Part 23, Chapter 253
Author’s note; Is it possible to fly a Flak Tower?

Chapter Two Hundred Fifty-Three

22nd February 1942

Bremen, Germany

On behalf of the Free Hanseatic Cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck for a lifetime of service. Jacob looked the latest medal, a red enameled silver Gothic Cross, bearing elements of the crest of those three cities. Esther’s sister Rhona had once compared the appearance of German military medals to something belonging to a Medieval knight, this one almost seemed to be a parody of that idea. He was now the first recipient of the Commander’s Cross of the Hanseatic Cross.

“It’s supposed to be an honor” Ester said as they rode a car through the darkened city where they had spent their childhood back to the hotel.

“Still though” Jacob said, “It was as if they woke up one day realized, oh yeah, he’s from here isn’t he.”

It was the second awards ceremony they had endured since Jacob had returned from the Pacific. The last one had involved receiving the Pour le Mérite and the whole ritual involved with that.

“Yes, being rewarded for all the frequently thankless work you put in for years is something that you should try to enjoy” Esther said, “Especially considering where we both started out.”

Esther had continued to work as a civilian logistician for the OKW at higher and higher levels. Her work had her traveling between constantly Wunsdorf, Berlin and Wilhelmshaven. The theft of a metric ton of explosives and other activities blamed on field units of the Heer and Luftwaffe had caused large scale reform. Esther had been one of the bureaucrats supervising the implementation of those reforms.

It had come as not particularly pleasant surprise for Esther when she had woken up one day and realized that she had her own life and career totally separate from that of her husband. While she had understood that Jacob would be gone for months at a time when she married him. She had come to understand that she hadn’t understood what that would come to look like.

“That’s not it” Jacob said, “When we left here we couldn’t leave fast enough to suit them.”

“The government here never really cared about people like us” Esther said, “Mostly they just pretended we didn’t exist.”

“It wasn’t just Bremen’s government” Jacob said, “Our own people were happy to see me leave.”

“You are going to have to make peace with your father and brothers eventually” Esther said.

“I think I’d have a better chance with the Russians” Jacob replied staring out the window.


“They seem to be mostly be interested in teaching us about radios” Helene said across the table, “But they won’t tell us why.”

“It’s called compartmentalization” Kat said, “It’s so if one part gets compromised the whole isn’t affected.”

Helene just stared at Kat, a sudden reminder as to just who she was talking to and perhaps she might have thought better than to have invited Kat and Gianna over for dinner at her parent’s house. Kat had watched over the last few weeks as Luftwaffe Auxiliary wasn’t exactly what Helene had been expecting. Kat could have told her that Hell would freeze over before she ever saw the cockpit of an airplane.

Unlike Helene, Kat was in the habit of reading the paper every day. While her desire to be informed frequently seemed at odds with her continued sanity it was something she continued to do. Kat had read that the whole purpose of the program was for women like Helene to occupy support and, most of all, noncombatant roles.

“Still what does radio repair have to do with anything?” Helene asked.

“More than you’d think” Kat said, “You need to be patient.”

“Do you know something that I don’t?” Helene asked.

“Don’t put Katherine on the spot like that” Käte said “If she’s in a position to know anything odds are she can’t exactly speak freely on it.”

Kat was thankful that Helene’s mother had just said that, even if she insisted on using Kat’s proper name. The truth was that because the Empress had been appointed the largely symbolic Commander of the Women’s Auxiliary for all service branches and Kat had been present when Kira had been briefed. What they had in mind for Helene was far more important than she could have imagined but Kat couldn’t tell her. She had been selected to be part of a small cadre to be trained in radios and electronics so that they could work as air controllers. Helene wanted a fighter plane, this way she’d be directing dozens of them while coordinating the defense of entire cities and thousands of people.

“It’s natural that Helene has to get involved” Käte said to Kat “It’s a lot like what I did when I volunteered to be a nurse in France. That’s where I met Manfred so it really is in her blood. You should have seen him in those days, so handsome and dashing…”

Kat saw Helene’s face turning beet red. It was clear why her mother had none of her father’s objections to Helene doing this. Käte had very clear expectations about where she expected it to lead.

“Helene said that you're uninterested volunteering yourself Katherine” Kat’s attention snapped back to Helene’s mother who’d just said that.

“That’s not it” Kat said, “I have certain problems that would disqualify me.”

“Yes, the partial deafness” Käte said “It’s nice that you think that Empress Kira will take that for an answer, especially considering how that happened in the first place.”

