Remember the Texas! The United States in World War II (an alternate history)

Operation-Chariot-Kimmel-22.png


Okay... I see the problems as the operation develops in these terms.

Force Z cannot catch Cerberus Force at all, so that looks like a replay of the Channel Dash with the added feature of LANTFLT swanning about providing LFK 10 with target practice.

What are the CTFs doing now? Instead of moving quickly to protect the exposed Force Z, their position, as of now, has me wondering.

Force Y, as it approaches St Nazaire, can expect an extremely HOT reception. USN 35.6 cm guns may hit harder than German 28 cm guns, but they do not outrange them.

Fliegerkorps 10 is in the most enviable position, if they can get the proper reinforcements in time from the German strategic metro reserve, of giving Force Y a real hurting with anti-ship strikes, while also seeing Cerberus Force off as far as Le Havre, at which the handoff to their compatriots further east is accomplished. It would take a day to fly the anti-ship assets in from the German Baltic and Norwegian air commands if they move fast.

In short, this operation, as the time interval advances, seems to have developed in a direction, which if I am the German commander, I am liking...

If I were the Americans, I would be giving the OTC and the planners of this op a real ass-chewing and possibly firing him and them.
 
While I doubt the OP will go in this direction, here is a Nightmare Scenario:

War has begun with the Germans. Even less chance that substantial reinforcement will go to the PI, especially in peacetime with Japan. The American public calls for America's most well know soldier, the former Chief of Staff, to be brought back to command the American Host against the Reich.

"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to formally introduce the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. General Douglas MacArthur."

The assembled media goes wild with joy!
So the war could end with with General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur accepting the surrender of German occupation forces in Britain aboard his flagship USS Alaska following the trans-Atlantic counter-invasion...
:angel:
 
Operation Chariot (part seven)
Morning November 13 Force Z, the Channel Dash and the Raid on St Nazaire
The various naval forces now face a new day and the weather is changing. A Cold Front has come down off the North Atlantic and is already clearing away clouds and dropping temperatures over Britain, northern France and the English Channel. The leading edge which passed over night has mostly cleared all but the eastern edge of the Bay of Biscay, and seas are starting to moderate there and in the Channel, dropping from 4 meter seas down to a 2 meter seas. As dawn breaks, the skies have cleared from heavy clouds to partly cloudy conditions everywhere but along the French coast south of Lorient. These clouds are still hiding Force Y and its supporting minesweepers as well as the two southern U Boat groups. All of the other naval forces and the airfields that will impact them now have good weather.

The first to launch aircraft are the Allied carriers, which send 35 TBD and 36 SBD to ferry to the RAF Coastal Command base at Manston while the British carriers launch 36 American fighters to provide a combat air patrol over Force Z. The carriers follow with a launch of 12 Swordfish, 6 Albacore, 6 Fulmer fighters, and 30 SBD which begin providing Combat Air Patrol, ASW and Air Search patrols around the carrier force and for the American aircraft, longer range scouting patrols as the carriers complete their air operations at 0700 hours and turn to the southwest to move into position to provide cover for Force Y. Additional Fulmer fighters are launched every hour thereafter (at variable intervals) which forces the carriers to turn north each time to launch into the wind and recover aircraft. This will slow the advance of the fleet. The carrier fleet makes its turn just 30 miles from the southern Scilly Islands and are churning through the seas at 25 knots, the best speed for the USS Wasp. At the same time, Coastal Command Beaufighters take off from southern England with 16 heading for Force Y and the remainder escorting Hudson patrol bombers over the Bay of Biscay to look for the German Uboats that might threaten the battleship groups, while the RAF Coastal Command strike force from Southern England takes off with 56 Beaufort torpedo bombers and 36 Bleinheim fighters. RAF Fighter Command launches 36 Spitfires to link up and provide fighter cover for this force. Another 36 torpedo armed Swordfish are preparing for operations at Manston, and 48 Spitfires are assigned to provide them cover when they and the American strike aircraft are ready to attack in the late morning.

