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Saturday, April 6th 2019, 10:45pm

Marinestützpunkt Wilhelmshaven, Tuesday, 22 February 1949

Kapitän zur See Hermann Lüdke, commander of the newly assigned Zerstörergeschwader 31 returned from his initial interview with the commander of the North Sea naval station filled with anticipation and relief. His crews were have five days to prepare for their next deployment, which would allow the men an opportunity for brief liberty while concentrating of last-minute repairs to shortcomings exposed during their transit from the Baltic. So much for relief; anticipation derived from the assignment which was to be their part - Zerstörergeschwader 31 would deploy to the naval station at Heligoland and undertake patrols in the North Sea to monitor and observe the movement of naval vessels in that area. To Lüdke that meant bearding the Royal Navy in waters it believe to be its back yard. The thought brought a smile to his face.

Aero-Kurier, Wednesday, 23 February 1949

Since its first appearance on the aviation scene the twin-engine Heinkel He500 has established itself as a popular executive transport and light feederliner in many corners of the world. The smart lines, speed, and agility of the civil transport remind many of the heritage of Heinkel’s military experience. Production of the type exceeds more than one-hundred thirty aircraft to date, many of which have found homes in the United States; it has also been sold in small numbers to the German military, where is has been used as a staff transport for the Heeresflieger and the Marineflieger.

Elbinger Volksstimme, Thursday, 24 February 1949

Chancellor Adenauer presided over the dedication today of the recently completed Memel oil terminal and storage farm of the Baltische Mineralölhandels und Tankanlagen AG. This facility tranships crude oil and other petroleum products received from the Russian Federation for export. When the facility reached full capacity it is expected that the Memel terminal can hold up to 80,000 tonnes of petroleum and related products.


Tuesday, April 9th 2019, 5:28pm

Survey Ship Komet, The Bismarck Sea, North of New Ireland, Friday, 25 February 1949

The Komet had spent the last week investigating the convoluted features of the sea floor at the eastern edge of what was known as the Manus Trench. Here a line of fissures that pointed towards the Caroline Islands bifurcated and ran to join the underwater ridge that marked the trench as it turned south-eastward towards the island of Bougainville.

“Herr Kapitän! Air contact report. Single aircraft approaching from the southeast. Range one hundred kilometres, altitude three thousand metres.”

The announcement from the Seetakt operator brought Fregattenkapitän Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock to his feet. He had long expected an air contact since the Komet had neared the Australian base at Rabaul. An aircraft approaching from that direction could be nothing else. The incoming aircraft was tracked for the next quarter hour until the sun glinting off the aircraft’s wings announced it arrival on station. It remained at altitude, circling.

“I suspect that we will have company from now on. I should not expect any interference by the Australians, but keep a sharp lookout by day and night.” He tried to reassure his crew with his self-confidence. He knew however if the Australians were to do something foolish, his ship had little means of objecting.

Kronen Zeitung, Saturday, 26 February 1949


Tuesday, April 9th 2019, 10:26pm

Its good to see the RAAF is still keeping an eye on those dastardly huns!


Thursday, April 11th 2019, 1:30am

Berlin, H.M. Passport Control Office, Sunday, 27 February 1949

Tanner read the cable from “the Circus” with mix of elation and resignation. London had latched on to his last report regarding semi-secret oil stockpiles in southern Germany and had sent an all-stations request for all available information regarding German oil and other commodity stockpiles. That his masters had finally taken heed of his warnings about possible German malevolence was satisfying, but did they not realise that one could not just walk into von Hapsburg’s office and ask for copies of the relevant files? Nosing around for that sort of information was bound to attract attention from the German security services – the demise of the TEAPOT network made that clear. Tanner was resigned to do his best to obtain what information he could from his sources in Berlin; at least “the Circus” had sent similar instructions to Charlie Robinson in Vienna and to John Strangways in Budapest – they were in far better positions to find out what was really happening in the Balkans.

Marinestützpunkt Wilhelmshaven, Monday, 28 February 1949

Kapitän zur See Hermann Lüdke, flying his broad pendant from Zerstörer 216, led his eight destroyers to sea on the morning tide. Unless rough seas came up, they ought to make Heligoland by nightfall. Once clear of the harbour channel the ships formed into two columns as they headed north-northeast. Above them a pair of Marineflieger Dorniers kept a protective watch. Lüdke had been advised that there was reason to suspect the presence of British submarines in the area, so in addition to air patrols a strict watch was kept on the destroyers’ sound gear. He wanted no surprises.


