Protect and Survive - Report on Germany
A short spinoff of (or companion piece to) Protect and Survive. Written by Hörnla, in the style of a fictional document made by the Swiss government about the post-war situation in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Democratic Republic of Germany. You can read the whole text in the following section, or as of late, here.
2. Juli 1984
Report to HM Government in Portsmouth concerning situation in Germany as to Schweizer Armee and Schweizer Luftwaffe Reconnaisance Missions. PLAN BLEU, Abteilung Nord
Considering the special emphasis the United Kingdom is going to give Germany and especially the British Occupied Zone, we will give you a thorough detail of our findings so far. This document does not go into detail into our contacts with the French, Austrian and Italian neighbours (Abteilungen West/Ost/Süd).
1.1 As we understand correctly, while the Royal Air Force and to a lesser extent the French Air Force have undertaken overflights, the NATO-countries have to rely on our experiences when it comes to the situation on the ground 4 months after nuclear war devastated Central Europe. You have to take into consideration that we will make the following knowledge, while partially classified, available to other NATO-countries if requested, as well as to other democratic Neutral governments.
This red line is our estimation of the frontlines on Tag X, or as it is referred to in the United Kingdom, “The Exchange”. This can only be an approximation as we still lack clearer information except for official confirmations of war-events up until the first nuclear explosions. This simplified frontline going from the Bodensee Northwards and Eastwards probably doesn't take Red Army forays deeper westwards into acount. Neither does it acknowledge sidestepped NATO garrisons within Central Germany or fighting pockets of resistance with the exception of the significant cauldron around Kassel. The pattern of probably tactical nuclear explosions generally confirms this assumption of the “major frontlines” on Feb 21st, 1984. We have not yet given priority to systematic interviews of survivors in order to get a 100% accurate picture of the last days of World War III.
What should be taken into consideration are the massive casualties all sides (civilian as well as military) already suffered during the first days of the war. The onslaught and the massive defense measures resulted in an amount of firepower reducing division after division, NATO and WP alike, to pieces along with villages and towns caught on the battlefield. Exact numbers were classified, but probably now not even attainable. The Swiss general staff’s evaluation suggests 60-80% losses of troops committed to the battlefield even before the onset of nuclear escalation.
So, at this point of time, Warsaw Pact Forces had successfully invaded:
- about two thirds of Niedersachsen
- most of Hessen, except for the populous Rhein-Main-area and the Kassel-cauldron
- parts of Baden-Württemberg, esp. the Neckar Valley South of Stuttgart
In these parts of Germany, as well as in the former GDR, we have to take into account the presence of surviving Warsaw-Pact-soldiers in all sorts of formations, but just as well as single persons or in small groups unrelated to any pre-war military organization. As to our experience, almost none of these consider themselves as “belligerent” at this point of time.
However, especially larger Red Army formations may make it clear that they are on occupation duty in a certain territory they control. We treat such contacts with respect and carefully, opening up negotiations. We could so far avoid large scale fighting with any of these contacts and it is Swiss intention to solve the situation diplomatically. The numbers of Warsaw Pact forces are dwindling anyways, not only due to radiation-related casualties, but also due to widespread desertion. Polish and Czech formations which we still encountered weeks ago apparently have by now probably completely withdrawn homewards. This dissolution is more difficult for Sovjet soldiers. Not only have many encountered units confirmed that there is no communication with the Soviet Union, but also spread very firm rumors that small bands of Red Army soldiers would not stand a chance of crossing Poland or Czechoslovakia unattacked, or to be more blunt, alive.
We have not encountered parts of the British Army on the Rhein during the exploration of Northern Germany. Eye-witnesses in the Northwest of Germany repeatedly told us about British soldiers moving through westwards or south-westwards. The assumption is reasonable that these survivors headed for the Channel ports.
Due to our close geographic relation with France, we are in frequent contact with the remnants of the Forcés Armées Francaises. Officially, no French units are on the FRG’s soil. Once the exchange begun, they withdrew across the Rhein into France. By now, French officers have confirmed this to be a preset order for the case of such an event. At the present time, the French Army is still in a stage of re-organization while providing help in the law enforcement and reconstruction attempts around the devastated cities of especially Eastern France. We can confirm the nuclear destruction of (at least) Strassbourg, Lyon, Metz, Nancy, Belfort, Mulhouse, Toul, Sedan and Besancon.
