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Tuesday, December 17th 2019, 7:04pm

German News and Events, August 1949

Steamer Marienfels, the Arabian Sea, Monday, 1 August 1949

The port of Mumbai lay two hours behind the Marienfels as she now pointed her bow southward, eventually to round Cape Cormorin on her voyage eastward. She had offloaded much of her cargo at Bharat’s major west-coast port, delivering railway equipment and machine tools to fuel that nation’s continuing development. In exchange she had taken on cotton, grain, and textiles – goods consigned to customers across south Asia upon which she would earn a decent freight. Lower in her holds she still carried a partial cargo from home, including the crates taken on in Hamburg that she was obliged to deliver to the Thai port of Phuket.

Berlin, The Cabinet Meeting Room, Tuesday, 2 August 1949

The day’s discussions had worked themselves through a lengthy docket to the question of the Hungarian request for military assistance. Adenauer scanned his notes.

“Herr Dehler, have we received responses from our allies?”

“Yes Herr Chancellor. His Excellency Graf von der Schulenburg has cabled that Petrograd will not object to the transfer of such a small number of aircraft. His Highness Franz Joseph in Paris reports that the French raise no objection either, hinting that they wondered why we have taken so long.” Blank, the Defence Minister tightened his jaw, holding back a riposte.

Adenauer nodded. “Good. If two-dozen Bf262 aircraft will keep the Hungarians happy that is a small price to pay. Herr Blank, how long will it take to effect the transfer?”

“It will take perhaps two months to take the aircraft from storage, refurbish them, and prepare them for ferrying; certainly we can deliver the last of them before the end of October, together with supporting spare parts.”

“Very good. Dehler, please inform Von Erdmannsdorff in Budapest of our decision and the details of the timetable. What’s next?”

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, Wednesday, 3 August 1949

Oberstleutnant Hermann Giskes had rushed from Berlin in response to a report from the Abwehr’s outstation in Hamburg of the capture of a British spy. Within two hours of his arrival there he had determined that the station chief had totally misjudged the importance of the prisoner he had in custody. The man was a mere ‘sweeper’, one who picked up bits and pieces of information casually – an untrained amateur caught because he tried to go beyond the limits of his ability. He was not, by any stretch of the imagination, part of Giskes’ remit. His summons had proved to be a fool’s errand.

So how he sat in his compartment on the train back to Berlin, lost in thought. In late winter the Abwehr had noticed an uptick in British interest Germany’s growing oil stockpiles and associated efforts to gather further information. The reports had flowed all the way up to General Gehlen’s desk, who had placed him in charge of the counter-intelligence efforts to blunt the British efforts. And then, in mid-summer, the British interests had seemingly stopped, or at least resumed their former regular efforts. Or, the British had chosen to pursue the matter by other means. The question was where and how.


Friday, December 27th 2019, 10:02pm

The Portuguese Fort, Bahrain, Thursday, 4 August 1949

For the last month and a half Henry Jones and his assistant, Sallah, had overseen the limited work archaeological work being done at the tel that lay next to the ancient fort; his colleague, Hans Bessig, was still recovering from the effects of heat exhaustion. With a small cadre of local workmen they did their best to keep the digging efforts going, more to assure that robbers would not steal the chiselled blocks of limestone they were not uncovering; such things were worth money even in modern-day Bahrain.

The number of finds continued to accumulate; potsherds, copper nodules, bits of worked stone and pieces of worked copper; seals – cylinder seals of Mesopotamian type and stamp seals that bore the characters of the still-undecipherable Indus Valley script. As their store of knowledge grew it was clear that ancient Bahrain was a cross-roads of trade and communication – a set of circumstances that fit with the accounts of fabled Dilmun – where cultures of the west and east met and cross-fertilized.

Jones had come in search of Alexander the Great; here he had found himself exploring the footsteps of Sargon the Great, who had dominated these lands two millennia before the Macedonian.

Deutsche Rundschau, Friday, 5 August 1949

The Reichstag has voted to approve the expenditure of 1.5 milliard Reichsmarks on naval construction and conversion work in the 1950 fiscal year. Of this, nearly 800 million Reichsmarks represents forty newly authorised warships – including two fleet cruisers and eight frigates – eight converted auxiliaries, and thirty small craft. The remaining funds will go towards vessels previously authorised or presently under construction.

