Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

That’s what I’m looking for, leaning more heavily to the latter. Fallout vertibirds, when stripped of their ‘outer casing’, as it were, are closer to Hueys in their role s and capacity. That niche is filled by actual helicopters, including the ubiquitous UH-1, rotodynes and smaller twin tiltrotorcraft.

This is something in the class of Chinook or some of the even bigger blighters, with the range to come a long way inland and back to a waiting carrier coming from numerous Vietnam War ops, including the successful Son Tay analogue. As an interesting side effect, this would render any issues with the likes of Eagle Claw fairly moot (not that it is on the cards).
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jemhouston
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by jemhouston »

MV-022 and Eagle Claw https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... ll-boeing/

Eagle Claw had enough other issues to make the IJN staff say, "Never smoke the war reserve stuff during business hours."
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

It won’t be a starter with a USA with a Reagan Administration + a victory in Vietnam + larger forces and capabilities to begin with.

The parameters that lead to the Osprey in @ have been filled by the Rotodyne, which had its minor issues with noise addressed early on in its career. These new VTOL tiltrotors, which may well get the eponymous label of ‘vertibirds’, fill a further intermediate niche between rotodynes and helicopters.

This points to a need not just for a 1970 update for some of the orbats (and appropriate post Vietnam codas) but for some consolidated posts on Aircraft, Ships and Land Equipment.
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

Dark Earth Aviation Developments 1970-73

1970
January 20 1970: Anglo-American symposium on lessons of air to air combat in Vietnam

February 21 1970: Vietnam War Armistice, with the air combat score being 524-306. (This is a bit deceptive in a way, as the latter figure includes bombers, attack aircraft and fighter-bombers shot down vs the pure fighter-fighter numbers of Korea. When the same measure of that conflict is applied, it comes out to 512-236.)

March 27 1970: The Royal Israeli Air Force carries out a multi layered air defence exercise over Sinai and the Eastern Mediterranean

July 2 1970: The 3278th and final de Havilland Comet, a Super Comet 6 destined for Hyderabad Airlines, rolls off the assembly line at Hatfield, concluding the production run after 23 years

July 18 1970: The Arab Union orders 300 Dassault Mirage F2 fighter-bombers as part of an economic investment deal with France

August 26 1970: Introduction of the Fairey Rotodyne Avenger, a new heavy attack variant carrying a large armament of rockets, guided missiles, cannon and bombs

September 8 1970: Deployment of the first Hawker-Siddeley Hurricane squadron of RAF Germany, a move described as considerably increasing its capability and qualitative edge over the Soviet Air Force. It is regarded by the RAF as a superior fighter/interceptor than the Phantom, whilst being equally capable in the fighter-bomber, ground attack and atomic strike roles

September 19 1970: Entry into active USAF service of the McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter. Capable of a top speed of over Mach 3 and a combat radius of 1250 miles, over 2400 of the supercruising Eagles are projected as being ordered for Tactical Air Command, USAFE and the Pacific Air Forces Aerospace Defense Command

November 10 1970: Maiden flight of the Lockheed Jetstar 'jumbo jet', a four engine very long range counterpart to the Boeing 747, McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, Convair-Bell 1550 and the Curtiss-Wright Super Condor. Noted Daily Planet journalist Clark Kent opines that the United States’ aviation industry is approaching the verge of having too many major companies in some particular aircraft markets

November 17 1970: The Aircraft (National Preference) Act 1970 is given Royal Assent, setting out a mandated requirement for preferential purchases of British or Commonwealth aircraft by the Armed Forces and publicly owned entities, such as Imperial Airways, and making access to certain taxation exemptions for private corporations contingent upon compliance with the Act. This measure is designed to provide further encouragement and protection for the British aerospace sector, which has seen a marked recent increase of foreign sales and orders in both military and civil aircraft

November 29 1970: RAF Middle East issues an approving report on the performance of the Sopwith Camel supersonic VSTOL assault transport in operational testing in Aden, highlighting its flexibility and speed of response, but also noting that its armament and versatility could potentially lead to inter-service disputes as to its proper control, given the recent RFC acquisition of Hawker-Siddeley Harrier jet fighters. The concluding paragraph puts the matter pithily: "We set out to get a transport, but ended up with a genuine army co-operation plane that can perform the full range of missions, with all that entails."


1971

January 3 1971: Beginning of a NATO aerial combat training exercise at Nellis AFB in Nevada, pitting the McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle up against the Supermarine Spitfire, the Saab Viking, the prototype Dassault Super Mirage 2000, the Avro Arrow 4 and the Messerschmitt Me-529

January 23 1971 The United States Air Force conducts a formal ceremony to mark the retirement of the last Lockheed C-130 Hercules in active service, with the new and superior McDonnell-Douglas C-15 acting as a welcome replacement; the Hercules remains the backbone of Air National Guard and USAFR transport wings

February 4 1971: Rolls-Royce signs an agreement for the sale of 500 units of its new 64,000lbf RB.250 turbofan engine to Lockheed-Martin, marking its greatest postwar success in the U.S. market to date

February 19 1971: Ottoman Turkey signs an agreement for the purchase of 80 Tupolev Tu-16 Badger bombers from the Soviet Union, leading to an announcement later in the day for the transfer of 60 surplus Valiants by Britain to the Kingdom of Egypt and the Royal Israeli Air Force ordering 50 new Vickers Vimy supersonic bombers

March 10 1971: A full squadron of RAF Avro Vulcan bombers sets off for a round the world flight, to culminate in a live fire exercise in Western Australia testing new air launched cruise missiles and the newest Blue Steel variants

