Part 13, Chapter 128
Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Eight


23rd March, 1937

Zamora, Spain

It was the brutal logic of what the Germans were doing that had become clear to Francisco Franco. They weren’t moving fast because they didn’t need to. His movement was falling apart and he was reduced to hiding in a basement because the Germans were employing a team of snipers to kill every effective General on the Nationalist side. Now was news that the Portuguese were bailing out of their role in this conflict. Someone must have gotten to them. All it would have taken was the risk of exposure and those gutless bastards would have folded. It was looking more and more like the coup was a huge mistake.

Trusting the Englishman and the American had proven to have been one of the worst moves that the coup plotters could have made. The promised weapons, supplies, intelligence and money had arrived until they didn’t. It was clear that they were cutting their losses and hoping that this disaster would just go away. The worst part was sure knowledge that the portion of the country he controlled was obviously seen as low hanging fruit to be taken out first. It was also obvious that as soon as the Spring rains passed the Germans were going to explode out of the hills of Northern Spain. The only satisfaction he had was the knowledge that the Republican victory would be very short lived.

When the time as right Franco would go out and die like a man so he would not have to face the indignity of defeat. He had no plans to destroy the evidence of those he had conspired with. These were important men in their home countries and they had left him in this predicament. Giving them a nice scandal that would reverberate around the world was the least he could do as payback.


Near Miranda de Ebro

As Lenz walked up the flight line saw that rain was dripping off the canvas tarp that the mechanics had put over the nose of the Stuka and they were working on the engine. It was the best that they could do considering that they lacked proper hangers. Their orders were to advance with the 2nd Army, what looked like in practice was this. Camping out in fallow fields and being grounded by this seemingly endless rain. The day before landing on the muddy field had caused this particular plane to nose over and a prop strike had damaged the prop and engine. Hauptmann Erdmann had been furious over the matter, it was the second plane they had damaged in that manner in the last week. Mud and weather were beating out ground fire as the most dangerous aspect of this campaign. Across the field a dozen of the Heinkel fighters from Jasta 15 were parked. Their brilliant blue and white color schemes standing out even under grey skies.

Lenz looked up at the low clouds, everything he had ever read talked about how Spain was this sunny place but that was not his experience at all. As if to add emphasis a fat drop of rain hit his forehead. Rain, rain and more rain. His mood was further soured by having lost badly in a board game to Oberlieutenant Galland, the XO of STG-3. Rumors were swirling that Galland wanted to transfer to a fighter wing and that he was being obnoxious to everyone in the meantime. Where the Hell was Boardwalk and why was it so important to build a damned hotel there anyway? He was walking aimlessly out of boredom. Playing another round of that game might result in gunfire and that was not what he needed right now.


Berlin

Kat had not been forthcoming about her reasons for talking to her dead mother in the cemetery and Helene had not wanted her friend to find out that they had seen her. Gerta had other ideas. “I spoke to the groundskeepers and they said that she’s been coming there for years” she said.

“Perhaps we ought to respect Kat’s boundaries” Helene said as they walked through the market, the same one where she had met Kat months earlier. It was slim pickings today, it being late Winter it was mostly potatoes and cabbages that had been in cold storage. This being a produce market there was a buzzing about the upcoming asparagus season. People got excited over the strangest things, Helene thought to herself.

“It is not a case of trespassing boundaries” Gerta said as she looked into a basket of assorted dried beans “It’s wanting to help a friend. You’ve seen how she acts whenever certain subjects come up. It’s not right and I’d like to think she can trust us.”

That was Gerta Wolvogle right there, she wanted everyone to be happy and was never willing to take no for an answer. It was reflected in the way she dressed and acted. Her clothes were frequently of bright and clashing colors and if she had no one to talk to she walked around with a half-smile on her face that suggested that she knew the hidden truths of the Universe.

“It’s a matter of respect” Helene said “How would you like…”

Helene tailed off as they walked around a corner and came upon a spectacle. A uniformed policeman had Kat by the arm and was dragging her out of the market. Before Helene could stop her, Gerta was already striding forward. The frivolous girl gone in a heartbeat. This was Lagertha von Wolvogle, the General’s daughter and force of nature.

