Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, Sep 13, 2018.
Have you checked behind the sofa ?
Near Vemork, Norway December 23, 1942
He had made worse decisions.
He just was not sure what they were.
The four engine bomber/transport was flying through a snow squall. The navigator swore the drop zone was two minutes away. The Norwegian's stomach lurched almost as quickly as the aircraft. The pilot fought the updrafts and downdrafts gaining and losing 500 feet in seconds.
At least this ride would be over soon enough. The five other men in his team all had their fingers up in the air. They had verified that their parachutes were good and that the parachutes of the man in front and the man in back of them were good. He had checked and been checked by the man behind him.
A strong hand landed between his shoulders as the load master encouraged him to jump into the bleakness below. He entered the air and enjoyed the tranquility for a moment before his chute jerked him upwards. Behind him the rest of the team was starting to float down and then the larger chutes with the heavy equipment followed.
Palaw, Burma December 24, 1942
Transports were dead in the water. They were clustered together; vulnerable to bombers and coastal defense artillery. The minesweepers had cleared two lanes and four holding areas. They were working to sanitize another path. So far, no mines had been discovered but that was not evidence of anything other than the lack of mines in a particular place. Sailors were moving to the anti-aircraft guns where ready ammunition was being passed out and long watches planned throughout the day. Further offshore, HMS Hermes was recyling the combat air patrol of two Martlets covering the assault force.
A brigade from Rhodesia along with a Commando battalion were the main force. Assault elements were entering the boats a few minutes before sun rise. Off in the distance, the French battleship Lorraine and two cruisers stood ready to bombard anything that looked threatening. Overhead bombers were making their runs even before the assault craft began their short journey to the beaches.
No effective resistance was met. Three dozen Korean laborers slowed the seizure of the bridge across the river by trying to surrender. Half a dozen Japanese military policemen retreated to a building and attempted to create a strong point. The company of tanks that landed in the third wave was brought forward to deal with the nuisance.
By nightfall, almost 7,000 men were ashore. The last wave was scheduled to land at first light. The men ashore had already started digging in for the inevitable counter-attack by either the Japanese field formations that had been battered by the 14th Army coming out of Burma or the rear area troops that were at the supply depots in the south. This road was the only functional logistics route for the retreating Japanese field armies once the road to Tak, Thailand had been taken by the 17th Indian Infantry Division.
By Christmas, field fortifications had been erected that would have made a Roman centurion smile.
Krabi - looks like good access to a river valley that runs across the isthmus
So correct me if I'm wrong, but in addition to the 2 British/Commonwealth field armies advancing against the Japanese, 2 seperate amphibious landing have now placed forces behind the Japanese main lines?
If this is the case, the entire Japanese position in Thailand may collapse soon. Looking via google maps, Palaw is actually fairly close to Bangkok. If they can get an airfield or two set up, they can put Bamgkok within range of fighters and light attack aircraft.
Surat Thani, Thailand December 31, 1942
The regiment was laagering for the night. Twenty nine gun tubes pointed outwards. Machine guns were manned and sentries were alert. Riflemen were in observation posts outside of the line waiting for the inevitable Japanese infiliatration attempts. The second round of the offensive was slowing again, not because of the resistance four mostly shattered Japanese divisions could render but because the trucks carrying supplies for the 7th Armoured Division and the 1st Australian Armoured Division were breaking too often. The pause that the divisions had taken after demolishing the Imperial Guard division in a series of fruitless banzai charges had allowed for a quick stockpiling of supplies and a dozen of the highest priority repairs to be made for every fighting vehicle, but that was at least one hundred and twenty air miles ago and several hundred fighting miles.
A mile away, another regiment laagered too. Two squadrons were on the north side of a bridge that Japanese engineers failed to destroy. Each tank driver took his time going across very slowly and gingerly but the thirty two tanks that were still functional that afternoon had all made it across. Another squadron was on the south bank. The Brigade commander had thought about ordering his tanks and the few companies of attached infantry to see if they could steal the city on the quick but he was quickly disabused of this notion by all of the officers who had fought in northwest Malaya. Tanks and infantry in a city was a wonderful combination, but to do that right required having enough infantry. Tanks with only a few platoons of infantry was asking for a fiasco.
An Australian infantry brigade was marching north and would be able to join in the assault by mid-day tomorrow.
I believe the technical term is 'squished'...
Not quite --
Krabi was a feint --- send a couple of minesweepers and a pair of ancient destroyers to get Japanese reserves moving off of the recently re-established line on the Kra after they had been sliced and diced by the Mobile Corps of Montgomery. The landing operation was four or five teams of half a dozen men who all have an unnatural obsession of making things go Boom.