The Royal Navy is also hurriedly preparing. Admiral Ramsey has 32 torpedo boats in position to attack when the Germans reach Dover, and in addition he has 6 destroyers of the Harwich Force in position to support that attack. His plan is to launch a combined assault with boats, destroyers and strike aircraft when the Germans reach Dover. Further north, Admiral Tovey has the Home Fleet and he orders the King George V, the Prince of Wales, Duke of York and Renown, along with cruisers and destroyers to steam on an intercept course at their best speed of 28 knots. This is a calculated risk as there is some change the Germans will send the Tirpitz and the 2 pocket battleships out but after discussion in the wee hours, Churchill, Pound and Tovey determine that this is an acceptable one as PQ 3 is already in Russian waters, while PQ 4 has not yet completed assembling at Iceland.

The Germans are also launching their aircraft and preparing for battle. First to leave are 8 Eboats out of Cherbourg and Le Havre to provide additional support to the German fleet. As dawn breaks, the Luftwaffe aircraft along the Channel Coast take off, with 16 fighters moving into position over the German fleet, while 30 dive bombers with 32 fighters fly toward the American Force Z. A second group of 25 He111s with torpedoes along with 28 fighters has some problems assembling but is soon on its way, about 30 minutes behind the first group. Weather in Lorient initially prevents the take off of the float plane torpedo bombers, but the dive bombers, consisting of 2 groups of 27 JU88s, along with 16 Me110s takes off at around the same time and also heads toward Force Z, with the 12 torpedo bombers finally getting up about an hour later and in the poorer weather conditions over that part of France their assigned escort of 24 fighters fails to locate them in the low clouds and decides to fly out to the American fleet in hopes of meeting them at that point.

It is not until nearly 0800 that a patrol plane spots the Allied minesweepers and then the battleships approaching St Nazaire, and by that point the bulk of the German air strikes have already left for their missions. The Allied carriers do not launch again until 0930 hours, when they turn into the wind and send out 12 Buffaloes, 12 Wildcats and 12 Fulmers to provide cover for Force Y.

Air attacks on Force Z
The American force consists of 5 battleships, 1 light cruiser and 4 destroyers and has 36 USN/USMC fighters overhead when the first German air attack, consisting of dive bombers and fighters arrives. The German FW190 fighters have even odds, and engage the American fighters to keep them from intervering with the bombers. However some American fighters manage to break through and interfere with the German attack. In the mass dogfight that follows, the Germans lose 3 fighters and 6 bombers, while the American Buffalo fighters are particularly savaged, with 6 going down, while the Wildcats lose 3. This fight exhausts the fuel and ammunition of the American fighters who are forced to land in England to refuel before returning to their carriers later in the day to rearm.

The American ships are seriously deficient in light antiaircraft guns, as planned installation of 1.1 inch guns mounts was delayed due to the rush to get the fleet to Britain early in the Fall. However the 5 inch guns of the American ships are powerful and effective weapons, while the American heavy machine guns are able to engage the Germans as they pull out of their dives. In all the German Stukas are savaged, with 4 more splashed by antniaircraft, and another 8 are damaged. However the pilots are dedicated, experienced veterans and many took part in antishipping strikes during the Battle of France a year ago, and operations in Crete and Greece earlier this year. They concentrate on the biggest battleship, which is the lead ship West Virginia, which is also the fleet flag. Of the 30 Stukas, 19 managed to drop their 500 KG high explosive bombs, and they manage to hit 25% of the time. Thus 4 bombs and a near miss rock the West Virginia.

