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Monday, November 7th 2011, 4:57pm

German News and Events, Third Quarter 1941

Kieler Nachrichten, Tuesday, 1 July 1941

Today saw the ceremonial laying of the keels of the Kriegsmarine’s newest destroyers, the Fulda and the Minden. These ships, of the Paderborn class, will soon join their sisters in protecting German commerce upon the high seas, and represent the continuing commitment of the Government to the defence of the nation.

Hamburger Abendblatt, Wednesday, 2 July 1941

A contingent of the nucleus crew of the Brazilian battlecruiser Sao Paulo arrived in the city today aboard the Hamburg-Sud Amerika liner Cap Norte. The Sao Paulo is nearing completion is expected to being builders’ trials in September. The Brazilian naval personnel are temporarily quartered at the North Sea Naval Station, where they will begin training on some of the new combat systems that will be deployed aboard the Sao Paulo and her sister. Pending successful completion of trials, the Sao Paulo will sail for Brazil some time in the latter part of the year.

Wehrgedanken des Auslandes, July 1941

Report of Korvettenkapitän August Becker, Kriegsmarine

In mid-March I received an invitation to observe the activities of the Marine Nationale’s 1er Demi-Brigade du génie naval (1st Naval Construction Demi-Brigade), a specialist engineer construction unit. It had been tasked to construct an airfield at Port Vila on the island of Efate in the New Hebrides group. A task force consisting of two Caiman class amphibious landing ships, with the destroyer Valmy as escort and the tanker Cap Corse in support would transport the unit from Indochina to Efate. My hosts allowed me to observe the planning sessions for the exercise, which envisioned construction of a 1,500 metre packed surface runway, a hard-surfaced parking zone for aircraft, erection of a terminal building and covered repair shed and construction of fuel storage facilities. It was stressed during the planning that this was a civil engineering mission, as the New Hebrides are a co-dominium between France and Great Britain; however, the presence of an aerodrome on the island adds to its strategic potential.

French officers were quick to point out to me this exercise was the first undertaken by the 1er Demi-Brigade du génie naval as a unit, but it was not the first such task its component elements had been involved in. As far back as 1936 elements of the unit had constructed air facilities on the French island of Bora Bora, and since that time some of its personnel had been involved in construction projects across the French possessions in the Pacific as well as in Indochina. However, as a new formation, the forthcoming evolution on Efate would test the unit’s command and control structure and reveal any shortcomings in a situation short of war.

The task force departed Indochina on 19 March, arriving in Port Vila on 4 April. During the transit I was able to observe the seagoing capabilities of the Caiman class amphibious ships closely, for I was able to sail aboard the transport Jacara. In loaded condition the vessels are reasonably stable and are adequate gun platforms. However the ships are relatively slow – our transit was accomplished at a steady ten knots – and they lack radius of action for oceanic employment. However, they are capacious, quite capable of carrying armoured vehicles, troops, equipment and supplies, and are designed to land their cargo directly onto shore. In light of the shortcomings of the Caiman class revealed in the recent Indochina amphibious exercises the tanker Cap Corse carried one small landing craft of the new EA-13 type and one of the EDA-55. Their presence would prove providential.

Upon arrival at Port Vila the French task force began unloading immediately. Despite the presence of piers at Port Vila it was found that they had only two metres depth of water at low tide, and the French task force was constrained to off load its equipment over nearby beaches. The EA-13 and EDA-55 craft proved their worth in ferrying personnel and stores from the larger amphibious ships to Port Vila and in maintaining communications between varying points on shore. The island’s road net is not suited for military traffic and the use of small coastal craft is common here.

Clearing the area selected for construction of the aerodrome began as soon as the heavy equipment came ashore. While the French had brought adequate amounts of equipment and material it soon became clear that construction would be carried out under arduous conditions. The task force had arrived during the island’s rainy season – and drainage of the proposed aerodrome construction site soon became an issue, and the same problem also afflicted the roads and tracks used by French naval personnel moving equipment and supplies to work sites. The original plan called for a packed-earth grass covered runway – this was soon abandoned in favor of packed layers of crushed coral, which it was found to drain far better than the tropical soil on the island. The limited supplies of asphalt and concrete were reserved for the parking zone and the planned terminal building. These problems delayed completion of the aerodrome runway until 30 April, and further work remains to be done.

