Discussion:
Decades of Darkness #180: The Cold Light of the Sun
(too old to reply)
Jared
2008-06-24 11:10:34 UTC
Permalink
Decades of Darkness #180: The Cold Light of the Sun

“Thou seest Me as Time who kills, Time who brings all to doom,
The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume;
Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed,
There shines not one shall leave alive the battlefield!”
- Taken from the Bhagavad Gita

* * *

Parte the Firste

22 June 1932

*

In the cold pre-dawn light of the full moon, off the coast of East
Anglia, Admiral Erwin Gercke had command of the RFS Utrecht, as he
waited for Zero Day to begin. Some of the advance forces would
already be on the English mainland, the Fallschilders [paratroops] and
Luftkussenwagens [hovercraft], but the main battle had yet to
commence. That left him only time to wait, and regret what had been
lost.

A few days before, Germany had been offered a great opportunity, and
they squandered it. Their ships and skycraft should have done much
better the last time they were off this coastline. The Krijgmarine
had brought twenty-four battleships to the contest, while the British
had brought only nineteen, and Germany had superiority in the skies.
The German warships could manoeuvre freely since they did not care so
much if their oldest and rustiest transports were sunk, while the
English and Yankees had to run the gauntlet past them. Well, German
warships had been able to manoeuvre freely provided that they did not
make it obvious that the transports were only there to attract
attention.

So why, Gercke asked himself, did German warships with all those
advantages sink only one more English battleship than they lost to
enemy fire? The Royal Navy had emerged from the struggle with only
two seaworthy battleships, if the intelligence reports could be
believed. Yet the Krijgmarine had only six battleships left, and
would not have a seventh until the De Ruyter had spent most of another
month in drydock.

“Six battleships are not enough,” he muttered. Not with every British
cruiser, destroyer, and smaller vessel sailing to attack the transport
ships, along with whatever remained of the enemy sky forces. Six
battleships could protect themselves, but not the transports. There
would be too many angles of attack, too many targets and not enough
firepower to sink them fast enough. “We are not going to win this
invasion with the second wave either,” he added, although he made sure
that no-one else was close enough to hear.

*

HMS Sanspareil waited in the cloudless night of Invergordon, docked at
a port safely out of range of German blitzcraft, held in readiness for
Holly’s next wave of invaders. One of only two capital ships of the
Royal Navy which could make that claim. Vice-Admiral William Gillick
might have been born in Galway in the west of Ireland, but he had
enlisted in the Royal Navy on his eighteenth birthday, and had spent
most of his life defending the Empire. If his rapid rise through the
ranks to a commissioned officer and then to an admiral might have been
partly due to a desire to show that Irishmen were still treated
properly in the Royal Navy [1], well, that was another reason for him
to be grateful.

And that institution which he had belonged to and loved all of his
adult life was now at its lowest ebb. Gillick was the most senior
admiral to survive the Battle of East Anglia, and one of only two who
still commanded battleships that could still fight. The Royal Navy
had defended Britain since the times of Alfred the Great. Now it was
gone, and what did they have to show for it? An ever-increasing
litany of dead, wounded and missing. The Royal Sky Force was battered
and withdrawn, too. A fresh, larger invasion force waited across the
North Sea, and some panicky funk [radio] reports suggested that there
were German paratroopers already falling from the skies. Admittedly
those reports had come before and turned out to be false alarms, but
this was the night of the full moon, which was surely the best time
for an invasion.

“And we’ve squandered our best card too early,” Gillick muttered.
Gas. A horrific thing, that, and played far too soon. If he had been
asked, he would have urged patience with that tactic. The
Deutschleger would not overrun the British Isles in a couple of days.
But he had not been asked – nor had anyone much in the armed services,
from what he had heard – and the deed was done. Holly would be
enraged by that, not demoralised. Events were likely to turn much
worse, Britain was at its most vulnerable juncture in a thousand
years, and the night beckoned before him...

*

On a skycraft flying somewhere over the North Sea, Feldwebel Christian
Jensen felt burdened with both gear and pessimism. He had all of the
equipment he had trained with - parachute, assault rifle, knife – but
he also had a new addition, a gas mask. Just another reminder that
this battle was unlikely to go as planned. Their objective was to
land near the village of Lound and secure the crossings across the
nearby waterways, to protect the flanks of the soldiers landing on the
beaches around Corton and Hopton. But after what had happened the
week before, who could say whether their supposed objective was the
true purpose of their mission?

The soldiers who landed on Ceres and Pallas had been given detailed
instructions, after all, yet their mission was merely a diversion.
Many brave soldiers had been sacrificed there, and apart from a couple
of thousand prisoners, none of them were left. How could he know that
this attack would not be the same? Even if the main landings were
proceeding as scheduled, how could Jensen know that the Fallschilders
were not being used as another diversion? Quiet whispers amongst the
soldiers this last week had spoken of their battalion being dropped
inland not to capture valuable military targets, just to be sacrificed
to keep the British away while the beachheads were secured. It made
an eerie kind of sense, although he did not dare to repeat those
rumours now, of all times and places. He loved Germany, but he would
rather live for his country than die for it. And he wondered what
sins Germany had committed to deserve leaders who would give orders
such as these?

Still, despite all of his doubts, he moved to be first to jump out
when the order came, though. He had no choice. He could not let his
comrades down. But as he jumped out into the darkness over Lound, he
expected only death and failure.

*

Sergeant Henry Anderson wondered, sometimes, what a full night of
sleep would be like. He had gone without it for far too long, trying
to stay awake in the pillboxes watching over the Norfolk coast. Until
recently, they had mostly been spared the continual bombardment which
their comrades further south had faced, but not any more. Now every
day the coastal fortifications were subjected to dive-bombings by the
Luftmacht, and every night the defenders crowded into the surviving
pillboxes and trenches to await the next wave of Germans. Or what
might be the next wave of Germans. No-one knew exactly where Holly
would attack next, and word had filtered down from his lieutenant that
German skycraft had been hitting a long stretch of coast. He hoped
that they could not land everywhere at once, but he could only do what
he could to defend his own beach.

A siren wailed, off somewhere in the distance. He swore briefly, then
rushed to don his gas mask. So did the other soldiers in the pillbox
and, he hoped, those elsewhere along the beach. No German skycraft
had dropped gas yet, at least not that the newspapers had been
permitted to report, but the threat was always there.

Anderson stepped up to the viewport, and thought that he caught a
glimpse of movement, somewhere far out in the distance. He shouted an
alert, and he heard the soldiers beside him preparing the cylinder gun
[machine gun]. Then he heard a much louder sound coming out from the
waves, like the roaring of a dozen lorry engines. Something was
moving across the water... no, above the water. He could not make out
too many details in the night, but he could see several strange
vehicles moving impossibly quickly. He could not see whether they
were partly in the water or entirely above it, but either way, they
looked deadly. Worse, they were strung out across the horizon as far
as he could see. Even if they were stopped at his pillbox, too many
of the bunkers had been damaged by German bombs. He could only hope
that they could stop these vehicles, somehow, before his defence of
the beach ended in ignominious defeat...