March 16 1971: The Royal Israeli Air Force places an order for 250 Hawker-Siddeley P.1204 Hurricanes to replace its current fleet of Merlin fighter-bombers, with the British Hurricane being currently in production being the first of two decisive factors in its success over the Convair YF-16, with the other being its subsidised cost under Commonwealth defence agreements. Rigorous operational and simulated combat testing of the McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle, Supermarine Spitfire and Dassault Super Mirage 2000 for the frontline air superiority role is ongoing, with the new aircraft planned to provide a long range compliment to the RIAFs English Electric Lightnings and the multi-role swing fighter force of F-4 Phantoms and de Havilland Tornadoes

March 19 1971: The US Army and the CIA begin development of a powerful new helicopter with a number of innovative attributes in Project Airwolf, with a goal of fielding the world's most versatile VTOL aircraft to equip various special operations groups

April 9 1971: First flight of the Embraer Vespa, Brazil's first supersonic jet fighter. The project has been quite controversial since its initiation in 1963, with the performance of the Vespa left behind somewhat by the rapid development of cutting edge foreign aircraft and the cost being decried as excessive by a number of political groups, but it represents a large step forward for Brazilian aviation and technology

April 21 1971: The USAF begins testing a special 'laser' ray gun suitable for use in fighter and bomber aircraft, with the advance of miniaturization technology now being sufficient to permit practical application of the principle first seen in the Martian heat rays of 1898 and later bought to service in the great skyships

April 27 1971: The Ministry of Transport announces that London sixth international airport (after Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Churchill Airport of the Isle of Grain) is to be built on Maplin Sands

May 13 1971: The first test flight of the USAF’s Supersonic Low Altitude Missile nearly goes awry, as the long range command and control mechanisms malfunction, causing the missile to go off course from the South Atlantic to West Africa and almost crash in the midst of the Sahara before being captured by a secret Royal Space Force tractor beam test facility near Jebel Arkanu, Libya

June 10 1971: USAF F-15s of the 1st Fighter Wing begin special air combat testing exercises against USN F-14s over Virginia in the first Exercise Black Thunder

July 4 1971: Unveiling of several new US aircraft at the Independence Day air show in Washington D.C., including the North American-Convair F-20 long range interceptor and F-21 fighter-interceptor and the Boeing FB-111

August 4 1971: The Bristol group is renamed the British Aircraft Corporation, with English Electric Aviation remaining as the other major independent group within the broader BAC arrangement

October 2 1971: RAF English Electric Lightnings shoot down an Indonesian Air Force MiG-25 that accidentally violates British airspace near Singapore, surprising Soviet advisors in Djarkarta with the performance of their new air to air missiles. The Red pilot is rescued by a Royal Navy patrol boat and returned to Indonesia on October 19th after negotiations

October 13 1971: The North American-Convair F-16 Falcon enters initial test service with the United States Air Force. The lightweight single engined tactical fighter is expected to fill a variety of roles in TAC and the forward deployed air forces and is regarded as a highly versatile and maneuverable design. With a top speed of Mach 2.5, a combat ceiling of 60,000ft and a combat radius of 500 miles, the F-16 has attracted attention from a number of European, Asian and South American states, with Byzantine Greece being particularly interested

October 17 1971: Jane's All the World's Helicopters publishes an article on the leading countries by civil rotary fleets of 1971, with the superpowers unsurprisingly leading the world, lead by the United States with 10,296, the USSR with 3862, Britain with 2579 and China with 1535; the Soviet 'civil' helicopters and rotodynes are all state owned and are regarded as military assets in the event of crisis or conflict

October 26 1971: The Royal Air Force initiates a new program for identifying and developing future potential fighter pilots whilst still in secondary school through liaison with educational authorities and cadet forces

November 28 1971: The US Army retires its last unit of CH-47 Chinooks from active service, with their heavy lift role taken over by the Kaman Super Rotodyne. The Chinook fleet saw particularly hard service in Vietnam, where over 200 were lost


1972

January 11 1972: Howard Hughes unveils the model for an innovative new biplane supersonic jet airliner. Hughes had been secluded from public life for a number of years, apparently engaged in intense study of the works of the Arabian madman Abdul Alhazred

February 6 1972: The Royal Air Force begins fielding of new mobile medium range strategic missile squadrons in Malta, Minorca and Cyprus, in the first wave of modernisation of Mediterranean based deterrent and defensive missiles. The deployment of Black Arrow II MRBMs to the Mediterranean island bases not only provides coverage for much of Soviet Central Asia, but also provides for a reinforcement of deterrent options over the Middle East and North African shore. They are scheduled to be followed by squadrons equipped with Violet Friend anti-ballistic missiles and the new very long range Bristol Broadsword multi-role surface to air guided missiles; discussions are underway regarding further deployment of certain weapons systems to the British bases on Crete

February 11 1972: USAF FB-111Cs escorted by F-15 Eagle fighters strike a suspected communist insurgent camp in northern Cambodia, marking the combat debut of the F-15. The air strikes come as US forces in South East Asia continue to wind down to a sustainable peacetime level

February 17 1972: Beginning of Exercise REFORGER 72, the eighth annual NATO exercise for the reinforcement of American, Canadian and British forces to Western Europe and largest Western Alliance military exercise of any sort since the British Exercise Warhammer in 1963. The REFORGER airlift is the first such exercise to feature both the Boeing C-240 Skylord ultraheavy strategic transport airlifter alongside the Lockheed-Martin C-150 Galaxy eight engine superheavy military cargo aircraft C-150 Galaxy (each capable of carrying eight MBTs or 250t of cargo)

February 20: The RAF Red Arrows aerobatical display team completes its transition from English Electric Lightnings to the new Supermarine Spitfire, with the supermaneuverability of the advanced jet fighters providing an additional attraction for airshow audiences in Britain, the Empire and the wider world and providing an interesting contrast to the innovative capabilities displayed by the Hawker-Siddeley Harriers of the Royal Flying Corps' White Lions and the variable geometry de Havilland Vanguards of the RN Blue Eagles

