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Subject: "Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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"Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08"
 
   LAST EDITED ON Mar-08-15 AT 10:49 PM (EDT)
 
Like the TFLF annotation thread, this will be updated as episodes are released rather than starting a new one for each.

Notes by Gryphon
Notes by Matt

Our Witches at War - A nod to the style of the "war comics" of the 1960s and '70s - most particularly DC's Our Army at War, in which such characters as Sgt. Rock and Hans "Enemy Ace" von Hammer first appeared.

Episode 01

pottering along toward home - Those who have seen Strike Witches may recognize this as the opening of episode 7. Those who have seen Strike Witches 2 may recognize this as the opening of episode 7. This is not a typographical error.

Château Saint-Ulrich - Loosely based on an actual place. Google Maps has some nice photos of what it looks like today, as well as giving an idea of how it fits into the landscape of Ribeauvillé. Obviously the version serving as the 501st's base has been renovated a bit. :)

The Magician - Major Arcanum number 1 in most Tarot decks. A figure of mystery and power who implies immanence, transformation, and/or otherworldly guidance. (Or in some decks, a charlatan, but Eila seems to prefer Rider-Waite.)

The Wheel of Fortune - Major Arcanum number 10. An unexpected change of circumstance (whether for better or worse is not this card's department).

It is worth bearing in mind that Eila's Tarot divinations are usually meaningless. :)

Kübelwagen - Literally "bucket car", a light military utility vehicle based on the mechanical underpinnings of the KdF-Wagen (which later evolved into the Volkswagen Beetle), used by the German forces in WWII as a rough equivalent to the Jeep. Not to be confused with the vaguely-similar-looking, much later Volkswagen commercial product known in North America as the VW Thing. In Strike Witches it serves the same function for the forces of Karlsland, and since Suomus gets most of its military hardware from there (as WWII Finland got much of its gear from Germany), one assumes they have them too - although Eila probably just took the first one she found around the base, likely Erica Hartmann's Karlsland-issue one.

MA ... QUETTE - Sanya started to write MAKET, which is Orussian for "dummy", until it occurred to her that that wouldn't make much sense as a precaution for Gallian civilians. Fortunately, the Gallic equivalent starts with the same letters (and by an odd coincidence, MAKET is spelled with letters that look the same in the Cyrillic and Roman alphabets).

Ivan Ivanovich - This joke is based in reality: early Soviet spacesuit tests really did involve an instrumented crash test dummy masked with a warning sign reading MAKET, so that peasants who might run across it wouldn't mistake it for a dead or injured cosmonaut, and the people who worked with it did nickname it Ivan Ivanovich ("John Johnson").

salmiakki - Eila tries to turn her colleagues on to Suomish salty licorice during a "let's all make sweets" scene in one of the Strike Witches audio dramas. They all hate it apart from Minna, one of whose running jokes is that she likes really powerfully flavored foods regardless of what the flavor actually is.

I'm in Eila's corner on this one. I love it, but I admit that the first time I tried it I thought that it tasted like getting punched in the face.

lapochka - Russian for "little paw", because basically any noun is an endearment in Russian if you add "-ochka". (Safe to assume it's a reference to Eila's black fox familiar.)

our mechanics are mostly men - And in 1946, they are presumably no longer forbidden to speak to the witches, so Shizuka really has no excuse for not having noticed. :)

Episode 02

special thanks to Maj Barkhorn and Cpt Clostermann - Weirdly for an anime, the characters' blood types do not appear to have been officially designated, but given the Japanese fondness for stereotyping personality traits based on them, I'm reasonably sure Trude and Perrine are both type A: "Earnest, creative, sensible, reserved, patient, responsible ; fastidious, overearnest, stubborn, tense."

Which led to the following discussion in the studio when this scene was under development:

<BZArcher> "I feel...surprisingly good. And I have a strange craving for bratwurst and a croissant."
<Z-Gryphon> <G> . o O { And Major Sakamoto. That could be awkward. }
<Z-Gryphon> no! sorry. Perrine's better now.
<Z-Gryphon> :)
<BZArcher> :)

sickbay - It's called sickbay (and not the infirmary or base hospital), even though the castle is not a ship, because the presiding doctor, Yoshika, is a naval officer.

Sam Waterston - Truly, the most secure passphrase.

Modern Witch - Subtitled "The magazine of modern witchcraft!" In the mid-1940s, still about 60% useful information, albeit slowly being overtaken with sensationalist dross ("What Kind of Enchanter Are You?" quizzes and love potion recipes - "Turn Your Man Into an Animal, Figuratively Speaking, Of Course" - that kind of thing). Projected to be complete trash by about 1995, if the Neuroi don't destroy the world first.

herbal stress remedies - Probably chamomille. Probably.

get back down there, kid - This sequence is a shameless riff on one of my favorite scenes in the 1970 Franklin J. Schaffner film Patton, starring George C. Scott as General George S. Patton, Jr. I have made reference to it before, mostly in out-of-story discussions, but it fit so perfectly into this moment that I just had to let the tape run. :)

everybody knew about Romagnans - Shizuka is being a tad bit racist here. I'd say that is a common failing of Fusō military personnel, particularly those who didn't travel abroad as children, but ironically, that would be racist.

