Part 29, Chapter 328
Chapter Three Hundred Twenty-Eight


19th July 1943

Reichlin-Lars Airfield

Much to Joachim’s amazement, he didn’t die.

At first, he thought that the rocket had exploded but as the seconds ticked by with Joachim pinned to his seat realized that it was working properly. The altimeter was spinning upward and the airspeed indicator had only spiraled upward until it stopped at nine hundred ninety-nine kilometers per hour. That couldn’t be right because he was continuing to accelerate. Then to his surprise acceleration eased and the ride smoothed out. He adjusted the trim so he was no longer climbing so fast. The horizon spread out before him and the sky was a dark violet. That was when the rocket exhausted its fuel supply.

Joachim throttled back the engine as he glided to a lower altitude before flying back to Reichlin-Lars. It was when he landed that he discovered that he had the ground crew and engineers from Focke-Wulf waiting for him and the words sonic barrier were being thrown around. According to radar tracking the Fw-252 V3 had flown to an altitude of 23,000 meters and a speed just north of 1250 KM/H.

Joachim realized that he had done something special. Not only was this the ultimate in bragging rights, he’d never have to buy drink ever again.

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The celebration was short lived. Minutes after Joachim landed the whole airfield was locked down. While it was impossible to hide that something had happened, the details had become a state secret. While this was happening, Joachim was in the infirmary getting checked out, his body had absorbed the force of the acceleration and the Doctors wanted to know the physical effects. Later word came down that there would be a press release stating that Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille, fighter ace turned test pilot was the first man to cross transonic speeds into supersonic flight, that was it.

It was obvious to everyone why it had been handled this way. This was an enormous technical feat. If he had to guess then he’d say that the German State, the OKW and Focke-Wulf were all in agreement about that. They also were clearly in agreement that they didn’t want anyone to know how it had been done.


24th July 1943

Berlin

Feodora, the mad Duchess, had decided to make one of her occasional visits to Berlin that Saturday afternoon and had asked to be accompanied by Freiherrin Katherine von Mischner. This had happened to coincide with Gerta having one of the worst weeks imaginable, Helene wasn’t available so Kat got to spend her weekend listening to Gerta’s problems. Gerta had been dropped by her agent who had said that she didn’t really need him because with her lack of acting chops she would only ever land her bit parts. Gianna had wisely gone with Marcella’s for the weekend, Kat wasn’t so fortunate. Gerta was carrying on with theatrics and drama that would probably be an award-winning performance if anyone else had been there to see it. The result was that Kat was so desperate to escape Gerta that she agreed and Feodora’s car came for her at the house belonging to Gerta’s Mother.

“Your friend is discovering that her life will not go according to her plans” Feodora said “It happens to us all, sooner or later.”

Kat was well aware of Feodora’s past and how life had not been kind to her.

“I don’t know” Kat said, “I’ve never had plans.”

“Really?” Feodora asked.

“Yes” Kat said, “I’ve always been more concerned with getting through the next day that I’ve never considered what I would do past that.”

“But you were going to University” Feodora said, “Surely you had long term goals?”

“I was studying psychology and medicine” Kat said, “Those subjects interested me and kept my mind off things.”

“I take it you intend to go back to that” Feodora said.

Kat just shrugged.

“When I was your age I didn’t have much use for education” Feodora said “But I did love the theater and opera. I had no idea that I was getting an education of a different sort.”

“A lifelong love for those things” Kat observed.

“Exactly” Feodora said.

The car pulled up to a building in central Berlin and the chauffer opened the door and helped Feodora out of the car.

“The Gentleman we are going to be talking to is one of the most important donors to the State Opera” Feodora said “Be quiet and observe what we are talking about, you might learn something as well.”

“Yes, Ma’am” Kat said. She was wondering what Feodora’s game here was.

“He also is involved in Public radio broadcasting and has a new experimental format that he’s trying to gin up interest in” Feodora said, “Ever heard of television?”

Radio with pictures? Kat had heard of it but hadn’t seen the point. “Yes, I’ve heard of it” She said.

“Well, we might just be able to help your actress friend as well as get a bit of funding for the opera” Feodora said.

That was an angle that Kat hadn’t considered. The doorman let them in with obvious deference to Feodora. Kat was completely ignored for the first time in entirely too long.


South China Sea

At long last Jacob was back to the place where he belonged, the flag bridge of the SMS Preussen. He was taking particular delight in the war of words that was going on between the IJA and IJN. The IJA was accusing the IJN of cowardice in allowing the landings in northern Vietnam to go uncontested. The IJN was firing back that the IJA didn’t understand the practical realities of naval warfare, that without proper screening units the Japanese Carrier Fleet would be sitting ducks. Besides that, the IJA was so incompetent that it had lost to a rabble like the cobbled together alliance in South-East Asia.

