nuclearslurpee

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Another excellent report. The maps and graphics now seem to be approaching a critical mass of not only quality but also creativity and clarity, indeed the text is nearly unnecessary by now which is an excellent accomplishment.

The major European fronts seem to be, in all honesty, struggling against the great mass of German forces, with not many of the lightning breakthroughs and deep operations seen in the pre-war planning coming to fruition. However, the ancillary theaters seem to be progressing well which will certainly distract and threaten the Germans enough to eventually weaken their main lines in the east. A lot of hard fighting is ahead but the grand strategy is moving along nicely in spite of local setbacks.
 
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roverS3

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The German High Command must be panicking with so many plates in the air. The East Front AND Norway AND Denmark. And the impression I got is their Air Forces seem to be thin or focused only in certain regions...
I'm actually seeing relatively little panic from the German AI. The only place German AI panic played into my hand was in Norway, where the Germans left the other ports unguarded tot try and counter our forces in Bergen. And then there is also the fact that their tanks were concentrated in the Narvik area, truly the perfect operating conditions for King Tigers.

A very encouraging report, overall. The 1 sPzD, a thorn in the side of the Baltic fronts, has been taken out, and that alone is surely cause for celebration, but the several infantry divisions captured alongside it are a very welcome boon. Despite the slow going, at least it's in the right direction now. If only the Ukrainian fronts managed to create the long-hoped encirclement in the south, we could be making progress on both ends, but even just advancing into Slovakian territory is welcome. It makes lateral movement along the front more difficult, and further complicates the situation for the Hungarians. Can't forget the German bulge in the center either, which 1st UF is commendably squeezing, and so is 2nd BF too.
That's the second sPzD that we've taken out of the running, it's definitely worthy of a celebration. In the South, there is the issue of Bulgaria. By this I mean that Bulgarian units are appearing in increasing numbers. Even if these units aren't of very high quality, they are still adding to the pressure. The Southern front will have to cope as reserves are being pre-positioned for a future Balkan operation. Of course, the more Bulgarian forces end up on the main front, the easier it will be to take out Bulgaria following an amphibious operation.

Unfortunate about the Norwegians. You'd think they'd be grateful we're stepping in to evict the Germans, but alas. Dealing with the Germans has the potential to backfire too. Ah well, we'll see.
I guess there is a small fringe that still isn't convinced of the merits of Socialism.

All in all though, a very good reporting period. We're making gains on most sectors, our casualties are remaining manageable, and the VVS is doing a lot of work to keep things going smoothly. Perhaps we should consider giving them even more air-to-ground ability? The Il-10s sure seem to be tearing the enemy to shreds, and even the obsolete TB-3s are inflicting respectable damage to the Fascists' supply lines.
Casualties are definitely manageable, as long as we don't lose too many units outright, we can keep this rate of attrition going for years. The focus on CAS has allowed the VVS to field a larger number of Air-Ground units, and it also works very well against enemy tanks. However, as the front line Air Bases are becoming saturated with interceptors and CAS, Tactical bombers become the preferred option. However, as discussed previously, a preceding lack of investment in medium-sized airframes means that it will take some time before we start pumping out significant numbers of new and modern medium bomber airframes.

Another excellent report. The maps and graphics now seem to be approaching a critical mass of not only quality but also creativity and clarity, indeed the text is nearly unnecessary by now which is an excellent accomplishment.
That's really nice to hear. I think I've become pretty efficient at producing those maps and graphics. I'm actually wondering whether I should reduce the text further still.

The major European fronts seem to be, in all honesty, struggling against the great mass of German forces, with not many of the lightning breakthroughs and deep operations seen in the pre-war planning coming to fruition. However, the ancillary theaters seem to be progressing well which will certainly distract and threaten the Germans enough to eventually weaken their main lines in the east. A lot of hard fighting is ahead but the grand strategy is moving along nicely in spite of local setbacks.
It's definitely a struggle, as the German army has reacted quite effectively against our high concentration of Tank units in the Northern part of the front. They've been able to stall and push back several attempts at encircling their forces in the Baltics, and looking at the number of strong German units in the area, it will continue to be a hard slog, despite the presence of many of our elite Tank formations. Maybe the Wehrmacht had it's own plans for an armoured thrust towards Leningrad, resulting in the Soviet and German spearheads simply running headlong into each-other. Ancillary fronts seem to be where the fastest gains can be made, where the enemy can be caught unawares. Throwing more reserves into the main front will likely do less for us than going into the Balkans, or striking at Northern Germany and the Danish mainland.

Next up, the adventures of detective Rozitis Part 2. It will take a several weeks for me to write it though. I hope you're all doing well, have a nice day.
 
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Wraith11B

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Concerning the text, I'd say see what you might be able to do about combining the "little battles" into the main action: going forward for my own cycles I was going to break apart the various fronts and annotate by when actions in a province are fully "over".
 
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Bullfilter

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Good progress made for just a ten day period: the fighting will remain hard, no doubt, but with the Germans stalled and los divisions to encirclement, somber music will be playing on the state radio stations!
"General Vlassov has a stone in his shoe, Generalleutnant. You can remove it."
:D Mafia lingo is now spreading to the Soviet hierarchy! fougeddaboudit!
The object of this meeting was to make a top secret deal with the enemy
This still sounds a bit fishy to me, despite the Norwegian irritation. Dealing with the Nazis ... some purging may be needed.
The German fleet was centred around Battleship Tirpitz:
Uh oh! The Ganguts May as well be shooting sandbags at it. :eek:
the Southern Norwegian campaign has gone to plan, with thousands of Axis soldiers and officers marched off into captivity
This at least is good. Now round up the politically unreliable double dealers for a little robust questioning of their revolutionary zeal and ideological purity. I’m not convinced this end justified the means.
A German Heavy tank Division was taken out of the war as Riga was finally liberated.
This is very good. It may take hundreds of thousands more lives, but the fascists will be ground into fertiliser.
 
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roverS3

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Concerning the text, I'd say see what you might be able to do about combining the "little battles" into the main action: going forward for my own cycles I was going to break apart the various fronts and annotate by when actions in a province are fully "over".
I think that to do that properly, I would need to work over a longer timeframe. Maybe a reporting period of 30 days, with three updates, two for the Main fronts (North & South), and one for secondary fronts and a general overview. I'm not necessarily against that, as it will also reduce the number of maps I have to make for a given in-game timeframe, allowing me to move things along just a little bit less slowly. However, it would likely require some minor modifications to the graphics, to make sure it's all comprehensible despite showing three times as many battles. (though there will be repeats, so it's probably more like 2x or even 1,5x). In any case, the next gpw update is, at the very least, a month away.
Good progress made for just a ten day period: the fighting will remain hard, no doubt, but with the Germans stalled and los divisions to encirclement, somber music will be playing on the state radio stations!
I'm not so sure, I'd expect the German propaganda machine to not even mention the loss of those units, rather to pretend they still exist.
:D Mafia lingo is now spreading to the Soviet hierarchy! fougeddaboudit!
I took a small leaf out of your book, just a little fun. In some ways, the NKVD can be a bit like the mafia, no?
This still sounds a bit fishy to me, despite the Norwegian irritation. Dealing with the Nazis ... some purging may be needed.
This at least is good. Now round up the politically unreliable double dealers for a little robust questioning of their revolutionary zeal and ideological purity. I’m not convinced this end justified the means.
Let's say there will be some very tough questions, and complusory trips to Siberia, if this doesn't work out in our favour.

Uh oh! The Ganguts May as well be shooting sandbags at it. :eek:
Yep, those short 12" guns can't do much against that 13" German-quality armour belt, though they can mildly annoy them by knocking off antenna's and AA-guns. The real threat to TIrpitz comes from the Red Navy Air Fleet.

This is very good. It may take hundreds of thousands more lives, but the fascists will be ground into fertiliser.
Fertiliser sounds about right.
 
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Wraith11B

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Concerning the mafia talk: so many of the KGB wound up there after the reductions in force of the early 90s, so I wouldn't be surprised if they already had contacts...
 
