Chapter 1: 1917-1945
March 10, 1917 - James Buchanan Barnes is born, and we were all officially fucked.
July 4, 1918 - Steven Grant Rogers is born, and somewhere in Brooklyn Bucky's mother wept . . .
June, 1924 - Steve's mother is bedridden from illness associated with Tuberculosis.
September, 1930 - 12-year old Steve and 13-year old Bucky meet for the first time in Hell's Kitchen, where Bucky scares off bullies trying to steal Steve's money. What were they doing in Hell's Kitchen? No one knows. Steve tells Bucky he's been living in the orphanage 'on 8th' since his mother's death. Which is odd since Bucky was apparently at her funeral when they're both legal adults in a flashback scene from the Winter Soldier. For the purpose of this timeline, info from the movies will take precedent over info from the various tie-ins. Meaning Sarah Rogers is basically Schrodinger's Ma for the next 6 years.
1936 - Shrodinger's Ma finally actually dies fo sho of Tuberculosis. Bucky breaks everyone and their mother's heart with his 'til the end of the line' line. (Also, per MCU canon, Bucky's 'folks' are still alive . . . and own a car.)
February ish, 1940 - Colonel Phillips first approaches Howard Stark, in Los Angeles, about working for the SSR. (Stark Industries was formed in 1939, and 'a year later' Howard is at a nightclub in West Hollywood called Ciro's, demonstrating the properties of Vibranium. Ciro's opened in January of 1940. So keeping in line with the MCU canon and with real world history, as you do, January 1940 is the absolute earliest that Howard could have been recruited.) They're pursued and Stark deploys rockets from the ass-end of his car to escape them because Howard Stark. Agent Margaret "Peggy" Carter, aka Agent 13 is already in deep cover working for Schmidt as a maid in his personal mansion.
November, 1940 - Peggy rescues Dr. Erskine from Schmidt's mansion two days after Johann Schmidt forces him to inject the experimental serum, proving that we all could have saved a lot of time if Peggy had done that three fucking days earlier, Jesus.
May 25, 1941 - Steve goes to the Dodgers-Phillies game at Ebbets Field. Was Bucky with him? We don't fucking know. It was a Sunday, so maybe. It’s not like Steve knew other people . . .
December 7, 1941 - Steve and Bucky are in an art class - like . . . how can anyone write these two as dirt poor when they're fucking around on their Sundays at baseball games and art classes? And two Irish-Catholics skipping church? tsk tsk - when the class is informed by a runner that Pearl Harbor has been attacked. Okay real talk here, for a second. The draft officially started in 1940, pulling men 21 years of age and older. In 1940, Bucky was 23. He was single, no kids. He absolutely could not have given conscientious objector status as a way to avoid it because if he had, when he was drafted later on he never would have seen combat. He should have been drafted in '40 or '41. The only reasons he wouldn't have been was if he was a student, or if both his parents and/or his siblings were considered his dependents. Since some sources say both Bucky and Steve were orphans, then it is entirely plausible that both Bucky's parents died close to the time Bucky turned 19 or 20, in which case he could have become the legal guardian of his younger siblings.
PS: Bucky is not an orphan in the MCU:
So either Bucky was working like a damn dog supporting his family, in which case the fuck are you doing in an art class, kiddo? Or he was actually a student at a college or university. He could also have, during the years the US was gearing up in case they were forced into the conflict, held a job that was considered vital to the coming war effort. This sort of deferment was limited to jobs in war production, and jobs that involved national 'health, safety, or interest'. Literally the only job I can think of that Bucky could have been in where he would have been skipped the first few times but taken in '42, is if he had been a police officer. That would fit very well with his ability with a gun, plus explain why he made sergeant so fucking fast, with prior training other inductees would not have had. Considering what a golden child Bucky was in Brooklyn, all three of those scenarios would be a perfectly valid reason for Bucky to have avoided the first several waves of conscription. Just thought that was interesting.
Anyway! Steve wants to enlist right away, so Bucky (a three-time YMCA welterweight boxing champion, suck it) trains him for two whole weeks because Bucky is apparently of the opinion that Steve is an idiot who won't get in anyway so why fucking bother going hard.
*at the time, under the regulations of the New York State Athletic Commission, welterweight was a weight class of 147 to >160 pounds. Meaning post-war Bucky gained about 30 pounds of pure muscle after getting the serum....dude.
December 24, 1941 - Bucky is right and Steve's first attempt to enlist fails so hard. Go to Midnight Mass, Steven.
March, 1942 - Red Skull fucks shit up in Tønsberg, Norway and finds the Tesseract.
September 21, 1942 - Bucky takes his draft card to an intake facility and enlists in the US Army. The following dates are literally nowhere in canon, but I have research to back up what is essentially pure speculation on my part. His serial number is 32557038. There is a real world counterpart who actually had this particular serial number, and he was enlisted on this date. So, in order for Bucky to have gotten to the number before this guy, Bucky probably woke up early Monday morning to get shit done.
Desperate Historian's Note: I always assumed that since he was a Sergeant when he first shipped out, Bucky had been in service for at least a year and a half, which is still pushing it within the constraints of the timeline. Most NCO's at the start of US involvement in the War, Corporals and Sergeants, already had years of Army service under their belts. But no. 9 months. So. Bucky basically kicked ass and took names to become a Sergeant in 9 months of non-combat training (which took place at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin btw). That, or every NCO in his regiment came down with a sudden case of the Deads and he got promoted.....Bucky would have needed a special recommendation from the company commander - TWICE in 9 months - to reach that rank. Jesus. It is canon fact that Bucky was indeed an absolutely phenomenal soldier (and leader) . . .
He would have been sent to basic training and been gone for ten weeks, meaning it would have been over by the 1st of December, 1942, or thereabouts.
December 1, 1942 - Give or take a week or two, maybe, depending on how quickly he was whisked away after enlistment, Bucky would have been given a week's furlough after training at Camp McCoy ended.
December 8, 1942 - Since he is a designated marksman (not a sniper, the US Army didn't have those in WWII. A designated marksman was just a guy in a regiment who was an excellent shot and stuck with their regiment at all times and was used situationally, never went off alone to shoot people in the head and stuff), he absolutely would not have been sent to any sort of sniper training because, again, the US did not have those in WWII. He wouldn't have stayed in NYC, though. He would have been on an Army base somewhere, with the occasional week-long furlough to return home. So, before Bucky leaves for war, he and Steve wouldn't have seen a whole lot of each other for the year before that, either.
June 7, 1943 - Bucky probably arrives in NYC on a final week's furlough before being sent to War. With the way Steve looks at him when he sees the uniform later on, and Bucky's cocky little head tilt, it's probably safe to say Bucky received his sergeant's chevrons not long before this furlough.
June 14, 1943 - Steve's fifth attempt to enlist fails spectacularly because he had to claim to be from New Jersey. He then goes to get the shit kicked out of him in an alley behind a movie theater, that's what you get for saying you're from Jersey, Steven. He and Bucky attend the Stark Expo that evening, where Steve ghosts like an asshole - even though for all he knows this is literally the last time he will ever see Bucky alive!! - and is chosen by Dr. Erskine as a candidate for Project: Rebirth.
June 15, 1943 - Bucky and the 107th ship out for 'England'. Now, the troop transport Queen Mary left NYC on June 1, 1943, heading for Gourock, Scotland and carrying the 1077th Signal Company Service Group. It took 5 days; they arrived on June 6, 1943. On July 16, 1943, the Edmund B. Alexander carried 5,000 replacement troops to Liverpool, England. That journey took ten days; they made land on July 26, 1943. Maybe. The records are full of literal question marks, so I dunno. That's the closest thing I can find to Bucky's stated journey. Most of the troops leaving from NYC at this period were actually heading for Africa, landing in Casablanca, Morocco. I know Bucky says he's shipping out for England in the morning, but it makes so much more sense that the 107th would have been sent to Africa and then swept up into Italy in the next four months of fighting, where Steve finds them later. It would be easy to deal with this by either saying Bucky's an idiot, or (my recommendation) that Bucky knew exactly where he was heading and he just wasn't telling Steve that he was being sent into the heart of the brutal African and Italian campaigns rather than a nice balmy Liverpool in the summer. The journey from NYC to Casablanca, Morocco would have been anywhere from 11-15 days.
