Alt-history writing project

Everything cultural, pop or otherwise. Books, movies, music, comics, poetry, random cultural geekery.
User avatar
Netpackrat
Posts: 13833
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:04 pm

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by Netpackrat »

Given the enemy, the Texas forces simply must have a weapon known as the "Gig" in their arsenal.
Cognosce teipsum et disce pati

"People come and go in our lives, especially the online ones. Some leave a fond memory, and some a bad taste." -Aesop
BDK
Posts: 1645
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:14 pm

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by BDK »

Puts a new perspective on “Gig ‘Em”. 😂
User avatar
randy
Posts: 8244
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:33 pm
Location: EM79VQ

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by randy »

:lol:
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".
User avatar
Captain Wheelgun
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:31 am

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by Captain Wheelgun »

Netpackrat wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 6:07 am Given the enemy, the Texas forces simply must have a weapon known as the "Gig" in their arsenal.
:lol: Hmmmm. Given the results of the first battle, that might be a good nickname for the Model 1935 torpedo. :lol:
"The best diplomat I know is a fully charged phaser bank" - Cmdr. Montgomery Scott
Captain Wheelgun's World
User avatar
Captain Wheelgun
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:31 am

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by Captain Wheelgun »

Here’s another snippet. Unexpected help, and an unexpected headache...
(Note: Sir Henry is Sir Henry Tizard, who in our timeline lead the Tizard mission, bringing to the US such goodies as the cavity Magnetron for RADAR, prototypes of the proximity fuse, jet engines, and research into nuclear weapons.)

That afternoon - The Presidential Residence, Austin, Republic of Texas

“Mister Ambassador, Sir Henry, the President will see you now.” Josefina, the President’s personal assistant, showed them into the Executive Office. The President was behind his desk, and seated on one of the two couches in front of the desk were Secretary of War Gonzales-Alvarado, Secretary of State Lincoln, and Col. Erik Jansen, the current head of the JANSRC. Everybody sat back down after the introductions had been made.

“How can I help you today, Mister Ambassador?”

“Actually, Mister President, Sir Henry and I are here to explore ways that Britain can help you.”

“Really? That’s very generous of His Majesty’s Government. What kind of help are we talking about?”

“Scientific and technological advancements, Mister President. Back in Britain, one of my assignments is as the head of the Committee for the Scientific Survey of Air Defence. Among other things, we have been developing devices for the detection and tracking of aircraft and ships at night or at long distances. We call it RDF. The Prime Minister has asked me to look into the possibility of setting up an exchange program for scientific and technological developments amongst our nations. I’ve been accompanied by several of our senior researchers to help with this.”

“Thank you, Sir Henry. Mister Ambassador, I see why you asked to have Colonel Jansen here. Colonel, since we’ve already brought up the subject of detecting ships and aircraft, please explain our efforts along those lines.”

Jansen’s eyebrows rose for a moment, then he nodded to the President and turned to face the visitors. “Mister Ambassador, Sir Henry, we’ve actually been working on similar devices. We call ours ROLO, for Radio Object LOcation. We’ve had ground mounted test units for about a year, and recently installed mobile units aboard TNS Laredo, one of our Galveston class armored cruisers, and on the airship TNS Los Angeles.

Both of those test units were vital in detecting and shooting down the French bombers that attacked Galveston back at the end of February. We estimate that there were somewhere between twenty to thirty bombers, and we got over half of them, with suspected damage to the rest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep those bastards from dropping their poison.”

“Your device is able to direct gunfire?”

“Not quite yet, Sir Henry” said Secretary Gonzales-Alvarado. “It only provided range and bearing. Laredo’s ROLO crew were able to use that information to narrow down the area that the ship’s searchlights had to cover. It was the searchlights that pinpointed the bombers for the AA guns.”

