Excerpts from "At the Edge of the Abyss"

Blurp
As stated in the "Upcoming AH books" thread and after multiple request, my french AH book is know available in English as "At the Edge of the Abyss".

After this intial post I'll share you some excerpts.
Today the opening pages of Part I about which is about the Pacific War. Next time the opening pages of Part II which is about the War in Europe.

Here is the blurb:
Thomas Diana, self-taught author-illustrator, presents the first volume of the Alternate History ‘At the Edge of the Abyss’ containing about a hundred illustrations.

The Second World War is certainly the most significant event of the last hundred years.
In Japan as in Germany, men will try to save their country from the destruction that their dictators seem to lead them to. Political intrigues, coups d’État and apocalyptic battles across Asia and Europe. This other Second World War, however, was no less bloody and laid the foundations for a New World.

Welcome, ‘At The Edge of the Abyss’.



And here is the cover:


The book is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle format (There are two links at the moment because the pages have not yet been merged).

At the Edge of the Abyss is not a classic alternate history novel. It is a chronicle of the period in question through articles, book excerpts or web pages. All fictional, of course. The book also contains about a hundred illustrative elements (maps, flags, illustrations, portraits).
 
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Excerpts: Battle of Savo Island
In order to save space I've removed the illsutrations.
Part One: Heiwa
‘Defeat is coming; I saw it in my dreams. Our land ravaged by flames, bodies in the streets, cities reduced to ashes, the end of our nation…’

Isoroku Yamamoto
Excerpt from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s letter to Prince Nobuhito Takamatsu

It is only an extract from a copy that has been largely ‘redacted’; the original has apparently been destroyed.

[…]

Your Majesty, I am addressing you to confirm the words reported to you by the Marquis Kidō, we must put an end to the war and bring civilians and pacifists back to power. The survival of the Empire depends on it.

[…]

As you and I had informed your brother, His Majesty the Emperor, once the war had begun, the Combined Fleet could caress six months before being overtaken by American industrial power. To solve this I sought the Decisive Battle and I found it, unfortunately the Americans won.

[…]

Know this: The war is lost. We are facing both the European Empires and the immense American industrial power. We are surrounded by enemies who are getting stronger as we weaken. We must end this war and save Japan.

To do so, we must stop the war on a compromise where Japan would not be a loser, on an equal footing with the allies, and regardless the means implemented. That is why I proposed the plan that the Marquis Kidō shared with you. We must withdraw to strengthen our positions, shorten our supply lines and force the Americans to come and fight us in one last decisive battle.

At the same time, we must remove General Tōjō from power and put a respected and respectable civilian in his place: Mistumasa Yonaï.

The Marquis Kido has asked that the Emperor would be protected and your family. First, Her Majesty will have to limit his public appearances. When the time comes, Rikusentai troops will enter Tōkyō to ensure the protection of the Imperial Family and political institutions.

[…]

Don’t get me wrong. If we fail, Japan will lose the war, Japan will be destroyed.

[…]

Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku
Battle of Savo Island, August 8, 1942

Excerpt from ‘An Ocean of Fire: The Pacific War 1941–1944’ – Joe Chevalier – BBG Publishing.

Probably scalded by the attacks of the previous day, Admiral Fletcher, under the pretext that his aircraft carriers will run out of fuel, decided that these ships would withdraw from Guadalcanal in the evening while most of the ships had not yet finished unloading their equipment. The protection force commanded by British Admiral Crutchley would then be the only one to secure the landing of the invasion forces’ equipment.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Navy’s response is on the way and will not please the Americans. Indeed, Admiral Mikawa sends the following message: ‘Message to the attention of Admiral Yamamoto and the Navy Chief of Staff Nagano. We are heading south towards Bougainville and will pass at full speed between New Guinea and Isabella. We will join you heavily in the Guadalcanal anchorage area from where we will flee at full speed after a surprise attack.’ Mikawa leads its fleet north of Buka Island and then progresses along the east coast of Bougainville before taking a 6-hour break in Kieta to avoid arriving too early off Guadalcanal and being exposed. During this break, Admiral Mikawa sent a radio message to Captain Kanae Monzen commanding the Japanese troops in Guadalcanal: ‘Admiral Yamamoto’s order for Captain Monzen: You and your troops must withdraw to Cape Hope by August 10 to be evacuated.’ Although Monzen received the message, it will be almost impossible for him to enforce it, as most radios have been abandoned in the escape and troops are scattered in the jungle.