June 20-25, 1943 - Bucky would have hit Liverpool, England right around this time, if that's the way he was sent.
June 25-30, 1943 - Bucky would have docked in Casablanca, Morocco, if this is the way it went instead. So I guess you could safely say he made landfall in the European Theater on June 25, 1943?
August, 1943 - Steve is selected to receive the super-soldier serum, right Steven?
October, 1943 - The Battle of Azzano results in Hydra declaring war on anything that moves, including Nazis, and takes prisoners from various different regiments that historically were either still in training or in the Pacific Theater at this point, but that's fine. Prisoners are taken over 120 km away to a Hydra weapons factory in Kreischberg, Austria, where their Hydra captors separate the men into cages according to their nationality and other factors. The purpose of this is for the bickering hodgepodge of Allied soldiers to keep each other busy with in-fighting so the Hydra guards can forget to train and get beat up by Captain America in a month or so.
Dum Dum Dugan almost immediately makes a joke while Cage Team Howling Commando is introducing themselves, and a brawl breaks out. As you do.
In Bucky's cage are the following:
Jacques "Frenchie" Dernier, French Resistance, born January 2, 1911 (32). The fuck was your French ass doing in northwestern Italy, son? To my knowledge the French Resistance kind of worked mainly . . . in France. The Italian Resistance was very active in this period, so they could have been collaborating, but that's not what the Resistance did, mostly. So the only logical conclusion we can come to with Frenchie is that he was captured somewhere in France by Hydra and transported to the factory as labor. He lived in Marseilles before the War, and likely would have stayed close to it.
Major James Montgomery "Monty" Falsworth, born January 2, 1914 (29), of the British 3rd Independent Parachute Brigade, which historically first saw action in June of 1944, ha. Anyway, Monty was known in the comics as Union Jack, and the pin on his beret is a nod to that. Teeeechnically? Monty outranks Steve, but since they're not even part of the same Army, that's kind of a moot point.
Private Gabe Jones, born August 14, 1918 (25), was 92nd Infantry Division, a segregated unit that historically first saw action in September of 1944, haha. Gabe handled the radios, was fluent in French and German, and boned Peggy Carter in the comics.
Corporal Timothy 'Dum Dum' Dugan, born April 11, 1912 (31), was a member of the 69th Infantry Regiment, which is also known as the 165th or Fighting Irish, recruited solely from NYC, who were making landfall in the Pacific right about now. Frustrated historian's note: Had he been a real boy, Bucky Barnes would have been enlisted into the 69th Infantry as well, just like Dugan. Canon-wise it makes sense that Bucky and Dugan were from the same unit, even though canon thinks they weren't because canon made up the WWII-era 107th? Anyway, the fact that both Dugan and Bucky were in the same foxhole when the Hydra tank hits in the cut scene from First Avenger is all fucked up because you don't put your NCOs where they can be blown up together, okay. It's bad strategy. Add to that the fact that Dugan calls him Bucky like they've been buddies for a while, but the tie-in comic is still on 'Jimmy' and also states that Dugan and Barnes were in the same company after all, that cut scene is frustrating. Or I guess the comic is frustrating? Something's frustrating, anyway. I think the best way to deal with this is just to say that the 107th IS the Fighting Irish regiment because fuck it. Dugan will eventually take over leading the team when Steve goes splat, leading the Howling Commandos and being involved with SHIELD, and Nick Fury personally, well into the Cold War.
Private Jim Morita, born October 20, 1919 (24) - also, Happy Birthday here's a Hydra weapon NOW ASSEMBLE IT - wasn't in the same cage as the others, but he served in the US Army's Nisei Squadron as a Ranger, aka the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Their real fight in the European Theater began in June of 1944, so who the fuck knows how his ass wound up in Austria. And since the whole unit was made up of men of Japanese descent, it's safe to assume there's a 50/50 chance Morita was given the choice between enlisting and an internment camp. A lot of fics write Morita as the team medic, but I'm not entirely sure why. In WWII, medics held a rank of Private, Private First Class, or Technical Sergeant. So, the medic would either have needed to be Morita or Gabe Jones in keeping with this. But there is literally no canon mention of him being any better at triage than any of the others, and he is definitely not a medic by trade. The more likely scenario here, because none of them wear the insignia of a combat medic, is that all of the team were equally trained and capable at the most basic of field triage, but the team itself probably flew without a safety net and used the medics from whatever regiment they were shadowing at the time.
Sergeant James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes (26) - who you will notice is literally the fourth James in a team of 7 men - contracted what can only be assumed to be walking pneumonia on the battlefield of Azzano, and as his condition gets progressively worse in captivity, hastened by the hard labor of the weapons facility, he eventually becomes so weak that he drops several components in front of the officer in charge of the Facility, identified only as Colonel Lohmer. Lohmer beats Bucky like a rented mule, and when he's deposited back in his cage, the other four realize that if he's made to work again the next day, he'll die. They devise a plan to kill Lohmer, which would put one of the kinder Nazi assholes in charge who would allow Bucky to remain in the cages until he was able to recover. Their plan works, crushing Lohmer under a ton of machinery and symbolism and signifying the first time the soon-to-be Howling Commandos had worked together successfully. The soldiers return everyone to their cages after the accident to keep order, and Dugan tells Bucky that he's safe from Lohmer now, with the only punishment being a reduction of the POWs food rations for a week since there was no one specific to punish. Bucky is an ungrateful dick and not only asks Dugan to stop calling him "Jimmy", but graces him with the nickname Dum Dum in the process. Bucky is saved from dying on the manufacturing floor only to be singled out by Arnim Zola and taken to the 'examination rooms'. And we all know what happens there.
August to Early November, 1943 - Steve Rogers sings and dances his way through over 200 shows and makes several badly conceived films while his best friend is slogging his way through Italy.
November 3, 1943 - Steve disappears behind enemy lines to go find his Bucky.
November 8, 1943 - The Man With A Plan dramatically re-enters the Allied base camp where Colonel Phillips is fixin' to tear Peggy Carter a new one for losing Captain America over enemy territory. If the Battle of Azzano happened on a goddamn Earth map at the real Azzano in the Province of Udine, and assuming the Allied camp was somewhat close to that area, the march from the factory back to the Allied base camp would have been well over 120 kilometers as the crow flies. Those prisoners were metal af. I'm getting that date from the assumption that walking over 120 km back to (supposedly because in reality they'd have needed to walk to goddamn Naples) Allied territory with 400 sick and wounded men would take a few fucking days. An American unit in Sicily in WWII (30th Infantry Division) marched 54 miles in 33 hours across country. But it's safe to assume that the company Steve rescues from Kreischberg would not be moving at top speed, but rather a steady pace that would keep them moving, but not fucking kill them. Say 5 km/hour since that's an average human's comfortable walking pace.
The closest thing I can get to this incident is in July of 1944, when the German armies began a forced march of POWs across Germany to delay their liberation by the approaching Red Armies. Groups of 250 to 300 men marched over bombed out roads in a meandering route because they were forced to skirt around various battles, kind of like what our POWs would have to do in enemy territory. The groups would march between 20 to 40 kilometers a day, with very little food, clothing, shelter or medical care to speak of. Using 30 km/day as our benchmark, that's at least 4 days that it would have taken to get back to the Allied encampment. If the Hydra factory went boom on the night of November 3rd, and Steve flounced into camp in daylight, November 8th is a very safe bet.
