Poor Helene is missing out on life she desires while Kat is only now getting a hint of. It will have to be seen if Heline will finagle a way into Operations or go rogue. Could she convince Gerta to help her?
 
Part 15, Chapter 147
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Seven


25th June, 1937

South of Madrid

Hans felt like this operation was a strange throwback to another era. The Spanish offensive had crapped out and this entire sector had gone quiet. After news had spread that the last defenders in Barcelona had surrendered it seemed to have taken the starch out of the Spanish. Hans had heard that Barcelona had been a meatgrinder along the lines of Arras. His father had been there and some of the stories he told of that brutal siege made Hans glad that task had fallen to someone else. Instead he was sneaking across No Man’s Land in the predawn darkness with the rest of the Regiment.

It was standard practice to turn over the engines on the armored vehicles ever few hours to keep them from seizing up if they were needed in an emergency. The first few times they did that it panicked the Spanish. Now the Spaniards ignored it. Whoever planned this operation had noticed this and decided to take advantage of it to cover any incidental noise they might make cutting through the wire.

The entire 140th was sneaking across the lines with orders not to fire until fired on so that they could give the Spanish a rude awakening. They had been joined by a few hundred Paras, payback for some sort of deal that the Brass had worked out. Word was the Paras became destructive if they didn’t have something to do. These were veterans of Arganda Bridge, hard eyed men who walked around like they had nothing to prove to anyone. Real killers, Jost had said. They had fanned out ahead of the 140th. In the gathering grey light Hans saw that sentries were still at their posts, just very dead. They had each been given a stick grenade and told that they would know when to throw it. Hans pulled the cap off the end of the handle, felt for the porcelain bead and waited.

The pitch of the engines changed as the vehicles were put into gear to support the attack. Hans saw several faces appear over the lip of the trench. He yanked the bead and threw the grenade into the trench. Seconds later there was a series of explosions down the trench line. Hans emptied the magazine of his rifle into the trench and reloaded without thought. The dark shapes of the SPz-Is and Stugs moved in behind them. An anti-tank gun opened fire somewhere across the lines narrowly missing one of the Stugs. What looked like thousands of 13mm tracers and more than a few 75mm shells flew over Hans’ head. They didn’t hear any more fire from the anti-tank gun.

Hans ran up the communication trench towards the second trench line. This was the exact sort of thing that they had trained for. Not that Hans would ever thank Horst for this. They surprised the soldiers in the second trench as the air was filled with the clatter of rifles and the ripping sound of light machine guns. Hans saw Jost and Soren throw something through the door of a pillbox that one of the occupants was desperately trying to close. Seconds later there was an explosion inside the pillbox, dust and smoke poured from every opening.

As the sun rose over the battlefield they had broken through. Panzers were already rushing forward to exploit the gap. What might have stopped entire Divisions cold in the Great War they had smashed their way through in just a few hours.

They were sitting on the side of a road watching the infantry go by when Horst pulled up in his car. “You lot did well today” He said “Now get back to work.” They watched as Horst put his car back in gear pull a tight U-turn and drive off back towards Madrid.

“How do like that” Rudy muttered.


Putlos Training Area, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

The Russian built T-26 was a very different experience from a Panzer II. As Kurt and Olli had found out that they had been assigned to this vehicle they had discovered that the two-man turret was different than what they were used to. There was no turret basket so it was a choice of either sitting in the seat or standing on the ammunition lockers. The commander was also the loader and the gunner’s sight was limited to say the least. The driver, Axel let them choose who did what in the turret so long as they kept what they wanted from him to be clear and concise. The Brass wanted the T-26s and BT-5s that had been captured to be thoroughly evaluated. Especially the T-26, reports of the light tank being able to absorb an incredible amount of damage had come in. The Brass wanted to know why.

Today they had Olli in the gunner’s seat. It didn’t matter if they hit a target or even bothered to aim. They were loading blank charges and firing blank cartridges from the coaxial machine gun. The T-26 was advancing slowly up the road. Olli hit the foot peddle firing then main gun. Instead of a shell it was a pyrotechnic that sent a jet of flame and a thunderous roar from the 45mm gun barrel. Kurt loaded a new cartridge into the main gun and went back to the panoramic sight.

A noncom stepped out onto the road waving a red flag a few hundred meters ahead. Axel brought the Panzer to a stop. Olli popped open the hatch and the turret was filled with fresh air. Kurt climbed up out of the turret and watched the people who were standing around the Panzer. It was a mixture of Heer Soldaten dressed up like Paras and Spanish soldiers standing around the foot of an old trestle bridge that was due for demolition. There were also a few actors standing around and a film crew. One of the actors looked like he had stepped off of a recruiting poster. Kurt knew that he was the star of the film, the latest Jochen Loewe adventure.

