Interesting chapters. There is a bug in your threadmarks though (the last chapter seems to link to the previous one).
 
So, a prototype IFV. They should also cut in some firing ports, and a door on the back/front (depending where the engine is) for quick loading and unloading

Seeing Emil frighten teens is also good for a laugh
 
So, a prototype IFV. They should also cut in some firing ports, and a door on the back/front (depending where the engine is) for quick loading and unloading

Seeing Emil frighten teens is also good for a laugh
No, not truly because the infantry are just passengers. Think about OTL "kangaroos" in WW2, the infantry can move at the same speed as the panzers and have the same level of protection. To fight the infantry has to climb out over the top. At this stage there just battle taxis
 
So, a prototype IFV. They should also cut in some firing ports, and a door on the back/front (depending where the engine is) for quick loading and unloading

Seeing Emil frighten teens is also good for a laugh

No, not truly because the infantry are just passengers. Think about OTL "kangaroos" in WW2, the infantry can move at the same speed as the panzers and have the same level of protection. To fight the infantry has to climb out over the top. At this stage there just battle taxis

How about a ramp instead of a door for faster unloading and possibly for carrying various wheeled contraptions? Later you can put a convenient-for-one-person sized door in it.

The 13mm
machine gun is a nice touch.

The kids are likely airplane aficionados, out watching the kewel military models in use. Maybe there's a way to harness their youthful enthusiasm?

By the way, I'm not sure what happened with the fonts. I didn't mean to boldfacer that.
 
No, not truly because the infantry are just passengers. Think about OTL "kangaroos" in WW2, the infantry can move at the same speed as the panzers and have the same level of protection. To fight the infantry has to climb out over the top. At this stage there just battle taxis

You're probably right for the fire ports. His point about the door is valid though. You're much less exposed when getting out if you have a proper ramp (and yes, ramp, rather than door, probably).
 
Part 10 Chapter 89
Chapter Eighty-Nine


30th June, 1930

Wunsdorf-Zossen

The experiment, had worked out well. The aspect of the Brass being unhappy about them basically cutting up a Panzer hadn’t not worked out so well. Horst and anyone else involved had been handed whatever shitty job they could get assigned and because they had involved people from the Pioneer Corps some of those jobs had in fact involved real shit. Now had come the Coup-de-Grâce, the Brass had decided that one vehicle was not enough for a proper evaluation. He somehow needed to come up with two more at a time when he was about as popular as the clap around the barracks and Wolvogle himself had asked if he could come up with a better name than “the experiment” something he’d not had a chance to think about, nor would he. If Wolvogle wanted a name, he could do it himself. Horst would wash his hands of the whole thing if he thought he could get away with it. The only silver lining on this situation was that he went home every night where no one could care less about whatever crap he’d landed in unless he came home smelling of it.


Baltic Sea

The Graf Spee had spent the previous weeks running up the secondary batteries and anti-aircraft guns. The Spee was a part of the Flak Cruiser concept that the Fleet had been implementing over the last few years. The idea was that unless a ship was actively using its battery against enemy surface units or targets on land then they should be floating anti-aircraft batteries. Jacob had been surprised at the massive volume of fire that the AA guns had put up, this included the 15cm DP guns that made up the secondary battery. Tracers and black puffs of smoke had filled the air. Those guns were also designed to be trained on surface targets as well. That could make life very difficult to anyone who got too close.

But now was the main event, the 42cm guns were the heart of the Graf Spee’s offensive capabilities. Today those would be fired for the first time. Jacob had spent the prior weeks running the crew through the process of getting the firing solution and the streamlined communications process. The hope was that they could lay the guns on the target quickly and minimizing the number of ranging shots required. But that was for the days ahead, today they were just firing the guns in a live fire exercise. For Jacob, it was the first time he’d on a ship that had the main guns firing since the SMS Bayern in the Battle of Moon Sound, a very long time ago.

From his place as an observer on the bridge the 42cm guns he watched as the guns fired. The 42cm guns sounded deeper than the 38cm guns of the Bayern. Off in the distance there were four large splashes. In theory, these guns were capable of hitting targets at distances of 30 kilometers but that was if everything went perfectly and they were very lucky. Jacob was trying to change that, tomorrow he’d be in the plotting room buried deep in the hull as they conducted further live fire exercises trying to see how far out they could hit targets.


