Book: Bodyguard of lies



Bodyguard of lies

This book made available by the Internet Archive.

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies


Contents

10. The Assassination of Heydrich 217

11. Operation Flash 228

PART III: HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

1943

1. Casablanca 245

2. The Battle of the Atlantic 251

3. The LCS and Plan Jael 268

4. Mincemeat 278

5. Quebec 290

6. The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 300

7. Starkey 317

8. Prosper 328

9. The Intelligence Attack 355

10. Teheran 378

11. Cicero 391

PART IV: COVER AND DECEPTION —JAN UARY

TO JUNE 1944

1. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander 409

2. The German Supreme Command 423

3. Bodyguard 432

4. The Balkans 446

5. Fortitude North 459

6. Fortitude South 473

7. Nuremberg 500

8. Aerial Stratagems 517

9. Security 528

10. The Wireless Game 551

11. The French Labyrinth 565

12. Canaris's Last Throw 583

13. Vendetta 601

14. The Eve of D-Day 624

L

Contents

PART V: NORMANDY TO NEMESIS —JUNE 6 TO AUGUST 20, 1944

1. D-Day 647

2. The Deceptions of D-Day 670

3. Sword and Stratagem 679

4. The French Revolt 688

5. Rommel 704

6. The VI 719

7. Goodwood 729

8. July 20, 1944 747

9. The Breakout 770

10. Gotterdammerung 784 Epilogue 796

Author's Note 823

Interviews 829

Archivists, Historians and Librarians 832

Glossary 835

Sources and Notes 842

Bibliography 894

Photographs following p. 276

The London Controlling Section (Author's Collection) General Sir Stewart Graham Menzies (Daily Telegraph, London) Squadron Leader Frederick W. Winterbotham (Author's Collection) Prime Minister Churchill inspecting the ruins at Coventry (The Bettmann

Archive) Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Brigadefiihrer Reinhard Heydrich (Bilder-

dienst) General Ludwig Beck (US Army Photograph) Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt at Casablanca (US Army

Photograph) General Sir Colin McVean Gubbins (Imperial War Museum, London) Colonel Maurice J. Buckmaster (Associated Newspapers Copyright) Major Francis Suttill, "Prosper" (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Crown

Copyright) Noor Inayat Khan (from Toward the One by Pir Vilayat Inayat-Khan. Reprinted by permission.) Henri Dericourt (US Information Agency) Philippe Keun (Author's Collection)

Colonel Claude Arnould and Sister Henriette Frede (Author's Collection) The Convent of St. Agonie (Author's Collection) Premier Stalin, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at

Teheran (The Bettmann Archive) General Dwight D. Eisenhower (US Army Photograph) Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Heinrich Hoffman Collection, The National

Archives) D-Day (The Bettmann Archive)

Hitler and the German high command (World War II Collection of Seized

Enemy Records in The National Archives) General Omar N. Bradley and General Sir Bernard Montgomery (US Army

Photograph) General George S. Patton (US Army Photograph) Colonel Klaus Count von Stauffenberg (from The Nemesis of Power by

John Wheeler-Bennett. London: Macmillan, 1953.) Field Marshal Guenther von Kluge (US Army Photograph) Hitler and Mussolini at Rastenburg (World War II Collection of Seized

Enemy Records in The National Archives) Commandant Henri Bourgoin (Author's Collection)

Map of D-Day, p. 646 SAS Brigade Operation Instruction No. 32—Operation "Gaff," 717

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS. WORLD WAR II

'

Allies of the Axis

Neutral Nations

Countries Occupied by Germany

Furthest German Advance into Russia

and North Africa The Major Cover and Deception

Operations of Plan Bodyguard

Bodyguard of lies

UNION

OF

SOVIET SOCIALIST

REPUBLICS

Bodyguard of lies

"In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

—Winston Churchill

L

Prologue

General Sir Stewart Menzies, the chief of the British secret intelligence service (MI-6), a pale man—"pale skin, pale eyes, silvery blond hair," who was known to the Allied high command by the enigmatical cipher "C," walked past the brooding statues of Beaconsfield and Lincoln on Parliament Square and entered the narrow doorway at 2 Great George Street near Storey's Gate. With him that morning—it was in the beginning of December 1943—was Colonel David Bruce, the chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Europe, MI-6's American counterpart. The two men passed through the sandbagged guardpost at the entrance to the War Cabinet offices, crossed a small lobby, and then went down into Prime Minister Winston Churchill's command post under the pavements of Westminster. Here, there was none of the neon-lit, Lysoled asepticism of the modern war room; the headquarters resembled the innards of some old ironclad. Menzies and Bruce stepped through a series of steel bulkhead doors, walked down corridors that were shored up with the heavy timbers of one of Nelson's ships-of-the-line, went through the map room, which was under 4 feet of concrete reinforced by old London tramrails, and finally reached their destination. It was a small conference room that looked like a wardroom—a whirring fan, a portrait of the King-Emperor, a lithograph of London Bridge, oriental carpets on the floor, comfortable furniture, a clock on the wall inscribed with the words: "Victoria R.I., Ministry of Works, 1889." Even the maps bespoke another era; one of them had been published in 1910 by the Navy League of the British Empire.

The men, and one woman, who greeted Menzies and Bruce were almost all young, and some wore the red gorgets and golden lions of the Imperial General Staff. For a few minutes they talked about the latest war news and high command gossip, standing around the old, well-polished conference table at the center of which was a small figurine—the Dancing

) 1 (

) 2 ( PROLOGUE

Faun, the Greco-Roman numen that suggested dark and evil spirits at work in tangled forests. It was the emblem of the London Controlling Section (LCS), a secret bureau that had been established by Churchill within his personal headquarters to plan stratagems to deceive Hitler and the German General Staff about Allied operations in the war against the Third Reich.

The agile, devious, elegant figurine hinted at the nature of the LCS's work. For "stratagem" is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: "An operation or act of generalship, usually an artifice or trick designed to outwit or surprise the enemy; a device or scheme for obtaining an advantage; cunning, used loosely for a deed of blood or violence." The men gathered around the Faun were either members of the LCS or hierarchs of other British and American secret bureaus who were responsible for the execution of their schemes. The weapons they used were called—in the British military lexicon—"special means," a vaguely sinister term that included a wide variety of surreptitious, sometimes murderous, always intricate operations of covert warfare designed to cloak overt military operations in secrecy and to mystify Hitler about the real intentions of the Allies. They were operations that, as M. R. D. Foot would observe, were "true to the tradition of English eccentricity; the sort of thing that Captain Hornblower or Mycroft Holmes in fiction, or Admiral Cochrane or Chinese Gordon in fact, would have gone in for had they been faced with a similar challenge; the sort of thing that looks odd at the time, and eminently sensible later."

Britain's experience in the use of special means was very long—longer than that of any other power. For over five hundred years her statesmen and generals had used them to establish first a kingdom and then an empire, and to defend both against their enemies. They had outwitted the Spanish, the French and the Dutch in previous centuries; and once before in this century they had been forced to fight the aggrandizement of Germany. But scarcely twenty years after the defeat of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German Empire, a new Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler had risen from the wreckage of the first bitter conflict, and the world was again at war. Special means had played a role in influencing Hitler's strategy in the early years of that war. Now, Britain's experience in special means was to be harnessed to the protection of the most difficult and dangerous military operation of the Second World War—"Neptune," the code word for the invasion of the Norman coast of France in the spring of 1944.

Preparations for Neptune had already taken three and a half years, and involved the combined industrial, military and intellectual power of the British Empire and the United States. Yet not even that combined might was sufficient to assure the western powers of victory. Hitler's armies, despite the bloodletting of the campaigns in Russia, Italy and North Africa,

Prologue ) 3 (

were still immensely powerful. There were a million men in the West, entrenched behind the Atlantic Wall, a line of fortifications that was the strongest in history since the Great Wall of China. If the Germans were ready and waiting, they could pour a hail of fire into the assault forces that would destroy Neptune at the water's edge. Even if Neptune obtained a toehold in Normandy, Hitler, it had to be expected, would—and could— quickly concentrate every man and gun at the beachhead, seal it off and doom the Allies to a campaign as fruitless and bloody as those experienced by the British at Flanders and the Somme in the First World War. Not even the weather could be guaranteed to favor the assault; the English Channel was one of the world's most capricious waterways, and if only moderately heavy seas sprang up unexpectedly, they would wreck the carefully prepared timetables upon which the success of the invasion might depend.

As everyone knew, if the invasion failed, all else would fail. Britain would have to seek terms, for she would commit everything in her armory to this attack. The Americans, appalled by the bloodshed and the magnitude of the disaster, would almost certainly reject President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he came up for reelection late in 1944 and seek a victory against Japan before deciding whether to attempt a second invasion. Then Hitler would be able to concentrate his entire might against Russia, with every prospect of defeating the Red Army and emerging as master of Europe.

Hitler himself was completely confident in his ability to destroy the invasion at the outset. There was not, however, complete certainty in the Allied camp that Neptune would succeed. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was about to become Supreme Commander for the expedition, would write in a letter to a friend in Washington: "As the big day approaches tension grows and everybody gets more and more on edge. This time, because of the stakes involved, the atmosphere is probably more electric than ever before. In this particular venture, we are not risking a tactical defeat; we are putting the whole works on one number."

It was said that Churchill had nightmares about what might happen in Normandy on D-Day. Debating Neptune's chances for success, he wrote: "It still seemed to me . . . that fortifications of concrete and steel armed with modern fire-power, and fully manned by trained, resolute men, could only be overcome by . . ."—What? He supplied the answer—surprise. Only if Hitler was surprised by the time and place of the attack would Neptune achieve that small advantage that might spell the difference between victor}' and defeat. But how was this clever enemy to be surprised? His ships, planes, radar, sentinels—all, it had to be expected, would be alert and awake. How could the presence of the greatest number of men and machines in military history be concealed as they assembled in England in readiness for the invasion? The location of their encampments alone might

)4( PROLOGUE

be enough to permit Hitler to deduce that Normandy was their destination. Even if this host could be hidden in England, how could it be concealed as it left the ports of embarkation to cross the Channel, a voyage that, for some units of the invasion force, would take the better part of two days? Hitler knew that the Allies must return to Europe, and it seemed almost impossible that he would not be able to discover when and where they would attack. In all probability, he would not be caught off guard. Yet it was the responsibility of the LCS and its associated bureaus to provide Neptune with that elusive quality called surprise.

Colonel John Bevan, the chief of the LCS, called this meeting to order, and Lady Jane Pleydell-Bouverie, his personal assistant, distributed a document. It was seven pages long, and at the top of the first foolscap page were five green bars, there to draw attention to the especially secret nature of the document—so secret that its contents would not become public until December 1972, twenty-nine years later. Above the bars was the superscription: "This document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty's Government," a warning that was reserved for the most important British state papers. And below the bars were the words: "Most Secret," "Restricted Circulation," and the odd code word "Bigot," which meant that the document contained information about the key secrets of Neptune. It was "Plan Jael," the "overall deception policy" of the high commands of America, Britain and Russia to mislead Hitler about Allied strategy and tactics in the months ahead, and about military operations that would include the gigantic assault on the Atlantikwall at Normandy. Thus Plan Jael was quite as important as the Neptune plan itself, for in its seven tersely worded pages, it outlined the deceptions and stratagems that would be used to cloak Neptune's advance across the Channel—deceptions and stratagems created by a variety of special means which, if they were successful, would give the invasion armada the essential element of surprise.

It was Churchill who was largely responsible for the central role that special means would play in Neptune. Their employment as a major weapon in the Second World War, and the creation of a central agency, the LCS, to conceive and coordinate the stratagems of special means, was probably his greatest single contribution to military theory and practice. It was a theory born of Churchill's own experience in another war with a military operation that had ended in disaster—Gallipoli. In 1915, appalled by the stalemate on the western front, Churchill sought to break the deadlock in the battles of the trenches with what he would call a "knife thrust" through the "soft underbelly of Europe." A large Allied expeditionary force was landed at the Dardanelles to create a new front that would draw German forces from France. But the knife broke, and the expedition foundered with the loss of 252,000 troops, largely through the

Prologue ) 5 (

inertia and caution of the Allied generals and admirals in command. Churchill, as the principal architect of the plan, was forced to resign as First Lord of the Admiralty—a resignation that seemed at the time to spell the end of his career as a politician and statesman. While in the political wilderness, he reflected upon the "dull carnage" in France that was wiping out an entire generation of Englishmen, and wrote an essay that was now the credo of the LCS. His main point was that

Battles are won by slaughter and manoeuvre. The greater the general, the more he contributes in manoeuvre, the less he demands in slaughter. . . . Nearly all the battles which are regarded as the masterpieces of the military art . . . have been battles of manoeuvre in which very often the enemy has found himself defeated by some novel expedient or device, some queer, swift, unexpected thrust or stratagem. In such battles the losses of the victors have been small. There is required for the composition of a great commander not only massive common sense and reasoning power, not only imagination, but also an element of legerdemain, an original and sinister touch, which leaves the enemy puzzled as well as beaten. . . . There are many kinds of manoeuvres in war, some only of which take place upon the battlefield. There are manoeuvres far to the flank or rear. There are manoeuvres in time, in diplomacy, in mechanics, in psychology; all of which are removed from the battlefield, but react often decisively upon it, and the object of all is to find easier ways, other than sheer slaughter, of achieving the main purpose.

This philosophy, born of tragedy and holocaust in one amphibious operation, was now to be employed to prevent another, even greater tragedy and holocaust on D-Day. And it was Plan Jael that was intended to provide the novel expedient and sinister touches for Neptune. Five main arenas of secret activity were involved in the plan. The first was offensive intelligence, the business of divining the enemy's secrets. If Neptune was to succeed, it was imperative that the Allied commanders have a detailed and accurate picture of the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall, the strength and disposition of the German forces and, above all, foreknowledge of Hitler's intentions. Offensive intelligence was the responsibility of MI-6 and the OSS, and explained the presence of their chiefs, Menzies and Bruce, at meetings of the LCS.

Thus far in the course of the war, MI-6 and the OSS had achieved considerable success in discovering Hitler's secrets through conventional intelligence and espionage channels—the reports of spies and informants throughout Nazi-occupied Europe and in the satellite and neutral nations; the censorship of foreign mail; the interrogation of prisoners of war. But MI-6—and the Allied high command—had two sources of secret intelligence that were not conventional. One was called "Ultra," and it was derived from the interception and decryption of secret German wireless

)6( PROLOGUE

communications. The other was known as the "Schwarze Kapelle," or "Black Orchestra," a small group of German officers and men—among them Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, chief of the Abwehr, the German secret intelligence service—who were conspiring to overthrow Hitler and the Third Reich. Throughout the war, Ultra and—sometimes—the Schwarze Kapelle had systematically provided the Allied high command with secret intelligence of vital significance in the military operations that paved the way for Neptune. But, as all who were privy to these secret sources of information knew, ciphers can be changed, and plotters arrested, overnight. No one could be sure that Ultra and the Schwarze Kapelle would continue to provide the kind of secret intelligence upon which the success of Neptune might depend.

The second major arena of secret activity proposed in Plan Jael was counterintelligence and security, those operations that were designed to deny Hitler knowledge of the secrets of Neptune. Chief among these operations was the destruction of the German secret intelligence service; and MI-6 and the OSS were, again, charged with this task. MI-5, the British counterintelligence agency, was responsible for the liquidation of the enemy secret service in Britain, and thus far it, too, had a remarkable record. It had brought the entire German espionage network in Britain under control, and the FBI had achieved similar results in America. Once captured, however, not all enemy agents had been jailed or executed. Some were being used in a game of deception by the curiously named XX-Committee of MI-5, and by X2 of the OSS. It was a game in which, as Norman Holmes Pearson, the Yale professor who was associated with the XX-Committee, would write, "The dermal and subdermal took on new and nerve-wracking significance." It was especially nerve-wracking to the Neptune planners, for all knew that one blunder, one indiscretion could reveal the secrets of Neptune. Yet it was a game that had to be played— and won—if Neptune was to take Hitler by surprise.

The main weapons in these first two arenas of secret operations proposed by Jael were intellect and stealth, menace and deception, with only an occasional act of thuggery committed in some dark alley of Europe. It was in the third arena that violence occurred, the arena that was called, blandly, special operations. Here the agencies involved were Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE), commanded by General Colin Gub-bins, a Hebridean and an expert in clandestine warfare, and America's Special Operations branch of the OSS (SO), commanded by Colonel Joseph Haskell. Both these agencies were represented at the meetings of the LCS, for their particular task was to locate, encourage and supply the guerrilla organizations that criss-crossed all of Europe from the Channel to the Polish-Russian border, from the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic to Cairo, from Helsinki to Tangier. These organizations were called reseaux, from

Prologue ) 7 (

the French word for network, and their work was to attack the Nazi regime and its soldiers from behind the lines.

In the special context of Neptune, SOEs and SO's main task would be to organize, equip and control the impassioned and politically divided French resistance, and to guide those acts of sabotage and guerrilla warfare against German lines of communication and transportation that would delay or disrupt the enemy's response to Neptune. But again, there was a question in the minds of the Neptune planners. The world of special operations was one of "Proustian complexity," where even the lives of agents and resistants could be used as pawns. Yet Neptune, in some measure, would depend upon the loyalty and obedience of the French resistants —and upon their willingness to risk their lives.

The fourth arena of secret activity proposed in Jael was political warfare. The British Political Warfare Executive (PWE) and, to a lesser extent, the American Office of War Information (OWI) had been created expressly to wage, in concert with the LCS, a war of words against the Third Reich. Their credo was "to approach the German mind through a deception and through elaborately sustained fictions, calculated to throw it off its guard and to appeal to the selfish, disloyal, individualist motives in the (German soldier and citizen).'' Their main weapon was rumor—the theory that you may not be able to bomb a currency but you can certainly destroy it with a whisper; and their objective was "to drive a wedge between the Nazi leaders and the people, and to create an intensification of war-weariness and defeatism by every means, open and clandestine. . . ."

But words are not bullets, rumors are not bombs, and there were few indications that the obedience of the German people to their Fuehrer was wavering, or that the German soldier was weakening in his determination to repulse an invasion. The Neptune planners knew of the serious disagreements between Hitler and his generals; many of the highest officers of the German General Staff were, in fact, members of the Schwarze Kapelle. Thus far their conspiracies had come to little, and Hitler retained his iron grip over his generals, the German people and the continent of Europe. But any maneuver, any expedient was worthy of consideration. For this was total war. The Allies had demanded, in the resounding—and some high commanders believed ill-considered—proclamation of "Unconditional Surrender," the complete capitulation of Germany. And Germany would not surrender without a monumental fight. Neptune would be the decisive encounter in a war that had to be fought to the bitter end, and the secret war that attended Neptune would be equally bitter. As Foot later wrote: "Nothing quite like it had been seen before; probably nothing quite like it will be seen again, for the circumstances of Hitler's war were unique, and called out this among other unique responses."

The most unique of those responses was the fifth arena of covert

)8( PROLOGUE

activity proposed in Plan Jael—deception, the ultimate secret weapon and the most secret of all secret operations. Deception was the province of the LCS, and its special assignment was to plant upon the enemy, along the channels open to it through the Allied high command, hundreds, perhaps thousands of splinters of information that, when assembled by the enemy intelligence services, would form a plausible and acceptable—but false— picture of Allied military intentions. The LCS had refined the arts of deception in its past operations; now Jael proposed that Hitler be led to believe that the Allies intended to attack not Normandy but elsewhere in France. It was a deception that would decide the fate of Neptune. The LCS would have to use every conduit at its disposal in a carefully conceived and timed scenario of special means to send this fiction to the desk of Hitler. Those special means would involve whispers and rumors, the services of double and even triple agents, the careers and reputations of famous generals, sacrificial military and clandestine operations, wireless games, the creation of fictitious armies and the manipulation of resistance forces and the Schwarze Kapelle. In short, nothing could be overlooked in the attempt to convince the Germans that the invasion would strike at a different time and a different place than was actually intended.

The men who had been charged with this seemingly impossible task were, of course, of several minds; but they appeared to be united by a single factor—class. Deception, like intelligence, was the pursuit of gentlemen. Colonel Bevan, the chief of the LCS, was a son-in-law of the Earl of Lucan and a grandson of the founder of Barclay's Bank. Bevan's deputy and the author of Plan Jael, Colonel Sir Ronald Evelyn Leslie Wingate, was the son of Wingate Pasha of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and a cousin of both Lawrence of Arabia and Wingate of Burma. The other members of the LCS and of the secret agencies associated with it included financiers, politicians, diplomats, scientists, writers, artists—men in London, Washington, the Mediterranean, India and Southeast Asia with connections and a talent for special means. Above them all was Churchill himself. As Wingate would later write: "It was Churchill who had all the ideas. It was his drive, his brilliant imagination, and his technical knowledge that initiated all these ideas and plans." Churchill delighted in examining and advising the LCS, and he was a master of what would come to be called "the game plan." It was the American member of the LCS, Colonel William H. Baumer, who would later comment upon the difficulty of the game they were playing—and its ethical implications. "Looking back on it all," he said,

Bevan and his boys were extraordinarily clever. They knew exactly when and where to play upon Hitler's fury, and they did so knowing full well that if what they did became public property in later years they might all earn public opprobrium. But they were quite academic about this at the time. They

Prologue ) 9 (

were playing for the highest stakes imaginable, and there was no time for squeamishness. They knew they simply could not lose because, if they did, they and Britain would lose everything. Their object was to make Hitler run about like a blue-arse fly. It was a dangerous business for they never knew from minute to minute whether they might be exposed and, thereby, expose the very matters that they were seeking to hide.

A plaque hung on the wall behind the men who were now meeting beneath the pavements of Westminster to discuss the intricacies of Plan Jael. It was placed there as if in answer to the criticisms that were, perhaps, inevitable when the existence of this super-secret agency finally became known some fifteen years after the war was over. On the plaque were the words of Sir Garnet Wolseley, a former Commander-in-Chief of the British army, who wrote in The Soldier's Handbook in 1869:

We are bred up to feel it a disgrace ever to succeed by falsehood ... we will keep hammering along with the conviction that honesty is the best policy, and that truth always wins in the long run. These pretty little sentiments do well for a child's copy book, but a man who acts on them had better sheathe his sword forever.

It was clear that Churchill and the LCS would stop at nothing to ensure secrecy and surprise for Neptune. Even Churchill's choice of code name for the cover and deception operations that would attend Neptune revealed something of their cunning, mercilessness and intent. Jael was the woman in the Song of Deborah of the Old Testament who committed one of the blackest acts of treachery in that long, dark chronicle. For the Song tells how Deborah the Prophetess plotted with Barak, the commander of the Israelite army, to defeat Jabin, the King of Canaan, and Sisera, the Canaanite commander who, with "nine hundred chariots of iron," had ruled the Israelites for twenty years. Their stratagem succeeded and Sisera was lured to battle at the foot of Mount Tabor on the Plain of Esdraelon. There was a heaven-sent rainstorm, Sisera's chariots bogged down, Barak and his men emerged from their hiding place on the mountainside, "And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots . . . and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left."

Sisera himself survived and fled the battlefield on foot; and as he was trying to reach Canaan, he happened upon the encampment of Heber the Kenite, who was absent that day. But his wife Jael greeted him cordially; and believing that a treaty of friendship existed between the Canaanites and the Kenites, Sisera asked for food and a place to rest. To this Jael agreed, and exhausted by battle and his flight, Sisera lay down upon her bed. Jael brought him goat's milk and promised to stand guard at the tent door; but when Sisera was deeply asleep, she took a hammer and a tent peg and "smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground. . . ."



)10( PROLOGUE

Thus ended the Canaanites' rule of the Israelites. And thus, it was hoped, would Plan Jael help the Allies end the rule of Hitler.

The meeting of the LCS that December morning in 1943 was not a long one. Its purpose was merely to read and approve the final draft of Plan Jael before it was sent for approval to the Combined Chiefs of Staff at Washington, the highest Allied war council. It was little more than a formality, for Jael had already been agreed upon as the overall deception policy of the Grand Alliance at the conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Marshal Josef Stalin at Teheran in November 1943. But before the meeting broke up, the question of the code name was discussed. Appropriate as it was, it was decided, reluctantly, to change the name of the plan. For only a few days before, at Teheran, Churchill, in describing the special means of Plan Jael, had made a remark that would become a classic epigram:

In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

And so Plan Jael was renamed "Plan Bodyguard," a ruse de guerre that would come to be compared with the Trojan Horse—a stratagem for which the totem was that graceful but wicked little sprite at the center of the LCS conference table.

The meeting adjourned and the hierarchs of the LCS's executive agencies departed to begin employing those special means that might enable the best and finest of the young men of the Allied armies to get ashore—and stay ashore—in the first tumultuous hours of D-Day. No one could predict the success of Bodyguard until Neptune actually emerged from the sea. No one could be certain that the influences symbolized by the Dancing Faun would work to achieve surprise on June 6, 1944. For as General Sir Frederick Morgan, one of the planners of Neptune, later remarked, corrupting slightly the words of Wellington after Waterloo:

It was going to be a close-run thing, a damned close-run thing—the closest-run thing you ever saw in your life.

PART U

THE ORIGINS OF SPECIAL MEANS

1938-1942

In the high ranges of Secret Service work the actual facts in many cases were in every respect equal to the most fantastic inventions of romance and melodrama. Tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and treachery, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent, double agent, gold and steel, the bomb, the dagger and the firing party, were interwoven in many a texture so intricate as to be incredible and yet true. The Chief and the High Officers of the Secret Service revelled in these subterranean labyrinths, and pursued then-task with cold and silent passion.

WINSTON S. CHURCHILL

1

s\

Ultra

The skies over London were a brilliant, clear blue that August Bank Holiday of 1938, yet there was a sultry obscurity in the air and forecasters—political and meteorological—reported thunder and lightning to the east, beyond the English Channel. An atmosphere of foreboding hung over all of Europe, but no anxious crowds lined the pavements outside the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street—the usual sign of crisis. This was one of England's great holidays; all normal business was suspended. Huge crowds romped on the beaches, in the countryside, in the parks; it seemed as if the only sound of violence on that hot, somnolent afternoon was the thud of leather upon willow at Lords, where Cheltenham was playing Haileybury.

There were some who sensed the approaching storm, among them Winston Churchill, who was telling his constituents in Essex: "It is difficult for us in this ancient forest of Theydon Bois, the very name of which carries us back to Norman days—here, in the heart of peaceful, law-abiding England ... (to grasp) that the whole state of Europe and of the world is moving steadily towards a climax which cannot be long delayed." He warned that "ferocious passions" were "rife in Europe," and that there were "fifteen hundred thousand soldiers upon a war footing" in Germany. Yet such was the British temperament that the Reverend J. S. Crole's failure to win the Bournemouth Open Bowls Tournament received about the same space in The Times as did Churchill's address and only slightly less space than the news that on Tuesday Lord Runciman would lead a diplomatic mission to Prague and Berlin in an attempt to prevent war between Germany and Czechoslovakia.

It seemed inconceivable that war might be near. But there were ominous signs that Herr Hitler, as he was being called in Parliament and the press, did indeed intend war if he could not obtain an empire in Europe by political and diplomatic means. And that Monday, while the Royal Dra-

) 13 (

goons were playing polo at Le Touquet, great brown phalanxes of German stormtroopers at Nuremburg were about to rededicate themselves with Teuton rites to the principle of ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Fiihrer. Germany was resurgent, angry, menacing, implacable. What was it she wanted? What did she intend? Were the shrill proclamations of her leaders a bluff? Or was Hitler truly determined to "correct the humiliations" of the Versailles Treaty and to ensure, by force of arms if necessary, "a place in the sun" for the Third Reich? And if there was to be war, what was the reality of German power? How many divisions did she have, how many cannon, how many tanks, how many air squadrons, how many submarines? What was her oil and steel capacity? Who would be her allies? What would Russia and America do?

Not since the end of the First World War had the statesmen of England felt such urgent need of sound intelligence from Germany. That was why, that weekend, Colonel Stewart Menzies was at his desk in the headquarters of the British secret intelligence service on Broadway, a quiet side street near Westminster Abbey. Now forty-eight, Menzies was deputy chief of MI-6 and chief of the German section of Military Intelligence at the War Office. As such, it was his particular responsibility to superintend the gathering of intelligence about Hitler's intentions and the strength and disposition of the Wehrmacht, the German war machine. And the fact that Menzies was in his office at all that weekend reflected the forebodings of the times. Much—perhaps everything—hung upon the ability of MI-6 to obtain foreknowledge of Hitler's plans. A steady stream of intelligence about the military and political state of the Third Reich was reaching Menzies from a variety of sources, among them Admiral Wilhelm Canaris —the chief of the Abwehr. But gunroom gossip—for that was what much of this information amounted to—was not sufficient if the British government was to be kept quickly and accurately informed of Hitler's secret decisions. There was only one sure way to obtain the intelligence the British needed: cryptanalysis, the ancient craft of intercepting and breaking the ciphers of the secret communications of an adversary.

Britain had successfully intercepted and decrypted German military, diplomatic and commercial telegrams for many years. But Hitler knew the importance of secrecy, and in 1934 the German government began to change its ciphers to a new system. MI-6 had long been involved in a worldwide inquiry to establish the nature of that new system. Now, four years later, it seemed that Menzies had the information MI-6 had been searching for.

That search had begun when Major Francis Foley, the MI-6 resident at Berlin (known to the service as "1200"), learned that the German army was experimenting with a cipher machine called Enigma. He reported this information to Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, the chief of MI-6, and Sinclair

Ultra ) 15 (

gave Menzies the task of finding out what was known about the machine. Menzies's men discovered that Enigma was the invention of a Dutchman, Hugo Koch of Delft, who had patented a Geheimschrijjmachine —a "secret writing machine"—at The Hague in October 1919. Koch had established a company to develop and market his invention, but he had not been able to build a machine and had assigned the patents to a German, Artur Scherbius, an engineer and inventor living in Berlin. Scherbius did build a machine from Koch's plans and he called it "Enigma," after the Enigma Variations of Sir Edward Elgar, in which Elgar described his friends in musical cipher. Scherbius's model, a primitive form of rotor cipher machine, was exhibited publicly for the first time at the 1923 Congress of the International Postal Union. In 1924, the German post office used an Enigma to exchange greetings with the Congress; it was publicized in Radio News in America and in a book on cipher machines by Dr. Siegfried Turkel, the scientific director of the Viennese criminological institute. According to a brochure circulated in English, the machine was originally conceived to protect the secrets of business, not the secrets of war. The brochure claimed:

The natural inquisitiveness of competitors is at once checkmated by a machine which enables you to keep all your documents, or at least their important parts, entirely secret without occasioning any expenses worth mentioning. One secret, well-protected, may pay the whole cost of the machine. . . .

But Scherbius's venture did not prosper and he sold the Enigma patents to another company. By that time Hitler had come to power, rearmament and reorganization of the Wehrmacht were under way, and his generals were scouring the laboratories and workshops for some new cipher machine with which to protect their secrets. The evaluation of Enigma was the responsibility of Colonel Erich Fellgiebel, who was to become the chief signals officer of the German army and of the German high command. Significantly, Fellgiebel would also become one of the most active conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle.

Enigma disappeared from the commercial world as Fellgiebel experimented with the machine. It was found to be inexpensive, sturdy, portable, simple to operate, easy to service, and it produced ciphers in great abundance. Above all, it was pronounced secure from even the most advanced cryptanalytical attack. It was relatively unimportant whether or not the machine was captured by an enemy; it was quite useless to him without knowledge of the keying procedures. Enigma was deemed suitable in every way to the needs of the Wehrmacht.

MI-6 knew this much of the machine, but little else until Major Harold Lehrs Gibson, the MI-6 resident at Prague, reported that the Polish secret

intelligence service, which worked with MI-6 against the Russians and the Germans, was also interested in Enigma. Department BS4, the cryptographic section of the Polish General Staff, had legally acquired the commercial version of Enigma; and Polish cryptanalysts, led by two leading Polish mathematicians, M. Rejewski and H. Zygalski, had managed to resolve some of the mathematical problems involved in deciphering its transmissions. Gibson's report produced immediate excitement in the British cryptanalytical service, for the Poles were noted for their expertise in crypt-analysis; their ability to read Russian ciphers had resulted in a victory for the Poles in the Russo-Polish War of 1920, a war that checked communism's first overt westward thrust after the First World War. But the Polish penetration of Enigma was mathematical, not mechanical; and they had experimented only with the commercial model, which, it could be assumed, the Germans had modified and refined for the Wehrmacht's use.

It was the French who first managed to penetrate the military version, not through the trial-and-error of mathematical analysis, but through treason. General Gustave Bertrand, a high officer of "2 bis," the French cryptanalytical bureau, would record that in the summer of 1937 a German presented himself at the French Embassy at Berne and offered to work in the service of France against the Third Reich. He was, he declared, an officer of the Forschungsamt, the Reich's main cryptographic bureau, and his motives, he said, were ideological. His offer was reported to Colonel Louis Rivet at 2 bis, and at first the French were inclined to believe that the German, who was codenamed "Source D," might be an agent provocateur sent to compromise their diplomatic status and privileges in Switzerland. But Rivet, so Bertrand would remember, declared that this might be "a chance that will never come again," and he despatched a Captain Navarre of 2 bis to Berne. After prolonged interrogation of Source D, Navarre reported that he was "a traitor acting out of avarice," but he had revealed that "German technicians have developed a coding and decoding apparatus of a completely new type." It was Enigma.

Navarre was ordered to make the German "a modest compensation with a promise of a payment on a generous scale" if he obtained some of the machine's production for their next meeting. Source D did better than that. When he later met Navarre in a small cafe in Brussels, he produced "a secret instruction manual on the use of the machine," as well as a cipher text and its plain text counterpart. The original of the manual was returned to the German the next day, along with part of the "generous payment" that had been promised. The rest would be sent to him through Brussels and Berne if the "French technicians charged with the examination of the data (find) them satisfactory."

Navarre then returned to Paris, and Bertrand, with the data supplied by Source D, was able to produce—using the precision-tool capacity of a

Ultra ) 17 (

Franco-American cash register factory outside Paris—a replica of Enigma. Moreover, if French claims are correct, Source D began to send 2 bis notice of the monthly keying changes employed by the Wehrmacht to thwart cryptographic attack. In short, the French had the capacity to read the Germans' most secret ciphers—an intelligence coup of majestic importance. But they could do so only as long as Source D continued to supply the keying changes.

The British intelligence attack against Enigma took a somewhat different course. In June of 1938, Menzies had received a message that would prove to be the most important in the intelligence history of the Second World War. It came, again, from Gibson at Prague, who reported that he had just returned from Warsaw where, through the Polish intelligence service, he had encountered a Polish Jew who had offered to sell MI-6 his knowledge of Enigma. The Pole, Richard Lewinski (not his real name), had worked as a mathematician and engineer at the factory in Berlin where Enigma was produced. But he had been expelled from Germany because of his religion and had then come to the attention of the British Embassy at Warsaw. At the interview with Gibson, Lewinski announced his price: £. 10,000, a British passport, and a resident's permit for France for himself and his wife. He did not wish to live in England because he had no friends or ties there. Lewinski claimed that he knew enough about Enigma to build a replica, and to draw diagrams of the heart of the machine—the complicated wiring system in each of its rotors.

When the letter reached Menzies, he was both electrified and cautious. It seemed incredible that a man with such valuable information would have been permitted to leave Germany, and Menzies, suspicious that Lewinski had been sent to lure the small British cryptographic bureau down a blind alley while the Germans conducted their business free from surveillance, was not prepared to take any action without a recommendation from experts in cryptanalysis. But when they had examined some technical data sent over by Gibson and pronounced that Lewinski's information appeared to be genuine, Menzies decided to send two of the experts to Warsaw to interview Lewinski in person. They had been summoned to his office to discuss their mission; that was why Menzies was in London that August Bank Holiday weekend.

The three men met in Menzies's office beneath a portrait of his patron, the late King Edward VII, dressed in tweeds and deerstalker, a shotgun in one hand, a brace of grouse in the other, and a gun dog playing in the heather. One of his visitors was Alfred Dilwyn Knox, a tall, spare man who was England's leading cryptanalyst. His companion was Alan Mathison Turing, a young and burly man with an air of abstraction and a reputation as an outstanding mathematical logician. Briefing the men on their mission, Menzies said their task was to go to Warsaw, interview Lewinski and

report upon his knowledge. If they were satisfied that it was genuine, they were to arrange with Gibson to take the Pole and his wife to Paris and place him in the charge of Commander Wilfred Dunderdale, the MI-6 resident there, known to the service as "2400." Then, under their supervision, Lewinski was to recreate the Enigma machine.

A little later Knox and Turing boarded the Golden Arrow at Victoria Station, and in forty-eight hours they were in Warsaw.

They were a brilliant but tragic pair. Alfred Knox was the senior— "tall, with a rather gangling figure, unruly black hair, his eyes, behind glasses, some miles away in thought." He was the son of the Bishop of Manchester, and his two brothers were equally distinguished: Monsignor Ronald Knox, the Catholic theologian and Domestic Prelate to the Pope, had himself been a cryptanalyst with the Admiralty in the First World War; E. V. Knox was the editor of Punch, a post he would hold for seventeen years. Alfred Knox had gone to Eton as a King's Scholar and became Captain of the School. He won the school's main prize in mathematics, the Tomline, and then trod the well-worn path of Etonians to King's College, Cambridge, where he became a Chancellor's Medallist and a Fellow. In the First World War he joined the new Admiralty cryptanalytical bureau, Room OB-40, and it was said that his first main success in codebreaking was to solve a three-letter German flag code while in his bath. He had also been involved in the Zimmermann Telegram episode which brought the United States into the war. He stayed in cryptanalysis after the war, transferring to the Foreign Office's Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS), which during the Second World War would be located at Bletchley Park, a large, gloomy Victorian mansion near the London Midland and Scottish Railway just outside the town of Bletchley, about 40 miles north of London. While he was employed at the GC&CS, Knox demonstrated his pure intellectual genius; he completed the great task of his friend and mentor, the late Professor Walter Headlam, in translating the seven hundred verses of Herodas, the third-century Greek poet. Working with Headlam's manuscript and the original papyri, discovered at Fayum at the turn of the century, Knox completed the translation in eight years—an immense cryptanalytical and literary feat. It was a combination of mathematical analysis and erudition that made Knox's mind so invaluable to the recondite craft of codebreaking.

Alan Turing, his assistant, was an authentic—if eccentric—mathematical genius. He had been educated at Sherborne School in Dorset and had gone on to King's, where he took a First and Second in Mathematical Logic. He had then attended the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, where he studied under Einstein; and while at Princeton he had been

Ultra ) 19 (

offered the post as personal assistant to Professor John von Neumann, the brain behind the first American computer. But instead, he returned to England to become Knox's assistant at the Foreign Office; and there, in secrecy, he began work in a trade as ancient as the hieroglyphs—cryptanal-ysis. He did not abandon his research. Turing was one of the pioneers of computer theory, but he had also long been toying with the notion of a "Universal Machine," not a computer, but a machine which, when supplied with suitable instructions, would imitate the behavior of another machine. Or, as Turing explained its function: "A sonnet written by a machine will be better appreciated by another machine."

His friends said that such a machine was an impossibility. It would have to be as large as St. Paul's Cathedral or the Capitol Building; it would require new universities wholly dedicated to the training of high skills to man it; it would need more power than a facility the size of Boulder Dam could produce. But Turing was not dissuaded, and he persisted with his theories. He wrote a number of papers of major importance, among them one that would give him, according to his obituary in The Times, "a permanent place in mathematical logic." Turing never said (outside his own tiny professional circle) how his theories could be applied to crypt-analysis. But as his mother would write in an In Memoriam about her son, "In answer to a question of mine regarding the application of mathematics to mundane ends, Alan referred to something he had been working on, which might be of military value. He gave no details. But as he had some scruples about the application of any such device (to military affairs), he consulted me about its moral aspects."

Yet for all his intelligence, his scruples and his dreams, Turing had a very odd, childlike side to his nature. He listened every night to "Toy-town," a children's play about Larry the Lamb on the BBC, keeping the long-distance telephone line open to his mother so that they could discuss each development. While working at Bletchley, he was arrested by an officer of the Buckinghamshire Constabulary who encountered him walking down a country lane with his gas mask on. It filtered pollen, Turing explained, and he suffered from hay fever. He would convert the family money into silver ingots at the outbreak of war, bury them, and then forget where they were. He corresponded with friends in a cipher punched onto a tape which no one could read. He was a long-distance runner and would on occasion arrive at conferences at the Foreign Office in London having run the 40 miles from Bletchley in old flannels and a vest with an alarm clock tied with binder twine around his waist. He was "wild as to hair, clothes and conventions," and given to "long, disturbing silences punctuated by a cackle" that "wracked the nerves of his closest friends." But of his genius there was no doubt. Sir Geoffrey Jefferson, who would propose his mem-

bership to the Royal Society, that most august of scientific bodies, thought Turing "so unversed in worldly ways, so child-like, so unconventional, so non-conformist, so very absent-minded ... a sort of scientific Shelley."

Such were the extraordinary minds of the two men who journeyed to Warsaw to discover how much Richard Lewinski knew about Enigma. They met him first at the Madame Curie Museum, and their conversation continued as they walked along the bank of the Vistula to Lewinski's rooms in the ghetto. Lewinski was a dark man in his early forties, thin and bent; Commander Dunderdale later said that he reminded him of a "raven plucking an abacus." Knox and Turing already knew much about Enigma; their interest lay in how the Germans had modified it, how they managed the keying procedures and which German departments used it. It was clear that Lewinski's knowledge of these questions was considerable. Knox and Turing recommended to Menzies that his bargain be accepted. The necessary arrangements were made, and Lewinski and his wife were taken by Major Gibson and two other men to Paris, traveling on British diplomatic laissez-passez through Gdynia and Stockholm to avoid Germany. In Paris they came under the charge of Dunderdale, who, through his connections with the French intelligence service, obtained residential papers for them without revealing what Lewinski was doing in France.

Under Dunderdale, Enigma took shape. Lewinski worked in an apartment on the Left Bank, and the machine he created was a joy of imitative engineering. It was about 24 inches square and 18 inches high, and was enclosed in a wooden box. It was connected to two electric typewriters, and to transform a plain-language signal into a cipher text, all the operator had to do was consult the book of keys, select the key for the time of the day, the day of the month, and the month of the quarter, plug in accordingly, and type the signal out on the left-hand typewriter. Electrical impulses entered the complex wiring of each of the rotors of the machine, the message was enciphered and then transmitted to the right-hand typewriter. When the enciphered text reached its destination, an operator set the keys of a similar apparatus according to an advisory contained in the message, typed the enciphered signal out on the left-hand machine, and the right-hand machine duly delivered the plain text.

Until the arrival of the machine cipher system, enciphering was done slowly and carefully by human hand. Now Enigma, as Knox and Turing discovered, could produce an almost infinite number of different cipher alphabets merely by changing the keying procedure. It was, or so it seemed, the ultimate secret writing machine. Hitler evidently trusted Enigma completely. Long, persistent and secret inquiry established that at Fellgiebel's recommendation Enigma had been adopted for use throughout the three

Ultra ) 21 (

armed services of the Wehrmacht; it was being, or already had been, introduced from the highest down to the regimental level of command. It was used to encipher Hitler's communications and those of Field Marshal Wil-helm Keitel, the Chief of Staff of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), the Supreme Command of the German armed services, and by Keitel's chief operations officer, General Alfred Jodl, and his staff. Field Marshal Hermann Goering used it as C-in-C of the Luftwaffe, and Admiral Erich Raeder as C-in-C of the Kriegsmarine. And so did their staffs. U-boats and even small ships liable to capture were equipped with the machine, for the possession of an Enigma by an enemy was not sufficient to enable him to read encoded traffic. Only knowledge of the keying system and procedures would permit that. As a result, Hitler had allowed Enigma to be sold to Japan, which used it as her main cipher machine for naval and diplomatic traffic; to Italy, whose Commando Supremo used it; and to Rumania and Bulgaria. Most important to Menzies, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris of the Abwehr also used Enigma for his main-line communications—particularly those between Berlin and Madrid; and Canaris would be Menzies's principal opponent if Britain and Germany went to war.

Clearly, Hitler's trust in Enigma was misplaced, for both the Poles and the French had penetrated its ciphers, and the British had managed to create a duplicate of the machine. The accuracy of Lewinski's creation would later be confirmed when the Poles were able to obtain an actual Enigma, which was handed over to Captain Alastair Denniston, an officer of the British cryptographic establishment, who went to Warsaw to collect it. But the British realized that, unlike the Poles, they could not rely solely upon painstaking and time-consuming mathematical decryptions of Enigma transmissions; the real value of such intelligence depended upon the speed with which it could be deciphered and distributed. Nor, unlike the French, could they rely upon the services of a traitor to provide the keying schedules. It had to be presumed that the Germans would guard these schedules with the greatest of care, and if they fell into enemy hands, it would be a simple matter to change them. Therefore the only way to penetrate the secrets of Enigma was to make another machine that could imitate or interpret the performance of each of the thousands of Enigmas that would come to exist in the Wehrmacht. This machine would also have to extrapolate the constant changes of keying procedure that every major German command ordered every day and every night, year in year out; and it would have to be capable of making an almost infinite number of mathematical calculations at speeds far beyond human ability. Such a machine existed only in theory—the theories embodied in Turing's Universal Machine. But could Turing and the other cryptanalytical experts build one in fact? Was it not beyond the technology of the times?

The task of penetrating Enigma mechanically presented Knox, Turing and the other experts at the GC&CS with a towering challenge. But, while Britain had allowed many of her conventional defenses to fall into disrepair between the wars, the 1930's was a period of great technical innovation— radar, High Frequency Direction Finding (huff-duff), microphotography, advanced telecommunications and wireless, early work on the atomic bomb, primitive cybernetics. Thus the official attitude was sympathetic to the GC&CS's requirements. The Foreign Office obtained an appropriation for the machine, specifications were soon ready, and they were with the engineers during the last quarter of 1938. The contract went to the British Tabulating Machine Company at Letchworth, not far from Bletchley, and BTM assigned the task of building "The Bomb"—as the Turing engine came to be called—to its chief engineer, Harold Keen, and a team of twelve men. In complete secrecy—remnants of that secrecy were still being encountered in 1974—the machine took shape, and it was by no means as large as St. Paul's or the Capitol. It was a copper-colored cabinet some 8 feet tall and perhaps 8 feet wide at its base, shaped like an old-fashioned keyhole. And inside the cabinet was a piece of engineering which defied description. As Keen said, it was not a computer, and 'There was no other machine like it. It was unique, built especially for this purpose. Neither was it a complex tabulating machine, which was sometimes used in crypt-analysis. What it did was to match the electrical circuits of Enigma. Its secret was in the internal wiring of (Enigma's) rotors, which 'The Bomb' sought to imitate."



I he machine was installed at Hut 3, a large Nissen hut under the trees in Bletchley's parkland, and the time soon came to begin operational trials by feeding Enigma intercepts to "The Bomb." These intercepts were simply obtained from the string of tall-pyloned wireless interception posts which the British government had established around the world. The posts recorded all enemy, hostile and suspect wireless traffic and radioed it to Bletchley Park, where Enigma transmissions were identified, put on tape and fed into "The Bomb." If "The Bomb" could find the keys in which the transmissions had been ciphered, the cryptanalysts at Bletchley could then "unbutton" the messages.

The experiments at Bletchley were conducted with the utmost secrecy, but even if they proved to be successful, there was a danger ahead. With the cryptographers of three nations attempting to read Enigma traffic, how long would it be before the Germans discovered that their most secret cipher machine had been compromised? And if they did, they would almost certainly replace it with a new system, or modify Enigma in a way that would negate any further penetration. To tighten the security surrounding the Enigma attack, British, French and Polish intelligence experts held a

Ultra ) 23 (

series of conferences at the Chateau Vignolle, about 25 miles from Paris, where the French cryptographic service worked under the code name "P.C. Bruno." The principal decision, made at the first of these conferences on January 9, 1939, was that, since both Poland and France might be overrun in any war with Germany, all vital papers, machines and personnel connected with Enigma should be concentrated in England. At a later conference at a Polish intelligence station in the Pyry forest near Warsaw, the Poles handed over to the British everything in their possession concerning Enigma, retaining only the material that was needed for operational purposes. It was taken under heavy escort to London on July 24, 1939. It proved a wise precaution. Only a month later the Germans attacked Poland, and the Second World War began. With the capture of Warsaw and the collapse of the Polish government, the key cryptographers involved in Enigma were evacuated from Poland together with the Polish General Staff and the British military mission of Colonel Colin Gubbins. They crossed the Polish frontier into Rumania, and the cryptographers were detached by MI-6 and sent—as had been agreed upon—to Chateau Vignolle to work with the French. But for these precautions, the Germans would almost certainly have discovered that the Poles had penetrated Enigma. Yet, mysteriously, despite their partial ability to read the German secret ciphers, the Poles had been taken completely by surprise when the Wehrmacht attacked.

Meanwhile, experiments with "The Bomb" continued at Bletchley. Its initial performance was uncertain, and its sound was strange; it made a noise like a battery of knitting needles as it worked to produce the German keys. But with adjustments, its performance improved and it began to penetrate Enigma at about the same time the Germans prepared to attack Poland. Indeed, General Sir Francis de Guingand, who was then Military Assistant to the War Minister, Leslie Hore-Belisha, would recall seeing an intercept of an Enigma-enciphered transmission obtained from Japanese wireless traffic as early as the mid-summer of 1939. "The Bomb's" initial productions seemed to have been a matter of chance rather than calculation. Nevertheless, it had proved that it was not the dream of some mad inventor. It worked. When the Germans invaded Poland on September 3, 1939, Britain and France finally declared war on Herr Hitler and the Third Reich. Britain was ill-prepared for the conflict, but "The Bomb" was operational; and it was a machine that promised to provide the most valuable intelligence material of the war—Ultra.

"The Bomb" unbuttoned its first signals of consequence from intercepts of the Enigma traffic of the Luftwaffe sometime in April 1940, as Hitler, victorious in Poland, was marshaling his armies and air forces for

the invasion of the Low Countries and France. Squadron Leader Frederick W. Winterbotham, the chief of Air Intelligence at MI-6, would remember the moment vividly:

... it was just as the bitter cold days of that frozen winter were giving way to the first days of April sunshine that the oracle of Bletchley spoke and Menzies handed me four little slips of paper, each with a short Luftwaffe message [on theml. . . . From the Intelligence point of view they were of little value, except as a small bit of administrative inventory, but to the backroom boys at Bletchley Park and to Menzies . . . they were like the magic in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The miracle had arrived.

That miracle would be codenamed Ultra, once the name of the old Admirals' Code at Trafalgar, and now used by the British (and later the Americans) to denote intelligence of the highest grade derived from crypt-analysis. The contents of these first Ultras were relatively unimportant, but their significance was immediately apparent. If "The Bomb" had penetrated Goering's traffic, how long would it be before it could decode the secret wireless communications of the other commanders of the German armed services, of Canaris and his secret intelligence service, of Hitler himself? Here was information that was beginning to flow from the very heart of the German high command. If Ultra lived up to its promise, it would surely become a weapon of great importance in the war against the Third Reich.

Menzies was now acting chief of MI-6; he had received a temporary appointment as C in November 1939 upon the death from cancer of Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair, the submariner who had commanded MI-6 for over a decade. But his position was by no means secure; there was considerable opposition to his permanent appointment, particularly from the Admiralty. Traditionally the post of C went to a sailor and Menzies was a soldier. Moreover, he was severely criticized for his handling of the Venlo Incident in which two chiefs of MI-6 in Europe had been kidnapped by German agents shortly after the outbreak of war. It would also be said afterward that Menzies was quite without the intellectual qualities necessary to appreciate the importance of what he had unleashed that August Bank Holiday. But he was not the upper-class drone that his enemies—and there were plenty of those—thought he was. When "The Bomb" began to provide the first Ultras of consequence, not only did he understand their importance, he also perceived that the way to gain confirmation in the much-coveted post of C was to obtain control of the vital intelligence source that Ultra promised to be.

As deftly as he played bezique, Menzies set out to secure Ultra as an MI-6 province; and his first step was to establish a system to ensure its

Ultra ) 25 (

security. It was obvious that Ultra would be of use to the British only as long as the Germans remained unaware that Enigma had been penetrated. If they discovered that their secret ciphers were being read by the enemy, they had merely to change to another system which might prove even harder to crack than Enigma. The only way to secure Ultra was to limit severely its distribution and use among the members of the British high command; and Winterbotham proposed, in effect, that a new secret agency be established to handle Ultra. He suggested that "Special Liaison Units" (SLU's) should be set up by MI-6, using air force officers of proven discretion and MI-6 wireless operators and cipher clerks to handle and route the Ultra intercepts. Menzies agreed and obtained approval to set up the system of SLU's; these, under the command of Winterbotham, would prove to be so effective in guarding Ultra that it would be difficult even thirty years later to find out that this source of secret intelligence had ever existed. SLU's would eventually be established at the higher levels of all the British (and later the American) military commands, their particular function being to ensure that no general or admiral, American or British, used Ultra intelligence carelessly, ambitiously, or in such a manner that the enemy might detect that his signals were being read. These units would come to be stationed at every major Allied headquarters around the globe, employing many hundreds of the best brains in England and America; and so secure was their system of secret communication that the Prime Minister himself would use the SLU's for his own secret and personal communications. In fact, the success of the SLU's in guarding Ultra would be a triumph second only to the penetration of Enigma itself.

Menzies secured for MI-6 control over both the acquisition and distribution of Ultra, despite the opposition of the Admiralty and the Foreign Office, two of the most powerful lobbies in Westminster. But the controversy surrounding the control of Ultra did not end there. It would provoke some of the most prolonged interdepartmental warfare in the modern history of Whitehall, and it would later be alleged that Menzies had secured it by some bureaucratic sleight-of-hand solely for the purpose of furthering his own career.

Stewart Graham Menzies was born on January 30, 1890 (the same year as Eisenhower and de Gaulle), into a rich British ruling-class family that had provided courtiers for the throne for many generations. Both his parents were members of the Prince of Wales's "set"; his father's wealth came originally from whiskey and gin distilling, his mother's family owned the Wilson Steamship Company of Hull, the forerunner of the Ellerman's Wilson Line. The Menzies family seat was Hallyburton, a great estate in the Sidlaw Hills of Angus, north of the Firth of Tay in "Macbeth country." And the family crest, appropriately for a future spymaster, included a

plaque of a falcon preying upon a stork and the words: "N'oublie pas" — "Do not forget.

Stewart Menzies was the second of John Graham Menzies's three sons, all of whom became colonels of the Guards. His father described himself on their birth certificates as a "Gentleman of Private Means," and little could be discovered about him—except that, like all the Menzies, he spent a great deal of time riding and fox hunting. After he died in 1910, Menzies's mother married Lieutenant Colonel Sir George Holford, commander of the 1st Life Guards and a Silver Stick, the officer whose duties were to "guard the very person of the King from actual bodily injury, against personal attack, and to do so with his own hands and body." Holford would serve the royal family as equerry for nearly thirty years, through the reigns of Victoria, Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII, and Menzies's mother became a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Mary. His stepfather was even richer than his father and the family lived in two of England's greatest private palaces—Westonbirt in Gloucestershire and Dorchester House in Park Lane, Mayfair, where Holford kept one of the world's finest private art collections.

Thus, Menzies grew up among the members of the tiny, privileged and immensely powerful elite that ruled half the globe; and in 1903, he entered "the Blessed College of St. Mary's at Eton," not through scholarship but as an Oppidan, the son of "noble and powerful persons, special friends of the said college." At Eton he won the Prince Consort prizes for French and German, and was one of the best all-round sportsmen of his generation. He became Master of the Eton College Hunt and, more important, president of "Pop," the Eton College Society, the oldest and most powerful of all British schoolboy societies—a post which marked the incumbent for high public office in later life. Moreover, Menzies attended Eton during the school's most influential period, an era when the pupils were taught that character was more important than intellect, that the first business of the school was religion, and that the highest virtues were those of thrift, discretion, truth, loyalty and service—a policy that resulted in one of the most extraordinary records of any school in any war. In the First World War, 5768 Etonians joined the Colours, 1160 were killed, 1467 were wounded, 13 won the Victoria Cross, 548 the Distinguished Service Cross, and 744 the Military Cross. It was said afterwards that Eton had produced lions with brains, but its critics claimed that it also produced leaders who were unscrupulous, opportunistic, and concerned only with the preservation of their class and the Empire.

Menzies did not go on to Oxford; he joined first the Grenadiers and then the Life Guards, that small group of officers drawn from the "most select families of competent Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Kingdom," whose duty it was to "guard the King's life, constantly and without inter-

mission." It was in the Guards that Menzies became a praetorian—"one of a company whose function or interest is to defend an established power or system." A splendid figure in a helmet of German silver, a white plume, a uniform of red, gold and blue, on a black horse that was elaborately decorated with expensive furniture, he rode at the side of the King—a fact that, again, marked him for high service. And in June 1911, the young Lieutenant Menzies appeared briefly in a gorgeous flash of pageantry, like a kingfisher in a gathering dusk, when he commanded the Regalia Escort— the guard on the Crown Jewels—at the coronation of King George V at Westminster.

It was this ceremony, however, that marked the beginning of the end of the world that, as Churchill would write with nostalgia, was very "fair to see." On June 28, 1914, a single pistol shot at Sarajevo ended the Gorgeous Age forever. The "marvellous system of combinations in equipoise and of armaments in equation," of which Churchill wrote, collapsed. A few weeks later war was declared, and the "great commotion" that would last thirty years began between England and Germany. The Life Guards changed into khaki, the grand uniforms were put into mothballs, and by October 29, Menzies and his regiment were at the front in Flanders near the village of Zwartelen, guarding the old city of Ypres, the gateway to the Channel ports.

In the first Battle of Ypres, the Prussian Guard managed to break the line between British and French units, and capture Hill 60, a spoil heap to the east of Ypres, and a point which commanded the entire Allied front. The Household Brigade, of which Menzies's regiment was a part, was given the critical task of retrieving the hill; and on November 6, it broke the German screen, took the village of Zwartelen, and rushed upon the hill. Most of the officers and almost all of the men were killed or wounded in the charge. With only a handful left, heavy command responsibilities fell upon Menzies, and he was among the leaders in the capture of the hill— one of the epic small unit actions of the First World War. They held it despite all the attacks of the Prussians, and by November 11 the breach had been closed—but at an appalling price. The Life Guards was all but destroyed; the young elite of England had fallen. On December 2, 1914, Menzies received the DSO from the King at a ceremony in the field, returned to the line as captain and adjutant, and later won the Military Cross. And then, on December 18, 1915, at the age of twenty-six, he joined the intelligence services.

Little would become known of Menzies's career in MI-6 during the balance of the war, save for an encounter in Spain in 1916 with a young German naval officer who had also recently joined the intelligence service of his own country—Wilhelm Canaris. Evidently Menzies displayed an ability for his work—his command of languages and his connections alone

would have impressed his superiors—and he was offered, and accepted, a permanent post with MI-6 after the war. But for Menzies, as for so many other Englishmen of his generation, including Churchill, Ypres would remain an indelible memory. He knew Churchill, and when they met, he would listen with interest to Churchill's theories of indirect warfare and special means.

With the exception of the publicity concerning his divorce, when he sued his wife, the daughter of the 8th Earl de la Warr, on the grounds of adultery, seriously endangering his career as an officer in the Guards and his acceptance at Court—a scandal that was hushed and smoothed over by friends in high places—Menzies slid into almost complete anonymity and obscurity during the interwar years. His entry in Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes was almost suspiciously laconic; and it might have seemed to the casual enquirer that all he did in life was to ride with the Beaufort Hunt and attend his clubs. He was, in fact, slowly rising in the hierarchy of MI-6.

MI-6 had been founded by Sir Francis Walsingham at the time of the Armada to "gather all the secrets at the girdles of the princes of Europe." But its modern form was the result of an incident on July 1, 1911, when the Kaiser sent the German gunboat Panther to Agadir, an old Moorish port on the Atlantic, ostensibly to protect the lives and properties of Hamburg merchants from insurgents. The Admiralty, which had been deeply alarmed by the growth in power of the German fleet—and by the Kaiser's proclamation of himself as the "Admiral of the Atlantic"—saw only the prospect of a German naval base athwart Britain's trade routes with Africa and South America. A major crisis developed and war seemed possible. The crisis finally subsided, but the Agadir Incident had revealed that the British intelligence system was largely a fiction. Awakened from the torpor of almost a century—except for the Boer War—the British government reformed, refinanced and expanded its secret intelligence service.

A one-legged naval officer who had distinguished himself on the China Station, Captain Mansfield Smith-Cumming, was put in command; and his stamp remained upon the service until its secrets were betrayed to the Russians by Kim Philby during the Second World War. It was Smith-Cumming who first called himself C; and it was he who laid it down that to be effective, a secret service must be secret. He recruited only from the Establishment; and he gave the service its air of mystery and omniscience. Its headquarters were a state secret (they were, in fact, in Northumberland Avenue between the British and Foreign Bible Society and the National Liberal Club, and George Bernard Shaw was permitted to keep the tenancy of his apartment in the block). Smith-Cumming would sometimes dis-

Ultra ) 29 (

concert callers who were not aware that he had a peg-leg by stabbing a sharp desk knife into the cork in order to make his points. But for all his many eccentricities, Smith-Cumming was an able and influential administrator. It was he who established the worldwide system of "Passport Control Officers" behind which MI-6 hid and worked for so long. It was he who played a major although undetected part in seeing that the government reenacted (in 1911) the draconian Official Secrets Act of 1889, which effectively muzzled any public inquiry into the work of the service—and made it the grandest of crimes so to do. And it was Smith-Cumming who believed that the service was not only an instrument for gathering other people's secrets but also for making mischief among the King's enemies. Any act was permissible—even assassination. The only crime was to be caught. If an agent was caught, he was disowned.

MI-6 fought the First World War under Smith-Cumming's control; and he is generally conceded to have won that round. He played the game with the highest stakes—a million here, a million there—but the British victory was not decisive; the Germans merely went underground and prepared for round two of the great struggle. When, once again, the German secret service emerged as a world force, MI-6 was ill-prepared to meet it. Its appropriation had been cut drastically during the interwar years—and would not be increased substantially until 1936-37, in order to finance the attack against Enigma, and again in 1938-39, during the period of the building of "The Bomb." Furthermore, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the Foreign Office were anxious not to provoke Hitler's anger by strong and aggressive secret operations against Germany. Thus, while Admiral Sinclair, the Admiralty nominee who had succeeded Smith-Cumming when he died, was personally very able and vigorous, MI-6 itself had withered to the point where its entire bureaucracy could be contained in a small townhouse in Kensington.

But in 1938, with the threat of a new war, Sinclair began to transfuse fresh life into MI-6. Eminent brains came down from the universities, from the law, from the press; the old hands of the service were moved sideways, and Menzies was appointed deputy chief. Sinclair thought highly of him— so highly, it was said, that when he learned that he was dying of cancer in 1939, he wrote a letter, placed it in his personal safe and gave his secretary instructions that it was only to be taken out and delivered—to the Prime Minister—upon his death. It concerned the succession as C; Sinclair was well aware that there would be a ferocious fight for his office when he was gone. He recommended Menzies for the post, since only he knew everything there was to know about Enigma and Ultra. And so it was; when Sinclair died on November 4, 1939, the letter was delivered to Chamberlain; and the following day Menzies's appointment was approved—but

only on a temporary basis. The Cabinet could not quite overcome its suspicion that, under Menzies, MI-6 might become an agreeable club for middle-aged aristocrats who had been at Eton or in the Guards.

It was now that the controversies surrounding Menzies began. The Admiralty, seeking to defend what it believed to be its prerogatives, strongly opposed his permanent appointment. Other critics thought him unsuitable for the job. How, it was argued, could the secret service be run from the bar of White's or from the hunting field? Was Menzies not too much of a Tory diehard to command an organization that had to employ all manner of men with all manner of political beliefs? The new, young intellectuals who now crowded the lower rungs of the service, all fresh and eager from university, doubted his intellectual qualifications for such a post. Menzies, however, had influential friends, among them Chamberlain, Churchill, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty, and the sovereign, George VI, who by protocol was required to approve the appointment of a newC.

All were telling voices. But it was Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, who, as Alexander Cadogan, the permanent under-secretary of the Foreign Office, would note in his diary, "played his hand well and won the trick." MI-6 was a dependency of the Foreign Office, and both Halifax, an Etonian, and Cadogan, another Etonian, much admired Menzies. At their instigation, at a Cabinet meeting on November 28, 1939, Chamberlain, Churchill and Hore-Belisha agreed to submit Menzies's name to the King. To the astonishment and anger of the Admiralty and clubland alike, he was summoned to the Palace to be confirmed and presented by the King with "The Ivory," an ivory plaque given by the sovereign only to his most trusted and indispensable servants. Its original purpose had not been corrupted by time or usage; it permitted the bearer in the event of siege or civil disturbance to enter St. James's Park through the Horse Guards in Whitehall, which was the only open gate at such times. The Ivory was given only to those officials who would have absolute need to be with the sovereign—the Keeper of the Privy Purse, the commander of the garrison defending London, the chief of the Metropolitan Police, the permanent under-secretaries of the Treasury, the Foreign Office, the army and the navy. It was also the prerogative of the Gold and Silver Sticks, the Life Guards officers responsible for the King's safety. And over the years possession of The Ivory had become as prized as any of the Honours.

Menzies moved into C's handsome office with its glorious views of Whitehall and St. James's, and its private staircase and door—a door that was built, so it was said, to allow C to come and go without danger of being observed or identified with MI-6. And since it was an offense in law to discuss his appointment in the press, and even to link Menzies and MI-6, a baffling pall of anonymity descended upon the new C. His world became

Ultra ) 31 (

a very strange one, and it would be recorded that he inhabited, in common with Freemasons and the mafiosi, an "intellectual twilight ... in which it is hard to distinguish with certainty between the menacing and the merely ludicrous."

Gradually, under the pressure and magnitude of events in the war, the criticism of Menzies subsided. He would emerge as the model British bureaucrat—clever, informed, adroit, careful, loyal. He would appear to be a man who was a thoroughly trustworthy member of his class. But above all, he had Ultra, and he had set up the machinery that would guarantee its security. And Ultra, in Winterbotham's words, would soon come to provide "the unique experience of knowing not only the precise composition, strength and location of the enemy's forces, but also, with few exceptions, of knowing beforehand exactly what he intended to do in the many operations and battles of World War II."

Bodyguard of lies

Coventry

Ultra's first major intelligence contribution in the Second World War was to warn Britain of "Case Yellow," Hitler's great offensive against western Europe. General Bertrand would later claim that, between the end of October 1939 and the middle of June 1940, the French alone succeeded in obtaining solutions to a total of 141 different Enigma ciphers; and these solutions, in turn, enabled the French and the British to read about 15,000 German messages. That information was supported by persistent warnings of the imminence of the attack from members of the Schwarze Kapelle within the German General Staff and the Abwehr, and from the Vatican. It was further confirmed in February 1940 when a German courier plane was forced down in Belgium by bad weather and the complete Case Yellow plan fell into Belgian hands. Moreover, French aerial reconnaissance revealed the immense concentrations of German armor and infantry in the Eifel region; and, so it would later be claimed, the direction and objectives of the offensive were disclosed by German intelligence questionnaires that fell into French counterintelligence hands through the work of German traitors working as French double agents. But when Hitler's armies of 2.5 million men attacked Belgium, The Netherlands and France on May 10, 1940, they achieved complete tactical surprise. It was one of the most mysterious and catastrophic failures to appreciate and act upon intelligence in history.

The Germans had also achieved surprise in April 1940 in their attack on Denmark and Norway. Worse, they had inflicted serious casualties on the Royal Navy during the Norwegian operations because they were able to read Admiralty codes and ciphers. The Chamberlain government was tottering as a result of the Norwegian campaign; with the onset of Case Yellow, it fell. At eleven o'clock on the morning of the attack, only hours after the German cannon began their opening barrage, and while German

) 32 (

Coventry ) 33 (

paratroopers were still dropping on key points in Holland and Belgium, Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, was summoned to 10 Downing Street. Chamberlain had heard the dread words of Cromwell at the Long Parliament hurled at him from his own Tory benches: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" Chamberlain decided to resign, and he asked Churchill if he would accept the succession. Churchill said he would; and the summons from the King came late that afternoon as Churchill was at work behind the seahorses on the facade above the Admiralty doors.

Churchill presented himself to the King at Buckingham Palace at six o'clock that evening. There, at that hour, King George VI asked the First Lord whether he would form a government, and Churchill replied he "would certainly do so." The sovereign and the new Prime Minister talked about the situation, kissed hands, and then Churchill departed, walking backwards, bowing low. He was sixty-six years of age; and to those who knew him, it seemed that his entire life had been training for this moment. Edwardian, convinced by his aristocratic heritage of England's greatness and the primacy of his class, moody, rash, intricate, pragmatic, impossible in his hours, often as ruthless with his generals as was Hitler, poet and orator, Churchill immediately surrounded himself with a youthful, blue-blooded staff and swiftly established the apparatus with which total war would be fought. As the Germans destroyed the Belgian and Dutch armies and began the great armored operation at Sedan that would lead to the surrender of France, he founded or expanded the powers of the War Cabinet, the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Joint Planning Staff (of which the LCS would form part). He ordered the reformation of the Joint Intelligence Committee so that, unlike Hitler, he would have available a single source of authoritative intelligence rather than several rival organizations—a key factor in the coming war of special means. Even as the British army was withdrawing toward the Channel ports, he demanded to know of the Ministry of Supply what designs existed for building landing craft and artificial harbors, making provision almost four years to the day for the equipment that would be necessary for what Churchill called a Return to Europe. He ordered the formation of "troops of the hunter class" to make " 'butcher and bolt' " raids against the enemy, an order that became a license for the creation of elitist, private armies, among them the Commandos, the Special Air Service, and the Jedburghs. He helped to create the Special Operations Executive to harass the enemy from behind the lines; and he authorized the vast expansion of Menzies's service with a memo to General Hastings Ismay on June 6, 1940—a significant date—requiring "A proper system of espionage and intelligence along the whole coasts." He sped

through MI-5's authorization to found the XX-Committee, and a host of new organizations were formed under his spur: the Ministry of Economic Warfare, the Political Warfare Executive, A-Force, the Ankara Committee, Security Intelligence Middle East. It was a mobilization of the intellectual power of England that had no precedent. An industry of at least 100,000 men and women would soon come into being to gather and evaluate intelligence, to engage in counterintelligence and security, to wage political and economic warfare and to execute special operations. But for the moment none of these organizations could influence the battle being fought in France. Belgium and Holland surrendered, and the German armies advanced across Flanders toward Paris, trapping and expelling the British army at Dunkirk.

In the confusion and tumult of May and June 1940, MI-6 and Menzies were confronted with a number of urgent tasks—the most urgent of which was the security of Ultra. It was imperative to evacuate Lewinski and his wife from Paris lest they be captured by the Germans, and to remove all equipment, documentation and personnel who were in France on Ultra business. Both tasks were entrusted to Winterbotham as head of Ultra security. He ordered the secret service's pilot, Squadron Leader Sydney Cotton, a pioneer in aerial photography, to France; and on or about May 18, 1940, escorted by Spitfires, Cotton flew MI-6's duck-egg-blue Lockheed 12A to Orly to spirit the Pole to England. Escorted by Commander Dunderdale, Lewinski and his wife with all their possessions waited at Orly, which was crowded with wealthy Frenchmen trying to get themselves or their families out of France. Dunderdale, who was well known socially in Paris, was spotted by one of these Frenchmen, who, believing that a plane was coming to collect Dunderdale, saw an opportunity to get out of France. Dunderdale was approached and offered a small fortune to take the Frenchman and his family with him. Dunderdale refused. When the Frenchman saw Cotton arrive, he made a similar offer, and this Cotton entertained. Dunderdale ordered Cotton to get Lewinski away without any further delay. When Cotton demurred, Dunderdale made an urgent telephone call to London and Winterbotham threatened to have Cotton court-martialed and sent to the Tower unless he took off immediately. Lewinski and his wife boarded the Lockheed while, in a pathetic and ugly scene, Dunderdale and French police held back panic-stricken Frenchmen from forcing their way aboard the aircraft.

When Lewinski arrived in London he was given lodgings by MI-6 and a police guard. Then he disappeared. So far as was known, he made no contact with the Polish Embassy or the Polish exiles in London. There were several accounts of his disappearance. Some Poles believed the secret service had spirited him to Canada. Another Pole said he had "certain

J

Coventry ) 35 (

information" that he was sent to Australia, where he was rewarded with a farm. Yet another story was that he had elected to go to a religious settlement on the Roper River in the vast wilderness of the Northern Territory of Australia. Whatever happened, Lewinski left no trace.

As Lewinski was being evacuated, the French intelligence services also began to withdraw from Paris. All material relating to Enigma was sent by road under armed guard to Vichy, the fashionable resort amid the green hills of the Auvergne that would become the capital of France during the German occupation; and there it was hidden in caves near the Source des Celestins, the famous healing waters, until a felucca could be arranged at Marseilles to get it aboard a French submarine bound for England.

Neither did the British leave any trace of Ultra in France: the SLU at British headquarters was flown out with Lord Gort, the British C-in-C. The Germans seized all the French and British communications intelligence they could find, intelligence that might have thoroughly compromised the security of British military cryptosystems in the months ahead had not new systems been introduced on an emergency basis. But nothing remained in France to reveal that Enigma had been penetrated when, on June 21, 1940, the French received their armistice terms from Hitler in the railway carriage of Marshal Foch at the Foret de Compiegne—the same carriage in which Germany had surrendered her sword at the end of the First World War. One week later, the German army reached the Spanish frontier and so presented England with a new front that stretched from the North Cape in the Arctic Circle to the Pyrenees.

Hitler entered Paris in triumph; his men had defeated the mighty French army—it was stronger than Germany's both in men and materiel, but not in spirit nor in daring and skill—in just forty-two days. Back in Berlin he offered to make peace. He did not want a long war with England; he thought the war was over. Churchill disdained even to reply, and for a few days there seemed to be a pause in the onrush of events. What would Hitler do next? Would he invade the British Isles? The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) tried to divine Hitler's intentions, but the intelligence resources left to Menzies on the continent were small; MI-6's networks had collapsed and their staffs had been evacuated to England. The few agents who remained behind were in hiding and some did not have any means of communication, or if they did, dared not use them. The British were forced to rely on aerial reconnaissance and wireless intelligence supplied by the Y service, which attempted to determine the strength and dispositions of the enemy from the pattern of his wireless communications. The evidence available to the JIC was, in consequence, slender. Aerial reconnaissance showed that Hitler was indeed massing divisions and shipping suitable for invasion at the Channel ports; the Y service reported that behind the

Channel ports there were very large assemblies of follow-up troops and equipment. That, virtually, was all. It was not sufficient to determine what the Germans really intended to do.

Not before in British history—at least not since the Armada in 1588— had good intelligence been so important if Britain was to survive. The predicament of the islanders was very great, for, after Dunkirk, the British army was in disarray; the Royal Air Force, while of high quality, was all too small; and the Royal Navy, although still one of the world's largest fleets, was seriously extended in its operations to patrol the Channel and to keep open the supply routes from America and the Empire. In order to use such forces as she had to repulse an invasion, Britain was compelled to begin a campaign of bluff and stratagem—bluff to fox Hitler about the reality of British strength on the islands, and stratagem to obtain foreknowledge of his intentions. It was now, toward the end of July or the start of August, that Ultra began to realize its early promise.

Hitler issued his first orders for "Operation Sealion"—the invasion of England—on July 2, 1940. Further, more detailed orders went out on July 16. Then, on August 1, Hitler issued a directive entitled "Conduct of Air and Sea Warfare Against England," with instructions that it was to be put into effect immediately by the Luftwaffe in order "to establish the necessary conditions for the final conquest of England." The overall purpose of Sealion was, as Hitler wrote, "To prevent England from being used as a base from which to continue the war against Germany." Thus was the Battle of Britain proclaimed, a battle that Churchill, in a secret session of the Commons on June 20, 1940, even before the fall of France, had led his countrymen to expect. "All depends," he had said, "on winning this battle, here in Britain, this summer."

The Battle of Britain began with massed aerial attacks by the Luftwaffe to bring the RAF Fighter Command to battle and destruction. In obedience to Hitler's orders, Goering sought control of the British skies as an essential precondition to invasion by a land army. And from the beginning of its campaign, Churchill and the Air Staff were informed, through Ultra, of most, and often all, the Luftwaffe's plans, targets and tactics. This foreknowledge enabled RAF tacticians to assemble their fighter squadrons at the right place, the right time and the right altitude, concentrating their main defenses against the main attacks, rather than expending the RAF's slender reserves of strength and vitality chasing across the skies after myriad red herring attacks.

Even so, good intelligence does not win battles, and the RAF, after more than two months of fierce aerial combat with the Luftwaffe, was nearing exhaustion. Then Ultra came through with decisive intelligence. Goering proclaimed Eagle Day for September 15—that day when the Luftwaffe would mount a mighty, final onslaught to destroy the RAF. If

Eagle Day was successful, Hitler would invade; if it failed, Hitler would not invade. Fully informed of the Germans' intentions through Ultra, Churchill went to the BBC microphones and declared: "We must regard the next week or so as a very important period in our history. It ranks with the days when the Spanish Armada was approaching the Channel and Drake was finishing his game of bowls; or when Nelson stood between us and Napoleon's Grand Army at Boulogne."

Early on September 15, Churchill drove from Chequers, the official country residence of Prime Ministers, to the RAF fighter control room at Uxbridge in the outer London suburbs. There II Group, which was responsible for defending London and southeast England, had its operations center. It was known that the tides, moon and weather were all favorable to a large-scale crossing of the Channel by the German armies. It was also appreciated that if they did not come now they would not be able to come at all this year; the equinoctial gales would set in. The only force that barred their way was the badly weakened RAF. But forewarned of Eagle Day by Ultra, Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the C-in-C of the RAF Fighter Command, was able to position the remnants of his squadrons at the places where they could rise and intercept the German squadrons to the maximum advantage of the RAF. All radar and flak defenses were at optimum alert.

From his seat in the circle overlooking the large horizontal map table, Churchill watched the Luftwaffe assemble over the Channel ports. He watched the RAF coming into corresponding states of readiness. The target was London; and it would be attacked by 1000 bomber and 700 fighter sorties. Of this intention, Ultra had told all. The odds were great, the margins small, the stakes infinite. Like some croupier, Squadron Leader the Lord Willoughby de Broke ordered his squadrons about the skies of southern England, from square to square, as if he were attending a roulette board. And on the other side of the Channel, in a pure white uniform with gold furniture, Reichsmarshall Goering watched the battle from an eyrie on Cap Gris-Nez. The brilliant blue skies were laced with contrails, the silence of the still, hot day broken by the howl of overtaxed aero engines or superchargers cutting in, and the deadly little rattle of machine-gun fire at very high altitude.

By one o'clock the skies of southeast England were aflame with battle as twenty-five squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes engaged the first Luftwaffe fleets. But by teatime the RAF had broken the German lance. The Luftwaffe had not met the essential precondition for the invasion. The RAF still controlled the skies of England.

Two days later, on September 17, "The Bomb" decrypted a signal from the German General Staff relaying Hitler's authorization to dismantle para-troop air-loading equipment at Dutch airfields. It was a signal of great sig-

nificance, and when it was sent to Churchill, he called a meeting of the Chiefs of Stall that evening. Winterbotham would recall that memorable meeting: i was struck by the extraordinary change that had come over these men [the Chiefs of Staff] in the last few hours. It was as if someone had suddenly cut all the strings of the violins in the middle of a dreary concerto. There were controlled smiles on the faces of these men." In the opinion of the Chief of the Air Staff, the signal meant that Hitler had abandoned his plans to invade, at least for the year; and with that news, 'I here was a very broad smile on Churchill's face now as he lit up his massive cigar and suggested that we should all take a little fresh air."

Ultra had become, even at this early stage in the war, a major strategic advantage. The Battle of Britain was unquestionably one of the finest hours in British history; but it would appear that, through the foreknowledge of Hitler's intentions provided by Ultra, Britain's position in the summer of 1940 was not as perilous as Churchill led the world to believe. In fact, at the height of the invasion threat, Churchill ordered sizable armored, infantry and naval forces to the defense of the Suez Canal and to help General Charles de Gaulle plant his standard at Dakar—forces that would have been essential to the defense of the home islands. They were actions that seemed foolhardy until the existence of Ultra was finally revealed. Churchill knew that Hitler would not invade without aerial superiority, but he deliberately led the world to believe that Britain was in mortal peril in order to rally his own people to meet the threat and to enlist the support and sympathy of the United States. Winterbotham would later acknowledge that "It was Goering's and the Luftwaffe's careless use of Enigma that lost the Battle of Britain for Hitler—and, for that matter, the war itself." Churchill could make no such admission, even long after the war was over. To disclose the existence of Ultra would have revealed to the Russians the extent of Britain's cryptographic abilities—and it would have required much painful revision of glorious history.

Defeated in its attempt to gain aerial superiority over England, the Luftwaffe soon changed its tactics and resorted more and more to night bombing, a campaign that, while it hurt Britain grievously and destroyed large areas of many of her major cities, could not be decisive. Ultra had helped thwart a German invasion, but the time was fast approaching when Britain would have to pay a high price for "my most secret source," as Churchill called Ultra. The cost concerned a city called Coventry.

On the morning of November 12, 1940, a number of command directives began to issue from the headquarters of the Luftwaffe to the headquarters of the German air fleets in western Europe. They were quickly unbuttoned by "The Bomb" and there emerged plans for what the Ger-

Coventry ) 39 (

mans called "Moonlight Sonata"—a raid in great strength for the night of November 14/15, 1940, against the cathedral and industrial city of Coventry. As Bletchley transmitted the Ultras through MI-6 to the Prime Minister's war bunker, it became clear that the Germans intended the same fate for Coventry as they had visited upon Rotterdam on May 14, 1940, when they attacked and razed the old inner city and killed nine hundred people. They had used only 57 Heinkel Ill's in the Rotterdam raid, but Ultras revealed that they would send 509 Heinkels over Coventry—and the results were expected to be correspondingly more devastating.

The Luftwaffe's target was a city of around a quarter of a million people, living in some 30 square miles of urban area about 90 miles northwest of London in the heart of the Midlands. Coventry had architectural, historical and industrial importance. It was founded in 1043 when Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and his wife Godgifu, the Lady Godiva of legend, built a Benedictine monastery there. The cathedral, St. Michael's, for which the first stones were laid in the fourteenth century, was regarded as one of the finest examples of the perpendicular style of architecture in England. There were also Grey Friars Church and the Holy Trinity Church; Ford's, an early sixteenth-century half-timbered hospital; and St. Mary's Hall, a center of civic life ever since it had been built by the Merchant Guild of St. Mary in the fourteenth century, all surrounded by a warren of narrow, ancient streets lined with timber and brick houses and shops. Coventry's industrial importance was great; it was one of Britain's main arsenals. Armstrong Whitworth made bombers; Alvis made aero engines; Daimler, Hillman, and the Standard Motor Works made armored fighting vehicles, trucks and cars. The largest machine tool works in the world at that time was also located there; and so were the Coventry Radiator and Press Company, the British Piston Ring Company, and firms producing precision instruments, electrical and telecommunications equipment, and agricultural machinery. Such was the fabric of the city whose destruction was now threatened.

The motive for Moonlight Sonata was revenge. On the evening of November 8, 1940, just at the time Hitler was to have addressed the old guard of the Nazi Party in the Lowenbraukeller cf Munich to commemorate the seventeenth anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923—Hitler's first attempt at revolution, which collapsed in a gunfight with the police— the RAF had made a small, provocative raid on Munich. Hitler was not caught by the raid; he left the Lowenbraukeller some ninety minutes before the first RAF bombers arrived. But in the attack the hall was bombed, there were a few casualties, and some slight damage was done to homes and shops around the railyards. The German communique on the raid alleged that the attack had been directed "exclusively against civilian

dwellings, monuments, and the civilian population," and declared menacingly: "There will be particularly heavy retaliation against England." The retaliation was Moonlight Sonata.

The Ultra intercepts showed that, in addition to Coventry, two other major British cities—Birmingham ("Operation Umbrella") and Wolverhampton ("Operation All-One-Piece")—were to be attacked in the moonlight period of November 1940. They also showed in some detail what German tactics against Coventry would be. The raid was to be led by the famous Kampfgruppe 100, a Pathfinder force based at Meucon, near Vannes in Brittany. These aircraft were to fly to Coventry down a radio-beam system known as the X-Gerat, and they would bomb with incendiaries to start fires that would act as beacons for the main bomber force. This force would come from airfields at Orly, Chartres and Evreux in France, from Cambrai, Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium, and from Eindhoven, Soesterburg and Amsterdam in Holland. The routes the aircraft would take were all clearly specified. It is uncertain whether the Ultras showed what armament the Germans intended to use; it is probable, but in the event they would drop some 150,000 incendiaries, 1400 high-explosive bombs and 130 parachute mines, bombing the fires created by Kampfgruppe 100 in order to shatter the water mains upon which the fire brigades would depend. And then to increase the volume of fire and to make it impossible for the fire brigades to concentrate their efforts against the main fires, the bombers would attack in waves, using incendiary and high explosive alternatively.

Ultra gave Churchill and his advisers at least forty-eight, possibly sixty, hours' warning of the devastating raid that was planned for Coventry. When the Luftwaffe intercepts reached Churchill's headquarters, he gave instructions that their contents were to be kept to the smallest possible circle as he and his advisers debated the defense options open to them. There were many such options available, but throughout their discussions one factor was of paramount importance—the security of Ultra. All knew that if any but the usual defensive measures were undertaken for the protection of Coventry, the Germans would suspect that the British had received forewarning of the raid, perhaps through cryptanalysis, and that suspicion might lead them to conclude that Enigma had been penetrated and so change to a new cipher system. How important was the security of Ultra? Was it more important than the security of a major industrial city? It would be for Churchill alone to decide.

While the defenses against night bombing attacks were then extremely primitive, there were several measures that could be taken to protect Coventry. The first was to frustrate the raid at the outset by using all available aircraft in an operation that was codenamed "Cold Douche." Through Ultra and the RAF Y service—the technical wireless intelligence

Coventry ) 41 (

services—the British had accurate and detailed knowledge of the location and strength of the German air squadrons in western Europe. Cold Douche proposed, therefore, that the RAF attack the bombers when they were at their most vulnerable—as, heavily laden, they assembled and took off from their airfields. Then it was intended that the German bomber streams should be harassed all the way to the target to force them to disperse or to drop their bombs at sea or over open countryside and flee. The weather, it was estimated, would favor such operations. But in the event, as Wing Commander Asher Lee, the Prime Minister's air intelligence adviser, would later acknowledge, Cold Douche was "sadly and badly conceived." Intruder operations were undertaken, but they were so ineffective and on such a small scale that they failed to stop or to break up the German bomber formation.

Various schemes to assassinate the pilots of Kampfgruppe 100 were also considered; all were rejected because time was too short. And the organization through which the attacks could be made—the Special Operations Executive—was not yet functioning. But there was time to increase— even concentrate—anti-aircraft, searchlight and smokescreen defenses, and fire-fighting and ambulance services around the city. A combination of guns and searchlights might at least force the Germans to fly high or throw them off their aim. There were 410 mobile anti-aircraft guns then available in Britain, and any or all of them could have been speeded to the defense of Coventry. But that might compromise the security of Ultra. Coventry's anti-aircraft defenses would not be reinforced, nor those of Birmingham against the attack that Ultra had revealed would fall five days after the raid on Coventry. Only the anti-aircraft defenses of Wolverhampton would be strengthened, and as the RAF official history would later state, somewhat evasively:

It is a striking illustration of the advantage then held by the Germans that though this information [about the raids] was in our hands, and though attacks against their airfields were duly carried out, Coventry and Birmingham were both heavily smitten within the next few nights. Wolverhampton, more fortunate, escaped. The sudden increase in its anti-aircraft defences was possibly observed by the enemy.

But if no extraordinary defensive measures could be taken to protect Coventry, might not a confidential warning that their city was about to be attacked on a large scale be given to civic authorities and to the fire-fighting, ambulance and hospital services? Should not the population of the inner city, together with the aged, the young, and those in hospitals who could be moved, be evacuated? To all these propositions, Churchill said no; there must be no evacuations and no warnings. To do so might cause panic among the population, panic that could result in far more casualties

than the actual bombing; and, again, it would alert the German intelligence service to the fact that the British had foreknowledge of the raid. As Captain S. A. Hector, who was Chief Constable and chief of Civil Defence of Coventry at the time of the raid, would later confirm, no warning was received by him and no special defensive precautions were taken to defend the city. However, he would state that "all the Civil Defence units were trained and deployed in various districts in a constant state of readiness, day and night, with arrangements for calling out resting reserves and mutual aid as the circumstances warranted." But on that night, said Hector, the reserves were not called up in advance because "You will appreciate that in war information of all kinds is received, much of it false, in order to deceive. It would therefore (have been) most unwise to begin calling up reserves etc. on every occasion it was reported that a particular attack was contemplated."

It was a tragic decision for Churchill to have to make, but it was the only way to protect Ultra. Ultra had already proved to be a weapon of decisive importance in the Battle of Britain, and Churchill could not risk losing what he hoped would become—what, indeed, did become—one of the principal weapons of victory in the war. Britain had the means to protect Coventry, but its defenses were to be left as they were, and all reaction to the raid must follow a normal course.

The night of November 14/15, 1940, was brilliantly moonlit, there was little or no industrial haze, and the city of Coventry lay bathed in bright silver light. The air-raid sirens sounded at 1905 hours; five minutes later the drone of the Heinkels was heard overhead. Only then were the police, hospital, fire and civil defense teams aware that the city was to be attacked. Everywhere, the surprise was the same as that experienced at the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital, the main casualty center for the city. Not until the staff heard the siren were any special precautions taken, and it was not until the first bombs began to fall that they were completed. Some patients were placed under their beds with their mattresses on top of them; others on the upper floors were hurriedly removed to the lower, although there were quite a few—fifteen obstetrical and a dozen fracture cases—who could not be moved quickly and had to be left where they were. Harry Winter, a young Canadian doctor, described the scene: "I switched on the yellow action station lights throughout the hospital and began to patrol the wards and corridors to see that everything was shipshape. I stepped onto the flat roof of the main building. I could hardly believe my eyes. All around the hospital grounds glowed literally hundreds of incendiaries, like lights twinkling on a mammoth Christmas tree."

During the raid, the immovable patients lay strung up in their wire frames, or in varying stages of childbirth, watching the German aircraft through a huge hole blown in one of the hospital walls. The lighting in all

Coventry ) 43 (

the operating theaters and throughout the hospital failed, and when the emergency generators came on, there was only enough power to permit surgery by the light of automobile headlamps, which had been quickly rigged up and connected to the batteries. The hospital, into which most of the casualties came, lost all power and steam; soon patients and casualties were lying head to toe on every inch of available space on the ground floor. Their treatment was carried out by the lights of hurricane lamps and torches. At dawn the hospital was a windowless ruin; it had been struck no less than five times by high-explosive bombs and hundreds of times by incendiaries.

Throughout the city it was the same story: surprise and then disaster. Defiant and Blenheim night fighters were ineffectual in dislocating the German bomber streams, and there was not enough anti-aircraft gunfire to keep them high. Within minutes of the warning, the city was showered with incendiaries, followed by the dull thud of high explosives. Moonlight Sonata was being carried out in exactly the way that Ultra had foretold, and Hitler got his revenge for minor damage to a Munich beer hall by destroying St. Michael's Cathedral.

The ravaged cathedral became a symbol of British heroism. It might just as well have been a symbol of sacrifice. St. Michael's need not have been destroyed, for the fire that attacked it was a very small one at first, and had emergency water supplies been arranged beforehand, it could have been saved. As an anonymous police sergeant recorded:

A report was received saying that the Cathedral had caught fire and was beginning to get a hold. I went inside (the Cathedral) and saw that one corner of the roof was on fire. Firemen had arrived by this time and the hoses were connected up. We could see it would not be very hard to put out, but nothing happened when the water was turned on. The water mains were fractured and no water was coming through! Water was eventually found in Prior Street, but it was too late to save the most famous building in Coventry. The roof collapsed within two hours and by morning there was nothing left but the spire and the four outside walls.

There were hundreds of similar episodes throughout the city. Parts of Coventry were smashed as flat as Rotterdam. A total of 50,749 houses were destroyed or damaged. All that remained of Christ Church was the ancient spire of Grey Friars. The sixteenth-century half-timbered Ford's Hospital was smoldering wood. The Standard Motor Works and the Radiator and Press Company were badly damaged, together with some twelve plants associated with aircraft production and nine other factories. The disruption of public utilities made work at other factories impossible. Nearly two hundred gas mains were broken, and so were countless power lines, water supply mains, sewage disposal systems, telecommunications.

All railway lines were blocked and all roads were more or less impassable with rubble. A few fires still smoldered a week later. The destruction of some five hundred shops handicapped the distribution of food.

The raid lasted ten hours, and Moonlight Sonata accomplished its mission. A German reporter with the bombers called it "the greatest attack in the history of aerial warfare," and described the sight as he flew away from the city: "It looked as if the earth had broken open and spewed fiery masses of lava far over the land. . . . Far on the return flight there stood behind us like a beacon of ill omen the kilometer-high fiery cloud shining red in the sky. . . ." Only one German bomber was shot down by antiaircraft fire near Loughborough as it was making its way toward Coventry. Although the RAF flew 165 sorties that night, it reported seeing only seven intruders, of which two were attacked—neither with any success.

Could more have been done to save the city? The answer is yes. More was done to defend Birmingham and Wolverhampton. In the case of the former, the RAF sent twenty-four Hampden bombers over the city to lay an aerial minefield. In the case of the latter, the raid was frustrated altogether because the Germans became aware that the anti-aircraft defenses had been suddenly strengthened—information they obtained, presumably, through their wireless intelligence service. Certainly something might have been done to bring additional civil defense and fire-fighting reinforcements into or near Coventry, but as the official history clearly stated, this was not done until dawn, when the raid was over.

The New York Times correspondent in London visited Coventry after the raid and reported: "Coventry is now like a city that has been wrecked by an earthquake. ..." The Times (London) called Coventry a "martyred city." And indeed it was—martyred in part to Ultra. For some 554 of its citizens had been killed—150 of them buried in a common grave since it was impossible to identify the corpses—and another 865 seriously wounded. Some 4000 citizens suffered other wounds and burns, and tfyeir city lay in devastation. Such was the price paid for Ultra.

Bodyguard of lies

Special Means Operational

While storms and fogs helped protect the cities of England from the Luftwaffe during the winter months of 1940-41, the British slowly but steadily regained strength. As they did so, thousands of miles away in the Libyan desert able and resourceful Englishmen demonstrated for the first time in the Second World War that with the use of special means they could outwit an army much more powerful than their own. It was a welcome victory after a long succession of defeats, and a victory that would lead to the formation of the LCS, the first bureaucracy in statehood constructed purely to deceive.

The father of the LCS was Churchill, but there were two godfathers. One was Major J. C. F. Holland, a pilot and engineer who had flown in the Near East during the First World War and in Ireland during the Troubles. When his health broke down he was made chief of GS (R)—a section in the War Office, consisting of one officer and one typist, that was responsible for conceiving irregular operations of all kinds. Under Holland, GS (R) launched the Commandos, created the escape chains down which thousands of Allied soldiers and airmen would come across enemy territory in the years ahead, founded SOE, and initiated what would come to be called the "sizeable escape and deception industries" of the Second World War.

The second godfather of the LCS was General Sir Archibald Wavell, the C-in-C in the Middle East. A product of Winchester, Wavell was a burly, one-eyed man who was in the mold of Clive of India. To the delight of the Treasury he had, during the winter of 1939-40, virtually ruled Britain's vast empire in Arabia with an agile brain, a small but clever bureaucracy, and a few battalions of good infantry held together through the heat and dust by unmatched discipline, great tradition, imposing ceremonial, a sense of duty, and the conviction that they were there not only to protect the Empire but also for the good of the natives.

) 45 (

Wavell had incubated his ideas about grand strategy and its ally, deception, at the precise moment that Churchill was fighting the Battle of Britain. Sir Ronald Wingate later wrote:

All his life Wavell had been not only a student of the art of modern war, but a student of the art of war throughout the ages. ... He knew and foresaw, that the Second World War would be a world war in all its implications, controlled centrally by the two great antagonists, the Axis and the Allies. Every operation in every part of the world, however distant, and however disparate the conditions, would have its effect on every other operation. Therefore he argued that if it was possible to deceive the enemy in one theatre, that deception, especially on the strategic plane, could not be effective and might even be dangerous if its effects on operations in other theatres were not controlled.

Wavell was not alone in this theory; it was understood precisely and in all its dimensions by Hitler himself. But Hitler was an artist by nature, not a bureaucrat; Wavell was a soldier, artist and bureaucrat who perceived the necessity of forming a central bureau to control and coordinate deception operations in every theater of the war. And it was a memorandum that he had written in "the dark days of 1940" that was the catalyst for the creation of the LCS.

In his memorandum, Wavell recommended to the British Chiefs of Staff that the cover and deception plans of theater commanders must be coordinated by the Chiefs of Staff in London, so that—as Wingate continued—"they should not only have the maximum effect in their own theatre, but should fit in with the general plan of campaign of the other theatres." As for the plans themselves, Wavell wrote in his memorandum that "Practically all the ruses and stratagems of war are variations or developments of a few simple tricks that have been practised by man on man since man was hunted by man." He divided these tricks into four rough headings: "False information or disguise"; "feigned retreat," while really preparing to attack; the "encouragement of treachery"; and the 'weakening of the enemy's morale." He declared that "every commander should constantly be considering methods of misleading his opponent, of playing upon his fears, and of disturbing his mental balance"; and he added that the "elementary principle of all deception is to attract the enemy's attention to what you wish him to see and to distract his attention from what you do not wish him to see. It is by these methods that the skillful conjuror obtains his results." The object of all was "to force the enemy to DO SOMETHING that will assist our operations, e.g., to move his reserves to the wrong place or to refrain from moving to the right place ... or to induce the enemy to waste his effort."

Dealing extensively with the methodology of deception—special means that included visual, aural and even nasal ruses that could be used to

Special Means Operational ) 47 (

distract the enemy's attention—the memorandum also discussed "signal deception," a uniquely effective stratagem. The enemy could deduce the size, nature and purpose of bodies of troops from their wireless communications, the sites of their wireless stations, the types of ciphers being used on various links, and the volume of the traffic. That being the case, the memorandum went on shrewdly to show how wireless communications could be deliberately manipulated to "ensure that the enemy obtains from his wireless intercept services the same impression as from other deception sources. ... If signal deception is omitted, the plan is likely to fail. . . ."

Another basic factor in the success of a deception was that it be "plausible; it is unlikely to achieve its object unless the apparent intention disclosed to the enemy is sufficiently reasonable to have been included in the enemy's appreciation as one of the courses open to the British commander." The memorandum also stressed the importance of knowing the mind of the enemy commander. "The intelligence staffs should at all times be in vigorous pursuit of this class of information. It will be far more valuable to know that an opposing general is thoroughly excitable than it is to know that he graduated at some staff college in such-and-such a year."

