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81

Saturday, February 3rd 2018, 2:08am

Destroyer Pylkiy, 54 dgs 43 min North, 19 dgs 31 min East, Sunday, 25 July 1948

Captain Kozyukhin was trying to catch up on some report before the ships of the Thirteenth Flotilla arrived at Pillau to resume their training exercises with the German counterparts. He work was interrupted however by an urgent summons from the bridge. With his mind filled with questions he quickly made his way through the companionway and up the ladder to the bridge. There he found his executive officer grinning.

“I thought you would want to see this sir,” he said, a pointed to the splotch of white on the horizon ahead of them.

Kozyukhin immediately went to the nearest set of cruiser classes and trained them on the approaching object, which to his surprise resolved itself into a ‘Flying Dutchman’ under full sail. “They have finally completed her,” he muttered. Talk of the recreation of the East Indiaman König von Preußen had been circulating in the upper Baltic for the last several years, and Kozyukhin had once visited the yard in Königsberg where she was building. The sight of the Indiaman brought back memories of his cadet years on a sail training ship and conjured up thoughts of the generation of sailors who took such frail craft to the far corners of the world.

“Signal the squadron, ‘Form line ahead – prepare to render honors to port’.”

Aboard the Pylkiy sailors not on watch crowded onto the port railings to see the unusual sight – and the scene was repeated on the other ships of the flotilla. Kozyukhin could see the König von Preußen’s yards filling with her crew as the she neared the oncoming destroyers – though holding herself a good distance away in deference to the destroyers’ wake.

A cheer from the König von Preußen could be heard across the waves, which was answered by a hearty “Urrah!” from the Russian vessels. The traditions of the sea were re-enacted that Baltic summer’s afternoon, and in a few moments, the Russian ships and the East Indiaman parted, each to their own destination.

82

Saturday, February 3rd 2018, 3:36am

Neat. :)

83

Thursday, February 8th 2018, 4:28pm

Ronne, Bornholm, Thursday, 29 July 1948

The Fisherman’s Quay lay in Ronne’s inner harbour, and the buildings of the Old Town were tourist attractions in their own right. But the two tourists who had arrived on the morning’s ferry from Sassnitz paid the architecture little heed. Their eyes were fixed upon a smart-looking fishing trawler tied up to the quay – one which sported several wireless antennas and eschewed the familiar down-at-heels look of a commercial fishing vessel.

“It is a match for the trawler spotted in Helsingfors,” said Ludwig Fahrenkrog. He was the taller of the two, and his civilian clothes hung on him suggesting he wore such garb infrequently.

“Yes, it does,” replied his companion, Martin Kippenberger – much shorter than Fahrenkrog, but moving in a manner that projected unexpected strength. “Have you noticed they have two crewmen on deck as lookouts?”

“Sentry elimination will be an issue,” Fahrenkrog replied.

They made their way across the square and sat down at one of the tables outside a restaurant. They were soon joined by two more tourists. Kippenberger asked, “How many crew are aboard her?”

Johannes Baader answered, “We’ve seen six different individuals come and go this morning, and two men are on deck at all time. That suggested at least eight.” Baader was precise and diligent. “A few kroner slipped to the harbourmaster got us the information that she reported nine plus her master when she put in two days ago.”

Kippenberger’s eyes narrowed. “That was a risk; if the mission blows up, you might be identifiable.”

Nevertheless, the four Germans continued their discussions in low tones. They were all specialists from the Kommando Spezialkräfte. The rest of Kippenberger’s team had arrived in twos and fours over the last several days, and were even now keeping the trawler under watch from other vantage points.

*****

The summer’s lingering twilight delayed putting Kippenberger’s plan into operation, but that turned out to work to the team’s advantage. A good number of the trawler’s crew went off to one of the taverns that lined the old harbour, trailed by a pair of Kippenberger’s team; these were briefed to delay or divert the trawler-men should such action be warranted. Other kommandos kept watch from the lengthening shadows. Near midnight Kippenberger and three other kampfschwimmer approached the trawler from across the harbour, the small boats which delivered them now retreating into the darkness.

Silently the four kampfschwimmer made their way to the trawler – two approaching the stern and two the bow. With practiced skill they silently made their way to the deck, where weighted coshes were used to render the posted sentries unconscious. Kippenberger left two of his kommandos on deck and with Baader went below, dealing silently with the trawler’s master in his cabin and the wireless operator at his station.

Methodically they gathered up any documents they found – Kippenberger noted that the majority were kept in English, though he knew this meant little. The extensive wireless equipment was of a mix of Nordish, Danish, Dutch, and even German manufacture – Baader secured as many of the identification labels as possible, together with call lists, message flimsies – written in what seemed to be Swedish – and a pouch-full of other useful documents. Ten minutes later the four Germans slipped back into the water, swimming out towards the waiting boats.

“Everything seems quiet,” Fahrenkrog whispered as the swimmers came back aboard the boats.

They made their way through the darkness to a deserted mole across the harbour, where the boats were sunk and any incriminating equipment consigned to the deep. A pre-positioned lorry, driven by another member of the team, hurried them to a safe house.

The following evening, with no alarm having been given by the trawler’s crew to the Danish authorities, the team departed on the evening ferry back to Sassnitz, where they were met by a representative of the Abwehr who was quite pleased to examine the intelligence material they had recovered.