“You can let her go right now” Gerta said to the policeman.

“This is not a matter that need to concern yourself with” The policeman said to Gerta.

“She’s my friend and I say that it is” Gerta said.

“I can always arrest you too” The policeman said “And you can join your freeriding friend here in a jail cell.”

That was a mistake, if there was anything that Gerta hated it was a bully.

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An hour later Helene was seated in the lobby of the police station trying to convince the PM behind the front desk that what had happened was all a misunderstanding and that they should let her friends go. She wasn’t having much luck.

That was when a man who Helene presumed was the Officer in charge of this particular police station came out with Gerta and Kat, the police officer who had arrested Kat and Gerta followed. Both men looked visibly shaken. With no words exchanged they were pushed out of the police station.

“What was that all about?” Helene asked.

“They let me get to a phone and I called Papa” Gerta said “He put Uncle Wilhelm on the phone and everything was straightened out.”

Helene paused midstride “You did what!” No wonder those men had looked like they had seen a ghost.

“Shut up both of you” Kat snapped at them in fury “I can fight my own battles…” Kat then ran off into the gathering gloom of sunset.
 
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Not a good thing for a policeman's career when the Kaiser (even Ex) is called upon. I am sure they will avoid and ignore the girls from now on. ;)
 
Just some question about Technology: heinkel fighters?
Either the He 112, produced in 1935 (considered inferior to Me109s and sent to export) or the He 100, produced in 1938 (probably superior, but never put in full scale production, for ambiguous reasons), or even a new one.

He 112
He_112_2015.jpg


He 100
He_100_V1_%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D0%B0%D1%8D%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B4%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B5_%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BA-%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%85.JPG
 

Paternas

Donor
Why Heinkel fighters though? Given the massive changes in this timeline so far, it seems likely to me that some manufacturers will be producing different aircraft or have switched their market. Other manufacturers will have popped up.
 
Why Heinkel fighters though? Given the massive changes in this timeline so far, it seems likely to me that some manufacturers will be producing different aircraft or have switched their market. Other manufacturers will have popped up.

To be fair, that way he doesn't have to come up with another company, and design an aircraft on his own.
 
BFW fell apart and was taken over by BMW who didn't know what to do with it. The result, no Messerschmitt AG in this time line. Heinkel won the role of building the first German all metal monoplane fighter by default.
Albatros AG, who's fortunes declined in the 1920s, was acquired by Focke-Wulf. Kurt Tank came with Albatros to FW which ought to prove interesting.
Hugo Junkers had a happier life in this time line, no Nazi takeover of his company or threats of treason charges. Regardless of his personal beliefs the Luftwaffe was one of his company's largest customers and Junkers had been building CAS aircraft through the 20s and 30s in this timeline.

And I have something very special in mind for what is going to happen with the atom bomb in this time line.
 
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Part 13, Chapter 129
One Hundred Twenty-Nine


24th March, 1937

Lichtenberg-Berlin, Fredrichsfelde Cemetery

“I figured you’d be here” Otto Mischner said as he walked up to Kat “This is where you go whenever you’re upset.”

“When did you get back into town?” Kat said without looking up.

“A few hours ago” Otto said “Your Aunt Marcella is worried about you. Yesterday she gets a call saying you’ve been arrested, then she gets to the police station and they act like you were never there. What happened?”

“My friend Gerta happened” Kat said. From her tone, Kat was not happy about that fact.

“The blond girl who dresses like a Gipsy and campaigns for the welfare of the squirrels in the Tiergarten?” Otto asked.

“That's a bit of an exaggeration” Kat said, only because no one had suggested to Gerta that the welfare of Berlin’s squirrels was an issue. She was not about to tell her father that.

“But that is Gerta, right?”

“Yes” Kat muttered “That’s Gerta.”

“So, what happened” Otto asked again.

“I got grabbed getting off the turnip express and Gerta got up into the face of policeman” Kat said “We get to the police station and Gerta starts asking to make a phone call.”

