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Stephen Simpson and DeWitt R. This enabled them to orally transmit military intelligence from the ground to planes hovering over Europe without detection by German Army shortwave radio operators. The Free Germans were also trained to decipher coded messages that would be transmitted to them behind enemy lines through the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC radio programs in German.

Gould attended and joined the recruits and their wives and children in singing Christmas songs in German. And it caused an immediate demand for tactical intelligence from high ranking military leaders. At the last moment, an unexpected challenge to the proposed utilization of the Free Germans arose within the OSS. The matter was brought to Gen. Donovan for resolution. All that remained was an order to go. On 1 March , the order arrived—Casey sent word to Gould that the first mission to Berlin should be dispatched immediately.

Both were ordinary workingmen who found themselves needed to perform a secret mission that could make a difference in ending the war. Paul Lindner had just reached his 34th birthday on the evening that Lt. Gould accompanied him and Ruh to Watton Airfield for the flight into Germany. Born in Berlin, Lindner grew up in a traditional social democratic household and had become active in the German labor movement at an early age. After recovering from his injuries in a Berlin hospital, Lindner organized a hiking club to serve as a cover for his underground work with the League of Labor Youth.

In , he fled Berlin for Czechoslovakia. There he posed as a ski instructor to mask the illegal political work he continued to perform for the underground trade union resistance.

OSS Commando: Hitler's A-Bomb by Charles W. Sasser

For the next three years, Lindner helped Jews fleeing Nazi persecution to escape across the border into Czechoslovakia and collected information on secret German military installations for the Czech Army. He received aid from the local Youth Refugee and Relief Counsel, an organization formed by anti-fascist sympathizers to help German refugees adjust to life in England.

Following the invasion of Belgium and Holland by the Nazis in May , Lindner was deported to Ottawa, Canada, where he was interned with other German political refugees. By late , the British had relocated him to an internment camp off the coast of England on the Isle of Man. Shortly thereafter, British immigration officials accepted his application to be released.

Upon his release, Lindner could have sat out the war with other German refugees. Instead, he chose a different path and returned to England, still fiercely committed to fighting the Nazi regime. Lindner and Marjorie Andrews finally were married in May and moved to the Hampstead section of London.

He soon obtained employment as a machine turner for a British firm. A Berlin native like Lindner, he had trained as a printer and lithographer. He started doing illegal political work with Lindner, but was arrested and held for nearly six months until his release in early Ruh sought refuge in Czechoslovakia after the Gestapo discovered a political leaflet shop he was operating secretly in Berlin. While residing in Prague, Ruh continued to smuggle leaflets into Germany. After Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in , the Nazis declared Ruh a political fugitive.

Able to evade capture, he fled to England, with the aid of the same Czech underground that had assisted Lindner. Ruh settled in London briefly, but, like Lindner, was interned by the British government in June Deported, he lived in Australia until November Upon his return, he reunited with his wife Elizabeth, resumed work as a welder for a British firm, and began raising a family.

OSS Commando: Hitler's A-Bomb

Ruh was fluent in Czech and English and spoke the Berlin dialect, characteristics that strengthened his suitability for the mission ahead. On 2 March , Lt. Four hours later, the mission aircraft, battered by German anti-aircraft fire, returned to Watton Airfield with the news that Lindner and Ruh had parachuted safely into a clear moonlit evening. The mission to Berlin was in. Paul Lindner, Sr. Declassified HAMMER mission files and interviews with surviving relatives of the HAMMER agents provide an extraordinary window into the life of ordinary Berlin residents trying to survive the final days of chaos that marked the death rattle of the Nazi regime.

They walked to a nearby station where they were able to catch a train to downtown Berlin.

Postwar Period: End of the OSS and Return to the Park Service

Because of blackouts, the trains were dark as well as overcrowded, enabling the HAMMER team to go unnoticed in these tense early moments of the mission. Although they came prepared to make contact with a member of the underground resistance, the darkness and late hour made it unsafe to confirm the address. While Paul Lindner, Sr.

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They arrived to find the Lindner home miraculously untouched by Allied bombs. Lindner tapped on a front-door window.

