Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 5-46 Espionage, Deals with Devils, Eve of War: Poland
…Poland managed to pull off an extremely significant intelligence coup when it managed to mathematically determine how to attack the German SG-30 machines. While the British had been breaking messages from the commercial version marketed as Enigma since 1937, the SG-30 proper was more complex than the commercial variant, encrypting using a plug board in addition to using a different sequence of lettering on the rotors. The British had privately regarded it as unbreakable without having a physical machine to examine and had focused on trying to acquire intelligence on the machine via penetration of the German Cipher Office in Berlin. The Polish Cipher Bureau had managed to create a good relationship with the University of Poznan and had recruited a number of promising Mathematics graduates. Several of them working together managed to work out how to mathematically attack the system.

By 1934 the Poles were able to read all of the major German message traffic before the British had even got a serious start on breaking the commercial version. They set to work on automating the process to reduce the time taken and by 1938 had gotten to the point of being able to read the highest security German messages the same day using crude electromechanical computers. The exception proved to be the German Navy, who in 1937 introduced better Cipher procedures and an additional rotor to their machines, though the Poles were the least concerned about them. At the end of 1938 the Germans began universally introducing two extra rotors and additional plugboard connectors to their machines. This rendered the highly automated Polish process unworkable. As they lacked the budget to build sufficient computers in a timely manner they were forced to fallback on older methods, which took far longer to break the German codes.

In early September of 1940 and with war obviously approaching the Poles began approaching the British with offers to share their cryptographic methods among other intelligence secrets. In exchange they wanted resources that would allow them to build enough computing equipment to return to same day decryption of German high level messages. The British were willing to do so, provided the Poles extended their intelligence sharing to the French. The three had previously shared intelligence in the 20’s and early 30’s before Polish foreign relations deteriorated, some of this French intelligence had allowed the mathematical breakthroughs to break the SG-30 machine to take place. At this point however the Poles were concerned about sharing intelligence with the French.

The Poles were aware from their agents in the USSR that there were significant penetrations of France by the NKVD. Given the recently revealed degree of cooperation between the two countries the Poles were afraid that if they revealed this fact to the French, it would soon be known in Moscow and then be passed on to Berlin, making it useless. The Poles held out for excluding the French, but the British would not release any funds unless the French were included. The Poles thus made the decision to exclude any of their high level codebreaking work from intelligence exchanges with the British and French.

In this the Polish fears were misplaced for two reasons. First was that the Oxbridge Group had the British intelligence services almost as penetrated as the French were, sharing intelligence with the British would also result in the Soviet Union finding out. The Second was that the Soviets, according to German records and testimonies, did not share major intelligence with the Germans at this time, the Polish secret thus would have been safe. A major advantage was thus lost in not going along with the Intelligence sharing agreement to its fullest extent…

…By September of 1940 Polish codebreaking efforts were on average 15 days behind the German code changes. This lag in information proved of tremendous importance in the last few days before the war…

-Excerpt from Espionage in the Middle 20th Century, Harper and Brothers, New York

…Even in September 1940 considerable friction between the Franco-British and the Poles remained. The British and French were making every possible attempt to buy time while the Poles were making every attempt to preserve their territorial integrity. When the Poles found out about preliminary decisions by the Germans to invade on September 15th via cryptographic intercepts, they told their allies that they were mobilizing immediately. The British and French demanded that they keep at peacetime readiness as to avoid provoking Germany and threatened to withhold a further loan to Poland if they did.

Before September the Poles had received only a military loan of 7 million Pounds, that was less than the 65 million they had asked for or the 15 million that had been given to Greece or the 10 million each to Yugoslavia or Romania to keep them out of the German orbit. A further loan of 70 million Pounds was in consideration for the purchase of badly needed military equipment, equipment the Poles would need to remedy their many deficiencies.

The Poles were well aware that the Germans had Already mobilized and intended to attack around the Fall Equinox. The Poles thus made the German mobilization public, leaking intelligence to the London and Paris papers hours before they announced their mobilization on September 20th. This trapped the British and French governments, they could not condemn the Polish mobilization and were forced to go along with it. They did not however mobilize themselves.

On the 23rd Polish mobilization was effectively complete and the Poles were as ready as they would ever be for a German attack. By the 27th however no German attack had materialized and the Poles were wondering if it was cancelled. A major restaurant fire in Danzig on the 21st seemed to be the cause, if the Germans had planned a provocation the minor disaster seemed to have derailed it. The Poles thus yielded to subtle diplomatic pressure and while maintaining mobilization reduced readiness to save wear and tear on equipment while releasing troops on leave. Intercepted traffic seemed to suggest that the attack had been rescheduled for October 5th…

-Excerpt From Deals with Devils: Diplomacy before and During the Second World War, Johnstone Press, Seattle, 2005



The Polish Republic became independent in the aftermath of WWI after more than a century of being part of Russia, Germany and Austria. It is nominally a parliamentary democracy but is in practice a managed democracy run by a troika of the president, foreign minister and commander of the army.


Poland is a primarily agricultural economy in the process of transitioning to an industrial one. Its main exports are agricultural goods, timber and coal. It is held back by hostile neighbors and poor transportation links.

Land Forces:

Poland has a large army of 1 million men when fully mobilized. It has 28 infantry and 2 mountain divisions, 10 Cavalry, 3 Mountain, 2 Armored and 2 motorized brigades active and 10 reserve infantry divisions. Polish divisions are triangular in structure, as are Cavalry brigades. In wartime the Polish Army has control of the 40 infantry Battalions and 20 cavalry squadrons of the Border Protection Corps as well as the regular Border Guards

The standard Polish rifle is a Mauser Gewehr 98 variant, supplemented by older models inherited from Germany. This is being replaced by a carbine version similar to the German Kar 98. Some reserve units use Mosin Nagants rechambered for 7.92x57mm Mauser. Their sidearms are primarily Vis pistols, an M1911 variant chambered in 9mm parabellum, reserve units use a knock off of the Nagant Revolver. Some units are equipped with a knock off of the Vollmer SMG. Polish cavalry are still issued with Sabers and each cavalry regiment has a company issued with lances.

The standard Polish light machine gun is a BAR variant rechambered for 7.92mm Mauser. Their standard medium machine gun is a M1914 Hotchkiss copy in 7.92mm Mauser, while their heavy machine gun is a M1917 Browning clone in 7.92mm Mauser. The standard is 326 light or medium machine guns per division and 132 heavy machine guns. Cavalry brigades have substantially fewer weapons. 13 heavy machine guns per regiment are issued on Tachanka style wheeled carriages.

For heavier support each platoon has a 46mm grenade launcher, a smoothbore weapon capable of firing grenades 700m in older versions and 800m in newer ones. For anti-armor use each infantry company or cavalry squadron has a unit of 3 anti-tank rifles. These are 7.92x107mm weapons based on the Mauser G98 with a 4 round magazine, while accurate, flat shooting and with reasonable recoil they lack effective AP ammunition to make full use of this. For heavier weapons the Poles use a copy of the French Brandt mortar in 81mm, each infantry battalion and cavalry regiment is supposed to have 4, in practice this is not achieved.

Polish divisional artillery consists of 75mm weapons, either French canon de 97, Schneider 1912, Schneider M1914, or rebarreled Russian M1902s in 75mm. 12 or 16 pieces are issued per Brigade or 48 or 64 per infantry division. Mountain units use the 65mm M1906 from France. Each brigade has 2 Bofors 40mm Guns for air defense, each division headquarters an additional four. 4 37mm Bofors AT Guns are issued per Regiment, with an extra 2 gun battery per brigade and 12 gun company for infantry divisions. Older 37mm M1916 infantry guns from France are issued to some units in lieu of AT guns. Each division also has 3 105mm pieces loosely based on the 105mm Schneider M1913, but superior in every way save rate of fire and 3 155 M1917 Schneider Howitzers.

Poland has 12 independent 155mm Howitzer detachments of 12 guns. A greater number of independent detachments consist of 105mm guns. In addition there are 120mm howitzers, these are ancient Debange artillery pieces from 1878 on captured Russian howitzer carriages, with heavy modifications to create a decent modern artillery piece, there are 3 detachments of these in service. A number of very heavy 210mm and 220mm Mortars from Skoda are kept for siege work, as are older 280mm M1914 Howitzers from France. Independent AA units use a domestically designed 75mm piece.

Polish Armor consists primarily of TKS tankettes. They are small vehicles with either a single machine gun or 20mm cannon and are attached in a company of 13 to each regular division or brigade for recon, with a 50/50 split in terms of machine gun or cannon armament. These are supported by the larger “medium tanks” mainly the 9TP and 7TP in the armored brigades. Derived from the Vickers 6 ton, all are armed with a Bofors 37mm gun after modifications to convert older models, 150 7TP and 120 of the uparmored and upengined 9TP are in service. These are supported by 35 older Vickers 6 tons, armed with 47mm guns and a number of old FT’s in reserve. Each tankette company is paired with an armored car company of 13 vehicles carrying a single machine gun or low velocity 37mm cannon, 1 company using an older slower model with a low velocity 37mm and multiple machine guns exists as does a company using a new model carrying a turreted 20mm with a coaxial machine gun.

The Polish Army is only lightly mechanized. The average division has only 150 motor vehicles and relies on almost 7,000 horses for transport. The Poles have however been able to standardize on a few common motor vehicle designs for ease of maintenance. To make up for this every regiment has a bicycle mounted company and most divisions a bicycle mounted battalion.

Poland makes use of 9 armored trains to patrol its extensive rail network. They are armored against machine gun fire and armed with guns as heavy as 105mm depending on the train. These are supported by a number of FT and TKS converted into railways going auxiliary vehicles.

Naval Forces:

The Polish Navy is a small force meant purely for coastal defense.

The largest ship in the Polish Navy is the moored training ship Baltyk. The 8,000 ton vessels was laid down as D’Entrecasteaux for France and was a powerful cruiser for the 1890’s. Now she is stationary and armed with a hodge podge of varying light guns for training. Next largest is the training ship Wilja, a 7400 ton freighter used for cadet training and otherwise armed with only machine guns and saluting weapons.

The largest real warships are the Gryf and Smok. 2200 ton minelayers they are armed with 6 Bofors 120mm guns in two twins and two singles, 2 British 40mm Pom-Poms, two twin 13.2mm Hotchkiss machine guns, and 8 racks for up to 600 total mines. They are fast for a minelayer at 20 knots and long ranged, with excellent endurance and facilities to serve as school ships if needed.

Supporting these are 6 destroyers, with two more under construction. The Grom and Piorun are based on the British Tribal class and are 2100 ton, 39 knot ships. They are armed with 3 twin and 1 single 120mm Bofors guns in slinge purpose mounts, 2 twin Bofors 40m, 4 twin 13.2mm Hotchkiss machine guns, two triple 21” torpedo tubes, and two depth charge launchers. Under construction are the slightly improved sisters Orkan and Hurugan with only minor differences.

The Burza and Wicher are 1500 ton vessels based on French designs. Armed with 4 130mm single purpose guns in single mounts, 2 British pop poms, 2 triple 550mm torpedo tubes, 4 depth charge launchers and 60 mines they are fairly well armed. Slow at 34 knots they suffer from numerous design flaws that make them less seaworthy than they should be and less damage resistant.

The oldest destroyers are the Kaszub and Mazur. Ex German designs from WWI they have had their torpedoes removed to serve as training ships. They have 3 Schneider 75mm guns, 1 pom pom and 2 machine guns. They have been derated to 23 knots.

Poland has two former Russian 350 ton gunboats, the Haller and Pilsudski. They are armed with two 75mm guns, two 7.92mm machine guns and carry 30 mines as minelayers. At 15 knots they are slow and not particularly seaworthy but they are very habitable vessels for their size.

Poland operates 6 Mewa class Minesweepers of 180 tons with 2 more building. They have a 75mm gun, 2 machine guns, and room for 20 mines or depth charges. They are relatively fast at 17.5 knots and seaworthy, being used as multirole vessels.

Poland has 5 subs in service with 2 more building in France. The Wilk, Rys and Zbik are 1000 ton boats with a 100mm gun and 2 13.2mm Machine guns for use on the surface. They have 4 550mm bow tubes, 2 tubes in a twin rotating arrangement amidships and can carry 16 torpedoes and 40 mines. They make 15 knots on the surface, 10 submerged and have a 3500 knot range.

The Orzel and Sep are larger 1100 ton boats. They have 12 550mm tubes, 4 bow, 4 stern and two pair of rotating mounts amidships, along with a 105mm deck gun and a retractable twin bofors. They make 19 knots on the surface, 9 submerged and have a 7000 nautical mile range.

The Polish Navy operates a variety of river gunboats and monitors of up to 100 tons on the Pripyat and Vistula Rivers. The Monitors have either 2 75mm guns or 3 100mm howitzers supported by machine guns, while the gunboats have a mix of 100mm guns, 40mm Bofors AA guns, 37mm Puteax cannon and machine guns, usually only 1 of the larger weapon. Some smaller river gunboats are equipped as specialized chemical weapons ships with gas sprayers.

The Polish Navy has about 15 floatplanes based on the R XIV surveillance aircraft purely for reconnaissance.

The Polish Navy has two infantry regiments of Marines and a company sized unit of frogmen for special operations.

Air Forces:

The Polish Air Force is a relatively large formation with 1400 aircraft, all of indigenous design and manufacture. It is organized into a Pursuit Brigade of 5 fighter squadrons to defend Warsaw, a bomber Brigade of 10 squadrons and 11 independent groups of a fighter, reconnaissance and an observation squadron attached to each Army or other high level command.

The Polish fighter force is primarily equipped with the PZL 8 and the improved PZL 13. These are all metal monoplanes, but with fixed undercarriages, open cockpits and a high gull wing. They are slow and low flying, but extremely maneuverable and rough field capable. Armed only with a pair of rifle caliber machine guns, 4 on the newest PZL 13 variants, they are lightly armed and they mostly lack radios. They are due to be replaced next year with a slightly improved low wing fighter with a retractable undercarriage, the PZL 41 and a twin engine heavy fighter, the PZL 45. 100 PZL 8 and 180 PZL 13 are in service.

The standard Polish light bomber and recon aircraft is the PZL 25 an all metal low cantilever winged aircraft with an enclosed cockpit and fixed landing gear. It can carry up to 1500 pounds of bombs and has 3 machine guns for defense, 1 forward, and two rear firing, one dorsal and one ventral. While modern for its day presently It is slow, ungainly, only has average range and ceiling and cannot dive bomb, its main virtue being rough field performance. It is being replaced by the PZL 47, which has the same bombload is faster, longer ranged, with a retractable undercarriage and dive brakes, but 8 machine guns, 4 forward, two rear dorsal and two rear firing guns in a retractable gondola. 200 PZL 25 and 20 PZL 47 are in service.

The standard Polish Medium Bomber, heavy in Polish parlance, is the PZL 40. It is fast, maneuverable, has good rough field performance and can carry 3900 pounds of bombs 600 miles, with a maximum capacity of 5500 pounds. It is only lightly armed with 3 rifle caliber machine guns and has average ceiling. It is to be replaced with the PZL 50, which will carry up to 6600 pounds of bombs and a range of 1200 miles with 4400 pounds, greater speed and additional defensive armament. A handful of PZ 29 bombers are still in service, with a 1500 pound bombload, less speed and maneuverability than the PZL 40 they are relegated to training. 70 PZL 40 and 10 PZL 29 are in service.

For surveillance and liaison Poland relies on the R XIV and R XXI aircraft. These are high gull wing STOL aircraft, mixed construction with fixed landing gear. Slow and ungainly by this point the RXIV has a single ring mount machine gun while the XXI adds a forward firing weapon. They do not come with a radio or camera standard which hinders their use. The R XXV, a successor design is faster, much higher flying, armed with an additional forward machine gun and a standard radio and camera is in flight testing before introduction in December. 150 R XIV and 75 R XXI are in service.

Poland has an additional 600 monoplane training aircraft of domestic design.

Poland lacks paratroopers.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Poland has stockpiled a variety of Mustard gas variants, as well as Lewisite and Chlorine in small quantities. Use of these weapons is very tightly controlled and they are kept at a few carefully guarded stockpiles. Deployment is via artillery shells, bombs and specialized river gunboats with sprayers.

