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?
I didn't mean it. You dont have to answer all these questions. Just start posting again....!!!!
 
I didn't mean it. You dont have to answer all these questions. Just start posting again....!!!!

It's not the questions, it's that stupid little thing called real life that interferes with our best laid plans. I'll have some up later, just it's no longer the holiday season so I no longer have as much time as I did before.
 
Yes, guess its ok there is a real life as well.
Its one of the best reads in a long time. Hope you find the time.
I do recall this Can get more and more time consuming as you move from OTL. We as readers who dont know where we are heading will have Lots of questions that are not really essential.
 
Part 12, Chapter 111
Chapter One Hundred Eleven


3rd June, 1936

Wunsdorf-Zossen

Horst was reading about the recent events on either side of Europe and it was making the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Spain had elected a leftist majority in the last round of elections and it was clear that right-wing nationalists were not happy with the result. In the north, the Russians were saber rattling at Finland because they felt the Finish border was too close to Leningrad. While the Heer was not mobilizing, he could tell that their numbers were expanding. It felt like he was in a dense fog on the railroad tracks and a freight train was hurtling right at him. You couldn’t see it but you could hear it coming. It was clear that someone high up in the OKW could see things the same way he did.

Horst was reading the newspaper in his improvised office as he killed the last hour of the day. He had been working with the Hauptmann to plan what they were going to do over the Summer, they were supposed to be training around the new machine gun. The old Lewis derived MG16/21 was finally being phased out in favor of the new MG34. There was also a Panzer that had been developed by Krupp for the Chinese Government that used the same short barreled 75mm as the StuG that needed to be evaluated in case the Heer wanted first dibs.

“The Oberst asked for you” A Soldat, Hans Mischner said.

“Did he say what he wanted?” Horst asked.

“No” Hans said “He just wants you in his office immediately.”

Horst got to his feet grumbling about what the Oberst must want. It was never a pat on the back.

When he got to the Oberst’s office he was ambushed with of all things his own personal record that now had quite a few things that had been included that had been unknown prior. Horst knew that it could only have been General Wolvogle who had done it before he retired.

“For once you need to put your own stubbornness aside” The Oberst said “The General knew that and put in the paperwork saying that you’ve been decorated several times. According to the records you received a Knight’s Cross for capturing a French 75 and a Merit Cross for your role in developing the Schützenpanzer.”

“Those records are crap” Horst said “I turned that first medal down and no one said anything to me about the last one.”

The Oberst looked at Horst incredulously “Are you saying that a full General is a liar?”

That was it, Horst thought, General Wolvogle knew that he would turn down those awards so he had left Horst with the choice of taking the medals or impugning the General’s character. Horst could easily imagine the General cackling as he had this added to Horst's file. Horst sat silently hoping that would end this matter.

“There is also the other thing” The Oberst said.

“What other thing?” Horst asked.

“You’ve a choice to make” The Oberst said “Your career can go a couple different ways. You can stay where you are and eventually wrench your back, blow out a knee or have just have age catch up with you then you’ll be gone.”

“It cannot possibly be that bleak, Sir” Horst said “You make it sound like I’ve one foot in the grave.”

“No, you don’t” The Oberst said “But you’ve not been putting your talents in their best use in years.”

Horst soured on this discussion more than he already had, he knew what was coming. This was the pitch that he’d turned down a couple of times already.

“The answer is no, Sir” Horst said.

“I’ve not even asked the question yet” The Oberst said.

“It doesn’t matter” Horst said “I already know what you are going to say and there is no way in Hell that I would take the offer to become an Aspirant.”

“You imply that you’re to be given a choice this time” The Oberst said.

That sounded ominous, Horst thought. There was something about the way that the Oberst said that and Horst had a bad feeling that he knew exactly who was responsible.

“What did the General do?” Horst asked with growing apprehension.

