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Friday, May 21st 2021, 5:45pm

United Kingdoms of the Netherlands News 1950

January 9

In the Air - Somewhere Above Western Ubangi-Shari
Prime Minister Julius Limbani had booked onto the regular twice weekly service by Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (Royal Dutch Airlines) (KLM) from Bangui to Lagos, using a Lockheed Constellation L749 aircraft. He privately wondered when the Koninklijke Kongo Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KKLM) would get its own such aircraft to readily link the capitals of Africa together. The take-off had been smooth and he settled into the flight, his secretary Charles Kalibu sat beside him as he put the finishing touches to his conference speech. The stewardess brought round coffee and the flight seemed to be going smoothly.

Suddenly Charles let out a stifled scream and toppled over forwards, his body falling into the aisle. Limbani's eyes widened with terror as he saw the bamboo spike being slowly withdrawn backwards through the back of the seat, the tip covered in blood. At the same moment a woman two rows behind saw the body on the floor and screamed. A man jumped up, grabbing the stewardess around the waist, putting a revolver to her head. Another man in the front row got up and entered the cockpit.

In his terror, Limbani was aware of a man stepping over the body and sitting down beside him, dressed in bright tartan trousers with a bristly moustache, "Don't move Mister Limbani, just sit tight, we're going to divert the plane."
The voice was Scottish, he remembered seeing the man in the departure lounge. Who these men were and where they were heading were mysteries to him as the plane banked to port.

Lagos Airport
"I don't understand you, surely you must have some information?" Baron Owija held out his hands in disbelief as he spoke to the airport official.
"I'm sorry Sir, all we know is that KLM Flight seven-four is three hours overdue. We haven't had any wireless communication with the aircraft, it could just be a technical fault." The man half-shrugged, hiding any anxieties that he might have had that the aircraft might be lost somewhere in western Africa.
The Baron's voice boomed across the terminal, "You do realise who was aboard that flight? You must find out at all costs where it is, he is an important person."
The official looked at his clipboard, "well yes Sir, I think we do realise that. We are in touch with RAF Lagos, they have offered to send out a search plane. But they should have enough fuel to make a diversion, they may well have landed somewhere else. I will of course keep you notified.

The Grand Star Hotel, Lagos
The telephone rang in the well-appointed suite for the Baron, a smartly dressed aide in a suit picked it up.
"Baron Owija's suite. The aircraft? You found it? Where? Yes I see, very curious. Any word on Limbani? How strange. Of course I will inform the Baron at once. Please keep us notified."
He hung up the phone as the Baron puffed on a cigar, the aide turned around, "That was the airport. The aircraft landed at the rough strip at Bikoro in the Province of Eqauter. All the passengers were ok, it seems the flight was hijacked by some men, they escaped and took Limbani with them."

The Baron took a long puff, "Good, I trust the local police have their instructions not to search too thoroughly. Cable my brother, 'Limbani missing, start the search', he will know what to do. Then get down to the Conference, tell everyone about this tragedy, every newspaper man you can find, I'll be along myself after a while."

Shomolu District, Lagos
The black Armstrong Siddeley Whitley saloon carrying the Baron turned into the main road heading south, as it turned into the main road to the right, a man jumped off the kerb, firing four shots from a revolver into the car. The driver swerved and knocked down a small barrow of a fruit merchant, scattering fruit pulp across the road, people screamed. The man ran into an alleyway as the car sped off at high speed down the road.
"The fool, that was a little too close for comfort," the Baron swept the shattered glass from the rear window from his jacket, "wasn't he supposed to fire blanks?"
The bodyguard bowed a little, "It was felt wiser to use real bullets Baron, the police would be bound to search for bullet holes..."
The Baron waved his hand, "of course, I know that, just make sure he gets paid off. The police will be gratified to find a silent corpse I think to solve this case."


Friday, May 21st 2021, 6:30pm

A most distressing development. The hijacking of a commercial airliner? Do these criminals have no sense of decency?


