Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Story 2195
South China Sea, August 25, 1943

Thirty seven transports and cargo ships were in four rows of nine with a single transport leading the second row from port by herself. Three minesweepers led the other columns. Four destroyers and an equal number of destroyer escorts surrounded the ships. An old light cruiser was the close escort command vessel. Men were scanning the sea for periscopes creating feathers in the waves. Soldiers had already identified at least a dozen suspected submarines that led to ships changing course and escorts mobbing the suspected contact. Nothing had been found yet.

Overhead a pair of Wildcats and a single Avenger from USS Chenango prowled around the edges of the convoy looking for submarines. The Avengers were being lightly used during the day. A pair were scheduled to be aloft at all times at night where their radar could do the most good. Suddenly, the sea erupted as machine guns chattered and heavy slugs emerged from the wings of a diving bomber. A depth charge entered the water. And then another. Round circles of gray and white foam erupted. A destroyer was already breaking from formation with the general quarter bell sounding. Her forward most gun had been manned and now a fifth of her firepower was tracking the datum that was attracting aircraft and attention like a spilled Coke attracted bees and ants. The ship sped up to close the range and then minutes later slowed to give the sonar operators a chance to hear anything as the great big active set began to ping. Contact was established off to port by a few degrees. Another destroyer detached herself from formation. Now they would sit on the submarine until it died.

The convoy continued through the South China Sea as a another division was heading to Bataan.
 
Story 2196
Over Bosnia Herzogovina, August 26, 1943

The watched ticked past midnight. The transport plane slowed. The nine men who had barely said a word to the crew besides "good evening" as they boarded hitched up their parachutes and checked the supply crates one last time.

Seven minutes later, a priest, a boxer, a gambler, a homosexual, a womanizer, a college proffessor of the classics, a thief, a mechanic, a card shark, an Olympic runner and a poet were floating through the air as they descended towards the landing zone set up by the Yugoslav partisans.
 
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Over Bosnia Herzogovina, August 26, 1943

The watched ticked past midnight. The transport plane slowed. The nine men who had barely said a word to the crew besides "good evening" as they boarded hitched up their parachutes and checked the supply crates one last time.

Seven minutes later, a priest, a boxer, a gambler, a homosexual, a womanizer, a college proffessor of the classics, a thief, a mechanic, a card shack, an Olympic runner and a poet were floating through the air as they descended towards the landing zone set up by the Yugoslav partisans.
My first thought was that it would be funny if those descriptions all applied to one person. As it is, 11 labels and 9 parachutists...
 
My first thought was that it would be funny if those descriptions all applied to one person. As it is, 11 labels and 9 parachutists...
My understanding is that the SOE and SAS and OSS and many other TLA entities attracted "unusual" individuals on a regular basis.
 
Over Bosnia Herzogovina, August 26, 1943

The watched ticked past midnight. The transport plane slowed. The nine men who had barely said a word to the crew besides "good evening" as they boarded hitched up their parachutes and checked the supply crates one last time.

Seven minutes later, a priest, a boxer, a gambler, a homosexual, a womanizer, a college proffessor of the classics, a thief, a mechanic, a card shack, an Olympic runner and a poet were floating through the air as they descended towards the landing zone set up by the Yugoslav partisans.
It sounds like a start of movie. Only needs the classic character banter related to their character quirks

Btw how the situation in Italy is going? The Fascist Council still plotting Mussolini's downfall?
 
Story 2197
Murmansk, Soviet Union August 27, 1943

The battleship Archanglesk swung gently at anchor. The transfer had been completed the previous day. Today her Soviet crew was coming aboard. Many of the sailors were amazed at the creature comforts including the ice cream machine that had been fitted to the battleship after a late night raid of a sister ship that had just returned to the fleet from a refit in an American yard. Most of the Royal Navy seamen and officers had left the ship the night before. One hundred men were still aboard to help transition the ship to her new navy and new crew. It would only be a thirty day assignment before they too would board a merchant ship or an escorting cruiser for the long journey back to Iceland and Scotland. After that, they would be given thirty day leaves and re-enter the Fleet's manpower pool.
 
What did the Russians want it for? Shore bombardment in the Baltic?
If I recall otl Royal Sovereign was lent in exchange for the Soviets not getting their share of the Italian fleet during the war. However with the Italian navy all but gone to the botom in this timeline e and Italy still technically on the side of the Axis one question remains why did the Royal Navy lend the Royal Sovereign to the Soviets?
 
If I recall otl Royal Sovereign was lent in exchange for the Soviets not getting their share of the Italian fleet during the war. However with the Italian navy all but gone to the botom in this timeline e and Italy still technically on the side of the Axis one question remains why did the Royal Navy lend the Royal Sovereign to the Soviets?
The Soviets wanted a flagship, and the RN knows it will be facing a manpower challenge. The R class at this point has net negative value to the RN for anything other than accommodations ships, harbor AA batteries, block ships, breakwaters or favors to Allies.
 
Over Bosnia Herzogovina, August 26, 1943

The watched ticked past midnight. The transport plane slowed. The nine men who had barely said a word to the crew besides "good evening" as they boarded hitched up their parachutes and checked the supply crates one last time.

Seven minutes later, a priest, a boxer, a gambler, a homosexual, a womanizer, a college proffessor of the classics, a thief, a mechanic, a card shark, an Olympic runner and a poet were floating through the air as they descended towards the landing zone set up by the Yugoslav partisans.
Force 10 from Navarone?
 
How does she get to the Baltic?
Yes you're right. The Germans totally control the entrance to the Baltic Sea. Maybe the Russians could fly the flag of Sweden and smile and wave a lot and hug the Swedish coast? Nahhh, bad idea.
 
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Governance in cabinet parliamentary democracies involves a lot of “arms length” corruption when compared to the individual executives of the US systems.

Giving the Soviet Union a useless ship will placate CPGB members and networks, some Labour networks and some labour networks. Indirectly it will delay the Cairo or Indian parliaments / mutinies. It helps balance the ledger. It helps with a touchy ally worried about being betrayed in the long term.

And the costs are negative. You gain by not having to maintain and staff something you can’t use. And it hinders your ally long term because it is useless.

Why wouldn’t they?
 
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