The German Murderchicks trope is pretty old.
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“You are frequently acting as an agent of the Empress herself” Thorwald said “There are many who’ve thought that you’ve needed to be reined in hard. It was figured that you’d take that badly and it would be an unhealthy situation for those individuals. This is actually a compromise.”

Reading this I suddenly had a flashback to the Sound of Music and the nuns singing "What do you do about a problem like Maria", only with a different chorus and a different name. XD
 
Abwehr Special Warfare Camp, Near Judenbach-Sonneberg
{snip}
“You’ve made it through the first week” Thorwald said “The next eight get easier.”

“Eight…” Kat said, eyes wide.

Okay, this kinda-sorta reminded me of G.I. Jane, except that the Paras seem like somewhat normal hard chargers and not bugshit crazies like the SEALs or Rangers or other Special Operators. I was slightly surprised that she wasn't wearing a Stahlhelm.
 
This piece has been turning over in my head since i read it this morn. Kat will not quit. They might have to carry her off the track after she collapses, but quit? NO!

What can easily turn into a problem is the physical training. Everyone else is a trained soldier, experienced, with the conditioning that requires. Kat lacks that conditioning. She's fit, but not the fit of veteran soldiers--the best of the best. I suspect that she just won't be able to keep up the same pace as the others. Add in that she's not that big, and the extra weight is going to be a killer.

Physical differences are real, and she just won't have the strength of most of the other troops. (She can likely almost teach close quarters combat!)
One good thing: They let her keep her karambit. I hope they do the same with other troops that have a small weapon that they're especially good with.

If she makes it through training, she'll become the war goddess of Germany, their own Valkyrie, descending from the sky.

EDIT: Do they have steerable parachutes?
 
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Part 23, Chapter 256
Chapter Two Hundred Fifty-Six


29th March 1942

Berlin

Helene met Gerta at their usual coffee shop, Kat’s absence had grown increasingly conspicuous over the past few weeks. Helene had even gone so far as to call Kat’s Aunt Marcella who had only been able to tell her what she already knew. Kat had gone to Wunsdorf and had yet to return.

“I just wish I knew what had happened to her” Helene said, “Kat sort of felt pressured to make this move and I was big part of that.”

Gerta snorted at that.

“What’s so funny?” Helene asked.

“How long have we known Kat” Gerta replied “Have you seen her get pressured into doing anything that she didn’t actually want to do?”

That was true enough.

“Still though” Helena said, “Where is she?”

Gerta just shrugged “Our little Kat is a cat” She said “This isn’t the first time she’s disappeared like this. She’ll turn up any second with a wild story about chasing spies through the streets of Paris or Lisbon and most of that will actually be true. Knowing Kat, right now she’s probably sitting on a sunny beach with a cold drink in her hand waiting for her return flight.”

Helena smiled at that thought. Yeah, that sounded like Kat.


Abwehr Special Warfare Camp, Near Judenbach-Sonneberg

It was cold, rain was coming down that was increasingly mixed with snow. The straps of the pack were digging into her shoulders. Her parka had been waterproofed but that wasn’t perfect. This week was following the pattern of the prior weeks, hard work for six days then Sundays which were different. Sunday afternoons were free but first a nice 16 kilometer walk through the woods. You’d think that with her being secretly the owner of most of this land she’d have known that there didn’t seem to be a single patch of level ground anywhere.

As soon as they got back to camp there was a brief assembly before they were dismissed for the afternoon. Kat was looking forward to stealing a few hours of sleep before dinner. Something that she’d learned her fellow trainees did as well.

“Fahnenjunker Mischner, you’ve got a visitor”

“Who?” Kat asked.

“Don’t know except he’s waiting for you in the infirmary.”

That sounded a bit ominous.

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

It turned out to be Doctor Holz.

“I came to see how you were holding up” Peter said.

“The experiment you mean?” Kat replied as she hung the sodden parka over a chair.

“That’s one way you put it” Peter said. He was here at the request of General Wolfram von Richthofen in his capacity as a field surgeon to determine if this experiment, as Kat had termed it, should continue. Word had gotten around that he was known and trusted by Kat. He could see already that her normally thin face appeared almost gaunt and needed to be washed. She would need to eat more, that was merely the first recommendation he could make. “I’m more interested in how Katherine, the person, is doing.”

“Better than some” Kat said, with a touch of pride and she sat down in a chair across from Peter. A substantial portion of her cadre had already washed out, she was still here. She had her hair contained under a grey wool crusher cap and she was wearing a Flak vest over grey coveralls.

“That’s not quite what I meant” Peter said, he knew full well that the only way Kat would quit anything like this involved her landing in the hospital. “You forget I’m more aware than most as to how self-destructive you can be. You could be drowning here and you’d refuse to admit it.”

