Stupid Luck and Happenstance.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Peabody-Martini, Dec 20, 2016.

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  1. Threadmarks: Part 11, Chapter 106

    Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    Chapter One Hundred Six


    13th April, 1936

    Jena, Germany

    Peter was in his office reading the latest files, in conjunction with the interviews he had conducted. He had read up on the patients in the Secure Ward in the hospital in Munich. Those were admittedly extreme cases but he’d seen patterns emerge, injury and stress resulted in addiction and aberrant behavior. Once separated from the military the problems grew worse. Peter saw it again and again, hundreds of times. There were examples like that Unteroffizer who was probably already damaged mentally and a pathological liar before his experiences on the Western Front but that was very much the exception, not the rule. The OKW was less than thrilled with the fact that he was conducting this study. It had been the intervention of Augustus Lang that had forced them to let him conduct it with minimal interference. Eventually they had agreed but had demanded that the OKW be given first access to any results that Peter got.

    When Peter had heard news reports of a firefight between a Squad of relatively green recruits and smugglers he’d rushed to Ingolstadt, he now had a chance to see if it was possible to break the pattern he’d seen. He intended that these men be tracked for the duration of their careers. All five were Soldats on a career track. That was where their common traits ended. Four of them were sons of railroad workers, an Engineer, two Conductors and a Porter, which was the actual reason they had been in the railyard on the day of the firefight. The fifth was the son of a career Non-Commissioned Officer. The oldest, Jost Schultz was 19 years of age.

    At the moment, the only problem was that no one seemed to have any idea where they had ended up.


    Wunsdorf Zossen, Germany

    It was in the early morning hours when they had been dragged off the train. One of the quirks of rail travel was that it was when the train stopped that you woke up. The sudden absence of noise and movement came as a surprise. They had assumed that it was just one more stop and they would be on their way again, it turned out that they were wrong this time.

    Barking dogs, flashlights in their faces and yelling were what marked their arrival even if they had no idea where “here” was. It was when they saw the location painted on the station wall that Jost said that he knew where they were but refused to say more. It was when Hans heard someone complaining about how they smelled that he realized that they had a problem but before he could duck they were sprayed with icy water.

    “I suppose you worthless trash are wondering why you are here?” A voice said to them from the darkness “I got news for you lot, you broke one of the key rules of being a soldier. Any of you know what that is?”

    They stood there for a long moment shivering in the cold, this was the sort of things that were pulled on recruits when they arrived in basic. They were months past that. Why was this being done to them now?

    “The Hell if I know” Jost said.

    “You’re lucky your old man is in South America right now, Soldat Schultz, or else he’d be kicking your ass all over the parade ground because you’re such a worthless piece of shit” The voice said. For once Jost didn’t have a snide comeback for that sort of thing. This man, whoever he was knew Jost’s father? That can’t be good could it.

    “What?” The voice said “None of you are bold enough to venture to take a guess.” The truth was that they all knew better. Any answer, even a correct one, would be used to kick the snot out of them.

    “The rule you broke was that you were seen” The voice said “People love the idea of us, it fills them with their warm and fuzzy sense of patriotism and that gets reflected in the bloodless movies that they flock to in theaters. The reality, with all the blood, piss and shit is something that they simply cannot handle. You managed to ruin several hundred people’s vacations with that reality.”

    That was too much for Hans, it was not as if they had chosen to have those Albanians to start shooting at them. “It’s not as if we wanted things to happen the way they did” He said furiously “At least we aren’t hiding in the shadows throwing insults.”

    “Wow” The voice said “It looks like at least one of you has a pair of balls after all.” The man stepped forward into the light. Hans saw that he was a Stabsfeldwebel who was old enough to have served in the Great War. Just by looking at the way this man walked it was clear that he had absolutely nothing to prove to anyone, least of all a Soldat like Hans.

