Keynes' Cruisers

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, May 19, 2016.

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  1. Threadmarks: Story 1225

    fester Well-Known Member

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    April 1, 1942 Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

    Labor Secretary Frances Perkins winced. The dentist was trying to fill the cavity in the mouth of a fourteen year boy whose hands were clenched tightly on the green chair. The drill had gone too deep and struck a nerve in the boy’s molar. He kept his head still as the rest of his body spasmed to the sudden pain. He was one of the first children to use the new federal tooth and eye exam benefit. There had been talk about pushing back the benefit that had been agreed to in the summer of 1940 as a mobilization preparation measure now that mobilization had kicked off but the actual demand for services was projected to be low and no one knew how long the war would last, so teenagers with good teeth and good eyes could be vital in 1947. The federal government would pay for the first eight dollars of work and then half of the next fifteen dollars.


    Half an hour later, the dentist was bent over examining the mouth of the boy’s younger sister. The labor secretary heard a curious word that all patients would learn to fear ---” Hmm, that’s interesting” as the dentist reached for another pick to probe.


    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/keynes-cruisers.388788/page-54#post-1413436
     
  2. Driftless Geezer Donor

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    To use an old American cartoon meme: Popeye has just opened his can of spinach....
     
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  3. Threadmarks: Story 1226

    fester Well-Known Member

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    April 2, 1942 Mius River

    Along the western shore, helmeted men looked over their lines. Riflemen held the wooden stocks of their weapons close to their cheek while machine gunners squinted down the barrel of their guns and focused on their sectors. Half a mile south of the position, Soviet artillery was laying a thick smoke screen and lashed the shore with high explosive shells.

    Every man waited.

    Some waited for the artillery to shift to their position.

    Some waited for the order to counter-attack the soon to be established beach head.

    Some waited for the order to stand down.

    Some waited for the chance to have another cigarette.

    Some just waited as there was nothing else to do besides wait as the company that was getting plastered started to fire into the river and German artillery began to walk shellfire onto the far bank even as Stukas escorted by Messerschmitts hunted for the Soviet field artillery batteries.

    The battle would come to them, the veterans knew that for sure, but there was little that they could do productively but wait until action was required.
     
  4. Threadmarks: Story 1227

    fester Well-Known Member

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    April 3, 1942 Metz, France

    Eleven thousand men stood at attention. They had arrived at the clean camps over the past week. Veterans had chosen the best bunks while draftees and trainees filled in wherever there was a spot. The Luftwaffe uniforms looked slightly out of place next to the 120 factory fresh tanks, all Panzer III models with the new 50 millimeter guns and three companies of slightly older but recently refurbished Panzer IV support tanks. The infantrymen were a mixed lot. The core of the riflemen were veterans of the drop on Smolensk and fighting in the Netherlands. They were the leavening and connective tissue for the very fit and enthusiastic nineteen year olds who had completed jump training before being told that they were being assigned to the Luftwaffe’s tank division. A few of the nineteen year olds cracked wise on that as they had already seen what sergeants did to smart-asses and another thirty five kilometer jaunt with fifty kilo packs was something to be avoided rather than embraced.

    The Hermann Goering Panzer division was being built based on the remains of the brigade of the same name and the paratroopers who had closed the gap near Smolensk. They were the Luftwaffe’s elite and they would become part of the first team but first they needed several months to be a coherent unit instead of disjointed parts. Their time in France would allow them to become whole while also holding the French down.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  5. Threadmarks: story 1228 Operation Jackal begins

    fester Well-Known Member

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    April 4, 1942 Serdang, Malaya

    As dawn broke, every husbanded gun in the 11th Army, included several regiments taken from the corps sitting quietly on the east coast, fired. Ammunition was not being conserved. The eighteen pounders were firing a shell every five seconds while the far more common twenty five pounders were sending a shell at the Japanese every twelve seconds or so. The far heavier guns clustered at the corps and army level were firing only slightly more deliberately as every target had been mapped out by frequent foot patrols and photo recon runs by older fighters. Japanese batteries soon started their attempts at counter-battery fire but the 60 pounders and 4.5 inch batteries smothered the bravest Japanese batteries.

