Just another Jewish Canadian alternate history buff. If you're a fan of alt-hist, you've come to the right place.
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December 1, 2013
A cartoon from a German-language Leipzig paper commenting on the 1938 signing of the Anti-Comintern Mutual Defence Pact, also known as the Rome-Berlin-Warsaw Axis. The Polish white eagle is shown conversing happily with the German black eagle, as the Gallic rooster tries to break up the party.
On 1 September 1939, German troops rolled over the Polish border “to train and supplement the Polish Army against the Soviet threat”. Within a year, Poland had become a German client state.
The longstanding rumours that Germany orchestrated the 1936 death of Wladyslaw Sikorski and used the manufactured panic to pressure Poland into signing the pact have never been conclusively disproved.
This is the Charlton Automatic Rifle, an automatic conversion of the Lee-Enfield SMLE and its predecessor the Lee-Metford. Designed in 1941 by one Philip Charlton of New Zealand, the rifles were produced in response to a critical shortage of Bren and Lewis machine guns as the Japanese grew ever closer.
Around 1 500 were produced, nearly all of which were destroyed in a post-war warehouse fire.
So what are USAF personnel wearing 5-color desert camouflage doing out in the seeming middle of nowhere ? And what are those gray things they’re working on?
In September 1990, under the code name SCATHE MEAN, personnel from the recently disbanded Ground Launched Cruise Missileunits were hastily re-assembled to perform a highly classified mission as part of Operation Desert Storm. Their task was to send unmanned decoys into Iraqi airspace, mimicking inbound strike aircraft and activating air defense radars so that they could be detected and destroyed by Coalition ‘Wild Weasel' aircraft. As the newly formed (and deceptively named) 4468th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, the former ‘Missileers’ quickly became acquainted with the Northrop Ventura BQM-74C Chukar, used exclusively by the US Navy as a target drone and thus an unfamiliar piece of kit to the USAF. Normally launched from C-130 aircraft or shipboard zero-length launch rails using RATO, the 4468th TRG trained to fly their Chukars at night from ground based platforms trucked out into the Saudi desert. On the night of January 17 1991, deployed as two teams 400 miles apart so as to cover Baghdad and Basra, the 4468th sent 38 Chukars on their way in precisely timed multiple waves of three drones each. After covering 500 kilometers, the loose formations of drones that reached Baghdad proceeded to circle for 20 minutes, swamping Iraqi radar, before running out of fuel. Saddam Hussein’s air defense network, as an integrated and functioning organization, collapsed within hours and SCATHE MEAN played an interestingly ad hoc - and secret - role in that vital first phase of the Coalition air campaign.
This has been a Xenophone TRUFAX submission to The Alt-Historian.
mohnjaddenpowers asked: So here's an interesting question I asked on the althistory subreddit, but I thought it'd be good to throw it out here too. If the Soviet Union never collapsed (let's say glasnost and perestroika kept it together successfully somehow) then how would the first Persian Gulf War carry out? Would Saddam be emboldened by the USSR to push into Saudi Arabia and allow the Soviets greater access to foreign oil, thus provoking a NATO response? Would they do anything at all?
I think the Soviets would back Saddam, but cautiously. Mindful of the fiasco in Afghanistan, very few Soviet troops would actually be on the ground.
But their mere presence would make NATO nervous about intervening. However, after a few tense months, the Soviets would pull out, desperately short of the hard currency needed to win a war. As Saddam wavers, the Coalition finally steps in to bring the crazed Iraqi down— and grab some oil if they can.
The Latin text not shown in the cropped picture of this map translates to “Against the barbarous hordes, Europe must unite to keep herself pure!”
Shown as an armed prince facing off against the savage Britons, murderous Mongols, and malevolent Moors, Europe was completely alone, with only the racially pure Slavs and Teutons as her defenders. The map itself was produced in Regensburg in 1485 as propaganda for the Fortress of Nations, a kind of proto-European confederacy convened under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church.
It lasted for seventy years, until the Bloody Reformations of 1530-1572 tore it apart.
"TEXAS MADE A NATION" announces the headline of the Lampasas Dispatch, as menacing black-uniformed soldiers set up checkpoints on the outskirts of town, and mysterious officers address the frightened townspeople. It appears that Texas has been invaded and conquered, and a puppet government set up. How could this have happened under the nose of the entire United States?
Well, that’s because this “invasion” was Operation Longhorn, a $3.3 million dollar exercise simulating an invasion and occupation of Lampasas, TX. It took place in April 1952 and lasted three weeks, with Army soldiers from Fort Hood playing the “aggressor nation” and paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne acting as liberators. Undertaken in response to widespread fears of actual invasion, the mock occupation came complete with staged battles, suspension of religious freedom and freedom of speech, and leaflets urging Lampasans to resist.
It is said that when inventor Robert Phillip Chambers first proposed the idea of the spiked bomb to General Eisenhower, the unflappable commander simply looked at him and responded: “well, why not?” The O-15 “Bomb, High Explosive, Mechanical” went into production in 1944. One-and-one-half times the size of an average man, the bomb was designed to be dropped out of airplanes, whereupon it would roll toward its targets with the aid of a gyroscope.
The drawing here is a post-war artists’ impression of the Nivreville Incident, when several light bombers carrying the weapons discharged on top of the German 15th Infantry Division. The carnage was reportedly so great that when Eisenhower saw aerial photos of the battlefield, he turned white and ordered the bomb never be used in combat again.
This poorly caricatured buzzard perched on a cloud was the emblem of the USAF’s 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, which for five years flew a series of secret missions during the Vietnam War. When their true nature was finally revealed to the United States and the world, it resulted in a new convention (signed in Geneva, no less!) banning such activities from the lawful conduct of war. The 54th’s 'Motorpool' flights were part of Operation POPEYE, an attempt to modify the weather over Indochina; pairs of WC-130 Herculese and RF-4C Phantom aircraft would seed the clouds with silver iodide crystals, and the resulting rain was intended to turn the vital North Vietnamese supply line known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail into a muddy, impassable morass. 1,435 ‘Motorpool’ sorties later, the whistle was blown by the New York Times in July 1972 (syndicated muckraking columnist Jack Anderson had the scoop over a year before but had referred to it as INTERMEDIARY-COMPATRIOT, a possibly bogus code-name). As a result, multiple House and Senate resolutions were passed banning ‘environmental warfare’; these were expanded in 1977 into an international treaty known as the Environmental Modification Convention aka ENMOD.
This has been a Xenophone TRUFAX submission to The Alt-Historian.
Who are these blue-uniformed, crusher-cap wearing jackbooted thugs? Are these Hungarian soldiers? Russian paramilitaries? German civil servants?
No, they’re the New Jersey State Police. Developed during the Gilded Age, the uniforms were directly based on Tsarist Russian and Prussian Army uniforms, as it was thought uniforms of this sort would instill respect in new immigrants.
this has been the-alt-historian’s first TRUFAX post.