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El Pip

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Baltic Fleet & Northern Fleet: (Baltic Sea, North Sea & Norwegian Coast) RBBF & NF / Leningrad HQ:
"Captain. Sink those transports! Not a single crate of supplies, and nor a single enemy combattant will make it to Norway on my watch."
VADM Kuznetsov to the captain of Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya as the first transports are spotted slipping out of Fredrikshavn. Not ten minutes later the bridge was hit by a German-made 15" shell. The Vice-Admiral was unscathed, he was unable to rally his ships in time to focus fire on Tirpitz and save Krasnyi Kavkaz. Captain Moskalenko died in action.
VADM Kuznetsov needs to consider his tactics a bit here. You can argue that sinking the transports serves the 'strategic' objective, which it does to an extent, but if he had focused on the warships and sunk the Tirpitz then the Germans would not have been able to run any future convoys. As it is he must now remain on station and await the next German effort.

On the plus side for Kuznetsov all of these failures were clearly the fault of the traitorous wrecker Captain Moskalenko who, fortuitously, has saved the motherland the expense of his trial and execution.

Further to the South, a weakness in the enemy lines was discovered. Humenne was held by a single tired Hungarian division, which was quickly swept aside (3) on the 22nd.
When 9 TP arrived in the area that night, a second battle started (3), and by 9am the path was clear once more. The first Slovakian province has been liberated, but Bratislava is still a long way away.
By the sacred relics of St Cyril! Things have become serious.
At 7am on the 29th, a Slovak-Hungarian offensive was launched to take back Humenne (5). The 3-pronged 4-division operation was spearheaded by none other than DivGen Jany's 2 Pesi Divize. MajGen. Purkaev's outnumbered 183 SD managed to hold out just 30 hours, sounding the retreat just one hour ago. (5pm on the 30th). Almost 950 Soviet casualties were counted, for fewer than 150 Slovaks and fewer than 300 Hungarians.
A successful Slovak-led counter-attack, truly a wonderous sight to behold. If they keep this up they could delay the Soviet advance and conquest of Slovakia by days, maybe even a week if things go incredibly well.
 
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roverS3

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Concerning the mafia talk: so many of the KGB wound up there after the reductions in force of the early 90s, so I wouldn't be surprised if they already had contacts...
Considering the Bratva came into being in Soviet gulags and prisons, some of them run by the KGB, there is no way both organisations didn't have plenty of contact one way or another.

VADM Kuznetsov needs to consider his tactics a bit here. You can argue that sinking the transports serves the 'strategic' objective, which it does to an extent, but if he had focused on the warships and sunk the Tirpitz then the Germans would not have been able to run any future convoys. As it is he must now remain on station and await the next German effort.

On the plus side for Kuznetsov all of these failures were clearly the fault of the traitorous wrecker Captain Moskalenko who, fortuitously, has saved the motherland the expense of his trial and execution.
I too would question his tactics. (those of the hoi3 naval AI with near non-existent naval doctrines) The Captain is a handy scapegoat though, and thus no improvements in doctrines will happen because the captain was 'just one incompetent officer' and there is 'no systemic problem'... So next time we'll loose a Battleship. At least the Navy Air Fleet is at the top of it's game, and we're likely to sink Tirpitz in port eventually.

By the sacred relics of St Cyril! Things have become serious.
It could also be a temporary setback for Slovakia. You never know, they could bounce back and end up taking Lwow.

A successful Slovak-led counter-attack, truly a wonderous sight to behold. If they keep this up they could delay the Soviet advance and conquest of Slovakia by days, maybe even a week if things go incredibly well.
I'm sure MajGen Purkaev was pissed once he figured out a Slovak General had managed to beat his forces back with only 4-1 odds in the Axis' favour. Truly remarkable work for a Slovak officer.

Things do look like they're going pretty well even though it looks to be a slog.
A good resume. We're likely to get things moving more swiftly once we invade the Balkans and hopefully take out Bulgaria before the Axis can react. Preparations will take a few more months, with the first wave likely going in in January 1943. Then, later on, if Norway & the Balkans go roughly to plan, we can use those troops now in Norway and Denmark for landings in Northern Germany or Southern Denmark.
 
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Bullfilter

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It could also be a temporary setback for Slovakia. You never know, they could bounce back and end up taking Lwow.
Of course they won’t - their defeat is inevitable! ;) They’ll be reaching for the hip-flasks soon.
 
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6th of October 1942, 'Odin', 10-day report #210

roverS3

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The 6th of October 1942, Vologda, 1,3°C, 10 am Moscow Time,

Report on the state of the Soviet Union for the ten-day period between the 27th of September and the 6th of October 1942,

by 'Odin'

Army:
149 AP, and 115 PtP have been deployed to 2. DOp.
3 Regiments' worth of 122mm and 152mm Artillery have been delivered, to 19. GarD, to 164 SD, and to 190 SD. Now only the Rifle Corps on the Romanian border doesn't have an Artillery Regiment in each Division.
16. Tyazhelaya Tankovaya Gvardeskaya Diviziya (H Arm, Gdsx2, Eng, Art) has been deployed in Minsk, it will likely reinforce 11ya Motorizovannaya Armiya once it's fully organised.

Army numbers (Brigades/Personnel) Reserves included (these numbers don't include regiments being upgraded):
Front line troops: 714 / 2.142.000
Support troops: 388 / 388.000
Total fighting troops: 1.102 / 2.530.000
Headquarters: 65 / 65.000
Total Army Personnel: 1.167 / 2.595.000
Officers: 108.457 + / 114.820 needed / 0 POW / 156 KIA / 94,458 % -
Active Leaders: 294 / 2 POW / 202 more available
Army Leadership:
After over 100 days of heavy fighting, an audit of our command structure was conducted by the Secret Committee's military analysts. It was obvious that many military leaders had gained valuable experience in this war, while some others made less progress, be it due to an inability to learn, or a relative lack of action under their command. This resulted in a reshuffle in the higher ranks:
ColGen. Vassilevskij, SK5, LW, BM was promoted to full General and placed in charge of 3 AG, Brjansk HQ.
To fill the vacancy, LtGen Katkov, SK4, LW, BM was promoted to ColGen, and given command of 7ya Armiya, 3rd AG, Brjansk HQ.
General Sokolovksij, SK4, was quietly demoted to ColGen, and placed in charge of 8ya Armiya, 1 AG, Leningrad HQ. That means he's in overall command of our ground troops in Norway.
ColGen Vlassov, SK3, OD, DD, had been asking for a posting on the main front, far from Norway. He got his wish, as he was demoted to LtGen in order for him to replace ColGen Katkov at the head of V SK, 6ya Armiya, 2nd AG, Moskva HQ.
In what is officially a lateral move, MajGen Vasilev SK4, BM, swapped his Rifle Division for 16 TTGvD, XXXV MSK, 11ya Mot. Armiya, Armoured AG, STAVKA.
A newly commisionned MajGen Getman SK2, LW, WS, took MajGen Vasilev's place as commander of 34 SD, IX SK, 6ya Armiya, 2nd AG, Moskva HQ.

Air Force:
Tupolev received the go-ahead and resources to restart the TB-3 production line towards the formation of another Heavy Bomber Aviation Division. No other changes in the last 10 days.​
Navy:
The production of troop transport ships in Leningrad has been ramped up as another Flotilla of 5 vessels has been ordered.