*

Far to the south of the battle beginning in Britain, another group of
ships made their way through the waves of the South Atlantic. They
sailed beneath the same full moon, but with clouds above them, that
meant very little. Aboard one of those ships, the light cruiser HMAS
Richmond, Sub-Lieutenant Aman Kumar found himself wide awake in the
darkness. He had no tasks right now, but sleep was hard to find. Not
because of any problems of weather – which was quite reasonable for
being not too far west of the Cape of Good Hope – but because of his
thoughts about their destination.

Kumar thought that the Royal Australian Navy had been held in the
Pacific for far too long. They had not fought a major fleet
engagement since Neu Tessel almost three years before, when the
Krijgmarine was driven out of the western Pacific. They had supported
the liberation of the East Indies, but even once that was
accomplished, the RAN was kept in Chinese and Australian waters.

Officially that was because of the potential for a clash with the
Russian Navy. Of course, the Russians did not have much of a Far
Eastern Fleet, and they had never come out to fight even after
Inchon. Their sky forces had been used many times, striking in the
night at Chinese and Nipponese cities, but their ships had mostly
remained in port. From there, they posed a threat which meant that
the RAN was never released to help its allies in Britain, who were so
hard-pressed. Kumar suspected that whatever the official reason, one
major motivation had been because no-one in Nowra could stomach the
idea of sending Australian ships to serve alongside American ones.
Even before the Jackals had sold out their ‘co-belligerents’, few
Australians could accept that idea [2].

He could only hope that this relief force was not being sent far too
late. For all their reluctance to describe it, no officers could hide
the scale of losses which had been suffered off East Anglia. Kumar
wondered if there was even much of a Royal Navy left for them to
help. And whether the RAN would be able to do much against the German
blitzcraft once it arrived in Britain...

*

Heinrich Carl Eilers was called a captain, but he doubted that he
should be given that title. A captain should have command of his own
ship. Until the early days of the war, that was exactly what he had.
The Sabina was a fine 5,000 tonne merchant ship, and while the ship’s
owners back in Basel gave some instructions from time to time, they
were far away and he was left to run the ship on each voyage. Now,
though, the Sabina had been impressed into the Krijgmarine, and while
he was paid more, he no longer had real command. The high-and-
mighties in Rotterdam decided where he would sail and when, what he
would do, who his crew would be, and so much else.

Which was why he had ended up here, off the coast of England during
the breaking dawn, wondering if he would live. He could see German
warships sailing in the distance, and hear the comforting whine of
flame [jet] engines above him. All well and good, but the English
would be coming. Soon, he expected to hear the more ambiguous sound
of propellers, which could be either friend or foe. But he could not
hear the real enemies, which were those back in Rotterdam. They had
ordered him to sail where and when they wanted, and the last time this
was attempted, they butchered thousands of seamen who were sent in
ships meant to die. That could happen to him at any moment, now. He
did not expect to survive the day.

*

The morning in London was a couple of hours old when Logan Knight
awoke, bleary-eyed and rubbing his chinstrap beard. He had not slept
much the last couple of weeks, although the nights had been clear of
bombings. Since Holly started their sky war against Britain, they had
been loud in their announcements that they wished to spare civilians,
especially in ‘the historic city of London.’ There had been a couple
of nights of bombing, more than a month ago, but Funk Frankfurt had
carried the message that the bombers had been led astray by navigation
errors.

Despite the vociferous protests in the British newspapers, Knight
believed the Germans about this. They might be arrogant in other
ways, but they had learned something which his own government had not
grasped; soldiers, not civilians, should be the targets of warfare.
Knight’s cousin had been flying in a bomber which vanished somewhere
over a German city, and had never been heard from since. He was not
confirmed as dead, but surely word would have reached them if Frank
had been taken as a prisoner of war.

Without any recent bombing, Knight should have been able to sleep, but
other doubts had kept him awake. How would Britain fare now, with the
Royal Navy sunk and Holly free to send fresh forces across the
Channel? The question haunted his waking hours, and sent nightmares
to torment his sleep. Lately, those nightmares had involved enemy
bombers flying over London again, this time to drop gas. He knew that
the Germans would respond somehow to the use of chemical weapons.
They had to. He just hoped that retaliation would not come over
London. He had a gas mask, but he did not trust it properly.

Still, for all of his nightmares, he had been grateful that he had not
seen any German bombers over London for a long time. So he barely
knew how to respond when he heard the sky raid sirens. He knew what
he needed to do – go down to the shelter – but he could not make
himself move. He managed to put on his gas mask, but nothing more.
His gaze went out the windows to the skies, but if there were bombers
there, they were too high to see.

Knight only knew that there really were German bombers flying overhead
when he saw a leaflet falling to the ground. Now, he found his legs
worked. The leaflet read: “Sons and daughters of England, your own
government has betrayed you. We could be dropping gas on you now, as
your soldiers fired it on us in violation of the laws of war, but we
are merciful. We want peace, but your government refuses to speak
with us. Do not trust them.” It went on, but he had read enough.
Knight threw the leaflet back down and returned to staring at the
skies, wondering who to trust.

*

With the sun rising above the horizon, Major Viktor Lutze drove his
Skorpion panzer into the flat waters of the North Sea. The flotation
screen held, as he expected it would. Two test landings in the Baltic
had convinced him of that some time before. What worried him was what
would happen once they reached the shore of the beach code-named
Jupiter, not beforehand.

His Skorpion was not the first swimming panzer ashore, which was all
to the good. A couple of Flagellant panzers were ahead of him, their
flails at their front ready to detonate any beach mines at a safe
distance. Enemy cylinder guns fired, more than he had hoped for, but
less than he had feared. The advance parties must being doing some
good. He had some concerns about that gunfire, but it could be
worse. His Skorpion towed an armoured trailer of precious and highly
flammable fuel, and the flamethrower that replaced the hull cylinder
gun would be very useful if he reached shore. But his panzer had a
main gun too, and losing the flamethrower or its fuel could be worked
around.

The Flagellants reached the shore first, and flailed their way up the
narrow strip of sand. No mines went off that Lutze could see, which
was some relief. Either the minefields were elsewhere on the beach,
or more likely further inland to stop any breakout. The British would
hardly be planning to stop any landing dead on the beaches, just to
slow it down so that their reserves could flood the area.

The nearest Flagellant bypassed a pillbox as Lutze brought his
Skorpion ashore. He snapped a quick order to the driver to follow the
path left by the Flagellant, then got nearer the pillbox. “Fire ’em
up,” he said. Konrad gave a quick agreement, and a few moments later
a yet of flame burst from the thrower into the viewport of the
pillbox. Konrad moved the flame back and forth a couple of times
before he turned it off.

A shame we’re too far away to hear the screams, Lutze thought. The
English deserved every punishment that could be inflicted on them,
after their cowardice bringing death to civilians from the skies, then
their more recent use of gas.

He snapped out another order, and the gunner brought the main turret
around to fire at a block of concrete in the distance. Maybe too far
away to hit, but one shot never hurt. The round struck in an
explosion, but the distant bunker looked undamaged.

“Which way?” the driver asked, over the intercom.

