How soon before some German Officers are exterminated by those from both sides. The Germans may end up regretting their choice to go into Spain.
 
They bombed the republicans, but I don't think it was an error.
It's clear they approve of neither side, the republicans being too close to the communist bloc, and the fascists being what they are. But I don't see how they expect to succeed without a local group to handle the people. They'll need local support if they don't want this to turn into a massive drain.

It's really starting to sound like one of those very clever intricate schemes so beloved by amateurs, politicians and the IJN high command. The Germans were earlier shown taking republican soldiers as POW's and with this bombing it would appear that they support the Nationalists but at the same time are thinning the Nationalist high command in order to shape the leadership to their liking.

Nope nothing could go wrong with such a clever plan and the Soviets will understand that their sailors are simply collateral damage. :rolleyes:[/QUOTE
We are heading in a Strange direction. Cant wait for the next update.
 
Part 13, Chapter 124
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Four


3rd January, 1937

Berlin

If Helene was lonely she should have asked to have a suitable companion or at least that was what she was told. The idea that the suitable companion in this case was Gerta, the semi-legitimate daughter of General von Wolvogle, was enough to make her question her minders judgement. This was because of Gerta’s manic attitude mixed with her appearance. Frizzy blond hair and the odd effect she seemed to have on even the most fashionable clothes, anything she wore looked like an unmade bed. Worse than that, Gerta had this instant kinship with Kat, who was going nowhere. Both of them had actual names that they hated, Lagertha and Katherine respectively, and both of them had spent their lives in Berlin. Not only was Helene a fish out of water she was now the third wheel.

This was their usual Sunday meeting at the coffee shop and Kat had received a letter from her brother just a couple of days before and was excited to show them a photograph of Hans with two of his friends, Jost and Soren atop an APC somewhere in Spain. Gerta was remarking about how Hans and Soren looked handsome but Jost looked like he was spoiling for a fight.


Jaca, Spain

Maria was in the passenger seat of the lorry. She had paid the driver an exorbitant sum to take her over the pass when the Heer had refused to let her go further than Pau in France by rail. This was after she had to move Heaven and Earth to travel south of Paris just a week earlier. The Press was getting word of the ports on the Mediterranean were getting pounded from the air and the leadership of the Nationalists were turning up dead at a disturbing rate. The OKW was playing things close to the vest and no one could figure out what the overall plan was. Maria had heard talk among some of the more cynical in the Press pool in Paris was that the OKW might not actually have a plan. Considering what she knew about the people involved that was unlikely. There had jokes for years that Alfred Jodl, the OKW Chief of Operations didn’t wake up and take a shower without a plan in detail and with reports done in triplicate.

Maria had been expecting the town with the old masonry citadel and she read about as background while she was in Paris, probably a sleepy place because the garrison would have been sent elsewhere due to the civil war. Jaca was not anything like that when she got there. The town was surrounded by a tent city and the column of Panzer IIs passing by told her everything she needed to know. The Heer was massing again on this side of the mountains. There had been press reports of an effort to push down the valley in the direction of Pamplona but Maria was not in a position to verify any of that at the moment.

“Are you sure this is where you want to go, Señora?” the lorry’s driver asked.

“Yes, I’m sure” Maria said as she opened the door. She had had enough of the driver’s smug attitude over the last day and was happy to be free of him. She slammed the door with more force than was probably necessary. As she walked into the town drawing curious stares she realized the problem. The Press release from a few days earlier said that this was the 2nd Army Corps as well as an unnamed Corps made up of Pioneer Divisions. That meant there were tens of thousands of soldiers in the vicinity and she didn’t have the first clue if any of her contacts were among them and where they might be if they were.

Then there was the other problem, the one that the driver had probably had been getting at. Maria was probably the only unattached woman that was to be found out of doors on this side of the mountains. She squared her shoulders, this was one of those situations that Grossmann had told her about where a screw you attitude worked wonders.

That was when she spotted a pair of soldiers walking the opposite direction on the street wearing splinter. Even without that she probably could have spotted them by the way that Paras walked. Arrogant assholes walking amongst what they thought of as lesser creatures, if she had to describe it.

“Are you Third Regiment?” Maria asked them.

“What of it?” One of the pair asked.

“I’m an associate of Oberst Holz” Maria said “I’d be grateful if you could take me to him.”

The two Paras exchanged knowing smirks. Men and their obnoxious assumptions, Maria thought to herself with more than a little exasperation.