The probable weather conditions – April in Efate brings an average of thirteen days of rain and its average rainfall is 330mm – were well known to the French naval staff. Part of this exercise was to determine what elements of French planning and technique were adequate and which required improvement. As one officer expressed it to me, "In wartime we won't have the luxury of waiting until the dry season, so we might as well train for the wet season." One need identified has been for some sort of pre-fabricated underlayment for rapid airfield construction; while the crushed-coral topping used to complete the current aerodrome is considered capable of several years’ use French officers admit that it took far more material to build it up than they had anticipated.

One success was the use of pre-fabricated roof truss sections and wall sections to construct the terminal building. Once the engineers had poured the concrete pad it took but a few days to set the wall components in place using a large mobile crane and only a day to set the roof trusses once the walls were complete. At the time of my departure the covered workshop shed had yet to be completed – one result of the effort needed to complete the aerodrome. Similarly, construction of bolted steel tanks for aviation fuels had been planned for but completion was delayed by weather conditions and higher priority work.

In terms of the planned exercise, it is certain that the Marine Nationale learned a great deal regarding what its construction troops can do, and discovered a number of shortcomings. The need for additional water purification equipment was noted early on. In terms of heavy equipment, the number of earth moving cranes, scrapers and tipping lorries were found to be marginal for the tasks in hand. Additional electrical generators would have increased productivity. The troop tables for the Demi-Brigade du génie naval calls for a small sawmill – in the interest of time and in view of the use of prefabricated buildings this had been omitted on this occasion – its absence was quickly recognised when the lack of shoring timber became apparent. Such things as hardware, reinforcing bar and welding rod were found to be in short supply due to unanticipated requirements.


Located some 480 kilometers northeast of New Caledonia the island of Efate is the largest of the New Hebrides group, and is forty kilometers long from east to west and 25 kilometers wide – it covers approximately nine hundred square kilometers. Port Vila is the main centre of population and serves as the district seat of government.

Havannah Harbour on the northern shore of the island offers an excellent anchorage and can serve as a sheltered base for small craft, seaplanes and flying boats. Several of the French officers I spoke with indicated that it would not be difficult to construct limited shore facilities there to supplant the services provided by depot ships. There is a suitable site for a military aerodrome near Quoin Hill, in the northeast portion of the island, near an area of hot springs.

Should it be decided to turn Efate into a major military base one of the greatest difficulties to be faced would be improving the existing road network. None of the island’s roads are hard surfaced, and drainage in the wet season is a constant issue.


Monday, November 7th 2011, 5:15pm

Very well-written, Bruce. Thanks for putting it together - I appreciate the hard work!


Monday, November 7th 2011, 5:16pm

You are most welcome. I appreciate the cooperation in allowing me to make Wehrgedanken des Auslands viable.


Monday, November 7th 2011, 7:00pm

Deutsche Rundschau Special Feature - July 1941


Saturday, November 12th 2011, 1:43pm

German News - July 1941 - Second Tranche

Münchener Post, Thursday, 3 July 1941

Reports have emerged that discussions have begun between unspecified German automotive firms and several syndicates of Greek industrialists, ostensibly regarding the establishment of joint ventures to manufacture automobiles or trucks in Greece. Inquiries directed to Auto Union, BMW and Daimler Benz elicited no response.

Lübecker Nachrichten, Friday, 4 July 1941

The first two pre-production Focke Wulf Fw190M carrier fighter aircraft were delivered today to Traegergruppe 3 at Nordholz for trials.

Altmark-Zeitung, Saturday, 5 July 1941

The development programme of the Heinkel He280 reaction-jet powered fighter aircraft suffered a setback today with the forced landing of the V1 prototype aircraft due to failure of one of its engines. The pilot was unhurt but the aircraft suffered significant damage. Officials of Heinkel and the Defence Ministry were quick to assure that the delays imposed on the programme would be minimal.

Das Andere Deutschland – Editorial Page – Sunday, 6 July 1941

Readers! Again we must ask the Government to explain why half of the entire Kriegsmarine has been sent to sea in time of peace? The Defence Minister responds that the navy must train. Train for what we must ask? To poke our noses into the business of the Canadians? To disrupt the steamships routes of the Atlantic and hinder the flight of the European proletariat to a better life in the New World? To anger the British Lion? The Kriegsmarine can train as easily in the Baltic, where it belongs. And where are these Battle Submersibles cited in the foreign press? Their existence has never been reported to the Reichstag. The German people have the right to know where their taxes are expended. Workers of the World Unite!