Saturday, May 22nd 2021, 12:05pm

Wesworld needs more baaad boys!
Hey at least he didn't end up in Cuba!

January 10
Somewhere in Haute-MBomu Province, Ubangi-Shari, near the town of Obo
It had been a long and tough ordeal, many weeks of walking and hiding, holed up in stinking peasant huts or sometimes under the trees under starlight. Crossing two sets of borders had been nerve-wracking but the cover as a bunch of migrant workers seeking employment in the diamond mines had worked so far. It was highly demeaning though for N'Dofa to have to masquerade as an illiterate miner, but needs must if he wanted the chance to retake what he saw as his right to rule.

The small party had stopped off at a small village, of course news of strangers travelled fast within the local tribe but they had safely slipped through the border undetected and knew that for the moment they would be safe.
Suddenly the door of the hut creaked open, N'Dofa turned to see, to his amazement, 'The Priest', Barthélemy Boganda. He stepped forward and grabbed both of the Priest's hands.
"Father, it is so good to see you, it has been too long. I feared after all this time that you were dead."
Boganda smiled as he embraced N'Dofa, "Worry not my General, God has protected me and seen fit to deliver a messenger from a mutual benefactor to me, telling me to come here."
"What is the date?" N'Dofa enquired, for they had been many days without any news of the outside world.
"The tenth. January the tenth, nineteen-hundred and fifty."
N'Dofa smiled, "then by my reckoning the deed must be done, I hope that the messenger returns to us quickly."

The Government House, Bangui, Ubangi-Shari
The Constitutional Secretary John Hattambina could barely believe the news. The kidnap of a Prime Minister was unheard of. Then came news that the Konoglese Defence Minister Baron Owjia had faced an assassination attempt in Lagos and escaped unscathed. The telex from The Hague was running red hot. Hattambina was unsure what to do for the best. Was this another coup? Or just a gang of mercenary trouble makers? He smelt N'Dofa behind these acts. Charles Owija, the younger brother of the Baron, was calling an emergency meeting of the Konoglese Cabinet over the head of the Dutch-appointed Staates-General. Hattambina felt he must do the same if action from the Dutch was not quicker in forthcoming.

Shomolu District, Lagos
The two Police sergeants stood over the body laying in the muddy alleyway, the revolver still clasped in the right hand. From the head wound it looked like he had killed himself. There was no question this was the would-be assassin. They now had to discover who he was and what his motive was.

The Nigerian Tribune
had the events of yesterday in bold letters all over the front page. For the proprietor of the paper, the politician Obafemi Awolowo, who was present at the Conference, it was like journalistic gold dust, he could channel his views to his paper and those of half a dozen of his political compatriots and other noted African politicians like Kenyatta. So far they had stood firm, refusing to leave Lagos despite the danger. A dozen theories of who and why were buzzing around the city. Was it N'Dofa? Was it conspirators? Rival political gangs? Even the British sending assassin squads? They signed a joint letter of support and demanded that no stone be unturned in the hunt for Limbani.
Of course, one man among them knew exactly where Limbani was heading for. His plan seemed to be working, an Air Force transport was coming to fly him directly home. By the time he landed he hoped everything would be ready for phase two.


Saturday, May 22nd 2021, 2:47pm

The plot thickens, and twists, again.


Friday, May 28th 2021, 5:07pm

January 11

The Hague
King Charles makes a public announcement calling for the release of Prime Minister of Ubangi-Shari, Julius Limbani and vowing to leave no stone unturned in finding his kidnappers and those responsible for attacking the Kongolese Defence Minister Baron Owija in Lagos.
He has placed the Army on full alert in both nations and police resources have been mobilised to begin the manhunt. Also believed to by heavily involved are KIS - the King's Intelligence Service.

