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81

Tuesday, January 21st 2020, 8:29pm

Novosti News Service, Friday, 26 August 1949

The Unija Metali metal-fabricating works at Zapresic was dedicated today. The firm is a specialist manufacturer of pressed metal products for the automotive, aviation, and consumer products industries.


Novosti News Service, Monday, 29 August 1949

The first Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane SH.40 Tourbillon helicopter has been delivered to No. 206 (Helicopter) Squadron at Pleso Air Base, Zagreb, for evaluation.

82

Monday, January 27th 2020, 1:38am

Aerosvet, Wednesday, 31 August 1949


83

Monday, March 2nd 2020, 4:21pm

Yugoslav News and Events, September 1949

Hrvatska revija, Friday, 2 September 1949

There are unconfirmed reports that the Ministry of Defence has opened exploratory talks with France concerning the possible acquisition of several submarines of French design to modernise the Royal Yugoslav Navy’s current submarine force.


Novosti News Service, Bar, Tuesday, 6 September 1949


The Adriatic Shipyards here today launched the new Minesweeper C and Minesweeper D, the latest Project 1949 Theta vessels authorised.

84

Tuesday, March 10th 2020, 12:30am

Novosti News Service, Belgrade, Thursday, 8 September 1949

The Ministry of Defence today confirmed press reports that the Government has enter into negotiations with France for the construction of modern submarines of French design for the Royal Yugoslav Navy. Under the plan announced today one vessel would be laid down in the autumn of 1949 with its delivery anticipated in the late winter of 1950; a further vessels would be laid down in early 1950 with anticipated delivery in the spring. The vessels in question are believed to be coastal submarines of the Arethuse-class, several of which have already been delivered to the Marine Nationale.

85

Sunday, March 15th 2020, 6:21pm

Belgrade, The White Palace, Sunday, 11 September 1949

A Sunday meeting between King Petar and his Prime Minister was uncommon; particularly on a beautiful late-summer’s day, which the king would have far preferred to spend in the country with Her Majesty. But Furlan had requested the meeting to discuss urgent business of state; and this was a tactic he rarely employed.

“I don’t completely understand why this organisation you propose we create is required? Compared with our other intelligence organs, what is it supposed to do?”

“Your Majesty, I confess that its name, the Service for Research and Documentation, is sufficiently vague – and the names of intelligence-gathering groups are often deliberately kept so. Its purpose is to gather information on potential external non-state threats to national security.”

“The Camorra?”

“Yes, the Camorra, and its Sicilian counterpart, the Mafia. The present state of affairs in Italy have allowed these criminal entities to control economic and political activities to an unprecedented degree. They have employed the arts of terror and intimidation both a home and abroad to achieve their goals. It is not impossible that they might do so in our country, either for their benefit or for some portion of the Italian state apparatus under their influence.”

“And you wish me to support your efforts to muster parliamentary support for your bill.”

“Yes Your Majesty.”

King Petar closed his eyes a moment in deep thought. The idea that criminals could control a nation was alien to his ideals, but it was clear that Italy had fallen into that abyss. He was well aware that too many of the honest, or even less venal, politicians of that nation had been the targets of political assassination. Might they target him? Or his wife? He could not permit that…

“Very well. You may make it known that I support your legislation.”

86

Monday, March 23rd 2020, 5:04pm

Jugoslovenska Vojnik, Thursday, 15 September 1949

His Majesty King Petar attended the ceremonies today at Bagljas-Elemir Military Cantonment outside the city of Zrenjanin to mark the formation of the Third Armoured Brigade of the Royal Yugoslav Army. The former 5th and 7th Armoured Cavalry Regiments have been embodied in the new formation as armoured regiments, while former 9th Armoured Cavalry Regiment has been redesignated as the 9th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.

87

Sunday, March 29th 2020, 8:30pm

Ziarul Financiar (Bucharest), Monday, 19 September 1949

The Ministry of War has confirmed that three examples of the Obuzier autopropulsat Oa48 are to be supplied to the Royal Yugoslav Army for evaluation; two will be delivered without armament, to permit the test fitting of the Yugoslav M40 87mm gun howitzer in place of the standard 105mm Skoda m40/43 howitzer as equips our own forces. Should the tests prove successful, it is expected that a number of vehicles will be supplied direct to Yugoslavia while arrangements are made to produce the Oa48 in Yugoslav factories.

