A Devastating Alternate Second World War

January 08, 2010

Shattered World - Micro Segment 55.5.2

Shattered World - Micro Segment 55.5.2
November 13th 1949 to November 17th 1949



"No No No No No!" Hitler shouted, spittle spraying out from the visibly enraged Fuhrer's lips as fists weakly pounded the conference table. The senior members of the general staff eyed each other in frustration, but none spoke. The leader of the Reich was visibly declining, his thoughts and orders becoming increasingly irrational in recent months, his skin increasingly pale, and his body noticeably whithered since the previous year. Rumors of ill health and drug use swirled around Berlin though nowhere where the Gestapo or SS might overhear. Yet, he remained the Fuhrer and the Germany Army prided itself for its stalwart loyalty. It was a matter of honor. Gathering himself, Hitler continued.

"I already made a critical exception in releasing the VX gas stocks for use in North Africa, I will not make another" Hitler said, his voice lower as he struggled to constrain himself before continung.

"We must continue to punish the British if their American masters continue to pummel us with these atomic attacks! And to do this we need that VX. No, you must make do with sarin. Move missiles into range for precise attacks, and then hammer the Americans!" Hitler said, his voice rising to a high pitched crescendo as he gestured violently towards the Canary island chain on the western edge of the detailed map.

"The Americans are soft, their soldiers mere mongrel peasants. We shall strike them in their island bases, and we shall smash them right back into the sea when they finally decide to risk direct confrontation with my Reich!" Hitler nearly shouted, his tone leaving no room for compromise on his decision. A moment of silence hung thick in the air as Hitler eyed his generals.

"Yes, my Fuhrer. Heil Hitler!" the assembled command staff said, snapping off sharp Hitler salutes before exiting the room. Privately, more than a few of them would grumble at the Fuhrer's stubbornness and grieve at the lost opportunity to hit the American assembly areas on the Canaries with VX.



"This is the BBC, world news report, broadcasting live from London on this the 13th of November, nineteen hundred and forty nine".

"Reports from across the northern hemisphere continue to point to a very brutal winter this year, perhaps the worst since accurate record keeping began in the nineteenth century. In Russia, where the temperatures have dipped to those usually not seen until mid-December, clear skies, solid frozen ground, and reports of German troop movements have raised fears of an Axis winter offensive despite the bitter cold. Worse, in a potentially disastrous bit of news for the allied cause, vital ports from northeastern Canada to northwestern Russia have been closed or severely hampered by heavy, and unusually early, ice flows. Even Murmansk, typically ice free year round, has experienced some ice difficulties in addition to the growing destruction from increasingly frequent German bombing raids on the vitally strategic port".

"In other news, the American naval offensive at Gibraltar continues to make steady progress despite losses described as 'heavy' by U.S. Atlantic Fleet personnel. In the words of U.S. Admiral Johnston, 'we continue to pound the enemy and expect to gain possession of the straights in a matter of days'".

"We take you now live to the U.S.S. Lincoln somewhere near the action at the straights".....

"Good afternoon, this is Walter Cronkite, reporting from the deck of the massive U.S. fleet carrier Abraham Lincoln. As you can no doubt hear over the sound of my voice, U.S. jet aircraft have been taking off and landing on the carrier deck continously for the past several days as intense combat operations continue in what the U.S. navy is calling 'Operation Avalanche'. Only several hours previous, I was witness to the heroic action of the proud crew of this mighty ship as radar-directed AAA filled the skies for more than twenty minutes and jets surged into the sky. Not long after, tragic reports of the loss of the U.S.S. Essex were confirmed. By all accounts several Nazi guided rockets struck the Lincoln's slightly smaller sister, igniting her magazine and sinking the ship rapidly with the loss of all hands, some 2,600 souls. Despite this grave loss, navy officials remain confident and report additional successes since the overwhelming victory at what the sailors are already calling 'The Battle of the Pillars'"....

"Thank you, Mr. Cronkite. Due to naval news restrictions, our brief live air time from the deck of the Lincoln has ended. We expect to receive more reports from Mr. Cronkite in the coming hours as events unfold. In other news...."