Rechlin-Lärz Airfield

What a cluster fuck, Emil thought to himself as he got yet another angry telegram, from an outraged politician this time. Come to think of it he’d need to start a list of people who he had managed to piss off with the latest rifle evaluation. Who the Hell was Dieudonne Saive anyway? And why had that man taken upon himself to ruin Emil’s week.

When the rifle in question had arrived, it was obviously a rough one off prototype, practically handmade with a lack of polish that came with the territory. he had assumed that it would be like the rest. Swiftly fouled beyond usability, broken or some small important piece would turn up missing. This one had stood up to most of what they could throw at it. Yes, it had jammed a few times but that had actually taken effort on his part to make that happen. He’d put that in the report and hung on to the rifle, just in case. It had turned out that had been the right call.

As it turned out, it wasn’t German in origin, but was actually from FN-Browning in Belgium. The designer had heard of Emil’s efforts and decided to see how his rifle would hold together and one up German designers in the process. All the German manufactures were furious and the respective Governments of Germany and Belgium were angry for different reasons. The thing had violated most of the specs issued by the German Government and it had hurt their pride. The Belgians were angry that the secrecy of their weapon was compromised and they wanted the prototype back. As if the German Government had been able to look past its own nose when it came to this issue. All of them had one thing in common, they all found fault in the actions of one Emil Holz.

Seriously, to Hell with them all, Emil thought to himself as he tossed the latest telegram into the trash with the others.

Wunsdorf-Zossen

General von Wolvogle considered the latest antics of his staff as he looked out the window. There was never a nice war to start when he needed one and the effects of boredom were starting to pile up. The noncoms had taken it upon themselves to modify a Panzer beyond all recognition. While he preferred not to discourage initiative by the men, that was a bit much. Rommel attempted to shield the men. The problem was that the nature of the project wasn’t in Rommel’s wheelhouse so that didn't fly. Still though he liked it when his understudies finally started showing some backbone and after more than a year of trying to knock the edges off the Swabian Officer it was about time that happened.

Wolvogle had gone through several understudies since the Great War ended. So far only Heinz Guderian had lived up to Wolvogle’s hopes. He’d come back from Russia where he’d been an advisor to the White faction, it had ended badly. Wolvogle had given him a Panzer Regiment in Poland and watched as he’d vented his frustrations on the Bolsheviks in spectacular fashion. After that he’d seen to it that he’d advanced quickly. He was hoping to duplicate that success with Erwin Rommel.

As for the experiment. Spear Horst no longer wanted anything to do with the project he’d started, too bad for him. Rommel wanted to take responsibility for it, he was about to get what he wanted. Wolvogle congratulated himself. This was about to work out very well, for Wolvogle anyway.
 
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Model of gun

It's an FN product, based off of earlier work on the Browning Automatic Rifle, in OTL that eventually evolved into the FN '49 and FN FAL. For obvious political and protectionist reasons it's a dead end as far as the OKW is concerned but it's a kick in the direction away from what they were doing before.
 
It's an FN product, based off of earlier work on the Browning Automatic Rifle, in OTL that eventually evolved into the FN '49 and FN FAL. For obvious political and protectionist reasons it's a dead end as far as the OKW is concerned but it's a kick in the direction away from what they were doing before.

Right. For a semi-auto, the Germans were dead-set against having tapping the barrel, like the SKS, or later AK-47. The Bang gun is a dead end for the military, I don't think you could make it sturdy enough.

The Belgian design might kick the butts of the German designers in the right direction
 
Emil, having already messed up with enough men with high rankings, won't care about where the guns come from. As long as they are good and sufficient, he'll have his Paras use him. Hell, I even think that he'd ask Richthofen and Wolvogle to put some pressure inside. May be the gun can also be used by the crews as a back-up weapon
 
Emil, having already messed up with enough men with high rankings, won't care about where the guns come from. As long as they are good and sufficient, he'll have his Paras use him. Hell, I even think that he'd ask Richthofen and Wolvogle to put some pressure inside. May be the gun can also be used by the crews as a back-up weapon

Emil is going to extra mile to make it almost impossible for latter airborne commanders to be a fit in with the other armed forces. Only the "escaped" (as in Asylum) Loonies from the Abwehr are coming close in reputation. All other airborne forces will be looking at how Emil does it. He is setting the benchmark for how an airborne soldier is expected to behave and the leadership style they employ.
 
