The Forge of Weyland

From Wikipedia:

British interest​

In December 1939, a British commission, led by Lord Hardwick and Air Ministry representatives, arrived in Italy for the purpose of purchasing various pieces of military equipment; aside from items such as marine engines, armaments and light reconnaissance bombers, the delegation sought to procure of around 300 Re.2000s.[14] During January 1940, the Director of Aircraft Contracts confirmed the British order. The German government issued its approval of the sale in March of the same year, but withdrew its approval during the following month.[14] In light of this, the Italian and British governments then decided to complete the contract through the Italian Caproni’s Portuguese subsidiary as to side-step Germany's objection; however, the British order was cancelled as a consequence of Italy's entry into the Second World War on 10 June 1940.[15][16]
 
I'm not Gannt the Chartist, but Imperial Japan has to occupy French-Indochina before it gets anywhere near Malaya and Singapore, and in this timeline (Weyland's Forge) the French (especially if they have not gone Vichy, as in the Original Timeline) may well tell the Imperial Japanese where to go if the Imperial Japanese decide to try to get cute in French-Indochina.

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The French not going Vichy and surrendering (if that is what ends up happening in this timeline) is a game-changer in the Far East.

I'm not certain that's accurate.....

I think in the West we tend to see events through a US perspective and that the attack on Pearl Harbor was the first indication of Japanese ill-intent. Just based on memory from readings long ago, the Japanese had made very clear their expansionist philosophy throughout the late 1930's and almost started a war directly with the UK over its funding of the Chinese Nationalist government.

Hah! My memory was better than hoped. Look up the Wikipedia entry on the "Tientsin Incident" as whoever contributed to that entry did a great job of capturing the background.

The key issue in this context is since we have to assume OTL events have not changed in 1939, the UK would have been well-aware the Japanese were committed to expansion and starting fights to achieve that expansion was totally justified in their philosophy. Whether French Indochina had already fallen or not, I don't think would preclude a Japanese attack. It likely just would have been different from OTL.

Copied and pasted from Wikipedia entry on Tientsin Incident which OTL and TTL would have occurred in 1939 prior to any capitulation of France:

"British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain considered the crisis to be so important that he ordered the Royal Navy to give greater attention to a possible war with Japan than to war with Germany.[36]"

There's a lot more which actually makes for fascinating reading.....

Link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tientsin_incident
 
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@CB13, as said a bolt from the blue attack right now is not really feasible or necessary for the Japan. The IJN in particular needs about a years lead time to recall reservists refit auxiliaries and withdraw air units from China and retrain them for Maritime Strike operations All of this would be ( and was) noticed and reacted to by both the British and Americans so any Japanese move has to consider what would the US do. Without the PI the worst case for the IJN is the superior US battlefleet intervenes while they are already committed to operations in FEIC. Whether the Japanese can bully Thailand from Taiwan in the face of British French and Dutch counter bullying is a moot point.


And without the pressures of war in the Middle East - all of it from Egypt to Iran plus East Africa, where in 1941 the USSR looks like it might collapse the whole of the Indian army may be deployed elsewhere and without the losses from Dunkirk and British aid to the USSR in 41 there is more kit available. If you have the option you don't ship s a division and all its kit from East of Suez to the UK your ship the men and maybe personal weapons and leave the vehicles and heavy weapons behind for the next div and reequip with stuff straight from the Factory.

In terms of the Specifics, in WW1 the issue was small arms and for the Brits especially rifles to equip a massively expanded army. Now they have the WW1 stocks of SMLE and Lewis guns. The Small arms shortage is specifically in SMG - and that comes about because of the threat of German Airborne units and panzer breakthroughs. If you look at British TOE everyone except the infantryman has a Sten - Machine Carbine in British terms. And every unit of drivers drovers and mobile bath operators also has a couple of Brens and a Boys or PIAT. The Brits have more SMG per inf Bn than any other army except the Soviet SMG Bns.