“Forward,” Lutze said. Forget about the English hunkering in the
concrete over in the distance. Other Skorpions could deal with them.
He wanted to get off the beaches and inland. That had been the lesson
of the war; armour was most effective when it was kept moving.

The Flagellant commander must have had the same idea; through the
periscopes, Lutze could see the other panzer pushing his way across a
field. Then something streaked through the air to strike the side of
the Flagellant, and the flail panzer exploded in a message of hatred
and combustible petrol.

“My God!” he said, for a moment, before composing himself. “Hans,
those bushes, two o’clock. Give ’em the main gun.” The Skorpion
shuddered backward for a moment as the round fired.

“Good shot!” Lutze said, watching as the bushes exploded. He did not
know exactly what that new English weapon was – probably some type of
rocket – but he was not going to lose his own precious skin if he
could help it. This rocket looked to be a lot deadlier than the
explosive mortar [3]. It could reach further, at least. If the
English infantry had a lot of those rockets, this invasion had just
got a whole lot harder...

*

Leaflets being dropped over London again, David Lloyd George
muttered. History had a cruel sense of humour, it seemed. The last
time had been bad enough. Now...

Lloyd George had been Labour Prime Minister of Britain once, and cast
aside by his party once he lost an election due to circumstances
beyond his control. He had no future in that party after that series
of unfortunate events, and he had joined the Cymry Nationalists
instead. If he could not improve Britain as a whole, best to
encourage a new nation which would better itself. He had wanted
Kingdom status for the Cymreig just as their Irish brothers and
sisters had long possessed. He had swept that desire to one side once
war broke out; better to join a wartime coalition with Liberals and
Labour both rather than lose the war due to infighting.

Yet he now found himself wondering whether that had been the wisest
course. The war had been mismanaged in so many ways. The use of gas
against the first German landing had been both militarily and morally
unjustifiable. He had made the point in Parliament the day after the
landing, although his words would not be repeated outside Westminster
until the war was done. But it was simple truth. As he had said, the
Prime Minister and his inner Cabinet acted without proper thought; it
had badly mismanaged the entire war, and eroded the trust of the
people it should be protecting. Britain was already in a very
difficult position, and those actions had not helped.

Privately, he thought the situation was much worse than that. He was
no longer sure if the United Kingdom could survive the war.
Especially if the Chief gave up the fight as not worth his while.
However, he was determined that if it was within his power, he would
ensure that Cymru survived the war.

* * *

Parte the Seconde

After 22 June 1932

*

Despite all his doubts, Admiral Erwin Gercke survived the Battle of
Great Yarmouth on 22 June, and all of the myriad smaller engagements
which followed in the last days of the war in Europe. He also
survived the Battle of Cap-Vert which followed, and won promotion to
the rank of Generaladmiral. He remained in the Krijgmarine after the
war. He was appointed to the position of Grossadmiral in what turned
out to be one of the last acts of the Schulthess government, just
before an election which they had confidently expected to win, but
which they narrowly lost. He remained as head of the Krijgmarine for
the next eight years, overseeing its rebuilding, and he retired from
command with an exemplary record. His tell-all memoirs were published
after his death, in the first breach of the veil of secrecy which had
always been maintained in the German General Staff and Naval Staff.
He offered both praise and condemnation for the way the war was
conducted, and spared no-one blame when he thought they deserved it,
including himself.

*

“I hate war as only one who has lived through it can, only one who has
seen its cruelty, its futility, and its insanity.”
- From the memoirs of Grossadmiral Erwin Gercke, published 1949

*

Vice-Admiral William Gillick stayed in the fight throughout the rest
of the war, coordinating the raids of what was left of the Royal Navy
on the German naval supply lines. His raids inflicted severe damage
on the German merchant marine, although he was ultimately unsuccessful
in closing them out entirely. When the United Kingdom dissolved into
chaos, he led what was left of the Royal Navy, including Sanspareil
and the recently-repaired battleship Royal Oak, to his native
Ireland. He was instrumental in holding the Royal Navy together in
the time of troubles, which allowed Ireland to declare its neutrality
from the Great War, two moves which together spared it from the worst
of post-war German domination. He was made a hero in Ireland. After
the war, he became an advocate of international cooperation to prevent
the horror of a Second Great War. He was named as Ireland’s first
ambassador to the Council of Nations, a post which he held until his
death in 1946.

*

“A living thing is born, and we must see to it what clothes we put on
it. It is not a vehicle of power, but a vehicle through which power
can be harnessed to worthy ends. While it is general in its terms, it
is definite in the one thing that we were all agreed upon.

It is a definite guarantee of peace. It is a definite guarantee by
word against aggression. It is a definite guarantee against the
things which have just come near to bringing the whole structure of
civilisation into ruin.

Its purposes are declared, and its powers are unmistakable. It is not
contemplated that this should be merely a council to secure the peace
of the world. It is a union which can be used for cooperation in any
international matter.”

- From a letter written by Ambassador William Gillick, shortly after
accepting appointment to the Council of Nations

*

Feldwebel Christian Jensen survived the plunge into the night,
although he landed slightly north of his intended landing site.
Despite the firmly-held beliefs of him and his fellows, the
paratroopers who landed on Zero Day were not deliberately abandoned by
the Luftmacht, but received relatively little support due to skycraft
being diverted to what were seen as the higher-priority attacks on the
landing beaches and British shipping. While most of his battalion
were scattered across the landscape, Jensen rallied enough of his
comrades to hold the two adjacent crossings at Lound Waterworks long
enough to let the landing forces push north toward Great Yarmouth. He
was decorated for his part in that battle. For the rest of the war,
his battalion fought in more conventional style, and although wounded
outside Long Melford, he returned for the last days of the war in
Britain. He remained on the island as part of the post-war German
garrison. Soon after, he met and courted an English lady named Emily
Montgomery, and they were married two years after the end of the war.
They found it advisable to relocate back to Germany, and they settled
in Hamburg. Here he took up a job as a supervisor in a copper plant,
and with his new wife raised a family of nine children. Despite the
quiet enquiries of his neighbours, he and his wife were in fact
Lutheran, not Catholic.

*

“The ability to concentrate and to use your time properly is
everything if you want to succeed in commerce – or anywhere else.”
- Christian Jensen when asked by a colleague how he combined a
successful and a large family, 1945

*

Sergeant Henry Anderson survived the battle on the beaches, and the
fighting at Beccles, and later at Bury St Edmunds. He even survived
the German discovery that hovercraft would work just as well over the
marshy ground of the fens as they did over the open sea. He was still
serving in the armies just outside of Peterborough when news of the
ceasefire came through. News of the Communard uprising came two days
later, but while those revolutionaries took control of London, he and
his fellow soldiers remained defiant, and suppressed the rebellions in
Essex and Hertfordshire, although not before the rebels there stormed
several prisoner of war camps and massacred the inhabitants. He
turned in his rifle four weeks later when King Richard IV, from exile
in Ireland, ordered British soldiers to surrender to the Germans
rather than inflict further bloodshed on the country. The Germans
paroled him to join the forces of General John Blackwood and suppress
the Communards. He joined the march on London, and while too late to
prevent the revolutionary justice which greeted Prime Minister Neville
Wood, he helped to liberate London and was promoted three times to the
rank of captain. He remained in the Dragoons after the war, and
fought against the socialist uprisings after the Potato Winter, where
he was promoted again to the rank of major. After President-General
Blackwood dissolved Parliament, Anderson became a government figure,
rising to the role of Minister of State for Information.

