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Cold Warriors: The Essex Class in the Cold War

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June 18, 1957
Amsterdam, New Holland, Netherlands


The Committee for the Defense of West New Guinea presents their formal findings to the Defense Minister and the heads of the armed forces. They present three sets of options. A "Best Defense" option which gives no consideration to cost or other commitments. A "Bare Minimum" option which weighs other potential flash points as being more important and assigns West New Guinea the smallest possible force suitable only to serve as a trip wire deterrent. And a compromise option, which gives West New Guinea a credible defensive force, with regular deployments of a carrier as show of force, while still recognizing financial constraints and commitments elsewhere.

Predictably, the "Best Defense" option, which recommended the permanent deployment of a light cruiser and five destroyers (along with regular deployments of an aircraft carrier and it's escorts), a wing of air defense fighters and an entire regiment of ground troops is discarded out of hand as being unworkable. The "Bare Minimum" option receives far more study. While the forces would certainly be weak, they should be at least equal to anything Indonesia could deploy to the theater. And as a deterrent, they would be marvelously effective as they were not being sent to fight a war, but to prevent one by showing the Netherlands commitment to the defense of New Guinea.

After hours of meetings and studying the proposals, Minister Staf decides to recommend that the Netherlands permanently deploy an air defense fighter squadron and rotate two destroyers or frigates to West New Guinea. While he would have liked to deploy a battalion of Marines as well, the Netherlands simply did not have the available manpower to spare. Instead, a volunteer para-military force would be raised from the locals and trained by a company of Marines with a Marine Colonel in overall command. He would also go on to recommend the occasional deployment of the Karel Doorman to the Far East once her modernization was completed. The bare minimum option had won out.
 

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June 19, 1957
Balikpapan, Borneo, Indonesia


The Soviet tanker Alatyr` ties up at the Permina oil loading facility and begins loading the first shipment of oil sold to the USSR under the new trade agreement. Though BPM, Caltex and Stanvac had all protested the below market sale of oil to the USSR, their objections were overruled by Lieutenant-General Ibnu Sutowo, the head of Permina. The three firms were also not so subtly threatened with having their minority stakes in the company revoked if they failed to fall in line.

This triggers a fresh round of formal protests from the three companies and their receptive governments. While the protests are acknowledged by the various Embassies involved, they fall on deaf ears at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta. The Government of Indonesia was done listening to colonial overlords.
 

Archibald

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So this is how Independance dies . . . without any thunderous applause, particularly in Congress.
 

SSgtC

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So this is how Independance dies . . . without any thunderous applause, particularly in Congress.
Nope, Independence dies in Committee, just as it should. Particularly since the Navy now has to aanswer a lot of questions about it
 

Grey Havoc

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Archibald was making a Star Wars (Prequel Trilogy) reference there, methinks.
 

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June 20, 1957
Amsterdam, New Holland, Netherlands


Prime Minister Drees gives formal approval to the Ministry of Defence's plan to reinforce West New Guinea. The destroyers Gelderland and Friesland are ordered to prepare to deploy for six and eight months respectively to New Guinea. Some consideration had been given by the committee to deploying several ships permanently to West New Guinea, but cost and the fact that the island lacked the necessary port facilities to support warships long term meant no ships would be permanently stationed there. It was hoped instead that the rotation of destroyers and frigates to the area would prevent there being a gap in coverage.

Along with the two destroyers being sent, 322 Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force was also given movement orders to transfer to New Guinea. The squadron was chosen as they had previously served in the East Indies and New Guinea. However, the deployment to New Guinea meant that the planned conversion of the squadron to the Hawker Hunter from their existing Gloster Meteor F.8s had to be postponed. Given the isolated nature of West New Guinea from the rest of the Netherlands, the lower maintenance requirements of the Meteor were seen as outweighing the performance advantages of the Hunter. The decision to retain the Meteor was controversial as the aircraft was obviously obsolete. It was however still hoped that the squadron could be reequipped with the more advanced fighter within a year or two once infrastructure on the island was improved to support the newer aircraft.
 

