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Old 08-11-2009, 12:46 AM   #1
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A little feedback pls

The following is a story in the finalising/editing stages on offer for commercial publication. It is the first time I'll be published and reflects both personal history, interests and dedicated research. It is speculative fiction, a "what if" for WW2, beginning around Stalingrad and centred on the story of fighter pilots on the Eastern Front.

I have a lot of material, as I've been working on this for several years, with several start/stop attempts and there are many courses and beginnings I could go with.

What I'm looking for is a little feedback. The actual word files are illustrated with relevant photoshopped sim screenshots of Messerschmitts and Yaks in combat, but for bandwidth I'm just posting the literary content. I might post a few illustrations after hosting them.


(excerpt from prologue part III)

Attrition everywhere was high. It was difficult to get through the circling Yak patrols and AAA around the Red Army staging areas, on the east banks of the Volga and the Luftwaffe had never really been geared for night operations. Patches of Soviet and German airspace were determinedly held, by forward battery crews as well as air to air combat and were brutally contested several times a day, as the weeks continued to roll by.

Heinkel bombing formations had to be conducted at relatively low altitude, due to the difficulty of sighting meaningful targets and that was very bad. Stukas of course were a favourite enemy target and that also kept Jagdstaffeln extremely busy, aside from their other duties protecting transports, jagdbomber roles, attack-bomber interception and so on.

The main Jagdkorps airbase had been moved to Pitomnik flying school, a little over twenty kilometres from the bitter streetfighting (a mild term to say the least, Dante’s Peak might be more accurate).

General Wolfram Freiherr von Richtofen had his flag attached to 6th Armee Headquarters, from where he could work in close liasion with and criticize the tactics employed by Paulus. As one of the most decorated and respected members of the Luftwaffe he had that luxury. He also spent about half his time flying a liason plane out of a small field at Gumrak Station, a few kilometres northeast of Pitomnik to view battlefield operations first hand, so he knew what he was talking about.

I arrived direct from the Rechlin development centre in Germany, after a very long train ride and was to receive a new Messerschmitt at the Jagdkorps base.


Maximillan Schröder stepped out onto the platform at Gumrak and adjusted his eyes to the early morning sun, still tasting sweet apricot schnappes lining the back of his throat and feeling quite relaxed. Distant sounds of artillery fire could be heard even above the activity and vehicles instantly setting upon the newly arrived supply train, their source he’d already been told enemy emplacements less than twenty kilometres away.

All around him Kübel-wagen, trucks and horse teams were preparing to load and unload box-carriages, scrimmage and canvass was being removed from new Maultier half-tracks, Panzer IV’s and StuGs on the flatbeds and fuel trucks reversed to a position where crews could refill them from the tankers. Mounted AA teams lit cigarettes and waved as a flight of Me-109 ‘Gustavs’ from Jagdgeschwader 3 roared immediately overhead, whilst the locomotive engineers set themselves for separation, servicing and the return trip.

Scores of wounded lined the platform with their attendees, who stood by to help shortly convert the train into a snaking ambulance.

Other passengers included replacement Heer officers, a few looking somehow surprised at the unspoken fortunes of war and of course troop carriages. Schröder slung his douffel and stepped to the platform’s opposite side as many of them filtered behind him, and scanned among parked vehicles for signatory Luftwaffe plates or staff flags.

“Oberleutnant Schröder?” a bright voice to his side asked.

Schröder casually turned to face a fairly solid looking Saxon, in a woolen jumper with mud splattered, sheepskin boots and standard issue Luftwaffe trousers and cap. He saluted, Max returning the formality and handing over his douffel with a smirk.

The NCO hoisted the bag to his shoulder, motioning with his other hand towards the platform’s end and some stairs. Schröder followed alongside.

