Operation Pastorious. German Saboteurs came by night in June of 1942
Adolf Hitler ordered the school to train agents whose task would be to infiltrate into the United States of America to destroy vital power plants, factories, and communications. Eight men were chosen, two naturalised citizens of the US, and six Germans who had at one time lived in the US. This group were given a crash course in the art of sabotage at Quentz Farm.
The two four man teams were to be transported to the east coast of the US by U-Boat, U-202, under the command of Kptlt. Heinz Linder, carrying George J. Dasch, Heinrick H. Heinek, Richard Quirin, and Ernest P. Burger, destination south of New York.
U- 584 with Kptlt. Joachim Duker in command, would take Edward J. Kerling, Herbert Haupt, Werner Thiel, and Herman Neubauer to the Florida coast.
Certainly ambitious plans for eight intrepid saboteurs.
Enter the United States Coast Guard Service.
In WW2, the Coast Guard instituted a beach patrol whereby both the eastern and western seaboards of the country were patrolled by their members.
June 13 1942.
Out of the foggy gloom some one approached him, when challenged, the man, identified himself as George Davis, ( who with his three colleagues had just landed on the beach from U-202 ) said " We are fishermen from Southampton, and we ran aground."
More men could be seen close by in the fog, one came close speaking what Cullen took to be German, Davis told him to " Shut Up " making Cullen suspicious, and he suggested the group go with him to his Coast Guard Station.
Davis refused, and now threatened Cullen saying " I do not want to kill you."
Now Davis changed his tactics, offering Cullen money ( the team carried a wad of money for subsistence, and if necessary, bribes ) to forget he had ever run into the team of four. The unarmed Cullen deciding discretion was the better part of valour accepted the money, at least it was some tangible proof for his bizarre story.
John Cullen now took off apace for the sancity of his Amagansett Station, on arrival he blurted out his story to Boatswain's Mate Carl R. Jenette, who listened quite incredulously, but seeing the money as evidence of Cullen's veracity, he called the Station CO, Warrant Officer Warren Bains. He quickly organised an armed party of Jenette, Cullen and three Coast Guardsmen, who dashed off to the earlier scene of the encounter.
No one there, in fact the team of four who had landed from U-202, had taken off by train for New York. The smell of Diesel oil hung heavily on the foggy morning air, looking seawards, the armed pary could dimly make out the silhouette of a Submarine, it was U-202 stuck fast in the sand, just off shore, and desperately trying to get herself afloat once more. Finally she made it, and slunk off to steam out of sight.
A beach search uncovered explosives and other incendinary devices.
U-Boat U-584 at Florida.
Back to Team one from U-202.
Within two weeks it was all over, the FBI had the eight all in custody, a lucky break for the authorities indeed.
Trial by Military Commission.
The whole crew of eight were found guilty, the sentence DEATH!
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt commuted Burgher's sentence to life, and Dasch to 30 years imprisonment as they had assisted US authorities.
The other six all faced the Electric Chair on August 8th. to be buried in a Potter's Field called Blue Plains, close to the Capital. No delays here in 1942.
President Harry Truman in 1948, granted clemency to both Dasch and Burgher, providing they were deported to the US Occupied Zone in West Germany.
U-584, was also sunk, on October 31st. of the same year as her sister boat, a homing torpedo struck home, dropped from one of three Avenger Aircraft flown off from US aircraft carrier USS Card. All the 53 crew from the U-Boat perished.
This closed the final page on the rather bizarre attempt by eight German saboteurs to perform mischief in the US. Their mission failing miserably after one of their number, Dascher reported to the FBI, who acted with alacrity.
Secret memorandum to President Roosevelt regarding the disposal of the bodies after the saboteurs' executions.The authorities went a long way to keep the details secret at the time in August 1943.