Present Day: June 1944


In mid-June where the days are almost arctic in length, Gunther rose with the sun, having slept for two hours. The rain and fog, once to be his cover, had ceased to be. Thus he decided to walk the North sands of the salt pond towards town – with the cool dawn mist swirling around him. On his back, his duffel weighed some sixty pounds, yet his stride was swift in the soft sand as his confidence was high. 

It was 5:05 am.

Having not seen a soul upon reaching Rt 1-A, he then doubled back on Noyes Avenue to the South to kill some time and paused at the end, where he saw a ‘room for rent’ sign obscured by growing grass.

On the porch, a woman swept with silent efficiency, deep in thought. 

“Good morning ma’am . . .sorry to disturb you, but I saw the sign and am looking for a room, several weeks to a month, I should imagine.” His accent was thoroughly British, perhaps even Oxford educated in tone. The woman was impressed, “I am Sarah, good morning.”

The room was above the rafters in the garage and was spacious with two South facing windows to the sea, which was perfect. Sarah apologized for the dust and explained that sometimes the nephews, when not playing baseball in the front yard, like to come up and play ping pong. Gunther, who had by now introduced himself as Terrence Riddle, a writer from England on assignment to capture the essence of a war-torn America, said that he would much enjoy a game ‘here and there’.

Satisfied, Gunther paid forward a month in USD cash and for the first time since leaving Kristiansand, he rested his head on a musty pillow and relaxed.



The 93 Eastbound had only two passengers on this cold May twilight, which was unusual – yet everything seemed to be unusual in the recent months. High upon the distant hills, there remained snow that glistened against the setting sun and the shadows rose to chase the locomotive, as it raced Eastward.

 To the hum of the rails beneath and the passing of each idle town, his fist gently clenched with increasing strength. 

Hours ago, he had left the abyss, on a mission of desperate hope for some help, of any sorts.

It was seven-thirty in the evening,

Day 154.

To his right, on the vacant seat, a satchel sat unopened. In his breast pocket, there were papers and a passport that few could obtain.

This evening, he was traveling East, then North through the pass and into The Town.

In restlessness, he walked the five cars rear to front, passing seventy empty seats in each. The cafe car, normally populated by an underpaid but enthusiastic patron facilitating a commuter’s usual journey back to the eventual reality, was dimmed, empty and quiet.

All of this he took in.

The 93 careened around the pined forested cliffs and ascended the final vertical through the wafer thin clouds with all its effort. Eventually, it slid to a gentle stop, exhausting  steam.

No conductor announced the station, for it was not necessary and the only other passenger, sitting stoically in the front seats, did not stir.  

Stepping out into the crisp air, it was immediately noticeable. 

No one wore a mask.

A baker on the far end of the platform was hugging an elderly woman while handing fresh cupcakes to gathering children. Beyond the platform, there was foot traffic on the streets, an open barber shop and food stands also serving beverages. All of the establishments were congregated by the chatter and laughter that is so associated with customers, without a care in the world.

From his left, wearing jeans and a sheep-skin leather vest, with outstretched arms was the Man whom he had come to see. 

The Man was older than himself, that he knew before stepping aboard the train six hours ago. Yet he looked younger, with a sturdy build, a broad smile and welcoming deep blue eyes. His effortless gait was as fluid as his long white hair, while his grasp when they shook, was firm and reassuring. 

They walked through the village and no one looked their way, though he could feel the Man’s presence. He also noticed in the reflection of a shop window that the other lone passenger on his journey here, followed twenty steps behind. 

The Man picked up on this observation and chuckled, while thanking him for not bringing his cell phone, nor any other nefarious gadgets of communication. 

They then followed a narrow alley way up to a small cabin overlooking the village. When they stepped into the room alight with a roaring fireplace, he handed the unopened satchel to the Man. 

The Man refused however, saying that the contents were fully known to him. The travelers’ bewilderment was by now complete, so they sat and talked.

