Author Topic: A Simple Issue of Metals  (Read 15311 times)

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2011, 06:01:28 AM »
The Second Battle of Britain

Immediately following the ceasefire in the east, Reichskanzler Speer ordered planning to begin on an operation to finally remove Britain as a threat in the west.  Operation Tsunami had been the first stage of this plan.  Thanks to the capture of the Azores, Axis air and naval forces were now able to much more effectively strike against convoys heading to and from Britain.  At the same time, the Allies’ ability to protect their convoys had been severely hamstrung by the losses incurred.  The convoys were now hit hard with Ju-390A-2 maritime patrol aircraft, U-boats and surface ships (lead by the Tripitz, Lützow and Vittorio Veneto not to mention the Peter Strasser and Aquila) all taking a toll.

With British public morale at an all time low thanks to the losses over the last 2 years, Reichskanzler Speer now believed the time was right for a final crushing blow.  On the morning of the 10th September, the combined forces of Germany, France, Spain and Italy launched the first of a series of massive air strikes against Britain (this would later be known as the “Second Battle of Britain”).  These were primarily targeted against Allied airbases across the whole of Britain.  By the end of the first day, over 2000 Axis/PER sorties had been flown (many crews flying multiple missions).  A key target on the first day was the radar stations – these were deliberately targeted by dedicated units using the Me-262D-1 “Wilde Weisels” as well as by a number of special Fi-103 cruise missiles fitted with an anti-radar homing sensor in the nose.  Also used (though this was not admitted until years later), were a small number of special attack aircraft of KG-200 – these, the Ho-229B-2, were largely undetectable by allied radar to and thus able to strike unmolested.  At the same time dozens of A-4 and A-4B rockets were also targeted at each of the main airbases.  This bombardment continued day and night for the next 3 weeks – unlike in 1940, this time there would be no changing targets to London.  The purpose of the attacks was to totally eliminate the air defence system of Britain. 

Scenes from the Second Battle of Britain




















Despite being under almost constant attack, the combined RAF (including other Commonwealth forces) and USAAF forces put up a valiant defence.   Day and night, large battles between jets from both sides raged.  Attempts were also made to strike back with bombing attacks by B-29s, B-32s, Avro Lincolns and other smaller aircraft. However, these were met by waves of Axis/PER fighters and were harried all the way back to their bases often having failed to even make it through to their targets. 

Finally on the evening of 5th October 1946, Air Marshal Arthur Tedder (he had assumed the role of Supreme Commander following Eisenhower’s resignation) asked to see Prime Minister Attlee.  He reported that the USAAF/RAF was at breaking point and would be unable to aid in the defence much longer.  He also reported that the Allies’ attempts to strike back against the onslaught had been unsuccessful.  Finally, he reported that it was his opinion that if the Axis forces decided to launch an invasion now, it would be difficult to counter.

Unknown to the Allies though, the invasion of Britain was not part of the Axis plan.  Reichskanzler Speer strongly believed that a simpler, less costly solution could be found.  Via their ambassador in Switzerland, he now sent word to Prime Minister Attlee that he was willing to offer Britain a ceasefire (great care was taken to ensure it wasn’t called a surrender) provided all non-British forces left Britain within the next 3 months (their passage would be monitored by Axis forces but they would be allowed to go un-molested provided they did not head to another battle front such as Africa).  Apart from those forces used to monitor the removal of non-British forces, no Axis forces would set foot in Britain unless asked.  Britain was to be largely de-militarised with the threat that if attacks were launched from there, the resulting retaliation would be severe and include the use of nerve gas.  It was also strongly hinted that this would also be the next phase of the Axis attack if the offer of ceasefire was not taken up.
With the situation perilous and with the population exhausted by years of war, such an offer couldn’t be ignored.  Thus on the morning of 8th October 1946, Prime Minister Attlee sent word that the ceasefire was acceptable.  Over the next three months, all American and other forces left the Island.  However, the war was far from over as large numbers of British forces (temporarily flying the United States or Canadian flag) left to join what was soon known as the “Free Commonwealth Forces” in Canada, the United States and eventually Africa and the Middle East.

Air Marshal Arthur Tedder –Allied of Supreme Commander during the Second Battle of Britain



A month after the ceasefire was agreed, a further development took place when Ireland (which had largely remained neutral during the war), signed a treaty with Germany, Italy, France and Spain.  In return for Ireland’s agreement not to allow its territory to be used as a staging post for Allied operations of any kind, the four Axis/PER partners would agree to guarantee Ireland’s protection from any aggression. 

Of course, in order to accomplish this, Axis forces would be required to establish operating bases within Ireland – these were to come in the form of a number of airbases throughout Ireland and a major naval base at Arklow.  By February 1947, the first long range Ju-390A-2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft of KG 43 would land and begin to conduct operations. By the end of the year, they would also be joined by a small (though growing) number of Ju-390E-3 Airborne Early Warning aircraft (refer below).  In addition to these long range giants, the Axis partners also based significant numbers of Ta-183, Ju-289 and Me-262 (and their various variants) fighters as well as long range night/all weather fighters (in the form of Ho-229B-3s and Ar-234P-6s).  As part of their contingent, the Règia Aeronautica and the EdA also introduced the first S.M.96 Uragano anti-shipping aircraft to operations in the Atlantic.  To help establish a level of camaraderie with the local population, it soon become the established practice for aircraft based in Ireland to carry a green theatre band as well as often a green clover emblem either below the cockpit or somewhere on the tail.