“General von Wolvogle put in the paperwork approving your transfer six months ago” The Oberst said “He always felt that you were wasting your time as a squad leader but knew you’d just decline again, you’ve been an Acting Lieutenant for the last three months. The administrative end just caught up with you.”

“What!” Horst yelled “Is this some sort of joke?”

“No, it’s not” The Oberst said “And again you can either defame General von Wolvogle or you can take what you were given.”

At that moment, Horst was considering the merits of whether or not it would be worth his time to track down Wolvogle and give him the beating that Horst felt was long overdue. This put Horst back at square one as far as his career was concerned, at the age of forty-two no less.


Baltic Sea off Rügen Island

It really was a perfect day for the SMS von Hipper to be cruising on the Baltic. Give it five minutes and that could change, Jacob thought to himself. They had been conducting drills as if they were in low visibility situations for the last several months to get a handle on the Seetact system and how it could be integrated with the existing fire control system. Already they had discovered that firing the 20cm guns of the main battery was enough to knock the system off line. They had also gotten practice of getting the system back on line quickly.

Jacob was sitting in the bridge watching through binoculars as the barge that they were targeting getting was hammered by full broadsides, 20cm and 10.5cm guns.

“New contact, Sir” one of the technicians running the Seetact said as he rattled off the bearings. Jacob turned to face in that direction and saw a white ship off in the distance that every officer in the fleet recognized by sight.

“Send a message to the Hohenzollern cautioning them that we are conducting a live fire exercise” Jacob said.

A few minutes later the response came buck. The Emperor sends his complements, it read. Which one? Jacob thought.
 
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What is happening at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. With all the new fangled things like radar and such, how involved are they in R and D? Also what is happening with the sea based things that the Abwehr werewolves might be doing? The Italians were working manned things like the manned torpedoes as far back as 1918. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_torpedo
 
I understand how that damned real life can be and interfere with updates. Things have moved up for Horst, though he is kicking and screaming at every step.

Poor sap. :evilsmile:
 
I understand how that damned real life can be and interfere with updates. Things have moved up for Horst, though he is kicking and screaming at every step.

Poor sap. :evilsmile:

Yes, I get a visual of a heavyset middle-aged man being dragged into officer training by the ankles, desperately seeking a handhold on the ground, shouting and weeping as he gets dragged off into what he imagines is hell.
 
Yes, I get a visual of a heavyset middle-aged man being dragged into officer training by the ankles, desperately seeking a handhold on the ground, shouting and weeping as he gets dragged off into what he imagines is hell.

Currently he is senior non-commissioned, soldiers jump when he yells and junior officers walk carefully around him. He knows how to work the system and has achieved a very comfortable slot and nearly reached the top of his career ladder.

Now he will be a very junior officer with little clout having to come to grips with a new way of operating whilst amongst a group of peers who will look down on him as not quite one of them because he came up from the ranks plus starting at the bottom of the career ladder again in middle age. Until he figures out how to game the system again he will imagine it as hell.
 
Currently he is senior non-commissioned, soldiers jump when he yells and junior officers walk carefully around him. He knows how to work the system and has achieved a very comfortable slot and nearly reached the top of his career ladder.

Now he will be a very junior officer with little clout having to come to grips with a new way of operating whilst amongst a group of peers who will look down on him as not quite one of them because he came up from the ranks plus starting at the bottom of the career ladder again in middle age. Until he figures out how to game the system again he will imagine it as hell.

And he can't use the line, "Don't call me Sir; I work for a living."
 
Currently he is senior non-commissioned, soldiers jump when he yells and junior officers walk carefully around him. He knows how to work the system and has achieved a very comfortable slot and nearly reached the top of his career ladder.

Now he will be a very junior officer with little clout having to come to grips with a new way of operating whilst amongst a group of peers who will look down on him as not quite one of them because he came up from the ranks plus starting at the bottom of the career ladder again in middle age. Until he figures out how to game the system again he will imagine it as hell.

