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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:24 am 
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Apologies, I am updating I'm just very forgetful about it!

24th August 1941

The Captain of the Queen Mary is informed by the Irish Authorities that his passengers and crew are being denied entry to Ireland as undesirable aliens. Because of this, the tramp steamer Irish Poplar will shortly be coming alongside to take off those on board and take them to Fishguard. Those already taken ashore for hospital treatment are to be deported via Rosslare when they are well enough to travel.
He is also informed that exceptional leave to remain is being granted to him and 25 of his crew in order to ensure that his ship does not become a further hazard to navigation and to prevent any risk of salvage claims being made, although his crew are not permitted to step ashore. To help ensure that the ship is safe and to avoid any risk of oil being discharged into the port, 25 workmen from the Vickers shipyard in Dublin will be arriving shortly to conduct a safety inspection and to carry out any repairs they deem to be urgently rquired.

Over 200 people are killed in Spain when an express passenger train derails in the Pajares tunnel and strikes a coal train travelling in the opposite direction. A strict media blackout is placed on the incident.

The Norwegian 1st Commando Brigade, staging out of Aberdeen and supported by parachutists from the British No.2 Commando and by men of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force who had been delivered by submarine some days previously launches a major raid on Stavanger. Most of the city is taken over by the assaulting troops, although the Germans manage to hold out in some areas until the attackers had to withdraw.
Heavy casualties are suffered on both sides (particularly among those troops dropped by parachute, many of whom were injured or killed on landing), with Ramillies being heavily damaged when providing gunfire support alongside Malaya and Barham after it is engaged by coastal defence batteries and the cruiser Dunedin sinking after striking a mine. The Luftwaffe response is somewhat delayed, however, thanks to Sola airfield being hit early on by a large number of 15” shells. Indeed, the eventual Luftwaffe response (and the failure of the RAF Reapers to provide sufficiently effective air cover) proved critical to getting many of the Norwegian troops to leave when their main assault transport Ben-my-Chree disappeared behind the waterspouts from a stick of German bombs.


25th August 1941

Sir Robert Menzies resigns as Australian Prime Minister in order to take up a position in the War Cabinet in London, advising the Governor General that he should invite John Curtin to form a national government. Curtin, however, declines the invitation believing that entering into a coalition government would destroy the unity of the Labour Party – sparking a minor political crisis with the Governor General holding a long series of meetings through the day and into the night in an attempt to resolve the situation without a new election.

With their new quarters behind the Water Line in the region of Naarden now available, the 9th Division (Australia) leave Rotterdam. Following some political manoeuvring in London, however, one battalion in every brigade will be from outside Australia. This leads to the somewhat bizarre sight of an Australian division being led out of Rotterdam by pipers from the Cameron Highlanders, playing Scottish music in the back of Canadian trucks on their way to fight the Germans in the Netherlands.

Marcus Oliphant, on a visit to the us to “discuss ongoing radar research" has a meeting with Lyman Briggs to discuss the US response to the findings of the M.A.U.D. committee. Briggs proves to be completely uninterested in the possible military uses of Uranium, stating that he does not believe that the weapon would work as well as described and that in any case it is a distraction from the important work of the committee on Uranium Boilers. After a bad-tempered meeting which has Oliphant banging his fist on the table several times, he leaves and does not to raise the issue any further during the rest of his visit (where he indeed has got some very important radar research issues to discuss). Briggs for his part returns the report to his safe - which it has scarcely left since he first got it - and forgets about it.


26th August 1941

At just after 2am, Rudolf Hess who is attempting to fly to Scotland to intercede with the Duke of Hamilton in order to bring about peace negotiations is shot down and killed over the North Sea by a Beaufighter from 219 Squadron, RAF. His flight had been tracked by radar stations in the Netherlands and along the east coast of the UK, allowing time to scramble fighters from Catterick and shoot his aircraft down.

At around noon, Hess's adjutant Karlheinz Pinsch delivers a sealed letter to Hitler at the Berghof, in which Hess outlines his reasons for flying to Scotland. After reading the letter, Hitler remarks calmly that “at this particular moment in the war that could be a most hazardous escapade” and orders the Gestapo to arrest Pinsch along with Hess's other adjutant Alfred Leitgen. Both men are formally cashiered from the SS on the spot and placed in solitary confinement by the Gestapo, but are not interrogated.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Governor General Lord Gowrie succeeds in hammering out an agreement whereby the two Independent members of Parliament, the former Lord Mayor of Melborne Arthur Coles and Alexander Wilson promise to support a Labour government under John Curtin until the next election, but without taking the Labour whip.
Since Curtin was unwilling to form a national government Lord Gowrie's preference had been to see the current coalition remain in power, but it rapidly became apparent during the talks that Billy Hughes was too old to take over the leadership of a barely cohesive coalition while the alternative leadership of Arthur Fadden would not be able to command the confidence of the House.

In Brussels, having received guarantees from the Belgian government that his men will all be treated as prisoners of war and will all receive immunity from prosecution for any war crimes alleged to have been committed during their occupation of the city General Reinhard orders his men to lay down their arms. To some extent this is a recognition of reality – they are desperately short of fuel and have virtually no ammunition larger than rifle calibre left – but the Belgians are also very keen not to have to fight their way across Brussels since their experiences to date have convinced them that doing so will lead to very heavy casualties both among their own troops and among the inhabitants of the city.
When news of the agreement leaks out in Brussels – which it very quickly does as the Belgian troops rapidly reoccupy the city and disarm the Germans – there are several situations where Belgian infantry are forced to disperse angry lynch mobs with fixed bayonets in order to safely evacuate the German troops. They are not always successful – since the tank troops wear black uniforms in a similar style to the SS, on occasion the Belgians make very half-hearted attempts to defend them – but overall the liberation of the city goes remarkably smoothly.


27th August 1941

Viscount Ōkōchi orders Dr Yoshio Nishina to investigate the possibility of Japan building nuclear weapons, and to report back through him to the Army Minister by the end of the year.

John Curtin is formally sworn in by the Governor General and receives the Letters Patent appointing him as the thirteenth Prime Minister of Australia. The appointment is the first that the public are aware of Menzies' resignation, and while there is some surprise at the unexpected resignation the general tone is one of pride, with many newspapers implying that Menzies will be Churchill's designated successor and deputy.

Skirmishing breaks out along the border between Ecuador and Peru after the breakdown of last-ditch talks mediated by Archbishop Fernando Cento, the Papal Nuncio to both countries. Both sides blame the other for starting the fighting – the Peruvians blame the conflict on Ecuadorian troops and armed civilians attacking a Peruvian police station in Aguas Verdes, while the Ecuadorians say the fighting started when they came across some Peruvian civilians clearing jungle on their side of the Zarumilla and were attacked by Peruvian police when they tried to evict them. Whatever the cause of the fighting, it rapidly grows over the course of the day soon involving the vast majority of the 13,000 Peruvian and 1,800 Ecuadorian troops in the region.


28th August 1941

The British Army places an order for 2,000 French Mle 37 MAC 9mm heavy machine guns to start replacing the Bren guns on their scout cars and on some of the smaller armoured cars. The weapon itself weighs only 45 lbs and is magazine-fed, looking rather like an overgrown Bren gun but despite this is capable of penetrating half an inch of armour at 200 yards – enough to go right through most German armoured cars.