Inspector Duggan looks at the body laid out on the slab in the mortuary, as the pathologist makes his report in detail.
"... of course what killed him was a bullet to the head, penetrating the skull and lodging inside the frontal lobe of the brain, I managed to extract the bullet."
Duggan looked at the bullet in its little paper bag, "Good, get this to the lab immediately, I want to know if this was fired from his gun or another."
The Doctor shrugs, "its hard to tell if its suicide Inspector, the angle looks reasonably consistent, of course if the bullets don't match you won't sleep for a week."
Duggan laughs, "I haven't slept for two days thanks to this damn case, even if the bullet turns out to be from another gun, I won't get any peace. The Konoglese Embassy are on my back three times a day. I spent most of yesterday inspecting the bullet holes in the Baron's car, from that range the assassin had no chance of penetrating the body of the car with the pistol he had, he needed a window shot so why wait until the car turned the corner and then fire into the back of it? No, something smells fishy here."
"Not in my mortuary Inspector, I can assure you," the Doctor washes his hands as he grins.

The Konoglese Defence Ministry
The Baron wasted no time calling his family members to a meeting.
"Cousin Charles, is Mr Limbani resting comfortably?" he grins.
His cousin laughs, "he is as comfortable as he can be."
The Baron lays out the next stage, "you will send word to N'Dofa to move. Then the Prime Minister and the Staates General must be arrested for their part in the wicked plot to kidnap Limbani, then I declare martial law and we take over power completely. We disarm the Dutch officers and kick them out."
"What of Hattambina?" another cousin asks anxiously.
The Baron laughs, "Why do you think we went to the expense of getting N'Dofa back? Honestly cousin you don't pay enough attention, he launches his take-over bid and that gives us the pretext to intervene and remove the Dutch centre of power here. Then we can kill Limbani and blame it on the Dutch and then we have a fine little mess to distract attention. By then it will be too late, protests in the streets, then we run up the flag of the new Republic, and you elect me President of course."


Friday, May 28th 2021, 11:19pm

I can't wait for the coup to happen. I do hope it fails.


Sunday, June 6th 2021, 11:45am

January 12

The Royal Palace, The Hague
The King summoned the Chiefs of Staff and the head of the KIS to discuss the situation. The King wanted Limbani found, it was clear he must be somewhere in the Kongo and he feared this was the start of a coup attempt. Dispatching additional troops would take time, the Air Force dusted off its Civil War airbridge plans, it seemed possible to send in paratroopers pretty quickly but if the Kongolese Army revolted, such a small force would be crushed. For now the King decided on more covert methods by the KIS to secure Limbani's release, although without clues about who held him and why, it was impossible to negotiate anything.

January 13

Somewhere in Haute-MBomu Province, Ubangi-Shari, near the town of Obo
N'Dofa chafed at inactivity, three days had passed and no news. Only yesterday had official news of Limbani's kidnap reached the ears of the people of Obo. They didn't seem too upset or too happy either way, out here in the extreme east of the country making a living and surviving mattered more than politics in the capital. N'Dofa was further worried about the appearance of 'The Priest', Barthélemy Boganda. The people had found out and had begun consulting him on religious matters, asking him to conduct weddings and funerals for those who were believers. All too soon the local police would hear of his return and investigate, every day wasted increased the danger.
Finally just as the sun was setting, a bedraggled, dusty traveller appeared at the entrance to N'Dofa's hut.
"You are General N'Dofa I presume? I bring greetings from The Tiger."

The Conference finally ended, it had been a damp squib overshadowed by other events. Lots of fine speeches had been made, contacts made but MI5 agents had been circulated and certainly the KIS and maybe other European intelligence bodies had agents there to see who was who and record what was said. Most of it ended up in the newspapers anyway. As the noted attendees departed, they couldn't help feeling spark would emerge from this gathering but at this moment rumour of coup and murder darkened the mood.

Police Headquarters, Lagos
Inspector Duggan was inspecting all the evidence, the murdered man had still not been identified and appeals to Interpol to search their records had revealed nothing. It was a shame the Baron and his entourage had skipped the country so quickly, without their testimony it was hard to fit the pieces together. He had a gut feeling the incident was staged and the would-be-assassin paid to make it look good before he was silenced. All he could do was submit his report and let the Colonial authorities raise a diplomatic stink via London.

