Fantastic Voyage of the U-977

On 25 May  1945, while people were celebrating the end of World War II in Europe, a long, slender gray submarine cleaved the waters of the Atlantic, heading south on a mission that is still debated, even today. She was Unterseeboot U-977, with Korvetenkapitän Heinz Schäffer commanding, and this is the story of her strange final cruise. 

On 26 April 1945, the U-977 finished her war patrol and put in at the German U-boat base at Christiansund in Norway.

German submarine U-2511 was a Type XXI U-Boat under the command of Korvettenkapitän Adalbert Schnee.

After training with 31. Unterseebootsflottille, U-2511 was transferred to 11. Unterseebootsflottille at Bergen, Norway, for front-line service on 15 March 1945.

According to the commander of U-977, Heinz Schäffer, Captain Schnee was in port in Denmark taking on stores when he started bragging about the wonders of the boat. After an extended period, Cpt. Schäffer lost his temper and bet him a cask of champagne that he would reach Norway before Schnee. The bet was taken, Schnee believing that he would win easily. On the way to Norway, U-977 was having trouble with their Schnorchel while dived: the exhaust from the Diesels kept filtering into the rest of the boat, the Schnorchel head would shut as it dipped beneath the waves, and all the air would be sucked out of the boat. So the captain ordered the boat to surface. After airing it out, Schäffer decided to continue to Norway on the surface. His reasoning was that no U-boats had been seen on the surface in those waters in some time, and he doubted the Allies would strain themselves carrying out extra checks now that the war was basically over. He beat Schnee by two days. 

Captain Schäffer recalled: 

"I won my champagne because neither of the other U-boats arrived till the 27th. We were now ready for operations. I bivouacked with all my crew on a mountain slope. We had lit a log fire and the flames blazed scarlet against the sky, the sparkling stars and the shimmering sea. We lay in a circle around the fire, forty-eight of us in all, talking of the troubled days in our own country and the fate of our families and friends.

"A few day's ago, my engineer had learned of his father's death. He had lost an arm in the First World War only to be killed serving with the Volkssturm in the Second. Germany, the mighty nation of only three years ago, was now defeated and broken, with foreign (Allied) troops pouring over her countryside".

U-977 was scheduled to return to sea on 2 May 1945. Grossadmiral Karl von Dönitz had succeeded Adolf Hitler as Führer of the Third Reich, and, Schäffer recalled: 

"Everyone said he would carry on the war from Norway. Dönitz ordered the U-977 to infiltrate the harbor in Southampton (UK) and sink as much enemy shipping as he could".

Four days later, on 6 May 1945, almost on the eve of the German surrender, the U-Boat's periscope collapsed, and Schäffer turned back.

How could they navigate blindly for 66 days?

Schäffer writes in his book the following:

"A few days after we had sailed our main periscope collapsed. This was serious, as we now had no choice but to use the Snort, and with the Snort we had to travel blind. [...] True, we carried a reserve periscope, but that did not help us out as it was a short type, designed only for use when we attacked at night or in the twilight. The glass was a special one and through it we could only see what lay directly on top of us".

On 7 May, he received a radio message from Dönitz's headquarters, advising all German U-Boats to surrender.

"We didn't pick up the speaker's name because the aerial attached to our Snort (Schnorchel) broke before we got so far. Who was it who had been speaking? Certainly not von Dönitz, after all his fine words? No, it was probably an enemy trap... 

"Next day [8 May 1945--VE Day] we again picked up another signal, which I again felt must come from the enemy since it was quite irreconcilable with the outlook and temper of our own leaders and completely at variance with our own orders. I decided to ignore it and act on my own initiative.

"Finally [on 10 May 1945] there came a third signal to all U-Boats at sea to surface, put their armament out of action and hoist blue or white flags--from the Allied Disarmament Commission. I could stand it no longer and gave orders to shut off the wireless".

Here is where the account gets a little fuzzy. Schäffer claims that it was his decision, and his decision alone, to undertake the epic voyage. But critics argued that a trip to Argentina was already in the cards when U-977 left Norway. 

According to Schäffer, he called the ship's company into the chart room on 12 May 1945 and made his speech:

"Kameraden [Comrades], it seems the darkest hour has struck both for us and for Germany. We have lost the Second World War. We all knows what lies before the German people--the enemy propaganda has made no secret of it...We must decide the right course to take. We can either hoist the white flag, or sink our boat, or put into harbor in some country that has behaved honorably all through the war. One of our engineers knows Argentina and has kept in touch with friends there, so he is well-informed about this South American republic, and I myself have friends and acquaintances there...I suggest, therefore, that we continue on our way, but that we do not attack a single ship, for I would not have us avenge ourselves with the blood of innocent men. It is futile to carry on the war alone. As it is, we have all the stores we need for our voyage to Argentina to spare us the bitter bread of captivity".

The crew voted on it. 

"Thirty out of the forty-eight plumped for South America, two wanted to go to Spain, hoping to make a surer and speedier return (to Germany) from there, and sixteen expressed a wish to return to their familes--these last married men, nearly all of them petty officers, the oldest on board".

Schäffer gave the sixteen men the U-Boat's rubber dinghies, surfaced at night off the coast of Norway, and then let them go. Once submerged again, U-977 headed for the British Isles. Getting down the Channel would be like running a gauntlet, for, as Schäffer pointed out, "the British would certainly be patrolling the approaches. They didn't mean to let any leading personality of the (Third) Reich slip away, and were well aware of the audacity of their enemy. We turned out to be right. The sea around Britain was thoroughly patrolled without relaxation for a long time after the war...Often we heard mines and depth charges exploding in the distance. Were they after other U-boats?" 

To a stunned crew, Schäffer outlined his incredible plan. He intended to sail to the Equator--without surfacing at all. Such a voyage had never before been attempted by any submarine. By cruising at a depth of 25 fathoms (150 feet) by day, and 10 fathoms (60 feet) by night, and by slowing the cruising speed to 3 knots to conserve Diesel fuel, he calculated that they could reach Cabo Verde "in a couple of months."

"After eighteen days without a break, the crew began to get on edge, with black rings under their eyes, and faces pale and even greenish-looking. The bulkheads, too, were turning green with damp. Since we were permanently dived, now we couldn't get rid of the refuse from the galley and this piled up into a revolting mess, apart from the smell, breeding flies, maggots and other vermin. 

"After seven weeks of the same old faces, some of us were on the verge of nervous breakdowns. With rubbish and dirt piling up everywhere, there was clearly only one thing to do, namely to unload a torpedo, jam the refuse into the empty tube and fire it out by compressed air. 

"The mould was getting the upper hand, and unless we washed down the bulkheads every day, they began to turn quite green. Our clothes stuck to our bodies, and as we had to wash in salt water, we began to itch all over. Some of the chaps broke out in rashes, others into boils, but it couldn't be helped. We had been fifty days under water, and we had to hold out till we were off Gibraltar, when we should be able to proceed surfaced by night. The U-boat's crew began having second thoughts about the voyage. 

"One of the men came to me to suggest that we put in to a Spanish port," but Schäffer was "determined to stick fast to my resolution. Something had to be done, for discipline was going to pieces. I would come upon a group of men muttering together, but when I approached they would suddenly fall silent. 

"The boat was often full of vapour (Diesel smoke), which hurt our lungs and made our eyes smart, for every wave would automatically shut off the Snort valve and temporarily reduce the (air) pressure before the valve could open and let the (fresh) air rush in". 

Schäffer was well on his way to becoming the Captain Ahab of the Twentieth Century. While some crewmen remarked, "Are you certain this white whale is in Argentina?" and "The skipper must be half-fish. Maybe he doesn't need air down here, but we do!" others worried aloud about being executed as pirates should the U-977 be caught by an Allied task force. 

Schäffer "decided to act rigorously...When my Number One reported, 'All hands mustered forward,' I put on my white cap, which had been lying in my locker for ages, as well as my blue uniform with all my decorations and went to address the men". 

"In our darkest hour, you bore yourselves in a way history won't forget--they didn't call us the Sea Wolves for nothing," he shouted, "'And are you going to let yourselves go now? Go sulking around looking like whipped curs? You've lost all interest in our dash for freedom, haven't you, just because life seems too tough for you at the moment? Because you can't see the sun and have to spend your time down in this hold and don't know what the future holds in store? How often have I heard it said, 'Oh, we should have done this or that;' 'Our fuel won't take us to South America;' 'We might run out of stores' and 'Our health is being undermined?' What sort of fool do you take me for? Do you think I don't know what I'm doing or never foresaw all this? Didn't you all decide freely on this venture and put your trust in me? Well, it's too late to go back now".

Mutiny had been narrowly averted, but the U-Boat's ordeal went on. 

"Woodwork started to rot, condensation was permanently dripping down the bulkheads, bunks and linen permanently damp. When they were not on watch, the majority would just lie down on their bunks in a complete stupor".

Finally, on Day 66, Schäffer gave the order everybody had been waiting for. "All hands, prepare to surface". 

"I raised the conning-tower hatch and climbed out onto the bridge," Schäffer recalled.

"The senior watch-keeper came up after me, and we looked about us. There was no ship anywhere in sight. Overhead stretched the starry vault of sky, astern all was a-sparkle with the moon's diamond glimmer, and everywhere about us rolled a vast expanse of sea. I gazed on the universe around me with a new kind of awe. To breathe great breaths of this clear fresh air was indeed an elixir, for after the scanty oil-laden atmosphere of our underwater prison, this sea- air seemed the most precious of all gifts. The U-977 made straight for Cabo Verde. 

"I saw...that some of the islands of the group were uninhabited, and the crew jumped at the idea of landing on one of them. We made for Branca Island and surfaced off of it, feeling by now quite secure. Everyone came up on deck to admire the dead-calm sea with the rocks mirrored in stretches of blue, and the white beaches beyond".

From this point on, the U-Boat's voyage became almost a pleasure cruise. 

"Naturally, everybody wanted to bathe in the sea. The ideal thing would be surf-riding behind the boat, and, as we had plenty of wood and, of course, rope, in a day we had our surf-board ready...One day a man on the surf-board gave a terrifying yell, for an enormous fish was swimming alongside. We wondered if it was a shark. I had never seen such an enormous sea monster in all my life, but luckily it turned out to be a whale. If the man was terrified, the whale was quite unimpressed.

"No sooner had they gotten the terrified crewman back aboard the sub than 'Moby Dick' began sounding. With a crash of its rear flippers, the whale disappeared beneath the waves".

When its prow broke the surface, U-977 had entered a new postwar world. 

"We often passed passenger ships with all their navigation lights on, for, after all, the war was over now. One night a passenger steamer overtook us, and we caught the distant strains of dance music. People were walking up and down on the promenade deck, and we looked on, itching to take action, while the giant vessel, a very mountain of light, passed unconcernedly on its way, remaining in view for a full hour. The Sea Wolf, once the terror of the ocean, had become a very tame puppy indeed".

Crossing the Equator without incident, the U-Boat continued on its journey southward. 

"Time passed quickly. At one time we saw the haze of light in the sky that betokened Rio de Janeiro. We were proceeding now more and more to the south, and it was colder again--we had left the tropics behind us". 

[In 1945, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil. Fifteen years later, in 1960, President Juscelino Kubitschek opened the new and present capital city of Brasilia]. 

"One day, we learnt from the wireless that U-530 [under the command of Korvetenkapitän Otto Wehrmuth) had put into the Rio de la Plata (the estuary between Argentina and Uruguay]. We listened anxiously. What was going to become of the ship's company?...Then we heard that U-530 had been handed over to the United States with all its complement as prisoners of war". 

Schäffer wrote that this news "depressed" him and he briefly considered surrendering in either Brazil or Uruguay. But then he made up his mind to head for Mar del Plata in Argentin

"17 August 1945 was a brilliantly sunny day. We first made out the Argentinian coastline and then the [Mar del Plata] lighthouse; when this last came into view, the whole crew fell in on deck...While we were still outside the three-mile [five-kilometer] limit we flashed in English the signal German submarine and stopped our engines...Very soon, the Argentinian minesweeper P.Y. 10 and two submarines came alongside and informed us in English that an advance party would be coming out".

According to Dr. Dimitri Filippowitsch, a high-ranking officer in the Russian military: 

“The German U-Boats U-530 and U-977  were unusual U-Boats from the so-called 'Führer Convoy', an extremely secret formation, whose exact mission remains unknown to this day". Because the crews of the submarines refused to talk, the Americans were able to learn very few details, although the captain of U-530 did supposedly speak of an operation by the name of 'Walküre 2'. In line with this operation, his ship set sail from Kiel in Northern Germany for Antarctica two weeks before the end of the war; thanks to the Walther Schnorchel, it only had to surface once during the entire voyage across the Atlantic.

"On board were passengers whose faces were allegedly masked, as well as important documents from the Third Reich. The captain of U-977, Heinz Schäffer, confirmed that he sailed the same route with his boat shortly thereafter and in conducting their own research, the Americans realized that numerous German U-Boats traveled in the direction of Antarctica during the war. What was the reason for these voyages?"