Finally, the handmaiden of a successful deception, the memorandum emphasized, was secrecy. It was imperative to hide the deception from the enemy, for if he saw through the falsehoods, he could deduce the truth. Thus as few people as possible should know about the deception—even if it meant deceiving friend as well as foe. The memorandum noted that "In certain cases it may be essential that the commanders and troops executing a deception plan . . . understand both the real intention of the higher commander and the object of the deception plan . . . ," but "Normally, the fact that their moves ... are being carried out purely to deceive the enemy, should not be disclosed to the troops concerned." It was a stratagem that would have peculiar—and even sinister—application among not only the troops, but also the secret agents and resistance organizations that would become involved in future Allied cover and deception operations.

There was little that was novel about Wavell's ideas; tricking an enemy is as old as war. But acting upon his recommendation, Churchill undertook to institutionalize deception both in military affairs and statehood; and that was startlingly new. In due course, the small organization that he created, the LCS, would become a large, and eventually vast, institution wholly devoted to the manufacture of stratagems. The existence of the LCS would be as carefully guarded as the experiments with the atomic bomb; indeed, the doctrines of cover and deception would remain a state secret in both London and Washington long after nuclear fission had become public property. Not until 1975 would a document come to light at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., that revealed Allied methodology in the secret war against the Third Reich. The document, a memorandum to the

Joint Chiefs of Staff dated May 14, 1945, described cover and deception operations as a "separate war" whose weapons had included all of Wavell's tricks —and much more. For his rather old-fashioned theories had been wedded to the special means of modern military technology, to the sophisticated techniques of political and psychological warfare and to the extensive use of every arm of the military services on operations intended purely to deceive. Thus, Wavell's theories would evolve into methods of waging war that were as complex and ruthless as they were secret; but it was Wavell himself who first put them to the test in North Africa. The outcome would provide a valuable object lesson in the techniques of both strategical and tactical deception for the rest of the war, for Wavell's minute fighting force was confronted by a seemingly mighty army, and like David, he would bring down the Italian Goliath.

Control of the Mediterranean was vital to Britain; through it ran the Empire's ''lifeline"—the short sea route to the dominions east of Suez and to the oilfields of the Persian Gulf. But when Italy declared war on Britain on June 10, 1940, Benito Mussolini immediately began to lay his plans to cut this lifeline by two massive strokes—eastward from Libya and northwestward from Italian East Africa. He had 200,000 troops on a full war footing in Libya, and 110,000 in the Red Sea states.

Against this force, Wavell had an army of only 36,000 men, an incomplete tank division, and some small packets of troops on garrison duties in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and East Africa. Many of these troops were either untrained, natives, or administrative personnel; none of the lighting units was ready for combat; and the prospect of rapid reinforcement was hopeless. Britain was embattled, the army in India was weak and ill-trained, the Australians and New Zealanders were just mobilizing. Yet Wavell was expected to garrison, secure and defend British possessions and interests in Egypt, the Sudan, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus, French and British Somaliland, Iraq, Aden, the Persian Gulf states, Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Syria and Lebanon.

The Italians were not the only threat to the British in the Near East. Wavell foresaw the possibility of an advance by Germany, perhaps with the Russians, into the Balkans to gain control of the northern shores of the Mediterranean; and he also had to consider the possibility of a move by Russia against the Iraqi and Persian oilfields. Only one factor existed to assist Wavell; neither the Germans nor the Italians knew how strong—or how weak—Britain was. She had taken pains to paint a picture of enormous latent strength in the area, and both the Germans and the Italians came to accept this as being probably correct—with immense consequences both for the present and the future. However, menace alone was not enough to meet the Italian threat. Wavell—who had learned the art of deception under Sir Edmund Allenby at the Third Battle of Gaza in 1917,

Special Means Operational ) 49 (

when the British destroyed the Ottoman Empire with a trick—had to use craft and cunning.

A remarkable officer had joined Wavell's staff from London. He was Brigadier Dudley Wrangel Clarke, then forty-one, a peacetime solicitor and a student of the tactics of the Boer and Irish rebels. Clarke had been responsible for the memorandum that led to the creation of the Commandos—elite, well-trained and well-armed raiding forces formed especially to keep German troops awake at night along the Channel coast. He would now employ his agile mind, and his lawyer's arts and crafts, in helping Wavell fox the Italians. His operations were the embryo of A-Force, the immense British (and later Anglo-American) deception industry in the Near East and the Mediterranean that would work in close cooperation with the LCS.

The Italians had opened their campaign in Africa with an attack on the British from Libya, and Marshal Rodolfo Graziani's army entered Egypt on a narrow front along the coast on September 13, 1940. The British fell back, and it seemed improbable that Wavell would be able to halt Graziani further west than the outskirts of the great British naval base at Alexandria. Reinforcements for Wavell's tiny army were en route from England —reinforcements that would be essential to repel a German invasion, or so it seemed at the time to those who were not privy to the secrets of Ultra—but it was imperative to deceive the Italians about Wavell's military strength.

Under Clarke, teams of men were assigned that task. Using hundreds of cruiser tanks made of rubber which could be packed into a cricket bag and then taken out and blown up like balloons, field guns which fitted into biscuit boxes, and 2-ton trucks and prime movers that when deflated were no larger than an ammunition case, they fabricated a powerful force. In an elementary tactical deception, Clarke's engineers laid dummy roads and tank tracks to the south of Sidi Barrani, where Graziani's men were resting. Then they brought in crowds of Arabs with camels and horses, and dragging harrow-like devices behind them, they raised great clouds of dust which, when observed from the air, resembled large tank columns on the move. The Italians flew over to photograph the area, but anti-aircraft fire kept them at high altitude, thus preventing them from detecting what was going on below. When the photographs were processed, Graziani had evidence of what appeared to be formations of powerful tanks and guns on his right flank—tanks and guns more numerous than his own. With that evidence, and with intelligence reports that reinforcements were on the way, Graziani, fearing that he might be attacked in the flank and cut off by the tank force, gave orders to his columns to dig in and create fortified positions along the Alexandria road.

Wavell and Clarke kept these tactics up long enough for the British

forces to concentrate for an attack, and to receive the reinforcements from England. Wavell moved up in great secrecy and then, on December 9,

1940, he struck. Graziani's forces were still vastly superior, but the attack was one of the most daring campaigns of the war. With the Italians in full retreat, Wavell's men advanced 650 miles into Libya, and by February 7,

1941, had taken 130,000 prisoners, 400 tanks and 1290 guns, although at no time did Wavell's commander have more than two divisions of "Desert Rats"—as the British troops in the desert had come to be called. Wavell's losses were 500 dead and 1400 wounded, with 55 missing and believed prisoners of war. At the same time—at a cost of 135 men dead, 310 wounded and 52 missing—Wavell's tiny force in Italian East Africa captured 50,000 prisoners of the army of the Duke of Aosta in another daring offensive. The Italians' dream of an empire in Africa was shattered, as were their armies.

The impact of these British victories was very considerable. The Italians never recovered their spirits, and the Germans were forced to come to their rescue. The war had taken a new turn, strategic and tactical deception had proved its special value, and the Chiefs of Staff Committee established the LCS at Churchill's headquarters in April 1941 under the chairmanship of Colonel the Honourable Oliver Stanley, a leading Tory minister and blue-blood. From now on, throughout the world, every British (and later American) war planning staff would have a deception section—a "Committee of Special Means"—linked directly to the LCS. While each of these secretariats was small, their power and influence would become very large. To them would come the sum total of all intelligence, and they would influence the Allied commanders in the scope, timing and direction of their operations. They would even prevent some operations from being undertaken if they appeared to compromise other, larger, more important operations. The Germans, while extremely wily and clever at deception, would have nothing comparable, and the LCS and its associated agencies would contribute handsomely—even decisively—to victory.

Within a few weeks of the Coventry disaster, events began to vindicate Churchill in his decision to accept all risks to protect Ultra. For Ultra revealed a startling fact; Hitler, abandoning his plans to invade Britain, was moving his best troops, tanks and air squadrons out of France toward the Balkans and back into Poland. As the evidence mounted that he intended a campaign in the East, Churchill and Britain were able to draw breath. Although there was no possibility that the British could take advantage of Hitler's weakened position in France to recross the Channel, the intelligence enabled them to change their industrial program from a heavy emphasis on defensive weaponry to offensive arms—another important Ultra contribution with long-range strategic implications.

Special Means Operational ) 51 (

In the middle of March 1941, Ultra also provided intelligence that contributed to Britain's first fleet action victory in the Second World War: the Battle of Cape Matapan. Penetrating the Enigma traffic of both the Luftwaffe and the Italian fleet, the Turing engine revealed that the Germans and Italians planned a large-scale attack on British convoys in the Mediterranean. It even revealed the date of the attack: March 27, 1941. Alerted by Ultra, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, the C-in-C of the Mediterranean fleet, at anchor at Alexandria, ordered the British squadron there—three battleships, an aircraft carrier and nine destroyers—to raise steam. To disguise the squadron's intentions from Axis agents who might be on the waterfront, Cunningham came ashore in civilian clothes, carrying his golf clubs. He returned just after dusk, secretly and without ceremony. Then, to make the Italians believe that aerial reconnaissance and not cryptanalysis was responsible for the detection of their sortie from Naples, he sent up a Sunderland flying boat to scout the flagship of the Italian fleet, the Vittorio Veneto.

Cunningham set sail, and on the 28th, joined by four cruisers and four destroyers, the British squadron engaged the Italians off Cape Matapan. The Luftwaffe failed to come to the assistance of its allies, and a large part of the Italian fleet was either sunk or badly damaged. Ultra had again provided the British with an important strategic advantage. As Churchill would write, "This timely and welcome victory off Cape Matapan disposed of all challenge to British naval mastery in the Eastern Mediterranean at this critical time."

But Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff could not always take advantage of the foreknowledge provided by Ultra. It was not the fault of "The Bomb." Rather, it was the result of a poverty in military resources. One such case was "Operation Mercury," the German airborne and seaborne invasion of Crete. The Germans had invaded Yugoslavia and Greece in April; Crete was the next logical step. Hitler intended to eject the British air and naval forces operating from Cretan bases and use the island as a base from which to conduct his own operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

Ultras, almost entirely derived, once again, from Luftwaffe traffic, revealed Hitler's plans in detail. Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff knew when, how and where the Germans would attack the island. Aware that the British position in the Middle East and North Africa would be fundamentally disadvantaged if Crete fell, they decided to strengthen the defenses of the island. The available troops were stationed in those areas where the British knew from Ultra that the German airborne assault would land; and the Royal Navy, also armed with Ultra, positioned powerful forces to thwart the seaborne phase of the attack.

It was to no avail. The British took a bloody toll of the German

invaders, but they were finally overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the attack. The casualties on both sides were high, but such was the severity of the German losses that Hitler would not again mount an airborne assault of comparable magnitude. Hereafter he would use his airborne troops as infantry. Had they remained intact as an organic unit and been used elsewhere—in an invasion of Britain, a drop on Alexandria or in Normandy during the D-Day period—the results might have been decisive. Once more Ultra had played an important role, not in winning a battle this time, but in forcing Hitler to change his tactics to, as events would show, the Allied advantage.

Time and time again that winter and spring, Ultra gave Churchill forewarning of Hitler's intentions. It revealed the ebb of German forces away from the English Channel into Poland and the Balkans, and the formation of the Afrika Korps under the command of General Erwin Rommel to aid the beleaguered Italians in North Africa. Intelligence derived from Ultra revealed Hitler's plans to capture Malta, the lynchpin of Britain's position in the Mediterranean—intelligence that, in the long term, enabled the RAF and the Royal Navy to thwart those plans. Through Ultra, MI-6 was able to frustrate Abwehr operations in Spain, Morocco, Persia and Iraq. Ultra continued to provide the most detailed intelligence about the order of battle of the Luftwaffe, as well as a fairly detailed portrait, when allied to other intelligence, of the order of battle of the German army. Above all, perhaps, the existence of Ultra was a source of comfort to Churchill, for it permitted him to employ British military and industrial strength with economy and steer a much safer course than might otherwise have been possible.

But Britain still stood alone in the conflict, although it now appeared that Hitler was preparing to invade Russia. America, too, was gradually being drawn into the war. Stunned by the velocity of events in the summer and autumn of 1940, President Roosevelt had authorized the United States army to begin building up its field forces. He had been reelected to the presidency the week before Coventry, and when Churchill informed him that "We are entering upon a sombre phase of what must evidently be a protracted and broadening war," Roosevelt declared America to be "the arsenal of Democracy." He ramrodded Lend-Lease through Congress—a method to supply arms and munitions to Britain in return for only a nominal payment; and in March 1941, aircraft, ships, guns, tanks, trucks and munitions began to flow across the North Atlantic in ever-increasing weight. Americans, too, began to appear in London, men in civilian clothes whose job it was to study how the Germans—and the British—were fighting a war which, all knew, America would be fighting herself before long.


Special Means Operational ) 53 (

Supplies from America and the Empire were essential to Britain's survival, and if she was no longer under the threat of a land invasion in the spring of 1941, a new threat began to emerge on the high seas. To cut Britain off from her sources of supply, German U-boats ranged the Mediterranean and North Atlantic trade routes, exacting a terrible toll of British shipping. It was Hitler's intention to strangle Britain into submission, and Churchill immediately recognized the gravity of this threat. At a meeting in March 1941 with Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, the First Sea Lord, he declared: "We have got to lift this business to the highest plane, over everything else. I am going to proclaim 'the Battle of the Atlantic.' " No battle would be more important to ultimate victory over the Third Reich.

The tumultuous ocean now became a vast battlefield, but in that battle Ultra initially played no part. For reasons that are not clear, the Turing engine did not function well against the Kriegsmarine's Enigma-enciphered signals, or if it did the Admiralty took no action upon the Ultras. Winter-botham alleged that "an Admiralty muddle" was responsible for the failure of Ultra at this time, an allegation for which there is no support. Muddle or not, all arms of the services were employed with great boldness to improve Bletchley's knowledge of Enigma and the system employed by the Kriegs-marine in its use.

Ever since they had flashed the War Telegram to all warships and merchantmen flying the British flag on September 3, 1939, the Lords of the Admiralty had sought to take a U-boat as prize and obtain the communications, tactical and technical procedures of the German wolfpacks. At last the time for such a capture arrived, and the consequences would be far-reaching. In the first days of May 1941, a British convoy of thirty-eight merchantmen, carrying troops, cannon and tanks to Egypt and large quantities of whiskey and general merchandise to the United States, steamed into the Atlantic north of the Hebrides. It was a tranquil departure, with the merchantmen in three lines abreast, protected by an escort of destroyers and flower-class corvettes. But on May 7 the tranquility was ruptured. A German U-boat had picked up the convoy's scent. It was the U-110, one of the Kriegsmarine's newest and best submarines, commanded by one of its boldest and most daring skippers, Kapitanleutnant Fritz Julius Lemp, the man who sank the liner Athenia on the first day of the war with the loss of 112 passengers and crew members, including 28 Americans.

Lemp claimed two victims in his first attack, and two days later he struck again as the convoy passed within sight of the coast of Greenland. Two more merchantmen were hit, and Lemp stayed at periscope depth to watch the consequences. His curiosity sealed his fate. His periscope was sighted by a corvette which pounded the area with a ten-charge pattern. Moments later, the U-110 broke surface, and its hull, gun and tower were

raked with shot from destroyers and corvettes. Commander John Baker-Cresswell aboard his destroyer, Bulldog, was about to ram the U-boat when he noticed the crew jumping into the water. It was an extraordinary moment in the history of the Battle of the Atlantic, for Baker-Cresswell realized that he might be able to capture the U-boat intact.

A boarding party from Bulldog found that the U-110 had been completely abandoned and no attempt made to destroy its wireless equipment, its code and cipher books, the sheaves of signals that had been sent and received, or the technical charts and handbooks. Above all, there was the Enigma, complete with its operating instructions, manuals, keying tables and spare wheels. The U-110 was taken in tow, and informing the Admiralty by the highest-grade cipher in his possession that he had captured the submarine, Baker-Cresswell headed for Iceland. But by May 10 it was clear that the U-110 was shipping water fast and would not make port. That evening it suddenly reared its bow into the air, the towline was slipped, and the U-110 sank. To some it seemed that a disaster had occurred; in fact, all the U-boat's secret equipment and papers were safely stowed aboard Bulldog.

Bulldog returned to the great fleet anchorage at Scapa Flow in the Shetlands two days later, flying her battle pennant to indicate that she had sunk—not captured—a U-boat. Cipher and anti-submarine warfare experts were on hand to meet her, and honors would be showered upon all the protagonists of the operation. But no word of the capture was allowed to leak out. Not until 1966 did the Admiralty permit an account to be published. Only then was it officially acknowledged, with justification, that the capture of the U-110 was the most important and far-reaching success achieved by the British anti-submarine forces during the whole course of the war.

Significant operational consequences immediately began to flow from the capture of the U-110's Enigma and secret books, among them the destruction of the sea element of the Etappendienst, the super-secret intelligence and supply organization of the German fleet. The Etappe had been refounded after the First World War by Wilhelm Canaris, now the chief of the Abwehr, as a means to provide German ocean raiders and submarines with intelligence, victuals and fuel during wartime. Its representatives throughout the world were men and women who either used German consular cover or were employees of German shipping lines; and by 1941, the Etappe had a number of large, fast and modern supply ships at sea to sustain the powerful German surface battle fleet in major marauding operations across the North Atlantic supply lines. These operations were due to begin in late spring of 1941, spearheaded by the great German battleship Bismarck and two heavy battle cruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. If the Germans could supply these warships on the high seas— Bismarck was

Special Means Operational ) 55 (

more powerful than any single battleship in the British fleet—it would be quite possible for them to stop all shipping movements between England and America, a blockade that might force Britain to seek terms.

Such was the strategic situation when the U-110 was captured; the secret materials aboard, when related to intelligence derived earlier from Ultra, gave the Admiralty the key to the whereabouts of almost all Etappe's supply ships. Again taking every precaution to protect the source of their information, British cruisers and destroyers were despatched to the supply ships' cruising areas to find and destroy them—with dramatic results. Between June 4 and June 23, 1941, the British captured, sank or caused the crews to scuttle ten German supply ships.

The Battle of the Atlantic had been joined, and although that battle was far from over, the destruction of the Etappe's fleet was one of the turning points of the war at sea. Its consequences were not confined to limiting the operational capacities of the German surface and submarine fleets. It was also a significant moment in the unremitting struggle to deny to the Germans that most necessary of all intelligence—meteorological information. Few military operations can prosper without dependable weather intelligence; with the destruction of the Etappe's fleet, the Germans would be deprived of an important source of that intelligence.

But it was Ultra's triumph against Bismarck herself—a triumph which was the climax of one of the epics of naval intelligence—which showed all concerned that such sacrifices for Ultra's security as Coventry were fully justified. It occurred even before the destruction of the German supply ships at a time of terrible news for England. Rommel had humbled Wavell in the Western Desert; the Germans were occupying Greece, and the British were forced to evacuate with the loss of some thirty ships. Then Bismarck was detected making her way into the Atlantic. Accompanied by the powerful new cruiser Prinz Eugen, she sailed into Norwegian waters from the Baltic at breakfast time on the morning of May 20, 1941.

The movement was reported by a contact in the Swedish navy at Stockholm to the British naval attache, Captain Henry Denham, who, in turn, signaled the Admiralty. But the Admiralty had already obtained some forewarning of the sortie through Ultra. The Luftwaffe had been making special surveys of the weather situation in the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, Ultra had intercepted its signals and the Admiralty had alerted the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were picked up and shadowed by patrol aircraft of Coastal Command as they entered Korsfjord in Norway on May 21; and then British agents at Korsfjord reported that the two great ships had sailed into the North Atlantic. By that time the Home Fleet was at action stations in the Denmark Strait; and in the early hours of May 24, the Germans were intercepted by the battle cruiser Hood, the battleship

Prince of Wales, and the cruisers Suffolk and Norfolk. The battle was joined and Bismarck was hit; but at six o'clock that morning Hood —the pride of the British fleet—was struck by one of Bismarck's salvos. Hood exploded and all but 3 of the 1500 men aboard were lost.

It was yet another devastating blow to British pride that made Bismarck's destruction an imperative. Worse was to follow; the bridge of Prince of Wales, one of the most modern British battleships, was shattered in the encounter, she was holed beneath her waterline, and the captain was forced to break off the action. But Bismarck, too, had been seriously damaged; and as the German ship made off with oil trailing behind her, shadowed by Suffolk and Norfolk, the Admiralty in London summoned all forces to intercept and destroy her.

That same evening, at about ten o'clock, Bismarck was struck by a torpedo from an aircraft launched by the carrier Victorious. Her performance was further reduced, and hopes were now very high at the Admiralty and Churchill's office that Bismarck would be caught. But these hopes were broken when, at about three o'clock on the morning of May 25, the Suffolk lost her. For some thirty hours, Bismarck was loose in the Atlantic. So confident was her captain that he had shaken off his pursuers that he sent a long signal to Berlin to report the situation. The time was eight minutes before nine o'clock on May 26. The signal was intercepted by British wireless intelligence stations and Bismarck's position was fixed; but owing to an error, it was incorrectly charted when received aboard the British flagship. Bismarck was, in fact, 200 miles south of her charted position, steaming to safety.

But then the Germans blundered. Someone at German headquarters in Berlin, for reasons that are not clear, sent a series of wireless messages, one of which instructed Bismarck's captain to proceed with all speed to Brest. The signal was intercepted by the British, it was relayed to Knox, and he succeeded in breaking its contents with speed and accuracy. It was relayed to the Operational Intelligence Centre at the Admiralty; and from this information—coupled with Ultras that showed unusual Luftwaffe activity in France, presumed to be operations to give Bismarck aerial protection—it was possible for the OIC to predict the rough course Bismarck must take to get to Brest. Coastal Command patrol aircraft were launched from Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, and one of them located Bismarck on course for Brest about 700 miles from that port. Then two Swordfish torpedo-carrying aircraft from the carrier Ark Royal picked her up. And from that moment onward, Bismarck was doomed. Swordfish and British battleships pressed the attack. Bismarck was stricken; at about 10:40 A.M. on May 27, a flaming and smoking ruin, she turned over and sank, taking with her nearly 2000 men. Only 110 of her crew were picked out of the water.

The sense of relief and victory was very great as Churchill was able to announce her destruction at the morning session of the Commons that same day. The disaster was, however, too much for Grand Admiral Raeder, the C-in-C of the Kriegsmarine. The destruction of Bismarck, and later of the Etappe's supply ships, was too striking to dismiss the possibility that the Kriegsmarine's ciphers had been broken, or that there was a traitor somewhere in the Kriegsmarine's command organization. But in all cases, a Board of Inquiry dismissed the belief that Enigma had been compromised. ,; It is not necessary,"' the German board concluded its report, "to put the blame on a breach of security as regards the code and cipher tables.'' Instead, the board preferred to place the blame upon the ubiquity of MI-6 and upon the probability of a traitor at Kriegsmarine headquarters. The report noted that the navy's telephone lines between Berlin and Paris ran through boosters that were not always manned by Germans. Therefore, the tapping of those lines by British agents was very probable. It was the same story throughout the war; the Nazis feared their own traitors more than enemy cryptographers. '"They had," noted one British naval intelligence officer, "more confidence in their own efficiency than in the loyalty commanded by their political system."' For that arrogance, the Third Reich would pay the ultimate price.

At three o'clock on the morning of June 22, 1941, an event occurred which would have massive implications for British strategy. German armies of 3 million men swept across the Russian border on a 2000-mile front, taking the Russians by surprise. It was no surprise to Churchill; Ultra had foretold the event for many months, and although Churchill had once dismissed communism as "'foul baboonery," he had sought to alert Stalin in a series of dramatic telegrams sent to Moscow through conventional diplomatic channels. He made no mention of the source of his information. In fact, Stalin would not be told about Ultra throughout the war.

Stalin had not acted upon the warnings he received and Churchill would later remark that ''so far as strategy, policy, foresight, competence are arbiters, Stalin and his commissars showed themselves at this moment the most completely outwitted bunglers of the Second World War.'* Would Churchill, the arch anti-Communist, seek an alliance with the Soviet Union? He would welcome it, for he at last saw an opportunity for the employment of his theories of peripheral warfare. Recalling that the Russian collapse in the First World War had freed German armies for service in France, the Balkans and Arabia, Churchill was determined to keep the Kremlin from yielding or making terms. Great convoys began to sail from British ports bearing armaments to sustain the Red Army in battle, even though those armaments were needed by British forces at home, in North Africa and in the Far East. Russia must be kept fighting, whatever the cost.

Churchill feared and distrusted the Communists, but as he remarked to his private secretary, "If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons."

Churchill did more than that; he wasted little time in making a pact with the devil. It concerned cooperation between the secret services of Britain and Russia—those ancient enemies—and it was negotiated by Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secretary, and Cadogan. The two men sailed from Scapa Flow aboard the cruiser Kent on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor; they reached Murmansk en route to Moscow on December 12, the day upon which Britain lost its Far East squadron—the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse —and Japan obtained full command of the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea; they arrived in Moscow the day the German invaders penetrated the city's western outskirts. As Cadogan's editor would write: "The prospects for these talks in Moscow did not look unpromising."

Stalin opened their first meeting at the Kremlin by stating that he did not want mere words of mutual sympathy—"algebra," as he called it. He wanted an agreement—"practical mathematics"—to cover wartime collaboration and postwar reconstruction. Stalin also raised for the first time, but by no means the last, the question of the Return to Europe. He accepted the fact that Britain could not open an invasion at this stage of the war, but he left no one in doubt that he expected one in 1942. The talks continued, and on December 16 Cadogan met the menacing person of the head of the Russian secret services, Lavrenti Beria. Beria asked what plans Britain had for supplying arms to the resistance forces in Hitler-occupied Europe, and Cadogan, who was one of the founders of the organization, told him about the Special Operations Executive and its objectives. Beria said that he was forming a similar organization to operate in eastern Europe. Cadogan replied that he hoped the two organizations would not find themselves in conflict; Beria said he hoped as much as well.

The negotiations of the British and Russian delegations finally led to the MI-6-SOE-NKVD pact of December 20, 1941. Among the Russians, only Stalin, Beria and Vyacheslav Molotov, the Foreign Minister, knew of the pact, and the men who actually negotiated the agreement with Cadogan did their own typing. The pact provided for an exchange of both countries' secret intelligence about Germany, an agreement which, despite Britain's precautions and fears for Ultra and Russia's belief that MI-6 was, in reality, an instrument designed to destroy bolshevism, was subsequently honored. The second part of the pact was less effective. It provided that both sides would supply arms, money and equipment to anyone in Nazi-occupied Europe who was prepared to light Hitler. In theory, the intention was admirable. It would not work out in practice, for while the British supplied everyone from Communists to Catholics with munitions and

Special Means Operational ) 59 (

money, the Russians would see to it that only Communists got their guns. Even though confronted with utter defeat, Stalin had his eyes on the future.

By the time the secret pact with Russia was negotiated, Britain had another ally in the field—the United States. And again, months before America declared war on the Axis powers, there were subtle indications of the intentions of her enemies. This time the intelligence came not wholly through Ultra, but from another source—the XX-Committee. For in June 1941, six months before the Japanese attacked, an XX-Committee double agent provided information which showed that the Germans, working on behalf of the Japanese, were displaying a sinister interest in Pearl Harbor.

The XX-Committee had been created expressly to control captured German agents in Britain (and, later, overseas), until then a ramshackle, uncoordinated business in which private enterprise played a leading role. But with the formation of the XX-Committee (so called because the Roman numerals XX also represented the double-cross), it would evolve into an especially effective weapon of war. A dependency of MI-5, the committee held its first meeting on January 2, 1941, at MI-5 headquarters in St. James's Street. It was controlled by a Seaforth Highlander, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Robertson; and John C. Masterman of Oxford University, a tall, reedy don of fifty with Gladstonian eyes—clear-blue and sly—who had been a First Class Modern History Scholar at Oxford and a student, lecturer and Censor of Christ Church, was among its earliest members.

Masterman would later become the official chronicler of the XX-Com-mittee's wartime activities, and he would outline its special purpose and objectives. The first was to apprehend all enemy agents and either put them out of business or induce them to change their allegiance and work for Britain by supplying their former masters with information provided by the committee. The latter course was considered preferable, if possible, for as Masterman later wrote, ". . . if the Germans are receiving an adequate service of news from our controlled agents they will not expend a great deal of time and effort to establish another system as well."' An agent under the committee's control, without the knowledge of the Germans, could also provide information that would lead to the capture of other agents and reveal the personalities, working methods, and code and cipher procedures of the enemy. And through a double agent, the committee could obtain important information about the enemy's intentions; as Masterman put it, the Germans "will not ask a number of questions about the defence of southeast England if they intend to invade in the southwest." Finally, and perhaps most important, a double agent could be used to supply the Germans with false information in reply to their questions, information that might "influence and perhaps change the operational intentions of the

enemy." In this area of their activities, the members of the XX-Committee would come to work closely with the LCS to spread its deceptions to the desk of Hitler himself.

By the spring of 1941, a steady stream of German spies—European Nazi idealists, British traitors, adventurers—had passed through the XX-Committee's interrogation center at Latchmere House, a former convalescent home for shell-shocked British army officers on Ham Common near the Royal Borough of Richmond in Surrey. In the main they had been betrayed either by Ultra's ability to read the Abwehr main-line traffic between Berlin and Madrid or by agents who had preceded them into England and capture. A few were located by radiogoniometrical—wireless location—processes. A few more, usually the best for the purposes of the XX-Committee, had surrendered for ideological reasons and willingly offered their services to the British. Almost all were rejected by the XX-Committee as insufficiently intelligent and not worth the time and expense of employing as double agents; a few—a very few—were diehards who were handed over to the law and, usually, thence to the executioner. But the best, after careful interrogation, were kept for service with the XX-Committee to play what was called "the great game"—deceiving their former German masters.

One of the XX-Committee's first and most important double agents was a thirty-year-old Yugoslav businessman named Dusko Popov. A member of a well-to-do royalist family, Popov had been approached by the Abwehr at the outbreak of the war with the suggestion that his family's political ambitions might be enhanced if he worked for Germany as a spy against the British. Popov agreed—and promptly informed the MI-6 representative in Belgrade of his Abwehr connections. He arrived in England on December 20, 1940, and made a "most favorable impression" when closely questioned by the British secret intelligence services. He was then passed on to the XX-Committee and rechristened "Tricycle," and he opened up secret communications with the Abwehr in Lisbon. He established himself as a highly placed agent in England; and in the next several months, he supplied the Abwehr with a great deal of information about the size of the British armed forces after Dunkirk—information fabricated by the XX-Committee that beclouded all German estimates about British strength for the remainder of the war.

Then in June 1941, the Abwehr, pleased with Tricycle's performance in Britain, instructed him to go to America on an espionage mission to investigate in detail, among other targets, the air, military and naval installations at Pearl Harbor, which the Japanese had asked the Abwehr to reconnoiter because of the difficulties that ethnic Japanese agents in Hawaii were encountering. Popov informed the XX-Committee of his assignment and, through the American Embassy, the XX-Committee informed the

Special Means Operational ) 61 (

FBI. The Abwehr questionnaire, which was designed to guide Popov in his reconnaissance, was also passed on to the FBI. But shortly after Popov arrived in the United States by Pan American Clipper from Lisbon on August 24, 1941, he encountered the full wrath of the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover did not want agents of any foreign power working in America. At their only meeting, he treated Popov with disgust, and declared that—according to Popov—"I can catch spies without your or anybody else's help." He accused Popov of being "Like all double agents. You're begging for information to sell to your German friends so that you make a lot of money and be a playboy." Popov, who had taken a woman friend to Florida for a holiday, would find himself threatened with prosecution under the Mann Act, and agents of the Internal Revenue Service were also set on him. Britain's early attempts to embroil the United States in XX-Committee operations were not a success. The situation would improve only much later on—with enormously important consequences for the outcome of the war.

Popov's questionnaire concerning Pearl Harbor was not, apparently, interpreted correctly. The British extricated him lest his presence in the United States cause a rupture in relations between the British and American intelligence communities (he left with the IRS hot on his heels, a predicament which forced the British Embassy to meet his obligations), and the Japanese attacked at Pearl Harbor. Although the American government had some foreknowledge from other intelligence sources of the impending attack, notably from its naval cryptanalytical bureau in Room 1649 of the Navy Department on Constitution Avenue in Washington, when the attack came that calamitous Sunday of December 7, 1941, the surprise was complete. The American Pacific Fleet was dealt a blow from which it would take many months to recover.

The United States declared war upon the Axis powers, and for Churchill, America's entry into the conflict was the answer to a constant prayer. He recalled the words of Edward Grey more than thirty years before—that the United States was like a " 'gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.' " His joy was boundless, his confidence in victory now unextinguishable. He would later write:

... we had won the war. Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live. . . . Once again in our long Island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious. . . . The British Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the United States, bound together with every scrap of their life and strength, were, according to my lights, twice or even thrice the force of their antagonists. No doubt it would take a long time (but) . . . united we could subdue everybody else in the world. Many disasters, immeasurable cost and tribulation lay ahead, but there was no more doubt about the end. . . .

Bodyguard of lies

The Search for a Strategy

Almost immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Churchill and a large British delegation arrived in Washington to integrate their interests and operations with those of the American government and armed forces. It was the first of the great conferences of grand strategy of the Second World War. A number of remarkable agreements were struck between Britain and America—two of the four great powers that Churchill would call "the Grand Alliance." It was decided that Germany would be the first major enemy to be tackled and defeated before the alliance turned its full might upon Japan; and the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) was established to provide the higher command apparatus necessary for the gigantic military and industrial deployments that a global conflict would demand— deployments that would exhaust the riches of England and transform America from a somnolent continent into a world superpower. It was also agreed, in fact as well as spirit, that the British Empire and the United States would undertake complementary industrial programs, concert military policies and plans, and share all their secrets. Rarely before in history had two major powers, motivated in the long term by nationalistic interests, entered into such a close alliance in an effort to defeat their enemies.

In the beginning of the new alliance, the United States would be almost wholly dependent upon the British for intelligence. If Britain's dilemma in 1941 lay in not always being able to take military advantage of the intelligence supplied by Ultra, America found herself in an equally singular predicament. Even as she was slowly being drawn into the war, she had only the most rudimentary military intelligence services, and no functioning secret service whatsoever. America was, in fact, the only major nation in the world not to possess such a service.

There were those in Washington, however, who had recognized a grave national deficiency; and to correct it, General William J. Donovan had

) 62 (

The Search for a Strategy ) 63 (

been nominated by executive order to form the organization that came to be called the Office of Strategic Services. Donovan, an Irish-American born in Buffalo in 1883, had returned from the First World War as the most decorated man in American military history. Between the wars he became deeply involved in international politics as a lawyer, and was a friend and confidant of both Churchill and Roosevelt. Ordered in 1941 to set up a central agency for gathering and evaluating secret intelligence, he began to recruit his men from the world of what he described as "a blend of Wall Street orthodoxy and sophisticated American nationalism." Colonel David Bruce was a characteristic choice. Married to the daughter of Andrew Mellon, he was a lawyer, a politician and a diplomat before he became OSS chief in Europe. After the war, he would become the American ambassador to Britain, France, Germany and China. A second—and important— Donovan recruit was Allen Welsh Dulles, a prominent lawyer who would serve as OSS chief in Berne. Later he would become chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, the postwar successor to the OSS.

At the highest levels of command—between Menzies and Bruce, for example, two men who had much in common—there would be both cooperation and admiration between the OSS and MI-6. But at the lower levels, there was often scorn and rivalry. The Americans, new to the game of intelligence, were regarded as amateurs by the seasoned professionals of MI-6, and in some cases agents of MI-6 and the OSS in the field would find themselves in conflict for nationalistic or ideological reasons. Nevertheless, the two agencies would come to work together in a pattern of reserved cooperation, although the OSS would not play a major role in the secret war against the Third Reich until after D-Day.

In another sphere of the secret war—cryptanalysis—the relationship between Britain and America began on a tenuous note. Like the Poles, the French and the British, the Americans had shown an early interest in the Enigma machine. In October 1923 the military attache at the American Embassy in Berlin wrote to General Marlborough Churchill, the Chief of Intelligence of the United States Army, to report that he had "witnessed a demonstration with a working model" of Enigma. The man who had demonstrated the machine was Artur Scherbius, the Berlin engineer who had assumed the patents from its inventor, Hugo Koch. Scherbius, it seemed, was showing Enigma to every Entente embassy in Berlin. Enclosed in the report to Churchill was a prospectus about the machine, which stated in part:

For the protection of secrets or reports two basic conditions must be satisfied: The dependability and efficiency of the persons entrusted therewith and an absolutely dependable coding system for letter and telegraphic communications.

Enigma, the prospectus claimed with monumental irony, was that system. It was capable of producing 22 billion different code combinations. "If one man worked continuously day and night and tried a different cipher-key every minute," the prospectus continued, "it would take him 42,000 years to exhaust all combination possibilities."

Given the state of the craft of cryptology in the 1920's, these were bold and exciting claims; but the intelligence section of the American army, one of the most impoverished of all government agencies in those days, took no action to find out more about the machine for three years. Meanwhile, Scherbius had, evidently, reassigned the patents of his machine to Alexander von Kryha, a Ukrainian engineer doing business in Berlin; and an article about Enigma in a German journal in 1926 aroused the interest of the Signal Corps of the United States army. Again General Marlborough Churchill was petitioned to investigate the possibilities of the machine. Inquiries were made through the military attache at Berlin, and the "Kryha Coding Machine Company" sent a representative to New York to demonstrate the machine to American cryptanalytical experts.

At that time, William Frederick Friedman was one of America's leading cryptanalysts, the counterpart of Alfred Dilwyn Knox of England. Born in Russia in 1891, he had come with his family to America a year later, and was graduated from Pittsburgh Central High School, Michigan Agricultural College and Cornell University. A geneticist, he had attracted the attention of a rich textile merchant, George Fabyan, who was interested in cryptology and was also trying to prove that Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays. Fabyan gave Friedman a job as a cryptologist, stirring his dormant interest in that field, and during the First World War he was employed by the American military. His first "target" was the cipher of a group of Hindus who were agitating in America for Indian independence. His work resulted in mass arrests and trials of the agitators for illegally trying to purchase arms. By 1921, Friedman was in the employment of the War Department, devising cryptosystems. He wrote a standard work on the craft, Elements of Cryptanalysis, and in 1922 he was appointed Chief Crypt-analyst of the Signal Corps. As one of the world's leading authorities on cryptology, Friedman came to the public's attention in 1924 when he testified before a Congressional committee about some coded messages that had been exchanged in the Teapot Dome Scandal.

It was Friedman who went to see Kryha's representative in New York. He was evidently impressed with the performance of Enigma, for on January 15, 1927, the Chief Signals Officer of the United States decided to order one each of two models of the machine. However, such was the parsimony of the Treasury that before the order could be placed, the Signal Corps needed to know the exact cost of the machines and the charges for packing, freight and export duties. Letters flowed between

The Search for a Strategy ) 65 (

Washington and Berlin for over a year. Prices were quoted and then raised, one of the models of the machine was discontinued, but finally the contract was signed and the machine was shipped in February 1928. Then another snag developed. The Kryha Company had not paid the freight and import charges, as it had agreed to do, and the Signal Corps had no appropriation for such payments.

The shipment was not released from the warehouse until April 5, 1928, when the charges were finally paid. More than four years had elapsed between the time that Enigma was first offered for sale and Friedman was able to begin the task of penetrating its secrets. His work, however, received another setback in 1929 when Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson withdrew his department's support for the "Black Chamber"—as the United States cryptanalytic services were called—on the ground, so it was said, that gentlemen do not open each other's mail. Friedman was appointed Chief of the Signals Intelligence Service in 1930, but his staff, it appeared, consisted of three young cryptanalysts and two clerks. Nevertheless, by 1934 he had succeeded in thoroughly penetrating the Kryha Enigma; and when he learned that the Japanese had purchased an advanced model of the machine, he turned his attention to the Japanese rather than the German cryptosystems. So successful were his efforts that, by 1942, the United States was reading the Enigma traffic of both the Japanese navy and Foreign Office; and these intercepts, which were essentially the American counterpart of Ultra, were codenamed "Magic."

With America's entry into the war, the advantages to the Allies of sharing their Ultra and Magic intercepts were obvious. But the British, apprehensive about America's ability to keep such an important secret, were at first reluctant to disclose the full range of their cryptanalytical activities at Bletchley. Their apprehensions stemmed, at least in part, from two serious scares that had threatened the security of Ultra in its earliest days, one of which was traced to the Russians and the other to the Americans.

For quite some time before Britain declared war on Germany and Italy in 1939, the Foreign Office, MI-6 and MI-5 had been conscious of serious leakages of information about secret British policy, most noticeably in the declarations of Mussolini and Stalin, who was then an ally of Hitler. It seemed to Foreign Office analysts of the two dictators' utterances that they knew altogether too much about British intentions. Where could the leak be? At first, attention fastened upon the British Embassy in Rome. Mussolini, it was discovered, had two agents in the entourage of the ambassador, Lord Perth. One, a chauffeur, gave himself away by stealing Lady Perth's tiara. He was dismissed, but the leaks continued. Then the second agent was discovered. He was an Italian clerk who was in the habit of rifling the rickety old safe which contained the "print," the Foreign Office's term for the file of cables between London and all important embassies.

The clerk, one Segundo, was also discharged; and thereafter Mussolini's statements revealed that his sources of secret information had dried up.

Stalin's statements, however, continued to show signs of access to British secrets; and in September 1939, acting on a tip from the British Embassy in Washington, MI-5 began a surveillance of Russians in London. It was discovered that a member of the Soviet Trade Delegation, A. A. Doschenko, was in the habit of taking a train to the market town of Leighton Buzzard. No one could imagine what legitimate business a Russian diplomat might have in such a sleepy little place; but when he took a walk down the Grand Union canal, he was joined by a second man. This man was followed back to Bletchley Park, which was only a few miles from Leighton Buzzard, and which housed the Foreign Office's Communications Department as well as the GC&CS. The man worked at Bletchley Park, handling Foreign Office cipher traffic. He was arrested on September 27, 1939. Apparently the victim of a blackmail operation, he confessed that he had been supplying the Russians with secret information and material for years; and some of this material, the security authorities learned, had enabled the Russians to read British diplomatic traffic.

The man was tried and sentenced to ten years' hard labor, Doschenko was expelled, and Stalin's intelligence source was plugged. But had Ultra been compromised? It was established that the man at Bletchley Park had not had access to, and apparently knew nothing of, the most secret activities going on in Hut 3. But with the security of Ultra uppermost in their minds, the British introduced for the first time the process that would come to be called "positive vetting"—detailed and deep security checks on all personnel handling secret materials; and it was this process, in part, that would ensure the remarkable fact that the secret of Ultra would be kept for thirty years.

In the early months of 1940, another serious security breach was discovered—this time at the American Embassy in London. The trail was convoluted, but it eventually led to Tyler Gateswood Kent, who had arrived at the embassy in October 1939 from Moscow, where he had served since 1936 as a State Department code and cipher clerk. A pleasant, tall and studious young man, Kent was the son of an American consul in China, the scion of an illustrious southern family, extremely well educated, fluent in German, Russian and the main Latin languages, and a student of history and political science. Aged twenty-nine, he was a man destined for the highest places in the State Department—except that he had formed some singular theories about the turbulent world of the thirties, among them the belief that international Jewry was propelling the world into war in order to obtain hegemony out of the ruins. Nevertheless, Kent was trusted completely and was assigned to the code room, where he handled the most confidential communications between the embassy and the State

The Search for a Strategy ) 67 (

Department. He had access to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy's correspondence with Roosevelt and Cordell Hull, the Secretary of State, as well as to the despatches of Ambassador William Bullitt in Paris and of American envoys in other parts of Europe who used the London embassy as a message center. Moreover, Kent handled the Gray Code, a cipher system that the State Department thought to be unbreakable; and it was in this code that Churchill, even before becoming Prime Minister, was corresponding with Roosevelt.

Ultra was just then beginning to flow across Churchill's desk from Bletchley; and without disclosing the source of his information, he passed naval intelligence derived from Ultra to Roosevelt. Roosevelt passed Churchill some Magic intercepts in return, again without disclosing their source. The object was to permit the two leaders and their naval staffs to make sensible dispositions of their fleets in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. But Churchill had another motive; he was frankly trying to enlist American sympathy and support for the British cause. Kent handled some of their messages in the solitude of the embassy code room, brooding about their meaning and portent.

It became apparent to the British security authorities that there was a leak somewhere when Hans Mackensen, the German ambassador in Rome, made a number of public declarations about Anglo-American naval policy which revealed that he was in possession of part of the information in the Churchill-Roosevelt communications. Suspicion fastened upon an assistant military attache at the Italian Embassy in London, Don Francesco Mar-ingliano, the Duke of Del Monte. He was shadowed by Special Branch officers of Scotland Yard, and they discovered that Maringliano occasionally went to a Russian tea room in London owned by a czarist admiral named Wolkoff. They also discovered that Maringliano had formed an association with the admiral's daughter, Anna Wolkoff, a naturalized British subject who made her living as a dressmaker and was known to be a "virulent anti-Semite" and Fascist sympathizer. Her file at Scotland Yard showed that she was a prominent and active member of the "Right Club," a nest of anti-Jewish right-wingers headed by Captain Archibald Ramsay, a distant relative of the royal family and an MP. The Special Branch put Miss Wolkoff under surveillance (she was detected pasting up "sticky backs" on bus stops, telephone boxes and the walls of dark streets, announcing that this was a "Jew's War"), and the trail led to the studio of a photographer named Nicholas Smirnov. It was found that Miss Wolkoff and Maringliano met at the studio. It was also found that Miss Wolkoff was in surreptitious contact with Kent. The British security authorities informed the Foreign Office and, with the knowledge and permission of Kennedy, it was decided to move in on Kent.

At 10 a.m. on May 20, 1940, four men—two Special Branch detec-

tives, an MI-5 counterespionage officer, and a second secretary from the American Embassy—raided Kent's apartment. They found some 1500 documents stuffed into various suitcases and cupboards, a few of Miss Wolkoff's "sticky-back" posters, some photographic negatives and a set of keys that enabled Kent to get into the embassy code room and the safe where Kennedy kept his most secret papers. Kent was taken to the American Embassy and there confessed to Kennedy. He explained that during his Moscow tour he had become dissatisfied with American foreign policy. It had been his intention, he said, to bring the stolen documents "to the attention of the Congress of the United States in time to prevent America's involvement in a war that was being fomented by his own President and the man who was soon to become the Prime Minister of Great Britain." He had been unable to find a means of submitting the documents to Congress—but then he met Miss Wolkoff. She persuaded him to show samples of the documents to Captain Ramsay, and from there, unknown to Kent, they had found their way to Rome and Berlin.

Kent denied that he was a spy. Nevertheless, he was dismissed from the Foreign Service; and with his immunity gone, he was tried, convicted, sentenced to—and he served—seven years in the most grim of British prisons, Dartmoor. The consequences of his actions, however patriotic he thought them to be, were grave. The Gray Code was compromised and all diplomatic communications from American embassies and missions throughout the world were blacked out for weeks until a new system could be established. Furthermore, the documents he had leaked revealed that Roosevelt had abandoned a positive neutral stance, a disclosure that aggravated both the Germans and those in America who were opposed to any involvement in the war. And Kent's treachery had been detected at the very moment when the British were expelled from Europe, France fell, and Hitler began to contemplate an invasion of Britain.

Apparently Kent had not compromised Ultra; a check of the Churchill-Roosevelt Gray Code correspondence would show that neither man had referred to Ultra or Magic. But it had been a severe fright, and British security authorities questioned the wisdom of disclosing the secrets of Ultra to anyone, including the Americans. For that reason, the first agreement to share Ultra and Magic was a limited one. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Admiral John Godfrey, the director of naval intelligence of the Admiralty, and his personal assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming, the future author of the James Bond novels, flew to Washington to arrange a pact to share only British and American naval intelligence. But in February 1942, after assurances were sought and given that neither Britain nor America would employ Ultra-Magic intercepts in circumstances that might cause the enemy to suspect that his secret communications were being read,

The Search for a Strategy ) 69 (

the pact was extended to include army, air force and diplomatic intelligence. The British would concentrate on penetrating German ciphers, while the Americans concentrated on the Japanese; and to hide the existence of Ultra, it was also agreed that all Ultra signals disseminated for operational purposes should be called Magic. Thus, if the Germans became suspicious through American leakages that their secret cipher system had been penetrated, they would conclude, hopefully, that it was the fault of the Japanese, not their own, and continue to use Enigma. For all practical purposes, Ultra became Magic, and was rarely referred to by its real name, at least in the United States. Furthermore, in Europe, whenever material derived from Ultra was circulated to levels lower than commanding generals, it was often referred to either as "Zeal," or as "Pearl" or "Thumb," two code names that were, in reality, those for low-level cryptographic and wireless intelligence intercepts. So successful would these disguises be that, until the secret of Ultra finally became known, the Germans and the Japanese would believe that the source of their historic discomfiture had been Magic.

When the Ultra-Magic agreement was reached, Turing journeyed to the United States to show his American counterparts how his machine worked. The Americans, in turn, brought to England a copy of the machine that had helped penetrate the Japanese system, and American cryptographers and cipher clerks began to swell the population at Bletchley. Even so, the British remained apprehensive about the agreement, for America, with its vast population and land area, and its aggressive and unbridled press, could not enforce the same degree of security that was possible in Britain. Nor did America have a centralized bureau, like the LCS, to orchestrate cover and deception operations. Both deficiencies were remedied by the creation, in May 1942, of a new secret service, the Joint Security Control, a dependency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Its founding charter directed the agency "to prevent the leakage of information in connection with military operations, to devise measures to deceive the enemy in connection therewith, to coordinate all security measures within the armed forces, and to act in an advisory capacity on security for all other government agencies that have direct or indirect activities bearing on military operations." Somewhat later, the Joint Security Control would extend its sphere of operations to cover cryptanalytical security as well. The Americans, with the British as a model, were gearing up for a war of special means. But it was a concept of warfare that was antithetical to the ideas of many; secrecy and deception were European characteristics that had no place in American public life. Cooperation between the press and the government, and even between the various arms of the military services, would be difficult to achieve—as difficult as the unreserved cooperation between the governments and military services of Britain and America. The agreements reached between the two

powers in the months after the Pearl Harbor attack hung on a slender thread of trust, and while that thread would fray dangerously on a number of occasions in the years ahead, it would ultimately hold.

It was in a similar atmosphere of trust tinged with suspicion that American and British high commanders began to plan their strategy; and for all the agreements in detail that had been reached between the two powers, it was immediately evident that there was a serious disagreement about how the Third Reich was to be attacked and defeated. Both partners recognized that an invasion of the continent of Europe across the English Channel was probably inevitable. But the British believed that the Third Reich was immensely powerful, and that before such an invasion could be launched there would have to be a long, hard, bloody struggle to disperse Germany's forces and sap her strength. Therefore, they advocated a stealthy, patient, indirect strategy—a strategy of superior wits and special means.

The Americans, on the other hand, believed that the Third Reich could be defeated only with the tactics that the British were determined to avoid—an immediate frontal attack from England against Germany through the coast of northwest France. While the British sought victory through subtle and less costly stratagems, the Americans saw the war as a battle between well-armored and well-nourished juggernauts, with laurels going to the side which could survive a duel of strength. The difference between the two concepts was as fundamental as the difference between British cricket and American football. Winston Churchill and General Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, fighting the war with the specter of Ypres at their shoulders, could see only catastrophe in the American conception; together they would maneuver to retain strategic control of the war and persuade the Americans to accept the British design for victory. Consequently, the alliance was not six months old before the gravest dispute threatened its integrity.

At the center of this dispute was a plan conceived by General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States army, and by the unknown and untested Chief of the War Plans Division in Washington, D.C., Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The plan, codenamed "Sledgehammer," provided for an invasion of northwest France in the late summer or early autumn of 1942, an operation that had already been rejected by the British because the overwhelming strength of the Wehrmacht in France would certainly result in disaster. British maneuvers to circumvent Sledgehammer would contribute to one of the war's most melancholy and mysterious operations, the large-scale raid in August 1942 on the Channel port of Dieppe.

When Brooke became Chief of the Imperial General Staff in the winter of 1941, he brought to that supreme military post within the British

The Search for a Strategy ) 71 (

Empire a new application of a traditional British military principle: never attack the enemy frontally if that is where he is strongest, and only engage him in mass and concentration when he has been weakened by attacks against his leadership, his morale and his economy. Brooke's strategy for the Second World War was to secure command of the seas and drive the Germans and Italians from North Africa. This first phase would restore British naval superiority and compel Hitler to garrison the entire Mediterranean coast of Europe from the Spanish frontier to the Turkish border at the expense of his Western and Eastern frontiers. At the same time— Brooke's design went on—Germany was to be weakened by day and night bombing and economic blockade, rendered uncertain about Allied intentions by unrelenting stratagem, and remorselessly attacked from within by Allied-nourished rebellions and political warfare. Finally, when the Wehr-macht showed all the signs of disintegration and distension, but not before, the Allies would cross the Channel to invade France and the German heartland. Under certain circumstances, Brooke believed, the Wehrmacht might even be compelled to withdraw from France by the combined weight of these pressures; and in that event it would not be necessary to undertake the vast task of invasion at all.

General Marshall and General Eisenhower contested this strategy. On April 1, 1942, convinced of the strength of America and the weakness of Germany, they presented President Roosevelt with Sledgehammer, which visualized cross-Channel operations to secure a beachhead in northwestern France that year, from which full-scale military operations, codenamed "Roundup," might be conducted in 1943. The objective of the 1942 operations was to relieve the Red Army, which appeared in Washington (but not in London) to be in danger of collapse, and to keep the Soviet Union in the war. The President approved Sledgehammer and decided to send Harry Hopkins, his adviser, and General Marshall to London to press the plan upon Churchill and Brooke. Sledgehammer, Roosevelt wired Churchill, "has my heart and mind in it."

The debate over the contesting strategies opened at 10:30 a.m. on April 8, 1942, at the War Office, and General Marshall faced a powerful and experienced opponent in General Brooke. A tough, shrewd and choleric Orangeman, Brooke had distinguished himself in action in both world wars and would soon become a field marshal and the most decorated British soldier since Marlborough, Wellington and Frederick Sleigh Roberts. He was not only a brave fighting man and staff officer; he was a military scientist and strategist of high competence. But so reserved and awkward was his personality that he was virtually unknown to the public; he was, indeed, better known as a student of birds and a zoologist than he was as a soldier.

A slightly stooped, aquiline man of fifty-eight, Brooke greeted Marshall

under a heroic oil painting of Kitchener's expedition against the Mahdi. Marshall was a quiet, courtly Virginian, sixty-one years old, more experienced in military politics than in waging war. From the beginning, these two officers, whose opinions would be decisive in planning and executing the strategies of the alliance, regarded each other with reserve and, on occasion, irritation. Brooke regarded American generals as both shortsighted and incompetent. Moreover, from a tactical viewpoint Marshall could not have come to see Brooke at a less favorable time. Both England and America faced defeat on every front, and the American army was quite unready to carry out an operation like Sledgehammer. As Field Marshal Sir John Dill, the senior British military representative in Washington, wrote to Brooke: "This country is the most highly organised for peace you can imagine. ... At present this country has not—repeat not—the slightest conception of what the war means, and their armed forces are more unready for war than it is possible to imagine. Eventually they will do great things, but ... (at the moment) the whole organisation belongs to the days of George Washington."

The Americans thought even less of British fighting forces. Donovan, after a trip to Britain early in 1942, reported that the British had been "totally unprepared" for German methods of attack, and that after the severe mauling the army had received at the hands of the enemy, it seemed fit only for defense, not offense. In Donovan's opinion, the British army was not strong enough, confident enough, or well enough equipped for a major offensive in Europe at this stage of the war. Yet Marshall proposed that on or about September 15, 1942, using England as the springboard, six divisions, to be followed by twelve more, would cross the Channel and storm the French shore. The operation would be supported by 5800 aircraft, 2550 of which would be British, and by a fleet that would be, inevitably, British. The American troop contribution could be, said Marshall, only three infantry and two armored divisions; but America would send 100,000 men per week until a force of 1 million Americans, or thirty divisions, had been built up. Thus almost the entire assault force would be British. And what of the German force? As Brooke pointed out, there were twenty-five German divisions in the western European group of nations and, in all respects, they were superior to the best that was available to both America and Britain at that time.

Marshall's and Eisenhower's plan was not only thought to smell of the lamp, it was also considered extremely dangerous. And Brooke said so. In an exasperated moment after the meeting with Marshall, he noted in his diary, "Whether we are to play baccarat or chemin-de-fer at Le Touquet ... is not stipulated." The Grand Alliance was only "hanging on by (its) eyelids," everywhere, and therefore "In the light of the existing situation (Marshall's) plans for September of 1942 were just fantastic." Marshall

The Search for a Strategy ) 73 (

was, he noted, "a good general at raising armies . . . but his strategical ability does not impress me at all. In fact, in many respects he is a very dangerous man whilst being a very charming one. . . ."

The conference ended in a cloud of ambiguity and misunderstanding. The Americans returned to Washington in the belief that Churchill and Brooke had agreed to undertake Sledgehammer. In fact, Roosevelt cabled Stalin with the news that the Anglo-Americans would invade France in 1942. But Churchill and Brooke had agreed only that planning should start for a possible emergency landing if the Russians appeared to be collapsing, and that planning should also begin for the American build-up in Britain for a cross-Channel attack in 1943. Churchill and Brooke recognized the necessity of luring the Luftwaffe into a large-scale battle, and of leading Hitler to believe that there would be an invasion that year, thus forcing him to garrison France at the expense of his fighting front in Russia. But they proposed to do that in quite another way—with a campaign of false rumors of an imminent invasion to draw Hitler's attention to the French Channel coast. To give substance to those rumors, as well as to put to the test of fire the tactics and equipment that would be necessary for an actual invasion, "Operation Rutter"—the old German name for a horse soldier—was being conceived. It would be an attack on Dieppe, and the largest amphibious operation since Gallipoli. But it was planned as a raid— not an invasion.

Into this confusion of plan and counterplan there now bounded a new, fresh, vigorous, likable figure: the author of Sledgehammer, General Eisenhower, who, less than eighteen months before, had been a lieutenant colonel and who had never commanded even a battalion in action. His academic and military career had been undistinguished, he had been to Europe only once before to write a guidebook to American war monuments, and at the time of Pearl Harbor he thought so little of his chances for promotion that he accepted command of a tank regiment in an armored division commanded by General George S. Patton, Jr. Eisenhower had come to London as the commanding general of the European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army (ETOUSA), to supervise the buildup for Sledgehammer-Roundup operations. And he had come in the belief that "at long last, and after months of struggle (with the British) ... we are all definitely committed to one concept of fighting!" He was soon to report that the British were not committed to Sledgehammer at all.

Eisenhower quickly became familiar with the intricate machinery that propelled British strategy, including the LCS, the agency expressly formed to deceive the Germans about British intentions. Colonel the Honourable Oliver Stanley was its chief, and his aristocratic origins—son of the 17th Earl of Derby, grandson of the 7th Duke of Manchester, son-in-law of the 7th Marquess of Londonderry—proclaimed the principle that deception was like intelligence: it was the business of gentlemen. A High Tory

intellectual, Stanley had held a number of Cabinet posts, including that of the War Ministry in 1940. When the Chiefs of Staff established the LCS, Stanley, who was known as "The Fox" at MI-6, was asked to head the bureau and, despite his antipathy for Churchill, accepted. And from its inception, the LCS under Stanley had been busy sowing rumor and misinformation in widely separated parts of the world more or less simultaneously. When all the fragments were assembled by the German intelligence evaluators they formed a single picture—but a false one—of British strategy which was close to what the Germans themselves thought logical and probable and were therefore disposed to believe.

At first, Eisenhower was puzzled by the artful dodgers of England, the LCS. A plainsman born and reared in the infinite clear horizons of Kansas, he did not appreciate, or like, the world of the well-born alley cat. It was too intricate for him, as London in wartime was too intricate for many Americans. When the time came for him to judge the achievements of the LCS, he would write:

In the early days of the war, particularly when Britain stood alone in 1940 and 1941, the British had little with which to oppose the Germans except deception. They resorted to every type of subterfuge ... in order to confuse the Germans as to the amount of military strength (they had) and, more important, its disposition. Out of this was born a habit that was later difficult (for them) to discard.

When Eisenhower was introduced to the LCS, Colonel Stanley was playing his first great game. His agents were filling the whispering gallery of Europe—and the world—with suggestions and rumors of an imminent invasion by the Allies of northwestern France. Eisenhower was not impressed; it was, he said, difficult to see how, in the long run, a war of words could be a substitute for metal and powder. He may have been correct. Nevertheless, this war of words, combined with a series of sharp Commando attacks along the Norwegian and the French Channel coasts—one a raid against Bruneval, where the British stole a new German radar set and discovered the secrets of the electronic defenses of Hitler's Europe, and another at St. Nazaire, where they destroyed the only drydock installation in Europe outside Germany that was capable of handling the Kriegs-marine's largest warships—had compelled Hitler to promulgate Directive 40 in March 1942 which ordered the construction of the Atlantic Wall, the German coastal defenses for western Europe.

Conceived as one of the great engineering projects of history, and executed as such, the Atlantic Wall would require a vast diversion and dispersal of German resources. In response to LCS deception operations and the host of pinprick Commando attacks, Hitler, convinced that his empire was vulnerable at almost every point, stretched his fortifications

The Search for a Strategy ) 75 (

from the North Cape to the Spanish frontier. Thus he played into the hands of British strategists, for while the Atlantic Wall would be a formidable barrier—both physically and psychologically—to an invading Allied army, Hitler, in an attempt to be strong everywhere, would not be strong enough at the point and moment of an actual invasion. Like the Great Wall of China, the Atlantic Wall would prove to be largely useless.

As the strategical debate on Sledgehammer continued, and as Eisenhower integrated himself into wartime London in a mood of increasing skepticism and disappointment at what he thought to be the caution of British strategy, plans for Rutter were completed and troop training began. It was to be a frontal attack—the most dangerous of all assaults—from the sea against Dieppe, undertaken by two brigades of the Canadian Second Division, supported by Commandos and a battalion of twenty-eight new Churchill tanks. The naval forces would consist of some two hundred ships, including destroyers to provide bombardment. The troops were to get ashore and stay ashore for two tides, capture the port and certain German installations, take some prizes (including an Enigma if one could be found), infiltrate some agents, and then withdraw. Some fifty-six squadrons of RAF fighters—more than existed at the time of the Battle of Britain— would engage the Luftwaffe and provide aerial support.

The Rutter planners, who were commanded by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, demanded two prerequisites for the raid: secrecy and surprise. The Chiefs of Staff approved the overall strategy on May 13, 1942, force commanders were appointed and detailed planning started. But at almost the same time Colonel Stanley began to direct deception operations that were designed to rivet German attention on the very stretch of the French coast where Rutter was to go in. Thus from the outset Rutter was in jeopardy because, so it seemed, the right hand did not let the left hand know what it was doing. This might possibly be explained by the fact that the Rutter planners were separated from Churchill's headquarters geographically, but it is not likely. It might also be explained by the fact that the LCS worked in conditions of super-secrecy and that few of the Rutter planners would even have been aware of its existence; but this, too, is hardly tenable since the Chiefs of Staff were responsible for coordinating all acts of war. Finally, it might be explained by the fact that Rutter was intended as a sacrificial operation from the very beginning—an operation to give the appearance of truth to the LCS's deception. But now high politics intervened to complicate the reasons for the Dieppe raid.

In Washington, where Marshall was setting "Bolero"—the code word for the American build-up in Britain—in motion, it soon became apparent that Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff were sidestepping Sledgehammer and now favored 'Torch," the invasion of North Africa. Marshall, alarmed at the situation in Russia where the German offensive had reopened with a

drive on the Caucasian oilfields, was equally determined upon Sledgehammer. The Red Army had just lost 250,000 men in the great battles of May and June for the Crimea and once again seemed about to collapse. If Russia was to remain in the war, Marshall believed that Sledgehammer must be launched without delay. A great clamor for a Second Front arose in England and America, and the Soviet Foreign Minister, V. M. Molotov, arrived in London to demand a positive commitment for an invasion of France in 1942.

Brooke did not share Marshall's view that the Russians were played out; on the contrary, he considered that the Germans were in a serious predicament, despite the successes of their summer offensive. He rejected American pressure for an early invasion of France to help Russia on the grounds that "... a premature Western Front (can) only result in the most appalling shambles which must . . . reduce the chances of ultimate victory to a minimum." But he also wrote, ominously for Rutter, "We discussed [at a Chief of Staff meeting] the problem of assistance to Russia by operations in France, either large raid or lodgment. Decided only hope was to try and draw off (Luftwaffe) from Russia and that for this purpose raid must be carried out on Calais front."

At Brooke's insistence, Churchill, briefing Molotov on British plans, assured him only that "We are making preparations for a landing on the Continent in August or September 1942," and that if conditions for an operation appeared "sound and sensible, we shall not hesitate to put our plans into effect." But in Washington, where Molotov went next in an attempt to get from Roosevelt what he had failed to get from Churchill, the attitude toward the invasion was quite different. The plight of Russia, as described by Molotov at the White House, made a profound impression upon Roosevelt; after consulting with Marshall, he authorized Molotov to inform Stalin that he expected the formation of a Second Front in the current year. D-Day for Sledgehammer, Molotov was told, would be during the month of August 1942—not more than ten weeks off.

Roosevelt's promise was embodied in a telegram that was sent to both Stalin and Churchill, but when Molotov returned to London, Churchill told him once again that the British government could give no assurance that Sledgehammer-Roundup would be undertaken that year. What Churchill had in mind—Rutter apart—was a large-scale deception operation of a type not hitherto attempted. Nevertheless, a public statement, approved by both Roosevelt and Molotov and broadcast to the world, declared that "full understanding was reached with regard to the urgent task of creating a second front in Europe in 1942." "There could be no harm in a public statement," Churchill would later write, "which might make the Germans apprehensive and consequently hold as many of their troops in the West as possible."

The Search for a Strategy ) 11 (

Meanwhile, Churchill had sent Admiral the Lord Louis Mountbatten to Washington to explain the British position; but Marshall, backed by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, continued to insist that Sledgehammer be launched to save Russia. A crisis was looming in Allied affairs. Churchill resolved to go to Washington himself and take Brooke with him. "Roosevelt," said the Prime Minister, "(is) getting a little off the rails."

On June 17, 1942, Churchill and Brooke departed for the United States by Pan American Clipper and landed on the Potomac River. They found Marshall in a stubborn and ominous mood, still dangerously optimistic about the ability of raw American troops to land from the sea and defeat a superior and veteran German army. He was completely backed by Secretary of War Stimson who, on the morning of the arrival of the British party, warned Roosevelt that Churchill and Brooke had come to "wheedle" the President into the "wildest kind of diversionary debauch"—as Stimson called Torch. That was, indeed, Churchill's intention. In a memorandum to Roosevelt he stated:

We hold strongly to the view that there should be no substantial landing in France this year unless we are going to stay. . . . But . . . what else are we going to do? Can we afford to stand idle in the Atlantic theatre during the whole of 1942? Ought we not to be preparing within the general structure of "Bolero" some other operation by which we may gain positions of advantage, and also directly or indirectly to take some of the weight off Russia? It is in this setting and on this background that the French Northwest Africa operation [Torch] should be studied.

On June 21 Churchill, the President, Marshall, Brooke, Field Marshal Sir John Dill and Harry Hopkins met at the White House until 4:30 p.m. to discuss plans. But with appalling suddenness disaster intruded; an aide entered the room and handed Roosevelt a flimsy. The President read it and then handed it to the Prime Minister. It announced the fall of Tobruk. General Rommel was on the rampage in North Africa, and Britain's 8th Army was streaming back into Egypt in the wildest disorder. The sting of the moment lay in Tobruk. At Churchill's command the little port had been transformed into a fortress and, during an earlier battle with Rommel, it had held out for thirty-three weeks. This time it had collapsed in a day. It appeared that there was now little to stop Rommel from marching into Egypt and taking Cairo and the great naval base of Alexandria.

Churchill was stunned by the news, partly because he had learned it from the President rather than from his own sources. He said afterward that he felt it was the most mortifying experience suffered by an Englishman in America since General Burgoyne. Defeat, said Churchill, was one thing; disgrace another.

The disaster weakened the authority of Churchill's and Brooke's argu-

ments over those of Marshall and his supporters. In the short time left for discussion, Churchill invoked visions of Passchendaele and Ypres in the First World War to warn the President against the foolhardiness of Sledgehammer. He was opposed to a sacrificial landing on the coast of France to save Russia, and said that if such an expedition was attempted the Channel would become a "river of blood." He reminded the President of the British belief that the Second World War should not become a "war of vast armies, firing immense masses of shells at one another," and said that he believed that sea and air power "plus superior wits" would accomplish Hitler's defeat. It would be a long time before the American army was battle-worthy, and he insisted that the only way America and Britain could lose the Second World War was by suffering a disastrous defeat on the French shore. He had, he said, a healthy respect for the German army.

Even so, the Military Conclusions of the meeting of June 21, 1942— the day upon which the news of the Tobruk disaster reached Churchill— stated in part:

Operations in France or the Low Countries in 1942 would, if successful, yield greater political and strategic gains than operations in any other theatre. Plans and preparations for the operations in this theatre are to be pressed forward with all possible speed, energy, and ingenuity. The most resolute efforts must be made to overcome the obvious dangers and difficulties of the enterprise. If a sound and sensible plan can be contrived we should not hesitate to give effect to it. If, on the other hand, detailed examination shows that, despite all efforts, success is improbable, we must be ready with an alternative.

On that note of uncertain accord, Churchill sped home to face what the American press described as his "supreme political crisis," for following the collapse of the 8th Army in North Africa, a vote of no confidence had been introduced against him in the House of Commons. Churchill survived the vote by a wide margin on July 2, the same day that the 8th Army finally stopped Rommel at El Alamein. His political future was saved.

Less certain was the future of the American alliance, for despite his political predicament the Prime Minister lost little time in debating the wisdom of Sledgehammer anew with his Chiefs of Staff. On July 8 he made his final decision: Britain would not support Sledgehammer. He telegraphed the President accordingly on that day. "No responsible British general, admiral, or air marshal is prepared to recommend 'Sledgehammer' as a practicable operation in 1942," his signal read. "The Chiefs of Staff have reported, 'The conditions which would make "Sledgehammer" a sound, sensible enterprise are very unlikely to occur.' "

On that same day, the Rutter raid was abandoned. It was to have been

The Search for a Strategy ) 79 (

launched on July 4, 1942; a small armada had assembled and was loaded with troops, guns and tanks. All the aircraft had been made ready. But quite suddenly the weather turned bad in the Channel, there was no hope that it might improve, and there had been disturbing news from France. The 10th Panzer Division had moved into the area of Dieppe, which seemed to indicate that the Germans had some foreknowledge of the raid. Moreover, German aircraft had attacked some of Rutter's ships and must certainly have observed the assembled convoy. Accordingly, the troops were disembarked and returned to their camps. The planners considered that Rutter was now wholly compromised and, they recommended to the Chiefs of Staff, it would be lunacy to remount the operation. Their recommendation would not be heeded.

In Washington, meanwhile, strong tensions were growing over the Prime Minister's telegram of July 8. They were increased by another telegram from Churchill on July 14, in which he said:

I am most anxious for you to know where I stand myself at the present time. I have found no one who regards "Sledgehammer" as possible. I should like you to do (Torch) as soon as possible, and that we in concert with the Russians should try for "Jupiter." Meanwhile all preparations for "Roundup" in 1943 should proceed at full blast, thus holding the maximum enemy forces opposite England. All this seems to me as clear as noonday.

When Marshall realized that not only were the British resolved to abandon Sledgehammer but they were also proposing to embark upon "Jupiter"—the code name of a plan for an invasion of northern Norway— he concluded that Churchill's and Brooke's words could no longer be trusted. Twice, he believed, they had agreed to Sledgehammer, and twice, he believed, they had reneged on that agreement. Dill, whom Marshall did trust, warned Churchill of the approaching storm. On July 15 he telegraphed the Prime Minister that Marshall, Admiral Ernest J. King and Harry Hopkins were coming to London for what would be a major showdown. His message read in part: "Unless you can convince (Marshall) of your unswerving devotion to (Sledgehammer) everything points to a complete reversal of our present agreed strategy and the withdrawal of America to a war of her own in the Pacific, leaving (Britain) with limited American assistance to make out as best we can against Germany."

Not before, and not again, would the Grand Alliance be in such danger; not before, and not again, would Hitler appear to be so close to victory—for that must have been the consequence of an Anglo-American split. It was a moment of great peril. Clearly Marshall was not used to, and neither could he tolerate, the special language of English negotiations. He was chief of the army of a nation that believed there was no enemy, no problem that could not be overcome by determination, energy and, if

necessary, force. On the other hand, the British, with their greater experience in the strategies of diplomacy and war, believed that the Wehrmacht could not be defeated as easily and simply as Marshall supposed. But Churchill could not now persuade the Americans by the power of his personality or the prestige of the British army, for both were suspect. He would write: "The fall of Tobruk, the political clamour at home, and the undoubted loss of prestige which our country, and I as its representative, suffered from this disaster had rendered it impossible for me to obtain satisfaction." How could Churchill convince the Americans that Sledgehammer would be a disaster? On July 15, 1942—three days before Marshall was due in London for the showdown—he directed that Rutter should be resurrected, although all the Rutter planners and the force commanders warned that to do so would probably mean the destruction of the force.

At first Churchill demanded that a full-scale raid be undertaken against the French coast at a place other than Dieppe. When the Chiefs of Staff explained that there was no time to plan and remount another big raid, Churchill was adamant. He explained his reasons later:

However, I thought it most important that a large-scale operation should take place this summer, and military opinion seemed unanimous that until an operation on that scale was undertaken, no responsible general would take the responsibility of planning for the main invasion. In discussion with Admiral Mountbatten it became clear that time did not permit a new large-scale operation to be mounted during the summer, but that Dieppe could be remounted . . . within a month, provided extraordinary steps were taken to ensure secrecy.

At the time this explanation may have been sufficient for the Chiefs of Staff; as Englishmen they knew the perils of those unruly Narrows. Who would dare undertake the invasion of a hostile shore to engage a seemingly invincible army without, first, having made a reconnaissance in force? Yet time and history would contest Churchill's statement as being the only reason for the raid on that old pirate port. It would be alleged that Churchill repudiated his conscience and reordered Rutter to show the Americans that Sledgehammer would be a disaster. It would also be alleged that, in the sure knowledge that a tragedy would occur, he was prepared to sacrifice 5000 men in order to shake the Americans away from an infinitely more dangerous course: an invasion that might cost the western powers 500,000 men, all their materiel, a large part of their navies and air forces— and the war.

From the beginning of "Jubilee" (as Rutter came to be called from this point), all planning was done in the atmosphere of a plot. Churchill directed that steps should be taken for which, so far as is known, there was

The Search for a Strategy ) 81 (

no precedent. He ordered that nothing was to appear on paper about Jubilee at meetings of the Chiefs of Staff. All planning was to be confined to a small cabal of men of proven discretion. The troops' commanders were not to know what their mission was until they were actually sealed in their ships. To conceal the movements of the Canadians, all were to be told they were going on exercises. Not even the First Lord of the Admiralty was to be told what the planners required 250 ships for. There were to be no rehearsals and no concentration of shipping; the expedition was to sail in bits and pieces and rendezvous out in the Channel. Finally, there was to be no cover and deception. This order was particularly mystifying, for it suggested that Churchill and the Chiefs of Staff did not want the Germans to be distracted.

At the same time the LCS, whose campaign of rumor that Europe would soon be invaded through the Channel coast was at its height, was not directed to cease the campaign, or to divert German attention elsewhere. More mysteriously, the XX-Committee received instructions not to use double agents to feed their German controllers with misinformation about the purpose and destination of all the shipping gathering at the British Channel ports. The XX-Committee had proposed such an operation, but it was vetoed by Combined Operations headquarters. As Master-man wrote later: "It is sad, but interesting, to speculate whether the Dieppe raid might not have been more successful, or at least less costly, if it had been effectively covered."

One man at least found the situation intolerable: Colonel Stanley, the chief of the LCS. A man of towering anger—had he not blackballed the Aga Khan at the Turf?—he resigned abruptly. Having been responsible for the 1942 campaigns to persuade Hitler that the Allies would invade in the West that year, and having seen Hitler's reactions through his access to Ultra, he knew better than most men how prepared the Germans were for any expedition across the Channel and, with his experience in the trenches during the First World War, he knew what the butcher's bill would be for Dieppe. He could no longer be a member of an entourage that would sacrifice or risk 5000 loyal Empire troops to keep Russia in the war. As one of his friends would later explain his position: "A man whose ancestors had put the Tudors on the throne saw no reason to bow low to foreign potentates." Stanley departed, and was succeeded after the Dieppe raid by Colonel John Bevan. But Stanley did not go into the wilderness; he went to be Minister of the Colonies.

As the operational planning for Jubilee proceeded in circumstances of abnormal secrecy, even for those days, at the headquarters of Combined Operations in Richmond Terrace, where Mountbatten, the chief, presided over a sort of private fiefdom, the American delegation—Marshall, King and Hopkins—arrived at Prestwick Airport in Scotland. The British had

made arrangements for a private train to take them to a stop near Chequers. But the members of the delegation insisted that the train take them straight to London. This, undoubtedly, was a personal and a diplomatic affront to Churchill. But the Americans were in no mood for protocol.

The conference began the following day, July 20, and the American delegation, which now included Eisenhower and the American ground, air force and naval commanders, pressed for an immediate Sledgehammer. Only Admiral Harold R. Stark, the naval commander, was opposed; as a sailor he knew that in a few short weeks the French Channel coast would have become a dangerous lee shore. The British voted against the operation to a man. By July 22 the two sides were deadlocked and Hopkins, in a note to Marshall across the table in the Cabinet Room of 10 Downing Street, wrote: "I feel damn depressed." Hopkins then declared that he and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff would have to consult the President, and this they did. The President telegraphed a reply immediately; the U.S. Chiefs were to seek an alternative operation against the Germans that would involve American troops offensively in 1942.

Churchill and Brooke finally got their way; on July 24 the Americans agreed to launch Torch. This invasion of French Northwest Africa would have an American Supreme Commander—Eisenhower—and a combined Anglo-American staff. The long and dangerous verbal battle over Sledgehammer was at an end; yet it was not wholly a triumph for British strategy. Eisenhower's nomination was of high political importance, although no one cared to acknowledge it at the time; it marked the beginning of the end of Britain's domination of the strategy of the war—and her position as a first-rank world power. But Churchill was, for the moment, content. He would write: "All was therefore agreed and settled in accordance with my long-conceived ideas and those of my colleagues, military and political. This was a great joy to me, especially as it came in what seemed to be the darkest hour." In a talk with his friend Sir Robert Boothby, however, he would later reconsider these words and, in a rather despondent mood, remark that the final verdict of history would take account not only of the victories achieved under his direction, but of the political results which flowed from them. And, he said, "Judged by this standard, I am not sure that I shall be held to have done very well."

Yet the Grand Alliance had survived a critical test, and as Roosevelt wrote to Churchill: "I cannot help feeling that the past week represented a turning point in the whole war and that now we are on our way shoulder to shoulder."

The decision for Torch removed the political need for the raid on Dieppe; it was no longer necessary to show the Americans the danger of a

The Search for a Strategy ) 83 (

premature invasion. It might seem that Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff would, therefore, have canceled Jubilee. But they did not. Its objectives—to lure the Luftwaffe to battle, to action-test the new theories of triphibious warfare, and to try to take some of the weight off the Russians —remained. And now a new factor emerged. In a message to Roosevelt on July 27, 1942, Churchill proposed that Jupiter (the plan for an invasion of northern Norway) and Sledgehammer should be used to deceive Hitler about where the Torch convoys were bound. Churchill wrote:

All depends upon secrecy and speed. . . . Secrecy can only be maintained by deception. For this purpose I am running "Jupiter" and we must also work up "Sledgehammer" with the utmost vigour. These will cover all movements in the United Kingdom. When your troops start for "Torch" everyone except the secret circles should believe that they are going to Suez or (the Persian Gulf), thus explaining (the Torch troops') tropical kit. The Canadian Army here will be fitted for Arctic service. Thus we shall be able to keep the enemy in doubt till the last moment.

The U.S. Chiefs accepted this proposition; the raid on Dieppe would be launched to give teeth to "Overthrow"—a deception campaign to suggest that part of the forces in Britain would do what the LCS had been trying to convince the Germans all summer that they would do: invade France. Whereas before the forces of Jubilee might have been offered up to the gods of grand strategy and high politics, they were now to be offered up to the gods of grand strategy and deception.

The deception and political warfare campaign that climaxed in Overthrow and Dieppe had been going full-blast ever since the late spring. It began with an alarming BBC proclamation to the French nation, and particularly the French on the Channel coast, in what was an early example of the manipulation of the French—and the BBC—for the purposes of deception and political warfare. "The coastal regions of occupied France are likely to become more and more a theatre of war operations. . . . They will inevitably bring with them the gravest dangers for the civilian population," the BBC warned. This broadcast, in concert with the announcement that Britain and Russia had reached a "full understanding . . . with regard to the urgent task of creating a second front in Europe in 1942," created exactly the climate of expectancy that the LCS intended— and that would precipitate Stanley's resignation.

As speculation about an invasion began to mount in the press and on the radio in both Britain and America, the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) and British and American diplomatic agents throughout the world began to spread rumors in a "sibs" campaign (so-called from the Latin sibilare, to hiss) to support the fiction. The Vatican "learned" that large-scale operations would take place in the region of the Pas de Calais,

Flanders, Normandy and the Cherbourg peninsula, and was urged to safeguard religious treasures in those zones. MI-6, SOE and the XX-Com-mittee primed their agents with similar reports, while small, fast naval craft and the Commandos made "reconnaissance missions" and actual raids up and down the French coast. Time and time again the BBC went on the air to warn the French against uprising in support of an invasion before they received instructions from London. And all that summer the RAF trailed its coat across the skies of France and Belgium, seeking to bring the Luftwaffe to battle and to give the impression that it was engaged in preparatory operations for an invasion. Altogether the RAF flew a total of 43,000 missions over France and Belgium, and 73,000 missions over England and the Channel—and lost a total of 915 aircraft.

All this activity—tragically for Jubilee—had brought the Germans into a high state of readiness and expectancy when, on the afternoon of August 18, 1942, the troops were embarked. Jubilee had been launched despite all warnings that it would end in disaster. Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory, of Fighter Command's II Group, the air commander for the operation, warned the planning syndicate: "The troops will be pinned down on the beaches at the very beginning. They'll never get going again, mark my words."

Just before nightfall the Jubilee force slipped its cables at moorings in the small ports along the English coast and headed for the rendezvous where, after dark, it would assemble and make way for Dieppe. As the half-moon rose in the purple of the darkened Channel, over 6000 men in 250 ships considered the single question: Did the Germans know they were coming and did they know where they were to land? Indeed, how much had the Germans learned of the raid on Dieppe?

On July 9, 1942, Hitler, who was directing the summer offensive on the Russian front at his command post in the East Prussian forests, issued a new directive that concerned France. "As a result of our victories, so swiftly achieved," he declared, "England may be faced with the choice either of immediately mounting a major landing in order to create a Second Front or of losing Soviet Russia as a political and military factor. It is highly probable therefore that enemy landings will shortly take place in the areas of C-in-C West." Then Hitler went on to detail where he supposed these landings might occur: ". . . in the first place, the Channel coast, the area between Dieppe and Le Havre, and Normandy, since these sectors can be reached by enemy fighters and also because they lie within range of a large proportion of the invasion craft."

How had the Fuehrer made this surprisingly accurate deduction? He specified three main sources: from agents' reports and other intelligence; from the heavy concentration of invasion craft on the south coast of

The Search for a Strategy ) 85 (

England; and from reduced activity by the RAF. Hitler drew the conclusions that any strategist would draw, and impelled by the LCS deception campaign, he assigned very large new formations to the defense of the West—at a time when he was short of men and materiel on the Russian front and needed every German soldier for the campaign there. Thus Overthrow achieved one of its primary objectives by relieving some of the pressures on the Red Army.

But two can play the game of deception, and to deceive the British about the strength of the forces that guarded Dieppe, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, the C-in-C West, launched "Porto 11"—an operation to mislead agents into reporting that the Dieppe area was held by only 1400 low-grade troops of the 110th Infantry Division, a unit that had been weakened in Russia and was resting and refitting on the Channel, when in fact the area was held by the very powerful 302nd Infantry Division—of the same series that would almost decimate the Americans at D-Day on Omaha beach. Moreover, Dieppe itself was not garrisoned, as Porto II said it was, by a mere battalion of raw troops, but by a complete infantry regiment of some 5000 riflemen, some 250 artillerymen and ancillary troops; and immediately available as reserves were no less than three battalions of infantry, an artillery battalion, a tank company, and an entire panzer division six hours' march distant.

Porto II was, apparently, accepted as fact by MI-6. As Churchill wrote: "From available intelligence Dieppe was held only by German low-category troops amounting to one battalion with supporting units making no more than 1400 men in all." Thus MI-6, which was responsible for the reconnaissance, was not only badly tricked but was also badly served by its field agents, who were mainly French. It was not until after the war that Menzies learned how the Germans had managed to deduce that Dieppe was at least one of the targets. The deduction was made as a result of information obtained by Captain Heinz Eckert, an Abwehr counterintelligence officer with special responsibility for penetrating enemy secret services. Eckert was in contact with two French traitors. One was Raoul KhTer ("Kiki"), a former British agent and member of Interallied a large and important MI-6 reseau, who had been "turned" by the Abwehr; and the other was Andre Lemoin, a French marine painter whose code name was "Moineau." There was evidence that Kiffer had betrayed British intentions in the earlier combined operation against the great gates of the drydock at St. Nazaire.

Through Kiffer and Lemoin, Eckert was introduced to Madame Jean-ette Dumoulins, a member of a Gaulliste reseau in the Norman village of Veules-les-Roses about 16 miles from Dieppe. Madame Dumoulins believed Eckert was a Canadian agent—he was introduced as "Mr. Evans"— and she told him she had heard a message personnel on the BBC from her

husband who had escaped to England. The message was: "Georges will very soon embrace Jeanette." Unsuspectingly, Madame Dumoulins asked Eckert whether he knew the exact time and place of her husband's arrival. Eckert promised to make enquiries in London. Then Madame Dumoulins revealed that the commander of the reseau was in touch with an officer of the Organization Todt—German paramilitary construction engineers and workers. This officer, who had an important position at Dieppe, was a fervent anti-Nazi, and was supplying London through the reseau with specially requested information on Dieppe's docks, installations, fortifications, the position of shore batteries and the deployment of German units. Eckert now had two important clues: "Georges will very soon embrace Jeanette," a message which he knew was intended to alert the reseau to the imminence of a landing operation; and the special request for Dieppe intelligence, indicating that Dieppe might be the target.

That, then, was the Jubilee security situation on the evening of August 14. Jubilee had already been thoroughly compromised. But then a tiny episode occurred to bring the German forces at Dieppe into a state of highest expectancy. It began on the evening of June 22. Two Organization Todt workers attached to the small German garrison around the Barfleur lighthouse on the tip of the Cherbourg peninsula were set upon in a dark lane by assailants as they staggered home to their quarters, three sheets to the wind with calvados. Their throats were cut. Then, at 0340 hours on August 15, four days before the Dieppe raid, a sentry on a light machine gun at a defense post near the Barfleur Light, in the same area where the Organization Todt men had been murdered, heard a movement in the undergrowth. He demanded the password and was greeted by five hand grenades and seventeen rounds of submachine-gun fire. Patrols saw a motor torpedo boat standing offshore, lights signaling, and they discovered the footprints of six pairs of British Commando boots in the sand, together with the scrape marks of a pneumatic assault boat. It had been nothing more than a typical small irritation raid. No one was hurt and the MTB got under way and disappeared—leaving the Germans even more suspicious and alert all the way from Cherbourg to Antwerp.

The timing of this raid would remain a mystery. The British must have known that it would alert the Germans on the very eve of Jubilee. But unless there was a blunder—which was not likely—is it not possible that the British wanted the Germans to be alert and nervous along the Channel coast? That, too, was one of the primary objectives of Overthrow; and if it was the reason for the raid (which, curiously, was never made public), it achieved the desired results.

That same day, August 15, the German wireless intelligence service noted a change in the pattern of wireless traffic in southern England, followed by a highly significant wireless silence, and this, it was known from

The Search for a Strategy ) 87 (

a long study of British wireless behavior, sometimes presaged an attack. At the same time the B-Dienst, the German naval cryptanalytical bureau, broke one of the Royal Navy ciphers in use at Portsmouth and obtained intelligence that indicated the imminence of a large-scale naval movement. Finally, as if to ensure the doom of Jubilee, a German coastal convoy accompanied by sub-chasers was spotted by shore radar in England as the attack force made its way across the Channel, and warnings were flashed to the Jubilee commanders. The messages were received satisfactorily but not in time to prevent one of Jubilee's convoys from colliding with the Germans. A fire fight broke out and the German commander managed to send a message to his headquarters that resulted in a "battle imminent" alert being passed to the garrison commander at Dieppe about forty-five minutes before the first waves of Canadians were due to land.

The troops at Dieppe had been in a high state of alert ever since August 1; and at one of the key beaches to be crossed by the Canadians, they were sleeping in position in their clothes. Sappers had laid 14,000 new mines along the beach and esplanade, and buildings had been razed to give guns better fields of fire. Other buildings, including the famous Casino, had been wired for demolition in the event of a landing, and all telephone switchboards and communications points were being manned by officers (as was usually the case at times of maximum alert) to ensure rapid transmission of information and orders. The Gobes—ancient cave dwellers' homes in the cliffs at both ends of the town—concealed scores of machine-gun and anti-tank gun nests that had not been detected by aerial reconnaissance, and all were in readiness. Disaster was compounding itself, as it so often does once set in motion.

At sea, the forces of Jubilee—the old Jewish word for a time of rejoicing and celebration announced by the sound of a ram's horn—felt their way through a minefield. It was a starlit night, the sea was smooth and the air calm; it was one of the finest nights of the summer. But, as the records show, there was a feeling of certain doom among the Canadians. "Even before we put to sea," wrote a Canadian newspaper correspondent, Ross Munro, "some had an ominous feeling about what was ahead of them on the other side of the Channel. Nobody said anything but many were wondering how the security had been . . . since (Rutter's abandonment). Did the Germans know the Canadians were going to France and were they waiting? This was the question being asked in many minds. They were puzzled, too, why the raid had been decided upon so suddenly." Another correspondent wrote: "One question worried all of us in those last silent twenty minutes after the long, cramped voyage in the starlight. Would the Germans be ready for us? Thinking of it made my stomach flutter. I remembered that old R.A.F. saying, 'I had kittens,' and suddenly knew what

it meant. But I hung, in my rising funk, on to the thought that 'the other bastards' were twice as scared as me."

In the chill pre-dawn twilight off the Dieppe coast, the infantry ships lowered their boats, which were filled with the finest men of the finest regiments of Canada. Munro recalled that one sailor leaned over the side "and in a stage whisper said, 'Cheerio, lads, all the best; give the bastards a walloping.' " The sea was glossy with starlight, wrote Munro, and as the assault craft began their run in, they left a "phosphorescent wake that stood out like diamonds on black velvet." At the exact instant and in the exact place the landing craft touched down on the beaches, the machine guns and artillery in the Gobes opened fire. Munro recorded: "We bumped on the beach and down went the ramp and out poured the first infantrymen. They plunged into about two feet of water and machine-gun bullets laced into them. Bodies piled up on the ramp. Some staggered to the beach and fell. . . . They had been cut down before they had a chance to fire a shot."

At this moment the awful reality of Sledgehammer was apparent. Generals in air-cooled offices might conceive plans, syndicates might refine those plans, but here was the moment of truth. With a shattering roar the Casino was blown up; Churchill tanks rumbled out of the LST's and, with but one exception, dug themselves fast into the shingle and were then destroyed by anti-tank guns on the promenade. Most of the 6000 men never got beyond the sea wall; many never disembarked at all before they were killed. The greatest battle since 1940 roared in the clear, clean air overhead; "the whole sky and sea had gone mad with . . . confusion," wrote Munro. A Ju-88 dropped a heavy bomb on the destroyer Berkley. It struck slightly forward of amidships and broke her back; the first American ground casualty of the European war—Lieutenant Colonel L. B. Hill-singer—was blown off the bridge onto the forward deck. He lost a foot which, with the shoe still on it, floated alongside the sinking destroyer.

The remnants of the Jubilee force quickly withdrew, and by 5:40 p.m. Rundstedt was able to telegraph Hitler that "No armed Englishman remains on the Continent." The raid was a failure—not even a glorious failure. And the losses were frightful. Of the 6086 men involved in the land operation, 3623 (59.5 per cent) became casualties; of the 4963 Canadians who went in, 3367 (68 per cent) were killed, wounded or captured. Some of the Canadian regiments were virtually wiped out. The RAF suffered 13 per cent casualties and lost 106 planes against German losses of 46; Jubilee's attempt to bloodlet the Luftwaffe had failed. The navy lost a destroyer and 33 landing craft of a fleet that totaled 252 vessels of all sizes, and a total of 550 officers and other ratings were killed, wounded, captured or missing.

German losses were very light. In all the Wehrmacht suffered 591

The Search for a Strategy ) 89 (

casualties, of whom 297 were actually killed. And at his headquarters Rundstedt sent in a report on the action to Hitler that ended with the words: "They will not do it like this a second time!" Indeed, they would not.

The Germans were exultant. Dr. Josef Goebbels, the German propagandist, using photographs of the mounds of corpses and the carbonized hulks of the tanks, the lurched artillery and the back-broken hulls of the ships—all reminiscent of Dunkirk—proclaimed a picture of Festung Europa, the impregnable Fortress Europe. The German Radio Service, in a broadcast to the United States, announced: "In London they appear to have held as a bluff the German statements about an unbroken defense front along all the coasts of the European continent from North Cape to Biscay. How cruelly then the English had deceived themselves is shown by the miserable outcome of their attack.' ,

For the British, Dieppe was just one more in a long string of defeats. But the Prime Minister, who bore executive responsibility for the disaster, took a more optimistic view. When the raid was repulsed, he and Brooke were in Cairo to shake up the Near East command. In a report from Egypt to the Deputy Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, Churchill wrote on August 21, 1942: "My general impression of Jubilee is that the results fully justified the heavy cost. The large scale air battle alone justified the raid." And later he recorded:

Looking back, the casualties of this memorable action may seem out of proportion to the results. It would be wrong to judge the episode solely by such a standard. Dieppe occupies a place of its own in the story of the war, and the grim casualty figures must not class it as a failure. It was a costly but not unfruitful reconnaissance-in-force. Tactically it was a mine of experience. It shed revealing light on many shortcomings in our outlook. It taught us to build in good time various new types of craft and appliances for later use. We learnt again the value of powerful support by heavy naval guns in an opposed landing and our bombardment technique, both marine and aerial, was thereafter improved. Above all it was shown that individual skill and gallantry without thorough organisation and combined training would not prevail, and that team work was the secret of success. This could only be provided by trained and organised amphibious formations. All these lessons were taken to heart.

Strategically the raid served to make the Germans more conscious of danger along the whole coast of Occupied France. This helped to hold troops and resources in the West, which did something to take the weight off Russia. Honour to the brave who fell. Their sacrifice was not in vain.

When Brooke heard the news of the extent of the casualties at Dieppe, he grunted—according to Lord Moran, Churchill's personal physician and confidant, who was with the Prime Minister and Brooke in Cairo—"It is a

lesson to the people who are clamouring for the invasion of France." Later he was more critical. "This bloody affair," he wrote, "though productive of many valuable lessons, ended the summer's attempt to draw off planes from Russia by trailing Fighter Command's coat over northern France—a gesture that had cost Britain nearly a thousand pilots and aircraft." The British high command had involved an important part of the RAF in diversion and deception for the first, but not the last time. At least the raid served to quench American insistence on a direct, frontal assault against Hitler's Fortress Europe. Of the American high command reaction, Brooke wrote: "Several of the less rigid military planners had been profoundly shaken by the Dieppe casualties, and . . . considered that it would not now be . . . possible to stage any large-scale cross-Channel operation before the summer of 1944." Eisenhower, sadder and wiser about the perils of a headlong leap across the Channel, made the single comment that the Dieppe raid did not promise any easy conquest of the Norman beaches. He was to recall those words on the evening of June 5, 1944—the eve of D-Day.

When the time came to assess the disaster of Dieppe, the debates were full of anger, distress and recrimination. There were those who alleged that the raid had proven nothing more than the dictates of common sense. Yet, for all the intrigue that attended Jubilee and Rutter, some extremely significant lessons were learned, and not the least of these was the effect that Jubilee had upon later thinking by the Germans themselves. Hitler's fears of an invasion of France were reawakened, and despite the bloodbath at Dieppe, he was convinced that the Allies would try again. He ordered work on the Atlantic Wall speeded up, with particular attention paid to the region between the Seine and the Scheldt known as the Pas de Calais. It was, Hitler believed, the most logical point of attack, and the strongest and most numerous of the new defense posts were built there, while OKW was directed to concentrate its most powerful army, the 15th, in the same region. Hitler and OKW were also convinced that the Allies would go for a large port in the initial stages of an invasion, and this wrong conviction colored all their planning. They concentrated their main forces and fortifications in and around Channel ports, leaving only holding forces—albeit formidable holding forces—along the shores between. But Dieppe taught the Allied military strategists that a frontal attack upon a well-defended port was not a feasible act of war, and it was decided that such an operation should not be tried again—not even on D-Day.

Allied military strategists also realized that no invasion of France could be attempted without complete and accurate intelligence of the enemy's defenses, and without complete secrecy surrounding Allied intentions. Hitler must be surprised, and surprise would depend upon successful deception and special means. Furthermore, Dieppe demonstrated the enormous strength of German forces in the West. An invasion could succeed

The Search for a Strategy ) 91 (

only if Hitler was compelled to disperse his armies throughout Fortress Europe. And that objective could be achieved only through strategy and stratagem.

The disaster at Dieppe proved that there was no shortcut to victory. Churchill's and Brooke's advocacy had been correct; the war would be long and hard, and the march to Berlin would have to begin at the outer reaches of the Nazi empire. For Britain that march would start on the hard, stony Libyan Desert alongside the Mediterranean about 70 miles west of Alexandria. There, at a railway halt for Senussi traders called El Alamein, strategy and stratagem, cryptanalysis, deception and special means would all combine to confound the man who had come to symbolize the seeming omnipotence of Hitler—Erwin Rommel.

