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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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trekaddict

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I know I said that I was going to give you the Allied reaction, but I found inspiration for this particular piece.

Chapter 273


It was a perfectly splendid day on the German Baltic Coast as the convoy of military vehicles made it's way towards the Waffenprüfanstalt Peenemünde which, under the auspices of the War Ministry, was developing rocket technology for Germany. It was a prestige project so quite obviously the other services had made a grab. The Navy was out of the race now, considering that Hitler had ordered the remaining surface ships to be laid up until he decided what to do with them, but Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler and the OKW had been fighting the Turf War to end all Turf Wars over the programme, but in the end the OKW had prevailed by pointing pointing out that since the rockets were to be ground launched, they belonged to the Artillery Branch of the Heer. (At the time the Waffen-SS had been but a single Division's worth of men.)

So the Scientist in charge held a Colonel's commission with the Heer, even though Wernher von Braun was a-political and mostly interested in making bigger and better rockets. He didn't care one bit just who was paying the bills.


It was, to be perfectly honest, far from the first test firing of the newest rocket to come out of the design offices, but it was now that it would be officially revealed to the OKW and the Führer. Von Braun had made sure that everything worked, one did not want a repeat of the abysmal failure when General Dornberger had almost been fried alive when another rocket had nearly fallen onto the re-viewing stand instead of going towards the coast as intended.

Only the fourth launch had been a total success, and this here was the fifth. Von Braun had spoken against this particular test being conducted today, but the weather was fine and Dornberger had insisted that Hitler be shown a launch when he visited the facility.

For the first time in almost two years he was wearing the full dress uniform, as greeting the Führer in anything less wouldn't do, but now that he was in the launch bunker he had taken off most of it again.

“Final checks complete, Doctor.”

Von Braun nodded and said:

“Prepare for launch.”

For the next six minutes the countdown and last second preparations continued.

“Fire.”

The engine engaged and in an massive cloud of smoke the A-4 rocket rose from the pad and flew into nothingness.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_141-18802C_Peenem.jpg

“Doctor, we have a problem. It's diverting from the projected course.” said the men at the apparatus that allowed the scientists to track the rocket farther than with the naked eye. “It's going eastwards instead, Doctor.”

In fact the rocket was going to crash somewhere in central Poland. However von Braun hoped that something was salvageable from this disaster. Hitler didn't need to know just yet that the rocket had failed to go anywhere near the target until it was decided how one would need to spin things.



Two hours and an extensive tour of the facilities later von Braun, Hitler, General der Artillerie Kachelmann (Chief of the Heer Artillery Branch and thus the 'owner' of the programme) were watching what later generations would call a sales pitch.

“Frankly, Aggregat 4 is merely the tip of an iceberg so to speak.” von Braun said. “As you know mein Führer we have looked at the concept of Artillery rockets before and the Red Army is using the Katyusha to great effect. As you know the A-4 is a long-range weapon we mean to use to attack England around their Air Defences, but we can use smaller versions that fly not as far and not as fast and aren't as big in a battlefield role.”


“What good would that do? These rockets of yours are still very inaccurate, Doctor.” Hitler said.

“Well, we would mostly use them against heavily defended strategic rather than tactical targets, bridges, ammunition depots, rail junctions and...of course other things.”

“How many would you need to destroy, say, the bridges across the Oder?”

“That depends. We would go for saturation, so at least twenty to thirty, mein Führer.”

That was more than any of the men in the room had expected. But von Braun was determined to get funds for his programme, and if that meant building weapons now and space rockets later then so be it.

“I must say though that these rockets would be cheap, both in materials and production and have only the most minimal guidance, just enough to let them find the target area and hit within a radius of, oh, a mile.”[1] Before anyone could say anything the Rocket Scientist continued to talk. “However, that is merely one application of rocket technology to the war effort, Gentlemen.”


“The project...” Hitler began and trailed off.

“Yes, the project you directed us to begin when you were here, but I believe General Dornberger, since this was under his direct supervision.”

