Part 37, Chapter 457
Four Hundred Fifty-Seven


22nd April 1945

Formosa

On Sunday morning a task force from the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet came calling and that had an effect on the elements of the Allied Fleet that were anchored at recently renamed Keelung. The of the Fleets Battleship SMS Rhineland was present along with the Schlesien, Bayern, the brand-new French FN Normandie and the British HMS Lion. The Battlecruiser SMS Yorck and the aircraft carriers SMS Albatros and HMS Illustrious. With the exception of the Normandie all were ships that had recently returned from operations throughout the South and Central Pacific. They were also being gathered in preparation for a new operation that was in the offing. Noticeably absent was the majority of the Battlecruisers, Cruisers and Destroyers along with the Fleet’s Flagship, the SMS Preussen. Still the German S-Boats had raced out and were among the American Ships before most of the spotters had even realized they were there.

Vice Admiral Thomas Kinkaid received a radio message stating that the SMS Preussen and with-it Admiral von Schmidt, the German Theater Commander, was due to arrive within the next couple hours. This was a diplomatic mission, show the flag and let the Allied European Fleet know that the Pacific was not something that they had all to themselves. The radio operator had seemed apologetic enough about how they were making Kinkaid wait. The thing was the plan was to catch the Allied Fleet without von Schmidt around. Something about the German Admiral seriously bothered the ONI and he was supposed to be somewhere off the coast of Japan. He just happened to be coming back to Formosa right when Kinkaid’s Task Force was arriving. Kinkaid didn’t believe on coincidences like this. According to Intelligence coincidences like these happened around von Schmidt going all the way back to when he’d been a Lieutenant standing on the bridge of the SMS Moltke as she and a number of other Battlecruisers pounded the USS Texas and USS Wyoming into scrap.

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There was a place like this near every military encampment in the world. If it didn’t already exist then the residents of the camp would swiftly make it themselves. A bar where one could get a drink, bad food and possibly get into a fight. All the comforts of home in one convenient place.

Tilo and Reier were sitting at the end of the bar. Like everyone else they were talking about the resent arrival of the American task force and what that might mean. The Americans were rivals, no one argued otherwise. But they had never been a really been a threat like the Russians had been. Tilo had pointed out that neither had the Japanese but still here they were. That had resulted in the conversation ending for several long moments. Eventually they started talking about something else until the men in green uniforms started walking in, Americans.

In the movies it’s a cliché where two factions in a bar end up facing off. The music stops abruptly and everyone else runs for the nearest exit. To Tilo’s surprise that was exactly what happened. Then a very rough looking man stepped forward.

“I’m looking a Sergeant Tilo Schultz of your 3rd Marine Sealion Regiment” He demanded.

Tilo got several side-eyed looks for evidently being the cause of whatever this was.

“What of it?” Tilo asked.

“That would mean that you’re the same bastard who tricked one of our Navy’s Officers into giving you and your Squad a few cases of beer last year?” The man asked.

If these guys were spoiling for a fight then there no point in putting it off. “Yeah, that was me” Tilo said.

“Yeah, well put her there” He said offering to shake a bewildered Tilo’s hand.

“Colonel Puller told me to shake your hand if I saw you” The man said, “He said to tell you that you are a great example of what it means to be a Marine even if you fight for the wrong Goddamned country.”

With that the tension in the room evaporated, these men were their American counterparts. The man who’d called out Tilo said he was John Basilone, a Sergeant himself. He and his friends had done what they had to see what, “The Kraut Marines” as he put it, were made of. It seemed that Tilo had passed whatever test these Americans had subjected him to, not as if he cared.

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Kinkaid had assumed that the German Preussen Class was roughly similar to the Iowa Class. Just by stepping aboard the SMS Preussen he could already tell that assessment was a bit off. The Preussen was as heavily armored as the Montana Class having evidently traded hitting power for speed and armor. That was also a bit of a misnomer judging by the multiple tiers of secondary dual-purpose guns. Anything on the surface or in the air within range of those would not be happy. Even the eight 42cm guns were nothing to sneeze at as the Imperial Japanese Navy had learned the hard way.

He was led through the ship until he was in what he presumed was the Officer’s Mess. At mid-afternoon it was empty save for the Admiral himself. Intelligence had said that Jacob von Schmidt was a Physics and Mathematics prodigy, the German Navy being what it was had trained him to be a radio operator. Still he had risen from the Radio Room to the Flag Bridge. He had supposedly won a large proportion of his medals in the Sciences. The man who greeted Kinkaid was not a large man but was very intense, filling the entire room just with his presence. There were several members of his staff who were coming and going constantly. Kinkaid realized that von Schmidt was thinking about ongoing Fleet operations and who knew what else while talking to him without ever missing a beat. The experience was deeply unnerving.
 