November 13th 1949


In the largest single concentrated naval air attack of the war in the Atlantic, nearly 100 German maritime strike aircraft approach through swarms of U.S. carrier jet fighters. Nearly a third of the strike aircraft, escorted only by long range prop fighters operating out of southern France, are downed before they can launch their rockets. The rest, some sixty in all, launch a salvo of some 240 second generation guided anti-ship rockets. The U.S.S Essex and several nearby escort destroyers and cruisers are sunk while another two carriers, a heavy cruiser, and nearly a dozen destroyers suffer moderate to heavy damage. The Axis pay a heavy cost for the devastating strike, losing another third of the maritime strike bombers and over fifty prop escorts to vengeful American fighters. The loss of nearly 2/3 of the attacking naval strike force is a stunning loss for the Axis, representing the loss of a significant percentage of their remaining maritime strike capability in the theatre.

Meanwhile, in Libya intense fighting continues as operation 'Orange Fire' continues to unfold. While the air battle, bombing, and ballistic missile attacks continue; Italian forces remain bogged down along the coast south of Benghazi while to the east Field Marshall Gustov's complex plan has led to confused and chaotic fighting. Gustov's main armored thrust has entered into a third day of intense armored clashes with a larger British armored division. However, Gustov's helicopter mobile infantry force(landed behind the British armored division the day before) has thrown the British into confusion and interupted their lines of communication while a German mechanized calvalry force races east and north around the British flank. In northern Libya, German paratroopers continue to hold out against desperate British attempts to re-open east-west lines of communication along the coastal plain.

Of particular note - the desert fighting in the Cyrenaica has seen the first widespread use of effective infra-red night vision equipment by German armored forces - something that is a key component of Gustov's plan. Poorly equipped for night fighting, and kept off balance and on their heels by the tenacious German operational tempo, the British command has been frustatingly unable to bring their superior numbers and firepower to bear on the smaller, but more mobile, German force.


November 14th 1949

In what will later be regarded by military historians as one of the greatest armored combat movements of all time, Field Marshall Gustov executes the final piece of his plan. In the early pre-dawn hours, German armored and mechanized forces in the Cyrenaica change their axis of attack simultaneously; now attacking directly north. In the confusion of night fighting, the gambit succeeds. The main armored strength of Army Group Africa smashes into and through what had been the relatively quiet right flank of the British 8th armored division. With their right flank utterly shattered, and German mechanized calvary now racing north around their left flank, the British have no choice but to begin moving northeast to break contact with German forces and re-establish lines of communication back to Tobruk. Unfortunately for the British, this movement leaves the heart of northeastern Libya wide open to Gustov's rapidly moving panzers. And move fast they must; Gustov's armored columns are low on fuel and will be sitting idle in days if they can't link up with the paratroopers at Al Bayda and the massive captured supplies of fuel bunkered there.

November 16th 1949

U.S. light cruisers, escorted by numerous destroyers, finally succeed in fully breaking out into the Sea of Alboran under the cover of carrier aircraft(less aircraft than the U.S. admirals would have preferred, given the loss of Essex and the crippling of another carrier) and numerous prowling allied submarines. The movement is not without cost, as German and Italian submarines strike out from carefully prepared positions to put numerous torpedoe salvos into the U.S. naval taskforce while Italian torpedo boats and destroyers dart in amongst the U.S. taskforce. Several U.S. cruisers and destroyers are sunk or damaged in the heated close-quarters engagements before U.S. ASW destroyers and helicopters force the Axis submarines to scatter to the east while the Italian torpedo boats and destroyers die under intense, accurate, fire from multiple USN guns or flee to the east.
Late that evening, a second larger U.S. naval taskforce emerges into the more open waters of the Sea of Alboran. After some 9 days of combat, the loss of 2 carriers sunk or crippled and another moderately damaged, the sinking or crippling of nearly a dozen cruisers, the loss of dozens of destroyers and well over a hundred carrier fighters, thousands of sailors and hundreds of pilots killed - The U.S. now holds the straights of Gibraltar and the western Mediterranean is in play.

November 17th 1949

In Libya, Gustov's panzers reach the coast just north of Al Bayda, linking up with besieged German paratroopers and driving off Australian and Canadian infantry that had been attempting to re-capture the supply depots there. British forces to the west and south, including the British 7th armored division and some 200,000 British and Imperial infantry in and south of Benghazi, are now cut off from British lines of supply leading back to Tobruk.