Poland does not have a biological or atomic weapons program.


Poland has poor infrastructure which makes moving troops difficult except by rail.

Poland is surrounded by potential enemies, two of which are far larger than it is.

Poland has diplomatically isolated itself during the interwar era and has only a weak alliance with Britain and France.

-The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
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Part 5-47 Into the Abyss, Steel Talons, Eve of War: Slovakia
…Slovakia had been since its formation functionally a German puppet state. Alexander Mach did not like Hitler, logical given poor treatment he had received at Hitler’s hands, but at the same time he was aware that he needed to be in Hitler’s good graces. Hungary had taken a bite off of Slovakia at Vicenza and absorbed the Carpatho-Ruthenian region when Slovakia declared independence. Admiral Horthy had tried to take over a chunk of Eastern Slovakia as well, but had been firmly rebuffed by Hitler. Mach was thus aware that if he lost favor the least that might happen is the annexation of Eastern Slovakia to Hungary, with the possibility of the whole country being absorbed on the table. With Horthy as a far more valuable partner to Hitler than he was, Mach was aware he had no significant latitude and had to do as Hitler said.

Thus when he was approached by the German foreign ministry with a demand for military access and aid against Poland he had no choice but to accept. In doing so he was promised that Slovakia would receive the territory that Poland had been awarded at Vicenza, along with further territories that had been disputed with Poland since 1919. Thus on September 20th as Poland mobilized so too did Slovakia. Three infantry divisions and a motorized brigade were placed on the Polish border, while at the same time a German Corps began taking up positions in the country…

…Negotiations with Hungary over the proposed invasion of Poland began immediately after the Moscow agreement became public. Hitler wanted the ability to launch attacks out of Hungary, where Polish defenses were not present in strength, even if his generals were sanguine about the prospects of launching an attack out of the Carpathian Mountains. He further wanted the relatively large Hungarian Army to contribute troops to the endeavor.

Admiral Horthy for his part was not interested in the prospect. Poland and Hungary had significant historical ties of friendship and almost alone among his neighbors Horthy had no territorial disputes with them. At the same time however Horthy did want a piece of German aligned Slovakia, if he could not get the whole country. He also wanted parts of the Czechoslovak military industry, Hungary had historically bought from Italy during the interwar era and with the break in relations over Hungary’s participation in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia that was no longer an option. Given that German exports of equipment to match had been slow, Horthy wanted domestic sources to ensure he could maintain parity with Romania.

Negotiations thus began on that basis…

…The exact outcome of the Budapest conference was kept deliberately obscure by both participants. What was known was that the Hungarians announced a partial mobilization on September 22nd, began moving troops into the Carpathians at the same time and that German units were spotted in Hungary soon afterwards…

-Into the Abyss: The leadup to the Second World War, Harper and Brothers, New York, 2009

…Polish war planning through the interwar period concentrated on two plans, Plan East against the USSR and Plan West against Germany, a Plan South against Czechoslovakia was only sporadically worked on. Of these Plan East received by far the most attention, with the Germans first shackled by Versailles and then with relations improving under Hitler Germany seemed like a far lesser threat compared to the Soviets, who they had fought a war with. Vicenza and 1939 had changed that, as it was clear that Hitler was an expansionist and the previously good relations the two countries enjoyed began breaking down.

Warplan 1939 West was thus drawn up. Recognizing that the Polish Army was smaller and less mobile than the German, it relied on holding deep interior lines where geography would allow the Polish formations to mutually support each other and hold out for a prolonged period. It however had a flaw that quickly became apparent. It had no provision for defending the south from an attack via Hungary. A single corps level thrust could cut the vital lifeline from Romania that Poland would be dependent on in a prolonged war. While not a particular problem when conceived, given the tiny length of border the two countries shared and the good relations they had, it became a problem when Hungary annexed Transcarpathian Ruthenia and was driven closer to Germany.

Warplan 1940 West fixed this issue, juggling a Corps level blocking force to ensure that only an Army level attack could cut the Romanian bridgehead, and such an attack out of the Carpathians was considered lunacy. It however had another flaw. To put a Corps level blocking force in such a position, and to generally strengthen the defenses of central Poland it had stripped the East to an unfortunate degree. This was considered an acceptable trade off, it was felt that Stalin would not want to compromise a defense of Poland given how much he and Hitler were perceived as hating each other, and would want as great a distance between the two countries borders as possible. The Moscow Conference suddenly made this assumption invalid in early September 1940.

The Poles did not have an inkling that Stalin would have gone so far as to agree to divvy up Poland with Hitler. What they did think was that Stalin might be willing to make a land grab if the opportunity presented itself. Such a landgrab would likely be fatal in the midterm for Poland even if they were able to stop the Germans in the short term. Thus while not expecting a full on Soviet invasion, Polish planners worried that their Border Protection Corps would not be enough to deter a Soviet land grab given that a portion of its combat power had been stripped away to reinforce the West. A new Warplan was needed, one that did not completely strip the east and there was not time to write up a totally new plan.

Thus an old plan, Warplan West 31 was chosen. West 31 had been written purely as a staff exercise, assuming a German-Czech combined with a hostile USSR, it thus most closely mirrored the current geopolitical situation face by Poland. Of course it had major issues, it was written with an eye to using the superior mobility of the Polish cavalry to conduct a long fighting retreat from their western border, something that increased motorization had rendered inviable and assumed a weaker German opponent. On the other hand it left a few infantry units in the East to back up the Border Protection Corps by holding key cities and a few cavalry brigades as reaction forces to smack smaller Soviet incursions. 6 Brigades would not particularly be missed in the West, but would ensure the Soviets would need to commit to heavy Corps level formations to perform a serious land grab and lose any possible plausible deniability.

The decision was made to mobilize according to West 31 on September 14th. The plan would be slightly tweaked as time went on to smooth things over, most prominently to extend the Polish Carpathian Army’s flank to better cover against Hungary. Units were carefully adjusted in such a manner as to minimize disruption of their deployment, as the worst thing that could happen was an attack during redeployment and the Polish high command knew that. However this meant that when war broke out most of West 31’s flaws were still uncorrected…

-Excerpt from Steel Talons: Armed Forces of the Interwar, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2011


Slovakia is a single party dictatorship under Alexander Mach and the Slovak Peoples Party. It is a Client state under Germany since its independence from Czechoslovakia and is growing increasingly Volkist in character


The Slovak Economy is based on agriculture, with only limited mechanization, and forestry. Primary crops are wheat, corn and sugar beet. There is only very limited industry in the country and it has an undeveloped services sector.

Land Forces:

The Slovak Army consists of 200,000 men at full mobilized strength in 6 infantry divisions and 2 motorized divisions, though only 2 infantry divisions and 2 motorized brigades are active. Divisions and motorized brigades are triangular in structure, with the motorized brigades having an attached tank battalion each.

The standard Slovak rifle is a Czech Gewehr 98 clone in 7.92 Mauser. The ZB-26 and ZB-30 magazine fed machine guns are used in the squad MG role while the ZB-53 is used as a belt fed MMG at the company level and the old Schwarzlose as a battalion HMG alongside the 15mm ZB-61, which is primarily an AA weapon at the divisional level. Vz 22 and Vz 24 automatic pistols in .38ACP are issued to officers and NCO’s. The ZK-380 blowback SMG in 9mm Parabellum is issued one per squad to troops in the Motorized brigades.

For support Slovakia issues Czech 8cm Brandt mortar clones, unusual in being incompatible with standard Brandt mortar ammunition. 3 are issued to every battalion. For anti-armor use each battalion is issued 3 3.7cm AT guns, with each division and motorized brigade having a further 9, these are 40 or 48 caliber weapons.

Slovakia uses a 7.65cm L40 field gun and 10cm L25 howitzer on a common carriage, which can be broken down and double as mountain guns for their main artillery, these weapons are box trail designs but otherwise modern and are integrated into their divisions and brigades. For heavier weapons they have a battalion of 10.5cm L42 guns with modern split trail carriages for counter battery work. Slovakia has 3 battalions of older horse drawn 15cm L18 howitzers and one battalion of motor drawn L25 15cm howitzers with modern split trail carriages.

For AA work Slovakia uses 15mm Machine guns and license built ex Czech 20mm Oerlikon autocannon. They also use 7.65 and 8.35 AA guns for heavier work, purely as AA weapons.

For Armor Slovakia has 30 6 wheeled armored cars with 2 7.92mm Machine guns. 30 similarly armed 2 ton tankettes are also in use. Their primary armor is 130 LT 35 Light tanks, with a 40 or 48 caliber 3.7cm gun and reasonable armor for a 10 ton vehicle, their flaw is only slow speed at 20 mph maximum. Slovakia has 50 similarly armed older LT 33 light tanks which are slightly slower and less armored that they use for training alongside their tankettes.

The Slovak army is outside their two motorized brigades lightly motorized and heavily dependent on horse drawn transport.

Naval Forces:

Slovakia is landlocked and lacks a Navy beyond small ad hoc armed river boats.

Air Forces:

Slovakia has a small air force of 300 aircraft inherited from Czechoslovakia. They have 5 fighter and 7 observation squadrons.

The Fighter squadrons are equipped with Avia 555’s, a fast all metal biplane with an enclosed cockpit, being let down only by being a biplane and having fixed landing gear. They are armed with two 7.92mm machine guns and a 20mm motor mounted cannon.

The Aero 528 is the standard observation aircraft, which doubles as a light bomber. A biplane with fixed landing gear and an open cockpit it has 2 or 4 7.92mm machine guns forward and twin mount for the observer, can carry 1100 pounds of bombs with fairly decent range and ceiling.

Slovakia operates about 100 trainers to train their pilots of Czech design.

Slovakia lacks paratroopers.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Slovakia does not have a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons program.


Slovakia is a tiny nation that is a Volkist puppet state.

Neighboring Hungary desires to annex Slovakia.

Slovakia’s military equipment is old Czechoslovak gear and its production is not under their control, leaving them dependent on Germany

-The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001

Okay next week should end Part V, key word should
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No way around it, Poland is pretty screwed over with enemies on all sides, especially now that the Axis are attacking through Hungary and Slovakia too.
Part 5-48 Into the Abyss, Sideways, Eve of War: Germany
…Late on September 27th the Senate of the Free City of Danzig met and asked the Volkstag for a vote of unification with Germany. While not strictly necessary thanks to the Enabling Act passed in the wake of the Kaiserhof bombing which transferred all power to the Senate, it was still conducted and immediately passed by all 70 present members, and subsequently approved unanimously by all 12 Senators.

The official announcement occurred on the morning of the 28th, immediately followed by a triumphal parade by troops of the Wehrmacht and members of the SVP. In the city itself they were warmly welcomed by the populace who were glad to be part of Germany once more. In the surrounding countryside things were considerably more confrontational as the Polish population there absolutely did not want to be part of Germany. A low key campaign of arrests and intimidation began in the countryside to force them into compliance, soon to kick into high gear in October.

The Poles were infuriated about the annexation and complained loudly. While Britain and France both complained, they did so quietly, as their governments were aware that a majority of the population did want to be part of Germany, and that much of their voting public was aware of that fact. Instead the British and French proposed a commission to determine new boundaries to the territory to better accommodate the Polish minority in the rural areas, couching it in terms that they hoped would be hard for Hitler to refuse. By the time they did that however it was too late.

At noon on the 28th the new German Gaultier of Danzig presented the employees at the Polish Post Office in Danzig with an ultimatum. Germany did not recognize the extraterritoriality of the Post Office and would not allow it to operate any longer. The employees were told that they had 24 hours to vacate the premises, which would be seized and incorporated into the local branch of the German post office. The Postal Employees deliberated and after two hours sent a refusal, they had supplies and would stay in the building until a deal could be negotiated, and would defend it if necessary.

The Germans were aware that their offer would be refused, they knew that the Postal employees were largely part of a militia organization and that the Poles had sent combat engineers to fortify the complex as part of a plan to defend it, therefore they would not give it up. They were not actually aware at the time that there was a intelligence ring being operated out of the complex despite some claims to the contrary that this was the reason. After the refusal was made the German plan went into action.

As part of the celebration the German leadership made sure that the Polish Post Office was constantly bombarded with loud, discordant music through the night, along with a sewage backup arranged by the city maintenance workers. As dawn broke and the Poles still had not left Police began gathering outside the premises, along with a number of individuals deputized by the Police department for the day and a large crowd of spectators. The crowd was carefully stage managed so that the rowdiest, most vicious looking members were closest to the Poles maintaining a line at the entrance to the post office while the press saw ordinary citizens, women, children and old men peacefully expressing an opinion.

As noon came and went the crowd became increasingly rowdier and approached the Poles more closely, spurred on by a healthy supply of free schnapps. At 1:00 the first bottle was thrown, aimed to miss. By 2:00 a bottle or rock was being thrown every few minutes, and at 2:30 the first postal employee was struck in the arm. The Polish higher ups began debating whether to bring everyone into the building or not, they had not yet done so in order to project the impression that they were confident and not hiding. Before that decision should be made disaster struck.

After another Postal worker was hit, this time by a thrown bottle, the others began to unsling their rifles. At 2:44 a shot was fired, either by a member of the crowd or a Postal worker, which prompted the Poles to open fire on the crowd. This led to a charge by some of the more worked up and drunk members at the front, cut down by a burst from one of the BARs in the building. This led to most of the crowd fleeing in a panic, causing some injuries and immediately provoked a reaction from the German Police, who began to prepare to breach the building while the Poles forted up inside.

Contact was established with Warsaw over the radio, and after reporting the incident, the Postal Workers were told to begin to negotiate to leave the building and move to the Polish Army depot at the Westerplatte. This was allowed by the chief of police, who had orders to suggest this, and by 6:00 they marched to the island under police protection, denounced as murderers by crowds all the way.

The skilled German propaganda office ensured that their version of events immediately got out, stating that the Poles had fired on concerned citizens trying to aid the police and images of injured women and children became front page headlines in the early morning editions of many papers. At midnight however the Poles had already received an ultimatum. They had 24 hours to turn over the postal employees to Germany for murder trials, to surrender the Westerplatte, and they needed to immediately agree to turn over an extraterritorial corridor as preparation for German supervised plebiscites in Silesia and the corridor.

These demands were intolerable and the short duration made it clear that Germany wanted them to refuse. All Polish Army leaves were immediately cancelled and a war footing was declared. The British and French hurriedly attempted to convince Hitler to moderate his demands, but he refused their attempts at a compromise, even one broadly favorable to him. At the stroke of midnight the ultimatum expired and the Second Great War had begun, one even worse than its predecessor…

-Into the Abyss: The leadup to the Second World War, Harper and Brothers, New York, 2009

…The period between Vicenza and the outbreak of the war is fairly underused in Counterfactuals. A failed Vicenza offers the chance for a war with Germany that could easily be won by Britain and France, along with the inevitable Soviet intervention making for an interesting countervailing factor. Later points of Divergence are much more limited, the die had functionally been cast by Hitler’s personality and the circumstances at Vicenza, there would be a Second World War and it would look much the same. There is no real room for more than detail changes, even the rivet counting type of Counterfacutals find themselves too constrained by that.

The only significant number of Points of Divergence come from the Danzig Post Office incident itself, namely the avoidance thereof. These usually come from British and understandably less commonly French sources and desire a delayed war to give time for Britain and France, and to a lesser degree Poland, to conduct last minute preparations so that they are more ready to face Germany on even terms…

-Excerpt from Sideways: An Examination of Common Divergences in Counterfactual History, Gate Publishing, Atlanta, 2016

This concludes Part V of Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part VI: The Lights Are Going Out will begin shortly


Germany is a totalitarian single party Dictatorship under Adolf Hitler and the SVP. It is a revanchist, expansionist state that seeks to overthrow the current European order and to dominate the continent. It is presently opposed by an alliance of Britain, France and Poland


Germany is the Second Largest individual economy in the world, not counting the British Empire as a whole. It is a highly industrialized high tech economy with strong regional integration. It is dependent on imports for almost all resources aside from coal to at least some degree.