November 15, 1943 - Steve pinpoints the Hydra facilities on the map in the SSR bunker in London (which was located in the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall) and is given permission to form his own elite special ops unit. Sidenote, the Howling Commandos were never called the Howling Commandos until after the War ended, they were merely called the 107th Tactical Team. Another nickname bandied about in 'non-canon because it contradicts the movie ahahahahahah' was The Invaders, which is probably what other soldiers would have known them as when encountering them. Neither Steve nor Bucky would know what the fuck a Howling Commando even is until they read up on history, and even then neither of them would likely ever think of himself as a Howling Commando. Now, in trying to find this date, my inner frustrated historian has begun to weep, because I just cannot find a base in Italy that makes sense for any of these damn movements to have been based out of. The Allies hadn't even gotten through the Gustav Line at this point, which ran across the boot and through the town of Cassino, south of Rome. For them to be in Northern Italy close to the Austrian border, dude. WTF were they doing there? And how did they get in and out?? I mean was anyone really surprised when their straying asses got pounded by enemy forces deep in enemy territory??
I have no idea how to judge how long it would have taken for the future Commandos to get to London and drink in a pub because there is literally no rational logic to pinpoint their starting location, and therefore no way to guess what modes of transport were even available to them so close to enemy territory. The easiest way to find this date would have been to find out what date Captain America was awarded his Medal of Honor, but . . . even I'm not that good, apparently, 'cause I can't dig up shit. The Medal of Honor ceremony that happens at the same time as this scene would have been at least a week and probably more from the action on the night of November 3rd simply because it took that long for the paperwork to travel back to Washington. It was usually months before soldiers received their Purple Hearts, for instance. But let's assume this was fast-tracked because it's Captain goddamn America. Let's also assume they didn't have Howard Stark fly them back to London in his plane and tell the other 400 POWs to go make like a leaf and fuck a tree or something. So the trip back to London probably took at least 7-10 days. We also need enough time to have passed that they expected Steve to get from the front lines all the way back to DC for the ceremony. My first instinct is to say up to a month could have passed when this scene comes around, but a month just seems way too long when looking at the context of the scenes, from the celebratory pub crawl of the POWs to the fact that Steve is being debriefed here, which would have been literally the first concern of an agency whose job is gathering intelligence.
TL:DR version, this could be anywhere from a week to a month later, idfk.
It's safe to assume this is also the night of the pub when Bucky reveals how heterosexual he is not by asking if Steve is going to keep his stage suit for no apparent good reason.
Mostly I'm putting this date here because it is the day the Allied Expeditionary Force for the invasion of Europe is officially formed. Having the SSR gearing up for - or as a result of - that meeting seems to make a lot of sense.
November 15, 1943 to March 4, 1945 - Steve and the Invaders, often along with other military forces, plow through HYDRA factories like an enraged ex with a John Deere tractor and a bottle of Jim Beam, and also join the larger battle against the Axis Powers on the Western Front. Essentially this period is Band of Broooos: Howling Commandos Edition. This period is where you can really have your fic fun, because canon doesn't tell us fuck all about it. All in all, Bucky and Steve have 16 months of battle side-by-side. Bucky would have had 20 months total of combat service in the War.
I'm going to list some real events from the War during this time that the team might have been involved with or nearby for, and some things they would definitely have at least talked about. You can skip these if you like, just scroll down to the next bolded bit. I am copying and pasting these because I can:
December 2, 1943: The Germans conduct a highly successful Air Raid on Bari, Italy. One of the German bombs hits an Allied cargo ship carrying mustard gas, releasing the chemical which killed 83 Allied soldiers. Over 1000 other soldiers died in the raid.
January 17, 1944: The first Battle of Monte Cassino begins when the British X Corps attacks along the Garigliano river at the western end of the German Gustav Line.
January 20, 1944: The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Gari River but suffers heavy losses.
January 22, 1944: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, Italy. The Allies hope to break the stalemate in south Italy, but they are unable to break out of the beachhead and the line holds until late May.
February 15, 1944: The second Battle of Monte Cassino begins with the destruction of the historic Benedictine monastery on Monte Cassino by Allied bombing. The Allies believed the grounds were used as an observation post by the Germans
February 16, 1944: Germans launch a major counter-attack at Anzio, threatening the American beachhead.
March 15, 1944: The third Battle of Monte Cassino begins. The small town of Cassino is destroyed by Allied bombers.
April 27, 1944: The Slapton Sands tragedy: American soldiers are killed in a training exercise in preparation for D-Day at Slapton in Devon.
May 8, 1944: D-Day for Operation Overlord set for June 5.
May 11, 1944: The fourth battle of Monte Cassino begins led by general Anders of the 2nd Polish Corps.
May 18, 1944: The Battle of Monte Cassino ends in Allied victory. Polish troops of the 2nd Polish Corps led by general Władysław Anders capture Monte Cassino. German troops in west Italy have withdrawn to the Hitler Line.
June 4, 1944: Allies enter Rome, one day after the Germans declared it an open city. German troops fall back to the Trasimene Line. Meanwhile, Operation Overlord is postponed 24 hours due to high seas.
June 5, 1944: Operation Overlord commences when more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day. And the first Allied troops land in Normandy; paratroopers are scattered from Caen southward.
June 6, 1944: D-Day begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in France. The Allied soldiers quickly break through the Atlantic Wall and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
June 10, 1944: At Oradour-sur-Glane (a town near Limoges), France, 642 men, women, and children are killed in a German response to local Resistance activities.
June 13, 1944: Germany launches a V1 Flying Bomb attack on England, in retaliation for the invasion. The V-1 attacks will continue through June.
July 3, 1944: The Allies find themselves in the "battle of the hedgerows", as they are stymied by the agricultural hedges in Western France which intelligence had not properly evaluated.
July 24, 1944: Operation Cobra is now in full swing: the breakout at St. Lo in Normandy with American troops taking Coutances.
August 15, 1944: Operation Dragoon begins, marked by amphibious Allied landings in southern France. Elsewhere, the Allies reach the "Gothic Line", the last German strategic position in North Italy.
August 19, 1944: The French Resistance begins an uprising in Paris, partly inspired by the Allied approach to the Seine River.
August 25, 1944: Paris is liberated. The German military disobeys Hitler's orders to burn the city.
September 2, 1944: Allied troops enter Belgium.
September 6, 1944: The "blackout" is diminished to a "dim-out" as threat of invasion and further bombing seems an unlikely possibility.
September 9, 1944: The first V-2 rocket lands on London.
September 17, 1944: Operation Market Garden, the attempted liberation of Arnhem and turning of the German flank begins.
October 18, 1944: Hitler orders a call-up of all men from 16 to 60 for Home Guard duties.
November 1, 1944: "Operation Infatuate", an Allied attempt to free the approaches to Antwerp begins; amphibious landings take place on Walcheren Island. It would become a major supply port for the Allies by the end of the month.
November 20, 1944: Hitler leaves his wartime headquarters at Rastenberg, East Prussia, never to return; he goes to Berlin, where he will soon establish himself at the bunker.
December 16, 1944: The Battle of the Bulge begins as German forces attempt a breakthrough in the Ardennes region. The main object of Hitler's plan is the retaking of Antwerp.
January, 1945 - The only mission the MCU gives real details about comes from the Smithsonian Exhibit's interview with Peggy Carter (which you can watch in its entirety btw). The 'difficult winter, 1945' has to be January, and they were outside Stalingrad, Russia. During - or possibly in the aftermath of - a blizzard, Steve (and presumably the Commandos but fuck those guys amirite Agent Carter?) fight their way through a Hydra blockade that had been there 'for months', and saved half the battalion, over 1,000 men, who'd been penned down behind German lines. That's literally all we've got for mission details.
February 1945 - Bucky falls from a goddamn train in the Alps. There is no resource to tell us how much time passes between Bucky's fall and Steve's supposed death in the Valkyrie. So let me get my history on for a second. On February 17, 1945, the British Special Air Service executed Operation Cold Comfort, a parachute drop raid near Verona, Italy with the objective of blocking the main rail lines through the Brenner Pass by landslide. The Brenner Pass is a mountain pass through the Alps which forms the border between Italy and Austria. Sounds familiar, right? (It's also featured on one of the Captain America covers, Captain America No. 33, 1943). The operation would ultimately be a failure, but since Schmidt wouldn't have known that, hearing rumors of this operation or even word that it had begun, this could have been the inciting incident behind why he had Zola hauling his evil ass along that railway at a speed described as 'moving like the devil'. So we can safely put Bucky's fall between February 15 and February 19th. You could also stretch and say it was February 14th, if you are the reborn incarnation of Satan.
