Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Story 2186
Central Greece, August 16, 1943

A company of Sherman tanks advanced. Their crews had become quite alert or quite dead. Eyes scanned the ground in front of the steel beasts looking for any oddities and discontinuities that could be a minefield or an anti-tank gun that was not perfectly hidden. Behind and between the tanks two battalions of Greek infantrymen were advancing. One tank stopped, and then another. Their turrets rotated a few degrees to the right and each fired a few rounds from the main gun at an abandoned shed several hundred yards away. The machine guns on the tanks joined in the cacophony as soon as the main guns ceased firing. A company commander walked to the back of the tank and picked up the intercom phone.

Soon his company was advancing slowly and warily. The British tank platoon was supporting them. Nothing had rung out, no more shots had been fired, and no German artillery was raining down on them yet. The tanks found cover and were hull down to the suspicious shed. Two tanks focused on the objective while the rest of the platoon stayed in overwatch. The advanced platoon of infantrymen soon arrived. Soon after they checked the outside of the building for wires, mines and booby traps, a satchel charge and grenades were thrown into the structure. A small detonation happened as expected. Seconds later, a much larger one scythed the curious infantry with several hundred pounds of steel shrapnel flung about at supersonic speeds. The detonation was the cue for a German 105 millimeter battery to open fire on the exposed attackers.

By nightfall, the attack had stalled a few hundred yards short of the battle's initiation point.
 
Is Josh Jaroshek enough of an aviator where he gets pulled towards the test pilot programs as some of the fighter aces did (i.e.Dick Bong, Don Gentile), or is he more of the leadership path (i.e.Don Blakeslee, David Schilling).

Or, "be patient, weedhopper"?
Leadership/training command
 
I can see that as a writer that she is mostly a 2-D placeholder as I felt like I needed someone's eyes to look through at Leningrad.

Part of this is that any mistake is likely to be a fatal mistake and it is hard to tell a story through dead eyes (not impossible, but hard)

And some of it is that the character has not spoken deeply to me unlike some of the other characters so I use her merely as an illustration.

I can see what you're saying.
I honestly think some people are over thinking the Tatiana story a bit - yes she's very good/lucky but in real life some snipers were very good/lucky. They're the snipers who became famous names during the war. Plenty weren't as good/lucky as her and they're the ones who became a helmet on a rifle in some field somwhere...
 
I honestly think some people are over thinking the Tatiana story a bit - yes she's very good/lucky but in real life some snipers were very good/lucky. They're the snipers who became famous names during the war. Plenty weren't as good/lucky as her and they're the ones who became a helmet on a rifle in some field somwhere...
Or worse, blown apart.

You dont want to be blown apart by an arty or tank shell.
 
Story 2187
Olongapo, Luzon , August 17, 1943

"Want more Sarge?"

"Always"

The cook ladled a thick beef stew into Patrick's aluminum plate. A biscuit was then quickly placed atop the brown beef, chopped potatoes and rice dish. Someone had "liberated" some peppers from a Philipino Scout unit and the heat actually made the dish interesting to most of the men. He dipped his cup into the barrel of potable water and headed to some shade where he sat with the rest of the company's leaders. They had been off the line for thirty six hours now, ever since they had managed to get down to the docks and clear the last Japanese hold-outs. Somehow the fighting over the past two weeks had never wounded him. Half the platoon was either buried or on sick call. A few replacements were due to come up in the afternoon and then the hospital truck would drop off another half dozen men tomorrow morning.

The leaders ate in companionable silence for a few minutes. Three were sergeants, and another two were not in their positions at the start of the battle. Only the company commander and the 1st Lieutenant who ran 3rd Platoon had stayed in place. And even then, the Old Man of twenty seven had his arm wrapped up tight. Off in the bay, a quartet of Navy minesweepers were slowly proofing a channel past Fort Wint. Engineers had already started to dynamite the sabotage and wrecking near the wreck of the old armored cruiser Rochester. Inland, the divisions' guns started to fire again as a battalion from Illinois waited to advance up a hill.