*

“Films and phonograph records, music, books and buildings show clearly
how energetically a man’s life and work go on after his death, whether
we feel it or not, whether we are aware of the individual names or
not. There is no such thing as death according to our view!”
- Minister Henry Anderson during an interview with Die Zeit, 1946

*

Sub-Lieutenant Aman Kumar and the HMAS Richmond made it safely to
Britain, along with the rest of the Australian taskforce, but they
arrived too late to be of much help in the naval defence of Great
Britain. They remained in the Irish Sea and, with Vice-Admiral
Gillick’s forces, protected Ireland when it declared neutrality.
After that, they joined the New England Navy in West Africa and helped
to win the Battle of Cap-Vert. Kumar stayed on as a career naval
officer, serving with distinction in a variety of overseas
deployments, and rising to the rank of Commander aboard the destroyer
HMS Bennelong. He retired from active service in 1952.

*

“The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.”
- Attributed to Aman Kumar, 1939

*

For all of his fears, Heinrich Eilers survived Zero Day, although
about a third of his fellow transport ship captains did not. He
survived many more trips across the North Sea, too, the first few to
the beaches, then to the artificial harbours created onshore, and then
to Great Yarmouth once the harbour there was cleared. Each time he
expected that the next voyage would be his last, but each time more
and more of his fellow captains survived the voyage, too. After the
war, he became the captain of the Amelia, a former British merchant
ship, one of the many confiscated by the Krijgmarine. Officially
these were taken was war reparations, but to his dying day Eilers
believed that the Naval Staff had simply stolen from the British to
make up for their own blunders in losing so many merchant ships in the
invasion. He worked as a commercial captain for the next twelve
years, until his ship collided with another former British merchant
ship on a foggy spring morning in the North Sea, and he went to a
watery grave.

*

“How do you tell if a politician is lying? If his lips are moving.”
- Heinrich Eilers, when grumbling about the 1941 German national
elections

*

On that clear morning in London, Logan Knight came to the conclusion
that Britain was lost, not because of a few leaflets, but because
their government was so incompetent it was about to lose two wars
running. Due to the lack of wartime elections, he could not act on
his conviction immediately. He became a pub critic of Neville War for
the remainder of the war. When German forces stopped outside
Brentwood and Schulthess went on Funk Frankfurt to announce that he
“wished to spare London the same fate which befell Paris,” Knight
became involved in a pub brawl over his insistence that the government
deserved to be removed. He spent the night in jail and was released
in the morning to hear that Prime Minister Wood had requested a
ceasefire. He was one of the first to take to the streets in anger,
and he became one of the street leaders of the Communards who stormed
Westminster when the police refused to open fire on them. Knight was
smart enough to have deployed some men further back to cover the
Thames, where Wood tried to escape from, and captured the Prime
Minister. He then became one of the leaders of the Commune Council,
and his was the first of the three signatures on the execution order
for Neville Wood for war crimes. Knight served on as a street soldier
when the repatriated British soldiers under General Blackwood fought
to recapture London. He died on London Bridge when it was blown up,
staying too long above the Thames to stop the Dragoons from crossing
to the South Bank. His name would become long-remembered by
socialists around the world as one of the great revolutionary
martyrs. The most famous depiction of him showed his hawk-nosed,
chinstrap-bearded profile staring off to the right of the photographer
to watch the execution of Neville Wood. This became one of the
greatest icons of the later half of the twentieth century. Inspired
by the events of the London Commune and Knight’s defiance, the young
American tropican musician Harry James composed the mournful song
“London Bridge is Falling Down.” Although banned in post-war England,
this song of defiance became popular throughout the rest of the
English-speaking world.

*

“Go now, and if I fall here, remember: England endures!”
- Reported last words of Logan Knight to his girlfriend Gloria
Coleridge, the last person to see him alive and survive the collapse
of London Bridge, and who later became the only member of the Commune
Council to survive the Dragoons’ cleansings

*

Major Viktor Lutze survived the worst of the rockets which the Yankees
fired at his panzers, although he twice had his vehicles disabled by
mines and needed to abandon them. He commanded three Skorpions during
the conquest of Britain, and he was among the first Germans to reach
Brentwood, progressing past the line where he had been ordered to
stop. He was reprimanded for disobeying orders, but after the British
government collapsed, he was among the forces transferred to Morocco.
He fought in the Sahel during the last days of the war, and remained
in the colonial forces in Morocco after the war’s end. In 1937, when
driving along one of the desert roads at night, he lost control of his
vehicle and crashed, killing him instantly.

*

“The tragedy in the long history of the German people is that it has
seldom had real leaders. It has had able generals, but what was
always lacking was political leadership, political will. Bismarck had
the heart of iron needed to command Germany, and Schulthess had the
strength of his convictions, but those in between were rabbits, not
eagles. I just hope that vom Rath is an eagle.”
- Viktor Lutze, speaking shortly after Werner Wolfgang vom Rath
defeated Edmund Schulthess during the 1936 elections

*

David Lloyd George remained a trenchant and increasingly vocal critic
of Neville Wood and the War Cabinet, withdrawing from it after the
Deutschleger won the battle of Long Melford. Due to his political
isolation, he was not in Westminster during the Communard uprising,
and fled to what was then Wales. He announced that he would rather
“lead Cymru to sovereignty rather than submit to a blood-stained
clique in London,” and he was one of the signers of the Cymry
Declaration of Independence as the first fragment of the United
Kingdom broke away. He led the negotiations with Germany that led to
recognition of Cymru as an independent state. He was elected
unopposed as first President of the Republic of Cymru, and held this
non-executive position until his death in 1943.

*

“What is our task? To make Cymru a fit country for heroes to live
in.”
- Lloyd George during his presidential inauguration address, 1933.

* * *

[1] While Ireland has been a separate nation from Britain since 1862,
and possesses its own armed forces, a considerable number of poorer
Irish enlisted in the British armed forces as well, up until the North
American War and even some after that time. These mostly joined the
British Army, but a few entered the Royal Navy as well.

[2] In fact, the other main motivation was to avoid any clashes with
the remaining German forces gathered in Buenos Aires.

[3] This is an anti-arlac high-explosive shaped-charged warhead
delivered by a spigot mortar, much like the British PIAT used in WW2.

* * *

Thoughts?

