Around that time Germany (thanks to Adolf and Rudolf Dassler -founders of Adidas and Puma) through "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" was the first (and only) true producer of running/sport shoes, while in the rest of the world (including the US) sport shoes basically meant what amount to cleats on variants of regular dress shoes.
Only after the war did the two brothers emigrate to the States and started the famous brands independent of one another - and sold the sport shoes as we know them to the world.
tsh2.jpg

Dassler Brothers running shoe.

Kat must love those; just the thing for stepping on your enemy's toes
 
. . .If you think in how superstitious are some Russians, no matter Communism, you can imagine the endless amount of tales and other stuff that will rise as the SKA starts raising hell during the nights everywhere. That will give an entirely new and chillingly unpleasant spin to the "Hellcats" nickname for the common Russian grunt , for not talk of the Siberians.

Moscow, Russia

Molotov was like everyone else. Everyone had been avoiding meeting with Stalin as things had fallen apart. The Germans had pulled several more items out of their seemingly bottomless bag of tricks. All around the front there were rumors of strange noises in the night, ambushes in strange places and roads that were unexpectedly mined. Being on the teams that had been tracking the German saboteurs had become a very unhealthy activity in recent days. And now there was the latest crisis.

Imagine the silhouette of a cat - foot-long oval for the body, 5-inch circle for the head, inch-long triangular ears on the top all painted black - with a couple of glued-on green reflectors. Mount it on a sharpened stick and plant some on each side of the road. Sometimes the road is mined, sometimes it's not, sometimes it's just mined without the cats.

There are uses for those older anti-tank rockets, too. String a wire across a railroad track high enough to miss the flatcars full of gunners on the front but hit the smokestack, attach it to the rocket launcher's trigger. Train comes along and boom goes the locomotive. You can use them on roads, too, because trucks are higher than jeeps.
 
Imagine the silhouette of a cat - foot-long oval for the body, 5-inch circle for the head, inch-long triangular ears on the top all painted black - with a couple of glued-on green reflectors. Mount it on a sharpened stick and plant some on each side of the road. Sometimes the road is mined, sometimes it's not, sometimes it's just mined without the cats.

There are uses for those older anti-tank rockets, too. String a wire across a railroad track high enough to miss the flatcars full of gunners on the front but hit the smokestack, attach it to the rocket launcher's trigger. Train comes along and boom goes the locomotive. You can use them on roads, too, because trucks are higher than jeeps.

Maybe TTL's version of Kilroy was here is a drawing of a cat.
 
Around that time Germany (thanks to Adolf and Rudolf Dassler -founders of Adidas and Puma) through "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" was the first (and only) true producer of running/sport shoes, while in the rest of the world (including the US) sport shoes basically meant what amount to cleats on variants of regular dress shoes.
Only after the war did the two brothers emigrate to the States and started the famous brands independent of one another - and sold the sport shoes as we know them to the world.
tsh2.jpg

Dassler Brothers running shoe.

Uhm.... Neither brother emigrated, and they founded Puma and Adidas seperately 1948 after a disagreement in Herzogenaurach which ist near Nürnberg. Both companies are German. Nike is amerikan I think.
 
Part 32, Chapter 377
Chapter Three Hundred Seventy-Seven


17th May 1944

Off Formosa, South China

For the last day, the Garrison Commander had been screaming bloody murder. The Imperial Japanese Navy had responded and were steaming south. Less than two hours later they blundered into the screen of German subs and screamed “Trap!” Jacob wished he’d thought of that ahead of time but the Captains of those subs were under orders to maintain strict radio silence. They probably couldn’t believe their luck, to have the Japanese Fleet pass them like that, fired a spread of torpedoes and then fled before the escorts could properly respond.

It was Jacob’s reputation that had done the rest. They knew that they were facing the man that they referred to as some sort of demon trickster. He had to smile at that, when you are living rent free in your enemy’s heads you are already ahead of the game mentally.

The Japanese being who they were had still proceeded forward cautiously. They were obviously expecting him to pull a maneuver that would catch them flat footed but they were violating some of the simplest rules of all in warfare. Not just don’t go where your enemy leads you but to always be prepared to wait. And right now, Jacob was waiting.