Jacob knew that good moments like this couldn’t last forever. But to have your enemies in disarray and arguing with each other was always a beautiful thing.
 
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Fleet Admiral von Schmidt is going to provoke the Japanese in to doing something very stupid that will bring another nation in to this war.
 
Supersonic flight--impressive. And announced in wartime...even sweeter!
Now they need to find a plane that looks plausible as the supersonic craft, but did not work, and let someone get their hands on photographs...
 
Fernsehapparat in the U.S. should be more available without the U.S. being in the war more like it was in OTL 1948.
 
Part 29, Chapter 329
A shout out to mkemp for some extremely good ideas.


Chapter Three Hundred Twenty-Nine


30th July 1943

Over North-West Vietnam

Edmund was watching the three volunteers for this mission through eyes that were nearly shut. They were clearly nervous but were hiding it. With the Marine Divisions and MA forever spun off from the over service branches and now part of the Navy the Brass had decided that the same rules applied. Any soldier of the Heer or Luftwaffe could volunteer for the Fallschirmjäger and by extension the SKA. If they made the cut then they were in. Why should the MA be any different? Naturally they were forced by conditions to do the best they could in the field.

When Tilo Schultz and Wenzeslaus Reier had volunteered for the MA it had swiftly become apparent that the thing they had going for them was typical of the Marine Divisions. They would sooner die than show fear or be left out of a fight. There were some areas where their training had proven insufficient but the boys had straightened them out then there was the small matter of jump training. They didn’t have the time to make them take the whole course. They had done a practice jump but were now going to do the real thing as the second. The two of them had been joined by their Vietnamese friend, Duc Phan, who’d been ordered by his Government to learn everything he could from the Germans. That had clearly gotten him more than he had bargained for.

The airplane they were flying in was the latest incarnation of the old JU-52 transport. A few years earlier the Argentine producer of the airplane had extensively redesigned it to improve the aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The boxy fuselage and corrugated skin were gone. The Australians, who had built this particular airplane, had incorporated the same modifications to their production line. It also made them perfect for missions like this one.

“Two minutes to the LZ!” The Jumpmaster yelled as he dragged the door open filling the cabin with hot humid air. Edmund opened his eyes. This was when the mission really started.


Berlin

The role that Gerta was auditioning for was different from the ones that she had tried out for in the past. It was for a television show of all things. She had heard of the new medium but had never considered it apparently there were thousands of people who had adopted the new technology. Now she was reading for a part on a half hour situation comedy. She was supposed to play the young wife of the male lead but try as she might she just couldn’t make the lines sound convincing from her mouth. It required a level of being caustic and angry that wasn’t in her personal nature.

On a lark, she read the lines in the harshest Berliner accent she could manage. That actually worked. She then repeated them in the same accent, her voice dripping with sarcasm and bitterness. That was perfectly in character but there was also a nagging familiarity to it that she couldn’t place.

To Gerta’s amazement she was asked to repeat the audition opposite of the lead. She found it easy to fall into that role like into a comfortable sweater. She knew everything about that character. It was wonderful but where did she know this character from?


Reichlin-Lars Airfield

The final flight of the V3 wasn’t as successful as the last one. The rocket had detonated rather than igniting blowing the tail boom off of the airplane. The good news was that they now had proof that the ejection seat worked at high altitude. Joachim hadn’t been the pilot this time. Which was fortunate for him. Still though it was uncomfortable watching a plane that he had flown several times raining down in fragments from the chase plane. That was the danger inherent in being on the cutting edge, it could cut you.

The plane that Joachim was flying instead was the first production FW-252A1. The flying tailplane was to be on all production aircraft as well as four hardpoints on the wings. There was a provision for two drop tanks on the inboard hardpoints, Joachim would have recommended that if it wasn’t already included, they extended the range enough to make the aircraft truly useful. It came as no surprise that the rocket was not a part of the production model.

The next day Joachim was flying again, this time testing out the two 30mm cannons and the ability of the jet to be a ground attack plane. At first, he had looked at that as a step back from the FW-190 which had a battery of cannons. Then he had discovered that they were of a new type of cannon that spit out shells as fast as a machine gun. He did quite a number on the plywood targets and the rockets fired from the underwing pods had proven devastating. Later he’d done an attack run with SC250 bombs, the conventional 250 kilo bombs used by the Luftwaffe.

If he had been greeted by a festive crowd after breaking the speed record he was really greeted by one now. He had proven that the FW-252 might be the elusive all-rounder that military planners adored and guaranteed that the airplane would be rushed into production.

That was when Joachim was told that he’d be testing out a new air-to-air guided missile system in a few days. He really was starting to feel like a kid in a candy store.
 