    “I am Stabber Horst” The Man, Horst said “And I’m treating you this way because you obviously didn’t learn a Goddamn thing the first time around and your Feldwebel was killed as a result.”

    “That’s not fair” Rudy said.

    Hans had to stop himself from groaning at that. There was one word that was supposed to be gone from your vocabulary the instant you joined the Heer, fair. Want to get your ass kicked, use that word.

    “Ain’t that nice” Horst said “Here I was thinking that I was dealing with some men who were not too chicken shit to pull the trigger if need be and the first words out of one of your mouths in that I’m not being fair.”

    Horst then smiled “I’m going to show you what an egalitarian I am in the coming days” He said “Now I can see that you are cold, a bit of work will warm you right up.”

    “Good one, Rudy” Henrik whispered at him.
     
  2. J VonAxel Really not a nazi

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2016
    Location:
    Castellum Rodanum
    Saying "It's not fair" to a senior NCO, you might as well volunteer for the Himmelfahrtskommando now.:openedeyewink:
     
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  3. Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    Cannon fodder has to come from somewhere.
     
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  4. Knightmare Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    FL
    Or get prepped to do so many pushups your arms'll fall off.
     
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  5. zert Casual Reader, Interested Follower

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Here's your shovel. Now go clean out the latrines.
     
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  6. Alex1guy First Of His Name

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Location:
    The New Zealand Empire
    Having a go at mapping the world so far. WIP Corrections welcomed and encouraged

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Mirage Well-Known Member

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    Oct 20, 2014
    is there a reason why Austria is still (even if only nominal) independent?
     
  8. Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    The Hapsburgs are still in charge there and they have no interest in being subordinate to the Hohenzollern dynasty.
     
  9. Threadmarks: Part 12, Chapter 107

    Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    Chapter One Hundred Seven


    1st May, 1936

    Berlin, Germany

    Sarah was playing out as Sarah Reise as she had been doing for months. She obviously couldn’t play out as herself. So, she had adopted this persona, old cloths and the coat her father had worn as a radio operator during the Great War. Classical music was what kept a roof over her head here in Berlin and music she played in the smoke-filled bar here in Central Berlin was not considered respectable. Tonight, it was particularly raucous with workers enjoying a night out on the town following the parade that was for the unofficial holiday.

    Sarah was playing the music that was popular with this crowd but she was finding it increasingly unsatisfactory. The music was simple and as long as she played the upright piano and was free to keep whatever landed in the tip jar that was put out. Money that she didn’t really need. It seemed like everywhere she looked she was confronted with new limitations on what she could do. What was or wasn’t respectable. The choice of music she could play. Societies expectations of her. She increasingly wanted less and less to do with any of that. She had started sneaking out in hopes of finding creative freedom. Instead she had just discovered new limits and she hated it.

    Now Sarah was playing a popular song that she had played a dozen times over just the past few weeks that had never failed to annoy and a part of her rebelled. The melody was simple to play with her left hand so she kept right on playing that, her right hand started playing a different tune in the same key. She could hear that the conversation in the bar had shifted in tone, they could tell that something had changed but couldn’t tell what. Then she fell back into the original tune again. That couldn’t be all there was to that so she started shifting the melody again this time into one of the most recognized pieces of music in the world, the William Tell Overture. This brought laughter from the crowd. After pounding out her frustrations on the keys for a few minutes she segued into wild improvisation and even a bit of Minuet thrown in there, maintaining only the key and tempo of the original song. She did this for a few minutes before returning to that and concluding it where she was supposed to have. Sarah figured that she’d just embarrassed herself because the room had gone quiet, this had turned out worse than she feared.

    That was when one man in the crowd started clapping and it was as if a dam burst. What was happening here?


