A Devastating Alternate Second World War

January 13, 2010


Operation "Orange Fire" : The Eastern Libya Campaign



Final Day : November 24th 1949


    The final day of the campaign opens with renewed dawn air raids on British supply infrastructure in a stretch west and east of Tobruk. Much to the relief of the British, the nerve gas used is sarin and not the more deadly VX used earlier in the campaign.[the priority on VX stocks having been shifted west to confront the Americans after Hitler changes his mind and relents to his general's wishes]   
    Still, an already severely wounded British logistical system is battered further in the intensive attacks. Also hit are more British radar sites, putting more holes in an already ragged network. Again fighters clash in the skies throughout the day as greater British numbers offset their higher rate of losses.  Missiles are also used in the morning hours, as they have been on most days of the operation, with a dozen ballistic missiles causing moderate and scattered damage at Tobruk.

    On the ground, the British 8th Armored division under Field Marshall Thomas Harding is forced to break off its counter-attack by mid afternoon, having been stopped 5 miles east of Al Bayda by German tank busting jet aircraft as well as armored and anti-tank forces. To the southwest the British 7th Armored division has surrendered several days after running out of fuel, and some 200,000 British and Imperial soldiers are now trapped in the gradually shrinking Benghazi pocket. Italian forces have remained unable to make much progress and have by now simply dug into a holding position while events unfold to their northeast. The British supply situation in the Benghazi pocket is grim, but not yet fatally grim. They have stocks sufficient to hold out for months, though the men will soon go hungry on strict rations. 



   British Field Marshal Thomas Harding stared at the charred remains of another 8th armored tank and saw only the ruins of his career and the coming loss of Libya. His counter-attack to re-take Al Bayda had failed under a storm of jet stuka cannon fire, anti-tank rockets from highly skilled German panzergrenadiers, and stubborn German armored defenders. This alone was bad enough, but the entire British 7th armored division had already been forced to surrender the day before for lack of fuel.  Benghazi would now remain isolated, and Harding would have no choice but to fall back upon Tobruk and await the transfer orders that would strip him of command. 
    How could he have been so utterly defeated, when every advantage had been his? Overhead, contrails marked the paths of bombers and the roar of jets was audible. Small arms fire and the heavier reports of cannon fire still cut the air as two of his battalions fought a rear-guard action so the rest of his division could withdraw to the east in good order. He had let down himself, his nation, and his King.  He would be a failed footnote of history; The week that America invaded Africa and Europe while the British 8th Armored Division under Field Marshall Thomas Harding lost Libya in the east. For a fleeting moment he glanced at his pistol and considered the peace of oblivion....
   Suddenly, a blinding white light forced Thomas to shield his eyes with an outstretched hand. The roaring blast and concussion came a moment later, and dust filled his lungs and put him into a coughing fit. Wiping dust from cracked lips, Thomas looked up to the west again and felt hope at the terrible visage he saw; A towering dark pillar, split across with angry orange streaks of flame, was soaring vertically up into the clear blue sky. 
   Even as he watched, the mushroom cloud gathered itself together as the awful, by now familiar, toadstool cap formed at the top of the roiling tower of dust and flame. And with that terrible hell of heat and carnage, fuel sufficient to supply an armored division for a month blazed brightly in untold fury, its untapped energy now rapidly spent. A grim smile split Thomas's dirt smeared face, and the orange fires of hell reflected in satisfied eyes. The boundless destruction of the split atom had just saved the British in North Africa, and pulled Field Marshall Thomas Harding's legacy from the ashes of eternal shame. 





70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Caracalla here....

So Bobby does this mean that the Axis are doomed in N. Africa?

BTW
EXCELLENT UPDATE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Very nice Bobby!

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Well, don't expect a total Axis collapse.

But over the medium and long term, the Axis position in North Africa is one of buying as much time as possible.
I've thought about this from every angle and I just can't construct any plausible scenario in which the Axis do better than they have already managed - The alliance just has too many advantages when you factor in the Americans moving in on the west plus the alliance nuclear capability.

