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Secret Honor (Honor Bound Series #3)
     

Secret Honor (Honor Bound Series #3)

3.9 53
by W. E. B. Griffin
 

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The crackling new novel in the bestselling Honor Bound series, by the master of the military thriller.

    As with his other enormously popular series, the first two novels in W. E .B. Griffin’s saga of World War II espionage in Germany and Argentina – Honor Bound and Blood and Honor – became immediate

Overview

The crackling new novel in the bestselling Honor Bound series, by the master of the military thriller.

    As with his other enormously popular series, the first two novels in W. E .B. Griffin’s saga of World War II espionage in Germany and Argentina – Honor Bound and Blood and Honor – became immediate bestsellers and were hailed as “immensely entertaining adventures” (Kirkus Reviews). Now, in Secret Honor, Griffin creates his most rousing novel yet.
    In Wolf’s Lair, a German general works toward the assassination of Adolf Hitler. In Buenos Aires, the general’s son, code-named Galahad, falls under suspicion by the SS after a Nazi operation suddenly goes bad. In the middle of it all is OSS agent Cletus Frade, who knows the identity of father and son and what they will do next…if they can survive that long. For not only are SS and Abwehr officers hot on their trails in both countries, but the OSS has branded Frade a rogue agent and is determined to shake the truth from him, at whatever cost. If Frade can’t figure a way to hold them all off, then the futures of all three men may be very short indeed….
    Written with the special flair that Griffin’s readers expect, filled with high drama and real heroes, Secret Honor is further proof, in Tom Clancy’s words, that “Griffin is a storyteller in the grand tradition.”

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Our Review
W.E.B. Griffin is clearly the leader on the military-thriller front. His adventure, Secret Honor, continues the story of half-American/half-Argentinean OSS agent Cletus Frade (Honor Bound, Blood and Honor). In Secret Honor, Clete is thrust into a desperate attempt to keep a German general's plan to assassinate Hitler secret and those most involved hidden from the Gestapo's probing, always suspicious eyes. Heaped with fascinating historic detail and supercharged excitement and intrigue, Secret Honor offers spellbinding insight into the workings of the OSS, the German High Command, and the deadly, behind-the-scenes chess matches that were fought between, and within, the Axis and Allied superpowers during World War II.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This third entry in the military/espionage Honor Bound series, focusing on the Argentine-German connection during WWII, will intrigue newcomers and have Griffin's long-time fans queuing up for the next installment. In 1943, the Nazi-ordered assassination of Jorge Frade, the anti-Axis president of Argentina, has left the country in a tense mood, which is exacerbated by the murder of two Nazi officers during a night beach landing, part of the top-secret Nazi Operation Phoenix. The aborted mission was crucial to a plan to free the Argentine-interned crew of the Nazi ship Graf Spee, but it turns out that the slain officers had also extorted ransom money from Jews in concentration camps and arranged for their passage to Argentina--without the Reich's knowledge. Cletus Frade, the 24-year-old American-reared son of the slain president, has returned to Argentina as heir to his father's vast estates and financial holdings. But Cletus is also an OSS (CIA precursor) agent, and a chance meeting with Major Hans-Peter von Wachstein, a Nazi pilot attached to the German embassy, results in their friendship. Peter feeds secrets to Cletus in exchange for help in moving Peter's family's funds to Argentina, where they hope to live after the war that he and his father (a close aide to the Fuhrer) believe is wrong and already lost. When Himmler launches an investigation to find the embassy spy who scuttled Operation Phoenix, Cletus struggles to protect Peter's identity and deal with the rising power of pro-Axis Juan Peron. Griffin adroitly shifts among German, American and Argentinian cultural milieux and fills the plot with believable romance, intrigue and diplomatic fencing, while capturing the horrors of war and the crucial role of intelligence agents. He nicely explains the Reich's need for Argentina as safe harbor to replenish its U-boats and to stash funds for postwar Nazi emigration. What will happen to the SS, Cletus and the surviving cast promises an equally exciting sequel. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Continuing the saga he began in Honor Bound, Griffin follows the cloak-and-dagger environment of World War II espionage. To be specific, we look at the lives of Marine aviator and Argentine citizen Cletus Frade and German air ace and military attach to Buenos Aires Major Hans-Peter Freiherr von Wachtstein, both OSS agents. The action, which takes place mostly in Argentina, also involves many historical characters including Heinrich Himmler, "Wild Bill" Donovan, Claus von Stauffenberg, and Col. Juan Peron. Griffin is a master at weaving fact and fiction, and this work will not disappoint. Veteran actor Stephen Lang does an admirable job reading the text; more adroit with the narrative than some portions of dialog, he will nonetheless keep listeners on the edge of their seats. For public libraries.--Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780515130096
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/28/2000
Series:
Honor Bound Series , #3
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
107,036
Product dimensions:
4.13(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.38(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

I

[ ONE ]

Near Sidi Mansour, Tunisia

1530 7 April 1943

A solitary Afrika Korps staff car - a small Mercedes convertible sedan - moved as quickly as it could across the desert. It had of course been painted in the Afrika Korps desert scheme: tan paint mimicked the color of the Tunisian desert, and crooked black lines on the hood and doors were intended to break up the form of the vehicle and make it harder to spot at a distance.

