Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

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

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  1. The Karavoka Man Well-Known Member

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    Germany was pushing its economy to the extent it was quite literally falling apart at the seams in 1940 and the only thing holding it together was huge amounts of loot from France and Poland, but I'm not as sure about Japan. I think the biggest restriction for them was just not having enough dockyards.
     
  2. RyderWest Spintop Isolated

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    And being rural, and being an island nation, and being very resource dependent....
     
  3. pjmidd Well-Known Member

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    Also not really getting mass production , a lot of their kit was more hand made than production line ( one justification, given at the time by US generals, for the firebombing of large areas, was that Japanese Industry relied on very large numbers of small workshops scattered around otherwise residential areas ).
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Story 1834

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Northern Java Sea, 0500 January 3, 1943



    USS Lexington was being dragged south at a steady four knots by the heavy cruiser USS Chester. Word had been received that a fleet tug would arrive by early afternoon to relieve the heavy cruiser’s Sisyphean task. USS Vestal was also being alerted to move from Darwin to Surabaya. The heavy repair ship would not be able to depart for at least another three days, but her resources would save weeks of repair time.

    Six destroyers circled the crippled carrier. Their sonars were pinging and look-outs were alert for white riffles in the placid sea. Their charge was deep in the water. Only in the past four hours was outflow greater than inflow. Soon counter-flooding would correct her list and the damage control crews that had been awake for the past twenty seven hours would have a chance to rest. Other men from the cruiser and the destroyers would continue to fight to keep the ship afloat until they too could rest and be replaced by the refreshed Lexington crew.

    Suddenly USS Aylwin changed course. A red flare went up over the task force. Men scrambled to their battle stations and as many water tight doors were dogged shut. Four minutes later the first pattern of depth charges roiled the water. Two more destroyers left their station.

    For the next three hours, RO-100 was shaken like a rat caught by a terrier. Her skipper had been stalking the crippled American carrier for three hours and he was only a few minutes from being in position to fire when the first depth charge went off 80 feet from the conning tower. Alywin and her compatriots were relieved by a pair of four stackers who continued the barrage.

    USS Lexington continued to head south at the pace of a middle age jogger.
     
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  5. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    I wonder how much damage that depth charge did to the RO-100? At a minimum it may have damaged the periscope shears or the scopes, which would make it a mission kill. It could do enough damage that the sub will eventually be forced to surface. In any case it looks like that boat is out of the game, if they live long enough to surface when their batteries run flat, if they are anywhere close to the destroyers they are likely to be spotted visually or by radar. Catching up to their target is not happening.
     
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  6. AlanJWhite reader, poster and author (illness permitting )

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    Pity hedgehog is still months away in the USN


    That had a kill.ratio of better than 1 in 6 launches
    As compared to worse than 1 in 80 for a depth charge pattern
     
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  7. RyderWest Spintop Isolated

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    What a twist of fate though... ITTL Sara was the one sunk while Lex is the one that survives... IOTL it was the other way around.
     
  8. Scafcom Active Member

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    RO-100 still has 4 torpedoes left. If she shakes the destroyers, there might be a small chance to make history as the only submarine to sink two aircraft carriers on a single patrol.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Story 1835

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Southern Celebes Sea, 0510 January 3, 1943


    Dumbo-4 dropped out of the darkness. The torpedo was armed and the approach was slow and steady. Stygian darkness enveloped the Black Cat. The droning engines woke the tired Japanese ships ahead. Twenty five millimeter tracers pocked the air while star shells began to illuminate the entire task force.

    The target was lumbering forward at nineteen knots. Her forward most turret was visibly destroyed. The top of the turret had been hit by a trio of sixteen inch shells. The last one had penetrated and exploded in the loading chambers. One barrel was cracked near the breech and the other two were stuck at seventeen degrees. Her pagoda mast had been cut down and scorch marks covered most of the remaining superstructure. Both superfiring secondary batteries had been destroyed. Waves lapped at torpedo gashes and the armored beast was running half a deck deep.