Emil is going to extra mile to make it almost impossible for latter airborne commanders to be a fit in with the other armed forces. Only the "escaped" (as in Asylum) Loonies from the Abwehr are coming close in reputation. All other airborne forces will be looking at how Emil does it. He is setting the benchmark for how an airborne soldier is expected to behave and the leadership style they employ.

Funny, you just expressed the exact attitude that most armed forces had when it came to Airborne and Special Forces units until they needed them.
 
I am a little surprised that Emil has not got his hands on a few Russian Fedorov Avtomat 6.5mm assault rifles as war booty captured in Poland. These would seem to be a good starting point the paratroopers looking for their own weapon with lots of fire power. Also the lighter weight of the 6.5mm Arisca cartridge is also advantageous. Another rile that might spark Emil's interest is the Mannlicher carbine firing a 7.65 x 32 cartridge. Though this might be a bit under powered for their use.
 
I am a little surprised that Emil has not got his hands on a few Russian Fedorov Avtomat 6.5mm assault rifles as war booty captured in Poland. These would seem to be a good starting point the paratroopers looking for their own weapon with lots of fire power. Also the lighter weight of the 6.5mm Arisca cartridge is also advantageous. Another rile that might spark Emil's interest is the Mannlicher carbine firing a 7.65 x 32 cartridge. Though this might be a bit under powered for their use.


There's also the Mondragon.
 
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Part 10 Chapter 90
Chapter Ninety


21st July, 1930

Berlin, Germany

It was obvious to Lang as soon as he started looking into the matter what was actually going on. Emil never did care about the politics of the situations he found himself in and now found himself neck deep in politics. For once it was Lang who was bailing Emil out but he figured that he owed his old friend for the many times that the situation had been reversed. Luckily, he’d managed to call Emil in before war was declared.

The someone in the Heer had been taking advantage Emil. A substantial percentage of the traditionalists had hated Emil as an upstart for years just for being who he was. They had also seen the weapons project as a waste of time and had issued specs that seemed to be destined to result in failure. Having Emil, an Officer of the equally suspect Luftwaffe having to deliver the news to the weapons designers that they were making expensive, fragile and overly expensive junk suited them just fine. For the Paras who needed desperately needed better equipment it was just getting jerked around. Emil getting something that worked, from a foreign manufacture no less, had upset the apple cart and Emil’s own habit of pushing back whenever pushed had not helped matters. Sitting in Lang’s office he had to explained this to Emil.

“The real question is why you have been using the Heer’s procurement officers?” Lang said “You obviously don’t have very many friends there.”

Emil just shrugged at that “It is how things have been done in the past” He said.

Lang could believe that. The Luftwaffe and by extension the Paras had built everything from the ground up over the last decade. Their own infantry had gotten short shrift depending on the Heer’s cast offs. The irony was that the Paras had become a quick reaction force, faster and nimbler than their counterparts in the Heer. Something else that also didn’t endear them to the powers that be in the Heer. It was a situation that needed to change. The problem was that it came at a bad time. The manufacturing and shipping that dominated the German economy had slowed down along with the rest of the world economy. Domestic demand wasn’t enough to make up the difference but at least it hadn’t ground to a complete stop as was happening in other countries. The good thing was that compared to the cost of a battleship the Paras were dirt cheap.

“You need to do something else Emil” Lang said “Because the needs of your outfit are never going to be met this way.”

“You think I haven’t tried” Emil said “I’ve always been told that infantry is infantry and we should take what we are given.”

“Yeah, that’s crap” Lang said “And I know you hate politics but you need to start taking that into consideration with your actions. It’s not like when you could solve problems by blowing something up.”

Emil sat there slumped in his chair, who knew what was rolling through his head. It probably included sending a few bureaucrats a high explosive surprise. Lang considered if fortunate that Emil had reserved that sort of thing for the Russians and the French in the past.

“Here’s an idea” Lang said “You’re friends with von Richthofen himself and he’s the protégé of Boelcke. Get them to issue their own specifications for a new rifle.”

“I can hardly impose myself like that…” Emil said.

“You can and will” Lang said “For someone who I’ve personally seen walk through fire you tend to get timid when asking for help and it’s not like you are starting from scratch.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“The rifle” Lang said “You still have it, right?”

“I have it hidden in the last place that anyone would ever think to look” Emil said.

“You do know that everyone knows that the rafters above the enlisted men’s latrine is not a great hiding place anymore?” Lang asked.

“Everyone knows that” Emil said “But in the wall behind the liquor cabinet in the base commander’s office is a different story.”

