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Sunday, January 28th 2018, 1:30am

Berlin, The British Embassy, Thursday, 22 July 1948

Captain Alfred Burcough, the naval attaché, received little mail bearing local postmarks, compared with his other colleagues at the chancery – the clerks in the commercial section received far more. He was thus intrigued with the rather heavy envelope that appeared on his desk that morning. He carefully examined it before even attempting to open it. Sent from the town of Stettin, it bore no return address or other indication who might have sent it. To his eye, it did not look as if German postal inspectors, or other inquisitive Germans, had fiddled with it. So he allowed his curiosity to get the better of him and slit open the envelope. Out slid several photographs – rather good shots of German landing craft exercising somewhere – and a typewritten sheet with a laconic message:

“If you like the product be at the Romanisches Café in the Auguste-Viktoria-Platz tomorrow afternoon.”

Berlin, The Wilhelmstraße, Friday, 23 July 1948

Heinz Alfred Kissinger was one of the young globalists that Otto von Hapsburg had brought into the Foreign Ministry to leaven the old-guard of the German diplomatic establishment. The foreign minister frequently would use the Kissinger as a sounding board.

“What should we do regarding this island discovered by the Komet in her latest expedition?” von Hapsburg asked rhetorically.

“It is a knotty problem Excellency,” Kissinger replied. “The island is reported to be a volcanic wasteland, without a good anchorage or life of any sort. It is worthless to us.”

“But will other nations come to the same conclusions?” Von Hapsburg few doubts regarding the cupidity of other countries with interests in the region.

“It is probable”, Kissinger opined, “that the Dutch, whose possessions lie near it, may have already come to the same conclusion. Less likely, though not impossible, the British – and they have far more attractive possessions in the Indies to a gas-spewing volcanic lagoon. The Chinese however…”

“Quite so,” von Hapsburg said, seizing on the open question. “They have seen a squadron to cruise the Indian Ocean, announcing their ambitions in the region. They might be tempted to assert a claim to these otherwise dangerous rocks.”

“Were they to do so,” Kissinger replied, “the Dutch and the English would not be happy one iota.”

For a moment both men smiled. “Then we shall assert no claim,” von Hapsburg concluded. “Of course, we will offer no encouragement for anyone else to do so.”


Friday, February 2nd 2018, 5:58pm

Kieler Nachrichten, Saturday, 24 July 1948

The Hapag Line merchantmen Wuppertal and Erlangen arrived here today and can be seen in the naval dockyard. It is thought that they are to be taken in hand for conversion as naval auxiliaries.

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 25 July 1948

After years of effort the recreation of a three-masted East Indian trading ship, the König von Preußen, sails the sea again. Constructed at Königsberg under the auspices of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schiffahrts und Marinegeschichte the König von Preußen accurately reflects the design of an Eighteenth-Century Indiaman. Manned by volunteers from several maritime historical societies she is now undergoing trials in the Baltic in preparation for a cruise that many hope will recreate her voyages to the Indies and China.

Der Tagesspiegel, Monday, 26 July 1948

The Foreign Ministry announced today that King Petar of Yugoslavia will make a state visit to Germany next month. Specific details are to be announced at a future time.


Wednesday, February 7th 2018, 7:41pm

Le Courrier du Indochina (Saigon), Tuesday, 27 July 1948

The German survey and research ship Komet has arrived at the Cam Rahn Bay naval base to take on fuel and provisions before continuing her present voyage of discovery in eastern waters.

Oberösterreichische Rundschau, Wednesday, 28 July 1948

Wiener Neustadter Flugzeugwerke announced today that it had received funding from the Ministry of Defence for a new helicopter design, designated the Wf21. It is a development of the current Wf14 twin-rotor machine, and is expected to feature the same configuration, though significantly larger. A spokesman for the firm indicated that the new aircraft would feature a crew of three and would be able to carry up to twenty fully-equipped troops over a range of upwards of four-hundred kilometres. Reportedly work has already begun on construction of a prototype.

Münchener Post, Thursday, 29 July 1948

The Summer Games of the XIV Olympiad were opened today at the newly completed Olympiapark in Oberwiesenfeld.

Details of the games will be forthcoming soon, in their own thread.


Wednesday, February 14th 2018, 11:32pm

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Friday, 30 July 1948

Thousands lined the banks of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal as the König von Preußen, the reconstructed East Indiaman recently completed in Königsberg made her way through the canal on her way to the North Sea, where she will exercise her volunteer crew before making her way to Emden, which shall be the ship’s official home port. In the time of King Frederick the Great Emden was the entrepot for Prussia’s China trade and hosted the Königlich Preußische Asiatische Compagnie.