88

Friday, April 10th 2020, 9:00pm

Privredni vjesnik, Wednesday, 21 September 1949

The Greek Government has negotiated an agreement with the Zastava Ordnance Works to acquire a quantity of the 120mm M42 Heavy Mortar as well as the a production license for the weapon, which will be produced locally. Reportedly an initial quantity of fifty mortars is to be supplied, while Greece will purchase from Zastava the tools and production jigs necessary to speed the manufacture of additional mortars in Greek arsenals.

89

Tuesday, April 14th 2020, 7:06pm

Belgrade, The Ministry of Defence, Friday, 23 September 1949

Brigadier Mihailo Apostolski, chief of intelligence for the Royal Yugoslav Army, read with interest the recent report from Lieutenant Colonel Bobetko, military attaché in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

“I was recently afforded the opportunity to visit the city of Shenyang in Manchuria. Reconstruction efforts are still underway to restore the damage caused by the Japanese bombing campaign in the late hostilities. Housing for the populace is scarce, as construction of new apartment buildings has only recently begun; many workers still live in bomb-damaged structures; the city’s tram system is functional but there is a great shortage of equipment, causing overcrowding. Bicycles are much in evidence.”

“My hosts provided me a tour of the Shenyang Arsenal Number One, which did suffer some bomb damage but which is now repaired and once again providing material for the Chinese army.”


“Officially the arsenal is producing more than seven thousand rifles and eighty machineguns per month; based on my observations, this is in the correct order of magnitude. There are reconstructed workshops that have yet to have machinery re-installed in them; sources indicate that orders have been placed in Denmark for additional machine tools to expand the present productive capacity if the arsenal. The arms produced here include the Type 24 Rifle – a Chinese adaptation of the Standardmodell export Mauser rifle – and the Type 30 Light Machinegun – an excellent weapon designed by Československá zbrojovka of Brno. As good as these arms may be, they are obsolescent compared with weaponry in service elsewhere.”

“At the arsenal’s test centre I was given the opportunity to inspect and test fire an example of the Type 49 automatic rifle presently under development. This weapon was designed by engineer Liu Qing En of the Chinese army’s ordnance department. Its action is gas-operated, with a vertical lifting locking block with secondary flappers, and features a selector that permits the weapon to be fired in semi-automatic or automatic mode. It is chambered for the 8mm Mauser cartridge. My examination of the rifle strongly suggested that its the operating mechanism was overcomplicated and would be difficult to produce on a mass scale. The design features several openings that would, under service conditions, permit sand or dirt to get inside the weapon. Despite being fitted with a muzzle break the intense recoil impulse when firing in automatic mode made in neigh impossible to aim accurately. When fired in semi-automatic mode however, the weapon was controllable.”

90

Tuesday, April 21st 2020, 9:51pm

Sofia, The Yugoslav Embassy, Thursday, 29 September 1949

Captain Franc Rozman, Royal Yugoslav Air Force, had returned to the embassy after a rather interesting interlude travelling aboard one of the Bulgarian Air Force’s Kaproni-Balgarski KB-14 Bora tactical transports. As air attaché it was his responsibility to relate faithfully and completely what he observed. Sitting down and considering all he had experienced, this would take some doing.

“On Monday, 26 September, I departed by car to the Bozhurishte Air Base, northwest of Sofia, at the invitation of my hosts to evaluate the KB-14 Bora tactical transport, which recently entered service with the Bulgarian Air Force. Of Italian design, the KB-14 is assembled here with considerable foreign content, and it is intended to supplement the long-serving Blohm und Voss Bv146 transports for troop and cargo airlift.”