Nothing could be done, however, to keep the dust of the Tunisian desert road from boiling up beneath the wheels of the Mercedes and raising a cloud scores of feet into the air. If anyone was looking, the dust cloud formed an arrow pointing to the Mercedes.

And someone was looking - an American pilot in a P-51 Mustang.

The North American P51-C and -D aircraft used in the North African campaign were powered by a Packard version of the British Merlin engine. They had a top speed of 440 knots, and were armed with four .50-caliber Browning machine guns. Hardpoints in the wings permitted the use of droppable auxiliary fuel tanks and could also be used to carry 1,000-pound bombs.

Even at 500 feet and an indicated airspeed of 325 knots, it hadn't been hard for Captain Archer C. Dooley, Jr., U.S. Army Air Corps, to spot the boiling dust and then the Afrika Korps staff car that had caused it.

"Oh, shit!" Captain Archer Dooley, Jr., said sadly.

Finding a Kraut staff car running unprotected across the desert did not please him. When young Archie Dooley first signed up to fly fighter aircraft, he expected to become a "Knight of the Sky" - flying mano a mano against other knights of the sky. He didn't expect to be killing people like cockroaches.

Fifteen months before, Archie Dooley had been the valedictorian of the 1942 class at St. Ignatius High School in Kansas City, Kansas. Six weeks before, he had been Second Lieutenant Dooley. He had come to Tunisia fresh from fighter school, looking forward to sweeping Nazi Messerschmitts from the skies with the four .50-caliber Brownings in the wings of his Mustang, much as Errol Flynn had swept the Dirty Hun from the skies over France in World War I in Dawn Patrol.

After which, with a little bit of luck, there would be a girl in the Officers' Club with an exciting French accent, long legs, long hair, and firm breasts, who would express her admiration for a Knight of the Sky in a carnal fashion.

It hadn't turned out that way.

For one thing, by the time Archie got to the squadron, the Allies had attained air superiority over the enemy. In other words, no German or Italian aircraft were left to be swept from the skies.

The day Archie reported in, the squadron commander had informed him that the 23rd Fighter Group had ordered the squadron to be engaged in ground support. That broke down into two missions: The first was to attack the enemy in front of American infantry and armor with either wing-mounted bombs or the .50-caliber Brownings. The second was reconnaissance and interdiction. This meant flying over enemy-held desert to see what you could see, and to interdict - which meant to shoot up - anything you found.

Second Lieutenant Archer Dooley, Jr.'s, first mission had been to fly wingman to the squadron commander on a two-plane reconnaissance and interdiction mission. At first, that had been sort of exciting . . . even fun.

They had raced across the desert close to the ground at better than 300 knots, a maneuver flatly forbidden in flight school. Here it was perfectly acceptable.

Like drinking in the Officers' Club, even if you were a long way from being old enough to vote.

They had come across a railroad engine, puffing along tracks in the desert, dragging a line of boxcars. The squadron commander had signaled to Archie that they should engage the target. "Take the locomotive," he had ordered. "I'll get the boxcars."

Second Lieutenant Archer Dooley, Jr., had gotten the locomotive, enjoying the sight of his one-tracer-round-in-five stream of .50-caliber projectiles walking across the desert, and - as he raised the Mustang's nose just a hair - moving into the locomotive's boiler.

As he flashed over the locomotive, the locomotive had blown up. His first kill. Then there was a ball of fire, from which rose a dense black cloud of smoke.

As Archie pulled up to make a second run at the train, he realized that the ball of fire was several hundred yards from the railroad tracks. What else had they hit, he wondered, even by mistake, that had exploded like that?

Then, as he lowered the Mustang's nose for his second run, taking care not to collide with the squadron commander's Mustang, he realized that the squadron commander's Mustang was no longer in sight.

And then he realized what the ball of fire really was.

At the time, it seemed probable that the squadron commander had been hit by ground fire. The squadron commander had told him that some of the trains were armed with antiaircraft machine guns and light cannon, mounted on flatcars. Because his attention had been fixed on the locomotive, Archie hadn't noticed anything on the cars behind it.

