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121

Thursday, August 23rd 2018, 3:35pm

Survey Ship Komet, 4 dgs 6 min North, 105 dgs 0 min East, Friday, 22 October 1948

Fregattenkapitän Lehmann-Willenbrock had followed his orders to depart Manila and make best speed for Cam Rahn Bay only to discover that his ship was to be assigned to another hydrographic survey – this time in the outer reaches of the Gulf of Siam. At the moment they were slowly cruising to the north of the Riau Archipelago, not far removed from the busy shipping lanes that linked China, the Dutch Indies, British Malaya, and points west. Given the fact that Komet’s sampling of the ocean bottom disclosed little more than rather uniform sediment deposits, Willenbrock suspected that the monitoring of ship traffic in this region might be the more important portion of his mission.


Kleine Zeitung, Saturday, 23 October 1948

The Commercial Registrar of Linz has reported the formation of the firm AGRU Kunststofftechnik of Bad Hall, Steyer-Land. The firm is to engage in the manufacture of plastic pipe for residential and commercial use. Herr Alois Gruber is the managing director.


Rheinische Post, Sunday, 24 October 1948

Reports from Rome indicate that financial circles there have been rocked by the discovery of vast quantities of counterfeit lira notes circulating within the Italian economy. The Bank of Italy has refused to comment on press reports of the subject. However, rumours have added to the pressures upon the lira, which has fallen an additional two percent against the Deutschmark.

122

Sunday, August 26th 2018, 6:50pm

Light Cruiser Custoza, 3 dgs 14 min North, 162 dgs 26 min East, Monday, 25 October 1948

The tropical waters of the Solomon Sea through which the East Asia Squadron sailed belied the calendar; they had entered the southern hemisphere and gone from autumn to spring in a moments’ time – occasioned by the initiation of a new batch of ‘trusty shellbacks’. From the bridge of Custoza Rogge kept watch on his frigates, who were, at the moment, keeping company with a deeply-laden freighter.

“Have they identified the merchantman?”

“Yes Herr Admiral. Triaster, British Phosphate Commission, bound from Nauru to Brisbane with phosphates.”

“Instruct them to continue matching the freighter’s course and speed for another ten minutes and the re-join us.”


Elbinger Volksstimme, Tuesday, 26 October 1948

The corvettes Minerva and Diana are due to complete their operational training today and are expected to join the fleet within the next week or two.


Kieler Nachrichten, Wednesday, 27 October 1948

The rocket cruiser Admiral Lazarev of the Russian Federation Navy arrived at Warnemunde today for a good will visit that, officials say, will last an unspecified period. The ship is normally based at Kronstadt as part of the Federation’s Baltic Fleet.

123

Thursday, August 30th 2018, 7:48pm

Berlin, The Ministry of Defence, Thursday, 28 October 1948

The analysts of Abteilung Fremde Staaten – Referat VI gladly received the latest photographs and reports sent from the Abwehr relating to British air power deployment in the Far East. The continuing low intensity confrontation with China was keeping British attention firmly fixed on its commitments in the Far East and preparing to counter any threat to the British position in Malaya or Singapore. By all accounts the majority of British aircraft deployed ‘out East’ would be considered obsolescent by European standards, as evidenced by the continuation in service of the elderly Mosquito. Yet the recent data suggested that Britain was deploying, or at least considering deploying, modern jet fighter aircraft to the Far East. While the Vampire fighter bomber caught in one of the photographs might have been present for tropical trials, the accompanying report suggested that the Meteor had been deployed to Singapore in at least squadron strength.


Duly caveated, the latest information was transferred to the appropriate files and the relevant summaries updated. Items requiring confirmation were identified and noted for reporting to the appropriate desks elsewhere. It was the routine work of an intelligence organisation.


Münchener Post, Friday, 29 October 1948

The provincial government enacted legislation today to found an academy of fine arts, the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste, with its headquarters in the Prinz-Carl-Palais. The academy is expected to organise panel discussions, exhibitions, readings, lectures and concerts.

124

Saturday, September 1st 2018, 12:15am

Kieler Nachrichten, Saturday, 30 October 1948

The corvettes Thetis and Medusa were completed today at the Schichau works at Memel. Following their builders’ trials, they will be assigned to the Lehrdivision of the Kriegsmarine for operational training, which is expected to complete in the early spring of next year.


Elbinger Volksstimme, Sunday, 31 October 1948

The corvettes Nymphe and Niobe were launched today in the Memel yard of the Schichau firm. These vessels, the last of the Amazone-class, are due to be completed in the spring of next year. At the present time the yard is preparing to commence the series construction of the new Acheron-class corvettes, the first of which is expected to be laid down in January.