March 14 1972: The USN begins the last phase of initial competitive trials of fighter prototypes for the VFAX F4 Phantom replacement programme, with the Northrop Grumman P-540, the Vought Model 1800, McDonnell-Douglas Model 263 and the Lockheed-Martin CL-1250 considered to be very closely matched. The VFAX programme calls for a minimum of 2846 fighters for the USN and USMC and is thus regarded as one of the major aviation ‘crown jewel’ contracts of the 1970s

March 26 1972: The Home Office signs an agreement ordering 400 Percival Peregrine light utility helicopters for regional police forces, following on from orders by the RAF and HM Coastguard for search and rescue versions. The use of aerial platforms in law enforcement in Britain has expanded over the last decade, allowing for rapid response to incidents on the expanding Royal Highways or in rural areas and for utilisation of new arcane photo and film reconnaissance capabilities

March 31 1972: The first USAF nuclear powered strategic bomber patrol begins as a new part of Operation Chrome Dome, with the Boeing B-72 taking off from Carswell AFB on a 24 day patrol flight over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is armed with 12 Skybolt ALBMs, 12 AGM-98 LRAMs and 8 of the new AGM-102 supersonic strategic cruise missiles, in addition to its self defence armament of AAM pods, autocannon turrets and laser rayguns

April 5 1972: The Canadian Air Ministry publishes a White Paper. on ‘The Future of the RCAF’, setting out its planned timetable for modernisation, most notably including requirements for a new multirole fighter and fighter-bomber; replacement of the Avro Arrow air superiority fighter/interceptor and the Canadair Swiftsure attack/strike bomber; and a significant increase in strategic missile defences

April 13 1972: Operation Skyshield XXII takes place in the skies across the Continental United States, with over 2400 jet fighters of the USAF’s Aerospace Defense Command attempting to intercept 576 SAC FB-111s, B-47s, B-52s and B-70s and 96 RAF Bomber Command Avro Vulcans. One squadron of the British bombers approaches using a circuitous southern route, coming in across the coast of Louisiana at very low level and simulating a launch of their Bristol X.12 and Avro Blue Steel IV missiles at targets throughout the Southern states

April 28 1972: The Imperial Korean Air Force places orders for 240 Fairchild-Republic A-10s and 120 North American-Convair F-16 Falcons to replace their older F-86D and F-84 jets. Their continual close preference for United States warplanes is in slight contrast to Japan, where the production of domestic jets is seen as the paramount course of action, with acquisition of American and British types decreasing from previous trends

April 30 1972: Retirement from active service of Air Chief Marshal Sir James Bigglesworth, VC and bar at the age of 73. Known universally as 'Biggles', he is the most highly decorated British serviceman of the 20th century, earning his Victoria Crosses for acts of unparalleled valour and daring in 1917 and during 1940's Battle of Britain and is the British Empire's 'ace of aces', scoring 125 victories in the Great War, 104 in the Second World War, 19 in Korea and 6 in the 1956 War

May 7 1972: The United States Air Force introduces two new long range intercontinental ballistic missiles into active service, the LGM-75 Peacemaker (a 156 inch superheavy design) and the MGM-100 Ranger, a smaller mobile LRBM designed for road mobile and railcar launched versions. The Peacemaker is to be deployed initially in reverse inclination basing, which, combined with dedicated defensive ABM batteries around the strategic missile fields, is aimed at increasing survivability and associated deterrence. Neither of the newer missiles is intended to completely replace the current arsenal of Minutemen and Titans, but to allow the phasing out of earlier models in favour of their current production runs, or the so-called 'Double-Double Track Decision'

May 16 1972: The USAF reaches its peak operational strength of 240 RB-74 Condors, the American designation of the Supermarine Eagle TSR-2, as a tenth and final squadron is stood up with the retirement of the last active reconnaissance versions of the B-58E and B-68 with Tactical Air Command. Their strike role with TAC, SAC, USAFE and USAFPAC is in the process of being replaced by the Lockheed-Martin B-75 Marauder II light bomber and Convair-North American B-76 Liberator II medium bomber

June 17 1972: A former USAF F-86D is fitted with an arcane receptor for an intelligent computing engine by eccentric scientist Professor Uriah J. Frinksworth-Culbeshack and, after being struck by a freak bolt of lightning whilst on a tear flight, begins to show a distinct and highly strung intelligence and personality. After being informed that the Korean War is over and that ‘he’ might not get a chance to shoot down any of ‘those Red MiG hussies’, ‘Three Dog’ (as ‘he’ insists upon being called) goes into a protracted sulk and demands a fresh paint job

June 21 1972: In the latest series of test flights over Nevada and California, the experimental 'Airwolf' super helicopter sets a new rotary aircraft altitude record of 52,187ft, with the stringy fellow piloting (whose identity is kept secret due to the black nature of the program) being equipped with a new ejection seat as a safety measure

July 26 1972: Beginning of Exercise Red Flag I, an air combat training exercise for the fighter forces of Tactical Air Command held at Nellis AFB, close to the ‘convention city’ of Las Vegas. Previous international fighter exercises and the similar 'Top Gun' training establishment created by the USN's fighter forces at NAS Miramar in California have been driven by the 1970 and 1971 symposiums on the air combat lessons of the Vietnam War for US and Western fighter forces. Red Flag 1 is statistically notable for the participation of the USAF's 1st Fighter Wing, equipped with the new F-15A Eagles, and the new F-4S Phantoms of the 990th Fighter Wing, representing a mixture of the old and the new