In his book "Aftermath, Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich" Ladislas Farago talks about Operation Fire Land to ship documents currency and gold reserves to Argentina from 1943 onwards through Spain. It is also reputed that Bormann shifted documents incriminating Roosevelt, Churchill, the British Royal Family and the Vatican etc to Argentina with which to blackmail their persuers.

-- Heinz Schäffer, "U-Boat 977".  W.W. Norton & Co. New York, N.Y., 1952



The officers and crew of the U-boat had hopped by going to Argentina to avoid being turned over to the Russians and even possibly to be allowed to settle in South America.
Statement of Schäffer C.O. of U–977 
I left Kristiansand S. on 2 May 1945, normally equipped, and under orders to proceed to the Channel, (i.e. English Channel).   
A few days later I picked up fragments of signals, which I suspected of being the work of enemy deception.  When, however, these signals were not cancelled, I had to assume that the radio stations had fallen into enemy hands and that we had lost the war. 

The fact that the uncoded signals signed "Allied Committee" were coming through, convinced me that the orders contained in these signals were illegitimate and not in agreement with the German High Command.  When we began our patrol, an official slogan had been posted on all Naval establishments and ships which said:  "The enemy shall find in Germany nothing but rats and mice.  We will never capitulate.  Better death than slavery". 

It must be remembered that radio reception on board the U-977 was only sporadic since, for tactical reasons, we only occasionally came to Schnorchel depth.  However, enough signals had been received so that I no longer had any superiors, and that I was relieved of my oath.  In any case, I did not feel obligated without direct orders from my government to accept enemy orders.   
I no longer considered my ship as a man-of-war, but as a means of escape, and I tried to act for the best interests of all aboard.  I respected the wishes of members of my crew insofar as they did not imperil the ship or cause damage to it.

One of my main reasons in deciding to proceed to the Argentine was based on German propaganda, which claimed that the American and British newspapers advocated that at the end of the war, all German men be enslaved and sterilized. 

Another consideration was the bad treatment and long delay in return home suffered by German prisoners-of-war held in France at the end of World War I. 

Then again, of course, the hope of better living conditions in the Argentine. 

Route and stations of U-977:  

Sailing date in Kiel, April 1945 (1), intermediate station in Norway, 2 May 1945 (2), end of the war, 8 May 1945 (3), return to Norway and start of the submerged passage,
10 May 1945 (4), end of the submerged passage and touch at the Cape Verde Islands, July 1945 (5), arriving in Mar del Plata, Argentina, 17 August 1945 (6)

It was absolutely my intention to deliver the boat undamaged into Allied hands, while doing the best I could for my crew. I felt that the ship’s engines might be a valuable adjunct to the reconstruction of Europe. I carried out these intentions and delivered the boat in perfect condition.

In 2006 Schäffer's original memoir "El Secreto del U-977" was published for the first time in Argentina.

This book makes it clear that the 66-days' "world record" voyage submerged was a fiction and that U-977 was the provisions boat for the Patagonian boats coming down from Norway and Germany. This book and the 1945 interrogation coincides.

From this material we know that U-977 and U-530 were never where the Allied versions put them at any stage of their voyages.. 

U-530 arrived at Mar del Plata on 9 July 1945 and went down the coast to Miramar that day. At Miramar there was an Etappendienst station. A U-Boat's rubber dinghy was left behind in the surf. U-530 was on the Argentine coast for 24 hours, quite long enough to unload passengers or materials. Brazilian and US intelligence officers suspected at the time, and photographs seem to confirm it, that U-530 had two commanders, both known as Otto Wermuth, one short and dark, the other blond and tall. What was the purpose of this?

Wermuth arrived with no books and documents, Schäffer had two of everything, one set of books and charts for the slow voyage, the other for the fast voyage. Not all of these documents have been declassified, but in the interrogation of Schäffer the Argentines criticized the practice of keeping two different sets of navigation charts all in pencil for the same voyage. Some of the fast voyage documents were admitted into evidence by the Brazilian Navy during its 1945 investigation into the sinking of their light cruiser 'Bahía' of which Schäffer was believed to be guilty.

The actual U-977 story would fill a small book. To tackle just one point: The purpose of the fictitious "world record 66-day voyage always submerged" was twofold: 

(1) It gave U-977 a very slow voyage south. It appeared that U-977 was always heading slowly for Argentina and doing nothing else. Schäffer had loaded 80 tons of fuel before leaving Norway. On this 80 tons the Argentines calculated that he could just possibly have made Argentina in three months if he had made the voyage mostly on the Schnorchel and Batteries as he had suggested. On the other hand, because of the fuel consumption involved in the greater speed, Schäffer must have refuelled at least twice at sea from "Milchkuh" U-boats which officially did not exist if he got to the Equator by 4 July 1945, and was off Rio de Janeiro on 10 July. From the Argentine declassified interrogations, and Schäffer's recently published book "El Secreto del U-977" we know that the latter was true, and that is why we are certain that more information is being withheld by the Argentine authorities: and 

The Type XIV U-Boat was a modification of the Type IXD, designed to resupply other
U-Boats. They were nicknamed "Milchkuh" [milk cow]. 
Due to its large size, the Type XIV could resupply other boats with 613 t of fuel,
13 t of motor oil, four torpedoes, and fresh food that was preserved in refrigerator units. In addition, the boats were equipped with bakeries, in order to provide the
luxury of fresh bread for crews being resupplied.
They had no torpedo tubes or deck guns, only anti-aircraft guns.

In 1942, the milk cows allwed the smaller Type VIIC boats to raid the American coast during the "Second Happy Time" of the Battle of the Atlantic.
The milk cows were priority targets for Allied forces, as sinking one milk cow would effectively curtail the operations of several regular U-Boats and force them to return home for supplies. Ultra intercepts provided information concerning sailing and routing, 
and this, coupled with improved Allied radar and air coverage
in the North Atlantic, eliminated most of them during 1943.
By the end of the war all ten had been sunk.

(2) to conceal the fact that the activities of U-977 are unaccounted for for thirty-eight days from 10 July 1945, when the boat was admitted to be off Rio de Janeiro. The problem is that all of the 'Milk Cows' were sunk in 1943 and none of the planned "Milk Cows" was launched so it is hard to imagine that U-977 used the services of the "Milk Cows"

.The following passage from Schäffer's book is very interesting: 

"It took twenty-four hours to reach Berlin (where he was going on leave to see his family)……….Next to me sat an SS officer who, in spite of my flatly contradicting him, simply would not stop talking about decisive new secret weapons. I was fed up with the secret weapons by now for I knew perfectly well from my own experience that if all the blueprints were there, so were the air-raids on our factories. 'Well, of course, you aren’t in a position to judge,' he said, but he was, naturally, because he was working at some SS HQ or other and was out watching the tests every day. If I would only come and look him up I would see something that would make me sit up.

"When I got to Berlin I really did look him up, and after I had waited at the HQ entrance for some time my new acquaintance appeared and started showing me around. Everybody was certain we were going to win, with a conviction I’d never seen the like of even after the fall of France. Among the fantastic contrivances of which I was shown photographs was one I called a 'Death Ray' which my friend wanted me to come back and see in action next day.

"But I wasn’t wasting more time. I wanted to see my mother……."

U-530 surrendered at Mar del Plata, Argentina, on 10 July 1945, U- 977 surrendered on 17 August 1945.

When the U-530 and U-977 surrendered so late after the European War's end, Allied intelligence was more than a little concerned, and dispatched agents to interrogate the German officers.

They certainly did not believe that the German captains had taken their ships on a South Atlantic excursion of three to four months just to surrender to the Argentines, as Captain Schäffer of the U-977 and Captain Wermouht of the U-530 actually, and apparently in all seriousness, stated.

Henry Stevens, "The Last Battalion and German Arctic, Antarctic, and Andean Bases", summarizes the Allies' real concern - Nazi survival in no uncertain terms:

"The Allies first believed that these U-Boats had taken persons of special importance, perhaps even Adolf Hitler, from Germany to South America. In light of this possibility both captains were held for questioning. Captain Schäffer, who surrendered last, was taken to America for a month or so then to England for another period of questioning. Both captains maintained that there had been no persons of political importance deposited in South America. Eventually the captains were released although Schäffer found living in Occupied Germany intolerable and relocated to South America. Captain Schäffer even went on to write a book explaining his voyage and actions".

Unfortunately, nobody really believed Schäffer. It is claimed that American and British Intelligence had learned that U-530 and U-977 did visit Antarctica before landing in South America but the exact nature of their mission eluded them.

The Typ XXI U-Boat, like most U-Boats in the German Navy by that time, was fitted with the special Schnorchel device that allowed its main Diesel engines to operate while submerged underwater. It is quite possible that these newer Type XXI U-boats also had the newer Schnorchels fitted with special anti-radar coatings. But the Type XXI was also outfitted with the special "Walther" turbine, an "underwater jet" device that utilized hydrogen peroxide that allowed great underwater cruising speeds. In effect, these turbines were "silent" engines allowing great underwater speeds for limited durations of time. Thus, the Type XXI had brought submarine technology and warfare to a new and sophisticated level by the war's end. But would even the Type XXI have been able to brave the North and then South Atlantic Oceans, by that point in the war all but Allied lakes? There is some indication that not only were they successful in doing so, but wildly so. The Germans had adapted special new guidance systems to missiles, and torpedoes. These systems included wire-guidance, as well as magnetic proximity fuses.

Stevens reports that on 2 May 1945, a flotilla of U-Boats, many of them Type XXIs, carefully husbanded by Dönitz at Kristiansand fjord in Norway, departed in a wolf pack for Iceland, making the traditional run through the straits between Iceland and Greenland.

"On 2 May 1945, six days before the German surrender on 8 May 1945, a U-Boat convoy ran from Kristiansund, Norway, which consisted of approximately 120 of the new electric submarines [range 30,000 km] and several giant cargo submarines. 

"Aboard the E-class submarines were out only the young, without living relatives, or existing ordinary occupation

(a) young SS men and Hitler Youth leaders,
(b) many young army nurses and BDM girls
which (a and b) also consistently possessing no living family, and
(c) some of the personalities of the German leadership [partly including families], who were still able to escape in time before the Allies.

"Of course, such a large German U-Boat fleet did not escape the attention of the Allies, so that the German U-Boats, as they wanted to advance in the open Atlantic, were attacked by a considerable Western Allied naval force between Greenland and Iceland, but thanks to two new weapons systems, previously unknown to the Allies, the secret German U-Boat armada did not only break through the blockade of the Allied powers, but devastatingly beat them to their massive horror. One of the few survivors of this battle was the captain of a British destroyer ... one of the Allied hushed up fiasco of their armed forces ... "

-- "The New Age", No. 20, 9 May 1980, Huter Verlag, Munich

What happened next has been deleted from what passes as history, at least in the countries of the former Allied Powers. What happened was the last great sea battle of the Atlantic.

The German U-Boat convoy ran straight into an Allied naval battle formation.The result was stunning. Using the new torpedoes, Allied ships were totally annihilated. Apparently the Allies never quite realized what they had run into.

Our only third-party report of the event was an article in a South American newspaper which learned of the event.
A quote  from the only survivor of the attack,  a British destroyer captain:

""May God help me, may I never again encounter such a force", was reportedly carried in "El Mercurio" Santiago, Chile, and "Der Weg" a paper published by exiled Germans living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The British consistently maintained a flotilla of destroyers, accompanied occasionally by heavier units of light and heavy cruisers, on station in the straits between Iceland and Greenland throughout the war.

The use of new torpedoes - whether wire-guided, acoustic-seeking, or magnetic proximity-fused - plus the high-submersible speeds and "proto-stealth" capabilities of the Type XXI U-Boats would have been more than a match for the British destroyers on station.

There exists a British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee [BIOS] report entitled "Production and Further Investigation of Wesch Anti-Radar Material, CIOS Black List Item 1 RADAR, BIOS Target No. 1/549" whose significance is rather obvious from its title.

The objective of this team was to acquire some 500 feet of this material for secret testing by the British Admiralty. The report details the production of various RAM materials [Radar Absorbent Material] by the Germans, via techniques that involved shredding and heating rubber, and combining zinc oxide, finely ground iron powder [the powder was ground into micro-spheres], which was all then pressed into sheets, and then transferred to press molds, trimmed and heated under small pressure. This material was actually used on the hulls of some late Type XXI U-Boats, as well as on U-Boat Schnorchel devices, to scatter Allied radar to return distorted or indeed, no radar signals.

This report also corroborates yet another allegation, often derisorily dismissed by mainstream researchers, that in May of 1945, a small flotilla of the new Type XXI U-Boats, with their revolutionary hydrogen peroxide underwater "turbine" propulsion allowing extraordinary undersea cruising speeds, met, and annihilated, a flotilla of British destroyers.

The allegations included the German use of new types of wire-guided, and magnetic proximity torpedoes.