Formosa

Tilo was uncomfortably aware of the bullets that were flying just over his head. With the successful conclusion of the landings the MA teams had been shuffled back to their respective Companies and it was to the line for all of them. Edmund had muttered something about how it was a waste of their talents but Tilo saw as just more of the same thing since they’d landed in Vietnam. You get sent where you’re needed and right now this was where they were needed.

For whatever reason, the big battlewagons had put some distance between themselves and the coast. That meant that the forces ashore had light units offering fire support, Cruisers and Destroyers. That had been seen as a problem until it was discovered that the 13th Corps had landed Panzer IVs, Stugs and Gun Schleppers to offer direct fire in support of the advance. Now if someone could tell the Japanese to get the Hell out the way, life would be just peachy.

Someone on the other side had been paying attention to what happened when the Japanese infantry charged dug in positions and had made a few changes. Now the Allied side was having to dig them out, frequently finding themselves on the other side of that bloody equation. Reier had looked at it all with his usual sardonic perspective. “Did you really think that the Japs weren’t learning from their mistakes?” He’d asked.

That was how it had gone. Now Tilo was crawling towards a machinegun nest and he heard “whump!” sound of a bullet hitting his rucksack and shattering glass. Tilo felt the fluid soak into the back of his shirt and vest. The smell of the bathtub gin he’d bought a few hours earlier but never had a chance to drink filled his nose.

That little bastard is going to pay for that with interest, Tilo thought to himself as he continued to crawl forward. He’d just gotten close enough to throw a grenade when the machinegun nest exploded. Tilo was cursing to himself as a Panzer rolled past and the rest of his Platoon was behind it.

“No laying around on the job Tilo!” Reier yelled at him “And why do you smell like a distillery?”


Moscow, Russia

The inevitable happened. Along three fronts artillery opened up. Reports were coming in of the remaining airplanes of the Russian air force were being systematically destroyed. It was said that it was an air offensive that had all the hallmarks of being the work of Manfred von Richthofen. The German General seemed to epitomize the classic imperialist in Soviet propaganda. Not that he seemed to care, it was said that he had burned his own house down rather than see it become a prize earlier in the war. He had later sent the bill directly to the Politburo demanding repayment for the cost of rebuilding it.

When Molotov was the Minister of Foreign Affairs he had dealt with these people directly. He could have warned Stalin and Beria that they were going about things the wrong way. The Soviet Union could have taken Germany by itself but somehow, they had managed to anger the whole of Europe and insure that the Americans went from neutral to hostile. The halting of grain shipments to the Soviet Union had proven catastrophic. The starving of Ukraine in reaction had compounded that.

Then there were the immediate concerns. Someone on the German side was toying with Russian soldiers by the thousands. Alongside the roads south of Moscow steel cutouts of the silhouette of a cat, painted black with yellow glass marbles set in holes for eyes were being found. The effect was of two glowing eyes. It was said that to find one of these was to be marked for death. It had been obscure but in the files there was mention of a Katherine “Katze” von Mischner. A woman who had apparently turned the execution of Beria into an undignified shit show, had personally led missions behind the lines and had been an enemy of the NKVD even before the war. The file had mentioned that she had studied psychology as a university student. This sort of move was designed to create visceral dread. It was right up her alley and was practically a signature on her part. The fact that the steel cutout was almost always accompanied, but not always, by an explosive of some sort meant that there was a bit of truth to the dread that they inspired.
 
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Talking about being in somebody's head, Kat's reputation is such that the enemy is psyching it self out.

Glad to see Tilo is still upholding the reputation and tradition of the Marines.
 
