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Friday, April 19th 2019, 5:53pm

Yugoslav News and Events, March 1949

The White Palace, Thursday, 3 March 1949

The liveried footman led the Prime Minister to the King’s private office, opened the doors, and announced him. King Petar rose to greet him.

“Sit down old friend.” Petar noticed that Karasec moved slowly, and his hair was greyer than he recalled. “Your request indicated a matter of importance and discretion.”

Karasec appreciated the king’s invitation. “Thank you Your Majesty.” He paused to collect his thoughts before continuing. “It has been my privilege to serve the Crown for twelve years, but the time has come that must lay that burden down.”

Petar did not immediately reply; he sighed inwardly. “I have long feared this day would come. You helped my father make Yugoslavia the nation it is today, and I had hope you would be able to continue to help us chart that course ahead.”

“Your Majesty is kind; your father was a man of great heart, dedicated to all his people.”

“Do you wish to resign immediately?”

“No sire, I would not wish to burden you with that when your concerns are rightly focused on your nuptials. But I felt it proper to advise you of the matter so that it not come as a surprise.”

Petar nodded. “You still command a majority in Parliament. Can you suggest a successor?”

“I have asked Furlan privately if he would consider it; and he has privately agreed.”

“Then when the time comes I will formally accept your resignation and ask Furlan to form a government, with confidence he will be able to do so.”


Tuesday, April 23rd 2019, 1:23am

Novosti News Service, Bar, Wednesday, 9 March 1949

His Majesty King Petar visited the Adriatic Shipyards today to superintend the launching of the Royal Yugoslav Navy’s latest additions, Minesweeper A and Minesweeper B. Laid down in January, they are expected to be completed in mid-May. They are due to be followed in the summer with a second pair.

Belgrade, Dunavsko Brodgradiliste, Thursday, 10 March 1949

His Highness Prince Andrew returned to the shipyard where in January he had witnessed the keel laying of the ships the yard was launching today. His mood was moderated only by the warmth if an early spring.

Icebreaking River Tug A and Icebreaking River Tug B – truly resounding and inspiring names.” The prince did not agree with the tradition of withholding the proper name of a vessel until its formal commissioning. They were stubby and utterly utilitarian ships, whose presence on the river would certainly aid commerce but contribute little to the liberation of occupied Slovenia. Still he saluted the workmen as the ships touched the waters and the national ensign fluttered at the temporary mainmasts.


Wednesday, May 1st 2019, 10:30pm

Jugoslovenska Vojnik, Monday, 14 March 1949

The Zastava Ordnance Works has been directed to proceed with development of a replacement for the M37 machine pistol. Details of the design are not available at this time, but the expressed intent of the Ministry of Defence called for a weapon less expensive than the M37.

Novosti News Service, Wednesday, 16 March 1949

The Ministry of Defence has contracted with the Vaduz, Liechtenstein based firm Anstalt für die Entwicklung von Erfindungen und Gewerblichen Anwendungen for development of an antitank grenade capable of being fired from the standard M43 service rifle. It is expected that the first examples might enter service by the end of the year.


Thursday, May 9th 2019, 1:12am

Damascus, The Yugoslav Embassy, Friday, 18 March 1949

Bobetko read the cable again, pondering its implications. His request for reassignment had been approved and he was to return immediately to Belgrade for meet his successor and brief him on the current situation in Syria. Thus far so good. What was unsettling was his new assignment – to be military attaché in Beijing, the capital of China.

His experience in Syria left him with a distaste for flogging the products of Yugoslav industry to nations too inclined to use them in a ‘hot’ war. Would the Defence Ministry ask him to undertake that role with the Chinese? He sincerely hoped that they would not – China’s track record of belligerence was too long. Perhaps Belgrade wanted a closer assessment of China’s capabilities and intentions? That was an assignment he felt happier with.

It made little difference at the moment. At least he would be departing the volatile Levant and would be spending some time at home before travelling to the Orient.


Tuesday, May 14th 2019, 6:20pm

Lagny-sur-Marne, France, Monday, 21 March 1949

Xenia lay in her bedroom, filled with a mix of anxiety and anticipation; he wedding day was barely more than a month away, and while her preparations were going as well as they might, the necessity of meeting with members her family seemed suffocating. Her aunt Tatiana and uncle Dimitri had come last week, and her uncle Alexei was expected tomorrow. A knock on the door broke her reverie and her mother entered.

“Xenia, the postman has come. You have letters.”

Xenia sat up, though still seeming lost in thought. “Did the postman have to run another gauntlet today?”

“Not as bad as yesterday. He brought two letters for you; I think that they will cheer you up.” Olga placed the letters alongside her daughter and then retreated.

Xenia saw the Yugoslav stamp on the first and immediately tore it open. It was from Petar, and between expressions of affection her fiancée brought her up to date on the preparations being made in Belgrade, and how her people longing for her arrival.