    Wunsdorf-Zosen

    Hans staggered in to the barracks, that’s when he saw the state of Soren’s feet. Henrik was having to peel the socks off that were full of dried blood, when they came off a good section of skin came with it. After running them ragged for the first weeks Staber Horst had decried the sorry state of their equipment a few days ago and earlier that day he saw to it that they had been kitted out with all new gear. The Staber had made sure that included new boots and in all his sadistic glory had decided that a nice long walk through the countryside would be perfect to break those boots in, 15 or 16 kilometers, at least it wasn’t the middle of the Summer. Hans didn’t want to think of the state of his feet right now.

    Rudy had collapsed onto his bunk and was asleep, fully clothed. They would need to wake him before anyone else in the platoon spotted him. Horst had made it clear that anyone in the platoon who tried to cover for them would join in on the festivities and so far, none of them had been willing to cross the Stabsfeldwebel. It was in the middle of the night and because of their current pariah status no one outside their Squad seemed to care. Hans figured that they had best do their get a few hours of sleep because he figured that they had a few hours, possibly minutes before tomorrow’s fresh Hell started.

    “My old man would tell us to suck it up because Horst can’t keep this up forever” Jost muttered.

    “Perhaps not forever” Henrik said “But he can make the present seem like it.”

    “To think I thought riding on that train was bad” Jost said.

    “That was a little slice of paradise” Hans said as he started his first unsuccessful attempt to pull his right foot from the boot “You just didn’t know it yet.”


    It was one of Horst’s favorite tricks. From the vent in the room he used as his office he could hear every word spoken by the Soldats in the next room where he always placed the FNGs in his Platoon. The Lieutenant was happy to give him a free hand in these matters. It made the Lieutenant look good and it enabled him to maintain his own standards in this outfit. He always kicked them around a bit, nothing he did to them could remotely compare to what the Frogs, the Reds or Amis would put them through. From the sounds of it he almost had them in the right frame of mind so that when he started giving them a treat they would sit and beg for more. Perhaps next week he’d introduce them to the Schützenpanzer, nothing like being a rock in a tin can thrown down a hill to make them realize that a walk through the country was not really a hardship after all.
     
  10. demonman24 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    As to the map, I'm having a very hard time with how far east the Greco-Turkish border is. In 1920, shortly after WWI IOTL, Turkey's population was around 13 million, whereas Greece's was only 5.5 million. The Turkish provinces Greece owns contain around 75% of the Turkish population, meaning Greece has roughly 9 million Turks to deal with. Unless they will commit or are committing ethnic cleansing on a similar scale to the expulsion of Germans following WWII, they will be having an extremely hard time with their conquests, in addition to lacking both the resources and relative dearth of opposition the Soviet bloc had following Germany's surrender.
    Also, unless they exacted a complete and total defeat of the Turks, it's difficult for me to comprehend how they would be convinced to give up both Constantinople and Ankara. The following map, while still probably leaving Greece with a Turkish plurality pre-cleansing, is more realistic in my mind.

    Greece Borders.png

    Edit: This is the largest proposed "Greater Greece" I can find, as you can see gains are mostly limited to the coast of Anatolia, with potential expansion into the interior marked with shading. It's relatively similar to my shitty map, although less of the southern coast goes to Greece and a good bit less of the interior. Although more of the Black Sea coast is given to Greece, so you could possibly extend gains to the Pontus.

    IMG_0363.PNG
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  11. demonman24 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    I made a rather better mock-up of a more plausible set of borders. Greece doesn't extend as far into Anatolia, but still snags most of the urbanized and valuable parts. In addition, they now stretch along the Black Sea coast so as to pick up the Pontic Greeks. This leaves the Turks even more crippled than before, as they have no Black Sea port and Cyprus is sitting pretty between their remaining coastline and the Med. Also, if the Greeks in Anatolia were still expelled during the Greco-Turkish War, perhaps the government of Greece could invite them back as settlers for areas where Turks have been expelled.