“Upon arrival I met with crews of the 1st Transport Yato who were scheduled to fly the mission. Their normal base of operations is the Sarafovo Air Base near Bourgas, but had staged to Bozhurishte as part of a paratroop training exercise. Bozhurishte is one of the Bulgarian Air Force’s principal training aerodromes, with a high tempo of flight operations – DAR-3 Garvan and KB-5 Tchutchuliga aircraft are in use and their activities apparently take precedence over air transport operations. The flight crew assigned to the aircraft in which I flew desired to get underway as soon as possible; unfortunately, last minute maintenance on the engines of one the aircraft delayed our departure until the afternoon of the 26th.

“The first stage of the mission was expected to be a milk run to the Graf Ignatievo Air Base near Plovdiv, ferrying some freight and casuals like myself. During this portion of the flight I was able to obtain an overall impression of the cockpit layout of the KB-14 – workmanlike, reasonably well laid out if somewhat busy with additional instruments, which were manufactured in Bulgaria. Surprisingly though, the aircrew manuals provided by the manufacturer are all in Italian. The harried navigator-radio operator of the aircraft on which I flew actually asked if I could read Italian – which I attempted – but my knowledge of it did not prove up to the task. My informants told me that there continue to be maintenance issues with the KB-14 – the Caproni-supplied wiring harnesses for the engines had to be replaced by British-supplied alternatives due to the tendency of the OEM harnesses to melt due to excessive engine temperatures. Even after these changes the mean time between failures is still lamentable, and the mean time to repair considered less than optimal. As the aircraft’s crew chief explained to me, "When they work, they really, really work; and when they are bad they are awful!"”

“The first leg of the flight plan saw us arrive at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base outside Plovdiv. This important installation boasts a 1,800 metre concrete runway capable of operating the heaviest aircraft. The military flying school here is engaged in advanced pilot training, with a lower sortie rate than that encountered at Bozhurishte. I noted the presence here of several Russian-built MiG-15 fighter aircraft, which I was informed are operated by the 20th Fighter Yato in training new pilots for future operations. A layover here would see us depart the following morning.”

“Such was the plan. Prior to take off I had the opportunity to witness the difficulties that the Bulgarians encounter when doing maintenance of the KB-14’s temperamental engines. The high-wing configuration of the aircraft requires the use of specialist staging to reach the engine cowling, which must be removed entirely to permit access to the engine. While equipped with a hydraulically operated rear cargo ramp operates unusually slowly, which delayed the boarding of the personnel of the Bulgarian Parachutists Battalion, which were to perform a training drop over Ravnogor. While the KB-14 could accommodate more, only a score of parachutists were carried aboard each aircraft; my hosts were reluctant to give a reason for this.”

“Take-off from Graf Ignatievo was punctuated by the appearance of another of the KB-14’s foibles – as the aircraft rotated the engines surged, a continuing issue with the aircraft’s automatic engine management system. Thankfully the pilot was able to recover and fly the remainder of the mission. Once airborne, the KB-14 proved sufficiently docile in carrying its tasks. The cargo hold of the aircraft is commodious, and though slow-acting, the rear cargo door permitted rapid egress for the parachutists in executing their paradrop. The flight concluded with a landing at the Sarafovo Air Base. From Bourgas I returned to Sofia by train.”

“Besides the items noted above, the KB-14 demonstrated short field handling characteristics akin to our Arado 232. Particularly noteworthy is the aircraft’s sturdy undercarriage, obviously intended for operating from rough or unimproved airfields. Several of the parachutists who boarded the aircraft at Graf Ignatievo complained about the height of the aircraft’s cargo deck – it seems that it was design for compatibility with Italian trucks only. Overall, the Bulgarian Air Force seems to consider the KB-14 an acceptable if less than optimal aircraft in its current state of development.”

To his narrative Rozman appended the technical characteristics of the aircraft. He hoped that Air Intelligence would find his report useful.

91

Wednesday, April 22nd 2020, 2:35am

Good writeup; thanks. :)

Two quick comments:

Overall, the Bulgarian Air Force seems to consider the KB-14 an acceptable if less than optimal aircraft in its current state of development.”