The second bore a French stamp, and upon opening it Xenia read…

“My dearest Granddaughter. Forgive the brevity of this note but know that Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your future husband. The fortunes of our house have risen and fallen according to God’s plan and assuredly He will guide the two of you into a new era of peace and prosperity. Know that you have Our blessing on your decision. Until We can greet you in Belgrade, We remain, in great affection,

Nikolai Alexandrevitch”


Wednesday, May 22nd 2019, 8:42pm

Belgrade, The Ministry of Defence, Friday, 25 March 1949

Lieutenant Colonel Janko Bobetko had arrived in Belgrade the previous morning, and found himself almost immediately swept up in meetings – debriefing by his superiors on the situation in Syria and the wider Levant, briefing his successor on the very complicated and highly fragile situation in Damascus. He failed to hide his concerns regarding the amount of military hardware he had helped the Yugoslav defence industry funnel to the Syrian military, and had concluded his discussions with the warning, “One of these days the Syrians will use those guns – on their neighbours or on each other – and there will be hell to pay.”

Then there were the meetings regarding his new assignment, Beijing. He was relieved to discover that the government was not interested in fulfilling any Chinese orders for Yugoslav arms – the country’s need for hard currency was far outweighed by incurring the displeasure of its friends – France, Russia, Germany – all of whom might object. So Bobetko’s new assignment would fall to traditional role of military observer. For this he was grateful.


Saturday, May 25th 2019, 7:06pm

Novosti News Service, Belgrade, Monday 28 March 1949

The Ministry of Defence announced today that orders have been placed for six examples of the Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane SH.20 Cigale light utility helicopter, following the lengthy evaluation of two examples acquired for evaluation some months ago. At the same time the Ministry indicated that two examples of the larger SH.40 Tourbillon would also be acquired. It is to be supposed that the SH.40 machines will also undergo extensive evaluation prior to a decision on further procurement.


Saturday, May 25th 2019, 7:29pm

Merci pour vos affaires, monsieur!


Saturday, May 25th 2019, 8:29pm

Merci pour vos affaires, monsieur!

To nije ništa, mi smo vrlo zadovoljni transakcijom.


Friday, May 31st 2019, 6:47pm

Novosti News Service, Belgrade, Thursday, 31 March 1949

AD Plantaže, of Podgorica, has received a royal warrant as vintner to the Crown. The firm, which is the major producer of wine grapes in Montenegro, will supply the traditional Balkan varieties of vranac (red) and krstač (white) wines for the celebration of the forthcoming wedding of His Royal Majesty King Petar to Xenia Petrova Baranova


Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 7:26pm

Yugoslav News and Events, April 1949

Belgrade, Zemun Airport, Saturday, 2 April 1949

Having had a short opportunity to spend time with family Lieutenant Colonel Janko Bobetko boarded the morning’s JAT flight to Cairo on the first leg of his flight to Beijing. It would involve several transfers and, he had been warned, a possible overnight stay or two; no single airline yet offered a through service. It was, however, preferable to a long sea voyage through the Indian Ocean. He returned to studying the materials he had been given regarding the Chinese language and Chinese protocol.


Tuesday, June 11th 2019, 7:29pm

Delivery Status Report, 30 June 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 : 165,000
Small Arms Ammunition : 19,500,000
Artillery Ammunition : 255,000

Domestic Vehicle Production for Royal Yugoslav Army

Zastava M40 0.25-ton Truck -:- 75
Zastava M41 1.5-ton Truck -:- 300
Novi Sad M44 3-ton Truck -:- 600
Novi Sad M46 Artillery Tractor -:- 450
M47 Half Track Infantry Carrier -:- 150
M48 Medium Tank -:- 31

Aircraft Deliveries

Soko Strsljen -:- 22
Utva Lasta -:- 12


Tuesday, June 18th 2019, 5:48pm

Budapester Zeitung, Thursday, 7 April 1949


Friday, June 21st 2019, 10:00pm

Privredni vjesnik, Saturday, 10 April 1949


Wednesday, June 26th 2019, 12:35am

Belgrade, Report of the Hungarian Military Attaché, Tuesday, 12 April 1949

Production of the M43 service rifle remains steady, with approximately thirteen thousand units per month being produced between the three existing Yugoslav arsenals. The same can be said for other classes of light infantry weapons. Ammunition production has slowed, suggesting either a downturn in requirements by the Yugoslav military or an indication that Yugoslavia might be considering a changeover to an intermediate cartridge in the near future. Reports regarding a replacement for the M37 submachinegun suggest that the design is still in the paper stage. The Yugoslav military has slowed its procurement of motor vehicles, with current production offsetting attrition. In general, the state of motor transport in the Yugoslav Army can be considered excellent.

The build-up of production of the Soko Strsljen fighter bomber continues at the Mostar factory, while several other Yugoslav aeronautical works are engaged in fabrication of parts and subcomponents. Deliveries of Dassault Ouragan interceptors from France continue, with new units converting to the type quarterly.

The worsening situation in the Italian exclave of Vlore has raised fears of a potential Yugoslav intervention there; though it is believed that Yugoslavia will not challenge Italy for what it regards as Greek territory. The deployment of the Yugoslav Navy’s amphibious forces to the Bay of Kotor suggests instead the possibility of some form of Yugoslav movement against Italy Dalmatian territories. However this might please factions of the Yugoslav government and military the prospect of a general war is believed to be sufficient to keep Yugoslav ambitions in check.