Jared
http://alternatehistory.com/decadesofdarkness/
http://decadesofdarkness.blogspot.com/
Mark Edelstein
2008-06-24 11:59:12 UTC
Permalink
I don't have time for further comment (such as the real plausibility
of a Communist uprising), but I greatly enjoyed the piece as
literature. I'll have my piece later.
nada
2008-06-24 12:52:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jared
Decades of Darkness #180: The Cold Light of the Sun
“Thou seest Me as Time who kills, Time who brings all to doom,
The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume;
Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed,
There shines not one shall leave alive the battlefield!”
- Taken from the Bhagavad Gita
* * *
Parte the Firste
22 June 1932
*
In the cold pre-dawn light of the full moon, off the coast of East
Anglia, Admiral Erwin Gercke had command of the RFS Utrecht, as he
waited for Zero Day to begin.  Some of the advance forces would
already be on the English mainland, the Fallschilders [paratroops] and
Luftkussenwagens [hovercraft], but the main battle had yet to
commence.  That left him only time to wait, and regret what had been
lost.
A few days before, Germany had been offered a great opportunity, and
they squandered it.  Their ships and skycraft should have done much
better the last time they were off this coastline.  The Krijgmarine
had brought twenty-four battleships to the contest, while the British
had brought only nineteen, and Germany had superiority in the skies.
The German warships could manoeuvre freely since they did not care so
much if their oldest and rustiest transports were sunk, while the
English and Yankees had to run the gauntlet past them.  Well, German
warships had been able to manoeuvre freely provided that they did not
make it obvious that the transports were only there to attract
attention.
So why, Gercke asked himself, did German warships with all those
advantages sink only one more English battleship than they lost to
enemy fire?  The Royal Navy had emerged from the struggle with only
two seaworthy battleships, if the intelligence reports could be
believed.  Yet the Krijgmarine had only six battleships left, and
would not have a seventh until the De Ruyter had spent most of another
month in drydock.
“Six battleships are not enough,” he muttered.  Not with every British
cruiser, destroyer, and smaller vessel sailing to attack the transport
ships, along with whatever remained of the enemy sky forces.  Six
battleships could protect themselves, but not the transports.  There
would be too many angles of attack, too many targets and not enough
firepower to sink them fast enough.  “We are not going to win this
invasion with the second wave either,” he added, although he made sure
that no-one else was close enough to hear.
*
HMS Sanspareil waited in the cloudless night of Invergordon, docked at
a port safely out of range of German blitzcraft, held in readiness for
Holly’s next wave of invaders.  One of only two capital ships of the
Royal Navy which could make that claim.  Vice-Admiral William Gillick
might have been born in Galway in the west of Ireland, but he had
enlisted in the Royal Navy on his eighteenth birthday, and had spent
most of his life defending the Empire.  If his rapid rise through the
ranks to a commissioned officer and then to an admiral might have been
partly due to a desire to show that Irishmen were still treated
properly in the Royal Navy [1], well, that was another reason for him
to be grateful.
And that institution which he had belonged to and loved all of his
adult life was now at its lowest ebb.  Gillick was the most senior
admiral to survive the Battle of East Anglia, and one of only two who
still commanded battleships that could still fight.  The Royal Navy
had defended Britain since the times of Alfred the Great.  Now it was
gone, and what did they have to show for it?  An ever-increasing
litany of dead, wounded and missing.  The Royal Sky Force was battered
and withdrawn, too.  A fresh, larger invasion force waited across the
North Sea, and some panicky funk [radio] reports suggested that there
were German paratroopers already falling from the skies.  Admittedly
those reports had come before and turned out to be false alarms, but
this was the night of the full moon, which was surely the best time
for an invasion.
“And we’ve squandered our best card too early,” Gillick muttered.
Gas.  A horrific thing, that, and played far too soon.  If he had been
asked, he would have urged patience with that tactic.  The
Deutschleger would not overrun the British Isles in a couple of days.
But he had not been asked – nor had anyone much in the armed services,
from what he had heard – and the deed was done.  Holly would be
enraged by that, not demoralised.  Events were likely to turn much
worse, Britain was at its most vulnerable juncture in a thousand
years, and the night beckoned before him...
*
On a skycraft flying somewhere over the North Sea, Feldwebel Christian
Jensen felt burdened with both gear and pessimism.  He had all of the
equipment he had trained with - parachute, assault rifle, knife – but
he also had a new addition, a gas mask.  Just another reminder that
this battle was unlikely to go as planned.  Their objective was to
land near the village of Lound and secure the crossings across the
nearby waterways, to protect the flanks of the soldiers landing on the
beaches around Corton and Hopton.  But after what had happened the
week before, who could say whether their supposed objective was the
true purpose of their mission?
The soldiers who landed on Ceres and Pallas had been given detailed
instructions, after all, yet their mission was merely a diversion.
Many brave soldiers had been sacrificed there, and apart from a couple
of thousand prisoners, none of them were left.  How could he know that
this attack would not be the same?  Even if the main landings were
proceeding as scheduled, how could Jensen know that the Fallschilders
were not being used as another diversion?  Quiet whispers amongst the
soldiers this last week had spoken of their battalion being dropped
inland not to capture valuable military targets, just to be sacrificed
to keep the British away while the beachheads were secured.  It made
an eerie kind of sense, although he did not dare to repeat those
rumours now, of all times and places.  He loved Germany, but he would
rather live for his country than die for it.  And he wondered what
sins Germany had committed to deserve leaders who would give orders
such as these?
Still, despite all of his doubts, he moved to be first to jump out
when the order came, though.  He had no choice.  He could not let his
comrades down.  But as he jumped out into the darkness over Lound, he
expected only death and failure.
*
Sergeant Henry Anderson wondered, sometimes, what a full night of
sleep would be like.  He had gone without it for far too long, trying
to stay awake in the pillboxes watching over the Norfolk coast.  Until
recently, they had mostly been spared the continual bombardment which
their comrades further south had faced, but not any more.  Now every
day the coastal fortifications were subjected to dive-bombings by the
Luftmacht, and every night the defenders crowded into the surviving
pillboxes and trenches to await the next wave of Germans.  Or what
might be the next wave of Germans.  No-one knew exactly where Holly
would attack next, and word had filtered down from his lieutenant that
German skycraft had been hitting a long stretch of coast.  He hoped
that they could not land everywhere at once, but he could only do what
he could to defend his own beach.
A siren wailed, off somewhere in the distance.  He swore briefly, then
rushed to don his gas mask.  So did the other soldiers in the pillbox
and, he hoped, those elsewhere along the beach.  No German skycraft
had dropped gas yet, at least not that the newspapers had been
permitted to report, but the threat was always there.
Anderson stepped up to the viewport, and thought that he caught a
glimpse of movement, somewhere far out in the distance.  He shouted an
alert, and he heard the soldiers beside him preparing the cylinder gun
[machine gun].  Then he heard a much louder sound coming out from the
waves, like the roaring of a dozen lorry engines.  Something was
moving across the water... no, above the water.  He could not make out
too many details in the night, but he could see several strange
vehicles moving impossibly quickly.  He could not see whether they
were partly in the water or entirely above it, but either way, they
looked deadly.  Worse, they were strung out across the horizon as far
as he could see.  Even if they were stopped at his pillbox, too many
of the bunkers had been damaged by German bombs.  He could only hope
that they could stop these vehicles, somehow, before his defence of
the beach ended in ignominious defeat...
*
Far to the south of the battle beginning in Britain, another group of
ships made their way through the waves of the South Atlantic.  They
sailed beneath the same full moon, but with clouds above them, that
meant very little.  Aboard one of those ships, the light cruiser HMAS
Richmond, Sub-Lieutenant Aman Kumar found himself wide awake in the
darkness.  He had no tasks right now, but sleep was hard to find.  Not
because of any problems of weather – which was quite reasonable for
being not too far west of the Cape of Good Hope – but because of his
thoughts about their destination.
Kumar thought that the Royal Australian Navy had been held in the
Pacific for far too long.  They had not fought a major fleet
engagement since Neu Tessel almost three years before, when the
Krijgmarine was driven out of the western Pacific.  They had supported
the liberation of the East Indies, but even once that was
accomplished, the RAN was kept in Chinese and Australian waters.
Officially that was because of the potential for a clash with the
Russian Navy.  Of course, the Russians did not have much of a Far
Eastern Fleet, and they had never come out to fight even after
Inchon.  Their sky forces had been used many times, striking in the
night at Chinese and Nipponese cities, but their ships had mostly
remained in port.  From there, they posed a threat which meant that
the RAN was never released to help its allies in ...
read more »
Very impressive. And now, what of the Jackels?

