Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Eventually, elements of the 4th began turning west, leap frogging Christian’s position on that end of the bridge. They were packing up to join the advance when the General’s Adjutant showed up and asked if they had been the ones who had taken the strategically important bridge over the Río Oscuro. Christian had almost told him that it wasn’t a big deal, the few Chileans defending it had fled as soon as his team had shown up and his Gunners had taken a few potshots at them so that they would keep running. The Adjutant had looked Christian in the eye and told him not to tell anyone else that.
Looks as if Christian just got himself a medal.
The situation wasn’t getting better, that much was clear as word reached them that the city of Coyhaique had fallen to the Argentinian forces and their allies. Reinaldo Contreras had noticed something far more obvious that screamed volumes about everything. His Squadron was now conducting almost all of its operations over Chile rather than Argentina.
Reinaldo is realising that he might be headed back to the US soon.
At the same time, a new plane with markings from the German Navy had appeared. As a Naval Aviator himself, Reinaldo understood that planes that operated from Aircraft Carriers frequently had to make serious compromises in order to conduct their missions. The compromise that these planes seemed to have made involved dispensing with the laws of physics. Reinaldo had tangled with these planes as they had conducted attack runs and discovered that they just turned away and even a plane as maneuverable as an F-11 couldn’t stay with them.
And the Harrier, or at least its equivalent TTL, has just entered combat. Cue everyone back in the US giving the CIA and ONI the side eye if they missed this one. I would also love to see the aero tech experts loudly protesting that "Fixed wing aircraft DON'T work that way!!!" only to have the spies replay the Chilean gun camera footage that shows that THESE aircraft DO work that way.

As for that wonderful Argentine turboprop ground support aircraft, I suspect that it will inspire someone back in the Empire to design an improved version for CAS. Something that looks a little like this perhaps:

After all, the Germans already have helicopter gunships. Sigi flew them very successfully in Korea.
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Reinaldo is realising that he might be headed back to the US soon.
Oh yes…

Given the population and size disparity, Chile’s only hope was a quick series of victories to make Argentina sue for peace. Now that the ship’s sailed there, they’ll be ground down…
And the Harrier, or at least its equivalent TTL, has just entered combat. Cue everyone back in the US giving the CIA and ONI the side eye if they missed this one. I would also love to see the aero tech experts loudly protesting that "Fixed wing aircraft DON'T work that way!!!" only to have the spies replay the Chilean gun camera footage that shows that THESE aircraft DO work that way.
As for that wonderful Argentine turboprop ground support aircraft, I suspect that it will inspire someone back in the Empire to design an improved version for CAS. Something that looks a little like this perhaps:
View attachment 661444
After all, the Germans already have helicopter gunships. Sigi flew them very successfully in Korea.
Indeed she did. And a German A10 would be awesome…
Much younger women he considered to be vulnerable.
When you're going through basic training, you're generally pretty vulnerable. Mostly teenagers, first time really away from home and training is structured so you never really get a chance to get comfortable - you're always on the go, always dealing with changing situations. this is very good for producing soldiers who don't go to pieces when the shit hits the fan, but, on the flip side, you are emotionally vulnerable. Especially if you get homesick. In some ways, this is deliberately played upon in order to break recruits down and rebuild them as soldiers.
All the NCOs I came across were very deliberate in how they did this, and did not take it too far, (a noticeable minority had a far less positive experience than I did), neither did they take advantage.

Blum was a predator and took advantage for his own gain. He is very lucky he is not singing Castrato.
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In the United States it was very common for local District Attorneys to drop a significant percentage of rape and statutory rape cases because at this point in time OTL the Defense a lot leeway in bringing up the past history of the victims and often the trial would be whether or not the victims were "Innocent" or they were of such loose morals that what may have happened to them was their fault.
In Statutory Rape cases if the victim was within six months of their eighteenth birthday and it was determined to be a "consentual" relationship then charges would be dropped and for younger victims many time a plea deal would be reached in order to "spare" the victim from testifying in open court.
My unfounded speculation is that when Reiner Blum was first booked under his new identity his fingerprints were sent to Germany and whomever arraigned for the new indemnity forgot to make sure that the fingerprints were under the new identity and that is how the INS was able to deport Reiner Blum from the United States.

