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silbervogel-over-new-york


(‘Silbervogel’ – Over New York)

In June of 1943, National Socialist Germany, along with the Empire of Japan, began what became known as World War II, or the Nine-Month War.

Having annexed Austria in late 1942, Germany already had additional bases from which to flank the Czechs. Poland and Czechoslovakia immediately joined the ‘Greater German Reich’, allowing German troops to cross their borders unhindered as half a million German troops crossed into Russia.

Six weeks after entering Russia, Moscow fell to overwhelming German military superiority. Stalin, attempting to flee, was dragged from his private train car and lynched along with Beria, Molotov, and several other party apparatchiks.

Russia out of the war, Hitler turned to France and England. His lightning attacks through the Netherlands and through the Maginot Line in early August of 1943 destroyed the French army in days.

Simultaneously attacking the British naval base at Scapa Flow and savaging most British airbases with carrier-borne ME-262 jets, the British had little in the way of airpower or naval power by the end of the first week. Lindbergh, in his second term, could do little to help the British.

The Kriegsmarine’s Type XXI submarines strangled British trade. With over sixty dedicated to the British Isles alone, no merchant shipping left or arrived in British ports for four long months. While the Kriegsmarine lost just two Type XXI’s, the actual tonnage of lost British shipping may never be known. Deprived of supplies, Great Britain could only wait for the inevitable invasion.

By November, German paratroops had secured southern England and parts of Scotland. Having savaged the landing beaches by seaborne V-1’s, the Germans met little opposition. By January of 1944, with two German army groups converging on London from the north and south, Great Britain, after evacuating the royal family to Canada via Wales, surrendered.

The Japanese victories and subsequent occupations at Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i and Dutch Harbor in the Territory of Alaska gave the Japanese bases from which to attack the west coast of the United States with relative ease. A minor American naval victory (which cost the Japanese three carriers out of twelve) off San Diego in January, 1944 did little to stop their advance.

Securing and consolidating their holdings in the Philippines, Malaya, Indonesia, and the Solomons, the Japanese next turned their attentions to Australia and New Zealand. With no help from the Americans or their Commonwealth ‘mother country’, both nations rapidly signed peace accords with the Empire of Japan in early 1944.

Trauen

Herr Oberst?

Ja.” Oberst Adolf Galland was in the ready room at Trauen, smoking a cigar. The Trauen plant was now under Luftwaffe control, and was now called an “Atomic Weapons Branch” base. He was getting himself mentally ready to fly the Silbervogel again – this time on a real mission.

“I must brief you, Herr Oberst.”, said the young Leutnant, a man named Werner.

“Well, Leutnant. Let’s have it.”

“Your coordinates for course-correction are being entered into the analog calculator. They will automatically fly the plane until you get to the drop point. You will have to visually determine whether or not you can drop your weapon on New York; if there is a storm of any kind, we’re concerned about the bomb drifting off its course once the parachute is activated at 1,500 meters.”

“So, I’m along for the ride until we reach New York. If I can’t drop there, what do I do?”

“Simply press the button labeled “Secondary Target” on the analog device. You’ll be directed to the second target. You’ll need to execute an engine-burn until you reach an altitude of 180 kilometers. You’ll proceed to the second target; the analog device will do the navigation until you arrive.”

“And what is this secondary-target, Leutnant?”

“It is the American city of Seattle, Washington. The Americans have a large aircraft factory there. They are beginning to build bombers there; it is also one of their largest port cities.”

Leutnant, I did finish gymnasium, you know.” Galland was impatient. Having to tell a Leutnant that he’d finished the German equivalent of high-school was the best way to get him to move along.

“My apologies, Herr Oberst. The calculations are entered; the drop-points for the two targets are now automatic. The only thing you have to do is get the craft to those points, and return.”

Galland glared at the young Leutnant. He might as well have told Galland that he was a passenger, instead of a pilot.

“They’re expecting me, Leutnant.” Galland stood to leave.

“Good luck, sir!”, said Leutnant Werner.

As with the first test, and two subsequent ones, Galland was helped into the cockpit, strapped in, systems tested, hoses and lines disconnected, and the craft made ready for launch. The bleachers, however, were gone – this was a military site now, not a research facility – it was the first launch-platform for an atomic weapons system.

Waiting for the countdown to commence, Galland thought, “It’s a good thing we were able to stop the English bombers cold. The new jets from Messerschmitt saw to that – especially those ME-1112’s, with the V-tail. Testing those wasn’t just a challenge – it was fun. Eleven hundred kilometers an hour! Galland cracked a smile through his pencil-moustache. He thought, “Germany is the greatest nation on earth.”