Now, by the end of February, the Red Army was sweeping through the northern regions of Poland toward the German border, moving north and west. It's a Russian soldier who finds Bucky in the Alps, so either that patrol was way the hell out of their lane, or . . . Bucky laid there for a while, folks. Seriously, the Red Army didn't even sniff the border of Austria until March 31, 1945 with the Upper Silesian Offensive. Which leads one to postulate that, a. the Russians who found Bucky were lost as fuuuuuck, b. the Russians who found Bucky were a rogue group who defected to Hydra after Hydra declared itself a separate entity from the Axis forces, or c. neither Steve nor any of the rest of the team ever actually looked for Bucky's body, even after Steve went down in the Valkyrie, and he laid there for weeks. I honestly choose to believe one of the former, since the latter is just . . . I can't.
[June 14, 2017 addition.]
It's always bothered me that they might never have looked for Bucky's body, y'know?
I always assumed the arm got ripped off when he hit the side of the ravine. Like maybe he grabbed for or hit a ledge and the speed/height of his fall was just too great and it got ripped off. Because it's not crushed like it would be if he'd landed on it, it's a traumatic amputation. It almost had to have happened during the fall. Which could mean he'd have landed close to the edge, or maybe like hit higher up and tumbled until he was at the bottom instead of freefalling the whole way?
In his flashback, you can see he's still bleeding as the soldiers are carrying him. Bleeding a lot. If he'd been in the water or motionless in the snow for any amount of time, the bleeding would have at least become sluggish. He'd be hypothermic; his body would route blood away from his extremities to protect his vital organs, plus the blood vessels in the wound would be constricting due to the cold. But, if he'd been moving under his own power trying to get to help, it would explain why he's still bleeding; his movement kept the blood circulating where it would otherwise have clotted up.
In this gif, it looks almost like the blood trail starts just a few meters away. If we take a leap and assume that when they started moving him it jogged him awake, then this scene shows where the Russians found him. Those are trees, aren't they? Meaning he moved under his own power after he landed. Meaning he got the fuck up after falling off that train, and walked through that ravine toward help. What a fucking badass, jfc.
Two things I think we can say with certainty; one, the Russians were definitely searching for someone. He's on a stretcher, which wasn't something a normal patrol would've been carrying, especially over rough terrain. They had it with them for a reason. And two, the Russians weren't there because of Zola. Between Bucky falling and Gabe taking the control room, he had very little time to get off a communication with sitrep and location. And even if he was able to, it would have been to Hydra troops, who would have shown up wearing Hydra gear. And Russians are almost certainly not part of Hydra at that stage in the War.
Those Russian soldiers were probably an Allied search party that was sent out to find Bucky. That would tick off a lot of problem boxes, wouldn't it? It would mean someone - the SSR, the Army - did order a rescue/recovery for a damned war hero like a fallen Howling Commando, and Allied Russian troops were closest or something. It would explain why Russian soldiers were in such a remote area, with a stretcher, when they had zero other reason to be there! It would explain why Bucky is listed as KIA instead of MIA even though they obviously never found his body. It would also explain why Bucky didn't struggle as they were carrying him off; he thought they were on his side, rescuing him.
My theory after writing all this up? He lost the arm in an impact with the side of the ravine, but contacting the ravine walls also slowed his landing and put him on dry ground. He then got up like a BAMF and moved, either until he found shelter under some trees, or he simply collapsed from shock or trauma or exposure or all of the above. An Allied rescue/recovery party found him, but they were Russian, and they reported him KIA and kept him because they knew he must be enhanced to have survived that sort of fall, cold, and blood loss, and they wanted their own Captain Comrade.
March 4, 1945 - The SSR and other forces raid the secret Hydra bunker and Steve Rogers boards the Valkyrie on his way to getting fridged, literally haha, so Peggy Carter can become a hero . . .
March 15-24, 1945 - The Commandos assist in Operation Undertone, which was part of the Allied invasion of Germany by the U.S. Seventh and French 1st Armies of the U.S. Sixth Army Group. It was a very real operation, so info is easy to find about it if your heart is still in your chest after watching both our boys plummet to their supposed deaths.
Some time in April probably?? 1945 - Dugan and Morita head to the last known HYDRA facility, known simply as the Fortress, located some the fuck where in Austria, with Peggy Carter. They capture HYDRA General Werner Reinhardt and take possession of the first known classified 084, the Obelisk. We don't see the Obelisk again until Agents of SHIELD.
May 8th, 1945 - VE-Day. The remaining five members of the team gather in a pub to toast 'the Captain', suggesting that they did indeed just leave 'the Sergeant's' body rotting in the Alps somewhere, fuck that guy. (It is notable that one of the tie-in books for the movie states explicitly that they toast to both 'the Captain' and 'the Sergeant', so it's probable that they gave each man his own, individual farewell. We just didn't see it.)
Chapter 2: Bucky's Arsenal: World War II Edition
I guess . . . I've turned this into a sort of all-around canon/historical accuracy compilation? Still no story here, just guns.
This is an M1 Garand rifle. And a Steve. Hi Steve.
It's the rifle all US Infantry were issued, because it was sturdy and dependable. It's the gun Steve went through his training with before he was turned into Captain America. It's the gun I mention them all carrying in That Is Not A Cow, because they would have been issued to everyone and also all over the place to scavenge. It is not, however, the kind of rifle Bucky is ever shown shooting in The First Avenger.
He was shown with (in order of appearance maybe?):
A Model 1903 Springfield.
He had apparently carried the Springfield while with the 107th, before the Hydra tank appears and makes everyone its bitch. This model was also standard issue in WW2, but in a much smaller number than the Garand; mostly only designated marksmen were issued the Springfield with scope like this one, which reiterates that Bucky was a designated marksman for the 107th. Despite being the Army's chosen model for designated marksmen, this model was widely regarded as a shitty sniper rifle. It had a relatively accurate range of about 600 yards. The problem came from the scopes. They were a Weaver Model 330, which offered about 2.5-3 times magnification. They also fucked up the barrel of the rifle so that the front sight couldn't actually be installed on this model. And friends, if you yank your scope off in a fit of rage and then try to aim down the barrel of a rifle with no front sight . . . well. Don't yank off your scope, is what I'm saying.
On top of the scope's low magnification, the fuckers weren't waterproof, so even if you did put a condom over the barrel of your rifle while slogging through the rain and mud and crossing rivers, once you looked through your scope you wouldn't be able to see a damn thing for your dry, mud-free barrel to aim at. These scopes were so finicky, in fact, that even humidity made them cry. Think stepping into a hot shower with your glasses on, then trying to find the damn knob to turn the temperature down, except the knob is 1,800 feet away. But remember, don't yank off your scope. Bucky probably hated this thing with a passion and would have been just as likely to bash that Hydra tank on the tread with it as shooting at it.
He also uses a Model 1928 Thompson.
This is what is commonly known to mobster movies as a Tommy Gun. Bucky wields one of these babies the one time he's shown on the forward assault team instead of as the sniper, and then again on the train that we all pretend he never boarded. In fact, a lot of characters are shown with this model, including Steve, Peggy, Dugan, and Gabe Jones. This particular merchant of death came into being during the First World War, designed specifically for trench warfare. In fact, one of the nicknames for this model of gun is 'the Trench Sweeper', and its original official project name was Annihilator I, so . . . you can extrapolate what you want about its effectiveness from that. In WWII it was particularly favored by scouts, because if you're out in the middle of a Nazi fuckfest by yourself, you might as well have a sub-machine gun amirite. When Bucky was going into a close-combat situation or on an advance scout, he would have taken this, not the sniper rifle. Nobody brings a sniper rifle to a Tommy Gun fight.
Speaking of which, his sniper rifle was a Model 1941 Johnson.
Hi there. The Johnson was . . . daintier, let's say, than the Garand. It required more care to stay in working order, which means Bucky would have spent a lot of his downtime maintaining that thing. He would also have to do his field-stripping very carefully, and probably with a piece of cloth of some sort under him, because the Johnson had a lot of smaller working parts that often got lost while stripping it down in adverse conditions. So yes, you can say that Bucky often went off by himself to play with his Johnson and you will be entirely correct.