As for Chile the Argentinean government is not going to entertain any peace offers from Chile until they fully humiliate the Chilean military in open battle then they are going impose the harshest terms possible that they can get away with and only Germany can have enough influence to at least tone the language of any deal down a notch.
Part 124, Chapter 2092
Chapter Two Thousand Ninety-Two

27th September 1971

Mitte, Berlin

While there were a lot of reasons for Kiki to question some of the choices that she had made today, though knowing that a bedroom that belonged to her was just a short elevator ride up from the office where her father’s charitable foundation was located was not one of them. She had even found an old Hertha jersey and pair of grey track pants that she had left behind. As much as she cared about Nina, having her at her grandparent’s house in Tempelhof today was a chance to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and that was too much to pass up even if it meant sneaking away. Kiki doubted that anyone would complain though. She was only here today for introductions as it had yet to be determined what exact role she would play within the foundation. She had been told that she could go home afterwards but had come here instead.

As she had years earlier, Kiki lay in her bed and watched the city far below. At this hour, there were thousands of commuters making their way out of the city to the suburbs and more who worked outside the city center but lived in residential buildings like the one she was in. The view wasn’t as unobstructed as it had been years earlier as other buildings just as tall or taller had sprung up in Mitte. That was hardly a surprise because it was just the nature of things. Berlin had expanded outward until it had encountered to much resistance to go any further, now the city was starting to be built upward.

Kiki heard the door swing open, rolling over, she saw Nan poke her head in and knew that wherever Nan was, Nella was always nearby. It occurred then that it had been a long time since she had seen either of her youngest sisters. They had become a bit reluctant to come around Kiki’s cottage after Nina had been born and many things had happened in the months since.

“Are you coming in?” Kiki asked as she sat up in her bed, “Or are you just going to stand out there?”

Kiki listened to the whispered back and forth as Nella and Nan debated whether or not they should take her up on her offer. Apparently, Charlotte had told them to let Kiki sleep and they had minded that about as well as they ever did despite their oh-so serious pretenses. Finally, they entered the bedroom. Kiki could tell immediately just how long it had been from their appearance. When they had been younger, they looked so similar to each other that they looked like if they really were sisters. As they grew older, the differences between them had grown more apparent. Nella had grown visibly taller, and her hair had gotten darker to about the same shade as Kiki’s. Nan had remained a blond, but because her actual age was unknown no one knew if this as tall as she ever would be. It had always been assumed that Nella and Nan were around the same age, but Kiki wasn’t so sure. There were times when aspects of Nan suggested that she might be somewhat younger than originally thought. The circumstances of her early childhood had necessitated her growing up quickly and with her being mature for her years made it difficult to tell. The two girls didn’t seem to care about any of that, so Kiki had never brought it up.

As had happened often since Kiki’s father and stepmother had taken Nan in, she instantly had both girls talking at her at once when they had questions. “Hold on” Kiki said, “One at a time please.”

Nella and Nan stared at Kiki, both reluctant to ask the first question. This was also typical of them. Then she noticed what they were looking at the front of her shirt. With a bit of annoyance, Kiki got out of bed and went into the bathroom to wash it off and relieve the pressure which had caused her to spring a leak.

“That is just one of the things that happen when you have a baby” Kiki said.

“They didn’t say anything about that at school” Nella said, and Kiki just shrugged as she rejoined them on the bed. In recent years, the schools had tried to introduce an expanded curriculum dealing with the subject of reproductive health knowing that many parents were not comfortable talking about it themselves. While Charlotte was a Licensed Social Worker who had been trained to talk to people about difficult subjects, she had felt that her daughters needed to hear it from someone other than her.

“I know that they try to make the lessons on this subject as comprehensive as possible, but they cannot get to everything” Kiki replied, “I didn’t learn of much of this until I found myself trying to take care of Nina and making all sorts of mistakes, and I had a whole lot of help too.”

