For All Nails #33: A Stiff Northerly Expected
by Henrik Kiertzner
2 miles NNE Jamburg
Duchy of Estland
0300 12 September 1972
The Luga river glittered sullenly in the moonlight. A small patrol of the Scandinavian Jaegerkorps was tucked into the birch forest overlooking the river, keeping close surveillance of the still scene in front - the river, some 50 yards wide and, on the Russian side, water meadows stretching away, grey under the bright early autumn night sky.
The members of the patrol stiffened as movement became visible on the other side of the river. Two men were cautiously making their way through the calf-high grass towards the Russian bank of the river. The patrol leader gestured and two team members slid away to the Scandinavian bank, kneeling and taking up firing positions with their Krag machine pistols. The patrol leader cautiously flashed a red light from his hand lantern towards the Russian bank. Two red flashes came in reply from the two men on the Russian side.
The figures slid into the river and slowly made their way across, using a rope which it was now clear had been secured on both banks. Having reached the Scandinavian side, they made their way into the cover of the birches and were intercepted by the patrol and guided away. One of the two patrol members left on the riverbank stayed on alert as the other slipped across the river, freed the rope and swam back, coiling the rope as he went.
Five minutes later there was no sign at the Luga that anything at all had occurred.
The Cabinet Room
Copenhagen, Kingdom of Scandinavia
1000 13 September 1972
The Scandinavian Defence Committee - the Chancellor, the Minister of Defence, the Foreign and Interior Ministers, the heads of the Security Service, MET FN1, KIT FN2, the Chief of the Great General Staff and the King (in his persona as Marshall The Duke of Holsten FN3) - had been called into existence at the start of the Global War and had met on at least a monthly basis ever since.
This meeting was out of sequence and had been called by the Chancellor. Additional attendees at the meeting included the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, the Fleet and the Air Fleet, and Mr Gustav Lu, a businessman, observing. The Chancellor, Grev Rasmus von Moltke, had the floor:
"I have a proposition which I wish to present to this meeting. As we are all aware, the German Empire is the single largest threat to our national security. It is an autarky, with sufficient control over natural resource - primarily oil - as to render it effectively proof against pressure from external economic sanctions. It is militarily dominant throughout Europe and the Near East and our primary competitor for influence throughout the Russian states.
"The Empire is currently dealing with an upsurge in civil disorder, notably in France and Poland and there are indications, based partially on the results of the interrogations of the members of the German apparat which we rolled up last month and partially on some very convincing source intelligence from our Russian friends, that the Empire is considering the application of pressure to both ourselves and the Swiss, perhaps even escalating to military confrontation, in order to stimulate a resurgence of support for the German system throughout Europe.
"We cannot hope to win such a military confrontation. Even with the dramatic improvement in our military technology over the last few years, we could not match the manpower reserves and experience of the German ground forces. Our naval superiority would give us the ability to sweep the oceans clear of the German merchant marine, but this would have an insignificant affect on their economy. Similarly, our aviation, while competent, is dramatically outnumbered and would not be able to guarantee maintaining air superiority, or even contesting it, if it came to open conflict. Project Tordenskjold is some months away from completion and we remain strategically vulnerable until then.
"I think this is an opportunity, rather than a threat. I see considerable merit in our taking some active measures to make life more interesting for German security forces in the - shall we be frank and term them 'occupied'? - territories, specifically in those nations and former nations in which we can generate some local advantage, on the basis of our possession of people with appropriate language skills. A continuing high level of insurgent activity - perhaps even escalating to local armed uprisings in the occupied territories - would distract the German government from its external focus and concentrate its attention internally, thus giving us breathing space to complete our ongoing project. There is reason to suppose that the foreign services of the CNA and Britain would be keen to engage with us in this activity.
"I propose that we task the Chiefs of MET and KIT to prepare a plan to initiate covert operations against the German Empire and to make contact with their equivalents in Burgoyne and London and I hereby invite His Majesty's Defence Committee to declare a state of internal alert in the security and intelligence agencies of the Kingdom."
There was little discussion - the Chancellor had taken the precaution of stacking the deck cold in advance of the meeting - and the logic was persuasive, in any case. The motion was proposed, seconded and carried nem con.
(Forward to FAN #34: A Prodigal Son Returns and a Meeting is Arranged)
(Forward to 17 September 1972: NUBS Presents "Insight".)
(Return to For All Nails)