Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

Since I have absolutely no idea who you're talking about, even after a quick google search, not likely.
Allan.
Assuming that PBI = Poor Bloody Infantry, I assume Icedaemon means a piece from an Italian Soldier watching these invincible British Tanks slowly trundle towards them, crushing everything in their path.
 
30 November 1940. Braco, Scotland.

The Officers of 7th Bn Royal Tank Regiment, heroes of Arras, attended a dance in the village hall on their final night in Perthshire. The NCOs in their Mess and Other Ranks in their barracks were also celebrating the end of the training regime.

The remnants of the Fourth and the Seventh Battalions RTR had crossed the Channel in late May and early June, mostly on the “Mona’s Isle” or “King Orry”, Isle-of-Man steam packets. The latter had been shelled from the shore and strafed by up to 6 Messerschmitt fighters, the men of the First Army Tank Brigade suffered 23 killed and almost double that wounded on their way home.

Back in England, the men of both Battalions had re-organised at Twesledown near Aldershot. Many of the experienced tank commanders were promoted, more were transferred to other RTR Battalions to share their experience with the still-forming units. A few NCOs had been selected to attend Sandhurst and were nearing the completion of their officer training, more had been attached to Bovington as instructors.

A lot of new men had been integrated into the Battalion, and it had taken what seemed an age to find them 52 brand new tanks Infantry Tank Mark II (Matilda IIs). Some had hoped for the new Vickers Valiant Infantry Tank Mark III, but the Mark II had served them well in France, and they were just glad to any kind of tank. The Battalion been brought up to Scotland, where there was space for exercises, to complete their training.

Those who followed the news and reports from their sister Battalions wondered what would happen to them now. The Greeks were giving the Italians a good kicking in Albania, and the build-up of the British forces in Egypt was getting to the point where they might be able to go on the offensive. The Home Forces were also beginning to look a bit less like the bedraggled mob who’d poured off ships on the South coast with little more than their rifle and tin hat. Adolph looked like he’d missed his chance to try and knock Blighty out of the war. Any invasion in the Spring would find a powerful force ready and waiting for him.

Which led to some speculation about what would happen to the First Army Tank Brigade, still made up of 4th, 7th and 8th Bn RTR. All three Battalions were now up to strength, (all equipped with Matilda IIs) and ready to face whichever foe His Majesty needed vanquishing.

NB text in italic differs from OTL. The 7th were of course reequipped with Matildas and arrived in Egypt where their contribution to Op Compass was outstanding. As mentioned in my last update, the 4th sent a squadron to East Africa where they also did very well. One of the problems for the 8th was that when they arrived in Egypt in April 1941 their tanks had been sent through the Mediterranean on the Tiger convoy and some ships got sunk, so they were under-strength. The ability to send out the 21st Tank Brigade in previous updates is that 1st Tank Brigade is fully equipped at home. I wanted to emphasis that the veteran experience of the these three regiments is shared widely with the rest of the RAC.
Another good update, why do I get the feeling you are foreshadowing the First Army Tank Brigade being sent to Greece?
It actually makes pretty good sense as well given they are armed with Matilda II's. Britain would be intervening in Greece to help hold the Greece, not push up the Balkans and take Berlin. Matilda II's in a defensive role in support of infantry does make a lot of sense. Especially in a scenario where the Valiant's are tearing across North Africa.
Also I love the thought of the Italian's screaming about the new tank the British have to the German's who send troops to help out. They then suddenly start screaming about the new British tank. Meanwhile the Heer is sat looking at a bunch of Matilda II's in Greece going "we know about these, what's going on".
 
If in this TL the British and Greeks hold Crete as soon as the Germans get distracted in Russia, Churchill is going to be pushing for Balkan adventures. At the very least expect some amphibious attacks against the Dodecanese Islands. ITTL could the invasion of Sicily be replaced by an earlier attempt to liberate Greece? It has the benefit of being closer to the Russian front and a friendly population. Of course the logistics suck but if you want to tie down a lot of Axis forces in an unhealthy area (due to the partisans/resistance) a genuine threat would be all that's needed.
Churchill will have a couple of hobby horses to play with ITTL I think. The first is an invasion of Greece and a Balkan advance, the Army wont like that though. The second is Sicily and then Italy, the Army wont mind Sicily and the Royal Navy will love it. If Britain could capture Sicily that returns the Med to being a British Lake in WW2. All of a sudden convoys don't have to sail round Africa but can go through the Med so that will be the one chosen, or the First one in Churchill's head most likely.
Thing is it will be 1942 before any invasion could happen, even assuming a mid 41 victory in North Africa. Planning and preparations for any seaborne invasion take time, particularly when most of your army has just finished a major campaign and you don't really have any landing craft etc.
Greece, whilst attractive to Churchill will be a nightmare militarily. Also what can it achieve in 1942, yes it will tie down some Germans and puts the British a bit closer to Ploesti but is that worth the absolute logistical nightmare. Realistically you would have to pour resources in to keep the forces there supplied and you are always fighting the Germans who have a land based supply line that is shorter than your's. In 1942 Britain can't take on the Germans on the Continent.
 
