Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Part 102, Chapter 1647
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Forty-Seven



6th August 1964

San Francisco, California

Sitting on a pier, Ritchie was nicely drunk as he sat in the shade and watched the ships putting to sea. According to the Sailors who Ritchie had talked to, the Navy ship out there in the Bay was the USS Maddox. Like him, she had been preparing for service in the Far East and was departing now. He would beat her to China because he would be flying there in a few days.

He was more than happy to drink to the great festering sore that was China, where everyone and their brother seemed to have an agenda there, and no one was up front about it. The United States was just one player among many over there in that geopolitical chess game. The 1st SFG was first in line among the US Army to get sent over there and Ritchie was starting to regret his choice to stay in the Green Beret as opposed to going back to the 82nd Airborne when he had the chance. Either way came with the promotion to Specialist 1st Class, just in Ritchie’s short-term thinking, holding that rank in the 1st SFG seemed to mean a whole lot more and he was an Assistant Squad Leader. In practice that meant that he no longer needed to haul the Squad’s Browning around.

A few weeks later, they had learned that they were going back to China. Ritchie remembered that he had been selected for the 1st SFG because he spoke Spanish fluently. Back then, everyone thought that Cuba, Mexico and Central America were going to be the Global hot spots where operations would be conducted. Instead, it had been China and Korea. Places that had been on no one’s radar a few years earlier. For what it was worth, Ritchie had picked up quite a few words in Chinese. They typically were not ones that one would care to use in mixed company though.

Where it took on a completely surreal aspect was that when Ritchie had mentioned the prior times that he had been in China he had seen people’s eyes glaze over. Or worse, his brother telling him that it was this great adventure. Somehow, listening to Captain Parker having to kiss the ass of an overt chauvinist like General Pan Yong and knowing that all of their “Allies” would happily plant daggers in each other’s backs in what was the asshole of the globe didn’t seem like any sort of adventure, or at least not one that any would ever make a movie about.

The Great Game, Part 2, Ritchie thought to himself cynically. Except this time if someone fucked up nukes would fly and the whole world would burn. So, there was no pressure at all.



Wunsdorf-Zossen

The meeting of Heads of the Service Branches, the Heads of the relevant Divisions and the Commander in Chief of the Military High Command had just gotten out. Hans had attended at the right hand of the Inspector of the Panzer Corps. Everyone knew that he was being groomed for the top spot in time provided that his career wasn’t diverted by unexpected events. The meeting that he had just attended had suggested that unexpected events were exactly what was coming.

The subject had been a plan to reopen the overland railroads through China. Hopefully before the Russians recognized that the current crisis represented an opportunity for them to realize their long-held ambition of grabbing Manchuria and the Pacific ports long held by China. It was somewhat of a miracle that hadn’t happened yet. Everyday over the previous spring, Hans had been expecting the news to roll in that the Russians were massing in the Far East. It hadn’t happened yet but waiting for the Chinese to get their shit together seemed like it was a guarantee that it would eventually happen.

While the OKW was just talking about how they needed a plan at the moment, Hans wasn’t stupid. Buried somewhere in the blizzard of papers that the High Command generated were probably several sets of plans covering every contingency. One of the things that Hans had discovered his job entailed was keeping the men who generated those theories from putting them into practice. Or in failing that, making sure that the men under his command would survive the experience. Kurt Knispel had told him about how during the Second World War, Field Marshal von Wolvogle had waged a war just as bloody and ruthless as the one that he had fought on the Russian Front with official bureaucracy. In the end, the Old Wolf had been able to clean house, sacking or reassigning everyone who he regarded as being the “dead wood” which he had gone after with a proverbial flamethrower.

The trouble that Hans had with the entire process was that he had been on the other side of matters as the Heer had been pushed out of Ukraine and Poland. According to Kurt, officialdom had been more focused on not looking bad as opposed to winning the war. Kurt had suggested that the culture that existed in Berlin and Wunsdorf had become very similar to the one that had existed during the first part of the Second World War.

It was a troubling thought.

If they suffered the same sort of reverses the field as they had back then, Hans would be extremely tempted to go through Wunsdorf with an actual flamethrower this time. Waiting for the other side to overreach or having someone like Manfred von Wolvogle to pull off a miracle was beyond stupid. And that was without even mentioning the sort of stupid things that always happened that couldn’t be planned for.
 
Last edited:
The age old risk of being a bard/troubadour. Piss off your patron at your peril.
Zella wasn't really their patron. She disliked them for a long time, and one of their songs (despite - or because - of the accurate portrayal of her) only irritated her even more.
 
