Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

How much of the Italian coup is understood by the Soviet high command? i.e How capable are they of quickly reacting to the changing situation on their own front and can they have any influence on Soviet-leaning partisans in the Balkans?
They clearly seem to be in the know. And a full army sized gap has just been created in the eastern front without losing a single soldier, with massed units waiting for it. This has great potential to be really bad for the Germans...
 
I think the expertise of SOE and OSS in demolitions is overrated. Experienced miners could do the job just as easily. Regular italian engineer units would have such miners. Trendino and South Tyrol had a lot of active mines back then. They can get explosives from there. Worst case senario a few artillery shells can do the job as well. The SOE/OSS agents would be better deployed in Yugoslavia or northern Greece. Their expertise lies not in their abillity to blow up a bridge but in operating behind enemy lines.
I was inserting the operator's, primarily to furnish radio connections to Allied command and to provide close air support control. Since they were air dropping in why not drop a load of plastic explosives why waste artillery shell, when plastic will ruin most bridges. Blowing tunnels should be a last resort. Blown bridges will do well in stopping the Germans and are far easier to rebuild post war
 
Guys, I would like to post a couple of sources regarding the contribution of the OTL Italian Social Republic to the german war effort- what it meant to have North Italy under control for 1,5 years.

"Hidden Treasure: The Italian war economy ' s contribution to the German war effort (1943-1945)" https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/58826031.pdf
It seems that the conquest of Italy not only paid for itself but it produced valuable surplus that was utilized by the german war economy.

North Italy also assisted in the german aircraft (components mostly production) : https://books.google.nl/books?id=6P4CdvXBAIkC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=aircraft+production+italy+1944&source=bl&ots=OBUU03A5bb&sig=ACfU3U0uZUbxsWx674l8zsLiaLDRsG6LUg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiP_eDxlr3oAhVNLewKHbcvDl8Q6AEwDHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=aircraft production italy 1944&f=false

Moreover, wiki says that the fascist airforce shot down some 260 Allied aircraft. Moreover, without an outright conquest the Germans are deprived of hundreds of thosuands of prisoners to be utilized back in Germany (perhaps half of the OTL number). Last but not least, every ton of bombs that are not dropped against italian industrial targets will find its way to Germany...
 
I was inserting the operator's, primarily to furnish radio connections to Allied command and to provide close air support control. Since they were air dropping in why not drop a load of plastic explosives why waste artillery shell, when plastic will ruin most bridges. Blowing tunnels should be a last resort. Blown bridges will do well in stopping the Germans and are far easier to rebuild post war
You don’t have to drop any explosives to them. The Alpini had plenty available and knew exactly how much was needed at each spot that needed to be destroyed. I would not be surprised that they haven’t already started to lay mines, both ap and at in spots to slow them down.
 
I would think there were pre-war plans that the Alpini would know about about the best places to cut the rail and road links in case of an invasion.
 
I would think there were pre-war plans that the Alpini would know about about the best places to cut the rail and road links in case of an invasion.
I don’t know about the Italians, but the French had a law on the books that any bridges built after a certain date in the 1800’s had to have built in spaces to set explosives to destroy them. The Germans also had numerous plans for tunnels and bridges dating back before WW1 to destroy them. I cannot see the Italians in the wake of WW1 not having plans especially considering that it wasn’t until the war almost started before they got along with the Germans.
 
Story 2242
North of Marseilles, 1637 September 25, 1943

The sergeant waited. He was no longer a sergeant, but he still thought as one. He had checked in on his boys. The anti-tank riflemen had a good position behind some cover near a bend in the trail. Two rifles had a clear shot at the rail bridge three hundred yards away. The other two heavy rifles were able to provide overwatch along the slopes of the hill. Well over two hundred maquis were scattered up and down the side of the hill. Almost all of them had only joined the ever growing bands in the past three months. Enough had spent time in the military during their cohort call-ups but had been bounced for one reason or another before the great humiliation. The communists were the most common. They were good enough men, the sergeant just would not talk politics with them. A few others, he would trust with his sister's virtue. The rest had found ways to avoid being sent to German work camps. Four Free French advisers, including one naval officer who knew too much about the joys of high explosives, had parachuted into his command a month ago.