The Man explained to the traveler before him with the wax-sealed satchel, that it was a message of good faith, now being delivered. Adding that he had traveled up into an unknown part of this world at his peril and that it was his Faith that was most appreciated. Additionally, the Man explained that the details within the satchel had been discussed within the Town for some days.

 While the Man would welcome him to stay another night, week or even months, the Town had decided that it was time to move with haste, as the situation outside of the Town was spreading with grave concern for all humanity.

It was decided that the traveler would return tonight with three-hundred and fifty of the Town’s people, all 100% immune from the deadly spreading global pandemic. Upon reaching the six-hour destination, their papers would facilitate domestic and international travel around the globe.

Their interaction then, merely speaking with others, along their varied journeys would create the contagious antivirus that would exponentially facilitate putting out the ‘fire’, as fast as it had started. 

The Man then presented him with the Town’s Medallion and urged him to go catch the train. The traveler thanked the Man with the white hair, not for the medallion, but for what he was doing, leaving the satchel at his feet.

As they stood, the Man replied with a hug:  ‘it is all taken care of, be well my friend’.

He then walked alone down the narrow path and through the village, thinking that he was in a dream

However train 93 was facing in the other direction and was indeed full of passengers! The cafe car too, was also now open. 

It was on that clear May night, in the year 2020, that the tide turned. 

The beginning.



In the quiet half light of Winter’s departure, a lone Osprey has swept across the sea, returning from his distant hunting grounds, far to the South.

Rhythmically he moves through dawn’s cool damp fog, his feathers long and dark, a solitary silhouette rising against the warmth of the Eastern light.

His flies with swift strength that resonates a purpose and his wings radiate as he dances upon the now awakened waves that seem to reach up and say:
‘welcome back my old friend’.






A dark gale cascades across the vast barren field. 

Each yard passed, it gathers a greater momentum. 


It’s inertia pushes it down upon a frozen stubborn ground and 

forward it leaps upwards in an explosion of ice and snow. 


All wintering beneath, are at once awakened.  


Upon reaching the waiting coniferous forest, 

it shatters aging pine and the trees moan as one. 


For a long breath the woods, once silent, 

are enveloped by an unseen fury of splintering whines and frenzied sparks.


It was never clear, when this might start.   


High above the canopy of chaos, 

far above the glow of embers, 

silent stars mingle and dance upon footless halls, 

suspended in the brilliant moonless sky. 


From their loft of shining stillness,

a gentle calm illuminates and 

descends softly over all the land


we remember.  




Karl began slowly, “My every bone in my krieger (warrior) body hopes that your primary objective be as inconclusive as our own progress on Deutsche heimat.  Such a bomb would change the world forever, regardless of whose hands it was held.  I am a tactical fighter much like your father. In the hope and eventuality that no one can develop such an atomic bomb, this war can be won by our Soldaten, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine.  This I feel very confident of and why the other mission objectives in this file, are of equal importance.”



Gunther listened and watched the blue smoke from his Belinda waft above the  head of the closest Rottweiler and slowly drift towards the the fire.  He was a keenly observant man with a photographic memory.  Often, in times such as this, he would allow that combination to portray a relaxed persona, in order to let others reveal.  Gunther was the consummate good listener with an astounding rare gift of retention. Tonight, given his privileged audience, he would let Karl Dönitz do all the talking, only injecting subtle questions to elongate the narrative.  For he already knew that this evening and the week ahead to study the file names, numbers and addresses would be more than he needed.  He suddenly felt a flush run through him, not by the wine, tobacco nor the fire but by the vision of the mission ahead.


Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine Karl Dönitz preferred, in his words, the Maine coastline for Gunther’s insertion onto enemy shores.   Specifically, he cited Frenchman’s Bay situated in close proximity to Brooklin Maine. There, on property owned by a man of German descent, named Luders, Gunther would be met by a caretaker on the desolute vacant grounds. Gunther, instinctively felt this was too far East, given his timeline for the first coded transmission and after some discussion, he let it go.    


