Chapter One Hundred Forty-Three

“I saw who you were talking to” Juan said “Those two are connected to the highest levels of the current American Presidential Administration. Nothing they did was out of the goodness of their hearts.”

“You think I don’t know that” Louis said “Joe Kennedy has never made a deal that he didn’t make money on, his business partners haven’t been so fortunate. Bill Donovan wants an American version of Abwehr and I’m sure that every word I said is being repeated in the Oval Office right this minute.”

“You knew this and spoke to them anyway?” Juan asked.

“Of course” Louis said with a cynical laugh “It’s like when Ford wanted me take over the European Division of his corporation. I learned a lot about cars and engines that way. Letting them think I’m a dilettante who they could easily impress and lead around by the nose got me entry into places you wouldn’t believe.”

“Why are you telling us about this?” Schultz asked.

“Because Wilhelm being gone means that game is over” Louis answered “And I’m the one you two ultimately answer to now.”

That was a few angles that Schultz had not considered and he made a mental note not to be one of the people who underestimated Louis Ferdinand in the future.

Could we be seeing a new more hands on person in charge of Schultz and his team in the future?
Could we be seeing a new more hands on person in charge of Schultz and his team in the future?
I do not think that he meant Schultz and the Abwehr but the Army and Germany in general, he is after all the new Crown Prince.

Btw. Did Wilhelm marry Dorothea von Salviati and if yes how was the whole morganatic marriage thing handeld.
And did Louis Ferdinand marry Kira Romanova or did the whole saving the Tsar thing change to much?
BZ, this has to be one of the better TLs out there, great characters, well within believable butterflies and just a damn great read.

Thank you for the continuing effort.
So the Prince is smarter and more cunning than some thought. It will be interesting on how he will do now that he can no longer lurk in the shadows.
Could we get some more background on the Prince. He is bound to have been a more important character ITTL. Have he only been sniffing around or actually done something?
You mean they start worshiping Emil as a god.:cool:

I'm more leaning on the line of Ma'am Holtz the next morning.

And well, Emil is still worshipped as a God - he tame a lioness in a single day <the Soldaten may not know about the set up that Emil springs on Maria in the restaurant>
Part 14, Chapter 144
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Four

29th May, 1937

South of Madrid

Horst was reading a stack of newspapers in his tent. Madrid had finally rejoined the rest of the world and these newspapers were only a couple of days old. The world’s largest suspension bridge had opened in San Francisco. Barcelona was being shelled by the KLM as the 3rd Corps were fighting their way into the city against heavy resistance. Horst paused for a moment to be thankful that Emil and his Division of madmen had prevented the Spanish from reinforcing Madrid in the manner that they had in Barcelona. There was also the story of Prince Wilhelm being buried in the family crypt in Hohenzollern Castle. Horst felt that it would have been better if the Prince had been buried with the men who had died in the battle north of Madrid.

He watched as Jost and Soren walked by arguing about different types of rations and their potential trade value. He remembered all the times that he watched Emil in this very situation. While his old squad had never been what he might have called friends, he felt that there was a widening gap between himself and them.


With the 2nd Army Corps gone Esther had discovered that her workload had actually increased. Every day reports were coming in from the field from individual Regiments and Companies. Esther’s job was to transcribe, collate those reports and pass them on. It was said that this was to ease the post-war examination of the conflict. For Esther that involved deciphering bad handwriting and making phone calls to attempt to discover what various abbreviations might mean.

She had gotten a letter from Jacob earlier that day. He hadn’t said where he was but had included a vivid description of what could only be the Mediterranean Sea. There had also been a photograph of Jacob standing on the deck of his new ship, the SMS Hessen. Sarah and Nessa didn’t call enough which was nothing new but since the two of them led very busy lives it was understandable.

Off Barcelona

Jacob watched as the 42cm guns fired another volley at the Spanish positions in the city. The fleet had increasingly found itself fighting the tactics used in the Gulf of Finland. Small units like torpedo boats and armed launches fighting against Q-ships and speed boats. That left the minesweepers working overtime and the introduction of the technology enabling low flying aircraft to detonate sea mines. Jacob had spent a few enjoyable hours examining the degaussing ring and the generator on a modified JU-52 when the Hessen had taken on supplies in Italy the week before.