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June 21, 1957
Langley, VA, USA


The Deputy Director of Plans and head of the Special Activities Division, Frank Wisner, was in a closed door meeting with Alan Dulles, the Director of Central Intelligence. All of the proposed operations were laid out before Director Dulles with a particular emphasis on destabilizing the economy of Indonesia and supporting a coup by the Army. The Indonesian officers to be supported had no love of the government in Jakarta and wished to break away. However it was thought that with the proper amount of support, they could be persuaded to instead topple the government of President Sukarno and seize power for themselves while bringing Indonesia back into the Western Camp.

After spending the day briefing the DCI, the decision was made, pending approval from Robert Cutler the National Security Advisor and from President Eisenhower, to begin providing support to Colonels Ahmad Hussein and Ventje Sumual to coup President Sukarno. Not only would they provide intelligence and training, the CIA would also offer military equipment to aide in the struggle. Approval for the operation from the White House arrived just before midnight.
 

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June 22, 1957
Iswahyudi Air Force Base, East Java, Indonesia


The first Soviet Air Force advisors and trainers arrive at Iswahyudi Air Force Base to begin preparing the Indonesians to receive their new equipment. The Soviet mission is led by Colonel Nikolai Vasilyevich Sutyagin, the top scoring ace from either side of the Korean War with twenty-two kills. Having spent nearly his entire career in the Far East and flown in combat in Korea, he was narrowly selected for the job over Colonel Yevgeny Georgievich Pepelyaev, the second highest scoring Soviet pilot of the war. His second in command was Major Boris Nikolayavich Siskov, another Korean War ace. The Soviet Union was doing everything they could to show Indonesia just how valuable a partner they could be.

Along with the air crew and ground support trainers, the Soviet Air Force also sent experienced base personal to share their expertise with the Indonesian personal to assist in upgrading the Air Base facilities at Iswahyudi, Sultan Hasanuddin and Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Bases. The three main Indonesian Air Force bases are all to be upgraded with hardened dispersal areas, new weapons storage facilities, new briefing rooms and updated fuel storage and transfer systems. Preparations are also begun to install Ground Controlled Intercept stations at all three airbases.
 

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Meteor F8. In 1958. Enough said.
That's actually original timeline. Well, close to it. The Royal Netherlands Air Force actually was still flying the Meteor F.8 in 1958. They were just beginning to convert to the Hawker Hunter at this time. By the time an air defense fighter squadron was actually sent to West New Guinea, they had already converted to Hunters. Here, they're being sent a couple years early and so the conversion to the Hunter is delayed.
 

Archibald

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It wasn't a critic of your story, rather a bland statement about how outdated was the Meteor by 1958... although some fought in the Suez crisis two years before.
 

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It wasn't a critic of your story, rather a bland statement about how outdated was the Meteor by 1958... although some fought in the Suez crisis two years before.
I know. I was honestly shocked that they were still flying Meteors then when I researched it. I just wanted to show that this wasn't a case of an author screwing a country to get the outcome they want. This is actually what the Netherlands was flying then (and the just as outdated Sea Hawk from their carrier).
 

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June 23, 1957
Balikpapan, Borneo, Indonesia


The Soviet oil tanker Alatyr` departs the oil loading pier for her return voyage to the port of Odessa in the Ukrainian SSR. As one of the newest and largest tankers operated by the Ministerstvo Morskogo Flota (MMF, the Soviet Ministry of the Merchant Marine), Alatyr` departs Balikpapan with over 11,000 metric tons of light crude in her holds. The light crude oil is destined for the Mazyr Oil Refinery in Belarus.

In Moscow, Nikolai Baibakov, the Minister of Oil Industry for the USSR was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Indonesian crude. While the Soviet Union was largely self sufficient in oil, they could re-export the refined oil at a hefty markup to their Eastern European client states, or even to Western Europe, and increase the Soviet Union's hard currency reserves. Along with his Comrades on the Council of Ministers, Minister Baibakov had a long list of ways that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would benefit from their new relationship with Indonesia.
 