No clear pattern has emerged concerning US troops. While many have moved westwards in the (as far as we know) vain hope of contact with US Navy rescuing missions, others stay close to their last designation, often banding together with surviving German civilians in order to manage the situation together, often the interaction with civilians have reached a degree where one cannot speak of an organized military any more. The latter situation has also been encountered more often than expected in the GDR with surviving Red Army garrison troops and/or administrative staff.
It has been Swiss policy during the last few weeks to allow US Americans asylum in Switzerland. Extrapolating the current trends suggests that less than 20,000 Americans might choose this option. A similar approach is about to be prepared concerning members of the Soviet forces, however, they are, at least initially, not supposed to enter Swiss territory but a kind of refugee-camp is to be set up in Southwestern Bavaria. The semblance that this is a POW-camp is to be avoided, and in fact, it would be wrong as it is not our aim to keep these men infinitely in our care. I will come back to that topic later when dealing with the Swedish involvement in the GDR.
3. The “Exchange” – Tag X
This is our estimate of the nuclear explosions on German ground. These number about 500 on the territories of the FRG and GDR combined producing widespread destruction and massive fallout, while obliterating the majority of still remaining air- and land forces from all sides as well as instantly killing many millions of Civilians.
There might still be mistakes inherent on this map, but we estimate these to be neglibile. The color coding is for internal processing and represents an estimate concerning the provenience and nature of nukes. These mean no incriminations nor allegations. However, dark blue and purple circles mean ground zeros which are probably caused by tactical warheads. We estimate that each side fired about 100-120 on Tag X. While a few were used at the Northern approaches to the Austrian alps, most of them completely destroyed a stripe of land along the frontlines. There are slight differences in the use of these nukes. Soviets chose their targets virtually on the frontlines. We think that they expected to simply blow holes into the front and continue their offensive behind them. NATO’s use of tactical nukes was a bit more spread out. We assume that a good part of targets where chosen in order to interrupt logistically important points behind the front.
Light blue and bright red dots represent other nuclear explosions. Our evaluation suggests that both sides generally targeted the same kind of areas: airbases and airports, ammunition depots with probable nuclear stockpiles, major military bases of land forces, ports and naval bases, strategic headquarters, also industrial centers above a certain significance. We are quite sure that the high density of military installations within both the FRG and the GDR might have helped to conceal this development, but effectively, almost all towns with more than ca. 60,000 inhabitants have been directly or indirectly hit to an extent that they are wiped off the map. Nuclear power plants have not been targeted directly, as far as we can see, nevertheless, some have been destroyed as “collateral damage” or due to the breakdown of the general infrastructure. This concerns the following installations: Kahl, Unterweser, Phillipsburg, Neckarwestheim, Würgassen, Greifswald (GDR), Karlsruhe, to some degree also Biblis and Obrigheim. A further 7 productive plants have been shut down in time and also weren’t targeted. Radiation as to these incidents are at this point of time just a contributing factor. Our experts say, though, that in the long run the radiation due to destroyed nuclear power plants might well outlast those of the nuclear exchange.
The grey nukes outside of Germany are less reliable when it comes to the situation in the Netherlands and the CSSR. Considering Austria, Eastern France and of course Switzerland, though, our knowledge is quite accurate.
4. Current situation
Generally, the number of people killed in Germany is very high not only due to the high number of ground zeros. Civil defense has been neglected for decades. We have to admit, that it wouldn’t have helped the majority of Germans due to the barrage of nukes the country endured. But as the situation was, even in undestroyed towns, cities and villages, millions died due to exposure to fallout. These numbers could have been a lot lower. We carefully estimate that an, admittedly expensive, system of shelters on the level established in Switzerland might have saved 5-10million additional Germans. Our estimate on the numbers of survivors in the whole of Germany ranges presently to 4-8 million. This leaves the matter of scarcity of food and medication, though.
