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Friday, January 15th 2016, 6:41pm

German News and Events, 1947

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Wednesday, 1 January 1947

Keel-laying ceremonies are the order of the day in the nation’s shipyards. Hamburg sees the start of construction of four vessels, including two Wiesbaden-class air defence destroyers, while the yards at Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven share between them four destroyers of the Torgau-class. The yards at Kiel and Flensburg start construction of a further four frigates and the Schichau Works at Memel begins two new Amazone-class corvettes. These fourteen ships mark the nation’s commitment to freedom of the seas in an era of peace and prosperity.

Frankfurter Zeitung, Thursday, 2 January 1947

Commenting upon the Government’s moves against certain political groups aligned with the Zionist terrorist groups Irgun and Lehi Fritz Beckhardt, Chairman of the Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten commented: “The RJF sees the basis of its work as complete allegiance to the German homeland. It does not have any goal or desire outside of this German homeland, and sharply rejects any movement which wishes to bring us German Jews to a position of outsiders in relation to this German homeland.”

Recent weeks have seen police raids on schools providing clandestine military training to potential Irgun and Lehi recruits as well as suspension of the Jüdische Sozialistisch-Demokratische Arbeiterpartei, on charges of providing financial support to terrorist activities in Mandatory Palestine.

Berlin, The Reichsbank, Friday, 3 January 1947

Karl Bernard, President of the Reichsbank, set down the telephone receiver and pondered the call from the Chancellor. Not six weeks before he had been asked to choke off credit to the Kingdom of Nordmark – without explanation and an injunction to keep the matter secret. Now he was told to ease those restrictions, again without any explanation. He could not fathom the reason, and Herr Adenauer had not elaborated. Fortunately little business had been lost to the nation’s banks, but the bankers would breathe a sigh of relief to be able to get back to normal.


Monday, January 18th 2016, 1:34pm

German News and Events, January 1947

Talcahuano, Chile, Saturday, 4 January 1947

The aircraft carrier Wallenstein and her escorts stood out from the Chilean naval base into the eastern Pacific on a generally southerly course to exercise her air group before heading home. She was now free of her commitment to the Reichsverband Deutschen Industrie and back to being a representative of the Kriegsmarine – a fact that her officers and crew were proud of.

The North Atlantic, 56 dgs 58 min North, 15 dgs 53 min West, Sunday, 5 January 1947

The ships of the Kriegsmarine task force carefully made their way into the eastern Atlantic, the decks of the aircraft carriers pitching noticeably while waves broke over the decks of the small destroyer of the escort. It was a test for both ships and crews – which some of the officers of the task force believed was the reason for their voyage. At least their projected course would bring them into better weather in a few days; thus far winter had thrown its worst at them.

Handelsblatt, Monday, 6 January 1947

On the Frankfurt Exchange the pound sterling continues to weaken in the face of concerns about the British economy; it is down sharply against the Reichsmark, the franc, and the dollar. The recent formal nationalisation of the British coal industry has added more than £240 million to the public debt already swollen by commitments to the construction of roads, housing, and other public infrastructure; coupled with the imposition of controls on capital this has driven the price of sterling-denominated securities down three percent in Frankfurt, and shares of major British companies have fallen as well.

While the removal of silver from the content of British coinage is not significant in the larger picture of economic change in Britain, it has been taken by many as a sign of indecision and weakness on the part of HM Treasury, which now has such a large role in the restructuring of Britain’s industry. This has sparked a hoarding of the older issues while arbitrageurs are taking advantage of the volatility of the market to make speculative profits in an increasing scale.

Karl Bernard, President of the Reichsbank, expressed his concerns regarding the recent developments to a meeting of German bankers several days ago saying, “While I have no doubts that in the long run the British economy will weather the current storm, at this moment it does seem as if the British Government has sought to do too much, too fast, and that those at the helm may not know how to right the ship.”


Tuesday, January 19th 2016, 5:51pm

Talcahuano, BACh Patria, January 4, 1947
Capitán de Navio Eleuterio Serebrier strolled into the bridge of the carrier Patria exactly on the stroke of noon. The Armada de Chile's newest carrier, only a month out of the ASMAR yard a kilometer down the coast, was taking her ease in the summer sun. The ship's crew had been working hard all week, setting things to rights following her first few sea trials, and even the officers had been anticipating a weekend shore pass...

