Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Ternate, Luzon May 3, 1943

The guns of Fort Mills fired again. The heavy naval rifles were joined by the three remaining coastal defense mortars and a single battery of 155 millimeter guns that had been brought to the coastal defense fortress over the past several days. Now those shells were ripping open bunkers and scything men who were trying to become as small and hidden as possible.

The observation posts that the Japanese had maintained on the southern shore of Manila Bay had been well observed, plotted and targeted. Over the course of thirty minutes, every post had been targeted by a freight car load of shells. This was the heaviest bombardment the Americans had fired in almost a year. The tacit ceasefire of incapacity was ending.
Are they okay for accuracy at Fort Mills? I understand that the rifling on some guns wears out with use - although I'm not anywhere near enough of an expert to know if that's a problem with guns like these at Fort Mills. (edit: I enquire partly since they've been under siege for a while and I don't know how easily they can get replacement barrels in?)
 

SsgtC

Banned
Are they okay for accuracy at Fort Mills? I understand that the rifling on some guns wears out with use - although I'm not anywhere near enough of an expert to know if that's a problem with guns like these at Fort Mills. (edit: I enquire partly since they've been under siege for a while and I don't know how easily they can get replacement barrels in?)
The liners on heavy naval rifles like those mounted in Fort Mills are usually good for 100-150 war shots fired with a full charge of powder. Using a reduced charge will extend the life of the liner. As for replacing the liner, you probably aren't going to see any shipped in until regular supply runs using regular freighters begin. And by that point, new liners won't really be needed as the fighting will have moved beyond the range of the guns. For use during the fight, it would not surprise me to learn that the various forts have at least a small stock of new gun liners to replace badly worn ones. If it's possible to change them out under combat conditions however? Not a clue.
 
British 12-inch L/35 guns from the same era as the ones at Fort Mills had a barrel life of about 250 rounds. US guns might get 200 or more rounds. The 14-inch guns at Fort Drum would probably be capable of 150-200 rounds.
 
Ah, HMS Belfast. Lovely ship, you should all go if you get the opportunity. I took three hours and it still wasn't enough.

I kept bashing my head on asbestos wrapped pipes when I visited. awesome to visit, would have been even better with to see what the stripped out compartments (with displays) would have looked like originally.

The liners on heavy naval rifles like those mounted in Fort Mills are usually good for 100-150 war shots fired with a full charge of powder. Using a reduced charge will extend the life of the liner. As for replacing the liner, you probably aren't going to see any shipped in until regular supply runs using regular freighters begin. And by that point, new liners won't really be needed as the fighting will have moved beyond the range of the guns. For use during the fight, it would not surprise me to learn that the various forts have at least a small stock of new gun liners to replace badly worn ones. If it's possible to change them out under combat conditions however? Not a clue.

Not possible.
 
The liners on heavy naval rifles like those mounted in Fort Mills are usually good for 100-150 war shots fired with a full charge of powder. Using a reduced charge will extend the life of the liner. As for replacing the liner, you probably aren't going to see any shipped in until regular supply runs using regular freighters begin. And by that point, new liners won't really be needed as the fighting will have moved beyond the range of the guns. For use during the fight, it would not surprise me to learn that the various forts have at least a small stock of new gun liners to replace badly worn ones. If it's possible to change them out under combat conditions however? Not a clue.
In order to swap out barrels of heavy calibers you need a large crane and various specialized equipment and hundreds of qualified personnel to run them, which is obviously something not available in the Philippines. Plus the turret top has to be lifted out of place which kind of removes its horizontal armor which is a bad thing in a combat zone
 
In order to swap out barrels of heavy calibers you need a large crane and various specialized equipment and hundreds of qualified personnel to run them, which is obviously something not available in the Philippines. Plus the turret top has to be lifted out of place which kind of removes its horizontal armor which is a bad thing in a combat zone
Wiki is your friend

Spare gun barrels were provided near some batteries, including Smith and Hearn, due to the inability to re-line used barrels except at specialized facilities in the continental United States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Mills
 
In order to swap out barrels of heavy calibers you need a large crane and various specialized equipment and hundreds of qualified personnel to run them, which is obviously something not available in the Philippines. Plus the turret top has to be lifted out of place which kind of removes its horizontal armor which is a bad thing in a combat zone

They would be 'disappearing guns' not mounted in a turret
 
Having been to see the guns at Ft. Casey on Whidbey Island here in the US, they were only 10" rifles, it would not take that much of a crane system to change out the gun itself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Casey

If you want to change them out with them up you could construct a pathway to hold the gun up until it is off of the cradle and over the berm. Then bring in the new rifle the same way. Replacing them when they would be down might be easier if there was no back behind the emplacement where you had it aimed at the time you want to pull it off its mount. Being lower down you might be able to adapt a railroad car to hold it up and get it out and a new on in there.
 
Story 2044


Southeast of Leningrad, May 14, 1943


Hundreds of shells were overhead, thousands more would soon follow. Death and destruction was measured in tons and slivers.

Machine guns were hammering away at a strong point. Submachine gunners were crawling forward on their bellies to storm an outpost. Pioneers were a few meters behind the spearpoint, each man carried the tools needed to penetrate a minefield and pierce a wire.

Four hundred meters behind the assault force, Tatianna maintained her watch. Today, she was acting as a sharpshooter instead of being an independent hunter. Her rifle dealt death one bullet at a time, a few grams of steel and lead and copper and powder per life. She had fired seven times already, her targets were officers and sergeants first and then machine gunners and mortar crews. Riflemen were too common for her efforts. She fired once again. The rifle kicked against her shoulder and she cleared the bolt. Her spotter marked the impact, four inches low and two inches wide of the optimal point, but a wounding was almost better than a kill right now. That veteran would need his squad to care for him while demoralizing the men who had looked up to him. Her spotter nudged her in the ribs. It was time to switch. She would spot and her partner would shoot.