Jacob had heard the it was this sort of fighting that had delayed the construction of a hypothetical new class of battleships. There were serious questions as to whether or not anything like Jutland would ever happen again. Interestingly it had been the demands of the Heer’s 3rd Corps that had seen the heaviest use of the battle line. As the siege of Barcelona had progressed in had been the 42cm and 38cm guns of the fleet that had speeded the progress through the city. As it was it had been a slow grinding battle. When this portion of the campaign had been planned, it was hoped that the sea port would be used by the fleet and help the Heer’s logistic train. Even from here Jacob could see that even if the battle ended tomorrow it would take weeks or even months to make the port usable.


Maria was sitting there typing her latest article. She had interviewed a panzer crew earlier that day. The panzer commander was a grizzled old noncom who had ignored her. The crew on the other hand were all a bunch of teenagers who had tried to impress her by showing off the dark grey stripes that they had painted on the barrel their panzer. She learned that they had done that to denote the number of Spanish tanks that they had knocked out. That also happened to be the reason that she had been assigned to interview that lot. They were a crew that had been ordered together because they were new and still had a lot to learn. They had somehow managed to score the second highest number of kills in their Brigade.

The panzer crew had all tried to one up each other with wild stories most of which were things that had actually happened. Maria found them to be cute, they probably would have been horrified if they had known she thought of them that way.

When Maria had asked their names for her story their behavior changed in a number of odd ways. It would occur to her later that these were somebody’s children and a couple of them might have run away home from rather than being conscripted. The driver, Lars Kuhn, had proudly told her his name. Judging from his attitude and the sad attempt at a mustache he was sporting he thought himself a Lothario. Maria had to do her best not to laugh at him. Fritz Kolbe had identified himself as a radio operator and tried to affect the same posture as his friend. He fit every stereotype of his position so it was even more comical. Olli, the loader had just said that no one back home would read a newspaper from Berlin anyway. “Not even if you’re in it?” Maria had asked. He just shook his head. The gunner, Kurt, had just clammed up and refused to talk further.

As Maria worked on her story she remembered one of the few pearls of wisdom that Grossmann had ever given her. Never burn a source if you don’t have to. She made a point of focusing on Oberfeld Justyn Piontek, the panzer commander. Most of the career noncoms she’d met hated attention, the best way to get revenge on them was to give it to them. Served him right for ignoring her, she thought to herself. She included a few quotes from Lars and Fritz. She figured that was enough for now.
What an airplane mounted degaussing ring looks like.
What exactly is that thing supposed to do? How does it work?

Sea mines are built around a magnetic switch. They get within the proximity of a large metal object like a steel ship's hull, the switch flips and KA BOOM!

The ring is a powerful electromagnet that flips that switch from a low flying aircraft.
Just be careful that the plane does not get caught up in the blast zones as the mines are set off.
Sea mines are built around a magnetic switch. They get within the proximity of a large metal object like a steel ship's hull, the switch flips and KA BOOM!

The ring is a powerful electromagnet that flips that switch from a low flying aircraft.

Surely the great majority of sea mines in 1937 ITTL as well would still be of the traditional contact type, not magnetic, though? If only due to the fact that contact mines are a lot cheaper than magnetic mines.
Surely the great majority of sea mines in 1937 ITTL as well would still be of the traditional contact type, not magnetic, though? If only due to the fact that contact mines are a lot cheaper than magnetic mines.

It's the POV of Jacob Schmidt, anything new and interesting he would be all over, that being a part of his nature.
Part 15, Chapter 145
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Five

6th June, 1937

South of Madrid

For the last week, they had been under attack. This was starting to remind Horst of the Great War, being dug in on a battlefield surrounded by a cratered landscape. His Company had been ordered to hold here. Horst liked to think that the Brass had something special in mind. Instead it was looking more and more like they were content to have the Spanish exhaust themselves in a fruitless offensive. The other aspect was something that Sjostedt used to cynically joke about, war killed off the stupid extremely fast. The Spanish had discovered that the antitank guns they had were deficient and the anti-aircraft guns that did the number on Spanish tanks left the crews dangerously exposed. The result was coordinated artillery and armor in a manner that no one had considered the Spanish to be capable of.

Emil had said that the tempo of the Spanish operations was going to grind to a halt. Between the road interdiction and the KLM blockading Spain’s Mediterranean ports they would not be able to fight as a coherent force for much longer. Horst had realized that these were the same tactics used by the British in the Great War.