    Greece Borders V3 Cropped.png
     
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  12. Amit Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Clara, California
    Just caught up. Great work here. Looking forward for more!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  13. Threadmarks: Part 12, Chapter 108

    Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    Chapter One Hundred Eight


    4th May, 1936

    Wunsdorf-Zosen

    Horst was sitting in the car that the he had been assigned by the motor pool, possibly one of the ugliest vehicles he’d ever seen. The sheet metal monstrosity was appropriately named Kubelwagen, it looked exactly like it’s bucket namesake. This afternoon he was sitting in the driver's seat reading the paper while he was supposed to be watching the drivers put the drivers put the schützenpanzers through their paces on the obstacle course. But he already knew that the drivers had practiced this course a thousand times over until they could run is without getting stuck. This was so that their passengers could get accustomed to riding in what was an enclosed steel box with poor ventilation while getting thrown around. One of the APCs slammed to a halt, the hatch flew open and one of the newbs was violently sick. At least he got out before that happened. Horst chuckled as he went back to his paper. Sooner or later someone was going to take pity on them and tell them that they could ride with the roof hatches open. That would ruin some of the fun.

    Horst didn’t know if he should be thrilled or disgusted by the news he was reading. Unified Defense Pact, which included former enemies like the French and British. There was a great deal of contention as to whether or not that would include the Greeks and their Bulgarian friends or the Turks. Those clowns were declaring a new crusade or jihad against the other one every couple of years, hardly surprising for a region where grievances went back centuries. It was also hardly a surprise that the rest of Europe regarded the Soviet Union as the current threat. He could recall reading much the same thing regarding the Russian Empire decades earlier, some things never changed.


    It was Jost who got sick this time. He was having trouble adjusting to the constant motion in the enclosed space, they all were. According to the commander of the APC they got used to it eventually and the obstacle course was based on the worst they could expect in the field. As it was they were getting thrown around on the bench seats. To think they had thought that this was a reward when they had heard what they would be doing today. Hans stepped out to collect Jost and saw Horst off in the distance sitting in a car reading a newspaper.

    “Look at that” Hans said nodding towards Horst.

    Jost looked “Must be nice to be king” He said.

    “You kidding me?”

    “No” Jost said “I’m not, my old man is that same way. He rules his squad with an iron fist.”

    Jost had seldom mentioned his father since they had arrived here. Hans understood that he was another senior Noncom like Horst and that he was in South America for some mysterious reason.

    “Would he put them through all this?” Hans asked.

    “He never needs to” Jost said “He personally selects the men for his outfit.”

    “What sort of outfit lets a Feldwebel do that?”

    “Abwehr” Jost said matter of fact.

    “I thought you said he was a Para.”

    “He is, just he’s at a bit higher level.”

    They had all heard the rumors about the teams of assassins, spies, mad bombers and straight up killers that the Abwehr employed. Jost’s father was one of them?


    Neuquén, Argentina

    Schultz was reading the latest letter from home. Helga was overjoyed that Jost had been posted to Wunsdorf, she still had no idea where Lenz was. Schultz knew the truth that Lenz was in Lower Saxony learning to fly airplanes. He’d need to fire off a letter of his own telling Lenz to write his mother just so she’d know he was still alive. Schultz himself was still far from home in possibly one of the most spectacular places he had ever been but he was finding he couldn’t enjoy it. He was missing Helga and the kids, it would have been nice if they could have been here. There was also the specter of his job that was inherently dangerous.

    They had been here in Patagonia for weeks now trying to get a handle on what was happening on the other side of the border in Chile. They had been waiting for Martzel Ibarra to come back, it was hoped that the Gaucho could get in and out of Melipeuco unnoticed. He had said that he had been there many times over the years, Schultz was waiting to see just how true that was. Juan Pujol had been sent back to Buenos Aires to secure transport back to Europe as soon as they had the concrete answers they were looking for.

