In which the Yugoslavian question is answered.
1940, August 31. Somewhere in London.
The young fellow entered the main hall. He had to trick the bobby on the street to get into the building, but once inside, it was much easier. He was expected.
- Use the stairs to get to the second floor. Fifth door on your left. - Easy instructions he recieved from the lady at the reception after showing his identification papers, but he got a bit confused at this point. The fifth door on his left was an elevator. He stepped in and checked the control panel. It had two buttons: 'Up' and 'Down'. The lights indicated that it was 'Up' at the moment, so obviously he had to go 'Down'. "Alright, here goes nothing!" As he pressed the 'Down' button, he felt his weight decrease as the mechanism started to descend.
This was his first time in this facility, and he was quite amazed by the size of it. There were dozens of people working in rows on typewriters, or at least machines that looked like typewriters. Several men were walking back and forth between the rows, looking over the shoulder of the typing workers. One of them spotted him.
- Can I help you? - It sounded more like an order than a question. - Are you lost?
- Well, I hope not. I'm looking for Uncle. I have some letters I have to deliver.
- I see. - The man looked at his briefcase. - This way, please. - He lead him into a smaller room with only a table and two chairs. - Have a seat. I will have to ask you to give me your briefcase.
- No, that won't do at all. I can't give it to you.
- I wasn't asking a favour.
- How nice. Not that it matters, though. You see, the briefcase is chained to my wrist.
- In that case, you will have to wait here.
- No problem. Would you happen to have a nice cup of tea while I'm waiting?
The man ignored the request and left the room to inform Uncle about the situation. He returned with Uncle and a small key, but with no tea.
- Jason, my boy! Glad to have you back in good old Albion! How was your trip back home?
- It sure is good to be back, Sir Menzies! It is practically impossible to get any decent tea in Berlin. It was hard enough before the War broke out, but now it really is impossible, with the blockade an all. It really would be nice to have an Earl Gray if it wouldn't be that much of a problem!
- Lieutenant Johns! Bring some tea to mister Walker!
- Yes, Sir. - Lieutenant Johns left the room to get the tea.
- As for my trip, it was quite confortable. Well, except for the part where I had to flee Germany on a cramped Submarine, which was almost sunk on its way back. But thanks for asking, anyway.
- So, you brought reports from Agent A, then. Let me see!
- Yes, Sir! - Jason opened the briefcase with the key, took out the letters and gave them to Sir Menzies. - The usual method will probably no longer be possible. We are lucky that only my cover was blown and Agent A could stay in Berlin.
- It had nothing to do with luck, it is planning ahead. The system was designed to avoid the entire network going down because someone has a bad day. Even if you are caught, tortured, brainwashed, or whatever, you can't give them any information because you don't know anything. All you can give them is a false lead.
- Clever. Fortunately, that was not necessary. They know me now, but they didn't catch me. About those letters...
- Ah, yes. The letters. - Sir Menzies started reading them. - Five new Submarine Flotillas? They are trying to turn the blockade against us. The fools. Their Submarines have no chance against the Royal Navy!
- May I remind you, Sir, that the Kriegsmarine achieved a major victory over our Navy not that long ago.
- And may I remind you that the Royal Navy still outnumbers the Kriegsmarine tenfold? They can't win a war of attrition.
- They won't have to if they don't actually suffer any losses. And the last time they didn't.
- That was because there was no air cover. A mistake already be rectified. Although we do have problems with holding them up in both France and the Channel... What else?... - He read some more. - What's a rocket facility?
- That, Sir, is a research institution to help develop rockets. A rocket is some sort of small aircraft propelled by heat I think. I'm not really sure about the details, but it can be turned into a weapon, I'm sure of it. And Agent A was sure about it, too.
- We will keep an eye on that. - Sir Menzies took some notes about it. He wanted to get more information about these rockets and what their scientists know about it. He also wanted to know what the Germans know about it. - So, that's it for now?
- I'm afraid so. What will my new assignment will be now that I can't return to Germany?
- That's not yet decided. You can rest for a few days while I figure something out. You are probably going to the United States, but with Bulgaria joining the War and Turkey outright refusing to even negotiate with the Germans, I'm afraid things will heat up in the Balkans very soon, and I may need you closer at hand.
*** *** *** *** ***
It took three weeks, but in the end on the 21st of September, 1940, the Reich along with Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria started offensive operations into Yugoslavia.
On the 21st of September, 1940, the German Reich, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Romania and the Kingdom of Bulgaria, in a joint operation started offensive maneuvers into Yugoslavian territory.
According to the reports of Agent A, the Heer only deployed two Army Corps for this operation (one of which was already garrisoning the border), while the Luftwaffe provided two Tactical Bomber Groups and a Close Air Support Group. The other three countries mobilized their entire armed forces. London immediately promised help to Yugoslavia, but Jason knew it would never be realized. The country was completely unprepared for such an attack and the defenders were completely overrun, there was nothing they could do for them. Zagreb fell to Hungary on the 25th, Beograd was taken by Romania on the 28th, and with the help of British Submarines, the King and his government fled to Alexandria from Skpoje on the 9th of October. A Military government was set up led by Hungarian General "vitéz lófő csíkszentsimoni Lakatos Géza".
- That may actually be better than it sounds, you know. - Jason was pointing at Wilhelmshaven on the map. - Spain was trying to gain a foothold in Northen Germany, with no success so far, which is hardly surprising. But if we hit that region in force, it could open up a much needed second front. The Siegrfied Line is pretty much impenetrable, I know, I've been there. It is at the very least on par with the Maginot Line, so that approach would be suicide. The terrain might be bad in the Balkans, but at least is is not full of bunkers and fortresses.
- You are forgetting something: Italy. - Sir Menzies was smoking a cigar. - Mussolini might be still neutral, but he already made his allegiance clear, he is only waiting for the best opportunity. And I believe launching a major offensive in his backyard would be a very tempting opportunity. The Regia Marina stands no chance against the Royal Navy, but they could cut off our troops long enough for them to be crushed by the combined forces of Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, and potentially also Greece. I don't trust them.
- But what else can we do? There really are no other options here. We might do somewhat competently in Asia against Japan, and we are already losing there, but we simply can't keep this up here in Europe! We must do something soon, because honestly, with the Soviets now gone, time is no longer working for us.
By the end of September, most of the British attempt at breaking out of Hong Kong was broken, and while the French forces made progress into Southern China, Japanese forces were on their way to fix the situation.
- You are right. We must do something. And you will.
- I will what?
- You will go to the United States.
- Ah, yes. The United States. Another huge pile of trouble, waiting to materialize.
- The lads at the embassy are working really hard to...
- I'm well aware of their efforts, but you surely don't think that this Kuhn guy would side with us against his idol? He practically worships Hitler, and it is a friggin' miracle that he didn't sign the Tripartite Pact already.
- That miracle is the work of those lads. And actually, your job will be exactly to take care of that "Kuhn guy"...