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Sunday, September 29th 2019, 3:15pm

Nachrichten für Außenhandel, Monday, 7 June 1949

It has be previously reported that the American firm Kearney & Trecker Company have reached an agreement with the Dornier aircraft firm to act as its representative in North America for sale of the Dornier Do35 light amphibian. Confirming these reports a spokesman for Dornier today stated that the American firm has placed orders for an initial quantity of twenty-five aircraft, of which five are to be delivered complete and twenty in kit form for assembly in the Kearney & Trecker factory at Milwaukee, in the state of Wisconsin. He indicated that if sales warrant it, Kearney & Trecker have the option to manufacture the Do.35 under licence for the sale throughout North America, where the type will be marketed as the Royal Gull.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Tuesday, 8 June 1949

In naval news, the light cruisers Heidelberg and Braunschweig were launched today in Bremerhaven and Kiel. The shipyard at Kiel also launched the coastal escort Ostwind while its sister vessel, Passat, was launched at the Wilhelmshaven naval dockyard.

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Wednesday, 9 June 1949

Reinhardt Gehlen reviewed the latest report on the activities of Britain’s ‘official spy’ in Berlin. Tanner, with no small amount of disdain; then the spymaster had never given much credence to the skill of his British opponents. The report summarised the Briton’s efforts to penetrate the veil of Germany’s oil stockpile program – something hinted at in Churchill’s last speech before the British Parliament.

That an internal report from the American-owned Vacuum Oel firm had been leaked to the British sparked their quest; the agent who had leaked it was currently in custody awaiting her trial. In March a man had been shot to death attempting to penetrate the Kriegsmarine’s depot at Farge; though Gehlen suspected that the man worked for Tanner there was not sufficient proof to act upon. Similar incidents had been reported at petroleum depots in the Austrian provinces, with at least one other agent dying in the process.

That was not all… Source Merlin in Budapest suggested that the British had organised a network to monitor ship traffic on the Donau… Agent reports from around Europe spoke of ‘shopping lists’ of information sought by the British, at the top of which was German oil purchases. Schellenburg in London had confirmed that the Admiralty in particular wanted to know more about the Kriegsmarine’s fuel reserves.

The simple expedient of eliminating Tanner would not solve the problem. His own people would have to root out the sources the British were exploiting and either eliminate or corrupt them. He picked up the telephone…

“Have Oberstleutnant Giskes report to headquarters at once.”


Thursday, October 3rd 2019, 3:14pm

Steamer Lichtenfels, Bangkok Harbour, Friday, 10 June 1949

Captain Karl Ahlers was confident enough in the ability of his deck officers to attend to the process of loading the Lichtenfels for her homeward voyage that he left them to it while bringing his log up to date and filing the manifest of the Lichtenfels’ cargo. He had commanded the veteran Hansa Line freighter for five years, and visited the Thai capital on many occasions. Some things had changed since his last visit five months ago – the city seemed to be more bustling than it once was, and there were many more officious personages overseeing the business of the docklands.

Yet other things had not changed. As usual the Lichtenfels had brought out a mixed cargo of machinery, consumer goods, steel and other metals in bars, billets, and shapes, crated automobiles, and the like – Thailand imported a variety of good from the Reich – though on this voyage Ahlers did not need to worry about locomotives filling his holds. Now they were loading cargo for their homeward voyage – a less diverse but certainly freight-earning cargo. The items in the manifest told their own story – in the ship’s deep tanks were stowed nearly a thousand tons of soybean oil destined for the Reich’s margarine factories, and many pallet-loads of bagged soybeans, tapioca, and sago had been brought aboard by the ship’s derricks. More than two thousand tons of rubber were stowed below deck, along with such oddities as fifty cases of carved Buddhist idols and forty bales of raw silk. Soon his officers would commence the last phase of loading their home-bound cargo – teak logs that would be carried on deck.

He folded up the manifest and returned it to its proper place, and then made his final log entry for the day; the longshoremen should complete their loading of the ship on the morrow and then, with luck, the Lichtenfels would begin her voyage on Sunday’s morning tide.

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Saturday, 11 June 1949

Yesterday the Ministry of Defence announced that the new cruisers Nürnberg and Leipzig will undertake a good-will voyage to the Americas. A brief stop in the Nordish possession of Vinland followed by calls in the American ports of New York and Norfolk were a part of the initial itinerary. The voyage is expected to start early next week.

Die Welt Am Sonntag, Sunday, 12 June 1949


Saturday, October 5th 2019, 8:51pm

Hamburger Abendblatt, Monday, 13 June 1949

The Deschimag yards launched two vessels for the Kriegsmarine today, the escort aircraft carrier Oldenburg at Bremerhaven and her sister Mecklenburg at Cuxhaven. Their construction will continue, with delivery expected in June of next year.

Berlin, The Cabinet Meeting Room, Tuesday, 14 June 1949

“Herr Dehler, does the situation in the Far East continue in a state of flux?” The Chancellor’s voice betrayed a sense of irony mixed with exasperation.

“Yes Herr Chancellor, it does. Despite the Chinese climb down from their confrontation with our French allies over Macclesfield Bank tensions remain high. You have seen General Gehlen’s precis suggesting a possible split with the Chinese leadership over the question of a forward policy or a more cautious one. The situation remains quite unclear. Coming in the wake of the Bering Sea Affair not so long ago it seems but a part of a trend towards more contentious acts on China’s part.”