These bombs inflict fail to penetrate the deck armor but all do extensive damage to the upper works, especially 2 that hit near the bridge area. Casualties are serious but the most notable one is the death of the ships captain and Admiral Kimmel as fragments sweep the exposed bridge area. An African American mess attendant, Doris Miller, will win the Navy Cross for his efforts to save his captain and then manning a heavy machine gun after its crew were killed. Admiral Bagley aboard the Nevada orders the fleet to make full speed toward Plymouth so that it can more rapidly reach British fighter recover and support is asked for. The RAF responds with 36 Spitfires which arrive just as the second Luftwaffe attack force of torpedo bombers and fighters arrives. This force is successfully engaged (6 RAF fighters, 3 Luftwaffe fighters and 8 torpedo bombers shot down) and the American antiaircraft is far more successful against the torpedo bombers, splashing another 4 and damaging most of the rest. German accuracy is excellent considering the opposition however, and 2 torpedoes hit the California which rapidly takes on a dangerous list and slows as due to a freak of luck, the first blast blows a hole in her armored belt and a second hits close enough for the force of the explosion to break through the interior bulkheads and flood 2 boiler rooms and several nearby compartments. The striken ship is slowed to 9 knots and Admiral Bagley orders the fleet to steam for Plymouth at that speed to keep her in formation.

The final German attack by Ju88 dive bombers, and again the timely arrival of RAF fighters is critical. The JU88s are able to only dive at 45 degree angles and are much easier for the American ships to engage. The first formation arrives 5 minutes before the second and attacks the main fleet, and is badly shot up, with 6 shot down, 9 more damaged and only limited success with their bombing, scoring a bomb hit each on the Maryland and New Mexico. These bombs are a mix of high explosive and armor piercing (in equal portions) and the Maryland takes an armored piercing hit that knocks her number 4 turret out of line and creates a fire that forces the flooding of that magazine. The New Mexico takes an high explosive hit that obliterates her aircraft hanger and starts a major fire that takes hours to extingush. The second formation notices the listing California and concentrates on her, and this formation is entirely armed with armor piercing weapons. They manage to get 3 hits as they arrive while the defending fighters are still dealing with the previous formation and its escorts, and have the initial advantage of the American antiaircraft fire concentrating on the first formation. These three bombs are disastrous as one bomber manages to get 2 amidships and they knock out the remaining boilers and knock out her power as well as starting fires in her aircraft and boat service areas that spread blazing oil and gasoline throughout her amidships area.. The other bomb penetrates sick bay and wipes out it and a nearby damage control party. Burning fiercely and now coasting to a stop, the California begins to sink as her pumps are gone, her damage control teams lack effective coordination as the ship has no internal communications and with sadness Admiral Bagley orders her abandoned and her crew taken off. She will go down soon after, just before noon while the remainder of the fleet enters the appoaches to Plymouth harbor.

In all Force Z as lost one battleship sunk (California), 2 battleships seriously damaged to the point of requiring lengthly months long yard time (Maryland and Mississippi) and 2 more are damaged and will require significant repair (West Virginia and New Mexico). Only the Nevada has escaped damage and it is the oldest of the group. The Germans have achieved a costly victory as three groups of bombers have been badly shot up but in achieving it they have been diverted from Force Y. That force is now in position at 0900 hours and is about to open fire on St Nazaire and its important Normandie dock.

The RAF is not idle while this is going on. In addition to fighter support for the badly mangled Force Z, the first attack on the German Fleet is launched at the same time. The 92 RAF aircraft reach the German fleet at 0915 hours, and while the standing patrol of Fw190 fighters wrecks the Bleinheim fighters (shooting down 12 of them, and badly damaging nearly all the rest) they are distracted and caught by surprise when the late arriving Spitfire escort arrives and jumps them The British torpedo bombers are unopposed by fighters and able to make effective attacks. Both of the German battle cruisers take a hit each, although their torpedo belt prevents serious damage, but the cruiser Prinz Eugen is singled out and is smothered by 8 torpedoes and rolls over and sinks with most of her crew by 0937. The belated arrive of addiitional Spitfires provides cover for the torpedo bombers to escape (having lost 6 of their number to antiaircraft fire) and the surviving Blenheims and holds off the second wave of German Me109s that had arrived to reinforce the FW190s. The Germans lose 6 fighters, the RAF another 4 (plus 12 Blenheims and 6 Beauforts), and for a brief time Admiral Ciriax is able to mourn his lost cruiser and her crew. One result of this attack is greater urgency by Coastal Command to replace the Blenheim with the new marks of the Mosquito which is already in the works.