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June 25, 1957
Jakarta, Indonesia


Soviet Ambassador to Indonesia D.A. Zhukov sat behind his desk while the Embassy's Intelligence Officer briefed him on developments in the United States. Four days previously, the American CIA had been ordered by President Eisenhower to overthrow the government of President Sukarno. How the KGB had managed to find out so quickly was a mystery to him, but he knew better than to question it. They wouldn't be telling him if the information had not been confirmed.

Following his briefing, he called Merdeka Palace to arrange an urgent meeting with President Sukarno. Armed with a portfolio of information that the KGB had cleared him to provide to the Indonesian President, he hurried to the palace for his meeting. Upon his arrival he was ushered straight into the office of the President. Following a nearly two hour meeting, Ambassador Zhukov returned to the embassy and sipped from a glass of vodka while he composed his report to Moscow. The Indonesian President was now aware of the threat to his government and appreciated the support of the USSR. He had also promised to show that appreciation in more concrete ways going forward.
 

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June 26, 1957
Bombay, India


Russi Karanjia gave the final approval for the latest issue of his tabloid, Blitz. The front page was emblazoned with a photograph of Indonesian President Sukarno. The headline, which was splashed across the cover read, The Plot to Overthrow Sukarno. Russi had a very good source on this, the Cultural Attache from the Russian Consulate. While he pretended not to know that the "Cultural Attache" was actually a spy, he didn't become one of the leading investigative journalists in India by being stupid. And the man gave him some absolute gold to publish.

And this story about the United States plotting the overthrow of Sukarno was a bombshell. His readers would devour it. And it would hopefully shame the United States into not overthrowing yet another country. The United States was not well liked in this part of the world. They tended to try and throw their weight around too much for his taste and the tastes of his readers. He knew that the Soviet Union was using his paper to advance their own agenda. But their agenda tended to align with his own. Particularly in regard to some of the exposes that he was able to publish.

And this story tomorrow was sure to boost his readership. He had already ordered more copies than usual printed. How he wished he could see the look on the American President's face when he realized his carefully planned secret mission was exposed for all to see.
 

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June 28, 1957
Langley, VA, USA


Heads were rolling at the CIA. The operation to overthrow Sukarno had only been approved a week previously and already the full details of the operation had been published in a KGB controlled tabloid. Hard questions were being asked in the Directorate of Plans about just how in the hell the Soviets had already found out about this. Several people had suggested canceling the operation outright as it would not have a prayer of succeeding now. Those people were overruled. The operation would continue. Though consideration was given to changing certain aspects of it to increase the odds of it succeeding.
 

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The proverbial shit had hit the fan, in a very massive way... o_O
 

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July 3, 1957
Den Helder Naval Base, North Holland, Netherlands


The destroyers Gelderland and Friesland depart for West New Guinea. They are the first reinforcements being sent to the island. Though officially stationed in West New Guinea for the duration of their deployment, both ships are expected to make several good will port visits to Australia, New Zealand, Malaya, the Philippines and Thailand. A request for a port visit to Indonesia was flatly refused by the Indonesian authorities.
 

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July 2, 1957
Central Sumatra, Indonesia


Filipino CIA paramilitary officers met with Colonels Hussein and Sumual to begin assisting them in their planned rebellion against the government of President Sukarno. Filipino officers were chosen as they would be able to better blend in with the general populace. The first order of business was setting up training camps for the men under the Colonels' command.

The second was working out how to equip and supply those forces. The need for modern small arms, light artillery and combat aircraft was acute if the rebellion was to have any chance at all of succeeding. The CIA Operatives had a list of equipment that the CIA could provide, most of it taken from American "boneyards" in the Southwestern United States.

The final point was "preparing the battlespace," by conducting psychological warfare. The CIA would finance and set up radio stations throughout Indonesia to broadcast anti-Sukarno propaganda. It was hoped that the rebels would be able to conduct a successful campaign against the government within the next six months to a year.
 