The Konoglese Defence Ministry
A tumult had occurred outside, at least 200 troops had gathered outside the building during the late afternoon. They surrounded the building and thronged around the entrance. People wisely got off the streets, the troops seemed in an ugly mood and it wasn't clear whether they were mobbing the place in revolt or trying to protect its inhabitants. Two or three Dutch officers arrived but quickly retreated after a brief discussion with their local counterparts.
An hour later a procession of armoured cars and trucks arrived, troops thronged the vehicles and closed ranks. A cheer went up that filled the government quarter and heading up the stairs, guarded by well armed troops on either side of him was a figure that looked like the Baron.

Prime Minister's Office, Kamina
Three officers burst into the private office of the Prime Minister, a Major and two Lieutenants. Behind them stood four armed soldiers.
The Major held up a document, "By order of the Minister of Defence I arrest you on suspicion of organising the terrible plot to kidnap the Prime Minister of Ubangi-Shari and for the attempted assassination of the Minister himself. You would be well advised to come quietly for questioning."


Sunday, June 6th 2021, 6:29pm

The German Government extends its assistance in re-establishing order and representative government in the Congo.


Monday, June 14th 2021, 12:57pm

January 14

The Konoglese Defence Ministry, Kamina
Joseph Kasa-Vubu, president of the Bakongo Alliantie (ABAKO) political party came to see the Baron.
His first task was to ascertain why the Prime Minister had been arrested, the Baron told him the reason, a treasonous plot to take over Ubangi-Shari, that and other charges of corruption. At this Kasa-Vubu nodded.
"Yes, I have some proofs of his corruption, the whole system is riddled and the Dutch colonial authority seems to do nothing to stop, probably they take a cut in his schemes too."
The Baron nodded, "Yes, as Minister of Defence I could not sit back and watch the country be misruled by men like him, or the heel of the Dutch boot either."
The politician blinked and then smiled, "Yes Baron, what we need is a stronger government. It seems likely the Democrats will fall from power and its likely the Chamber would call on me to form a new government as Prime Minister."
The Baron puffed on his cigar, "I don't think the Dutch Generaal would share your view. I must confess an interest in the outcome myself."
Kasa-Vubu could sense the direction, he had heard rumours the Baron wanted to be President, probably handing out ministries to his extensive family. It would take careful handling on his part.
"You control the most powerful instrument in the country, the Army is loyal to you, the only Kongolese politician they trust. My party could form a government, a republican government under the right leadership, of course the Dutch lackey would need to vacate the Government House. His role could only be filled by a man like yourself."
The Baron puffed on his cigar again while he mused, "You have fine judgement Joseph, I have here a document I would like you to look over, it needs a judicious touch."

Obo, Haute-MBomu Province, Ubangi-Shari
General N'Dofa had been welcomed at the local barracks as hero, the troops rallied to his cause and threw the handful of Dutch officers into the town jail before they bundled their saviour into a lorry to head west under escort. Already contacts were being made with those within the Army still loyal to the cause of N'Dofa and rumours of Dutch kidnap of the Limbani helped to tip some wavering troops over to his cause.

The Hague
The government was considering all the foreign statements of support and began sifting through the options. A message was sent to Paris asking for rights to overfly French territory in Northern and Central Africa to begin military support flights. Already two companies of paratroops were readying to be sent south and although communications were patchy, the Kongolese Army was ordered onto full alert. Whether they would comply was open to question.


Tuesday, June 15th 2021, 2:28am

A message was sent to Paris asking for rights to overfly French territory in Northern and Central Africa to begin military support flights.

Request accepted, with the additional offer (as per the last central African kerfluffle) of refueling at the airstrips in Niger. If the Dutch would like, they can deploy some of their paratroops into the airstrips at Niamey, Zinder, and Maradi in order to have them closer to the zone of action, in the event they have to be used.