(Das Andere Deutschland is a pacifist and socialist newspaper, and in no way represents the opinion of the German Government)


Sunday, November 13th 2011, 1:52pm

German News - July 1941 - Third Tranche

Militär-Wochenblatt, Monday, 7 July 1941

Marine Bau Abteilung 311 was formally embodied yesterday at the North Sea Naval Station, Wilhelmshaven. This unit is intended to conduct specialist construction tasks on behalf of the Kriegsmarine, and to operate as part of the Marine Landung Verband.

Frankfurter Zeitung, Tuesday, 8 July 1941

It has been confirmed that the first pre-production examples of the Funkmess Gerät 200 “Hohentwiel” airborne electronic detection equipment have been deployed aboard Dornier Do24 aircraft of Marineaufklärungsgruppe 101.

Kieler Nachrichten, Wednesday, 9 July 1941

The specialist Artillery Training Ships Bremse and Brummer completed their sea trials and formally entered service with the First Training Squadron, which is attached to the Baltic Naval Station here.

Berliner Morgenpost, Thursday, 10 July 1941

The Defence Ministry has confirmed reports that a quantity of one hundred BFW Bf109 fighter aircraft, surplus to Luftwaffe requirements, will be supplied to Romania as military assistance. It is expected that the aircraft will be delivered to the Romanian Air Force during the late summer and autumn.


Monday, November 14th 2011, 1:29pm

German News - July 1941 - Fourth Tranche

Oberhessische Zeitung, Friday, 11 July 1941

The firm Westphalisch-Anhaltische Springstoff AG has received a contract from the Defence Ministry to pursue development of field artillery rockets in the 21-centimetre and 30-centimetre calibres, in succession to the 15-centimetre rockets currently in service with the Heer.

Nachrichten für Außenhandel, Saturday, 12 July 1941

Shipping News –

Arrived Bremerhaven Thursday, Oldenburg-Portuguese Line freighter Casablanca, from Barcelona, Cadiz and Lisbon – 410 flasks of mercury, 3,700 pipes of port, 660 casks of Madeira, 2,270 bars of copper and 1,000 boxes of oranges

Departed Hamburg Thursday, HAPAG cargoliner Portland, for South America via Cleito – 460 cases of surgical instruments, 500 cases of tinplate, 430 crated motor trucks, 1,000 cases of porcelain products, 880 cases of spirits, 500 cases of machinery and machinery parts, 760 bundles of steel skelp, 1,230 bundles of shovels, 250 cases of shingles and 4,000 cases of other merchandise.

Arrived Hamburg Friday, HAPAG cargoliner Seattle, from South America via the Panama Canal – 790 tons of nitrates, 2,260 tons of copper ore, 2,440 bales of wool, 2,860 bales of cotton, 7,500 cases of tinned beef and 1,500 cases of other merchandise.

Arrived Bremerhaven Friday, NDL liner Osnabruck, from Hong Kong, Bangkok and Colombo via Suez – 6,400 bags of rice, 1,480 bags of sago, 80 cases of cinnamon, 500 bales of raw silk, 1,800 bags of ginger, 750 chests of tea, 280 pigs of tungsten, 300 bales of hemp, 3,300 bales of rubber, 320 planks of mahogany, 320 planks of teak and 600 bags of pepper.

Militär-Wochenblatt, Monday, 14 July 1941

The Defence Ministry has announced that a contract has been awarded to the Auto-Union concern to pursue development of an amphibious version of its Type 82 all-wheel-drive light car.

Eisenbahn Kurier, Tuesday, 15 July 1941


Keeper of the Sacred Block Coefficient

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Monday, November 14th 2011, 7:25pm

[Hey, Rüdesheim is just about 30km from where I live. It´s quite a nice town but in summer often flooded with tourists. However, it is a nice starting point for a trip along the Rhine where lots of old castles offer some interesting sites, including the Lorelei. Ask Coomander Green about it - I think he has taken dozen of pictures when we made a trip to the Rheingau last summer. :o} He may post some for the train and castle enthusiasts among you.]


Monday, November 14th 2011, 7:44pm

I'd be interested in seeing those pictures.