Land Forces:

The German Heer has a strength of 3.7 million making it one of the largest armies in the world. It is presently organized into 110 divisions. There are 7 Panzer, 7 Motorized, 7 Stormtrooper, 7 Light, 4 Mountain, 2 Cavalry and 1 Airborne Division along with 75 Infantry Divisions. In addition the VKV exists with a strength of 50,000 and deploys one Stormtrooper division and a number of second line infantry regiments, which while the official party paramilitary is still operationally controlled by the Heer.

The standard German Rifle is the Kar 98, a shortened version of the Mauser Gewehr 98 in 7.92mm Mauser. Some reserve units use older Gewehr 98 models and 20 divisions use former Czech Gewehr 98 clones. The Gebirgjagers are receiving a limited issue of a semi-automatic rifle based on an experimental Czech design, the GG-39. The Falschrimjagers are receiving an automatic rifle in a shortened version of 7mm Spanish Mauser, loosely based on Feodorov Avtomats captured in WWI, the FG-39.

Rifles are heavily supplemented by submachine guns in 9x19mm, mostly developments of the MP-18, though the latest model, the MP-39 shares almost nothing with it. On average each squad has one or two men with a submachine gun. The standard pistol is the Walther P38 in 9mm, though many Walther, Sauerer and Mauser automatic police pistols in .32ACP are issued, as are older Mauser C96 in 7.63mm Mauser or Lugers in 7.65mm.

The Standard machine gun is the MG 35, the first true GPMG in 7.92mm. It can feed from a belt, or drum and is the standard ground vehicle machine gun along with infantry. Older MG 31, 30(t), 27 and MG 26(t) are in use by some units, these are drum or magazine fed light machine guns. For heavy machine guns older MG08’s from WWI remain in use, along with rechambered Schwarzlose machine guns. The standard is 442 machine guns per division, ideally all MG 35, but in practice a mix of multiple types is present in most divisions.

For heavier weapons the Germans issue Anti-tank rifles, 13 weapons per Division at present, single shot 7.92x94mm weapons. For anti-infantry use along with rifle grenades they have flare gun launched grenades, with officers being issued flare guns alongside normal pistols. Germany very heavily uses flamethrowers and issues several per assault pioneer company.

Germany makes heavy use of mortars for support . Each platoon ideally has a 5cm Mortar, while at the battalion level 8cm mortars are used. Each division has a total of 135 mortars on average. Germany makes use of 105mm Mortars in 10 separate battalions for both support use smoke and HE and for dispersing chemical weapons. German pioneers also make use of spigot mortars of 20cm and 38cm for demolishing fortifications. 3 Self-propelled 60cm Siege Mortars are also in service as are a few Czech 22cm and 28cm siege howitzers. Captured Czech 8cm Mortars are not issued to German troops and are instead used in fixed defenses on the Western border.

Germany provides its infantry regiments with short barrel howitzers with gunshields for infantry support. The standard gun is a 7.5cm piece, complemented by a large 15cm piece. 8 of the 7.5cm and 4 15cm are issued to most regiments, some motorized regiments have all 15cm, while some foot regiments have all 7.5cm. Gebirgjagers and Fallschrimjagers use lighter 7.5cm pieces. These are mostly horse drawn, with a number of more recent types equipped for motor vehicle towing. The Falschrimjagers are experimenting with 7.5cm recoilless rifles as battalion heavy weapons. Stormtrooper and Motorized units are being issued with a battalion of Sturmgeschutz V, based on a Panzer V chassis with its gun in a casemate to save resources, about 300 are in service.

For anti-armor use the standard weapon is a 3.7cm 45 caliber anti-tank gun, issued 12 per infantry regiment and divisions having a 36 gun battalion. This is being replaced by a 5cm 60 caliber weapon. Some units have Czech 3.7cm L48 or 4.7cm L43 guns. Some motorized divisions have Czech 4.7cm guns mounted on Panzer III chassis, deployed as battalions about 100 are in service. The Germans are experimenting with a lightweight 2.8cm cone gun as a weapon for the Falschrimjagers and Gebirgjagers.

The standard divisional AA gun is a 2cm autocannon, of which 12 are allocated to each division and included in the AT battalion or headquarters depending on the division. Heavier AA takes the from of 3.7cm guns fed by a 6 round clip and 8.8cm 56 caliber weapons in independent battalions. Based on experience in Spain these have cruciform carriages to allow for easy use against ground targets. Heavier 10.5cm pieces are used in static mounts. Czech 15mm ZB-61 machine guns are used to replace 2cm pieces, while 7.5 and 8.35cm pieces are used to supplement 8.8cm in static AA defense role.

The standard Divisional artillery consists of 10.5cm Howitzers. Typically 36 are issued in 3 battalions of 3 batteries of 4 guns, either older 22 caliber weapons or newer 28 caliber. This is supported by One battalion of 15cm howitzers organized similarly, either WWI vintage 17 caliber, or post war 30 or 26 caliber weapons, the latter supplementing the former. Most of these are horse drawn with only limited towing by motor vehicles, though newer weapons all have provisions for it and are modern split trail designs. Some infantry divisions use older 77mm field guns rebarreled to 75mm in place of some or all of their howitzers, some of which still use obsolete box carriages and universally are horse drawn. Germany also makes use of Czech 7.65cm 40 caliber weapons that have been rebarreled to 75mm as well as 100mm L24 and L25 howitzer and 10.5cm L42 and 15cm L18 and L27 weapons as ersatz weapons. Only the last has a modern split tail and most are meant for horse towing. Gebirgejagers and Falschrimjagers use a 15 caliber 7.5cm howitzer of modern design instead.

Heavier field artillery is placed in separate battalions which are deployed as needed. The most common piece is 10.5cm 52 caliber cannon with a modern split trail design as the de facto standard corps artillery, supplemented by independent 15cm howitzer battalions. Heavier weapons are the WWI vintage L43 and modern L55 15cm cannon, and WWI vintage 21cm L14.5 and the modern 21cm L30 howitzers. These pieces are usually held at army level in independent battalions, or even batteries.

German has a very heavy siege train of super heavy artillery. This ranges from excessively heavy 15cm and 21cm pieces to a single hidden 42cm WWI siege howitzer. A tremendous 80cm 40 caliber gun is being worked on. Much of this artillery is railway mounted on the largest collection of railway guns in the world. Notable pieces include 3 21cm L160 guns meant to replace the old Paris gun and can fire out to 72 miles and the 40 mile range 28cm L76 which are more common.

Germany has a strong tank force, deployed one regiment per armored and light division with numerous independent battalions. With the exception of some training units the German vehicles are universally equipped with radios and most of the larger frontline models have proper 3 man turrets.

The oldest model in service is the Panzer III, a 6 ton lightly armored training machine with two medium machine guns. 2000 are in service for Germany, currently 1000 are used as tanks and have been rearmed with a 7.92mm semi-automatic AT rifle or flamethrower in place of one of the machine guns, 200 are unarmed command tanks, 200 are armored recovery vehicles, 100 have been converted to tank destroyers and 500 are in training roles.

The Panzer IV was meant as a stopgap and is a 9 ton vehicle armed with a 20mm cannon and a 7.92 machine gun, with limited frontal arc protection against 20mm cannon and average speed. 1500 vehicles are in service 1200 standard model, 100 upgunned models with a 3.7cm AT gun and 200 flamethrower variants. It has been produced with several different suspension designs as part of development for later models.

The Panzer V was meant as an infantry support tank to complement the Panzer VI Cavalry tank, which was cancelled before entering service. It is currently being made in three variants. The standard variant is an infantry support model with a 24 caliber 7.5cm gun, the oldest units are 18 tons and only armored against anti-tank rifles at long range, the newest units have better protection and limited frontal protection against 37mm AT guns and weigh 21.5 tons. A cavalry variant is being produced to replace the Panzer VI carrying a 5cm L42 gun, with a different set of automotive components and only the armor of an early version, it weighs 20 tons but can make 35 miles an hour instead of 25. A final new variant is a bunker busting variant with heavier armor to provide limited protection against 57mm guns frontally at combat ranges and a 40 caliber 7.5cm gun, it weighs 23 tons. 1800 are in service, 1000 infantry variants, 100 command variants with a dummy gun, 600 cavalry variants and 100 bunker buster.

Germany also makes use of captured Czech tanks. 40 Panzer 33(t) tankettes with two machine guns are used as training machines. 200 Panzer 35(t) are used, with a 3.7cm L40 gun and two machine guns, they are slow a 20mph but have reasonable frontal protection against 20mm cannon and are resistant to AT rifle fire from the sides. Germany has 500 Panzer 38(t) and has kept the vehicle in production, it has a more powerful L48 gun and is faster, both are 10 tons.

To supplement the tanks Germany uses armored cars. About 200 miscellaneous vehicles are in use in training and security units, consisting of militarized civilian and police vehicles, these are only armed with machine guns. The standard armored car is the 4 wheeled Licht Panzerwagen, with an open turret mounting a 7.92 machine gun, a machine gun and a 20mm cannon in later models, or an extra radio instead of the cannon, 1,000 units are in service. The Schwere Panzerwagen comes in older 6 wheel and newer 8 wheel models, it carries a 2cm autocannon and coaxial 7.92mm machine gun in most variants, with a command variant having only a machine gun, 150 6 wheel and 500 8 wheel variants are in service.

The German Army is only partially motorized, on average a German division has 1,100 motor vehicles and 5,000 horses, however Panzer, Light and Motorized divisions are fully motorized while most other divisions only have their AT sections motorized with some other motor vehicles. These vehicles are a bewildering different variety from 30 different makes with no serious effort at standardization. A variety of halftrack designs are also in use, primarily as artillery tractors alongside fully tracked models, but also as transports, reconnaissance vehicles , SPAAGs and more. To make up for a general deficiency in motorization one battalion in each infantry division is issued bicycles, as is one company in each divisional scout battalion.

Naval Forces:

The German Navy is presently the Sixth largest in the world with over half a million tons of warships. It is built to control the Baltic and to defend Germany’s North Sea coast while punishing an enemy with U-Boat warfare.

The most powerful elements of the German navy are the battleships. Germany presently has three under construction, five in service and two as disarmed auxiliaries. The most powerful battleships are the Albrecht von Wallenstein and Dietrich von Bern, which are only just under construction and will not be completed until 1943. These are 53,000 ton vessels with 8 42 cm 50 caliber guns in a conventional arrangement of 4 twins, with a secondary armament of 12 15cm 55 in 6 twins, 16 10.5cm L65 AA guns in 8 twins, 24 3.7cm and 32 2cm AA guns in 12 twins and 8 quads, as well as 6 submerged 53.3cm torpedo tubes in the bow. They are fast ships, capable of 30 knots, but are only decently protected from close range fire, being relatively weak against long range plunging fire and having a WWI style incremental armor scheme. They carry up to 4 floatplanes for scouting and spotting.

The next youngest class of battleship, the Bismarck is in service while the Tirpitz will enter service in January. These are 43,000 ton ships, officially 35,000 tons, with 8 38cm/52 guns. They have the same secondary battery armament and arrangement as their newer counterparts, but lack the torpedo tubes and have only 20 and 24 3.7 and 2cm AA guns. The 2cm is a decent autocannon while the 3.7cm is a single shot weapon unlike the newer version meant for their younger half-sisters. Their armor scheme is a slightly thinner version of that of their newer half-sisters and is deficient in anything but a WWI style close range brawl and even then has many key systems insufficiently protected. They are reasonably fast and can carry 4 float planes.

Smaller than the Bismarcks are the Scharnhorst and Gniesenau. These are 35,000 ton, nominally 30,000 ton ships with 9 30.5cm guns in a 3x3 arrangement, two fore and one aft with the second turret superfiring. For secondary weapons they have 12 15cm, 14 10.5cm and 16 3.7cm and 16 2cm AA guns, all in twin mounts, with one 10.5cm mount superfiring over the rear main battery turret. They are fast at 31 knots, carry 3 float planes and well armored, they are protected from their own guns at long range and 14” weapons at closer ranges. They are flawed in that their fire control is unreliable and much of their key systems are not properly protected by armor. There is a plan in the works to refit them with 3 twin 38cm guns, replacing their 30.5cm turrets.

The Old Pre Dreadnoughts Hanover and Pommern remain in service as training vessels. Currently Hanover has her 4 28cm/40 main battery guns, 10 15cm/45 in some of her casemates, 4 single 8.8cm/45 AA guns, 4 3.7 and 16 2cm AA guns. Pommern has her main battery, 4 single 8.8cm AA guns, 2 7.5cm/36, 4 3.7cm and 24 2cm AA guns. Pommern has been converted to pure oil firing while Hanover has only partially been. In addition the older Braunschweig and Hessen remain in use as target vessels and icebreakers with their armament removed.

In addition to the battleships four Panzerschiffe serve as pseudo capital ships, the Lutzow, Admiral Scheer, Admiral Graf Spee and Admiral Hipper. These are nominally 15,000 ton, actually 19,000 ton ships built under the restrictions of Versailles. Slow at 29 knots they are well protected against 8” fire and their diesel engines provide phenomenal range. They have 6 28cm/52 guns in two triples fore and aft, four twin 15cm/55 in a diamond pattern with two superfiring, 8 10.5cm/65 in twin mounts, 8 3.7cm AA, 20 2cm AA and two quad 53.3cm torpedo tubes on their stern in deck mounts. They carry two float planes for scouting.

Apart from capital ships the Germans have 3 Heavy cruisers built and 3 more under construction. These are the Blucher, Prinz Eugen, Seydlitz, Roon, Derfflinger and Goeben, the former 3 are in commission while the latter will enter service in January 1941, September 1941 and February 1942 respectively. These are nominally 12,500 tons, in practice 19,000 ton ships. They make 33 knots, have 8 20.3cm/60 main guns in four twins, 12 10.5cm guns in six twins amidships, 16 3.7cm and 20 2cm AA guns, as well as four triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes with reloads on their main deck. They are acceptably armored against 8” fire, but are more extensively protected against 6” shellfire than standard and carry 3 float planes.

A half-sister is in service, the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, 25,000 tons she is slower at 29 knots, less armored and carries only the secondary armament. She does have a capacity of 30 aircraft and is meant for the German Navy to work out issues in aircraft carrier operations. To supplement her there are proposals to convert a number of fast liners in the case of war.

Other aviation ships of the Kriegsmarine include 4 former Lufthansa catapult ships of 5600 tons, diesel powered vessels with a single catapult for float planes, 1 1000 ton and 2 2000 ton purpose built diesel catapult ships and a number of small vessels converted into tenders. These are purely support units and are not meant to work with the fleet directly.

Germany has an additional 12 light cruisers along with the heavy cruisers, with four more building. The oldest are the 4300 ton Kolberg and Augsburg, pre WWI relics which are protected cruisers rather than light, only 25 knot ships. They have 6 15cm/45 guns in single mounts, 2 8.8cm/45 AA guns, 2 3.7cm AA, 10 2cm AA, and two 50cm torpedo tubes. They are used as training ships.

Similar are the Pillau and Elbing, ordered for Russia and seized in WWI the ships are 4300 protected cruisers like Kolberg and Augsburg. They are 27 knot ships with 8 15cm/45 guns in single mounts, 2 8.8cm/45 AA guns, 2 3.7cm AA, 10 2cm AA, two 50cm torpedo tubes and room for 120 mines. They are used as training ships.

The Emden is the first modern cruiser of the Kriegsmarine. She is nominally 6,000 tons, in practice 7,000 and has 8 15cm/55 guns in 4 twin turrets on the centerline. She has 2 twin 8.8cm/76 AA guns, 4 3.7cm and 18 2cm AA guns, 4 twin 53.3cm torpedo tubes with 4 reloads and room for 120 mines. At 29 knots she is not very fast and not too well protected.

Following Emden are the Konigsberg, Karlsruhe and Koln. These are still officially 6,000 tons, but 7500 in practice and faster at 32 knots. They have 9 15cm/60 guns in an odd arrangement, one triple is forward and two are rear with one superfiring, but offset from the centerline to improve arcs of fire. They have 3 twin 8.8cm/76 AA guns, 8 3.7cm and 8 2cm AA guns along with 12 53.3cm torpedo tubes with reloads and up to 120 mines, along with two float planes. They are no better armored than their predecessor and are somewhat unstable.