Unfortunately for the men under his command Walter Horst is in a position to make sure that he's not in Hell alone.
 
Part 12, Chapter 112
Chapter One Hundred Twelve


10th June, 1936

Wunsdorf-Zossen

Jost’s mind was full of fog as he stumbled along. He had not had more than a few hours of sleep over the last week. Horst had returned from the Oberst’s office in full fury interrupting an illicit card game that the Wirth brothers had arranged. He had ended the card game and told them that what they were doing was jerking around as opposed to being real soldiers. After that they had gotten Horst at his absolute worst. They were going to be proper Panzer Grenadiers even if it killed them and Horst was going to make it happen. The whole Platoon was taking it in the teeth and as far as Jost knew the Brass approved of what Horst was doing. No General in all of history ever had a problem with men in a garrison getting worked hard.

Today it had been a twenty Kilometer walk through the countryside followed by time spent disassembling then reassembling their weapons. Then to the shooting range where not even God could help whoever’s weapon failed to function properly. All this while they were so tired they couldn’t see straight. Horst also had them on half rations so hunger was gnawing at them the whole time. Tonight, Horst had made a point of marching them past the mess hall like he did every night. Hans knew they had a problem when even that had started to smell good. Yesterday, it had been practicing the evacuation of a burning APC. They had been doing it over and over until they could do it to Horst’s satisfaction. Then Horst threw a tear gas grenade into the APC and made them keep doing the drill.

Soren was in the middle of the giddy high that came right before the crash, he was currently talking at Jost. Jost was in midst of one of his long silences that could easily resolve itself into sudden violence if Soren didn’t shut his mouth soon. The Wirth brothers were bereft of questionable schemes for once. Hans had withdrawn mentally in that place where he went and no one could reach him. They barely noticed it when a large middle aged man wearing a Luftwaffe uniform that had no rank or unit patches on it, walking up to them.

“By God Jost” Schultz said “You look like shit.”

“Our Platoon Commander decided that we needed to become proper soldiers” Jost said “He’s been going out of his way to make things as close to real combat as possible.”

“You’ll thank him one day” Schultz said.

“Sort of hard to do that when you’re getting run ragged” Jost replied.

“Your Oberst is fond of saying that sweat saves blood” Schultz said.

Jost looked at Schultz quizzically.

“What?” Schultz said “You honestly think that I wouldn’t check out the outfits that my boys are in?”

“Oh” Jost said, one more example of how he still lived in the shadow of Johan Schultz “Who’s that?” Jost asked, when he saw who his father was with, mostly just to change the subject. Why was his father with a man who looked like he’d just stepped out of a Western?

“No one you need to concern yourself with” Schultz said, he could see that the other men, little more than boys really in Jost’s Squad were just as tired and dirty as Jost was. “Get out of here” Schultz said “And I’ll see you on Sunday, right?”

“Yeah, Pops” Jost said with only a small amount of sarcasm.


Martzel watched Jost stumble off in the direction of the barracks. “That was one of your sons?” He asked Schultz.

“Yes” Schultz said.

“Is that was being a soldier means here in Germany, being run till you drop?”

“No” Schultz said “All the Officers of that outfit want it to become an elite unit like the Paras or the Alpine Divisions. Armored Infantry, the heaviest and toughest troops in the whole of the Army, got that.”

“Glad I’ve other places to be” Martzel said.

“Just where would those be exactly?” Schultz asked.

“Someplace where I can get a drink would be a nice start.”

That was only half the truth, before he had left Argentina Martzel had gone to his father’s house. As the youngest son with several older brothers who had children of their own Martzel stood no chance of inheriting anything upon the death of his father. He could spend his life working for his older brother or he could make his own way in the world. Everyone knew that the Germans were investing heavily in South America. Martzel’s father had pointed out to him that if he went back to Germany with the Abwehr team then he might be able to get into a position to steer some of that largess towards the family and himself. It was interesting work and way more exciting than working as a drover. However, it fell on Martzel to figure out what to do on this side of the ocean now that he was here. So far, no such opportunity had presented itself.

