Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Caen, France, May 21, 1944

The Canadian riflemen waited another few minutes. Half a dozen Typhoons pulled out of their rocket attack and then a field regiment started to fire smoke while another regiment flung high explosive shells at the defensive strongpoint that the riflemen had to take.
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Shoulder patch of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. In which one of the 3rds' constituent regiments my father served and two of my uncles served in another regiment. I remember my father's comments fondly recalling and describing the "Tiffies" in action. The Canadian soldiers fully appreciated their efforts.
 
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Story 2568
Naha, Okinawa May 22, 1944

The air raid siren went off half an hour before dawn. Some civilians ran to the shell magazines. More civilians ran to the local fire fighting depots where water, sand, shovels and axes were ready. Old women and young children huddled underground in air raid shelters. Many of the shelters were small holes in the gardens that the families that lived in the outer rim of the small port city had. Steel sheets supported by steel and wooden beams formed protected boxes six feet underground. If the grandmothers closed the doors, the air would grow fetid faster than it would on a brand new submarine, so many of the grandmothers kept the doors open until they heard the first bombs explode.

The airfields on the long island were busy. Over a hundred fighters had their pilots sitting in their cockpits an hour before dawn. Most of the engines were cold as they could not afford to burn the fuel for an alert, but keeping the planes fueled, armed and crewed saved vital minutes while the engine warmed up. A full squadron was already overhead while the rest of the defenders were soon seeing their propellers turn.

Fighters were still scrambling as the first American squadron came over the coast. Sixteen carriers were out to sea. Twelve carriers had launched two waves; the first was this incoming fighter sweep. The second wave had almost all of the fleets' bombers escorted by half a dozen fighters per carrier. This second, far smaller wave would have had enough fighters to force the Japanese defenders to fight at near even odds even before any accounting for flying time or ruggedness of the machines was taken into consideration. The first fighter wave just overwhelmed the out-numbered, out-experienced, and out-built defenders. Three Americans would be claiming ace in a morning even as most of the American fighter pilots never fired a burst at an enemy fighter. Half a dozen Hellcats smashed into the sea and earth below along with dozens of Zeros, Jacks, Georges and somehow even a trio of Oscars. Before the bombers arrived and after the air above the island had been claimed, quartets and half squadrons of Hellcats went down to strafe anything that moved or anything that looked like it could have value. Anti-aircraft guns claimed a few more hard kills and damaged dozens of more fighters, but their resistance marked their location for the Helldivers that soon tipped over in 70 degree dives to suppress the flak even as the Avengers began to bomb the harbor and the hangers on the primary airfields on the island.

By 10:00AM, the two strikes had recovered.

By noon, the fleet had turned to exit back into the vastness of the Pacific.

By nightfall, bodies of aircrew had been committed to the deep.

By midnight, the planning teams aboard each carrier were considering their target list for the next island that they would soon strike.
 
Naha, Okinawa May 22, 1944

Half a dozen Hellcats smashed into the sea and earth below along with dozens of Zeros, Jacks, Georges and somehow even a trio of Oscars.
That is an ugly (yet wholly realistic) ratio for the Japanese. Then you consider that the Americans not only have individually better fighters, but significantly more of them and the means to easily replace their casualties while the Japanese can't even keep their engines warm. The war was always going to drastically favor the Americans long term - this just shows that long term is now here and in full force.
 
That is an ugly (yet wholly realistic) ratio for the Japanese. Then you consider that the Americans not only have individually better fighters, but significantly more of them and the means to easily replace their casualties while the Japanese can't even keep their engines warm. The war was always going to drastically favor the Americans long term - this just shows that long term is now here and in full force.
My thought process is by this time, the typical American ensign has more flight hours in type than a Japanese section leader while he is also flying a far better machine and is led by combat hardened section and squadron leaders. And all of these advantages will be multiplied as the Americans, when they establish a blue bubble, begin the battle with a significant numerical advantage.
 
Story 2569
Quonset Naval Air Station, May 22, 1944

The bomber landed. The pilot placed the big beast down almost perfectly and had plenty of runway left to use the brakes without stressing the airframe too much. Twenty minutes later, the crew clambered out of the patrol plane. The flight engineer was already talking with the ground crew while the radar operator had started to jog to the electronics shop. Halfway through her patrol, the scope had gotten fuzzy. It was likely fixable with a few dollars worth of spare parts and at least three cups of coffee tonight.

Several hundred yards away, the squadron skipper allowed himself a brief smile. Every plane that had gone up this morning had come back. That made today a good day. He had no new letters to write. He ran his hand through his hair before he got back to the paperwork. Two of his officers needed good fitness reports for the promotions that they richly deserved so he had to choose his adjectives wisely to impress the BuPers gnomes of his recommendation.
 
...dozens of Zeros, Jacks, Georges and somehow even a trio of Oscars.
The Jack handled like a pig, apparently - quite a good bomber killer, but not something that even an experienced pilot would choose to take into battle against competently flown enemy fighters.