Friday, April 12th 2019, 8:57pm

Personal Defence Weapon Trials

Report of Trials conducted by the Army Ordnance Office for selection of a Personal Defence Weapon for Heer Personnel

The need for a personal defence weapon for Heer personnel was first identified in 1942 and brought to the fore with the decision to replace the Karabiner 37 in its present second-line use and concomitant abandonment of the 7mm cartridge. The sidearms presently in service, the Pistole 08 and the Pistole 36 are deemed to lack the firepower to offer a reasonable measure of self-defence to vehicle crews who might find themselves in direct combat in the event they must temporarily evacuate their vehicles. The Maschinenpistole 36 presently issued, while acceptable as an expedient, absorbs considerable space within the vehicles presently in service, precluding its issue to all vehicle crews. Requirements to industry were issued in November 1948, with first proposals to be submitted within sixty days, the intent being to procure a commercial off-the-shelf weapon.

Seven firms submitted technical packages for designs intended to meet the requirement; preliminary evaluation reduced the field of contenders to three, viz.: Brügger & Thomet AG, whose submission was designated MP1; Waffenwerk Suhl AG, whose submission was designated MP2; and Československá Zbrojovka, whose submission was designated MP3. Contenders were requested to submit five (5) trials weapons for evaluation. Initial field trials were conducted at Grafenwöhr in February 1949.


MP1 – submitted by the firm of Brügger & Thomet AG

Weight – 1.22 kg (loaded), 1.78 kg (with holster)
Length – 225 mm, 540 mm with stock
Barrel length – 140 mm
Cartridge - 9mm Parabellum
Action – Blowback
Rate of fire – 750 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity - 300 m/s
Effective firing range – 50 m (practical)/180 m (maximum with stock)
Feed system - 20 round double-stack magazine contained within the grip
Sights – Iron sights

The MP1 takes the form of a traditional stocked pistol, the phenolic resin detachable stock doubling as the holster for the weapon and its cleaning kit. It is a select-fire weapon, with semi-automatic and full automatic setting. The MP1 locks open on an empty magazine, providing the shooter with a positive indication that reloading is required.

Firing trials disclosed that in semi-automatic mode the weapon is controllable and accurate over short distances up to fifty metres. In full automatic mode the weapon climbs to the extent that firing one handed is completely uncontrollable. Use of the stock gave marginally improved accuracy in full automatic mode but under sustained rates of fire the accuracy fell off appreciably. Accuracy factors were scored marginal.

Handling trials disclosed that the phenolic resin stock/holster protected the gun in an acceptable manner. The holster can be carried on a sling from the shoulder or hung from a belt worn at the waist. Users found the length of the stock/holster when worn at the waist excessive and heavy; when slung across the body the combination snagged on numerous occasions during ingress and egress of vehicles. Ergonomic factors were scored marginal.

MP2 – submitted by the firm of Waffenwerk Suhl AG

Weight - 3.5 kg
Length - 470 mm (folding stock collapsed), 640 mm (folding stock extended)
Barrel length - 260 mm
Cartridge - 9mm Parabellum
Action - Blowback
Rate of fire - 600 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity - 300 m/s
Effective firing range - 200 m
Feed system - 20 or 32 round box magazine
Sights - Iron sights

The MP2 is a machine pistol of conventional in design save for the use of a telescoping bolt, in which the bolt wraps around the breech end of the barrel. This permits the barrel to be moved further back into the received and the magazine to be housed in the pistol grip, allowing for a heavier, slower-firing bolt in a shorter, balanced weapon. The magazine is housed within the pistol grip allowing for intuitive and easy reloading in dark or difficult conditions, under the principle of "hand finds hand". The pistol grip is fitted with a grip safety, making it difficult to fire accidentally.

The weapon is capable of firing both short bursts and full automatic. Firing the weapon with the folding stock extended disclosed that it is controllable though with the considerable recoil felt by the user. Accuracy was acceptable, with little movement of the barrel observed. This same result was the outcome whether the weapon was fired in semi-automatic or full automatic mode. However, firing the weapon without the stock extended saw it suffer from considerable climb and dispersion. Accuracy factors were scored acceptable when the stock was utilised, but unacceptable when used without it.

Handling trials disclosed that compared with the MP36 the MP2 design is lighter, shorter and far more compact. That said, the weapon cannot be carried in a holster; its size at the upper end of the scale for intended use. When slung across the body vehicle crews found that it snagged on numerous occasions during ingress and egress of vehicles. Ergonomic factors were scored marginal.

MP3 – submitted by the firm of Československá Zbrojovka

Weight – 1.44 kg
Length – 270 mm (stock folded), 517 mm (stock extended)
Barrel length – 115 mm
Cartridge - 9mm Parabellum
Action - Blowback
Rate of fire – 500 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity - 300 m/s
Effective firing range – 50 m (practical)/150 m (stock extended)
Feed system - 10 or 20 round box magazine
Sights – Iron sights

The MP3 is a true machine pistol, conventional in layout with a pistol grip, folding stock, and the magazine located forward of the receiver. It can be fired in semi-automatic or full automatic mode. It utilises a closed bolt method of operation. It can be carried in a leather holster at the belt or shoulder, from which the weapon can be easily drawn. The weapon can be holstered with the small 10-round magazine while additional 20-round magazines can be carried in belt pouches. The safety is integral with the selector switch. The weapon locks open on an empty magazine, providing the shooter with a positive indication that reloading is required.