But Capitán Serebrier had other plans. As the bell finished chiming the hour, Serebrier glanced out the bridge windows overlooking the flight deck, nodded slowly, and then picked up the intercom. "This is the captain! Set the maneuvering watch and make ready for sea."

The Patria's executive officer gaped for a few seconds. "Sir?"

Serebrier smiled. "I know the crew is tired, number one - but I want to be out of the harbour in two hours. Summon the senior officers to my ready room for conference at 1215 hours."

"Yes sir." The executive officer would need to run to arrange that in time. The officers and sailors in the bridge tried to exchange surreptitious glances whenever the captain wasn't looking their way. Serebrier pointedly ignored the tension as he rang Engineering and ordered the B+W diesels and one reserve boiler brought online. The Patria's chief engineer must have suspected something was up, since he calmly reported that Patria could be underway in ninety minutes.

"Excellent," Serebrier said. He strolled to his ready room and found the ship's officers gathering. "Gentlemen, I know you and the rest of the crew probably hoped for weekend passes, but our work for the week isn't done. As you know, the German carrier Wallenstein departed Talcahuano early this morning. During her time here, I had the opportunity to speak with her task group commander... and we agreed to stage an impromptu fleet exercise. In two hours, Patria will sortie and take on the leading elements of our airgroup. We will then begin practicing flight operations by attempting to find and track the Wallenstein before she passes the Horn on her return voyage."

The Patria's officers looked slightly worried at the suddenness of the announcement - but the ship's executive officer had at least recovered his balance. "Air Ops," he said, "Begin mustering your landing signal officers in the aft hanger and run checks on the landing approach lights, then prepare an aircraft recovery plan for the captain's review by 1300 hours. Deck division, I want two line-handling parties fore and aft by 1315 hours..."

Serebrier nodded as the XO begin taking care of the finer details of getting the ship underway. Once the junior officers had their orders, they had no time to think about how they'd wanted to spend their weekend - and neither did their subordinates.

At 1400 hours, Patria reached the mouth of the bay and turned out into the open ocean. The destroyer Cerro Solo followed her out - Serebrier had talked the tin can's CO into participating as Patria's plane guard. At 1430 hours, the Air Ops officer spoke up amid the bustle of the bridge. "Captain! Aircraft approaching from the southeast. Request permission to turn to course two-five-zero in order to begin recovery operations."

"Make it so," Serebrier ordered.

It took the aircraft carrier's crew nearly eighty minutes to recover forty-eight aircraft. It was only a fraction of her eventual aircraft complement, but Serebrier tolerated the delays. There would be ample opportunity to practice more in this cruise...

"Send a signal to Wallenstein," Serebrier ordered. "Inform them that we're at sea."


Wednesday, January 20th 2016, 12:51am

Kommodore Günther von der Forst was on the bridge of Wallenstein when the signals yeoman brought him the message flimsy announcing that the Patria had put to sea. While the message was not explicit in its language, he suspected that his Chilean counterpart, Capitán de Navio Serebrier would have at least taken aboard his air group before announcing the start of their small exercise. He turned to Kapitän zur See Martin Saltzwedel, the Wallenstein’s captain and nodded.

“And so it begins. Signal the Memelland to detach and make for the designated rendezvous point; the remainder of the task force will come to course two-seven-zero, speed twenty-five knots. We will put as much distance between ourselves and the Patria as possible before nightfall.”

“Yes Herr Kommodore,” Saltzwedel replied. “Shall we launch a combat air patrol?” While much of her hangar deck was empty the Wallenstein still had sufficient aircraft aboard to permit a semblance of normal flight operations.

“For the moment we will rely on speed. The Patria is a new ship, with a newly formed air group. It may take them quite a while to launch scouts; but ready two fighters in case of Seetakt contact. We do not need to make their task overly easy.”


Wednesday, January 20th 2016, 6:03pm

BACh Patria, January 4, 1947
The Patria's maintenance crews slowly started to turn around the newly-arrived Alicantos and Corsarios, refueling them and moving them back into position on the rear of the flight deck. A large chunk of Patria's crew had been transferred over from the older Mapuche, and they knew their work - even if they were not the well-oiled machine that Serebrier was accustomed to seeing aboard Libertad. The ship's CAG, who'd arrived aboard flying his own II Grupo Alicanto, had quickly gotten busy preparing a standard search fan.

Serebrier watched the evolutions from the bridge with a skeptical eye, wondering when the Deck Ops officer was going to notice the problem that he himself had spotted from the very beginning.

