Chapter Five Hundred Seventy-Three

Muroc Army Airfield, Southern California

This was a whole lot of fun, Glen Edwards thought to himself as he pushed the throttle forward and was rewarded with a burst of speed from the XP-78.


As Glen climbed out of the cockpit and handed the aircraft off to the Crew Chief he saw the red-tailed hawk painted on the side of the nose which made it clear what sort of name the manufacture had in mind for the jet. It looked like Curtis was going to have another generation of “Hawk” fighters. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the old saying went.

So is this an earlier version of the XF-87 Black Hawk? Losing the contract to Northrop is what forced Curtiss-Wright out of the plane building business, it will be interesting to see if there have been enough butterflies to save them.
So is this an earlier version of the XF-87 Black Hawk? Losing the contract to Northrop is what forced Curtiss-Wright out of the plane building business, it will be interesting to see if there have been enough butterflies to save them.

It's a single engine fighter prototype along the lines of the P-80 that is its direct competitor. ITTL Curtis wasn't as heavily invested in P-40 construction and once their aircraft started to be used as a test bed for jet engines it pointed a clearer way forward than anything IOTL.
Interesting sequence here... like it very much.

A question, are the Germans still playing with their "Nurflügler" concept? Because as far as I know the HoIX was flyable and even said to be "better" then the Me262. Don't know how much stock that has, but the legends are there and an interesting offshot could be RCS reductions becoming more widespread earlier.
It would also be another slap in the US face. "Not only did you need to steal the design from us, but then you were not even able to make the design fly."
That line made me think of dolls and other toys. I was thinking that it would be funny, soon after Barbie gets loose in the USA, she gets to be, "Secret Agent Barbie, complete with Karambit, Grenades, and Scarecat." Sadly, the stick in the mud '50's USA of OYL, and even more stick in the mud of this timeline, would never go for it--can;t have kids thinking that women should be outside the home, after all.
I looked up to see when Barbie came out, and found that Germany got there first (in 1955) in OTL, with the Bild Lilli doll.
It's probably the redhead one that has the Karambit, Scarecat, and "Assorted tools to defend Germany against her foes."
Said tools including a working parachute, rifle, and when Barbie in the USA gets her dream car, Bild Lilli gets a Volkswagen and a tank. It's not too hard to add a few accessories, either. Lilli could easily get out earlier, since Germany wasn't reduced to a desert.

GI Joe came out in the '60's, but perhaps, if Abwher Lilli is successful, a similar toy for boys will come out sooner. Some boys would get jealous, seeing their sister blowing things up, and want toy (Not "doll," NEVER "doll") soldiers that are big enough to use things like guns, instead of just the little tin, lead, or later plastic soldiers that come in companies and battalions. (Especially if Lilli has her own tank, brothers will want to get their hands on it.)

If Barbie comes out, too, I can see SOME parents getting non-gender type toys, even if they have to mail order them from Germany. There were some that defied stereotypes; I know some women that boxed in the 1950's, well before my time, and knew some that boxed in the 70's and 80's. OUCH!

Of course, getting the word out in the USA that they are available to mail order might be hard, since the market is very dispersed. Perhaps Sears agrees to distribute them through their catalog--that's one medium that got to every house in the era. Get even 1 "Secret Agent Lilli" doll and a couple of accessories in the Wish Book, and include a nice color flyer in each doll sold, showing what else is available, and a cultural icon on two continents might take off.

For sale in the USA, the doll should include an American style uniform, and not be marked as Abwher. Her rifle should be an American Springfield, or a Tommygun--with the drum magazine. Perhaps the Scarecat is an optional accessory.

As for Suzie Homemaker, don't forget the Suzie Homemaker Satchel Charge...

Don't you mean the Aunt Jemima chocolate chip cookies?
It would also be another slap in the US face. "Not only did you need to steal the design from us, but then you were not even able to make the design fly."