Further to the south and west, near the entrance of the Irish Sea, the USS Mississippi and her destroyer escort are met by a flotilla of British destroyers out of Liverpool and Sloops from Bristol, which engage and sink the U131 and U574 which were nearly in attack position on the US battleship. By 1100 hours the American ship is steaming north toward Belfast so that she can begin repairs.

The attack on St Nazaire.
The Germans are manning their 4-280 mm guns and ready when the Allied battleships steam within range at 0915 hours, although they are facing an unequal struggle. The Allies have 24-15 inch guns and 18 -14 inch guns and due to aerial reconnaissance and human intelligence work know exactly where the German guns, the critically important drydock and the construction site for the new submarine pens are located. The British ships concentrate on the drydock (Revenge and Ramilies) and the construction site (Resolution) while the American ships keep the German heavy guns under fire. Although the Germans score 2 hits on the Idaho and 4 on the Oklahoma, they and the other targets are smothered by a total of 1500 shells which convert the target areas into a moonscape over the course of 3 hours before the ships turn and run for home. Although the Germans have inflicted casualties and some damage to the American ships, they failed to achieve serious results and the 100 American dead are well worth the cost as the Normandie dock is effectively knocked out. Although the dock is later determined to be repairable, the Germans never bother as there is no urgency to use it.

Meanwhile Allied carrier aircraft and RAF Coastal Command have forced the two groups of German Uboats in the area to remain submerged and even as the weather clears at noon and the Allies are steaming away the Uboats are out of position and unable to interfere. The Allies have achieved one of their major objectives and Admiral Pye is pleased.
 
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I don't believe the Germans had much for AP bombs for this point in 1941
HE will do a lot of damage but will not penetrate the armored decks of the battleships. I cannot think of a single example in World War 2 where dive bombers sank a battleship. They wrecked a bunch of them, but never sank one. Torpedoes are the battle ship killers
 

ShySusan

Gone Fishin'
Air attacks on Force Z
The American force consists of 5 battleships, 1 light cruiser and 4 destroyers and has 36 RN Fulmer fighters overhead when the first German air attack, consisting of dive bombers and fighters arrives. The German FW190 fighters although outnumbered 32 to 36, quickly scatter the British fighters, downing 10 and damaging most of the rest which flee to England (and 6 more crash on the way and 8 more are write offs). No German fighters are lost, and the dive bombers are free to attack unmolested. The American ships are seriously deficient in light antiaircraft guns, and the rate of fire on their 5 inch and 3 inch guns is insufficient to fully engage the German dive bombers. The German accuracy is excellent, with 8 bomb hits smashing into the West Virginia and 5 more hitting the Maryland, which are the two largest American ships present. Although no damage is down to propulsion and the ships maintain control, casualties are serious and their upper works are severely mauled. Among the dead is Admiral Kimmel, as three bombs hit the bridge of the West Virginia killing him and the ships captain and many other officers. An African American mess attendant, Doris Miller, will win the Navy Cross for his efforts to save his captain and then manning a heavy machine gun after its crew were killed. Admiral Bagley aboard the Nevada orders the fleet to make full speed toward Plymouth so that it can more rapidly reach British fighter recover and support is asked for. The RAF responds with 36 Spitfires which arrive just as the second Luftwaffe attack force of torpedo bombers and fighters arrives. This force is successfully engaged (6 RAF fighters, 3 Luftwaffe fighters and 8 torpedo bombers shot down) and the American antiaircraft is far more successful against the torpedo bombers, splashing another 4 and damaging most of the rest. German accuracy is excellent considering the opposition however, and 4 torpedoes hit the California which rapidly takes on a dangerous list and begins to abandon ship, while one each hit the West Virginia and Maryland. This slows the fleet to 15 knots and the California is left behind while Royal Navy small craft head toward her as she eventually founders 40 miles south southwest of Plymouth.