Bodyguard of lies

Alam Haifa

General Erwin Rommel arrived in North Africa for the first time in mid-February 1941 to form the right claw of a gigantic pincer movement with which Hitler hoped to establish a German empire in the Near East, and to rescue the Italian army from General Sir Archibald Wavell. Ultra revealed Rommel's arrival, as it would reveal his order of battle and his intentions throughout much of the North African campaign. But it did Wavell no good to know what his enemy planned; his armies were too weak. When Rommel's Afrika Korps launched its initial attack on March 24, 1941, he won the first of the victories that made him the legendary "Desert Fox." His panzers destroyed the British 2nd Armoured Division in detail, captured the port of Benghazi, overran and destroyed an Indian Motor Brigade, surrounded the 9th Australian Division in the port of Tobruk, sent the rest of the British army flying in disorder, and, by May 30, Rommel stood at the frontier wire of Egypt.

This defeat, when coupled with the disaster to British arms in Greece and Crete, resulted in Wavell's dismissal from command. He was replaced by General Sir Claude Auchinleck, another highly regarded British soldier; and Rommel's victory caused Churchill to rise in the Commons and declare: "We have a very daring and skilful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general."

Little was known about Rommel when Ultra reported his arrival as the C-in-C of the Afrika Korps. Who was this general who, with a mixture of cunning, tenacity, daring and skill, would almost destroy the British in North Africa, defeat an American corps at Kasserine, and defend Normandy against invading Allied armies on D-Day? He was Hitler's most popular and trusted commander, but he would become, in the end, one of his most determined enemies.

Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel was a Wurttemberger, born on November 15, 1891, at Heidenheim, a small town on the Swabian Moun-

) 92 (

Alam Haifa ) 93 (

tain Road near Hellenstein Castle. His father was a schoolmaster and mathematician and his mother was a daughter of the president of the Government of Wurttemberg. Rommel inherited his father's mathematical ability and showed an early interest in a career in aviation; but his father opposed the idea and, although there was little military tradition in the family, Rommel chose a career in the army. On July 19, 1910, he joined the infantry as an officer cadet and was commissioned without distinction in January 1912. He was a small man, silent, sober, shrewd, businesslike, careful, and had a hard streak in him. At once he showed himself interested in the minutiae of military organization, and, with "a jubilant shout of German warrior youth," he went off to war with the infantry on August 1, 1914. His biographer, Desmond Young, wrote: "From the moment that he first came under fire he stood out as the perfect fighting animal, cold, cunning, ruthless, untiring, quick of decision, incredibly brave." After a stunning victory over the Italians in 1917, the propagandists began to sing his praises and it was said that "Where Rommel is, the front is." He was reputed to possess Fingerspitzengefuhl —intuition in the fingertips, or a sixth sense—was always "trying to minimise losses by tactics," and was a man who "was body and soul in the war." Rommel was, indeed, a war-lover— exultant in battle, uninterested in all literature save military works, Spartan, celibate, indifferent to food, wine, theater, the pleasures. He was narrow, completely dedicated and apolitical.

At the end of the war Rommel rejoined his regiment at Weingarten, became a member of the 100,000-man Reichswehr permitted Germany under the Versailles Treaty, married, and by 1933 was a major in command of a mountain battalion. He remained apart from the political events that brought Hitler to power and had little to do with the Nazis until he was posted to the War Academy at Potsdam in October 1935. Then he was offered and accepted the job of training a unit of the Hitlerjugend, the Hitler Youth; but he resigned in protest against the creation of "little Napoleons." He returned to normal duties, was promoted to colonel in command of the War Academy at Wiener Neustadt, and, during the occupation of the Sudetenland in October 1938, was appointed by Hitler to command the army battalion responsible for the Fuehrer's personal safety. The reason for Hitler's interest in this unknown officer, who was not a member of the Nazi Party and would not become one, lay in a booklet by Rommel on infantry tactics entitled Infanterie grieft an. Hitler read and admired it, and Rommel entered the Fuehrer's official family.

At first Rommel saw much that was admirable in Hitler; the Fuehrer was without fear, his capacity for military matters seemed close to genius, and he had a magnetic, even hypnotic power. His memory was remarkable—whole pages and chapters of books, once read, were etched upon his mind—and his grasp of statistics was particularly strong. For his

part, Hitler admired Rommel for his loyalty and his ruthless execution of every order. Hitler found him refreshingly direct after dealing with the slippery generals in the German General Staff. Consequently, he promoted Rommel from colonel to—within a few months' time—general, and rewarded him with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his victories during the battle for France. In that campaign Rommel had commanded the 7th ("Phantom") Panzer Division and had captured the Admiral of the French Navy (North), four other admirals, one corps commander, four French divisional commanders and their staffs, 277 cannon and 64 antitank guns, 458 tanks and armored cars, some 5000 trucks, 2000 horse and mule wagons and 400 buses; his men had taken 97,468 prisoners, shot down 52 aircraft, captured 15 more on the ground and destroyed 12 others. Incredibly, Rommel's casualties were only 48 officers killed and 77 wounded, 526 other ranks killed and 1252 wounded; three officers, 34 sergeants and above and 229 other ranks had been reported missing, and he had lost only 42 tanks. Now he wore the copper-brown insignia of the Afrika Korps—a palm tree on a swastika—and his mission was to conquer Cairo and take the Suez Canal.

His initial drive for the Valley of the Nile sent the British into full retreat, and all during the summer of 1941, Rommel stood at the Egyptian frontier, awaiting permission from the Fuehrer to march on Cairo. But the order never came and the summer passed quietly. The British, meanwhile, were planning "Crusader," a counteroffensive against Rommel to begin November 18, 1941, which Churchill hoped would become a victory comparable to both Blenheim and Waterloo. Crusader was to open with a murder—Rommel's murder. The British intention was to destroy Rommel's main force of panzers, relieve Tobruk—the cluster of white houses and sheds that had become a British fortress at Rommel's rear—and wrest Libya and Tripolitania from the Italian empire. Then, the Army of the Nile, having ejected the Axis from Africa, was to march east and north to guard the Levant against a German drive upon Arabia through the mountain passes of Russian and Persian Caucasia. The forces on both sides were more or less evenly matched, with armored superiority lying with Rommel and air superiority with Auchinleck. Auchinleck's only hope of achieving this new Waterloo was surprise; if he could assassinate Rommel, the chaos in the Axis command would give the British that surprise. It was the first of the British attempts to murder Rommel; it would not be the last.

One night that October, a Wellington bomber flew out across the silvered Mediterranean, and then turned toward Cyrene, the old city of Hannibal. Once overland, the captain let his undercarriage down to slow his airspeed and into the night leaped a British intelligence agent, J. E. Hascldcn, an Arabist in the mold of Lawrence. Haselden, who could speak the dialects of the Senussi as well as he could speak English, buried his

Alam Haifa ) 95 (

parachute in the camel-scrub desert and put on the galabieh, the Senussi's robes. He dyed his skin nut-brown, and then, after daybreak when the camel trains were on the move again, walked into Beda Littoria. It was here that Rommel was reported to have his headquarters. Posing as a trader in ostrich feathers, Haselden spent several weeks in the vicinity of a large, white-walled villa which was obviously a German command post. He watched Rommel go in and out in his armored cabriolet. There was a large signals detachment in the grounds beneath the cypresses and a heavy guard around the villa. The activity, the comings and goings of officers and despatch riders—all suggested that this was Rommel's headquarters. Haselden wirelessed his reports to Cairo.

There, on the basis of Haselden's reports, the Director of Military Intelligence, General Francis W. de Guingand, planned a raid on the villa with Colonel R. E. Laycock, the Commando chief in the Middle East. Their plan was for six officers and fifty-three Commandos to land near Beda Littoria from two submarines, the Tor bay and the Talisman. They had four missions: to kill or capture Rommel; to attack and destroy the Italian army headquarters at Cyrene; to attack and seize the papers and ciphers of Italian intelligence headquarters at Appollonia and kill the staff; and to cut all telephone and telegraph communications with these targets and seize all Enigma-related material.

The submarines surfaced off Beda Littoria in driving rain and rough seas after dark on November 17. On the beach Haselden made light signals in the darkness to guide the Commandos' rubber boats to the shore. They formed up on the beach, sodden with rain and spray, and moved up to a ridge overlooking the villa. There, at half-past ten that night, they rested while a sapper destroyed telephone lines leading down to the villa. Then, led by Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Keyes, a three-man assault team pushed through a hedge at the back of the villa into the garden. Moving silently and quickly—the rain muffling their sounds—they went to the front of the villa, ran up the steps and pushed open the door. Almost immediately they were confronted by a German officer in a steel helmet and overcoat. Keyes menaced him with his tommy gun but the German seized the muzzle and tried to wrest it away. Keyes drew his knife to kill the German silently but one of his men shot him with a revolver as they wrestled between the first and second doors of the entrance. The three men then rushed into the hall, which was dimly lit, and saw another German running down the stone staircase. One of the Commandos directed a burst of fire at him, which missed, and the German ran back up the stairs. Then Keyes noticed a light beneath a door. He flung it open, saw some ten Germans putting on steel helmets, fired two or three shots from his pistol into them, and a Commando threw a grenade. But at that moment, one of the Germans fired and a bullet struck Keyes just over the heart. He fell and

died as he was carried out through the front door and laid in the wet grass. One of the other would-be assassins was shot in the leg by a Commando in the shadows who was playing covering fire on the door.

Both this and the other connected raids were failures. The only casualties inflicted upon the Germans were three supply colonels and a soldier killed at the villa. The targets at Cyrene and Appollonia were not attacked, and the only damage done was to a petrol supply point, which was blown up. The entire British party was lost, except for Colonel Laycock and a sergeant, who lay up in a wadi until they were rescued by the spearheads of Crusader. As for Rommel, the gloomy villa among the cypresses had only been his temporary headquarters and he had moved some weeks before to another headquarters at Gambut, about 100 miles away down the coast. The Commandos could not have caught the Desert Fox even there; he was celebrating his birthday with his wife and some friends at Rome when the Crusader counteroffensive began—the first of three curious absences from his command posts on each of three major British attacks during the course of the war. When he returned to meet Crusader, despite his anger at discovering that none of his would-be assassins wore any insignia that identified them as enemies, he directed that Keyes be given a Christian burial with full military honors and ordered his chaplain to make a thirty-six-hour journey for the ceremonial. He had one of his carpenters make crosses of cypress to place on the graves of the British and German dead and also ordered some young cypresses planted as memorials. As a last gesture, he instructed that photographs be taken of the ceremony and of Keyes's grave and sent to the young Commando's parents. This chivalrous act marked Rommel's entire conduct of the war in the desert, and did not go unnoticed by his adversaries.

Crusader lasted until December 20, 1941. The fortress of Tobruk, which had become a symbol of British resistance, was relieved, and Rommel was driven back to the point where he had started his offensive in March—El Agheila, on the Gulf of Sidra. But in January 1942 he attacked again, and by June, despite the significant success of Crusader, British troops in the desert had become so mesmerized by Rommel that Auchinleck felt compelled to issue this edict to his commanders:

There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magician or bogey-man to our troops, who are talking far too much about him. He is by no means a superman, although he is undoubtedly very energetic and able. Even if he were a superman, it would still be highly undesirable that our men should credit him with supernatural powers.

I wish you to dispel by all possible means the idea that Rommel represents something more than an ordinary German general. The important thing now is to see that we do not always talk of Rommel when we mean

A lam Haifa ) 97 (

the enemy in Libya. We must refer to "the Germans" or "the Axis powers" or "the enemy" and not always keep harping on Rommel.

Please ensure that this order is put into immediate effect, and impress upon all Commanders that, from a psychological point of view, it is a matter of the highest importance.

No sooner had Auchinleck issued his command than Rommel struck again, an attack that destroyed Auchinleck's career and dangerously embarrassed Churchill. It was a disaster for which the Ultra security precautions bore much responsibility.

In the fluidity of desert fighting, and the omnipresence of wireless intelligence eavesdroppers, it was decided that none of the generals at the front would be allowed to see, possess or even know of Ultra; the danger that they might be captured was too great. Within GHQ Middle East near Cairo only three men were allowed to read Ultras—Auchinleck, the theater commander; his Director of Military Operations; and de Guingand, the Director of Military Intelligence. General Sir Neil Ritchie, the commander of the 8th Army, was not allowed to see Ultras; if the contents of an Ultra were of importance to his battle planning, either Auchinleck acquainted him with the intelligence in a personal letter, which did not reveal the source and which was accompanied by instructions to destroy by fire after reading, or de Guingand flew to the army commander's headquarters to brief Ritchie personally, again without mentioning Ultra. This procedure was, under the circumstances, the only one possible at that time, but it carried with it the danger that Ritchie might reject the information in the belief that his own, local intelligence was better and more up to date. And that, precisely, was how Britain lost her armored army in the desert between May 28 and June 13, 1942, while Churchill was at the White House debating Sledgehammer and the future conduct of the war with Roosevelt.

Ultra had given Auchinleck and Ritchie ample knowledge of Rommel's intention to attack, and of his objectives. On the eve of his offensive, Rommel issued an order of the day to all forces under his command in which he revealed that it was his intention to destroy the British armored army of some six hundred tanks, capture Tobruk, and then deliver a decisive attack upon the 8th Army. As Auchinleck cabled Churchill: "We had foreseen this attack and were ready for it." When Rommel's panzers struck across the camel-scrub desert by bright moonlight, Ritchie's armor and artillery inflicted such losses upon them that Auchinleck, after a week of the most ferocious fighting between British and German forces so far in the war, radioed Ritchie with an order to destroy Rommel and his army. But Rommel got away, regrouped and crouched for a second engagement. This time, however, he did not propose to attack but to lure the British armored army, which now had some 325 tanks left, into an ambush.

He laid his 88-mm cannon among the ridges around the little desert township and airfield of El Adem, and then adopted the old tactic of Jem Mace, the great pugilist: "Let 'em come to ye, they'll beat theirselves."

Rommel committed his plan to a signal of information to OKW which he did nightly, the signal was unbuttoned at Bletchley and was flashed by Winterbotham's SLU to GHQ Cairo. Auchinleck read it and ordered de Guingand to fly to Ritchie's headquarters and warn the army commander. He arrived on or about June 11, and, according to de Guingand, relayed the Ultra to Ritchie without revealing the source, as was usual. Ritchie, who had been deputy Chief of Staff to Auchinleck at GHQ, should have guessed that it derived from cryptanalysis, although he had not been privy to Ultra at GHQ. Whatever the case, he did not act upon de Guingand's information, possibly because he thought that Rommel's deception and cover operations had influenced Auchinleck. On what became known as "Black Saturday"—June 13, 1942—Ritchie ordered some 300 of his tanks to attack; they ran straight into Rommel's ambush and within half a day the 88-mm cannon had wiped out 230 of them. The battle was lost in those few hours.

Rommel's panzers then leaped forward, knifed through the British positions, captured the fortress of Tobruk together with its garrison of 33,000 men, and turned eastward toward the Egyptian frontier. In what was nothing less than a flight, the 8th Army withdrew in disorder to El Alamein. In all, Rommel inflicted 75,000 casualties upon Ritchie's army, Ritchie was relieved of command, and the few tanks of the armored army that were left withdrew into Egypt. At Cairo, British government offices burned their secret paper in such quantities that the day became known as "Ash Wednesday," the British fleet prepared to withdraw into the Red Sea, and Mussolini arrived in North Africa with a white horse, bands, and the Sword of Islam, ready to make a triumphant march into Cairo. Hitler made Rommel, "beloved of the nation," the youngest field marshal in German history. OKW struck campaign medals for the occupation of Egypt and Suez, German propagandists prepared the Egyptian people for their "liberation," and the Reichsbank printed vast quantities of occupation currency. It was one of the most staggering defeats suffered by the British army in its modern history.

The British rout in North Africa marked the lowest ebb in the tide of Allied military misfortunes. Although Rommel was finally stopped at El Alamein, the threat to Egypt and the Suez Canal remained; while all along the Russian front, the Wehrmacht, in a sweeping and powerful summer offensive, was once again on the move. It was left to Churchill to restore the confidence of the Grand Alliance and, at the same time, to press for cooperation in the pursuit of his strategy for turning defeat into victory. He had succeeded in persuading the Americans to abandon Sledgehammer

Alam Haifa ) 99 (

in favor of Torch; but securing Stalin's cooperation was another matter. The Russians believed that they had been promised a Second Front in 1942; and of what use to them was an invasion of North Africa? The Germans were besieging the city of Leningrad, were only fifty miles from Moscow, had crossed the Don, were standing at the gates of Stalingrad.

On August 12, 1942, Churchill, with Cadogan, Brooke and the other Chiefs of Staff, flew to Moscow to explain why the western Allies could not invade Europe in 1942, and to brief Stalin on Torch and its strategical implications. It was the first time the two men had met, and it was bound to be a disturbing and even dangerous encounter. Stalin was not likely to forget that Britain had sent troops to Russia after the First World War to put down the Bolshevik revolution, or that a British agent, Robert Bruce-Lock-hart, had been involved in an attempt to assassinate Lenin. Moreover, Stalin was convinced that Britain and America were conniving to let Russia and Germany bleed each other into exhaustion before they attempted to invade the continent. Churchill, for his part, was as much preoccupied with informing Stalin as he was with deceiving the Germans, for he knew that links existed between the Russian and German general staffs, and believed that if it was to Stalin's advantage, the plans of the western Allies would almost certainly reach Hitler.

The two men met in a bare room at the Kremlin beneath the state portrait of Lenin; and Stalin, who wore a lilac-colored tunic with his trousers stuffed into the tops of his boots, was cold, crude and calculating. Colonel Ian Jacob, one of Churchill's military secretaries, would note in his diary: "I should say that to make friends with Stalin would be equivalent to making friends with a python." He asked through his interpreter why Britain was "so afraid of the Germans," and Churchill, bristling at this oblique accusation of cowardice, rose to the defense of his strategy. The Russians had not been promised a Second Front in 1942, he explained; Britain was making plans for a diversion that year—the Dieppe raid—not an invasion. If the western powers were to land in France, they must do so with the intention of staying, and that would be impossible in 1942. But, Churchill went on, America and Britain were preparing "for a very great operation in 1943." He did not say what this operation was, but he did leave Stalin with the impression that it would be a cross-Channel attack. Churchill was dissembling; the western powers had made no such agreement. But perhaps, with his penchant for the use of stratagems and special means when military might was not available, he was trying to plant the seeds of a major strategic deception scheme which the LCS would execute in northern France in 1943 to draw off German strength from Russia and Italy—a scheme to be called "Cockade."

Churchill then turned to the operation which the Allies did intend for 1942—Torch. The western Allies would land in North Africa, he ex-

plained, while holding the Germans in France by deception. Torch, he said, must be considered in conjunction with the 1943 operation. Stalin appeared interested, and when the meeting ended, Churchill had the impression that "at least the ice was broken and a human contact had been established"; he felt that he had, as Cadogan would write, "cast off the millstone of (Roosevelt's) half-promise of a Second Front in 1942." He was wrong. At their next meeting the following evening, Stalin renewed his attack and directly accused the British of cowardice. It was too much for Churchill. He "burst into a torrent of oratory," speaking so rapidly that the interpreters could not keep up with him. The meeting ended abruptly when Stalin held up his hand and declared: "I do not understand the words, but by God I like your spirit!"

The following day was taken up by an exchange of memoranda between the two leaders, and the debate continued with written rather than spoken words. Churchill would not budge and once again explained his stand; ". . . all the talk about an Anglo-American invasion of France this year has misled the enemy, and has held large enemy forces on the French Channel coast," he wrote. Such an invasion was impossible, but the threat must be maintained; "The wisest course is to use 'Sledgehammer' as a blind for Torch,' and proclaim 'Torch' when it begins as the Second Front. This is what we ourselves mean to do."

Churchill was anxious to be off; he saw little hope of winning Stalin over to his point of view. But when he called on the Premier the evening of the 15th, intending only to say goodbye—he was to fly to Cairo at dawn the next morning—Stalin extended an invitation. They went to his flat in the Kremlin and, while Stalin's red-haired daughter, Svetlana, served them dinner, talked for the next six hours. Stalin now spoke favorably of Torch and agreed to cooperate with Jupiter, Churchill's pet project to invade northern Norway. Churchill, in return, said he felt able to promise an invasion of northern France in 1943; and Stalin said he would hold him to that promise. Was Churchill still dissembling to win Stalin's cooperation, or had Stalin, using food, wine and cajolery where insult had failed, exacted an unwise, and unauthorized, concession from the Prime Minister? In either case, the consequences would be serious, for Stalin would be forced to employ even more devious means in the future—including an apparent attempt to betray Torch and maneuvers to drive a wedge through the Anglo-American alliance—to get around the clever and stubborn Churchill.

With dawn not far away, Churchill left the Russian leader, and after a short rest, boarded his aircraft to fly to Cairo. He had persuaded his allies that the road to Berlin must begin in North Africa, and it was his intention to give the battered British army in Egypt the biggest shaking up in its modern history. Another blow to British pride would reach him in Cairo— news of the disaster at Dieppe; but for the moment his primary concern

Alam Haifa ) 101 (

was Rommel. At a conference at GHQ he walked up and down the room, declaiming: "Rommel, Rommel, Rommel! What else matters but beating him!" He sacked Auchinleck and most of his staff, except de Guingand, and then appointed two of Brooke's favorite generals to replace Auchinleck and Ritchie. The C-in-C of the Middle East became General Sir Harold Alexander, and General Sir Bernard Montgomery was made C-in-C of the 8th Army. They were an outstanding, beautifully matched pair: Alexander, the strategist and the Cavalier; Montgomery, the tactician and the Roundhead. Their objective, the Prime Minister told Alexander and Montgomery at a meeting beneath the Great Pyramid at Giza, where GHQ was located, was not to hole the Desert Fox but to kill him. That, they knew from Ultra, would be less difficult than the British public supposed, for when Rommel arrived at the frontier wire his army was exhausted and he had only twelve tanks left, while nearly one thousand of the most modern tanks were on the high seas en route to the 8th Army.

During the conference at Giza, Churchill and his commanders debated the reasons for Rommel's success, his audacity and personal courage apart. He had never had a superiority of force, although his tanks were better than Britain's. At most, he had commanded fewer than 100,000 men, of whom about half were Italians of varying courage and fighting ability, while British forces in the theater numbered some 750,000 men in uniform. What were the secrets of Rommel's victories?

Colonel Frank Bonner Fellers was the American military attache at Cairo whose mission it was to inform Washington of British military and diplomatic plans and operations in the Middle East. Fellers was privy to almost all the information he required; he was a frequent visitor to GHQ and to British field units, where he was received with cordiality and trust. But when—after Tobruk—the British started to investigate the security of their wireless communications to establish whether any of their ciphers had been compromised, attention began to fasten upon Fellers. The colonel was punctilious about security; he always filed his messages to Washington in the "Black Code," a cipher used by American military attaches throughout the world and thought to be quite secure. But a small attack on a German wireless post at Tel-el-Eisa in July 1942 revealed that the Black Code was thoroughly compromised by both the German and Italian cryptographic services. In the raid, documents were obtained which showed that the Black Code had not been penetrated by cryptanalysis but by theft. An Italian working at the American Embassy in Rome, who was an agent of SIM (the Italian secret service) and an expert in lockpicking, had managed to get into the safe of the U.S. military attache, Colonel Norman E. Fiske, in August 1941. He obtained the Black Code, photographed it and then returned it. SIM's chief, Cesare Ame, provided the Abwehr with a copy

and thenceforward the Germans were able to read much of the military traffic throughout the world, including that of Colonel Fellers.

It had been a valuable harvest. From about late September of 1941 until August of 1942, Fellers had transmitted to Washington an almost daily report on British strength, reinforcements, equipment, morale and plans not only in Egypt and Libya but also throughout the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East command. His reports had included studies of commanders' abilities, reputations, tactics; the movements of convoys and warships; the locations, equipment and serviceability of tank and air squadrons. He delivered these reports each day to the Egyptian Telegraph Office in central Cairo; and each day, as they were flashed through the ether to Washington, every cipher group that was legible was taken down, transcribed and then passed to Rommel and OKW. David Kahn, the American historian of cryptography, wrote: ". . . what messages they were! They provided Rommel with undoubtedly the broadest and clearest picture of enemy forces and intentions available to any Axis commander throughout the war."

When Fellers was informed, as he was in August 1942, that his traffic was being read by the Germans, he was deeply upset. The U.S. cryptographic agency provided him with a new cipher (as it did with all military attaches using the Black Code), but at the request of the British he used this cipher only for his most secret traffic. He continued to transmit information of a less secret nature in the Black Code. For the British saw in this channel of communication a means for passing deceptive information to the enemy.

In the same raid on the German wireless outpost at Tel-el-Eisa that had disclosed the penetration of the Black Code, the British discovered another of the secrets of Rommel's desert victories—wireless intelligence, the whispers of modern war. Throughout the desert campaign both British and German commanders relied heavily on wireless communications; the great distances involved, combined with the high mobility of the battles, made wireless—and particularly voice communications—an essential weapon of desert warfare. But both sides were sometimes careless in the use of this vital yet vulnerable communications system. And both sides could often tell with great accuracy what the enemy was preparing from chatter on the radio telephone. Captain Alfred Seebohm was the commanding officer of Rommel's Horch—wireless intelligence—Company, and he had become particularly proficient in listening to wireless whispers from the British camp. He had developed an extremely sharp sense of what was normal and what was abnormal from listening in to the pattern of British wireless traffic. A snatch of radiotelephony here, some high-speed Morse there; tank commanders talking between themselves on the radio here, an artillery commander speaking with his gunpits over there; military police-


A lam Haifa ) 103 (

men directing traffic here, RAF ground liaison officers calling up for air support there—all served, when sifted and evaluated, as an extremely accurate portrait of British plans and the order of battle on the front lines and, frequently, far to the rear. The weakness of wireless intelligence, however, lay in the expertise of the eavesdroppers themselves; if one of them was ill, on leave, or a battlefield casualty, it took many months of training to replace him. It followed, therefore, that if Seebohm's company could be destroyed as an entity, then for most practical purposes Rommel would be without reliable wireless intelligence.

The British wireless intelligence system, known as the Y service, located Seebohm's post on the El Alamein front in a group of sun-blasted hills overlooking the Mediterranean at Tel-el-Eisa, "the Hill of Jesus." It had not been possible to locate the company precisely, the precondition for an aerial attack. Therefore a ground assault was necessary and the task fell to the 2/48th Battalion of the Australian 9th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H. H. Hammer, a sheep farmer from Victoria, South Australia, who was known as "Hard-as-nails Hammer."

The assault was set for July 10, 1942, and it would be part of a much larger attack in which two divisions with tank and artillery support were to clean the enemy out of the high ground of the Tel-el-Eisa area. With great stealth and all possible silence the assault force moved into position. Seebohm's company was thought to be located in the vicinity of a hill that was called "Trig 33" on the military maps; and to surprise the 100-odd men thought to be with Seebohm, Hammer had ordered that there be no preliminary artillery barrage.

The silent advance began at 0340 a.m. on July 10. It was an intensely dark night, but suddenly an aircraft dropped a parachute flare immediately over the heads of the assault force. The night was lit like day. The men froze, expecting a terrific outburst of fire. But none came: the 7th Bersag-lieri Regiment of the Italian army, which was holding the perimeter around Seebohm's company, was asleep. The Australians, who had shod their boots with sacking to muffle any noise of movement, worked their way along a ridge on either side of the crest of "Trig 33." And when at dawn the artillery opened a drumfire in support of the Australians, the Bersag-lieri found themselves surrounded. Their commanding officer was captured and some of the prisoners taken were still in bed.

The Australians came across Seebohm's company on Tel-el-Eisa itself. Seebohm and his men were not surprised. Alerted by the bombardment, they had formed a defensive perimeter around their vehicles—armored command trucks stuffed with wireless equipment and mounted with antennae. The Australians charged with fixed bayonets out of a smoke screen laid around the site by the artillery, and the post was captured only after very violent hand-to-hand fighting. Seebohm and his men had made some at-

tempt to destroy their equipment, but they had not succeeded; the Australians' charge had been too sudden. When the battle was over, some one hundred of the highly trained men of Seebohm's company lay dead among the rocks. The others were captured, including Seebohm himself, who had gone down fighting and was badly wounded. He was taken to Cairo where he died, silently, having resisted all attempts to make him talk.

Experts made their way to the site to examine the captured material. It was quite the most important intelligence coup of the entire North African campaign. All Seebohm's records fell intact into British hands, including much detail about the penetration of the Black Code and the security leak in Cairo through Colonel Fellers, which was quickly plugged. But even more important, the documents found at Tel-el-Eisa revealed that a great deal of the foxiness of the Desert Fox was due entirely to good German wireless intelligence and poor British wireless security. The British had given much of their operational planning in the forward areas away to Rommel themselves. It was a significant discovery. As Brigadier Walter Scott, the wireless expert who was in charge of the intelligence party that examined the captured documents, recalled: 'The consequences of this capture were very far-reaching, for the rest of the North African campaign, for the Sicilian and Italian campaigns, and then for the invasion. It enabled us to build powerful forces at all points thereafter without giving the fact away, which we had done in the past."

Scott called for widespread reforms in wireless security, and he was heeded. New disciplines were imposed for the use of radiotelephones, call signs, cryptographic procedures, voice codes, wireless silences for units on the move; all the sources of intelligence that had hitherto provided Rommel with the stuff of victory were now frozen in a wall of silence and discretion. The British formed new companies to monitor the security procedures of their own troops, and severe disciplinary action was taken against offenders. But above all, the discoveries on "the Hill of Jesus" made Rommel very vulnerable to wireless deception. When the new Horch Company arrived, it had neither the ability nor the experience to separate truth from fiction. Thus the hunt for the Desert Fox began to turn in favor of the British as they took care that Rommel heard only the whispers they wanted him to hear.

Booty captured in the raid on Seebohm's company revealed that Rommel had yet a third source of battlefield intelligence: the Kondor mission— two German spies and a string of curious sub-agents whose activities centered around a houseboat on the Nile. And when the British security authorities moved in to put a stop to those activities, they would uncover an overripe Durrellian melodrama.

The Kondor mission was headed by John Eppler, a twenty-eight-year-

A lam Haifa ) 105 (

old Abwehr agent born of German parents at Alexandria, a young man who had made the Haj and was therefore a Muslim. His mother married an Egyptian lawyer when his father died. Eppler had grown up as a rich Cairene, while keeping his allegiances to Germany. He was recruited into the Abwehr just before the outbreak of the Second World War by a Vietnamese prostitute in Beirut, the famous Su Yan; and having served at the Tirpitzufer on a number of schemes to raise a Jihad—a Holy War— against the British in Arabia, he was selected for the Kondor mission when Rommel asked for a team of dependable German agents with knowledge of Cairo to go to the Egyptian capital to spy.

Eppler arrived at Tripoli in April 1942 on the first stage of his journey to Cairo, bringing with him two American Hallicrafter transceivers and £50,000 in British five- and one-pound notes. He also had a copy of Rebecca, for the Kondor mission's cipher was based on the Daphne du Maurier novel. The cryptographic principle involved in the use of the novel was not a new one, but it was simple and impenetrable—unless the attacker knew the system. In the case of Kondor, Eppler would base his cipher on the prearranged use of certain pages of the novel on certain days. His listening posts, including Seebohm's Horch Company, would use similar copies in their possession to decipher it.

The second member of the mission was Peter Monkaster, a tall, slim, blond German oil mechanic who had spent much of his life in East Africa. The two men left for Cairo on May 11, 1942, from the Oasis of Gialo, traveling by captured British vehicles across the naked desert. They had an Afrika Korps escort, and their navigator was the Hungarian Arabist Count Ladislaus de Almaszy, an explorer who had spent many years in the Libyan Desert looking for the long-lost Oasis of Zerazura—the place toward which the Army of Cambyses, 10,000 men strong, had marched westward from the Nile Delta never to be heard of again. Almaszy knew the route across the 2000 miles that the Kondor mission would have to take to infiltrate Egypt and Cairo from the south. The vehicles and men were disguised as a British reconnaissance unit, in case they were spotted by a British patrol or aircraft; and about three weeks after leaving Gialo— around the end of May or the beginning of June—the Kondor mission was in British territory. The count and the Afrika Korps escort turned back, Eppler and Monkaster changed into civilian clothes and entered Assyut, a town 300 miles south of Cairo that was only lightly guarded by the British and Egyptian authorities. Although they were stopped, both could speak English—Eppler as an Egyptian and Monkaster as an American. After examining their papers, which showed Eppler to be an Anglo-Egyptian merchant and Monkaster an American oil-rig mechanic, a British patrol allowed them to proceed to the railway station. They caught the evening train to Cairo and there they employed an Arab to carry their

suitcases, containing the money and the wireless sets, through the Anglo-Egyptian checkpoint at Cairo Station.

Once in Cairo, Eppler and Monkaster settled into a small pension in Garden City, a suburb, and Eppler immediately began to seek friends he could trust. Among those he found was Hekmeth Fahmy, one of Egypt's leading danseuses du ventre —belly dancers. Fahmy, who was violently anti-British and an Arab nationalist, lived on a houseboat on the Nile at Zamalek; and it was there that she and Eppler went when she had finished her night's work at the Kit Kat Cabaret.

Mile Fahmy soon revealed that she was a spy working against the British for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Officers' Movement of the Egyptian army, and that her main source of information was a "Major Smith" of British GHQ in Cairo—her lover. In turn, Eppler told her that he was a German agent working for Rommel. At this revelation, Mile Fahmy arranged to let him see the contents of Major Smith's briefcase while she and Smith were in bed. She also agreed to put Eppler in touch with a friend, General Aziz-el-Masri, a powerful and passionate anglo-phobe who had been relieved as Chief of Staff of the Egyptian army at British insistence.

Eppler and Monkaster rented another houseboat close to Fahmy's, hid one of the Hallicrafters in a church run by an Austrian priest at Zamalek, installed the second on the houseboat, and then went to work. Fahmy was as good as her word; when Major Smith visited her, generally in the afternoons, Eppler and Monkaster read the contents of his briefcase and learned much about British strength, disposition and intentions. Then, using the Rebecca cipher, they reported either to Seebohm's wireless intelligence company or to the Wehrmacht's listening post at Athens, each night around midnight.

Eppler met General Aziz-el-Masri by appointment at a dentist's surgery, and the general, impressed by the mission's credentials, intelligence, money—and the fact that Eppler and Monkaster worked for Rommel— listened to their proposals for espionage against the British and their plans to raise a Jihad when Rommel launched his great offensive to take Cairo and Alexandria. Aziz-el-Masri agreed to cooperate. He arranged a meeting between the Kondor mission and Sheikh Hassan-el-Banna, the watchmaker-turned-prophet who had founded the Muslim Brotherhood and was now known as the Supreme Guide. A strange, possessed figure who wore a long red cloak that hid all of his face but his eyes, the sheikh is said to have made 1500 speeches a year in proclaiming the mission of the Brotherhood, demanding that all true Muslims abandon material possessions, adhere strictly to the Koran, and engage in exercises to obtain moral and physical perfection and the regeneration of the Muslim society. He wrote patriotic poetry, campaigned against the unveiling of women, went from

A lam Haifa ) 107 (

door to door before dawn rousing people for prayer, and established branches of the Brotherhood throughout Egypt to build mosques, give courses in physical training, and to study eschatology, the science of the four last things—death, judgment, heaven and hell.

By the outbreak of the war the Brotherhood had become an organization of patriots possessed by a fanatical religious ardor who wanted to expel all foreigners—particularly the British—and establish a theocratic state. They took their initiates' oath with the Koran in one hand and a pistol in the other, swearing to be loyal, obedient and secret. Gradually Sheikh Hassan-el-Banna had attracted to his banner Muslims from all classes, and the Brotherhood had also been infiltrated by the Free Officers' Movement, an anti-British nationalist conspiracy within the Egyptian army headed by two young officers, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar el-Sadat. Both were to become Presidents of Egypt after the group they led overthrew the monarchy of Farouk and, in June 1953, established the Egyptian Republic.

It was Sadat who met Eppler and Monkaster. "We examined their documents," wrote the future President of Egypt, "which proved beyond doubt that they were what they purported to be." The three men spent several hours discussing how a successful revolt of the Egyptian army might be raised. Sadat said to Eppler: "Now is the time to strike. We can turn the Delta into a blood-bath if we rise now. Please tell that to your superiors, and urge them to be ready to back us." So confident were the conspirators that Rommel would soon be in Cairo that Sadat found him a conqueror's residence—an imposing mansion on the rue des Pyramides, close to the Mena House Hotel.

It was now about the middle of June 1942, the 8th Army had retreated into Egypt, and the conspirators prepared for their Jihad as the smoke of "Ash Wednesday" hung over Cairo. But the British security authorities learned that a Jihad was planned, and embarked on a large security operation to prevent it. It was a time of extraordinary tension when suspicions were high everywhere.

Eppler now made a mistake. It was not a very serious one, and but for the tensions of the times it might not have been noticed. Dressed in the uniform of a British captain, he went to the Turf Club for a drink—and to get the latest gossip. But he had run out of the Egyptian pounds that he had brought with him, and believing that English currency was still the legal tender it had been when he was living in Cairo, he paid for his drink with a British pound note. The bartender accepted the note, for it could be exchanged at the British Paymaster's Office for Egyptian currency. After his drink at the Turf Club, Eppler went on to the bar on the roof of the Metropolitan Hotel, the haunt of newspaper correspondents. There, again, he paid for his drinks with British notes. He also picked up a bar girl, who

called herself Yvette, and bought her a considerable amount of expensive champagne—once again paying with British currency. Then he took her back to his houseboat for the night. In the morning, he paid her <£20 in British five-pound notes, and asked her to come and see him again. She agreed, and then left.

Eppler had made his second mistake; Yvette was an agent of the Jewish Agency, which then worked with MI-6. She reported the encounter to her employer and said she thought Eppler was a German because he spoke "with a Saarland accent." She also thought he was a spy because "he is very nervous and he has too much money." Her employer told her to keep in touch with Eppler, and made arrangements with MI-6 to keep the houseboat under surveillance. An Egyptian dressed as a beggar came to squat in the dust at the end of the towpath, and it was this beggar who noted Fahmy's visits to Eppler's houseboat, as well as the visits of a British army major in uniform to Fahmy's houseboat.

Two or three days after their first meeting, Yvette called on Eppler again. There was no reply at the saloon door when she knocked. But the door was open and she went in. The room, she noted, was littered with bottles, full ashtrays, stale food and dirty dishes—the remnants of a party. Both Eppler and Monkaster were fast asleep in their cabins. Yvette then began to look the boat over, and in a small room she found a desk with a book and some notepaper on it—no more. But she noticed the book's title— Rebecca —and saw that the notepaper was covered with gridded squares and six-letter groups. Yvette knew enough about espionage to realize that this might be some form of cipher, and suspecting that Eppler and Monkaster were spies, she let the pages of the book fall open, noted the numbers of the "used" pages, and took down the first of the cipher groups on each line of the notepaper. Then she left—to be arrested and taken to a police station for questioning; the beggar who had been watching the boat had signaled her departure to some policemen and they, not knowing that she had connections with MI-6, detained her on suspicion.

Meanwhile, two prisoners of the raid on Seebohm's wireless intelligence company had arrived in Cairo. Their names would be given as "Aberle" and "Weber"; and in their kit was another copy of Rebecca. It immediately raised the suspicions of their interrogators, for what would a German be doing reading such a book in English? Moreover, both men behaved uneasily when they were questioned about where they had bought the book. A careful examination revealed that it had almost certainly been purchased in Portugal; someone had rubbed the penciled price—50 escudos—off the flyleaf. Fairly sure that the book might be the basis of some cipher, MI-6 at Cairo cabled MI-6 at Lisbon to make inquiries about whether anyone had recently bought two or more copies of Rebecca at any of the bookstalls there. Since there were only a few English-language

A lam Haifa ) 109 (

bookshops in Portugal, it was a relatively easy matter to visit them all. Within the week, the inquiry showed that the wife of the German assistant military attache had bought six copies of the work at a bookshop in Estoril on April 3, 1942.

It was now quite evident that Rebecca was indeed the basis of a cipher, but who was using it? Aberle and Weber could not be persuaded to talk, but the British Paymaster provided another clue. He had become suspicious of the new British pound notes that were turned in to him for exchange. He notified Major A. W. Sansom, the chief of Field Security at Cairo, and it was discovered that the pound note that the "British captain" had used to pay for his drinks at the Turf Club was an extremely clever forgery which was known to be German. The discovery left little doubt in the mind of Major Sansom that he was dealing with a resolute and well-equipped German mission.

But if the mission was resolute, it was also careless—more notes turned up when a Greek provisions merchant on Zamalek Island brought <£300 to the Paymaster's Office opposite the Kasr-el-Nil barracks for exchange. The large sum attracted the attention of the teller, and Sansom was informed. He went to see the merchant, who told him that he had sold a quantity of luxury goods to two young men living in Zamalek, and that he had also delivered them to their home—a houseboat on the Nile. A quick check showed that these notes, too, were forgeries; and now Sansom had little doubt that Eppler and Monkaster were the men he was looking for.

At five o'clock during the afternoon of August 10, Sansom struck. He stationed river boats a discreet distance from the houseboat, set up roadblocks, ringed the area with armed troops, and blocked either end of the towpath. Having given instructions that the suspects were to be captured, and that even if they opened fire they were to be taken alive, he crept up the gangplank with an armed party and smashed in the door of the houseboat. Both suspects were on the boat, but they had a plan for just such an eventuality. As the British party came across the deck, Monkaster dived into the bilges, opened a trapdoor and dumped one Hallicrafter, the copy of Rebecca and all the mission's back traffic into the Nile. He attempted to escape by the same route, but was caught by one of the river boats when he surfaced, hauled aboard and handcuffed.

On deck, Eppler had held the boarding party off by rolling socks into tight balls and throwing them at the men who were making their way across the deck. The British thought they were hand grenades and dived for cover, giving Monkaster just enough time to complete the job of getting rid of the communications equipment. Then Eppler leaped straight into the crowd of Britons shouting: "Go on, shoot me! You won't! You want me alive!" It was quite true, but he was laid out with a blow from a rifle butt to the kidneys, handcuffed and, together with Monkaster, placed under arrest.

The raiding party searched the boat for the wireless and the cipher. They found nothing. The belly dancer Hekmeth Fahmy was also arrested, her boat was searched, and again nothing was found except some uniforms and clothing belonging to her lover, Major Smith. Eppler, Monkaster and Mile Fahmy were then taken for questioning to the British Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) at Maadi. The Germans refused to talk, but Fahmy told the British all she knew. She revealed her liaison with Major Smith and the means by which she and Eppler read the contents of his briefcase. She told Sansom where Eppler's Egyptian contacts were to be found, and Sadat and several others (but not Nasser) were arrested immediately, as was the Austrian priest who had hidden the mission's second Hallicrafter behind the altar of his church. Then by a stroke of luck the first Hallicrafter was found. After Monkaster left the door open to the bilges on the houseboat, it had slowly scuttled itself. But the boat was raised, and the Hallicrafter was discovered underneath it in the mud of the Nile. The mechanism was unusable, but it was still set to the frequency for the mission's last transmission to Athens.

However, further clues to the mission's cipher could not be found; its back traffic and the copy of Rebecca had disappeared. The cipher was all-important to the British, for the surprise raid on the houseboat and the determination to capture Eppler and Monkaster alive were designed to achieve a single goal. The British hoped to impersonate the Kondor mission's transmissions and send false and misleading information to Rommel. They had Eppler and Monkaster in custody, they had the wavelength to the listening post at Athens—but they did not have the cipher, although they suspected it was based on Rebecca. Eppler and Monkaster knew the importance of the cipher and refused to talk. Then Monkaster tried to kill himself. He cut his throat with a luncheon knife, but he was rushed to the hospital and his life was saved.

The interrogators now concentrated on Eppler, and when he still refused to discuss the cipher, he was taken—so he said afterwards—to a clinic where a drug was administered to make him talk. Evidently he said nothing of importance while under the drug, and so, after a week of the most intensive interrogation, the British tried their ace psychological trick in breaking prisoners down. They staged an elaborate mock court-martial. Charges were read out against Eppler; witnesses, including Mile Fahmy, were called to testify; he was found guilty and the sentence of death was pronounced. As he waited in his cell for the firing squad, he was visited from time to time by his inquisitors. Still he refused to talk.

The British appear to have tried one last trick to get the cipher. According to Sadat, in his memoir Revolt on the Nile, "It happened that Winston Churchill was passing through Cairo and he said he would like to interrogate the spies himself. Brought before Churchill, the spies at first

persisted in their silence, but when the Prime Minister promised that their lives would be spared, they changed their minds and talked." It is possible that Churchill did indeed interrogate the Kondor mission, but the British did not obtain the Rebecca cipher in that manner. They obtained it from Yvette, the bar girl who was an agent of the Jewish Agency.

Yvette had been in police hands throughout the period of Eppler's and Monkaster's interrogation, but she was finally released when her employer contacted a friend in MI-6. While they were going through the technicalities of her discharge, Yvette mentioned to the MI-6 officer that she had been on Eppler's houseboat the afternoon she was arrested. Only by chance, the officer asked her whether she had seen a book lying around. In a flash, Yvette realized the importance of the copy of Rebecca that she had discovered on the houseboat, and she revealed that she had noted down the page numbers and some of the leading cipher groups that Eppler and Monkaster had used for their transmissions. While incomplete, her notes enabled British cryptographers to establish the sequence of pages and paragraphs on which the cipher was based. The Rebecca cipher was broken.

The British now had all they needed to impersonate Eppler and Monkaster and resume transmissions to Athens. And this they set out to do. Thus it was that the third of Rommel's sources of secret intelligence was effectively plugged. But more important, the Kondor mission's channel of communication remained open—and Rommel would continue to trust it. It was a mistake that would alter the course of the war in North Africa.

In the first week of August 1942, Rommel began to plan his next offensive against the British. German and British forces were still stalled along the El Alamein front, but the 8th Army was quickly rebuilding its strength, and Rommel knew that he would have to move quickly if he hoped to conquer Egypt. His mobile headquarters was drawn up in an airless defile near the coast, and there he devised a plan to penetrate the El Alamein line, destroy Montgomery's army and then march to Cairo. His battle maps and intelligence files told him that the British defenses at the southern end of the El Alamein line were thin. Here, then, was the place to attack. He would move the Afrika Korps in great secrecy from the northern to the southern end of the line; and when all units were in place, he would burst through the British defenses, strike north toward the sea, trap and destroy British troops in the El Alamein "box," and then turn eastward to the Nile Delta.

It was a practical, clean, simple plan, and one with a reasonable chance of success—provided it was kept quite secret. By night and with stealth, Rommel moved his units to the south, leaving dummy vehicles and trucks

behind so that their departure would not be spotted from either the ground or the air. All units kept total wireless silence to prevent the British wireless intelligence services from detecting the southward move. But Rommel made two mistakes. To obtain maximum air support he informed the Luftwaffe of his plan; and to obtain the maximum amount of petrol, ammunition and other supplies from Italy, he wirelessed his intentions to Rome and Berlin. Through Ultra, his plan was on the desks of Montgomery and Alexander almost as quickly as it reached the Germans.

Montgomery disposed his troops with speed and secrecy to meet Rommel's attack, and Churchill, who visited the front, would later write: "I was taken to the key point southeast of the Ruweisat Ridge. Here, amid the hard, rolling curves and creases of the desert, lay the mass of our armour, camouflaged, concealed, and dispersed. . . . Montgomery explained to me the disposition of our artillery of all natures. Every crevice of the desert was packed with camouflaged concealed batteries. Three or four hundred guns would fire at the German armour before we hurled in our own." But even with foreknowledge, as Churchill reported to the War Cabinet from Cairo on August 21, "The ensuing battle will be hard and critical." For the German forces were formidable, and Churchill later commented: "At any moment Rommel might attack with a devastating surge of armour. He could come in by the Pyramids with hardly a check except a single canal till he reached the Nile." How, then, could he be stopped?

It was at the Pyramids, where Alexander had made his forward headquarters, that a remarkable discussion took place. Alexander, Montgomery, Churchill and various staff officers, including General de Guingand, who was now Montgomery's Chief of Staff, looked over the maps of the area of the Ragil depression where Rommel was expected to make his attack. It was de Guingand who noticed, from a set of maps captured earlier, that Rommel had very little knowledge of the actual terrain conditions around the Ragil. In certain places in the area, the sands were deep, shifting and treacherous—definitely not the sort of terrain where the German panzers could operate. Furthermore, aerial reconnaissance would almost surely fail to correct that lack of knowledge. The way to stop Rommel, then, was not to prevent the offensive, but to encourage him to attack through the Ragil.

To achieve that objective, the sources of battlefield intelligence that had served Rommel so well were now turned against him. De Guingand sent for Colonel Dudley Clarke, who had become chief of A-Force, the Middle East branch of the LCS, and together the two men laid plans to lure Rommel into a trap. The first of these plans involved the Kondor mission. Clarke was in charge of the operations to impersonate the mission's transmissions, and it was decided to send a message stating that the British were

Alam Haifa ) 113 (

prepared to resist any attack at the southern end of the El Alamein line at Alam Haifa ridge, but that their defenses were weak at the moment, and if Rommel attacked now he might easily achieve a breakthrough. The actual message read:

Condor calling. Have confirmed message from reliablest source Eighth Army plan to make final stand in battle for Egypt at Alam Haifa. They are still awaiting reinforcements and are not yet ready for more than makeshift defence.

Then followed some information about reinforcements and supplies arriving at Port Said, and it is known that Rommel received and read the message, for when it was later captured, it had his mark on it.

A few nights later, Kondor came up with another message, this time a report on the British order of battle along the Alam Haifa ridge. The message caused Rommel to slap "his thighs with joy." He declared: "our spy in Cairo is the greatest hero of them all," and asked OKW to award him the Iron Cross. He would not have been so pleased had he known that the British were deliberately luring him into the shifting sands of the Ragil.

To make sure that Rommel swallowed the bait, the British devised another plan. De Guingand directed his cartographers to make a map of the Ragil showing that the area was "hard going," a condition favorable to panzers. Then the map had to be played into Rommel's hands in such a way that his suspicions would not be aroused. "Major Smith" was the man chosen for the job. The major had been under arrest ever since his liaison with Hekmeth Fahmy had come to light, and now he was compelled to take a scout car into the desert near the German lines, carrying the false map with him. The Germans saw him coming; suddenly they heard a loud explosion and saw the scout car leap into the air. They sent out a patrol and found the major's corpse—and the false map. As Churchill would later write with satisfaction, "this false information had its intended effect. Certainly the battle now took the precise form that Montgomery desired." Rommel decided to use the trails marked "hard going" for his attack.

On the night of August 24, 1942, Rommel notified Berlin that he would begin his offensive on the night of August 30/31. Within hours, Alexander was reading the signal in Cairo, and he informed Churchill in London: " 'Zip' [the prearranged code word for Rommel's offensive], now equal money every day." Just after dawn on September 1, he sent a clear-the-line cable to the Prime Minister. It carried the single word "Z/p." Rommel's attack had begun, but Montgomery was ready for him. Sappers had laid a new minefield at the exact point where the Germans' main force made its thrust. When German engineers were ordered into the minefield to

clear a path, the night sky became alive with British aircraft; the first wave dropped parachute flares to illuminate the long columns of armor, and it was followed by bombers that drenched the area with high explosive.

At dawn, Rommel had failed to obtain a single objective. He had planned to advance 30 miles to the east by moonlight and then turn and strike north toward the Mediterranean. As Rommel recorded: "The assault force (was) held up far too long by the strong and hitherto unsuspected mine barriers, and the element of surprise, which had formed the basis of the whole plan (was) lost." Should he abandon the attack? He decided to continue eastward when he received a report that a path had been cleared through the minefield. Then a new difficulty arose. Rommel had been informed that the sector was defended by a single armored division. His intelligence was not correct. Montgomery had secretly reinforced the area with three armored divisions. To meet this development, Rommel ordered the Afrika Korps to turn north sooner than had been planned. He had fallen into Montgomery's trap, for ahead lay the treacherous sands of the Ragil and the Alam Haifa ridge, whose defenses were now formidable.

Soon after Rommel's advance resumed, the Afrika Korps began to run into soft sand. Tanks, armored cars, half-tracks, trucks by the score found themselves floundering on what was marked as "hard going" on the false British map. As their crews got out to try to free the vehicles, squadrons of RAF fighters swept in to bomb and machine-gun them. Disaster piled upon disaster that day. The petrol Rommel had been promised for his offensive had not yet arrived. What had become of it? Rommel was not aware that Ultra had revealed the dates and times of the departures of his supply ships, and the RAF and British navy had sunk three tankers as they crossed the Mediterranean from Italy. As nightfall came, the desert was littered with hundreds of burning German vehicles. Long columns of black oil smoke drifted into the rose-red sunset. There was no escape, and no cover.

On the morning of September 3, three years to the day after Britain had declared war on Germany, Rommel went to the battlefield to see what he could do. Six times in two hours his vehicle was attacked by low-flying fighters, and once he was almost hit by a piece of red-hot metal 8 inches long. Swarms of fighters attacked again and again, and for every shell the Germans fired, the British, as Rommel reported, responded with ten. Finally, on the morning of the 4th, he ordered a general retreat. He retired behind a screen of 88-mm anti-tank guns, as he always did, hoping to lure the British armor onto the screen. Montgomery stood fast—too many generals had lost too many tanks in the past to that ruse—and Rommel retreated behind his own minefield.

The Battle of Alam Haifa was over—with only a small proportion of the British armor and no infantry ever having been involved. Nevertheless,

the British lost 1640 men killed, wounded and missing, along with 68 tanks and 18 anti-tank guns. When Rommel looked at his casualty returns, he found he had lost 4800 men, 50 tanks, and 70 guns. In a battle of attrition where he could not expect reinforcements as quickly as the British, these were very serious losses. Rommel's last chance of taking Cairo was gone. The Desert Fox had been outfoxed, and already ailing and wearied, Rommel began to lose heart. He knew that he had been tricked, for he would write, ". . . the British command had been aware of our intention to attack." How they had known, how he had been tricked, Rommel never learned. Neither would he ever realize that his Enigma had been penetrated, and that his espionage net in Cairo was under British control. As for Montgomery, he left Rommel alone during the weeks ahead. He did nothing to straighten the front, or to take back any of the terrain he had lost. He considered that he had Rommel exactly where he wanted him. and he returned to his headquarters to "proceed methodically with my own preparations for a big offensive later on." That offensive would become known as the Battle of El Alamein.

Bodyguard of lies

El Alamein

Following his victory at Alam Haifa, Montgomery began to plan "Lightfoot," the offensive that with Torch (the Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa) was intended to drive the Axis out of Africa and create a new front in southern Europe along the entire length of the Mediterranean—a front that Hitler would be compelled to defend. Deception would once again play a crucial role in Montgomery's plans, and throughout September and the first weeks of October 1942, as a prelude to Lightfoot, the wireless set commandeered from Eppler and Monkaster, the Black Code conduit, and the "first violins"—a group of German agents in the Middle East and in Britain who were under British control—were orchestrated to persuade Rommel and OKW that, for political and military reasons, the 8th Army would not be able to mount a major offensive before mid-November at the earliest. In fact, Montgomery intended to attack on the night of the October full moon, the 23rd. This cantata was again conducted by Colonel Dudley Clarke until he was sent to Washington with Colonel John Bevan of the LCS to brief the American Chiefs of Staff on British deceptive practices in September 1942. His baton was then taken up by Colonel Noel Wild, a clever Hussar.

Clarke and Wild wrote their scores at their headquarters, a former brothel near Groppis, the famous Cairene restaurant on the Kasr-el-Nil. But the genius then—and later in Plan Jael—was Clarke, an artful, baffling man and an expert in unorthodox warfare and clandestinity. Noted for his mysterious journeys, "He was," recalled Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor, the former C-in-C of the RAF in the Mediterranean theater, "forever buzzing about Istanbul in mufti." The facility of his organization, A-Force, for creating divisions and armies of men that did not exist was considered amazing, and on at least one occasion he would succeed in persuading Eisenhower that Britain had two armies in reserve— the 9th and the 10th—in the Levant. At a time when the Italian campaign

) 116 (

was going badly through lack of infantry, Eisenhower was not pleased to learn that they were paper armies. Yet it was Clarke's work on "Bertram" —the code name for the cover and deception operations for Montgomery's Lightfoot offensive—that would serve as the prototype for the cover and deception operations for D-Day.

Clarke surrounded himself with a motley crew that included a merchant banker, a chemist, a music-hall conjurer, a film scenario writer, an artist, intelligence men, a don or two, and Noel Wild, who had left his regiment, the elite 11th Hussars, to join Clarke and A-Force. It seemed that there were men ready to do Clarke's business for him everywhere from Baghdad to Gibraltar, and for the purposes of Bertram he worked closely with Montgomery's Chief of Staff, de Guingand. At their first planning meeting in de Guingand's caravan on the sands beside the Mediterranean at Burg-el-Arab, de Guingand outlined Montgomery's plans. The El Alamein front stretched 40 miles from the shore of the Mediterranean to the Qattara Depression, the great, impassable inland sea of sand. The only practical method of attack was a frontal assault in the area of the northern sector, and Rommel knew this. Therefore Montgomery would attack in the north, but he wished to conceal the preparations there and to suggest instead that the attack would be mounted in the south. But since a build-up in the north could not be concealed indefinitely, he also wished to minimize its apparent scale and to organize the preparations so that when everything was in fact ready for the attack, Rommel would believe that the British were not ready at all and that he had a week or two before the attack could begin.

So simply expressed, the problem did not seem as large as it was. The desert around El Alamein was a plain of hard sand, stone outcroppings and camel scrub with few features—in general, easily visible from Rommel's positions. Yet somehow A-Force had to camouflage Montgomery's immense force, which included 1000 tanks, 1000 guns and 81 battalions of infantry, and several thousand vehicles with many tens of thousands of tons of war stores. In all, perhaps 150,000 men and 10,000 vehicles had to be moved across an empty plain without Rommel's knowledge; everything had to be concealed or revealed according to a plan that required the artifices of a master conjurer or a Chaldean. It was, or seemed to be, an almost impossible task. For if the enemy—and he was clever—became suspicious that offensive preparations were taking place in the north, all he had to do was set a tumbler on a rock and put his ear to the tumbler. The rumble in the ground would tell him all he needed to know—and explode Bertram. Yet it had to be done if Montgomery was to achieve surprise. As de Guingand said to Clarke: "Well there it is. You must conceal 150,000 men with a thousand guns and a thousand tanks on a plain as flat and as hard as a billiard table, and the Germans must not know anything about it,

although they will be watching every movement, listening for every noise, charting every track. Every bloody wog will be watching you and telling the Germans what you are doing for the price of a packet of tea. You can't do it, of course, but you've bloody well got to!"

Clarke conferred with Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Barkas, a film set designer, and Major Jasper Maskelyne, a conjuror, his two main camouflage experts. Within two hours, working at an ancient and gritty typewriter in the third-class waiting room of the Alamein railroad station, they arrived at a plan that was essentially taken from literature; the only way to hide the army, they decided, was to do what Malcolm had done at Birnam Wood— move forward under camouflage so gradually that the enemy's sharpest eyes and lenses would fail to perceive the movement.

As Clarke conducted his strange intelligence chorus—the score was the language of the Middle Orient and the choristers were Euphrates tribesmen in kaffiyehs and agals, Jews in ringlets and caftans, Egyptans in fezzes, Kurds in high felt hats, Sunni townsmen in astrakhan caps—Barkas prepared what would become one of history's most remarkable conjuring tricks. His men started with the 6000 tons of stores in the north which had to be concealed within 5 miles of the front, most of them in the region of Alamein station. But where could they be hidden without blasting and significant engineering? Barkas and his other principal assistant, Major Michael Ayrton, an artist, found a large complex of slit trenches lined with masonry which had been there for a year. Ayrton, his eyes trained to the nuances of light and shade, lined one of the trenches with cans full of petrol and then flew over to see whether the internal shadows of the trenches, which showed on aerial photographs, were changed. He took some photographs and when they were examined he found that the shadow forms were not changed. Within three nights some 2000 tons of petrol were brought in and hidden. The British wireless intelligence service, listening in to the German front-line wireless traffic, found no evidence that the movement had been detected.

Now Barkas and Ayrton turned to the question of caching the war stores. Their answer was a masterpiece. In another three nights 4000 tons of stores were brought in and stacked in such a way that, when covered with nets, they resembled 10-ton trucks, and overflows were built to resemble soldiers' bivouacs. The artillery also had to be concealed, for Montgomery planned to open Lightfoot with a barrage in the north from some 1000 guns, and he required that this concentration be totally camouflaged not once but twice: first in the assembly area and then again in their barrage positions. The task was of exceptional difficulty because both the gun and the prime mover had distinctive shapes. Yet again the solution was relatively simple. By backing the prime mover and the gun, it was possible to get both under a dummy of a 3-ton truck. By dawn in one night 3000

El Alamein ) 119 (

pieces of equipment—guns, limbers, movers—were in position but resembled 1200 trucks, which was not an uncommon concentration on the desert. On the eve of Lightfoot, they would be moved forward into their barrage positions, and 1200 more dummy trucks would be quickly erected to conceal the fact that the original trucks had moved. But how to conceal the forward movement of an entire armored corps? Again the camouflage men came up with a plan. The soft-skinned vehicles of the corps—trucks and the like—were taken into the attack area quite openly three weeks before Zero Day so that, as Barkas later wrote, "the enemy would become accustomed to seeing (the concentrations) and, when nothing further seemed to happen, might be expected to relax his vigilance." That is exactly what happened; the Germans observed these new concentrations but, when confronted with acceptable evidence of a major attack force being assembled in the south, they concluded that all the new vehicles were merely supplies for the front-line infantry.

However, the armored fighting vehicles—720 tanks, self-propelled guns, armored cars, weapons carriers—also had to be moved to the assault area, and they presented Barkas with his greatest problem. It was overcome by holding the armor well to the rear of the front line in three staging areas—Murrayfield (North), Murrayfield (South), and Melting Pot— which were chosen because they stood astride a system of conspicuous tracks. These tracks tended toward the southern sector; but slightly to the west, there was a second series of tracks that led toward the north. When Rommel's aerial reconnaissance detected the armor, it was concluded that they were bound for the south. But at night just before the attack, the armor would move out, proceeding south at first and then doubling back to the north. There, in an area called Martello, each tank would slip in beneath a "sunshield"—a structure resembling a 10-ton truck—which had been there for a week to lull the enemy further. To hide the fact that the armor had moved from the Murrayfield-Melting Pot areas, Barkas's engineers would build dummies of the armored force—with plaited panels of split palm which the natives used as beds—and they would obliterate the tracks of the armor's northern movement by literally sweeping the desert clean. By dawn Murrayfield and Melting Pot would look exactly as they had the night before: a huge armored force awaiting orders to move to the south.

While all these deceptions were going on in the north, Barkas's and Ayrton's men were being equally artful in the south. To mislead the Germans about the location of Lightfoot's spearhead early on—so that Rommel would have time to move some of his divisions to the south to meet the threat—the camouflage men began to build, on September 27, a 20-mile stretch of what appeared to be a new water pipeline; but, in fact, it too was a dummy. The scheme was codenamed "Diamond." A trench was

dug by Pioneers in the normal way, in stretches of 5 miles at a time, and a 5-mile length of dummy pipeline fashioned from old 4-gallon petrol cans was laid alongside the trench's parapet. Then, after dark, it would be moved forward while the trench was filled and a new trench started. The rate of progress was controlled so that it conformed exactly to the rate at which an actual pipeline would be built; and from every indication it could not be completed until at least forty-eight hours after Zero Hour, to deceive the Germans further about the time of the attack. Three dummy pump-houses were constructed, and "overhead tanks" and "can-filling stations" were built together with a shallow "reservoir." "Vehicles" were dotted about near the watering places, "men" could be seen from the air filling their cans, and enough actual traffic was diverted along the "pipeline" to give life to the fiction.

Obviously an attack could not be launched from the south without a vast supply of stores. So at the southern end of the "pipeline," a 9-square-mile patch of desert, codenamed "Brian," was selected as a "supply dump" and 700 "stacks" were built, creating the illusion that 9000 tons of ammunition, petrol and oil, food and engineer-ordnance stores had been put down. Then engineers moved in three and a half "regiments" of "field artillery"—telegraph poles put in gunpits under the cover of camouflage netting. But here Bertram called for a double bluff. The camouflage was allowed to rot so that the enemy would detect that they were dummy positions and would therefore take no notice of them. Then, again just prior to the major assault, the dummies would be whipped out and real guns and real crews put in. For a whole day they would lie still and silent, but when Montgomery initiated a small attack in the south to substantiate Bertram, the guns which the Germans had ignored would suddenly speak.

Plan Bertram was executed without a serious hitch. In the southern sector the "pipeline" was not yet completed, and since to all appearances the assault forces were still in the Murrayfield-Melting Pot staging areas, poised for an attack to the south, the Germans could assume that no attack was imminent. All that was visible in the north was a heavy concentration of 3-ton and 10-ton trucks. Yet an armored corps lay there silently, crouched to spring, while the infantry strike force lay doggo beneath the blistering sun. The only bleats of wireless communication, the only dust storms raised by speeding tanks, occurred in the south.

Along with this miasma of physical deception was spread an equally impenetrable fog of verbal deception. Wild had systematically built up the prestige and reliability of the German agents under his control by permitting them to transmit to their German controllers a careful selection of valuable facts. The Black Code conduit transmitted to Washington perfectly true reports of the arrival of convoys together with their manifests, and perfectly true political reports about British preoccupations with civil

disturbances in India. But along with these true reports the fictions of Bertram were also transmitted to draw Rommel's attention to the southern sector of the Alamein front.

By October 21 Bertram had been completed. Had it worked? From all indications it had, for Ultra and the British Y service showed that Rommel was uneasy but suspected nothing. His Chief of Staff, General Fritz Bayer-lein, would later comment on the success of the stratagem. Crediting Montgomery with superb coordination in his use of a mass of ingenious devices to dupe the Germans into believing that the attack would come from the southern sector while he prepared for his assault in the north, Bayerlein would remark that German intelligence was so thoroughly deceived that the high command had no advance warning of either the time or place of the attack.

If the Germans were in the dark about Montgomery's intentions, Rommel's intentions were bathed in the glare of Ultra, which kept Montgomery and A-Force fully informed about how he was reacting to Bertram —and much more. Ultra had now reached a very high degree of proficiency, for all Rommel's communications with OKW and the Commando Supremo in Rome were of necessity conducted by wireless in Enigma-enciphered messages. If the German and Italian high commands had laid a cable to North Africa, the story of Alamein might have been decidedly different; but they did not and the telephone lines that the Italians had laid on the seabed in peacetime had been dragged up and cut. Ultra gave Montgomery the most detailed picture of the enemy that a general had so far had in the war. He and his intelligence and operational staffs knew the state and disposition of the Afrika Korps, its supply position, the times and dates of departure—and the routes they were to take—of Rommel's supply ships, together with their manifests, the strength and state of repair of his panzers, the state of his air arm, and even the details of Rommel's health and state of mind.

Thus, in the long run, it was Ultra—not Bertram or Lightfoot—that would be the deciding factor in the Western Desert. Although the Afrika Korps was no longer the elite unit that it once had been, it was still strong enough to inflict severe casualties, and perhaps even defeat, upon Montgomery's army. Its greatest weakness lay in its supply link to Italy, and Ultra revealed all the British needed to know to cut that link almost completely. With the approval of Churchill, who had the last word in all Ultra matters, Montgomery requested and received an unprecedented air and naval campaign against Rommel's shipping. It was an effective campaign: in August, 30 per cent of Rommel's supplies were sent to the bottom; in September, another 30 per cent went the same way; in October, the figure rose to 40 per cent. Troops, tanks, guns, ordnance, trucks, food, medical supplies, and above all petrol were sent to the bottom of the

Mediterranean in an ever-growing crescendo of destruction. Mussolini, who was responsible for supplying Rommel, said in a memorandum a little later on that if the sinkings continued at the present rate—55,000 to 80,000 tons a month—all that Italy would have left within six months in the way of a mercantile marine would be her fishing fleet.

The consequences for the Afrika Korps were catastrophic. An Ultra dated October 19, 1942—four days before Zero Day for Lightfoot—revealed that Rommel's tanks had only about a week's supply of petrol. It also revealed that there was sufficient bread for only three weeks at the current ration of 1 pound per man per day; and tires and spare parts were so short that about one-third of all Rommel's vehicles were in workshops for up to two weeks. While the fighting strength of the 8th Army was assessed at 195,000 men, all that Rommel could muster was 50,000 Germans and 54,000 Italians—well below strength. Moreover, the sick rate was very high, and finally there was enough ammunition of all types for only nine days' heavy fighting.

The British had received even more telling confirmation of the desperate plight of the Afrika Korps—and of the success of the deceptive operations that surrounded Lightfoot—a month before when Rommel decided to leave the Alamein front and return to Germany to argue his supply position with the Fuehrer in person and to undertake some needed medical treatment. In making this decision, he had relied heavily on the forecasts of Fremde Heere West (FHW). The chief of that intelligence gathering and evaluation agency had sent an officer to Rommel's headquarters to assure him that intelligence from all sources showed that the 8th Army would not be capable of launching any major attack for several weeks. Only with that assurance did Rommel leave his command post—for the second time just before a major attack. But FHW had misinformed him, and not for the last time. The behavior of that organization—which was as vital to Hitler in the successful conduct of the war as it was to his generals—would come in for very close scrutiny by the Gestapo; and some of its officials would be hanged for high treason. But high treason was not, at this moment, the cause of FHW's misinformation. It was due to the deception campaigns of A-Force and the LCS.

FHW was one of the most vital services within the Wehrmacht—and the most vulnerable to deception. Indeed, it had been created to guard the German high command against deception. To that group of desks at German army headquarters in the larch plantations at Zossen, which lay about forty minutes by car from the center of Berlin, came the quintessence of that vast and expensive industry, the German intelligence services. Much of OKW's planning depended upon the accuracy of FHW's opinions; and if FHW was deceived, it was possible that the entire German high command might be deceived. It was the job of FHW to distill the most profuse,

El Alamein ) 123 (

complicated and fragmented intelligence into a few coldly written paragraphs of information; even more important, its evaluators had to sift the truth out of the mass of deceptive fictions that surrounded them every hour of their working lives.

In the late summer of 1942, FHW was confronted by an intelligence problem of great complexity: what were the British and Americans up to in Africa? From a score of different sources, there was evidence that the British would strike westward from El Alamein while the Americans appeared to be preparing for an invasion of the North African coastal ports. That was indeed the Allied plan; and during the early stages of the operation, the breaches of security were so gross that it seemed incredible that FHW had difficulty figuring it out. To the dismay of high commanders on both sides of the Atlantic, the imminence of a major Allied amphibious enterprise was common gossip in Washington; and in what was the OSS's first major mission, scores of American agents, thinly disguised as "consuls," "embassy clerks" and "legation guards," were arriving by ship and plane to reconnoiter, in full view of agents in the pay of the Germans, every North African port and capital from Dakar to Tunis. Even worse, on or about October 2, 1942, a German wireless intercept station monitoring radio telephone calls collected a conversation en clair between a Gaulliste intelligence officer in London and a Free French diplomat in Washington which revealed that, after an operation called Torch, the Allies intended to establish a headquarters in Algiers. If that was not bad enough, another Gaulliste intelligence officer, one Clamorgan, was killed on a flight from Lisbon to Tangiers when his aircraft crashed into the sea off Cadiz. His body was washed ashore, documents which he was carrying were seized by Spanish intelligence authorities, who passed them to the Germans, and they, too, indicated quite clearly that the Allies were focusing their attention on Algiers.

Torch, at least at first, had all the earmarks of another "Menace"—the ill-fated British expedition to take the port of Dakar. But in a curious way, that operation, in combination with a host of cover and deception schemes to protect the secrets of Lightfoot and Torch, thoroughly befuddled FHW. Reports were circulated that neither the British nor the Americans had the manpower or the materiel for such expeditions. Montgomery could not attack without heavy reinforcements, which had not yet arrived. Moreover, Churchill appeared to be more concerned with a rebellion in India and with German threats to Britain's oil wells in Persia and Iraq than with renewed offensive operations in North Africa; and there was some evidence that large British forces had been moving eastward through Jordan in recent weeks. But perhaps the Allies were just strong enough, so the rumors went, to leap across the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay to take Dakar, which was occupied only by a few French colonial troops. The Americans, it was

reported—accurately—were spending forty million francs on subversive and propaganda activities in Senegal, far more than they were spending anywhere else in Africa. More agents were going into Senegal than elsewhere, and the wireless traffic between America and Senegal was rising with suspicious rapidity. Had not the British attempted to take Dakar once before? Even the Kriegsmarine had planned to seize the port at one time. As for all the clandestine activities in the other North African ports, it seemed to the intelligence experts at FHW that these were the deception operations, not the flurry of activity in Senegal; and the documents found on the body of Clamorgan might well have been deliberately planted. Furthermore, there was no indication of any preparations for offensive action on the El Alamein front. FHW was convinced that the British would probably not be capable of anything more than aggressive defense in the Western Desert until November or December, and then the winter rains might delay operations until spring.

Such was the intelligence evaluation that FHW conveyed to Rommel, and the field marshal weighed the issues. He was uneasy; his Fingerspitzen-gefiihl told him that something was afoot, but he could not be sure what it was. Accordingly, he made a major—and fatal—mistake; he split his armored forces, which consisted of four divisions with five hundred tanks between them. He kept the 15th Panzer Division and the Littorio Armored Division in the north opposite El Alamein station, and sent the 21 st Panzer and the Ariete armored divisions to positions directly opposite the axis of the false threat in the south. He disposed the German 90th Light Division and the Italian Trieste Division somewhat to the rear of the northern sector, and then handed over his command to General Georg Stumme, an elderly panzer general with a weak heart. Rommel himself was in such a bad state of health that he had to be lifted in and out of his vehicles, and so great was his pain that he could not sleep. Even so, he would surely have stayed at Alamein if he suspected that a British attack was imminent. But he did not; he left Africa with "a heavy heart" on September 23—exactly one month to the day before Zero Hour for Lightfoot.

His first stop was in Rome, where he saw Mussolini and declared that "unless supplies were sent to us at least on the scale I had demanded we should have to get out of North Africa." Then he flew on to Fuhrerhaupt-quartier at Vinnitsa in Russia. Rommel arrived at a moment when Hitler was firing his generals right and left for what he considered their failures to obey his order in the Caucasus. Just as the British were holding the Germans at El Alamein, so the Russians were holding them at Stalingrad. Hitler was ill with high blood pressure and diarrhea, and the euphoria of his conviction that the Red Army was finished was beginning to dissipate as the Russian winter gathered over the Aral Sea. Nevertheless, he was cordial enough in his greeting of Rommel.

El Alamein ) 125 (

Hitler, who suffered from a form of far-sightedness, put on spectacles to examine the maps as Rommel explained his situation at El Alamein. Then he turned to the question of supply; and this, Rommel said, was little short of disastrous. In the first week of September alone, the British had sunk seven supply ships, including three tankers. Rommel was suspicious that Italian traitors—or Italian security leaks, which amounted to the same thing—were responsible. Dwelling upon the state of his supply of petrol, ammunition and fresh troops, Rommel said quite frankly that he was in a desperate position and that only adequate and uninterrupted supplies could save him.

Hitler did not react angrily to this statement, as well he might have. Instead he declared: "Don't worry, I mean to give Africa all the support needed. Never fear, we are going to get Alexandria all right." He spoke at length of new ferries that would speed Rommel's stores to him, of new fighter aircraft, new tanks, new multi-barreled mortars—all arms that were superior to anything the British had. He also mentioned a new secret weapon which had such explosive power that the blast would "throw a man off his horse at a distance of over two miles." He was referring to the atomic bomb.

Rommel's meeting with the Fuehrer ended and Hitler begged him to have a good rest. Rommel flew to Wiener Neustadt in Austria, and from there he was driven into the mountains at Semmering for his health cure. He arrived at Semmering on October 6, 1942, still, quite evidently, unaware of the imminence of Lightfoot. But as his cabriolet climbed the alpine road, Rommel made a remark that seemed to indicate that he no longer completely trusted Hitler. "I wonder," he said to his wife, "if (Hitler) told me all that to keep me quiet." For his part, Hitler remarked that he was dissatisfied with Rommel's apparent defeatism. "But really," said the Fuehrer, "I think one shouldn't leave a man too long in a position of such heavy responsibility. Gradually he loses his nerve. . . . That's Goring's impression too. He says that Rommel has completely lost his nerve." The Hitler-Rommel relationship was beginning to deteriorate.

The evening of October 23, 1942, came with a burst of gold in the western sky, and then a deep purple cloak settled over the desert. It was intensely silent along the front at El Alamein, as it almost always was in the early evening, with only an occasional pi-dog yapping or the sizzle of a flare going up. At German headquarters in a defile west of Tel-el-Eisa, there was not the slightest indication that the British attack would come that night. General Stumme was dining with his staff at a trestle table. The meat was tender; someone had shot a gazelle that day.

At exactly 2140 hours the eastern sky was lit by the biggest tornado of fire that had occurred so far in the war; and within a few seconds first the

rumble and then the breeze caused by the muzzle reports and exploding shells reached Stumme's table. Lightfoot had begun. The very intensity of the fire indicated that this was no ordinary artillery bombardment; several thousand shells were falling every minute. Stumme was shocked and surprised, as were all his divisional commanders and his intelligence officers. There had not been a shred of evidence that the British had managed to assemble and hide such a powerful concentration of artillery in the north; there was little real evidence to show that an attack was imminent anywhere, including the south. But within a few minutes of the opening of the bombardment in the north, the commanding general of the 21st Panzer telephoned to state that the British had also launched a major attack—or what appeared to be a major attack—in the south. Other reports reaching Stumme confused the issue of where the spearhead was even further; the barrage had opened along the entire front but was gradually shifting in weight to the northern sector.

Another threat materialized when coast-watchers on the Mediterranean shore just behind the German front line called to report that warships, supported by strong bomber forces, were bombarding the sector of the 90th Light Division between El Daba and Sidi Abd el Rahman. British heavy artillery had opened up on the German positions, motor torpedo boats were racing back and forth along the shore laying down a smoke screen, and from the smoke screen—so the coast-watchers reported—were coming the sounds of what seemed to be a major amphibious attack: the noise and smell of engines, the rattling of anchor chains, the voices of men shouting over loud-hailers, a shower of flares to illuminate the beaches. Stumme reacted immediately; he ordered bombers and fighters into the air and directed the 90th Light's reserve regiment to the area to repulse what appeared to be an attempt to land behind the German line. Artillery and tanks began to rake the sea with fire; but when the smoke screen finally lifted, all that was visible were a few rafts bobbing on the sea. It had been a feint; the British had unveiled a new weapon in their armory of special means—sonic and nasal deception. The noises of battle had come from recordings played over sound amplifiers brought in close to the beaches by MTB's. The flares had been fired into the air automatically; the smell of engines had come from cannisters on the rafts. It was a stratagem that the British would use again and again, and of its effectiveness there could be little doubt. Stumme had been tricked into sending an important segment of one his best divisions out of the main battle.

At dawn, Stumme's headquarters still did not know what the British intended. Artillery fire had destroyed the German communications network; and to find out for himself what the situation was, Stumme set out in an armored half-track for the headquarters of the 90th Light Division. He never arrived. In the region of Hill 21 in the north, he was ambushed

ElAlamein ) 127 (

by British anti-tank and machine guns, fell from his half-track, and died from a heart attack. The Afrika Korps was now without a commander. By noon, at almost the same time that OKW had been informed, Montgomery, while sitting in his caravan beside the clear blue sea at Burg-el-Arab just to the rear of El Alamein, received an Ultra telling him of Stumme's death. Bertram—and Ultra—had triumphed.

At Semmering, high in the Austrian Alps, the telephone rang in Rommel's chalet in the pinewoods. Field Marshal Keitel was on the line from Fiihrerhauptquartier, which had just moved back to Rastenburg in East Prussia. Keitel announced that the British had launched a major attack at El Alamein and that Stumme was missing, believed dead. Would Rommel be fit enough to return to his command immediately? A Heinkel III would be ready for him at Wiener Neustadt from two o'clock onwards. Rommel replied that he was willing to leave within the hour. Keitel asked him to await a further telephone call. At midnight, the telephone rang again. Hitler came on the line and asked Rommel if he felt fit enough to return to Africa. Rommel said he was perfectly fit. The Fuehrer then said he felt obliged to ask Rommel to fly back to Africa and resume command.

By noon on the 24th Rommel had landed at Ciampino Airfield outside Rome. He was aware that none of the new weapons promised by Hitler had gone to Africa, and he knew that supplies had fallen far short of the minimum demands he had made at OKW and the Commando Supremo. But just how bad the situation really was he had yet to learn. At Ciampino he was met by General Enno von Rintelen, the German military attache at the Quirinale, who reported that the British attack was still in progress, and only three issues of petrol remained for each vehicle in the entire theater. Rommel was bitterly angry; without the necessary supplies, his army was lost. He demanded that Rintelen spare no effort to ensure that ships began to run petrol and ammunition to North Africa that night. Then he climbed into the Heinkel and took off for Derna in Libya.

Back in Rome Rintelen went immediately to Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, the German Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean and southeastern Europe. Kesselring sped to his task; he called Mussolini. II Duce telephoned the Commander-in-Chief of the Italian navy. All available supply ships must be loaded with petrol and ammunition without delay and ready to sail as soon as possible. Then Kesselring sent a long wireless report to Rommel, informing him that a small convoy of five ships carrying ammunition and petrol could be expected at his supply ports within seventy-two hours. In the signal he pointed out that with a little good fortune these ships should get through; there was heavy sea fog all the way across the Mediterranean from Sicily to North Africa. The Turing engine decrypted Kesselring's signal and it was on the desk of.F. W.

Winterbotham in London at about the same time that Rommel received it in Africa.

Throughout the Lightfoot period Winterbotham had remained on duty to ensure that, despite the urgency of the hour, Ultra's security procedures were maintained; in the heat of battle there was a risk that commanders might waive the conditions under which Ultra could be used. Now Ultra revealed the boldest attempt of the campaign so far to get supplies to Rommel, and it was evident that they must be stopped. But Winterbotham quickly recognized a danger in this particular intercept. It was a standing order that no enemy ship could be attacked on the basis of Ultra alone; before an attack was mounted, an aircraft must be sent to the ship to make a visual report. In that way, the enemy would be led to believe that aerial reconnaissance—not cryptanalysis—was the method by which the British were managing to intercept Axis vessels with such accuracy and frequency. Clearly, if five ships in five different locations were all attacked in fog, Ultra would be endangered. Might it not be better to let the ships go? But if they reached Rommel, he might be able to make a stand and blunt if not destroy Lightfoot. Only one man could decide which course of action to take. That man was Churchill.

It was just after midnight on the night of October 26/27. Churchill was at Chequers and, from experience, Winterbotham knew that the Prime Minister would still be up. He put in a call on the scrambler telephone and explained the dilemma to Churchill: which was more important, defeating Rommel or protecting Ultra? Churchill hesitated for an appreciable period as he weighed the alternatives. Then he ordered that the ships were to be attacked and sunk. This time Churchill was willing to risk Ultra.

Within an hour command instructions were on their way to Malta, and just after dawn on the 27th, twenty Beauforts and Bisleys took off from Luqa and Halfar airfields and caught the first of the Italian ships, Proserpina, at sea in fog off Tobruk. She was under heavy escort and in the battle the RAF lost six of the twenty aircraft—but the Proserpina was sunk. RAF Wellingtons then caught the tanker Tripolino by the light of flares in a mist to the northwest of Tobruk. She was sunk. Her companion, Ostia, was torpedoed at dawn on the 28th. That same dawn Beauforts found Zara about 60 miles north of Tobruk. She was sunk with torpedoes. Her companion, Brioni, managed to get into Tobruk, but she was sunk by American Liberators before she could unload her cargo of petrol.

The explosion from Rommel was inevitable. While his forces were locked in the gravest battle of the campaign, the British had wiped out his supplies almost overnight. How—Rommel demanded to know—had the British managed to find those ships in conditions of heavy sea fog? He was deeply suspicious. On November 1 he sent a long telegram demanding that Kesselring investigate all possible sources of leakage—wireless indiscre-

ElAlamein ) 129 (

tion, Italian treachery and the security of the Enigma system, which he had hitherto accepted without question. The message was intercepted and placed before Winterbotham in London; what he had feared might happen had indeed happened.

Menzies and Winterbotham watched the rising threat to Ultra with concern. Could anything be done to divert German suspicions? It was Winterbotham who offered the only possible solution. He suggested that MI-6 in Cairo send a signal in a cipher which the Germans would be able to read to a phantom group of agents in Italy, congratulating them on their information concerning shipping movements from Naples and promising a pay rise. Menzies agreed, the message was sent on or about November 2, and at about the same time a monitor of communications between Kessel-ring and Rommel showed that the signal had been intercepted by the Germans as planned and that inquiries had begun. Ultra seemed safe.

From the start of the Battle of El Alamein Rommel's army was doomed. Confronted by bigger, better-equipped Imperial forces, his supply arteries all but cut, denied accurate intelligence, bombed and harassed by day and by night, betrayed in every major move he made by Ultra, Rommel was a general without hope. In a series of signals to Hitler—all of which were read by Montgomery through Ultra—he warned that he had no petrol to permit the withdrawal of two German and four Italian non-motorized divisions, and that most would be taken prisoner. There were only nominal reserves of ammunition, and even the tanks could not retreat very far with their present petrol supply.

Montgomery had Hitler's reply more quickly than Rommel himself; Rommel's Enigma was defective—some sand had got into the mechanism. Rommel's signals officer asked OKW for a retransmission, which came in two hours later. By that time the Turing engine had unbuttoned Hitler's reply and it was received at Montgomery's headquarters about an hour before Rommel got his copy. It read:

To Field Marshal Rommel:

In the situation in which you find yourself there can be no other thought but to stand fast and throw every gun and every man into the battle. The utmost efforts are being made to help you. Your enemy, despite his superiority, must also be at the end of his strength. It would not be the first time in history that a strong will has triumphed over the bigger battalions. As to your troops, you can show them no other road than that to victory or death.

Adolf Hitler

Rommel read the communication and put it aside in despair. As he would write, even the most devoted soldiers can be killed by bombs. Arms, petrol, aircraft, fresh troops—all would have helped. But not words. "An

overwhelming bitterness welled up in us when we saw the superlative spirit of the army." It was being crushed and, as he wrote to his wife: "At night I lie open-eyed, racking my brains for a way out of this plight for my poor troops. We are facing very difficult days, perhaps the most difficult a man can face. The dead are lucky, it's all over for them."

On the afternoon of November 4, 1942, the catastrophe he expected occurred; Montgomery finally broke the Axis front. By November 5 Rommel's command was in confused general retreat. Its vehicles and men jammed the road for the 60 miles between El Alamein and the new position in Fuka. The night was extremely dark but the RAF kept it light with thousands of flares that hung over the desert like descending chandeliers. At dawn on the 7th, Rommel's headquarters found itself at the wire around Fuka Airfield and, looking back, there was a great wall of dust as a sandstorm advanced across a scene of devastation: tanks, trucks, tents, armored cars, ambulances—all burning from the air raids of the night before. Columns of tens of thousands of men dragged themselves along on foot; the petrol supply had all but dried up, and for most of the troops there was no choice but to march out of the cauldron of fire and dust. According to reports Rommel received that morning, of the more than five hundred armored vehicles that he once commanded, only twelve were left. There was nothing else; the rest lay blackened and smoldering where they had been hit, or trackless in the minefields, or simply abandoned through want of petrol.

By November 15 Rommel realized that the Axis position in Africa was hopeless. While he had succeeded in extricating his panzer remnants from total annihilation, his supply ships continued to be sunk. Moreover, the Allies had invaded North Africa in Operation Torch. Proceeding to Brooke's grand strategic design, a largely American army traveling aboard a largely British naval force had occupied Casablanca, Algiers and Oran. Under the command of Eisenhower in the first field captaincy of his career—a matter that caused Brooke serious misgivings—the invasion had taken Hitler totally by surprise. But he reacted with characteristic speed and restored the strategic position of the Axis in North Africa by establishing a large Italo-German bridgehead in Tunisia to which Rommel could withdraw.

As for Rommel, he had come to inflict a new Cannae upon the British; and Montgomery had inflicted a new Cannae upon him. The prizes of Alexandria and Cairo lay far behind him and his losses had been enormous. Some 59,000 men had been killed, wounded or captured, 34,000 of them German. He had lost five hundred tanks and four hundred guns, and when the 21st Panzer, his favorite unit, ran out of petrol at Mersa Matruh and formed a hedgehog to make a last stand, the crews abandoned their tanks and walked out of the trap. Angry and disillusioned with the Fuehrer,

El Alamein ) 131 (

Rommel decided to leave his command without authorization and fly to Fuhrerhauptquartier to compel Hitler to agree either to reinforce and supply his troops properly or to evacuate them before they were trapped and destroyed. Rommel wrote in a letter to his wife: "Whether I survive this defeat lies in God's hands. The lot of the vanquished is heavy."

Rommel arrived at Rastenburg in East Prussia on the afternoon of November 28 and was summoned to see the Fuehrer at five o'clock. They met in a conference room buried deep under the turf, a dank and airless place from which Hitler ruled almost the entire continent of Europe. The meeting was quite different in atmosphere from the one just before the British attack at El Alamein. "There was," Rommel recorded, "a noticeable chill."

Rommel began by describing his position in North Africa at that moment and then turned the discussion toward the future. He did not mince words; if the German army remained in North Africa, it would be destroyed. Hitler exploded. "The mere mention of the strategic question worked like a spark in a powder barrel," Rommel recorded. Hitler accused him of defeatism, his troops of being cowards, and as his fury rose, he warned Rommel that "Generals who had made the same sort of suggestion in Russia . . . had been put up against a wall and shot."

Rommel was not daunted by Hitler's anger. He protested the allegations and stated that it was quite impossible to judge the battle of North Africa from East Prussia. Then he further infuriated the Fuehrer with the suggestion that either he or Keitel and Jodl go to Africa to inspect the position for themselves. This was too much, evidently, for Hitler. According to an OSS secret intelligence report, he turned upon Rommel contemptuously and said: "Herr Generaljeldmarschall, capitulate if you want to—that's what you are a field-marshal for. If you, as a field-marshal, think that you can no longer carry on (in Africa), then there was no point in my making you a field-marshal. Now get out!"

At that, Rommel saluted, turned on his heel and left the room. But as he closed the door, it flew open again and Hitler came out and put his arm on Rommel's shoulder. "You must excuse me," he said. "I'm in a very nervous state. But everything is going to be all right. Come and see me tomorrow and we will talk about it calmly. It is impossible to think of the Afrika Korps being destroyed."

The next day Rommel presented himself again at Fuhrerhauptquartier and Hitler announced that he would send Goering to Rome to straighten out the question of supplies. The two men left Fuhrerhauptquartier for Rome in Goering's private train, there to demand action from Mussolini and the Italian army. But when they arrived, Goering spent most of his time looking for pictures and sculptures with which he hoped to fill his train. He appeared at a party dressed in a toga with bejeweled sandals, rouged

cheeks, and scarlet-painted toenails. He did not, Rommel complained, try to see anyone on business. After three days Rommel decided that, for all the good he was achieving in Rome, he would be better off in North Africa. He was, he said, disgusted with Goering, who was quite mad, and Hitler was not much better. "Flying back to Africa," he wrote, "I realised that we were now completely thrown back on our resources and that to keep the army from being destroyed as a result of some crazy order or other would need all our skill."

Rommel did his utmost to avoid defeat. As Alexander's army advanced from the east, and Eisenhower's advanced from the west, he retreated skillfully into Tunisia, and his prestige was soon restored with the Fuehrer. The Desert Fox showed a flash of his former abilities when he came bounding out of the scrub at Kasserine and gave the American troops a nasty scratch that might have turned into a running sore. The Americans were caught off guard partly because of poor generalship (Eisenhower relieved one corps commander—General Lloyd R. Fredendall—and one divisional commander), partly because they were "green" and no match for the veterans of the Afrika Korps. American wireless security was also poor, but for a change, Rommel's was not. He ordered complete wireless silence before his attack; and Eisenhower's chief of intelligence, Brigadier E. T. Mockler-Ferryman, and his staff assumed that because there was no Ultra there would be no attack. For that error of judgment Mockler-Ferryman was dismissed and sent back to London, to be replaced by Brigadier Kenneth W. D. Strong, of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, a former military attache at Berlin and a man with a close connection to the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle. Strong would remain at Eisenhower's side for the rest of the war.

Kasserine seriously damaged Eisenhower's reputation, and provided a dramatic illustration of the dangers of overdependence on Ultra—a mistake that the Allies would make again in northwest Europe. Rommel withdrew from Kasserine in good order; he would try once more to fight his way out of the Allied trap. At Medenine in Tunisia on March 5, 1943, he assembled his beloved 15th and 21st Panzer divisions (which had been rebuilt after the disaster of November) and struck Montgomery a sharp blow. Montgomery, alerted by Ultra's forewarning, heard him coming, assembled a powerful anti-tank screen, and shattered the attack before Rommel could make a dent in his lines. Rommel withdrew, leaving 52 of the 140 tanks with which he had started on the battlefield.

It was Rommel's last battle in Africa. On March 7, 1943, he left his command at the orders of Hitler. The Fuehrer received Rommel on the afternoon of March 10 at Rastenburg. "I should have listened to you earlier," he said. "Africa is lost now." "Do you really think we can have the complete victory we aim at?" Rommel asked, and Hitler replied: "No!" "Do you realise the consequences of defeat?" Rommel said. "Yes," Hitler

ElAlamein ) 133 (

replied, "I know it is necessary to make peace with one side or the other, but no one will make peace with me." With that remark—and convinced now that in defeat Hitler would bring Germany down with him—Rommel left the Fuehrer.

On May 7 the 11th Hussars, the original "Desert Rats" of the 8th Army, entered Tunis, and the remnants of Army Group Afrika—some 220,000 Germans and Italians—surrendered with all their commanders. The war in Africa was over. It had cost the Axis over 600,000 men, 8000 aircraft, 6000 guns, 2500 tanks, 70,000 trucks and 2.4 million tons of shipping, against Allied losses of about 70,000 men. It was a stupendous victory that would be the prototype for future Allied joint operations. Several of the major preconditions for invasion laid down by Brooke—the opening of the Mediterranean to safe shipping, the establishment of a new front along the shores of southern Europe, and the creation of new air bases from which to attack the German industrial war machine from the South as well as from the West—had been obtained. Brooke had been proven right, Marshall had been proven wrong, Eisenhower had been found wanting. But in the euphoria of the moment all this was obscured. Nine months ago, the Allies had been on the brink of defeat; now they could anticipate victory with assurance—unless something went dreadfully wrong on D-Day.

Rommel watched the end in North Africa from his mountaintop villa at Semmering, and grief-stricken at the destruction of the men and the army he had genuinely and deeply loved, he realized that Germany faced ruin. At about this time he received his friend, Dr. Karl Stroelin, the Oberbiirger-meister of Stuttgart, and he heard, possibly for the first time, of the existence of the Schwarze Kapelle.

PART U

THE ROOTS OF CONSPIRACY

1934-1943

Gehlen : Don't you think that treason decided the outcome of

the Second World War?

Sibert: I think there was another factor which was more important.

We were reading your command cipher traffic, you know—

the British were reading it from the beginning. The

conspirators got blamed for a great deal they did not do;

we used them to provide cover for Ultra.

Gehlen: If that was the case, we hadn't a Chinaman's chance.

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN GENERAL REINHARD GEHLEN AND GENERAL EDWIN L. SIBERT

.

yi

Canaris

Rear Admiral Wilhelm Franz Canaris, the director of the Abwehr, spent the first weekend of September 1939 in his office at 76/78 Tirpitzufer, overlooking the beautiful chestnuts and limes of Berlin's Tiergarten. On Sunday morning, the 3rd of September, he rose at dawn to read the teleprinter reports that came in from the chiefs of his intelligence stations throughout the world. He then made ready for the day and went for a stroll in the Tiergarten with his deputy, Colonel Hans Oster, walking beside the bridle paths where they encountered several members of the German General Staff who, looking like lords of creation, were taking their morning rides. The two men spoke of the world crisis that was at hand—for within three hours Britain's ultimatum to Germany, demanding that Hitler withdraw his forces from Poland, would expire. What would the Fuehrer do now that his bluff had, at last, been called? He had bellowed at a visitor to the Chancellery on Friday evening: "If England wants to fight for a year, I shall fight for a year; if England wants to fight two years, I shall fight two years. ... If England wants to fight for three years, I shall fight for three years. . . ." But, so the visitor had noticed, Hitler's bellicosity was superficial; he was obviously nervous and deeply apprehensive. Canaris, too, was apprehensive. He and Oster continued their walk into the Rosengarten with its great marble statue of the Empress Auguste Viktoria, and there they met the Spanish military attache. "Naturally," said the Spaniard from his horse, "Germany has calculated this war out to the last detail of ultimate victory." Canaris replied: "Calculated nothing at all."

The headquarters of the Abwehr occupied two former townhouses, served by a creaky old elevator which rattled and swayed up the well. Canaris's office was on the fourth floor and resembled, some visitors said, the study of a slightly untidy and preoccupied don. There was an old Persian carpet, which Canaris had refused to have replaced; his nineteenth-century desk was ornately bound in bronze but ink-stained and unpolished.

) 137 (

The cot in the corner of the room was piled with army blankets, and was a favorite spot of Seppl—Canaris's dachshund and his constant companion. On the desk was a model of the light cruiser Dresden and a letterpress mounted with the insignia of the Abwehr—three brass monkeys, one cupping its ear and listening, the second looking sharply over its shoulder, and the third with its hand over its mouth. The shelves were cluttered with the latest books and magazines; on one of the walls was a picture of the devil—a gift from the Japanese ambassador—and on other walls were portraits of Canaris's predecessors. Behind his desk was a photograph of Hitler boarding Canaris's former command, the old battleship Schlesien. It was from this room that Canaris controlled the immense espionage organization which provided Hitler, the Supreme Command (OKW), and the General Staff with foreign military, political, economic and diplomatic intelligence—and a counterespionage organization to confound Germany's enemies.

At ten o'clock, shortly after he returned from his walk, an aide brought Canaris a message. The British secret intelligence service (MI-6) had issued a code word to all its stations. That word was "Halberd"—an ax for smashing helmets—and from this Canaris concluded that the British considered war inevitable. The minutes ticked by, and at noon Canaris went to his high-domed Telefunken wireless set, tuned in to the BBC in London. At 12:15 precisely, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's thin, sad voice came through the ether:

I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at No. 10 Downing Street. This morning, the British Ambassador at Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that unless the British government heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have now to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. . . .

Canaris switched off the wireless and gave Oster the order to issue the War Telegram that would inform the 3000 men and women on his staff that a state of hostilities existed between Germany and Great Britain and France. Then he summoned a Kolonne —a staff meeting—and after reviewing the Abwehr's dispositions for war, Canaris uttered some singular words about the British secret service, his main adversary in the conflict he now faced:

I must warn you about them for several reasons. Should you work for them it will most probably be brought to my notice, as I think I have penetrated it here and there. They will want to send messages about you in cipher and from time to time we can break a cipher. Your names would appear in files and registers. That is bad, too. It would be difficult in the long run to over-

Canaris ) 139 (

look such activities. It is also my knowledge that the (British) secret service will requite you badly—if it is a matter of money, let me tell you, they do not reward services well, and if they have the least suspicions, they will not hesitate to betray you. . . .