Want to rub it in? "You seem to be having lots of fatal crashes with experimental airplanes. We'll license the design for our ejection seats or sell you the seats themselves quite inexpensively."
.......Why i think that Kat's going to owe another to Ian, if only because he's likely to say some well planned BS to further extend the coverup over Gianna? Although i suspect that he put something inside that will make Kat start to think HOW to slip to London again, and remind him its a bad idea to make her pull the Karambit out?

Eric Blair had received a note from his publisher:

"Since your biography of Henry Bligh has gone so well why don't you write an unauthorized biography of Katharine von Mischner?"​

He rembered getting drunk with Ian Fleming and how Fleming recounted her interrogation of Guy Burgess.

"No thanks. I have no interest in twisting that tiger's tail."​
The "Hoax" was that the Germans planted the idea that the Ho IX was the first supersonic jetfigther in active service to the US. So the US tried to copy it and use the windfall to close the gap.
But that was only a "success" for the Abwehr. As the Germans build a more conventional jet.

On the other hand, afaik, the Ho IX had some interesting features. Like some RCS reduction, at least the TV show hinted at it. How effective it would been is open, but it could have brought the thinking into this direction.
Which made it that more believable that the Germans had the first ever first supersonic jet fighter and that it was a flying wing design.
I came across this story on my Facebook feed and realized the worst thing about this timeline is we probably don't get Bing Crosby's iconic "White Christmas."

Seriously though it really hits home how much of modern American culture was shaped by WWII.

WW II US military :

12,209,238 men in the services in 1945;
women in all services;
nonwhites (901,896 African-Americans);
17,000,000 new civilian jobs created.

The exact number of women employed eludes me but Rosie the Riveter became a cultural icon.

Yeah, WWII had the effect of turning US society upside down and stirring it with a stick.
Part 44, Chapter 574
Chapter Five Hundred Seventy-Four

31st October 1946


The only secrets here are the personal ones. Those were the words that came back to haunt Nancy as she went through the personal correspondence, mostly in the form of letters to and from the front lines. The purpose of this project was an ambitious attempt to piece together a first-person narrative of the First World War from the perspective of the people who were present on the ground while it was happening around them. The letters were all donated to the Museum but many of them came directly from the personal effects of those who had gone and never returned. It was something that Nancy had been warned about, not to get too emotionally wrapped up in the letters she was reading because happy endings were seldom seen here. There was also a section that dealt with journals, but Nancy had not met anyone from there yet.

Nancy was starting to understand how her father could still be consumed by anger and pain decades later. She was also getting an education in the realities of war. The letters talked about how men tended to start smoking because of the smell. It had taken time to learn what the smell in question was. Finally, she had one of the other student archivists tell her. He had been with the Marine Infantry in the Pacific, he had said the smell was a mixture of petrol, burnt gunpowder, excrement and decay. When Nancy had asked about the decay he said it was from all the bodies around, particularly if it was hot. That sounded perfectly awful.

Nancy opened up the next letter, it was to be handled with rubber gloves, spread out and photographed so that it could be stored and readily accessed on microfiche. Nancy was to then determine as to whether or not it was posted, unposted letters were frequently of great interest to the family of the person who had written it. After that it was a matter of determining if the letter was sent to or received from the front, then it was filed under Regiment, Company and Platoon.


“This is crap” Helene said.

“I’m sorry but this is life and you have to deal with it however you can” Doctor Tangeman replied, “I thought you wanted this?”

“What I wanted…” Helene paused for a moment, saying what she wanted just sounded trite. “I had made plans and then I was making other plans.”

“Again, that’s life” Tangeman said.

