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Sunday, January 28th 2018, 1:30am

Berlin, The British Embassy, Thursday, 22 July 1948

Captain Alfred Burcough, the naval attaché, received little mail bearing local postmarks, compared with his other colleagues at the chancery – the clerks in the commercial section received far more. He was thus intrigued with the rather heavy envelope that appeared on his desk that morning. He carefully examined it before even attempting to open it. Sent from the town of Stettin, it bore no return address or other indication who might have sent it. To his eye, it did not look as if German postal inspectors, or other inquisitive Germans, had fiddled with it. So he allowed his curiosity to get the better of him and slit open the envelope. Out slid several photographs – rather good shots of German landing craft exercising somewhere – and a typewritten sheet with a laconic message:

“If you like the product be at the Romanisches Café in the Auguste-Viktoria-Platz tomorrow afternoon.”

Berlin, The Wilhelmstraße, Friday, 23 July 1948

Heinz Alfred Kissinger was one of the young globalists that Otto von Hapsburg had brought into the Foreign Ministry to leaven the old-guard of the German diplomatic establishment. The foreign minister frequently would use the Kissinger as a sounding board.

“What should we do regarding this island discovered by the Komet in her latest expedition?” von Hapsburg asked rhetorically.

“It is a knotty problem Excellency,” Kissinger replied. “The island is reported to be a volcanic wasteland, without a good anchorage or life of any sort. It is worthless to us.”

“But will other nations come to the same conclusions?” Von Hapsburg few doubts regarding the cupidity of other countries with interests in the region.

“It is probable”, Kissinger opined, “that the Dutch, whose possessions lie near it, may have already come to the same conclusion. Less likely, though not impossible, the British – and they have far more attractive possessions in the Indies to a gas-spewing volcanic lagoon. The Chinese however…”

“Quite so,” von Hapsburg said, seizing on the open question. “They have seen a squadron to cruise the Indian Ocean, announcing their ambitions in the region. They might be tempted to assert a claim to these otherwise dangerous rocks.”

“Were they to do so,” Kissinger replied, “the Dutch and the English would not be happy one iota.”

For a moment both men smiled. “Then we shall assert no claim,” von Hapsburg concluded. “Of course, we will offer no encouragement for anyone else to do so.”


Friday, February 2nd 2018, 5:58pm

Kieler Nachrichten, Saturday, 24 July 1948

The Hapag Line merchantmen Wuppertal and Erlangen arrived here today and can be seen in the naval dockyard. It is thought that they are to be taken in hand for conversion as naval auxiliaries.

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 25 July 1948

After years of effort the recreation of a three-masted East Indian trading ship, the König von Preußen, sails the sea again. Constructed at Königsberg under the auspices of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schiffahrts und Marinegeschichte the König von Preußen accurately reflects the design of an Eighteenth-Century Indiaman. Manned by volunteers from several maritime historical societies she is now undergoing trials in the Baltic in preparation for a cruise that many hope will recreate her voyages to the Indies and China.

Der Tagesspiegel, Monday, 26 July 1948

The Foreign Ministry announced today that King Petar of Yugoslavia will make a state visit to Germany next month. Specific details are to be announced at a future time.


Wednesday, February 7th 2018, 7:41pm

Le Courrier du Indochina (Saigon), Tuesday, 27 July 1948

The German survey and research ship Komet has arrived at the Cam Rahn Bay naval base to take on fuel and provisions before continuing her present voyage of discovery in eastern waters.

Oberösterreichische Rundschau, Wednesday, 28 July 1948

Wiener Neustadter Flugzeugwerke announced today that it had received funding from the Ministry of Defence for a new helicopter design, designated the Wf21. It is a development of the current Wf14 twin-rotor machine, and is expected to feature the same configuration, though significantly larger. A spokesman for the firm indicated that the new aircraft would feature a crew of three and would be able to carry up to twenty fully-equipped troops over a range of upwards of four-hundred kilometres. Reportedly work has already begun on construction of a prototype.

Münchener Post, Thursday, 29 July 1948

The Summer Games of the XIV Olympiad were opened today at the newly completed Olympiapark in Oberwiesenfeld.

Details of the games will be forthcoming soon, in their own thread.


Wednesday, February 14th 2018, 11:32pm

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Friday, 30 July 1948

Thousands lined the banks of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal as the König von Preußen, the reconstructed East Indiaman recently completed in Königsberg made her way through the canal on her way to the North Sea, where she will exercise her volunteer crew before making her way to Emden, which shall be the ship’s official home port. In the time of King Frederick the Great Emden was the entrepot for Prussia’s China trade and hosted the Königlich Preußische Asiatische Compagnie.