Nella and Nan looked at Kiki wide-eyed, all of that was probably a bit too much reality for one day. She remembered that when she had been their age the thought of having a baby sounded painful and gross. As an adult working as an Emergency Physician and later giving birth, Kiki had learned that she had not understood the half of it.

“What I want to hear about is what the two of you did over the Summer Holiday” Kiki said, and the girls looked relieved. It was far safer subject.
Part 124, Chapter 2093
Chapter Two Thousand Ninety-Three

1st October 1971


The air in his father’s office felt like if it was from an Egyptian Pharaoh’s tomb, stagnant and full of dust. Just how much there was of the later hanging in the air was evident from the sunlight entering through the windows. The walls were covered in trophies from a lifetime spent as a soldier and hunter, the ancient Pharaohs would have understood that part instantly as well as Manfred von Richthofen’s overweening ambition. He had never couched it as personal ambition when he spoke to Albrecht it was always about the family, how Albrecht and Nikolaus following the path he had cut were his legacy. Often when he did that, Albrecht wished that they had remained among the ranks of the Junkers controlling a minor estate in Rural Silesia. Today, like most days that his father considered workdays as it were, he was wearing a Luftwaffe uniform of the sort that the Luftwaffe hadn’t used in years. This was despite having retired decades earlier. Looking at his father the thought occurred to Albrecht that it came complete with its own mummy and almost burst out laughing, something that he knew wouldn’t go over well.

“I hope you told the boy how proud you are of him for this accomplishment” Manfred said, “I certainly did.”

“Of course, I did” Albrecht replied, “As much as Ilse would prefer that he stuck to academics, this is equally important.”

Recently, Nikolaus had placed second overall in an Interscholastic Fencing tournament earning himself a ribbon. While normally Manfred the Elder would settle for nothing less than first place among his children and grandchildren, it was tempered in this case by Nikolaus competing against boys who were years older than he was.

“I guess getting beat by a girl lit a fire under his butt” Manfred said with a chuckle.

“In fairness, Marie Alexandra is no ordinary girl” Albrecht replied, “Her mother saw to it that she is extremely formidable when she needs to be.”

“Even against her own cousins?” Manfred asked in reply.

“Especially against her cousins” Albrecht said.

The Mischner and Richthofen families were presently bound together by fortune and blood, but they could have become rivals just as easily. They still could if circumstances ever changed. It was something that was always a reality among the leading families of the Empire even if the days of them openly warring with each other was long past.

“No matter” Manfred said, “We can agree that Nikolaus’ accomplishments are a good thing. May this be the first of many.”

“Most of our disagreements are by design” Albrecht said, “You take positions on trivial matters that you know I’ll be forced to vocally disagree with you on, so that the Junkers of Silesia will think that I am my own man.”

“I know full well that you are your own man” Manfred said, “I knew that when you stayed in University.”

It was something that still bothered Albrecht. During the Soviet War he had remained a Doctoral Student doing research that had been deemed critical for the war effort. He had been forbidden from breathing a word about it to anyone including his family. His father had not known about that and had not exactly been too understanding at the time, basically accusing Albrecht of cowardice on more than one occasion. It had only been recently that the full scope of what Albrecht had been doing had been declassified, even so what if father had just said was probably as close to an apology as he would ever get.

“It is not about me” Albrecht said, “It is about the perception that others have about me. If they all see me as the more reasonable one of us, they will be more likely to embrace me once you are dead.”

“Measuring the drapes?” Manfred asked.

“Hardly” Albrecht replied, “I’ll probably have this room dismantled and the contents shipped off to the War Museum. Then it will need to be fumigated. I have no idea what use it will be put to afterwards. Perhaps the household staff will want a break room. I haven’t given it much thought.”

That was when Manfred burst out laughing. Albrecht had been dead serious, but his father thought it was a joke. Perhaps Helene was right when she said that the old buzzard would outlive them all, even if it was just out of spite.