Helene had discovered that she was only a term away from getting her Diploma in Arts if she applied herself. Something that would open a lot of doors for her and Hans had been encouraging her to find a career if for no other reason than her own happiness. Then the day before she’d gone in to register for the next term with Kat and the girls. Waiting in line she had felt nauseous and faint. She’d made the mistake of telling Kat who didn’t mess around when it came to health matters. The next day she’d found herself in Doctor Tangeman’s office receiving news that proved, as anyone had any doubts, that life can take some perverse twists and turns. After spending all the previous summer trying to get pregnant without success and that one embarrassing incident in September. She found out that she was pregnant now that she had been planning on doing something else.

“This is not how I was expecting this to happen” Helene said, “That day on the beach when we had been swimming in the ocean and Hans put the sort of performance that Homer would have included in his poetry. I would have been fine with that. I saw the artwork in Naples, the Romans would have been perfectly fine with that. Instead it’s probably because it was something to do while we waited for dinner to heat up.”

That was when Helene noticed that Doctor Tangeman was just staring at her waiting her to finish talking. No fair, Helene thought to herself. Tangeman had probably seen and heard it all in her time as a Doctor.

“I’m sorry if it couldn’t be arranged for the conception of your first child to be epic enough to suit you” Tangeman said, perfectly deadpan. Real funny, Helene thought to herself before the words “first child” sank in and the realization of the implications of that hit her like a sledge hammer.

“It’s a good thing that you’ve nearly completed your education, seem to have a relatively stable financial situation and a loving husband” Tangeman continued, “But there are some things that we’ll need to go over today. Do you understand?”


Nancy realized that it was Halloween on the way home, they didn’t celebrate it here she realized. She’d been so bound up in the job all week she’d not had time to think about it. It seemed like an extremely long time ago but the previous Sunday she had tried to explain the concept of trick-or-treating to Gerta without a whole lot of success. Gerta did however think the idea of encouraging the children to dress up in costumes and commit sugar fueled mayhem was a wonderful idea.

For years, Kat had written about the convoluted thought process that Gerta engaged in. It had been amusing to read about but to actually to see it in action revealed that Gerta straddled the fine line between brilliance and absolute insanity. Apparently, Gerta’s father had been the same way and he’d left entire armies destroyed in his wake. Kat said that the Russians planners would try to get into his head and find themselves choking on all the dust and cobwebs. Quite a thing to say about a General.

Nancy opened the door, saw Kat and Gerta sitting in the parlor with Helene who looked rattled, talking in low voices so they wouldn’t be overheard. Ilse and Gia were in the kitchen and they gestured that Nancy should join them.

“What’s going on?” Nancy asked.

“Erma Tangeman put the fear of God into Helene” Ilse replied.

“Isn’t she a bit past that?”

“You’ve only gotten the first lecture” Gia said, “Helene got one of possible second lectures today.”

Nancy’s mind raced as she grasped several possibilities. She’d met Helene’s Husband, Kat’s brother Hans, he seemed like a good guy so that meant… “Oh” She said. No wonder Helene had looked like that.
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Part 44, Chapter 575
Chapter Five Hundred Seventy-Five

5th November 1946

Washington D.C.

The carnage was profound as the results came in, at no point in modern history had the voters made a President as thoroughly irrelevant as Thomas Dewey. Standing against intervention as markets were crashing around the world had reminded voters uncomfortably of what had happened while Charles Curtis had been President and that had been an albatross around the neck of the entire Republican Party. The Democratic Party now had enough numbers in the US Senate to override a Presidential veto. The Senate Leadership had already laid out an ambitious agenda and were practically daring Dewey to even think of starting a showdown.

Across town on Navy Hill, the location of the Headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services the scrum of politics hardly mattered, no matter the current Administration they would need to soldier on and remain detached from all that as much as possible. In recent years the focus had been on South America and the South Pacific in equal measure. The German Empire was still maintaining a quarantine zone around the place where they claimed to have detonated an atomic bomb months earlier. In South America they were trying to belatedly catch up after years of neglecting the region. European interests had established factories that had turned out to be very real footholds on the continent. American business interests were demanding action, but it was unclear what exactly the OSS could do.