The Egyptian Revolt, in the end, just helped the Axis stretch things out longer in the theater.

Anyway, I don't want to give any more detail than that, don't want to totally spoil things.

CJ said...

Great update Bobby!

Interesting to know that the US went into both Iberia and North Africa. I can't wait to find out where and how the US entered North Africa.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

very glad to see a trickle of updates start giving life to the timeline again! and (slightly) sorry at the prospect of becoming too mentally overoccupied by it ;)

thanks a lot!

-matias

Anonymous said...

Caracalla here.....

When are the Axis going to deploy their bomb?

Also in the next update are you going to focus on the Eastern Front?

Scott said...

Nice. I wasn't expecting the nuke, but that's why you're the creator and I'm the consumer.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here One big problem Bobby - the fireball will cause fallout that will kill every British soldier to the east of the bomb due to them nuking the oil supplies. The British just killed the 8th armored division and every soldier in Tobruk.

Congrats - you just handed Libya to the Axis. The british army there will all be dead in 5 days from fallout - that why you don't drop an a bomb on huge fuel supplies sitting on sand

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Hardy and any soldier looking at the blast would be blinded - you don't have time to shield your eyes from 5 miles away. Also the Germans have air superoirity but don't attack a single bomber heading for the oil dump? Sorry but the end is right out of Monty Python when Arthur is saved by the death of the illustrator.

Anonymous said...

Caracalla here....

Hey Olefin my friend I think that the British did not have a choice. If they had not done that the game would have been up in N. Africa, JMO.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Sorry but the British govt kills 100,000 of their own men in Tobruk and around the immediate bomb blast area and its a smart move? Sorry this is bad storytelling - right up to the bomb it makes sense and then Bobby jumps the shark and makes the story go from alt reality to total fantasy.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Olefin, dude...

A)Where did I say no bombers were attacked?????

B)with all due respect, I strongly contest your assertion that the nuking would kill the entire British army east of the blast.
There will be some level of casualties but not the entire army or even a major portion of it.

C)a lot of people WERE blinded, Harding wasn't necessarily looking directly at the blast though


please consider all the angles before sending these "thats impossible" type of posts

Anonymous said...

Caracalla here....

Well Olefin we have to see what Bobby says. I think that the story is just fine, but you have a right to your opinion.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

BTW, Olefin, once again you fly off the handle and call me a bad story teller, jump to conclusions that I flat out did not write in the segment, etc.

Can we have a rational discussion without jumping right into that sort of tone?

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Also - the next segment will contain more details on the atomic stike and the context surrounding it.

This was just an interlude, not a normal segment

Anonymous said...

Andromedos:

Great update, Bobby! I'm shaking with excitement! How many casualties did the Axis forces around the destroyed fueldump take? Or did Gustov take a nuclear attack into account, and tailed out asap? Or did he just loose his armour spearhead?

In any case, thank you for your hard work. I can't wait to see what happens next.



Olefin: " Hardy and any soldier looking at the blast would be blinded - you don't have time to shield your eyes from 5 miles away."

I don't think Harding (btw, is he a fictional character?)was 5 miles away from the blast. Sounds to me that the leading british elements were stopped 5 Miles from Al Bayda. Hardin s already on the retreat, and should be away further. Maybe something like 20 miles.
Also I think Harding wasn't looking directly west when the bomb detonated, he was looking at his gun after looking at a destroyed tank.

The results of the fallout will be interesting. But let's keep that discusson to the forum topic, not to the blog itself.

And everybody, please remember to be nice. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great job Bobby, another great update.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

No I am saying the story is great right to the end - but the end makes no sense. No one nukes oil supplies when your forces are in the fallout pattern - and the winds in that area put tobruk and the british army in the pattern. Plus they don't tell the guys on the ground to get their rad suits on, frantic radio call to look away, nothing? This from an army that lives and dies on proper procedure? Sorry no way Bobby. Be mad if you like but if you leave it as is then you are ignoring basic science and logic.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Olefin, lets take any further discussion to the board

Golladay said...

So next segment will be the 14th to the 24th?

