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Kirov Reviews

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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A continuing Interview with John Schettler - Author Of the Kirov series novels.

Season Three ended with a lot of naval action, what’s up for Tigers East?

We’ll have some naval action here, but not nearly as much in this volume. Second Front had to decide the showdown between Kirov and Takami, which took six full chapters, as did PQ-17.

That was a great battle, and a very plausible outcome. I didn’t think Takami could beat Kirov.

It was certainly out gunned, in a manner of speaking. Kirov just has much more throw weight, and Takami had to risk getting in one good hit with the eight SSMs she had. But those SAMs on Kirov are good, even as Takami’s defense held the line, though that MOS-III made it very close there. The Laser defense saved Takami from almost certain destruction. Bottom line--Kirov is a battlecruiser, in every sense of the word. Takami is technically a destroyer, but more like an AA defense light cruiser. It’s a capable ship, but was designed to fight alongside others like it in a task force. Alone, it just doesn’t have a chance to really go toe to toe with a ship like Kirov. Every simulation I ran ended with this outcome, and it was right in line with my judgment. I think most naval buffs would agree.

Why doesn’t Kirov have more of the faster missiles like the Zircon?

It does have them, only under the name MOS-III. But remember, the ship was out for live fire exercises in book one, and it was carrying a good deal of older missile inventory, things the Russians deemed expendable at that time, on the eve of the war that breaks out in 2021.

That was an interesting development involving Kazan at the end. So now we’ll get a different fight when Kazan comes back loaded with the new Zircons, and the Matador goes to war again. Is that fight next?

Not just yet in this first book. That story line will develop this season, and yes, we’ll see it resolve in some way before the end. In the meantime, we have a war to cover, and it’s really getting into the thick of things now.

Right, the Allies are finally hitting back, and putting the Germans on the defensive in the west.

They are gaining momentum, and achieving some dramatic results when they knock Spain and France out of the war. But don’t count the Germans out just yet. Kesselring is building the 5th Panzer Army to oppose Patton in Algeria.

What about Rommel? He seems completely checkmated.

It may seem that way. At this time in my history, he finds himself in the same place he was in the real history, Mersa Brega. It’s no place for offensive operations, and he know he isn’t likely to ever enter Cyrenaica again. The British 8th Army has now beefed up to 8 divisions.

His star is certainly tarnished. All he has left is the retreat to Tunisia.

Well, all I can say is this--Rommel isn’t going to fall back to Tunisia without a fight for Tripolitania, particularly after something that happens here that is very significant to the outcome of the war in North Africa. I can’t say more, but it is a major development. Rommel is going to get a second wind. He’s going to try and recapture his old glory and he’s going to fight. Sitting at Mersa Brega just bleeds away his morale, so he comes up with a plan. Say naught the struggle not availeth!

Alright, I’ll look forward to seeing what he decides to do. But the title and cover lead us to believe we are heading east into Russia.

That is so, though the title again has a double meaning. The German Summer offensive gets top billing here, but it is presented in tandem with action in North Africa, both with Patton’s advance on Algeria, and Rommel’s decisions and the battles that follow. The book will alternate between those two fronts, east and west.

What about Fedorov?

His mission gets many chapters here too, mostly near the end of this volume. In fact, the intrigue that has always surrounded Ilanskiy is now very much alive again. Karpov thinks he has the place locked down with airships overhead and three divisions on the ground ringing the city. He had second thoughts about the plan he agreed to with Fedorov, and that prompts him to call off the mission.

Fedorov is taking quite a risk in bucking Karpov now--both Karpovs!

He is, but there is a great deal to be gained. The question is whether or not he can ever get where he needs to go, and whether he has the ability to find that timely cruelty that will be required if he is to be successful. There are some surprising twists in this plot line. It zigs and zags. You’ll see. The story line that results from that will be very tense, and woven throughout the continuing action in the war. It’s high noon in WWII, and some of the really great battles are now at the top of the menu.

Does this one take us all the way to Stalingrad?

Well, its Volgograd now, with a new big suburb called Novo Kirovka. yes, the action in the east gets over the Don at Kalach, pushes through Martinvoka, and reaches the Gumrak airfield. The actual struggle for the city itself will be in the next book. It will take a full novel to do the battle for Volgograd justice. In many ways, it is even more significant than the struggle for Moscow. So it will span several volumes this season.

What’s up with the next Series Battlebook?

I have several in the works, one with all the East Front, a volume exclusively devoted to the naval action. People have asked for that.  There will be others, but we’ll see how the editing goes. I may have one ready August 1st. In the meantime, enjoy Tigers East for the July 4th holiday weekend!

 

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