Politics / International:
Germany has started influencing Romania towards the Axis. Luckily they are quite far from joining it, if anything, they're doing us a favour by pulling the Romanians away from the Allies.
Our spies in Sweden have sent back information about an Economic Boom in the ostensibly neutral country.
Battle of Britain:
The Luftwaffe bombed Portsmouth 9 times, the RAF only reaching the bombers after their payload had been dropped. On the tenth run, the Hurricanes got to them in time. Dover saw a similar story with 7 bombing runs and 19 aerial battles. Despite the RAF interference, all of 56th Destroyer Flotilla (Battle-class) was sunk in port by Seeaufklärungsgruppe 126.
Stragetic Air Command hit Leipzig 11 times, the luftwaffe only intercepting them 9 times after the damage was already done. On the way there, the Halifaxes were also harrased over Dortmund (8).
Over France and Belgium, the air was hotly contested, with dogfights taking place over Paris (11), Compeigne (11), Nantes (7), Montargis (7), Lille (6), Autun (2), and Brussels (1).
Battle of the Atlantic:
266 Axis convoys were sunk for 22 Allied ones.
France:
All is quiet once more as there are no active insurgencies in all of France.​
Yugoslavia:
YUG_42-10-06-min.jpeg
Both US-sponsored uprisings were crushed, but the home-grown rebels managed to expand their territory around the temporary capital of Nevesinje. Now, they do face expulsion by Axis reinforcements.
Greece:
GRF_42-10-06-min.jpeg
The British continue to expand their grasp on Greece, taking Amfissa on the mainland, and Nafplio and Tripolis on the Peloponessos. The Italians have continued to be hit by British bombs, suffering ground attacks in Amfissa (2) and Napflio (10). The Regio Aeronautica's figters flew out from Rodi to meet the bombers over Athina's Air Base, fighting 14 aerial battles, without overly hindering allied operations. This has prompted some worries about a potential allied invasion of the Balkans pre-empting our own plans for the liberation of the area's proletariat.
North Africa & Med:
BNAF_42-10-06-min.jpeg
The Italian push has accelerated as Italian mechanised forces chargetowards Tobruch. At Tamimi, Al Jabal al Akhda, and Gazala, have been retaken as Axis forces have reached the outskirts of Tobruch. Italian bombers hit Bardia 5 times, seemingly targeting infrastructure and supply collumns, while the RAF flew 2 missions over Al Jabal, and 9 missions over At Tamimi. The Italians did manage to intercept British efforts, once over Al Jabal, and 5 times over At Tamimi.
Further north, No.5 Strategic group bombed Pécs 5 times, getting intercepted each time, and Rome 10 times without any enemy interference.
Sofiya was bombed 6 times, and Varna 14 times, while Axis Air Forces intercepted the Wellingtons no less than 28 times over Bulgarian-held territory.
194 Italian convoys were sunk by the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, and 18 Allied convoys were lost in the Adriatic.
In the Indian Ocean, 87 Axis merchant vessels were sunk, for 24 Allied ones.
South East Asia:
Indonesia Front:
SEAF_2_42-10-06-min.jpeg
On the Northern coast of Java, the IJA took the mountains of Cirebon.
Japanese forces also crossed the strait from Sumatra to the island of Bangka to the North-East, taking the Southern half of the island.
Malay Front:
SEAF_1_42-10-06-min.jpeg
No real progress was made towards Singapore, likely due to the dense jungle of Johore Bahru, but the IJA has continued to assert it's authority over the northern border regions with Siam, taking the Province of Alor Setar. Thailand is moving substantial forces towards this new border with the Japanese Empire.
Another 16 Japanese port strikes on Singapore failed to sink anything, though they did plenty of damage
The convoy war continues, with 144 Allied merchant vessels sunk for 222 of the Axis in this area.
The Royal Navy lost it's 10th Destroyer Flotilla, consisting of 6 old V-class Destroyers to the IJN's 19 Kuchikukantai, made up of Asashio-class Destroyers.
The Asashio-class of IJN destroyers was developed in the mid-1930s as a slightly larger version of the Shiratsuyu-class, with the first ship starting construction in 1937. Displacing 2.408 tonnes, they sport a heavy main armament of 6 Type 3 127mm/50 (5") naval guns in three Model C twin mounts. As opposed to American 5" weapons, these aren't really multi-purpose. The mounts allow 55° of elevation, but the guns have to be trained at between 5° and 10° to be loaded, so the rate of fire goes down as the elevation needed increases. Luckily, a host of Heavy AA machine-guns does offer some protection agains aeroplanes, with 20-28 Type 96 25mm barrels usually in twin mounts, and up to 4 Type 93 13.2mm guns in single mounts. Rounding off the armament are 8 610mm (24") torpedo tubes in 2 quadruple launchers, and 36 depth charges. With such a heavy armament, the ship's 50.000 hp powerplant, consisting of three boilers, driving two shafts through a single geared turbine, propells it to a top speed of just 35 knots. While their AA armament is a bit on the light side, the heavy 5" armament makes them a a menace for smaller enemy destroyers, as the Royal Navy's 10th Destroyer Flotilla, incuding HMS Virago (bottom picture below IJN Michishio) found out to it's own detriment.​
V-Class_Asashio-min.jpeg
Pacific Front:
There were no major naval engagements. 255 enemy convoys were sunk for 149 allied ones.

Industry:
238 + / 434 + / 539 - (base IC / domestic IC / toral available IC incl. LL)​
A Radar station has been constructed on Mythiléné (Level 1 & 2), and the one in Sevastopol was expanded (Level 2). 5 sets of Radar equipment have been ordered to eiter expand existing Radar Stations or create new ones.
The Naval bases in Bornholm and Mythiléné have been doubled in size (Level 2), they can now handle twice as much cargo, and can each house 12 Red Navy units. Work continued in Mythiléné (Level 3), but not in Bornholm, where nearby Copenhagen provides a better Red Navy base, and the current size of the port is more than sufficient to supply the Air Base and the Garrison.
The liberation of Riga, especially it's factories (1 IC), has added to our Industrial capacity. Lend-Lease from the us was reduced significantly from the 2nd of October, with deliveries now hovering around 105-106 IC instead of the previous 137-139 IC. The average was brought down to 122 IC over 10 days, for a total of 1.218 ICdays, or 23% of total production.
IC Usage: ( Allocated IC / Need )​
Upgrades: 17,2 / 19,85 - The amount of units waiting for upgrades was down to an all time low of 45.
Reinforcement: 39,7 / 39,74 - The need for reinforcements varies wildly but remains over 20 IC.
Supplies: 67,50 / 59,62 - The supply stockpile has grown to over 40.000, expenditure was reduced somewhat.
Production: 382,26 / 388,62 - A small increase as newly ordered transport ships and heavy bombers start production.
Consumer Goods: 32,34 / 32,34 - The reduction in demand for consumer goods reflects the reduction in imports from the US under Lend-Lease.
Stockpiles:​
Energy: Maximum tonnes +​
Metal: 97.200 tonnes -​
Rares: 49.226 tonnes +​
Crude: 96.826 cubic metres +​
Supplies: 43.203 tonnes +​
Fuel: Maximum barrels +​
Money: 1.354 +​

Intelligence:
Spy numbers, spies in (active / added / lost / caught by us)​
France (Supporting our Party / Covert Operations): 5 / 0 / 0 / 0​
Sweden (Support our Party): 10 / 0 / 0 / 0​
{ Germany (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
{ Japan (/): 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
{ UK (/) : 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 }​
Sweden (Supporting our Party): 10 / 1 / 1 / 1
Other: 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Total: 15 / 1 / 1 / 1
Reserves: 1​
Spy training leadership expenditure: 1,37 + (a new spy every 5 days)
One of our spies was caught in Sweden, he was soon replaced by a reserve operative. The Swedish mission was changed briefly to Counterespionage, until a Swedish operative was neutralised.

Research:
No Research completed, no new projects started.​
Leadership distribution:​
Research: 21 =​
Espionage: 1,37 (+0,57)
Diplomacy: 0,06 (-0,07)
Officers: 12,50 (= / 75 Officers/day)
Total: 34,93 (+0,50) With Riga back in Soviet hands, the city's remaining intelligentsia could return to it's important work in labs, universities, military academies, etc.

Statistics:
National Unity: 83,223 =​
Neutrality: 0,00 =​
Dissent: 0,00 =​
Manpower:​
Available: 2.097.000 (-25.000) Filling the ranks of new units and replacing casualties takes it's toll, but it's a cost we can bear for some time to come.
Men To reinforce(need): 10.200 +
Men To mobilise(need): See above​
Monthly gain: 73.300 Men + (1 fully mobilised Infx3, Art, AT Division every 4,63 days) Able-bodied men and women from Riga are now once more available for service in our armed forces.
No changes in Party Popularity and Party Organisation​

This Information is accurate on the morning of the 6th of October 1942, I hope it serves you well in fine-tuning your possible suggestions.

'Odin'
 
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After over 100 days of heavy fighting, an audit of our command structure was conducted by the Secret Committee's military analysts.
A very diligent and no doubt useful exercise. Better than a purge!

The British continue to expand their grasp on Greece, taking Amfissa on the mainland, and Nafplio and Tripolis on the Peloponessos.
A traditional area of contest between Britain and Russia and a bit of a worry for longer term war aims (both in game and altiverse).

This has prompted some worries about a potential allied invasion of the Balkans pre-empting our own plans for the liberation of the area's proletariat.
Ditto

The Italian push has accelerated as Italian mechanised forces chargetowards Tobruch.
ATL imitates OTL.
 
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Finshades

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Those Axis convoy losses are eye-watering. Almost 200 Italian convoys alone in the past 10 days? Do they have anything left besides rowboats at this point?

We should be able to beat the Brits to the Balkans. The proletariat depends on us! But, if the Italian front in North Africa crumbles, who knows how that'll swing the balance of forces in the Mediterranean. The Pacific theater seems almost entirely abandoned by the Allies, so maybe they're looking to defeat Italy first and work their way from there.
 
