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Saturday, November 5, 2022

A small, out of order snippet

 Majors Adolf Galland and Werner Mölders listened as Reichsmarschall Göring ranted about the recent losses of bombers over England to a gathering of the senior Luftwaffe commanders in France.

“You are not doing enough to protect the bombers! They are being forced to turn away short of their targets! The bomber crews complain that they almost never see our fighters protecting them! I have even heard accusations of cowardice! This must change! From now on the fighters will stay in close proximity to the bombers at all times!”

Galland stood up. “Herr Reichsmarschall, tying the fighters to the bombers will make them less effective, not more. Fighters must be free to pursue the enemy, forcing them away from our bombers. Keeping them close will only give the RAF and Texas fighter squadrons larger, easier targets.”

“Perhaps that is true, Major, but nevertheless, it will be done. Now then, enough about what I want. What can I do to help you? Mölders, what do you need?”

“Herr Reichsmarschall, we need fighters with more powerful engines.”

“I see. Those are being developed, and should become available soon. What about you, Galland? What do you want?”

“A squadron of Spitfires, Herr Reichsmarschall, or of the Texan’s Hurricanes.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

New Snippet time…

 This takes place about mid-September 1940…

The next day, Karl held a meeting with his division commanders and senior captains.

“Well, gentlemen, it’s official. We sail for Gibraltar on October second, and we should arrive no later than October fifteenth. We’ll be operating from there in cooperation with Force H, under Vice-Admiral Sir James Somerville. In addition to the ships of the official TNEF and our support vessels, we’ll be getting the first eight of the Improved S-250 class subs to replace the boats we had before. They’ll have their own tenders and supply ships to support them. We’ll also be taking along eight T-200 subchasers and sixteen T-100 torpedo boats, again with the appropriate support ships.”

“Wow, sir, it sounds like we’ll be taking over the place.” said Rear Admiral Frank Buchanan, the carrier division commander.

“We pretty much will be, Frank. After a few weeks of joint operations to get to know the area, Force H is going to stand down so it’s major vessels can go in for overhaul. That means we’ll be covering the western Mediterranean, handling patrols, escorting convoys to Malta, and any operations that may be set up to draw the Italian Navy out to fight. For all practical purposes, we’re taking over the role that the French Navy would have been handling if things hadn’t gone so disastrously wrong for them.”

“Seems appropriate, sir, considering we’re the disaster the French Navy ran in to. Kind of like the ‘you break it, you bought it’ policy of the Frost Brother’s department store in San Antonio.”

“Exactly, Ignacio. With the Miami Accords effectively ending the war between us and France, Admiral Godfroy and General Prételat are busy organizing the Free French military forces. They are trying to get the French overseas territories to throw in with them instead of remaining loyal to the tyrant in Vichy. As part of that, we’re going to be required to stay at least twelve nautical miles offshore from any French territory, including mainland France itself, except in cases of declared emergency or by direct invitation from the Free French leadership. That also goes for approaching any Free French ships.”

Capt. Kyle Rothman, TNS Albuquerque’s CO, asked “So how will we be able to tell the difference between Free French ships and Vichy French, sir? And will we be allowed to engage Vichy ships at sea?”

“To answer your first question, the Free French Navy will be flying a tricolor flag with a Cross of Lorraine in the center. That’s a cross with an extra crossbar above the main one, in case y’all have never heard of it. As far as we know, the Vichy government is sticking with the pre-war flag.

As for the second question, technically not unless they fire first. However, the Accords also specify that no Free French ship will approach within twelve miles of any Texas flagged vessel. They will also be barred from Gibraltar except in emergencies or with direct permission from the First Sea Lord. So unofficially, anything flying the old French flag will get one warning, then get blasted if they don’t veer off.

And Speaking of the First Sea Lord, we’ll be getting our orders directly from him, just like Force H does now. They’ve tagged us as ‘Force T’ in their command structure.”

TNS El Paso’s captain, Gerald Duncan, said “Shouldn’t be too difficult, sir. After all, it’s just the Italians we’re up against.”

Karl tried to hide a grimace, making a mental note to get rid of Capt. Duncan at the earliest opportunity. “I wouldn’t be too cocky about it, Captain Duncan. The Regia Marina is most definitely not going to be a pushover. They’ve been preparing for war for at least ten years, and the Mediterranean Sea is their home waters, just like the Gulf of Mexico is for us.