The Bulgarians would probably quibble at calling it "less than optimal" - perhaps a better phrase would be "less than ideal". Overall, the Bora's made a pretty decent impression to the Bulgarian Air Force, and the VNVV views most of the issues as teething runs and shortfalls from their small, local production run - only twelve aircraft in total.

Of Italian design, the KB-14 is assembled here with considerable foreign content, and it is intended to supplement the long-serving Blohm und Voss Bv146 transports for troop and cargo airlift.”

Actually, about 70% of the parts are Bulgarian-made.

A side note: some of the issues suffered by the KB-14's radials aren't actually the fault of the engine. Since the Kaproni Balgarski failed to translate the operation and maintenance manuals before getting the aircraft into service, they're not actually servicing the engines correctly... :whistling:

92

Saturday, May 23rd 2020, 3:40pm

Yugoslav News and Events, October 1949

Belgrade, The White Palace, Sunday, Monday, 3 October 1949

King Petar read the report submitted by General Marinkovic on the Army’s readiness with a sense of resignation. His own inclinations were to retrench and reduce spending on armament but the continuing threat posed by Italy did not seem to permit such action. He returned to the report and found some small measure of solace.

The chief of the Defence Staff recorded that the army’s basic needs for motor transport had been fully met and orders for small and medium tactical vehicles would be scaled back. To Petar this suggested that there would be more cars and trucks available for the civilian sector, and made a mental note to discuss this with Kersovani, the Minister of Transport and Horvat, the Minister of Industrial Development.

Marinkovic suggested that in view of the impending introduction of the new submachinegun that production of the M43 service rifle be scaled back, noting that the Army’s inventory now exceeded more than a million rifles, the majority of which were of the M43 type. This answered a question that Petar had raised some weeks ago, and he welcomed the general’s recommendation.

After a series of other recommendations of a technical nature, Marinkovic got to the heart of the matter and stated that in the opinion of the defence staff that the continued closure of the border with the Italian exclave around Vlore was no longer to Yugoslavia’s benefit, and that it should be discontinued. Petar paused at this suggestion, as it was more a matter for diplomats than soldiers. He could see and understand Marinkovic’s reasoning, well supported by facts and figures, but there were many factors that did not lend themselves to such simple resolution.

93

Saturday, May 23rd 2020, 3:48pm

Delivery Status Report, 31 December 1949

Domestic Ground Ordnance Production

M43 Service Rifle -:- 39,000
M47 GP Machinegun -:- 1,800
M39 Aircraft Machinegun -:- 150
M37 Tank Machinegun -:- 150
M47 Recoilless Gun -:- 600
M32 Hand Grenade -:- 120,000
Small Arms Ammunition -:- 15,000,000
Artillery Ammunition -:- 195,000

Domestic Vehicle Production for Royal Yugoslav Army

Zastava M40 0.25-ton Truck -:- 0
Zastava M41 1.5-ton Truck -:- 225
Novi Sad M44 3-ton Truck -:- 300
Novi Sad M46 Artillery Tractor -:- 200
M47 Half Track Infantry Carrier -:- 150
M48 Medium Tank -:- 110


Aircraft Deliveries

Soko Strsljen -:- 41

94

Yesterday, 1:13pm

Belgrade, The Prime Minister’s Residence, Thursday, 6 October 1949

It was not a meeting of the full cabinet – the time for that had not yet come – but Prime Minister Boris Furlan had invited Božidar Purić, his foreign minister, and Petar Stambolic, the minister of defence, for a private meeting to discuss the question of Vlore.

“The Italians have shown inclination to leave, and there is little more pressure that we can place upon them short of war.” Stambolic had come quickly to the point. “It is costing us millions to keep the border closed, and while Italy has to send all manner of supplies by sea, their pockets are deeper than ours. They can afford it.”

Purić nodded. “Support for our position is starting to crumble amongst our potential allies, who feel that we have wrung whatever benefit we may have gained from our current policy, and that the Italians can turn our opposition to their benefit.”

Furlan paused a moment to consider. “Presume that we reopen the border and normalise movement into and out of the Vlore exclave. What do we gain, and what does it cost?”

