|The Hot War |
POD: November, 1950
|Type of Appearance:||Direct (POV in A)|
|Nationality:||West Germany (born in Germany)|
|Date of Birth:||20th century|
|Military Branch:||Wehrmacht (World War II);|
West German emergency militia (World War III)
Max Bachman ran a printer's shop in Fulda, West Germany in the years between World War II and World War III. He was a veteran of the Eastern Front of World War II, as was his employee, Gustav Hozzel.
On 23 January 1951, the United States dropped several atomic bombs on strategic points in Manchuria. The Soviet Union retaliated on behalf of its ally, China, and ordered six atomic attacks against U.S. allies: Aberdeen and Norwich in the United Kingdom; Nancy and Rouen in France, and; Augsburg and Bremen in West Germany.
As February progressed, Soviet forces were moving towards the East-West border. In response, the U.S. announced their plan to create a national emergency militia. Hozzel was initially resentful of the scheme, feeling as if the U.S. had had the opportunity to join Germany against Russia and hadn't, but his boss, Bachman, pointed out that if the Soviets won, it would be Germany that would pay the price, prompting Hozzel to reconsider his position. For his own part, Bachman was prepared to enter the militia.
When the invasion came in February, Bachman and Hozzel immediately joined the Americans fighting the Soviets. He wound up in a constant state of retreat as the Americans and their allies pulled back north and west throughout the first months of the fighting. As Bachman spoke English, he often acted as a translator for the Americans.
As volunteers streamed into the emergency militia, Bachman and Hozzel met a veteran soldier named Rolf, who candidly discussed his service with the Leibstanardte Adolf Hitler, or LAH. Rolf fanatically insisted that the Germans and their allies would defeat the Reds, a fanaticism that Bachman and Hozzel were both impressed and disturbed by.
By April, the Allied troops, Bachman included, were on the outskirts of Schwerte, a town itself on the outskirts of Dortmund, at the edge of the Ruhr. In May, the Americans and the militia were pushed back again, fiercely fighting inside of Dortmund. A few week later, Dortmund fell to the Soviets as they pushed further into the Ruhr. The militia engaged in house-to-house fighting in Duisburg, escaping through the tunnels running through the cellars of the houses. By June, Bachman and the rest of the Allied line had been pushed to Wesel, north of Duisburg near the Dutch border.
It was around this time that Max's wife Trudl was arrested by the MGB for Max's "counterrevolutionary" actions. She was sent to a prison Jewish Autonomous Region not far from the town of Smidovich.
The Allies managed to hold Wesel into July. With overwhelming force, the Soviets pushed hard into Wesel, and Bachman once again joined the retreat north and west. After a period of resistance near the Dutch border, Bachman, Hozzel and the rest of the unit were abruptly ordered to retreat. Hozzel and Bachman were both suspicious, but the dutiful Rolf had perfect faith in their officers. To their astonishment, they were soon deep in Holland proper. That night, after bunking down, they saw an American atom bomb detonate in the position they'd held that morning.
The U.S. bombed all of the Red Army's forward positions, thoroughly breaking them. Bachman and his comrades were now part of an Allied advance. They passed destroyed Wesel, and started running into Russians who were eager to surrender. When Rolf murdered one of these who admitted he'd fought the Germans in the last war, both Hozzel and Bachman ordered him to refrain from doing it again, making it clear that they would shoot him if he did. Rolf backed down. In Lippstadt, Hozzel, Bachman, and Rolf ran into Soviet soldiers hold up in a grocery store. After some debate among the three, Hozzel convinced the Soviets to surrender. Hozzel and Bachman led the large group behind the lines to U.S. intelligence officers.
In the winter of 1951, the frantic NATO drive brought Hozzel, Bachman, and Rolf to Soviet-held Marsberg, where the Germans successfully overwhelmed the Soviets and drove the from the wrecked town.
The drive continued east. In March 1952, Hozzel, Bachman, and Rolf were in Warberg, east of Marberg, when the Russians sent in Shturmoviks to attack. However, the U.S. sent in F-80s in response. Three Shturmoviks were shot down, the rest retreated, and the Russians, despite the set back, moved in. A hidden machine gun broke the advance.
Hozzel was killed weeks later in an engagement between Soviet T-54s and Sherman tanks commanded by Germans. The T-54s began making short work of the Shermans. During a barrage, a shell exploded over Hozzel as he dove for cover. Bachman mourned Hozzel; Rolf was essentially indifferent.
Mehlen was not particularly sympathetic when word came that the Soviets had successfully atom bombed Washington, DC, figuring that the Americans had plenty of resources left; he cared about Germany, no one else. Bachman, with whom Mehlen maintained a close if not exactly friendly relationship, was not so dogmatic about the situation. The two found themselves in Liebenau in May 1952, then advanced to Arnsberg, where the Soviets were dug in hard. In the end, though, Arnsberg didn't have to fall: the Treaty of Versailles ended the war in July, 1952. Mehlen and Bachman instead watched Soviet troops evacuate unmolested. If Mehlen had his way, the Germans would still be slaughtering the Soviets. For that matter, Mehlen was still convinced the world should have followed Hitler during World War II. Bachman listened to Mehlen's rant, then pointed out how things had actually gone.
With the ceasefire holding, Bachman began the process of mustering out. He returned home to Fulda after arduous journey, and learned that Trudl had returned home from the Siberian gulag a few days before. He found her in a lean-to she'd put up on the site where their home had been. In October, 1952, Bachman learned that his insurance company would not cover his shop because it would had been destroyed by an act of war. While he spent time stewing, he didn't given into any violent impulses, and concentrated instead on getting Trudl healthy again. However, as the days of desperate living in Fulda ground on, Luisa Hozzel, in a fit of pique, informed Bachman that Trudl had had sex with one of their guards while they were in the gulag.
Bachman resented the revelation, although he could recognize that Luisa had little left. Still, his marriage proved difficult as December arrived, particularly at the physical level. Ultimately, he was willing to keep trying to save the marriage, as he could understand her decision.
References[edit | edit source]
- Bombs Away, pgs. 15-16, ebook.
- Ibid., pgs. 55-61.
- Ibid., pgs. 64-65, 70.
- Ibid., pgs. 78-79.
- Ibid., pg. 116.
- Ibid, pg. 222.
- Ibid., pg. 252.
- Ibid., pg. 248-252.
- Ibid., pg. 300.
- Ibid. pgs. 349-353.
- Ibid., pgs. 410-414.
- Fallout, loc 396-456., ebook.
- Ibid., loc. 338-397, ebook.
- Ibid., loc. 1553-1611.
- Ibid., loc., 925-1002.
- Ibid., loc. 1691-1720.
- Ibid., loc. 1735.
- Ibid., loc. 1751.
- Loc. 2632-2703.
- Ibid., loc. 3506.
- Ibid., loc. 3531-3579.
- Ibid., loc. 4745-4768.
- Ibid., loc. 4780-4815
- Ibid., loc. 5446-5505.
- Ibid., loc. 5783-5842.
- Ibid., loc. 6821-6897.
- Armistice, pgs 11-14, ebook.
- Ibid., pgs. 113-117.
- Ibid., pg. 171-174.
- Ibid., pg. 207-210.
- Ibid., pgs. 323-327.
- Ibid., pgs. 357-361.
- Ibid., pgs. 366-370.
- Ibid., pgs. 397-398.
- Ibid., pgs. 398-400.