Horst retiring, as if Wolvogle will let him go.

It's not like he could, anyway, until the War is over and Germany's at peace, and about an year after that to put affairs in order. By that time, Wolvogle could be dead, Germany at war again, hell Horst could be dead also, making the whole retirement thing moot.
If we were speaking about a normal person sure.
The problem is that we are speaking about "Patrón Saint of awesome Nutsos and Panzers" Wolvogle.
That likely means that if the old coot retires or dies, he won't do that before propelling Horst two, if not 3 Ranks straight into the mess of General positions.

Think also that the massive cleanup of the clusterfuck in the front that Wolvogle did. Said Cleanup that left quite a few positions in the ranks, and the old dude likely breveted younger or more experienced officers informally to fill the gaps in the new positions. Of course, he "forgot" to tell Horst, and the guy assumed that the extra management and such that he was dealing with was more of Wolvogle's lunacy....
 
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Horst was reading the same newspaper, he felt the warm glow that everyone else did when he saw that the chowder-heads in the KLM had blundered their way into a victory. He wasn’t at all adverse to giving the worthless squids their due. But then it was all a part of a larger problem he’d noticed of late. Somewhere along the line the same narratives of humanity kept playing themselves out and it was written there in black and white. The world seemed to go through vast convulsions of violence and change once a generation or so and there were smaller squabbles in the meantime. Lately it seemed like he’d been forced to reassess his role in everything. Watching his men bring in civilians every day, the ones who could still be saved, he kept seeing his own children’s faces amongst the ones who passed through on their way to the refugee camps. At some point, it had hit him, he might a part of the problem.

Thirty odd years and four wars as a professional soldier, his entire adult life. Horst figured that he had risen as far as he possibly could. He was the Oberst of the 140th Regiment, the same unit he’d been recruited into when he was sixteen years old in 1911. To rise any higher would mean leaving it and require playing the political game that he just didn’t have in him. He wasn’t like Emil Holz, who all protestations aside, was just as much a political animal as his Patron, Chancellor Lang. Emil was already a Corps commander at forty-three with a PLM. He would be a Generalfeldmarschall long before he reached retirement age and one didn’t get where he was without playing the political game like a maestro.

Nina would probably be overjoyed to learn that he was thinking this way. She had said that she would like to travel and see the world. The kids were getting old enough to where they wouldn’t be a problem. That was actually something that he was looking forward to.


THis is generally how Death Flags appear.
 
THis is generally how Death Flags appear.

It is also how the soldier has a life changing moment, such as wanting some sort of League of Nations--then realizing that he'll need to play the political game to make it happen.

VERY good bit of writing here :D

What's the situation with rocketry? Also--funky question: Poland was originally split between tree powers, and Russia had a different rail gauge from the others. What gauge is Poland using now? Standard or Russian. Also, a note with regard to regauging: It's MUCH easier to modify standard gauge to Russian gauge than the reverse, and with steam, often, impossible to regauge to standard.
 
What's the situation with rocketry? Also--funky question: Poland was originally split between tree powers, and Russia had a different rail gauge from the others. What gauge is Poland using now? Standard or Russian. Also, a note with regard to regauging: It's MUCH easier to modify standard gauge to Russian gauge than the reverse, and with steam, often, impossible to regauge to standard.

German rocketry, while more advanced compared to the rest of the world, still lags a bit compared to OTL. Mostly because there isn't a madman pushing the wunderwaffe projects.

As for the railroad situation. Regauging isn't the problem, it's the state of the Russian rail system itself. Much of it was built as temporary structures to facilitate the Russian military in WW 1, decades later it's still in use.
 
Admiral Schmidt being the innovator that he is, will expand the scope of what the Sea Lions can do. And with two more divisions available there should be enough former Fallschrimjagger trained troops who were "transferred" to the Seebataillon Infantry to form at least two or three battalions of airborne units. There won't be a need to do large scale drops, but along with Sea Lions they can drop behind the lines and set up ambushes and block reinforcements.
Knowing Schmidt, and adding the brand of insane stunts inherited from SKA training.... I'm suspecting that Schmidt will use the MA either for STEAL the embarked Japanese Flagship, or to "dissappear" Isoroku Yamamoto and throw the Kido Butai into chaos before attacking the carriers.
 