Von Braun was well aware that he was the public face of the project, and that the things with the most and most immediate military applications were generally run by Dornberger, but both men had a truce with each other. As long as von Braun made sure that funding flowed, Dornberger did not interfere too much in von Braun's fancy ballistic rockets. That the A-4 had become one of Hitler's pet projects certainly helped, since no one at the OKW was comfortable with questioning the budget when Hitler always pre-approved it for the next half year. With that he vacated the stage.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1978-Anh.jpg

Peenemünde was the biggest rocket facility in the world at this time. The Soviets were known to have a similar installation somewhere in Central Asia, but it was nowhere near the site, and the three men in charge there were as much at odds with each other as the British Empire and the Axis powers, and the utter failure of German Intelligence to even plant the most rudimentary of networks outside the major British cities had made sure that the British Aeronautical Research Centre was missed completely.

Both sides were very, very busy with furthering one's own rocket Technology, and Peenemünde was well known to the British, but Bomber Command, tied up with supporting the front and trying to take the war to the Japanese (most importantly bombing the roads that led south to the Singapore Siege line) and so the facility was on the target list but not bombed.


However....


The A-4 that had been tested earlier in the day had not hit the ocean as predicted. Instead when contact had been lost it had continued to veer off course and made a wide curve into occupied Poland where some of the parts were about to fall into the hands of the Polish resistance. The SOE was heavily involved in Poland, supplied from Sweden where the authorities were conveniently looking the other way[2] when now and then what seemed to be civilian Dakotas registered to a company called 'Universal Exports'[3] occasionally flew out over the Baltic Sea and returned some time later.

On this route the British were made aware that the Germans were testing some sort of weapon and the parts were very, very carefully prepared for transport. The British Scientists eagerly awaited the pieces.





+-+-+-+-+-+-


Comments, questions, rotten tomatoes?

And yes, the Polish Home Army really captured parts of a crashed V-2 and handed it to the Brits.





[1] Of course von Braun is bullshitting massively, because they have nothing nowhere near that accurate. What von Braun is trying to sell here is more a proto-Scud than a V-1, even though the F-103 (V-1) will see at least some production.

[2] Neither Denmark nor Norway are so far occupied. As a result the Swedes are far more Allied-leaning, as is Norway, mainly in the way that Swedish Iron ore is carried out through Narvik and feeds UK factories. The Germans don't use Swedish Iron ore as a result and are somewhat dependant on the Soviets. Hitler has of course plans to swallow the Scandinavian countries that are to be carried out 'as soon as the Allied Invasion is defeated.'

[3] Which of course a certain Naval officer of our mutual acquaintance will use as a nod to the brave men on those flights. When I googled the name for amusement, I that there seem to be at least two genuine companies called that, one in India, the other in the UK.
 
Last edited:
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Nice post about Braun being archetypical mad scientist (much like Frankenstein), who doesn't mean to harm anybody, but is just focused on science and inventions. Splendid work, trekaddict.

Btw.: How is the British/allied rocket research going?
Btw2.: I'm sad I wasn't welcomed aboard (just kidding, to have the possibility of reading this AAR is the biggest honor I can get)
 

trekaddict

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It's how I see von Braun in RL. Yes he knew about..certain things around the V-2 production, but he couldn't be bothered to think about it because the Nazis funded his research.

Btw1: Rocket research is about OTL. They are concentrating on Jet propulsion and Nukes at the moment.

Btw2: *Blushes* A belated welcome to you then! When your first post was made I was insanely busy with RL matters, so it sort of slipped through the net.
 

Lord Strange

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Do we get to the moon first then?
If we do, I will do a victory jig. Or maybe a sprinkler dance.
Britain on the Moon is require trek. Do not let me down.
 

trekaddict

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Lord Strange Brits will land on the moon. As to who is first...wait and see. :p


saovine Thanks again.
 

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Lord Strange Brits will land on the moon. As to who is first...wait and see. :p

Great, the bloody Commie Americans are going to do it aren't they. Can we not just nuke them now?
 

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Ahh the git von Braun. I can but hope the Empire bothers to actually fund a rocket effort TTL, that way they'll have no need of him and hopefully he'll get his chance to dance the Hemp Fandango, a fate he richly deserved.

Hell it's arguable if anyone needed him in any event, a great talker and visionary on rockets certainly, but as a scientist..... Not so much.
 

trekaddict

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Lord Strange Well, we will have to see. (You do, because I know the answer of course. :p )

El Pip I'm no big fan of his either, however his fate will be revealed soon-ish.
 