There was also the quality of materials used: the Frank, in theory a formidable opponent, suffered from poor quality steel used for the under carriage legs, which on occasion bent, or collapsed, when the aircraft was fully loaded. And the use of wood - the latter fighter was latterly produced with wingtips and tail made from it, to alleviate aluminium shortages - increased weight and degraded performance.
 
Story 2570
Saint-Lo, France May 23, 1944

Two squadrons of Mitchells turned to the north. One of the bombers was damaged by a burst of light flak that ripped open a hole in the rear port fuselage. Another bomber was operating with one functional engine as the other had been turned off and the propeller feathered. Despite the damage, the raid had been successful. The crossroads that was key to the extreme western edge of the German blocking position at the neck of the peninsula had been hit hard. The raiders were lucky, to some degree, as they arrived as a regiment of infantry was marching through the town. Almost all of the riflemen and machine gunners were able to scramble to cover. Not all were lucky. Strings of five hundred pound bombs sometimes landed close enough to men who were attempting to make themselves as small and low as possible to break bodies and bones. But they were not the primary target.

Minutes after the bombers left, and before the riflemen's hearing would return to hear the buzz of a Piper Cub spotter plane in the distance, pistol and rifle shots started to ring out. Over a hundred horses needed to be put down and dozens more needed to be caught as they had fled from the fire and the terror while still yoked to the carts and wagons that had been flipped over or destroyed in the raid.

The observer in the Piper Cub made a few notes and called for a squadron of Jugs to strafe and rocket the column later on in the day.
 
Story 2571
Toulon, May 25, 1944

Six battalions were advancing slowly on a narrow front. Platoons and companies would assault one row of houses and wait for another unit to clear a hardpoint that had perfect enfilading fire. Half a dozen variants of the basic Sherman tank assisted. Dozers knocked down walls, flame throwing tanks burned out hold-outs. Tanks armed with the standard French 75 flung high explosive shells at stone walls while the few Firefly variants that had been acquired attempted to send high velocity armor piercing shells through the narrow slits in steel reinforced bunkers. A few tanks that had their turrets stripped out due to battle damage functioned as ambulances while the tanks that had their guns replaced with dummy tubes coordinated action.

Off to the east, a full division from Algeria was working their way up Mount Faron. Already a few Moroccan Goumier patrols that were attached to the division had crested the ridge line and the defensive positions of the German defenders were slowly becoming unhinged. Any time a German machine gun started to fire, artillery or air support was called in. And if the defenders held for too long, men with long knives were more than willing to get stuck in following a barrage of grenades that would emerge through a hastily fired smoke screen.

To the south, five battleships and half a dozen cruisers were shooting in the first echelon of the 1st Polish Corps. The Poles would clear the spit of land east of Les Sablettes. Even as the first landing craft came within a quarter mile of the beach, two dozen Hellcats dropped a mixture of five hundred pounders and napalm on the few defenders and then three squadrons of the Free Polish Air Force commenced their final rocket attacks on the beach defenses.
 
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Toulon, May 25, 1944

Six battalions were advancing slowly on a narrow front. Platoons and companies would assault one row of houses and wait for another unit to clear a hardpoint that had perfect enfilading fire. Half a dozen variants of the basic Sherman tank assisted. Dozers knocked down walls, flame throwing tanks burned out hold-outs. Tanks armed with the standard French 75 flung high explosive shells at stone walls while the few Firefly variants that had been acquired attempted to send high velocity armor piercing shells through the narrow slits in steel reinforced bunkers. A few tanks that had their turrets stripped out due to battle damage functioned as ambulances while the tanks that had their guns replaced with dummy tubes coordinated action.

Off to the east, a full division from Algeria was working their way up Mount Faron. Already a few Goumier patrols had crested the ridge line and the defensive positions of the German defenders were slowly becoming unhinged. Any time a German machine gun started to fire, artillery or air support was called in. And if the defenders held for too long, men with long knives were more than willing to get stuck in following a barrage of grenades that would emerge through a hastily fired smoke screen.

To the south, five battleships and half a dozen cruisers were shooting in the first echelon of the 1st Polish Corps. The Poles would clear the spit of land east of Les Sablettes. Even as the first landing craft came within a quarter mile of the beach, two dozen Hellcats dropped a mixture of five hundred pounders and napalm on the few defenders and then three squadrons of the Free Polish Air Force commenced their final rocket attacks on the beach defenses.
Love your story as always. Just a very minor nitpick: traditionally, Goumiers are from Morrocco (with a minority coming from tribes living in the Sahara desert), they didn't belong to Algerian units (people from Morrocco and Algeria weren't fond of each other -and still are) and instead formed independent units named "Tabor" (battallion). A "goum" was a company, a "tabor" a battalion" and a "Tabor Group" a brigade with four battalions. Historically, the French Army raised four "tabor groups" which were used as an Army Reserve in 1944/1945 when you had to deal with a serious problem (Cassino, Alsace etc).
Just saying this because I think I read that your previous updates about the French spoke about "Algerian Goumiers".
Otherwise: again, great story and a lot of pleasure when reading it.
 
Love your story as always. Just a very minor nitpick: traditionally, Goumiers are from Morrocco (with a minority coming from tribes living in the Sahara desert), they didn't belong to Algerian units...