“I think I can help with that” Schultz said.


Berlin, Germany

Nessa Schmidt was sitting still, trying to avoid nervous fidgeting as she was wont to do as she waited in the lobby that smelled of dust to way public spaces tended to. She had been referred to this interview by her doctorial advisor, who had told her that she had nothing to be nervous about. She had never had her older sister’s easy way with people and tended to be extremely shy around anyone she didn’t know. She was told that she would be perfect for this position because of the recent interest in theoretical physics. If only people were like numbers, Nessa could make numbers dance and they followed their defined rules. People were unpredictable and she never seemed to be able to understand them.

“They are ready for you now” The secretary said.

Nessa walked with trepidation into the office of Max Planck, President of the KWS, where she was supposed to meet with him and Doctor Einstein. Her only hope was that she wouldn’t blow it. If this didn’t work out, then perhaps the Navy might take her like they had with her father.
 
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Part 12, Chapter 113
Chapter One Hundred Thirteen


2nd August, 1936

Berlin

Schultz looked over at the French delegation with a great deal of suspicion, if none of them had a cigarette lighter or matches like they claimed then he was an Eskimo. This whole fiasco was a profound embarrassment. Schultz had quit smoking cigars a couple years earlier when Helga grew tired of the smell and made good on her threats with the promise of far harsher retaliation in the future far beyond feeding his dinner to the dog. As a result, the lighter he’d carried around with him since the Great War was in his desk drawer at home in Zossen.

“How can no one have nothing to light this with?” Schultz asked no one in particular as he looked at the burner that was supposed to hold the eternal flame that was supposed to burn for the entirety of the Olympic Games. The trouble was that someone had bollixed the plans for the opening ceremonies. Somehow, they had ended up with nothing to light the gas burner. Schultz was certain that someone here must have something but many of these were people from nations that would gleefully stand by and watch the German Empire get humiliated.

“Most of these people are athletes” Thorwald said “Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your wind.”

Schultz held his tongue, he knew the lethal reason that Thorwald didn’t smoke. Anything that gave off a smell was a key tool for hunters, especially those that hunted men and were hunted in turn. “I find this whole thing humiliating” Schultz said as he looked up at the reviewing stand. The Wilhelm the III was looking at his watch. Someone was going to be in deep shit if they couldn’t wrap this up quick. Because Schultz was the one who had volunteered to do this it probably meant that it would fall on him. This had seemed like a good idea at the time he’d agreed to do it. A means to backstop his cover as a semi-retired Luftwaffe Noncom and former athlete.

Then the miracle happened. A car raced through the gate skidding to a stop next to the track. Martzel Ibarra jumped out and ran up to the burner where Schultz was waving a box of kitchen matches in the air, his boots sounding strange as they hit the surface of the track.

“I swear that nothing is open in this town on a Sunday” Martzel said “Do you have any idea of how far I had to go to find those?”

“I’ve a fairly good idea” Schultz said as he struck a match and opened the gas valve “I see your countrymen were quick on the uptake about your presence.”

The Argentine delegation were applauding Martzel’s run up the track.

“Congratulations” Thorwald said as Schultz lit the flame “You’re now the face of your nation in this event.”

If Martzel was remotely cowed by that he didn’t show it. He tipped his hat to the crowd as he walked back to the car he’d acquired from somewhere.

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

Manfred von Richthofen was watching the crowd as he stood on the observing stand behind the Emperor. The usual collection of Heads of State and Ambassadors that flocked to events like this one. He watched a man wearing a white shirt under a black vest and grey pants tucked into the top of his boots ran up the track with a box of matches. It took a moment for him to realize that this man was dress like a cowboy from the movies. There was a smattering of applause as the eternal flame was finally lit and those stupid doves were released. There was actual cheering when the cowboy tipped his hat to the crowd as he walked back to his car.