North Atlantic, 800 kilometers off Porto, Portugal

This was the mission of the SMS von Hipper had been built for, to hunt enemy cruisers and to be a commerce raider. It had been a coded message that Schultz had sent from the German Embassy in Lisbon that had sent them out here. Schultz had probably understood as soon as he sent the message that his intended recipient, as opposed to the official one, would get it. The Hipper had been steaming in the Bay of Biscay when Schultz had sent the message late the night before using a cypher that Jacob Schmidt had devised. That meant it was a snap for Jacob to send the Hipper on an intercept course for the ship that Schultz had reported while it was still hundreds of kilometers out at sea. The Hipper had come up on her in the night, this also happened to be the first time that seetakt was used in the field as it were.

Jacob could see the merchantman as she was lit up by the rising sun. “Put a shot across her bow and prepare a boarding party” He ordered.

An hour later the message Seized ship, SS Shelburne, Canadian flagged, tons of munitions on board, bound for Spain. Requesting further instructions was received via relay in Wunsdorf.
 
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Canadian flagged BUT which country is sending the munitions? And might their submarines begin to stop blockading ships?
 
Part 13, Chapter 125
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Five


5th January, 1937

Bay of Biscay

Schultz had spent a good portion of his career aboard various airplanes but this was the first time he’d been aboard one that was the property of the High Seas Fleet. The small seaplane flew past the two ships that were slowly steaming north bound for Wilhelmshaven. Their speed limited by the slow freighter. Schultz could almost feel the impatience radiating off the cruiser because of the slow plodding pace as the seaplane landed on the ocean near it. The experience of being on an airplane as it was lifted onto the cruiser by a crane was also a novel experience.

“Being the Captain agrees with you I see” Schultz said as he walked into the ship’s officers mess where Jacob Schmidt was there to greet him “You’re sure that the walls in here do not have ears?”

“As sure as we can be anywhere” Jacob said “And even if anyone in the crew overhears something they ought not to it will be long out of date before we reach land again.”

“What did you find that was important enough to have me flown out here?” Schultz asked.

“Tons of munitions” Jacob said.

“That is hardly a surprise on a ship bound for a country in the middle of a civil war” Schultz replied.

“No but the cargo manifest and the bill of sale on those munitions is” Jacob said.

“They kept the receipts?” Schultz asked incredulously “For starters it’s hard to believe that anyone could be that stupid. Are you sure that this is for real?”

“It will all need to be verified of course” Jacob said “But I suspect that the cargo’s listed owners thought the ship would never be stopped.”

“Do you have any idea how those owners will react to us grabbing their cargo?” Schultz asked.

“I figure that they will take it badly” Jacob said “Their respective governments will be less than thrilled with them potentially risking a second World War.”

“Wait, you are saying this is a private venture?”

“Surprisingly, it is” Jacob answered.

A war being supplied by a non-governmental entity, that was the sort of thing that happened a century earlier in Africa or India. It was not the sort of thing that should happen within Schultz’s area of operation. Someone was going to pay for this, Schultz thought to himself.


Madrid, Spain

Leary Quinlan was sitting in the tavern where he’d spent his days for the last month. The Germans were taking their sweet old time getting involved with this war. They seemed content to sit back and let their bombers and assassins degrade the ability of the Spanish to fight. The government in Valencia was happy with the idea that the Nationalists were falling apart as their command structure was decapitated. The problem, as Leary saw it, was that no one on his side was listening to him. He had spent almost two years fighting the Germans in Flanders and Arras. Whatever the Huns were up to Leary knew no one on the Republican side was going to like it when that happened.


Escó, Spain

Horst was manning the 13mm in the turret of the APC as they headed west along the Aragón river. The roads were crap and it was slow going. According to the briefing he’d received they were to proceed west through Pamplona and eventually link up with the 5th Army Corps as it came down the coast from France. Horst could read a map, it was obvious that Brass wanted the ports on the northern coast of Spain. There was no time table for this operation which suggested that it was being done mostly just to keep them busy until things really got rolling whenever that might be.

As far as Horst knew they were still on relatively good terms with the locals but he knew that meant squat if someone decided to play partisan. This country was perfect for ambushes, with a hill on one side and a lake on the other. If that was going to happen then he intended to make it expensive for them. He knew that the top hatch of the APC was open and Jost had the Squad’s machine gun on the roof pointing aft. Horst had made it clear that if he caught anyone not on guard then they would soon wish that they’d never been born.

Coming around a bend Horst saw that there was another village, this one seemed even more empty and dilapidated then the previous ones they had passed through. Something about this place bothered Horst. This is where it’s going to happen, he thought to himself. No sooner than that thought crossed his mind then a rifle bullet ricocheted off the side of the turret. “Turn right!” Horst yelled down at the driver. The driver didn’t need to be told twice, all the crews had been trained to always turn the heavy frontal armor in the direction of enemy fire and keep it there.