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That would mean that you’re the same bastard who tricked one of our Navy’s Officers into giving you and your Squad a few cases of beer last year?” The man asked.

If these guys were spoiling for a fight then there no point in putting it off. “Yeah, that was me” Tilo said.

“Yeah, well put her there” He said offering to shake a bewildered Tilo’s hand.

“Colonel Puller told me to shake your hand if I saw you” The man said, “He said to tell you that you are a great example of what it means to be a Marine even if you fight for the wrong Goddamned country.”

With that the tension in the room evaporated, these men were their American counterparts. The man who’d called out Tilo said he was John Basilone, a Sergeant himself. He and his friends had done what they had to see what, “The Kraut Marines” as he put it, were made of. It seemed that Tilo had passed whatever test these Americans had subjected him to, not as if he cared.
Methinks that the US Marines must STILL be laughing their collective asses to the "Moron of the Year" like they labeled Bush.
 
What is the End Game in the Pacific?

China is finally bearing its weight and is now starting to crush the IJA and squeezing them out of China.
Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam with help from France and Germany have expelled the IJA from their countries and probably from the border areas and no longer fear invasion from the Japanese. They now have new trade and economic deals with Germany.
Great Britain and the Netherlands are happy that the IJN is now mostly based on the bottom of the Pacific and is no longer a threat to their colonies.
Germany has now regained their possessions in the Pacific that they lost after the Great War (except the New Guinea part of Papua New Guinea, Australia has them) and gained a vast amount of prestige and new trading partners in the Pacific.

Japan has firm control of Manchuria and Korea for now, but Germany is building up their forces for a Summer offensive.

But now the Allies are concerned that they may have invited the Fox into the henhouse with Germany now making deals with the countries of the former French Indo China colonies.
China is upset that Germany is planning to have Formosa become the independent country of Taiwan and is concerned that they may have the same plans for Manchuria.
Great Britain and the Netherlands having nothing to fear from Japan now, probably wants a peace deal that ends the war with Japan being severely restricted in military forces.
 
Part 37, Chapter 458
Chapter Four Hundred Fifty-Eight


23rd April 1945

Berlin

Kat was still feeling the effects of whatever they had her on when she was driven home and walked up to the front door. Helene had seen this every Monday over the last couple weeks and was prepared for it. Last week Kat had been scattered and gushing over the beauty of something one minute and weeping in the corner the next. The week before that she had been inconsolable. Currently she was sitting in the front parlor in the overstuffed easy chair watching raindrops hitting the window and humming a tuneless song to herself. The look on her face was one of bliss as she sat in the grey afternoon light and Helene realized how rare it was to see Kat happy.

“You think you’ll be able to keep an eye on her” Doctor Holz asked.

Helene was still angry with him for what had happened two weeks earlier. The first session had been a tour through the worst moments of Kat’s life and it had taken her days to get over it. According to Doctor Holz what Helene had seen might be what happened when Kat allowed herself to feel things. Helene found that to be an all too plausible idea. That Kat felt like crying all the time but hid it until she got so depressed that closing herself off from the world was all she could do to keep from going insane.

“I can do that” Helene said, “But how long is she going to be like this?”

“We tried a couple of different drugs today and the session was, well… interesting” Doctor Holz said, “Our expert said that the effects only last about eight hours which means that she should be in a halfway normal state of mind in two hours or so.”

“What am I supposed to do in the meantime?” Helene asked.

“Keep a close eye on her and don’t let Kat do anything physical” Doctor Holz said. Which was something that was far easier said than done. He must have read her facial expression or something because he then said, “Next week is the last session in the drug regimen, after that the plan is to move on to long term observation. She’s lucky to have a close-knit group of friends and family right now.”

With that Doctor Holz left.

It seemed like no sooner than the door closed than Kat was crying again. What was odd was that she didn’t lock herself away in her room this time, talking only to Gianna who she shared some sort of profound secret with that Helene had never been let in on. Instead she seemed to take comfort in the presence of Helene which was unlike her. Kat just sat in the parlor watching the rain as it grew dark and slid into evening. About nightfall she fell asleep there, which was also out of character. Helene had only seen that once before. That one time in the Flak tower when Kat had gone there to hide when the pressures of being Freiin Katherine had gotten to be too much for her.