It was a needless warning; the Abwehr executive was absolutely loyal to the little admiral. But where did Canaris's loyalty lie? It was a strange but legitimate question, for after warning his Kolonne about the British secret service, Canaris added a fateful corollary to a few intimates who remained behind. He said that he felt a defeat for Germany in this war might be disastrous, but that a victory for Hitler would be a catastrophe. Therefore, the Abwehr must do nothing that would prolong this war by a day.

It was an astonishing remark for the commander of the secret intelligence arm of the German Supreme Command to make. But, in fact, Canaris had long been a member of a group of military men who were opposed to Hitler and his messianic ambitions for the Third Reich. As Hitler tightened his grip upon the German people and led them ever closer to a new world war, this group had evolved from passive dissidence to active conspiracy against the Fuehrer and the Nazi Party. It would come to be known as the Schwarze Kapelle, and Canaris was among the leaders of the conspiracy. Indeed, as a man who was privy to the deepest secrets of the Third Reich, and who directed its intelligence and counterintelligence activities, he was in a position to do fundamental damage to Hitler and his policies. Thus it was that, when the war with Britain was scarcely six hours old, Canaris authorized what was clearly an act of treason. He permitted Oster, who was also a member of the Schwarze Kapelle, to send a young assistant, Major Fabian von SchlabrendorfT, to the Hotel Adlon where, Canaris knew, the remnants of the British diplomatic mission were assembling for repatriation. There, SchlabrendorfT sought out the British military attache, Colonel Dennis Daley, and found him with MI-6's station chief in Germany, Major Francis Foley. SchlabrendorfT informed the wary Englishmen that the German military opposition to Hitler would shortly endeavor to open a line of communication to the British government through the Vatican. He also warned them that Hitler would make a big bombing raid on London to mark the outbreak of the war. Daley thanked the German, wished him good fortune, and then hastened away to inform London.

That same Sunday morning, radar in the Thames Estuary picked up an aircraft that should not have been there. Just as the Prime Minister was finishing his declaration of war upon Nazi Germany, the air-raid sirens sounded, the great balloon barrages rose into the skies, and crews manned the anti-aircraft guns. All London went to the air-raid shelters. It was a false alarm. The aircraft was identified as a French courier plane coming to London on unannounced business. No German planes flew over Britain

that day, and when Schlabrendorff's warning reached London, it was interpreted by MI-6 as a trick—one of many threats and counterthreats that had been traded between the German and the British secret services in the psychological warfare that preceded the declaration of hostilities. It would not be until the end of the war, when General Alfred Jodl, Hitler's chief operations officer, was being interrogated, that the truth became known. Hitler had indeed intended to launch a bombing raid against London on the first day of the war. But Jodl had dissuaded him; the raid, Jodl had said, would achieve nothing and would invite retaliation. Canaris had, it emerged, warned the British in all good faith.

Canaris had been appointed to the command of the Abwehr during the last days of 1933, and formally took office on his forty-seventh birthday, January 1, 1934. He was a small and secretive man, nervous and intense in disposition. He had a slight lisp, a melancholic expression, and walked with a stoop, his hands clasped behind his back. His manners were those of the Wilhelminians: courteous, sincere, benevolent, watchful and tough; his eyes were like a basilisk's, piercing and blue. An educated and well-traveled man, he could speak the languages of Germany's potential enemies —England, France and Russia—almost as well as those of her potential friends—Spain and Italy. His hair was quite white when he assumed his post at the Abwehr. And from that moment on he began an odyssey of intrigue with few, if any, parallels in modern history.

A decade later he was dead, and his world had been consumed with the German phoenix. All that was left were men who could not—or would not—talk, rumor, half-fact, a few documents of state, his daughter, and his silent widow Erika, living her final years in deep mourning in exile in Spain, with a villa provided by General Franco and a pension supposedly arranged by Allen Dulles, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Canaris had been determined to confound history with mystery.

There were as many opinions about him as there were men employed by Menzies to assess his peculiar, elusive and complicated behavior—opinions ascribing it to everything from homosexual anglophilia to Jesuitical russophobia. Colonel Samuel Lohan, as spokesman for the secret agencies of England, dismissed Canaris as an "inefficient, intriguing, traitorous, lisping queer." Professor Sir John Wheeler-Bennett described him as the "grey fox with a lair on the Tirpitzufer." General Louis Rivet, Canaris's main French adversary, called him a "trapeze artist," adding somberly that "even the best trapeze artists get killed." General Efisio Marras, the Italian military attache at Berlin for much of the Second World War, saw him as an "extraordinarily intelligent man [who is] quite without scruples." Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the chief of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD),

Canaris ) 141 (

the security service of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the elite military order that functioned as Hitler's personal army, and the deadly rival of the Abwehr, cried from the dock at his trial: "I have ascertained the high treason of Canaris to a most terrible degree." Otto Skorzeny, a leader of the SS, denounced him with the words: "Canaris betrayed his country's military secrets to Britain directly and wittingly from the beginning of his career to its end." Jodl would inform the International Tribunal at Nuremberg that Canaris had "served the enemy for years." Allen Dulles would describe him as "one of the bravest men of modern history—a gentleman, a patriot, and a visionary of a United States of Europe led by England, France and Germany." Even one of the sourest critics of the Schwarze Kapelle, General Reinhard Gehlen, the wartime chief of Fremde Heere, Hitler's intelligence evaluation section, and, virtually, Canaris's successor as chief of the postwar German intelligence service, would concede that while Canaris's character was "shrouded even now in mists of ill repute," he was "endowed with intellectual traits not seen in officers since the first half of the nineteenth century. . . ."

What was the truth about this mysterious man? Among the Germans, Ernst Baron von Weizsacker, the State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry and an occasional member of the conspiracy, perhaps approached it when he wrote:

He is one of the most interesting phenomena of the time, of a type brought to light and perfected under dictatorship, a combination of disinterested idealism and shrewdness, such as is particularly rare in Germany. As wise as serpents, as pure as doves. . . . Whether he had Greek blood I do not know; but, at all events, he passed for a cunning Odysseus. This much even Hitler must have recognized; otherwise, he would have hardly entrusted his whole military intelligence to a sailor. But he had not seen into his heart. Even the Gestapo . . . did not know what kind of man he was. Canaris had the gift of getting people to talk, without revealing himself. His pale blue eyes did not uncover the depth of his being. Very seldom, and only through a narrow crack, did one see his crystal-clear character, the deeply moral and tragic side of his personality.

And among the British, only Menzies—with Prime Minister Churchill and his Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden—would at last penetrate the mystery. But Menzies would be very guarded in his remarks about his old adversary, save to say that Canaris was "damned brave and damned unlucky."

There were several striking similarities between the lives and careers of Menzies and Canaris. Both were born into the elite of an age of intense national dynamism and ambition, and twice within their lifetimes, their countries would be driven to settle their dynastic differences in war. Both men would serve in the first great conflict; both would rise to head their governments' secret intelligence agencies in the second. Canaris was three

years older than Menzies, born on New Year's Day of 1887 in a large, walled villa on a cobbled road in the Dortmund coal-mining suburb of Aplerbeck. His father, like Menzies's, was a wealthy man, a chimney baron who owned pits and forges in the region. His mother was a daughter of the Master Forester of the Frankenwald estates of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Italian in origin, the family had arrived in Germany as migrants from Sala on Lake Como during the sixteenth century, and had settled as vineyard workers at Bernkastel, the great wine center on the Mosel. It was not an undistinguished family; one of the Canarisi was said to have provided a forebear for Napoleon, another for Konstantin Kanaris, the Greek admiral whose fireships destroyed the Turkish squadron of Kara AH at Chios and so liberated Greece from Ottoman rule. By 1789, Franz Canaris was Chamberlain at the Court of the Elector of Treves, one of the capitals of the Holy Roman Empire, an intricate court where "spies and assassins, double-dealers and feline deceivers marched four abreast down the long ramps of dynastic religious or political machinations." In the early nineteenth century, the family abandoned Catholicism for Protestantism when one of its members married into an evangelist family; it also abandoned the wine trade. The family moved north and Canaris's grandfather became koniglicher Bergrat —royal mine master—to the dukedom of Hesse. They prospered with the Kruppsian boom, entered industry on their own account, and by the time of Canaris's birth they were wealthy, influential bourgeois.

There was no military tradition in the modern family. But young Canaris, after attending the Realgymnasium at Dortmund, elected to join the navy; and on April 1, 1905, he entered the Naval Academy at Kiel. In late 1906 he served before the mast on a training ship in Mediterranean waters, and when he had completed his training, he was appointed to the light cruiser Dresden, a modern ship that was sailing for duty in the South Atlantic. Dresden was coaling at St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies at the outbreak of the First World War. She slipped the harbor and embarked on a naval saga that had few comparisons for seamanship, courage and endurance. For 214 days she was a gray wolf in the southern oceans, sinking merchantmen on the beef and nitrate routes from South America to England. Dresden was present at the Battle of the Coronel in October 1914 when Admiral Graf von Spee destroyed the British battleship squadron of Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, the first major defeat suffered by the Royal Navy in over a century; and she was the sole German survivor of the British victory at the Battle of the Falkland Islands. Dresden escaped and managed to elude her pursuers for almost 100 days, but finally she was trapped by three British cruisers under the sheer face of a black lava island off the east coast of Chile.

When the British cruisers opened fire and Dresden was damaged,

Canaris ) 143 (

Canaris, who was flag and intelligence officer, put out from his ship to HMS Glasgow to protest the engagement on the grounds that Dresden was in neutral waters and was therefore noncombatant. In reality he had come to gain time to allow his captain to evacuate the crew and scuttle the ship before the British boarded and captured her. The British captain rejected Canaris's protest; he said he was under orders neither to proffer nor to accept any terms other than unconditional surrender. Thirty years later Canaris would once again hear those fateful words. Suddenly an explosion holed Dresden and she began to sink. Canaris saluted his adversary and left Glasgow to rejoin Dresden's crew, which was now assembled ashore, singing the German national anthem as the cruiser, her battle flag still flying, settled upon the bottom of the bay.

Dresden's crew was interned by the Chilean government on an island 500 miles out in the Pacific, but Canaris was not there long. He bribed the captain of a fishing boat to take him to the mainland and went to the German Embassy at Santiago, where he was given papers that declared him to be an Anglo-Chilean named Reed-Rosas. He then set out by car for Osorno, and from there, disguised as a mestizo, he made his way through the Andean cordillera in mid-winter. When he reached Neuquen, a small town in the mountains, he took a train to Buenos Aires, where passage was arranged for him aboard the Dutch steamer Frisia bound for Rotterdam.

On September 17, 1915, Canaris arrived at the Admiralstab in Berlin, a ghost of a man. Ill and drawn, he had contracted recurring malaria and enteritis, and he was generally exhausted. His private saga did not go unrecognized. Kaiser Wilhelm bestowed upon the young lieutenant the Iron Cross; and after a period of leave and recuperation, Canaris was promoted to captain and joined Captain Kurt von Krohn, the chief of the Etappe in Spain—the German fleet's secret supply and intelligence organization. Early in 1916, he found himself in Madrid; his long career as a secret agent—and his entanglement with the British secret intelligence service— had begun.

It was a time when the secret war between Britain and Germany was being fought for huge stakes and single lives were of little account. The prizes were command of the Mediterranean and of Suez, control of the great Arabian and Persian oil basins and—for Britain—communication with her Empire east of Suez. German submarines operating from the Austro-Hungarian port of Pola in the Adriatic were reaping a dreadful harvest of Entente shipping, much of which was sunk as the result of Canaris's work among the wharfingers of Cartagena. Thus in the summer of 1916 Captain Menzies of MI-6 was sent to Spain to "kill or capture" the young German. It was to be their first and only encounter in the field.

Canaris was not well that summer. His malaria had returned and his many months of hardship and clandestinity were taking a severe toll.

Captain Krohn decided that he should return to Germany for rest and medical treatment. Accordingly, dressed as a monk and posing as a pilgrim bound for the shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, Canaris crossed into France and made his way to Italy. But instead of going to Assisi he went to Domo-dossola, the border town for Switzerland. There, the Entente counterintelligence forces caught up with him, and he was jailed and told to expect a trial as a German spy. He managed to stave off trial by faking tuberculosis; he bit his tongue to create bloody mucus. Then he was released. Powerful Spanish friends, including a young officer named Franco, heard of his arrest, made representations to the Italian ambassador at Madrid, strings were pulled and Canaris was spared the firing squad.

He was back in Madrid in August of 1916 and Menzies quickly picked up his scent. Krohn wirelessed the Admiralstab for a U-boat to collect his sick assistant, but the exchange of signals was intercepted by the Admiralty's cryptanalytical agency and a trap was laid at Cartagena for both the U-boat—which was under the command of Captain Arnauld de la Periere, the German U-boat ace in the Mediterranean—and Canaris. The rendezvous was in Salitrona Bay off Cartagena. Pursued by Menzies and an Entente counterintelligence team, Canaris arrived there and took sanctuary aboard the interned German steamer Roma.

Menzies soon found out where his quarry was hiding. His informant was Juan March, a young Jew who controlled the Cartagenan waterfront and who would come to control the economy of Spain. With the help of March, Menzies ringed Roma. At sea lay the French coastal submarines Topaze and Opale, ready to put torpedoes into the U-35 that was coming to Salitrona Bay to rescue Canaris. If they failed, three surface vessels and a squadron of torpedo-carrying float planes were standing by to attack.

The night was dark on the Cartagenan waterfront when Canaris and two other German agents slipped aboard a small fishing boat and left the harbor among the Spanish mackerel fleet. Menzies learned of his escape and signals were sent to the French submarines and the surface vessels that were stationed along the line on which Canaris would rendezvous with the U-35. But by then scores of fishing boats had gathered along that line, any one of which might have had Canaris aboard.

The U-35 glided into Salitrona Bay and laid up off Tinoso Beacon at 0230 on October 1. Captain Arnauld de la Periere put up his periscope and saw that he was surrounded by bobbing fishing boats. His instructions were to look out for a vessel that flashed the Morse letter "M" from its masthead; but all the fishing boats carried masthead lamps, and all appeared to be blinking as they rose and fell on the gentle swell. The sun was rising, and in the east the dawn was a thin sliver of blood red between the black glassy sea and the sky. It was at that time—0632, according to Canaris's report to the Admiralstab—that de la Periere saw a smack flying

Canaris ) 145 (

a red pennant and flashing the signal "M." It was Canaris. De la Periere brought the U-boat almost alongside the smack, and broke surface very gently. Canaris and his companions leaped aboard and disappeared into the submarine through a deck hatch. Then the U-35 submerged and ran fast and deep for Pola in the Adriatic. The commanders of Topaze and Opale had seen nothing, although their periscopes were up; they had been blinded by the rays of the rising sun. Canaris had won the first round of his contest with Menzies.

In 1917, after prolonged medical treatment, Canaris joined the U-boat service as a captain and sank some eighteen ships in the Mediterranean. At the end of the war, he returned to a defeated Germany. The Kaiser had gone into exile aboard his cream and gold train, the monarchy had collapsed in Bavaria, the Communists had seized the royal palace at Potsdam, and the smoke of civil war hung over Berlin. The victorious Allies imposed merciless terms upon the vanquished; the Weimar Republic was established and under Paul von Hindenburg, not so much a hero as a monument, ruled uneasily from the seat of the grand dukes of Saxony. For Germany, the night seemed very dark, and the dawn very distant.

In the 1920's, Canaris played politics and would be accused of aiding in the murders of the socialist revolutionaries Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, as well as conspiring against the Weimar Republic to restore the Kaiser to the throne. His activities came to the attention of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence in 1928, when he was suddenly detached from duty as a liaison officer at the Admiralstab and sent abroad. Curious, the American naval attache at Berlin began an investigation and discovered a murky intrigue concerning Canaris that would never be fully explained. At the end of the First World War, the German government had been permitted to keep intact a section of the Admiralstab known as the Marine Transport Abteilung which became, in secret, the cover organization behind which the Etappe was reestablished. But who was funding the organization? The Entente attaches, who kept a close watch on the German budget, could not find out—until the "Phoebus Scandal" broke. Then it emerged that Canaris and other officers in the Abteilung had been investing certain Admiralstab monies in private companies to provide cover and funds for their intelligence activities. Among these companies was a film production organization called Phoebus, which went bankrupt for a total of 26 million gold marks. Its creditors sued the company's principals and they, in turn, sought to remove the responsibility to the Abteilung. Canaris and a certain Captain Lohman were named in the German press, but they were sent abroad before they could be brought into court and compelled to make statements implicating the German government in illegal offensive intelligence operations.

During this same period, the late 1920's, Canaris also had some part

in founding an embryonic intelligence network in central Europe and the Balkans, and cooperated with at least one Entente intelligence agency— most probably the British—against Communist agents who had begun to flood into western Europe to provoke revolutions in support of the Kremlin. Yet all his official records showed was that he served in turn as first officer of the cruiser Berlin, first officer of the old battleship Schlesien, and Chief of Staff of the North Sea station. Finally, in 1933, he became commanding officer of the naval depot at SwinemUnde on the Baltic. And there his career might have ended if the fates—and Hitler—had not intervened.

Canaris was not a member of the inner circle around the C-in-C of the Kriegsmarine, Admiral Erich Raeder, nor was he a member of the Nazi Party. But traditionally, the post of Abwehr chief was a naval preserve, and when that post fell vacant, Raeder recommended him. He was summoned to the Fuehrer's office at the Reichskanzlei. "What I want," said Hitler at an early meeting, "is something like the British Secret Service—an Order, doing its work with passion." On New Year's Day of 1934, Canaris, now an admiral, became the new chief of the Abwehr.

Canaris was an unlikely choice to fill such an important and sensitive post. He was, it was said, "untransparent"; moreover, he belonged to that freemasonry of aristocrats and plutocrats that Hitler called "The Blue International," a group which Hitler himself both feared and detested. Perhaps he thought he could manipulate a naval officer more easily than the stiff-backed Prussian militarists of the German General Staff; and from the first, Hitler set out to court his new spymaster. To all appearances, relations between the two men were cordial, although Canaris would never become a member of that quintessential group of Nazi leaders to whom the Fuehrer confided his most private thoughts. But he would have access to the deepest secrets of the Third Reich, secrets upon which the fate of the new Germany and of Hitler himself would depend. From Hitler's point of view, the choice of Canaris was not only unlikely; it was unwise. He would have cause to regret it.

In the light of his future course of action, however, it is difficult to determine why Canaris accepted the Abwehr post in the first place. Here ambition may have played a part. Or Canaris may have thought that he could exercise some restraining influence over the erratic Fuehrer; he was once heard to say that Hitler was "reasonable and sees your point of view, if you point it out to him properly." ("Man kann mit ihm reden" —"You can tell him things.") Equally, Canaris may have accepted the post in the belief that Hitler was a turbulent but useful ally who, if handled with cynical realism, could be manipulated to the profit of the cause of German conservative reaction. But by far the most probable reason was to work for the overthrow of the Nazi regime from within.

Evidence on this critical point would come to light after the war when

Canaris ) 147 (

Captain Franz Maria Liedig, an official in the naval branch of the Abwehr, and one of Canaris's least known but most trusted confidants, would tell American military intelligence interrogators that Canaris began to work against the regime from the moment he was accepted into it. "The 'Canaris group,' i.e. a circle within the Abwehr," stated Liedig, "was the first united military clique working against Hitler with any semblance of a planned programme. . . . This feeling of rebellion existed for many years before the war; it actually began in 1934, when Admiral Canaris was put in charge of the Abwehr." Not for many years, however—and certainly not until after war had begun—would it become apparent to such men as Menzies what Canaris was really after. Germany was a potential enemy, and as the good wizard said of the bad wizard in The Lord of the Rings: "It is difficult with these evil folk to know when they are in league, and when they are cheating one another."

Bodyguard of lies

The Schwarze Kapelle

While Canaris founded the Schwarze Kapelle in everything but name—the SD and the Gestapo would give it that—the organization was powerless to mount a rebellion against Hitler without the cooperation of the German General Staff. But throughout its life, not more than a very few of the more progressive, enlightened and intelligent German officers supported the conspiracy—or, indeed, were even aware of it. Between 1934 and 1938, most of the generals and colonels who were thought to be involved were little more than aging grumblers complaining at the Herren-klub—the central citadel of German military and conservative power—of the intrusion of the "gutter" into affairs of state. If they viewed with distaste the hypnotic Bohemian corporal who ruled (and eventually destroyed) them, they were prepared to tolerate him as long as he continued to provide order and a sense of national purpose to the Reich. Moreover, Hitler proclaimed that the army was the "sole bearer of arms in the Reich"; he continued to treat his generals, overtly at least, as the watchdogs of the nation; and he was busy restoring to them their flags, their bands, their brigades and divisions, their rituals. Why should any of them conspire against him?

There was another powerful factor that kept most of the high officers of the German General Staff loyal—a factor apart from the difficulties of plotting under the watchful eye of the Gestapo in a system riddled with informers. Tradition and training made them totally obedient to the civil authority. For the General Staff, absolute and unquestioning obedience was a rite carried to lengths that were incomprehensible elsewhere in the world. It was the secret of German military power. As Major Milton Shulman, an intelligence officer with the Canadian army, would put the situation:

Orders of a superior were to be obeyed without question, and any break from tradition was seriously frowned upon. Not only was their military life

) 148 (

strictly supervised, but their personal life was also subject to an unrelenting social code . . . these automatic and impersonal creatures of the officers corps were so obsessed with the omnipotence of authority that they were hypnotized by its very presence. To live was to obey. There was no other end in life.

The result was certain: "To challenge the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, Adolf Hitler, was unthinkable."

There were, however, a few men who were prepared to challenge the unlimited authority of the man who would come to be called Der Fuhrer, among them the Chief of the German General Staff, General Ludwig Beck. Beck, who in 1934 was fifty-four, was regarded at home and abroad as the most efficient and humane soldier of his generation. But while he held the most powerful post in the German armed forces, he was not a scion of the Junkerdom that Frederick the Great had molded into a coldly proficient and haughty military aristocracy; his father was a scientist and ironmaster in Hesse, his mother the daughter of lawyers. He was born in 1880, attended the Humanistic Gymnasium at Wiesbaden, joined the 15th Field Artillery Regiment as an officer-aspirant in 1898, and fought in the First World War as a member of the staff of the army group of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. He stayed with the army after the Armistice, and when his wife died in bearing their only child, a daughter, he devoted himself totally to his career. That devotion, and his extraordinary gifts as a soldier and a man, were rewarded by his appointment as Chief of the General Staff—on the same day that Canaris became chief of the Abwehr.

Beck, a conservative German nationalist, distrusted his new masters, Hitler and the Nazis. He had already clashed fundamentally with Hitler when, late in June 1934, two events occurred that turned his opposition— and that of Canaris—into implacable conspiracy. At a meeting with Hitler the afternoon of June 29, Beck informed the new Chancellor that he had not accepted his high office to build an army for the purposes of foreign conquest; his purpose was to build an army that could defend the Reich. Hitler rejected his words with the ominous statement: "General Beck, it is impossible to build up an army and give it a sense of worth if the object of its existence is not the preparation for battle. Armies for the preparation of peace do not exist; they exist for triumphant execution in war." But Beck reminded Hitler of the vow that he had made to Hindenburg that he would not lead Germany into another war. And before taking his leave, he also reminded Hitler, prophetically, that another war would become a multi-front conflict which Germany could not survive.

Beck returned to the great marble hall on the Bendlerstrasse that housed the headquarters of the General Staff, and there he received a telephone call from Canaris warning him that Hitler was about to embark

on a purge to destroy all sources of opposition to his regime. Among the marked men were General Kurt von Schleicher, Hitler's predecessor as Chancellor and a slippery kingmaker who was an apostle of the "Black Broth of Sparta" (as the Prussian militarist ethic was called), and Schleicher's friend and assistant, General Kurt von Bredow, once a high official in the Abwehr. Canaris said that Hitler believed that Schleicher and Bredow were conspiring with the French ambassador, Andre Francois-Poncet, to restore the Hohenzollerns to the throne of Germany. Beck knew that the allegations were not far from the truth, and he had to act quickly. He sent a friend to warn Schleicher of the danger; but the general, who had just returned from a honeymoon with a new, young wife, seemed unconcerned. God, he said, had discouraged his further involvement in political activities.

Just after twelve o'clock on June 30, there was a ring at the Schlei-chers' garden gate. Unsuspectingly, the cook pressed the button that released the lock and went into the garden to see what the caller wanted. Five men came up the path, brushed her aside and entered the villa. They went to the study, where Schleicher was at work on some papers, and asked him whether he was General Kurt von Schleicher, the former Chancellor of Germany. Half-rising, the general said that he was no other, and at that the men drew pistols and shot him. Frau von Schleicher, who had been in another room arranging flowers, hastened into the study with a basket of roses on her arm and gardening gloves on her hands. She, too, was shot.

That same afternoon General Kurt von Bredow was at the Hotel Adlon taking tea with friends. A messenger from the Bendlerstrasse brought him an envelope containing the news of the death of Schleicher, and Bredow turned to the French diplomat with him and murmured: "I wonder why the pigs haven't killed me yet." The diplomat, hoping to remove Bredow from danger at least for the time being, invited the general to his home for dinner, but Bredow declined and left the hotel. He was in uniform and, because it was summer, a white linen tunic. Just as he was getting into a taxi, a young colonel of the General Staff came up. "They have assassinated Schleicher," Bredow said. "He was the only man who could have saved Germany. He was my leader. There is nothing for me now." Then Bredow got into the taxi, closed the door and was driven of! to his home. At about five o'clock that afternoon, there was a ring at his front door. Bredow, who was still in his white tunic and field-gray breeches with their claret stripes, answered the door. He was shot in the chest and killed.

There were many other murders that night and during the days that followed. Agents of the SS scoured all of Germany, killing anyone whom Hitler considered a threat to his assumption of complete power. It was a spasm of ambition and revenge that would go down in history as the "Night of the Long Knives," and the murders would affect Canaris pro-

The Schwarze Kapelle ) 151 (

foundly. Captain Liedig would later testify: "The events of 30 June 1934 proved to Canaris that Hitler was and would remain a confirmed revolutionary to whom the exploitation of trust, decency and truth was a mere instrument of policy." From that moment onward, Canaris would engage in what Liedig called "adroit intrigue" to "influence and ultimately convince other military organisations, high commands and so on of the danger of the Hitler regime and the necessity to remove it." And the Abwehr became "the centre of gravity for all anti-Hitler activities within the armed forces."

Neither for the first nor for the last time Hitler had gambled dangerously, for it was conceivable that, immediately following the "Night of the Long Knives," the General Staff would rebel. In the event, all the senior members of the caste did was to protest. Field Marshal August von Mackensen, a revered general of the First World War and the commander of the elite Death's Head Hussars, called upon Hitler to demand the reestablishment of decency in public life and in the conduct of the state's business. Ashen-faced and intense, Hitler was silent for a moment. Then he said: "It may be as you say, but I cannot help myself."

Powerful forces within the General Staff now began to range themselves against Hitler and the Nazis. The War Minister, General Werner von Blomberg, ordered that the dead generals were to be regarded as traitors and that no General Staff officer should attend their funerals. Defying his order, Mackensen, Beck and Oster, newly appointed as Canaris's deputy at the Abwehr, gathered behind the cortege. Dressed in full uniform and carrying Schleicher's medals on crimson cushions, they followed the black horses with the black plumes and the cart of the dead to the cemetery. But there, at the gates, the cortege was stopped by men of the SS in midnight black and silver uniforms.

Outraged, Mackensen called a meeting of the Schlieffen Society, an organization within the General Staff. Four hundred officers gathered at the Zeughaus, the old armory in the center of Berlin, and there beneath the great sculptures of "The Masks of the Dying Warriors," they resolved unanimously that Schleicher and Bredow were not traitors but men who had "Fallen on the Field of Honour." The resolution was, according to the code of discipline by which the Officer Corps lived, tantamount to rebellion. Then Mackensen and thirty officers of the Society wrote a letter to President von Hindenburg, setting down the details of Schleicher's and Bredow's "executions," and requesting that the President demand the restoration of their names to the Roll Call of Honour of their regiment— the Third Foot Guards, Hindenburg's own regiment—from which they had been struck by Blomberg on Hitler's order.

The letter was dated July 18, 1934, and was sent to the President's estate on vast hazy plains of East Prussia at Neudeck on July 20. But if the

letter ever reached him, he could not have read it. Hindenburg lay near death on the old camp bed he had used in his tent at Tannenberg, his hands clasping a Bible, his rheumy old eyes fastened on Valhalla. He died at nine o'clock on August 2, 1934, and, stricken by grief, Mackensen put the matter of Schleicher and Bredow aside. Beck and his generals became involved in the planning and execution of the obsequies. Hitler planned a coup d'etat.

At three o'clock on the afternoon of Hindenburg's death, the War Minister, Blomberg, ordered the General Staff to parade at the foot of the Siegessaule—the Column of Victory, a great tower of sandstone surrounded by rows of captured French cannon. All over Germany the Wehrmacht gathered for similar ceremonies. That same afternoon, Hitler proclaimed himself Fuehrer and ordered the armed forces to swear an oath of allegiance to him—to him alone, and not to a nation nor to a constitution.

The saluting cannon fired in honor of the dead President. The band played the mournful Song of Remembrance: "Ich hatt' einen Kameraden!" There were two minutes of silence. Then Blomberg stepped forward to take the Fahneneid —the blood oath of the Teuton knights. General Werner von Fritsch, the C-in-C of the army, and Beck followed, each holding the flag of the Third Reich in one hand and the Bible in the other and reciting:

I swear by God this holy oath, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Fiihrer of the German Nation and People, Supreme Commander of the Armed Services, unconditional obedience, and I am ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.

The rank and file of the General Staff recited the same oath. Until that moment they could have discarded Hitler. But now they had made a blood pact with him; they had sworn to obey the new Fuehrer without question for the rest of their lives.

Walking with Fritsch back to the Truppenamt under the line of statues of the rulers of Germany along the Siegesallee, Beck stopped beneath that of Otto the Indolent and declared: "This is a fateful hour. (This oath) means physical and moral suicide." A little further on Beck stopped again and said: "He took us unawares. I did not realize that we were swearing a completely new form of oath." From that moment until he finally paid the price of the oath with his own life, Beck never ceased to brood that he had taken the Fahneneid to Adolf Hitler.

Bodyguard of lies

Friend or Foe

Hitler gave Canaris almost unlimited authority and unlimited funds with which to rebuild the German secret service. Canaris favored executives in his own mold—quiet, orderly, orthodox Wilhelminians of good birth and private incomes—and with such men he built with rapidity an intelligence and counterintelligence service that embraced the world. He was particularly successful in establishing a large reseau in Spain, a reseau that would become the cornerstone of his secret empire. But MI-6 was also active in that turbulent land, and it was through its contacts in Spain that Menzies first learned of Canaris's growing disaffection for the Fuehrer and his new Germany.

The information came from Don Juan March, the illiterate fisherman's son from Majorca who had assisted Menzies in the attempt to capture Canaris at Cartagena in 1916, and whose riches had now elevated him to the Spanish nobility. So powerful had March become, however, that he was above allegiance to a single nationality. As Spain moved toward civil war, he maintained his close ties with Menzies and MI-6; but at the same time he was in contact with Canaris and the increasingly powerful forces advocating German intervention in the troubled Spanish political scene.

Germany feared a Communist government in Spain, and when the Civil War broke out, Canaris crisscrossed the Pyrenees in his personal Ju-52, organizing arms shipments, finance and intelligence for the Fascist revolutionary forces of General Franco. It was during meetings with men like March at this time that Canaris made a remarkable admission. In due course, March communicated that admission to Menzies in London, and brought him the first news of the conspiracy that came to be called the Schwarze Kapelle. Canaris, March reported, had displayed considerable reserve about Hitler's military intentions. Canaris "does not love nor trust his new masters," March related, and added: "He is our best ally in Europe at the moment." A little later, in another report, March warned Menzies

) 153 (

that Canaris was "a man to be watched, cultivated and possibly won over ... 'as a sleeping partner of British espionage.' "

It was an intriguing possibility to Menzies—that the new chief of a rival secret intelligence service might be prepared to work with MI-6 against Hitler. But was it true? Could Canaris be trusted? These questions deeply divided the small group of officers in command of MI-6. As one would write:

At best it seemed to be a wildly optimistic gamble that might come off; at worst it could be an invitation to walk into a well-laid trap with disastrous consequences. Those who saw Bolshevism as the main enemy naturally tended to take more notice of the optimistic reports on Canaris. They pointed out that if the British Secret Service could come to an understanding with Canaris, it might be possible to pool information on the machinations of international communism. But those who regarded Germany as Britain's potential enemy were highly suspicious. Canaris' whole career was one which did not suggest he was any better than a good German patriot, and in some respects he was a downright scoundrel.

Yet during the years just prior to the war, everyone conceded that Canaris had attempted to open up lines of secret communication between the German and British governments. Was he acting on the orders of the Fuehrer, or was he pursuing some covert purpose of his own? To MI-6, either or both seemed quite possible.

From the first Hitler counseled Canaris to be cautious in any offensive intelligence operations against England. The Fuehrer gave him the strictest instructions that, since he was hopeful that the Third Reich might be able to form an alliance with Great Britain, the Abwehr must do nothing to provoke the fears or suspicions of the British. Hitler permitted Canaris to establish agents in Britain, but not for the purposes of espionage; they were to act as a channel for confidential communication between the two governments. Such instructions had their precedent; Major Waenker von Dankenschweil, one of Canaris's predecessors, was given identical authority by Chancellor Leo von Caprivi in 1889. Thus, in what was one of Canaris's earliest dispositions, he ordered Captain Robert Treeck, a Han-noverian cavalryman, to England in 1935 to make contact with Menzies. Treeck became Menzies's neighbor at Luckington, the small village in the Wiltshire Hundreds between Bath and Chippenham where Menzies had his country house, Bridges Court. In the spring of 1935 a caravan of pantechnicons and horse boxes arrived at Luckington Manor, the home of Mrs. Dody Hartmann, a London socialite who had rented the house to Treeck. The movers deposited Treeck's possessions and his horses, and then Treeck himself arrived with a mistress, Violetta Baroness de Schroeders, a Chilean. With Treeck came a chef, a stud groom, a butler

Friend or Foe ) 155 (

and a valet, and he employed locally a footman, a housekeeper, two undercooks, three maids, two grooms and three gardeners.

It was evident that Treeck was socially acceptable from the moment of his arrival, an acceptability that suggested the cooperation of Menzies himself. He joined the Beaufort Hunt, of which Menzies was a leading member. The Beaufort was so exclusive that it had its own livery—blue and buff instead of pink and black—but its activities were not confined to the pursuit of the fox. It was one of the most influential political groups in England. Treeck announced that he had been born in Latvia and had served with the Uhlans in the First World War. The Communists had dispossessed his father of the family estates and, during the family's escape to Germany, Treeck said he had been shot by the Communists in the throat—which accounted for a pronounced scar. He never revealed that he was a member of the Abwehr, although the probability that he was a German agent was discussed in the village. And it emerged that he had rented other expensive homes in England. They included 12 Cheyne Place, London, a quarter much favored by British politicians, editors and wealthy members of the squirearchy, and Guilsborough House, a small estate with a master's house of twenty-one rooms in the heart of Northamptonshire hunting country. There he joined the Pytcheley, a hunt which was only a shade less exclusive than the Beaufort. He married the Baroness de Schroeders quietly on April 27, 1938, in a civil ceremony at the Chelsea Registry Office, declaring on his wedding lines that he was forty-one and a "gentleman of private means." His bride declared herself to be thirty-eight, also of private means, and her identity was given as "Violetta Cousino, otherwise de Schroeders." Their witnesses were two friends, Connor Carri-gan, an Anglo-Irish sportsman, and Mrs. Pearl Balfour, a society woman, of Smith Street, Chelsea.

Treeck had been sent, evidently, to cultivate the British branch of 'The Blue International"—that small, closely knit political and merchant aristocracy that held the true power of Europe. With that class's passion for horses and hunts, nowhere could "The Blue International" be met—and penetrated—more easily than on the hunting field, and at the social functions that followed. The hunt—and particularly the Beaufort, whose Master was the Duke of Beaufort, the Master of the Horse at Buckingham Palace—was as much a political conspiracy as a sport. Hitler, for all his scorn of aristocracy, listened carefully to the opinions of the British upper classes. They ruled a world empire.

Treeck's choice of Luckington Manor as his country residence was not a coincidence. It was well known to anyone who studied Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes where Menzies was to be found on a Sunday morning. But just how far Treeck managed to insinuate himself into Menzies's cabal will not be known. Only a yew hedge sepa-

rated their grounds, but if Treeck ventured across, Menzies never said so; no one was better at keeping secrets than "the Colonel." At the hunt Menzies would cry "Deutschland tiber alles!" somewhat contemptuously at Treeck as their horses thundered over stone walls in pursuit of the fox. But in private their transactions, if there were any, were very discreet. All that is known is that Treeck made a formal approach to Menzies on one occasion while taking sherry after a meet. It happened on the terrace of Badminton, the Duke of Beaufort's palace. Treeck asked Menzies if they might have a few words, and Menzies agreed. They walked together for some time across a greensward beneath the great cedars, and Treeck— according to Menzies—said that Canaris had required him to make contact with Menzies and act as a liaison in "such matters as might concern us both." Menzies said afterwards that he did not reject the overture. He replied merely that he would not make Treeck's task in England difficult, provided he did nothing illegal.

Treeck remained at Luckington and Guilsborough until the outbreak of war. Then he went to Germany. He left much property behind him, including some of his horses, his Krupp sporting guns, a collection of Dresden porcelain, some good wines and a wardrobe of hunting and sporting clothing. They were placed in the care of the Custodian of Enemy Property and later sold at auction. One channel of confidential communication from Canaris was closed. He would open up others with Menzies before and during the war, but the question would always remain: Could Canaris be trusted? It is a question that was not easily answered.

If there always remained some doubt about Canaris, there was never any question about the motives and loyalty of Germany's other secret intelligence chief, Reinhard Heydrich. On the surface at least, the two men were friends, but Heydrich's sudden rise to power, and his ruthless exercise of that power, were in part responsible for Canaris's disenchantment with Nazism. Canaris served the German General Staff; Heydrich, as chief of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), served the Nazi Party and the SS, which the puffy, bespectacled Heinrich Himmler had fashioned into a secret, fanatical military order that combined the rites and customs of romantic Teutonism with cold-blooded power politics. Inevitably, Canaris and Heydrich were rivals, as the German army and the SS were rivals, although both were ostensibly engaged in similar activities in support of the secret interests of the Third Reich. But their curious relationship would go much deeper than that.

Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich—his father was an opera singer and his mother was an actress, and he was named after characters in Wagner's operas—was born in 1904 at Halle, a small town of steep-roofed, half-timbered houses in the Teutoburg Forest. He joined the navy in 1922 and

Friend or Foe ) 157 (

in 1923 was sent to the training cruiser Berlin, where he met Canaris, then first officer of the ship. Tall and blond, Heydrich seemed to excel at everything he did. He was a capable officer, a first-class signalsmaster, an outstanding sportsman—the apotheosis, even then, of the Nazi doctrine of Nordic racial supremacy. He passed his examinations into the naval intelligence service with honors, showing first-class abilities in English, French and Russian; and he would become a good fighter pilot. It was his exquisite playing of the violin that brought Heydrich into Canaris's household. His tone was mellow and delicate, his fingerwork beautiful; and when Frau Canaris heard him play one evening at a concert in the wardroom of Berlin, she invited him to join the little chamber music concerts which she gave at her home on Sunday evenings after croquet. Doubtless Canaris came to regret that he had ever had the man in his house.

Heydrich might have reached the highest ranks within the navy but for his ungovernable sexual appetite. In 1929, he became signals officer aboard the Baltic fleet flagship Schleswig-Holstein, and met a nineteen-year-old beauty, Lina Mathilde von Osten, the daughter of a schoolmaster on the Baltic island of Fehmarn. Heydrich rescued her when her boat overturned during an evening's sailing and, in December 1930, they became engaged. At the same time he was seducing the daughter of a director of the IG Farben-industrie, the great chemicals corporation that did much business with the Kriegsmarine. She became pregnant and her father demanded that Heydrich marry her, but he refused with the words that he could never marry a girl of such easy virtue. Incensed, her father took the matter to the Kriegsmarine's Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Erich Raeder. Raeder saw Heydrich and advised him to marry the girl, and when he again refused, Raeder had no alternative but to order him to appear before a Court of Honour. The court gave Heydrich another chance to marry the girl and save his career; instead, he accused her of lying, suggested that another was responsible for her condition, and stated arrogantly that he would not marry her even if the price was his naval career. The court reacted strongly; Heydrich was cashiered in April 1931 with the fearful words "Dismissal for impropriety" stamped on his documents.

Heydrich was now an outcast in a nation of outcasts. It seemed that he was ruined. Miss von Osten, who was as resourceful and influential in the Nazi Party as she was beautiful, came to his rescue. She arranged for Heydrich to meet Heinrich Himmler, who was forming the SS as the imperial guard of the New Germany. The two men met at Himmler's chicken farm at Waldtrudering, near Munich, on June 14, 1931, and Himmler was immediately impressed by Heydrich's intelligence. He gave Heydrich twenty minutes to write a plan for the formation of what would become the Nazi Party security and intelligence service, approved the plan, and then assigned Heydrich the task of building the new intelligence

machine. On October 5, 1931, Nazi Party headquarters at Hamburg received this telegram:

Party Member Reinhard Heydrich, Hamburg, Membership Number 544916, will, with effect from October of this year, be carried on the strength of Party headquarters as a member of the staff of the Reichsfiihrer SS Himmler with the rank of Sturmfiihrer SS.

With this signal, Europe's newest secret intelligence service was born.

Heydrich rose quickly in the councils of Nazi power, his strength, according to Brigadefiihrer SS Walter Schellenberg, one of his deputies, being his "incredibly acute perception of the moral, human, professional and political weaknesses of others. . . ." He and Canaris were, presumably, friends, and when Canaris came to Berlin as chief of the Abwehr, he was seen frequently in Heydrich's company. The two men resumed their dainty intercourse—croquet and chamber music at the Canaris home on Sundays; Berliners saw them eating together at Horchers and riding together in the Tiergarten. When Canaris took a house in the Dollestrasse of Sudende, a Berlin garden suburb, Heydrich, who had married Miss von Osten, took a house in the same street. When Canaris moved to the Beta-strasse of Schlachtensee, another exclusive garden suburb, Heydrich followed six months later. But all the time the two spymasters were conspiring against each other. Heydrich assigned SD agents to spy on Abwehr agents and had microphones placed in Canaris's office. In turn, Canaris procured Heydrich's Ahnenliste —the "ancestry list" that was kept on all members of the Nazi Party. For Canaris suspected that Heydrich—the man whose orders would later result in the murder of 6 million Jews—was himself partly Jewish. If that was not enough to hang a man in the Third Reich, it was also suspected that Heydrich had homosexual predilections. Then, having compiled a dossier, Canaris sent it for safekeeping to a friend in Switzerland with instructions that it was to be given to the New York Times if he or any member of his family suffered any "untoward experience." With that, Canaris informed Heydrich of what he had done; and Heydrich, aware that publication of the dossier would ruin him, did nothing against his rival. Canaris was playing a dangerous game with Heydrich and the other Nazi hierarchs, perhaps motivated by the Machiavellian principle that:

Where the very safety of the country depends upon the resolution to be taken, no considerations of justice or injustice, humanity or cruelty, nor of glory or of shame, should be allowed to prevail. But putting all other considerations aside, the only question should be, What course will save the life and liberty of the country?

Bodyguard of lies

The Plot Begins

While it was the "Night of the Long Knives" that awakened men of conscience like Canaris and Beck to the criminality of Hitler and his regime, it was a conference held late in 1937 that started the Schwarze Kapelle on the road to outright treason. At 4:30 p.m. on November 5, 1937, Hitler gathered with a group of the most powerful men in the Reich at the fireside of the Little Cabinet Room at the Reichskanzelei on the Wilhelmstrasse. Present at the secret meeting were the Foreign Minister, Baron Konstantin von Neurath; the War Minister, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg; the C-in-C of the Luftwaffe, General Hermann Goering; the C-in-C of the army, General Werner Baron von Fritsch; and the C-in-C of the Kriegsmarine, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder. When the men were settled in the big club chairs under an oil portrait of the Iron Chancellor, Bismarck, Hitler first swore them to secrecy and then, as a wintry gloom descended on Berlin outside the French windows, he uttered the words that spelled doom for a continent and for the German General Staff itself.

Hitler, now forty-eight and slightly stooped with the onset of kyphosis of the spine, gave expression to a startling policy; he was, he said, determined to begin without delay the acquisition of Lebensraum —living space for the German people. For the next four hours he spoke of his decision, whether general war was the outcome or not, to annex, either by diplomacy or force, Austria, his birthplace; Czechoslovakia and Poland; and finally, when the Wehrmacht was ready, he would take Russia. He declared that his decision was final, predicted that the Anglo-French powers would not interfere, demanded unconditional obedience, and directed that the operations begin in 1938 and end in 1943.

The enormity of Hitler's decision, so quietly and firmly expressed, had a terrible effect upon most of those present. Both Fritsch and Blomberg declared with passion that the proposals meant war with England and

) 159 (

France—a war, they said, that the Wehrmacht would not win. Neurath, in protest, reminded Hitler of his pledge to Hindenburg that he would spare Germany another war. Raeder declared that the navy was not ready—and would not be ready for at least a decade—for such a war. Only Goering spoke in support of Hitler. To all the arguments, Hitler countered that England and France were too decadent and weak to oppose him, but even if they did so he was still determined to proceed. The "Teuton furore" had begun.

Deeply disturbed by the meeting, Neurath and Fritsch broke their vow of secrecy and conferred with Beck about how Hitler might be stopped. They would go to him and prove that his proposals were both impractical and dangerous. But if the three men thought they could change the Fuehrer's mind, they were quite wrong. Not only would Hitler not listen, he refused to see them at all. At that point, Beck decided that the western powers should be informed of Hitler's intentions and consulted Canaris about the means. Canaris said there would be no difficulty.

Canaris probably had Major Francis Foley in mind. MI-6's man at Berlin from 1920 until the outbreak of war between Britain and Germany in September 1939, Foley was a former infantry officer who, it was said, had the appearance of a clerk, the mind of a divorce lawyer, and the manner of a Somerset livestock dealer. Working in offices at the British Consulate General, and operating under the title of "His Britannic Majesty's Passport Control Officer"—the cover for MI-6 officers attached to British embassies—Foley had been reporting the secrets of the strange men and queer events that had dominated Germany ever since the end of the First World War. His mission was no secret to Canaris, however, and he was undoubtedly permitted to remain in Berlin because Canaris found him a useful contact with the British. Now, largely through Foley, the British would learn of the struggle that was developing between Hitler and the General Staff—a struggle on which the peace of Europe, and of the world, would depend.

Hitler realized that war was the last thing his generals wanted. At every point in his political career there had been a general to oppose him. At every turning there had been one of those field-gray cardinals watching and waiting for a moment to restore the Hohenzollerns or to make politics with the Russians. Now he was being opposed in one of the boldest conceptions in modern German history. If he was to carry out his plans, he would have to rid himself once and for all of his opponents on the General Staff and replace them with men who would do his bidding without argument or discussion.

Blomberg was the first to feel his sting. In December 1937, Blomberg, fifty-nine years old and a widower, asked the Fuehrer's permission to marry a twenty-six-year-old typist. Hitler wished the field marshal every happiness

The Plot Begins ) 161 (

and even attended the ceremony as a witness. But no sooner had the bride and groom left for a honeymoon on Capri than rumors began to circulate that the new Feldmarschallin was a "sister of joy" with police convictions for prostitution and petty fraud. Goering was the man behind the whispers. Blomberg, Goering demanded, must go. He obtained the Feldmarschallin' s docket from Himmler and presented it to the Fuehrer. Here was evidence that the rumors were true and Hitler professed to be greatly distressed. He immediately ordered Blomberg to return from his honeymoon, and when the field marshal refused to divorce his wife, Hitler stripped him of his command.

Who should succeed Blomberg? The logical choice was Fritsch. But Goering, who aspired to the post of War Minister, was in a position to dispose of that candidature; he placed Fritsch's SD file on Hitler's desk. It told a dismaying story; Fritsch had been accused by a man called Otto Schmidt, who was at present in police hands, of committing a homosexual act with a male prostitute known as "Bavarian Joe" in the Privatstrasse of the Wannsee railway station. When Fritsch learned of the allegation, he demanded that the Fuehrer hear him out in person. Hitler agreed, but unknown to Fritsch, he arranged to have Otto Schmidt present at the interview. Schmidt repeated his accusations, and although Fritsch denied them, Hitler declared that he must consider himself relieved of his duties.

Other than the doubtful word of Otto Schmidt, there was no proof of the charges against Fritsch. It was a plot engineered by Goering, Himmler and Heydrich to blacken the name of a blameless officer, and although the Gestapo sped to all parts of Germany and East Prussia to interview Fritsch's "military family," no one was prepared to testify that Fritsch was homosexual. Nevertheless, trial papers were drawn up while Hitler planned the reconstruction of the Wehrmacht in such a manner that the General Staff would be compelled to carry out his war policy without argument.

With the assistance of General Wilhelm Keitel, a stiff fellow with a monocle who was one general known to be "flihrertreu," Hitler founded the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), the Supreme Command of the German armed services. All staffs, including the General Staff, would be subordinate to OKW, and Hitler himself would become Supreme Commander, with Keitel his Chief of Staff and General Alfred Jodl his Chief of Operations. Hitler considered replacing Beck with General Franz Haider, but stopped short when he realized that Haider was a Bavarian and a Catholic, and that neither had ever before been a Chief of the General Staff. Hitler, who disliked Bavarian Catholic generals as much as Prussian Protestants, kept Beck. By January 30, 1938, he had completed his plans and listed his victims; and on February 4, in what was nothing less than another coup d'etat, he was ready to act.

That morning "radio wardens" hurried from door to door throughout

Germany to see to it that the Herrenvolk were at their deutscher Kleinem-pfdnger —cheap, state-manufactured wireless sets. By one o'clock most of the 23 million households and 40 million adults were listening attentively when the "Eroica" began to blare, as it always did at such moments. Then came the word. The nation listened with astonishment, all Europe with apprehension, as famous name after famous name toppled. The War Minister and the C-in-C of the army had retired on grounds of health. General after general had retired or been demoted—in all, thirty-five of Hitler's most illustrious generals were sacked. Joachim von Ribbentrop replaced Neurath as Foreign Minister; General Walther von Brauchitsch replaced Fritsch as C-in-C of the army; Goering became a field marshal; the ambassadors at Rome and Tokyo were superseded; and replacing Blomberg, Hitler himself assumed the title of War Minister. The diplomatic and press corps darted for their cableheads and the news flashed around the world. That same evening, Hitler summoned his three hundred generals (there had been only twenty-three in 1923) to the Reichskanzlei to hear his version of Fritsch's and Blomberg's frailties. The generals listened in silence, and then left. Hitler said afterwards that he had feared they would either resign en masse, or arrest him. They did neither, and when Hitler relaxed later that evening with some old Party cronies, he declared that now he knew that every general was either a coward or a fool.

As for the generals, they put silk handkerchiefs over their knees to protect their creases, crossed their legs, sipped wine in their messes and clubs, and decided that all that had happened was a reshuffle in the high command. They did not realize that, finally, Hitler had broken the last conservative bastion—the generals themselves. They did not see that Hitler was now what he had intended to become: the sole master of the Reich.

The time came to try Fritsch. A brave man, Ruediger Count von der Goltz, stood before Fritsch's court-martial and its president, the new Field Marshal Goering, and tore the evidence of the Gestapo to shreds. He proved that there had been a plot against the C-in-C, and that Schmidt had been induced by the plotters to give perjured evidence. Goering, unable to convict his victim, acquitted him; it was ruled that Colonel General Baron von Fritsch was innocent on all counts. Fritsch was able to walk away a free man, his honor, but not his career, restored. Schmidt was shot, and Himmler and Heydrich disappeared on staff business in remotest Germany—for, as they said, they expected that the army would march, and that if it did not do so now, it never would. History would prove them correct.

But if Hitler had succeeded in evading an overt military rebellion, covert opposition to his rule began to crystallize. Liedig would testify:

Hitler's criminal procedure against . . . Fritsch . . . had a profound effect upon the Wehrmacht and the Abwehr. The result of this event was to split

The Plot Begins ) 163 (

army opinion, and the systematic organisation of associations among Hitler's opponents began at this point. The final decision to work for the regime's overthrow, which was initiated originally by the Canaris-Oster group, was then made. It was our belief that the eyes of even the military specialists would be opened by the vile and deceitful treatment of von Fritsch. Henceforth there was a systematic and continuous campaign to recruit leading soldiers for the anti-Hitler campaign.

Throughout this period, General Beck remained sphinxlike, although he remarked later that the Fritsch-Blomberg affair was the prelude to world war. And Hitler, who had said that war was not the last expedient of statehood, but its essence, now had an instrument, OKW, to execute his designs. Yet he had only one wholehearted supporter among the departmental heads of the OKW—Hermann Goering. All the rest, including Canaris, were ranged against him. The top-level officers of OKW were quite isolated in their opposition, however, for Hitler had the unquestioning love and trust of the people, and the support of the rank and file of the army, industry and the Luftwaffe. Any plot against him would result in nothing short of civil war. The conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle were not yet ready to take that risk.

The men who dared oppose Hitler gathered around Beck; and at first their opposition took a form that marked German military planning from that time forward. Whenever they received an order from Hitler and OKW to plan for some military adventure, the group around Beck faithfully carried out its orders, but at the same time drew up a counter-plan to show that Hitler's intentions were dangerous and impracticable. The dissidents first applied this tactic in "the Battle of Flowers"—the invasion of Austria. But the Fuehrer was now in a position to ignore his generals, and with a young colonel called Erwin Rommel in command of his bodyguard, he made a triumphant entry into Vienna on March 13, 1938, thus taking the first fateful step in his quest for Lebensraum.

Hitler's sense of personal triumph was very great, for it was in Vienna that he had begun his political life as a youth, earning his livelihood with Crudely drawn picture postcards and advertisements for "Teddy Perspiration Powder" and of Santa Claus selling colored candles. It was in this aristocratic, baroque city that, without money or a job, Hitler had stayed from 1909 until 1913 as, so he wrote himself, an art student earning "my daily bread, first as a casual labourer, then as a painter of little trifles." It was here that he had lived, dreamed and conspired as the occupant of a bed in a dosshouse behind the Meidling railroad station, or at 27 Melde-mannstrasse in the 20th Quartier, a hostel for working men established by a charitable foundation. It was here that, wearing an old, lice-ridden overcoat given to him by a Hungarian Jew, and presenting the "apparition of a man such as rarely occurs among Christians," Hitler had first displayed the

qualities of violence, argument, exuberance, denunciation and despondency that marked his life as the Fuehrer. Now he had incorporated Austria into the Reich. He was master of the city that had once rejected him.

But when he came to survey the efficiency with which the occupation had been carried out by the army, Hitler was appalled. The General Staff had failed to execute the mobilization plans, the road to Vienna was littered with broken-down tanks and trucks, and the muddled way in which the generals handled the armored columns bespoke sabotage. That element was certainly present; and as Canaris said to General Erwin Lahousen, chief of intelligence in the Austrian General Staff, "Why didn't you people shoot? Then the Corporal would have known that things can't go on like this for ever. However else is the man to learn any sense?"

The Fuehrer was now ready for his next move. With fulsome assurances to the Czechs that he had no designs upon their nation, Hitler proceeded with "Case Green"—the plan for the occupation, by force or by trickery, of Czechoslovakia. But when orders for Case Green came down from OKW to the General Staff, Beck again resolved to frustrate them as best he knew how: by pointing out in a parallel appreciation for Hitler's consumption that an attack upon Czechoslovakia would provoke war on several fronts and would bring in not only France and England but also, eventually, the United States. Hitler was not to be dissuaded. He demanded that preparations for the invasion of Czechoslovakia proceed and, at the same time, sought to placate his generals' fears.

On April 1, 1938, he called a meeting to announce the "rehabilitation" of General von Fritsch, but he also declared his "unshakeable determination" to eliminate the "threat" of Czechoslovakia. In return, realizing that Hitler was ignoring the warnings of the General Staff, Beck called upon the Fuehrer at the Reichskanzlei to demand "specific guarantees" that he had no intention of starting a new general war. Hitler, like a fox in a hen run, assured Beck that he had no such intention, but at the same time somewhat menacingly reminded the Chief of the General Staff that the army was the instrument of statesmen, and that its duty was to find ways of carrying out the tasks with which the statesmen charged it. It was not the army's duty, said Hitler, to question its orders. Beck replied courageously and directly— for he was inviting even worse treatment than had just been visited upon Blomberg and Fritsch by expressing any opposition to the Fuehrer's plans —that he would not execute orders of which he did not approve. With that remark, Beck departed from Hitler; his career, he knew, was ended.

Beck had no alternative but to resign. But before he resigned he would do one more thing; he would try to provoke the generals into a mass resignation in protest against Case Green. He directed General Karl-Hein-rich von Stuelpnagel, his friend and the heir to one of the great names of Prussia, to "examine the possibilities of supporting collective action . . .

The Plot Begins ) 165 (

by military means"—a judicious circumlocution that meant revolution. Stuelpnagel spoke with the commanding generals at the Herrenklub. But, so the generals argued, Beck's proposition required of them action that was completely contrary to their military training—to engage in politics against the civil power. If anyone was to turn Hitler out, they said, it was the German people who had elected him. So they returned to their Kirsch-wasser, their cards—and their doom.

Beck, whose health was in ruins through the intrigue, resigned. All his plans had failed. Before he left his office at General Staff headquarters, he called his colleagues together and told them that Hitler was like Charles XII of Sweden, the monarch who had led his army from one military adventure to another until at last it perished on the Russian steppes. As he spoke, Beck's face was very tranquil—and extraordinarily like that of the Elder Moltke, the founder of the General Staff whose portrait gazed down on the somber scene. He concluded his remarks with a note of warning: "A war begun by Germany will immediately call into the field other states than the one she has attacked, and in a war against a world coalition she will succumb and for good or evil be put at that coalition's mercy."

With that statement, Beck bowed slightly in the German manner to the small group present and walked out of his office. His staff was left with the somber thought that an act of great historical moment had occurred; and indeed it had, for the last force of restraint upon the Fuehrer had departed for the wilderness of power peculiar to fallen generals. As General George C. Marshall would later report to Congress: "The elimination of Beck constituted the elimination of the last of the effective conservative influences in German foreign policy."

Hitler accepted Beck's resignation with some relief. As he said during the Fritsch affair: "The only one (of my generals) whom I fear is Beck. That man would be capable of undertaking something." Hitler was wrong, for there were other men who believed as Beck believed, and who would eventually risk even treason in their opposition to him. One was Canaris, who would seek to reveal Hitler's secret political and military plans to Germany's enemies as the best means to thwart them. Another was Oster, Canaris's deputy at the Abwehr and a man who, with Canaris's knowledge and often at his order, would betray Hitler's secrets again and again in an effort to destroy him. A third was Stuelpnagel, one of Beck's quartermasters; and a fourth was General Erich Fellgiebel, the chief of the Signals Department of OKW. There was also General Erwin von Witzleben, the commander of the Berlin military district, an eagle-faced Prussian with heavy-lidded eyes whose family had provided members of the General Staff since the reign of Frederick the Great. These men would not forget Beck's last words, and they would come to form the nucleus of a much more active and determined conspiracy.

As for Beck, he would remain the spiritual leader of the conspiracy. The afternoon he left his office at General Staff headquarters, he made his way to the Mittwochgesellschaft—the Wednesday Club—there to deliver to a small group of intellectual friends a lecture about Marshal Foch. Then he went home to a widower's dinner at 8 Goethestrasse, not far from where Schleicher and Bredow had been murdered. He was a sick man, worn by moral conflict, afraid of the future; but from that moment forward he would devote himself to the activities of the Schwarze Kapelle.

Beck's successor as Chief of the General Staff was General Franz Haider, a small man with the drawn face of an evangelist and the manner of a science master. Hitler ordered him to continue to work on Case Green, and with calm precision he and his staff took over Beck's labors. At the same time, with Haider's uneasy cooperation—for he knew all about the conspiracy—the members of the Schwarze Kapelle for the first time undertook to prepare a positive plan for a coup d'etat. Hitler was to be seized in Berlin, but it was not the Schwarze Kapelle's intention to kill him; he would be placed on trial before the German people, the procedures for which had been worked out by Hans von Dohnanyi, a lawyer who was about to become Oster's deputy at the Abwehr. Oster had obtained the medical case history of Hitler's service in the army in the First World War—which revealed that he had gone mad as a result of being gassed— and a panel of psychiatrists was secretly investigating his mental fitness. At his trial, Hitler was to be exposed as criminally irresponsible and unfit to hold the offices of Fuehrer and Chancellor. Then a civilian of prominence and respectability was to form a government. The moment to strike would be the moment Hitler gave the final order for Case Green to proceed against Czechoslovakia.

The plan for the Schwarze Kapelle's seizure of power was comprehensive. At the proper moment, Fellgiebel would cut all communications throughout Germany, and Berlin was to be occupied by troops under the command of Witzleben. Hitler, Himmler, Heyrich, Goering—all were to be arrested and taken under the strongest guard to a castle in Bavaria. Hitler's bodyguard—the SS Leibstandarte at Munich, a brigade of the best-trained and best-equipped troops in Germany—was to be surrounded and compelled to surrender by the Wuppertal Panzer Division of General Erich Hoepner, the German panzer theorist who was with his troops in the Thuringian Forest. Troops were also available to put down the SS. The plan was worked out down to the last detail, but one important question remained: Would the British and French oppose an invasion of Czechoslovakia? If the western powers took a stand against Hitler, the invasion

The Plot Begins ) 167 (

could probably be prevented, and the revolt against a humbled Fuehrer would have every chance of success.

It was now mid-August, and as the intolerable tensions that marked that high, brilliant summer of 1938 were beginning to build in Europe, a Junkers tri-motor arrived at Croydon Airport near London and Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin, a Pomeranian gentleman-farmer and a secret envoy of the Schwarze Kapelle, disembarked. Herr Kleist had come to London with an offer and a warning. It was a bold journey to undertake, for Kleist risked arrest and indictment—and certain death—at the hands of the Gestapo, and indiscretion or outright betrayal by the British. Nevertheless, as Ian Colvin, then a young British reporter in Berlin who acted as an occasional intermediary between Canaris and the British, would write, Kleist had been instructed by Beck and Canaris to tell the British that "through yielding to Hitler the British Government will lose its two main allies here—the German General Staff and the German people. If you can bring me positive proof that the British will make war if we invade Czechoslovakia, I will make an end to this regime." And what would Beck regard as positive proof? "An open pledge," Beck had told Kleist, "to assist Czechoslovakia in the event of war."

Evidently—probably through Colvin and the British Embassy in Berlin—Sinclair, the chief of MI-6, and Menzies knew that Kleist was coming. Special precautions were taken at Croydon Airport to see that he passed into England without difficulty from customs, immigration, or security controls; and an escort of MI-6 men took him to the Hyde Park Hotel, where he was visited first by Lord Lloyd of Dolobran, a man with close connections with Menzies and in the government and at the Palace. The president of the Navy League of the British Empire, chairman of the British Council and a former High Commissioner in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Lord Lloyd dined alone with Kleist in a private room at Claridge's. There Kleist committed one of the Schwarze Kapelle's first acts of obvious treason. He said: "Everything is decided, Lord Lloyd. The mobilisation plans are complete, zero-day is fixed, the army group commanders have their orders. All will run according to plan at the end of September, and no one can stop it unless Britain speaks an open warning to Herr Hitler."

Then, as Lord Lloyd served the German from a dumbwaiter, Kleist revealed all he knew about the state of affairs in Germany. He told of the plans for a coup d'etat and the inadequacy of the German army to wage war against a coalition of powers; and he said that if Britain, along with France and Russia, took "a firm and positive stand" against Hitler, "there was a good hope that the commanding generals would arrest him if he persisted in his war policy and would thus put an end to the Nazi regime." There were, Kleist added, powerful friends of Britain in Germany, among

them Canaris and Oster. Lord Lloyd listened very carefully and was deeply impressed by the intelligence, sincerity and courage of the emissary.

The next morning Kleist met with Sir Robert Vansittart, the British government's adviser on foreign affairs, and speaking with the "utmost frankness and gravity," he went over the same ground as he had done with Lord Lloyd. Vansittart listened attentively, but he was uneasy. Kleist wanted to make deals about Germany's frontiers after a successful revolt against Hitler; and Britain would make no concessions at others' expense in return for peace. Then, as later, it was the Schwarze Kapelle's attempts to strike a bargain that cost the conspiracy much support in Britain.

Kleist's next call was upon Churchill at his country house deep in the Kentish Weald. There, on August 17, 1938, he asked Churchill for the desired pledge, and Churchill went to his desk and wrote as "a personal opinion" that:

I am as certain as I was at the end of July 1914 that England will march with France and certainly the United States is now strongly anti-Nazi. It is difficult for democracies to make precise declarations, but the spectacle of an armed attack by Germany upon a small neighbour and the bloody fighting that will follow will rouse the whole British Empire and compel the gravest decisions. Do not, I pray you, be misled upon this point. Such a war, once started, would be fought out like the last to the bitter end, and one must consider not what might happen in the first few months, but where we should all be at the end of the third or fourth year.

When he had finished, Churchill is supposed to have told Kleist: "You can have everything, but first bring us Hitler's head." It was the first occasion on which Churchill, in the interests of British policy, incited the Schwarze Kapelle to rebel. The next would not occur until after D-Day in 1944.

Kleist returned to Berlin as secretly as he had come. He lunched first with Colvin and then walked to Canaris's office at the Tirpitzufer. To Canaris, alone, Kleist reported: "I have found nobody in London who wishes to take this opportunity to wage a preventive war. I have the impression that they wish to avoid war at almost any cost this year. . . . They say that it is not possible under the British Constitution to commit themselves on a situation that has not yet arisen."

Churchill's letter fell far short of the open declaration that Beck and Canaris needed. Nevertheless, the Schwarze Kapelle continued its preparations for a coup. On September 8, 1938, Stuelpnagel arranged to have Hitler's final orders for Case Green available to the plotters five days before they were to be executed—to enable them to make their arrangements for the seizure of power. At the same time the General Staff did nothing to oil the wheels of movement for Case Green. There arose a shortage of rolling stock, and of petrol; and the secret mobilization of

The Plot Begins ) 169 (

soldiers worked in a slovenly fashion as if the posts and telegraphs did not exist. It was noted by OKW that the Officer Corps had no enthusiasm for its task.

As the Czechoslovak crisis deepened, the British government made no move to discourage Hitler, or to encourage the Schwarze Kapelle. On the contrary, the forces of appeasement were at work. After deliberating at length, Chamberlain decided to fly to Berchtesgaden to seek a peaceful solution to the problem. Canaris was at dinner with his staff when he heard of Chamberlain's mission. He laid down his knife and fork, complained that the news had destroyed his appetite, and spluttered: "What he—visit that man!" As Colvin recalled:

He muttered the words blankly at first as if he scarcely understood. Then he repeated them to himself and got up from the table, walking about the room. He was utterly distracted and ate no more dinner. . . . The Admiral excused himself to his heads of departments and went early to bed. Had he been mistaken in opening his hand to the British? . . . Maybe they had not believed that his advice was anything more than mischief and deceit.

Kleist's impression that the British wished to avoid war at almost any cost proved correct; the cost was the partition of Czechoslovakia. Appeasement made it impossible for the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle to act. The Czech state was dismembered and the revolution collapsed. How could they arrest Hitler and try him as a war criminal when he had just won a completely bloodless victory? Not again—at least not until 1943—would the conspirators have such well-laid plans for a coup d'etat. Not again would they be so apparently united in their resolve to rid themselves of the Fuehrer. Liedig would state that from thenceforward all plots were riddled with "rivalries, prejudices, wishful thinking, the weakness of human character" that inhibited positive and determined action. For that reason, almost certainly, it was at this point that Canaris decided to act alone, or in concert with only the smallest group of generals whom he really trusted. Hitler had not been challenged at the most vulnerable moment in his career either by his generals or by the world's statesmen. Now he was, as Beck was said to have declared, "Germany's destiny for good or evil."

Bodyguard of lies

The Outbreak of War

In trying to assess the purpose of Canaris's activities during the last months of 1938 and the first half of 1939, Britain was confronted with ambiguity from every side. It seemed that Canaris was playing three hands at once. He was endeavoring to infiltrate agents into Britain, or to suborn men and women who might be useful to the Abwehr; his agents sought to inflame the world situation with rumor and counter-rumor; and still more agents arrived in London for the ostensible purpose of building a secret bridge between the Abwehr, the German General Staff and the British government. Only in the afterlight of those furious months would Canaris's true motives finally emerge.

It was a period of unprecedented tension in the affairs of Britain and Germany. The Germans and the Italians announced the Pact of Steel, and Mussolini appeared ready to invade the Balkans. In March of 1939 German troops completed the occupation of Czechoslovakia and Hitler proclaimed the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia." Chamberlain accused Hitler of breaking his word that he would not invade the rest of the Czech state; Hitler rejected the Anglo-French protest notes. Chamberlain announced British and French guarantees to Poland and ordered military conscription. The world staggered under the blow and counter-blow of this diplomatic battle of wills. The preparations for war were everywhere, and in London that Easter, the fluctuating, high-pitched moan of sirens was heard for the first time as Britain tested its air-raid defenses.

Although Ultra was not yet operational, the British government was well informed of Hitler's intentions, both through its own intelligence sources and through the continuing stream of emissaries from the Schwarze Kapelle. A procession of Germans with illustrious names came secretly to London at the behest of Canaris, Oster and Beck to try to get Chamberlain and the British government to block Hitler's next move—"Case White," the invasion of Poland—among them the young Major Fabian von Schlab-

) 170 (

The Outbreak of War ) 171 (

rendorff and Helmuth Count von Moltke, the great-great-nephew of the venerated field marshal who had helped found the German General Staff. No state secrets in history were as badly kept as Hitler's that last year of the peace, and the persistent warnings were not ignored. Although the British made no overt military move to oppose Hitler, the Committee of Imperial Defence, virtually Britain's supreme war council, accelerated its preparations for war, including the defense of the realm against air attack. The production of military aircraft was stepped up from 250 to 600 units a month—and that precaution, when combined with intelligence that derived from Ultra, would cost Hitler the Battle of Britain. Thus Canaris and the other conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle had, at least indirectly, accomplished a part of their goal. They would not succeed in preventing a war, but they would help ensure that Hitler could not win it.

The British government was as well-informed about Hitler's moods as about his intentions. In January 1939 Cadogan had warned the government that ". . . Hitler's mental condition, his insensate rage against Great Britain and his megalomania, which are alarming the moderates around him, are entirely consistent with the execution of a desperate coup against the western powers." Moreover, he had added, ". . . the authorities in Germany whom we have consulted including anti-Nazi Germans of sound judgement are agreed that Hitler's orders would be carried out and that no revolt can be anticipated at all events during the initial stages of the war."

Perhaps in response to this appreciation and other warnings of the state of affairs in Germany, the British government considered a scheme to assassinate Hitler. Menzies would later state that he was in sympathy with the plan, which was suggested by General Sir Mason-MacFarlane, the military attache at the British Embassy in Berlin. MacFarlane, a clever man (he would go secretly into Rome to negotiate the Italian surrender in 1943), whose occasional red-faced bluster concealed a natural clandestine's mind, proposed that Hitler should be shot with a high-powered marksman's rifle equipped with a telescopic sight from an apartment in Berlin overlooking the Chancellery. According to an article in the German magazine der Spiegel, published in 1971 on the basis of what it described as a note on the proposition found at the Imperial War Museum, MacFarlane's conclusion was that "Hitler's death at that time could have led to the overthrow of national socialism and that millions of lives could have been saved." But, said the magazine, the British government vetoed the scheme on the grounds that it was "unsportsmanlike," and that there was "antipathy on principle against murder in democratic states." Later, the British government would be somewhat less concerned with scruples.

Soon after the invasion of Czechoslovakia, when, as Cadogan would write, "We were being swept along on a rapid series of surprises sprung upon us by Hitler with a speed that took one's breath away," Canaris

attempted another strategy. On April 3, 1939, he planted a report that the Luftwaffe might make a surprise attack on the British fleet. A second such report warned that German submarines were patrolling the English Channel and the Thames Estuary. The Cabinet believed these reports and met; that same day Lord Stanhope, the First Lord of the Admiralty, boarded the aircraft carrier Ark Royal to announce that "Shortly before I left the Admiralty it became necessary to give orders to man the antiaircraft guns of the Fleet so as to be ready for anything that might happen." The world reverberated with the announcement. The powerful British fleet was ready for immediate and determined action; war, it seemed, was imminent and unavoidable.

Like an earlier warning, which probably also originated with Canaris, that Hitler planned to bomb London in March of 1939, these reports proved to be false. And in planting them, so it appeared at the time, Canaris had overplayed his hand. It was generally believed that they were part of Hitler's clever, unending war of nerves, and Canaris was blamed for concocting elaborate rumors and deception schemes to trouble the security of the western powers. His credibility was destroyed. But in the light of his future actions, his campaign of scare tactics might be traced to an entirely different motive. Disappointed by the failure of the British to respond to the warnings of his emissaries, he wanted to frighten them into taking some positive action that would deter Hitler. All he succeeded in doing was to make the British doubt his sincerity.

Yet again, the flood of rumors and reports that inundated the British government that spring and summer would eventually work to the benefit of Canaris and the Schwarze Kapelle, and to the detriment of Hitler. Most of these rumors and reports were found to be, after the fact, quite accurate; the surprises of which Cadogan wrote were surprises only because the British were ill-equipped to assess the truth of the intelligence that they had gathered from a wide variety of sources. Part of the problem lay in the very nature of some of those sources. The emissaries of the Schwarze Kapelle could be considered, at best, disgruntled monarchists and, at worst, traitors—neither a very reliable source of the truth. Canaris himself seemed little more than an agent provocateur. But just as their warnings had induced the British to strengthen their military defenses, so they also led to the strengthening of the British intelligence apparatus. A new organization, the Situation Report Centre, was created, and a Foreign Office man, Victor Cavendish-Bentinck, a relative of the Duke of Portland and a product of Wellington and the Grenadier Guards, was put in charge. Thereafter, the other intelligence organizations would report to him and a committee made up of the directors of the army, navy and air force intelligence services, which would be responsible for the collation, assessment and dissemination of all intelligence, whatever its source. Gradually Cavendish-Bentinck, a

The Outbreak of War ) 173 (

man of exceptional perception and a wide knowledge of Germany, would expand his sphere to control all intelligence work—offensive, defensive, secret, technical, subversive and political; and the Situation Report Centre would be the forerunner of the Joint Intelligence Committee, also headed by Cavendish-Bentinck and the organization with which Britain would conduct its triumphant intelligence operations during the Second World War.

In the final moments of peace, Canaris and his group made one last attempt to avert the looming catastrophe. An officer of the German General Staff was sent to London overtly as a military observer, but covertly to make contact with "officers of the military and of British intelligence." He was Lieutenant Colonel Gerhardt Count von Schwerin, chief of the English section of the department that would become FHW, an important intelligence arm of OKW and, in 1943 and 1944, a major center of conspiracy against Hitler. Schwerin's visit appeared to have been the outcome of an intrigue between General Ulrich Liss, the chief of FHW, and his friend the deputy British military attache at the embassy in Berlin, Major Kenneth W. D. Strong, the man who would become, for D-Day, chief of intelligence to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander.

The count's stay in London was not a secret matter for either the Germans or the British; it was customary even at this moment of European history for the German and British general staffs to exchange observers; Liss himself had been in Britain a few months earlier. Schwerin, a panzer specialist, took no pains to disguise himself or his overt mission. He took a flat in Piccadilly and behaved like a German aristocrat. He had calling cards printed and distributed them wherever he went. He was to be seen riding in Rotten Row, practicing the haute ecole of a German gentleman. He appeared at Ascot, Sandhurst and the Guards' Ball. But few except Strong and the director of naval intelligence, Admiral John Godfrey, knew the true purpose of his visit. On March 28, 1939, he had warned the British Embassy in Berlin that 'Hitler had decided to push his eastern expansion policy" that year; he was in Britain now to warn that Hitler had declared on May 23, 1939, that he was determined to "attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity." Under Godfrey's "management," Schwerin met "a careful selection of Foreign Office and intelligence officials and MPs." To all he carried the same message; the only way to prevent the attack on Poland was for Britain to "impress Hitler both with its strength and determination."

On July 14, 1939, Schwerin was a guest at a dinner party at Godfrey's flat in Cadogan Place. Present were General Sir James Marshall-Cornwall, an old MI-6 hand who had been military attache in Berlin from 1928— 1932 and was now Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Cadogan, Menzies and the directors of the military intelligence services. There was, Marshall-Cornwall would record in his diary, "a good deal of good

champagne consumed," and Schwerin reiterated his message. Marshall-Cornwall would record:

Count Schwerin wanted Britain to make a series of gestures on the Continent. He told us that Hitler would attack Poland but that he might be restrained if, in the first place, Britain made a powerful naval demonstration —something like a squadron of battleships, he proposed—in the Baltic. He also suggested we should station a group of heavy bombers in France, and send to France the two fully-equipped divisions that we had at that time. The next day we forwarded Schwerin's proposals to the various interested authorities, including the Prime Minister, and Schwerin returned to Germany with an expression of cordiality from Menzies to Canaris. But, alas, Schwerin's proposals fell upon poor soil.

Prime Minister Chamberlain and Lord Halifax made it known that Britain would do nothing at this stage; if she did so, the statesmen averred, such demonstrations would serve only to provoke Hitler.

Hitler did not require provocation; on August 22, 1939, the highest commanders of the Wehrmacht were ordered to report for a conference at the Adlerhorst (the Eagle's Nest), the Fuehrer's eyrie on a mountaintop in the Obersalzberg of Bavaria. Their stream of staff cars purred along the white concrete autobahn through the mountain valleys, into the village of Berchtesgaden with its sixteenth-century houses, and out toward the Hohergoll. They climbed up the winding Kehlsteinstrasse until the road ended abruptly in the side of the Kehlstein Mountain. Two great bronze doors opened at the touch of a button from SS guards and, leaving the valleys in bright sunshine below, the procession entered a long, marble-walled tunnel lit by bronze lanterns. The chauffeurs parked the cars in the large underground garage and the commanders walked through a short and smaller tunnel to the big, copper-lined elevator outfitted with deep leather seats. They were whisked up a shaft bored through the heart of the mountain for 400 feet, and when the doors opened they found themselves at 6184 feet in the Eagle's Nest.

Hitler kept his generals and admirals waiting for a few minutes in the anteroom where he displayed his collection of Nymphenburg and Franken-thal porcelain. Then, at a signal from the blond giant who was chief of Hitler's SS bodyguard, they entered the Fuehrer's salon for the conference. The view from his wide panoramic window was Wagnerian: the Unters-berg, the highest mountain near Salzburg, where the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, according to legend, awaited the call to rise and restore the glories of the German Empire; the steeples and hills of Salzburg itself, where Mozart was born. The commanders settled themselves into large rustic furniture in a room that was dominated by a massive clock crowned by a bronze eagle and a bronze bust of Richard Wagner. The walls were covered with large oils, including a nude that was said to have been painted by

The Outbreak of War ) 175 (

Titian, two soft and haunting tapestries, a landscape by Spitzweg, some Roman ruins by Pannini and a structure by Eduard von Steinle that resembled an altar.

Hitler began to speak: "There will probably never again in the future be a man with more authority than I have. My existence is therefore a factor of great value. But I can be eliminated at any time by a criminal or a lunatic. . . . There is no time to lose. War must come in my lifetime."

Displaying unbounded self-assurance, Hitler then announced that Rib-bentrop had signed a Treaty of Friendship with the Soviet Union and that, whereas previously he had believed that an attack upon Poland would mean war with England and France, now he was certain there would be no war. "I have," Hitler declared, "struck this instrument [assistance from Russia] from the hands of the western powers. Now we can strike at the heart of Poland. To the best of our knowledge the military road is free."

His declarations drew considerable surprise from his audience. The Fuehrer continued with a statement that he thought no British statesman would risk a long war with Germany while Russia remained out of the conflict. As for France, he said that she had been dragged along against her will by England and could not afford a long and bloody war without the help of Russia; French casualties in the First World War had seen to that. Moreover, he believed that "Our enemies are little worms: I saw them in Munich." And he added, "I am only afraid that at the last minute some Schweinhund will produce a plan of mediation."

Hitler spoke with such great force that all those present were silent. Why must there be war, he asked? "We have nothing to lose; we can only gain." He reviewed the tense world situation and concluded:

All these fortunate circumstances will no longer prevail in two or three years. No one knows how long I shall live. Therefore war is better now. Hannibal at Cannae, Frederick the Great at Leuthen, and Hindenburg and Ludendorff at Tannenberg—they took chances. So now we also must take risks which can only be mastered by iron determination.

With that the gathering broke up for a late lunch. According to an account in a Nuremberg document, Goering, beside himself with excitement, jumped onto the long table in the salon and gave "bloodthirsty thanks and bloody promises. He danced around like a savage." When the conference resumed, Hitler continued his harangue, exhorting his commanders to "Have no pity! Brutal attitude. Eighty million people must get what is their right." And then the Fuehrer announced that Case White was to be put into effect immediately. X-Day was August 26, 1939; Zero Hour was 0430. The object of the operation: "The destruction of Poland."

In the main Hitler's commanders favored his decision; had not the Wehrmacht swept through Austria and Czechoslovakia virtually unop-

posed? But several men—Haider, Witzleben, Stuelpnagel, Fellgiebel, Canaris—kept silent. In their view, war was inevitable if Hitler was allowed to proceed. But how could he be stopped? Once again Canaris saw an opportunity to frustrate Hitler's plans, and he took it. He drove from Berchtesgaden to the Hotel of the Four Seasons in Munich, and there he made some notes and handed them to his deputy, Oster. Oster took the night express to Berlin, and shortly after the train left the Munich station, he met a man in civilian clothes in the corridor outside his sleeper—Major Gijsbertus Jacob Sas, an assistant military attache at the Dutch Embassy in Berlin, who had been a friend of Oster's for many years. Oster gave him Canaris's notes and by the evening of August 23 a report of Hitler's speech was on the desk of Major Foley in Berlin, just as it was on the desks of all other intelligence services friendly to the Dutch.

The leakage was effective, for it reached both London and Paris. The French reaction was immediate and drastic; Premier £douard Daladier gave the Alerte, the signal that put the Maginot Line on a war footing. The British government also took precautionary measures. Orders were issued for key parties of the coast and anti-aircraft defenses to assemble, and for the protection of vulnerable points. Telegrams sent to the dominions and colonies warned that it might be necessary to enter a precautionary stance for war, the Lord Privy Seal was authorized to bring all civil defense and evacuation procedures to a war footing, and the Admiralty was given Cabinet authority to requisition twenty-five merchant ships for conversion into armed merchant cruisers. The Admiralty issued warnings to all merchantmen, all leave was stopped throughout the armed services, the antiaircraft defenses were fully deployed, and reservists were called up in large numbers.

Such was the effect of Canaris's warning. On August 25, OKW and army headquarters at Zossen received a signal. Case White was to be postponed. Hitler had been informed that, the Nazi-Soviet Pact notwithstanding, if Germany attacked Poland, Britain and France would declare war. And to show the Fuehrer it meant business, the British government had announced through the Foreign Office that an alliance had just been concluded with Poland. In Rome Mussolini, who had received his own copy of Hitler's address, declared that Italy could not support Germany in a great war without substantial assistance in war materials and military supplies.

At Abwehr headquarters Canaris and Oster were jubilant. The man who claimed to be the "greatest strategist of all times, a war lord of a new kind," and who had issued orders to attack one minute and canceled them the next, could not be taken seriously by the generals. Oster said there was no longer any reason for a coup; Hitler would now fall through his own

The Outbreak of War ) 177 (

actions. And at the Kolonne the next morning the little admiral declared: "Peace has been saved for the next twenty years."

It was not to be. Hitler was determined to proceed. He told Brau-chitsch at the Reichskanzlei that he was to regard X-Day as September 1, 1939. He would, he said, if he was pushed to it, wage a two-front war—the one type of war that all German strategists in modern history had declared Germany could not win. When Canaris heard the news, he faced the future with a shattered spirit. Across the years to come he saw in prospect the defeat and dissolution of all that he and many of his co-conspirators held dear: the Reich, the existence of the armed forces, the Officer Corps, power, privilege, position—all would go.

In the predawn twilight of September 1, 1939, 1600 aircraft of the Luftwaffe opened the bombardment of Poland, and at five o'clock that same morning five German armies crossed the frontier. On September 3, the British and the French declared war upon the Third Reich.

Bodyguard of lies

Conspiracy at the Vatican

The German Blitzkrieg in Poland—the Wehrmacht shattered an army of 800,000 men and conquered a nation of 33 million people in just twenty-seven days—raised Hitler to a new pinnacle of popular admiration. His triumph splintered the hopes of the Schwarze Kapelle that the Wehrmacht would come to support a rebellion against him. His commanding generals could not argue with success. Yet dark events now intruded to drive a new wedge between Hitler and the General Staff. The SS began to exterminate the Poles—the aristocracy, the intelligentsia, the priesthood and the Jews. It was the start of Himmler's campaign to create out of the Slavic lands a new fiefdom of Teutonic knights, and Heydrich was the man in charge of the job.

It was not long before Canaris, ever alert for information about the criminal activities of the SS and the SD, learned of the mass executions. On September 8, 1939, only seven days after the Polish invasion, he flew to the Fuehrer's special train near Illnau to lodge a protest with Keitel. "One day the world will hold the Wehrmacht responsible for these methods since these things are taking place under its nose," he warned. But his protest made no impact upon Keitel; he said merely that if the army did not want to do "these things," it must not complain when the SS and the SD undertook the work.

Back in Berlin, almost overcome by sorrow, Canaris began an inquiry into the Polish atrocities. When it became too ghastly a task, he created an Abwehrkommando to continue the investigation, and, steadily, the dossier thickened. He and Oster saw to it that all of Hitler's commanding generals were informed of SS activities in Poland, and reports were also smuggled to the Vatican and to Berne for dissemination to MI-6 and the Deuxieme Bureau. They could do no more, for in spite of the protests of his generals, Hitler removed Poland from army jurisdiction and put it under the rule of the SS. The army might have been expected to oppose this dissolution of its

) 178 (

Conspiracy at the Vatican ) 179 (

powers, but it did not; and the one man who held out against the Fuehrer, General Johannes Blaskowitz, was relieved of his command and placed in a reserve of general officers. His example was not lost on Hitler's other generals; if they cherished their careers, they would follow his orders, whatever those orders were. Once again the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle despaired of fomenting a revolution between the Fuehrer and the General Staff.

On October 9, 1939, Hitler, having fleshed his sword on Poland, offered his generals fresh conquest—and provided the Schwarze Kapelle with a fresh pretext for revolution. He ordered "Case Yellow/' the military operations for the invasion of The Netherlands, Belgium and France. It was to be a Blitzkrieg campaign conducted by the entire might of the Wehrmacht, and it would commence at a place and time when the western powers would least expect it—in the Ardennes during the winter solstice.

The General Staff and the army commanders, already appalled by the Polish murders, reacted with vehemence. With their memories of Ypres in 1914, Loos in 1915, the Somme in 1916, and Passchendaele in 1917, when winter campaigns had foundered in a sea of blood and mud, Case Yellow filled them with the specter of Flanders. With few exceptions they denounced the operation as lunacy. But Hitler was not to be deterred and, refusing the advice of his best generals, ordered the campaign to be ready within one week from November 5. The generals were thunderstruck, and the Schwarze Kapelle entered a second phase of the most determined intrigues to rid Germany of the Fuehrer before he succeeded in destroying the country. Canaris, Oster, and the rest of the Schwarze Kapelle, which now commanded a degree of support from Haider, the Chief of the General Staff, decided to resort to the only weapon left to them if they wished to prevent what they considered would become a new German tragedy. That weapon was treason.

The Schwarze Kapelle's plot fell into two spheres: one internal, the other external. In the first instance, the conspirators planned a march upon Berlin to capture Hitler and overthrow the Nazi Party. Two panzer divisions en route from Poland to the western front would be ready to turn back to Berlin and secure the city against the SS. The Fuehrer was to be indicted for crimes against humanity, declared insane and unfit to stand trial, and confined to an asylum. Beck was then to be proclaimed Regent, the army would provide a provisional government supported by all political parties, and a Hohenzollern would be invited to return to the throne. It was a neat, clever, workable plan, drawn up according to the best principles of the General Staff by Lieutenant Colonel Helmuth Groscurth, an officer of the Abwehr. There was to be no shooting, no barricades, no wild outbursts, only a quick and orderly return to the governmental methods of the

German Empire—legality and order, Christianity and calm. And what would happen if Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich and the others resisted? They would be shot and responsibility for their deaths laid at the door of the SS.

The success of the coup, however, depended upon its reception by Germany's enemies, for it was the Schwarze Kapelle's intention to seek first a cease-fire and then an armistice. Thus it was essential to determine those conditions that would be acceptable both to Britain and France, and to Germany. Canaris was given responsibility for the external sphere of the conspiracy, and he turned to Oster to open a secret line of communication with the British government.

Oster was the sword arm of the conspiracy. As chief of Department Z, the headquarters staff and central registry of the Abwehr, he possessed the bureaucracy and communications that enabled him to run the affairs of the Schwarze Kapelle under the disguise of normal intelligence operations. A Saxon horse gunner who was at once elegant and arrogant—over his desk was the Saxon proverb: "An eagle hunts no flies"—Oster was openly contemptuous of Hitler and the Nazis. He had made it his business to procure Hitler's military, police and medical files, and the only thing that saved him from the Gestapo or the SD was the iron wall that Canaris built around the Abwehr. With Hitler's agreement, Canaris established with Heydrich that the Nazi's forces of surveillance and inquiry had no jurisdiction on Abwehr territory.

The Abwehr provided Oster with an ideal cover for his intrigues. His office was a beehive of strange activities and even stranger people. One historian would write:

One grew used to seeing the most extraordinary figures in a wild variety of dress and appearance. Anyone working in that uncanny hum had to have many faces or one quite impenetrable one. His right hand never dared know what his left was up to. His element was a game, the stakes were life and death, his daily task to catch without being caught.

Oster, teetering often on the very edge of the abyss, worked for years in that surrealistic atmosphere. Anyone who saw him trembled at the artistry, especially if he knew that Oster was working for both sides at once—the regime and its opposition. He had four secret telephone lines and it was a terrifying experience to watch him speaking to four unseen agents, giving different instructions, without batting an eyelid. All this took place in an atmosphere where high treason and espionage were no longer distinguishable.

Oster had already committed treason against the Third Reich in betraying the secrets of Case White. Now he set the wheels in motion for another act of treachery: his object the subversion of Case Yellow. He believed that if Case Yellow were destroyed by the western powers at the outset, or rendered impossible, it would also destroy Hitler's reputation for invincibil-

ity, and lead not only to his removal but also to an early peace. From the military point of view, he was convinced that the possible sacrifices which his betrayal of Case Yellow might cost his own people bore no comparison to the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of victims and the incalculable destruction that the war would bring to the other peoples of Europe —a war which, because of the rival strengths, could never be won by Germany.

For the work of contacting the British Oster selected, and summoned to his office, Dr. Josef Mueller, a lawyer from Munich. Mueller, a Catholic, was known to and favorably regarded by Pope Pius XII. He was also a friend of Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, the Keeper of the Fabric at St. Peter's, and of Father Robert Leiber, the Jesuit who was the archivist at the Vatican and a confidant of the Pope. These connections were invaluable to the Schwarze Kapelle, and Oster, who knew of Mueller's opposition to the Nazi regime, asked him if he would undertake to establish a line of communication between the Schwarze Kapelle and the British government through his friends at the Vatican. Without hesitation, Mueller agreed to accept the assignment. Then Oster explained that having made contact through the Vatican, Mueller was to inform the British of Case Yellow and determine what terms they would accept to bring about an armistice after Hitler's removal or assassination. Mueller understood the dangers of his task and, before leaving Oster, he agreed to this compact: "It is Hitler or we!" If he was caught he would go to the axman alone and silent. The two men shook hands on this brave pledge, and Mueller departed, riding down to the lobby of Abwehr headquarters in the ancient elevator and stepping away among the dead leaves along the side of the Landwehrkanal. Two weeks later he met Monsignor Kaas in secret at a wine garden near the Quo Vadis Chapel off the Appian Way.

By the first fortnight of October 1939, Mueller was able to report to Canaris and Oster that the Pope had consented to serve the Schwarze Kapelle as intermediary with the British government in the person of Sir D'Arcy Osborne, the British ambassador at the Holy See. His Holiness, Mueller reported, had accepted with the words: 'The German Opposition must be heard in Britain," and he would be its voice. The objective of the Pope's intercession would be a peace based upon the proposition that Britain and France would not attempt to take advantage of the disturbance that would follow the deposition of Hitler to invade and occupy Germany. Mueller informed Canaris and Oster that the Pope had not consented to receive him personally on the grounds that his visits were bound to be observed and reported. The Schwarze Kapelle's proposals would therefore be conveyed to the Pope by Father Leiber and Father Kaas, both of whose discretion could be trusted absolutely. On the other hand, the Pope would receive Sir D'Arcy because it would be perfectly natural for him to do so.

Mueller informed his principals that the Pope was now in contact with Sir D'Arcy to obtain Britain's cooperation in the exchanges.

Mueller's report gave the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle new hope; all contact had not been lost with the British through the outbreak of war. As Helmuth Groscurth noted in his diary on October 20, 1939: "The Pope is very interested and holds an honorable peace to be possible. Personally guarantees that Germany will not be swindled as in the forest of Compiegne. With all peace feelers one encounters the categorical demand for the removal of Hitler."

Then, on or about October 27, Mueller received a message to meet Father Leiber after dark at the priest's quarters in the Pontifical University of the Gregorians on the Piazza Pilota. There, Father Leiber revealed that the Pope had received a message from Sir D'Arcy declaring that Lord Halifax, the British Foreign Secretary, had given his consent for Sir D'Arcy to take part in the exchanges. The time had come, said Father Leiber, for Mueller's principals to present their proposals for an armistice. At precisely that moment, the Schwarze Kapelle was struck by another misfortune.

The great Benedictine abbey of Beuron stands proudly isolated like a secular palace in rolling countryside in the Swabian Mountains beside the Danube. Here, for over eight hundred years, the black-clad monks followed the teachings of St. Benedict and made their lavish devotions, praying seven times during the day and once during the night. Heydrich had seen the importance of infiltrating this splendid, baroque center of Jesuitical learning and had recruited as an informant Hermann Keller, an exceptionally intelligent, restless, erratic and ambitious monk. For years Keller had tried to remove the Arch Abbot, Rafael Walser, and was said to have rigged charges of foreign currency manipulations against his superior. The accusations had left Keller in virtual charge of the monastery until the Primate of the Benedictines, Fidelis von Stotzingen, had asked Dr. Josef Mueller to investigate. Mueller was able to prove that Keller had invented the charges and he was deprived of his priorship and exiled to the Benedictine abbey on Mount Zion in Palestine. There, Keller had succeeded in ingratiating himself with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an association that resulted in his recruitment first to the Abwehr and then to the SD.

Through the offices of the SD, Keller was restored to his priorship at Beuron and the new Arch Abbot, Benedict Bauer, employed him in confidential Jesuit work that made him especially valuable to the SD. Now he would have an opportunity to settle his account with Mueller. Heydrich was suspicious of Mueller and gave Keller the task of reporting his movements at the Vatican. For Heydrich was aware of the conspiracies and intrigues that were going on at the Holy See.

Conspiracy at the Vatican ) 183 (

In October 1939, presumably by design, Keller traveled to Basel where, at a bar on the banks of the Rhine, he met a Berlin lawyer, Dr. Hans Etscheit, who was an Abwehr agent and had introduced Mueller to Canaris. Etscheit knew Keller and spent the evening with him, during which both men drank a great deal of wine. Keller, who was in monk's habit, engaged Etscheit's confidence and Etscheit, assuming that because Keller was a Jesuit he was anti-Nazi, informed him of the Schwarze Kapelle's plot for the removal of'Hitler. At that moment, in fact, said Etscheit, Mueller was at the Vatican contacting the British. It was a most convivial evening, and when Etscheit departed, he gave Keller, whom he supposed to be a poor monk making a humble pilgrimage in sandals and cowl to St. Peter's, 100 Swiss francs to make his journey across the Alps more pleasant.

Keller hardly needed the money; he sped in the opulence of a wagon-lit to Rome to see what Mueller was doing. At the Vatican he approached Father Augustin Maier for information. He told Maier that he had heard that Mueller was engaged in treasonable talks with the British, that this action would endanger the neutrality of the Vatican, and that he was afraid Mueller was trying to compromise him personally yet again. Did Maier know anything of such matters? Maier said he did not, but once Keller had left his cell, he went immediately to speak with his friend Mueller at his hotel, the Albergo Flora on the Via Veneto, which was used exclusively by Abwehr personnel. Mueller listened coolly but anxiously; and when it became clear that Keller had embarked upon a personal vendetta that might implicate the entire conspiracy, he left Rome for Berlin to warn Canaris and Oster. At the same time Keller hastened to Stuttgart to inform his SD controller and to write a preliminary report for Heydrich, dutifully making a copy for Canaris in his capacity as an Abwehr agent.

When Mueller arrived at Abwehr headquarters in Berlin, he was met by Oster and his principal deputy and co-conspirator, Hans von Dohnanyi. They handed him Canaris's copy of Keller's report to the SD with the somewhat humorous remark that they had not expected to have to protect Mueller from his own kind. Mueller read the report, which was based exclusively upon Etscheit's story and which admitted that no confirmation of the allegations could be obtained at the Vatican. Nevertheless, the allegations were grave enough to hang the conspirators if Heydrich could get more information.

The gravity of the situation intensified when the conspirators learned that Heydrich had summoned Keller to Berlin, and Keller had told him, embellishing his original report, that Mueller was engaged in some Jesuitical plot against Hitler. Keller then went to see Oster and Dohnanyi and told them that Heydrich regarded Mueller as a traitor whose arrest was

) 184 (

TH

Cl

imminent. The entire conspiracy was clearly endangered; everyone knew that the Gestapo had the means and the will to make men talk, even men as stout and as brave as Mueller.

Oster informed Canaris of this new threat, and Canaris acted. Meeting with Mueller in his office, he asked him to dictate a report to his confidential secretary. In the report Mueller was to say that before the war he had learned that some of the generals had planned a coup d'etat to forestall a conflict. He was not to mention the names Beck or Haider but rather General von Fritsch, the former C-in-C of the army whom Hitler had dismissed in 1938 for trumped-up homosexual activities and who had sought, and found, a soldier's death in Poland. Canaris also directed Mueller to include the name of General Walther von Reichenau, a man whom Hitler admired and trusted and would soon make a field marshal. Puzzled, Mueller went away to dictate the report which, when it was finished, he handed to the admiral.