A quartet of F4E-4 Corsair night-fighters had been moved forward during the recovery operations, where the deck crews had tied them down for safety. While many of the rest of the aircraft had been struck below for refueling, the four fighters had remained in place for the last two hours; they would prevent any aircraft from being launched.

Deck Ops finally looked out the curved windows that overlooked the flight deck. "What are those Corsarios doing at Park Forty?"

"I believe," Serebrier said calmly, "They've been there ever since they landed."

Deck Ops rubbed his forehead and swore under his breath, realizing that the mistake had been his - he should have ordered them moved aside or struck below at least an hour previously. The officer handed control off for a few moments to his deputy, and personally went down to the flight deck to get the four planes shuttled down the forward elevator.

Serebrier said nothing when the Deck Ops officer returned, but he was pleased at the result. Deck Ops wouldn't make that mistake again during this exercise - it had cost Patria nearly a half hour to launch aircraft. But moreover, he'd been pleased at the young officer's response. Years before on Mapuche, Serebrier had worked for a Deck Ops officer who would have stayed on the bridge screaming into a telephone for someone else to fix his mistake, rather than taking responsibility for it.

"Sir," Deck Ops finally said, still sounding sheepish, "we are finally ready to begin flight operations. Request course two-nine-zero to launch."

"Very good, Lieutenant," Serebrier said. "Helm, make your course two-nine-zero, speed twenty-two knots. Raise the fox and launch."

Patria turned into the wind again and raised the 'Fox' flag on her signal hoist, indicating that the ship was launching aircraft. Since the aircraft had no ordnance and the weather conditions were favorable, there was no need for Patria to use her new British steam catapult - they simply bolted on down the deck and were gone.

The planes returned just before dusk with nothing to show for their efforts - although they'd spotted the German tanker Memelland and waved. Serebrier considered pressing his luck by continuing the search in the night, but finally decided against it. They'd pick up again in the morning.


Wednesday, January 20th 2016, 7:05pm

Aircraft Carrier Wallenstein, 4/5 January 1947

Kommodore von der Forst was pleased the results so far in the small exercise with Patria. His ships had managed to evade the initial Chilean search; to be truthful, not all his ships. Memelland had sent a blind message indicating that she had been spotted by Chilean aircraft; this was to be expected – she had maintained a direct course towards Cape Horn, and making only fifteen knots finding her was in no way difficult. Towards sunset Seetakt had made fleeting contact with aircraft at the limits of its search radius – these were supposed to be Chilean aircraft at the limit of their search radius, and in the hours after darkness Seetakt had been clear.

To von der Forst this made sense. Given the constraints of time it was unlikely that Patria would have been able to mount more than one full-strength search before nightfall, and Serebrier had wisely not chosen to risk inexperienced flight crews in a night-search. The matter would, no doubt be different come sunrise.

Not long after midnight Wallenstein and her attendant corvettes encountered a squall line and slowed to fifteen knots; this proved propitious, as the squall line continued to move northeast in the general direction of the Chilean coast – between Wallenstein and Patria. Von der Forst took advantage of this to change course to one-seven-zero, having in effect made a broad reach to the west-southwest which now had to be made good. He knew that the Chileans would find him sooner or later, but it would not be proper to make it easy.


Thursday, January 21st 2016, 7:50pm

Berlin, The Cabinet Meeting Room, Tuesday, 7 January 1947

The cabinet docket was rather full for this season of the year; much had happened over the holidays, and the meeting was not going well. Discussion had returned to the question of Nordmark’s nuclear ambitions for rather odd reasons.

“But Herr Chancellor,” began Lübke, the Minister of Labour, “just last week Admiral Canaris briefed us on the dangers of this programme… and now we are to presume that all is well?”

For a few moments the room was silent, and then Adenauer sighed. “Herr Lübke, Admiral Canaris has been dead a month, and I fear Generalmajor Oster’s last briefing has slipped your mind.”

“What, Canaris dead?” Lübke said in shock. “How?”

The followed another pained silence, broken by Minister of Economics von Hapsburg. “Herr Chancellor, may I respectfully suggest a recess for our mid-day meal? We still have much to cover, and the hour is advanced.”

Adenauer nodded. It was clear that von Hapsburg’s warning about Lübke’s memory, or lack thereof, was prescient. “Yes gentlemen, let us take some time for thought. Herr Lübke, will you remain a moment?”

The meeting reconvened in the early afternoon, and Lübke’s chair was conspicuously empty – and what that implied was clear, but unspoken. They picked up where business had been left off and things resumed a better course.