Fighting intensifies along the Peruvian-Ecuadorian border, with the first dogfights between the Peruvian NA.50 and Ecuadorian CR.42 fighters taking place. The fighting in the air is in fact the only bright spot for Ecuador – on the ground they are badly outnumbered and have lost all the skirmishes to date with the Peruvians, although the Peruvians have completely failed to press their advantage afterwards.

The disappearance of Rudulf Hess is announced on Reichssender Berlin with the following statement:
Rudulf Hess has disappeared while piloting an aircraft from Munich to Hamburg. A letter which he left behind unfortunately shows by its distractedness traces of a mental disorder, and it is feared he was a victim of hallucinations. The Fuhrer at once ordered the arrest of the adjutants of party member Hess, who alone had any cognizance of these flights, and did not, contrary to the Fuhrer's orders, of which they were fully aware, either prevent or report the flight. In these circumstances, it must be considered that party member Hess either jumped out of his plane or has met with an accident.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:20 pm 
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We've not seen an update here for the last several months. Is it safe to assume that its too much trouble for you to keep both sites updated?

I'm ok with going to read your work elsewhere, as its certainly worth the trip, but I'd be equally happy to have it show up here again.

Belushi TD


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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:58 pm 
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Sorry - I wanted to rewrite the Greek segment after getting some feedback on it before I posted it here but that hasn't happened yet - pretty much everything I've been posting recently is from the buffer. I've got a teething baby at home and haven't slept in my own bed for weeks plus am trying to find a house to buy, so it's been sitting on the "I'll get around to it in a bit" pile.

I can just post up to the most recent update without sorting the bit I'm unhappy with if people prefer...

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:25 pm 
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Do as YOU prefer, sir. Your art, your choice as to what to post.

Real life takes precedence.

Thanks for what you've been able to post so far.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:36 pm 
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I agree with Belushi. Post as makes sense for you with real life.

I've been reading on AH, and want to put in my 2 cents on nuclear weapons, as a general comment.

Whomever gets The Bomb first in this timeline, presumably the Entente, I think the US will have the most bombs 10 years after the first atomic detonation by anyone.

Jeff

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:33 am 
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JPaulMartin wrote:
I agree with Belushi. Post as makes sense for you with real life.

I've been reading on AH, and want to put in my 2 cents on nuclear weapons, as a general comment.

Whomever gets The Bomb first in this timeline, presumably the Entente, I think the US will have the most bombs 10 years after the first atomic detonation by anyone.

Jeff

My very rough sketch is that the British and French get there first, which kicks a Manhattan project analogue into high gear. The Soviets get there before the Americans (having started earlier), which kicks over an anthill in Congress and means the US starts on Super before they've got a working atomic bomb. 10 years after the first atomic bomb they're the only people with an arsenal of H-bombs, and have the means to deliver them at extremely long ranges.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:37 am 
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29th August 1941

The first squadron of Westland Whirlwind autogiros enters service with the Army Air Corps in the Netherlands, replacing Lysander aircraft and allowing the squadron to be based much closer to the front lines and from smaller, more easily concealable fields.

On the outward leg of her first war patrol, U-576 torpedoes and sinks the light cruiser HMS Aurora 150 NM north-east of Tórshavn. The cruiser is providing escort cover to convoy QZ-24 returning from Narvik to Methil, but attacks by the escorting destroyers Glowworm, Grenade and Garm (ex-Griffin) force her to go deep and cause sufficiently heavy damage to her diesels that she is forced to abort her patrol and return to Trondheim.

In Athens, a number of masked men armed with rifles and PPD submachine guns blow down the gates of Syngrou Prison and release over 200 imprisoned communists. One guard is shot and seriously injured during the raid, with a further four being beaten by the attackers and two police shot dead when they try to intervene in the getaway.

Capitano Doglio of the Regia Aeronautica who is officially serving as an instructor with the Ecuadorian Air Force shoots down his fifth victim (a Caproni Ca.114), becoming the first Italian ace since WW1.
Meanwhile, on the ground the Peruvians have taken the town of Arenillas and have started to push up the road towards Santa Rosa, supported by a single LTP tank. The Ecuadorian forces defending Arenillas were in fact made up of a platoon of reserve infantry who were half-drunk by the time the Peruvians arrived, fired off most of their ammunition above the heads of the attackers (who responded in a similar manner) and then ran away home as soon as they started running out of ammunition. Both sides will report heavy fighting, but in fact the only victims of the fighting are a single Three-Toed Sloth hit by a burst of machine-gun fire and three Ecuadorians who will develop terrible hangovers by the following morning.


30th August 1941

After successful builders’ trials the 10,000 GRT ship Fort Gaspereau is delivered by the Kaiser shipyards in Vancouver. Many parts of the ship were in fact manufactured at the Richmond shipyards in California before being barged up to Vancouver and assembled, but for political reasons Kaiser has insisted that all ships ordered by the British should be launched from the new slips in British Columbia.

The People's Front of Hellas leave a communique outside the army ministry in Athens demanding the release of all members of the Communist Party, along with the disbandment of the Greek army and its replacement by workers' militias. Attached to the message is a bomb containing 200kg of Soviet-made TNT, which a junior engineering officer visiting the defence ministry for an appointment is fortunately able to defuse before it explodes.

The Peruvian tank supporting the attack from Arenillas towards Santa Rosa breaks down due to water in the fuel, causing the assault to stall until it can be repaired. Some progress is made on the Pacific coast, however, with the intervention of the Coronel Bolognesi on the Estero Grande proving decisive when a few shots from the bow gun causes the Ecuadorian troops to panic and run away.


31st August 1941


The first production Arado 232 transports enter service with the Luftwaffe, mostly replacing the devastated Ju-52 force at the task of flying urgent passengers and spares around Germany, thus allowing the Ju-52s to concentrate on their other mission of training bomber pilots for the Luftwaffe. The supply of aircrew to the bomber force is now reaching critically low levels, and the accident rate has been steadily going up as the average experience levels have been decreasing.


1st September 1941


Shortly before dawn while engaged in picking up survivors 400 miles east of Cape Cod, the USS Niblack detects a submarine preparing to attack and carries out a depth-charge attack in response, apparently driving off the U-boat. In response to news of the attack. When news reaches the US, it is the cause of some concern in the newspapers and Senator David I Walsh (Chair of the Committee on Naval Affairs) announces that his committee will investigate the incident. In fact the nearest U-boat was over 50 nautical miles away, with the “detection” being nothing more than the fruit of an over-active imagination.



2nd September 1941


The results of the survey of those living in Northern Transylvania who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to swap countries are published, and lead to some surprise. In fact, only 83,000 Romanians and 92,000 Hungarians living on the “wrong” side of the new border wish to take up the opportunity to move, with the vast majority of the population wishing to stay where they are. This is partially as a result of the improved relations between the two countries leading to better conditions for those of the “wrong” ethnicity stunting the desire to leave and re-join their “motherland”, but also due to a widespread lack of trust that the property commission will accurately value land and houses.

The first installation of the Fairlie Mortar is tested on board HMS Wolverine near Londonderry. The weapon can throw five 420 lb depth charges up to 300 yards ahead of the launching vessel, ensuring that the charges can be launched while still in ASDIC contact.