Córdoba, Argentina

Stepping off the airplane, Christian knew that whatever was going was a huge deal. That morning, he had been in Puerto Chacabuco on the Pacific Coast with the rest of the 4th Panzer. There had been rumors that Army Group South was to be redeployed north, but that hadn’t happened yet.

Then that morning, Manny had been asked to volunteer for secretive mission and had been told that he should pick three of men who he trusted implicitly. Christian, Einar, and Ralf had been picked. What happened next was a hair-raising flight over the Andes that had landed here, a major airbase in a totally different part of the country than where they had previously operated.

This place felt odd, surreal, the war had hardly touched it and they got a whole lot of strange looks as they walked across the tarmac. “They must not see the likes of us often” Einar said as they were led to the assigned barracks. It wasn’t until later that they learned that Tilo Schultz himself was present in Córdoba and that they knew that Christian had been nominated for the rare Golden Military Merit Cross, also known as the PLM Enlisted Grade, for bravery when he had captured the bridge at Balmaceda. That just confirmed Christian’s original suspicion.
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At this point there is only two things keeping Kurfurst von Richthofen alive, his grandchildren both by blood and by choice and his scheming and plotting in making alliances for the future.
Still can't get over on how the evolution of Manfred von Richthofen as a character in this timeline has felt so real and organic that I forget that he really died IOTL WW I.
What would be a great project for the former Kaiser is to write a full on history of the ITTL from his perspective (within certain limits) that shows while he wasn't the one to make the final decisions on how the war was fought he was in the room many times when they were and how sometimes he had to bring the different factions together to present an United Front both domestically and internationally.
Part 124, Chapter 2094
Chapter Two Thousand Ninety-Four

4th October 1971


Getting pulled out of class by Kat had been a novelty at first, that was until Sophie had discovered that she really did have a doctor’s appointment. What followed was unexpected, as she was introduced to a new term, Medical Specialist and learned that she had seen one several times in the past, one that specialized in caring for children. Now though, she seemed to have outgrown that this time. What that involved was meeting one of the strangest adults who Sophie had ever met. She was an older woman in a white lab coat with a serious demeanor who had her grey hair pulled back into a tight bun. She strangely seemed to know almost everything about Sophie before she even walked into the room.

“We are here today so that I can get to know you Sophie and get a general picture of your health” The woman who identified herself as Doctor Nora Berg said. “Your foster mother is a very influential woman who happens to have the one who donated the land this building sits on to the University, so the hospital thinks that all of us will be well served if I help her and by extension you.”

Sophie gave her an apprehensive look.

“Even the Prefect of a major city can feel that she is out of her depth when she is worried about a child in her care” Berg said, “She has seen how early neglect can lead to serious problems later like cardiac issues and another one of her other girls having fragile bones. Katherine also overheard two of her former wards talking about how she can be a bit intense over certain issues and wanted someone more objective to help.”

“With what?” Sophie asked.

Berg smiled and Sophie could see that she was thinking about how to answer that question.

“Katherine said you are a bit apprehensive about what the future holds” Berg replied as she placed a thermometer into Sophie’s mouth. “My hope is that we can put your mind at somewhat ease.”

Sophie sat there thinking until Berg took the thermometer from her mouth and wrote the result down on a form that she was filling out. Next came drawing blood, which Berg walked her though. She had endured far worse in the past. Watching as Berg continued to fill out the forms.

Sophie understood that she had said a lot of things to the people around her, Kat, and Ziska mostly. Apparently, Kat had listened. Ziska though, Sophie could only speculate about what was going on with her friend, it felt like there was this sudden divide between them that hadn’t been there before. As much as she was apprehensive about the future, as Berg had put it, the thought of being left behind was actually worse.

“What comes next is that I will continue the examination and that because of your age I will keep it minimally invasive” Berg said, “Katherine told me a great deal about your past Sophie, so if anything makes you feel in the least bit uncomfortable, I will stop immediately. Do you have any questions?”

Sophie thought about that as she felt Doctor Berg open the medical gown that she was wearing, and a cold stethoscope was pressed against her back.