Kronen Zeitung, Saturday, 6 August 1949

The Süddeutsche Donau-Schiffahrtsgesellschaft of München and the Erste Donau Dampfschiffahrts Gesellschaft of Wien have joined together in the formation of the Schwarzmeer-Schiffahrts Gesellschaft. The joint venture will expand direct shipping services to Black Sea and Mediterranean ports from southern Germany via the Danube. The expanded shipping services are required to handle the greater volume of exports to south-eastern Europe and the Levant together with increased import tonnages.


Wednesday, January 1st 2020, 9:51pm

Hospodarske noviny (Prague), Sunday, 7 August 1949

The German firm Deutsche Erdöl AG has acquired a substantial though minority interest in the Apollo Rafineria Minerálnych Olejov of Bratislava and Šumperk. The investment is expected to permit Apollo to modernise its facilities and facilitate increasing its market share and profitability.

Oberösterreichische Rundschau, Monday, 8 August 1949

The small amphibious vessels Knechtsand and Julssand were completed at the Österreichische Schiffswerften, the latest in a series of such vessels that the firm is constructing for the Kriegsmarine. Following their builders’ trials it is expected that they will be transferred via the Rhein-Main-Donau Canal to the Baltic for operational training.

Bremer Nachrichten, Tuesday, 9 August 1949

The Ministry of Defence has directed the Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau to commence development of an improved variant of its Fw340 fighter aircraft. No details of the design have been released at this time.


Monday, January 6th 2020, 2:00am

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Wednesday, 10 August 1949

A spokesman for Wintershall AG has confirmed that the company has begun exploratory drilling for oil in the area of the Wattenmeer of the coast of Schleswig-Holstein.

Elbinger Volksstimme, Thursday, 11 August 1949

The Schichau Works here today completed the assault landing ships Kietzwerder and Langenwerder, the latest in a series of such vessels being constructed for the Kriegsmarine. Two further vessels are already under construction in the yard and more are projected. Together with corvettes under construction for the Kriegsmarine, full employment for the workmen of the yard is guaranteed for the foreseeable future.

Steamer Marienfels, Phuket Harbour, Friday, 12 August 1949

After a fast call at the port of Madras to take on a cargo of cloth the Marienfels had made her way across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea to the Thai port of Phuket. Here she received orders to offload much of the cargo taken on in Hamburg originally destined for Bangkok – the directives from the freighters were clear on the change and to the surprise of the Marienfels’ master he was met by a representative of the Technical Mission assigned to the embassy. Apparently a decision had been made to redirect shipment of material destined for the Thai Government. The master found the paperwork in order, a cable to his home office advised him to proceed, and the ship’s holds were opened to disgorge numerous crates that were hauled from the quayside by Thai military trucks.


Monday, January 13th 2020, 6:14pm

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Saturday, 13 August 1949

Following a period of factory testing the prototype Henschel Hs132 multi-purpose aircraft has been transferred to the Erprobungsstelle Rechlin for evaluation by the Luftwaffe and the Marineflieger. The design has shown promise and is being considered for military use as a light transport and support aircraft. Inquiries from foreign governments have also been received.

Kieler Nachrichten, Sunday, 14 August 1949

The coastal escort Ostwind was completed at the dockyard here, and will join the Lehrdivision in the Baltic following her builders’ trials. Her sister, Passat, has been completed at Wilhelmshaven and will likewise transfer to the Baltic within the month.

Der Soldatenfreund, Monday, 15 August 1949

The Defence Ministry has announced the formation of Transporthubschrauberregiment 10 based at Heeresflugplatz Faßberg. The unit will be equipped with the Wiener Neustadt Wf21 transport helicopter, the first six of an eventual thirty six have already been delivered. The unit’s role is to provide general mobility support for the Intervention Division.


Friday, January 17th 2020, 8:25pm

Frigate Gefion, The South China Sea, Tuesday, 16 August 1949

The Gefion and her consorts, the frigates Hela, Schwalbe, and Sperber, had departed the anchorage of Cam Rahn Bay that morning in company with the small support tanker Lech. On the frigate’s bridge Kapitän zur See Heinrich Graf von Haugwitz pondered the orders he had been given – a cruise westward into the Indian Ocean. “To show the flag” Konteradmiral Rogge had explained. True, for the time being at least, China was quiescent; yet the recent war scare was concerning. Certainly it was preferable to be at sea rather than in harbour waiting. And von Haugwitz had been given discretion on his itinerary. For the meanwhile, he planned to give his crews some basic exercises in ship handling in the area north of the Riau Islands.