“That doesn’t sound too strange so far” Otto said “You’ve gotten in trouble in the past that way and only a real friend would risk getting arrested like that.”

“Gerta wasn’t risking a damned thing and she knew it” Kat said with a touch of bitterness “She knew that as soon as she got on the phone that they would have let us go.”

“How could she have been so sure of that?” Otto asked.

“She’s Lagertha von Wolvogle, Lady of the Black Eagle” Kat said “Legitimized by Imperial decree and Wilhelm the Second is her Godfather. You’ll never guess who she called and got on the line?”

“Are you shitting me!” Otto exclaimed.


Pancorbo, Spain

Hans was sitting on a bench in the village just a handful of kilometers from Miranda de Ebro under an overhang watching a rain swollen river that the map didn’t have a name for flow by. They had been ordered here to take what the Brass was calling a strategic crossroads. There was also a rail line that they couldn’t use just yet. A dot on the map in the middle of nowhere is what it was.

The 2nd Army was holding in place while the 5th Army pushed on towards Burgos and the Pioneer Corps was working on the rail line linking Bilbao on the coast with Vitoria. According to Horst there was this strange obsession that the planners in the OKW had with the advance not being more than about a hundred and fifty kilometers from a railhead.

“We’re going to have to repaint the rust bucket at this rate” Jost said referring to their SPz. The APC that had been assigned to their Squad in France and was currently parked next to the intersection where it could be seen but not block traffic.

“We would need a few sunny days for that to happen” Hans said “And if we got any of those odds are we’d get told to move out.”

“You got to love how war is a greatest thing that could happen to a slack ass” Jost said.

Hans was slightly annoyed by this, it was only slacking off until the shooting started. There had been a few times growing up that his father had gotten drunk and told him about Arras. How that was a total meat grinder. One of the things that he had mentioned was that there were long periods of boredom that ended suddenly and unexpectedly. Sooner or later they were going to hit a wall of resistance and then they would get to pay a price in blood for these periods of slack.


4000 meters Over Rubena, Spain

It was actually a good day to fly for a change. Crystalline blue skies and fluffy white clouds below. Lenz was enjoying this. The twelve planes of his squadron were flying in a loose formation over the advancing 5th Army, steam was coming from the exhaust stacks formed a thin white contrail that spiraled away from the tail. Best of all one of the wooden propellers driving the sirens had broken off the day before giving Lenz the perfect excuse to get rid of the other one. Now he only had the deafening engine and the radio/intercom headphones to listen to. The engine he was used to, having the Hauptmann yelling in his ears and off color jokes from Unteroffizer Adam Geier, the mechanic turned gunner in the backseat was something that he was still getting used to. Republican fighters had been seen over the front lines, so having the gunners along was no longer optional.

The Hauptmann rolled into an attack with the rest of the formation following. The usual drill of hauling back on the throttle and deploying the dive brakes. They hit a road with an infantry moving down it, the Spanish had started moving troops and lorries at night making the chances of them catching them on the road more difficult.

When they pulled out of the dive and turned north back towards friendly lines Lenz looked up and saw a half dozen black specks overhead resolving into the stubby Russian built fighters. “Keep in formation” Lenz heard the Hauptmann’s voice over the radio. Where was their top cover?

The Russian planes lacked a speed advantage so it took a while for them to catch up. When that finally happened, the gunners opened fire on the attacking fighters and Lenz saw yellow-green tracers fly past seemingly millimeters from the canopy and a few disturbing clanks from the wings and fuselage.

“Break right, NOW!” The Hauptmann yelled over the radio.

Lenz followed out of long habit and watched as the fighters overshot them. The Spanish planes began to turn in an effort to catch up just to be caught in a storm of anti-aircraft fire.
 
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Part 13, Chapter 130
Chapter One Hundred Thirty


3rd April, 1937

Miranda de Ebro

“This feels like back in school when you and your friends are goofing around with the Teacher’s back turned only to have the Headmaster walk in” Emil observed to the assembled officers around him as the three radial engines of General von Richthofen’s personal airplane spun to a stop. The General himself came down the steps that had been rushed to the side of airplane by the ground crew.