Lang chuckled at that, many people thought that Emil was crazy but few called him stupid. “Why didn’t they just order you to return it?” he asked.

“The Hell if I know” Emil said “And I wasn’t planning on asking.”


Rural Eastern Germany


The Experimental vehicles, or Schützenpanzer or SPz, as they were now being called were garnering a lot of strange looks as they passed through villages during this exercise. While they were in transit no one wanted to sit down on the bench inside the hull. It was far more fun to stand on the bench whenever there was anything to see. So, passersby frequently had a squad of infantry looking back at them.

The Brass had finally relented in taking Horst off their shit list otherwise who knew where they would have shoved him today and he would have missed this. He was watching the men enjoy the day while riding in the middle SPz. Oberstlieutenant Rommel was in the lead vehicle behind the two Panzers that were leading this mock assault. The Company that was manning the practice trench line hadn’t been told what was coming, just that they needed to hold the line. They had done several live fire exercises but two get the proper feel for this they needed to do a simulated attack on an actual defended trench line.

As they came around the corner Horst caught a glimpse of a line of pale faces of the Infantry Company on the firing step. They dropped out of sight right before series of explosions filled the air with flour. This was supposedly to simulate an artillery strike ahead of the advancing column. The Panzers broke left and right to cover their advance. He could hear the main guns on the Panzers firing.

The judges would be all over anyone in the trench who stuck their heads up too high. It was a lesson that was better learned here as opposed to when actual bullets and shrapnel were filling the air.

According to their plan the three APCs would form a line and advance upon the trench line. In practice, it was a rather ragged affair with the trailing APC ending up much closer to the on Horst was riding in than was planned. The hull guns opened up as well as the 13s, to suppress the enemy as they got closer. At that point the men started throwing smoke grenades ahead of the APCs from the open top of the vehicles, under Horst’s watchful eye none of them were stupid enough to expose themselves above the rim of the APC. There’s got to be a better way of doing that, Horst thought to himself. It was part of the plan but to his eye it looked very sloppy.

Then the APC ground to a halt, that was their cue. They grabbed their rifles and jumped out over the side. They had discovered as part of the process of constructing the APCs that climbing in and out posed a challenge. They had solved this by welding steel rungs to the outside of the hull at strategic points to make that easier. That came into play as they clamored down the side and attacked the trench. The defenders were still trying to react as Horst’s squad attacked. As always with these practice exercises it devolved into arguments and shoving matches over who had fired first and who might have hit who.

Eventually the Judges had decided that they would have taken heavy casualties but the Company defending the trench would have been routed.

“This whole thing was totally unfair!” The Hauptmann was complaining to the Judges “No one told us this was coming.”

“Looks like someone needs to man up” Wolvogle said to Horst as he observed the proceedings “Music to my ears, Spear.”

“Yes, Sir” Horst said.

“You remember when I told you that it was looking like you were fixing to be a Dragoon in France?” Wolvogle asked.

Holst vaguely remembered something like that “I guess so, Sir” He said.

“Welcome to the Cavalry, Spear” Wolvogle said with a smile as he walked away.

“That son of a bitch” Horst muttered to himself.

One of the Soldats looked at Horst “What are you on about Spear?”

“He’s going to take credit for this whole thing” Horst said nodding towards Wolvogle.
 
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Part 10 Chapter 91
Chapter Ninety-One


30th July, 1930

Kiel, Germany

In spite of spending the almost the entire time in either the plotting room or the Gunnery Officer’s tower Jacob had enjoyed his time aboard the Graf Spee. The gunnery crew had proved receptive as he showed them some of the things that the ranging computer could do. By the end of the shakedown cruise they were regularly hitting moving targets at more than 10,000 meters. The whole crew was in high spirits as they came back into port. There was a whole catalog of improvements that would need to be done before the ship could be declared active but today was about celebrating their successes.

Jacob was in his usual spot done out of habit, leaning on the rail at the door nearest the radio room. He could see that there were thousands of people on the pier, families of the crew here to greet them.

“Sir?” Jacob heard a voice say, he turned to the Seekadett who’d spoken.

“Can I help you?” Jacob asked.

“The Captain sent me to tell you that you’re invited to join him and the other Officers at a dinner they have planned tonight ashore.”

“Thank you” Jacob said, this Cadet had no idea what that meant to him “Please, send the Captain my compliments but I regret to say that my family has come up from Berlin and have first dibs.”

