Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, Sep 13, 2018.

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  1. Major Clark Well-Known Member

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    Aug 9, 2016
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    Peachtree City, GA USA
    Having suffered through a few parachute jumps I can attest in the strongest terms that when the parachute deploys it feels as if you are being yanked up! If you don't put your chute on correctly and tightly the yank that happens can change the way you sing.

    Major Clark
     
  2. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Civilian parachutes - designed to slowly lower you to the ground
    Military parachutes - designed to get you to the ground in the quickest amount of time possible without breaking bones automatically on impact
     
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  3. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    Lol..opps!
     
  4. Threadmarks: Story 1740

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Over Romania, December 31, 1942


    “Bandits, bandits, 2 o’clock low” blasted into the ear of the pilot and squadron commander. His eyes glanced down and to the right for a moment. Black gnats were in the distance, clawing for altitude while getting ready for a heads-on pass. Some of the Liberators had managed to replace their nose .30 caliber machine guns with “recycled” .50 caliber machine guns. One crew had spent far too many hours trying to convince the mechanics that they could fit a 20 millimeter cannon that they had acquired from a sunken PT Boat. He had no time to think of the scroungers as his eyes checked back on the RPM gauges and he called out for the squadron to keep formation and hold fast.


    The Romanian fighters were almost obsolete. They were dead meat against modern Allied fighters and the Soviet Migs and Yaks had a field day against the few front line Romanian squadrons that flew the modified Polish aircraft that were the bees knees in 1939 but by now, they were at best point defenders of the strategic rear. It would not matter, an obsolete bullet, if it struck, was still deadly.


    The fighters were drawing closer and the machine gunners aboard the bombers were still scanning the sky even as every man kept an eye on the expected threat. Expected threats were seldom the deadliest threat. These veterans knew that hard learned lesson.

    Eleven fighters steadied themselves and began their attack run. Three bombers were being targeted, one by each section. The bombers held tight, machine guns began to fire, short bursts with tracers arcing through the sky. None of the tracers crashed into any of the attackers. A few whizzed by cockpits, adding questions about courage to the attacking pilots.


    The Romanian pilots held tight and a few seconds later, the fighters began to fire. The heavy cannons were being held in reserve, their ammunition limited but the 7.7 millimeter machine guns began to fire. The bomber squadron commander heard what sounded like hail hitting a tin roof as the light rifle caliber bullets pinged and ponged off of the bomber. He slightly jerked, moving the bomber thirty or forty feet skyward and then wiggled ever so slightly and the hail storm missed. By now, every machine gun that had anything that resembled a view on an attacking fighter was pounding away. The cannon shells that would have slammed into the cockpit an eighth of a second ago missed underneath the bomber by the length of a fullback dive on third down.


    The bombers pushed on as the Romanian fighters broke off out of ammunition. They had claimed a single kill on the squadron’s tail end charlie but the gunners swore that they had splashed at least one if not two or three of their tormentors. Ammunition was still holding out as the gunners looked for more fighters as they approached Sofia.
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Makassar, Dutch East Indies


    “Go back… Blue 7 escort Blue 8 back to base… good luck”


    The two Lightnings broke off. Blue 8’s left engine was trailing smoke as the prop started to feather. The Oscars that had damaged Blue 8 had been chased off, a trio shot down. The heavy American fighters, flown by pilots who now knew to never turn with the ballet dancing Japanese defenders, pressed on. Thirty eight Lightnings continued north.


    Ten minutes behind the forward fighter sweep, the main raid arrived. Two almost fully operational heavy groups were joined by a group of Mitchells. All the gunners were looking for the Japanese defenders even as the first operational group of American flown Mustangs weaved overhead and from behind the bombers. They were still the close escort instead of the free hunters like the Lightnings.


    Heavy flak shells started to burst in the bomber streams. A Mitchell nosed over and two men were able to escape. Neither would ever see their families. A dozen Mustangs accelerated and began to joust with almost an equal number of Oscars who were trying to edge around the defensive boxes for a climbing pass. Heavy machine gun slugs tore into the Japanese interceptors in the first pass. Two defenders were on firing and breaking up before the merge. The Mustangs scored no more kills but avoided damage. No more Oscars fell as the furball fell behind the bomber groups, the fighters fighting their own battle, the defenders doing their job of occupying the bomber’s predators.

    Eleven minutes later, five American fighters and three bombers failed to turn south for home. Hundreds of tons of bombs had slammed into the occupied Dutch colonial city. Some exploded in the harbor, taking ships to the bottom and others ripped up airfields and mutilated a dozen medium bombers on the ground.


    Another day, another mission and another success at a reasonable enough cost.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 11:18 AM
  6. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Midwest
    The allies can take a much worse loss rate than can the Japanese, although it seems like the Japanese lost more fighters than the allies, and the aircraft on the ground took a beating.
     
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  7. Driftless Geezer Donor

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    Out in the Driftless Area
    Any oil shipments coming through Makassar, or was that more Borneo, Java, and Sumatra?

    Or is Makassar getting pounded based on its strategic position as an aerial and naval gate keeper for points north
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 11:54 AM
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  8. fester Well-Known Member

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    It's amazing what happens when repeatedly the Allies can throw 150-200 bombers covered by 100+ fighters against a point target that on a good day can get 50-60 fighters off the ground. Some days are better than others but numbers and the learning curve matter over time.
     
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  9. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Jan 15, 2014
    I think the only oil getting to Japan from the DEI is coming from Borneo and it's not very much.

    Makassar is getting pounded for the reasons you mention and I think it's a possible preliminary softening up.
     