Knowing Schmidt, and adding the brand of insane stunts inherited from SKA training.... I'm suspecting that Schmidt will use the MA either for STEAL the embarked Japanese Flagship, or to "dissappear" Isoroku Yamamoto and throw the Kido Butai into chaos before attacking the carriers.

Jacob was never in the SKA but he was the commanding officer of Abwehr Team WW43B, which set the template for what became the SKA.
 
Knowing Schmidt, and adding the brand of insane stunts inherited from SKA training.... I'm suspecting that Schmidt will use the MA either for STEAL the embarked Japanese Flagship, or to "dissappear" Isoroku Yamamoto and throw the Kido Butai into chaos before attacking the carriers.

No need, with the beating that Yamato took, I imagine even if she survived, none of the command staff did
 
Jacob was never in the SKA but he was the commanding officer of Abwehr Team WW43B, which set the template for what became the SKA.
Whoops, i said that wrong. The SKA insanity influence part it refers to the initial MA core members, who in most cases DID undergo said training, with the added legacy of if attempting stunts downright suicidal...
 
Part 27, Chapter 306
Chapter Three Hundred Six


18th April 1943

South China Sea

Jacob watched as another batch of sailors were committed to the deep. The last couple days had been spent getting his ships back into working order and taking care of the living. As the situation had improved they had time to deal with other things. Even in victory the butcher’s bill had been staggering. The worst was the Sachsen, of her crew of 1171, 678 had gone down with her including Adrian Baier, her Captain. Everything that Jacob had seen suggested that Baier had done everything possible to save the Sachsen and then failing that had made sure that as many of his men as possible got off her before she rolled over and sank. Jacob was aware how lethal a capsize could be.

Jacob had toured his ships over the last two days, to observe repairs and speak with the crews. Still the numbers kept rattling around in his head. The Mackensen, 313 dead, was a battered wreck, it was debated as to whether or not to attempt to take her back to port or just scuttle her in place. Her Captain had insisted that they be allowed to bring her in. The Mackensen had always been the odd ship out, she was to only ship of her class to be completed as a Battlecruiser, the class being superseded by the improved Yorck Class. Her sisters had lent their hulls to the carrier fleet. Even if they made it back to port Jacob feared that the crew would just watch her get stricken and sent to the breakers.

The Graf Spee, 271 dead, had a turret burnt out and flooding. The Hessen, 258 dead, had an extensive fire that the crew had fought for hours to put out. The Captains of both those ships were saying that they would have their ships in fighting shape in no time. Jacob was giving them the benefit of doubt, for now.

Of the rest of the Fleet, all the ships had sustained some level of damage. The Preussen, 56 dead. The Schlesien, 48 dead. The Bayern, 47 dead. The Yorck, 45 Dead, The Scharnhorst, 44 Dead. The ship he was currently standing on, the Rhineland, had 41 dead.

1751 and That was just the Battleship and Battlecruiser divisions. There were an additional 581 who had died in the Cruisers, Destroyers and the S-Boats. 58 in the air battle that had followed. 2440 total. Their French, British and Dutch Allies were a bit cagey about their losses but Jacob’s understanding was that it was proportionate to their involvement. Still they had gotten off light compared to the damage they had inflicted on the Japanese Fleet. Of the twelve Japanese Battleships six had been sunk outright by the Allied Fleet three more had been finished off by the aircraft afterwards. Intelligence had said that included the Yamato, the pride of the Japanese fleet and most of Fleet’s Command staff. The Japanese had planned on forcing a decisive battle, in Jacob’s estimation they had. There were also a large number of claims regarding sunk Cruisers and Destroyers that they were still sorting through.

“Hell of show, Sir” Oberstabsbootsmann Arend Neumann said as Jacob passed.

“Thank you, Oberstaber Neumann” Jacob said, “I understand that you did well for yourself here on the Rhineland.”

“Kept this tub afloat, Sir” Arend said.

“That’s all we ask” Jacob said as he noticed that a young man with the Oberstaber looked like he was about to jump out of his skin.

“You can say something Christoph” Arend said “Me and Admiral von Schmidt go way back to when he was the XO on the old Strassburg.”

“Uh… Matrose Hase, Sir, What the Staber said, Sir” Christoph said nervously “A Hell of a show.”

Jacob looked at the young man, he heard the same accent as Arend when he spoke, looking closer he saw the two shared more than a home town. They both had same square jaw, nose and basic build. Christoph was a version of Arend twenty years younger. “You can learn a lot from your father, Matrose” Jacob said, “I’d suggest you listen.” That set off a great deal of whispering among the nearby crew, apparently that wasn’t information that the Staber Neumann or Matrose Hase had spread around.