The allocation of new conscripts to the Royal Navy is cut by 75% in view of the ongoing heavy casualties suffered by the Army in fighting on the continent, and of the lack of casualties the service has been suffering recently.


3rd September 1941


A Crusader tank fitted with a Merlin engine is tested for the first time at Aldershot, and was timed over a half-mile course. This alarms some of the spectators, as the automatic recorder in the tank registered its maximum reading of 50 mph – on a vehicle weighing 25 tons.

Meanwhile, trials of the Black Prince tank are coming to an end. While there are criticisms of how big it is, overall the testers are full of praise. The chassis and running gear work well and seem reliable, and the Rootes-Coatalen diesel is highly praised as extremely reliable and easy to drive if a little slow. There are mixed feelings about the gun however – while all appreciate its power and the strength of the HE shell, several feel that it is just too unwieldy for a tank. Having experienced the speed of the Churchill prototype, some are also disappointed that the Black Prince is slower (due to the less powerful engine and heavier armour). Mobility and speed are still considered excellent for an Infantry tank however, almost up with pre-war Cruiser tank performance.


4th September 1941


In a military coup, Alexandros Koryzis is deposed and placed under house arrest. A large number of troops are to be found on the streets of Athens and other major cities, including a large force around the Tatoi palace, where King George II has been advised by the army that he must remain for his own safety.
At the same time a new Government of National Salvation is announced, led by Lieutenant General Georgios Tsolakoglou. The new government announces an expansion of the Hellenic Gendarmerie in order to crack down on the activities of the Hellenic People's Front, and accuses the Bulgarian government of supporting them.

The British Government signs an agreement with the Union of Sweden and Finland to sell the battleship Ramillies along with the four 15” turrets the British have in store after the conversions of Courageous and Glorious into aircraft carriers plus a number of spare barrels and the drawings and other documentation associated with the system. Ramillies was badly damaged providing gunfire support to a recent raid on the Norwegian coast and while repairable, the ship is clearly obsolescent and only really of value when providing fire support. Since this is not a role that the Admiralty anticipate being called upon to provide very much in the near future Ramillies was slated to be paid off and put into reserve rather than repaired before the Union approach to the Admiralty.


5th September 1941

The last Hawker Hurricane to be produced in the UK rolls off the Hawker production line at Brooklands, with almost 4,000 of the type produced to date. The factory is to convert as rapidly as possible to producing Tornadoes, with the first aircraft expected off the line in November. Hurricane production will continue at Canadian Car & Foundry, with the relatively simple design being well suited to manufacture by the comparatively unskilled workforce. These Canadian-produced Hurricanes are to be used as fighter trainers to help bridge the gap between the Master or Harvard and modern first-line fighters such as the Spitfire or Tornado. Production is also continuing under license at Zmaj in Yugoslavia.

King George II of Greece gives a speech on the radio welcoming the formation of the new government, and announces that in the light of the inability of the previous government to deal with the communist threat he has dismissed Alexandros Koryzis and formally appointed General Tsolakoglou as the new Prime Minister.

The first parachute assault in Latin America takes place as the Peruvians attack and take Puerto Bolívar. The paratroopers themselves are remarkably successful, with only a few being injured on landing and one in the subsequent fighting, but the Caproni 111 transports they used were intercepted on the way home by the Ecuadorian air force and four of the twelve used were shot down and three of the others badly damaged.


6th September 1941

King Peter II comes of age in Yugoslavia, and his father's cousin Prince Paul formally gives up the regency.

The type IXC U-boat U-67 sinks the armed merchant cruiser HMS Cathay while escorting the convoy SL.92, and then torpedoes the destroyer Velox just before sunset when she closes to rescue survivors, crippling her. The remaining anti-submarine escorts Burdock and Starwort abandon the convoy to launch an attack on U-67, enabling the other boats in wolf-pack Seeräuber (U-126, U-131 and U-157) to close in on the surface and attack the convoy, which is now only escorted by the elderly sloop HMS Bridgewater. Over the next two hours they sink the steamers Andreas, Calumet, Desirade, Mary Slessor, Pentridge Hill and Sandown Castle for a total of 44,000 GRT. U-67 escapes with minor damage.


7th September 1941

The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service issues specification 16-Shi for a carrier-based attack bomber. The aircraft is to be capable of both torpedo and dive bombing, and is to be designed around the 1,950 HP Nakajima Homare 18 cylinder two-row radial engine. Since the aircraft is for use aboard the Taihō-class carriers, the 11m length limit applied to all other Japanese naval aircraft has been relaxed slightly to 11.75m.

The Seeräuber wolf-pack remains in contact with convoy SL.92 throughout the day, attacking again at nightfall, sinking the Baron Herries, City of Worcester, Empire Baron, Richmond Hill and the ammunition ship Imber. The explosion of the latter causes severe damage to the next astern, the escort oiler Rapidol, which will be compelled to head for Dakar for repairs. Although Burdock and Starwort have been able to rejoin the convoy, they do not manage more than a few shots at U-131 which dives out of contact before they are able to close.


8th September 1941


The French Second Escort Group joins the battered convoy SL.92, operating out of Dakar and composed of the destroyers Mistral, Simoun, Tempête and Trombe. However, they rapidly make up for this by locating U-157 on HF-DF. The destroyer Simoun is sent to engage it, and catches the U-boat on the surface 12 miles ahead of the convoy. In the resulting attack U-157 is severely damaged with one diesel having its mounting bed fractured and an oil tank cracked open, leading Simoun to break off the attack under the impression that the U-boat has been sunk. The damage is sufficiently bad however to force U-157 to break off the action and creep back towards Trondheim on one shaft.
The additional escorts prove their worth when the rest of the pack return that evening, causing further damage to U-67 and forcing the other boats to break off their attack after sinking only the Clan Ross and Meliskerk, leading Dönitz to instruct the remaining boats to break off their attack on the convoy.

The first cross-channel pipeline is laid by tugs of the HM rescue force between Dover and Wissant, towing the giant “CONUN” drums which the pipeline is wrapped around. When the connections have been finished and tested (expected to be in the next few days), the pipeline will be able to deliver 1,500 gallons of fuel per hour.

HMS Ramillies is paid off at Scapa Flow, with the crews drafted elsewhere in the navy to help plug the manpower shortage being experienced. She will be transferred to the Swedish navy as soon as they are able to provide a sufficiently large crew to sail her safely to Gothenburg.


9th September 1941


The aircraft carrier Bearn arrives at Esquimalt for an extended refit expected to take 18 months. She is to have her boilers replaced, the reciprocating engines driving the outer shafts replaced with new steam turbines, and her gun armament replaced with 15 twin 40mm Bofors mounts of the Dutch Hazemayer type. The deletion of the anti-surface ship armament is controversial, but accepted by the MN since it frees up sufficient topweight for an air search radar to be fitted.


10th September 1941

The last British forces on the frontline in Belgium - 6th Battalion of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment - are withdrawn to Terneuzen, being replaced by units of the Belgian 15th Infantry Division. The majority of the men will be shipped straight to Rotterdam when shipping becomes available (which is expected to be some time, so all but defaulters are being granted local leave in the interim), but many of the married men are to be permitted a week's home leave before rejoining the regiment.