“Excuse me?” Kat said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that the Empress is probably going to ask you to set an example that can be followed when she gets a chance” Käte said matter of fact “And she’ll point out that any disabilities you have occurred as a result of service to the state, all concerns will get brushed aside.”

That was something that Kat hadn’t considered.
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I Wonder if you had this planned out PM. Seems like you like to please your readers.
I certainly thinks this is within reason of a constitutional monarchy led by social democrats. Free education and wars are what makes social mobility.
It is possibly to late now but what if Helene was a natural pilot who could fly anything? Have her become a works test pilot, TTL's version of Hanna Reitsch may be. In the UK the Supermarine test pilot Jeffery Quill was temporarily commissioned during the BOB to gain combat experience and also because every available pilot was needed at the time. finding a plausible Deus Ex Machina ITTL to get Helene into some form of air combat might be difficult short of ABS but would be nice IMHO.
Author’s note; Is it possible to fly a Flak Tower?

It depends on what you mean. Do you mean, fly the components out to a location? The guns probably, but flak towers are huge


That's a lot of material to transport.
If Helene has enough of a knack for electronics, she might end up working on the radar instead of ATC. That can go to practical testing of airborne radar, which can lead to an oops event where her plane is attacked. (Or she's helping develop tactics for radar equipped planes, and there's an URGENT need...)

Poor Kat; she's done so much, but the usual reward for doing the impossible is to be given more impossible things to do. I suspect that she'll end up doing some coordinating work for the Women’s Auxiliary, and get very frustrated with someone making things difficult. Frustrated cats (and Kats) can be destructive.

Jacob and Esther--very realistic reactions to the medal, I think, and Jacob's resentment is very appropriate. You have a compelling saga here.

If it's not going to spoil anything how is Germany's radar compared to OTL radar development?
Another thought on technology: With the earlier computers, is there work being done on smaller vacuum tubes? More powerful computers will need them.
Re. Is it possible to fly a flak tower?

Two words, my friend, two words:

Orion drive.

There are of course some minor problem associated with these words but nothing that can't by overcome by supreme will! :p
Re. Is it possible to fly a flak tower?

Two words, my friend, two words:

Orion drive.

There are of course some minor problem associated with these words but nothing that can't by overcome by supreme will! :p

We aren't building a super weapon...not at's a rocket engine--yes--that sounds right. Any application of our super rocket engine for destroying cities is a purely unintended side effect...
We aren't building a super weapon...not at's a rocket engine--yes--that sounds right. Any application of our super rocket engine for destroying cities is a purely unintended side effect...

It was an accident. They didn't intend to drop a flak tower on Moscow from the stratosphere. This will set development back weeks!
Assuming the Hindenburg didn't blow up as per OTL, what if an AWACS zeppelin flying at 50,000 feet was built? That'd be out of range of fighters and flak alike. Is it possible with the early-mid-40s tech Germany has?

Heck, imagine one of these with a large cannon or two controlled by computer. You get a precision mini-rod-from-God that way.
Let me chime in, since that heap of concrete is not 5 minutes from where I write this... that's the gun battery tower, the Feuerleitturm, where the plotting and fire solutions are computed is a few hundred meters away and a little bit smaller (but still enormous).
However, since the Habsburgs are still in charge in Vienna, if the Flak towers are still built, they probably would be painted in Schönbrunnergelb. ;)
Part 23, Chapter 254
Chapter Two Hundred Fifty-Four

26th February 1942

New York City, New York

Schultz had spent a lot of time in establishments like this one over the years. Peeling paint, tattered upholstery, poor lighting, the smell of stale cigarette smoke and spilled drinks. London, Paris, Berlin, Buenos Aires and now New York, they were all the same. Such places thrived on their relative anonymity, no one wanted to admit that they came to places like this because didn’t want to be alone when they got drunk on a weekday afternoon. That also made them perfect for the sort of business that Schultz conducted. The man who he had forced to meet him here this afternoon walked in, clearly angry about this turn of events but was as yet powerless to change things. A situation that had persisted for years. He sat down in the booth across from Schultz.

“Your old friends decided that they no longer need your service” Schultz said, “They referred to me and my hope is that we can have a productive relationship in the future.”

“You are saying that I was sold like side of meat” The man said angrily “My understanding was that…”

“Spare me” Schultz said, “This is no longer just about you, there’s your lover and beard to consider here, they too have careers that would be destroyed by their association with you should you get outed.”