In Iberia, rail cars using some of the minority of open rail lines(open through sheer luck or the hasty brute labor of forced labor battalions) begin arriving in central and southern Spain. Concealed under canvas and tarps are ballistic missiles and their mobile launch vehicles.

Off the Canary Islands, the first wave of transports, escorted by an armada of battleships and cruisers and an unheard of flotilla of destroyers, begin steaming northeast under a massive umbrella of land-based fighters. D-day 1 and D-day 2 are set for November 19th, and two whole amphibious corps are afloat and on the move.

Far to the East and North, in the unseasonably bitter cold, German forces massing southwest of Leningrad and in southern Russia prepare to launch dual winter offensives. The overall plan, bluntly named "Red Downfall", is aimed at capturing Leningrad in the north and Beriagrad in the south. Symbolicly and strategically, taking either one of them or both would be another great blow to the already wavering Soviet Union.

TO BE CONTINUED in Segment 56.1....


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Cant say much more than that. VERY much worth the wait Bobby, as usual you keep us on the edge of our seats, GREAT writing.

Although I suppose the only downside is that given the large segment posted you'll now end up with 200 replies from Olefin picking it apart lol.

Anonymous said...

Now interest is certainly continously peaking. Very cool update. -Matias

Anonymous said...

Caracalla here...

Wow the epic clash between the Reich and the US is on!!! Plus Gustov has pulled it off in N. Africa, man tremendous update Bobby!!!!!

WOW!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Olefin -

Wow yet another anonymous jerk whose first response is to put me down. Nice to see consistency here on the blogger board where yet again people are too cowardly to put their names up when they want to attack someone.

Now to the update - very very excellent update Bobby. Possibly one of the best you have done and considering how many we have seen that is quite an accomplishment.

Especially when you put details in it right out of Quentin Tarantino’s playbook – specifically "No No No No No!" Hitler shouted, spittle spraying out from the visibly enraged Fuhrer's lips as fists weakly pounded the conference table.” Where are the Inglorious Basterds when you need them?

Oh and I do have a few minor questions and in accordance with the new rules please don’t answer unless you feel like it for 48 hours.

1) Is the USS Lincoln an improved Essex and not a new class of carrier (you mentioned it is bigger). I was just wondering if the US had built a Midway class carrier by now since that would be much bigger than an Essex but the description only says slightly bigger. (Course for all we know the Essex class here isn’t the Essex class from OTL in terms of size)

2) Was one of the carriers you mentioned as being heavily damaged the one later referred to as crippled (you refer to two carriers moderately to heavily damaged and then one carrier being crippled)

3) An observation - “After some 9 days of combat, the loss of 2 carriers sunk or crippled and another moderately damaged, the sinking or crippling of nearly a dozen cruisers, the loss of dozens of destroyers and well over a hundred carrier fighters, thousands of sailors and hundreds of pilots killed - The U.S. now holds the straights of Gibraltar and the western Mediterranean is in play.”

You may want to increase your count on cruisers to over a dozen since you mentioned several lost in the last update and several more here and the total refers to the whole nine day battle – definitely over a dozen, more like around sixteen or more if you add them all up per the update descriptions. Minor point but an awesome battle – this update really brought it to life.

4) Leningrad – Are the Finns going to be involved or d0 they have too much to do just trying to put their country back together?

5) Africa – What happened to the French divisions you reported were part of Gustov’s army – they haven’t made their appearance yet. Are they part of the assault?

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Hey does anybody sense there may be some German generals thinking of giving Hitler a long long rest after a nice hot bath of 9mm gunfire?

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

haha, was hoping someone would catch that goofy Hitler reference :) now I just need to think of a way to integrate the famous Brad Pitt line from that same movie ;)

thanks for everyone's comments so far, I'm pretty happy with how this update turned out.


1) The 'Essex' is an Essex-class similar to the OTL version, probably a bit bigger than the OTL version and obviously updated a lot since being built. The 'Lincoln' is an updated Essex class with extensive modifications for increased jet compliments. A bit bigger than the first-gen ATL Essex's. The "midways" are being built but will have a different name and are actually bigger and more advanced than OTL's midway's. First of them coming online in early 1950 probably

2)Essex was sunk, another carrier was crippled(forced to leave the theatre), and a third recieved heavy damage and also leaves the theatre. A major blow to the U.S. Atlantic fleet but the U.S. does still have more fleet carriers to spare of course

4)Finns aren't really in a position to help much, putting things back together like you said

5)French divisions are mostly ni Algeria but I want to leave myself wiggle room on this in case I change my mind ;)

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Well you could edit it to say "Nein Nein Nein Nein" like in the movie. Good movie but frankly your ATL is more realistic than his version of WWII.

hey by the way since there was so much detail here about Gustov are you not going to do his operation as a seperate update anymore?