“He doesn’t look anything like General Holz” Kurt said “Too square.”

“Is that who he’s supposed to be?” Olli asked.
 
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Things would be really funny if Kurt was named Stan. ;)

So a new movies being made that will piss of Emil. The Germans have broken another Spanish line and gained more territory. Horst got to ball out some privates and ride in comfort. Will a peace come to Spain or are there more surprises yet to come?
 
There were also a few actors standing around and a film crew. One of the actors looked like he had stepped off of a recruiting poster. Kurt knew that he was the star of the film, the latest Jochen Loewe adventure.

“He doesn’t look anything like General Holz” Kurt said “Too square.”

“Is that who he’s supposed to be?” Olli asked.

I got a feeling that no good deed goes unpunished. I mean what does every hero movie need? answer: A Love Intrest for the Hero. I bet those two kids are being overheard and they spill the beans about Emil and Maria.
 
There were also a few actors standing around and a film crew. One of the actors looked like he had stepped off of a recruiting poster. Kurt knew that he was the star of the film, the latest Jochen Loewe adventure.

“He doesn’t look anything like General Holz” Kurt said “Too square.”

“Is that who he’s supposed to be?” Olli asked.

I got a feeling that no good deed goes unpunished. I mean what does every hero movie need? answer: A Love Intrest for the Hero. I bet those two kids are being overheard and they spill the beans about Emil and Maria.

Can we say "rewrite". :winkytongue:
 
Part 15, Chapter 148
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Eight


1st July, 1936

Berlin, Germany

As Augustus Lang walked through the police cordon to enter Reichstag the intensity of the protesters increased. To his left was a collection of Communists and Anarchists protesting the lopsided conflict in Spain. It was one of those deals where you have start wondering what they were really protesting. Were they upset by the war or by what the presence of the Heer was doing to The Revolution? There was also matter of mass graves that had been found outside Madrid, the news of that hadn’t reached this crowd yet but Lang had the report sitting on his desk. To his right was a crowd of various Nationalist and Monarchists factions. They were upset by the decision of the Government to make a point of not annexing Spain and making it a Principality of the German Empire. Spain already had a King and they were not about to start making the same blunders as Napoleon Bonaparte.

The people who Lang was siding with here were the Berlin Police who had to keep those two groups separated. As much they collectively disliked the Government they absolutely hated each other to the point of going after the other with knives. Lang found it extremely ironic that he was taking that perspective considering some of the things that had happened in the past.

Lang navigated the stairs to the main entrance, while he still needed the cane he wouldn’t necessarily fall over without it any more. Rhona had remarked on this recently, Doctors had told him that he might eventually start to recover from his injuries. It only took twenty years was all, he thought with a huge amount of sarcasm.

One of his Aides came rushing through the lobby “Sir, that thing you’ve had people in the field looking for, they think they might have found it.” He looked around making sure that no one was listening. “Names, dates, everything.” That was huge.

“Very well” Lang said “Send them whatever they need, I want this this to be tight as a drum when it gets presented to the public.”


Putlos, Germany

Ivo Mein was watching the Panzers roll up to the bridge. This was the build up towards the climax of the film that UFA was in the process of making. The latest in the dozens of films of this sort that they had made over the years. Propaganda and other B movie drivel. They were always able to gain the assistance of the OKW which kept the overhead low. As a writer, Ivo was personally disgusted with the sort of pabulum he was doing but he had yet to convince the Studio heads that his work was worthy of some of the more prestigious film projects that they did. Instead they had him doing the garbage that made the bulk of the Studio’s money.

The Director stopped filming and they stopped the Panzers, the actual vehicles used in Spain just months earlier. Like always the crews popped open the hatches and were kicking around on top of the turrets. There had a few issues with the distinctive uniforms worn by the Panzer crews. Most of those had also been shipped in from Spain and they were less than thrilled with being buttoned up in the summertime like they were during filming.

As Ivo walked past one of the Panzers he heard two of the crew joking with each other about the production. The actor playing Jochen Loewe was a particular target of their mirth. They were comparing him to the Para Officer that supposedly based on.

“You two have actually met General Holz?” Ivo asked.

“Yeah” Kurt said “We met him on the train right before we left Madrid.”

“What would a General have to do with two Soldaten?”

“He had his reasons” Kurt said “Mostly it had to do with that journalist.”