We have defined certain “safe zones” (Sichere Zonen) throughout Germany according to our reconnaissance. The term itself may be, as you are probably already aware, slightly misleading. The limit of this zone simply separates those regions where we assume radiation levels still too high for our soldiers to endure and infrastructure and buildings to be too completely destroyed to bother with during the next years or decades. The limits of the safe zones are marked green on the map. Our assumption is that there is so little life left within the Dead zones that we do not take the risk of going in there. However, these limits do not apply to the Germans. Still, we encourage them to evacuate any people they find within the dead zones out to the less affected places. The death rates are even in the “safe zones” so high that accommodating people from the written-off dead zones doesn’t pose much of a problem.
Within these safe zones, it is our strategy to set up coordination posts. These are places whereto we send, within the limits of our abilities, medication, news bulletins, food rations, much needed technical equipment such as radios, installations for water treatment etc. We also assist in setting up the re-organization of society at such posts. Our troops use these points as bases for their reconaissance so that each of them is visited at least once every two weeks. Needless to say that CPs in the South receive more attention. There are a few routes which we suggest to be cleared for through-traffic in order to link larger safe zones. We try to coordinate such efforts with surviving local population, if possible. In our map, these suggestions are marked a bright yellow lines, linking safe zones.
It is our general policy to neither en- nor discourage German survivors to head towards Switzerland on their own. However, generally, reconnaissance missions are undertaken Northwards in order not to encourage survivors joining our troops whereas the return trip is usually undertaken in a swifter manner with fewer stops and, if possible, considering road and security conditions, by night. This does not only happen due to the reasons just implied, but also because often injuries would have occurred which have to be taken into treatment rather sooner than later.
We have set up five refugee camps a bit North of the Swiss-German border (Wehr, Waldshut-Tiengen, Blumberg and Salem in Baden-Württemberg, Lindenberg/Allgäu in Bavaria). These are set up for a capacity of altogether 50,000 refugees. They currently house, although only having been opened during the last four weeks, roughly 28,900 Germans. 4,200 have already left these camps again on their own wish and a further 2,100 have been taken into Switzerland due to Swiss citizens they knew having agreed to shelter them in their own house or the Swiss government having taken an explicit interest into them. The numbers of recorded deaths in the camps number 1,967 so far.
Another approximately 100,000 Germans have fled to Switzerland prior to the beginning of the war, either seeking asylum, pretending to go on holiday or “visiting” friends or relatives. Dealing with the more detailed situation in Germany will be done in paragraphs according to regions:
This land has been hit very hard. The South of the land is basically in a special situation, as all efforts there are closely coordinated with the administration within Switzerland. For the time being, this region is hardly separated from our country and is treated almost as part of it. However, this just means a small triangle with the Rhein as its base and a point Northeast of (destroyed) Freiburg as its peak. Then, there is an undestroyed corridor leading from the Rhein eastwards up to the sources of the river Neckar. There, near Whyl, we could find an almost completed Rhein-bridge still under construction. Swiss pioneers work alongside French and Germans to complete the building as soon as possible, at least in a provisory way. Also, we negotiate with the local French Departements to use a corridor through Alsace to Western Germany. Such an approach would be far easier than navigating through the devastated North of Baden-Württemberg. This route, where we basically follow the Bundesstraßen closest to the highest ridges of the Schwarzwald is still most common. Around Bruchsal we reach more open area where there are a lot of organized survivors. There, we have established our first coordination post. Though the area North and East of Bruchsal are considered a dead zone, a link across the Rhein was established via the only lightly damaged railway bridge in Germersheim. Another approach into Baden-Württemberg is made via the Bodensee. Despite most towns on the German shore destroyed, there is contact with a large community in Überlingen. We have redirected the surviving ferries to establish a link between Überlingen and Romanshorn. The refugee camp of Salem is located in this area as well. The safe area there reaches only a few Kilometers Northwards, but the local Germans are working hard on clearing a passageway Northeast into the larger safe zones of Bavaria.
The rest of surviving Baden-Württemberg concerns the areas west to the Bavarian border. There, we also find the largest surviving towns: Aalen, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Heidenheim. These neighboured towns work closely together and represent, according to their estimates, altogether almost 75,000 survivors in Swabia.