Schläfchengenossen - Literally "little-sleep comrades". In the interest of full disclosure, as far as I know I made this word up (and it's entirely possible Erica did too), but it is a technically correct German compound word.

that only happened once - Gryphon refers to the local equivalent of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 as the only time Karlsland has invaded Gallia, since both of the World Wars are replaced by coalition wars against the Neuroi in the Strike Witches chronology.

so he could refuel - The NAA Cirrus X-15A-2 jetpack Gryphon had during his 1943 visit would run on just about any flammable liquid, but it preferred Stolichnaya Blue Label. One expects that for the Cork expedition it didn't get to be that picky.

if I keep eating right, I'll pass you one day soon - The Romaganan tradition of "body by pasta" is alive and well in the Strike Witches universe.

there's more to being a successful soldier... than discipline - This kinda evolved as G. and I talked about what we wanted this episode to do. And I think Trude is the perfect person the deliver this explanation - with a little help from Erica. After all, part of their friendship (and later romance) comes out of that realization.

yay, Takoyaki night! - It seems like I make comments on food every episode so far. I am also 100% down with some good Takoyaki. My favorite local stand closed up last year when the owner / head cook got offered an executive chef job in San Fran, and I still miss them. :(

Raw octopus...well, depends how you cut it, but I have to admit I could take or leave it.

raw octopus is best octopus - The dish Lucchini's talking about is actually tako sashimi, but she consider it a form of carpaccio.

we're stronger with you than without you - That's really the core of the 501st, not just the theme of this episode. The parts become a much stronger whole, and each of them brings something important and valuable.

Episode 03


G is really doing the heavy lifting on these, so this is really the equivalent of me being the snarky supporting actor or producer on your DVD commentary track who just offers observations and a few jokes. But, hey, I'm having fun!

Murder an entire chicken pot pie - Good way to celebrate not bleeding out, honestly. I've got a family recipe I could lend out.

didn't seem to be anyone home - Lynne isn't being delinquent here - even nurses have to go to the smallest room now and then.

not if he knew what was good for him - Arguing with an Englishwoman during time of war is an excellent way to get a black eye. At best.

something definite to report to Captain Hartmann this time - Usch isn't directly working on the P-61 upgrades, but as the only testing command officer on the base, I'd imagine she's sending performance notes and after action reports to anyone involved with evaluating the new gear.

downdraft æther carbs - The P-61's downdraft carburetors were a source of some headaches during the aircraft's design, not because they didn't work, but because the Army at one point issued an arbitrary directive that all aircraft would have updraft carbs, nearly causing a lengthy and expensive redesign before it was (equally arbitrarily) rescinded. (And then the production model had updraft carbs anyway.)

It's worth noting here that Eleanor isn't testing a completely experimental Striker - that's not her job - but she is one of the first witches in Europe to receive the new P-61C high-performance variant (which barely saw service in the real world, but in OWaW the war has gone on past 1945). So she finds herself ironing out a few of the teething problems with the model whether she likes it or not.

ringed tail - Figuring out Eleanor's familiar, back when G. started to throw the ideas for her creation around, took the better part of two days and (in my case) some very interesting research into the fauna of northern Maine.

I should probably let somebody up in Lichtenberg know where I am. - Their radio operators probably got her mayday call and the traffic from the 501st's ground crews, but given that she had to bail out of her Striker, it's always good to let them know you're in one piece.

nattō - Fermented soybean...stuff. Some people like it - I've had it prepared with Coke before, which is a surprisingly popular way to do it, and it was interesting? Much like our hero, I'd probably just politely not touch it unless in a very particular mood.

went almost instantly to sleep - Some talents span generations. And universes, apparently!

a certain collegial interest - as a semi-professional napper, Lucchini is always looking for tips that will help her to go pro.

SHAEF - Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces Europe, which is just what it says on the tin. The Karlsland forces involved in the Alliance object to the use of "Expeditionary", since they are in fact trying to liberate their own country, but the name sticks.

Twining - Major General Nathan Twining, one of the (male) Liberion generals involved with Allied conventional (i.e., non-witch) airpower. Unlike some of his colleagues, he works well with the witch units assigned to interoperate with his forces and is thus liked and trusted by most of them.

Eaker - Major General Irene C. Eaker, former fighter witch (and an early proponent, with Jenny Doolittle, of the Miyafuji Engine in Liberion Striker design); now commander of the little-seen but strategically important ground attack air witches (as opposed to air-to-air witches like the 501st) of the U.S. Eighth Army Air Force.

I'm-not-kidding-you profile - Over the course of the war, and as the 501st has matured as a unit, I suspect Mio finds more and more of her job boiling down to "Get Minna to take care of herself, make sure the others are taking care of themselves." The rest can probably be categorized as "shooty bits".

Opel Blitz - The workhorse medium truck of the Wehrmacht, far more common than the Mercedes-Benz L3000, though the Mercedes is better-known today. Roughly equivalent to the American/Liberion GMC CCKW "deuce-and-a-half".

$ADJECTIVE Witches - Other canonical JFW names include the 502nd Brave Witches and 504th Ardent Witches, both of which have cameos in the Strike Witches movie.

(Interestingly, it appears that the upcoming third television series won't be about the 501st, even though it'll still be called Strike Witches. Which highlights the perils of naming the franchise after an in-universe organization and then branching out. :)

"It's broken." - Detailed technical analysis is one of Lucchini's strengths. :)

they shook anyway - Shaking hands while covered in engine grease isn't officially the Secret Engineer Handshake, but it might as well be. :)

Juvincourt - Site of the Luftwaffe's biggest airbase/de facto headquarters in occupied France during WWII, and presumably a somewhat-more-welcome equivalent in 1946 Gallia. The unit Ursula is currently with is one of the several stationed there.

the weirdest thing - Combining dimensional and time travel is always fraught with the possibility that you'll run into things like this, though, on the plus side, it does mean that he doesn't need to worry about accidentally causing the grandfather paradox.

Gotta admit, during the various development phases, it was rather interesting to hear G. realize he'd accidentally wiped himself out of existence in that particular universe.

avoid Strasbourg - Not that there's anything wrong with Strasbourg, it's just that it's right on the Rhine and, as such, not a terribly safe place to be driving a marked military vehicle at this stage of the war.

something Lt. Juutilainen-Litvyak just made up - Hattori is starting to loosen up here. She's not a bad person! Just...regimented. They're working on it. :)

The Second Neuroi War, Volume III: Their Finest Hour - Their Finest Hour was actually Volume II of Churchill's original six-volume The Second World War, but then the Battle of Britain took place much earlier in the war than the Battle of Britannia. In this setting, that volume concerns the defense of Britannia from Operation Dynamo (aka the Miracle of Dunkirk) up through the destruction of the Gallia Hive in the fall of 1944 - and so is largely, but not entirely, concerned with the activities of the 501st.