11th September 1941

HMS Regulus is spotted by the Japanese submarine chasers No.13 and No.16 off Nakajima Island, where she has been sent to keep an eye out for the rumoured Japanese battleship Yamato. The two ships attack Regulus, but she is able to dive and get away from them before withdrawing via the Bungo channel.


12th September 1941

James Chadwick has a meeting with Winston Churchill in London to discuss the report of the M.A.U.D. committee and the American lack of reaction to it. The French are also moderately interested in atomic weapons, but simply do not have the resources to devote to them, and as such are happy for their scientists to be seconded to a project run under British leadership. Churchill (in what will later be recognised as one of the most momentous decisions of his time as Prime Minister) authorises the project to go ahead immediately and accords it the highest priority for resources.
At the meeting it is also decided that they will follow only the Uranium-235 enrichment by gaseous diffusion route to the atomic bomb. While Chadwick does make clear to Churchill that there are other possible routes to a bomb (notably element 94, which shows promise for easier mass-production and which should in theory be suitable for a bomb), he also makes it clear that they would be something of a gamble since none have yet been tried in any form beyond the blackboard. ICI have on the other hand built a lab-scale Uranium enrichment plant on Merseyside which they are sure can be scaled up as necessary. Given the many other calls on British resources, they cannot afford to follow multiple routes to such an uncertain goal. This decision also means that the project will have to be based outside the UK, since the required plant would be huge and need very large amounts of electrical power. Churchill therefore undertakes to raise the matter with Mackenzie King on his forthcoming visit to Canada, since apart from Britain it is the only country within the Empire with both the industrial base and the electrical power needed for such a plant.

Churchill later writes to the Chiefs of Staff to give his endorsement to the scheme “…personally I am quite content with the existing explosives, however I feel we must not stand in the way of improvement.”


13th September 1941


With the loss of some of the Belgian coalfields and increasing RAF and AdA interdiction affecting coal deliveries from the rest of the Belgian coalfields as well as those in the Saar and Ruhr, the coal ration in Germany is cut further to 125kg per month. The cuts in the occupied territories are somewhat variable – in Poland the ration varies between 150 kg per month for Volksdeutsche down to nothing for the remaining Jewish population. The situation is even worse in Scandinavia, where the ration is reduced to 50kg per month in Denmark and nothing in Norway, with winter fast approaching.

The first type XIV U-boat, U-459 is launched at Deutsche Werke in Kiel. She is designed to refuel U-boats with up to 600 tonnes of fuel oil in the Atlantic, permitting greatly extended patrols, and to support this can carry additional refrigerated food supplies.


14th September 1941

Despite fierce opposition from Admiral Dönitz, Hitler issues a decree that the Kriegsmarine is to cease all operations by German surface ships with the exception of those minesweepers needed to protect U-boat bases. Their fuel is to be diverted to the Heer instead, and the crewmen drafted as infantry replacements.

A ceasefire agreement for the Ecuador-Peru conflict is signed in Talara, with both sides agreeing to withdraw their troops from the Ecuadorian provinces of El Oro and Loja pending the negotiation of a formal peace agreement. The agreement has been brokered by the governments of Brazil and Argentina, with the two countries providing military observers to ensure that neither side violates the agreement.


15th September 1941

Baron Cherwell presents his review of strategic bombing to the War Cabinet. Overall it makes ugly reading for Bomber Command, with only a few high points.
In the first section, he has compared the economic cost to the enemy (or benefit to the UK) per sortie against the cost per sortie of mounting it, using actual combat data where possible as computed by his statistical team. The order of merit for the use of long range aircraft is as follows:
1. Coastal Command – direct convoy escort. Even where no U-boats are sunk, losses are reduced very significantly. This is thought to be due to the aircraft forcing the U-boats to stay submerged and so unable to get in a position to attack.
2. Coastal Command – interdiction of U-boats travelling out of Norway. While the number of U-boats sunk per sortie is very low, the tonnage sunk by each U-boat in the course of its career is at present enormous. Should improving convoy defences reduce this, the value of these sorties would therefore be reduced and they should move down the merit order.
3. Battlefield Interdiction – bombing of German railheads, bridges etc. in the zone up to 200 miles behind the battlefield is typically accurate due to the short ranges flown and the fact that these sorties are flown in daylight, and frequently does heavy damage to valuable targets. The use of very heavy fighter escorts means that losses experienced on these raids are much lower than those experienced during unescorted daylight raids on Germany early in the war.
4. Escorted daylight bombing – some experience suggests that the casualties and effects of this sort of attack are comparable to those experienced for Battlefield Interdiction. Given that some industrial targets, notably in the Ruhr and Saar, are within escorted bombing range these experiments should be continued.
5. Night bombing of undefended targets – Bomber Command is presently able to attain a moderate level of accuracy against undefended area targets. This form of attack can barely be justified given the results achieved to date.
6. Night bombing of defended targets – the combination of greatly reduced accuracy and higher loss rates means this form of attack is clearly uneconomical.

He also notes that there is a clear correlation between operating altitude and losses, with the high altitude Wellingtons which in any case operate with a smaller crew suffering losses only a quarter of those experienced by the standard versions of the aircraft. Finally, when the weapon proposed by the M.A.U.D. committee becomes a reality then things will be very different. Bomber Command – if able to deliver the weapon accurately – would then become capable of winning the war single-handed. It is therefore critical that by the time the weapon becomes available a force of bombers capable of delivering it accurately at long range (i.e. beyond the range of escort fighters and hence presumably in darkness) should be in service.

As a result he makes the following recommendations:
1. Coastal Command should get priority for aircraft over Bomber Command, until they have absorbed sufficient strength to give continuous air cover to oceanic convoys out to the limit of their range. The most suitable aircraft for this is the Stirling, and the existing plans to transfer these aircraft to Coastal Command should be accelerated as much as possible. Some Wellington squadrons should also be considered for the role, although the type is also in high demand elsewhere. It should be noted that the number of aircraft actually required by Coastal Command for convoy escort and flying patrols over the route that the U-boats take from Norway is modest, and as such giving Coastal Command priority is not likely to make a substantial difference to the force that Bomber Command can deploy.
2. The more survivable twin-engined bombers (mostly the Wellington force) should be assigned to Battlefield Interdiction duties, attacking enemy targets in daylight and good weather in conjunction with a heavy fighter escort. As well as the damage caused, this will also force the Germans to pull fighter aircraft back from the front line and so ease the job of Tactical Command.
3. Bomber Command should in future be structured around the Halifax and Manchester types, and every effort should be made to develop electronic aids and procedures to assist them in night navigation. Harris has been very helpful here, and there is reason to believe that major improvements in accuracy can be made. When this happens, the effectiveness of Bomber Command raids will improve significantly and the priorities assigned to the command should be reviewed upwards. Until then a mixture of short range escorted daylight raids and longer ranged night-time raids on weakly defended targets should be undertaken.


16th September 1941

Aircraft for the first squadron of Miles Marlin fighters are handed over to 803 Naval Air Squadron at HMS Hornbill in Norfolk. In view of the increasingly aggressive posture of Japan in the Far East their training has been accelerated and they are scheduled to ferry their aircraft out to Singapore in only four weeks’ time from where they will join their carrier.
For the same reason, Miles have cut back on production of their Master and Magister trainers to allow increased production of the Marlin. Miles are now producing 5 aircraft per week, and plans are afoot to increase production substantially. To make up the shortfall in training aircraft a contract is placed with Fokker for 300 S.X trainers, with the first to be delivered in December.