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Wednesday, 17 August 1949

Giskes found it somewhat surprising that “Source Merlin” was still providing information to the Abwehr; not that he had personal knowledge of who the source was – he was merely permitted access to precis of his product. The most recent summary had detailed the British effort to monitor shipping on the Danube by an agent based on the island of Ada Kaleh, a Turkish adventurer named Ali Kerim Bey. In view of the near cessation of British attempts to monitor Germany’s oil stockpiling measures, the continuation of this endeavour was somewhat surprising. “Source Merlin” apparently had good access to the output of Kerim Bey’s operation, so suborning it to his own ends offered little attraction to Giskes. Eliminating it entirely was an option, but involved considerable risks – as Ada Kaleh was Romanian territory, and any direct intervention was out of the question. He felt in his bones that the British were up to something, but thus far their current activities were invisible.

La Presse de la Manche (Cherbourg), Thursday, 18 August 1949

After a two day’s visit at the Port militaire de Cherbourg, the German Navy training ship Roon departed this morning to continue its cruise to the Mediterranean.


Thursday, January 23rd 2020, 6:37pm

Militär-Wochenblatt, Friday, 19 August 1949

Approval has been given to a Romanian request to purchase a further quantity of refurbished Standardpanzer Panther medium tanks – the quantity in question being a further one hundred and fifty vehicles, increasing the Romanian Army inventory of Panther tanks to three hundred. The tanks will be withdrawn from Heer reserve stocks and overhauled by Eisenwerke Oberdonau at Linz, where they will be fitted with Swiss 8.8cm cannon prior to their delivery. The first batch of refurbished vehicles is expected to be delivered to Romania in the late autumn of this year, while the last should be delivered by the end of 1950.

Aero Kurier, Saturday, 20 August 1949

The Siebel Flugzeugwerke has confirmed reports that the firm has begun development of a light helicopter aimed principally at the civil market. The projected aircraft, under the designation Si223 “Flamingo” should be unveiled to the public next summer.

Hamburger Abendblatt, Sunday, 21 August 1949

The Deschimag shipyard here has completed conversion work on the salvage tender Eversand, which will now commence her trials before departing to the Baltic for operational training.


Tuesday, January 28th 2020, 10:44pm

Training Frigate Roon, Tangier Harbour, Monday, 22 August 1949

The Roon lay at anchor off the exotic city, having arrived the previous evening. Having paid the normal visits to the local authorities the first party of her crew, including some of her cadets, was already lining up to go ashore for liberty. Mohr had made things clear – they were be on their best behaviour, and woe-betide any man who fell afoul of the shore patrol.

London, The German Embassy, Tuesday, 23 August 1949

Schellenburg gathered up the scant number of photographs on his desk and attached them to the report he would send to Berlin the next day. The tightening of British security measures since the trial of Aston and the other informants who had fallen into the hands of “Five” and the police had cut down greatly on the material that came to his hands. This most recent budget was long on guesses but short on data; but at least this month he had something – and if he was able to attend this year’s SBAC air show, the next month’s report might be better.

Still, what he had was useful. The precis of the prototype Hawker P.1052 naval fighter would be of interest both to the Luftwaffe and the Marineflieger, though he wished his “Baker Street Irregulars” had obtained more specific data. More information had been obtained on the Scottish ‘Pioneer’ army cooperation aircraft, including a synopsis of a conversation with a pilot who had flown one. What he found most interesting was the Miles Marathon II with its powerful turboprop engines; that the aircraft was unpressurised was certainly a short-sighted move on the part of her designers, a fault he suspected might be rectified if the aircraft survived its testing regime.

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Wednesday, 24 August 1949

Marinefliegergruppe 43, comprising Marine-Bordfliegerstaffel 344, operating the Arado Ar196, and Marine-Seenotstaffel 509, with the Wiener Neustadt Wf14, is now operational at Husum, Nordfriesland, providing coastal patrol and air-sea rescue services in approaches to the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal.