As Jacob walked away he heard Christoph talking at Arend “How did he know that?”

Then Arend’s calm voice “Because he’s Admiral von Schmidt, there are no secrets from him, uncanny…”

Arend stopped talking when Jacob glanced back over his shoulder. But he saw no reason to make an issue of that. It was good to know that he still had the same reputation that he’d had for years as an XO and then Captain.

He continued down the rail, this ship had gotten away with little damage but there were still signs of the battle everywhere. He was thinking about the long list of things still needing to be done. Beyond the repairs there were still the issues with the crew and the needs of the Fleet. A rumor was spreading about a Matrose aboard the Lilienthal who had somehow filmed an attack on a Japanese battleship from his airplane, that was intriguing. Then there was the…

“Admiral, Sir?” A Seekadett asked.

“Yes” Jacob said.

“Latest from Berlin, Sir, for you” The Seekadett said handing him a few sheets of paper before scurrying off somewhere. Jacob noticed that. May the sort who occupy the radio room never change. Jacob thought to himself. Then he saw what was on the paper. Requests for his presence from Emperor Louis Ferdinand of Germany, the King of the Netherlands and the President of France. It looked like he needed to make that trip to the Lilienthal a bit sooner than he’d planned.

He’d need to send a message to Esther as well, she would want to be there for this. Besides that, she had said she wanted to see Paris.
 
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Admiral Schmidt will want that film pronto in order to learn from the attack, the KM is going to want the film for propaganda purposes.
 
Part 27, Chapter 307
Chapter Three Hundred Seven


19th April 1943

South China Sea

No sooner than Eugen Faust had completed developing the film the night after the attack mission in the Lilienthal’s sickbay lab then Theo and a couple of his friends wanted to see it. He obviously didn’t have a projector but he did have a small viewing set, it was hand cranked and left a lot to be desired but it didn’t take up a whole lot of space. They spent a couple hours watching the two rolls of film, the one showing the attack run and the other with the drop and the battleship. Finally, the three of them had enough so they left.

It had taken Eugen only a few minutes to discover that he’d made a huge mistake when he’d done that when it had seemed like the whole ship knew what he had. A few hours later he was getting inquiries from throughout the fleet. By the next day he had ended up with his film, the cameras and the rest of the equipment locked in the XO's quarters for safe keeping until they figured out what to do. That was when the Admiral had come aboard.

The Admiral was said to be returning to Freemantle in one of the modified Ju-95s that the fleet used to ferry personnel and supplies. While that was being gassed up and prepared for takeoff he’d come looking for Eugen and asked if Eugen could present his work. Everyone knew that Admirals didn’t make requests. A short time later Eugen had found himself with a 16mm projector that he had no idea where it had come from and was showing the unedited footage to the Admiral, his staff, the Captain, the XO and a host of the other ship’s officers. Then he’d found himself showing the footage from over Vietnam, the low-level bombing and strafing runs. That was followed by the films of the carrier operations and the other aircrews.

That had all seemed simple enough, once he was done with that he presumed that the Admiral’s plane was ready. So, the Admiral would get on the airplane and life would go back to normal for Eugen. That was when the XO pulled him aside.

“Pack your bags, Matrose” He said.

“Excuse me, Sir” Eugen said.

“The Admiral was impressed with your work” The XO said, “It’s the first time we’re aware of that someone got a color film of combat.”

“Seriously?” Eugen said, “What about the newsreel crews?”

Eugen had seen them around from time to time.

“They don’t have the balls to do what you did” The XO said, “And none of them have ever used color film.”

“Oh” Eugen said, “What does that have to do with me packing my bags?”

“You’ve been reassigned” The XO said “Admiral von Schmidt wants you on his on his staff. He’s leaving for Berlin any second. So you’d better get your bags packed, grab the rest of your gear and be on that plane before you piss him off.”


Berlin

Thorwald stood in the Luftwaffe exhibition hall of the Military Museum on Fischer Island. There was a lot of activity here today because it was felt that it was finally time to update the banners. The Banners were being rearranged and new ones were being added. The white banner for Jasta 60 was being updated with a silver cross, a new banner for their leader, Hauptmann Schultz was also going up. The irredeemable hard luck squadron had redeemed themselves in Vietnam.