The weapon is capable of firing both short bursts and full automatic. Firing the weapon with the shoulder stock extended found that it was quite controllable in either mode, with little muzzle climb even in full automatic. Surprisingly, even when firing the weapon one-handed there was little degradation of accuracy even in full automatic. Users reported that little recoil was felt even during full automatic firing. Accuracy factors were scored exceptional when the shoulder stock was employed and acceptable when it was not.

The weight and compactness of the weapon were favorably commented upon by users. Its holster does not impede ingress or egress from vehicles and may be worn comfortably when performing tasks inside the vehicle. Ergonomic factors were scored acceptable.


The MP3, submitted by Československá Zbrojovka, scored the highest in all tests, and is the preferred choice for the role of personal defence weapon. The MP2, submitted Waffenwerk Suhl AG, is an excellent weapon in and of itself but does not meet the ergonomic criteria specified. The MP1, submitted by Brügger & Thomet AG, was found to be inferior to the MP3 on all counts.

It is recommended that the MP3 design be adopted.


Tuesday, April 16th 2019, 9:43pm

German News and Events, March 1949

Hamburg, The Waterfront, Tuesday, 1 March 1949

“Fido”, along with a modicum of Hamburg’s other denizens of the waterfront, watched the pair of destroyers being warped into the Deschimag yard. Here and there pieces of the protective cocooning remained in place, evidence that the ships had until recently been in lay-up. The nearer of the pair bore the number “239” painted on her bow; the further ship had her bow obscured by a tug. He wished he could have taken a picture, for his handlers would have paid him for it. As it was, he was confident that he would be rewarded, at least at normal rates, when he met his contact.

Berliner Börsen-Courier, Wednesday, 2 March 1949

The Ministry of Economics announced the formation of the Finanzierungs-Gesellschaft für Industrielieferungen AG by a consortium of the Reich’s leading banks and financial institutions. Its purpose is to assist the financing of capital goods purchases by firms abroad and thus support the domestic machine-tool industry.

H.M Passport Control Office, Vienna, Thursday 3 March 1949

Charles Robinson, the local officer-in-charge for MI6 in the city, received the cable from London with surprise and no little distress. Since the Anschluss Vienna had been a backwater for ‘the Circus’, and most of the reports he and his predecessors seemed to have raised little interest. Now he was tasked with ascertaining what was actually happening in a host of small towns across Austria – obscure places such as Krems, Lambach, and Zeltweg, as well as more well-known cities like Klagenfurt, and all matters pertaining to petroleum. Someone, somewhere, had launched a rocket. Fortunately he had managed to cultivate a few local operative who might be able to get the information London sought; regrettably, his relations with his opposite numbers on the consular side were none too good – asking them for information that might bear on the matter risked pointed questions or an outright snub.


Saturday, April 20th 2019, 6:37pm

Militär-Wochenblatt, Friday, 4 March 1949

The American firm International Armaments Corporation of Alexandria, Virginia has proven the successful bidder on the first lot of twenty thousand Karabiner 37 rifles recently declared surplus by the Army Ordnance Office. Mr. Samuel Cummings, president of International Armaments told members of the press that it is his intention to market the weapons in ‘sporterised’ configuration to North American game hunters.

The Portuguese Fort, Bahrain, Saturday, 5 March 1949

Alexander Klaws’ car pulled up outside the old walls of the fort and made his way inside where Bessig and Jones were sitting down to their mid-day meal.

“Still happy with your decision to continue digging through the spring?”

Jones took off his hat and mopped his brow. “You bet! This morning we opened up a new level, disclosing chain-ridge pottery that is very similar to what’s been found in the ‘Royal Mounds’.”

Bessig agreed. “That makes the seventh distinct culture that we have found evidence of here in the tel.”

“Then I hope you will be happy with the telegram that arrived this morning for you.” Klaws passed a paper to Bessig, who quickly scanned it.

“It is from Hachmann! He has persuaded the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft to give a grant of… twenty five thousand marks… towards our work here!”

Jones’ eyes widened. “That's no chump change… that will cover us through to winter…”

Survey Ship Komet, The South Pacific Ocean, North of New Ireland, Sunday, 6 March 1949

Lehmann-Willenbrock had come promptly to the Komet’s bridge when notified of a new Seetakt contact. His executive officer advised him that a third vessel had joined the two Australian sloops that had kept them under observation for the last two weeks.