Before moving on, one curious event needs to be mentioned.  Following the ceasefire, Nationalistic elements in Ireland attempted to spread unrest in Northern Ireland. This resulted in a request from Britain that Axis forces assist in preventing such actions.  Not wanting further trouble, they agreed to this request thereby resulting in the odd situation of German & other Axis troops defending British interests.
In Berlin, Reichskanzler Speer was once again hailed a hero with many calls for him to accept the title of Fuhrer – calls he once again declined.

Scenes of jubilation in Berlin



Speer upon first hearing of the British ceasefire agreement

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2011, 06:02:01 AM »
New Bases and New Allies

With North Africa effectively under Axis control, the Allied forces had moved further south establishing frontline bases in an arc across Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania.  From these bases they started a build up of forces to begin the campaign to retake North Africa.  Large runways capable of handling B-29 and B-32 bombers and the new jets were quickly built. 

Whilst most of these countries were essentially still colonies with little in the way of modern militaries, Ethiopia was different.  Having had a long history of independence and having had an Air Force since 1929, Emperor Haile Selassie I was anxious that his small country fight as an independent partner alongside the other Allies.  This was aided by the fact that there was still a large degree of hatred towards the Italians who had briefly occupied the country.  With the setbacks of the previous 18 months, Great Britain and the United States were only too willing to welcome them and were soon supplying modern aircraft (and the associated training), including some of the latest jets.

Emperor Haile Selassie I



Following the ceasefire between Great Britain and the Axis though, a change in the organisation of the Allied forces became necessary (if for no other reason to prevent Axis retaliation against Great Britain).  As such, the British were nominally removed from the Allied order of battle.  In their place a new Free Commonwealth Forces command (comprising Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, South African, Rhodesian, Indian and “Free British” forces) was established.  Overall command of this force was given to the newly promoted Australian Field Marshal Sir Leslie James Morshead.  Known to his troops, in part affectionately, as "Ming the Merciless", Morshead had distinguished himself earlier in the Desert war during the siege of Tobruk and Second Battle of El Alamein.

Field Marshal Sir Leslie James Morshead



For the immediate future though, the Allies were not in a position to conduct any significant land offensives.  Rather they largely pulled back creating a large gap between the opposing land forces since the Axis forces weren’t in a hurry to move forward to close this largely inhospitable area (they were also largely occupied with consolidating their new acquisitions in the north).  As a result, the war in Africa had for now largely turned into a battle between the opposing aerial forces.  On the Allied side, this meant the war was largely conducted using B-29, B-32 and B-36 heavy bombers (just entering service) supported by many more medium bombers such as the new B-45 Tornado (this being the Allies first jet bomber).  In addition, there were large numbers of close air support/ground attack fighters such as the Westland Wyvern TF.Mk 4 turbo-prop fighter (this was originally planned as a ship borne torpedo carrying fighter but it had been pressed into service in the CAS role at which it was found to excel – so much so that production was rapidly increased using new factories in South Africa) and Grumman Tigercat, not to mention the existing North American Mustangs and Hawker Furies that were already being used in such a role having been pushed out of the pure fighter role by the new jets.  As far as pure fighters go, the Allies were largely re-equipped with new de Havilland Vampire Mk Is and Gloster Meteor F.1s. (produced in Canada, South Africa, Australia and India following the British/Axis Ceasefire) as well as Lockheed P-80s and Republic P-84s.  One curious addition to this mix was the Saro SR.A1 seaplane jet fighter.  This was being built in a new factory in Australia (Australia had been interested in the fighter for use in the Pacific) and was now also being used by a number of units operating from the Great Lakes of Africa.

P-51 Mustangs and other fighters found a new mission in the CAS role




Other platforms






On the Axis side the Germans, Italians, Spanish, Turks and now French continued to operate Ta-183s, Ju-289s, Me-262s (and their various locally produced derivatives) as well as the Ar-234 and He-343 jet bombers.  The main change had been the introduction of new variants of these with greater performance largely granted by the fitting of more powerful versions of the gas turbines – thus resulting in the Ta-183B-1, Ju-289B-2, He-343C-1 and Ar-234D-1 variants.  The Me-262 had undergone a more radical redesign to improve it’s performance – this involved the moving of the engines (which were changed to Heinkel He.S 011s) from under wing pods to closer to the fuselage, a new more swept back wing as well as a general cleaning up of the fuselage – the new variant was designated the Me-262F.

Me-262F

 

Concurrently, the Me-262E-1 was replaced by the similarly armed Me-262G-1 or G-2 (the latter having the 50mm cannon replaced by standard 30mm cannon).  These versions differed primarily in being powered by new turboprop engines which had been found to be more suited to the low-level CAS/Ground Attack/Anti-tank role.