The first matter to be handled was the succession to the permanent chief of the Abwehr. While Generalmajor Oster had been an able deputy to the late Canaris he had little support and less imagination. A new broom was seen as necessary. “Does anyone have objections to Generalmajor Gehlen?” Adenauer asked. The consensus was in favour and the Chancellor moved forward – “Herr Blank, you will inform him and ascertain how soon he can formally take charge.”

Discussion continued.

The moves taken by the Government against supporters of terrorism in Mandatory Palestine had drawn some adverse comment but the majority of public opinion seemed in favour of the measures, and they would be continued. Herr Schäffer, Minister of Finance raised the question of what actions, if any, should be taken to intervene against speculators in the pound sterling, whose slide in international markets continued. The majority of the cabinet opposed any response at this time, as no immediate threat to the stability of the Reichsmark was seen.

“While no doubt speculators are making a paper profit,” von Hapsburg noted, “the upward pressure on the Reichsmark has yet to impact our exports to any significant degree. Herr Schäffer and Herr Bernard of the Reichsbank, together with my staff, are continuing to assess the near-term effects.

Otto von Hapsburg did not try to raise the question of economic policy in Eastern Europe at this meeting; he would bide his time.

Frankfurter Zeitung, Wednesday, 8 January 1947

Axel Springer, publisher of the Hamburger Abendblatt, announced that it will soon commence publication of a national-level illustrated weekly newspaper, Die Welt am Sonntag.

London, The German Embassy, Thursday, 9 January 1947

Walter Schellenburg returned from his leave to find his desk covered with newspapers and other reports from his embassy colleagues. He had anticipated a sleepy holiday season but things in Britain had moved rather swiftly – the first of January had been “Vesting Day”, when the British Government took charge of the coal industry, accompanied by howls of protest from the conservative press and Members of Parliament. All this was against the backdrop of what presaged to be a cold winter; already there were questions as to whether the output of the mines was sufficient to cope with a rising demand. Schellenburg made a note to make inquiries… while not an outright military matter, the economic health of Britain was of interest to the Abwehr.


Thursday, January 21st 2016, 8:31pm

BACh Patria, January 5, 1947
Dawn resulted in Patria encountering the outer edges of a squall line. Overnight, Serebrier had kept his ship at a steady twenty-three knots, expecting that the German commodore would keep his speed up in order to try to give Patria the slip. Unfortunately, the squall line intervened, disrupting the plans Serebrier and the 2 Grupo's CAG had put together for their morning search.

Serebrier ordered the planes - in the process of preparing for launch - to be securely tied down on the flight deck, and turned southwest to punch through the storms. For an hour or so, the wind whipped over the flight deck at nearly seventy knots, driving the deck handling teams below. Fortuitously, the sea remained fairly calm - doubtless a comfort to the escorting destroyer Cerro Solo.

By the time the first Alicanto rumbled off the deck, however, it was nearly ten in the morning and Serebrier was annoyed that so much daylight had elapsed. At least the summer days were long enough to give the searchers plenty of time.

Serebrier felt the search would probably be successful. Twenty-four Alicantos of 2 Grupo would spread out in a fan search pattern, doubled up for mutual protection and reporting purposes. The twelve scout pairs would patrol out over a thousand kilometers before returning to Patria. Two flights of four Corsair fighters would follow some of the Alicantos southward, acting as a loose escort force for the search planes.

Serebrier knew the mathematics. Wallenstein and her task group had left Talcahuano before dawn the previous day, and even at thirty knots, the German carrier could have only traveled seventeen hundred kilometers straight south. Patria had already sailed almost eight hundred kilometers from the time she'd left Talcahuano - which meant that, mathematically, the Alicantos ought to spot Wallenstein...


Thursday, January 21st 2016, 10:29pm

Aircraft Carrier Wallenstein, 5 January 1947

Dawn found the aircraft carrier and her escorts on the south-easterly course that they had followed since midnight; the storm had passed north of them, and the ships could resume high-speed steaming; the question was whether it was the time to do so.

“The fuel situation on the corvettes is becoming worrisome Herr Kommodore,” Saltzwedel reported.

“Yes,” replied von der Forst, poring over the chart. “We will have to refuel at some point. The question is whether we can do so and still avoid the Chileans; we play a neat game of cat-and-mouse here.”