“Our little cat is so beautiful when she dreams” is what Gerta said when she saw Kat in the parlor.

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Augustus Lang was reminded of the labors of Hercules as he went through each day except there was never a convenient river to divert through a stable and the Hydra only regrew a single extra head when one got cut off. The Chinese had suddenly realized that the German Empire had no intention of leaving Formosa. While Lang wasn’t interested in formally annexing the island having a friendly port in such a strategic location was very much in Germany’s interest. Curiously, the Taiwanese, Japanese and even the Chinese residents on the island didn’t see returning the island to China as being in their best interest. Lang had been laying the ground work for formal recognition by the international community of the nation of Taiwan.

Now that the initial crisis had passed the British and the French had remembered that Germany had been the long time enemy right up until they needed German ships and soldiers to fight the Japanese. There was also the little matter of a Soviet dominated Europe not being in anyone’s interest. The British were looking with dismay at factories in Australia that were owned by German corporations. The French were seeing their influence on the Indochinese Peninsula in steep decline and were not happy about that. Lang’s own thought on the matter was that it was funny how actually keeping your word makes people a lot more receptive in the future.

The Americans had suddenly discovered that the neighboring islands to their Pacific possessions were under new management and there had been a few minor incidents. Just the day before an American Task Force, a Battleship squadron that was a significant portion of the American Pacific Fleet, had payed Formosa a visit. Jacob von Schmidt had wasted no time in making sure a written report had gotten sent to the OKW of his observations. Lang had gleaned bits and pieces of how his brother-in-law thought and operated over the years. It was frightening that such a man could possibly exist. He had included signal intercepts in his report and his observations of Vice Admiral Thomas Kinkaid that had left Lang’s own experts wondering where some of that information had come from. Jacob had the preliminary report on an airplane to Germany before the American had made it off his ship.

Closer to home, things were proving just as thorny. There was a movement out there that was growing louder by the hour that the Heer, Luftwaffe and KLM were not mercenaries sent to be the enforcers of the British Empire. The bill to refurbish and upgrade the State railways had come back. To say that smelling salts and fainting couches were needed when that had landed in the Reichstag was an understatement. Lang was starting to realize that so many problems could be solved at once if he could just end the war with Japan already.
 
A couple of things that just crossed my mind.

Germany and China will launch a big summer offensive in late July or early August against the Japanese in Manchuria and Korea that either be a big success that forces Japan to sue for peace, or after an initial success with big gains it will bog down into a bloody static series of battles like in the Great War because of logistics and prepared defensive lines that the Japanese put it place.

Or...

The Japanese launch a coordinated attack on the Trans Siberian Railroad by the IJA in order to cut off support to Vladivostok and the IJN lands outside of Vladivostok so they can take the airfields that Germany is using to bomb Japan.
It will either be a suicidal defeat that forces Japan to sue for peace or Vladivostok will find itself under siege with Emil Holtz leading the heroic efforts to survive until Fleet Admiral von Schmidt leads a daring naval charge into the Sea of Japan to relieve the forces in Vladivostok.
 
The Chinese had suddenly realized that the German Empire had no intention of leaving Formosa

Lang had been laying the ground work for formal recognition by the international community of the nation of Taiwan.

Lang’s own thought on the matter was that it was funny how actually keeping your word makes people a lot more receptive in the future.

Embrace the soft power! Lang is one of the political masterminds of this ATL 20th Century.
 
I sense a Rising Sun in Japan's future.
Basically everyone of the Allies have achieved their goals in this war except for China, and they are on the verge of kicking Japan out of mainland Asia.
The IJA has shown that it is poorly equipped, poorly trained, and most of all, poorly led.
The best of the IJN is on the bottom of the Pacific along with its future leadership and it is going to take a long time for Japan to rebuild their navy, and that is only if they have the resources to do so and they don't.

Everyone wants out of this war but no one is willing to make the first overture to do so.
That is where the United States comes in and negotiates with Japan and the Allies to end the war without the words surrender, victory, defeat, reparations, war crimes, and occupation being used.
Japan needs to save face and the Allies needs guarantees that Japan will never be able to threaten them again.
 
Basically everyone of the Allies have achieved their goals in this war except for China, and they are on the verge of kicking Japan out of mainland Asia.
The IJA has shown that it is poorly equipped, poorly trained, and most of all, poorly led.
The best of the IJN is on the bottom of the Pacific along with its future leadership and it is going to take a long time for Japan to rebuild their navy, and that is only if they have the resources to do so and they don't.