“An addition or a replacement?” For Lehmann-Willenbrock it made little difference – the Komet was in international waters, conducting a scientific survey. “Are they changing station?”

The Seetakt operator consulted his screen and announced that the new arrival had joined the sloop stationed to starboard of the Komet’s present position, perhaps eight kilometres off. Through his glasses Lehmann-Willenbrock could see the small, slim arrival exchanging signals with one of the now-familiar shepherds.

“If we venture further north we will be entering Pacifican waters. I wonder if they will follow us?”


Monday, April 22nd 2019, 9:58pm

Österreichische Schiffswerften, Wien, Monday, 7 March 1949

Vize-admiral August Becker returned to the Danube yards to witness the launch of the infantry landing ships Nordstrand and Vogelstand; though small, in Becker’s eyes they were part of a larger plan. Work was proceeding in shipyards across the Reich; once the ceremonies were complete here he would leave immediately for Memel. He had urged the yard management to stick to the building schedule and they had performed magnificently. Once the slipways were cleared and prepared the Knechtsand and the Julssand would follow.

Elbinger Volksstimme, Tuesday, 8 March 1949

The assault landing ships Kampenwerder and Kaninchenwerder were launched today at the Schichau Works at Memel. They are expected to complete by mid-May, and join the fleet soon thereafter. The yard holds contracts for a further pair, whose keels are expected to be laid down next month.

The British Embassy, Budapest, Wednesday, 9 March 1949

Commander John Strangways, British naval attaché in the Hungarian capital, seemed a fish out of water. The Royal Hungarian Navy – so named despite that Hungary was a kingdom without a king – comprised a handful of ancient river gunboats and somewhat more modern customs craft. Yet the importance of the Danube as an international waterway demanded someone on the spot to keep London informed of developments. Since he had duly reported to the Admiralty the lay-up and subsequent scrapping the Germany’s river monitors years ago their Lordships had seemed to lost interest in the affairs of Central Europe; that was until the priority signal inquiring about German oil stocks.

He knew that Germany had invested heavily in the Hungarian oil industry – the major Hungarian producer, Magyar Olaj- és Gázipari, was said to be half owned by German interests, and that the Danube was a major artery for shipment of oil to Germany from Romania, Russia, and even further afield. Details however were sketchy. Thankfully he had a source who might be able to shed light on a murky situation. It would, however, require him to travel further down the Danube; which itself would be an opportunity to observe and report.


Tuesday, April 30th 2019, 1:11am

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Thursday, 10 March 1949

The coastal escort Höllentäler was launched today in the naval shipyard at Wilhelmshaven. Her sister, the Alpenföhn, was scheduled to be launched at the Kiel Dockyard. These two vessels represent the first of a class of specialised antisubmarine craft intended to protect the nation’s territorial waters from incursion by potentially hostile vessels.

Kronen Zeitung, Friday, 11 March 1949

The Vacuum Oel concern of Wien announced today that it will expand its oil terminal facilities at Wiener Neustadt/Grabenring to cater to the increased traffic in petroleum products in the Danube basin.

Magyar Nemzet (Budapest), Saturday, 12 March 1949

Reports have been received from our correspondent in Asmara, East African State, indicating that a major incident has occurred in the government’s campaign to stamp out a rebel group calling itself ‘Arbegnoch’, or ‘Patriots’ in Amharic. Allegedly the rebels were able to ambush a government troop convoy at Culqualber Pass, inflicting substantial casualties, requiring the intervention of the 1º Gruppo Mobilitato dei Carabinieri, an Italian unit detached from the Metropole to assist the East African government in the present emergency. Other details are conflicting or incomplete.


Sunday, May 5th 2019, 1:15am

Ada Kaleh, Sunday, 13 March 1949

Commander John Strangways had arrived on the morning steamer which was the island’s principal means of communication with the outside world. Ada Kaleh sat squarely in the middle of the Danube, one-time guardian of the Iron Gates, contested by Hapsburgs and Ottomans for centuries, by Romanians and Yugoslavs for decades. Its small population subsisted on fishing and prospered by smuggling. Strangways had come there to persuade an old contact to obtain some of the information London sought.

“So effendi, how may a humble and honest merchant be of help to His Majesty’s navy?”

Ali Kerim Bey was one of the most notorious smugglers in the region, with fingers in many pies. Kerim Bey made Ada Kaleh is headquarters, with tentacles reaching far and wide. In an unconventional manner he had, after a few minutes small talk seated in his garden, come straight to the point. Strangways had met the Turk more than twenty years before, and had found him a useful contact – hence his journey from Budapest.

“Tell me… Have you noticed increases in ship traffic to and from ports in Germany?”