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roverS3

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Of course they won’t - their defeat is inevitable! ;) They’ll be reaching for the hip-flasks soon.
Makes sense. Takes a swig.

A very diligent and no doubt useful exercise. Better than a purge!
A lot of things are better than a purge...
A traditional area of contest between Britain and Russia and a bit of a worry for longer term war aims (both in game and altiverse).
We should be able to beat the Brits to the Balkans. The proletariat depends on us! But, if the Italian front in North Africa crumbles, who knows how that'll swing the balance of forces in the Mediterranean. The Pacific theater seems almost entirely abandoned by the Allies, so maybe they're looking to defeat Italy first and work their way from there.
We're still months away from landing in Bulgaria/Northern Greece. We will be taking some surrounding islands before B-day (D-day, but in the Balkans) though. That said, it looks like the Axis are moving reinforcements into the area to deal with the Yugoslav uprising and the Brits. That's also a positive for us on the Southern part of the main front, as the recent arrival of the bulk of the Bulgarian army is being offset by the departure of other units to go 'pacify' the Balkans. Let's hope they deal with the Brits for us, ot manage to stall them at least. Maybe there will be a post-war Northern Greece (Capital Salonica) and a Southern Greece (Capital Athens) in this ATL? Or there might even be an Athens wall...
About the Pacific. It looks like the Royal Navy is on it's own there, and without ground troops or USN backup, they're losing bases and having to take unfavourable fights. I'm kind of surprised the Japs haven't gone for French Indochina yet, though I guess the British territories are less well guarded and the Royal Navy is the bigger threat by far with the Marine Nationale cooped up in Dakar save for a couple of Destroyers and Submarines.

ATL imitates OTL.
Indeed. And all because the Brits preferred to deploy those motorised troops in Greece rather than in North Africa, where they could have arguably taken more territory and helped knock the Italians out of Africa once and for all.
Those Axis convoy losses are eye-watering. Almost 200 Italian convoys alone in the past 10 days? Do they have anything left besides rowboats at this point?
Those numbers are highly speculative (the game gives no accurate way to count the number of convoys lost). You get a message box most of the time you sink convoys or your own convoy is sunk, so for your own nation you get a reasonably accurate number. However, the sunk convoy numbers on the map are all over the place, so tagging to another country in the naval map mode will only tell you where convoys are getting attacked. I've been reporting the sum of the numbers on the map for other nations, chalk up the discrepancy to bad intelligence. Even then, Italy must be running very low on convoys, which may partly explain periodic supply issues for them in Northern Africa. Of course, the British supply issues there are entirely of their own making. The British Army took Tobruch, and on the way infrastructure got damaged between Alexandria & Tobruch. However, instead of shipping supplies straight into Tobruch, the Merchant navy is still sending all the supplies to Alexandria before the Army trucks them through the Desert to the Tobruch area... This is why Britain will likely lose Tobruch again...

I realise the regular 10-day report wasn't the update that was announced. Don't worry, Inspector Rozïtis will return soon.
 
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I just caught up, and I wanted to let you know I've really been enjoying this AAR! You've done a really good job mixing narrative and the summaries, and I'm excited to see what Rozitis turns up next!
 
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I just caught up, and I wanted to let you know I've really been enjoying this AAR! You've done a really good job mixing narrative and the summaries, and I'm excited to see what Rozitis turns up next!
Lovely to have a new reader/comment, and you're all caught up as well. Impressive. Soon is an elastic concept. The Rozitis update will be neither early nor late, but exactly when it is meant to be posted. Please, stay excited, for I am definitely excited as I think up his antics.
 
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The Rozitis update will be neither early nor late, but exactly when it is meant to be posted. Please, stay excited, for I am definitely excited as I think up his antics.
I certainly am, Gandalf! :D
 
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Another fine summary and overall things are going well for Mother Russia. The British AI continues to disappoint, but perhaps not as much as the US one.

There is some minor pedantry around HMS Virago but I am more than happy to never speak of it again, because frankly given the impressive amount of detail you are mastering in these updates it is an utterly unimportant detail. :)
 
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6th of October 1942, 'Odinatsat' #17, To catch a spy?

roverS3

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6th of October, 5pm Moscow Time,

My dearest external members of Stalin's Secret Committee,

As I was drinking some tea, and taking a break from the incessant reports from the front, I wondered whether vodka wouldn't have been more appropriate given the mounting death toll of this war. Mukacevo was today's bloodbath, but surely tomorrow there will be another, it seems almost inveitable. My thoughts were soon interrupted by a clerk who handed me thick envelope from 'Shest'. In it were a bunch of files, and a note from our intelligence specialist:

'Odin',​
I'm not sure how far we can let things go on without intervening in some way. 'Odinatsat's life is now very much in danger, but more importantly, it seems that the longer that Inspector Rozïtis fellow is sniffing around, the higher the chances he will find out things he isn't supposed to find out. If all he could find was some bodged low level GRU or NKVD operation, that wouldn't be too much to worry about, but the more recent operations of IX are not known about in even the highest circles of our official secret services. If that fool Lyadov writes down everything the detective finds out in his reports, the Secret Committee could become compromised. It hasn't come to it yet, but I've prepared a plan of action to make sure these reports first go to a trusted hand before rewritten versions get sent up the chain of command.​
The second issue is the detective himself, if he finds out too much we might have to make him disappear. It's going to be a difficult call to make, and the Americans are still watching his every move. As I write this, General Markkur is on his way to Moscow Air Base, where his personal plane awaits him. My intelligence indicates the flight's destination is Leningrad. As if this situation isn't complicated enough, another big player is about to enter into the ring.​
I'll keep you appraised of the situation as it unfolds,​
'Shest'​
Having noted 'Shest's worries. I dove into the written reports of Lt. Lyadov:

1st of October

The British consulate has quietly replaced the deceased Herbert Smith with a certain Mr Joseph Brown. Even if this information wasn't publicly announced by the consulate, it was relatively easy to figure out, and considered benign enough by the NKVD so that I might share it with Inspector Rozïtis. So I did, at around 10am on the 1st of the month.​
Rozïtis: "So, this man, Brown, is the new assistant cultural attaché. And the NKVD has no clue who he is?"​
Lyadov: "Not as far as I know."​
It was obviously an alias, but the NKVD had no idea who was behind it, or even how he had gotten into the country, only spotting the man as he got out of a diplomatic car at the consulate. Rozïtis suggested that Brown likely had been in the country for a while already in a more covert capacity. The question was, of course why the man would kill a Red Navy officer and a British spy. To which the Inspector replied:​
Rozïtis: "CaptLt. Zimkov was potentially moonlighting as some kind of intelligence asset. He could have been leaking our secrets to the Brits, or he could have been doing off the books counter-espionage. I'm sure Major Goleniewsky knows more about this than she lets on..."​
Unsatisfied with his theory, I prodded him to elaborate:​
Rozïtis: "Well, maybe he was holding back information, or he was doublecrossing the Brits somehow, or if he was doing counterespionage for our side, he might have found Brown, and the latter had to protect his cover."​
But what about Smith, I asked.​
Rozïtis: "That one's easy, either Herbert was going rogue, or Brown was going rogue, either way they found themselves on opposing sides. But that's all a theory, for all I know Goleniewsky killed both of them."​
The detective's logic for Goleniewsky killing a fellow officer came down to the idea that one or the other was a traitor, and that the other had found this out and decided to confront the other instead of going to the NKVD, which doesn't seem like the most plausible story. Surely, the NKVD would know if one of them was a traitor, and if it didn't, the NKVD would certainly be the first port of call for a member of our military who suspects such a thing. I suggested arresting both suspects in order to interrogate them until one of them confessed, but the inspector prefers his own methods:​
Rozïtis: "No Lieutenant, this isn't an NKVD investigation, and torturing a diplomat isn't going to go over very well with our American Allies. There are likely several other suspects out there who we don't know about yet. I would love to see what happens if I ask for the imprisonment of Major Goleniewsky, but it's not time for that yet."​
The autopsies weren't narrowing down our pool of suspects. Both murders were definitely performed by the same person. The strength and position of the thrusts suggests a man of average build, or a physically strong woman of above average height. This didn't eliminate either of them, even if Brown is slightly above average build for a Russian, Rozïtis suspects he is a seasoned spy and with the element of surprise, he would likely know how to make it look like he was smaller and weaker by not putting his full strength into the attack.​
Based on current information and conjecture, we're looking for a spy who's likely not had a long military career, but who's of average build, or pretending to be. Or a relatively tall, and strong woman, probably military. At least according to Rozïtis, when I asked him how we could possibly start narrowing things down from this point, he suggested a field trip. So, I prepared some lunch and we met at his cute little car.​
Rozïtis let me drive, though he didn't say where we were going, giving me directions bit by it. Only when he had me almost double back to drive down Voinov Street (Shpalernaya Street) towards Rastrelli Square, did I catch on that we were taking a rather roundabout way to get to the British consulate on Lafonskaya Street. I questioned the Inspector on this:​
Lafon5BritishConsulate-min.jpg
5 Lafonskaya Street, The British consulate in Leningrad. Designed by architect Vassily Konstantinovich Weiss, the building was built in 1906, as an orfanage. The construction was funded by a Finnish-Russian Baron, as an act of charity. It served as the British consulate in St Petersburg from 1992 to 2018. In this alternate reality, the Brits have set up their consulate in this empty building much earlier than in our world...​
Lyadov: "So why are we going to the consulate again? They've told us all they're ever going to tell us, and the NKVD watches the place around the clock, murder investigation or no murder investigation."​
By the time I finished the question, we had reached Rastrelli Square, and instead of answering, he gave me directions to go down Quarenghi Lane, and not Lafonskaya Street. Then, he had me do a three point turn once we reached the South-Western corner of Smolny Monastery and park the car facing Rastrelli Square. We could make out the British consulate peeking over the trees to our 10 a clock. I was visibly puzzled, which prompted him to explain himself.​
Rozïtis: "You say the NKVD is watching the consulate, and I'd be surprised if they weren't. But where they are watching from, and what they are looking for isn't what this investigation needs. Look down to Rastrelli square. You see that British diplomatic car," - He pointed out a large foreign car that could well have been British - "that's the kind of thing the NKVD is looking at."​
His theory was confirmed when an unmarked NKVD car appeared about half a minute later, following the British car.​
Lyadov: "So what are we looking for?"​
Rozïtis: "I'll know it when I see it Lieutenant. Just watch the park entrance and the sidewalks for anything that could be suspicious."​
- He pointed to the small Northern entrance to the Smolny Gardens across the street. The weather was cold but sunny, so there were a few people out and about. I wasn't sure what to expect.​
We ate lunch in silence, not wishing to draw too much attention to our stakeout. The detective was very quietly whistling Bach's second Partita No.2 for solo violin, he said it helped him digest. Just as Rozïtis was about to start the Chaconne, an average-built man in his forties wearing a scruffy grey suit drew the attention of the detective. He strolled out of the park, arm in arm with a slightly younger, but otherwise rather unremarkable brunette. Everything about their demeanour indicated they were a couple, and as they reached Quarenghi Lane, they kissed briefly before parting ways. The woman went back into the park, while the man walked eastward for about 100 meters before crossing the street towards the Monastery.​
Lyadov: "What's so interesting about him? He's just some low-level apparatchik meeting his girlfriend for lunch."​
Rozïtis: "That's what he wants you to think, Lieutenant. Keep looking."​
He was getting further away but the Inspector still stopped me from following him, be it on foot or by car. Rozïtis clarified that he isn't a fan of wild goose chases. He got lucky this time, for I don't know how he could have guessed what would happen next.​
Just as I thought we were going to loose him, the man then darted into the monastery through some kind of side entrance. I was bursting to jump out of the car and find out where he went, but the look on Rozïtis face told me not to. As I was frantically looking around, I noticed the area had become quite empty as everyone had gone back to work. A good 5 minutes after the man had disappeared from view, with the street empty, we heard a faint rumble coming from inside the monastery. It grew louder as a motorcycle rolled out onto the road. The rider wwas wearing a long leather jacket, a leather helmet and goggles. It was hard to be sure he was the same man who had entered the building, but he was of similar build, and he was carrying the same worn leather pouch. The rider turned towards us and accelerated smoothly to a comfortable cruising speed, passing us on our left.​
Now it was time to follow, though the detective insisted that it was more important not to be spotted, than it was to find out where the man went. I kept a good distance while following the flow of traffic.​
Lyadov: "So, where do you think he's going?"​
Rozïtis: "If I knew we wouldn't be following him now, would we?"​
As it turned out, we almost lost him when he darted down an alleyway, but thankfully, the inspector's tiny car was just narrow enough to fit through the gap, albeit slowly, only barely scratching the paint on the side mirror, and we soon picked up the trail again. When he darted into the next alleyway, Rozïtis told me to park on the side of the road. In the excitement of the chase, I hadn't immediately realised that the first murder had happened in that particular alleyway, and that it was, in fact, where I met the detective for the first time. The motorcycle engine cut out, and we could hear the kickstand hit the pavement.​
Lyadov: "So who is our mystery man?"​
Rozïtis: "Remind me Lieutenant, what was the NKVD's description of Mr. Brown again?"​
Lyadov: "Middle-aged, likely in his forties. Height between 170 cm and 175 cm. Dark brown hair, balding a little. Average build, good posture, likely ex-military. No facial hair."​
Rozïtis: "Sounds about right, don't you think?"​
Lyadov: "Do you mean to suggest that this operative slipped out of the consulate right under the NKVD's nose?"- I was in disbelief. This Mr. Brown must be a world class operative if he managed to even briefly outsmart the NKVD.​
Rozïtis: "His timing was impeccable, he probably slipped into the Smolny gardens just as people started to arrive to spend their lunch break there. The woman probably came from elsewhere, she might even be some kind of asset of his. To all bystanders, it just looked like some low-level apparatchik having a nice picnic with his girlfriend, wife, or mistress, during his lunch break. Then, when lunch is over, he leaves the park just as everyone else is doing so to get back to work. The pair part ways, and having picked a relatively quiet street, he goes to retrieve his motorcycle and gear to make his escape. We're lucky he didn't notice us, or he probably would have walked right past where the motorcycle was hidden. Once he's riding around wearing his leather pouch, coat, and helmet, he just looks like one of many motorcycle messengers. But, to your point, the NKVD should probably look into potential secret exits or tunnels that allow people to leave the British consulate unnoticed into Smolny Gardens."​
Lyadov: "How'd you pick him out before he did anything suspicious?"​
Rozïtis: "Well, have you ever met someone who is entirely normal, where every aspect is exactly how you would expect it to be?"​
Lyadov: "I'm not sure I would have noticed if I had."​
Rozïtis: "That apparatchik in his scruffy suit was very normal. His outfit, his demeanour, his girlfriend, his pouch, every little detail was coherent, spookily so. His suit is scruffy because he hasn't done very well in his career and with no view on advancement, he's let his standards slip. His girlfriend is nothing special, she's a bit younger, but she looks average at best for her age, here too his standards have slipped. He's not destitute in any sense of the word, but he's stagnated in life, and he's given up on doing better. This is the kind of character no-one notices, which makes it a perfect disguise, but it's more than that, there is nothing interesting to notice about him.​
Real people tend to have little quirks, subtle things that show that there's more to them than what you see at first glance. Maybe something gives away that they have a hobby they're passionate about, or they like to have a little fun with their tie, maybe they have some mannerisms from a previous career, maybe an old injury changed the way they walk, etc. there's a long list of subtle cues that give people depth. This man struck me due to the total absence of any defining feature, no matter how subtle, that would make him stand out from the thousands of low-level apparatchiks in this city. Either he was the most boring person on earth, or this was deliberate, because such a person is easy to forget if you're not looking for it."​
Lyadov: "So the total absence of anything suspicious is what made you suspicious?"​
Rozïtis: "Exactly. This isn't a regular murder investigation, we're dealing with spies here, some of them world class. They're probably not going to betray themselves by making stupid mistakes and looking suspicious. So now we're looking for the opposite of that, people who do absolutely nothing suspicious or memorable in any way when around other people, and minimise their exposure to the minimum required to get their mission done."​
Lyadov: "All right, so based on that, this man must be Joseph Brown, or whatever his real name is, but why is he then risking so much to come to the scene of the crime? If he committed the murders, it's surely too late to remove or tamper with the evidence?"​
Rozïtis: "There's only one reasonable explanation. He's doing his own investigation."​
Lyadov: "So he didn't commit the murders?"​
Rozïtis: "Probably not."​
Lyadov: "Shall we politely grab him and ask him to share some information. We want the same thing, right? To catch the killer."​
Rozïtis: "Certainly not. If he knows we know he's investigating the murders, he's going to drop off the radar, and they'll find someone else to do the investigating. The sticking point here is that he's operating based on his top secret information, and we're operating based on ours, at least I'd hope so. Exchanging any information is far too risky, not to mention that if we catch the killer, we're going to have a big fight over what happens to them. He knows that too, so he's likely to give us disinformation to lead us down the wrong path so he can catch the killer before we realise what's happened. Let's just concentrate on catching the killer ourselves, we can try to keep an eye on Brown's investigation, but if we follow him everywhere he goes, we won't get any information of our own, and we will get spotted, which will result in some unknown British operative taking over. We're not spies, Lyadov, let's not try to beat them at their own game."​
As our conversation ended, the motorcycle sprang back to life. I was about to start the car to follow, but Rozïtis stopped me, not wanting us to try our luck too much.​
As we sat there, the detective hummed the Chaconne (last movement of Bach's 2nd partita for solo violin). I really need to find out why he has so much violin music in his head. Nothing in his file indicates that he's ever touched a violin. He was a choir boy as a kid, which is probably why he has such a good voice, and why whistles so well. After that, there is no record of any additional musicianship.​
The inspector reached the first real turning point in the music, as it suddenly changed from soft melodic waves to more agressive double stops and arpeggio's. Almost perfectly timed with the second arpeggio (Mi Sol Do or E G C), a large engine roared to life further down the street. Was it just a coincidence, or had someone else been keeping an eye on the murder scene for some reason? Ten seconds later a GAZ-M1, black with a thin red pinstripe down the side, a common NKVD livery, rolled towards us.​
As the car drove past in the opposite direction, I kept an eye on it with my peripheral vision. The driver looked entirely legitimate, wearing a suit jacket over his regulation NKVD uniform shirt. (note by 'Shest': He wasn't doing a great job at blending in, but the NKVD is filled with incompetent but loyal men.) There was something familiar about him. Probably just someone I've met once at the NKVD. However, I caught a brief glimpse of a rather slender figure in the back seat. The rear curtains were drawn, and it was only for a fraction of a second, but I could swear it was a woman. As the car lazily accelerated away, something else seemed off, I couldn't quite put my finger on it. We sat there for a while longer, until the detective's Chaconne ended.​
Rozïtis: "I see the NKVD is keeping an eye on the scene. Good for them. Let's get back to the office and make a plan to figure out Irina Goleniewsky's role in this series of events."​
I quickly started the car and started driving towards the Naval Academy, though I soon shared what I had seen with Rozïtis.​
"Inspector, I think there's a woman on the back seat of that NKVD car."​
Rozïtis: "If there was, I didn't see her, but of course you were in a better position to see into the rear of the vehicle. Did you notice anything else that would be unusual for an NKVD car? I'd expect you've been around those NKVD V8 M1's."​
Lyadov: "I'm not entirely sure, but something seemed off compared to the standard NKVD V8 M1's. It wasn't something visual. Maybe it sounded different?"​
In what seemed like a flight of fancy, the detective now stated that we absolutely had to gain access to one of the NKVD's special V8 cars. When I told him it was unlikely we would get to drive one, he replied:​
Rozïtis: "No. I need to listen to it as it drives past, preferably at a similar speed and rate of acceleration as that car just did. Let's go to the Big House (NKVD HQ), and ask them if they can have one drive past."​
At the Big House, Captain of State Security Bekhterev (Lyadov's direct superior) was accommodating of our strange request. We sat in the detective's car as we waited for some NKVD operative to drive past as instructed.​
When the GAZ drove past, it was accompanied by the deep rumble of it's V8. I couldn't tell the difference, and just as I was starting to think I'd imagined the other car's engine note was off and the car faded into the distance Rözitis cried out:​
"You're right Lyadov, the engine note is different. The other car's engine had a smaller pitch increase during the same acceleration, and over all a slightly lower pitch. I have a good ear and that car that passed by us near the murder scene was more powerful than the one that just went past here, or at least it had a different gearbox."​
As we were now looking for a souped up V8 GAZ-M1. I started asking around if there have been any official or unofficial modification programmes in the NKVD. Everyone I asked gave me a variation of the same answer: "Those V8 cars are already faster than everything else on our roads, save for a few foreign sports cars imported by diplomats. Putting in an American V8 and a stronger gearbox is all the modifying they need to be the absolute kings of the road."​
It seems we will have to wait for an answer about that car. I couldn't shake the feeling that with each new bit of information we were getting, we gained several questions with no answer. I didn't share this observation with the Inspector as we got to work in the office.​
Having spent the afternoon painstakingly writing down every little detail of the day's observations that might be relevant to the investigation, we parted ways. We decided to reconvene tomorrow morning to continue the investigation. I checked as well as I could whether the NKVD had ever modified their special cars further, but found no leads on that front. Inspector Ivars Rozïtis is definitely the man for the job. Even if I instinctively want to use more agressive methods, he manages to move the investigation forwards trough observation, cunning, and an excellent musical ear.​