    Schultz grew tired of waiting in the hotel room so he stepped outside to have a breath of fresh air in the sleeping city. It was Autumn here in the strange upside-down seasons of South America. There was a sound nearby, shoe leather scuffing on pavement. Schultz might never try to pass as a spy but he knew enough to know when someone was sneaking around. It was a question as to whether or not these were local criminals or something else.

    Schultz ducked back into the hotel courtyard, when he saw that the front desk was abandoned he knew that whatever was going on, the people who were doing it had paid off the hotel staff. There was a loud bang as the door of the suite they were renting was kicked in and it was blown across the hallway by the explosives that Weise had set. Whoever they were they’d now find themselves in a dark enclosed space with Schafer. Schultz almost felt sorry for them. Then he heard the scrape of metal on metal. Two armed men immerged from the darkness, Schultz pulled his pistol and shot at them which caused them to duck. He couldn’t tell if he’d hit either of them. Pistols were a joke, give him a machine gun.

    Schultz ran back towards the room were Schafer and Weise would be holed up and ran into the third man sent after him. Schultz pointed his pistol at the man and knew it was empty when he heard the click. Lacking any other option, he used the pistol to club the man down. It actually worked better that way then in its intended purpose. That was when Schultz heard the snick of a revolver being cocked, of course there was a fourth man.

    Schultz turned to face the man just in time to see that he had a surprised expression on his face. Several inches of steel that had sprouted from his chest explained that. As the man collapsed Martzel stepped out of the shadows.

    “Sorry about this Señor Schultz” Martzel said as he wiped the blood off the sable machete he carried around with him “They followed me across the border”

    “What’s so important that you were followed halfway across Argentina?” Schultz asked.

    “I went into Temuco” Martzel said, Schultz hoped that the Gaucho had a good reason for going much further into Chile than had been the plan “I had heard rumors of strange things going on there and what I found was that there were dozens of Yanquis in Temuco.”

    Yanquis, it took Schultz a moment to process what that meant. “There are Amis in Temuco?” He asked.

    “Yes” Martzel said “Soldiers in green uniforms.”

    The US Army was in Chile. That would certainly complicate matters, Schultz thought to himself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  14. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    North Italy
    Don't Italy get the most from what promised from the Treaty of London after the fall of A-H?
     
  15. Theoretical_TJ Well-Known Member

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    Dec 21, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    1, 2, 3, 4! I smell a proxy war!
     
  16. GSpectre Lurker

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    Mar 29, 2015
    Location:
    North East Sea Board, USA
    Chile is going to be an interesting fight, but i don't really see who the US is going to use as their proxy... or why they would be allowed in country. By 1936 Germany had replaced the United states as Chiles largest trading partner and the Chileans were furious with the US over the dept, along with the US being furious over the under handed maneuvers that Ross implemented which halved the Chilean debt. Not to mention that the US had lost a all of its economic leverage by not accepting any Compensation Trade Agreements and imposing a copper tax. On top of that the Chileans under Alessandri used their foreign reserve of dollars very smartly.

    I can see why the US army would want to be in Chile, but not why the Chileans would accept it or who they would use as proxies... Especially since Chile and the US have had a rather rocky relationship as Chile was the one pacific country to compete with the Americans for control over the American pacific coast.
     
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  17. demonman24 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    @Alex1guy Why does Poland have Upper Silesia? I don't think Germany made any territorial concessions to Poland. Also, I was under the impression that Italy got almost all of their demands as laid out in the OTL Treaty of London, so I'm not sure why Austria protrudes so far into northern Venetia. I think that would probably be able to keep Bozen, but much more than that is pushing it.
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Part 12, Chapter 109

    Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    Chapter One Hundred Nine


    10th May, 1936

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    It was all about copper, trade deals and the American dollar. The Chileans were playing off the American anxiety about the German presence in Argentina to get sweetheart deals and modernize their military on the cheap. Schultz and his team finding out about it had the potential to upset the applecart. That was what they were able to pry out of the Chilean agents who had chased Martzel into Argentina. Chile also happened to be a large trading partner of Germany. Playing both sides off against the middle was a dangerous game and it could easily blow up in everyone’s faces. The territorial disputes over the border between Argentina and Chile went back to when they were still Spanish colonies. It would be just like the Amis to blunder into a complicated situation like that without regard to history, Schultz thought. He just hoped that the diplomates could straighten this out.