“The journalist?” Ivo asked.

“The one he has the thing for” Olli said with a smirk.

Ivo looked at these two, hardly more than boys. Their reaction to whatever was going on with this journalist reminded him of the reaction that schoolboys might have if they learned that the Headmaster was dating the Kindergarten teacher.

“You should have been there” Kurt said “Maria this, Maria that.”

Ivo heard that. This was an entire aspect of the very events that this insipient film was purporting to depict. He needed to find out more about this woman journalist. He was tired of writing two dimensional characters, it was long past time that he gave Loewe a bit of depth.


Zamora, Spain

Schultz walked through basement, the Nationalist General had lived down here for months to avoid the attention of Thorwald. A few days earlier that same General had led a bayonet charge into a Panzer column. Shultz hated the thought of an enemy General dying in a heroic manner. His preference would have him to be buried in this basement like the roach that he was, but then this wealth of information would have been lost.

Names, intelligence, dates and a mind-boggling amount of money. Schultz now knew who had started this war and that list of names was truly insane. He could recall directing artillery fire from a recon plane in the Great War. Shells from a Big Bertha howitzer, 42 centimeters, the shock waves had thrown the airplane around even though it was hundreds of meters in the air. This was going land in America and England with the impact of those artillery shells.
 
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“You two have actually met General Holz?” Ivo asked.

“Yeah” Kurt said “We met him on the train right before we left Madrid.”

“What would a General have to do two Soldaten?”

“He had his reasons” Kurt said “Mostly it had to do with that journalist.”

“The journalist?” Ivo asked.

“The one he has the thing for” Olli said with a smirk.

Ivo looked at these two, hardly more than boys. Their reaction to whatever was going on with this journalist reminded him of the reaction that schoolboys might have if they learned that the Headmaster was dating the Kindergarten teacher.

“You should have been there” Kurt said “Maria this, Maria that.”

Ivo heard that. This was an entire aspect of the very events that this insipient film was purporting to depict. He needed to find out more about this woman journalist. He was tired of writing two dimensional characters, it was long past time that he gave Loewe a bit of depth.


And there it is. Of all the things that may get Holz and Maria together, its a movie about them:p:p
 
And there it is. Of all the things that may get Holz and Maria together, its a movie about them:p:p

Just the thing the writer needs to make a name for himself, and maybe get a shot at making a non dreck movie.

Now I will wait to see how Maria and Emil will react to this. :closedtongue:
 
With the list of names and dates, some heads and companies are going to be scrambling to build up their lies and try to rewrite history over their deeds.
 
I know you dont want to give to many spoilers away, and that the intervention in Spain was decided at a secret meeting, but could you explain at least the official reason as to why the Germans are in Spain?
 
Part 15, Chapter 149
Chapter One Hundred Forty-Nine


3rd July, 1937

Berlin, Germany

Ivo Mein had gone into Berlin for the weekend and so far, it had proven particularly successful. He had found out the identity of the mysterious Maria. She was Maria Acker of the Berliner, who had until very recently written for the metro desk but had made the jump to features. He could even recall reading some of her articles about local government in the past. General Holz was opaque as far as the media was concerned. He ducked interviews and in an infamous incident returned a script to the studio with several bullet holes through it. They had asked his opinion, by God they got it. Maria Acker and Ernest Hemingway had gotten that interview, at Arganda Bridge no less.

That was when Ivo’s greatest stroke of luck occurred. The photographs in the Arganda interview were all credited to Robert Capa. Ivo was aware that Capa was back in Berlin, his companion and partner Gerda Taro was caught in the trenches outside Madrid with the International Brigades when they were overrun. The shock tactics employed by the Panzer Divisions were designed to destroy ability of an enemy to effectively fight back and Gerda had witnessed that first hand by being on the receiving end of it. She was sent to Berlin with what they were calling a case of nerves. Capa was said to be in Berlin visiting her before going back to Spain. Best of all Capa not only had seen Emil Holz and Maria Acker briefly together in Spain but he had several photographs and even a 16mm film clip of them on the bridge itself.

“Ever see two people who you know are going to end up together but are too stubborn to admit it yet” Was how Capa had described it.

For Ivo, this was even better than anything he could have made up. He would need to do a rewrite on several portions of the script and put a call into casting. The Studio heads would be furious with him for this but this would almost magically transform the piece of crap film he had been working on into a potential blockbuster.


