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  10. ElMarquis Well-Known Member

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    Don't mention authorial Fiat when talking about the invasion of Italy.
     
  11. Perky50 I have my moments

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    ... I have a Fiat... would that be 'reader's Fiat'?
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Gela, Sicily 1400 May 13 1943


    HMS Roberts fired again. A pair of guns designed to smash battleship armor like it was wrapping paper sent out one ton projectiles. Several hundred yards behind the monitor, USS Savannah and USS Philadelphia were shrouded in gun smoke. The past twelve minutes, all thirty six-inch guns had been firing a shell every ten seconds at a target no larger than two old battleships wandering through the waves at Jutland. Given that the targets were not moving and the spotter aircraft had yet to be shot down, the shells were landing just on the far side of the river bank.

    Nine miles inland and twelve miles from the gunline, the lieutenant held himself on his elbows. At least this was friendly fire. It would not matter if one of the shells went short. Physics were indifferent to nationality but almost everything that was being fired was landing a few hundred yards to almost a mile in front of his position.

    He had eighty men on this side of the river and thirty five men on the landing zone side of the bridge covering his rear. The paratroopers had seized the crossing during ferocious fighting just after dawn as the flanking attack dislodged and disorientated the Italian defenders. Two of the light tanks were disabled by satchel charges that were placed by unseen sneakers. It was their destruction that alerted the defenders to their danger.

    Since then, the Germans and Italians had probed and pushed at the thin crust of light infantrymen. Five bazookas and a single captured anti-tank gun had claimed a trio of tanks. The first two probes had been defeated at the cost of twenty casualties. And then a full panzer grenadier regiment had assembled for an attack. The counter-attacking force would have easily blown thrown the thin screen of paratroopers and stuck themselves like a stiletto between a rib cage in an unopposed run at the beaches until the Navy spotter plane saw the dozens of tanks and even more numerous half tracks dressing their lines in the olive and lemon groves outside of the village.


    Zeus’s thunderbolts had begun to descend from Olympus twenty minutes ago. Every man who had a smoke grenade popped it and the Navy spotter saw the American position and kept the shells moving back and forth like a metronome, some danger close but most far enough away. The lieutenant looked up and peered through the settling dust; part of a fertile field looked like a Detroit street in February, potholed and pox scarred.


    Back at the sea, both of the American light cruisers ceased firing. Ninety shells per ship per minute for twenty minutes was a bombardment that would have caused any Army cannon humper to swoon with lust. Each ship was worth almost the entire artillery group that a corps commander could call upon. To the sailors aboard the cruisers, this was not even a full fledged demonstration of their firepower. It was not a night action with destroyers slashing in for a misericord stab with gun crews straining to get another shell in addition to the twelve already fired in the past minute into the breach and out of the barrel. The secondary battery of five inch guns had barked during the bombardment at lesser targets closer to shore, but again, it was only intermittent instead of the steady stream of shells during a mass torpedo attack against the fleet.


    17,000 feet over the now silent cruisers, four Corsairs weaved back and forth three thousand feet above a dozen Dauntlesses. Each of the dive bombers carried a single thousand pound general purpose bomb. All airpower that was available over the Gela beaches was converging to a narrow spit of farm land just nine miles inland. The Marine captain who led the fighters had a new kill marking painted on his beast’s flank. His eyes continually moved back and forth. The German fighters were fierce and fast. There was nothing in sight and the radar controller had not given him a warning either.


    The dive bombers crossed the coast and within minutes, they tipped over and planted their eggs in a small vineyard, ruining the vintage and a company of storm troopers. Two were trailing smoke as every machine gun that the German regiment had been aimed upwards at them. The fighter pilot circled the battlefield. A squadron of Havocs came in fast, low and level followed by a flight of Mitchells. By the time a squadron of Avengers from USS Independence added their bomb load to the maelstrom below, the radio sparked with life. All twelve Dauntlesses had landed safely. Eleven would be in the air by nightfall.

    The heavy Grumman bombers pulled out of their glide bombing runs when the radio squawked. Another raid was coming in from the mainland. Ranger’s Corsairs had the primary CAP but the four Corsairs from Wasp and a half dozen Hellcats from Princeton along with a squadron of RAF Spitfires were available to reinforce the standing patrol. He wiggled his wings, adjusted the fuel mixture and pointed his nose up even as his rudder brought him and his section further to the east. The fight was on.

    Miles beneath him, the lieutenant could barely hear. Over fifty bombers had taken over from the naval bombardment. The Mitchells had bombed the wrong village. The Havocs and the navy placed their bombs close and tight. Now he had a moment of less chaos than typical and he scanned his fighting positions. His men were good at first glance. He began to crawl through the rubble and behind the debris so he could talk to the nineteen year-olds whose lives were being held in hock for time. A word, a hand on the shoulder, a cigarette, a moment was what he could give them. Even before he reached the next fox hole, USS Savannah and USS Philadelphia resumed their bombardment at a far more relaxed pace of only three rounds per gun per minute; enough to keep the enemy regiment from advancing but not enough to burn through their entire magazines during the course of a long lunch.

    Even as the bombardment resumed, HMS Belfast and a pair of destroyers left Force A to reinforce the American gun line as the American cruisers would be running low on ammunition soon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  13. diestormlie <wit>

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    Ah, HMS Belfast. Lovely ship, you should all go if you get the opportunity. I took three hours and it still wasn't enough.
     
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  14. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    May 14, 2017
    I do the same thing at Patriot's Point in South Carolina. I've spent six hours crawling through the Yorktown and still haven't seen all of it
     
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  15. David Floyd Well-Known Member

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    Yorktown is the only carrier museum I haven't seen. Definitely on the list! My favorite so far is Hornet.
     
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  16. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    May 14, 2017
    They've got a really great collection there. All the WWII birds are down in the hanger while up on the flight deck they've got everything from an F-8 Crusader to a Phantom, Tomcat, Hornet, Intruder and Skyhawk. And more.
     
  17. jammci Well-Known Member

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    Apr 18, 2016
    Just wondering, this airborne lieutenant, is his last name winters?
     
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  18. fester Well-Known Member

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    The airborne LT is quite familiar with the Georgia sun while taking leisurely strolls up and down mountains
     
  19. jammci Well-Known Member

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    "Curahee" Actually watching it at the moment.....
     
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  20. misterwibble Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    On this occasion, it is better to give than to receive.
     
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