Canaris took the report to the Reichskanzlei to inform the Fuehrer in person. He told Hitler that he considered the allegations of great gravity, although he stressed that the most diligent inquiries by both the Abwehr and the SD had not been able to produce any substantiation. Hitler read the report with interest and concern—until he came to the name Reichenau. Then he threw it aside with the single word "Schmarren" —nonsense. Canaris apologized to the Fuehrer for having wasted his time, and withdrew with the assurance that he was convinced the report was inaccurate.

That evening Canaris went to Heydrich's home to discuss the affair. "Just imagine," he said to Heydrich, "here I thought I was bringing the Fiihrer something really important in the shape of a report from Dr. Josef Miiller, my ace man in the Vatican, about plans for a military coup. Then, when he finished reading it, the Fiihrer threw it down and cried, Schmarren."

The maneuver effectively quenched, for the moment, Heydrich's inquiries. But they were revived when a Swiss newspaper published a report that high officers of the General Staff were involved in a plot against Hitler. Always on the alert, Heydrich once again sent Keller to the Vatican; and once again all Keller's reports about Mueller reached Canaris at the same time as they reached Heydrich. Unfortunately, Keller's activities acted as a brake upon the Vatican negotiations, in which time was of the greatest importance if an understanding was to be reached with Britain before the start of Case Yellow.

Finally, Keller went too far. He was reported to have boasted to a contact at the Vatican (who was also an Abwehr agent, although Keller was not aware of it) that he was on a special mission for the Abwehr to investigate a plot against the Fuehrer. Canaris went to Heydrich and complained that Keller's clumsiness was disturbing his cover and deception

Conspiracy at the Vatican ) 185 (

plan for Case Yellow. At a time when absolute discretion was needed if the plan was to succeed, here was a drunken monk proclaiming his trade and his mission in—of all places—the Vatican, which was neutral territory. And if Keller was embarrassing Abwehr operations, Canaris said, might he not also be embarrassing SD operations? Heydrich, no doubt with some suspicion, agreed that it might be better if Keller were transferred to duties where his tongue might not be quite so dangerous. Canaris informed Heydrich that he had no further use for Keller's services, and recommended that Heydrich dismiss him as well. But Keller, with his special knowledge of the Jesuit world, was far too valuable to Heydrich. He was retained by the SD and would later go to Paris with the occupation forces to keep an eye on the Jesuits in that city.

The Schwarze Kapelle had escaped by a whisker. Still the conspiracy did not prosper; for while it had powerful support, the plotters found it almost impossible to communicate with each other as the forces of security and surveillance, always quickened when military action was imminent, worked to protect the secrets of Case Yellow. No telephone line, no teleprinter line, no letter could be regarded as secure. Hitler himself was a hard man to find; he changed his schedules and itineraries daily for the very purpose of preventing any action against his person—for he was not unaware of the discontent of his generals. And as the plot wavered upon the brink of collapse, and as Hitler ordered and reordered Zero Day for Case Yellow with bewildering frequency, even Haider was prepared to condone murder. "Cannot someone finally put an end to this dog!" he grumbled to Canaris and Oster. He took to carrying a pistol with him when visiting Hitler. But always, when the impulse was strongest and the opportunity present, his courage failed him. He could not, he said, bring himself as a "human being and a Christian to shoot down an unarmed man."

There seemed to be no other way to avert Case Yellow. When, on November 5, 1939, Brauchitsch, the C-in-C of the army, went to the Fuehrer to make a final appeal against launching the offensive, Hitler flew into a rage against his generals and threw him out of his office. Threatened by the specter of another bloodbath like the "Night of the Long Knives," Haider declared that no further action must be taken to resist Case Yellow and ordered the destruction of all plans and documents relating to the conspiracy and the coup. The Schwarze Kapelle had wound the clock of revolution, but the bell would not sound. "We have no one who will throw the bomb," Oster announced, "in order to liberate our generals frum their scruples." And then, as if the fates intended to bury the Schwarze Kapelle for good, there occurred the Venlo Incident.

Bodyguard of lies

The Venlo Incident

The war was two months old when, in November 1939, Sinclair died suddenly of cancer and Menzies was appointed acting chief of MI-6. Ultra was not yet operational and it was imperative to cultivate all possible sources of intelligence about the Third Reich, including the Schwarze Kapelle. It was intriguing to believe that the German General Staff might itself overthrow Hitler and restore the peace; even more intriguing was the possibility that Canaris was a member of the conspiracy. Yet Menzies's attitude toward the Schwarze Kapelle was like that of the British government: alert for mischief but prepared to listen. So it was that as the Vatican negotiations ran their troubled course, a second line of communication appeared to have opened up from Berlin to The Hague.

On October 30, 1939, the two most senior MI-6 officers on the continent—Major S. Payne Best and Captain R. Henry Stevens—awaited "emissaries of the German General Staff" at the small Dutch city of Arnhem. Menzies had warned the British agents that this new overture might be a trap engineered by Himmler and Heydrich to compromise the British intelligence system, or part of some large deception scheme to conceal German military intentions. Instructed to proceed with caution, Best, who had close connections with the Dutch intelligence chief, Colonel van de Plassche, arranged that the emissaries be detained and investigated by the Dutch border police before their meeting. Lieutenant Dirk Klop, the Dutch intelligence officer assigned to Best and Stevens to arrange the interrogation, established that the emissaries' papers showed them to be who they said they were—Captain Schaemmel, of the transportation corps, and Captain Hausmann, of the army medical corps.

The interrogation and a baggage search revealed nothing to alarm Best and Stevens and they signaled Klop to release the emissaries. They came out of the police station into the sleet-driven street, entered Best's blue

) 186 (

The Venlo Incident ) 187 (

Buick, and were driven to Amsterdam for their meeting. Neither Best nor Stevens had any reason to suspect that the emissaries were, in fact, Bri-gadefuhrer SS Walter Schellenberg, the chief of the foreign intelligence section of the SD, and a friend whose appearance and manner suggested an upper-class Austrian officer of the Wehrmacht but who was Professor Max de Crinis, a psychologist at Berlin University and the Charite Hospital. The mission of Schellenberg and de Crinis, as assigned them by Himmler and Heydrich with the knowledge and approval of Hitler, was to open negotiations with the British and attempt to establish the nature and extent of other conspiracies against the Fuehrer.

The meeting with Best and Stevens took place at MI-6 headquarters at Niewe Uitleg 15, the offices of the "Continental Trading Corporation" on a cobbled street beside one of Amsterdam's canals. At the end of the meeting, which lasted until after dark, an aide-memoire was produced, the text of which, according to Schellenberg, read:

The political overthrow of Hitler and his closest assistants was to be followed immediately by the conclusion of peace with the Western Powers. The terms were to be the restoration of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland to their former status; the renunciation of Germany's economic policies and her return to the gold standard. The possibility of a return to Germany of the colonies she had held before the First World War was one of the most important subjects of our discussion.

When the aide-memoire was completed, Stevens left the room and spoke on the telephone with Menzies in London. Menzies recalled later that he was "encouraged" by the results of the exchange but warned Stevens that he had no authority to proceed further until the opinion of Lord Halifax was known. Menzies also warned Stevens to "watch out for yourselves," and said he would telephone instructions that evening. Best and Stevens entertained the emissaries at dinner. During the course of the meal—at which Best served the most "marvellous oysters" that Schellenberg could remember and at which the conversation included Dutch painting and German violin music—Best suggested that the emissaries might be provided with a small wireless transceiver and a cipher with which to communicate with the British. But first, said Best, he would have to await further instructions from London.

The dinner party ended when Schellenberg complained of a headache. He was shown to his room by Best who, after having obtained some aspirin for the German, went to his office to take Menzies's call. According to Menzies, he warned Best that, while the terms of the aide-memoire were interesting, they did not correspond with the terms being offered by German negotiators elsewhere—presumably at the Vatican. This did not auto-

matically mean that this new overture was a trap, but the discrepancy had caused nervousness in London. Best asked for permission to supply Schaemmel with a wireless set and a cipher, to which Menzies agreed, and then Best was told that he would receive appropriate communications procedural instructions by the morning. Best also stated, almost as an afterthought, that Schaemmel and Hausmann had suggested that their principal, a "general," might be prepared to fly to London so that further discussions might take place "on the highest plane." Menzies agreed to talk with Halifax to see whether such a meeting was desirable. With that, the call ended.

After breakfast on October 31, Best showed Schaemmel a wireless set—an early version of the "suitcase wireless"—and gave him a cipher with operating instructions and a transmission and reception schedule with MI-6's wireless station in the Chiltern Hills about 40 miles north of London. Best assigned Schaemmel the call sign ON-4, showed him how to work the wireless, and then set out in the Buick to return the emissaries to the German border. There, the Germans disappeared into the sleet mist.

A few days later, on or about November 4, ON-4 came up with a signal that the "general" would be available to fly to London on November 9, and asked for instructions about the means of transportation and the point of departure, and for guarantees about the security of the party and the complete secrecy of the mission. Shortly thereafter Best received instructions from Menzies that Cabinet approval had been received for the "general"—who was not named throughout the discussions but whom Menzies thought at first might be Beck—and the emissaries to come to London by air from Copenhagen on November 9. An RAF Anson courier plane of the King's Flight would make the journey. Best, Stevens and Schaemmel had a brief meeting on the border on November 7—the day of Sinclair's funeral—despite Menzies's suggestion to Best that no further meetings were to take place on the frontier and that if the Germans wished to talk they must do so at The Hague or in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, the men met, Schaemmel was informed of the travel arrangements and a rendezvous was fixed for November 9—at the Cafe Bacchus at Venlo, a town on the Dutch-German border.

Schellenberg, a sure-footed young SS intellectual who had been recruited by Heydrich personally for the SD, returned to his headquarters at Dusseldorf, where he went over the plan with the "general." The identity of the "general" has never been revealed, nor is it known whom he was supposed to impersonate or how he proposed to convince the British of his bona fides. But it does seem that until the eve of their departure for Venlo and London, Schellenberg and his party intended to make the journey.

Schellenberg retired early in the evening of November 8 and took a

The Venlo Incident ) 189 (

sleeping pill. He was in a deep sleep when, sometime after midnight, his bedside telephone rang. Schellenberg struggled to clear his mind, lifted the receiver, and heard the unmistakable voice of Himmler. As Schellenberg wrote afterwards, Himmler announced that during the evening of the 8th an attempt had been made on Hitler's life. A bomb had gone off in the Burgerbraukeller at Munich just after Hitler had finished making his annual speech to the Nazi old guard. "Several old Party comrades have been killed," Himmler declared, "and the damage is pretty considerable." It was then that Himmler gave new orders concerning Schellenberg's mission. "There's no doubt that the British Secret Service is behind it all," Schellenberg recorded that Himmler stated. "(Hitler) now says—and this is an order—when you meet the British agents for your conference tomorrow, you are to arrest them immediately and bring them to Germany."

A bomb had indeed gone off at the Burgerbraukeller in Munich, and its seismic effect would be felt all the way to MI-6 headquarters in London. Hitler had arrived at the beer cellar at 8:07 p.m. to address the Nazis who had supported him during the 1923 Putsch—his first attempt to seize power that had ended in a hail of police bullets and a term in jail. At 8:12 p.m. he began a violent speech—primarily against Churchill and England —that lasted until 9:08 p.m. At 9:22 p.m. Hitler left the cellar with all his lieutenants, rather earlier than had been programmed, and at 9:30 p.m. a bomb exploded with great violence. It killed six of the old guard and wounded some sixty others.

The outcry was immediate and ferocious, particularly against MI-6. The German press uniformly accused the "British Secret Service" of the attack and announced a reward of $200,000 for information leading to the arrest of the "assassins." In fact, the attack had nothing to do with MI-6, much as that organization might have wished for the Fuehrer's death. A crazed German carpenter, Georg Elser, was eventually arrested on suspicion when a photograph of the cellar, with an X marking the spot where the bomb had been planted, was found in his luggage as he attempted to cross the Swiss border. But Hitler, when he was informed of his narrow brush with death, was in a mood for retaliation. He had had reservations about Schellenberg's mission and had more than once indicated that it was too dangerous to proceed with and should be called off. Now he ordered that the British agents be kidnapped and brought to Berlin.

On November 9, Schellenberg rose with the dawn to brief his plainclothes bodyguard, which was under the command of an expert SS officer, Alfred Naujocks. Schellenberg told Naujocks of Himmler's orders, and the two men agreed upon a plan. Then the party set out from Dusseldorf. At two o'clock that afternoon Schellenberg and the "general" crossed into Holland at Venlo and went to the Cafe Bacchus, an ordinary frontier cafe

with candy-striped awnings and a small children's playground. Everything appeared normal, but out of sight on the German side of the border, Naujocks and his SS men awaited their signal.

At 2:08 p.m. Best's blue Buick edged its way down the narrow street and stopped as someone put his head round the corner. There were four men in the car—Best, Stevens, the driver and Lieutenant Klop—and clearly they were suspicious, but the car turned the corner at slow speed and approached the Cafe Bacchus. At that moment three Mercedes crashed through the pole dividing Germany from Holland, and an SS man fired his machine pistol into the air to scatter the Dutch border guards. One of the Mercedes came down the street at high speed and blocked the Buick. Naujocks and a party of four SS men leaped out and seized and handcuffed the two Britons. As they were bundling them—and their driver—into the Mercedes, Naujocks saw Klop draw a pistol. He shot and killed the Dutch agent. The Mercedes did not turn around; it roared its way backwards up the street and across the border into Germany. The operation was all over in the twinkling of an eye, and Best and Stevens, two of MI-6's most important agents in western Europe, were rushed to Berlin where they were clapped into a cell in the basement of SD headquarters at 8 Prinzalbrecht-strasse, a former art school. Hitler, jubilant at the coup, received Schellen-berg, Naujocks and the SS men at the Reichskanzlei and presented each with the Iron Cross.

For Menzies, the Venlo Incident proved an inauspicious beginning of his career as C, and his critics did not hesitate to use the blunders of Stevens and Best as a weapon to try to remove him. The Foreign Office, suspecting further treachery, broke off the Vatican talks, but Menzies did not allow the incident to rupture whatever contact existed between him and Canaris. He may not have trusted the little admiral or the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle, but they were a line of contact that might prove invaluable later on. Moreover—as Menzies said later—there was some evidence that the Abwehr had not taken part in the Venlo Incident and that Canaris was not aware of the operation. This was true, for Canaris was aghast when he heard of the kidnapping.

The conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle also suffered a severe setback. Clearly, the incident would make the British even more cautious in dealing with them, and generals who might have been expected to join the conspiracy dived for cover as the Gestapo investigated every shred of evidence about a plot. The most serious threat was the possibility that the Gestapo would make Best and Stevens talk. How much did they know of the Vatican exchanges? They knew nothing, and under interrogation—in the best traditions of the service—they would not say anything that was either useful or true. But the conspirators could not take that chance.

Finally, the Venlo Incident marked a turning point in the secret war

The Venlo Incident ) 191 (

between Britain and the Third Reich. It was a strange fact that in the opening rounds of that war both sides had gone about their business with relative gentility for fear that violence would provoke the enemy into violent retaliation. The kidnapping of Best and Stevens served to remove that restraint. The white kid gloves were off, and henceforward the secret war would grow increasingly violent until, as General Gubbins of SOE later remarked, it became "bloodier than the Somme."

Bodyguard of lies

"Adroit Intrigue"

The Vatican talks hung fire for over a month, and were only resumed when the Pope vouched for the bona fides and honesty of Mueller. With that assurance, made personally by Pius XII in a communication to Lord Halifax, the conversations reopened with a meeting between the Pope and Sir D'Arcy Osborne, which took place—according to the British Cabinet Minutes—at the Vatican on January 12, 1940. To all appearances, their conversations were a most important step toward an armistice before Case Yellow began. The Pope warned Sir D'Arcy that he had information that a "violent, bitter and unscrupulous offensive" against Holland was being prepared by Hitler for mid-February; and he went on to declare that "the generals" were prepared to act to forestall this offensive if "they could be assured of peace." Sir D'Arcy seems to have been acquainted with the MI-6 evaluation of the Schwarze Kapelle's seriousness and ability of purpose at this time; MI-6 thought, rightly enough, that a German military revolt might succeed, but the Foreign Office "doubted" if any of "the generals" had it in them to "take the initiative." As a result, Sir D'Arcy told the Pope that he considered their approach "so vague as to be useless." And at that, if the Cabinet Minutes are accurate, the Pope tried to withdraw from the conversations.

However, at a further meeting with the British ambassador on February 7, the Supreme Pontiff returned to the matter, although, as Sir D'Arcy reported, he did so "with reluctance." The Pope said that he had new information that "part of the army was prepared to act, even at the risk of civil war, if they could be reassured that the territorial integrity of Germany together with Austria would be respected." Sir D'Arcy, in a telegram to Lord Halifax, now reported himself "impressed" by this new approach. And so apparently was Lord Halifax. On February 17, Halifax instructed Sir D'Arcy that Britain could not act without France. But in that same communication, Halifax indicated that Britain would be prepared to offer

) 192 (

"Adroit Intrigue" ) 193 (

terms to "the generals," provided they proposed what Halifax called "a definite programme authoritatively vouched for." This program was to include, again according to the Cabinet Minutes, reparations for Germany's neighbors and firm guarantees for security and freedom of choice for Austria. Those, so far as the Minutes show, were the only conditions the British made.

But—if Mueller is to be believed—the British in fact demanded a great deal more in return for an armistice. Shortly before February 1, 1940, Mueller brought to Berlin what would be called "the long-awaited British answer on which rested the final hopes of the German Opposition in the Twilight War." This answer, according to Mueller, was written by Father Leiber on a single sheet of paper. It was dictated to him by the Pope and contained details about the peace Britain would negotiate with a post-Hitler government. According to Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, a high officer of the Political Warfare Executive, the paper was the Pope's personal stationery and to it Father Leiber affixed his own calling card.

With the arrival of the paper by the hand of Mueller in Berlin, Mueller and Dohnanyi wrote a report of the Vatican dialogue in German military terminology. This document, which embodied Leiber's transcription of the Pope's statements, ran to twelve pages and came to be called the "X-Report," after Mueller, who was known as "Agent X" at the Abwehr. Leiber's note appears to have led off with the categorical phrase: "Conditio sine qua non: constitution of a government capable of negotiating." This. in turn, formed the premise for the X-Report. But Mueller and Dohnanyi appear to have changed the wording slightly but significantly: "Conditio sine qua non: removal of the National Socialist regime and constitution of a government capable of negotiating."

After the war, the nine survivors of the Schwarze Kapelle who saw the X-Report were unanimous in stating that it "contained a broad hint from London on the form the new (German) state should take." It referred to a "decentralized" Germany—presumably a federation of states. The future of Austria was to be decided by plebiscite, and it "contemplated" what the British called "a certain restoration of Czechia"—Czechoslovakia, which was taken to mean the reunion of Czech and Slovak territories. The Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia was to remain with Germany. Here, however, the unanimity of recollection ends. In regard to Germany's eastern frontiers, Haider insisted that they were to be restored to what they were in 1914; according to Leiber, the state of Poland was to be restored completely. Mueller himself recalled that areas opting for Germany were "to remain with the Reich."

On balance, the X-Report seems to have been a protocol for a treaty; not the treaty itself. But the Schwarze Kapelle appears to have accepted the document as something more than a mere protocol. On April 3, 1940,

Canaris and Haider discussed the report at Zossen, and immediately thereafter Haider undertook to present it to the C-in-C, Brauchitsch, presumably with the intention of fostering some new action by the generals against Case Yellow. He gave the report to Brauchitsch to read overnight and, when he returned in the morning, he related that he found the Commander-in-Chief in an "unusually serious mood." Brauchitsch declared:

You should not have shown this to me. What we face here is pure national treason {Landesverrat). That does not come into question for us under any conditions. We are at war. That one in time of peace establishes contact with a foreign power may be considered. In war this is impossible for a soldier. Moreover, in this case it is not a matter between governments but of a decision between philosophies of life. The removal of Hitler would therefore be useless.

Brauchitsch turned upon the Chief of the General Staff. His agony of conscience was clear; but he could not and would not compromise the ancient General Staff belief—that if the nation had come to war the thing to do was to win it, not discuss its morality. Like Beck, he believed that Germany was not equal to a major war of long duration; but it does not follow that men in high places have great moral courage. Brauchitsch was a case in point. Who, he demanded to know, had brought this document to Zossen? He must be arrested and the document sent to OKW or to the SD for investigation. At that, Haider, who was never far from a nervous collapse as he planned Case Yellow on the one hand, and intrigued against the Fuehrer on the other replied: "If there is anyone to be arrested, then please arrest me." Brauchitsch said no more about treason, and Haider said no more about rebellion.

Haider, whose family had given Germany soldiers for three hundred years, a quick, shrewd and witty man, was a Bavarian, and a Bavarian, as Bismarck remarked, was "a cross between a man and an Austrian." Caught between two fierce fires, his caste training and his Catholic morality, Haider now more or less withdrew from the Schwarze Kapelle. For him, the flames of treason were too hot. As for the X-Report, it went into the big safe manufactured by Pohlschroeder of Dortmund where the Abwehr kept its most secret papers in a bunker at Zossen, and there it remained like a time bomb. In effect, Brauchitsch had dashed the sword of rebellion from the hands of the conspirators within the army high command. But elsewhere, the flames still flickered.

At the Vatican, on April 3, 1940, Sir D'Arcy Osborne was back in Pius XII's study but, as the Supreme Pontiff announced, he feared that the demarche had come to an end. In fact, conscious of the dangers it was running, the Vatican had lost confidence in the negotiations. Some of the men around the Pope had tried to establish the identities of Mueller's

"Adroit Intrigue" ) 195 (

principals; and when they failed, they began to wonder about Mueller's authority. Certainly no attempt had been made to overthrow the Nazi regime. In fact, within a few short days, the Fuehrer, bolder than ever, would order the surprise invasion of Denmark and Norway. But Beck was not yet ready to give up. He realized that the Allies must conclude that the Vatican talks were another Venlo if something was not done, so he decided to make an attempt to reopen the negotiations.

Once again Mueller set out on the road to Rome to warn the world of Case Yellow—the gravest act of Landesverrat so far. For if he succeeded, and Case Yellow was repulsed, how many German soldiers must perish? The message he brought with him had been "carefully formulated" at Abwehr headquarters on the basis of Beck's advice. It contained, as Mueller recalled afterwards, an "indignant repudiation of the approaching attack on the Low Countries," and the statement that "Hitler will attack and this action lies just ahead." Mueller handed this warning to Father Leiber, and then went to the home of Abbot General Hubert Noots, the head of the Premonstratensian Order, and a Belgian. Noots knew—and trusted— Mueller of old, and Mueller gave him a "detailed picture of the situation and prospects as he saw them." There were two such meetings; and then Mueller, aware of the great personal peril in which he now stood, returned home on May 4. He purchased, with some cigars and a lighter, a frontier entry and exit stamp from an Italian immigration official; and with this stamp he proceeded to make unrecognizable in his passport the dates on which he had entered and left Italy.

Mueller's warning circulated through the Vatican, and it seems certain that Sir D'Arcy was aware of it. But when it reached London, it was treated as if it was part of some large-scale deception by the SD to cover Hitler's attack plans. The specter of Venlo was not easily forgotten, and the Vatican negotiations themselves were referred to in the British Cabinet Minutes as attempts to "wangle a botched-up peace."

The matter did not end there, however, for the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle would come dangerously close to paying the ultimate price for their treason. Father Leiber, having delivered Mueller's warning to the Pope, went to inform a Jesuit priest, the Reverend Theodor Mon-nens, a colleague at the Gregorian University. Monnens took the warning to the Belgian ambassador, Adrien Nieuwenhuys, who brushed it aside with the angry words: "No German would do a thing like that." But on the heels of Monnens there came another more impressive informant—Abbot General Noots. Before the week was out, said Noots, the Germans would invade the Low Countries with tanks, infantry, paratroopers and aircraft. This time Nieuwenhuys listened and, on May 2, 1940, he sent a warning telegram to the Foreign Ministry in Brussels.

Alarmed, Brussels asked for more, and on May 3, Nieuwenhuys sent

further details of Mueller's warning. But he—and the Belgian government—was disinclined to believe it. Like the British government, they interpreted it as part of the war of nerves of the period. It seemed incomprehensible that higher motives than treachery were involved in the Schwarze Kapelle's actions.

But as the ambassador's two messages were transmitted to Brussels, the Forschungsamt was listening. The Forschungsamt tapped telephones, opened letters, solved intercepted ciphered telegrams and maintained a close relationship with the SD, supplying it, at least in the early days of Nazism, with most of its external intelligence. Its productions were printed on brown paper embossed with the Reich eagle and were, as a result, known as ''brown birds." The Forschungsamt intercepted both of Nieuwen-huys's telegrams, they were quickly deciphered, and equally quickly reached the desks of Heydrich, Himmler—and, presumably, Hitler. Astounded that there was a traitor in his entourage, Hitler ordered a full-scale investigation.

News of this investigation leaked to Canaris and Oster; and Mueller, who was now at home in Munich, was ordered to report to Berlin—covering his tracks as he came. Worried by the urgency of his orders, Mueller set out by car and went as instructed to Oster's home. There, Oster told him that they were both "deep in the ink," and reminded Mueller of their pledge that, if one of them had to go to the gallows, he would do so alone. Then Oster instructed Mueller to go without delay to Abwehr headquarters and see Canaris. Mueller met the little admiral in the corridor of the executive floor, and Canaris stopped and lisped, as he often did when he was agitated: "The brown birds! Have you seen the brown birds?" When Mueller shook his head, Canaris told him to go to Dohnanyi's office and read and consider the contents of "the brown birds."

When Mueller saw "the brown birds," he realized immediately that they were the texts of Nieuwenhuys's messages of May 2 and 3. As he had feared, he was being labeled a traitor or an agent provocateur. Finally Canaris came into the room and asked: "Is that you?" Mueller responded: "Admiral, I cannot be sure; it can be, yes and it can be, no." His composure so impressed Canaris that he laid his hand on Mueller's shoulder and declared: "Unser ruhende Pol in der Erscheinung Flucht" —"Our calm pole in the flight of events." Then Canaris asked Mueller: "Are you prepared to receive an order from me?"—for the terms of Mueller's employment provided that he could accept or reject any order. Mueller replied that it would depend upon its character.

Its character was astonishing and illustrated what Liedig would mean by "adroit intrigue." Canaris asked Mueller to go to Rome to investigate the Case Yellow leak for which he alone was responsible. It was preposterous: Mueller ordered to Rome to be—as he himself put it later—"his

"Adroit Intrigue" ) 197 (

own gendarme." Yet he agreed to go. Canaris told him that he must leave immediately, and that he must call from Berlin to Munich to arrange to have his baggage waiting for him at Munich Airport when his personal plane landed. As soon as he had taken off again, Canaris would order all frontier controls lifted for his flight to Italy—to frustrate Heydrich and prevent Mueller from getting caught up in the SD's net. Further, Colonel Hans Helferich—Canaris's representative at SIM, the Italian secret service, and the Abwehr chief at Rome—would be informed that Mueller was arriving on a special mission to investigate the leakage of state secrets, and he would be instructed to give Mueller unreserved assistance. Helferich would also be told that the investigation must take precedence over rank, and that control must remain with Mueller.

Mueller departed, and Canaris went to see Hitler to tell him that he had ordered the strongest possible inquiry into the leakage of Case Yellow at Rome. He informed the Fuehrer that he had instructed his special agent, Josef Mueller, to proceed there without delay. Hitler gave his assent to the inquiry. It was a stroke of pure genius.

Mueller arrived safely at Rome and immediately called upon Father Leiber. He told Leiber that Ambassador Nieuwenhuys must leave the Vatican without delay, so that "he could not easily be got at." Leiber agreed to do all that he could to protect Nieuwenhuys, but it would also be imperative to protect the identity of Abbot General Noots, who had passed the Case Yellow leak to the Belgian ambassador, and to disguise the role that Mueller himself had played.

Mueller now called on Helferich and asked to see his file on the leak in order to acquaint himself with what had so far been done. Then, in order to impress Helferich, he called Canaris on the A-Net, the Abwehr's most secret telephone system. In Helferich's presence, Mueller announced calculatingly that he had had a "very satisfactory conversation" with Helferich, who, he said, had conducted the investigation with great skill. Helferich, who was a lazy, agreeable man, was flattered by this report; he was also grateful that the extra work involved in the investigation had been taken out of his hands.

Early the next morning Mueller and Leiber met again and, as he recalled later, Leiber revealed that he had had a brainwave: "One of our fathers, a Belgian, has left for the Congo and is well beyond reach. Why not shove everything onto him as the 'compatriot' referred to by Nieuwenhuys? That should serve to draw attention away from Noots." According to the OSS man who later investigated the whole of this incident, Harold C. Deutsch: "There evidently was a trace of elfin mischief in this usually so austere member of the Society of Jesus." Mueller agreed to the plan and returned to Abwehr headquarters to announce that a Belgian Jesuit had left

Rome suddenly and quite obviously was the compatriot to whom Nieuwen-huys had referred in his two telegrams.

There remained a final problem: How had the information reached Rome in the first place? With the help of Abbot General Noots, whose sense of intrigue was as sharp as Leiber's, Mueller concocted a story that he knew Himmler would like to believe: that Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law and the Italian Foreign Minister, whom Himmler detested, had ferreted the information out of persons in Ribbentrop's entourage—for Himmler also detested Ribbentrop. Thus fact and fiction were so interwoven as to be indistinguishable—and to be acceptable to the SDs prejudices.

Both Canaris and Mueller had played their hands cleverly, and the investigation was closed for the moment, although Heydrich was growing deeply suspicious that Abwehr headquarters was a nest of traitors. Unfortunately, the Vatican talks were also closed. Had it not been for the Venlo Incident, an agreement might have been struck with the British. At the very least, Britain and her continental Allies might have given greater credence to the Schwarze Kapelle and the peril they faced with the onset of Case Yellow. But they did not. Truth and treason are unlikely companions.

The Vatican was not the only channel of communication that the Schwarze Kapelle used to try to confound Hitler in the anxious months between the fall of Poland and the start of Case Yellow. Very early in the morning of November 4, 1939, the guard at the British Embassy at Oslo was making his rounds in a snowstorm when he found a parcel on the stone ledge by the porter's lodge. It was half-covered with snow and had it not been found then might not have been discovered for weeks. It was about 3 inches thick, the size and shape of a block of legal-size pads, and it was addressed to the British naval attache. When the attache came on duty, he opened the parcel and found a note signed by a "well-wishing German scientist." There was no explanation for the parcel's contents. It contained documents in German together with diagrams of a nature that clearly indicated weaponry.

• The parcel was sent in the diplomatic bag to London and found its way to the desk of Dr. R. V. Jones, who was a member of the scientific and technical department of MI-6. Jones was 28, a tall, solemn product of Wadham and Balliol, and of the Clarendon Laboratory. A physicist, natural philosopher and astronomer, he had joined MI-6 in September 1939, and his first task was to examine MI-6 files on German weaponry and make a report. Thus acquainted with the sum total of the knowledge available to Britain of German weapons programs, Jones was in a position to study and evaluate the "Oslo Report," as the contents of the parcel came to be called, with less political skepticism than his superiors.

"Adroit Intrigue" ) 199 (

It was a startling document. Among a mass of technical information, there was data on a new torpedo that homed onto its target acoustically, a new system to permit the Luftwaffe to bomb blind, and German progress on two radar systems—Wiirzburg and Freya. There was much else besides, but Jones was particularly intrigued by what the report described as the Aggregatprogramm—the rocket program. According to the report, the Germans were test-firing large long-range rockets at a place called Peene-miinde on the island of Usedom in the Baltic.

It was obvious from the report—were it true—that a wholly new dimension of warfare was beginning to unfold. The ingenuity of German scientists was well known, and as the U.S. General Board recorded later: "Tremendous strides in rocket development (had been) made and it is not hard to visualize what could have been in store for the Allies had the Germans been given time to complete the development." But at this early stage of the war, no one was in a position to determine the validity of the Oslo Report. Not until the existence of the X-Gerat—the blind bombing device that enabled the Luftwaffe to zero in so accurately on British cities, Coventry among them—was confirmed, and not until a Wiirzburg radar was "pinched" in a Commando raid against the French village of Bruneval, did the scientific intelligence authorities accept the truth of the report. But that was not until 1941-42.

The source of the Oslo Report was perhaps the chief reason it was greeted with incredulity. Who was the "well-wishing German scientist," and was the report valid or just another of Hitler's scare tactics? For many years the hand behind the report defied identification—until Canaris's methodology became known. In evaluating the report, both Dr. Jones and Dr. Robert Cockburn, the chief of the radar countermeasures section of the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE), debated at length who in the German hierarchy was so highly placed that he could obtain what seemed to be the entire German secret weapons program. There were many scientists who might be privy to part of the program, but none would, it was reasoned, have access to the whole. Only men such as Canaris would have this kind of access, and, as important, only men such as Canaris would have had the means to evade Gestapo surveillance and spirit the package abroad for delivery. The Oslo Report might well have been another "leak" similar in purpose to his many proven activities on behalf of the Schwarze Kapelle. As Cockburn said later: "It seemed quite possible that the Report was Canaris's doing. But we never found out. And we never discovered who else but Canaris or his agent could have done it."

While the belief that the Oslo Report was the work of Canaris is only speculation, there were, at other times, comparable acts that were beyond question the work of the Schwarze Kapelle. Among them were such episodes as the 1943 "Lisbon Report," which contained more very valuable

information about the German rocket program in addition to political information of the highest importance; the 1943 "Istanbul Report," which provided MI-6 with the Enigma keys for the Abwehr's signals trunk routes; and the 1942-43 "Berne Report," which revealed to the OSS all that was important in the German Foreign Ministry signals file for a period of nearly two years. But a mystery similar to the one surrounding the Oslo Report will probably always remain around the greatest intelligence triumph of the war in Europe—the evolution of Ultra.

To produce Ultra, the Turing engine at Bletchley was designed to duplicate, at least to a certain degree, and thus to unbutton the secret ciphers of the German Enigma machine. But because the machine was capable of an almost infinite number of ciphers, depending upon the keying procedures that were being used, knowledge of those procedures facilitated the use of the Turing engine and was of the utmost importance to British cryptanalysts. Part of their knowledge would later be derived from the Enigma machines captured, in some cases along with their keying procedures and transmission schedules, on the battlefield. And the capture, in May of 1941, of the Enigma machine and related material on the U-110 added immeasurably to Britain's understanding of just how the German secret ciphers were keyed. But there is also some reason to believe that the Enigma's keying procedures were systematically and regularly transmitted to MI-6 from a fairly early stage in the war by the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle. The intention behind this betrayal was, it can be assumed, to expose Hitler's plans in his own words (for he used Enigma for his secret signals) so that the Allies might take suitable military and diplomatic action to counteract them. Why should the Schwarze Kapelle not betray the Enigma keys? They had betrayed more or less all of Hitler's secrets since he announced his decision to make war on November 5, 1937. To give Britain the Enigma keys would surely be the fastest and, for the conspirators, the safest way of revealing Hitler's intentions.

The supposition is not improbable. But again the question must be asked: Who among the conspirators had both the motive and the opportunity to betray Enigma? Suspicion falls upon General Erich Fellgiebel, the signalsmaster of OKW who was finally executed by the Gestapo for grand treason, and upon his deputy, General Fritz Thiele, who was also executed. Hitler himself was quite certain that Fellgiebel and Thiele were in contact with the British and even went so far as to state in a conversation with Albert Speer, his Minister of Munitions and Armaments Production, that Fellgiebel had a direct telecommunications line to the British in Switzerland. Certainly, Fellgiebel did arrange to lay secret telephone and teleprinter lines between his headquarters and the outposts of the conspiracy across hundreds of miles without the knowledge of either OKW or the Gestapo.

"Adroit Intrigue" ) 201 (

There are other even more telling reasons to suspect Fellgiebel. He was the man who was in charge of experimenting with the Enigma machine, and it was upon his recommendation that Enigma was introduced for use throughout the Wehrmacht. Further, Fellgiebel and Thiele, who were close friends, advised upon and controlled all OKW and army communications, and had much to do with the signals arrangements not only for the other two armed services but also for the Abwehr and the SS. Between them they almost wholly controlled cipher creation and distribution, as well as wireless security and wireless intelligence; and what they did not control in the world of secret communications was, with few exceptions, controlled by the Abwehr. Finally, both men were members of the Schwarze Kapelle, Fellgiebel since its inception at the time of the murders of Schleicher and Bredow.

But why should Fellgiebel have drunk from the poisoned chalice of conspiracy? He was an especial friend of Beck, and like most of the early conspirators a Wilhelminian and a soldier of the old German Empire. Born in 1886 in Silesia, the son of a landowner, he was a gifted and intelligent man: a classicist, scholar, technician and horseman. His antipathy for Hitler sprang not only from social or moral reasons, but also from his belief, as a member of the General Staff, that Hitler's military policies were strategical lunacy that would destroy Germany. He is said to have declared, as did Canaris at the outbreak of war, that he would do everything within his power to frustrate Hitler's plans. He was perhaps in the best position of all the conspirators to sabotage those plans; he had the means for illicit communication by wireless with the British, and only he had access to all the Enigma ciphers, keying procedures and transmission schedules in use by Germany. Why, therefore, should he not use wireless—the science he knew best—as the weapon for Hitler's ruin? In the recondite world of communications most things would be possible to the man in command.

Whatever Britain's source of information about Enigma, however successful she would eventually become in reading the secret signals of the Wehrmacht, the Turing engine was only partially operational as Case Yellow loomed. Yet the British did not lack for warning. Quite apart from Mueller's Vatican leak, all through the autumn, winter and spring of 1939 and 1940, Oster also attempted to alert them to Hitler's plan to overrun the Low Countries and France.

Oster was deeply troubled by his part in the conspiracy. He was as loyal to the Fatherland as any officer or man, and he sought to quell his conscience with Talleyrand's famous statement: "Trahison est une question du date." Yet he could not deny that he was committing the worst crime in the law of the German soldier. As early as October 1939 he had admitted

his disquiet to his friend Liedig. Walking together through the woods around the Potsdamer Lake, Oster remarked:

There is no going back for me anymore. It is much simpler to take a pistol and shoot someone down or to run into a machine gun burst when it is done for a cause than to do what 1 have determined. I beg you to remain after my death that friend who knows how things were with me and what induced me to do things which others will perhaps never understand or at least would never have done themselves. . . . One may say I am a traitor to my country but actually I am not that. I regard myself as a better German than all those who run after Hitler. It is my plan and my duty to free Germany and thereby the world of this plague.

Oster might as well have saved himself from his agony of spirit; his warnings were neither believed nor heeded, and were repeatedly dismissed as "deceptions" and "psychological warfare." In all, Oster passed, or authorized the passage of, some fifteen of the twenty-eight different dates for the start of Case Yellow; but each time—save the last—Hitler postponed the invasion on account of the weather, which was peculiarly capricious that winter and spring. Most of these warnings were given to his friend Major Sas, who was acting as his principal informant to the West. Sas relayed them to the Dutch and Belgian intelligence authorities; and they, in turn, passed them on to Menzies. But as one "Zero Day" after another came and went, everyone wearied of this continual crying wolf. Gradually, Oster's credibility diminished with the Dutch and the Belgians until he was considered unreliable and, possibly, a dangerous agent provocateur. As a result of this loss of faith, Oster's final warnings were not relayed to the British secret service.

As for Sas, he became a prophet without honor in his own country. He dutifully passed Oster's warnings to his government, including the information that Holland would not escape invasion as she had in the First World War, and that plans for an invasion of Belgium were being made. But his superiors received his information skeptically from the first, and finally he was considered to be a victim of a clever war of nerves being conducted from Berlin by the Abwehr.

Meanwhile, the weeks and months ticked by. Then suddenly, in April 1940, Hitler diverted his attention momentarily from the Low Countries and France to invade Denmark and Norway. At Canaris's instigation, Oster once again passed a warning of the attack to Sas, the object of which was, as Liedig would remember, "to cause the British navy to make a demonstration in Norwegian waters to force Hitler to cancel his plans." Once again the warning was ignored by the Dutch, the Danes, the Norwegians—and the British. The Allies were dealt another stunning blow, but strangely, even this did not seem to add credibility to the imminence of Case Yellow. Yet Oster and Sas persisted. On the evening of Monday, May

"Adroit Intrigue" ) 203 (

6, 1940, Oster informed Sas that Zero Day for Case Yellow was now set for the 8th, and that it might be preceded by an extremely short ultimatum. Sas enciphered the facts in a telegram to the Dutch Foreign Office, but it proved to be another false alarm. The 8th came and went and Case Yellow did not begin. But that same day Oster called Sas and informed him that Thursday, the 9th, had been earmarked by Hitler as the day upon which "final orders" were to be issued for the attack. If by 9:30 p.m. on the 8th no counter-order had been issued, the Wehrmacht would move.

Oster and Sas met for dinner that evening at Horchers, where the placid and faithful Herr Haeckh, the manager, hung solicitously over their table. They had to be careful for—as Oster knew well, for he employed them—the Abwehr had deaf-mutes there regularly to lipread the conversations of powerful persons. It was, Sas told a Netherlands Parliamentary Tribunal after the war, a "funeral banquet." At 9:30 p.m., having dined, Oster and Sas walked around to the OKW office in the Bendlerstrasse. Sas waited for twenty minutes in a taxi. When Oster emerged he spoke these words: "My dear friend, now it is really all over. There have been no counterorders. The swine has gone off to the Western Front. Now it is definitely all over. I hope we will see each other again after the war." Oster then took his friend by a coat button and added: "Sas, blow up the Meuse bridges for me."

They said their last farewells and Sas hurried to the Dutch legation to telephone the War Ministry at The Hague. He passed Oster's information in code to a naval lieutenant, and then went to work with his colleagues burning confidential paper. At about midnight, Sas received a telephone call from the man who had refused to believe him in the past, Colonel van de Plassche, the chief of the Dutch intelligence service. "I have such bad reports from you about the operation on your wife," announced the colonel. "What is her trouble? Have you consulted all the doctors?" Outraged at the carelessness of van de Plassche, Sas replied angrily: "Yes, but I do not understand how you can bother me in such circumstances. You know it now. There is nothing to change about the operation. I have talked with all the doctors. Tomorrow at dawn it will take place."

At three o'clock the following morning the first Stukas appeared over the fair tulip fields of Holland. The bridges over the Meuse had not been blown. The panzers began to roll across Germany's western frontier at dawn, and within four days the old port of Rotterdam lay smoldering and destroyed. Despite the repeated warnings of the Schwarze Kapelle, despite the information revealed by Ultra that Hitler was assembling vast forces behind the Siegfried Line—information confirmed by aerial reconnaissance —the Wehrmacht obtained what Churchill would call "complete tactical surprise ... in nearly every case." It took Hitler only fifty-two days to become the conquerer of all of western Europe save the neutral states.

Bodyguard of lies

Canaris at Work

On July 19, 1940, at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin, Hitler stood at the lectern in a simple uniform of dove-gray with an Iron Cross on the left breast of his tunic—the Iron Cross he had won in 1914 at Ypres, the same action in which Menzies had won the DSO. "I . . . appeal once more to reason and common sense in Great Britain," he declared, and offered the island peoples a conqueror's charity. "I consider myself in a position to make this appeal since I am not the vanquished begging favours, but the victor speaking in the name of reason. I can see no reason why this war must go on."

Great Britain ignored Hitler's appeal, even as the German nation and armed forces celebrated his new military victory and the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle once more despaired of mounting a successful revolution. Yet, incredibly, at that very moment of seeming invincibility a new phase of the conspiracy against Hitler was beginning to take shape in a suite at the Hotel Meurice in Paris. There, several members of the conspiracy met for the ostensible purpose of planning the Fuehrer's triumphant entry into the French capital. They included General Karl-Heinrich von Stuelpnagel, General Eduard Wagner, the chief of the OKW economics branch, General Erich Fellgiebel, and two colonels whose names may be remembered—Henning von Tresckow and Klaus Count von Stauffenberg. When the meeting ended, the conspirators went to Stuelpnagel's room, where they agreed that Hitler's victories had crushed all hope, for the moment, of a rebellion. The thing to do now was to plan for a coup d'etat along General Staff lines. And it was during these bold and dangerous conversations that Stauffenberg uttered singular words. Hitler, he said, was not a great general. All the great generals of history had also been great lawmakers. But Hitler was not a lawmaker; he was not a Charlemagne, a Justinian, or even a Napoleon. He was a man possessed with a lust for nihilistic power and a passion for cruel display, and therefore, said

) 204 (

Stauffenberg, he must be removed. The idea of tyrannicide, so long rejected by Beck and only indirectly considered by Canaris and Oster, was beginning to occur to Stauffenberg.

Count von Stauffenberg, now thirty-three, was the son of a Swabian nobleman whose family traced its line back to 1262. He was born at the Castle Greiffenstein, a fortress which had long been the seat of the nobility of Wurttemberg. His father had been Senior Marshal and Lord Privy at the Court of Wilhelm II and his mother was a granddaughter of Field Marshal August Count Wilhelm Neithardt von Gneisenau, one of the founders of the General Staff. The family—including Stauffenberg—was Catholic. Having attended a school for the sons of noblemen at Stuttgart, Stauffenberg at first elected to become an architect, then a cellist, and finally a soldier. He was commissioned into the 17th Cavalry at Bamberg, an elite regiment, and married Nina Baroness von Lerchenfeld, the daughter of a Bavarian diplomat. It was an orthodox progression for a member of his caste and class. Less orthodox was his opinion of the Fuehrer. Stauffen-berg's moral opposition to Hitler and the Nazis began to grow with the "Night of the Long Knives" in 1934 and then with the Kristallnacht in November 1938 when Hitler launched the pogrom. By the time he entered the War Academy, Stauffenberg had come to regard Hitler with profound distaste.

At the War Academy, he showed a capacity for military science, history and economics that marked him down as a future Chief of the General Staff. Extraordinarily handsome—even beautiful, some said—he was tall, noble in appearance and build, intelligent, and vital. He joined the 6th Panzer Division and fought in Poland and France and then, on the eve of France's surrender, was ordered to the General Staff. With the staff, Stauffenberg began to travel between all headquarters of the Wehrmacht, and he learned of the SS's work in Poland. It was the mass extermination of the Polish aristocracy and Jews that finally launched him on the road to tyrannicide. And Stauffenberg, as a fighting soldier, was not deterred by the burden of the Fahneneid or the Christian belief that a new state cannot be founded upon assassination.

For the most part, however, the older and more conservative members of the conspiracy continued to reject the idea of tyrannicide on religious and moral grounds. Instead, they sought the assistance and encouragement of Britain, and to that end, Ulrich von Hassell, a member of the Schwarze Kapelle, of the Wednesday Club, and the former German ambassador at the Quirinale, had composed a memorandum at the request of General Beck for transmission through secret channels to London. The memorandum repeated the Schwarze Kapelle's intention to overthrow Hitler and the Nazi Party and establish a constitutional monarchy based on British principles. Beck would head a Regency Council during the transitional period,

but who was to be the new Kaiser? Would the British accept a restoration * of the Prussian monarchy? With little more than a straw to grasp at, the conspirators studied old political pronouncements and drew comfort from statements made in the early 1930's by Churchill, who had declared that a Hohenzollern restoration would be a comparatively hopeful event when measured against the growing dominion of strident Nazism. They were statements that had lost all relevance; yet the conspirators, with the fervor of the lost, resurrected the Hohenzollern name and fastened their hopes upon Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, the grandson of the Kaiser. Would this amiable playboy assume the dangerous role of Pretender? Yes, said Prince Louis through an intermediary, he would.

The conspirators accepted Prince Louis, despite the notoriety attending his name. He had sown more than his share of youthful wild oats, notably with the film actress Lily Damita, who had jilted him first for the Duke of Kent and then for Errol Flynn. There were rumors about his conduct; worse, he was said to have expressed intense dislike for his royal cousins in England. But he had other important connections. He had married the former Grand Duchess Kira of Russia, and in America he counted among his friends both Henry Ford and President Roosevelt.

With the Hassell memorandum and the Hohenzollern restoration, the conspiracy took on—for the moment—a weird, fairyland air of unreality. Who but desperate men would seriously believe that at this catastrophic moment in their history the British, whose army had been humiliated by the Wehrmacht, would contemplate an alliance with a group of latterday Jacobites? Brave though they were, they should have realized that the British were now fighting a total war, and that the Schwarze Kapelle would be considered merely as another weapon in that war. Nimble minds in Britain were indeed quick to perceive that a strategic advantage could be derived from these dissident Germans. Sefton Delmer, a high official of the Foreign Office department responsible for political stratagem—the Political Warfare Executive—would write: "(If we could) trick the generals into action against the supreme war-lord, I was going to have no regrets. A coup by the generals, whether successful or not—even so much as the suspicion of an anti-Hitler conspiracy among them—would help to hasten Hitler's defeat." ". . . All they had to do," Delmer continued, "was overthrow Hitler for us to be ready to start peace negotiations." But the British had not the slightest intention of making peace; their intention was to foment maximum suspicion and trouble between Hitler and his generals.

The Hassell memorandum eventually found its way to London through contacts that had been established between MI-6 and the Abwehr in Belgium. It would be among the first of the vehicles used by the British to sow dissension in the German ranks; but it would not be the last, for the Schwarze Kapelle would put forth new proposals through other secret channels as the war progressed. Whether they greeted these proposals with

Canaris at Work ) 207 (

feigned interest or with indifference, the British were careful to keep such channels open. Those conspirators who were willing to betray the secrets of the Third Reich to demonstrate their good faith might serve as a source of useful intelligence, and, in turn, might be fed false intelligence about Allied intentions. There was also the possibility that the British, by leaking news of the conspirators' activities, could further irritate Hitler and the Nazis. But primarily the Schwarze Kapelle was seen from the first not as a means to end the war by negotiation but as a means to subvert the Third Reich from within.

Thus the stage was set, even in the early months of the war, for the deliberate and cynical manipulation of these well-intentioned and desperate men. It was a policy that was bound eventually to cause a massacre among the conspirators, for they risked not only the wrath of the Gestapo but also betrayal by those whose help they sought. That massacre would occur when the Schwarze Kapelle attempted—unsuccessfully—to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944, at a time of maximum advantage to the Allied armies in France. But it would cause few regrets. As Delmer wrote: 'T am sorry the generals ended their lives on Hitler's meat-hooks. But I cannot say that I have any compunction about having raised false hopes in them."

While other members of the Schwarze Kapelle contemplated a coup d'etat and an end to the war through political negotiation, Canaris sought to check the ambitions of the Fuehrer through more subtle and realistic means. With the collapse of France and the withdrawal of the British army from the continent in the summer of 1940, Hitler ordered his staff to plan for "Operation Sealion," the code name for the invasion of England. Accordingly, Canaris began an intelligence attack against the British Isles to provide the Wehrmacht with the information it needed for the battle and the occupation. But General Ulrich Liss, the chief of FHW and the man who was responsible for preparing intelligence dockets from Canaris's raw material, would note something unusual about the manner in which the admiral went about his task:

You know, I saw Canaris frequently during Case Yellow and the intelligence planning for Sealion ... I came to the conclusion during Case Yellow that his offensive intelligence operations against the French, Norway, Belgium and the Low Countries were all models of efficiency. But the same could not be said for his Sealion operations. I thought then that, while he appeared to be trying to be efficient, he was not doing his job against England with conviction. We never quite got the intelligence from England that we needed to make correct estimates of England's strengths and dispositions on the ground.

If anything, Liss's remarks were too generous, for in the main, the Abwehr's intelligence effort against England was erratic, jejune and, on several occasions, tinged with absurdity.

Canaris's resident agents in England were quite numerous but far from impressive. In general, they were a second-rate crowd of adventurers, dissidents, misfits, failures, fantasts, and the venal—usually half-trained, if at all, in the crafts of espionage. Most, if not all, were known to MI-5 and the Special Branch of Scotland Yard, and were quickly scooped up in a security net at the outbreak of war; few, if any, were possessed of the high intelligence and deep conviction of either the members of the Schwarze Kapelle or the mainstream of British and American agents that were sent into the field after 1942. Typical of the lot was Dorothy Pamela O'Grady, a short, dark, greedy woman who ran a cheap boardinghouse at Sandown, Isle of Wight, for summer visitors, and spent her winters making crude plans of defenses, cutting telephone wires, and scribbling her information to an address in Portugal in elementary secret ink—crimes for which she would be sentenced to death in December 1940, but later reprieved. The only German agent of any real importance at this stage of the secret war was a man known as "Snow," whom Masterman later described as the "fons et origo" of all future XX-Committee operations.

Snow was a Canadian electrical engineer whose real name was Alfred George Owens. As early as 1936, he had offered his services as a spy first to British naval intelligence, then to MI-6 and, finally, in a neat about-face, to the Abwehr. But MI-6 quickly uncovered his Abwehr connections, and although Snow was permitted to run for several months, he was arrested by the Special Branch on September 4, 1939, one day after war was declared. He was liable to the hangman, but at the "suggestion" of MI-6, the transmitter that he had been provided by his Abwehr controllers was brought to him in his cell at Wandsworth Prison, and on September 5 he opened up communications with the Abwehr in Hamburg, sending—significantly—false meteorological intelligence based upon true data that was known to the Germans. The Abwehr was unaware that Snow had been "turned"; in succeeding months he was evidently regarded as "the lynch-pin" of German intelligence activities in Britain. He continued to transmit to Hamburg, and later to Iberia, and from the instructions he received in return, the British were able to apprehend all of the Abwehr agents who came stumbling into England from July 1940 onwards. Equally important, Snow's ciphers and the intelligence questionnaires he was sent enabled the British to deduce the exact nature of German intentions during the tense months when the home islands lay under the threat of invasion.

The Abwehr's activities in connection with Sealion were scarcely less inept. Although the Case Yellow directive clearly specified the British Isles as the ultimate target, Canaris had not evidently made any real preparation for a major intelligence operation against England. And when he received his orders from Keitel on June 21, 1940, to launch that operation, which was codenamed "Lobster," he hardly applied himself diligently. He merely

gave his station chief at Hamburg, Captain Herbert Wichmann, instructions to set the operation in motion—a matter that he might have undertaken himself if he had been wholeheartedly loyal to Hitler and regarded his orders with the gravity they deserved. Then he turned his own attentions elsewhere.

All Wichmann had available for Lobster were fifteen ill-trained, low-grade agents to undertake the vast task of Gondomar:

. . . Pray, what use

Put I my summer recreation to,

But more to inform my knowledge in the state

and strength of the White English kingdom?

The first four sailed from Le Touquet on the afternoon of September 2, 1940: Carl Meier, a twenty-five-year-old Dutchman of German birth; Charles van der Kieboom, a twenty-six-year-old Eurasian with markedly oriental eyes; Sjord Pons, a Dutch army nurse of twenty-eight; and Rudolf Waldberg, the one member of the party who could speak English. All were less than half-trained in wireless, elementary cryptography, and in British military matters. They landed at dawn in the general area of Hythe and Dungeness, suffering from serious hangovers, and Meier and Pons were immediately arrested by an astonished private of the Somerset Light Infantry who came across them sitting behind a sand dune attacking a German sausage. Waldberg managed to send a single brief message to Germany, and then, thirsty, he went into the small town of Lydd. Ignorant of British laws prohibiting the sale of liquor before 10 a.m., he asked an innkeeper for a quart of cider—at 9 a.m. The innkeeper told him to go look at the village church and come back in an hour; when he did so he was arrested by two local policemen on bicycles. Kieboom was also caught within twenty-four hours and all but Pons were later executed. Pons persuaded the court that he was, in reality, a Dutch patriot who had joined the Abwehr to get to England and serve Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands. The first stage of Lobster was a failure; the second, in which eleven more agents crept ashore in widely separate parts of the islands, was no more successful. All were caught, and most were hanged or given life imprisonment at hard labor. Two, whose code names were "Tate" and "Summer," were turned into special agents of the XX-Committee and would later play major roles in British deception schemes.

Certainly, Canaris's task against England was extremely difficult. First there was the Channel itself, and British control of the sea and sky, which made the job of infiltrating agents and exfiltrating intelligence one of great complexity—but not of such complexity that it was beyond the powers of the Abwehr to undertake if it had been determined to do so. Canaris had achieved notable results elsewhere, but as Hitler and OKW laid their plans

for Sealion, they were confronted by an almost complete intelligence vacuum—a vacuum which the British deception agencies, even though they were only a shadow of what they would later become, had the means to fill with false information showing that Britain was much stronger than was the case. In consequence, FHW was not able to assess with certainty the fighting capabilities and locations of the British defensive forces. Jodl, Hitler's operations officer, expressed the opinion on July 31, 1940, that "the German forces need to reckon only with a poor British army, which has not had time to apply the lessons of this war." But Hitler, bedeviled by the absence of accurate intelligence, disagreed; he believed that "a defensively prepared and utterly determined enemy faces us," a view supported by Canaris, who reported to the Fuehrer that in his opinion "even the Dunkirk combatants are not inclined to peace." On September 2, when actual British strength on paper was twenty-nine divisions, Canaris followed through with a report that there were thirty-seven divisions, equipped, eager, trained and determined to repulse an invasion. Determined they were, but they were far fewer and less well equipped than Hitler was led by Canaris to believe. It was too much for Hitler; he began to use his preparations for Sealion less as the basis for an actual operation and more as a strategic deception to cover his plans and intentions in the East. Eventually, he would abandon Sealion completely.

If Canaris's operations in England were unsuccessful, his attempts to set up intelligence centers in "Mackerel"—the Abwehr's code name for Eire—were ludicrous, even though he could and did enlist the assistance of the IRA. The Abwehr's attempt to infiltrate Ireland began on January 28, 1940, when Ernst Weber-Drohl, an aging Austrian acrobat, arrived by U-boat to arrange a treaty with the IRA. Of all the agents of the Second World War, Weber-Drohl was the drollest. He had appeared in circuses throughout Europe as "Atlas the Iron Giant" and "Drohl, the World's Strongest Man"; and he was quite well known in Ireland, for he had appeared in music halls there as a wrestler and weightlifter. He hoped his Irish "relatives"—two illegitimate children by a mistress some thirty-three years before—would help him set up his cover as a chiropractor, but he was soon arrested by the Irish police, fined <£3 and released when he promised not to undertake any activities inimical to Eire. He finally found his "relatives," but they refused to have anything to do with him. And so, penniless and without a job, Weber-Drohl elected to work for England against Germany. The XX-Committee had a new agent.

Weber-Drohl was followed by Hermann Goetz, a Hamburg lawyer turned spy who the Abwehr thought could find his way about enemy territory "with the certainty of a sleepwalker." He would prove to be less sure-footed than that; in fact, he would be described as "the most inept and, even worse, the unluckiest of all spies in history." Goetz, a gentleman

Canaris at Work ) 211 (

with fine instincts, landed by parachute (on his third try) from a Heinkel III, on a mission that "had some connection with an unpractical plan, codenamed Kathleen, for a German invasion of (Eire); this had been submitted to the Abwehr in Hamburg by an emissary of the IRA." His misfortunes began immediately. He landed not in Eire but in Ulster, and he could not bury his Luftwaffe uniform because he had lost his spade—along with his wireless—in the drop. Still in uniform, he set out to walk the 70 miles across wild country to the point where he should have landed, but the batteries of his flashlight, which was marked "Made in Dresden," soon gave out, and while he carried a good deal of money—an OSS report said the equivalent of $200,000 in British and Irish notes—he went hungry because he was not aware that both were currency in Eire and Ulster. He was then compelled to swim the Boyne "with great difficulty since the weight of my fur combination exhausted me," he wrote afterwards, adding plaintively: "This swim also cost me my invisible ink." He finally discarded his uniform and "I was now in high boots, breeches and jumper, with a little black beret on my head. ... I kept my military cap as a vessel for drinks and my war medals for sentimental reasons." Peter Fleming would later write of this episode: "The lonely, brave, baffled figure trudging across the empty Irish landscape in jackboots, with a little black beret on his head and a pocket full of 1914-18 medals, is a reminder of how far the German intelligence effort fell short of those standards of subtlety and dissimulations which were expected of it. . . ."

Eventually, Goetz found himself at a safehouse in Dublin owned by Stephen Held, an IRA figure who was, at the time, believed also to be in Menzies's service. But a few days after Goetz's arrival, the house was raided by IRA men who stole all his money. On May 22, 1940, the house was again raided, this time by the police. Held was detained and Goetz vanished over the garden wall into Dublin, leaving behind what remained of his espionage equipment. The police—possibly at British instigation— put <£3000 on his head, and he was betrayed by the IRA, caught and jailed. As he was about to be handed over to the British, he bit into the last remnant of his Abwehr equipment—a cyanide capsule—and died complaining that the IRA was "rotten to its very core."

Was the IRA as ill-disposed toward Germany as it had been toward Goetz? A confidential U.S. report would state that it had up to 5000 members throughout Ireland, and "German agents have been in Ireland and IRA agents have been in Germany." The report added, "while it has been reported that the German agents have been dismayed by the loose state of organization in the IRA," the "Germans are attempting to exploit (it) both as sabotage and espionage agents." In fact, the relationship between the IRA and the Abwehr was closer and more dangerous than was known at the time. Sean Russell, a former Chief of Staff of the IRA and its

link with the Clann na Gael in the United States, had been recruited by the Abwehr as an agent; and with another prominent IRA man, Frank Ryan, he had gone to Berlin just before the outbreak of war to offer his services to Germany in the cause of a United Ireland. He had been accepted, as was Ryan, and both had been exceptionally well trained when, on August 8, 1940, they set out from Kiel aboard a U-boat with a small group of Irishmen who had been recruited from prisoner-of-war camps to synchronize IRA activities with the forthcoming invasion of England.

But Canaris was no more fortunate in his choice of Russell than he was with either Goetz or Weber-Drohl. Russell collapsed and died of a heart attack while at sea in the U-boat, and the party returned to Germany and was disbanded. Yet the British, and later the Americans, would have cause for real concern about the German presence in neutral Eire, and about the loyalties and activities of the Irish. That concern would grow over the next four years until finally drastic and unprecedented action was taken to protect the secrets of D-Day from the IRA and from SD and Abwehr agents who had infiltrated the country.

As Sealion lolled indecisively upon the French coast that hot summer, Canaris's main interests were centered in Spain and Gibraltar. The Abwehr was strongest in Spain; some said it ran the country. Canaris's influence upon Franco was great; it was greater still in the Foreign Ministry, the Armada, and the security service, the Direction General de Seguridad. Had not "M. Guillermo"—Canaris's code name for himself—arranged German military, financial and economic assistance for Franco during the Civil War? Franco had good reason to be grateful to Canaris for past favors, and now he would have an even better reason for gratitude.

On June 30, 1940, Jodl presented the Fuehrer with a strategic survey of the war, pointing out that if the primary objective of Germany was the defeat of Great Britain, the way to achieve that defeat was the seizure of Gibraltar. This, Jodl argued, would cut England's links with her Empire in the East, and destroy the bond of encirclement that Britain would inevitably throw around Germany as soon as she was strong enough. All that was necessary, Jodl warned, was a quick decision, for the passage of each day worked against Germany and in favor of the recovering British forces. But Hitler, apparently incapable of rapid thought, retreated to Berchtes-gaden to contemplate. Not until July 13 did he voice the opinion that Britain might be coerced into making terms by the seizure of Gibraltar and an invasion of French Northwest Africa. With that declaration Jodl took the initiative and assembled a reconnaissance group for duty in Spain. The party would be led by Canaris.

Canaris and the other members of the group left Berlin in civilian clothes bearing false passports. Traveling by separate means and different

Canaris at Work ) 213 (

routes, they arrived at Madrid and made contact with the Abwehr's station chief, Wilhelm Leissner. Leissner commanded the entire Abwehr operation in Iberia and Morocco, using the nom de guerre "Gustav Lenz" and the cover of the "Excelsior Import and Export Company," traders in lead, zinc, cork and mercury. Leissner had been a colleague of Canaris's in the Mediterranean during the First World War and was described as a "strange old buzzard" in an "exotic aviary." Wearing "conservatively-cut, ill-fitting, sombre dark-grey suits and white shirts with high starched collars, and sporting carefully-groomed handlebars, he looked like the man in the old ads selling pomades for moustachios." But his organization was not to be underestimated, for he had 717 full-time officers and agents and over 600 part-time employees in Spain; and according to an instruction issued by Franco on September 6, 1940, he could depend upon the services of all Spanish consuls in England for his intelligence inquiries.

Canaris despatched his experts to reconnoiter various parts of Spain. On July 27, 1940, when they had reassembled in Madrid, he wrote a report that was a masterpiece of calculated discouragement. No, there could be no question of a surprise attack on Gibraltar; the gauges of the French and Spanish railways were different and German forces would have to change trains at the Spanish frontier, where they would be seen and reported. Worse, only a single road led directly to Gibraltar, and the Germans would have to use that. The British were aware of the threat to the fortress; a sizable reinforcement of the garrison had taken place while Canaris was in Madrid. Moreover, the geography of the fortress confounded accepted military principles. The steep slopes, the turbulent wind currents, the limited landing sites—all ruled out glider or parachute operations. The British had mined the narrow peninsula connecting Gibraltar with the mainland and their guns controlled the strip from several angles; any ground troops would have to cross that strip and the casualties would be high. Rail and road routes were not in good repair; they would not sustain large-scale movement without frequent repairs, and these the Spaniards would not be able to undertake without German assistance. The probabilities of reducing the garrison by direct air attack before invasion were not hopeful; the British anti-aircraft defenses were too strong. The garrison might be reduced by artillery but the attackers would need eleven or twelve regiments of artillery, with at least sixteen 380-mm guns and another sixteen 210-mm assault cannons—which, as Canaris well knew, the Wehrmacht could not spare at that time. A limited-scale operation by sea and air could not succeed without surprise and this, as Canaris had pointed out, was out of the question. What was more, if such an attack was contemplated, the assault forces would require the use of the African port of Ceuta. But, unfortunately, the cranes there were inadequate to the task of unloading heavy field pieces in the time available. Finally, Canaris

reported, no attack of any sort could succeed without the approval and assistance of the Spanish government. Would that be forthcoming? Canaris took steps to see that such help was not available.

When Serrano Suner, Franco's brother-in-law and Spain's Foreign Minister, arrived on business in Rome, he was approached by and received Dr. Josef Mueller, who had survived all Himmler's and Heydrich's assaults and was still Canaris's representative at the Holy See. "The admiral asks you to tell Franco," Mueller whispered to the Spaniard, "to hold Spain out of this game at all costs. It may seem to you now that our position is the stronger. It is in reality desperate, and we have little hope of winning this war. Franco may be assured that Hitler will not use the force of arms to enter Spain." In Madrid Canaris told Franco to ask Hitler for ten 15-inch guns for "Felix"—as the assault on Gibraltar was now codenamed—knowing, of course, that such heavy guns did not exist and would therefore have to be manufactured, which would take a very long time. Canaris continued his strategy of subtle discouragement in Berlin, and when Suner came away from a visit there to discuss Spanish-German cooperation, he reported to Franco that he "perceived in Berlin that anything to do with Spanish affairs was utterly confused," adding that "one of the reasons for this confusion was the somewhat singular role played by Admiral Canaris."

Then, on October 23, 1940, Hitler himself traveled across Europe by train to Hendaye in the foothills of the Pyrenees to speak with Franco about Felix. The little Spanish general arrived some two hours late for the meeting. Hitler "sought to overbear Franco," and for nine hours there was that "suffocating flow of language with which he habitually stupefied his victims, like a boa constrictor covering his prey with saliva before devouring it." Hitler described the might of the Wehrmacht, the effect of the bombing of London, the U-boat war at sea, the predicament of the English. But Franco, affable, dignified and quite uncowed, made no commitment to Felix. There were, he said, certain problems—problems of artillery, problems of petrol from America if he joined the Axis, problems of grain, even problems of telecommunications, for the Americans owned Spain's telephone lines. Nothing was settled and the two dictators parted. Hitler had clearly been out-maneuvered, but later he demanded that Franco make a statement of his position and, on February 6, 1941, wrote to him of the urgency of Felix. When Franco finally replied on February 26, he began: "Your letter of the sixth makes me wish to reply very promptly . . ." Franco had been informed by Canaris that Hitler would not invade Spain if she remained neutral; and Franco, whose country had not yet recovered from the ravages of civil war, was not about to embark upon an adventure that might deny him the assistance and markets of America and the British Empire.

This quaint story of medieval guile fizzled out as Hitler turned his

Canaris at Work ) 215 (

attentions upon Russia. "I would," the Fuehrer said to Mussolini of negotiations with Franco, "rather have four teeth out than go through that again." With the clever assistance of his old friend Don Juan March, Canaris had administered to Hitler his most serious diplomatic defeat so far. As Ian Colvin, another of Canaris's go-betweens in the prewar period, later wrote: "... in Spain [Canaris] had achieved something lasting. He had saved this mysterious land from prolonged torture." He had also done Britain a notable favor. Had Hitler's intentions in Spain and Gibraltar been translated into successful military action, he might have brought Britain to her knees with a blockade of food and oil from the outposts of the Empire.

By the late winter of 1941, the mighty Wehrmacht was stalled in the West at the English Channel and at the Pyrenees, but Hitler had already begun secret preparations for "Barbarossa"—the invasion of Russia—and for a German conquest of North Africa to pursue his dream of empire in the Middle East. Essential to the success of both operations were the countries of the Balkans, particularly Bulgaria, that tiny nation whose collapse in 1918 had heralded the defeat of Germany. Unlike Franco, Czar Boris of Bulgaria, a ruler whose main occupation seemed to be driving railway engines at high speed, could not resist the Fuehrer's blandishments. He joined the Axis, Rumania and Hungary soon followed suit, and gradually, relentlessly, the field-gray tide spread over the ocher lands of the Balkans toward the Bosporus. As the panzers rolled across the Danube, other German forces began landing in Libya and it seemed that Germany could not be stopped.

Yugoslavia and Greece now lay under the threat of German attack, but suddenly, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia agreed to become Hitler's ally and the pact was signed on March 24, 1941. Churchill's reaction was vehement and immediate. On Menzies's orders, British agents at Belgrade, who had provided support for General Bora Mirkovic, the commander of the Yugoslav air force, detonated a rebellion. At dawn on March 27, pro-British revolutionaries seized all key points in Belgrade, including the palace. The King, Peter II, was placed in the care of resolute officers, and General Du-san Simovic, whose office at the Air Ministry was the center of opposition to German penetration of the Balkans, took over the government in his name. Prince Paul, who as Regent had negotiated the pact with Hitler, was arrested along with the two other Regents and sent into exile in Greece. By nightfall, without bloodshed, the coup had been accomplished, and there were scenes of great rejoicing. English and French flags appeared everywhere, and the German minister was publicly insulted by Serbian mobs who spat on his car.

Hitler was infuriated. He summoned OKW and gave orders to "destroy

Yugoslavia militarily and as a national unit. . . ." He directed that the Luftwaffe bomb Belgrade with "unmerciful harshness" in continuous day and night air attacks. In movements that Ultra revealed, Hitler upset all the carefully laid timetables for the preparatory moves of his invasion of Russia; and on the morning of April 6, 1941, in an operation codenamed "Punishment," the Luftwaffe struck Belgrade. Flying from bases in Rumania and Bulgaria, the Germans methodically destroyed the capital from rooftop height in an action that lasted three days. When silence finally came, some 17,000 citizens were dead or lay under the debris.

The sight of the devastation had the direst effect upon Canaris, who arrived at the capital by air as soon as invading German troops had secured the city. The admiral was after intelligence booty to assist the Abwehr in its campaign to infiltrate Turkey and the Near East. But in the ruins of Belgrade he saw the consequences of his powerlessness to thwart the vengeful will of the Fuehrer. Although Canaris had learned of the attack and had passed a warning to the Yugoslav authorities in Berlin, a warning which had resulted in the capital being declared an open city on April 3, he realized that his action, which again constituted treason, had been useless. After spending the day touring the city, he withdrew to a hotel in the hills, unable to stand the sight and stench of death any longer. Then he flew to Spain, arriving at Madrid on April 11. There, it appears, he suffered a form of spiritual collapse from which he never really recovered.

/\rz\

W

The Assassination of Heydrich

Consistently, cleverly and with determination, Canaris sought to frustrate the Fuehrer's grand designs everywhere. Yet Hitler's confidence in the little admiral was not diminished by 1942. The rapid conquest of western Europe was due in part to the excellence of the work of the Abwehr. Britain had not come to terms, but that could not be attributed solely to Canaris's service; and if Spain had not elected to join the Axis, the Abwehr was thoroughly entrenched at every level of the Spanish government. The Swedish intelligence service was so heavily penetrated by German agents that it was for all practical purposes under German control, and the Abwehr had access to most, and sometimes all, Swedish diplomatic reports from London and Washington. In Switzerland, a powerful Abwehr force existed as the harbinger of occupation. In France, the forces of resistance were being effectively neutralized by the Abwehr counterespionage service. Canaris's work in the Balkans had also been remarkably successful while Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Persia, Syria and Lebanon were riddled with German agents. Within the Fatherland itself, the Abwehr was so efficient that it was virtually impossible for any foreign agent to flourish.

But if Hitler had reason to be pleased with Canaris, there were others in the Nazi hierarchy who viewed him with suspicion and distrust, chief among them Reinhard Heydrich. The two men remained on the friendliest of terms, but Heydrich continually sought the means to displace Canaris and absorb the Abwehr into the SD, thereby creating a single intelligence empire under his control. In the spring of 1942, Heydrich finally found the weapon he needed; he uncovered indisputable evidence of grand treason by a high officer of Canaris's staff. The man in question, whose code name was "Franta," was one of the senior executives at the Abwehr's head-

) 217 (

quarters in Dresden, where Canaris conducted operations into southern Russia, the Balkans and the Near East.

The Franta case began on the evening of April 5, 1936 when Major Josef Bartik, chief of the counterintelligence section of the Czech secret service (the best of the intelligence services in central Europe), got out of his car near a village on the frontier between northern Bohemia and Germany. Bartik, a friendless man with a limp, walked beneath the poplars lining the lane, and as the church clock at the nearby village of Neugeschrei chimed 8:30 p.m., he arrived at a crossroads between a steam mill and a warehouse. He waited for a moment and then a figure in a long dark coat and a beret, carrying a haversack, stepped out of the darkness into a pool of light cast from a street lantern. It was Franta, and he gave the password "Altvater" —German for patriarch—and the German greeting "Griiss Gott!" The two men walked back to Bartik's car and, in the back seat, Franta produced a bundle of documents. Upon later examination, these documents proved to be the order of battle of the Abwehr, the organization of the SD in Saxony and its operational responsibilities, and a description of the network and responsibilities of German frontier agencies. This intelligence was of considerable importance to the Czechs—and to MI-6, with which the Czech secret service had an alliance—and Franta was paid 3000 Reichsmarks and 200 Czech crowns for the material. He gave Bartik a poste restante address through which they could continue to communicate; and then Franta got out of the car, walked the 50 yards to the German frontier and disappeared. Bartik drove back to Prague and within a few days received the chief of MI-6 at the Czech capital, Major Harold Lehrs Gibson.

From that moment until Heydrich became Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia in 1941 Franta continued to pass to the Czechs, who in turn sent copies to Gibson, what amounted to OKW's operational orders and material that would be described as "secret documents prepared for the personal attention of Admiral Canaris." He also revealed in great detail the Abwehr's and SD's organizations in Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Persia and Egypt; and much about the SD's work in Sweden, Holland and Belgium. It would be claimed that his warnings permitted Gibson and the Czech government and intelligence hierarchy to escape to London a short step ahead of the German occupation forces when they moved into Prague in March 1939; that he warned of Hitler's plans to occupy Poland and to invade Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and France; and that his information permitted the British to bring out—before the Germans could capture them— the Queen of Holland, Wilhelmina, and the King of Norway, Haakon. He also warned the "Three Kings"—the chiefs of the Czech intelligence ser-

The Assassination of Heydrich ) 219 (

vice's stay-behind agency in Prague—of Wehrmacht operations against Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary and Russia, information that was communicated to London by the "Three Kings' " wireless posts at Prague—Sparta I and Sparta II.

Who was Franta and what were his motives? It seemed possible, at first, that he might be part of some scheme to penetrate the British secret intelligence services and plant false information; but almost invariably, when compared with other intelligence sources such as Ultra, the great wealth of Franta's material proved to be true. Could he be playing Ca-naris's and Oster's other game by revealing Hitler's and OKW's plans so that Britain could take steps to frustrate them? That, too, seemed possible, for no one, except operational and intelligence chiefs, would have access to such detailed information. Franta, quite simply, knew too much for one man.

Then, early in 1941, Heydrich moved in to destroy the Czech underground. German wireless intelligence had uncovered UVOD, the Central Committee for Internal Resistance, a virulent and efficient espionage organization in Prague with links to London. It was the organization controlled by the "Three Kings." On April 22, 1941, the Gestapo captured the first of the "Three Kings," a lieutenant colonel of the Czech army called Balaban, in a raid on an apartment. In another raid on May 13, the Gestapo captured the second of the "Three Kings," a lieutenant colonel of the Czech army called Masin. The Germans broke into an apartment as Sparta I was in the act of transmitting intelligence to London. The third of the "Three Kings," Captain Vaclac Moravek, was also in the apartment supervising the transmission, and while Masin engaged the Gestapo in a gunfight, Moravek—the only man who knew who Franta was—escaped with Sparta I, the wireless operator. Masin shot down three Gestapo agents on a staircase before he tripped, fell, caught his leg in a bannister, and broke it. The Gestapo pounced on him but did not kill him; it wanted prisoners for interrogation. Masin died silently before a firing squad after much torture. Moravek and Sparta I escaped by tying the aerial of the wireless to a sofa in the flat and sliding down into the street 45 feet below. Sparta I was captured almost immediately, and he died quite as silently as Masin. But Moravek, one of his fingers sheared by the wire and hanging on by a thread of sinew, got away. He cut the finger off with a razor blade, flushed it down a toilet, and then made his way to the Sparta II wireless post. There, he reported to London that the Gestapo was closing in on both Franta and himself. In fact, Heydrich's agents had identified Franta as a "Dr. Paul Steinberg," but they knew that it was not his real name, and they had no address for him.

London reacted strongly to Moravek's warning; at the request of the Czech government-in-exile, the Joint Intelligence Committee authorized an

assassination mission to fly to Prague and kill Heydrich. The mission was codenamed "Anthropoids"; and the gunmen landed by parachute in Czechoslovakia in December 1941. By then Heydrich had learned the true identity of "Dr. Steinberg." He was Paul Thummel, a Saxon who was a member of the Nazi old guard, held the Gold Party Badge, and was employed by the Abwehr in Prague as the chief of "the section dealing with Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, and the Near East." Thummel was arrested; and again London reacted strongly. The Anthropoids were authorized to postpone the task of killing Heydrich to rescue Thummel, if it was feasible. The operation was to be controlled by Moravek; and Franta was to be brought to England. Clearly, Thummel was something more than a mere spy; spies were usually expendable once they were exposed—unless their services had been so important to England that they warranted saving for other tasks.

On February 22, 1942, Thummel was taken to Gestapo headquarters with some courtesy; his rank and eminence in the Nazi Party were too high to permit rough treatment. There, at a court-martial, he explained that he had been trying to penetrate UVOD through Moravek, with a view to collapsing the entire reseau. He had, he complained, been on the point of achieving this when he was arrested. But he denied being Franta. The case was referred to Himmler who, at a meeting with Canaris, accepted Thum-mel's story and directed that he be released. This was done on March 2. But Heydrich was not satisfied, and Thummel was permitted to return to his apartment only if a Gestapo agent lived there with him.

Meanwhile, London expressed great anxiety to Moravek about Franta's fate. But before Moravek could reply—or launch the Anthropoid mission to get Franta out of the country—he himself was caught. On the evening of March 22, Thummel was re-arrested and the Gestapo learned that Moravek was to meet a UVOD agent in a little park alongside the Convent of Loretta in Prague. At seven o'clock that evening, an invisible cordon of Gestapo surrounded the park with Moravek inside, sitting on a bench awaiting the UVOD agent, Stanislau Rehak, known as "The Dandy." When 'The Dandy" approached at 7:10 p.m., the Gestapo pounced. Rehak was captured, handcuffed, and dragged from the park. Moravek leaped into some bushes and, a gun in each hand, opened fire. The Gestapo returned fire and Moravek was shot in the leg. He was able to run. however, and tried to get out of the park in the vicinity of Prague's Military Academy, an area that he knew from his youth. But he collapsed before he could escape; the bullet in his leg had severed the main artery. When the Gestapo came up, one of the agents put a pistol to Moravek's temple and fired. Moravek, the last of the 'Three Kings," was dead. Not satisfied, the Gestapo man fired his remaining bullets into his neck.

The Assassination of Heydrich ) 221 (

UVOD was shattered, the Anthropoids went to ground. Thummel was held on suspicion of grand treason—and Heydrich had the evidence he needed to move against Canaris and the Abwehr. But Canaris was not easily outmaneuvered; he came to Prague in person to defend himself and his service against Heydrich.

The two men met on May 21, 1942, at Heydrich's headquarters in the Hradcany Castle, the great Gothic edifice on a hill's peak overlooking Prague and the Moldau. There, in an ornate salon, Canaris, the "cunning Odysseus," faced Heydrich, the proponent of medieval brute force. The record shows that Heydrich accused the Abwehr of "political unreliability"—a charge akin to the capital crime of treason in the Third Reich. Heydrich then declared, almost apologetically, that "at certain levels" of the Abwehr there was "unfortunate inefficiency." He "commended" to Canaris that the SD should assume responsibility for counterintelligence, and he also "commended" the wisdom of relaxing the ban that prevented the Gestapo and the SD from making investigations and conducting interrogations on military property. As nimble and equivocal as ever, Canaris accepted the wisdom of the first "commendation" while eluding discussion and commitment on the second—which would have permitted the Gestapo and the SD to interrogate Abwehr men whom they suspected of belonging to the Schwarze Kapelle.

At their meeting, the two German spymasters hammered out what became known as "Heydrich's Decalogue"—an agreement that provided for a division of intelligence and counterintelligence labors. The agreement went some way toward conceding to the SD a part of the Abwehr's sovereignty in the intelligence world, even though the moment the meeting was over, Canaris quietly gave his lieutenants verbal orders that the agreement was to be ignored. But if he had thwarted Heydrich, at least momentarily, he was in grave trouble for the first time from an even more powerful corner—the Fuehrer himself.

Canaris and the Abwehr, by the terms of the directive from their employer, OKW, had been charged with the tasks not only of extracting the enemy's secrets but also of protecting Germany's secrets from the enemy. And until the winter of 1941-42, Hitler had few causes for complaint. But by then a new element had entered into the secret war: the Commandos. These elite uniformed troops, employing every art of hand-to-hand combat known to the Boer, the Iroquois or a Chicago gangster, had been raiding German outposts—preferably lonely outposts—with ever-greater audacity and viciousness. The ordinary German soldier standing guard over the walls of Hitler's new empire had come to dread these attacks, in which the knife and the garrote played the deadliest part. They infuriated Hitler who, even when he was planning and conducting the great campaigns on

the Russian steppes that involved millions of men, often spent much of his noonday conferences with OKW discussing the secret war. Curiously, Commando attacks had an effect upon Hitler that was out of all proportion to the number of men and casualties involved. He could accept the loss of 10,000 men in Russia with near-equanimity, but when the Commandos struck he was reduced to a quivering mass of anger.

Then, on the night of February 27/28, 1942, British paratroopers struck at a lonely outpost at Bruneval, a bold cape with a lighthouse on the English Channel not far from Le Havre. The raid was intended as more than mere harassment, for Bruneval was the site of an important German Wurzburg radar installation. Ever since the fall of France, British radar scientists had been studying the performance of German radar in order to evolve some form of radio or electronic countermeasure—a new dimension in the war of wits—to protect British bomber fleets raiding Europe and, as important, to blind or mislead Hitler's radar defenses when the time came for an invasion. Aerial reconnaissance had located the Wurzburg installation on top of the 600-feet-high cliffs at Bruneval, and the paratroopers, dropping behind the installation, succeeded in dismantling the key parts of the equipment. Under heavy gunfire, they scrambled down the cliffs to the beach, where they were met by boats and sped back across the Channel. The Wurzburg had been "pinched."

The sense of triumph in high circles in England was very great; the Germans had lost the key to their electronic defenses of Europe. At Fuhrerhauptquartier the reaction was quite different. Hitler, in a great rage, demanded to know why "the British secret service" could make these raids, but the Abwehr could not. Canaris had formed a special unit of shock troops, the Brandenburg Division, for the purpose of making Commando-type raids. Where was it? Why did it not raid the British coast in retaliation? The English Channel was but a ditch, the Fuehrer stormed, but it might as well be as wide as Asia for all the intelligence the Abwehr managed to get out of England! It was time intelligence was taken out of the hands of these General Staff officers and given to a reliable party organization such as the SD. What did Canaris know of British radar? Hitler demanded to see the file, and when he was told that the Abwehr knew little or nothing about such technical matters, he became enraged anew. He sent for Himmler and directed that the work of acquiring technical information be carried out in future by the SD.

It was the beginning of the end of Canaris's complete autonomy in the field of foreign military intelligence. It was also, as Brigadefiihrer SS Walter Schellenberg noted, the beginning of the end for Canaris. For when Heydrich, stimulated by the Thummel affair, conceived a plan to unify the Abwehr and the SD, Hitler was disposed to listen. A blueprint for the

The Assassination of Heydrich ) 223 (

immense bureaucratic task was drawn up, and it would have been implemented—but for Heydrich's murder.

On all counts, the Anthropoid mission was an extremely risky one. Its objective, the assassination of Heydrich, would gratify the Czechs, for as Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, Heydrich had earned a reputation for ruthlessness and brutality that eclipsed even Hitler's. The British, too, viewed him as an especially malevolent enemy; the SD under Heydrich's command had become an all-too-efficient weapon of terror in the secret war. But the murder of one of the most powerful men in the Third Reich was certain to evoke mass retaliation among the Czechs, and this had to be an important consideration for Menzies. MI-6 was running the intelligence game in Czechoslovakia, and MI-6 was certain to suffer the consequences. But perhaps there was another consideration. With Heydrich out of the way, Menzies may well have reasoned that Canaris and the other conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle would have somewhat greater freedom of movement. Significantly, Menzies went to considerable lengths to frustrate British plans to assassinate Canaris, who was, Menzies would state, much more valuable alive than dead. But with no compunctions he signed Heydrich's death warrant when he agreed to allow the Anthropoids to remount their mission. If the British had once had scruples about political assassination, those scruples were now gone.

The Anthropoids were Czechs—Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik—both of whom carried British army paybooks. Accompanied by a wireless and cipher team of three more Czechs led by a Lieutenant Bartos, they had parachuted from an RAF Halifax into the Bohemian hills near a village called Lidice by the light of the December half-moon in 1941. All had landed safely and had quickly submerged into the Czech underground. There they remained for six months, awaiting their opportunity to strike. It proved impossible for them to rescue Thummel, but patiently and stealthily, with the help of UVOD and through visual observations of Heydrich's movements, they built up a fair picture of their target's daily activities.

Then by a stroke of fortune, the Anthropoids learned exactly where Heydrich would be on May 27, 1942. Four days before, an antique clock in Heydrich's office gave trouble and his secretary called in a Czech repairman to put it right. Josef Novotny set the clock on Heydrich's desk, and as he was taking the back off, he noticed a piece of paper with Heydrich's itinerary for the 27th typed on it. Novotny took the paper, screwed it into a ball and threw it into the wastepaper basket. Having repaired the clock, he left and minutes later one of the cleaners, Marie Rasnerova, entered Heydrich's office and emptied the wastepaper basket

into her sack. Within a few hours the itinerary was in the hands of Kubis and Gabcik, and to their dismay they discovered that Heydrich was leaving Prague permanently on the 27th. They had little time to plan their attack. But they did know in detail where Heydrich would be on that day and which routes he would take. They decided to make the attack in the Prague suburb of Holesovice, where the Dresden-Prague road traces a hairpin bend down to the Troja Bridge. This was the road Heydrich would take from his villa in Panenske-Breschen to Hradcany Castle. Heydrich's car, which was only rarely escorted, was compelled to slow down at this point in order to negotiate the bend.

At 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the 27th, Kubis and Gabcik were in position with submachine guns under their raincoats and some grenades. With them were two other gunmen, and they distributed themselves around the bend. The plan provided that Rela Fafek, Gabcik's girlfriend, who owned a car, should precede Heydrich's car and if he was unescorted she would wear a hat. A fifth man was positioned in a hedge around the bend to signal with a mirror when Heydrich's Mercedes was actually approaching. As Heydrich entered the bend, Gabcik was to kill both him and the chauffeur with the submachine gun, while Kubis snatched Heydrich's briefcase.

At 10:31 Rela Fafek drove round the bend wearing a hat. Seconds later the mirror signal came. Gabcik stepped into the road and aimed at the bend. Heydrich's Mercedes came into view and Gabcik pulled the trigger. But the gun jammed—some grass had got into the breech. Kubis drew a bomb and threw it at the car as both Heydrich and his chauffeur rose and shot Gabcik. The bomb exploded near the car, shattering the door. Heydrich dropped his pistol. Kubis was hit by shrapnel and debris in the face and eyes but managed to get onto his woman's pedal cycle and ride off. The two other gunmen also got away.

Heydrich staggered a few paces from the car and then collapsed. He was taken to a hospital, and there, at first, it was thought his wounds were not serious; an X-ray revealed a broken rib and some fragments of cloth and metal in his stomach. Pieces of burned leather upholstery and uniform cloth were buried near the spleen, and other small fragments embedded in the pleura. But on June 4 Heydrich died—not of his wounds but of gangrene. The dark rituals of mourning now began. Heydrich's corpse was dressed in the midnight black and silver ceremonial uniform of the SS, placed in a coffin of gunmetal and silver and taken on the breech of a cannon to the forecourt of Hradcany Castle. There it was guarded by the SS until the time came for the remains of the lord of the German terror system to be taken by a black-creped train to Berlin.

The Anthropoids had succeeded in their mission, but the Germans exacted a high price in revenge. In Prague, a ratissage (literally a ''rat-hunt," Gestapo vernacular for a man-hunt) was unleashed upon the

The Assassination of Heydrich ) 225 (

Czechs. Over 10,000 were arrested and at least 1300 executed. The worst of the reprisals occurred at Lidice, a small mining village of sandstone and red-tile houses nestling on a hillside around an old baroque church, whose citizens the Gestapo believed—wrongly—had harbored the Anthropoids. The SS and the army descended upon the village at night and, by the light of the glow of blast furnaces at nearby steel mills, gathered the entire population in the village square. All males between sixteen and seventy were taken to a field and summarily shot. The women and children were carried away in trucks and, with few exceptions, were not heard of again. Then the village was leveled by fire and powder.

The Anthropoids went into hiding in the crypt of the Karel Borromaeus Greek Orthodox Church on Ressl Street in the Old Town of Prague. Using the narrow niches in the stone walls (which had been built to hold the corpses of monks) as their hiding places, they waited there as members of the Czech underground made a plan for their escape into the Moravian Mountains, whence they could be evacuated to England. The plan was to stage a mass funeral of some of the victims of the Gestapo purge at the church, and then spirit the Anthropoids away in coffins. The wireless and cipher team, Bartos and his assistant, a man called Potuchek, was still in communication with London, and June 19, 1942, was selected as the day upon which the Anthropoids would be evacuated from the church into the mountains. But before they could be moved, they were betrayed by a Czech, Karel Curda, who was covetous of the Gestapo's bounty of 10 million crowns (£125,000 or $600,000). Curda took the Gestapo to Bartos's safehouse in the town of Pardubice. Bartos was not there, but in the house the Gestapo found his war diary, which contained copies of all his communications with London. This led them to one of Bartos's assistants, Atya Moravech. The Gestapo tortured the nineteen-year-old boy, who was said to have broken down when his interrogators produced his mother's severed head, and revealed where the Anthropoids were hiding.

When the funeral cortege in which the Anthropoids were to be evacuated drove into Charles Square, the pallbearers found the area sealed off by Gestapo and SS. They were turned back. Within the hour, shock troops of the SS moved against the church; they captured the sexton and compelled him to take them into the church by a side door. But as the SS troops made their way through the pews, they were met by a hail of gunfire from the choir loft, where Kubis and some other men were hiding. Kubis was killed with a hand grenade; Bartos took poison and in the instant before the pill killed him, shot himself through the temple. The SS men tried to get into the crypt and lifted a flagstone—to be met by another hail of bullets. The Gestapo then called in the fire brigade to flood the cellar. Down to their last cartridges, the men shot each other one by one until the only man left shot himself. The battle of the catacombs was over. But the reprisals were

not; 115 people were killed that day, including the former Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia. Only Potuchek, the wireless operator, still survived. He was in hiding in the village of Lezhaky. He sent a message to London on June 26 warning of the disaster and arranging to make a further transmission at 2300 hours on June 28. But he did not make the transmission. He was caught and shot, and with his death the Anthropoids' mission closed.

When Heydrich's coffin reached Berlin, it was taken under escort of the Leibstandarte SS "Adolf Hitler"—the Fuehrer's personal guard—on the breech of a rubber-tired cannon to the Reichskanzlei on the Wilhelm-strasse for the state obsequies. Hitler wore a black band on his dove-gray uniform coat and, laying a wreath of orchids beside the corpse, pronounced that Heydrich "was one of the greatest defenders of our greater German ideal, ... the man with the iron heart." Himmler assembled the Knights of the Order—the Obergruppenfuhrer SS—at the side of the catafalque, and made a speech concerning the obligations of the SS leaders to the memory of "your murdered chief." It should, said Himmler, induce them to give the best of themselves in their conduct and in their work, particularly in the area of secret intelligence operations abroad. He told the Obergruppenfuhrer that their achievements in this "special sector still could not compare with those of the British Secret Service." The corpse of Reinhard Heydrich was ample proof of that. Himmler then made a few remarks concerning Brigadefuhrer SS Walter Schellenberg, whose powers as chief of the foreign intelligence branch of the SS must now be extended as the result of Heydrich's assassination. He was, said Himmler, "the Benjamin of our leadership corps," and he directed the Obergruppenfuhrer to support him despite his youth. Schellenberg, the son of a Saarland piano manufacturer and the man who had engineered the Venlo Incident, was just thirty-two when he began to take over where Heydrich left off in the intelligence world.

The cortege moved off to the cemetery. On the swastika-draped bier rested Heydrich's death mask, a creation that revealed "deceptive features of uncanny spirituality and entirely perverted beauty, like a Renaissance Cardinal." Among the large number of Reich potentates at the graveside was Canaris. His vivid blue eyes brimmed over with tears and, his voice "choked with emotion," he said to Schellenberg: "After all, he was a great man. I have lost a friend in him."

The German intelligence services would never really recover from the murder of Heydrich. In the long term, it was a coup de main with important consequences; for if Heydrich had survived and had succeeded in eliminating Canaris, the intelligence story surrounding the Allied invasion of France might have been very different. Heydrich was about to go to Paris as head of the SS in France when he was killed. Schellenberg, whose "almost

The Assassination of Heydrich ) 227 (

feminine sensibility made him as moody as a film star no longer sure of success," would prove to be a less dangerous enemy both to the Allies and to Canaris. For the moment, Canaris was a man reprieved.

Heydrich was, perhaps, the most noteworthy victim of the relentless war between the British and the German secret intelligence services, but he was by no means the only one. In Britain alone some thirty German agents were executed by hanging. Others died mysteriously, like Ulrich von der Osten, a senior Abwehr agent. Osten had landed at Los Angeles in March 1941 with false papers proclaiming him to be "Don Julio Lopez Lido"; he checked into the Taft Hotel in New York City on the 16th of that same month, and within two days was a corpse in Bellevue Hospital. His movements had been shadowed by the FBI and the British Security Coordination, the MI-6 organization in North America with headquarters in Rockefeller Center; and when he left the hotel to dine at Child's Restaurant in Times Square, he was hit and fatally injured by a taxicab. Another equally mysterious death involved Jan Villen Ter Braak, a man whose true identity was never established. He was found shot to death on the grimy concrete floor of an air-raid shelter in Cambridge, England, his suitcase wireless set beside him. Whether it was suicide or murder would never be known.

There was nothing mysterious about Heydrich's death; it was an outright political assassination. In general the British were opposed to the execution of lesser German agents unless no other course was possible; for, as Masterman would write: "A live spy ... is always of some use as a book of reference; a dead spy is of no sort of use." And while several schemes were considered to assassinate the Allies' arch-foe, Hitler, all, for a number of reasons, were eventually discarded. But Heydrich had been a marked man ever since he assumed control of the SD. He could not be permitted to live; he was too dangerous to Menzies, to the Allied cause— and to Canaris.

/\ s\

Operation Flash

Canaris had opposed Barbarossa—the invasion of Russia. Planning the campaign at Fuhrerhauptquartier in the Forest of Gorlitz near Rasten-burg in East Prussia—a silent, wooded, remote place that resembled the setting for some mystical Teutonic folk play—Hitler, General Ulrich Liss would recall, was shrewd, lucid, untiring, confident of success. Canaris had declared that he could not share the Fuehrer's confidence. Liss would remember how Canaris had described the great imponderables of an attack upon Russia. Her strength might be relatively superficial on the frontiers; she might even be weak in the interior. But in the great equation of strategy—space equals time—she had inexhaustible reserves. No one knew how many troops Russia might be able to raise; no one had been able to assess accurately the power of her industrial base.

Canaris had not yet been discredited—the Bruneval raid and the Franta affair were yet to occur—and the high commanders at Fuhrerhauptquartier were still disposed to listen to him. And listen they did when he questioned Hitler's demand that the German armed forces must crush Soviet Russia in a quick campaign. It might be possible, Canaris conceded, but what if the campaign was not so quick? What if it went on into the winter—the fearful Russian winter? For once, Canaris was not indirect in his criticism of the Fuehrer. He spoke openly, even to the man who was soon to become his chief rival, Walter Schellenberg. Schellenberg would remember that Canaris damned Barbarossa in "the strongest terms." He accused the Wehrmacht commanders of being "irresponsible and foolish" in imagining, as they did, that Russia could be defeated within three months. Schellenberg would write:

He would not be a party to this (he said), and could not understand how the generals, von Brauchitsch, Haider, Keitel and Jodl, could be so complacent, so unrealistic, and so optimistic. But any attempt at opposition was useless;

) 228 (

Operation Flash ) 229 (

he had already made himself unpopular by his repeated warnings. . . . Keitel had said to him, "My dear Canaris, you may have some understanding of the Abwehr, but you belong to the navy; you really should not try to give us lessons in strategic and political planning." When Canaris repeated such remarks he would usually . . . look at me with wide eyes, and say quite seriously, "Wouldn't you find all this quite comic—if it weren't so desperately serious?"