When the fleet resumed its journey, it continued through the dangerous Strait of New Georgia in the hope of not being spotted by Allied reconnaissance aircraft. However, the fleet is spotted when it fails to collide with the submarine USS S-38. The latter, too close to be able to fire his torpedoes, informed his superiors that ‘two destroyers and three larger ships of unknown type were sailing 14 km from Cap St-George and moving at high speed towards the southeast’. Once at Bougainville, Mikawa dispersed its ships to mask the composition of its fleet and launched four reconnaissance seaplanes to try to locate allied ships south of the Solomon Islands.

At 10:20 and 11:10, Mikawa’s fleet was spotted by Australian reconnaissance aircraft based in Milne Bay, New Guinea. The first plane reported the presence of ‘three cruisers, three destroyers and two seaplane transports’, the crew tried to transmit the information to the Allied radio station in Fall River, New Guinea. Not knowing if the message had been received, he returned to Milne Bay at 12:42 to ensure that the information was transmitted as quickly as possible. The second crew also failed to transmit their message, so they completed their patrol and returned to their base around 15:00 He will report the presence of ‘two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and a ship of unknown type’. These reports will only be transmitted to the Allied fleet at 18:45 and 21:30 respectively.

Back at noon, the seaplanes of the Mikawa fleet reported the presence of two groups of Allied ships, one off Guadalcanal and the other off Tulagi. He gathered his fleet and set off towards Guadalcanal when he entered the Strait near Choiseul Island at around 16:00 Mikawa communicated the battle plan to his ships: ‘We will quickly enter through the south of Savo Island and torpedo the main enemy force anchored in front of Guadalcanal; after that, we will turn to Tulagi to cannon and torpedo the enemy. We will then retire to the north of Savo Island.’

With Mikawa’s passage through the Strait of New Georgia undetected, Turner asked Admiral John S. MacCain – Commander of the Allied Air Force in the South Pacific – to conduct further reconnaissance missions in the Strait during the afternoon. However, without knowing his justification, MacCain does not launch a mission and does not inform Turner. The latter therefore believes that the strait is under surveillance. In addition, Allied on-board radars are limited in their detection capabilities by the terrain of the surrounding islands and Allied crews are exhausted by two days of constant alert and effort.

At 20:55, Crutchley left his group of ships with HMAS Australia to join Turner’s fleet for a meeting with him and Vandegrift. Crutchley left command to Captain Howard Bode of the USS Chicago, but did not inform the rest of the fleet of his absence. Bode who sleeps in his cabin does not even place his ship at the head of the South fleet.

At the meeting, Turner, Crutchley and Vandegrift discussed the reports concerning Japanese ships, but decided that these ships should not be a threat at night. Vendegrift announces that it must inspect the unloading in Tulagi before it can recommend a withdrawal time for transport vessels. He will leave for his inspection around midnight. Crutchley decides not to join the Southern fleet and park HMAS Australia near the Guadalcanal unloading area without informing the rest of the Allied fleet.

As Mikawa’s force approached Guadalcanal, the latter launched three seaplanes for a final reconnaissance of the Allied position. Starting at 23:45, Japanese seaplanes were spotted or heard by several Allied ships, but none perceived the threat and no reports were made to Crutchtley and Turner. The 8th Fleet approaches by forming a 3 km column led by the Chokai followed by Aoba, Kako, Kinugasa, Furutaka, Tenryu, Yubari and Yūnagi in this order.
Battle of Savo Island, August 9, 1942

Excerpt from ’An Ocean of Fire: The Pacific War 1941–1944’ – Joe Chevalier – BBG Publishing.

Between 00:44 and 00:54, the lookouts of Mikawa’s ships reported the presence of the USS Blue 9 km in front of the Japanese column. To avoid the USS Blue, Mikawa altered the course of his fleet to pass north of Savo Island, reducing speed to reduce the wakes left by his vessels and make them less visible.

At 01:00, the lookouts spot the USS Ralph Talbot about 16 km away. Japanese ships continued on their way while pointing more than 50 guns at the USS Blue, ready to fire if the American ship detected them. When the USS Blue turns around, because she has reached the end of its patrol route, she is actually less than 2 km from Mikawa’s fleet and does not even realize it. The 8th fleet accelerates.

At 01:26, Mikawa released and allowed his ships to act independently of his flagship.

At 01:36, Mikawa ordered a general attack. At the same time, the Yūnagi at the end of the Japanese column turned around because she had lost sight of the rest of the column.

Shortly after the Japanese spotted the USS Jarvis on the port side, she was damaged by the previous day’s air attacks and without a radio left Guadalcanal for repairs in Australia. The Furutaka fired several torpedoes at the American destroyer, but all of them passed by. Japanese ships pass within 1,100 m of the Jarvis without the latter noticing anything.