Berbera, Danish Somaliland, Saturday, 31 July 1948

It had been more than two months since Mulugueta Bulli had made his first visit to the Danish town; in the interim his subordinates had used the arms he had obtained to very good effect – ambushing army patrols, liberating prisoners from the hands of the collaborationist police, and acquiring the funds by means fair or foul to acquire even more arms and supplies. He thus found himself again meeting with Bodosakis and Czarnecki to discuss terms.

“The submachineguns you supplied on my last visit have proven quite valuable, and my soldiers require more of them,” he explained. “But we need something more potent.”

Czarnecki prised the half-opened lid of one of the crates that sat on the warehouse floor, revealing a British-made light machinegun. “We have fifty of these in stock, with ammunition, as well as another three hundred of the Błyskawica submachineguns. Will these be sufficient?” The arms dealer smiled.

“Yes,” the Ethiopian replied, fondling the British machinegun. “Only fifty?”

“For the moment,” Bodosakis added. “We hope to obtain more. But the monies you have deposited with us still leave you with a bit of a credit – amounting to ten thousand Danish crowns.”

Bulli did not, of course, completely understand the economics of the international arms trade; but he certainly had the feeling that these two ferengi were not trying to hold him over a barrel or otherwise mulct him. If anything, they were being generous – something he did not expect.

“As for the last shipment,” Czarnecki concluded, “transportation across the border is in your hands.”


Sunday, February 18th 2018, 3:05am

German News and Events, August 1948

London, The Portland Club, Portland Place, Sunday, 1 August 1948

Martin Walser tried hard not to appear overly interested in the conversation being held at the next table, where Sidney Stanley was regaling the other three members of his foursome with the gossip he had heard – supposedly – from his many friends in Downing Street. Thankfully, Walser was playing ‘dummy’ in the current game of bridge, and could listen while keeping his attention riveted on the cards before him.

“There’s a regular manhunt under way, all hush-hush, don’t you know,” Stanley said. “The smart fellows in ‘The Service’ were looking for an antiques dealer from Stamford Hill, but he seemed to have slipped through their greasy fingers.” Stanley continued his story – which, if there was any truth to it – suggested that someone had violated the Official Secrets Act by divulging to Stanley something he ought not to know about.

With his current game finished, Walser excused himself. Something about the way Stanley spoke made him want to be elsewhere.

Kieler Nachrichten, Monday, 2 August 1948

The air defence cruisers Szina and Temesvar were launched today; the former here, and the latter at Cuxhaven. The final pair of such vessels under construction for the Kriegsmarine, it is anticipated that they will complete next spring.

The Admiralstab, Berlin, Tuesday, 3 August 1948

Kapitän zur See Heinrich Gerlach, Director of Naval Intelligence, pored over the files that backed up the maps laid out before him.

Brought up to date with all the information garnered though Donnerschlag they confirmed fact that despite of its ‘peace dividend’ Britain’s coastal defences were still quite formidable. Scapa Flow in the far north of Scotland – while no longer a major fleet anchorage – was still heavily guarded by heavy gun batteries and mine barrages. He did note one area in which the defences were noticeably absent, though he suspected there might be good reasons that the British left this apparent chink in their armour. He scribbled a note “The Wash”.


Wednesday, February 21st 2018, 4:01pm

London, The German Embassy, Wednesday, 4 August 1948

Walter Schellenburg carefully considered the report provided by his agent Walser; if the club gossip repeated by Sidney Stanley was to be believed then the British security services were continuing their investigations into a portion, at least, of his ‘Baker Street Irregulars’. Contact with several of his ‘sweepers’ had been lost – old Aston among them – and Schellenburg presumed that they were at the moment enjoying the hospitality of MI6; their handlers, suitably warned, had fled beyond the reach of the British, even “Rattenfänger”, Stobin, the prediger – he had reported his presence in Dublin, Ireland – having received the message warning him but wisely avoided acknowledging it. For the moment, it seemed, his networks were safe if only operating in a more hostile environment.

But the fact that Sidney Stanley had somehow learned of MI6’s progress offered a potential line of counterattack. The fixer certainly had no direct entrée into the world of the security services – to them he would be anathema. No, he would have learned of the hunt through his friends in the cabinet. A suitably placed report that Stanley had been retailing such stories might sow confusion among the British and have them chase their own tails. It might mushroom into a major scandal – Schellenburg was already well informed regarding Stanley’s dealings with John Belcher, a junior member of the Government, as well as his more-than-nodding acquaintance with several more prominent MPs. This idea he would have to clear with Berlin, but as he contemplated how it could be done a wry smile crossed his lips.

Emder Zeitung, Thursday, 5 August 1948

The sailing vessel König von Preußen, a modern reconstruction of an 18th Century East Indiaman, arrived here today and will begin preparations for a goodwill cruise as part of the training programme for her crew.

Hamburger Abendblatt, Friday, 6 August 1948

The specialised training frigate Roon was launched today in the Deschimag yards. She was towed to the fitting out basin where work will continue on her; she is expected to complete early next year.