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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:20 pm 
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13th October 1941
803 Naval Air Squadron, equipped with the new Miles Marlin fighter, joins the carrier HMS Indomitable in Singapore.

14th October 1941
Brooke launches an offensive over the drained water line with Five Armies. The overall operational plan is very simple – the armies will attack across the former water line and fan out into the Netherlands and northern Germany – but the execution is very complex due to the sheer concentration of forces and limited number of available roads.
Overall, the plan for Operation Dracula has:
  1. The Dutch Army on the left flank, tasked with wheeling left towards the North Sea coast and clearing the German forces from as much of their territory as possible while protecting the left flank of the British First Army.
  2. First Army is tasked with advancing across the North German Plain in the direction of Hannover. Their major objective is one of deception rather than conquest, in that they are to so far as possible simulate a much larger force and focus German attention on their “planned” movement deep into Germany.
  3. Second, Third and Fourth armies constitute the centre of gravity for this offensive, and are to wheel slightly right down the east bank of the Rhine through Arnhem and onwards, in the direction of the Ruhr.
  4. The availability of Rhine barges in the Netherlands means that much of the supply of fuel and ammunition will be water-borne. This will be a separate operation (Zeeleeuw) under the command of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Over 1,000 barges have been assembled for this operation, many of them being fitted with engines for the first time ever.

Phase 1 of the plan involves only the Dutch, First and Second Armies due to the sheer density of forces required, and has the objective of clearing the Veluwe before pausing for 48 hours to allow a reorganisation of supplies and the building of temporary roads across the former water line.
Phase 2 comes in two options, depending on Brooke’s understanding of the condition of the German armies facing him. The first (Operation Musketeer) is a relatively minor operation to clear the remaining German occupation forces out of the Netherlands and capture jumping-off points for an offensive into Germany in the spring. The second (Operation Varsity) is much more ambitious and calls for Second, Third and Fourth Armies to launch a rapid, mobile campaign with the objective of encircling and capturing the Ruhr.

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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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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:10 am 
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As said elsewhere I note at least three other historical operation names - DRACULA, MUSKETEER and VARSITY.

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Adrian Carton de Wiart, VC wrote:
Frankly I had enjoyed the war...and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun?


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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:31 pm 
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My dutch is non-existent, but the language is close enough to German for me to deduce something with sea manmals and rhine river barges.... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 4:33 pm 
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15th October 1941

Brooke's forces complete the capture of the Veluwe shortly after dawn and pause as planned to allow the quartermaster branch and RMP some time to bring order to the captured areas. The opposing German 15th Army has been very badly hit, only surviving at all because of Hitler's order instructing them to withdraw slightly before the offensives started has meant that a little more than half of army is intact and East of the IJssel. Few of those west of the IJssel have escaped from Brooke's forces, however, with the Germans being increasingly unable to withdraw as fast as the heavily mechanised British forces can attack. Indeed, Brooke is heard to remark to his chief of staff that it reminds him of Amiens in 1918.

Hansard records the following exchange in Parliament:
Captain Plugge asked the Secretary of State for Air the reasons governing the regulation that Royal Air Force officers must not smoke pipes in public?
The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour) The practice referred to, while generally discouraged, is not the subject of any regulation in the Royal Air Force.
Major Markham Why should it be discouraged? Is it not a direct reflection on the officers of one Service against those of another?
Captain Balfour There is no question of disciplinary action or of regulation. It is a matter of taste and opinion.
Major Markham Surely it is going to the limit of absurdity that in these little matters there should be this dictatorial and didactic attitude on the part of senior officers?
Captain Balfour There is no dictatorial attitude. I have made it clear that there is no question of discipline or regulation. It is a matter left purely to the taste of the officers.
Mr. Lawson Would the Air Ministry be just as pleased to see a man smoke a pipe in public as a cigarette?