So what they want is a cheap mass produced weapon for everyone, who probably will never fire it Sten fits the bill nothing else in the world at the time does, and the major issue is the mag feed so a little more time on that and shiny,

The 149 - its a medium gun in UK terms 25lb is field. But which one. The two modern ones are just coming into Italian service one only produces 147 or so units by 42 the other has 51 units by eo 41, The UK alone produces 250 4.5'' gun units in 1940 ( well 60lb converted to 4.5) and in 1941 the UK is producing around 400 5.5'' units as well as much ramped up production of the 4.5.

The other Italian pieces are WW1 vintage or in pitifully small numbers The 90mm mnages 350 ish units by 43. The Brits make 1,200 3,7'' AA in 1940 alone. The 210 is a good Heavy piece -210 mm, 20 made by 42.

The easiest way to appease the Italian is to offer them parts of Austria and license built Merlins.



I have 300 ordered but Via a Portuguese subsidiary. But as only 187 were produced in total everywhere on account of it being crap in practice thats going nowhere, the Portuguese aircraft industry not being likely to produce lots quickly. This is also before May 40 and the rationalisation of UK aircraft production so likely to get swept up in the concertation on a small range of types.

An Re2005 ( or even a 2000) with a powerful engine like the Merlin would be nice though.

Thank you as always for thoughtful reply Gannt....

I guess my view (which I humbly accept I may be wrong) is that:
1. The Japanese have already almost come to blows with the UK in 1939 so if Singapore is unreinforced, I can see them throwing a haymaker punch in that direction while the British are engaged in northern Europe.
2. In that context, adding even 48 howitzers, 120 mortars and/or 24 anti-aircraft cannons (with significant ammunition) would be meaningful if the objective is limited to hardening Singapore and training troops for larger weapons deliveries later....so relatively low numbers may not be ideal, but it's most certainly still better than none.
3. And if Japan does hold off and does re-group prior to an attack in 1941 (which I agree is likely the highest probability outcome), it just gives the Far Eastern Colonies more time to arm and train themselves with weapons they otherwise would not have. Italy could make a fortune selling weapons into the theatre over the 15 months between TTL and OTL attack on Singapore. Just as a side note, if the UK, France and Holland were not buying weapons for their Far East colonies from Italy, I would argue they would be buying other non-compatible weapons systems from the USA. So in this case, the advantage to them is it allows is that they can trade raw materials (which Italy desperately needs) as opposed to gold or $USD, and if they pay a premium, they likely get weapons significantly faster than from the USA who would likely need to setup new production lines.

Lastly to your point about territorial concessions in Austria to Italy - I totally agree with this and would contend it's part of a larger comprehensive agreement to ensure Italy had more to gain by siding with the allies than with Germany.

You could also consider a large butterfly and have partial payment to Italy in the form of Far East land concessions to actually put Italian "skin" in the game. Just spitballing, but all of the UK, France and Holland could offer up small chunks of colonies to provide Italy with their own sources of rubber and oil, which would then necessitate a new Italian Fleet be based in the Far East, while relieving pressure on the Mediterranean.
 
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An Re2005 ( or even a 2000) with a powerful engine like the Merlin would be nice though.
Mmmm...reminds me of one of my favourites...Fiat G.59 -
Fiat.jpg
 
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ou could also consider a large butterfly and have partial payment to Italy in the form of Far East land to actually put Italian "skin" in the game
German Pressure caused Italy to cut back assistance to the KMT, and don't forget, Italy still had a Chinese Concessions of Tientsin, Shanghai, and Hankow, plus a tiny outpost in Peking.
 
Lastly to your point about territorial concessions in Austria to Italy - I totally agree with this and would contend it's part of a larger comprehensive agreement to ensure Italy had more to gain by siding with the allies than with Germany.
I'm a bit unsure as to why. Italy got all they wanted of (German) Austria at St. Germain. What remains is held by Yugoslavia, not Austria. To be honest, they are having trouble with all the Germans they already annexed in South Tyrol as is. One might be able to make some arguments geographical for further gains in Carinthia, but even those would be minor and (given their geography) mostly worthless.