This rifle actually uses its own recoil to fire, so when the trigger is pulled, it will kick into your shoulder and the bolt will slide when the gun's momentum is stopped. If Bucky was in an odd position - say, in a tree like a goddamn squirrel - if he didn't brace himself and allow the rifle to press firmly against his shoulder, it wasn't going to fire. If he didn't brace his back, the recoil would push him out of that tree like that bully in 2nd grade, and on top of that, the rifle wouldn't fire. If he was injured during a fight but still trying to save Captain Salute Your Sniper's ass, he would have to find something else solid to take the recoil of his shot if his body couldn't.
Another side-effect of this type of recoil firing mechanism is something called vertical shot dispersion, or vertical stringing. Basically what this means is, guns kind of need a loving hand to guide their bullets, because they rarely fire the same way twice. You can fire two bullets at the same spot, but even the most minute of changes to yourself or to the gun's mechanism will mean those two shots end up four inches apart. The Johnson, with it's bolt-heavy firing action, caused shots to stray up and down. This would be even more pronounced at longer ranges. What this means for Bucky is that he would have to take into account that if he fired and hit his target in one place, he would need to make a minuscule adjustment either up or down in order to hit the exact same place a second time. He would have needed to become very familiar with the quirks of this rifle very quickly in order to make head shot after head shot without taking a test shot first, and snipers can't really take test shots or call a time-out to fix their aim.
You could attach a bayonet to a Johnson, if you never wanted it to shoot properly ever again afterward.
In the movie it's shown with a scope - meaning that the rifle was customized either by Howard Stark or Bucky himself - and a bolt action (when Mr. Badass angry-ejects the round after shooting a Hydra soldier in the head and then Steve gives away his position by saluting him, right Steven?). But this particular rifle is a semi-automatic, and so, does not require you to work the bolt to chamber a new round after taking a shot. In fact, working the bolt action on this rifle would literally spit a live round out of it, wasting one of the ten it holds. Instead of believing that the movie fucked up their weapons knowledge, I choose to believe that Bucky basically tossed a perfectly good bullet on the ground solely out of goddammit Steve now I have to move again and not necessity.
That is the dead-eyed stare of a man who just ejected his last bullet so he wouldn't shoot his best friend in the ass. Watch that gif again with that in mind and try not to laugh.
And finally, Bucky's (and everyone else's) standard-issue sidearm was a Model 1911 Colt.
Yeah, Buck, that gun. It's your pretty basic pistol. It, too, is recoil operated, meaning it uses the shooter as its leverage, and the slide on top shoots back over your hand when fired. A lot of inexperienced shooters tend to get the webbing of the thumb and forefinger caught in the slide because they hold it too high with both hands, instead of cupping under it with the second hand like you're on your fifth date. Don't do that. It will hurt. It fires a .45 cal, which means the recoil would have given the shooter the business, kwim. Your wrist, elbow, and shoulder are all going to feel this one, and if you punk out when you pull the trigger and flinch, you're going to absorb the recoil and the slide will lock on you and probably get your ass killed.
The magazine on a 1911 holds eight rounds. In the train scene, if you're not already dying internally because you know what's coming, you will notice that Bucky fired his 1911 nine times. Again, you could postulate that the movie people fucked up, but I have faith in them! I choose to believe the 9th round means that Bucky carried around one spare bullet with him everywhere he went, in case he got captured again and the only person he intended to shoot was himself . . .
Chapter 3: 1945-2014
Trying to track the Winter Soldier through both canon and history....god help me....
February 1945 - Bucky falls from a goddamn train in the Alps. I've gone over this in the first chapter.
Okay, we know Bucky was in Russian/Hydra hands by early '45. The first thing to look into is Operation Paperclip. You may recognize this from TWS, but it was not made up by the MCU, it was a real thing. In May of 1945, a U.S. Army Major Robert B. Staver sent a telegram to the Pentagon, pushing the idea of capturing and using German scientists toward the war effort in the Pacific. They proceeded to do just that, housing captured scientists in southern Bavaria. So smart, keeping the Nazis in Germany and stuff. By November, the project had been renamed Operation Paperclip. For secrecy?
Most of the early objectives of this operation were to keep the German scientists from emigrating to non-friendly countries and continuing their work. Eventually, the US realized it was just fine for them to continue their work, as long as it was for them. By the end of the war, Germans with 'marketable' knowledge were being 'recruited' through orders for their families and such to report to Allied bases; the important ones were then moved to secret locations (one was code-named DUSTBIN it was proooobably in the desert near Los Alamos idk) and questioned, detained for months at a time.
Some of these scientists were later removed and charged for their war-time actions. Since we know Zola was still part of SHIELD when he built the nightmare computer in the 70's, he obviously wasn't one of them. None of the scientists were free to roam until at least '47. That leads us to believe that Zola couldn't have gotten his hands back on Bucky for at least 2 years, likely more. It's possible Zola never got his hands on Bucky again, if you take Bucky's memories as more like amalgams and assume he just uses Zola as the face for any faceless scientists. It's not out of the question.
Us too, Steve.
Moving on. Bucky is found by Russians, and since I've been over that too, needless to say, it's highly unlikely that many Russians were deserting the Red Army to go be buddies with a mostly Nazi-associated Hydra operation at the end of WW2. The Russians and the Nazis were not friends, mmkay, Russia lost nearly 40 million people during WW2, and only 9 million of those were in combat. But, by the time the first traces of the Cold War come around, Russians in Hydra would definitely be a thing. Again, the date 1947 comes into play, as that's a pretty accepted start date of the Cold War tensions. But.
Bucky was found by some very lost Russians and brought in, where they took him fuck knows where to pimp his ride. There's not much we can take from the MCU with the meager flashbacks, but there is a very clear timeline from Captain America: Winter Soldier Vol. 2. I'll fill in what I can from the MCU, since that's what this is focusing on.
March 23, 1945 - Bucky's KGB file is created by the KGB branch in Dnepropetrovsk Region, USSR, which became known as Dnipro Raion, Ukraine in 2016. (**Thanks to Morrighan for this translation!) Of note is the giant Dnipropetrovsk Automobile Factory, built by German POWs starting in December of 1945, which was planned by the Russians as a secret military machining plant. It wasn't under way at this particular date, but the supplies for such large industry were, and it stands to reason the future Fist of Hydra would have been brought to a place that was about to become the center of the Soviet secret weapons think tank.
May 7, 1945 - Bucky dies. Like, literally. The Comics are clear on this, that when the Russians found him he was frozen solid, and dead. One of them had been on a mission with the Commandos, though, and after seeing Bucky in action, suspected he had the serum just like Steve (he didn't, he was just a badass), so they thaw him like Thanksgiving turkey to try to get tissue and fluid samples. When he's thawed, he's dead as a doornail. They revive him, though, and even the scientists are kind of shocked it worked, since he did not, in fact, have the serum. What he did have was the memory of how to kick ass, which they learn the hard way haha, so they sedate his ass until they can get all their samples from him. Now, MCU canon directly controverts this. MCU Bucky DOES have the serum, that's been made very clear from several of his feats of strength that did not include the arm, and he was obviously not flash frozen in the Alps because he remembers shit. So. Do with that dichotomy what you will, just thought I'd share.
May 21, 1945 - After determining that they can't recreate the serum from him, and that he's gonna kick their asses if they let him stay conscious, Bucky is put into cryo-freeze. Even the scientist making the notes is all IDFK about the order when it's given by Karpov, he's like birch is crazy.