Horst opened fire in the direction of rifle shot, the burst of steel cored 13mm bullets blowing huge chunks out of the stone walls that made up the village. A second rifle bullet smacked off the face of the turret. He saw the flash this time and shifted his aim. Then Horst heard a burst of machine gun fire behind the turret. Horst stood up in the turrets hatch to get a better view and saw that Jost had hit a man who had been coming up behind them with a petrol bomb. Flames were guttering in the road dust.

The rear hatches flew open on the APCs and infantry started pouring out. Besides the man with the petrol bomb they only found a few blood trails in the village.
 
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HMS-Norfolk-lifting-seaplane-with-crane-BW.jpg
A seaplane being lifted onto a ship as depicted.
 
Private citizens and possibly companies behind the weapons? Now who might they be and how will they respond?
 
Hmm, some one whose country is on bad terms with the germans.. french relations seem to be improving.. could it be some americans upset about germanys action in SA?
 
Yeah, it's likely to be the US. Is the private venture a front to avoid backlash or the reality, though, is another question.
 
It seems that an internal faction its seeing the "German Imperialism encroaching again upon the world" or such drivel.

Add possibly the anger of how the Germans broke the Marines and the American Army's will in that decisive battle, forcing the Armistice and the Peace Accord, resulting in an scenario what was a strategic stalemate, but a moral victory in all sense.

For those Americans who saw Germany as a threat to civilized Europe, the Armistice was an utter insult to the American blood and lives sacrificed and a mockery of the United States themselves. Moreover, the economic downturn of the 20's would be blamed in how the situation worsened, as with an intact Germany, the past hatreds were thrown to the side, and rather than spend more in importing technology and consumer products from the US, the European nations used the shorter, and relatively cheaper way, by buying German stuff.

You can guess the mental "logic" of the Americans behind the Weapons Contraband.
 
It seems that an internal faction its seeing the "German Imperialism encroaching again upon the world" or such drivel.

Add possibly the anger of how the Germans broke the Marines and the American Army's will in that decisive battle, forcing the Armistice and the Peace Accord, resulting in an scenario what was a strategic stalemate, but a moral victory in all sense.

For those Americans who saw Germany as a threat to civilized Europe, the Armistice was an utter insult to the American blood and lives sacrificed and a mockery of the United States themselves. Moreover, the economic downturn of the 20's would be blamed in how the situation worsened, as with an intact Germany, the past hatreds were thrown to the side, and rather than spend more in importing technology and consumer products from the US, the European nations used the shorter, and relatively cheaper way, by buying German stuff.

You can guess the mental "logic" of the Americans behind the Weapons Contraband.

I'm still guessing that it might be US companies that historically supported fascism combined with a chip on the shoulder attitude. Historically Ford sold thousands of trucks to the Nationalists and Texaco also supplied millions of barrels of oil on the cheap to Franco. Both Ford and the Texaco CEO were known fascist sympathizers. Texaco would give sealed orders re-directing vessels bound for Antwerp to make landfall in Spain instead to supply Franco, they even gave the Nationalists information about Republican merchant shipping so it could be attacked.
 
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Part 13, Chapter 126
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Six


2nd February, 1937

Estella, Spain

They were called Jericho trumpets. Lenz was discovering that he had come to hate the small wooden propellers attached to landing gear of his airplane. He would would have given anything to get rid of them or at least turn them off. In level flight, they made a low thrumming that he had started to hear in his sleep. The Brass said that their effect would be psychological. Lenz had to take their word for that.

He was flying the second of twelve planes on a road interdiction mission. Ahead of him the Hauptman’s plane rolled into a steep dive. As he was trained to do Lenz followed him into the dive.

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

Cirino Vargas had the experience of deserting from two armies on a few different occasions over the past six months. First, he’d been conscripted by the Republicans who had shoved him into the shock troops, a role that seemed to mean attacking machine gun positions until the gunners ran out of ammunition. Quitting that had been easy but finding his hometown occupied by the Nationalists had come as an unwelcome surprise, especially when he’d gotten conscripted again. Then the unit he was in devolved into a disorganized rabble after the Colonel was killed and Cirino had gotten captured by the Republicans who had given him the opportunity to switch sides. They had never made the connection with his prior desertion, it was not as if he would ever bring that up himself. The truth was that no one was interested in him beyond being a warm body that could carry a rifle. Word was that the Government in Valencia had come to the belated understanding that the Germans would come after them once they got through with the Nationalists. Now they were trying to consolidate their position before Spring arrived.

