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21

Friday, May 12th 2017, 2:16am

Marinestützpunkt Warnemünde, Sunday, 1 February 1948

Konteradmiral Siegfried Engel looked at the report detailing the ships presently attached to the Lehr Division and sighed. “So many ships,” he thought. “The Baltic is barely large enough to hold them in winter”. And there was truth to his thought. While the recently completed air defence destroyers Osnabruck and Dortmund would be replacing the departed Hamburg and Berlin, the imminent arrival of the air defence cruisers Lissa and Saida – to say nothing of the aircraft carriers Tegetthoff and Zieten would stretch his resources to the breaking point.

Thankfully the naval schools were keeping up with the demand for trained manpower – nucleus crews drawn from ships of the Flottenkommando Atlantik made the transition easier, as did the recently announced pay increases for petty officers and ratings – retention was up. Still, the burden of training weighed heavily upon his shoulders. Thankfully he still had the support of the Russian 13th Destroyer Flotilla, which gave the ships of his command experienced ‘opponents’ against which to pit their skills.

There were rumblings of a major fleet exercise to be held in the spring; how extensive this might be was anyone’s guess at this point. It had been less than a year since the last major exercise; normally the Kriegsmarine would schedule exercises two years apart. Engel wondered what this might mean…