4th July, 1937

Cullera, Spain

It was overshadowed by world events but the 2nd Army had reached the Mediterranean Sea somewhere south of Valencia. Horst had read in the newspaper this morning about the Zamora files. The German involvement in this conflict was being called a police action, to end the Civil War and restore local governance as swiftly as possible. As if anyone looking at a world map couldn’t instantly see what it was really about. Now it was being spelled out in black & white and whoever dug this stuff up had waited until their ducks were in a row before they released it.

The middle men had been an Englishman and an American, Winston Churchill and Prescott Bush. They had facilitated communications between the Spanish Falangists and Military Officers displeased with the direction of the Spanish Republic with interests that had extremely deep pockets. The likes of Texas Oilmen, Wall Street Bankers, Politicians and even the current King of England. There was going to be a lot of pain going around because of this.

All of this had to do not only with a general opposition to Communism but opposition to the policies of the current American Presidential Administration, even as moderate as those were. The conspirators had wanted an international showcase of their policy prescriptions and if thousands of people had to die as the faction they backed stomped out the opposition, who cares. They obviously didn’t. What they hadn’t factored in was that the strategic depth that the German Government had been building into its supply chain went right past, if not through, Spain. Having the country controlled by either Russian or American backed interests would be intolerable.

As Horst saw it, all the Nationalist would have needed to do was wait a couple of years and the Abwehr would have come knocking. Instead they had launched the coup. Now they stood with their leadership dead and their movement discredited. The Republicans were coming off just as bad. Their lists of non-Stalinist Communists and suspected Nationalists to be purged had been discovered in Madrid. The Government in Valencia had tried to say that it was all Imperialist lies which became increasingly difficult as the mass graves of Paracuellos were being opened up for all the world to see. The latest count was over a thousand dead.

Horst looked up from the newspaper, he was sitting in his car at the edge of the beach. They had been warned about partisans being around but at the moment everything was peaceful. He had ordered the turrets on the Company’s APCs to be manned and lookouts posted. Not popular orders. If any locals thought they could take advantage of the Company taking a break from their advance across Spain then Horst wanted them to get 8 and 13mm bullets in return for their troubles. The remainder of the Company was down in the water splashing around in the surf. He would let them have their fun for a while then he’d rotate them. They really were just a bunch kids and someone had to be the adult here.


Mediterranean Sea, North of Mallorca

T.55, or the Adder as her crew had dubbed her, was cruising in bright sunlight on a sapphire sea. This was a radical departure from her usual patrols in the North Sea. She was the latest evolution of torpedo boats going back to the before the Great War. Almost as large as a British Destroyer, she was propelled by four big supercharged marine diesel engines to speeds of around 40 knots. With her four torpedo tubes and powerful array of other weaponry she was designed for the express purpose of hunting the battleships of the British Royal Navy.

Today the wind had felt hot, even at cruising speed which they were not moving at. Hauptbootsmann Arend Neumann wiped sweat off his forehead as they tied up to the Russian freighter. He had the joy of leading this boarding party. Enforcing the blockade had become more of a chore lately as various people were attempting to flee the shit show that was happening ashore. The Russian crew of this particular ship was looking around nervously as Arend and the rest of the boarding party walked amongst them with pistols and sub machine guns in the Crew Mess where they had been herded into.

“The Captain says that they are just leaving port and the holds are empty” The crewman acting as translator said. That much was true but it was also a load of crap.

Arend smiled “Tell the Captain I wasn’t born yesterday.”

The translator relayed that, the Captain responded.

“He says he has no idea what you are talking about” The translator said.

Arend untied a rope holding a crate to the bulkhead of the Crew Mess and pitched it onto the deck. It broke open and everyone saw that it was full of gold bullion. “Tell him that we’ll consider not sinking his ship if he tells us what he did with the rest” Arend said. The Russians now looked like they were on the verge of panic. It had turned out that Captain Schmidt’s tip about the Russians trying to filch the Spanish Treasury had panned out.
 
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“Ever see two people who you know are going to end up together but are too stubborn to admit it yet” Was how Capa had described it.

For Ivo, this was even better than anything he could have made up. He would need to do a rewrite on several portions of the script and put a call into casting. The Studio heads would be furious with him for this but this would almost magically transform the piece of crap film he had been working on into a potential blockbuster.

This had me laughing. We new it was coming. We talked about it and guessed on what might happen.

This is even better than what I might have hoped for. :D
 
Well their will be some folks going on "sabbatical" and "extended sailing trips" now. Lots of fall out and I am sure several companies and men will be investigated and seized in the months to come. How many will escape with and how many will fall to retribution. Legal and non?
 