The slightly crazy naval officer and a dozen other men were finishing up their task now. The viaduct would be ready to come down soon enough. The collaborationist guards had been overpowered an hour ago. They had been disarmed and stripped naked before having their hands tied behind their back and ropes connecting each man to his peers by the neck. They would eventually be recovered by their peers, humiliated and made an object of public scorn. Four minutes later, the first explosions rumbled. A rock slide blocked the tracks on both sides of the viaduct. A minute later, five arches of the valley crossing bridge were breaking apart.

An hour after his command had started to create space between their latest act of destruction and the patrol bases of the occupiers, his well trained ear heard another set of rumbles. Another bridge was coming down. He smiled. The Germans would not be able to move men around. He did not know why there had been insistent orders to drop bridges and viaducts today, but the mission had been accomplished, and so far, he had not lost a man.
 
Let me crawl out of my hole to note a little bit of RTL history.

When transferred to the Canadian Navy, and then vetted to the US 3rd Fleet; the HMCS Uganda did not endear herself to the RN or the USN at all.

Incident: "Vote to go home at the end of German hostilities".

Hastings, Max (2007). Retribution – The Battle for Japan, 1944–45. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp 401.

I understand the vote to go home at the end of German hostilities as now allowed by Canadian law (Actually a form of re-enlistment, required for the Japan War.), by many of the Canadian crew veterans after the long service they had been through and the appalling living conditions they found as a British built war emergency ship not really suited or designed for crew habitability in the tropics, but right in the middle of the Pacific War, at the most desperate phase , where every ALLIED ship with its American installed FIGHTER DIRECTOR SETUP, trained crew, and air defense radar suite also with scarce highly trained technicians was needed? This was May, June, July 1945.

As it was, the RCN temporized until a replacement, HMS Argonaut, (a Dido for a Crown Colony class cruiser.) could be chopped to 3rd Fleet as a substitution.

Back to my hole now.
 
Story 2243
Kiev, Ukraine SSR 1700 September 25, 1943

Twenty two rail cars headed west. Eight box cars contained Slavic prisoners who had been promised to the mines and the fields of Germany and the Greater Reich. Four of those cars would supplement the labor force already feeding the Volk while the other four were replacements for deaths. Mortality had been high for the month. Eight passenger cars were empty.The last six cars were supposed to be empty as well. Instead they were filled with Italian mechanics, quartermasters, planners and clerks. German security groups were sweeping up all the small attachments and detachments of Italians that could be found in the largest Ukrainian city. No one was quite sure where to send the former allies, so they went west.
 
Story 2244
6 miles south of the Brenner Pass, Italy, 1835 September 25, 1943

The colonel looked at the surviving men. He had lost half of his command in a day of heavy fighting. Thankfully, most of the men were wounded, and the rail line to the rear was still open. The hospitals were overflowing but the surgeons were no longer making triage decisions. Half a mile behind him, a battery of mountain guns fired at some German patrol poking their head over the rocks. An incredible rumble shook the ground moments after another wave of explosions broke up the mountain face. An Alpini Engineering company that was mostly made up of reservists who worked as miners had just dropped yet another landslide. The commander had asked for several more tons of explosives as he excitedly pointed out positions where a few hundred kilograms of dynamite could block an Army for a week. The last train going to the rear had included a request for as many crates of dynamite and mining explosives as possible. Between landslides and bridges that could be dropped, the possession of the Brenner Pass would be pointless. One of the northern doors into his homeland would be locked shut for weeks if not months.
 
Story 2245
San Diego, September 25, 1943

Another convoy left the bay. This time twenty seven more landing ships, heavily laden with cargo but not men were being escorted by a pair of old destroyers and a division of gunboats. First stop was Hawaii where the quartermasters and beach teams would inspect the combat loaded holds and verify that everything was where they wanted and needed it to be. And then the convoy would join with others and continue to head west towards the setting sun.
 