I also wonder, if the British are doing better in North Africa in December, would the British likely be as inclined to run Operation Excess? Preventing HMS Illustrious from spending six months in dock for repairs would help too.
Excess is still going to happen or some version of it. Thing is given the Better situation Britain finds itself in the actual Operation will likely be a bit different. If that saves Illustrious from Damage, who knows.
Would be really bad for the Japanese in a scenario where Prince of Wales, Repulse, Ark Royal and Illustrious sail into the South China Sea as they are trying to attack a better prepared and manned defence in Malaya. That naval force is also a very strong core to base a fleet around.
 
With the Ark and the Illustrious, I imagine their ability against the Japanese would be based on the relative skill of the air complement as well as the craft by that point I think the main carrier fighter was Sea Hurricanes and Fulmers at that point not sure though.
 
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The general consensus seems to be that there's little to be done about Malaya/Singapore, but Burma, yeah, I could see that. One big point, even before looking at equipment, is that if North Africa goes as predicted with a mad charge through Cyrenaica, and a bite-and-hold strategy later, Wavell is likely to remain in command in the Middle East, leaving Auchinleck in command in India during the early stages of Burma, which, given his later performance, is IMO going to help significantly.
Malaya and Singapore are so dependant on what happens in North Africa that the two campaigns are almost linked.
Any scenario that allows the Australian's and New Zealander's to be sent east before hostilities start likely makes a big difference. For one just having more troops to defend the Japanese invasion likely slows it down ,particularly if those troops are battle hardened and well led and organised. Remember there are 3 Australian Divisions in the Med in 1941 and while those sent back East went to Australia or Ceylon OTL following the Japanese attack if they are sent pre war then Malaya is likely the best place to send them. They would be going as a deterrent force so they need to be visible and in a place they could actually deter aggression.

If those troops arrive soon enough then they will likely point out you can use tanks here and that swings things again. Even if the tanks are spare A9's with some A15's and especially Matilda II's your in an even better position than OTL. That kind of force isn't a delaying force it is a holding force.

All it takes is a slowdown in the advance and it gives time for reinforcements to arrive. If Crete is held that is 10-15000 troops the Britain is likely to have extra over OTL along with armoured forces available to go East. If the reinforcements get there in time to stop the advance then as the heavy equipment arrives the Japanese position becomes very weak.
 
With the Ark and the Illustrious, I imagine their ability against the Japanese would be based on the relative skill of the air complement as well as the craft by that point I think the main carrier fighter was Sea Hurricanes and Fulmers at that point not sure though.
The main advantage any aircraft carrier brings to Force Z is being able to intercept scouting planes so it may be possible the force is never even discovered. The other is disrupting attacks. Yes the Fulmar isn't brilliant but if it can break up incoming attacks then the success rate will be much lower.

Edit;
Yes as an offensive force in early 1942 the Royal Navy carrier aircraft are at a disadvantage against the Japanese, the thing is they don't need to be sailing a large fleet into the south China Sea to pick a fight. All they need to do is act a a fleet in being to hold Japanese attention and threaten any further movements. As time goes on and more Ships are available then Britain can think about going on the attack.
 
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The main advantage any aircraft carrier brings to Force Z is being able to intercept scouting planes so it may be possible the force is never even discovered. The other is disrupting attacks. Yes the Fulmar isn't brilliant but if it can break up incoming attacks then the success rate will be much lower.
Yeah that would increase the survival rate of Force Z significantly and to add to this if enough escorts are present the flak screen mill break the attack up even more.
 
All of that speculation about ships and stuff is a year in the future! Who knows what will have happened by December 1941/February 1942? I'm not even sure what'll happen in December 1940/February 1941 at this point.
Allan
 
All of that speculation about ships and stuff is a year in the future! Who knows what will have happened by December 1941/February 1942? I'm not even sure what'll happen in December 1940/February 1941 at this point.
Allan
True but at least you now have a lot of material to work with when you come to write about 1942. Also the Idea that operation Excess might go a bit differently than OTL due to the slightly better position Britain finds itself in is only a couple of months away. The possibility that Illustrious could well avoid some or all of the damage she suffered OTL is a real one. That's a little bit more relevant than Naval battles in the South China Sea in 1942.

