If its provenance can be maintained, that patch will be very notable in the early 21st century. (I'm assuming tat it wouldn't be paraded about before then, out of respect for Kat.)

Kat just gave Nancy some BAD advice. GOOD marks are important if Nancy intends to seek out higher education.

Junior high, in the US it really doesn't matter. Especially if your going to public school. Where you live is more important then your marks in US public education for high school, when you go for higher education your High School marks and test scores (SAT ACT or IB) are all that matters.
 
Not so much cold machines but generally puzzled by the cries of outrage. "Would you want your sistear to marry one?"

"She did, and wonderful chap he is too. Their children are really striking, want to see pictures?"

"How about your daughter?"

"Helga is six, so we don't have to worry about that for a few years."

"You have socialized medicine! And old-age pensions! People should pay for what they get!"

"And why is that a problem? A healthy society is a happy and productive society. Everyone gets an old-age pension because it makes for a better society. Would you rather we let people die instead of going to a doctor? I don't understand you."
"Why is your sister wearing a uniform?"
"Because the RLWB (Reichsluftfahrt- und -weltraumbehörde, a.k.a. NASA for germans) insists that all its astronauts who are in the LW wear one in public."
 
31st October 1943

Kat then wished Nancy luck in her Junior year in High School and said that other than passing marks the rest was just needless drama that no one would remember in a few years.

I think Kat didn't mean Nancy grades (she is german, education IS a serious matter) but the whole social side of it. Kat was saying that fitting in with the popular "IN"-crowd isn't that important in the first year.

Junior high, in the US it really doesn't matter. Especially if your going to public school. Where you live is more important then your marks in US public education for high school, when you go for higher education your High School marks and test scores (SAT ACT or IB) are all that matters.

Nancy's starting her Junior year, 11th grade, not 9th grade in Junior High, so her marks count and "the rest was just needless drama that no one would remember in a few years."

Note that this is 1943 and the tests (SAT, ACT, or IB) didn't exist yet. Neither did grade inflation, degree inflation or higher-education cost inflation. It was actually possible for kids to work their way through school, which was useful because the student loan industry didn't exist, and for their degrees to mean something when they did. Also, in 1943, not a lot of kids went farther than high school, nor, in the general case, did they need to.

I'll stop here, lest this turn into a rant more suited for Chat.
 
"Why is your sister wearing a uniform?"
"Because the RLWB (Reichsluftfahrt- und -weltraumbehörde, a.k.a. NASA for germans) insists that all its astronauts who are in the LW wear one in public."

Yeah. Lang's reforms opened lots of doors, just not women in combat yet (or possibly ever).
 
Kat should have known that she would be greeted at the Airport by Ian Fleming. “I hope you had a good flight Baroness von Mischner” He said.

“It was good enough” Kat said as she got into the car, if by good you meant hours spent sitting on a steel floor in a frigid cabin. “I was told that we’re going to Wales, that so?”

“Eventually” Fleming said, “There are a few stops here in London first not the least of which is Buckingham Palace.”

“Is that a joke” Kat said, “Right now all I want is a few hours of sleep, followed a few days of quiet. And no Press, there was a reason why I had to sneak out of Berlin.”

“You’ll get all that but tomorrow morning his Majesty King George has requested your presence, his daughters are also particularly excited to make your acquaintance” Fleming said.

“That would require full dress uniform” Kat said smugly, “And I didn’t pack it.” She been expecting a few months in the Welsh countryside no diplomacy or fancy dress involved.

“Nice try, Baroness” Fleming said, “Your young cousin discovered your little oversight and spoke with your mutual friend, Dame Lagertha von Wolvogle in turn who spoke with the Kaiserin. The Luftwaffe has already made arrangements to have it delivered to the German Embassy here in London this evening.”

Okay, I'll reprise something that I thought might happen back in June of 1942, only this time with Kat accompanying the King trooping the line. Conversation afterward between a couple of the Grenadier Guards (of the tall bearskins):
"Little thing, isn't she?"
"The redhead? Yeah, but did you see the gongs she's wearing."
"Those are for real?"
"The blue thing's the equivalent of a Victoria Cross. Threw herself between a sniper and a nephew of the King, guy who might wind up as Czar of Russia. The plotters in that coup attempt sent six guys to arrest her and she killed five with a machine gun. Just broke the last one's arms and a leg, guess she needed one for questioning. She's the one who killed six assassins with a knife saving their Empress and her kids. Be glad she's an ally."​
 
Okay, I'll reprise something that I thought might happen back in June of 1942, only this time with Kat accompanying the King trooping the line. Conversation afterward between a couple of the Grenadier Guards (of the tall bearskins):
Hell, they'd respect her all the more, Grenadier Guards are typically known for being experienced in combat. One of many reasons why messing with those guys leads to a tackling and lengthy interrogation session conducted from your hospital bed.
 