August 1 1972: Signing of an agreement in Washington D.C. by representatives of the United States, Canada and Britain for cooperative development of the next generation of anti-ballistic missiles. The general principles call for a three layered system of short, medium and long ranged interceptor missiles and a network of ground, sea, air and space based solid state phased array radars, with there being some internal speculation that it might offer some means to resolve the long running dispute over ABM control between the United States Army and United States Air Force

August 2 1972: All Nippon Airways announces the selection of the Nakajima YS-24 intermediate jet airliner for its internal Japanese and regional routes, marking the first time a Japanese civil jet has been chosen over American and British competitors since the advent of the jet age in Japan in 1959

August 23 1972: First deliveries to the USN of the McDonnell-Douglas A-4R 'Skyhawk II', a lightweight supersonic multirole light attack jet based on the now legendary Douglas A-4 Skyhawk (although looking similar, it bears relatively few common parts and the relationship is more reminiscent of that between the Vought Crusaders and Crusader IIs) suitable for operation on new light and escort carriers, as well as airborne platforms; the USMC has expressed strong interest in acquisition of the type for a continued light attack capacity, in addition to the planned VAX strike aircraft. The replacement of the North American A-5 Vigilante and Boeing F-111B carrier-based bombers with the VBX a new plane based on the Boeing FB-111 and North American B-73 Retaliator continues at expected pace, with the Marine version to replace their bombers being seen as the less complicated aircraft. The United States Marine Corps Future Air Systems Plan makes specific provision for a light attack role alongside the VAX, VBX and VFAX, in addition to the Harrier VSTOL ground attack fighter, the Tomcat, Phantom fighter-bomber and Starburst interceptor

October 1 1972: French Minister of Transport, Jacques Chirac, authorises the Directorate-General of Aviation to take all necessary measures to ensure cooperation of the competing 'Grande Enterprises' of the French aviation sector in the expedited development of a French equivalent to the increasingly successful Armstrong-Whitworth Airbus

October 5 1972: The Royal Air Force begins operational testing of a new holographic active camouflage system for tactical and strategic aircraft. It is hoped that this development, in concert with new radar absorbent materials for aircraft skins and specialist arcane repellent paints, will increase the capacity for operation over increasingly complex contested airspaces

October 19 1972: The British War Ministry commissions a research paper on the possible applications of an 'air cavalry' type unit in the British Army, following on from the successful American employment of heliborne soldiers in the Vietnam War. It is thought that the use of modern long range assault versions of the Fairey Rotodyne and advanced VSTOL aircraft such as the Sopwith Camel offer particularly useful and intriguing capacities for air assault forces

October 23 1972: Formal reestablishment of United States Army Aviation as a distinct combat arm. The main portion of Army Aviation strength lies in its various helicopters, ranging from the thousands of UH-1 Iroquois transports and utility helicopters to the attack helicopters, such as the AH-1 Super Cobra light attack helicopter, the AH-56 Cheyenne in the medium attack role and the YAH-X heavy attack rotary aircraft still under development. The acquisition of a fixed wing capacity such as the Harrier jump jet under the terms of the 1968 Fort Hood Agreement promise to further enhance their capabilities

November 18 1972: Hawker-Siddeley begin active development of a successor to the P.1154 Harrier supersonic VSTOL jet fighter, with the P.1256 design utilising new, powerful engines, a more highly swept and larger wing and innovative new offensive and defensive systems. On the same day, the last Vickers Valiant in service with the Royal Auxiliary Air Force is formally retired at No. 962 Squadron's base at RAF Mona, with the redoubtable strategic bomber having served for 25 years; a total of 1624 saw service the RAF and RNAS alone

November 22 1972: The Royal Israeli Air Force announces that it will acquire 200 Dassault Super Mirage 2000 air superiority fighters in a surprise result, with the McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle having been the more fancied contender in the international air press; speculation follows that the more flexible 'multirole' capacity of the French plane gave it the edge over the American Eagle and British Spitfire

December 22 1972: The current operational fleet of the Boeing Dyna-Soar is formally reclassified as the SRBL-2, reflecting its role as a spaceplane reconnaissance bomber now equipped with laser rayguns. Research and development on the adaption of current larger NASA and civilian single stage to orbit aerospaceplanes to a military role continues


1973

January 11 1973: Vickers unveils its new prototype supersonic jumbo jet to the public at Brooklands, with the new VC25 Victoria, capable of carrying over 500 passengers over transcontinental ranges at speeds over 2500mph, being described as not only the successor to the VC7 and VC8, but as a ‘New Comet’ in terms of its potential to revolutionise global aviation

March 15 1973: Signing of an agreement for the acquisition of a specially modified variant of the Boeing F-111 by the Royal Air Force, after protracted discussions over the last decade. It is intended that the type be operated as a very long range ground attack/fighter-bomber and escort alongside the de Havilland Tornado and Hawker-Siddeley Phantom, particularly in the Mediterranean and Scandinavia, with a secondary role supporting the Vickers Thunderbolt in the strike mission. Some American observers draw a link between the British agreement and expanded U.S. orders of the Harrier

March 30 1973: The Vought-Republic YF-18 is announced as the winner of the USN’s VFAX contest. The YF-18, based on the Vought Model 1800 and the supersonic variant of the A-7 Corsair II, is a twin engine fighter/attack plane with a substantive range, performance and payload that is to replace the now venerable F-4 Phantom II in the next decade

April 5 1973: The United States Navy begins test flights of the Boeing YP-10 Triton strategic very long range maritime patrol bomber and the Lockheed-Martin XP-12 Sea Lord ASW patrol seaplane. The former 250t four turbofan powered aircraft has a design range of over 5000 miles and an endurance of up to 24 hours, whilst deploying a full range of anti-submarine torpedoes, nuclear depth bombs and sea mines as well as defensive weapons; it is intended to replace a large part of the current USN fleet of P-3 Orions in conjunction with the smaller and more flexible twin jet North American-Convair XP-15 Catalina II