The airplane they were flying in was the latest incarnation of the old JU-52 transport. A few years earlier the Argentine producer of the airplane had extensively redesigned it to improve the aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The boxy fuselage and corrugated skin were gone. The Australians, who had built this particular airplane, had incorporated the same modifications to their production line. It also made them perfect for missions like this one.
I'm imagining a tri-motor DC-3 for some reason.
 
I'm imagining a tri-motor DC-3 for some reason.

I remember reading somewhere that the original DC-2 was specified with three engines because their main competition was the JU-52 and Ford Trimotor, but the engineers talked their management out of it, mainly because they were using more powerful P & W engines. I can see an up-engined -52 using #2 (center) for takeoff and climb out then pulling it back to idle or shutting it down entirely and feathering the prop for cruise.

It'd be funny if it got the nickname 'gooney bird' ("The only replacement for a gooney bird is another gooney bird.")
 
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Nice chapter. The precursor to the F-86 looks like it's going to be successful. Of course, the question is...can it be navalized? And can it take radar?
 
More good stuff. Is anyone else wrking on jets? Now that supersonic flight has happened, everyone that can afford it will want them. I'm glad something went BOOM! Test flying is dangerous, and things going wrong is part of things. That pilot is probably in very bad shape; early ejection seats were bad--though they beat the alternative.



Nice chapter. The precursor to the F-86 looks like it's going to be successful. Of course, the question is...can it be navalized? And can it take radar?

Adding radar shouldn't be too hard, at least for a dedicated plane, though they might have to take something out. Could one person both run the lane and the radar of the era? Navalizing it might be harder until an equivalent of the Midway class carriers comes along. If the planes get sufficient range, carrier based versions won't be needed in the European theater. Germany's fleet is important, but will always need to have a lower priority than the army and air force.


Great stuff!!
 
More good stuff. Is anyone else wrking on jets? Now that supersonic flight has happened, everyone that can afford it will want them. I'm glad something went BOOM! Test flying is dangerous, and things going wrong is part of things. That pilot is probably in very bad shape; early ejection seats were bad--though they beat the alternative.





Adding radar shouldn't be too hard, at least for a dedicated plane, though they might have to take something out. Could one person both run the lane and the radar of the era? Navalizing it might be harder until an equivalent of the Midway class carriers comes along. If the planes get sufficient range, carrier based versions won't be needed in the European theater. Germany's fleet is important, but will always need to have a lower priority than the army and air force.


Great stuff!!


I imagine a simple bearing and altitude radar should be manageable by one person. Even bearing only would be helpful.
 
Hmm.... you know? It was mentioned a Delta wing, all-wing shaped German fighter in an anterior post.

Didn't such fighters and planes gave the first hints ironically for Stealth anti-radar measures as the shape of the plane caused the signature of the plane to randomly "vanish" from the Radar screens?

It would be one kick in the pants if they were to fall into this detail and develop earlier the field of furtive Fighters and Scout planes?
 
I don't think with Germany that is still fighting a war of survival on two fronts would be allowing television to be mass produced for consumer sales.
Maybe if it was for mass viewings at community centers as a way to quickly disseminate propaganda and information.
I could see sporting events being broadcasted, daily news programs, cultural shows (Opera, Ballet) and other such programs "for the masses".

OTL in the United States television was about to be mass produced in 1942 when the war broke out and production was then shifted to war use.
Joseph P Kennedy Jr was flying a B-17 that was going used to crash into a sub pen, he was supposed to bail out of the plane and then it was going to be flown by remote control using a TV camera onboard (it exploded in the air before the attack run).
 
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Gerta had better hope that Kat will not become a Fernsehapparat watcher anytime in the near future.

"Caustic and angry and sarcasm and bitterness?" "Young wife?" It'll take a bit of willing suspension of disbelief to imagine her being married in the first place and still more to imagine her still being married.

'Course, I loathe situation comedies. If there's anyone less suitable to be the subject of one than Kat I'd like to know. A 'slap, slap, kiss' romcom on the other hand...
 
Would one of the phrases that the lead uses with her include the phrase: "Zum Mond"? Might the lead be a bit overweight, in the transportation industry, and be in the Loyale Ordnung der Waschbären?
 
Would one of the phrases that the lead uses with her include the phrase: "Zum Mond"? Might the lead be a bit overweight, in the transportation industry, and be in the Loyale Ordnung der Waschbären?

Is this a reference to some "classic early teevee?"

Aha. Google translating Waschbären gives Racoon; Googling 'Loyal order of Racoon' gives a reference to the Honeymooners. Yeah, classic early teevee in which I have no interest. People being stupid isn't funny.
 
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