Bavaria appears to be the “least” affected Bundesland of Germany. Even without a census, it is slated to be, probably for a long time now, the most populous part of Germany. Apparently through sheer luck, it is also now host of two out of three remaining German “Großstädte” of more than 100,000 prewar-inhabitants However, getting there to find out proved more difficult than it seems giving that Bavaria actually neighbours Switzerland. But the approach through Austria and the Alps proved hard to obtain for Austrian obstruction and the fact that most of the connections between Bavaria and the Alps had been hit by tactical warheads. Our main entry into Bavaria runs now, with Austrian permission, through Bregenz along narrow roads to Oberstaufen in Bavaria. West of this place, we are at this moment establishing the refugee camp of Lindenberg. From there, a safe corridor about 25km wide leads northwards to Biberach a.d. Riß. From then on, one can bypass destroyed Ulm to get into a very large safe Bavarian area or make your way Eastwards into almost as open country.
Generally, the situation in Bavaria is marked by open areas or wide corridors only dotted by isolated ground zeros. The largest destroyed areas are: the valley of the Iller from Memmingen southwards to Austria (apparently a large tactical nuclear battlefield), the Landsberg/Fürstenfeldbruck-area where mainly airbases received hits, Ingolstadt/Neuburg a.d. Donau, Nürnberg/Fürth/Erlangen, the complete Main-valley southwest of Schweinfurt, Regensburg and a large area to the East of München.
The last words leave the Bavarian capital partially intact. It took our reconnaissance a long time to actually confirm this rumor, as München is administered by a Red Army general. However, we have established a truce with his forces which stop us from interfering with their district entailing München as well as the region South and East of the Isar. Further negotiations considering a change of the current situation have proven to be slow and we cannot dismiss the threat that the Red Army in Bavaria still has nuclear warheads in reserve.
Our envoys to München have seen large parts of the City Centre and of the Western parts of the town intact. They were presented a crater on the Marienplatz where allegedly a US dud failed to explode. The airport of Riem was however hit and the ensuing firestorms destroyed the Eastern parts of the city and its suburbs almost completely. According to the Sovjets, about 200,000 Germans live in München at present day.
Another large city which evaded annihilation is Augsburg. It is the de-facto capital of Bavaria now with a Landesregierung headed by the former chief of Ministerpräsident Franz-Josef Strauß’ Staatskanzlei, Edmund Stoiber. As to our assessment, 49-year-old Stoiber proves to be a diligent and very efficient organisator. Coordination of our efforts with the Bavarian reconstruction works very well. Other notable surviving cities in Bavaria are Bayreuth, Landshut and Passau.
4.2.3 Coordination points
We have set up several coordination points in Bavaria, which serve slightly different roles here: they are bases for our troop movements as well as points to observe the Sovjet presence in the area (which is also a factor in the Northeast of the land, though in a far less coordinated way). They also serve as liaison points between the Bavarian recovery effort, which is by far the most co-ordinated within Germany, and our efforts to pass on aid. These points are located at: Biberach a.d. Riß, Dachau, Landshut-Altdorf, Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale, Donauwörth.
4. 3 Rheinland-Pfalz
Though rather rural in comparison, Rheinland-Pfalz has been hard hit due to the number of major US air bases. Also destroyed were the industrial areas on the Rhein. The South-East of the land is still inhabitable and hosts the largest surviving towns of the land, i.e. Bad Kreuznach and Neustadt a.d. Weinstraße. Also undestroyed are the more remote Central Eifel parts of Rheinland-Pfalz and parts of the Mosel valley. We also encountered surviving communities in the Mid-Rhein valley, especially Neuwied. Access to the latter is hindered by the fallout-areas of the Rhein-Main-Area and of Koblenz, though.
We have established coordination posts in Bad Kreuznach and in Prüm. Concerning the bunker of the Bundesregierung, we have checked the alleged position at Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. The region is a ground zero, apparently of a massive groundburst. There is no trace of the installation.
Saarbrücken has been destroyed, and heavy fallout especially affected the area around Völklingen and the Southeast of the land. This smallest non-city-Bundesland might still be the least hard hit, apparently with only one nuke. The largest cities at present seem to be Bad Homburg, Neunkirchen and St. Ingbert. The preliminary capital is by now Saarlouis. Albeit the country is very small, advancing through it is a pleasant experience for our soldiers having come through hellish Baden-Württemberg and Eastern Rheinland-Pfalz or returning from the annihilated Northwest of Germany. The communication point at Saarlouis, actually by now a Swiss consulate, is usually a relaxing stop for our troops. The Saarland has managed to have a working electrical grid, at least on most days, based on the undestroyed coal-power-plants and continued coal-mining. The roads are cleared (though due to petrol shortage, mostly free of traffic), local police and Bundeswehr reserves uphold public safety in a comparatively civil manner when compared to most other regions outside of Switzerland. Also, the Saarland is free of any non-German troops roaming around. Refugees from Rheinland-Pfalz and lost NATO/WP-soldiers are detained in two camps in Nonnweiler and Bexbach.