“The Captain will be sorry to hear that, Sir” The Cadet said before he turned on his heel and left. That was unexpected.

Later after the Battlecruiser docked, Jacob found himself as one of dozens waiting to disembark with his bags. Because he wasn’t officially a part of the ship’s crew he had no duties to attend to before that happened. After he’d walked down the gangplank to the pier he was greeted by Esther and the girls. He was surprised by the fact that Sarah was as tall as Esther and Nessa was close behind. With both of them it was clear that adulthood was right around the corner. When had that happened?


Kleinburg, Germany


Once again fate had brought Emil to this place. He’d requested leave once he’d returned to the Airfield and had been swiftly granted it. He had gotten the impression that they just wanted him gone for a while. Lang might have helped with his connections to smooth things out but ill feelings remained. When he left, he figured that they would be expecting him to make the move that he did in fact make. Emil had snuck in to the commander’s office and retrieved the rifle. His suspicion was that he’d be searched if he went out the main gate so he used the alternative exit that the local kids had conveniently provided. It’s not like it was theft because the cursed thing was never officially if his possession to begin with. His hope was that Manfred von Richthofen would know what to do about it.

Once again, he’d found himself in the foyer of the Richthofen’s over-sized house. This time he had company, the Butler had just vanished when a girl, 9 or 10 years old appeared as if from the woodwork.

“Poppa has been in his office all day” She said “They just have you wait to prove to you how important he is.”

He could tell instantly who this was, while her features were softer than her father that nose left absolutely no doubt as to her paternity.

“I already know how important your father is, Helene” Emil said “I’m here because I’m hoping he can help me resolve a professional matter.”

Helene looked at him for a moment then stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry. Yep, she was his kid for sure. With that she ran off, Emil could hear her footsteps fading.

“I hope that the Fraulein didn’t bother you, Sir” The Butler said.

“No, she was no bother.”

The Butler looked at Emil incredulously, it was clear that Helene bothered someone. “Please follow me, Sir” he said.

When they got to von Richthofen’s office the Butler announced him “Oberst Holz is here, Sir” it was clear from his tone of voice that he remembered the time when Emil was just Herr Holz.

“Good” Manfred said “You can leave us.”

As soon as the Butler left the room Manfred turned on Emil, acting like a child on Christmas morning “Where is it?” He asked.

“The rifle?”

“Of course, the rifle” Manfred said “With how much trouble it's caused you I knew it would only be a matter of time until you came here.”

“Why would you assume that?” Emil asked, slightly offended by the thought that he’d be so predictable. With a sigh, he handed Manfred the canvass bag that held the rifle that he presumed was about to become the latest addition to the extensive collection of weaponry that was located on the von Richthofen Estate.

“Because I’m your bosses' boss and you snuck out of your posting” Manfred said “Where else would you go?”

“I’m on leave” Emil said “And I could have just as easily spent it with my brother in Poland.”

“He still trying to save the World?" Manfred asked as he examined the Rifle “Wait until he finds out what his whole mission is actually about.”

Emil didn’t like hearing about that. Peter was doing good things in Poland but by providing free medical care he was unknowingly providing cover for a census that the Polish and German Governments were conducting. The Pioneer Corps was paving roads that could be used for rapid transport by the OKW and constructing prepared positions. They were also doing extensive mapping of the Polish countryside. It was all part of a plan for a defense in depth if war broke out with the Soviets again. Peter was actually helping to orchestrate the necessary, but forced, evacuation of civilians from what could easily become a Hellscape in a matter of hours if it came to that. If Peter learned what was really going on, he would not be happy. The Hippocratic oath was getting stretched to the limit by what was happening in Poland.

“I would prefer he never finds out about that” Emil said.

“Whatever” Manfred said getting up from his chair “Come on, I want to see what’s so special about this rifle.”

Emil followed, of course this place had its own shooting range it had everything else.
 
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Nice story-telling again. I Can imagine the paratroopers and panzerdragoons equipped with assault rifles would really get this spearhead the last bit of firepower they need. Now what is so special about this particular rifle?
 
Just caught up again on all that I have missed. I am glad to see Emil is back in the thick of the trouble and chaos that he found from the beginning of the story. Lots of new additions and too many to comment on.

I will just say that you continue to do a great job and I really appreciate the time and effort that you have given this story. Keep up the terrific job and I will keep trying to read and comment when I can.
 
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