He presumed that the Wallenstein’s broad reach to the west would have confused Serebrier for the moment; having spotted the Memelland the day before the Patria might concentrate her search further to the south, but the Chilean captain might realize that the Wallenstein had sailed further off the coast. Patria would have sufficient aircraft to mount a search to the west as well as the south, since it was unnecessary to search to the east.

“Has Memelland broadcast any further sighting reports?” he asked.

“No Herr Kommodore,” Saltzwedel replied. “None since yesterday.”

The tanker had orders to make for a rendezvous point at grid square HE74; if Serebrier were to play it safe, he would track the Memelland in the hope it would lead him to the rest of the task force. Wallenstein could break wireless silence to order a change but von der Forst did not wish to do so unless Memelland reported further.

Von der Forst made up his mind. “Come to course one-nine-zero maintaining current speed. We will see if we can keep ourselves hidden a bit longer.”


Saturday, January 23rd 2016, 6:19pm

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Friday, 10 January 1947

The Office of the Chancellor has announced the retirement of Herr Heinrich Lübke, Minister of Labour. No word has yet been given regarding the selection of a replacement.

Aircraft Carrier Karl der Große, 8 dgs, 46 min North, 33 dgs, 16 min West, Saturday, 11 January 1947

Vizeadmiral Friedrich Ruge smiled at the news of the rendezvous of the destroyer Waldstein and the oiler Lipperland, freshly arrived from Recife. His ships had transited the North Atlantic with some difficulty, and his escorts were in need of refuelling. The presence of the Lipperland would also allow him to detach one of his own supply ships to call at Recife for supplies.

In theory it was winter, but here beneath the Tropic of Cancer the seas were calm, the skies clear, and perfect for exercising both ship-handling and air operations. Karl der Große, Friedrich Barbarossa, and Pappenheim would spend the next several days here, awaiting the next phase of the operation.

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 12 January 1947


Monday, January 25th 2016, 7:22pm

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Monday, 13 January 1947

A light snow was falling as a car drew up at the entrance to the Benderblock; a figure emerged, muffled against the cold, but the red stripes on his uniform trousers proclaimed him to be a staff officer. The car drove off and the figure approached the entrance, where sentries saluted automatically. Walking boldly into the lobby the unknown officer sought out the duty officer and inquired after the acting chief of the Abwehr.

“Generalmajor Oster has not yet arrived sir,” the duty officer replied.

The officer was not surprised by the situation; it confirmed long-held opinions. “I shall wait for him in his office” he announced and turned towards the elevator.

Flustered the duty officer frantically inquired, “Who shall I say is awaiting him…”

“Gehlen” the officer answered over his shoulder.


It was nearly a half-hour later when Hans Oster entered his outer office to find his successor waiting patiently for him. “I did not expect you so early, Gehlen; my apologies” he said quietly.

“It is a time for new beginnings,” Gehlen replied. “Would you be so kind to summon the senior staff to witness the formal transfer?”

Oster knew his visitor’s reputation. A brilliant staff officer who had risen from leutnant to generalmajor in little over twenty years Reinhard Gehlen was hard-working and unforgiving to those who failed to come up to his standards. The Abwehr moulded by Admiral Canaris would never be the same. “Of course Herr General. It should take but a few moments.”

That at least was true. The senior desk chiefs and administrators of the Abwehr were gathered into the outer office of the late Admiral inside of a few minutes, while Oster and Gehlen stood quietly. When all had arrived Gehlen took a sheaf a paper from his pocket and began to read.

“From Blank, Minister of Defence, to Generalmajor Reinhard Gehlen. You are herewith directed to take office as director of the Amt Ausland/Abwehr im Ministerium der Verteidigung in succession to the late Vizeadmiral Wilhelm Canaris. In you the Chancellor reposes the highest confidence to fulfil duties of the director.”

Gehlen paused, and turned to Oster. “I relieve you sir.”

Oster nodded and replied. “I stand relieved.”


Wednesday, January 27th 2016, 5:11pm

Berlin, The Cabinet Meeting Room, Tuesday, 14 January 1947

The empty chair at the table was a sharp reminder that the cabinet was incomplete; it would be the first order of business.

“Gentlemen,” Adenauer began, “Herr Lübke’s unexpected retirement requires us to act. I wish to invite Herr Wilhelm Niklas to take up the Labour portfolio.” The Chancellor was frequently sharp and to the point.

Achieving consensus was unexpectedly easy. Niklas had done good work in the provincial administration in Bavaria and was a steady back-bencher in the Reichstag. He and Lübke were personal friends, and the latter’s staff were acquainted with Niklas to a degree. He was a logical choice.