David
Jared
2008-06-29 09:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by nada
Very impressive. And now, what of the Jackels?
Glad you liked it. The fate of the Jackals (and Yankees) is going to
be covered in the last couple of posts in the TL. The gist of what's
happened up until mid-1932 is that the Jackals have overrun Peru (at
least the coast) and made some landings in Chile which have bogged
down due to the local geography and most of the supplies going into
Brazil. Argentina and Uruguay have been conceded as independent. The
*USA is doing its utmost to overrun Brazil, and while it has some
substantial logistical difficulties, it has gradually secured control
of most of the large ports and is doing its best to overrun the more
heavily-populated parts of the interior. It has been helped by
establishing a puppet monarchy in the north of the country, although
this has attracted only limited local support.

More details will be forthcoming in a few posts; I'm going to finish
wrapping up the history of Germany invading the British Isles, then
cover the Russian/Far Eastern theatre.

Cheers,
Jared
Mark Edelstein
2008-06-24 23:07:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jared
Despite all his doubts, Admiral Erwin Gercke survived the Battle of
Great Yarmouth on 22 June, and all of the myriad smaller engagements
which followed in the last days of the war in Europe. He also
survived the Battle of Cap-Vert which followed, and won promotion to
the rank of Generaladmiral. He remained in the Krijgmarine after the
war. He was appointed to the position of Grossadmiral in what turned
out to be one of the last acts of the Schulthess government, just
before an election which they had confidently expected to win, but
which they narrowly lost. He remained as head of the Krijgmarine for
the next eight years, overseeing its rebuilding, and he retired from
command with an exemplary record. His tell-all memoirs were published
after his death, in the first breach of the veil of secrecy which had
always been maintained in the German General Staff and Naval Staff.
He offered both praise and condemnation for the way the war was
conducted, and spared no-one blame when he thought they deserved it,
including himself.
So the Australians and Yanks lose somehow?
Post by Jared
Feldwebel Christian Jensen survived the plunge into the night,
although he landed slightly north of his intended landing site.
Despite the firmly-held beliefs of him and his fellows, the
paratroopers who landed on Zero Day were not deliberately abandoned by
the Luftmacht, but received relatively little support due to skycraft
being diverted to what were seen as the higher-priority attacks on the
landing beaches and British shipping. While most of his battalion
were scattered across the landscape, Jensen rallied enough of his
comrades to hold the two adjacent crossings at Lound Waterworks long
enough to let the landing forces push north toward Great Yarmouth.
Sergeant Henry Anderson survived the battle on the beaches, and the
fighting at Beccles, and later at Bury St Edmunds. He even survived
the German discovery that hovercraft would work just as well over the
marshy ground of the fens as they did over the open sea. He was still
serving in the armies just outside of Peterborough when news of the
ceasefire came through. News of the Communard uprising came two days
later, but while those revolutionaries took control of London, he and
his fellow soldiers remained defiant, and suppressed the rebellions in
Essex and Hertfordshire, although not before the rebels there stormed
several prisoner of war camps and massacred the inhabitants. He
turned in his rifle four weeks later when King Richard IV, from exile
in Ireland, ordered British soldiers to surrender to the Germans
rather than inflict further bloodshed on the country. The Germans
paroled him to join the forces of General John Blackwood and suppress
the Communards. He joined the march on London, and while too late to
prevent the revolutionary justice which greeted Prime Minister Neville
Wood, he helped to liberate London and was promoted three times to the
rank of captain. He remained in the Dragoons after the war, and
fought against the socialist uprisings after the Potato Winter, where
he was promoted again to the rank of major. After President-General
Blackwood dissolved Parliament, Anderson became a government figure,
rising to the role of Minister of State for Information.
Right. So how does any of this happen. Even if the landing makes it
through, even if the Germans win, where does this particular type of
collapse come from?
Post by Jared
For all of his fears, Heinrich Eilers survived Zero Day, although
about a third of his fellow transport ship captains did not. He
survived many more trips across the North Sea, too, the first few to
the beaches, then to the artificial harbours created onshore,
The timing of setting these up is chancy.
Post by Jared
On that clear morning in London, Logan Knight came to the conclusion
that Britain was lost, not because of a few leaflets, but because
their government was so incompetent it was about to lose two wars
running. Due to the lack of wartime elections, he could not act on
his conviction immediately. He became a pub critic of Neville War for
the remainder of the war. When German forces stopped outside
Brentwood and Schulthess went on Funk Frankfurt to announce that he
“wished to spare London the same fate which befell Paris,” Knight
became involved in a pub brawl over his insistence that the government
deserved to be removed. He spent the night in jail and was released
in the morning to hear that Prime Minister Wood had requested a
ceasefire.
Again I can see the Germans succeeding, if only just. I just can't see
what follows.
nada
2008-06-25 15:09:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mark Edelstein
Post by Jared
Despite all his doubts, Admiral Erwin Gercke survived the Battle of
Great Yarmouth on 22 June, and all of the myriad smaller engagements
which followed in the last days of the war in Europe.  He also
survived the Battle of Cap-Vert which followed, and won promotion to
the rank of Generaladmiral.  He remained in the Krijgmarine after the
war.  He was appointed to the position of Grossadmiral in what turned
out to be one of the last acts of the Schulthess government, just
before an election which they had confidently expected to win, but
which they narrowly lost.  He remained as head of the Krijgmarine for
the next eight years, overseeing its rebuilding, and he retired from
command with an exemplary record.  His tell-all memoirs were published
after his death, in the first breach of the veil of secrecy which had
always been maintained in the German General Staff and Naval Staff.
He offered both praise and condemnation for the way the war was
conducted, and spared no-one blame when he thought they deserved it,
including himself.
So the Australians and Yanks lose somehow?
Post by Jared
Feldwebel Christian Jensen survived the plunge into the night,
although he landed slightly north of his intended landing site.
Despite the firmly-held beliefs of him and his fellows, the
paratroopers who landed on Zero Day were not deliberately abandoned by
the Luftmacht, but received relatively little support due to skycraft
being diverted to what were seen as the higher-priority attacks on the
landing beaches and British shipping.  While most of his battalion
were scattered across the landscape, Jensen rallied enough of his
comrades to hold the two adjacent crossings at Lound Waterworks long
enough to let the landing forces push north toward Great Yarmouth.
Sergeant Henry Anderson survived the battle on the beaches, and the
fighting at Beccles, and later at Bury St Edmunds.  He even survived
the German discovery that hovercraft would work just as well over the
marshy ground of the fens as they did over the open sea.  He was still
serving in the armies just outside of Peterborough when news of the
ceasefire came through.  News of the Communard uprising came two days
later, but while those revolutionaries took control of London, he and
his fellow soldiers remained defiant, and suppressed the rebellions in
Essex and Hertfordshire, although not before the rebels there stormed
several prisoner of war camps and massacred the inhabitants.  He
turned in his rifle four weeks later when King Richard IV, from exile
in Ireland, ordered British soldiers to surrender to the Germans
rather than inflict further bloodshed on the country.  The Germans
paroled him to join the forces of General John Blackwood and suppress
the Communards.  He joined the march on London, and while too late to
prevent the revolutionary justice which greeted Prime Minister Neville
Wood, he helped to liberate London and was promoted three times to the
rank of captain.  He remained in the Dragoons after the war, and
fought against the socialist uprisings after the Potato Winter, where
he was promoted again to the rank of major.  After President-General
Blackwood dissolved Parliament, Anderson became a government figure,
rising to the role of Minister of State for Information.
Right. So how does any of this happen. Even if the landing makes it
through, even if the Germans win, where does this particular type of
collapse come from?
Post by Jared
For all of his fears, Heinrich Eilers survived Zero Day, although
about a third of his fellow transport ship captains did not.  He
survived many more trips across the North Sea, too, the first few to
the beaches, then to the artificial harbours created onshore,
The timing of setting these up is chancy.
Post by Jared
On that clear morning in London, Logan Knight came to the conclusion
that Britain was lost, not because of a few leaflets, but because
their government was so incompetent it was about to lose two wars
running.  Due to the lack of wartime elections, he could not act on
his conviction immediately.  He became a pub critic of Neville War for
the remainder of the war.  When German forces stopped outside
Brentwood and Schulthess went on Funk Frankfurt to announce that he
“wished to spare London the same fate which befell Paris,” Knight
became involved in a pub brawl over his insistence that the government
deserved to be removed.  He spent the night in jail and was released
in the morning to hear that Prime Minister Wood had requested a
ceasefire.
Again I can see the Germans succeeding, if only just. I just can't see
what follows.- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I think the collapse is obvious. The UK is destroyed by the occupation
of the...UK. The center falls, the outside falls apart...nothing to
hold it together.