“I need you to take a deep breath for me” Berg said, and Sophie complied before the stethoscope shifted around, “And another.”

The stethoscope was withdrawn, and Berg put a blood pressure cuff around her arm and started pumping it until it became tourniquet tight. It was then as Berg relieved the air pressure, watching the gauge, she wrote down some numbers on the page.

“You said that some of the others have had problems?” Sophie asked, “What about me?”

Berg looked at her for a minute before replying. “We will get a better picture after we get the results of the tests back.”

“When did you learn about Aunt Ilse’s heart problem?” Sophie asked, “She is the one you mentioned who has cardiac issues.”

“Katherine warned me about how you are an extremely smart girl” Berg replied, “And as unfortunate as it might be, Medical Science is not perfect. Some problems need the right circumstances to present themselves. Ilse’s pregnancy put a lot a strain on her heart, and she suffered cardiac arrest as her son was being born. There is a reason why Nikolaus is an only child.”

“Albrecht and Ilse have Ingrid” Sophie said, “She had to be followed around the house to keep her from getting into things.”

“It is wonderful how they opened their home to that child” Berg said, “But Ilse knows that an additional pregnancy would likely end her.”

Sophie paused for a moment. No one had told her any of that. She had just assumed…

“I would say that if you eat right, get exercise, and avoid as many of the stressful situations that Katherine seems to thrive in as you can” Berg said, “Then you should be fine.”

That was when a question occurred to Sophie that was incredibly obvious.

“The periods, when does that start?” Sophie asked.

“I take it that you are still waiting?” Berg asked in reply.

“Yes” Sophie said unsure if she had just said too much.

“It could be tomorrow or a year from now” Berg said with a smile, “Katherine is quite concerned as to how you will take it when that happens. Part of her hope is that you’re seeing me here today would help you not be scared.”

“What if it never does?” Sophie asked, “What if I am some sort of freak?”

“That does happen” Berg replied, “That is rather uncommon, and we would have seen signs of that already.”

“Are you sure?”

“I know a simple test” Berg replied, “Just close your eyes.”

Reluctantly, Sophie did that.

“Now picture the face of the one who you fancy” Berg said.

A face immediately came to mind, totally unbidden.

“Sorry” Sophie replied, “I don’t fancy anyone.”

Even as she said that, Sophie was aware of how her cheeks felt like they were burning. Her blushing just gave her away.

“Just an observation Sophie” Berg said, “I think that you are a perfectly normal young woman.”
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Part 124, Chapter 2095
Chapter Two Thousand Ninety-Five

9th October 1971

Over the Andes Mountains

The Tiger E accelerated smoothly as it cruised over the Andes mountains. Occasionally, there was the bump of turbulence. As the mountains pushed wind aloft. Here it was quiet, and he could think without having to be bothered with anyone else’s problems at that moment.

It had been a few days earlier when it had occurred to Reinaldo that he needed to start considering his exit plan. Things were definitely going badly for Chile, the scuttlebutt that he had been hearing was that President Allende had reached out to his Argentine counterpart to begin peace talks, the same way that every other war in South America had ended over the last few decades and had been told to piss off. President Raul Martínez of Argentina knew that he had a chance to settle the various border disputes between the two countries for keeps and the wasn’t going to end until he got everything he wanted. The joke that had flown around the mess table that morning had been that the peace terms from Argentina would include Allende giving Martínez a blowjob on International Television. When he had heard that, Reinaldo had realized that it was coming in a metaphorical sense and the other men in his Squadron had no idea that it wouldn’t just be El Presidente wearing knee pads. They would be as well.

Reinaldo had absolutely no desire to stick around for that.

Still, Reinaldo knew that he couldn’t just pull stakes and leave. Going over the hill wouldn’t go over well with the mood the Chileans seemed to be in. They would probably shoot him as a deserter if he tried. So, he was flying a ground attack mission that had been deemed critical at a time when he knew he should have turned north and made for Bolivia.