AIUI (and my understanding is barely more than wiki and other online sources)
Goumi is a french word taken to sound like the Arabic/Turkish word for "people" and usually translated as "tribesman"

Militarily it was initially applied to Algerian Auxiliaries recruited by the French around 1910 for use in their conquest of (parts of) Morrocco!
Only once that campaign was complete was it applied to similar forces raised from Morocco itself.
In theory, the OTL Goumiers served the puppet Sultan, with officers and equipment supplied to him by the French.
In return, some of the units as a whole were on "loan" to the French (the rest being used for local policing)
This is unlike Algerian forces which were intrinsically French once the territory was annexed as part of metropolitan France.

As a generic word used by many tribes from the Atlas and Saharan regions, the French thought it allowed mixed units to be recruited
 
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AIUI (and my understanding is barely more than wiki and other online sources)
Goumi is a french word taken to sound like the Arabic/Turkish word for "people" and usually translated as "tribesman"

Militarily it was initially applied to Algerian Auxiliaries recruited by the French around 1910 in their conquest of (parts of) Morrocco!
Only once that campaign was complete was it applies to similar forces raised from Morocco.
In theory, the OTL Goumiers served the puppet Sultan, with officers and equipment supplied to him by the French.
In return, some of the units as a whole were on "loan" to the French (the rest being used for local policing)
This is unlike Algerian forces which were intrinsically French once the territory was annexed as part of metropolitan France .

As a generic word used by many tribes from the Atlas and Saharan regions, the French thought it allowed mixed units to be recruited
Your point, about the historical/ethnical meaning of the word, is entirely correct. I am just speaking about the military meaning of the word used by the French Army during ww2, which is: mountain troops from Morroco.
 
Just saying this because I think I read that your previous updates about the French spoke about "Algerian Goumiers".
Otherwise: again, great story and a lot of pleasure when reading it.
Poor writing on my part. I intended for the Algerian division to have Goumier units attached to it as a forward set of patrols and skirmishers while the main line division brought the firepower. I updated as I can totally see how my intent did not match my words.
 
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Your point, about the historical/ethnical meaning of the word, is entirely correct. I am just speaking about the military meaning of the word used by the French Army during ww2, which is: mountain troops from Morroco.
Thanks. I rather suspected that might be the case

I was just wondering whether the use of goumi to be an inclusive term had been extended iTTL
i.e. from the well established Moroccan units to any extra indigenous Algerian mountain troops recruited into the larger Free French Forces
especially as the original Goumiers had indeed been from Algeria, not Morocco.

Sorry if my thinking was not clearly expressed :frown:
 
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Thanks. I rather suspected that might be the case

I was just wondering whether if the use of goumi to be an inclusive term had been extended iTTL
i.e. from the well established Moroccan units to any extra indigenous Algerian mountain troops recruited into the larger Free French Forces
especially as the original Goumiers had indeed been from Algeria, not Morocco.

Sorry if my thinking was not clearly expressed :frown:
In this case, I think we should let the decision to the author :)
 
Story 2572 New
Off Omaha Beach, May 26, 1944

The steamer was nudged against the concrete and steel quay. She was heavily loaded and deep in the water. Along the quay were dozens of trucks waiting near several steel cranes. The sergeants and officers of the Negro labor company quickly conferred with the ships' master as they discussed how to use the three cranes aboard the ship. Within minutes, the first load of goods were being deposited onto the back of the lead trucks. As soon as one truck was loaded, another took its place.

The port was now open. It would be feeding the bellies of the half million men already ashore with good food, or at least plentiful food. And it would be keeping the thousands of artillery tubes well stocked with shells. Those shells would be first used to push the German long range artillery batteries back just a few more miles so that the beaches and the Mulberries could be unloaded unmolested and then they would be used to crush the German defenses with steel shards while the armored divisions pushed through to the Rhine and then the Elbe.
 
Does this mark the very beginning of the famous Red Ball Express in TTL? Also does the latest post indicate that the Elbe River will again be the stop line for the Allied advance similar as to our time? This TL's version of the Yalta Conference may go somewhat differently.
 

Driftless

Donor
against the concrete and steel quay
(I had to re-read the Wiki on the various pieces of the harbors) I'm assuming this concrete and steel unit is this TL's "Phoenix"? In any case, there's a good two weeks longer use period before the OTL June 19 storms arrive and raise hell with those Mulberries. Also, To be seen yet, how this altered landing schedule plays into gaining working access to ports on the French northern coast. I'm also guessing the Germans will try to sabotage the portside facilities as was historically done
 
Does this mark the very beginning of the famous Red Ball Express in TTL? Also does the latest post indicate that the Elbe River will again be the stop line for the Allied advance similar as to our time? This TL's version of the Yalta Conference may go somewhat differently.
No, this is not the Red Ball Express. The unit furthest from the pier is still within a few hours drive. This is well within normal truck mounted logistics range. The Red Ball Express was an ad hoc expedient given the inability of the US to use the French rail system to move logistics forward far enough to where truck mounted logistics than made sense for the last mile distribution.
 
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