Me-262G-1




The PER also was joined by two new members – Sweden and Switzerland.  These two nations had remained neutral up until now, however with the effective withdrawal of Britain from the war, they decided to formerly “throw their lot in with” the apparent winners.  To reinforce this link and to aid in overall defence, both countries accepted token basing of German forces and acquired German equipment.
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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2011, 06:02:30 AM »
Operation Party Crash

On the night of the 10th February 1947, Adolf Hitler finally died, having never regained consciousness after his stroke the previous year (it was rumoured that he had been euthanized on the orders of Reichskanzler Speer, though this was never proven and following the death of Hitler’s doctor Theodor Morell in a car accident shortly thereafter, there was no-one available to comment upon Hitler’s exact medical condition before his death).  The following day, it was announced on German radio that his funeral would take place in Berlin the following week.  It was expected to be an event like no other during the history of the Reich with all the top military and political leaders from throughout the PER in attendance.

Hitler’s Funeral



Such an opportunity was too great for the Allies to ignore and very rapidly orders were issued to develop a plan to capitalize upon the event.  Essentially, the only option was a massed bomber raid on Berlin.  This plan was soon known as “Operation Party Crash”.  To ensure maximum effectiveness (both militarily and propaganda wise), it was decided attack during daylight.  The attack was centred on B-36 bombers operating from bases in Canada, Africa and the Iran – this would be the new bomber’s first real test.  Approximately 250 of these would be the main striking force.  Supporting them were approximately 450 B-29 and B-32 bombers operating from Africa/Iraq as well as numerous fighters.  Though these aircraft wouldn’t have the range to reach Berlin (and return) from their bases, it was hoped that they could tie up sufficient PER fighters to enable the B-36s to reach Berlin.

B-36s








On the day of the funeral, the Allied bomber fleets launched their missions – although many crews voiced their misgivings about the daylight nature of the attacks and the lack of escorts, they also realized the important opportunity this day presented.  Soon a massive air battle raged over the Reich and surrounding PER countries as the Allied bombers made their way to Berlin or the diversionary targets.  For once luck was on the Allied side as bad weather across most of Europe helped hide the bombers from attacking fighters (though it also made navigation very difficult – with a number of bombers getting lost).  To counter this, large numbers of night fighters were pressed into daytime service to help find the bombers. Where possible, these also guided day fighters.

The defenders









African based Ta-183s











By mid morning, the surviving B-36s were approaching Berlin (approximately 70 had already been shot down, suffered mechanical failure or had gotten lost on the way).  As they did, the air-raid sirens started to sound as the population ran for cover (the funeral wasn’t actually scheduled until midday, though large crowds had already started to form) and the air defences of the city came to action.  Soon the sky was thick with the smoke trails of SAMs as well as the black puffs of exploding flak shells, mixed with the contrails of the bombers and attacking fighters.  These added to the already dark storm clouds to create an almost surreal scene.  Over the next 20 minutes approximately 50 B-36s were shot down by either flak, SAMs or fighters.  However, the battle wasn’t only one way as a significant number of attacking fighters were also shot down not to mention the devastation on the ground as the bombers released their deadly cargos.  The fires continued to burn into the night and so much devastation resulted that it was announced (reluctantly given the propaganda impact) that the funeral would be postponed 3 days.  Although no heads of state were killed (they were secure in bunkers outside of the city) a significant impact was made as a B-36 in it’s final death plunge crashed into a command bunker containing a number of high profile command staff from Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Turkey – the latter ones having come to witness the command of the Reich’s air defence forces.

As the surviving bombers turned to race for home they continued to come under attack from fighters.  By the time they returned only 90 B-36s would make it back to their bases.  In the case of the B-29s/B-32s approximately 100 were lost as well as numerous escorting fighters.  On the PER side, the losses were also high with 180 fighters lost or injured.

German SAMs




Crashed B-32



Other’s didn’t make it home – a B-29 ditched



In the days that followed, the battle was analysed on both sides.  On the PER side, it was decided that the earliest possible warning of these sorts of attack were required.  As a result, it was decided to develop a version of the Ju-390 maritime patrol aircraft fitted with an airborne search radar to compliment the existing ground based radars – this would eventually enter service 6 months later as the Ju-390E-3.  These very quickly found use on other fronts such as Africa and in the east with Russia not to mention in the mid Atlantic operating from the Azores and Ireland as they enabled comprehensive radar coverage in areas that may not have ground radar stations.  Concurrent with this, it was also decided that the Reich’s aircraft carriers would actively patrol the Atlantic to provide the first line of defence.  To help them do so, they too would be equipped with an airborne radar element, this time fitted to a smaller aircraft.  The smaller aircraft selected was a variant of the Ar-234 jet bomber.  To ensure it was able to maintain station for an acceptable time, the Ar-234E-2 as it was designated was re-equipped with turbo-prop engines.
On the Allied side, it was decided that the lack of escorting fighters was the primary cause of the huge losses.  To rectify this, a project was immediately begun to try to fit the B-36s with their own integral fighter escort (carried either in a bomb bay or attached to the wing tips).  Similar trials were also undertaken with B-29s and B-32s, though these were then greatly limited in bomb load and range.  Experiments were also begun to allow for the in-flight refuelling of escorting fighters.  Additionally, moves were made to increase the overall performance of the both the B-29s/B-32s and B-36s by fitting them with jet engines in pods.  It was also reconfirmed that for the foreseeable future all such heavy bomber attacks would continue at night unless the target absolutely required a day-time attack.

One final result of the attack was the announcement that with massive reconstruction necessary anyway and more importantly as a tribute to Hitler, Berlin would be transformed into Germania - the city Hitler had planned with Speer years earlier.