With the current advance of the German Army having hit the Pacific Coast, their Commanders must have discovered that they had gone down a blind alley. But if they could punch through the mountains in one place, they could surely do it elsewhere. Intelligence said that the forces in question were redeploying north up the Argentine Route 40 and the job of Reinaldo’s Squadron was to slow them down. Rolling his plane into a steep dive, Reinaldo would see what he could do about that. One of the key advantages of flying a Tiger was that it was fast enough that no one could hear you coming before you bombed them into oblivion. Keeping the sun to his back, Reinaldo lined up with the road. Like shooting fish in a barrel…

Federal Route 40 near La Amarga, Neuquén Province, Argentina

The Argentinians loved the sight of Ferdinand whenever the old Flakpanther rolled by. The sight of the old, repurposed Panther hull with the oscillating turret and radar array installed. The image of Ferdinand the Bull from the old pacifist tale that had been turned into a cartoon painted on the hull was in stark contrast to the twin 30mm revolving-chamber autocannons in the turret. Whenever they entered a town, the crew could always see the people laughing about the story of the bull who had preferred to sit in the shade of a cork tree and smell flowers as opposed to butting heads with the other young bulls. Through a series of events involving a bee sting and false impressions, Ferdinand finds himself in a bullfight. Only to outrage the Matador and delight the crowd with his passive nature, “winning” the fight in the process.

The truth was that Ferdinand had been painted there long before two of the three members of the crew had even been born and the reason for it had long been forgotten. Paul, the youngest, had become the gunner because that was where the opening for a new crewman had been when he had been assigned to the 91st Air Defense Battalion. He had known little about radar or autocannons at the moment that Vit, Ferdinand’s Commander had thrown the manual at him and told him he had the trip across the Atlantic to Argentina to learn. Aust, the driver had just smirked. He later learned that Aust and Vit went way back, and he would remain the odd one out until they got past it.

Today though, all three of them found themselves in a strange situation. Their Flakpanzer Platoon had been sent to provide air defense or fire support for the Japanese Expeditionary Division depending on exactly what shit the Japanese soldiers got themselves into. It was a somewhat daunting task they found themselves in. Not because the Japanese were bad soldiers, far from it, they just didn’t let things like impossible odds or certain death get in the way of them getting into a fight. There had already been a few hairy situations that they had found themselves in so far in this campaign.

Looking out the top hatch of the turret, Paul could see them on either side of Ferdinand. Their kit was kept as light as possible, with them taking pride in the fact that they had the smallest logistical chain of any Army in the world. Rice, raisins, and whatever was unlucky enough to find itself in the stewpot were what they said sustained them. Even their rifles, which had clearly been influenced by the Mauser G44, had been designed to suit their ideas about rapid movement in warfare.

“We just got reports of enemy aircraft in this sector” The Lieutenant’s voice over the radio, “Keep an eye on the horizon and I had better not catch any of you sleeping.”

“You heard the man Paul” Vit yelled over the intercom despite him sitting less than a meter behind Paul.

“Sure thing, David” Paul said as he was flipping the switches to turn on the targeting radar. He knew that Vit hated it when people called him by his proper name, so it was what he did whenever Vit annoyed him. The search radar started scanning the horizon and they waited for a moment.

“We got contacts on bearing…” Vit started to say, but Paul ignored him. He could see the targets on the gunner’s repeater screen and was already turning the turret in that direction.

In the corner of Paul’s eye, he could see that the Japanese had noticed that the turret was moving, and they were looking skyward as they shouldered their rifles. If they were a German unit, they would have already been running for whatever cover they could find on either side of the road. Unbelievable.

Paul heard the tone as the targeting radar locked on the lead contact and the computer made several calculations to find the targeting solution as the contact closed rapidly with them. When a green light lit up the scope, Paul pulled the trigger and the two 30mm cannons fired a burst skyward. 1400 rounds per minute moving at 1100 meters per second, the shells raced towards where the airplane would be. If the shells didn’t hit it directly then the proximity fuses would seriously ruin its Pilot’s Day. Paul was dimly aware of the sound of the explosion as the supersonic fighter plane was turned into an expanding fireball, he was already focused on the next contact.
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