That night, at the Officers' Club (empty, as always, of females - long-legged, firm-breasted, or otherwise), he learned about the Group's promotion policies: Everybody got to be a first lieutenant after eighteen months of commissioned service, which meant he had about ten days before that happened.

There were two ways to get to be a captain. If you lived to serve twelve months as a first lieutenant, then promotion was automatic. But promotion came a lot quicker in another circumstance. The senior first lieutenant was the squadron executive officer (senior, that is, in terms of length of service in the squadron, not date of rank). If the squadron commander got either killed or seriously injured (defined as having to spend thirty days or more in the hospital), then the Exec took the Old Man's job and got the captain's railroad tracks that went with it.

Four weeks and six days after Archie reported to the squadron, the squadron first sergeant handed him a sheet of paper to sign:

Headquarters

4032nd Fighter Squadron

23rd Fighter Group

In The Field

2 March 1943

The undersigned herewith assumes command.

Archer Dooley, Jr.

Archer Dooley, Jr.

Capt. USAAC

File

201 Dooley, Archer, Jr. 0378654

Copy to CO, 23rd Fighter Group

He hadn't gotten to work his way up to executive officer. The young man who had become the Old Man and the Exec had both gone in on the same day, the Old Man when his Mustang ran into a Kraut antiaircraft position that had gotten lucky, and the Exec when he banked too steep, too low to the ground and put a wing into the desert.

That left Archie as the senior first lieutenant in the squadron.

The colonel had driven over from Group in a jeep, told him to cut orders assuming command, and handed him two sets of railroad tracks, still in cellophane envelopes from the quartermaster officer's sales store. Archie had pinned one set of captain's railroad tracks over the embroidered gold second lieutenant's bars still sewn to the epaulets of his A-2 horsehide flight jacket, and put the other set in the drawer of the squadron commander's - now his - desk. If he ever had to go someplace, like Group, he would pin the extras on his Class A uniform then.

Being a captain and a squadron commander was not at all like what he'd imagined. A lot of really unpleasant shit went with being the Old Man. Like writing letters to the next of kin.

He hadn't actually had to compose these, thank God. There were letters in the file that some other Old Man had written, full of bullshit about how your son/husband/brother/nephew died instantly and courageously doing his duty, and how much he would be missed by his fellow officers and the enlisted men because he had been such a fine officer and had been an inspiration to all who had been privileged to know him.

Not the truth, not about how he'd tried to bail out but had been too close to the ground and his 'chute hadn't opened; not that he'd been seen trying and failing to get out of the cockpit through a sheet of flame blowing back from the engine; not about how he'd tried to land his shot-up airplane and blew it, and rolled over and over down the runway in a ball of flame and crushed aluminum. Or that they really didn't know what the fuck had happened to him, he just hadn't come back; and later some tank crew had found the wreckage of his Mustang with him still in the cockpit, the body so badly burned they couldn't tell if he had been killed in the air or died when his plane hit.

He didn't have to type the letters, either. The first sergeant just took one from the file and retyped it, changing the name. But Archie had to sign it, because he was now the Old Man and that's what was expected of him.

And he was always getting bullshit pep talks from some major or light colonel at Group that he was supposed to pass down the line.

Like what he remembered now, staring down at the Kraut staff car:

"Dooley, what interdiction means is that you and your people are supposed to engage whatever you come across, like one fucking Kraut with a rifle, one motorcycle messenger, not pass him by to go looking for a railroad locomotive, or something you think is important, or looks good when you blow it up. The motorcycle messenger is probably carrying an important message. Otherwise he wouldn't be out there. You take out a Kraut staff car, for example, you're liable to take out an important Kraut officer. Interdict means everything that's down there. You read me, Captain?"

"Yes, Sir."

"And pass the word to your people, and make sure they read you, and read you good."

"Yes, Sir."

And Archie had passed the word, and gotten dirty looks.

And now there was a Mercedes staff car down there, and it wasn't like being in a dogfight, it was like running over a dog with your car; but you had to do it because you had told your people they had to do it, and Archie believed that an officer should not order anybody to do what he wouldn't do himself.

Archie banked his Mustang steep to the right, lined up on the cloud of dust boiling out under the wheels of the Mercedes, and when he thought he had him, closed his finger on the trigger on the joystick. When he saw his tracer stream converge on the Mercedes and he didn't have to correct, he thought he was getting pretty good at this shit.

The Mercedes ran off the road, turned over, and burst into flames. Maybe a couple of bodies had flown out of the Mercedes, but Archie couldn't be sure, and he didn't go back for a second look, because if he did and saw somebody running, he wasn't going to try to get him.

He leveled off at about 500 feet and started looking for something else to interdict.