Kat stared at him for a long moment “What are you asking for?” She said.

“As your Doctor, I can already tell that you are a bit malnourished, dehydrated and exhausted” Peter said, “I’m hoping you’re honest enough with me to tell me if there’s anything else I should be aware of.”

“No” Kat said. Peter could tell by the set of her jaw that she might be difficult at this point.

“You’re going to need to prove that” Peter said evenly as he got up and poured a glass of water that he handed to Kat. “And I’ll need your cooperation to help with that.”

Peter watched as Kat hesitated. “What do you need?” She asked.

“I’ll need to check on a few things” He said picking up his bag and pulling out his stethoscope “You don’t have to get completely undressed but enough to let me do this.”

Peter was aware of her social phobias and how this played off of those. Peter had heard talk that she’d nearly decked the Doctor in Wunsdorf, if he’d really angered her then that was her showing remarkable restraint. Just in case Peter dug into his bag for some other tools while she took off the vest and unbuttoned the coveralls. As soon as he saw her he could tell that she’d lost weight from what her file had said was fifty-six kilograms weeks earlier.

Kat had told him stories about how during her misspent childhood she’d hopped trains in the Berlin undercity. Doing things like grabbing a steel bar to climb hand over hand onto a railcar of a moving train, where one slip would have dire consequences. The prospect of being crushed to death under tons of steel is a real motivator, she’d said in a flip manner. There was another story she’d told about climbing up three floors on a drain pipe to speak with her friend Helene and how Helene’s father never could figure out how she had gained access. Curiously that was the sort of thing had prepared her for this life.

Even so he could see that Kat simply had no fat left on her frame, muscle and bone stood out clearly. Peter could see two fading scars from bullet grazes that ran across her shoulder before disappearing under a grey undergarment. He shuttered to think about how close those must have passed to her head.

A livid bruise was visible on her shoulder. “How did that happen?” Peter asked.

“Unarmed combat training” Kat said, “That’s nothing compared to what I did to the other guy, Oberlieutenant Lichtenfeld has taught me a few new tricks.”

Kat seemed to be immensely pleased with that absolutely terrifying development.

“That’s nice” Peter said, “As you well know I’ll be listening to your heart, this is going to be cold, okay” Kat just nodded.
 
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perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
Getting through Customs wasn’t difficult. Did she have anything to declare? Not really, just a stack of books and a bag of dirty laundry.

It was a rainy afternoon and it seemed to take forever to get across town, pausing only long enough to post a stack of letters that Emil had given her when she had boarded the aeroplane in Sydney.
Well played, Emil.
 
This piece has been turning over in my head since i read it this morn. Kat will not quit. They might have to carry her off the track after she collapses, but quit? NO!
{snip}
If she makes it through training, she'll become the war goddess of Germany, their own Valkyrie, descending from the sky.

EDIT: Do they have steerable parachutes?
“I just wish I knew what had happened to her” Helene said, “Kat sort of felt pressured to make this move and I was big part of that.”

Gerta snorted at that.

“What’s so funny?” Helene asked.

“How long have we known Kat” Gerta replied “Have you seen her get pressured into doing anything that she didn’t actually want to do?”

That was true enough.


It turned out to be Doctor Holz.

“I came to see how you were holding up” Peter said.

“The experiment you mean?” Kat replied as she hung the sodden parka over a chair.

“That’s one way you put it” Peter said. He was here at the request of General Wolfram von Richthofen in his capacity as a field surgeon to determine if this experiment, as Kat had termed it, should continue. Word had gotten around that he was known and trusted by Kat. He could see already that her normally thin face appeared almost gaunt and needed to be washed. She would need to eat more, that was merely the first recommendation he could make. “I’m more interested in how Katherine, the person, is doing.”

“Better than some” Kat said, with a touch of pride and she sat down in a chair across from Peter. A substantial portion of her cadre had already washed out, she was still here. She had her hair contained under a grey wool crusher cap and she was wearing a Flak vest over grey coveralls.

“That’s not quite what I meant” Peter said, he knew full well that the only way Kat would quit anything like this involved her landing in the hospital. “You forget I’m more aware than most as to how self-destructive you can be. You could be drowning here and you’d refuse to admit it.”

Kat stared at him for a long moment “What are you asking for?” She said.

“As your Doctor, I can already tell that you are a bit malnourished, dehydrated and exhausted” Peter said, “I’m hoping you’re honest enough with me to tell me if there’s anything else I should be aware of.”

“No” Kat said. Peter could tell by the set of her jaw that she might be difficult at this point.

“You’re going to need to prove that” Peter said evenly as he got up and poured a glass of water that he handed to Kat. “And I’ll need your cooperation to help with that.”