Part 15, Chapter 150
Chapter One Hundred Fifty


25th July, 1937

Berlin, Germany

Emil found himself once again standing in the reception hall of the Hohenzollern Palace almost twenty-one years to the day since the last time he had been here. This time he had not endured the attention of a Protocol Officer or been dragged off to be on the receiving end of a medical examination like if he might give the Emperor a disease. As a Generalmajor it was assumed that he could take care of all that himself, that involved wearing the light grey dress uniform of the Paras. A uniform he’d not worn since that night he had dinner with Manfred von Richthofen. The tailor had to take in the waist by a few inches, living off of field rations for months had that sort of effect. He had flown into Tempelhof while his men were still boarding trains in Madrid. He would have preferred to be with them.

Today Emil Holz was to be granted entry into the Order of Pour le Mérite. Other Officers that he had been in contact with had coveted this medal and it had prompted almost suicidal acts of bravery. Unlike similar medals in other nations it was never issued posthumously. You had to be here to receive it. Emil also considered his old Knight’s Cross, the medal had ridden around in various pockets, seldom worn as intended at his throat.

In front of Emil an attendant opened a wooden box that contained the blue enameled golden Maltese Cross and handed it to the Emperor…

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Maria had returned to Berlin once the negotiations ending the war in Spain had dragged on. Neither the surviving Republicans or Nationalists were willing to sit across from the Provisional Government. With the upcoming elections in Spain neither of those formally warring factions were going to have a pot to piss in. That had resulted in the newspaper deciding that they were no longer interested in keeping two reporters in the field there. Grossmann had offered to return to Berlin but she had told him to stay in Madrid and get the story. She had boarded the Lufthansa flight back to Berlin a few hours later. Quite a change from how she had entered Spain months earlier in a hired lorry in the dead of winter.

Maria was trying to get a handle on the massive stack of correspondence that had piled up on her desk during her absence when one of the secretaries walked up to it. “There’s a gentleman here for you” She said.

“I’ve this mess to deal with” Maria said “Tell him to come back some other time.”

“I think you are going to want see this one” The Secretary said “As in you might regret it if you don’t.”

“You see this” Maria said curtly gesturing to the pile that made it so that she couldn’t even see the surface “Take a message and I’ll get back to him, understood.”

“Yes, Ma’am” The Secretary said.

The Secretary walked back out to the lobby “Sorry, Sir” She said to Emil Holz “She said she’d too busy at the moment.”

“I understand” Emil said as he turned to leave. An hour later he boarded the train to Rechlin.

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Helene was sitting in the window seat watching the street, it had gotten a lot more boring here in Berlin since she was not on speaking terms with Kat. Gerta had told her to go apologize but Helene had been unable to bring herself to do it yet.

Now her father was back, having the Emperor and the Government shower him with rewards for his successful campaign. Her parents were staying in Berlin for the next few weeks which made things even more difficult. Now late at night she was laying in her bed woken by a tapping on her window. She pulled back the curtain and saw Kat’s face on the other side of the screen, it was a warm night and Helene had fallen asleep with the window open.

“I had to talk to you” Kat said “It’s an emergency”

Whatever this was it had been important enough to make Kat scale the side of the building, up three floors. Helene tried to keep things quiet as she opened the screen and let Kat in.

“What’s the emergency?” Helene asked.

“I know you were angry about that offer I got and I didn’t know what to do” Kat said “So I went to a Fortune Teller in a Gypsy encampment that I heard about outside of Magdeburg.”

“Have you lost your mind” Helene said “That’s halfway across the country and you think this is an emergency. How long ago was this?”

“A few days ago” Kat said.

Some emergency, Helene thought to herself. This was the sort of thing that she might have expected from Gerta but not Kat. It was obvious that Kat had picked her usual means of transportation and circled Germany several times by rail trying to get back to Berlin.

“And what did this fortune teller have to say?” Helene asked, exacerbated with her friend.

“On the day that the dome is consumed by fire a blood tide will come" Kat said "Followed by a blue-black tide that will sweep everything away.”

“She said this when you asked if you should return Johan’s call?” Helene asked “Tell me you didn’t pay her a whole lot.”

“You think I’m being silly?” Kat asked.

“No” Helene said “I was being silly and jealous. You went halfway across the country for me. Fortune tellers make money by being dramatic. When you call Johan, you should ask him about things like that. He’s a master of misdirection and deception.”

“You think I should make that call?” Kat asked.

“Yes, I think you should” Helene said “And no more fortune tellers. Let’s get you home, your Aunt Marcella must be worried sick.”
 
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