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Wednesday, August 21st 2019, 1:03am

French News, 1949

Year to date...

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Wednesday, August 21st 2019, 1:04am

France's Oldest Battleship, Carrier Retired
Saturday, January 1, 1949 - The French Navy decommissioned the aged battleship Lorraine today at the port of Brest, where the battleship shall be broken down for scrap. Lorraine remained in service several years longer than her sisterships Bretagne and Provence, which were retired and scrapped in 1942. The Lorraine remained in use as a training ship for cadets, but was not acknowledged as a first-line combat unit after about 1943 onward. An association of naval veterans called for the Marine Nationale to construct a new battleship to take up the name of the retired ship.

A similar fate has overtaken France's first aircraft carrier, the Clemenceau. For the last two years, the Clemenceau has been employed as an aircraft transport, making four voyages to the Orient to deliver over four hundred military jets to French and Indochinese units in the region. On her last voyage, the ship began taking water and suffered several turbine failures and limped into Cam Ranh Bay in November, leading to the decision to decommission the ship, scrap it in Indochina, and send the crew home aboard other ships. Most of Clemenceau's flight operations crew had already been reassigned to the new carrier Foudroyant, recently completed and soon to commission.

The Marine Nationale has also announced that it would retire and scrap all remaining "CS-27" and "CS-30" type coastal submarines this year, as replacements are currently under construction.

Iberia, France Ink Agreement on Motorway Ties
Monday, January 3, 1949 - In Madrid, French Minister of Public Works Théodore Lhomme signed the Campo de Moro Agreement with Iberia today along with the Iberian Prime Minister, establishing a joint agreement to construct two autoroute connections between the two countries. The Iberian government has spent several years considering the construction of high-speed limited access motorways (such as the ones in France, Germany, and Eastern Europe) but had not strongly committed to the financial cost inherent in the project. However, in 1949, construction crews will begin clearing terrain for Iberia's first autoroutes. The first will run along the Mediterranean from the French border (Marseilles and Montpellier) to Barcelona and Valencia, before turning west to reach Madrid. A second autoroute, purely internal, will run from Lisbon to Porto, and will open in 1953.

With Visconti in Tunisia
Saturday, January 15, 1949 - Visitors to the Tunisian town of El Fahs might be forgiven in questioning the century, as Italian cinema director Franco Visconti films his epic movie Cartagine deve essere distrutta. Visconti and his crews - with laborers numbering in the hundreds, and on some days, the thousands - have constructed an ancient replica of Carthage in the countryside. In only a few days, the costumed population will swell dramatically as the crews film the ultimate Battle of Zama, where over ten thousand people have been hired (for three francs a day) to simulate the armies of Rome and Carthage. Along with these legions of extras are found many hundreds of horses and a reputed twenty elephants. French actor Jean Marais stars as Hannibal, while Amedeo Nazzari plays the Roman general Scipio. Marina Berti, Carlo Tamberlani, and Clara Calamai round out the movie's major cast.

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Wednesday, August 21st 2019, 1:17am

Quoted

Cartagine deve essere distrutta


Wow, just wow... 8o

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Tuesday, September 24th 2019, 5:06am

Skipping ahead slightly to February 25th, the French government and military, and the Russian government and military acting in consultation, make the following actions.

OOC: This list is not exhaustive. This list is published OOC. Some items may be publicly announced, while other items may be suppressed and will only come out over time.