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

I'm going to finish the "Orange Fire" interlude but I have scaled back my plans for it.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Well it sure looks like Gustov has succeeded - he has captured most of the fuel and ammo the British have, cut off their armor and most of their troops and basically put the RN into a do or die situation - and you cant supply that many men by air unless you have air superiority - and they dont.

And obviously the British have lost a good amount of that force they had there in the fighting

the only problem is he may have succeeded at the cost of having to retreat thru Israel to get his men out if the US takes Tunisia and Tripoli while he is going for Alexandria

Oh and I wouldnt be too disappointed if I was the German commander with the use of sarin - its not as deadly as VX but thats like saying that one stick of dynamite isnt as deadly as three sticks - it will still kill you if you get it on you

Anonymous said...

>you'll now end up with 200 replies from Olefin picking it apart lol

yeah that didnt take long did it lol

great update bobby, cant wait for the next one!

lordroel said...

Another great chapter bobby .

Anonymous said...

Great!

Anonymous said...

AWESOME BOBBY!!! SIMPLY AWESOME!!! IF YOU EVER PUT THIS INTO BOOK FORM ILL Assign it as an extra credit project for some of my college students... With a little editing and polishing its that good!!!

SWFCane

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Hey anonymoust (who most likely is Trendel considering his writing style and the fact that he always called me Ole) - if you want to comment at least leave your name.

Or how about this - sign in on the board since you seem to know me so well and lets talk there.

Archangel said...

Just read it! A very good update, Bobby!:)

Anonymous said...

olefin here

We do just read it - and also comment on it as we have over the years as part of the board. That's why we have a discussion and comment board for us to provide input to what is posted. It is Bobby's story but our input and comments (beyond great update which it was by the way) are part and parcel of bringing the story to life.

we dont just read it. the discussions, comments and in some cases arguments is what really makes this a community, not just a cool story.

Anonymous said...

I am not here to attack someone but this is just a fictional story that Bobby is willing to share with us for free, maybe some of you don't really have to pick it apart. You can write your own, in fact I am planning to do just that.

Thanks for the update, it's worth the time to wait

George said...

Bobby

I've been following your timeline since you first started it and I am excited by what I see. One question, what state is the German atomic program in?

George

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Thats a good question George and I bet a lot of us would like to know that - have a feeling we may find out with an update that starts with a paragraph about the nice spring weather in Moscow and how everyone is enjoying the heat of spring and then Moscow suddenly getting a lot hotter.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here - was just wondering

"Off the Canary Islands, the first wave of transports, escorted by an armada of battleships and cruisers and an unheard of flotilla of destroyers, begin steaming northeast under a massive umbrella of land-based fighters. D-day 1 and D-day 2 are set for November 19th, and two whole amphibious corps are afloat and on the move."

Is this just a US corps and fleet or is it a mixed USN/AfD - i.e. British, Brazilian, etc. fleet and possibly army? Have been noticing all the action at the Straits is USN so just wondering where the RN has been.

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

The ops described in Iberia/northwest Africa/Straights of Gibraltar are almost entirely American. These is a small British presence that is there mainly for political reasons.

The British are just too stretched to be of much help there - they're resources are better spent in the middle east at this point.

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Bobby back in June you said that the French Axis divisions were following the German divisions into the desert in Libya behind the panzer grenadiers in a reply to a question on day one of Orange Fire – now you have them going to Algeria and Tunisia.

Both answers are posted by you on the blogger board - which is correct? Or are some divisions in the attack in Libya and others in Algeria?

Bobby Hardenbrook said...

Lets just say the two cancel each other out ;)

But seriously, I'll make some mention of the French divisions in the next segment, to clarify that situation

Anonymous said...

Olefin here

Well the French love to change their minds but I bet Gustov is making them walk if they want to go to Libya, then Algeria and back again. Or were they issued with only French tanks that were standard issue - i.e. only had one gear, reverse - and they ended up in Algeria instead of Libya?

lol