    When they had boarded the airplane in Santa Rosa they had discovered that Martzel had never flown before. While the Gaucho would sooner die than admit fear it was obvious by the white knuckled grip he had on the armrests of his seat told the story clear enough. Schafer had kept his opinions to himself for once. What amazed them was that Martzel had agreed to come with them on the next legs of their journey from Buenos Aires to Rio and tell the Grand Muckety Mucks in Wunsdorf what he had seen in Chile. They were now waiting for the Dornier flying boat that would take them to Cape Verde and Lisbon.

    Schultz knew that Martzel saw this as some sort of grand adventure and he would get over his fear of flying soon enough. If he survived the catapult launch of the Wal and the long flight over water, then an ordinary flight would seem pedestrian by comparison.


    Wunsdorf-Zossen

    It had only taken a few hours for them to discover that an afternoon of liberty in Wunsdorf didn’t mean a whole lot. Mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot to do in the town. Luckily there was a matinee at the local theater, it was the usual assortment of animated shorts, newsreels and eventually the feature. The auditorium was full of soldiers so lewd jokes and running commentary were going throughout the first hour until the feature started. Hans was having trouble staying awake as the events of the last few weeks caught up with him.

    On the screen was Berlin’s answer to Hollywood’s animation, unlike Disney the German offerings were darker and more complex. These were not the Americanized versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Ring Cycle, the Greek and Norse mythology had been a major source of material as well. Sure, there were elements of what could only be described as blatant propaganda but everyone recognized it for what it was. Mostly it was played for laughs along with the slapstick. The animated short ended with the villain riding a train full of explosives over a cliff and then having to explain how it’d happened at the pearly gates. Saint Peter listened for a few seconds before pulling a lever and villain dropped through a trap door into what was presumably Hell, this implied by flames and clouds of sulfurous smoke.

    Next a newsreel came on, two old men were on a ship at sea somewhere. One was strapped into a seat reeling in a massive fish. Hans could see that the floral print shirt he was wearing was eye-searing even in this black and white medium. This brought such a standing ovation from the soldiers in auditorium that was so loud that Hans couldn’t hear what the story was about. Jost would later tell him that the two men were the former Emperor and General von Wolvogle, the recently retired Commander of the 2nd Army Corps. The old General had been popular with the men under his command.

    Later after the feature that Hans had slept through they were walking down the street, they still had a few hours before they had to report back. Jost said that he knew the perfect place for them to go. From what Hans was seeing it looked like a middle-class neighborhood of the sort that could be found throughout Germany.

    Jost walked across a lawn and picked up a rock “No one moved it” he said triumphantly and then walked across the street.

    “What was that?” Soren asked.

    “The key to my parent’s house” Jost said.

    “Why’d you put it in front of a different house?” Hans asked.

    “I’m not about to put it in front of my own house” Jost said as they followed him.

    Hans noticed that a young woman with dark curly hair was watching them from the front porch of the house next door. “Who’s she?” he asked Jost.

    “Don’t even think about it” Jost said “Nessa is not only out of your league, she’s not even playing the same game as you are.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    “Talk to her for longer than five seconds and you’ll know exactly what that means” Jost said “Nessa is probably smarter than all of us combined and she is on a totally different bandwidth.”

    Jost unlocked the front door of the house and walked in. When they followed a scene of chaos greeted them, two teenaged girls were yelling at their presumably older sister who looked to be in her early twenties and each other. They all seemed to be yelling with no one listening. One of them turned and yelled “Mom, Jost is here and he brought friends!” and then went back to yelling at her sisters.