Quoted

Naval:
-- FR: Vice-amiral d'escadre Régis Bérenger will bring the 2nd Division de Croiseurs (Jean Bart and Jeanne d'Arc) and the 7th Flotilla Torpillieurs (8x Forbin-class destroyers) from Noumea to reinforce the ships in Indochina.
-- FR: Contre-amiral Ernest Bailly will bring the Force opérationnelle Atlantique Sud (carriers Zélé and Héros, heavy cruisers Redoubtable and Renommée, four destroyers and eight escortiers) from Dakar to Djibouti. In Dakar, this task force covers much of the same region as the Atlantean Navy, and does not materially affect coast guard duties in western Africa. Moving it to Djibouti allows them to redeploy a lot more quickly to support the FNEO. If events demand, they may end up bypassing Djibouti and heading straight to the South China Sea.
-- RU: The carrier Reval, currently working up out of Brest, will receive orders to join Pacific Fleet upon completion of her working-up period in May. He will likely transit via the Mediterranean.
-- FR/RU: On March 26th, joint admiralties will issue an advisory to all French and Russian merchant vessels to leave Chinese ports at their earliest convenience, or to turn around if bound there.
-- FR: February 25th, French Navy requests that the German East Asia Squadron (IIRC, unit is Custozza and Novara plus the eight Jagd-class and support units) be sent to Straits of Singapore or Sunda Strait in preparation to interdict Chinese merchant shipping in this area. (Note: depending on Dutch/British response, these orders may be withdrawn.)
-- FR: At the present time, no immediate deployment of the French carriers is ordered, but logistics units are assigned to prepare for this movement, and Vice-amiral André-Georges Lemonnier is ordered to draw up operational plans to this effect.
-- RU: At the present time, no immediate deployment of the Russian Northern Fleet is ordered, but logistics units are assigned to prepare for this movement, and Vice Admiral Gordey Levchenko is ordered to draw up operational plans to this effect.
-- FR/RU: Antisubmarine booms and anti-torpedo nets are taken out of storage and inspected for deployment. If the 27th passes without Chinese withdrawal, they will start being deployed.

Ground:
-- FR/IN: Indochinese Territorial Army will call out the reserves effective February 27th, and begin establishing defensive lines in the north. Should Chinese forces advance, some territory will inevitably be written off without contest.
-- FR: The 1er Division d'Infanterie Navale d'Assaut (1er DINA), 10e Division Parachutiste (10e DP) and the 14e Division de Grenadiers de Marine (14e DGM), part of the French ready-response ground troops, will receive orders to prepare for deployment to Indochina. Shipping will be arranged, and the 1er DINA will likely be sent to the theater immediately, followed by the 14e DGM.
-- RU: Russian Ground Forces orders immediate estimate of military stockpiles in Siberian and Russian Far East combat zones.
-- RU: Russian border with China is closed.

Air:
-- FR/IN/RU: Fighter aircraft moved to dispersal runways; interceptor units in the north of Indochina are placed on high alert.
-- FR/IN/RU: Ammunition is distributed to AA troops and daily drills are ordered.
-- FR/RU: Germany is requested to advise whether or not they could move an anti-shipping air unit either to Indochina or to Vladivostok region.

Political:
-- FR: On February 25th, French ambassador to Manila instructed to inform the Philippines of the French Union's ultimatum to China, its expiration on February 27th, and notification that the French will demolish the Chinese station at Macclesfield Bank on March 1st.
-- FR: On February 27th, if French ultimatum to China is not met, France will ask its allies to terminate any civil and military contracts with China by April 1st.
-- FR: France will ask SAER powers (principally Netherlands, UK) to terminate any shipments of military use (principally oil and other strategic materials) to China, and prevent Chinese ships-of-war from calling in their ports.
-- FR: France will ask Japan & Chosen to terminate any shipments of military use (principally oil and other strategic materials) to China, and prevent Chinese ships-of-war from calling in their ports. (I believe this is already a non-issue considering their current relations.)
-- RU: Advises Mongolia that Russian Ground Forces will be made available to defend Mongolian soil in the event of a war, but Mongolia is requested not to enter hostilities unless provoked or attacked by China. (Mongolian Army is in the middle of reforming - defense of Mongolia represents a major liability to Russia.) Russia will nevertheless transfer two tank divisions worth of T-44 medium tanks (obsolete in RU service) and supporting trucks to the Mongolian Army.

Civil:
-- FR/IN: Indochina will begin distributing gas masks to civilians in cities.
-- RU: Russia will begin distributing gas masks to civilians in cities.
-- FR/RU: If the French ultimatum passes without response, France and Russia will expel all Chinese citizens on February 28th; they will have until March 13th to leave. Ethnic Chinese in Indochina (approximately 5% of population) are explicitly exempted from this order; however, if they maintain dual citizenship in China, they will be asked to revoke it (or leave Indochina).

Requests to Allies:
-- RU: Assuming Germany is politically willing to assist in a war with China, Russia requests that German Heer and Luftwaffe immediately send a technical commission to consult with Russian General Staff; Russia expects that the Germans will be more amenable to assisting Russian forces on the Chinese northern border (for reasons of supply and better familiarity with the terrain types).
-- RU Ground Forces asks the German government to open a line of negotiations with Mongolia. If Mongolia becomes involved in the war due to Chinese actions, the Russians would like to propose that German ground units form a reserve that could take a lead in the defense of at least one sector of Mongolia.
-- RU: German Luftwaffe is asked to contribute their airbase-building troops to start immediate work on at least two military airbases in the Kazakh border region, with Luftwaffe air units to deploy there immediately upon their completion. Should the crisis pass, the Russians will purchase the airbases.
-- FR: The Chileans and Atlanteans are asked to reinforce Papeete with fleet and marine units, and conduct patrols in this area.