...and, as with last time, there are around two hundred Nord Normandies that can be, um, loaned for moving stuff around.


Tuesday, June 15th 2021, 12:29pm

A message was sent to Paris asking for rights to overfly French territory in Northern and Central Africa to begin military support flights.

Request accepted, with the additional offer (as per the last central African kerfluffle) of refueling at the airstrips in Niger. If the Dutch would like, they can deploy some of their paratroops into the airstrips at Niamey, Zinder, and Maradi in order to have them closer to the zone of action, in the event they have to be used.

...and, as with last time, there are around two hundred Nord Normandies that can be, um, loaned for moving stuff around.

The Dutch government will certainly accept the kind offer to forward base some troops at Niamey.
At the moment lots of airlift isn't required but should the situation worsen they will gladly take the offer of the loaned Normandies.


Tuesday, June 29th 2021, 4:01pm

Extract from Dr Harold Pinnar, African Republics Arise! The History of Decolonisation in Central Africa 1950-60, University of Utrecht Press, 1999

To understand the crisis that occurred, we must go back to the events of 1946. At that time both the Grand Duchy of Ubangi-Shari and the Kingdom of Kongo were ruled by branches of the House of Orange and which owed their main allegiance to their benefactors. The Royal stake in both colonies was very high, indeed they formed the proto-states in their own image. The Kongo was a feudal state with direct rule by the Monarch with strong similarities to the tribal base culture which created the Barons, Counts and Dukes of tribal leadership. The intent was to base the government based on the British-model of a House of Lords and House of Commons. The Huis van Afgevaardigden (House of Lords) was composed of the Noble Houses (the old tribes) which each delegated a member to attend. Some prominent personages were designated Lords as well. The Tweede Kamer (House of Commons) was largely an irrelevant talking shop, as those who stood for election were designated by the Noble Houses who were also members of the Huis van Afgevaardigden. The Cabinet was comprised solely of Lords, who elected a Prime Minister from amongst themselves with the Prince Consort serving as President.

The Ubangi Civil War resulted in massive political changes. The Grand Duchy had a similar political system but was more oriented to white settler control, the attempted coup organised by the Ubangian Economic and Social Action Party (UESAP) in consort with the Army was an attempt to remove Dutch control and establish a Republic. The war however was deeply embarrassing for the Dutch people. The Grand Duchy was a fiefdom of the Royal Family and its recovery was largely conducted by the Crown. The Kingdom of Kongo under the rule of the ailing King Alexander of Orange was duty bound to restore control to the Crown and intervened in the civil war. King Charles of Orange in the Netherlands sent in loyal Household troops. Domestic critics began to seriously question the strength of Royal power. The war had effectively been run by the Royal Office, the Household troops and the King’s Intelligence Service. The concentration of such personal military power was increasingly seen as an anachronism and potentially dangerous. The regaining of Royal lands by Royal forces seemed more like a medieval war of conquest and plunder than a war of restoring democratic power. The QIS also played a vital intelligence role and for the first time it changed from being a protective and mercantile intelligence unit to being a military intelligence focused machine.

Therefore it was politically impossible to restore the Grand Duchy and indeed the Prince Consort was removed and a democratic two-chamber political system was restored with free elections which resulted in the Limbani government under the Ubangian Socialist Action Party (USAP) with increasing integration of Chamber of Commerce List (white settler) politicians into the Cabinet. The Dutch government did not appoint a President however, the current system was seen as a temporary solution until the Lander Confederation Plan was in action, whereupon Ubangi-Shari would be treated as an equal Province within the domestic Dutch political system. Until that time a Staates-General was appointed as a Commissioner of the Dutch Government to act as de facto President and direct link to The Hague, which still controlled all foreign policy decisions for the colony. In effect Royal control had passed to the Dutch government directly. The Ubangi political system worked but was fragile and rejected outright the Confederation Plans and political integration was dead by the end of 1949. The implied status quo was Dutch-led rule for several more years. It was against this that the UESAP and General N’Dofa, returned from self-exile, now rebelled against in the early months of 1950.

