Americans have never believed in spying. It’s unmanly and undignified. However that doesn’t mean that you don’t pick up a thing or two as Military Attaché. I see a lot of one particular officer, though somebody else told me that he was part of the Abwehr, whatever that is! I really must pick up a decent American/German dictionary while I’m here. Anyway, he asks me an awful lot of questions about our armed forces, which I have no problems answering. It’s only polite, and it’s not as if we’re going to fight the Germans. He also tells me lots of stuff from the Russian Front, which helps a great deal in putting together these reports.
Apparently, things are now going much better for General Keating, and rumours of his imminent posting to Narvik have receded somewhat. He is certainly forging ahead on the approaches to SMOLENSK (see below), getting some satisfactory results and concentrating most of his efforts there.
I also bumped into another German who must have been a musician, since he said he played in a Red Orchestra. Anyway, he passed on what he swears is an actual communication from the Russian Front! It seems authentic. The language has coarse but vigorous imagery, along with the slight spelling and grammatical mistakes that you would expect from someone with Comrade General Trout’s education. After all, the Russians probably think that the Ivy League is a collection of suspicious horticulturalists. Anyway, here it is.
"Heroic Soviet forces triumph once again just south of Demidov where
an assault gun bn and a combat engineer regiment eat dirt! Note that they were
dead to rights... no adverse dice rolls could have stopped the result. Is it
germain to point out that VPs for dead German units are more than twice the
number for dead Soviet units.
Demidov itself still holds out and may do so for another 2 turns, if I'm lucky. The line of the Dnepr south of Orsha is intact although this can't last much longer. The Germans abandoned their lodgement near Dubrovno, why I can't fathom, as it has freed up 3 of my best divisions to race to the threatened approaches to Smolensk. In addition, four reasonable divisions just got off the train near Smolensk, and will be thrown headlong into the battle."
This tallies exactly with my information. Note that the position of the Soviet
attackers stops the German defenders from retreating onto their own men. Instead
they are forced into Clear terrain, where even the Soviets will be able to surround
and kill them (as they do). Trout seems reasonably relaxed about the German
drive on Smolensk, so maybe he has some more tricks up his sleeve.