At least one corroboration of this strange encounter occurs in the BIOS report:

"Vierling has heard of electrical homing devices for torpedoes and their firing by a proximity effect. Torpedoes used magnetic fields varying at about 500 cycles per sec. Torpedoes were built by AEG in Berlin. Some work was done also at Gdynia. These torpedoes were reported to have sunk 12 Destroyers in one engagement in Arctic waters".

Dr Oskar Vierling in 1941 established the Vierling research group  with a staff of 200 employees. The secret research establishment was located in Burg Feuerstein, Ebermannstadt disguised as a hospital with red-cross emblems on the roof to avoid allied bombing.

Here, the acoustically controlled torpedo "Zaunkönig" [Wren] where the torpedoes located their target from the propeller noises of enemy ships -for the time a technological revolution- was developed.  Vierling co-operated under the direction of the High Command of the Armed Forces,  with Erich Hüttenhain and Erich Fellgiebel .

He worked on encryption technology to improve the Cipher SZ 42 . He started testing for acoustic ignition of mines and he invented an anti-radar coating for submarines "Schornsteinfeger" [chimney sweep].  In addition, Vierling and his team developed radios and electronic computers.

After the fall of Nazi Germany the Burg Feuerstein castle was sealed-off by the British troops. Vierling revealed his previously secret work which he had hidden in secret walled off chambers in the castle and collaborated openly with the new occupiers.

He made his knowledge of Intelligence technology available to the Gehlen  Organisation, for which he designed wiretaps in the post-war period .

From 1949-1955 he was a professor of physics at the Philosophical and Theological College in Bamberg.

There was plenty of evidence, to indicate that as late as 1947, elements of the Kriegsmarine, or German Navy, were still very much active in the South Atlantic, operating either out of South America, or some base, previously unsuspected, in the Antarctic.

They were thought to be Type XXI U-Boats, with the “Schnorchel” that allowed them to make the entire passage from Germany submerged and operating out of Argentina, possibly under the Argentine flag, but crewed by German crew. 

The French "Agence France Press" on 25 September 1946 stated "the continuous rumours about German U-Boat activity in the region of Tierra del Fuego [Feuerland’ in German] between the southernmost tip of Latin America and the continent of Antarctica are based on true happenings".

"France Soir" on 25  September 1946 reported an encounter at sea off the Falklands between a whaler and a German U-Boat seeking provisions. The U-Boat crew politely paid for hese provisions before parting company.

"Almost one and a half years after cessation of hostilities in Europe, the Icelandic Whaler 'Juliana' was stopped by a large German U-Boat. The 'Juliana' was in the Antarctic region around Malvinas Islands [the Falklands] when a German submarine surfaced and raised the German official Flag of Mourning - red with a black edge.

"The submarine commander sent out a boarding party, which approached the Juliana in a rubber dingy, and having boarded the whaler demanded of Capt. Hekla part of his fresh food stocks. The request was made in the definite tone of an order to which resistance would have been unwise.

"The German officer spoke a correct English and paid for his provisions in US dollars, giving the Captain a bonus of $10 for each member of the 'Juliana' crew. Whilst the foodstuffs were being transferred to the submarine, the submarine commander informed Capt. Hekla of the exact location of a large school of whales. Later the 'Juliana' found the school of whales where designated".

To address that 1946 story: To this day there has never been any Icelandic whaler in the South Atlantic, let alone in the Antarctica. No Icelandic ship has ever been named 'Juliana' and Hekla is an active volcano in Iceland, not a last name. 99% of all Icelandic last names for males end in ”-son”.


The "Almirante Latorre" Incident reported by Chilean newspapers in mid 1945, noted a German type IX U-Boat exchanging materials and charts off Iquique with the Chilean cruiser.

Toward the end of World War II a German submarine from the Monsun Gruppe 33rd Flotilla operating out of Penang, Malaysia was said to have shown up at the La Palma Secret Base, a primitive submarine-pen hewn out of the jungle-like estuaries of Chiapas along Mexico's far southern reaches of the Pacific Coast by the Japanese.

That German U-Boat, a long range Type IXD2, was the U-196.

Unlike records of most of the known U-Boats, the background facts of U-196 are literally all over the map. 

In the early stages of her career the U-196 is most notorious for having completed the longest patrol by any submarine in WWII, 225 days from 13 March to 23 October 1943.

After that the official picture is pretty bland. A more in depth view of the official records gives much the same basic imprint, indicating that the U-196 departed the German U-Boat base in La Pallice, occupied France, into the Bay of Biscay 16 March 1944 thence then into the Atlantic under orders for Penang, Malaysia.

On 30 November 1944, U-196 left Penang to undertake a war patrol around Australia with two other boats. When she failed to respond to repeated transmissions requesting her position sometime around 1 December, she was listed as missing in the Sunda Straits south of Java, effective 12 December 1944.

The above paragraph are facts typically found in the official record. What follows is information from the unofficial record, as well as legend, folklore, speculation and secondhand eyewitness reports that reveal a truth that stretches way beyond the official demise of the U-196 in the Sunda Straits in early December 1944.

Trailing in the wake of the U-196 was Nazi uranium mined in Czechoslovakia under slave labor. Both Axis powers had been feverishly working on developing an operable and deliverable nuclear weapon for some time, even to the point, according to a variety of reports, of the setting off a 1944 German Atomic Bomb on the northern island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea and the Japanese somewhat later around Konan (now known as Hungnam) in north-eastern Korea. The Germans, in conjunction with their own efforts, sensing a potential collapse of their regime in Europe, began shipping uranium through France, loading it into U-Boats and transporting it to Japan for the Japanese nuclear bomb project. In turn Japan paid for the enriched uranium-oxide with gold bullion. As things in Europe deteriorated for the Germans and hard to come by materials used in their far-flung war efforts became more scarce and difficult to obtain the Nazis began using submarines to transport the rarest and most important of those materials to their homeland. A good part of the Japanese gold intended to be shipped through to Germany as payment started piling up in the far east submarine ports because of being continually bumped by those more important strategic materials. 

The piles of bullion, worth a fortune, easily transported in the hold of a submarine, began making an ever increasing mouth-watering target for anyone in the far east, uneasy with an unfavorable outcome of the war, and having in their hands a way to get away with absconding with it.

Enter the U-196. It is a hunch that a number of Nazis and German military, senior or otherwise, living in Japanese territory, possibly in collusion with some crew members of the U-196 fled from Djakarta in 1944 with a cargo hold full of gold. If the gold was just taken on their own discretion or the crew was originally mandated under official orders to transport the gold outside of Japanese territory and bury it for safe keeping is not known. In any case they took it upon themselves to take the gold and simply disappear. By then, with the whole world open to them and no known destination they were at least at the time, free and well beyond the reach of German authorities and the arm of the Gestapo.  

Even though the U-196 was stricken from the records after having been listed as missing, as some suggest, blown up or sunk by mines in the Sunda Straits south of Java, it appears the U-196 headed toward the open Pacific charting a course for Mexico and the La Palma Secret Base. With no one at the base having any reason to suspect any wrong doing they were co-operatively provided with fresh water, supplies and fuel as requested. Then the U-196, headed north toward the mouth of the Sea of Cortez and the coast of Sonora --- to find a new homeland and place to settle, far from the war, with opportunities to start a new life.

There are reports, or at least strong rumors to the effect, that a German U-Boat arrived at the Chiapas secret base for refueling long after the Japanese stopped using it on a regular basis, only to show up along the Mexican northwest coast off Sonora late in the year of 1944. The stories go on to say the U-Boat, said to be under the auspices of the Gruppe Monsun operating out of Penang, Malaysia, was carrying a rather large shipment of Nazi gold intended as an inducement for certain Mexican authorities to ensure a potential post-war settlement of high ranking Germans and Nazi refugees. However, any gold associated with such a venture disappeared along with the submarine.

By late 1944 things had changed drastically and the Germans were not as welcome in Mexico as they could have been, so the wayward travelers of U-196, continuing their odyssey, turned around and headed south out of the Sea of Cortez. With nothing but seeming desert on the Baja Peninsula side and the specter of the U.S. looming along the open Pacific Coast to the north and with no known safe harbor except possibly surrender and the loss of their freedom (and gold) they continued south.

Bypassing a stop at the La Palma Secret Base because of no need to do so having been fully fueled and supplied during their earlier stop and wanting to keep as low a profile as possible in Mexico, the U-196 made its next appearance off the coast of Chile.

A former Chilean sailor living at La Serena, and a one-time crew member of Chile's main and only battleship the 'Almirante Latorre', allegedly told writer and historian Geoffrey Michael Brooks, a British expatriate living in Argentina and author of several U-Boat and German submarine histories, during an interview,  that a large U-Boat rendezvoused with the battleship in Chilean waters. The ex-sailor told Brooks that the U-Boat came alongside to obtain updated maps and charts. The captain of the U-Boat said he was bound for a German colony in Patagonia, possibly Caleta de los Loros. The U-Boat, from sources other than Brooks, has since been identified as the U-196. As to Caleta de los Loros, a continuing series of strong rumors indicate there are two sunken U-Boats just off the coast of the area, although a number of repeated dive attempts over the years by both private parties and the Argentine government have not yielded anything physically substantial.

People go on-and-on about the "fact" that all of the World War II German U-Boats have been accounted for in some fashion or the other and none are listed off Caleta de los Loros. If there are two subs off the coast there they would have to be two so-called off the record "Black Boats," which the same people decry as highly unlikely because there is no proof that such boats ever existed. Information backed up from other sources might argue otherwise.

On 13 December 1939, two years before the U.S. declared war on Gemany, the battleship-like German heavy cruiser the 'Admiral Graf Spee', a so-called "pocket battleship," was heavily damaged in a heated battle with British warships off the coast of South America. She took refuge in the River Plate estuary, a river outlet that empties into the Atlantic between Buenos Aires, Argentina on the south and Montevideo, Uruguay on the north. Under the captain's orders the ship limped into Montevideo for repairs and evacuate the wounded. The captain was told it would take at least two weeks to make the ship seaworthy. Uruguay, being a neutral country and following the rules of the Hague Convention of 1907, the 'Graf Spee' was not entitled to stay in port longer than 24 hours without risking internment. The captain, not sure he could make the run across the estuary to Buenos Aires because of damage to the ship and an increasingly larger British threat beyond the confines of the estuary, rather than risk the lives of his crew, decided to simply scuttle her. The crew was removed and thus then, interned in the "more friendly to Germany" Argentina for the duration.

On 16 February 1946, with the war well over with, 811 crew members of the 'Admiral Graf Spee' were shipped home aboard the British passenger-reefer, the Motor Ship 'Highland Monarch' [it should be noted that during the two year period between their initial internement and the end of 1941 around 23 officers along with about 200 NCOs had escaped captivity and returned to Germany]. Officials of the Argentine military turned over the identity books of the returning sailors all lumped together into one big bag without checking any of them against the actual crew members that boarded the 'Highland Monarch'. An additional 79 'Admiral Graf Spee' sailors were picked up at Montevideo under similar circumstances. During the voyage to Europe the identities of all of the men were matched one-on-one against the identity books. When the match-up was completed it was determined 86 of the men were not from, nor had ever served on the 'Admiral Graf Spee'. They were instead, to a man, U-Boat crew. Not one of the U.S., British, or Argentine governmental authorities connected to the repatriation were able to come up with a satisfactory answer as to how men from U-Boats, especially so many, ended up in Argentina in the first place, let alone be returned to Germany to be repatriated. All three governments involved in the repatriation plus Germany have been mum on the subject with no list of submarines released matching individual sailors with a given U-Boat. Speculation is that the 86 sailors smuggled aboard the 'Highland Monarch' must have arrived in Argentina either on clandestine U-Boats associated with the east coast of South America and the Caribbean or having crossed over the Andes from the Pacific side from similar clandestine boats. As for crossing the Andes, Jürgen Wattenberg and five others had crossed over the Andes in the opposite direction into Chile during their escape back to Germany after the 1939 battle of the 'Admiral Graf Spee'.

Jürgen Wattenberg had an eventful war, serving initially aboard the pocket battleship 'Admiral Graf Spee' during the Battle of the River Plate and up until her scuttling off Montevideo. He was interned in Uruguay but escaped and made his way back to Germany, where he arrived in May 1940, and joined the U-Boat service in October that year and received command of U-162 on 9 September 1941, departing on his first cruise on 7 February 1942. Wattenberg was by this time 41 years old, making him one of the oldest U-Boat commanders to undertake a combat patrol. He was the first and only commander of U-162, and in a successful career spanning just under a year, he sank 14 ships, a total of 82,027 gross register tons (GRT).

U-162 was detected in mid-Atlantic north-east of Trinidad on 3 September 1942 and attacked by three British destroyers, and sunk with depth charges. Two of the crew were killed; Wattenberg and 48 other survivors were rescued and became prisoners of war.