The death of King Alexander brought about similar changes in the Kongo. A Dutch-appointed Staates-General replaced the King as President designate and more direct efforts were made to reform the Tweede Kramer with new genuine political parties from which popular support could be reflected. Two such parties were the Democrats and the Bakongo Alliantie (ABAKO) led by Joseph Kasa-Vubu. The former was a smokescreen led by a group of Noble House leaders, but the latter was a genuine party of change such as were springing up across Africa during this period and which were driven by a mixture of social reform and religious zeal. The alienation of the Huis van Afgevaardigden was politically dangerous. The feudal system without a Royal head began to break down. The Barons, Counts and Dukes were seen by the Dutch as anachronisms and indeed more non-Tribal Lords were soon conferred, men from business or Protestant church backgrounds in the main. The main danger unforeseen was that the gentry now wanted to occupy the top of the political chain. They rejected the Confederation Plan, to them the Kongo had been a Kingdom of equal stature to the Netherlands and indeed was now more fitted to be a true republic, has had been promised on and off since the early 1900s as the ultimate prize dangled by the House of Orange.

The second reform was military. During 1947 the Dutch government neutered the military power of the House of Orange forever. The Household troops were disbanded and merged into the Dutch military. At a stroke this removed direct military control outside of the civil government, although the Dutch monarch remained titular Commander-in-Chief of the Dutch military. These reforms were carried over into Central Africa. The Ubangi and Kongolese militaries were abolished and their forces became part of the Dutch military branches. While the disgruntlement at home was comparatively mild and solved by increased pensions, the situation in Africa was vastly different.

The Ubangi Army was supposedly reformed and purged of its rebellious elements. In truth there was never enough potential manpower to fully allow this and increasing the ratio of white officers and NCOs was unpopular with local troops who found themselves denied promotion at best and demoted at worst. So it was that N’Dofa found fertile ground and indeed his famous journey to the capital Bangui on the backs of loyal soldiers was not the propaganda stunt some historians of the time portrayed it. It is estimated that a third of the Army went over to him, that the killing of white personnel was rare was a lucky event. In most cases the Dutch who had served only one or two years in-country had the sense to stand-by while the older veterans did attempt to fight but in vain.

The Kongolese Army was harder hit. It had a proud tradition going back to 1907 and owed their allegiance to the House of Orange, or in practical terms the Lords who politically represented it and nurtured it with funds and manpower. Now the political control had passed to the Dutch government and many senior Lords found themselves sidelined, in particular the Owija clan who had built up their political connections within the Army since the late 1910s. It was this loss of power that convinced Baron Owija that he must overthrow the government and declare a Republic behind the strength of the Army. The coup was a complicated affair, involving kidnapping the Ubangi Prime Minister and a faked assassination of the Baron himself, before the Kongolese Prime Minister was arrested and the Dutch Staates-General confined to his residence. The Army had genuine respect for the Owijas and units in the capital followed its lead. Joseph Kasa-Vubu sensing an opportunity offered his Bakongo Alliantie to lend political cover, mistaking the Baron’s aims solely as personal ambition to be President. In truth the Noble Houses would not countenance a public political party usurping their powers for long, but the ABAKO were a convenient tool. The Baron too made a mistake. The Army was not totally loyal to Owijas alone. The feudal system had competing benefactors and the Army’s General Staff, a mix of white and black officers, had their own ambitions too. Chief of Staff Generaal Kabanda and the Inspector Generaal, Generaal Mertens, were not entirely behind the Owija-led coup and indeed would be instrumental in ensuring that violence did not break out. They also had a dislike of Generaal N’Dofa and were uninclined to seriously assist his coup attempts and indeed knowing that Limbani had been kidnapped as part of the coup did not win their favour.