“How dare you…” The man said, his voice rising.

“Please keep your voice down” Schultz said calmly “It serves none of our interests to have you do it to yourself.”

The man sat there fuming. “I’m going to kill that Jew” he muttered.

“Actually, the Jew as you called him, has already made his deal” Schultz said, “He sold you for a considerable price and you can be assured that he and his family are forever beyond even your reach.”

“I will not betray my country” The man said, deflated by Schultz pointing out that reality. He had to be aware that Meyers Lansky had seemed to have fallen off the face of the globe one step ahead of indictments that had been handed down by the New York County District Attorney.

“It’s a bit late for that” Schultz said, “You could already be painted as one of the worst traitors in your nation’s history.”

“That doesn’t matter” The man said, “I won’t help you.”

“I don’t care” Schultz said “My hope is that you would be interested in helping yourself. You understand the concept of redemption?”

When Schultz had planned this meeting in John Ellis’s bar in Berlin a few days earlier they had decided that the groundwork for a blackmail scheme had already been done. Ellis himself had been gleefully in favor of leaving this man twisting in the wind for a protracted period of time. That was hardly a surprise considering that he had built his reputation at Ellis’s expense more than a decade earlier. Schultz and Martzel had figured that he was ready for the final step in such a scheme where the mark gets left grasping for the faint glimmer of the opportunity to get out of their predicament. It was false of course but the mark didn’t need to know that.

“What are you saying?” The man asked.

“I’m not one of your gangster friends” Schultz replied, “I see no reason that this relationship can’t be mutually beneficial and have no interest in maintaining it long term. Unlike them I’m not even interested in have you look the other way to obvious illegality.”

“Then why are you doing this?”

“Because I saw an opportunity” Schultz said, letting him think that Schultz was an amateur that could be taken advantage of was part of the plan. Playing the stereotypical German oaf that Americans thought of came easily for Schultz. Eventually this man would hit the end of his leash and he’d find out the hard way what happened to dogs at that point. “You understand that concept, correct?”

The man looked across the table at Schultz speculatively. Schultz could see the wheels turning, this was the man who gathered dirt on everyone, such a man was typically enamored with their own cleverness. He’d bite thinking he’d have the upper hand when he couldn’t be more wrong.

“I understand that concept” The man said.

“It’s actually in both our interests to have you look good with the American public” Schultz said, “I’m prepared to help with that.”

“And this help would be in the form of…” The man said.

“Perhaps the names of Soviet agents in American academia that my organization is aware of” Schultz said as if that were nothing. He watched as the man across the table suddenly sat up straight, this was the sort of thing that he’d kill for. This man craved the media spotlight and the sort that came from catching communists was exactly what he loved most. He’d have no idea that he would be clearing the way for Abwehr’s agents to replace those Soviet agents until it was too late. He’d also be clearing the way for some extremely brutal justice to be carried out against the perpetrators of the Tumbler Ridge massacre but would never know that.


Kat looked at the letter that had arrived at her apartment that day. It had turned out that Käte’s prediction had been dead on. The Empress had refused to except no for an answer and had intervened on Kat’s behalf. She had been granted a waiver for her hearing loss, for exactly the reasons stated. Injuries sustained on behalf of the State should not be an obstacle for further service. That meant that Kat was out of excuses. She was to report to Wunsdorf-Zossen in four days. She had known that she’d pulled back into Abwehr immediately if this came to pass. The only saving grace here was that she was too high profile to get shoved into one of Schultz’s bareknuckle operations.

“Is everything okay Kat?” Jehane asked.

“We’ll need to make arrangements for you in a few days” Kat answered.

“Why, what’s happening?”

Kat gave a long sigh “I don’t know” she said.
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yes, kat back where she belongs!
and the arrested soviet academics, will they know names of other soviet penetration agents, perhaps ones placed in the government?
too bad, a real rolling up of the NKVD spy networks in the US would outrage the public and lead to an early red scare, which would be useful to germany
Hmmm. Kat's back with Abwehr, probably as a case officer managing agents and learning the fine points of the dugging of skulls and the practical applications of MICE (Money, Ideology, Compromise/Coercion and Ego/Extortion) in recruiting of agents for Germany. I think Kat's entirely too well known to operate in the field except for short side trips such as the ones to Canada and England (IMVHO Kat's threat to Philby was not a bluff; when she's in 'mission mode' she's one of the scariest people in this story.)
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