The final German attack by Ju88 dive bombers, and again the timely arrival of RAF fighters is critical. However German bombing is still outstanding, with every one of the battleships being hit. The Nevada, New Mexico and Maryland each take 3 hits, the West Virginia takes two more hits, and in error, the Germans hit the California with 12 bombs, hastening her sinking.
I'm sorry, but this just totally broke suspension of disbelief for me. That is "aircraft on a bombing range with no opposition" accurate. The USN, FAA and IJN trained for years to dive bomb ships maneuvering at sea and didn't get close to that level of accuracy. A handful of hits? Sure. But totally wiping out the fleet? Not a chance in hell.
 
authors notes:
The German coastal guns can inflict damage but only until they are smothered by fire and 11 inch rounds are not going to inflict much crippling damage to a US Standard battleship. The Texas suffered hits and barely noticed

Dive bombers, as mentioned above, did not kill battleships in World War 2, but they can and did inflict 'mission kills' which they have done above. Torpedoes kill battleships, and have on this occasion. The Americans and Germans do have fairly effective fighter cover but even so numbers will tell. Coordinating that fighter cover is a challenge at this point in the war (which is why Galland was pretty impressive in OTL Operation Cerebus) and leakers or even substantial attacks will almost always get through, as they have done here.

Submarines rarely succeed in any kind of fleet engagement, although there are of course obvious exceptions (Leyte Gulf, Philippine Sea) but generally its more a matter of a surprise ambush than trying to run down a moving fleet.

However the Luftwaffe is about to get revenge for the hammering inflicted on St Nazaire and the British have two more chances at the twins....

see below for additional authors notes

Kimmel gets to be a dead hero
 
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I'm sorry, but this just totally broke suspension of disbelief for me. That is "aircraft on a bombing range with no opposition" accurate. The USN, FAA and IJN trained for years to dive bomb ships maneuvering at sea and didn't get close to that level of accuracy. A handful of hits? Sure. But totally wiping out the fleet? Not a chance in hell.
model was based on German bombing accuracy at Crete... and German torpedo bombers on the Arctic convoys

Here, 90 dive bombers total, scoring 25 hits on moving ships and 12 on a helpless one. Discounting the 30 that bombed the California, that is 60 bombers scoring roughly 45% hits, which is within reason (and some lucky dice too for the Germans when I gamed it). In the dive bombing attacks, the Germans were unopposed by fighters as their fighter cover held off the Allied fighter cover. The torpedo bombers consisting of 25 aircraft lose roughly 15 going in but 20 manage to drop their fish, scoring 4 hits (20% accuracy). Which is in line with World War II experience elsewhere. Only a quarter of those aircraft remain flyable after the battle. Which is again in line with World War 2 experiences elsewhere. The 12 float plane torpedo bombers have yet to attack, and although not yet mentioned, managed to fail to find the enemy and have returned to refuel.

Rough day for the torpedo bomber crews though

the 5/25 and 3 inch guns just cannot train quickly enough on dive bombers to get many hits leaving the heavy machine guns as the only point defense (and are too short ranged). The US Navy is at a historic weak point for its AAA defense. That changes massively of course
 
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I find it hard to believe the USN hasn't added any light AA since the US went to war
3 of the battleships undergoing refit are getting their 1.1 in ch guns but the other battleships have not yet had that chance and indeed production of those guns is an issue. King is making sure his carriers and cruisers are getting them however. On the plus side, the 5 surviving battleships of Force Z, due to battle damage, with have about a year to get a pretty thorough refit

That production delay caused 3 inch guns to be added back on the battleships in 1941 until that production issue could be fixed (it wasn't, and instead 40 mm and 20 mm were added, that and the 1.1 inch AA gun sucked)
 
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it should be noted that the sinking of the USS California is literally the first loss of a battleship to aircraft... other ships have suffered damage, but except for Taranto (which is a very notable exception but were ships helpless in port at anchor). The beief that a properly handled battlleship can avoid air attack, already falling away after Crete and Norway (and Greece and Dunkirk for that matter) is now over.