April 18: Opening of a special exposition of Byzantine Greek military equipment and prowess in Adrianople, displaying new indigenously designed armoured vehicles, body armour, automatic cannons and the new Hellenic Aircraft Chímaira ground attack aircraft and the Romaios Aerospace Sigma supersonic fighter jet

May 17 1973: The Air Ministry issues Specification B.24/73 for the development of a very long range strategic heavy bomber to augment and possibly eventually replace the RAF’s fleet of Avro Vulcans. It calls for a multi-engine supersonic jet bomber capable of carrying a bombload of 60,000lb to a range of 6400nm at a cruising speed of 875 knots at 75,000ft, with considerably greater maximum speed, altitude and bombload and provision for a range of defensive armament. Avro, Vickers, Handley-Page, Armstrong-Whitworth and BAC are invited to submit designs for the ambitious specification. This move towards the future is accompanied by C.25/73, a curious shift to the recent past, which sets out a requirement for an updated and enlarged version of the Bristol Britannia powered by the new Rolls Royce Severn 16000shp turboprop engine; the ostensible fuel economy advantages of the engine present a compelling case in the considerably different strategic circumstances of 1973 compared to 1964

May 21 1973: The Committee of Imperial Defence authorises the fourth stage of the Long Range Missile Defence of the United Kingdom Plan, which will complete the deployment in the British Isles of 640 Violet Friend long range ABMs (with a top speed of Mach 10, a ceiling of 500 miles and a maximum range of 750 miles), 640 Black Beauty medium range weapons (Mach 6, 250 miles ceiling and 250 miles range) in both their mobile and silo based versions; and 1280 Blue Sky short range point defence missiles (Mach 12, 25 mile ceiling and 50 mile range) by the end of 1975. Additionally, in the medium term, four further Skyguard energy weapon facilities are to be established, providing direct coverage over the west and south; RAF Fighter Command's 48 Bristol Blue Envoy squadrons are to be equipped with advanced new long range Mark IV missiles and four airborne battle stations equipped with air launched Black Beautys; the Army's Air Defence Command will increase to forty squadrons of English Electric Broadswords in the home air defence role; and the Royal Navy is to increase the assignment of missile cruisers to the Home Fleet from three to five

May 25 1973: Representatives of United States Air Force and Royal Air Force sign a memorandum of agreement for the cooperative development of a range of high precision laser guided bombs

August 8 1973: Opening of the Royal Air Force Exposition 73 at RAF Farnborough, displaying the full range of combat aircraft operated by the RAF and a number of prototype warplanes, including the BAC P.96 fighter, the Hawker-Siddeley HS.1236, the de Havilland DH.187 and the Gloster Gladiator battlefield ground attack fighter. The exposition also makes pointed note of the increased production capacity of adjacent Royal Aircraft Factory after the completion of the expansion project of the last five years

August 30 1973: First flight of the Sikorsky Vertibird quad tiltrotor VTOL aircraft, an ambitious multirole assault transport/gunship equipped with an integrated 37mm autocannon and a number of other cutting edge classified capabilities. It is designed for a combat range of 750 miles with a maximum speed of 350mph and can carry a reinforced platoon of troops or 64,000lb of equipment and supplies


(I’ll pop a few notes onto this over the next 24 hours)
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jemhouston
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

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Howard Hughes studying Abdul Alhazred, what could go wrong?

Like Yeager, Air Chief Marshal Sir James Bigglesworth is the exception to "No Old, Bold pilots."
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

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Absolutely nothing! As long as Hughes doesn't have a deep-sea drillship built ostensibly for deepsea mining, with a secret secondary purpose of raising a Soviet submarine sunk in the North Pacific and a even more secret, triple layered purpose for an exploratory mission to a certain point in the remote South Pacific...

There are very few exceptions, as you point out, but Biggles did rack up a lot of cachet for his daring deeds, both at war and in the savage days of peace between the World Wars. He does still correspond with the (now also retired) Red Baron.
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jemhouston
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

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Simon Darkshade wrote: Wed May 29, 2024 1:36 pm Absolutely nothing! As long as Hughes doesn't have a deep-sea drillship built ostensibly for deepsea mining, with a secret secondary purpose of raising a Soviet submarine sunk in the North Pacific and a even more secret, triple layered purpose for an exploratory mission to a certain point in the remote South Pacific...

There are very few exceptions, as you point out, but Biggles did rack up a lot of cachet for his daring deeds, both at war and in the savage days of peace between the World Wars. He does still correspond with the (now also retired) Red Baron.
You know, having them go around together and just shooting the breeze would be interesting.
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

"Honestly, James, I would have preferred it was you rather than the...beagle..."
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

