Sep 162014
 

16th September 1939

Soviet and Mongolian Commanders, including Zhukov at right.

Japan has redeployed troops away from the Soviet territories and agreed to a a truce.

Free from the possibility of a second front with the East, Stalin is now able to concentrate on Europe, safe in the knowledge that Nazi Germany won’t attack.

While Zhukov had been busy routing the Japanese on the battlefield, Stalin had very neatly outmanouvered them at the diplomacy table signing with Japan’s ally Germany. The planned Japanese counter-offensive to retake the territory was cancelled after Japan signed a cease-fire in Moscow.

Sep 102014
 

10th September 1939

Canada has joined the fray and declared war on Germany. They join with France, Britain, Australia, India, and New Zealand who declared immediately on 3rd September. South Africa joined the cause on the 6th.

The Poles meanwhile have ordered a general retreat back to defensive positions. Germany’s extremely effective and efficient propaganda machine has used the same radio frequency as Radio Warsaw to falsely announce the fall of the Polish capital. More than a dozen airstrikes have hit Warsaw today, causing much damage and more than a few deaths.

France has at least half of it’s active divisions in action along the northern part of the Maginot Line and despite pressure from Poland claims there is little more they can do at this stage.

Britain’s Expeditionary Force (BEF) has commenced landing at Calais with the first of 160,000 troops, nearly 25,000 vehicles and well over 100,000 tons of supplies planned for September.

Disaster at Sea for Britain

O_Class_(AWM_301134)

Odin Class Submarines HMAS Oxley (front) and Otway during their service in Australia prior to their transfer back to the Royal Navy in 1931. Oxley was sunk by HMS Triton today.

This time the Royal Navy has shown up Britian’s total lack of readiness for war. HMS Triton was working with HMS Oxley (formerly of the Royal Australian Navy, but returned to the RN in 1931).  Triton spotted a submarine in an unexpected location and signalled recognition codes to the unidentified sub via light. When the submarine failed to respond, it was assumed to be an enemy submarine and fired upon with two torpedoes. Only two survivors were recovered from Oxley and all other hands were lost.

A subsequent board of enquiry found that Oxley was grossly out of position and failed to respond appropriately to light signals. Subsequently, Triton’s commander was found to have acted correctly, given the high probability of German submarines operating in the North Sea.

 

Sep 072014
 

7th September 1939

German troops watch on as the Artillery softens up a target.

German troops watch on as the Artillery softens up a target.

German forces are within 25 miles of Warsaw, with the Polish army badly split and almost entirely encircled. The XIX Panzer Corps has the Polish 18th Division outnumbered and outmanouvered around Wizna.  Some reports indicate the Poles may be outnumbered by as much as 40 to 1. The Poles are certainly putting up a brave fight, with many units having small individual successes, but the Germans are pushing forward despite their losses. The Poles have sometimes managed to break through encirclements and regroup at the next defensive line, but are moving ever closer to Warsaw.

In other news

The French meantime are making forays into German territory along the Maginot line, but these are limited.

The annexation of Danzig appears complete with the garrison of Westerplatte, after a spirited defence, finally surrendering to German forces.

At sea, the British have continued their attacks on German submarines along the German coast. A British steamer was sunk 200 miles north-west of Spain in the Atlantic. A Dutch steamer was also attacked while being escorted by destroyers, but the torpedoing failed. Hitler today cautioned his Admirals against attacking passenger vessels though, as he is wary of drawing the United Stated into the war.

On the diplomatic front, Iraq has severed ties with Germany. Great Britain’s ambassador and embassy staff have returned to England.

Mobilisations and call-ups of reserves continue with Ireland and Yugoslavia being the most recent to go onto a war footing.

The Panama Canal, although already well defended, has been placed under US military control.

Sep 062014
 

6th September 1939

In a continuation of the poor showing by the RAF, Hurricanes and Spitfires were scrambled separately at 6:15am in response to a suspected German raid. The Battle of Barking Creek was fought out between three Spitfires of ‘A’ Flight, 74 Squadron and two reserve Hurricanes of 56 Squadron.

This resulted in both Hurricanes being shot down by the 2 of the 3 Spitfires. Pilot Officer Montague Hulton-Harrop was killed in the incident, shot in the back of the head. He was dead long before his plane crashed into farmland in Sussex. The second pilot survived. The two reserve aircraft were following behind the main force of 6 Hurricanes from 56 Squadron.

A Hawker Hurricane, similar to those shot down.

A Hawker Hurricane, similar to those shot down.

With the war only 3 days old and no RAF fighter pilot having any combat experience in this conflict, it is clear that no procedures have been put in place to train pilots in distinguishing enemy from friend.

A court marshal will be formed over the next few days to determine the cause and possibly punish those involved. However we need to take into consideration that these pilots were thrust into a situation for which they had no experience and little training. Expecting enemy aircraft, they opened fire.

This is the second major incident, resulting loss of pilots and aircraft, for the RAF in 2 days.  Britains first fighter pilot death in this war is the unfortunate victim of friendly fire.

Meanwhile

South Africa has joined the Allies, declaring war on Germany.

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