    The Catalina pressed in. Half a dozen shells ripped open part of the starboard wing. Little effect was felt. The amphibian jumped as the torpedo entered the water. The ungainly bird presented its belly to its adversary, black hidden in black, a silhouette against the darkness, illuminated only by the star shells and tracer lines.


    She escaped even as her torpedo missed a few dozen yards behind Yamato. Other Black Cats were minutes away from their independent all quarter attacks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 12:51 PM
  10. AlanJWhite reader, poster and author (illness permitting )

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    Minor point - perhaps of interest. My emphasis

    iOTL Yamato and Musashi were built with 4 secondary 6" triples, taken from the Mogamis when they were upgunned to 8"
    These were placed one fore, one aft (both above the main turrets) and one midships on each beam.
    This gave a potential barrage of nine 6" on almost all angles presumably as an anti-destroyer defense
    (plus the 3x2 5" DP guns on either side)

    OTL it was only in mid 44 that the beam secondaries were removed and replaced with light AAA.
    (IIRC 3x3 25mm)

    Have the butterfles been flapping causing the IJN to accelerate it's improvement in AA defense rather earlier?
     
  11. fester Well-Known Member

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    No, correction coming
     
  12. Viper91 Donor

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    One thing to keep in mind, Yamato and Musashi may not get the attention many think they deserve. We know their capabilities and how powerful these two ships are.

    OTL, US Office of Naval Intelligence only learned of the ships by name late in 1942. Even after both Yamato and Musashi where sunk OTL, many though they didn't come in over 45,000 tons displacement, and thought that they just had 16 inch guns.

    Literally nothing written or presented to date in this timeline has indicated that US or British intelligence has found anything to suggest otherwise.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamato-class_battleship#Destruction_of_records

    The Japanese where also surprisingly effective at destroying many of the records and documents about the ships. Until several where found in 1948, the only known photos of the two warships where those taken from attacking US aircraft.
     
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  13. fester Well-Known Member

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    The RN and USN will be measuring holes in their battleships AND there may or may not be a few unexploded shells that could be observed/recovered.
     
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  14. Driftless Geezer Donor

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    "Jumping Fornicating Codfish! " (a cleaned-up paraphrased comment from the CPO leading the first repair crew on finding a dud 18" shell....)
     
  15. historyfelon Deliriously Retired Teacher

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    I assume we weren't big on espionage during the interwar years, huh? Outside of breaking their codes, which I'll admit is a biggie, we didn't seem to know much about what the japanese were up to. How about the Soviets? Would they have known anything about the Yamato and Musashi through their Red Orchestra and Richard Sorge? Not that they would have shared it with us, just wondering if anyone knew what the Japanese were up to?
     
  16. PMN1 Member

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    An 18" shell on the turret?
     
  17. TonyA Curmudgeon like, but nastier

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    Nice writing, Fester, very nice allusion
     
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  18. King Augeas Well-Known Member

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    Implies that the latter is a dud 18" shell.
     
  19. Bob in Pittsburgh Well-Known Member

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    Fester
    Great story. On behalf of the middle age joggers thank you for the complement; most of us struggle to make 4+ minutes a mile.
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Manila Bay, 0530 January 3, 1943

    The pier at Mariveles was almost empty. A trio of rowboats had been tied up along with a coastal minesweeper and the sole operational Filipino PT-boat. Across the narrow north channel, two of the destroyer transports were tucked tight beneath the bulk of Morrison Hill under the protection of the coastal defense batteries above them. A trio of 1.1 inch guns had been hauled into position. Smoke generators were ready to help hide the destroyers that were already assembling nets and canvass to help hide from any adventurous Japanese scout bombers. The last destroyer had already hidden in a cove near Laki. Engines would be tuned and guns would be manned but most of the crew would be able to rest throughout the day before the second and final night of unloading commenced in fourteen hours.
     
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