Final Impact

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Final Impact
Final Impact cover.jpg
Author John Birmingham
Country Australia
Language English
Series Axis of Time
Genre Alternate history, Science fiction
Publisher Macmillan
Publication date
August 2007
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 368
ISBN 0-345-45716-1
OCLC 68192608
Preceded by Designated Targets

Final Impact is the third volume of John Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy.

Plot summary[edit]

Picking up two years onwards from the end of Designated Targets, Final Impact is the last novel in the Axis of Time trilogy. The supercarrier The Big Hill has been refurbished with more conventional steam catapults which replaced her less reliable fuel air explosive catapults. Her carrier air group is replenished with A-4 Skyhawk jet-powered attack aircraft, many of which are flown by 'temps, contemporary pilots. Admiral Kolhammer returns to sea at the head of a new Task Force with the Clinton at its core after two years of administering the Special Administrative Zone-California. Many characters have died in the intervening time period, from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, by his own hand to Commander Dan Black, one of the main characters of the story who asks for a return to combat and dies during the re-takeover of Hawaii, when his plane crashed during take-off from Muroc Airfield, California.

D-Day is launched on May 3 of 1944, a month earlier than in the original timeline. The Allies invade the Pas-de-Calais instead of Normandy, relying on a dis-information campaign to obtain surprise. They are able to gain a foothold and slowly push back the Nazi forces. On May 27, the Allies gain a major victory by wiping out several German divisions with massed air strikes. On June 1, the USSR rejoins the Allied side and declares war against the Axis: They launch a huge attack against Germany and advance on a broad front. The Soviets have used the intervening two years to build up their armed forces, and construct fleet of warships at Vladivostok. Meanwhile, Paul Brasch's cover is blown and he is extracted by British commandos. Adolf Hitler has a seizure and suffers permanent brain and muscle damage; with the T4 program in mind, Heinrich Himmler chooses to suffocates him. Before launching an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, the Soviets drop an atomic bomb on Litzmannstadt (that is, Łódź, Poland).

The Axis powers react as much as they can: Himmler authorizes the use of anthrax in an synthesized form which will persist for months. He also orders the Army to begin transferring divisions from the western front to the east, gradually bringing the Soviet advance to a halt. The USSR takes two more blows when a massive kamikaze strike cripples their Pacific Fleet, and the A-bomb building facility in Kamchatka is destroyed - both hits scored by the Japanese. The United States has secretly completed the Manhattan Project a few months earlier, with the help of thousands of people from the future Multi-National force. They now have a large enough stockpile of bombs to take on Germany, Japan and the USSR at the same time, if necessary. On the orders of President Roosevelt, a trio of B-52 bombers fly out of New Mexico and launch a raid deep into Germany. Berlin is utterly destroyed with three nuclear weapons.

In response to the U.S. blast on Berlin and the Japanese destroying the Soviet Pacific fleet at Kamchatka, the Soviets destroy Tokyo with an atomic bomb, killing the Emperor. The Axis Powers give in to unconditional surrender, ending the war in June 1944, but the damage has been done. The USSR has pushed into Asia securing gains in Persia, Afghanistan, Korea, Indochina and is probably going to share occupation of Japan with U.S. and Australia; in Europe the USSR has gone around Germany and has taken all of Eastern Europe including Greece, plus Northern Italy and chunks of Vichy France and Austria. The Western Allies are at odds with the Soviet Union, and the stage is set for another cold war. With the Axis defeated, most of the main characters move into the private sector and start anew.

Historical characters featured[edit]

British Commonwealth[edit]





Critical response[edit]

In general, Final Impact was less well received than the prior two books.[1] It picks up 18 months after Weapons of Choice, a transition which some readers criticized as too jarring. Other reviews noted the large number of plot points which had not been addressed properly, and the disjointed narrative structure used to depict the war.

Technical feasibility is another issue. In the story, the USSR is able to create a large reactor which produces enough plutonium for use in a bomb, all in the span of just two years. In reality, this is extremely unfeasible. The reason has to do not merely with scientific understanding, but shortages of raw materials and industrial capacity. For instance, the Soviets did not have any existing mines which could supply the huge quantities of uranium necessary for a reactor. Nor did they have the chemical plants needed to process it into the metallic form required for a reactor. Or the chemical plants that could churn out graphite of high enough purity to use as a neutron moderator.

These same issues are what plagued the real life Soviet nuclear program. Such obstacles were recognized in a GKO memorandum as far back as November 1942, which ordered a uranium mine and a chemical processing plant (among other items) to be constructed.[2] Despite these early efforts, the Soviets weren't able to create the F-1 reactor until December 1946, and the much larger Mayak reactor until June 1948.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Barber, J. The Soviet Defence Industry Complex from Stalin to Krushchev (2000). Palgrave Macmillan. p 153. ISBN 978-0312226022.

External links[edit]