AH Vignette: The Night Songbirds of Moscow

August 7th, 1984
Moscow, USSR

She dialed the combination quickly "Outer door....thirty four.....eleven.....twenty one.....three" and opened it. Inner door "Nine......thirty seven.....sixteen.....four". She then inserted a pair of keys and opened the inner door.

She saw the book with the "safe" green bookmark clearly visible. The diary of the CIA's most important asset in history GT RAZOR. She quickly grabbed it and opened to page 74, where the last entry had been.

She closed the safe doors and moved to the General's bathroom; she had been selected for this job because she was the only trained operative to possess a photographic memory. As she began to read and digest the 20 pages of information before her, she grasped it's magnitude. The information contained within was right up there with anything Richard Sorge and Oleg Penkovsky had passed along at their peaks....but much more time sensitive. For a fleeting second she dwelled on just how lucky the CIA was......

GT RAZOR had been known before the commencement of hostilities in late may as GT TOPHAT, Major General Dmitri Polyakov of Soviet Military Intelligence. Fate had assigned him the job as the liason between the Soviet CINC-Western Front's command bunker at Mohlau in East Germany and GRU headquarters in Moscow. In that capacity, he traveled back and forth once a week for briefings and consultations. This meant that he was privy to the entire Soviet battle strategy.

She was codenamed IM FINCH and had been inserted four days before the start of the war via a submarine on the Baltic Coast at Tallinn, from whence she traveled via Leningrad on the Red Arrow to Moscow. Her cover was of a very distant relative of the general; for the war she functioned as the family's "personal assistant" of sorts, bringing food from the stores for the vlasti out to the General's family at his country dacha and running other errands. Such as "tidying up" the General's Moscow apartment.....and office.

The diary was a security precaution. Kept locked in a safe, it was formatted as his wartime diary through which he conveyed information to the CIA. When he returned from Mohlau, he dumped the week's information as musings, made a mess of the apartment, and then signal for her to come and tidy it up. It was the thinnest fig leaf of plausible deniability. Thank god that once you're a GRU General, the rules don't really apply any more. It was going to save NATO.

At the front after two and a half months of fighting, both sides were depleted. NATO could barely cover the front, and the Soviets were patching theirs with Category C divisions with two decade old castoffs and reservists. World War III was a rerun of World War I; a stalemate brought about by the anti-tank missile. The Soviets still had one big offensive in them, using their last Operational Manoeuver Group, consisting of eight armored and mechanized Category A divisions, stripped in part from the Far East and the Hamburg and Bavarian fronts. Unlike when they had unexpectedly and suddenly finally forced the Leine in late July, Polyakov was in a position to deliver the plans.

NATO knew that the Soviets were going for one final heave; the problem was that they didn't know which of the three weakest points they were going to try to force. The diary revealed that the blow was going to fall between Bremen and Hanover at a place called Nienburg; Polyakov conveyed that the General Staff felt that should the offensive be successful, the North German Plain was the best ground on which to breakout into the Ruhr. In 34 hours, the Soviets were going to launch a feint using two divisions at a place just north of Kassel called Reinhardshagen, aimed at drawing the last of NATO's mobile reserves there, making the breakthrough at Nienburg possible. The main offensive began in 45 hours. And there it was.....she held the fate of the entire war right before her.

She digested the rest of the supplementary information: fuel and ammo reserves, tidbits on the Southern and Northern fronts, and Soviet naval strategy for the next big convoy. Peanuts in the grand scheme of things compared with The Last Big Push. She replaced the diary in the safe, finished tidying the apartment and was out the door ten minutes later. This needed to be in SACEUR's hands in Brussels in ten hours if the war was to be won. Time for ET to phone Langley.
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