Peter watched as Kat hesitated. “What do you need?” She asked.

“I’ll need to check on a few things” He said picking up his bag and pulling out his stethoscope “You don’t have to get completely undressed but enough to let me do this.”

Peter was aware of her social phobias and this played off of those. Peter had heard talk that she’d nearly decked the Doctor in Wunsdorf, if he’d really angered her then that was her showing remarkable restraint. Just in case Peter dug into his bag for some other tools while she took off the vest and unbuttoned the coveralls. As soon as he saw her he could tell that she’d lost weight from what her file had said was fifty-six kilograms weeks earlier.

Kat had told him stories about how during her misspent childhood she’d hopped trains in the Berlin undercity. Doing things like grabbing a steel bar to climb hand over hand onto a railcar of a moving train, where one slip would have dire consequences. The prospect of being crushed to death under tons of steel is a real motivator, she’d said in a flip manner. There was another story she’d told about climbing up three floors on a drain pipe to speak with her friend Helene and how Helene’s father never could figure out how she had gained access. Curiously that was the sort of thing had prepared her for this life.

Even so he could see that Kat simply had no fat left on her frame, muscle and bone stood out clearly. Peter could see two fading scars from bullet grazes that ran across her shoulder before disappearing under a grey undergarment. He shuttered to think about how close those must have passed to her head.

A livid bruise was visible on her shoulder. “How did that happen?” Peter asked.

“Unarmed combat training” Kat said, “That’s nothing compared to what I did to the other guy, Oberlieutenant Lichtenfeld has taught me a few new tricks.”

Kat seemed to be immensely pleased with that absolutely terrifying development.

“That’s nice” Peter said, “As you well know I’ll be listening to your heart, this is going to be cold, okay” Kat just nodded.

That indomitable spirit is exactly what the training is geared to inculcate, a spirit that Kat has in abundance. Her early years of riding the rails developed the wiry strength needed to excel in her current endeavor. Kat will do well, and I think the experience will have a good influence on her self-esteem. Picture Kat in stylish, well-fitting civilian clothing with all her awards and an attitude of "I'm Katherine von Michener, jackass;" or in a Para's uniform with the attitude of "Yeah, I'm a real Goddamn Fallshirmjaeger, you REMF." She just needs to develop a patina of restraint and a bit of noblesse oblige.
 
Good ol'Kat, trailblazer feminist without wanting to be one. Thats the best kind. When this war is over and done, feminism isn't going to be much of an issue in Germany. Mostly because the example set by people like Kat - and offhanded statement "Injuries sustained in service to the state...". Everybody infringing on that will be told "You tell that woman with enough medals to tip her over that she has less rights than a man. Oak or Beech?" Reminds me on how LGBT rights came in in Es gelobyte Aretz - discount all but achievement.

Will be funny once the US (and others) get around to feminist agitation with the germans looking on uncomprehending and going "Whats there to discuss?".
 

perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
Sergeant GI Jane/Dame/Baroness is not feminism. Just one direction that was closed. Equality means a different thing to each of us. We want to find our own limits before those set by others. The friction of rubbing along, finding mutually agreeable terms, make even equality much more heated than we ideally imagine.

I know that Lang is a republican, but is he trying to turn royalty into a military-elite-film-star thing? Acclamation by rite of cunning, courage and charisma?
 
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Good ol'Kat, trailblazer feminist without wanting to be one. Thats the best kind. When this war is over and done, feminism isn't going to be much of an issue in Germany. Mostly because the example set by people like Kat - and offhanded statement "Injuries sustained in service to the state...". Everybody infringing on that will be told "You tell that woman with enough medals to tip her over that she has less rights than a man. Oak or Beech?" Reminds me on how LGBT rights came in in Es gelobyte Aretz - discount all but achievement.

Will be funny once the US (and others) get around to feminist agitation with the germans looking on uncomprehending and going "Whats there to discuss?".

"Do we allow women to vote? No, we don't allow them anything; all our citizens have the right to vote."

The discussion might widen to other social issues. "Socialism weakening the moral fiber? Sir, the things to which you are referring are pure self-interest on the part of the state. A healthy population is more productive so we have universal health coverage. An educated population is more productive so we have free education. Destitute oldsters are a drag on the economy so we have old-age pensions and don't say that people should save for their own retirements because we all know that economic fluctuations can wipe out those savings in a heartbeat. As for women in the workforce our guiding principle is 'there are no jobs unsuitable for women, just some jobs are unsuitable for a woman.' As for women in the military, discuss that with Freiherrin Katherine von Mischner, if you dare. There are other subjects about which you seem concerned. The government's position is that the state has no interest in such things as long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."

By the way, XLII explained in a PM that "Oak or Beech?" is an inquiry as to the materials to be used in one's coffin.
 