    Jost led them into the kitchen “Don’t mind them” He said “They are always arguing about something.” Clearly referring to his sisters.

    “Ma, I’d like you to meet my Squad, Hans, Soren and the Wirth brothers, Rudolf and Henrik” Jost said.

    “If they think they are getting a meal in this house I hope they understand it’s not free” Helga said.

    “What she means is that she expects us to do all the clean up afterwards and no complaints” Jost said. For an actual home-cooked meal and not the horror show that was served up in the mess hall every night that was hardly a problem.

    Hans looked over and saw a boy peering in from around a corner in the back of the house. He seemed to be going out of his way to keep in the shadows. Creepy.

    “What’s his deal?” Rudy asked Jost.

    “That’s just Tilo” Jost said “He’s been into some strange things of late, depressing books written in Paris and Prague. Something else you shouldn’t pay much mind to, he’s always been weird.”

    “Jost, don’t talk about your brother that way” Helga said when she heard him say that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  19. Threadmarks: Part 12, Chapter 110

    Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon, Republic of Cascadia
    Chapter One Hundred Ten


    20th May, 1936

    Berlin, Germany

    Lang had met Grossman in the usual spot that they had been meeting for the last several months. Lang didn’t trust the journalist as far as he could throw him but he still found these interviews interesting. At the moment, he was explaining his opinion about the situation in the ACB countries and the proxy war that was not going to happen if he had anything to say about it.

    “There are three things you have to understand about international politics” Lang said “The first is that nations do not have friends, they have interests. The second is that everyone is constantly working to further their own interests. And third, people do stupid things all the time.”

    “That’s a bit cynical” Grossman said.

    “It’s realistic” Lang said “We fought a war in Poland because of those three things. The Poles might not like me characterizing it that way but they were trying to push the border east because they saw a chance to grab a portion of Belarus and they took it.”

    “You think the same thing is at play in South America?” Grossman asked.

    “That is exactly what I think is happening in South America” Lang said “We’ve been building up Argentina because it’s in our own interests and the Chileans are playing the United States Government off against us because it’s in their interest.”

    “Where does the people doing stupid things, part come in?”

    “Things get tense, someone sneezes and someone else panics” Lang said “Then you have all sorts of stupidity happening and a whole lot of people get killed as a result.”

    “I see” Grossman said “And do you think this time is different?”

    “Yes, because our glorious Argentine allies are not stupid.”

    “How it that the case?”

    “Because I personally told the Argentinian Ambassador that if his nation gets into a war with Chile then help would be logistically difficult if not impossible” Lang said “And I also might have implied that the direct investment that they’ve been enjoying might stop.”

    “That doesn’t exactly change the situation in Chile.” Grossman observed.

    “No, it does not” Lang said “But the idea of losing one of their key trading partners will in a hurry.”

    “Any thought as to how the Americans might react?”

    “Their advisors come home a bit early from a country where they are not particularly liked and things go back to normal.”

    “They sit on their side of the Atlantic and we sit on ours?” Grossman asked.

    “Exactly” Lang answered.


    Lichtenburg, Berlin

    Kat frequently came here whenever she wanted to hide from her family. Her Aunt would never think to come here and her father wouldn’t choose to come here unless it was the most dire need. The pressures of her life got to her and the only person who might have understood was underneath the ground upon which she now stood and the simple stone gravestone.

    Suse Rosa Strobel-Mischner, 15th March 1900-3rd August, 1922

    It had been a horrifying day a couple of years earlier when she had realized the reason why her birthday and date of her Mother’s death dovetailed so neatly. That great unspoken thing that her family just avoided talking about, even to her. She sometimes wondered what her Mother would have made of being buried amongst so many notables, a veritable who’s who of German Socialists and leftist thinkers. Provided of course that they were dead.