Canaris, however, had been unable to frustrate Hitler in the grand design. At dawn on June 22, 1941, the Wehrmacht struck Russia's borders from Finland to the Black Sea. The Russian defenses collapsed like glasshouses in a typhoon; in the first phase of Barbarossa, the Red Army lost 3 million men, 22,000 guns, 18,000 tanks and 14,000 aircraft. But, delayed by Menzies's diversionary coup d'etat in Yugoslavia, the campaign did not achieve a decisive victory before the great, mysterious ice clouds of the Russian winter gathered behind the Aral Sea and sped across the steppe with mounting violence. Even as the German armies approached Moscow and Leningrad, and dug deeper into the vastness of the Ukraine, Hitler's generals began to realize that Russia could not be conquered that year. They began to argue, even to plead, with OKW. Their armies must go to winter quarters; they were not equipped as were the Russians for operations in the darkness, the snow and the mud. They reminded OKW of Napoleon's fate in 1812. But their protestations were as useless as their recommendations. Just like Napoleon, Hitler, now wavering between moods of optimism and pessimism, permitted the golden days of autumn to pass away before he ordered the German army to capture the Russian capital. The prodigies of courage were the same; and so were the consequences. But there the similarities ended. For the winter that defeated Napoleon was early and mild; the winter that confronted Hitler would be early and brutal.

At Fuhrerhauptquartier, the old quarrels between Hitler and his generals broke out anew; and in quick succession, all the men who commanded army groups in Russia resigned or were dismissed, including Rundstedt and Stuelpnagel. With Field Marshal Guenther von Kluge now in command of an army on the Moscow front, it seemed at first that his march would end in the capture of the capital. During the short afternoon light of December 2, 1941, an officer of the 258th Infantry Division wirelessed Kluge that he "could see the towers of the Kremlin reflecting the setting sun." His men, he said, were now fighting for possession of the last station on the Moscow Underground. That was as far as the Feldgrau got.

On December 6, in an impenetrable blizzard, one hundred new Russian divisions struck the German army with fearfuLforce. By the end of the day, the Red Army was in general counteroffensive; and for the next one hundred days the Feldgrau, half-drunk on the schnapps they had been

given to keep out the cold, stricken by the tens of thousands by frostbite, motivated only by their fanatical belief in the Fuehrer, fought like few armies in history.

Hitler took personal charge of the battle from Rastenburg, broadcasting his commands by wireless and voice radio. With a will bordering upon dementia, he ordered his armies to stay where they were and roll themselves up like hedgehogs around defensive positions. The Feldgrau obeyed; they grouped around villages and small towns and, even as temperatures dropped to 50 below zero and the breeches of their rifles froze, they fought on blindly. Habit and discipline alone kept them alive; and in the end they blunted the Russian attack. Their allegiance to the Fuehrer had prevented disaster; and as a result Hitler finally obtained a moral ascendancy over his generals that he never lost.

Suddenly, as suddenly as the winter came, the spring arrived, and the thaws stopped all movement—Russian as well as German. Exhausted, the two armies glowered at each other over the sunlit, blasted steppe, while at Fiihrerhauptquartier, Hitler began to humiliate the generals who, he said, had betrayed him. Four field marshals were relieved of command and retired; two army commanders and thirty-five other generals were dismissed; and he fired the C-in-C, Brauchitsch, with the words that he had had enough of these "vain, cowardly" generals. Hitler assumed the position of army C-in-C himself; he was now the Supreme Commander in fact as well as in title. The process that had begun with the assassinations of Schleicher and Bredow was now complete. It was the final consummation of his military triumph over his generals and the Officer Corps. Not since the Fritsch-Blomberg affair had there been such a devastating purge of the German army. Wheeler-Bennett would write: "Gone were the days of privilege and security enjoyed by the Generals; gone the respect which was automatically rendered by those who wore the claret-coloured trouser stripe of the General Staff. The wages of prostitution, which are so often power without responsibility, were (now) for them degradation, hopeless servility, and the disdain of their master."

The abasement of the General Staff and the Officer Corps reawakened thoughts of treason and rebellion among some of Hitler's generals, but while the Schwarze Kapelle was dusting off its plans, on June 7, 1942, like a thunderclap, Hitler launched his summer offensive. The German armies, recovered and refurbished, fanned out through the steppe grass and corn stubble toward Caucasia and the precious oilfields; and General Friedrich von Paulus led the 6th Army toward Stalingrad, creating an enormous dust cloud that, with the flame and smoke from burning villages and cornfields, could be seen 40 miles away.

Everywhere that summer the Axis was triumphant and Allied fortunes were at their lowest ebb. The newest member of the alliance, the United

States, was still staggering from the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. And while Japan crippled both the American and British fleets in the Pacific, Rommel's Afrika Korps pursued Britain's 8th Army to El Alamein. But even in victory, the Fuehrer was not content. He moved his headquarters from Rastenburg to Vinnitsa, about 100 miles east of the old Polish-Russian border; and there the animosity that had been simmering between Hitler and Haider at last came to the boil. Haider was once again counseling caution on the Russian front. But Hitler finally turned upon the Chief of the General Staff and declared: "Half my nervous exhaustion is due to you! It is not worth it to go on!" He ordered Haider from OKW and from the army—and later gave Himmler instructions to see to it that he found himself at Dachau, the pleasant old town north of Munich that had become the most fearful of all the Nazi concentration camps.

In Haider's stead, Hitler appointed General Kurt Zeitzler, a former Chief of Staff to Field Marshal von Rundstedt at C-in-C West, and an officer who had played some part in inflicting the Dieppe disaster upon the Canadians. But Zeitzler would be responsible only for the command of operations on the eastern front. Hitler reserved for himself and OKW the overriding power of decision there and total command of operations on all other fronts—including those in the Balkans, Sicily, Italy, North Africa and, when the time came, France. It was a change in operational responsibility that would have fateful consequences, for OKW had neither the power nor the numbers to deal adequately with so many diverse commands. Nor could one man, whatever his abilities as a military strategist and tactician, master the challenges of a multi-front conflict that would be fought with every weapon in the arsenal of total war. Vivid confirmation of the inadequacies of both Hitler and OKW was not long in coming.

It was through the Fuehrer's iron command and personal mystique that Germany had been established as a geopolitical force stretching from Cap de La Hague at Cherbourg to Stalingrad on the Volga, from the North Cape of Scandinavia to the Elburz Mountains almost at the Persian frontier, and from Hendaye on the Spanish-French border to El Alamein on the Libyan-Egyptian frontier. But in October of 1942, the limits of Hitler's empire were reached. The monstrous war of movement was coming to an end; and Hitler, accustomed to thinking in terms of miles, would now have to fight for every inch. Paulus's 6th Army had swept across the Ukraine and had entered Stalingrad, but the Germans had succeeded in capturing only that part of the city that lay on the west bank of the Volga. Rommel had been stopped at El Alamein, and suddenly, on October 23, 1942, Montgomery launched the Lightfoot counteroffensive that took the Germans completely by surprise. Then on the last day of the month, the Kriegsmarine reported that very large Allied troop convoys had been

spotted in the Atlantic. Where were they bound? No one at Hitler's headquarters knew. But that report signaled another significant change in the Fuehrer's fortunes, for Torch had been lit.

A week later, Hitler was aboard his private train, rumbling through the hills of Franconia on his way to Munich, where he was to attend the nineteenth anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. It was November 7, 1942, and from dawn onwards, teleprinter reports had reached the train that a mighty Allied armada of transports and warships was now passing through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean. Still no one knew its destination. "On the basis of somewhat vague reports," announced Jodl, "there are indications that the Anglo-Saxons intend multiple landings in West Africa." All the available evidence pointed to Dakar. The ships that had passed through the Strait, Jodl thought, were destined for Malta; but, he said, there was no clear evidence about where the Allies were going or what they intended.

That evening, as Hitler went to bed in his coach beneath the Beerberg, the Torch invasion fleets began to disembark troops in a vast arc from Casablanca to Bougie. It was not until two o'clock in the morning of November 8 that he knew for sure what the Allies intended. At that hour he was awakened with a report that they were landing in French North Africa; and as he would exclaim even eighteen months afterwards: "We didn't even dream of it."

The Fuehrer was clearly astounded. Torch had achieved absolute surprise, despite a rash of early security leaks and the fact that no expedition was more vulnerable to detection—if the enemy had been able to obtain reliable intelligence. As Lieutenant Commander Donald McLachlan, a naval intelligence officer connected with the LCS, would describe the situation:

To land first 90,000 men, and later another 200,000, with all their supplies and weapons, on probably unfriendly territory, across 1,500 miles of sea from Britain and 3,000 miles from America, within easy range of German and Italian air reconnaissance from Sicily and with convoys forming up and aircraft being assembled under the eyes of the Spaniards [and, he might have added, German agents] in Gibraltar—this was possible only if the enemy were left guessing up to the last moment about the ultimate destination of these Mediterranean-bound forces. That they were there or going there could not be concealed; but what was the objective?

Indeed, what was the objective? Hitler knew only that this vast force was assembling for some expedition, and to intercept it he had stationed wolfpacks totaling forty U-boats between Gibraltar and Dakar. But, mysteriously, the Allied convoys had eluded the German U-boats and entered the Mediterranean; and of all the possible targets there—Malta, Sicily,

Operation Flash ) 233 (

Sardinia, central Italy, southern France—French Northwest Africa seemed the least likely. How had Hitler been so thoroughly deceived?

The Allies had learned well the lessons of the desert campaigns and the disaster at Dieppe, for Torch was cloaked with clever cover and deception plans, and concealed in deep security. The LCS and its associated secret bureaus, including the XX-Committee, opened their deception campaign by suggesting, in the plan codenamed "Solo I," that the forces assembling in Britain were destined for Norway, or, in Plan Overthrow, for a cross-Channel invasion of France. When those deceptions were no longer tenable, "Solo II" came into being to suggest that the Allied convoys assembling in the Atlantic were bound for Dakar in French West Africa. Their actual destinations were a carefully guarded secret, and nobody talked. As Masterman would put it: "The real triumph of Torch from our angle was not that the cover plans were successfully planted on the Germans but that the real plan was not disclosed or guessed. In other words, it was a triumph of security."

Even so, the Germans might have deduced the truth had it not been for several other factors that were operating in favor of the Allies. First, there was the progressive dislocation of the Abwehr. Canaris and his service had failed to provide any intelligence that contradicted the LCS fabrications; and Jodl would exclaim, even before the Torch expedition began to land, "Once again, Canaris has let us down through his irrationality and instability." Moreover, the B-Dienst, the German counterpart of Bletchley, had also failed to come up with any cryptanalytical intelligence disclosing the secrets of Torch. The reason was quite simple: the British, who were largely responsible for the naval movements connected with Torch, imposed baffling and completely effective wireless security over the expedition. Finally, there was Ultra, which was now fully functional. Through Ultra, the Allies knew what the Germans knew and how they obtained their information; and Ultra had revealed that they were totally ignorant of Torch.

What of "an element of legerdemain, an original and sinister touch, which leaves the enemy puzzled as well as beaten"? Had Torch employed any of those? The wolfpacks patrolling the approaches to the Mediterranean had suddenly left those waters to pursue a convoy of empty ships homeward bound to England from Sierra Leone. No one would be more surprised than the commodore of the convoy, Rear Admiral C. N. Reyne. The U-boats detected the movement of his convoy, SL125, off Madeira, and in a week-long battle thirteen of its ships were sunk. But as the official British naval historian would write: "Had the enemy not been thus engaged he might well have detected the great movement of (Torch) troop and supply ships, have attacked them or guessed their purpose and destinations, and so deprived our landing forces of the important advantage of

surprise." Admiral Reyne would remark that it was the only time he was congratulated for losing ships.

Was the fate of convoy SL125 a fortunate accident or a strategic sacrifice? The truth will not be known, although the Admiralty was at pains to state afterwards that "the ill fortune which overtook this convoy appears to have benefited the Allied cause, quite unexpectedly. . . ." Because the Germans were busy sinking empty ships, the great Torch convoys—there were more than 1500 ships crowding the approaches to the Mediterranean—reached their destinations with only one being torpedoed, and without loss of life. Torch was indeed a triumph, and its combination of imaginative deception and good security would serve as a model for the Allied assault on Normandy.

The Fuehrer had been starved for accurate intelligence about Torch, but apparently there were others in the German intelligence system who were better informed. After the war, it was discovered that Captain Herbert Wichmann, Canaris's station chief at Hamburg, whence the Abwehr conducted its main operations against the United States and Great Britain, had obtained an accurate and timely report from an Al source showing that French North Africa was the target. He had, Wichmann protested, sent the report to OKW under the speediest priority and the highest security classification—a priority and a classification that must have ensured it would have been seen at least by Keitel. What had become of the report? No one knew. No doubt Canaris remained impassive, as he did when he was challenged.

The German high command was beginning to believe that it was being badly served by Canaris. But if OKW did not yet suspect that he was actually working against Hitler, there were those on the Allied side who did. The clearest evidence of sympathy for Canaris in London would come at the time of Torch when he arrived at Algeciras, the town in Spain next door to Gibraltar where the Abwehr had one of its main bases. MI-6 at Gibraltar learned of his presence, and a plan to kidnap Canaris and fly him to London was formulated with the approval of the Governor of Gibraltar, General Mason-MacFarlane, the former British military attache at Berlin whose proposal for the assassination of Hitler in 1938 had been turned down by the Foreign Office. But as Ian Colvin, the London journalist who first asked questions about Canaris's loyalties, wrote: "Gibraltar received a message from London cancelling the operation." Colvin's informant told him that the message did not state exactly: "Leave our man alone." What the signal said was that "(Canaris) was far more valuable where he was."

Even though Torch caught Hitler off guard, he reacted with great speed and foresight. He ordered signals to be sent to Field Marshal Albert Kesselring at Rome to speed the best available German troops to create a

Operation Flash ) 235 (

bridgehead in Tunisia. This Kesselring did—and among the troops was a young colonel of the General Staff, Count von Stauffenberg. These forces would delay an Allied victory in North Africa for many months; but Hitler quickly became less concerned with events in that theater of the war. His attention was riveted on Stalingrad, where the struggle had become titanic and personal. The Luftwaffe had burned the city to the ground, and little parties of soldiers met each other in hand-to-hand combat in the giant petrified forest of blackened chimney stacks. They fought for meters of ground through factories and offices, in sewers, into and out of houses. The battle would rage for eighty days and eighty nights, and an officer of the 24th Panzer Division would write: "Stalingrad is no longer a town. By day it is an enormous cloud of burning, blinding smoke. . . . And when night arrives, one of those scorching howling bleeding nights, the dogs plunge into the Volga and swim desperately to gain the other bank. . . . Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure."

To Hitler, Stalingrad was not just a city;* it was an obsession. Like Leningrad, it was not only a military but a psychological objective; he was convinced that once these two cities, named after the twin heroes of the revolution, had fallen into his hands, the political regime of Russia would collapse. Stalin was equally obsessed with determination to hold Stalingrad. He had given his name to this great industrial city. Thus the battles of Stalingrad and Leningrad were a personal contest between the two dictators.

The battles now joined in North Africa and on the Russian front would become the Jena and Auerstadt of the Third Reich. And as it grew apparent that the Allies were beginning to prevail, the deep gloom of defeat began to spread over the Reich. It was a spirit in which a revolution might flourish, and early in 1943, with Hitler's grand strategy threatened or collapsing everywhere, Beck observed to Canaris that the decisive hour for the Schwarze Kapelle was at hand. The German General Staff, he said, would never overthrow the Fuehrer while he was victorious; only when he and the army were in defeat would the fighting generals and colonels back a conspiracy. He was correct. With every defeat, the Schwarze Kapelle gathered new recruits and rapidly became much more than a few white-haired moralists seeking the restoration of a lost era. The questions of conscience—the Fahneneid, assassination, removing the head of state and of the army while the nation was in mortal peril—no longer troubled the plotters to the same extent as in the past. If Germany was not to be destroyed, most agreed, the only thing to do with Hitler was to kill him.

The Schwarze Kapelle was no longer a few scattered seeds of discontent, each seeking to survive the purges of the Gestapo and the SD. The

conspirators were still playing with their lives, but now there was a central command and its tentacles were in contact with all other headquarters of consequence from Paris to Smolensk. Equally important, they had conceived a plan to assassinate Hitler—"Operation Flash"—as well as a plan to seize power if the assassination was successful. All that remained to be decided was when and where the attack upon Hitler should be made; the question if was no longer a factor.

The instrument with which the conspirators proposed to seize power after Hitler's assassination was "Case Valkyrie." In the late spring of 1942, Canaris had told the Fuehrer that there were some 4 million foreign workers in Germany and that this number would rise to 8 million by 1944. Canaris drew Hitler's attention to the dangers to the Reich of such a large number of foreign workers and advised him to command that a plan be made to deal with them in the event they rioted or revolted. Hitler agreed and issued a directive for Case Valkyrie to be drawn up by the C-in-C of the Home Army, General Friedrich Fromm. The actual task of writing the plan was given to General rriedrich Olbricht, the Chief of Staff, and by October 13, 1942, it had been completed and issued as a most secret matter of state to the commanders of the Military Districts. Olbricht, a watchful, shrewd, precise and affable man, was one of the most determined members of the Schwarze Kapelle, and in preparing Case Valkyrie he saw instantly that, if written appropriately, it could be used by the conspiracy as the instrument for the seizure of power and the neutralization of the Nazi Party, the SS and the SD.

The plan visualized a sudden state of disorder among the foreign population at a time when the Fuehrer was at some distant headquarters conducting his campaigns and not immediately available to take personal command of the situation. Therefore, the plan invested executive power in the army, and specifically in the person of General Fromm—an officer whose political allegiance to Hitler was, as events would show, ambiguous. Fromm was considered by the conspirators, and particularly by his Chief of Staff, to be an upright and decent man who would support the conspiracy if Hitler were dead. Moreover, he was a lazy man who was constantly off hunting—leaving Olbricht with authority to sign his name on documents and orders of the highest state importance.

Armed with this authority, Olbricht introduced clauses and appendices to Case Valkyrie in Fromm's name that had nothing whatsoever to do with the suppression of internal disturbances; they dealt with the seizure of power and the neutralization of the party base upon which Hitler's power rested—not only in Berlin and other principal centers, but throughout the Reich. Olbricht had only to issue the Valkyrie code word and all army units in the Reich would instantly spring to the "protection" of government and party offices and officials, signals and postal services, newspaper and

Operation Flash ) 237 (

radio offices, railroads and public transportation systems. Olbricht had the power to impose martial law and curfew, to suspend all private travel and telephone and postal services, and to order drumhead courts-martial and immediate executions without appeal. Valkyrie gave the army complete authority over all the other armed services, including the SS, and it provided for the despatch to all main population centers of special liaison officers whose duty would be to see that Valkyrie orders were obeyed without question or delay. In short, Valkyrie provided the Schwarze Kapelle with the power to control every aspect of German life and, as important, military units to enforce that control—for Olbricht's plan resulted in the formation of regiment-sized Valkyrie battle units at every key point in the Reich. These men were armed, trained and positioned so that they were a match for anyone—including the SS.

This time the Schwarze Kapelle was better prepared than ever before to attempt a coup d'etat. The conspirators had, they believed, established channels of communication with the Allies through which they could negotiate a political settlement of the war. They also believed they had enlisted the sympathies and cooperation of a man who was both a favorite of the Fuehrer and a hero of the German people. That man was Field Marshal Guenther von Kluge.

Kluge, the C-in-C of the army on the Moscow front, did not love the Fuehrer, and neither was he blinded by the Fahneneid, at least not to the same extent as most of his fellow marshals. His devotion was to Germany and to himself; and when either was threatened, he toyed with treason. A brave soldier and a decisive and capable general, Kluge was commanded by the Prussian soldier's ethic he had learned as a cadet. "Gentlemen," his tutor had said, "you have the highest aim in view. We teach you now to fulfill this aim. You are here to learn what gives your life its real meaning. You are here to learn how to die!" The heroics of this doctrine dominated Kluge; he was to be found constantly flying low over the battlefield in his Fieseler Storch, directing the panzers, and he is said to have become exultant when watching the power and majesty of massed tanks and guns on the move across the Russian steppe. Now just over sixty—he was born at Posen in western Poland in 1882, the son of one of the Kaiser's cannoneers—Kluge and his commands had spearheaded the Fuehrer's armies in every major campaign in the war. In 1939, his army had occupied the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, and helped in the destruction of the Polish army and the subsequent capture of Warsaw. In 1940, his command drove the Belgian army into surrender, surrounded the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, broke the last organized resistance of the French army at Rouen, captured the Cherbourg and Brittany peninsulas, and advanced as far south as the Bay of Biscay. In Russia his 4th

Army had captured corps after corps of the Red Army in the panzers' drive upon Moscow, and helped cut off and capture an army group of 600,000 men at Briansk. It was Kluge's troops who had reached the outer limits of the Moscow Underground in December 1941, and had then taken the brunt of the Russian counteroffensive. In consequence his authority with Hitler was very great; time after time, when Hitler telephoned with some new tactical idea, Kluge would respond: "But, my dear Fuhrer, what you suggest simply is not practicable; you must come down out of Wolken-kuckucksheim (cloud-cuckoo-land)."

Kluge's weakness was his political ambiguity. He was not a Nazi general; he was the Kaiser's man, and, while he had done nothing to frustrate Hitler and the Nazis when they grabbed power, he was never quite able to accept the new revolutionary system. He recognized the regime as the lawfully constituted government of Germany and swore the Fahneneid to the head of that government, but when the wisdom of taking this oath was challenged by his Chief of Staff, General Henning von Tresckow, who had considerable personal influence over the field marshal, he toyed with his Knight's Cross and responded: "I am a soldier, not a politician." Because of this lack of commitment, the field marshal's loyalties had become the objective of both the Fuehrer and the Schwarze Kapelle.

Beck believed that Kluge's royalist origins and his sense of Prussian honor would, when Hitler's military policy finally showed itself in disaster, lead him to become the most powerful of the Schwarze Kapelle's allies among the field generals. Hitler believed that batons, medals and cash gifts could purchase the loyalty of his senior commanders, and on Kluge's sixtieth birthday, he gave the field marshal a present out of his privy purse of 250,000 Reichsmark —a small fortune for an officer of limited means and a salary of 60,000 Reichsmark a year. Kluge had purchased an estate at Rathenow; and against all the dictates of his Officer Corps training, which stressed the necessity of an officer's independence of the civil power, he accepted Hitler's gift. He also accepted a building license and a license for materials at a time when every brick was needed for the repair of bomb damage. In doing so Kluge compromised himself irretrievably with the men of his own "official family," and played his person firmly into the hands of Tresckow, one of the most active members of the younger generation of the Schwarze Kapelle.

Then just forty-one, Tresckow had been born in Wartenburg on an estate in the beautiful countryside of the Harz. He joined the 1st Prussian Foot Guards and in 1932 entered the Military Academy, where his reports described him as "a man far above the average," and "a soldier of quite considerable stature." A born grand seigneur, Tresckow saw Hitler as a military amateur whose delusions and obstinacy threatened to entomb the

Operation Flash ) 239 (

German army in Russia forever. He had gone to war with the intention of removing Hitler the moment the opportunity presented itself. That moment, he believed, had come.

A man with a gift for making other men admire and follow him, Tresckow had surrounded himself with other conspirators, among them Major Fabian von Schlabrendorff, a lively and determined young officer who had long been a Canaris man. For many months the two men had discussed plans to seize, try and execute Hitler on the Russian front, but they had come to nothing because of the extraordinary measures the Fuehrer always took to protect himself and conceal his movements. Only if a man close to Hitler could be persuaded to join the conspiracy would any attempt on his life have a chance of success. That man was Kluge.

Both Tresckow and Schlabrendorff were serving on Kluge's staff at his headquarters in the Forest of Smolensk during the summer of 1942, and there they began to put pressure on the field marshal to become a party to their plot to assassinate the Fuehrer. Using Hitler's gift to Kluge as a weapon of blackmail, Tresckow persuaded the field marshal to receive Karl-Friedrich Goerdeler, the former Oberbiirgermeister of Leipzig and the shadow chancellor in Beck's regency. In October 1942, the gaunt old economist, who called himself Pastor "Pfaff," appeared out of the gloom of the thick woods dressed as an itinerant preacher come to spread the gospel among the Feldgrau. He had, in fact, come to spread the gospel of revolution, and what he had to say to Kluge, in a conversation that lasted several hours, was of extraordinary interest.

Goerdeler told the field marshal that in April of 1942 he had traveled to Stockholm (on exit permits supplied by Canaris and Oster) to explain the objectives of the Schwarze Kapelle to Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg, the Swedish international bankers whose business took them frequently to both Germany and England, where they were known to Churchill and Menzies. Goerdeler met Marcus Wallenberg secretly in an old, drafty house at Styrmans-gatan, a place chosen deliberately to enable Goerdeler to lose any followers in the cold, thick Baltic mist which shrouded this dockland tenement area. Goerdeler told Wallenberg of the Schwarze Kapelle's plan to assassinate Hitler and asked what terms for an armistice, if any, would be acceptable to the British and Americans if the plan was successful. Wallenberg, who had just come from London where he had talked with Churchill, was not encouraging. He said that from his knowledge neither the British nor the Americans would make promises in advance which would bind them in their future policy toward Germany. If the conspirators succeeded in ridding their nation of the Nazis, well and good; but they must act first and seek terms afterwards. Wallenberg, however, was sympathetic and anxious to help, and assured Goerdeler that once Hitler was

) 240 (

THE ROOTS OF CONSPIRACY

disposed of he would get in touch with Churchill immediately. With that assurance, the meeting ended and Goerdeler had flown back to Berlin to report to Oster.

Goerdeler revealed all this to Kluge as the two men walked together through the dark woods that surrounded the field marshal's headquarters at Smolensk. Would Kluge lend his authority to the conspiracy? Kluge hesitated. Ever since the near-collapse of his army outside Moscow during the winter of 1941-42, he had perceived that Hitler's strategies must eventually bring ruin to the Reich. But the field marshal was a circuitous man. While he recognized the desirability of ending the war, he could not, he told Goerdeler, act until Hitler was dead. But if someone were to pull the trigger, he would take action once the word was given by Beck. It was a momentous agreement. The Schwarze Kapelle had, or thought it had, a major ally in Kluge, and an important power base on the Russian front. Now all that was needed was an opportune moment to assassinate the Fuehrer.

That moment came when at last, on February 2, 1943, disaster fell upon the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad. Paulus, whom Hitler had made a field marshal, surrendered the 6th Army with 24 generals, 2000 officers and 90,000 ragged and bearded men to the Red Army. The enormous battle had claimed another 175,000 German dead and wounded, and the Fuehrer alone was responsible. But Hitler reacted predictably to the defeat; he blamed Paulus and declared that he should have killed himself rather than be taken alive by the enemy. The disaster bred another crisis of command; and aware of the anger of Hitler's generals, Beck lit the fuse of "Operation Flash," a fuse that led to Kluge's headquarters at Smolensk.

Kluge, acting at the suggestion of Tresckow and Schlabrendorff, invited Hitler to visit his headquarters and, to the surprise of all, Hitler accepted. It was the opportunity the conspirators had been waiting for; and Canaris and Oster, pretending that they were visiting Kluge's headquarters on Abwehr business, flew immediately to Smolensk to make the final arrangements for Flash. The plan was quite simple; a bomb would be hidden in the Fuehrer's private plane, set to go off on the return trip from Smolensk. Oster had obtained some British-made plastic explosive and fuses for the bomb—captured SOE stores held by the Abwehr at the Satory barracks in Paris.

Tresckow and Schlabrendorff made the bomb. They fashioned packages of the explosive into a parcel that resembled two bottles of Cointreau, the only liqueur sold in squarish containers. The wrapping was arranged so that the fuse could be triggered from the outside without disturbing the package; all that was required to set the bomb running was to depress a small trigger which broke a bottle of corrosive acid onto a wire holding back the detonating pin. Meanwhile, in Berlin, everything was being made

Operation Flash ) 241 (

ready for the seizure of power. Olbricht would issue the Valkyrie orders upon receipt of the single word "Flash" from Kluge's headquarters, while agents of the Schwarze Kapelle in neutral capitals were preparing to talk with the Allies.

At noon on March 13, 1943, the Fuehrer's Focke-Wulf-200 transport came out of the clouds above Smolensk attended by an escort of Me-109 fighters. It landed at the headquarters airstrip and Hitler disembarked, accompanied by a party of about thirty staff officers, his physician, and his personal chef with his special food supplies. Kluge and Tresckow were at the strip to meet him. They exchanged Roman salutes and were driven to Kluge's quarters where they debated the situation on the Russian front. Then Kluge took Hitler in to lunch. Schlabrendorff recorded the scene:

As always, Hitler was served a special meal prepared by the cook he had brought along, and the food had to be tasted in his sight by his doctor. Watching Hitler eat was a most disagreeable experience. He shoveled in the food, consisting of assorted vegetables, with his right hand. However, he did not lift his hand to his mouth, but kept his mouth down over the plate. Now and then, he drank various nonalcoholic beverages that were arranged at his place. By his order, there was no smoking after the meal.

During the luncheon, Tresckow approached Colonel Heinz Brandt, a member of Hitler's entourage, and asked him casually whether he would be good enough to take along a small parcel containing two bottles of liqueur for General Helmuth Stieff in Berlin. Brandt readily agreed. With the bomb in Brandt's charge, Schlabrendorff then went to a telephone and placed a priority call to Captain Ludwig Gehre at Abwehr headquarters at Berlin. In the course of their conversation, Schlabrendorff mentioned that the Fuehrer had appeared to enjoy his visit and that he liked the apricots that had been provided for him—the code words. When the call ended, Gehre went down the corridor to Oster's office, and Oster telephoned Olbricht, who ordered the preliminary alert orders for Valkyrie. They were transmitted to all commands within thirty minutes, and this preliminary alert had the effect of bringing the staffs of the commanders of the military districts throughout the Reich to an interim state of alarm.

At Smolensk, the Fuehrer talked with Kluge for an hour after lunch and then prepared to return to Rastenburg. As he boarded his aircraft, Schlabrendorff started the mechanism of the bomb which was set to explode after thirty minutes when the FW-200 was at 8000 feet near Minsk. He handed the package to Brandt, who took it with him and placed it in the luggage compartment in the tail of the aircraft. With a final wave from the Fuehrer, the plane rumbled down to the end of the runway and took off, attended by the fighter escort. Schlabrendorff returned to headauarters to

telephone Gehre with the report that Hitler's plane had left for Rastenburg.

Three hours later a teletype message reached Kluge announcing Hitler's safe arrival. Dumbfounded, Schlabrendorff hastened to Rastenburg to retrieve his package before someone else opened it and discovered it was a bomb. In a sleeping car on his return journey, he unwrapped the package and found out what had gone wrong. The fuse had worked and the acid had begun to seep onto the detonator wire; but before the striker was freed the acid had frozen. It was not until later that Hitler's pilot explained that he had run into some clouds and turbulence and, to spare the Fuehrer any discomfort, had taken the aircraft to a higher altitude. The temperature in the luggage compartment of the plane, where Brandt had put his kit, had dropped rapidly, freezing the acid.

The failure of the fuse—the failure of Flash and Valkyrie—was a grave blow to the Schwarze Kapelle, and particularly to Canaris, for he realized that when one of the Schwarze Kapelle's plots failed, the conspirators lost credibility in the Allied camp. But if their credibility was in question, as indeed it was, perhaps the greatest enemy of Canaris and the conspirators was time. Time had not waited for their decision to act; and with the failure of Flash it would not wait for them to devise some new plan. The high commanders of Great Britain and the United States had met at Casablanca to formulate plans of their own. They had not contemplated a political settlement to end the war. The end they foresaw was the complete destruction or the complete surrender of the Third Reich.

PART U

HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

1943

"Cover" was carried

to remarkable refinements

as we became more experienced

and wily.

WINSTON S. CHURCHILL

Bodyguard of lies

/I

Casablanca

The middle act of the war between the Grand Alliance and the Third Reich began on January 13, 1943, when President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, with their staffs, met at Casablanca to chart the course of their operations for the coming year. As they conferred at the Anfa Hotel overlooking a sparkling blue Atlantic, it seemed that the tide of battle had turned in favor of the Allies—but only just. Hitler's 6th Army was being put through the Russian meat grinder of Stalingrad, and his Italian, Rumanian and Hungarian allies were proving unreliable. Field Marshal Rommel was withdrawing to Tunisia to join the army of General Juergen von Arnim and the battle was stalemated; but as Montgomery's 8th Army closed from the east and Eisenhower's Anglo-American army came up from the west, there were few who doubted that, once the spring campaign season opened, the Axis would be completely ejected from Africa. In England, air fleets of ever-growing might were beginning the Combined Bomber Offensive against German cities and industry. But at sea, the tale was one of unrelieved disaster. Through the combined operations of the Axis navies in 1942, the Allies had lost 1665 ships totaling almost 7.8 million tons; and most of these ships were sunk in North Atlantic waters—the lifeline of the Grand Alliance. Hitler had been stopped on land, but the battle for the supremacy of the sea was yet to be decided.

The purpose of the Casablanca Conference was to formulate a common strategy for the defeat first of Germany and then of Japan. But even as prospects of victory seemed brighter, the British and the Americans still did not agree about how and when to launch a cross-Channel attack. While the bloodbath at Dieppe had profoundly shaken some of General Marshall's planners, he came to the conference table determined to force the acceptance of an invasion of Europe through northwestern France in 1943. Equally, General Brooke was determined to prevent such an adventure

) 245 (

) 246 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

until all his preconditions had been met. To ensure backing for his arguments against an invasion of France that year, Brooke obtained the use of the 6000-ton former liner Bulolo, now a communications ship for Combined Operations, and staffed it with all the principal figures at Churchill's war headquarters in Storey's Gate, near Westminster. Whereas Marshall and his team arrived with only essential documents for their proposals, Brooke had a contingency plan for every eventuality, with experts and intelligence to back him. The Bulolo, which also brought to the conference every Ultra so far produced, was anchored under heavy naval guard at the port; and its presence impressed the Americans. General Albert C. Wede-meyer, chief of the Strategy and Policy Group of Marshall's staff, would write:

They swarmed down upon us like locusts with a plentiful supply of planners and various other assistants with prepared plans to ensure that they not only accomplished their purpose but did so in stride and with fair promise of continuing in their role of directing strategically the course of this war . . . if I were a Britisher I would feel very proud. However, as an American I wish that we might be more glib and better organised to cope with these super-negotiators. From a worm's eye viewpoint it was apparent that we were confronted by generations and generations of experience in committee work and in rationalising points of view. They had us on the defensive practically all the time.

The British had yet another advantage at the conference table. Ralph Ingersoll, an intelligence officer with the American delegation, would write: "In matters touching the European Theater, the British had a 100 per cent airtight, hermetically sealed monopoly on intelligence about the enemy. . . . They were the sole and unquestioned authority, first, because we had no military Intelligence on the Continent worthy of the name and, second, because the British had—and an excellent one, too." Ultra was at the heart of the British intelligence system, and Ingersoll would claim that the British concealed much from the Americans, or, it might be presumed, revealed only the intelligence that supported their strategical arguments.

Brooke stated his proposals on January 16, 1943, and by all accounts it was a masterful and enthralling performance. In fast, clipped speech that irritated Marshall, Brooke argued first, for the defeat of the U-boat to enable the Allies to build up the strength in England necessary for an invasion; and second, for offensive operations in the Mediterranean to compel Hitler to garrison his southern and southeastern fronts at the expense of his garrisons in France. His arguments were long, detailed and, with the knowledge within Bulolo's files at his instant disposal, irrefutable. Marshall, although he believed that the Mediterranean was a "kind of dark hole, into which one entered at one's peril," yielded. He agreed to support

Casablanca ) 247 (

operations against southern Europe, but warned Brooke that he was "opposed as much as ever to interminable operations in the Mediterranean." He also made it clear that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff would agree to support further Mediterranean operations only as "an expedient action dictated by current circumstances."

The Military Conclusions of the conference conformed exactly to Brooke's advocacy:

1. To defeat the U-boat, the first charge upon the resources of the western powers.

2. After the destruction of the Axis forces in Africa, to attack Sicily.

3. To create a position of Allied strength in the Mediterranean that would undermine the Axis in the Balkans, remove Italy from the war and bring in Turkey with her forty-four divisions on the side of the Allies.

4. To develop and sustain the heaviest possible air campaign against German cities.

5. To assemble the largest possible American forces in England without delay for a large-scale invasion of western Europe in the late spring of 1944.

6. To continue and expand a campaign of political warfare, subversion, economic warfare, and deception in order to undermine the German will and ability to fight and pin down forces wherever they might be found.

It is said that high strategy and low tactics walk hand-in-hand; and from the last of these Military Conclusions there would follow a series of operations that were the equal of any in the long, dark catalogue of subterfuge.

The Casablanca Conference came to an end. But before the statesmen and high commanders returned to their desks, Roosevelt and Churchill called a press conference, and Roosevelt made a statement that reverberated around the world. He announced that he and the Prime Minister were determined to accept nothing less than the unconditional surrender of Germany, Japan and Italy. Churchill was taken completely by surprise. He would later explain to Robert E. Sherwood:

I heard the words "Unconditional Surrender" for the first time from the President's lips at the Conference. It must be remembered that at that moment no one had a right to proclaim that Victory was assured. Therefore, Defiance was the note. I would not myself have used these words, but I immediately stood by the President and have frequently defended the decision.

Roosevelt himself would later state that he had had no time to prepare for the press conference, and "the thought popped into my mind that they

) 248 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

had called Grant 'Old Unconditional Surrender' and the next thing I knew, I had said it." But once said, and defended, the proclamation would cause widespread dismay. Many Allied generals would protest that it gave the Germans no other choice but to fight. Eisenhower would be quoted as saying: "If you were given two choices—one to mount the scaffold and the other to charge twenty bayonets, you might as well charge twenty bayonets." Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor would agree that "its effect was . . . unfortunate," and Menzies would warn the Prime Minister that unless the terms were softened, the German army would fight with what he called "the despairing ferocity of cornered rats."

There were other grounds for Menzies's disapproval of the proclamation. It eliminated the possibility of a political settlement to end the war. With no hope of terms other than Unconditional Surrender, what reason would the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle have to maintain their clandestine contacts with Allied agents, contacts that were useful in obtaining Germany's secrets and in planting deceptive information within the German high command? And if the Allies refused to consider a political settlement, what reason would the Schwarze Kapelle have to kill Hitler and overthrow the Nazi Party? In a subtle attempt to circumvent the policy of Unconditional Surrender and keep open his lines of communication with the conspirators, Menzies invited Dusko Popov, the Yugoslav double agent who had been christened Tricycle by the XX-Committee, to spend a weekend at his country residence. In reality, Tricycle served two masters—the XX-Committee and MI-6—for he had valuable connections within the Abwehr; and at an earlier meeting with Menzies, he had been commissioned to find out what he could about the men who formed the nucleus of the anti-Hitler conspiracy in the German secret intelligence service—Canaris, Oster and Dohnanyi.

Popov accepted Menzies's invitation and he would write that during their meeting Menzies declared:

There is much talk—you probably have heard it—of unconditional surrender. I personally dislike it. A phrase. It means nothing. . . . But that is official Allied policy, and I can do nothing to change it. There is something else, however, that we may do. It would be . . . uh . . . beneficial if certain individuals in the right places in Germany were given to understand the proper meaning of that phrase. . . . One should assure the proper-thinking Germans—and I think they will understand—that we do not mean to blot Germany from the map. That would be contrary to the ideal of freedom for which we are fighting.

Menzies, who could only have been acting with the authority and knowledge of Churchill, then revealed that he was assigning an agent who would act as a postbox and adviser in Popov's contacts with the Abwehr

Casablanca ) 249 (

hierarchy, and who "can be of great help to all those who want to eliminate Hitler and start talking peace."' Popov would write that:

Menzies was no longer as optimistic as he had been about arriving at a peace by circumventing Hitler. My impression was that he felt such a peace might have been feasible, particularly now that the tides of war were going against Germany, were it not for the '"unconditional surrender" motif. . . . Still, the idea of ending a war a few years earlier was too attractive a goal for him to drop even if it had only the flimsiest chance to succeed.

In Berlin, upon hearing of the proclamation of Unconditional Surrender, Canaris turned to General Erwin Lahousen, one of his deputies and confidants, and remarked:

You know, my dear Lahousen, the students of history will not need to trouble their heads after this war, as they did after the last, to determine who was guilty of starting it. The case is however different when we consider guilt for prolonging the war. I believe that the other side have now disarmed us of the last weapon with which we could have ended it. Unconditional surrender, no, our generals will not swallow that. Now I cannot see any solution.

The proclamation was heard like a thunderclap of doom by the other conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle. After the twin defeats of Alamein and Stalingrad, Germany was ripening for revolution, but as Witzleben declared: "Now no honorable man can lead the German people into such a situation (as surrender)." And with the failure of Operation Flash, hopes for the overthrow of the Nazis and a political settlement to end the war seemed all but extinguished.

Only the Nazis rejoiced at the proclamation. Six days after the Casablanca Conference, Hitler and Dr. Josef Goebbels, the Reich Propaganda Minister, made a proclamation of their own—"Total War." In a speech on January 30, Goebbels called upon the German people to rally to meet the "extraordinary dangers of the military situation,*' warning that since the enemies of Germany were fighting to "enslave the German nation," the war had become an urgent struggle for national preservation in which no sacrifice was too great.

Exhorted to believe that they were the new Spartans at Thermopylae, the German people sprang to their tasks, and the Feldgrau —the "sledgehammer of God," as the Kaiser once called his army—were convinced that they would finally triumph. The Allies, too, entered this new phase of the war with high resolve, but as one historian recorded:

To compel a powerful enemy to accept unconditional surrender will require every weapon in the arsenal, and the enemy in turn will be forced to resort to the most desperate form of warfare to resist. . . . The cost in

) 250 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

added intensity of resistance, in lives of political prisoners, and in the immeasurable factors of social cohesion, moral values, and cultural monuments can only be guessed.

Roosevelt had given his generals—and the generals of Great Britain— no choice but to plan and then embark upon that most feared of all military enterprises: D-Day.

Bodyguard of lies

The Battle of the Atlantic

In accord with the Combined Chiefs' decision that the defeat of the U-boat must be first charge upon the resources of the Allies in 1943, the Atlantic became a vast battleground in which the dominant elements were, Churchill would write, "groping and drowning, ambuscade and stratagem, science and seamanship." Naval warfare of unprecedented scale and violence developed between the North Cape and Cape Hatteras, between Cape Charles and the Cape of Good Hope, between the Western Approaches and Tierra del Fuego, as the Allied navies sought to clear the seas of U-boats and secure the sealanes along which might flow the men and materiel for the invasion.

Even as the Prime Minister and the President met at Casablanca, and as the North Atlantic trade routes were struck by particularly violent tempests, the battle for primacy was joined. It was a battle of ships, aircraft, radar, wireless, tactics, seamanship—and cryptanalysis. The Germans were reading the British convoy ciphers with devastating consequences; the British were reading the German U-boat ciphers through Ultra with equally devastating results. Both sides were fairly evenly matched during the early months of the year; and so at first the battle was a curious, deadly waltz in which the Allies swung their convoys one way to escape the submarine wolfpacks and the Germans swung their wolfpacks another way to bring the convoys back within torpedo range. Neither side, at least in the first ninety days of the battle, seems to have been aware that the other was reading its secret cipher communications. But victory was assured to the side that could continue to unbutton enemy traffic—and had the will and stamina to sustain the ferocious conflict.

Here, Britain, which bore the brunt of the battle, was disadvantaged. Alfred Dilwyn Knox, her chief cryptographer, and, with Alan Turing, the man who had first penetrated the mysteries of Enigma, was dying of cancer. The illness was first discovered before the war when he was slightly

•) 251 (

) 252 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

injured in a crash with a baker's van in a country lane while riding to Bletchley on his motorcycle. At the time, he underwent surgery and, it was thought the malignancy had been removed. But the condition reappeared in 1941. Knox was soon confined to his bed at his home in Hughenden in the Thames Valley, but he kept himself at work although he was weak and in pain. It is said that he exhausted himself further by the huge intellectual effort that had been required to track the battleship Bismarck in May of 1941. And—his family was told afterwards—it was his deathbed crypt-analytical exploit that had enabled the Admiralty to locate and sink the great battleship. Knox, propped up in bed by several pillows, used paper and pencil to attack the special battleship cipher being employed by Bismarck to communicate with the Admiralstab. Although he failed to crack this cipher (which was not cracked by any other agency either), he did manage to unbutton Luftwaffe and diplomatic orders associated with Bismarck's sortie. It was these orders that had revealed Bismarck's position on the night of May 26/27, 1941, after she had escaped her shadowing cruisers and her location was unknown at the Admiralty.

For his part in this great naval victory, Knox was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. But he was too ill to go to Buckingham Palace to receive the honor from King George VI, and the King sent an emissary to Knox's home. Although he was clearly a dying man, Knox insisted upon getting up. He appeared on the balcony overlooking his drawing room, fully dressed and looking—as his son recalled— "dreadfully emaciated," with his clothes "hanging dreadfully from his frame." He managed to descend the staircase for the ceremony, at which his family was gathered, and then, when the Saxon blue and scarlet ribbon with its gold and white star was placed around his throat, he returned to his room.

The Prime Minister, who was fully aware of Knox's importance in the war, intervened in an attempt to restore him to health. At a time when every ship was needed to fight in the Battle of the Atlantic—and, for that matter, every other ocean—Churchill offered Mrs. Knox the services of a destroyer to take her husband to the warmth of the Caribbean. But Knox was too ill to be moved. Churchill then obtained special medical treatment for him through his own physician, Lord Moran, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, and also arranged with the United States Embassy in London to obtain supplies of fresh tropical fruit, a rarity in wartime England for which Knox had cravings. But all was useless, and he died on February 27, 1943, having worked almost up to the end of his life on the U-boat ciphers. Churchill declared that his death was a "national calamity," but such was the wartime necessity for secrecy in these matters that it went unreported and unacknowledged. The only public tribute made was in the report of his death to the Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, which was

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 253 (

read with solemnity by the president at one of their periodic meetings. Part of this eulogy said: "The service he so generously gave was of a kind few others could have given, and has proved vitally important in the present crisis. His labours were exacting and his keen sense of responsibility, which would not let him rest . . . impaired his health."

Although Ultra had become a major industry by 1943, employing some 6000 people to unbutton some 2000 signals a day, great new burdens now fell upon Turing, whom Knox had taken the trouble to train as his successor. Turing was a man of enormous intellect but, by then, few reserves of nervous energy. He was nearing the end of his tether as he coaxed his battery of engines at Bletchley to penetrate Enigma-enciphered U-boat communications and pinpoint the movements of the fearful enemy. As the Battle of the Atlantic approached its climacteric, he began to show signs of extreme mental fatigue. In a rare act of generosity, the Foreign Office, Turing's employers, gave him <£200 ($960), provided him with a car and petrol, and instructed him to take a holiday. This he did, climbing Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. Then he was sent to the United States by sea to exchange more knowledge about Ultra for Magic. When he returned, however, he had not really recovered; his brain was the equal of the ruthless mental struggle against the ever-changing U-boat ciphers, but apparently he was also fighting some private battle of his own. He became progressively more eccentric—noticeably so, even in the weird world of Bletchley. Obsessed that someone was using his tea mug, he spent many hours of exacting mental work to find a way of chaining it to the wall in Hut 3 with an unbreakable cipher lock. His landlady informed the medical authorities at Bletchley that he muttered abstractedly for hours at a time in his room at the Crown Inn at Shenley Brooke End. He allowed his hair to become long, dirty and wild, and his clothes were often soiled and holed. But still he continued to perform his intricate work in Hut 3.

The battle now to be decided had already lasted forty-five months, and it had not gone well for England. In 1940, Britain lost 4 million tons of shipping through war action—mainly to U-boats. In 1941—when, briefly, Ultra's success made it seem possible that the U-boat had been defeated— German war operations destroyed yet another 4 million tons of shipping. Then came 1942—the year of the greatest disaster of the war in terms of merchant shipping. The losses shot up to nearly 8 million tons, most of them off the east coast of the United States. Until then, the Germans had been sinking ships in all waters at the rate of two and a half merchantmen a day; now perhaps five a day were being lost, and it seemed that the war itself might be lost. Goebbels proclaimed: "German heroism conquers even the widest oceans!" Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, the C-in-C of the U-boat fleet, declared: "Our submarines are operating close inshore along the coast of the United States, so that bathers and sometimes entire coastal

) 254 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

cities are witnesses of that drama of war whose visual climaxes are constituted by the red glorioles of blazing tankers." The triumph of the U-boat crews was captured by this rhyme which Kapitanleutnant Jochen Mohr, the skipper of the U-124, wrote and wirelessed to Doenitz while operating off what the Kriegsmarine called "the American front":

The new-moon night is black as ink. Off Hatteras the tankers sink. While sadly Roosevelt counts the score— Some fifty thousand tons—by Mohr.

The year 1943 opened with more German submarines in Doenitz's fleet than ever before; he had about 400, of which about 110 were in the Atlantic at any one time—against the 57 he had had at the outbreak of the war. In January, a month of severe storms that inhibited U-boat operations, they sank thirty-seven ships of 203,000 tons; but in February, the toll rose to sixty-three ships of 360,000 tons. The reason for these losses would be traced, at least in part, to the fact that both the United States and Great Britain used their respective cryptanalytical services—Magic and Ultra—with considerable caution lest their enemies detected that their ciphers were being read. This, apparently, led the Allies to accept casualties in the merchant marine rather than divert convoys around wolfpacks— and perhaps betray their secret knowledge.

It was later suggested that the Americans had gone too far in sacrificing ships for cryptanalytical security. In fact, if the allegation was true, it was the fault of the British. The Americans advocated the abandonment of many of the precautions for the security of Ultra in order to locate, sink and destroy the submarines that were threatening to cut the Old World off from the New. Time and again the British had to intervene to prevent the Americans from attacking U-boats on the basis of Ultra intelligence alone, which would, the British believed, cause Doenitz to conclude that Enigma was no longer inviolate. As Air Marshal Sir John Slessor, who commanded much of the air force engaged in the Battle of the Atlantic, reported afterwards: "American impetuosity in the use of Ultra gave us near heart failure. We had so little with which to fight the Germans and the Japanese. How much worse off we all would have been had we not had Ultra and Magic!"

It was a point well taken, for in March the Allies sustained the greatest losses in any one month of the war—108 ships of 627,000 tons. With the Canadians, the Admiralty was responsible for the security of the North Atlantic trade routes, and for many other theaters of the U-boat war. And that war still hung in delicate balance—a balance that could be tipped in either direction by the security of Ultra. Early in 1943, Ultra had revealed

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 255 (

that Doenitz was becoming uneasy about the security of his ciphers and communications; the tenor of his signals to his U-boat captains showed clearly that he believed the British had some form of inside knowledge about the Admiralstab's submarine warfare plans. Time and again, quite suddenly and for no other reason than the possession of good intelligence, the Admiralty would suddenly divert a convoy out of the way of a wolf-pack. The Admiralstab, which was reading some of the Admiralty's ciphers, wondered how the Admiralty knew where the wolfpacks were. But once again an Admiralstab investigation had concluded that the diversions were either the work of traitors in the Kriegsmarine's communications, or of British wiliness in the Submarine Tracking Room, or both. The investigation cleared Enigma.

The Admiralty did not clear its convoy ciphers, however. Certain from Ultra that the Germans had, once again, penetrated the ciphers, as they had done in 1940 with catastrophic consequences, the Admiralty began to change its systems in March of 1943. Such changes could not be made overnight, involving as they did ships on every ocean and every sea. They were not completed until May, and by then German victories at sea had forced other changes in the strategies used to defeat the U-boat—including a relaxation of the restrictions surrounding the tactical use of Ultra. Once before, in intercepting and destroying the ships supplying Rommel in North Africa, it had been decided that the stakes were high enough to risk the security of Ultra. The stakes were even higher in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The necessity for a change in strategy became shockingly apparent with the huge shipping losses sustained in March, and particularly with the fate that month of the great convoys HX229 and SCI22. The Germans decrypted a signal in convoy cipher from the SS Abraham Lincoln, in which the commodore of HX229, a convoy of some forty ships under heavy escort, informed the Admiralty Trade Division in London that it had departed America for England on March 8, 1943. Other signals revealed to Doenitz where the ships were bound: the ports of the Mersey, the Clyde, Belfast, Loch Ewe. They revealed the dainty names of the escorts: Chelsea, USS Kendwick, HMCS Frederiction and Oakville, Volunteer, Abelia, Pennyworth, Sherbrooke, Anemone, Beverley, Highlander. The signals also told Doenitz in some detail what the ships were carrying: bombs and ammunition for the air war on Germany, petroleum, tanks and armored fighting vehicles, aircraft, food, rifles and machine guns, cannon and boots, tires and bandages, tank tracks and Spam. Doenitz knew when the convoy would enter the seas west of England; he knew its speed, course and the weather. All this information was weighed and discussed, and strategies and tactics were laid and communicated to the U-boats through Goliath, the great U-boat transmitter at Frankfurt an der Oder. The signals crackled across the ionosphere, and far away at sea, off the outer limits of the

) 256 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Greenland icepack, the U-boats of the Stiirmer Wolfpack—the "daredevils"—moved across HX229's path.

But at the same time, Ultra was reading the Admiralstab's signals and the intercepts were quickly sent to the Admiralty's Submarine Tracking Room at The Citadel, the ivy-covered fortress beneath Admiralty Arch at the other end of The Mall from Buckingham Palace. Here, Captain Rodger Winn, the chief of intelligence in Room 39, worked with his assistants in what resembled a large billiard room. The light—day and night—was focused on a table of some 8 feet square upon which lay a chart of the North Atlantic. Flags, pins and symbols represented the locations of the Allied convoys and the German wolf packs; red arcs radiating from Coastal Command and USAAF bases in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Newfoundland and Iceland showed the ranges of the planes available for sorties. From this room, into which poured the sum total of all naval intelligence, emanated the instructions upon which the convoy commodores made their diversions. Winn had much freedom of discretion in the use of Ultras that gave warning of U-boat moves and plans; but, at the beginning, he used the intelligence to steer convoys clear of submarines only if it would not compromise the system—except in cases where U-boats were lying in wait for fast ships like the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary, which were carrying large numbers of American troops or important figures such as Churchill.

Winn gave instructions for HX229 to change course. But at about that time Doenitz obtained intelligence on a second convoy, the SCI22. It was a group of some sixty-six ships, also heavily escorted; and when the signal reached Doenitz, he responded by ordering the Drdnger Wolfpack—the German word for "force" and "storm"—across the route of SCI22. When Ultra intercepted Doenitz's signal in turn, Winn sent out a warning to SCI22, which changed course. And so the battle of wits began as the two convoys maneuvered across the sea, sometimes in thick fog, sometimes in bright moonlight, sometimes in a snow storm, sometimes amid icebergs, sometimes in an ice pack—steaming for England at 10 knots, the crews sounding their ships' bottoms to make sure the ice had not torn holes. Gradually, HX229 and SCI22 closed ranks and formed a large mass of shipping in a relatively confined space of ocean. The Stiirmer and Drdnger wolfpacks moved in on their targets.

At the Hotel-am-Steinplatz in Berlin, and at The Citadel in London, Doenitz and Winn watched the deadly moves of the game on their charts; Winn and his staff seemed to know the captains of the U-boats almost intimately, even though they had never met. They knew how each of Stiirmer's and Drdnger 's boats would perform; from their nightly reports they knew almost as much as Doenitz did about their state of repair, the morale and health of their crews, how much fuel and how many torpedoes they had left, their positions, courses and speed, when and how they

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 257 (

proposed to attack. Winn telephoned Coastal Command at Pembroke Dock in Wales and at Oban in Scotland; tenders leaped away from the piers to take aircrews out to the white, stately Sunderland flying boats lying at rest in the lee of the low hills. From USAAF bases on Iceland and Greenland, at Halifax and Rhode Island, Liberators lumbered down the runways and became airborne to join the air cover for HX229 and SCI22, which were now steaming east in eleven majestic columns. Agile escorts whooped and darted about the column, their watches clad in oilskins, the white spray dashing up over the open bridges, the blowers and compressors screeching for all their worth. The aurora borealis flicked across the northern sky and the moon washed the convoys with silver. And then, at 0201 exactly on March 17, sea state 14, visibility good, the U-boats struck. In that minute four ships— Kingsbury, King Gruffyd, Aldermine and Fort Cedar Lake —were torpedoed and the night sky was rent as their petrol and ammunition exploded.

At first it was thought this was the beginning of the main attack. But it was not; possibly a U-boat had seen the green bow light of Losada, which inexplicably had been left burning, and, attracted by the light, sighted the merchantmen outlined by the moon and the aurora. The escorts sprang into action, performing "snowflakes" and "half-raspberries"—various forms of search and attack—but the U-boat had run deep and silent. As dawn broke, huff-duff located six U-boats within 20 miles of SCI22. The Liberators arrived and began "cobra" patrols. But suddenly Granville was struck; she exploded and sank, trucks and tanks from her deck cargo hurtling into the sky. Again and again the U-boats evaded detection to claim other victims. That day, SCI22 lost seven ships, and the HX229 ten; by the time the two convoys came within sight of the Scottish shore in the region of the Outer Hebrides, they had lost five more. One in every five ships that had sailed from New York had been sunk. It was, as the official historian noted, "a serious disaster to the Allied cause." As bad, only one U-boat had been destroyed.

In all, the Allies lost ninety-seven ships in the first twenty days of March 1943, and the month was not yet over. What made the sinkings more serious was that two out of three were lost in convoy—and the convoy was considered to be the main answer to the U-boat threat. The Admiralty was compelled to conclude that "the Germans never came so near to disrupting communications between the New World and the Old as in the first 20 days of March, 1943"; and, "It appeared possible that we should not be able to continue (to regard) the convoy as an effective system of defence." But if the convoy had been proven ineffective, where else could the Admiralty turn? "They did not know," wrote the official historian, "but they must have felt, though no one admitted it, that defeat stared them in the face."

) 258 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Not even Ultra had permitted the Admiralty to triumph—at least not in the way that the Submarine Tracking Room had used it. It was clearly not enough to know where the wolfpacks were located, and to rely on maneuver, the convoy's escorts and air cover to drive them off. They had to be destroyed before they closed in on their targets. And so in April, when Ultra revealed the ominous news that, like a shoal of great sharks, ninety-eight U-boats were streaming into the Atlantic—the most Doenitz had ever sent out at one time—it was imperative to effect a change of strategy. The restrictions surrounding the tactical use of Ultra were relaxed, cautiously. Allied losses decreased as the Admiralty risked Ultra to swing convoys boldly this way and that through the four wolfpacks of sixty submarines that Doenitz had stationed across the North Atlantic trade routes. The strategy was only partially successful. Doenitz lost seven of his U-boats, but his wolfpacks claimed fifty-six ships of 330,000 tons.

The turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic finally came in May. Until that month, much had worked in favor of the Germans. They could read the convoy cipher. They had "Metox," a device that detected approaching aircraft through radar emanations and enabled the U-boats to dive and escape attack. And the Allies were not as strong in escorts and aircraft as they were to become. But now, each of the German advantages was chipped away. In the first place, convoys were protected by more escorts and aircraft. In the second, by May the British had replaced the compromised convoy cipher. In the third, there was H2S, the first 10-centimeter radar that employed a revolutionary valve called the magnetron. It had exceptional range and precision; and the fact that it was centrimetric radar meant that it could not be detected by Metox. And last there was Ultra. The Turing engines were performing better than ever against the Kriegs-marine's signals. Moreover, Churchill had directed that even Ultra must be risked if it meant the destruction of Doenitz's U-boat fleet. All commands, British and American, were advised to sink any U-boat no matter in what circumstances it was located. Unleashed from the shackles that had attended Ultra, aircraft captains were told where the U-boats were by wireless from the Submarine Tracking Room. Then, using the H2S, they were able to pinpoint the U-boats, even at night, and attack.

The consequences were immediate and devastating. In the first twenty-one days of May, Doenitz lost forty-one U-boats and Allied shipping losses were down to about 200,000 tons. Doenitz was forced to order the withdrawal of his wolfpacks from the North Atlantic until he had established what means the Allies had used to locate U-boats. But in June seventeen more U-boats were destroyed in other theaters of operation while the Allies lost only 22,000 tons of shipping. The U-boat had been defeated in the "month of the thunderbolt," as May of 1943 was called,

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 259 (

and for Doenitz it was a personal tragedy; he lost two of his own sons in his U-boats.

As June passed into July and August, it was clear that the Allied victory in the North Atlantic was more than a temporary reversal in the fortunes of war; for in those three months, in all waters excluding the Mediterranean, the Germans sank no more than fifty-eight Allied merchantmen, totaling 323,000 tons, and lost seventy-two U-boats doing so. Doenitz immediately initiated an inquiry which revealed that no less than fifty-eight of those U-boats had been sunk by air attack. How had this come about? Suspicion fell upon the security of Enigma, but as the official British historian would note: "After examining all the possibilities they concluded that there was no evidence of treachery and that their ciphers were secure." Again, Ultra had made a major contribution to a strategic victory in the German war. It had been instrumental to victory in the Battle of Britain, to victory in North Africa, and now to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The repercussions of that last victory were widespread. The morale of the U-boat crews was devastated, and Doenitz had to abandon wolfpack tactics and rely on single boats whose chances for attack were rare. As a result, not one American soldier lost his life through enemy action in the North Atlantic during the build-up for the invasion. Moreover, in direct relation to the invasion, Allied supremacy both on and over the seas would contribute to a significant tactical advantage. The Germans would form a screen of U-boats stretching from Norway to the Spanish border to warn of the approach of an Allied invasion armada, and U-boats would be stationed in Norway and in the Breton and Biscayan ports, armed, fueled and fully ready on six hours' notice to create havoc among seaborne invasion and supply fleets. But the German submariners would discover that it was not possible to run intelligence patrols in the narrow, shallow waters of the Channel and the Western Approaches. The enemy seemed to know exactly where they were and attack the moment they put their periscopes above the waves.

The Admiralty, which was largely responsible for victory in the Battle of the Atlantic, would never state directly how it had been achieved. The official British historian would credit "the combination of the intuition of certain experienced individuals with the most modern technical resources," and although intelligence was also cited, there was no mention of what sort of intelligence it was. Even as late as 1959, when Doenitz published his memoirs, he still refused to believe that his ciphers had been compromised. He attributed the calamity that befell his U-boats to the excellence of British radar. In fact, radar was only part of the story. In the "month of the thunderbolt" and throughout the rest of the war, Ultra intelligence guided

) 260 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Allied warships and aircraft to the locations of the German U-boats, radar pinpointed their exact positions, particularly at night or in fog as they lay on the surface taking in air, and newly developed tactics of attack and destruction, coupled with violent new weapons, did the rest. The Allies once again dominated the seas, one of Brooke's primary preconditions for D-Day had been met, and Hitler himself was compelled to acknowledge that Germany's first line of defense had been destroyed.

With the eclipse of the U-boat, the attention of Allied naval commanders turned to the remaining German naval menace—the powerful surface squadron positioned under the black, bare mountains of Alta Fjord in north Norway. This squadron consisted of the formidable battleship Tirpitz, the battlecruiser Scharnhorst, the cruiser Liitzow, and a congregation of destroyers that often numbered ten; its existence posed a threat both to the North Atlantic trade routes and to the Murmansk run. The Allies were compelled to dispose powerful formations of heavy warships, including aircraft carriers, in and around the great British naval base at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys to prevent the German squadron from breaking out into the North Atlantic, and for a time, the convoys taking war supplies to Murmansk were stopped completely. Until this squadron, and Tirpitz in particular, was rendered incapable of offensive action, no convoy, no invasion of Europe, could be deemed a safe operation of war.

As spring of 1943 gave way to summer, the Admiralty intensified its search for a means to immobilize or destroy the German squadron. All the plans, however, were considered impracticable. The ships could not be attacked from the sea, at least by any conventional means, for their lair was impenetrable. They could not be attacked from the air because, at that time, they were 900 miles from the nearest British air base, beyond the range of any aircraft then available. As a result, the British were forced to resort to unconventional means—a midget submarine called the X-Craft, a "descendant of the Elizabethan fireship" that had wreaked such havoc with the Spanish Armada.

The X-Craft, which would play a most important part in the intelligence operations for D-Day, and would help guide the invasion force to the beaches, was 51 feet long, weighed about 35 tons, could dive to 300 feet, and traveled at 6.5 knots on the surface and 5 knots beneath it. Its crew consisted of three officers and one engine room artificer, and its weapons were two detachable mines, each containing 2 tons of explosive. The mission of the machine and its crew was to penetrate the minefields, antisubmarine nets and boom defenses that guarded the German squadron's lair, position the mines under the keels of the heavy ships, and then depart—leaving the mines' clockwork time fuses to do the job of blowing up their quarry. Throughout the summer of 1943, the crews of six such X-

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 261 (

Craft were trained for just such a mission on Loch Cairnbawn in Argyllshire. By September 10, the craft were ready to be towed by conventional submarines to a point about 150 miles off Alta Fjord. There they would slip their tows, make their attack, and then return to the parent submarines. Three X-Craft were to attack Tirpitz, two Scharnhorst, and one Lutzow.

The midgets were towed from Loch Cairnbawn between September 11 and 12, but only two of them—X6 and X7—reached the fjord. It was then discovered that Scharnhorst had left her anchorage for exercises; but X6 and X7 set out to attack Tirpitz. They crossed the minefields successfully on the night of September 20/21, but misadventures befell X6 and only X7 remained. More trouble lay ahead. X7 became entangled in the antisubmarine nets, lost control and broke surface only 30 yards from the great hull of Tirpitz. But it managed to dive, struck the hull, and then planted one of its mines. Working its way further aft down Tirpitz's keel, it planted the second charge and made a run for it. But again X7 became entangled in the nets, lost control, broke surface under heavy gun and grenade fire, and then sank. Two of the crew survived, two lost their lives. But the attack succeeded; the mines exploded and caused "the whole great ship to heave several feet out of the water." The explosions put all three main turbines out of action; Tirpitz was immobilized and British agents and Ultra soon confirmed that she was no longer seaworthy. The cost had been severe— none of the midgets returned home—but the exploit was termed "one of the most courageous acts of all time."

At the Admiralty, it was decided to resume convoys to Russia, even though Scharnhorst and Lutzow still lurked in the northern seas; and the U.S. squadron at Scapa Flow was released for other urgent duties. Such were the operational benefits that flowed from the brave midget submarine attack. Then the attention of the Admiralty turned to Scharnhorst, which had been left alone off northern Norway when her companion, Lutzow, returned safely to home port.

Scharnhorst's fate was sealed on Christmas Day 1943 when the 32,000-ton battlecruiser with a crew of 2000 sailed with five destroyers to intercept two convoys totaling 41 ships bound for Murmansk. Her departure was detected more or less immediately; Scharnhorst sailed at approximately 7 p.m. on Christmas Day and a British heavy squadron built around the battleship Duke of York was warned at 0339 on December 26 that she was "probably" at sea.

Later in the morning of that same day, Scharnhorst was detected on radar by the cruiser Belfast between the North Cape and Bear Island, and the battle was engaged in the weird twilight of the Arctic winter. The cruiser Norfolk fired starshells to illuminate the magnificent ship and managed to get in at least one, possibly two, hits. Scharnhorst put on 30

) 262 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

knots and plunged away. She disappeared for a time but was soon relocated by Belfast's radar. Scharnhorst's guns struck and damaged the pursuing cruisers Norfolk and Sheffield, and then she sped away again, without knowing it, directly for Duke of York. In the meantime, Scharnhorst's destroyers obeyed an order to return home, and the great ship was left like a stag ringed by hounds. At 4:17 p.m. that afternoon, she was spotted on Duke of York's radar at a range of 22 miles to the north northeast.

As snow storms swept across the heaving sea, Duke of York pursued her prey; and when starshells illuminated Scharnhorst at 4:50 p.m. and heavy gunfire started pouring into her at 12,000-yard range, the German commander was, apparently, completely surprised. "I noticed," recorded an officer on the destroyer Scorpion, "her turrets were fore-and-aft; and what a lovely sight she was at full speed. She was almost at once obliterated by a wall of water from the Duke of York's first salvo. . . ." With that salvo the Royal Navy began to settle a particular score with Scharnhorst. For, on February 12, 1942, with her sister battlecruiser Gneisenau, she had escaped from Brest at the Fuehrer's command and, while the Royal Navy slept, made a run through British home waters—the English Channel—to Germany. The dash caused a public and private storm around the Prime Minister, and The Times declared: "No more mortifying an episode has occurred in 300 years of British seapower."

Scharnhorst did not recover quickly from the surprise of finding herself under the guns of a British battleship, and the Duke of York's 14-inch shells pounded her mercilessly. In all she received at least thirteen hits from the Duke's heavy guns, at least twelve from the lighter guns of the cruisers, and eleven torpedoes from the destroyers. The sky was lit with the glow of her fires and internal explosions. At 7:45 p.m. on Boxing Day, in a position of 72 degrees 16 minutes North 28 degrees 41 minutes East, Scharnhorst sank beneath the icy waters. Before she went down, her captain signaled the Fuehrer: "We shall fight to the last shell." He did so; and when the seas closed over her, the North Atlantic was finally an Allied maritime dominion. Only thirty-six of Scharnhorst's crew, which had included some forty naval cadets on their first voyage, survived. At the Admiralty debate on her fate, it was noted with satisfaction that it was "accurate intelligence which made all else possible." That intelligence was, again, derived from Ultra.

As the battle proceeded for mastery above and below the sea, Ultra was making another major contribution to victory over the Third Reich— the destruction of the German weather intelligence gathering and reporting system. Both the Allies and the Germans recognized that attack as well as defense along that most treacherous of Europe's waterways, the English

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 263 (

Channel, would be influenced to an important extent by the weather. Cloud cover, wind velocity, tides, wave heights—all could affect, seriously disrupt, or even prevent the complex land, sea and air operations of an assault on France. As Eisenhower would write, perhaps recalling the fate of the Spanish Armada in the Channel in 1588: "If really bad weather should endure permanently, the Nazi would need nothing else to defend the Normandy coast!" Accurate weather forecasts, therefore, were vital to the Allied command and the Germans alike, and it was imperative to deny the Germans as much weather information as possible. Thus a series of systematic and unsung battles were fought between the Allies and the Germans in the remote latitudes of the North Atlantic where the Channel's weather was made. They were battles as fierce and violent as those fought in any other sphere of action; they began the moment the war broke out, and they ended only when the war itself ended.

The first operation in the "weather war" occurred on May 10, 1940, when Major General Robert Sturges, of the Royal Marines, landed at the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik with a mixed party of Marines and troops from the cruiser Berwick to arrest the German consul-general, round up spare U-boat crews who were stationed there, establish a coast-watching service, remove German weather-reporting stations, and generally pave the way for a British occupation of the island. His mission was accomplished in a swift, gentlemanly manner, and Iceland became first a British and then an American base for ships and aircraft fighting the Battle of the Atlantic.

Having secured Iceland, the British moved against other weather-reporting stations in the northern seas. The first to be taken were the Norwegian stations on Jan Mayen, a lonely, rugged island deep in the Arctic Ocean which, in a meteorological sense, was regarded as one of the key points of the Arctic. It was invaded and occupied by a party of Danes under British orders in October of 1940. German-occupied Norwegian and Danish stations on Greenland were also destroyed and British stations established in their place.

Deprived of land-based stations, the Kriegsmarine attempted to establish a network of weather-reporting trawlers in the northern seas. But they were detected by cryptanalysis and huff-duff, and in April 1941, the Admiralty directed that the network, which worked the area Greenland-Iceland-Jan Mayen-Faroes, be dismantled. Three cruisers and four destroyers were sent to search a line northeast of Iceland and roughly halfway between the Faroes and Jan Mayen. On May 22, 1941, the German trawler Munchen, a vessel of 1200 tons, was caught and sunk by HMS Edinburgh. The squadron then turned to the pursuit of Lauenburg, another specially equipped vessel. She was caught on June 25, 1941, by the cruiser Nigeria and three destroyers as she lay beneath the 8000-foot Beerenburg on Jan Mayen Island. Although Lauenburg was in thick fog,

) 264 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

her wireless emissions had betrayed her, and Nigeria's radar plot completed the job of locating her. Nigeria's instructions were to give the Lunenburg's crew no time to destroy its wireless or Enigma equipment; after a few practice 6-inch shells had frightened the crew over the side, a party from the destroyer Tartar boarded her. Lauenburg's Enigma and all her wireless equipment and secret papers were captured intact.

In quick succession Commandos and sailors destroyed weather-reporting stations at Spitzbergen, Vaago (where another Enigma was taken from the armed trawler Krebs) and the Lofotens. But Greenland posed a somewhat more difficult problem, for the United States had made the island an American protectorate on April 9, 1941. Thus, by agreement with the British, although she was not yet at war, the United States assumed the responsibility for patrolling the seas around Greenland to keep the Germans from returning to the island. On September 13, 1941, the United States committed one of her first acts of war against the Third Reich when the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Northland arrested the weather-reporting trawler Buskoe off southeast Greenland. Camouflaged with swatches of white and ice-blue, Northland had lain silent and almost invisible under a storis —one of the giant icebergs floating in a belt along the Greenland coast—watching Buskoe butt her way through the growling ice. Northland's captain, Commander Edward "Iceberg" Smith, saw through his binoculars that Buskoe was carrying an array of aerials that denoted she was equipped with powerful modern wireless equipment—much more powerful and modern than that usually carried on trawlers. He decided to arrest the trawler as potentially hostile and ordered his gun crew to fire a shot across her bow. As the blast echoed among the icebergs, and the reverberations of the shot split great chunks of rotting ice off the storis, a plume of sea-green water shot up ahead of Buskoe. She hoisted a signal announcing that she had stopped engines and Northland sprang from the shadow of the iceberg to come alongside. A party of men boarded Buskoe and reported that there were twenty-seven men and one woman aboard, whose papers showed them to be Danish "hunters" and Norwegian "trappers." But their radio equipment bespoke a technical operation such as espionage and weather reporting. Moreover, one of the crew admitted that they had put two parties ashore, both equipped with wireless, near the entrance of Franz Josef Fjord. With that information, Smith ordered Buskoe to proceed to McKenzie Bay, a spot under the 15,000-feet-high sierras of Greenland. She was under arrest.

When Smith boarded Buskoe in McKenzie Bay, it was clear that this was no hunting and trapping expedition. The ship was equipped with better wireless than Northland; she had a main transmitter, a portable transmitter, a main receiver, a portable receiver, a portable engine generator, and a control panel. Smith informed the Dane who was commanding

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 265 (

Buskoe that Northland would leave a prize crew aboard. Then he sailed south to Franz Josef Fjord to apprehend the men put ashore by Buskoe. A landing party discovered a shack with antennas, and at about midnight on September 14, 1941, the shack was surrounded and the door broken down. Inside were three men who proved to be Germans. They surrendered without a fight.

In the next twenty months, the U.S. Coast Guard concentrated large forces in the Greenland seas to keep the Germans out, while ashore Danes and Eskimos were employed to patrol the moraines and eskers of the island. It was a strange battlefield, lit by the flames and rayed arcs of the aurora borealis. It was so cold that it hurt to inhale and, when a man exhaled, beads of ice formed in large clusters on his beard. Storms with wind velocities of 150 mph swept the area constantly as Coast Guard patrols worked across the Greenland Ice Cap from Cape Farewell in the far south, along the Denmark Strait to Scoresbysund, up the 15,000-foot sierra of the Greenland Sea littoral, and even as far north as Peary Land, a place where few human beings had ever been.

Time after time the Coast Guard caught German parties trying to set up weather bases. Many planes and many lives were lost on that inhospitable battlefield, and at least one ship disappeared without a trace. On December 17, 1942, the armed USCG trawler Natsek, commanded by Thomas S. LaFarge, an artist and grandson of the noted painter John LaFarge, sailed from Narsarssuak in Greenland for Boston with a crew of twenty-seven men in company with the converted trawler Nanok and the USS Bluebird, a minesweeper. The little procession entered Belle Isle Strait. Snow soon began to fall, and Bluebird lost contact. Natsek took the lead because Nanok's fathometer was unserviceable, but the weather thickened and visual contact was soon lost. As they moved out beyond Point Amour Light, the weather cleared but the wind quickly reached gale force. It was then that black ice began to form—a phenomenon that spelled doom to many a trawler in the Arctic. Wind whipped up the sea spray and sent it over the superstructure of both Natsek and Nanok, where it froze into layers of ice that soon weighed scores of tons. Threatened with capsizing, the crews fought the black ice for three days and three nights, attacking the accumulation with picks and chisels. Steam was useless; no sooner had it been played over the ice than the steam itself froze. Miraculously, Nanok made it; but somewhere LaFarge lost his battle with the ice. It built up until Natsek became top-heavy, turned over and sank. In those seas no man could survive for more than five minutes unless he was in a boat, and even then he could not live through the night unless he was rescued quickly. For the Natsek, homeward bound, there was no rescue.

The Germans suffered even greater casualties in this brutal war whose dimensions were not measured in hours or miles but in months and degrees

) 266 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

of longitude and latitude, and whose victories were reflected only by the curious symbols used on weather maps. Time after time German teams were picked off as they landed on or moved across the icy terrain, their aircraft were lost in wild Arctic storms, their ships trapped in heaving icepacks. Hundreds of men froze to death, but throughout 1942 and well into 1943, the Germans persisted—such was their need for accurate weather intelligence. But the Americans also persisted. Using Magic, sharp-prowed icebreakers, sledge patrols and lumbering Catalinas that were sometimes torn apart by Arctic storms, they searched out and destroyed German trawlers and land-based stations wherever they sprang up until, finally, the Germans admitted defeat.

The weather war was not confined to the Arctic seas. It was fought wherever the Germans attempted to obtain weather data outside the frontiers of the Axis empire. Nor were the weapons of the battle confined to guns, ships and aircraft. The subtler weapons of wireless were used to seek out and jam those stations which were beyond the range of capture; and when weather stations were found to be sited on neutral territory—as was the case with a weather and intelligence station in the Spanish colony of Ifni, Morocco—the Allies employed the blunt instruments of economic and diplomatic sanction. The OSS launched a small but thorough intelligence operation against the Ifni station, and armed with this intelligence, the American ambassador at Madrid, Carlton Hayes, took his complaint—and threat—to the Spanish government. Spain was particularly dependent on American oil, and so the Germans lost another weather station.

The destruction of the Etappe's fleet and the U-boats in the North Atlantic also served to deprive the Germans of weather intelligence, and for this, too, Ultra deserved much of the credit. As significant was the fact that, from the earliest days of the war, the Turing engine enabled the British meteorological service to read German weather reports. It was extraordinarily important intelligence for a number of reasons. From those highly secret reports, the Allies knew with some precision when and where the weather over the continent would favor an aerial attack. They knew what the Germans knew of weather over the British Isles, and that intelligence enabled them to launch aerial operations when the Germans did not expect them because of unfavorable conditions. Much could also be deduced about German intentions from the intensity of their interest in the weather over certain areas. But most important of all, in the context of the invasion, the ability to read German weather reports would enable the Allied high commanders to know when the Germans were expecting an attack because of weather conditions and when they were not. Their meteorological code had been an extremely difficult one to break; but in 1943, after many changes and variations, the Germans in the West stan-

The Battle of the Atlantic ) 267 (

dardized their cryptosystem. They would not change it until after the invasion.

There were many queer twists in the weather war, for not only were the Germans deprived of accurate weather intelligence, a campaign was also launched to provide them with false and misleading forecasts. The campaign began the moment the war broke out when the double agent Snow broadcast from his jail cell false reports of the weather over London to throw Hitler off if he decided to commence hostilities with a Luftwaffe attack on the British capital. It continued when German agents trying to infiltrate the North Atlantic islands to set up weather-reporting stations were captured, "turned" and began to supply Berlin with false weather data. XX-Committee double agents in Britain also supplied their controllers with false weather intelligence.

As a final consequence of the deception campaign, tricks of technology and the savage little war within a war, the Germans would have to depend for their intelligence of the weather over the British Isles, the Atlantic and the eastern seaboard of the Americas upon a statistical process based on weather patterns in the English Channel over the past fifty years, random and isolated U-boat and Luftwaffe reports, data supplied by stations on secure German territory, intercepts of Allied meteorological reporting units—and what they could see outside their windows with their own eyes. The Allies, on the other hand, had detailed meteorological intelligence at their disposal; and of all the natural factors, of all the schemes of men, that would influence the success of the invasion, Allied knowledge—and German ignorance—of weather conditions on the eve of D-Day would prove to be the most important.

Bodyguard of lies

The LCS and Plan Jael

By the spring of 1943, all Allied secret agencies were fully operational and another dimension of the great conflict—the secret war—was rising in tempo and violence. Deception would soon come to dominate this labyrinthine war; and the LCS—the inheritors of that ancient British faculty that made Louis XlV's philosopher, Jacques Benigne Bossuet, exclaim: "Ah! la perfide angleterre!" —began to weave a complex series of stratagems that, for their cunning, had no discernible parallels in English— or, for that matter, American—history. If there were parallels, they could be found in the precepts of Sun Tzu, the conqueror of Ch'u, Ch'i and Ch'in in 600-500 B.C., who was writing the world's first textbook of military theory when London was still a prehistoric swamp. Sun Tzu had provided an exact definition of the tasks of the LCS and its associated agencies in the months ahead: "Undermine the enemy first, then his army will fall to you. Subvert him, attack his morale, strike at his economy, corrupt him. Sow internal discord among his leaders; destroy him without fighting him."

The purpose of all deception from now on was to render Hitler and OKW ''puzzled as well as beaten" about "Overlord," the code word for Allied strategical intentions in northwest Europe in 1944. And the main target was the mind of Hitler himself, for he was the German Supreme Commander. Ranged against that brilliant autodidact was a group of men who represented the aristocratic cream of a caste of blood, land and money, and who now dominated the British secret agencies. They were descendants of that self-perpetuating cabal that had created and ruled a world empire for over two hundred years; and they had at their disposal a wealth of experience in stratagem and special means. These men approached their tasks with zest and dedication—and with a malevolence perhaps born of the realization that, if they failed, their class would not survive. They came to the gaming table in the spirit that this was Britain's

) 268 (

The LCS and Plan Joel ) 269 (

last, great throw, and they began to play their cards as Chateaubriand had done when his class was being extinguished in the French Revolution, guarding that "strong love of liberty peculiar to an aristocracy whose last hour has sounded."

At Storey's Gate, Churchill's bunker beneath the pavements of Westminster, "The Controller of Deception"—as the chief of the LCS, Colonel John Henry Bevan, was called, as if he were a character in Kafka—typified these clever, menaced British aristocrats. Quite unknown publicly, for he was a very silent man, Bevan was at the center of financial power in London. A grandson of one of the greatest of the British bankers and the son of a leading London stockbroker, Bevan was himself an important stockbroker in peacetime and would later advise the royal family on its investments. He would become a Privy Councillor, one of the sovereign's advisers, and his appointment as The Controller of Deception was in the tradition of the post—it was an aristocrat's job. For the LCS had, in turn, been headed by a son of the Earl of Derby, by a brother of the Earl of Scarborough, and now by Bevan, who was by marriage a member of the family of the Earl of Lucan and connected through his mother with the Viscounts Hampden and the Dukes of Buccleuch.

Bevan had been at "The Blessed College" of Eton (with Menzies) and had gone on to Christ Church, the richest of the Oxford colleges, where the burden of the curriculum was aimed at teaching intelligent undergraduates whose social position might enable them to obtain high office in the public service. It was a world within a world whose members knew each other intimately long before they ever got to Westminster, an admirable background for a man whose work in deception would demand the confidence and close cooperation of the politically powerful.

Bevan's stay at Christ Church was cut short by the First World War when he was commissioned into the Yeomanry, the Hertfordshires. He won the Military Cross and, toward the end of the war, was appointed to the staff of Field Marshal Lord Haig, the British C-in-C in France. After the war he returned to the City and married Lady Barbara Bingham, whose ancestor, Lord Lucan, commanded the Cavalry Division in the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, and whose brother-in-law would become Field Marshal Lord Alexander, the future Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Bevan rejoined the Hertfordshires and became intelligence officer at Western Command headquarters in Chester. When the LCS was established, its first chief, Colonel Stanley, brought him south to become his staff officer and, soon after Stanley resigned, Bevan was appointed Controller.

By this time deception had been successfully tested as a weapon of strategic warfare, but under Bevan the LCSs stature would increase in the

) 270 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

military hierarchy to a point where it came to control many of the activities of other British secret agencies. The Americans conceded British expertise in the game in European, Near Eastern and Indian Ocean theaters; and bureaus were established at Washington, Cairo, Algiers, Delhi and, eventually, Trincomalee. Thus Bevan's arena was global and his authority, when he cared to use it, was also global, although in practice it worked none too well in the theater commanded by General Douglas MacArthur; like the representatives of Ultra in MacArthur's command, the LCS men found themselves up against the general's antipathy for all things British. But when necessary, Bevan had the authority to direct any government department in London and, through the Joint Security Control, in Washington, to perform according to the LCS's score. He had powers without precedent and on occasions even Roosevelt and Churchill made their personal movements and statements conform to the dictates of deception. In consequence, Bevan came to be regarded at Storey's Gate as the British regarded their public executioner: with curiosity, even admiration, but at all times with caution and respect.

To those outside Storey's Gate, including army commanders, Bevan and the LCS were viewed as clever, mysterious men whose precise duties and activities must not be inquired into. Even the most recalcitrant socialists in Churchill's government—notably, Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary, who was not an easy man to control—found it prudent to conform. So did the trades unions; "difficult" organs of public opinion such as the Daily Mirror and the New York Times; even the BBC and the Church. Those who had frequent contact with Bevan were often left with the feeling that they had dealt cards with an enigma. "Colonel Bevan played his games with great skill," recalled General John R. Deane, the chief of the U.S. Military Mission to Moscow, "and never let his left hand know what his right hand was up to. After a time I became aware that not even his own staff knew everything he was doing." Like Canaris, Bevan was determined to confound history with mystery; when he talked about his role years later, he said in the opulence and privacy of his apartment in St. James's: "I do not think I should say what I did. I do not think Governments should admit to such matters, even if they were done in wartime."

Bevan himself enjoyed the complete confidence of Churchill and, through him, of Roosevelt, for the President took no less delight in deception than did the Prime Minister. There was no reason to doubt the statement that Churchill spent as much time with Bevan cooking up plots over £(hk\ brandy with majestical flights of late-night imagination as he did with any of his other bureaus. "Bevan and Churchill," one LCS officer remembered, "sparked each other off and pulled out what were all the old tricks of Eton and Harrow and polished them up for the task at hand."

The LCS and Plan Jael ) 271 (

Bevan's "annexe" was his club, an institution which in Britain often illustrated the character of a man. In this case, it was Brooks's, according to George Trevelyan, the "most famous political club that will ever have existed in London." It was also famous for its gamblers and eccentrics; Charles James Fox lost <£ 154,000 there in a month or so, and Sir Edward Elgar used to telephone his home in distant Worcestershire to hear his dogs bark. It was at Brooks's, in the bar, beneath the portrait of Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister ever assassinated, that Bevan met the man who became his deputy at LCS—iWingate. Of Bevan's subordinates, only Wingate knew The Controller's activities in all their dimensions.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Ronald Evelyn Leslie Wingate was a shortish, myopic man with black hair carefully brushed straight back. It was once said of him that he could "think nine ways at once." Certainly of formidable intellect, he was also a classicist, a clubman, a fly fisherman whose favorite ghillie was a bishop, and it seemed as if his entire career had trained him for his brief occupation as the sorcerer's apprentice.

Wingate was born on September 30, 1889, the eldest son of Wingate Pasha of Egypt and the Sudan—General Sir F. Reginald Wingate, a fierce Victorian who was among the Empress's most decorated soldiers. General Wingate came from a family of impoverished Lowland lairds who had served the crowns of Scotland and England, mainly as soldiers, for nine hundred years. As Kitchener's intelligence officer, he was one of the men who destroyed the Mahdi and Mahdism in the Sudan in the late nineteenth century, and added some 30 million people in that vast territory to the Empire, the second largest possession of the Crown after India. And by 1917, General Wingate was the most powerful man in Arabia. Colonel Wingate's uncle had added the Aden Protectorate to the Crown; another uncle was Governor of Malta; his godfathers were Field Marshal the Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, and Field Marshal the Earl Roberts of Kandahar. His mother came from a long line of captains and admirals. Lawrence of Arabia was related from the wrong side of the blanket; Wingate of Burma was a cousin. It was an Imperialist family in an Imperialist age, a family whose ties led to the remotest corners of the Empire.

Wingate went to a public school, Bradfield, near Rugby, and then to Balliol, Oxford, an institution "preoccupied not so much with scholarship as with success," which gave the impression of being "more of a cult than a college." He came to speak beautiful French, Greek, Urdu and Arabic, married the daughter of Professor Paul Vinagradov, the former head of Moscow University, and became an Assistant Commissioner at Sialkot in the Punjab of Kipling's India. In the First World War he had served as a political officer in Mesopotamia, where he helped destroy the eastern marches of the Ottoman Empire to ensure that Britain obtained the oil-

) 272 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

fields of the Karun. He learned the lessons of intrigue from such tutors as Sir Percy Cox, the great Arabist; G. E. Leachman, the explorer and ruler of the Anaizeh tribe; E. B. Sloane, the British agent who spoke five dialects of Kurdish and Persian, and conspired against the Turks in Kurdistan dressed as a cheese-seller; Gertrude Bell, the extraordinary Englishwoman who spent her life in the Arabian deserts and was the only woman officer in the British army. Wingate had been involved in the attempt to bribe the Turkish army commander who had cut off a British expeditionary force on the Tigris at Kut—with «£ 1 million. He was at the capture of Basra, in the march upon Baghdad, and helped fight it out with Turkish and German agents in the alleys of the great cities of the Hittites and the Babylonian, Assyrian and Sassanian empires. But his great triumph in Arabia had been to help deny the Turks the Holy City of Najef, the Muslim shrine where Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet, was assassinated.

Between the wars Wingate became, in turn, Political Agent at Muscat and Oman, where he brought the tribes firmly under British control; secretary to the Agent of the Governor-General of Rajputana; Political Agent of Quetta; Joint Secretary and Acting Political Secretary in the Government of All India; and finally, Revenue Commissioner and Agent to the Governor-General of Baluchistan. Like his father, his entire career was spent in the service of the Crown and, again like his father, he developed a belief that nine-tenths of humanity were not worth saving—unless they were citizens of the Empire. Beneath his great charm and diplomacy, he was shrewd and hard. Above all, his intellect had been sharpened by his decades in India and the Middle East—settling quarrels, collecting revenues, improving communications, holding court in Hindi, Urdu or Arabic, watching out for (and countering) Russian subversion, clipping the claws of the moneylenders, keeping the Muslims apart from the Sikhs, the Dogra from the Jat. There was, in consequence, an almost Armenian streak to his mind; and when he came to the LCS—having taken part in "Menace," General de Gaulle's 1940 expedition to Dakar, and in various operations to secure from the Germans the gold deposits of Belgium and Poland— Wingate had already dealt, successfully, with some of the most politically deft and devious people in the world. By the standards of ordinary men, his experience in intrigue had been endless and severe. Now, with Bevan, whose mind had been polished by his career in the upper reaches of finance in the City of London, he applied that experience to conceiving the stratagems of the LCS. Both men, through their connections with many prominent members of government, officials of the Empire, soldiers, politicians and leading journalists, were able to reach out and place their ideas into a much wider framework than that of the ordinary bureaucrat.

Around Bevan and Wingate was a small bureau of ingenious men. There was the first member of the LCS, Wing Commander Dennis

The LCS and Plan Jael ) 273 (

Wheatley, a leading British novelist and a student of crime and black magic whose best-sellers included The Eunuch of Stamboul, The Golden Spaniard and The Haunting of Toby Jugg. There were George Mallaby, who became High Commissioner in New Zealand; Harold Peteval, a millionaire soap manufacturer in peacetime and a leading intelligence officer in wartime; Derrick Morley, a financier and shipowner; James Arbuthnott, a luminary in the tea business. Then there was Professor Edward Neville da Costa Andrade, one of Britain's most illustrious scientists, and a man whose passion was, he said, "collecting old scientific books and useless knowledge." He had dreamed up the little crickets that Allied paratroopers would use to identify friend from foe in the dark, and his special sphere of interest was in using the tricks of science to deceive the enemy.

Sir Reginald Hoare, a banker as well as diplomat who knew most of the back streets of central and eastern European capitals, served as the LCS's link to the Foreign Office. The representative of the Pentagon was Lieutenant Colonel William H. Baumer, of Omaha, Nebraska, a product of Creighton and West Point. At Cairo, the LCS's interests were managed by Brigadier Dudley Clarke, the wealthy London solicitor whose work on Bertram had contributed to Rommel's defeat at Alamein. At Washington there were Lieutenant Colonel H. M. O'Connor, who was well known in Ireland as a racehorse owner, and Major Michael Bratby, the artist; and in India and Southeast Asia there was Colonel Peter Fleming, the author, journalist, ornithologist, and brother of Ian Fleming, the espionage novelist.

From this nucleus of men radiated connections to all the main military, intelligence and policy centers in the joint Anglo-American high commands. At COSSAC, the newly established planning headquarters for the invasion, deception was the responsibility of the Committee of Special Means, or Ops B, a subsection of the operations department. The chief British agencies which executed LCS stratagems were MI-6, MI-5 and the XX-Committee, PWE and the intelligence departments of the three main services. In the United States and in the American sphere of influence, the main agency used by the LCS and the CSM was the Joint Security Control, which in turn controlled the OSS, the FBI, the various American information agencies and the State Department. Thus, the structure of the LCS was such that a stone cast at Storey's Gate rippled in ever-widening circles—political, financial, civilian, diplomatic, scientific, military—until it became, according to Helmuth Greiner, OKW's historian, "waves of confusing deceptions." The LCS also had the means, when necessary, to place a deceptive message directly on Hitler's desk within one half hour of its origination at Churchill's headquarters—and it would do so on one memorable occasion during the invasion period.

In particular, the banks and the City of London played a definite if imperceptible role in both intelligence and deception; and Bevan and

) 274 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Menzies were placed well by class and family to use the immense but largely secret world of finance to the advantage of Allied strategy. Hitler, it was reasoned, was a revolutionary whose word could not be trusted and whose policy and actions boded no good—and much bad—for the institutions of world trade. With their centuries of experience, their belief that it does not matter what a man knows but whom he knows, with their myriad invisible connections linking the City and Wall Street with every capital in the world, with their interlocking families, committees, religions, with the very power and velocity of money and financial information on the move, the hierarchs of the financial world provided Bevan and Menzies with seductive conduits to the halls of rule in Berlin.

Perhaps the most important of the LCS's lines of influence, however, was through General Sir Hastings Ismay, Churchill's Chief of Staff and the Military Secretary to the Prime Minister, the War Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff. Ismay was a friend of both Bevan and Wingate, and he and Win-gate had grown up together in the service of the Crown in India. The son of the chief judge at Mysore, Ismay became a lieutenant with the 21st Cavalry, an expert in Arabic and Persian, a champion pigsticker, a veteran of small frontier wars, and a polished military diplomat. When Wingate became Political Secretary to the Viceroy of India, Ismay was Military Secretary. And when Ismay became a Secretary to the Committee of Imperial Defence, and then Churchill's Chief of Staff, he arranged for Wingate to come into the LCS. Ismay was, said Lord Moran, the Pepys at Churchill's court, the "perfect oil-can."

The members of the LCS were not concerned with the tactics of the war, nor with the execution of their deception schemes. Their task was wholly strategical, and their textbooks were the classics of history rather than of military science. Adam Smith was more frequently consulted than Vegetius; Procopius was their guide, not Frederick the Great. They had about them a certain Edwardian arrogance; they were men of intellect, charm, determination, ruthlessness and ambition. Their power was very meat, as those who crossed them discovered, and above all, they were secretive. They did not intend that their existence or function should ever become known. In this, of course, they failed, just as they would fail to survive as a class. But for the time being they, like Churchill, exerted an extraordinary and powerful influence on the direction of the war. Indeed, if Churchill had not been Prime Minister, he would have been a member of the LCS.

In the early months of 1943, the LCS was fully occupied with a major cover and deception operation. It was Plan Jael, Bevan and Wingate were its principal authors, and the object of the plan was "to induce the enemy to make faulty strategic dispositions in relation to operations by the United

The LCS and Plan Jael ) 275 (

Nations against Germany" prior to D-Day. There were two major components of the plan, both of which had been decided upon at Casablanca. The first, "Cockade," was intended to "contain the maximum enemy forces in western Europe and the Mediterranean area and thus discourage their transfer to the Russian front." The second was "Zeppelin," whose objective was to deceive Hitler into believing that, at the end of the Tunisian campaign, the Allies would not invade Sicily and Italy (the evident next step in Allied strategy) but rather would invade Greece and southern France. What, in effect, the Anglo-American high command required was that from Storey's Gate the LCS should conceal the movements of armies and fleets that existed in fact, and, at the same time, invent the movements of armies and fleets that did not exist at all.

Immense as this task would be, it was made simpler by several factors. First, it was evident from Ultra that the Germans did not have accurate knowledge of the strength and dispositions of the armies of the British Empire, although they knew much about those of the United States. OKW consistently overestimated British strength by as much as 20 to 30 per cent, and gave credit to the British for two armies in the Near East—the 9th and the 10th—that were little more than brigades. Second, from intelligence gained through Ultra and MI-6, through statements made by emissaries of the Schwarze Kapelle to the American and British governments, and through Russian estimates of Germany's order of battle, the strength and dispositions of the German armies were known in the greatest detail. These same sources also revealed how sensitive Hitler was to threats against the fringes of his empire: Norway; the Balkans and its "armpit," the Ljubljana Gap through the Julian Alps at the top of the Adriatic; the Aegean Islands, which Hitler regarded as the barbicans of southeastern Europe; and Turkey, who might abandon her neutrality in favor of the Allies. As important, it was soon realized at the LCS that Hitler's concept of military strategy made him especially vulnerable to feints. His whole thinking was geared to the principle of the territorial imperative; if he perceived a threat growing up at any point around Fortress Europe, his reaction was to speed reinforcements from his reserves. Thus, he might be lured into offending a fundamental military law: to try to be strong everywhere is to be weak everywhere.

Yet Hitler was not a strategical innocent. He was extraordinarily quick to spot a trick, but the LCS was aware that he was being badly served by his intelligence services. After his initial successes of 1940 and 1941, no potentate in history had more fallible "eyes and ears" than the Fuehrer. By 1943, the combined Anglo-American secret agencies had largely muzzled the Abwehr and the SD outside the borders of the German Empire. Hitler's cryptographic wireless intelligence services still worked well—in some cases, extremely well, particularly in the naval sphere. But superior Allied

) 276 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

wireless security systems, first introduced to hide the El Alamein offensive, successfully denied him an accurate and coordinated picture of Allied strengths and intentions. Further, his aerial reconnaissance services were, more often than not, restricted through Allied air superiority. As for his intelligence evaluation services, they were skilled and perceptive, but they suffered from two major defects; their sources of intelligence were unreliable and inaccurate, and even when they did manage to promulgate correct evaluations, Hitler tended to disregard them in favor of "trustworthy"—party—assessments. Nor did the German diplomatic services serve the Fuehrer well. Whatever sources of information he had in Britain and America were invariably under firm MI-5 or FBI control. And finally, there was always Ultra, which could be used to detect Hitler's reaction to any leak from the Allied camp.