After a major fright when HMS Wolverine (trials ship for the Fairlie Mortar) ran over her own bombs - which fortunately were being fired with very much reduced charges for the trials - the Admiralty asks the team at the Anti-Submarine Branch under A.S. Smith to work on major modifications to the weapon. While the concept of an ahead-throwing depth charge projector is generally liked, the aerodynamic properties of the charges used are very poor, the sink rate is far too low and the weapons are an utter pig to reload.


17th September 1941

Dr Merritt from the tank branch of Woolwich Arsenal meets with senior civil servants and RAC officers to discuss the progress of the Churchill and Black Prince projects. Overall his report is that both tanks are at almost the same state of readiness for production, somewhat to their surprise. The Black Prince tank is a little bigger, more expensive and more complicated than the Churchill design, but clearly outmatches the latest German tanks (the Churchill is considered to be broadly equivalent to them).
The engine issue is a thorny one. The Lion engine is easier to produce and lighter, while the Rootes-Coatalen engine is a little heavier but significantly more compact. Both engines in their current form require non-standard fuels and will be damaged if used with pool petrol, and when de-tuned to a level suitable for service produce about the same amount of power. The real joker in the pack is the fact that the Ford GAA engine is now becoming available in quantity, can use pool petrol and is both lighter and more compact than the other engines. This hadn't been predicted at the start of the development process, but all present agree that given its advantages over the alternative engines (and the fact that it is already being produced in quantity, while the others would need a new production line setting up) mean it is the obvious choice and could be adopted for both tanks.

In the end it is decided to standardise on the Black Prince design fitted with the Ford GAA engine, the final clincher being that the 6pdr is considered just a little bit too anaemic to face the rumoured new German tanks and the Churchill cannot easily be upgraded to take the bigger gun. The 6pdr Valentine is generally considered good enough until the new Black Prince becomes available, particularly given that the Archer self-propelled gun armed with the same 77mm HV gun as the Black Prince will very soon be entering service in quantity and will give armoured units sufficient firepower to stop any of the new German tanks.


18th September 1941


U-67 is sunk 250 miles WNW of Cape Finisterre by a Liberator of Aéronavale Escadrille 7S.


19th September 1941

An additional 350 Type 271 and 272 centimetric radar sets are ordered from Allen West ltd for the Royal Navy


20th September 1941

Adolf Hitler suffers a minor stroke at Berchtesgarten. He seems to recover well however after being injected by Dr Morell with a mixture of Vitamultin and Papaverine, but his staff do notice some slight personality changes and a little weakness down his left side.


21st September 1941

Winston Churchill arrives in Newfoundland on board the battle cruiser HMS Renown, as part of a week-long visit to Canada. In Placentia Bay, he meets with the US President who is on a "fishing trip" aboard the cruiser USS Augusta, and with M Daladier who has arrived on the cruiser Dupleix. At the end of the summit, the following document is issued.
The President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, and M. Daladier, representing the French Republic, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.
First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;
Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;
Third, they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have so recently been forcibly deprived of them;
Fourth, they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;
Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security;
Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
WINSTON S. CHURCHILL
ÉDOUARD DALADIER


It should not be thought, however, that the summit was all friendliness and agreement – it was in fact mostly dominated by discussions between the US and British/French over the matter of war loans. The Entente powers have been arguing for some time now that they are running out of dollars and unless allowed to raise money in the US will be unable to continue ordering war materials from US-based companies. This idea gets short shrift from the American administration, who point out that British companies in particular still have large assets in the US which could be liquidated, and that a number of US companies are interested in assets held overseas such as the Malayan rubber industry. Overhanging it all (although politely never mentioned) is the default on previous war loans – something the US government is not willing to see repeated. Ultimately, the summit breaks up without agreement on the subject.


22nd September 1941

The Dutch Light Division is the first unit to be completely re-equipped with the new M.41 semi-automatic rifles.

To help deal with the inability of the Union to import first-line fighter aircraft, the Kungliga Flygförvaltningens Flygverkstad I Vaasa is set up with a joint Swedish and Finnish staff, instructed to work on a high performance single seat fighter with a speed of at least 550 km/hr. The team is led by Bo Lundberg, and to power this aircraft a license has been negotiated with the British for the production of Perseus 100 engines. The first of 6 test examples will be shipped in December, with the full production drawings and a small number of representatives from Bristol-Siddeley to explain the production process arriving in April 1942.


23rd September 1941

The Canadian Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, welcomes Churchill to Ottawa for a series of meetings on the future path of the war and how best their two countries can assist one another.

In the Soviet Union, 50 Levkov L-7 torpedo hovercraft are ordered for the Red Banner Baltic Fleet. This is a close relative of the earlier L-5 design, with the addition of a skirt derived from work carried out by Toivo Kaario in Finland and obtained by the Razvedupr. The L-7 is capable of carrying a single 45cm torpedo and a rearward-firing 20mm ShVAK cannon for defence against aircraft. The hovercraft can travel at up to 80kts on smooth water or at lower speeds over ice and choppier water, and is able to completely ignore minefields and other obstructions.


24th September 1941

James Chadwick briefs Mackenzie King on the report of the M.A.U.D. committee and on the potential power of the weapon that could be produced, and describes the nature of the factories needed to produce the weapon.
Churchill then requests that King give the British "all possible assistance" in building some parts of the weapon in Canada. In particular, the factories required to extract the explosive part of the Uranium metal from the dross will be very large, and require an enormous quantity of electrical power - two characteristics which make them hard to build in wartime Britain. In return for Canadian help, the British will share all aspects of the design of this bomb with the Canadians and consult with them on its use.
Churchill emphasises to King that this new weapon, if it works, will probably be the most decisive contribution Canada could make to victory over the Germans and to the place of Britain in the postwar world. If necessary he would be happy for the Canadians to cut back their other contributions to the war in Europe in exchange for work on this project (to be codenamed "Tube Alloys").
For his part, King is quite receptive to such an agreement. It is clear from Chadwick's description of what is needed for this project that the most suitable part of the country for it will be Quebec, with its abundant hydropower. Quebec is also the region he is least able to use for the war at present due to sensitivity over conscription and a lack of volunteers for warlike service, which is limiting the size of the forces Canada is able to deploy overseas. Such a large project based in Quebec will also no doubt prove popular due to the jobs and money that will follow - even if the factories themselves are kept secret, the large associated workforce spending money will not be.
Furthermore, if the British would be willing in exchange not to place pressure on him to deploy larger forces to Europe then he would have no need to risk the political fallout from introducing conscription. This for him is possibly the most powerful argument, as he is starting to come under heavy pressure from the Conservatives to introduce conscription but is well aware that the issue is a politically explosive one. If Churchill were willing to make some sort of public statement while here to help him avoid pressure to introduce conscription, he would find it much easier to commit Canada wholesale to do whatever is necessary to make the project a success. This Churchill is unwilling to do immediately (the matter is a sensitive one in some of the other Dominions and Colonies, notably India), but promises to consult with his advisers on the issue and respond within days.