Because you jumped 11 days ahead.

By 7th Armor surrendering, does that mean the Germans took 12,000 POWs or lower or more?

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Bobby we are on the board - I will say this for the record. The ending to the update is completely and totally flawed. Its the big foot coming out of the sky, its the piano falling out of the sky to save the hero, etc..

a) No one warns the British commander on the ground that an atomic bombing is coming? No rad suits or to look away from the bomb, or take cover? Sure this from an army where you cant get ammo during a battle without orders signed in all the right places.

Oh and Andremodos - Bobby has the British 5 miles from the dump

"On the ground, the British 8th Armored division under Field Marshall Thomas Harding is forced to break off its counter-attack by mid afternoon, having been stopped 5 miles east of Al Bayda by German tank busting jet aircraft as well as armored and anti-tank forces."

that means his men are flash blinded by the bomb and helpless before the Germans who had their backs to the bomb. You cant throw up a hand that fast from a bomb blast - we are talking speed of light here and that gives you no reaction time at all at 5 miles.

b) The winds in that area blow from west to east. The prevailing winds take the smoke from the burning fires which is rich with radioactivity and blow it all over the British lines and army in Tobruk - which kills most of them and the civilian population as well - along with a lot of Gustov's men.

c) The Germans have had the oil dumps for over 10 days and they, knowing damn well that that Allies have atomic bombs, just let is all sit there and dont take a lot of it away so it cant all be destroyed in one attack?

d) I am having a rational discussion by the way. One based on physics, chemistry, weather patterns, British Army procedures, German Army procedures to not let captured supplies just sit there when they know about atomic bombs by now, etc..

Conventional massive bombing attack that destroys the supplies that are left in the dump with no risk of fallout - makes absolute perfect sense.

Hardy hears a take cover order over his command radio and covers his eyes from the flash, after his men have withdrawn to at least 10 miles away and gotten their rad suits on - perfect sense. They still die from fallout but at least they dont all get flash blinded because they arent wearing their protective gear which includes flash goggles.

So keep it a bomb - its your story and I am sure that CJ and CT will love it since the Axis are yet again stopped by the atomic bomb - but once you start to ignore basic science and logic in order to come up with a dramatic ending then it looks more like Star Trek than ShatteredWorld.

Anonymous said...

------------------
Oh and Andremodos - Bobby has the British 5 miles from the dump

"On the ground, the British 8th Armored division under Field Marshall Thomas Harding is forced to break off its counter-attack by mid afternoon, having been stopped 5 miles east of Al Bayda by German tank busting jet aircraft as well as armored and anti-tank forces."

that means his men are flash blinded by the bomb and helpless before the Germans who had their backs to the bomb. You cant throw up a hand that fast from a bomb blast - we are talking speed of light here and that gives you no reaction time at all at 5 miles.
---------------

I think the Brits were already retreating at tht point, so they'd have their backs on the blast as well. The story does not make it clear how much time has passed between the british retreat and the nuclear attack. Maybe Bobby could clarify the timespan?

But I agree that the nuke without warning was a bit odd. Would a theater commander like Harding not be informed about such an attack?
Maybe the British high command wanted to keep it a secret, in case the Axis are reading the British codes. How long does it take for a soldier to put on NBC warfare suits? Or maybe the Alliance troops were already in suits due to chemical warfare?

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Next segment will cover the 17th through the 24th

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Chem warfare suits are not rad suits - ever see K-19 the Widowmaker - you are talking about two different kinds of equipment. Even if they have a unified single NBC suit they arent going to be wearing the special goggles that prevent being flash blinded.

And the two battalions that are fighting the Germans are within ear shot and obviously facing west - so those two battalions get wiped out when they cant see now - and the rear guard gets taken out right after that

there is no way that the commander doesnt know the attack is coming - that is literally criminal behavior - i.e. it would get you court martialed and shot by killing your own troops by failing to tell them of an attack in progress - all they needs is about 60 seconds warning (if they are already partially in their suits) to don goggles, take cover and look away from the flash

And there is no way you react fast enough from 5 miles away to shield your eyes - if he saw the blast he is blind pure and simple

thats why they always told us you never ever ever look at the blast if a warning was issued

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Olefin - I meant the discussion board.