Note that the 54 British torpedo bombers managed 10 hits as their fighters nobly sacrificed themselves to hold off the FW190s, thus the pretty respectable hit rate of around 22%. It really helps of course that German and British torpedoes work!

the Luftwaffe screwing up and having a bomber group wiping out a helpless cripple is not an uncommon event when Air Force (and Army Air Force) crews attack warships. Navy crews would have recognized that hitting the California was wasteful as she was already sinking
 
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Driftless

Donor
I find it hard to believe the USN hasn't added any light AA since the US went to war

With no Pearl Harbor, there's less of a driver to act immediately on upgrading. They know the upgrades need to be done, but..... lots of other needs too. Does that make sense for this TL?
 

CalBear

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So the British carriers up up their fighters, but the U.S. carrier did not? To have 36 Fulmars over Force Z the Victorious would need to launch her entire airwing, and be reinforced by six fighters from Ark Royal (or some combination of aircraft from the two decks since Victorious is carrying 30 Fulmars, and Ark Royal has 18 on board for a total of 48 Fulmars). Both Wasp and Yorktown have full Wildcat fighter squadrons on board, one of F4F-2 and the other F2A (27 aircraft in each), the Wildcat has marginally better range than the Fulmar clean and close to double the Fulmar with a pair of drop tanks (which the F4F-3 was plumbed for), and the Grumman is 50mph faster.

As an aside, I have a hard time seeing FAA fighter pilots scattering and running, outmatched or not. There is zero chance a USN/USMC squadron would do that, as can be seen by the Marines flying the F2A over Midway against A6M, or an RAF Fighter Command squadron scattering even if to was outnumbered 4:1 and flying Hurricanes against Fw-190s. Hell, the FAA pilots took Gladiators up against the Luftwaffe.
 
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Operation Chariot (finale )
Afternoon November 13
In London, Berlin and Paris, commanders as well as Churchill and Hitler wait tensely for reports to come in. The first reports out of the Channel please none of them, as Churchill has to call Roosevelt on the phone and inform him of the death of Kimmel and the frightful damage inflicted on the American battleships, while Hitler is angry that Cerebus has already cost the Kriegsmarine a heavy cruiser and several destroyers. His anger is partly offset that the Luftwaffe seems to have sunk two battleships (as reports are that only 4 of the American group of 6 made port) and orders Goebbels to trumpet that news to the world. By noon the report that St Nazaire is being levelled reaches Berlin and Hitler orders that every available bomber be sent after the Americans there to destroy the other half of their navy. He also insists that every available fighter be allocated to make sure that his ships are not sunk the same way, although he seems confident that likely the British will do the same to his ships that the Luftwaffe has done to the Americans. It is clear to him, and indeed he announces it loudly that battleships are obsolete in the face of bombers. His surface fleet is good only for coast defense only as far as he is concerned. A debate will continue between him and Admiral Raeder for some weeks to come that ultimately saves the rest of the German surface fleet from being scrapped but only at the cost of very serious restrictions being placed on their use. For the rest of the war the German heavy ships will be a very powerful Baltic Fleet and remain there.

At sea the battle continues. The Fokker torpedo planes and their escort reach the site of the sinking USS California and decide not to attack. They return to base and refuel as reports of the attack on St Nazaire are received and orders from Berlin reach the Luftwaffe in France of their new mission. Meanwhile the German Fleet has now approaching the Straits of Dover, while Allied Force Y is leaving the approaches of St Nazaire and steaming due west at its best speed of 20 knots. The Allied carriers meanwhile have again turned into the wind to launch more fighters and recover returning ones. The Uboats are now hopelessly out of position to reach the carriers but a handful are almost in position to get a chance at the retiring Force Y.

German attacks on Force Z
The morning battles have been costly although from the standpoint of the bomber crews highly successful. However the Luftwaffe has somewhat diminished forces to attack with. Only 9 He111 torpedo bombers and 11 Fokker floatplane torpedo bombers are available after battle damage and mechanical issues, while the Stukas lack the range to immediately attack and will have to stage from their bases around Calais to bases in Brittany, which will use up much of the afternoon, and so only 50 JU88 dive bombers are available. The bombers will have only two staffel of Me110 night fighters to help them as every available Fw190 and Me109 have been ordered north to support the German fleet. A hurriedly cobbled together strike with 15 FW200 Conders s is ordered against the Allied minesweepers, which have only a single light cruiser protecting them.