2nd of October

This morning, as we were looking over the evidence, Rozïtis asked me a dangerous question:​
"Lieutenant, what do you know about the Ocean Senior incident? The high-jacking by Naval Infantry cadets of a Danish trawler to infiltrate enemy lines on the Norwegian coast and capture German officers. I know it didn't happen, but hypothetically speaking, if it had happened, it would have involved Naval Infantry cadets from this very Naval Academy. Most likely cadets of Major Goleniewskiy's class, I'd say."​
Lyadov: "If something like that happened to not happen, that would be above my pay grade, at least all the way up to Commissioner Kubatin I would think. I would suggest not asking around about such non-events lest people start to think you are making up crazy stories."​
Rozïtis: "Let's do it ourselves then. We'll go through at the files of Goleniewsky's cadets to see who would not have been involved in this event that didn't happen. Maybe there isn't a clue there."​
Thus we, rather pointlessly, went over the files of all the cadets in the Major's class. It took a while as Rozïtis was insisting we be very thorough in our reading, as things that didn't happen would not have been noted in them as such, though there might be clues as to whether they would have been involved if it would have happened, which it didn't.​
In the afternoon, at around 3pm, upon opening my 27th file of the day, I stumbled upon a familiar face. This man was the driver of the GAZ M1 that passed us yesterday. He wasn't some NKVD grunt from my past, but rather a certain naval infantry cadet by the name of Igor Kalyagin. His file was a mixed bag, on the one hand he had stellar maks for both physical and theoretical exams, and on the otherhand, there was a slew of small time disciplinary sanctions, the former somewhat making up for the latter and keeping him in the officer programme. Yes, this seemed like the kind of soldier that might have been persuaded by an authority figure to highjack a fishing vessel to go capture enemy officers without permission from the brass. If such an absurdity could even possibly happen under the watchful eye of the NKVD. I interrupted Rozïtis in his own side by side contemplation of two slightly redacted personel files.​
Lyadov: "Detective, we saw this one yesterday, he was dressed as an NKVD man and driving that souped up GAZ M1."​
Rozïtis, looking at the picture: "Yes, that looks like our driver. It seems likely the person in the back of the car could have been Major Goleniewsky? But one question remains..."​
Lyadov: "Where did she get the car?"​
First, we checked if she didn't have her staff car repainted, but found she had no staff car at all. Then, we checked if the NKVD or the Army were missing any M1's. When that didn't yield any answers, I contacted the Leningrad NKVD's customs office to see if she might be involved in some smuggling operation that could have allowed her to get her hands on american automobile parts she could have possibly combined with parts of wrecked M1's in some way. After all, her lover was a very talented aeroplane mechanic. The response was inconclusive, as in they didn't think so, but they couldn't rule it out.​
The only option we could think of, though it does seem like a very remote possibility, is that she borrowed or recieved the car from the NKVD or her former employers at the GRU. But that still begs the question why she could get away with impersonating an NKVD officer. The detective has his theory:​
Rozïtis: "I'd wager she has some serious connections, way above your paygrade. If she was the woman in the car, that is. It would confirm my suspicions that she's still involved in some shady intelligence business on the side. The fact she would use one of her cadets as a driver tells us she's probably roped in a few promising cadets to assist in some secret operations. Let's ask her about it, if only because I want to hear the story she comes up with."​
I called her office, but there was no answer. I then rang Colonel Turgenev, who told me she was training at the shooting range with her cadets. Rozïtis said we would ask her first thing on monday.​
The rest of the afternoon was spent tactfully calling around to see if anyone knew anything about this mysterious car, or about Mr. Joseph Brown. It all proved rather fruitless. Meanwhile, the inspector continued to look over the personel files. By the end of the day, he had three piles sorting the cadets according to the likelyhood of them working off the books for Goleniewsky. A big 'no' pile, a small 'maybe' pile of about a dozen files, and an even smaller 'yes' pile that contained only the files of cadets Kalyagin and Voskresensky.​