The new Germania

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2011, 06:03:12 AM »
The Circle is Closed

Following Turkey’s and Spain’s entries into the war and the Axis victories in North Africa, the Mediterranean had virtually become an Axis stronghold.  The only gap in this was on the eastern end.  Although the Allies had been spooked when Turkey launched its invasion into Iraq during February 1945, when it became clear that they weren’t going to invade the whole of Iraq or even link up with Rommel’s forces in Egypt, there was immense relief.  However, that didn’t mean that it wouldn’t happen at some stage in the future - and following the entry of France into the war in late 1945 on the Axis side, it was evident to all that sooner or later, the French would want their former colonies in Syria back.

To prepare for this, the Allies (especially the British and later Commonwealth) had rapidly pushed strong air and ground forces into the area.  These forces continued to be a thorn in the Axis/PER side launching ever more daring attacks against Turkey, Cyprus and Egypt as well as Axis/PER shipping in the area.  To help ensure they weren’t troubled by local inhabitants (and suffer another scenario such as had happened in Egypt), the British also negotiated with the leaders of the local Jewish and Arab communities to grant them independence in return for their support in the war against the Axis/PER.  Both these communities knew that if they fell under the Axis/PER, their future would be bleak.  They therefore agreed and on the 14th May 1946, the British declared their Mandate of Palestine ended and granted independence to the new nation of Israel-Palestine.

The new nation’s birth would soon be a bloody one though, as plans were already being drawn up by the PER to once and for all close the Mediterranean circle.  This would primarily involve forces from Turkey and France with a relatively small contribution from Germany and Italy (this would consist of a combined German/Italian battle group launched from Egypt as well as the usual air support). 

The attack (known as Operation Scimitar) was launched on the morning of 8th June with a number of attacks against Allied airbases in Syria and Lebanon in the North.  Further south in Israel-Palestine, attacks were also made by German and Italian aircraft operating out of Egypt and Cyprus.  These air attacks were only the prelude to the main assault which involved 8 Turkish Divisions (2 armoured and 6 infantry) and 5 French Divisions (1 armoured and 4 Infantry - these having been transported to Turkey over the previous 2 months) assaulting from the Turkish-Syrian border.  In the South, the combined German/Italian battle group launched from Egypt across the Sinai Desert.  After initial fierce resistance by Allied border forces, the Turkish/French assault moved quickly (this was aided when the Allies suddenly found French forces (in the form of paratroops) behind them) and rapidly advanced towards Israel-Palestine.  Likewise, in the south the German/Italian battle group quickly advanced under strong air-cover.  However, they would soon be slowed down as the defenders fell back on ‘home ground’.

For the forces of Israel-Palestine, this was nothing less than a battle for survival and they reacted accordingly – with ferocity!  As ground forces rapidly prepared their positions, the airmen and airwomen (this being no time for the women to simply stand by and watch their men fight) of the new country launched sortie after sortie alongside their Commonwealth and American comrades.  On the ground, the mechanics worked nothing less than miracles in keeping as many aircraft as possible serviceable.  They even managed to return a small number of PER aircraft that had been forced down, back into service under new ownership.   Over the next 2 months, the battle raged as both the Allies and PER poured forces into the area.

Israeli-Palestinian forces






Gradually though, the Allies were forced to retreat west towards Iraq.  However that didn’t result any let up in pressure upon the PER as the Allies (especially the surviving Israeli-Palestinian forces) fought stubbornly for every metre they gave up and continued to launch counter attacks to regain the territory lost.  In addition, a strong Israeli-Palestinian guerrilla movement soon made itself felt with constant attacks launched against the occupying forces.  The most terrifying element of this was the use of suicide bombers by elements of the Jewish population.

Allied tank in Jerusalem



RAF desert Based bombers

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2011, 06:03:39 AM »
The Sun Sets in the East

Whilst the war for the Axis powers in Europe and Africa progressed successfully, that in the Far East/Asia wasn’t going so well.  Following its earlier successes, by mid-1942, the Japanese found themselves holding a vast area, though lacking the resources to properly defend it or even to adequately sustain their forces.  Following the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway in Mid 1942, Japan was increasingly on the defensive.

Some of the RAAF’s new platforms





Unfortunately for Japan, their production capabilities were nowhere near that of their primary adversary, the USA.  Whilst early successes were achieved, once the USA reached its full war production capability, the outcome of the war in the Pacific was largely a forgone conclusion.  American aircraft and fighting ships were produced in greater numbers and far superior types than anyone could have predicted. With Japanese industry unable to match this capability and with resources especially limited (the Japanese war in the Pacific and China was as much a war for resources as conquest), the Japanese turned increasingly to desperate measures.  Amongst these was the growing us of ‘Kamikaze’ style attacks.
Some assistance was forthcoming from their Axis partners, chiefly in the form of new designs for the revolutionary jet aircraft.  To begin with Japan received small numbers of the Me-262 and Ar-234 aircraft (in return for their assistance in establishing Germany’s carrier capability).  They also received plans to enable them to produce the aircraft under license – as the Nakajima Ki-201 and Kawanishi G9K respectively.  The Japanese also produced a related development of the of the Me-262 called the Nakajima J9Y – this was somewhat simpler in construction and did not feature the swept back wings of the Me-262/Ki-201 and was designed as a fast attack bomber. Finally, the Yokosuka P1Y1 was modified into the Yokosuka Tenga through the replacement of the original piston engines with turbojets.  However, with Japan lacking crucial resources (especially the all important metals) the full potential of the new jets was unable to be reached – without these metals and with limited production capability, Japanese versions of the jets were only able to achieve an average life of between 25 to 30 hours.  Never-the-less the small numbers used did cause the Allies a degree of concern – especially when used to attack Allied shipping.  Using either bombs or torpedoes, the Japanese jets were usually able to easily slip past Allied fighter screens, strike and then escape.  However, the Allies soon learnt to counter this by the use of screens of escorting destroyers, high performance fighters (typically Grumman F-8F Bearcats and Ryan FR-3 Fireball combined Jet/piston fighters) operating in patrols with organic early warning provided by Grumman TBM-3W2 AEW aircraft.