The first to reach their targets are the Conders, which manage several hits although many of the aircraft are damaged and 2 are splashed by British gunners. They succeed in sinking 1 sloop and 3 minesweepers and damaging nearly all of the others to various degrees but the attack has knocked the German bombers out of the battle as they are ill suited to attacking warships. The thin skinned and relatively small British sloops and minesweepers are vulnerable to even a single high explosive bomb and thus even near misses inflict serious damage. The light cruiser Scylla is undamaged by this attack but once again amateur ship identification results in the leading force of 24 JU88s incorrectly identifying her as a battleship and an attack on her results in 3 hits and major damage and numerous near misses. She and the remainder of her charges continue west before turning north for the Irish Sea as darkness falls. There is later serious criticism of the failure of that force to link up (and gain the protection of) Force Y which left them behind due to their slightly greater speed.

The next force of 26 Ju88s manages to find the Allied fleet and concentrates on the trailing ship, the USS Oklahoma. Again they are facing a heavy antiaircraft barrage and the British gunners that make up most of the somewhat larger screen than Force Z had are much better at their job due to their extensive (and recent) experience. . Only 3 hits are scored although casualties are serious aboard the American ship. As this attack is occurring the Fokker torpedo bombers and their 8 escorting Me110s are pounced on by 6 British and 12 American carrier fighters and suffer terribly. The carrier pilots conduct a more careful battle, with the British holding off the German fighters while the Americans pounce on the lumbering torpedo bombers. None of those survive, and only3 of the German fighters escape. Only 1 Buffalo and 1 Fulmer are lost in the air battle. But distracted, the gunners and fighter pilots miss the arrival of the 9 He111s who pick on the Oklahoma which has fires aboard her and make their attack. They manage a single hit but while attempting to exit all but one are shot up so severely that only one manages to return to base and three more ditch near the coast. The Oklahoma takes that torpedo hit aft, which knocks out her rudder control and damages all but one screw. Admiral Pye orders most of her crew taken off as she seems helpless and unlikely to make port, with only a pair of British destroyers remaining with her as she trails behind the rest of the fleet heading west. Barely making 7 knots, she is found and sunk just before dusk by a spread of 4 torpedoes from the U-43 (Wolfgang Luth commanding). A total of 353 American and 431 British sailors are lost from Force Y, while German deaths ashore and in the air number around 600.

Prime Minister Churchill is forced to make another unpleasant phone call to President Roosevelt. Admiral Pye will recieve harsh internal criticism for the loss of the Oklahoma and for his failure to protect the minesweepers and most historians believe that is why Admiral Pye never had a sea command for the remainder of the war.

Death of the German Fleet
Meanwhile the two German battlecruisers, with only 4 destroyers and 8 Eboats as their escort and covered by 32 fighters overheard are approaching the Straits of Dover and Admiral Ramsey’s waiting forces. American and British strike aircraft are also waiting, having assembled over Kent with their substantial fighter escort. The result is nothing short of murder. The British MTB’s charge in, distracting the German gunners, while the British destroyers wait just outside of the range of German guns in Calais and north of the strait. While the torpedo boats charge, the American and British torpedo planes go in at low altitude while the American dive bombers plunge from overhead and 60 British fighters tangle with the German fighters and reinforcements that join them. The German gunners are overwhelmed but still manage to take a toll, downing 4 American and 3 British torpedo planes and a pair of dive bombers as well as sinking 2 MTBs and damaging most of the others to varying degrees. The British MTBs however sink 2 Eboats, drive off the rest and force the German destroyers to engage them which leaves plenty of openings for the strike aircraft to smother the German heavy ships. The Scharnhorst takes 3 bomb and 6 torpedo hits, the Gneisenau takes 2 bomb and 5 torpedo hits and both ships are soon listing and burning. Neither survives long past dusk and the British destroyers dash in and finish both with torpedo attacks. A total of 2,000 German sailors are lost from the fleet, and all of the German ships that survive limp into Le Havre with various degrees of damage. It is a glorious Allied victory and although nearly 30 Allied aircraft (7 American, the rest British) are lost to a similar number of German aircraft, it would appear that the Allies have proven Hitler’s point. Admiral Ramsey’s reputation, already high after Dunkirk, rises yet again. Admiral Ciliax manages to survive the loss of his ships, and spends the remainder of the war as a naval attache to Brazil.