Berbera, Danish Somaliland, Saturday, 31 July 1948

It had been more than two months since Mulugueta Bulli had made his first visit to the Danish town; in the interim his subordinates had used the arms he had obtained to very good effect – ambushing army patrols, liberating prisoners from the hands of the collaborationist police, and acquiring the funds by means fair or foul to acquire even more arms and supplies. He thus found himself again meeting with Bodosakis and Czarnecki to discuss terms.

“The submachineguns you supplied on my last visit have proven quite valuable, and my soldiers require more of them,” he explained. “But we need something more potent.”

Czarnecki prised the half-opened lid of one of the crates that sat on the warehouse floor, revealing a British-made light machinegun. “We have fifty of these in stock, with ammunition, as well as another three hundred of the Błyskawica submachineguns. Will these be sufficient?” The arms dealer smiled.

“Yes,” the Ethiopian replied, fondling the British machinegun. “Only fifty?”

“For the moment,” Bodosakis added. “We hope to obtain more. But the monies you have deposited with us still leave you with a bit of a credit – amounting to ten thousand Danish crowns.”

Bulli did not, of course, completely understand the economics of the international arms trade; but he certainly had the feeling that these two ferengi were not trying to hold him over a barrel or otherwise mulct him. If anything, they were being generous – something he did not expect.

“As for the last shipment,” Czarnecki concluded, “transportation across the border is in your hands.”


Sunday, February 18th 2018, 3:05am

German News and Events, August 1948

London, The Portland Club, Portland Place, Sunday, 1 August 1948

Martin Walser tried hard not to appear overly interested in the conversation being held at the next table, where Sidney Stanley was regaling the other three members of his foursome with the gossip he had heard – supposedly – from his many friends in Downing Street. Thankfully, Walser was playing ‘dummy’ in the current game of bridge, and could listen while keeping his attention riveted on the cards before him.

“There’s a regular manhunt under way, all hush-hush, don’t you know,” Stanley said. “The smart fellows in ‘The Service’ were looking for an antiques dealer from Stamford Hill, but he seemed to have slipped through their greasy fingers.” Stanley continued his story – which, if there was any truth to it – suggested that someone had violated the Official Secrets Act by divulging to Stanley something he ought not to know about.

With his current game finished, Walser excused himself. Something about the way Stanley spoke made him want to be elsewhere.

Kieler Nachrichten, Monday, 2 August 1948

The air defence cruisers Szina and Temesvar were launched today; the former here, and the latter at Cuxhaven. The final pair of such vessels under construction for the Kriegsmarine, it is anticipated that they will complete next spring.

The Admiralstab, Berlin, Tuesday, 3 August 1948

Kapitän zur See Heinrich Gerlach, Director of Naval Intelligence, pored over the files that backed up the maps laid out before him.

Brought up to date with all the information garnered though Donnerschlag they confirmed fact that despite of its ‘peace dividend’ Britain’s coastal defences were still quite formidable. Scapa Flow in the far north of Scotland – while no longer a major fleet anchorage – was still heavily guarded by heavy gun batteries and mine barrages. He did note one area in which the defences were noticeably absent, though he suspected there might be good reasons that the British left this apparent chink in their armour. He scribbled a note “The Wash”.


Wednesday, February 21st 2018, 4:01pm

London, The German Embassy, Wednesday, 4 August 1948

Walter Schellenburg carefully considered the report provided by his agent Walser; if the club gossip repeated by Sidney Stanley was to be believed then the British security services were continuing their investigations into a portion, at least, of his ‘Baker Street Irregulars’. Contact with several of his ‘sweepers’ had been lost – old Aston among them – and Schellenburg presumed that they were at the moment enjoying the hospitality of MI6; their handlers, suitably warned, had fled beyond the reach of the British, even “Rattenfänger”, Stobin, the prediger – he had reported his presence in Dublin, Ireland – having received the message warning him but wisely avoided acknowledging it. For the moment, it seemed, his networks were safe if only operating in a more hostile environment.

But the fact that Sidney Stanley had somehow learned of MI6’s progress offered a potential line of counterattack. The fixer certainly had no direct entrée into the world of the security services – to them he would be anathema. No, he would have learned of the hunt through his friends in the cabinet. A suitably placed report that Stanley had been retailing such stories might sow confusion among the British and have them chase their own tails. It might mushroom into a major scandal – Schellenburg was already well informed regarding Stanley’s dealings with John Belcher, a junior member of the Government, as well as his more-than-nodding acquaintance with several more prominent MPs. This idea he would have to clear with Berlin, but as he contemplated how it could be done a wry smile crossed his lips.