Unlike their cousins in Ubangi-Shari, the Kongolese settlers felt much more Kongolese than Dutch and for them a Republic would be their chance to emulate the success of the South African Empire which had been a model for them for far longer than the belated Dutch attempts at reform. The clear message from the Netherlands since the mid-1940s had been greater integration, both political and economic, rather than greater freedom. With hindsight the political reforms of 1946-47 came too late and too fast, there had been minimal time to adjust or to build solid political foundations and as republicanism grew, the Dutch colonial authorities could offer nothing new. For them a hand-over of power was something to be worked on within the next five years but it was no longer in control of the trajectory of change.

For their part, the Dutch government who had fumed at their impotence during the Ubangi civil war, had been secretly relieved that their hands had been kept relatively clean during that war. The House of Orange had bore the backlash but now that fresh trouble arose, they were reluctant to act too hasty or to be seen to be doing the King’s bidding. Reactions were slow, feelers to outside help were tentative and faced with a coordinated double-coup it seemed that military options were unthinkable without serious bloodshed. The Dutch had been caught off guard and those early critical days were wasted. The implications would be serious.


Wednesday, June 30th 2021, 12:02am

Does the title count as spoiler?


Wednesday, June 30th 2021, 3:55pm

Does the title count as spoiler?

Well....possibly depending on how you view these things, 1950-60 is a whole decade after all. ;)


Thursday, July 1st 2021, 6:18pm

Netherlands Motorway Network

An update of progress this year on the programme to build a network of Autoroutes (motorways) across the Netherlands linking into the networks of France, Germany and Belgium.

Work continues on the A6 from Muiden to Scharsterland which began construction last year and which will not be completed until 1953 by current estimates. The A13, also begun last year, is making good progress and will run from The Hague to Rotterdam and will be completed in 1952.

New new Autoroutes have been started this year. The A7 will link Zaanstad (with a junction to the A8) – Wormerland – Purmerend – Koggenland – Hoorn – Medembilk – Wieringermeer – Wieringen – across Afsluitdijk dam – Sudwest Fryslan – Skarsterlan (with a junction to the A6) – Heerenveen – Opsterland – Smallingerland – Marum – Leek – Groningen – Hoogezeland-Sappemeer – Menterwolde – Oldambt – and terminating at the German border at Bad Nieuweschans to link onto the German autobahn network. An ambitious project, its not likely to be completed until 1958.
The second project is the A10, the Amsterdam ring road linking the A1, A2, A4, A5 and A8 Autoroutes around the city. Again, completion is due in 1958 and requires much land clearance, to the opposition of some local residents.


Friday, July 23rd 2021, 6:27pm

15 January

For the pilots of VIII Transport Vliegtuigregiment it was time to dust off the pilot notes and re-engage the muscle memory of where everything was in the Nord Normandie cockpit.
Only the first four aircraft had arrived at Schiphol, their French crews staying on to impart some wise words for those Dutch fliers who hadn't gotten to grips with the four-engined transport the last time around. Within a few hours the ground crews had hastily painted over the French markings with Dutch roundels and at least one crew had completed circuits and bumps.
In the unit's offices some of clerks began hunting out maps of North Africa and the Sahara.

It was deja vu for the 1e Parachute Fusilier Regiment too stationed at Deventer. Now part of the regular Army, they began preparing to break camp, two Battalions being earmarked for transportation overseas. Rumours were rife, speculations many. They knew roughly where they were going but not what they would find when they arrived.

Ironically it was the Ubangi-Shari Luchtcommando at Bangui Air Base that was the only reliable source of information. The two airfields at Bangui and Tikapoo Valley were on full alert and defended and their high-power radio transmitter could give the only impressions of what was going on, the Army's transmitter seemingly suffering "technical problems". There were rumours of 10,000 soldiers now supporting N'Dofa heading towards the capital. Information from the Kongo was sketchy, but it appeared as if the Army was restrained, the Government had fallen but Joseph Kasa-Vubu had been nominated as Prime Minister by the Tweede Kamer, he had spoken of a new government.