“We can free the equivalent of a brigade of troops and border guards to duties elsewhere. The navy can cut back on their patrols and get back to more important things like training.” Stambolic went on to quote the figures cited in Marinkovic’s report. Purić responded that relenting might possibly open the door to resumed negotiations, but suggested that any change in the current policy be coordinated with Athens – as Vlore had always been seen as Greek territory stolen by Italy. Furlan also knew that there would be opposition from the virulent nationalist wing of his own party to any compromise.

“Božidar, I ask you to arrange a visit to Athens to discuss this with your counterpart and sound them out on the subject. I suspect that they will have reached the same conclusions and may be ready for a change in approach.”

95

Yesterday, 5:30pm

OOC only:

After reading this earlier this morning, I went back to double-check what was said in past years about Albania. As best I can tell (per statements by Alt_Naval, referencing earlier statements by Harry_the_red), Albania declared independence from the Ottomans in 1912 and de facto achieved it; but this was lost during the Great War, for reasons I haven't been able to uncover. I'm going to presume that, for whatever reason, it was occupied during the Great War (probably to secure supply lines), and was divided by treaty afterward, with Serbia (Yugoslavia), Greece, and Italy all taking their respective portions. I've found a few statements by Red Admiral that imply the Italian Army held more territory in Albania, possibly as a result of their Great War campaigns, but turned that territory over to the Greeks (and presumably the Yugoslavians) as part of wrapping up of WWI. Those statements are unclear, however.

We might presume (or we might not) that the London Conference of 1912-1913 resulted in the Great Powers recognizing the Kingdom of Albania; but we made no mention of Albania in our Balkan War + Great War thread. So your mileage may vary.

Since the topic has come up, it might be worthwhile for us to clarify exactly what happened to the 1912 Kingdom of Albania, and how it ended up in the present state. Er, three states... :P

* * * * *


Officially, neither the Republic of France nor the Russian Federation have any openly-held opinions about Italian control of the Vlore exclave. If pressed, most members of both governments would likely be more friendly to the Greek and Yugoslav positions (as those nations are on better political terms with France and Russia than Italy is); but there are probably a few politicians who'd give some support to Italy, or even espouse the idea of an independent Albanian state, as occurred in 1912-19xx. France and Russia will only establish a policy under the following conditions:
- Yugoslavia or Greece officially request it
- After consultation with the involved powers (Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia)
- After consultation with Britain and GA allies

Bulgaria makes confused and similarly noncommittal noises; they stick to their policy of supporting their Warsaw Pact allies, but helpfully note that not all of the Balkan nations have a poor view of Italy. (Bulgaria's queen is Italian...)

96

Yesterday, 7:20pm

Speaking OOC of course,

I have always regarded the formation of Yugoslavia's current borders as something of a mystery but was is, is. Yugoslavia regards Dalmatia and Slovenia as occupied territories and presses for their 'return' but knows that short of war this isn't likely to happen (particularly without an Italian player). It has also always looked upon Vlore as territory 'stolen' from Greece, chiefly as part of Yugoslavia's policy of cooperating with other Balkan nations in the interest of general peace (border adjustments with Bulgaria, etc.). Since Greece has cooperated in the economic blockade of Vlore, it seems natural to at least raise the question of easing it with Athens before formally moving in that direction.

97

Yesterday, 9:28pm

Right now the things a bit complicated. Greece doesn't have the man power or navy to face Italy by itself so it depends on the position of the rest of the Warsaw Pact.
If Yugoslavia withdraw of the economic blockade greece would have no option but backdow too. In the other hand if Greece knows that counts with the help of Yugoslavia and the support of France and/or Russia a more direct action would be accepted. Although in case of war previous preparation have to be completed (modernization over all) as well as check the position of some nations to plan accord (for example: If turkey decided to join the party know the position of Byzantium would be good).

98

Today, 10:07am

Early Wesworld history is a confusing and contradictory place.