The only real landing was in Palaw, southern Burma, with the idea of cutting off the Japanese forces from their supply depot. The Rhodesian brigade was being used as the RN believes that the Army should be used --- a sniper rifle to exploit an enemy's coast that he can't defend everywhere. Now the Rhodesians are more than content to fort up on the road junction and force whatever odds/sods of REMFs from the south and the exhausted and increasingly undersupplied reserves of a beaten army from the north to attack them. They'll have several days to sight and site every remaining 18 pounder that they could find in India plus their normal allotment of 25 pounders.
The commonwealth forces are really flying up the Kra Isthmus, the distance to link up with the Burmese forces isn't much more than the distance they've already covered on the advance out of Malaya. I wonder how long it will be before the link up is made.
I'm also curious what the political situation is like in Thailand right now.
I'm thinking OTL Italy, around September 1943.
Just a minor wonder, will this TL see the OTL dichotomy of B-25/26 and B-17/24, where the shorter legged of the pair will be confined to the ETO? Or, will the increased importance of the SWPA keep all the birds in the Pacific?
It looks like the Norwegians are going after the heavy water facility, hopefully they won't need a second go sinking the RR barge carrying product. I get the feeling this is being done sooner than OTL - I wonder if "tube alloys" or "Manhattan" are any further along than OTL. IMHO the only way they could be significantly further along would be if they started earlier - a tremendous amount of infrastructure needs to be created, as well as gathering the scientists and engineers to begin doing the brain work. If they started earlier would Groves still be in charge, as he went from the Pentagon construction to the a-bomb and would they transfer him before the Pentagon was complete or mostly so.
Just for fun - love the way the B-26 got the nickname the "Baltimore Whore" (Martin was in Baltimore) because it had a very high wingloading, and pilots felt it had "no visible means of support".
OTL people were calling Thailand “the Italy of Asia” so imminent did its defection seem. The Thais will argue, with some justice, that the Japanese forced them at gunpoint to become an “ally”
They weren't crunchies...
Second question first; A mess.
The combined SE Asia offensive has been going on for almost six weeks.
In Burma the 14th Army brought greatly superior numbers and even more vastly superior weight of metal against two understrength infantry divisions whose TO&E would be considered light for European fighting. And the fighting is taking place over very large/dispersed fronts where once a breakthrough happens, the superior logistics and mechanization of the 14th Army will lead to rapid exploitation.
In Malaya/Thailand, 3 continental style infantry heavy corps plus two armoured divisions with a significant tactical and quasi-strategic/operational interdiction air force was facing 6+ infantry divisions with inadequate logistics and again fairly limited operational mobility once a rupture in the lines occurred. By this point the RN does not have sea dominance in the Gulf of Thailand but they have at least sea superiority if not approaching sea supremecy so raiding parties have been having a blast blowing shit up behind Japanese lines and sitting on Thai railroads for a couple of days before pulling out.
The Japanese position in field battles where maneuver is possible is very brittle. Once the front lines break, the ability to respond with mass and speed is extremely limited. And those counter-attack formations were getting pounded by Commonwealth air power for as long as the photo interpreters and radio intercept guys had an inkling/suspician of an assembly point.
The operation against the heavy water plant is roughly on schedule. SO&E tried three separate insertions in the months preceding the successful attack.
As far as Manhatten/Tube Alloys; progress is plus or minus a week or two of OTL depending on the vagaries of fate, luck and the asshole supply clerk who won't release a critical piece of equipment without a triplicated signature.
Supply clerks--always a problem.
I remember a Traveler RPG once, where the charactr's backstory was that a supply officer wouldn't release some vital supplies, so the PC SHOT him--problem solved. Thus, the PC was decorated for making the problem go away, and invited to retire. (The Third Imperium did have a practical streak at times...)
I miss Traveler. Had a really good campaign going where a bunch of mercs were stranded on a planet after getting shafted by their bosses took nearly 18 months to finish that one.
the chute does not yank him upwards, only slows him down while the camera man continues down faster
I hear that it feels like you're being yanked upwards. I've never had the inclination to jump out of a perfect;y good airplane.
When this area is secured enough for construction troops to go to work, I'd guess airfields will get built that put all of the Gulf of Thailand and much of Southern FIC (Saigon, Phonm Penh, the Mekong) in reach. Cam Ranh Bay looks a bit too far yet.
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