Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Story 2699
South of Budapest, Hungary, December 18, 1944

The rifleman slowly extended his cold fingers forward. His mate tipped over the metal tea kettle. Soon the warmth flowed into the digger from the Outback. He sighed as the taste of India washed down the rest of his meal. Another day or two and the company would be pulled off the frozen front line and be able to get hot food in the battalion rear. Another day or two and he could relax slightly. Another day or two and the war would be closer to an end. Another day or two was too far too think.

A few hundred yards to the east, the Hungarian defenders shelled some fighting positions belonging to the Indian brigade that held the western most portion of the corps that was masking the 10th Army from the forces in the Hungarian capital as tens of thousands of men first rested and recovered from the fighting and then maneuvered to concentrate elsewhere to continue their advance.
 
Last edited:
Story 2700
Northeast coast of Honshu, December 19, 1944

USS Tilefish ascended. Her conning tower broke through the waves and her crew quickly began to vent and charge her battery. The look-outs saw nothing. The radar and sonar operators had nothing on their screens either. Besides a small coastal convoy that had been heavily escorted by trainer aircraft and a trio of modern escorts that had been spotted on the second day in the patrol box, the submarine had seen little beyond sail powered fishing boats that were definitely not worth a torpedo and often not worth a surface gun action as someone, somewhere, was likely to have a radio and call in the chaos.
 
Last edited:
Just a point of order - unless the Tliefish has had a Guppy modification one would not use the terminology 'sail', you woukd use conning tower instead.
 
South of Budapest, Hungary, December 18, 1944

The rifleman slowly extended his cold fingers forward. His mate tipped over the metal tea kettle. Soon the warmth flowed into the digger from the Outback. He sighed as the taste of India washed down the rest of his meal. Another day or two and the company would be pulled off the frozen front line and be able to get hot food in the battalion rear. Another day or two and he could relax slightly. Another day or two and the war would be closer to an end. Another day or two was too far too think.

A few hundred yards to the east, the Hungarian defenders shelled some fighting positions belonging to the Indian brigade that held the western most portion of the corps that was masking the 10th Army from the forces in the Hungarian capital as tens of thousands of men first rested and recovered from the fighting and then maneuvered to concentrate elsewhere to continue their advance.
Been catching up on this TL now that my laptop has been repaired after I was silly enough to spill beer on it. Great stuff and I'd like to read more, but I understand that @fester is a rather busy man these days.

I don't envy the Australians, Indians, South Africans and Yugoslavs here; the capture of Budapest was a drawn-out and bloody affair OTL. I'm curious as to the state of the Hungarian government, is Horthy still in charge or have the Germans installed the Arrow Cross party to power?
 
Been catching up on this TL now that my laptop has been repaired after I was silly enough to spill beer on it. Great stuff and I'd like to read more, but I understand that @fester is a rather busy man these days.

I don't envy the Australians, Indians, South Africans and Yugoslavs here; the capture of Budapest was a drawn-out and bloody affair OTL. I'm curious as to the state of the Hungarian government, is Horthy still in charge or have the Germans installed the Arrow Cross party to power?
Arrow Cross is in charge. The Hungarian capital is mainly being screened at the moment rather than assaulted. The rail network to the west of the city is dense and inter-connected enough that the logistics for the advancing armies don't require Budapest to function, especially as the final objective is a line between Linz, Vienna and Bratislava
 
STORY 2701
Warsaw, December 20, 1944

A string of tracers slammed into the building behind the partisan. A few feet away from the freshly kicked up stone dust, his brother fired a few rounds. Another string of bullets arced skyward as the landser's aim was spoiled by a slug through his stomach. The dust covered partisan took a deep breath and then fired a few shots in the general direction of the German attackers.

An hour later, the dozen Poles had looted four dead German bodies. Their ammunition was now restocked and half a dozen grenades would be useful to delay the next attack. More importantly for the moment was the iron rations on the infantrymen along with their great coats. He would soon have a full stomach and not feel the chill in his bones for the first time in years before the next German attempt to take Fort V. And before that assault would begin, the earth would shake as another bombardment started in the east.
 