Then there were the immediate concerns. Someone on the German side was toying with Russian soldiers by the thousands. Alongside the roads south of Moscow steel cutouts of the silhouette of a cat, painted black with yellow glass marbles set in holes for eyes were being found. The effect was of two glowing eyes. It was said that to find one of these was to be marked for death. It had been obscure but in the files there was mention of a Katherine “Katze” von Mischner. A woman who had apparently turned the execution of Beria into an undignified shit show, had personally led missions behind the lines and had been an enemy of the NKVD even before the war. The file had mentioned that she had studied psychology as a university student. This sort of move was designed to create visceral dread. It was right up her alley and was practically a signature on her part. The fact that the steel cutout was almost always accompanied, but not always, by an explosive of some sort there was a bit of truth to the dread that they inspired.

many-cat-eyes.jpeg
 
Around that time Germany (thanks to Adolf and Rudolf Dassler -founders of Adidas and Puma) through "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" was the first (and only) true producer of running/sport shoes, while in the rest of the world (including the US) sport shoes basically meant what amount to cleats on variants of regular dress shoes.
Only after the war did the two brothers emigrate to the States and started the famous brands independent of one another - and sold the sport shoes as we know them to the world.
tsh2.jpg

Dassler Brothers running shoe.
What? They did imigrate to the US?
Both created their companies in Germany.

Edit: Didn't see that it was already answered.
 
I wonder if those cat sign are ever accompanied by decoys...step on it, and it shoots out confetti, and a card that says "Kaboom" or the equivalent thereof in Russian
 
I wonder if those cat sign are ever accompanied by decoys...step on it, and it shoots out confetti, and a card that says "Kaboom" or the equivalent thereof in Russian
Nah, all you need to do is just set up a few of those signs with nothing attached to them.

Let them just assume the signs are harmless. Then you start putting real ones up.
 
I wonder if those cat sign are ever accompanied by decoys...step on it, and it shoots out confetti, and a card that says "Kaboom" or the equivalent thereof in Russian

Nah, all you need to do is just set up a few of those signs with nothing attached to them.

Let them just assume the signs are harmless. Then you start putting real ones up.

A mixture of cats without anything attached, cats with confetti and cats with S-mines would be more effective.
 
Part 32, Chapter 378
Chapter Three Hundred Seventy-Eight


20th May 1944

Berlin

What happened earlier today was an honor, Walter Horst thought to himself, for the thousandth time. It was in an effort to convince himself of that when he knew that he should be at the front preparing the Division. The general offensive wasn’t due to start until Monday which in theory gave him time to return to the front by airplane but Horst was a student of the School of Hard Knocks. Never anticipate that things will work, particularly if other people are involved. Tonight however, he was out with Nina as they were eating in a fancy restaurant and reveling in the joyous fact that the children were old enough to stay home but not old enough for conscription.

The General’s uniform that Horst was wearing and the shiny new PLM had ensured that even if they had not had a reservation then they probably would have been seated anyway. The other medals he was wearing told an interesting story and had gotten him a few strange looks. The enlisted medals, not the least of which was the Red Eagle Medal. A series of medals from Poland and Spain and finally the House Order of Hohenzollern Commander’s Cross with Swords on Ring denoting that he had gotten differing versions before.

Just being able to look across the table at Nina tonight meant that perhaps that made this side trip worth it.


Near Voronezh, Russia

As Emil’s car drove into the 28th Regiment’s Bivouac he saw that it was already well established. Prefab buildings and tents as well as dozens of the new helicopters, it was the first time he’d seen them. They were definitely ungainly, having none of the grace that airplanes typically did. In recent days, the Luftwaffe was grabbing every one of the aircraft that they could get. Air ambulance, mail delivery and this bunch were what was taking the lion’s share. The Heer was getting interested and Emil figured that would eventually result in a turf war. There were also rumblings that the KLM was less than thrilled to be left out in the cold.

Emil was on an inspection tour of the Fallschirmjäger Corps and was interested in finding out just how Oberst Walter Koch was working out. It had been difficult finding a commander to replace Heinz Thorwald, the 28th was unique to say the least. Emil had figured that if he put an Officer with a traditional outlook in that slot then that individual would be in a rubber room by the end of the first week, that is unless the junior Officers ate him alive. Koch didn’t have a traditional military background, coming from law enforcement before the war. Emil’s hope was that would make him somewhat pragmatic when it came to the existing culture within the Regiment. So far that seemed to be working.