Everyone wants out of this war but no one is willing to make the first overture to do so.
That is where the United States comes in and negotiates with Japan and the Allies to end the war without the words surrender, victory, defeat, reparations, war crimes, and occupation being used.
Japan needs to save face and the Allies needs guarantees that Japan will never be able to threaten them again.

President Dewey, former President Garner, and the US State Department come up with something that sets a world record for euphemisms and weasel-wording that everyone can sell to their respective publics. A number of Japanese military figures threaten seppuku in protest and are invited into the Emperor's presence to carry it out. The survivors acquiesce and a treaty is signed. Dewey, Garner and the Japanese Emperor share the Nobel Peace Prize.
 
President Dewey, former President Garner, and the US State Department come up with something that sets a world record for euphemisms and weasel-wording that everyone can sell to their respective publics. A number of Japanese military figures threaten seppuku in protest and are invited into the Emperor's presence to carry it out. The survivors acquiesce and a treaty is signed. Dewey, Garner and the Japanese Emperor share the Nobel Peace Prize.

Seriously, that would need the Nobel commission to be collectively high in LSD, Jack Daniels, Peyote and Marijuana to even remotely contemplate the candidacy instead of picking up the idiots who dared to bring said candidacy and throwing them in the Baltic in principle.
 
The German nuclear program is still going with the main focus on power after some lead scientist threatening to kill themselves if think it wasn't stop
 
Seriously, that would need the Nobel commission to be collectively high in LSD, Jack Daniels, Peyote and Marijuana to even remotely contemplate the candidacy instead of picking up the idiots who dared to bring said candidacy and throwing them in the Baltic in principle.
If Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho can be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize...
 
Seriously, that would need the Nobel commission to be collectively high in LSD, Jack Daniels, Peyote and Marijuana to even remotely contemplate the candidacy instead of picking up the idiots who dared to bring said candidacy and throwing them in the Baltic in principle.
Dunno. Doesn't seem that different from the OTL Nobel Peace Prize commission standards. I mean, waging war, funding and supporting what some name terrorist groups and other disquieting things clearly doesn't disqualify one for being a recipient. So why not?
 
This would be total crack-fic, right wing he-Man-ism that only Harris, LeMay, MacArthur, or Patton would truly appreciate:

Have the surrender happen at Tokyo Bay on the SMS Pruessen and then detonate the Golem of Prague sufficiently far over the ocean that no one need wear eye protection but that everyone would hear.

Destabilizing and iconic in a "Peace Through Superior Firepower" sort of way.
 
This would be total crack-fic, right wing he-Man-ism that only Harris, LeMay, MacArthur, or Patton would truly appreciate:

Have the surrender happen at Tokyo Bay on the SMS Pruessen and then detonate the Golem of Prague sufficiently far over the ocean that no one need wear eye protection but that everyone would hear.

Destabilizing and iconic in a "Peace Through Superior Firepower" sort of way.
Hmm..... In a less cracky line of thinking, one could guess that by now Lang has likely given orders to Schmidt to, if he can do it, to crack a way to get the Japanese to surrender that doesn't mean further fanatical and pointless suicidal resistance on the face of overwhelming firepower.
 
Yes, serious cap back on. I think, given the option between a city and a visual display, these Germans would take the display every time, even with a fizzle risk.
 
Part 37, Chapter 459
Chapter Four Hundred Fifty-Nine


27th April 1945

North Pacific

Now that the distraction of the American visit was past Jacob could go back to the task at hand. It was perfectly in keeping with the current set of orders that had come in from the OKW at the express direction of Augustus Lang. Jacob was to end this war with loss of life minimized to the best extent that Jacob could manage. That was an entirely noble sentiment that was about as practical as asking Jacob to flap his arms and fly to the moon. From what Jacob had heard from the Japanese radio traffic they were still talking about fighting to the breath of the last Japanese citizen using sharpened sticks if it came to that. Somehow, Jacob had to get these people to the negotiating table.

The recent operation that the Japanese had begun but had been delayed while they were still exploring options was a good example of that. They had intended to run a Battleship aground near Vladivostok and use the now unsinkable Battleship to pound the defenses of the city while the IJA forces from Chōsen overran it. The problem was that the IJN Musashi had crossed paths SMS U-541. That was a fortunate development because when the Musashi had been in the yard everything that could potentially catch fire had been removed in preparation for that mission. Jacob had been torn as to whether or not to send a mission to intercept the Musashi, if he had done that then it might have alerted the Japanese Navy to the fact that their communications had been compromised.

