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Old 03-03-2016, 10:09 PM   #441
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(...continued)

Welsh shook his head.

“No, sir. I’m sorry. The cloud of debris from the first encounter wouldn’t lose much in the way of velocity, and it’s moving in the opposite direction of the constellation’s orbit. That means it comes back around and passes through any wreckage, every 45 minutes, or so. Even if somebody had survived the first round, which isn’t likely, we couldn’t send any rescue vessels in to save them, in time – assuming we even had any.”

“My god.”

“Yes sir. Space combat is… new to us all. It’s somewhat surprising that damaged spacecraft made it back to Luna-2. We assumed that the only way to avoid a kill was to not get hit.”

Obama looked around at the Joint Chiefs.

“Could we have anticipated this?”

Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and another Air Force officer, spoke up.

“No, sir, not really; we didn’t even know the E-2 NAZIs had those things, and Churchill’s Brits didn’t, either. Our analysis of the imagery we’ve gotten back shows spacecraft that most closely match something called ‘silbervogels,’ or silver-birds. Our Third Reich had something like them on the drawing-boards, which they were thinking of using as rocket-propelled transatlantic bombers, but the war cut off funding for their program. Apparently, the Earth-2 Third Reich found the bucks.”

“What are the chances they have more of them?”

Welsh rubbed his forehead for a moment.

“We think they might have more, but they can’t have many. They couldn’t know exactly what we had loaded, but they had to know the first major interplanetary shipment of men and material qualified as a primary strategic target. Also, they had to know our technology is better than theirs. If they had more ready to go, our analysts believe they’d have sent them, and I agree with that assessment.”

“Well. Thank god they didn’t. Any ideas about countermeasures? We don’t want send our men through a shooting gallery, every trip.”

Selva shook his head.

“No sir, we do not. The DARPA guys, Space Command and NASA are looking at it, hard, but we’ve got a lot of data to digest. Preliminary analysis of radio-traffic seems to indicate the disintegrators worked better than the masers but, really, it’s too soon to say. Both of the spacecraft that made it back had maser weapons, and all of the spacecraft lost were armed with them, too. We’ll know more when we finish matching telemetry data with radio traffic. That job isn’t, ah… isn’t pleasant.”

“I’d imagine not, no.”

The president sighed, and glanced at the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

“Alright, General Dunford, let me know what DARPA and NASA need. After this, I don’t think congress will argue about any increases in research budgets.”

“Thank you, sir. Let me say something, though. This was a hard day, certainly, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that, in all likelihood, we have operational control Earth-2 space, from the Luna-2 to LEO. We’re fairly certain that more than 90 percent of the enemy space craft were destroyed, to our less than 30 percent. Churchill says he plans to call this a victory, and he’s right; it was.”

“Well, that’s what I plan to tell the American people, here, in an hour. I doubt the wives and mothers visited by the chaplains, these next few days, will think so.”

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

(continued...)
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:13 PM   #442
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(...continued)

Hauptmann Hildegarde “Baroness” von Richthofen sat stiffly in the chair as Oberst Hartwig Adenauer leafed through her report.

Normally, she would have stood at ease, but her left ankle didn’t work properly, at the moment.

Adenauer removed his reading glasses and rubbed at his eyes.

“The rockets launched by these future-Americans seem devilishly accurate, hauptmann.”

Jawohl, oberst, better than we had hoped, if not quite so advanced as we feared. To be honest, had the future-Earthers not displayed such inexperience with orbital combat, our losses would have come more quickly, and we would have inflicted fewer casualties than we did.”

Adenauer heaved a sigh.

“I am forced to concur with your evaluation, Hauptmann. Unfortunately, it will not sit well, with the führer. We have lost 18 of the 21 silbervogels we launched and, while they are replaceable, in time, experienced space-combat pilots are not.”

“I understand, oberst. Still, the attempt had to be made.”

“It did, hauptmann, and the results were better than we could reasonably expect, if not so great as we had hoped. The addition of the solid-fuel boosters served us well – an excellent idea, as it turned out.”