“I see. Still, that’s very impressive, and I understand your frustration at not being able to do more. I was quite horrified when I heard about the gas attacks. Unbelievable that a supposedly civilised nation would do such things. Still, that is certainly a very promising start. You say you’ve mounted one on an airship?”

“Yes. Unfortunately, it’s still too big and heavy to mount on any airplane we currently own. The radio wavelengths we’re currently using require very large antennas. We’d like to go to shorter wavelengths, but the power requirement is too great for our current generation of electrical devices. Mister President, I’d like your permission to let Sir Henry and his team look over the plans and data for our ROLO system.”

“Joaquin, permission granted. In fact, I’d like for you and Colonel Jansen to give them access to everything we have or are developing. I’ve got a bad feeling that both of our nations are going to need every edge we can get against the Germans before this war is over.”

“Yes, Mister President.”

“Thank you very much, Mister President. I’m looking forward to what this exchange may develop.”

“As am I, Sir Henry. In fact...” The President’s secretary knocked at the door.

“Mister President, the Attorney General has requested a meeting with you as soon as possible, he says it’s about a vital constitutional issue regarding the war. He’s waiting in the outer office now.”

President Velasquez looked at Harry and Joaquin. They looked back, seemingly equally puzzled by this development. “Thank you Josefina. Please ask him to give me a few more minutes.”

“Yes, Mister President.”

Ambassador Molteno and Sir Henry stood. “Thank you for your time, Mister President. Would it be acceptable to continue this discussion with Secretary Gonzales-Alvarado at another time?”

“Very acceptable, Mister Ambassador. Please convey my thanks to His Majesty and the Prime Minister for their generosity.” He stood to escort them to the door, as did Harry and Joaquin.

Attorney General Wilson Carpenter was indeed waiting in the President’s outer office. “Thank you for seeing me so quickly, Mister President.” Seeing Harry and Joaquin, he said “I’m glad you gentlemen are here as well. The issue I have come to discuss involves your offices as well.”

Everyone took their seats. “What seems to be the issue, Wilson?”

“Mister President, I have just received the paperwork for a lawsuit filed by former Undersecretary of State Arthur Grayson. Mr. Grayson is suing to prevent quote, ‘any and all offensive actions against the French State’, claiming this would be a violation of the Constitution, specifically, the Anti-Imperialism Amendment of 1872.”

“Grayson resigned after the battle off Portugal. He was the one who had pressured Admiral Baines into leaving his carriers behind while I was out with that damned appendicitis.”

“Yes, I remember that, Harry. Wilson, my understanding of that Amendment was that it was intended to prevent Texas from following in the footsteps of other nations and becoming a colonial power. Any operations currently being contemplated, and I am not at liberty to discuss such things, would not be for that goal.”

“Yes, sir. However, the Fourth Amendment quite clearly states, and I quote, ‘The Army and Militia of the Republic of Texas are established solely for the defense of the Republic, it’s land, and it’s People. As such, they shall not be permitted to engage in any warlike activity beyond the borders of this Republic, with the sole exception of punitive actions in lands directly adjacent to the land borders of this Republic, in response to attacks across the borders.’, unquote.

Grayson’s argument is that since France does not hold any territory directly adjacent to our land borders, any forcible seizure of their territory, even if there are no plans to keep that territory after the war, would be prima facie unconstitutional.”

“But, Wilson, what about situations like the one we’re in now, where the Republic is under a very clear threat from a nation other than the United States or Mexico. It seems to me that that Amendment leaves us far too reliant on the goodwill of other nations. They can’t have been that short sighted. After all, we’d just finished up a war with France. They had to have thought that it could happen again?”

“That was precisely the intent, Harry. I read through the records of the debate before the Amendment was passed by the Congress and sent to the Counties for ratification. The men who drafted the Fourth Amendment were of the opinion that Texas was best defended from other nations by not being a threat to those nations. That whole thing was set up by the predecessors of today’s Social Progress Party. It was their pound of flesh in exchange for ratification of the Treaty of Frankfurt and the treaties with the Cheyenne and Comanche nations in the aftermath of the Anti-Imperial War. They were specifically counting on the Yankees enforcing their Monroe Doctrine to keep us safe.”

