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Thursday, January 3rd 2019, 7:37pm

Yugoslav News and Events 1949

Belgrade, Dunavsko Brodgradiliste, Saturday, 1 January 1949

His Highness Prince Andrew stood at the edge of the dry dock over which clambered workmen making ready to lay the keel of Royal Yugoslav Navy’s latest river vessel. The biting cold wind that blew across the freezing Danube cut to the soul. He was not in a happy mood.

“It is time you take up public duties they said. Then why am I here? Tomislav is busy in Bar, overseeing the start of real warships. What do I get to do? Lend royal approval to the keel-laying of a river tug! And Petar, where does anyone think he is?”

The dock’s crane was attached to the first large piece of steel and carefully lifted from the side of the dock and gingerly placed upon the keel blocks were the River Tug A would take shape in the next several months. The crowd responded with cheers and shouts of “One Flag, One King, One Nation”…

Andrew dutifully acknowledged the acclamation of those assembled. He remained a few minutes more at the side of the dock before retreating into the comparative warmth of the limousine that would return him to his lodgings.


Thursday, January 3rd 2019, 7:40pm

Delivery Status Report, 31 March 1949

Delivery Status Report, 31 March 1949

Domestic Ground Ordnance Production

M43 Service Rifle -:- 39,000
M47 GP Machinegun -:- 1,800
M39 Aircraft Machinegun -:- 150
M37 Tank Machinegun -:- 90
M47 Recoilless Gun -:- 600
M32 Hand Grenade -:- 240,000
Small Arms Ammunition -:- 21,000,000
Artillery Ammunition -:- 315,000

Domestic Vehicle Production for Royal Yugoslav Army

Zastava M40 0.25-ton Truck -:- 150
Zastava M41 1.5-ton Truck -:- 600
Novi Sad M44 3-ton Truck -:- 1,010
Novi Sad M46 Artillery Tractor -:- 450
M47 Half Track Infantry Carrier -:- 36
M48 Medium Tank -:- 15

Aircraft Deliveries

Soko Strsljen -:- 15
Utva Lasta -:- 12


Saturday, January 12th 2019, 1:12am

Outside Belgrade, “The Little House”, Friday, 7 January 1949

The Baranovs has spent a week and more visiting the cities and the countryside of Yugoslavia under the watchful eye of their guide, Adem Čejvan, King Petar’s equerry. Each in their own way had found the contrasts charming, challenging, and informative. Xenia seemed enthralled by the customs of various people united under the leadership of ‘her’ Petar; her mother and father recognised how far the country had come in its march towards modernity, as well as how far it had yet to go.

Now they were due to return to Paris, where Xenia would continue her studies; but before departing they had returned to the dacha of the Queen Mother to observe Christmas in a family mode. The table groaned under the weight of delicacies spread upon it, and Queen Maria grew slightly annoyed at the tardiness of her royal son in arriving at it. She nodded her head in Čejvan’s direction, who promised to fetch the king, and Xenia, from their seats near the fireplace. He returned a few moments later and whispered in Queen Maria’s ear. She smiled and said quietly, “Of course!”

The elder Baranovs, and the rest of the gathered family, were somewhat mystified, but were relieved when the King and Xenia entered, arm in arm.

Petar cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and announced. “I have asked Mademoiselle Xenia to be my wife; and she has consented.”

Olga Baranova, Xenia’s mother rose from her chair to embrace her child and her future son-in-law. Petar Baranov stood deliberately and he too move to congratulate the happy couple, though concern furrowed his brow. The Queen Mother beamed. There was a round of applause from the small company assembled. Petar and Xenia seemed to care only for each other.


Thursday, January 17th 2019, 3:24am

Belgrade, The Prime Minister’s Residence, Saturday, 8 January 1949

Nikola Karasec was awakened by his valet mid-morning. “A call from the Palace Excellency… it is very important”.

The Prime Minister roused himself – the Christmas celebrations of the prior evening had lasted long into the night – and he deliberately made his way to the telephone; Karasec was not a young man. He picked up the receiver. “Karasec here.”

Hearing the King’s voice he brought himself to attention and listened intently as King Petar relayed the news of his engagement. A huge smile broke across his face but his voice remained calm and even.

“Your Majesty, this is most wonderful news. Please accept my congratulations, and those of your ministers, on this most felicitous event in this season of joy. Have I your permission to prepare a formal announcement for the nation?”