Now Jacob was hearing new radio traffic that was referring to what the IJA considered viable alternatives. Unit 731 kept being mentioned. The only thing that they had on this IJA unit was the official title, Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department. That sounded relatively innocuous but there was something about this traffic that put even Jacob on edge. The way that other Japanese units talked about it was odd and Jacob feared that he knew what it might be. While he had been a Military Officer his whole adult life, he was a scientist as well. He knew that the idea of the mad scientist, long the fodder of horror movies, was potentially even more disturbing in real life.


Kiel

Otto Kretschmer was touring the submarine that had just been launched and was about to go on her shakedown cruise. U-812 was a Type XXIV that was everything that had been learned in the Pacific War and new advances in one package. The hull was unlike anything that he’d ever seen before. The streamlined “teardrop” shape enabled it to make a turn of speed underwater that would have been unthinkable even in the Type IXX. The Schnorchel technology was an interesting addition that he could have used in the Pacific. The batteries were improved along with the engines which were more powerful and efficient. There was also an improved fire control and sensor package.

Otto had been flown home after leaving U-541 with the XO to bring the sub home from the Pacific via the Panama Canal. U-541 was to be preserved even though her Class was far from obsolete, after refit she would be formidable for several more years. Instead she was being sent to Fischer Island to be permanently moored at the Military Museum.

Otto himself had been set to be awarded the Blue Max based entirely on the tonnage he had sunk in the Pacific. The extra seventy-one thousand tons in the form of a Yamato Class Battleship had earned him a Red Eagle with Swords as well. He had been questioned about his attack, the first six torpedoes had been electrically driven and that made it difficult to tell where they had come from. The escorts had scrambled to find U-541 not realizing that the sub had gotten between them and the Battleship. The second volley had been called either ballsy or stupid depending on whose opinion you were asking.


Berlin

Peter was looking through the notes on the third session with Kat. Once again, she had talked openly about herself. He wished that she had been able to deal with these things without being under in the influence of powerful psychoactive drugs. It had been stream of consciousness what she had talked about. Her past, her fears or whatever came to mind. He recalled after the session, on the car ride home she had watched water droplets dance on the window driven by the wind with childlike delight. Peter was starting to wonder what they were really doing. It was something that he’d seen in most of the first batch of subjects. Beyond opening up about painful memories, they had enjoyed a brief period of time totally free of inhibitions and concerns.

It was one of the things that actually concerned him. The subjects of the study all had the same sorts of issues with PTS and most of them had a tendency to self-medicate. Alcohol was the drug of choice for that. His concern was that he might have just introduced a new more powerful set of drugs into their lives and if there were dependency issues then that was the last thing on Earth they needed.

Brandt had pointed out that unlike the others Kat didn’t seem to have developed any addictions. Peter had known that was wrong, Kat was addicted to danger. She thought nothing of getting shot at or sitting in the open door of a helicopter that was flying at treetop level. But put her in an awkward social situation and watch her fall apart. Peter had realized that she had basically acted like an addict going into withdrawals when Kira had ordered her not to risk her life.
 
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Now Jacob was hearing new radio traffic that was referring to what the IJA considered viable alternatives. Unit 731 kept being mentioned. The only thing that they had on this IJA unit was the official title, Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department but there was something about this traffic that put even Jacob on edge. The way that other Japanese units talked about it was odd and Jacob feared that he knew what it might be. While he had been a Military Officer his whole adult life, he was a scientist as well. He knew that the idea of the mad scientist, long the fodder of horror movies, was potentially even more disturbing in real life.

Yep, I saw that coming. Sounds like they need to send another copy of the Sarin video.

Otto Kretschmer was touring the submarine that had just been launched and was about to go on her shakedown cruise. U-812 was a Type XXIV that was everything that had been learned in the Pacific War and new advances in one package. The hull was unlike anything that he’d ever seen before. The streamlined “teardrop” shape enabled it to make a turn of speed underwater that would have been unthinkable even in the Type XIX. The Schnorchel technology was an interesting addition that he could have used in the Pacific. The batteries were improved along with the engines which were more powerful and efficient. There was also an improved fire control and sensor package.

Wow, it's a Romeo or Diesel Skipjack...in 1945.

Brandt had pointed out that unlike the others Kat didn’t seem to have developed any addictions. Peter had known that was wrong, Kat was addicted to danger. She thought nothing of getting shot at or sitting in the open door of a helicopter that was flying at treetop level. But put her in an awkward social and watch her fall apart. Peter had realized that she had basically acted like an addict going into withdrawals when Kira had ordered her not to risk her life.

Sadly, that's so true and common. :cryingface:
 
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