Also, some of the things you are talking about are addressed in the next segment. Such as the Germans moving part of the fuel, why Harding seemed taken by surprise, etc.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Olefin : did you consider the possibility that Harding was unconscious when the order went out?
You think I don't know that it would be ODD for him not know its happening? Consider his state of mind, he is contemplating suicide. Obviously he's not thinking clearly for a British Field Marshall

After all this time, I wish you'd give me the benefit of the doubt some time. geez ;)

I've had this whole scenario well planned out for few days now - it takes place over the course of the next couple of segments.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Oh and Bobby says that it was that afternoon they are 5 miles away - the bombing clearly takes place in the day - it doesnt say he looks by the light of a flashlight or a burning tank - thus they are danger close

Sorry Bobby - but like when you had an aircraft carrier launching planes in the locks of the Panama Canal this one is a dead duck - when the bomb goes off the story goes off a cliff -

until then its a terrific read, one I greatly enjoyed - right up till they use the holy hand grenade and the illustrator dies when the beast is chasing them - i.e. they use an atomic bomb where no military in their right mind would ever use one.

And forget an air blast - a huge dump of burning fuel and oil mixed with dust and debris, which would happen with an air blast, makes a vastly deadly debris cloud which kills just about everyone in its path - which in this case is the British Army and the population of Tobruk.

The last two paragraphs are the difference between this being a post on the "The Big One" and your world - so make a choice which kind of story you want.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Bobby they would have told him as soon as he woke up - c'mon unconscious? You are reaching for straws here Bobby and even you know it. This is the army commander here not some sergeant!

I have done a lot of reading over the years on fallout effects and weather patterns - comes from a grandfather obsessed with making sure when he had to duck and cover.

Unless your next update has his army dying from radiation effects along with the Tobruk garrison as the person who ordered the atomic attack gets shot along with South Africa and other Commonwealth nations saying screw you as they pull their forces out of the AfD after they decide the British have gone insane - and I highly doubt that.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Olefin - I'm only going to discuss this on the discussion board from here on out.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here - fine with me - then discuss it instead of just sitting there and coming up with stuff like the commander in chief is unconscious so thats why his army didnt get the word.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

then will put this up there as well

If you don’t want to talk to me anymore except on the board then so be it.

Doesn’t change that in this case you are clearly wrong and you won't even consider that what I am saying changes nothing in the final result of the update - the dump still gets blown to hell but its done safely, with a massive conventional attack by US and RAF bombers, without the British Army having tens of thousands of men dying from radiation poisoning if not worse and without Tobruk being a poisoned radioactive hell.

Heck even CT said attack the dump with napalm not with nukes when we discussed the last update. And last I heard CT and I dont have the same opinions much.


Gustov still takes it on the chin, the British are saved and all else stays as is - so why am I the unreasonable one here?

havent said dont blow up the dump, dont destroy the fuel (except to say the Germans would have moved some), dont make Gustov take it on the chin - heck if anything I (who am considered quite the pro-Axis man on the board)am making an argument to SPARE BRITISH LIVES HERE WHILE STILL HAVING THE BRITISH GET THE DUMP. And do it in a completely militarily feasible way.

So again why am I unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

Bobby,

Is the next segment coming soon?

Olefin,

give it a break, its Bobby's timeline so give the guy a break.

Actually I think Thomas Harding will be replaced preety soon. If the nuke order bypassed him.

Bobby again:
WHen is the USN going to break into the Western Med?

What is the current state of Axis military forces in the Western Med?

It will be an important and interesting campaign as the US will probably have to take Corsica, Sardinia and the Belearic Islands. Outflank and possibly do landing in Eastern Spain and start cutting supply lines to Axis forces in North Africa.

However, in the Med. Sicily will be the prize. As it is the key to the Axis position in the Med. Taking it will severely cut Axis supply lines to North Africa. Taking Crete will seal the deal.