David
Jared
2008-06-29 09:44:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mark Edelstein
Post by Jared
Despite all his doubts, Admiral Erwin Gercke survived the Battle of
Great Yarmouth on 22 June, and all of the myriad smaller engagements
which followed in the last days of the war in Europe.  He also
survived the Battle of Cap-Vert which followed, and won promotion to
the rank of Generaladmiral.  He remained in the Krijgmarine after the
war.  He was appointed to the position of Grossadmiral in what turned
out to be one of the last acts of the Schulthess government, just
before an election which they had confidently expected to win, but
which they narrowly lost.  He remained as head of the Krijgmarine for
the next eight years, overseeing its rebuilding, and he retired from
command with an exemplary record.  His tell-all memoirs were published
after his death, in the first breach of the veil of secrecy which had
always been maintained in the German General Staff and Naval Staff.
He offered both praise and condemnation for the way the war was
conducted, and spared no-one blame when he thought they deserved it,
including himself.
So the Australians and Yanks lose somehow?
No, they win at sea, and Germany is not invading much of sub-Saharan
Africa without control of the seas. This will send both sides to the
peace table eventually, although they may take a while to get there.
Post by Mark Edelstein
Right. So how does any of this happen. Even if the landing makes it
through, even if the Germans win, where does this particular type of
collapse come from?
The details of how the British government collapses are going to be
retconned; there is still a London commune, but its origins are
different. But the gist is that public trust in the government has
been completely eroded by failure in two wars, and economic shock in
between. A greater There will be a forthcoming post which will
describe the political history of DoD Britain from the 1880s to the
1930s, to show how the different politics of Britain have come about.
Post by Mark Edelstein
Post by Jared
For all of his fears, Heinrich Eilers survived Zero Day, although
about a third of his fellow transport ship captains did not.  He
survived many more trips across the North Sea, too, the first few to
the beaches, then to the artificial harbours created onshore,
The timing of setting these up is chancy.
It's going to be difficult, and they are going to be more vulnerable
to storms than those in Normandy in OTL. I'm looking at whether the
Germans can plausibly capture Great Yarmouth (the closest thing to a
useful port in the area) with relative surprise, which would allow a
better chance to clear that port.

Cheers,
Jared

Tim McDaniel
2008-06-25 04:44:17 UTC
Permalink
In article
Post by Jared
With the sun rising above the horizon, Major Viktor Lutze drove his
Skorpion panzer into the flat waters of the North Sea.
Tanks are "horsts", as I recall, but I missed the definition of
"panzer" in this timeline. Can someone please tell me?
--
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: ***@panix.com
Mark Edelstein
2008-06-25 11:53:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim McDaniel
Tanks are "horsts", as I recall, but I missed the definition of
"panzer" in this timeline. Can someone please tell me?
Horsts are cars. Panzers are well, panzers.
Good Habit
2008-06-28 19:43:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jared
Decades of Darkness #180: The Cold Light of the Sun
“Thou seest Me as Time who kills, Time who brings all to doom,
The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume;
Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed,
There shines not one shall leave alive the battlefield!”
- Taken from the Bhagavad Gita
Fine to see DoD reaching it's final climax...

But this excellent post brings up a few questions... (posted at the same
time at SHWI and at AH.com)

Cheers
Good Habit





What is the role of New England, and why is there a battle at Cap-Vert?


Probably, after the withdrawal from France, the NE-Army didn't remain in
England, but was mostly shifted to the West-African theater? Sky-Craft
carriers near the Channel would be to vulnerable, so carrier based
sky-craft would not play an important role in the battle for
air-supremacy over East-Anglia. An other question would be if Mullins
would really trough in all the remaining ships of the NE-Navy in to the
battles in the North Sea, or if he would try to preserve some of his
forces... Of course, to the British public, this would look as if the UK
has been deserted by just one more 'ally', and could easily be a straw
that starts to break the moral just before the invasion...

An after (or rather while) England is lost, New England concentrates
it's naval forces near the coast of West-Africa to secure the supply
lines for it's forces there – they might win a battle against the
remnants of the Krjigmarine – the more surprising statement is that the
Australian Navy will participate in the fight – there aren't any
Australian assets near by, there is no way the mother country can be
rescued, so there isn't a reason why they should keep on fighting (may
be to 'keep the moral high-ground?' - not really convincing for the
interests of an ally such as Mullins...)


British moral, invasion and the London Commune..