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September
September 1: The would-be assassins of the Governor of Bermuda, found guilty in May, are hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason at HMP Casemate, with extra troops deployed to the colony to keep order in the face of any backlash.
September 2: Release of The Children of Húrin, the latest historical fantasy work by Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, the first of a sequence of three novels set in the First Age of Middle Earth.
September 3: Italian counter-intelligence and Carabinieri launch a series of raids in Rome, Turin and Milan on a number of Arab emigres, with 106 being arrested on suspicion of a range of offences including falsifying passports and migration documents and involvement with terrorist organisations. The crack down comes at the encouragement of US intelligence in response to the attempted attack on the Israeli Prime Minister's jet earlier in the year.
September 4: After days of the worsening ongoing constitutional and political crisis, King Manuel II of Chile summons Premier Salvador Allende to the Palacio Royale for a last ditch attempt at resolving the situation. Upon Allende's indication that he would not call an immediate general election, the King withdraws his commission as Premier and dismisses him and his government in order to preserve good order and democracy in Chile and prevent bloodshed, citing the recent coup attempt. The now former Premier is conveyed by the Royal helicopter to his home in Valparaiso, with a full general election announced for October 26th, after the King summons the heads of the armed forces and receives pledges of their loyalty.
September 5: Chile reacts to the dismissal of Premier Allende with a mix of shock, outrage, thanksgiving and relief from different quarters of society, whilst the Royal Guard and Army maintain a notably visual presence in Santiago and other major cities to deter any outbreak of violence. Apart from sporadic low level scuffles, all protests are mostly peaceful, with a proposed general strike being averted after the major leaders of the trade union movement are summoned to the Palacio Royale for a frank and open conference. Allende announces that he will contest the new election as the candidate for the Socialist Party, with the Liberals, United Conservatives, Radical Party, Christian Democratic and National Democratic Party in emergency talks regarding a grand coalition to oppose the expected Communist-Socialist bloc, which is expected to poll 35% or more. Argentine forces across the border stand on a heightened status of alert, despite assurances from Santiago that none of the domestic events will result in international repurcussions.
September 6: Semi-retired Luftwaffe Inspector-General and former Chief of Staff Baron Manfred Von Richthofen, 81, offers to duel a German film producer over a proposed film loosely based on the fighter aces of the Great War, claiming that the current screenplay represents an unbearable slight upon his record.
September 7: The West Indies defeat England in the third One Day International at The Oval, scoring a record 296/3 from 55 overs, with Vivian Richards scoring 129* and Garfield Sobers 110*, to defeat England, who were dismissed for 187. The victory concludes their successful tour, where they took the Test series 4-1 and did not lose a first class match.
September 8: After extensive consultation with all professional teams and a range of medical authorities, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announces a raft of new safety measures ahead of the NFL season opener on September 16, including the introduction of specially reinforced and shielded helmets, further protective padding, foam strapping and rule alterations to protect defenceless players and prevent headfirst contact. Whilst these compromises act to ameliorate the immediate concerns held by a number of medical professionals regarding safety in gridiron football, some journalists exiting the press conference are heard to mutter that these measures are just the beginning of trying to 'turn it into a different game' and foreshadowing of decline in interest.
September 9: A special report by the Joint Intelligence Committee estimates that the Red Army deploys 73 divisions in Eastern Europe and 10,000 aircraft in Eastern Europe, supported by a further 65 divisions in the Western USSR, whilst Soviet strength in the Northern Theatre opposite Scandinavia has swelled to 42 divisions and there are some indications of plans for formation of further Rifle divisions and formations of new 'Light Motor Rifle' designation.
September 10: In what is later seen as the real beginning of the ‘Sea Race’, a Soviet seabed research station is established off the coast of Sochi at a depth of 150 metres in response to the successes of the NOAA’s SEALAB programme. The Red akvanauts are to be transported to and from the habitat via minisubs.
September 11: American engineer Henry Smolinski survives the near crash of his prototype AVE Mizar flying car in California due to the fortuitous deployment of its newly included lift augmentors.
September 12: The successful NBC science-fiction television series, Star Trek, is renewed for a tenth series following the current one, on the back of sustained high ratings and approving critical response.
September 13: Birth of a new Royal baby to Princess Victoria and Prince Charles, a boy and third son, George Albert Charles Philip, at Buckingham Palace.
September 14: The remaining Turkish-Greek border is formally opened in the latest sign of decreasing tensions between the atomic armed neighbours, with talk of a direct train connection between Constantinople and Angora.
September 15: DCI Gene Hunt is promoted command of the newly establish Flying Squad of Manchester and Salford Police, to operate in conjunction with the Met’s corresponding location; his deputy Samuel Tyler is on temporary secondment to the British Martian Police, having previously expressed an interest in life on Mars.
September 16: The Swedish general election results in a victory to the Christian Democrat-Conservative-Centre-Liberal coalition government of Prime Minister Sven Tyrsson, despite losing 10 seats to the resurgent Social Democrat opposition. Tyrrson, 56, now in his seventeenth year as Premier, claims the victory as a vindication for his policy of 'Strong at Home and in the World' for Sweden, of keeping tax levels low and maintaining a strong, balanced and mixed economy.
September 17: Royal assent is granted to the Reserve Forces Act 1973, providing for the establishment of a Territorial Army Emergency Reserve, consisting of 100,000 individual members of the Territorial Army who agree to be liable to be called out at immediate notice for mobilisation and deployment around the Empire and world. ‘Ever Readies’ would receive an annual tax free bounty of £250 and additional payment for deployment. The scheme is designed to work in parallel to ordinary mobilisation plans and systems for the Army Reserve and Territorial Army and provide for different force options that can react to a range of emerging circumstances.
September 18: Convicted Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, one of the chief SS implementers of the Final Solution in Eastern Europe, is hanged in Jaffa, Israel, with his body being cremated and his ashes scattered ignominiously at sea.
September 19: Reports of a suspected vampire operating in County Clare, leading to the dispatch of a team equipped with the Holy Stone of Clonrichert.
September 20: League of Nations economic data indicates that the global recovery from the brief recession of the first half of 1973 will likely drive further demand, stimulating subsequent economic growth.
September 21: The British Army of the Rhine completes the first phase of the experimental deployment of experimental heavy infantry powered combat armour developed in Project Knight in one section per infantry company. The armour suits, proof against weapons up to 20mm cannon, are viewed as too expensive and slow for general use at this time, whilst an accompanying effort to develop a man portable electrical gun proved to run up against insurmountable technical difficulties; joint development of a larger multipurpose electrical railgun by the Army, RN and RAF has encountered greater success, but remains at a very early stage.
September 22: German Defence Minister Siegfried von Hartmann, 52, is formally appointed Chancellor by the Kaiser on the advice of the outgoing Werner Von Sternberg, becoming the first paladin to hold the position in the modern era. Von Hartmann is known to have very strong professional links with the United States, Britain and Canada and many hope that he could be successful in mending the difficult Austro-German relations.
September 23: Release of Full Fathom Five, the second picture featuring British secret agent Philip Calvert. Initial projections show it likely to be a smash hit, propelling star Anthony Hopkins firmly onto the ‘A list’ of Hollywood leading men.
September 24: The US Department of Agriculture unveils its new ‘Daily Plate’, a clear graphical representation of recommended daily nutrition and the optimal number of servings per day from different groups of food, on its popular children’s television programme, Mulligan Stew. It recommends that, for a balanced and healthy diet, a person should consumed 8-10 servings each of vegetables and fruit, 7-8 of meat and fish and milk and cheese and 5-6 of breads and cereals and fats and oils; sugar and confections and processed foods are represented separately as ‘special foodstuffs’, to be consumed in a limited, common sense fashion.
September 25: Release of the eagerly anticipated 1973 Christmas Catalogue by the Empire Toy Company, featuring a number of new models of its 'Lego' line of plastic blocks and figures, new Matchbox cars, tanks and aircraft from its newly acquired Lesney Products subsidiary, videographic Super View-Masters, Lord of the Rings action figures, new plastic swords, plate armour, cowboy sets and L1A1 air rifles. The increased production of the new 'super factory' at Jaywick in Essex means that prices for many of the more expensive items have decreased for this year, making for some lengthy lists being posted to the North Pole.
September 26: Interpol and the Office of the Witchfinder General begin a series of raids as part of a crackdown on the purportedly dangerous West Indian cult of ‘limbo’, whose practitioners indulge in bizarrely contortionist dances.
September 27: The New York Times carries a feature on the cost of living in the United States, reporting that a family of five would need $7700 for an adequate standard of living and $11548 for a 'comfortable' one. As average household income is $10,747, the article concludes that true national prosperity is in sight, but will depend upon a sustained recovery from the recent recession and firm control of inflation. The combined impact of the Family Assistance Program and Universal Medicare is already having a noticeable effect in reducing some key aspects of the cost of living.
September 28: Notorious French master criminal Jacques Mesrine, the Man of a Hundred Faces, is arrested in Paris by a special task force of the Sûreté National and conveyed to the oubliette of La Grande Roquette to await his appointment with Monsieur de Paris, André Obrecht, the next morning.
September 29: Richmond defeat Carlton 26.24 (180) to 18.15 (123) in a magnificent VFL grand final at the M.C.G. in front of a crowd of 162,758 spectators with Rex Hunt kicking 8 goals, Royce Hart 5 and Kevin Bartlett and Kevin Sheedy 4 apiece for the winner, whilst McKay, Walls and Jesaulenko kick 3 each for the Blues.
September 30: British Electronics releases the first commercial lithium-ion battery on limited experimental production run, which later has to be withdrawn from sale in January 1974 over reliability concerns and flammability risks; the technology is still regarded largely as too expensive for full exploitation and public use, but BE's timetable for release is being influenced by exacting demands for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