Sunday, February 2nd 2020, 8:23pm

Zeitschrift für Handelswissenschaft und Handelspraxis, August 1949

Zeitschrift für Handelswissenschaft und Handelspraxis, August 1949

Memel – A Gateway Reopened

The port of Memel is a vital and vibrant element of Germany’s economy. The nation’s northernmost city, blessed with a spacious and normally ice-free port, it remains a portal to the timber resources of the Eastern Baltic and is developing an industrial base to balance its historical reliance on overseas commerce.

The Port of Memel

Since the retrocession of Memel to the Reich the port has seen much investment for modernisation and expansion. No less than four separate terminals operate within the port, all under the aegis of the Memelländische Hafenbehörde. Lying on the eastern shore of the Kurisches Haff they are, from south to north:

The Passenger and Ferry Terminal

One of older portions of the present port, it covers an area of 1.2 hectares and can accommodate vessels of up to 150 metres in length, 45 metres in width and 8.6 metres in draft. In addition to local services the Seedienst Ostpreußen provides frequent connections to German Baltic ports while the Danish firm Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab has recently established a direct service between Memel and Copenhagen.

The Bulk Grain Terminal

Recently constructed this facility covers an area of 2.5 hectares with direct rail connections inland. Three piers are operational, and can accommodate vessels up to 180 metres in length, 45 metres in width, and 10.5 metres in draft. Pierside facilities include six grain storage elevators each of 4,500 tonnes capacity and four smaller storage silos each of 1,000 tonnes capacity.

The Cargo Terminal

The largest of the terminal facilities of the port its quays can accommodate up to six vessels of up to 200 metres in length at any one time. The maximum draft alongside is 11.8 metres. Within the terminal there is open storage areas totalling 36,000 square metres and transit sheds covering a further 38,000 square metres. Shore-side cranes are employed to directly transfer cargo to and from freight wagons or trucks.

The Oil Terminal

Located at the northern end of the city the oil port was constructed by the Minol Mineralölhandel AG and only recently completed. Deep sea tankers of up to 220 metres length and 13.8 metres draft can be accommodated at its four piers. The associated tank farm has a storage capacity of 80,000 tonnes of oil and petroleum products. Proposals have been brought forward to connect this facility by pipeline with Russia, permitting oil exports from its western regions on a year round basis.

Inland Connections


Memel is the ocean terminal for the Vilnius – Memel Railway. This railway was constructed in the latter portion of the Nineteenth Century in competition with the Libau-Romney railway, to better serve the export of grain from the central regions of Russia. Once order was restored following the conclusion of the Lithuanian Civil War reconstruction of this vital link was a priority. Presently its length of 376 kilometres links Memel to the great Russian railway system and as a consequences the gauge employed is the 1520mm Russian Gauge.

Memel is also linked to the Reichsbahn railway network through the standard gauge Tilsit – Memel line, constructed between 1875 and 1880.

Inland Navigation

The River Nieman, which flows into the Kurisches Haff, has long been a gateway for commercial traffic from Poland and Belorussia, and with such man-made improvements such as the Augustów-Kanal (built 1821-1839) extends Memel’s reach even further. Barges carry timber and grain cargos to Memel and return with manufactured goods and bulk cargos of coal.


Memel is linked to the excellent road system of East Prussia, permitting easy travel by autobus as an alternative to passenger ferry. Unfortunately there are few direct motor road connections with Lithuanian territory, though there are plans to construct such when more essential reconstruction tasks have been completed.

Air Transport

Presently the military airfield Fliegerhorst Memel, located seven kilometres east of the city, is used by civil traffic on a limited basis. It has two runways – a grass airstrip of 600 x 40 metres and an all-weather runway in asphalt concrete of 500 x21 metres. Proposals have been made to construct a new civil aerodrome to serve the city but no decision has yet been reached on its location.

Industrial Development

The principal industrial establishment in the city is the Memel shipyard of the Schichau Maschinen und Lokomotivfabrik, Schiffswerft und Eisengießerei AG. Upon retrocession of the Memel District the Schichau firm was invited by the Government to take on the management of the former Lithuanian naval facilities and presently operates a dry dock and three building slips on the Kurisches Haff between the Passenger and Ferry Terminal and the new Bulk Grain Terminal. While occasional commercial ship repair work is undertaken here, most of the work is performed on behalf of the Kriegsmarine.

Other significant industrial firms located in the city and its environs include:

Aktiengesellschaft für Zellstoff-und-Papierfabrikation Memel – manufacturer of paper, cardboard, and hardboard for packaging and construction.