It seems fair to assume that at the time of the landing in East-Anglia,
British moral is already at an all time low. The war hasn't gone well
for some time, most erstwhile allies have either collapsed or abandoned
the common cause, the remainder doesn't really have a large enough
resource base – or – in the case of India – hasn't developed it to a
sufficient extend to turn the tide and win the war on it's own – and
with New England more concerned about West-Africa than about Britain,
prospects look dim... If the German Luftmacht had dominance over the
sky's of all of South and East-England for months, strategic bombing
should have succeeded in destroying much of the industrial capacity and
infrastructure. Even if the UK did put some investment in domestic food
production, self sufficiency at 20th century levels of population seem
fairly difficult – imports will be close to zero, because there are no
funds to pay for them, no one who could afford it(the US, basically) is
offering lend-lease, and transportation, without third party ships in
convoys, will be almost unavailable. So, by June of 1932, the supply
situation should be dramatic. So, probably, most Brits feel that it
would have been a sensitive move to approach the German ambassador in a
neutral country (Sweden or Castilia might be possibilities) and seek
terms...The stubbornness of Wood to continue at any cost, putting the
very survival of the peoples of Britain at risk, is likely already very
unpopular back home. So, if Germany puts a significant force a shore in
East-Anglia, desperation might spread rather fast. Therefore, it
wouldn't be a big surprise if they could make quite some headway and
reach, say, Northampton within two weeks, thus coming close to cut the
main routes between London and the North...

If the government then finally caves in (accepts a ceasefire), it seems
likely that mass desertion of soldiers would follow, and that they would
form workers and soldiers councils in many places – the rather
surprising question is – why only in London, and not in the industrial
headlands of the North-West, in Scotland and Wales?

Not clear, to me, is why the commune would execute Woods for 'War
crimes' (except that he is responsible for the length and the disastrous
outcome of the war..) I do, as well, have some doubts that a significant
part of the army would remain intact and ready to suppress the commune –
there would be the question of legitimacy?

(Legitimacy could come from the King, who could play a role in such a
situation – so his whereabouts might matter – or it could come from
parliament – but if there hasn't been a fresh election for some time,
the legitimacy of the old parliament might not be greater than that of a
provisional revolution council – the moderate revolutionaries might try
to form a joint government including former MP's and Red Guard men, and
calling for an election for a new parliament, probably with a
provisional election law. What legitimacy Blackwood could claim seems
rather unclear – if the Glasgow and Bristol 'Soviet' try to form
break-away governments, they might be tolerated by the London 'Soviet',
but unlikely by a 'white' General.

Further: the German position to the English (British) civil war seems
rather unclear – why support a local General with a clear lack of
legitimacy and tolerate secession in Scotland and Cymru? They could as
well tolerate the Commune for quite some time, and leave England sort
out it's mess on it's own – with a large number of German boots on
English soil, of course.


Will part's of the Royal Navy survive the war?


Depends on how the moral of the crew is – and how their orders are. If
the UK Government is unreasonably optimistic about the ability of the
army to defeat the invaders on land, they might just keep part of the
Navy out of harms way – until reinforcements arrive? And, after their
hope fails, the ceasefire might come rather quick. In that case, parts
of the RN might still be above water..

OTOH, if the UK has a somehow realistic view of the situation, (that the
very survival of the nation is really at stake), they would most likely
order all out suicide missions – attack against all odds and win (or –
rather more likely – die heroically with little effect on the enemy
campaign) – and so nothing should remain afloat... Of course, a third
option would be – the crew realizes that the war is lost, and that even
suicide missions won't save King and country – and therefore refuses the
orders.

Rebellions by Navy crews are not very common in the RN, but they were
among the first events of the Russian Revolution of 1905 or the German
Revolution of 1918 – so, the formerly RN becomes the 'Naval Commune' –
and after the end of the 'London Commune' seeks refuge elsewhere....



Would Germany turn to the right in the 1936 election?


This seems extremely unlikely – the war brought a lot of hardship for
the German working men – the wartime 'United Front' Government might not
survive to long after the war finally ends, but it wont fall that easy
either – and many people will demand the 'peace dividend'. There should
still be a wide consensus on many matters (strong army, the defeated
enemies will have to pay for the war – but most likely this will include
as well a strong 'national solidarity' – not only a dense social network
for widows and orphans, but an attempt to build a country where everyone
belongs to the middle class – the left might even support the
'liberation of women from factory work' – by becoming housewives and
mothers – and of the individual suburban home for most families – but if
would have to come via a strong hand of the government in the economy,
preventing unemployment, granting a lot of egalitarianism, assuring a
extensive welfare state, with subsidies for home building, high taxes
for the wealthy. Elitist approaches would be extremely unpopular – the
old nobility might have their titles, and a network which facilitates
their career opportunities, but beside that, no privileges not shared
with the overwhelming majority.


So, if the 1931 election [1] overwhelmingly confirmed the war time
coalition, the most promising course to keep the coalition together in
the post war period is to move sharply to the left on domestic issues –
prevent the post war recession by a lot of make-work programs, and a
fast extension of the social security networks, and keep taxes high.
Everyone demanding lower taxes and less government interference in the
economy is blamed as elitist, snob, anti-patriotic...

The 'United German Peoples Party' (emerging from the war time coalition)
might be the dominant center-left party. The strongest opposition might
form to the right (let's call them the 'National Conservative Party') –
but just a few years after the war, the center-left will still win a
landslide. Of course, it would be helpful if Schulthess would indicate
his willingness to step aside for younger men.... But not before 1941
could the right have a chance again – assuming that the rebellions in
some of the occupied countries become a serious nuisance, and the
economy is rather stagnant. This would still require that a hard-left
faction would break away from the UGPP, thus splitting the left vote...

If, OTOH, Schulthess follows a rather centrist – or center-right –
policy post war, with significant unemployment after demobilization, and
no extensive welfare program (with the reason given that he has to
follow an economically 'sound' policy – and can't spend money that has
not yet been earned) – the strongest opposition will certainly form to
the left, and a left wing victory in 1936 – say of the 'United Socialist
German Labor Party' will be inevitable. In practice, the policy might
only be slightly to the left of the first scenario, and if the economy
isn't well, and the suppression of the rebellions in the defeated enemy
countries isn't going smoothly, there might even be a return to a
center-right government in 1941 – but certainly not earlier.


[The only way a right wing government could come to power in 1936 would
be one in which democracy is thrown out – preserving privileges to the
old elites, low taxation, but still long military service for the
working class without good social security and significant unemployment
– no way this can pass at the ballot box – and I can't really see how
the right could achieve that after the tradition of several decades of
free elections – a military coup with that many working men who happen
to be war veterans – very unlikely and the recipe to disaster (civil war...)


[1] As OTL's US or Switzerland, ATL's Germany has fixed terms for
parliament, and thus no snap elections. Keeping the election during war
time might serve several purposes, but particularly it will confirm the
war coalition, it will allow for some younger people to move in to
responsible functions, etc. So a scenario where all of the government
parties present a unitary list under the name of 'United Front of the
German People' or some such, but allow for some seats to be filled by
FPTP elections (created for 'patriotic' MP's seeking reelection as
'Independents who can't agree to run on a UFGP list) – seats that the
UFGP would not contest except in the few cases where the incumbents
seeking re-election would be considered 'unpatriotic'. So there is an
election, but very little choice....
Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...