I would say from Britain's perspective that it would have supported the London Conference to create an independent Albania but probably would also have backed the territorial ambitions of Italy and Greece around 1916-17 to ensure their commitment to the Allies. Then as relations with Italy cooled with the formation of AEGIS etc. it would have supported Greece, its not sure what Yugoslavia's real motives have been for the blockade, and London has long suspected it wants to claim Vlore as its own. Now Britain seeks to restore good relations with Italy it can take a more even handed view. It's clear that the current situation is unfeasible to continue without some kind of change. It may be better for the blockade to end and the resumption of talks to persuade Italy to give up Vlore entirely, but whose ownership should take precedence is open to discussion.

What is missing is any gauge of Albania's feelings. I would assume there would be a nationalist movement to restore an independent Albania free of Yugoslav,Italian and Greek holdings over 'its' territory. Ethic tensions in the Balkans have been kept quiet in WW but I can't believe that there are none and at some point a spark might emerge. It might be the time for Albania to be rebuilt as an independent state and Britain would have no qualms about it becoming under Warsaw Pact protection.
Britain would want to be involved and would also like to see Russia involved too given her historic protection of the Balkan slavs.

From the Dutch and Belgian viewpoints they would be more or less neutral but would welcome the ending of the blockade and the resumption of talks.

99

Today, 6:08pm

It's clear that the current situation is unfeasible to continue without some kind of change.

The French and Russians don't actually consider this to be the case.

It may be better for the blockade to end and the resumption of talks to persuade Italy to give up Vlore entirely, but whose ownership should take precedence is open to discussion.

OOC:

From a political point of view, France sees a certain utility in... not convincing Italy to back away from its Balkans holdings. The "Italian threat" has been an excellent method for Yugoslavia to maintain an outward focus. So long as they have an external enemy, Yugoslavia's varied ethnic groups have... less time to get up to mischief with each other. Such a situation might lead to a rise of regional nationalism, the breakdown of order in Yugoslavia, and a splintering of authority. In turn, this could result in Italian influence in this region actually being expanded, even as their control is withdrawn.

France views this potential future as a very real possibility, and thus sees great utility in Italy playing "the Bad Guy" in the Balkans. Which is why France, for all it's support for Yugoslavia, has never actually pushed for Italy to withdraw from Vlore, Croatia, or Slovenia. If any serious discussions along these lines started happening, France may say that they support the idea, but they'd start taking actions to sabotage it - whether encouraging Italy to hold the line, or stepping back somewhat in their support to Yugoslavia and Greece.

As always, France's primary objectives are maintaining a status quo, which - if not always the most favorable of options - is at least predictable. :P

100

Today, 6:23pm

It's clear that the current situation is unfeasible to continue without some kind of change.

The French and Russians don't actually consider this to be the case.

It may be better for the blockade to end and the resumption of talks to persuade Italy to give up Vlore entirely, but whose ownership should take precedence is open to discussion.

OOC:

From a political point of view, France sees a certain utility in... not convincing Italy to back away from its Balkans holdings. The "Italian threat" has been an excellent method for Yugoslavia to maintain an outward focus. So long as they have an external enemy, Yugoslavia's varied ethnic groups have... less time to get up to mischief with each other. Such a situation might lead to a rise of regional nationalism, the breakdown of order in Yugoslavia, and a splintering of authority. In turn, this could result in Italian influence in this region actually being expanded, even as their control is withdrawn.

France views this potential future as a very real possibility, and thus sees great utility in Italy playing "the Bad Guy" in the Balkans. Which is why France, for all it's support for Yugoslavia, has never actually pushed for Italy to withdraw from Vlore, Croatia, or Slovenia. If any serious discussions along these lines started happening, France may say that they support the idea, but they'd start taking actions to sabotage it - whether encouraging Italy to hold the line, or stepping back somewhat in their support to Yugoslavia and Greece.

As always, France's primary objectives are maintaining a status quo, which - if not always the most favorable of options - is at least predictable. :P


Continuing OOC,

Brock has hit the nail on the head. Playing Yugoslavia I have always looked upon Italy as "The elephant in the room" that keeps the disparate elements of Yugoslavia together. Give the country enough time and stability those centrifugal tendencies might be overcome, but right now, without Italy and the desire to 'regain the occupied territories' King Petar would have a host of internal challenges.