Luders, apparently was a renowned naval architect with a son Alfred E. Luders Jr. (Bill), operating a government funded shipyard in Stamford, Ct.  Visiting this shipyard was to be objective #1 according to Dönitz. Additionally, Gunther was to gather intelligence from Edmund Cromwell of the Boston Naval Yard.  There, it was important to ascertain the fleet strength of American LST (Landing Ship Tank) production rollout that could be used for an eventual suspected allied invasion of France.   Moving westward via public transportation with legal and current English documents, he was to connect with a yard worker at a local Stamford pub and arrange access to The Luders Shipyard. Of the highest priorty was to establish the extent of their subchaser production and vessel specific capabilities. It would be at Gunther’s descretion to manage the time neccessary to accomplish this.  It might perhaps even take several weeks to gather this high level intelligence. Gunther concurred that it likely could even with several social introductions. He had never met this Alfred (Bill) Luders Jr while visiting America before the War and suspected that the man would not only be highly intelligent, but also a very cautious and guarded man given his lineage, coupled with the times, towards strangers.  Dönitz thus assured him that the Luders’ dossier file was quite thorough and facilitating a connection, was of paramount importance.      


The dogs, then sat alertly up and Leutnant zur See walked in to add logs to the fire and replenish the wine.   It was now approaching half past ten o’clock in the evening and Karl Dönitz, with a relaxed and cordial authority, instructed his Leutnant that he would see him for the morning.  Perhaps adding for Gunther’s consumption, that the Japanese contingent from Tokyo was due to arrive by noon.  The Leutnant zur See nodded and ackowledged that the visitors from Tokyo were reported to be on schedule.




Each year around the holidays, various brokers who cover us here at work,  send us token gifts or take us out for lunch. These gifts have become far less frequent now that we trade primarily on the computer screen.   This year in fact, only one gift was distributed to each person on our desk.   It was a woolen blanket, rolled up and packaged to be carried like a lunch box.   It looked warm, efficient and convenient, though not terribly necessary for us on the 11th floor of 1251 Ave of Americas, working in short sleeves for one of the largest banks in the world.   A colleague sitting next to me, frowned in disgust and said: ‘what’s this..?’ and chucked it under his desk.   Another behind me laughed and handed it to a junior assistant (most likely feeling magnanimous while actually being condescending).   I said: ‘well… it IS from Mitsui Fudosan, a broker that we DON’T even use, I think I’ll offer it to some homeless person on the way to the train.’
So, shortly thereafter, I set off to catch my train, remembering to grab the blanket. I was quite certain that I would not need to carry it far, for December 22’nd was one of the coldest days yet, of an already bitterly cold month.   Quite to my surprise, after eight city blocks, I had seen NO homeless panhandlers at all. There were plenty of tourists merrily making their way through the cold but conspicuously absent, were the various homeless shapes I had seen walking to work in the pre dawn stillness. Could it actually be that the city officials have them literally swept off the streets at first light, to hide any unpleasantness from our visiting tourists…? Surely the shelters would not be closed at night and just open during the day.   It made no sense and then it made perfect sense and my heart sank.
For a long moment I stood still on that cold sidewalk, oblivious to those trying to get around me with their bags and strollers.   Then, changing directions, I started walking away from Grand Central.   I could always catch the next train, or the one after that.   I went west and south, weaving through the less crowded city blocks. When the shadows began engulfing all but the highest buildings, I started to resign myself to the fact that I might have to place the woolen blanket in a goodwill bin at the station.   Then, around the corner of a non-descript desolate city street, sat an old African American woman with a frayed pink blanket draped over her slouched shoulders.   She sat on an old plastic milk crate and her feet shuffled softly in the cold.   She had no tin rattling for change, no cardboard sign to display her despair, only one arm hugging the other.   So set back from the sidewalk, almost hidden in the darkness, I almost missed seeing her completely.   When I turned and approached with the Fudosan blanket held out to her, she did not immediately notice that I was there.   Then, after what seemed a long moment, she looked up and she saw the blanket.  Her initial bewilderment quickly gave way to a broad smile and she made a sound as soft as a pigeon cooing.   As I began to turn away, she looked up and our eyes met.   I said: ‘Merry Christmas’ and she held my gaze for a long time.   Her large brown eyes were somewhat misty but clear and penetrating.   I read her lips: ‘thank you’.   I smiled, gave her a thumbs up and headed on my way. 
As I strode to the station, now feeling quite good indeed, I could not shake and cannot to this day from my memory, those penetrating eyes.   It was as if I had looked into the eyes of someone I had known all my life.   In those eyes there was a moment of Peace, comfort, understanding, compassion and clarity.
Several days later, on the evening before Christmas, I told my wife and sons this story, and my wife reminded me that Christ often sees us through the eyes of others and we sometimes, can see Christ in theirs.
May God bless all our families throughout each day and may we never forget how fortunate, we truly are.