    Kat was currently telling her Mother about the difficulties of her days. How she couldn’t travel, her middling grades in school and her fear that she would be like the older sisters of her friends. They went from being young and hopeful to despondent middle age seemingly overnight. Weighed down by society that seemed to suck the life out of them with expectations and demands. Was that what would have happened to her Mother if she hadn’t died? There had to be another way. Eventually Kat grew tired and was figured that she was actually just talking to herself.


    Rural Germany

    After weeks of being on the receiving end of Staber Horst’s special attention Horst had finally said that they had met the minimal standards that he set for his Platoon. He had finally relented a bit, just in time for the Spring Maneuvers to get underway. Now they found themselves walking down a dirt road that ran parallel to a rain swollen creek. The actual creek was still twenty or thirty meters off to their right but the ground was completely saturated. The weight of them and their full packs was causing them to sink ankle deep into the mud that was sucking at their boots.

    “When I joined the Heer, it was because my Old Man told me that my future was either between the Wehrmacht or a prison cell” Jost said as he nearly lost his left boot in the morass “At least a prison cell would be relatively dry.”

    “Your Father was at least straight with you about that” Hans said “I was told that I could Join the Heer or I could start an apprenticeship in the Railroad only to get conscripted. So, I could spend a couple of years freezing my butt off on the trains and still end up right here. I figured it wasn’t worth the wait.”

    “One thing you didn’t consider” Jost said.

    “What was that?”

    “You still ended up freezing on a train” Jost said with a sarcastic smile.

    Hans didn’t bother to answer that as they pushed forward. The truth was that the thought of spending the next thirty or forty years working on the railroads seemed like boredom squared in a job that would slowly drive him insane. He would never tell his father that. The problem he had was that the professional options in his neighborhood went from bad to worse. The Railroad might suck but a factory job would be tantamount to suicide as far as Hans was concerned, with physical death happening long after the spirit was beaten into oblivion.

    They came around a bend in the dirt road and saw that the creek had gone over its bank and the road was covered in silt filled water. Centimeters or meters deep, they couldn’t tell. With the whole Company behind them and they couldn’t just go back. They couldn’t go up the heavily wooded hillside to their left, they would have to hack their way through underbrush if they did that. Before they could reach a decision of what to do Horst appeared on the bridge that they were trying to get to.

    “We don’t have all day!” Horst yelled “Hurry up and get over here!”

    “He does these things on purpose” Jost said “You know that, right.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  20. Gudestein Nobody wants a Notler

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    Overall a fantastic read and I really went Cold Turkey when there was no Monday update....

    I am trying to get my bearings here. Remember that unlike in Ken Follet's writing, the reference knowledge is not available.

    South America, Germany has been paying for Allies and for industrial Development to be accelerated. Officially as an off-continent industrial base.
    It provides a distraction, but also antagonism from the US. Carefull balance here. The official version suggest believe in "the bomber will always get through"? Is that the case despite early radar Development in Germany? That would impact both defensively and offensively.


    In Germany, Building polish infrastructure against SU makes sense. A buffer state and a more efficient jump-off point.
    Alliance with a totalitarian France? Tricky as this regime is probably quite nationalistic and the Germans are sitting on French heart-land.
    Britain? Must be very uncertain about Developments. Heavily endepted, not really keeping in the navy although still nominally/quantitatively superior?
    Germany expanding their international trade relations, probably outcompeting the Cash strapped British who were already loosing competitiveness.

    SU/Stalin, now looks to be failing in the mission to spread communism? Is he giving up, targeting the Balkans, Finland, Japan? Guess after Japan leaves the League of nations (do they?), the German democracy and cultural capital of Europe is an unlikely war initiator....
    Going for the German arch-enemy would seem "stupid" unless he could drive a wedge in between France and Germany

    What happened to Italy and what is going to happen in Spain? Dont get me started on the Greek superstate. What is their Outlook?
     
    Human1991, BELFAST and Vornado like this.
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