Saturday, June 29th 2019, 8:57pm

Hrvatska revija, Saturday, 16 April 1949

The Dalekovod Electrical Engineering Company of Zagreb has been awarded a contract by the Greek Government for preliminary design work for expansion of the electrical power grid of the Greek capital, Athens. The work will involve the estimate of requirements, site survey, and development of recommendations and specifications for actual construction. The contract is valued at twenty million dinar; if the Dalekovod firm is successful in winning the bid for the second phase of the contract the value would be expected to rise substantially.


Saturday, July 6th 2019, 12:15am

Lagny-sur-Marne, France, Wednesday, 20 April 1949

In the Baranov household pre-wedding jitters were in full swing.

Xenia was going through her trousseau for the third time in a week.

“Mama, were are my shoes? They were with the veil only yesterday and now they have gone missing!”

“Have you looked under your dress?”

Xenia did as her mother suggested, and there found the shoes beneath the dress, the veil, and the train of her dress.

“I repacked them to make room for it all and leave some room for last minutes things.”

“Has Papa made arrangements for a taxi to take us to the station?”

“Yes daughter, he has. It will be here in the morning, and yes, he told them they will need to send a vehicle large enough for all the luggage.”

“And the train?”

“The Yugoslav embassy in Paris has arranged for us to have a private car so that we can travel in peace and quiet.”

The wedding of Xenia to King Petar was but ten days off, and it would take considerable time to travel to Belgrade. Of course, they would arrive well in advance of the wedding day but to the young soon-to-be queen the travel time would seem interminable.


Saturday, July 13th 2019, 12:41am

Novosti News Service, Bar, Thursday, 21 April 1949

The recently completed Ammunition Auxiliaries Rama and Sana, completed and formally named Easter Monday, have commenced their builders’ trials and operational training, which is expected to be completed in the autumn.

Outside Belgrade, “The Little House”, Saturday, 23 April 1949

The Baranov family had arrived in Belgrade late the previous evening, and had been whisked by royal car to the dacha of the Queen Mother, where they would stay while final preparations for the royal wedding went forward. With Belgrade caught up in the rites of Orthodox Easter and the Palace ‘managing’ the press The Little House was an island of tranquillity, which Xenia needed at this hour.

Breakfast had been served and the Queen Mother and her guests were in the salon when a footman entered and whispered to Queen Maria.

“By all means!”

She rose with alacrity and turned to her guests. “We have an important visitor. Would you accompany me in greeting him?”

The elder Baranovs sensed the unusualness of the situation and each of them drew their own suspicions – but rose they did nevertheless. They followed Queen Maria to the entry gallery and saw before them an elderly man, perhaps in his early eighties, of medium height but somewhat stooped with age. His hair and beard were grey, and his lively blue eyes and pug nose were his most prominent features.


Madam Baranova’s eyes welled up with tears. Her decision to marry Petar Baranov had separated her from much of her family, and she had not seen her father in more than thirty years. They embraced and she turned to Xenia.

“Come, meet your grandfather…”

Nikolai Aleksandrovich Romanov, quondam Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, stretched out an arm to embrace the granddaughter he had not previously met.

There was not a dry eye in the room.


Saturday, July 13th 2019, 5:09am

OOC for information at large:
In Wesworld, the Russian Civil War was averted by Tsar Nikolai's abdication in 1917, and he and his family went into exile. Nikolai himself lives in a splendid house by the sea in Tangier, which he rarely leaves, preferring a degree of solitude and isolation. There have been rumors - unsubstantiated, of course - that Nikolai made some sort of 'secret deal' with one of the past Russian governments that he would discourage any Russian royalist movements in exchange for (depending on the rumormonger) money, safety, or some combination of the two.

Most of Nikolai's children live in France (which has always been fairly welcoming to any exiled royalty other than that one Prussian rascal) and Denmark (which was the homeland of Empress Alexandra). All five Romanov children have married, and all are still alive as of 1949; all of them have children of their own, with Nikolai having seventeen grandchildren.

Upon their departure from Russia the Romanov family lost much of their income and land-holdings, but retained a great deal of personal wealth in the form of jewels, historical items, stocks and bonds, and just plain old boring cash. The family's wealth is popularly believed to be greater than it actually is, and most of the older grandchildren are either preparing for or starting a career of some sort. Xenia's not the first grandchild who has married - she has several older cousins - but so far all of the Romanov grandchildren have married non-royalty or nobility.

Disney will not be making a movie about Anastasia, which is a real shame since it robs us of one of the best villain songs in the Mouse's liturgy. Really, the wild one of the bunch, who best fits the rebellious princess trope common in fiction, is Xenia's mother, Olga Nikolaevna Baranova - the eldest daughter who defiantly avoided noble or royal suitors and instead married a common-born Russian officer, Petar Baranov.

At some point I'll provide a much more detailed look at the Romanov clan: who they are and what they do.