    Ten minutes later, quiet except for the crackle of flames and the cries of the wounded descended on the front. And then the building crescendo of aircraft engines as a hundred bombers and two dozen fighters crossed the coast and bombed the crossroads and reserve concentration areas of the Japanese regiment targeted for destruction. There had been an active debate between the 11th Army and the RAF on whether or not the Japanese airfields should be the primary target. The Army wanted air support and argued that forcing the Japanese to fight over the Commonwealth radar net and anti-aircraft batteries would be more effective than trying to bomb harden targets. For once, the army won.

    As the last bomber turned away, the field artillery began firing a creeping barrage. Behind the shells the 7th Armoured Brigade and the 18th Infantry Division began their advance at a fast walk. The 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, attached to the Territorials as a veteran stiffener, were in the lead with the pipers walking next to their buddy tanks.

    Each tank advanced slowly and carefully. A section of infantry had trained with a particular crew for weeks now and the drivers were quite fond of their crunchies, so fond that they no longer called them that where they could be overheard. As the tanks and infantry men advanced together, they drew fire from a few Japanese hard points. The tanks would often stop, begin firing their two pounder cannons and machine guns while the infantry would start to work their way around the position.

    By mid-morning, the front line of a Japanese regiment had been reduced to booby traps and body collection points. The tanks and their supporting infantrymen had already pushed six miles into the southern flank of the Japanese position. A few strong points of anti-tank guns had held up the advance for an hour or more, but the Japanese had no answer multiple artillery regiments firing time on target barrages. Intelligence officers were amazed as they examined a battalion bivouac and found less than two days worth of ammunition in the front line depots.

    By the afternoon tea, Japanese resistance was starting to pick up as regiments were shifting from the siege lines. Bicycle units had been able to get ahead of the Imperial spearpoint and seize defensible positions. Ambushes and minefields began to inflict their toll on the advancing infantry and what had been a rapid advance through the moderately thick jungle started to slow down as each hillock needed to be suppressed and then taken.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  6. Threadmarks: Story 1229 April 4 1942 raid on Rabaul

    fester Well-Known Member

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    April 4, 1942 1530 east of Rabaul


    Another four Wildcats took off from the deck of USS Yorktown. Radar had picked up another raid. The standing combat air patrol was being vectored and the carriers were launching their ready fighters. USS Atlanta pulled closer to Yorktown while USS Juneau hugged the flank of USS Constellation. USS Hornet was left exposed with only heavy cruisers serving as her inner escorts. It was a cold calculus but if a carrier had to be exposed, the least experienced and most inefficient carrier would almost always draw the short straw.

    The standing patrol lead by a lieutenant from Chicago spotted the dozen twin engine torpedo bombers thirteen miles from the carriers . They were running fast and low, eleven hundred feet over the waves and still descending. He called the sighting and then led his quartet in an almost head on pass going from one o’clock going to seven o’clock. The heavy machine guns ripped the cockpits of two of the bombers and the defensive machine gun tracers curved out seeking the intercepting Grummans.

    The bombers speed was protection as the quartet of fighters lost ground as they dumped their closing velocity and engaged in a long tail chase on the still descending bombers. As the bombers were sighted by the outer destroyers, Yorktown’s fighters followed by Hornet’s three Wildcats made their sole consolidated pass splashing five bombers. The standing CAP claimed another, a laggard before the last four bombers were within the anti-aircraft free fire zone.

    Every ship had been tracking the bombers. The radar directed guns aboard a few of the cruisers and the carriers had been shifting a degree here and a minute there for the past five minutes. All other guns were being moved as men called corrections from the optical range finders and calculated the closing speed and the necessary lead. Destroyers fired first as they were furthest from the carrier. The dedicated anti-aircraft guns aboard the older heavy cruisers and large light cruisers fired next before a wall of fire from lightest cruisers covering Yorktown erupted. Juneau was firing across the formation and her shells ripped first one and then a second bomber. Atlanta only claimed one bomber before launch while she would split a claim on the last bomber with Yorktown.

    The nimble carrier turned hard to port. The torpedo went passed her with eighty yards to spare. Soon she turned back into the wind so that her fighters could land and another quartet could cover the task force from the continual probing attacks being launched from Rabaul.