Kerim Bey looked toward the river and waved a hand in the direction of the ships traversing it.

“Who has not? See the small freighter riding high in the water? She may fly the Hungarian flag but I assure you she is traveling downriver to call at Ruse for copper. And that heavily loaded river tanker – at least one such ship heads up river weekly, and that will increase, now that winter is over.”

Strangways could see the German ensign on the big freighter that was following in the wake of the river tanker. “And the big freighter?”

“Probably from Odessa, or perhaps Izmir.”

Strangways templed his fingertips. “I need to know how many ships carrying cargo to and from Germany pass through here on a weekly basis, their tonnages, and, if possible, details of their cargo. You can obtain this?”

“For a price, anything can be obtained… including a man’s soul.”


Wednesday, May 8th 2019, 10:05pm

Survey Ship Komet, The South Pacific Ocean, Monday, 14 March 1949

The Komet had pursued her hydrographic survey northward, following the lines of a previously uncharted ocean trench. Watched at a respectful distance by Australian sloops she had ignored her ‘escorts’ and continued on her research mission, though as it went on the number of Australian vessels had decreased – at one point there had been three, but now only a single vessel trailed the Komet.

Lehmann-Willenbrock checked the chart again and updated the track of her voyage thus far. Komet was now in the middle of no-where, halfway between Palau to the west and Moen in the east. The ocean trench they were following trended to the northwest, and the Komet would go thither.

“Herr Kapitän. We have lost contact with the Australian vessel!”


“No return Herr Kapitän. She must have dropped below the horizon.”

Lehmann-Willenbrock wondered if his shadow had indeed decided to call of the chase or had merely opened the distance to lull him into a false sense of confidence. Given their current position he suspected the first.

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Tuesday, 15 March 1949

Minister of Transport Hermann-Eberhard Wildermuth presented the semi-annual report on the progress of the National Motorways to the Reichstag.

He indicated that the eastern Ruhr bypass has been completed, together with the section linking the port of Stettin with Frankfurt an der Oder. Slow progress was made on scattered section of the network, and much preparatory work had been completed for the major spring construction campaign.

Berlin, Abwehr Headquarters, Wednesday, 16 March 1949

Gehlen read with interest the latest report from Source Merlin.

The situation in Italian East Africa was deteriorating steadily – the pitched battle at Culqualber Pass that was reported in the press was but the tip of the iceberg. The Arbegnoch were making it extremely difficult for the puppet government to exert its authority over the countryside, and more Italian troops were being despatched in an attempt to put down the fires of rebellion. He made a mental note to increase covert assistance to ‘the Patriots’. The Italians had a similar problem in their Balkan exclave, Vlore. The long-standing Yugoslav and Greek sanctions were beginning to bite, and the inefficient Italian government was failing to keep control of territory it considered an integral part of the state. According to Source Merlin the Yugoslavs were doing nothing overt but their preparations to intervene in Vlore should civil authority collapse were growing.

Merlin also indicated that the Bank of Rome had discovered a further quantity of counterfeit currency had been injected into the Italian economy, further undermining the faltering Italian economy. Gehlen found this interesting – whoever was mounting this operation was doing so deftly – after the initial discovery of fake bank notes across Italy they had stopped for months – and had only recently begun again. While it certainly worked to Germany’s advantage in causing havoc within Italy, Gehlen doubted that France, Russia, or the Dutch would mount such a risky venture. Of the Belgians he was less certain. He made another mental note to consult with the Comte de Rochefort.


Sunday, May 12th 2019, 10:05pm

London, The German Embassy, Thursday, 17 March 1949

Schlellenburg read the day’s Times with mixed feelings. John Belcher MP, had been appointed to the post of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead – effectively covering his resignation from Parliament. Following the death of Beaumont and Adams, as well as the resignation of House earlier in the year, is seemed to be a questionable time to be a Labour MP. It also represented a short-circuiting of his plan to rattle the dice on the British political scene and perhaps bring down the Labour government; the Lynskey Tribunal had managed to keep matters out of the public eye. It also cost access to information he had obtained at arms-length from the likes of Sidney Stanley, George Gibson, and Robert Liversedge; thankfully the British security services, for all their zeal, never realized that the gossip gathered at the Portland Club had been so useful to him.

Militär-Wochenblatt, Friday, 18 March 1949

The Army Armaments Office has selected the MP3 design submitted by the firm of Československá Zbrojovka to fulfil the Heer’s requirement for a new personal defence weapon for vehicle crews. An initial contract for 10,000 examples has been placed with the Czech firm pending negotiation of arrangements for licence production by a national manufacturer. The first deliveries are expected to occur in July.