(The people of Venezia might disagree that the liberation of Gallia was the 501st's finest hour, but then Mr. Churchill is biased - and probably named the volume before the Venezia campaign had played out.)

Technically, I think what I'm about to do is treason. - and isn't that a fun place to leave you all? :)

Episode 04

Not much to say here, because I was on the road while G. was writing this. My main contribution outside of helping to line up some of the timing in this piece was was the attempt to parse "Grand Theft Rocketpack" into German. :)

Flugplatz Marquise-West - In real life, a Luftwaffe airfield developed for, and abandoned after, the Battle of Britain. Following 1943 it was handed over to the German Army for other uses, then abandoned by them as well the following year, as the Wehrmacht pulled out of western France. In this setting it can be assumed to have been abandoned during Operation Dynamo (the evacuation of Continental forces to Britannia) and reactivated after the liberation of Gallia.

Sind wir schon da? - "Are we there yet?"

Diebstahl eines Raketenrucksack - Literally "theft of a rocket backpack". As Shirley points out later, Gryphon's flight pack in his first stint with the 501st (and the one in this story, as it turns out) are both air-breathing jets, not actual rockets, but the misnomer persists in some of the terminology, such as the Karlslandic word for them and the common nickname for people who fly them ("rocketeer").

Baltlandic furniture parts - Slightly anachronistic - IKEA was founded during WWII, but didn't start doing furniture until the '50s - but I couldn't resist. "Packed like sardines" is such a cliché. :)

Fortress of Mimoyecques - Also based on a real place. Mimoyecques was the site of a planned battery of V-3 "super artillery", which would have been capable of shelling London. It was damaged by heavy Allied air raids before it would have become operational and abandoned. The works at the version of the facility seen here are based on estimates of what the real one would've been like if it had been finished.

KG 200 - A real WWII Luftwaffe unit, which, in addition to flight testing, also carried out complicated or difficult special operations.

the Reich - For all that it is indelibly associated with Hitler's regime (commonly known as the Third Reich) today, this word has nothing to do with National Socialism; it's simply a German word meaning (roughly) "empire" or "kingdom". Since the Hohenzollern monarchy didn't fall in 1918 in this chronology, the current Karlsland state is still the Second Reich, or Kaiserreich, founded in 1871. The First Reich (retroactively) was the so-called "Holy Roman" Empire (962-1802 CE), which was actually a loose federation of mainly German principalities.

Wunderwaffe - "Wonder weapons", the German/Karlslandic term for bleeding-edge/otherwise technologically unconventional military technologies. In real life, the Wunderwaffe were mostly desperation plays devised after Germany started visibly losing World War II, and very few of them would ever have actually worked, but a lot of them were so outsized, obviously crazy, or otherwise arrestingly odd that they continue to impress the observer today.

He 162 - Codename Volksjäger ("People's Fighter"), a jet-powered interceptor developed in the closing days of the war. It was hoped that the He 162 would be cheaper and easier to produce than the sophisticated but complicated Me 262, and easy to fly so that it could be taken into combat by Hitler Youth and other poorly trained expendables. The former goal was largely achieved. The latter... wasn't. Allied pilots who tested the captured prototypes after the war reported that it was actually a very capable aircraft and a pleasure to fly, but it was really touchy and required a very experienced hand.

The He 162 jetpack seen in this story resembles the real He 162's engine pod (crossed with a torpedo heater and a backpack).

ACHTUNG! KEIN ZUTRITT FÜR UNBEFUGTE - "Attention! No Access for the Unauthorized".

Maltese cross in blue - The Pour le Mérite, despite its French name, was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest order of merit from 1740 to 1918, and therefore Germany's highest after the country was unified under Prussian rule in 1871. We may assume a similar thing happened in the case of Karlsland. Since Karlsland still has a Kaiser, who is presumably still a member of the Prussian House of Hohenzollern, it is unknown why the Blue Max (as it is informally known) is no longer awarded in the Strike Witches setting. In practice it's mostly been replaced by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (see below), although the Knight's Cross is a decoration and not an order. (N.B. If you're interested in the really fiddly details, Croix Pour le Merite refers only to the physical medal itself, not the honor. That's just Pour le Mérite.)

Hannelore von Hammer - The local version of Hans "Enemy Ace" von Hammer of DC Comics fame, naturally - although with a twist, quite apart from being a woman.

Rittmeister - Literally "riding-master"; a cavalry rank equivalent to Hauptmann (captain), held by many WWI/NWI German fighter pilots (who often transitioned to aviation from the cavalry). Like the Blue Max, obsolete after the First War. In Hannelore's case it should technically be Rittmeisterin ("riding-mistress"), but many such terms (e.g., wingman, airman) have become masculine-generic in the Strike Witches setting. In absolute terms, this means that Trude, a major, outranks von Hammer, but, well... that's not how it feels to Trude.

Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds - There are only two grades of the Iron Cross above the one Erica holds: The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves in Gold, Swords, and Diamonds, which to date has only been awarded to one person (ground-attack air witch Hanna-Ulrike Rudel); and the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, of which the Kaiser himself is the only living holder. Since the "gold leaves" version was retroactively created in 1944 specifically to add another level below the Grand Cross for Rudel, it could be argued that Erica holds the "real" highest level. It's a little like Transformer stat inflation.

threw back her head and laughed - Here's the twist: the canonical Hans von Hammer is a Tortured Figure, every bit as grim and severe as he looks. Hannelore is... not.

Ramune - A real Japanese soda. It has a cameo in the Strike Witches movie. The peculiar bottle design is called a "Codd neck" after its inventor, Hiram Codd. Ramune can be seen in action in several clips on YouTube if you're curious.