    Tomorrow morning, the three carriers would be close enough to launch a single large strike on the former Australian port. Two submarines were stationed near Simpson Harbor waiting for their chance to take a shot at any ships attempting to escape tonight.
     
  7. Threadmarks: Story 1230

    fester Well-Known Member

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    April 5, 1942 Timor


    East of this farm, the main Allied road block held. The Dutch brigade, reinforced by American artillery and two battalions of National Guardsmen had stopped the Japanese advancing along the main road for the past week. Now it was a battle of flanks and probes.

    The machine gun barrel moved slightly below the net. Another scouting team of Japanese soldiers were three hundred yards away slinking along a narrow wall separating two fields from each other. The machine gunner could definitely force them to ground but that would reveal his position. The LT had told them to hold fire unless they absolutely needed to. So the young man waited.

    Every few minutes he shifted ever so slightly to track his sector. And then suddenly, overhead, he heard outgoing artillery. A battery of 75 millimeter guns fired a ranging shot and then the corrections were rapidly adjusted and they sent six more shells per gun into the field. The machine gunner watched that field and he saw little movement in the next half hour but he heard the sounds of pain.
     
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  8. Viper91 Well-Known Member

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    And now the British are on the move. Interesting to find how low on supplies the Japanese units in Malaya are right now. With more troops and supplies on the way for the British, this could potentially open the way for a larger offensive operation going forward.

    Rabaul is screwed. They've thrown away their bombers without managing to stop the US carriers. A three carrier strike on the base will probably cripple Japanese operations in the region for a month or longer.
     
  9. Mr Carrot Well-Known Member

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    April 4th the beginning of the end for the Japanese? Looks like they are losing the initiative without their uninterrupted string of good luck in otl.
     
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  10. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    What effects will the arrival of the monsoon have on operations in Malaysia? I don't know what Operation Jackal's end goals are but they must be completed before the monsoon season arrives.
     
  11. fester Well-Known Member

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    The objective of Jackal is to grind the Japanese army down and place it into a logistically impossible position. Territory is less important than that. The first phases of Jackal are projected to be completed within the month.
     
  12. pjmidd Well-Known Member

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    Monsoon would effectively shut down all offensive operations, no way you can move supplies except by railway and paved road, both of which were rare beasts at this time in the North.
     
  13. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Going by the intelligence officers' discovery of the already paltry Japanese logistics situation than it seems like the British are going to succeed very well with their objectives.
     
  14. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    Since the monsoon enhances the defense I would guess basically a stalemate will occur in Malaysia while both sides use the quietus to resupply and refit. Though time is on the side of the Allies. That should mean more supplies and equipment for the British and Commonwealth forces will be sent and will safely arrive.
     
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  15. Driftless Geezer Donor

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    So, if the Commonwealth forces rock the Japanese back - even a few miles; that would leave them (the Japanese) on the wrong side of Malaya and very far from their supply sources across a difficult road network. Much harder for them to fill the supply pipeline. Is Serdang their high-water mark for Malaya?
     
  16. Donald Reaver Still alive Donor

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    Sounds like the Commonwealth will end the campaign with a reasonable amount of supplies while the Japanese will be basically out of supplies. By the time the monsoon season is over whatever is left of the Japanese will by a hollow shadow force.
     
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  17. fester Well-Known Member

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    Did Monty ever attack when he was unhappy with his supply situation? Why would that change in this timeline.
     
  18. Donald Reaver Still alive Donor

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    Not sure where I was saying Monty would not wait till he was ready to attack. Just saying by the time the Monsoon is over the Commonwealth will be in good shape and the Japanese will be desperate.
     
  19. mudhead Little-Known Member

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    This is somewhat earlier than IOTL:
    Source: an informative thread in Feldgrau.net

    So the Germans will have an effective (sometimes) armoured formation a bit earlier. Does it mean a final abandonment of large scale aerial assaults by the Reich?
     
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  20. fester Well-Known Member

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    Yep FJ 7 was wrecked accimplishing it's mission near Smolensk and a better Eastern Front has allowed for acsonewa s more rational system of rotation and reconstitution. Fat boy claimed the resources for his own purposes.
     
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