Emder Zeitung, Saturday, 19 March 1949

A new firm, the Deutsche Motor-Hochseefischerei AG, has been formed here to operate long range fishing trawlers in the North Atlantic. Contracts have been placed for construction of two motor trawlers, the first of which is expected to be delivered this autumn. The formation of the firm was prompted by the growing demand for fisheries products.


Wednesday, May 15th 2019, 8:33pm

Die Welt Am Sonntag, Sunday 20 March 1949

Germany’s economic growth continues to manifest itself at home and abroad.

In Sierra Leone, a member of the Iberian Federation, the Deutsch-Westafrikanische Handelsgesellschaft continues to invest in rubber plantations (top left) from which the Reich draws much of its supply of this essential resource.

The Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in May 1940 made recommendations to the Turkish Government for the establishment of a domestic automotive industry in that nation. Today, the resultant Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi (top right) assembles a wide variety of trucks and cars for the Turkish market, with an increasing domestic component. Much of the machinery at the present factory at Kocaeli was supplied by German firms, with the technical assistance of engineers from the Krupp firm.

At home the gasoline filling station (bottom left) is becoming more and more a common sight. Sleek and stylish in their architecture they have migrated from the national motorways to the local scene, matching the growth of the automobile market. In some major cities examples might be found on every street corner; it is certain that they will become even more familiar as time progresses.

Even before the last remains of winter withdrew from the ports along the Baltic seacoast marine traffic saw a significant increase (bottom right). Vessels flying the ensigns of Nordmark, the Russian Federation, and Poland, as well as the flag of the Handelsmarine are seen here in the port of Stettin. Traffic is up more than twenty percent from the previous year, fuelled by increased imports of agricultural products and petroleum.

Lübecker Nachrichten, Monday, 21 March 1949

The prototype of the Dornier Do35 amphibian aircraft was unveiled today at the Wismar works of the Norddeutsche Dornierwerke.

Zeltweg, Styria, Tuesday, 22 March 1949

Franz Antel cursed the day he had agreed to do ‘a job’ for his boss. At first it was only to observe the sort of things anyone might notice – the number plates of vehicles going in or out of a kaserne. Then as time went by he was asked to do more risky tasks, and he had long ago crossed the line from being a minor fish to an important agent. Antel had never been told outright for whom his boss worked, but given the information he was asked to uncover, he firmly believed that his employers were some part of British intelligence. He had been told to reconnoitre Zeltweg to locate a petroleum storage facility and report the details of its location and what it held. Though he demurred, his boss had told him unequivocally that if he refused he would be denounced as a spy. So he had come to this small mountain town in the guise of a tourist on a hiking vacation, despite the early season.

Discovering the general location of this reported tanklager was not difficult. The first day he arrived in Zeltweg he had seen a string of railway tank wagons sitting on a siding. Discrete inquiries among the locals revealed that a half-a-dozen or more wagons arrived each week, disappearing into the forested hills and emerging a few days later to be sent back towards Wien. But Antel knew that this would not satisfy his boss, who demanded full details. So in the gathering dusk he had slowly followed the railway siding towards it end – and was rewarded by discovering a guarded zone within the forest, surrounded by a high chain link fence with but a single gate for entrance, or so it seemed.

From outside the fence he could see no large tanks, as one might expect. So he stealthily followed the fence along the perimeter, hoping to catch sight of whatever served as the storage facility. Half-an-hour later he had a lucky break – a fallen tree had recently breached the fence and he managed to squeeze his way inside. In the distance he could hear the sound of machinery – a pump perhaps – and he moved in its direction. Then out of the gloom he saw the second fence and the danger warning signs; here he could find no breach. Though he thought the better of it he took out a pair of wire-cutters and gingerly snapped the first wire.

The sudden illumination of floodlights told him he had made a grievous error and in a panic he sought to make his way back to the breach in the outer fence – without success. Then he heard the bark of the dogs and saw them loping across the open space where he was pinned by spotlights. The leading dog leapt and brought him down, tearing at his limbs; the second went after his throat.

Moments later the squad of security guards arrived and called the dogs off. For Franz Antel their arrival was too late.


Tuesday, May 21st 2019, 11:02pm

Bremer Nachrichten, Wednesday, 23 March 1949

The Focke-Wulf works delivered its final Fw190M naval fighter bomber today, the last of more than two thousand examples which have been delivered to the Marineflieger since its introduction in 1941. The jet-powered Dornier Do.335 and its successors will now take the first line of fleet air defence; it is expected however that the veteran Würger will continue in service for several years, albeit in diminishing numbers.

The British Embassy, Budapest, Thursday, 24 March 1949

Commander Strangways considered the initial report from Kerim Bey to be more than acceptable, given the short period since had commissioned the smuggler to report on shipping movements on the Danube. It would, if nothing else, give a baseline of the number of movements and approximate tonnages by which to gauge the growth of traffic over the spring and summer months. Already this month oil cargos of more than six thousand tons had been delivered to German ports in the Danube basin – most originating in Romania. Strangways prepared a coded cable for London, advising that he expected to get further details in the weeks ahead.