Wilhelm von Reichenberg - Not named for a historical personage, but instead the Fieseler Fi 103R "Reichenberg" - the manned suicide-missile version of the V-1 flying bomb.

Küchenhexen, nicht Kämpfenhexen - "Kitchen witches, not fighting witches." Derived from Kaiser Wilhelm II's maxim for the only three things he believed a good German woman of the 1890s should concern herself with: Kinder, Küche, Kirche (children, the kitchen, and church). Does not lose anything in translation; just as patronizing as it sounds.

Sechser tour - A Sechser, literally "sixer", is an archaic Prussian term for a six-Pfennig coin (half an old Groschen, which was in turn a thirtieth of a Thaler). 1940s Karlsland has decimal currency, but old-fashioned Prussians still call the five-Pfennig coin (one-twentieth of a Reichsmark) a Sechser. Basically, in Hannelore's usage it's a quaint way of asking for the nickel tour.

Adolfine Galland - Mio's mentor in the use of Witchsight. Probably wanted Hannelore to make some smart-aleck remark reminding her to pay attention to what's nearby as well as what's far away.

Hochdruckpumpe - Also the codename of the V-3 artillery system.

pushed by angels - Trude's remark about the sensation of flying the Me 262 (from her internal monologue in Strike Witches 2 episode 4, "Hard, Fast, Amazing!") is, in turn, a paraphrase of something General Adolf Galland said about the real thing - "It felt as though angels were pushing."

"I got ten whole seconds!" - Paraphrased from a remark by Mercury astronaut Donald K. "Deke" Slayton (as portrayed by actor Barry Corbin) in the narration of the TV documentary based on Moon Shot, the book about Project Apollo that Slayton and Al Shepard were working on when the former died in 1993.

Episode 05

an apparent Liberion - Later to be the title of Graham Greene's 1955 novel depicting the adventures of a fictional warlock serving with an unnumbered Joint Fighter Wing against Neuroi remnants in Gallian Indo-China.

ever-so-slightly pleased with herself - There are few things in life that are more satisfying than defending friends while meting out a righteous asskicking.

did we mention that Shirley doesn't speak Karlslandic? - I did not write this bit. I wish I had.

(This technique of conveying foreign dialogue unknown to the semi-omniscient narrator's POV character is shamelessly cribbed from an early issue of the Matt Fraction Hawkeye comic.)

Mein Luftkissenfahrzeug ist von den Aalen voll. - "My hovercraft is full of eels." It is unclear why the U.S. Army thought this would be a useful thing for its soldiers to be able to say to their allies from Karlsland.

Tante Ju - "Aunt Ju", the common German nickname for the Junkers Ju 52 transport.

but this is already farther than I usually go on a first date - Gryphon should REALLY know not to say things like this by now...

In fairness to G, that isn't on the list of Standard Last Words. Noting that one would normally be loath to push one's luck this far is not quite the same thing as asking how hard it can be.

Warning: anomalous signal detected - This is a combination of the signals being used to "drive" the grass-snakes and the faked Neuroi. In other words, it's exactly the kind of trouble that Gryphon whistled up thanks to his conversation with Sanya.

the imperial Ju 52 - It may strike some observers as a bit odd that the Kaiser, who presumably has his choice of any aircraft he likes as his royal transport, should have chosen a Ju 52, which by 1946 is obsolescent - smaller, slower, lower-flying, and with a much smaller range than similar successor models like the Ju 252, to say nothing of the really big long-range models like the Ju 290 or the Messerschmitt Me 264. Truth is, he sticks with the 52 because he likes it - it's rugged, it's reliable, and he's not in a hurry.

Antonina Hackl - Based on Luftwaffe ace Major Anton "Toni" Hackl, last commander of the real Jagdgeschwader 11, who served through the entire war and had 192 confirmed victories at the end. Antonina recently turned 21 and so is probably semi-retired from active combat service by this point, but for a mission like escorting the Kaiser she'd still saddle up.

victim of bureaucratic bungling - Hannelore is slightly off the mark here, but she can be forgiven for expecting this to be the results of simple incompetence rather than enemy action.

(More about this next time.)

Now see what you've gone and done! - See? Hannelore gets how this works.

Knickebein - German for "crooked leg", the nickname/codename of the radio navigation system used to guide German bombers to their targets in England during the Battle of Britain. Eventually replaced first by X-Gerät and then Y-Gerät during the course of what might've been history's first electronic warfare battle, the so-called "Battle of the Beams", before the Germans left off bombing England and turned most of their bomber forces' attention to the Eastern Front in 1941.

plunged straight into the middle of their formation - As G. pointed out in the Studio, the Night Witches really ought to be called ELINT witches - it's just that nobody's invented a term for that yet. If the Neuroi made more use of "conventional" radio or radar, the Night Witches would have a field day with them.

like a Fliegerhammer for stupid people - Or someone who will get exactly one shot at point blank range. Which still probably doesn't end well for the Raketensoldat, but it WAS only supposed to be a demonstration, after all.

Ramming speed! - This came out of a discussion that basically started "Oops, I just realized neither of them have a gun." So obviously the next step is for them to improvise!

black Neuroi crystal on top of what appeared to be sheet aluminum - Hence why Hannelore's shots weren't doing much: the crystal (and the air gap between the outer hull and the gas cells inside) basically absorbed her explosive rounds, and the spall wasn't hot enough to ignite the hydrogen, otherwise the jig would have been up a bit earlier.

extremely flammable hydrogen gas - Oh, the humanity.

shot out of the far side of the fireball - Think the Millennium Falcon at the end of ROTJ. Gryphon giving a Billy Dee Williams crow of triumph is entirely optional.

bloody man was watching the show - Well-meaning foolishness? But still utter foolishness.

