Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Story 2277
Stalingrad, Russia October 21,1943

"More, Grandpa, more!"

The old man caught his breath. His wrists were thick with muscle built from welding armor plates onto tank turrets all day, six days a week. His shoulders were strong from a lifetime of hard labor. He smiled at his granddaughter and wrapped his sausage thick fingers around her gossamer thin forearms. He picked her up and began to spin until the sky became solid gray with flecks of blue and white swirled around. He swung her until every last breath of air in her small, war damaged lungs erupted as giggles and laughter. He swung until his back crack and his shoulders realigned. He spun for a moment of joy.

His daughter chuckled. It was a source of joy that playing with his granddaughters could occasionally make her laugh again. Her husband had gone to the front in the summer of 1942 and somewhere, his unit was destroyed and his body had been left to decay into the thick sod of the steppes. Since then, she worked, she raised her children and then she worked again without much joy beyond seeing her father play with her children like he had never been able to play with her.

The old man sat on the ground as the young girl tried to catch her feet. She failed. She fell into him. They both smiled.

"Again grandpa, again!"

They spun again.
 
Japan’s best bet is to get the battleships into range of a invasion group. Destroying all that tonnage might grant her as many as six months. Realistically though, this force will be bombed several times by TF38, then the remains shot up by the American battleships.
 
Who is expected to attack the Turks? Germany? Resurgent Greece? The Allies? Has Turkey at this point broken diplomatic relations with Germany? In OTL Turkey traded very profitably with both sides and provided vital minerals to Germany. Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Germany only in August 1944 and declared war on Germany in February 1945 (and of course no Turkish soldier fired any shots against Germans).
 
Who is expected to attack the Turks? Germany? Resurgent Greece? The Allies? Has Turkey at this point broken diplomatic relations with Germany? In OTL Turkey traded very profitably with both sides and provided vital minerals to Germany. Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Germany only in August 1944 and declared war on Germany in February 1945 (and of course no Turkish soldier fired any shots against Germans).
Right now no one. However there is a very active combat front immediately next to the Turkish border so caution is warranted. Additionally, the Turkish political-military leadership is looking at the way the winds are blowing and are assuming that eventually the Allies will win, so actions are being taken with that assumption as a motivating factor.
 
Well in otl the winds were blowing against Germany since summer 1944. Yet, even when the closest German soldier was stationed in Bosnia, Turkey refrained from participating in the war, even via a token force. The declaration of was happened when Konev was in Oder and it tooknplace simply in order to become a UN member. Very wisely the whole turkish elite chose to profit from the war while not spending a single drop of blood. In otl there was zero interest in fighting.
 
Well in otl the winds were blowing against Germany since summer 1944. Yet, even when the closest German soldier was stationed in Bosnia, Turkey refrained from participating in the war, even via a token force. The declaration of was happened when Konev was in Oder and it tooknplace simply in order to become a UN member. Very wisely the whole turkish elite chose to profit from the war while not spending a single drop of blood. In otl there was zero interest in fighting.
There is value to the allies of the Turks looking heavily armed and touchy about their border even if the Turks never fire a hostile shot.
 
Story 2278
Cape Bon, October 22, 1943

An obsolete twin engine bomber lazily circled the blue water looking for submarines and German E-boats. A trio of Hunt class destroyers and a C-class cruiser were the escort for the seventeen merchant ships that were forming up in three columns. These ships were heading to Naples. The rest of the convoy that had sailed with those seventeen ships from Liverpool and then Gibraltar was being escorted by a minesweeper and a single frigate. Those eleven ships were heading to the south at a steady eleven knots. Twelve hours after the convoy split into two, the southern convoy dispersed. The escorts would shepherd two ships to Malta. The rest of the convoy would be sailing independently to Benghazi or Port Said. Soon the faster ships had reached thirteen or fourteen knots while the rest of the ships still trundled along at a steady nine knots.
 
Story 2279
Pont du Hoc, Normandy, October 23, 1943

The cement slowly poured out of the back of the truck. The fourth of six casemates was almost complete. Captured French guns that had been used during the 100 Day Offensive were waiting for the construction to be completed. Ox teams were scheduled to move the guns into there permanent position before the middle of November.