4.4.1 Political Situation
The Saarland remains largely coherent and, just like Bavaria, has a functioning Landesregierung, even still under the elected Ministerpräsident Werner Zeyer. In the hours prior to the exchange, the capital had been largely evacuated, as far as we know an unparalleled move in Germany during the war.
The government has established links to regions in the North-East of France, managing to trade coal against food to an extent that the remaining Saar population is not exactly well-fed, but apparently not starving.
As to our information, though, Zeyer’s health has deteriorated recently due to cancer. How the office will be passed on is unclear. Unlike the Bavarian government which is basically a CSU-led one-party-regime, the Saarland apparently can afford a heated political discussion probably because it is so small and easy to overview. Saarbrücken’s mayor Oskar Lafontaine, a driving force behind the last-minute evacuation of his city, leads a left-wing alliance of trade-unions, the peace movement, SPD and ecologist groups, and urges to elect a “Saarländische Verfassungsversammlung” to deal with the new situation. Whether this is a separatist movement is at present unclear, but there are elements within their agenda which suggest this possibility.
Hessen is virtually the opposite to the Saarland when it comes to conditions within Germany. Thoroughly nuked, a fallout-ridden zone plastered with ground zeros. Actually, it is a region where you are unlikely to encounter living human beings if not knowing which places to head to. As the frontlines went straight north to south through this land, dozens of tactical warheads exploded there. Also, the Rhein-Main-industrial-area represented a multitude of targets. The only cities where we encountered communities of more than a few dozen people were situated close to the border of Nordrhein-Westfalen, in the more hilly regions, i.e. Marburg, Korbach and Stadtallendorf. During the exploration of Hessia, our troops endured unappropriately high casualties, as a reaction we have marked the whole of this land as a dead zone, with the aforementioned exception of the Northwestern parts and a small area around (destroyed) Fulda.
The industrial core of Germany, Nordrhein-Westfalen, also received plenty of hits despite still being behind the frontlines on Tag X. Before the war, one out of 5 Germans lived there. It doesn’t look as if this land will regain such a position in decades to come. The Rheinisch-Westfälische Industriegebiet, stretching from beyond Dortmund to Duisburg and then southwards along the Rhein to Köln has been completely evaporated. Our ground troops didn’t dare entering this zone. Overflights could not even make out the exact number of strikes. Equally hard hit was the Bergische Land around Wuppertal, virtually an extension of the RWIG and Bonn as the capital of the FRG. We have to add to this a multiple strike on the major garrison and Bundewehr HQ of Münster and a multitude of tactical nuclear strikes against aims on and behind the NATO held front which generally went along the Teutoburger Wald. Three small zones are relatively modestly hit and form a stark contrast to the immense dead zones: the Sauer- and Siegerland, the Eifel and Westmünsterland. All these regions are rather rural, in two cases mountainous and with the exception of the Eifel centres of very small industry. Approaches towards these regions are narrow. Our inroad to the Eifel leads across the Mosel near Bernkastel-Kues via Prüm (still in Rheinland-Pfalz) and onwards from there. Still moving through Rheinland-Pfalz, in Neuwied there are possibilities to set across the Rhein most of the time. Beyond that city into the hills we reach the Sauerland. Another used alternative is the shorter, but more dangerous road from Bad Kreuznach Northwards towards the Mid-Rhein-valley. There are still a few operating River ferries and we do our best to support those. Once across the river and post the wastelands of Limburg and Koblenz, you are virtually in the Siegerland. In the Sauerland, two coordination points were set up at Olpe and Meschede. Despite the structures being intact, this is again a region very much affected by fallout. The death toll has been appalling during the days, weeks and months after the exchange. Little protection could have done a lot for this region. Leaving the hills northwards through the once very fertile Soester Boerde, we cross an area only hesitantly registered as safe zone due to several thousand Germans still clinging to their soil and because we would otherwise have to face an almost impenetrably long route through a dead zone. Stops in Warendorf or Ahlen are very short usually, before crossing in an arc Southwest of Münster to the next safe zone of the Westmünsterland at their outpost in Schöppingen. This zone stretches from Isselburg along the Dutch border to Niedersachsen. Due to the prevailing Western winds in Northern Germany it is less affected by fallout than the rest of Nordrhein-Westfalen. Bocholt, the lands now largest city, can be found there. Its uprunners are as far as we can estimate Euskirchen near Bonn (actually so close that evacuation has several times been pondered locally, only to be postponed due to a lack of feasible places to go) and Eschweiler near Aachen (which is in a similar position).
