You are not logged in.

Dear visitor, welcome to WesWorld. If this is your first visit here, please read the Help. It explains in detail how this page works. To use all features of this page, you should consider registering. Please use the registration form, to register here or read more information about the registration process. If you are already registered, please login here.

141

Saturday, October 27th 2018, 3:50pm

He's been around so long in Wesworld that he belongs in a museum! :D?

I kinda miss Dr. Belloq trying to steal away the glory from Indy...


He has been busy uncovering the glories of the Hittites in Anatolia. He will make an appearance, I promise.

142

Tuesday, October 30th 2018, 3:54pm

Survey Ship Meteor, Off Ushant, Tuesday, 7 December 1948

The off duty crew of the Meteor had the opportunity to watch the ‘dance of the patrol aircraft’. Several hours before they had been picked up and shadowed by a Sunderland flying boat of the British air force, which had kept them under surveillance. This, of course, was to be expected. What was not expected was the appearance of a twin-engine Dornier bearing the livery of the French Aeronavale, that kept the both the Meteor and the Sunderland under observation. Thankfully all was friendly enough as the Meteor changed course to enter the Channel on the final leg of her voyage home. When either aircraft dipped close enough, the crew on deck waved.


Elbinger Volksstimme, Wednesday, 8 December 1948

The submarines Nagelhai and Eishai were launched today at the Schichau works.


Bremer Nachrichten, Thursday, 9 December 1948

The recently completed support tankers Leine and Löcknitz have arrived at Brunsbüttel prior to transiting the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal on their way to the Baltic.

143

Monday, November 5th 2018, 2:43pm

Blackwell’s, Broad Street, Oxford, Friday, 10 December 1948

Alexander Mach had come to the Mecca for all bibliophiles to scour the stacks of books offered for sale. After his stay in Cambridge he had journeyed to Oxford by train, and begun his dutiful task of cataloguing the sights of the town. He would, if circumstances permitted, visit the University and write up his impressions of the venerable institution; if not, he hoped to find in Blackwell’s some older travel guides he could use to fill in the gaps in his knowledge.

If one could have read his notes, however, one would have gained a totally different idea of Mach’s interests. Besides the notes of ports of Grimsby and Immingham one would have seen details of the many airfields that dotted the flat country of East Anglia, and the tall towers of electronic detection apparatus that formed the first line of England’s air defences. Roads, railways, and waterways all could be found in the entries, written in shorthand with secret ink and hidden behind plain cover text.


London, The German Embassy, Saturday, 11 December 1948

Walter Schellenburg sat in his office, reviewing the official press package issued to mark the commissioning ceremonies of Britain’s latest “O” class submarines, held at Chatham but two days ago. It held few details, and, thus far, his “Baker Street Irregulars” had delivered little additional information beyond that in the brief statement now on his desk. He hoped that might change as time wore on.

From his perspective the last year had seen a growth of concern in the English public regarding German intentions, highlighted by the Press frenzy over the recently concluded German fleet exercises. Pointed questions had been raised in Parliament, but the Government, focused as it was on imposing doctrinaire socialism upon a reluctant populace had taken few concrete steps. He wondered how long that situation might last.


Emder Zeitung, Sunday, 12 December 1948

The survey ship Meteor has returned to her home port following her extended explorations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

144

Monday, November 12th 2018, 4:29pm

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Monday, 13 December 1948

The Foreign Ministry has delivered a note to the Government of the United Netherlands advising that Germany will continue to require separate certificates of country of origin for products originating in the colonies and dependencies of the United Netherlands – Congo, the East Indies, etc. Despite the conclusion of the Customs Union between the Netherlands and its dependencies it is the German position that these are separate and distinct from the Netherlands proper, and are thus outside the scope of the Pan-European Trade Agreement


Light Cruiser Novara, The Gulf of Aden, Tuesday, 14 December 1948

After two weeks of rest and refitting in the Danish port of Berbera, Rogge had shifted his flag from Custoza to the Novara and led his squadron to sea, intent of returning to Cam Rahn Bay. The Red Sea port had little to recommend it, and despite the fact that it was nearly winter the temperatures made the ships unbearable for the crews. At least at sea there were breezes and in the shade of canvas rigged across the open areas, the decks were somewhat preferable.