North of Madrid, 1st Fallschirmjäger Bivouac

Maria was walking through the encampment with the Soldats who had insisted on escorting her to Emil’s tent.

“…so then General Holz walks up to us and says that we’re taking that damned bridge” One of the Soldats was saying “That’s when Gregor tries to say that those weren’t our orders. The General looks him in the eye and says that he just volunteered to lead the charge.”

There was a round of guffaws and one Soldat’s face had turned beat red. Maria figured that he must be the Gregor in question. She had heard this story before but it was interesting hearing it from the men who were under Emil's command.

They came to the tent that supposedly belonged to Emil.

“Thank you” Maria said to them.

“Yeah, whatever” One of the Soldaten said as they walked off. She figured that was as close to a your welcome as she was likely to receive.

“Good evening” Emil said as he stepped out of the tent “Entertaining the troops I see.”

“Hardly” Maria said “They’re just a bit easier to talk to than most of the soldiers I encounter.”

“You do know it’s because they assume that you’re my woman” Emil said.

“I’m no one’s woman” Maria said “That is a bit presumptuous on their part.”

“Not from their perspective” Emil said “They know about you from Rechlin-Lärz and all of them have read your article.”

“What about the one by Herr Hemingway?” Maria asked.

“I’ve a standing order that if I catch anyone with Hemingway’s article that man will be demoted and flogged” Emil said, Maria couldn’t tell if that was a joke or not “Why did you come out here tonight, Fraulein Acker?”

“I have a problem that you might have a unique perspective on.” Maria said “You were under age when you joined the Heer?”

“That much is true” Emil said with a chuckle “It’s called false enlistment, a bit late to do anything about that now.”

“In covering one of my stories I ran across a couple of soldiers who probably are under age” Maria said.

“If they are not under my command I’d suggest that you keep it under your hat” Emil said “If they are old enough to pass they’ll age out of that soon enough, that’s what happened to me.”

“Are you sure about that?” Maria asked.

“You shouldn’t worry about it” Emil said “And if you really think it’s a problem give me their names and I’ll try to deal with it in a manner that won’t make a mess.”

Emil knew the truth was this current conflict had not lasted long enough to attract the real adventure seekers. Most of the ones like Maria said she had found were those that were in the Heer because whatever they were running from something. When you encounter a young man who begs not to be turned in because three meals a day and safe place to sleep were a luxury for them it gives you perspective. He had taken pity on a few of them and had them chasing birds off the tarmac or some other harmless noncombatant role. They had gone on to become some of his best Paras. He was also in a bind because as the XO of a Division he was supposed to be one of the ones enforcing the rules, he would be obligated to report this matter to his counterpart in whatever outfit Maria was talking about.

“Two boys named Kurt and Olli in the same panzer crew” Maria said.

“I really wish you hadn’t just done that” Emil said.


Emil found himself obligated to do something because Maria had brought it to his attention. That had presented a whole bunch of problems, not the least of which was the fact that the Oberst who’s Regiment the Panzer Brigade in question was attached to happened to be an old rival of Emil’s. It took a lot of effort on his part to straighten this situation out and to convince Erwin Rommel that he wasn’t poaching from among the 140th Regiment. After that it was just a matter of making some discrete radio calls to get someone in Wunsdorf to confirm what they already suspected. Emil got left feeling like a total hypocrite.

South of Madrid

Piontek was enjoying a nice Sumer afternoon when the Oberst’s gofer showed up and said that the Oberst had asked for Olli and Kurt. That was it, the axe was falling. “Been nice knowing you two.” Was all he said to them as they walked off. Nice to know that the noncom who’s panzer they’d fought in for the last few months was willing to give them such a ringing endorsement.

As it turned out they had been transferred to Putlos. They presented a problem and at the moment the Heer was settling for simply making them go away.
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I wonder how much Kurt and Olli will "thank" Maria for her revelations. Guess we will find out what their next adventures will be.
Part 15, Chapter 146
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Six

7th June, 1937

Madrid, Spain

Kurt was sitting on the train waiting for it to depart when all the other soldiers on the train snapped to attention. At least the ones able to. That was something that was a source of embarrassment to him and Olli, everyone else on this railcar was walking wounded being evacuated home. Olli had half-jokingly whispered to Kurt that their black Panzer Corps uniforms made them look like two vultures amongst a crowd of wounded pigeons, Kurt had told him to shut up. A Major wearing an odd uniform, not of the Heer, walked down the aisle.