25th September 1941


The Heer issues instructions that all existing divisions are to be further de-motorised to some extent, with those on occupation duty to give up all of their motorised transport while those in frontline combat are only to give up around 10%. This is to ensure that the new divisions being formed will have at least the minimum amount of organic motor transport required on the modern battlefield.


26th September 1941


In a speech before the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Churchill indirectly comments on the conscription issue:

It is with feelings of pride and encouragement that I find myself here in the House of Commons of Canada, invited to address the Parliament of the senior Dominion of the Crown. I am very glad to see again my old friend Mr. Mackenzie King, for fifteen years out of twenty your Prime Minister, and I thank him for the too complimentary terms in which he has referred to myself. I bring you the assurance of good will and affection from everyone in the Motherland. We are most grateful for all you have done in the common cause, and we know that you are resolved to do whatever more is possible as the need arises and as opportunity serves. Canada occupies a unique position in the British Empire because of its unbreakable ties with Britain and its ever-growing friendship and intimate association with the United States. Canada is a potent magnet, drawing together those in the new world and in the old whose fortunes are now united in a deadly struggle for life and honour against the common foe. The contribution of Canada to the Imperial war effort in troops, in ships, in aircraft, in food, and in finance has been magnificent.
The Canadian Government have imposed no limitation on the use of the Canadian Army, whether on the Continent of Europe or elsewhere, and they have acquitted themselves nobly at close quarters with the Germans, as their fathers did at Ypres, on the Somme, or on the Vimy Ridge. Already the Canadian soldiers in France have crowned with military honour the reputation of their native land, and I have no doubt that more is to follow.
Another enormous contribution made by Canada to the Imperial war effort is the wonderful and gigantic Empire training scheme for pilots for the Royal and Imperial Air Forces. This has now been as you know well in full career for nearly two years in conditions free from all interference by the enemy. The daring youth of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, with many thousands from the homeland, are perfecting their training under the best conditions, and we are being assisted on a large scale by the United States, many of whose training facilities have been placed at our disposal. This scheme is already providing us with the highest class of trained pilots, observers, and air gunners in the numbers necessary to man the enormous flow of aircraft which the factories of Britain, of the Empire and of the United States are and will be producing.
Most magnificent of all, I must speak of many industrial activities, of tanks, of the special forms of modern high-velocity cannon, of ships, and of the great supplies of raw materials and many other elements essential to our war effort on which your labours are ceaselessly and tirelessly engaged. While I must not let my address to you become a catalogue, it is important that I make clear to you just how crucial this work is to the destruction of Nazism before I turn to less technical fields of thought. Put simply this war is one of blood and steel – our steel and their blood – and without the magnificent industrial effort here and elsewhere we would be forced to pit blood against blood. I do not doubt for a second but that we should prevail, but that the cost we should incur in doing so would be grievous.

We did not make this war, we did not seek it. We did all we could to avoid it. We did too much to avoid it. We went so far at times in trying to avoid it as to be almost destroyed by it when it broke upon us. But that dangerous corner has been turned, and with every month and every year that passes we shall confront the evil-doers with weapons more plentiful, sharper, and more destructive than those with which they have sought to establish their hateful domination.
I should like to point out to you that we have not at any time asked for any mitigation in the fury or malice of the enemy. The peoples of the British Empire may love peace. They do not seek the lands or wealth of any country, but they are a tough and hardy lot. We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.
Look at the Londoners, the Cockneys; look at what they have stood up to. Grim and gay with their cry “We can take it,” and their war-time mood of “What is good enough for anybody is good enough for us.” We have not asked that the rules of the game should be modified. We shall never descend to the German level, but if anybody likes to play rough we can play rough too. Hitler and his Nazi gang have sown the wind; let them reap the whirlwind. Neither the length of the struggle nor any form of severity which it may assume shall make us weary or shall make us quit.
There shall be no halting, or half measures, there shall be no compromise, or parley. This gang of bandits has sought to darken the light of the world; has sought to stand between the common people of all the lands and their march forward into their inheritance. They shall themselves be cast into the pit of death and shame, and only when the earth has been cleansed and purged of their crimes and their villainy shall we turn from the task which they have forced upon us, a task which we were reluctant to undertake, but which we shall now most faithfully and punctiliously discharge. According to my sense of proportion, this is no time to speak of the hopes of the future, or the broader world which lies beyond our struggles and our victory. We have to win that world for our children. We have to win it by our sacrifices. We have not won it yet. The crisis is upon us. The power of the enemy is immense. If we were in any way to underrate the strength, the resources or the ruthless savagery of that enemy, we should jeopardize, not only our lives, for they will be offered freely, but the cause of human freedom and progress to which we have vowed ourselves and all we have. We cannot for a moment afford to relax. On the contrary we must drive ourselves forward with unrelenting zeal. In this strange, terrible world war there is a place for everyone, man and woman, old and young, hale and halt; service in a thousand forms is open. There is no room now for the dilettante, the weakling, for the shirker, or the sluggard. The mine, the factory, the dockyard, the salt sea waves, the fields to till, the home, the hospital, the chair of the scientist, the pulpit of the preacher – from the highest to the humblest tasks, all are of equal honour; all have their part to play. The enemies ranged against us, coalesced and combined against us, have asked for total war. Let us make sure they get it.
That grand old minstrel, Harry Lauder – Sir Harry Lauder, I should say, and no honour was better deserved – had a song in the last War which began, “If we all look back on the history of the past, we can just tell where we are.” Let us then look back. We plunged into this war all unprepared because we had pledged our word to stand by the side of Poland, which Hitler had feloniously invaded, and in spite of a gallant resistance had soon struck down. There followed those astonishing seven months which were called on this side of the Atlantic the “phoney” war. Suddenly the explosion of pent-up German strength and preparation burst upon Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium. All these absolutely blameless neutrals, to most of whom Germany up to the last moment was giving every kind of guarantee and assurance, were overrun and trampled down
On top of all this came the great French catastrophe, followed almost immediately by the miracle of Reims. The French Army arose like a Phoenix from the ashes of collapse, and the French nation and Empire then liberated Paris and drove the Germans back to the frontiers. France has held her place as a nation in the counsels of the Allies and at the conference table of the victors, despite frightful losses and the capture of her capital city. We would do well to learn from her example of steadfastness in the face of the greatest of adversity.
Then too we have the behaviour of the valiant, stout-hearted Dutch, Belgians and Norwegians, who still stand forth as strong living partners in the struggle! With much of their territory under the jackboot of the occupiers, they are still fighting back with dogged courage and tenacity by land and sea and in the air. Soon, Allied forces – including those brave volunteers from Canada – will strike forth to liberate these countries for all time and to crush Germany. Strong forces are at hand. The tide has turned against the Hun. Britain and her Empire are growing stronger every day. You can see it here in Canada. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of our affairs is aware that very soon we shall be superior in every form of equipment to those who have taken us at the disadvantage of being but half armed.
As I speak this afternoon Field Marshall Brooke, at the head of a British, Canadian, Australian, and Indian army is installed in Holland, ready for the new battles we face on the road to Berlin. We must not attempt to prophesy their result, but I have good confidence. All this fighting in Belgium and France proves that when our men have equal weapons in their hands and proper support from the air they are more than a match for the Nazi hordes
Now that the outraged and subjugated nations can see daylight ahead, it is permissible to take a broad forward view of the war.
We may observe three main periods or phases of the struggle that lies before us. First there is the period of consolidation, of combination, and of final preparation which I think we have perhaps now completed. In this period, which was certainly be marked by much heavy fighting, we were still gathering our strength, resisting the assaults of the enemy, and acquiring the necessary overwhelming air superiority to give our armies the power to destroy our foes. It is only when the vast industrial programme which you are powerfully aiding came into full flood that we have been able to bring the whole force of our manhood and of our modern scientific equipment to bear upon the enemy. We are burying the Germans under such an avalanche of tanks, guns and aeroplanes that no enemy – no matter how fanatical – can long resist.
The second phase which is now opening may be called the phase of liberation. During this phase we must look to the recovery of the territories which have been lost or which may yet be lost, and also we must look to the revolt of the conquered peoples from the moment that the rescuing and liberating armies and air forces appear in strength within their bounds. For this purpose it is imperative that no nation or region overrun, that no Government or State which has been conquered, should relax its moral and physical efforts and preparation for the day of deliverance. The invaders must everywhere be regarded as infected persons to be shunned and isolated as far as possible. Where active resistance is impossible, passive resistance must be maintained. The invaders and tyrants must be made to feel that their fleeting triumphs will have a terrible reckoning, and that they are hunted men and that their cause is doomed. Particular punishment will be reserved for the traitors who make themselves the tools of the enemy. They will be handed over to the judgement of their fellow-countrymen.
There is a third phase which must also be contemplated, namely, the assault upon the citadels and the home-land of the Nazis. Here I endeavour in a few words to cast some forward light upon the dark, inscrutable mysteries of the future. But in thus forecasting the course along which we should seek to advance, we must never forget that the power of the enemy and the action of the enemy may at every stage affect our fortunes. Moreover, you will notice that I have not attempted to assign any time-limits to the various phases. These time-limits depend upon our exertions, upon our achievements, and on the hazardous and uncertain course of the war.
Nevertheless I feel it is right at this moment to make it clear that, while an ever-increasing ground offensive against Germany will remain the principal method by which we hope to bring the war to an end, it is by no means the only method which our growing strength now enables us to take into account. Evidently the most strenuous exertions must be made by all whether in the factory or on the battlefield. As to the form which those exertions take, that is and must be for each partner in the grand alliance to judge for himself in consultation with others and in harmony with the general scheme. Let us then address ourselves to our task, not in any way underrating its tremendous difficulties and perils, but in good heart and sober confidence, resolved that, whatever the cost, whatever the suffering, we shall stand by one another, true and faithful comrades, and do our duty, God helping us, to the end.