“This way, sir. I’m Stabsfeldwebel Welter, one of our people. You probably already know most of the Gruppe has been transferred back to the Mediterranean, so there’s only one squadron left…which actually makes you the ranking officer. Anyway I’m here to get you settled and introduce you to Major Wilcke.”

Welter led him down the stairs and across a gravel road to a row of trucks, behind which and among a handful of scarce trees was a Demag Sonderkraftwagen-250, a 5-ton armoured half-track with an MG-34 machine gun and room for six. It was unbelievably good equipment for squadron level staff to be driving around.

“Hauptmann Spies left one of these for you,” the NCO continued, “There’s a lot of snipers around and pilots…you know, officers, engineers…don’t last long in convertables. This area’s the G-H-Q for the Sixth, so of course we’re picking them up all the time. One got shot somewhere right around here yesterday.
“…I’ve also repainted the lead mount, a pretty fresh Gee-two. The rest, of course got handed over to Wilcke but I managed to keep some private spares the others don’t know about.”

Arriving at the tidy looking, open-roofed Demag the Staff Sergeant unlatched the rear doors and tossed his Lieutenant’s douffel bag up, shortly following it and reaching back, in a forearm grab to help Schröder. His mouth hardly skipped a beat.

“…Blowers and stuff. We’re not going to have the same problems we had last winter. There’s a case of vodka for you too, horrible stuff but it starts looking good when the taste of home runs out.”

The interior of the Demag had a fully equipped armoury, telescopic glasses and telephone communications, obviously being formerly a command vehicle, probably for a motorised-infantry battalion leader. These were relatively powerful and fast vehicles, with the same engine as the much larger Hanomag at some three-tons shy, fairly good protection and a reasonable 60km/h road speed. The Sergeant climbed forward to the driver’s compartment and got its Maybach petrol engine spluttering to life.

“So you’re from Rechlin. Always wanted to get inside that place. I guess you get pretty sick of questions though, all top secret and stuff..?”

“What do you want to know?” Schröder grinned, leaning forward to be heard.

The Sergeant placed the gearbox into second and clutch-started to 15km/h, sending the armoured troop-carrier lurching forwards and peppering anything nearby in gravel from its spaded rear tracks.

“Hot babes in the Officers’ Mess, right? Right?” he nodded with a huge smile.

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Old 08-11-2009, 01:00 AM   #2
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Wow...this is just dang awesome, Vanir! I must say I'm impressed by the accuracy of the German Forces{namely, the Jadgkorp, 6th Armee Headquarters, etc etc.}. I greatly enjoyed this first part, I hope more comes soon.

I have no grammatical corrections as of now, but I'll take a look again soon and see what I can dig up...if anything{it looks pretty perfect}

Anyway, my only complaint is that you beat me to it, I am also in the process of writing a Stalingrad story{though just a historical fiction, not a 'what if'} So, now we'll just have to begin the 'Eastern Front' trend....

Anyway, excellent work so far, I say...MORE!

you very much
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:40 AM   #3
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Cheers CQ, thanks I did years of research backing all this up, it was part of a kick of mine anyway, and came across so many suprising pieces of information it was hard not to get inspired to write about it. Most of the facts and figures going on in the background are quite accurate.
I don't think I'll be posting everything here, it's novel sized and of course under copyright as pending publication. But the networking and feedback is good so I'll continue to post a few excerpts.

Continuing Chapter One...
(mild language warning with some choice censorship, these are a couple of combatants speaking openly and for the book it is important to outline the characters demeanour)


Exiting the station they passed a security checkpoint and followed the railway line back, southwest. The train had passed Pitomnik air base on the way through but all arrivals continued into Gumrak and the main handling facilities there.

It was only a few kilometres across open savanna, a fifteen-minute drive at good speed if you took the roads. It was a little foreboding the Staff Sergeant habitually took routes less predictable than roads, but also comforting. It’s what Schröder would do himself in a dangerous environment.

“So what, you’re attached to stab-flight?” the Lieutenant asked simply.