And at 2105 hours that night, at Afrika Korps General Hospital #3, near Carthage, Tunisia, the chief surgeon and hospital commander, Oberst-Arzt (Colonel-Doctor) Horst Friederich von und zu Mittlingen, pushed his way through the tent flap of the tent euphemistically called "Operating Theater Three" and reached beneath his bloodstained surgical apron for a package of cigarettes.

The hospital's name implied something far more substantial than the reality. General Hospital #3 (which served the Tenth Panzer Division) was a sprawling collection of tents and crude sheds, most of them marked with red crosses to protect against bombing or strafing. The tents served as operating theaters, the sheds as wards. Both were covered with the dust raised by the trucks and ambulances - and sometimes horse-drawn wagons - bringing in the wounded and dying.

Von und zu Mittlingen was a fifty-two-year-old Hessian trained at Marburg and Tübingen. Before the war, he had been professor of orthopedic surgery at St. Louise's Hospital in Munich.

The cigarettes were Chesterfields. One of the nurses, who didn't smoke but knew the Herr Oberst-Artz did, had taken them from the body of an American pilot who had survived the crash of his fighter plane but had died en route to Afrika Korps General Hospital #3. The lighter, too, was American, a Zippo, found on the floor of one of the surgical tents. There had been no telling how long it had been there, or to whom it had be-longed, so he kept it.

He lit a Chesterfield, inhaled deeply, and felt with his hand behind him for one of the vertical poles holding up the corner of the tent. When he found it, he leaned against it, then exhaled, examining the glow of the cigarette as he did.

His hands were shaking. He willed them to be still.

It had been time to take a break, to leave the operating theater and step outside into the welcome cold of the night. And to light up a cigarette. And get a cup of coffee, if he could find one.

Though patients were still awaiting his attention, he had learned that he could push himself only so far. After so many hours at the table, his eyes did not see well, his fingers lost their skill, and his judgment was clouded by fatigue.

What he desperately wanted was a drink. But that would have to wait until later, much later, until there were no more wounded requiring his services. He would probably have to wait until the early morning for that. Then he would take several deep pulls from the neck of his bottle of brandy before falling into bed.

He took two more puffs on the Chesterfield, exhaled, and pushed himself away from the tent pole.

I will go to the mess and see if there is coffee. I will do nothing for the next ten minutes except smoke my cigarette and drink my coffee and take a piss.

His route took him past three tents on the perimeter of the hospital area. A medical team - a physician, a nurse, and stretcher bearers - stood outside the three tents as the ambulances and trucks brought the wounded to the hospital.

The physician categorized each incoming patient: Those who would most likely die if they did not go under the knife immediately, he ordered to be carried into the first tent, where a team of nurses would prepare them for surgery. As soon as a table was free, they underwent the knife. Those who had a reasonable chance of survival, but could wait a bit for surgery, were given morphine and moved into the second tent. As soon as the really critical patients had received attention, their turn in an operating theater would come. Those who stood little chance of survival were moved into the third tent and given morphine. When everyone in Tent A and Tent B had received treatment, an attempt would be made to save those in Tent C.

Oberst-Artz von und zu Mittlingen violated his own rule about never going into Tent C. The sight of dead men, and men in the last - too often agonized - moments of their lives, upset him. He knew it was better to be calm and emotionless when he was at the table.

There were six men on stretchers in Tent C.

The first two were dead. One looked asleep. The second's face was frozen with his last agony.

Von und zu Mittlingen covered their faces with blankets and went to the last man on that side of the tent.

He was surprised that he was still alive.

His entire head was wrapped in blood-soaked bandages. That implied, at the least, serious trauma to his eyes and probably to his brain. Both of his hands were similarly bandaged, suggesting to von und zu Mittlingen that he would probably lose the use of both hands, and might actually lose the hands themselves.

Another heavily blood-soaked bandage was on his upper right leg, and his torso was also bandaged; but the amount of blood on these last suggested to von und zu Mittlingen that the wounds on his torso were not as serious as the others, though internal bleeding of vital organs was of course possible.

It would probably be better if the poor bastard died; the alternative is living as a blind cripple.

He noticed that the patient was wearing U.S. Army trousers but an Afrika Korps tunic. That quickly identified him as an officer, someone in a position to ignore the rules forbidding the wearing of any part of the enemy's uniform.

Von und zu Mittlingen reached for the patient's ID tag.

"Who's that?" the patient asked, sensing the hand on the tag.

"I'm a doctor."

The tag identified the patient as Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) von Stauffenberg.

Oh, my God! This mutilated body is Claus!

"You've got yourself in a mess, haven't you, Claus?" von und zu Mittlingen said.

"Who's that?"

