Partygoers on the Princess Rose had no idea that they were being watched by hostile eyes. Captain Heinrich Müller lowered the periscope and gave orders for U-342 to surface. It was a black, moon-less night. Perfect to launch a small boat and head unnoticed into New York Harbour.
Their secret mission, if successful, would raise the spirits of all the Kriegsmarine and humiliate America. Despite the USA being technically at war with Germany, no-one on the East coast seemed to think they were at risk from such a distant foe. The ship’s lights shone undimmed.
Fortunately, Princess Rose was not the target, at least not tonight.
The men in the small boat made shore near an unused boathouse, after being guided in by their contact. Across the harbour, the bright lights and party music from the Princess provided perfect cover. The men checked their equipment before heading into the city.
24 hours later, all the shore party were back onboard U-342. It had been a nervous wait for Captain Müller and his crew, so close to the enemy’s lair. They headed to the relative safety of the deep Atlantic, with some relief.
The Intelligence Officer had been locked in his tiny darkroom for some time, developing photos taken only hours earlier. He notified Captain Müller that he was finished, and soon the crew were being summoned to the mess room. Far from being kept secret, the photos were spread out for all the crew to see. They would later become infamous, after being leaked to the World’s press.
Times Square, the Empire State Building, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty and more. Nothing unusual there, apart from the grinning sailors in Kriegsmarine uniforms taking centre stage. Some even linking arms with patriotic tourists, cheering on ‘their’ boys.
This story was inspired by the photo, provided for Sunday Photo Fiction August 9th 2015,
by Al Forbes.
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