Welter chuckled.
“No, just you. Hauptmann Spies left me in charge of your protection, apparently there’s a few big knobs with Iron Crosses who don’t want to see you get shot by some farmboy while taking a piss.”

Schröder looked over the fitted armoury lining the walls.
“Well, you’re certainly well equipped for it. You can use all these?”

The Staff Sergeant tilted his head to face him, providing an ice-blue stare he’d seen in one or two Waffen-SS experten and a handful of combat experienced Fallschirmjäger. It was the kind of look someone received just before they inexorably died.

“…What about Schutzstaffeln, any of those around?” he pressed, genuinely curious.

“Those bastards can go to hell…not anymore, thankfully. The Staff-chiefs managed to ship Sonderkommando back to Nizhne-Chir about a week ago. The pricks were killing children, you know? Not that Oberkommando will ever talk about it. And…the Panzergrenadiers got pulled back to France, while there were still any of those idiots left to re-equip. Bastards are probably drinking espresso right now.”

Schröder grinned broadly.
“Then what do I need you for?”

They both laughed, Welter having to wipe a single tear from his eye.
“I think we’re going to enjoy having you around, Oberleutnant,” the Staff Sergeant confided, “…Watch Paulus and some of the other commanders though, they’re Hitler’s boys.”

Max winked.
“We’re here for Germany, not the other way around. We’ll get it done and let them make up the bull***t, nobody we care about listens.”

“Aint that the truth,” Welter snorted.

The Demag hit a couple of bumps in fourth, at about 50 and leapt over them with ease. Schröder began to suspect its drivetrain got a little more attention than your regular service equipment, being particularly attuned to technical things.

“So what’s this Major’s story. He alright?”

Welter chuckled, negotiating the dips and quarries aside the railway line like a rally driver and making it look easy.

“Well he’s Fliegerführer Jagddivision and only a Major so that should tell you something. He’s the one who led the revolt against Göring back in ’forty. He convinced the entire Stab to paint over their swastikas…I’ll tell you I’ve never seen the Reichmarschall do such a good impression of an oversized beetroot in all my life.”

They both laughed again, the image was both horrible and incredibly funny.
“Big, fat Göring huh? He ‘saves Germany’ with a ridiculous national debt and gets to marry Emme Sonnemann for a reward. What a load of tripe!” the Lieutenant let out, a little surprised at himself.

“It should’ve been a bullet in the brain. F***ing women, they love the Nazis,” Welter empathised.

Schröder shook his head, a little disappointed with what might've been a Freudian slip.
“Yeah, f***ing women. Some, anyway I guess. Women I like would’ve called him on the pig he is.”

The Demag rose an embankment, revealing a large, paved runway and parking areas, ample lighting and a wealth of small buildings and concrete hangars ahead. Two scout-tanks and an 8-ton Hanomag, with another 5-ton half-track mounting a 20mm anti-aircraft gun stood immediately ahead, surrounded by Luftwaffe security guards about as well equipped as any light infantry brigade. This was the kind of security checkpoint that meant you’d better have your papers handy or somebody’s going to get shot real quick. The Demag was well known however and the pair were waved on through without too much trouble.

“Last month the Major scored thirty-two enemy aircraft himself,” Welter mentioned seriously,
“…He’s a good leader, the rest of the pilots know he’s looking out for them. And of course Jagdgeschwader Fifty-three was his original home.”

Schröder smiled as the Demag pulled up outside some slightly pitted buildings.
“Danke, Stabsfeldwebel. I trust you’ll keep me from letting you down.”

It was Welter’s turn to wink.
“Oh you can count on it, Oberleutnant. The Headquarters secretary will get your bunk sorted. I’ll be along after I stow this and introduce you to the Major.”

Schröder nodded, taking up his douffel.
“Thanks again, Welter. It’s good to have you aboard.”
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:20 AM   #4
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Here are some of the illustrations, heading chapters.