"Horst Mittlingen, Claus," Horst Friederich von und zu Mittlingen said. "We're going to take care of you now."

"One of their Mustangs got me," Oberstleutnant Graf (Count) Claus von Stauffenberg said.

"Claus, what did they give you for the pain?"

"I decided I would rather be awake."

Oberst-Artz Horst Friederich von und zu Mittlingen stood up and walked to the flap of the tent and bellowed for stretcher bearers, then returned to the bloody body on the stretcher. "We'll take care of you now, Claus," he said. "You'll be all right."

"Really?" von Stauffenberg asked mockingly.

"Yes, really," von und zu Mittlingen said. "I am about to violate my own rule about never working on my friends."

Two stretcher bearers appeared.

"Put this officer on the next available table," von und zu Mittlingen ordered.

"Tell Sister Wagner I will want her beside me."

"Jawohl, Herr Oberst."

"If I could see, I would say I'm glad to see you, Horst," von Stauffen-berg said.

On 12 April, the Germans announced the discovery of mass graves in Poland's Katyn Forest. The graves contained the bodies of 4,100 Polish officers and officer cadets who had been captured by the Soviet army. They had been shot in the back of the head with small-caliber pistols. A week later, after refusing Polish Government in Exile demands for an investigation by the International Red Cross, the Soviet government said the whole thing was German propaganda.

On 17 April, in its largest operation to date, the 8th U.S. Air Force attacked aircraft factories in Bremen with 117 B-17 bombers, sixteen of which were shot down.

[ TWO ]

The Office of the Reichsführer-SS

Berlin

1545 17 April 1943

The interoffice communications device on the ornately carved desk of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler buzzed discreetly.

Though he was wearing his customary ornate black uniform, the forty-three-year-old Reichsführer's round spectacles and slight build gave him the look of a low-ranking clerk. It would have been a mistake to act on that assumption.

Without taking his eyes from the teletypewriter printout he was reading, Himmler reached for the box and depressed the lever that allowed his secretary, Frau Gertrud Hassler, to communicate. The Reichsführer-SS had had the device rigged in that manner. He was a busy man, and could not afford an interruption every time his secretary had something to say. If he was busy, he simply ignored the buzzing and she would try again later.

"Herr Reichsführer," Frau Gertrud Hassler announced. "Herr Korvettenkapitän Boltitz, from Minister von Ribbentrop's office, is here." Korvettenkapitän was the German Navy rank equivalent to major.

The Reichsführer-SS was not busy, but that did not mean he was prepared to be interrupted by the woman every time a messenger arrived in the outer office.

"And?" the Reichsführer-SS said impatiently.

"He insists that you personally sign for the message, Herr Reichs-führer-SS."

"Mein Gott! Well, show him in, please, Frau Hassler."

Himmler rose from his desk and walked toward the double doors to his office. A moment later, one of them opened; and a tall, blond young man in civilian clothing stepped inside. In his hand was a briefcase. He raised his arm straight out from the shoulder. "Heil Hitler!" he barked.

Himmler raised his right arm at the elbow. "Korvettenkapitän Boltitz, how nice to see you," Himmler said.

"Herr Reichsführer," Boltitz said. "I regret the intrusion on your valuable time, Herr Reichsführer, but I was directed to give this to you personally."

Himmler knew that Boltitz's assignment to the office of Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop meant that he was really Admiral Wilhelm Canaris's man - read spy - in the Foreign Ministry. Canaris was Director of Abwehr Intelligence. Neither he nor von Ribbentrop was really a member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, and Himmler wasn't entirely sure either of them could be completely trusted. "I understand," Himmler said, and put out his hand for the message.

Boltitz opened the briefcase and took from it a clipboard, whose clip held an envelope. He removed the envelope, and then handed Himmler the clipboard and a pen. Himmler scrawled his name, acknowledging receipt of the message, and the young man then handed him the envelope.

"Thank you, Herr Reichsführer."

"Are you to wait for a reply?" Himmler asked.

"No, sir, but I am at your disposal if you wish to reply."

"Just a moment, please," Himmler said, then tore open the envelope and read the message.

Classification: most urgent

Confidentiality: most secret

Date: 15 April 1943 1645 Buenos Aires time

From: ambassador, Buenos Aires

To: immediate and personal attention of the foreign minister of the German Reich Heil Hitler!

Standartenführer-SS Josef Goltz requests that appendix one attached hereto be immediately brought to the attention of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler.

Manfred Alois Graf Von Lutzenberger ambassador of the German Reich to the republic of Argentina begin appendix one

To: Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler

From: SS-Standartenführer Josef Goltz

Subject: operation phoenix, progress report

Heil Hitler!