Two minutes later, the Japanese saw the destroyers and allied cruisers of the Southern Group about 15 km away, their silhouettes flashing in front of the lights of the burning George F. Eliott transport.


At 01:38, the Japanese cruisers began launching their torpedoes towards the South group. At the same time, the Chokai lookouts spot the ships of the North group at about 16 km. Imitated by the rest of the column; the Chokai positioned itself to face this new threat while preparing a gun battle against the South group. The USS Patterson, which was on alert because its commander had taken the report received at the end of the day seriously, spotted Kinugasa 5 km ahead of him. It immediately sends an alert message by radio and light signals ’Alarm! Alarm! Alarm! Unknown ships entering the area!’ The USS Patterson accelerates at full speed and fires flare shells towards the Japanese column. The commander ordered torpedoes to be fired, but his order was covered by the sound of his own ship’s guns. At the same time, Japanese seaplanes launched flares in the direction of HMAS Canberra and USS Chicago. Captain Getting of HMAS Canberra ordered to accelerate at full speed to position himself between the Japanese and the transport ships while giving the order to fire on all visible targets. Less than a minute later, Canberra was hit by several shells from the Chokai and Furutaka, and the Aoba and Kako also fired for the next three minutes. The Canberra was hit at least twenty-four times by large-calibre shells, killing the artillery officer, fatally injuring Getting and destroying the engine rooms, depriving the ship of electricity even before it had fired a single shell.


The cruiser is immobilized, on fire and unable to fight the fire or pump water out of the flooded compartments.

The crew of the USS Chicago went on alert and Captain Bode was pulled out of his deep sleep, the latter ordered illuminating shells to be fired on the Japanese column, but the shells did not work.

At 01:47, a Kako torpedo hit the bow of the USS Chicago, the shock wave damaged the main battery control systems. A second torpedo hit Chicago without exploding and a shell destroyed the mast, killing two sailors. The USS Chicago then sailed west for forty minutes, abandoning the transports it was supposed to protect, while opening fire with its secondary artillery on Japanese ships, but causing only minor damage to Tenryu. Bode then commits the unforgivable: he does not assume his command and does not even signal to his allies that he is leaving the combat zone.

Meanwhile, the USS Patterson engaged in an artillery duel with Mikawa’s fleet and received a shell on the rear, killing ten sailors and causing damage. As it sailed along the east coast of Savo while firing, the Patterson lost sight of the Japanese column. The USS Bagley, which spotted the Japanese column shortly after the Patterson and Canberra, turned completely to the side before firing several torpedoes at the Japanese.

At 01:44, as Mikawa’s ships advanced towards the Allied fleet to the north, the Tenryu and Yubari separated from the column and headed further west. The Furutaka to avoid a collision with HMAS Canberra decided to follow the Yubari and Tenryu. The Allied fleet in the Northeast was then about to be wrapped up and attacked on both sides.

Although the crews of the Allied cruisers in the North group were asleep at the beginning of the Japanese attack, they observed the explosions south of Savo Island and received the message from the USS Patterson, but it took them some time to prepare for battle. At 01:44, the first torpedo bursts were fired by Japanese ship. At 01:50, the Japanese shone powerful spotlights on the American cruisers and immediately opened fire. The USS Astoria spotted the Japanese cruisers, her captain who was sleeping ordered a ceasefire for fear of hitting allied ships, he ordered the firing to resume less than a minute later. The Chokai nevertheless adjusted its fire and the Astoria was hit by several shells and caught fire. Between 02:00 and 02:15, the Aoba, Kinugasa and Kako joined the Chokai in firing. The Astoria engine room was hit, the burning ship came to rest. The last of the main turrets tries to destroy the projector of Kinugasa, but misses it and touches by chance the front turret of the Chokai which is put out of action.

At the same time, the captain of the cruiser USS Quincy ordered the combat jolt and ordered to open fire, but the gunners were not ready. Within a few minutes the Quincy was caught under the crossfire of Aoba, Furutaka and Tenryu and caught fire. The captain of the USS Quincy ordered to charge towards the Japanese column, but as he turned to put himself in the right position, the ship was hit by two torpedoes from the Tenryu. However, the Quincy managed to launch a torpedo that hit the Chokai map room less than six metres from Admiral Mikawa and killed 36 Japanese sailors. At 02:10, Japanese shells killed or wounded almost all the crew on the Quincy’s bridge, including the captain. At 02:16, the cruiser was hit by a torpedo from the Aoba, the last guns of the Quincy ceased to fire.