In fact, that’s literally what they call it, ‘Mare Nostrum’ or ‘Our Sea’. They’ve got six battleships, all of ‘em either brand new or recently re-built to be faster and more powerful than anything the French had. The’ve also got a whole passel of fast, well-armed cruisers, destroyers, subs, and torpedo boats. And on top of all that, damn near everywhere we go there will be in range of land-based aircraft from the Regia Aeronautica.

This whole situation is the exact opposite of everything the Texas Navy has planned and trained for over the last forty years. We’re gonna be the invaders on their range, on the wrong end of a very long supply line, and I expect them to pull out all the stops to defend it.

And speaking of home ranges, Gibraltar is British soil. Has been since long before we kicked Santa Anna out. We will be guests in their home, and we will ACT like it. Anybody failing in that will find themselves scraping paint in the Brownsville dockyards for the rest of their lives. Does anybody need a clearer explanation of that?”

There was a loud chorus of ‘Sir, no sir!’ From the assembled officers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

More Book 3 snippage

 Picking up where the last snippet left off…

“Moving on to other matters, we have some very good news for you, Admiral Pound.” This was directed to Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy.

“Indeed, Prime Minister? How so?”

Eden replied. “The same communication from Texas’ President also advised that since the Texas Navy’s Caribbean Command has been fully stood up, and the movement of Texas troops and equipment to Britain is complete, the Texas Naval Expeditionary Force will be available for operations in cooperation with the Royal Navy by the end of this month.”

“That is very good news indeed, Prime Minister. Mister Eden, did the President’s communication happen to include their Order of Battle? It would be quite useful to know what the Texans are sending us.”

“There was a partial list included. Four Galveston class armoured cruisers, two San Jacinto class fleet aircraft carriers, four Albuquerque class light cruisers, and at least twelve Fayette County class destroyers, with further reinforcements yet to be determined. The force will be under the command of Vice Admiral Karl von Stahlberg.”

“My, that will be quite useful, particularly since Admiral Godfroy is still working on re-organizing what’s left of the French Navy. Since they’re sending von Stahlberg, I assume that they intend that we keep them together in a unified force?”

“I think that would be a reasonable assumption, Admiral. Where would they be best utilized at this time.?”

“Prime Minister, right now the most pressing concern is in the Mediterranean, especially with getting supplies and reinforcements to Malta. I would like to have them replace Force H at Gibraltar. Many of Somerville’s ships, particularly Hood, are badly overdue for overhaul.”

“Can the Texans stand up to the Regia Marina, Admiral? After all, the biggest ships they are sending are only cruisers. Italy has six battleships, along with a very powerful cruiser force of their own.”

“I believe they can, Prime Minister. Just look at the results of that battle off Martinique. Five French battleships sunk in one night, along with most of the remaining escort force and much of the invasion fleet, for the loss of only thirteen aircraft. Honestly, we may be entering the end of the age of battleships. Oh, not right away, but I suspect that by the end of this war a navy’s strength will be counted in aircraft carriers and submarines instead of battleships.”

“Very well, Admiral Pound. I agree with your decision. What do you intend to call them? ‘Texas Naval Expeditionary Force’ is all well and good for official documents, but it’s too much of a mouthful for everyday communications.”

“I think ‘Force T’ would be quite appropriate, sir. Don’t you?”

Book 3 is underway

 Working title: ‘Texas in the Med’. Here’s the first snippet…

September 1, 1940 - Number 10 Downing Street, London, England

Prime Minister Winston Churchill was meeting with his Cabinet and senior military advisors to review the current status of the war and to make plans for future operations. The first year of the war had seen substantial changes, going from the initial German invasion of Poland, to the relatively static ‘Phony War’, and finally to Axis domination of continental Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, leaving Britain isolated and under daily air attack. Her one-time ally, France, was now divided between German occupation and a home-grown tyrant who ruled southern France with an increasingly severe hand.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, was speaking. “So, as you can see, Prime Minister, now is the critical time. Fighter Command have devoted all available resources to the defence of Britain, but we are barely keeping up.”

“‘All’ resources, Sir Cyril?”

“Yes, Prime Minister, all. Just yesterday, the Polish and Czech squadrons were activated and added to the listed strength of Eleven and Twelve Groups.”