*****Telex DSG/KG/3404/G/488*****
Date: 17-01-50
Time: 13:15GMT
From: Staates-General Office, Kamina, Kongo
To: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague

Subject: Proclamation of Independence

Text Follows:
First message possible since outbreak of unrest.
New government sworn in with new PM Joseph Kasa-Vubu and new President Baron Anthony Owija.
Presidential speech today stated intentions to declare a Republic.
Have received communication from government confirming this intention and requesting that all Dutch administration should cease forthwith and that all Dutch political and military personnel should leave the country within 30 days.
New government expects an answer to their demands within two days or threaten not to guarantee safety of Dutch nationals in the population.
Situation here peaceful, Army maintaining control but is no longer under Dutch control.
Reports many officers imprisoned and others have mutinied and declared for Republic.
I am under house arrest and residence is under armed guard.
Please advise on next steps.
Situation most urgent.

*****Message Ends*****


Friday, July 23rd 2021, 10:45pm

Hood scripset,


*****Telex DSG/KG/3404/G/488*****
Date: 17-02-50
Time: 13:15GMT
From: Staates-General Office, Kamina, Kongo
To: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague

Just to confirm, this message is dated February 17, 1950?


Saturday, July 24th 2021, 3:20am

In general, the French government would not make any special attempts to force the Dutch toward one solution or another - although their strong inclination is to support the Dutch government with all reasonable measures, including military.

That said... N'dofa is still very high on France's $#!( list, so if we know where he is... hm, well...


Saturday, July 24th 2021, 11:04am

Just to confirm, this message is dated February 17, 1950?

Drat, my typo, fixed - should be January.


Thursday, July 29th 2021, 5:13pm

18 January

Joseph Kasa-Vubu's proclamation made it clear to John Hattambina exactly who had been behind the kidnapping of Limbani, as did news of N'Dofa travelling across the country towards the capital. Re-securing access to the main Army transmitter, a message was sent to the Netherlands requesting all possible aid to maintain the peace.

That morning a batch of radio intercepts from the South African intelligence service had arrived with the King's Intelligence Service giving vital information on what was going on in the Kongo. The entire Cabinet was briefed in the afternoon, the King had also wanted to attend but wisely was put off from doing so. With the latest intelligence from Britain, France and South Africa, and Hattambina's telegram, it was clear action was needed. Intervention in Ubangi-Shari was approved, but on the issue of Kongolese independence the Cabinet had no answers and the debated stretched on long after dusk fell.

For the Army, they had marching orders. Operation Reeën (Roe Deer) was begun and troops of the 1e Parachute Fusilier Regiment were bundled into trucks and driven to Schipol were most of their kit was already waiting. For the Air Force, Operation Sahara Twee (Sahara Two) would soon commence, already an envoy in Paris was requesting the necessary flight clearances over French airspace.

For the Army in Ubangi-Shari the situation was clear, even if the loyalties were not. Some troops in the east had gone over to N'Dofa but many had not and Hattambina's broadcast later that day had enraged some that such treachery had taken place, especially if their supposed Kongolese allies were behind it. rumour had it that N'Dofa had 10,000 men with him and that he was closing on the town of Bambari, about 200 miles from the capital. The 1e Cavalry Regiment was summoned south from Bria to meet them, while a battalion from the 260th Infantry Regiment supported by tanks headed north from the capital.

The government had airpower, two fully functioning airfields with over a hundred aircraft of all types. Aircraft were now up all day, scouring the areas around Bambari for any sign of rebel forces. The pilots, as yet, lacked orders to open fire, unless they were fired on first.

The rebels had radio. The captured radio mast at Bangassou was broadcasting Barthélemy Boganda's sermons and propaganda. In his version of events Hattambina himself had masterminded the plot to kidnap Limbani. The Air Force transmitter at Tikapoo Valley tried to drown out the frequency using its high power, but the success of this was varied. Since most people did not own a radio the damage was not great, but it was unwise to let the rebels gain too much ground in the propaganda battle.