125

Saturday, September 8th 2018, 1:28am

German News and Events, November 1948

Der Tagesspiegel, Monday, 1 November 1948

The Heereswaffenamt has issued a request for proposals for a new personal defence weapon for vehicle crews, with the intention of supplanting the machine pistols presently in service with the Heer. The open ended specification is open to both domestic sources and those located in friendly nations; the only limitation is that the weapon should be chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.


Light Cruiser Custoza, The South Pacific, Chatham Island bearing Northeast, Tuesday, 2 November 1948

The squadron had sailed from the warm waters of the equator but now all hands were clad against the growing cold. Despite the fact that the austral summer prevailed their nearness to the Southern Ocean meant stiff breezes that grew colder for every kilometre further south they sailed. Rogge had charted a course that had crossed the major shipping routes from New Zealand, during which the squadron and met and ‘kept company’ with numerous merchant vessels, many bound for the United Kingdom with their refrigerated cargo. Now they were distant from the busy lanes of traffic, awaiting a rendezvous with a tanker to take on supplies for the next leg of their journey.


Cóndor (Santiago), Wednesday, 3 November 1948

The German Navy’s survey vessel Meteor arrived yesterday at Puerto Montt, calling for supplies as it makes it homeward voyage after many months of surveying the eastern Pacific Ocean.

126

Monday, September 17th 2018, 1:40am

London, The German Embassy, Thursday, 4 November 1948

“Immingham; Grimsby”

Walter Schellenburg dropped the latest cable from Berlin onto his desk with a sigh. It requested detailed information on the two ports on the south shore of the Humber estuary; one noted for little more than its coal docks, the other for its fishing fleet. But Abwehr headquarters was insistent – as much information as possible was requested in the shortest possible time. Schellenburg would do what he could.

Published sources could provide a baseline of information – he could consult the embassy’s library and determine what he would have to seek out through his network of ‘Baker Street Irregulars’; and he would be cautious in doing that. He felt certain that the security services were still on the lookout for German agents in the wake of the Aston Affair.


Survey Ship Komet, The South China Sea, Tioman Island bearing northwest, Friday, 5 November 1948

The Komet had spent the last two weeks slowly cruising the waters northwest of the British colony of Malaya, taking core samples, soundings, and otherwise carrying out her official survey role. She was also monitoring the flow of shipping heading towards or from the great commercial centre of Singapore.

“Herr Kapitän! It seems we have picked up an escort.”

Willenbrock turned and adjusted his binoculars to focus on the slim, fast warship that was closing on his vessel. “A British destroyer, it seems.” He his glasses again and read off her name. “Quiberon”.

The officer of the deck was quick to consult a copy of Janes’ Fighting Ships. “Quiberon – Q-class escort destroyer. 1,700 tons, two 114mm guns, no tubes, speed thirty knots.”

“If they wish to catch up with us, the will have little difficulty in doing so. Not that they should have any cause to interfere with our peaceful scientific pursuits. Continue on our current course and speed.”

They were in international waters, minding their own business. The Royal Navy might want to watch what the Komet was doing, and if so, they were welcome to do so.


Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Saturday, 6 November 1948

Minister of Economics Otto von Hapsburg and a delegation departed this afternoon for Bucharest, where he will meet with his Romanian counterparts to discuss expanding economic relations with that country.

127

Monday, September 17th 2018, 1:41pm

Some interesting developments afoot. ;)

128

Monday, September 17th 2018, 2:33pm

Some interesting developments afoot. ;)


<These are not the droids you're looking for>

"These are not the droids we're looking for. Move along!"

129

Sunday, September 23rd 2018, 9:38pm

The North Sea, Off the Scottish Coast, Sunday, 7 November 1948

The pair of Dornier Do330 long-range reconnaissance aircraft had taken off in the early morning hours, and staged through the recently established airfield on Heligoland to extend their radius of operation. Flying parallel to the Scottish coast, approximately twenty kilometres to the west, their mission was one of routine reconnaissance – that is, if tempting the British lion in its den can be called routine. Intelligence believed that the British had recently relocated much of their fleet to northern bases and efforts were being made to determine what fraction was based on the Clyde, how much remained at Rosyth and Invergordon, and how much – if any – was now regularly based at the bastion of Scapa Flow.

The wireless intercept officer called up to announce that intercepted voice transmissions suggested that more fighters were being vectored in their general direction.

“The present pair has been with us since we came abreast of RAF Drem, taking over from their friends at RAF Lossiemouth. Is this lot from RAF Wick or RAF Sullum Voe?”

The WIO thought the former – he didn’t believe the signal strength was indicative of fighter controllers at the more distant airfield.