“Excellent,” said Adenauer with satisfaction. “Now, the matter of the pound sterling. Today’s Handelsblatt suggests that the pressure for devaluation is increasing. Herr Schäffer?”

The Minister of Finance was quick to respond. “It may be more wishful thinking on the part of speculators than any underlying weakness in the pound. Still, it appears that that the upward pressure on the franc and the Reichsmark is still strong and British-owned funds have begun to flow into Swiss and Dutch banks rather than being repatriated home.”

“You still counsel that we take no action?” the Chancellor asked.

“There is little short of a major intervention that we can take,” Schäffer explained. “Precipitate action on our part might upset the delicate balance of the markets.”

Eisenbahn Kurier, Wednesday, 15 January 1947

London, The German Embassy, Thursday, 16 January 1947

Schellenburg wrestled with the question before him; was the opportunity before him real or a plot by British intelligence to entrap him. Several days previously he had been introduced by one of his “Baker Street Irregulars” to a fixer named Sidney Stanley who, it seemed, had very good contacts within the Labour Government. Stanley, it seemed, was continually hard up for funds to maintain the lifestyle necessary to maintain these contacts. Schellenburg thought the man an adventurer, but adventurers have their uses; but they can be double-edged swords. He had made no commitments towards the man, but the possibility of gaining a source of information was intriguing.


Saturday, January 30th 2016, 7:02pm

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Friday, 17 January 1947

The arrival of General Gehlen had aroused the Abwehr as if an anthill had been kicked over. The rumour had gotten round that the new chief was living in his office, reading through files on all current and past operations, and making quick judgments on the fitness of the current occupants of the various ‘desks’. There was truth to the rumour – Gehlen did spend much time in the Bendlerblock and was bringing himself up to date on the operations the Abwehr had running; but he had already formed his views of too many of the Abwehr’s senior officers – too old, too hidebound, too stuck in tradition. When he had joined Fremde Heere West he had found the need to weed out many such ‘old-boys’. He would do so now. He also recognized that the Abwehr needed to move in new directions.

The telephone rang; his assistant informed him that his visitors had arrived and were waiting. “Send them in” Gehlen ordered.

Major Georg Nikolaus and Professor Kurt Diebner had been surprised to find themselves summoned to General Gehlen’s office. They had been spending the last several weeks winding down the activities of the Arbeitsgruppe Armbrust and writing its final reports, in the view that the fears of the development of atomic arms by Nordmark were vastly overstated. As they entered the office they found Gehlen pacing quietly behind his desk.

“Gentlemen, please be seated,” he said. He continued after they had done so. “I have read the reports of the Armbrust committee. Very good work.”

“Thank you Herr General,” Nikolaus replied almost automatically – he expected there to be a ‘but’ or a ‘however’ to follow.

“The fact that it was necessary to pull together an ad hoc group to investigate this matter, and to find ourselves so far behind our Russian allies, highlights the fact that the Abwehr has no centralised department for the gathering of scientific intelligence. That will now be remedied.” He picked up a buff folder from his desk and handed it to Nikolaus.

“I have ordered the establishment of Abteiling VI of the Abwehr to take responsibility for the gathering of scientific intelligence. Nikolaus, you are to take charge of it; Herr Diebner, you will be the assistant director. Are there any questions?”

Nikolaus was too busy examining the folder to respond but Diebner was quicker off the mark.

“Herr General, which of our potential enemies ought we to concentrate our efforts on?”

Gehlen gave a wry smile. “All of them, and our friends as well… we have much to make up for.”

Aircraft Carrier Wallenstein, 47 dgs, 26 min South, 42 dgs, 16 min West, Saturday, 18 January 1947

The Wallenstein waited patiently while her escorting corvettes refuelled from the tanker Memelland; it gave Kommodore Günther von der Forst the opportunity to reflect upon their recently concluded exercise with the Chilean aircraft carrier Patria. He felt that, under the circumstances, Wallenstein had done well to delay contact with Capitán Serebrier’s aircraft for as long as they had managed; weather had worked in their favour as did the evasive course the Wallenstein had steered – but south of Tierra del Fuego the Patria’s scouting Alicantos had finally found them as they rendezvoused with Memelland. Von der Forst was inwardly pleased that his Chilean opponent had not resorted to trailing the tanker but had exercised his air group strenuously, flying search patterns throughout the daylight hours. But now the Wallenstein was headed north. Before they headed home they would make another rendezvous

London, The Portland Club, Portland Place, Sunday, 19 January 1947

Martin Walser, London representative of the shipping firm Argo Reederei, was thankful that he was so familiar to the business community in London that he attracted little attention. This helped tremendously in his role as one of Walter Schellenburg’s ‘Baker Street Irregulars’ – informants and cut-outs that kept the Abwehr residenz informed of things beyond the normal ken of an ‘official spy’. Like today's gathering.