Most modern are Leipzig, Magdeburg, Nurnberg, and Osnabruck. Still nominally 6,000 tons they have grown to 8,000 tons. Their main battery has been moved to the centerline and their armor is slightly improved but remains merely average for a light cruiser. They have 8 8.8cm/76 AA guns in 4 twins, 8 3.7cm and 12 2cm AA guns, along with 12 53.3cm torpedo tubes with reloads and up to 120 mines and two float planes.

Building are the cruisers P, Q, R and S. These are faster ships of 9,000 tons which make 36 knots, and possess a combined steam and diesel plant for extremely long range. They have 8 15cm/55 guns 4 4 twins, 8 8.8cm/76 AA guns in 4 twins, 8 3.7cm AA, 16 2cm AA and two quad 53.3cm torpedo tubes with reloads, along with fitting for two float planes and 60 mines. They are scheduled to be ready in 1941 and 42.

Plans are to lay down a class of 6,000 ton 37 knot scout cruisers in 1941 with 6 15cm guns, 4 8.8cm AA, 10 53.3cm torpedo tubes and a float plane.

Germany operates 2 types of Destroyer. Fleet destroyers are prefixed with a Z and are large ships built in the 30’s after the Treaty of Versailles. Gross Torpedo Boats, or Fleet Torpedo boats are more equivalent to light destroyers and ranging from 900 to 1350 tons with a prefix of T.

Of the fleet destroyers the oldest are the Type 1933, Z1-4. These are 2200 ton ships with 5 single 12.8cm/45 guns, two fore, three aft with one each superfiring, two twin 3.7cm and 6 2cm AA, 2 quad torpedo tubes with 4 reloads, 4 depth charge projectors and room for 60 mines. These are fast ships and make 36 knots, but they have very unreliable machinery, are short ranged, structurally weak and are unseaworthy enough their forward gun is usually unusable.

8 Type 1935 follow the 1933’s. These are 2300 ton ships which have a modified bow, stern and additional reinforcement amidships. They have the same unreliable machinery and short ranged but are marginally more seaworthy and less weak

8 Type 1935A follow on the earlier models. Being 2400 tons they have even greater reinforcement, a more flared bow and substantially reduced topweight. While still short ranged they are less so than their older half-sisters and they are much more seaworthy.

These are followed by 4 Type 1936 Destroyers. These are 2600 ton ships with 4 15cm/48 guns, two fore and two aft, with one each superfiring. They have two twin 3.7cm and 10 2cm AA, 2 quad torpedo tubes with 4 reloads, 4 depth charge projectors and room for 60 mines as a secondary armament. Their heavier armament means that even with a larger hull they are less seaworthy than the Type 1935A and retain the unreliable machinery, though they at least have a longer range. The Type 1936 are meant as flotilla leaders. Two are in commission and two more are under construction to finish by January.

The 11 Type 1936A are modified versions of the 1936. They replace the forwardmost turret with a twin and move the forward superfiring gun to the rear, making space by moving the bridge forward and deleting the flag facilities. They have otherwise the same secondary armament and facilities. Unlike their predecessors the twin 15cm mount has a high elevation giving them limited DP capability. Only one is yet in commission due to a shortage of twin 15cm mounts, the other 10 are to finish by the end of 1941.

A single experimental Type 1936B Destroyer is in service. Slightly larger at 2700 tons it retains the basic layout of the Type 1936, but loses the flag facilities to fit extra electronics. It is slower at 33 knots but has very long range for a destroyer thanks to its use of diesel power.

The Type 1939 are 2700 ton ships, slightly enlarged versions of the 1936A ordered as the Czech crisis occurred. Their major change is new building techniques to speed up construction and machinery changes to reduce the unreliability that has plagued Germany’s large destroyers. 4 have been laid down with 4 more planned and they are to finish from Spring of 1942 to Summer of 1943.

The Type 23 Large Torpedo Boat was the first attempt by Weimar at a destroyer. 4 of the officially 1,000 ton, actually 1100 ton ships were built, with 4 10.5cm/45 guns in single mounts, 2 triple 50cm torpedo tubes and up to 30 mines, they could make 34 knots. They have been refitted with 6 2cm AA guns, 1 quad and 2 single mounts, two depth charge projectors and their 50cm tubes replaced with 53.3cm models. They are reasonably seaworthy but maneuverable vessels.

The 6 Type 24 class succeeded them, being officially still 1,000 tons but actually 1200, they use a 55 caliber gun but otherwise have only minor detail changes from their half-sisters.

The 2 type 25 class were experimental ships using diesel engines, one from MAN, the other from Germaniaweft. They were only capable of 28 knots but were armed the same as their steam powered sisters. They had their guns modified into 12.8cm/45’s to test for the proper destroyers.

The 6 1928 type are 1350 tons and substantially more potent than the older vessels thanks to weight saving technology also used on the Panzerschiff. They have two twin 10.5cm/55 one each fore and aft, two quad 53.3cm torpedo tubes, and room for 42 mines. They have been refitted with two twin 3.7cm AA, 4 twin 2cm AA and 2 depth charge projectors. They are slightly faster than the older ships at 35 knots.

The 8 Type 1935 Torpedo Boats were meant to take advantage of the 600 ton loophole in the WNT, which would apply to Germany under the AGNA. Actually 900 tons they have a 10.5cm/45 gun aft, a twin 3.7cm AA superfiring over it, 3 2cm AA, two triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes, two depth charge launchers and space for 60 mines. To make 35 knots they use the same troublesome machinery as the destroyers and they are very wet forward, mitigated by having no armaments at the bow but a 2cm gun on the bridge.

The Type 35 are followed by the Type 37, which have a new bow and are 50 tons larger. They eliminate the wetness problem forward and mount two additional 2cm AA guns amidships and an extra 3.7cm AA gun forward. 16 are under construction to finish in 1941 or 42.

Following them are the Type 39/Elbing class. A much larger 1300 ton design these are emergency destroyers ordered during the Czech crisis. They have 4 10.5cm/45 guns, one fore, one amidships and two aft, with one superfiring and two triple 53.3cm torpedo tubes. These are supported by two twin 3.7cm AA guns, 8 2cm AA, up to 60 mines and 4 depth charge throwers. While their main guns are theoretically DP capable they lack the fire control to make full use of them in that manner. They can make 33 knots and are fairly seaworthy. 8 are laid down with 8 more on order to be laid down by the end of 1941 to be ready by the end of 1943.

Germany also operates Torpedo boats. 18 are 300 ton types built under Weimar with a prefix of L. They were built in 3 batches of six. The first batch used steam power, the second diesel and the third by a more advanced generation of diesels, leaving them capable of 35, 33 and 35 knots respectively. As presently armed they have one 8.8cm/45 and a twin 3.7cm AA, along with 4 2cm AA and 4 53.3cm torpedo tubes mounted forwards.

The remainder are much smaller S Boats. These are fast diesel powered vessels ranging from 33 knots for the oldest to 40 knots for the newest vessels and they carry two 53.3cm Torpedo tubes. They are armed with a mix of up to 1 3.7cm AA gun, 2 2cm AA guns and 4 7.92mm machine guns. About 40 are in service with 40 more building or on order.

To support their torpedo boats Germany has 4 tenders. The first is a converted coaster named Tsingtau that can barely make 10 knots and has a pair of 8.8cm/45s for defense. The second is a vessel originally ordered by the ROC named Tanganyika, a 2800 ton ship that can make 18knots and mounts two 10.5cm/45 guns. The Luderitz and Jaunde are 3600 ton 24 knot ships with two twin 10.5cm/45 and a battery of smaller AA guns.

To support their larger vessels Germany has six resupply ships of the Altmark class, Altmark, Nordmark, Uckermark, Westerwald, Ermland and Ditmarschen. These are 10,000 ton multirole ships that combine the role of oiler, ammunition ship, dry cargo ship, food ship, repair ship and hospital ship into one vessel. They are diesel powered vessels with extremely long range and can make 24 knots. They have 3 15cm/48 guns, 8 3.7cm and 8 2cm AA guns for self-defense.

To protect their coasts Germany operates a large fleet of minesweepers in two types. The first is a large type known as M boats. Of these four are holdovers from WWI of the 1915 type, 500 ton, 16 knot ships with 2 10.5cm cannon and machine guns. A further 36 are larger 1916 type, 600 tons and only carrying a single 10.5cm gun but with more workspace. Many of these have been converted to auxiliaries, training vessels or experimental craft.

More modern are the M1934 class, 700 ton, 18 knot vessels with 2 10.5cm/45, 2 3.7cm AA and 2 2cm AA. 50 are in service with 20 more under construction. Following them are the M1939 class, the same size they are slower at 16 knots with only 1 10.5cm gun, 1 3.7cm and 4-8 2cm guns, but are coal powered to avoid using scare oil. 30 are under construction with many more planned.

Smaller are R boats. These are diesel powered ships with a single 2cm AA gun, space for mines or depth charges, built partially of wood to reduce magnetic signature and equipped with a magnetic self-protection system. The oldest 16 boats are 60 ton vessels capable of 17 knots, later vessels are 120 ton 21 knot vessels, of which 24 are in service. All of the 60 ton and half of the 21 ton are equipped with Voth-Schneider propellors for increased maneuverability. An additional 40 130 ton vessels are under construction with 20 more on order, these vessels will mount a twin 2cm gun.

Two training ships/ minelayers are in service. The first is the Brummer, a 2,000 ton ship meant for artillery training, it has 4 12.8cm/45 guns, 2 twin 3.7cm AA, 12 2cm AA and room for 250 mines. She is fast at 29 knots, serving as a testbed for new diesel engines, and has protection against destroyer caliber gunfire. The second is the Bremse, a 3,000 ton ship for AA training with 4 twin 10.5cm/65 DP guns, 2 8.8cm/45, 4 twin 3.7cm AA, and 14 2cm AA, along with space for 450 mines. She tests the ultra-high pressure machinery for new destroyers, though her version is heavier and is reliable, she makes 23 knots and has protection against destroyer caliber gunfire.

As an additional minelayer the state yacht of the Fuhrer, the Reintochter, is available. She has 3 single 12.8cm/45 guns, 4 3.7cm and 4 2cm AA and room for 240 mines in her 3500 ton hull. She is reasonably quick at 25 knots with standard machinery. A single Aviso exists for use of the German Admiralty as a command vessel and a secondary yacht. This is the Hela, a 2500 ton diesel powered ship that makes 22 knots. It has 2 10.5cm/45, 4 3.7 and 6 2cm AA guns.

Ten fleet escort vessels or F boats are in service, these are escort craft meant for the Baltic. The first quartet use high powered boilers meant for destroyers and can reach 28 knots, but are 800 tons and heavily overloaded. The next quartet use diesel engines and can only make 20 knots, but are 50 tons lighter and less overloaded. The last pair use improved steam machinery and hull design, they are 800 tons and make 23 knots, fixing the seaworthiness and overloading issue. Armament is 2 10.5cm/45, 2 twin 3.7cm AA, 4 2cm AA, and four depth charge projectors. No more are planned as the M-Boat is expected to functionally replace the type.

The main force of the German Navy however is their submarine fleet. About 200 vessels are in service with 250 more in various stages of construction and a further 300 on order. 10 are Type I and II training boats, small coastal craft meant to develop technologies for the fleet and are not deployable, the Type I is not armed. The Type III can be considered a production version of these, ranging from 300-450 tons in size and with range varying from 1600 to 5600 nautical miles depending on the version. It has 3 bow torpedo tubes with 5 torpedoes or one torpedo and 9 mines, and a 2cm deck gun. 50 are in service with 10 more building.

The Type IV is a small run of 1,000 ton long range test boats. They make 18 knots on the surface, 8 submerged and have an 8,000 mile range. They have a 10.5cm deck gun, a 2cm AA gun, 4 bow and 2 stern 53.3cm torpedo tubes with 22 weapons. 3 have been built. The single Type V is a Type IV with an experimental steam plant, it can make 23 knots on the surface, but only carries 18 weapons and has a 3,000 mile range, it is also unreliable and consideration is being made to convert it to a moored training ship.

The Type VI is the workhorse of the fleet, being a mid-sized submarine with moderate range. It is 650 to 800 tons depending on the variant with an 8.8cm/45 and a 2cm AA gun. 4 bow and 1 stern tube are mounted, with 11 or 14 torpedoes depending on the model, and 22 or 26 mines. Surface speed is 16 or 18 knots, submerged 8 or 7.5 knots and range 6200-8800 nautical miles. It is a maneuverable boat that can dive quickly and deep but is relatively spartan for its size. 70 are in service with 180 more building and 200 on order.

The Type VII is a hydrogen peroxide powered testbed boat. It is functionally a shrunken early model Type III with thee armament removed, it is unarmed and short ranged.

The Type VIII is a long ranged submarine meant for Atlantic operations. They are 1100 to 1250 tons depending on the specific model and a range from 10,500 to 13,500 nautical miles. They have a 10.5cm/45 deck gun, a twin 2cm AA, 4 bow and 2 stern 53.3cm tubes with room for 22 torpedoes, the latest batch also adds a 3.7cm AA gun. They can make 18 knots on the surface and 7.5 submerged, they are decently maneuverable and deep diving, but not as much as their Type VI siblings. 20 are in service with 35 building and 70 on order.

The Type IX is a stretched Type VIII meant for even longer ranged operations as either a minelayer, raider or transport. 1800 tons, they have a range of 18,500 nautical miles, but only 2 bow tubes and 19 weapons, instead they can carry up to 88 mines in both 12 wet shafts and a central dry storage area deployed by two rear mine tubes. They make 17 knots on the surface and 7 submerged, they are even clumsier and shallow diving than their predecessors. 10 are in service with 10 more building and 20 are on order.

The Type X are very long ranged heavy cruiser submarines. They have 2 twin 12.8cm/45 guns, two twin 3.7cm AA, 2 twin 2cm AA and space for a float plane, along with 6 tubes, 4 bow and 2 stern with 30 torpedoes. The 4500 ton boats can make 21 knots on the surface and 6.5 submerged, with a range of 19,500 nautical miles, though they are clumsy with a relatively shallow crush depth for German vessels. 4 are under construction with no more planned.

The single Type XI is a testbed boat for an ultra-deep diving submarine. It is a modified early Type VI with a stronger hull to reach 1500 feet, displacing 750 tons to account for a stronger hull. It has the deck guns removed and only two bow and one stern tubes, with nine weapons. One is being built.

The Type XII are supply boats based on the Type IX meant to resupply other boats at sea. They are 2000 tons, with a range of 18,500 nautical miles. They have two single 3.7cm AA and two twin 2cm AA for self defense and are otherwise unarmed. They carry 650 tons of fuel, 15 tons of oil, 6 torpedoes and have an infirmary, brig, bakery, refrigerators full of fresh food and machine shop to support smaller boats, along with a crane for supply transfer. They are slow at 13.5 knots surfaced and 6 submerged, but dive relatively deep. 10 are building with 10 more on order.

To support the U-Boats Germany operates a number of submarine tenders. The oldest is the Saar, with 3 10.5cm/45 and 4 2cm AA, diesel powered, 3400 tons and 18 knots. She is followed by the Isar class, with 2 twin 10.5cm/45, 2 twin 3.7cm AA and 8 2cm AA, 5600 ton diesel powered ships. Built are the Isar, Donau, Lech and Vistula, with the Memel and Weichsel under construction and two more on order. In addition a number of converted merchant ships are temporarily filling the role, of various sizes and types.

The Kriegsmarine has a regiment strength marine force, the Marine Storm Troopers, a highly trained commando force organized into independent companies.

The Kriesmarine has a naval air arm. It operates a number of flying boats and converted airliners in the maritime patrol roles. It also operates single engine float planes from its surface ships and a small airgroup on the Graf Zeppelin, consisting of a squadron each of fighters and dive bombers, plus land based training units.