Operation Osprey Nest (chapter five)


“Gunther,” Karl Dönitz began “this will be a most dangerous mission, let us not elude that reality.   The crossing of the North Atlantic will be very perilous and should Otto successfully deliver you, your duration on enemy soil may be open ended until the objective is achieved.” 

Gunther began to speak but Karl raised his hand and continued: “You are our perfect man for this mission. Your gift for languages is unparalleled, you are of the right age with a craft and experience to blend in with the most sophisticated of diplomats. Beyond that, you are as strong and observant as these two Rottweiler Metzgerhunds at my feet. Your father would be most proud of you Gunther.” 


A table was then set up behind them, not by local French servants but by Dornitz’s Leutnant zur SeeOver the next few days, I have many appointments, so it is unlikely I will see you during that time.” Karl continued, “You will stay on the third floor with a back staircase so that you may come and go without interruption, to exercise on the grounds. Tonight I would like us to relax, dine and discuss your mission in more detail.” The Leutnant zur See served up a feast and placed a freshly decanted 1929 Château Mouton Rothschild on the table. Leaving the room, he closed the mahogany doors behind him, allowing Gunther and Karl to speak in privacy.


“If I am hearing you then correctly sir, this Manhattan Project, do you really think the Americans are capable building such a device?” Karl replied flatly, “Capable yes. We are along in the process ourselves and assume the Soviets are as well, to a lesser extent. Our Japanese friends appear somewhat ignorant to the prospect of such a weapon being developed but they are traditionalist.   We on the other hand Gunther, are thinkers who engineer mechanical wonders of change. Just look at our Schwalbe, the Messerschmitt Me 262 and our new advanced submarines. Göring informs us that the ME 262 will have the ‘go ahead’ from our Führer to attack and decimate the P-51 escorts by this Spring. You shall see yourself, in a few weeks time, aboard our new IXC/40 U-1230, such engineering prowess that by far exceeds our adversaries.”   


As Gunther place two large logs on the fire, Karl continued. “Should we develop our own atomic device before the Americans, I will urge our Führer to deploy such a device by submarine, straight into New York Harbor if need be. If, on the other hand, they beat us to it. . . it will alter significantly the balance of advantage. Without our own deterrent, the war will be over. That is why it is so critically important to ascertain from our assets in America where they are in their development and channel that information back to us as soon as possible.”  


Allowing a few patient moments for Karl to eat, Gunther asked: “I have several questions sir,  firstly how do you communicate now with these assets now, if at all?  Secondly, and I assume it is all in the file, how shall I convey back my findings?”   


Dönitz waved off a third question: “Our next communication will be by an official Easter greeting and well wishes between a social club in New York, the Union Club and Boodles in London. One asset sends a secure cable to another with warm wishes for Holy week. The message will be long, almost poetic but it will be mostly code and easily intercepted. We can only risk a communiques around the Christian holidays, for that is a pattern our assets established long before the war broke out. They are now elderly gentleman, highly respected, trusted and very well connected in their einschlägig circles. Our last cable from New York around Christmas implied that this project was progressing faster than we previously thought. Further, the message corroborated your invasion preparations warning. So obviously, we cannot keep waiting.”  