“Unfortunately, that pacifism seems to have failed in this case, as has the Monroe Doctrine, once again. We were no threat to France, until they chose to make us one. So now what? France has already shown willingness to use the most horrific weapons in existence against our civilian population. We can’t leave them safe in their territories to repeat such actions against us. The Constitution isn’t a suicide pact.”

“Exactly, Harry. So what would he have us do, Wilson? Sit back and wait for France to attack us again, and again, and again?”

“Yes, Mister President. His lawsuit states flat out that that is what the Constitution requires you to do. There is no way around it.”

“Yes, there is” said Joaquin, with the beginnings of a smile on his face. “The Fourth Amendment specifically mentions the Army and the Militia. What does it say about the Navy?”

“Nothing. That was the entire amendment I quoted, as I’m sure you know, Joaquin. I do recall that you were a practicing attorney before you were appointed to your current office, and had tried a case before the Supreme Court several years ago.”

“Yes, I was. And of course, Wilson is perfectly correct that the Fourth Amendment makes no mention at all of the Navy. Indeed, in the entire Constitution, the Navy is only mentioned once. Specifically, the clause requiring the Congress to, and I quote, ‘Raise and maintain a Navy adequate to the needs of the Republic.’ That’s it.

And there is the solution, Mister President. Unless the Congress and the people are willing to further amend the Constitution, we can’t use the Army outside of Texas for ‘warlike activities’. We can use the Navy, and it’s adjunct, the Marine Corps. As I recall from those debate records you mentioned, Wilson, the Navy was little more than an afterthought. It was acknowledged that, pretty much by definition, the Navy operated outside the borders of the country, so the Anti-Imperialism Amendment couldn’t apply to it. Since that’s the case, we can just put most of our effort into expanding the Navy and Marine Corps for any overseas operations we may find necessary.”

Wilson also smiled at that idea. “Thank you Joaquin. I knew there was a hole in Grayson’s arguments somewhere, it was just eluding me for the moment. We could probably even make a case for having the Army come in to relieve the Marines once they’ve completed the seizure of anyplace we need to take, using the Isla de Pinos as the precedent. Remember, the Navy and Marine Corps took that island, the Army only came in after it was secure.”

“Well, gentlemen, I seriously doubt we could get a Constitutional Amendment drafted, approved by the Congress, and ratified by the Counties in time for it to matter. Joaquin, please write up the budget request for expanding the Navy and Marines to fit what is needed, and authorizing the use of the Army only for occupation forces in places seized by the Marines.”

“Yes, Mister President.”
"The best diplomat I know is a fully charged phaser bank" - Cmdr. Montgomery Scott
Captain Wheelgun's World
User avatar
randy
Posts: 8244
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:33 pm
Location: EM79VQ

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by randy »

I realize this is a different timeline, but the radio geek in me kind of tripped over the Brits using "RDF" as the acronym for RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging).

RDF is pretty firmly embedded in my mind as "Radio Direction Finding", used for navigation and, in our timeline, to locate U-boats transmitting their daily detailed reports to that micromanager Doenitz. The allies were able to localize and destroy several U-boats, using units that had no knowledge of Enigma. (although those units were often in the right place to do the RDF and close on the targets as a result of Enigma intercepts, unknown to them)
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".
User avatar
Captain Wheelgun
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:31 am

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by Captain Wheelgun »

randy wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 3:32 pm I realize this is a different timeline, but the radio geek in me kind of tripped over the Brits using "RDF" as the acronym for RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging).