However I think the US will probably isolate SArdinia and Corsica, capture the Belearic Islands east of Spain and try to capture Sicily.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Ok, Olefin, if you don't like the story then don't read it. I am tired of bending over backwards to explain things to you.

You crossed the lined with the last couple of comments man

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

No problem Bobby - the only line I crossed was into reality. Its been real.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here -
hmm object to two paragraphs and give a completely plausible alternate that removes the atomic bomb but leaves the whole update including the ending intact - after I said the rest of the story is terrific - and suddenly all I say is that bobby is a bad writer

yes Bobby you do need a break from the computer - and a good stiff shot as well.

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Purplebeard said...

Nicely done. The Nuke is a surprise, but I must say doctrine in our timeline pre-1952 was to use them pretty just like that when the battle starts turning into a tatical defeat.

As always a fun read, and Bobby, please just ignore the troll. They only get friskier when fed. GRIN.

Anonymous said...

Wow, another great update, thanks for all the effort your putting into this Bobby, its much appreciated.


Hey Ole, hows things. lol

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Poor Olefin, I always loved the timeline Bobby created-sort of grim fascination with horror story, but what got me angry all the time was this Olefin guy constantly and evidently cheering for the Nazis at every occassion. It wasn't hard to see how he always tried to bend the story to make Nazis victorious or Allies suffer defeat.
Btw-I posted a long time ago with the slogan "Nuke the Fritz to the bits" under one of your entries !

Wondering what Nazi German cities are going to be nuked soon in your timeline ! :D

Anonymous said...

Oh and Bobby.
The ending is really of novel quality, your writing has improved quite greatly from the start. It would fit any good book, I am certain. A man's soul and conscience saved by nuclear bomb...

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Hey anyonymous - there has already been enough garbage on the regular board - notice the whole discussion thread that got deleted. So give it a rest.

And for your information I wasnt arguing here for the Axis to win - I was saying using a nuke didnt make any sense - however a huge airstrike that took out the dump did make sense.

So how does having the dump blown away by a huge airstrike give the Axis a victory?

And I have not tried to bend the story for Axis victory or defeat -I have offered ideas and discussion on both sides - and have done it in a fair way (notice the stories I put up have both Axis and Allied victories).

Oh and also I at least sign my name to stuff - easy to be critical of this Olefin guy behind a screen of anonymous. Easy and cowardly. I may take my hits here but I identify my opinions with my name. If you supposedly have loved this timeline that long then you would be part of the discussion board

Or you could be who I think you are - if so have a nice night Trendel.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

By the way how does the atomic bomb drop save Harding's legacy? Bobby says he didnt know about it - which means he didnt order it. Thus he got his bacon saved by the bomb drop, not because of his own actions.

So his legacy is he got outfought, outgeneraled and hs army cut to pieces and the only reason he avoided outright defeat is the RAF saved his bacon with an atomic bomb?

Not much of a legacy there.

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice update Bobby, keep 'em coming!

And calm down Olefin, your just embarrassing yourself again.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

I am very calm and enjoying the discussion that is going on the board about the update - how about trying it sometime?

Anonymous said...

>As always a fun read, and Bobby, please just ignore the troll. They only get friskier when fed. GRIN.

^this

looking fowards to the next part, cant wait, well done boby

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Yes Bobby please ignore all the anonymous trolls who keep posting here but dont have the guts to put up some names to go with it.

Kevin said...

Strewth! It's good that there is some passion in this but ..... Anyway, I've been following this story for a while now and I thought I'd just say how much I've enjoyed its twists and turns. The death count for the Germans and the British seems a bit high given that both nations began running out of men long before the end of the real WW2 but that's just an impression I get, I haven't sat down and added it all up. So, Bobby, will you be producing a statistical resume for this 'Worse World War' when it's all over .... if it ever is all over? No worries if not, it would only really matter to pedants like me. (:

Purplebeard said...

Mmm, good point about the death count. Germany was below scraping the barrel at the end of the war, and England still hadn't really recovered from the first World War when the Second one began. The average age for draftees must be pushing around 16-17 at this point I would imagine. Bobby, will you be giving us a glimpse of this might be warping the countries involved with the vast majority of able bodied men in the grinder or already dead?