Requests to Others:
-- FR: request sent to Manila for immediate exchange of military intelligence on Chinese naval, air, and ground forces in the theater.
-- FR: request sent to Manila asking for mutual exchange of information on zones of patrol for each side's ships (to prevent potential accidents).
-- FR: French ambassador to Manila requests that Philippine government hold off abrogating Article VII of the Treaty of Saigon until March 1st; if China fails to respond to the French ultimatum by this date, then France/Indochina will support Manila in this action.
-- FR: The British are asked to strengthen their naval, air, and ground forces in Singapore and Hong Kong. Britain is advised that, should war break out, large French and Russian fleets will be dispatched to the Asiatic Area of Operations. Britain is further advised that, should such events transpire, France and Russia may invite allied German fleet units to take up patrols in areas traditionally outside their normal area of operations.
-- FR: The Dutch and British will be asked to monitor Chinese merchant ships moving past Singapore and through the Sunda Straits (and other waterway passages of relevance), and advise French naval authorities of their positions and supposed cargoes. Similarly, they will be asked to track any Chinese submarines operating in the region, and pass that information on to the French.

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Tuesday, September 24th 2019, 5:59pm

I find it interesting that the Australians have been completely ignored. They have no love for either side, but they can be a very big wildcard right next door to the French islands.

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Tuesday, September 24th 2019, 11:50pm

I find it interesting that the Australians have been completely ignored. They have no love for either side, but they can be a very big wildcard right next door to the French islands.

No reason to worry about nations with whom France shares cordial relations. Although I suspect we'll have something to fear in the upcoming Great Barbecue Cook-off of 1949.

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Wednesday, September 25th 2019, 10:38am

I find it interesting that the Australians have been completely ignored. They have no love for either side, but they can be a very big wildcard right next door to the French islands.
How so? I'm not sure if that's a threat or a hint about cooperation.

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Wednesday, September 25th 2019, 12:35pm

I find it interesting that the Australians have been completely ignored. They have no love for either side, but they can be a very big wildcard right next door to the French islands.
How so? I'm not sure if that's a threat or a hint about cooperation.


I suspect that someone has overlooked the "regime change" in Canberra, the Commonwealth Adjustment.

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Wednesday, September 25th 2019, 1:01pm

Britain could be churlish and point out that Australia left SAER which guarded against this kind of threat. Luckily for Australia the commonwealth bond still ensures that Britain would protect Australia.

In practical terms, if China is tangling with a Franco-Russo-Germano fleet then they will have their hands more than full to worry Australia.

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Wednesday, September 25th 2019, 6:50pm

I was just pointing out that back in the day there was no love between Australia and the French-German Alliance. There was even a diplomatic incident after a German overflight of Rabaul. That's why Australia left SEAR in the first place, they had no intentions of fighting in a French war. I don't know what ShinRa's plans or intentions are, but I would assume that the diplomatic incident and Australia leaving SEAR are still relatively recent to at least give the French something to think about.

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Friday, September 27th 2019, 8:43am

I was just pointing out that back in the day there was no love between Australia and the French-German Alliance. There was even a diplomatic incident after a German overflight of Rabaul. That's why Australia left SEAR in the first place, they had no intentions of fighting in a French war. I don't know what ShinRa's plans or intentions are, but I would assume that the diplomatic incident and Australia leaving SEAR are still relatively recent to at least give the French something to think about.


Its interesting that Australia takes that opinion seeing as the French were not the ones stomping around near Hong Kong not so long ago, it was the Canadians (of all nations) and the Australians seemed to be willing to join in the fracus if it devolved further. That certainly would not have been a "French war". The French have always stood up for the Vietnamese and their freedom to navigate in their own waters without being bullied, something you would think the Australians would sympathize with being somewhat isolated from the rest of the commonwealth. I have doubts to just how far they could go pushing the French buttons before the rest of the Grand alliance (it also includes Russia, Atlantis, Colombia and Chile, not just France and Germany) and their own commonwealth partners would step in and put enough diplomatic pressure to show the Australians how un-reasonable their position would be. If Australia actually did decide to throw caution and all reason to the wind they could find themselves grand standing off of French Islands facing Russian or Atlantean vessels. It could certainly lead to a few awkward moments...