Air Forces:

The Luftwaffe is the largest, most modern and powerful air force in the world. It has over 7,000 aircraft and 600,000 personnel. It operates in 4 Air Fleets, one covering each corner of Germany, each fleet has subordinate air corps and divisions. These have subordinate Geschwaders, which have subordinate Groups, then squadrons. German squadrons are smaller at 9-12 aircraft then their counterparts in other nations, and they are divided into Schwarms of 4-6 aircraft and Rotte of two aircraft, with bombers having a Kette of 3 instead of Rottes.

The standard fighter of the Luftwaffe is the Heinkel He 111a development of the older He 105. An all metal low wing monoplane with retractable landing gear and an enclosed cockpit it is the fastest single engine fighter in production and is maneuverable as well, the older the open cockpit 105 is still fairly fast and maneuverable. Armament is a 20mm cannon in the nose and 2 7.92mm machine guns in the wings, the 105 has 3 machine guns, 1 in the nose. About 1000 111 and 200 105 are in service. In addition 100 of the rival Me 115 are in service, slightly inferior to the 111 in speed and more expensive but carrying 6 7.92mm machine guns they are still good fighters. An improved model, the He 120 is scheduled to enter production in 1941, being even faster and more maneuverable than the 111 with the wing guns being replaced with 13.2mm weapons, with 20mm as an option. A contest is being held for a radial engine aircraft to supplement the inline engine He 120.

The Luftwaffe makes heavy use of twin engine heavy fighters, known as Zerstorers or destroyers like the warships. The standard model is the FW 117, a fast, 3 seat, all metal monoplane with a low wing, retractable landing gear and a twin tail. It is well armed with 2 20mm cannon and 4 7.92mm machine guns in the nose, along with one in the rear for the radioman, and can carry 2 2200 pound and 4 110 pound bombs, though not at long range. A number are dedicated recon variants removing the bomb shackles and replacing the cannons with cameras. 500 are in service. A contest for an upgraded replacement is being held.

For frontal support the Luftwaffe makes use of single engine dive bombers to perform precision strikes. The standard dive bomber is the Hs 128, a low gull wing, all metal monoplane with fixed landing gear. It can carry a 1100 pound bomb and 4 110 pound bombs 600 kilometers, and has two 7.92mm machine guns forward and one rear. It is relatively slow and sluggish by dive bomber standards but is cheap, modular and rugged. At Hitler’s personal request it carries a distinctive ram air siren to demoralize enemy troops when it dives. It’s predecessor, the open cockpit biplane Hs 96 remains in production due to its cheapness and ruggedness, it is slower, and shorter ranged, only carrying a 550 pound bomb, but is well like for ground support. 500 Hs 128 and 200 Hs 96 are in service.

For striking the Luftwaffe relies heavily on Schnellbombers, these are fast twin engine aircraft meant to be able to outrun defending fighters. All three models in production can do that for the current generation of single engine Franco-British fighters, if barely, but are exceeded by twin engine fighters, and single engine aircraft from Germany, Italy and the US. The oldest is the converted mailplane the Do 25 “flying pencil”, a twin tail design with a 2200 pound bomb load and six defensive machine guns, it has a 400 mile combat range with a full bombload and is maneuverable. The next is Heinkel’s gull wing He 132 with its distinctive glass nose, slightly faster than the Do 25 it can carry 4400 pounds internally or 7900 pounds externally. It is slightly longer ranged than the Do 25 but is much less maneuverable with 6 defensive machine guns. The newest is Junkers entry, the Ju-90, even faster than the other two and nearly as maneuverable as the Do 25 it is recently in service. It carries up to 3100 pounds internally or 6600 externally, but is shorter ranged than its competitors and has only 5 machine guns. About 700 Dorniers, 900 Heinkels and 300 Junkers are in service. All three have dedicated photo recon variants in addition to bombers.

A limited number of converted Ju-76 airliners are in service as bombers. They can carry up to 1800 pounds internally or 2200 externally with 3 7.92mm machine guns. They are not particularly fast and are not maneuverable. Roughly 50 are in service, mainly export models impressed into service. Development of a pressurized diesel powered high altitude aircraft for bombing and photo reconnaissance based on the design is underway, to yield an aircraft with a ceiling above 40,000 feet. In this role it is competing with a Messerschmitt and Henschel prototype, but is favored to win as at least an interim aircraft.

A development program is underway for a four engine bomber capable of reaching the Urals. The contest has settled on the HE 180, an aircraft with a range of 3800 miles and a 15,000 pound internal payload. Several prototypes are flying but it is not expected the type will enter service in the near future due to lack of need.

For short range recon and liaison Germany uses the folding wing Fi 156 Storch. An excellent short takeoff aircraft, it is somewhat heavier than its counterparts in most militaries, and slow, but it can take off and land near vertically. It is a high wing aircraft with fixed gear and an enclosed cockpit, produced in 2 and 3 place version, some of which have a defensive machine gun. 500 are in service. It is supplemented by a larger more capable Hs 108, with much reduced STOL performance and greater cost but much higher speed and cargo. The Hs 108 can carry up to 330 pounds of bombs along with a forward firing and a rear mount machine gun, about 300 are in service.

Germany has a very large array of transport aircraft, mostly converted civilian types. The most common is the Junkers Ju 56. It is a cantilever low wing monoplane with fixed landing gear and an unusual corrugated skin with 3 engines. It has up to two defensive machine guns and can carry 18 paratroopers, 12 stretchers or over 4000 pounds of cargo. It is a robust easy to maintain aircraft with good STOL performance and can be fitted with skis or floats at need. About 750 Ju 56 and 150 other transport aircraft are in service

To supplement its transports Germany operates a large number of gliders. The standard cargo glider has a capacity of 2600 pounds of cargo, or nine men, with a defensive machine gun and a parachute brake. Additional glider trainers are operated and larger gliders are in development. Germany has a lead in this field and their gliders have the best glide ratio.

Germany has an extremely large and diverse array of trainers from over a dozen domestic manufacturers in service. About 1,000 are in service.

The Kriegsmarine operates about 80 aircraft for the carrier Graf Zeppelin, though only thirty are embarked at any time. Half are a variant of the He 105, the other half of the Hs 128. There is limited work being done on a variant of the He 120 and a contest for a torpedo bomber is underway.

The Kriegsmarine operates a large number of flying boats. The most common is the 3 engine BV 139 “Flying Clog”, with a pair of 20mm canon, 4 machine guns and a 440 pound bombload, it unusually has a provision for a catapult launch, but has only average range for a flying boat. A few Do 21 remain in service, two engine and shorter ranged they have a lesser defensive armament. About 75 BV 139 are in service along with 25 Do 21.

The Kriegsmarine operates a decent variety of single engine monoplane floatplanes for spotting. The standard Ar 192 is a fairly mediocre aircraft, not being particularly long ranged or fast, but surprisingly maneuverable. It has either 2 forward machine guns or 2 20mm cannon, along with a rear gunners weapon and up to 220 pounds of bombs. About 100 are in service, along with another 50 older types of various varieties, including biplanes.

The land based FW 195 Condor is the Kriegsmarine’s primary land based aircraft. They have very long range and can carry up to 2200 pounds of bombs or mines internally or 12,000 externally, though range is limited with a heavy bombload. Defensive armament is 1 20mm cannon, 1 13.2mm and 4 7.92mm machine guns. They are fairly average in terms of range and have a below average ceiling. About 50 are in service.

Germany is conducting extensive experiments both with helicopters and autogyros.

Germany is the world leader in jet technology and has constructed at least one flying demonstrator of jet power.

Germany operates a full division of Falschrimjagers, as well as several independent regiments, and one infantry division is further trained as an airlanding division. Germany has improved the standard parachute to allow paradrops with more than a pistol and makes heavy use of gliders to move heavy weapons, of which their paratroopers are issued specialized versions.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Germany has a large and diverse chemical program. Current focus is on nerve agents, primarily Tabun with Sarin only at the laboratory stage. Deployed chemical weapons are persistent Mustard Gas formulations, Lewiste, Cyanogen variants and Phosgene, though mostly Mustard gas and Lewisite. Deployment is via aerial bomb, artillery shell and mortar, with solid fueled rockets under development.

Germany has a small scale biological weapons program. It is mostly a research program with no significant thought given to weaponization.

Germany has a nuclear weapons program, or rather its has at least 7 separate ones. The Army, Air Force, Navy, VKV, Post Office, Abwehr and Reich Research council all appear to have separate programs working on the topic, covering both bombs and reactors. Due to duplication of effort none of these programs are advancing quickly, but they are advancing.


Germany has relatively limited access to strategic materials, particularly rubber and oil

Germany has substantial issues with duplication of effort and lack of cooperation between branches of the service and organs of government

German has poor standardization of equipment

Hitler is a genocidal madman prone to making irrational decisions

-The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
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Normally I would laugh at you giving the German post office a nuclear program... except that madness happened in real life.

Also jeeze louise Germany is starting this war with over two hundred u-boats in service and hundreds more on the way? This is gonna suck for the English. How are they even building that many while also keeping the rest of the navy fleshed out?
Normally I would laugh at you giving the German post office a nuclear program... except that madness happened in real life.

Also jeeze louise Germany is starting this war with over two hundred u-boats in service and hundreds more on the way? This is gonna suck for the English. How are they even building that many while also keeping the rest of the navy fleshed out?
I'm wondering where Germany got the Marks and Steel for those U-boats.
Normally I would laugh at you giving the German post office a nuclear program... except that madness happened in real life.

Also jeeze louise Germany is starting this war with over two hundred u-boats in service and hundreds more on the way? This is gonna suck for the English. How are they even building that many while also keeping the rest of the navy fleshed out?
Mostly by being not that much more than OTL. Germany built OTL 1250 U-Boats from 1933 to 1945, or a bit over a hundred a year. By this point OTL Germany had commissioned over 100 U-Boats, though I will say the author of this text is being generous in describing both "in service" and "under construction" for the U-Boats and realistically it's more like 150 in service and 200 under construction

Germany over OTL basically had an extra year of building stuff without stuff getting blown up, so they have more trucks, tanks, planes, etc. In terms of number of divisions, they aren't that much stronger than at the OTL invasion of Poland, air wise they are better off because Von Richtofen is more competent than Goering and not everything must dive bomb idiocy, except for the whole on average their aircraft are 12 months more primitive than OTL thing, navally Weimar had larger limits, which explains the extra Panzerschiff, cruisers and torpedo boats, and they laid down 1 small carrier and 1 CA instead of the two GZ, and haven't cancelled the H or M class [yet]
I'm wondering where Germany got the Marks and Steel for those U-boats.
Since it's still peacetime, IOUs basically
Part 6-1 Fall of Europe, Mass Destruction, Naval History, Eve of War: Britain
Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

A TL by RamscoopRaider

Part VI: The Lights are Going Out

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.-Lord Byron, Destruction of Sennacharib (1815)

Ares hates those who hesitate-Euripides, Heraclidae

One is in great disadvantage if goes to war with those who have nothing to lose-Francesco Guicciardini, Storia d’Italia

YOU are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that YOU are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.- Matthew 24:6-8

Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.-Revelation 6:1-2

Darkness will cover the earth, and thick gloom the nations-Isiah 60:2

On the wide and silent plain, darkening the bright daylight, she turns midday into darkness.-Enheduanna, Hymn to Inana, 23rd Century BC

Our next war will be fought for the highest interests of our country and of mankind. This will invest it with importance in the world's history. "World power or downfall" will be our rallying cry.-Friedrich von Bernhardi, Germany and the Next War, 1911

…The Second World War began at 3:00 in the morning on October 1st as German commandos attacked the Polish Radar system. By 4:00 all of the westward facing early warning radars were down, either damaged by explosive charges or out of contact from their communications lines being cut. Amazingly this did not arose suspicion, the used French models the Poles had bought were notoriously unreliable, and the Polish Air Force was not specifically informed by the Polish Army that the radars were sabotaged.

At the crack of dawn itself it became obvious to all involved as ten thousand guns opened up along the Polish border, quickly seeking to do as much damage as possible before the Poles moved or got under cover. At the same time German aircraft began streaming across the border, Henschel dive bomber shrieking out of the sky and attacking forwards headquarters and supply dumps while twin engine Dorniers, Heinkels and Junkers attacked airfields and railway nexuses.

After a short fifteen minutes the guns fell silent and the Heer began to advance, seventy German divisions moving against 40 Polish ones. Tanks, trucks and armored cars sought to bypass Polish defenses while infantry units began the long hard task of reducing them, pinning the Polish defenders in place with heavy fire for their subsequent encirclement and annihilation…

…The first major engagement to conclude was the battle of the Westerplatte Peninsula in Danzig. A Polish transit depot in the Free City, it was held by a short battalion of 250 regulars, plus the 50 employees from the Polish Post Office in Danzig that had triggered the war. The Germans had allocated 1000 members of the local VKV and Danzig Police, along with 300 Naval Stromtroopers to the task of taking it, with fire support from the training cruiser Kolberg.

The Capture of the Polish Post Office and the discrete defenses found therein, caused the Germans to revise upward the needed forces. The battleship Hanover and the cruiser Elbing were called off from a bombardment of the Hela Peninsula with their sisters Pommern and Pillau to provide fire support, and a few float planes were allocated to bombing the depot. An additional battalion of infantry and a battery of field guns was further allocated to the task.

The bombardment of the Westerplatte began at roughly the same time as the other German bombardments and everything from 50mm mortars to 280mm battleship guns struck the complex. After 45 minutes the bombardment stopped and a half dozen naval floatplanes made a strafing pass overhead before turning and doing another pass to drop their bombs. Immediately then an infantry attack began with 10.5cm Howitzers and the 15cm guns of the Kolberg providing direct fire support. The Germans were easily able to overrun the first of the Polish defensive positions, the next line, the ring of guardhouses surrounding the main complex proved a greater challenge. Unable to provide fire support as directly, the Germans were limited to indirect fire support inadequate to suppress the Poles and took heavy losses.

The Marine Storm troopers then attempted a landing on the north and south shore of the complex to bypass these defenses. But bunkered in Polish machine guns rendered the attacks fruitless and while trying to suppress the machine guns on the south of the peninsula Kolberg was engaged by Polish anti-tank guns, sustaining minor damage before knocking them out, but being unable to provide fire support while she did. An additional hour of bombardment from the Hanover and Elbing then ensued, keeping Polish heads down and allowing the company of Marine Stormtroopers assigned to the Kolberg to move around the city unobserved.

When the bombardment ceased the Poles expected a further attack from the north and had quickly moved additional forces to deal with it. Instead the Marine Stormtroopers managed to land at the undefended tip of the peninsula and rapidly neutralized the undermanned outposts near the power plant there with flanking attacks, before breaching the guardhouse covering the area with satchel charges. The Germans were thus free to ferry over additional troops to the tip of the peninsula, while suppressive naval artillery fire prevented the Poles from shifting troops to match. By nightfall the Germans were well positioned to breach the final Polish defensive perimeter and the decision was made by the Polish commander to surrender. The first battle of the war had concluded, the Poles had suffered 70 dead and wounded and 220 more captured, to 150 German casualties…

-Excerpt From The Fall of Europe, Scholastic American Press, Philadelphia, 2005

…Von Richthofen had planned to make heavy use of persistent Mustard Gas in the initial attacks on Poland. The Gas would be mixed in with the HE and incendiaries used to attack Polish airfields, railways junctions and rear areas to interfere with Polish operations by forcing them to either decontaminate the area or work in full protective gear. It was not intended to kill in that role, and civilian targets were deliberately avoided.

This was opposed by the generals of the Heer, who planned on driving their troops through the Polish rear and wanted to make use of the Polish rail net to support their advances. Richthofen thus compromised and gas weapons were only dropped on Polish airfields, save a few on other targets by mistake. The Poles, for reasons that will be made clear, chose not to respond in kind…

-Pandora’s Children: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2012

…the Polish Navy rapidly found itself neutralized. The Minelayers Gryf and Smok had a planned sortie to mine Danzig Bay, alongside the destroyers Kaszub and Mazur. Both were still loading at their base in Gdynia when the German Luftwaffe attacked the base. Kaszub was hit twice by Hs 128 Dive bombers and sunk. Gryf was hit once, but that single hit proved decisive, loaded with almost 600 mines the bomb hit caused a chain detonation which capsized the Mazur and stove in the hull of the Smok, effectively eliminating the Polish surface fleet at Gdynia.

