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Subject: "OWaW: The Fall of Petrograd"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Dec-19-17, 00:27 AM (EDT)
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"OWaW: The Fall of Petrograd"
   LAST EDITED ON Jan-19-18 AT 06:42 PM (EST)
Act I

Kiitos, towarzysz - "Thanks, comrade," in mixed Suomi and Polonian.

pretending he is sofa - I originally had this line "pretending he is bean bag chair," but a bit of research turned up that the bean bag chair wasn't invented until the 1960s.

Petrograd - The Orussian equivalent of the Russian city variously known through its history as St. Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, and then St. Petersburg again. In real life, "Petrograd" was the shortest-lived of those names, having been applied in 1914 and then changed in 1924. Here, it's been called that rather longer.

As an aside: Despite the absence of Christianity in the setting of World Witches, there evidently is some conception of sainthood, since most European place names with "Saint" or "San" in them are still there. I understand that Brave Witches (which I haven't gotten around to watching yet) is in fact set in this city, and that it's called "Petersburg". Here, then, we will be taking a fair divergence from the anime canon. (For the record, this is not me scrapping Brave Witches in a fit of pique, I had just already designed something incompatible with it by the time it came along. I gathered from the original series that all of Orussia west of the Urals had long since been abandoned by 1944.)

As an aside to the aside: No, I have no idea why they call it Christmas in this world. It's entirely possible that within the setting itself, only dedicated students of etymology and the people who research those Did You Know? columns in newspapers know why they call it that.

the Winter War - In the real world, a 1939-40 war between Finland and the Soviet Union, in which the latter tried to regain control of the former (which had been a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire, and won its independence in a civil war during the chaos at the end of World War I). Here, we'll be seeing more about it in the next episode.

Brewster B-239 - Not a bomber; "B-239" was the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation's internal code for an F2A Buffalo carrier-based monoplane fighter with its naval equipment removed, a number of which were sold to a number of export customers. IRL, the Buffalo is not a well-remembered aircraft in its frontline carrier service with the British or American navies, but the Finnish Air Force was quite fond of its B-239s and made good use of them during the Winter and Continuation Wars.

Marshal Mannerheim - Suomus's national champion, Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim: military leader of the victorious White faction in the Suomi Civil War (1918-1919), commander-in-chief of the Suomi Defense Forces at the time of the Neuroi invasion. Will go on to be elected president of Suomus in 1944, in which office he is mentioned as one of the dignitaries attending the Kaiser's wedding in 1946.

spider-shaped Neuroi ground units - As seen in the pre-credits sequence of Strike Witches the Movie. Not strictly spider-shaped, since they have four legs, but close enough.

her old Lorenz headset - A lot of Suomi equipment is second-hand stuff sourced as surplus from either Liberion or Karlsland. The Lorenz Funkgerät 1 radio headset is an obsolescent piece of witch communications gear by late 1941, and by 1943 will have been entirely replaced in Allied service by the miraculously tiny SCR-536 "eary-talky" commbud, made in Liberion by Motorola.

Berezin machine gun - Formally the UBT 12.7mm machine gun (the manually-charged turret-mount version of the UB), roughly Orussia's answer to the Browning M2. A big damn gun to be carrying two of.

Orussian submachine guns that looked like copies of the KP/-31 - That is, a PPSh-41.

scrawling something with a pencil - Had Eila been inclined to do a little snooping, and were she able to read a) written Orussian and b) Colonel Yegorova's execrable penmanship, she would have seen that this document reads:

18 DEC. 1941 - out 1404 - rtb 1535 - all accounted for. Sortie in support of ground forces near Suomus Gulf salient. No one will ever read these reports, but I write them anyway. It fills the time and makes me look to the others like I know what the hell I am doing. This is important for morale. Ha. I have made a joke. Respectfully yours, YEGOROVA

Yegorova - Based on Anna Yegorova, an Il-2 pilot who was posthumously recommended for the Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1944, and then turned up alive in a POW camp in '45. And was then thrown out of the Communist Party for not having paid her dues for the five months during which she was presumed dead. Seriously. Nichevo. (She was reinstated in the '50s and finally got her Gold Star in 1965.)

Act II

Port Arthur - The port district of the Chinese city of Dalian, on the Liaodong peninsula west of Korea: a place much fought over by colonial powers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Nowadays known as the Lüshunkou District. "Port Arthur" was the name given to it by British sailors in the 1860s, and the Russians subsequently called it by that name as well. Meanwhile, the Japanese knew it as the Ryojun district of the city of Dairen. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 began with a Japanese attack on the Russian naval base at Port Arthur, which was the focus of Japan's war aims generally.

Evgeniya Bjelik - A character based loosely on, or at least named after, Soviet aviators Vera Belik and Evgeniya Rudneva, who were both navigators on ground attack ("Night Witch") crews.