"Minnaaaaa!" - Mio is probably feeling more terror in this moment than she ever did in combat - even when dealing with the loss of her magic.

collapsible-shaft sledge hammer - This is a real thing; they're commonly used as entry tools by police, firefighters, and other people who have reasons to knock down doors on a semi-regular basis. (Strangely, the real ones are preposterously expensive, I can only assume because they're usually bought by government agencies and thus the makers figure they can charge whatever they feel like.) In fairness, they probably didn't really exist in 1946, but then, neither did witches.

Der Hexenhammer - German/Karlslandic, The Witches' Hammer. Also known by its Latin title, Malleus Maleficarum. In the real world, a viciously fraudulent "how to spot and punish witches" book published in 1487 by an insane German clergyman, and so far off the mark that even the Inquisition put out pamphlets warning people not to go by it (not that that stopped various European courts from using it as a standard reference). In the OWaW setting, the standard manual of European military witchcraft for more than 400 years (until the 1904 publication of Alysande Crowley's The Book of the Law), and the source of the von Hammer barony's name when it was created by the Hohenzollern kings of Prussia in the 1700s.

Endeinsatz! Höllenhammer! - "Final operation! Hellhammer!"

un-subject-like glare for the Kaiser - Translation: Fritzchen, we are going to have a conversation later that you are not going to enjoy.

her Night Witch antennae - Ordinarily, Liberion Night Witches' magic radar manifests itself as a monocular plan position indicator radar display rather than light antennae (as seen here). Since Eleanor didn't develop her magic radar ability until she was deployed overseas, she was trained in the European system, and so has Hirschgeweih antennae like Sanya and the various Karlslander Night Witches instead.

Episode 06

You'd better take her to bed. - This is far from the first time Lynne's been told this about Yoshika. Not always in the same context, though...

that much of a hypocrite - Mio, after all, refused point-blank to consider retiring when her own magic was fading, even when Minna literally begged her to - including, on one memorable occasion, at gunpoint.

Kaiser Friedrich IV - A fictitious member of the House of Hohenzollern, ten or so years younger than the real Wilhelm II's youngest child.

1933 - Not entirely coincidentally, the same year Hitler came to power in the real Germany.

no one but the person administering it - There are a lot of reasons why Hannelore von Hammer has a special status. Being able to stand up and speak truth to her monarch is a very important one.

an insecure milksop - Kaiser Wilhelm II's psychological shortcomings could fill - and have filled! - many volumes, particularly since the First World War was in large part a direct consequence of them.

a soldier's soldier. - and that's exactly why this had to be Trude, in the end, but our first working draft of this scene had someone rather different stepping up to bang their heads together.

it often takes a hammer - The Kaiser made a funny!

thereby were the floodgates opened. - Welcome to Perrine's long dark tea-time of the soul.

Juvincourt Airfield - Writing this scene was a lot of fun.

only two Gruppen - The real KG 200 did indeed have only two Gruppen on its official org chart, but as it was in part a special operations unit involved in a lot of shady business, there is any number of "other" Gruppen associated with it in various historical (and conspiracy-theoretical) contexts. V./KG 200 is historically associated with the preparations for the manned V-1 suicide missions, which never actually ended up happening.

that odd configuration - I basically imagined this looking like a cross between the real world Do 17 Z-10 Kauz II CD from the late war, which was equipped as a radar nightfighting test bed, and the crazy snoopy nose on the EC-135E.

You - you wouldn't dare! - Protip: Do not $%^( with Happy Fun Night Witch.

But what, exactly, was the second for? Since we weren't 100% explicit with this, even though you probably guessed it - the second guidance system was driving the Raketenkorps.

glowing an eerie crimson - In addition to her magic radar, Heidemarie has a sort of night-vision version of the "witch eye" power Mio has. That's what the bomber guys are seeing here - not evidence of vampirism. (Heidemarie doesn't like going out in daylight, and wears glasses, because when she was little she couldn't control her "night eye" power in the daytime and it permanently damaged her vision - but she's not actually harmed by sunlight, as those guys would recall witnessing in the previous flashback if they thought about it for a second. On the other hand, maybe she's a Daywalker...)

Marceline Abadeer - And speaking of vampires. (If you're keeping score at home, now we know that from Gryphon's point of view, this must be happening sometime after Night of the Kissogram!)

IA team - The International Police Organization's "Immediate Action" team, specifically constituted to keep things under control if and when Gryphon suddenly disappears. (Which happens.)

some place called the Forgetful Valley - Korra has long harbored the unspoken worry that one of these days Gryphon's going to get so fed up with the "so tempted to conquer the universe" problem that he just snaps and walks away from everything. Maybe not to the actual Forgetful Valley, but with similar effect.

This is in no small part because she occasionally thinks of doing this herself.

Logistics get too convoluted too quickly - So true. The worst part of figuring out a time travel vacation (unless you're a Time Lord, and not always then) is ensuring you don't come home before you left. Not only does it cause a major issue with causality, but if you accidentally find your own vacation photos, it totally ruins the thrill of discovery.

Major General / Generalleutnant - Confusingly enough, the WWII Luftwaffe rank of Generalleutnant was in fact their "two-star" rank (though they didn't wear actual stars), and so translates to US-style English as "major general", even though it obviously means "lieutenant general". (Similarly, Minna's current rank, Generalmajor, is the "one-star" Luftwaffe rank and thus translates to "brigadier general" and not "major general".

Otto Skorzeny - Based on one of Hitler's top commandos, a real piece of work who led the raid to spring Mussolini from alpine arrest after his government fell and never, despite being officially "denazified" after the war, showed any sign of being anything other than a committed Nazi. He's obviously not one in this world (because National Socialism doesn't exist here), but he's still a complete bastard.

For other appearances in fiction, check out Atomic Robo v.2 and Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series. Spoiler: He is not a very nice person in those, either. Smart, calculating, and dangerous, but not nice.

Ostmark is dead - There are other people from fallen Ostmark (the Strike Witches world's Austro-Hungarian Empire) who still fight for the Allied Forces in their country's uniform (such as Laura Tóth, who appears in the Strike Witches: One-Winged Witches manga), even though it seems not to have survived even as a country-in-exile like Karlsland did. Trude respects those people. Skorzeny (in real life an Austrian Nazi fully on board with the Anschluß), not so much, though in fairness, "deserter" is a bit harsh. He's really more of a mercenary, not that Trude has a lot of time for them either.