5th of October

I was woken up at 4am by a uniformed NKVD private, who told me there had been a murder, and he had been instructed to drive me to the scene on the back of his motorcycle. Ivars Rozïtis was already on his way. The driver had no idea who had been killed, nor that this was an ongoing investigation.​
I arrived at the scene of the crime twenty minutes later. I immediately recognised the victim. It was cadet Igor Kalyagin, the fake NKVD driver. Now it seems almost inevitable that Major Goleniewsky is involved.​
The detective had just started whistling Alexandr Glazunov's violin concerto, swinging to the introductory melody as he examined the position of the body, then taking a step back as the violin started it's back and forth with the brass section staying there until the music dies down, and the violin starts that beautiful passage starting from the high do (C) going down in thirds. This prompted a slow approach towards the murder weapon and the scrap of paper that was pinned to the body.​
A bit later the stepped cresecendo prompted a dance around the victim's clothes following the flow of the violin. As the violin started the next musical wave, he motioned that I should join him. He started by gently placing me where he thought the victim must have been standing when the murder occured. making minor adjustment after minor adjustment, then as the violin's melody became more frenetic, he pretended to stab me multiple ways before stepping back again, contemplative, and somewhat sad, as he quietly whispered that beautiful final violin solo, ending on that beautiful flat A that announces the second movement.​
Myself, the NKVD forensics guy, and a bunch of regular police officers were all staring, mesmerised by the Inspector's dance. After a few seconds, he came back towards me to compare notes. Cadet Kalyagin had been killed in exactly the same way as the previous two victims. Rozïtis was a bit dejected, saying that nothing new would likely come from the forensics or the autopsy. The note, written using the same typewriter, confirmed the idea that one or several women were part of the motive for the killings:​
'Let this be a teaching moment Helene'​
The word 'Teaching' was particularly interesting as it was possibly a play on the fact that Major Goleniewsky was an instructor. This being the second victim with a clear link to her it was becoming extremely unlikely that she isn't involved. Rozïtis told me to make sure we would be the ones to tell the Major the news about her cadet.​
Dom-Muruzi_2-min.jpg
One of the more emblematic 19th century luxury appartment buildings of St Petersburg, Muruzi House was the first to implement Moorish stylistic elements on the outside. This was rather fitting as the owner of the building, Prince Alexander Muruzi, was of greek origin, and his father had served at the court in Constantinople before being beheaded for passing classified information to the Russians. Constructed in 1877, and designed by A.K. Serebryakov, the building was divided up into fifty-seven luxury appartments and seven shops over five floors. It was well received by St Petersburg high society and architecture critis. Moreover, the interiors were just as luxurious as the exterior, which wasn't as common as one might think. After the revolution most of these appartment buildings were repurposed either as communal housing, where several families and individuals would share one large appartment, or as living quarters for the Soviet Union's political elite. In the case of house Muruzi, it seems that there was a bit of both. Poet Joseph Brodsky was one of the more famous occupants, having spent his youth in one of the communal appartments. It was also home to the shortlived 'World Literature' publishing house (1919-1921) which trained translators and published Russian translations of foreign litterature classics. It was also a meeting place for poets and authors during those two years.​
We arrived at the Major's listed address, it's in a luxurious appartment building on Volodarskogo Avenue (Liteyny Avenue). Of course, the large bourgeois appartements are now communal dwellings, with several families sharing one unit. Major Goleniewsky had somehow secured the master bedroom of one of the larger units, including it's en suite bathroom. (probably the only one in the building)​
It was half past five when we knocked on the door. We waited a few minutes, when there was no answer, we knocked again, this time accompanied by myself yelling:​
"NKVD open up!"​
This was followed by some movement inside the room, and about thirty seconds later, Starshina Sergei Kharkov, her lover, opened the door just enough to stick his head through the crack.​
"Might I enquire what this is about? Please, keep your voice down, a lot of people live in this building."​
Rozïtis: "I'm inspector Rozïtis, this is Lieutenant Lyadov. We're here to bring Major Irina Goleniewsky some bad news relating to one of her cadets. As this matter is part of an ongoing investigation, we can only discuss this with her, so if you could just have her come out, or let us in, that would be great."​
Kharkov: "She's told me about you two, didn't you move your office into the Naval Academy? Something about a murdered British diplomat?"​
I had about enough of his questions and without raising my voice, I replied:​
"That's none of your business Starshina. Are you going to let us in, or do I need to force my way in."​
Rozïtis: "I don't think there is a need for that. Even if he seems a bit too inquisitive for his own good I'm sure Sergei here is a reasonable man, and he'll let us in of his own volition. Am I wrong Starshina"​
Kharkov: "Of course not Inspector, let me take off the locket."​
The Starshina closed the door and we could hear him fumble around with the locket. After half a minute of fumbling about, I knocked on the door and when nothing happened for another ten seconds, I decided to kick down the door. This proved ill-advised as just when my foot, with all my weight behind it, was about to hit the door, it swung open and I slammed into the ground. Luckily there was a carpet to break my fall just a little bit.​
While I was still dazed from the fall, the Inspector entered the room, and noting the empty bed, he asked:​
"Well. Where is she, Starhsina? I don't like it when persons of interests in my investigations aren't where they said they would be."​
Before Kharkov could answer, the bathroom door opened, and there she was, in a white silk night gown, her long blond hair untied and draped over her shoulders. Even with her leg in a cast, and a few scars on her neck and face, she was a still a sight to behold.​
Goleniewsky: "I'm right here Ivars." - She said seductively, giving all of her attention to the detective.​
I instinctively looked at Kharkov to see his reaction. Surprisingly, he seemed rather amused by the whole spectacle.​
The Major grabbed a crutch to get closer to Rozïtis. When she was right in front of him, she grabbed his right shoulder for support and threw the crutch on the bed. This resulted in her standing very close to him, uncomfortably so, at least from where I was standing. This only served to further amuse the Starshina more, as he struggled to hold in his laughter.​
Goleniewsky: "Will you help me to the couch so we can talk Inspector?"​
Rozïtis was now getting visibly uncomfortable, so he gladly took the opportunity to get her onto the couch and create just that little bit of distance he surely required to be able to think clearly. As he let her down onto the couch, she kept trying to hold eye contact as he desperately tried to avoid it. I was starting to understand the funny side of the situation, but the Inspector had had enough.​
Rozïtis: "This isn't some kind of game Major. I suggest you dress in something more official and less revealing as I don't think this dynamic is conducive to the kind of conversation I've come here for." He didn't sound entirely convinced that he wanted the seduction to stop, but he quickly straightened himself up, adding, in a stern but half-sarcastic tone. "I know I'm a very attractive man, and I tend to have this effect on women in intimate settings, but this is purely a professional visit, and I would like for you to treat it as such. You have five minutes to get dressed."​
We left the room, and just three minutes later, Major Goleniewsky opened the door and stood at attention:​
"Major Irina Goleniewsky, reporting for duty. Sir."​
She was wearing her naval infantry dress uniform. Her hair was in a near perfect bun. For added effect, she even had her Mosin-Nagant slung over her shoulder. Ignoring Goleniewsky's antics, and keeping things professional, the detective invited her to come sit with him in the shared living room, rather than going back into their bedroom. The other residents were still asleep, so this wasn't an issue. The furniture was a mix of worn out 19th century fauteuils and simple, some might say agrarian, wooden stools and benches. I followed suit but kept some distance to observe but not interfere.​
Rozïtis started off by telling her about Igor Kalyagin's murder. The Major remained calm and largely unaffected by the news. Of course, she stated that she didn't know Kalyagin very well, and that he was just your average cadet who kept to himself. Of course she was sorry to hear he had been so brutally murdered, but she didn't have anything to do with that. As a matter of routine, he asked about both Goleniewsky and her lover's whereabouts during the night. The more the interview dragged on, the more it seemed like one big waste of time. She wasn't going to suddenly start talking about her side operations just because Kalyagin died.​
I couldn't help but notice that she was gradually moving closer to the inspector, holding eye contact a tad longer than necessary, softening her voice, becoming more emotional about the murders, touching him on the arm and the shoulder as she talked. She was still seducing him, and either it was working, or the inspector was playing along.​
At a quarter past six, now drying her eyes with a handkerchief, she asked how much longer this was going to take as she was supposed to be at the naval academy at seven. This prompted Rozïtis to apologise for taking her time, and that he was satisfied with her responses and that he had a hard time believing she was in any way involved. There was some admiration and longing in his voice as he said it. She thanked us for stopping by to tell her the sad news. Seemingly distraught at the tought of a killer on the loose, one who might be targetting naval infantry, she sought comfort by hugging Rozïtis and whispered something in his ear.​
As we were leaving the appartment, inspector Rozïtis turned around:​
"Irina. Just one more thing I wanted to ask you, of you'll allow it."​
It sounded as if he was about to ask her out on a date rather than continuing his investigation.​
"Off course inspector, what is it?"​
"Well, Myself and Lt. Lyadov saw Igor Kalyagin driving away from one of the earlier crime scenes last thrusday. (1st of October) When was it again Lyadov?"​
I fumbled in my jacked pocket and got out my little notebook. "3:17 in the afternoon to be exact, inspector."​
"He was driving a rather peculiar vehicle. What was it again Lieutenant?"​
"A GAZ M1, 1941 model."​
"Yes, but it had a much larger engine than standard, that's why it stood out to us. Lyadov already checked with the NKVD and it's not some special car of theirs. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you? From your past at the GRU, maybe?"​
For a fraction of a second, I might have imagined it, but I could swear Irina hesitated, as if she had been knocked off balance, as if we might know more than she was comfortable with and she needed just that little bit of time to compose herself, and a good answer.​
"I'm afraid I can't comment on my past at the GRU, but I can tell you that the GRU has mostly foreign cars, and that it seems unlikely to me that someone like cadet Kalyagin would be working for them in some capacity. Surely, I would have noticed if that was the case. I hope you find whoever has been committing these murders Ivars, and that we may meet again under different circumstances."​
As we got into his car, I had to speak my mind.​
"Inspector, I'm not sure I approve of your conduct with one of our prime suspects, I also think we should report Major Goleniewsky for unprofessional conduct towards a law enforcement officer on official business."​
Rozïtis cut me off, angered by the accusation:​
"Do you mean to tell me that abducting suspects in broad daylight and torturing them until they confess is perfectly professional, but letting them seduce you to lull them into a false sense of control crosses the line? She started it, and she knows exactly what she was doing, she's one hell of a spy. But look, she played herself today, by the time I asked her about the car, she must have thought I was smitten with her. The last thing she was expecting was a serious question about the case, and it caught her entirely off guard."​
"She still didn't tell us anything we didn't know, I'm not sure I see the point of the charade. We also didn't say anything about our suspicion that she's been training cadets to help her in her own illegal espionage operations."​
"Of course she didn't fall apart and confess everything she's been hiding, she was trained not to crack under pressure. However, she was caught off guard, even just a little bit, that tells us the following: She definitely knows about the car. She knows what cadet Kalyagin was doing with it and she was very likely in said car last thursday. Now. The bad part is that she might be taking me more seriously. She probably figured out that she was our first call after leaving the crime scene, and thus that we suspect a significant connection. That's why she changed tactics. Instead of stonewalling, she went for seduction. I didn't push much further because I want her to think she's succeeding.​
I am now convinced that she is absolutely central to this case, much more so than that man Brown who is likely just here to investigate the murder of the man we know as Herbert Smith. I plan to play her game and go on a date with her. If I can convince her I'm head over heels for her, and that she's in control, I might catch her off guard again. She isn't going to give anything away if we interrogate her in our office every other day and make her think she's our prime suspect. The more time I spend with her, the more likely she is to slip up."​
Lyadov: "So where do I come in?"​
"We going to need more information on things that didn't happen in her past, before the Army, however touchy that suject is for her, and for the GRU. You can do that, as having you anywhere near a series of personal rendez-vous between myself and the Major risks you being spotted and giving the game away."​