Reva Oktyabrskaya / Gangut - An import of the personification of the Russian dreadnought battleship Gangut from Kantai Collection. The ship was renamed Oktyabrskaya Revolutsia (October Revolution) by the Soviets in 1925. The ship's original name comes from the Russian transliteration of "Hanko", a peninsula in Finland, in the waters off which the Imperial Russian Navy won its first major victory in 1714 (against Sweden).

Hibiki Verniskaya - Based on the Kantai Collection incarnation of the Japanese destroyer Hibiki, which was turned over to the Soviet Navy and renamed Verniy (Faithful) after the war.

the 24th out of Immola - A town in Finland. Not to be confused with Imola, an infamous race course in Italy.

Comrade with an audible capital C - Gangut and Hibiki, and Orussians generally, are not full-on Marxist-Leninist dialectical-materialist Communists in this setting, but the revolutionary movement that replaced Nicholas II's widow with their eldest daughter (of which more later) gave the subsequent revision of Orussian political culture a somewhat bolshie flavor, all the same.

Orussian Army halftracked truck - A ZIS-22, the halftrack version of the ZIS-5 three-ton truck. The ZIS-5 and its many variants, along with the GAZ-AA/GAZ-MM and GMC CCKW deuce-an-a-half trucks imported from the US under Lend-Lease, was one of the workhorses of the Soviet logistics forces in World War II.

General Khozin's larder - Mikhail Khozin was one of several Soviet officers unfortunate enough to command the defense of Leningrad during its long and brutal siege, and the one in command at the equivalent time to when this story is set.

Yekaterina Zelenko - Another character loosely derived from a real-life Soviet pilot; Katyusha Zelenko flew Su-2 attack bombers in the Winter War and the Soviet response to Operation Barbarossa. I have no data as to whether the real-life one was an accomplished scrounger/thief of vital supplies.

my father... wrote that song for me, one snowy day - This is in addition to the song he wrote for her on a rainy day (identified on Strike Witches soundtracks simply as "Sanya's Song"), which is a significant plot point in part of the TV series.

"Midnight in Moscow" - This is anachronistic; the big-band/swing version of this song, as far as I can tell, didn't exist until the 1960s. Still, it fit the mood so well I couldn't bear to leave it out.

Ты ужасная танцовщица - Per NHO, this actually means "you are a terrible dancer," but Eila misinterpreted it as "terrific". Zelenko knows.

the October Revolution - This version of history assumes that Tsar Nicholas II was not deposed in 1917, after his country's defeat in World War I, and that he and his family were consequently not murdered the following year. Instead, he lived to be 72, and was himself responsible for the empire's ill-considered attempt to recapture its former possession in the northwest that had broken away at the end of the Great War.

The broad strokes of the Winter War between Suomus and Orussia are similar to those of the real one between Finland and the USSR, apart from the people in charge of the latter, the reason for the war's end, and the status quo that existed between the two countries afterward (the Neuroi invasion of Europe being a somewhat more unifying incident than the outbreak of the real World War II).

the revolution began aboard... the Aurora - In real life, the crew of the Russian protected cruiser Aurora revolted against their officers during the February Revolution (the one that toppled the monarchy and put the Kerensky Provisional Government in power), and were Bolshevik-aligned before that party seized power in the second revolution in October (well, actually November, because Russia was still on the old calendar then, but we'll leave that for the moment). In traditional histories of the latter revolution, the symbolic beginning is the moment when the Aurora's crew signaled the assault on the Winter Palace by firing a blank round from one of the ship's guns.

There is a double reference in Hibiki having been a member of the Aurora's crew: in Kancolle, she's an Akatsuki-class destroyer, and akatsuki (in Japanese) and aurora (in Latin) both mean "dawn".

Unlike the battleship Gangut, which was scrapped long ago, the Aurora still exists, docked in St. Petersburg as a museum ship. She's also available as a low-tier Soviet cruiser in World of Warships.

the Okhrana - The Tsarist government's Department for Protecting Public Safety and Order, proving that the Russians had a talent for coming up with colorfully euphemistic names for brutal secret police long before the Bolsheviks came to power.

Grand Duchess Olga - Nicholas II and Alexandra's eldest child. She and both of her younger sisters were passed over in the real-life succession in favor of their youngest sibling, Alexei, because he was a boy. In this setting, she was... less amenable to that arrangement, particularly when her mother was about to do something that would turn literally the entire rest of the world against Orussia.

Nikolayevsk - Before World War II, the IRL version of this place was pretty much just how Hibiki describes it. The incident she and Gangut refer to is based on a massacre of both Tsarist loyalists and Japanese expats by Bolshevik partisans in 1920, during the Russian Civil War. It had a happier ending here.


Praporshchik - Warrant Officer.

distilled from some sort of industrial cleaner - You will understand that the only vodka still available in Petrograd at this stage of the war is not good vodka. This particular specimen may well have been.