September 1973 Notes

- The Bermuda executions historically caused some civil reaction, but here the garrison increase acts to dissuade this in the large part, even if the method might be a bit more shocking; deterring high treason has been largely successful
- Raids in Italy are the first part in a European reaction to spillover terrorism
- Allende gets the Gough Whitlam treatment, rather than a bullet in the head, and a free helicopter ride that lands without incident, whilst Chile ends up with a bitter general election rather than a bloody coup and bloodier aftermath
- Von Richthofen gets a bit touchy about certain events, including The Beagle Incident, but his opprobrium here is aroused by a revisionist film maker seeking to portray him as callous and ruthless towards his vanquished opponents, machine gunning them on the ground after shooting them down. He is right to be angry
- The Windies are gathering strength and momentum even earlier
- Reforms to gridiron safety will certainly address some of the identified medical concerns, but this is a different era and audience to the 2010s, so I can see how some would dislike the ‘softening’ of the sport
- The Soviets have a big conventional threat that is evolving; the Light Motor Rifles were a mooted 1980s type of division that is fairly interesting
- A Sea Race to match space is something different, driven by the surprises beneath the waves…
- Star Trek is going strong, creating a different science fiction ‘scene’
- The heir and spare have been provided, along with a Princess and now another spare to boot, and more likely coming. It is doubtful if any will end up writing embittered memoirs
- Turkey and Greece inch a bit closer; the old name of Ankara is still used in English
- Gene Hunt is suited to the Sweeney Todd (Mancs version)
- Sweden has had a very different post WW2 political history, with plenty of consequences
- The Ever Readies were a brief mid 1960s experiment that here sees a later introduction and a longer life
- Brunner doesn’t escape justice
- Power armour still has a lot of troubleshooting to go through; very powerful railguns are looking practicable in the future due to the sheer amount of electricity generated
- Von Hartmann will be an interesting Chancellor
- Philip Calvert was intended to be a movie franchise challenger to Bond, but tanked. Here, it has a longer and more successful life and pushes Hopkins to the fore in his younger years
- A Daily Plate rather than a Food Pyramid is a fairly big change, with the 1970s-1990s advocacy of basing diets on grains/cereal/pasta being replaced by fruits and vegetables, with meat and milk still pushed at their 40s/50s extent. There is still a cereal/grains lobby, but it is being pacified with other measures. Crucially, sugars, confections and overly processed foods are getting earlier askance; in combination with a prohibition on HFCS, this will have many positive consequences on the American diet and, downstream in time, the general Western diet. The flow on effects of not seeing an obesity increase and then epidemic are profound, along with fat not being quite so demonised as in the @ 1980s. To cap it all off, I managed to have it unveiled on the charming period programme of US children’s educational television, Mulligan Stew
- Plenty of interesting toys on offer for Christmas; consider the location of the toy factory and consequences upon the future local economy
- The Limbo Raids are a story hook for the future
- Some tangible rendering of the cost of living is illustrative for readers. The impact on universal Medicare will further lower costs to some extent over time
- Mesrine gets caught, stopped and chopped
- The VFL grand final result will only mean something to a very limited number of readers; Yibbida Yibbida
- Battery development is included to show that not all rushes to tech are successful or possible
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jemhouston
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by jemhouston »

I'm starting to get more of the references. :lol:
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

That is a welcome development; feel free to ask on any of them, as sometimes they can be a bit obscure, or informed by my particular knowledge of a topic.

