“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.
“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.
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