Aylesbury, The Bell Hotel, Wednesday, 15 December 1948

Having completed his work in Oxford, Mach had planned out the next phase of his research – crossing south-eastern England by train and recording his impressions. Aylesbury was a convenient place to begin, and it was his intention to continue on to Luton and Stevenage before journeying on the Colchester. He was careful to keep up his cover as a commercial writer, eschewing carrying a camera if maintaining an avid interest in postcards. If anything, he kept list of places of interest for future reference.

145

Monday, November 19th 2018, 6:37pm

Rheinische Post, Thursday, 16 December 1948

The slow decline of the Italian lira on international markets appears to have stopped, having lost more than twelve percent of its value compared with rates prevailing in late summer. The actions of the Bank of Italy to combat widespread counterfeiting of 100-lira banknotes have had a positive effect, though the ever-fragile confidence of the ordinary Italian in his government has been quite shaken. What effect this might have on the viability of the current set of ministers remains to be seen.


Sächsische Zeitung, Friday, 17 December 1948

The Ministry of Defence has announced the award to the Junkers firm of a contract for twenty-five pre-production examples of its Ju322 long-range jet-powered bomber aircraft, following the successful conclusion of tests with the prototype aircraft. No date has been given for when the first pre-production aircraft might appear.


Der Tagesspiegel, Saturday, 18 December 1948

The first two Breguet-Nord Br.930 Pêcheur carrier-based maritime reconnaissance aircraft on order for the Marineflieger were delivered to Kiel-Holtenau, for installation of specialised equipment and initial testing. The French-made aircraft has been selected to fulfil the interim needs of the Kriegsmarine for additional reconnaissance aircraft to serve aboard its latest aircraft carriers.

146

Saturday, November 24th 2018, 3:14am

Hamburg, The Waterfront, Sunday, 19 December 1948

“Fido” was a wharf-rat, one of the many non-descript men who did odd jobs for the stevedoring and shipping companies that kept goods moving through the port of Hamburg. “Fido” was, of course, not his real name, but the one by which his employer tracked the information he provided and the payments made in exchange for it. “Fido” was a ‘sweeper’, a low-level agent who kept British intelligence informed of things of interest in Hamburg. Today he noted the arrival in port of a trio of freighters, moored near the Deschimag ship-repair yard.

His long experience told him the Kriegsmarine was readying several more merchantman for conversion as auxiliaries. He had seen this before – a merchantman, or two, or even three – arrived, were off-loaded, and then taken in hand to emerge weeks later as support ships – ‘Ships Taken Up From Trade’ – which kept the Kriegsmarine’s warships at sea. From where he stood, he could not tell what use these freighters might be put to – but the fact that they had arrived ought to be worth at least a few marks to his contact. And with winter in the offing, a few extra marks would be most welcome.


Berlin, The Admiralstab, Monday, 20 December 1948

Traditionally the Admiralstab looked upon winters as a time for reflection, and so it was for Gerlach. He had finally found opportunity to read the notes and staff studies done by Admiral Eduard von Knorr in the days before the Great War – indeed, before Grand Admiral Tirpitz had imagined the High Seas Fleet and begun the naval arms race with Britain. Von Knorr had studied the means and methods of an invasion of Britain, and had propounded a detailed scheme to bring it about. The arrival of Tirpitz, the commitment of funds to a massive battleship construction programme, and the Kaiser’s continual blustering that brought about Germany encirclement by the nation of the Entente had rendered von Knorr’s ideas moot. But these concepts were not without influences. An Irishman had picked up von Knorr’s ideas for a massive fleet of barges written a novel, The Riddle of the Sands, exposing the potential threat to Britain; not that anyone had taken his story seriously. A thinly-disguised version of von Knorr had even appeared in the novel as the sinister ‘Baron von Brunning’.

Still, Gerlach found much to commend von Knorr’s work – for a study completed in 1899 it examined the question of a successful amphibious assault on Britain’s eastern coast in quite realistic terms. The lengthening list of notes that he made while re-examining von Knorr’s papers would tell its own story.