Eight minutes later, he could hear small arms fire peppering the air as the planning meeting began. They would be back on the line in another twenty four hours.
 
The Allies aren't going to be going much further North in Greece unless they are heavily reinforced. But then, why do they have to? They are going to be able to turn the Attic plain into a giant airbase in late 1943. That is a very big butterfly.
 
Story 2188
Keelung, Formosa August 18, 1943

The last bomber turned away. Twelve B-24 of the 380th Bombardment Group had departed from Palawan early in the morning, barely clearing the trees after a long, extended take-off run. They had droned on through the morning over the seas, occassionally making navigational checks on the reefs and rocks of the South China Sea. The bombers each carried eight five hundred pounders and more fuel than it was wise to carry. They had flown high at their most efficienct altitude until they were 100 miles from the target and then the big bombers descended to their attack height of under 500 feet. Intelligence and submarines had said that a big troop convoy was being held in the northern Formosan port.

The first two bombers dropped their bomb load without opposition. The first anti-aircraft guns started to bang away and disturb the aim of the third and fourth bomber before a shell exploded a few dozen feet in front of the cockpit of the fifth bomber. Its nose hit the sea at full speed, crushing every man inside like they were anchovy paste. The other bombers were able to turn away, two trailed smoke. Behind them three ships were on fire and another had turned turtle. Now the survivors just needed to either make it back to Palawan or find a friendly submarine to ditch near by.
 
Story 2189
Balikpapan, Borneo August 18, 1943

Three squadrons of medium bombers began their initial run in. Two batteries of medium anti-aircraft guns were flinging shells at the formation. The first bursts were off to the side and low but soon corrections were scoring the aluminum sides of the North American products. Two squadrons of Republic built fighters criss-crossed the air over the bombers looking for a fight that was not being presented to them. The bombardier lined up on his target as the lead bomber flew past the refinery that was barely operational as almost no oil was heading north back to Japan any more. Instead, they were seeking the airfields that housed the occupied port's defenders. Hundreds of bombs began to rain down as the five Dutch squadrons escaped with light losses on another combat mission that was becoming a routine milk run.
 
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Balikpapen, Borneo August 18, 1943

Three squadrons of medium bombers began their initial run in. Two batteries of medium anti-aircraft guns were flinging shells at the formation. The first bursts were off to the side and low but soon corrections were scoring the aluminum sides of the North American products. Two squadrons of Republic built fighters criss-crossed the air over the bombers looking for a fight that was not being presented to them. The bombardier lined up on his target as the lead bomber flew past the refinery that was barely operational as almost no oil was heading north back to Japan any more. Instead, they were seeking the airfields that housed the occupied port's defenders. Hundreds of bombs began to rain down as the five Dutch squadrons escaped with light losses on another combat mission that was becoming a routine milk run.
minor point ... I think its usually rendered as BalikpapAn
 
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a big troop convoy was being held in the northern Formosan port
Reinforcements for Luzon ?

We have seen the AmeriTim division is already in Luzon. May I ask how many Army divisions have you assigned for the PTO in TTL? In OTL 13 were deployed by Q1 1943 and rose to a total of 22.
 
Reinforcements for Luzon ?

We have seen the AmeriTim division is already in Luzon. May I ask how many Army divisions have you assigned for the PTO in TTL? In OTL 13 were deployed by Q1 1943 and rose to a total of 22.
Good question:

West of Tarawa the US ground forces are:
2 US Marine Divisions ( moving back to Pearl Harbor for future operations)
1 Armored Division Equivalent
5 combat experienced infantry divisions (including AmeriTIM ) Most of the experience is either on Timor or the Celebes campaign)
2.5 division equivalents of fairly light infantry in Bataan --- combat hardened but under-equipped and under-supplied. Good for one offensive burst and then defensive or mopping up duties.
6 well trained but green infantry divisions
~13 Corps/Army level medium tank battalions
more artillery than is healthy

A division of Filipino Scouts are being raised on Palawan with the guerrillas being the core of that force.