“If one cannot learn something from an enemy, then that enemy hardly counts as worthy, oberst. We lost two craft during launch, but those boosters allowed us achieve that retrograde orbit.”

Ya, and that was key. So. You are grounded, for a time, hauptmann.”

Von Richthofen blinked in surprise and the corners of her mouth turned down.

“May I ask the reason, oberst?”

“Oh, there will be a command inquiry, which will clear you of any wrongdoing, of course. Mostly, it will just give you time to heal. Also, to be honest, someone must train a new group of space pilots, and no one is better qualified.”

The hauptmann relaxed a bit, and allowed her face to show a brief flash of frustration.

“I would prefer to fly back into space, oberst, and try to pick off stragglers.”

“Of course you would, Baroness, but that would be irresponsible and you know it. We need someone to supervise the construction of the Mark II silbervogels, which require some redesign if we wish to continue to use solid boosters for initial launch. Your own craft came through remarkably well, even though it came in too hot and lost its landing gear – which is just about the least bad thing that could happen with no fuel and a damaged space craft."

"We’ll learn from your craft’s customizations, and I understand Hauptmann Erich Warsitz has been assigned as the test pilot for the new designs. We also need someone to revise tactical doctrine, and then train new pilots in its application. Whom else would you suggest?”

Von Richthofen’s shoulders slumped, and the squared up, again. She rose from her chair and saluted.

“Understood, oberst. I am most pleased to learn of Hauptmann Warsitz' assignment to this project, and I will do my best to make spacecraft and pilots ready.”

Adenauer stood and returned the salute.

“Very well, Hauptmann von Richthofen. Two things, though. Firstly, stay off that ankle for at least three days. That’s an order. The doctor said you needed at least two weeks, but we both know you won’t listen. Don’t overdo it, and I won’t have to order light duty.”

Jawohl, oberst. And the second thing?”

"I have good news. Your cousin, Hans, apparently landed his aircraft safely, in Poland, after his squadron was attacked during its relocation from the Russian Front. He is badly injured, but survived. I understand he has not yet regained consciousness, but thought you would like to know.”

Danke, oberst. That is good news, indeed.”

The oberst dismissed her and Baroness took her leave. Outside, as expected, Oberleutnant Walter “Dragonfly” Koenigsmann (a good man, but a bit… protective) was waiting for her, his left arm in a sling. He tossed off a quick salute, and fell in beside her.

“Well, hauptmann. When will they let us fly, again? Will they let us fly, again?”

“To answer your second question, first, Walter, ya, they will let us fly again. But there will be an inquiry, and they plan to redesign the silbervogels to make better use of the solid boosters.”

Koenigsmann looked relieved.

“Well, that is good news, at least. Light duty for us both, I assume?”

“For now. The oberst said he plans to keep an eye on us, so we need to actually comply. What is the word on your spacecraft?”

“Some parts are salvageable, I understand, although the craft, itself, is a total loss; it did lose a wing and spin out, after all. Oberfeldwebel Linden almost wept, when he saw what I’d done to ‘his’ spacecraft.”

“My derriere was a bit tender after Zimmer saw what had happened to mine. Well, good. Once repaired, we use the two remaining craft, plus the four that weren't ready by the time of the attack, for training. Hopefully, by the time the Mark IIs complete pre-flight checkouts, we'll have pilots for them. Also, Oberst Adenauer said Hauptmann Warsitz will act as test pilot for the Mark IIs.”

"That is yet more good news. Things may be looking up."

Koenigsmann paused for a moment, and took a quiet glance around. No one stood near, but he lowered his voice, anyway.

“These future Americans…. Their technology is amazing, Baroness. I… well, I don’t think the war is going well, for us.”

Hauptmann Richthofen looked at him for a long moment.

“We will do what we can to defend Germany, Oberleutnant, and die doing so if that is our fate. Still, if things go badly, or we are betrayed by our new… ally, to the east…, well. It may be a good idea to have a position upon which to fall back.”