You're speaking to a general officer. - Somehow Reichenberg did not expect the Kaiser to strip him of his rank for this titanic cock-up - but then, he was probably still hung up on how "just one great victory" for his little fiefdom would have given him Fritz's ear over all of the people who had actually earned that privilege.

Someone warm and furry - I've had mornings where my brain basically ran down the same checklist. Not so much with the repurposed French castle, but certainly with my cats attempting to harvest any and all warms from my body while I slept.

a beagle's head just poking out of the covers - At some point during the night, Wolfgang woke up and realized that someone in his vicinity had serious need of a beagle.

His beagle sense is strong.

Miso soup - I'm not actually sure if Gryph wrote this line to get us back to the trope of me talking about food in the commentary track or not. [No, of course not! That was merely a side benefit. --G.] I do enjoy a good hot bowl of Miso, but when it comes to instant Japanese soups I have to admit I'm more of a Shin Ramen kind of guy.

"Oh..." - not that Minna and Mio hadn't experienced that particular lightbulb going off before, but this is a situation that rather invites considering it again. Life is, after all, just too damn short.

piece of one of the crates - Whittling bokutō out of any wooden thing that happens to come to hand is an old samurai tradition! Legend maintains that Miyamoto Musashi won one of his most famous duels with one he carved out of an oar (presumably a spare?) while on the boat journey to the island where it happened. There aren't a lot of oars lying around Château Saint-Ulrich, though.

adversaries - We've seen some hints of this already. Unfortunately, a certain segment of the brass doesn't like seeing women commanding troops, regardless of the reasons why it makes complete sense.

Episode 07

Usually Gryphon does a lot of the heavy lifting on these and I do some fit and finish work, as it were. This episode is kinda odd because it's almost the exact opposite. We'd kicked around what we wanted to happen, but all of the sudden I sat down around the same time he was finishing up Episode 06 and in the words of Mark Twain, it just happened.

FUEL STORAGE- in fairness to the Liberion Corps of Engineers, the 501st (and the other JFWs) do maintain some conventional aircraft - mostly transport assets - but there's no reason for that to be connected to the striker units' hangar.

it wasn't even a real project - Ursula is conflating "real" with "official" here, I think.

Minna drifted in and out for most of Thursday morning - We saw something like this in B&TB: New Tricks. On the one hand, Minna wasn't as far along in her magical decline as Mio, but she put in a demand that was just as - maybe more - strenuous. No surprise that she's going to be severely wiped out for the next few days, just as Mio was.

Natter - The operation, and the equipment the commandos involved were using, are named for the Bachem Ba 349 Natter rocket interceptor, one of Nazi Germany's many desperate schemes late in the war: a vertical-takeoff, mostly-disposable rocket-powered interceptor that would be guided to Allied bomber formations by radio-guided autopilot. The only job of the "pilot" would be to salvo the nose-mounted rockets at the right moment, then bail out. Not quite a suicide weapon, but almost. The only test flight killed the pilot, albeit by a technical failure rather than out of any of the obvious risks it would've entailed if it had worked.

"So those men couldn't even steer?" - Hopefully all of this answers the questions that people brought up on the forums after last episode. :) It amused me quite a bit that I had written this scene (and the explanation) a couple of days beforehand.

one for the dramatic gesture - Not that Hannelore is above a bit of a dramatic gesture herself, when the circumstances warrant.

Aufgegeben - Short for sie die aufgegeben haben, Karlslandic for "they who have given up" - the common term among Karlslanders for people from Ostmark who left their country's identity for dead at the same time that they were driven from its land. Extremely derisive.

Backpfeifengesicht - Mr. Depew provided this word (and most of Hannelore's dialogue in this bit, come to that.) It is an EXCELLENT word.

our entire nation - Fritz wasn't the only person who forgot this. I was re-reading Ep. 05/06 as I worked on writing this, and it hit me just how devastating his death would have been.

SOS three times a day - The not-very-affectionate nickname in the Liberion armed forces for the lowest-common-denominator chow you get if you don't take matters into your own hands, specifically the deeply nasty "creamed chipped beef on toast" dish Liberion army cooks sling out if they've got no other ideas. Short for... um... "something on a shingle".

Then humanity survives. This war will be won. - Hope is a beautiful thing, but also a very dangerous thing. G. had to explain the situation, or the Kaiser might have put a bit too much faith in the future - without making the effort needed to secure it.

Yeah, the overarching problem is that time travel (especially crosstime travel) is a bit like that famous quotation of Oscar Wilde's: "The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."

because I am involved in Mankind. - The well-known next lines of this poem are, "And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; / It tolls for thee."

an organization whose holiest law was "never get involved" - Starfleet, also (coincidentally) in a parallel universe. See The Vulcan Heart for more on this.

We haven't really talked about what happened. - Sickbay was really not the place for this conversation, especially since you never knew who would drop by.

choucroute - Basically a French version of Sauerkraut. Very popular in Alsace, and we know Minna loves big flavors. I imagine she's a big fan.

But for some of us, it's enough. - This is a big sticking point for them, and something that came up in New Tricks, too. I don't think Minna blames Mio for being focused more on directly contributions to the war than a more strategic role. After all, that's a bit of her cultural programming, but she does get frustrated when she feels like Mio may not be valuing what Minna does away from the battlefield.

Officer of the Day - Since Perrine was up for the command of her own Joint Fighter Wing before she chose to aid the reconstruction efforts (and then come back to the 501st), she's gotten some background on the day to day operations.

batman - Think "valet service", not superhero. Though she'd look pretty cute in the outfit.

Istres-Le Tubé - The largest airbase in France, created by the French Air Force between World War I and II, and still in use today.