Monday, November 14th 2011, 7:45pm


Originally posted by HoOmAn
[Hey, Rüdesheim is just about 30km from where I live. It´s quite a nice town but in summer often flooded with tourists. However, it is a nice starting point for a trip along the Rhine where lots of old castles offer some interesting sites, including the Lorelei. Ask Coomander Green about it - I think he has taken dozen of pictures when we made a trip to the Rheingau last summer. :o} He may post some for the train and castle enthusiasts among you.]

[I know it is a lovely place; I had the opportunity to visit it - briefly - when I vacationing in Germany back in 1965. I'm afraid I don't remember that much of it - I was 10 years old - but I do remember the beauty of sailing along in a Rhine steamer. Great memories.]


Thursday, November 17th 2011, 10:14pm

German News - July 1941 - Fifth Tranche

Elbinger Volksstimme, Wednesday, 16 July 1941

The new artillery school ship Bremse called in port today as part of her inaugural training cruise. The ship provides opportunity for all grades and trades of seamen to train as one, in actual conditions. The effectiveness of the new ship can be seen in the ability to train gun crews (left) and signalmen (right), as well as engineers and navigators, in the same time frame. With the continued expansion of the Kriegsmarine these newly trained seamen will quickly take their places in the ships of the fleet.

Lake Konstanz, off the Bodenseewerke, Friday, 18 July 1941

The number of dignitaries gathered on the dock merely provided additional pressure for the test crew to get this one right. For months they had sought to perfect the new torpedo and now they faced the hurdle of a full scale test. Operating under remote control some five hundred metres out in the lake a small barge took the role of target, while a torpedo tube beneath a pontoon substituted for a U-boat. The engineers again checked their instruments and assured that all was in readiness for the test. The signal was given to proceed.

Compressed air shot the practice torpedo from its tube. The ‘fish’ began to circle, and the receiver behind its warhead acquired the noise generated by the barge’s engine. It then swung its course to run straight and true to the aft portion of the barge, striking with a solid “thunk” and releasing the marking dye that composed its warhead.

The engineers responsible for the test, who had worked so hard, were pleased. The managers at the Bodenseewerke, for whom the new torpedo represented large contracts, were relieved. The naval officers and officials from the Defence Ministry, who held the power of life and death over the project, were impressed, and murmured about moving on to operational tests. For all it appeared to be a good day.

Militär-Wochenblatt, Monday, 21 July 1941

Jagdgeschwader 26 has completed conversion from the BFW Bf109 fighter to the Heinkel He100 interceptor, marking the first phase in the drawdown of the Luftwaffe’s inventory of the BFW single-seater. In other Luftwaffe news, Kampfgeschwader 1 has completed conversion from the Heinkel He111 bomber and has been re-designated Kampfgeschwader 30.

Bremer Nachrichten, Tuesday, 22 July 1941

The light cruisers Rostock and Stralsund were completed today in the naval shipyards at Bremerhaven. They join their sisters Lübeck and Madgeburg in working up at the North Sea Naval Station, Wilhelmshaven.


Saturday, November 19th 2011, 1:12am

German News - July 1941 - Sixth Tranche

Der Soldatenfreund – July 1941


Saturday, November 19th 2011, 6:48pm

German News - July 1941 - Seventh Tranche

Nürnberger Nachrichten, Wednesday, 23 July 1941

The Union Sprengstoff und Zündmittelwerke of Alt-Berum has been acquired by the firm Westphalisch-Anhaltische Sprengstoff AG to expand the latter’s production capacity.

Altmark-Zeitung, Friday, 25 July 1941

Today saw the formal dedication of the newly-constructed works of the Ostmecklenburgische Flugzeugbau in Neubrandenburg. This factory is expected to employ upward of five hundred workers and contribute significantly to the economy of the region.

Berliner Abendpost, Saturday, 26 July 1941

His Excellency Ernst Freiherr von Weizsäcker arrived from Pretoria today; the ambassador had been recalled for consultations.

Rheinische Post, Sunday, 27 July 1941


Saturday, November 19th 2011, 7:02pm

RE: German News - July 1941 - Seventh Tranche


Originally posted by BruceDuncan
Altmark-Zeitung, Friday, 25 July 1941

Today saw the formal dedication of the newly-constructed works of the Ostmecklenburgische Flugzeugbau in Neubrandenburg. This factory is expected to employ upward of five hundred workers and contribute significantly to the economy of the region.

Light aircraft?