“Should we reinforce the East Asia Squadron at this time?” The Chancellor looked inquiringly at Blank.

“No Herr Chancellor. Staff discussions with our Grand Alliance partners indicate that France and Russia have sufficient forces in the region to deter further provocations by China. While these discussions have explored what might be necessary should hostilities actually break out, sending stronger forces to the Far East at this time might be seen as a provocation.”

The Chancellor nodded. The balance of naval forces was a touchy subject. “And what of Thailand?”

The emergence of the Thai kingdom under Bhumibol Adulyadej was seen in Berlin as an imponderable. Blank continued.

“They have begun to amass a formidable quantity of modern weaponry to overhaul their air, ground, and naval forces. France and Britain have been quick to offer to fulfil their needs. When the Macclesfield Bank incident was at its height is seemed as if Thailand was willing to commit itself against China, despite their past friendships. As it was, the Thai Navy is taking a more forward stance. Reports indicate that they have begun a series of exercises and, somewhat surprisingly, sending a flotilla to the Philippines.”

The Cabinet had met on prior occasions to decide whether to agree to Thai requests for arms, equipment, and aircraft. An unwillingness to throw fuel on the potential fires in the Orient had resulted in Thailand turning elsewhere. Germany would, at the present time, not be Thailand’s principal arms supplier.

“What’s next?” The Chancellor was indicating a desire to move on.

Hamburg, The Waterfront, Wednesday, 15 June 1949

“Fido” had finally worked himself up the dockland ladder to a position of Hafenarbeiter, stevedore, or more accurately cargo handler. Not only did it bring a more regular pay packet than the odd-jobs he’d had previously, but he now had opportunity to more closely examine the contents of what was being loaded aboard or discharged from freighters in one of the busiest ports in Europe.

Today he was working seeing to cargo being loaded aboard the Hansa Line ship Marienfels, due to sail for the Far East at the end of the week. What caught his eye was the numerous crates bearing the half-defaced markings of the Luftwaffe being loaded aboard her. Despite persistent though discrete questions he could learn little more than that they were consigned to the Thai Government in Bangkok. Nevertheless “Fido” was confident that his contact would pay him something for the information.


Tuesday, October 8th 2019, 7:22pm

Berliner Morgenpost, Thursday, 16 June 1949

The Dornier-werke of Friedrichshafen has received a contract from the Ministry of Defence to adapt its Do330 maritime reconnaissance aircraft to use turboprop engines in place of the current conventional powerplants. Specific details of the programme were not disclosed at this time.

Frankfurter Zeitung, Friday, 17 June 1949

The Ministry of Transportation announced that it will fund the construction of two pre-production examples of the new Junkers Ju490 long-range civil airliner which, when available, will be used by Deutsche Lufthansa for route-proving flights to the Americas and the Far East.

Kleine Zeitung, Saturday, 18 June 1949

It is reported that the government of the Kingdom of Thailand has placed orders with the Wiener Neustadter Flugzeugwerke for the supply of a number of the firm’s Wf14 utility helicopter to the Thai armed forces. It is understood that some two dozen machines are to be supplied initially, with options for additional purchases, subject to reaching suitable financial arrangements.


Saturday, October 12th 2019, 1:41am

Die Welt Am Sonntag, Sunday, 19 June 1949

Light Cruiser Nürnberg, The Irish Sea, Monday, 20 June 1949

Kapitän zur See Wilhelm Rollman, Nürnberg’s captain, checked the charts again. His ship, together with the Leipzig under Kapitän zur See Helmut Neuss, had put to sea three days ago on a westward course, navigating the constricted waters of Le Manche under the watchful eyes of British, Dutch, and even French maritime reconnaissance aircraft – though the latter were primarily there to assure that the passage of the German cruisers provoked no harassment. Now the ships were more than a hundred kilometres west of Ushant, or Falmouth, depending on your point of reference; in either case, they were free to run as they wished.

“Helm, make your course two-six-five, speed fifteen knots. Signals, inform Leipzig of course and speed. Our next stop is Vinland.”

The Nordish port near the mouth of the St. Lawrence was a familiar haunt of the Kriegsmarine’s inspection ships and other craft monitoring the weather patterns of the Atlantic, but it had been many years since a German cruiser had ventured to those waters. Rollman wondered what sort of reception his ship might expect – it was nearly nine years since the ships of the old Third Cruiser Squadron had sailed the waters off North America; Rollman had served on the old Kiel on that voyage, Undernehmen Sonnenschein.

Berlin, H.M. Passport Control Office, Tuesday, 21 June 1949

The latest dispatch from the Circus had been brief but not unwelcome. Tanner was directed to stand down his efforts to prise open the secrets of German oil stockpiles. He did not question the reasoning behind London’s change of direction – he presumed other arrangements were being made and if, and when, his further assistance was required he would receive further orders. Given his relative lack of success in meeting his masters’ expectations on that score, he was, to some degree, relieved that he did not receive a rocket. For the moment, at least, he could go back to monitoring the growing strength of the German Navy – which was troubling enough.