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Regarding manpower...I'm not gonna try to go into much detail on this, but one thing I would point out is that Germany in this ATL experienced a significant "baby boom" from about 1933 to 1938 or so(intentional NAZI policy, it only slowed down with the outbreak of the Eurasian War)
This means that circa late 1949 there is a significant cohort of young German teens aged 12 to 16. This will give Germany one last reserve of fresh recruits for the next couple of years, and most of them have been in the Hitler Youth from a very young age and grown up knowing only war time conditions. The Germans are drafting down to age 14 for some civil defense duties, though 16 is still the youngest age for combat positions.

Purplebeard said...

Forehead slap. Totally forgot about the Nazi baby push during the 1930's. Well done! Probably a similar "baby boom" in the states during the early forties as boys and men went off to "I might not be coming back" line to the girls. Hey, worked for me. England's got to be in a world of hurt though, probably drawing heavily from the Aussies and maybe South Africa?

Olefin said...

It definitely bodes badly for the
Soviets though if they had the bad harvests and starvations of the mid 1930's. And the American and British baby numbers were significantly down during those years as well.

Meaning the Germans may in the end be able to field armies where others - especially the British and Russians are out of men.

lordroel said...

So this means Olefin that the British has to depend more on it commonwealth forces, like Canadian, Indians, Australians and other colonies of the British Empire, to fill the manpower shortages the British.

Kevin said...

Okay Bobby, thanks for the info. Given their losses I'd still think the Germans were down to the dregs at the very bottom of the barrel long before 1949 and as for the British, I'm amazed they're still fighting! (pleased though, being a Brit) The US should be okay because the manpower problems they suffered in the OT were largely down to the poor structure of their recruitment system.

Olefin said...

A question - how much fresh water did Benghazi have in WWII? The population was around 55,000 or so in OTL and here it may be larger - but around 22,000 or so would have been Italian and would have evacuated during the initial British drive.

So lets say maybe 15K of the local population is still there - is there enough fresh water to keep 215K alive for months?

Olefin said...

has been pointed out by CJ on the main board (which I am having trouble accessing right now) that the British could use portable desalinazation plants.

First some facts from a TARDEC presentation

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-wb-wws-wss09-pres3_284554_7.pdf

Water weighs ~8.3 pounds per
gallon
• 3-4% Water deficit (2-3 quarts)
significantly reduces performance
(up to 48%)
• 6-8% Water deficit (4-6 quarts)
renders a soldier completely
ineffective
• Minimum water consumption is 1
gallon/ soldier/ day to 3 gallon/
soldier/ day

Well lets see - 215,000 people need at least 1 gallon of water per day in the desert even in November - so that is 215,000 gallons per day.

Ok lets see - typical portable desalination plants that the armed forces were using in the US in the 1970's were able to produce 600 gallons per hour from seawater and some larger portable units could produce up to 2000 gallons per hour - but these units run on gasoline or diesel - and the forces around Benghazi have lost their fuel supplies so the dont have much on hand - or they would have pivoted and taken on Gustov.


So that means that to keep these troops at minimum level they will need between 15 of the 600 gallon purifiers or 5 of the larger models - which doesnt sound like much till you keep in mind that the Benghazi forces are almost out of gas.

And when the gas runs out so does the water.

So they may have food for several months at reduced level - but they wont have water once the gas runs out.

And keep in mind that enough water to keep those 215K troops alive (if they have several months of stocks) means they need 6.5 million gallons of water for a month for several months - so i doubt highly that they have between 18-40 million gallons of water on hand in stocks.

And remember thats at one gallon of water - if they actually need to fight they need a lot more. If the port cannot bring in water or a lot of fuel those troops dont have long till they are going to be very very thirsty - and more importantly unable to be much of a soldier.

Oh and before I get the usual catcalls this isnt a hit on the update - this is pointing out how hard it is to keep mass amounts of men supplied with water in a desert area if their supplies are cut off.