You'd probably get a better reaction offering a restoration of pre-Anschluss Austria, and then offering Italy a free hand there to turn it into another Albania.
 

perfectgeneral

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Didn't the Ariete (Re 2001) have an inline engine and come in a navalised version with a tail hook rooted just behind the wing?
Could the Italians supply quicker without engines?
reggiane-2001-s.gif
Aviastar.org

Although it had a thick wing with even thicker wheel mounts and bits sticking out all over. I'm sure the forge of Weyland could do better. The Hurricane only needs a publicly available report purchased from NACA to convince Hawker back in 1934 that they need to limit the wing chord/thickness ratios to less than 14% at the root.
 
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Didn't the Ariete (Re 2001) have an inline engine and come in a navalised version with a tail hook rooted just behind the wing?
Could the Italians supply quicker without engines?
reggiane-2001-s.gif
Aviastar.org
Problem is its using a licensed version of the German DB601 and only really turns up in 1942. Its only really equivalent to a Hurribomber in terms of speed/payload so by the time the design is upgraded ( Re 2005 equiv ) the UK will be popping out more planes than it knows what to do with.
 
In the PAM TL using the Fairy Monarch H24 engine the RAF have the Hawker Tornado (a working Typhoon) in spring 1941! would that do. The Monarch would give the Firefly 2000hp plus in 1941 if developed!! By the way what does this all have to do with the celestial dragons tanks?
 
I'm a bit unsure as to why. Italy got all they wanted of (German) Austria at St. Germain. What remains is held by Yugoslavia, not Austria. To be honest, they are having trouble with all the Germans they already annexed in South Tyrol as is. One might be able to make some arguments geographical for further gains in Carinthia, but even those would be minor and (given their geography) mostly worthless.

You'd probably get a better reaction offering a restoration of pre-Anschluss Austria, and then offering Italy a free hand there to turn it into another Albania.
Ah, the Mutilated Victory claims. What Italy really wanted was Dalmatia and Fiume, which it had been promised in the Treaty of London. Unfortunately Woodrow Wilson was rather against that, especially when it turned out that the Italian-speaking Dalmatians had for the most part mysteriously vanished and there were all these inconvenient Slovenes and Croatians all over the place instead.
I don't think that Dalmatia was on the table realistically at Trianon.
 
Norwegian Sea 1
8th June, Norwegian Sea, 1000

Admiral the Earl of Cork was in something of a dilemma over the report of heavy units of the German fleet. If only the Germans had waited one more week, the landings at Mo-i-rana would have been complete, and he would have more ships available. His first action had been to recall the battlecruisers, with the sinkings some 400miles west of Bodo, the report of a raider was either wrong, or at least not the heavy ships he really wanted to sink.

His problem was the distribution of his own heavy ships. Given the previous pattern of action of the Kriegsmarine, he was facing either cruisers or the twin battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. With Repulse and Renown away, his only battleship with his main force was HMS Valiant. HMS Warspite was on the way, which helped, but she wouldn't be in a position to cover the troop convoy that had sailed a few hours ago. The convoy only had a close escort of four destroyers, and while these would be sufficient to protect against an attack by light units, they couldn't hope to stop cruisers. The reported position of the German ships was well off the coast, and he also had to worry about them actually trying for a breakout rather than heading for action off Norway.

After a brief discussion with Lieutenant-General Auchinleck, he decided to recall the troop convoy. While the landing was needed soon, a day would hopefully not make a huge difference - it was taking somewhat longer to move south than expected - and by tomorrow he should have a much better idea of the situation at sea. In the meantime, he ordered Admiral Wells, currently commanding the covering force from HMS Ark Royal, to move closer to the coast to cover the approaches to Bodo and Narvik. This would allow him to keep searching for the German ships, while being in a good position to cover any attempt to bombard his ports. Admiral Wells had already ordered HMS Glorious to send off reconnaissance aircraft, and reported that he would launch another set of patrols from Ark Royal to cover the area south and west of Narvik, to make sure the Germans didn't cut towards the coast. While he didn't think the fleet position was known precisely, Luftwaffe aircraft had been an intermittent nuisance over the past week, and he assumed their general location was known.

With only one capital ship with the fleet, HMS Valiant couldn't be released until the Germans were identified and located. Leaving the carriers with just a couple of light cruisers was too dangerous if the attackers were indeed battlecruisers, as if the weather stopped flight operations they were fast enough to chase down his carrier group.