OKW issues orders for Kienetz's Sixth Army to take over the front currently occupied Lindemann's Eighteenth Army between Mechelen and the North Sea, in order to permit the troops there to be urgently withdrawn to support the endangered Fifteenth Army in the Netherlands. Additionally, the Gauleiters in Koblenz-Trier, Hesse-Nassau, Saar-Palatinate, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern are ordered to send their Volkssturm to replace First and Seventh Armies currently manning the Westwall.

A death certificate for Pvt. Felix Hall is issued by the Brigade Surgeon which lists the cause of death as Homicide, although this conclusion is not accepted by the Military Police investigators due to the advanced state of decomposition in which the body was found.


16th October 1941

Production of engines at Power Jets starts to shift from the W.2 to the W.3 engine. This has a straight through rather than “trombone” layout, and power is much improved with the new engine producing around 3,500 lbs of static thrust.

After receiving a full set of RAF reconnaissance photographs showing the limited German forces in front of his men, and having had extensive discussions with Churchill who has flown to his forward headquarters in Utrecht for discussions, Brooke gives the order authorising Operation Varsity to go ahead at dawn. Churchill is supremely confident that the Germans are on the verge of collapse and that the British and French armies will be in Berlin by Christmas, but Brooke is far less sanguine – the main reason he has authorised Varsity is that he is confident that his men can form a credible threat to the Ruhr and hence force the German forces facing the French to withdraw from Belgian soil without a major series of attritional battles: having seen the Zone Rouge from the last war and the effects of major battles in this one, Brooke wants to fight as many of them as possible on German rather than Belgian soil.


17th October 1941

The Anglo-Dutch attack resumes at 06.51 with a huge artillery barrage timed to coincide with what should be the very first light in the sky. Heavy overcast and drizzle mean that the intended air support has been cancelled, and the artillery barrage itself is taking place in near darkness. There are a few problems in the north where the very eager Dutch troops cross the start line at 07.20 and immediately run into problems with finding and engaging the enemy due to the poor visibility and the large amount of smoke in the air, occasionally leading to blue-on-blue engagements. Casualties are thankfully light, however, and limited to the Dutch army since the more experienced British troops delay crossing the start line until 08.00 when conditions have improved slightly.
The effect of all this is very minor however – the Germans in front of the attack are still very weak with next to no artillery support, so in most cases the only opposition is from mortars and machine-gun nests which can cause casualties but completely fail to slow the momentum of the advance, which reaches the Ijssel by 10am and has cleared the last vestiges of German resistance on the west bank by lunchtime. Crossing the Ijssel is rather harder – the Dutch navy manages to support a successful crossing in the north at Kampen, and another across the route of the ferry at Loover just south of the junction of the Ijssel and Nederrrijn. The ferry itself has been sunk by the Germans, but the piers are intact and enable the Royal Engineers to rapidly get a pontoon bridge in place – helped by the fact that the pontoons had been towed upstream from Rotterdam and held just outside Arnhem overnight in readiness.
In the centre however the German resistance is stiffer, and the Germans even manage to repulse the first assault crossing just south of Deventer. The balance of forces is simply too much for them, and by nightfall the British have infantry bridgeheads across the Ijssel at four places, with the engineers busy constructing Bailey bridges at each to allow the tanks across to keep up the pursuit.
By the end of the day the Dutch have control of the area Meppel-Ommen-Wijhe, while the British First Army have firm bridgeheads just across the Ijssel from Wijhe to Doesburg – with further advances being stymied until they can get tanks across. The star performance of the day comes from 2nd Army however – their ability to rapidly throw a pontoon bridge across the Nederrijn at Loover has enabled them to get tanks across far more rapidly than the Germans expected, with the Canadian Royal 22e Régiment seizing their chance and advancing rapidly across the German border to capture the town of Emmerich before the Germans realise that it is seriously threatened. They have a nasty fight in the gathering darkness when the Germans realise what has happened, but ultimately 2nd Army is able to reinforce the Canadians faster than the Germans can move forces to attack them, giving the Canadians the honour of being the first Entente troops to take and hold German territory – and putting them only 50 miles from the Ruhr.