The green Banners of the Fallschirmjäger Divisions and Regiments were being updated with various battle honors. Several new banners denoting new heroes were going up as well throughout the hall. Thorwald was here for the grey banner of the SKA as it went up. It was already covered in a surprisingly large number of battle honors considering the short time that the SKA had been in existence.

The commission that was tasked with designing and updating the banners had asked him what he thought should go on the other banner he was seeing to today. He was watching as that one was put up. A dark azure banner, denoting truth and loyalty. A gules cat sitting with its tail wrapped around its legs, cats being a symbol of liberty & courage and gules being the color of service, the warrior & the martyr. A sword, denoting justice & honor. Finally, a sprig of mint, denoting virtue and a thistle denoting defiance & surliness. The rest was covered in honors. It was perfect.

“This one yours, Sir?” One of the workers who was hanging the banner asked, “Quite the career.”

“No, it’s not mine” Thorwald said “Someone in my unit.” The only way he was getting a banner here was over his dead body. He had spent a great deal of effort to be a ghost, he would remain so until he actually became one himself. He looked at the banner, the individual who this had been made for would absolutely hate it but every Regiment needed a narrative and heroes. Probably best if he didn’t say anything about it.


Potsdam

The knock on the door was totally random. Kat only slept here really and Gianna couldn’t think of anyone who’d want to talk to her at home. Kat had warned her about opening that door unless she knew the person on the other side. Looking through the peep hole she saw that it was just a little old lady, grey hair and sharp features. Seemed harmless enough. She unbolted the door and opened it just a bit, keeping her foot wedged in front of it as she’d been taught.

“Can I help you?” Gianna asked.

The old lady focused on Gianna, her eyes seemed to look right through her. “I’ve been trying to contact the Freiherrin” The old lady said, “And you are?”

“Her cousin” Gianna said, “I can pass a message along for you if you want.”

The old lady stared at Gianna's face as if she were an animal in the zoo. “Tell Katherine that Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen wishes to speak with her and that I didn’t appreciate having to climb all those stairs for nothing” The old lady, Feodora said, Gianna had heard of the mad Duchess, everyone had.

“I’m sorry about that” Gianna said.

Feodora’s eyes narrowed, she had a slight smile on her lips. “Yes” She said “And aren’t you a rare treat. You have her eyes you know.”

“Uh… Who?” Gianna asked.

“Victoria” Feodora said “Tell the woman you claim is your cousin that I would like to talk to her, have a good day.”

With that Feodora turned and walked back towards the stairs. Gianna closed the door that she never should have opened with fear coursing through her. What had she just done? Kat was going to kill her.
 
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The old lady stared at Gianna face as if she were an animal in the zoo. “Tell Katherine that Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen wishes to speak with her and that I didn’t appreciate having to climb all those stairs for nothing” The old lady, Feodora said, Gianna had heard of the mad Duchess, everyone had.

“I’m sorry about that” Gianna said.

Feodora’s eyes narrowed, she had a slight smile on her lips. “Yes” She said “And aren’t you a rare treat. You have her eyes you know.”

“Uh… Who?” Gianna asked.

“Victoria” Feodora said “Tell the woman you claim is your cousin that I would like to talk to her, have a good day.”

With that Feodora turned and walked back towards the stairs. Gianna closed the door that she never should have opened with fear coursing through her. What had she just done? Kat was going to kill her.

Well, shit!

But I guess that had to happen sooner or later.

Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen - Her I am guessing?
 
Colour film of the battles of the brave sailors and pilots of the KLM. That is going to be the biggest blockbuster of the year, even if it's just a newsreel.

And great work on Kat's banner, especially the thistle is a nice touch.
 
When the Luftwaffe sees the film, they are going to be livid about losing in the publicity wars to the KLM

I think that the Admiral is more intrested in the practical use of this capability. If all attacks could be documented, post strike evaluations would a lot more accurate.
 
I hope that word about Gianna's visitor and the new banner don't hit Kat at the same time! Nice bit with the filming of the battle there.
 
Well, it looks like Japan got the Decisive Battle that was in all of the pre-war planning. Love the chapter

Not really--if Japan had won, the battle wouldn't have been decisive. In the Russo-Japanese war, they cleaned up the Pacific, and so Russia sent another fleet, with poor results. This time, the other fleets available have bases close t Japan, so a second major battle would have been needed.
 
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