He did have two more cards to play. HMS Warspite and her covering destroyers were ordered to close the last reported position of HMS Juniper - fortunately she and her destroyers had just refuelled - and hopefully he would have some more definate information for them. The French cruiser force was instructed to close the coast some 20 miles south of Lofoten, to cover the coast in case the Germans were planning on slipping a light force in to bombard his ports while his heavy units were otherwise engaged.


Admiral Marshall now had to decide where to go to find some more targets. He had already detached Hipper and Emden to attack Bodo, and hopefully split the British forces at sea, while he moved north. He had requested a reconnaissance sweep by the Luftwaffe for that morning for the purpose of locating the British Fleet, and as soon as he had more data he would decide where to attack. For the time being he would head north east, from reports earlier in the week the British had at that time been at sea well west of Narvik. He knew that a supply run was on its way to Mo-i-rana, and if it had been spotted, then it was probable the British would send some destroyers to take care of it. Which would with any luck run straight into his cruiser force.


Captain Crutchley was currently discussing exactly which course to take. His instructions were somewhat vague, but it seemed that there was so far not much information, so his best chance of intercepting something seemed to be to first head for the position of the earlier action, and hope for more information on the way. His recent refuelling allowed him to proceed at speed, and so he hoped to be somewhere in the vicinity by the afternoon. His only problem was that if the ships had been the twins, they were considerably faster than Warspite, so unless he got very lucky they would likely run away from them. That would be a shame, he felt he could deal with both of them given any sort of chance, but unless the Germans could be caught between two battleships, or slowed by torpedo attack, they could get away if they wished.

Norwegian Sea, 1400

The first useful sighting of the raiding force was made by one of the Swordfish searching from HMS Glorious. The reconnaissance planes had been searching a line moving west from the coast, and the southernmost plane spotted a formation of four ships. Judging by the size, this looked like a couple of cruisers with a destroyer escort heading in the general direction of Mo-i-rana.

The report was examined with great interest on the Ark Royal. The ships had been sighted a bit east of where they'd expected them to be, and only seemed to be cruisers. The big question now was if this was all the raiding force, or if there was another part they hadn't spotted yet. Sinking a couple of German cruisers was of course useful, but they were really hoping for a crack at the twins. Admiral Wells and Captain Holland were considering a strike at the cruisers anyway - with two carriers available to him, he would be able to do at least one strike against another target - the question was how many aircraft to allocate, and how many to keep in reserve? After some discussion, a strike of twelve torpedo-armed Swordfish would be launched from HMS Glorious in an hour. Wells had been informed that the French cruiser force had been informed of the sighting, and would be altering course to intercept. His main worry was that his planes would attack the French by accident, and signalled Glorious to make sure the pilots were briefed accordingly. Twelve aircraft should be enough to at least damage the German force, allowing the French cruisers to intercept them. If nothing else was reported in the next couple of hours, he would authorise a second strike.
 
From the perspective of admitted ignorance....

Can anyone elaborate or RN tactics in the North Sea? With their massive numerical superiority, I would have expected lines of picket submarines, destroyers and maritime patrol aircraft to pen in the Kreigsmarine..... especially if the UK was sending relatively lightly escorted convoys to northern Norway.

I'm also wondering if either Belgium or Holland as they are both still in war would have been in a position to contribute maritime patrol aircraft, submarines or destroyers to such a picket, as that would enhance situational awareness even more?

Thank you in advance.....
 
While Dunkirk hasn't happened (yet!), there are a fair number of destroyers and other ships (including the belgian and Dutch ones) hanging around the French/Belgian/Dutch coast and the southern north sea. As are German MTB's and U-boats.

Norway has been seen a relatively peaceful (from a naval POV) since the KM surface force got hammered. The main threat is seen as aircraft and U-boats, so convoys have escorts, the main fleet isnt in so much danger, although destroyers operating alone or in pairs have got into trouble.
Maritime patrol aircraft? You mean those planes the RAF is hoarding to bomb German industry next year?
There are Allied subs around, but so far the KM hasn't run into any. So far...
And picket destroyers? Needed much more urgently elsewhere.
 
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