6 miles south of the Brenner Pass, Italy, 1835 September 25, 1943

The colonel looked at the surviving men. He had lost half of his command in a day of heavy fighting. Thankfully, most of the men were wounded, and the rail line to the rear was still open. The hospitals were overflowing but the surgeons were no longer making triage decisions. Half a mile behind him, a battery of mountain guns fired at some German patrol poking their head over the rocks. An incredible rumble shook the ground moments after another wave of explosions broke up the mountain face. An Alpini Engineering company that was mostly made up of reservists who worked as miners had just dropped yet another landslide. The commander had asked for several more tons of explosives as he excitedly pointed out positions where a few hundred kilograms of dynamite could block an Army for a week. The last train going to the rear had included a request for as many crates of dynamite and mining explosives as possible. Between landslides and bridges that could be dropped, the possession of the Brenner Pass would be pointless. One of the northern doors into his homeland would be locked shut for weeks if not months.
I can see one of the first requests to the US for supplies including some requests for mules and mule units. I don’t know for sure how many the Alpnini have but any more they can get for use in the Alps will help. IOTL therewere numerous mule based transportation units used in the Italian campaign by the Allies.
 
They clearly seem to be in the know. And a full army sized gap has just been created in the eastern front without losing a single soldier, with massed units waiting for it. This has great potential to be really bad for the Germans...
Lots of communists in Italy prewar, though obviously keeping their heads down so there is likely to be a lot of sympathisers if not many active networks. I suspect the NKVD would have a fairly good feel for what is going on in Italy.
 
Awesome imagery here. The sun is setting in more ways than one :)

Keep up the excellent work. This timeline and others on this site are helping me (and I'm sure others) get through a pretty rough patch. Thanks again.
Hell, writing it is one of the things that is relatively structured in my life right now. My attention span to writing a manuscript or doing a lit review is basically shot as I have maybe 15 minutes before a kid needs help with something or a conference call is about to start, or I question what an analysis of 2014-2019 data on consumer decision making really matters right now.
 
Story 2246
Rome, 0001 September 26, 1943

Behind the thick stone walls of his city, the Pope prayed. The Noble Guard was fully armed for the first time in generations and the Swiss Guards maintained watch over the entrances to the micro-state.

Miles away, a company of American paratroopers were moving through the night. The captain had been shot hours ago and a first lieutenant had taken over. The machine guns were in a covering position and would open fire as soon as a flare brilliantly broke open in the night sky. Orange flecks of flames licked the sky as a burning German tank still had fuel left in reserve. The last counter-attack from the surprised Germans had almost made it to the edge of the airfield where the beleagued italian defenders were reinforced by the American paratroopers who had been flown in earlier that day.

The company was almost to its position. Three dozen German infantry men had a strong point that had become even stronger over the past four hours. It blocked the way to a bridge over the Tiber. So far the bridge was still standing, but the new company commander would be shocked if there were not engineers wiring it for demolition. Two platoons would mask the strong point while the third platoon was to make a mad dash across two hundred yards of open ground to place the bridge under direct fire. He raised his head and looked over the men who he had trained with for the past fifteen months. He knew the names of everyone's Ma and Pa, and most o f the girlfriends and wives from the men in his platoon. He knew every single face of the scared but determined nineteen and twenty year old privates and corporals. He had held the hand of a twenty four year old sergeant before the morphine took over and stretcher bearers could evacuate him to a Dakota that had landed through a cloud of somewhat protective smoke. Now he was about to order the men to follow their training and conduct a deliberate attack against a fixed position. The machine gunners would keep the Germans down and hopefully buy some time for the few bazooka teams to blast open fox holes and machine gun nests. And then once the chaos of an attack began, it would be paratrooper against paratrooper where the superior weight of the American numbers could have a chance to win.

"Curahee"
 
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