Number XIII (Death) - Eila's right, the Major Arcana are not normally meant to be taken literally in divination, and Death is no exception. It customarily signifies the need to prepare oneself for an ending of some kind, but normally one more metaphorical than one's actual death.

strange Liberion Strikers that still had a backpack - A Bell P-39 Airacobra. Not well-loved by the Liberion pilots they were originally made for thanks to their weird and unwieldy flight characteristics, but the Orussians like them because they're tough and because their experimental magic engines (an attempt at making an engine with the power-to-weight ratio of a Miyafuji engine, but the size of a Great War model, and thus MORE POWERRRR) enable the few witches who can really handle them to carry very heavy weapons for the size of the Striker.

Il-2 heavy Striker - Based on the Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft, commonly known as the Sturmovik (though that was not its official name; it's really the name for a class of aircraft, not unlike Stuka in German).

Mills bombs - Formally the No. 36 Mk 1 hand grenade, a versatile fragmentation grenade that could be hand-thrown or rifle-launched, and which was the standard British grenade from early World War I into the 1970s.

Polikarpov Po-2 - The venerable Kukuruznik ("corn duster"), made infamous in the hands of the early Night Witches. And also really used for crop dusting.

Bjelik's light machine gun - A Degtyaryov DP-27, the Red Army's LMG of choice until replaced by the same designer's RPD in the 1950s. Nicknamed "the record player" for its top-mounted, rotating pan magazine (similar to that of a Lewis gun).

Родина-мать зовёт - Rodina-mat' zavyot, "The Motherland calls." Common slogan on Soviet (and Orussian) recruitment/propaganda posters; compare "Uncle Sam (or Lord Kitchener, if you're British) Wants YOU". IRL, also the title of a monumental sculpture in Volgograd commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad.

call sign Blizzard - Or, in Orussian, Бура́н (Buran).

I expect a dacha for this - A dacha is a Russian second home, usually seasonal/recreational and so out in the countryside somewhere, traditionally given as the gift of a grateful state to citizens who have distinguished themselves in some way.

eternal warfare... the afterlife for fallen soldiers - Eila has not quite got the right idea of the Baltlandic conception of Valhalla, viewing it as a horrific punishment; but then, she doesn't relish combat enough to really get the idea of constant battle as a reward.

the little round of... Karlslandic chocolate - This is Scho-Za-Kola, based on the real product Scho-Ka-Kola, which was issued to German forces in World War II as an emergency energy ration. The "Za" in the magic version stands for Zauberstaub, "magic dust", the "secret ingredient" Zelenko referred to when she told Eila it was infused with raw magic. (If Gryphon ever got hold of a sample of Scho-Za-Kola, and if it occurred to him to analyze it with his omni-tool, he would discover that Zauberstaub is in fact elerium-115.)

my own personal tonttu - As noted, a tonttu is a Suomi sauna fairy. Here are Eila and her familiar with one.

Instructor Pilot Korhonen - Not based on an actual person; I have no idea what Ilmari Juutilainen's flight instructor was called. "Korhonen" is just a very common Finnish surname, the rough equivalent of calling her Instructor Pilot Smith or Jones.

Helvetian pikewitch - Non-flying witch type that dominated ground combat in Europe in the Middle Ages. They fought with the pike, a type of very long spear not intended for throwing, and with it could defeat virtually any land-based or near-the-ground flying monster. Not all pikewitches were actually Helvetian, but the technique originated there, and the name entered common use. Eventually supplanted first by the sword-wielding Karlslandic Lanthexen and then, toward the end of the Renaissance, by broom-mounted cavalry equipped with sabers and, in some cases, primitive firearms.

and no fucking Neuroi - There's that one f-bomb A17 shows are permitted after 9 PM on a weekday.

Grand Duke Nikolai - Notional son of Grand Duke Alexei Nikolayevich, Nicholas II's only son and Tsaritsa Olga's younger brother, who is in his late thirties in 1941. IRL, poor Alexei only lived to be 13, thanks to the Bolsheviks.

Franz Ferdinand and his court - In this world, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Ostmark succeeded to the empire's double throne in 1916, not having been assassinated in 1914—only to perish, aged 75, in the Neuroi sack of Vienna in the spring of 1940.

Grandmother—! Hear me! - Captain Bjelik is not calling on her literal grandmother, of course; she's invoking Baba Yaga, the mysterious and capricious national spirit of Orussia. This is an insanely dangerous thing to do. Baba Yaga is not exactly evil, as such, but her moral code is often no more fathomable to humans than that of the Neuroi, and she can be touchy about being pestered by mortals. Often, her "help" will take a form that is difficult to interpret as ideal for the petitioner...

entombed in a mountain of ice - ... Thus.

Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.

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OWaW: The Fall of Petrograd [View All] Gryphonadmin Dec-19-17 TOP
   RE: OWaW: The Fall of Petrograd zojojojo Dec-22-17 1
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