TO: SS-OBERGRUPPENFUHRER REINHARD HEYDRICH, REICH MAIN SECURITY OFFICE
CC: REICH FUHRER-SS HEINRICH HIMMLER
CC: ALLGEMEINE-SS WALTER SCHELLENBERG, CHIEF AMT VI, SD - AUSLAND
FROM: DESK OF MANFRED FREIHERR VON KILLINGER, GERMAN CONSUL, BUCHAREST, RUMANIA
(BY DIPLOMATIC POUCH)
On the dawn of the bold Operation Barbarossa, against our great enemy the Soviet Union, and the long-awaited eradication of the Communist poison, our Rumanian allies are not as prepared as we would prefer. Conducator Antonescu is eager to attack his historical enemy, but the Rumanian armory is still non-standardized, obsolete and foreign-sourced. They are making great strides - as usual, with our aid. The influx of German instructors and advisors has made a major impact in modernizing their program, but they have still a long way to go and, alas, will not be fully prepared for the coming offensive.
They are hampered by over twenty years of French-inspired defensive operational philosophy. Even so we have witnessed a considerable gap between French theory and Rumanian practice.
Still there is the fact that peasant soldiers such as these are generally able to subsist on lower scale rations and worse conditions than typical German infantry. They can be hardy and uncomplaining in harsh circumstances.
A saving grace, there is sufficient manpower to throw against the Russian line. Enough to do some damage, divert Soviet resources, consume the enemy materiel and decimate enemy forces, rather than sacrificing good German resources and soldiers.
They also have a cavalry of decent quality, but I do not see much use of such in the era of the blitzkrieg.
The Rumanian populace was initially rebellious at the Soviet annexation of Basarabia, Northern Buscovina and the awarding of Southern Dobrogea to Bulgaria and Northern Transylvania to Hungary. These were offered as an appeasement against the threat of our military might. Antonescu seems to have accepted the state of things and now has become an ally, after we supported his government against the attempted coup by Sima and the Iron Guard. I do recommend that we keep Sima and his cohorts alive and under our thumb in German territory as an inducement to keep Antonescu cooperative.
Meanwhile, the Rumanians have been purging all non-Rumanian ethnics from their current borders. The loss of which makes their army more homogeneous and, therefore, more reliable. How reliable that may be is yet to be determined. The battlefield will tell the tale.
On a note of caution, we must be circumspect with Antonescu, who is acutely aware that his Ploesti oil fields are vital to our war efforts. He has positioned a large cordon of his troops around the petroleum facilities.
We can be sure that, besides forming a protective ring around Ploesti, the Rumanians are prepared to sabotage the oil fields (as the British did in the Great War) if ever the tide turns against the Reich. I am clear on your directive that we must do everything possible to maintain this vital resource and we will act accordingly. With this in mind, the assignment of our elite Brandenburg Battalion to abet the 18th Security Detachment in Ploesti will serve our purposes very well.
Recent oil shipments to Germany have been disappointing, I know, below the level you desire, but a shortage of tanker cars has made rail transport difficult. As soon as the Danube thaws completely, we can resume full capacity with barge shipments.
There is one fly in our ointment. Recently the area around Brasov has been the focus of targeted resistance. If this rebellion continues and bleeds past the Carpathian Mountains, Ploesti may be in jeopardy. I am forwarding Captain Lobenhoffer and his unit instructions to work with the local militia and suppress and destroy this spark before it starts a fire of resistance and terrorism that spreads across the country.
Any further suggestions would be appreciated.
Dnr. - Manfred von Killinger.
TO: MANFRED VON KILLINGER, GERMAN CONSUL, BUCHAREST, RUMANIA
FROM: CAPTAIN GEORGE LOBENHOFFER, MILITARY ATTACHE, BRASOV
SUBJECT: INCIDENT REPORT
4.4.41 - Rumanian Military dispatch rider traveling via motorcycle on the road N of Arnesti encounters piano wire stretched across road. Decapitated. Documents regarding Rumanian troop movement missing. Also side arm and uniform.
No arrests made.
6.4.41 - Three SS Auxiliary Police, formerly local Volkedeutsche, eating lunch at an outside cafe in Rasnov killed. Shot at their table by assassin bicycling past.
Cafe owner and staff detained and interrogated. One detainee died under questioning.
7.4.41 - Troop transport vehicle in queue at roadblock outside Sacele destroyed by grenade inserted into gas tank. Twelve occupants, Rumanian conscripts wounded, three killed, including one officer.
Various witnesses describe perpetrator as woman, man, child.