“No doubt though that Fighter Command has notified Sullum Voe by land line to launch a couple of birds when needed.”

The Marineflieger crews were used to having British fighters ‘escort’ them, a reminder that they should not stray too close to British airspace and by no means take any hostile actions. They supposed that it was good practice for their counterparts.


Light Cruiser Custoza, The Southern Ocean, Monday, 8 November 1948

The squadron now navigated the lonely waters of the Southern Ocean, several hundred kilometres to the north was Australia, and a similar distance to the south was Antarctica. Here they was little to be found but the occasional whaler. It was as good a place as any for the squadron to conduct live-fire gunnery practice. In a day or two, if the weather held, they could shift their course to the northwest-ward, and rendezvous with a tanker that ought to be waiting for them south of the Cocos Islands; so the Etappendienst had advised him.


The German Embassy, Bucharest, Tuesday, 9 November 1948

Otto von Hapsburg allowed himself to collapse into the well-stuffed armchair that stood in his room, his heart heavy with foreboding. He had lead the delegation to further economic relations with Romania in the high hopes that the Romanians would be willing to enter into effective partnerships to develop Romania’s natural resources and industry to benefit Romanians. The day’s round of discussions left him wondering if his counterparts had any concern for the welfare of their own country.

Not that the Romanians appeared adverse to German investment in Romanian enterprises; if anything, they appeared happy to receive it. But as for putting up their own money, that seemed less forthcoming; and as for taking effective leadership of business enterprises, the Romanian businessmen with whom he had discussions left much to be desired. He got the definite impression that certain circles in the Romanian government and the Court would happily allow Romania to become a German economic colony if enough marks fell into their private pockets. This he would not permit.

130

Friday, September 28th 2018, 1:16am

Elbinger Volksstimme, Wednesday, 10 November 1948

The victualing store issue ships Jänschwalde and Gerringswalde have completed their operational training and are due to depart Pillau for the Wilhelmshaven tomorrow. Upon arrival there, the will take up their duties in support of the Atlantikflotte.


The German Embassy, Bucharest, Thursday, 11 November 1948

The tableau seemed familiar enough. The Minister of Economics had met with the Hohenzollern prince nearly a year before, and their discussions had centred on the same subject, the role of German economic investment in south-eastern Europe; only now their relative strengths had changed. Otto von Hapsburg had the full backing of Chancellor Adenauer and the Cabinet to move forward with true partnerships that benefited both sides; Friedrich, Fürst von Hohenzollern, had learned how treacherous the shifting sands of Romanian policy might be.

“Excellency, a year ago I had high hopes for our investments here. Today I wish the Unternehmensgruppe had not been so quick to rescue the Schiel concern.”

This admission surprised von Hapsburg. “Certainly it strengthened your group’s position in the Romanian market, and, as you insisted at the time, it had been at the invitation of the Schiel management.”

“Yes…” the prince sighed and paused before continuing. “We are making a profit, but certainly far less than was expected. There are government officials who expect to have their palms greased for the most minute of reasons; there are interminable delays with different ministries who argue with each other over which of them has authority over the sectors of the economy in which we have invested; there is the lack of overall direction from the Government, which seems to be a rudderless ship of state. And do not even mention the Court.”

King Carol was notorious for paying little heed to the day-to-day business of his country, yet he retained all decision-making in his hands. Von Hapsburg understood the prince’s frustrations. “I have heard similar comments from other firms who try to invest here. The avidity of the Romanians is almost oriental.”

The Hohenzollern nodded. “The Unternehmensgruppe is considering redirecting its expansion to other areas of the Balkans – Bulgaria, Yugoslavia – where a partnership agreement is understood by both sides.”


Hamburger Abendblatt, Friday, 12 November 1948

The Deschimag yards at Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven were the scene of the ceremonial launching of no fewer than four destroyers for the Kriegsmarine – the Plauen and the Frankenhausen at Bremerhaven while the Naumburg and Helmstadt were launched at Cuxhaven. Work on the vessels will continue throughout the winter, and it is expected that they will be completed next spring.

131

Thursday, October 4th 2018, 8:00pm

Elbinger Volksstimme, Saturday, 13 November 1948

The submarines Zigarenhai and Schlinghai were completed today at the Schichau works at Memel. Following their builders trials they will join the Lehrdivision of the Kriegsmarine for several months of operational training and working-up.


Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Sunday, 14 November 1948

Gehlen read with interest the report the Abwehr’s Far East desk on Russian activities in Mongolia. The report was thin on factual details but filled with broad observations and suppositions. By all accounts Russia had pre-emptively staged a military intervention to prevent the Chinese from installing its own puppet government. Exactly how, and why, were among the missing details. Given the strength of Russian operational secrecy on any military operations, it was unlikely that the details would be forthcoming any time soon. He put down the report.