Memelländische Apparatebau GmbH – maker of telephone and communications equipment.

Memelländische Baumwollspinnerei AG – producer of textiles, employing more than two thousand workers to operate some four thousand looms and 240,000 spindles.

Memelländische Gesellschaft für Holzbearbeitung KG – manufacturer of timber products including plywood, boxboard, and veneers.

Smaller concerns are engaged in the manufacture of ready-made garments, furniture, and food processing, including several bakeries, breweries, and dairies.

The Westlitauische Aktiengesellschaft für Industrie und Finanzen, a joint government and private partnership, has been very active in providing start-up financing, business counselling, and management services to numerous companies in the district.


Tuesday, February 4th 2020, 3:19pm

Kieler Nachrichten, Thursday, 25 August 1949

The aviation repair ship Mittelgrund was launched today in the naval dockyard here, while her sister Stollergrund was launched at the Deschimag yard in Hamburg.

Eisenbahn Kurier, Friday, 26 August 1949

The Cranz-Memel-Linie Seebäderdienst, which operates excursion ships servicing the seaside resorts along the Kurisches Haff has introduced two new vessels this season.

The paddle ferry Nidden (left) not only carries passengers but can also accommodate automobiles and light vans, the latter of particular conveniences to the hoteliers in the towns along her route. The motor ferry Priel (right) is principally employed on express services between Cranz and Memel, making morning and evening trips daily.

Giornale di Sicilia, Saturday, 27 August 1949

The German Navy’s training ship Roon called here late yesterday, arriving from Tangier. She is expected to remain for several days.


Tuesday, February 11th 2020, 6:46pm

Altmark-Zeitung, Sunday, 28 August 1949

The commercial registrar in Schwerin has recorded the formation of the firm Pfanni GmbH und Compagnie in the town of Stavenhagen. The firm will undertake the production of kitchen-ready potato products using a proprietary process. Werner Eckart, the founder, had previously headed the firm Konserven-Industrie Ludwig Gschossmann in Schwandorf, Bavaria.

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Monday, 29 August 1949

Testing of the prototype Henschel Hs132 multi-purpose aircraft at Erprobungsstelle Rechlin has proven successful, and the manufacturer will construct a series of ten aircraft for extended trials and evaluation, the costs being borne equally by the Luftwaffe, the Marineflieger, and the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst.


Thursday, February 13th 2020, 6:17pm

Frigate Gefion, The Bay of Bengal, Tuesday, 30 August 1949

All things considered Kapitän zur See von Haugwitz had to consider his flotilla’s cruise thus far to be a success. The four frigates detached from the East Asia Squadron had first cruised through the South China Sea to exercise briefly off the Riau Islands before sailing past the British bastion of Singapore and into the Strait of Malacca – all, of course, under the watchful eye of British reconnaissance aircraft and, for a brief period, a small sloop that had kept a watchful eye on their movements. It had turned back once it was clear that the Thai port of Phuket their destination. Von Haugwitz had ordered the signal personnel on his ships to pay particular attention to any and all wireless traffic heard during their voyage, and he was certain that eventually it would prove useful.

They had spent three days in Phuket, re-provisioning, taking on fuel, and giving the crews a few hours’ liberty ashore. He had then ordered the flotilla to continue north across the Andaman Sea, cruising first off the Nicobar Islands, then the Andaman Islands, and then the upper Bay of Bengal, monitoring the ship traffic from both the British port of Rangoon and the Bharati port of Calcutta. It was off the latter that they had picked up an inquisitive escort from the Bharati Navy.

Now, two weeks after departing Cam Rahn Bay, they were about forty kilometres seaward of the port of Madras. Having taken as much fuel as possible from the small tanker Lech the frigates slowed while the Lech, riding high in the water, took on a full load of diesel fuel from a commercial tanker chartered by the Etappendienst. Once his own tanker had taken on a full cargo von Haugwitz would continue his voyage southwest to round Cape Comorin and enter the Indian Ocean.

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Wednesday, 31 August 1949

Marinefliegergruppe 10, until recently stationed at Fliegerhorst Uetersen in Schleswig-Holstein, has completed its redeployment to Fliegerhorst Borkum. Construction and expansion work at the latter air station was completed in June. At the present moment Marinefliegergruppe 10 operates a mix of Arado Ar334 and Henschel Hs130 aircraft.