OSS Commando: Hitler's A-Bomb by Charles Sasser - Book - Read Online

The noise awakened his parents. Marjorie Lindner later recounted that the elder Lindners, still fearful of political reprisals, did not at first believe that it really was their son who had returned after ten long years. Despite the extensive time they had spent developing their cover stories, both Lindner and Ruh decided to remain illegal and not use their work papers, because they felt that the papers would impede their ability to execute the mission. Lindner and Ruh eagerly sought information about old friends who might help with their mission, but sadly found out that all had been killed in action or died in concentration camps.

They carried cigarettes and coffee, which they used to barter for food, including bartering for a live sheep that they slaughtered and ate that night. His strong identification papers enabled the agents to remain above suspicion. Moreover, the Nazi regime had imposed stiff controls in a last-ditch effort to force Berliners to stay and defend the city.

No one could safely slip out of Berlin. On 26 March, the HAMMER mission made successful contact with an Allied plane hovering over Germany and transmitted critically important military intelligence dealing with German troop movements, the location of operational munitions factories, and the sinking morale of the German people. Incessant Allied bombings circumscribed their every move. In order to avoid suspicion, Lindner and Ruh moved through a maze of public bomb shelters. Often, they had to break up fights between Berliners whose nerves were fraying from the unending air assaults.

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Gottwald had never met his brother-in-law. After the 26 March transmission, Gottwald showed up at the Lindner home unexpectedly. He had been granted leave from his unit as a reward for destroying a Russian tank, an action that earned him the Iron Cross. The discovery that his brother-in-law had returned to Germany as an enemy agent led to an intense all-night dialogue between Gottwald and Lindner and Ruh, which nearly threatened the lives of the agents—and the survival of the HAMMER mission. This self-examination ultimately led to his decision to abandon his unit and not report Lindner and Ruh to military authorities, which would have meant their immediate execution for treason.

Lindner and Ruh did not parachute into Germany completely blind; they had been supplied with a roster of contacts in the underground resistance provided by the Free Germany Committee in France. One contact was a female dentist named Margarit, whom Ruh initially approached under the guise of seeking treatment for a painful tooth.

She and her husband later sheltered Ruh and provided him with valuable intelligence about Berlin defenses.

On Easter Sunday, Lindner and Ruh received a message through the BBC that food supplies were to be dropped at a contact point some 50 kilometers northwest of Berlin. They wound up spending the night in an open field. After gathering their gear, the HAMMER agents began to walk quietly through the woods toward a nearby railroad station.

Suddenly, they were stopped by a lieutenant from the Herman Goring Division, who asked to see their papers.

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Almost certainly having endured similarly tense moments during their pre-exile days with the Berlin underground, Lindner and Ruh were prepared for such situations. According to the debriefing transcripts, both men routinely carried dirty laundry in their duffel bags to make it appear as if they were just arriving from outside the city to help with the defense of Berlin. When the German soldier asked to see their papers, Lindner pulled out his Nazi Party membership card and work orders. Incessant Russian artillery fire combined with the Allied bombing raids caused chaos in the streets.

When the district around her house became the object of fierce fighting between Russian and German troops, Ruh was forced to return to the Lindner family home. The other was to stay behind until American troops arrived in Berlin. They did not have long to wait. The Soviet Army achieved a major breakthrough in the Battle of Berlin two days later.

Armies commanded by Generals Zhukov and Konev met in the southern suburbs of Berlin and encircled the troops of the German 9th Army. The German soldiers were disarmed and taken prisoner by the Soviet Army. The Russian troops thanked them for their help. In the climate of fear and suspicion that marked the chaotic final days of the war, however, the Soviet Army refused their explanation and placed the HAMMER agents under arrest. The agents were subjected to harsh interrogation. Moreover, they angered Martov by claiming to have witnessed Soviet soldiers brutalizing German civilians and asking for protection from retribution by other Russian troops.

According to the debriefing transcripts, Martov reacted especially harshly to this accusation of misconduct and threatened to imprison Lindner and Ruh as enemies of the state. They had just reached their 40th birthdays when dispatched into southern Germany near Munich on 4 April Walter Struewe was born in Bielefeld, Germany, in After apprenticing in the building construction trades from through , Struewe had gone underground to continue illegal political work in Frankfurt with other construction trade unionists.

He had also become a leading figure in the Rhineland branch of the German Communist Party. In , he fled to Czechoslovakia, having learned that a co-worker had disclosed his identity during torture by the Gestapo. After a brief period of internment in the same camp on the Isle of Man where Paul Lindner had been held, Struewe was released. Realizing that the city was far too crowded to find shelter, they sought a hiding place in the woods.