As Gunther nodded to this, Karl took a generous sip of his ‘29 Rothschild and continued: “To help you deliver us more timely information, you will take a smaller version of our four rotor enigma machine. From a location of your choosing near where Kapitanleutnant Von Bulow drops you off, on a predetermined schedule of every three weeks, you shall transmit your findings from there. I will send another of our IXC/40 U-boot to follow your crossing exactly one month after your departure.”    


Gunther was fast catching up to speed and finished Karl’s next sentence: ”This is to allow Von Bulow time to get U-1230 away from the LZ before sending a message to the following IXC/40, my exact location. That would give me a week from landing to establish secure lodging and the following three to gather intel for the first transmission.”


“Precisely Gunther, and I will send another to follow that one and so on until our capacity to do so . . . is exhausted. Their durations may fluctuate depending on your progress but their sole mission will be communication and thus be armed, solely for defensive purposes.”  


With that Karl rose and walked to his desk. While he did so, the Rottweiler Metzgerhunds sat alertly up as his Leutnant zur See walked in to clear their plates. Karl clipped two Cuban BELINDA BELINDA’S as Gunther poured more wine.   


“U-201 brought these back in ‘42 after sinking merchant ships off both coasts of Florida. It was easy pickings back then.” Karl smiled and gazed at the fire, “201 then put men ashore in Cuba and looted cases of these from a factory. These are quite good, vintage 1936.”


Gunther by now had a firm grasp of the primary mission objective and accepted the challenge with ease. His friend and now commanding officer Karl Dönitz was beginning to relax, so he pushed gently further for details of the secondary objectives in their order of importance. His experience had taught that it is better to hear one’s inflections of wishes than to read them from a paper file.   What he heard over the following hours, confirmed this.  


Operation Osprey Nest (chapter four)


Four months earlier:   Château de Pignerolle, remote Western France                                 


At half past four in the afternoon, a type G4 Mercedes-Benz W31 accelerated with ease out of each turn on the slick country road.   Wet snow and sleet lashed the wipers and pelted the soft top. The driver worked the four speed manual gears of the three axle Benz with fluid efficient control and he spoke not a word at the wheel.   This was welcomed and important to the man seated behind on the plush leather bench, near the rear right window. The vehicle could accommodate five but he sat high in his black leather coat and rode this late afternoon, alone.  


His name was Gunther De Werth.   Son of a decorated and deceased war hero from the great war and orphaned a year later upon his mother’s death due to illness.   He was forty one years of age and one of the highest ranking active agents of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), the Führer’s personal Military intelligence service.   Two days ago, he had returned from a covert operation and concluded his debrief in Tirpitz Ufer, Berlin.   The mood at headquarters was as tense as Gunther had ever seen. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, director of the recently abolished Abwehr, had been replaced by SS chief Walter Friedrich Schellenberg.   It was upon his direct orders, from the Führer himself, that Gunther re-pack and be flown immediately to France to meet with Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine (Commander-in-Chief of the Navy), Karl Dönitz, to learn of an urgent top secret mission. 


Karl Dönitz also served as Großadmiral (Grand Admiral of the naval high command) having just replaced Erich Raeder the previous year.   Gunther knew Karl Dönitz well and was not surprised by his ascention up through the ranks. Though Karl was eleven years older than Gunther, their paths had crossed many times over the past ten to fifteen years on both social and professional occasions.   


As the Benz now pushed aside the rising ground fog along cold flat roads leading towards the Châeau de Pignerolle, Gunther looked out to the darkened French countryside of Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou and reflected upon what urgency awaited him.   Over these past five or so years of troubled times, Gunther had seen Karl with much more frequency. On many occasions, they had shared the levity and laughter associated with the good times along with the stress and weight of the challenging times.   He now suspected, having just left Tirpitz, that he would be greeted with the latter. He was quite eager to get to the Château, for he looked up to Karl Dönitz as a friend and trusted mentor.    


Arriving at the four column 18th century Châeau, the driver halted to a stop on the damp gravel and Gunther didn’t wait for his door to be opened.   His stride was swift as the rain poured down and he bounded up the steps as he was eight minutes late. Seconds meant everything, to the Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine.    