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War is less costly than servitude. In the end, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:33 am 
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Your work on A Blunted Sickle has been nothing short of terrific. I've followed it over on AH and here for a long while and the sheer depth of background material and rigourous detail is most impressive. It also follows along with the historical planning for the buildup of the British Army, which is another pleasing aspect. What is the divisional size of the British Army by October 1941?

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Simon


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:59 am 
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Simon Darkshade wrote:
Your work on A Blunted Sickle has been nothing short of terrific. I've followed it over on AH and here for a long while and the sheer depth of background material and rigourous detail is most impressive. It also follows along with the historical planning for the buildup of the British Army, which is another pleasing aspect. What is the divisional size of the British Army by October 1941?

Regards,

Simon

I'm afraid I haven't gone into that level of detail - the sheer amount to keep track of is virtually unmanageable as it is, so I'm not worrying about any unit smaller than a Corps unless I need to include a named unit for a particular scene. Even then I drop the occasional clanger - I'm not very happy about the Greek coup story for instance, but the opportunity for Life of Brian references was too tempting (there are a couple of other hat tips to Allo Allo among others in the story).

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:12 pm 
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pdf27 wrote:
JPaulMartin wrote:
I agree with Belushi. Post as makes sense for you with real life.

I've been reading on AH, and want to put in my 2 cents on nuclear weapons, as a general comment.

Whomever gets The Bomb first in this timeline, presumably the Entente, I think the US will have the most bombs 10 years after the first atomic detonation by anyone.

Jeff

My very rough sketch is that the British and French get there first, which kicks a Manhattan project analogue into high gear. The Soviets get there before the Americans (having started earlier), which kicks over an anthill in Congress and means the US starts on Super before they've got a working atomic bomb. 10 years after the first atomic bomb they're the only people with an arsenal of H-bombs, and have the means to deliver them at extremely long ranges.


That seems completely reasonable to me. A Sputnik type panic in the mid to late 40s, focused on atomic energy, would have interesting consequences.

Perhaps the US would move into PWRs for utility power generation at the same time the Navy was rolling them out, with a regulatory system for a closed fuel cycle from the beginning.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:25 am 
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Since you were all so nice, have the next update before I put it up on AH.com (well, 30 seconds before probably!)

27th September 1941
Churchill’s speech is generally well received, although Lord Linlithgow has a fairly torrid time with the Executive Council where Sir Feroz Khan Noon spends some time questioning him about exactly far much they had been allowed to judge for themselves what India's contribution to the war effort should be, and how far things would be different in future. The speech goes down very well in Quebec however, with Maurice Duplessis in particular stating that Churchill has stuck a stake through the heart of the idea of introducing conscription in Canada.

28th September 1941
A body found hanged in the woods surrounding Fort Benning, Georgia is identified as that of Pvt. Felix Hall, who was reported as AWOL on the 13th of February. Despite the hands and feet of the body being tied, the War Department announce that they believe the death may have been a suicide.

29th September 1941
After Churchill's return to London, James Chadwick stays on in Canada for some time to work on the plans for the Uranium Enrichment plant, alongside several representatives from ICI and the Canadian War Ministry. The choice rapidly comes down to one of a number of sites in the vicinity of Montreal, due to the large number of potential hydroelectric power stations in the vicinity and the availability of research staff who can work on the project at the University of Montreal. He is also arranging some quiet visits to a number of well-known Canadian Physicists to recruit them for the research phase of the project.

30th September 1941
At a meeting of the Entente Supreme War Council in London, the Dutch Prime Minister Eelco van Kleffens gives final approval for the planned offensive by the British and Dutch armies across the Water Line and into Germany. The French undertake to launch an offensive of their own into Belgium no more than one week after the BEF attack is launched.

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1st October 1941
Dutch army engineers rebuild the dikes which were ruptured to inundate the Water Line, and turn on the powerful pumps assembled to drain the land. The water will appear fully drained in a few days, and within two weeks the ground will be firm enough to support vehicles.