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It would have been awfully funny if the lost V-2 had landed on Hitler's head...
 

trekaddict

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Well.....

Lancaster_bomber_aircraft_dropping_.jpg


Thats the best I can come up with in regards to things going boom in Peenemünde.
 

trekaddict

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Mind you, I do have half a mind to have v B. kick the bucket in the VERY near future, so stay tuned everyone.
 

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Just so you know Trek, I am still lurking this AAR. :)

I usually don't have time or forget to come up with a constructive comment, but just know that I am still absolutely loving your work!
 

unmerged(241632)

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Dec 23, 2010
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Let's not forget the Battle of New Orleans.

had the british general not been under such time pressure his plan was to cross lake ponchetrain and attack new orleans from the north east. had he done that it's virtually certain he'd have broken jackson's forces in an open field battle. as it was he had to attack on a rather narrow front into the teeth of fairly formidable entrenchments without artillery support. at that the brits nearly carried the day despite the advantages jackson's men enjoyed.
 

unmerged(241632)

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Dec 23, 2010
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how would failing to achieve your goals be a victory?

Ahem.

American Revolution & War of 1812:
USA 2 - UK 0

Thank you.;)

am curious why americans consider 1812 a victory. the british and canadians despite being greatly outnumbered most of the time managed to keep the americans mostly on their side of the border during the war.
the british achieved pretty much all of their victory conditions while the americans achieved essentially none of theirs during the war. this is a rather textbook definition of defeat far as i can see.

Thank you.;)[/QUOTE]
 

soulking

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am curious why americans consider 1812 a victory. the british and canadians despite being greatly outnumbered most of the time managed to keep the americans mostly on their side of the border during the war.
the british achieved pretty much all of their victory conditions while the americans achieved essentially none of theirs during the war. this is a rather textbook definition of defeat far as i can see.

Thank you.;)

IMO, I see the War of 1812 as no one winning. Canada got York (Toronto) and two other cities sacked while the Americans got Washington D.C., Buffalo (i think) and another city sacked.

On topic: It would be interesting if the Germans got accurate rockets that could target British soil.

So the Scientist in charge held a Colonel's commission with the Heer, and even though Wernher von Braun was a-political and mostly interested in making bigger and better rockets so he didn't care one bit just who was paying the bills.

I think there's something wrong grammatically here.
 

unmerged(241632)

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Dec 23, 2010
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:D



Hong Kong will fight for as long as possible and then surrender. I can't really expect it to hold on.

churchill in our time line asked canada to send some troops over to hong kong to bolster the garrison. a freshly raised battalion of saskatchewan lads was duly sent over.
when the attack came they fought on the mainland and were withdrawn to hong kong island where they fought until at the end they were forced in large part to do battle with
captured jappanese weapons as they were almost out of 303 rounds. at the bitter end the btn officers decided that there was only one thing to do. their plan was to attack the
jappanese and then to seize some of the jap landing barges on the beaches. making their way over to the mainland they would then breach the jap lines and make tracks into
the interior where they would seek out chiang's forces and continue their war. most regrettably a british officer ordered the btn to surrender. most of the btn perished in jap
pow camps during the war. i've always wondered how far they would have gotten had they not been ordered to yield.
 

trekaddict

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IMO, I see the War of 1812 as no one winning. Canada got York (Toronto) and two other cities sacked while the Americans got Washington D.C., Buffalo (i think) and another city sacked.

On topic: It would be interesting if the Germans got accurate rockets that could target British soil.



I think there's something wrong grammatically here.

Edited. For the moment most A-4 test launches go wrong or accuracy is too far off. They aren't ready yet.

Ehran: Hong Kong fell, but the Defence Force and the original HMS Thunderchild died to let as many Civilians get away as possible.
 

unmerged(241632)

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Dec 23, 2010
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couple minor quibbles about 139.
sing should be singh.
fairly sure a piat loads from the front unlike a bazooka. piats are much more like a horizontal firing mortar than a rocket launcher. you actually had to be careful not to tip them too far forward as the round would just slide out the front and go ballistic to the street belown.
a sihk would wear a turban so he'd never feel the wind in his hair.
 

trekaddict

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I know, but ITTL PIAT stands for "Personal Infantry Anti-Tank" and is in essence a Bazooka-like weapon.