Just north of the border with Nordrhein-Westfalen, there is Nordhorn. This provincial town now constitutes one of the largest cities in Northern Germany. Here, we are already within Niedersachsen, a land with a comparatively diverse situation. Large areas of this large land are heavily affected. The front ran through it from the North Sea to the Teutoburg and all along its western border, which resulted in a lot of tactical nuclear explosions, especially in the southernmost and the hiller parts. Then the industrial areas south and east of Hannover have been heavily targeted – with one notable exception which is Wolfsburg, home of the Volkswagen factories. The latter have, as well as Wolfsburg’s residential areas, sustained some damage during the conventional phase of the conflict, but are generally intact.
Generally, Northeastern Niedersachsen has been the place of fierce tank combat and infrastructure as well as towns, villages and single houses have received considerable damage in general. Concerning nuclear war, it has fared better than most parts of Germany, though the aforementioned destruction has not made sheltering the population any easier. A lot better, comparable to the Westmünsterland, is the situation in the Emsland and the adjacent Ostfriesland.
However, travelling from both safe zones within Niedersachsen to one another is a risky undertaking. Our main route through the dead zone leads roughly along the Mittellandkanal, but with 90km length, it is the longest stretch of travelling through such highly contaminated areas which we demand of our troops. Niedersachsen is also reachable with some difficulty from the South. The Bavarian safe zone reaches North into Thuringia where a shorter move across the dead zone along the A4 is necessary in order to reach the Harz mountain. From there on, Eastern Niedersachsen lies at your feet.
We have rather riddled Niedersachsen with Coordination points. They were put up in Lingen just East of Nordhorn, Wolfsburg, Norden on the North Sea, Rotenburg (Wümme) between the ruins of Bremen and Hamburg and Hohnstorf (on the Elbe).
4.8 Bremen / Hamburg
Both West-German city states have been completely obliterated, this includes Bremen’s enclave Bremerhaven.
The Northernmost land received a handful of hits against naval bases and thus also the largest cities of Kiel, Flensburg and Lübeck and suffered considerably from the multiple strikes against Hamburg. On the other hand, large tracts of land are relatively in order, also having received a relatively (again, we are dealing with German circumstances) light dose of fallout. Although the route across the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal and then through Heide and Husum is a narrow one, basically the whole Schleswig-Holstein safe zone is interconnected in a way which fortunately makes passing dead zones unnecessary. Schleswig-Holstein is only accessible from the South via ferry. Fortunately, there is one in service still opposite our Coordination Point in Hohnstorf (Niedersachsen).
4.9.1 Governmental Issues
We have set up a Coordination Point in Neumünster, which is not only very central, but also by now Schleswig-Holstein’s largest city and on top of it the seat of the Soviet Regional Commander. The latter is in this case a very reasonable and cooperative personality who directs the full capability of his garrison forces to the reconstruction and agricultural effort. The relationship between German survivors and the small occupation army is surprisingly good under these circumstances and our reconnaissance teams are free to move within Schleswig-Holstein (with token Red Army company). The Landesregierung of Schleswig-Holstein with Ministerpräsident Uwe Barschel, who prior to the outbreak of war pledged publicly by word of honour not to leave Kiel, is reportedly alive as well, but its sphere of influence only reaches across the island of Sylt to where the regional government fled after the first shots of the war. Bundeswehr-Pioniere later on destroyed the Hindenburgdamm and turned Sylt into a full island again, cutting it off from the mainland and the invasion force. We have so far made no direct contact with Barschel’s government whose standing in the parts of Schleswig-Holstein we encountered is reportedly miserable with Sylt being dubbed “Barschel’s bathtub”.