Wattenberg was imprisoned in several camps in the United States, starting at Fort Hunt, where he arrived in September 1942. He was then moved to Crossville on 16 October 1942, and again to Camp Papago Park on 27 January 1944. A large break-out occurred on the night of 23–24 December 1944, with Wattenberg being one of the 25 prisoners to escape. Most were recaptured or surrendered fairly quickly; Wattenberg managed to remain at large until 28 January, the last of the escapees to be recaptured. With the end of the war Wattenberg was transferred first to Camp Shanks in 1946, then to a compound near Münster before being released.

He settled in Germany, where he died in 1995, aged 94.

Despite the continued stories of potential unidentified sunken submarines laying on the seabottom off the coast of Argentina, whether they are there or not, the U-196 isn't one of them. After contact with the Chilean battleship the U-196, instead of continuing south and around the tip of South America, turned her bow directly west and using the assist of the South Equatorial Current, headed across the Pacific toward New Zealand and the island continent of Australia.

Sometime in late 2005 or the very early stages of 2006 rumblings began to surface that there existed the wreckage of a potential sunken submarine of an unknown nature laying on its side in seabed off the west coast of northern New Zealand. Two months later, in March of 2006, the suspected submarine was brought to the attention of readers of one of New Zealand's biggest selling boating magazines, "Trade-A-Boat". The magazine, which covers all aspects of the New Zealand boating scene, basically reported that the submarine, which had actually been found in 1981, had been relocated after 25 years of being "lost". Apparently after her initial discovery storms covered her with a deep layer of sand after having shifted the hull over 440 yards from her original 1981 location.

Two and a half years later, the "Trade-A-Boat" information filtered down into the hands of a reporter for a northern New Zealand newspaper. On 5 November 2008 an article titled 'U-Boat's Kaipara secrets unveiled?' appeared in "The Northern Advocate", Northland, New Zealands only regional daily newspaper. The Kaipara referred to in the title being the Kaipara District on the western side of the North Auckland Peninsula, and it is located in a position 4500 miles in a direct straight line due west from the coast of Chile.

Once the contents of the "Northern Advocate" article appeared, the ultimate fate of the U-196 came to light. Onetime curator of the Dargaville Maritime Museum and local diver, Noel Hilliam, came forward, as reported by the article's author Annette Lambly, saying that in 1981 fishermen, in the process of their fishermen duties snagged one of their nets only to discover in their attempt to remove it that it was caught up on what appeared to be a sunken vessel of some sort, a vessel having all the outward appearances of a submarine. When rumors of a sunken vessel, possibly a submarine, came to the attention of Hilliam he immediately contacted the fishermen in question and put into place a dive attempt. He found the sunken object at a depth of 40 feet located in a turbulent surf zone. Even in the churned up water and low visibility that he described as like being inside a washing machine, he was still able to determine the vessel was in fact a submarine saying she had rolled over on one side, carried a clearly distinguishable deck qun and the remains of a conning tower. He also said the bow had a neutral buoyancy but the stern was buried. How the submarine had managed to stay intact and in one piece all those years was a mystery, although in more recent times, the fact that it had been buried in sand for at least the past 25 years was considered a major contributing factor --- and a possible favorable reoccurring phenomenon over the decades.

When Hilliam's 1981 confirmation of a wrecked submarine off the coast of Kaipara District became known he was approached by three people claiming to be descendants of a surviving crew member. According to the descendants, in early mid 1945, the sub, which for the first time they identified as the U-196, had been unintentionally destroyed from an explosion caused by scuttling charges aft of the conning tower above the engine room. They also said prior to the destruction of the submarine, crew members offloaded a whole hoard of gold bullion bars which in turn, once on the beach, were discretely reloaded onto the floor-beds of two trucks. What happened to that gold is not known but the previously mentioned article that appeared in the March 2006 "Trade-A-Boat" magazine implied that it was later stored in a disused copper mine. What that means is not clear because copper mines are rare on the western side of the North Auckland Peninsula although small copper mines had at one time been operated in Northland near Woodville and Dun Mountain. However, only small amounts of copper had ever been produced in turn most likely rendering the mines into a disused category. There may have been other even smaller mining attempts at one time, but having any of them anywhere close to the disembarkation point would be questionable. Although it must be said, having two trucks, except for access, mines being close by would not necessarily be a major necessity.

The fact that in the dying moments of the Second World War, ten U-Boats, based in Oslofjord, Hamburg and Flensburg, were made available to transport several hundred German officers and officials to Argentina to found a new Reich is widely accepted. These officers, mostly involved in "secret" projects, and many of whom were members of the SS and Kriegsmarine, itself, sought to escape the "vengeance" of the Allies, and continue their work, abroad. The U-Boats were filled with their luggage, documents and, more than likely, gold bullion, to finance their efforts. All the U-Boats departed their home ports between 3 and 8 May 1945. They were to proceed to Argentina where they would be welcomed by the friendly regime of Juan Peron and his charismatic wife Eva Peron.

Seven of the ten of the U-Boats, based on the German/Danish border, set off for Argentina through the Kattegat and Skagerrak. None were ever seen again... "officially".

It has been, however, documented that three of the boats did, in fact, arrive in Argentina... These were U-530, U-977 and U-1238. U-530 and U-977 surrendered to the Argentine Navy at Mar del Plata in early July and August, 1945; U-1238 was scuttled, by her crew, in the waters of San Matias Gulf, off Northern Patagonia.

There were 130 listed uncommissioned U-Boats. Whereas some fell by the wayside in the normal course of things, a few cargo boats of Type IXC/40 are of interest. Two of these launched in 1944, U-1237 and U-1238, but never commissioned, disappeared into thin air.   

The Winter 2002 volume 7, number 4 issue of the international technical shipwreck diving magazine "Imersed" contained an article in 'Wispered Word' entitled 'Going for the Gold' in which it mentioned an un-named group allegedly searching off the Argentine coast for a U-Boat wreck they identified as the U-1238, claiming it contained "10 tons of gold" and documents to set up the Fourth Reich in Argentina.

Seven boats are as yet unaccounted for... and... Kriegsmarine archives, recently discovered, indicate that a total of more than forty boats are completely unaccounted for... all of which were late construction, state-of-the-art craft, and could have made either Argentina or Antarctica, completely submerged... and completely unnoticed by existing "Allied" technology of the time... for the entire duration of their crossing.

The Prime Meridian, zero degrees longitude, runs from pole to pole passing through Greenwich, England, Western France, Eastern Spain, Western Africa, and the South Atlantic Ocean, before reaching Antarctica in the region known today as Dronning (Queen) Maud Land.  It was named that in 1930 by the Norwegian Riiser-Larsen in honor of the Queen of Norway.

Hitler had authorized several expeditions to the poles shortly before WWII. Their stated objective was to either to rebuild and enlarge Germany’s whaling fleet or test out weaponry in severely hostile conditions. Yet, if true, all of this could have been achieved at the North Pole rather than at both poles and been much closer to home. For some reason, however, the Germans had long held an interest in the South Polar region of Antarctica with the first Germanic research of that area being undertaken in 1873 when Sir Eduard Dallman (1830-1896) discovered new Antarctic routes and the “Kaiser-Wilhelm-Inseln” at the western entrance of the Biskmarkstrasse along the Biscoue Islands with his ship 'Grönland' during his expedition for the German polar Navigation Company of Hamburg. The 'Grönland; also achieved the distinction of being the first steamer to operate in the southern ocean.

A further expedition took place in the early years of the twentieth century in the ship the 'Gauss' (which became embedded in the ice for 12 months), and then a further expedition took place in 1911.

Between the wars, the Germans made a further voyage in 1925 with a specially designed ship for the Polar Regions, the 'Meteor' under the command of Dr. Albert Merz.

Then, in the years directly preceding the Second World War, the Germans laid claim to parts of Antarctica in order to set up a permanent base there. Given that no country actually owned the continent and it could not exactly be conquered as no-one lived there during the winter months at least, it appeared to the Germans that the most effective way to conquer part of the continent was to physically travel there, claim it, let others know of their actions and await any disagreements.

One of the new problems that emerged in the early Twentieth Century, right after World War I, was the transportation of mail between Europe and the Americas. In the 1920s, two companies contested for the newly-opened mail routes across the Atlantic Ocean. These were Pan American Airways and Luft-Hansa, the German airline. Trips by air over the vast ocean created numerous problems with refueling, logistics and maintenance. Both companies decided to use hydroplanes, and the Azores (owned by Portugal) became the logical replenishment point.

German catapult ships that became famous included the 'Bremen', the 'Westfalen' and the 'Schwabenland'. This last one, built in 1925, could launch hydroplanes weighing as much as 14 tons. The 'Schwabenland' was a modern ship, well-equipped and with a modern communications system, plus an excellent on-board meteorological station. The vessel often operated out of Horta and Faial in the Azores.

In late 1938 the Germans undertook an expedition to Antarctica, specially refitting the 'Schwabenland,' returned to Hamburg, for the purpose. Around one million Reichsmark, nearly a third of the entire expedition budget – was spent on this refit alone. It was placed under the command of one of Germany’s most experienced polar navigators, Captain Alfred Ritscher.

The 'Schwabenland' had been used for transatlantic mail deliveries by special flightboats, the famous 10 ton Dornier Super Wals since 1934.
These Wals were launched by catapult from the 'Schwabenland' and had to be accelerated to 93mph before they could become airborne. At the end of each flight a crane on the ship lifted the aircraft back on board after they landed in the sea.
That the mission was military in nature seems beyond doubt, for the Nazis spared no effort to outfit the expedition as thoroughly as possible.
At a cost of some millions of Reichsmarks, the expedition was under the personal direction and mentorship of none other than Luftwaffe chief, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, which leaves one to wonder what possible purpose Göring would have in sponsoring such an expedition.

In the 1930s, animal fats were still an important industrial resource and Germany suffered from a shortage of fat. Germany was one of the main purchasers of whale oil from Norway at a considerable expense to the German foreign currency reserves. In 1937 Germany launched a whaling fleet of its own, which set sail for the Southern Ocean. When the fleet returned the following summer, three annual exploring expeditions were planned. Hermann Göring took a personal interest in the project and rushed the preparations through the Reich bureaucracy. 

The crew was prepared for the mission by the German Society of Polar Research and as these preparations neared completion, the society also made the sensational step to invite Richard E. Byrd, the most famous American Antarctic researcher. On the mid of November 1938 he arrived in Hamburg and showed the crew and a clearly selected publicity of 84 persons his new Antarctic documentation movie in the Urania of Hamburg. Byrd, who had flown across the south pole as the first human in 1929, was already at this time a living legend, a national hero to the Americans and most of the polar researchers. In 1938 he still was civilian. This invitation to the Germans could have been a typical irony of history, for nearly ten years later exactly this Richard E. Byrd – then in the rank as US Navy Admiral – may have got the instruction to destroy the secret German Antarctic base 211.

New canning techniques were invented for the food needed on the voyage from and back to Germany, and new protective clothing was designed. The inspiration for the expedition may have had hidden occult motivations as well, for the occult Thulegesellschaft or Thule Society subscribed to a Nordic Atlantis hidden beneath the polar ice, whence sprang, so the legend goes, the Germanic race.

Hitler came into contact with members of the secret Thule Society which was very active in the Munich area. Interestingly enough, the logo or emblem of this society includes a Swastika, a downward-pointing sword and a wreath of oak leaves, all frequently used symbols of the later National Socialist organizations. 

Whether Hitler was ever a member of The Society is not proven, but it is certain that he was a frequent guest and participant at The Society's gatherings after the end of World War I. It is significant that his association with this group preceded by some two years his overt involvement in politics.


One of the people who led the expedition was Helmuth Wohlthat, a former German fighter pilot of World War I who had served in Hermann Göring’s Jagdstaffel and remained friends with Göring after the war. Wohlthat was an economist by trade and represented the Third Reich at international financial conferences with British and American bankers, who dealt with the organization of the expedition. A strange choice to play a leading role in an Antarctic expedition, to be sure; but Wohlthat was also said to be a member of the Vril Society and the Thule Society, the mystical forerunners of the Nazi party.
Wohlthat prepared an extensive report of the expedition which he radioed to Göring on 9 May 1939

Also aboard the Schwabenland was a sizable contingent from Himmler’s SS-Ahnenerbe, a kind of "Ministry of the Occult".

It has been often been claimed that the world views of the top Nazi leaders was permeated by occult ideas, but that is probably somewhat exaggerated. It is known that Heinrich Himmler's fooleries were an embarrassment to many of the Nazi bigwigs, and there was probably quite a bit of laughs in the corners.

There is also no evidence that the leader of the Nazis, Adolf Hitler, was particularly interested in the occult movements of the time, although he undoubtedly had known persons from these circles, whose political ideas in many ways were similar to his. Neither in Hitler's book collection or in his papers are traces of this.

Furthermore, there is nothing that indicates that fantasies of a grandiose Germanic ancient kingdom have had any major place in his world view. 