The conversation lasted a few moments more and concluded most cordially. Only when he had replaced the telephone receiver did Karasec give out a whoop of satisfaction. Not only would the question of succession be settled, but the lustre of linking the house of Romanov with that of Karadoredevic could only add to the prestige of the monarchy. His carefully laid plans had come to fruition.


Tuesday, January 22nd 2019, 12:48am

Privredni vjesnik (Belgrade), Monday, 10 January 1949

The Valjoanica Aluminium Enterprise of Užice has formed a subsidiary to operate a copper mill at nearby Sevojno. The new firm, Valjaonica bakra Sevojno, will produce rolled copper sheets, copper tubing, and related products for use by domestic industry. Minority interests are held by the German Mannesmann and French Transall firms. It is forecast that the new works will start production early next year.


Sunday, January 27th 2019, 1:27am

Belgrade, Beograd Glavna Railway Station, Wednesday, 12 January 1949

The Baranovs waited in their carriage while the other passengers boarded. Save for the King’s personal representative, Adem Čejvan, they were alone, and he respectfully sat some distance apart from them. A cordon of police kept back the throng of well-wishers and photographers, who nevertheless popped off flashbulbs at random; since the announcement of the King’s engagement to Xenia the city, indeed the nation, had been swamped with joyful demonstrations.

“My dear, you realize your life will never be the same.” Madam Baranova, the erstwhile Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, was profoundly aware of the gravity of her daughter’s decision to marry King Petar.

“Yes Mama, I do. But Petar assures me that I will not merely be an ornament; like his mother, I will be able to make meaningful contributions to the future of Yugoslavia. And besides, he needs me.”

Petar Baranov had given this matter much thought since the couple’s decision had been announced the previous Friday. Xenia had not allowed her head to be turned, but he wondered how much positive influence she, a woman, might have in a nation still dominated by men brought up in a patriarchy. Their visit had shown a nation being dragged from medieval times into the modern era, in some cases kicking and screaming.

“No doubt the King needs the support of someone he can trust. His ministers are loyal enough, but they have responsibilities to the Yugoslav people.”

“Yes Papa. I know that I must keep my place, for he is king, and I am merely to be his consort.”

Xenia closed her eyes in deep thought. The words were simple enough to say – but complicated to imagine putting them into practice. She tried to see into the future and saw as if through a glass darkly.


Tuesday, January 29th 2019, 8:02pm

Belgrade, The White Palace, Friday, 14 January 1949

A footman showed the Prime Minister into the King’s private office and closed the door. King Petar looked up from the papers on his desk and rose to greet his visitor.

“So, Nikola, how go your negotiations with the Patriarch and the Archbishop?” The king waved his prime minister into a seat and resumed his own. Their discussions needed no great ceremony.

Karasec laid his head to one side and gave a small laugh. “Surprisingly well. Of course both are happy enough at the prospect of your impending nuptials, and His Eminence Gavrilo is duly impressed with your choice of the Grand Duchess Xenia; His Eminence Josip perhaps less so, but please enough to make no objections.”

“It is well for him that he should not.”

“Yes Your Majesty. The only issue of substance that remains is the choice of a date for the wedding.”

Karasec outlined the gist of his discussions with the chief prelates of the nation. It would not do to rush matters for such an important occasion, yet neither would it be wise to delay matters unduly. And the divergence between the Orthodox and Catholic Church calendars complicated matters no end. Petar thumbed through his desk calendar and made a quick decision.

“Then I would strongly suggest a date of 30 April, that is, if the date is acceptable to Her Grace. Please advise Their Eminences of my proposal and ask for their tentative concurrence.”

(All are invited to attend or designate representatives for the occasion. If so, please advise by PM. If it is your intention not to send a representative, please let me know)


Tuesday, January 29th 2019, 8:22pm

I shall send representatives; I will PM details later.


Wednesday, January 30th 2019, 9:43am

Somebody from Britain will go, not sure who yet, probably assuming someone from the FO, unless there is any Royal Family connection (I'm out of touch with royal family trees of Europe!).
Likewise the Dutch will be represented in some form.
Belgium probably won't attend but might send some fancy chocolates to the bride.
Argentina are still trying to find Yugoslavia on a map and when they do decide its too chilly anyway and decide to head for the flesh pots of Montevideo instead.