The Nakajima J9Y






Kawanishi G9Ks




Nakajima Ki-201s





By early 1945, the Allies had reached the Japanese home islands.  Hard-fought battles on Iwo Jima and Okinawa resulted in horrific casualties on both sides.  Especially successful from the Japanese point of view was the impact achieved by the Kamikaze pilots often flying outdated piston engined aircraft.   This tactic was now promoted as a way to not so much to win the war, but more so to at least cause the Allies unacceptably high casualties so that they may consider a negotiated peace. 

The first application of this new strategy was not to be in the Pacific however.  With the Carrier IJN Shinano in the Mediterranean to collect 120 Me-300 jet fighters, a new mission was planned.  A special contingent of Japanese pilots was flown to Europe using Luftwaffe Ju-290 long range transports.  These pilots were allocated 100 He-162 jets specially modified for a single one-way kamikaze mission.  In June, their mission was carried out with great success (refer Operation Tsunami).   

Having been wounded once again (especially given that it was the homeland), the United States now abandoned their ‘Europe first’ commitment (this was largely irrelevant anyway, given the setbacks in Europe).  All effort was now focussed upon removing Japan from the war once and for all – it was hoped that once this was done, full force could be focussed against the European Axis partners.  In the highest levels of the Pentagon, two options were now discussed – either invade the Japanese homeland or use the new Atomic weapons being developed.  However, this discussion was soon overtaken by events in Europe. 

With the need to achieve a victory in Europe, the first use of the new Atomic weapons was set for use against Germany.  Unfortunately, this did not turn out as expected with the B-29 carrying the weapon being shot down over France on the night of the 6th August.  Moreover, the resulting devastation of the French city of Reims and the subsequent restrictions placed upon their use by President Trumann decided the issue – an invasion (under the guise of Operation Downfall) of Japan would now take place.

Operation Downfall consisted of two parts — Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet.  Beginning in November 1945, the intention of Operation Olympic was to capture the southern third of the southernmost main Japanese island of Kyūshū, with the recently captured island of Okinawa to be used as a staging area. Later, in the spring of 1946, Operation Coronet would involve the invasion of the Kantō plain near Tokyo on the Japanese island of Honshū.

Unfortunately for the Allies, Japan's geography made this invasion plan obvious to the Japanese as well, who were able to accurately deduce the Allied invasion plans and adjust their defence plans accordingly. The Japanese planned an all-out defence of Kyūshū, with little left in reserve for any subsequent defence operations – it was hoped that any invasion would be defeated before it was able to gain a foothold. A significant element of this defence involved the heavy use of kamikaze attacks from aircraft (the IJA and IJN had more than 10,000 (many obsolete) aircraft ready for use) – including rocket and turbojet powered versions of the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka and Pulsejet powered Kawanishi Baika (this being a piloted version of  the German Fi-103) launched from concealed ramps.  In addition, hundreds of small Shin'yō suicide boats (an estimated 800 were ready for use) would also be used to attack any Allied ships that came near the shores of Kyūshū.  The IJN also had about 100 Kōryū-class midget submarines, 250 smaller Kairyū-class midget submarines, and 1,000 Kaiten manned torpedoes ready to conduct operations against any invasion fleet.

On the morning of November 1, 1945 ("X-Day") Operation Olympic was launched. The combined Allied naval armada was the largest ever assembled, including 32 aircraft carriers (many being smaller escort types), 20 battleships, and 400 destroyers and escorts and transports.  Against this, the Japanese retaliated with massed suicide attacks.  Included amongst the aircraft making kamikaze attacks were many of Japan’s last jet aircraft.  By the end of the first day, over 100 Allied ships had been either sunk or severely damaged.  For a while it appeared as though the Japanese strategy may work.   However, following the strikes against their homeland, the Americans were just as determined that the invasion would succeed.  Waves of Allied fighters were ready to meet the threat including small numbers of P-80A, de Havilland Vampire Mk Is and McDonnell FH-1s rushed to the theatre to specifically combat the Japanese jets.  By the end of the day, despite desperate Japanese attempts to stop them, the Americans had achieved a beachhead at two of the three invasion points (the third at Kushikino was finally achieved on the second day).  Over the next 6 weeks, approximately 450,000 Allied casualties were incurred.  On the Japanese side it was estimated that almost 1.6 Million were killed.  Finally by the end of December, the overall goals of Operation Olympic had been achieved with the southernmost third of Kyūshū under Allied control. This territory would now be used as a staging ground for Operation Coronet.