The undersigned has the honor to report to the Herr Reichsführer-SS the following:

(1) all arrangements have been made to off-load the special cargo aboard the motor vessel Comerciante del Océano Pacífico early in the morning of 19 April 1943.

(2) all arrangements have been made to transport and store the special cargo under the highest possible security once it is ashore.

(3) all arrangements have been made to effect the transport of naval officers from the Graf Spee from their place of internment to Puerto Magdalena on Samborombón bay once the actions described in (1) and (2) above have been accomplished.

(4) the naval officers will first be taken aboard the Océano Pacífico and then repatriated to the fatherland as space becomes available aboard u-boats returning to European ports.

(5) while the undersigned has assumed personal command of operation phoenix since arriving in Argentina, he wishes to acknowledge the contributions made by ambassador Graf Von Lutzenberger and members of his staff, in particular first secretary Anton Von Gradny-Sawz, military attaché Oberst Karl-Heinz Grüner and assistant military attaché for air major FreIherr Hans-peter Von Wachtstein. their immediate grasp of the importance of operation phoenix and their dedication to the principles of national socialism and the Führer has earned my admiration.

Respectfully submitted:

Josef Luther Goltz

Standartenführer SS-SD

end appendix one

end message

The Comerciante Océano Pacífico, a Spanish-flagged merchantman, had been sent to Samborombón Bay in the Argentine section of the River Plate estuary ostensibly with the clandestine mission of replenishing the increasingly desperate South Atlantic U-boats. Replenishment was not, however, its only secret mission. It was also charged with smuggling into Argentina equipment and supplies intended to aid the escape from internment of the crew of the German pocket battleship Graf Spee, which had been scuttled in the harbor of Montevideo, Uruguay, in December 1939, after a running battle with the Royal Navy.

The repatriation of the Graf Spee crew was especially dear to the heart of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who had himself escaped internment in Argentina during the First World War.

There was a third, far more secret, mission for the Océano Pacífico. It had become clear to a number of Hitler's highest-ranking associates that the war might be lost - and probably would be - and that the life span of the Thousand-Year Reich was likely to be only a matter of years, perhaps less. With that in mind, it was deemed prudent to establish in South America a place of refuge.

"Operation Phoenix" was set in motion. Money was ob-tained, largely from Jews, either from the dead - jewelry, gold fillings, and the like - or from the living, by way of extortion.

The equivalent of $100,000,000 (in various currencies, including American dollars) was aboard the Océano Pacífico. Once smuggled ashore, along with the material for the interned Graf Spee crew, the money would be covertly placed in Argentine banks and used to establish a South American refuge for Nazis who not only hoped to escape punishment for their crimes, but who also sought a place where the Nazi philosophy could be kept alive for an eventual return to Germany.

Himmler raised his eyes to Korvettenkapitän Boltitz.

"Please be so good as to thank Herr von Ribbentrop for me," he said.

"Jawohl, Herr Reichsführer."

"That will be all," Himmler said. "Thank you."

Korvettenkapitän Boltitz rendered another crisp Nazi salute, which Himmler again returned casually, then made a military about-face and marched out of Himmler's office.

Since the door to the outer office remained open, rather than returning to his desk and using the intercom, Himmler raised his voice and called, "Frau Hassler!"

Frau Hassler was tall, thin, and in her early fifties; and she wore her gray-flecked hair in a bun. When she appeared at his door moments later, she was clutching her stenographer's notebook and three pencils.

"Please ask Oberführer von Deitzberg to see me immediately." Oberführer was a rank peculiar to the SS that fell between colonel and brigadier general.

"Jawohl, Herr Reichsführer," Frau Hassler said, and pulled the door closed.

Manfred von Deitzberg, Himmler's adjutant, appeared in less than a minute. He was a tall, slim, blond, forty-two-year-old Westphalian; his black SS uniform was finely tailored, and there was an air of elegance about him.

He entered the room without knocking, closed the door after him, then leaned against it and looked quizzically at Himmler. He did not render the Nazi salute, formally or informally.

"We've heard from Goltz," Himmler said, and held the message out to him.

Von Deitzberg walked to the desk, took the message, and read it. When he'd finished, he looked at Himmler, returned the message to him, but said nothing.

"Comments?" Himmler asked.

"It looks like good news," von Deitzberg said.

"But?"

"The Operation has not been completed. Either part of it."

"He seems confident that it will succeed . . . that both parts of it will succeed. You aren't?"

"There is an English expression, 'a bird in the hand . . .' "

" '. . . is worth two in the bush,' " Himmler finished for him. "I agree. Anything else?"

"I hesitate to criticize Goltz. I recommended him for this mission."

"But?"

"When next I see him, I will have a private word with him and suggest that it is never a good idea to put so many details in a message."