As Emil made his way through the camp with a nervous Koch Emil noticed that the place seemed to be pretty squared away. Most of the soldiers were volunteers and had worked hard to get here. The result was that few of them would be the sort who would be inclined to be sloppy. It was when they got into the supplies that things took an odd turn. There were stacks of steel cutout housecats of all things.

“Just what are these?” Emil asked.

“It was an idea of Major von Mischner’s” Koch said, “She remembered that her uncle had boxes of them in a Berlin warehouse. An order that was cancelled.”

“Just what have you been using them for?”

“We’ve been leaving them on the side of the roads that have been mined, or not” Koch said, “Our understanding is that they scare the Hell out of the Russians.”

Emil nodded, he could understand the sort of superstitions that developed among soldiers in the field. Their lives were full of things kept for luck and inexplicable actions that were taken in hopes of tipping the scales in their favor. This was playing directly upon that very thing.

“Any idea where Major von Mischner is now?” Emil asked.

“She runs around the perimeter sometime in the afternoon after spending the day planning the night’s events” Koch said, “I think that it irks her, Sir. You know the deal, everyone jumps but…”

Someone who under Imperial edict not to risk themselves can’t exactly do that now can they.

“How is she taking that?” Emil asked.

“As I said she been running and really pushing herself” Koch said, “A few of the men timed her as a joke, they discovered that she’s covering 200 meters in a bit less than 30 seconds.”

“So” Emil said. He had seen the fitness reports of the Officers under his command. While she was barely passable in many areas Kat excelled in others. The ability to run men twice her size into the ground had proven excellent for tearing down massive egos at the start of training.

“Times like that are in the realm of world class athletes” Koch said, “When they told her that, she looked scared but thanked them and kept running.”

That sounded exactly like something that Kat would do. Maria had once told Emil that Kat didn’t fear failure, success on the other hand was a different matter entirely.

Later after Emil had completed his inspection he sought Kat out. Apparently, she had completed her run and was in the mess tent preparing for the next part of the day.

Her hair was still damp from the shower when Emil found her and she just looked tired.

“Maria asked me to look in on you” Emil said as he saw what she was working on. A map of this section of Russia, there were red lines through rail lines and roads approaching the Russian Front. “Tonight’s activities?” He asked.

“Yes, Sir, General Holz” Kat said in a voice that showed how weary she was. In spite of her not being directly in combat she was obviously not sleeping much. It was the curse of positions like hers. As the responsibilities grew the direct involvement lessened and things grew more complicated. It was easier when you had an enemy before you than it was to make plans and then pull your hair out while waiting to see what happened.
 
Hmmm..... it's sad that the Heer here hasn't developed a Radio Beacon guided version of the V1.

Combine that with the SKA leaving such kind of beacons and it could turn the imprecise flying bomb into the first prototype guided Cruiser Missile.
 
I wonder if the United States still has diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and if the embassy is open?
If so, then the Americans are getting intelligence that is not available to the Allies, such as that Germany is using new weapons and tactics that is causing havoc and confusion in the highest levels of power.

There are probably American sympathizers in the State, War, Navy Departments and in the intelligence branches for the Allies and they are passing intelligence and other important information to the Allies. This is probably is also happening in Tokyo.
 
I wonder if the United States still has diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and if the embassy is open?
If so, then the Americans are getting intelligence that is not available to the Allies, such as that Germany is using new weapons and tactics that is causing havoc and confusion in the highest levels of power.

There are probably American sympathizers in the State, War, Navy Departments and in the intelligence branches for the Allies and they are passing intelligence and other important information to the Allies. This is probably is also happening in Tokyo.
Nope. The Abwehr used their agent Edna... i mean, J. Edgar Hoover, slipping to him the names of the American NKVD Spies, and he in his media darling style crashed the network when the Empress Kira went to the US to sell War Bonds.

Short to say the Diplomatic relationship with the Soviets was severed in addition to their credit line in the US and their bank accounts were frozen, in addition to the loss of buying American Supplies for the Soviet War machine.
 
