Monday, 20 October 2014
A Matter of a Warm Water Port
Captain Darling’s return to the Colony of South Australia due to the spreading fears of a Russian attack proved to be a serendipitous as unbeknownst to all the Colonies good citizens the wheels for such an invasion were in motion and his experiences would be of great value to the local militia…we travel to St Petersburg Russia, February 1879:
February 14th 1879 sees the grand city of St Petersburg is wrapped in the arms of winter and with the buildings blanketed in snow it resembled a scene from a child's fairy tale.
Far from living in a child's fairy tale Colonel Anton Ovsiannikov and his aide Captain Vadim Apraxim from the army intelligence bureau clad in their heavy greatcoats worked in their dank and small basement office of the General Staff Building. They were engaged in the monumental task of writing assessments concerning 'the company level deployment of skirmishers and their effects on the enemy during combat' in the recent war against the Ottoman Turks.
Colonel Ovsiannikov turned to his aide and enquired as to the sins they must have committed in past lives to be given such a tedious chore. Their haughty discussion on this point was interrupted by the arrival of two men, two men who they would never expect to have seen, especially in their lowly office! Wide eyed and open mouthed they saluted to greet Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Gorchakov, the Russian Foreign Minister and Vice Admiral Stepan Lesovskiy, the commander of the Imperial Fleet!
Dispensing with formalities Gorchakov cast a sealed folder marked in large red text "for the Tsar's viewing only" on Colonel Ovsiannikov's desk. He gestured with open hands to himself and Vice admiral Lesovskiy announcing, "Gentlemen there's no need for introductions here we know who you are and I believe you know us." The two officers nodded in agreement their eyes fixed on the folder. He continued, "I expect you are aware of the British army’s difficulties on the Dark Continent." Further silent nods from the pair of officers showed they were aware of the recent news of the defeat of the British invasion force at the hands of the Zulu Kingdoms fierce warriors, "Well his Imperial Majesty wishes to take advantage of the British Government’s distraction and follow up their own armies glorious victory against the infidel Turks the previous year with the launching of a grand new adventure of military prowess!"
He beckoned to the documents, "Please take a look the documentation before you, you have one month from today to develop these ideas into action! We must move quickly to take advantage of the British nations, shall we say discomfort!"
Colonel Ovsiannikov broke the seal on the folder and gently opened it. The title page contained only a few words 'Invasion Directive: Objective Adelaide, the Colony of South Australia’ he glanced toward Apraxim grinned and commanded, "Captain Apraxim order a crate of vodka and the best maps of the globe our cartographers have available we are going to be busy for the next month!"
At this Gorchakov and Lesovskiy looked at each other smiling they had indeed selected the best men available to turn the Tsar's impossible dream of an invasion of the Colony of South Australia into a reality!
With words of encouragement Gorchakov and Lesovskiy let it be known to the army intelligence officers that they wanted daily briefings on their progress they saluted and promptly left the cold room to return to their grand offices...