Wasn't she planning to teach them a lesson a 100-200 chapters ago?
Yes, what happened was that the Moondogs came to town and discovered that Zella was on vacation in the South of France for the entire month of August.
Now, on Saturday afternoon Kiki was sitting on a towel near the tideline in the shade of one of the beach umbrellas that they had brought down from the house. They had been swimming a few minutes earlier, so Kiki was applying another layer of the zinc oxide crème. Zella found that amusing as she was sketching the rocks that stood over one end of the cove. Zella was telling her and Aurora about according to her mother the Moondogs had called expecting Zella to cover their show in a few hours. Zella obviously wasn’t going to make it. Instead, their show was going to be covered by a different reporter from the BT. One who normally covered Classical Music. While Kiki said that she didn’t hate the band, she certainly wanted them to have a bad night because John Lennon was a bit of an asshole and had written that song about her that she didn’t like.
 
The Great Game, Part 2, Ritchie thought to himself cynically. Except this time if someone fucked up nukes would fly and the whole world would burn. So, there was no pressure at all.
" Excrement meet Rotary Air Impeller. I'm sure you'll both get on like a house on fire. Ever been in a burning house?"

According to Kurt, officialdom had been more focused on not looking bad as opposed to winning the war. Kurt’s had suggested that the culture that existed in Berlin and Wunsdorf had become very similar to the one that had existed during the first part of the Second World War.
It was a troubling thought.
If they suffered the same sort of reverses the field as they had back then, Hans would be extremely tempted to go through Wunsdorf with an actual flamethrower this time. Waiting for the other side to overreach or having someone like Manfred von Wolvogle to pull off a miracle was beyond stupid. And that was without even mentioning the sort of stupid things that always happened that couldn’t be planned for.
Most bureaucrats, military or civilian, operate on the five basic principles:
1) When in doubt, do nothing.
2) Will this get ME in trouble? Y/N? (if Y, see 1 & 4; if N, proceed but refer to 4.)
3) Will this progress MY career without violating the first two principles? Y/N? (if Y, proceed but refer to 4; if N, see 1 & 4.)
4) Is there a paper trail that covers MY backside?" Y/N? (if Y, proceed; if N, can you create one? Y/N? if Y, do so; if N, see 1, but remember 2 & 3 may still apply.)
5) Are you under a directive to 'do something'? Y/N? (if Y, proceed but see 2, 3 & 4, remembering that 5 takes 1 out of play; if N, see 1 & 4.)
 
Last edited:
I see that both Hans & Kurt are firm believers in the old military proverb:

"No plan survives first contact with the enemy; that is why they're called the enemy." *

They also seem to be familiar with the entity known as The Demon Murphy.

*(Note: your own staff officers can frequently fall into this category)
 
General Pan Yong Zhihao
This isn't how Chinese names work. If his family name is PAN, his given name is either one character (Yong) or two (Zhihao). OR, his birth name is PAN Yong, and given the courtesy name "Zhihao".

Also Wade-Giles should still be a thing without Pinyin being introduced in a big way.

EDIT: case in point, MAO Zedong (or MAO Tse-tung in W-G), courtesy name Runzhi)

Marc A
 
Last edited:
China is going to be such a suck hole that the only way out is either to keep digging or have everyone help each other out, guess which is Option One.
The United States and Germany just want to find someone honest enough to stay bribed and may work together on this as the Chinese market is more then big enough to share.
The main foot soldiers in the opening round of the "Game" is going to be American Dollars, British Pounds, German Marks, and Russian gold bullion.
The country that has most to lose in all of this is Korea as it is between a Rock and a Hard Place and another Hard Place, by that I mean Russia, China, and Japan.
As for Jack Kennedy, he is in too deep with British Intelligence to get out as he is probably their bag man spreading out all the lovely Pounds around.
 
So the current situation in China is reminiscent of the OTL (and TTL) Warlord Era, in that there's technically a central government but regional warlords pick and chooses orders to follow?

Marc A
 
China is going to be such a suck hole that the only way out is either to keep digging or have everyone help each other out, guess which is Option One.
The United States and Germany just want to find someone honest enough to stay bribed and may work together on this as the Chinese market is more then big enough to share.
The main foot soldiers in the opening round of the "Game" is going to be American Dollars, British Pounds, German Marks, and Russian gold bullion.
The country that has most to lose in all of this is Korea as it is between a Rock and a Hard Place and another Hard Place, by that I mean Russia, China, and Japan.
As for Jack Kennedy, he is in too deep with British Intelligence to get out as he is probably their bag man spreading out all the lovely Pounds around.
Don't forget India, Vietnam or Tibet. ITTL Tibet was never invaded and/or annexed by China & will be a regional player.