In the flashback scene from TWS where Bucky's metal arm is being attached, the doctor uses a handheld electric bone saw. The patent for the first hand held reciprocating saw was filed on June 27, 1952. Trust me. You do not want to try Googling that, okay, let me take the hit on those visuals. I spontaneously became a vegetarian. Anyway, it's safe to assume the flashback scene of Bucky getting what remained of his arm cut off was at the least 7 years of captivity later. Since Bucky hasn't aged any more than the Capsicle did, it's safe to assume, and mentioned in those pieces of comics canon, that the Russians essentially said *shrug* and stuffed the half-dead American soldier they found in the fridge for a decade like my grandmother used to do to the stuff she canned every summer. Since the cryo containment they stuff him back into after he has the metal arm was actually in the operating theater, hence already tested and in use (and mobile, apparently? what did they do push him around on a handcart??) it's a pretty safe assumption to make that even MCU Bucky was almost immediately put on ice after being captured because he kept trying to kill folks, and kept that way until at least mid to late 1952, if not later.
Personal tangent? If the Russians/Hydra already had a Cryo tank to conveniently throw Bucky into, one can assume they had a use for it, right? My personal theory is that it was for Super Soldiers, meaning someone had at least theorized that a Super Soldier could be frozen. How many fucking Cold War resources do you think were put toward hunting for that fucking Valkyrie?
June 1954 - The date comes from Captain America: Winter Soldier Vol. 2 again, and it gels with the info above about the arm-attachment so I'm going with it. Bucky becomes the 'Fist of Hydra' and is then put back on ice because the Fist of Hydra tries to strangle his doctor. It would be super easy to split his time and say he was with the Russians until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, then was transferred to Hydra's control, but this Fist of Hydra line makes that impossible. So even though the Russians in the form of the KGB had him, they were obviously still working under or with the Hydrapus. Bucky worked for Department X in the Comics, but that's not an MCU thing, so. That's where the MCU and the comics diverge wildly, and make this a migraine-inducing task. Right after they let him out of Cryo, Bucky escapes, but since he's in the middle of the goddamn Soviet wilderness, he doesn't get far.
1959 - The first page of the file Steve receives from Natasha about the Winter Soldier is probably dated 1959, from the KGB branch in Lvovsky Region, USSR - **with another shout-out of gratitude to Morrighan for clearing this up for us! - which is the Lviv Region in Ukraine. The area is super varied in landscape and population, which could have served as a proving ground of sorts for something like the winter Soldier. This can probably be taken as a pretty clear date for when the Winter Soldier officially became 'active' under the direction of the KGB. That's five years from the metal arm being attached, to the Asset, during which you can only assume they were working on the base programming for what would later become the wipes.
1964 - This is technically when the Winter Soldier's kills start being counted, if you take Natasha's 'the last 50 years' literally. So I'm going to ignore pre-64 history, pretty much, and assume that the 5-10 years after June 1954 were spent turning Bucky into The Winter Soldier with mindfucking, training, languages, ect. It's important to note that in the comics, Bucky was never tortured, per se. Not physically, I guess, though the line is thin. He was already an amnesiac, so they used a combination of sensory deprivation and 'Mental Implantation' experiments to make him loyal to them. You don't make someone loyal by beating the shit out of them, you know? There's also clear evidence in the movies in the way Bucky reacts to people; he is clearly in charge of the STRIKE team, not taking their orders, he doesn't flinch when Steve touches him, nor does he mind one bit the Wakandan doctors who are hooking him up to IVs, ect. If you want to think Bucky was tortured, I guess you do you and stuff, but I really dislike thinking about a decade of torture, friends.
Look at that cupcake, Jesus.
Since MCU canon is sparse with language info, I'll go with Comics canon on this; Bucky has stated that before Hydra, he spoke six languages. Hydra's own notes state that he spoke four. We'll go with Bucky on this one, since he would know amirite. I can't figure out what all 6 were for sure, but there is solid evidence that he spoke fluent English, German, and Russian. The other educated guesses would add Japanese, French, and Italian to that tally. It's also possible his sixth language was cursing, because even Deadpool is shocked at Bucky's language when he goes back in time and meets him during the War. Those are the most likely, simply because they were the relevant ones to the War effort and where he was deployed. There's a panel with War-dressed Bucky speaking Chinese, but wtf dude I mean....I guess you could say he picked it up in Brooklyn cause there's no reason the War Department would have taught him fucking Chinese in the 40's, so that panel might be an alternate reality thing, idk. After Hydra, he was additionally fluent in Chinese (probably post-Hydra fuck that panel), Spanish, Polish, Romanian (MCU canon), and he became passable in Kree. At one point when he is Bucky!Cap, Steve seems to be under the impression that Bucky can also understand a dog barking. I don't know if that's a Bucky thing or a Steve thing, but it's apparently canon that Bucky talks to animals like a crazy cat lady enough that Steve thinks he's understanding them. Idfk dude.
Sooo, TL;DR: WW2-era: English, German, Russian, Japanese, French, Italian (probably), and foul language. Winter Soldier-era: Chinese, Spanish, Polish, Romanian, Kree, and dog? Probably a lot more, probably ALL the Soviet-bloc languages, tbh, I just don't have hard evidence of them.
[June 14, 2017 addition.]
Something I just realized after seeing this gif, we could assume that Bucky is telling Steve and Sam all that info about the other Winter Soldiers in this scene because he's listing his own stats. So it's possible Bucky himself speaks upwards of 30 languages. If he spent a lot of time in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, all those different dialects could easily add up to 30+ languages.
Most of the 'training' he was given was basically the Russians field-testing him and being all WOO he already knows this, because Bucky was already a Grade A Badass. They would have updated him on new technology as soon as it was available to him, because he can obviously fly SHIELD fighter jets without blinking an eye and is rather fond of commandeering random flying machines.
1959-1964 - I got sidetracked. Anyway. There is some chatter in the fandom that Bucky killed Kennedy. If we take the 50 years thing literally and go with the 1964 date, he probably didn't. If we take it almost literally and infer the 1959 date on his file was from his first field test or mission, he . . . really could have killed Kennedy. I do like to mix my movies, though, and imagine that Bucky was sent to Dallas, met up with Magneto trying to stop him, hai there metal arm, and got wrapped up like a burrito in a chain link fence before he could fire a shot.....
Anyway....despite how well-armed the Winter Soldier is . . . jesus I just re-read this and realized I made a horrible pun but I'm not changing it because it made me laugh, most political assassinations are not usually by gun or knife. You can't have plausible deniability if you shoot someone in the face. That's why the Winter Soldier's reputation is as both assassin AND spy. Dates and locations are between the spades, for ease of tracking this sneaky bastard's possible real historical movements. Bold dates are confirmed by MCU canon.
♠ September 11, 1973 - Santiago, Chile ♠ The apparent suicide of Chile’s president, Salvador Allende - with an assault rifle – during the Pinochet coup. Being honest, this was probably the CIA, but still.
♠ early December 1977 - Cairo, Egypt ♠ David Holden - a writer, journalist, broadcaster, and possible CIA agent - was the Chief Foreign Correspondent of the Sunday Times, and is shot in still unexplained circumstances just before the peace talks between Egypt and Israel. With his connections, and possible CIA ties, there is no telling what this guy was up to.
♠ April 17, 1978 - Kabul, Afghanistan ♠ Mir Akbar Khyber, an Afghan intellectual and a leader of the Parcham faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), was killed outside his home. I don't know how. His death led to the overthrow of the republic, and to the advent of a socialist regime in Afghanistan.
♠ December 23, 1978 - Phnom Penh, Cambodia ♠ Malcolm Caldwell, a British lecturer in southeast Asian studies and a Marxist writer who was a vocal supporter of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, was killed for no apparent reason other than being a douche. This one's interesting because there was a witness: About 11:00 p.m. that night [Elizabeth] Becker was awakened by the sound of gunfire. She stepped out of her bedroom and saw a heavily armed Cambodian man who pointed a pistol at her. (Sounds familiar right??) She ran back into her room and heard people moving and more gunshots. An hour later a Cambodian came to her bedroom door and told her that Caldwell was dead. . . He had been shot in the chest and the body of a Cambodian man was also in the room, possibly the same man who had pointed the pistol at Becker. Three days later, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and ended the Khmer Rouge.