Koenigsmann nodded his agreement.

“My family has some land in the Drakensbergs, in South Africa, Hauptmann. I understand yours does, as well. Perhaps it is time to contact the caretakers?”

Nein, Walter. That time may come, but it is not now. I received some good news, today. My cousin, Hans, survived the crash of his jet, and is in hospital. Once he recovers, I will go see him, and hear what he learned at the Eastern Front.”

“Ah, this is excellent news, Baroness. Most excellent. I shall return to my quarters, and have a drink of schnapps, and toast his health!”

“A fine idea, Walter, and I shall do the same. We have a lot of work to do, so if we’re ordered to rest, we should take advantage of it, I suppose.”

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

Archduchess Leticia, commander of the Ministerium of Clandestine Excursions, read the most interesting report, took a quick walk and enjoyed the blooming lace-blooms (it helped clear the mind, wonderfully), and then returned and read it, a second time.

Most interesting, indeed. A murmured word, and her armillacom's memo feature, appeared.

"Item. Regarding the events in orbit of Terra, two days past. The future-Earth spacecraft displayed an inexperience with space combat that bordered upon the amateurish. By contrast, the German spacecraft performed brilliantly, and exceeded our best estimates."

She thought for a moment.

"Inquiry. Agents in place in Third Reich command to secure access to the after-action report of the engagement. Assess if the superior performance of these 'Luftwaffe' space craft may be attributed to skilled leadership. If so, evaluate the possibility of clandestine support for any such leader. End."

####
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:18 AM   #443
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

Thank you.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:36 PM   #444
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One of the classic mistakes that I think all the Axis powers made and some of the non-Axis was in pilot training. They had pilots that were a lot more skilled then the US pilots but kept them in combat, this was why they were so skilled. It also meant the the new pilots coming from training were trained in prewar doctrine not the latest in use tactics. The US rotated pilots back to train the next batch, no no one with the same number of kills but the new pilots were up to speed on what actually happened in current air combat.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:42 PM   #445
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
One of the classic mistakes that I think all the Axis powers made and some of the non-Axis was in pilot training. They had pilots that were a lot more skilled then the US pilots but kept them in combat, this was why they were so skilled. It also meant the the new pilots coming from training were trained in prewar doctrine not the latest in use tactics. The US rotated pilots back to train the next batch, no no one with the same number of kills but the new pilots were up to speed on what actually happened in current air combat.
This is actually one reason the Tuskegee Airmen were so effective. The Army Air Corps brass knew white pilots in WWII were highly unlikely to take instruction from black officers. So, they kept the experienced pilots in combat longer.

That meant when they got P-51s, the Tuskegee pilots were devastating.
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Old 03-05-2016, 01:51 PM   #446
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Except with simulators, it might be easier for the Germans to teach new pilots for the silbervogels. No need to send pilots back.
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:39 PM   #447
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Originally Posted by warellis View Post
Except with simulators, it might be easier for the Germans to teach new pilots for the silbervogels. No need to send pilots back.
It's more that there's less need, than that there's no need.
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:04 AM   #448
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Just wondered something: would Fa-Earth countries be surprised about the fact that First World militaries in Inp-Earth typically *are* apolitical and obedient to the civilian government in charge?

Because from what I've heard about say Rome for example, it's military was more like a Third World military in the number of coups it started.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:06 AM   #449
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Originally Posted by warellis View Post
Just wondered something: would Fa-Earth countries be surprised about the fact that First World militaries in Inp-Earth typically *are* apolitical and obedient to the civilian government in charge?

Because from what I've heard about say Rome for example, it's military was more like a Third World military in the number of coups it started.
Some of them would, others maybe not. Of course, in some polities (ancient and modern), the military effectively is the government.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:59 PM   #450
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What Stp-Earth countries have military observers on Dsp-Earth currently?

And how well practiced are Stp-Earth militaries at space warfare? Like what the Inp-Earth pilots went through I mean.
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