Walser enjoyed playing at cards, and played them well; for a number of years he had maintained his membership in the Portland Club and he could be usually found there on a Sunday afternoon, playing bridge. Today however the foursome would take a different turn – he would be playing with a ‘fixer’ named Sidney Stanley and two of his acquaintances - George Gibson, a director of the Bank of England, and John Belcher, parliamentary secretary to the Board of Trade. These were well placed potential sources of information of use to the Abwehr – and Walser’s brief was merely to keep his ears and eyes open; at least at this point in time.


Tuesday, February 2nd 2016, 6:12pm

Inspection Ship Roter Löwe, 64 dgs, 45 min North, 0 dgs, 5 min East, Monday, 20 January 1947

Fregattenkapitän Richard Zapp noted the mornings weather observations in his logbook. He also noted the ship’s aerographer's report on the conditions. An unexpected anticyclone had set up over Scandinavia, and it was forcing the seasonal winter storms to the south of their normal track. There would be heavy weather over the North Sea; and Zapp was thankful that the Roter Löwe had only recently come on station – their provisions would have to last until the weather improved.

Berlin, The Ministry of Economics, Tuesday, 21 January 1947

Otto von Hapsburg sat at his desk, paper and pen before him, pondering the situation. At the morning’s Cabinet meeting his proposals for change in Germany’s economic policies towards Eastern Europe had again been discussed, and again, consensus had not been reached. Chancellor Adenauer, who saw the need for some change, was also well aware of the need for solidarity in the face of the autumn’s elections. But all was not dark. The cabinet had authorised the Reichsbank to extend limited developmental credits to Germany’s eastern neighbours and approved the use of specialists from the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst to assist in rural development if the host governments were willing to accept them. “Half a loaf is better than none,” he thought, as he began to draft a memorandum to implement the decision.

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Wednesday, 22 January 1947

General Gehlen finished reading the latest budget of information obtained from the Hungarian secret service, the fabled “Source Merlin”. Though it galled him to be dependent upon foreigners for such, the value of the intelligence was beyond question; developing the Abwehr’s own intelligence gathering abilities was high on his list of necessary changes.

“Merlin” had much to say regarding the deployment of Britain’s Royal Air Force in the Middle East, including maps and aerial photographs of its bases in Egypt and Palestine. Gehlen appreciated the thoroughness of the reports, with order-of-battle data, identification of senior personnel, and evaluation of morale. The packet also included evaluations of two British fighter aircraft, the Gloster Meteor and the de Havilland Vampire, which had passed through Eastern Europe and the Middle East on sales tours. Somehow “Merlin” had acquired the verbatim reports of the local pilots who had flown them. The photographs that accompanied that part of the report suggested that the Meteor’s report originated in the Balkans, while the Vampire’s report would seem to have come from Egypt.

And there was much else. The Abwehr chief sighed in the realisation that it would be some time before he could dispense with the Hungarian alliance.


Thursday, February 4th 2016, 3:18pm

London, The German Embassy, Thursday, 23 January 1947

Outside the snow still fell heavily, blanketing London and causing extreme distress for the Great British Public. Inside his office Walter Schellenburg carefully studied the day’s newspapers; the Tory press was taking great pleasure in excoriating the Labour Government for any hint of mismanagement in the nationalised economy – and given the sharply increased demand for coal in this unprecedented winter there were plenty of anecdotes to provide ammunition for the Opposition. The mining disaster at Burngrange was but the worst – the Scottish provincial papers were making much of the delay between the first report of the underground explosion and the reaction of the works’ management – more than an hour. Schellenburg made a note to follow-up on the incident.

Bremerhaven, Friday, 24 January 1947

Despite the prevailing heavy weather a small squadron of ships was departing the port for the open sea – two frigates, the Graz and Salzburg, shepherding a trio of supply ships – the replenishment ship Werra and the oilers Samland and Schwabenland. At a careful ten knots they headed out into the North Sea, their crews wondering what their ultimate destination might be.