Karl Dönitz, in full uniform, wearing the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross was there to greet him.   At his side sat two alert and very large Rottweilers , his loved and ever loyal full time guards:   “Heil Hitler!, mein Freund

To which Gunther returned the salute:Heil Hitler und immer mein Freund    

They then warmly embraced and preceded to the parlor, lit by a roaring fire. The Rottweilers followed with a fluid unrestricted trot that disguised their energy, taking separate positions by the fire.     

You look well Gunther, got some sun on the beaches of North Africa, Tripoli or shall I assume the Italian Alps?”

“You can conclude the latter, operational necessity.”  

“Still fighting this war from the slopes, fancy galas and backroom card games. . . I am envious.”

“I go where the fight takes me.” Gunther was quick to reply.   On impulse, he followed with a slight verbal jab of his own so as not to lose any edge: “You’re looking sir, now that you mention it, a bit fatigued yourself. So with all do respect, why don’t we just get down to the urgency of my visit.”

Dönitz smiled pouring them both a Cointreau: “Always impatient as myself, yet with a calmer demeanor, I have always admired that.”  Handing Gunther his glass, he continued: “I have asked my deputy, now in charge of our daily U-boot operations, Helgason Godt, to join us.   Before he gets here, however, let us sit and I will fill you in on the overall picture.”

Sitting to the left of the fire, with the Rottweilers at his feet:  “The war is not going well as you likely surmised in Tirpitz Ufer.  We have mounting losses in the Baltics and the Eastern front is a quagmire, total mess.  For now, I have convinced our Führer to suspend payments to the shipyards, for our finances are being strangled by the blocades.  Additionally, by way of your valuable intelligence, corroborated by other sources, we are confident that an allied invasion will be upon us by this Summer.   A year from now, we may not be sitting here in this very room.” Gunther listened and pulled a long swallow.  “Further worsening the situation, is our recent U-Boot losses in the North Atlantic.”   As Karl paused and lit himself a French cigarette, Gunther refilled both their tumblers.  “Each month Gunther, I send on average, seventy encrypted messages to my thirty or so active subs at sea.  This month, I have only received eighteen replies. This morning I have instructed Helgason to conduct a full investigation into our enigma code vulnerabilities.   We shall be switching immediately, to our new four rotor enigma machines. We will be the only branch in the Deutsches Militär to have use of it.  This I can control, for operational security is paramount on your lebenswichtige (vital) mission ahead.”

With that Helgason Godt walked through the mahogany double doors to the parlor.  He looked smaller than Gunther remembered and his face was weary and worn in the fire’s light.    All saluted and Helgason refused a Cointreau. He had brought a thick file stamped ‘Streng geheim’ and slid it across the table to Gunther while Karl Dönitz leaned back, puffed his cigarette and let Helgason deliver the mission orders.

“You are going on holiday in America, Gunther.”   Godt feigned a smile without looking up.   “You are to leave in three weeks time from Kristiansand, Norway aboard U-boot 1230, a new IXC/40 type submarine.”    

Karl Dönitz looked sharply to the ceiling, immediately impatient with insignificant details and interrupted his deputy:  “You are to be inserted behind enemy lines Gunther, somewhere on the Northeast coast of America by mid Springtime.  I have had Kapitanleutnant Otto Von Bulow recalled back from U-404 in the Baltics to command your passage across the North Atlantic.  He is one of our very best.” Pausing for effect while tossing his cigarette into the fire, he leaned forward and continued, “it is all in the folder before you and you have one week here to memorize the details before joining the crew and meeting Von Bulow . . . the file stays here.  Once safely on enemy shores, in short, your primary mission will be to ascertain the American progress and intent, of their Atomic bomb initiative, the Manhattan Project.  As your briefing file spells out in full detail, we shall provide sufficient wherewithal for your duration, points of reference and most importantly, the highest access to our deep cover operatives in New York, Boston and Washington, DC.  This will not be a mission of sabotage, but instead a mission of intelligence gathering. Of overriding importance is to assess, for our Führer, the likelihood of such a bomb being dropped upon unsere Deutsche heimat (our German homeland).  There are secondary requirements to the mission that shall run concurrent with this primary one, as we shall discuss.”     