On the contrary, we have clear evidence that he was not interested in archeaology, and that he viewed it as a waste of time, when romantic souls travelled around the world to track down glimpses of glory of yore.

Hitler even became very annoyed by Himmler's archaeological activities. Albert Speer quotes Hitler for this statement:

"Why are we trying to bring to the attention of the world the fact that we have no past? Isn't it enough that the Romans built massive buildings, while our forefathers still had to live in miserable huts? Himmler has now started digging up the remains of these miserable dwellings, and is enthralled by every pottery shard or any stone axe he finds. The only thing that comes out of that is, that it is now clear to everyone that we were still throwing stone axes and huddling around the fire at a time when the Greeks and the Romans had for a long time reached the highest cultural level. In reality, we should keep quiet about our past, but instead Himmler is creating a quite unnecessary fuss with his activities. The Romans of our days must be highly amused over Himmler's discoveries!"

Hitler's driving force was primarily personal ambitions and a disdain for the existing society and a hatred of those parts of the population which he blamed for the miserable conditions in the 1920's in Germany. Romantic dreams were probably far from Hitler's mind.

All in all, there seems to be only one in the Nazi top leadership who was interested in the occult, namely Heinrich Himmler.

In any case, small teams of specially selected biologists and other scientists accompanied the expedition to run laboratory experiments on board the refurbished 'Schwabenland'. 

The 'Schwabenland' left the port of Hamburg on 17 December 1938 and followed a precisely planned and determined route towards the southern continent. In little over a month the ship arrived at the ice covered Antarctica, dropping anchor at 4B0 30B” W and 69B0 14B” S on January 20, 1939.

The expedition then spent three weeks off Princess Astrid Coast and Princess Martha Coast off Queen Maud Land. Truly beautiful, Queen Maud Land is dominated by the giant shelf of ice, flowing slowly from King Haakon VII – plateau over the South Pole, down to the ocean. This area is called “Fenriskjeften” after the mouth of the giant Devil-wolf in Norse mythology. According to this mythology Fenris’ (the wolf) teeth were very sharp, and they would kill all people on Earth during Ragnarok – the end of the world. Most of the mountains in Fenriskjeften have names with analogies to teeth, or to other parts of the Norse.

The use of wolf symbology is interesting as it touches upon a theme in Nazi symbology which used the wolf as a totem of the hunter-killer: Hitler’s retreat in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria was nicknamed “Wolf’s Lair” and the tactic used by German U-Boats to defeat convoys during the War was called “Wolfpack".

During these weeks, the two 'Schwabenland' aircraft, the 'Passat' and 'Boreas', flew 15 missions across some 600,000 square kilometers of Antarctica, nearly one-fifth of the continent, taking more than 11,000 pictures of the area with their specially designed Zeiss Reihenmess-Bildkameras RMK 38b, and dropping thousands of little Swastika flags on the region with little spikes to embed them in the ice, and claimed it for Germany, renaming the region Neuschwabenland after Swabia as it is known today, which was one of the original duchies of the German Kingdom. Swabia was home to one of the most powerful dynasties of European monarchs, The Hohenstaufen Dynasty, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries. Frederick Barbarossa was the greatest of the Hohenstaufen kings, and a wielder of the Holy Lance. It has been reported that Hitler believed he was a reincarnation of Barbarossa. He named one of his houses after him and dubbed the invasion of Russia Operation Barbarossa.

The German pilots who had extensively photographed the region, reported mountain ranges in excess of 12,000 feet altitude, rocky crags projecting above the fields of ice. But most amazingly, they allegedly found ice-free ponds, heated geothermally, in which grew various unknown species of algae. They also discovered the southern tip of the fault line that runs from New Zealand, through Neuschwabenland, and up the Atlantic Ocean, the famous Atlantic “trench”. The Germans concluded that such features might indicate the presence of rocky caverns on the continent, heated geothermally, the perfect place for a hidden base in the world’s most isolated, desolate, and inaccessible wilderness.

Most intriguingly, the scientists aboard the Schwabenland were not idle in analyzing the potential foodstuffs of the continent. It is known that German dieticians were commissioned to prepare tasty and nutritious meals using only what was available in Antarctica.

Emperor penguins were captured for return to Germany for study. Walruses were shot and their bodies dissected. Their bodies were tested for fat, protein, vitamin and other nutrient content. The biological findings made during this expedition would occupy German university scientists for months to come but the aim of this focus was secret .

Clearly, if these allegations are true, then the Germans were preparing for a relatively large and permanent presence on the continent.

Then, via an unusual zigzagging route between Africa and South America – itself one of the intriguing mysteries of the expedition – the 'Schwabenland' returned to Germany, reaching port on 10 April 1939. Göring presented the expedition members with written medals and commemorations. Then, all further mention of the expedition in the German – or any other press – ceased.

So what do we have at this Juncture?

- Allegations from German writers of known or suspected Nazi sympathies of a continued German presence on the Antarctic continent during and after the war;
- Actual suspicious U-Boat activity in the South Atlantic at the end of the war;
- Allegations of German research that could have been for no other purpose than establishment of a permanent German presence on the continent;
- Allegations of discoveries of small thermally heated ponds with unknown types of algae on the continent’s interior;
- Allegations of Grand Admiral Dönitz that the U-Boat fleet was involved in the construction of a secret base or bases far from the Reich, one base of which was surrounded by "eternal ice";
- Allegations of a last sea battle in the Atlantic prior to the German surrender, with things going surprisingly disastrously for the Allies;
- An actual large postwar American military adventure to the continent within two years of the end of the war, with small accompanying international press contingents, an expedition outfitted for eight months that stayed only eight weeks.
 - And finally, an actual newspaper report of Admiral Byrd trying to warn America of a military threat from "enemy aircraft" flying from either pole at tremendous speed.

There is no conceivable reason, at least on the surface, for such an intense interest in the South Polar regions…

The true purpose of this expedition has never been satisfactorily explained; there is merely a series of puzzles, related reports and snippets of information that are no longer open to verification. What is not open to doubt however, is that in the decade preceding the Second World War, the Germans did almost nothing that did not put the entire structure of the country on a war footing.

This activity affected all aspects of German life; military, civilian, economic, social and foreign policies, engineering, industry etc. Given that the seizing of Neu-Schwabenland occurred on the very eve of the war, it can only be concluded that that the polar expedition was of major importance and significance to the goals and development of the German nation.

Nor did activity end with the outbreak of the war…In fact, it intensified… The South Atlantic, including South Polar waters became quite active. 

Due to the war, only the first expedition took place. During the war, German surface raiders and a few submarines were involved in the massive effort, and were active in the far southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans near Antarctica; butt as the tide of war turned against the Germans the bulk of the transport work fell to the U-Boats and their crews.  Some insight into how much activity took place to and from Antarctica might be gleaned from the fact that between October 1942 and September 1944 16 German U-Boats were sunk in the South Atlantic.

Several surface ships appear to have been put on "watch dog" duty, resupplying the subs and keeping Allied shipping away.  For example, the raider ship 'Atlantis', under the command of Captain Bernhard Rogge, made an extended voyage in the South Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific Oceans, from 1939 to 1941, visiting the Iles Kerguelen, where the crewmen did maintenance and replenished their water supplies, between December 1940 to January 1941 [burying a seaman  named Bernhard Herrmann, who fell while painting the funnel, in what is sometimes referred to as "the southernmost of all German war graves," at Bassin de la Gazelle].  The ship then adopted a new disguise as 'Tamesis' before being sunk by 'HMS Devonshire' near Ascension Island, on 22 November 1941 [the 'Atlantis' was also known as Hilfskreuzer 16 and was, at various times, disguised as 'Kasii-Maru' or 'Abbekerk'].

U-859  on 4 April 1944 at 04.40rs, left on a mission carrying 67 men and 33 tons of mercury sealed in glass bottles in watertight tin crates. The submarine was later sunk on 23 September by the British submarine 'HMS Trenchant' in the Straits of Malacca and although 47 of the crew died, 20 survived. Some 30 years later one of these survivors spoke openly about the cargo and divers later confirmed the story on rediscovering the mercury. The significance being that mercury is usable as a fuel source for certain types of aerospace propulsion. Why would a German submarine be transporting such a cargo so far from home? It is not odd, at all, if one considers the fact that aviation/avionics construction is what the Polar Base Station 211 seems to be all about.

Evidence suggests that the U-Boat traffic to Neuschwabenland continued even after Germany’s surrender in 1945.

The German Antarctic Expedition had discovered several ice-free regions with lakes and signs of vegetation (mostly lichen and moss) in the territory’s interior. The expedition’s geologists said that this phenomenon was due to hot springs or other geothermal sources. This discovery, it is claimed, led Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler to hatch a bold plan to build a permanent base in Antarctica. 

Rumors about a base code named "Station 211" have tantalized historians and researchers; could it be that it was actually constructed and staffed as an ongoing project throughout the war? Perhaps Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz announced its completion when, in 1943, he said:

"The German submarine fleet is proud of having built for the Führer, in another part of the world, a  Shangri-La on land, an impregnable fortress". 

The brackish water of the warm lakes virtually confirmed that all had an outlet to the sea and would thus have been a haven for U-Boats. The two ice-free mountain ranges in Neu Schwabenland presented no worse an underground tunneling project for Organization Todt than anything they had encountered and overcome in Norway. The Germans were the world’s experts at building and inhabiting an underground metropolis.

At the end of the war the United States gave anything concerning Ohrdruf a top secret classification for 100 years upwards. The fact that there had been substantial underground workings there, and Ohrdruf was the location of the last Redoubt, was concealed absolutely. Fortunately for researchers, in 1962 the DDR had taken sworn depositions from all local residents during an investigation into wartime Ohrdruf, and upon the reunification of the two Germanys in 1989, these documents became available to all and sundry at Arnstadt municipal archive.

From the Arnstadt documents it is clear that the Charite Anlage unit operated in a three-story underground Bunker with floors 70 by 20 meters. When working, a device emitted some kind of energy field which shut down all electrical equipment and non-Diesel engines within a range of about eight miles. For this reason, even though Ohrdruf was crawling with SS, it was never photographed from the air nor bombed. Declassified USAF documents dated early 1945 admit the existence of an unknown energy field over Frankfurt/Main "and other locations" which "fantastic though it may appear" were able to "interfere with our aircraft engines at 30,000 feet".

Ohrdruf rebuilt below Neu Schwabenland during the last two years of the war would not have been difficult, and since Charite Anlage had the highest priority of anything in the Third Reich, it seems likely that it must have been. Such a base would have been impregnable, for the suggestion is that the force-field worked in various ways favorable to the occupants

There is evidence that Hitler’s right hand man, the then Deputy Führer and Party chief, Rudolf Hess, was also privy to whatever secret purpose and findings this expedition had, and had been entrusted with co-coordinating the effort to build Station 211.  Some people allege that this was in part a hidden motivation for Hess’s inexplicable flight to Great Britain in 1941 to conduct secret “peace” negotiations with representatives of the British Fascist movement. Historians have often dismissed Hess as a Nazi figurehead, positioned highly because of his total subservience to the Führer, but perhaps this was because his true role was so well concealed.

If so, Hess must have enlisted the aid of Himmler.  Himmler had rejected Christianity, as had many of the Nazi inner core and believed in a strange Germanic version of a neo-pagan New Age.  He was a devotee of the German occultist, Dr. Friedrich Wichtl who specialized in Masonic lore and "world conspiracy" theories.  After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Dr. Wichtl wrote a best-selling book entitled "Weltfreimaurerei, Weltrevolution, Weltrepublik" [World Freemasonry, World Revolution, World Republic].  Himmler was drawn into the occult after reading Dr. Wichtl's book in 1919, while a military cadet convalescing after a serious stomach illness. 

Himmler eventually became a believer in the Hindu concept of world-ages or Yugas.  He believed that the current age, or Kali Yuga, would end in a global cataclysm, thereby giving birth to a new world-age called the Satya Yuga.  By sending a Nazi colony to Antarctica, Himmler believed that he was ensuring a remnant of the "pure Aryan race" would survive the coming cataclysm with its society and culture intact.  He believed that these survivors would then take possession of Antarctica after the cataclysm had melted the south polar ice cap.

In his book "The Murder of Rudolf Hess", Hugh Thomas casts doubt on the man who was locked up in Berlin’s Spandau Prison for so long and offers fairly persuasive evidence that the figure held prisoner there was not the real Hess, but an imposter. Yet if that were the case – and the evidence is quite startling – why was he not executed at Nuremberg, as so many of his contemporaries were, or simply released as a harmless stooge, before his death there in 1981? Other accused served long prison sentences, such as Albert Speer, a civilian figure who might arguably have had a more heinous war record than Deputy Führer Hess, who, after all absconded to Britain in 1941 before the war had taken a more serious turn for the worse. So why such a long sentence? It has been suggested that Hess was in some way connected to Base 211…did the real Hess abscond in 1941 to Base 211 itself, simultaneously using a loyal double, with instructions to fly to Scotland and thereafter take the brunt of ridicule and long incarceration? If So, Hess would have effectively disappeared to oversee the development of a Fourth Reich in the southern hemisphere.