11.4.41 - Outside Codlea. Convoy ambushed. Was able to speak to the lone survivor in the hospital. Statement follows;
"My name is Radu Lepadatu. I am Private in First Mountain Division. Was on patrol through farm country evicting Jews, gypsies, troublemakers. Last stop this day is farm of Leibu, Jew. Raised corn, hay, peppers. We confiscate what we find. Not looting. Re-allocation. Leibu family have no need where they are going. Put Leibu, wife, two children on truck with others. Maybe twenty prisoners. Take chickens. Take cow. Find good boots for me. Many socks, hand-knitted. Gets cold in mountains. Everyone angry at Private Lazar Tuca. He dead now. Lazar shoots cow before we put in truck. Takes six men to load dead cow onto truck. Dead weight. Alive cow walks onto truck. Tuca stupid. Sergeant calls him village idiot. Farmer's daughter weeps at death of cow.
Convoy drives back to Base. Five trucks. Fords. Good trucks. Made in Rumania. (Note: This is true. Very capable trucks. But only assembled in Rumania from imported parts. Parts import has ceased. Reliability of these vehicles will most likely deteriorate as conflict endures. CPT. L.)
First truck contains soldiers. Twelve men. Second truck and third filled with captured materiel and provisions and cow. And chickens with legs tied. Truck three full of prisoners. I in last truck, fifth, with six other soldiers. Tuca next to me. He smells like dung. Tuca, like village idiot, lifted rear end of cow.
We drive through forest. Narrow road. Rough road. We bounce like ball bearings in fruit jar. Butt sore. I stand. Use knees like car springs.
Dense forest. Huge old trees. So big around man cannot put arms around trunks. Branches meet overhead across road. Road like tunnel with green ceiling.
I see man on side of road. Steps from behind tree. Ax held over head. I think lumberman. He brings down ax. Chops rope. I follow rope with eyes.
Rope frees log suspended up in air. Big log. Thick as a fat man. Three, four feet thick. Twenty feet long. End chopped to point. Log swings from two ropes. Goes faster, what you say? Momentum, yes. Hits my truck hard. Big crash. Knocks truck over.
We spill out like beans from bag. Men scream. Some trapped under truck. Yell in pain. I lose rifle.
Stand up. Lead truck knocked over same way.
Other trucks have to stop. Trapped on road.
Then we are attacked. From woods. Both sides. Gunfire. No place to hide. I find my rifle. Never get to shoot. Knocked down. Hit in leg. Doesn't hurt. I look at hole. I am shot, I think. Can't find rifle again.
Battle over in seconds. My ears ring. From gunfire.
Now leg hurts. Hurts bad. Big pain. Want to scream. But see Tuca next to me. Jaw gone. Just upper teeth seen. Can see all of them. Rotten teeth. Blood fills hole. He looks at me. I watch Tuca's eyes go dead.
People come out of trees. Carry guns. Civilians. Maybe thirty. All carry guns. I play dead. Old man yells orders, "Collect all weapons. Ammunition. No prisoners."
They start shooting soldiers. Even dead men shot. Woman walks over, shoots dead Tuca. I squint, see her. Beautiful woman. Like goddess. Red hair. She stands over me. She kicks wounded leg. I grunt. Open my eyes. She looks down at me. Holds pistol. Points at my face. Barrel is so big. I could crawl inside like sewer pipe. She shoots me. In head.
I wake up in hospital. I have hard skull. Father always tease me. Skull like rock. Maybe he right.
(Note; PVT. Lepadatu is a very lucky man. The bullet did not penetrate his "rock-like" skull, just plowed between the bone and skin to exit out the back. The leg wound is worse, having shattered the bone. He is due for amputation.
But his testimony reveals an uncomfortable fact. An organized resistance group has established itself in the area around Brasov. Highly organized, if the Private is to be believed. And I do believe him. He is too much a primitive to be disingenuous. I and my unit are putting the spur to the local militia to quell this problem before it gets out of hand. CPT. L.)
TO: OBERGRUPPENFUHRER REINHARD HEYDRICH
CC: REICHFUHRER-SS HEINRICH HIMMLER
FROM: MANFRED FRETHERR VON KILLINGER, GERMAN CONSUL, BUCHAREST, RUMANIA
(BY DIPLOMATIC POUCH)
I am forwarding the following report from SS Captain Lobenhoffer concerning the resistance effort in and around Brasov. It seems that the Captain and the local militia are having little effect on this burgeoning underground terrorist campaign against our operations in the region.
Maybe it is time to increase our presence in this area. I have spoken with Antonescu about this, not wanting to frighten the Rumanians with any thought that we are encroaching upon their domestic affairs. He stated that he was open to any assistance against these rebel forces. They obviously pose as great a threat to his rule as to our own goals.
I will allow the Captain's report to speak for itself. I do not need to remind you that Brasov is less than a hundred kilometers from the vitally important Ploesti oil fields.
Dnr: Manfred von Killinger.