“If it's not the red Devil himself” a voice said behind him in English "Satan let you out of Hell for the afternoon?"

“Do I know you?” Manfred asked over his shoulder in French, a language that he spoke far better than English.

“You ought to” The voice belonged to an Englishman wearing an RAF uniform, a General and the expression on his face suggested that he absolutely no love for Manfred “I’m the one who should have killed you but the war ended before I got the chance.”

Manfred noticed that this man was wearing a pair of glasses that looked like the bottom of coke bottles and graying hair. This man had once been a pilot? Who was he anyway? Had it really been that long since the Great War?

A Photographer walked up and saw them “You two still consider each other enemies and rivals?” The Photographer said with a smile “Let’s get one of you two shaking hands.”

Manfred looked at the collection of medals that this man who was formally his opponent was wearing. This man would probably be worth knowing and since the UK and Germany were no longer enemies then someone had to put in the effort.

“You have me at a loss” Manfred said holding his hand out “Manfred von Richthofen, Generalmajor, Luftwaffe.”

The British Officer looked at Manfred’s hand for a long moment as if it were a venomous snake before taking it and trying to crush the life out of it.

“Mick Mannock, Air Marshal, Royal Airforce” Mannock said “Have you any idea how many of my friends you or your bloody unit killed?”

“If it’s that important to you I can easily find out” Manfred said as he in turn tried to crush Mannock’s hand, he really envied Johan Schultz’s impossible strength as he did this.

“Perfect” The Photographer said as he took the picture.
 
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Well Martzel has his moment in the press and he may be able to capitalize on that. Things are continuing to progress and old adversaries have met. One holds onto his anger and disappointment, the the other will forget him soon enough.

Glad that Nessa is progressing and I wish her well. Being able to impress those men will help set her on a path where she can prove herself and carve out her own place away from her Father's shadow.
 
It was again a good update, but It seems Mick mannock would have been a quite insignificant pilot in a war ending in 1917.
Unless his Irish Nationalism plays a role, there must be a better name for that character?
 
Well, he was one of the highest scoring pilots of WW1, but got shot down by ground fire. so an earlier ending to the war kept him alive as well apparently.
 
Well, he was one of the highest scoring pilots of WW1, but got shot down by ground fire. so an earlier ending to the war kept him alive as well apparently.

Except that he didn't score his first kill until May 1917, and had only 16 victories as of February 1918. If (as I recall) the war ended in December 1917 ITTL, he's got somewhere around 14-15, probably. He didn't get his first DSO until he hit the 30-victory mark. The VC was awarded for actions in June and July 1918. He'd probably have the MC and bar, since those were awarded in September and October, respectively, 1917.

So unless he did a lot of fighting post-war, in Russia, say, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to acquire those medals.

EDIT: Fifteen victories as of 25 September 1917, with six more unconfirmed before that date.
 
Part 12, Chapter 114
Chapter One Hundred Fourteen


17th August, 1936

Berlin

So ends the line Lang thought to himself as he heard the news of the death Alexei Romanov without issue. This was confirmation of the rumors that the Russian royal family had been living in quiet exile somewhere in Canada, a fact that the Soviets were less than thrilled with. The most extraordinary part of that was that a man with the Tsarevich’s well documented health problems had managed to live as long as he had. The accounts that Lang was getting were of a man who had spent the last years of his life bed ridden and unable to walk living in constant fear that Russian agents might have finally found him. Lang thought that was no sort of life. Lang had seen a photograph of Nicholas the II aged and stooped as the sadness of his life in exile and the loss of his son weighed on him. Lang had a bad feeling that another notice like the one he had just been given would be crossing his desk soon.

Happier news involved the success of the Berlin Olympics that had just wrapped up. Most of the venues had sold out, the opening and closing ceremonies had been memorable. The fact that this had been done at minimal cost to the State using existing venues was another feather in their cap. There had been a proposal for a massive hundred thousand seat stadium to hold the games in. Lang had lead the opposition to that. At best, it would have been half full and the Government would have been left having to explain the monstrous expense. Not that they would have to worry about being in power for much longer after a fiasco like that.