Hell, they'd respect her all the more, Grenadier Guards are typically known for being experienced in combat. One of many reasons why messing with those guys leads to a tackling and lengthy interrogation session conducted from your hospital bed.
Its highly probable that the Grenadier Guards would receive her with Full Honours when she enters Buckingham Palace, as acknowledgement to someone who in their eyes is worth to salute as a fellow soldier and protector of their Nation's Royal Family.
 
Part 30, Chapter 342
Chapter Three Hundred Forty-Two


1st November 1943

London, England

The uniform that the Luftwaffe had delivered was the grey and white of the Fallschirmjäger as opposed to dark blue that Kat had worn around the palace in Potsdam. It was a nice way of letting her know that she wasn’t on loan to the 1st Imperial Foot here and the Luftwaffe clearly wanted the world to know that she was one of their own. As always, putting on this on became more complicated every time she did it. She noticed that she drew more than a few curious looks when she walked from her room to the elevator and then in the hotel lobby.

Kat found Ian Fleming waiting in the hotel lounge watching two men playing backgammon. He had volunteered to be her minder while in London. She had read up on him after the mole hunt and learned that he had literary aspirations. Kat suspected that his interest in her might intersect with that.

“Baroness von Mischner” Fleming said, “I trust you slept well.”

Kat remembered falling on the bed after checking in. She had woken up just long enough to receive the package from the Embassy the night before. Kat had realized that she had hardly slept during the aftermath of the attempted coup, the investigation and a sense of obligation had totally consumed everything else. Going to London had been an escape in more ways than one. The two men who had been playing backgammon looked up when Fleming spoke and Kat got another couple curious looks.

“I slept just fine” Kat replied as she looked at the gameboard, she noticed that a lot of money seemed to be a lot of money riding on this game. “An interest of yours?”

“Games of chance?” Fleming said, “Of course.”

Fleming and Kat left the two men to their game.

“Do you have an opinion… Major?” Fleming asked looking at the shoulder strap of her uniform.

“If you have the money to gamble that’s your problem but too often I saw whole families left destitute because someone got suckered in a sure thing” Kat said.

“Ah yes” Fleming said, “You weren’t always in your current station, were you? And your personal opinion.”

“I don’t see the appeal” Kat said, “And I think I’ve already used up a lifetime’s worth of luck elsewhere.”

“Those decorations you are wearing speaks to that” Fleming said, “Have you won all of them available in your nation?”

“Hardly” Kat replied.

“You’re still young and have time to get them all” Fleming said.

“That’s unlikely” Kat said, “Once this war is done so is this accidental career.”

“You honestly think that?” Fleming asked, “Your commanding officer might have other ideas.”

“What gives you that idea?” Kat asked.

“Your spectral Commander has you as the public face of your Regiment and that includes a banner in the Luftwaffe’s Hall in the Military Museum in Berlin” Fleming said, “An honor that he declined.”

Fleming saw that her face went blank. He’d watched the Baroness enough to know that was what happened when she got angry. The commanding Officer of the 28th Fallschirmjäger Regiment was a blank space as far as British Military Intelligence was concerned. There were theories that he was the boy who had wowed the world with his marksmanship abilities at the 1920 Olympics. That was followed by decades of silence. The Americans suspected that there was a mastermind behind the German Intelligence operations. The British theory was that it was actually a team of people. One of them was in the process of happening and she was walking a few feet to Fleming’s left. By his estimation Katherine von Mischner was being set up to go on to bigger things and her commanding officer hadn’t discussed that with her.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Kat ignored Fleming the entire car ride. His comments about a banner in the Museum Hall were new information to her. Putting up a banner and not telling her was exactly Heinz Thorwald’s style. That he had declined one for himself was also no surprise. The Oberst had a knack for giving other people unpleasant surprises.