Scenes from Operation Olympic


















Operation Coronet, the invasion of Honshū at the Tokyo Plain south of the capital, began on "Y-Day", the 1st March, 1946.   Surpassing even Operation Olympic, Coronet was the largest amphibious operation of all time, with 25 divisions (including the floating reserve) earmarked for the initial operations. The US First Army landed at Kujukuri Beach, on the Boso Peninsula, whilst the U.S. Eighth Army landed at Hiratsuka, on Sagami Bay. Both armies then drove north and inland, meeting 3 weeks later outside of Tokyo on the 21st March.  The invasion was able to proceed more quickly than predicted as the Japanese had largely exhausted themselves in the earlier

Battle for Kyūshū.  Never-the-less, American casualties still reached approximately 100,000 as not only Japanese servicemen but also civilians threw themselves into the battle (estimated casualties on the Japanese side reached approximately 2 million).  Finally on the afternoon of 22nd March (this day became known in the English-speaking countries as "V-J Day"), the Japanese Emperor made a speech on radio declaring Japan’s unconditional surrender (for most Japanese, this was the first time that they had heard their emperor speak).  Over the next 3 weeks, the Allies would move to occupy the remainder of the Japanese homeland.  The war in the Pacific was over.

USN Bearcat



Before moving on though it is perhaps worth mentioning a number of final applications of Axis technology by the Japanese.  The first of these was focussed on the defence of Japanese cities against high flying B-29 and B-32 bombers.  Whereas, the other Axis partners had found the use of jet fighters to be effective, the Japanese with their more limited jet fighters (as well as their focus on the use of such fighters in the kamikaze role) were forced to consider other means of defence.  Amongst these was a proposal that had been rejected in Germany – the Bachem Ba 349 rocket propelled, point defence interceptor.  Able to be rapidly produced in large numbers using readily available materials (each Ba-349 or Rikugun Ki-203 as it was known in Japanese service, typically only needed to fly a single mission) and able to be flown by inexperienced pilots with only the most basic training, the Ba-349/ Ki-203 quickly found favour with the IJA.  After vertical take-off which eliminated the need for airfields, the majority of the flight to the bombers was radio controlled from the ground. The primary mission of the pilot was to aim the aircraft at its target bomber and fire its armament of rockets. Originally it was planned that once the salvo of rockets were fired, the plane would fly up and over the bombers. After running out of fuel the plane would then be used to ram the tail of a bomber, with the pilot ejecting just before impact to parachute to the ground.  In practice though, it became more common for the pilot to not eject but rather to conduct a kamikaze style mission against the bombers.  First introduced into operational service during April 1945, by mid May American B-29 and B-32 crews were reporting regular encounters with the rocket interceptors over Japan and many bombers started to fall to their operations.  It is estimated that by V-J Day an estimated 200 - 300 B-29/B-32 bombers had been downed by such attacks.

B-29s bombing Japan




Rare photos of Rikugun Ki-203launches




The final known application of Axis technology by the Japanese was one that fortunately never developed beyond the planning stage.  At the end of 1945 with the Allies already having invaded the Japanese home Islands, a final desperate proposal was put forward.  This called for the modification of 3 massive Sen Toku I-400 class submarines to each carry a single Von Braun style A-4 rocket.  Whilst dangerous enough, each of these rockets would be even more deadly having been planned to be fitted with a biological warfare payload.  However, before the mission could be initiated, V-J Day was declared – modification work to allow the I-400s to carry the rocket had been begun though and shocked the Allies when they were discovered.

I-400 class submarines



One other development arose following the Japanese surrender.  In the Mediterranean, the giant carrier IJN Shinano now found itself technically out of the war.  Following its success during Operation Tsunami, the carrier had remained in Europe with the hope of possibly repeating its earlier mission (it was also feared that any attempt to return to Japan may be in vain without adequate escort).  Immediately following the Japanese surrender, the Shinano was taken under the charge of the Regia Marina.  However it was only kept under their control for 3 weeks before being passed over to the Spanish Armada Española (with the need to maintain a strong naval presence to help protect the newly captured Azores and to strike satisfactory in the Atlantic, Franco had insisted that it be handed over).  For the short term Spain now found itself in possession of the most powerful aircraft carrier in the world.  After going a refit in Italy (which also allowed both the Italians and the Germans to study the now renamed the Dédalo extensively), the ship was soon in Spanish service with a compliment of 80 Me-300 fighters, 12 Do-335Cs, 4 Ar-234E-2s as well as 6 FA-223s.  Amongst the crew were 850 Japanese crew members who now transferred their allegiance to their PER allies.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 05:19:12 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2011, 06:04:17 AM »
The Lull before the Storm?

Following Operation Part Crash, the war in Western Europe largely entered a quiet period.  In the Atlantic there were occasional clashes as Allied and PER long range aircraft or warships probed each other’s defences, but for the most part the main European fighting was focused to the south in Africa and the Middle East.  During this period, both sides largely used the time to re-equip their forces, introduce new technology and plan for the future.  Following their enormous losses during the invasion of Japan and the subsequent demands of occupation (not to mention during the earlier defeats in Europe), the United States was in no rush to remount a large offensive directed towards mainland Europe.  In fact many in the United States now even openly called for a ceasefire to be negotiated and that they should accept what was now the new state of affairs.