Étancelin - Perrine's family's faithful chauffeur, based on pre-F1-era French Grand Prix racing driver Philippe Étancelin (1896-1981).

Citroën Traction Avant - A revolutionary car when it first appeared in the mid-1930s, the Traction Avant (as its name suggests) had front-wheel drive at a time when that was extremely rare, as well as being one of the first uni-body (as opposed to body-on-frame) production cars in the world. This particular item is a 1939 11CV nine-passenger Familiale refitted as a limousine (mainly by removing the middle row of seats).

So, funny story. When I wrote the first draft of this scene, I just said "A black limousine", because I wanted it to be a Citroën, but I couldn't confirm that they were making Limousines during the 1940s! (Their most iconic limo, the Citroën DS Presidential, wasn't made until the 60s.) Fortunately, Gryph had done the research for me and made the change before I could tell him that!

Hôtel de Crillon - A real-world hotel, very old, and very beautiful! Currently under renovation, but it was open throughout the War, so I thought it would be a nice location for us to visit.

are we quite sure this is the correct hotel? - SHAEF is not exactly known for blowing their money on hotels. Perrine, on the other hand, has somewhat higher standards.

There is no staff conference scheduled for the weekend. And now you know who overheard Mio before she left the bathhouse.

white swimsuit - Mio is shown wearing a white school-style swimsuit under her uniform jacket, instead of her usual dark blue one, once in the course of the television series. Not coincidentally, that too was at a moment at which her life was about to turn quite a large corner.

Mio's medals - These are all real WWII-vintage decorations or variations thereupon, and all conveying quite high distinction.

La Petite Chaise - As mentioned, LPC is the oldest continously operating restaurant in Paris. It began as a wine shop that also sold food, and is open to this day. Notable past patrons include Chateaubriand, Philip d'Orleans, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

You know, just a little hole in the wall that Perrine thought they would enjoy.

Better get dressed. We don't want to be late. - Mio may have been caught a bit flat-footed at first, but once she had a moment to collect herself, she knew exactly what she needed to do.

(In the studio we referred to this as "Cary Grant mode".)

poured herself a glass of wine - Perrine didn't really have a plan here beyond music, wine, and a bit of reflection. Fortunately her comrades wouldn't let her get away with that.

Una Furtiva Lagrima - '90s anime fans may recognize this as music that was used in Giant Robo: The Night the Earth Stood Still.

permission to just be... Minna - This is really the crux of the thing, but it's just as important for Mio. Ironically, by helping Mio embrace her accomplishments as a soldier, Perrine's also helping her step outside of being one.

he turned and moseyed off down the hall - Gryphon knew something like this might come, after Perrine's confession. While he wouldn't spoil the mood by joining them, he also knows when it's best to fade back and let the other witches take care of their own.

unprepossessing from the street - Because of the restaurant's age and historical status, the management is not allowed to renovate the interior or exterior beyond changes to keep it up to fire and safety codes.

she had to trust Minna to order for them both - While Minna's tastes can be...adventurous...she also knows Mio well, and wouldn't risk spoiling the occasion by ordering food that wouldn't agree with her.

For the record, here's the menu for their meal:

Amuse Bouche

Tartares de poissons sur une tranche de œuf de caille (Fish tartare on a slice of quail egg)

First course

Minna: Poêlon de six escargots de Bourgogne au beurre d’ail anisé
(Casserole of six Burgundy snails in garlic butter and flavoured with aniseed)

Mio: Oeufs pochés et chips de lard croustillant, sauce au vin rouge
(Poached eggs with bacon served on a bed of leeks and a sauce made with red wine)

Second Course:

Minna: Magret de canard rôti sauce Armagnac et pruneaux
(Duck breast roasted with an apple and a bittersweet sauce)

Mio: Quasi de veau français grillé, crème de Camembert (Grilled veal steak served with a Camembert sauce)

Third Course

Cheese plate

Desserts

Minna: Moelleux au pain d’épices et coulis d’abricot
(Gingerbread cake served with an apricot coulis)

Mio: Mousse au chocolat blanc et sa sauce chocolat noir
(White chocolate mousse with a dark chocolate topping)

Following Mio's proposal, they were also given a bottle of champagne and a plate of fresh strawberries, with the compliments of the house.

I told you that I wasn't done with you yet - In the last flashback sequence in New Tricks.

Worded that way, it implies that I would be done with you someday. And that's wrong. - This is something I realized as I worked on some of the dialogue for this scene. Flashing back to their confrontation in New Tricks, it was the right thing for her to say at the time, but going forward, she had to realize that.

This has been building for a long, long time. They deserved the chance to have this moment.

Episode 08

Karlsland Rex - As with Lynne and Wilma Bishop's familiars, Chris's (which I have selected, since it's never established canonically whether she's a witch) is a slight anachronism. Like the Scottish Fold, the German Rex as a breed didn't exist at the time when this story is set - cats with similar traits were known informally in the mid-to-late '40s, but the breed was not established until the late '50s.

General LeMay - Major General Curtis E. LeMay, USAAF. The Liberion general who would most like to see the witches replaced by an effective weapon system that can be operated by men - albeit mainly because he thinks witches are neither bloodthirsty (not that the Neuroi have blood, as such) enough nor sufficiently willing to be expended for the sake of strategic advantage, not, as with von Reichenberg, because he's against them as a concept, as such.

In real life, LeMay was one of the leaders of the disastrous Schweinfurt-Regensburg bombing mission of August 1943, and later the mastermind of the indiscriminate night firebombing of Japanese cities. Still later, first as head of Strategic Air Command and then Air Force Chief of Staff, he was a vocal advocate of pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the USSR. Brutal to his own men and absolutely vicious to the enemy - the Patton of the air. Coiner of the phrase "bomb them back into the Stone Age." A real piece of work.