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Old 08-11-2009, 11:15 AM   #5
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:51 AM   #6
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A little more, moving into the story..


The Personnel Office was adorned with squadron insignia, photos and other paraphernalia fairly typical of a two month station for a field command Headquarters. Schröder noted a lot of flags and awards, the battleaxe of third-Gruppe JG 3, the original crossed swords of first-Gruppe and its new emblem: a winged ‘U’ in respect of an eminent ace from the Great War and recent suicide victim, Generaloberst Ernst Udet. There was a photograph of the Teutonic shield worn by second-Gruppe, who’d transferred also to the Mediterranean and of course taken their flag with them.

Many of the awards dated to the months during 1940 when Reichmarschall Göring attempted to dominate the skies over Britain, with incapable leadership and inevitable Nazi self worship. There was even a photograph of the woman married to the former Kommodore of JG 53, of which Wilcke was one of the Gruppenkommandeuren before his transfer and new assignment; she’d inadvertently started the whole mess between the command staff and the Reichmarschall when Göring claimed she was a Jew and ordered all Stabschwarm to remove their squadron insignia and emblems out of shame. To Wilcke’s mind that included the Nazi hakenkreuz, which frightened the pants off the junior Jagdflieger but achieved its desired effect. Embarressed in front of Hitler, Göring backed down. Wilcke was a legend, though Schröder didn’t put the name together with this infamous story until Welter mentioned it.

There was also a small mounting of the ace of spades, signifying at least one squadron of JG 53 was still technically stationed here. Under it was a postcard-photograph of the rest of its Jagdflieger sunning themselves in the Mediterranean, bare-chested and wearing shorts. It was already beginning to get cold in Russia and the Lieutenant could tell by their raised beer glasses and sarcastic grins that was precisely what they were thinking about when the photograph was taken, probably no more than a couple of weeks earlier. It made him grin.

“Yeah enjoy the sun, you arseholes,” he laughed to himself.

Schröder strolled over to the desk and a very attractive Scandinavian woman, probably recruited during the Fliegerführer’s travels and possibly saved by him from the Gestapo. It wouldn’t be the first time for that sort of thing.

“Good morning Leutnant,” she greeted with a thick Danish accent.

“Good morning Frauline,” the Lieutenant smiled.

The Luftwaffe had always been blessed with its complete independence and unlike all other services was absolutely free to conduct its own security. The SS were neither liked nor trusted around high performance machinery which, with the slightest problem could as easily kill Germans as they could the enemy. They even had their own infantry and artillery detachments, equipped to relocate airfield defences as quickly as aircraft often had to. It was, after all a short range tactical air force that frequently needed to be on the move. At the Geschwader level anyway, it was as well equipped as the SS Panzergrenadiers had ever been, in other words pretty damn good.

“…I’ve just arrived and need to get quartered,” he added.

“Yes of course, would you like me to send for someone?”

“No, that’ll be fine. One of the Staff Sergeants is coming to pick me up, I just need to put this somewhere and wash my face.”

The Dane smiled back, “Certainly. Most of the officers’ quarters are free in barracks four, which is two buildings down and ahead of main shed. I’ll get you some keys.”

The woman stood and unlocked a solid looking filing cabinet, rifling through its drawers.
“…Here you go.”

“Danke, Frauline-..?” he led.

She grinned wryly, “Christina Ribe, Leutnant.”

“Ah…thankyou, Christina Ribe. I’m Maximillan Schröder and it was nice to meet you.”

“Max…I’ll remember.”

The Lieutenant was almost embarrassed. He’d either just gotten himself into a little trouble with somebody’s girlfriend, or made another new friend, which was nice. Jangling the keys and adjusting his douffel on the crease of his shoulder, he turned to leave.

“…And Max,” the secretary called over, “…You should always wear your sidearm.”

“Thankyou, Christina. I’ll remember.”
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