Emder Zeitung, Thursday, 5 August 1948

The sailing vessel König von Preußen, a modern reconstruction of an 18th Century East Indiaman, arrived here today and will begin preparations for a goodwill cruise as part of the training programme for her crew.

Hamburger Abendblatt, Friday, 6 August 1948

The specialised training frigate Roon was launched today in the Deschimag yards. She was towed to the fitting out basin where work will continue on her; she is expected to complete early next year.


Tuesday, February 27th 2018, 1:36am

Survey Ship Komet, Cam Rahn Bay, Indochina, Saturday, 7 August 1948

Fregattenkapitän Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock was quite pleased to be able to depart Cam Rahn Bay and get his ship and his crew back to proper survey work. For the time being their assignment was to survey the reef-strewn Spratly Islands and update charts for that strategically important region. Left behind was the officious Professor Günter Dietrich, who promised that Willenbrock had not heard the last of him. For the moment, Willenbrock was content to ignore the Professor’s threats.

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 8 August 1948

This week saw ships of the Kriegsmarine participate in the rescue of injured crewmen of a Nordish fishing trawler in the upper Baltic. Several injured crewmen from the trawler were hoisted aboard a Wf14 search and rescue helicopter for transfer to the training aircraft carrier Mecklenburg for immediate medical attention.

Telefunken engineers have assisted the Lithuanian government in establishing that country’s first broadcast television station. While very few Lithuanian households can afford a television at this time, arrangements have been made to provide televisions for workers’ canteens in the Kaunas area, enabling factory hands to hear news summaries and, after work hours, watch educational programs sponsored by the government.

With the summer months the sail training ships of the Kriegsmarine are carrying out regular cadet cruises. The Seeadler (left) is cruising the Caribbean while the Nautilus (right) is seen at Corfu during her Mediterranean cruise.

Sächsische Zeitung, Monday, 9 August 1948

The first prototype Junkers Ju322 heavy bomber was rolled out at the Dessau factory to begin its programme of ground tests. Construction of a second prototype is approaching completion and the first flight of the type is expected to be made sometime in September.


Friday, March 2nd 2018, 10:43pm

Der Tagesspiegel, Tuesday 10 August 1948

A number of recently completed auxiliary vessels of the Kriegsmarine have finished their operational training and will soon depart the Baltic for assignment with the fleet. These include the armament store issuing ships Schurwald and Hardtwald, the fleet store issuing ships Merseburg and Marienburg, and the aviation store issuing ships Hagenow and Hoyerswerda.

London, The German Embassy, Wednesday, 11 August 1948

Schellenburg smiled as he read the front page of the Daily Mirror. “Government MP rumoured to have been Questioned”. The unsavoury doings of Sidney Stanley and John Belcher should divert the attention from any further repercussions regarding the Security Services’ offensive against his ‘Baker Street Irregulars’. Stanley was in no way one of his agents, merely a well-connected fixer who liked to talk a lot about too many things. It would be interesting to see which politicians got caught up in the scandal.

Kleine Zeitung, Thursday, 12 August 1948

The recently operational icebreaking river tug Raueis departed Linz today for a cruise down the river Danube. She is expected to call at a number of ports along her route, including Bratislava, Budapest, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Vidin and Ruse.


Monday, March 5th 2018, 5:54pm

Hamburger Abendblatt, Friday, 13 August 1948

Today the Deschimag yards here completed three ice-breaking harbour tugs for the Latvian Navy – the Krisjanis Barons, the Karlis Baumanis, and the Janis Poruks. Following brief builders’ trials, they will be handed over to crews of the Latvian Navy which is expected to employ them in keeping that nation’s Baltic ports open in the forthcoming winter.

Münchener Post, Saturday, 14 August 1948

The closing ceremonies of the Summer Games of the XIV Olympiad were held today in the Olympiapark in Oberwiesenfeld. All-in-all the combined German Olympic team won thirty five medals, including thirteen gold.

Kieler Nachrichten, Sunday, 15 August 1948

The freighters Wuppertal and Erlangen have been taken in hand here for conversion as victualing store issuing ships for the Kriegsmarine, the former to be known as the Jänschwalde and the latter as the Gerringswalde. It is expected that their conversion will complete some time in October of this year.