4.9.2 Diplomatic contacts
The decision has been taken to turn the Coordination Point in Neumünster into a permanent consultancy, not only for the rather organized Soviet presence, but also because Sweden has established a presence there as well. We have met on very friendly terms with the Swedish attaché and have agreed to work together in solving the issues concerning Germany’s future, but nevertheless there is no reason not to use this possibility to foster a renewed net of diplomacy even under adverse circumstances. We strongly urge you to also establish a representation in what might become again a strategically crucial region.
4.10 Deutsche Demokratische Republik
Our missions are rarer on the territory of the former German Democratic Republic. Except for the far North, the Exchange has hit the whole territory on a scale comparable to Baden-Württemberg or Nordrhein-Westfalen. Of course, the danger to encounter remnants of Warsaw Pact forces is higher in the East. Incidents have been few, but it is not our strategy to take too many risks.
4.10.1 Bezirke Rostock / Neubrandenburg / Schwerin (Mecklenburg)
Our task has been alleviated by the Swedish taking full responsibility for these region closest to the Baltic Sea. The suspicion that they try to create a sphere of influence is at hand, but frankly, we do not object to that in the part of Germany which is farthest away from our borders. As far as we know, they are helpful to the Germans in Mecklenburg and Pommern, and apparently also to the Polish population farther East. What is more, they offer a transportation opportunity for Sovjet soldiers by having established a service running to a port on the Northern shore of Estonia, allegedly a place called Silamäe. Spreading these news unsurprisingly often helps a lot to soften tensions when encountering soldiers of the Red Army. However, shipping is about to experience severe restrictions as soon as the Baltic Sea freezes over. The relatively cool summer makes it probable that this yearly phenomenon will hit very early. The Swedish have voiced their firm intention to continue the operation in the spring of 1985, if necessary.
In this regions, most ports have been hit by NATO, as well as the administrational centres and several bases and airports especially in the region of the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte. We could witness the survival of the cities of Waren and Ribnitz-Damgarten, though. Also, the island of Rügen is completely untouched and by now the main Swedish base.
4.10.2 Bezirke Potsdam / Frankfurt-Oder (Brandenburg)
This area has been very hard hit. Not surprisingly, Berlin and Potsdam have received a multitude of nuclear explosions. Additionally, the region around Berlin had been riddled with Sovjet bases and especially Headquarters. Our reconnaissance planes sighted the remnants of very massive groundbursts in some places. South of Berlin, only parts of the isolated Spreewald are actually deemed safe, but they are only accessible via a longer transit through a dead zone west of Finsterwalde in Saxony. The few safe territories North of Berlin are under Swedish responsibility.
4.10.3 Bezirke Magdeburg / Halle (Anhalt)
In this region, Magdeburg as well as the rest of the Elbe valley have been hit hard. The rural North of thise region (the Altmark) is a rather large safe zone, and likewise most of the Harz mountain. Additionally, the small industrial city of Bitterfeld has survived, but is only accessible through a frail corridor to the West. We have set a coordination point in the Harz city of Wernigerode. This is our Northernmost CP in the GDR.
4.10.4 Bezirke Erfurt / Gera / Suhl (Thüringen)
Very little of this region can be considered a safe zone with a probability to encounter survivors. Only in the Northwest, close to the Harz mountain, there is a string of still inhabited small cities.
4.10.5 Bezirke Karl-Marx-Stadt / Dresden / Cottbus (Sachsen)
Highly-industrialized Saxony has likewise been extremely hard hit. Some rural areas can be considered safe zones by now, nevertheless. Also, a few mid-sized cities have evaded being hit, i.e. Hoyerswerda, Freiberg South of Dresden and Riesa on the River Elbe. Generally, though, the majority of Saxony is a dead zone and it is quite difficult navigating through the area. Our missions cover the area comparatively sparsely. We have established a coordination point in Meerane which is not that far beyond the Bavarian border.
The divided former German capital does not exist anymore due to multiple nuclear explosions over West- as well as East-Berlin. Very few structures can be made out from the air in the Northernmost parts of the city, notably in Glienicke. Radiation levels are prohibitive, still, nevertheless.
We hope that this report can help you establish contact with the Germans in the North and assist in the localization of British soldiers missing in action.