For Cirino that meant days walking down rutted muddy roads and sleeping in the rain. In the distance was the drone of aircraft engines. Theirs, not ours, Cirino thought bitterly but knew better than to say aloud.

The drone was suddenly rising in pitch becoming so loud that it seemed to erase all thoughts from Cirino’s head. The very air was vibrating. A loud shriek filled the air and the road in front of Cirino exploded filling the air with mud and gravel. It was all he could do to crawl into a ditch and not piss himself.

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

Lenz was crushed into his seat as he pulled out of the dive, his vision going grey. He risked a brief glance over his shoulder to see the destruction on the road. He banked the plane into a turn and circled back to the north. Back to the airfield to refuel and rearm then do it again.


Villatuerta, Spain

Jost watched the dive bombers as they bombarded the road ahead of the advancing column with a frown. He had a feeling that Lenz was flying one of those airplanes. That little shit probably had become a pilot just so he could outrank Jost. Completing flight training had given Lenz the rank of Fahnenjunker, equivalent to Unteroffizer, while his older brother, Jost, was still a Soldat. This was as bad when they had been playing sports a few years earlier and ended up on rival teams.


Pamplona, Spain

Maria walked down the street grousing about how Grossmann had suddenly decided that he needed to come to Spain. She had worked for weeks trying to get interviews with the Generals in charge of this operation. Maria suspected that this had everything to do with the political leanings of the newspaper she worked for. Just when she thought she had the interview nailed down the 2nd Army Headquarters had been moved Pamplona. The 5th Army had turned up and everything was a mess, or at least that is what they had told Maria. Fredrich Grossmann had shown up and gotten the interviews within the few hours of his train pulling in. That was the one of the most aggravating aspects of this, Grossmann hadn’t been delayed on the French side of the border like she had. While she had sent some stories off over the previous few weeks it was nothing like Grossmann had managed. She could not think of any time in the past when she had been this furious.

Now everyone was buzzing about how something big was in the offing and she was once again on the outside looking in. Grossman had told her that he was able to do all this because he had spent the last forty years doing this job and Maria was just starting out. He also said that he had taken his chances and paid his dues. Her day would come, eventually. She doubted that Grossmann could have been more patronizing if that were his actual intention.

An airplane flew overhead, one of the tri-engine transport airplanes. Maria had an idea that was insane but she needed to get the story. It was as Grossmann said, take chances and pay dues.

Berlin

Gerta wanted to see a graveyard and that wasn’t the strangest thing she had wanted to see over the prior week. She had been on a strange kick over Feminist leaders of late and she decided that needed to see the grave of Rosa Luxemburg who had died of cancer a couple of years earlier. Gerta had dragged Helene along. Kat had made herself scarce that afternoon with no explanation, not that she needed one.

That was how Helene found herself shivering in a snowy North Berlin cemetery near the Monument to Socialists while Gerta, who seemed to be unfazed by the cold, did a rubbing of Rosa Luxemburg’s headstone. Helene looked over and saw a familiar figure walking into the cemetery.

Helene rushed over to some nearby bushes. “Over here” She hissed at Gerta. Gerta looked up, somewhat befuddled. Gerta being Gerta it was impossible to tell if that was situational or typical.

“What’s going on” Gerta asked as she walked over.

“Look” Helene said as she nodded towards the figure in the distance. Grey coat and red hair, unmistakably Kat. Who seemed to be talking to someone but was too far away for them to hear what she was saying.

“We should invite her over” Gerta said with a wistful smile.

“No” Helene said “I want to see what she’s doing.”

Helene wanted to get closer to hear what Kat was saying. But with how Gerta was dressed in bright colors and with the bells on her shoes it was a small wonder that Kat hadn’t noticed them even at this distance. After a few minutes, Kat left.

After Helene was sure that Kat was gone she went over to where Kat had been. There was no one in evidence who Kat might have been talking to. This was strange behavior and totally unexpected of Kat. Helene couldn’t figure out what she had been doing.

“Oh, our poor little Kat” Gerta said with uncharacteristic solemnity “And on her birthday too.”

“What are you on about?” Helene asked.

“For someone so smart you never seem to see what’s right in front of you” Gerta said as she leaned over and brushed snow off a headstone “She was visiting her mother.”
 
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Its actually interesting to know these differences from OTL. Operatonal Stukas a bit early, second generation Do19's, but otherwise we just have a few hints. PanzerII is not a high number, so they must really like the design.
Cant see SU or the British going further ITTL, no Money in the 20's and no Money + less incentive in the 30's. France have probably been quite militaristic.
 