“That’s easy for you to say” Someone muttered “He’s not here for your head.”

Everyone knew the reality to that. The Republicans had been badly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe since the start of this campaign using obsolescent airplanes bought at inflated prices from the Soviet Union. They had still been able to inflict disproportionate losses on the Luftwaffe. From the perspective of Manfred von Richthofen they had absolutely no business even being in the air.

Emil was still waiting for his regiment to get new orders. The Paras had been ordered from Jaca to Miranda a few weeks earlier but they were still waiting. Emil had volunteered to join the Heer in the main advance like what had happened in Poland. His efforts had been rebuffed. He kept being told that his Regiment was needed for an operation that had yet to materialize, not even the planning stages as far as he knew. In the meantime, Emil had a 1200 restless men under his command and a large number of increasingly nervous MPs. There was also Fredrich Grossmann and his protégée to consider, Emil had heard nothing about them in a few weeks. Something that was a worrying sign for him. Who knew what deviltry journalists got up to when no one was looking.

That was when Emil caught von Richthofen saying something about how they had one month to get their shit together. What was happening in a month?


Madrid, Spain

Maria Acker was enduring the less than welcome company of the American journalist. The pig’s overinflated opinion of himself was without equal and Maria factored in the members of German Royalty into that equation. He was currently telling her about his experiences in the Great War as a volunteer in Italy. As if she didn’t know what he really had been doing there. She had concluded that he was in love with the sound of his own voice. She was starting to regret ever letting on that she knew a word of English in the presence of the pig.

Crossing the lines to cover events in Valencia had been a good call, at first. Her position in the Berliner had gotten her a welcome from the Republican Government. But as she observed infighting, the Soviet influence on that Government deepened and the German Army continued its plodding advance that relationship had soured. Going to Madrid with the Americans had been a simple choice.

Now here Maria was listening to the pig bloviate and ply her with wine in hopes of getting her in his bed. Why did it seem like all the men came into contact with made that assumption? She had made a point of asking for a room with a bolt on the door and heavy furniture to barricade the door for that very reason.


Berlin

Of all the uses for Schultz’s talents this one had to be the most absurd, even if it was being done as a favor for a friend. After he’d filed his report regarding the discovery of American munitions aboard the Canadian ship he’d been put on leave pending further developments. Russian ships getting blown up in Spanish ports was causing tensions with the Soviet Union to run at an all-time high. The managing director of Junkers had been forced out over questionable loyalties. This war in Spain was ripping the order apart as it had existed since the revolution in 1922. It seemed like everything was open to question.

Manfred von Richthofen’s daughter had been seen in the company of another young woman who was the daughter of a known Trade Unionist outside a police station in Central Berlin. The policemen in the station itself were pretending that they had never seen either of the girls but he had caught mention that there had been three of them.

But Schultz through long practice had known how to get information from reluctant sources. He had tracked down one of the policemen who had been present when two girls had been brought in. One for trespassing and the other for interfering, a third matching the description of Helene von Richthofen had been out in the lobby trying to get them to let the other two go. The policeman had told him this ready enough after having several drinks at Schultz’s expense. It had been the girl’s identities where the policeman had gotten cagey.

A few more drinks in and Schultz finally got the information he needed. The third girl had been had been the daughter of General von Wolvogle. She had shocked them by getting a direct line to the highest levels of the Imperial Court. Something that had prompted the presence of Schultz.

Schultz had learned from the public record everything he could about Katherine Mischner, which wasn’t much. Her father was the elected President of a Railway Workers Union Local and she had a few run ins with the police in the past over her tendency to ride freight trains around Berlin. But he knew that he was only getting half the story.
 
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Communist Russia was pretty expansionist. I feel pretty certain that if Hitler hadn't attacked, in 2-3 years Stalin would have.
 
What fighters are the Soviets fielding that theyou are able to outclass the Germans?

I assume that luftwaffe will be happy to take these apart as the heer did to tanks in the previous war.
 
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