The Davao Herald (The Philippines), Friday, 25 March 1949

The German survey ship Komet arrived here today following completion of an extended hydrographic survey of the Bismarck Sea and the South Pacific Ocean. She is expected to spend several days in port, to give its crew a period of rest and recreation, before returning to the German East Asia Squadron at its base in Indochina.


Saturday, May 25th 2019, 3:13am

Hamburg, The Waterfront, Saturday, 26 March 1949

“Fido” had kept watch on the progress of the ships under construction at Deschimag’s Hamburg yard, pumping his friends and acquaintances for news on their progress. But today he was able to slip into the yard itself as part of the crowd there to witness the formal re-commissioning of a pair of older destroyers that had come out of the reserve and undergone a quick refit. While he eschewed bring his own camera – he certainly did not want to attract attention – he had the opportunity to purchase some postcards that were available to the public. These, he hoped, would assuage his handlers and encourage them to give him a bonus.

Dithmarscher Landeszeitung, Sunday, 27 March 1949

The Dresden-based firm Aktiengesellschaft für Kraftstoffanlagen has been awarded a multi-million Reichsmark contract to expand the Kriegsmarine’s oil storage facility at Flemhude.

Der Tagesspiegel, Monday, 28 March 1949

Special ceremonies today marked the completion of the escort aircraft carriers Westfalen at Bremerhaven and Pommern at Cuxhaven. Following their initial builders’ trials they are scheduled to undergo extensive work-up and training in the Baltic. It is expected that they will join the fleet in the autumn.


Tuesday, May 28th 2019, 8:45pm

Elbinger Volksstimme, Tuesday, 29 March 1949

The air defence cruisers Heligoland and Höchstädt were declared fully operational in special ceremonies at the Pillau naval station. They will depart next week to join the Atlantic Fleet.

Kronen Zeitung, Wednesday, 30 March 1949

The Army Ordnance Office has announced the award of several development contracts aimed at upgrading the armament of the Heer’s ‘Panther’ medium tanks. The Eisenwerke Oberdonau of Linz has contracted to adapt the Russian 10cm L/55 D10T tank gun, as employed on the Russian Federation’s T-47 battle tank, to the Panther hull. Rheinmetall was awarded a contract to pursue design of a 10.5cm tank gun of its own design. Trials of the first modified vehicles are anticipated sometime in the autumn of this year.

Berlin, H.M. Passport Control Office, Thursday, 31 March 1949

Tanner was putting his final touches on his first follow-up report to London on his investigation into German oil stockpiles. It was summary at best, with too many gaps, particularly with regard to the stocks held by the German Navy. The fact that the Kriegsmarine’s bases were home to nearly a dozen tank farms – Schiffstreibstoffdepot – was readily established; these were a part of the normal ebb-and-flow of naval operations. Its strategic reserves were the greater mystery.

His agent reports spoke of underground facilities at such places as Achim-Bader and Rekumer-Heide but without any details of what these places were presumed to harbour or how they fit into the German Navy’s scheme of supply. He had actually authorised one of his local agents to gain access to the facility at Farge, outside of Bremen – a botched job that led to the agent’s death. Thus far at least there had been no repercussions from that fiasco. Rumour had it that Germany’s naval oil reserve held more than several million barrels of oil; London, Tanner knew, would not be satisfied with rumour.


Monday, June 3rd 2019, 7:28pm

German News and Events, April 1949

Elbinger Volksstimme, Friday, 1 April 1949

The keels of the small assault landing ships Kietzwerder and Langenwerder were laid in the Schichau yard today. These follow the recent launch of their sisters Kampenwerder and Kaninchenwerder. It is said that preparations are in hand for further of these vessels to follow over the course of the year.

Hamburg, The Waterfront, Saturday, 2 April 1949

“Fido” felt the packet of Reichsmarks in his inner coat pocket again; it was not as thick as he had hoped but his handlers did reward him for the information he had exchanged. Four new merchantmen had been taken in hand by the Kriegsmarine for conversion to auxiliaries – one of which was, according to one of his acquaintances in the shipyard, to become a salvage tender. That the Kriegsmarine would need a specialist salvage ship made little sense to him, but he had passed the information to his contact, who found it interesting enough to ask for more details. “Fido” would do all he could to oblige.