2nd October 1941
Under orders from the Dutch Navy, all remaining barge traffic on the Waal and Lek is halted and the barges are ordered to report to Rotterdam. Over 1,000 barges are already under the control of the Dutch Navy, with around two thirds in Rotterdam and the rest in Amsterdam, although the majority of those already concentrated are unpowered and often rather elderly. A large number have however been fitted with improvised outboard motors, a single cylinder diesel engine combined with with a long prop shaft hanging off the stern

3rd October 1941
The report of the water level dropping in the Netherlands over the whole length of the water line, coupled with the identification of just how much of the BEF has been transferred there causes near panic in Berlin. Reporting of it was delayed because those interpreting the intelligence simply didn't believe what they were seeing and though it had to be a hoax, a belief strengthened by the fact that Churchill gave a speech in Canada saying exactly what was happening.
Hitler, however, is probably the only man in OKH to remain calm in face of the threat and simply authorises Haase to pull most of his men back slightly such that the British offensive will mostly hit empty positions. He also instructs Bormann to recruit six million men into the Volkssturm who are either in what have previously been regarded as essential positions, have been considered unfit for military service or so far have been too old to be conscripted. These men are to be integrated as far as possible into Wehrmacht and SS units, both to do much of the hard physical labour of soldiering (fatigue parties, driving carts, etc.) and to provide extra rifles in defence, with many of the soldiers considered too unfit to be effective in attack.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:22 pm 
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A military operation using barges to transport troops across water? What shall we call this? Operation Pinped perhaps? :D

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Bernard Woolley wrote:
A military operation using barges to transport troops across water? What shall we call this? Operation Pinped perhaps? :D

It's under the control of the Dutch Navy, who should at least be competent and familiar with using barges!
They're calling it Operation Zeeleeuw

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:18 pm 
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pdf27 wrote:
It's under the control of the Dutch Navy, who should at least be competent and familiar with using barges!
They're calling it Operation Zeeleeuw


And at least they won't be trying to land horses via barge. In @ the German Army assigned the job of building rafts for landing horses to an engineer unit from Bavaria. About as far from the sea as one can go in Germany. When the rafts were tested they sank immediatley, yet the plan was still to use them in the initial landings. :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:03 am 
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4th October 1941
To provide weapons for the Volkssturm, Hitler instructs von Ribbentrop to demand the disbandment of the Danish army and that their weaponry to be handed over to Germany. If the Danish government do not agree to this he gives orders that the government should be dissolved and martial law imposed on the country. He further authorises Bormann to make use of Polish and Czechoslovak weaponry which has been in store for some time, most of it of WW1 vintage, as well as permitting him to order the collection of civilian-owned shotguns and hunting rifles.

5th October 1941
The 500th Somua S-41 is delivered to the French Army from the Saint-Ouen factory, entering service with the 6e DLC just outside Namur. At the same time the first 47mm discarding sabot shells with tungsten carbide penetrators arrive – these will only be issued to new tanks to start with since an additional sight graticule is required due to the extremely flat trajectory compared to standard anti-tank ammunition.

6th October 1941
Louis D Brandeis, the first Jewish associate justice of the US Supreme Court dies in Washington DC after a heart attack.
The Danish government partially accedes to the German demand for weaponry, offering to hand over 4,000 M1889 rifles. They regret however that no heavier weapons are available, and that due to a water leak at their main ammunition storage depot they are unable to make any ammunition available.

7th October 1941
Bletchley Park intercepts a message from the Japanese embassy in London to Tokyo containing an accurate transcript of the meetings at Placentia Bay. Under huge pressure from the French – who are furious at the leak – the two men who had access to the documents in question (Commander McGrath and William Forbes-Sempill) are ushered out of the Admiralty. Commander McGrath is promoted to Captain and posted as Naval Attaché to Paraguay, while Lord Sempill's “request to retire” is granted, effective immediately.

8th October 1941
The Japanese ambassador in Berlin passes the Placentia Bay transcripts on to the Germans. Hitler is ecstatic and interprets it as a sign that if they hold out a little longer the Entente will collapse and sue for peace – the view that the Entente soldiers are not really trusted by their commanders to fight and die for their cause has been gaining ground in the Nazi party in recent months, and even in the Heer there are many who think this way to explain away the massive Entente superiority in tanks and artillery. The theory goes that defeating the British and French forces in a few major battles will undermine the willingness of troops who know little of Poland to fight to liberate it, leading to a compromise peace which allows Germany to keep her gains in the East.

9th October 1941
The aircraft carrier Zuikaku is commissioned at the Kawasaki shipyard in Kobe.
Chinese forces of the 9th Front under Xue Yue ambush Japanese forces retreating from Changsha as they cross the Luoyang river, causing severe casualties to the Japanese 6th and 40th Divisions. Four A11 infantry tanks supplied by the British proved critical here, proving to be immune to the Type 94 anti-tank guns available to the Japanese.
The Kōa Institute of Technology is founded in Machida, Tokyo, jointly sponsored by Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni and Admiral Nagano for the purpose of disseminating engineering education to the peoples of Asia and supporting the training of engineers to lead the nation.

10th October 1941
Admiral Nagano orders the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal to suspend work on the MXY-5 glider and P1Y bomber in order to concentrate on fixing the flutter problems with the D4Y Suisei aircraft. They are also ordered to accept assistance from the newly founded Kōa Institute of Technology, since the current D3A aircraft is increasingly being regarded as dangerously obsolescent with the introduction of new fighters and dive/torpedo bombers to the Royal Navy in Singapore.

11th October 1941
A major fire breaks out aboard HMS Hood while she is moored up at Gibraltar, killing over twenty of her crew. While quickly extinguished, the fire does serious damage to the forward engine room including the complete failure of the port condenser.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:14 am 
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Hitler really is in a world of his own now.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:53 am 
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pdf27 wrote:
6th October 1941Louis D Brandeis, the first Jewish associate justice of the US Supreme Court dies in Washington DC after a heart attack.The Danish government partially accedes to the German demand for weaponry, offering to hand over 4,000 M1889 rifles. They regret however that no heavier weapons are available, and that due to a water leak at their main ammunition storage depot they are unable to make any ammunition available.

Have the Danish been watching Yes, Minister? :lol:
pdf27 wrote:
11th October 1941
A major fire breaks out aboard HMS Hood while she is moored up at Gibraltar, killing over twenty of her crew. While quickly extinguished, the fire does serious damage to the forward engine room including the complete failure of the port condenser.

Sounds like a major refit that'll incidentally allow major works to the rest of the ship, or early retirement. She won't be going to the East Indies any time soon, that's for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:57 pm 
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RLBH wrote:
Have the Danish been watching Yes, Minister? :lol:

And if Von Brickendrop ever asks to see the ammunition bunker, no doubt there will be a leaky roof which has spoiled all the ammunition there. Seriously, given the straits the Germans are in the Danes can get away with quite a bit

pdf27 wrote:
Sounds like a major refit that'll incidentally allow major works to the rest of the ship, or early retirement. She won't be going to the East Indies any time soon, that's for sure.

That's what I have in mind - the condensers were always a problem area by the 1940s, leaking so badly the evaporators could barely keep up. Any major engine room fire is going to cause enough damage that you need a major refit to get her operational again.
So far as roles for her go, the main fleet is at Singapore facing the Japanese for the foreseeable future. They've currently got one fast (KGV) and one slow (NelRod + modernised QE) squadron out there, plus the modernised carriers, and the BCs are covering the rest of the world in case the Germans get cruisers or equivalent out there somehow, or the Italians do something really silly (plus nerves about the armour levels - much more of a concern ITTL given all the KGVs are available so they have genuine fast battleships out there).
For the future, they have Lion and Temeraire building to something like the original design (16" KGV, more or less), which means 7 modern fast battleships - my instinct is that with Renown already heavily reconstructed before the war they would plan on doing Hood and Repulse too.

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:56 pm 
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Perhaps to the point where a refit becomes a case of jacking up the nameplate and sliding in a new ship? Maybe a Vanguard type battleship could be built using Hood's turrets?

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