During the second half of 1947 there was a major new development as the Kriegsmarine launched the first of its new generation of Extremgrosseflugzeugtrager (extremely large aircraft carriers) of the ‘Germania’ class (the Germania would be followed by the ‘Adolf Hitler’ and the ‘Ludwig von Reuter’ in 1948).  These were unlike almost anything that had been seen before (the only other warship of similar size was the Spanish (ex-Japanese) carrier Dédalo).  At approximately 70,000 tonnes, the new carriers were giants.  They also incorporated a significant number of new revolutionary ideas based upon lessons learnt during the previous years of war (both in the Atlantic and the Pacific)  Perhaps the most significant of these was a new angled deck arrangement – this allowed the carriers to both recover and launch aircraft simultaneously as well as provide the carrier with much greater flexibility in operations (in the following years, the Graf Zeppelin, Hindenburg, Italian Sparviero and Spanish Dédalo would all gradually be re-fitted with this innovation during major overhauls).  Even more revolutionary was the power plant for the new carriers.
 
Resulting from years of research this was based upon steam driven turbines with the steam generated by 6 ‘Harteck & Haxel’ nuclear reactors.  With these reactors the Germania class effectively had an unlimited range.  Furthermore, the reactors also provided sufficient steam to power a total of 4 newly developed steam catapults (these had also been under investigation in Britain before the ceasefire).  As far as weapons, the Germania class largely dispensed with large calibre ship weapons (it had now been fully accepted that a carrier’s primary offensive weapon was its aircraft).  They did however retain large numbers of small/medium calibre radar directed anti aircraft cannon as well as batteries of radar guided SAMs.  With respect to aircraft compliment, the Germania class carried 48 Me-300A-6 fighters (these were fitted with the new more powerful version of the Heinkel He.S 011), 24 Ho-229T-1 all weather fighters (these were a navalised variant of the Ho-229B-3 and also were able to undertake a secondary strike role ), 24 ME-307 turboprop attack bombers (these were derived from the Me-262 but with a larger fuselage and powerful turboprop engines), 4 Ar-234E-2 early warning aircraft (similar to the earlier Ar-234C-5s but with turboprops which had been found to be better suited for heavy shipboard operations and to provide longer range whilst maintaining high speed), 12 Do-335D-2 improved ASW aircraft (these had replaced the piston engines of the earlier Do-335Cs with new more powerful turboprops and also replaced the canopies with clear blown ones), and 4 FA-223 helicopters.

Do-335D-2 improved ASW aircraft



ME-307 turboprop attack bomber



On the Allied side, the most significant development was the reconstruction of the Gatún locks thereby allowing the Panama Canal to once again be used.  The first ships through the canal were the two Iowa Class Battle Ships, USS Wisconsin and USS New Jersey.  Soon to follow were the carriers USS Midway, USS Coral Sea and USS Shangri-La.  With all of these ships (and many more) now available given the defeat and occupation of Japan, the United States now began development of a strategy to strike back at the PER in the Atlantic (it hadn’t been forgotten that Japan wasn’t the only nation involved in Operation Tsunami and there was a strong desire to regain some face).  To this end, it was planned to force the PER into a major confrontation in the Atlantic…

USS Wisconsin making its way through the Panama Canal

« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 05:20:02 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2011, 06:04:43 AM »
Retribution

Operation Retribution began serious planning during the winter of ‘47/’48.  Following years of redevelopment, the Allies now felt the time was right to re-use the Atomic weapon.  But where to use it?  A target was needed that would be far from major population centres (the memory of Reims was still strong), but still militarily significant to justify its use.  The Azores met both these criteria.  What’s more (rightly or wrongly), it was seen as the staging point for the Kamikaze attack of Operation Tsunami and thus would find favour with the American public as a target for what was still considered the ultimate weapon.

To ensure the attack would be successful, a significant diversion was planned.  This would involve a large contingent of US and Free Commonwealth ships (including no less than 6 carriers, 5 battleships, as well as numerous smaller ships).  This force was to head north-east giving the appearance of a major reinforcement of the forces in Iceland.  They were also intended to draw the PER forces in the Atlantic into a major engagement.  Meanwhile the attack on the Azores itself would be conducted by a small force of only a couple of bombers.

The operation was officially launched on 27th February 1948 when the diversionary fleet left port.  Three days latter, they were detected by an Italian type XXI ‘Elektro’ submarine in the mid Atlantic.  This reported the position of the fleet and continued to shadow it.  Over the next 48 hrs, the PER forces did exactly what was hoped by the Allies – all available naval/air forces in the area were ordered to concentrate to engage the Allied fleet.  Amongst the PER forces were the Carriers Peter Strasser and Seydlitz (both currently on patrol) as well as the battleships Vittorio Veneto, Gneisenau and Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff (this latter ship was the first of a new improved Bismarck class and was armed with six 380mm main guns in 3 turrets plus 12 (plus reloads) “Zitteroschen” supersonic anti-shipping missiles in armoured launch boxes where the aft most turret on the standard Bismarck class was located.