The pulled up to the palace. This wasn’t a public event but there were still a few people from the press lurking around. Kat just ignored them and walked towards the doors. Her understanding was that the King of England had two daughters. One seventeen and the other thirteen, the older of the two was the presumed heir to the throne which meant that Kat would have to be nice. It was also obvious what the King would want to talk to her about, Jehane Thomas-Romanova. She would need to only tell him the basics, Jehane was alive, doing well and whatnot. The two guards in red coats snapped to rigid attention as she approached the doors. She remembered that the Grenadier Guard were equivalent to the 1st Imperial Foot. As she racked her brain for the proper response here she heard Ian Fleming catching up behind her.

There were times when she just wished that she had not confronted Helene in the vegetable market. This was one of those times.


Luhansk, Ukraine

In the situation room of aboard Field Marshal von Wolvogle’s mobile headquarters reports were coming in regarding evidence that there was a buildup of Soviet forces on the east bank of the Volga River. Wolvogle looked at the situation board and saw where the Russians were. When Wolvogle had come out of retirement he knew in his bones that he had one last masterpiece in him. He had spent months setting up Operation Jackdaw. The Jackdaw, the bird that wears the feathers of other birds. Wolvogle hadn’t named it but it was perfect almost to the point of giving away what was about to happen. All that remained was for the Russians to take one more step. He put in a series of orders. The real show was about to start.


Gomel, Belorussia

Effective immediately, 1st Fallschirmjäger Corps is to go on standby for pending operations.

Emil read that. The men would not be happy if this was another head-fake by the OKW. All leaves would need to be cancelled and the Divisions would need to be held at ready until the standby order was lifted or they went into the field. For weeks now, there was rumored to be something big coming. It was about time.
 
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The two guards in red coats snapped to rigid attention as she approached the doors. She remembered that the Grenadier Guard were equivalent to the 1st Imperial Foot. As she racked her brain for the proper response here she heard Ian Fleming catching up behind her.

I hope that her time with the 1st Foot and the Luftwaffe showed that, for her (and for all females), the goose step isn't the thing to do, even on ceremonial occasions[0].


[0] You see it in newsreels because the marching unit is rendering honors to the people on the reviewing stand, and that's where the cameras were set up.
 
I hope that her time with the 1st Foot and the Luftwaffe showed that, for her (and for all females), the goose step isn't the thing to do, even on ceremonial occasions[0].


[0] You see it in newsreels because the marching unit is rendering honors to the people on the reviewing stand, and that's where the cameras were set up.
Trousers for everybody. And do you dare to tell one of the most killy people on the planet that she can't wear trousers because woman? This may lead to a split between 'gala uniform' including skirts and dress, to be worn to social functions and 'parade uniform' featuring more martial equipment and trousers for parades et al.
Also mind that the goose step may loose favor as a parade step due to recent events, being seen as reactionary and unfit for the modern army ("Goose step? Goose step??? Time better spent at the shoot house/firing range!").

Except the skirt thing, what is there against females goose stepping?
 
Trousers for everybody. And do you dare to tell one of the most killy people on the planet that she can't wear trousers because woman? This may lead to a split between 'gala uniform' including skirts and dress, to be worn to social functions and 'parade uniform' featuring more martial equipment and trousers for parades et al.
Also mind that the goose step may loose favor as a parade step due to recent events, being seen as reactionary and unfit for the modern army ("Goose step? Goose step??? Time better spent at the shoot house/firing range!").

Except the skirt thing, what is there against females goose stepping?

Bouncy breasts, especially if they have medals attached ('kaching, kaching, kaching...':cool: Anybody see the 1984 Apple computer teevee ad with the woman and her sledgehammer[0] as a safe-for-work example?). A knee-length skirt wouldn't be a problem except for some of the more extreme practioners.

[0] Yeah, I'm an Old Fart. I saw it in 1984. Apple lost out "because nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."
 