In addition to those forces, there are divisional garrisons on New Caledonia and Samoa. Guadalcanal has a brigade garrison that is detached from the New Caledonia command.
 
(snip)
A division of Filipino Scouts are being raised on Palawan with the guerrillas being the core of that force.
I'm guessing the general condition of the uniformed Filipino forces are considerably higher than this time historically. Is that the case? You've got a substantial number of Filipino forces on Bataan that have considerable *and successful* battlefield experience. Not only veteran footsoldiers, but also with their own leadership in higher command levels, accustomed to working with large formations. Leaders like Captain Ibling (and hundreds of others like him) should be a very solid base to build from.
 
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Thanks a lot for the answer!

So between the Bataan garrison and the newly raised Phlippine Scouts, the USA has 3,5 additional divisions for light duty that didn't have in OTL. Also, if I remember correctly you had posted in the past that there is 1 KNIL division with more training.

Are the divisional garrisons in New Caledonia and Samoa field divisions or division-size garrisons? If its the latter, is it safe to assume that the OOB is 2 infantry divisions fewer than OTL? So there is the potential to see anything from 2 to 9 additional divisions in the ETO come 1944? I remember also that you posted that NG divisions at were shipped in the ETO in 1944 are already on their way. It will be a very interesting 1944.
 
Thanks a lot for the answer!

So between the Bataan garrison and the newly raised Phlippine Scouts, the USA has 3,5 additional divisions for light duty that didn't have in OTL. Also, if I remember correctly you had posted in the past that there is 1 KNIL division with more training.

Are the divisional garrisons in New Caledonia and Samoa field divisions or division-size garrisons? If its the latter, is it safe to assume that the OOB is 2 infantry divisions fewer than OTL? So there is the potential to see anything from 2 to 9 additional divisions in the ETO come 1944? I remember also that you posted that NG divisions at were shipped in the ETO in 1944 are already on their way. It will be a very interesting 1944.
There are Division HQs in New Caledonia and Samoa. These units are the first raided for attachments and detachments. For instance Samoa lacks half the surgeons that they should have and a regiment from the New Caledonia division is on Guadacanal.

The National Guard mobilization happened a little earlier (not by much) and some units are already in Europe.
 
Story 2189
Bremerton, Washington August 19, 1943

The sea touched the hull of USS Lexington for the first time in over six months. The mighty drydock was slowly being flooded and the water began to hold the revitalized carrier's weight. She was no longer the barely functional hull that had come back to the shipyard after the victory at Makassar. Now she was big, and broad as always, but her flight deck had been cleared of extraneous equipment, her damage control systems greatly improved, and the anti-aircraft batteries almost doubled. Everywhere a 1.1 inch mount had been, there was now a cluster of Bofors' 40 millimeter guns. The 5 inch 25 caliber guns that had been left aboard as part of the anti-aircraft fit during the last pre-war overhaul were replaced with factory fresh 5"38 dual purpose guns for a uniform heavy anti-aircraft battery. There were no more authorized .50 caliber mounts; instead 20 millimeter cannons were occupying any stretch of flat space on the side of the flight deck or off the side of the hanger deck. Four new diesel generators had been installed along with gigantic fans to ventilate the hanger deck. Partitions had been repaired so now damage could be more readily isolated. She was not due to enter the Sound and the sea for trials until tomorrow but today half her crew would have their ship float for the first time ever.
 
Story 2190
Straits of Juan De Fuca August 20, 1943

USS Enterprise's foghorn blared every thirty seconds. The radar plot was overcrowded. The damaged carrier was following a minesweeper that has clearing the way through the clutter of commerce. Most ships stayed clear. However a steel hulled subchaser, whose skipper had claimed three submarine kills but the little ship was only the scourge of orcas, meandered across the carrier's path. The carrier's bow sliced through the subchaser. The minesweeper stopped and rescued half the crew including the least senior officer aboard and then began to recover bodies. USS Enterprise's engineer merely sighed as the damage was minimal when the ship the scheduled 118 days in drydock would start in only another sixty five hours.
 
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