In doing this TL from 1946 to 1973 thus far, I’ve read a lot and learned a lot, just by sifting through and seeing what happens day by day, month by month. It is a type of study of general history that isn’t really done these days, certainly not in lower levels. It does reinforce how so much is left out around a barebones account and how even small, localised events have a whole story and life to them, intersecting with others in the grand web.
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jemhouston
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by jemhouston »

If something I think is an Easter Egg, I search for it. I'm picking more history this way which is a good thing.
Bernard Woolley
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Bernard Woolley »

I do enjoy the Easter Eggs. :D
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

Bernard, that is most gratifying. It was some of your older tales, such as the Further Adventures of HMS Hood and From the Scheldt to the Rhine*, which motivated me to turn Dark Earth from a thought project into writing, so it is nice to return the enjoyment favour in some respect.

* Additionally, in around 2005, there was a series called 1948 about a Soviet sparked WW3, replete with defecting French battleships, air raids on London and Stalin's ocean going fleet. I can't remember the author's name, but there was a (likely long gone) forum with some very nice 'Shipbucket-esque' pictures of ships.
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

https://jasonomahony.ie/when-anthony-ho ... tion-hero/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Eigh ... oll_(film)

Some stuff about the Philip Calvert franchise and Anthony Hopkins' early dalliance with the top rank of leading men. He certainly had the chaps for it, and performed well in 'The Lion in Winter' and 'A Bridge Too Far' in the same era.
Simon Darkshade
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Re: Dark Earth Timeline Discussion

Post by Simon Darkshade »

It is just about time for another ‘Where Are They Now?’

In 1970, there were RFK, MLK, James Hendrix, Hugh Hefner, Alexander Dubcek, Saloth Sâr (+), Robert McNamara, Duncan Edwards, Charles Manson, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jagger, Bruce Wayne, Pablo Picasso (+), Kermit the Frog, Bill Gillespie, John Cleese, Leslie Hornby/Twiggy, Marie Connolly née Lawrie/Lulu, Mrs Barbara Plunkett Greene/Mary Quant, Jane Fonda, Timothy Leary, William F Buckley, Eric Clapton, Padre Pio, Yoko Ono, David Jones, Golda Myerson, Gene Hunt, Enrico Fermi, Georgy Zhukov, Marshal Ky, Jacques Clouseau, C.S. Lewis, Margaret Thatcher, James Hacker, Yukio Mishima, Yuri Andropov, Moshe Dayan, Karol Wojtyla, Wilfred Owen, Walt Disney, Pele and Rudolf Nureyev

1965: JFK, Vasily Stalin, Stanley Barton, Alexei Sergeyev, Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Charles Henry Stuart, Leonid Brezhnev, Harold Wilson, Roy Jenkins, Nelson Mandela (+), Salvador Allende, Leon Trotsky, Lester Pearson, Lassie, Ronald Reagan, MLK, Paul McCartney, Elvis, Willie Brandt, Rachel Carson, Sukarno, Bruce Lee, Dag Hammarskjold, Monty, TE Lawrence, George Orwell and JM Keynes.

1960: Roger Thompson, JFK, Stalin Jr, Che, Nixon, De Gaulle, Churchill, Horatio Hornblower, Bob Dylan, LBJ, Billy Graham, Cassius Clay, Malcolm Little/X, Brezhnev, Pierre Trudeau (+), Duncan Edwards, Stan Lee, Ernest Hemingway, Neil Armstrong, Ronald Reagan, Frank Whittle, Enoch Powell and Charlie Chaplin

1955: Churchill, Eden, Thompson, Von Richthofen, Van Helsing, Tito, Haile Selassie, Sir Mohandas Gandhi, John Lennon, Reagan, Atticus Finch, Blofeld, Bond, Flashman, Stanley Barton, Roy Hobbs, Emmet Brown, James Dean, MLK, Dick Tracy, John Wayne, Curtis LeMay, Matt Braddock, Willy Wonka, Che, Quatermass, Frankenstein, Fu Manchu, George Bailey, Harry Callahan, Stalin, Khrushchev (+), Eisenhower, Taft, Mao (+), Nixon, Patton, MacArthur, Heydrich, Mussolini, Rommel, Otto von Habsburg, De Gaulle, William Richardson, Nasser (+), Franco (+), Elvis, Sherlock Holmes, Tolkien, Jack Aubrey, Richard Sharpe, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Charles Ratcliffe, TR, Dracula, Nikola Tesla, Cecil Rhodes and George Orwell

For the next lot, which will come in 1974 for 1975, my list so far is:

Ronald Reagan, JFK, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Prince Philip, Stanley Barton, Enoch Powell, Yukio Mishima, Winston Churchill, Anthony Wedgewood Benn, Father Ted Crilly, Richard Nixon, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Garfield, Jonathan Netanyahu, Lankester Merrin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Wayne, Jimmy Carter, Shah Kamar of Persia, Prince Charles, Abba Eban, C. Montgomery Burns, Norman Mailer, Viv Richards, George Best, Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam (+), George Smiley, Hunter S. Thompson, Delia Smith and Henry Kissinger
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