In the ongoing unrest, Russia, India & Tibet could swipe Xinjiang from China, which would dramatically shorten Russia's border with China, protect Tibet's northwestern flank and secure Kashmir. Purely to 'support' an Uighur independence movement seeking to liberate its homeland, of course.

I can't remember if either Burma or Laos gained their independence ITTL. If they did, both have historic issues with China regarding China's not-so-frequent attempts at conquest & subjugation and may seek to intervene & 'adjust' the border somewhat. If they are still part of the British & French Empires respectively, there will be some intervention, but the official reason will be to 'stabilise a potentially dangerous situation' either by openly supporting on faction over another, or just funneling in arms. Vietnam will be in a similar situation as Burma & Laos.

Korea I can see doing a deal with Russia over Manchuria, either seeking to partition & annex parts of it, or even setting up an independent Manchurian State to act as a buffer between them and China.

Of course, this will all play into US propaganda about all of the 'Evil Empires seeking to destroy poor little democratic, republican China', causing them to double down on previous errors. The fact that Richie & Parker are headed back to China seems to indicate this.

Japan may be tempted into intervening itself, but practically EVERYONE outside a few Japanese army hotheads will scream that suggestion down pretty damn quickly.

And then there is China itself, divided between God knows how many warlords, all striving for power & to keep their heads attached to their shoulders.

Welcome to the Warring States! The people of TTL are certainly living in interesting times. Senor Arbusto must be raking it in.
 
“That girl doesn’t pay much mind to that which she leaves behind” Kiki sang the first verse of the song She walks in Sunshine in accompaniment of her guitar. She had told Ben many times that her singing voice was awful. While she wasn’t classically trained like her sister Vicky, her voice was more than adequate for singing the sort of pop song that she was currently playing. She progressed through the verses until she reached the chorus. It was funny how Kiki playing the song this way changed the emphasis. When the Moondogs played it, people heard the poppy chorus as opposed to the verses.

“No wonder Zella hates this song” Ben said to Kiki who stopped when he said that.

“She made a point of ignoring the band the next time they came through Berlin, not putting the announcement of their show ahead of time in the Berliner” Kiki replied, “It made for a boring show, apparently. I wasn’t there, hardly anyone else was either.”

“That is completely different” Ben replied.
Wasn't it the Rolling Stones whom she boycotted / failed to advertise because the singer spread maliscious rumours about her? The Moondogs just did get the wrong critic send.
 
what is the USA thinking? Trying to get rid of internal problems? Wag the dog does only make sense if you have somebody which can easily be beaten.
 
Part 102, Chapter 1648
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Forty-Eight



7th August 1964

Near Bad Reichenhall

This was not how someone like her was supposed to react to any situation. Kiki was supposed to be able to keep her head in a crisis because that was what she had been trained to do. Instead, when Ben had left to return to Berlin, Kiki had fallen apart. Once again, she had only managed to make it out of bed to care for Rauchbier. The difference was that this time she was crying the entire time she wasn’t asleep. She thought it was pathetic, her mooning after a boy like this just because he had gone home as they had planned weeks earlier.

This wasn’t like her at all.

There was also the issue that had arisen because she had not washed her clothes or bedding while the weather was good. Now she was out of clean clothes and it was raining again. Knowing that someone would check up on her, Kiki realized that she could kill two birds with one stone if she took her laundry down to the main house. Gertrud had said that she could use the modern amenities that they had. Hopefully that would include the washer and drier that Lucy said that she had gotten recently. Rauchbier was sleeping in the warmth of the stove that had the coals banked inside it hardly waking as she gathered her laundry, so Kiki figured that he would be fine for a few hours.

Negotiating the trail down to the house proved to be a challenge with a duffle bag over her back as well as the pillowcase with the sheets stuffed into it in her arms. What would have been a pleasant walk in good weather became surprisingly difficult in pouring rain.

Knocking on the door, Kiki watched as Lucy opened it and she pulled her into the house. “My goodness Kristina” She said, “You’ll catch your death out there in this weather. Don’t you remember the entire reason you are here in the first place?”

It was then that Kiki realized that she must be quite a sight. Old Hertha jersey, track pants, all dripping wet and her shoes covered in mud. The shoes were left on the porch and Lucy didn’t seem too pleased with the rest of it in her house.

“It’s just for my head” Kiki replied, “The rest of me is fine.”