“What might this mean?”

Clearly it showed that Russia would act, swiftly and decisively, were its interest were threatened. The Chinese attempt to mount a ‘scientific’ mission to the Arctic regions proved that, if nothing else. ‘The Great Game’ of central Asia still seemed to be going on. The question in Gehlen’s mind was what threats – if any – might turn Russian interests to the West. For the moment, at least, the Balkans were quiet. The Levant was not a particular feature of Russian interest, though should a conflict break out there Russia might well be drawn in – unwillingly at least to start. The Caucasus… now there was a possibility where Russia might be tempted to take a military action – as diplomacy seemed to have stalled.

His fingers drummed on the desk as he pondered the matter further.


Marinestützpunkt Heligoland, Monday, 15 November 1948

The falling night cloaked the arrival of the submarines Engelhai and Fleckhai, fresh from the training ground of the Baltic. Over the next few days they would prepare for their first operational patrols; while their crews speculated, the officers had little doubt were they would spend the next weeks.

132

Monday, October 8th 2018, 3:41pm

Diário de Pernambuco, Tuesday, 16 November 1948

The German Navy’s survey vessel Meteor called at Recife yesterday on its homeward voyage. It is anticipated that the ship will remain for several days before departing for its next destination.


Berliner Morgenpost, Wednesday, 17 November 1948

The Heereswaffenamt has issued requirements to industry calling for a light, amphibious, scout car to replace the Heer’s remaining stock of Sonderkraftfahrzeug 222 light armoured reconnaissance vehicles.


Light Cruiser Custoza, The Indian Ocean, Thursday, 18 November 1948

The Cocos Islands were just over the horizon to the northeast as the East Asia Squadron continued its voyage. Aboard the Custoza, as on her consorts, wireless sets were tuned to the foreign services of the DNB, the Radio France, and the British BBC, and the news from Europe immediately circulated to the crews. Little had any bearing upon their own activities, and it was thus unusual when the Custoza’s wireless operator transcribed a brief item from the BBC’s Far East service.

“A report filed by the Chinese Antarctic research vessel Xue Long suggests that the German Navy’s East Asia Squadron, last sighted off the coast of New Zealand, has in fact established a base on the Antarctic Continent.”

When this information was brought to Rogge he laughed, wondering what the captain of the Chinese vessel had in fact seen to prompt him to make the claim. Not only had the squadron not encountered the Xue Long, but no Chinese vessel – naval or merchant – on its voyage to date.

133

Today, 4:21am

Steamer Macclesfield, Grimsby Harbour, Friday, 19 November 1948

The dockside crew swung the gangplank into position while the ship’s passengers mustered on deck. Alexander Mach was among them, his attention focused on the ballet on the quayside. Temporary barriers were erected that would direct the arriving passengers toward the immigration officers who would check their passports and to the customs officers who would inspect their baggage. At last permission was given to allow the passengers to disembark, and slowly Mach made his way to the brow, and eventually the foot, of the gangplank. His voyage from Rotterdam was over; his mission in Britain was about to begin.

Carrying his suitcase and shoulder-bag Mach made his way towards an immigration officer – one of several checking the papers of the new arrivals.

“Your passport and visa please…”

Mach set his suitcase down and reached into his vest pocket to retrieve his documents, and proffered them as requested. The immigration officer examined them quickly but expertly.

“Alexander Mach… Bratislava, Czechoslovakia… What is your profession Mister Mach?”

“Writer”

“You write books?”

“Travel guides… I am working on a guide to English university towns.”

The officer looked again at Mach’s passport, assuring it had not been fiddled. Travellers from the Continent were not unheard of on the boats from Rotterdam, or Antwerp for that matter, though London might have made more sense for someone writing a travel guide. The officer stamped his passport and motioned Mach to proceed to the long counter behind which the customs officers stood to inspect his baggage.

These gentlemen were a quick and efficient in making their examinations. Practiced hands confirmed that Mach had not secreted contraband cigarettes or liquor in his luggage. After a few moments they marked his bags with a chalk ‘X’ and allowed him to proceed beyond the customs barrier and hail a taxi.

“The St. James Hotel”.


Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Saturday, 20 November 1948

Following visits to Bucharest and Sofia, the delegation led by Minister of Economics Otto von Hapsburg has arrived in Belgrade, where it will meet with Yugoslav officials on expanding trade and investment in that country.


Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Sunday, 21 November 1948

The light cruisers Frankfurt and Karlsruhe, accompanied by the destroyers Feldkirch and Glogau, departed Wilhelmshaven yesterday to conduct training exercises in the North Sea.