TO: MANFRED FRETHERR VON KILLINGER, GERMAN CONSUL, BUCHAREST, RUMANIA
FROM: CAPTAIN GEORGE LOBENHOFFER, MILITARY ATTACHE
SUBJECT: FIELD REPORT
This last week in Brasov and the surrounding areas there have been a plethora of sabotage incidents and outrageous attacks on military personnel and materiel: the demolition of a Brigade fuel dump, electrical and communication lines routinely cut all over the district, the torching of barracks and vehicles, military personnel lured into alleys or ambushed and robbed of their weapons, papers and oft-times uniforms. There have been numerous break-ins and pilfering of armories with a loss of over a hundred weapons (a more accurate account is difficult as the Rumanian inventory system is a travesty), including pistols, rifles, light and heavy machine guns, even a wheeled howitzer plus a Company level mortar. Ammunition was also taken.
Things have gotten out of hand. The Rumanian authorities have not made one legitimate arrest. Token apprehensions have occurred, followed by crude interrogations. Suspects have confessed under duress, but those confessions are suspect as none of them are corroborated. The confession, however forced, seems enough for these barbarians. These arrests are shams and have done nothing to abrogate the terrorism, in fact may be adding fuel to the fire. The local militia appears to be totally helpless in the face of these insurrections and do nothing but turn the population against our cause and to the side of the resistance.
A good part of the problem lies in the attitude of my Rumanian colleagues. They totally ignore every bit of advice I provide to them. You would think that a soldier of my pedigree, stature and training would be a valuable resource to be mined for my wisdom and expertise. But I have found that these are an arrogant and stubborn people and my counsel falls upon determinedly deaf ears. Do they not know that my family has been soldiering since Frederick the Great?
On 18 April I accompanied Legion Captain Cuanda on a mission to round up some Jews in Brasov proper, where we were to shut down a local newspaper with leftist leanings, The Brasov Autonom (Independent). This journal has a history of communist and anti-government/Antonescu propaganda. Also, its editor and publisher, Israil Zingher, is a Jew.
The newspaper offices occupied the ground floor of a four-story building near the center of town. The Rumanian soldiers destroyed the printing presses with more zeal than was required - tossing the various parts through the front windows and into the street, along with furniture, boxes of type, rolls and bundles of paper and even Zingher himself. Any protests from this Jew were silenced by the boots of the soldiers.
A door-to-door search was made of the top three floors, part of which was the residence of the Zingher family. Other apartments also were cleared, not a delicate operation I'm afraid as the living quarters were demolished by the overzealous and thuggish soldiers. More furniture was thrown out the upper windows and smashed onto the cobblestones below.
The residents, too, were not spared from this brutish behavior. One protesting man was shot on the spot. A few women were also assaulted in the manner of soldiers throughout eternity. It is my opinion that this kind of mistreatment by our allies can only reflect negatively on us Germans and be ultimately detrimental to the Fuhrer’s goals. We are better than this.
Across the plaza, Captain Cuanda stationed a single old Renault FT-17 tank next to a tall building, more as an intimidation factor than anything. The tank commander, a Legion Lieutenant, Codrin Dalakis, stood in the open turret observing.
Unseen by him, a second-story window above and behind the tank opened. Out of the window slipped a long stick with a loop of wire at the end - much like the snare wielded by dog catchers in my hometown of Dusseldorf.
The snare was snapped over the tank commander's head, the wire drawn tight. Then the strangling, struggling Lieutenant was hauled out of the turret by his neck and lifted up and into the building via the window.
At that point a resistance fighter dashed out of the self-same building, scrambled up the side of the tank, stepped into the hatch, closing it behind him. The three gunshots, muffled by a few inches of tempered steel, were not heard above the commotion at the apartments. These actions were deduced after the fact.
The tank hatch was opened, the bodies of the crew hauled out and replaced by three subversives.
None of this was observed by myself or Captain Cuanda and the rest of the detachment as we supervised the assemblage of the apartment occupants. These people were lined up for an examination of their identity documents. Those with suspect papers were loaded into trucks brought for this purpose. Much weeping and begging was displayed. To no avail, of course.
A woman in the line piqued my own interest. The Captain had inspected her papers and passed her over with a second glance, an entirely justifiable second glance as her beauty was worthy of that and more, luxurious black hair not sculptured as the current fashion requires, falling in natural waves about her shoulders, framing an alabaster face with sunburned cheeks, intelligent green eyes and a fine if overripe mouth. But what caused her to stand out from the crowd was her disposition. While the other detainees demonstrated fear and apprehension, this woman showed no fright, rather a certain self-possession, a rather superior bearing that, I have to admit, went against the grain.
I, too, inspected her papers, identifying her as one Lenore von Muller.
"You do not reside here?" I asked as the document stated a residence on the other side of the city.
I spoke in German, waiting for the Captain to translate, but she answered me in my own language.