It should be noted that Rudolf Hess had a lasting relationship with Karl Haushofer who was, according to researcher Louis Pauwels, a member of the Vril Society. Haushofer, like others in the secret society, believed in the existence of a subterranean race living within the Earth.

In October of 1939, one month after the beginning of World War II, the 'Schwabenland' was turned over to the Luftwaffe. On 17 December 1939, the ship again left Hamburg, headed for Antarctica, packed with scientists and equipment. This time they were going to build a permanent base in Antarctica.

Running the Royal Navy’s blockade, the 'Schwabenland' returned to Hamburg on 11 April 1940. The ship and her crew were received in Germany as heroes.

But not all of the Germans had returned. A handful had remained behind at the base now called “Point 211”.

In August 1942, the ship was sent to Tromso in Norway, which was then under German occupation. She travelled to Tromso in a convoy of 24 ships.

During the next year and a half, nobody knew where the Schwabenland was. It was not possible to find any record of its whereabouts. The ship’s registration was transferred to Norway, with the approval of the [Vidkun] Quisling government. At the same time, Hitler ceded to Norway a portion of the Antarctic territory claimed by Germany.

Late in 1942, the 'Schwabenland' came under the direct control of the SS. Himmler had the "home port" name on her stern changed from Oslo to Stockholm, and the ship began traveling under a false flag, that of neutral Sweden.

On 19 May 1943, the Allies began to suspect that something strange was happening in Antarctica, mainly because of the large number of U-Boats passing through the South Atlantic. Himmler was using large supply submarines–the famous Milchkuh U-Boats of Admiral Dönitz–to ferry Organisation Todt construction supplies and equipment to Point 211.

At this time, President Roosevelt sent a coded message to President Getulio Vargas of Brazil, complaining that Portugal’s [fascist] Prime Minister Dr. Antonio Salazar refused to permit the construction of an Allied naval base in the Azores. Roosevelt told Vargas that Allied intelligence had learned of an existing Nazi submarine base in the islands.

Unknown to Dr. Salazar, General Eisenhower had prepared plans for a pre-emptive occupation of the Canary Islands [owned by Spain] and Cabo Verde [owned by Portugal]. From these new bases, Allied "sub-killers" would destroy the U-Boat "migration" to Antarctica.

An OSS [Office of Strategic Services, World War II forerunner of the CIA] document dated 23 May 1944 affirmed that "Salazar continues to play for time" before drafting a formal response for the Allies.

Portugal is geographically farther from Germany than are Switzerland and Sweden, but the country and its colonies were still very vulnerable to pressure from the Reich. Moreover, the authoritarian Portuguese dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, was sympathetic to the Axis powers [especially after siding with Franco in the Spanish Civil War]. These factors resulted in considerable collaboration between Portugal and Nazi Germany. Salazar provided shipments of tungsten to the Third Reich that were important for the German armaments industry, and allowed German espionage agents to operate in his country. Portugal, in fact, like Switzerland, was a hive of spying during the Second World War.

Because Salazar incorporated many facets of fascism into his government — including corporatist social and economic policies, the debasement of democracy and parliament, an extensive secret police, and a ban on strikes — he was viewed favourably by Hitler and Mussolini, as well as by Spain’s General Franco. He used that approval to obtain financial profit. While the exact amount of that profit is difficult to determine, there are clues that convey its value. The 44 tons of German gold which the United States wanted Portugal to surrender at war’s end [going so far, to compel agreement, as to freeze Portuguese assets in the U.S.] is a case in point.

Despite his ties to the Axis nations, Salazar also, at times, co-operated with the Allies. He leased bases in the Azores to the British, and he permitted many refugees who escaped the Nazis to travel through Lisbon, Portugal’s capital.

As Antarctic is made up of huge, ice-encased archipelagos if its snowy cover disappears, what might this continent reveal?

Easter Island-type statues? Stonehenge-type ruins? This farthest southern land has long been a blank slate inviting speculation.

An ancient Hi-tech "city" nicknamed "Rainbow City" was reportedly discovered in Antarctica by a small group of American researchers in the late 1940’s. 

Reportedly an on-site staff of 2000 was later stationed there to study the ancient mechanical devices, the operation of time-space portals, holographic records, and an ancient underground "rail" system with Rainbow City being the central hub.

Antigravity craft are also reportedly being used by the researchers.

-- "The Hefferlin Manuscript; Rainbow City and the Inner Earth People", by Timothy Green Beckley

In the late 1830s a travel narrative appeared claiming to recount the "Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket", a stowaway whose macabre misadventures had landed him on a tropical island in the Open Polar Sea of Antarctica.

Chased by cannibals and tormented by the weird cries of strange penguins, Pym made his way to the South Pole, where he was promptly sucked down a giant polar hole into.... everyone’s disappointment, the narrative broke off.

Notwithstanding the question of how a manuscript last seen accompanying its author to the center of the earth ended up in the hands of American publishers, some readers considered Pym’s description of the Antarctic plausible enough to warrant a revision of world maps. Unfortunately, Pym’s narrative was actually a work of fiction, invented by an imaginative author by the name of Edgar Allen Poe.

Although "Pym" is not one of Poe’s most famous works, it proved popular enough to survive and inspire other SF authors. H.P. Lovecraft wrote "At the Mountains of Madness" as a loose sequel to Pym, and his invention of Antarctic "Shoggoths" went a long way towards explaining why poor Arthur Gordon Pym was so terrified of penguins.

Building upon Poe’s earlier work, H.P. Lovecraft told a fantastic tale in "At The Mountains Of Madness". An Antarctic expedition finds a cyclopean lost city dating from before pre-Cambrian times. Unearthed is evidence of a long-gone alien civilization, which had retreated to the polar region. Deep underground, a final discovery drives one of the explorers insane and they both narrowly escape with their lives.

With such accounts, it is uncertain where fact ends and fiction begins. The essential guidebook to various intriguing literature regarding Antarctica is Joscelyn Goodwin’s "Arktos: The Polar Myth" (1993).

Most of the rumors agree that Station 211, if it really existed, was located inside a prominent ice-free mountain in the Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains of Neuschwabenland [Queen Maud Land]. In 1946-47 Admiral Byrd, America’s most recognized polar explorer may have searched for Station 211. In what was called Operation Highjump he had at his disposal the largest armada ever sent to Antarctica. Some 13 ships and 4,700 men, which included an aircraft carrier, a submarine, two destroyers, more than two-dozen aircraft and some 3,500 Marines in full battle gear were sent by the United States to Antarctica on what was officially described as a “training” mission. Yet persistent rumors insist that the actual purpose of Highjump was to find the Nazi fortress. It’s unclear if Byrd ever discovered the location of the Führer’s "Shangri-La" — if it really was there and if he really was looking for it, that is.

Further evidence that Station 211 existed, and continued to be inhabited after the war’s end, can be seen in the several accounts of German naval activity after the fall of Berlin. For example, on 10 July 1945, more than two months after the cessation of known hostilities, the German submarine U-530 surrendered to Argentine authorities at the port of Mar del Plata, one of the closest Argentine harbors to Antarctica. Similarly, U-977 arrived a month later in Mar del Plata on 17 August. These were but two of the boats that are believed to have made up the convoy of the "Führer’s Final Army".

Of all the high-ranking German military leaders, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz is the most often overlooked, and yet he may have been the most crucial for the story of Nazi survival and continued secret weapons research.

After all, the secret preparations and voyage of the U-234 to Japan, with its precious cargo of enriched uranium and infrared fuses, could not likely have taken place without his express knowledge, participation, and authorization. Thus, outside Hans Kammler’s "think tank", he was perhaps the one military leader of a conventional service arm to know the full extent of Nazi Germany’s actual advances in atom bomb and other nuclear research.

Best known for his orchestration of the Nazi U-Boat campaign against British, Canadian, and American shipping, his alleged role in the various survival myths is little known outside a small circle of UFOlogy and World War Two researchers. And of all the Nazi military leaders, his selection by Adolf Hitler as the second Führer of the Third Reich is, at best, problematical, unless viewed in the light of these late war technology transfers and escaping Nazis.

Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz: Last President of a United Germany

For a few brief weeks during late April and May of 1945, a leader of Europe came to power, an honorable man, respected even within the military councils of the Allies. That man was Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, commander-in-chief of the German Navy, in overall command of German military forces in the north, and at that tense moment engaged in arranging sea and other transportation for the masses of refugees fleeing from the eastern areas. To his overwhelming astonishment, Dönitz had been designated by Hitler as his successor and head of state. In his last political testament executed at 4:00 a.m. on 29 April 1945, and witnessed by Dr. Josef Göbbels, Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, and Generals Wilhelm Burgdorf and Hans Krebs, Adolf Hitler appointed Grand Admiral Dönitz as "President of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces … by virtue of my statement in the Reichstag on 1 September 1939 …"

Why would Hitler have chosen Dönitz, a World War One veteran of the High Seas Fleet of Kaiser Wilhelm, with the Kriegsmarine’s well-known imperialist culture and leanings that he represented, to be his successor?

A conventional answer is afforded by the circumstances. Betrayed on all sides – by Himmler and Göring themselves – a desperate Hitler reached out to what he thought was the most loyal conventional military service arm of the Wehrmacht, the Navy. But the survival mythos contributes a very different perspective from which to view Hitler’s possible motivations.

"Dönitz himself does nothing to allay those suspicions, either during or immediately after the war. According to Henry Stevens, who has almost single-handedly investigated every lead – no matter how implausible the detail – of the Nazi UFO and survival legends, Dönitz on more than one occasion alluded to the Navy’s role in exotic secret weapons research and in the construction of very secret bases far from the Reich homeland. In 1943, the Grand Admiral is reported to have stated that 'the German submarine fleet is proud of having built for the Führer, in another part of the world, a Shangri-La on land, an impregnable fortress".

-- Henry Stevens, "The Last Battalion and German Arctic, Antarctic, and Andean Bases"

Strange language for an admiral well-known for cold calculation in military strategy and tactics, and not well-known to be inclined to mystical statements. 

Then again, in 1944, the Grand Admiral doled out a little more information: "The German Navy will have to accomplish a great task in the future. The German Navy knows all hiding places in the oceans and therefore it will be very easy to bring the Führer to a safe place should the necessity arise and in which he will have the opportunity to work out his final plans". 

Hitler's Escape by Submarine Feared  
Army News [Darwin, NT] 
12 September 1944  

The "New York Times", Panama correspondent, referring to Argentina's statement denying refuge for Axis refugees, says that "Americans still remember that German submarines entered Argentine ports. Undoubtedly they could again enter those friendly waters after using the caution expected from fugitives escaping from justice". 

The correspondent believes that both German and. Argentine Nazi interests would protect such fugitives.

But it was Dönitz’s almost insane remarks at Nuremberg that seemed to point clearly to one of the two polar regions as the "site" for these "plans". At Nuremberg he boasted of "an invulnerable fortress, a paradise-like oasis in the middle of eternal ice".

Whatever the trustworthiness of Steven’s sources, these statements, plus the unusual behavior of some U-Boats at the end of the war, and the Germans’ well-publicized pre-war Antarctic scientific expedition, certainly remains a mystery.

Unterseeboot U-234 was intended to be one of a total of eight Type XB ocean-going mine-layers. It  This was the largest type of German U-Boat ever constructed at 1763 tons displacement, 2710 tons submerged and fully loaded, and 89.9 meters in overall length. Under the command of Kapitänleutnant  Johann-Heinrich Fehler, U-234 was originally designed to carry 66 SMA mines. It had only two stern torpedo tubes and carried a maximum of fifteen torpedoes.

On 5 September 1944, the U-234 was refitted as a transport at the Germaniawerft yard at Kiel, and assigned to the perilous Germany-to-Japan run. 

Apart from minor work, she had a Schnorchel added and 12 of her 30 mineshafts were fitted with special cargo containers the same diameter as the shafts and held in place by the mine release mechanisms. In addition, her keel was loaded with cargo, thought to be optical-grade glass and mercury, and her four upper-deck torpedo storage compartments (two on each side) were also occupied by cargo containers.

The cargo to be carried was determined by a special commission, the  Sonderdienst Ausland, established towards the end of 1944, at which time the submarine's officers were informed that they were to make a special voyage to Japan.

When loading was completed, the submarine's officers estimated that they were carrying 240 tons of cargo plus sufficient Diesel fuel and provisions for a six- to nine-month voyage.

The cargo included technical drawings, examples of the newest electric torpedoes, one crated Me 262 jet aircraft, a Henschel Hs 293 glide bomb,  550 kg of enriched uranium and infra-red proximity fuses. 

U-234's cargo manifest also reveals that, besides its uranium, among its cargo was 10 "bales" of drums and 50 "bales" of barrels.  The barrels are noted in the manifest to have contained benzyl cellulose, a very stable substance that may have been used as a biological shield from radiation or as a coolant or moderator in a liquid reactor. The manifest lists the drums as containing "confidential material". 

