Bill Meilen
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be housed at the hunting lodge in the beautiful valley of Friedenthal—your new sigil will be the Griffin.” He handed Captain Skorzeny an arm patch depicting a silver griffin woven on a black shield edged with silver. “Your entire purpose will be to plan compact fighting group penetration and disruption of areas very far behind enemy lines. I want special commandos organised to bring the battle home to Roosevelt, Djugashvili, and that cigar-smoking mongrel hypocrite in London, that murderous Conservative swinehound who invented concentration camps for the Boers and now decries their employment by Germany! The Australians and the Canadians, who have chosen to enter this conflict on the side of the Englanders and Amerikaners, must be made to see the error of their ways. You will prepare English speakers, Abwehr-trained men and women—to emulate your methods for long-range penetration missions. We will blast them in their very citadels with the truth. Our political striking power therefore grows ever more far-reaching.”

Skorzeny’s heels clicked again. “Thank you my Führer. Your trust will be repaid.”

With a wafture of his hand, Hitler indicated the four keen young officers of his barbershop quartet.

“These young Waffen SS warriors are your appointed operations officers for your new Greifer command group. All are fluent English-speakers, linguists. Van der Vreede here is a Frieslander.” One by one they saluted and shook hands with Skorzeny as Hitler walked beside him, a paternal glow on his face. Hitler was close to him now, and he saw the fire deep in the man’s eyes, and could smell the rosewater he wore.

“You see the quality of these men, all combat-hardened—all fluent in the necessary languages, and familiar with their target areas. Otto—I give you absolute carte blanche to do what you want in this affair. You have the run of the Reich. Whatever you need will be yours merely by asking. Top priority!”

“Thank you, my Führer!” clicked Skorzeny, smiling. “Logistics. It would be a ‘sterling’ idea if it can be arranged that Tommy pays for transportation of our agents to wherever they will be most useful to your plans. An economical blessing.”

“Make Tommy pay?” Hitler quizzed.

“Yes, my Führer.”

“We need all the help we can get. So how do we make this saving, Otto?”

“By training good men, then placing them in situations where they may safely surrender.”

“German soldiers surrender?” Adolf Hitler’s face seemed to be changing colour. “Unimaginable. Never!”

Otto Skorzeny did not look in the least nervous. “Tommy is quite predictable, my Führer. He always sends prisoners to his colonies to use as forced labour. They did it in the First War, they are doing it again. There can be no more economical way to deliver highly trained men to the heart of English colonial hives than to send them the best as prisoners of war, my Führer.”