A long silence enveloped the room as the Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine lit another cigarette.  Deputy Helgason Godt sitting erect and silent, stared at the coffee table, while Gunther stood and poured Karl another Cointreau.  Then, to break the silence, Gunther asked with an English accent: “any objections if I switch to a highlands scotch?”  Karl laughed and accepted his glass with a smile while Gunther took a seat in an adjacent chair.  

Helgason taking his cue, suggested his need to attend to other fleet matters and excused himself, leaving the file with Gunther.
“Gunther,” Karl Dönitz began “this will be a most dangerous mission, let us not elude that reality.   The crossing of the North Atlantic will be very perilous and should Otto successfully deliver you, your duration on enemy soil may be open ended until the objective is achieved.” 

Gunther began to speak but Karl raised his hand and continued: “You are our perfect man for this mission.  Your gift for languages is unparalleled, you are of the right age with a craft and experience to blend in with the most sophisticated of diplomats.  Beyond that, you are as strong and observant as these two Rottweiler Metzgerhunds at my feet.  Your father would be most proud of you Gunther.” 

A table was then set up behind them, not by local French servants but by Dornitz’s Leutnant zur See.   Over the next few days, I have many appointments, so it is unlikely I will see you during that time.”  Karl continued, “You will stay on the third floor with a back staircase so that you may come and go without interruption, to exercise on the grounds.   Tonight I would like us to relax, dine and discuss your mission in more detail.” The Leutnant zur See served up a feast and placed a freshly decanted 1929 Château Mouton Rothschild on the table.   Leaving the room,  he closed the mahogany doors behind him, allowing Gunther and Karl to speak in privacy.

. . . To Be Continued

Operation Osprey Nest (chapter three)


 Five days earlier, three hundred meters off Frenchman’s Bay, Maine.   

Upon reaching their initial destination point, Kapitanleutnant Von Bulow had taken him aside and over a dimly lit chart, opened the wax sealed final mission orders.   He read it twice, nodded and then shared it. Speaking softly in English to which the crew neither understood nor could overhear, together they digested the orders. ‘From the highest levels of command, Kapitanleutnant Von Bulow was to deliver the agent to the Western banks of Frenchman’s Bay where he would then rendezvous with an elderly local caretaker named Reinardt, who would then ferry him further west across a shallow inlet to a farmhouse in Brooklin Maine.   There, on property acquired during the latter years of the Vorläufige Reichsmarine before the Wehrmacht(1935), he would remain for a few days before continuing on to Portland; Boston and New York City’.   

However, the seas turned out to be too rough off Frenchman’s Bay and the Kapitanleutnant, given full discretion, discussed selecting another landing spot.   They quietly examined four alternates: 1) south of Eastport Maine; 2) areas near Plymouth, Massachusetts; 3) the north side of Newport, Rhode Island or 4) further west: Quonochontaug or Weekapaug Rhode Island.   The quiet man in civilian clothes remembered being delighted when Kapitanleutnant Von Bulow placed his affirmative finger on the chart just off the coast of where he now sat by a warm fire.  Less overland travel time meant less chances of suspicion late in the evening from the local town folks.   Besides, the north side of Newport was likely mined by now and convoy traffic near Plymouth would complicate a landing in even the best weather conditions. A barren beach further West, while tactically more dangerous given its proximity to the choke point of Long Island sound and Block Island sound, could be achieved and in Von Bulow’s words, ‘would likely lift the crews moral’.   As the man lit his second and last cigarette while poking the fire, he could hear Von Bulow’s energetic words speaking with pride of a fellow ‘Kapitanleutnant Hardegen (U-123)’, with an animated envy: ‘he sunk the Cyclops in ‘42 off Cape Cod, then the Norness off Newport, before sailing far west down L.I. sound and sinking a British tanker in New York harbor!   He met no response from the Americans. . . no planes, no coast guard cutter, nothing. He then sailed away without even submerging with the New York skyline all lit up!’  