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Sunday, September 29th 2019, 5:57am

Paris - February 28th, 1949
The sun had yet to rise in Paris when the French cabinet convened. Added to their number, at least for this special session, was Comte de Rochefort of the Deuxième Bureau, who sat in silence next to Minister of National Defense Édouard Delcroix.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Prime Minister Edmond Michelet said. "Let's get this session underway at once. We have received and just finished decoding the response of Chinese Prime Minister Chiang kai-Shek, delivered to our ambassador in Beijing shortly before the deadline. You will find copies at your place on the table. Please take a few moments to read the response."

Papers rustled for a few minutes as the cabinet glanced through the letter. "I can't say I'm fully satisfied with this response," Minister of Foreign Affairs Georges Mandel finally said aloud. "But I think it's the best we're going to get short of a forcing them to the negotiating table at the close of a bloody war."

"In general, I agree with Georges. Have they actually conceded?" Madeline Barthelemy asked from her position at the Prime Minister's right. "All of kai-Shek's talk of how this is a civilian station... it's not perfectly clear to me what their intentions are."

"Comte?" Michelet prompted.

"Our intelligence on that remains unclear," Comte de Rochefort said. "Our initial impression is that they intended to develop something like the Maunsell sea-forts that the Philippines have constructed. More recent data is... less clear, although this may be Beijing's attempt to confuse the issue after the fact. But we can prove the orders originated from Admiral Tan Won of the Southern Fleet, and almost certainly from the High Council above him. I believe that even if the station they constructed was intended to be civilian, it was done at the behest of the military leadership."

"In short," Mandel said, "Even if it was supposed to be civilian, it wouldn't have remained civilian for very long. Or would have been little more than a cover for their military activities."

"Yes," de Rochefort said.

Minister Delcroix leaned back in his chair. "The force of surface ships dispatched by Admiral Tan Won shows that he fully anticipated the possibility - indeed, the likelihood - of a conflict. If not with us, then with Britain or the Philippines. Manila, in particular, remains strongly opposed to any concession on Macclesfield Bank."

"As they have informed Foreign Affairs," Mandel agreed.

"There's one further thing," Comte de Rochefort said, his quiet voice uncharacteristically reticent. "The Iberian intelligence service passed on to me this message, sent on the 26th to the flag officer at Macclesfield Bank. It originated from within the Chinese High Council. In brief, it instructed the flag officer to attack our naval ships operating in the area - after the receipt of the President's note on the 25th. I am still working to determine where the message originated and whether or not it represented a genuine command of the High Council - or instead came from a rogue faction within it."

Mandel frowned. "Very troubling, if true."

Barthelemy gave the group a bitter smile. "And it reinforces our belief that China is not dealing with us honestly, and ultimately desires to seize regional political supremacy. In this case, however, they must have decided the time was not right."

"Is that due to the military situation?" Michelet asked, looking at Comte de Rochefort.

"Possibly," the Comte replied. "I continue to stand by my earlier assessment that we have a three to five year window where the combination of our technological edge and our foreign alliances gives us a decided advantage over the Chinese military. But their economy is growing - albeit not as fast as Indochina or the Philippines - and they have such a huge mass of manpower that they still could overwhelm any single nation on their borders. And we have yet to see what the future holds for the Dutch East Indies. If they gain independence as the trends seem to indicate, the Dutch could end up bowing out of our regional alliances, and the Chinese could - conceivably - find in the newly independent state an ally - or at least a power more suitable to pressure or manipulation."

Michelet nodded slowly. "So getting back to the matter at hand, what is our consensus on a response to China?"

"Wait and see," Delcroix said. "Just because the Chinese said they'd abandon their construction doesn't mean they actually will do so. We should hear within the next day whether or not the Chinese have withdrawn from Macclesfield Bank. If they have not..."

Barthelemy spoke up. "We can afford to wait a few days, certainly; it will allow Indochinese civil officials to finish some of their preparations in case war does break out... particularly given how the Comte believes the Chinese will immediately resort to chemical weapons on civilian populations. But ultimately, I council against waiting too long to deal with China."

"If the Chinese continue their construction," Delcroix agreed, "then by all means, I support going forward with Operation Espèce."

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Sunday, September 29th 2019, 2:22pm

Speaking OOC, a most interesting discussion of the situation and its implications.