Besides at least this slightly off topic discussion all revolves around the impact British Tanks could have. You have to admit it's an improvement over what we normally get up too.
 
If Britain holds Crete and North Africa, the southern east med becomes a British lake, all covered in the air. So far fewer naval escorts are needed (including the scarce carriers).
Shipping through the med requires a clearout of Vichy as well, but if Italian Africa falls quickly, this can be taken too (if it doesn't fall anyway from internal divisions). Then you can move ships along the NA coast, with massive shipping savings.
Nope, you still need to take Siciliy before that becomes viable, because the Strait of Sicily is still a massive bottleneck.

As i said if the germans werent interested in north africa thanks to the italians being kicked out before barbarossa starts they could pawn off the occupation of greece to the italians and use the freed up troops for rear area security wich was actually a massive issue during the eastern campaigns or as replacements to casualties even . Then when italy surrenders you might have a driver for a southern front from greece but not a real invasion of greece before that please and only if you have shipping and enough troops available cause otherwise you might risk getting kicked out . I think you need atleast one full army of 9 divisons with a armored divison or two to not get kicked out .
Operation Sonnenblume started in early February, so, way before Barbarossa.

And if north africa is cleared in 41 , you could invade sicily earlier and then italy aswell, maybe in 42 even . Brits morale against the italians without germans being around should be great tough.Going for the toe of italy rather than sicily might be a option especially if german troops arent around yet outside the luftwaffe atleast in italy i mean.
No Sicily is the place you need to take, because of the Strait. With Crete in hand, Operation Mincemeat becomes that much more convincing of course.

Malaya and Singapore are so dependant on what happens in North Africa that the two campaigns are almost linked.
Any scenario that allows the Australian's and New Zealander's to be sent east before hostilities start likely makes a big difference. For one just having more troops to defend the Japanese invasion likely slows it down ,particularly if those troops are battle hardened and well led and organised. Remember there are 3 Australian Divisions in the Med in 1941 and while those sent back East went to Australia or Ceylon OTL following the Japanese attack if they are sent pre war then Malaya is likely the best place to send them. They would be going as a deterrent force so they need to be visible and in a place they could actually deter aggression.

If those troops arrive soon enough then they will likely point out you can use tanks here and that swings things again. Even if the tanks are spare A9's with some A15's and especially Matilda II's your in an even better position than OTL. That kind of force isn't a delaying force it is a holding force.

All it takes is a slowdown in the advance and it gives time for reinforcements to arrive. If Crete is held that is 10-15000 troops the Britain is likely to have extra over OTL along with armoured forces available to go East. If the reinforcements get there in time to stop the advance then as the heavy equipment arrives the Japanese position becomes very weak.
Okay then, that'd be good.
 
All of that speculation about ships and stuff is a year in the future! Who knows what will have happened by December 1941/February 1942? I'm not even sure what'll happen in December 1940/February 1941 at this point.
Well, a British victory in Egypt/Libya looks probably, given OTL and that the British are significantly better equipped TTL. After that - optimism sets in (as it did to an extent OTL).

I still think mainland Greece is a push too far, though Crete should be defensible. Thoughts of taking Sicily in 1942 are horribly premature - I doubt the British would have enough landing craft to mount a major invasion anywhere prior to 1943-4 without substantial US involvement. There's also East Africa ongoing and Iraq and Syria/Lebanon potentially about to cook off.

As to Malaya - I've said this before in one thread or the other, but as long as there's a hot war in Europe/North Africa and no war in the Far East, the British army's first priority will be the active warzones around the Mediterranean and its second will be building up the new forces in the British Isles. The Navy will be firstly focussed on fighting U-boats in the Atlantic and secondly on contesting the Med. The RAF's priorities will be the bomber offensive against Germany, air defence of the UK and tactical support for the units in the Med. Malaya gets what can be spared - and ironically, the more successful the pom-pom armed A11 is in action, the more in demand they will be and the less anyone will want to see them shipped off to grow mould in the jungle.
 

Orry

Donor
Besides at least this slightly off topic discussion all revolves around the impact British Tanks could have. You have to admit it's an improvement over what we normally get up too.

Have we cleared up the effect it will have on British ration packs? Does the Vickers have a BV yet?
 