Aircraft Carrier Wallenstein, 7 dgs, 30 min North, 24 dgs, 48 min West, Saturday, 25 January 1947

The Wallenstein and her consorts had made their rendezvous with the carrier task force under Vizeadmiral Friedrich Ruge the previous evening, and this morning Kommodore von der Forst had the pleasure of taking on board the remaining elements of the Wallenstein’s air group, which had been brought south as supernumeries aboard the other aircraft carriers of the task force. The tropical weather was perfect for flying, and it gave the deck crews of all the ships additional opportunities to practice launch and recovery. That was the principal purpose of the exercise – that and to show the flag in distant waters. For Germany’s friends in South America knowing that the Kriegsmarine was capable of long-distance operations would be a comfort.


Friday, February 5th 2016, 4:11pm

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 26 January 1947

Handelsblatt, Monday, 27 January 1947

The Reichsbank confirmed today that is has established a new programme of development credits intended to assist Germany’s neighbours in modernising their economies. Up to twenty million Reichsmarks is reportedly to be made available. Further details are expected to be announced.

Nachrichten für Außenhandel, Tuesday, 28 January 1947

The Kontinental Büro-Maschinen Gesellschaft has confirmed the sale to the University of Belgrade of a Z-4 computing machine for academic research purposes.


Sunday, February 7th 2016, 4:05pm

Münchener Post, Wednesday, 29 January 1947

Production of the Focke Achelis Fa336 light helicopter continues to gather tempo. January’s production amounted to six units, divided equally between the Heer, the Luftwaffe, and the Kriegsmarine; a second production line is expected to commence next month. The aircraft is fulfilling a number of roles, chiefly liaison, casualty evacuation, and air/sea rescue.

Frigate Graz, 61 dgs, 31 min North, 2 dgs, 4 min West, Thursday, 30 January 1947

The ship pitched fore and aft in the heavy seas, as did her sister Salzburg; the accompanying supply ships merely ploughed through the waves, their decks often awash. It had taken six days for them to reach the entrance to the Atlantic, the winds howling out of the east and snow squalls occasionally dropping visibility to near zero. This was a North Atlantic winter like no other in memory.

Wehrtechnische Dienststelle für Waffen und Munition Meppen, Friday, 31 January 1947

The gathering of officials from the Defence Ministry, representatives of the Heer, and a number of military attaches from diplomatic missions in Berlin found themselves enjoying a bright if cold morning; snow covered much of the testing grounds. At least they enjoyed the benefit of a covered bandstand from which to view the demonstration. In the distance they could hear the growl of a powerful engine emanating from the dead ground beyond their immediate view, and it seemed to grow louder by the moment. Then all of a sudden the vehicle crested the hill, throwing snow into the air in its wake.

The prototype of the Ardelt light tank was taking the snowy conditions in stride; its wide tracks and low ground pressure seemed to keep if from sinking too deeply into the white powder while its engine propelled it over the field at more than twenty kilometres an hour once it reached the flat. Its crew put the vehicle through its paces, showing off its agility despite the terrible conditions. After perhaps ten minutes the crew pulled the tank onto the concrete hardstand before the assembled delegation, brought it to a halt, and shut the vehicle down. Before the firing demonstration, scheduled for later in the day, the visitors would have an opportunity to closely inspect the vehicle.

The military attaches clutched their notebooks and quickly came forward; for many this was an excellent, if belated, Christmas gift.


Tuesday, February 9th 2016, 1:12pm

German News and Events, February 1947

Kieler Nachrichten, Saturday, 1 February 1947

The ships of the Eighth Escort Group, including the recently operational Kondor and Falke, have recently transited the Kiel Canal for training in the Baltic.

Die Welt am Sonntag, Sunday, 2 February 1947

Marienburg, East Prussia, Monday, 3 February 1947

For Friedrich von Ahrens today was a red-letter day – the first production Focke Wulf Fw340 fighter aircraft from the Marienburg factory was due to be rolled out for acceptance testing. He had spent much time and effort working his German colleagues to bring this project to fruition, and now the end was in sight. Once the production process was settled down he would be able to return to Chile, ready to help in the important work of arranging production of the German aircraft in his homeland.


Tuesday, February 9th 2016, 2:55pm

In case it hasn't been made obvious to everyone else, Chile plans to license-built the Fw340 as the ENAER F5E. :)


Tuesday, February 9th 2016, 2:58pm

The Chilean Government is most wise and foresighted in its decisions. :D ;)