"I saw that, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was obviously pleased with himself."

"And I think he wanted you and me to be pleased with him as well."

"Yes. Josef is not overburdened with modesty."

Von Deitzberg laughed dutifully. "I was a little curious about his fulsome praise for von Lutzenberger," he said. "And von Lutzenberger's people."

"Perhaps he really meant it."

"And he knew, of course, that von Lutzenberger would read the

message."

"And that Grüner is one of us," Himmler said, smiling. "Do you think our Luther is becoming a politician, Manfred?"

"I think that's a terrible thing to say about an SS officer," von Deitzberg said.

It was Himmler's turn to laugh dutifully.

"What are you going to do about it?" von Deitzberg asked, nodding at the message. "Are you going to tell the Führer?"

"I thought I would solicit your wise counsel, Herr Oberführer."

"I have a tendency to err on the side of caution," von Deitzberg said. "I think I would wait until we have the bird in hand."

"If he hasn't already, von Ribbentrop is about to tell Bormann, knowing full well he will rush to the Führer, that there has been word from Himmler's man that Operation Phoenix will shortly be successful."

Party leader Martin Bormann was second only to Adolf Hitler in the hierarchy of the Nazi party and one of his closest advisers.

"You don't think he would wait until after we get the 'operation completed successfully' message, so he could say, 'Our man'?"

"I think von Ribbentrop would prefer to go to the Führer now, using 'Himmler's man.' Then, if something does go wrong, he could pretend to be shocked and saddened by that man's failure. On the other hand, if it does go well, it will naturally be 'our man.' "

Himmler looked at von Deitzberg for a moment, then continued: "I could, of course, get to the Führer first, either directly, or through Bormann -"

"The Führer's at Wolfsschanze," von Deitzberg interrupted. Wolfsschanze was Hitler's secret command post, near Rastenburg in East Prussia.

"- then through Bormann," Himmler went on. "And take a chance our friend - actually he's your friend, isn't he, Manfred? - is everything he - and you - say he is. Claim him as our man now, taking the chance that he won't fail."

"Were you really soliciting my wise counsel?" von Deitzberg asked.

"Of course. And your wise counsel is that we should wait until we see what actually happens, right?"

"Yes, Sir."

"On second thought, what I think I really should do now is call Bormann and tell him that we have just heard from Oberführer von Deitzberg's man in Buenos Aires. That way, if Goltz is successful, I can claim the credit because he is one of my SS, right? And if he fails, it's obviously your fault, von Deitzberg. You recommended him for that job." Himmler smiled warmly at von Deitzberg.

"May I suggest, with all possible respect, Herr Reichsführer-SS," von Deitzberg said, "that is not a very funny joke."

"Joke? What joke?"

He pressed the lever on his intercom, and when Frau Hassler's voice came, told her to get Reichsleiter Bormann on the telephone immediately.

One of the telephones on Himmler's desk buzzed not more than ninety seconds later. Himmler picked it up and said "Heil Hitler" into it, then waited impatiently for whoever was on the line to respond.

"Martin," he said finally, and with oozing cordiality, "There has been good news from Buenos Aires. Our project there, under Standartenführer Goltz, of whom I am very proud, is proceeding splendidly. We expect momentarily to hear that the special cargo has been delivered, and that the first of the officers from the Graf Spee are on their way home."

There was a reply from Bormann that von Deitzberg could not hear, and then Himmler went on: "The SS exists solely to serve the Führer, Martin. You know that." This was followed by another pause, and then Himmler barked "Heil Hitler!" into the mouthpiece and hung up. He looked at von Deitzberg and smiled. "That put our friend Bormann on the spot, you understand, Manfred?"

"Yes, indeed," von Deitzberg said.

"He doesn't want to go to the Führer with good words about the SS," Himmler added unnecessarily, though with visible pride in his tactics. "But he wants even less for the Führer to get his information from other people, such as our friend von Ribbentrop. So he will relay the good news about Argentina to the Führer, saying he got it from me, and the Führer will not only like the information but be impressed with my quiet modesty for not telling him myself."

"Very clever," von Deitzberg said.

"You have to be clever with these bastards, Manfred. They're all waiting for a chance to stab us in the back."

"I agree. Is there anything else?"

Himmler shook his head, "no," and von Deitzberg walked to the door.

"Manfred!" Himmler called as von Deitzberg put his hand on the knob.

Von Deitzberg turned to look at him.

"Are you, in your heart of hearts, a religious man, Manfred?"

"You know better than that," von Deitzberg replied.

"Pity," Himmler said. "I was about to say that now that the die has been cast, Manfred, it might be a good time to start to pray that Goltz is successful."

"Are you worried?"