Well, a British victory in Egypt/Libya looks probably, given OTL and that the British are significantly better equipped TTL. After that - optimism sets in (as it did to an extent OTL).

I still think mainland Greece is a push too far, though Crete should be defensible. Thoughts of taking Sicily in 1942 are horribly premature - I doubt the British would have enough landing craft to mount a major invasion anywhere prior to 1943-4 without substantial US involvement. There's also East Africa ongoing and Iraq and Syria/Lebanon potentially about to cook off.

As to Malaya - I've said this before in one thread or the other, but as long as there's a hot war in Europe/North Africa and no war in the Far East, the British army's first priority will be the active warzones around the Mediterranean and its second will be building up the new forces in the British Isles. The Navy will be firstly focussed on fighting U-boats in the Atlantic and secondly on contesting the Med. The RAF's priorities will be the bomber offensive against Germany, air defence of the UK and tactical support for the units in the Med. Malaya gets what can be spared - and ironically, the more successful the pom-pom armed A11 is in action, the more in demand they will be and the less anyone will want to see them shipped off to grow mould in the jungle.
TBH as has been said with the Far East we are getting ahead of ourselves as has been said. I imagine though more older tanks maybe moved to that theatre as the war progresses up until japan gets involved.

However anything else is speculation for the future since we don't have any data on where the OP is going to take that.
 
Have we cleared up the effect it will have on British ration packs? Does the Vickers have a BV yet?
I believe that the BV was a result of AFV crew casualty analysis after WW2 when it was noticed how many crew became casualties while conducting some sort of 'admin' (Cooking, 'laying pipe') outside of the vehicle - so BVs and built in toilets were added lessening the need for the crew to dismount.
 
I believe that the BV was a result of AFV crew casualty analysis after WW2 when it was noticed how many crew became casualties while conducting some sort of 'admin' (Cooking, 'laying pipe') outside of the vehicle - so BVs and built in toilets were added lessening the need for the crew to dismount.
Not quite , the Centurion definitely had a BV from the outset, so it must be before January 1945 as that's when the first were built .
 
1 December 1940. Marsa Matruh. Egypt. New
1 December 1940. Marsa Matruh. Egypt.

Brigadier Selby had been given the responsibility within Operation Compass to advance up the coast road from Marsa Matruh towards the Italian camp at Maktila. The big exercises of the last couple of days had been very successful, and final preparations were now underway. Selby’s objective was a distance not far short of fifty miles and the men he had to do it with came from the Matruh Fortress Garrison. The core of this force would be 3rd Btn, Coldstream Guards, with a Company attached from the South Staffordshire Regiment and a machine gun company from the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment. With 1800 men, as many as the available transport could carry, his job was to prevent the occupants of Maktila, believed to the 1st Libyan Division, from giving any help to the Tummar camps.

In addition to his main force, he also had most of 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry playing silly buggers to fool the Italian Air Force. They had 73 dummy tanks and, with the fifteen Infantry Tank Mark I (Matilda) of the 51st Bn RTR providing realistic tank tracks, moving them around constantly to make it look that the main British force was here, there and everywhere. Selby had requested tank support from the 7th Armoured Division, but General O’Connor wanted to keep that Division massed for its role, all he could offer was a troop of three light tanks from 7th Hussars. On hearing this, the Officer Commanding the Infantry Tank Squadron, whose men were quite proud and jealous of their fellow Squadron who’d given the Italians a bloody nose in Sudan, approached Brigadier Selby saying they wanted to do the same and help throw the Italians out of Egypt. Taking the Squadron of Infantry Tanks along would give Selby an armoured punch should he need it, so it was a tempting offer.


The problem Selby had was the slow speed of the tanks, this would complicate his plan to get into position to accomplish his objective. The 51st RTR’s Squadron Commander assured him that the tanks could easily cover the fifty miles in a night march, after all, they were travelling up a road. They’d need a couple of hours once they arrived to refuel and do any last-minute checks before going into battle, but they wouldn’t slow him down too much. Because they were slower than the lorries carrying the infantry, Selby’s plan was to split his force into three columns. He would lead the front column with the Coldstream Guards, six field guns, three light tanks and a company of machine-gunners. The second column included a rifle and machine-gun company, one field gun and the fifteen Infantry Tanks. The third would have detachments of infantry and artillery and all the dummy tanks. The latter would be needed to keep the Italians guessing.

NB Text in italic differs from OTL. Bear with me, because there is method in my madness at using these Matildas which don't exist in Egypt in OTL.
 
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