The submarines Rys, Zbik, Orzel and Sep had sortied during the night to attempt to attack German shipping partaking in an amphibious invasion, the Wilk was under repairs and unable to sortie and was scuttled pierside. This proved fruitless as the Germans were not conducting a major amphibious operation, only bombardment via well screened warships. The Rys made an unsuccessful attack against the battleship Pommern and was damaged by her escorts. The Sep managed to torpedo a single coaster, while the Zbik laid mines that sank two fishing trawlers.

The 4 modern Polish destroyers had avoided all major action by leaving the night before the war had started. They were ordered to sail to Britain and join up with the Royal Navy to operate as an allied squadron where they could do the maximum good. They successfully avoided the German cruiser group sent to intercept them by taking a long diversion north and on October 2nd they reached the Danish straits. There however they were informed that Denmark had closed the straits to belligerent warships. Now trapped in the Baltic the four vessels were interned in Copenhagen, where they were joined by the Polish submarine force…

Excerpt From A Naval History of the European War, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2008

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


The United Kingdom is a constitutional Monarchy under King Edward VIII and Prime Minister Anthony Eden, currently under a National Government. It was the de facto leader of the Entente in WWI and looks to take that role again. It controls the largest Empire in the history of the world, though the more valuable parts have become self-governing dominions.


Britain has a highly diversified, integrated economy. London is one of the financial centers of the world, second only to New York, and Britain has a very large if outdated industrial base. Britain as an island is highly dependent on imports for all major resources save coal.

Land Forces:

The British Army is medium size force with a mobilized strength of 900,000 men in 36 divisions, 6 Regular Army Stormtrooper Divisions, 3 Regular Army Armored Divisions, 1 Regular Army Airborne Division, 1 Territorial Army Cavalry Division and 25 Territorial Army infantry Divisions. The British Army also has control over roughly 100,000 Colonial Troops outside the Dominions, with little organization above the battalion level.

The standard British rifle is the Lee Enfield in .303, it is being replaced by the Number 39, a combination bolt action and semi-automatic in .276 Enfield. Due to insufficient production of the Number 39 a number of Number 40 rifles, Lee Enfields in .276 are being procured as a stopgap. The Number 39 and the Number 40 both have significant reliability problems that are being worked on. A number of older Pattern 1914 Enfields are issued as sniper weapons and to rear line soldiers.

The official British pistol is the Webley Mark IV in .38 British, supplemented by the Enfield Mark II revolver in the same. As production has not kept up with demand older .455 Webley’s are the standard, supplemented by newbuild Mark VI and other .455 revolvers. The British only make limited use of submachine guns, using the American Thompson in its standard .45 ACP.

The standard British light machine gun is the Holek a derivative of the ZB-26 issued one per section, plus 4 per battalion. It is issued either in .276 or .303 with the distinctive curved magazine, though British production of the .303 variant has ended, and many units still using .303 rifles find themselves with .276 machine guns. For heavier machine guns the Vickers is the standard, an old water cooled .303 it is issued 4 per battalion and 36 per division, it is being replaced by the Rolik, a ZB-53 derivative in .276, but that is slow given the demand for vehicle use of the Rolik. Heavier Vickers in .55 Boys and Roliks in 15x104mm are issued rarely.

For anti-armor defense each battalion has 6 .55 caliber Boys anti-tank rifles, a bolt action with a 5 round magazine. A few independent batteries of 1.5 pounder COW Guns are also used for anti-armor en lieu of proper AT guns, these are autocannon with a 5 round clip, but do not have much penetration. Each infantry platoon has a lightweight 2” mortar for indirect fire support. This is supported by a four gun battery of 3.2” mortars at the battalion level.

The standard British anti-tank gun is the 2 pounder, a 1.6” 50 caliber weapon. It is lightweight and has fairly good penetration, but no HE shell. 48 are issued per infantry division and 24 per armored division, held at the division level. A new 6 pounder 2.2”/50 gun is in development to be issued in 1941 in addition to experiments with a cone gun version of the 2 pounder.

Air defense is provided by 40mm Bofors guns built under license, with 24 per division. Insufficient numbers have been produced and many make use of lower velocity naval 2 pounder AA autocannon. These are supplemented heavier pieces at the army level in independent regiments of 24, either old 12 pounder/3” weapons from WWI or newer 3.7”/50. These are pure AA weapons and high performance guns, but lack the ability to shoot at ground targets in most conditions. Armored units have a number of motorized .55 or 15mm HMGs for light AA. A number of naval 4.5”/45 are mounted in permanent emplacements. 36 tube 3” rocket batteries are beginning to enter service as a fixed defense. The British have a very effective AA direction system.

The standard British artillery piece is a 25 pounder, a 3.45”/28 with a modern carriage design. It is a fast firing weapon, with good range but lacking in shell weight, it is designed for suppressive fire rather than destructive fire in mind. It is deployed 72 pieces per infantry division and 48 per armored, and held at the divisional level. Some Territorial Divisions still use a mixture of modernized 18 pounders and 4.5” howitzers, general 48 and 24 respectively. The 18 pounder is a 3.3”/28 with a similar rate of fire to its successor but a lighter shell and shorter range. The 4.5” is a typical WWI era Howitzer, relatively short ranged and with unspectacular rate of fire and a box trail carriage. A 3.7” Mountain Howitzer is used by colonial units, while it has a decent shell weight it is relatively short ranged if capable of very high elevation and has a modern carriage. The British have one of the most advanced artillery direction systems in the world.

Heavier artillery is provided by the 4.5” field gun, a modern 43 caliber weapon with good range. It is deployed in independent regiments of 24 guns for Corps support. An insufficient quantity are available and older 60 pounder 5”/36 weapons, a pre WWI piece with an obsolescent box carriage and mediocre range. A 6”/13.3 Howitzer complements this, a WWI vintage piece with an obsolete carriage it is relatively short ranged and a 5.5” gun howitzer is in development to replace it.

For Army level support a combination of 6”/35 guns and 8”/17.25 howitzers on a common carriage are in use. WWI era weapons with an obsolete carriage they are short ranged by modern standards and due for replacement. They are deployed in 12 gun independent batteries.

Heavier 9.2” howitzers and 9.45” “flying pig” mortars are retained for siege work, these are fairly immobile pieces. Railway mounted 9.2” and 13.5” naval guns, along with 12” and 18” howitzers are also in storage for siege use.

Britain has a large and powerful tank force focused primarily on two types of vehicles. The first is a slow heavily armored infantry tank, with either just machine guns, or a short barreled low velocity howitzer. The second is a fast, lightly armored cruiser tank, with a machine guns and an anti-tank gun or low velocity howitzer, usually 3 of the former and one of the latter per platoon. Due to having an inadequate number of these tanks, the majority of the British tank force is still light tanks. Each armored regiment has two battalions each of cruiser and infantry tanks, in theory. All British tanks have a fitting for a radio, but only one in four is issued with one for cost purposes, and it is often inconveniently located.

The standard Light Tank is the Mark VI, which is a 5.5 ton vehicle with a 3 man crew, a .55 and .303 machine gun in a turret, speed of 35 miles an hour, 25 cross country, and armor to stand up to machine gun fire. It is being supplemented by the Mark VII which has a 15mm and .276 Machine gun, along with other detail improvements, and is 5.75 tons. A small number of larger 8 ton Mark VIII, featuring a 2 pounder AT gun are being ordered as a stop gap for cruiser tanks, and older 3 man Mark V and two man Mark III and IV with single machine guns are in use in training units. About 1,000 Mark VI, 300 Mark VII, 50 Mark VIII, 50 Mark V and 50 Mark III and IV are in service.

The infantry tanks are slow heavily armored vehicles. The Mark I has a single machine gun, two crew moves at 8 miles an hour and is 11 tons, but is essentially immune to standard AT weapons frontally, with only the newest weapons able to hurt it at combat ranges. The Mark II is faster at 15 miles an hour and mounts a .55 HMG in addition to the MG, along with a third crew member, good side protection against light AT weapons and an increase in size to 16 tons. The Mark III is 25 tons, has improved frontal and side armor, a 3” howitzer and a four man crew, it is functionally immune to all dedicated AT weapons in the frontal arc and highly resistant elsewhere. About 100 Mark I, 200 Mark II and 250 Mark III are in service. A larger 30 ton design with a 3.75” howitzer and improved armor is in development.

The cruiser tanks are fast but not very well armored. The 13 ton Mark I has 6 crew for its 2 pounder or 3” Howitzer and 3 machine guns, moves at up to 25 miles an hour and resists machine gun fire, but is highly unreliable. The Mark II has one machine gun , 4 crew, and can make 40 miles an hour thanks to a new suspension and engine, but is even more unreliable at 14 tons. The Mark III is 15 tons and is frontally armored to resist AT rifles and light autocannon, but is governed down to 30 miles an hour to reduce maintenance. The Mark IV is 18 tons and has limited protection against light AT guns thanks to armor sloping, and removes some unreliability related to tracks and suspension, but has an unreliable engine. 150 Mark I, 150 Mark II, 350 Mark III and 50 Mark IV are in service. A Mark V with a six pounder gun or 3.75” howitzer is under development.

Britain also operates a number of armored cars. The most numerous type are scout cars, 2-4.5 ton vehicles with minimal armor and a light/medium machine gun and/or an AT rifle in several models, about 500 are in service. 20 or so 7 ton Lanchester armored cars are in use for rear area security, with a .55 machine gun and a .303. A larger armored car is a 5 ton type using a Mark VII light tank turret, the Rootes, a 50mph vehicle with light armor, 100 are in service. Daimler is producing a similar 7.5 ton vehicle based on the Mark VIII turret, but none are in service yet.

The British Army is fully motorized with the exception of the cavalry and airborne division. They have attempted to keep the number of truck and car models to a manageable number but have not quite managed. They make heavy use of 3 ton fully tracked carriers, each infantry battalion has 10 and each mechanized cavalry regiment 44, several designs are in service, but recently a single design has been standardized on.

Naval Forces:

The Royal Navy is either the first or second largest navy in the world depending on the exact metric used and it historically was the first by a large margin. It is built on the principle of control over the sea lanes, ensuring that British commerce can flow unhindered while her enemies cannot flow.

The core of the Royal Navy are their capital ships, of which they have 7 Battlecruisers and 14 Battleships, with 6 more battleships building.

The oldest Battleships are the two surviving Queen Elizabeth class, Queen Elizabeth and Warspite. 27,500 ton ships they have 4 twin 15”/42 in a conventional layout, 12 6”/45 guns in casemates, 4 twin 4”/45 AA guns, 2 20 tube 7” rocket launchers, 4 octuple 2 pounder AA guns and two quad .55 machine guns. As built they could make 24 knots, currently they make 22 thanks to neglect, bulges and additional weight. Their armor has been slightly augmented in WWI but remains an old fashioned scheme and they cannot stand up to modern vessels. As “fast battleships” they have never been particularly liked by the RN, falling into the category of too slow to work with battlecruisers while more expensive to operate than similar slow battleships, and the RN is keeping them only as convoy escorts and bombardment ships.

Second oldest are the 25,500 ton R class, Revenge, Resolution Royal Sovereign and Royal Oak. Similarly armed to the Queen Elizabeth class, they are slower at 22 knots as built, 21 presently, however they are slightly better armored and more economical to operate. The RN thus prefers them and will get rid of their predecessors first.

Repulse is a 27,500ton battlecruiser half-sister of the R class battleships. Currently she has 3 twin 15”/42, 6 twin 4”/45, 8 Octuple Pom Poms and 4 quad .55 HMGs. As built she could make 32 knots, but between bulges, deck armor additions and the age of her machinery she only makes 29, and is only protected from 8” fire at short range and 12” fire at long range. She carries a single float plane, the only British battlecruiser to do so. She is used mainly to cover for newer battlecruisers in Refit.

The Admiral class Battlecruisers are WWI designed battlecruisers, they are the Hood, Anson, Howe and Rodney and make up the primary fast capital ship force of the RN. After their extensive rebuilds in the early to mid-30’s they have 4 twin 15”/42, 10 twin 4.5”/45, 6 Octuple Pom poms, and 4 quad .55HMG. With new machinery they can make 32 knots even with bulges, and they are decently protected against 15” gunfire and torpedoes.

The Venerable class battleships are the first post WWI capital ships of the RN, they are Venerable, Vengeance, Canopus and Majestic. They are 43,500 ton ships capable of 25.5 knots with 10 16”/45 guns, in two triples forward and one quad aft. Their secondary armament is 5 twin 6”50, one of which is superfiring above the quad, 6 4.7”/40 AA, 4 Octuple Pom Poms, 4 quad .55HMG and 4 24.5” torpedo tubes. Their armor is superb, having limited protection against 18” fire at combat ranges. They are however somewhat flawed, their 16” guns are the worst of the type, their turrets are highly unreliable and they are too large for some British port facilities.

The Battlecruisers Beatty and Sturdee are half siblings of the Venerables. 45,000 tons, they slightly reduce the armor and replace the rear turret with a triple to increase their speed to 30 knots. Their secondary armament is similar with 6 4.7”/40 AA, 4 Octuple and two quadruple Pom Poms, 4 quad .55HMG and 4 24.5” torpedo tubes. They fixed some of the issues with the turrets of their predecessor, but have some issues of their own, namely in being somewhat more cramped and wet forward.

The King Edward VIII class battleships are replacements for the mass of WWI era 13.5” armed ships. They are King Edward VIII, Duke of York, Prince of Wales, Commonwealth who are in service, and Dominion, King George V, Emperor of India, and Queen Victoria who are under construction and will finish in December 1940, April 1941, September 1941 and January 1942 respectively. 35,000 ton ships they have 9 15”/45 guns in 3 triples, 8 twin 5.25”/50 DP guns, 4 Octuple and 4 twin Pom Poms, 8 single 20mm Oerlikons and 4 20 tube 7” rocket launchers. 28 knots ships they are well protected against 15” guns and even adequately against 16” and can carry 4 float planes. They are however very wet forward and very cramped with turrets that while better than those on the Venerables are still somewhat unreliable.

Under construction are the first pair of Conqueror class battleships, Conqueror and Temeraire, with Superb and Triumph scheduled to be laid down after Dominion and King George V clear their slips. They are 45,000 ton ships, capable of 30 knots with 9 improved 16”/45 guns, 8 twin 5.25”/50 in improved mounts, 6 Octuple Pom Poms, 6 20 tube 7” rocket launchers and 10 single Oerlikons. They are well protected against 16” fire at long range and adequately at short range and feature excellent torpedo defense and seakeeping, with the option to carry 4 float planes. They are scheduled to be finished in 1944 and 1945 respectively. An additional unnamed pair are planned to be laid down in 1942 to complete in 1946.

Alongside the capital ships Britain operates a large fleet of aircraft carriers of which 7 are in service with 6 more building. The oldest is the Argus, a converted liner of 15,000 tons, she is only capable of 20 knots and carrying 20 planes, not of the most modern type. She lacks an island and is unprotected. She has 4 4”/45 AA and two more 4”/45 in low angle mounts and 3 quad .55 HMG.

Somewhat newer is the purpose built 11,000 ton Hermes, faster at 25 knots with the same aircraft capacity she has limited protection against destroyer grade guns. Her secondary armament is 6 5.5”/50 and 2 4”/45 AA, 2 Octuple pom-poms and 4 twin .55HMGs. Hermes is a more conventional design with a proper island and a crane to operate sea planes but is too small to operate upcoming generations of aircraft.

The 22,500 ton Ark Royal, Leviathan and Powerful are the current mainstay of the RN carrier fleet. They can carry up to 75 aircraft in two hangars. They have a secondary armament of 8 twin 4.5”/45 DP guns, 8 2 barrel pom poms, 4 20 barrel 7” rocket launchers and 4 quad .55HMG. They are equipped with hangar deck armor over their machinery and a belt adequate against 6” fire, but not an armored flight deck. They can make 30 knots with a unique for the British 3 shaft arrangement.