Thursday, February 7th 2019, 6:30pm

Belgrade, Report of the Hungarian Military Attaché, Friday, 14 January 1949

The long-term rearmament plans of the Yugoslav military are reaching fruition, with the majority of military equipment required being manufactured domestically – the exception being high-performance military aircraft.

More than sufficient M43 service rifles in on hand to equip the regular component of the Royal Yugoslav Army as well as its first line reserve elements, and production continues at a steady pace. The older M29 service rifle is now relegated to second line reserve elements and local militias; I have unconfirmed reports that Yugoslavia has sought to sell some of its surplus stock of the M29 rifle overseas. The M47 general purpose machinegun is not yet available in sufficient numbers to totally displace the M28 machine rifle and the M32 machinegun in front line service. Other infantry weapons in production include the M47 recoilless gun which is accorded high priority.

The first production M48 medium tanks have been delivered; however, it will take many months before production will permit replacement of the Royal Yugoslav Army’s tank inventory. Production of the M47 infantry carrier continues, with more than three hundred units in the inventory; exports of this vehicle to Syria are complete insofar as announced orders are concerned. It has been demonstrated to other armies of the Warsaw Pact. Production of the Orkan armoured reconnaissance vehicle is now complete. Production of motor vehicles for the Army has slowed, permitting some factories to divert effort to meeting the needs of the civilian market.

The first Soko Strsljen jet fighter-bomber aircraft have been delivered to the Royal Yugoslav Air Force, and production at the Mostar factory is scheduled to increase. Production of the older Orao fighter has ceased. Other elements of the Yugoslav aero industry are participating in the Strsljen production programme or are engaged in maintenance work on existing aircraft. The acquisition of a number of Arado 234 jet bomber aircraft from Germany have delayed the search for a domestically-sourced successor to the Soko Zmaj strike aircraft.

In addition to the two frigates and two minesweepers recently laid down the Adriatic Shipyard at Bar is building two large and two smaller auxiliaries, the former expected to be completed in the spring and the latter within the next several weeks. Two small icebreaking tugs are being built at Belgrade.


Monday, February 11th 2019, 12:33am

Lagny-sur-Marne, France, Sunday, 16 January 1949

The Baranovs had not even returned to their home when news of Xenia’s engagement to the King of Yugoslavia broke in the French press. At their arrival at the Gare de l'Est the police had to be called to rescue them, and their fellow passengers, from the crown of reporters, photographers, and various well-wishers that mobbed their train at the platform. Even after their homecoming they found them neigh besieged by the minions of the press who sought interviews, photographs, or just plain gossip from their neighbours.

“Papa, I am sorry that I brought this upon you and Mama…”

Petar Baranov smiled. “Daughter, this is none of your fault. For thirty years your mother and I were able to live in quiet obscurity, once were of no interest to the newspapers. They are the ones who brought the Romanov name back into prominence to swell their circulation. It will pass.”

“But how could you and Mama stay here in the face of all this publicity once I am married? Would you not want to come to Yugoslavia, where you would not have to deal with this rabble?”

“This is our home; once you have joined your future husband in Belgrade they will lose interest in us. I believe your mother and I can put up with the situation for three months.”

Aerosvet, Tuesday, 18 January 1949

A fully-equipped example of the Ikarus IK-7 Pegaz twin-engine airliner departed Belgrade-Zemun aerodrome today on a sales tour. Its first destination was Sofia, where it will be shown to Bulgarian authorities, and thence to Bucharest. It is expected that the Pegaz will also visit Warsaw and Budapest. The type is presently entering service with Jugoslovenska Aero Transport.


Yesterday, 12:41am

Jugoslovenska Vojnik, Monday, 24 January 1949

No.91 (Fighter Interceptor) Squadron at Zagreb and No. 92 (Fighter Interceptor) Squadron at Nova Pazova have completed their conversion to the Dassault Ouragan II, and No.54 (Fighter Interceptor) Squadron at Lezha has begun converting to the type. Conversion of additional squadrons are pending delivery of the second batch of Ouragans from France. Nos. 62 and 63 (Fighter Bomber) Squadrons at Pristina have taken on charge a sufficient number of Soko Orao aircraft to surrender their Soko Jastreb fighter-bombers for storage pending disposition. Nos. 71 and 72 (Bomber) Squadrons at Smederevo have begun converting to the Arado Ar.234 jet bomber in place of their Soko Zmaj twin-engine attack bombers.