The LCS had another major factor in its favor: the excellence of Britain's system of commercial, military and diplomatic communications. These global nets would enable the LCS to transmit its instructions on a fast, secure, reliable and synchronized basis. This meant, for example, that a story planted in diplomatic circles in Lisbon could be substantiated by a political move in Washington, a newspaper story from Stockholm, a military action along the Syrian-Turkish border, a calculated leak at Madrid, a rumor at Cairo, and the statement of a high commander at Delhi. Through these communications—communications constructed to control the Empire—Bevan had the means to ring his carillon at will.

But Bevan and the men of the LCS knew that their stratagems would work only if there was watertight security on the Allies' own secrets. It was fundamental to successful deception that there be discretion and consistency in everything that was said and done. An impetuous statement, a wrong move, a penetrated cipher—any one of a number of errors might serve to unmask a deception. If that occurred, the Germans could determine the truth from the substance of the falsehood, make a correct disposal of their forces and surprise the Allies. To ensure security, the truth of Allied intentions could only be made known to an extremely small group of Allied commanders. In short, it would sometimes be necessary to mislead a friend in order to deceive the enemy.

The success of a deception also demanded the most meticulous obedience to the LCS's directives by all the personalities and agencies involved; and this, the LCS would find, was not so easily achieved, particularly with the Americans. On several important occasions, Americans, who could sometimes be told nothing of the reasons for their orders, questioned and even ignored them. It was a problem that would most often occur with American field operatives on the lower rungs. Although at the top the executives of the Allied secret agencies were united in the single objective Of defeating the German secret agencies, at the lower levels they were

fFf

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

The London Controlling Section, the secret organization founded by Churchill to plan the stratagems that would leave Hitler "puzzled as well as beaten." (From I to r.) Major Derrick Morley, Major Noel Gordon Clark, Major Harold Petavel, Lieutenant Lady Jane Pleydell-Bouverie, Colonel John H. Bevan (the Controller of Deception), Wing Commander Dennis Wheatley (RAF), Colonel Sir Ronald E. L. Wingate (Bevan's deputy), Commander James Arbuthnott (RN) and Commander Alan Finter (RN) are seated around the Dancing Faun, the Greco-Roman figurine emblematic of their work.

Bodyguard of lies

General Sir Stewart Graham Menzies, the chief of MI-6, pictured in retirement after the war. His access to German secrets through Ultra, and through the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle, enabled him to wage an unconventional and supremely successful brand of clandestine warfare.

Squadron Leader Frederick W. Win-terbotham, deputy chief of MI-6 in charge ol I fltra security and dissemination. I he rigid security procedures instituted by MI-6 and the Anglo-American high command concealed

Ultra's existence tor more than thirty

years.

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Churchill inspects the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, only one of the many sacri flees made to protect the security of Ultra.

Bodyguard of lies

Admiral Wilhclm Canaris, the chief of the Abwehr (/.), and his rival Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the SD (/-.)• The British engineered Heydrich's assassination, but Canaris, a member of the Schwarze Kapelle, was considered "far more valuable" alive.

Genera] I udwig Heck, one-time chief of the German Genera] Staff and leader ol the group thai plotted to kill

Hitler.

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Churchill and Roosevelt at Casablanca in January 1943. For all the outward show of unity, the principal planners of America and Britain, General George C. Marshall (r.) and General Sir Alan Brooke (seated 3rd from r.), advocated strategies for the defeat of Germany as different as football and cricket.

Genera] Sir Colin McVean Gubbins, chief o\ the Special Operations Executive, the clandestine organization founded by Churchill with the command to "set Europe ablaze."

Bodyguard of lies

' Del Maurice I. Buckmaster. chief

)] French section, the man

whose job was to arm and organize the

resistance movement in Cjcrman-occu-

pied \ r.ir [

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Major Francis Suttill, whose SOE code name was "Prosper." The reasons for Prosper's capture and the collapse of his network, among the most important underground organizations in France in 1943, remain one of the war's most tragic mysteries.

Bodyguard of lies

Noor Inayat Khan, the Indian princess sent to Paris as an SOE agent in 1943. Her carelessness was exceeded only by her bravery after she was captured by the Germans.

Henri Dericourt, the secret agent who played one of the war's most dangerous games of deception, shown here on trial for treason in postwar Paris.

Philippe Keun, co-chief of Jade Amicol, the MI-6 reseau in Paris, photographed in various disguises he used in his work as a spy before being captured and killed by the Germans.

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Colonel Claude Arnould, co-chief of Jade Amicol, and Sister Henriette Frede, the Mother Superior of the Convent of St. Agonie, shown in a photograph taken after the war. The convent was used as an MI-6 headquarters in Paris.

The Convent of St. Agonie as it appeared after the war. It was here that Admiral Canaris came just before the invasion in a last desperate attempt to avert the looming catastrophe for Germany.

Bodyguard of lies

'x

Bodyguard of lies

V

Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Teheran in December of 1943 when the triumvirs oi the Grand Alliance finally decided upon a common military and deception strategy in the war against Hitler. It was here that Churchill told Stalin: "In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

Bodyguard of lies

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the virtually unknown and untested American who was chosen to command the decisive action of the Second World War in Europe—D-Day. His grin, it was said, was worth an army.

Bodyguard of lies

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the legendary Desert Fox who commanded the armies that opposed the Allied invasion, photographed as he inspects the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall.

Bodyguard of lies

.a damned close-run thing-the closest-run thing you ever saw your life."

Bodyguard of lies

Hitler and the German high command inspecting a map of the invasion area just after D-Day. Although Hitler thought of himself as a military strategist of a new kind, he was defeated by tricks as old as war itself.

General Omar N. Bradley and General Sir Bernard Montgomery confer on a strategy to break the stalemate in Normandy.

Bodyguard of lies

General G Patton, whose role

m cover and deception operations was as successful as his military campaigns.

Bodyguard of lies

Bodyguard of lies

Colonel Klaus Count von Stauffenberg, the staff officer so badly maimed in the North African campaign that he had difficulty setting the charge on the bomb that nearly took Hitler's life.

Field Marshal Guenther von Kluge, whose dalliance with treason might have led to the overthrow of the Nazi Party and the surrender of the German armies in the West instead of to his own suicide.

Bodyguard of lies

Hitler and Mussolini survey the blasted hut at Rastenburg, the scene of the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944.

Bodyguard of lies

Commandant Henri Bourgoin, "Lc Manchot," the one-armed man, leading the men of the "Battalion ol Heaven" down the Champs-Elysees in celebration of the liberation of Paris.

The LCS and Plan Jael ) 277 (

sometimes at dangerous odds. There were, in some cases, intense rivalries between the secret agents of different governments, and even between operatives of the secret agencies of the same government.

Agents were sent into the field to serve not only the general interests of the Allies, but also the special interests of their governments. More often than not—particularly where British and Russian agents were embroiled— these interests did not coincide. Nowhere was this conflict more pronounced than in the Balkans and the Middle East, particularly in Turkey, where the British and Russian governments had been at odds for centuries. It was in this area that the main stratagems of Zeppelin would be played out —at the very moment when British agents were struggling to preserve British hegemony in the area, and Russian agents were intriguing to destroy that influence and supplant it. At the same time, British agents of left-wing convictions worked with the Russians against the Americans while American agents worked with the Russians against the British. And in one singular instance a British agent was discovered to be working with the Germans against the Russians and the Americans—a lonely man fighting the lost cause of old Europe. In all, the LCS acknowledged that it was dealing with a snakes'-nest world where the safest policy was secrecy and silence.

Thus, the LCS began the extraordinarily dangerous and intricate game called Plan Jael. Essentially, it was a very 7 British game—seeking great victories with small means and good brains. The object of the game for the LCS, and particularly for men like Bevan and Wingate, was not only the defeat of Hitler; it was also the preservation of the Empire and of Britain as a world leader. Who could foresee that in winning a great victor}- over the most proficient military machine in the world, the LCS and the secret bureaus of England would be unable to preserve the very entity they were sworn to maintain—the power of London? That was the vast irony of the secret war.

Bodyguard of lies

Mincemeat

On May 23, 1943, Hitler directed that a map of the Balkans be laid out on the map table at Fuhrerhauptquartier at Rastenburg and, putting on his presbyopic spectacles, declared: "One has to be on the watch like a spider in its web. Thank God I've always had a pretty good nose for everything so that I can generally smell things out before they happen." Then he added: "It is really of decisive importance that we hold the Balkans: copper, bauxite, chrome and most important of all to ensure that ... we don't have what I would call a complete crash there." Pointing to the Golden Horn, the narrow Turkish waterway linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and dividing Europe from Asia, Hitler declared: "Here is where the decisive events will take place." And, he said, "If the worst comes to the worst," OKW "must milk" the Russian front of "even more" divisions to prevent a successful Allied invasion in the area.

What was there about the Balkans—a name derived from the Turkish words for "the mountains"—that transfixed Hitler? There was, of course, the ancient and recurrent German dream of Drang nach Osten —an empire in Arabia and beyond into Africa and India. Of more immediate importance were the raw materials of the area, Rumania's oil in particular. And there was the historical pattern of British strategy. As Major F. W. Deakin, a British agent in the Balkans during the Second World War and later the Warden of St. Antony's College, Oxford, would observe:

... the shadow of the Dardanelles and the Macedonian campaign lay heavily across (Hitler's) thinking. It was inconceivable to him that Churchill could not be obsessed by the desire to prove in 1943 the validity of his grand strategy of 1915, of a decisive assault against enemy occupied Europe from the South-East. This was the central fear of the Fuehrer, which now coloured his planning against the Western Allies, often in defiance of the appreciations of his military experts.

) 278 (

Mincemeat ) 279 (

Allied strategists were aware of Hitler's fears for the Balkans. But, by the time the Axis armies in Tunisia surrendered to the Anglo-American armies in May of 1943, it had already been decided at Casablanca that the next step toward Europe would be Sicily. And when, on June 11, 1943, the Allies captured the small island of Pantelleria, it might have seemed at OKW that the Allies' intentions were crystal clear. As Churchill said: "Anybody but a damned fool would know that it was Sicily." What could be done to mislead Hitler? There was, it was decided, only one thing to do: play upon his probable conviction that Sicily was too obvious a target and that the Allies were planning extensive landings on other parts of the southern littoral of Europe. To cloak "Husky," as the invasion of Sicily was cryptogrammed, Hitler must be led to believe that the Allies intended to invade two places: Greece in preparation for a thrust through the Balkans, and Sardinia as a jumping-ofl point for an invasion of southern France. Thus the LCS began to plan a deception campaign to make it appear that Churchill's strategy in 1943 would be the same as it had been in 1915—the Allies were indeed raising a knife to slide through "the soft underbelly of Europe." When its plans matured, as they did in June 1943, the LCS had produced a ruse that was the equal of any of the great stratagems of history. It was codenamed "Trojan Horse," after the most famous of history's great deceptions, and its main component was called "Mincemeat."

When the war was over, Mincemeat would become celebrated as one of the most ingenious and original stratagems of the war. Ingenious it was. but, in essence, the idea behind Mincemeat was merely a variant of an old device: playing false papers into the enemy's hands in order to lead him to do something to his own disadvantage. The same game has been played in war and peace for centuries, but it achieved one of its greatest successes at the hands of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen and Brigadier Archibald Wavell during the British campaign in Arabia against the Turks and the Germans in the First World War. And its success had consequences that would ultimately shape the course of the second great world conflict. Churchill's interest in the stratagem had led him to study deception as a practicable instrument of modern warfare. It had also inspired Wavell, who would rise to the highest ranks of the British military hierarchy, to write the memorandum to Churchill that resulted in the formation of the LCS. Moreover, its memory would lead Wingate, whose father had been one of the men behind Meinertzhagen, to recommend that a similar ruse be tried in the case of Husky, and Mincemeat would bear many striking similarities to the Meinertzhagen operation. But its influence did not end there, for it was the prototype for the deceptions used by Wavell against the Italians in North Africa, and for Plan Bertram, which gained surprise for Montgomery at El

) 280 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Alamein. To a certain extent, it would also be the model for the cover operations for D-Day itself.

When General Sir Edmund Allenby became C-in-C of the Imperial army in the Sinai Desert in 1917, the front had been stalemated. Commander after commander had tried to break the Turco-German line on the stony and waterless desert at Gaza, but all attacks had failed. Allenby decided to attempt what he knew the German commander of the enemy forces thought to be impossible: envelop the enemy with a cavalry sweep launched through the Turco-Germans' lightly defended inland flank at Beersheba, where the going for cavalry was so daunting that neither friend nor foe had tried it. Meinertzhagen was an intelligence officer on Allenby's staff, Wavell was on the General Staff of a cavalry brigade, and it was their task to provide cover for this operation. Their first move was to liquidate the Germans' espionage system in the desert and prevent all Turco-German aerial reconnaissance of the front. This they did successfully. Then, to persuade the German commander, General Kress von Kressenstein, that Allenby would attack again at Gaza, and that all movement in the area of Beersheba was only a feint, Meinertzhagen planned his ruse de guerre. Here, the tasks were twofold: to play contrived documents into the enemy's hands to support this stratagem and then, in the second stage, to provide the enemy's cryptanalytical section with corroborative evidence.

Meinertzhagen decided to plant the documents himself, and he compiled a false staff officer's notebook to suggest that the Beersheba movements were only a feint, and that D-Day for the attack at Gaza would be some weeks later than the date actually set for the offensive. The notebook was placed in a haversack together with <£ 20 in notes—a tidy sum in those days—to give the impression that its loss was not intentional. And to give additional credence to the "plant," Meinertzhagen had a letter written purporting to have come from the officer's wife announcing the birth of their son. A second letter suggested correspondence between two British staff officers complaining about Allenby's rudeness and ambition—and revealing that the original plan for an attack against Gaza at the end of October, the actual D-Day, had been replaced by a new plan for an offensive in mid-November. Meinertzhagen also falsified an agenda of a GHQ conference that tended to confirm this gossip, and finally he included a fairly valuable cipher in the haversack. In all, the documents were of a type that a staff officer on reconnaissance might easily carry.

On October 10, 1917, Meinertzhagen, carrying the haversack, rode out into no-man's-land between the British and German lines in search of a Turkish patrol. He soon found one, and when he came under fire, he dropped the haversack and made off back to his own lines. He also

Mincemeat ) 281 (

dropped his field glasses, water bottle and rifle to make it appear that his flight had been disorderly, and as an extra touch, to suggest that he had abandoned the haversack because he was too weak to carry it further, he had previously stained it with blood let from one of his horse's minor veins. The Turks retrieved the haversack and it quickly found its way to German headquarters.

Then Meinertzhagen played his second card. He assumed that the enemy would use the cipher discovered in the haversack to decrypt traffic from the British wireless station, which was mounted at the top of the 450-foot-high Khufu Pyramid at Giza. This is exactly what happened and Meinertzhagen began systematically to feed the enemy false information. First he arranged for a signal to be sent from GHQ ordering a most urgent search for the lost haversack. He arranged for another signal complaining about his lack of care in losing the haversack and demanding his immediate court-martial. Then he sent a third signal in the planted cipher ordering "Colonel R. Meinertzhagen, Desert Mounted Corps, to report to GHQ for a court of inquiry. This officer will be returned to duty in time for the attack on November 14, 1917." Finally, other signals were exchanged in the cipher suggesting that no offensive could be undertaken before November 14—the false D-Day—because Allenby had gone on leave and would not return until the 7th. And again, as an extra touch, the C-in-C of the Desert Mounted Corps and his staff were invited to a race meeting in Cairo on the 14th. To give credence to this last signal, posters were put up all over Cairo announcing the race meeting, the Egyptian Gazette published the form, and marquees were erected on the course.

Meanwhile, British wireless intelligence showed that the enemy was accepting the ruse de guerre and was making new dispositions. It was time for Meinertzhagen's trump card. Aware that the Turks were extremely short of cigarettes, he had manufactured some 120,000 packets that contained opium. While Allenby secretly and silently transferred his cavalry from Gaza to Beersheba—leaving behind 15,000 "horses" of straw and canvas, and creating wireless traffic to make it appear that the cavalry was still at Gaza—the Royal Flying Corps dropped the cigarettes over the enemy lines. When the dawn bombardment opened up at Beersheba on October 30, 1917, and 15,000 cavalrymen rose out of the wadis and attacked the city, the Turks were sound asleep. They were too doped to destroy the Beersheba wells, and the Imperial cavalry turned their line and rolled it up into the sea toward Gaza. Then Allenby attacked at Gaza, the Turks collapsed, and by November 15, the Imperial army was in the Judean Hills marching upon Jerusalem. On December 9, 1917, as Meinertzhagen recorded, Allenby marched into Jerusalem, "once and for all to evict the Turk from the sacred places of Christianity."

) 282 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Such was the ingenuity of Meinertzhagen's stratagem. But a generation later, for the purposes of Mincemeat, it had to be considerably refined. It was proposed, first of all, to conceal an "obvious" offensive, not an "impossible" one—a much more difficult task. And in the second place, in modern warfare the means that can be used to separate fact from fiction had become extremely sophisticated. Any false information planted on the enemy would have to be resistant to the most penetrating forensic inquiry. This time a bloodstained haversack would not suffice; the vehicle for the deception had to be authentic.

The solution to this last problem was originally suggested by Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu of Section 17F at the Admiralty—the department of naval intelligence responsible for maintaining liaison with the deception agencies. Montagu was the son of Lord Swaythling, one of the British Jewish banking barons. He had received an international education at Westminster, Harvard and Trinity, he was a King's Counsel, and would become one of England's great jurists: Recorder of Devizes, Judge Advocate of the Fleet, Bencher of the Middle Temple, Recorder of London, chairman of the Hampshire Quarter Sessions. And he was one of the best fly fishermen in the realm. It was through a discussion between Montagu and Squadron Leader Sir Archibald Cholmondley, an expert in antiques who was Montagu's counterpart at the Air Ministry, that a new element was added to an old stratagem, an element worthy of Meinertz-hagen himself. As Montagu later proposed to the XX-Committee: "Why shouldn't we get a body, disguise it as a staff officer, and give him really high-level papers which will show clearly that we are going to attack somewhere (other than Sicily)."

Thus was born the idea of "The Man Who Never Was." And after many meetings the plan was finally approved by Churchill, Eisenhower, the Combined Chiefs at Washington, and the Chiefs of Staff at London. The object of the plan was to plant a briefcase containing documents on the Germans that would lead them to conclude the Allies intended to invade Sardinia and Greece, not Sicily. A corpse would be the vehicle for the deception; and it would be set adrift from a submarine near Huelva in Spain, where the Abwehr was known to have an agent with good connection with the Spaniards. There was much in favor of the plan. The German intelligence network in Spain was known to be hasty and superficial in its operations. The documents found on the body of the French officer Glamorgan had, for example, been rushed to Berlin with only a cursory investigation of their authenticity. But there were serious risks, too. The Germans had discounted the Clamorgan documents as fakes even though they, and the circumstances of Glamorgan's death, were real. Might they not do the same, no matter how cleverly the deception was fabricated? Or if they saw through the deception for some other reason, the Germans might establish

the truth by reading the evidence in reverse. In that case, they might assemble all available strength to repulse the Sicilian attack, or cause the Anglo-American high command to abandon Husky altogether. Deception, while an intriguing weapon, was also a double-edged one.

The XX-Committee, however, decided to take the risk and began to look for the corpse of a man who had died from pneumonia and would have water in his lungs. Thus if a postmortem were performed on the body it would appear to be the victim of drowning at sea. Such a corpse was soon obtained from Mr. Bentley Purchase, the Pickwickian coroner for London, although with less ease than might be thought in wartime. It lay in the mortuary in Horseferry Road, around the corner from MI-6 headquarters, a chapel-like building designed in the "Victorian-Early-Christian-Byzantine" style, reeking of Lysol, embalming fluid, and death.

The parents of the dead man were then approached and, although they were not told why the corpse was wanted, their permission to use it for "special medical purposes'' was obtained. The parents made only one condition: that the name of the corpse must never be revealed. This led to considerable speculation about the family's identity. While Wingate would later say that he believed the corpse to have been that of a derelict alcoholic who had been found beneath the arches of Charing Cross Bridge dying from pneumonia, Brooke said he believed the corpse was that of a professional gardener. Another story was that he was the wastrel brother of an MP. All Montagu, who had charge of the corpse, would say was that "the body was that of a young man in his early thirties. He had not been very physically fit for some time before his death, but we could accept that for. as I said to a senior officer who queried the point, "He does not have to look like an officer—only like a staff officer." "

The corpse was packed in dry ice, placed in a cylinder, and taken by van to the XX-Committee's offices over a music publisher's in Regent Street. The Committee gave it a name: "Captain (acting Major) William Martin, 09560, Royal Marines, a star! officer at Combined Operations Headquarters." But a name was not enough; Martin had to have an identity—and a personality. And so the XX-Committee fabricated both. using the same device Meinertzhagen had used, personal letters. M had an overdraft at his bank, and a politely dunning letter from Lloyds Bank was obtained and included with his other papers. He had just become engaged and carried a bill for the ring, purchased on credit from S. J. Phillips, the international jewelers of Bond Street. And to prove that a fiancee really existed, a woman secretary on Montagu's staff provided the corpse with two "love letters.'*

Additional letters were fabricated from Martin's father and from the family's solicitors, all carefully dated and each confirming details mentioned in the others. Equal care was taken with the items that would be

) 284 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

found on Martin's person, with special attention paid to the dates on receipted bills and ticket stubs. The corpse was to sail on April 19, 1943, and was due to be launched into the sea off Huelva on April 29-30. But since Martin was supposed to have gone down in an airplane, and because the XX-Committee wanted the Germans to think the body had been floating at sea for four or five days—to cover the degree of decomposition by this time—bills and ticket stubs indicated that he had not left London until April 24.

These small deceptions, however, were only to give credence to the major deception: the documents that Martin would carry which revealed that the Allies were indeed preparing for an invasion of Sicily—but only as a cover for invasions of Sardinia and Greece. The most important of these was a falsified personal letter from General Archibald Nye, the Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff, to General Sir Harold Alexander, the commander under Eisenhower who would execute Husky. This and other letters and documents that tended to support the fiction were put in Martin's briefcase.

As a final consideration, it was certainly possible that the Germans would wonder why a man who was only an acting major would be entrusted with such important papers. Martin had to be given a credible status, and here Lord Louis Mountbatten made the subscription. In a personal letter to the C-in-C Mediterranean, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, which was also put in the briefcase, Lord Louis declared that Martin was an expert in the employment of landing craft, and: "He is quiet and shy at first, but he really knows his stuff. He was more accurate than some of us about the probable run of events at Dieppe and he has been well in on the experiments with the latest barges and equipment which took place up in Scotland. Let me have him back, please, as soon as the assault is over." Then, with a little hint of the bogus target, Sardinia, Mountbatten concluded: "He might bring some sardines with him. . . ." They were, said Mountbatten, rationed in Britain. Altogether, it was a pretty trick; every clue was neatly in place. But would the Germans fall for it?

At six o'clock in the evening of April 19, 1943, operation Mincemeat got under way. Major Martin left his homeland aboard the submarine HMS Seraph, and just before dawn on April 30, off the Spanish coast at Huelva, an old Moorish fishing town in the Gulf of Cadiz, Seraph surfaced. Major Martin, still in his container, was brought up on deck as the submarine heaved in the gentle swell. The container was opened and the corpse was removed; the briefcase containing the falsified documents had been securely attached to the body by a chain. A crewman blew up Martin's lifejackct and the corpse was put gently into the water. The wash of the screws drove the body toward the shore as Seraph made out to sea. The

Mincemeat ) 285 (

container was sunk with a burst of machine-gun fire at close range, and then the submarine submerged.

Major Martin was found floating just after dawn that same day. A fisherman saw the corpse, hauled it aboard his little craft, and took it into the port. The briefcase was still attached to the body by its chain, and the corpse was placed in the care of the Armada. A little later, the British vice-consul at Huelva, who knew nothing of the plot, was informed by the Spanish naval office in the town. In turn, the consul telephoned the news to Captain J. H. Hillgarth, the British naval attache at Madrid, requesting instructions. Hillgarth, who had been informed of the stratagem, asked the vice-consul to be sure that the briefcase was retrieved unopened and intact. When^the vice-consul asked the Spaniards for the briefcase, he was told that it had been retained for judicial purposes. But the leak had already begun, for at the same time the Spanish informed the British, the local Abwehr official was also informed. While a Spanish doctor examined the corpse and certified that it was that of a British officer who had died by drowning after an air crash, the Abwehr official busied himself photocopying the documents.

From Madrid, with carefully calculated insistence, Hillgarth increased his pressure for the return of the briefcase—a fact that was reported to the Abwehr. And in London, the Casualty Section of the Commissions and Warrants Branch of the Admiralty posted among others killed in the period April 29-30, 1943, the name of "Temporary Captain (acting Major) William Martin, Royal Marines." Major Martin's death was also included in the casualty list published in The Times on June 4—a list that, by chance, contained the names of two officers who had actually lost their lives in an air crash at sea in the same area.

Meanwhile at Huelva, Major Martin was buried with full military honors. His "fiancee" sent a wreath to the funeral, with a heartbroken card of remembrance, and the British vice-consul sent Major Martin's family some photographs of the Spanish naval party firing a salute at the graveside. Eventually, a tombstone, of plain white marble, was put up by the vice-consul. Its inscription read:

William Martin

Born 29th March, 1907

Beloved son of John Glyndwyr Martin and

the late Antonia Martin of Cardiff, Wales

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

R.I.P.

The Abwehr representative in Huelva lost no time in notifying Berlin of his lucky find; and in cooperation with the Armada, he practiced a small

) 286 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

deception of his own. The letters and documents were carefully returned to the briefcase in their original condition, for if the British suspected that they had fallen into enemy hands, they would surely alter or postpone the operations that had been revealed. The briefcase was eventually returned to the British through the Spanish Foreign Office. But photocopies of the documents were sent to Berlin for evaluation and the Abwehr representative was queried for further details. Since the Turing engine could decrypt at least part of the Abwehr's traffic, much of the signals flow was read by the Chiefs of Staff and the LCS. It must have been read with gratification, for the Abwehr representative reported in detail on the contents of the briefcase and their condition, but did not question their authenticity. He read the clues of the receipted bills and the dated letters exactly as the Mincemeat planners hoped he would, and as far as he was concerned, all the pieces fitted together perfectly. He added, however, that the Armada was making further inquiries about the pilot of the downed aircraft and the fate of any other passengers.

Mincemeat was off to a good start. But further evaluation was in the hands of Colonel Baron von Roenne, chief of Fremde Heere West. Roenne, too, was convinced of the authenticity of the documents, and his appreciation of their contents followed the false information contained in Nye's letter to Alexander almost to the word. The Allies were preparing major operations against Sardinia and the Peloponnesus, combined with a feint against Sicily. There followed a series of further reports and evaluations, and while some concern was expressed that the loss of the documents would cause the Allies to change their plans, all agreed that it seemed quite certain that they intended to move in force against targets in the eastern and western Mediterranean—not against Sicily. Major Martin had done his work well. Mincemeat was a success.

Just how successful the deception was would be revealed by later events. The false documents began to infect Hitler's strategical thinking— for he had not the slightest doubt that they were genuine—at a time of great crisis in the affairs of the Pact of Steel. The Anglo-American armies had begun their final offensive to destroy Heeregruppe Afrika in Tunisia and would soon be ready for their next offensive. But where? And as the corpse of Major Martin floated ashore, Hitler was preparing for what would be the greatest tank battle in history—the Battle of Kursk. After the holocaust of the winter of 1942-43, he had only just enough panzer power left for the Kursk offensive, without having to face a new threat along the southern walls of Fortress Europe. He could not spare a single man or a single tank from the Russian front, yet he was convinced by the Mincemeat documents that he was confronted with a perilous situation in the Mediterranean—and particularly the Balkans. He had voiced his concern in a letter to Mussolini in which he said he was not worried about a Second

Mincemeat ) 287 (

Front in the West in 1943. He was troubled about the Balkans. There, he said:

'I regard the situation . . . with the gravest concern.' This was the historic invasion route into the heart of Europe. . . . An enemy landing in the area, backed by local nationalist and Communist uprisings, might lead to . . . the worst nightmare of all, to the exposing of the German southern flank in the East and an eventual gigantic turning movement—a joint Anglo-American-Russian enterprise—into Germany itself.

Until now, the Balkans had been mainly garrisoned by Italians. The Italian high command maintained thirty-three divisions to keep Greece, the islands, Yugoslavia, and Albania secure; while German forces in Greece and Yugoslavia, as of December 1, 1942, consisted only of one corps of six divisions, including the elite 7th SS Prinz Eugen Mountain Division, and a paratroop division in "Fortress Crete"—the island dominating the Aegean. But how dependable was Italy as an ally? The SD had just uncovered evidence of a royalist plot in Rome to overthrow Mussolini and surrender to America and Britain. The discovery caused a major crisis in Hitler's strategical thinking at the very moment he was balancing the needs of the Kursk offensive against those implied by the threats in the Mincemeat papers. If Italy did surrender, Hitler would have to find fresh forces to replace the thirty-three Italian divisions in the Balkans theater—to say nothing of the ten Italian divisions in Russia.

As Hitler and OKW debated the problem, the LCS added to their apprehensions with other deceptions. A second corpse was washed up on the seashore near Cagliari, the main town on Sardinia, and was found to carry documents indicating that the man, who was in British Commando uniform, had been part of a small unit reconnoitering the Sardinian coast. The corpse was another "plant," carried out by submarine to reinforce the Sardinian threat contained in Major Martin's letters.

The LCS did not, however, rely solely on corpses to spread misinformation. For some time, LCS agents had been planting false intelligence about Allied plans and military movements on the Spanish ambassador at London, Jacobo Maria del Pilar Carlos Manuel Fitz-James Stuart, 10th Duke of Alba. The sixty-five-year-old Spanish grandee was an anglophile and a member of the London Establishment who was very closely connected with the Prime Minister and his entourage. The same claim could not be made for the Spanish Foreign Minister, Count Francisco Gomez Jordana, who regularly submitted the ambassador's reports on the British scene to the German ambassador at Madrid. This fact was known to MI-5 and to the LCS, and they did not hesitate to use this conduit into the heart of the German Foreign Ministry for deceptive purposes. So it was that the German ambassador at Madrid, Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff, warned Berlin that

) 288 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

the Allies were preparing to attack Greece, not Italy. His information came from "a wholly reliable source"—Jordana.

Hitler was at last compelled to act. In a directive dated May 12, 1943, he ordered measures that were virtually a summary of the Mincemeat documents:

Following the impending end of fighting in Tunisia, it is to be expected that the Anglo-Americans will try to continue the operations in the Mediterranean in quick succession. Preparations for this purpose must in general be considered concluded. The following are most endangered: in the Western Mediterranean, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily: in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Peloponnese and the Dodecanese islands.

I expect that all German commands and offices which are concerned with the defences in the Mediterranean will co-operate very closely and quickly to utilize all forces and equipment to strengthen as much as possible the defences in these particularly endangered areas during the short time which is probably left to us. Measures regarding Sardinia and the Peloponnese take precedence over everything else.

OKW quickly attended to the despatch of commanders and units to the threatened areas. Field Marshal Rommel was sent to Athens to form an army group there. The Reichsfiihrer SS Brigade was sent to Sardinia, and one panzer division was detached from the German army in France and sent in 160 trains on the 7-day journey to Greece. Hitler also sanctioned the withdrawal of two panzer divisions from the Russian front and their preparation for the 320-train, 9Vi-day journey to Greece. Again the Fuehrer had been let down by his intelligence services at a decisive time in the history of the Third Reich. The rivalry between the Abwehr and the SD made the cool, logical appreciations which help win battles and wars quite impossible. Moreover, to add to the confusion generated by the Mincemeat papers, there occurred, at precisely the moment when they were found, a catastrophe at Abwehr headquarters. The Abwehr's treachery, so long suspected by the SD, was suddenly proven. Part of the Abwehr executive was swept away into jail, leaving that vast organization in confusion at a time when Hitler needed every ounce of good intelligence he could get. With the Abwehr floundering, the SD was not, as yet, geared properly for large-scale foreign intelligence activities, and its appreciation of Allied intentions in the Mediterranean served to aggravate Hitler's fears for the Balkans. Had the Abwehr been fully operational, and not watching over its shoulder for signs of the Gestapo, Mincemeat and the other deceptions surrounding Husky might have been detected or, at the least, suspected. But they were not.

As Field Marshal Rommel established his headquarters in Greece, so the Allies, on the night of July 9/10, 1943, landed in Sicily. Again surprise was complete at Hitler's headquarters. Sicily was quickly conquered by the

Mincemeat ) 289 (

armies of Montgomery and General George C. Patton, and the traditional nightmare of the German General Staff—the encirclement of the Reich so that no one could be sure from which point the Fatherland's enemies would strike next—was at hand. The Allies had not invaded the Balkans . . . this time. Might they not do so in the future? The lesson of Hitler's compulsive response to Mincemeat was not lost on the Allied planners, and maintaining realistic threats against "the soft underbelly of Europe" would become a cornerstone of the cover and deception plans surrounding D-Day. Mincemeat was only one of those threats, and its ingenuity and later fame would tend to obscure othe r no less ingenious stratagems that were devised to lure German forces into the Balkans—stratagems that would deceive not only Hitler but history itself.

Bodyguard of lies

Quebec

As the Allied armies moved to complete the conquest of Sicily in August of 1943, General Brooke and General Marshall met in the Chateau Frontenac at Quebec for another serious confrontation. It was the third such conference in 1943—the first at Casablanca in January, the second at Washington in May—and still the Allies had not agreed upon a strategy for the invasion and liberation of Europe.

The war in the West was going well for the Grand Alliance. The Germans had been badly tricked by Mincemeat over Sicily; Mussolini had been arrested and Italy seemed about to ask for terms; the Germans were on the retreat in Russia; the Combined Bomber Offensive mounted in power and violence each day; the U-boat had been defeated in the North Atlantic. But for all the satisfaction at these victories, the Americans and Britons who gathered at the conference table in the great Gothic-style hotel overlooking the St. Lawrence had yet to resolve a basic difference in their concepts of waging war.

Brooke continued to insist that an invasion across the Channel was not an intelligent act of war until Germany's strength was dissipated by indirect strategy and tactics—peripheral warfare, bombing, economic and political warfare, subversion, sabotage, deception, and the generation of revolution within the Nazi empire. Marshall, on the other hand, still believed as he had done before Dieppe that the only way Germany could be defeated was by a power punch across the Channel, the direct engagement by the Allied armies of the German army in a massive battle, and the destruction of that army in detail. But behind the strategical disagreements a fundamental political controversy had emerged; it was the question not only of how the war should be fought and won, but also why.

Ever since the earliest days of the war, Marshall and his advisers had tried to establish why Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff appeared to accept their demands for a cross-Channel attack, and then, through clever

) 290 (

Quebec ) 291 (

diplomacy, talked them into operations in the Mediterranean that could only delay that attack, while the burden of the land battle in Europe was left to the Russians. Among Marshall's most influential advisers was General Stanley D. Embick, the former Chief of the War Plans Division and former Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Army. An elder statesman and kingmaker in the American military hierarchy, Embick, both in person and through his son-in-law, General Albert C. Wedemeyer, the Chief of the U.S. Strategy and Policy Group, was a powerful voice in shaping American military plans; and in November 1942, he undertook the task, with Wedemeyer, of assessing the truth behind the rococo personality and oratory of Churchill. In a paper that was at once ugly and cynical, Embick wrote that the British had not deviated in more than a century from their efforts to maintain the balance of power in Europe; and he contended that it was Britain's intention "to delay Germany's defeat until military attrition and civilian famine had materially reduced Russia's potential toward Europe." Extended operations in the Mediterranean served the treble purpose of marking time with a minimum expenditure of British resources, of dispersing and diverting German forces, and of ensuring British presence in the area in the postwar world. In short, Embick, Wedemeyer and many other Americans believed as Stalin did: that Britain, whatever the cost to the Grand Alliance, was fighting primarily for the preservation of the Empire.

It was an assessment that may have been close to the truth. But, in fact, the American policy makers were far from unanimous in their commitment to the rapid defeat of Germany. American troops and shipping scheduled to arrive in Britain for the pre-invasion build-up were being diverted to the Pacific. A plan was afoot to present MacArthur to the American electorate as a presidential candidate in 1944, and victories in the Pacific were required to increase his stature to the point where he would be uncontestable. There was the ever-present danger that America might decide to abandon the "Europe first" policy of the Grand Alliance and seek the defeat of Japan, while in Europe, Britain, Germany and Russia were left to slug it out alone.

At the Trident Conference at Washington in May, Brooke and Marshall, as the spokesmen for conflicting strategies that could be traced beyond their own personal views to a divergence in the political aims of their separate nations, had once again tried to iron out their differences. They had achieved a compromise. America had renewed its commitment to the early defeat of Germany, Britain its commitment to a cross-Channel attack in the spring of 1944. But the question of further operations in the Mediterranean, after the invasion and conquest of Sicily, was left in doubt. Also unanswered was the question of which of the two military leaders— Brooke or Marshall—would be chosen as the Supreme Commander for the

) 292 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

great expedition—and which of their governments would thereby lead the postwar world. Brooke, testy, birdlike, quick, the staff college professional, was probably the more clever; and it was this very cleverness that rankled Marshall. He was aware that Brooke was usually able to outwit him, and he had recently heard Senator Arthur Vandenberg state before a Senate subcommittee that he and some of his fellow senators were "disturbed" because the Americans were "not as united" as the British, and because the British "usually ended up on top"; Vandenberg was uneasy "about who makes our decisions and how, and about the British dominion." Although at this stage of the war the armed forces of Great Britain in the European and Mediterranean theaters were stronger and larger than those of the United States, it could not be long before American strength became preponderant. Since it was a general rule that the nation which supplied the most troops also supplied the command and the policy, Marshall was resolved to make an end to British domination of the conference table—and of the war.

When Churchill and Brooke arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, aboard the Queen Mary, they brought with them 250 delegates, advisers, typists, clerks, a portable map room, and the Special Information Centre in which there were, as at Casablanca, British position papers for every contingency and intelligence, including Ultra, to back those papers. The British, as usual, had come well prepared, but to their surprise, upon reaching the Chateau Frontenac, they found an almost identical number of Americans similarly well equipped with position papers and intelligence. Had the Americans mastered the tactics of strategic planning and salesmanship? That remained to be seen. Certainly the mood of the American delegation was less amiable and more businesslike and determined than it had been at Casablanca. As the American official historian, Maurice Matloff, would state: "In preparing for the meetings with the British, American military planners as well as their chiefs had carefully studied British preparations, representation, and techniques in negotiations at past conferences and had taken steps to match them."

The Americans were committed to Overlord and wanted no more adventures in the Mediterranean (and especially not in Italy), adventures which would surely be the outcome of defeat at this conference table. Roosevelt's position on Overlord was somewhat vague, save for his wish for a preponderance of American force to be "able to justify the choice of an American commander for the operation." He was strongly supported in this wish by a memorandum from Henry L. Stimson, the Secretary of War, presented on the eve of the conference. Stimson wrote:

We cannot now rationally hope to be able to cross the Channel and come to grips with our German enemy under a British commander. His

Quebec ) 293 (

Prime Minister and his Chief of the Imperial Staff [sic] are frankly at variance with such a proposal. The shadows of Passchendaele and Dunkerque still hang too heavily over the imagination of these leaders of his government.

The British, said Stimson, rendered "lip service" to Overlord, but, he declared: ". . . their hearts are not in it and it will require more independence, more faith, and more vigor than it is reasonable to expect we can find in any British commander to overcome the natural difficulties of such an operation carried on in such an atmosphere of his government."

Stimson declared devastatingly—for the British—that the difference between the two powers was a "vital difference of faith," and that only by massing the entire youth and industry of the two nations could Germany be defeated. The Germans would never be defeated by "pinprick warfare." His letter—one of the most dramatic of the war—went on to say:

I believe therefore that the time has come for you to decide that your government must assume the responsibility of leadership in this great final movement of the European war which is now confronting us. . . . Nearly two years ago the British offered us (the post of Supreme Allied Commander). I think that now it should be accepted—if necessary, insisted upon.

And who should this Supreme Commander be? Stimson concluded that the time had come to put "our most commanding soldier in charge of this critical operation at this critical time." That man, he said, was Marshall.

The President read and approved each of Stimson's advocacies, and when Churchill arrived at Hyde Park for a private meeting before joining the conference at Quebec, his mind was made up. His resolve, he said to Churchill, was to concentrate every available soldier in England for a cross-Channel attack in 1944. He wanted to abandon all further Mediterranean operations, and he announced that he wished that Marshall would command Overlord. It was the second of the major decisions that wrested strategic command of the war from Britain; the first had been Eisenhower's appointment as C-in-C of Torch. With those two strokes the President effectively destroyed Britain's position as the principal Anglo-Saxon power in the world.

. Churchill was put in an awkward position; he had already promised the post of Supreme Commander to Brooke. But wily as ever, he heartily agreed with Roosevelt's proposal. The Americans would furnish most of the troops after the assault; why, therefore, should the command not go to an American? On the other hand, since the Mediterranean was now relegated to the position of a secondary theater, should not the supreme command there go to a Briton? Roosevelt saw no reason why not—pro-

) 294 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

vided Britain stuck unequivocally to Overlord as the maximum effort. Of course, of course, purred Churchill.

While the President and the Prime Minister talked at Roosevelt's estate beside the Hudson River, the military delegates had begun their talks beside the St. Lawrence; Roosevelt and Churchill planned to join them when the donkeywork was done. The delegates settled down at the conference table in fresh uniforms and sparkling insignia. But all knew that there must be a serious collision over Overlord; and it was not long in coming. While the secretaries would carefully filter out all the fumes and anger of debate, referring only occasionally to a point being "forcefully made," the meeting of the two staffs on August 15, 1943, was stormy. Admiral Ernest J. King, the Chief of Naval Operations, was said to have employed "very undiplomatic language, to use a mild term," in responding to Brooke's points. It was as cold and bleak inside the conference room as was the weather outside.

Marshall "took the offensive" immediately by opening with the proposition "forcefully" that the British must now give the cross-Channel strategy overriding priority over all other operations in Europe in 1944. Brooke replied equally forcefully; he declared that the British Chiefs of Staff agreed with Marshall. Overlord should be the major Allied operation in 1944, but ... It was this "but" that angered the Americans; it was always there. Brooke then stressed the "necessity of achieving the three main conditions on which the success of the Overlord plan was based": (1) the reduction of the strength of the Luftwaffe; (2) the restriction of German strength in France and the Low Countries and of German ability to bring in reinforcements during the first two months after the invasion; (3) a solution to the problems of supplying the invasion armies across the beaches. And how might a situation favorable to Overlord be obtained? By invading Italy to contain the maximum German forces and by air action from Italian bases to reduce the German air forces.

There it was again, the apparition of Marshall's that the British were seeking to drag America into extended operations "in that dark hole"—the Mediterranean. Marshall was quite convinced that this constant British pressure for a Mediterranean strategy had to do with Churchill's desire for postwar control of Arabia—the region he had once called the "belt buckle of the Empire." He may not have been wrong; but self-sufficient in oil and only indirectly dependent upon the Suez Canal, America considered the Middle East of little strategic importance at that time, and Marshall was well prepared for Brooke's stand. Unless Overlord was given absolute priority, and unless the British honored the agreements made at Casablanca and Washington, he said, the "entire US-UK strategic concept would have to be revised." It was a veiled threat, for he implied a "reorientation of American offensive efforts towards the Pacific." In that

Quebec ) 295 (

event, the British army would, more or less, have to fight Germany without the American army. America and Britain, said Marshall, would have to rely upon airpower to destroy the Reich, for the United States army would leave behind only a reinforced corps for an "opportunistic" cross-Channel operation.

By now the sun was going down over the St. Lawrence, and the two sides adjourned. It had been, wrote Brooke in his diary, a ''gloomy and unpleasant day." It was "quite impossible to argue with (Marshall) as he does not begin to understand a strategic problem. . . . The only real argument he produced was a threat. . . . We parted at 5: 30 p.m., having sat for three very unpleasant hours." Later that evening, Field Marshal Sir John Dill, whom Marshall admired greatly, went to see him in the hope that he might be able to reconcile the two. But he could not. According to Brooke, Dill found Marshall to be "most unmanageable and irreconcilable. Even threatening to resign if we pressed our point." "This had indeed been a black day." There was worse to come for Brooke.

Churchill and Roosevelt arrived at Quebec; and there, on the Plains of Abraham where Wolfe, in 1759, had destroyed Montcalm's army and added a territory to the British Crown that was larger than Europe, the politicians joined the generals. Churchill took Brooke for a walk on the terrace of the chateau and informed him of the decision that had been made concerning the post of Supreme Commander. Brooke was stunned. He would write:

I remember it as if it was yesterday as we walked up and down on the terrace . . . looking down on to that wonderful view of the St. Lawrence River and the fateful scene of Wolfe's battle for the Heights of Quebec. As Winston spoke all that scenery was swamped by a dark cloud of despair. . . . Not for one moment did he realise what this meant to me. He offered no sympathy, no regrets at having had to change his mind, and dealt with the matter as if it were one of minor importance.

It was a bitter pill, and the morrow would make it even more bitter. For it had been learned that an Italian general had contacted Eisenhower's headquarters to discuss the surrender of the Italian empire and the proposal that, immediately thereafter, the Italians join the Grand Alliance against Hitler. This was splendid news; but there was better yet. Ultra revealed that very large German army and air forces were gathering in the Alps, presumably to begin the occupation of northern Italy and Italian positions in the Balkans. Thirteen divisions of Germans were now in Italy, when they might have gone either to France or Russia. Brooke's pre-invasion strategy—to disperse the enemy—was becoming a reality.

This was no time for niceties; the Axis was crumbling fast. Brooke hastened to the conference table and told Marshall that America and

) 296 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Britain must take advantage of the Italian collapse and begin preparations for an invasion of Italy immediately. "Our talk was pretty frank," Brooke wrote. "I opened by telling them that the root of the matter was that we were not trusting each other." Then Brooke again went into the whole question of his Mediterranean strategy, particularly in the light of the Italian proposals. It was now possible, he said, to suck not only divisions but whole German armies into the areas which had previously been garrisoned by Italians—armies that would not therefore be available to Hitler for deployment to either France or Russia. After three hours of brutal conference, wrote Brooke, "To my great relief they accepted our proposals ... so that all our arguing has borne fruit. . . ." Marshall agreed to the immediate invasion of Italy. Montgomery's 8th Army was to cross the Straits of Messina within fourteen days, and the embryo of a new American army, the 5th, under General Mark Clark, was to land at Salerno a week later to begin the march upon Naples. The possibility of dropping an American airborne division on Rome was also discussed. In the moment of his greatest despair, Brooke's policies had triumphed.

That evening, news arrived that Sicily had been conquered with a loss to the enemy of 250,000 men, 65,000 of them Germans, against a loss of 31,000 Allied troops. It was a stunning victory. But what had become of Overlord? A compromise was reached in which the British agreed to Marshall's demands that Overlord be the main operation of 1944, and a target date was fixed—May 1, 1944. General Frederick Morgan's overall conception for Overlord was approved and orders were sent out to London to begin the detailed planning for the mighty endeavor. The invasion would take place upon the beaches of Normandy, the same beaches from which Duke William had sailed in 1066 to conquer England. Deception and massive air attacks would be used to deflect and delay the arrival of Hitler's panzers, the greatest threat to the success of the invasion. As part of that deflection, Marshall agreed that Naples, Rome, Sardinia, Corsica and, if possible, the Dodecanese Islands should be occupied. Heavy bomber bases should be established at Foggia and in Campagna to bombard central Germany from the south. The Balkans guerrillas were to be nourished by the Allies wherever they were to be found. And to settle Brooke's worries about supplying the armies across the invasion beaches, two artificial ports called "Mulberries," each with the capacity of Dover, were to be built, towed across the Channel, and anchored off the Norman shore.

The greatest military undertaking in history had been agreed upon, and Marshall returned to Washington to speed up the industrial effort that would establish America as the world's supreme power. For Brooke, it was a personal triumph. But he was left dispirited, disappointed and, in his own words, "feeling the inevitable flatness and depression which swamps me

Quebec ) 297 (

after a spell of continuous work and of battling against difficulties, differences of opinion, stubbornness, stupidity, pettiness and pig-headedness." But what of Churchill? Had he really been converted to Overlord? Or had he agreed to the invasion only to obtain time to exploit the situation caused by the Italian surrender? He would later write: "I knew that (an invasion of France) would be a very heavy and hazardous adventure. The fearful price we had had to pay in human life and blood for the great offensives of the First World War was graven in my mind. . . ."In short, his views had not changed. And as if to remind the Allies of the fearful price they might have to pay on D-Day, there occurred the near-disaster of the amphibious forces that landed at Salerno in Italy on September 9, 1943.

Just before dusk on September 8, 1943, as the great Salerno task force sailed across the Tyrrhenian Sea with all the stately majesty peculiar to massed fleets of warships and merchantmen, a signal broke out from the masthead of the flagship, the USS Alcon: "Italy has surrendered." As the word spread, wild bursts of cheering echoed from ship to ship. It put the men who would land at Salerno at dawn into great heart. The first Allied invasion of the European continent might, they thought, be unopposed. As one of the troops recalled: 'T never again expect to witness such scenes of sheer joy. We would dock in Naples harbor unopposed, with an olive branch in one hand and an opera ticket in the other." The fleet steamed on as Ultra crews scanned the German wireless spectrums; there was nothing to indicate that the operation had been detected.

Aboard the Alcon, General Mark Clark, the commander of the U.S. 5th Army, waited expectantly in the operations room. The army—one American corps and one British—prepared to land on a 36-mile crescent of beaches extending from the Sorrento cliffs to Paestum. On the northern skyline the undersides of wadded clouds glinted with splinters of fire from a naval bombardment. Then the troops began to waddle down the nets into the assault boats. Guided by small inshore submarines flashing colored beacons, the assault boats formed up into great Vs and made for the silent shore. It was the same at all the beaches; the approach was unopposed. At Paestum, where the Doric columns of an ancient Greek temple formed the landmark, assault parties of the U.S. 36th Division were put ashore in waist-deep surf. But at that moment, as elsewhere, brilliant flares shot up and illuminated the assault boats. A few seconds later came a storm of machine-gun fire and the whoomp of 88-mm cannon. At Paestum, as everywhere, the beaches were turned into a bedlam of fire and confusion. Clark had not obtained the quality of surprise; the Germans, through wireless intelligence and aerial reconnaissance, knew he was coming.

By nightfall on the British beaches, the troops were at best only 2 miles inshore, none of the Anglo-American beachheads had joined up, and the

) 298 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Allies were confronted by an entire German panzer division. Then the crisis worsened. The Luftwaffe began to make heavy airstrikes using a new weapon—wireless-controlled, rocket-propelled, armor-piercing bombs known as FXHOO's. The British had learned of the FX1400 from the Oslo Report in November 1939, but this was the first time it had been used. The bombs ripped into the invasion fleet, and the first to suffer were the U.S. cruisers Philadelphia and Savannah. A shower of bombs hit the British cruiser Uganda, which was badly holed, and sank five transports, a hospital ship, and eight landing ships. The great British battleship Warspite was shaken from stem to stern by two near-misses, and then a third bomb hit her in the boiler room and almost sank her. At the same time, the German commander, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, counterattacked with six divisions and almost drove the Americans into the sea. The Allied situation was now described as desperate, and Clark directed that arrangements be made for the evacuation of the American forces into the British beachheads, where the situation was somewhat easier. They held on until the arrival of massive reinforcements, supported by superb naval gunfire. Finally, on September 16, 1943, the German front crumbled and the invading forces began to move inland.

When Churchill heard the news of the near-disaster, he was particularly disturbed. He later wrote:

Evidently a most critical and protracted struggle was in progress. My concern was all the greater because I had always strongly pressed for this seaborne landing, and felt a special responsibility for its success. Surprise, violence, and speed are the essence of all amphibious landings. After the first twenty-four hours the advantage of sea-power in striking where you will may well have vanished. Where there were ten men there are soon ten thousand. My mind travelled back over the years. I thought of General Stopford waiting nearly three days on the beach at Suvla Bay in 1915 while Mustafa Kemal marched two Turkish divisions from the lines at Bulair to the hitherto undefended battlefield.

What had gone wrong? The Germans had, like Mustafa Kemal, deployed an army to the beachhead with great speed—while the U.S. corps commander, General E. J. Dawley, hesitated. Clark removed Dawley from command—the second U.S. corps commander to be relieved in the face of the enemy in less than a year. The whole operation demonstrated, once again, the perils of amphibious warfare and the fact that, whatever the intelligence estimates said, the Wehrmacht was still the most efficient, mobile and battleworthy army in the world. Moreover, German "secret weapons" could no longer be regarded as mere propaganda.

The lessons for D-Day were obvious: the necessity of diffusing German forces at the point of attack and of slowing down the mobility of reinforcements; the importance of massive aerial and naval bombardment; a reduc-

Quebec ) 299 (

tion in the strength of the Luftwaffe; and above all, the imperatives of secrecy and surprise. When the casualties at Salerno were counted, the Allies discovered that they had lost 15,000 of their best men—when it was thought they would lose only a small fraction of that number. The Germans lost fewer than 8000 men, and far from the swift occupation of Naples, that prize was not seized until October 2, 1943, twenty-three days after the landing. Churchill's apprehensions about the invasion of France were confirmed. If this was the price of a comparatively small operation, what would be the price of D-Day?

Bodyguard of lies

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943

The fortunes of the Schwarze Kapelle did not prosper with the collapse of Operation Flash in March 1943. The will to rid themselves of Hitler existed with the conspirators, as did the means and the men. Nor was it ineptitude that confounded their plans. They were hampered by sheer misfortune and the fact that they sought to remove a man who commanded perhaps the most expert and vigilant police state the world had known. There were, within the Reich, well over 100,000 agents of various internal security organizations at work to uncover precisely what it was the Schwarze Kapelle was doing—plotting against the regime. The axman's shadow was omnipresent as they worked in circumstances of hideous danger from a ruthless and clever security system; and, unlike every other resistance movement throughout the world, they received neither help nor encouragement from America or Britain. Indeed, every overture to the Allies was treated with silence and official indifference; no one came forward from the highest places to challenge the wisdom of that messianic proclamation of vengeance, Unconditional Surrender.

Yet, in the midsummer of 1943, many portents in London pointed to the possibility of the imminent collapse of the Third Reich, and accordingly the Allied high command—COSSAC—made a series of military plans known as "Rankin" to prepare for this contingency. The most important of these plans was "Rankin Case C," a large-scale Anglo-American-Canadian operation to land in and bring order and sustenance to all of Europe as far east as the Oder in the event of a Nazi collapse. The Allies were prepared, then, to take full and immediate advantage of an anti-Hitler revolution, although they were still unwilling to aid the men who might bring it about. But the plans did reflect a new British belief in the efficacy of the conspiracy, even without Allied help. This belief stemmed from intelligence reaching Menzies—who was now a general and a Knight of the Order of St. Michael and St. George—that seemed to indicate not only that the

) 300 (

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 ) 301 (

Schwarze Kapelle had revived after the failure of Flash, but that a fresh, clever and determined leadership had sprung up out of the German General Staff around Colonel Klaus Philip Maria Count von Stauffenberg. Stauffen-berg, it seemed in London, had taken the reins of conspiracy at the very moment when, through the series of Wehrmacht disasters, the Nazis were in eclipse. Would he succeed where his predecessors had failed?

Stauffenberg had not lessened in his detestation of the Fuehrer, nor in his resolve to remove him. But his plans had been dislocated when he was transferred from his post in Berlin to the 10th Panzer Division in Tunisia; and with his transfer he was, effectively, removed as a potential leader of the Schwarze Kapelle. But then, the misfortunes of war restored him to the conspiracy. While supervising the withdrawal of a. battalion of the 10th Panzers in the Tunisian jebel, he had been caught in the open by a pair of American Thunderbolt fighters. Machine-gun fire took his right arm and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand; his left eye was destroyed, his right eye badly damaged, his trunk and one of his knees were riddled with flying metal fragments and stones, and the explosions impaired one middle ear.

Stauffenberg was taken to the German military hospital at Carthage, beside the site of the Temple of Aesculapius, where it seemed that he would die. His head and body were swaddled in bandages, he was deeply sedated and in traction, and temporarily blind. But he recovered sufficiently to be moved to Germany, and there he made two remarks through the bandages that covered his face. He said to his uncle, Count von Uxkull: "Since the generals have so far done nothing, the colonels must now go into action" against Hitler. And to the son of Professor Sauer-bruch, the eminent German surgeon who was a member of the Schwarze Kapelle and was working on Stauffenberg, he said: "I could never look the wives and children of the fallen in the eye if I did not do something to stop this senseless slaughter."

As spring gave way to summer, Stauffenberg gradually regained his strength. He taught himself to do his own toilet and to dress himself, using his teeth, his toes, and the remnants of his left hand. When Professor Sauerbruch counseled leave and rest in the cool of the Bavarian woods, Stauffenberg replied that he had no time to rest; he had urgent work to do. He had learned, while on a visit to Berlin to have an artificial hand fitted, that Oster and Dohnanyi, hitherto the sword-arms of the conspiracy, had been accused of treason by the Gestapo; Oster was under house arrest and Dohnanyi was in prison. Moreover, Beck had been operated on for cancer and had not yet sufficiently recovered to resume his post as head of the conspiracy. Canaris had gone to ground for the moment, trying to rebuild the Abwehr executive after its decapitation.

What circumstances had led to this new disaster for the Schwarze

) 302 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Kapelle and for "Belinda"—the code name for Abwehr headquarters? It was a convoluted story that began in April of 1942 when German guards at Cehba on the Czech frontier stopped and searched a Jewish family. Their baggage was found to contain a sum of dollars, and when the family was questioned about where they had obtained the money—for major foreign currencies were the subject of the most strict controls—they declared it had been provided by Dr. Wilhelm Schmidhuber, a Munich businessman who was also the honorary Portuguese consul in the Bavarian capital and confidant and agent of Canaris. In fact, Schmidhuber had been involved in "Operation 7"—a plan conceived by Canaris and executed by Dohnanyi to exfiltrate a group of Jews from Germany to Switzerland disguised as Abwehr agents. Canaris had told Heydrich of the employment of the Jews as "agents," and Heydrich had become suspicious; but he had not been able to prove conspiracy against the Abwehr by the time he was assassinated by British agents at Prague in May of 1942. The case had hung fire at Gestapo headquarters at Prinzalbrechtstrasse—until the arrest of the Jews at Cehba. Now the Gestapo had the substance of capital charges against the Abwehr executive.

Schmidhuber, a flabby, greedy man, was arrested and taken to Gestapo headquarters in Berlin. But he had managed to get a message to Canaris; if Canaris did not invoke the Abwehr's protection for him—the Gestapo had no jurisdiction over Abwehr personnel—and obtain his release, he threatened to tell the Gestapo all that he knew about the conspiracy against Hitler. He knew about a great deal, including Dr. Josef Mueller's activities at the Vatican. His threat was taken so seriously by Oster that he considered having Schmidhuber assassinated. But before anything could be done, the Gestapo, acting swiftly to protect its catch, had him beyond the reach of the Abwehr, at least for the time being, in one of the cells in the basement of Gestapo headquarters. There, in the belief that he had been betrayed by Canaris and Oster, Schmidhuber talked. He revealed enough about the Vatican negotiations to justify the Gestapo intruding into Abwehr headquarters and forcing an interview with Oster and Dohnanyi in Canaris's presence. A pebble had caused a landslide.

On April 5, 1943, Dr. Manfred Roeder, an army investigator, and Gestapo Commissioner Sonderegger appeared at Abwehr headquarters. It was the beginning of the end of the Abwehr. Canaris received the inquisitors in his office, alone. They made an astounding allegation; they stated that Dohnanyi, in league with his brother-in-law, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the distinguished theologian, was a spy plotting with the British secret service to overthrow the regime. Their charges were, in part, true. Dohnanyi had long been active in the Schwarze Kapelle; and Bonhoeffer had made several journeys to neutral capitals on behalf of the conspiracy.

Producing a warrant, Roeder demanded of Canaris the right to search

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 ) 303 (

Dohnanyi's safe and, with Oster and Canaris present, he and Sonderegger did so. The precise allegation against Dohnanyi was that he had been taking bribes for smuggling Jews from Germany into Switzerland—an echo of the Operation 7 investigation. When the contents of his safe were placed on the desks in the office, Roeder came across some slips of paper which were known within the Abwehr as "playing cards/' These cards contained information and instructions for secret intelligence missions, and one of them suggested that Bonhoeffer was to go to Rome with Mueller to explain to the Vatican why Operation Flash had failed. Dohnanyi saw the playing card before Roeder did; and realizing that it might hang them all, he passed it to Canaris with the observation that it was a super-secret operation proceeding at that time and should not be seen by any unauthorized person. Canaris gave the card to Oster, who attempted to slip it into his coat pocket, but Sonderegger saw him and told Roeder. It was fatal. Roeder demanded that Oster hand over the card; Oster denied that he was concealing anything. The fate of the Schwarze Kapelle hung on a sleight-of-hand. Finally, Oster gave him the card and was ordered to go to his own office and remain there.

Roeder also found evidence linking Dohnanyi to Operation 7 and further documentation implicating both Bonhoeffer and Mueller in a possible conspiracy. Despite Canaris's protests, Roeder announced that he had the authority to arrest Dohnanyi. He was taken to the Wehrmacht prison at 64 Lehterstrasse in Berlin, where Mueller also found himself within a few hours. Oster was placed under house arrest in Dresden, but Bonhoeffer was accorded no such concession. Arrested and jailed at Tegel Prison, he was placed in the reception cell where he '"could not bring himself to use the blankets of the plank-bed, as he could not stand the stench that rose from them." In the morning, dry bread was thrown to him through a crack in the door and the warder called him a "Strolch'' —blackguard. When he had been processed, he was kept in solitary confinement until he emerged, handcuffed, to attend his first hearing before the Reichskriegsgericht—the Reich War Court.

Roeder conducted the hearing, and thus began an eighteen-month drama in which Bonhoeffer wove a complicated mesh of camouflage over his activities as an Abwehr agent. But the chief accused—for this was a contest between the Abwehr and the SD—was Dohnanyi. His prosecutors sought to strike through him at the whole of the Abwehr. while Canaris attempted to protect the Abwehr by explaining to Roeder that he was shocked by the possibility that Dohnanyi had been engaged in fraud, and anxious that the charges against his lieutenant be thoroughly and quickly examined.

Hitler himself was informed of the interrogations; but Roeder found no easy victim in Dohnanyi. Both were able lawyers; Dohnanyi proved the

) 304 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

abler. Roeder insisted that Dohnanyi was guilty of high treason; Dohnanyi insisted that his activities at the Abwehr were ordinary operational matters. He managed to prove that Bonhoeffer's journeys were intelligence missions launched as a "counter-espionage" operation to establish the mood of the enemy. As for Operation 7, Roeder could present no evidence that Dohnanyi had lined his pockets—as, indeed, he had not.

Then Canaris made his move; he complained to Keitel that Roeder was activated by a desire to besmirch the good name of the army by proving treason against the Abwehr. Keitel responded appropriately; he dismissed Roeder from the case and appointed in his stead a less vindictive and ambitious official. Under this official—a certain Kutzner—the case against the accused gradually ran out of steam, and Roeder was finally ridiculed when he called the Brandenburg Division, Canaris's private army, a "Drones Club." The divisional commander heard of the allegation, called on Roeder, boxed his ears and then challenged him to a duel.

For the moment it appeared that Dohnanyi was safe, but the strain of jail and trial had a serious effect upon him. He developed an inflammation of the veins in both legs. The malady grew more serious; his speech and vision became disturbed and it was found that he was suffering from a brain embolism. Arrangements were made to transfer him to Professor Sauerbruch's clinic (where both Beck and Stauffenberg were undergoing treatment). He was admitted, but Roeder and the Gestapo had not given up yet. Roeder confronted the professor and demanded that Dohnanyi, who was now outside army jurisdiction, be handed over. Sauer-bruch refused and declared that Dohnanyi was in peril of his life and could not be moved. Roeder ceased to be a threat when he vanished into the legal wilderness of the Balkans judge advocate's office, but the Gestapo persisted. A few weeks later, Gestapo officers arrived at the clinic with an ambulance, but Sauerbruch again refused to let the authorities see or obtain the person of his patient. This battle of wits continued for many months until, finally, the Gestapo won. On January 22, 1944, while Sauerbruch was absent, a Gestapo doctor appeared in Dohnanyi's sickroom and he was removed to an SS clinic at Buch. There he was examined by Professor Max de Crinis, Schellenberg's accomplice in the Venlo Incident, who pronounced that Dohnanyi would be fit to testify in eight to ten days. Once again Canaris and the Schwarze Kapelle were in dire danger.

The only way that Dohnanyi could prevent the Gestapo from interrogating him was to make his sickness a weapon. In a letter smuggled out of the prison clinic to his wife, he made a bizarre request:

The only thing to do is gain time. I must make sure that I'm unfit to be tried. The best thing would be for me to get a solid attack of dysentery. A culture must be available for medical purposes in the Koch Institute. If you wrap up some food in a red cloth, and also put an ink-mark on the

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 ) 305 (

glass, then I'll know that it contains a decent infection that'll get me to hospital. . . .

Frau von Dohnanyi managed to obtain the culture and smuggle it to her husband, but it did not work. Then Dohnanyi asked her to get him a diphtheria culture. In another letter he wrote:

You can scarcely imagine the excitement when I saw a glass covered with red in the case . . . I'm not frightened of any infectious illness. I know very well that I would lie down with the feeling that it would not only save my life, but that of many others also, whose situation is bound up with mine. . . . Naturally I put the diphtheria culture in my mouth immediately and chewed thoroughly, but for practical reasons it wasn't possible to do it until half past seven at night. . . . And it seemed to me that the cotton wool had become quite dry. Now I'm eating the sweets as quickly as possible, I've heard that diphtheria bacilli are not very volatile, but can't stand dryness, needing moisture to keep alive. Incubation period is three to eight days. I'm afraid I may be immune and won't get anything.

It did not work the first time, but he ate a second culture and the infection took hold. He developed a grave case of diphtheria that not only kept him out of court but also, during the danger period, prevented the Gestapo from attempting further interrogations. Eventually, the Gestapo lost patience with him. He was taken from jail and on a nearby pile of bomb spoil was shot to death. With him was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

As the Gestapo proceeded with its attack on the Abwehr, Schellenberg and the SD uncovered evidence of Canaris's direct involvement in treason. "During the years 1941-1942," Schellenberg would later write, "the greater part of the work of my organization was concerned with silencing treacherous informers in Italy." The SD evidently believed that it was Italian treachery, not British cryptanalysis, that had been responsible for the loss of so many of Rommel's supply ships, and Schellenberg formed the impression that the Abwehr—which was in charge of counterespionage activities within the Wehrmacht—was not prosecuting its mission with sufficient energy. In particular, he formed a deep suspicion of the relationship between Canaris and General Cesare Ame, the head of SIM, the Italian military intelligence and counterespionage service. To establish what Ame was up to, Schellenberg's agents in Rome succeeded in compromising his chauffeurs, both of whom were homosexuals. The two men eavesdropped on Ame's and his staff's discussions and reported what they heard to the SD in Rome; and their reports, in turn, implicated Canaris in what Schellenberg would call "a matter of serious sabotage in Italy."

It began in July 1943 when Marshal Pietro Badoglio, the former Chief of the Italian General Staff, arrested Mussolini and, assuming power in the

) 306 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

King's name, secretly opened a channel of communication with Eisenhower's headquarters to obtain surrender terms. The possibility of an Italian defection was of fundamental concern to Hitler. He warned that he would occupy Italy if Badoglio contemplated surrender. But despite the fact that, as Schellenberg would write, "All the reports received by our Military and Political Intelligence Services pointed clearly to the imminence of such a change," Canaris's reports to Keitel "were reassuring." Keitel trusted Canaris, but Hitler was not satisfied with this opinion. It was decided to send Canaris to Italy. Schellenberg would continue: "At Keitel's suggestion Canaris was sent to discuss the situation with General Ame—a suggestion which was probably Canaris's own in the first place."

Canaris and Ame met at Venice, and Ame asked Canaris to do his utmost to prevent any action that would forestall Italy's withdrawal from the war. Canaris agreed, and the two men, talking privately in the back of Ame's car, decided to hold a full-scale official conference which would be attended by the executives of the Abwehr, the SD and SIM in Italy. When the conference convened, Canaris posed the questions which Keitel had instructed him to ask. Ame, with an impressive display of feigned outrage for the benefit of the SD officers present, declared emphatically that there was not a word of truth in the suspicions that Hitler harbored against Badoglio. Badoglio, he said, was determined to continue the struggle side by side with Germany until final victory was won. The conference ended with an inspired and enthusiastic declaration by Ame of Badoglio's friendship for Hitler and regard for the Axis alliance.

On his return to OKW, Canaris submitted a report of the conference to Keitel—taking care that the signature on the report was that of a subordinate. Keitel accepted the report and assured Hitler that Italy had no intention of defecting. Although Hitler was suspicious, the only action he took was to order plans drawn up to control and disarm the Italian armed forces and to reinforce the German troops protecting the Alpine communications. He did not execute his intention to occupy Italy and he did not attempt to arrest Badoglio. Thus Badoglio was able to negotiate a surrender to the Allies without interference from Hitler or the Wehrmacht. The surrender was signed secretly on September 3, 1943, and became effective on September 8.

Hitler was taken completely by surprise. But when the Italian fleet, which still included six modern battleships, fled, he reacted with ferocity. As it was steaming down the Sardinian coast, the fleet was attacked by German aircraft using the HS.293 wireless-controlled glider bombs. The flagship Roma was hit and blew up with very heavy loss of life, and a second battleship was badly damaged. Nevertheless, the main body of this still powerful and valuable force soon arrived at Malta. On the morning of September 11, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, the British C-in-C, was

able to send the precise and splendid signal to the Lords of the Admiralty: "Be pleased to inform their Lordships that the Italian Battle fleet now lies at anchor under the guns of the fortress of Malta."

Canaris's part in the intrigue to conceal Italian intentions was one of the cleverest moves he had made. Through his efforts Italy had surrendered, Hitler lost the Italian fleet, and Rome—which Hitler had threatened to destroy as he had destroyed Belgrade as punishment—was spared. But time was closing in on Canaris. Schellenberg would later claim that, through the suborned chauffeurs, he had learned the truth of the Canaris-Ame talk, and "I was able to present Himmler with a dossier which included absolute proof of Canaris's treachery." Himmler's only reaction was to "nervously tap his thumbnail against his teeth," and to instruct Schellenberg to "Leave the dossier here with me. I will bring it to Hitler's attention when the right opportunity arises." But Himmler did nothing with the dossier. Schellenberg would offer a reason: "I am certain that at some time or other Canaris must have got to know something incriminating against Himmler, for otherwise there is no possible explanation of Himmler's reaction to the material which I placed before him." Canaris remained in office, and he would succeed in deceiving Hitler once again.

The arrests of the Abwehr executive staff were a grave blow to the Schwarze Kapelle. With Beck still hospitalized with cancer and Witzleben incapacitated with piles, it was without effective leadership. But all was not lost. Field Marshal von Kluge, at his headquarters in the central sector of the Russian front, was still approachable, and it was to him that Karl-Friedrich Goerdeler wrote an eloquent appeal to rejoin the conspiracy. Goerdeler had been successful in securing the field marshal's tacit support for Operation Flash, but with the failure of that plot, Kluge's confidence in the conspirators had been badly shaken. Goerdeler's efforts on behalf of the Schwarze Kapelle had not flagged in the intervening months, and when he returned from a tour of the devastated cities of the Ruhr, he once again attempted to enlist Kluge's support.

It was a moving letter. "You would be as shocked as I was," wrote Goerdeler. "The work of a thousand years is nothing but rubble. . . . Furthermore, nothing can be done with these ruins. They are heaps of debris, concrete and iron. Reconstruction will take generations." He spoke of the flight of the population of the German cities, of the grave decline in industrial production, of the collapse of honor and morality among both civilians and soldiers.

In view of this national disaster which is now becoming obvious and into which we have been led by an insane and godless leadership which disregards human rights, I take the liberty of making a last appeal to you. Field

) 308 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Marshal. . . . The hour has now come at which we must take the final decision on our personal fate. . . . German interests must once again be represented with force and reason by decent Germans. . . .

The letter reached Kluge at an opportune moment; the Wehrmacht in the East had just suffered an even greater defeat than Stalingrad—"Cita-delle," the Battle of the Kursk salient. The purpose of the battle was to regain the initiative on the Russian front, but the attack had been betrayed by pro-Russian army officers of colonel rank, by information from the British that had derived from Ultra, and by the Russians' own wireless intelligence. Stalin's cannon, cleverly sited and concealed, were waiting for the gigantic attack and Citadelle was smashed. The Germans suffered unheard-of casualties; Hitler lost 70,000 men, 3000 tanks, 1000 guns, 5000 motor vehicles and 1400 planes—all in eleven days. The defeat was decisive; it ended German mass attacks in the East, the panzer divisions were virtually destroyed, and it was questionable whether they could be rebuilt in time for deployment against Russia in the spring of 1943 or against the western Allies during the invasion.

Kluge's response to Goerdeler's letter would be crucial to the conspiracy. Tresckow, his Chief of Staff, had tried in vain to enlist the support of other generals on the Russian front; Goerdeler's emissary to Field Marshal von Rundstedt in Paris had been rebuffed. Only Kluge was left. And it seemed that he, too, was ruled out when he replied to Goerdeler that he was "not interested." But he was more interested than he would admit. In due course, after he learned that Stauffenberg had recovered sufficiently to become the operational head of the Schwarze Kapelle, he gave Tresckow extended leave on medical grounds to go to Berlin and begin the new regime's plotting on secure, reliable and practical General Staff lines; and he agreed to meet the Schwarze Kapelle's new leaders in Berlin.

The meeting took place in September 1943 at the home of General Friedrich Olbricht, the Chief of Staff of the Home Army, whose headquarters on the Bendlerstrasse had become the center of the new plot. Beck, Olbricht, Tresckow and Goerdeler discussed the situation with Kluge. In a spirit of confidence and optimism, Goerdeler told of the Schwarze Kapelle's lines of communication to the Americans and British. He tried to calm Kluge's fears that the British would demand the total destruction of German power and industry by pointing out that it was in Britain's interest to keep a powerful Germany as a bulwark against Russia. Finally, Kluge was convinced and said that Hitler "must be removed, by force if necessary, in the national interests." He declared himself for the coup d'etat, and, understandably, the conspirators were jubilant. At last they had a fighting marshal to follow. But their jubilation was short-lived. Not long after the meeting Kluge was badly hurt in a motor accident when

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 ) 309 (

his chauffeur hit a tank on the Orscha-Minsk road. The fates were never very kind to the Schwarze Kapelle.

With Kluge's accident, Witzleben became C-in-C of the army in Beck's regency. The accident was a hard blow to the conspiracy, but its power center remained intact within the department of General Friedrich Frornm, the C-in-C of the Home Army, and it would be in his name that Valkyrie orders—for the plan was kept both as an instrument of state and of the conspiracy—would go out to the subordinate commanders. The new leaders of the plot—Stauffenberg, Olbricht, Tresckow—remained vigorous and dedicated; and about this time, the Schwarze Kapelle enlisted the support of a group of important figures at Zossen, among them—and most important of all—Colonel Alexis Baron von Roenne, the chief of FHW and a man whose intelligence appreciations carried much weight with Hitler and OKW. Somewhat less insistent than their predecessors upon Anglo-American declarations of support, the conspirators decided upon two fundamental policies in regard to the Allies. If no declarations were forthcoming by D-Day—and all knew that day must come—the Schwarze Kapelle would see to it that the Allies were fought at the water's edge in the hope that heavy casualties would compel them to seek an armistice. But if declarations were forthcoming, arrangements would be made to open up the Channel front to the invading armies and facilitate their march across western and central Europe to the Elbe before the Russians arrived. It was in this spirit, therefore, that the Schwarze Kapelle's emissaries traveled to Stockholm, Berne, Lisbon and Madrid to recommence negotiations with Allied diplomatic and secret agents.

The new round of approaches to the British and American governments had begun soon after Stauffenberg assumed operational leadership of the Schwarze Kapelle, and would last until the eve of D-Day. In August 1943 at Berlin Goerdeler once again saw Jacob Wallenberg, the Swedish banker. It was their sixth meeting since the outbreak of war, and Goerdeler told Wallenberg, altogether too optimistically, that preparations were ready for a coup in September and that, when it took place, arrangements had been made to send Fabian von Schlabrendorff, the young officer who had been one of the two would-be assassins in Flash, to Stockholm to treat with Anglo-American agents. Goerdeler asked Wallenberg "to persuade the British to send a suitable contact man to meet Schlabrendorff." Wallenberg replied that 'T should be glad to do this as soon as the coup occurred and that I would inform the Allies that a German, representing the new leaders, was in Stockholm not to negotiate but merely to obtain Allied advice as to how the new government should go about obtaining peace." Wallenberg relayed Goerdeler's information to his brother, Marcus, who in turn, "passed (it) on to the British."

) 310 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

The two men met for the last time at Berlin in September. Goerdeler had prepared a memorandum, at Wallenberg's request, on the Schwarze Kapelle's intentions for transmission to Churchill. The memorandum outlined the conspirators' plans for the overthrow of the Nazis and again requested some indication of British support: ". . . the group's leaders wish to clarify whether, in accordance with earlier assurances on the part of the British government, it will be possible to initiate negotiations for a peace treaty immediately after the establishment of a German government that has rejected national socialism." The memorandum then set forth the Schwarze Kapelle's conception of what the terms of the peace should be; and incredibly, the conspirators believed that they could set their own terms if they agreed to open up the Atlantic Wall. Goerdeler did not receive a reply from the British.

At Berne, however, Hans Bernd Gisevius, the former Gestapo lawyer who was, under German diplomatic cover, the Schwarze Kapelle's emissary to Allen Dulles, appeared to be a great deal more successful. Gisevius and the British had long since ceased to trust each other when Dulles arrived at Berne as the OSS station chief in Switzerland with the express mission of making contact with the Schwarze Kapelle. A lawyer (Donovan favored lawyers as Menzies favored bankers), Dulles was not new to espionage or to Switzerland; in the First World War he had worked there as an American agent against the German and Austro-Hungarian empires. Then, as later, he felt that an Anglo-German-American rapprochement was the surest guarantee of peace. Between the wars, Dulles had met the elite of German industry and banking through the Berlin office of Sullivan and Cromwell, the New York law firm for which he worked; and through his friend, Hugh Wilson, who became Roosevelt's ambassador at Hitler's court, he was well informed about the German political situation.

When America declared war on Germany, Dulles joined Donovan's organization and formed a committee of experts on German affairs; and in the autumn of 1942, as Colonel David Bruce began his journey to London to become chief of OSS in Europe, Dulles took up his post in Berne. There, in his offices at Herrengasse 23, he established an American espionage network in Europe that, extraordinarily well financed, extended from London to Prague. Dulles's main recruit, and the man who became his personal assistant, was Gero von Schulze Gaevernitz, the son of a leading Berlin economist and liberal whom Dulles had known ever since the First World War. Gaevernitz, who had married into the Stinnes family of Rhenish industrialists, made his home in Switzerland at the outbreak of war, probably with the help of Canaris or Oster; and it was through Gaevernitz that Dulles met Gisevius.

The British had dismissed Gisevius as a German deception agent; and as Dulles did not wholly trust the huge, 6-foot-4-inch Prussian, the two

men first met under cover of darkness on the steps of the World Council of Churches building. They hammered out a means of communication that would avoid Gestapo surveillance, and then Dulles arranged with his control at Washington for a special distribution system for his intelligence cables about the Schwarze Kapelle, which he codenamed "the Breakers/' to ensure that they were read only by those in the highest places. These cables were known as "L-Documents" and their distribution was extremely narrow; they went only to Roosevelt's White House map room; to the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull; to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff intelligence center; and to Fletcher Warren, a Texan with ambassadorial status who was executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State. In all, between March of 1943 and May of 1944, Dulles would send about 145 Breakers cables to Washington. In addition, he sent a number of letters and at least one large package—the manuscript of Gisevius's history of the Schwarze Kapelle, a document that was both compelling and some 200,000 words long. Therefore, Washington was, if it chose to read Dulles's correspondence, at least as knowledgeable about the Schwarze Kapelle as was Churchill through his own and Menzies's sources.

Dulles came to believe, however, that his Breakers cables had not been distributed, and would theorize that a Russian agent in Washington had blocked their circulation to prevent an accord between the Schwarze Kapelle and the western Allies. That theory proved to be wrong; nevertheless, not one of his cables would appear in the records of the Combined or Joint Chiefs of Staff, nor was any overture by the Schwarze Kapelle considered in the secret correspondence between Roosevelt and Churchill. Indifference, not treachery, was at the root of America's attitude toward the conspiracy.

Such was not the case in British secret circles. Postwar events would reveal that someone had blocked from general circulation intelligence concerning the Schwarze Kapelle. His name was Harold "Kim" Philby, whose desk at MI-6 headquarters was just down the corridor from Menzies. Philby, who was regarded as the best type of intelligence officer, had risen in the hierarchy of MI-6 to become, by 1943, chief of the Iberian subsection of Section V, a vital department that dealt with MI-6 counterespionage operations in Spain and Portugal. Menzies, who was directly responsible for Philby's appointment and for promotions, trusted him completely. But there Menzies made the major mistake of his career, a mistake that would kill him in the end, for Philby was a particularly intelligent and insidious Soviet agent.

During the war, as the authors of The Philby Conspiracy would write, "Philby's job as a Soviet agent in Britain was . . . blindingly clear: to resist, in every way, the growth of feeling in Britain that there was any practical way of dealing with the Germans—short of destruction. . . ."

) 312 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Thus, in addition to betraying to the Soviet Union all the secrets of MI-6, as well as such state secrets of England and America as he could get his hands on, Philby attempted to halt or question the credibility of any reports crossing his desk that suggested the possibility of treating with the Schwarze Kapelle.

While Philby unquestionably did the conspiracy great damage, he was not completely successful in blocking its overtures to London; and he played no part in Washington's attitude. Through Dulles, Washington was well informed, and if his cables did not make the impact that he expected, it was not the consequence of pro-Russian treachery in the American capital; it was the consequence of the American hierarchy's belief that the German General Staff must be eradicated if there was to be a durable peace in Europe. Moreover, Gisevius was distrusted as a reliable source. Had he not been a Gestapo official?

No such taint stuck to Dulles's most important contact in Berlin. On August 23, 1943, a German doctor named Kochertaler called upon Count Vanden Huyvel, the MI-6 station chief in Switzerland. The count listened to what the man had to say—and threw him out of his office. The doctor then went to Gerald Mayer, an official in the Office of War Information, the American equivalent of PWE, and said he represented an official in the military liaison section of the German Foreign Ministry. Could Mayer arrange a meeting for this official with Mr. Dulles? Mayer was skeptical; nevertheless he arranged the meeting, and after dark that same evening, at Herrengasse 23, Fritz Kolbe arrived at Dulles's office. He was forty-two, a short, wiry man with a halo of blond hair around a bald pate. Kolbe revealed that he was the special assistant to Ambassador Karl Ritter, a man who undertook important diplomatic missions for the Wehrmacht. In this position, Kolbe said, his job entailed screening the diplomatic "print"— all the diplomatic correspondence and wireless traffic—to keep Ritter informed. There was very little concerning the Wehrmacht's plans and policies that did not, therefore, come to Kolbe's desk.

Kolbe, who was a practical man as well as an idealist, made Dulles a very tempting offer. He would, if Dulles wished, supply the United States government regularly with a selection of Ritter's most secret correspondence. Was Dulles interested? At this point, Kolbe presented an amazed and thoroughly uneasy Dulles with 186 contemporary German diplomatic documents extracted directly from Ritter's "print." Dulles asked Kolbe for time to examine the documents, arranged a further meeting, and then Kolbe departed. The documents, which came to be called the "Berne Report," were quite breathtaking, for they consisted of most secret reports of German diplomatic missions in some twenty countries.

Dulles had no doubt that the documentation was genuine; and when the report was later compared with Ultra intercepts of the past few months, it

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 ) 313 (

was found to be identical in substance and terminology. "And what a yield it was!" Dulles would remember. Before him were spread the innermost secrets of the German war machine, a savage testament to all the power— and all the weakness—of the Reich. Dulles cabled both Bruce in London and Donovan in Washington with a digest. One of his cables to Washington read in part:

Sincerely regret that you cannot see at this time Woods [Dulles had assigned Kolbe the cover name of "George Woods"] material as it stands without condensation and abridgment. In some 400 pages, dealing with the international maneuverings of German diplomatic policy for the past two months, a picture of imminent doom and final downfall is presented. Into a tormented General Headquarters and a half-dead Foreign Office stream the lamentations of a score of diplomatic posts. It is a scene wherein haggard Secret Service and diplomatic agents are doing their best to cope with the defeatism and desertion of flatly defiant satellites and allies and recalcitrant neutrals.

The period of secret service under Canaris ... is drawing to an end. . . . The final death-bed contortions of a putrefied Nazi diplomacy are pictured in these telegrams: The reader is carried from one extreme of emotion to the other as he examines these messages and sees the cruelty exhibited by the Germans in their final swan-song of brutality toward the peoples so irrevocably and pitifully enmeshed by the Gestapo after half a decade of futile struggles. . . .

But if Dulles expected his eloquence to be heard at Washington, he was mistaken; unlike London, where reports like Kolbe's gave rise to new strategic thinking such as the Rankin plans, they were received in Washington with what Dulles later described as shoulder shrugs. Who cared? However, the importance of the Berne Report did not lie in its actual contents; while Dulles did not know this, it merely, in the main, duplicated intelligence already derived through Ultra and Magic. But it did reveal just how far some Germans would go toward betraying their country in a desperate hour for purely personal ideological reasons. Kolbe's actions were, in effect, a continuation of the policy laid down by Canaris at the outbreak of war, carried on by the revelations contained in the Oslo Report and Oster's betrayal of Case Yellow in 1940, and, most probably, by Canaris's conduct of critically important intelligence operations ever since.

Lisbon, like Berne and Stockholm, was a main junction in the Schwarze Kapelle's lines of communication to the Allies; and in July and August 1943, at the direction of Stauffenberg, Otto John, a Lufthansa lawyer and a member of the conspiracy, traveled to both Madrid and Lisbon to find out whether rapid communications could be established to Washington and London. At Madrid, through the American charge

) 314 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

d'affaires, Willard L. Beaulac, John met Colonel William Hohenthal, the American military attache, at a private dinner party. According to John's own account, he told Hohenthal that

... the Wehrmacht could fight for seven years before it was totally exhausted . . . unless we first contrived to end the war earlier "through a change in regime." ... I said, without giving names, that "we" intended to make an attempt "to change the regime," before Christmas (1943). For this purpose the outside support we needed was a declaration by the Allied High Command promising our field marshals the same treatment as had been (given Italy) . . . could we remain in touch? (Hohenthal) willingly agreed, gave me his secret telephone number in the American Embassy and promised the strictest secrecy.

With that assurance, John went to Lisbon where, he hoped, he might talk to an MI-6 contact. It was not until the turn of the year 1943-44 that a meeting was arranged in a parked car in a dark Lisbon side street. When John got to the rendezvous he found a woman, a "Miss Rita Winsor"; but as they drove through the town, according to John's account of the meeting, "she told me that strict instructions had been received from London forbidding any further contact with emissaries of the German opposition. (She said) the war would now be decided by force of arms." The Schwarze Kapelle had been rebuffed once again, probably through Philby.

John was not the Schwarze Kapelle's only representative in Lisbon, however. During the summer of 1943, Baron Oswald von Hoyningen-Huene, the former secretary to Hindenburg and now ambassador in Portugal, sent an invitation, through an intermediary, from Canaris to Menzies for a meeting on neutral territory to discuss an alliance between the Schwarze Kapelle and MI-6. Menzies received the invitation favorably, and would have met Canaris. But Anthony Eden, according to Menzies, ordered him not to accept or to reply. If the Russians learned of such a meeting, they might believe that the British were toying with considerations of making a separate peace with the Germans.

At about this same time, the Schwarze Kapelle made another overture to MI-6 at Lisbon. An Abwehr agent turned over a dossier that came to be called the "Lisbon Report." It reinforced the gesture implicit in the Berne Report and was, many Germans believed afterwards, the most damaging betrayal suffered by the Third Reich. Among a mass of technical detail, the Lisbon Report revealed that the German missile research and development program was being conducted at Peenemunde on a secluded island in the Baltic some 70 miles from Stettin. The report confirmed the information contained in the Oslo Report of 1939 and may have been intended as an indication of good faith to encourage Menzies to accept Canaris's invitation. He did not accept, but eleven days after the report was handed over,

The Schwarze Kapelle, 1943 ) 315 (

on the night of August 17/18, 1943, the RAF obliterated Peenemunde.

Again, the conspirators of the Schwarze Kapelle had demonstrated their willingness to betray the Third Reich's most important secrets; yet while the Allies were quick to take advantage of their treason, they continued to ignore the motives behind it. The American attitude toward the conspiracy had set fast, and it would not change. The Third Reich was to be destroyed by a direct confrontation in battle; there was no room for political settlements of any sort. On the other hand, Churchill's attitude became somewhat ambivalent. Fearing the bloodbath that might occur on D-Day, he was prepared to hear suggestions about how the Germans might be defeated without actually fighting them—Sun Tzu's old principle. His reasoning was, then and later, that military operations might come to an end if the conspiracy was successful and Hitler and the Nazis were overthrown. But when Churchill raised the question of the Schwarze Kapelle at the White House in May 1943, perhaps contemplating the manipulation of the conspiracy in much the same way that Britain was using the various resistance movements of Europe for the purpose of weakening or destroying Nazism from within, the President replied very sharply. As Robert E. Sherwood noted: "There is no doubt that Roosevelt never took this possibility very seriously as a solution to the problems of achieving total victory."

Yet Goerdeler, Gisevius, John—all had spoken the truth about the conspiracy's renewed determination. For between September and December 1943, the Schwarze Kapelle made no less than four attempts to kill the Fuehrer. Each attempt was carefully planned, and each time the preliminary messages for Valkyrie were issued in what were represented as "tests" for an actual emergency. General Helmuth Stieff, a little hunchback, undertook the first attack on Hitler at Fiihrerhauptquartier; but the explosives to be used went off prematurely and the consequent security precautions around the Fuehrer made a continuation of the plot impossible. The second attempt was made by a young staff officer who had access to Hitler in the Berghof at Berchtesgaden. This officer, whose name has not been made known, proposed to smuggle a pistol into Hitler's office at a staff meeting and shoot him at point-blank range. The plot failed because the officer was of junior rank and he was placed at the back of the large room where, finding himself next to an SS bodyguard, he could not have produced a handkerchief, let alone a pistol.

In November 1943, a third opportunity arose. A young officer, Axel Baron von dem Bussche, was to model a new army greatcoat for Hitler. His plan was one of high courage and self-sacrifice; he was to hide two bombs on his person and when Hitler approached he would pull the pins and blow them both to eternity. But a sudden Allied air raid caused the demonstration to be postponed and, when it was to be resumed, it was found that the

) 316 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

greatcoat had been destroyed in the attack. Then Stauffenberg stepped forward to undertake another attempt. Although a man with one eye, one arm and only three fingers could hardly be expected to manipulate a bomb, he volunteered to do so when Hitler called a manpower conference for December 26, 1943. Stauffenberg managed to get as far as the anteroom to the meeting, with the bomb in his briefcase. But there he was informed that the meeting had been postponed. Hitler's evil guardian angel—or perhaps an SD informer within the Schwarze Kapelle—worked well on his behalf. Thus the conspirators entered the new year of 1944. Their crime, until now, had been failure, but their misfortune was Ultra. Time and again, the conspirators attempted to barter the secrets of the Third Reich to gain support and win concessions favorable to a Germany rid of Hitler and the Nazis. But the Allies did not have to make dangerous secret deals, for the conspirators could tell them little or nothing that Ultra was not revealing. Ultra—so decisive in the defeat of the Third Reich—may in this way have postponed Hitler's personal destruction.

Bodyguard of lies

Starkey

In preparation for D-Day, an Anglo-American headquarters was established in London in the middle of 1943. Its chief was General Frederick Morgan, a forty-nine-year-old artillery and tank man who was noted for his somewhat jolly courtesy, his urbanity, and his liking for, and admiration of, Americans. He was known as COSSAC—from the initial letters of his command, Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Commander (designate)—and his headquarters were at Norfolk House in St. James's Square, a pleasant backwater off Piccadilly where George III was born, where Josiah Wedgwood had his famous showroom, and where the Norfolks, the premier Dukes and Chief Butlers of England, had their residences. Norfolk House was very convenient to the Army and Navy Club, and so the planning conferences for COSSAC's first operation—the major strategic deception campaign called "Cockade"—were held at both places. "There was a certain piquance," recalled Wingate, "about planning deception over brandy and soda beneath the nude portrait of Nell Gwynne which then hung in the club." The consequences of Cockade were less agreeable.

Cockade—one of the operating moves in Plan Jael—was the outcome of the realization at Casablanca by the Combined Chiefs of Staff that it would not be possible for the American and British armies to invade Europe across the English Channel in 1943; the men, ships and aircraft needed for such a gigantic enterprise would not be available in England. But, as the Prime Minister had advised the conference, it was of the utmost importance that the weakness of the Allies in England be concealed from the Germans. To do that, preparations for an invasion of France could be simulated, and these, it was hoped, would prevent Hitler from transferring idle divisions in France to Russia and Italy, where they were badly needed. The Allied high command also hoped that a new series of feints at the Pas de Calais in particular would help increase Hitler's fears for the security of that sector and, at the expense of the fortifications in Normandy, where the

) 317 (

) 318 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Allied invasion would actually occur, compel him to build his strongest defenses along the shores of the Pas de Calais. The other primary purpose of Cockade was to force the Luftwaffe into a battle of attrition with the RAF and the USAAF. Accordingly, a directive had reached Morgan requiring him to prepare plans for "an elaborate camouflage and deception scheme extending over the whole summer of 1943 with a view to pinning the enemy in the west and keeping alive the expectation of large-scale cross-Channel operations in 1943."

Cockade's main component was "Starkey," a deception operation that was denned as "An amphibious feint to force the Luftwaffe to engage in intensive fighting over a period of about 14 days, by building up a threat of an imminent large-scale British landing in the Pas de Calais." Cockade also included two other, smaller deceptions: "Tindall," to suggest an Anglo-Russian invasion of north Norway; and "Wadham," to suggest that the American army in Britain was about to descend upon Brittany. The entire stratagem was to be supervised by The Controller of Deception, Colonel Bevan, with an LCS officer, Major Derrick Morley, representing LCS interests on the planning syndicates. Planning was put in the hands of Morgan, as COSSAC, but command responsibility for Starkey rested with the C-in-C Fighter Command, Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, because the primary purpose of Starkey was to lure the Luftwaffe to battle and destruction. The weapons of Cockade would be those of feint, guile and menace, a troop movement here, ships sailing there, an air squadron in flight, an "accidental" whisper in the ether, a hint in the press, a radio broadcast, the despatch of a spy, unrest in France—a multitude of fragments that, when assembled, would appear to the German intelligencers as a picture of imminent invasion of France.

From the start, the planning syndicates were confronted with a fundamental problem. How could a convincing invasion threat be mounted when there were fewer offensive troops in Britain in the summer of 1943 than there were at the time of the Dieppe pinprick in 1942? It was appreciated at COSSAC that the Germans might know—or guess—that the vast forces necessary for an invasion did not exist in the British Isles at that time. The only thing that could be done, COSSAC decided, was to try to inflate, through deception, Allied strength in England, to augment that deception with rumors of an invasion in the press and on the radio, to stimulate the British civilian population into reacting as if vast military preparations were going on in its midst, and to launch a campaign among the resistance organizations in France, Belgium and Holland to suggest that there would be an invasion in September 1943.

It was in this last decision that the great moral and political dangers lay, for the War Cabinet recognized that the resistants might actually believe that an invasion was at hand, rise, reveal themselves, and be

Star key ) 319 (

destroyed by the Germans. Nevertheless, it was perceived in London that unless the resistants were stirred into assisting "the deception by producing the symptoms of underground activity . . . which the enemy would naturally look for as one preliminary of a real invasion," Starkey would "lack the full colour of authenticity." Accordingly, the two British agencies involved in resistance operations, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Political Warfare Executive (PWE), were required to prepare a plan; and this, on July 18, 1943, they submitted to the Chiefs of Staff.

How did SOE and PWE propose to endow Starkey with the "full colour of authenticity"? The agencies recommended (and the Chiefs of Staff accepted) that:

The method would be by rehearsing, well in advance of D minus 7 day, a number of Political Warfare and Subversive Operations. These would have to be on a scale sufficient to disturb and confuse the enemy, but would be so devised as not to provoke premature uprisings or to squander any stratagems or devices needed in connection with a real invasion.

Among these operations would be attacks on rail targets and German headquarters, murder sorties against German personnel and the destruction of telecommunications and certain industrial targets—all designed to suggest that invasion was imminent and that the resistants were preparing for their part in that operation. But the planners hoped, perhaps optimistically, that the resistants would go only so far and no further.

There was another danger inherent in this kind of deception. In a grim but humane appreciation of "The Problem," the SOE/PWE plan warned:

These operations will be taking place on the eve of the most desperate winter of the war and will be directed towards territories where the expectation of early liberation is at present the main sustaining factor in resistance. The effect of these operations will be to heighten to flash-point expectations of relief before the winter, and then at the very onset of the winter to disappoint (the population of western Europe).

But the plan went on to envisage, again optimistically, that this disappointment would be acceptable to France and western Europe if operations elsewhere—notably in Sicily and Italy, which were to be invaded at about the same time as Starkey—were successful. As the plan said: "In these circumstances, the peoples of the west will be prepared to accept Starkey as a justifiable diversion and their morale will be sustained by the proofs and the hopes of success elsewhere." These were dangerous, cynical words.

Safeguards were built into the plan, however, to prevent, it was hoped, the resistants from erupting into open warfare. The plan proposed:

(I) That strict orders should be broadcast to these armies, over a period prior to D-Day [for Starkey] to hold their hand until they receive from

) 320 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

London a direct injunction to rise. (II) That from about D minus 7 to D-Day leaflets and propaganda should be dropped addressed to the patriots telling them that the forthcoming activity is only a rehearsal.

These precautions, it was felt, would have the "double advantage of misleading the enemy at the time, and of maintaining the confidence of the patriots in the accuracy of our instructions and so persuading them to pay strict regard to any future instructions." These proposals, too, were approved. But it was evident from the start that the Starkey planners were playing with unstable gelignite: the French resistance movements.