The 20,000 ton Audacious, Africa, Albion and Arrogant are meant as the new mainstay of the RN, the first two are in service, the next two are scheduled for July 1941 and March 1942. They are 20,000 ton ships with an armored flight deck in addition to belt armor covering their 16 foot hangars, but somewhat thinner than the belt armor of their predecessors. They have the same secondary armament, with the addition of 8 20mm Oerlikons but can only fit 56 aircraft, 36 in normal conditions. They also slightly compromise on munition storage, repair capability, habitability and torpedo protection.

Bulwark and Britannia are half-sisters to the Audacious’s. They are slightly stretched and 21,500 tons to fit a secondary 14 foot high lower hangar for 48 aircraft normally and 75 in emergencies. To do this they have slightly reduced side armor over their hangars and reduced upper hangar height to 14 feet. Their secondary armament is more modern with the quad AA HMG replaced with twin pom poms and 12 Oerlikons instead of 8. They are to be ready in 1944.

Also under construction are the maintenance carriers Unicorn and Pegasus. 17,000 tons, they only make 24 knots, they can carry 36 aircraft in operational use. Their main role however is that they carry extra machine shops to carry out the full range of repairs and a special lighter for transferring unflyable aircraft. They have light armor on their flight deck and covering their vitals on the side and 4 twin 4”/45 AA along with 4 quad Pom Poms and 8 Oerlikons. Unicorn will be ready in 1943, Pegasus in 1944.

The Royal Navy operates a single seaplane carrier. The Eagle was formerly the Ark Royal, the RN’s first dedicated seaplane carrier. 7000 tons she is slow at 11 knots with 4 3” AA and 8 .303 machine guns. She carries 8 floatplanes and is used mainly for training.

Britain is relatively unenthusiastic about the subject of heavy cruisers, but still has 14, third only to the US and Japan. The Berwick, Cumberland, Suffolk, Kent, Cornwall and London are 12,500 ton ships with 4 twin 8”/50 in a conventional arrangement, 4 twin 4.7”/40, 4 Quad Pom poms and 4 quad .55HMG along with 4 twin 21” torpedo tubes. They are 32 knot ships, very well protected against 8” fire for a cruiser, highly seaworthy, very habitable and carry two float planes.

The Devonshire, Sussex, Shropshire, Norfolk, Dorestshire, Surrey, Northumberland, and York are smaller 10,000 ton ships. They are merely well protected against 8” fire for a cruiser, drop the 4.7” for 4”/45s and one float plane along with a slight bit of habitability. They also eliminate the ultra-high angle capability for their main battery that their predecessors have, removing the nominal DP capability to save weight. They are sufficiently similar visually to be easily mistaken for their near sisters.

Light cruisers are the mainstay of the British fleet and they have the largest number with 65 ships and 21 more building. The oldest are the Birmingham, Lowestoft and Nottingham. These are 5500 ton ships and after their latest refit can make 24 knots. They have 8 6”/45 in pedestal mounts, 3 4”/45 AA, 4 single .55 HMG, 2 single Pom Poms and two depth charge chutes. They have some protection against 6” shells but in an outdated scheme. They are primarily training vessels.

Similar are the Cambrian, Castor and Constance. 4200 ton ships they have 4 6”/45 in pedestal mounts, 1 4”/45 AA, 2 single pom poms, 2 21” torpedo tubes and 4 .303 machine guns. Capable of 28 knots and only lightly protected they are kept in reserve to be used as training vessels or convoy escorts.

Centaur and Concord are 3800 ton former scout cruisers ordered for Turkey. Armed functionally the same as Cambrian, save an extra 6” gun, with the same speed and armor they are less seaworthy and shorter ranged with nonstandard fittings. They are in reserve to be used as training ships.

The Caledon, Calypso, Cassandra and Caradoc are 4200 ships with slightly improved machinery to make 29 knots and improve range. They have been rebuilt as AA cruisers with 10 single 4”/45, 2 octuple pom poms and 4 twin .55 HMGs. They are no better armored than their predecessors.

Cardiff, Ceres, Coventry, Curacao and Curlew are slightly enlarged 4300 ton ships for an extra half knot of speed. They are, or are being rebuilt as AA ships. They have 4 twin 4”/45, 1 quad and 2 twin pom poms and 2 quad .55 HMG. The first two are completed, the others will complete in January, February and March.

Cairo, Calcutta, Capetown, Carlisle, Colombo and Cygnet are slightly improved with a new bow but otherwise identical. They retain their armament of 5 6”/45, 2 4”/45 AA, 2 pom poms, 4 .303 MG and 4 twin 21” torpedo tubes. They are scheduled for an AA rebuilding when space is available and are in reserve until then or they are needed.

Danae, Dauntless, Dragon, Dehli, Dunedin, Durban, Despatch, Diomede, Daedalus, Daring, Desperate and Dryad are the successor class to the C’s. 4900 tons they have no better armor than their predecessors and make only 29 knots, but have greater range and seakeeping. Their armament is 6 6”/45, 3 4”/45 AA, 2 pom poms, 2 twin .55 HMG and 4 triple 21” torpedo tubes. The youngest eight are presently in reserve to save manpower.

Emerald, Enterprise, Euphrates and Egeria are 33 knot, 7600 ton ships. They are no better armored than their predecessors but are longer ranged and carry a float plane. After rebuilds in the early 30’s they have 2 6”/50 in a turret forward and 5 6”/45 on pedestal mounts amidships and rear, along with 3 4”/45 AA, 2 pom poms, 9 .55 HMG and 4 quad 21” torpedo tubes. Egeria was built as an aircraft carrier but was converted back to a cruiser.

The Hawkins, Raleigh, Frobisher, Effingham and Cavendish are 9800 ton former heavy cruisers converted to light cruisers. As rebuilt they have 9 single 6”/45 in pedestal mounts and 3 4”/45 AA, 4 Pom Poms and 3 quad .55HMG, 4 fixed single and 1 quad trainable 21” torpedo tubes. They make 30 knots and carry a float plane but are only lightly protected against even 6” fire. Cavendish was built as an aircraft carrier but was converted to a light cruiser. At one point it was planned to arm them similar to the Sapphire class cruisers in a rebuilding, but this was cancelled as being too costly.

The Sapphire, Amethyst, Diamond and Ruby are 7500 ton cruisers. They make 32.5 knots, carry a float plane and are lightly protected against 6” fire, they are however long ranged, habitable and reliable. They have 4 twin 6”/50 in superfiring centerline turrets, 4 single 4”/45 AA, 3 quad .55 HMG and 2 quad 21” torpedo tubes. Four other ships of the class are in service, two with Australia and two with New Zealand.

The Polyphemus, Hercules, Arethusa, Galatea, Penelope, Aurora, Minotaur and Centaur are smaller 5500 ton ships. Slower at 32 knots, they have the same armor but lose the aft superfiring turret, one quad .55 HMG and have triple tubes instead of quads. 16 more vessels were planned but ordered as Sirius class AA vessels instead.

The Town class cruisers are larger vessels, ordered to match the large light cruisers being built by the US and Japan. The Newcastle, Southhampton, Sheffield and Glasgow are 32 knot 10,000 ton ships with 12 6”/50 in 4 triple turrets on the centerline and superfiring, 4 twin 4”/45 AA, 2 quad pom poms, 2 quad .55HMG and two triple 21” tubes. They have two float planes and actually adequate protection against 6” shells. The Liverpool, Manchester, Gloucester and Edinburgh are slightly larger at 11,000 tons to increase speed to 32.5 knots, improve armor slightly, improve fire control and general habitability and utility. The 12,000 ton Belfast, Chester, Chatham and Falmouth are somewhat lengthened to mount two more 4”/45 twins and octuple pom poms instead of quads, along with 8 20mm Oerlikons.

Under Construction are the Bermuda, Trinidad, Jamaica and Fiji. These are 13,500 ton ships which differ from the Town class mainly by mounting quadruple main battery turrets and torpedo tubes for a total of 16 each 6” guns and torpedo tubes, along with slightly improved armor. They are scheduled to commission in February, May, July and August of 1941. The Mauritius, Newfoundland, Ceylon and Kenya are slightly modified dropping the rear superfiring turret to mount 4 20 tube 7” rocket launchers, in addition to two quad pom poms replacing the float planes and 8 extra Oerlikons. They will be ready in 1942.

The Sirius class cruisers are 5800 ton ships. They have 5 twin 5.25”/50 DP Guns all on the centerline, 3 fore, 2 aft with the B turret superfiring over the A and the C over the B in addition to the X over the Y, 2 quad Pom poms, 4 twin .55 HMG and 2 triple 21” torpedo tubes. They are however lightly protected by light cruiser standards and not that fast at 32 knots, they are also very top heavy. Sirius, Scylla and Astraea are in service, with Bellona Naiad, Diadem, Iphigenia and Minerva under construction to be ready in November 1940, January 1941, May 1941, October 1941 and December 1941. The under construction Hermione, Cleopatra, Dido, Venus, Proserpine, Pyramus, Pactolus and Phoebe are modified with their C turret replaced with 2 20 tube 7” rocket launchers and the .55 HMG replaced with 10 Oerlikon 20mm. They will be ready in 1942 and early 1943.

On order are 4 derivatives of Mauritius with 14 4.5”/45’s DP guns and potentially 9 8”/50 replacing their 6” quads and 4 derivatives of Newcastle with 10 4.5” DP guns and only 9 6”/50.

The RN also has 1 minelaying cruiser with 4 more under construction. The Adventure is a 7800 ton ship capable of 28 knots with a combined steam and diesel plant. It has 4 4.7”/40 in single DP mounts, 4 single and 1 octuple Pom-Pom, 2 quad .55 HMG and 4 rails with 280-340 mines depending on the model. She is extremely lightly protected for a cruiser and somewhat top heavy when carrying mines.

Under construction are the Welshman, Manxman, Cornishman and Scotsman. They are 2800 ton ships that can make 40 knots, 38 when carrying mines. They have 3 twin 4”/45 DP guns, a quad pom pom, 2 quad .55 HMG and room for up to 156 mines. They are functionally unarmored and are more akin to large destroyers. The first pair are expected in the fall of 1941, the second in the summer of 1942.

The Royal Navy has the world’s largest destroyer fleet. The oldest ships are the 6 surviving WWI era R class. They have been modified as minelayers and have 1 4”/40, 1 3”AA, 1 quad .55 HMG, 2 depth charge racks and room for 70 mines. They are 1000 ton ships with a present speed of 32.5 knots, they are small and not very seaworthy.

Slightly newer and larger are the V&W class destroyers, grouped as a single class, 1100-1150 tons and 32 knot ships. Older units have 4 4”/45 low angle guns, while newer units have 4.7”/45 low angle guns, with an AA armament of a 3” and up to 2 Pom Poms and two twin or triple 21” torpedo tubes. Two depth charge rails and two projectors have been added. The class is primarily in reserve for wartime escort duty. 70 are in reserve and a further 10 are currently undergoing conversion to AA escorts, which will have 2 twin 4”/45 AA guns, 2 quad .55 HMG in addition to the two rails and two depth charge projectors. It is planned to convert up to 30 more units to this configuration as shipyard availability allows.

Four Shakespeare class Destroyer leaders have been rerated as destroyers. They are 1500 ton 36 knot ships with 5 4.7”/45 guns, 1 3” AA and 2 triple 21” torpedo tubes. Two depth charge rails and two projectors have been added, as has a twin .55HMG. They are in reserve with a possible AA conversion similar to the V&W class planned. The four 1600 ton Scott class Destroyer leaders are similar but a half knot faster.

Ambuscade and Amazon are a pair of prototypes built in the early 20’s. They are both 37 knot ships with 4 4.7”/45, 2 pom poms, 4 .303 MG, 2 triple 21” torpedo tubes, two depth charge projectors and two rails. Amazon is larger at 1350 tons and more habitable compared to the 1200 ton Ambuscade.

16 1350 ton A&B class destroyers are in service with the RN. They are 35 knot ships with 4 4.7”/45, 2 pom poms, 2 quad 21” torpedo tubes and 2 depth charge rails. It was planned for an additional pair of enlarged flotilla leaders to be built, as with previous British practice, but budgetary pressures eliminated them, 4 ships have slightly enlarged deckhouses to compensate.

The 12 C&D class are larger at 1375 tons to fit a 3” AA gun. They also have 1 depth charge rail rather than two and a pair of projectors, quad .55 HMGs replacing their pom poms and newer machinery to make 36 knots. 16 ships were intended but the Depression resulted in six ship flotillas instead of 8 being ordered.

The 12 1400 ton E&F are near sisters, dropping the 3” AA gun for minesweeping gear and having a slightly modified hull, speed fell to 35.5 knots because of this but range and seaworthiness are improved.

The 16 British G&H class are similar but thanks to new machinery can drop to 1350 tons while maintaining the same capabilities

The 8 I class are slightly larger at 1375 tons. They have new bridges, new machinery for 36 knots and quintuple 21” torpedo tubes but also have the provision to be converted to minelayers by landing some of their armament.

16 large Tribal class destroyers are in service with the RN. These are 1950 ton 36 knot ships originating from the same design study as the Sirius class cruiser. They have 4 twin 4.7”/45, low angle mounts but with an advanced AA fire control system, two quadruple pom poms, 1 quintuple 21” torpedo tube, two quad .55 HMG, 2 depth charge rails and 2 throwers. They are good seaboats and the most powerful destroyers in the RN.

The 16 J&K class are slightly smaller vessels at 1700 tons, with 3 twin 4.7” guns, 1 quad pom pom, 2 quintuple torpedo tubes, two quad .55 HMG, 2 depth charge rails and 2 throwers. They share most of the features of the Tribal class but with a greater emphasis on torpedoes and affordability. 2 K class are still under construction but expected to complete by the end of the year.

The 24 L, M &N class are 1900 tons and have new 4.7”/50 guns in fully enclosed turrets, a first for British destroyers, with slightly higher angles of fire. They have as secondary armament 1 4”/45 AA armament superfiring over the rear 4.7” turret, 2 quadruple torpedo tubes, 4 20mm Oerlikons, 2 depth charge rails and 2 throwers. The L class are expected to complete in 1941, the M&N in 1942.

In addition to the fleet destroyers the RN is building large numbers of escort destroyers. These Hunt class vessels are 1000 tons in the Batch I design and 1050 in the batch II. 27 knot ship the Batch I have two twin 4”/45 DP guns, the batch II a third mount superfiring to the rear, a quad pom, pom, two twin .55 HMG, 2 depth charge throwers and two rails. 10 Batch I are in service with 10 more expected before the winter ends, 20 additional Batch II are under construction and expected to complete over the course of 1941, with an additional 20 expected to be ordered next year.

As further escorts the RN operates a large number of sloops. The oldest are the 2 Sandwich class, 1050 ton 16 knot ships with a pair of 4”/45 and 4 .55 machine guns. The 4 Penzance class are almost identical, simply having minesweeping gear added. The 1100 ton Milford class are slightly larger but otherwise the same, 6 of them are in service. The Deptford class are somewhat smaller at 1,000 tons, but carry 2 4.7”/45, 1 3” AA, 4 3 pounder saluting guns and a depth charge rail, 8 are in service with the RN.

The 8 Puffin class sloops are 550 ton, 20 knot coastal escorts. Armed with a 4”/45, a quad .55 HMG and a depth charge rail they lack minesweeping gear.

The two 1200 ton Enchantress class sloops drop the minesweeping gear of earlier large sloops. They are oceanic escorts that make 18 knots and have 3 twin 4”/45 DP, 1 quad .55 HMG and two depth charge launchers and rails. The 2 1250 ton Pelican class are similar but add an extra 4” turret.

2 Ibis class Sloops are in service for the RN with 20 more building to be finished between 1941 and 43. 1250 ton ships that can make 19 knots, they have 3 twin 4”/45 DP, a quad Pom Pom and two twin .55 HMG, along with two depth charge launchers and two rails.

To supplement the sloops a number of 900 ton Corvettes have been ordered. Cheap vessels built to mercantile standards with civilian triple expansion engines rather than scarce turbines, they are only 16 knot ships. They are armed with a 4”/45, a Pom-Pom or a quad or twin .55 HMG, 2 .303 MGs, two depth charge projectors and two rails. 60 are under construction or on order, and are expected to be named after flowers like the sloops of WWI.