The leaders of the German project to breed plutonium had decided to use heavy water, or deuterium oxide, as the moderator for a plutonium-breeding liquid reactor.  The procedure of creating heavy water results in regular water molecules picking up an additional hydrogen atom.  The percentage of water molecules with the extra hydrogen represents the level of concentration of the heavy water.  And using heavy water as a major element of their plutonium breeding reactor project, it is easy to see why the Germans labeled the drums "confidential material."  The evidence indicates that U-234  very probable -given all considerations - carried components for making not only a uranium bomb, but a plutonium bomb, also.

"The most important and secret item of cargo, the uranium oxide, which I believe was radioactive, was loaded into one of the vertical steel tubes [of German U-boat U-234]....  Two Japanese officers... [were]... painting a description in black characters on the brown paper wrapping....  Once the inscription U235 [the scientific designation for enriched uranium, the type required to make a bomb] had been painted on the wrapping of a package, it would then be carried over...and stowed in one of the six vertical mine shafts".

-- Wolfgang Hirschfeld, Oberfunkmeister [Chief Radio Operator] of U-234

It is nearly certain the reason "U235" was written on these containers was that they were originally supposed to go to Japan aboard a second U-boat, operating under the name 'U-235'. This unidentified "Black Boat", not to be confused with the Type VIIC U-235 which had been sunk, was operating temporarily under the name U-235. It is speculated this boat was a Type XXI, but it is uncertain. 

U-235 was originally supposed to go to Japan with U-234, but was instead sent to Argentina, as is recorded in an Argentinian document declassified in 1952, which states:

"Movements by foreigners. I bring to your attention that our agents (names deleted) have detected at Ascochinga, in the mountainous region of Cordoba province, a farm located on the Cerro Negro which has been acquired by a former officer who disembarked from U-235 at the Mar del Plata submarine base". 

Because the boat operating under the name 'U-235' was sent to Argentina instead, its load of Uranium Oxide was sent aboard U-234. It is a strange coincidence that Uranium Oxide was supposed to go aboard boats called U-234 and U-235, both of which are also isotopes of Uranium

In Kiel, the loading of the boat had been completed and her massive hull sealed up for the journey. The crew of 63 [a very large crew for a U-Boat - even of this size] was joined by eight passengers, not iincluding the two Japanese officers, Lieutenant Commanders, Genzo Shoji, an aircraft specialist and former naval attaché, and Hideo Tomonaga, a naval architect and submarine designer, who had come to Germany in 1943 on the Japanese submarine I-29. 

Among the civilian scientists was Dr. Heinz Schlicke, a radar, infrared, and countermeasures specialist who was the director of the Naval Test Fields in Kiel. His task was to aid the Japanese in developing and manufacturing electronic devices and instruments; and August Bringewalde, Willi Messerschmitt's "right-hand man" who was in charge of ME 262 production, Franz Ruf, an industrial machinery specialist who designed machines and appliances to manufacture aircraft components, were also among the notable passengers, and an engineer Klug.

There were four naval officers, each with different responsibilities. Fregattenkapitän Gerhard Falcke, a naval architect and construction engineer who spoke fluent Japanese, was to use German naval blueprints to initiate new shipbuilding. Kptlt. Richard Bulla, who had the unique distinction of serving as an officer in both the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine simultaneously, was an expert on armaments, new weapons, and carrier-based aviation. Oberleutnant Heinrich Hellendorn, a shipboard FLAK artillery officer, served as a German observer, while Kay Niescheling, an ardent National Socialist who was a naval judicial and investigative officer, who was being sent to rid the German diplomatic corps in Japan of remnants of the Richard Sorge spy ring.

As U-234 raced out of Kiel Fjord into the Baltic, she turned West into the open bay leading to the mouth of Eckern Fjord.There she waited until dark to begin the first leg of her run for freedom. 

Shortly after midnight, in the early morning hours of 26 March, U-234 and her two-U-Boat escort joined with three smaller Type XXIII U-Boats and turned its course toward Norway.  Her orders were to remain in the company of the three smaller boats until they reached the Norwegian coastal town of Kristiansand. 

The tiny armada  arrived in Horten Naval Base two days later, where the U-234 spent the next eight days carrying out trials on her Schorchel.

She then proceeded to Kristiansand, arriving on about 5 April, where she underwent repairs and topped up her provisions and fuel

In the meantime, the last of the passengers arrived in Kristiansand; Luftwaffe General [General der Flieger] Ulrich Kessler,  who was being sent to assist the Japanese in combat tactics using squadrons of ME 262 and ME 163 aircraft against Allied bombers;  Oberleutnant Erich Menzel, a Luftwaffe navigator and bombardier who was an aeronautical communications and radar expert, and also had combat experience against the British, Americans, and Russians; Oberstleutnant Fritz von Sandrart, a FLAK antiaircraft defense strategist, assigned to enhance Japanese defense systems. .

U-234 departed Kristiansand for Japan on 15 April 1945, running submerged at Schorchel depth for the first 16 days, and surfacing after that only because her commander, considered he was safe from attack on the surface in the prevailing severe storm. From then on, she spent two hours running on the surface by night, and the remainder of the time submerged. The voyage proceeded without incident; the first sign that world affairs were overtaking the voyage was when the Kriegsmarine's Goliath transmitter stopped transmitting, followed shortly after by the Nauen station. Fehler did not know it, but Germany's naval HQ had fallen into Allied hands.

Then, on 4 May, U-234 received a fragment of a broadcast from British and American radio stations announcing that Admiral Karl Dönitz had become Germany's head of state following the death of Adolf Hitler. U-234 surfaced on 10 May in the interests of better radio reception and received Dönitz's last order to the submarine force, ordering all U-boats to surface, hoist black flags and surrender to Allied forces. Fehler suspected a trick and managed to contact another U-Boat [U-873], whose captain convinced him that the message was authentic.

At this point, Fehler was practically equidistant from British, Canadian and American ports. He decided not to continue his journey, and instead headed for the east coast of the United States. Fehler thought it likely that if they surrendered to Canadian or British forces, they would be imprisoned and it could be years before they were returned to Germany; he believed that the US, on the other hand, would probably just send them home.

Fehler consequently decided that he would surrender to US forces, but radioed on 12 May that he intended to sail to Halifax, Nova Scotia to surrender to ensure Canadian units would not reach him first. U-234 then set course for Newport News, Virginia; during the passage Fehler took care to dispose of his Tunis radar detector, the new Kurier radio communication system, and all Enigma related documents and other classified papers. On learning that the U-Boat was to surrender, the two Japanese passengers committed suicide by taking an overdose of Luminal [a barbiturate sedative and antiepileptic drug]. They were buried at sea.

The difference between Fehler's reported course to Halifax and his true course was soon realized by US authorities who dispatched two destroyers to intercept U-234. On 14 May 1945 she was encountered south of the Grand Banks, Newfoundland by USS Sutton. Members of Sutton's crew took command of the U-Boat and sailed her to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where U-805, U-873, and U-1228 had already surrendered. News of U-234's surrender with her high-ranking German passengers made it a major news event. Reporters swarmed over the Navy Yard and went to sea in a small boat for a look at the submarine.

The fact that the ship carried .55 tons of uranium oxide remained classified for the duration of the Cold War, a classified US intelligence summary of 19 May merely listed U-234's cargo as including "a/c [aircraft], drawings, arms, medical supplies, instruments, lead, mercury, caffeine, steels, optical glass and brass". 

Author and historian Joseph M. Scalia claimed to have found a formerly secret cable at Portsmouth Navy Yard which stated that the uranium oxide had been stored in gold-lined cylinders rather than cubes as reported by Hirschfeld, the alleged document is discussed in Scalia's book "Hitler's Terror Weapons".

Uranium that has had its proportion of the isotope U235 increased compared to the more common isotope of uranium, U238, is known as enriched uranium. When that enrichment becomes 70 percent or above, it is bomb-grade uranium.  

The process of enriching uranium during the war was highly technical and very expensive - it still is.

Clarence Larsen, former director of the leading uranium enrichment process at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the Manhattan Project's uranium enrichment facilities were housed, later state, at the Oak Ridge program used gold trays when working with enriched uranium.  He explained that, because uranium enrichment was a very costly process, enriched uranium needed to be protected jealously, but because it is very corrosive, it is easily invaded by any but the most stable materials, and would then become contaminated.  To prevent the loss to contamination of the invaluable enriched uranium, gold was used.  Gold is one of the most stable substances on earth.  While expensive, Mr. Larsen explained, the cost of gold was a drop in the bucket compared to the value of enriched uranium. 

Raw uranium, rather than enriched uranium, would not be stored in gold containers. The value of raw uranium is, and was at the time, inconsequential compared to the cost of gold. 

The uranium subsequently disappeared, most likely finding its way to the Manhattan Project's Oak Ridge diffusion plant. 

The Oak Ridge records of its chief uranium enrichment effort - the magnetic isotope separators known as calutrons - show that the enriched uranium output at Oak Ridge nearly doubled - after six months of steady output.  Edward Hammel, a metallurgist who worked with Eric Jette at the Chicago Met Lab, where the enriched uranium was fabricated into the bomb slugs, corroborated reports of late-arriving enriched uranium.  Mr. Hammel stated   that very little enriched uranium was received at the laboratory until just two or three weeks -certainly less than a month- before the bomb was dropped. The Manhattan Project had been in desperate need of enriched uranium to fuel its lingering uranium bomb program.

The secret Nazi role in building the Atomic Bomb
Without the German uranium and fuses, no atomic bombs would have been completed before 1946 at the earliest
By Ian Greenhalgh 
9 July 2015

One of the most widely known and well-established facts of the 20th century is that the Manhattan Project was the first successful development of a nuclear weapon.

However, as more time passes and more research is done into the subject, it is becoming clear that the established narrative is nothing more than a fairy tale and the truth is stranger than anyone would accept as fiction.

As incredible as it sounds, the true story involves secret deals with Nazi Germany, smuggling of vital resources via U-Boat and German scientists providing the key final components needed to make the bomb work.

The heart of the story is the race to produce enough fissile material to build the bombs and the established narrative of heroic efforts by the US is very far from the truth.

The US uranium enrichment efforts were based at Oak Ridge, TN where three plants using differing methods worked night and day to produce fissile material for the Manhattan Project. The S-50 plant used liquid thermal diffusion; the K-25 plant used the gaseous diffusion process and the Y-12 plant used electromagnetic separation.

The engineering challenges were immense, as were the material requirements – a copper shortage lead to the US treasury loaning 14,700 tons of silver bullion in order to complete the electromagnetic coils of Y-12. Y-12 became fully operational in March 1944 and the first shipments of enriched uranium were sent to Los Alamos in June 1944. Production of fissile material was very slow, so that by 28 December 1944, Eric Jette, the chief metallurgist at Los Alamos made the following gloomy report :

“A study of the shipment of [bomb grade uranium] for the past three months shows the following….: At present rate we will have 10 kilos about February 7 and 15 kilos about May 1".

With such a paltry stockpile of enriched uranium, far below that needed for a uranium-based atom bomb and with this stockpile being depleted by the decision to develop more plutonium for an alternative bomb, the entire enterprise of the Manhattan Project appeared destined for defeat.

If the stocks of weapons grade uranium in early 1945 after almost three years of research and production were about half of what they needed to produce just one atomic bomb, how then did the Manhattan Project acquire the large remaining amount of enriched weapons grade uranium 235 needed to feed the Hanford reactors that produced the plutonium for the the Gadget test device and also complete the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945? Furthermore, how did they solve the pressing problem of the fuses for a plutonium bomb?

Somehow, they solved their materials shortage and on the 16th July 1945, the Gadget test device was exploded in the New Mexico desert at the Almagordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, part of the White Sands Proving Ground. ‘Gadget’ was a Y-1561 device very similar to the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki and used 6.2 kilograms of plutonium to produce a blast equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT. The nuclear age was born.

While almost all research at Los Alamos since June 1944 had been focused on the implosion-type plutonium weapon that resulted in "Gadget" and "Fat Man"; a smaller team worked on a far simpler uranium-based design. In contrast to the plutonium implosion-type nuclear weapon, the uranium gun-type weapon was straightforward if not trivial to design. The concept was pursued so that in case of a failure to develop a plutonium bomb, it would still be possible to use the gun principle.

The design used the gun method to explosively force a hollow sub-critical mass of uranium-235 and a solid target cylinder together into a super-critical mass, initiating a nuclear chain reaction. This was accomplished by shooting one piece of the uranium onto the other by means of four cylindrical silk bags of nitrocellulose powder. The bomb contained 64 kg [141 lb] of enriched uranium.

The design specifications for "Little Boy" were completed in February 1945. Three different contractors were used to produce the components so that no one would have a copy of the complete design. The bomb, except for the uranium payload, was ready at the beginning of May 1945. The uranium 235 projectile was completed on 15th of June and the target on 24 July.