RDF is pretty firmly embedded in my mind as "Radio Direction Finding", used for navigation and, in our timeline, to locate U-boats transmitting their daily detailed reports to that micromanager Doenitz. The allies were able to localize and destroy several U-boats, using units that had no knowledge of Enigma. (although those units were often in the right place to do the RDF and close on the targets as a result of Enigma intercepts, unknown to them)
From the research I’ve done so far, the British deliberately used ‘RDF’ for their early radar, hoping to cause exactly that kind of confusion if anyone overheard it being mentioned. RADAR was the American term, and as I understand it wasn’t until after the war that it became the standard name everyone used.

That’s also why I came up with a different name for the Texan’s system.
"The best diplomat I know is a fully charged phaser bank" - Cmdr. Montgomery Scott
Captain Wheelgun's World
User avatar
randy
Posts: 8244
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:33 pm
Location: EM79VQ

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by randy »

OK, that makes sense.

And now that I think about it, I don't think the Brits used the term RDF during WWII for their DF operations. Closest I can recall was their HFDF (High Frequency Direction Finding) pronounced as "HuffDuff". It was the system they used (land and ship based) to localize U-Boat transmissions.

(assuming my memory isn't totally out to lunch. Been a long time since I last read up on that stuff).
...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".
User avatar
MiddleAgedKen
Posts: 2828
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:11 pm
Location: Flyover Country

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by MiddleAgedKen »

Tickled to see the mention of the cavity magnetron. Herman Wouk had British scientists explain it to Victor Henry in The Winds of War. Pug Henry got the undivided attention of the Air Corps general he briefed about it (General Fitzgerald, who turned up again in War and Remembrance) when he mentioned the RAF had started installing it in their night fighters (this was in 1940).
Shop at Traitor Joe's: Just 10% to the Big Guy gets you the whole store and everything in it!
User avatar
Captain Wheelgun
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:31 am

Re: Alt-history writing project

Post by Captain Wheelgun »

Here’s a short action snippet. The offensive has begun...

Fort de France Airport, just after dawn.

A flight of Harpoon torpedo bombers, carrying a mix of general purpose and thermobaric bombs, attacked the French aircraft and hangars around the perimeter of the airport, being careful not to hit the runway itself. Overhead, a flight of Hurricanes circled, waiting to pounce on any enemy aircraft that actually managed to get into the air. The radio was alive with chatter.

“Holy mackerel, did y’all see what those new bombs did to that hangar?”

“Yup, that thang’s flatter than one of Cookie’s tortillas. Wouldn’t want to be a Frog wrench-bender right now.”

“Can the jaw-jackin’, y’all” said the flight leader. “We need to keep this channel clear.”

“Roger, lead.”

“Sledgehammer lead to Packmule lead, y’all should be clear to land now. Good luck.”

“Packmule lead to Sledgehammer, roger, thanks.”

Packmule flight, the 10 Cargofly transport autogyros from TNS Eagle, had been circling over the jungle a short distance from the airport. They now broke their circle and headed in. They descended quickly, lining up on the runway. The lead ‘gyro flew to the far end and flared, touching down on the numbers. The remaining ‘gyros spaced out their landings along the runway to avoid collisions. As each one touched down, the aft ramp dropped, disgorging the Marines inside.

While this was happening, the pilots engaged the rotor pre-rotator, preparing for a jump takeoff as soon as the last troops were out. One by one, the ‘gyros leaped back into the air, not waiting for the crew chief to finish closing the ramp. They had spent no more than two minutes on the ground.

“Packmule lead to all Packmules. Report when airborne.”

“Packmule 2 up.” “Packmule 5 up.” In short order all ten were airborne and headed back to Eagle.

“Packmule lead to Pullman lead, your turn. Packmule flight is returning to the barn.”

Pullman flight, the ‘gyros from TNS Falcon, repeated the process. In less than 15 minutes, two companies of Marines had taken over the island’s airport. They started rounding up prisoners and digging in.
"The best diplomat I know is a fully charged phaser bank" - Cmdr. Montgomery Scott
Captain Wheelgun's World
Post Reply