Archibald

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"Bay of pigs" would be even more adequate for a botched Indonesia coup, since pigs are impure animals to muslims... alternatively "day of pigs".
 
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June 20, 1957
Amsterdam, New Holland, Netherlands
No submarines ore will they go later.
Right now, they're trying to send a deterrent. Submarines are great at fighting a war, not so good at stopping one. Plus, in the late 50s, the Dutch Submarine fleet was in terrible shape. They had a total of six boats, all of WWII vintage. Their fleet was comprised of two O-21 class boats (which actually predate WWII), two British T-class boats and two American Balao class boats. Not exactly a force to inspire fear in Indonesia's Navy. Particularly when Indonesia at this time in OTL was considering the purchase of ten Whiskey class boats from the USSR.
 

lordroel

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June 20, 1957
Amsterdam, New Holland, Netherlands
No submarines ore will they go later.
Right now, they're trying to send a deterrent. Submarines are great at fighting a war, not so good at stopping one. Plus, in the late 50s, the Dutch Submarine fleet was in terrible shape. They had a total of six boats, all of WWII vintage. Their fleet was comprised of two O-21 class boats (which actually predate WWII), two British T-class boats and two American Balao class boats. Not exactly a force to inspire fear in Indonesia's Navy. Particularly when Indonesia at this time in OTL was considering the purchase of ten Whiskey class boats from the USSR.
So Karel Doorman at this moment does not have tow worry about striking Australian dockworkers like OTL.
 

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June 20, 1957
Amsterdam, New Holland, Netherlands
No submarines ore will they go later.
Right now, they're trying to send a deterrent. Submarines are great at fighting a war, not so good at stopping one. Plus, in the late 50s, the Dutch Submarine fleet was in terrible shape. They had a total of six boats, all of WWII vintage. Their fleet was comprised of two O-21 class boats (which actually predate WWII), two British T-class boats and two American Balao class boats. Not exactly a force to inspire fear in Indonesia's Navy. Particularly when Indonesia at this time in OTL was considering the purchase of ten Whiskey class boats from the USSR.
So Karel Doorman at this moment does not have tow worry about striking Australian dockworkers like OTL.
Doorman is in the middle of a three year refit in the Netherlands and won't be showing up in the Pacific anytime soon.
 

lordroel

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June 20, 1957
Amsterdam, New Holland, Netherlands
No submarines ore will they go later.
Right now, they're trying to send a deterrent. Submarines are great at fighting a war, not so good at stopping one. Plus, in the late 50s, the Dutch Submarine fleet was in terrible shape. They had a total of six boats, all of WWII vintage. Their fleet was comprised of two O-21 class boats (which actually predate WWII), two British T-class boats and two American Balao class boats. Not exactly a force to inspire fear in Indonesia's Navy. Particularly when Indonesia at this time in OTL was considering the purchase of ten Whiskey class boats from the USSR.
So Karel Doorman at this moment does not have tow worry about striking Australian dockworkers like OTL.
Doorman is in the middle of a three year refit in the Netherlands and won't be showing up in the Pacific anytime soon.
Could the Americans not lend the Dutch a carrier in the mean time.
 

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The US has carrier troubles of its own. They have don't have enough modern flight decks for their own needs. The only thing they could maybe lease to the Dutch is a completely unmodified Essex or Independence class. And neither class can operate modern fighters (they're straight decked and lack steam catapults). And the Essex class needs 2-3 times the crew that a Colosus class does.
 

Archibald

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Did some research for my "nazi werewolves / Dan Cooper" story.
by the late 50's the USN has in storage
- 2 Saipan class
- 5 Independance class (think Dedalo - 9 build, two were lost, two already went to France)
- a crapload of Casablanca, Sangamon, Commencement bay old things

My bet would be
- either the Independance that become Dedalo OTL for Spain (in 1967, so plenty of time to "hijack" it) - USS Cabot
- one of the Saipan class (although they want them as NECP Afloat soon) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saipan-class_aircraft_carrier

 
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