Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Story 2341 New
Near Tuzla, Bosnia Herzogozina December 1, 1943

The Dakota turned into the wind. The twin engines roared and the transport aircraft went down the airfield that had recently been improved by the imported steel mats that had been flown into the small partisan controlled enclave by the RAF. A few minutes later, the rest of the Dakotas that had flown into the small airfield just after dusk took off to head back to Foggia using the mountains and the early morning light to provide protection against the few Luftwaffe fighters that could be flying pre-dawn patrols. Twelve six pound anti-tank guns, two dozen bazookas and three hundred Stens had been flown in last night. Tonight, instructors along with more ammunition were scheduled to arrive to improve the ability of the Yugoslavian partisans to hold ground instead of merely deny it to the Germans.
 
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The Dakota turned into the wind.
Fun fact: Dakota - being an unarmed plane- was used as a description in greek army slang to characterize a soldier who served unarmed or was lazy. The term "Dakota" survived in army slang decades after the last C-47 was decommissioned.
 
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Fun fact: Dakota - being an unarmed plane- was used as a description in greek army slang to characterize a soldier who served unarmed or was lazy. The term "Dakota" survived in army slang decades after the last C-47 was decommissioned.
Such an odd reuse of the name of a plane that was a well regarded work horse. But language and slang can be a funny thing.
 
Near Tuzla, Bosnia Herzogozina December 1, 1943

The Dakota turned into the wind. The twin engines roared and the transport aircraft went down the airfield that had recently been improved by the imported steel mats that had been flown into the small partisan controlled enclave by the RAF. A few minutes later, another the rest of the Dakotas that had flown into the small airfield just after dusk took off to head back to Foggia using the mountains and the early morning light to provide protection against the few Luftwaffe fighters that could be flying pre-dawn patrols. Twelve six pound anti-tank guns, two dozen bazookas and three hundred Stens had been flown in last night. Tonight, instructors along with more ammunition were scheduled to arrive to improve the ability of the Yugoslavian partisans to hold ground instead of merely deny it to the Germans.
Think the sentence below needs an edit, another seems an unneeded addition.

A few minutes later, another the rest of the Dakotas that had flown into the small airfield
 
As far as I can make out the geology around the Fréjus railway tunnel seems to be metamorphic limestone ('Calcschist') - see section 2.1 of this paper: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259762406_Engineering_geology_of_Alpine_Tunnels_Past_present_and_future_keynote_lecture

Sadly the paper is mostly concerned with much more modern tunnels, through much more 'geologically challenging' terrain, and doesn't go into any real detail about the Fréjus tunnel.
I did turn up a reference to what I think might be an alternate rail route in the area - 'The Mont Cenis Pass Railway' - which I think other posters have mentioned. Even if the track has been lifted by WW2, presumably it still offers a good route for moving stuff, at least during good weather conditions.

Edit:
Found what appears to be a description (traveller's journal newspaper article variety rather than scientific) by someone who travelled the Mont Cenis Pass Railway and inspected the Fréjus Tunnel (also known at that time as the Mont Cenis Tunnel). Short on some information, but if it's a fake report, someone's put a lot of effort into it: http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/mrcenis.Html

Further Edit:
Looks like those with a subscription to 'Tunnels and Tunnelling International' (not me at the time of this post) might be able to read an article about the Fréjus railway tunnel here: http://www.tunnelsonline.info/features/upgrading-a-legacy-the-frejus-rail-tunnel/
(Okay: that's enough research for this post; make of it what you will for the issue of German logistics and Allied railway attacks.)
 
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Story 2342 New
Hong Kong, December 2, 1943

The anti-aircraft gunners began to police the shell casings from the battery. The light guns claimed a single strafing Mustang. The heavy gun batteries near the Kowloon shipyard would later claim a pair of American Liberators. Several hundred bombs were dropped from the large American bombers. Several dozen bombs landed within the confines of the shipyard. Half a dozen exploded deep in the hulls of already damaged merchant ships while another pair demolished a five hundred ton coastal escort.

An hour later, five squadrons of the RAF operating from Palawan bombed the colony.
 
Story 2343 New
RAF Rattlesden, England December 3, 1943

Forty two Liberators had gone up that morning. They had joined eight other heavy bomb groups and six fighter groups to attack oil refineries near Hamburg.

Thirty nine Liberators had landed at the airfield after their first mission over Germany. One Liberator diverted to a secondary strip near Norwich as one engine was out, and another was choking for the last hundred miles of the journey over the North Sea. One was lost to flak. Another entered a cloud bank near the Frisian Islands and never emerged.

The bomber crews had finally seen the elephant. The gunners would be claiming a dozen kills for sure and another half dozen or so probables. They seldom saw the escorting fighters except when the little guys hurried past the bomber stream on the way to and from the target. It was re-assuring to see friendly fighters close but they seldom stayed nearby. Instead, the Mustangs and Thunderbolts and Spitfires roamed ahead on a free spirited hunt knowing that the Luftwaffe had to come up to meet the bombers. The single engine rapiers would take their height and swoop into any slowly forming German formation for a hundred miles of furballs.

The few veterans who had flown over Germany and Italy were not sure if the tactics were good enough to replace the feeling of dread flying the through the sky with only other bombers in sight but there were far fewer Germans making passes on the bomber boxes now than they had in the past.
 
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"An hour later, five squadrons of the RAF operating from Palawan bombed the colony." That is a long flight. About 1800 miles round trip. I guess the RAF are flying Liberators too.

The American raid originated in China?
 
Liberators instead of inferior fortresses.
Not in the opinion of the crews flying the bombers. On paper, the Liberator was the better bomber, with more range, faster cruise speed and a bigger bomb load. But it was nowhere near as rugged as the Fortress. And considering the amount of flak and fighters that the bomber streams regularly faced, the older B-17 was preferred.
 
Not in the opinion of the crews flying the bombers. On paper, the Liberator was the better bomber, with more range, faster cruise speed and a bigger bomb load. But it was nowhere near as rugged as the Fortress. And considering the amount of flak and fighters that the bomber streams regularly faced, the older B-17 was preferred.
Plus the Fortress was a significantly easier plane to fly
 
An interesting question is why have the RAF stationed heavy bomber squadrons on U.S bases on Palawan Island, Philippines. Just so they could bomb Hong Kong? Nope. Borneo would be an important British interest and another reason the RAF are there.
 
An interesting question is why have the RAF stationed heavy bomber squadrons on U.S bases on Palawan Island, Philippines. Just so they could bomb Hong Kong? Nope. Borneo would be an important British interest and another reason the RAF are there.
Allows the RAF to dominate the South China Sea, squeeze Japanese traffic into French Indochina and controls the sea flank to Siam. That, plus an active seat at the post-war table more than justifies the deployment of a dozen squadrons to a US possession.
 
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