Von Bulow, the man now thought as he gazed at the waning fire, would get his tonnage on his return trip, of this he was certain.   The only question was, would he wait until reaching the shelf before attacking the convoys and exposing himself.  He did trust that Von Bulow would follow orders and keep his word.   Sinking a vessel in proximity to these shores would surely complicate his mission in America, for it was 1944. With the rain now lashing at the windows and the surf clearly up, he would sleep well now.  Tomorrow he would assess his surroundings and plan out his next important steps.

Operation Osprey Nest (Chapter two)



Twenty minutes later the raft slid softly onto an upward sloping beach being licked by the smallest of waves.   The tide was a high ebb and they stepped easily onto the soft sand.   Both sailors wore side arms that remained clipped to their chests while the Erster Offizier, in full uniform, had his clipped in a holster.   Hefting the duffel over his shoulder, the man smiled in the darkness as the two young sailors hastily stuffed dry sand into their pockets – ‘sand from the shores of the enemy!’

Not a word was spoken as they rowed away into the darkness.

Alone again in all its completeness, upon a hostile shore, a feeling of calm at once enveloped him.  The first few times in Poland and Norway, inserted prior to the invasions, he recalled being nervous and at times besieged with fear.   Infiltrating France shortly thereafter, far less so and now here in America, not at all. Over the many years of clandestine operations, it became clear to him that one who travels alone, travels faster and far safer.

Unarmed with nothing but the cash in his satchel, diamonds sewn into lining of his leather jacket and his experience, he assured himself in that most solitude of moments, that he would prevail in this mission, for everything counted upon it.   It would be here in America, that he would spend his 42nd birthday.  

 Now looking West through the hanging mist, with the dim lights of the Inn barely visible, he turned slowly East towards the breach way a mile away.

It was 2:38 am, Tuesday the third day of June.

The walk to the East end of the beach took a bit longer than he anticipated as his legs were fatigued by their inactivity during the crossing.   When he had last visited this area briefly before the war under the cover as a marine engineer consultant  (Berater für Schiffsingenieure), there existed a fishing cabin at the far eastern end of this beach.   While surely destroyed by the ‘38 hurricane, he gambled that it would have been rebuilt by now. The shack had stood up in the dunes and abutted an inlet separating Weekapaug from Quonochontaug.   It was an epic fishing spot where bait was sucked into the salt pond and flushed out to the abundant waiting morone saxatilis. Being a Tuesday in early June, he further reckoned, that it would be vacant.  

Approaching with care and stealth under a lightly falling mist he observed jeep tracks in the sand leading to the darkened shack but saw no vehicles and smelled no smoke from the chimney.   Lighting a match, he carefully inspected the sand near the cabin’s only door. He saw remnants of footprints blown over with sand and concluded on this windless night, that they were days old.    He knocked, just the same, with a prepared story that he was a guest of the Inn hoping to fish the first light. Three times he knocked and waited, even tapping on the window twice. With the door locked, he check each shingle around the door and found the key, under the fifth to the right.   The cabin was indeed empty with the ashes of the fireplace cold. He lit an oil lamp, built a small fire, found a can of beans and sat down and ate.    

It was half past three am.

The cabin was well provisioned with supplies and it looked to have been stocked recently.   Where the walls were not populated by mounted fish, there displayed pictures of older men with their catch.   On the low rafters hung rods of all sizes, from bamboo fly rods to long heavy surf rods. Handmade lures and flies littered almost all of the empty wall space.   

To the patter of rain against the window to his left, he he lit a cigarette and stepped outside.   The wind had clocked from the East and the sound of the surf carried Westward with the smoke from the chimney.   Stepping inside, he threw another log onto the fire and reflected on his fortunate landing and those recent tense days aboard U-1230.   

To Be Con’t . . .