As Gryph notes, a rather nasty customer on quite a few levels. Effective as hell, in his own way, but still. He wasn't just advocating a first strike on the USSR - he spent a considerable amount of his time, energy, and budget while head of SAC on funding first strike weapons and sneak attack tactics, including a plan to mock up B-47 bombers as commercial air flights for that purpose. One shudders to think what he'd want to do against the Neuroi, given the opportunity.

the correct pronunciation of her name - It's a running theme in LeMay's appearance here, more evident in the audio version than in print, that he doesn't pronounce foreign names correctly, mostly because he doesn't give a damn.

I will kill her someday - Poor Hattori. She's coming along nicely, but still the FNG.

a Striker Unit of a peculiar configuration - There's not much information in this episode as to what this is, but don't fret - we'll be seeing more of it anon.

you're welcome to request clearance from Rittmeister von Hammer at Joint Command - To cadge from another EPU work, "I don't work for you, so you can just take the Asshole train all the way to the end."

the name is Juutilainen-Litvyak - When you consider where Elia's particular journey started from, this is a pretty huge moment for several reasons.

Marshal Pétain - Philippe Pétain, a prominent First War general who became head of the French state during its collapse before the onslaught of the Germans (in the real world) or the Neuroi (in this one). The real Marshal Pétain was responsible for the capitulation of France in 1940 and became de facto dictator of Vichy France (and more than a bit of a fascist in his own right). In this setting, he declared Gallia "dead" after the evacuation and fled to Liberion, and so is held in disdain similar to that which the Ostmark Ausgegeben enjoy by, e.g., Karlslanders and Britannians. By Free Gallian Forces veterans like Perrine, he is roundly hated.

(N.B. This bit of the background is not canonical; there's very little official detail of what became of the Gallian government and apparatus of state when the country fell to the Neuroi, only that most of the people evacuated either west to Britannia or south to Hispania.)

I have no doubt Karlslandic has - Of course it does, or rather a phrase: unaussprechlichen Dummheit, literally "stupidity which cannot be pronounced".

Colleville-sur-Mer - An airfield in Normandy, on the Channel coast (right next to Omaha Beach, in fact). As such, quite well to the rear by 1946.

'The report of my death was an exaggeration.' - What Mark Twain actually wrote in the letter that people always misquote as, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

To Mio and Minna - Perrine, too, has come a long way. And she's been so damn noble in the last couple episodes that it breaks my heart a little bit. I'm glad we gave her some nice "F*** YEAH" moments here and there, but still.

You're never going to change, are you? - She really isn't. But that's one of the best parts. They've really been "married" for quite a while - they simply get to be honest about it, now, and find that it's not really that different... but still better.

you utter, utter beast - Like many physicians, Yoshika prides herself on her bedside manner.

hasn't come through unscathed - Not shocking at all. At least they performed their "test" with the pistol and not, say, Haganekaze. Mio probably would have stopped her blow in time, in that case, but an accident there would have been far more difficult to fix!

(Well, depending on the accident. It's just fortunate that Mio's a good shot and Minna looks after that PPK.)

Figure out a new normal - Fortunately, they both have a few extra tools to help with that, to say nothing of the friends around them.

Maybe we ought to put up a signup sheet - It's not the worst idea, honestly!


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Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 [View All] Gryphonadmin Jan-20-15 TOP
   RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 zojojojo Jan-20-15 1
      RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 Proginoskes Jan-21-15 6
          RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 zojojojo Jan-21-15 7
              RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 Gryphonadmin Jan-23-15 8
   RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 Proginoskes Jan-20-15 2
      RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 BZArchermoderator Jan-20-15 3
   RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 Polychrome Jan-21-15 4
      RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 Gryphonadmin Jan-21-15 5
          RE: Our Witches at War Ep. 1 StClair Jan-23-15 9
   Notes on Characters' Ranks Gryphonadmin Jan-27-15 10
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 drakensis Jan-30-15 11
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 TsukaiStarburst Jan-30-15 12
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 BZArchermoderator Jan-30-15 14
              RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Gryphonadmin Jan-30-15 16
                  RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 BZArchermoderator Jan-30-15 19
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 CdrMike Jan-30-15 13
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Gryphonadmin Jan-30-15 15
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Peter Eng Jan-30-15 17
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Tabasco Jan-31-15 20
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Gryphonadmin Jan-31-15 21
   More about Château Saint-Ulrich Gryphonadmin Jan-30-15 18
      RE: More about Château Saint-Ulrich BobSchroeck Feb-01-15 25
          RE: More about Château Saint-Ulrich Gryphonadmin Feb-01-15 26
              RE: More about Château Saint-Ulrich BobSchroeck Feb-02-15 27
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 JFerio Jan-31-15 22
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Droken Jan-31-15 23
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-03 Gryphonadmin Jan-31-15 24
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-05 Matrix Dragon Feb-13-15 28
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-05 Tabasco Feb-13-15 29
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-05 Arashi Feb-13-15 30
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-05 Gryphonadmin Feb-13-15 33
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-05 Proginoskes Feb-13-15 31
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-05 BZArchermoderator Feb-13-15 32
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 SpottedKitty Feb-20-15 34
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 Tabasco Feb-20-15 35
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 Willard Feb-21-15 36
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 Gryphonadmin Feb-21-15 37
              RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 Matrix Dragon Feb-21-15 38
              RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 Willard Feb-21-15 39
              RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-06 TheOtherSean Feb-21-15 40
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-07 SpottedKitty Mar-01-15 41
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-07 Star Ranger4 Mar-01-15 42
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-07 SpottedKitty Mar-01-15 43
              RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-07 Gryphonadmin Mar-01-15 44
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 SpottedKitty Mar-08-15 45
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 Gryphonadmin Mar-08-15 46
   RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 Tabasco Mar-09-15 47
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 The Traitor Mar-09-15 48
      RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 Gryphonadmin Mar-09-15 49
          RE: Our Witches at War Eps. 01-08 Tabasco Mar-10-15 50
   New Note on Episode 05 Gryphonadmin Aug-29-16 51


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