Below, on the beaches, hundreds of French construction workers were laying out dozens of anti-boat traps. Some were long poles resting on metal frames and others were repurposed anti-tank obstacles. Engineers were mapping out where minefields should be. Infantry officers were walking along the beach with the engineers. A machine gun pit marker would be placed in a location while the officers walked out the fields of fire and interlocking coverage zones. Sometimes the first position was ideal. Often, a dozen slight movements would be made until the engineers and infantrymen were satisfied that construction of bunkers could start.
 
@fester what was the fate of the Italians in the Ionian Islands and Epirus-Western Greece?
Ionian Islands, the Italians are being ignored.

Epirus/Western Greece, most of the Italian divisions were able to surrender to Greek partisans. Two were destroyed by German attacks, and another went over en masse to partisan formations.
 
Story 2280
Near Okinawa, October 24, 1943

The dark sea lit up as five torpedoes slammed into the side of an 7,500 ton merchant ship that was weighed down with the supplies needed for the reinforcements heading to Formosa. Two divisions were in the process of shifting from their training camps outside of Tokyo towards positions in southern Formosa. Another convoy two days behind the convoy currently fighting its way through the small American wolf pack carried the heavy equipment of a tank brigade that was being transferred from Manchuko to Taipai.

Even as the sonar operators heard the creaking sounds of a ship breaking up, USS Grouper crept to the southeast at four knots three hundred feet beneath the escorts that could not peak below the thermocline.
 

SsgtC

Banned
Near Okinawa, October 24, 1943

The dark sea lit up as five torpedoes slammed into the side of an 7,500 ton merchant ship that was weighed down with the supplies needed for the reinforcements heading to Formosa. Two divisions were in the process of shifting from their training camps outside of Tokyo towards positions in southern Formosa. Another convoy two days behind the convoy currently fighting its way through the small American wolf pack carried the heavy equipment of a tank brigade that was being transferred from Manchuko to Taipai.

Even as the sonar operators heard the creaking sounds of a ship breaking up, USS Grouper crept to the southeast at four knots three hundred feet beneath the escorts that could not peak below the thermocline.
So nice having fish that work the way they're supposed to. Though I'm guessing sending 5 fish at one merchant was done on the chance that 3 of the torpedoes may not work?
 
Story 2281
Louyang, China October 25, 1943

The first trucks from the temporary capital arrived. The first dozen carried only shells. The next dozen towed seventy five milimeter howitzers that had been shipped from the arsenals of the American Midwest and floated down to be loaded onto ships in New Orleans. The gun crews that has been trained for almost a year in Burma sat quietly in the truck beds. They were all well clothed and well fed unlike the hundreds of thousands of infantrymen dug in along the river line. The gunners had leather shoes and steel helmets while the infantrymen were lucky to have anything to designate as a shoe much less leather. Cloth caps covered most of their heads. The battery officers each had a pistol with sufficienct ammunition to actually train on their personal weapon. Behind the guns, another two dozen trucks followed with fire control equipment, machine guns for anti-aircaft protection and more shells, oh so many more shells.

By nightfall, the dozen guns were well hidden. Forward observers were already crawling through the fields to spot Japanese positions and likely battle zones. More teams were beginning to lay wire. Even as wire was being laid, gold was being distributed to a regiment of infantry. They would be paid as long as the wire was still in the field. The copper was worth stealing and selling for black market food.
 
Louyang, China October 25, 1943

By nightfall, the dozen guns were well hidden. Forward observers were already crawling through the fields to spot Japanese positions and likely battle zones. More teams were beginning to lay wire. Even as wire was being laid, gold was being distributed to a regiment of infantry. They would be paid as long as the wire was still in the field. The copper was worth stealing and selling for black market food.
It was a very different war in China. The army starving for basic supplies and much of the country starving too. There is only so much that can be carried over the Burma Road.
 
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The Imperial Japanese command are attempting to heavily reinforce Formosa. They know what's coming.

If the Allies can take Formosa it opens up the entire Southern Coast of China to Allied shipping. No more starving in the Chinese army. Of course this requires some port cities to be retaken. And air power based out of Formosa and later on in coastal China as well.
 
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For the Allies where should and where are they capable to conduct their next major Naval and amphibious operation? Should they land on Formosa or Okinawa?
Or are there more pressing options? Bear in mind the very different strategic situation in this timeline as compared to ours.

Okinawa puts most of Japan within B-24 range. Formosa opens up much of the East China Sea.

And what about Manila and the rest of the Philippines? Manila and all of Luzon must be retaken. But South of Legazpi? Bypassed and left to"wither on the vine?"
 
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