Kevin said...

Olefin, I'd wonder if the Benghazi 'pocket' could have its water and fuel supplies augmented by shipments made by sea. If the ammunition and food situation isn't dire then the British/Commonwealth Mediterranean fleet could slip supplies through at night (assuming daylight runs are too risky). Just a thought. (:

Olefin said...

They might - but Benghazi is totally within the sphere of Axis Air power now with bases at Malta and now apparently from some of the British air bases that they overrun (not sure how else the Germans are using short ranged ground attack craft unless they moved them up to captured air strips).

That and the central Med is still an Italian controlled area - plus remember that the supply situation in Egypt is pretty chaotic right now - Alexandria is a mess, the canal is blocked and a lot of stevedores are either dead, in jail or not working - so who is going to load the ships with water?

And the real question - how operational is Benghazi's port - the Germans have been hitting it pretty hard so we dont know if its still even able to receive supplies.

And remember that one day's worth of water is 215,000 - 345,000 gallons - thats a lot of water to load and unload,especially if the Axis control the airspace around Benghazi.

Kevin said...

Oh I agree, it's a tough job, and certainly something that would be a struggle to maintain for any length of time. It's probably worth taking into account that Montgomery's 8th Army was 'only' 195,000 strong at El Alamein so losing 200,000 at Benghazi would be a catastrophe for the British/Commonwealth war effort, especially after the surrender of 7th Armoured. Keeping the force at Benghazi out of Axis PoW camps would be worth the effort required, at least for a short while anyway.

Kevin said...

Bobby, just a suggestion. Given that Harding is looking at his pistol when the nuke goes off I think you could change "For a fleeting moment he glanced at his pistol and considered the peace of oblivion...." to something like "He gazed at his pistol, considering the peace of oblivion ...." which would clarify it for the benefit of pernickety nerds like us. (:

Olefin said...

Nice writing there Kevin - have you considered writing a piece for the ShatteredWorld fiction story area? We are always looking for new writers and you sound like you know good writing.

Kevin said...

Cheers Olefin, but my creative energies are currently focussed on my music. That said, I'll bear it in mind for the future. Other than that, it is far easier to spot areas where a piece of writing could be tidied up when it is authored by another writer than when it is your own work (I have done my share of proof reading over the years).

Olefin said...

By the way one thing that people have overlooked - Gustov has now overrun and occupied the area where Rommel's armored division got nuked and where the last survivors surrendered with 75 tanks. If the British left the tanks there or moved them to Al Bayda (as it was their main dump) then Gustov has those tanks in his possession. And German tank repair crews in WWII - especially in Africa - where damn good at getting tanks back into operation, even enemy tanks.

75 tanks, if they can be repaired, is two tank battalions - and for Gustov that would be a very big shot in the arm for a reinforcement.

Not sure if it happened (only Bobby knows) but it could be one reason Gustov can stay in the fight now - i.e. he gets a timely reinforcement of a large number of repaired tanks gleaned from either Aly Bayda or from the battlefields he has now overrun.

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The popular comment layout is common, so it is easily recognized scanning to post a comment. If the comment section is in a different format, then I am going to spend more time trying to decipher what everything means.
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Olefin said...

Bobby two questions:

These two events have been placed by you at happening before the end of 1949 in past statements you made on the blogger and discussion board

1) Deployment of the simpler and easier to build Cougar III tank in its first use

2) German supersonic jet fighters deployed in limited squadron service

Its Nov 24th - so where are they?

Daniel said...

The fighters and Cougar III are probably the same place as eh British Centurion with night fighting capability that was mentioned.

BTW, where was the supersonic fighter mentioned? I remember the Cougar III, but cannot remember where the information on when the fighter (interceptor, really) would be in service.

Olefin said...

He mentioned it some time back during a discussion on the Eagle fighter - will have to look into where he mentioned it on the board. It was about the time the Cougar III was mentioned.

What is interesting is that he said they were coming in late 1949 but he usually at least talks about final prototype tests of such leading edge weapons, as he did with the B-34 and the Eagle.

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