The look on Lucy’s face softened, “It was worse than the official announcement, wasn’t it?” She asked.

“It is what is called a closed linear skull fracture” Kiki replied, “And the contents inside got a bit scrambled as well, so I was encouraged to take a long holiday somewhere quiet to recover. If I could use your washing machine?”

“No” Lucy said clearly taken aback when the word fracture had been used, Kiki doubted that she would understand that it had been her brain bouncing off the other side of her skull that had probably done more damage “You’ve taken care of yourself for the last week and the guest house being what it is, I’ll get Marika to take care of your clothes. You can get cleaned up in the meantime, some of Lea’s old clothes would fit you…”

With that Kiki was shoved into a bathroom and made to change out of her clothes into a bathrobe. This was before she could even tell Lucy that she was more than capable of handling it herself and that her housekeeper probably had better things to be doing. A few minutes later, a set of clothes that looked like school clothes that must have belonged to Lea Bäcker when she was much younger were handed through the door. Oddly, they were a rather substantial step up from what Kiki had been wearing. The shower was heavenly, something that she hadn’t realized she missed. That was until she ran her fingers through her hair and felt the still healing scar above her ear and a vivid memory of how that happened came back to her. Kiki yelling for Marie Alexandra to run before… followed by her being dragged to her feet dazed and bleeding and roughly forced back into the Kombi…

She swiftly turned off the water, stepped out and got dressed. One more bad memory to add to the list of those that she already needed to deal with.

Later, sitting in the parlor waiting for her clothes to finish drying, Kiki had nothing better to do but listen to the ticking of the clock over the mantlepiece. She must have fallen asleep because when she woke up, it was nearly dark outside, and Erwin was trying to quietly remove a book from the shelves that took up an entire wall of the parlor.

“Lucia said to just let you sleep” Erwin said, “She said that you told her what really happened to you and that it sounded serious. She also thinks that you are missing your boyfriend.”

“About me and Benjamin, our relationship is…” Kiki started to say and as always struggled to explain matters.

“Wholly inappropriate” Erwin said mildly, “Is that what you were going to say?”

Actually, Kiki was going to say “impossible” like she had so many times in the past. But what Erwin said worked just as well.

“I word of advice from me, Kristina” Erwin said, “Though things have worked out well over the course of my life with the decisions I’ve made, one of the few things that I occasionally regret was how I listened to what others had to say about a relationship they deemed inappropriate. Just something for you to think about.”

“Thank you” Kiki replied, though she wasn’t quite sure what he was referring to.

“There is food in the kitchen if you are interested” Erwin said before he went back to what he was doing before.
 
Last edited:
I do wonder how many of the Unequal Treaties are still in effect TTL.

I mean it wouldn't be hard to argue that anyone selling anything bigger than hand-guns should be in a lot of trouble with the rest of the international community from the Boxer Protocol, provided of course the powers have kept up the "no-one give the Chinese munitions lest they start getting uppity ideas" part of it, which I don't see why they wouldn't. I mean that sale of artillery after the war was kept secret for a reason.
 
Erwin Rommel, relationship counsellor to Princesses? That’s going above and beyond his duty to the Fatherland - he deserves another medal for that... X


I do wonder how many of the Unequal Treaties are still in effect TTL.

I mean it wouldn't be hard to argue that anyone selling anything bigger than hand-guns should be in a lot of trouble with the rest of the international community from the Boxer Protocol, provided of course the powers have kept up the "no-one give the Chinese munitions lest they start getting uppity ideas" part of it, which I don't see why they wouldn't. I mean that sale of artillery after the war was kept secret for a reason.
Point...
 
I mean if anyone is going to have good relationship advice, Rommel is a good pick.

Does beg the question as to how things worked out with Gertrude this time around.
 
I mean if anyone is going to have good relationship advice, Rommel is a good pick.

Does beg the question as to how things worked out with Gertrude this time around.
Things didn't work out much better for Walburga Stemmer in TTL. Her daughter Gertrud is the woman who gave Kiki the key to the chalet.
 
Things didn't work out much better for Walburga Stemmer in TTL. Her daughter Gertrud is the woman who gave Kiki the key to the chalet.
Ah, I missed that then, mea culpa. Shame it didn't go much better, but well that's the way things work out sometimes.

Rommel's personal life is rather fascinating in that it shows a principled man who was trying to do the best by the standards he came up in. It's somewhat reflective of his actions in the Military in that regard. Though when it comes to military stuff, there is some of the "Clean Wehrmacht" white-washing in place, so I find his personal life the more interesting to read.
 
Top