Equally explosive were the special means that were to be employed to manipulate the resistants. It was recommended, first of all, that the BBC should be used as u an unconscious agent of the deception, i.e. that it should react to the news and inspired leakages created by the forthcoming operations in a normal and uninformed way until, like the press, it is allowed to know that they are a 'rehearsal.' " But the BBC occupied a special place in the world of communications. Its august reputation was built wholly on telling the truth; it was not an organ of propaganda for the British government. And it was this reputation that made it the most widely respected and listened-to radio service in the world, at a time when radio was the dominant means for the dissemination of information. At great peril to themselves, most people with a radio set in Europe listened in each night to the calm, factual, forthright newscasts from London; and they invariably respected and obeyed what they were told. Yet the Starkey planners proposed to use the BBC for the purposes of creating the symptoms of a national uprising in support of what was a military deception, and that proposal was approved.

It was also proposed that the BBC be used in a second way to manipulate the patriot forces. Quite early in the war, the BBC had undertaken to act as a channel of communications between London and the resistance forces of Europe. A system of messages known as "Avis" was devised, and the messages, which were called "idioforms" or "messages personnels," were broadcast in the appropriate language in two parts. The first was known as the "A" or the "alert" message, and its function was to alert a reseau to prepare to carry out an assigned task. The second part, known as the "B" or the "action" message, was the order to execute that task. In theory at least, the meaning of each was known only to the leaders of the reseau to which the pair of messages was allocated and, of course, to the SOE operations section.

The messages personnels were broadcast by the European division of the BBC from Bush House in the Strand each night at 7:30 and 9. They were introduced by the first measure of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony—V-for-Victory—they usually lasted between fifteen and twenty minutes, and

Starkey ) 321 (

they began with the words: "Void quelques messages personnels." The actual messages followed: "Le chat a neuf vies," and then, at dictation speed, "Le . . . chat . . . a . . . neuf . . . vies." There would be a pause and then, "Benedictine est une liqueur douce" — "Ben-e-dict-ine . . . est . . . une . . . li-queur . . . douce." "La vache saute pardessus la lune" — "La . . . vache . . . saute . . . par-dessus . . . la . . . lune." To most of the world, these words were meaningless; but to the informed few they meant, for example, prepare to blow up a railway line at Perigord, or stand by from midnight on to receive an incoming agent at Angers. "La lune est pleine d'elephants rouges" —and a power plant at Clermont-Ferrand would be blown up. Or "Romeo embrasse Juliette" —and a busload of Luftwaffe personnel at Orly would be machine-gunned.

The system had worked satisfactorily in the past; it was important that it continue to work in the future. But the Starkey planners proposed that it be used, not for the purposes of command, but for deception. "A" messages would be broadcast to all resistance groups in France just prior to the D-Day set for Starkey, but the "B" messages were not to be sent. Thus there would not be a premature uprising of the resistance groups—/'/ they were obedient to their orders from London.

Finally, the SOE/PWE plan provided for another potentially explosive move. Ever since the fall of France, SOE agents had been sent out from London to organize the French resistance movement into an underground army. These men, and some women, brought instructions with them, organized and trained the patriot armies in the crafts of clandestinity, operated the wireless posts that maintained contact with London, arranged for paradrops of incoming arms, ammunition, explosives, money and other agents, and participated in a host of clandestine activities—all at great personal risk. Up until now SOE agents had done a remarkably successful job in directing the scattered and often disorganized French reseaux, and rarely had they—or the reseaux they controlled—been used for the purposes of deception. For the purposes of Starkey, however, certain key agents already in the field, as well as agents sent to France during the pre-Starkey period, were not to be told beforehand that Starkey was a rehearsal. They, too, would be "unconscious" agents of the deception, and would be instructed to carry out their assigned duties as if Starkey were a real invasion. The Starkey planners thought that this would add to the "full colour of authenticity," and it was hoped, again optimistically, that these agents would go so far, and no further.

In all, Starkey was a highly dangerous operation for the French underground movement and its Anglo-French leaders, since the Allies intended to goad the Germans into reacting to the "invasion," and part of their defensive reaction would inevitably be a strike at the resistance. It was this

) 322 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

possibility that concerned Jacob L. Devers, the American commanding general in England. He wrote to General George V. Strong, the chief of army intelligence in Washington, to protest that ". . . the PWE plan for Star-key . . . (may) bring about a general uprising, jeopardizing the entire resistance organization." But Strong, as a member of Joint Security Control, had in the past sanctioned the manipulation of the French—and especially the Gaulliste—resistance movements for the purposes of deception.

Despite the risks, the plan was approved, D-Day for Starkey was set for September 9, 1943, and the operation got under way. SOE organizers had already been parachuted back into France to begin preparing for the "invasion." And in late July, on the English side of the Channel, troops marched about the countryside, tank columns began to roll toward the south coast, holiday resorts were suddenly closed to visitors, mail and telephone calls from the "invasion zones" were intercepted, RAF fighter groups darted about the skies of France in provocative fashion, and the press and the radio were encouraged to speculate that, at last, the invasion was at hand.

But then, the scenario of the deception started to break down. Even those in on the operation became confused; Morgan himself grumbled: "Will someone kindly tell me what I am to say, when I am to say it, and to whom I must say it?" And stimulated by calculated leakages from PWE, correspondents and broadcasters did more than speculate about an imminent invasion. The United Press told the world: "An unofficial source states that the Allies will move against Germany by the autumn and the race for Berlin is on with Anglo-American forces poised to beat the Russians. Signs multiply that the Allies may land in Italy and in France within the next month." Tens of thousands of similar words were cabled from London by newspapermen to their editors throughout the world. The French were brought to a high pitch of readiness and expectation by this announcement, broadcast by the BBC on August 17, 1943:

... the liberation of the occupied countries, has begun.

We are obviously not going to reveal where the blow will fall. The people of the occupied country that is to be the first to welcome the armies of liberation will be notified at the last minute.

Pending the hour when we will be in a position to enlighten you on this crucial point, we are today addressing a preliminary appeal.

It is time for you to prepare all your actions, to perfect your preparations. All those elements that are to contribute in any way whatsoever to the success of operations on French metropolitan territory must be fully equipped to carry out their task.

You must prepare yourselves, day by day and week by week, for the role that you will have to play at a future date, which may be near, in the liberation of your country.

The Associated Press and Reuters picked up this broadcast and made it world news. Accordingly, the French Committee of National Liberation warned all patriot forces to stand by for an Allied invasion that "may come any day now." The United Press fanned the flames by announcing from London: "French underground leaders were revealed today to be confidently expecting an early invasion of France, and coincidentally there was widespread speculation in Great Britain that zero hour for the assault on western Europe is approaching. . . ."At the same time the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, ordered the drafting of large bodies of firemen into southeastern England, the Archbishop of Canterbury called upon the nation to pray for those "about to invade the Continent of Europe," and from Quebec, in a broadcast to the Canadian people, Churchill promised that Europe would be invaded "before the leaves of autumn fall"—without saying from which side.

The Allies added to the feeling in France that great events were at hand by making over 3000 air raids in 20 days in the area of the Pas de Calais. And ignited by this kind of "invasion fever," the fires of insurgency began to rage all over northwestern Europe. In one week, de Gaulle's headquarters reported, French gunmen in France killed over five hundred Feldgrau. A bomb made of plastique killed twenty-three German officers in a Lille restaurant; saboteurs derailed a troop train in Dijon, killing and wounding 250 soldiers. In Holland, Hendrik Seyffardt, the only Dutch general to side with the Nazis, was murdered outside his house in The Hague by SOE-armed gunmen. In Belgium, Brussellois taunted German troops with the question, "Have you packed your bags yet? The Allies are coming!" In Denmark, a German officer was stomped to death in Odense, the Danish navy defected to Sweden, a German troop train exploded near Aalborg, the people revolted and the Germans proclaimed martial law.

The atmosphere on both sides of the Channel became supercharged with tension, while across the Atlantic on August 19, 1943, the New York Times proclaimed in three-deep headlines on page 1: "armies ready to

GO, SAYS EISENHOWER," and "ALLIES BID PEOPLES OF EUROPE PREPARE."

The world's press hinted that the Quebec Conference had been called to supervise the invasion. But from France came worrisome reports that there would be a major explosion among the resistance unless passions were quietened. Clearly, the political warfare campaign had got out of control. Accordingly, on August 20, Bevan called a meeting of all the agencies involved in the deception, and it was decided that PWE should "discontinue" the "be ready" campaign "in view of the danger of the enemy using it as an excuse for the round-up of all resistance groups." The situation vividly illustrated the peculiar dangers in making the radio and the press "unconscious" agents of a deception, and PWE was compelled to issue a confidential advisory to all editors which read:

) 324 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

(A) Increased press speculation on the probability of the invasion of the Continent from the United Kingdom this summer may seriously prejudice our military intentions and may, at the same time, dangerously and prematurely raise the hopes of our own people and the people in the Occupied Territories.

(B) The facts are briefly as follows and are given for guidance in the strictest confidence:

(C) It is of the first importance to increase the general strain on the enemy this summer. Our best means of doing this is to convince the enemy that a large scale landing is imminent. In mounting this threat we must, however, avoid a premature rising in Occupied Europe and subsequent disappointment and loss of heart. It is also essential to avoid encouraging the idea amongst our own people that an invasion of Europe from the United Kingdom is practicable this summer.

(D) Our military plan this summer in the United Kingdom involves all three services on a large scale. We must, however, do all in our power, while achieving the desired results from these operations, to avoid premature expectations by the Allied peoples of an actual landing on the Continent. It is essential, therefore, to damp down comment on this subject.

With that injunction, press and radio speculation in Britain ended abruptly. But America was another matter. By August 28, the situation in France had become so grave that PWE in London instructed its representative in Washington, David Bowes-Lyon, son of the 14th Earl of Strathmore, a relative of the Queen and an associate of Menzies, to present OWI with a directive that "suggested" that: "In view of accumulating evidence from France of expected invasion in the very near future, use special care to avoid aggravating this tension." OWI was advised to "avoid all speculation concerning invasion possibilities" prior to D-Day for Starkey; and, after D-Day, to "give fullest possible publicity to official explanation of purpose of operation and of results achieved."

Clearly, London had failed to appreciate the vigor of the American media, and the virulence of the hatred of the French for the Germans. But how could "invasion" rumors be defused without revealing to the Germans that Starkey was a hoax, or, for that matter, without destroying the trust of the resistance movements and the credibility of the BBC? General Dallas Brooks, the Royal Marine in charge of Cockade political warfare deceptions at PWE, cabled Bowes-Lyon with the answer: blame the Germans. Thus, this broadcast went out on all media outlets controlled by PWE and OWI:

Be careful of German provocations. We have learnt that the Germans are circulating inspired rumours that we are concentrating armies on our coasts with intentions of invading the Continent. Take no notice, as these provocations are intended to create among you a situation where you may be caught. Lay low! Be careful! Do only what you are told to do by the BBC.

Starkey ) 325 (

Meanwhile, the rest of the operation lumbered on. An "invasion fleet" was assembled on the Channel coast, but even as D-Day approached, the Germans showed no signs of taking the bait. When the RAF and the USAAF launched 3215 fighter and bomber sorties in support of the "invasion," the Germans responded with only 362 sorties. On the eve of the "invasion," the Luftwaffe made only six aerial reconnaissance flights over the Channel and England, and on D-Day itself there were only eight reconnaissance missions—less than usual. Nor did Starkey provoke any bombing of note; during the night of September 8/9, only ten German bombers flew over eastern and southeastern England and scattered their loads haphazardly upon such small villages as Snailwell, Thetford, Stanton, Hepworth, East Winch and Palling. Only one harbor was attacked by one bomber—Hastings. As for the "invasion fleet," only four German planes flew over it.

In France, the Luftwaffe reacted in what the Starkey after-action report described as a "disappointing manner." On September 9, the U.S. 8th Air Force launched 1208 aircraft against German targets on the French coast to give the appearance of truth to the Starkey feint. No great air battles developed; only during the attacks on the Hispano-Suiza aero-engine factory and the Beaumont-sur-Oise fighter airfield, both near Paris, did the Luftwaffe respond in strength. The battle was left to anti-aircraft artillery defenses, and while the 8th Air Force claimed 16 German fighters, the Allies lost 5 bombers and 2 fighters, with another 129 bombers suffering battle damage, mainly through flak. It was a high price to pay for a deception. Field Marshal von Rundstedt, the German C-in-C West, was so certain that this was not a real invasion that the Luftwaffe was kept only in a state of secondary alert. The primary objective of Starkey—to lure the Luftwaffe into an extended aerial battle—had not been achieved. As the Starkey planners noted:

During the period of the operation no German attacks were made upon land targets connected with its preparation or performance. . . . Having appreciated the nature of Starkey . . . (the Germans) presumably made the further inference that to attack targets connected with it would be to attack at a point of the enemy's choosing. This is contrary to German tactical teaching. . . . This policy is explicable as an economy measure and a further refusal to be hoodwinked into fighting on our terms.

Further, the Admiralty reported only the slightest Kriegsmarine reaction to Starkey, noting a concentration of offensive E-boats at Ostend and Le Havre and defensive R-boats at Dunkirk and Boulogne. But, the Admiralty assessment warned, this concentration might just as easily have been routine redeployments. As for German coastal defense activity, the only enemy gunfire came on September 7 when minesweepers appeared to

) 326 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

cut a passage through German minefields to Starkey's "invasion beaches." One minesweeper was damaged. And although it was expected that the German coastal guns would open fire on D-Day, they did not. Like the Luftwaffe, they played canny. The Starkey after-action report noted:

Their silence is not easy to explain, unless the Germans think that the position of possibly all their batteries is not accurately known to us, and that consequently they would be giving away their position by opening fire. A possible explanation may be that they did not wish to divulge their operation role, accuracy, and fire effect, nor encourage retaliatory bombing. The silence of the coastal batteries is in keeping with the German doctrine of not opening fire prematurely.

It was the same with German ground movements. The after-action report observed:

Beyond movements of flak, there was no enemy military reaction in terms of movement detectable during the operation. No rail or road movement which could be judged significant was seen. Headquarters and defence sectors were not noticeably active. Enemy signals gave nothing noteworthy away, and betrayed no unusual symptoms.

And if enemy wireless activity was an indication of the Germans' response to Starkey, it was apparent that they scarcely reacted at all that hot, balmy summer. In fact, there was a reduction of wireless traffic on D-Day. British wireless intelligence maintained an intense surveillance of the German wireless net and intercepted only one significant message. A German observer on the cliffs overlooking the "invasion fleet" exclaimed over his radio, "What is all the fuss over there?"

The report on Starkey summed up the whole operation with the words:

... it would appear that the Germans appreciated the true nature of the operation. Their reaction was, accordingly, to avoid compromising their anti-invasion arrangements by employing them without real justification and thus playing the British game . . . they took the minimum "insurance" steps to cater for the possibility of a raid.

It was an oblique manner of stating that Starkey had been a complete failure. Afterwards, Rundstedt gave the reason why. "The movements (the British) made," he said, "were rather too obvious—it was evident (they) were bluffing." In fact, Hitler was so certain the Allies were bluffing that he was actually withdrawing over two-thirds of his army in the West. Between April and December 1943, a total of twenty-seven divisions of the thirty-six in the western command were pulled out for service in Russia, Sicily, Italy and the Balkans—a compliment to A-Force's Zeppelin operations in the Mediterranean at the expense of the LCS's Cockade operations in London. This huge withdrawal consisted of five panzer, two motorized and

Starkey ) 327 (

twenty infantry divisions, and their replacements were lesser-grade divisions of limited immediate fighting value. In Brittany, in whose great Atlantic ports most of the operational U-boat fleet had its lairs, there had been four infantry and two panzer divisions before Cockade; but during Wadham (the component of Cockade aimed specifically at Brittany), the Germans had been so disdainful of the deception that they transferred to other fronts the equivalent of one panzer and two infantry divisions and cannibalized the remaining garrisons of tanks, guns and combat men.

The effect of the Brittany withdrawals was to create a situation where, as Marshall had predicted as early as 1942 in the fierce Anglo-American debate on Roundup and Sledgehammer, German forces were so reduced in strength that an invasion, or at least an operation to secure a bridgehead from which a full-scale attack could be launched in 1944, would have been feasible in 1943—a point that Brooke and Churchill had bitterly fought. Indeed, the Allies, even with the limited manpower and shipping available in England in the summer of 1943, might literally have walked ashore in Brittany where the German garrisons had been, as a final report on Starkey acknowledged, "practically denuded."

The LCS survived the failure of Cockade and its component deceptions, but its reputation was damaged, particularly among the American planners at COSSAC, who would succeed in destroying the LCS's original cover and deception plan for the invasion. At the inevitable inquest, it was acknowledged that Cockade had not worked; but it was also acknowledged that it had demonstrated one important factor—the patriot armies of France could be brought to "flashpoint" without exploding. There had been, in general, considerable discipline among the resistants; they had accepted orders from London, and if their confidence could be maintained, and if they could be armed and trained, they might be counted upon to play a significant part when the time came for the Allies to embark on a real invasion. This was not to the credit of the LCS, however; it was due to the work of SOE. But ironically, it was SOE that would pay the steepest price for the failure of the deception. For even as Starkey unfolded, messages began to reach London that spoke, uniformly, of disaster among some of the main SOE reseaux. If the Germans had been indifferent to the threats of Starkey, they had not been indifferent to the menace of the French resistance. And when the leaders of the resistance were stirred into activity in support of Starkey, the Germans had reacted with savagery and cunning to destroy certain key clandestine organizations in France. Thus it was that Starkey became something more serious than a "balls-up," as Morgan later described it. A deception operation that might otherwise have been written off as a rather muddled rehearsal for a performance that was still many months in the future had been transformed into a tragedy.

Bodyguard of lies

Prosper

General Colin McVean Gubbins, a Hebridean who wore the whortleberry and boxwood tartan of the Clan MacBain, a sept of the MacKintoshes, hailed a taxi outside the headquarters of SOE at 64 Baker Street, close to the fictional address of Sherlock Holmes. In September 1943 he had just succeeded Sir Charles Hambro as "D"—the cipher for the chief of SOE—and he was going to the Prime Minister's bunker at Storey's Gate to report to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Brooke, on the disaster that had struck his secret organizations in France during Starkey. The dimensions of that disaster were large, for "Prosper" —the great network of reseaux which SOE was building out of the French resistance to rise against the Wehrmacht on D-Day—had been destroyed; "Scientist," another great network stretching from Paris to the Pyrenees, was toppling; and a score of smaller secret operations had collapsed or were crumbling in a major German ratissage involving all of northwest Europe. It was a dark hour for SOE.

Gubbins was forty-seven, the son of a diplomat and a graduate of Cheltenham. Born in the Outer Hebridean island of Obbe, he was of illustrious Scots ancestry. For nearly a thousand years his clan had produced some of Scotland's leading soldiers. One of his forebears, Major Gillies MacBain, filled the breach in the wall at Culloden and, before he was killed by a ball in the head, slew fourteen Hanoverians; another, Major General William MacBean, of the 93rd Foot, won a Victoria Cross for a similar act of bravery at the breach of the Begum Bagh at Lucknow in 1858.

Gubbins himself was a gunner who had become a "modern" general, one of the few high commanders to appreciate that the wars of the mid-twentieth century would be fought as often and as fiercely in the underground as on the battlefield. He had spent most of his military career involved in the warfare of special means—a combination of guerrilla

) 328 (

Prosper ) 329 (

tactics, political warfare, sabotage, deception, and systematically applied violence of every description. In 1919 he had served in North Russia against the Bolsheviks; in 1921-22 he had fought with the Irish guerrillas; in 1925-28 he had wrestled with Indian insurgents. He had worked extensively in MI-R, the War Office's branch for unorthodox warfare; he had been chief of the British military mission at Warsaw at the outbreak of the war, and when Poland surrendered, he had virtually walked from Warsaw to Bucharest with the Polish General Staff, bringing with him much to do with the Polish attack on Enigma. He had led a Commando group to Norway during the German invasion in 1940; he was put in command of the British guerrilla organization laid down to fight the Germans if they invaded and occupied the British Isles. He had helped found SOE and before becoming its chief had commanded its London Group, the branch that had controlled and executed operations in western Europe during the past two and a half years.

Gubbins had also made extensive contributions to the technical literature of clandestine warfare. His booklet The Art of Guerrilla Warfare arose from his impressions of the weakness "of formed bodies of troops faced by a hostile population that was stiffened by a few resolute gunmen. ..." His Partisan Leader's Handbook advised how to lay road ambushes and derail locomotives. Another booklet, How to Use High Explosives, fell into the wrong hands after the war and caused British—and other—colonial authorities much trouble. Gubbins's theories were blunt and practical. "Guerrilla actions will usually take place at point blank range as the result of an ambush or raid. . . . Undoubtedly, therefore, the most effective weapon for the guerrilla is the sub-machine gun." The thing to do with an informer, he advised, was to kill him quickly.

As a man, Gubbins blended Celtic charm and stealth with English pragmatism. He understood thoroughly the close relationship between ideological and orthodox warfare; and he knew how to inspire, lead and control the idealists, eccentrics, hotheads and psychopaths who crowded the guerrilla scene. Within his own organization, and in his dealings with the men and women who worked for the Allies in enemy territory, he was an officer of unusual honesty, intelligence, justice and humanity. His men were completely loyal to him, as he was completely loyal to them, and he was much admired by the Allied military hierarchy.

Gubbins was not alone when he arrived at Storey's Gate. With him was the executive of F section, the SOE branch concerned with British special operations against the Germans in France and French territories. Each country in which SOE functioned was represented at headquarters by what was called a "country section," and the chief of F section was Colonel Maurice Buckmaster, a former manager of the Ford Motor Company in Paris and a man of great administrative ability whose job was to make the

) 330 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

turbulent army of the shadows in France conform to the general Allied strategy. His operations officer was Major Gerry Morel, a former insurance broker in Paris and a first-class linguist; and the fourth man was Major Nicholas Bodington, a former Reuters correspondent in Paris and now an important member of F section.

The news they brought to the Chiefs of Staff at Storey's Gate was grave. Through the Prosper disaster, F section had lost not only Prosper himself and his small team of organizers, wireless operators and couriers, but also some of F section's main agents, perhaps 1500 of their sub-agents, and almost all the arms, ammunition and explosives that had been flown to and hidden in northern France ready for use by the French underground in support of D-Day. This was serious enough; worse—as Gubbins reported —was the fact that the disaster was having even wider repercussions. The French were beginning to lose confidence in F section, and their growing suspicion and distrust of SOE might severely hamper future operations.

The tragedy was the latest setback suffered by F section in a long serpentine catalogue of misfortunes that had plagued SOE ever since it was founded by Churchill in 1940 with the command: "And now set Europe ablaze." Such disasters were, at least in part, due to the nature of SOE itself. It had been formed to harness to the Allied cause the forces of idealism, patriotism and hatred in occupied Europe; its purpose, as M. R. D. Foot, SOE's official postwar historian, wrote, was to make "stabbing attacks . . . between the chinks of the enemy's military and economic armour," in order to "induce in him a feeling of insecurity, and to weaken him strategically; both directly by material loss, and obliquely by dispersing his forces on to police tasks." The tactics were those employed by Hera when she sent the gadfly to madden Io. For, as Foot remarked, "unsettling the minds of enemy commanders could be of critical importance. If they were unsettled enough, commanders would lose their grip on the main battle, lose the campaign, even lose the war."

But as Gubbins knew well, SOE's strength was also its weakness. F section had recruited anyone prepared to kill Germans—a ragged underground army of Catholics, Communists, capitalists, princes, Protestants, artisans, factory workers, syndicalists, synarchists. The French underground movement was a ragamuffin army like the Sinn Feiners of Ireland, the Spanish insurgents in the Napoleonic and Civil wars, the Maoist guerrillas in China, the Afghan frontiersmen, the American colonialists, the Russian revolutionaries. Few among the French partisans had the innate sense of security which guerrilla warfare demanded; they were, in the main, ordinary people who barely knew how to fire a pistol or lay a charge of plastique. They were as liable to penetration from without as to treachery from within. Yet Gubbins believed they might be of use to the Allies on D-

Prosper ) 331 (

Day—if they were given time to form, train and learn the crafts of clandestinity.

At great cost, F section had begun to do this, sending many scores of agents, wireless operators and couriers—and many tons of supplies—into the field to organize, train and equip the resistants. But now F section's work in the Paris region lay in ruin, and Gubbins and Buckmaster feared that many of the most important French reseaux might not be operational again in time for D-Day. What had happened? It was too early, Gubbins reported, to make a complete assessment, but the damage was very great. The true extent of that damage, however, and the reasons behind it, would not emerge until long after the war. Even then many of the facts would remain so obscure that one historian would describe the Prosper disaster as "a skein so tangled, a story so convoluted, attitudes of mind so Byzantine as ... to have defied rational analysis." That story began with Prosper himself.

On the afternoon of October 1, 1942, Major Francis Suttill, the most important F section agent yet to go to France, was preparing for his mission in a Nissen hut on the edge of Manston Airfield in Kent. He was to leave that night. Colonel Buckmaster was with him, and together they made a final check to ensure that there was nothing on his person to reveal who he really was—an Anglo-Frenchman, born at Lille in 1910 of a French mother and English father; a lawyer called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn; educated at Lille and Stoneyhurst; a commissioned officer in the East Surrey Regiment; and now an F section agent with seven months' training. His mission would be to establish reseaux in northern, central and eastern France and bring them under his personal control in Paris, and he now assumed his cover identity: "Frangois Despree," traveler in agricultural produce, Belgian, born at Lille in 1910 of a French father and Belgian mother. He also assumed his F section cryptonym—"Prosper," from Prosper of Aquitaine, the fifth-century Christian writer and disciple of St. Augustine, who preached grace and predestination.

As a personality, however, Suttill did not change; he was a "brave, ambitious man of strong character, with marked gifts of leadership and charm," and "the nimble wits common in his profession. . . ." He had had no previous connection with the secret services of any nation, but his training reports spoke of his unusual coolness and natural ability as a clandestine. No mention was made of his weaknesses, for Suttill would also emerge as a man with a special, heavily camouflaged loneliness and a conviction that he was to become the seed of a French revolution against the Nazis. But that, F section considered, was the stuff of a good clandestine—an intelligent, controlled, political passion.

) 332 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

There was nothing about Prosper to show that he had ever been in England. His clothes, shoes, hat, cigarettes, money, personal furniture, papers, haircut, toilet equipment—all bespoke a gentleman of Lille. As the check progressed, a Lysander took off from F section's secret airbase at Gibraltar Farm, near Tempsford in Buckinghamshire, about 40 miles north of London, gathering height over the flat fields of sodden kale and the buhr where the children of Alfred the Great slew the Danish King of East Anglia, Guthrum II. The aircraft was a unit of one of the RAF's "Moon Squadrons"—so-called because they usually operated only when the moon's position favored clandestine missions into Europe. By D-Day, the unit would have made 2562 sorties into enemy territory, flying in 1000 British agents, bringing out some 2000 men and women wanted in London on secret business, and delivering a total of 40,000 containers of war stores to various underground organizations.

The Lysander landed at Manston and taxied over to the little compound where F section prepared its agents for their missions. Buck-master—"F"—made Prosper a small farewell present, as he usually did when seeing agents off: gold cufflinks for the men, gold powder compacts for the women. They were a token of his high regard for them, and also, as he said, if they ran into trouble and needed some money in a hurry, the gift could be pawned or sold. Prosper waddled out to the aircraft in his parachute, and a little later the Lysander took off for France. Just after midnight, Prosper leaped out of the plane, his parachute billowed open, and he landed in a meadow near Vendome, the old walled city about 110 miles south of Paris where Richard the Lionheart had vanquished Philippe Augustus. Prosper had arrived.

The dangers ahead were formidable, both from within and without, but Prosper soon began to build his organization. As Foot described his task: "The persevering efforts (Prosper) put into clandestine recruiting, grouping, organization of future insurgents, were a sort of Penelope's web, continually unpicked by the Gestapo, of which the bloody threads were obstinately re-knotted night by night." Nevertheless, in a remarkably short time Prosper had gathered together the nuclei of what would become important reseaux, including "Physician," "Donkeyman," "Bricklayer," "Chestnut," "Butler," "Satirist," "Cinema," "Orator," "Surveyor" and "Priest." He established communications, courrier (secret mail), intelligence, action, finance, and medical branches, and his organization began to grow. Before long he would have some 10,000 clandestines working for him. But among them were German double agents; and soon, the Abwehr and the SD learned that Prosper was in France, Prosper learned that they knew, and a deadly pas de deux began.

The Germans 1 knowledge of him was not due completely to the work of double agents; Prosper's own sense of security was not all that it might

Prosper ) 333 (

have been. He needed companions and sometimes dined publicly with his staff—an unwise practice in a world where informers flourished. Moreover, he had a streak of bravado, a carelessness commonplace in men experiencing great power for the first time. On one occasion it was reported to F that Prosper had been seen showing a Montmartre nightclub audience how a Sten submachine gun worked. On another, he entered into negotiations with the SD for the release from jail of two female members of his reseau. He paid 1 million francs for them (<£ 5,000 or $24,000) and was dismayed to find two elderly whores waiting for his men when they got to the rendezvous.

Prosper's task soon became too large for him to handle without a deputy. He badly needed a wireless operator upon whom he could depend; he also needed a friend and confidant. Accordingly, believing himself to be relatively safe, he sent for Major Gilbert Norman, who arrived by parachute near Tours on the night of November 1/2, 1942. Norman would become the second central figure in the Prosper tangle. Aged twenty-eight, he had been born at St. Cloud, near Paris, of a French mother and an English father who was a senior partner in a firm of international chartered accountants and a former president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Educated in France and England, Norman was articled to the London office of his father's firm, and joined the British army in 1940. He was commissioned into the Durham Light Infantry, served as a liaison officer with General Sikorski's Polish army headquarters, and volunteered for SOE early in 1942. His code name was "Archambault," but he was known in the field more generally as "Gilbert." This would lead to confusion with another "Gilbert" who was the third central figure in the web, Henri A. E. Dericourt.

Of all the characters in that weird cavalcade, Dericourt was the most obscure. A Frenchman by nationality, he had been an airline pilot with Air France, working between Paris and Berlin. A man of exceptional intelligence and nerve, he was engaging, persuasive, handsome and skilled at creating a good first impression. When he arrived in London from Paris on September 8, 1942, he was greeted at the railway station by Andre De-wavrin, the chief of de Gaulle's intelligence bureau, the Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action (Militaire) (BCRA), and was taken immediately for interrogation and security clearance by MI-5 to their center in Battersea, the Royal Victoria Patriotic Asylum for the Orphan Daughters of Soldiers and Sailors Killed in the Crimean War. There, he told his interrogators that at the outbreak of the war he had been with the French Air Force at Aleppo. He was, he said, a captain, and had been a transport and test pilot. When Syria was overrun by British Imperial forces he had volunteered his services to a British airline, was accepted, and had worked in the Middle East until the beginning of 1942. Then he decided to return

) 334 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

to Paris; he told his interrogators that he wished to marry. He did so, moved his wife into an apartment, gave her a large sum of money, and then arranged his passage to England, traveling over a British escape route through Spain and Portugal. Then Dericourt lied. His interrogator asked him whether he had been in contact at any time with the intelligence service of any power. Dericourt replied firmly that he had never had anything to do with secret service. But Major Bodington of F section had known Dericourt in Paris before the war, and knew that he had done some work for "at least one continental secret service." But which one: the British, the French, or the German? Dericourt himself said it was not a German service.

The security authorities would not give Dericourt a clean bill of health. He was too facile, his wife was still in France and he was therefore liable to pressure from the Gestapo. At any time in his long journey to England he could have been suborned by the enemy, he appeared to have too much money, and he had lied about his prewar involvement in espionage. There was also evidence that he might be well disposed toward BCRA, which the British security authorities found undesirable. Yet Dericourt was a first-rate pilot with 4000 hours' experience, he knew what there was to know about the ground handling of aircraft and F section badly needed a skilled air movements officer in France. His British employers testified to his ability, Bodington spoke highly of him, Dericourt expressed no desire to work for the Gaullists, and so he was taken on by F section. His training reports—he underwent only parachute and Lysander training—confirmed the good impression Dericourt had created, and on the night of January 22/23, 1943, he was parachuted into France near Pithiviers, north of Orleans.

Dericourt made his way to Paris and lived quite openly with his wife, Janine, at 58 rue Pergolese, near the Avenue Foch and the Avenue de la Grande Armee—Gestapo territory. He lived under his own name; he was, he said, too well known to use another. And he explained his absence to his friends by saying he had been on business in Marseilles. It was only a dangerous coincidence that Dericourt's next-door neighbor was the redoubtable Hugo Bleicher, one of the most celebrated of the Abwehr's counterespionage officers in France. Their paths crossed, but not in such a manner that treachery was implied. Bleicher knew who Dericourt was and what he was doing in France, but such was the rivalry between the Abwehr and the SD that Bleicher did nothing to expose Dericourt, for the moment. Dericourt also knew who his neighbor was, but he had friends in the German intelligence hierarchy who were more powerful than Bleicher. For shortly after his return to France, Dericourt dined with Hans Boemelburg, a homosexual and alcoholic Bavarian who was a high officer of the SD in France, and with the SD's wireless expert, Josef Goetz. It later emerged

Prosper ) 335 (

that Dericourt had known Boemelburg before the war when Boemelburg was the SD police attache at the German Embassy in Paris. Whatever the nature of their wartime association, Dericourt was listed on the SD's files as "V-mann BOE-48"—a confidential agent, the forty-eighth in the employment of Boemelburg. In due course, Boemelburg handed Dericourt over to Standartenfuhrer SS H. J. Kieffer, the chief of the SD's counterespionage service in France. And Dericourt, it was later revealed, accepted from Kieffer about 4 million francs (<£ 20,000 or $80,000) in cash to buy a farm in the south. From every standpoint it was a sinister association for one of F section's key agents.

Dericourt's mission was among the most important of all British (and Allied) agents in France. As air movements officer for the Paris region, he sought out secret landing fields for the RAF's "Moon Squadrons," laid flarepaths for their landings and organized their takeoffs. He received incoming agents and helped them on their way to their destinations; and he arranged hiding places and transport for those agents on their way to England. He and his circuit—codenamed "Farrier"—were responsible for the security of the landing fields, and for keeping them clear of the very real hazards of such obstacles as herds of cattle or angry bulls. He was also responsible for all communications to and from London relating to air movements, and to do his work he needed a very wide knowledge of, and range of contacts in, the secret world.

Nominally at least, Dericourt was connected to Prosper, and each knew a good deal about the other's programs and assignments. This presupposed a relationship of trust between the two men, but did Prosper know that Dericourt was wining and dining with the enemy? And if he did, did he know why? The answer was no. Prosper knew nothing of Dericourt's association with the SD for many months; and when he suspected that some sort of connection did exist, it was, for Prosper, too late. But from the late spring of 1943 onwards, Prosper began to grow increasingly uneasy about Dericourt, without saying why to anyone in the field, and it became evident later that his uneasiness had to do with Dericourt's handling of the secret mail.

The efficiency of the German wireless detection service made it dangerous for SOE wireless operators to spend more than a few minutes on the air at any one time. Therefore F section agents often sent their longer reports and documents to London in the form of air mail, while London, in turn, used the courrier extensively to communicate its instructions to the field. The handling of this courrier became Dericourt's responsibility; and at length, Prosper began to suspect that he was showing it to the SD. His suspicions were well founded, for Dericourt had established the practice of taking the mail to Kieffer and leaving it with him long enough for the SD to read or copy it. Dericourt's only explanation for this apparent act of

) 336 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

treachery was made very much later; he did it, he said, because he did not think the mail was really very important, and for showing it to the Germans he was permitted by Kieffer to conduct his air movements without German interference.

It was an ingenious explanation, and, in part, true. The Chiefs of Staff did not, at that time, rely upon communications from SOE agents in the field as a valuable source of intelligence about the Germans; the material was too often found unreliable or misleading, for it often reflected deception schemes. They preferred to depend upon MI-6 for their intelligence, and in really important matters there was often Ultra. But the counter did contain a good deal of information about the personalities and politics of SOE sub-agents and resistants. Thus, in a sense, it was of more interest to Berlin than to London; and from it, the SD and the Abwehr could learn much about the structure of the various reseaux. As for communications from London, they, too, might prove of great value—unless London was aware that the Germans were reading the courrier. In that case, there could be other more devious reasons why Dericourt would permit them to see it.

It would later emerge that London was aware of Dericourt's association with the SD, just as the SD was aware that he was working for SOE. What, therefore, was Dericourt's game? Was he an SD man who had penetrated F section, or an F section man who was penetrating the SD? Or was he in reality working for another British secret agency and using F section as a cover? If so, did F section know and approve of activities on his part that might endanger its other agents in France? The conjugations were many, and the possibility of some such intrigue was the first of Prosper's strange bedfellows.

There was a second—carelessness. By the late spring of 1943, Prosper's network had become the largest of any agency of any power in France. It stretched from the old battlefields around Sedan, through Paris, across the majestic wine and chateaux country of the Loire, and down to the beaches at Nantes. At Paris, it was linked with a second major circuit—Scientist—and its affairs were connected with those of a large number of smaller reseaux. In all, Prosper came to control and supply no less than sixty large and small reseaux —a network that was far too large for safety. Its leaders, Prosper included, had become over-confident, and the French resistants displayed a native unawareness of the dangers of gossip in clandestinity. They were good at conspiracy but poor at silence. In consequence, as one British agent reported: "95 per cent of the people arrested were caught simply because their friends had been incapable of keeping their mouths shut."

Nevertheless, the resistants were unremitting in their campaign of

Prosper ) 337 (

violence against the conquerors. And the British stepped up their supplies of arms, ammunition and explosives. The RAF, in May 1943 alone, dropped 240 containers to Prosper. These were large drops to a single reseau at this stage in the war, for each container held 6 Bren light machine guns with 1000 rounds per gun, 36 rifles with 150 rounds, 27 Stens with 300 rounds per gun, 5 pistols with 50 rounds per gun, 52 grenades, 156 field dressings, 6600 rounds of 9-mm parabellum, and 3168 rounds of .303 rifle ammunition. The miracle was not that these drops were successful but that the Germans took so long to find them. They were parachuted in the dead of night from noisy aircraft in remote areas where sound carried for miles and where every hue of German agent abounded. And they were collected in an atmosphere of carnival by men who behaved as cheerfully and as exuberantly as if they were at market. As one agent would write home:

There was nothing either quiet or clandestine about my first encounter with what the French call "un parachutage." Once the containers were released there was considerable drama. Albert began the proceedings by shouting "Attention everybody, the bidons descend!" Everyone present repeated this, adding advice to Bobo, Alphonse and Pierre, or whoever was nearest to "have a care that the sacred bidons do not crush thee." Once the containers had landed the parachute stakes were on. The winner was whoever could roll and hide away the most parachutes before being spotted by someone else. The bullock carts then came up with much encouragement from the drivers such as "But come, my old one, to the bidons advance!" Then began the preliminary discussions as to how the first container would be hoisted on to the cart, and who should have the honour of commencing. I found I had to go through the actions of beginning to hoist one end myself before, with loud cries of "But no, my captain, permit me" or, for example, "My captain! What an affair!" my helpers would then get on with the job.

Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that the Germans' store of knowledge about Prosper, his lieutenants, his sub-agents and his reseaux began to expand. Casualties in his network started to rise sharply, and those arrested were forced to talk under the brutal inquisitions of their captors. The Germans, controlling every aspect of French life from the purchase of wine to the burial of the dead, countered violence with violence. Hitler had become disturbed by the rising tempo of espionage and disorder in the western marches of his empire, and on his personal orders, the SD and the Abwehr launched "Operation Donar," named after the German god of thunder, to destroy all the forces of resistance, sabotage and espionage in France and northwest Europe. Patriot after patriot was rounded up to face an SD firing squad, and the blood on the execution ground of Mont Valerien in the Paris suburbs stained the earth ever more

) 338 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

deeply. More and more resistants found themselves bent at dawn beneath "the widow"—the guillotine. The prisons were crowded, and French youth began to flee into the hills and mountains to form the maquis.

As each side turned the screws of vengeance and retribution, F section tried to impose discipline and order upon the resistants against the day they could be used as patriot armies in the German rear. But it was not easy; the French underground had never been so independent, prickly and xenophobic, so determined and impetuous. Nor had the Germans ever been so thorough and ruthless. It was in this explosive atmosphere that the fuse of Cockade and Starkey was lit—the third of Prosper's strange bedfellows. Trying to convince the Germans that an invasion of France was near could only inflame their determination to stamp out the forces of resistance wherever they appeared. And under the impression that liberation was at hand, the resistants themselves could only step up their campaign of sabotage and murder, and thus risk exposure and capture. Moreover, the SOE/PWE plan for Starkey made provision for deliberately misinforming F section agents in the field; even before that plan had been approved by the Chiefs of Staff and become fully operational in mid-July 1943, certain key F section agents were flown to London for "invasion" briefings, and others sent to France with instructions to carry out "pre-invasion" activities. They were to be informed, at the proper moment, that Starkey was only a rehearsal; but by then, for some of them—including Prosper—it would be too late.

Were F section agents deemed expendable? And if so, by whom? In the early stages of the preparations for Starkey, there was evidence that F section itself was misinformed. According to a statement made by Buck-master after the war: "In the middle of 1943 [i.e., the period that Starkey preparations were being made] we had had a top secert message telling us that D-day might be closer than we thought. This message had been tied up with international politics on a level far above our knowledge and we, of course, had acted upon it without question." His orders, as he remembered them in a memorandum to the Foreign Office dated November 11, 1964, had been to "accelerate his section's preparations to support an invasion, in case it turned out possible to mount one after all later in the year"—despite the fact that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had already decided at Casablanca that no invasion from England would be possible until 1944. It may well have been, then, that F section acted in good faith, and that the organization, both in London and in France, was being used, to some degree at least, as yet another "unconscious agent" in the Starkey deception.

Prosper himself was among the first of F section's agents to be warned to expect an invasion that summer. He arrived in London, on a flight handled by Dericourt, about the third week of May 1943, and at his

Prosper ) 339 (

briefings he was instructed to have all his men and plans ready. He was also given, as Foot would record, "an 'alert' signal (for the invasion), warning the whole circuit to stand by." All this was, of course, highly misleading, and it must be presumed that Prosper—and perhaps his briefing officer—were deliberately primed with misinformation designed to support Starkey. But at the same time he was given the strictest instructions to keep a firm grip on the resistants; the British government wanted no bloodbaths.

During his meetings at London, Prosper at last mentioned his fears about the reliability of Pericourt. He was the chief of his circuit and his opinions should have been valued. But they were ignored—an indication that Dericourt's mission, whatever it might have been, was considered more important than the secret courrier, the security of the Prosper circuit and even the life of Prosper himself. Before his return flight to France, Prosper asked to be received by Pierre Culioli, one of his own sub-agents in the Sologne, rather than by Dericourt. But Culioli had warned London— through Dericourt—that the Germans were making a massive ratissage in his area. There is no evidence that this warning ever reached London; but if it did, it, too, was ignored. Prosper was received by Culioli on June 12 and eluded the ratissage. But two more F section agents, John Macalister and Frank Pickersgill, who parachuted into the same area three days later, were not so fortunate.

"Suttill," wrote Foot, "returned to clandestine duty in the belief that an invasion was probably imminent"; but back in Paris he began to display profound unease. He moved his safehouse suddenly, without telling anyone his new address, and went to ground in the maze of ancient streets near the Porte St. Denis, where he found an old workingman's hotel in the rue Mazagran. He never discussed the cause of his unease. Perhaps he suspected that he was in danger from the SD; perhaps he suspected that he was being used as a pawn in some deception scheme. Whatever his fears, he was absolutely convinced that the Allies would invade France that summer, and he behaved accordingly, preparing himself, his lieutenants and his reseaux for a general outbreak of guerrilla warfare in concert with the landings. He had been encouraged to put his head up when he should have kept it down—and the Germans cut it off.

On the night of June 22/23, 1943, fifteen SD officers swarmed into Prosper's dingy little hotel. Prosper was not there; but when he returned to his room the following day, he found himself looking down the barrels of four Walther pistols. He was seized, overpowered, handcuffed, and carted off to SD headquarters on the Avenue Foch where, within the hour, he was on Kieffer's well-known lavender carpet, under a great chandelier. Prosper was certain he had been betrayed, for he had moved to the hotel only two or three days before without telling anyone his new address. It was alleged

) 340 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

after the war that he had given it to F while he was in London and that he had been betrayed by "London" directly by wireless to SD headquarters, but there was not a scintilla of evidence to support that charge. It would also be alleged that Kieffer obtained the address from Dericourt's courrier, but that explanation seemed as unlikely as a betrayal from London, for Prosper had not told Dericourt of his new address, nor had he committed it to the courrier. Kieffer may have shadowed Prosper to the hotel, or he may have obtained the address from Gilbert Norman, who was captured just before Prosper was taken. Foot would advance another possibility: that Prosper was betrayed by Roger Bardet, the deputy chief of Prosper's Donkeyman circuit south of Paris and a man who had survived an earlier ratissage by agreeing to work for the Germans. But how did Bardet know where Prosper was hiding?

Whatever the reason for his capture, Prosper now began his Calvary. He had no hope of hiding behind his cover; Kieffer knew exactly who he was and what he had been doing. But he did not know the locations of the stores of arms and ammunition that had been dropped to the resistants. Prosper's first interrogation lasted sixty-four hours, during which time he was allowed no rest, food or water, and was kept standing at attention. What did he know of the invasion plans? Where and when would the Allies land? What was the subject of his conferences in London? Where were the arms dumps? Where were his wireless posts? His interrogators did not try torture, yet; they were merely relentless. But Prosper told them nothing of value.

Several other of Prosper's lieutenants—Gilbert Norman included—had been taken prisoner and were also under interrogation. But Kieffer suspected that Norman might be the weak link. He was correct. Norman finally broke down. But he was not as cooperative as Kieffer thought him to be. He tried to alert London to his capture by inserting a warning in a wireless message that he was forced to send, and he tried to escape. He almost succeeded and was stopped only when he was shot by one of the guards. But he did begin to reveal the locations of the arms dumps, and Prosper, suspecting that the Germans would soon have all the information they were after, decided to try to use the whereabouts of the armories as bargaining counters for the lives of his men.

It was Kieffer who proposed a pact to Prosper and Norman. He said that if they revealed the locations of all the dumps, he would guarantee that none of their colleagues who had been, or might later be, captured would be killed or ill-treated. At Prosper's insistence he sent to Himmler for the authority to enter into such a pact, and although Prosper thought the guarantee would be rendered worthless the moment he delivered up the arms, he agreed to the bargain.

Prosper ) 341 (

Prosper was then taken to the Gestapo headquarters at Prinzalbrecht-strasse in Berlin, leaving Norman to execute the pact. Armed with maps and letters supplied by Norman, and sometimes accompanied by Norman himself, the SD sped to all parts of Prosper's territory to confiscate some 470 tons of arms and stores. Then the SS came back to arrest hundreds of his sub-agents. But the Germans did honor their pact; the SD spared many lives, although not usually those of the principals. Prosper and his lieutenants went quickly to their deaths. Norman was kept alive for a time, but the rest were shot and cremated. Of all the members of Prosper's lieutenancy, only Culioli survived. After the war, he came back a wraith to face, tragically enough, a French military tribunal which tried to fasten upon him some of the responsibility for the Prosper tragedy. The charges failed.

The collapse of the Prosper network generated Shockwaves far beyond its own boundaries, and F section knew almost immediately that its outposts in France had been struck by a cyclone. It also knew of the suspicions attaching to Dericourt in the affair. But nothing was done to bring him home or to liquidate him; on the contrary, it was decided to entrust Bodington to his care. To find out how far the disaster had spread, Bodington was authorized to fly into France to a Dericourt reception—a sure sign that F section still trusted Dericourt, despite all the allegations.

Their trust was well placed; Bodington went in and was received by Dericourt. Kieffer heard that he was in the country and demanded his address from Dericourt, but Dericourt said he did not know it. Bodington went to ground with a price of <£ 10,000 on his head—a tribute to his value to the SD, for the going rate for a live F section officer was £5,000. Dericourt did not try to collect. Bodington was eventually evacuated safely, but not before SOE was confronted with a new specter—the burning of Scientist, the great F section circuit which stretched from the foothills of the Pyrenees up the Biscayan coast to the Vendee, and then turned east to join hands with Prosper in Paris. It was a pyre only a shade less furious than Prosper's; and the flames, like Prosper's, had been ignited by a fuse that seemed to lead directly to London and Starkey.

"Scientist" was Claude de Baissac, a London-trained F section officer of Mauritian origins. He was thirty-five, a man of "exceptional character," who "produced results of exceptional merit." He had landed near Nimes, dropping blind with a wireless operator, on July 30, 1942, and he began to build Scientist with such efficiency that F soon sent him reinforcements, notably his sister Lise, who was also a London-trained officer and who became his liaison with Prosper—Baissac and Suttill were close friends. The affairs of Scientist were extremely complex; and like Prosper, it soon

) 342 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

grew too big for safety. But F thought so highly of Scientist that the RAF was commissioned to fly to him in one month no less than 120 heavy aircraft loads of war stores—over 2000 containers, more than Prosper ever received.

There was, however, a motive other than admiration to explain London's massive generosity. "Evidently something powerful was building up," wrote R. A. Bourne-Patterson, the Scotsman who was F's deputy. Something was—and the Germans, too, perceived it. In fact, they were intended to perceive it. The LCS and A-Force, working together on a joint Cockade-Zeppelin strategic deception—their grandest so far—were seeking to distract OKW's attention from the Allied invasion of Italy at Salerno on September 9, 1943, the same day as D-Day for Starkey. The object of the stratagem, as far as Scientist was concerned, was to make it appear to OKW that the Allies would not only land in the Pas de Calais for Starkey, but also in the general region of Bordeaux. OKW was extremely sensitive to the possibility that the Allies might try to seize the great port of Bordeaux, and panzer units and several good infantry divisions were stationed in the region to contest any such invasion. The LCS hoped to induce Hitler to keep those divisions where they were, thus removing them from service in Italy, and to achieve that, it relied on the known indiscretion of Scientist sub-agents.

Arms and stores were poured into Scientist's circuits to simulate a pre-invasion build-up; and twice that summer, Scientist, who controlled over 10,000 armed men—a very useful force indeed, particularly since many of them were formidable Gascons—was ordered to stand by for operations through the BBC's Avis service. As the LCS intended, Scientist sub-agents gossiped, the gossip reached the SD in the area, and the SD, which had been pursuing Donar in a more leisurely fashion than Kieffer in Paris, reacted vigorously. Perhaps the Germans would have lashed out anyway, but just as Starkey inflamed the SD in the Paris region, so the threat of invasion precipitated new efforts to crush the resistance forces in the Bordeaux region. The Germans struck and arrested and deported—or executed—some three hundred leading Scientist resistants.

The downfall of the Prosper and Scientist networks had undoubtedly been caused, in part, by carelessness and lack of security among the resistants themselves, and, in part, by the diligence of the German counterespionage authorities. But to many Frenchmen involved in the affair, it seemed that both networks had been deliberately compromised by the British solely for the purposes of deception. The charges leveled against the British secret agencies, even long after the war was over, were various and grave. It was alleged not only that resistants had been encouraged to undertake clandestine operations in support of an invasion that would not take place—operations that cost some of them their lives—but also that

Prosper ) 343 (

Prosper and other resistance leaders had been primed with misinformation about an invasion in the certain knowledge that they would be caught, break under interrogation and tell the Germans what they thought to be the truth: that an invasion was, in fact, imminent. Dericourt's activities, in particular, came under heavy suspicion, for it seemed that in showing the Germans the secret courrier —either with the permission of the British or because he was actually working for the Germans—he had directly contributed to Prosper's capture and the collapse of his circuit.

For a time all these charges went unanswered, in spite of persistent questions raised in Parliament, the press and in various British and French histories. The traditional omerta —the conspiracy of silence that shrouded most of Britain's secret wartime activities—enveloped the affair. But such ghosts were not so easily laid, and conscious that there was an undercurrent of suspicion in his dealings with French leaders, several of whom were involved in the resistance and could now make or break Britain's attempt to enter the European Common Market, Harold Macmillan as Prime Minister, whose name appeared on the distribution lists of many A-Force operational documents, eventually did what no Prime Minister had ever done before; in the early 1960's he commissioned an official history of the operations of a British secret service. The result, Foot's book, SOE in France, was admirable and invaluable, but incomplete. Foot himself explained that he was considerably disadvantaged in his research because a fire had consumed much of SOE's central registry just after the war, and what remained was in a state of what he called "authentic confusion." Some papers were, Foot would admit, probably falsified, others deliberately destroyed. All F section wireless messages had vanished, and they would have explained much. Moreover, Foot said he did not have access to any documents regarding large-scale deception operations. Nevertheless, he sought to rebut the charges leveled against SOE in the Prosper and Scientist affairs. He scoffed at the notion that the British had deliberately betrayed Prosper. "An assertion," he declared, "as absurd as this last one calls to mind the Duke of Wellington's reply to the man who called him Captain Jones: 'Sir, if you can believe that, you can believe anything.' " He also denied that Prosper and other F section organizers were primed with false information which, when they were captured and interrogated, they would reveal to the Germans. Citing Mincemeat as an example of how cleverly that kind of deception was practiced, he commented:

.... to send a few SOE agents into France primed with rumours that France was going to be invaded in 1943, on the off chance that some of them would fall into German hands and pass the rumours on, would have been a project lacking alike in bite, finish, and viability. Besides, it is undoubtedly

) 344 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

the case that no use was made of S O E's work in France for any purposes of deception, then or later: no one trusted the agents enough for such delicate tasks.

So much, in the official view, for the allegations that Prosper and Scientist were used as pawns in a deception. But at the time that Foot was researching and writing his book, the LCS and strategic deception were still highly classified matters. Foot did not acknowledge the dominant role that deception had played in British military operations in the summer of 1943, either because he had not seen the pertinent documents or because he prudently adopted the then official line that deception, which, during the cold war, was still being practiced on a large scale, simply did not exist. Thus, Foot made no mention of Cockade or Starkey, yet, contradicting himself, he confirmed the role that deception had played in the collapse of the Scientist circuit. Writing that the BBC, as part of the deception plan that covered the surrender of Italy and the Salerno assault, twice alerted every active SOE circuit in France to expect an invasion—alerts that were intended to reach German ears through the known lack of security of the Scientist circuit—he commented that: "The staff concerned with deception relied on indiscretion, and might have thought more about safety."

Finally, when late in 1969 the LCS found it could no longer conceal its existence, Sir Ronald Wingate was authorized to speak on behalf of Bevan and his colleagues. But he, too, stated that there was no connection between the LCS and SOE. With a politician's skill in the precise use of words, he made a point of stressing, in the special context of the French resistance, that "We never used SOE for the purposes of deception; they were far too amateurish. We used the professionals." The "professionals" were, of course, MI-6 and, to a lesser extent, the Foreign Office and the Political Warfare Executive; but Wingate would not discuss what connection these LCS executive agencies had with SOE and the resistance movements. It was a fine distinction that was soon lost, for in 1972 documents began to come to light at the National Archives in Washington which showed beyond doubt that SOE itself had actively prepared and executed plans in support of LCS schemes, generally in concert with PWE.

The first of these documents was the SOE/PWE plan for Cockade and Starkey. The second was a note, dated September 3, 1943—six days before D-Day for Starkey—which proved conclusively that SOE was involved in the deception right through to the end on September 9. And it showed that F section agents in the field had been intentionally misinformed about the true nature of the operation. The note, initialed "C.A.B.," was from the Intelligence Section to the Operations Section of COSSAC, which was stage-managing the physical movements of troops, ships and aircraft involved in Starkey; and it read:

Prosper ) 345 (

In the Starkey plan, it was laid down that SOE should communicate with their contacts in occupied territories D-9 to D-7 [nine to seven days before D-Day] informing them that Starkey was a rehearsal. SOE have been ordered to hold their hand until Saturday morning. . . . Although all is quiet at present, Colonel Rowlandson [of SOE] could give no guarantees and he would like to be able to give his boys a line as soon as possible.

Here was a clear and undeniable link between the LCS, COSSAC, SOE and F section. The French were correct in their belief that strategic deception had contributed to Prosper's downfall. For Prosper was briefed in London to prepare for a real invasion, and when he returned to the field, he was obedient to his orders. He took chances that, had he known Starkey was a ruse, he might not have taken, and the Germans struck him down, along with every other element of the French underground they could find.

Thus Starkey played a major part in the disaster; but where did Dericourt fit into the puzzle? Was he, in fact, working for the Germans, and had he betrayed Prosper to his SD contacts? Or if someone in London had authorized those contacts, were not the British a party to Prosper's betrayal? What was Dericourt's game and where did his loyalties lie? Foot's explanation was curiously incomplete:

The truth is that his only unswerving loyalty was to himself; he was trapped by circumstances between the upper millstone of loyalty to workmates in SOE and the nether millstone of inextricable entanglements with the Gestapo, and did what he could to serve both sides at once.

The truth—or as much of it as will ever be known—would prove to be more complicated than that.

Despite the fact that Prosper and countless other resistants fell before the German ratissage, Dericourt survived. He continued to operate as air movements officer in the Paris region, although the SD knew all about him and F section had been warned that he was a traitor. However, when allegations that he had changed sides persisted, it was decided to investigate him, and "Operation Knacker"—a man who buys and slaughters useless horses for their meat and bones—was launched to fly him out of France. Dericourt was instructed to meet a Hudson near Angers on the night of February 3/4, 1944, but he was not told that Major Morel would be aboard the plane with orders to bring him to London, at the point of a pistol if needs be.

Dericourt met the plane, and brought with him six agents, all of whom were on the run. As the agents and their belongings were being loaded, Morel told Dericourt that he, too, must go to London. Dericourt said it was quite impossible; the field had to be cleared of bicycles by dawn if it was not to be blown. Morel accepted this explanation when Dericourt promised

) 346 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

to be ready to leave for London from the field near Tours on the night of February 8/9. The plane returned without him.

It would now have been possible for Dericourt to seek the sanctuary of the SD had he been a German agent. But he did not, even though he knew that London distrusted him—he could tell that by Morel's manner—and that he would probably not be allowed to return to the field. If that was the case, he was not prepared to leave France without his wife. He adored her and if he left her behind she would certainly be arrested by Kieffer. However, Dericourt saw Kieffer and Goetz before he left Paris. He asked them what service he might perform for the SD when he was in London, and Kieffer told him to find out the date and place of the invasion. It is possible that Kieffer or Goetz also gave him some means—a cipher or secret ink and a postbox—by which to communicate. At any rate, Kieffer must have been fairly certain that Dericourt could still be useful to him even though he was in London; he would never have allowed him to leave France otherwise.

When Dericourt and his wife arrived in Britain, F section handled them with courtesy and respect. Dericourt was not, as might have been thought, held under close arrest. He was put up at the Swan Hotel in Stratford-on-Avon, and then brought to London with his wife and given a room at the Savoy. No one could complain about the comfort of those two hotels; and F section paid the bills. Rarely was F section so generous or so concerned about the comfort of an agent, and this bespoke powerful friends for the suspect Dericourt.

A secret tribunal to investigate Dericourt's activities convened on February 11, 1944, at Northumberland Avenue, near the War Office and convenient to the cells at Scotland Yard. The interrogations were handled by Air Commodore Archibald Boyle, SOE's director of intelligence and security, and H. N. Sporborg, the vice chief of SOE; and at the outset Dericourt's record as air movements officer was the subject of the investigation. It was an impressive record. Between his first operation on March 17/18, 1943, and his last on February 8/9, 1944, he had handled a total of seventeen Lysanders and eight Hudsons in which forty-three agents arrived in France and sixty-seven left for London. He had supervised, without casualties to aircraft or air crews while on the ground, about one-fifth of all secret British air movements into France during that period—including some of MI-6's. This evidence did much to earn him the favor of Sporborg, who could see little direct proof that Dericourt had betrayed any agents to the SD, or that he had changed sides. Air Commodore Boyle, however, delivered the equivocal opinion that "The fact that casualties do not appear to have occurred does not necessarily disprove his treachery."

The tribunal was aware that Dericourt had contact with the SD, and when he undertook to explain how it had come about, he said that shortly

Prosper ) 347 (

after his return to Paris early in 1943, two Lufthansa pilots whom he had known before the war called on him at his flat. They invited him to go out for a drink, he accepted and they left the flat together. Outside, sitting in a car, was a third man—Josef Goetz. Goetz recounted Dericourt's career in detail, Dericourt told his interrogators, and invited him to work for the SD. Dericourt said he felt that it would be useless to refuse; he decided to collaborate. But when he came to London at Easter, he reported his contact with the SD and was, he said, directed to maintain it.

Who in London had given him this direction, and why? At this point the only extant account of the interrogation—Foot's official history—goes silent, discreetly and not unexpectedly. But Bodington later testified that this statement was true. Moreover, there appeared on Dericourt's personal file the penciled note by Bodington: "We know he is in contact with the Germans and also how & why."

The investigation then turned to the question of the secret courrier, but, evidently, not with any great anxiety. When Dericourt was challenged about this, he "made the evasive reply that even if he had made correspondence available to the Gestapo, it would have been worth it for the sake of conducting his air operations unhindered."

Buckmaster, Morel and Bodington all testified to Dericourt's fidelity and extraordinary courage and capability in the Allied cause. In this they were supported by Brigadier Eric Mockler-Ferryman, a veteran intelligence officer who had been Eisenhower's G2 in Tunisia and now held Gubbins's former post at SOE—chief of the London Group. Buckmaster offered the powerful testimonial that ". . . when—if ever—the clouds are blown away, I am prepared to bet a large sum that we shall find him entirely innocent of any voluntary dealing with the enemy." Only MI-5, the counterintelligence service that also took part in the investigation, found against Dericourt, and its opinion was hardly an indictment for treachery: ". . . we should, if the decision were entirely (ours), regard the case against him as serious enough to prevent him undertaking any further intelligence work outside this country."

MI-5 had the last word. Dericourt was not allowed to return to the field; but neither was he indicted, jailed or quarantined. It appears that he went back to the Savoy for a time, and then moved into a flat in London with his wife—possibly to communicate with his German contacts, at the direction of the XX-Committee. Whatever his activities, he disappeared from view until after the invasion.

F section was not pleased with the tribunal's ruling. Buckmaster wrote a series of irritable notes about "interference with one of his best circuits by people who did not understand conditions in the field." Morel protested that he was "absolutely revolted" by the ruling. Moreover, Dericourt retained the highest regard of some of the most important and influential

) 348 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

intelligence officers in London. Mockler-Ferryman put him in for the Distinguished Service Order, describing Dericourt's "great ability and complete disregard of danger" and, in a direct hint that Dericourt had been something more than an air movements officer for SOE, that he had performed "in 'particularly difficult and highly dangerous' circumstances" that "involved 'keeping up many very dangerous acquaintances, particularly with pilots of the Luftwaffe and Lufthansa.' " Significantly, the DSO was the medal that Menzies most often arranged for those senior agents who had rendered MI-6 important and courageous service; it was a decoration that could not be given to, or retained by, anyone convicted of crime.

When Dericourt reappeared in September 1944, it was, again significantly, as a Spitfire pilot. If he had been an SD agent, if he had betrayed Prosper and everyone else, if he had rendered the Allies some grave disservice, he v/ould never have been allowed to fly again, and certainly not in a high-performance aircraft. He could have defected too easily. But he did not defect; behaving with great courage, he was shot down on operations over France and badly burned. His own country rewarded his exploits as a fighter pilot with the Croix de Guerre, and at the end of the war he returned to live in Paris with his wife, again working for Air France as a pilot.

Yet the cloud of suspicion around Dericourt did not disperse. Was he a hero or a traitor? No one knew. During the period of vengeance in French national life that followed the war, when thousands of people were tried and executed for collaborating with the Germans, every attempt to indict him for grand treason was defeated. But if Dericourt had enemies in France, he also had powerful friends in Britain, and they demonstrated their friendship in arranging an accommodation with an English court on what was clearly a major indictment.

The indictment arose out of an incident that took place on April 11, 1946, when, just as he was about to take his Dakota airliner to Paris on a routine commercial flight, Dericourt was challenged by a customs officer at the old international airport at Croydon. The officer searched his valise and discovered that he was carrying platinum valued at £3158, gold valued at about £,1500, and banknotes to the value of £1320; another £100 in notes was found on his person. He was accused of smuggling and found himself liable for fines totaling £18,000 and jail for up to five years. He appeared on remand before the Croydon magistrates on April 12, but, significantly, the case was adjourned on his own assurance that he would return and plead on April 23. He had to fly his aircraft back to Paris, he explained.

As good as his word, Dericourt returned to England, and when he came before the magistrates, his defense was in the hands of Derek Curtis

Prosper ) 349 (

Bennett, an eminent King's Counsel, and two juniors. Such a formidable team could only have been assembled by somebody with considerable influence and means, which Dericourt did not have. Bennett told the court that Dericourt was carrying the consignment of platinum, gold and banknotes for "the British secret service in France." Then he eloquently described Dericourt's wartime career, and the court was impressed. Dericourt was found guilty, but was fined only .£500—a sum that was paid by an unnamed acquaintance. Clearly, matters had been arranged with the court. No one asked what business "the British secret service" might have in peacetime France, and Dericourt did not go to jail. He returned to France, but soon his powerful friends had to come to his defense again—this time when he went on trial for his life.

By 1947, the British and American secret services had finished with their investigation of the former SD executive body in France, including Helmuth Knochen, the chief, and they were handed over to the French. Through interrogation, the French managed to build up what appeared to be a formidable case against Dericourt and a massive indictment for treason was filed against him. The main charge was that he had extracted from the courrier some 250 messages personnels and had shown them to the SD; from these messages, it seemed to the French, it would have been possible for the Germans to deduce how the various stages of the invasion would unfold. Dericourt was arrested and spent almost eighteen months in Fresnes Prison while the evidence was being assembled. Finally, he came to trial on June 7, 1948.

As was customary, Dericourt was given a choice of trials. He could have a civilian trial, in which case he had the right of appeal if he was found guilty. Or he could elect to go before the Tribunal Militaire Permanent de Paris, a panel of officers, some expert in intelligence matters, whose judgment was absolute. If they found Dericourt guilty, execution was inevitable; there could be no clemency and no appeal. Dericourt, apparently confident of the outcome, elected to face the TMP. He appeared at ten o'clock that morning in a room at the Neuilly Barracks; and as one chronicler noted: "(he was) dressed in a dark blue suit with a discreet white stripe ... he had had the good taste to remove the Legion d'Hon-neur from his buttonhole. His gaze was direct and his personality commanded instant sympathy. . . ."

When Dericourt presented himself for examination, he did not deny having contact with the Germans. He told the president of the tribunal, M. Dejean de la Batie, the same particulars of how that contact had been established that he had told the SOE inquiry in London. He also told the court that he had informed the British of the contact, that he had received their instruction to continue it, and that, accordingly, he had feigned "to

) 350 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

work for them (the Germans) in order to keep the contacts for future exploitation." Dericourt again admitted that he had been a double agent; but for the first and only time he also described his modus operandi:

So as not to awaken their suspicions that I was playing them a double game I gave them the locations of eight airfields I was using in Touraine—eight out of 14. The information which I gave them was of no consequence. I threw sand in their eyes. The eight airfields which I disclosed to them had not been formally accepted by London and I knew that no aircraft would land on them. The resistance did not suffer.

M. Batie exclaimed: "What a dangerous game!" Dericourt retorted: "The more my merit!"

Then the court called the German witnesses. All seemed reluctant to say anything that might convict Dericourt—a reluctance that was interpreted by the French press as a sign that the "British Intelligence Service" had put pressure upon them to keep silent. Cross-examined by Dericourt's famous and expensive attorney, Maitre Moro-Giafferi, the Germans were as one in their statements that it was likely that Dericourt had only pretended to work for them, that he had, in fact, told them nothing of value, and that he had interested them only inasmuch as they hoped he might one day be able to tell them the date and place of the invasion. And what of the 250 messages personnels? Had Dericourt given them over? Yes, he had, declared Knochen, but they proved useless. They would, said Knochen, have proved of use only if the Allies had landed at the Pas de Calais.

Then came testimony on Dericourt's behalf. Out of the shadows stepped Bodington, whom the newspapers described as "very mysterious" and a member of the "(British) Intelligence Service." When asked if he would employ Dericourt under the same circumstances again, Bodington said yes, he would; if he had had the task of starting F section all over again, he would do so with Dericourt—and without any hesitation whatsoever.

It was powerful testimony. The judges were deeply impressed. No less impressive was the succession of high-ranking Frenchmen called to back Dericourt and Bodington. All claimed to have been handled safely by Dericourt when he was air movements officer. One was General Henri Zeller, a leading member of the resistance, who walked across the courtroom to shake Dericourt by the hand; others included M. Roualt, the Director of the Prefecture de Police, and M. Livry-Level, a deputy for Normandy. A score of people gave evidence of Dericourt's bravery; and another score sent testimonials to the court. When their evidence was done, Moro-Giafferi rose and cried: "If he is guilty of treason, there is still

Prosper ) 351 (

death and the firing squad for traitors. If he is innocent, give him back his honor!"

The judges retired for two minutes, and returned with a unanimous verdict for acquittal on all charges. There was a roar of applause, and the Commissaire du Gouvernement formally discharged the prisoner. He announced that Dericourt was permitted to wear again the rosette of the Legion d'Honneur, his medals and his uniform, and Dericourt walked out of the barracks a free man.

The trial had shed some light on Dericourt's wartime mission; under the cover of an SOE agent, he had, apparently, been authorized to penetrate the SD. The suspicion remained that in carrying out that mission he had betrayed other F section agents in the field and had endangered the lives and safety of countless French resistants. If he had, who had allowed him to do so? It seemed to many Frenchmen that Dericourt's trial had been rigged. Who was protecting him, and why? Were Dericourt's friends interested merely in rewarding him for his services to the Allied cause? Or were they attempting to conceal an operation that, however inadvertently, had resulted in the loss of a large number of British agents and their comrades in the French underground?

No one was more interested in discovering the answers to these questions than a crusading writer, Miss Jean Overton Fuller, who was investigating the mysterious fate of her friend Princess Noor Inayat Khan. Princess Noor, an SOE agent who had been sent to France in the summer of 1943 to a Dericourt reception, had subsequently been captured and killed under circumstances that seemed, to Miss Overton Fuller, directly linked to the collapse of the Prosper network and Dericourt's ambiguous contact with the SD. She wanted to know who had authorized that contact and why, and cornering Dericourt, she forced from him a series of short statements that further illuminated the nature of his wartime mission. Dericourt told her that not only had he been authorized to maintain contact with the SD, but he had also been given special orders in its handling that involved a "strategic sacrifice." He said he thought Prosper had been the victim of that sacrifice. Miss Overton Fuller then declared: "You believe, then, that the whole 'Prosper' (organization) was sacrificed." Dericourt replied: "My theory—I won't tell it to you—is not so crude as yours. I knew and I reported on my visit in Easter 1943 to London that (Prosper) was penetrated from a very early stage. . . . Prosper's chiefs knew that and they handled it in their own way." Adding that Buckmaster knew nothing of his "other duties," Dericourt said: "I reported to an officer of much higher rank." According to Miss Overton Fuller, Dericourt "did not . . . believe that it was from within SOE that the decision to make a maneuver of the kind he was inclined to credit had been taken." The officers from

) 352 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

whom he had received his orders, he said, had been "animated by honest motives," and it was "they" who had helped defend him at both the Croydon and Paris trials. But he refused to tell Miss Overton Fuller who "they" were, the names of the men who had given him his special orders or, for that matter, what those special orders were. "He could reveal nothing more of his instructions," she wrote, "except that they related to the Intelligence side."

Dissatisfied, Miss Overton Fuller went after Dericourt again. He refused to answer any more questions, but in a brief personal statement he wrote:

... I can sleep in peace because I know that I was not responsible for the arrest of Prosper ... or any others. But seeing things now through the eyes of different people, and in a different perspective, I realise they can look different from what they were in truth.

I, like any other British, German or French agent, have to recognise that we could have been abused. We were blind fighting in darkness. To be successful in the missions for which we were responsible, we had often to clear from our way possible causes of nuisance. We used to risk our lives every day, three times a day, with no rest or encouragement. We were rich in what we had in our hearts and in our minds. Today I am rich in the friendship of the people who know what I did.

I can't and won't say more.

There I'affaire Dericourt might have ended. But just after the war, suspicious that those in London who had authorized Dericourt's mission were responsible for the collapse of both the Prosper and Scientist networks and other smaller reseaux to which they were related, as well as the virtual obliteration of F section operations in and around Paris in the latter half of 1943, the Gaullistes had initiated an investigation of their own. They concluded that it was MI-6 that had directed Dericourt to maintain his contact with the SD, and in order to ingratiate himself with the Germans, he had been authorized to show them the courrier. The purpose of such a statagem was relatively simple; once Dericourt had earned the trust of his German contacts, he acted not only as a straightforward penetration agent, but also as a means through which deceptive intelligence was planted upon the enemy.

In the light of Dericourt's own remarks about those "higher up" and the "Intelligence side," there seems no reason to doubt that the French investigation's conclusions were generally correct; and in the light of events in his postwar career, it would appear that Dericourt had rendered both SOE and MI-6—and the Allied cause—a valuable service. How else to explain the intercession of powerful friends at the Croydon and Paris trials? Moreover, it would appear that his mission was somehow connected not only with Cockade and Starkey but also with the cover and deception

Prosper ) 353 (

plans for D-Day, for he was withdrawn from the field in February 1944 and not allowed to return until September. The French investigation concluded that Dericourt was withdrawn from France not because the British were suspicious of him, but because his French comrades no longer trusted him and he was in such peril from the resistance that he might have been forced to seek the protection of the Germans. If that had happened, Dericourt might have revealed to the SD the truth of his mission—and that, in turn, might have imperiled the cover and deception plans for D-Day.

Again, the investigation's contentions seem to have been generally correct. But what was the nature of the deception that Dericourt planted upon the Germans? The report concluded that it concerned the 250 messages personnels which he was alleged to have betrayed to the SD. The messages personnels were the means by which London communicated its instructions to the European resistance movements, and they would prove to be of extreme importance on D-Day when the French resistants would be ordered to undertake clandestine activities in support of the invasion. Thus, if the Germans knew what these messages meant and to whom they were directed, they could deduce the time and place of the invasion—the most critical intelligence of the war. But ever since the decision was taken to invade Europe through Normandy, the Allied secret agencies and deception organizations had sought to persuade the Germans that their armies would invade anywhere but Normandy, and in particular, the Pas de Calais. Cockade and Starkey were among the first of the deceptions to rivet German attention on the Pas de Calais; the Dericourt stratagem was another. It was reasoned in London that if the Allies were detected in communication with reseaux in the Pas de Calais, the Germans would conclude that the invasion was coming in that region—and would take defense precautions there at the expense of Normandy.

To make such a stratagem work, a false set of messages personnels had to be devised and planted on the Germans—while the true set was sent into France along channels about which the Germans were ignorant. Here was where Dericourt and the secret courrier were involved. Buried in the counter, in such a manner that the Germans would come across them piece by piece, were messages personnels directed to reseaux in the Pas de Calais, reseaux that, in many cases, simply did not exist. It was hoped that the Germans would gradually assemble these messages and, when they were broadcast during the D-Day period, conclude that the invading Allied armies were calling for support from the resistance, not in Normandy, but in the Pas de Calais. Such was the nature of the stratagem. The British successfully planted a false set of messages personnels —communications that Allied Supreme Headquarters would term "dummy" messages—on the Germans through the aegis of Dericourt and the secret courrier. It was a

) 354 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

superb trick, one of historically important consequences to the outcome of D-Day.

But the question remains: Did Dericourt betray Prosper as part of the preliminaries to establish himself with the SD? The answer is no. The French investigation could not find evidence to indicate that the SD obtained through the courrier any information about Prosper and his lieutenants that it did not already know or might not have obtained elsewhere. Moreover, it seems quite clear that Dericourt showed the Germans only what he, or his British controllers, wanted them to see. The reasons for Prospers downfall lay elsewhere. By the spring of 1943, London knew that his network had been gravely penetrated, largely due to the carelessness of the resistants themselves. Even so, SOE had no choice but to send Prosper back into the field after his "invasion" briefing in June of 1943. His participation in Starkey was essential, and Prosper himself insisted upon returning. SOE took a gamble and lost. Prosper and his lieutenants were not betrayed by London or by Dericourt. They were captured as a result of the lack of security that attended their activities—some of which they had been instructed to undertake in support of Starkey—and the diligence of the SD.

Nothing could be done to prevent Prosper from burning, but might not a major strategic advantage be wrought from the fire? If so, that may well have been the nature of Dericourt's special orders that involved a "strategic sacrifice"—a sacrifice that Dericourt himself said he thought involved Prosper. Dericourt may have been instructed to lead the Germans to believe that he was somehow instrumental in Prosper's capture, thus further ingratiating himself with the SD. Such a supposition must remain speculative, however, for Dericourt would say no more about his mission. After his acquittal at the hands of the French tribunal, he went back to flying and was, the French press later recorded, killed in an air accident in Laos on November 20, 1962. The intricacies of his role as a double agent, and the men behind it, will never be known. But did the stratagem in which he was involved work? When he returned to London in February 1944, it was still too soon to tell. Only events on D-Day and the days that followed would prove the success or failure of his mission. But without question, it was one of the most ingenious and dangerous stratagems of the war—and one of the most Machiavellian. And it was Machiavelli who wrote:

Though fraud in other activities be detestable, in the management of war it is laudable and glorious, and he who overcomes the enemy by fraud is as much to be praised as he who does so by force.

I?

The Intelligence Attack

On November 3, 1943, Hitler issued the second crucial directive for the war in the West. It was number 51 and it laid down for the C-in-C West, Rundstedt, the Fuehrer's plans for repulsing an invasion. Hitler had not feared a major Allied landing in the West in 1943. He and his commanders had been openly disdainful of the Cockade and Starkey deceptions, and he had stripped his Channel garrisons to meet more pressing threats on the Russian and Mediterranean fronts. But 1944 was another matter, and in Directive 51, he wrote:

All signs point to an offensive against the Western Front of Europe no later than spring, and perhaps earlier. For that reason, I can no longer justify the further weakening of the West in favor of other theatres of war. I have therefore decided to strengthen the defences in the West, particularly at places from which we shall launch our long-range war against England. For those are the very points at which the enemy must and will attack; there— unless all indications are misleading—will be fought the decisive invasion battle.

The places to which Hitler referred were chiefly in the Pas de Calais. As the shortest cross-Channel route, it was the logical site for the invasion; and judging from the accelerating tempo of Allied air and reconnaissance operations, that was the area in which they intended to land. By "our long-range war," Hitler meant the VI jet-propelled pilotless bombers which carried 1 Vi tons of very high explosive to their targets at a speed faster than any Allied fighter, and the V2 rockets which, virtually undetectable and uninterceptible, carried a 1-ton warhead.

Directive 51 went on to warn Hitler's commanders to expect diversionary attacks on other fronts; and he ordered a new, massive program for the strengthening of the Atlantic Wall. But he was interested, in particular, in directing how the battle was to be fought. "Should the enemy force a

• ) 355 (

) 356 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

landing by concentrating his armed might," wrote Hitler, "he must be hit by the full fury of our counterattack." In the first instance, Rundstedt was to destroy the invasion at the high-water mark; but if he failed to do so, there must be ready "first-rate, fully mobile general reserves" to "prevent the enlargement of the beachhead and (to) throw the enemey back into the sea." Hitler further directed that at sea and in the air all Allied attacks must be "relentlessly countered" by the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine "with all their available resources." He then directed the immediate reinforcement of all arms of the Wehrmacht in the West, if necessary by stripping units in less threatened areas. And finally, he specified that strong concentrations of U-boats be positioned in southern Norway, ready to strike south at the invasion fleets. Hitler demanded a fight without restraint or mercy.

Although Directive 51 was issued in only twenty-seven copies, it was on Menzies's desk at Broadway within three weeks, reaching him through at least two separate cryptanalytical channels. Ultra provided a digest, as it often did with Hitler's directives, but a fuller version came from an American source. The intercept originated from the American Signals Intelligence Service post at Asmara in Ethiopia, and the sources of its information were extremely important to the "Martians," the code name of the large intelligence industry created by the British with headquarters in a requisitioned department store in London's Oxford Street to keep the Allied commanders informed about the Wehrmacht.

When Hitler declared war on the United States, he signed a treaty of mutual assistance with the Japanese which provided for a full exchange of information between the two nations. The large Japanese missions in Germany and other European countries were duly notified about German operations, politics, economics, industry and weaponry throughout the Nazi empire, and the offices of the Japanese ambassador at Berlin, General Hiroshi Baron Oshima, became a vast clearinghouse of intelligence on Nazi-occupied Europe. The most important of this intelligence was transmitted to Imperial Headquarters at Tokyo over an Enigma-tized high-speed radio-teleprinter link from Berlin; and when this flow was detected by the Allies, the Americans, in accordance with the hemispheric deal in regard to cryptanalysis, built an intercept station at Asmara and staffed it with a team of three hundred men.

Upon acquisition at Asmara, the raw intercepts from Berlin were enciphered on an on-line radioteleprinter to Colonel W. Preston Corder-man's Signals Security Agency (SSA) at Arlington Hall, a mansion 3 miles from central Washington, and at Vint Hill Farms, an old estate in the Virginia horse country about 50 miles from the capital. When the intercepts had been unbuttoned by SSA, they were retransmitted across the Atlantic to the American signals center 100 feet below the Goodge Street tube station near the British Museum. From there, they were circulated

The Intelligence Attack ) 357 (

according to a very strict procedure which ensured that probably not more than twenty men in all London knew what the material was and how it had been obtained. For military intelligence purposes connected with Overlord, they went to COSSACs operational intelligence branch at Norfolk House, a small team of trusted officers with the highest security clearances built around one Briton, Brigadier E. J. Foord, and one American, Colonel James O. Curtis, Jr. From the Asmara intercepts—and from all other sources of intelligence, including Ultra—they and the officers around them produced a daily intelligence bulletin entitled Neptune Monitor Report, a fuller and more considered weekly Theatre Intelligence Report, stop-press bulletins when something noteworthy developed, and frequent full-length articles on German military, technical and staff developments. These were then circulated with great care to COSSAC and all those directly involved in the planning of Overlord.

Asmara's version of Directive 51 contained some important observations by Baron Oshima, who was as skilled a soldier as he was a diplomat. In October 1943, he had toured the Atlantic Wall from the Skaggerak to the Spanish frontier and reported in radiograms of between 1000 and 2000 words twice a week on the state of the defenses. He received a long briefing from Rundstedt, who told him what he had already told Hitler: that the line of coastal defenses facing England was very thin compared to the defenses on the Russian front; that almost all his divisions were under-strength and their armament, particularly anti-tank weapons, badly needed modernization and reinforcement; and that there was a serious lack of motorized transport and an overdependence upon horse-drawn vehicles. Dutifully, competently, and in the best flat General Staff terminology, Oshima reported all this information, and a great deal more, through his embassy to Tokyo; it was intercepted at Asmara and at about the same time it arrived in Tokyo it also arrived in Washington and London.

The Asmara intercepts were proven by the Martians—for who could tell whether Rundstedt was not misleading Oshima?—against Ultra, whose productions were, by mid-1943, considerable—2000, 3000 and, on occasions, 4000 top secret German signals every day. Among these signals were Rundstedt's and the other western commands' daily and weekly returns, which consisted of reports of the strengths and equipment states of all units in the West, often down to companies. Dull stuff, but some of the most priceless intelligence of the war, for it showed generally where each German division was and what its capability in battle would be. Gradually, the Martians were able to build up a complete picture of the German order of battle in the West; seldom, if ever, in history had a planning staff been better informed of its enemy. Ultra also revealed that Rundstedt, like Hitler, believed that the Allies would invade the Pas de Calais; and the basic stratagems of the invasion would be devised to bolster up this

) 358 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

mistaken belief. Thus, by late 1943, Ultra was not only dictating or shaping the strategy and tactics of the invasion, it was also influencing the deception operations that would be used to cover it.

Ultra and the Asmara intercepts were not the only sources of high-grade intelligence available to COSSAC; the machine had not wholly replaced the spy. From its inception in March 1942, the Atlantic Wall had been a primary target for MI-6 and its associated organizations, particularly SOE; for SOE, while it had no intelligence acquisition responsibility, did supply very large quantities of information about the Wehrmacht. Most of this information was acquired by French reseaux, notably on the Channel coast by the right-wing "Century" organization; and the officer mainly responsible for handling the vast quantities of material gathered by Century was Commander Wilfred Dunderdale, a career MI-6 officer who had been born at the Russian Black Sea port of Nikolaev. A wealthy man, short and powerfully built, Dunderdale was fluent in Russian, French and German, and had a working command of Greek and Turkish. After serving in the First World War with a British cruiser squadron in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, he began his MI-6 career at the British legation in Istanbul. There, he made a significant friendship with a pharmaceutical opium dealer named Georges Keun, a Sephardic Jew with a Danish passport. Then in 1926, Dunderdale was sent to Paris and remained there, latterly as the MI-6 liaison officer with the French secret services, until the fall of France in 1940. It was under Dunderdale's direction that Richard Lewinski had reconstructed the Wehrmacht's Enigma.

Soon after Dunderdale arrived at Paris, his friend Keun built a villa, the Taneh Merah, at Cap d'Antibes, and Dunderdale became a frequent house guest. Keun was a leading light in that curious interwar society which Scott Fitzgerald described. He married a relative of Sarah Bernhardt and of Georges Feydeau, the man who wrote La Plume de Ma Tante; various brothers and sisters married into the Borghese family of Italian princes and into the Chilean plutocracy. Keun's son, Philippe, went to Downside, the Catholic college in England, and to the College Stanislaus, a leading French school for the sons of wealthy and influential Catholics. But at an early age, Philippe Keun rejected Catholicism for communism; those were the days of the Front Populaire and violent social unrest, and the workers often found sympathy and support among the youth of the French ruling class. Appalled by the violence and turbulence around him, young Keun left Paris to work as a laborer in Turkey and, being a clever linguist, he began to translate parts of Shakespeare into Turkish. At the outbreak of the Second World War he returned to France, fought in the French army at Sedan, was captured, escaped, and made his way to Bordeaux. There,

The Intelligence Attack ) 359 (

through his Catholic connections, he met a Jesuit who had served in the French secret service against the British and now served the British against the Germans. This man was the formidable "Colonel Claude Ollivier," whose real name was Arnould and who was posing as a coal merchant. Ollivier was founding an MI-6 reseau that would come to be called "Jade Amicol," a spy organization with strong connections with the Jesuits and the railways. When Ollivier requested permission from London to employ Keun as his deputy, Dunderdale approved.

By 1943, Jade Amicol—MI-6 reseaux took their names from precious stones combined with the code names of their leaders, and since Ollivier was known as "Le Colonel" and Keun was called "L'Amiral," the first syllables were joined to form "Amicol"—was MI-6's largest circuit in Paris and northern France. It had over 1500 sub-agents, many of them Jesuits, railwaymen and former French army officers; and, although it was hunted with great savagery by its enemies and suffered many casualties, it survived. During the Donar ratissage, Ollivier had a close call. He was badly wounded when he was ambushed by SD men on the stairs to an apartment near the Etoile. Bullets shattered his right arm and severed the brachial artery but, while literally bleeding to death, he escaped back down the winding staircase and out into the street. Fortune was with him; he found a horse-drawn taxi immediately, leaped into the back, told the driver to take him to the Champs-Elysees and, as the old carriage swayed and thundered, found a piece of wire in the seat. He made a tourniquet, saved his own life, and then leaped out and vanished in a crowd around Fouquet's.

Apart from Ollivier's resourcefulness and courage, the reason his reseau survived was because the Germans never located its main safehouse. This Jade Amicol had established in the convent of the Sisters of St. Agonie, a branch of the Lazarites, a religious and military order founded in Jerusalem about the middle of the twelfth century. The convent was at 127 rue de la Sante, a scabrous old building situated under the walls of the lunatic asylum of Sainte-Anne. With the nine sisters and the Mother Superior, Madame Henriette Frede, acting as couriers, the convent became Menzies's chief radio center in Paris and also the center for the collection of MI-6's secret mail for London. A transceiver was secreted in a small loft over the sacristy, and there were wireless outstations in various parts of Paris—including one in the loft of the Hotel Scribe.

Here, Ollivier and Keun began to acquire intelligence about the Wehr-macht, in particular its order of battle and information about military railway movements. Keun became a master of disguise, a skillful and trusted agent, and when he was not spying he was often to be found in the sacristy's loft at work translating parts of Shakespeare into Bulgarian. It was through Keun that MI-6 established a new contact with the

) 360 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

Schwarze Kapelle, which in Paris was centered around General Karl-Heinrich von Stuelpnagel, the elegant and cultured Military Governor of France, and his office at the Hotel Meurice. But again MI-6 was chiefly concerned with using the conspiracy as a source of intelligence, and Keun's main channel of information was through a disaffected Austrian Catholic official on Stuelpnagel's staff—a channel that existed, most probably, with the general's knowledge. The official had access to the Military Governor's safe and turned over copies of many valuable documents in the gloom of Notre Dame to one or another of the Lazarite sisters. But Keun's primary mission by May of 1943 was to find out all he could about the Atlantic Wall.

The operation to secure the secrets of the wall began well through a stroke of good fortune. Early in May 1943, outside the mairie at Caen, a notice appeared inviting tenders for some minor housekeeping tasks at the headquarters of Organization Todt, the German paramilitary engineering concern which was responsible for building the fortifications. Rene Duchez, a painter who was a member of Century (which had links to Jade Amicol through a clandestine organization of former French army officers known as "Sosies"), read the notice and decided to offer his services; it would give him an opportunity to get inside Todt headquarters and look around. He discovered that one of the tasks available was to put up new wallpaper in the Bauleiter's office at the Todt technical headquarters on the Avenue Bagatelle in Caen. He went there, asked to see Bauleiter Schnedderer, the chief, and Schnedderer, who wore the silver-encrusted uniform of a Todt employee, expounded at length on the patterns he would like to see on his wall. Blue Norsemen carrying flags on a light yellow background would be most handsome, but he also fancied silver cannon on a background of navy blue. The two men riffled through Duchez's pattern book and then Schnedderer asked Duchez to come back the next day, by which time he would have made up his mind. When Duchez did so, he found the Bauleiter at his desk, and on the desk were some maps. Duchez could see that the top map was of the Normandy coast from Le Havre to Cherbourg. It was printed by the diazo system of duplicating on blue cartographic paper stamped with the words sonderzeichnungen, streng geheim —Special Blueprint, Strict Secret. When Duchez's tender—attractively underpriced at 12,000 francs —was accepted and Bauleiter Schnedderer had selected the paper, the German said he had to go to a meeting. He left Duchez to begin the preparatory work. Duchez leaned over the desk to look at the map and words such as "Blockhaus" and "Sofortprogramm" (highest priority construction) caught his eyes. In a flash, he knew what it was: the blueprint for fortifications between Le Havre and Cherbourg. He took the map, folded it carefully, and hid it behind a 2-foot-square mirror in the Bauleiter's office. Almost immediately afterwards Schnedderer came back and

The Intelligence Attack ) 361 (

said it would be convenient for Duchez to start work on the following Monday.

When Duchez returned with his paper, pails, brushes and paste that Monday, he discovered that Schnedderer had gone to St. Malo and that nobody at the Avenue Bagatelle knew anything about wallpapering his office. He was refused permission to begin work and told to return in a week. Duchez began to protest, loudly, and another Bauleiter, whose name was given as Adalbert Keller, came out of an office to see what the fuss was about. Duchez explained that he had been commissioned to paper Schned-derer's office, and if Keller would let him get on with it, he would paper Keller's office for nothing. Beaming at the prospect of brightening his dingy room, Keller agreed and at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 1943, Duchez moved in and began to work. At the end of the day, he retrieved the map, which was still behind the mirror, rolled it up in some wallpaper and, with all his equipment, was waved through the guards. By the end of the week it was at Sosies headquarters in Paris. There it was copied and the master was taken to Notre Dame where it was passed over to one of the Lazarite sisters. She took it to the convent and arrangements were made for Keun to fly it to London, rather than entrusting it to the secret courrier. The copy was kept in France as the basis for a full-scale Century mapping operation of the wall from Cherbourg to Trouville—the area upon which, although neither Century nor the Sosies knew it, the Allies would descend.

In such a bold, quaint manner did the Martians begin to acquire the innermost secrets of the Atlantic Wall, which was, for all its faults and weaknesses, the most formidable barrier that the invading Allied armies would encounter. But by December 1943, intelligence and aerial reconnaissance material about the wall was available in such great detail and volume that Allied planners were as well informed about the enemy's fortifications as they were about his order of battle. There were, however, gaps in their knowledge that would cause near-disaster on D-Day. The Germans, as events would show, were capable of some clever deceptions of their own.

Another target of a concerted intelligence attack was Field Marshal Rommel, who had been sent by Hitler first to inspect the Atlantic Wall and then, on December 31, 1943, to command the two German armies—the 15th in the Pas de Calais region and the 7th in the invasion area—on the Channel coast. It was a significant reappearance, for wherever Rommel went, he stirred up a whirlwind of defensive preparations, and it was imperative to know where he was concentrating the burden of his efforts. If the Martians' studies showed that the Pas de Calais was receiving priority, it could be deduced that OKW expected the main Allied landings there. But if they showed that Rommel was concentrating on Normandy, it could be deduced that OKW had appreciated the truth of Allied intentions and

) 362 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

the advantage of surprise might be lost on D-Day. Every available source of intelligence was studied most carefully—particularly aerial reconnaissance photographs—for signs of what Rommel was doing; and when, during the winter of 1943-44, it was apparent to the Martians that he was still concentrating his main efforts around Calais, the Allied high command could view the future with some hope.

But now, with shocking suddenness, a new element began to intrude on the preparations for D-Day. For all the excellence of Allied intelligence, the "Far Shore"—as the invasion beaches were called in conference, for security reasons—was a mystery to the Overlord planners. It lay across the Channel like some Lorelei, beckoning but menacing; for most of the Martians were convinced that Hitler was keeping some secret weapon for employment on D-Day, a device that would shatter the sea and air fleets and cut down the invaders in great writhing mounds. No one knew what this weapon might be, but few doubted that Hitler had one—or more. The gunrooms of Europe echoed with debates about what they were, and every prediction was made from long-range rockets to lethal rays and "radioactive dust." Speculation grew until it bordered on an actual neurosis, and Hitler cleverly fed that neurosis with all manner of rumors and deceptions until his secret weapons became a scare to rank with Sealion and the Spanish Armada.

Allied fears deepened when Hitler used a rash of wireless-controlled, rocket-propelled bombs against the invasion fleet at Salerno; and then his new HS293 wireless-controlled glider bombs began to take a heavy toll of Allied shipping in the Mediterranean. Even more unsettling was the sudden appearance of vast concrete installations at a number of little villages along the Channel coast in the Pas de Calais. Apparently these encrustations housed some form of long-range artillery capable not only of bringing new devastation to English cities but also of causing great damage to the enormous concentrations of Allied shipping and materiel that would assemble in southern England for D-Day. But what would their warheads carry: explosives, glider or rocket bombs, some instrument of chemical or bacteriological warfare, the atomic bomb? MI-6 and SOE strained every channel of information to find out what these secret weapons were, where they were manufactured, where they were emplaced, and how they could be destroyed.

As it happened, MI-6 and the Allied high commanders already knew something about two of Hitler's secret weapons—the VI and V2 rockets. The intelligence attack by MI-6 on the German missile program had begun on March 22, 1943, when two generals of the Afrika Korps, Thoma and Cruewell, met for the first time since their capture in the "London Cage," a mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens where the British interrogated high-

The Intelligence Attack ) 363 (

ranking German prisoners. Until that time, MI-6 only suspected that the Wehrmacht was developing such weapons, a suspicion in which the Oslo Report had played a key part. Although other revelations in the report had been proved true, there was a tendency at Broadway to believe that it and several other reports of missile research and development were attempts by the Germans to send the intelligence and aerial reconnaissance services off on wild, expensive, time-consuming chases for mares' nests. But when the two generals met and began to talk, in a room that was wired to record their conversation, that belief ended. For Thoma "expressed surprise that London was not yet in ruins from a rocket bombardment," and described what he had seen when he visited a firing range in Germany where giant rockets were being tested. When this information reached Dr. R. V. Jones and his colleague, Dr. F. C. Frank, at MI-6, they related Thoma's statements to other data and concluded that reports of German rockets were not just a propaganda scare; they actually existed.

On April 11, 1943, Menzies presented the Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Archibald Nye, with a memorandum setting out all the various intelligence reports about German missiles that had been received by MI-6 since December 1942. The memorandum went to Churchill on April 15, 1943, in the form of a minute by General Ismay in which he wrote: "The Chiefs of Staff feel that you should be made aware of reports of German experiments with long-range rockets. The fact that five reports have been received since the end of 1942 indicates a foundation of fact even if details are inaccurate." Ismay advised the Prime Minister that the Chiefs of Staff recommended that a single investigator be appointed to head the intelligence attack. He should be, they suggested, a man with the authority to be able to call upon such members of the scientific and intelligence communities as appropriate. Churchill agreed and nominated as the investigator his son-in-law, Duncan Sandys, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply, a product of Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, of the Diplomatic Service, and a young Establishment figure who had commanded Britain's first anti-aircraft rocket regiment.

Under Sandys, the investigation intensified, particularly in the field of aerial reconnaissance. Information about the German rocket program began to flood in, much of it concerning activities at Peenemiinde, on a small island in the Baltic. Agents were infiltrated into the area and Peenemiinde was photographed from the air, but it was still thought possible that the installation was a hoax until a clever piece of scientific deduction—and Ultra—revealed otherwise. A clerk in the German Air Ministry sent revised instructions for applying for petrol coupons to all German experimental stations, listing them on the circular in the order of their importance. Peenemiinde was at the top of the list, and when the circular fell into the hands of R. V. Jones, as he would write, "The petrol instructions,

) 364 ( HIGH STRATEGY AND LOW TACTICS

to my mind, finished the case. They showed that Peenemiinde was genu-me. ...

Another piece of corroborative evidence was provided by Ultra. Jones believed that the Germans would use radar to plot the experimental flights of their test rockets, and he alerted the cryptanalysts at Bletchley to look for any signals to indicate that German radar companies were being moved up to the Baltic coast. Such a signal was soon forthcoming. Moreover, the company which began to track the missiles broadcast its plots in a simple code that was also intercepted. From those intercepts Jones was able both to pinpoint the location of the launch sites and to obtain detailed information on the performance of the missiles themselves.

Intelligence gathered from other sources provided more information about where German missiles were being manufactured, and the purpose of the peculiar installations in the Pas de Calais. Then came the Lisbon Report and all the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together. Although it has never been revealed who handed the report to the MI-6 station chief at Lisbon, its source was almost surely Captain Ludwig Gehre, an officer of the Abwehr and a prominent member of the Schwarze Kapelle. It was a document of immense value to the Allies, for it described Hit