One of the main reasons, perhaps the main reason, Mountbatten was chosen for this meeting, was he was well respected within the government, armed forces, his connections to the Royal Family and who his father was.
The number of general's, was almost overwhelming, let alone the number of field marshals.
'Please be seated gentlemen.'
They did, but only after Mountbatten had himself had relaxed in a comfy arm chair. The meeting was very relaxed. There were no armed guards within the room, just the couple of dozen or so Germans and the admiral and his two aids.
'We, as you know, are facing a most ruthless enemy this land has ever faced. To be blunt about it we need your help. You gentlemen have proved your worth facing the forces far greater to your own. Many times your hands were tied, because the ravings of a mad man or by petty politics. Some of you have, say we say, had a shady war. Rumors of war crimes, being explicit (right word?) in the extermination of millions of innocent men, women and children. As yet we have no, absolute proof, and you have not faced a court of your peers.'
Mountbatten carried on.
'If you chose to help our cause. Any crimes that may come to light, your future actions may well be taken into account.'
He was interrupted 'Is that why there are no members of the SS here? That is if I may ask?'
'General Von Manstein, you are correct. There are no members of the SS here, There will be no officers over the rank of captain from the SS in the new German army. All other ranks will be dealt with case by case. I also know that many here did not look kindly upon the SS.'
The meeting went on for some hours. Quite a number of the officers were willing to help, there were conditions however.
Would any German members of the new army be under the control of British officers? The answer was yes. There was to be no overall command of the German forces, as such. However they will working with them, and within the Chief’s Imperial High Command. You will also have a very close working relationship with Viscount Montgomery.
Would all those at the meeting be able to keep their rank? Another yes.
Medals were something that needed more talk than both sides expected. It was agreed that ribbons would still be able to be worn. No swastikas were to be shown.
After an evening meal, it was decided that another day of talks were in order.
Over breakfast the next morning the meet resumed. The matter of uniforms had be mentioned the day before. Within an hour the matter was settled. Officers of staff rank were to still where their own uniforms, without swastikas of course. All other ranks would wear standard British field dress, or the equivalent for the RN, Marines and RAF.
Weapons were to be of standard British issue, however if there were substantial number of German armament’s, with ammunition, then they could be used. As for ships, aircraft and tanks very much of a case of anything that came to hand was to be pressed into service, training to be given were necessary.
After a noon meal the real talking started. By the early evening the command structure of the new German armed forces was almost complete.
There were a number of protests from some of the older Germans they were not happy being, as they saw it, left out. They were told that still valuable but their age, more acutely their health was not conducive to day to day running of a modern army. They were still to be an active part of an overall plan to defeat the enemy. When some protested, most notably Field Marshall Gerd Von Rundstedt it had to be pointed out rather bluntly that they were passed it. In an effort to placate them a plan was already in place. They along with senior British personal were to be sent to Castle of May(?) in Scotland to war game. They knew much more than their British counter parts about fighting Russians. They may have not be happy about, however they reluctantly accepted it.
At the conclusion of the three days of talks the new German High Command was addressed by President Galland, there were still those who resented his position. The Prussian's among them did, however they still, and would continue to do so, respect the chain of command.
The overall plan, the armed forces of the new Republic of Germany was again talked over. Most were not unhappy, a few still had reservations. Another few said, outright, they would have no part of any plans whatever.
What to do with them? Lock them up again in Island Farm? A retirement somewhere out of the way? Something else to mull over.
Two days later another meeting was called. In the intervening forty eight hours a number of matters had come to light, some small, some not. It was mostly logical things. The German air force, formerly the Luftwaffe, would now be within the direct control, and indeed a full part of the RAF. What was left of the Kriegsmarine wound become part of the Royal Navy.
The Heer was a different kettle of fish. It was big and getting bigger. More than 350,000 from POW camps in Britain, 30,000 from Canada and 250,000 from the USA. This hopefully would become to 400,000. Other POW's in Europe when the Russian invaded, had managed to escape along with the allied troops.
All in all up to 1,000,000 men, maybe more.
In its self it was an army.
An army too big to inter great.
This meeting was very relaxed and small the German generals sitting in arm chairs, as was Mountbatten.
'Your thought's gentlemen.'
Galland was about to speak.
'If I may?'
A nod from the president.
General Guderian continued 'We have to agree with your plans for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, if for no other reason, they are all good points.'
'I'm glad to hear that general. But I do have a feeling there is something about the army I may not like.'
'I do not think you will have too much of a bad feeling.'
'Do go on.'
'We still need time to arrange our forces, it will take no more than two months. Men are still, how do you say? All over the place?'
'Many men have been working the land they will need training again. As will those coming from overseas. New formations will have to be made. The names of these formations will be different from the ones used in the last decade. It will not be wise to bring up bad memories. We will go back to the names that were used under the old Kaiser. 1918 if you wish.'
After an hour the meeting was all but over. 'Is there anything else gentlemen?'
'Just one' said von Rundstedt.
The meeting broke up.
'Do you think they are serious?'
'I'm not sure Philip. Do you? What ever happen this is something I will have to ask her Majesty.'