Story 2702
Okinawa, December 21, 1944

A quartet of Marine Corsairs pulled up after they strafed and rocketed a cluster of Japanese infantrymen who were re-organizing themselves for another attack on the AmeriTim's lines. The attack had started two hours before dawn. Half a dozen light tankettes and over a thousand men tried to infiltrate along a small draw that was the boundary between the Massachusetts and Illinois National Guard regiments. Someone had tripped on a wire that was linked to a flare that bathed the creeping attack in bright red light. Machine guns had started to open up seconds after the flare exploded. Within a minute, the Japanese tanks were firing back and another minute later, American artillery and mortars were firing defensive, linear sheafs.

The first attack had broken less than thirty feet from the main defensive positions held by two infantry companies. Their outpost lines had been overrun. A few men sold their lives dearly as the fighting there had devolved quickly into knife, clubs, and teeth after grenades . Most of the men in the listening and observation posts were ground under tank treads or destroyed by a dozen grenades exploding in a few breaths. But the attackers failed as bodies began to stack in front of the kill zones. Riflemen fired at strange shadows and dark masses and odd noises. Machine gunners sent three, four and occasionally five round bursts down pre-set lanes. 75mm artillery was being called onto the wire while the heavier guns churned up the ground and kept Japanese reserves from flowing to the spots that were bending and almost breaking in the American lines.

Patrick's platoon had been pulled into battalion reserve just thirty hours ago. They were not far from the front line, but the luxury of hot food, hot water and the ability to stand up straight without worrying about snipers had been incredible. The previous afternoon half a dozen men had been released from the field aid stations to replace some of the casualties. A favorite squad leader had returned. Three men from another company had been added to the platoon. Their names were worth remembering for they had survived this long. They would not be replacements who were more dangerous to themselves and their squad; instead they were veterans who could keep themselves and their comrades alive. And then the platoon went to sleep with only half a dozen men acting as pickets as they were in reserve. When the artillery started up, Patrick woke up and had the platoon getting ready for movement fifteen minutes before the orders to counter-attack had come down from on high.

By the time that they had restored the line, dawn was breaking. Two men were wounded. One was likely to survive as he was loaded onto a jeep to take him to an aid station. The rest of the men were digging in or placing new land mines ahead of the position. Four minutes after dawn, the first Marine Corsair started their napalm run. A quartet would arrive every five to ten minutes. Bombs, napalm, rockets and slugs bought Patrick and his platoon time to dig in deeper. They would need it as the Japanese launched a viciously futile attack an hour later.
 
Last edited:
Story 2703
North Station, Boston Massachusetts, December 22, 1944

Thick fur lined gloves pressed her heavy wool coat against her skirt. Her friend slightly re-adjusted herself as the two of them were heading back to Lowell for the holiday. Elaine began to dig through her travelling bag for the ticket that she had bought earlier in the week as the local trains around Boston were always crowded around the holidays and the sales office had restricted hours on the weekend. It was worth the crush of the T to get to the Garden and then the station to guarantee a pair of comfortable seats for her and Mary Beth. Mary had become her confidant and roommate as well as a co-worker and classmate over the past year. They were nearly inseparable as they waited for their husbands to return from the war. Patrick was somewhere in the Pacific with the Army while Joachim had been drafted into the Navy and was, per the last letter, doing something in the South Atlantic. Mary had been planning to spend the holidays alone, perhaps baking cookies or merely putting her feet up before drinking several bottles of beer each night. But that was intolerable, there would always be a space at Elaine's mother's table for one more. So the two young women were heading to Lowell, looking to celebrate the holiday and hoping that the war would be over by next Christmas.
 
Story 2703
Singapore, December 23, 1944

Four battlewagons that would never again see a year of peace time service slowly steamed past the increasingly empty docks. Landing ships, assault ships, supply ships, cargo ships, brewing ships and hundreds of lesser craft had slowly been leaving the port over the past three days. The great mass of shipping was proceeding in small clusters at their most economical speeds even as the Royal Navy, Dutch and Australian destroyers, frigates and sloops rode herd like overanxious sheep dogs.

Outside of the harbor defenses, the steel castles formed two columns. In one column, the oldest ship took lead while the battered survivor of Jutland led the other column. A trio of old cruisers and a quartet of destroyers that had been laid out in ordinary during the Ethiopian Crisis joined them before the force began their slow journey north.
 
Last edited:
Top