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Project X

Sarah Tintagyl

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[i]French High Command, Chateau de Pau[/i]

The Grand Hall of the Chateau was dark except for the hanging chandeliers above the large metal table. Everything seemed medieval in nature, except for that table, which underneath the glass showed a digital map of the French Empire, its colonies, as well as detailed terrain maps of anywhere in the Empire that High Command wanted to take a look at. Near the hearth, around the circular table, sat Therese, silhouetted against the flames. Her long blonde hair fell over her shoulders, part covering her right eye patch as she stared grimly at her commanders around her. St.Croix and Delacour nearest and from there the Army commanders, Naval commanders, and Air Force, the strongest men and women in the Empire gathered around to discuss the changing politics of Europe and of the World and for Therese's next plan to come into effect. The building of strength to defend the Empire against invasion.

Not that there seemed to be a pressing matter, France stood nicely cushioned on all sides, friendly with North Germany, South Germany, New Palma, the Sicilian League, Scotland, and the movements of a French controlled Iberia. Which at the moment, unfortunately, was not going to the Empress' plan, but it was something that would be dealt with later. However, the recent political foray into Valencia showed a great deal of what Europe was capable of and that clearly showed that war, was not completely off the horizon which brought Therese to the realization of a few things. First, France was pretty much undefended except for her army, from invading forces. She had always maintained a large army to counter any semblance of an invasion, but additional defense could never hurt. Secondly, France stood as perhaps not the most advanced nation in the world, but her technology was cutting edge and placed into the military sector could be decisive should war ever come to the Empire's door step.

"...And so I assume General Esnault." Therese looked at the Chief of her Military Engineers with a slight annoyance. "That this meeting at least try to be productive unlike last time."

The Chief Engineer stood up and coughed into his hand. "Your Highness, it is my sincerest apologies that we could not make bolder moves in my department from last meeting. However I do believe what I can offer you now will be suitable to your Highness' concerns." Esnault pressed a button on the glass of the table as the imagery in front of Therese and her Generals began to change. Into a large turret hidden inside a massive armored and concrete enforced pillbox. "May I present to Your Excellencies viewing pleasure, the Vider Tourelle de Mur. This turret, which is a 16-inch battleship gun is capable of launching shells to an effective range of 38 kilometers and will be positioned in their range effectiveness across the French Borders. About every thirty five kilometers or so from Calais to Marseilles, as well as two or three on the coast of New France."

Therese shook her head. "Esnault, I asked for progressive thinking and you bring me static defenses."

"Please Your Highness, I realize the weakness in immobile defenses of course, but they are not there to completely stop an advancing army. In addition to the creation of the turrets, these would not go undefended. As construction would focus first on getting the actual cannon completed, the following phases would be geared to the defense of those turrets as well as anti-air and anti-missile placements on the turret bunker itself." Esnault pressed another button as a second image took the place of the main turret and bunker. A smaller movable turret appeared. "This is the Eclatement, a CIWS gun that is found mainly on our warships. I have adapted easily to be installed on our defense bunkers on the border. These turrets are capable of firing a one hundred round burst in less then a second and can fire forty-five hundred round in roughly a minute time and if possible have the ability to shred aircraft and approaching missiles from the sky. As such, the Eclatement and the bunkers themselves will be armed with the latest in radar technology, linked up to our satellites in space to make any attempt on the French border a very deadly one indeed."

Therese smiled and nodded her head. "I'd like to hear more about the radar implements Esnault, if you please."

"The AEGIS Network has been implemented in countries around the world and its abilities of having a command system that will monitor the whole of France as well as building a second network in North America. It will be able to monitor approaching missiles, will be able to link on to them and since the bunkers turrets as well as our Surface-to-Air Missile systems are networked, the retaliation to those missiles will be sudden and effective. Of course, those bunkers will be hot spots for defense of the nation itself. Mobile missile batteries, as well an integration of our armed forces, something that I believe is necessary is an expansion of our air force as well. Military growth makes the Empire healthy, it is the most important thing we can stress in my department."

"That is of course always on the agenda General. I can assure you of that. But I believe that your proposals are more than acceptable and I look forward to the beginning of construction."

Esnault bowed as the image faded and the discussion changed to the discussion of Valencia as the Chief Engineer bowed out to forward the Empress' demands to the field and construction would start immediately along the French borders as well as New France...

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Thus construction began on the turret bunkers as soon as word had left Versailles, the barrels were forged in metal works as well was the demand for a massive amount of ballistic rounds as well. One of Esnaut's reforms was also a breaking new technology which was rumored to be used in foreign countries, but like many military innovations had not yet reached the borders of France. This was Orage Métallique, the use of electrical impulses in firing massive amount of rounds at enemy soldiers, armor as well as positions and it was something that the Chief Engineer intended to implement into the French military at all costs. The CIWS emplacements would do massive damage to incoming missiles for sure, but with Orage métallique, with deadly accuracy, crossing the borders into France would be the most deadly operation that advancing armies would face and that would only be the beginning. Esnaut's plan consisted of threading turrets with the Orage métallique firing systems and use them almost as a type of light artillery, surely the barrage itself would be equivalent or more painful than the explosions of howitzers, at least that was the hope.