On the morning of the 1st March the two fleets (and their supporting air elements) closed.  First to strike was the shadowing Italian submarine.  This fired 3 torpedoes at one of the escorting radar picket destroyers of the Allied fleet.  The attack was successful with the ship quickly sinking.  The attack was only a precursor to the main PER attack though, which involved six Ju-390A-2  escorted by a large contingent of Me-300 fighters from the Peter Strasser and Seydlitz approaching to get into missile range.  Before they could though, the Allied fighters struck.  Waves of Sea Vampire and new Grumman F9F Panther fighters swarmed on the PER formation.  Concurrently, the Allied ships launched their own strike.  Having detected the PER fleet hours earlier, the carriers now launched a mixed formation of Westland Wyvern and Douglas AD Skyraider strike aircraft towards it.

Thirty minutes later the Allied formation approached the PER fleet.  Having kept to low level the entire flight, the aircraft were not detected until the last minute.  Although patrolling fighters rapidly dived towards them and the ships own defensive gun and missile defences were brought to action, many Wyvern and Skyraiders were able to release their payloads of either torpedoes or rockets.  As the surviving aircraft left, both the Peter Strasser and Seydlitz were mortally wounded (the Peter Strasser would sink within 15 minutes whilst the Seydlitz lasted another 3 hours before also finally slipping below the waves).  Also hit was the Vittorio Veneto, though it was able to limp back to port.

Meanwhile far to the South, the real Allied attack was underway.  Having launched from a special base in Bermuda, a flight of 3 B-36s now approached the Azores at low level.   The lead aircraft was carrying the newly modified Tall Man atomic weapon whilst each of the escorting aircraft was modified to carry a new XF-85 parasite fighter.  Their target was the main key airbase at Lajes Field and they had not yet been detected.

At 10am in the morning the formation suddenly was spotted on the radar displays of the defending forces as the formation quickly climbed prior to the final bomb run.  It would be too late for anyone to do anything though, as within minutes the lead aircraft was over the airfield.  The bomb was quickly released and the aircraft dived down to escape the expected blast.  The crew counted down the seconds, and then…nothing.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2011, 06:05:11 AM »
Is this peace?

As soon as they were certain the attack had failed, the B-36s crews radioed back to base with the news.  With the main attack having failed, there was no longer any need for the diversionary mission (regardless of its successes) and this too was ordered to turn back.
In the days that followed, the Allies tried to determine what had happened.  The eventual conclusion was that the numerous safety features incorporated after the Reims disaster had worked against them – the bomb was now “too safe” and had simply failed to detonate.  Further work was needed. 

On the PER side, a strategic victory was claimed.  Although two carriers had been lost, the Allied fleet had apparently been turned back.  Furthermore, a new weapon was in their hands.  The Tall Man atomic weapon had indeed failed to detonate.   What’s more, it had actually landed right in the middle of the airfield.  Once it was realised what it was, the weapon was quickly returned to Germany where a team of scientists were quickly assembled.  They had a single mission – understand the workings of the weapon and produce a working version for the PER forces. 

Assuming that the PER forces were now in possession of the atomic weapon, the Allies were fearful that it might be used against them in the near future (they weren’t aware the Germans wanted to better understand it first), within a month the Allies made contact with the PER via their representatives in Portugal.  A tentative ceasefire (though importantly, not a peace treaty) was agreed.  The negotiations would continue, though for all intents and purposes, the war had ended…for now.

Twelve months later on a clear sunny day in the middle of the Libyan desert, the PER successfully tested their first atomic bomb from a prototype Arado Ar-315A bomber.

Arado Ar-315A

 



Regards,

Greg
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 05:20:30 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Offline stevegallacci

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2011, 08:40:51 AM »
I don't know, dude, is this all Nazi Pron?
That aside, the initial premise strikes me as the weakest. Even with all the exotic metals in the world, Germany could not have gotten Me262s into service all that much sooner than when they did, due to general developement issues and the lead times needed for production. And the '262 was not nearly as formitable as suggested. Though fast, it was not maneuverable, and was not really suited for anything but a bomber destroyer, and even then, it took some time to develop anything like effective combat tactics.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2011, 10:27:49 AM »
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 10:38:58 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Offline finsrin

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2011, 04:35:13 PM »
I like doing the one page brief on my kit bashes. 
However --- you get big time creative writing award.

Bill

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2013, 04:54:14 AM »
Quote
Whereas, the other Axis partners had found the use of jet fighters to be effective, the Japanese with their more limited jet fighters (as well as their focus on the use of such fighters in the kamikaze role) were forced to consider other means of defence.  Amongst these was a proposal that had been rejected in Germany – the Bachem Ba 349 rocket propelled, point defence interceptor.  Able to be rapidly produced in large numbers using readily available materials (each Ba-349 or Rikugun Ki-203 as it was known in Japanese service, typically only needed to fly a single mission) and able to be flown by inexperienced pilots with only the most basic training, the Ba-349/ Ki-203 quickly found favour with the IJA.


Hmmm...



Link
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Offline taiidantomcat

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2015, 09:55:57 PM »
No more pictures?  :(
"They know you can do anything, So the question is, what don't you do?"

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2015, 02:59:29 AM »
Errr...not sure what has happened there - will look into
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Offline finsrin

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Re: A Simple Issue of Metals
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2015, 03:46:13 AM »
Flashback on metals.  Remember conversation with guy who has Area 51 experience.
They use 60K-65K psi water jets (amazing psi, how do they do that?) to cut material from alien craft.