Lang was sitting in his office chair formulating his official response for these events. The Chancellor had suggested the possibility that Lang could have a place in the Cabinet depending on the results from the elections that were just weeks away and the state of Lang’s health. Lang had been trying to conceal the continued problems he was having with his back that had recently been manifesting themselves as spasms and cramps in his legs. Apparently, he hadn’t done quite a good enough job of that. Doctors had suggested that surgery might help but it could just as easily finish the job of the French bullet fired long ago in Verdun.

Emil Holz had recently attended the reunion and dedication of the monument to the battle in Verdun recently. Lang had declined to attend mostly because he felt that his role was so very limited. Emil had said that what had shocked him was that Emil himself was personally well regarded in that region of France. The locals may passionately hate the Boche but the chivalrous conduct of a young Lieutenant was well remembered, something he had always found embarrassing. That hadn’t stopped him from soaking up local hospitality and drinking with the French and German officers in attendance.

Emil had sent a photograph of himself and some French Colonel named de Gaulle who he had switched hats with, both men looked like they were three sheets to the wind when the picture was taken. He had written You missed a great party Augustus, be here next time on the back.


North Sea, 100 Kilometers west of Thisted, Demark

The SMS von Hipper was pushing her top speed of 32 knots as she raced south. This had everything to do with the pride of the fleet, a few thousand meters to port the HMS London was pulling slightly ahead. The two ships were evenly matched but the Limeys were somehow managing to gain on the Hipper. Jacob had asked the crew for suggestions for how they could regain the advantage, within reason, he didn’t want to endanger the ship or her crew for pride.

The Hipper had been tasked with escorting the retired Emperor as he took the Imperial Yacht north to Norway. This was considered to a reward for the ship and her crew. It was an easy assignment and Wilhelm II was known to be generous with the crews of ships tasked with this detail. However, the retired Emperor was also known for being impulsive and mercurial, so it wasn’t a sure thing.

On the way back they had gotten a message from Kiel that the Hipper had been reassigned to Wilhelmshaven pending further orders, they were also to make for Wilhelmshaven at all available speed. Considering that the Hipper was supposed to stay as far away from prying eyes as possible Jacob had radioed back for a clarification of those orders. What he had gotten back was the usual “need to know” rigmarole. That had given Jacob pause. Even the lowest deckhand knew that when the High Seas Fleet sent its newest and most advanced units to forward deployments then it meant trouble was brewing.

Jacob had made a point of radioing the HMS London, the Royal Navy ship that had been shadowing them as the Royal Navy liked to do whenever a German heavy unit passed near British waters. He had sent a message to the British Captain that the Hipper would be racing south and that this was in no way connected with the presence of the London. He had ulterior motives when he had done this. His hope was that perhaps his counterpart on the other ship would have some idea of what was going on. Instead the two crews had made a game of it, challenging each other to a race to Heligoland which was along the way. Jacob saw nothing wrong with them doing this. It was good for the crew morale and it was far better than the uncertainty of what was before them.
 
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Part 12, Chapter 115
Chapter One Hundred Fifteen


1st September, 1936

Wunsdorf-Zossen

Johan Schultz had been summoned to the top floor of Abwehr by the Principals without explanation, something that filled any sane man with apprehension. There was an old African saying that when elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. And the Principals were large elephants indeed, Schultz was reminded of this as he stood at the far end of the table in the conference room. This whole exercise was clearly designed to let a team leader from the basement, like Schultz, know his place in the greater scheme of things.