In comics canon, the Winter Soldier goes rogue some time in the 70's - I think, I cannot find it - on a job in NYC after seeing his little sister Rebecca on the street. Hydra tracks him down and pets him on the head and takes him back because he doesn't know why he bolted. After it becomes obvious that he's having issues, he shadows the head of the program (Lukin, the dude from Civil War) for two years as his personal bodyguard, then is put back into cryo. It isn't until after this stretch that the mind wipes start, because his behavior is degrading more and more and he becomes harder to handle. This is a ten year stretch, basically, that this could easily have gone down.
♠ August 17, 1988 - Bahawalpur, Pakistan ♠ President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan dies in a plane crash, along with 31 others, including a shitload of important politicians I don't want to bother listing. Witnesses report the plane flying erratically, then nosediving and exploding on impact. An investigation concluded it was a 'criminal act of sabotage'. Zia-ul-Haq's most enduring legacy was his indirect involvement and military strategies against the USSR's war in Afghanistan.
♠ November 24, 1989 - Peshawar, Pakistan ♠ Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian Islamist leader who Wikipedia claims is also known as the Father of Global Jihad, was killed with his two adult sons by a car bomb. In a narrow street across from a gas station, a bomb that had a 50-metre detonation cord led to the sewerage system where the assailant presumably waited. He literally laid in the sewers waiting, that's hardcore. Anyway, Azzam both controlled the jihadi forces who had fought against the USSR in Afghanistan and opposed the extension of the Islamist war to targets in the non-Islamic world. His protégé was a man named Osama bin Laden.
♠ December 16, 1991 - Upstate New York like a goddamn hipster ♠ Yeah, Mission Report and stuff. Howard and Maria Stark are murrrrrderrrrred in a car.
♠ December 25, 1991 - Siberia, probably, jesus is anyone still reading this? ♠ The USSR is dissolved. It's likely they moved all their Hydra assets into Pierce's control shortly after this, meaning the Soldier became 'the Asset' and moved to DC like a politician. The scenes from Civil War with the other Winter Soldiers going all Mutiny on the Bounty had to have happened somewhere in December of 1991.
♠ 6 April 1994 - Kigali, Rwanda ♠ The plane carrying Rwanda’s and Burundi’s presidents, Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, is shot down as it prepares to land, precipitating the Rwandan Genocide and the First Congo War. That's one hell of a precision strike, if you want chaos.
♠ November 11, 2004 - Gaza Strip, probably? ♠ Yasser Arafat dies in a Paris, France hospital, for reasons that are still not clear but apparently began to develop on October 25, 2004. Many in the Arab world believe he was poisoned by polonium laced into his clothing and belongings, which is why this one is sort of hard to place for a Winter Soldier location. I'm assuming he would have at least accessed the home in Gaza City, Palestine?
♠ July 30, 2005 - a mountain range in southern Sudan near New Kush ♠ John Garang, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan’s new vice-president, dies in a helicopter crash after the January 2005 peace agreement, which leads to rioting in Khartoum.
♠ 2009 - Odessa, Ukraine ♠ The Winter Soldier visits Odessa so he can shoot Natasha Romanov in her bikini line, plus an engineer dude or something I'm too lazy to go looking for the story tbh, you've all seen the movie.
♠ May 4, 2012 - Manhattan, New York ♠ The Battle of New York. If I was Hydra, I'd have my greatest weapon poised and ready to go kick some alien ass if all else failed, kwim. You can't rule the world if someone else has already conquered that shit.
♠ May 2014 - Washington, DC ♠ Nick Fury is almost killed, twice.
I cannot for the life of me find a date on this motherfucker, other than 'two years after the Battle of New York', but the jackets they all wear makes me think fall, but not fall enough for leaves to be changing. Got an answer to this, thank you! It's apparent that the Asset's home has moved from Siberia in the 90's to a bank vault in DC at some point in the last . . . IDK, 23 years. . We all saw the chase in the street, but the Soldier takes his shot through one of Steve's walls using thermal imaging on his scope, then plays ultimate frisbee with Captain America for a minute before saying fuck it and going back to the bank where they keep him.
Then some moron doesn't read his instruction manuals thoroughly and sends Captain America's dead best friend to kill him without anticipating the inevitable joint Cap/Asset system error.
Anyway. The Soldier saves Steve's dumb ass one more time, then bolts and heads back to the bank to utterly fuck that shit up, but he doesn't kill anyone there. He specifically says he has enough blood on his hands, and lets them all live. Then he ghosts and doesn't resurface until he smells plums two years later. As settled as he was in Romania, he probably spent at least a year of those two years there. That's all I got.
Okay Jesus, so that was a lot of work. Comics mentions that I didn't include? Steve and Bucky knew Wolverine during WW2. They fought together several times. And later, the Winter Soldier helps Wolverine escape from the Weapons X Facility, which Wolverine doesn't find out until much later. I don't know when that is and . . . God help me, I kind of don't care at this point? Also, one panel has Bucky claiming that he killed Hitler. If so, good.
Chapter 4: Say My Name
I’ve been stuck in editing hell for my published crap, and I need a break. It did get me thinking about good naming practices in creating original characters, which the Marvel writers DO NOT HAVE okay, they do not. I honestly have too much writer’s block right now to even give a better intro, I’m sorry.
I’ve seen plenty of people write stories where Bucky’s name is sort of poked fun at, because of the president, ect. I've literally never seen anyone acknowledge that it probably had fuck all to do with presidents (unlike Steve’s) and a whole hell of a lot to do with his genealogy, which I have to admit, is the main reason I wanted to post a chapter talking about it!
I also want to start by saying that both Bucky and Steve were born during the second wave of the Spanish Flu, so they’re both kind of lucky they’re alive at all. The Spanish Flu, unlike most illness, didn’t attack the young/old/weak. It attacked healthy adults (in other words, their parents) and wiped out over 100 million people, 6% of the world’s population. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
The 69th Regiment, aka the Fighting Irish (or what we’ve established was the 107th in the MCU) were sent off to WW1 in October 1917. Meaning we have no way to know if Bucky’s dad was a soldier or not since Bucky had been born before they would have been deployed. (Notably, Joseph Rogers would have needed to ‘visit’ Sarah Rogers like . . . right before he was deployed for Steve to be . . . his . . . do with that what you will, I suppose.)
Anyway. It’s canon that Steve’s parents were both Irish immigrants, so there’s not much reason to linger there. What is interesting is that Steven (or any form of the name ) was NOT a popular name in the 1910’s, I mean. Not even in the 20’s. It was rising in the 40’s when the character was created but that is NOT good writer/creator technique okay. It’s not particularly Irish, either, other than being the name of a saint.
Notable in Irish naming traditions is that the first son was typically named for the father’s father, so Steve’s paternal grandfather might have been a Steven as well.
The middle name Grant is MUCH harder to explain for an Irish family in the 1910’s. I . . . I honestly can’t even begin to explain where it could have come from. Unless one of the parents had a little bit more Scottish or English blood than most Irish. Even then, it was simply an odd naming practice for a that particular baby in that particular time. They may have been completely trying to shake their Irish heritage due to prejudices, and going for presidential, but I dunno.
Likewise, the surname Rogers is strictly Anglo-Norman, but was introduced to Ireland in the conquests of the 12th century. Not really a common Irish name, but whatever.
Bucky offers a lot more to work with since the creators didn’t make anything about his past canon for us. I can play a little.
I know a lot of people headcanon Bucky as Jewish, which is one reason I've been distracting myself with a lot of background research. I don't want to push at possible representation for people who desperately need it. Keep in mind, no matter where Bucky’s family was from, he could still be Jewish. So basically, I’m going to offer the most likely explanation for Bucky and not try to disprove anyone’s HC’s, so ignore me if you want/need to!
But . . . my best educated guess is that Bucky is Scottish/Welsh, if not fully Scottish. James was the 3rd most popular baby name in the US in 1917, so fuck that. Barnes is a classic Old English/Welsh surname, with possible Gaelic ties. Buchanan, though, is purely Scottish. Scottish families, especially ones that trace back to the bigger clans, traditionally use surnames as middle names. Bucky is typically said to have been the only boy in the family, either as an only child or with at least one younger sister. I would place cash money on a bet that Buchanan is Bucky's mother’s maiden name, based on Scottish naming traditions that are still in use today. We can even trace her line as having come from around the Loch Lomond area, from the Clan Buchanan.