The Quincy’s first gunner in-chief sent to the bridge to ask for orders recounts: ‘When I arrived on the bridge, I saw three or four people still standing in the middle of a pile of dead bodies. In the command post, the only person standing was the steward who was desperately trying to control the starboard list and bring it to port. He told me that the captain, who at that time was lying near the helm, had told him to ground the ship and that he was trying to head for Savo Island, 6 km to port. I passed through the room to look to port and spot where the island was and noticed that the vessel was listing rapidly to starboard and was starting to sink from the bow. At that moment, the captain straightened up and fell back, apparently dead, without having said anything but a moan.’

The USS Quincy sank at 02:38.

At 01:50, USS Vincennes is reluctant to fire for fear of hitting Allied ships. She was immediately targeted by the Kako and retaliated. After the Vincennes had received several shells, Captain Frederick L. Riefkhol ordered to accelerate, but suffered heavy damage from two Chokai torpedoes. Kinugasa then joined the Chokai and was hit by a shot from the Vincennes that caused slight damage to its propulsion. In the process, the American cruiser received 74 shells and at 02:03 was hit by a torpedo from the Yubari which destroyed its boilers. The USS Vincennes came to rest, destroyed by the flames and listing to port. At 02:16, Riefkohl ordered a general evacuation; the ship sank at 02:50.

At 02:16, Mikawa’s fleet ceased firing and moved north of Savo Island with minor damage. The Furutaka, Tenryu and Yubari came face to face with the USS Ralph Talbot, opened fire and seriously damaged her, but she managed to escape thanks to the rain that hindered visibility.

The attack is over; the Americans knocked out by the Japanese are recovering. However, they are not at the end of their troubles.

At 03:00, Admiral Ugaki transmitted the orders to his fleet: ’To all ships, the destroyers Arashiro and Asachiro will position themselves at Cape Esperance to take Captain Monzen’s men on board. All other ships must continue at full speed towards the American landing zone near the Tenaru River, the bad weather will cover our approach. We will then bombard the landing area and its surroundings to destroy the equipment already landed and eliminate as many enemy soldiers as possible. We will then continue our movement towards the landing fleet to destroy the transport ships. Transport must remain our priority.’ The Arashiro and Asachiro are positioning themselves on patrol near Cap Esperance and are preparing to embark the soldiers who should not be long in coming.

At 04:00, the USS Patterson positioned herself near HMAS Canberra to assist in firefighting.

At 04:30, masked by heavy rain, Admiral Matome Ugaki appeared at the head of the 1st Battleships Division (Yamato, Nagato, Mutsu) and the 2nd Battleships Division (Ise, Hyuga, Fuso, Yamashiro) escorted by the 5th Cruiser Division (Hagumo, Myoko, Nachi) and 2 Destroyer Squadron (Light Cruiser Jintsu and destroyers Arashiro, Asachiro, Oshio, Michishiro) and places its ships in firing position to strike the American landing zone. The entire fleet concentrated its fire for 5 minutes on the landing area, then widened the target area to create chaos in the ranks of American soldiers on the island.

At 04:42, Japanese ships were within gun range of American transport ships. The ships fired all their guns for 6 minutes. Several transport ships exploded or caught fire masking the visibility of both sides. The American ships damaged in the previous clash make perfect targets for the Japanese. Thus the already severely damaged USS Ralph Talbot received fifteen shells, was shaken by a strong explosion and broke in two. The burning HMAS Canberra was hit by three torpedoes, one of which did not explode, and the ship sank at 05:06. The bridge of the USS Chicago was hit by a shell that killed Captain Bode.


At 04:50, the destroyers USS Bagley and Patterson rushed towards the enemy fleet and fired several torpedoes at the Japanese ships, one of which would hit the Yamato without causing any major damage to her.

At 04:52 Admiral Ugaki ordered the ships to turn back to return to the Cape Esperance area while maintaining fire on the American fleet. The Patterson and Bagley, which had been hit several times, turned back to join the rest of the fleet. At 04:56, the Bagley is hit by five shells from the Yamato, the ship stops sharply and heels quickly. The order to abandon the ship is immediately given. Meanwhile, USS Chicago is hit by a torpedo that aggravates the damage she suffered.

At 05:00, the USS Patterson was positioned 100 metres from the Bagley and sent boats to rescue the crew of the ship that threatened to explode. This happened at 05:09, the flames had reached the ammunition stocks and the Bagley was shaken by a series of secondary explosions followed by the main one. Much shrapnel wounds sailors aboard the boats and causes some injury and damage aboard the USS Patterson.