For minesweeping 30 Hunt class survive from WWI. They are 700 ton, 16 knot vessels with a 4”/40, a 3” AA gun and 2 .303 machine guns. 6 newer Niger class supplement them, 800 ton 17 knot ships with reciprocating engines, 2 4”/45, 1 quad .55 HMG and 8 .383 MG. An additional 10 16.5 knot turbine powered vessels of the Sphinx class work with them.

Smaller 600 ton coastal minesweepers are being built to supplement them. 6 Diesel powered Blackpool type, 6 turbine powered Harwich type and 6 reciprocating powered Blyth type. These are 600 ton vessels with a 3”/40 and a quad .55 HMG, capable of 16 knots.

The RN intends to supplement these with naval trawlers. These are basically fishing vessels of 450-750 tons, either purpose built or requisitioned with a single 3” gun, some machine guns, depth charges and minesweeping gear. Slow ships at roughly 12 knots they are nonetheless very seaworthy for their size and the RN has several in service with several dozen building and more on order.

The RN operates 12 minelayers from 700 tons to 300 tons to lay minefields in coastal waters to protect its coastline, they can also lay indicator loops for submarine detection. 2 3,000 ton and over 30 500 ton Netlayers provide similar defense by laying anti-submarine and anti-torpedo nets and booms.

For shore bombardment the Royal Navy has 1 monitor in reserve with 2 more building. The Erebrus is the sole remaining monitor from WWI and has a 15”/42 twin mount, 8 4”/45 low angle guns, 2 3” AA, and 2 quad .55 HMG. Well protected against guns under 6”, with some limited protection against heavy pieces, she is 8,000 tons with a 12 foot draft and makes 12 knots.

Gorgon and Glatton are newbuilt copies. More modern machinery lets them make 12.5 knots, while instead of 3” AA they have 1 octuple and two quadruple pom poms and 4 quad .55HMG instead of 2. They are scheduled to enter commission in December 1941 and February 1942.

For close bombardment Britain has 12 Insect class gunboats from WWI. They are armed with 2 6”/50, 1 3” AA, 1 Pom Pom and 6 .303 machine guns. 625 tons and capable of 14 knots, they have only a 4 foot draft allowing their use in rivers. 4 are in service and 8 are in reserve.

Six newer Scorpion class gunboats supplement them. 575 tons they make 17 knots and are more seaworthy, but draw 5 feet of water instead of 4. They have 2 4”/45, a 3.7” howitzer, and 2 quad .55 HMGs.

The Royal Navy despises submarines as unsporting and their primary threat but make heavy use of them of necessity. The oldest are 35 L class vessels. 15 are Type II with 4 21” tubes and 8 fish, a 4”/40 deck gun and 16 mines, 20 are Type III with 6 tubes, 12 fish and 2 4” guns, all tubes are forward, uniquely British the deck guns are on the conning tower for extra range. Type II are 920 tons, 17 knots surfaced and 10 submerged with 2800 knot range. Type III are 960 tons, 17.5 knots surface, 8 submerged with 4800 knot range. They are either in use as training vessels or in reserve.

Britain has 6 Osiris class submarines, 1800 ton boats with a 8400 knot range. They have 8 21” tubes, 6 fore and 2 aft with 16 torpedoes, a 4”/40 deck gun and two .303mgs. They can make 17.5 knots on the surface and 9 submerged and can dive to more than average depth. An additional 6 Proteus class are in service, being only slightly modified from the Osiris class with 2 fewer torpedoes and are fitted for minelaying as the only difference.

The Regent class are slightly cheaper design and despite being the same size have only 7,000 nautical miles of range and make 8.5 knots submerged. They only carry 14 torpedoes as in the P class but have a 4.7”/45 as a deck gun. 4 are in service.

The Sunfish class are smaller boats meant as cheap replacements for WWI era relics. They are 650 tons, make 14 knots surfaced, 10 submerged and have a range of 3700 knots. They have 6 forward tubes with 12 fish, a 3”/45 deck gun and a .303 machine gun. 12 are in service, not having fully replaced the WWI era boats due to budgetary issues.

As larger boats Britain next built the River class. These are 2000 ton vessels, 22 knots surfaced, 10 submerged with 9500 knot range. They have a 4”/40 and 6 forward tubes with 12 fish, along with a pair of .303 machine guns. 3 boats are in service.

Next are the six 1800 ton Cachalot class submarines. These are minelayers with 4”/40 and 6 forward tubes with 12 fish, 2 .303 Mgs and room for 50 mines. They make 15 knots surfaced, 9 submerged and a 6500 knot range.

The 1300 ton Thorn class are a general purpose design intended to replace the WWI era relics. They have no fewer than 10 torpedo tubes, all forward, 4 single shot and 6 reloadable with 16 torpedoes, a 4”/40 and a .55HMG. They can make 15.5 knots on the surface, 9 submerged and have an 8,000 knot range. They have the issue that their diesel engines come from four manufactures, being either loud and reliable, quiet and difficult to maintain, incapable of full speed or German built. 15 boats are in service with 7 more under construction.

The Ursula class are small 550 ton training boats. They have 6 bow tubes, 2 being single shot, a 3”/40 deck gun and a .55HMG. They make 11 knots on the surface and 9 submerged and have a 3600 knot range. They are somewhat overloaded and have a pronounced tendency to break the surface after firing their torpedoes, they also have a noticeably shallow periscope depth. 3 are in service with 3 more under construction.

To support the submarines Britain operates a number of sub tenders. 4 are converted merchantmen of 4,000 to 7000 tons and about 14 knots of speed leftover from WWI. The former repair ship Cyclops is a 13,000 ton 13 knot pre WWI vessel with 2 4”/40. The Medway is a 15,000 ton purpose built vessel making 15 knots with 6 4” AA. Forth and Maidstone are 9,000 ton 17 knot vessels with 4 twin 4.5”/45 DP guns and 4 twin pom poms. Under construction is the 12,500 ton Adamant with 4 twin 4.5”/45 AA, 4 quad pom poms and 4 quad .55 HMG to commission in June 1941.

Britain also operates Destroyer tenders. The Woolwich is a 9,000 ton 17 knot vessel with 6 4”/45 and splinter armor. Under construction are the 12,000 ton Hecla and Tyne, 17 knot ships with 4 twin 4.5”/45 DP and 4 twin pom poms. They will be ready in January and March 1941.

The Royal Navy operates a large and diverse fleet train that gives it global reach when combined with its numerous overseas bases. It can operate a large fleet in any ocean in the world.

The Royal Navy has a dedicated Marine force of 14,000 in the Royal Marines. They have a single concentrated light infantry brigade of 3 battalions, and the remainder of the force is dispersed into independent battalions, companies, and platoons.

The Royal Navy has recently regained control of its Fleet Air Arm in the summer of 1940. This was after a long bitter fight with the Royal Air Force and has left them with poor compromises. The Fleet Air Arm only has control over those aircraft that can physically fit on their ships and a single very small shore based facility. Their training and support, and a degree of their procurement is handled by the RAF. The Fleet Air Arm operates float planes based on the cruisers and capital ships of the Royal Navy, along with carrier based aircraft, usually multirole types.

The Royal Navy is a world leader in Sonar, and all destroyers and sloops since 1930 have been fitted with both active and passive sets, with most older ships refitted with such. The Royal Navy is also a leader in Radar technology, with almost all vessels having a navigation radar, and most larger vessels having air and surface search radars, with some of the newest having radar directed fire control.

Air Forces:

The Royal Air Force is one of the largest in the world with 200,000 personnel and about 4500 aircraft. The RAF is structured into commands, which control at least two groups, of at least two wings, of at least two squadrons of 18-24 Aircraft. About 150 squadrons are in service at present.

The standard fighter of the RAF currently is the Hawker Headsman. An enclosed cockpit biplane with fixed landing gear it can climb fast, and turn with the best, but is slow, accident prone and only has 4 .303 machine guns. Some squadrons have older Hawker Headhunters or Bristol Bullfinches, generally inferior open cockpit aircraft with only a pair of machine guns. Newly introduced are the Gloster Glaive and the Blackburn Bandit, modern all metal monoplanes with retractable landing gear and enclosed cockpits. The Glaive is relatively average platform, its 8 .303 machine guns are impressive, as is its turning radius and reliability, but it is not too fast and does not climb too well, it is a mere stopgap rapidly replacing older biplanes. The Blackburn Bandit is a substantially better aircraft, more recently introduced it is faster and has much better performance in most ways, it is armed with 4 .303 machine guns in a turret and is fitted for but not with 2 more in the nose. In development is the Westland Warhawk, a world beating fighter scheduled to be introduced at the start of 1942.

The RAF currently operates two types of light bomber. The most numerous is the Armstrong Whitworth Argonaut, a modern single engine all metal monoplane. It has two .303 MG forward, 1 rear gunner and can carry 1,000 pounds internally from London to Paris and return, or 1500 pounds externally on a shorter ranged mission. It can dive bomb and is relatively fast and maneuverable for a bomber, but it lacks self-sealing fuel tanks and is lightly armored. The other is the Short Swordsman, a twin engine monoplane as modern as the Argonaut, it is slightly better armed with 2 .303 MGs in a powered turret rather than 1 unpowered mount, slightly faster and with a better ceiling. It however lacks the range or maneuverability of the Argonaut, cannot dive bomb and only carries 1200 pounds of bombs. A number of Swordsmen have been converted to night fighters with 6 forward facing .303 machine guns and radar systems.

The RAF operates 4 types of medium bomber currently. The oldest is the single engine Vickers Viper which carries a pair of machine guns and a 2,000 pound bomb load, with a range of 2000 miles. Not particularly fast or long ranged, it is being phased out by the three newer twin engine models, the Handley Page Hereward, the Vickers Vendetta and the Avro Arbalest. The Hereward carries up to 4,000 pounds of bombs with 1 fixed and 3 flex mount machine guns for defense. It has decent range, enough to hit Berlin form England, but has a low ceiling and it not too fast. The Vendetta has a similar performance but carries 4500 pounds of bombs and 6 machine guns in twin turrets in the nose and tail and flex mounts on the sides, but uses a composite construction rather than all metal. The Arbalest is a pure night bomber, it is less maneuverable than its counterparts, but has a higher ceiling and can carry up to 7,000 pounds of bombs, admittedly with no defensive armament.

Britain has a large heavy bomber program underway to supplement its Medium types. The Vickers Vespa is a larger twin engine version of the Vendetta, while the Boulton-Paul Powerful is a fresh twin engine design. As a backup to these is the Bristol Bushwhacker, a proper 4 engined design. These aircraft are expected to enter service over the course of 1941.

The Royal Air Force operates a large force of land based torpedo bombers to protect the British isles. The oldest of these is the fixed gear, single engine biplane Hawker Hegemon, a very slow aircraft with 2 .303 mgs for defense. It is being replaced by two modern twin engine designs, the Bristol Bullshark and the Fairey Firebird. The Bullshark is a fast aircraft with 1 forward and two dorsal turret mounted machine guns, and can carry a torpedo or 2,000 pounds of bombs. The Firebird is broadly similar in performance and is slightly cheaper but slightly more difficult to maintain, it has the same low ceiling as the Bullshark.

The RAF operates a coastal command with control over land planes and flying boats for maritime patrol. The most numerous is the twin engine Avro Archer, a smaller, slower derivative of the Arbalest with a 400 pound bomb load and 2 defensive machine guns, somewhat lacking in range for the role. For flying boats the oldest is the twin engine Saunders Roe Severn, slow, with only 3 machine guns for defense and an unspectacular range its assets are a 2000 pound bomb load and a high ceiling for a flying boat. The Short Scapa is somewhat smaller and less capable, with only a thousand pound bomb load. The four engine Short Sable is beginning to replace older flying boats and is a long range 4 engine design with a 2,000 pound bombload and 12 defensive machine guns. To supplement the Archers American Lockheed Longbows are being ordered, a derivative of the Lockheed Model 15 airliner, it has a decent range, high ceiling, excellent maneuverability, 4 defensive machine guns and a 1500 pound bomb load.

The RAF prefers not to design dedicated liaison aircraft, instead using older fighters and light bombers for the task that are no longer capable of front line service, or at most slightly modified variants ordered at the ends of production runs. An exception is the Westland Warrington STOL aircraft, a high wing fixed gear monoplane, with two machine guns fore, two in a flex mount and 80 pounds of bombs, this is probably the most numerous single type. These are dispersed as needed to a number of squadrons across the globes and often used for colonial policing.

The RAF operates a bewildering array of transport aircraft with no one design being particularly numerous. In addition to civilian aircraft and a few purpose build designs they make heavy use of converted bombers for the task.

The RAF has an extensive array of domestic designed trainers that fill not only their own needs but allow them to conduct training for the commonwealth at large.

The RAF has only recently lost control of the Fleet Air Arm which operates around 500 aircraft. It does however retain control over many aspects of procurement, training and logistics for the FAA.

The oldest fighter in service with the FAA is the Hawker Hoopoe, a twin seat fixed gear open cockpit biplane with two machine guns and an 80 pound bombload it is obsolete and about to be diverted to training duties. More common is the Sea Hawk, a variant of the Hawker Headsman biplane for naval use which is being used as a stopgap until the Blackburn Buccaneer is ready. The Buccaneer is a navalized version of the Bandit turret fighter and is only slightly lower performance and is scheduled to become the standard fighter of the Fleet Air Arm. A combination 3 place fighter and scout monoplane is in development with a contest currently being held.

The Fleet Air Arm operates a single type of dive bomber. The Boulton Paul Ballista is a combination fighter and dive bomber, a two seat all metal low wing monoplane with retractable landing gear. It has four forward .303 machine guns and 1 rear observers weapon and can carry a 500 pound bomb. It has decent range but is relatively slow and sluggish.

The Fleet Air Arm operates 2 types of torpedo bomber both biplanes. The Fairy Foxfish is the oldest a slow 3 place open cockpit aircraft with a single forward machine gun and one flexible mount capable of carrying a torpedo or 1600 pounds of bombs. The Gloster Ghost is somewhat newer, being slightly faster and longer ranged, with a limited ability to dive bomb but otherwise similar. Under development is the Fairey Fearless, an enclosed cockpit design with a 2,000 pound bombload, greater endurance and slightly improved speed.

The Fleet Air Arm also operates float planes which fly off of the Royal Navy’s capital ships and cruisers. These are of a number of types, uniformly biplanes, with variants of the Hoopoe and Foxfish being common, as well as older designs.

Britain operates a single airborne division consisting of a paratrooper regiment and two light infantry regiments intended for aerial landing. The RAF possesses sufficient transport capacity to lift it in one sortie should that be required.

Britain has a developmental program for jet aircraft, that is roughly the second in the world in terms of progress made.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Britain has a large Chemical weapons program. The Primary agents are variations of Mustard Gas, Cyanogen, Lewisite, Chlorine and Phosgene. Britain is also attempting to weaponize the common insecticide and paint Paris Green. Primarily deployment mechanisms are artillery shells, aerial bombs, Livens projectors and light aircraft fitted with Sprayers.

Britain maintains a small bioweapons program studying Anthrax and Botulism Toxin. This program is purely theoretical at the moment.

Britain has a program investigating nuclear energy that is considering the possibility of a nuclear bomb. It is well funded and supported and making good progress.


Britain is an island highly dependent on trade

British morale is relatively low

Britain remains highly debt ridden from WWI

The British industrial base and infrastructure are the oldest amongst the great powers and show limitations because of this

-The Eve of War, the World on October 1st 1940, Eagle Press, Philadelphia, 2001
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And so the great shitstorm of their time begins. Seems TTL's westerplatte was a little more intense than OTL. The pre-war buildup was rather dragging on, so I'm glad to see the explosions start.

The Poles, for reasons that will be made clear, chose not to respond in kind…
Ok, THIS is very, very ominous. Just what could possibly happen to make Poland not respond in kind when facing this war of annihilation?

Yeah with the general vibes I fully expect operation vegetarian to get deployed in '45.