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  10. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    Oct 22, 2009
    Squished is the correct term. However, the low man of each crew has the unpleasant job of unsquishing the tracks before they begin to stink, inthe tropical heat.
     
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  11. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    Greetings fellow Traveller fan.. I go back to little black book era..
     
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  12. Errolwi Well-Known Member

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    So much better than OTL's Rabaul. And at some point the Japanese wont be able to maintain the reinforcements to sustain 50.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Story 1741

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Flores Sea, December 31, 1942

    Admiral Somerville sipped his tea as the last flight of factory fresh Seafires rolled down the deck of HMS Ark Royal. Eight Seafires would orbit the British task force until darkness brought them down. Furious followed the Pacific optimized carrier while the two armoured carriers, Victorious and Indomitable paralleled the more lightly built but more spacious carriers several hundred yards away. A pair of Dido class cruisers hung tight to the carriers while everyone else moved in chaotic order.

    Twelve miles east, USS Enterprise also completed her CAP cycle. The spot was complete and the deck was clear. Avengers circled the three Yorktown class carriers and their escorts while twenty five miles to the southeast, the two converted American battle cruisers cut through the waves. Six battleships and ten cruisers, all under Admiral Lee, a victor of the Battle of Corsica, were tucked between the American and British carrier fleets. The outer screens of the four groups were all within easy visual contact with each other. Flags and flashes were sufficient to communicate. Radios had been only receiving messages for the past thirty six hours.

    Admiral Somerville smiled briefly as the tea cup emptied. He was commanding the entire naval combat element of the combined American-British fleet. It was a fleet that could have dominated any opponent in the history of the Royal Navy from Taranto to Norway to Jutland to Copenhagen or the Nile and Trafalgar. The mission he had to achieve was simple; grab a piece of the sea that the Japanese had to attack and defeat those attacks for three days. There was little nuance to the plan although plenty of complications as two navies speaking the same language seldom meant the same thing. The Americans with their large open hanger carriers were creatures of openness while he had a fleet that was split between being brawlers and punchers. Weeks of meetings and almost as much sea time had smoothed some of the sharp edges but now they were heading north with the first strikes scheduled to launch just after midnight and the landings scheduled to begin half an hour after dawn
     
  14. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    I bought the box set with the first 3 rule books and bought the rest of the rule books plus a stack of official campaigns. Had a lot of fun with my mates running those campaigns.
     
  15. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Oh boy, what a cliffhanger. Landings too. We should take bets over the weekend. Makassar in the Celebes or Banjarbaru on the South coast of Borneo. Or (gasp!) near Balikpapan.
     
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  16. Killer in Well-Known Member

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    So this Combined Fleet is majority RN in heavy units ? So Somerville gets command.
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Surabaya, Java January 1, 1943

    No one had time to celebrate the New Year. USS Raleigh and USS Richmond should have left the harbor last year, but a boiler was troublesome and the black gang needed another tide to correct the problem. The two cruisers rendezvoused with HMNLS Tromp and a trio of Dutch destroyers just underneath the coastal defense guns gaze. The cruisers were heavily laden and headed north at a brisk eighteen knots, timing their run to give the rest of the intricate ballet space to leap and spin.
     
  18. fester Well-Known Member

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    The major combat fleet is 55/45 USN. USN (Fletcher) gets overall operational command. Somerville gets command of the heavy fighting fleet as an acknowledgement that the USN is stealing most of the RN's strategic striking power for a combined Allied objective. The air component commander is a RAF Air Marshall while the land force commander is a US general. Politics and keeping feathers minimally ruffled is a fine art and this operation is not a masterpiece but it will be more than yeoman's work.



    Carriers:
    RN
    Ark Royal
    Furious
    Victorious
    Indomitable

    USN
    Enterprise
    Yorktown
    Constellation
    Lexington
    Saratoga

    Battleships
    RN
    King George V
    Prince of Wales
    Anson

    USN
    Washington
    Massachusetts
    South Dakota


     
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  19. AlanJWhite long term reader, occasional poster, now an author

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    Buckinghamshire, GB
    The RN may be in the minority by day
    But they own the night
     
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  20. Threadmarks: story 1743

    fester Well-Known Member

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    January 1, 1943 Sulu Sea

    The young American sub skipper was more excited tonight than he was on his wedding night. That night he was only going to score twice. Tonight he had twenty four torpodoes that could get lucky.

    His radar had picked up a massive contact an hour ago. His most important mission was to call in the report. Many battleships and even more carriers were radioed to Pearl, Perth and Singapore. Now he could attack.

    He had cut across the line of advance at eighteen knots before he dove 6000 yards outside of the destroyer screen. They thundered overhead at sixteen knots. Every man was silent and almost all were still except for the torpedo men in the aft room who continued their penny a point cribbage tournament.

    Sonar gave him new bearings and speeds every few minutes. The destroyers were no longer an immediate danger as the periscope poked through the surface. He had too many targets and not enough weapons. The periscope slid down and he gave the critical updates to the TDC operator. Six fish from the forward tubes to the nearest carrier, four stern tubes dedicated to the battleship.

    One more minute and the forward tubes began to empty. The Mk-14s had only a 1500 yard run. Seventeen seconds later tube 7 began the stern salvo.

    Even as ears popped from the pressure change, he ordered the boat deep. 300 feet would give him a chance. As the bow just passed 250 feet, the first explosions were felt. When the high speed datum clearing run ceased a rumble of secondary explosions hit the hydrophones.

    Depth charges soon started to fall into the water. Few were on top of the pleased skipper who had high hopes for a third round. None came deep enough to disturb the cribbage board in the now spacious aft torpedo room.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018 at 8:51 AM
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