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Part 23, Chapter 257
Chapter Two Hundred Fifty-Seven


1st April 1942

Near Chelm, Poland

Oberstlieutenant Horst had said that the war had fallen into a temporary stalemate of the sort that he’d often seen in France. The Russians advance had been stopped by the artillery, multiple defensive lines that had been built in Poland over the last several years and ironically, by mud and snow. Granted what 42cm railroad guns could do to the enemy’s rear areas was spectacular to watch.

Hans himself just knew that he was living in a pillbox while the Spring thaw and rain turned the front into soup. Rank had its privileges, he’d been bumped up to Feldwebel. Which meant that he got to sleep out of the rain if he didn’t mind sharing space with ammunition crates. He was opening letters from home. Several from Aunt Marcella as well as a package containing wool socks, a bottle of pepper sauce and rock candy. Two things that were priceless here. Uncle Klaus would have told her he’d need the socks to wear, the sauce to help make the monotonous food edible and the candy as currency. Marcella had written about how things had gotten interesting around the machine shop of late. The staffing had radically changed and Marcella had found herself having to move from the office to the floor to help sort things out. Considering that shop made custom precision parts on order none of that was a surprise. Just who they were hiring as apprentices was, small wonder Marcella had felt the need to get involved.

There were a couple letters from Gianna, he hadn’t known that he’d had family in Alsace before she had shown up. Considering how his maternal Grandfather was said to have gotten around it was not in the least bit surprising when one of his grandchildren had turned up. Besides that, Gianna seemed like a good kid, even if a good portion of her background was French. Gianna wrote about school and friends. Helping Aunt Marcella plant the garden.

He was also pleasantly surprised by a letter from Kat. Marcella had said that she’d vanished in the manner that they’d grown accustomed to, just for longer than usual this time. Hans opened the letter and read it. Long on details and short on specifics. Kat described being tired and hungry all the time but no one needed to worry about her, she was fine. The postmark was from Thuringia, that was the only clue as to her whereabouts. Something about this letter brought something to mind that seemed odd.

Hans got to his feet and walked out through the steel blast door and walked over to the Rust Bucket. “Hey, Jost” He yelled “I need you to take a look at something here.”

Hans watched Jost read the letter, lips moving, for a long moment. “What am I supposed to be seeing?” Jost finally asked.

“What does that sound like to you?” Hans asked.

“Like a letter from one of us to our families” Jost said with a shrug “Who’s this from anyway?”

“My sister Kat” Hans replied.

“So” Jost said “How many times have you talked how she loves to get into the middle of things? If I had to guess, I’d say this is just more of the same. A month or so from now you’ll learn that she did something insane and you’ll go back to just being annoyed by her again.”

“I’m not ever annoyed by Kat” Hans said curtly before stomping off.

“What was that all about?” Karl asked, pausing from loading crates of 20mm shells into Rust Bucket II.

“Hans worried about what his kid sister is up to is all” Jost said.

You’ve actually met her” Karl said, “What’s she like?”

“I don’t know” Jost answered with a shrug “Skinny, red hair, sort of hot in a don’t mess with me kind of way, very driven.”

“So she’s the exact opposite of Hans?” Karl asked.

“Not really, Hans has his ambitions” Jost said “Kat is more of a force of nature.”

Karl snorted “Just glad Ginka isn’t like that” He said, referring to his wife.

“I doubt she’s content to just be your partner in crime” Jost said “As we speak she’s sitting in Wunsdorf getting all sorts of ideas in your absence.”

“That is a horrifying thought” Karl said, before jumping back cursing. A snake was slithering out of the crate that Karl had just placed in the Rust Bucket. It was a harmless grass snake, someone’s idea of a prank.

“You know what today’s date is” Jost said “You need to be careful.”

“Did you do this?” Karl demanded.

“No” Jost said “But if I had there would be more than just one snake.”

Karl looked nervously around the interior of the APC, lots of places for a snake to hide.

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

Divisional command was always a hive of activity. Several tents, parked under camouflage netting were several lorries, caravans and a pair of SPz-2s that had been heavily modified for the needs of the command staff and were stuffed full of communications equipment. A half dozen Panzer IIs modified with open topped “biscuit tin” turrets mounting four 20mm cannons were parked around to discourage any unwanted aircraft from getting too near.

Horst was listening to the usual briefing from the 2nd Army headquarters. Situation static, reserves moving up, a new Panzer Brigade was to join them in a few days and as soon as the roads dried out further plans would be announced. It was the same briefing that they had received the week before. As Horst was still the acting commander of the 140th Regiment he was required to attend. Then the Major conducting the briefing announced that the Horst had been named permanent commander of the 140th “Souville” Regiment. It only took them six months to get around to that Horst thought to himself.
 
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