Four hours later, the pair relaxed. The regiment had met up with a tank battalion that was attacking into Leningrad even as they were attacking out. Rumors had it that they would be loaded into trucks to help reinforce another part of the general offensive, but for now, they had bread, they had water, and they even had good Turkish cigarettes.
 
so is germany still doing better than OTL against the soviets?
Yes and no.

Up north, without Finland being an active co-belligerent, the Arctic Front is now on the Norwegian border where both sides angrily stare at each other but won't spend the effort to send enough artillery ammunition to the middle of nowhere to do anything. Leningrad was never placed under a complete siege. So up north, Germany is doing worse than OTL.

Central and Southern Russia, Germany is doing better. Army Group B was not destroyed in Case Blue/Planetary Offensives. The bolus of trucks that were never used in North Africa have been worked into the ground so there are significant operational logistical issues past the rail heads. The Rhez Salient was never formed and several other smaller salients were smoothed out to coherent defensive positions anchored on terrain features and rivers instead of holding in "DO NOT RETREAT" orders. This has freed up significant mobile reserves and has allowed for some more effective rotation of units to the strategic rear for rest and reconstitution. The Planetary Offensives were not quite as successful in pushing the Germans back but the smarter operational withdrawals from the 1941/1942 and now the 1943 Winter offensives has led to slightly less area of Russia occupied but roughly the same value of industrial/agricultural production held.

The big thing now from the German POV is that the combination of no Stalingrad and no Tunisgrad means a mid-size army group of units and very well trained cadre has not been destroyed. The manpower death spiral is further away even if the industrial production system is at same or minisculely less than OTL due to more effective Allied bombing.

The major threats to the Wehrmacht is that the Western Allies have a very large extra army group available and with Husky, the Western Allies can credibly threaten the entire Mediterranean littoral which is given the Heer's quartermasters angina. That plus the Germans are very suspicious of the Italians as there is a model in TTL of a switch (Thailand)
 
Story 2045

Fort Sills, Oklahoma, May 15, 1943



Three trucks drove away. The private on gate guard duty closed the wooden gate. He shifted his feet as the work gangs moved the food and supplies for the six hundred and fifty people imprisoned in the camp to the storage tents. He adjusted his cap against the sun and resumed his post.
 
Story 2046

Near Gela, Sicily May 15, 1943



The Sherman tank paused. It fired. A high explosive shell exploded near the base of an olive tree. The light machine gun which had been chattering ceased to fire.


American infantrymen advanced slowly. Will Jarosheck now was carrying the squad BAR. His rifle had been handed off to the previous BAR carrier who had joined the walking wounded the night before. His eyes scanned back and forth across the landscape. Over there was an unnatural clump. The heavy rifle spat out three, four, five rounds quickly. A few bullets were left in the magazine. Even as he emptied the rest of the magazine in the general direction of the German positions anchored on a burned out hulk of a tank with an iron cross on its turret, the Shermans supporting the advanced fired again and then again.


Mortars began to lay down a smoke screen even as the 105 millimeter divisional guns went to rapid fire. Eight minutes later, Will’s squad was advancing. Eight men stood up to a quarter crouch and began to move and advance. He fired the BAR from his hip, hoping the noise would scare the defenders from aiming at him. German riflemen fired blindly into the smoke. Artillery began to lash the invisible zone. Thousands of shards of steel shredded the air. A few shredded men.


Two hours later, Will rested against a bridge. Four dozen paratroopers had been relieved.
 
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Fort Sills, Oklahoma, May 15, 1943


Three trucks drove away. The private on gate guard duty closed the wooden gate. He shifted his feet as the work gangs moved the food and supplies for the six hundred and fifty people imprisoned in the camp to the storage tents. He adjusted his cap against the sun and resumed his post.
Issei, no doubt. IOTL the first POWs from North Africa were just starting to arrive in the area. Less of those, this time around.
 
Story 2047
Orange, Texas May 15, 1943

Another war time expedient escort left the tiny harbor. Another score of her sisters were still being assembled. After those warships were handed over to the fleet, those work gangs were scheduled to switch over to building coastal landing craft.

An old lieutenant glanced over his shoulder as USS Pillsbury began a gentle turn to the south on her way to Galveston's tanker docks
 

Driftless

Donor
Orange, Texas May 15, 1943

Another war time expedient escort left the tiny harbor. Another score of her sisters were still being assembled. After those warships were handed over to the fleet, those work gangs were scheduled to switch over to building coastal landing craft.

An old lieutenant glanced over his shoulder as USS Pillsbury began a gentle turn to the south on her way to Galveston's tanker docks

This productive ship?
 
Story 2048

Lorient, France May 16, 1943



The U-boat barely sulked home. Two tug boats had guided her down the well swept channel. Lines were tight and kept the damaged ship afloat. Her captain was atop the sail, surveying the passage and shouting orders. Another two hours and she would be tied up, another two days and she would be in dry dock. This was her seventh dry patrol. Four days from port, a Coastal Command bomber caught her on the surface half an hour before dawn. They had swept in fast and low out of the western darkness before dropping depth charges that broke open welds and popped rivets. Good German workers would have kept thousands of gallons of water outside the hull but the French dock workers were amazingly competent in their incompetence.

Two more hours and the pig boat would be in her sty, far safer than being at sea.
 
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