Shattered World - Segment 54.2
September 2nd 1949 to September 7th 1949
September 2nd 1949
Germany scales up mass production of its latest road and rail mobile ballistic missile system, the A-4f. This weapon is accurate to within half a kilometer out to 500 kilometers and to within a kilometer at 1200 kilometer range. This model is to replace earlier iterations of the A-4 as it is cheaper to build and easier to operate. It may be configured with a conventional 2000 pound warhead or a chemical/biological warhead. Another project, labelled as the A-6 , is a specialized variant of the multi-staged A-5(itself still in development) intended to place a small satellite into orbit. This missile is to be tested sometime in 1950.
By comparison, the best British and American ballistic missiles have ranges out to 800 kilometers and accuracies to within 2 or 3 kilometers at that range. These allied ballistic missiles require specialized launch stands and thus lack the mobility of the latest German systems. The U.S. does have a ballistic missile in development that will rival the German A-4 series but it is not scheduled for production until mid or late 1950. However, the Alliance is aware of this missile gap and the U.S. is applying its industrial and technological might to begin closing the gap.
September 3rd 1949
After several more British attempts to advance into Axis lines in Libya are repulsed, both sides once again settle down into a stubborn stalemate. Yet, to the east an ominous pall of hatred and anger lies over the land of Nile. Strikes, protests, and riots continue to sputter and flame across Egypt, increasingly drawing British and Imperial troops into constabulary work and garrison duty. Egypt, once a clear British ally, is coming more and more to look like a nation under occupation. The effect on the British front lines is clear, as infantry are transferred east and supply delivery becomes a bit less reliable, worsening week by week.
In Chile, growing tensions between communists and conservative elements boil over into small scale street fighting in the streets of Santiago, the nation's capitol. Police are forced to disperse the angry crowds, resulting in dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests. A general strike called by socialists and communists has led to increasing political tensions in Chile after political gridlock and the fall of the moderate centrist-conservative coalition government. Political turmoil has been mounting in Chile since the dominant Radical Party, becoming increasingly influenced by communists, dissolved into three bitterly competing leftist, centrist, and right wing parties in the period between 1945 and 1947. Increasingly, the communist People's Party of Chile and the reactionary, quasi-fascist, Chilean National Party have become militant, with both secretly forming an armed cadre and engaging in more and more street protests and political violence.
September 4th 1949
On Okinawa, U.S. forces continue to pound ahead in the north and south of the island - using armor, napalm, flame throwers, massive off-shore bombardments, and the blood of infantrymen to wrest control of each square foot from the insanely determined Japanese defenders. Even Japanese civilians have become a part of the fighting there, conducting suicide bomb attacks behind the lines, on advancing armor, and resisting in every way possible up to an including sneaking up on sleeping U.S. marines with knives and bamboo spears. As a result, unofficial U.S. policy has become "shoot anything that moves".
All around the Japanese Home Islands, massive conventional B-31 raids continue on major cities, military bases, and strategic facilities. Yet, Japanese air defenses have been strengthened with more powerful and accurate AAA, improved radar systems, and more efficient command & control of air defenses in addition to increasing numbers of purpose-built interceptors capable of attacking the U.S. heavy bombers. U.S. B-31 losses have increased steadily but remain within acceptable margins. At the same time, the U.S. has stepped up efforts to mine and raid amongst Japanese coastal waters and inland seas, resulting in a sharp decline in Japanese fishing productivity and coastal shipping. Only the yellow sea and the waters north of Japan remain relatively safe although even these waters are beginning to receive more and more unwanted visitations from U.S. submarines and aircraft.
In Minsk, the last significant pocket of Soviet defenders surrenders to German forces although sporadic sniping and unconventional resistance will continue for another week.
September 5th 1949
400 British heavy bombers out of the British Isles and 200 U.S. heavy bombers out of the Canaries launch a massive coordinated raid on the Spanish port city of Vigo on the Bay of Biscay. Escorted by U.S. carrier fighters which struggle against the superior German land-based fighters, the bombers suffer heavy losses to Axis AAA and fighters yet drop roughly 2000 tons of high explosives, destroying the city's port and industrial district while igniting a firestorm and killing an estimated 50,000 people.
September 7th 1949
In the Caucasus, Axis forces launch a general offensive. The Soviet divisions here, dug into static defensive lines, are largely reserve units lacking mobility, and are relatively poorly equipped compared to the Red Army forces further to the north. The Soviets have stripped units here to the bone, gambling that the Axis lack the offensive strength in the theatre to launch a large offensive. The Axis, for their part, are lacking in armor but have several divisions of German, Italian, and minor Axis mechanized infantry. These divisions plunge ahead into the Soviet lines and begin pushing forward with the aid of Luftwaffe air support. In the skies, the Luftwaffe enjoys almost total air superiority and the German commanders are using this advantage to maximum effect. By the end of the first 12 hours of the offensive, Axis forces have penetrated as much as ten kilometers at some points.
Meanwhile, to the north the Germans have not been sitting idle during their week long operational pause. Indeed, two German panzer divisions have been resting, receiving reinforcements, and massing southeast of Smolensk. To the increasingly worried Soviet high command, the German intentions are obvious. Axis forces are attacking northwards in the Caucasus. Far to the north, Smolensk has fallen months before the Red Army was counting on, and German panzer divisions now sit east of the Beria line, casting their gaze towards Bryansk and Orel. The implication is clear; Two great pincer movements are in the works, and the Soviet army in the eastern Ukraine with its 500,000 men lies in great danger of outright envelopment. Reluctantly, Beria has already signed orders calling for a complete withdrawal from the Ukraine and the execution of pre-laid plans for a scorched earth campaign approaching the destructive levels of the one inflicted on the western half of that terribly suffering region.
TO BE CONTINUED in Segment 54.3....