Saturday, November 19th 2011, 7:16pm

They are a licensed manufacture and assembly firm - they do no have (at least yet) their own design office. So they will be involved in manufacturing other firm's designs - probably continuing manufacture of the Fi156 Storch as the parent firm gears up for production of the Fi168 Hammerhaie.


Saturday, November 19th 2011, 7:17pm

Aha. That makes sense. :)


Monday, November 21st 2011, 2:39am

German News - July 1941 - Eighth Tranche

Abenteuer Archäologie, Monday, 27 July 1941

It is reported that formal excavations have begun at the Roman villa site near Borg in the Saarland. While the site itself was discovered late in the last century by Johann Schneider, the coming of the Great War prevented immediate investigation. The site has proven to be a rich trove of late Roman artifacts and it is hoped that sufficient physical remains can be uncovered to permit the eventual reconstruction of the site in the manner of the Saalburg.

Göttinger Tageblatt, Tuesday, 28 July 1941

Doctor Paul ten Bruggencate has assumed the directorship of the Göttingen University Observatory. He had previously served as the Chief Astronomer at the Potsdam Observatory.

Hamburger Abendblatt, Thursday, 31 July 1941

The destroyers Koblenz and Wetzlar were formally completed today in the shipyards at Cuxhaven, and were assigned to the North Sea Naval Station for the duration of their sea trials. They are the third and fourth of the new Paderborn-class destroyers to be completed, and followed by eight additional vessels of this class presently under construction in shipyards around the nation.


Monday, November 21st 2011, 2:40am

Deutschland - July 1941


Thursday, December 1st 2011, 11:19pm

German News - August 1941 - First Tranche

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Friday, 1 August 1941

The Defence Ministry has announced that four new destroyers of the Paderborn class have been launched in ceremonies in Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven. The Marburg and Konstanz slid down the ways at Bremerhaven early in the morning, while the Tubingen and the Weilheim followed at Cuxhaven in the afternoon. The ceremonies were marked by throngs of residents of both cities who wished to see the latest additions to the nation’s naval forces.

Nachrichten für Außenhandel, Saturday, 2 August 1941

Shipping News –

Arrived Hamburg Thursday, Compania Nacional freighter Sao Thome, from Valencia, Cadiz and Lisbon - 3,120 bags of sea salt, 1,150 bales of wool, 580 bars of wolfram, 930 billets of pig iron, 830 cases of port, 470 cases of sardines, 2,760 cases of sherry, 1,120 casks of Madeira, 170 casks of vinegar, 4,240 casks of olive oil and 400 flasks of mercury.

Arrived Bremerhaven Friday, Transatlantic Line freighter Hammaren, from Sankt Jan - 1,998 tons of steel billets and 4,750 tons of newsprint

Departed Emden Friday, Bolten Line freighter August Bolten, for Iberia and the Mediterranean - 425 crates of machinery parts; 380 crates of machine tools; 65 motor lorries, 1,640 bars of refined copper, 2,230 billets of specialty steels, 3200 bundles of steel rods, 500 cases of motor lubricant, 270 coils of steel strip, 90 coils of steel wire and 69 tons of plywood.

Das Andere Deutschland – Editorial Page – Sunday, 3 August 1941

The politicians of Europe would have the proletariat believe that they strive for peace. Do not believe their lies! Look at the so-called “Friendship Display” at France’s annual celebration of Bastille Day. There was assembled such military might as has not been seen since the Great War. Each nation sought to out-do its neighbor in displaying the mailed fist of its military – even peace-loving Latvia had been seduced into participating in this travesty. It is clear to us that leaders around the world have no concern for the well being of their citizens, intent as they are to turn their nations into contending armed camps. Workers arise! Cast off your shackles and fight back at the greedy capitalists and politicians who would turn you into automatons in the work place!

(Das Andere Deutschland is a pacifist and socialist newspaper, and in no way represents the opinion of the German Government)

Militär-Wochenblatt, Monday, 4 August 1941

The Defence Ministry has announced that with the activation of electronic warning stations in East Prussia that the initial phase of the National Air Warning Network is complete. Funding for further expansion in depth and upgrading of the existing stations has been requested. In related news, the Ministry also confirmed that preliminary trials have begun on specialist airborne electronic detection and tracking equipment suitable for use in night interception of aircraft.


Thursday, December 1st 2011, 11:52pm

Deutsche Rundschau Special Feature - August 1941