Two new aircraft repair carriers, Perseus and Pioneer are laid down at Vickers-Armstrong, in Barrow and Newcastle upon Tyne respectively. These are based on HMS Unicorn, but the design has been simplified for rapid construction by the deletion of armour, radar, command facilities, etc. and the limiting of anti-aircraft armament to 10 twin 40mm Bofors mounts.

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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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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 10:06 am 
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Nice updates. Keep up the good work.

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Adrian Carton de Wiart, VC wrote:
Frankly I had enjoyed the war...and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun?


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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:53 pm 
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Apologies for the intermittent posting on here...

18th October 1941

Having worked through the night, the bridges over the IJssel at Deventer and Zutphen are ready just after dawn, allowing the tanks of First Army to start rolling again. Having been very roughly handled the day before, the defenders of 15th Army are unable to do much more than slow them down somewhat – with the British reaching Almelo towards evening when their supply problems are eased somewhat by the opening of additional bridges at Dieren and Wijhe.
To the south, Second Army has been working hard to reinforce the crossings at Looveer and support the Canadians in Emmerich. Fighting there is much heavier than anywhere else on the line, and the Canadians are suffering from a lack of artillery support and bad weather grounding their air support. They are comfortably holding however – helped by the boggy polders along the Dutch border one one side and the Rhine on the other channelling the German counter-attack down a single axis.
Finally, in the north the Dutch attack is proceeding well, with the terrain and poor roads forming a significant obstacle to further progress – German resistance seems to be limited to the odd sniper or machine-gun nest, with the major forces further south to oppose the British.

Meanwhile, in Berlin a crisis meeting has been going on between Hitler and the General Staff regarding what to do about the situation in Belgium and the Netherlands. The recent British advance is clearly a threat to the Ruhr, and the Abwehr has started to pick up clear signs of an imminent French attack in Belgium. After many hours of discussion – much of it unusually calm and thoughtful on Hitler's part – agreement is reached to withdraw the entirety of Army Group A behind the Albert Canal line and the river Ourthe in order to blunt the forthcoming French attack by having them hit almost-empty positions (a tactic which is seen to have worked well for Fifteenth Army – only being spoiled by the lack of reserves which should not be a problem here).
Orders are also issued for a number of half-trained SS units and some additional Volkssturm to be sent to reinforce Fifteenth Army – with the consensus view among the OKH staff that Brooke has probably shot his logistical bolt with this attack and will be unable to advance much beyond the Dutch border before he needs a substantial pause to regroup and resupply. This means that he will be unable to advance further before the spring, and therefore that the expected French attack is the major threat.


19th October 1941

A Japanese air raid on the Kunming-Haiphong railway is intercepted near Bảo Hà by a flight of MS.406 fighters. One Ki-21 is shot down by Sgt. Clostermann, and little damage is done on the ground.

Brooke's men have been making good to excellent progress throughout the day – they have reached the Ems at multiple points and 1st Army have taken advantage of the German fixation on Emmerich to close within 10 miles of Münster in the face of what are described as “very weak” defences. 2nd Army in the south has however been making slower progress, and have only been able to push forward as far as the village of Haldern. The Dutch in the north have been making the best progress of all, however. After receiving a telephone call from the police in Groningen during the early hours of the morning to say that the German troops had withdrawn, bicycle troops of the Lichte Divisie set off before dawn and were able to occupy the city without any resistance – indeed, it appears that all of the remaining German troops in the three northern provinces have withdrawn across the border.

Meanwhile, in Belgium the German troops of Army Group A are frantically withdrawing to new positions behind the Albert Canal line and the river Ourthe. They are helped here by a number of factors – notably the vile weather which leaves virtually the entire AdA grounded and the fact that the distance is relatively short meaning that most of their supply dumps had already been moved behind the new line anyway thanks to some well-founded paranoia on the part of the staff.