Epilogue
Admiral Kimmel has achieved his goals. The German fleet has been destroyed, St Nazaire is no longer capable of repairing the Tirpitz, and most of his ships survived. He and two battleships, the Oklahoma and California have not however, and the battleships West Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico and Mississippi will spend nearly the entirety of 1942 in dock being repaired and modernized. Although nearly 3,000 British and American sailors have died or are missing or crippled, it is a great victory as far as Roosevelt and Churchill are concerned in public. Hitler is angered by the defeat, which is but the first of the bad news that will face him in November and December 1941 as Barbarrosa fails to take Moscow and Leningrad. The German surface fleet will spend the remainder of the war in the Baltic Sea, only seeing useful service late in the war supporting German forces along the Baltic coast. The modern North Carolina and South Dakota class will never see service in the Atlantic or European theater.
 
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CalBear

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3 of the battleships undergoing refit are getting their 1.1 in ch guns but the other battleships have not yet had that chance and indeed production of those guns is an issue. King is making sure his carriers and cruisers are getting them however. On the plus side, the 5 surviving battleships of Force Z, due to battle damage, with have about a year to get a pretty thorough refit

That production delay caused 3 inch guns to be added back on the battleships in 1941 until that production issue could be fixed (it wasn't, and instead 40 mm and 20 mm were added, that and the 1.1 inch AA gun sucked)
ALL USN battleships after the New York class had their AAA upgraded to the 5"/25 in the late 20s/early 30s in place of the 3"/50. The 5"25 were in addition to the 5"/51 casement guns that were being gradually replaced during refit.

Also - Gibraltar?

Under the sort of conditions you have for the mass air attack on the Twins it is entirely possible that the U.S. Mark 13-0 torpedo will perform very well. Where the weapon got its, much deserved, bad rep was at Midway, where Japanese fighters push the Devastator pilots into launching at too high of speed and above recommended altitude, both of which tended to cause the Mark 13-0 to break up or otherwise suffer damage that resulted in weapon failure. At Coral Sea, Shoho took seven hits from the American TBD (along with 13 bombs) all against an 11,300 ton ship. The Navy sank her a LOT. With the general last of fighter interference the TBD would likely do a decent imitation of Death on a Pale Horse.
 
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So the British carriers up up their fighters, but the U.S. carrier did not? To have 36 Fulmars over Force Z the Victorious would need to launch her entire airwing, and be reinforced by six fighters from Ark Royal (or some combination of aircraft from the two decks sinceVictorious is carrying 30 Fulmars, and Ark Royal has 18 on board for a total of 48 Fulmars). Both Wasp and Yorktown have full Wildcat squadrons on board (27 aircraft in each), the Wildcat has marginally better range than the Fulmar clean and close to double the Fulmar with a pair of drop tanks (which the F4F-3 was plumbed for), and the Grumman is 50mph faster.

As an aside, I have a hard time seeing FAA fighter pilots scattering and running, outmatched or not. There is zero chance a USN/USMC squadron would do that, as can be seen by the Marines flying the F2A over Midway against A6M, or an RAF Fighter Command squadron scattering even if to was outnumbered 4:1 and flying Hurricanes against Fw-190s. Hell, the FAA pilots took Gladiators up against the Luftwaffe.
a local CAP was kept over the Carrier force and not all of the fighters were launched at once

The Carrier fighters did not scatter and run, they were sinply overwhelmed and tied up so they could not carry out there mission. If I inferred that than assume poor clarification on my part. The Yorktown has a 27 Wildcats, the Wasp has 27 Buffalos by the way. The Carrier fighters do very well in the afternoon however
 
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