“What about the Texans? They have thus far provided six squadrons of Hurricanes, along with experienced pilots and all necessary support personnel. But they have not been used yet. Why is that?”

“Sir, their tactics and procedures don’t mesh well with standard RAF practice, and their commander, Brigadier General Killdeer, has refused to change them. Furthermore, he has also refused recommendations that his aircraft should be painted in standard RAF colours and markings to avoid possible confusion and mis-identification.”

“I was given to understand that their colour scheme and markings were quite distinctive, and unlikely to be confused with Jerry aircraft.”

“I fear that the confusion would be amongst the general public, Prime Minister. Seeing non-British aircraft in the skies over the combat zones may spark undue… concern, in people on the ground.”

“I find that difficult to believe, Marshal. After all, it’s quite well known that the Republic of Texas have allied themselves with us and have been providing men and materiel to help fend off any probable invasion from the German forces in France.”

“But Prime Minister, The Polish and Czech Governments-in-Exile have not objected to their men flying under our colours. In my opinion the Texans are being quite unreasonable.”

Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said “I don’t think it’s the least bit unreasonable. After all, the Polish and Czech squadrons are RAF squadrons, with all of their equipment provided by us. The Texans are here on their own, with equipment they manufactured and transported here, with pilots and maintenance staff they have provided. Of course they should fight under their own colours. It was absolutely ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”

“Dowding, what do you think of this? Should the Texans be moved south? “

Air Vice-Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the head of RAF Fighter Command hesitated, torn between the need to answer his Prime Minister honestly and not wanting to undercut his direct superior. Finally, he spoke. “Prime Minister, I should very much like to have them on active service in Eleven or Twelve Group. I believe their more powerful armament and other innovations would come as a great surprise to the Jerries. They have actually performed very well in practice intercepts, following the instructions of the ground controllers to the letter, scrambling in good time and reaching their assigned intercept stations quickly and in good order. I don’t believe there would be any trouble integrating them into Parks’ or Leigh-Mallory’s groups.”

Newall gave Dowding a very dirty look, but kept silent since the question had come directly from the Prime Minister. “Prime Minister, the problem of their air combat tactics remains. Those are quite similar to how the Jerries operate. This would be another source of possible confusion. No, sir. Barring unusual overriding circumstances, I cannot recommend bringing the Texas squadrons south at this time.”

“Dowding, what is the problem with the Texan’s air tactics? Surely this is something that can be worked out?”

“Prime Minister, I don’t see it as a problem at all. They use a two ship, leader - wingman formation as the basis of their combat doctrine, much like the Jerries do. We use a three ship formation, with a leader and two wingmen. This provides greater firepower to the formation, but some argue that it is less flexible than how the Jerries and Texans operate. This has actually been quite useful for training our pilots. Thirteen Group’s commander has been using the Texans as an ‘opposition force’ for new squadrons working up before being transferred south, giving them experience in the enemy’s tactics. Frankly, if there is any confusion caused by this, it will most likely be on the part of the Jerries, which can only work to our advantage.”

Eden spoke again. “As it happens, Sir Cyril, there are overriding circumstances. I am in receipt of an official communication from President Velasquez, asking why the Texas Marine Air Forces have not been committed to battle yet. I think it would be most imprudent to tell him that the head of the RAF feels they are not needed in the midst of the greatest air battle the world has ever seen. Don’t you agree?”

Newall spluttered, drawing a deep breath in readiness for a harsh reply. Thinking better of it, he sighed, then said “Very well. Dowding, when we have finished here please start the process to have the Texas squadrons transferred to Twelve Group. Perhaps Leigh-Mallory and Bader will know what to do with them.”

Dowding tried hard to hide the joy he felt at this decision. He mostly succeeded. “As you wish, sir.”

Thursday, September 29, 2022

It’s alive!!!

The second book in the ‘Republic of Texas Navy’ series, ‘The Lone Star, the Tricolor, and the Swastika’, is now available on Amazon.

I hope y’all like it.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Welcome to the Republic of Texas Navy Archives

 Hello everybody.

Welcome to my new blog.

This is where I will be posting updates on upcoming books, snippets from future works-in-progress, and other things related to my writing.

Things may be a bit confused here for a bit while I get settled in. My current plan is to get something posted every week. That may change as things develop.