Part 30, Chapter 343
Chapter Three Hundred Forty-Three


14th November 1943

Tilguta, Russia

Jost glared at everyone around him. He was pissed because he had learned that he’d been misspelling a commonly used word in written messages to Regimental headquarters for months. The new Oberst had finally demanded that he put a stop to it. As it had turned out everyone in the Company and the clerks in HQ knew he did it but had said nothing. Then the Oberst had ruined the fun by letting Jost know. Worse than that, it was all too likely that Jost would take his anger out on the next Soldat who stepped out of line. To Hans it was an example of shit rolling down-hill playing out right in front of him. Not that there was anything else to do here. The Regiment was dug in this location well south-west of where the action was and it was snowing again. At least they hadn’t needed to set up here, the trenches and pillboxes were already in place when they had arrived. They were also not supposed to break cover and they had been provided with charcoal stoves so as to not have the smoke of wood fires give their position away.

“Got movement!” One of the lookouts yelled.

Hans stepped onto the fire step and looked east, nothing.

“I don’t see anything!” Hans yelled.

“From the other direction!” The lookout yelled back.

The rear? Why was the lookout looking in that direction? Hans noticed that Jost was already moving in that direction. The lookout was going to regret that screw up in short order. He looked back towards the rear and saw dozens of figures trudging through the snow. Hans stepped out and joined the other Platoon leaders who were looking to see what was going on.

They were wearing green uniforms under grey German great coats. If they were going to remain here they would need to be supplied with proper winter gear, Hans thought to himself.

“Who are you?” Hans asked to one of these men who seemed to be in charge.

“Reisimint Ilchríochach na hÉireann” The man said and seeing the look of incomprehension on Hans face said, “Irish Regiment.”

“I see” Hans said, “Any idea what’s going on here?”

“No” The man said, “We were ordered to withdraw from our positions in the city last night and have been walking ever since.”

“You were in the city of Stalingrad itself?” Hans asked.

“Yeah” The man said, “Leifteanant Kennedy by the way.”

“Hauptfeldwebel Mischner” Hans said.

Hans noticed that Kennedy stepped back when he heard that name.

“Is that a common name” Kennedy asked.

“Not really” Hans said.

“You wouldn’t be related to a Katherine Mischner?” Kennedy asked.

“Yes” That’s my sister” Hans said, “Why ask?”

“Nothing” Kennedy said and he began to put distance between himself and Hans. The thought occurred to Hans, and not for the first time, that if he ever got back to Berlin he really needed have a word with Kat about the amount of fear that she inspired.


Near Kolach, Russia

It was in the early morning hours that the artillery really started. Field Marshal von Wolvogle had told Kurt that this would happen. The Russians were shelling German positions in preparation for a major advance. What they didn’t know was that they were shelling positions that had been emptied out over the prior days. Wolvogle had planned the timing to this down to the smallest detail. He wanted the Reds to find the empty emplacements and rush forward, right into pre-marked artillery traps as well as tens of thousands of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in two vast killing zones to the north-west and to the south of Stalingrad.

The Company was ready to move out already. Over the past few weeks Kurt had gotten them ready as best he could. The new Panzers had arrived, Panther IIs. Those along with Tiger IIs were to make their debut in this battle. It was hoped that they would be an unpleasant surprise for the surprise for the Russians as they started their drive on Saratov between the two Soviet armies. Saratov was a key rail junction and was lifeline for troops and supplies bound for Stalingrad. Taking it would be the first stage in bypassing Stalingrad and eventually encircling the Russian Army Corps defending it.

As the Panzers moved into the staging area Kurt noticed again that the balance on the new Panther II was very different. The new gun was longer and heavier that the old 75mm. Olli poked his head out of the loaders hatch just long enough to tell how cold it was and slammed the hatch shut. That was something that he seldom did. Nothing like Russian winters to send people looking for whatever shelter they could find.

----------------------------------------------------------------

On the 15th of November 1943, the first Russian troops crossed the Volga River north-west of Stalingrad and discovered that the positions that they were storming had been abandoned but heavily mined. This decimated the first wave. The second and third wave reported rapid advance until they discovered that the ground was heavily mined which slowed the advance to a crawl. Later that afternoon the force that had crossed south of the city reported encountering the same thing. It was about this time that the northern force reached the first defensive line and the Russian tank crews discovered what a 12.8cm gun mounted in a tank hunter could do. That was also about the time that hundreds of artillery pieces that intelligence hadn’t known were there opened up…
 
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Lt. Kennedy will be seen as a very rare specimen, someone who went up against Kat and is still alive and walking with only a slight limp.

When are elections scheduled for Germany? Will the governing collation run as team or is it going to be every party for itself and only after the results are in do they figure out how to form a government?
 
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