Part 13, Chapter 127
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Seven


24th February, 1937

Off Sopelana, Spain

The SMS von Hipper was involved in a less than glamourous task at the moment. When she arrived back to Wilhelmshaven the Brass had told them that they needed to prepare for some guests, hundreds in fact. An entire regiment of Seebaitallon Infantry had been crammed aboard the Hipper in every available space and the winter weather had made it a very cozy voyage. Now they were about to disembark and Jacob was wondering if he would have to fumigate the entire ship.

Apparently the Heer had neglected to look at a map before planning the current campaign. The mountain range between Pamplona and the coast hadn’t been part of the planning but the Pyrenees were? Jacob had long been suspicious of the sort of thinking, or lack thereof, that went on in the OKW and the Heer. This was yet one more example of that. The Kaiserliche Marine had grown tired of the Heer’s excuses as to why they had not taken a Spanish port yet and had decided to take matters into their own hands. That was why the Hipper had found herself as part of a flotilla of hundreds of ships transporting thousands of the marine infantry.

From the bridge of the Hipper Jacob could see the other ships of the flotilla in the predawn light. He couldn’t help but look at the armored behemoths of the High Seas Fleet with envy. The SMS Schlesien was steaming slowly on a parallel course to the Hipper at the end of the main battle line, the dark shape of the SMS Bayern was a couple thousand meters ahead. The super Dreadnoughts were to play a major role in this operation while the Hipper got to ferry some of the troops that would take and hold Bilbao.

At exactly 6:45AM the 38 and 42cm guns of the HSF started bombarding the shore. An hour later as the sun was rising the understrength local garrison surrendered to the fleet. The garrison was from the Republican side of the civil war but here in this corner of Spain they were an afterthought and had been expecting the Nationalists to attack up the coast at any time. They were willing to surrender the city in exchange for supplies and the promise of safety.


Miranda de Ebro, Spain

“I know you are not going to believe this Doctor Holz, but it really happened” Hans Mischner was saying as he took a sip of the table wine that this tavern served. They were waiting for what this tavern served as its meal tonight, el Polo something or the other that sounded a lot like chicken stew from its description.

Peter Holz listened patiently to young soldier who was telling the story of a recent event on the road from Pamplona. They always thought that their own experiences were unique but Peter had discovered that every soldier had stories of inexplicable and crazy things that happened to them.

“We were driving down the road in the middle of the armored column and this priest comes out of his church and starts yelling at us, the Lieutenant has us stop so he could see what was going on” Hans said “The Schützenpanzers were going past on the road and it was shaking the church enough to cause the bell to ring. So Jost... You know Jost right?”

Peter nodded his head, he knew Jost Schultz. Earlier that day he had listened to Jost complain about how his younger brother, a Luftwaffe pilot, now outranked him just for showing up.

“So Jost walks up to the church tower which must have been there since time out of mind and looks at how there are these big cracks going up the side” Hans continued “He looks at the priest and says that it’s only a matter of time until the whole thing goes over. Now the priest starts complaining about how his parish cannot afford a new tower. Then another column comes along and the bell starts ringing and the priest starts yelling at us again.”

Peter smiled inwardly, there had been lots of stories like this of soldiers getting caught up in local disputes and having minor problems with the locals.

“That was when the tower fell over” Hans paused for a second then started again “Of all of our vehicles it could have landed on it was one that had the Divisional Chaplain, a Lutheran Minister, on board. The Priest sees him come staggering out of the wreckage then starts yelling about heresy and how it was clearly the hand of God attempting smite the perpetrator of false beliefs. The Minister hears this and tells the Priest to shut his pie hole. Then the Priest punched the Minister in the face, before we know it we have these two wrestling on ground in the road.”

“That is one of the things that you’ve been advised to avoid in this country” Peter observed.

“It wasn’t our fault” Hans said “Even Henrik said that he felt bad about taking side bets.”

“You were making bets as to the outcome of a fight between a Lutheran Minister and a Catholic Priest?” Peter asked, slightly horrified.

“The radio here sucks” Hans said as if that were an excuse.

“Okay” Peter said, waving it away “What happened next?”

“Lieutenant Horst yelled at us to break up the fight” Hans answered “And we did.”

“That’s all?”

“We had to move on but last I saw a Pioneer Company had been sent to rebuild the tower” Hans said “So it’s all good I guess.”

Peter had his doubts as to whether or not it was all good. He had a bad feeling that he would be the one who got to sort out that particular mess whenever the Priest in question had his complaints work their way up the food chain.
 
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