The first of the turret bunkers broke construction on the French with Eskara at Bayonne. Thus beginning a massive construction project of these bunkers every thirty kilometers along the French border from that point, north and south. Esnaut had told Therese earlier not to expect the project to be completed anytime in the near future and in fact, the construction of the bunkers would be an ongoing project throughout the Zelle Regime to make sure that, while they were static defenses, they would be static defense that could do a massive amount of damage, along with the support of the Imperial Army, if invaders ever threatened the French homeland. However it was important to make sure all the borders were covered at least some what and so construction began along the Bay of Biscay, the Channel, the Northern German border, South Germany, as well as the Sicilian holdings on the Italian Peninsula.

Overall, ninety-six bunkers would be constructed on the French border that ran along 2889 kilometers of the French border. Three would also be constructed in New France to guard against any invasion that could come in in French held lands on North America.

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A brief arrives from Berlin, which were trying to cut down research costs by promoting joint-research with other countries, in this case, France. It was an idea jointly developed so far by Riedelmann and Martens.


We have come up with a concept for a new kind of weapon, which we wish you to evaluate for usefulness and feasibility and perhaps jointly develop with us. What we are evaluating is a vehicle ment to carry a large number of small missiles, similar to down-scaled CMs, which can serve as air defences, naval defences, and regular artillery as well. These missiles would be guided and have a range of anywhere from 50km to 150km depending on their size, and are then mounted, on a grid, on a vehicle...the vehicle itself needs to be large, but relatively low armored as it is to operate far away from the front, relatively quick as well. It would be a mix between a ballistic submarine, a SAM site, a katyusha and a CM platform.

If you are interested, let us know."

Kai H. Riedelmann

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To: K.H. Riedelmann
From: Jacques Esnaut

I would be very interested in seeing such a device developed for use in the Imperial Military. Recently I have been looking for a creative way to field a missile battery that didn't serve as a static defense. The Empress I'm afraid is very untrustworthy of tall stone walls and I can definitely see her point. If possible, I would love you to come to the Chateau de Pau and we can discuss the construction of these batteries further, employing their use in both North Germany and France. Perhaps even in the inevitable expansion into the reaches of Spain as well. Think of it as a possible test run for our ingenuity.

Looking forward to seeing you soon General.

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The rain tapped against the windows of Versailles lightly, a spring rain that bounced lightly on the green gardens of Therese's palace. The Empress leaned her head against one of the windows in the Hall of Mirrors and ran her fingers across the fog drawing crude images on the glass. Her face was struck with boredom as the sounds of nearby aristocrats walked down the corridors, Therese paying barely any attention to their, "Good Day Empress." and "Good Afternoon Your Majesty." Replying only with a simple nod of her head and then going back to drawing her lines on the panes. Out of the corner of her eye and her ear, Therese heard a loud bang as General Tavernier, Commander of the First French Army ran down the hall of the palace, his boots tramping mud across the floor. The Empress closed her eye and shook her head at the unprofessionalism of the General and she approached him with the same frustration.

"You don't think you could at least show my home some decency when you are coming to speak with me Fabrice?"

Tavernier bowed with a nervous smile on his face. "My sincerest apologies Highness, I just wanted to bring you the report of our bunker construction on the borders." He handed her a small file of papers. "Everything is progressing as planned. However, General Esnaut has come to me with something of great interest." Therese gestured for the General to walk with her and continue their talk. "While Galicia was a non-nuclear nation and Valencia was in the throws of anarchy, the French people have yet to fight a nation with a nuclear arsenal that could be turned against us and as a nation without nuclear arms, it could become very dangerous for us. Given that our only defense is the missile defense system that was created prior to the Empire."

"Things I already know Fabrice? What is the proposal?"

"We do not have an extremely large evacuation system for either the people or you yourself Highness and while it would be impossible to evacuate the whole of a city if the threat of nuclear weapons were to be used against us, we have very limited fallout shelter construction which Esnaut would like to change. Therefore the proposal is the construction of quite a large amount of subterranean enclaves beneath Paris, Bordeaux, Rheims, and many of the other major cities throughout the country, of course one under Versailles as well. In addition to the construction of a personal bunker for yourself as part of phase one of getting you out of the country Empress. A fortress in the Pyrenees and from there the air force would be able to take out to a safe destination."

"An interesting idea to be sure General, I assume this would take nearly just as long and as expensive as our defensive constructs on the border?"

"Indeed Highness. But the addition security to the people would build morale during war, especially when the enemy is nuclear powered. We may lose our homes and our cities, but we will not lose our lives. In addition, Esnaut wanted to created smaller gateways underneath the Louvre and other cultural centers to preserve French art, literature, and music if in fact Paris, in such a nightmare, would be destroyed."

Therese nodded. "Well you have my approval. Domestic construction companies along with military contractors may begin work on the civilian bunkers as soon as possible. Along with our border turrets." She sighed as they came towards the end of the hallway. "It is a shame that such precautions have to be made in general. But given our tendencies and our ambitions, anyone of those beautiful cities could be destroyed at a moments notice."

"We will return the favor twice fold Your Highness!" Tavernier spoke with passion.

"I know...I would expect nothing less."

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