Berliner Morgenpost, Sunday, 3 April 1949


Sunday, June 9th 2019, 4:39pm

Marinestützpunkt Heligoland, Monday, 4 April 1949

Kapitän zur See Hermann Lüdke prepared his report to higher headquarters for the first month’s operation since Zerstörergeschwader 31 had arrived in Heligoland. Their patrol activity had been quite high – more than sixty percent of their hours had been at sea – good follow-on training for the crews. Despite the occasional sightings of foreign warships – Nordish, Danish, and, more often, British – there had been no major incidents. The cat-and-mouse games with unidentified submarine were something else.

Lüdke’s captains had learned the game from their Russian counterparts – locate an unknown submarine operating in the area, localise it, keep track of it, and when eventually the game was up, invite the submarine to surface and exchange greetings. Those few Nordish and Danish boats they encountered were familiar enough with the game and participated good-naturedly. Less so were the more numerous ‘unknowns’ – those submersibles that were tracked but not identified. They were most frequently encountered near German territorial waters and fled on a westerly course when challenged. Lüdke suspected, but could not prove, that the ‘unknowns’ were boats of Britain’s Royal Navy. The growing number of such contacts concerned him.

Berlin, The Cabinet Meeting Room, Tuesday, 5 April 1949

The official cabinet meeting had concluded and the Chancellor, with most of the other attendees, had already departed. Minister of Foreign Affairs Thomas Dehler and Minister of Economics Otto von Hapsburg remained at the conference table – the latter neatly stacking reports in his portfolio preparatory to departing.

“Excellency, what is your personal opinion of this recent Dutch proposal?” During the formal meeting Dehler had reported on the recent decision of the Dutch cabinet to consider seating representatives of their ‘overseas territories’ in the upper house of the Netherlands’ parliament.

Von Hapsburg shook his head.

“Personally, I believe it to be misguided, or, charitably, insincere window-dressing.”


The home population of the Netherlands is what, twelve to fifteen millions? There are as many in their African territories alone, and in the Indies six times as many. If the Dutch admitted members from their overseas territories in proportion to the population of those territories the stolid Dutchmen would be swamped. And if they admit but a token number of representatives it will merely fan the fires of independence in the colonies.”

“I see your point. Italy’s unilateral ‘inclusion’ of their overseas possessions – Slovenia, Dalmatia, Libya – in the republic has brought them nothing but problems. I mean, look at Vlore…”

“Precisely. Not that I really expect to see this proposal achieve passage. Their Government’s coalition in parliament is none too solid. You have seen Gehlen’s reports of the situation in the Indies?”

Dehler nodded.

Berliner Börsen-Courier, Wednesday, 6 April 1949


Monday, June 17th 2019, 7:57pm

Survey Ship Komet, Davao, the Philippines, Thursday, 7 April 1949

The Komet had spent nearly two weeks in the port of Davao – her crew enjoying liberty in the friendly Philippine port while minor repairs and regular maintenance were carried out. Fresh provisions were loaded aboard in anticipation of the next leg of her voyage. Orders had been received and the Komet would depart on the morning’s tide for her home away from home in Indochina.

Militär-Wochenblatt, Friday, 8 April 1949

Two new weapon systems have begun testing at the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle für Waffen und Munition at Meppen.

The Armbrust (left) is a lightweight man-portable recoilless antitank weapon intended to supplant the current Panzerfaust. The Kreuzbogen (right) is a recoilless antitank weapon expected to replace the current generation of antitank guns in infantry formations of the Heer. It is chambered for a special 10.5cm munition intended to defeat the armour protection of any current tank likely to be encountered on the battlefield.

Frankfurter Zeitung, Saturday, 9 April 1949

The National Institute for Space Research has confirmed reports that it has acquired a number of chimpanzees, which it is training to employ in testing to investigate the issues associated with manned space flight. A spokesmen for the Institute indicated that the chimpanzees would be used to test for the effect of gravity on their bodies during simulated rocket launches.


Thursday, June 20th 2019, 6:57pm

Iskenderun, Turkey, Sunday, 10 April 1949

The German-flag Gretke Oldendorff was tied up at the oil dock, taking on the last of the cargo she would be carrying to Hamburg. In the outer harbour the Elizabeth Entz waited to take her place once the Gretke Oldendorff sailed. Since the opening of the oilfields at Raman, Algyő, and Diyarbakır the port of Iskenderun had become a significant trans-shipment point for German oil imports, and the annual level of tanker liftings were considerable. The recent prosperity of this venerable port was due in no small measure to oil, the life-blood of the world economy.

Kronen Zeitung, Monday, 11 April 1949

Following the conclusion of tests of the prototypes of the Wiener Neustadter Flugzeugwerke Wf21 transport helicopter the Ministry of Defence announced today the authorisation of a pre-production series of ten aircraft, which will be assigned to the Heeresflieger to field trials. The first of the series is expected to be delivered in late summer or early autumn.

Argentinisches Tageblatt, Cordoba, Tuesday, 12 April 1949