At 05:16, USS Blue came face to face with the Japanese fleet, which was less than two kilometres away. The Americans do not have time to realize what is happening, that a steel storm is sweeping through the ship. The latter broke in two and sank at 05:18, leaving only eleven survivors to be rescued by USS Jarvis. Of the 23 transport ships, only 5 are still intact and 2 severely damaged will run ashore where their cargo will be unloaded as best as they can. The other 15 transports are lost. The 1st Marine Division was bled blank by Japanese ship gunfire and reported 968 dead or dying and more than 2,300 wounded.



Excerpt of ‘Helmet for My Pillow’ by Marines 1st Class Bob Leckie

‘We were on a ridge several kilometres inland, with a perfect view of the fleet’s anchorage area. We were in our holes in front of this damn jungle, we had lost a man a few minutes earlier. A fool who had just peed and who didn’t give us the password. He was shot at least four times in the chest and two in the head. When the naval battle began, we were all awakened, it was like a July 4th. Gun flares and illuminating shells illuminated the night, but we could not distinguish the ships from each other. Parker was convinced that the Navy was beating the Japs, I told him he might be too optimistic… I wish I was wrong. The fighting stopped, but two hours later hell fell on the beaches below, a fleet in the northwest was pouring a flood of steel into the area, a few shells did not pass far from us either. Later, a few more exchanges of fire took place with our fleet and then nothing more. At sunrise, we reached the beach, the only ships still present were wrecks, the beach had been ploughed. Almost all our supplies had been destroyed, the rest on the sea bed or left with Turner who left us here. The beach defenders were either dead or badly shaken. This scene was terrifying, we survived hell … a hell that was only the first.’
 
Excerpts from Part II.
In order to save space I've removed the illustrations.
Part Two: Endsieg

‘We have made sure before God and before our conscience that this must happen, because this man is a demon.’

Claus von Stauffenberg
Germany’s endgame
Excerpts from ‘Zugzwang : Germany’s endgame’ — August Clauswitz – Self-publishing.


I am European, I am German.

I was born in a country that had the delusions of grandeur, that faced with fear entrusted its destiny to madmen.

A country that took the opportunity to put an end to this madness, but whose enemies wanted revenge and would make sure that Germany would no longer start wars.

Thus the ‘German Resistance to Nazism’ tried to put an end to the war and save the nation, but finally Germany experienced the destruction to which its insane Führer was leading it ineluctably.

The German Resistance to Nazism did not magically appear on July 20, 1944. Fourteen times, Adolf Hitler escaped death. When Germany finally got rid of Nazism, too much damage had been done. The Soviets had millions of deaths to avenge, the Westerners wanted and ‘had to’ make an example so that Germany would never again set Europe on fire and blood.

Yet the new government in power has been reasonable in its demands for peace. All they wanted was to save Germany’s honour. But they ran into a wall: unconditional surrender.

We would not have the luck of the Italians and the Japanese. They had known how to stop before it was too late.

My Germany will become a field of ruins; a country bled to death, occupied, dismantled, divided and traumatized by the horror of an apocalyptic war.
Operation Valkyrie

In Berlin, the conspirators were warned by a call from Erich Fellgiebel, but the transmission being bad, they did not have the end of the message and therefore had a doubt about Hitler’s fate. While waiting for precise news, Olbricht does not trigger Valkyrie. When they arrived at the Tempelhof airfield, von Stauffenberg and von Haeften were alone, no one came to pick them up. They called the Bendlerblock and asked why nearly two hours after Hitler’s death Valkyrie had not been triggered. Olbricht explains that he has no confirmation of the Führer’s death. Stauffenberg replied, ‘Hitler is dead, they’re all dead. I was there, the building was destroyed. We must launch Valkyrie now.’

At 16: 30, Olbricht asked Fromm to launch Operation Valkyrie. The latter accepted on condition of a key position in the new government. A message is sent to all regional military commanders ‘The Führer, Adolf Hitler is dead. The SS launched a coup d’état to seize power. Apply the Valkyrie plan.’ All key ministries and locations are placed under military control within a few hours.

Throughout Germany and the occupied territories, the SS and their officers were arrested by the thousands. Bloodless in most cases.

Goering and Himmler are nowhere to be found. Goebbels kills himself with a poison capsule when Remer and his men come to arrest him.

As early as 08: 00 the next morning, the radio announced, ’The Führer, Adolf Hitler died in an attempted coup d’état launched by members of the Nazi party. A bomb exploded in Rastenburg Headquarters killing the Führer and his staff. Stay calm. The situation is under General Beck’s control and most of the conspirators have already been arrested.’
 
Readers all aroud the diskworld
-"Au Bord de l'Abîme" is being read in France, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom.
-"A the Edge of this Abyss" is being read in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada and even India.
 
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