All of this activity on the part of the Germans is indeed only just in time, because in Paris Blanchard gives the final approval for the planned attack towards the Ruhr to be launched by Billotte and Bourret's men at dawn. In fact, he goes further than this and orders Pretelat's men in the south to prepare and carry out an advance as soon as possible. Echoing Foch twenty-two years previously, he finished the staff meeting with the statement “Now is the time. The Boche are on the verge of collapse, and we can finish them. Get everybody into the battle.”

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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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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:22 am 
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20th October 1941

The French First and Fourth Army Groups launch an offensive in Belgium, across a 250km front stretching from Antwerp to Bastogne. While the original plan had only been for the 1st, 6th and 9th armies to launch an attack, intending to clear the left bank of the Meuse as far as the Albert Canal it has become apparent that the German Army is suffering very badly and is potentially on the verge of collapse. Therefore while only three of the armies taking part in the offensive are fully prepared, Blanchard has made it clear that every opportunity to make even minor, local attacks should be taken on the principle that if troops are waiting for something to happen, they could profitably be engaged in killing Germans in the meantime.
Given the poorly prepared nature of the offensive, the attacks go remarkably well. In the centre where the three armies who had been expecting to attack are to be found the attack went off almost without a hitch, with the troops reaching Maastricht, Liege and the Albert Canal just as the light is starting to fail. They experienced minor delays due to the German rearguards, and major problems with German demolitions and low-lying ground being almost impassable due to mud – the engineers performing miracles here to allow the advance to move forward as fast as it did.
On the right flank the performance is weaker but there is at least some progress – while conditions are miserable the higher ground of the Ardennes does allow the forces there to make acceptable progress against very weak opposition (indeed, only a few months ago the rate of progress would have been considered excellent, such is the degradation in the forces they are facing). On the left flank, however, there is virtually no progress. The troops there were stripped of their engineering support some weeks ago in order to support the attack in the centre, and combined with the fact that they're trying to attack over flooded polders means that they are virtually immobilized, and reduced to sending infantry patrols forward in an effort to make contact with the enemy.

Meanwhile Brooke has not been idle. While the Dutch have completed the liberation of Friesland, Drenthe and Groningen, First Army has been pushing forwards strongly (driven by very firm instructions from Brooke) and has succeeded in capturing Münster and seizing a bridgehead over the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Hiltrup. Second Army is fighting much harder, but still manages to advance around 10km during the day, putting them very clearly within striking range of the Ruhr. Finally, Third Army launches an assault crossing of the Waal at Nijmegen. Again the German opposition is very patchy enabling them to seize a firm bridgehead with light casualties. Third Army is tasked here with primarily opening up the Waal to barge traffic in support of Second Army, and secondarily advancing down the gap between the Rhine and the Meuse towards Maastricht in order to assist the French in liberating the rest of Belgium and the southern Netherlands. Finally, fourth Army is warned that when logistics permit they will be transferred to the left flank in preparation for an advance along the North Sea coast. While this is in direct contradiction of the plan they were told about only a few days before, Brooke notes that the Heer is showing signs of a rapid collapse, with a large number of deserters being captured.

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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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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:34 am 
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But have the Frisian Islands been liberated yet? The world wonders? After all we would not want the Germans to launch an air raid on Scapa Flow from the islands. :lol:

Seriously though it not looks like simply a matter of time before the Heer collapses completley.

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Adrian Carton de Wiart, VC wrote:
Frankly I had enjoyed the war...and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun?


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 Post subject: Re: A Blunted Sickle
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:39 pm 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
But have the Frisian Islands been liberated yet? The world wonders? After all we would not want the Germans to launch an air raid on Scapa Flow from the islands. :lol:

The Dutch have taking them pencilled in for 1948. Everybody else is busy washing their hair.

Bernard Woolley wrote:
Seriously though it not looks like simply a matter of time before the Heer collapses completley.

Pretty much. They're held together with string, sealing wax and Entente logistical problems at the moment.

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