Colchester, The George Hotel, Tuesday, 21 December 1948

Mach spent the early evening in the lounge of the old coaching inn, noting his impressions of East Anglia. In the morning he would depart for Harwich, taking the boat train to Hook of Holland. He had gathered more than enough material to write the travel guide which was his ostensible reason for visiting Britain; and he could not gather more detailed information on his other targets without giving the game away.

147

Saturday, November 24th 2018, 9:56am

Interesting stuff.
Colchester where I was born and raised, so I know The George Hotel quite well. Nice to see it as part of the story.

148

Friday, November 30th 2018, 8:00pm

London, The German Embassy, Wednesday, 22 December 1948

Walter Schellenburg had carefully followed press reports relating to the loss of the coastal collier Phoebe Ann, which suggested that she had been mined. In Schellenburg’s estimation, the suggestion that a sea mine of Great War vintage had survived more than thirty years to suddenly emerge and sink a merchant vessel was highly improbable. Nevertheless he had queried Berlin to confirm whether any Kriegsmarine activity could account for the incident; a negative response had been received in short order. For the time being he was left with the veiled reportage of the British newspapers – it certainly seemed as if the Royal Navy, and the authorities at Trinity House, were taking the mine explanation seriously. His own agents had, thus far, discovered nothing to add to the body of facts.


Kaldenkirchen, Thursday, 23 December 1948

The train from Rotterdam halted to permit passenger to alight. Alexander Mach was among them. Taking charge of his luggage he made his way into the railway station; once there he waited, as if he expected to meet someone. This did not take long.

“Herr Major”. A man with military bearing though dressed in mufti came up beside him. Mach nodded.

“Our car is outside. If you will follow me please.”

Mach did as he was bidden, taking care to carry his own valises. They bore the information that would be distilled into his report for the Abwehr. The car would take him on the first leg of his journey to Berlin, when in comfort – and security – he could complete his work.


Oberösterreichische Rundschau, Friday, 24 December 1948

The Ministry of Defence has announced that the ships of Zerstörergeschwader 31, Zerstörergeschwader 32, and Zerstörergeschwader 33 are to be reactivated from the reserve.

149

Saturday, December 8th 2018, 1:00am

Light Cruiser Novara, Off Phuket Island, Thailand, Saturday, 25 December 1948

Rogge had led his squadron across the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea without incident, and had decided to avail himself of the anchorage in friendly Thailand before heading into the more constricted waters of the East Indies. His ships had arrived the day before, and he expected that he would remain here for a few days at least. There were opportunities for shore leave for the crew – always welcome at Christmas – and the chance to take on fresh food and water. His instructions from the Admiralstab were to avoid British-controlled ports in the region, so a visit to Singapore was right out, but Batavia was a possibility to be cleared through the Wilhelmstraße. But these concerns were pushed to the back of his mind as the sound of Christmas carols wafted across the waters and summoned visions of home.


Marinestützpunkt Kiel, Sunday, 26 December 1948

Vize-admiral August Becker read the latest summary from the Admiralstab carefully, making notes and doing sums as he did so. For all intents and purposes he was to receive everything he had recommended, and then some. Of course, it would take time to build the ships and train the crews, but the coming months would see his command grow appreciably. He smiled at this thought.


Österreichische Schiffswerften, Wien, Monday, 27 December 1948

Workers returning from their Christmas holiday immediately noted the frenzy of activity about the yard. Despite the bitter cold long lines of hopeful men stood outside, waiting to go into the employment office, for the yard was hiring; not only experienced shipfitters but welders, machinists, and crane operators too. At mid-day the first of what proved to be several trains arrived bearing cargos of steel and machinery, which were immediately transferred to warehouses. It was clear that the yard would be busy – building what was not yet apparent; but given the lean times in the yard in the last few years, the prospect of more jobs meant a happy new year.