“The General wants a word with you two” He said “Outside.”

Everything they had been taught in their brief careers said that they were insects as far as this man was concerned. Disobedience was not an option. As Kurt followed the Major out of the railcar, climbing down to the rail bed. He noticed that armed Paras were standing around. A man wearing the epaulets of a General was standing there. He realized who this must be.

“I figured that you two deserved to know that I’m the one who arranged to have you sent to Putlos as opposed to giving you the boot” The General said.

“How did you know, Sir?” Kurt asked, Olli just stood there nervously.

“You made a mistake when you refused to give Fraulein Acker your name” The General said “She’s a journalist, her instinct is to dig when a source withholds information. Maria came to me because she was concerned about you two.”

That was it then, they had been undone by their own attempts to hide their personal details.

“I should also tell you that any anger directed at Maria is misplaced” The General said Kurt noticed that he twice called the journalist by her first name. Was something going on there?

“With the sort of combat record you had you would have eventually been up for decoration. Some bureaucrat in the OKW would have caught the discrepancies in the records” The General finished.

“What’s going to happen to us?” Olli asked.

“You’ll get to keep your heads down, stay out of trouble and do as you’re told until you no longer present your commanders with a problem that needs to be gotten rid of” The General said “You got lucky here, make the most of that opportunity.”

They just stood there nodding like idiots, it was not as if they would dare to disagree with a General. Particularly not this one.

“Now I don’t want to hear either of your names for a good long time. Am I clear Soldat Bauer?” Olli gulped as the General singled him out like that “And that goes double for you Knispel” The General said turning to Kurt “Now get the Hell out of my sight!”

As Kurt and Olli scrambled to get back onto the train they heard the whistle in the distance. They had barely made it to their seat before the train started moving.

“What did General Holz want with you two?” Someone asked.

“None of your business” Kurt snapped.

Berlin, Germany

Of all the reactions that Kat could have gotten from Helene it was jealousy that she had not anticipated. When she had met Helene this afternoon she had listened to her friend talk about how the death of the Crown Prince had put the entirety of Berlin society into mourning. Helene was buoyant about this because she hated society functions and had been using the war as an excuse not to join in, now she had a new excuse. Gerta was absent because she said she found the idea of pretending to be upset about the death of a man she had only met a few times to be repulsive. Kat had a feeling that the departure of Gerta to her father’s house in the countryside had been met with relief in some circles.

That was when Kat brought up her brief conversation with Schultz a few weeks earlier and Helene got upset with her.

“You have no clue!” Helene yelled at her “I got sent to Berlin because I wanted something more but you… You get handed something like this! It’s not fair!”

Kat could think of hundreds of the times when her Aunt Marcella had told her that life was not fair. For someone like Helene who thought getting sent to Berlin and having all her expenses covered was a hardship to complain about anything being unfair was ridiculous.

“I don’t see what the big deal is” Kat said “Johan Schultz said that I had more opportunities than I realized and asked what werewolf meant to me. It’s just stupid?”

“Stupid” Helene said “You only think it’s stupid because you have no idea what that was all about.”

“Okay” Kat said “What am I not seeing here?”

“Johan worked with my father long after he supposedly quit” Helene said “I overheard him tell my father some of the things that he and his merry band of cut throats were up to.”

“At a shipping company?” Kat asked.

“It’s not a shipping company” Helene said and then in low voice, practically a whisper “It’s an Abwehr front, military intelligence.”

“Well, I don’t see what that could possibly have to do with someone like me” Kat said “I don’t know what this family friend of yours wanted but he clearly wasted his time.”

Kat noticed that Helene was livid.

“He wanted you Kat” Helene hissed “You get the sort of thing I’ve wanted my whole life and you think it’s stupid.”

“What are you talking about?”

“IT WAS A RECRUITMENT PITCH AND YOU WERE TOO THICK TO SEE IT FOR WHAT IT WAS! Helene yelled at Kat before she stormed off. A few passersby on the street stared at them.
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So, a young girl (who is a friend with an effectively princess) is being recruited into Intelligence office... What could possibly go wrong?