"I was visiting," she told me with a hint of defiance.
"Perhaps warning them," I proposed. She did not reply. In fact her visage took on an angry glare.
I decided that this Fraulein von Muller should be the subject of a more thorough interrogation back at my personal office and I took her arm to escort her to my vehicle. At this point, Captain Cuanda grinned at the woman as he re-evaluated her figure, which I must say was equal to her face. He addressed her.
"Maybe I can find a use for you in my quarters," he offered in his crude German, groping her about the bosom and lower. I am ashamed to say that I did nothing to stop this loathsome act. “Many uses indeed,” he said.
"We've heard what goes on in your quarters," she said and then proceeded to spit on his boots. A most vulgar act for such a refined beauty, I thought.
The Captain lifted a hand to strike the woman and I restrained his arm. I am not one for brutalizing women and children like some of his barbarian brothers-in-arms.
This was when I heard the tank rev its powerful engines and the tell-tale clanking of steel tread across the cobblestones.
I was, I have to admit, surprised. It stopped within a few meters of where I stood and the turret gun rotated with a loud whine of hydraulics until the muzzle of its cannon was aimed at my head. I could see the lands and grooves curling down the barrel. Then I heard the unmistakable clink and clank of a round being loaded into the breech of that howitzer. A more ominous sound I have never heard.
I stared at the black maw, contemplating my own death, wondering why a Rumanian crew would be helping these traitors. Then the turret hatch clanged open and a man, a scarf obscuring his face, popped up and addressed me.
"Let her go," he ordered in Hungarian. I did not move, not understanding the local language. The woman repeated the order in German and I realised that I still had one hand clutching her arm. I hesitated, moved toward my personal vehicle. With a whirr of engine and clatter of the ratchet, the big tank gun tracked my every step. I stopped. The gun also ceased moving. I released the woman.
She relieved me of my sidearm, pulled the cocking lever of the Luger to chamber a round. She handled the pistol with familiarity and very professionally.
The cannon rotated to aim at the Rumanian soldiers gathered around the truck filling with prisoners. Three similarly scarf-masked men disarmed the soldiers. Where they came from I do not know.
The man at the turret issued another order, "Tell your men to release those people." This was addressed to me and I decided that this was not the time to argue the point that these were not my men and I relayed the demand to Captain Cuanda.
He issued the order to release the prisoners. The Jews on the truck also seemed too shocked at the turn of events to act and the black-haired woman rushed to the truck waving my pistol, shouting at them, "Hurry! Run! Go!"
They quickly scurried to vacate the truck and departed with the waiting masked men, disappearing down an alley.
At this point the black-haired woman walked past me to face Captain Cuanda. She addressed him, "By the way, I have no use for you, whatsoever." Whereupon she raised my Luger and struck him on the temple. He fell to the ground.
Before I could react, the tank cannon fired. The round hit a truck, which exploded. The Rumanian soldiers sought cover. I prostrated myself upon the cobblestones.
The woman boarded the tank and it began to back out of the square.
Captain Cuanda gathered himself, crawled to a soldier wounded by the exploding truck, and stripped a grenade from the man's body. Rising to one knee, Cuanda prepared to throw the grenade at the departing tank, or the woman. We will never know.
He was instantly cut down by a burst from the tank's Hotchkiss 8mm machine gun. He fell upon his own grenade and the resulting explosion lifted his body into the air. What landed only millimeters away from my face was but mangled meat.
I immediately took charge, but without weapons we could not pursue. We gathered our wounded and dead and returned to the security of our Base. Rearmed and with reinforcements, I led a search for the assassins. Not a trace of them or the prisoners was found. I assume the citizens gathered in the initial raid are now being secreted out of Rumania. The tank was discovered abandoned in a potato field at the edge of town. The interior had been set afire, igniting its load of 37mm cannon shells, thereby destroying the vehicle entirely. The dead body of Dalakis was found in a local quarry, stripped of his uniform.
As this incident demonstrates, the resistance is obviously becoming bolder. Larger terrorist operations are expected. I want it to be clear that none of this is my fault. I assure you that these activities are a direct result of the local military commanders ignoring my professional guidance which is of the highest standards set by the Reich. I recommend that I be given command of an SS unit to put down this rebellion before it spreads across the country, particularly south toward Ploesti. A Battalion would be nice (and of course the promotion inherent in the command) but I would accept a Company. If we have learned anything from Poland and other occupied territories it is that small acts of insurgency must be extinguished before they become open revolution - the type that inspires an already recalcitrant populace.
I await your orders.
CPT. G. Lobenhoffer.
(Note: The Luger that was taken from me was an old Lange Pistole 08, presented to me by my father, a General in the Artillery, when he was given his new Walther P38. I am anxious for its return as it has great sentimental value and I would appreciate an alert be posted across Rumania.)