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Tanya von Degurechaff - Fall and Rise - Extra History #4
It is the year 1929. High in the skies of France flies a girlwho has yet to celebrate her 15th birthday. Much like the Empire she serves, she is undefeated in battle. But she is losing the war.
Extra History intro plays.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to our series on Tanya von Degurechaff. When we last left her, she'd just been recalled to Europe, and the Unified States had joined the Allied Kingdom and the Free Francois in the war against the Empire.
Through the winter of 1928 and all the way up to the spring of 1930, this new phase of the war would be fought on the sea and in the air. The Western Alliance, as they came to be known, swarmed the coasts of the Empire and the Kingdom of Ildoa. Air raids using bombers and mages would pound away at ports and industrial centers near the coast. At the same time, America and Albion would muster an enormous navy to enforce a blockade on the Empire and its allies. This was a siege on a continental scale. The goal? To starve the Empire of the resources it needed to maintain its war machine, particularly steel, oil, and rubber.
Naturally, Tanya was in the thick of it. Her battalion constantly patrolled the northern coasts of continental Europe, skirmishing against the Alliance's air force. But by this time, her enemies had learned their lesson. Standing orders for the Alliances mages - do NOT engage the 203rd unless you outnumber them a minimum of 3 to 1. Do not engage the 203rd out of range of supporting fire from Naval artillery.
This approach... sort of worked. The 203rd were no longer able to run roughshod over their enemies, and actually started taking casualties. But they still did a ton of damage. By summer of 1929, Tanya had racked up over 140 aerial victories, and most of her battalion were now aces, meaning at least five victories each. However, on one fateful day in the fall of 1929, Tanya von Degurechaff would encounter Mary Sue.
Remember we mentioned a Colonel Anson Sue back in episode 2? Tanya killed him during the invasion of Legadonia. Turns out he had a daughter. Said daughter had been sent to the Unified States, and when she heard of the death of her father, she signed up to fight the Empire as an aerial mage. And on that day in September 1929, eighteen-year-old Mary Sue was part of a 12-mage company when they went up against Tanya's 4-man platoon.
It... was a massacre. Mary Sue was the sole survivor. But survive she did. And during the fight, she saw something. The gun Tanya was using - a customized Thompson submachine gun, with the letters "A.S." engraved on the stock. Mary Sue knew this gun. It was her father's gun, the gun she'd presented to him as a Christmas gift, the last time she'd ever seen him. It was a gun Tanya had looted from her defeated enemy, and which his daughter now recognized. Mary Sue's vengeance now had a target.
In spite of centuries of study, magic is still a mysterious thing. One of the biggest mysteries, is how some mages would start exhibiting power far beyond what is commonly believed possible. Such incidents occur so rarely that they are still referred to as 'miracles'.
Mary Sue, driven by revenge, now experienced such a miracle. Already a powerful mage, by the time she'd recovered from her injuries, her power levels had shot through the roof. In fact, she routinely started exhibited more power than her F-4 model computation orb could possibly handle. Scholars today suspect that she was flying and fighting using her innate magic alone, with no need for the orb.
For the American forces, this was a mixed blessing. They had a mage who, at least in raw power, could overwhelm the Devil of the Rhine. However, Mary Sue had neither Tanya's skill, nor her tactical brilliance, nor her discipline. She was obsessed with avenging her father's death, and from then on, any time she encountered Tanya, she would attack the Devil relentlessly.
Once Tanya realized what was happening, she, naturally, came up with a plan. Because Tanya always has a plan. Her plan was simple. Every time Mary would attack her, Tanya would use her superior flying ability to lead Mary on a merry chase through Alliance lines. Mary's wayward spells would eventually end up on inflicting more damage on her own forces than she would ever manage to do to the Empire.
But, in spite of her flaws, Mary did succeed in keeping Tanya busy. With the 203rd's invincible commander pinned down, the Alliance started gaining ground. On 25th August 1930 came the Normandy landings. A massive amphibious assault that landed over 100,000 soldiers on the northern coast of the Republic.
The next months would see some of the most brutal and bloody fighting in the entire war. Over the course of winter, the Empire's forces, suffering acute shortages of oil and ammunition, would be slowly pushed back to the forests of Alsace-Lorraine. And there, the offensive stalled. Much of Francois had been liberated, but the Empire still remained inviolate. For a while, it seemed the war would end in a draw.
Then, in May 1931, 150,000 Alliance troops would land at Venezia, in the north of Ildoa. This was not an invasion, but an invitation. The Ildoans had switched sides, and now an Alliance army was only a short distance away from the Empire's southern border.
Tanya's battalion would be rushed south to reinforce what few soldiers the Empire had in place. It would be there, among the towering peaks of the Alps, that Mary and Tanya would duel for the last time.
With no room to retreat, for a while it seemed that Mary Sue would have her vengeance. But then, a second miracle occurred. Tanya's own magic levels rose to equal Mary Sue. This power boost only lasted a few seconds. But a few seconds was all Tanya needed. In that brief window, Tanya settled once and for all the question of who was the greatest warrior of the skies.
But the victory was not without cost. Tanya's injuries were severe. She fell into a coma, and drifted in and out of lucidity for weeks. By the time she awoke, the world had changed.
The Kaiser had abdicated. The Empire was no more, replaced by Germania and several smaller states. The treaty of Triano forbade the employment of mages in the Germanian military, so she was out of a job. The victors had confiscated all of Germania wealth, so she had no savings. Having served in the military since childhood, she had no other qualifications.
This would be Tanya Degurechaff's lowest point, when she had to return to the orphanage that she had left eight years ago, and earn money with manual labor.
But the world itself could not keep Tanya von Degurechaff down. Within weeks of returning to the orphanage, she had settled on a new career - politics. She joined the then largely unknown Germanian Worker's Party as a paid speaker. The same charisma that inspired her troops in battle, was now turned to the cause of inspiring the voters.
However, while she may have joined as a celebrity speaker, it quickly became clear that the speeches she gave were as much about her own agenda as it was the party's. Combined with the party's original economic platform was an utter rejection of the treaty of Triano and a call for Germania's rearmament, as well as blatant anti-Francois rhetoric.
As a platform it was radical, it was emotional, it was polarizing - and it worked. This extreme position rapidly started attracting voters dissatisfied with the terms of the peace treaty, particularly the heavy burden of war reparation. Within two months, Tanya had gone from a destitute orphan to Chairman of the Germanian Worker's Party. She may have fallen, but she was on her way up once more.
It would be in the next few years that Tanya von Degurechaff would prove that her genius was not just limited to the military. It would be her action in these years that would earn her yet another unofficial title. A title that would be awarded to her not by the public nor by her enemies, but by historians and political scientists looking at her work with the benefit of hindsight. Join us next time as Tanya von Degurechaff takes her first steps towards becoming the Mistress of Propaganda.