Kommodore Konrad Patzig, the Head of Abwehr was seated at the head of the table, a reminder that the KLM was still the dominate force in foreign intelligence within the OKW. At the time of the founding of Abwehr every branch of the Armed Forces had attempted to start their own intelligence service. While they still existed, they were required to coordinate their activities through this office. That also happened to be something that the team leaders in the field had consistently failed to do with Schultz himself being among the worst offenders. To his right was Oberst von Greim, Schultz’s seldom seen commanding officer, representing the Luftwaffe. Oberst Buambach there from the Heer. The unimaginative officer was rumored to be led around by the nose by Schultz’s biggest rival, that self-serving jackass who Schultz wished would be deported to Austria. To his left was Karl Schmied, the representative of the Federal Foreign Office, better known by the pseudonym he used in field, Herr Blau.

They left Schultz standing there for a time, letting him sweat for a long moment. One more example of them showing just who was in charge here.

“What can you tell us about Spain?” Patzig asked.

“It’s a shit show” Schultz said with a shrug “My team has worked to limit Soviet influence but the local government has been less than cooperative.”

“Have you been keeping up with current events?” von Greim asked.

How could Schultz not, it seemed as if all the new was consumed by what was happening in Spain. Between the Nationalists tendency to massacre civilians and the latest outrage committed by the Republicans there was no shortage of items for the newspapers to give breathless coverage to. It had become inescapable over the Summer.

“I have” Schultz said.

“You must have an opinion” von Greim said.

“It’s not my place…” Schultz said.

“At this minute, it not only is your place but we are asking for it” Patzig snapped.

Schultz paused as he gathered his thoughts “Our interests would not be served by having either side win that conflict.”

“That is quite a determination to reach” Schmied said “Do you have an alternative in mind as to a course of action.”

“We could burn the whole thing to the ground and start over from scratch” Schultz said “Of course the public will never except that.”

“Why do you think that the public would never except such an action?” Patzig asked.

“It would involve the military conducting offensive action on foreign soil the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the Great War” Schultz said “Plus the Frogs would never allow the Heer to cross France in the numbers required.”

“Thank you, Herr Schultz” Patzig said “You are dismissed.”

They watched as Schultz left the room.

“He just echoed everything that our experts have said” von Greim said.

“Everything except the French allowing the Heer to cross France” Schmied said “They are worried about the war spilling across the Pyrenees Mountains and have been all but demanding that we do something.”

“So you think that the French will be willing to let the Heer cross France” Patzig said “You do understand that it will mean war if that happens.”

“It’s something that I am perfectly aware of” Schmied said.

Patzig heard that, it was easy for a civilian like Schmied to make a pronouncement like that. He wondered what sort of report he could afford to make to the High Command of the OKW.


Berlin

Maria Acker was walking into the editorial offices of the Berliner Tageblatt. She knew about the negative opinion of the majority of the reporters she dealt with had of her. Being a woman in a male dominated profession and the fact that she was a short, bespectacled brunette didn’t help. For the last two years she had been assigned to the Metro Desk, following the city Government. Dry, boring work intermixed with the occasional human interest story that would be buried in the back pages. Fredrich Grossmann had told her that she needed to pay her dues but she knew full well that Grossmann had spent years in places around the world that the editors would never, ever send her.

That was why it was a surprise when she got called into the Editor’s office and was given a choice assignment. They needed someone to go out to Rechlin-Lärz Airfield and try to get a handle on what was going on if she could.

“Why do you want to send me?” Maria asked “There are other reporters, Herr Grossmann has access everywhere.”

“No” The Editor said “Everyone else is on assignment and Grossmann isn’t allowed on that particular airfield.”

“Why would Grossmann not be allowed?” Maria asked.

“Something to do with Jochen Loewe” The Editor said “The Oberst in charge of security out there said that he’ll have Grossmann shot if he sees him again.”

That sounded strange. Why would an Oberst have a problem with a fictional character?
 
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Hm, seems like things are about to get interesting. OTL, a lot of countries had a hand in the Spanish Civil War, as it was a great chance to test weapons and doctrines. Looks like ttl is going to be the same, though possibly more exciting.
 
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