Herr Oberst? Countdown commences now.” The voice through the helmet-headset sounded metallic. Still, it electrified him. Part of being a combat-pilot; he lived for the adrenalin and the excitement.

Soon, the booster-engine slammed him into his seat. Within seconds, he was vertical. Seconds later, the booster shut down and was jettisoned. Like clockwork, the main engine fired, stabbing yellow-orange flame for a hundred feet beneath him; within a few minutes, he nosed the plane over, and began his run.

Berlin

“I am sick of the Americans, Goering. Our Japanese allies are clamoring for us to do something. It’s time to end this.”

“We have not declared war on them, Mein Fuhrer. This will not go well.”

“We let the Japanese do that, Goering.”, said Hitler. “We’re just honoring a treaty with them. Besides – after today, we will get to write the rules. All of them.” Hitler smiled at his own statement.

New York City – 10:52AM; March 4th, 1944

— “Whaddya want? Ya readin’ or buyin’? I PAY for those magazines, ya know? Kids!” The news vendor on Broadway was busy, but there were always people who’d read and not buy. Chasing them out was a daily chore….

— “That’ll be a buck twenty-five, most likely, depending on traffic across the Washington. You in? Hustle up!” The cabbie woke up every morning knowing that dinner depended on a delicate mix of aggressive and friendly….

— “Twenty bid! Twenty bid! No higher!” The trader, on the main floor of the Stock Exchange, was trying to buy Packard and sell GM – there were rumors of war, and Packard was better-suited to build engines….

— “I love you, Elaine. Will you marry me?” The young man at the top of the Empire State Building was on one knee in front of a pretty blonde; everyone standing around the two beamed….

Below them, horses clopped through Central Park; sausage-vendors plied their trade in Little Italy; people in the Hamptons were likely just finishing breakfast; the privilege of money….

None of them noticed the parachute. None of them noticed the device at 1,000 feet over the Hudson. Then, there was only light and heat.

In the center, there was no sound.

______________________________

12 May; 1964

Adolf Galland stood in the control center at the German space complex at Trauen. He was watching the telemonitors as Sanger’s latest creation, the German MoonShip (a cooperative venture between Messerschmitt, Blohm and Voss, and a dozen other contractors) began its descent.

Germany was now the master of half the world. Russia was now providing cheap labor and raw materials for the Reich. Europe was German. So was most of northern Africa, and east through Palestine and Persia. Italy was an ally; albeit somewhat reluctantly.

America had capitulated two days after the bomb fell on New York. Constant overflights by German spyplanes and satellites saw to it that any ill-advised attempt by the U.S. to rearm would be brought immediately to the Reichschancellor’s attention….

___________________________________

Down fifty meters; forward ten – I have a ground-contact light. Shutting down engines.” Major Wilhelm Heermann and Oberleutnant Walter Hewel – son of an early National Socialist diplomat – were the pilot and co-pilot of the first attempt to land on the moon. Aptly, they had named their craft the “Eagle”.

There was a pause. Transmissions had to come from a staggering distance. Even Galland held his breath.

The silence was cut by a carrier wave, and then Heermann’s voice. Tranquility Base here; the ‘Eagle’ has landed!”

A spontaneous cheer erupted. Germany had now conquered the moon itself.

Two hours later, as Galland, VonBraun – now the head of the Reich’s Rocket and Space Agency – and the others in the Trauen control center watched the telemonitors, Heermann opened the ‘Eagle’s hatch, stepped on to a deployed-ladder, and took five steps downward, finishing by placing one foot on the lunar surface. “We come in Aryan brotherhood!”, he said, to more cheers from the assembled team.

Galland grinned, ear to ear. The ‘Eagle’”, he thought. Not my ‘Eagle’ – but an Eagle, nonetheless.” Werner VonBraun slapped Galland on the back. “We wouldn’t be here without you, Herr Generalfeldmarschall”, said VonBraun, addressing Galland by his title. Galland had headed the German Luftwaffe since shortly after the end of the war; an iconic figure in the tradition of VonRichtofen.

That much was true. Galland had championed the use of his pilots; seconded to the new Reich Rocket Space Agency. As to the ‘Silbervogel’, it was retired – now a museum-piece and taking on an iconic aura of its own; an inspiration for the craft – now two generations removed – which now sat on the moon.

Almost unnoticed in the gallery was Werner Heisenberg. His mentor and friend, Eugen Sanger, had died three months before.

Not given to emotion, he didn’t cheer. He smiled instead.

You would be proud, Herr Doktor.”, he thought. I am.”

(Next – Epilogue)


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One Comment

  1. Hello Will. It’s been awhile. I don’t know how you pick your subjects to write about, but you have a way with words that makes history come alive. Peace.


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