150

Tuesday, December 11th 2018, 8:46pm

London, The German Embassy, Tuesday, 28 December 1948

The growing pile of newspapers alongside his desk announced Schellenburg’s continued monitoring of the matter of the collier Phoebe Ann. The British authorities, prodded by demands from the shipping interest had committed substantial assets to minesweeping activities in coastal waters, and salvage operation aimed at determining the exact cause of the loss were underway. Officially, the Admiralty had admitted the possibility that a Great War vintage mine had broken loose and the Phoebe Ann had blundered into it. More than that they would not say – to the public at least.

This had not dampened the enthusiasm of the provincial press to speculate on what had caused the loss. The Shields Gazette and Shipping Telegraph hinted darkly that the mine had been laid by the Kriegsmarine during the summer’s exercises off the British coast. Of course there was no truth in it, and the newspaper guarded itself by merely hinting at the ‘unconfirmed possibility’ that it the cause could be laid at Germany’s door. The Northern Daily Mail of Hartlepool was inclined to accept the explanation that the mine was a leftover from the Allied mine barrage, laid in 1917, but urged the Admiralty to commit more resources to assure that no more mines would damage Britain’s vital shipping. The Grimsby Evening Telegraph, for its part, ran a lurid account that the loss of the vessel was due to an attack by an unknown but deadly undersea monster intent on wreaking havoc on those who invaded its realm.

In Schellenburg’s own mind the Colchester Gazette came closest to the actual truth. Built well before the Great War the Phoebe Ann was nearly forty years old, and due for her annual survey. British ship-owners, known to skimp on maintenance, might have overlooked a fault or postponed a repair. “The Government fails to support the shipping industry, as well as the shipbuilding industry, through the lack of a sensible ‘scrap-and-build’ policy as adopted in Germany.”

No doubt the editor received a number of angry letters after printing that suggestion.


Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz, Wednesday, 29 December 1948

Oberst von Hauser re-read the order directing him to prepare his unit for manoeuvres. That did not surprise him unduly; his regiment had been exercising nearly continuously for the last month, now that the last of their overdue equipment had arrived and been issued. What surprised him, and what the orders thus far did not explain, was to prepare to deploy to the port of Stettin.

151

Yesterday, 1:12am

Der Tagesspiegel, Thursday, 30 December 1948

The Ministry of Defence has announced the activation of a third brigade of marine landing troops. Marine-Schützen Brigade 3, based in Husum, will eventually comprise three Marine-Schützen battalions, together with supporting artillery, engineer, and logistics units.


The Villa Austria, Pöcking, Friday, 31 December 1948

Otto von Hapsburg sat pensively before the fire that burned on the hearth. Another year was ending, and on the morrow a New Year would dawn.

“Italy… the new ‘sick man of Europe”. He voiced one of his major concerns. Where many of other members of the Cabinet revelled in the difficulties assailing the Italian economy, he did not. The weakness of the Italian Government encouraged labour unrest, the increasing polarisation of the Left and Right made it unlikely that sound economic policy might prevail, the Italian lira had barely survived a direct assault through a counterfeiting scheme whose perpetrators were still at large. He shook his head. Despite the development of sources in Turkey and in the eastern portion of the Reich Germany was still very dependent upon oil drawn from the deserts of Libya. A sudden cut-off of oil would throw the national economy into a tailspin. Britain’s meddling in Italy had achieved nothing of substance though the implications were troubling.

His policy of shared economic growth with the nations of central and south-eastern Europe had not yet achieved the goals he had hoped. Too many entrenched business interests still desired to turn the region into an informal economic appanage of the German economy – and all too often they were abetted by business interests in the countries they intended to exploit. His recent trip to Romania had brought that disappointment home to him; the success of his policy in Yugoslavia, and to a lesser extent in Hungary, was some consolation.

The Pan European Trade Agreement… another sore point. The Dutch, no doubt prodded by Britain, had pushed ahead with their Customs Union – bringing the Dutch colonies under one customs umbrella in an attempt bring the Indies within the scope of PETA. The Foreign Office – at his insistence – had advised the Dutch that Germany would not accept such a sham. The Dutch Government had yet to reply to the demarche; he expected to see something with the next few days when the Dutch edifice became a reality.

At least at home the economy of the Reich was on firm ground.