Thursday, March 8th 2018, 4:25pm

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Monday, 16 August 1948

Reinhard Gehlen opened the folder containing the latest report from London and smiled. Despite the increase in British security measures Schellenburg still managed to procure first-rate intelligence. The major part of the report pertained to the most recent developments in British aviation and included a rather complete discussion of the latest product of the de Havilland Company, its Comet civil airliner.

The prototype of the aircraft had only recently been flown at Hatfield, but Schellenburg had somehow managed to obtain not only data but photographs of the aircraft as well – they were obviously taken during pre-flight testing a number of weeks ago. The Luftwaffe’s Referat VI would find it most interesting.

Göttinger Tageblatt, Tuesday, 17 August 1948

The noted geologist Professor Günter Dietrich will speak this evening on the results of his recent expedition aboard the naval survey ship Komet, which discovered a hitherto uncharted island in the eastern parts of the Indian Ocean. The uninhabited island is of volcanic origin and, according to Professor Dietrich, of great scientific interest.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur Wednesday, 18 August 1948

His Royal Majesty King Petar of Yugoslavia arrived in Berlin this afternoon, commencing a state visit that is expected to last for several days. He was greeted at the Lehrter Railway Station by Chancellor Adenauer and Foreign Minister Dehler. The Yugoslav Prime Minister, Nikola Karasec, accompanied King Petar and is expected to open discussions with several officials of the Cabinet regarding improved economic and cultural ties between Germany and Yugoslavia.


Tuesday, March 13th 2018, 2:37pm

Survey Ship Meteor, Suva Harbour, Fidji, Thursday, 19 August 1948

The harbourmaster logged the arrival of the German survey vessel in a routine matter. He was aware that she had been charting the sea floor of the Pacific for the last several months – why was a question beyond his ken or interest. But she made her way to her assigned anchorage in a safe and professional manner and his staff would make the regulation calls on her later that afternoon.

Der Tagesspiegel, Friday, 20 August 1948

It was announced today that the Ministry of Defence has reached an agreement to procure a limited number of Breguet-Nord Br.930 Pêcheur aircraft as interim long-range antisubmarine and reconnaissance aircraft for the Kriegsmarine. The agreement calls for Breguet to supply the basic airframes while installation of specialised equipment will be undertaken by the Badische-Pfalzische Flugzeug Reparatur Werke of Rheinmünster. Left unspecified was the exact number of aircraft to be procured though it is believed to be between thirty and forty aircraft.

Marinestützpunkt Heligoland, Saturday, 21 August 1948

The submarines Koboldhai and Kragenhai arrived at their operational station under the escort of a corvette; their voyage from Husum had been uneventful. Here they would carry out additional training before departing on their first patrols.


Friday, March 16th 2018, 3:13pm

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 22 August 1948

The Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst provides technical and developmental assistance to many nations around the globe, and the South American country of Peru is but the latest arena for their activities. While Peru has its own rural development organisation (a conscious imitation of the Entwicklungsdienst) German specialists have been engaged in assisting in mining surveys and various transportation projects, but many of the Entwicklungsdienst’s teams have worked with Peruvian communities across the country side. Such efforts have included construction of new housing using local materials (top left) and a rural centre for technical training (top right).

The Peruvian interior includes the high deserts of the Andes as well as the jungles of the upper Amazon, and this has stymied the development of Peru and offered unique challenges to change. To overcome the lack of roads and railways the Peruvian authorities make great use of light aircraft – many of which are of indigenous design and manufacture. The C-19 “Pardusco” single-engine transport is the backbone of these local air services, serving both desert (bottom left) and jungle (bottom right). Teams from the Entwicklungsdienst have come to rely on such aircraft to haul personnel and supplies anywhere, and any time.

The Admiralstab, Berlin, Monday, 23 August 1948

As Gerlach expected, there was good reason why the British could dispense with expensive coast defences in the area known as “The Wash”. “Sandbanks” he muttered, looking over the reports on his desk.

The estuary was filled with shifting sandbanks – Breast Sand, Bulldog Sand, Roger Sand and Old South Sand – which made navigation extremely dangerous for ships of any size. In the mists of history it had been used by the Danes as an invasion route, but then the Viking longboats drew bare inches of water. The one deep navigation channel was easily mined.

No, this area was impractical, and the willingness of the British to eschew fixed defences quite understandable.

Le Courrier du Indochina (Saigon), Tuesday, 24 August 1948

The German Navy’s research ship Komet has departed the naval base at Cam Rahn Bay to carry out a hydrologic survey of the Yellow Sea.