While testing of the components was conducted, no full test of a gun-type nuclear weapon occurred before the "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima. The weapon design was simple enough that it was only deemed necessary to do laboratory tests with the gun-type assembly. Unlike the plutonium implosion design, which required sophisticated coordination of shaped explosive charges, the gun-type design was considered almost certain to work.

The partly assembled bombs without the fissile components left Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, California, on 16 July aboard the cruiser 'USS Indianapolis', arriving at Tinian Island on 26 July. The fissile components followed by air on 30 July. On 9th August, B-29 Superfortress 'Enola Gay' dropped "Little Boy" over Hiroshima, resulting in a 15 kiloton blast that destroyed the heart of the city.

The age of nuclear weapons had been ushered in, but the mystery remained – where did the enriched uranium needed come from? By 1 May 1945, only 15kg of enriched Uranium-235 had been produced and much of it had been directed into production of plutonium.

However, just three short months later, all the required fissile material for two plutonium bombs and one uranium bomb had been produced. The uranium bomb alone required 64kg of enriched fissile material and at the rate Oak Ridge was producing this material, it should not have been possible to complete a uranium bomb before the end of 1946.

Clearly, a new supply of enriched Uranium-235 had been found sometime after the beginning of May 1945. To find the answer, we have to examine the events of May 1945.

On 14 May 1945 the German long range Type XB U-Boat U-234 surrendered to 'USS Sutton' just south of the Grand Banks and was escorted to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. US intelligence summary NSA/USN SRMN-037, RG 457 written on 19 May listed U-234‍ ’s cargo as including drawings, arms, medical supplies, instruments, lead, mercury, caffeine, steels, optical glass and brass. The fact that the ship also carried a number of gold-lined containers stencilled U-235 and containing 540kg of uranium remained classified until after the end of the Cold War decades later.

The 1,200 pounds [540 kg)] of uranium disappeared; researchers concluded it was most likely transferred to the Manhattan Project’s Oak Ridge diffusion plant. However, 560kg of uranium oxide would only have yielded approximately 7.7 pounds [3.5 kg) of]enriched weapons grade U-235 after processing; this was around 5% of what was required to build the "Little Boy" uranium fission weapon.

Furthermore, Uranium oxide is not radioactive enough to require shipping in gold-lined containers, only enriched uranium would require such shielding. Therefore we can safely conclude that the Uranium taken from U-234 was enriched, weapons grade material ready to be worked into the fissile components of the "Little Boy" bomb.

Secret deals with Nazi Germany

The story of the German atomic bomb programmes and their extensive Uranium enrichment programme would take a whole book to tell in any detail, however, the basic facts are that in 1940 the Germans had seized the Belgian stockpile of high purity uranium ore mined in the Congo; German scientists had developed a chemical enrichment process many times more efficient than the process used by the Manhattan Project with the result that by the end of the war the Germans possessed a large stockpile of weapons grade material.

Realising the war was lost, Martin Bormann, almost certainly with the support of Adolf Hitler, had begun secret negotiations with the British and Americans to buy safe passage to South America for the leading Nazis including Hitler and Eva Braun. Bormann traded Germany’s finest military, engineering and scientific secrets for the escape to freedom of many top Nazis, himself and Hitler included.

As well as providing the Uranium to complete Little Boy, U-234 also brought what was needed to make the "Fat Man" plutonium bomb work in the form of Dr Heinz Schlicke, an electrical engineer and Kriegsmarine officer who had invented a new type of opto-electronic fuse. He is taken to a secret POW camp at Fort Hunt, Virginia.

By this time it had become apparent that there were significant and seemingly insurmountable problems in designing a plutonium bomb, for the fuses available to the Allies were simply far too slow to achieve the uniform compression of a plutonium core within the very short span of time needed to initiate uncontrolled nuclear fission.

However, with Dr. Schlicke and a number of his fuses in their possession, the US was now able to complete their plutnium bomb.

Therefore, we can state with certainty, based on the simple historical facts, that without the German uranium and fuses, no atomic bombs would have been completed before 1946 at the earliest.

Hitler Escape Story
The Sun [Sydney, NSW]
18 September 1944 

LONDON — A. specially built U-Boat is waiting in a heavily guarded pen at the former Polish port of Gdynia for the use of Hitler and other high Nazis if Germany collapses. This was disclosed by a Staff officer in East Prussia to a member of the Finnish Military Mission. The submarine would be capable of voyaging non-stop to Japan. Commander is Lieut. Lüth, one of the greatest heroes of the German navy.  

Special Submarine Ready for Hitler's Escape
Army News [Darwin, NT] 
21 September 1944 

The Stockholm correspondent of the "New York Times" says that after the Nazi defeat, Hitler will make a getaway in a passenger submarine specially built for the purpose and able to cover 20,000 miles without refuelling. According to an official report containing the observations of three people who have been in Germany in official capacities on behalf of Finland, a nation which has since broken with the Reich, and who had access to information not available even to diplomats and military attaches, a 1200 ton submarine has been built at a Gdynia shipyard and placed under the command of Germany's submarine hero, Lieutenant [Wolfgang] Lüth. 

Every worker engaged on building the sumptuously fitted out U-Boat has been sworn to secrecy and kept from contact with the outside world, being made to live in the yard, where they are still interned. 

The range of the submarine suggests that Japan is the immediate goal, with perhaps intermediate stops at the Argentine and out of the way ports.

Hitler is expected to take vast quantities of gold to pay expenses.

Germany is perhaps the only great nation, which has never had a colony either in North or South America, or otherwise displayed there any political activity, unless mention is made of the emigration of many millions of Germans and of their work, which, however, has only been to the benefit of the American Continent and of the U.S.A.

-- from "Declaration of War on the US" by Adolf Hitler, 11 December 1941

Their Men in Brazil
Hitler's Secret War in South America German Military Espionage and Allied Counterespionage in Brazil
By Stanley E. Hilton

The fascination with espionage, counterespionage and secret Intelligence operations of every kind during the Second World War is endless. Year after year, we learn something new about the triumphs and defeats, the imagination, sophistication, dedication and courage - as well as the stupidity, greed and sloth - of the rival intelligence services who were then engaged in lethal combat around the globe. Since wartime intelligence literature keeps growing, we are now familiar with most of the activities of Britain's super secret Security Coordination apparatus and Special Operations Executive and of the United States' Office of Strategic Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Naval Intelligence. We know how the theft of the German ''Enigma'' enciphering machine and sheer mathematical genius enabled the British to penetrate Nazi military communications, and how the United States Navy broke the Japanese codes. Captured Axis documents tell us the Nazi, Italian and Japanese sides of the story. We can now make a powerful case for the notion that superior Intelligence operations were at the root of the ultimate Allied victory.  

Fresh material continues to turn up, throwing light on often important intelligence operations that have been generally ignored or overlooked. The latest case in point is Stanley E. Hilton's superbly researched and extremely readable "Hitler's Secret War in South America 1939-1945", which for the first time outlines the German effort to establish espionage networks in Brazil to monitor Allied shipping in the South Atlantic and beyond. The Germans wanted to track movements both of troopships destined for the Middle East and the Pacific and of merchantmen convoys bearing vital foodstuffs and strategic materials for Britain so that they could better direct their U-Boats for the kill. A parallel mission was to spy on the American military build-up in strategic north-eastern Brazil and to transmit to Germany reports from Nazi agents in the United States.  

In the public mind, as is true even today, Brazil was at best a secondary security concern for the Allies. In reality, it was so important that both Washington and London went to extraordinary lengths to eradicate the German espionage networks there - not a simple proposition given the fact that for a long time key Brazilian officials [including the Federal police chief] were frankly pro-Axis. In March 1942, German agents in Rio de Janeiro and in the north-eastern city of Recife informed their headquarters through clandestine radio transmissions that the British liner Queen Mary, carrying 9,000 American troops, was sailing along the Brazilian coast. As it happened, United States Signal Intelligence Service radio monitors intercepted the messages and provided the British with a timely warning; otherwise, Nazi submarine packs prowling the South Atlantic might well have sunk the ship.

In 1940, after the German conquest of Western Europe, reports reached the White House that Hitler planned to dispatch military forces to Brazil to support local German communities in setting up a Nazi regime. 

President Roosevelt became so worried that he ordered preparations to airlift 10,000 troops there and to ship another 100,000 troops by sea if the rumors proved true.

[Actually, Hitler had never contemplated such an action].

And throughout the war, the State Department and the American Embassy in Rio de Janeiro were under unrelenting pressure from the United States military to destroy Nazi intelligence operations in Brazil.

This whole story is now told, in immense detail, by Mr. Hilton, a professor of history at Louisiana State University. He first published his findings in Brazil in his 1977 book "Suastica sobre o Brasil" [Swastika over Brazil]. Because Mr. Hilton named a number of members of the pro-Nazi Integralista Party, dissolved in 1938 after an abortive coup d'etat, as active German espionage agents, his book triggered something of a storm in Brazil.

Former Integralistas accused him of being a Central Intelligence Agency operative, and attempts were made to close Brazilian archives to American researchers. 

The American edition, Mr. Hilton writes, differs from the original Portuguese version because it incorporates new material from declassified O.S.S., F.B.I. and Federal Communications Commission files, as well as confidential reports from the Brazilian police detective who played a key role in smashing the Nazi networks.

Perhaps the most interesting portion of Mr. Hilton's narrative is the story of the incredible amateurishness of the Abwehr [the Foreign Department of Germany's Armed Forces High Command], run by the legendary Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, in setting up and operating its espionage networks in Brazil, and of the admirable effectiveness of British and American intelligence in destroying them through patient and sophisticated counterespionage. Most of the Abwehr agents were German businessmen, though some were Brazilian-born, sent from Germany or recruited locally; only a few were intelligence professionals or military attaches. The amateurs, usually short on money, tended to be careless. Organized in two independent main networks and eight cells and sub cells [there was even a Hungarian cell], the Abwehr agents fought among themselves over funds and the use of clandestine radio transmitters. Some of the key operatives were ardent womanizers, who violated elementary intelligence work rules by keeping mistresses.

It took the Allies - and those Brazilian police officials who were willing to help them - about two years to finish off the Abwehr in Brazil. [Among other things, Mr. Hilton demolishes the long-held belief that Argentina, not Brazil, served as the principal center of wartime Nazi activities in South America. ''Following the collapse of the Abwehr apparatus in Brazil,'' he writes, ''neighboring Argentina became the center of German espionage in Latin America" [But this was in 1943, when it no longer really mattered]. The F.B.I. organized radio monitoring services both in Brazil and the United States to intercept the messages of the agents in Brazil. The British turned at least one of the important Abwehr agents into a double agent. They recruited mail-openers [much of the Nazi reporting was done through the mail, using invisible inks and microdots], and made the bizarre discovery that the most dexterous ones were women with ''slender, attractive legs".' British intelligence also circulated anonymous pamphlets which alleged that a senior German diplomat in Rio was sexually impotent - enough to ruin a man's reputation among Brazilians.

In perspective, much of the Allied counterespionage effort may sound like intelligence fun and games. But as Mr. Hilton points out, the operations were in dead earnest. He writes, in explaining why the Abwehr became so engaged in Brazil, that the German Admiral Karl Dönitz ''resisted pressure from his advisers to dispatch units to the South Atlantic in 1940 largely because tracking the [British] convoys there was so difficult'' and that ''the ultimate success or failure in the sea contest, therefore, might depend on the quality and quantity of information that could be obtained about ships servicing the enemy". By describing the Abwehr's attempt and eventual failure to set up an effective intelligence network, Mr. Hilton has made a highly valuable contribution to our understanding of the intelligence battles of World War II.

Trial of Accused Nazi War Criminals
Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12 March to 22 March 1946
Eighty-Fourth Day: Monday, 18 March 1946

DR. HORN [counsel for the defendant von Ribbentrop]: 

Q. American war propaganda consistently spoke of Germany's aggressive intentions toward the Western Hemisphere. What do you know about this?
A. The Western Hemisphere? Do you mean America?
Q. Yes
A. Even if Germany had completely dominated the nations of Europe, between Germany and the American continent there are, as far as I still recall from my geographic knowledge, about 6,000 kilometres of water, I believe. In view of the smallness of the German fleet and the regrettable lack of bombers to cover this distance, which I already mentioned, there was never any question of a threat against the American continent; on the contrary, we were always afraid of that danger in reverse, and we would have been very glad if it had not been necessary to consider this at all.

As far as South America is concerned, I know that we were always accused, by propaganda at least, of economic penetration and attempted domination there. If one considers the financial and commercial possibilities which Germany had before and during the war, and if one compares them with those of Great Britain or America, one can see the untenability of such a statement. With the very little foreign exchange and the tremendous export difficulties which we had, we could never constitute a real danger or be in competition. If that had been the case, the attitude of the South American countries would presumably have been a different one. Not the Mark, but only the Dollar ruled there.
DR. HORN: Thank you.