His father was probably English, maybe Welsh. Comics canon names him as George M Barnes and good god I have never heard a more English name. Bucky’s mother is named as Winifred C Barnes, and the name Winifred is typically of Welsh/English origin. His sister, Rebecca, was not a particularly popular name in the 1910’s-20’s, but maybe they learned their mistake from naming their first kid James, I dunno.
Because of the absolute proliferation of Jameses, a lot of them would have been Jimmy’s, Jim’s, nicknames based on their last names or physical features, (like Red for redheads or Lefty for left-handed guys) and then resorted to middle names. Bucky is a pretty common nickname for athletes, too. Bucky Dent, Bucky Waters, Bucky Harris, Bucky Hodges, Bucky Moore, Bucky Brooks. It’s not as rare as people seem to think.
It’s also, tellingly, an Old-English nickname that meant a person was high-spirited or rambunctious; just another pointer than Bucky’s family was probably of Scottish/English heritage.
Bucky was canonically an amazing athlete in high school and beyond with his boxing, so he could have picked up the name from teammates. It’s also just as likely that he picked it up as a small child because he was a tiny hellion.
Anyway, as I established with Steve’s horrible naming research by the writers, we can do about as much with Bucky’s naming research as we can with the goddamn timeline of the goddamn Second World War, tbh, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore other than this is day three of a fever.
Chapter 5: November 15, 1943 to March 4, 1945
I grazed the hell over this in chapter one, and I always knew there was more info, so I finally went and found it. This is a supplement to the original timeline, with an in-depth look at all the info the MCU gives us about the Howling Commando days.
November 15, 1943 to March 4, 1945 - Steve and the Invaders, often along with other military forces, plow through HYDRA factories like an enraged ex with a John Deere tractor and a bottle of Jim Beam, and also join the larger battle against the Axis Powers on the Western Front. Essentially this period is Band of Broooos: Howling Commandos Edition. This period is where you can really have your fic fun, because canon doesn’t tell us fuck all about it.
Well … that’s not necessarily true, though. Through the (paltry imo) Howling Commando montage of the movie, we see at least 10 distinct missions, and in clips from TWS there are hints of a few more; as many as 15 total. There are 6 Hydra facilities on the board, labeled 1-6. #4 was never taken during Steve’s time. But we can assume at least 5 of their missions were blowing the rest up. One was ‘in Poland, near the Baltic’, the other was ‘30-40 miles west of the Maginot Line’, thanks Steve. That doesn’t give us shit, son. But I will try.
1. A Hydra facility raid, #2. This is the one 30-40 miles west of the Maginot Line, labeled #2 on the map. West, in fact, of Liechtenstein, and southeast of Innsbruck, in a town that begins with RES. I think this is Resia, Italy, and the Reschen Pass (Resia Pass in WW2), which would make sense, tactically. I’d like to point out that they show Bucky entering with the team, show the team running out, show Steve riding out on his motorcycle, and then the place blows up. No Bucky. Take better care of your marksman, boys …
2. An approach with additional military forces through a forest, in the snow. Look at those BAMF motherfuckers. I got no clue what this mission could be, though. This has the feeling of a patrol, rather than a directed attack on anything. Bucky doesn’t even have his rifle.
3. A direct attack through a forest of exploding trees … no snow. This is probably a frontal attack intended to push at the enemy lines. With mortars like that coming at them as they advance, there’s no way whoever they were facing wasn’t dug in on a forward line.
4. This is most likely a harassment mission. They’re shown disturbing the lines of supplies to somewhere, and taking care to be covert, which is … not usually how Steve rolls, lbr.
5. Another Hydra base raid, Base #5. This is shown through only film, with Steve planning an approach to somewhere and a whole shitload of troops mobilizing with them. From where they are, he’s pointing south. God help me. Looking at the map he’s pointing to, the best guess I have based on the coastline is that it shows the northern bits of Belgium, and he’s pointing toward Hydra base #5, which is somewhere in the northeast corner of France, right below the border of Luxembourg.
6. Seek and destroy mission. This was another battle, not a base. Despite the fact that they’re in rubble, but then … most of Europe was rubble at this point, lbr. Peggy pulls a ‘Hydra battle lines’ flag from the map after this mission, so this was about pushing the forward line back. And we know this was the Hydra line, not the Nazi line. The scene we see was likely after the battle itself was over, when the search for the wounded and intel begins; that’s when enemy snipers made their last stand, like the one seen stalking Steve’s oblivious star-spangled ass. Bucky almost kills Steve for saluting at him and giving away his carefully chosen position.
7. A pitched battle in a town, somewhere. Steve is seen kicking ass and stuff.
8. Cool guys don’t look at explosions … The only reason I am separating these three clips is because the middle one is obviously in a forest, where the other two are in towns. We’ll call them three separate skirmishes. I would imagine all three of these are about pushing back that forward line.
9. The mega huge tank in the middle of town. I can see the team being sent out just to take care of this thing. Historian sidenote; the Nazis did indeed cook up some monster tanks. Hitler had a size kink. The Tiger II, or as the American GIs called it, the King Tiger, was … I mean, you were fucked if one of these rolled up into your path. They were damn near indestructible and they carried a big fucking stick. The problem with a heavy tank is that a Europe that has been bombed back to Creation for several years is a muddy Europe … if that Hydra tank wasn’t stuck in 5 feet of mud it was made of aluminum or something.
10. A last Hydra base raid, Base #?. This is shown only through the resulting smoking husk of a destroyed base and Red Skull being a diva. I don’t know which one this was, other than knowing it had to be #1, or #6. I hate to tell Steve, but I’m not sure any of the flags on this map are in Poland near the Baltic Sea, my dude. It would have to be #6 that he was talking about, though. #1 is just northeast of Lübben, Germany, in what appears to now be Briesensee nature preserve.
The only other hints we get at their missions are the clips of footage from TWS.
11. Hydra Facility #3. #3 is in the south of fucking Greece, near the northwestern tip of the body of water called Maliakos Kopos. There’s a marina in that area, Agia Marina, that would make a very convenient Hydra facility if I do say so myself. Now, this looks like a water landing! And it’s not an ocean landing, so that marina at facility #3 might be the ticket.
12. I’m going to call this a Hydra Facility Raid. Look at him go. There he go. Again, this is either #1, or #6. idfk anymore.
13. Prisoners. Cap is seen escorting surrendered German soldiers, It’s notable that they’re not Hydra, so that would be one of the ‘regular’ missions they ran with other troops. It could be part of any of the above missions, though.
14. Clearing out a town left by retreat. Those soldiers are not particularly the kind of alert that possible enemy combatants in the weeds will make you, so that town has probably been cleared.
15. Troop Transport/Advancement. This is notable because it’s a bridge, and not a little stone bridge, either, it’s a big one. Bridges were kind of a big deal at this stage when the German army was pulling out all the stops trying to prevent the Allied advance. Bridges large enough to convey heavy artillery got blown up but quick. This was either coming back from the front and they were deeper in Allied territory, or it might likely be after a battle, but on the way to the new front lines, as established by the winning of the goddamn bridge. Doubt this was a Hydra mission, either.
All in all, Bucky and Steve have 16 months of battle side-by-side. Bucky would have had 20 months total of combat service in the War.
January, 1945 - The only mission the MCU gives real details about comes from the Smithsonian Exhibit’s interview with Peggy Carter (which you can watch in its entirety btw). The 'difficult winter, 1945’ has to be January, and they were outside Stalingrad, Russia. During - or possibly in the aftermath of - a blizzard, Steve (and presumably the Commandos but fuck those guys amirite Agent Carter?) fight their way through a Hydra blockade that had been there 'for months’, and saved half a battalion, over 1,000 men, who’d been penned down behind German lines. That’s literally all we’ve got for mission details, and none of that makes any sense. Like any. At all. Why the fuck were they near Stalingrad?? How did they get to the Eastern Front, STEVEN???
February 1945 - Bucky falls from a goddamn train in the Alps.