Then out of the blue came news of a high-level defector who had walked into the US Embassy in Switzerland. He had refused to say much while in Europe and presumably still within reach of the BND but the small scraps of information he had given as teasers were astonishing.

9th November 1946

Near Kleinburg

Kat had been called away suddenly hours before which had put a bit of a pall over this. Of course, she already knew what was coming so her being called away had changed nothing. Helene said that she needed to talk to her mother and Hans had been sent with Manfred to shoot something or the other. The reality was that Helene needed to tell her mother what was going on, so they could plan how to break the news to her father without killing him.

The previous Thursday Hans had come home to find that Helene wasn’t there, it had taken only a couple phone calls to find out that she was at the house that Kat rented with Gerta and Gianna in Berlin. Kat had talked to Hans for a couple of minutes before handing the phone to Helene. The rest that evening passed in a blur as he had jumped into his car and drove into Berlin. The drive normally took an hour, he made it in considerably less time than that. It was a celebratory evening. The next day the reality of the situation had landed on them like a ton of bricks. How were they going to go about telling Helene’s parents? Marcella had been easy, this would effectively be her first grandchild and she was overjoyed, Klaus in his usual taciturn manner had offered Hans a shot of the good whiskey and a cigar. Word would eventually get around to Otto in the way it always did, but Hans figured that they would burn that bridge when they came to it.

There was also the lengthy list of things that Erma Tangeman had said that Helene should and should not be doing. Suggestion that she refrain from coffee would probably be the one that would give her the most trouble. Helene had been surprised when Hans had told her that she should still plan on attending the winter term, “It says that you need to avoid strenuous work” He’d said, “Not to avoid work altogether.”

While Helene was explaining to her mother that in eight or so months her first grandchild would be entering the world, Hans was walking through the forest with her father while he was carrying a rifle. Jost Schultz, being the cynical bastard that he was, would ask Hans to get to the punchline of the joke already and then point out that because they were both armed it was a fair fight. The truth was that Graf von Richthofen knew every inch of this forest having lived and hunted here since he was a child. If it came to a fight, then Hans would end up buried out here.

Manfred could hear his son-in-law’s footsteps a few paces behind him, it was a cold day and there was the smell of snow on the wind. The lummox wasn’t totally without skills, the fact that he’d survived the Soviet War as in the Dragoon Infantry was proof of that. If only he would learn how to move through the forest without making enough noise to wake the dead. When Manfred had told him to grab a rifle from the collection Hans had grabbed a hunting rifle based on the Mauser G98, picking what he knew. That may have proved that he wasn’t entirely without judgement, but Manfred was still waiting for more definitive proof of that.

Manfred signaled that Hans needed to hold in place and he saw the boy go to ground out the corner of his eye. That was military training that had been pounded into Hans' brain for a decade showing. In the field keeping low to the ground was the difference between life and death. He’d been following the tracks for the last few kilometers. In the clearing ahead was the red deer stag that he’d been tracking for the last few kilometers. A big animal with a magnificent spread of antlers.

“Ha!” Manfred yelled, and the stag bolted for the far trees.

“What did you do that for?” Hans asked as he was fixed with a withering look. Manfred realized that the boy probably didn’t know, to a soldier any animal was seen only for their potential to end up in the stewpot.

“If you are hunting for the table you want a yearling” Manfred said, “An old boy like that would be no more than a trophy, you want him out here fucking to improve the stock.”

When Manfred said that he noticed that Hans gulped, and he had a sinking suspicion as to why he and Helene had come up here for the weekend. The damned boy was clearly crap at being a card player and Manfred knew he should have seen this coming. Hopefully whatever child his daughter had would get her intelligence. Now he had to put on a show for Käte and Helene. The sister, Katherine, had bolted from here hours earlier saying that there was an emergency that she was needed to deal with. The Mischners were, as always, living down to his expectations.
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