In 1942, a team of Nazi saboteurs armed with bomb-making supplies and instructions to perform multiple acts of terrorism emerged on the shores of Long Island and Florida. Details of this mission from a MI5 intelligence officer were recently declassified, Yahoo reports, and they paint a story of intrigue and espionage. Fortunately, this crack team of spies made the Three Stooges look like Delta Force.
The mission, codenamed “Pastorius,” involved 8 Germans who had previously lived in America. They were trained in Europe “in bomb-making, supplied with explosives and instructed in how to make timers from ‘easily obtainable commodities such as dried peas, lumps of sugar and razor blades.'”
After their training, the team was stationed in Paris. At the hotel bar, one of Pastorius’ cunning spies got wasted and, according to the report, “told everyone that he was a secret agent.” Needless to say, this may have tipped some people off that they were, um, secret agents.
Great way to pick up women, terrible way to ensure victory for the Third Reich.
The group departed for the U.S. on submarines, and the one bound for Long Island ran aground. The Coast Guard captured them, but astonishingly let them go (Nazis weren’t the only inept ones in this tale).
The four Nazis who landed in Florida made it to shore, but were wearing “bathing trunks and army forage caps.” Beachgoers must have been pretty shocked to see four pasty Germans wearing nothing but swimsuits and military hats waddling out of the Atlantic. (Keep in mind this was Jacksonville, not South Beach.)
Without any provocation, the team’s fearless leader, George John Dasch, bravely went to the Mayfair Hotel in D.C., called the FBI, and asked to turn himself in to J. Edgar Hoover. Soon after, without having successfully performed a single act of espionage, all of Pastorius’ members were executed (save for Dasch and another snitch).
Americans could rest easy knowing that the closest the Nazis ever got to attacking our shores was a plan dependent on a group of drunk, half-naked idiots hell bent on turning themselves in.
British spy files shed light on Nazi saboteurs [Yahoo!]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 5, 2011