Part 32, Chapter 379
Chapter Three Hundred Seventy-Nine


21st May 1944

Off Formosa, South China Sea

After Days of waiting the Japanese had finally come within striking distance. Jacob had been waiting for them to launch their aircraft. They had been looking for him to make some sort of fast maneuver or play some sort of trick. Yet he had seemingly not done any of those things, not yet anyway.

As the airplanes were getting closer to the plotting board Jacob waited. When they passed two hundred kilometers he ordered all planes launched. The Japanese fleet would have one of the most destructive forces available coming right at them. The surviving Battleship conversions were ordered to steam south at all available speed. He didn’t want to have to worry about them but their compliment of aircraft, all interceptors, were instrumental to this plan working. The target wasn’t the Japanese carriers. It was the aircraft that those carriers had launched that were the real target of this operation.

As Jacob listened the ship went into General Quarters. Fire control on the Preussen reported in that they were ready, this was followed by radar and the individual gun crews. The Captains of the Fleet’s ships called in one by one. It was one of the greatest secrets of the German Fleet. The shells that were being loaded into the 8.8, 10.5 and 150cm guns were all fitted with a special fuse that Jacob himself had pushed the development of since he had first seen the proposal shortly after Spain. As soon as the Japanese aircraft were in range all the anti-aircraft guns opened up. The guns that bristled from the ships of the fleet being fired by the director buried deep in the hull that were being aimed by radar. What no one in the world outside the fleet had known was that a radio signal was being fed to those shells to explode at exactly the right time.

Jacob pictured what was happening as the ships were wreathed in blue smoke from the AA and they began the wild maneuvers to make them as difficult a target as possible. The Japanese were in for possibly the nastiest surprise that Jacob could have planned. Thousands of shells per minute fitted with proximity fuses lashed out at the attacking Japanese aircraft. When they had enough of that, the interceptors were poised to take care of what was left.


Near Gorozhanka, Voronezh Oblast, Russia

Jack watched shells thundered overhead, they lit up the night as they streaked past and when they landed on the Russian lines. Jack’s Company was on the west bank of the Don river where they had been dug in during the lull in fighting. The whole time they were there the joke had flown around to not drink the river water because a large portion of it was Russian piss.

“Da said what the Somme looked like the night before the battle started” O’Neal said as he watched the shelling, “Just like this.”

Over the last few days their side had been firing shells across the lines. As the sun had set this evening that had increased in intensity. Jack had heard about the disastrous British offensive, Sáirint Quinlan had been there and described how the they had been pushing forward at heavy cost only to discover that their left flank was hanging out into the air. The offensive had turned into a headlong retreat. It was said that Haig himself had tried to say it was divine province that had saved the bulk of the British Expeditionary Force. The truth was that it was a few thousand ordinary soldiers, mostly Scottish and Irish who had fought to keep the way open so that it could happen. One of them had been a seventeen-year-old Leary Quinlan.

Jack sincerely hoped that the coming offensive would go better than the one that had been fought a generation earlier in France.

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

Hans was sitting on the hard bench seat of the APC as the vehicle rolled through the night towards what was the 140th Regiment’s jump off point.

“The final campaign of this fucking war” Jost growled, “This is where our luck finally runs out.”

“Why do you have to be such an asshole, Jost” Soren said.

“I just said what everyone is thinking” Jost snapped back, “This lot has gone through Spain and this shit storm. How long do you think that is going to last?”

“Both of you, shut up” Hans said. He was at his wit’s end with Jost. The three of them had recently been given long service medals, third class. That meant that he hadn’t been putting up with Jost for his entire life, it only seemed that way. It had only been nine years. Since Jost had come back from the hospital he had an even bigger chip on his shoulder. He had also intruded into Hans’ business. Asking about the letter and being stubborn when Hans had told him that it was none of his business. The truth was that not even Hans was sure what was going on there and there was the nagging worry that he was blowing through some pretty extreme boundaries if something did happen there. It was also one more thing to worry about at a time when he didn’t need any distractions. That was why he’d burned the letter and pushed the matter out of his mind. Hopefully when he didn’t respond then she would get a clue.
 
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