Lyadov "I'm not so sure, Inspector. Surely, she will be expecting the NKVD to keep you under close watch whether you want it or not."​
Rozïtis: "You're right, Lieutenant, getting away from NKVD scrutiny might be a good bonding experience. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do our research."​
When we got back to our office, something wasn't quite right. Once again I couldn't put my finger on it, but the Inspector did:​
"Someone has been here, tonight, and whoever it was is a trained spy, they barely left a trace. If I had to guess, I'd say it was Mr. Brown, looking to speed up his own investigation by going through our notes. Well, your notes to be more precise."​
Who just breaks into a Naval Academy guarded by Naval Infantry and under the watchful eye of the NKVD. Sure, Brown might be a good spy, but did he really pull that one off? Or was this an inside job? I'm going to do my own little investigation to try and find out as I'm getting a bit worried about the Inspector. Yes, he managed to get some results, but I'm not convinced he will be able to outplay the Major. His conviction that the right tactic is to go out with the Major is suspicious to say the least. He might be catching real feelings for her, in which case he may start focussing more on exonerating her from potential wrongdoing, rather than solving the case. Why else would he insist on no NKVD surveillance? Why else would he immediately conclude that it was Mr Brown, when Major Goleniewsky is definitely an equally likely suspect.​
He's not telling me everything, I fear he may be getting tips based on classified information. Who told him about Ocean Senior? How did he guess where Mr. Brown would appear? I guess I'm looking for orders here. Putting a full surveillance detail on him will allow all these spies to spot him from a mile away, so I get why that might not be the best plan. Maybe we just arrest everyone we think might be involved, and the Inspector as well for good measure, and we make them talk. That just seems so much simpler than this ambiguous mess. He also writes nothing down, except when he's explaining his reasoning to someone else, so it's going to be very hard to truly get into his head without some enhanced interrogation.​
I do hope he is right, and this isn't about to blow up in our face, as he's clearly a very intelligent and resourceful man, and I admit I would be sad to see him relocate to the Far East. Of course, I will keep my research within the strictest limits to ensure I do not stumble on any state secrets. If, by chance, I do stumble across such privileged information, I will, of course, not share it with the Inspector. The security of the State trumps any murder investigation.​

At least the dutiful Lieutenant Lyadov realises what is at stake. We need to figure out where Rozïtis is getting his information. Him knowing about Ocean Senior is relatively harmless in itself, but anything from before her time in the Military could be dangerous for us. I don't agree with 'Shest' and 'Lyadov' however, putting them all in jail or disappearing the detective should be a last resort. There is no point in depriving our police services of what seems to be a rather excellent detective unless he's in a position where he could find out about the Secret Committee or lead to it's rather swift discovery, be it by foreign operatives, or by internal threats. These considerations have to be weighed against the threat of this elusive murderer, I refuse to believe it is 'Odinatsat' committing the murders, but maybe that's because I'm getting old and sentimental.

With both British and American attention on Leningrad and the case increasing, sitting on the sidelines still seems like the best move, for now. If anything, this whole affair is providing a welcome distraction from the horrid death toll of this war. All this ado about three bodies seems almost laughable in comparison. I, for one, am curious which twists and turns this affair will take.

Have a nice evening,

'Odin'
 
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Welcome back! A bumper espionage whodunnit episode.
it seems that the longer that Inspector Rozïtis fellow is sniffing around, the higher the chances he will find out things he isn't supposed to find out
Time to consider recruiting him into the service of the Committee?
I was in disbelief. This Mr. Brown must be a world class operative if he managed to even briefly outsmart the NKVD.
Lyadov is either delightfully naive or, more likely, is writing for his possible audience! :D
I really need to find out why he has so much violin music in his head. Nothing in his file indicates that he's ever touched a violin.
A touch of the Sherlock Holmes?
If such an absurdity could even possibly happen under the watchful eye of the NKVD.
Now I’m convinced he’s writing for his audience.
The detective had just started whistling Alexandr Glazunov's violin concerto, swinging to the introductory melody as he examined the position of the body, then taking a step back as the violin started it's back and forth with the brass section staying there until the music dies down, and the violin starts that beautiful passage starting from the high do (C) going down in thirds.
The surprising thing here is not Rozïtis‘ musical knowledge, but Lyadov himself knowing so much about it. Not the expected province of a humble NKVD lieutenant/goon. What is his background again? It’s been a while and I can’t recall his backstory, if there was one.
At least the dutiful Lieutenant Lyadov realises what is at stake.
Yes - his own well-being, foremost! These are dangerous things to be mixed up with in Stalin’s Russia.
 
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