"I'm not worried. But if I were you, I would be. You're the one who selected Goltz for this."

"I recommended him," von Deitzberg said. "You selected him."

"That's not the way I remember it, Oberführer von Deitzberg," Himmler said. "Thank you for coming to see me."

On 18 April, more than half of the 100 heavy German transport aircraft attempting to resupply the Afrika Korps in North Africa were shot down by American fighters.

And across the world, in the South Pacific, over Bougainville, P-38 Lightning fighters shot down a transport carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, chief of the Japanese Navy, and Japan's principal strategist. American cryptographers, in one of the most tightly guarded secrets of the war, had broken many high-level Japanese codes, and had intercepted messages giving Yamamoto's travel plans and routes. The decision to attack his plane, which carried with it the grave risk of the Japanese learning the Americans had broken their codes, was made personally by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On 19 April, the Argentine government of General Ramón Castillo was toppled by a junta of officers, led by General Arturo Rawson, who became President.

On 22 April, the U.S. II Corps, led by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, began a major attack against the Germans in Tunisia. Another attempt by the Germans to supply the Afrika Corps Korps by air resulted in the shooting down by American fighters of 30 of 50 transport air-craft.

—From Secret Honor, by W.E.B. Griffin. (c) November 1999, W.E.B. Griffin, used by permission.

Meet the Author

W. E. B. Griffin is the author of seven bestselling series: The Corps, Brotherhood of War, Badge of Honor, Men at War, Honor Bound, Presidential Agent, and now Clandestine Operations. He lives in Fairhope, Alabama, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Coppell, Texas
Date of Birth:
November 10, 1929
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey

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Secret Honor (Honor Bound Series #3) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having read almost all of Griffins series, the Honor series is closest to The Corps... Please bring back Cletus and Peter again and again...
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great sequel to 'Blood and Honor', this is a book you won't want to put down even though it may be 4 A.M. Griffin puts you in the middle of the intrigue, action, and suspense. I'm anxiously awaiting the next in this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read every one of Mr.Griffin's novels and enjoyed them a great deal. But this last series seems to be getting less and less like all his other work. I wish he would concentrate on his other series like The Corps or The Badge Of Honor Or Men At War groups
Guest More than 1 year ago
William E. Butterworth is a most enjoyable author, whatever his nom-de-novel may be. This is yet another typical Griffin novel. The continued use and overuse of complete names and titles amounts to overkill and is a writer's method of filling a page with really saying too much. Do away with this problem and also do away with the overuse of dispatches and letters that eat up space and this 497 page novel is reduced to 300 pages. At 497 pages, or even at 300 pages, Butterworth is a superb storyteller and I will continue to read and enjoy his books
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a rabid fan of Mr. Griffin's prior series', having read all of his books twice. I find the 'Men at War' books have far less interest for me. His descriptions of characters have always been vivid but those from other countries have little appeal for me. I hope for the resumption of the 'Badge of Honor' and 'The Corps series'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE ZING IN GRIFFINS LATEST HONOR SERIES IS GONE. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM GO BACK TO THE CORPS SERIES AND CONTINUE WHERE HE LEFT OFF WITH GETTING GOLD AND WEAPONS INTO THE PHILLIPINES. THIS SERIES IS 5 STAR AND SHOULD BE CONTINUED...I OWN EVERY ONE....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Compared to all of W. E. B. Griffin¿s published novels, I found his most recent effort, disappointing. Too much of Secret Honor, is concerned with the events surrounding the wedding of Clete Frade and Dorotea Mallin and the inconclusive efforts of the German government to identify the traitor responsible for the assassination of two senior SS officers which was described in the previous book. Secret Honor seems to be a transition between the author¿s last book set in Argentina, Blood and Honor, and his next intended volume in the Honor Bound series. We are introduced to a series of important historical figures including Count Claus von Stauffenberg, Evita Duarta and General Adolf Galland, each of whom one hopes will figure prominently in the author¿s intended sequel. We also are familiarized with one of Germany¿s most important secret weapons of World War II, the ME-262 jet fighter aircraft. Except for target practice, only one shot is fired in this book by or at any of the main characters. But many important events occurred the period covered, April through June 1943, including: the fall of North Africa to the Americans and English, Allied preparations to invade Sicily, the first Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the siege of Leningrad, preparations leading to the Battle at Kursk (the largest tank conflict in history), the introduction of escort carriers and advanced radar in the battle against U-boats in the Atlantic, and MacArthur¿s attack up coast of New Guinea. I hope that W.E.B. Griffin¿s next effort is more exciting.
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Great book and story. Problem was that the transcription from hard copy to electronic is pathetic. Don't know who does the transcribing of the e-books but I believe B & N needs to find someone else.
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